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The True Messiah; or, The Old and New Testaments, Examined According to the Principles of the Language of Nature

Boston: E.P. Peabody, 1842


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INTRODUCTION.

between matter and spirit, the impossibility of the creation might be reasonably maintained.*.'

Then, in short, the moral and metaphysical universe, as rising suc- cessively to secondary degrees, (that is to say, to all which are not Jehovah,) cannot be conceived possible but by analogous emblems in the universe of phenomena; material phenomena for the physical world, substantial phenomena for that which is not physical. The moral and metaphysical world is, for us, as if anchored, as if rooted in the visible world, upon which it rests as upon an indispensable basis.

Any one may learn these truths from daily experience, without any great reasoning. Do but take a dictionary of morals, and examine the terms in it. You will see that all of them, from the first to the last, are derived from corporeal and animal life. The birth, growth, decay and death of the body, its state of health or of sickness, of strength or of weakness, have alone furnished correspondent ideas in the moral man. Each member of that body, considered in relation to its terrestrial use and employment, offers the same results. All the emblems that can be supplied by agriculture, the arts and trades, the different manners among men of feeding and clothing themselves, have been laid under contribution to furnish the means for characterizing the different varieties of moral and intellectual life, in individuals as in societies; and, but for all those emblems furnished by nature herself, the

* If we should here be asked, by a very natural curiosity, what we shall see in the other world, and what we shall do there, we would answer without hesitation, resting on the indispensable necessity of natural emblems, that we shall there see around us, as in the material world, a more or less extensive horizon, filled with a greater or less number of substantial images taken from known nature, and that we shall there be occupied nearly as we are occupied upon earth when we seek shelter, food and clothing: only these images will then be in exact correspondence with our moral being: the firmament representing our celestial relations; the different objects of nature, our social affections; and the soil which bears us, the nature of our confidence in Him who alone can make it firm under our feet. As to our different occupations, they will be those which Heaven shall judge most proper to characterize constantly the interior of our moral being, and the different ways in which we seek to appropriate to ourselves the spiritual nourishment of love and truth,in other words, to satisfy all our moral wants. All these ideas, though new, will not surprise those philosophers who know that nature is always conformable to herself, or, as Leibnitz expresses it, she never does anything by leaps and bounds. According to this philosophic apothegm, our future existence will, in reality, differ from the present only by a slight variation; and this variation is that from a material to a substantial world. We shall pass to the future ex• istence, as we enter into an agreeable dream; all nature will accompany us there. This truth receives an increase of probability, or rather of proof, from the fact that, examined without those prejudices that rise from the vague idea of an infinite power, never checked by the bounds of the impossible, by simplicity or propriety, I might even say, geometrically examined, the chain of beings is nearly complete here below in the three kingdoms, and consequently that the nature which we know, itself contains all the elements necessary to the eternal happiness of sensitive creatures; which renders alike impossible and useless the destruction of the images of visible nature, for the future existence. It is sentiment which makes happiness, and not knowledge ; and therefore the circle of possible things must be much more restricted than is commonly thought. Try to suppress the horizon of celestrial and terrestial images by which you are surrounded, the real. Eden in which you are placed ;'what will remain to form the pretended haven of a blessed spirit?. There will remain nothing. And if those same images, clothed in an entirely spiritual and moral character, are sufficient for your happiness, why suppress them, or why even substitute others for them?



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