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clusion from all this,-ascending by a legitimate process of induction, from what we see and hear to what we cannot discern by any of our external senses, and can only apprehend by means of our reasoning faculties, is, that some power must exist capable of giving birth to all this; and as ex nihilo nihil fit," had there ever been a time when there was nothing, there never could have been a beginning of existence, therefore that power must be eternal; and as there is nothing but inorganized matter that bears a character of permanency, and the notion of an eternal series is an absurdity; so to produce organized and intelligent beings, that eternal power must be intelligent. How much superior the creating intelligence must be to that created, the man who has constructed a steam-engine may guess; for he knows at what an inconceivable distance in the scale of being he stands from the machine he has put together.
The power exterior to ourselves, then, is eternal and intelligent, and what is eternal, is of necessity self-existent. Now it is a necessary consequence of self-existence that such a being must be unlimited both in power and knowledge; for as he himself exists by his own will, therefore his own nature, no less than all other natures existing by his will, must be perfectly known to him, and entirely under his control, and what is unlimited must be One; for to suppose a second eternal principle would be to suppose a second individual will and purpose, which must produce a constant warfare, and would derange all the operations of nature, whose laws, on the contrary, we find to be immutable. For an incorporeal being can have no individuality but in will and purpose, and if the will be one, then there is an amalgamation of nature. Thus by a legitimate course of reasoning, we arrive at the certainty of one eternal,
self-existent, all-wise, and all-powerful Being, whom our simple ancestors, with a degree of philosophical accuracy which no other nation seems to have reached, named yod, i. e. good, for to such a being alone could the perfection belong which justly deserves that appellation.
But we have not even yet exhausted the consequences of this chain of reasoning; for the all-wise and all-powerful Being must be able to effect his will, whatever it may be. We may again look round us, and judge from what we see, what that will is. We see a profusion of means to convey pleasure; a profusion of creatures seemingly made to enjoy it, especially among the lower grades of organized beings. We have already proved that the eternal Intelligence can effect his will, whatever it be; then if that will were malevolent, we should see and feel nothing but destruction and misery; but we do not see it; then that will is not malevolent.
But the sad questioner who began the inquiry as to the nature of this eternal power, may perhaps again inquire," If the will of the Creator be benevolent, why am I controlled in my wishes, limited to a life which is too short for my projects, and often made miserable during that short life by sickness or by the loss of what I had centred my whole joy in?” But who has assured you that these few years elapsing between the cradle and the tomb are all? The will of the eternal Being is not malevolent, beings of a far lower grade fulfil the end of their being and are happy; you aspire to something which the short span of life never gives. Is it not a proof that your nature is not bounded by that span? Turn then to the next question, for it is now time to do so.
II. What is the nature of the power within ourselves?
Our only way of investigating an intangible and invisible power is by its effects; we can, therefore, only judge of what the power within ourselves is, by noting the phenomena of human nature; these on a little consideration, will be found to resolve themselves into three classes.
1. The instinctive emotions and appetites, all arising involuntarily, attended with a sensible bodily effect, and causing derangement of bodily health when in excess; anger, fear, &c., all take their place among these.
2. The faculties; which are exercised by choice, but suffer fatigue in the exercise, require rest, and exhibit other symptoms of their animal origin, but nevertheless slumber, if not called into activity by a voluntary act.
3. The acts of a restless undivided will, which requires no repose, suffers no fatigue; is as strong in the child or the dotard, as in the mature man; which claims for itself the whole individuality of existence, and speaks of my body, my faculties, but never seems to have the most distant conception that this body or these faculties are identical with itself.
It is quite clear that neither of the two first classes of phenomena can be referred to that power within whose nature we are seeking to ascertain, for this often curbs and contradicts the instinctive emotions, and impels the faculties to continued exertion, when weariness, and pain even, show how much they need repose. Animal nature does not seek to destroy itself knowingly, but man knows that his life is the forfeit of a particular course of action, and yet he pursues it: then the impelling power is of a different nature from the powers which it impels. It is this impelling individual will, then, or "personal power,"
(as it has been aptly termed by a philospher* whose works deserve to be more known than they are,) that must form the subject of our inquiry; for on its real nature depends the answer to the last question, as to what the good is which man has to seek, and what are the means to obtain that good.
The first indication of this power is seen in the infant angry at its own helplessness, and evincing its discontent by passionate struggles and cries. The individual will has come into a scene which it does not understand, has organs which are insufficient for its desires, and in mere wayward spite, beats the nurse for not comprehending what is the matter. Watch the growing child; questions, curious observations, obstinate persistence in its own views, show a power which is rather seeking information for its own guidance, than by any means partaking in the immaturity of the childish bodily form. Stronger beings have a will also, which they enforce by the infliction of punishment; the child resists till pain teaches him to choose the lesser evil, and the point is yielded just when pain or privation has reached the point of being more irksome than the concession demanded;† this concession very generally being not
*Theodore Jouffroy. "Mélanges Philosophiques-Des facultés de l'àme humaine."
+ It may be objected by some, that the higher animals exhibit some traces of this independent will; but before this objection be allowed weight, it ought to be considered that there is an animal will, the result of mere organization; the impulse of sensation mechanically propagated through the nerves and brain, until the nerves of voluntary motion in their turn receive and propagate the excitement to the muscles; which is, in fact, the whole mystery of instinct. It will be difficult to show that in animals anything more than this instinctive will is ever discovered, but even supposing there were, let the argument have its weight; it might go to prove, perhaps, that the occasional sufferings of the animal creation are parts of a system not yet
the sacrifice of any instinctive desire, but some endeavor at independence in a thing which is itself of little consequence. The child arrives at maturity, and a fresh struggle for freedom commences.
is thrown away as mere dust, to cast off slavery or preserve free institutions, for man has discovered practically that his nature only arrives at its highest point in a state of rational independence. Old age and sickness supervene; does this restless power, then, yield to circumstances? No. Impatience at the failure of the organs which have been wont to do its bidding, is the usual concomitant of these, and if we do not find impatience, it is only because it is curbed by the knowledge which the imperious spirit has at last gained, that this worn and enfeebled body is not its home, and that brighter days are approaching. When Maskelyne, amid the wreck caused by old age and palsy, blessed the child that sought him with affection, and could only utter "great man once," was the personal power less strong? Those few words showed what he would again have done, had he but had the organs requisite for the work. In sleep even, this voluntary power slumbers not; it resigns the reins, indeed, for a time, on the repeated petition of eyes, limbs, and brain, all declaring that they can do no more; but it remains on the watch
fully developed, but it alters not the case as regards man, for we cannot argue from unknown premises; and before we can draw any deduction from animal nature to apply to our own, we must know much more about it than we do. The pride of man has disclaimed the fellowship of the animal creation, but we should be puzzled to find any sufficient proof one way or the other; let us then be contented to leave this matter where we found it, and argue only from what we know, satisfied that man will suffer no deterioration, even if
"in that distant sky
His faithful dog should bear him company,"