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´╗┐Title: Absurdities of Immaterialism - Or, A Reply to T. W. P. Taylder's Pamphlet, Entitled, "The - Materialism of the Mormons or Latter-Day Saints, Examined - and Exposed."
Author: Pratt, Orson
Language: English
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Absurdities of Immaterialism,


A Reply to T. W. P. Taylder's Pamphlet,


"The Materialism of the Mormons or Latter-day Saints, Examined and

By Orson Pratt,

One of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day

"What is truth?" This is a question which has been asked by many. It
is a question supposed to be of difficult solution. Mr. Taylder in
his tract against materialism, says, "It is a question which all the
philosophers of the Grecian and Roman schools could not answer." He
seems to think the question was unanswerable until the introduction of
the gospel; since which time he considers that the veil is taken away,
and that "we now enjoy the full blaze of truth." He further confidently
asserts, that "with the materials afforded us in that sacred book,
(meaning the New Testament,) we are enabled satisfactorily to answer
the question, What is truth?"

What does this author mean by the foregoing assertions? Does he mean,
that no truth was understood by the Grecian and Roman schools? That
no truth was discerned by the nations, during the first four thousand
years after the creation? Or, does he mean, that the gospel truths
were not understood until they were revealed? He certainly must mean
the latter and not the former. Both the Romans and Grecians could,
without the least difficulty, answer the question. "What is truth?"
Nothing is more simple than an answer to this question. It is a truth,
_that something exists in space,_ and this truth was just as well
perceived by all nations before the book called the New Testament
existed as afterwards. It is a truth that, "the three angles of a
triangle are equal to two right angles." This was not learned from that
sacred book--the Bible. We admit that the question, what is _gospel_
truth, could not be answered by any one to whom the gospel had never
been revealed. Dr. Good, in his "Book of Nature," says, "general
truth may be defined, the connexion and agreement, or repugnancy and
disagreement, of our ideas." This definition we consider erroneous;
for it makes general truth depend on the existence of ideas. Now
truth is independent of all ideas. It is a necessary truth that,
_space is boundless,_ and that _duration is endless,_ abstract from
all connexion and agreement of our ideas, or even of our existence,
or the existence of any other being. If neither the universe nor its
Creator existed, these eternal unchangeable, and necessary truths would
exist, unperceived and unknown. Truth is the relation which things bear
to each other. Knowledge is the perception of truth. Truth may exist
without knowledge, but knowledge cannot exist without truth.

The New Testament unfolds, not all the truths which exist, but some
few truths of infinite importance. The vast majority of truths of less
importance were discovered independently of that book.

"The followers of Joseph Smith," says this author, "hold the doctrine
of the materiality of all existence in common with the ancient
academics." This, sir, we admit. Our belief, however, in this doctrine,
is founded, not on any modern supernatural revelation, unfolding this
doctrine, as this author insinuates, but on reason and common sense.
The doctrine of immaterialism, in our estimation, is false, and in the
highest degree absurd, and unworthy the belief of any true Christian

The author of the treatise against materialism has stated his first
proposition as follows:--

"_The Philosophy of the Mormons is_ IRRATIONAL."

What the author means by this proposition is, that it is "irrational"
to believe _all substance material._ To substantiate this proposition
he sets out in quest of proof. An _immaterial substance_ is the thing
wanted. No other proof will answer. If he can prove the existence of an
immaterial substance his point is gained,--his proposition established,
and the irrationality of the material theory will be demonstrated.

As we are about to launch forth into the wide field of existence in
search of an "immaterial substance," it may be well to have the _term_
correctly defined, so as to be able to distinguish such a substance
from _matter. _It is of the utmost importance that every reasoner
should clearly define the terms he employs. Two contending parties
may use the same word in altogether different meanings; and each draw
correct conclusions from the meaning which he attaches to the same
word; hence arise endless disputes. As we have no confidence in the
immaterial theory, we shall let the immaterialist define his own terms.
We shall give,

Taylder's Definition.--"What is meant by an _immaterial substance_
is merely this, that something exists which is _not matter_ and is
evidently _distinct_ from matter, which is _not dependent_ on matter
for its existence, and which possesses properties and qualities
_entirely different_ from those possessed by matter." (Taylder's Tract
against Materialism. Page 14.)

This definition of an "immaterial substance" is ambiguous. It needs
another definition to inform us what he means. Does he mean that ALL
of "the properties and qualities" of an immaterial substance are
"entirely different from those possessed by matter;" and that it
possesses NO properties in common with matter? Or does he mean that
while it "possesses SOME properties and qualities entirely different"
from matter it inherits OTHERS in common with matter? If the latter be
his meaning, we see no reason for calling _any_ substance "immaterial."
Iron possesses SOME properties and qualities "entirely different"
from all other kinds of matter, and other properties it inherits in
common with every other kind. Shall we therefore say that iron is not
matter? Among the various kind of matter, each has its _distinct_
properties, and its _common_ properties; and notwithstanding each
possesses "entirely different" properties and qualities from all other
kinds, yet each is called matter because it possesses some properties
in common with all other kinds. Hence the term _matter_ should be
given to all substances which possess _any_ properties in common,
however wide they may differ in other respects. A substance to be
_immaterial_ must possess NO properties or qualities in common with
matter. All its qualities must be entirely _distinct_ and _different_.
It is to be regretted that our opponent has not defined an _immaterial
substance_ more clearly. As he is ambiguous in his definition, we shall
presume that he entertains the same views as the modern advocates of
immaterialism generally entertain.

That celebrated writer, Isaac Taylor, says,--"a disembodied spirit,
or we should rather say, an unembodied spirit, or sheer mind, is
NOWHERE. Place is a relation belonging to extension; and extension is
a property of matter; but that which is wholly abstracted from matter,
and in speaking of which we deny that it has _any property_ in common
therewith, can in itself be subjected to none of its conditions; and
we might as well say of a pure spirit that it is hard, heavy, or red,
or that it is a cubic foot in dimensions, as say that it is _here_
or _there._ It is only in a popular and improper sense that any such
affirmation is made concerning the Infinite Spirit, or that we speak of
God as _everywhere_ present." * * * "Using the term as we use them of
ourselves, God is not _here_ or _there_." * * * "When we talk of an
absolute immateriality," continues this author, "and wish to withdraw
mind altogether from matter, we must no longer allow ourselves to
imagine that it is, or can be, in any place, or that it has any kind of
relationship to the visible and extended universe." (Taylor's "Physical
Theory of Another Life." Chapter II.) Dr. Good says, "The metaphysical
immaterialists of modern times freely admit that the mind has NO PLACE
of existence, that it does exist NOWHERE; while at the same time they
are compelled to allow that the immaterial Creator or universal spirit
exists EVERYWHERE, substantially as well as virtually." (Good's "Book
of Nature," Series III., Lecture I.)

Dr. Abercrombie, in speaking upon _matter_ and _mind,_ says, that "in
as far as our utmost conception of them extends, we have no grounds for
believing that they have _anything_ in common." (Abercrombie on the
"Intellectual Powers." Part I. Sec. I.)

With these definitions, we shall follow our opponent in his researches
after an "immaterial substance." After taking a minute survey of man,
he believes he has found in his composition, and in connexion with his
bodily organization, something _immaterial._ He says, "the spirit is
the purely immaterial part, which is capable of separation from the
body, and can exist independently of the body."

"The _body_ is that _material_ part, 'formed out of the dust of the
ground,' and is the medium through which the mind is manifested."
(Taylder's Tract against Materialism. Page 8.)

That the mind or _spirit_, "is capable of separation from the body,
and can exist independently of the body," we most assuredly believe;
but that it is "immaterial" we deny; and it remains for Mr. Taylder
to _prove_ its _immateriality_. His first proof is founded on his
own assertion, that "mind is simple, not compounded." If this
assertion be admitted as true, it affords not the least evidence
for the _immateriality_ of _mind._ Every material atom is simple,
not compounded. Is it, therefore, not matter? Must each simple,
uncompounded elementary atom be _immaterial?_

Mr. Taylder next says, "Mind is not perceivable to corporeal organs,
matter is so perceivable." This assertion is altogether unfounded.
"Corporeal organs" can perceive neither _matter_ nor _mind_. The
mind alone can perceive: corporeal organs are only the instruments
of perception. Bishop Butler, in his Analogy, expressly says, that
"our organs of sense prepare and convey on objects, in order to their
being perceived, in like matter as foreign matter does, without
affording any shadow of appearance, that they themselves perceive."
(Butler's Analogy. Part I. Chap. I.) The mind clearly perceives its
own existence as well as the existence of other matter. _Perception_,
then, is a quality peculiar to that kind of matter called mind. Mr.
Taylder further remarks, that "All the qualities of matter are not
comparable with the more excellent qualities of mind, such as power and
intelligence." We willing to admit that _power_ and _intelligence,_
and some other qualities of mind, are far superior to the qualities of
other matter; but we do not admit that the superiority of some of the
qualities of a substance prove its _immateriality_. The superiority
of some qualities has nothing to do with the _immateriality_ of the
_substance_. OXYGEN possesses some qualities, not only distinct from,
but superior to, those qualities possessed by BARIUM, STRONTIUM,
SILICIUM, GLUCINIUM, ZIRCONIUM, and many other metals and material
substances; yet no one from this will draw the conclusion, that
_oxygen_ is _immaterial_. Oxygen is material though it possesses some
distinct and superior qualities to other matter; so mind or spirit is
material, though it differs in the superiority of some of its qualities
from other matter.

It is strange, indeed, to see the inconsistencies of this learned
author: he remarks, "Mind thinks, matter cannot think. It is the
existence of this thinking principle which clearly proves the
immateriality of the mind or spirit." This method of reasoning may
be termed (_petitio principii_), begging the question. First, he
assumes that "matter cannot think;" and, second, draws the conclusion
that a _thinking substance_ is _immaterial._ This conclusion is a
legitimate one if the premises are granted; but the premises are
assumed, therefore the conclusion is false. Prove that _mind_ is _not_
matter before you assume that "matter cannot think." It would seem
from the assertions of this author, that the quality of "thinking" is
to be the touchstone--the infallible test--the grand distinguishing
characteristic between _material_ and _immaterial_ substances.
It matters not, in his estimation, how many qualities different
substances inherit in common, if one can be found that thinks, it must
be immaterial. There is no one substance out of the fifty or more
substances discovered by chemists, but what possesses some qualities
"entirely different" from any of the rest; therefore, each substance,
when compared with others, has equal claims with that of mind to be
placed in the _immaterial_ list. In proving that mind is immaterial, it
is not enough to prove that it has _some_ properties entirely distinct
from other substances; but it must be proved to have no properties in
common with matter. Nothing short of this will agree with the modern
notions of _immateriality._ It must be shown that mind or spirit has
no relation to _duration_ or _space_--no _locality_--that it must
exist "NOWHERE"--that it has no _extension_--that it exists not "Now"
and "Then," neither "Here" nor "There"--that it cannot be moved from
_place_ to _place_--that it has no _form_ or _figure_--no _boundaries_
or _limits_ of extension. These, according to the definitions of modern
immaterialists, are the negative conditions or qualities absolutely
necessary to the existence of all _immaterial substance_. While
the opposite of these, or the positive qualities or conditions are
absolutely necessary to the existence of all _material_ substance.

"How do you distinguish," inquires Mr. Taylder, "between any two given
substances, such as, that a block of stone is not a log of wood?" He
answers, "Because they possess different qualities." And then declares,
"So also you distinguish between mind and matter." But the "different
qualities" by which "a block of stone" is distinguished from "a log of
wood," do not prove either the stone or the wood to be _immaterial_;
neither do the different qualities by which the substance called mind
is distinguished from other substances, prove either the mind or the
other substances to be _immaterial_. So far as the different qualities
are evidences, the mind has as good a claim to materiality as the stone
or wood.

