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Scientific and Religious Journal.
|Vol. I.||NOVEMBER, 1880.||No. 11.|
The character which the gospel of Christ requires is made up of all that is lovely, is formed upon the highest model, but it is not composed of the insensibility, the anger, the pride, the egotism, the worldliness, which is so common among men. It is not the cold indifference of modern moralists; it is not the rank and scepticism of modern doubters, nor yet the intellectual rashness and moral phantoms of modern scientists. These have done all they could to take possession of the human heart, and have left it more miserable than it was before. The great author of our holy religion, through the instrumentality of our blessed Savior, brings us into the possession of his own spirit; imparts to us the elements of his own divine excellence; forms us anew in his own image. The idea of “Emanuel, God with us,” is composed of the richest elements. It embraces all that is venerable in wisdom, wonderful in authority, and touching in goodness. Human greatness, blended with imperfections and many limitations, is seen only in detached and separate parts; never appears in any one character whole and entire; but in our Lord Jesus Christ these conceptions, or scattered rays of an ideal excellence, are brought together and constitute the real attributes of that Savior whom we worship, who stands in the nearest relation to us, who is the “head of all principality and power,” and who pervades all nature with his presence. The object of the Christian religion is to recover man from his degraded, miserable condition, elevate him above his debasement, and reinvest him with the character of Christ, that he may eventually dwell with the angels in the perfections of the Infinite One.
The views and spirit transfused into the soul of the Christian are very different from the views and spirit of the world. The spirit of the world is pride and selfishness, the pride of rank and office, the pride of wealth and worldly accomplishments, which lives for the praise of men. On the contrary, the Savior imparts to all his worshipers the loveliest of all the graces, a heaven-born humility, a modest estimate of one’s own worth, and a deep sense of unworthiness on account of human weakness. As Christians we learn to humble ourselves in view of the majesty and perfections of our heavenly Master. “Before honor is humility.” The Savior commands an humble religion; its love is humble, its faith is humble; its repentance, its baptism, its hopes, its joys, its raptures are all humble. True greatness is not found except in an humble mind; never is an archangel more exalted, more truly great, than when he bows before the throne of Christ. The spirit of the world is self-will and insubordination, hard-heartedness and impenitence, or inflexible perseverance in sin. The spirit of the world is one of self-indulgence and guilty pleasure. Sinners are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. They are eager for enjoyment and obtain it in dissipated behavior, thought and feeling. Lawless pleasure is the idol of the sinner’s heart and the rule of his life; it often leads him to shame, infamy and ruin. The religion of Christ gives, in the place of this, the love of God and duty. The pleasures of the Christian are much broader and brighter than the pleasures of the disobedient; they are far superior to the sinner’s day dreams and pleasures of sense. The spirit of the world rejects the truth of God; distrusts his word; has not sufficient confidence in his declarations, or, it may be, love for his praises, and so leans upon self, having no wants, fears, or despondency which it does not presume to relieve for itself. And often it happens when corruptions, doubts and disobedience have kept rule until the poor man is ruined and the hope of a better day is literally exhausted, that the soul under the dominion of sin cries, “Lord, save, or I perish.” Have you faith in God and in his word? then let unshaken confidence in Jesus Christ his son and our Savior become the great principle and impulse of action, rise up in the dignity of true manhood or womanhood and obey the gospel and live. It is hard to conceive of a darker, deeper chasm than that which would be made by the absence of this great principle and impulse of action which has formed thousands of characters in the image of the Redeemer.
