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ter. Indeed, the established process of creation and birth as manifested in surrounding Nature, is the gradual production of visible forms from a combination of unseen materials. Hence, if acting in accordance with reason and analogy, the mind will seek the origin of all external creations, comprehending the Universe itself, in that same realm of interior life and being, in which the causes of all outward and visible effects have even now their source and dwelling-place. It would doubtless be painful to many minds even to attempt to soar beyond the regions of visibility, inasmuch as they have not the developed strength and perceptive power which are necessary to comprehend the realities of the inner universe. But surely the beginning of creation is not to be arrived at in the external world. The great springs of life from which the streams of all being flow, lie deeper than the realm of tangible matter. There are to be found here only changeful forms and combinations of elements; where shall we go to find the living substance? . It can not be supposed that the Universe has forever existed in its present state, for the reason that it is now undergoing constant changes, which indicate a progressive development. Then the mind is compelled to trace the line of induction back to a primary source; and in doing this, it must descend beneath the crust of all material formations to the sphere of the indwelling and impalpable Life. Let us see if this is not the true and legitimate course of investigation. Matter which is visible to the external eye, is not a primitive substance, but exists in a compound form. It is, therefore, only a combination of constituent elements which may be resolved again into their simple state. And this is precisely what must be implied in the act of creation. To create is to form; to form is to combine; and to combine is to produce visible bodies. Elements which are in themselves unseen and intangible, will, when properly arranged and condensed, be made sensible to the eye and the touch. Therefore, in tracing the origin of external things, it is necessary to follow a process which is the reverse of that of creation, by which visible substances become resolved into the particles of which they are composed, and these particles are again resolved into their constituent elements, until presented at last in their primitive form. As a familiar illustration of this process, let us take the substance termed ice. By an application of heat, which possesses the power of expanding the particles of matter subjected to its influence, this substance speedily becomes changed into a liquid form, which is known as water. This being still farther decomposed by a continuation of the same process, is resolved into a vapory element which appears as steam or mist. Then by a yet closer chemical analysis, which may be obtained through the instrumentalities of Science, this new formation is changed into insensible gasses, which evidently form the real basis of the substance with which our investigation commenced. Thus all visible matter is capable of being divided and subdivided by the analysis of Chemistry, until its particles, ceasing to exist in a compound form, can be neither seen nor felt by the senses. But with all this division and sub-division—go as far as we may into the depths of ethereality, matter can never . be traced to absolute nothing; for matter is composed of ele. ments, and these elements, though they could be sub-divided to infinity, would still exist,-so that, in accordance with a prominent principle of natural philosophy, no particle of any substance
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 ?” This inquiry presents the very problem whose solution will lead the mind directly to 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 which 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 on 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.