"The properties of body," continues our learned opponent, "are size,
weight, solidity, resistance, &c.; those of the mind are joy, hope,
fear, &c.; but weight is not joy, resistance is not hope, size is not
fear; therefore, as a block of stone is not a log of wood, so mind
is not matter." That a _stone_ possesses many _different qualities_
from _wood,_ and that mind possesses many different qualities from
other substances, we by no means deny; but that these _different
qualities_ prove stone, or wood, or mind, or any other substance to be
_immaterial,_ we do deny. We care not how many different properties
mind possesses over and above other substances; that is altogether
foreign from the question. But is it destitute of any or of all the
properties which other substances possess? is the question. Is it
destitute of "size, weight, solidity, resistance, &c?" If not, then the
mind possesses all the essential characteristics of matter, though its
peculiar and distinct properties should be multiplied to infinity.

This author calls "weight" one of the properties of matter. What is
_weight?_ It is nothing more nor less than force. Matter approaches
to, or presses on, other matter with _weight,_ or _force,_ or _power_.
Now matter either exerts this _force_ of itself, or else it is
impelled either directly or indirectly by other substances, possessing
intelligence, power, and other properties of mind. If matter exerts
this power of itself, then it exhibits one of the properties of mind;
but if the seat of this power is in that substance called mind, then
it is mind that exhibits the power called weight, and not other
substances. Mr. Taylder informs us that "it is mind, and _mind alone,_
which is the _seat of power_." (Taylder against Materialism. Page 12.)
If this be true, (and we feel no disposition to deny it), then _weight_
is not the property of unintelligent matter, but a property of mind.
And the same reasoning will apply to all other _powers or forces_
which are generally ascribed to unintelligent matter. They are only
the powers or forces of mind, or else other substances exhibit powers
or forces which are common to mind: in the latter case, mind could not
be _immaterial_: in the former case, unintelligent matter (if such
exist) is deprived of every force usually ascribed to it. It can have
neither gravitation, attraction, repulsion, chemical affinity, nor
any other conceivable force. Though deprived of all energy or force,
unintelligent matter would still be possessed of those inert qualities
(if, indeed, they may be called qualities) essential to its existence.
These qualities, or rather conditions necessary to its existence, are
duration, extension or place, solidity, figure, &c. An _immaterial
substance_ must have none of those conditions or qualities.

It is amusing to trace this author's process of reasoning. He first
assumes premises entirely false, argues from the same, shows the
deductions to be absurd and triumphantly exclaims, "Mind then is not
matter." We will quote the following specimen: "If the mind," says
this author, "be material and the brain nothing but a large gland,
secreting the various affections of thought, hope, joy, memory, &c,
then all these _affections_ or _qualities_ are _material,_ and must be
also little particles of matter, of different forms and dimensions, and
perhaps of various colours, Then we might, with the utmost propriety,
without the shadow of an absurdity, logically say, 'the twentieth
part of our belief, the half of a hope, the top of memory, the corner
of a fear, the north side of a doubt,' &c. Mind then is not matter."
(Taylder against Materialism. Page 15.) It will be perceived that this
logical author, in the foregoing quotation, confounds _affections_ or
_qualities_ with _mind;_ that is, he supposes "thought, hope, joy,
memory," &c. all to be material as well as the mind; he then introduces
a material brain that secretes the material affections; but what
becomes of the material mind he does not tell us; probably the material
mind is stowed away in some extremity of the body--in the foot or big
toe, so as not to interfere with its material affections, which are
secreted in the material brain at the other extremity. After imagining
up such an unheard of being, no wonder that he should discover some
absurdities in its composition. No wonder that in such a creature of
his own invention, there should be, not only "the corner of a fear,"
and "the north side of a doubt," but a cubical imagination with horns
to it. No wonder that such frightful absurdities should cause as great
a man as Taylder to exclaim with the upper part of a five-cornered
assurance, that "Mind then is not matter." It would be a logical
conclusion from his logical absurdities, founded on his _material
affections_ of a material mind.

But who does not know that "thought, hope, joy, memory," and all
other _affections_ or _qualities_ are not substances of any kind, but
merely different operations or states of the mind? A material mind,
possessing the power to think, to feel, to reason, to remember, is
not the brain, nor secretions of the brain, nor any other part of the
fleshy tabernacle; but it is the being that inhabits it, that preserves
its own identity, whether in the body or out of it, and remains
unchangeable in its substance whatever changes may happen to the body.
This material spirit or mind existed before it entered the body, exists
in the body, will exist after it leaves the body, and will be reunited
again with the body in the resurrection.

As another specimen of monstrous absurdities logically deduced from
absurd premises, we quote the following:--"Materialism" he remarks,
"is not only relatively but absolutely absurd. If mind be matter, or
matter mind, then we may have the square or cube of joy or grief, of
pain or pleasure. We may divide a great joy into a number of little
joys, or we may accumulate a great joy by heaping together the solid
parts of several little joys. We shall then have the color and shape of
a thought. It will be either white, grey, brown, crimson, purple, or it
may be a mixture of two or more colors. Then we shall have a dark grey
hope, a bright yellow sorrow, a round brown tall pain, and an octagonal
green belief; an inch of thought, a mile of joy." We do most cordially
agree with Mr. Taylder that these results would be "not only relatively
but absolutely absurd;" and only equalled by the absurdity of the
premises from which they were deduced. He has assumed that the several
STATES or CONDITIONS of the mind, such as joy, grief, pain, pleasure,
thought, &c., are material as well as the mind. With the same propriety
he might have assumed that MOTION is material as well as the matter
moved. Joy is no more a _substance_ than _motion,_ both are merely the
_states_ or _conditions_ of substance. As great absurdities could be
deduced from assuming that _motion_ is material, as there can be from
Mr. Taylder's assumption that _joy_ is material. As an illustration,
let us take this author's own words, with the exception of substituting
_iron_ for _mind, motion_ for the _affections_ of the mind; it will
then read thus:--"If" _iron_ "be matter, or matter" _iron,_ "then we
may have the square or cube of" a _solid motion._ "We may divide a
great" _solid motion_ "into a number of little" _solid motions,_ "or
we may accumulate a great" _solid motion_ "by heaping together the
solid parts of several little" _solid motions._ "We shall then have a
color and shape of a" _motion._ "It will be either white, grey, brown,
crimson, purple, or it may be a mixture of two or more colors. Then we
shall have a dark grey" _motion_ "a round, brown, tall" _motion_; "an
inch" or "a mile of" _solid motion_, &c. It is strange that Mr. Taylder
did not close his train of reasoning, by saying, "Mind, therefore,
is not matter;" and then we could have completed the parallel by
saying, _iron, therefore, is not matter._ If such reasoning proves
mind _immaterial,_ similar reasoning will prove any other substance

"Mr. Orson Pratt," observes our author, "calls matter into existence,
of which the world knows but little. He has not only 'intelligent
matter,' but 'all-wise,' and 'all-powerful' matter. This matter is
capable of division into parts; for all matter has length, breadth,
and thickness. Then we shall have the half of an intelligent atom of
matter, the eighth of an all-wise atom, the thousandth part of an
all-powerful atom &c. Such are the absurdities which 'the Latter-day
Saint' embraces." Here the author seems to have recovered partially
from the wild absurd notions of applying the term _material_ to the
affections, and is willing to apply it to substance where it belongs.
But he speaks of the division of atoms which does not accord with the
general notions of modern philosophy. The immortal Newton says, "It
seems probable that God, in the beginning, formed matter in _solid,
masses, hard, impenetrable, moveable particles_." This does not favor
the divisibility of atoms. Newton further observes, "That nature may
be lasting, the changes of corporeal things are to be placed only
in the _various separations,_ and _new associations,_ and _motions_
of these _permanent_ particles; compound bodies being apt to break,
not in the midst of solid particles, but where those particles are
laid together, and touch only in a few points." These are the views
entertained by philosophers generally at the present day, with the
exception of here and there an isolated individual who advocates the
theory of the infinite divisibility of matter. Perhaps our author
may be of that class; for he speaks of the division of atoms. It is
admitted that substance is capable of division and subdivision until
arriving at its ultimate atoms, after which all further separation
ceases. This division of the same kind of substance does not alter
or change the nature or properties of the respective parts; if they
possessed attraction when united, they also possess it when separated
or else attraction is the result of union and ceases with it. So in
relation to intelligent substance, without regard to its materiality
or immateriality; if it is intelligent as a whole, it is intelligent
in its respective parts after division, or else the intelligent power
is the result of the union of unintelligent parts, and ceases when the
union ceases. Therefore if the intelligent substance, called mind,
is intelligent, as a whole, it is intelligent in all its parts; and
there would be no more absurdity in speaking of the half, the eighth,
or the thousandth part of an intelligent substance, than there would
be in speaking of the half, the eighth, or the thousandth part of an
attracting substance. And yet Mr. Taylder exclaims, "Such are the
absurdities which the 'Latter-day Saint' embraces."

Perhaps our author's _immaterial mind_ or _spirit_ will not suffer him
to believe that the _whole_ spirit of man is made up or consists _of
parts._ If the spirit of man is a _substance,_ as Mr. Taylder admits,
though he denies its _materiality,_ then it must be either a simple
uncompounded being or atom, or a united collection of such beings or

Bishop Butler supposes the spirit of man to be a single, simple,
indivisible being. He remarks, that "since consciousness is a single
and individual power, it should seem that the subject in which it
resides must be so too," "that is the conscious being." He further
says, "That we have no way of determining by experience what is the
certain bulk of the living being each man calls himself; and yet,
(continues he), till it be determined that it is larger in bulk than
the solid elementary particles of matter, which there is no ground to
think any natural power can dissolve, there is no sort of reason to
think death to be the dissolution of it, of the living being, even
though it should not be absolutely indiscerptible." (Butler's Analogy.
Part I, Chap. I.) Our author seems to be a little more positive than
Butler, and asserts apparently without any doubt, that "mind is simple
not compounded." (Taylder against Materialism. Page 14.) Here, then,
according to both Butler and Taylder, we have a simple, uncompounded,
indivisible, little atom of conscious substance, or, in other words,
an _intelligent atom._ The terms _atoms_ and _being_ are synonymous
when applied to a simple indivisible substance so small that Butler
intimates that its "bulk" has not been determined to exceed "the solid
elementary particles of matter."

If the spirit of one man is a little atom of intelligent substance
having "bulk," the spirit of every other man is a similar atom; hence
in the human bodies now living on the earth, there must exist nearly
one thousand million _of intelligent atoms,_ each conscious of its
own existence, and capable of originating motion independently of
the others. Mr. Taylder says this intelligent _atom_ or _spirit_ "is
capable of separation from the body, and can exist independently of
the body." This being admitted, then there must be many thousand
million of intelligent atoms which once inhabited bodies but now exist
independently of them. This is the legitimate result of the theory
which assumes that the spirit of a man is a little conscious being--a
substance, simple, uncompounded and indivisible, capable of existing
either in or out of a body. Where, then, Mr. Taylder, is the absurdity
in believing as the "Saints" do, in the existence of immense numbers
of intelligent atoms? It agrees most perfectly with the results of
your own theory--the only difference is in the name. You call these
little indivisible substances _immaterial,_ we call them _material._
You apply to them the same powers that we do. You believe them to be
conscious, intelligent, and thinking atoms as well as we. The name of
a substance does not alter its nature; as for instance some call one
of the constituent elements of the atmosphere "azote," others call
it "nitrogen," but all admit that it possesses the same nature and
properties. If this indivisible conscious being, or atom of substance,
possesses "bulk," as Bishop Butler intimates, then in this respect it
is like the atoms of all other substances, and therefore it must be

If some atoms can possess various degrees of intelligence, wisdom, and
power, whether in the body or out of it, then there is no absurdity
in the theory that there are other atoms which are "all-wise" and
"all-powerful." Mr. Taylder admits that there must be a God, and that
he is an all-wise and all-powerful being or substance,--that substance
must be either a simple uncompounded indivisible being or atom, or a
collection of such beings or atoms. If it be an indivisible being or
atom, it would prove the existence of one all-wise and all-powerful
being or atom: if it be a collection of such beings or atoms, then the
theory of all-wise and all-powerful atoms of substance is established.
All theistical writers admit the existence of such a substance. It is
not the _existence_ of the substance that is questioned, but it is its
_nature._ One class calls it _immaterial,_ another _material._ Mr.
Taylder has undertaken to prove that it is _immaterial,_ but as yet he
has not furnished us with even the most distant shadow of an evidence,
unless, indeed, his own assertions are evidence. Indeed, he has nowhere
attempted to prove that the spiritual substance of either man or the
Deity possesses no properties in common with other substance admitted
to be matter.

