Billeder på siden

the subjects of growth. But is it not discernible that the power of growth exercises a very different influence in the elements of organisms than mechanical power exercises upon merely compounded or simple elements? We have seen generally all that can be said of the action and results of mechanical power; let us now observe how the power of growth deals with physical elements. Here the careful and studious eye will see marvels. A leaf grows. Whence came it? In a physical sense it has no whence. It never was till the power of growth produced it upon the tree. To say with Dr. Tyndall that this leaf is "only an organized concourse of molecules" is simply to say nothing. If Dr. Tyndall would explain, and no one is more able, the calculus is at his command-and why not, when he made the assertion, have produced the equation in proof how any merely mechanical, chemical, or magnetic force produced this "organized concourse" the leaf?—then there could be no whence but the sun of nature or a 66 fiery cloud." Dr. Tyndall says, "As far as the eye of science has hitherto ranged through nature, no intrusion of purely creative power into any series of phenomena has ever been observed.' What he means by "purely creative power" is not very clear. But taking the word "create" as it is literally understood, there cannot be much difficulty in seeing that all new formation which is creation is constantly of power. Our natural philosophers strive hard to put the name and idea of God out of existence. And doubtless this is the "purely creative power that Dr. Tyndall fails to find. And because theology has mystified the existence and attributes of God, and presents no rational conception of His Being, not only Dr. Tyndall but others fail to find a "purely creative power" such as is attributed to God. Power is the Divine Presence everywhere. All the power and consequent forces of the sun are the Divine Presence there. All the modes of action from that power and its resistances are the Divine law there. Still this power and all its forces have no other attributes than those which have been shown to belong to them. And it is not improper to say that the results of the combinations of these forces are perpetual creations. It has been said that the power of growth acts differently from mechanical power; notwithstanding, the results of the activity of that power are creations too. Hence, as has been said, a leaf has no whence, physically considered it is a creation where it is produced from the power of growth.

[ocr errors]

The mechanical forces come under the grasp of the calculus as exactly as the computation of the track of a planet or a comet enters into their respective modes of motion. But is it not self-evident that calculation cannot grasp the power of growth? Yet if it were in any way a physical or mechanical power this would be possible. This power, to define it, is vital energy or life, a term now to be used in contradistinction to mechanical power or force. And let it be observed that inasmuch as natural organisms are composed entirely of physical elements, mechanical forces of all kinds must act upon them and produce their own results. But at the same time it would be irrational

to say that they can produce any other. Physical waste of all kinds demands physical supply. But the marvel of the action of life in turning these physical supplies to its own use and in rejecting the effete for the purposes of growth and formation demands careful analysis. In an organism force and supply do their office from without to within, but life and its power operate from within to without. And what wonderful work is done! Growth and formation imply facts that hardly seem to strike our philosophers with sufficient force. Growth means very much more than increase, it means the development of forms. Forms that rise in ineffable grandeur and complexity, from the smallest Diatomacea to the stately and Divine form of man; from the humblest lichen to the stateliest trees of the grove. Force may produce bulk and shape, but shape is a term far from expressing the meaning involved in form. The wax leaf may be of the shape of the grown leaf. But every form, even the tiniest that the microscope can reveal within the leaf, has aided in the development of the full form, and then, if you like, the shape of the leaf. Without these forms and their holy beauty all art, painting, poetry, and song must die. Now, behold how, to the accomplishment of this work, all merely physical forces yield themselves. The circular and conical curves of mechanical force, the crystalline lines and faces of chemical action, all yield their energies beneath the gentle yet overpowering influence of life. But though these forces are thus yielded in organisms to the purposes of life, their supply remains without stint, being constantly provided from the ever-present forces and elements of the physical world, in which are included the sun as their source. Remove all these and every natural force and supply to organisms would cease. Well, then, as growth and formation are something done from within, is it not proper, "in seeking the unknown in the terms and facts of the known," to infer that there must be constantly present in the inmost of organisms the means and source of the power of growth and formation, or of life and all its powers? Again, if an organism be carefully considered it will be found to be simply state of existence. Indeed any form is only a state of existence. The form of the earth is only its state of existence consequent upon the fluxion of a mechanical force. And this form is momentarily sustained by the solar forces. Water is only the chemical state of being of oxygen and hydrogen consequent upon the immediate presence of the law of force or combination. So also every crystalline shape is only a state of being from mechanical force. A living form is only a living state of being consequent upon the presence of the means and power of life. But state is far more applicable to the forms of life than to the forms or rather the shapes produced by mechanical force. For though living forms are composed of physical elements only, yet life produces states upon all its forms that are not to be found at all in the elements themselves. The fragrance of flowers, the sweetness and lusciousness of fruits, the aroma and oils of trees and plants are all due, and due only, to the states which life induces through their

respective organisms. And even any attribute that distinguishes one organic form from another, and the products of one organism from the products of another, are nothing but the states which life induces upon them, of course taking into due consideration the character of the physical supplies. Hence everything of the whole organic world excepting the bare physical elements and their forces are the results of life and its powers.

