Scientific and Religious Journal.
VOL. I. JULY, 1880. NO. 7.
THE FOUNTAIN OF HAPPINESS.
The source and fullness of created good is the knowledge and enjoyment of God. "Give what thou wilt, without thee we are poor; and with thee rich, take what thou wilt away." The wicked are like a ship's crew at sea, carried by the winds upon unknown waters, without peace or safety until they can renew communications with the shore. A man alienated from his God is without his proper relations, and separated from the fountain of happiness, is like a child unconscious of his father—an orphan, forced along, the sport of accident, with no hope for the future, but darkness that may overshadow his pathway to the tomb. If we were at once deprived of all knowledge of God where would we find hopes for support in the gloomy hours of adversity? What sadness would reign over the world! What black despair! O, what a chasm it would make to strike the Infinite One out of existence! "The angels might retire in silence and weep, or fly through infinite space seeking some token of the Father they had lost. With unbounded grief and despair they might wing their way farther and farther, with their harps all unstrung, and every song silent, and the soul-harrowing words, 'We have no Father, no God, a blind chance rules,' might be all that would break the awful silence of heaven. Let the glorious words once more be heard, 'God reigns, he lives, he reigns,' and what joy would fill the heavens and the earth." The child of sorrow would lift up his head and say, "Our Father who art in heaven." The heavenly songsters would string anew their harps, and send the good news far and wide, "He lives, he reigns, God over all, blessed forever."
"We are not able to estimate the effect it would produce to blot the knowledge of God from the universe. We can not appreciate the state of that mind which labors under the impression that God is retiring. Perhaps we have one momentary example of the sad gloom that takes possession of the man under such circumstances. It is seen in the Savior's dying words, 'My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me?'"
In our nature and condition there are two sources of misery—the mind, or conscience, disturbed by sin, and the body affected by disease and death. Sinful emotions cause disquietude, uneasiness, sorrow and misery, bitterness, recrimination, reciprocated treachery, infuriated rage, malignant and stormy passions; envy, jealousy, suspicion and unlawful desires distract the mind and quench its joys. Who can be happy in such a condition? Disquieted and corrupted affections cause the greater part of the unhappiness or misery of the race. The angels of light could not be happy in such a murky sea. Our great ancestors were doomed to toil in a world of disappointment and sorrow for yielding to such a guide. Haman occupied a high position at the court of Persia, yet he made himself miserable because "Mordecai the Jew sat at the king's gate." And Ahab, on the throne of Israel, "refused to eat bread" because he could not get possession of the vineyard of Naboth. Men can not be happy with such passions reigning in the mind, and yet they are found in almost every bosom, unless it has been purified by the influence of the gospel of Jesus the Christ. The great idols of this world are fame, pleasure and wealth, and the love of these is the strong passion of the heart. But it is the most prolific source of individual, social and public misfortune, the most mischievous, contentious and demoralizing passion. The ambitious, the voluptuous, the rich and the great are not necessarily happy. Alexander wept upon the throne of the world because there was not another world for him to conquer.
In the midst of seminal pleasures and corrupt passions men are always miserable. The influence of the Gospel of Christ is the only remedy for such diseases. It saves men from aggravating selfishness and holds in check their fierce passions until they are extinguished. Virtuous affections are invariably the great sources of human happiness. They are fountains of living waters, which purify the mind and make their possessors happy. They are as rivers of water in a thirsty land.
In the teachings of Christ we learn all that pertains to true happiness, in what it consists and how to obtain it. There we are admonished of mere worldly blessings, because the desire for them is generally so intense that it becomes a source of corruption, and in our successes we often forget our highest interests. The Savior left in the background the commonly received notions of men touching the sources of true happiness. He said: "Blessed are the poor in spirit," referring not to those who are temporally poor. The wicked are poor as well as the righteous. O, how dreadfully miserable are the wicked poor! a miserable life here, followed by a miserable hereafter. Many poor persons are haughty, ungodly, dishonest, profligate and unhappy. Neither does it mean voluntary poverty, or to turn mendicant monks and friars. It means the humble, those who are deeply sensible of their spiritual or mental and moral wants; in other words, those who feel that there is a place in their spiritual nature for the blessings of the Gospel of Christ. It is opposed to self-righteousness. The poor in spirit come to God through Christ, and, putting all their trust in him, submit to the divine will under all the trying dispensations of his providence.
The poor in spirit are always sensible of their need of salvation, but the proud in spirit are "clean in their own eyes." Their goodness is like the morning cloud and the early dew, yet they say, Stand by thyself; I am holier than thou. "Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are the meek. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." What a sublime rebuke to the spirit of this world! It is a grand contrast to the uneasy desires of greedy covetousness; to the disposition of the gay; to the degradation of the impure; to the senseless pleasures of the ambitious, when new fires ignite their hopes only to plunge them into deeper darkness. The Bible's happiest soul is he who has most of its peculiar mind and character. Not on account of earthly riches, for he may be one of the Lord's poor, who, like his blessed Master, has "no place to lay his head." Not because he has sought and obtained honor from men, but because he sought and "seeks the honor which cometh from God only." Not because he has much of this world, but because he is a Christian. He may not have the greatest capacity, but he has a state of mind that prepares him to rightly estimate and enjoy all that is worth enjoying. "To the upright there ariseth light in the darkness." They are wisely guided, comforted and encouraged in the most gloomy wilderness. They are not oppressed with doubts; sorrow does not crush them. Darkness gives place to light, and the seeming evil turns to good. They often sip honey from the most bitter flowers. They yield not to fear, for they believe in God, and are assured, by a thousand contrasts, that "all things work together for good to those who love God." One of the never-failing sources of happiness for which we are under obligations to Jesus the Christ is the mind and character which he requires of us. "A good man shall be satisfied from himself."
"Man was created for an active life. Effort is the true element of a well regulated mind. Undisturbed soil becomes hard and unproductive. Its bosom is shut up against the dews and the rains, and also against the warm rays of the sun. So it is with the mind when it is closed up and deprived of healthy action; this man lives for himself alone, and only the baser passions spring up in his breast. His soul is too narrow for Christian benevolence; sympathy and emotion are disabled and all his nobler faculties languish. Action, from intelligent and benevolent principles, is a great fountain of happiness. Few streams of bliss equal those which flow from charitable exertions. Benevolence and well-doing are great inducements to future exertions, because of the fact that they are their own reward in a thousand different ways. The seed thus sown brings back an hundred fold, and a rich harvest to others, which adds to the abundance of our own happiness. But where shall we go for those principles of action? Shall we search for them in nature? Can reason alone discover them? Are they found in the teachings of philosophy? Are they gathered from observation? Does not our world need Revelation to make known the true aim and end of our being?" Cicero said, "Those who do not agree in stating what is the chief end, or good, must of course differ in the whole system of precepts for the conduct of human life." He also says there was so great a dissention among the philosophers, upon this subject, that it was almost impossible to enumerate their different sentiments. So it came to pass that exertions for benevolent ends were seldom, if ever, put forth by pagans in pagan lands—they knew nothing of the happiness springing from such a source.
Great efforts from great motives are the glory and blessedness of our nature. In the Bible only men have learned what great motives and efforts are. There we find food to sustain them and wisdom to guide them. Nowhere in the pages of infidel philosophy can we find such an injunction as this: "Whether, therefore, ye eat or drink, do all to the glory of God." Where else do we find this Christian maxim: "None of us liveth to himself, and none of us dieth to himself; but whether we live, we live unto the Lord, and whether we die, we die unto the Lord." He or she alone is the happy one who is taught to consider the nature and tendencies of human conduct, and whether it will stand the test before God, and advance the ends of his truth and love in the world; who makes the Lord's will the ends of his or her life and lives to please God and show forth his praise. Such a life is necessarily a happy one, because it is one full of goodness. There is daily joy in such daily activity. No man can be wretched while acting from the principle of communicative goodness. Such are happy whatever their sphere or occupation may be. Their aims are high. Their objects sustain them and their impulses encourage or strengthen them. Their anticipations are joyous and their reflections are tranquil. They look backward with delight and forward with hope. Their conscience approves them. They have not buried their talents. They are not encumberers of the ground.