As another specimen of Taylder's logic we quote the following:--

"There is another conclusion equally absurd, if the existence of an
immaterial substance be denied, and thinking be ascribed to matter,
and that is, the mind must always think in the same way, in the
same direction." As a proof of this assumption our author refers to
the writings of Priestly, as follows:--"If man," says Dr. Priestly,
"be a material being, and the power of thinking the _result_ of a
_certain organization_ of the _brain,_ does it not follow, that all
his functions must be regulated by the laws of mechanism, and that, of
consequence, all his actions proceed from an irresistible necessity?"
"The doctrine of necessity," continues Priestly, "is the immediate
result of the doctrine of the materiality of man; for mechanism is the
undoubted consequence of materialism."

We are willing to admit that "an irresistible necessity" would be
the inevitable consequence of assuming that "the power of thinking
is the RESULT of a CERTAIN ORGANIZATION of the BRAIN." But this is a
most absurd assumption; for if "the power of thinking be the result
of a certain organization of the brain," then, when that organization
ceases, the power of thinking would cease also, and there could be no
separate existence for the mind or spirit.

But we believe that the power of thinking is not the RESULT of a brain
organization, but the original property of that substance called spirit
or mind, which can exist independently of a brain organization, and
entirely separate and apart from the body.

Priestly asserts that "mechanism is the undoubted consequence of
materialism." But this is a baseless assertion. Mechanism implies the
incapability of acting only according to the laws of Mechanism, as it
is acted upon: hence, "an irresistible necessity characterizes all of
its movements." But not so with an intelligent thinking substance:
it can originate its own motions, and act according to its own will,
independently of the laws of mechanism: hence a perfect freedom
characterizes all of its movements. Before Priestly or any other man
can logically assert that "mechanism is the undoubted consequence of
materialism," he must first prove that matter cannot think, and will,
and move, or, in other words, he must prove that mind is not matter.

Our author endeavours to overthrow materialism because of the
absurdities which Darwin advocated. He quotes the words of that author
as follows:--"Ideas are material things: they are contractions,
motions, or configurations of the fibres of the organs of sense."
"Here," exclaims Mr. Taylder, "is the real _perfection of materialism!
It destroys man's accountability to God!_" There is then no such
thing as praise or blame, fear or hope, reward or punishment, and,
consequently, no religion. "How," inquires our author, "can the
Mormons reconcile this conclusion with their religious fabric, built
on revelations and visions?" "If _their God_ be a material being, he
must _necessarily act mechanically_." We reply that we do not wish to
reconcile our religious fabric with Darwin's absurdities. Darwin has
assumed that "ideas, contractions, motions, or configurations," are all

What man, disencumbered of a strait waistcoat, could ever believe in
such ridiculous nonsense! It is only equalled by Taylder's material
joys and sorrows, of which we have already had occasion to speak.
The substance of the Deity, nor no other intelligent substance, is
dependent on the "_contractions, motions, or configurations_" of
organical fibres for its actions, but it is a self-moving substance,
not subject to the law of necessity or mechanism like unintelligent

"The last consideration," says this immaterialist author, "which
it is necessary to advance for the real existence of mind, is
_consciousness_." (Taylder's Tract against Materialism. Page 18.)

"The real existence of mind" is not doubted by us. Mr. Taylder has
strayed entirely from the question. The question is not whether mind
has a _real existence,_ but whether it is _immaterial._

"It is generally considered," remarks this author, "that in a few years
our bodies are entirely changed. How, then, on the material scheme,
can a Mormon tell that he is the same person now that he was _twenty
years since,_ or shall be _ten years hence?_" We reply that it is only
the substance of the material body that is constantly changing, while
the material spirit which inhabits the body, remains unchangeable.
Personal identity consists, not in the identity of a changeable body,
but in the identity of an unchangeable substance called spirit, which
feels, thinks, reasons, and remembers. The Athenian galley, which
was sent every year to Delos for a thousand years, had been repaired
so often that every part of its materials had been changed more than
once, therefore it did not remain the same identical substance during
that period of time; but if a certain unchangeable diamond had been
carried within this galley for one thousand years, it would be the same
identical substance still, though the galley that carried it had been
changed ever so often; so likewise let the material body meet with an
entire change every few years, the unchangeable material spirit which
it carries within will remain the same identical substance still.

Indeed, if Bishop Butler's intimation be correct, that the spirit of
man is a small indivisible being or atom, whose bulk has not been
determined to exceed the size of small elementary particles of matter,
then it would be impossible for such a small conscious indivisible atom
to change its substance in the least degree, and therefore it must
preserve its entire identity under all possible circumstances.

Our author next inquires, "How can _spiritual_ matter occupy the same
space with the matter of which the body consists?" We answer that it
cannot occupy the same identical space with other matter, for this
is in all cases an absolute impossibility. It can only occupy its
own space in union with the matter of which the body consists. Every
particle of the body occupies a distinct space of its own, and no two
particles of the body can exist in the same space at the same time,
neither can any atom of spirit occupy the same space at the same time
with any other atom or substance. All substances are porous. It can
be proved that the component particles of all known substances are
not in absolute contact, for all bodies composed of these particles
can be compressed, and their dimensions reduced without diminishing
their mass. All organized substances are porous in a high degree, that
is their "volume consists partly of material particles and partly of
interstitial spaces, which spaces are either absolutely void and empty,
or filled by some substance of a different species from the body in
question." (Lardner's Scientific Lectures. Vol. II. Lecture 1.) The
material body being porous, there is room for the material spirit to
exist in close connexion with its component parts, and this too without
infringing upon the impenetrability of substances. If the material
spirit be as small as Bishop Butler intimates, it will not occupy much
room in the body. Many millions of millions of such spirits, if "not
larger in bulk than the elementary particles of bodies," could occupy
much less room that a cubic inch of space.

We have now examined all of Mr. Taylder's arguments (if, indeed,
they may be called arguments) which have been adduced in support of
his first proposition, which it will be recollected, was stated in
these words--"The philosophy of the Mormons is IRRATIONAL?" or, in
other words, it is irrational to believe in the materiality of all
substance. How far he has supported this proposition our readers can
judge for themselves. He has not brought forth the least shadow of
evidence to prove that such a thing as an immaterial substance exists.
He has, indeed, argued, that such a thing as mind or spirit has a
real existence--that it thinks, and feels, and is conscious. In all
these things he agrees with us, without the least variation. He argues
that the substance called mind, possesses many different and superior
qualities to all other substance; his views in this respect do not
differ in the least from ours. He has clearly exhibited the absurdities
of Priestly, Darwin, and various other writers, who have made mind the
result of the motions of the brain or of its organization. We agree
with him most perfectly in the rejection of such absurdities, but in
no place has he brought forward argument, reason, or evidence to prove
that the substance called mind possesses no properties in common with
other substances; therefore he has utterly failed in establishing his
proposition. As no immaterialist can, from experiment, reason, or any
other process whatsoever, glean the least shadow of evidence in favour
of the immateriality of any substance, therefore we shall now on our
part show--



I.--Immaterialism is absurd, and opposed to true Philosophy.

1. The immaterialist assumes that God consists of an immaterial
substance, indivisible in its nature, "whose centre is everywhere and
circumference nowhere." The indivisibility of a substance implies
impenetrability; that is, two substances cannot exist in the same space
at the same time; hence, if an indivisible substance exist everywhere,
as it cannot be penetrated, it will absolutely exclude the existence of
all other substances. Such a substance would be a boundless, infinite
solid, without pores, incapable of condensation, or expansion, or
motion, for there would be no empty space left to move to. Observation
teaches us that this is not the case; therefore an infinitely extended,
indivisible, immaterial substance is absurd in the highest degree, and
opposed to all true philosophy.

2. The immaterialist teaches that the godhead consists of three persons
of one substance, and that each of these persons can be everywhere
present. Now in order to be everywhere present, each of these persons
must be infinitely extended, or else each must be susceptible of
occupying two or more places at the same time. If a substance be
infinitely extended it ceases to be a person; for to all persons there
are limits of extension called figure; but that which is not limited
can have no figure, and therefore cannot be a person. Therefore, it
is absolutely necessary that a person should be included in a finite
extent. Now that which is limited within one finite extent, cannot be
included within some other extent at the same time; therefore it is
utterly impossible for a person to be in two or more places at the same
time, hence immaterialism is totally absurd and unphilosophical.

3. The immaterialist teaches that the substance of the Deity is not
only omnipresent and indivisible, but that all other substances are
contained in his substance and perform all their motions in it without
any mutual action or resistance. The profound and illustrious Newton,
in the Scholium at the end of the "Principia," has fallen into this
error; he says, "God is one and the same God always and everywhere. He
is omnipresent, not by means of his _virtue_ alone, but also by his
_substance,_ for virtue cannot subsist without substance. In him all
things are contained, and move, but without mutual passions _God is not
acted upon by motions of the bodies; and they suffer no resistance from
the omnipresence of God_." Here we have an omnipresent substance, which
is said by immaterialists to be so compact as to be _indivisible,_
with worlds moving in it without suffering any resistance: this is
the climax of absurdity. All masses of substance with which we are
acquainted, are susceptible of division, yet even in these, bodies
cannot move without being resisted; how much more impossible it
would be for worlds to exist and move in an indivisible substance
without resistance, yet this is the absurdity of the immaterial
hypothesis. There is nothing too ridiculous or too unphilosophical to
be incorporated in an immaterial substance when its existence has been
once assumed.

The reflecting mind turns away from such fooleries with the utmost
disgust, and feels to pity those men who have degraded the great and
all-wise Creator and Governor of the universe by applying to him such
impossible, unheard of, and contradictory qualities. The heathen, in
their wildest imaginations never fancied up a god that could begin to
compare with the absurd qualities ascribed to the immaterialists' god.


1. We shall first endeavour to show what is absolutely _essential_
to the existence of all substance. It will be generally admitted
that space is essential to existence. Space, being boundless, all
substances must exist in space. Space is not the property of substance,
but the place of its existence. Infinite space has no qualities or
properties of any description excepting divisibility. Some eminent
philosophers have supposed _extension_ to be a property of space, but
such a supposition is absurd. Extension is space itself, and not a
property of space. As well might we say that _azote_ is a property of
nitrogen, whereas they are only two different names given to the same
substance, as to say that extension is a property of space. Infinite
space is divisible, but otherwise it cannot possibly be described,
for it has no other properties or qualities by which to describe it.
It has no boundaries--no figure--no other conceivable properties of
any description. It has a variety of names such as space, extension,
volume, magnitude, distance, &c., all of which are synonymous terms.

2. Duration is also essential to the existence of substance. There
can be no such thing as existence without duration. Duration, like
infinite space, is divisible, but otherwise it has no properties or
qualities of any description. Like space we can call it by different
names, as duration, time, period, &c; but to give it any other kind of
description would be absolutely impossible. Infinite space can only
be distinguished from duration by certain imaginary qualities, which
can be assigned to finite portions of it, but which cannot be assigned
to duration. We can conceive of cubical, prismatical and spherical
portions of space, but we cannot conceive of portions of duration under
any kind of shape. Both space and duration are entirely powerless,
being immovable, yet both are susceptible _of division_ to infinity.
To assist us in our future remarks we shall give the following

_Definition_ 1_.--_SPACE is magnitude, susceptible of division.