But let us now return to consider the leaf. Whence came it? For really there is a whence after all. Its whence, in the first instance, is the previous state of the elements of which it is composed, and if we trace state thus backwards to the first germ of the plant, we find the first or general state of the leaf, or even of the whole plant and all that it can produce. States thus proceed step by step or in successions. But mark, successive only in the sense of growth; for a leaf does not actually exist in the germ nor anywhere else excepting where and when it is fully formed. Then, and not till then, is it in its state of existence. Hence life acted one way to form and sustain the germ, another way to form and sustain the structure and the sap, and another way to produce the leaves and fruit. And in this work life and its powers are such essential factors that no development could be produced without them. But now let it be observed that the work and the workman are as distinct as the mechanical forces of the world are distinct from the objects which are composed externally of its elements and forces. It has been shown that mechanical force cannot be made manifest, or operate anything, without resisting media, and these in the case of the sun and the world are the metallic and gaseous elements. So also it is impossible to think of the powers and operations of life without taking into view media of its own by which it can be made manifest and operate its results. From what has been said it will be seen that physical elements are only the media of physical force, and can only be so. If these, however, are acted into by another power called life, and in a manner very different from the action of physical force, that power must have its own media by which it can produce its results. Power without media is nothing. Physical force acts purely mechanically by its own media; life, acting for the production of growth and form only, must have its own peculiar media to which it can adapt itself, and by which it can produce its results. These results have been defined as states of existence. They are the creations of life. They stand alone, the results of its possibilities and operations. And there is no more reason to doubt that these possibilities and operations have originated, or created, by the arrangement or preparation of physical and living media, the initial forms, whatever they may have been, of all organisms, than that they continue to create any leaf or living form to-day. But states of existence pass away. On the physical side of an organism, when the states which life formed in it pass away, the physical elements and forces which manifested the states remain. But where are the life and its media by which it operated into the physical elements and forces and created

states of being? There is surely as much reason to believe that these have permanent existence after the form or state of the organism has passed away, as there is the power of physical sight in this world to see that the physical elements and forces have a permanent exist


This demands a world of life and the permanent media of living power. A world where life and its media are in the constant production of state as the real fact of existence. And this demanded world and all its powers can be the only source and sustentation of all the living forms of the physical globe. But a world implies a sun and all its forces. It implies elements and all that arises from them. And as the facts of that world can only be living states of existence, the media or elements of that sun and its world can only be contributory to, if not the actual causes of, the changes or varieties of living states or facts experienced therein; just as the various elements of this world are by their resistance contributory to, or productive of, the various forms of mechanical, chemical, and magnetic force.

Whilst seeming to wander a little, let it be observed that not a few have tried to find a system of ethics without the ethics of Revelation. But no one can trace out better principles for the moral government of men than those revealed and written in the Word of God. And so, if we trace out rationally the order of the world and the wonderful organisms which inhabit it, we shall be led to make a demand upon a source as difficult to find in mere physics as the source of morals. When men's minds were able to trace out this order, the Divine Love took care that the means were supplied. And now we can learn, if we are willing, that there are two different kinds of worlds and two different kinds of suns. Mere guessing and conjuring about the order of the universe may now be laid aside, and the source and characteristics of every organism from the simplest to the highest are now made known. In the marvellous work on "Heaven and Hell" it is shown by Swedenborg that the spiritual world is a real world with a sun, earth, and atmosphere, and that these are the living cause and media of real, substantial, and living forms. The essence of these living forms is the state of the media or of the real substances of which they are composed, and this results because, according to the receptivity of the media, or of the subjects, life produces variety and changes of state. State in that world is thence the fact of the subject's existence. It is really so in this world, because this world really subsists from that. The difference, however, between the origin of the states in the living (spiritual) and the natural world will be seen from what has been said of the difference between mechanical force and living power. But the grand difference between the two worlds and their sources of power and their co-operation to make a universe is wonderfully demonstrated by Swedenborg in his treatise "On Angelic Wisdom on the Divine Love and Wisdom." A few brief quotations from that remarkable work shall complete this essay. At N. 83 we read, "The Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom appear in the spiritual world as a sun. There are two


worlds, spiritual and natural; and the spiritual world derives nothing from the natural, nor the natural world anything from the spiritual, for they are altogether distinct and communicate only by correspondences, the nature of which has been much shown elsewhere.' At N. 85 we read, "That there is another sun besides the sun of the natural world has been hitherto unknown; because man's spiritual nature has been so deeply immersed in what is natural, and this to such an extent that he knows nothing of what is spiritual nor anything of a spiritual world." At N. 157, "The sun of the natural world is pure fire from which everything of life has been abstracted; but the sun of the spiritual world is fire in which is Divine Life. The angelic idea of the fire of the natural sun and of the fire of the spiritual sun is this, that Divine Life is in, sit intus, the fire of the sun of the spiritual world, but without, extus, in the fire of the sun of the natural world." At N. 158, "Since the sun of the natural world is pure fire and thence dead," here let it be observed that it is only relatively dead fire, the difference being in the mode of the reception of life, or between Divine Life sit intus, and the Divine life extus, "therefore also the Heat thence proceeding is dead, similarly also the Light thence proceeding is dead; likewise the atmospheres which are called ether and air, and in their bosom receive and convey the heat and light of the sun, are dead. Since these are dead, so also are all and singular things of the earth which underlie them and are called earths are dead; yet every, omnia et singula, are surrounded by spiritual things which proceed and flow from the sun of the spiritual world. Unless they were so surrounded, earthly substances could have no activity, nor be able to produce forms of use which are vegetables, nor forms of life which are animals, nor could materiality be able to supply the wants by which man exists and subsists." And from Ns. 173 to 178 we learn "that in the spiritual world there are atmospheres, waters, and earths as in the natural world; but that the former are spiritual and the latter natural." In these numbers the nature and character of both are fully explained. Thus mankind is furnished with rational knowledge of the whence of all creation, order and law both living and physical. Let us hope that the day is not distant when our natural philosophers will discover that there is none of the fish they want in the stream in which they angle, yet to satisfy themselves call some of the fish they catch by what they would have them to be, but will seek "the waters of life," where "their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea exceeding many" (Ezek. xlvii. 10). Thus shall our natural philosophers truly become "fishers of men.'


[ocr errors]


« ForrigeFortsæt »