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out form, and, as it were, void. No dis- creating in a finite manner; but God, tinct image is present to the mind, and possessing an infinite life, has an infinite all our conceptions lie in the memory and creative power. imagination, (which is another form, or By virtue of this creative power, the rather a modification of memory,) in the universe is evidently, from all eternity, mere potentiality of existence as actual possible ; that is, the universe must have conceptions. li we begin to act mentally, existed, from all eternity, in potentia. if we begin to form to ourselves a pic This possibility is, therefore, itself unture or conception, the facts of memory created; for God, being self-living, cannot, rise up before us, and, taking the isolated by any possibility, exist without the parts, we bring them together, perhaps in power to create. For when we say that new forms, by the exercise of imagina- a thing exists in possibility, or is possible, tion, perhaps in the reproduction of some we mean that some active agent has the well known collocation, by the exercise power to bring it to pass. The words posof simple memory.
sible and power, come from the same root. This vast, and apparently empty, (as The abyss, the invisible or potential in the case supposed by Dupuis,) expanse world, exists, therefore, from eternity; it of memory, which stretches out before is uncreated, dependent not upon the will, the inward eye when we seem to cease but upon the being of the self-living God. from all thought, is as the invisible or But, perhaps, this explanation, as it potential world, as the abyss. This now stands, is not altogether satisfactory. empty expanse, containing the germ of all We say then that the abyss, the potential our conceptions, is a similitude, a corres world, the original possibility of things, pondency, with the invisible world of the is uncreated. Why?
For this reasonOrientals. But the invisible world is the if God created the original possibility, that seed of all nature, while the vacant ex creation of the original possibility, was panse, or world, of memory and imagina- itself possible with God; here a new postion, is finite, and the seed of the concep- sibility rises up behind the possibility first tions of the individual man only. As considered, and this new possibility is a the whole universe is contained, in po- prior condition requisite to the very being tentia, in the abyss, so, in this field of of the possibility first considered. If we memory, are contained potentially all treat this new possibility, (which we have those elements which go to make up the formed on the hypothesis that the original conceptions formed by the mind when it possibility was created, to be prior to that entered into operation. It will be well, original possibility itself), if we treat this for the reader to look again at the pas new possibility as we did the other, still sages relating to the invisible world, another possibility will rise up behind already quoted from the Bhagvat Geeta this new possibility, and so on to infinity. making those changes which a reference If, therefore, the original possibility was of the texts to the finite instead of the created, that possibility was by no means infinite abyss, will render necessary: original, for it must have been preceded
But to proceed. God is a self-existent by another possibility, and this last by (that is, a self-living) being: We shall another; all which is evidently absurd. endeavor, in some future article, to make The possibility of a particular act of it evident that God is not only Essence, creation is a condition logically prior to but also Existence; for the present, we the creative act itself; for if the particular content ourselves with a simple assertion creation be impossible, it will evidently of the fact, being confident that our read never take place. The possibility is not ers perceive the absurdity of denying it. made to be by the very fact of creation, But to obviate all objection, we will give for the particular creation would have a simple demonstration. If God be pure remained possible, although the actual essence, without existence, it would be creation had never taken place. The absolutely impossible that there should greater portion of the abyss, the greater be any visible world, as there would be part of the possibilities of things, have no reason why any thing should be drawn indeed not yet been realized, and, in all forth from the abyss into actual existence; probability, they never will be. The posbut there is a visible world, therefore, &c. sibility of an act of creation is therefore a God is self-living, therefore having power condition logically prior to, and independto create. Man, by virtue of his energy ent of, that act itself; and this reasoning as a living essence, has the power of ori. applies as well to the first act of creation ginating new conceptions, the power of as to any other. The possibility of crea
tion, the universe in potentia, the abyss, sis, but abandoned the element of truth therefore, existed before the very first act of which was more vaguely expressed. We creation and is, therefore, itself uncreated are far from endeavoring to vindicate the —the proposition that was to be proved. Oriental systems, yet we think the writers
