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gain converts to your funereal system, you must furnish us with logical proofs that matter is eternal. We have all heard and read much about, and most of us have believed in, the triumphs of mind over matter, especially during the present century; but it seems we have been all mistaken, for, according to you, the 'eternity of matter thoroughly undermines all arguments for the existence of any other power in nature.' Matter, with you, is a power, and the only power in nature;' and no wonder, when you have chosen matter for your God; only it is rather unfortunate for your argument, that by a power, which it cannot control, and apparently cannot resist, it is every day dragged from the mine, the quarry, and the forest, and forced to answer ends which it could not originate, and never contemplated.

You rest the eternity of matter upon its indestructibility. But the indestructibility of matter' should not be written down 'a fact' at all, not to say, • a fact of importance [in?] theology,' without some clear and indubitable evidence. Need I again remind you that it will not be enough to prove that we cannot destroy matter, 'or that we have no evidence that matter ever has been destroyed; as neither of these premises can support the conclusion which you would reach.

But even if you had succeeded, beyond the possibility of a doubt, in establishing the indestructibility of matter, would that be proof of its eternity? I think not. An event, of which man is the cause, as a fact in history, may be indestructible, but who would argue that it is, therefore, eternal. That Sebastopol has been besieged for nine months by the allied forces of France and England is a fact absolutely indestructible ; but we all know that that is no evidence of its eternity. A thing, then, may be indestructible, and yet have begun to be. Illustrations can be found as numerous as the events of human life, and the facts of human history.

In choosing the 'eternity of matter' as the basis of your atheistic argument, you would do well to take account of the difficulties which press upon your position.

If matter be eternal, then it is omnipotent, absolute, self-existent, intelligent. But we have proof the clearest and the most indubitable that it is not intelligent. The conclusion is obvious.

The eternity of matter involves the eternity of the globe which we inhabit. But there is proof, in the present appearance of the earth, that it is not eternal. Suppose one particle to be washed from the peaks of the primary rocks in a million of years; the time would at length come when they would be reduced to the level of the surrounding soil, if, indeed, the wasting process would not reduce the entire surface of the earth to one dead level, which would everywhere be covered with water. Those mighty rocks, lifting up their rugged heads to heaven with a silent but lofty eloquence, demonstrate the non-eternity of the world, and serve as steps by which the human mind may rise to the Great Creator.

The present amount of the population of the earth furnishes another proof of its non-eternity. Though particular races, at given periods, may decline in numbers, population, on the whole, is of an increasive nature. There are vast tracts of land, which a few centures ago were without a single inhabitant, now giving full scope to the enterprise and energy of teeming thousands. Had the race been eternal these tracts of land would have been inhabited ages ago, every corner of the earth, capable of yielding food to man and beast, would have been crowded with living beings, yea, the world would have been too small to contain its inhabitants, and immense tracts of it would have become sepulchres of the dead. This has never been the case, and is far from being the case even now. The world is not half-populated. There are islands and almost continents that do not sustain one tithe of the inhabitants they might. There are millions of


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acres lying waste that by cultivation could bear as cereal crops as were eyer raised on the banks of the Don or the Nile; and there are hundreds of millions of acres, which superior husbandry could make fourfold more productiye than they are at present. But had the race been eternal, ages ago the pressure of the population would have been so great that 'necessity, the mother of invention, would have forced men to the highest cultivation of every available acre. That it is not so, and that the earth is not half-peopled, are difficulties with which the theory of the eternity of matter is environed, which the highest genius of infidelity will find it difficult to remove. The human race, with many-voiced but unanimous speech, proclaims, like the Alps and Andes, that it must have had a beginning, and, therefore, a Creator.

The lack of any memorial of the world's eternity presents no less a difficulty to your theory. We have a right to demand historical evidence. If the race has existed for ever it is inconceivable that nothing worthy of record or remembrance occurred during the mighty cycles of the past. The fifty-eight centuries, of which history has spoken, have not passed away without producing impressions upon the common mind of the race, which can never be obliterated. Events have transpired, men have lived, and cities have existed, whose memory will be handed down to posterity till time shall be no longer. Where, then, is the memory, or where the memorials, of the events, the men, and the cities of that Pre-Adamite age? Who were the men, whose energy, ambition, or goodness then affected the destinies of the world? What were the thoughts, the inventions, the discoveries, the books, the institutions, that then moved human society, and that left the marks of a great tide-wave high on the shore of social existence? What were the wars, the revolutions, and conquests by which the political configuration of different tribes was modified? Who were the Shakspeares, the Miltons, the Newtons of that ancient era ? Where stood the Babylons, the Athenses, the Romes of a past eternity? And what trace has the intellect of so great a past left behind? Where are the memorials of its mental and moral greatness ? And echo answers, Where ?'Or had an eternity brought the race only to the ourangoutang stage of development? The entire absence of any memorial of the world's eternity is proof the most convincing that it has begun to be, and, therefore, must have had a Creator.