They live to bless the children of men. When they die they will to them their counsel, their example and prayers. Benevolent habits are a great source of happiness, for which we are indebted to the religion of Christ.
It is vain to attempt to persuade ourselves that human misery does not exist. We can not get away from it by arming ourselves with stoical insensibility. Evils lie all about us; we ourselves are made to feel them. If we open our eyes upon the pages of time we see a continuous series of beings who appear for a short time and then pass away. Their beds are bedewed with tears, and soon the emblems of death are hung about their doors. O, what wonderful scenes lie between the cradle and the grave! What hours of sadness and gloom! Here, in the midst of life, we realize disappointments, losses, painful diseases and heart-rending discouragements, defeated hopes and withered honors. Here are good reasons for the interposition of redeeming love. Does the God who loves us sympathize with us in our woes? We are liable at every step in life to great individual and domestic calamities. No hour can be free from the fear that what we value the most on the earth may be snatched away to-morrow.
Trees and flowers grow to their full stature, fill up their measure of time, and pass away. Beasts and birds are more rarely cut off with disease. Their lives are not embittered with the expectation of death; the knowledge of the past and the present is all they have; they have no knowledge of the morrow; they live contented in their ignorance and indifference, and, at last, sink into the deep, unending night, "being made to be taken and destroyed."
But this is not the history of man. He perishes from the cradle to the tomb—"suffers a hundred deaths in fearing one." He is conscious of the dangers that beset him. He is hedged in on every side. Death is constantly destroying his fondest hopes and causing him the sorest grief. It bursts the ties that bind heart to heart, and the dearest fellowships are severed, and the joys of a blessed life are wrapped in the gloom of death. All there was of earthly bliss in the bygone now makes up his anguish. Is it possible that life and death walk "arm-in-arm?" Yes; even while we are happy in the enjoyment of one, the other comes and casts the fearful mantle over all our earthly prospects. Seal up this blessed volume of life, and I know not from whence the light is to spring which would cheer this gloomy picture. Without this, man would be in a grade of blessedness beneath the brutes that perish. It would be better to be anything than rational without the religion of Jesus Christ and the intelligence of the Bible. The Scriptures inform us that these things have a cause, that they come from God's dealings with his creatures, that the unseen hand which permits these trials is benevolent and wise. Sorrow has its design, and it is neither unkind nor malignant. These things have a moral cause; they are the great rebuke of God for sin. They are also a part of the discipline of a Heavenly Father, designed to co-operate with the Gospel in bringing back all those who are intelligently exercised thereby to their forsaken God.
The antidote for all these ills culminating in death was the tree of life. When man sinned against his God he was put away from the tree of life. If he had remained with it he would have been beyond the reach of the motive of life, and beyond the restraining power of the fear of death. He would have lived forever, subject, like fallen angels, to mental suffering during the ages to come. But being placed beyond the reach of the tree of life he may be redeemed by the love of life to a higher state. When the rebellious see and realize this great truth, being exercised by the chastening hand of God, they are often subdued to submission, to peace, and under the heaviest calamities they often look upward and say, "It is the Lord, let his will be done." And this, of itself, is a source of unbounded bliss.
We often submit to present pain when counseled to do so by those in whose wisdom and goodness we trust. As Christians we extend this principle to all the sufferings of this life. Doing so, we have that feeling of quiet submission growing out of permanent confidence in God which supports us under all the trials to which we have been subjected by an all-wise Father. This principle is wonderfully fruitful in consolations to the bereaved and mourning—it is the joy of all Christian hearts. "The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice." What shall we say of the hopes and prospects of bereaved souls? Is it blind conjecture that there is an existence beyond the shadows? Is there no life to come? No great resurrection? No comforter to arrest the current of mourning and lamentation?
How natural it is, when reminded of our loss, to exclaim, Shall we not meet them again? Is this parting to last forever? Is there a God? Has he not answered this agonizing inquiry? When we sit down upon the brink of those waters which have swallowed up our living treasures and weep and call upon the waves of eternity to give back our dear ones, when, from the shores of time, we look and gaze and listen, does no voice reach us? Yes! To the ear of faith there is a voice. It is the voice of our God. We listen. The words come ringing in our hearts, "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him." Our grief is allayed. We believe and are comforted. We look forward to a happy meeting. A reunion for eternity hovers before us like a bright star, lights up our pathway, and leads us forward in a living hope.
Nowhere in the Bible is human sorrow clothed with cold indifference. The counsels of that book and its promises are so adapted to the sorrowing that those who have passed through the furnace of affliction know best their value. There is no such relief from sorrow found away from the faith of God and the Bible.
There is an hour when we ourselves must die? Shall we trifle with the will of God till then? Can we trifle with death when it comes? "The sting of death is sin." Death never fails to bring along with it a keen sense of guilt to the guilty unless they are cut off in a moment, and then who knows the anguish that may be experienced just beyond? What is there to soothe the sorrow of the dying sinner?—of that wicked soul who never obeyed his God nor did anything to make the world better for his existence? Let none of us live at a distance from our God. Let none of us approach death without the necessary preparation for mutual association with him. Let none of us bear the burden of a guilty conscience in that hour. May none of us be so cruel as to leave the hearts that love us in doubt respecting our condition in death. May we never tread its dark waters without the light of the glorious promises and facts of the religion of Jesus the Christ. Let us keep our souls pure in obeying the truth through the Spirit. Let us live with and obey God, do good and be happy.
INDEBTEDNESS TO REVELATION—No. II.
BY P. T. RUSSELL.
Thought, Thinkers, Things—realities with their qualities or attributes. These are all connected. If the first and second are present the others are not far away. We only think when we perceive, and only perceive realities. Nonentities are not perceivable, and therefore not thinkable. Thoughts may be, and are, transferable from one to another by words, or signs equivalent to words, yet we are only able to impart to another ideas already in our possession.
We have no thoughts of our own but those which are the result of our perceiving. We have no thought of color without the eye, nor of sound without the ear, etc. Now, if we have in our possession thoughts of persons or things beyond the reach of our powers of observation, i.e., beyond the reach of the five senses—seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and smelling—then those thoughts can not be ours; we could not be the first to think them; they were too high for us; they were out of our reach. Who, then, could and did reach them and give them to us? This ought to be the question of questions with us. Thoughts of foreign countries have been given to us by the men who have seen those countries. But they could only give us ideas of what they had seen or others had told them. A man visiting England only could give us no thought of Russia, unless instructed by some one who has seen that land; then, and not till then, could he give us thoughts of Russia. I am now ready for the statement of this proposition, viz: The following trio of thoughts are beyond our reach. They are not our thoughts; we did not think them, but we have them; then, some being who could see higher and look farther than we must have given them to us. Those thoughts are the following: First, the existence of God; second, the use of words; third, the origin of religion. These I will examine in the order given above.
THE EXISTENCE OF GOD.
Whence came the idea? This is now the question. In answering it I shall assume no ground but that which all parties say is true. The Christian, the Deist and Atheist will admit that we have learned all we know, and that we have learned only through the aid of the five senses: seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and smelling are the porters of the mind. One or another of these bring to the mind every thought that it receives. We obtain thoughts of odor only by the sense of smell; of flavor only by the taste; of color by the eye alone. In these matters we have no intuition. We brought no ideas into the world with us. In all these things we are creatures of education. Simple or single ideas, like simple words, represent simple thoughts or realities, and compound ideas represent compound thoughts or realities. Therefore it follows that every thought comes from a corresponding reality. To deny this is equal to the affirmation that we can clearly see objects in a vacuum, that we can see something where there is nothing.
