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that ever existed in the universe, can ever be destroyed. The supposition would be obviously absurd, therefore, that the Universe was created from nothing, because it clearly can never be resolved back to this, and no substance can be derived from that to which it may not return. But matter can be traced to the simple elements of which its outward forms are composed, and from which these, in their various states of combination, were originally produced; and when it is considered that these elements make the original basis of all material bodies, the reasoning mind will at once perceive that they, in their primary and ultimated form, must constitute the source from which the Universe was evolved.
At this point, however, it may be asked, "what is the ultimate form of matter to which the origin of all lower forms is to be referred V This inquiry presents the very problem whose solution will lead the mind directly J:o the original fountain of being. In order that this solution may be lucid and satisfactory, it will be wise to refer, as an illustration, to the analysis and ultimation_of matter as presented in the constitution of man. Besides being in itself a miniature universe, in which all the elements and materials that compose the earth are contained, the human body is in reality a chemical laboratory, in which, through a beautiful and natural process, matter is sublimated to its most refined and perfect form. For instance, food is introduced into the stomach—this is comparatively gross matter. Acted upon by the acideous fluids of the system, this substance undergoes a certain chemical change and becomes gradually resolved into its component elements. In the primary stages of this process, those elements are evolved which, from their intrinsic nature, are prepared to assimilate with the osseous and muscular portions of the body. By a continuation of the same chemical action, the more interior elements of the original substance are attracted to the nervous system, and so enter into the composition of the brain; and then in the last analysis a subtile and refined essence is evolved, which, from a natural affinity, is united with the indwelling spirit as the essential nutriment whereby this becomes matured and perfected, in correspondence with the growth and development of the body. Thus in the chemical changes which matter undergoes in the human system, it is found to be in its ultimated form only when it becomes sufficiently refined to enter into the composition of spirit, this being the last and highest point to be attained in the chemistry of nature.
To fully profit by this illustration, the reader should properly appreciate the fact, that, by an analysis similar to that (vhich is constantly going on in the human structure, the elements of the Universe would be finally resolved into the essence of spirit as their original and ultimated form. So from the things which are seen, the mind may look back into the depths of the past eternity, and there recognize as the source of all material creations, the supreme and eternal Soul. And this was the Beginning. It is in the very nature of the substance which forms the basis of existing things, that the first unfoldings of created being are to be properly sought. There is no special period in the whole course of former ages, which could be pointed to as the time when creation commenced, but this commencement pertains to the primitive germ from which all matter has been progressively derived. Time in itself has no beginning and no end. Infinity on infinity bears the soul back into the depths of the past, while eternity ou eternity, in an interminable series, carries it far away into the bosom of the future. Often in thus gazing into the depths of time, the soul has returned wearied and perplexed, because it could find no resting place on which to repose; and then it has scanned the wide expanse of matter—where to the conception of the earthly mind there is no limit—and it has felt the weakness and insufficiency of its own powers amid the majesty of revolving worlds. Is there, then, no point in the vast realm of Time and Nature, on which the,soaring thought may rest? There is. . God is the beginning of Time and the center of Nature. In the distant ages of the past—back to the farthest point which the human mind can reach—the soul may rest on God; and deep within the very heart of space—beneath the most refined essences of the Universe, the Great Spirit has his seat and throne.
THE ORIGINAL GEKM.
In order to commence a course of consistent reasoning on the subject of the primitive origin of matter, the mind must necessarily seek, not simply some original source of Power, but also some uncreated fountain of materials from which the myriad currents of life proceed. The idea of mere force will not account for the existence of created forms. Something must have existed in the beginning on which force could operate, in order that material organizations might be created. For this reason it is apparently absurd to affirm that in the beginning there was no substance apart from simple power, and that accordingly the universe was created out of nothing. Mere force acting alone and having no connection with any elements or substances on which its influence might be exerted, could not possibly produce any external effects. It is evident that from nothing, nothing can be produced; and the result would be precisely the same if infinite power were the acting agent. Indeed no power, however great, could be outwardly manifested in any manner, without the presence of something to be affected by its movements. Motion and matter are the sole parents of all outward effects.* Neither can exist without the other, and both are necessary in the production of every visible form. Hence it appears that the original germ of being could not have been power or motion alone, but also a repository of materials, which were capable of being acted upon, moved and arranged, in accordance with the controlling movements of the indwelling force.
These suggestions have relation to the Original Soul as the source from which all created forms are supposed to be derived. In its conception of the Divine Being, the human mind has been liable, by regarding Him as a mere force, to lose sight of the real substantiality of his nature. It should be observed that, though God is a spirit, He must be likewise a substance, else He could have no positive existence as an entity. Hence there must be comprehended in the Divine constitution not merely power, as this term is commonly understood, but likewise matter, through which only as a medium the former can be manifested and expressed. In accordance with this truth, the mind has to conceive that the First Cause represented matter in its most simple form, containing within itself the elements and forces necessary to the production of all other forms, in order to perceive the reality that in the depths of his nature is contained the primitive germ of being. The rational and consistent mind will not seek to avoid the acknowledgment of this reality. There is indeed no other view of this subject which can be fully reconciled with the inductions of reason. To say that visible matter has existed from eternity is absurd, because
* By the term " matter," as here used, is of course signified simply substance, whether physical or spiritual; so that the idea of Dmne agency is not excluded in the general expression.