Let no one suppose that the obligation to live a Christian life is a light one. Holiness is the highest attainment of a rational soul; it is the greatest good within the reach of man; it is the greatest good in the universe. Seek this, it is most sublime and excellent; seek to be virtuous and holy that your hearts may be won and subdued by the power of His own word. “Purify your souls in obeying the truth.” There is nothing in the universe that can be a substitute for purity or holiness, it is an indispensable qualification for the heavenly world. O, when will men understand and realize that nothing possesses importance compared with this which relates to God and eternity. Never was there stronger evidence of folly than that man presents who chooses this world for his portion. If tears could quench the fires of torment they would be quenched at the remembrance of the folly which preferred this world’s goods to the salvation of the soul. There is nothing upon earth that hurts the true-hearted, energetic Christian like the indifference with which those who have hope toward God are directing their way toward that “exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”
In a short time we shall pass through the tomb. To-day we are floating upon the stream, to-morrow we may be floating upon the ocean of eternity. Another step and we have entered on the world of retribution, but what retribution is it? Is it the world of peace and joy? or is it the region of tribulation and anguish? “To those who by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory and honor and immortality—eternal life. But to those who are contentious and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doth evil.” Is it not a melancholy state of being to be gliding down the stream of time under the fearful uncertainty whether we will land in the realms of bliss or the regions of anguish? You may be happy without power above your fellows, without influence over them, without great learning, without wealth, but you can not be happy without God. Give man all of this world that he desires, multiply around him the gratifications of sense and the pleasures of thought, and if God is not his joy and refuge the day is not far distant when he will feel as did the poor prodigal in a far country feeding upon husks in nakedness and want; but if you are a Christian you dwell with God in Christ, for “God is in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing unto them their trespasses,” and if any man be in Christ he is a new creature. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not—doth not serve sin. Nothing can make you miserable while you enjoy the presence of God. If you have accepted the Savior as “Emanuel, God with us,” as “God manifested in the flesh,” and have entered into him, you are at home with God—with the Father of your spirit—and why should you not be happy? “In him (Christ) all fullness dwells.” God is there. Paul says, “All the promise of God in him are yea, and in him amen unto the glory of God by us.” “It pleased the Father that in him all fullness should dwell.” Are you in him? He says, “I am the door, by me if any man enter the same shall be saved,” but the door was never known to be of any use to the man who passes by it. It is only of importance to those who enter. Have you no interest in this open door? It was said to a very needy people, “See, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.” God is in Christ, Christ is the great doorway to the Father’s house. He says, “I am the way; no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” Do you ask how shall I enter the door? Well, do you really believe that it is your own duty to enter the door, or do you wait to be thrown into it by some unknown spiritual convulsion that you never have as yet experienced? How is this? Let us see. When the Savior was in the world he gathered about him a great many disciples. John the Baptist also gathered a great many more and prepared them for the Lord. These all received the “baptism of repentance for the remission of sins,” were converted and saved. Jesus said to them, “Now, ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you”—John xv, 3. All this was accomplished before these disciples were baptized at Pentecost or any where else with the Holy Spirit. It was not given until Jesus was glorified, and when it was given it was not given to sinners to make them saints, but to the disciples who were already converted and pardoned, to guide them into all truth, to endow them with apostolic authority.
Jesus said to them, “Ye shall receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts i, 8. So these disciples were converted and cleansed—saved before they were baptized with the Holy Spirit.
There is no case in all the world’s history of a sinner being baptized with the Holy Spirit in order to his conversion from sin, or in order to put him into Christ. These disciples who were baptized with the Holy Spirit were by the same means qualified to fill the offices of apostles and prophets—were guided into all truth—preached the gospel with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven, and that “gospel is the power of God unto salvation, unto every one that believeth.” Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature; he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned.” Paul says, “Christ loved the church and gave himself for it that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” On Pentecost, when hundreds were convicted of their sins, and said, What shall we do? the answer from the spirit of God was, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. These all entered into Christ—the door, while those disciples who had entered a good while before Pentecost were put into the offices of apostles and prophets by the baptism of the spirit. No man should wait to be put into the open door, to be put into Christ, but should do as all the disciples of Christ did in the days of Christ and of his apostles—flee for refuge into an open door—not wait to be put in, but enter. You can be saved in heaven without being put into the office of an apostle or prophet, but you can not enter heaven without being sanctified and cleansed. Will you come and enter by the Lord Jesus, become a child of God by faith in Jesus Christ, being baptized into Christ? Do you say this is not the way? Then, why? O, why should the pages of this book of books be burthened with such things? Were those disciples who received the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins before Pentecost out of Christ—uncleansed—unwashed? No! They were clean through the word spoken unto them. They were converted—pardoned. Will you enter Christ, or wait to be put into Christ? Why is it that all men are not put into Christ? I answer, men are not put into Christ, they enter in—they come to Christ—they come to God—God is in Christ. The spirit and the bride say, come! And let him that heareth say, Come! And let him that is athirst come! And whosoever will let him take the water of life freely.”
