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bined wisdom of this century use a new panacea in the great work of human amelioration ?
In Nature, it was said, that evil had wrought sad results. The so-called facts he adduced on this head I will not stop to review. They are not considered of sufficient importance to the thinking world. But in regard to the allusion to the existence of snakes, fish, and the "abortive flounder," I have some impressions which I will presently express. In this place, however, I will merely utter my present regret that Dr. B. had not familiarized his mind more with Nature. It seems that he has studied, or rather observed, an enormous and destructive battle among some exasperated ants in this city! The battle-field—a yard square of earth—was strewed with the dead, wounded, and dying! They finally “fought for halves, after many of them were bitten into pieces.”
Thus”(concluded Dr. B-.)“it is with society.” Supernatural sin operates even upon the little ants! Now, how much more reasonable would the Lecturer have been, had he said, that the lower we descend in the kingdoms of Nature the more cruel and revengeful the creature; the higher we go, the nearer we approach the angels!
In conclusion, allow me to give you a concise view of Nature as it is.
As you remember, Dr. B-complained of Christian poets and moralists skipping over the fields of Nature. • They think it is Beautiful.” In doing this, he thought that they were unfaithful to the Scripture doctrine. He, it would seem, is ready to sacrifice every thing upon the altar of supernaturalism,-so degrading to the mind are the fossil vestiges of old opinions ! Progress, my friends, is a law of Nature.
“ That was not first which is spiritual, but natural, and afterward the spiritual.” The fair and beautiful always unfold from the rudest beginnings. The first developments of minerals, of vegeta
bles, and animals, are universally low and imperfect. The angular form is first; then succeeds the circular ; then the ascending circular, which is the spiral ; and this form merges gently into the spiritual. For example, the child is first, which is angular; then the youth, which is hasty and impetuous, because changing from the angular to the circular in character; then comes manhood, which is the perfect circular; then the period of maturity, which is the ascending circular, but which soon becomes a spiral, and glides away into the spiritual realm of life! And so all brutes, and birds, and fish are developed, primarily, upon the lowest possible plane of being. There is a regular chain of beings from the little insect to the highest form of matter. The supernatural idea that malformations or abortions exist, is derived from a perverted and superficial view of the progressive gradations of Nature's unceasing developments. It was first necessary to invert and misinterpret the true line of progress among animals, before a case could be made out to substantiate the text: that “the creation groaneth and travaileth together in pain until now”—all, it was asserted, in consequence of man's voluntary sins! Such are the logical disclosures of an erroneous theology.
But I am impressed to consider True Theology as the holiest and sublimest form of knowledge. It conveys our thoughts far away into the peopled realms of infinitude : speaks to us of the harmonies and sublimities of eternity; and leads our affections onward and upward to the Supernal Mind. True theology teaches, that every thing is forever progressing in goodness and perfection—is eternally grow. ing more and more lovely, more harmonious, more wise, more happy!
The time hath been when this planet was but a dark and barren desert. Frequent convulsions and earthquakes sent into the air black and grotesque rocks--creating, in a moment of time, channels for the roll of oceans—and forming deep valleys and ravines, dark and dismal as the fabled dominions of Pluto. No bird of song broke the silence; no creeping thing animated the dust. Thus was it once with our earth.
But the eternal principle of Progression continued still to exert its mighty power upon the physical elements; and soon, there came forth green leaves from the mountain cliffs, lofty palms from the valleys, and sea-mosses quickly gathered, in rich profusion, upon the craggy acclivities.
Another long era passed, and the ocean was peopled with living forms—even the earth became animated with mighty saurians; and so, in due order of progression, animals came forth-improving, in their type and character, in harmony with the advancement and refinement of the elements of food, light, air, and the surrounding geographical conditions. And finally, as the crowning issue of all—as a coronation of the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms—there came forth Man! And Man, physically and spiritually, has steadily advanced from the earliest dawn of human life to the present day. Still his course is eternally onward. And the once barren and dismal earth is rapidly becoming an incipient paradise !
Old theology complains, through its popular devotees, “that Nature is too much praised !" Indeed! Nature too much praised ? Nay, it can not be! He who would study the works and ways of God, must contemplate nature; and the creation can not be examined, without inspiring the true mind with gratitude, delight, and religion. Nature teaches that low and imperfect forms always precede high and beautiful creations. But Nature, my friends, is not limited to this little planet; neither to the myriads of earths and systems in space; nor to the infinite system of suns in the upper skies; it is the boundless universe, and “ beautiful” as the Living God !
: Love-streams break forth from the deep depths of Deity, like the impetuous gushings of a mighty fountain. In its deep harmonious workings, it sends its startling energies through myriads of planets at the same moment-arousing the little germs, which lie hidden and slumbering in the earth, into the joy of being-yet, there is no discord; for WISDOM describes the method of the vast accomplishments. As progress is the law; so the development of every thing is graduated upon an infinite scale. Trees grow from the earth upward. And there is a harmony more or less perfect in every thing. The coral worm works with harmonious skill, and builds the mighty reefs; against which the ponderous waves of old ocean may perpetually roll; and upon these islands cities might stand secure for ages. The song of birds, too, and the waving willow, blend together in harmonious motion. Sweet fountains gush forth musically; melodies break forth from rippling lakes; the summer winds breathe joyfully over the green fields; and the distant valleys murmur forth a peaceful hymn! But this natural harmony is more and more perfected as we ascend the spiritual scale of being. The songs of birds foreshadow the perfections of the human voice. The sweet harmonies of the midsummer season faintly typify the diversified beauties of the Spirit Land! Nature, I repeat, is beautiful as the Living God; because it is his TEMPLE.
THE DYING DOGMAS.
The antagonisms existing between the popular dogmas of theology and the plainest declarations of Reason, are hourly becoming more and more distinct and visible. All efforts to harmonize them must ultimate in disappointment and defeat. Because there exists no essential affinity between them, no indwelling principle of common sympathy, around which a unitary organization of reason and theology could only be permanently established. Of this there can be but one explanation. The dogmas of theology originated at a period when the human mind had not yet put forth its energetic faculties of understanding. Reason is a recent development. It has not yet appeared in its true ministry and glory; but, slowly as unfolds the spring vegetation, reason is appearing in the broad horizon of the moral world,—darting its penetrative illuminations far away into the abysses of ignorance, and most powerfully into the gloomy retreats of long-fostered dogmas. These bequeathments of the past, these idols of the sacerdotal orders of men, must now be uncovered and examined. A lifeless and godless form may be draped in the holiest garments; and, to all external seeming, the worshiped idol may present evidences of possessing a divine energy and spirit; but the devotee, should he allow the reason-principle to perform its functions, will instantly become sufficiently clairvoyant to perceive the emptiness of the dogma, and its utter inapplicability to the present wants
of the age.