Charles Buck Theological Dictionary
A term we apply to events to denote that they happen without any necessary or foreknown cause. When we say a thing happens by chance, we mean no more than that its cause is unknown to us, and not, as some vainly imagine, that chance itself can be the cause of any thing. "The case of the painter, " says Chambers, "who, unable to express the foam at the mouth of the horse he had painted, threw his sponge in despair at the piece, and by chance did that which he could not do before by design, is an eminent instance of what is called chance. Yet it is obvious all we here mean by chance, is, that the painter was not aware of the effect, or that he did not throw the sponge with such a view: not but that he actually did every thing necessary to produce the effect; insomuch that, considering the direction wherein he threw the sponge, together with its form and specific gravity, the colours wherewith it was smeared, and the distance of the hand from the piece, it was impossible, on the present system of things, that the effect should not follow."
The word, as it is often used by the unthinking, is vague and indeterminate
a mere name for nothing.
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Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Chance'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/cbd/c/chance.html. 1802.