_Definition_ 2.--A POINT is the negative of space, or the zero at which
a magnitude begins or terminates; it is not susceptible of division.

_Definition_ 3.--DURATION is not magnitude, but time susceptible of

_Definition_ 4.--AN INSTANT is the negative of duration, or the zero at
which duration begins or terminates; it is not susceptible of division.

_Definition_ 5.--MATTER is something that occupies space between any
two instants, and is susceptible of division and of being removed from
one portion of space to another.

_Definition_ 6.--NOTHING is the negative of space, of duration, and of
matter; it is the zero of all existence.

3. Modern immaterialists freely admit, as we have already shown, that
"_a disembodied spirit_" is NOWHERE. "We must no longer allow ourselves
to imagine," says the immaterialist, "that it is or can be, in any
place." (Taylor's Physical Theory of another Life. Chapter II.) But
that which does not occupy any place or space, has no magnitude, and is
not susceptible of division; therefore it must be an unextended _point_
or _nothing--_(see definitions 2 and 6,) the negative of both space and
matter, that is, the negative of all existence. _Immateriality_ is a
representative of _nothing: immaterial_ substance is only another name
for _no_ substance; therefore such a substance does not, and cannot

4. Having shown that an immaterial substance can have no existence,
because it has no relation to space, we shall next show that it can
have no existence, because it has no relation to duration. Isaac
Taylor says, "that which is wholly abstracted from matter, and in
speaking of which we deny that it has any property in common therewith,
_can in itself be subjected to none of its_ CONDITIONS." One of the
_conditions_ absolutely essential to the existence of matter is
duration or time. (See definition 5.) That which is not subjected
to the condition of duration, must be subjected to the condition of
an instant, which is the negative of duration; but nothing is also
the negative of duration and of substance; (see definition 4 and 6;)
therefore that which has no duration is _nothing,_ and cannot be a
substance; hence an immaterial substance cannot exist.

There are many truths which may be called FIRST TRUTHS, or self-evident
truths, which cannot be demonstrated, because there are no truths of
a simpler nature that can be adduced to establish them. Such truths
are the foundation of all reasoning. They must be admitted without
demonstration, because they are self-evident. That space and duration
are essential conditions to the existence of all substance, may be
denominated a self-evident truth; if so, it is useless to undertake to
prove it. And in this case, the foregoing need not be considered as a
demonstration, but merely different forms of expression representing
the same self-evident truth.


There are two classes of Atheists in the world. One class denies the
existence of God in the most positive language: the other denies his
existence in duration or space. One says, "There is no God;" the other
says, "God is not _here_ or _there,_ any more than he exists now and
_then_." (Isaac Taylor's Physical Theory of Another Life Chap. II.) The
infidel says, God does not exist anywhere. The Immaterialist says, "He
exists _Nowhere_." (Good's Book of Nature.) The infidel says, There
is no such substance as God. The Immaterialist says, There is such a
substance as God, but it is "_without Parts_." (First of the Thirty
Nine Articles; also I Art. Methodist Discipline.) The Atheist says,
There is no such substance as _Spirit._ The Immaterialist says, "A
Spirit, though he lives and acts, occupies no room, and fills no space,
in the same way and after the same manner as matter, not even so much
as does the minutest grain of sand." (Rev. David James on the Trinity,
in Unitarianism Confuted. Lec. VII., page 382.) The Atheist does not
seek to hide his infidelity: but the Immaterialist, whose declared
belief amounts to the same thing as the Atheist's endeavours to hide
his infidelity under the shallow covering of a few words.

The "thinking principle," says Dr. Thomas Brown, "is essentially one,
not extended and divisible, but incapable by its very nature, of any
subdivision into integral parts." (Brown's "Philosophy of the Human
Mind." Lec. XCVII.) What is this but the rankest kind of infidelity
couched in a blind, plausible form. That which is "not extended and not
divisible" and "without parts," cannot be anything else than nothing.
Take away these qualities and conditions, and no power of language can
give us the least idea of existence. The very idea conveyed by the
term existence is something extended, divisible, and with parts. Take
these away, and you take away existence itself. It cannot be so much
as the negative of space, or, what is generally called, an indivisible
point, for that has a relation to the surrounding spaces. It cannot be
so much as the negative of duration, or, what is generally called, an
indivisible instant, for that has a relation to the past and future.
Therefore, it must be the negative of all existence, or what is called
absolutely NOTHING. Nothing, and nothing only, is a representative
of that which has no relation to space or time--that is, unextended,
indivisible, and without parts. Therefore, the immaterialist is a
religious Atheist; he only differs from the other classes of Atheists,
by clothing an indivisible unextended NOTHING with the powers of a god.
One class believes in no God; the other class believes that NOTHING
is god, and worships it as such. There is no twisting away from this.
The most profound philosopher in all the ranks of modern Christianity,
cannot extricate the Immaterialists from atheism. He cannot show the
least difference between the idea represented by the word _nothing_,
and the idea represented by that which is unextended, indivisible,
and without parts, having no relation to space or time. All the
philosophers of the universe could not give a better or more correct
definition of _Nothing._ And yet this is the god worshipped by the
Church of England--the Methodists--and millions of other atheistical
idolaters, according to their own definitions, as recorded in their
respective articles of faith. An open Atheist is not so dangerous as
the Atheist who couches his atheistical doctrines under the head of
"ARTICLES OF RELIGION." The first stands out with open colours and
boldly avows his infidelity; the latter, under the sacred garb of
religion, draws into his yawning vortex, the unhappy millions who
are persuaded to believe in, and worship an unextended indivisible
_nothing_ without parts, deified into a god. A pious Atheist is much
more serviceable in building up the kingdom of darkness than one who
openly, and without any deception, avows his infidelity.

No wonder that this modern god has wrought no miracles and given no
revelations since his followers invented their "Articles of Religion."
A being without parts must be entirely powerless, and can perform
no miracles. Nothing can be communicated from such a being; for, if
nothing give nothing, nothing will be received. If, at death, his
followers are to be made like him, they will enjoy, with some of the
modern Pagans, all the beauties of annihilation. To be made like him!
Admirable thought! How transcendently sublime to behold an innumerable
multitude of unextended nothings, casting their crowns at the feet of
the great, unextended, infinite Nothing, filling all space, and yet
"without parts!" There will be no danger of quarrelling for want of
room; for the Rev. David James says, "Ten thousand spirits might be
brought together into the smallest compass imaginable, and there exist
without any inconvenience for want of room. As materiality," continues
he, "forms no property of a spirit, the space which is sufficient for
one, must be amply sufficient for myriads, yea, for all that exist."
(Rev. David James on the Trinity, in Unitarianism Confuted. Lec. VII.,
page 382.) According to this, all the spirits that exist, "could be
brought together into the smallest compass imaginable," or, in other
words into no compass at all; for, he says, a spirit occupies "no
room, and fills no space." What an admirable description of Nothing!
_Nothing_ "occupies no room, and fills no space!" If myriads of
Nothings were "brought together into the smallest compass imaginable,"
they would "there exist without any inconvenience for want of room."
Everything which the Immaterialist says, of the existence of _Spirit,_
will apply without any variation, to the existence of _Nothing._ If
he says that his god cannot exist "Here" or "There," the same is true
of _Nothing._ If he affirms that he cannot exist "Now" and "Then,"
the same can, in all truth, be affirmed of _Nothing._ If he declares,
that he is "unextended," so is _Nothing._ If he asserts that he is
"indivisible" and "without parts," so is _Nothing._ If he declares
that a spirit "occupies no room and fills no space," neither does
_Nothing._ If he says a spirit is "Nowhere," so is _Nothing._ All that
he affirms of the one, can, in like manner, and, with equal truth, be
affirmed of the other. Indeed, they are only two words, each of which
express precisely the same idea. There is no more absurdity in calling
_Nothing_ a substance, and clothing it with Almighty powers, than there
is in making a substance out of that which is precisely like nothing,
and imagining it to have Almighty powers. Therefore, an immaterial god
is a deified Nothing, and all his worshippers are atheistical idolators.


That spirit or mind has a relation to space, is evident from the fact
of its location in the body. The body itself exists in space, therefore
every particle of substance which it contains must exist in space.
No point can be assumed in the body but what has a relation to the
surrounding space or extension. Therefore spirit must have a relation
to extension or it cannot exist in the body. All unextended points
have a relation to space, though they are no part of space, and do not
occupy space; but an unextended substance to have no relation to space
cannot be as much as a point. A point is a _located_ nothing, but an
unextended substance is nothing, having no _location._

What can be more unphilosophical, contradictory, and absurd, than to
assume that something can exist that is "unextended,"--that "occupies
no room, fills no space,"--has "no parts?" We ask our readers to pause
for a moment, and endeavour to conceive of a substance that has no
parts. Grasp it if you can in your imaginations. Think of its existing
where there is no space. Conceive, if you can in your imaginations.
Think of its existing where there is no space. Conceive, if you can,
of a locality outside of the bounds of a boundless space. Do not
your judgments, and every power of your minds revolt at the absolute
absurdities and palpable contradictions? By this time, perhaps, you
are ready to inquire, can it be possible that any man in all the world
could believe in such impossibilities? Yes, it is possible. These very
absurdities now stand in bold relief, not only in the most approved
philosophical works of modern times, but incorporated in the very
"Articles of Religion" which millions have received as their rule of

That spirit or mind has a relation to duration is manifest in the act
of remembering. Through the memory the mind perceives itself to be
the same conscious being _now_, that it was, an hour, a day, a year
ago; it perceives that itself has existed through a certain period of
duration. There is as much certainty of its own relations to duration
as there is of any such relation in any other substance whatever. If
there is no certainty that mind has a relation to duration, there is
no certainty that any other substance has such a relation; hence all
would be uncertainty, even our own existence. Bishop Berkeley denied
the existence of the material world, and the first Article of his
religion swept away the immaterial world from _space;_ and the modern
immaterialist sweeps it away from all relation to _time_. So between
them all, space and time are pretty well cleaned out; not so much as a
nest egg left to replenish the great infinite void.

Mind, like all other matter, is susceptible of being moved from
place to place. We see this exemplified in the movements of the mind
through the medium of the body which conveys it from place to place
on the surface of the earth. But though man was stationary upon the
earth's surface, the earth itself with all its inhabitants, is moving
with the rapid velocity of nineteen miles every second, which proves
to a demonstration that mind is capable of being moved from place
to place with a velocity far exceeding that of a cannon ball. But
_motion_ involves the ideas of both space and time. Mind cannot be
moved without being moved in space; it cannot pass from point to point
instantaneously. However rapid the velocity, time is an essential
ingredient to all motion. That eminent and profound philosopher, the
late Professor Robison of Edinburgh, says, "In motion we observe the
_successive_ appearance of the thing moved in _different_ parts of
space. Therefore, in our idea of motion are involved the ideas or
conceptions of space and time."

"All things are placed in space, in the order of situation. All events
happen in time, in the order of succession."

"No motion can be conceived as instantaneous. For, since a moveable,
in passing from the beginning to the end of its path, passes through
the intermediate points; to suppose the motion along the most minute
portion of the path instantaneous, is to suppose the moveable in
every intervening point at the same instant. This is inconceivable
and absurd." (Robison's Mechanical Philosophy. Vol I. Introduction.)
The motion of mind, therefore is another positive proof that it has a
relation to both space and duration.