We are now able to see the bearing of of the Vedas ought to have the credit of a profound expression recorded in the half seeing the truth we have been enVedas. “Waters [fluids in most of the deavoring to explain. But to proceed : ancient systems represented the abyss,) when we form a conception, we gather waters alone there were; this world origi- the detached portions together in the nally was water. In it the Lord of crea memory, and the complete conception tion moved, having become air: he saw starts up, as it were, before us. But we this earth, and upheld it, assuming the can bring no element into our conception form of Varacha. The Lord of creation which we have not previously acquired meditated profoundly upon the earth, and by experience, which we do not retain as created the Gods, the Vasas, the Rudras, a fact of memory; all things must exist and the Adityas: these gods addressed the in the memory before they can enter Lord of creation, saying, How can we and become a part of the conception. form creatures? He replied, as I created When, however, the conception is formed, you by profound contemplation, so do you we recognize that it is distinct from us, seek in devotion the means of multiplying that it is not ourselves, but an image, a creatures.” Thus, according to the Vedas, mental picture, dependent upon us for this visible universe was created out of its continuance in existence. If we withthe abyss of essence, but non-existence, draw our attention it vanishes. It deby the profound contemplation of the pends upon us for our existence, but our Lord of creation, that is, bya method analo- existence does not depend upon it. We gous to that of the production of concep. do not flow into the conception, it does tions and images in human thought. As not partake of our essence, yet we susthe facts in the memory of man are dis- tain it, and, if we withdraw our sustaintinct from, though dependent upon, him, ing energy, it returns again into the so the invisible world, or the abyss, (which potential state in the vacant expanse of is, as it were, the vacant expanse of the memory; it will no longer be a picture infinite memory,) is distinct from God, actually existing before our minds. We though dependent upon him; and as it would here remark, by the way, that no requires a living and personal man to picture, no representation, can exist in create a poem, or other work of memory the mind; for the mind is simple, and and imagination, so it requires a living therefore without any capacity of includand personal God, to create this transcend- ing space, and, where there is no space, ent poem which we call nature and man, the use of the word within is absurd. or the visible universe. So this world is The picture is present to the mind, not the thought of God, but that thought in the visible world, but in the invisible rendered firm and stable, in its manifold world of memory and imagination, where relations, by the simple volition of the indeed there is space, but of another Divine mind; for the worlds were created order from the space of the visible world. by the will of God.
A further investigation of this matter But here, a confusion of thought, lead. would require psychological developing to pantheism, must be noticed; and ments wholly incompatible with the na. this more especially as the Oriental phi. ture of this article; we are concerned losopher invariably became bewildered, at this moment, not with psychology, and identified God with the Abyss. We but with ontology. wish the reader to bear in mind that in The early Hindoo philosophers knew this assertion of the self-existence of God, very well that God was self-living, and superior to the Abyss, we separate our. superior to the Abyss, but they always selves from the Oriental systems. The became entangled in their speculations, writers of the Vedas undoubtedly be. till they confounded the Abyss with the lieved in the personality of God, but Divine Nature itself. Sometimes they when they came to write, they found say the Abyss is God, which is atheism, the thought too powerful for them, and for the Abyss is evidently dead, and to sought to shelter their weakness in the say that God is dead, is but another way pantheistic hypothesis. Nearly all the of saying that there is no God. This writers who gathered their systems from is not the doctrine of the Orthodox sects, the sacred books, adopted this hypothe. but of the heretics, the Buddhists for ex.
ample. Sometimes, however, the most assemblage of locomotive and immovable Orthodox writers affirm, in the same creatures.” passage, the self-living, personal, exist. ence of God, and the divinity of the The Orientals held, as a very general Abyss; the assertion of contradictory thing, the Abyss to be God. The visible things produces inextricable confusion. universe is nothing other than the Abyss An example may be found in the be- itself, proceeding from the potential state ginning of the Laws of Menû :
into actual relations-proceeding, from
invisibility to visibility. Hence the in“This universe existed only in the first visible world, if it have a substantial Divine idea, yet unexpanded, as if involved existence, (which it must have, if it be in darkness, imperceptible, undefinable, identical with God,) is the substance of undiscoverable by reason, and undiscovered the visible, so that there would be but by revelation, as if it were wholly immersed in sleep.
one substance or being in the universe; He, having willed to produce various for the Abyss, as has been already shown, beings from his own divine substance, first
The universe, therefore, while with a thought created the waters, and in the potential state, would be God, but placed in them a productive seed.
after it has proceeded forth from invisi“The seed became an egg, bright as bility to visibility, it is the actual world. gold, blazing like the luminary with a Thus God is supposed to be the substance thousand beams; and in that egg he was of the visible world. While things are born himself, in the form of BRAHMA, the in their actual relations, they are not God, great forefather of all spirits. “ The waters were called nara, because dial source, they are God; for each thing
but when they return into their primorthey were the production of Nara, or the Spirit of God; and since they were his according to its potential existence is of first ayana, or place of motion, he thence the Abyss, and it is the whole Abyss, for is named NARAYANA, or moving on the the very being of the Abyss consists in waters.
