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with absolute truth? And how can the emptiness of nothingness cause a difference, or create a change? Whatever be the reality then, it would manifestly be an irrationality to believe the original self-existent power limited in space; and as such, it is an impossibility to a rational being.
But some one persists in saying: “I object to the breadth of these conclusions. I grant, that there is something; for I can feel it, touch it, see it; but what I see is finite. I can not see any infinite and omnipresent power. I behold a power, it is true, in this region of the heavens to which our system belongs ; but I am not convinced that there is anything more than this. There must be an original indeed, but this may yet be a limited power, though inconceivably vast. Besides, there is an analogy that implies, if it does not prove, that the power has a centre, and that it diminishes from a centre.
To this it may be replied: 1. That the limited scope of our being renders it as impossible to see, as to be, an infinite power.
2. That all possible analogies must be taken from among related and derivative forces; while, in the case before us, we are speaking of the original. These forces mutually limit each other; but, by supposition, there is nothing which might limit the self-existent power. But,
3. This diminishing of which the objector speaks, would be a part of the history of the original power. We are now inquiring, not into its history, but its original nature. His theory confines its original being to a single point; and declares that, in the beginning, it had no extension whatever, but simply position; that it was finite, and divisible, and sent forth a diminished effluence, 60 soon as it began to spread.
But it is hardly worth while to waste words on this. The first statement (p. 395) was really sufficient. The only rational conception of the original absolute power, is that which makes it all everywhere.
As we rest here, in contemplation and survey, what do we behold? There are no worlds; there is no ether; not
even a thinnest, feeblest, electric fluid. No separate things rise to the mind's view, no limitations, qualities, forms; there is only the one aboriginal power out of which all things in their modes and degrees will come. If, now, we ask ourselves, why is this power in being ? and try to search out a cause that shall account for it, we find none.
Of its own force it exists; and carries the reason of itself within its own bosom. We can only say, it is; and, eternally, it is! As we meditate, a voice comes to our spirit, declaring: “I am for that I am!” and the voice ceases. The mystery is unuttered, because unutterable. Only the presence is revealed; and, as in imagination, we explore the immensity, and sound its depths, we meet everywhere this eternal reality. Whithersoever we turn, one word, one presence greets us. Power! everywhere, power! above, beneath, all round about unto infinite extent, POWER! As yet we know no more.
VII. THE ETERNAL, ORIGINAL, SELF-EXISTENT, ABSOLUTE, OMNIPRESENT POWER IS IMMUTABLE.
No addition can come to it from any external source; for it is itself the only source.
No diminution can be made; for there is nothing to make it. Again, there can be no increase; for already it completely fills the sphere of the possible; and no decrease; for it is self-existent. There can be no change of any kind; for all change must be by addition or diminution. All changes that shall ever appear will be either forms of it, or created by it; none can be intruded within it. There may be endless evolution of existences, but underneath them all, originating and sustaining them, abides this one substance, this eternal power, unchanged. As, with our spirits, we profoundly listen, in the midst of that awful silence of the eternities into which we seem to have penetrated, a voice rises distinct upon the ear and it says: “I am that which I am!” and the voice ceases; and we understand that, from everlasting to everlasting, the power endureth the same.
VIII. THE ETERNAL, ORIGINAL, ABSOLUTE, OMNIPRESENT, IMMUTABLE POWER IS ALWAYS ACTIVE. This
power is either subject to the strict law of cause VOL. XIII. No. 50.
and effect, or it is not. That is to say, it is either material or voluntary, either physical or spiritual.
We will suppose it to be the former. “ It sleeps,” you say. Then can it never waken; for there is nothing to stir it. It has no action now, and, being tied to the strict law of “cause," it can never rise to action of any kind; for nothing exists to act upon and cause" it to rise. It is nothing now, and nothing can ever be made of it. A present unreality, it is also an eternal impossibility; and cannot even be supposed ever to exist. But if this have no existence, then there is no real being, and never can be any. If we begin by supposing the “power” to be a physical one; if, next, we suppose, that, in some remotest age, it rested in total and absolute inaction; then, since no change is going on within itself, and since no external agency exists which could start a change there, it must abide forever in this state of utter stillness, and, from everlasting to everlasting, nothing is, nothing can be. But something is. Then, the original power, if a natural one; is eternally active.