Having stated premises in which all are agreed, I now state my first proposition:
THERE IS A TRUE AND LIVING GOD.
In sustaining this proposition I shall introduce no witnesses but those whose perfect reliability is vouched for by the Atheist himself; so we shall have no dispute concerning the credibility and perfect reliability of witnesses. For the Atheist, claiming to be a votary of reason, as well as a boasted free and fearless thinker, certainly can not impeach the testimony of his own mind. And, being a free and fearless thinker, he will not try to conceal or prevent the witness, when on the stand, from telling the whole truth. I am now ready for the evidence.
The scene changes; Christian is alone in his studio, and a rap is heard at the door. It is opened, and Mr. Atheist is invited to enter, and being seated, Christian addresses him thus:
Mr. Atheist, I am glad you have called, and if you have the leisure time and are perfectly free to do so, I would like to talk with you on the evidence of the existence of God.
Atheist—I am not only willing, but as anxious as you can be to examine this question.
Christian—Very well. I suppose you have examined the evidence in the premises, and from all the testimony, carefully analyzed, made your decision.
Atheist—You do me justice in thus supposing, for I claim to be a reasonable being, and to follow fearlessly the lamp of reason; and, doing this on scientific and philosophic principles, I have become satisfied that there is no God.
Christian—Will you allow me to state my analysis of the mind and ask you if it is correct?
Atheist—You, Mr. C., are approaching from a singular yet a pleasing stand-point; will you please give me your analysis? If it is good, I will say so; if defective, I will point out its errors.
Christian—It is this: The mind of man may be divided into ten parts or powers; five external, or the five senses; and five internal. The external I need not name. The internal may be presented thus: First, perception; second, reflection; third, memory; fourth, reason; fifth, judgment, or decision; each of these entirely dependent upon its immediate predecessor for support and action. We can not judge of that upon which we have not reasoned, nor reason where we have not remembered, nor remember that of which we have not first thought; neither can we think of that which we have not perceived, nor perceive without the action of some one of the five senses.
Atheist—I admire your analysis—it is scientific; but, Mr. C., I should not think that you, with your present belief in the existence of God, would adopt this system of mental philosophy.
Atheist—Did you ever see a God?
Christian—If you please, I will test the question with you, and, in order to do so, I will personify these powers. I will suppose them to represent ten men, all of whom are Atheists, and we will rely upon their testimony.
Atheist—That is an honorable offer; I will accept it most cordially.
Christian—Then, we are to consider the powers of the mind as so many men, and hear their testimony?
Christian—Will you examine the witnesses?
Atheist—You would more properly do that; I wish to hear you.
Christian—Very well; I will, then, call on Mr. Judgment, and ask, Have you given a decision on the question of the existence of God, and if so, what is your decision?
Judgment—There is no such being.
Christian—Tell us whether you created the idea of a God, or brought it into the world with you, and how you obtained the material from which you manufactured your verdict?
Judgment—"Did I bring the idea into the world with me, or create it?" What a question! Had anybody but a Christian asked it I would have thought it an insult; but, then, Christians are never thinkers. You ought to have known that the thought could not have been created by me. To say I created it would be an endorsement of your foolish idea that something was made of nothing. I have no creative power, much less the power to make something out of nothing; neither did I bring it into the world with me. We have no innate ideas.
Christian—Then where did you get the material from which you made your decision that there is no God?
Judgment—"Where!" I have but one porter, Mr. Reason. He gives all the material upon which I ever act. If you doubt this try and judge of anything upon which you have never reasoned. If you can not do this you must agree with me that judgment can only act and decide by the aid of reason.
Christian—Your argument is conclusive. Now, as you have decided that there is no God, and also claim that your only aid, Mr. Reason, gave you the material out of which you made your decision, will you call him and allow me to ask him a few questions?
Judgment—Most willingly. We all are free thinkers, and delight in investigation. Brother Reason, please call in; Christian is here and wishes a little information of you.
Reason—Mr. Christian, Brother Judgment informs me that you wish some information from me. Please state your question.
Christian—Did you present the idea of the existence of God to your brother Judgment, and if so, where and how did you come by it?
Reason—I received it from Brother Memory, and opened it out and held it up so that Brother Judgment could scan it thoroughly, and he decided there was no such being, and I agree with him.
Christian—Will you call Memory, that I may learn where and how he obtained the idea? (Memory enters.)
Christian—Mr. Memory, are you an Atheist, and did you give Reason the idea of a God? If you did, how did you get it? Did you bring it into the world with you?
Memory—"Bring it into the world with me." What an absurd question! I never had an idea only as it was given me by Brother Reflection. If you doubt this, try and remember something you have never thought of, or think of something you never perceived. This, then, is the truth: Reflection received the idea from Perception and gave it to you, and you gave it to Memory, and he held it up to the eye of Reason, who, with your aid, spread it out before the mind of your brother Judgment, and he gave the decision, that there is no God; so we are all Atheists. Have you any more questions?
Christian—Yes, one more at least; I wish now to know how your brother Perception obtained the idea of a God—will you tell me, or call him?
Memory—Oh, I can tell you; he has five porters who bring him all he ever gets, and they, with us, are all Atheists. But one or another of these must have brought him the idea.
Christian—Will you ask them which one gave it to your brother Perception?
Memory—You, for some reason, are very particular. I will, however, to gratify you, call them, or at least some of them. Brother Eye, Christian wishes to know if you gave the idea of a God to Mr. Perception?
Eye—What a foolish question! You, an Atheist, ask me, another Atheist, if I have ever seen a living God where there is none to look at—you have let Christian lead you out until he has almost drawn from you the proof that David told the truth about us when he called all Atheists fools. I have seen all visible things, but nothing is too small a mark for me to discover!
Christian—Mr. Eye, don't be in a hurry; just let me ask, do Free Thinkers get scared and refuse to think?
Eye—I will leave you now, and tell the other porters what a fix your philosophy has led us into.
Christian—Good-bye; I will call one month hence and hear your conclusion.
DO WE NEED THE BIBLE?
The only creed consistent with the rejection of the Gospel of Christ is an eternal tomb, with the heart-shivering inscription, "Death is an eternal sleep." Americans who reject the Scriptures are as uncertain about the future as the poor heathen of other lands. Some of our unbelievers have gathered the information from heathen oracles that the future consists in being a poor, empty, shivering, table-rapping spirit, flying to and fro over the country in response to the sigh of some silly waiting-girl, or at the bidding of some brazen-faced, unscrupulous "free lover." And this, "O, ye gods!" is all that ever shall be of the noblest spirits that ever left human flesh! Others, to gain rest from this horrible and unsatisfying fate, fly to the theory of everlasting silence, as a result of the idea that mind is simply brain action, and ceases to exist when the brain ceases to act. Their appropriate motto is, "Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die." It has been said that even this brute philosophy is reasonable compared with the dogma of a large portion of unbelievers, to wit., that blasphemers, thieves, profane swearers, murderers and adulterers, will all go straight to heaven when they die; that men with their hearts steeped in blood will sit down with Abraham and Isaac in the kingdom of God. But Spiritualists, Pantheists, Atheists, and Deists inform us that an external revelation is useless. Their common exposition of the sentiment is too well known to need comment. We hear them saying, "You need say nothing about the Bible to me; I know my duty well enough without it; and as for miracles, they will never prove anything to me. Can thunder, repeated daily through centuries, make God's laws and his wisdom and goodness more God-like? No! I am grown, perchance, to manhood, and do not need the thunder and terror. I am not to be scared. It is not fear, but reverence, that shall lead me! Revelation! Inspiration! And thy own God-like spirit; is not that a revelation?" See Carlyle's "Past and Present," page 307.