The present state of knowledge and improvement is still another proof of the same fact. What mighty strides have been made during the last few centuries ! What a contrast between the condition of the savage and that of the civilised man! How wide the disparity between the first and the nineteenth centuries ! In spite of frequent ebbings, how has the tide of intelligence and of progress rolled onward ! Progression is the law of man's being; and if he has existed for ever, it is inconceivable that his present condition should be so far from the gaol which he is capable of reaching. It is only thirty-six centuries since letters were invented, and twenty-seven since money was first used; and some of the most useful and important discoveries have only been made within the

Have we, then, to believe that the human family has existed from a past eternity in the grossest barbarism, and that only during the last few

years has it made any successful attempts at discovering or inventing those things that are almost essential to its well-being ? How will you account for the fact that after an eternity of immovable barbarism, the human race has all at once entered upon a career of rapid and ceaseless improvement? The facts both of the present and the past are all against you, and prove to a demonstration that the race must have had a beginning, and therefore a Maker. All history and tradition point to the comparatively recent origin of the race, to the paucity of the earth's inhabitants, to the wide tracts of land that have never been cultivated, as proof that the world has not existed for ever.

Your hypothesis is not only encumbered with these insuperable difficulties ;

last few years.

there is evidence of the non-eternity of matter which even an infidel will feel it difficult to resist. A few items of that evidence I beg to submit to your attention.

No one can claim for the eternity of matter a place in the category of necessary truths. You must admit its non-existence to have been possible. We can conceive matter not to have existed. I have met with modern materialists who have admitted this. Epicurus, whom you have but feebly followed, urged the impossibility of something arising out of nothing, an argument perfectly conclusive for the eternal existence of something, but not for the eternal existence of matter.. Admitting the existence of one independent, eternal, infinite Being, of intelligence and power, the difficulty is solved, and the necessity met.

Sound philosophy requires one, and only one such Being to account for the origin of the universe; but as that Being is not matter, to contend for the eternity of matter, is to go without reason and against reason : for if matter were eternal in its substratuin, it is manifestly incapable of giving itself form, system, order, and adaptation, and would require an infinitely wise and powerful Being, to give it the arrangement which it now possesses.

Matter is constantly changing. Once a chaos, it now presents to the eye that beautiful scene by which we are surrounded. The atmosphere, the clouds, the oceans, and even the mountains and the solid crust of the globe itseļf appear to be in a state of incessant change. The most transient glance at the earth's strata will convince the most sceptical that matter has already passed through forms almost innumerable. Is this change, then, the attribute of an unoriginated and eternal Being; or is it the property of a passive substance in the alembic of an intelligent Creator, subject to his will, acted upon by his power, and arranged in those forms which so strikingly display his incessantlyoperating goodness and wisdom ? Let reason answer.

Matter is passible ; for even man can fashion it according to his will. Its changes the most unthinking cannot fail to perceive. Its inertia is a fact to which thousands of the sons of toil can bear testimony, if the philosophers should fail us. It presents not the shadow of one of the phenomena of cons sciousness, or of essential vitality. It has no thought, no choice, no will. And limited thus in every attribute, incapable of originating of itself any event, and equally unable to resist the agency of others, it is inconceivable that it should be self-existent and eternal. Reason rejects the notion as the perfection of absurdity; while atheism clings to it as its only basis ! There must, indeed, þe one self-existent, eternal Being; but that being must be unchangeable, active, conscious, independent, and vital; therefore, that being is not matterbut the living God.

The fact that the laws and operations of matter have had a beginning furnishes further proof of the absurdity of your assertion that matter is eternal, Science teaches us that the mechanical motions of the earth, planets, and sidereal system will eventually cease and determine. The great hour-glass of ·all these magnificent worlds will run out : and if the power that launched them on their wondrous course should weary, decay, or refuse to uphold them, they must lapse into universal chaos. The existence of a resisting medium, through which the earth and the other members of the solar system perform their reyólutions, seems to be clearly established. Light, whether it be regarded as an emanation of material particles from the solar atmosphere, or the vibrations of an ethereal fluid, proves the universal diffusion of material particles throughout the sidereal system. In his Miscellanea Curiosa, Dr. G. Halley stated, two hundred years ago, that he thought that he could demonstrate that the opposition of the ether to planetary motion would in time become sensible; and modern science has confirmed the supposition. Comets, from their rarity and