Again : Let us suppose it to be a voluntary and spiritual Power. As such, it acts only when consciously having an object in view, and an intelligent purpose. It is affirmed, now, that this great Mind and Spirit was, in the older eternity, buried in absolute inaction: this pure Will and Reason sleeps ; neither knows, feels, nor determines. It is, in itself alone, the All. Now what can be supposed to wake it? What motive can grow up from the utter stillness within ? What object or aim can come upon it, from the nothing, ness without ? How can any change be supposed to begin? How can any be rationally imaged by our minds ? Only as an impossibility. Besides, what conception can be formed of a pure spirit that is absolutely inactive? There is no such thought.
But again : we are compelled, in reason, to think that this Power, if spiritual, must have been always active, not alone within itself, but also outwardly. For, if ever inactive, it was in view of some motive, of some reason. But, so long as the eternal stillness remains unbroken, there is no change; and so if,
originally, no motive existed, then none can ever exist. If, in “the beginning," there was no reason for outward action, then no progress of time can bring a reason, for it brings no change of any kind; none within the depths of the Eternal Being; for he is immutable and not subject to “cause; and none without; for, by supposition, he, the sole cause, causes none. If ever there has been a reason or motive, or ever can be, then there always was. But we see that there has been, for creation has taken place. Then some action, of some kind, outward as well as inward, has always been in exercise; and, viewing this power as spiritual, we must say: God is eternal in his action; and some “off-spring” of God is eternally begotten of him. Some word has been eternally spoken. This is a strict necessity of our thought.
There are those who, grounding themselves upon the affirmation that the universe had a beginning, understand that, from everlasting, Jehovah dwelt in utter stillness of his own silent mind. Their proposition might be worded: God is eternal in his dream; since, for the only real eternity, he has dwelt among the pure images of his thought. Let us accept this view, for a moment. “ After an eternal dream, Deity rouses himself to action, and creates the world.” Why did he create it? For a reason, we all answer, a wise and allsufficient reason. But this reason existed from all eternity; since, from all eternity, there has been no change. And, if there were a good and sufficient “reason” for the divine action, then the divine Being acted. God is never irrational. There always was such a reason, and therefore there always
-action. But if, now, any one should ask of us, what this "eternal outward action” of God has been, we bow humbly before the Great Incomprehensible, and own our ignorance. Does any one inquire whether suns and stars have always been in being? It passes our knowledge to declare. Do any affirm that it could have been only the inter-communion of a “trinity in the unity ?” We hear in modest silence. But, that the energy of the original and omnipresent Being has always been put forth somehow, and somewhere, the
very law of our minds compels us to believe. We cannot rationally, and therefore cannot really, “think ” (out) the contrary. The notion itself is found, when we follow it out and endeavor to mature it, to be an intellectual impossibility.
IX. But, THROUGHOUT ALL ITS BROAD, ETERNAL ACTIVITY, THE POWER OF WHICH WE SPEAK,
ORIGINAL, ABSOLUTE, OMNIPRESENT, IMMUTABLE, EVER-ACTIVE, ONE.
We have but to open our eyes upon the manifold glory of the universe, to see that varied forms exist, both of being and of operation; and yet we have clearly been right in speaking of “the (one) original Power.” For,
(1.) If a spiritual Power, it is of course one ; since unity is an essential attribute of spirit; unless indeed any one should so far forget himself as to intimate the possibility of a polytheism !
(2.) If the Original be a physical Power, it must yet be
a. It is not divided in time ; for, by supposition, it is eternal.
· Polytheism, as a philosophy, or rationale of the universe, is wholly unworthy of attention. Not even in its simplest form, as a system of Dualism, does it merit any consideration, except as one of the follies in which the human soul has abased itself. Suffice it to say, that the very aim and end of philosophy, which it always presupposes, and in the absence of which its identity is lost, is, to mount up to the ONE WHICH IS ETERNAL. The intellect is not satisfied with anything short of that; nor can the heart find repose in any other home. The diversity and multiplicity must be seen in a Unity. A possible and a reasonable cause, or author, must be found for it all. To diminish the number, to reduce them to two, will not answer. It may be a simplification of the problem ; it is not its solution. The mind cannot rest there. We have only the groping of unsatisfied Science, or a dream of the imagination, until we strike upon The One! Until the whole is comprehended and referred up to an Original which is a Unity, and is viewed, thus, in a certain oneness, the intellect is not, and cannot begin to be, satisfied. When it has done that, then it is satisfied, indeed, but not perfectly. For there remains the work, afterward, of going down from this “ Original,” and of understanding each separate thing by itself and in its relations. To the achievement of the former, the human mind is equal. The latter is its immortal labor; and, for all finite minds, must be an endless and ever-widening task.