“Many of the Corinthians hearing believed and were baptized.” “When the Samaritans believed, they were baptized, both men and women.” This is our entrance into the door. We have now just entered into the church of Christ—into the family of God—it is God’s house—we are at home in the Father’s house, and naught will harm us if we live at home, if we are “obedient children not fashioning ourselves after our former lusts.” The injunction comes to us here: “Add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge temperance, to temperance patience, to patience brotherly kindness, to brotherly kindness godliness, and to godliness charity, and if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind and can not see afar off, and had forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure, for if ye do these things ye shall never fall. For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life and enter through the gates into the city.” Men in disobedience to the gospel feel, when they approach the cold Jordan of death, that every thing upon which they built their hopes is being swept away. Their thoughts, their treasures, their grandeur, their honors, their little world, their all, fails them here. They have lived at a distance from God, and now they tremble at the thought of approaching before him whose great mercy they have rejected. Death is a terror to sinful man—his afflictions are his darkest hours. It is not so with the Christian. To him death has no sting; over him the grave has no victory to boast, nor has the second death any power. He has unshaken confidence that every thing is safe in the hands of Jesus. What but obedience to the gospel of the blessed God will enable the child of faith, when flesh and heart fail to say, “Thou wilt show me the path of life; in thy presence is fullness of joy, and at thy right hand are pleasures forevermore.” What then must be the happiness of fixing the heart on God, where there is nothing unlovely, nothing fickle, nothing false or dying. We may place our affections on the things of earth, and sooner or later we are severed from them. Here all is change, disappointment and consequent sorrow. It is not so in Heaven where all, is pure and immutable. From our best affections towards creatures up to the love of God there is a height as lofty as his ways and attributes are above the attributes and ways of mortals. No fear can haunt the mind that he may change in his character of love. He is beyond the reach of accident or change, perfect in goodness and power, and to those who trust in him, he is a sure and never-ending, and ever-increasing source of joy. “Blessed are all they that put their trust in ‘Emanuel.'” Their very sacrifices are more than compensated. If we give up self it is for the love of God. If we give up time it is for eternity, and in the exchange our happiness is not diminished either here or hereafter.
LANGUAGE AND RELIGION.
BY P.T. RUSSELL.
Christian. Having in my last article traced language and religion to their necessary and only possible source, I am now ready to hear any objections that may be entertained. Mr. Skeptic, if you have any, present them.
Skeptic. Suppose that I admit all that you say, it would, in the nature of the case, account for the origin of one language only, while facts show that there are an unnumbered variety. So your argument is at fault. The same difficulty belongs to your conclusion concerning the origin of religion. Can you remove this difficulty?
Christian. Yes but while I am pleased with your frankness, I must say, the difficulty is only apparent, not real. Look at yonder tree. There is but one main stem, or trunk, and many leading branches. These principal branches are each also divided into several minor branches, and these also throw out many lesser limbs and twigs. So it is with languages. As the smallest twig at the extreme end of either of those limbs can be traced to the trunk through the main branches, so all the various languages that are in use to-day, can and may be traced to a few older ones, and these, again, to one principal or parent language. The English language of the present time differs widely from the English of three or four centuries ago. Its number of words have more than doubled. And this has not been the result of the creation of new words, but of borrowing from other and older languages. So extensively has this been carried on, that Dr. Webster says, that in gathering and arranging material for his dictionary, he found himself under the necessity of consulting thirty European and Asiatic languages. Our language may be called an amalgamation from a great many other languages. It is not an original language. We, like the ancient Greeks, have been borrowing extensively, and, like them, we have been careful to keep all that we borrowed. What is true of our language is equally true of all modern languages. Wherever there is commercial or other free intercourse, each party is found borrowing words from the other, and thus their vocabularies are lapping and continually increasing. I am now ready to introduce the important consideration, it is this, all modern languages are shaded by a few ancient ones. The English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, etc., are deeply shaded through borrowing from the Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and ancient languages, while these last, as well as other ancient languages, have never borrowed from the former. This shows that Greek, Latin and Hebrew are older than the others. I shall now take for granted that which all real linguists declare to be true, viz: that the smaller number of languages from which we and our contemporaries have so freely borrowed, are all shaded by their borrowings from one; and, as the younger always borrows from the older, that one must of necessity be the parent language of all languages. This conclusion accounts for the word “babel” in our language, and its equivalent in all others, as well as for the existence of a multitude of words too tedious to mention.
RELIGION AND ITS ORIGIN.