"Extension and resistance," says Dr. Thomas Brown, "are the complex
elements of what we term matter; and nothing is matter to our
conception, or a body, to use the simpler synonymous term which does
not involve these elements." Figure, magnitude, divisibility, are only
different modifications of extension. Solidity, liquidity, viscidity,
hardness, softness, roughness, smoothness, are different modifications
of resistance. All these terms are only extension and resistance,
modified in a certain degree, and under other names. Our notion of
extension is supposed by Dr. Brown to be acquired from our notion of
time as successive, involving length and divisibility. Our notion of
resistance he supposes to be obtained through our muscular organs.
These organs are first exerted, and then excited by something without,
and in their turn excite the mind with a feeling of resistance. The
feeling of resistance combined with the feeling of extension gives
us the notion of matter. If Dr. Brown's views be correct, no one can
acquire a notion of matter, by seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling,
or simple touch. Either or all of these will only produce certain
feelings in the mind without giving us any notion of an external
extended resistance. A muscular effort opposed by some substance or
foreign body is the only possible way, according to his theory, for
the infant mind to obtain a notion of extended solidity or resistance.
(Brown's Philosophy of the Human Mind. From the XX to the XXIX Lecture

If solidity and extension then are the essential characteristics of
matter; and if the resistance of a muscular effort be the only possible
way of learning these characteristics; it may be asked, how did Dr.
Brown learn that the rays of light are material? He has frequently in
his philosophy called light material. Has light in any way resisted his
muscular efforts? Have the muscular organs ever been able to grasp a
ray of light? Have the particles of light either singly or collectively
ever acted upon our muscular organs in such manner as to give us a
notion of extension and resistance? Have they ever affected the mind in
any way only to impart to it the feeling of color? Does not Dr. Brown
himself repeatedly affirm, that light can only impart the sensation
of color; and that extension, magnitude, figure, solidity, can never
be known by the sense of seeing? Does he not assert, that "nothing is
matter to our conception which does not involve these elements?" Why
then does he assume light to be material?

If, then, light can be ranked as a material substance without
exhibiting the least resistance to the muscular organs, why not mind or
spirit be considered material also? Why believe that light consists of
inconceivably small vibratory or emanating particles of matter from the
mere affection of mind called color, and yet be unwilling to believe
that the mind affected is material? If that which produces a sensation
or feeling be regarded a solid extended substance, independently of
muscular resistance, where is the impropriety, in regarding that which
receives the sensation or feeling, as a solid extended substance also?

Dr. Brown, and all other immaterialists, universally believe that the
sensation of smell is produced by small material particles, acting
upon our olfactory nerves. But we ask, how is Dr. Brown or any other
person to determine those odorous particles to be material? It may be
said, that we determine them to be solid and extended by tracing them
to the substances from which they emanate. But can it be proved that
they constitute any part of the solid extended substance from which
they emanate, any more than light is a part of the substance from
which it emanates? We know a rose to be solid and extended, not from
the sensation of vision or smell, but from the sensation of resistance
which it offers to our muscular organs when we attempt to grasp it. But
because a rose is solid and extended, that does not prove that light
and fragrance, by which we discern its color and smell, are any part of
the rose.

If Dr. Brown's theory be true, it is absolutely impossible to prove
that the odoriferous particles which affect us with the sensation of
fragrance, are a solid extended substance. These particles of odour
appear, indeed, to have been connected in some way with bodies from
which they emanate; but there is no possible means for the muscular
powers to determine them to be parts of those bodies, any more than
the colored light or the heat which are also transmitted from them. No
one in speaking of a rose would think of classifying heat and light
as a portion of its solid substance; yet both heat and light, like
the particles of odour, are intimately connected with it, and are
constantly being thrown off from it.

"What is there," inquires Dr. Brown, "which we can discover in the
mere sensation of fragrance, that is itself significant of solidity,
extension, or whatever we may regard as essential to the existence
of things without? As a mere change in the form of our being, it may
suggest to us the necessity of some cause or antecedent of the change.
But it is far from implying the necessity of a corporeal cause;--any
more than such a direct corporeal cause is implied in any other
modification of our being, intellectual or moral--in our belief, for
example, of the most abstract truth, at which we may have arrived by
a slow development of proposition after proposition in a process of
internal reflective analysis, or in the most refined and sublime of
our emotions, when, without thinking of any one of the objects around,
we have been meditating on the divinity who formed them--himself the
purest of spiritual existences. Our belief of a system of external
things, then, does not, as far as we can judge from the nature of the
feelings, arise from our sensations of smell, more than from any of our
internal pleasures or pains." (Brown's Philosophy of the Human Mind.
Lecture XX.)

Odorous particles, then, have never been submitted to Dr. Brown's only
test of materiality, and yet he, and all other immaterialists, without
any hesitation, pronounce them to be matter. The spirit, like these
particles of odour, can exist in connexion with the body or separate
from it; and yet it forms no part of the fleshy tabernacle. If like
the particles of odour, it really eludes the grasp of the muscular
organs, and if neither these odoriferous particles, nor the spirit, can
be proved by any muscular effort to have solidity and extension; why,
then, should one be called _material,_ and the other _immaterial?_

If the mind be unextended, how can it receive any sensations from
things without? It could not act upon bodily organs, for they are
extended. Neither could bodily organs act upon it.

Philosophers have endeavoured to invent numberless hypothesis to
account for the action of matter on the mind, which they have assumed
to be immaterial. The old Peripatetic doctrine of perception, by
species or phantasms, which for so many centuries held so unlimited
a sway in the philosophic world, was probably originated to connect
material with immaterial substances. When this absurdity slowly died
away, other hypothesis, no less erroneous, immediately supplied its
place. Des Cartes, seeing no possibility of any reciprocal action
between matter and something that was inextended, invented his system
of occasional causes, and represented the external world entirely
incapable of affecting the mind in any way whatever. He ascribed all
the sensations and affections of the mind to the immediate agency of
the Deity, virtually rendering external objects entirely useless to
the mind. This conjecture has been modified by succeeding philosophers
without, however, removing its absurdities. It is useless to revert
to all the absurd theories which have from time to time distracted
the metaphysical world, and which have been originated for no other
purpose than to uphold the still greater absurdity of immaterialism.
Philosophers of ancient times imagined the existence of an immaterial
substance, unextended in its nature, like nothing. To support this
wild and vague imagination, learned metaphysicians have given birth to
innumerable conjectures, in order to connect this imaginary substance
with the material world.

Dr. Brown, however, being a little more wise than the immaterialists
who preceded him, does not attempt to connect the mutual affections,
existing between matter and mind, by substituting some conjectural
intervening _causes._ Instead of this, he advocates the direct
affection of the mind by the presence of material objects--that the
change of state in the one is produced by the change of state in the
other, independently of intervening causes. Now this, in our view, is
really what happens.

We believe that matter can only act upon mind because mind is an
extended material substance. But Dr. Brown supposes there is no
absurdity in matter acting upon that which is unextended. He endeavours
to substantiate the possibility of the direct mutual affections of mind
and matter, by referring to some examples of matter acting upon matter
as in gravitation. (Brown's Philosophy of the Human Mind. Lecture
XXX.) But we do not conceive these cases to be in the least analogous;
for there is no absurdity in supposing one extended substance to act
upon another which is also extended. But for extended substances
with parts to act upon unextended substances is without a parallel,
and inconceivably absurd. Indeed there could be no action at all;
an immaterial mind could not act upon an immaterial mind any more
than nothing could act upon nothing. To talk about matter affecting
that which is inextended and without parts, is to talk about matter
affecting nothing.

The very fact of the external organs affecting the mind without any
intervening cause, the same as other matter affects other matter, is an
argument of the strongest kind in favour of the materiality of mind. A
piece of iron is affected in a certain manner by introducing into its
presence a loadstone, so the mind is affected in a certain manner by
the presence of light upon the retina, or by the presence or odour upon
the olfactory nerve. If, then, mind can be directly affected by other
substances, the same as matter directly affects matter, why should it
be called an immaterial substance?

If resistance to our muscular efforts, as Dr. Brown supposes, be our
only test of solidity and extension, and consequently of matter, then
mind itself has the greatest claims to materiality. A muscular effort
is nothing more than an effort of the mind. Without the mind the
muscles are incapable of any effort whatsoever. Two men stretch out
their arms, press their hands together, and resist each other with
great force. In this example as it is commonly said, the muscular
efforts of the one are resisted by the muscular efforts of the other;
but as the muscles have no power of themselves, the facts of the case
are, that the mind of the one truly resists the mind of the other
through the medium of their respective muscles. If that which causes
resistance then be material, mind must be material.

If two bodies of iron of equal size were moving with equal velocities
towards each other, upon meeting they would destroy each others
motion, and the next moment, though in contact, there would be no
signs of resistance; not so with the resistance which mind offers to
mind through the medium of the muscular organs; the resistance can be
continued at the option of the two resisting minds; hence mind exhibits
resistance in a greater degree than other substances, and should,
therefore, according to Dr. Brown's test, be considered material in
preference to all other substances.

No two atoms of spirit or any other matter can occupy two or more
places at the same time. We have never known of a circumstance of the
spirit of man residing in the body and out of it at the same time. No
particles of light, odour, heat, electricity, can occupy two places
at once. These substances can only be extensively diffused by being
extensive in quantity. The particles of light which enter the right eye
are not the same which enter the left eye. Though their qualities may
be exactly alike, yet they are separate individual substance, as much
so as if they were millions of miles asunder. The same is true of the
atoms of spirit and all other substances.


Philosophers of modern times have asserted that we know nothing of
the _essence_ of bodies. It is affirmed that all that can be known
of mind or matter, are merely its properties. Dr. Abercrombie, says,
"We talk, indeed, about matter, and we talk about mind; we speculate
concerning materiality and immateriality, until we argue ourselves into
a kind of belief that we really understand something of the subject.
The truth is, we understand nothing. Matter and mind are known to us
by certain properties: but in regard to both it is entirely out of the
reach of our faculties to advance a single step beyond the facts which
are before us. Whether in their substratum or ultimate essence, they
are the same, or whether they are different we know not, and never can
know in our present state of being." (Abercrombie on the Intellectual
Powers. Part I. Sec. I.)

There are many truths which we ascertain by reflection, independently
in a great measure of our senses. We are assured and know in our own
minds that duration must be endless, and that space must be boundless,
not because we have learned these truths directly through the medium
of our senses, or have been able to demonstrate them by any process
of reasoning. In the same way we know concerning the essence of
bodies. Instead of being entirely ignorant on the subject, as modern
philosophers assert, it is directly the opposite; we know the essence
of all substances. Solidity is the only essence in existence. Although
the ultimate atoms of matter cannot come under the cognizance of our
senses, and we cannot demonstrate their solidity by any process of
reasoning, yet we are none the less assured of their solidity. We
believe that they are solid because it is impossible for us to believe
otherwise. We are as certain that the ultimate atoms of all substances
are solid, as we are that they exist. What we mean by solidity is, that
all substances completely fill a certain amount of space, and that it
is impossible for them ever to fill a greater or less amount of space.

The amount of absolute space occupied by any substance is constant,
that is the elementary atoms cannot be increased or decreased in
magnitude in the least degree. Particles may be divided, but their
respective parts occupy the same amount of space when separated as when
united. Condensation or expansion is not a property of the ultimate
atoms of bodies, but merely the relation which these atoms sustain to
each other. When a collection of atoms called body are forced into a
closer connexion with each other, the body is said to be condensed.
When their relative distances are increased the body is expanded. The
maximum of density excludes all pores. In such a condition the space
is wholly occupied--any further condensation is absolutely impossible.
A bar of iron varies its dimensions with its temperature, while the
atoms of which the bar consists remain unchangeable in size. The pores
of the iron increase in the same proportion as the bar increases, and
diminish as the bar diminishes. Solidity is universally supposed to be
a property of atoms, but this is an error. Solidity is not a property,
but only another name for the essence. A property must be a property of
something; but solidity is not a property of _anything_--it is the
essence itself--the thing that exists, aside from all properties and
powers. If we suppose _solidity_ to be a _property,_ then it is evident
that there must be a distinction between atoms as possessors, and
solidity as the thing or property possessed; but we find it impossible
to conceive of atoms separate and apart from solidity. Deprive atoms
of solidity, and they are deprived not of a property, but of existence
itself, and nothing remains. Solidity is associated with existence, and
we cannot conceive of the one independently of the other. Solidity,
then, is the essence to which all qualities belong--taste, smell,
colour, weight, &c., are the affections of solids. Every feeling or
thought is the feeling or thought of solids. All the powers of the
universe, from the almighty powers of Jehovah down to the most feeble
powers that operate, are the powers of solid atoms. We can conceive of
solid atoms existing without powers, but we cannot conceive of atoms
existing without solidity; therefore the very essence of all substance
is solidity. Love, joy, and all other affections are only the different
states of this essence.