Now, if Mr. Carlyle was in no need of the fear of God, somebody else may be in a different mental and moral condition. There is nothing in which men differ more. If one man is above the weakness of fearing God (?) all men are not. Say what we may of fear, it is nevertheless true that we are greatly influenced by fear. We are greatly indebted to the fear of sickness for health, to the fear of poverty for wealth, and to the fear of death for life. Fear is to caution what knowledge is to a wise choice. Where there is no fear there is no caution. The love of life and bliss is natural, therefore we fear sickness, poverty and death. Why say with your lips, "I am above fear," while away down in your heart you know it to be a lie?
Love and fear, like the Siamese twins, live and perish together. Do we not need "revelation?" Where is the shadow, and where is the sunshine? May we not contrast them? The very wisest of heathen legislators approved of vice in some of its most heinous forms. The Carthaginian law required human sacrifices. When Agathoclas besieged Carthage two hundred children of the most noted families were put to death by command of the Senate, and three hundred citizens sacrificed themselves to Saturn. See Diodorus Siculus, b. 20, ch. 14. The laws of Sparta required theft and the death of unhealthy children. The laws of Rome allowed parents to kill their child, if they pleased to do it. At the headquarters of heathen literature it was recommended that maimed infants should be killed or exposed to death. Aristotle's Political Library, 7, chapter 17. In Plato's Republic we discover an advance of society, but a community of wives continues, and what was termed woman's rights was maintained upon the condition that the women were trained to war. In war times the children were led out to look upon the struggle, and become accustomed and hardened to blood. The teachings of the best minds were immoral. "He may lie," says Plato, "who knows how to do it." Profane swearing was enjoined by the example of their best writers. Oaths are of common occurrence in the writings of Seneca and Plato. Aristippus taught that adultery and theft were commendable in a wise man, and Cicero plead for the last dreadful tragedy—suicide. Such immoralities are eulogised in the writings of Virgil, Horace and Ovid. When Rome was in her glory and greatness, Trajan had ten thousand men to hew each other to pieces to amuse the Romans. In the face of all these facts, modern Spiritualists advance along with Deists, Atheists and Pantheists, and gravely inform us that we have no need of any external revelation—that men are wise enough without it.
They argue, that as we have physical senses to take hold of earth's material blessings and appropriate them; so we have intellectual faculties to take hold of all else that is necessary to supply our mental and moral wants. It is most certainly true that we have physical senses and intellectual faculties. I can not tell how it is with all the infidels of our country, but I do know persons having physical senses who are in great need of some of the substantials of life. I have also known persons who have destroyed their physical senses to such an extent as to be miserable objects of pity and compassion, needing some external help as well an internal. Now, if, in spite of physical senses, men and women do starve in this world on account of want, it is certainly allowable that persons may fail of the enjoyment of needed mental and moral culture in spite of intellectual faculties. And if it is a matter of charity for men to put forth their hands and assist their fellow men when they are in want of material blessings, surely it is a matter of love, the love of God, to present to weary, burthened souls mental and spiritual blessings which correlate with man's spiritual wants. Do you deny the existence of such wants?
Tyndal said there is a place in man's soul-nature for religion. This fact is acknowledged by all leading writers in unbelief. He who calls it in question experiences the fact. Why say it is not true against the testimony of your own conscience?
"Tell me," said a rich Hindoo who had given all his wealth to the Brahmans surrounding his dying bed that they might obtain pardon for his sins, "tell me what will become of my soul when I die?" "Your soul will go into the body of a holy cow." "And after that?" "It will pass into the body of a divine peacock." "And after that?" "It will pass into a flower." "Tell me, oh! tell me," cried the dying man, "where will it go last of all?" "Where will it go last of all? Aye, that is the question reason can not answer," said the poor Brahmans.
Where there is no vision the people perish. "Life and immortality was brought to light through the Gospel." Without a revelation from God, men know neither how to live or die. Our ancestors trusted to the powers of magic, to incantations, for health, for success in tilling the ground, for finding lost articles, for preventing accidents, etc. They superstitiously regarded certain days of the week. If an infant was born upon a certain day it would live; if upon another it would live, but be sickly.
Do you unceremoniously reject the Gospel of the Christ? "Yes," you say, "if it depends on Jesus it is not eternally true, and therefore is not true at all." But, I ask in all candor, is eternally true and sufficiently revealed one and the same? Are we under no obligations to the man who first informed us of vaccination as a preventive of small-pox, simply because it would always have prevented it? Are we under no obligations to men on account of scientific discoveries, just because the truths discovered are eternal truths? Nonsense! You know it is nonsense. Then we may be under lasting obligations to the Christ for the revelation of the Gospel, with its sublime precepts and principles, consolations and promises, which fill up the human spirit with undying love and the hope of eternal glory.
Let parents look well to this question. Let infidels set themselves to work and get up some law of man capable of regenerating the hearts of those men who, at their bidding, renounce the law of God and his authority, and also with it all human authority. Will they do it? Can they do it? Oh! There are no means outside of the sanctions of religion by which the heart may be reached and purified from the love and practice of sin.
What right, says the Pantheist, the Atheist, the Deist, and Spiritualist, have you to command me?
The rejectors of the Bible made an experiment, an attempt, in trying to govern France without religion. Shall the scenes of Paris and Lyons be repeated, re-enacted in our own beloved America? No, we don't want it, and we do not think we shall experience it, for the framers of our Declaration of Independence laid the rights of God in the bed-rock of our republic, believing that the rights of God are the basis of human rights. "All men are born free and equal, and are endowed by their CREATOR WITH CERTAIN INALIENABLE RIGHTS, AMONG WHICH IS LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS, ETC."
Nations destitute of the Bible ever were, and are, ignorant and wicked. There are peoples in the world decently clad, well fed, and living in comfortable mansions, with well tilled lands, who make powerful streams turn powerful wheels and run great machinery; who yoke the iron horse to the market train and drive their floating palaces against the floods; who erect churches in every village, and make their children more learned than the priests of Egypt, or the philosophers of Greece; even many of their criminals are more decent and upright than were the sages, philosophers and heroes of lands destitute of the Bible. These peoples have that wonderful book; and they claim that it contains a revelation from God to man; and that it teaches us how to live, and how to die.
"EVERY TREE IS KNOWN BY ITS OWN FRUITS."
* * * * *
"The fool hath said in his heart there is no God." He claims, however, that something without life or intelligence produced organic nature. That BLIND, DEAD, SOMETHING IS THE FOOL'S GOD.
THE WAY INFIDELS TREAT THE LANGUAGE OF THE BIBLE.
The unreasonableness and unfairness of infidels, or otherwise their ignorance, is manifested in their unwillingness to interpret the literature of religion as they do the language of the sciences. In scientific literature we speak of the earth as a sphere, and infidels never think of objecting that it is "pitted with hollows deep as ocean's bottom," and "crusted with protuberances high as the Himalaya," in every imaginable form. "There is not an acre of absolutely level ground" known on the face of the earth, and yet when we speak of land, saying it is level, no infidel demurs. The waters pile themselves in waves and dash in breakers, yet we say, "Level as the ocean," and none object.
The smallest formations present the same regular irregularities of form. Crystals approach the nearest to mathematical figures, but they break with compound irregular fractures at their bases of attachment. Nature gives no perfect mathematical figures; they only approximate mathematical perfection. Infidels do not trouble themselves with science on this account. "The utter absence of any regularity or assimilation to the spheroidal figure, either in meridianal, equatorial or parallel lines, mountain ranges, sea beaches or courses of rivers, is fatal to mathematical accuracy in the more extended measurements. It is only by taking the mean of a great many measurements that an approximate accuracy can be obtained. Where this is not possible, as in the measurement of high mountains, the truth remains undetermined by hundreds of feet; or as in the case of the earth's spheroidal axis, Bessel's measurement differs from Newton's by fully eleven miles." See Humboldt's Cosmos, vol. 1, p. 7, 156. "The smaller measures are proportionally inaccurate." All these irregularities and imperfections in science are overlooked, considered not in the least objections to the use of language which would, upon the most rigid application, cut them out as fables on the one hand or destroy science upon the other; but no sensible man thinks of either as a matter allowable.