lightness, are more easily affected by any resisting medium than denser bodies ; and in less than seventy years it is found that Encke's comet has had the period of its revolution shortened two whole days, while its orbit is shortened to such an extent, that notwithstanding the diminution of its velocity, it is found ten days in advance of the place which it would have reached ;-effects which the existence of a resisting medium alone can account for. Professors Nichol, Airy, and other high authorities, concur in admitting the existence of such a medium. The Astronomer Royal says, 'I cannot but express my belief, that the principal part of the theory,, viz., an effect similar to that which a resisting medium would produce, is perfectly established by the reasoning in Encke's memoir.' In his Bridgewater Treatise, Whewell remarks, “The same medium which is thus shown to produce an effect upon Encke's coinet, must also act upon the planets which move through the same spaces. The effect upon the planets, however, must be very much smaller than the effect upon the comet in consequence of their greater amount of matter. If a planet, revolving about the sun, were to lose any portion of its velocity by the effect of resistance, it would be drawn proportionably nearer the sun, the tendency toward the centre being no longer sufficiently counteracted by that centrifugal force which arises from the body's velocity. And if the resistance were to continue to act, the body would be drawn perpetually nearer and nearer to the centre, and would describe its revolution quicker and quicker, till at last it would reach the central body, and the system would cease to be a system. Since there is a retarding force perpetually acting, however slight it be, it must in the end destroy all celestial motions. It may be millions of millions of years before the earth's retardation may perceptibly affect the apparent motion of the sun; but still the day will come (if the same Providence which formed the system should permit it to continue so long) when this cause will entirely change the length of our year, and the course of our seasons, and finally stop the earth's motion round the sun altogether. The smallness of the resistance, however small we may choose to suppose it, does not allow us to escape this certainty. There is a resisting medium; and, therefore, the movements of the solar system cannot go on for

The moment such a fluid is ascertained to exist, the eternity of the movements of the planets becomes as impossible as a perpetual motion of the earth.' And if they cannot go on for ever, they have not gone on for ever. That which must cease to be, has begun to be. The past duration of this system cannot have been infinite, when it carries with it the elements of its determination and decay. It must have had a beginning, and therefore a Beginner.

Such are some of the items of proof that matter is not eternal. And what becomes of your argument when your fundamental fact is shown to be utterly untenable ?

My reply to what you have advanced against 'the great design analogical argument' must, and may, be brief.

You, at least, admit the existence of adaptation in the universe, the denial of which, you say, would be the most convincing proof of insanity. And that adaptation proves intelligence. Whose intelligence does it prove? Not that of matter; for that is the thing adapted; but of an agent in whose hands it is but a passive object.

Your definition of design is far from a happy one. It is a mental act, devising, the accomplishment of an object; and is seen in the appropriate use made of means to an end. The way in which the means are known, whether by observation, intuition, or omniscience, does not at all affect the nature of it. It is still design, and must have an author. When you can show me matter designing, I shall abandon the analogical argument, which is not inapplicable,' even though God does not attain his knowledge as man does.

I must leave your patients under the influence of chloroform, mesmerism,


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and ether, where I find them, in the realm of irrelevancy.

I am not afraid that in the estimation of any of our common sense readers you have weakened the force of the design argument.' Although we might not know the loss of arms and legs if they never belonged to us, the possession of them seems to me a proof of adaptation to the world which we inhabit, and of the wisdom and goodness of their designer.

Atheism believes many absurdities and mysteries, but I was scarcely prepared for your new material philosophy, that everything we know bears ån organised form.

The combination of oxygen and hydrogen, with a very small proportion of carbonic acid gas, in the atmosphere, is certainly a wonderful arrangement, and a proof both of wisdom and kindness.

You say truly, • All these things must have had a beginning or be eternal.' I have already proved that they cannot be eternal; they must, therefore, have had a beginning, and also a Beginner.

You admit that every plant, animal, and man furnishes proof of superhuman contrivance, but you ask if it is supernatural? If you doubt it you have only to ask when did nature ever bring forth spontaneously an ear of corn, a plant, or a human being ?

* To assert that God designs is' not 'to assert his materiality,' but his intelligence, and intelligence is an attribute not of matter but of mind.

Your argument for the omnipotence of matter is suicidal. You say that because man and matter have power, that God cannot be omnipotent. But you admit that man has power, and yet most inconsistently argue for the omnipotence of matter.

Your quotation from Shelley will not help you. Power may be an attribute of being, without being self-existing. We have power, and self-acting power

is not self.existent. Matter, as we have already seen, has no selfacting power, but is mutable, passive, and controlled. But if you will talk of its omnipotence, it only shows that in spite of yourself you will have a God, though you repudiate the name, and 'deny to him any moral or paternal character.

You argue that if design has a designer, the designer must have been designed. But you admit that there must be one self-existent, independent, uncreated, undesigned being in the universe. Your argument, therefore, is a mere quibble. We are in search of a sufficient cause for the phenomena of the universe. You say matter is that being, and is a sufficient cause. •I say, God; because matter is unintelligent, and is manifestly an effect. It is vain that you try to bind the mind to some lower link in the chain; it seeks the first; and in the uncaused Cause, in the living God alone does its philosophical intuition find repose.

DEFENDER. Our Opru Pagr.

NATURE DUALISTIC. Nature is dual, and men seldom look at both sides. We are apt to overlook the good we receive-when suffering temporary evil, and are very like the old Scotchwoman, who being told on her death-bed, that a number of mercies had been vouchsafed to her during her long career, replied, 'It's a very true, but they've been takken out o' me in cor-r-uns !' We say, poor woman ! how ignorant! and infer that we need a better system of education. True, for whilst mourning over the old woman we feel our own superiority, and forget our own ignorance. We observe one side only. The law of Polarity, which Magnetism proves, is everywhere observable. Attraction and repulsion, appear to beset all nature. Everything is seeking its equilibrium-each has its counter-part. Light and darkness; heat and cold; in the inspiration and expiration of gases

too, but


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