« AnteriorContinuar »
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.
Atihis 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 compar-" atiyely gross matter. Acted upon by the acideous fluids of the system, this substance undergoes a certain chemical change and becomes gradually resolv.ed 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 fn 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 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 u matter," as here used, is of course signified simply tubstance, whether physical or spiritual; so that the idea of Diviae agency is not excluded in the general expression.
it is evident that this is a compound and therefore a derived substance, existing merely as a combination of simple and so invisible elements, which are apparently undergoing constant changes in their relations to each other. It would be likewise absurd to -affirm that these simple elements had an existence apart from the Divine Mind as a foreign and independent substance, because in this case there would have existed from eternity two separate primal causes or germs of being, both acting on different principles, possessed of different natures, and, producing different classes of effects,—all of which is entirely inconsistent with the established unity, order, and harmony that are clearly manifested in the visible Universe. If the perfect line of causation which is laid down in the system of Nature be properly traced, the mind will be led irresistibly to the one Spirit-Fountain as the primal Germ; and it may be easily perceived that this Germ comprehends the power by which the process of creation was carried on, for the very reason that it contained within itself the substance from which the universal system was evolved.
Gazing, then, through the long line of distant ages, the earthly mind, prepared by previous investigations, may behold in the inconceivable depths of eternity the primary Germ of tion's life. In this indefinite and undefinable period— even the beginning of eternity—there are perceived to be no external creations, not even a form or substance which sense could comprehend; but, as the last analysis and ultimate form of matter, there is viewed the expansive Soul of the illimitable "immensity—a sublimated form of spiritual intelligence resting in the bosom of the infinite space. Here was the original substance from which the universal system of Nature was brought forth into the order, beauty and harmony that now prevail, and froiri which also it was formed, arranged and perfected in accordance with eternal and unchanging laws. This substance, which represents matter in its primitive state, forms now the interior essence of all existing things; it is the pervading motion and life of Nature—the heart from whose rapid and powerful pulsations flow out the streams of light and beauty through all the arteries of Creation. In this essence of the existing Universe is the real being of the Universe—the being which lived in the unlimited Beginning. It should be remembered that external forms are simply the embodiment and representative of interior elements, and that these elements must be necessarily dependent on an original and spiritual essence as the source from which they are derived. Therefore it is not wise to consider external things as the real substance of which Nature is formed; but it is wise to look beneath the vail of outward matter, and view—in the unexplored regions of the creative Life—the divine and eternal ReAlity, of which creation itself is but a visible ontbirth. Thus in its deep searchings for the Original. Germ of being, the soul is led back through all the intricacies, combinations, and changes of material forms, to the vortex of the Divine Mind.
To this point the mind is naturally led by the attractive h^fluence of the existing reality which it seeks to grasp. In gazing on the effects which are visible to the external eye, man can readily conceive of the nature of the cause by which they are produced,—so far at least as to recognize in this cause a source of primary intelligence. By looking at the mechanism of his own mind, he may discover that intelligence is dependent on the refined substance that exists within the brain; and so by