When the essence or solidity of substance is considered by itself,
independently of its powers, there cannot possibly be any difference
in atoms only in their _magnitude_ and _form_. The essence of
all substance is precisely alike when the essence alone is
considered. Substances can only differ in their magnitude, form, and
susceptibilities, but not in their essences, for they are and must be


The only possible argument which the immaterialist pretends to bring
forward in support of the _inextension_ and _indivisibility_ of a
thinking substance, and consequently of its immateriality--is founded
on the self-consciousness of such substance.

A thinking substance is conscious of its own individual unity: it
is conscious that itself is not _many_ beings, but one. Mankind
universally feel their own individual unity when each contemplates
himself. Each one is certain that it is the same being that rejoiced
yesterday who remembers to-day--that all past and present affections
are the affections of _one_ being, and not of many. The absolute
_oneness_ of a thinking being is supposed to be inconsistent with
a _plurality_ of parts. To avoid this supposed inconsistency the
immaterialist assumes that such a substance is without parts.

Dr. Brown says "that the very notion _of plurality_ and division is as
inconsistent with the notion of self as the notions of existence and
nonexistence." (Brown's Philosophy of the Human Mind. Lecture XCVI.)
That by the term "_plurality_," he means the plurality of parts, as
well as a plurality of atoms,--is very evident from the whole tenor of
his reasoning. If the materialist, as Dr. Brown again says, "assert
thought to be the affection of a single particle, a monade; he must
remember that if what he chooses to term a single particle, be a
particle or matter, it too must still admit of division; it must have a
top and bottom, a right side and a left; it must, as it is demonstrable
in geometry, admit of being cut in different points, by an infinite
number of straight lines; and all the difficulty of the composition of
thought, therefore, remains precisely as before." "If it be supposed,"
continues he, "so completely divested of all the qualities of matter,
as not to be _extended,_ nor consequently divisible, it is then mind
which is asserted under another name, and every thing which is at all
important in the controversy is conceded." (Brown's Philosophy of the
Human Mind. Lecture XCVI.)

A unity of substance, consisting of parts, is supposed by Dr. Brown and
other immaterialists to be, not only relatively, but absolutely absurd.
But this supposed absurdity is only imaginary, and is founded wholly
on supposition and false reasoning, and not on our self-consciousness.
Self-consciousness teaches us the _unity_ of self, but it does not
teach us that a unity of self is inconsistent with a plurality of
parts, and consequently inextended.

The absolute _oneness_ or _unity_ of a thinking being can, by no means,
be denied. Every man in all the world,--the savage as well as the
philosopher,--is conscious that what he calls himself is not _many_
but _one_; but no man is conscious that the thinking substance called
self does not consist of a plurality of parts--no one is conscious that
self is inextended. Indeed, in the very notion of unity is involved the
notion of a plurality of parts. In abstract numbers themselves a unit
consists of an unlimited number of fractional parts. A unit of time is
composed of innumerable parts called moments. A unit of space embraces
a countless number of fractional spaces. A unit of substance is
composed of an immense number of fractional parts. Without a plurality
of parts we can form no notion whatsoever of unity. If consciousness,
therefore, teaches us of the unity of self, it must teach us of a unity
consisting of parts; otherwise it teaches us nothing. The unity of the
thinking being, then, proves to a demonstration that it consists of
parts, and consequently must be extended.

The term _unity_ when applied to time, space, or substance, is entirely
indefinite as to quantity. Any quantity, either great or small, may be
assumed as a unit. In a multitude of human beings a man; in a bodily
organ a molecule of any compounded substance which enters into its
composition; and, in a molecule, an atom may be assumed as the unit.
In an atom there is an indefinite number of parts, either of which may
be chosen as a unit. But when we descend the scale still farther, and
speak of that which has no parts, we can form no possible conception
of a unit of inextension. The term nothing, instead of unity, is the
only applicable term for that which is inextended. To think of unity in
reference to external things, we think of something that has parts; so
likewise to feel the unity of the mind is to feel that it has parts.

If the unity or oneness of the mind is any evidence in favor of its
being inextended and without parts, the unity or oneness of all other
substances is equal evidence of their inextension. All the atoms of
every substance in the immensity of space, when considered separately
and apart, are units, that is each atom is not _many_ substances, but
one. Therefore, if the unity of substance necessarily implies the
inextension of substance, every atom in the universe must be inextended
and without parts, and consequently immaterial.

If it be said that the universe contains no substances that can be
called _units,_ but that each atom is a _plurality_ of substances,
this would not obviate the difficulty in the least; it would only be
adding absurdity to absurdity; for a _plurality_ to exist without
the possibility of a _unity's_ existing, is inconceivable nonsense.
A plural number, without a singular, or many substances to co-exist
without the possibility of the existence of any single one, is as
grossly absurd as immaterialism itself. Hence _unity_ implies parts
as much as _plurality._ Therefore, wherever a unity or plurality
of substance exists, there matter exists, with all its essential

No doubt but that the immaterialist absurdity was invented principally
to combat the gross errors which have been embraced by some
materialists, both of ancient and modern times. The great majority
of materialists have contended that thought and feeling are the
_results_ of organization, beginning and ceasing with it. Hobbes,
Spinosa, Priestley, Darwin, and numerous other individuals, have
strenuously advocated this inconsistency. They have asserted that
particles of matter have no susceptibilities of thought and feeling
when unorganized, but as soon as they were brought together into a
certain system, the result of such union is thought and feeling. Dr.
Brown, in combating this vague conjecture, has clearly shown that a
system of particles can have no properties as a whole which it does not
possess in its individual parts; and, consequently, that a thought, or
a joy, or a fear, or any other affections of the mind, cannot possibly
be the affections resulting from a plurality, but in all cases must
be the affections or feelings of every part of a substance. We most
cordially believe with Dr. Brown, that a system of particles cannot
possibly possess a property which the individuals composing the system
do not possess. Had this great philosopher and metaphysician stopped
here, his reasoning would have been amply sufficient to have overthrown
the errors of Priestly, Darwin, and others who have supposed thought
to begin and end with organization. But by supposing an individual
unity to be inconsistent with extension and parts, he has advocated an
absurdity still more glaring than the one which a part of his reasoning
has so successfully overthrown.

There is another gross error of a very different nature from the one
advocated by Priestley and his followers, which Dr. Brown also very
clearly exposes. This error consists in assuming thought, hope, fear,
joy, sorrow, desire, and all other affections to be little particles of
matter. We are not aware, however, that there was ever a human being
so void of common sense as to advocate this palpable inconsistency. It
is very evident that this error is not necessarily incorporated with
that absurd notion which supposes thought and other affections to be
a _property_ of an organized system of particles, but not a property
of each individual particle. The two errors are widely different: the
one supposes a thought or feeling to be a _property,_ not of a single
particle, but of a collection of particles; the other supposes a
thought or feeling to be a little particle of matter itself, and not a
_property_ of either a particle or collection of particles. The former
error has had numerous advocates in such men as Priestley, Darwin,
&c.; but the latter, so far as we are aware, has had no advocates. Dr.
Brown, however, has attacked not only the former, but the latter error,
as though it really had an existence in some popular theory.

If thought be little particles of matter, Dr. Brown justly argues,
"that it will be not more absurd to talk of the twentieth part of an
affirmation, or the quarter of a hope, of the top of a remembrance, and
the north and east corners of a comparison, than of the twentieth part
of a pound, or of the different points of the compass in reference to
any part of the globe of which we may be speaking." We agree with him
most perfectly in saying, "that with every effort of attention which
we can give to our mental analysis, we are as incapable of forming any
conception of what is meant by the quarter of a doubt, or the half of
a belief, as of forming to ourselves an image of a circle without a
central point, or of a square without a single angle."

Dr. Brown also endeavours to bring this mode of reasoning to bear
against the absurdity which supposes thought to be a _quality_ of a
collection of particles arranged in the form of an organ, but not a
quality of single particles. But it is evident that the arguments which
entirely demolish one error, leave the other entirely untouched. The
weakness of Dr. Brown's argument, when wrongfully applied against the
last-named error, will more fully appear by reference to his own words
which read as follows:--

"Even though it were admitted, however, in opposition to one of the
clearest truths in science, that an organ is something more than a mere
name for the separate and independent bodies which it denotes, and
that our various feelings are states of the sensorial organ, it must
still be allowed that, if two hundred particles existing in a certain
state form a doubt, the division of these into two equal aggregates
of the particles, as they exist in this state at the moment of that
particular feeling, would form halves of a doubt; that all the truths
of arithmetic would be predicable of each separate thought, if it were
a state of a number of particles."

By a little reflection it will be seen that Dr. Brown's inference is
entirely unfounded. "If two hundred particles existing in a certain
state form a doubt," it does not necessarily follow that "the division
of these into two equal aggregates of the particles," would form
halves of a doubt. If two hundred pounds weight attached to a certain
machine will produce a result called _motion,_ it does not necessarily
follow that one hundred pounds will produce a result called _half of
a motion._ If exactly two hundred particles organized in a certain
form, were requisite to produce a certain thought, then it is evident
that to alter in the least either the number or organization would
be a complete destruction of that particular thought, instead of
forming fractions of it. This is what Priestley and his followers
assert. They say that thought begins and ends with the organization,
and that the single individuals entering into the system, form no
thought nor fractions of a thought. This absurdity, therefore, remains
untouched by this argument of Dr. Brown. It is effectually demolished,
however, by another species of argument, used by him to which we have
already referred. He has proved Priestley's theory to be false, not
by supposing that the fractions of a doubt could be made to result
from it, but by clearly showing that an organ is only a name for a
collection of many substances, which cannot possibly possess any
property as a whole, which the individuals do not possess when existing
singly. He has also proved the theory which asserts that a thought
or a feeling is a little particle of matter, to be false, because it
involves the absurdity of fractional thoughts, hopes, fears, &c.

But there is one more theory which we venture to propose, that we
believe to be impregnable, which no philosopher or metaphysician ever
has or ever can refute. This theory may be stated as follows:--

A thought, hope, fear, joy, or any other feeling is not a little
particle of matter, nor the result or quality of a collection of
particles, called an organ or a system or organs, but it is the state
or affection of a single individual substance, having extension and
parts, and all the essential characteristics belonging to all other

There is no absurdity in speaking of the half, or of a quarter, or of
any other fractional part of this substance, but there would be a great
absurdity in speaking of the fractional parts of its mere _states_ or
_affections._ The half or a thousandth part of a thinking substance
is as reasonable as the half or a thousandth part of an attracting
substance; but the top or bottom of a thought would be as absurd as
the top or bottom of attraction. The north or east side of a substance
which remembers, is just as correct as the north or east corners of a
substance which possesses a chemical affinity; but the north side of a
remembrance would be as inconsistent as the north side of a chemical
affinity. Hence, none of the arguments which are so successfully
brought to bear against the other two theories, will in the least
affect this. It is invulnerable in every point at which it may be

Every conceivable part of this substance, however minute, possesses
the same property as the whole. A thought, or any other state of
feeling is, therefore, perceived by every possible part of which a
whole consists. A unity of substance, as we have already had occasion
to remark, consists of an immense number of fractional parts. These,
in order to constitute _unity,_ must be so closely connected with, and
related to each other, that whatever state or affection one may happen
to be in, all the rest must immediately be notified of the same. If one
part be affected with pain, every other part most be conscious of it.
If one part rejoices, hopes, or fears, the whole must, by sympathy,
rejoice, hope, or fear in the same manner. But if one part could
suffer, while another part was unconscious of such suffering; or if
the affection of one part had no tendency to affect another, then the
individual unity would be destroyed, and the substance would be as many
distinct, thinking, feeling beings as there were parts unconscious of
the affections of the others.