On the other side, Infidels are "eternally" mouthing about irregularities in the lives of the ancient men of the Bible, which are exceptions to the general rule, just as though religious persons could live lives of absolute perfection. The language, also, of the Bible, which, like the language of science, takes no notice of irregularities that must be expected in the lives of the very best men upon the earth, is by them abused. For instance, "Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect," is construed to mean that God is a man God, clothed with human imperfections, or, otherwise, man is imperatively required to be absolutely perfect. All such abuse of language is contemptible. Many other examples might be adduced—such as the irregularities in the words employed by the witnesses of the resurrection of Christ, which do not affect the evidence of the fact to be established in the least degree, and which are just such irregularities as are witnessed in evidence given in court rooms almost daily, and passed without so much as being noticed. For example, one witness says Mary Magdalene "came very early to the sepulchre," and another says she came "about sunrise." If all Christians were to treat the literature of science, and science itself, as these would-be wise Infidels treat the literature of religion, and religion itself, it would be surprising to run over the absurdities as well as irregularities of scientific history. There are irregularities in nature, and their name is legion; they all belong to that wonderfully boasted harmony of nature so much talked of in our day. As for the mistakes made in religion since the days of the apostles of the Christ, they are many; but what have they to do with the genuine?
How many mistakes have scientists made in the same period of time? I shall not try to ape the infidel, but I must be permitted to call attention to a few of the many scientific blunders.
Perhaps the greatest blunder of the present day, upon the part of scientists, is their attempt to bring into disrepute the cosmogony given in the Bible by a scientific cosmogony, which leaves off as "unknown" the only active world-forming force. They arrogantly assume to be acquainted with the entire history of our planet from the atoms to the globe. Yet they acknowledge that the "force which was and is in operation was and is unknown; that unknown force had its influence in framing the world," and its omission is always fatal to the theory which knows nothing about it or neglects it. There are laws also far-reaching, whose omission must be equally fatal.
Infidels, being sensible of this truth, have endeavored to simplify matters to the level of our ignorance, by reducing all primordial elements to one, or at most two, simple elements, and all forces to the form of one universal and irrational law; but the progress of science utterly blasts the effort. No scientific man now dreams of one primordial element. Chemistry reveals a great many different elements, which can not be reduced or changed from their simple forms, much less identified as one and the self-same "substance." The idea of "one substance" only is a very great error, which grew out of an abuse of language in confounding the two words, matter and substance. The latter word is equally applicable to matter, or spirit, but the former always contrasts with spirit; so to confound the two is to ignore a distinction upon which everything depends in any, except the materialistic, philosophy. When the term substance is used in the currency of the term matter it admits of the plural form as well as the singular. Indeed, all the primordial elements known in chemistry are known as so many different substances. It is unscientific and absurd to confound all these elements by claiming the one-substance theory. It has been called "the hog philosophy," on account of its swallowing down so many different substances in the single form of the word.
"Eighty theories, hostile to Christianity, developed in the course of forty or fifty years, were brought before the Institute of France in 1806, all of which are repudiated"—dead. It is useless to go further into details. Science has been as much abused as religion. What benefit would accrue to the human family from an effort upon our part to bring to the foreground all the blunders made in scientific researches which are to-day numbered with the old effete errors in religion? And where is the propriety of infidels making a set of asses of themselves by playing upon the little irregularities of language and character in religion, as they themselves allow no man to do in science and morality.
"EQUAL HANDED JUSTICE" TO ALL, IS OUR MOTTO.
GEOLOGY IN ITS STRUGGLES AND GROWTH AS A SCIENCE.
The science of Geology in its early history is like all other sciences, an infant. It was not a Hercules at its birth. On the contrary, it was childlike and rather crooked in many of its ways; but chastisement and criticism have brought it very far toward real manhood. Its early nurses were standing continually on the dark line separating the comprehensible from the incomprehensible, without any guides. They were out upon an unexplored sea in the mere twilight of the morning. They were opposed at every step by the combative tendencies of human nature, which are ever seeking too much for their own gratification to admit any strange, startling propositions as intruders among old and long cherished ideas. In its history it appears before us, first as an enemy to religion, and then as an unobjectionable science, a neutral. But since the publication of "The Footprints of the Creator," by the lamented Hugh Miller, it appears in front as a fast friend and abettor. And now, since it has approached so near to its manhood, we do not see how we did without its aid so long. Its first grand position touching the immense masses of the rock formations as results of second causes, in operation away back yonder before organic life appeared upon our planet, was looked upon by intelligent Biblical scholars of those times with suspicion, as a system at variance with the records of the Bible. This, along with difference of sentiment among its friends, has been the means of a very rapid growth towards perfection. Curiosity was aroused and observations multiplied, errors corrected and the untenable removed, until the science now stands before us with its bases settled in unquestionable facts. Let us all learn from this circumstance the bearings of the times in which we live, for a double process of elimination is now going on under the providence of God, by means of which both Christianity and science will have more beauty and strength of manhood to command the respect of our children.
Geology is exercising a wonderful influence on the side of religion in the minds of those who are acquainted with its facts. In the hands of Miller it gives a very decisive answer against the evolution hypothesis, which is by no means a new speculation. It was, in its general form, a very prominent doctrine of the Epicurean philosophy. "The author of the 'Vestiges,' with Professor Oken, regarded the experiment of the formation of cells in albumen by electric currents as the leading fact of the system." They claimed that currents of electricity in the earth's surface generated and vitalized the cells, and that all organic life thus originated. There is nothing to save this speculation, when it is undressed, from contempt. "The only patronage it ever received grew out of the fact that there is a species of superstition which causes people to take upon credit whatever assumes the name of science, and is opposed to the old superstition of faith in witches and ghosts." With this speculation before us, seemingly plausible, yet false, being fraught with error, we are reminded of the fact that it has been eagerly embraced by many who seem to think that it has a firm foundation in the science of Geology, which they regard as presenting the order in which created beings appeared. The author of the "Vestiges" claims that the first step in the creation of life upon our earth was a chemico-electric operation, forming simple germinal vesicles. Page 155.
This is an item wholly unknown in the geological record and lies before the beginning of any kind of similitude alluded to in this article. "The idea which I form of the progress of organic life upon our earth," says the author of the Vestiges, "is that the simplest and most primitive type gave birth to the type next above it, and this again produced the next higher, and so on to the very highest." Page 170.
On account of the mere similitude existing between the doctrine of progressive creation, as it is set forth in the geological record, and the idea of progressive evolutions, as claimed by the advocates of the speculation, we deem it our duty to scrutinize severely the teachings of geology. But in doing this we do not concede that there is no other ground upon which such authors may be successfully met. There is no one point in their system which is not hypothetical. It is a system of ifs. There is no proof, in any single instance, that a higher has been developed from a lower species; but the question, in proper shape, is this: Has there been a succession of improvements from one geological period to another in the several divisions of the animal and vegetable kingdoms amounting to a change of species? Species are very similar in structure and capable of some improvement, but this is no evidence of the higher being developed from the lower. It is well known that the lowest forms are those found lowest in the geological series. Commencing at the bottom and running up we find, first, mollusks, then fishes, reptiles, birds, quadrupeds, monkeys, and at last man. But this does not, by any means, settle the issue. The question naturally arises whether one of those divisions, on its first appearance, was of the lowest organization of its class and reached the highest by a gradual development through successive geological periods. The geological testimony is this: First, there were no animals having any structural resemblance to the fishes prior to their creation, and when they appear they are already in possession of the highest organization and the largest cerebral development.
During the long periods of geological history there has been no advance in this class of animals. The science testifies to no successive steps here. "They stood at the head of the icthyic division at the outset; but there has been, during these periods, a progressive degeneracy, so that though all possessed a high organization at first, there is found in the after creations a succession of lapses until the division of fishes now contains species ranking little above the earth-worm." "A single well defined placoid fossil in the Bala limestone as fully proves the existence of placoid fishes, during the period of its deposition, as if the rock were made up of placoid fossils, for it is not a question of numbers, but of rank." The question, now, comes home to us with all its force, how did fishes of this high order come to exist before any of the inferior class? Let some of our evolution savans answer.
