Of Spirit And The Constitution Of Spiritual Beings -- By: George I. Chace
BSac 5:20 (Nov 1848) p. 633
Of Spirit And The Constitution Of Spiritual Beings
In a former number of this Review, we laid before its readers, what we believed to be the true view of the constitution of matter. We endeavored to show, that in accordance with the principles of sound logic, it must be regarded as having a real existence, as possessing inherent, constitutional properties, and as acting by virtue of those properties. As such a constitution of matter, would at first view, seem to place all physical events under the control of an iron necessity, leaving no room for the influence of prayer or the exercise of that superintending Providence, which according to the teachings of our holy religion, God continually extends over the affairs of this world, it may be well before entering upon the subject of our present Article, to notice briefly, what, were it true, would constitute so serious an objection to the view taken. In doing so, however, we would say at the outset, that we do not propose considering whether it be possible to reconcile this idea of matter with the above Christian doctrines, but whether it presents in connection with those doctrines, any peculiar difficulties which do not equally attach themselves to any other hypothesis capable of explaining the phenomena. Unless this latter question can be answered in the affirmative, the objection, so far as we are concerned, has no weight.
Now we think it is clear that no practical conclusions whatever can be drawn from the supposition, that all the changes of the external world, are brought about by the spontaneous reaction of the elements composing it, which may not, in like manner, be deduced from that established order which we everywhere observe in the succession
BSac 5:20 (Nov 1848) p. 634
of events, which lies at the foundation of all the sciences, and without which we could have no knowledge beyond the sphere of our own immediate consciousness. The continual manifestations of power, which present themselves on every side to our observation, do not occur isolated, but linked to one another so as to form one continuous chain of antecedents and consequents, extending through every part of nature, and binding together all her phenomena,—a chain which no created power can loose, which only a miracle can break. It is obviously the same thing to us, whether this fixed order in the succession of events, these established connections among phenomena, are constantly maintained by the direct and unceasing exertion, of the Divine power, or whether they were at once provided for, and ever after secured in the original constitution of matter. In both cases, too, the phenomena are alike caused by God, are equally an unfolding of his conceptions, a fulfilling of his will. It makes no difference as to t...
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