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will, perhaps, seem to be only the weaving of an unsubstantial theory. But there are other minds---and for these chiefly the volume has been written—which are no longer willing to lean on the mere traditions of men, but seek truth wherever it may be found for the truth's sake, and which at the same time are inclined to retire from the crumbling altars of outward worship, and approach the shrine of the unseen reality. The wisdom that would now speak to the world is that which relinquishes all superficial authority to repose confidence in the divine and unerring teachings of Nature. The expanded spirit will seek to leave the forms that fade and die. It will ascend beyond the things that bloom for a season and then pass away, and will be attracted to the beautiful and ever-living principles which have their dwelling-place in the heart of the Universe. Infinite and glorious beyond conception are the realities which exist in Nature ; and these are not contained in the musty parchments of the past-they are not embraced within the lids of any earthly history--they are not even confined within the limits of those pages which men have long gazed upon with blinded reverence, but they gleam forth in those higher, unwritten revelations that issue from the heart of Deity.
In the preceding remarks, the writer would not undervalue the iniportance of facts as connected with any natural truth. While the vail of materialism rests on the human mind and sense is made the standard by which Reason utters her decisions, it is positively essential that the world should have evidence of an external nature to demonstrate those realities which are beyond the limit of sensuous perception. But this should not, in the view of the writer, be regarded as the ultimate for which the soul should seek. Facts are simply the stepping stones that lead to more interior truth. They are not in themselves the real reality ; they are not the essence of the thing which they illustrate, but they are useful only as they teach some important lesson and give expression to an internal principle. All phenomena are the outbirth and illustration of certain established la ws, which laws are attributes of the internal force by which the former are produced. There is no fact within the sphere of the senses which does not owe its existence to the unseen energy that lives and moves beneath the vail of matter. Those effects which are apparent to the sensuous perceptions, are simply the ulterior results that proceed from the action of interior causes. Hence if we would approach the divine reality of Nature-if we would worship at the inward shrine of the temple, instead of lingering in its outer courts, it is necessary that the mind should enter within the sphere of external facts, and commune with the living soul from which these have derived their birth.
Well do I understand the insufficiency of mere theories, if by theories are meant the fanciful speculations which have burdened and darkened the world for ages. But it should be known that there is something more than what is here comprehended, in the arrangement and classification of eternal principies; for these principles are not mere passing dreams of the mind-they are not the frail and perishing fabrics of imagination, but they are the immutable and everliving expressions of the Divine Mind. Higher than all theories deeper than all human fancy, and more vast than all external forms, are the silent thoughts of God that live in all his works. These are the deathless soul of matter—the primary agents that give significance and power to all outward effects. We may gaze forever on the beauty of creation—we may bask in the sparkling glories of the Universe, and yet we can never commune with the divine and immutable reality, until we learn the laws by which that beauty is produced, and approach the fountain froin which those glories flow. The stars have shone since the morning of Creation's birth, and for ages they were viewed externally as ornaments on the brow of Night, or as lamps designed to cheer the darkness; but it was not until the true nature of these orbs was investigated, and until the principles by which they are governed became comprehended, that they were seen in all their vast reality, as mighty worlds rolling through the fathomless depths of space. So it is with all things else. The pervading law which operates within them—the elements which make their quality and use, and the interior truths which they reveal to the reason, constitute a far higher standard of authority than all the visible effects which they may outwardly manifest.
To say that the soul has no capacity to investigate or comprehend the principles of Nature, simply because they are not appreciable to the senses, is to deny the existence of those most godlike powers which render man, in a peculiar sense, the child of God. It is only necessary to develop the faculties that are in man—to cultivate the senses of the soul as well as those of the body, to enable him to search into interior causes with the same ease and accuracy with which he now examines external effects. I will write, then, what I feel to be an important truth, that the great realities of Nature, which have been long concealed from superficial and materialistic minds, are capable of being known and understood ; for why should not man, possessing as he does a two-fold nature, enjoy also the two-fold world of physical and spiritual being ? The fact to be lamented is, that man has not been made conscious of the powers that exist within him, or the existence of an inward world; and from this very fact the hard crust of materialism has been formed to shut out the light that seeks a passage to the soul. In my view, the great mission of all true philosophy is to quicken the perceptions of the mind—to open to its view an unexplored field of truth, and elevate it from the change and falsity of external things to the bloom and brightness of eternal realities. And when this mission shall be fully accomplished, men will make use of external phenomena as the child in its weakness clings to outward objects—not as a final resting-place, but as a means of attaining to that inward growth and strength which are the sources of enduring happiness; and then shail the living truths which God in all his works is whispering to man, be tested by the reason, grasped by the inner consciousness, and received into the chambers of the understanding.
The foundation of a majestic temple is being laid in the earth. A
mighty voice has spoken, and in obedience to the divine behest the appointed labor is begun. Sublime and expansive truths disclosed to the freed spirit, are revealed as the basis of an illimitable structure. The unseen toilers are at work. They are preparing the way for the accomplishment of a great design. They are gathering and arranging the elements of which the temple of truth is to be constructed, and on the deep foundation of eternal principles, the beautiful structure is rising to the sky. Men have sought to rear this temple by emploġing earthly implements, by building on false foundations, and making use of perishable materials. They have sought to operate on the mind through the agency of fear; they have erected towering theories on the basis of fallible writings, and they have piled up huge masses of uncongenial doctrines on the narrow platform of sectarian theology. Therefore have men labored unwisely in the greatest of all works; and the succession of unsuccessful efforts which they have made to build up the truth, may serve as an indication of the fact that the means employed are inadequate to the end proposed. In the work of establishing the divine reality, it is wise for men to act as followers instead of leaders—as workmen instead of directors,-listening to the still voice of wisdom that issues from a higher sphere. Lo! the toilers of heaven invite the workmen of earth to labor with them. Let the invitation be welcomed and obeyed—let the instructions furnished in wisdom be received, and then will the brightest hopes of the philanthropist, the divinest dreams of the prophet, and the highest inspirations of the bard, be all concentrated and interwoven in one great reality-introduced into the temple of immortal truth, where both mortals and angels shall worship forever.
R. P. A. New-YORK, July 15, 1853.