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in a corresponding sense, the Dijeine Mind, being the primary -Essence from which all things were produced, must comprehend in itself the basis of the same substances, and therefore must be controlled in its action by the same principles, which are exhibited in the ultimate fruits of creation.
That this idea may be clearly comprehended, let us briefly view the essentially near relation which already subsists between God and the Universe. The proposition may be stated at the outset, that the Deity lives in the most interior portions of all matter, and that between the divine essence which forms his being arid the surface of material existence, there extend numerous connecting links by which both are united in one perfect whole. To illustrate this proposition, we may suppose that the earth, for instance, is composed of substances which are visible, and others which are invisible—that it is made up of materials which are extremely gross, and essences which are exceedingly refined, and that there is a regular and unbroken chain of connection between all these materials and essences, these being arranged in such a manner as to form a perfect and beautiful gradation from the visible to the invisible, from the gross to the refined, and from the material to the spiritual. Thus from the immeasurable surface of existing matter, the mind may descend into the interior of refined and still refining substance, passing from link to link, from gradation to gradation, down toward the inmost heart of the Universe, within whose hidden and unexplored depths may be found the sanctuary of the Eternal Spirit*. It will be perceived, therefore, •that, by virtue of the unbroken chain of connection which unites external matter with its pervading Soul, a certain unity is established between these two departments of being, which must imply not only a correspondence in their nature, but also in the laws by which both are governed ;—so that, in view of this unity, it appears rational to conclude that Deity acts according to the same method, and by the force of the same general principles, which are exhibited in the movements of outward matter.
But there is another thought to Joe taken in connection with this part of the subject, which will serve to confirm the same conclusion. This thought is that God is a substance—a substance, indeed, infinitely more real than all the fading forms of the material world. The human mind can conceive of light, because the eye can see it; it can likewise conceive of air, because the presence of this element is felt by the senses; and so it can conceive of electricity, because the manifestations of its power are witnessed, and its nature may be judged by its effects. But may there not be essences which are still more refined, and yet quite as real as either of these substances whose effects are perceived by the senses t Reasoning from analogy, we must judge that there are such essences—essences which, though composed of the most refined elements of matter, are yet more enduring and substantial than the unyielding rock. And when the mind has conceived of the existence of these essences, then is it prepared to conceive of the nature of the Divine Spirit, which is an organization of the most refined substance in being. If, then, the Divine Soul be a substance, must it not be subject to the same definite and established principles which govern all other substances, forms, and beings? It does not appear that the degree of sublimation or refine-* ment in any substance, can have the effect to render it independent of law, as we find that electricity, for instance, is con
trolled in its action by laws as fixed and absolute as thSse which belong to air and light; and hence, though it be supposed, as indeed it must be, that Deity is composed of the most highly sublimated and refined matter, it can not be consistently affirmed that He is, on this account, not subject to any settled laws ; but the very fact that He is the germ and essence of all being, plainly shows that he is the primary representative of those principles which are manifested in created forms, such principles being only the outward reflection of what existed inherently in his own nature. There is surely no good reason to believe that any particular substance in the universe may be entirely exempt from law, while all others are subject to it; and when we admit that God is a substance, forming the original basis of all matter, we are forcedHo admit, by parity of reasoning, that He is likewise subject to certain laws—laws which are at least similar to those that govern other substances evolved from his own being.
I am aware that it will be said in opposition to this conclusion, that what are termed the laws of Nature were created by the Deity, He himself being independent of those laws—that the forces and tendencies which are apparent in the external world, are results flowing from the interior movements of the Divine Mind, while that Mind occupies a superior position, and therefore is not affected by influences of this nature. This will be recognized as the prevailing theological idea on this subject. Matter, it is said, is governed by certain established laws, but these laws can not be inherent in matter, because this has no power to move itself; consequently these laws, embracing all the forces and tendencies of Nature, must have been created by the Supreme Mind. But let us examine this reasoning somewhat analytically, and see if there is not a more profound reality than is here brought to view. What are the laws of Nature 1 They are the established tendencies or modes of action which are manifested in all material substances. But whence came these tendencies or modes of action? The answer must be, that they result from the action of the interior essence by which matter is pervaded. Then the query arises, what causes the action of this interior essence? and we can only say that it is the movement of the Creative Spirit. But let us not stop here in our investigation. When we affirm that it is the primary movement of this Spirit which produces the fixed and determinate movement of all Nature, do we not at the same time affirm that it is the regular and unvarying action in the substance of which Deity is composed, which causes a corresponding action in the substance of the outward creation? This correlative fact must be admitted, since matter has no motion but that which is derived from the motion of its animating^ Soul. On the supposition that that Soul should cease to act, the Universe would cease to move, and all the worlds would stop in their starry track, and
"perish as a worm
Upon destruction's path."
But all things are thrilled with the breathing Life, and as the Soul moves, so Creation moves,—the one as the Cause, and the other as the Effect, yet both in harmony. What, then, shall we conclude? Behold the reality which stands upon the ground-work of these premises. The same movements, or modes of action, which occur as effects in the external world, must primarily occur as causes in the substance of the Divine Spirit; and hence it is clear that what are termed the laws of Nature are the laws which originally and eternally govern the Deity himself. The mind takes cognizance of certain settled tendencies in the" visible world, which it calls the laws of Nature; but what are these tendencies but the movements of the unseen Spirit by which the visible world is pervaded? If external matter is subject to regular and systematic action, it is Only because a corresponding action occurs primarily in the being of the producing Cause. It is evident, therefore, that the Deity did not create, and is not independent of, the laws of Nature, in the sense commonly supposed, since these are simply the . outward reflections of what previously existed in his own constitution.
"But," says the theological reader, "this reasoning appears to be pantheistic in its tendencies, and ought, therefore, to be avoided; because in the teachings of the true religion, 'God is God and Nature is Nature,' and the two must not be confounded with each other." By attention to the foregoing deductions, it will be seen that it is not here claimed that God and Nature* are absolutely identical, but simply that there exists a certain correspondence between the two, on which correspondence must depend the unitary and harmonious action which is universally manifested. There is a sense, as explained in a preceding chapter, in which an essential unity exists between these two grand departments of being, since the one is produced from the intrinsic essence of the other; but as to appearance, quality, and degree of refinement, there is a manifest distinction to be noted between God and Nature, and yet it must be borne in mind that this distinction can never be made so broad as to destroy the correspondence that must ever subsist between them as soul and body. It is true, then, that " God is
* Nature in this case is supposed to signify the realm of external matter.