The word is from “religo,” and signifies to bind over. Webster says, “This word seems originally to have signified an oath or vow to the gods, or an obligation of such oath or vow.” Religion, in its comprehensive sense, includes a belief in the being and perfections of God, in the revelation of his will to man, in man’s obligation to obey his commands—any religion consisting in a belief of a supreme power or powers, governing the world, and in the worshiping of such power or powers. That men have the power to become religious is too evident to require a word in argument; even Tyndal admitted that there was a place in man’s psychological nature for religion. Now, since man possesses this, and as all his other powers and faculties were made for use, it is but reasonable that this faculty should also have its proper sphere of action.
They are these: First, was Polytheism or Monotheism the primitive religion? Second, is religion human or Divine in its origin? In answering these questions I shall gather facts, and from them deduce my conclusion, after the inductive method. First, universal history and tradition as far back as they can be traced, without one dissenting voice, locate the origin of man in Asia. From this point men migrated in every direction. Here, in Asia, their language and religion, if they had any, would be one and the same. This would, in the nature of the case, be true, whether religion was at first human or Divine. Again, as all derivative languages are found to be shaded by one primitive language, so all derivative religions will, on examination, be found to be shaded by the one primitive religion. That is, the leading or fundamental idea will be found more or less unclouded in all the more modern religions. Now, which is it that shades all religions? Is it Polytheism or Monotheism? Is the fundamental thought of either found in all the others? Will any one pretend that Polytheism is the primitive religion? Is its leading thought of many gods, found in all religions? It is not in Judaism, Christianity, nor Mahomedanism. These are one in their advocacy of one living and true God. This fact breaks the chain of Polytheism and ruins its claim to be considered the first religion. Here we must leave Polytheism and look after the claim of Monotheism. If this is the first form of religion, it must, according to our rule, shade all other religions; if it does not, then, from this stand-point all is yet in the dark.
In all time past it has been conceded that the maxim, “vox populi, vox dei,” is true when taken in its broad or universal sense. “We are apt to attribute that to be true which all men presume. It is an argument with us that anything which seems true to all, as that there are gods, shows that they have engrafted in them an opinion concerning gods, neither is there any so void of laws or good manners that doth not believe that there are some gods.”—Sen. Epist. C. 17. “This seems a firm thing which is alleged why we should believe gods to be, because no nation is so fierce, no man so wild, whose mind has not been imbued with an opinion concerning gods, or that uses proceed from bad customs. But all do however conceive a Divine power and nature to exist. Now, in all things, the consent of all nations is supposed to be the law of nature.”—Cicero, Tusc., q. 1, p. 299. “In such a quarreling and tumult and gangling, you may see this one thing by common consent, acknowledged law and speech, that there is one God, the king and father of all, and many gods the children of God. This the Greek says; and this the Barbarian says; the inhabitant of the continent and the Islander, the wise and the unwise do say the same.”—Max. Tyn., Dis. 1, p. 5. “It is an ancient saying and running in the race of all men, that from God were all things, and by him all things were constituted, and do consist.”—Demundo (dedicated to Alexander), cap. 6. Here I rest, not for want of more witnesses, for the testimony of all antiquity is full on this point. There is not an ancient tribe, race, or nation, of which we have any information, historic or traditional, who did not acknowledge the existence of one Supreme Being. In this the chain is unbroken, so Monotheism must have been the first religion. The chain of Polytheism is broken many times. All nations did not acknowledge the existence of many gods. Indeed, no nation of antiquity acknowledged a plurality of supreme gods, while all nations acknowledged a Supreme God, who, with them, was the father of gods and men. So in this way the chain was always broken, never whole. Polytheism then could not, in the very nature of things, be the original religion with Monotheism engrafted upon it. Simple Polytheism never existed with any nation; it always displayed a supreme head, a Supreme God—father of gods and men. And even this form of Polytheism was acknowledged by a part of our race only. The idea is worthy of being repeated, that all nations of men throughout all antiquity acknowledged one living and true supreme and master God presiding over all gods and men. This idea lies at the foundation of all ancient Polytheism, and most certainly at the foundation of all ancient Monotheism. Now, as religion simply consists primarily in man’s relation to God, with the accessory idea of dependence upon and obligation to him, the question is: Was that religion earthly or Divine in its origin? Were these thoughts the thoughts of men only, or were they too high for us? Can you think of your relation and obligation to a being of whom you have never heard or learned? No. Neither could man in the beginning, nor at any subsequent time. Religion came not from earth. Human genius was not and could not have been its foundation. There is but one other possible source, which is simply the will and teachings of the creator. Religion is unearthly, and hence Divine in its origin. The stream always declares the nature of the fountain.