The same thing may be said of other organic divisions. It has gone to record that the shell-fish of the Silurian system are the lowest division of the molluscous animals. While the statement is received as true, it must be remembered that there is some diversity of structure in this lower division, and that the earliest molluscs are not the lowest, but the highest in the division. The most important point, however, is, that while Brachiopoda were most abundant, the highest molluscs existed also, their remains being found in the Bala limestone, which is the lowest bed of molluscous fossils. (See Silurian System, p. 308.) The number of these higher species is not important. They existed, few or many, as early as any other of the mollusca. If the lower had not an anterior existence, the higher were not developed from them. It is also a conclusive argument against the system, that while the intermediate mollusca are very numerous, the cephalopoda, which were so early introduced, and are the higher forms that were so numerous at certain times, are now narrowed down to a few species.
Lyell was the first to drop a word of caution against "inferring too hastily from the absence of mammalian fossils in the older rocks that the higher class of vertebrata did not exist in those remote times." "The remains of vertebrate animals are already found in the lowest fossiliferous rocks, and, in addition to that, the highest forms of each class appear first."
There is nothing so well evinced in all the realms of scientific investigation as the utter impossibility of getting, by the light of nature, away from the idea of the Christian's God. Everywhere we trace his footsteps. Traveling through the ages to the beginning, in thought, our first view is that of "an unlimited expanse of unoccupied space," or, if aught exists, it lies hidden in the invisible state. But all at once, as if by magic, and in obedience to the will of the Eternal Intelligence, the invisible becomes visible, worlds exist and become obedient to law. The divine perfections are to be displayed through future ages. And now, if we look out upon the surging billows of the ocean, our mind swells with the thought that God is there in all his majesty. With our thoughts confined to our earth we pass from age to age tracing the divine power from the laws of motion to chemical action and crystallization, until we behold a wonderful change upon the face of nature. And now, for the first time, a new principle is manifested, a new order springs into being—it is vegetable life and being in all its lovely grandeur. It matters not to us whether it came about gradually or all at once, for wisdom is there. All nature seems to turn to this new principle. "The elements of the inorganic world are subserving the purposes of organic life." The Creator has bound them to organic life. Every plant selects its food from the elements of earth by a chemistry of its own. The atmosphere around us is no less to the vegetable kingdom than a great pasture field. Every leaf is feasting, and every fiber is touched by the light. What wonderful correlations meet us at every turn! What adaptation of means to ends! Above all the beauty and grandeur of the vegetable kingdom we find the glorious animal, with man at the head, as lord over all below him. With man the moral government of God begins; physical creation is over. The subsequent manifestations of the divine glory are to be realized in the training and discipline of men and women as moral beings; and their mutual association with him, in the eternal world, is the ultimate.
PANTHEISM IS DECEPTION AND HYPOCRISY.
"Understand, ye brutish among the people; and ye fools, when will ye be wise? He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see? He that chastiseth the heathen, shall he be not correct? He that teacheth man knowledge, shall he not know?"—Psalm xciv, 8, 9.
Pantheism, personified, is a hypocrite, a deceiver. The name God, as a proper name in the English language, means the Divine Being, Jehovah, the Eternal and Infinite Spirit, the Creator and Lord of the universe. Pantheists say they believe in God, but they tell you, when pressed, they mean by that name "everything"—God is everything. The term "Pantheist" is from pan, all, and theos, God. Webster defines the term thus: "One that believes the universe to be God; a name given to the followers of Spinoza."
Has any man the right to pervert language, fixing new meanings to words in common use which are in direct opposition to established usage? The man who knows the meaning of a word and uses it in a contrary sense is guilty of an abuse of language; and if he fails to make known the fact that he is using the term in a sense differing from established usage, he is, then, a deceiver. Pantheists are simply Atheists in disguise, the only difference being in their professions. The Pantheist says, "I believe in a God;" but this saying is only a distinction without a difference. The atheist is the frank, outspoken man of the two.
What must we think of the man who says, "I believe in God," and then explains himself to mean, by the name God, heat, steam, electricity, force, animal life, the soul of man, magnetism, mesmeric force, and, in one word, the sum of all the intelligences and forces in the universe, at the same time denying the proper currency of the term God by denying the existence of a personal God. All Christians should demand that Christian terms be used in their own proper currency. But infidels will always do as they have hitherto, will often get out of their own "ruts," by the most perfect abuse of language. They can not, it seems, leave off the use of language which is only appropriate to the Christian idea. Their divinity, by their own confession, differs essentially from God, and let them use a different word to describe it. Let them do like their heathen brethren in India, call it Brahma, or whatever else they please, and cease "stealing Heaven's livery to serve the devil." Let them cease to profane religion and offend common sense by giving the name of the glorious Father of Spirits to their million-headed nondescript. Pantheism dethrones Jehovah and places no other intelligence in his place as Creator and Ruler of the universe; and, being conscious of the odium that necessarily attaches itself to Atheism, on account of its everlasting foolishness, they steal the name of God to cloak their Atheism.
Pantheism is demoralizing. It cuts a man loose from all the sanctions of moral law, by denying the resurrection, the judgment and the future retribution. It annihilates from the mind of its votary the idea of God's moral government. If man, as it avows, be the highest intelligence in the universe of worlds, to whom will he render an account? Who will call upon him to answer? If men and women are simply developments of God, will God be offended with himself? "Evil is good," we are told, "in another way, we are not skilled in." See the author of "Representative Men," Festus, page 48. "Evil" was held by some of the old heathen philosophers to be "good in the making." They argued that it was the carrion in the sunshine, converting into grass and flower. And then, to apply their figure, man in the brothel, jail, or on gibbets, is in the way to all that is lovely and true. Such reminds us of the ravings of lunatics. It is the climax of profanation of the moral government of God. Let those who fear no God, but have wives and children and property to lose, reflect upon the propriety of lending their influence to a system fraught with such consequences. The system positively denies the distinction between good and evil. It declares that we can not sin; that we are God, and God can not offend against himself; that sin is all simply an old lie; that impiety, immorality and vice of frightful mien are wedded in eternal decrees, and that man can not sever them.
Pantheism is veiled Atheism. It is not necessary to argue this proposition at length. Pantheists often speak of the great being, which, according to Pantheism, is composed of all the intelligences of the universe. Can any man conceive of such a being? Can intelligences be piled one upon another, like brick and mortar, and thus be compounded? And if my spirit be the highest intelligence in the universe, did it create itself? Does it govern itself? Did it create the universe? Does it govern it? Some Pantheists have gone to this length! M. Comte says: "At this present time, for minds properly familiarized with true astronomical philosophy, the heavens display no other glory than that of Hipparchus, or Kepler, or Newton, and of all who have helped to establish these laws." "Establish these laws!" They were laws governing the planets thousands of years before these astronomers were born.