this, that all which distinguishes one “From THAT WHICH IS, the first cause, thing from another is swallowed up, denot the object of sense, existing every stroyed. It is probably, for these or simwhere in substance, not existing to our ilar reasons, that some of our subjective perception, without beginning or end, was Idealists (Transcendentalists) affirm that produced the divine male, famed in all
they are God when they are out of the worlds under the appellation of BRAHMA. “He whose powers are incomprehen
body, but not God when in the body.” sible, having thus created both me and this
In fact, our Transcendentalists believe, as we have already seen,
" that this visi. universe, was again absorbed in the Supreme Spirit
, changing the time of energy ble universe is a procession from some for the time of repose.
unknown centre in the Transcendentalist “When that Power awakes, (for though himself.” Is it not evident, therefore, slumber be not predicable of the sole eter
that when the universe enters its primornal Mind, infinitely wise, and infinitely dial source, it will enter the Transcendentbenevolent, yet it is predicated of BRAHMA, alist himself, since it is from him that all figuratively, as a general property of life,) things originally proceed? This is the then has this world its full expansion ; but genesis of Transcendentalism. The thinkwhen he slumbers with a tranquil spirit, then the whole system fades away:
er identifies the Abyss with himself, call“For while he reposes, as it were, in ing the Abyss God, and then says that he calm sleep, embodied 'spirits, endued with creates and destroys the universe, by principles of action, depart from their seve alternating seasons of energy and repose. ral acts, and the mind itself becomes inert. He uses the words of Kreeshna, saying,
“And when they are once absorbed in “ There is not anything greater than I ; that supreme essence, then the divine soul and all things hang on me, even as preof all beings withdraws his energy, and cious gems on a string. I am entity and placidly slumbers.
nonentity; I am death and immortality. “Then, too, this vital soul of created I now draw in, and I now let out.” And bodies, with all the organs of sense and of evidently, if the Transcendentalist enters action, remains long immersed in the first the potential state, he is the whole Abyss; idea, or in darkness, and performs not its for he can enter that state only by denatural functions, but migrates from its corporeal frame.
stroying every quality which distinguishes . Thus the immutable Power, by waking him from the rest of the universe. But and reposing alternately, revivifies and de- by what right does he affirm himself to stroys, in eternal succession, this whole be the whole actual universe, even though
grant that he is the whole universe in the visible resting its substantial bepotentia ? If a man enter the potential ing upon the invisible; but in the second, state, as is very evident from the pre we find the assertion of a living and perceding considerations, he dies, and does sonal God; for, it is by contemplation by no means become greater than he was. that the Vast One germinates, that is, the A Transcendentalist ought not, therefore, Vast One is a contemplative agent, a to affirm himself to be all things, but living person.
But the Vast One is rather, on the contrary, to affirm himself identified with the Abyss, the Abyss is to be dead. The following lines, quoted made to be alive, and from this admixfrom the Dial, will show that our Tran ture of incongruous thoughts flows forth, scendental friends have not always mani as usual, an inextricable confusion. fested this wisdom: “Nothing is if thou art not.
IV. After these somewhat extended From thee, as from a root,
preliminary observations, we are able to The blossoming stars upshoot, examine the question of the soul's imThe flower-cups drink the rain.
mortality. First, then, what is death, Joy and grief and weary pain
or the transition from this life to that Spring aloft from thee, And toss their branches free.
which is to come? Death is not the conThou art under, over all ;
trary of being or of existence, for the Thou dost hold and cover all; contrary to being is nonentity, and the
Thou art Atlas, thou art Jove !" contrary to existence is non-existence; We will make another quotation from death is contrary to life, and hardly that. the Bhagvat Geeta, and then pass to the Death is the passage of a vital agent next general head:
from one state of existence to another. “This whole world was spread abroad
A man when he leaves this present
state for the future world is said to die, by me in my invisible form, All things depend on me, and I am not dependent though it is not to be supposed that his upon them. Behold my divine connection. soul ceases for a moment to live. Is the My creative spirit is the keeper of all things, death of the soul conceivable ? Endeavor not the dependent. Understand that all to conceive of yourself as dead-make things rest in me as the mighty air, which the attempt. Do you not still find yourpasseth everywhere, resteth in the ethe- self as a living agent, contemplating some
At the end of the formation, imaginary picture, which you have con. at the end of the day of Brahma, all things, jured up before your mind, and which O son of Koontas, return into my primor- represents yourself as dead.
Make the other formation, I create them all again. attempt again. Evidently it is fruitless; I plant myself in my own virtue, and cre
no man can conceive of himself as dead. ate, again and again, this assemblage of dead to this present state, as having de
We may indeed conceive of ourselves as beings, this whole, from the power of nature without power. Those works confirm parted from the present body, but not as not me, because I am like one that sitteth totally dead. A man may die as to this aloof, uninterested in those works. By my present body, but he is immediately born supervision, nature produceth both the into a new, a higher state ; for the soul, movable and the immovable. It is from speaking without reference to the partithis source, 0 Arjoon, that the universe cular state of existence, does not cease to resolveth."
live. To die, therefore, is not to cease How different is this doctrine from that from all life, but to cease from this present of the Vedas! The text of the sacred form of life which we enjoy in the body. books is intermixed with errors, but still The soul, absolutely speaking, never they assert the existence of a creative dies, it merely dies relatively, it merely God; while here, in the Bhagvat Geeta, dies in relation to that form of life which the Deity is identified with the Abyss- it lived in the body. that is, his being is denied.