It is not necessary that a thinking substance should be limited to
magnitudes or quantities that are exceedingly minute in order to
constitute a unity. Large amounts of substance are as consistent with
unity as small ones. But in all cases, whether the quantity be large
or small, it is necessary that the parts should bear that relation to
each other, that when one is affected every other should be affected
also; otherwise, it could not be a unity. The feeling or thinking
substance of an elephant or whale is as much an individual unity as
the feeling substance or spirit of a gnat or animalcul├Ž, though the
magnitude of the former far exceeds that of the latter. It is the
peculiar organization or relation of parts in such a manner as to be
all conscious of each other's affection which constitutes the unity,
without any regard to the size or amount of substance organized.
When the several parts are so organized as to think, remember, hate,
love, and feel alike, under the different circumstances to which the
organization may be exposed, the whole is one individual unity or being.

If the mind or spirit be of the same magnitude as the body, then the
impressions received through the various organs of a human body would
only have to be transferred to the distance of about five feet, in
order that every part of the mind might be alike conscious of such
impressions. Let the velocity be ever so rapid, time would be an
essential ingredient to the transfer of these communications from part
to part. If they were communicated with the velocity of sound, those
parts of the mind the most distant from the one first affected, would
receive the impression in the two hundredth part of a second. If the
transfer were as rapid as light, the impression would be conveyed to
the most distant extremities of the mind in the two hundred millionth
part of a second. These inconceivably minute portions of time would be
altogether imperceptible to the mind. Hence, whenever any part of the
mind is affected through its sensorial organs, every other part seems
to be affected in the same instant, whereas, in reality, the affection
is conveyed successively from part to part, the same as sound or light
is conveyed from a sounding or a luminous body.

The conveyance of internal thoughts or emotions of any kind form one
part of the mind to the other, is probably equal in velocity to the
transfer of the various notions gained by sensation. Therefore, in
consequence of the inconceivable velocity with which all thoughts and
sensations are conveyed from one extremity of the mind to another, it
is impossible for one part of the mind to have a thought, sensation, or
feeling of any kind which the other parts of the mind can, during any
term of time that is appreciable, be ignorant of. It is for this reason
that the _whole_ of the mind thinks,--the whole of the mind loves,--the
_whole_ of the mind hates,--the _whole_ of the mind wills, &c.

If the term of time were of any appreciable length in which thoughts
and feelings are conveyed from one part of the perceptive mind to the
other, then, while one part of the mind was hating an object, another
part of the same mind might be loving it because of newly discovered
qualities; and while a part of the mind in one foot was suffering
intense pain, caused by treading upon hot iron, another part of the
mind in the other foot, not having had time to receive the information,
would venture also into the same danger.

Were it possible for the different parts of the mind to feel and think
without being able to communicate their respective feelings to each
other, then every part that thus thought and felt, would be a distinct
individual, as much so as if it were separated for miles from all
the rest, or, as if it were a separate organization. In this case,
the whole being or mind which we before termed I, would cease its
individual unity; and each part which thought and felt independently,
could appropriate to itself the term I, and with the greatest propriety
could apply the term YOU to every other part which thought and felt
distinctly and differently from itself.

It is, therefore, because all parts of the mind seem to be affected in
the same way, and apparently at the same time, that it is felt to be
a single individual mind. It is this, and this only, that constitutes
the unity of a thinking being, and not, as the immaterialist asserts, a
something "without parts," which from its very nature could constitute
neither a unity, nor a plurality, nor any thing else, but nothing.

If the human spirit be nearly the same form and magnitude as the
fleshly tabernacle in which it dwells, it must be composed of an
immense number of particles, each of which is susceptible of almost an
infinite variety of thoughts, emotions, and feelings. Whence originated
these susceptibilities? Are they the results of organization? Did each
particle obtain its susceptibilities by being united with others? This
would be impossible; for if a particle were entirely destitute of the
capacity of thinking and feeling, no possible organization could impart
to it that power. The power to think and feel, is not, nor can not be
derived from any arrangement of particles. If they have not this power
before organization, they can never have it afterwards. It follows
then, that if ever there were a time when the particles of the human
spirit existed in a disorganized state, each particle so existing,
must have had all the susceptibilities of feeling and thought that it
now has; and, consequently, each particle must have been a separate
independent being of itself. Therefore, under such circumstances, one
particle would have been no more affected with the state or condition
of others, than one man is affected with the pleasures or pains of
others with whom he is not associated.

How, then, it may be asked, can these separate independent beings,
be so united as to form but one being, possessing the same
susceptibilities as each of the individuals of which it is composed?
The answer to this question may be more clearly understood by the
following illustration. Let a certain number of iron filings exist
in a scattered condition, widely separated from each other. It is
evident that each possesses the susceptibility of magnetism. Such
as are brought within the influence of a loadstone or magnet, under
favourable circumstances, will exhibit all the magnetic phenomena,
while others unconnected and at a distance, will remain entirely
unaffected. But let all these filings be firmly united together into
one bar of iron, and be exposed to the influence of a magnet or
loadstone, and they will then be affected alike. Those which were
before the union distinct individual particles, exhibiting at the
same time different susceptibilities and qualities, according to the
different circumstances in which they were placed,--are, by their
union, consolidated into one mass. In this condition, if one part
be magnetized, the whole will be magnetized; if one part be moved,
the whole will be moved. Therefore the particles in this bar, though
distinct parts of the same substance, can no longer be considered
distinct individuals, because they are no longer affected differently,
but alike. So it is with the human spirit: its particles previous to
the organization, are, as above stated, separate and distinct beings,
and the affections of each are entirely independent of the state of
the others. But when organized into a person, all particles must from
henceforth be subject to the same influences; and though they are
distinct parts of the same substance, yet they are one in all their
thoughts and feelings; and it is this which constitutes individuality
in all intelligent organizations.

If a bar of iron, weighing one pound, had the power of expressing its
different qualities, it could with the greatest propriety say, I am
heavy--I am magnetized--I move. The term I would represent the whole
bar, consisting of an infinite number of parts,--all affected precisely
in the same moment and in the same manner. Now no one would for a
moment suppose the pound of iron to be immaterial and without parts,
because the term I was representative of a single individual bar. So
likewise in the expressions, I think,--I feel,--I remember; the term
I is a representative of the whole being, every part of which thinks,
feels, and remembers in the same moment and in the same manner.

The arguments which Dr. Brown has used (Brown's Philosophy of the
Human Mind. Lecture XCVI.) against the materiality of the mind, would
apply with the same force against the materiality of iron or any other
substance; for if thought or feeling prove the unity and inextension of
mind,--weight, magnetism, or motion will, with as much reason, prove
the unity and inextension of iron.

Mr. Taylder has asserted that "The Materialism of the Mormons is not
only unscriptural, but anti-scriptural." (Taylder against Materialism,
page 21.)

1.--He undertakes to show that it is unscriptural, by asserting that
it is "in opposition to the _spirituality_ of the Divinity." (Taylder
against Materialism, page 22.)

We readily admit that any system which is "in opposition to the
_spirituality_ of the Divinity," is not only unscriptural but
dangerously false. That the Spirits of the Father and the Son, as well
as the Holy Spirit, consist of a substance purely spiritual, can by
no means be denied by any believer in the sacred scriptures. It is a
doctrine firmly believed by us and all the Latter-day Saints. It is a
doctrine most definitely expressed and advocated in our pamphlet on the
Kingdom of God, and that, too, on the very page from which Mr. Taylder
makes copious extracts. It is there that we have definitely spoken of
"_the_ SPIRITS _of the Father and Son_:" it is there that we speak of
the Holy SPIRIT: it there that we have expressly said that "_God is a
SPIRIT_." And yet in the face of all these declarations Mr. Taylder
has had the hardihood to say that our theory is "in opposition to the
spirituality of the Divinity." Instead of this, it is the material
theory alone that establishes the very existence, of Spirit. Take
away the _materiality_ of Spirit, and you at once destroy its very
existence, as we have abundantly shown in the foregoing pages.

The immaterialists have aimed a deadly blow at the foundation of
all spiritual existence, by denying it extension and parts. We, in
opposition to this unphilosophic, unscriptural, and atheistical
doctrine, have most clearly expressed our belief in a real tangible
substance called Spirit, which has extension and parts, like all other

"In the case of the angels' visit to Abraham, and of their partaking
of food, who," inquiries Mr. Taylder, "would conclude they must have
fleshy bodies?" (Taylder against Materialism, page 24.) We answer
that a "_fleshly body_" and a _spiritual body_ are entirely different
things. One is a body of material flesh; the other is a body of
material spirit--they are entirely different kinds of matter, as much
so as iron and oxygen. Jesus says, "God is a Spirit;" and again he
says, "a Spirit hath not flesh and bones." From these sayings of Jesus,
we can see that spiritual matter and fleshy or bony matter are distinct
substances. These passages are sometimes quoted as a supposed proof of
immateriality. But everyone knows that there are millions of substances
that are not flesh and bones. A house, a stone, or a tree, "hath not
flesh and bones," any more than a spirit; shall we therefore say that
all these substances are _immaterial_? If a spirit must be _immaterial_
because it hath not flesh and bones, then every substance in the
universe, except flesh and bones, must be immaterial.

Mr. Taylder supposes that the persons who appeared to Abraham, and
ate, and walked, and conversed with him, were only "_bodily forms_,"
"_assumed_ in _mercy_ to man." But, we ask, how does our author know
but what these bodily forms were the real, true, substantial forms of
these beings, instead of assumed ones? He seems to think that "it might
be assumed, with equal propriety, that the Divine Being is 'a rock,' 'a
fortress,' 'a tower,' 'a shield,' 'a buckler,' because he is so styled
in the bible." But did he ever appear in the form of a "rock," or "a
fortress," to any person anciently? Did he ever appear to Abraham,
to Jacob, to Moses, to the Seventy Elders of Israel, to Micaiah, to
Isaiah, or to the Jewish nation, when he walked among them, in the
flesh, as a tower, a shield, or a buckler? No: he appeared to them all
as a person. If the three persons whom Abraham saw had appeared like a
shield, or any other inanimate thing, they would not have been called
men. It was because they resembled the human species that they were
thus called.

Mr. Taylder says, "this scheme contradicts itself; for if Christ were
possessed of a body of flesh and blood, how could he become incarnate?
The Mormons believe," continues he, "in the incarnation, but this
contradicts it. Their doctrine implies that he had a _body before_ he
was incarnate, or he had a body before he had a body, or he had a body
and had not a body at the same time." (Taylder's Tract, page 26.)

This author must be very ignorant of our doctrine if he supposes
that we think that Christ had "a body of flesh and blood" before his
incarnation. Christ, before his incarnation, was a spiritual body, and
not a body of flesh and bones. It was the body of his spirit and not
a fleshly body that was with the Father in the beginning, when God
said, "let us make man in our likeness and in our image." Whenever he
appeared before he dwelt in flesh, it was the pure spiritual matter
only that was seen. The spiritual body of Christ has hands, face, feet,
and all other members, the same as his body of flesh and bones. The
spiritual bodies of all men were in the likeness of the spiritual body
of Christ when they were first created.

That spiritual bodies are capable of condensation, is evident from
the fact of their occupying the small bodies of infants. The spirits
of just men, who have departed from the fleshly tabernacle, have been
seen by the inspired writers; and from their description of them, we
should not only judge them to be of the same _form_, but likewise of
about the same size as man in this life. These departed spirits, then,
which are about the same magnitude as men in the flesh, once occupied
infant bodies. There are only two methods by which to account for their
increase in magnitude; one is by an additional quantity of spiritual
matter, being gradually and continually incorporated in the spiritual
body, by which its magnitude is increased in the same way and in the
same proportion as the fleshly body is increased. And the other is by
its elasticity or expansive properties by which it increases in size,
as the tabernacle of flesh and bones increases, until it attains to
its natural magnitude, or until its expansive and cohesive properties
balance each other, or are in a state of equilibrium.