Gentlemen skeptics, you boast of free and fearless thought. Make your vaunting good. Examine, if you dare, and let us have your strong reasons, if you have any.
The nature of man made revelation a necessity. This will be the theme of my next. Truth never fears the light, but known error is a coward, and loves the dark.
A NOBLE book! All men’s book. It is our first statement of the never-ending problem of man’s destiny and God’s ways with men on earth.—Carlyle.
DR. J.L. PARSONS.
The origin of force and life in the universe is a great puzzle to materialistic scientists. In the azoic period of our earth there was no life on it. The living creatures now on the earth must, therefore, have had some origin. That origin is not due to spontaneous generation, according to the testimony of the most enlightened scientists, Professor Haeckel to the contrary notwithstanding. The various vital manifestations and exhibitions of force in the universe are due to some cause. The intuitions of mankind, as well as the teachings of science, declare there must be a cause lying behind the universe which has produced it.
Two great philosophies contend for the mastery in the solution of the problem of life. Materialistic philosophy seeks to account for the origin of all things on principles which deny the existence of God, the Creator, and which make man wholly a material being. Christianity declares that the God of the Bible is behind the universe as its cause. The only things which materialists recognize as having any existence in the universe are matter and force. If force be used in the sense of mind or spirit, which it is not in this case, I have no objection to this statement. One of the first elementary lessons in material philosophy is the inertia of matter. Being at rest matter has no power to set itself in motion. Being in motion it has no power to put itself at rest. It is moved by a force which is in no sense an attribute of matter. Since the earth is in motion and teems with life, that motion and life must be due to force, which is the only remaining existence in the universe. As a cause lying behind the universe, this force is denominated the unknown force.
Prior to and in the azoic age we have nothing in the universe but matter and force, and according to Mr. Spencer, not only an unknown force, but also an unseen and an unknowable force. Subsequent to the azoic period and now we have the earth full of life, intelligence and religion due to the unknown force. This unknown, unseen and unknowable force may be studied in the light of its manifestations and effects, Mr. Spencer to the contrary notwithstanding. Since all effects are contained in their causes, the universe as an effect must have been and must be contained in the great unknown force as its cause. The characteristics which mark the effect must mark the cause also. If the stream be fresh water, the fountain which sends it forth must be fresh water also; for the stream is contained in the fountain. If there be no fountain there can be no stream. If there be no cause there can be no effect. If there be no involution there can be no evolution. The stream can not rise higher than its fountain. The universe now contains life. The unknown force must also contain life; for all effects are contained in their causes. The universe has in it mind. The unknown force must have mind; for all effects are contained in their causes. The universe has in it goodness and religion. So must the unknown force possess goodness and religion; for all effects are contained in their causes. The unknown cause of all things must possess mind, intelligence, goodness, holiness, else these things could not have proceeded from the unknown cause. “Ex nihilo nihil fit” is still true. But life, mind, energy, holiness, are attributes of the God of the Bible. Whenever science divests the unknown force of these attributes which characterize Jehovah, she has left a cause wholly inadequate to the production of the universe. Whenever she invests the unknown force with life, power, intelligence and goodness, she has set up the God of the Bible.
Again, man is possessed of a mind and a religious element in his nature. If man’s origin be due to the monkey or the tadpole, then the monkey or the tadpole must have a mind and a religious nature; for all effects are contained in their causes. The monkey must have a mind superior to that of Newton’s, and the tadpole must be more religious than man; for the stream can not rise higher than its fountain!
Man has a religious element in his nature. That element seeks to be satisfied religiously, as the eye instinctively seeks for light, the ear for sound, or the body for food. Until the constitutional elements of man’s nature are changed, he will instinctively seek for a God capable of satisfying this element of his being. This part of man is satisfied in the Bible and in the God of the Bible. Hence I conclude that the race as a race will never go into atheism.
