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That the real internal essence of matter, whatever that essence may be, must remain the same under every possible modification, few, if any, will attempt either to deny or doubt; because it is from this unknown essence, that those essential properties result which are known; while, from these known essential properties, we are enabled to form distinct perceptions of those different substances, which are presented to our view. Now, since all divisions of any given substance, must inply the previous existence of that substance; and as those elements into which matter is now divided, were originally drawn from matter, it is evident that there has been a period ini which matter must have existed, abstractedly from those elements which now engross the material world. And consequently air, earth, water, and fire, could not have been co-eval with matter itself. It is, therefore, in this state only that we can view matter, detached from all internal tendencies and extraneous impulses; and it is here alone that we can view this substance, in its real and most simple state.
The elements into which all matter is now divided, may probably be considered as its simple state; and we may readily conceive, when the constituent particles of any given body are resolved into those primitive elements, out of which they were first taken, that then these particles are reduced to their primitive abodes. In our common modes of language, and in the present structure of the world, this sentiment is undoubtedly just; but even this elementary condition of matter, must, for reasons already assigned, bę one remove from its primary state.
For as the elements of this world can be nothing more than divisions of matter, and as all substances must exist before they can be divided, so the state of matter undivided into elements, must be more simple than the elements themselves now are, how simple soever they may appear.
In this original state of things, before the elements were formed, they could not possibly have had any mode of existence distinct from one another; and consequently the particles which now compose these elements could have had no distinct, points to which they could severally tend. All must have resorted to one common home, and not a single atom could have had any tendency to seek any new abode. In this original state, while all the elements were mixed in their pregnant causes, every particle of matter, as to its nature, its tendency, and its properties, must have been alike. And in this state, whatever combinations
atoms might have assumed, no tendency could have resided within them, to remove them from that station in which they had been previously fixed.
As the different elements had no distinct existence, so they could not possibly bave operated, to recal those atoms to distinct, regions; and as all. matter must be in itself inert, and resting on its common centre, no tendency to remove could reside within the particles themselves. And consequently all bodies which are removed from external impulse
and internal tendency to motion, whatever their internal constitution
be, must continue for ever. That all matter, in its most simple state, must have been capable of divisibility, is demonstrated by fact, because it was afterward divided into those elements which now exist. We are, therefore, led to conclude, that whether we presume matter to have been modified into a human form, or into a combination, either more or less complex, an union of divisible particles in either case appears necessary, without including a necessity of dissolution, any more than was included in it in a purely chaotic state. For as in each of these cases, a combination of parts appears inseparable from matter, so each given portion of matter must have been formed of sirnilar materials, possessing similar inertness, though somewhat differently combined : and so likewise in all these cases, they must have been alike destitute of all tendency to dissolution and decay. Even those particles which we have presumed to have been modified into a human form, must have retained their respective stations ; and continuing under these circumstances, the modification itself must have continued for ever. For as the stability of the modification, depends entirely upon the stability of those particles, on which that modification depends for its own existence, so the stability of the particles must communicate stability to the modification, and therefore the particles remaining unchanged, the modification itself must continue for
That God was able, out of this original state of matter, before the elements had obtained their separate state of existence, to form a human body, had he been so disposed, no man can seriously doubt, who will admit him to be possessed of infinite power. It is from this yast mass of materials that God has actually made what are commonly termed the elements themselves; out of these also he has made the world, and the material part of man. And surely we cannot doubt that the same power and wisdom which formed the elementary particles of matter, the world, and man, could, from the same materials, have formed man without the intervention of those elements, which, separately considered, did not originally exist. And if God, in this primary state of matter, had modified any given number or quantity of particles into a human body, it is certain under the circumstances given, that the particles thus modified, could have had no tendency to separate from one another, any more than matter under any other mode, could have had an internal tendency to infinite divisibility. And therefore, as the particles modified could have had no such tendency to separate from one another, the modification, which depended upon the stability of their situation, could not have been lost; and consequently the human body, into which we have
supposed these particles to have been wrought, must have acquired perpetuity, and have been completely placed beyond the reach of dissolution and decay.
Under these considerations, the particles of which the body is presumed to have been composed, could have no specific gravitation towards their respective elements, because these elements as yet had no distinct existence. And that common being, which we may presume these elements to have had in their pregnant causes, must have resided as much in the particles themselves, which were thus modified into a human body, as in any other parts of that chaotic mass, out of which these particles were at first taken. The inertness of these atoms must have prevented them from begetting in themselves any tendency to depart from that mode which we have presumed; and as one mode, in this state, must have been as congenial to their natures as another, that of a human body could include within it nothing more opposed to their natures, than those atoms experienced, which lay in the undistinguished mass, in which matter received its first formation. Where, inertness pervades any given mass, from which all external causes are totally removed, through which the parts of that mass might receive an influence or impulse, there, no tendency to change can possibly exist; and a body thus constituted, and thus situated, must necessarily remain for ever. For since the stability of the modification must depend upon the permanency of the particles modified, the modification must be as far removed from dissolution, as the particles themselves are from separation, and consequently both must continue for ever. Hence then this final conclusion follows; that though, in the present state of things, all compounded bodies have within them a natural tendency to dissolution; and though every particle perpetually tends towards its elementary abode, yet, in the original state of things, it could