Pantheists often express very high respect for the Christian religion. Some of the more vulgar sort, however, speak of it as a superstition. But the wiser ones have reached the perfection of Jesuitism, that is to say, they indulge in hypocrisy and deception to effect a purpose. They grant that the Christian religion is the highest development of humanity yet attained by a majority of the race. The heathen of every grade of character, and the Christian, with all others who may not be classified by us with either, are all, in their scheme, so many successive developments of humanity. It is a trick of their trade to clothe their abominations in Bible language by wresting the Scriptures. They speak of the "beauty of holiness in the mind, that surmounted every idea of a personal God;" and of "God dwelling in us, and his love perfected in us," when they maintain that he dwells in every creature and thing. They say they can accept the Bible—that is their phrase—notwithstanding it pronounces death upon the fools who, "professing to be wise, change the truth of God into a lie, and worship and serve the creature more than the Creator," as a mystic revelation of the Pantheism which leaves us to "erect everything into a God," provided it is none, inasmuch as "every product of the human mind is a development of Deity." So the Bible, in the conclusion of their system, is on a level with Thomas Paine's writings as respects inspiration and origin. The great Pantheistic divinity is spoken of by Pantheists as the great soul of the universe, while the more materialistic look upon it as the universe itself, body and soul. With them the soul is the fountain of all the imponderable forces, vegetable and animal life, the mesmeric influences, galvanism, magnetism, electricity, light and heat; and the body the sum of all the ponderable substances; in one word, "God is everything, and everything is God." This system is called "Monotheistic Pantheism." It is a vast generalization of everything into a higher unity, which exalts men and paving stones, and cats, dogs and reptiles, and monkeys, to the same level of God-head, or divinity. Man, the soul of men, as the system would term it, is the greatest manifestation of the divine essence. Yes! DIVINE ESSENCE! for, with Pantheists, there is no personal hereafter. This system of Pantheism is an old, worn-out theory; it has putrefied and rotted with the worshippers of cats, monkeys, and holy cows and bulls, and pieces of sticks and stones on the Ganges more than two thousand years ago. It is now dragged up from the dung-hill and presented as a new discovery of modern philosophy, sufficient to supplant the Ruler of the universe. How strange it is that men of ordinary intelligence will embrace the idea, rather than submit to the dictates of conscience and the Bible! This world of ours is not an abstraction in philosophy that consists of one simple substance called matter, nor yet of one substance, for there are many different material substances, such as oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, sulphur, aluminum and iron, and more than fifty others already discovered.
Now, let us suppose that all these elements or substances existed as a cloud of atoms millions of ages in the past; are we, then, any nearer the solution of the great problem of world making than we were before? The atoms must be material, for a material world is to be made of them; and they must have extension; each one of them must have length, breadth and thickness; and, as inertia is a property of each and every atom, the Pantheist has only multiplied the difficulty by millions, for matter can not begin, of itself, to move. Did the dead atoms dance about and jumble themselves together as we now find them? Is the one substance theory correct? Monotheistic Pantheism is scientifically false in fact. Some of these men who tell us of a world without an intelligence in the past, who have such implicit confidence in the powers of matter, tell us, that "millions of ages" in the past the world existed as a great cloud of fire mist, which, after a long time cooled down into granite; and this, by dint of earthquakes, broke up on the surface, and washed with rain until, after ages upon ages had passed, clays and soil were formed, from which plants, of their own accord, sprang up without a germ; in other words, germs came into being spontaneously and grew up, as we see them, developed in all their grandeur. This chance life, somehow, chanced to assume animal form and fashion until, in the multitude of its changes it reached the fashion of the monkey; and then, at last, the fashion of man, both male and female. Truly, the Atheists and Pantheists of our country need not complain of any want of power to believe while such is their basis of faith upon the subject of world making. But they, to avoid the difficulty that nothing made something, tell us "the fire mist was eternal," that it did not make itself. Very well, let us have it that way; then we must be allowed to ask, how an eternal red hot mist cooled off? And also what there was to cool it, when it was all there was, and it was red hot, and always had been? In other words, how could an eternal red hot cool down without something else in existence to cool it? Why should it cool at all? And why did it begin to cool just when it did? The utmost that any scientist can do is to show that such a change took place, but he can not tell you why it took place. Change it did! But change is an effect, and requires a cause. And, according to their theory, there could be no cause outside of the fire mist; for they say there was nothing else in the universe. Then the cause was inside of the fire mist. But how can red hot cool when all there is, is red hot? Had this first mist, to say nothing of organic life, a mind? Did it become sensible and resolve to cool off a little, and settle itself into orderly worlds? What became of its mind? Did it divide, and a part go to each planet? Has each planet a great "soul of the world," as well as our earth? If so, had we not as well build an altar to each planet and go back to the religion of our banana-fed ancestors, who burned their children alive in sun worship?
The Christian religion is so fearfully demoralizing (?) that it is a great pity that these Godless, Christless souls called Pantheists and Atheists can't get some solution of the great problem of world-making that would dispense with the Bible. How well they could get along if—if—if—they only had this great question settled.
"IN GOD WE TRUST."
SUBSTANCE OR SUBSTANCES—WHICH?
THE ORIGIN OF LIFE AND MIND.
"Substance is that which is and abides;" "that which subsists of or by itself; that which lies under qualities; that which truly is—or essence." "It is opposed to accident." "In its logical and metaphysical sense it is that nature of a thing which may be conceived to remain when every other nature is removed or abstracted from it; the ultimate point in analyzing the complex idea of any object. Accident denotes all those ideas which the analysis excludes as not belonging to the mere being or nature of the object." It is said that our first idea of substance is, possibly, derived from the consciousness of self, the conviction that, while our sensations, thought and purposes are changing, we continue the same. "We see bodies also remaining the same as to quantity or extension, while their color and figure, their state of motion or rest may be changed." It has also been said that substances are either primary, that is singular, individual substances; or secondary, that is genera, and species of substance.
Substances have been divided into complete and incomplete, finite and infinite. But it is to be remembered that these are merely divisions of being. Substance is properly divided into matter and spirit, or that which is extended and that which thinks.
"The foundation principle of substance is that law of the human mind by which every quality or mode of being is referred to a substance," or the consciousness of a cause for every effect. "In everything which we perceive or can imagine as existing, we distinguish two parts, qualities variable and multiplied; and a being one and identical; and these two are so united in thought that we can not separate them in our intelligence, nor think of qualities without a substance." So it is a self-evident or first truth, that there is a subjective or inner man which thinks, reflects and reasons, for memory recalls to us the many modes of our mind; its many qualities and conditions. What variety of mental conditions have we not experienced? These are all so many evidences of an internal substance that we call spirit. That spirit is to be distinguished from thought as cause is from effect is evident; and also from matter lying in the accident or quality of body, is certain, from the fact of its being subject to such rapid and instantaneous changes of condition. Amidst all the different modes, qualities, or accidents of mind, we believe ourselves to be the same individual being; and this conviction is the result of that law of thought which always associates qualities with things.
In the world around us phenomena, qualities or accidents are continually changing, but we believe that these, all, are produced by causes which remain, as substances, the same. And as we know ourselves to be the causes of our own acts, and to be able to change, within a moment, the modes of our own mind, so we believe the changes of matter, which take place more slowly, to be produced by causes which belong to the substances of matter. And underlying all causes, whether of the qualities of matter or mind, we conceive of one absolute cause, one substance, in itself persistent and upholding all things in nature. This substance we are pleased to call spirit; and this spirit we call God. To deny this is to strike down a grand law of thought, the foundation principle of substance, and make the testimony of our own consciousness A LIE! The inorganic forces, about which "unbelievers" have so much to say are altogether operative in the realm of substance; that is to say, they belong to the invisible. Organic and inorganic are the same as visible and invisible. We know matter by its qualities, and we know mind by its qualities. These two, in qualities or attributes, contrast with each other like life and death. One is extenuated and the other extended; one is invisible the other is visible. Of the existence of these substances and their laws we have evidence in conscious knowledge, in that we know that we have no control over the involuntary or sympathetic nervous system, and have the most perfect control over the voluntary nerves. The forces controlling are as different as these qualities themselves. If man is simply a material organism, why this contrast? We are told that life itself is a group of co-ordinated functions. But what correllates that force?
It is very common for the advocates of the evolution hypothesis to measure the period between this and the origin of life by the phrase, "Millions and millions of years." The only object that such writers have in view in so doing is to bridge the gulf between the assumed origin of life and mind and the evidence necessary to its establishment as a fact in science. They tell us that "life is a property which certain elements of matter exhibit when united in a special form under special conditions." But when we ask them to give us those certain elements of matter, they immediately inform us that "matter has about sixty-three elements; that each element has special properties, and that these elements admit of an infinite variety of combinations, each combination having peculiar properties." This, as a fort, is a stand behind the dark, impenetrable curtain of an infinite variety of combinations. It is just as dark and as destitute of proof as any pope's assumed infallibility.
