Of The Existence And Natural Attributes Of The Divine Being -- By: George I. Chace
BSac 7:26 (April 1850) p. 328
Of The Existence And Natural Attributes Of The Divine Being
The innumerable forms of matter which everywhere reveal themselves to the senses, may be contemplated under several distinct points of view. In the first place we may regard them as separate and detached bodies, having no common relations, and sustaining no common dependencies. We may examine each one of them individually. We may observe its form, we may ascertain its structure, we may learn its dimensions, and may make ourselves acquainted with its various mechanical and sensible properties. Having done this, we may further compare these bodies with one another, marking their resemblances and noting their differences, and may finally arrange them in classes, orders, and families according to their observed affinities. It is by pursuing such a course that the portion of knowledge has been created which constitutes the Science of Natural History.
Or, secondly, we may direct our attention to the relations which these several bodies sustain to one another. We may observe their modes of action and reaction under all the different circumstances in which they naturally occur, or in which for the purposes of experiment, we may place them. We may note and compare the results of our observations, and may pass thence by induction to those general laws by which all matter is alike governed, and upon the ceaseless operation of which, its larger and more sensible phenomena are immediately dependent. The facts and principles of which we should thus gain possession, reduced to their proper order and connections, would constitute that part of the science of nature which has been denominated Natural or Mechanical Philosophy.
Or, thirdly, we may direct our inquiries to the elementary particles or atoms, of which the material masses are composed. We may examine these atoms, and see whether they all present the same characters, or whether there be not different kinds of matter. And having ascertained the truth of the latter supposition, we may take each one of the different elements whose existence has been determined, and bringing it into relation successively with every other element, we may
BSac 7:26 (April 1850) p. 329
thus develop its several properties. But, before we have proceeded far in our investigation, we cannot fail to discover in nearly all the different elements or kinds of matter, a disposition more or less strong to enter into union with one another. In truth, when these elements are brought together under favorable circumstances, such union is found in almost every instance actually to take place. We have now a new subject for study. We have a class of compound bodies differing in their properties widely from the elements of which they are compos...
Click here to subscribe