BLTC Press Titles


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The Bhagavad Gita

Anonymous


Esoteric Buddhism

A. P. Sinnett


Paradoxes of the Highest Science

Eliphas Levi


Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man

Friedrich Schiller


A treatise on theism, and on the modern skeptical theories

by Francis Wharton

Excerpt:

6. The Cause Of Mind.

§ 30. What must have been that workshop in which agencies such as these were constructed? He that formeth the ear, does He not hear? He that makes the mind, guarded as it is, so as to subserve the purposes of probation, and yet unlimited for all else beside, does He not think?

This, however, may be illustrated still further. We stand, for instance, on the sea-shore, and see a vessel tossed in the waves—no human power, it would seem, can save it. A rope, however, is projected from the shore, by which the crew are ferried over and saved. In this we recognize the action of human intelligence and beneficence. Turn, then, for a moment, to another scene. Buildings are seen crowded with the sick and dying:—

The wounded from the battle plain
In dreary hospitals of pain,

The cheerless corridors,

The cold and stony floors:

Lo! in that house of misery
A lady with a lamp I see

Pass through the glimmering gloom,

And flit from room to room.

And slow, as in a dream of bliss,
The speechless sufferer turns to kiss

Her shadow as it falls

Upon the darkening walls.

We see human design in the rope cast to the foundering ship: shall we not see a divine purpose in an agency like this flung out among the sick and dying? Or can we refuse to see the same designing power, acting upon the same subject-matter of a fallen nature, when we view such a mission as that of Dorothy Dix to the insane of our own land?

§ 31. Let us take, however, one or two more illustrations. An Englishman is seen casting stones, apparently idly, into the Niger, and watching the bubbles as they slowly rise from the mud below. The women and children gaze almost in sympathy at one whose objects in life are apparently so much like their own. It is Mungo Park, calculating, from the length of time the bubbles take to rise, what is the depth of the mysterious river whose sources he is about to explore. A boy sits by a chimney-fire in Lancashire, curiously scanning the lid of the tea-kettle as it flaps up and down under the pressure of the steam arising from the boiling water beneath. The housewife scolds him for his idleness, but she need not. It is Watt, catching the first conception of the steam-engine. That subtle element of mind, residing within that boy's frame, is to project itself forward from the chimney-corner until it binds the world together with ligatures of iron,—until the steam-horse dashes over tressel-work and through tunnels, so as to equalize the markets and unite the sympathies of distant nations, and until the press so works as to supply every home with a library at the former cost of a tract.

Now how are we to account for the human mind otherwise than by the supposition of a spiritual creative power? Mere matter might lead us no further than an elementary mechanism, soulless and discretionless, like the first cause of Schelling, or the inflexible and arbitrary germinative principle of La Place. But mind, in its multiform and flexible adaptations to life,—mind, conscious of its own independent volitions,—leads us above the prison-house wherein resides a Deity in chains. Mind, voluntary, free-acting, involves a free Creator. "He that made the eye, can He not see?" He that made the mind, is He mindless?

CHAPTER III.

FROM THE EXISTENCE OF LAW IN THE UNIVERSE.

§ 32. This topic will be considered under the following heads:—

a. Unity And Harmony Of Pattern.

Here we find a singular evidence of the unity of the Divine Machinist. The trade-mark, if we may use the expression, is always the same. "I know such a pattern," declares the expert who is examined before a committee of the House of Commons, as to the extent to which certain goods have penetrated in distant territories, "and the moment I saw it, though in central Africa, I recognized in it the stamp used by our firm in Manchester for a particular style of goods." So in traversing the regions divided by one of our trunk railways, as we observe the line of stationhouses erected by the company, we say, "these we know at once—the castellated walls, or the old English roofs, show where the management of a particular road begins and ends." So we trace back one style of architecture to one period, and another style to another period. So in a particular combination of color with effect, we discover one old master of painting; in another combination, another old master.


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