As for myself, I heartily believe and fully accept the statement of the inspired bard of Israel concerning the problem of force and life: “With thee is the fountain of life.” God the author of life and the source of all the force in the universe. I do not for one moment believe the teaching of my learned skeptical professor of physiology, Sanford E. Chaillei, that life is the result of organization; that digestion is a chemical process; and that animal heat and force result from this process. His favorite illustration was the steam engine. The fuel in the fire-box generated the heat which made the water in the boiler boil, and thus the steam force was produced that moved the boat on the river. But, unfortunately for this illustration the Professor always left out of the consideration the fireman. No amount of fuel and water would ever generate force sufficient to turn a wheel without a fireman to light the fuel. So no amount of bread and meat in a man’s stomach would ever generate enough force to produce a single blood corpuscle without the vital force to set in motion and keep up the process of digestion and assimilation. Without a God to endow the body with this vital force, there would be none, and consequently no digestion and no animal heat or physical force. If animal life and force result from organization and chemical digestion, a chemist could make a dead body live, where the organs are not destroyed, by putting food into the stomach and giving it time to chemically digest, which it would do in a short time, but it will neither produce animal heat nor support life. If digestion is a chemical process, the chemist ought to be able to take bread and meat and make a red blood corpuscle, which he can not do. Digestion and assimilation are vital processes. The vital force always eludes the test of the chemist; but that force is always present in the living animal economy. The chemist can purchase every ingredient that enters into the composition of bone except the vital force, without which he can not make an inch of bone. The making of bone is a vital process which takes place only in the living animal economy. No physician can possibly have a correct physiological theory of the cure of disease who ignores the presence and power and office of the vital force in the human system.
The body of man was formed of the dust of the ground according to Moses, and no mistake; Mr. Ingersoll to the contrary notwithstanding. Moses further says that the Lord God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” According to this author, life did not result from organization. What the Almighty breathed into his nostrils was not atmospheric air; for the air was in his nostrils before Jehovah breathed the breath of life into them, and yet it did not make this body live. Using the term breath in the sense of air that we breathe, the old adage that “men die for the want of breath” is not true; for the body dead is surrounded with the same air as when it was living. When the Creator breathed the breath of life into the newly-formed body, and man became a living soul, he imparted more to it than simply air; and when the body dies, something more than simply air or breath has departed from it. Solomon was wiser than the average wise acre or the conceited materialistic doctor when he said concerning death: “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” “The body without the spirit is dead,” says Inspiration. It is the presence of this spirit in the human body, imparted to it by the Almighty, which vitalizes the body, which produces the vital force, by which force the body is builded and its operations carried on.
As the Creator formed the body of the first man of the dust of the ground, and vitalized it by breathing into it the breath of life, and endowed it with a living germ and vital force by which, under proper circumstances, it reproduces itself; so God said: “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth.” The seed has in it a germ of life and a hidden vital force which heat, moisture and the soil have the capacity of developing, so that it reproduces itself. Every vital manifestation of this seed is the result of vital force with which the Creator has endowed every perfect seed. This force in the animal and vegetable kingdoms produces vital manifestations.
Chemical and other physical forces never produce vital manifestations. “Gravity is that species of force by which all bodies or particles of matter in the universe tend toward each other.” The reason why bodies are drawn towards each other in this manner is because God has endowed them with a force which compels them to act in this way. To call it the force of gravity is no explanation of either the origin or nature of this force. To say that gravity makes the apple fall down instead of up is a polite way of expressing one’s ignorance of such questions. To say that nature makes a seed grow, that nature heals a wound, is only to make a show of learning. God made the worlds and upholds them by the power of his word. God energizes nature. All the physical and vital forces of the universe are but the manifestation of his power. God has endowed all things that grow with the germ of life. Atheistical philosophy starts without God and ends without him. It seeks for spontaneous generation, but never finds it. It would have a stream without a fountain, and an effect without a cause, and a world without a Creator. I have no use for any theory of life, or of medicine, which denies the existence of God, whom I regard as the source of all the forces in the universe. Nature is only the manifestation of his power and wisdom. There is nothing supernatural in the universe unless it be God himself. All the wonderful phenomena of the human body are the result of a living force with which he has endowed it, and are to be explained, if explained at all, by a better knowledge of the intentions and workings of this force. This knowledge will be obtained by a more careful study of nature, by a more intimate acquaintance with him and his works. Anatomically, physiologically, and intellectually, “man is fearfully and wonderfully made”; and every wonderful thing connected with him is worthy of our careful consideration.