The philosophical arguments, howAs the spider spins, and gathers ever, which are generally adduced in back its thread (say the Vedas); as plants favor of the immortality of the soul, are sprout out of the earth; as hairs grow good for nothing, Perhaps it will be on a living person; so is this universe well to examine a few of them. The produced from imperishable nature. By first is derived from the simplicity of the contemplation the Vast One germinates." soul; this is the metaphysical argument. In the first sentence we have indeed the The soul is simple, that is, not made up procession of all things from the Abyss, of parts, therefore indecomposable, there
fore indestructible. Granted. But this she answers, “I am conscious that they only proves that the soul, quod being, never happened.” This is a specimen will never cease; the same may be said of the argument from consciousness. The of every particle of matter. When the fact is, our friends really mean, when body is destroyed the particles are not they say they are conscious of the redestroyed; they go into new relations ; ality of a fact concerning which they what was once wheat or grain is now a have no certain knowledge, that their man, and what was once a man is now belief in that direction is strong. But some animal—"all flesh is grass,” but strong belief is no valid philosophical does this proverb prove that each par. argument; for many false opinions have ticle of matter enjoys immortality? The been firmly held, and all creeds, the false question is, whether the soul in its future as well as the true, count their martyrs state will continue not merely to be, but who have sealed their faith in their blood. to live. The question is not concerning For ourselves, we know of no good argupersistence in being, but concerning fu ment for the immortality of the soul, exiure life. The metaphysical argument cept the one so philosophically set forth by proves nothing in relation to immor our Saviour and the Apostle Paul. But tality. The soul lives now in the body, this will lead us perhaps too far into the is dependent upon the body for its com dark region of theological controversy. munion with outward nature, it cannot We will, however, say a few words in relearn or know anything of the visible lation to the metaphysics of the Christian world except through the medium of the doctrine of immortality, and, in so doing, senses, and without the cunning organ we shall be careful to trespass on the ization of the ear, human speech and the limits of no sect-to say nothing which communion of man with man, and there. could justly be condemned by an intellifore, human sympathies, and, in short, gent man of any religious denomination. human life, would be impossible. Who The Hindoo theologians say that man's does not know the influence of spiritous life is generated from the bread he eats: liquor, tobacco, and opium, upon the Moses gives a nobler expression to this memory? Do these material agents act thought, saying, “ Man shall not live by directly on the soul? Evidently not; bread alone, but by every word which but they act on the body, and this proceedeth out of ihe mouth of God.” weakening of the memory by material What is Life? We do not conceive it agents operating on the body shows us necessary to answer this question, althat the soul is dependent, for the con- though we think it one by no means diftinuance of the exercise of memory and ficult to answer. The manner in which imagination, to a certain extent, upon its life is sustained is the question which connection with the body. Who shall
We are not upon the say, with the metaphysical argument problem of the nature of life, but upon only to sustain him, that the soul, on its that of immortality, the continuance of separation from the body does not enter life. the Abyss, does not enter the potential A man lives a sort of vegetable life, a life state? Is there any life there, any im- similar to that of the plants, according to mortality in the Abyss, which men would which the involuntary functions, such as desire ? Again, there is the Platonic the circulation of the blood, the action of argument, which goes on the ground the stomach, are performed. He lives that man existed in some celestial region also a sort of animal life, a life similar to before he was born of a woman. But that of the brutes, according to which he this fact must be made good before it can gratifies his animal passions, and lives in be used in any argument; this we believe the enjoyment of sensual pleasures. He has never yet been done. Then comes lives also a social life, which he has in the argument from consciousness. Some common with other men and women, acsay they are conscious they will live cording to which he gratifies the tendenhereafter. Consciousness, we believe, cies proper to man. This analysis is ingives us knowledge concerning the im- complete, and, in fact, altogether erronemediate operations of our own minds, ous; for man has naturally but one life, and concerning these only. The argu. which is human life; yet these distincment from consciousness, is, therefore, tions will enable us to express our not absurd, but ridiculous. We know a thought more clearly. Man's life is lady who denies the Christian miracles, sustained by the bread he eats. A plant and when asked why she denies them, deprived of light, air, and moisture, dies;
now concerns us.