Mr. Haeckel says: "As a matter of course, to the infinite varieties presented by the organic forms and vital phenomena in the vegetable and animal kingdoms, correspond an equally infinite variety of chemical composition in the protoplasm. The most minute homogeneous constituents of this life substance, the protoplasm molecules, must in their chemical composition present an infinite number of extremely delicate gradations and variations. According to the plastic theory recently advanced (?) the great variety of vital phenomena is the consequence of the infinitely delicate chemical difference in the composition of protoplasm, the sole active life substance." What a multitude of infinities. But then, an infinite number, and an infinite variety of infinitely delicate gradations and variations, with millions and millions of years, do not remove further from sight life in its origin than does the materialistic philosophy of one substance. They constitute the web and filling of the blanket of oblivion used by materialistic doctors to cover up their ignorance of life and its origin. A half dozen "INFINITIES," and "MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF YEARS!" What! should I care if my ancestors were "tadpoles," when they are HID AWAY IN THE CENTER OF INFINITIES, and laid away back yonder, so far off as "MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF YEARS?"
When we ask our friends for the proof necessary to establish this speculation as a fact among facts, they find it very convenient to betake themselves to infinities, and millions and millions of years.
But we Christians do not ask them to give us an infinite variety, etc., but to give us the "certain elements" of which "life is a property," and the "special form in which these certain elements were united," and the "special conditions" that existed when life first made its appearance by spontaneous generation. When we do this we are immediately carried away into the infinities. The result is that the solution of the problem of the origin of life by spontaneous generation, as a property of "certain elements of matter, united in a special form, under special conditions," is buried forever out of sight. This same definition of life is found on page 69 of a work entitled, "The System of Nature," published by D. Holbach, a French Atheist, in 1774, in these words: "Experience proves to us that the matter which we regard as inert and dead assumes action, intelligence and life when it is combined in a certain way."
Voltaire answered: "This is precisely the difficulty. How does a germ come to life? Is not this definition very easy—very common? Is not life organization with feeling? But," says Voltaire, "that you have these two properties from the motion of matter alone: it is impossible to give any proof, and if it can not be proved why affirm it? Why say aloud, 'I know,' while you say to yourself, 'I know not?'"
Our Atheistic friends say: "The forms of life vary because of the difference in their molecular construction, resulting from different physical conditions to which the various forms have been subjected."
Wonderful discovery! Does it explain the evidence of design which is presented in pairing off male and female in the same form of life?
Dr. Parvin is often referred to as "frankly admitting that the doctrine of the evolution of species is accepted by three-fourths of the scientific men," and that this doctrine has, in their minds, "rendered nugatory the hypothesis of a vital immaterial principle as a causal factor in the phenomena of life and mind." Allowing this statement its full force, it is still true that none but Atheists can possibly be included in the "three-fourths." So much the worse for them. But it is an Atheistic trick to try to succeed by a misrepresentation of facts. One of their number recently said, "It is now almost universally believed by those who have investigated the subject that life originated from natural agencies without the aid of a creative intelligence. Then those who have investigated the subject are almost universally Atheists?"
It is said that "vital activity, whether of body or mind, is a mode of motion, the correllate of antecedent motion." But what correllated the force? According to this logic life came from the antecedent motion; that is, from the motion of dead atoms. But motion itself is the manifestation of energy, and there must of necessity be something behind it to which it belongs as an attribute. Do you say it was dead atoms, or matter without life? Then dead atoms set dead atoms into motion and produced life! Can you believe this? If you can, you need find no trouble in believing in the most orthodox hell. Can you get more out of a thing than there is in it? We don't think so. But we do think that there is credulity enough, even blind credulity, in the advocates of spontaneous generation to enable them to believe anything they may happen to wish true. We are told that "life in its higher forms is not an immaterial entity, nor the result of a special form of force termed vital, but, that it is a group of co-ordinated functions." Then what correllated the force? If it was not vitality what was it? But this is just equivalent to saying that life does not proceed from life. So, in the realm of inertia or death, without a God and without life, some kind of a mechanical operation among dead atoms took place which produced "a certain chemico-physical constitution of amorphous matter—on that albuminous substance called sarcode or protoplasm," which evolved more than was involved, or brought organic life out of dead inorganic matter. But life is simply a "mode," or "degree of motion?" But we are curious to know just here whether the advocates of this system of things do not believe that there always was a degree of motion. Perchance they do, but then they certainly can't believe that this particular degree or mode of motion which they called life was eternal. So, then, a degree of motion is life, and a degree of motion is not life. This thing of confounding life with motion I'm thinking leads to difficulty. I can see how motion may be the result of life, but just how it is life itself I can't see quite so well. Is cause and effect the same?
We have a most remarkable, and yet a natural, concession made in the way in which men who feel the weakness of their cause generally make concessions. It is a statement said to be made by Baron Liebig; it is this: "Geological investigations have established the fact of a beginning of life (?) upon the earth, which leaves no doubt that it can only have arisen naturally and from inorganic forces, and it is perfectly indifferent whether or not we observe such a process now." This statement is untrue as respects geological facts. But the concession is, that spontaneous generation is not to be an observed fact. "Perfectly indifferent whether or not we observe such a process now?" Well, it never was observed. Mr. Liebig's statement doubtless proceeds from the conviction that the system is never to be established by observation. It is simple imagination. Virchow says: "We can only imagine that at certain periods of the development of the earth unusual conditions existed, under which the elements entering into new combinations acquired in statu nascente vital motions, so that the usual mechanical conditions were transformed into vital conditions." In this statement it is well for us to remember that it is not only simple imagination, but also that vital motions were the cause, bringing about vital conditions, that is to say, life, before life was, transformed mechanical conditions into vital conditions. So, in this very singular imaginary hypothesis touching the origin of life we have the usual circle suicide of the system. "Vital motions transform mechanical conditions into vital conditions," and vital conditions fill the world with "vital motions," and life itself is only a degree "or mode of motion." Such is their travel around the circle.
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Can you believe that vital motion transformed mechanical conditions into vital conditions, without life being the cause of those vital motions?
DIFFICULTY WITH FIRE.
La Place, in his solution of how our planet was made, supposed that the cooling, and consequently contracting rings of the fire cloud planet, earth, did not break up into pieces, but retained their continuity; but, in opposition to all experience and reason, he supposed that the cooling rings kept contracting and widening out at the same time. According to the nebular hypothesis—or guess—the fire mist was cooling and shrinking up, while the rings of the same heat and material were cooling faster and widening out from it: a piece of disorder equal to a miracle, for it can not be duplicated among solids or fluids in heaven or earth, or under the earth; for everything narrows down upon cooling—contracts!
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THE INFIDEL'S OFFSET.—An unbeliever once said to a man who advocated the doctrine of total depravity: "The ground for my rejection of all responsibility for belief is the acknowledged necessitated nature of belief. Show me," said he, "that it is not necessitated, and I am answered. When you show me that it is controlled by a will, equally necessitated, I am not answered. If a necessitated faculty or operation can not be responsible, then neither will nor volition can be responsible. You," said the infidel, "go through the whole circle of mental faculties, and find necessity everywhere and responsibility nowhere."
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Through the kindness of Brother J. M. Mathes we are in possession of a copy of the life of Brother Elijah Goodwin. It has the merit of being mainly Brother Goodwin's own production. His many friends will regard it as a grand "keepsake." It is neatly bound in cloth, contains 314 pages, and is in beautiful type. Send $1.50 by postoffice order to Elder J. M. Mathes, Bedford, Lawrence county, Indiana, and receive a copy in return.
The punctuation and spelling from the original text have been faithfully preserved. Only obvious typographical errors have been corrected.