Page images





THE human body is a living machine, constructed for the use of a spiritual being. It is adapted to the elements amidst which it dwells, but while in its own substance partaking of their nature, it is nevertheless so constituted as to be actuated by powers the mode of whose existence and operation cannot be explained by reference to the known laws of matter.

From revelation we learn that the human body, stupendous because of its adaptation to the more marvellous soul, was not a gradual invention, but at once produced perfect, with all its organs, constituting an individual harmonious in itself and with the universe. No after thought was needed for its improvement. The hand that modelled the dust into the abode of a sentient being touched it with perfection; and no better type of form or finish will be required by the spirit of man through the dispensations of earth, be they dark or be they glorious, than a body like that in which the first man bowed in worship, or walked erect in fellowship with his God. The body itself


mirrors its Maker. Humanity acting perfectly outwardly expresses the mind of Divinity. God himself becomes known by becoming incarnate, that is, by becoming in form a man; and when man becomes Godlike, Heaven dwells in him and he in Heaven.

Still we must revert to the fact that the inherited body, like the soul, is prone to disorder, and placed amidst a multitude of causes which constantly tend to develop its predisposition to derangement, death, and destruction. It therefore remains for us to discover, as best we may, the causes and the cure of all those manifold evils to which we find both the spiritual and physical modes of our being now exposed. By studying our nature, we shall the better understand our necessities, and be the better qualified to avoid our dangers or overcome our difficulties. We cannot apprehend the nature of our position without examining the relation in which we stand to other existences; nor can we fully discern on what our well-being depends without an insight into our formation and some knowledge of the place which we occupy in the universe and plan of God.

Every organ of the body is developed according to a specific purpose, yet, though perfect in itself as an apparatus adapted to a particular end, it holds relation to other organs and their functions. All the body, united by one life, subserves one soul. Each part harmonizes with the rest, and the purpose of the whole is to furnish a fit medium through which the intelligent spirit may become acquainted, by actual experience, by reasonable inference, by sympathy and correspondence, with other natures. Ideas are but the images of objects perceived by the mind through the bodily senses, because the mind has senses of its own.

The body must, therefore, be fabricated in keeping with the world which it inhabits, as well as with the soul that inhabits it. Hence we find it subject to the common laws of matter, and only prevented from being resolved into its elements as long as it may subserve the life within.

The body is formed with peculiar reference to two principles of the spirit-namely, motion and perception; motion administering to the desire of action; perception, to the desire of knowledge. The simple idea of a being placed, by Almighty Wisdom, within a body, in order to employ it for intelligence and enjoyment, would appear to require that the organization and functions of that body should be so exactly adjusted to the being using them, and so perfectly coördinate with the conditions of external nature, that no disorder should occur, and no pain be experienced, but rather that every perception should be pleasure, and every action happiness. Why is it not so? Because humanity is dead, and has to be regenerated.

Were the tendencies of our spiritual nature coincident with the holiness of the Divine Being, all external nature and providence would be coincident with us. Not a change would take place in the wide sphere of our existence but in accordance with the disposition of our souls. We should love every intelligent being that approached us, and so perfectly correspond with our Maker as to worship Him in all our knowledge, and find Him alone the All-in-all of every sinless creature. There is no defect but in man's will. We are moral beings, derived from a corrupt stock, and born into this world without knowledge, but with a headstrong will; it is therefore necessary for us to endure inconvenience, and, it may be, even

« PreviousContinue »