The latter method seems to be in accordance with scripture. The
spiritual body of Christ, when seen previous to his incarnation, is not
represented as an infant in stature, but as a man, and consequently his
spirit must have been of the size of a man. Therefore, when he came and
dwelt in the infant tabernacle of flesh, born of a virgin, his spirit
must have been greatly condensed; and did not completely regain its
former magnitude until the fleshly tabernacle had attained its full

As a further evidence of the condensation of spiritual matter, we read
of seven devils beings cast out of Mary Magdalene, and of a legion of
others inhabiting one man, and which, after being cast out, entered a
large herd of swine. Now these devils were once angels who kept not
their first estate. Those angels who kept their first estate, that have
been seen, appear about the size and of the form of men, insomuch that
they are frequently called men in the scriptures: and it is reasonable
to suppose that those angels who fell did not, to any great extent,
alter their size and form. Therefore, they must have been very much
condensed and crowded when a legion of them entered one body.

That the different particles of a spirit are not all in actual contact
is very evident from the fact that a spiritual body can alter its
dimensions by condensation or expansion. It is also evident from
the fact of its entering into union with flesh and bones, and also
withdrawing itself at death. If the particles were in contact, and
inseparably connected, there would be no possibility of getting in
and out of a fleshly body, unless by entirely dissolving its parts.
But, as it is, each refined particle of the spirit can, like heat or
electricity, pass between the fleshly particles; and thus the whole
body of spiritual particles can liberate themselves; and by their own
self-moving powers and free will, can still preserve and maintain their
own organization. Here is manifested the great superiority of spiritual
matter to all other matter; each particle has the power of self-motion.
The whole mass of particles have power to preserve themselves in an
organized form as long as they please. Should they, by any contingency,
be disarranged, as in passing in or out of a body, they can with the
greatest ease, resume their former position, and maintain their bodily
organization either in or out of a fleshly tabernacle.

Mr. Taylder, in speaking of the seven devils which possessed Mary
Magdalene, says, if they were material they must have "_condensed_
themselves into a very small space." He then remarks, "No doubt the
reader questions the possibility of any sane person, first embracing
and then calmly propagating such errors. (Taylder's Tract, page 28.)
But we calmly ask Mr. Taylder, which would be the most reasonable
and philosophic,--to believe that seven substances could all occupy
the same space at the same time, or to believe, as we do, in the
_condensation_ of substance? The former is an admitted absurdity, but
the latter is something that is constantly taking place in a great
variety of substances. None could believe the former, unless his mental
vision was obscured and his eyes blinded by the absurd insane notions
of priestcraft and false tradition; but any man of sound sense, who
dares think for himself, could believe the latter, because it does not
involve an absurdity.

"The Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove" upon the
Saviour, and like "as cloven tongues of fire" on the apostles.
"How can a dove," inquires Mr. Taylder, "extend through all space
and intermingle with all the matter?" "It is (he asserts) a clear
impossibility." We readily admit that a dove or a cloven tongue of
fire cannot be omnipresent. It is, as Mr. Taylder says, "_a clear
impossibility_." And it is likewise just as impossible for a _person_
to be everywhere present, as it is for a dove. Why should our author
suppose it possible for a person to be everywhere present, when he
admits that a dove could not be in such a condition? The "_cloven
tongues of fire_" that appeared unto the disciples on the day of
pentecost, were only parts of that all-wise substance which extends
through space. The cloven tongue of fire which rested upon one man,
was not the same that rested upon all the others; hence there was a
_plurality_ of them that appeared. The prophet Joel informs us, that
in the last days the Spirit shall be poured out upon _all flesh._ No
two persons can receive the same identical particles of this Spirit at
the same instant; a part therefore of the Holy Spirit will rest upon
one man, and another part will rest upon another. If the Spirit rests
upon all flesh at the same time, then there will be as many parts of
the Spirit as there are distinct individuals in whom it dwells. No one
of these parts of the Spirit can be everywhere present any more than a
dove. Each part can occupy only one place at a time. If the whole be
infinite in quantity, it can extend through infinite space; if it be
finite in quantity, it can only occupy finite space.

That different parts of this spirit can assume different shapes, is
evident from its appearing as a dove at one time, and as cloven tongues
of fire at another. It is also evident from the fact of the Saviour's
speaking of the Holy Spirit as a personage. "Howbeit, when _he_ the
Spirit of truth, is come, HE will guide you into all truth; for HE
shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever HE shall hear, that shall HE
speak: and HE will shew you things to come." (John, xvi., 13.) There is
no more inconsistency in one part of the Holy Spirit existing in the
form of a person, than there is in another part existing in the form of
a dove, and several other parts existing in the form of cloven tongues
of fire.

That the all-powerful matter called the Holy Spirit is very widely
diffused, is evident from the fact that the time will come when it will
be poured out upon all flesh. It is very certain that the Psalmist
had some idea of the immense quantities of this substance, and of its
extensive diffusion, when he exclaims, "Whither shall I go from thy
Spirit?" &c. The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the deep, and by
his Spirit the heavens were garnished. When we speak of the Spirit of
God, extending through all space, we do not mean that it absolutely
fills every minute portion of space, for if this were the case, there
would be no room for any other matter. A substance, to absolutely fill
all space, would be an infinite solid, without pores and immovable
in all its parts; therefore, the Spirit exists in different parts
of space in greater or less degrees of density, like heat, light,
or electricity. It is this glorious and all-powerful substance that
governs and controls all other substances by its actual presence,
producing all the phenomena ascribed to the laws of nature; in it we
exist, we live, we move, and by it we receive wisdom and knowledge, and
are guided into truth in proportion as we permit it to dwell within us
and receive its heavenly teachings.

2.--"The next consideration," says our author, "is their denial of the
infinity, perfection, and omnipresence of the Godhead." (Taylder's
Tract, page 31.) Under this head he quotes many passages of scripture
to show that the presence of God fills heaven and earth, and that
the heaven of heavens cannot contain him. All these things we freely
admit. The Holy Spirit is called God in the scriptures, as well as the
Father and Son. This, we presume, Mr. Taylder will admit. It is God,
the Holy Spirit, then, that is everywhere, substantially and virtually.
The Holy Spirit is infinitely perfect and wise, one in substance, but
one in wisdom, power, glory, and goodness. Jesus prayed that all his
disciples might be made one, as he and his Father are one. If Jesus
and the Father are one person, then all the disciples must, according
to the prayer of Jesus, lose their individual identity and become one
person: this would be perfect nonsense. Therefore, Jesus and the Father
are two persons or two substances, the same in kind but not the same in
identity--in the same sense that his disciples are different persons:
and, consequently, distinct substances. His disciples are to be made
one with him, and with each other, the same as Jesus and the Father are
one; that is, they are to be one in wisdom, power, and glory, but not
in person and substance. The substance of the Father, Son, and Holy
Ghost are three distinct substances, as much as the substance of three
men are distinct.

These three substances act in concert in the same way that all the
innumerable millions of his disciples, after they are glorified,
will act in concert. The disciples will then be like him. Their
glorified bodies will be similar to that of Christ's but not the same
as Christ's: they will all maintain their separate individualities,
like the Father and Son. The one-ness of the Godhead may be in some
measure illustrated by two gallons of pure water, existing in separate
vessels, representing the Father and Son, and an ocean of pure water,
representing the Holy Spirit. No one would say of these three portions
of water that they were identically the same. Every portion would be a
separate substance of itself, but yet the separate portions would be
one in kind--one in quality, but three in separate distinct identities.
So it is with the Godhead so far as the spiritual matter is concerned.
There is the same power, wisdom, glory, and goodness in every part, and
yet every part has its own work to perform, which accords in the most
perfect harmony with the mind and will of every other part.

Each atom of the Holy Spirit is intelligent, and like all other matter
has solidity, form, and size. It is because each acts in the most
perfect unison with all the rest that the whole is considered one Holy
Spirit. All these innumerable atoms are considered one Holy Spirit in
the same sense that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are considered
one God. The immense number of atoms, though each is all-wise and
all-powerful, is, by virtue of their perfect concord and agreement,
but one Holy Spirit, the same as the intelligent particles of a man's
spirit are, by their peculiar union, but one human spirit. Their unity
or oneness does not consist in that inexplicable, incomprehensible,
imaginary something without extension or parts, as taught in the first
of the "Thirty-nine Articles," but it consists in a unity or oneness of
wisdom, power, and glory, each part performing its own splendid works
and operations in union with the mind and will of every other part.
No one part can perform any work but what is the mind of the whole.
Therefore, in this sense it is the same mind--the same will--the same
wisdom that pervades the whole.

Mr. Taylder, in order to establish his views of a god without parts,
quotes from the theological works of a very celebrated writer on the
omnipresence of God, which reads as follows:--

"The essential presence is without any division of himself. I fill
heaven and earth, not part in heaven and part in earth: I fill one
as well as the other. One part of his essence is not in one place,
and another part of his essence in another place; he would then be
changeable, for that part of his essence which was now in this place
he might alter to another, and place that part of his essence which
were in another place to this; but he is undivided everywhere. It is
impossible that one part of his essence can be separated from another:
for he is not a body, to have one part separable from another. The
light of the sun cannot be cut into parts; it cannot be shut into any
place, and kept there; it is entire in every place: shall not God, who
gives the light that power, be much more present himself? Whatsoever
hath parts is finite, but God is infinite; therefore, hath no parts
of his essence. Besides, if there were such a division of his being,
he would not be the most simple and uncompounded being, but would be
made up of various parts; he would not be a spirit, for parts are
evidences of composition, and it could not be said that God is here or
there, but only a part of God is here and a part of God is there. But
he fills heaven and earth; he is as much a God in the earth beneath as
he is in heaven above. 'The Lord he is God in heaven above and upon
the earth beneath; there is none else.'--Deut. iv. 39. Entirely in all
places, not by scraps and fragments of his essence." (Charnock on the
"Omnipresence of God.")

Of all the absurdities ever imagined up by mortal man in relation
to God, the above caps the climax. "One part of his essence," says
Charnock, "is not in one place and another part of his essence in
another place." How does he exist? According to this theologian, the
whole of the essence of God entire must exist in every place. The whole
of his essence, not a part, must exist in every cubic inch of space.
In one cubic foot of space, according to Charnock, there would be
seventeen hundred and twenty eight cubic inches, each containing the
whole of the essence of God. As each cubic inch of space is susceptible
of being divided into an infinite number of fractional spaces, each
fractional space must contain the whole of the essence of God; hence
the whole of his essence would be repeated an infinite number of times
in every cubic inch. Therefore, if the whole of the essence of God
constitutes God, we shall have an infinite number of gods in every
cubic inch of space.

But the absurdity does not stop here. Charnock admits the omnipresence
of God; he supposes his essence to fill the infinity of space. Now the
whole of this infinitely extended essence must exist in the smallest
fractional space that can be imagined, and must be repeated an infinite
number of times in all finite spaces, in order that the whole of his
essence may be in every possible space.

"It is impossible," says Charnock, "that one part of his essence can be
separated from another." But, we ask, are not the different parts of
space separated from each other? And if he fills all space, then his
essence that is in one part of space must be separate from his essence
in another part of space. If the whole of his essence occupies a cubic
foot of space on the earth, and the whole of his essence occupies
another cubic foot of space at the distance of the sun, how is it that
these essences at this great distance are not separate from each other?
But does not every school-boy know that the whole of any essence cannot
be in two separate places at the same instant? And does not every one
know that the whole of an essence, infinitely extended, cannot possibly
exist in a finite space.

Charnock endeavours to illustrate his absurdities by referring to
the rays of light. "The light of the sun," he says, "cannot be cut
into parts,"--_it is entire in every place_." What does this great
theologian mean by this? Does he mean that the light of the sun is
without parts like his god? or that the whole light of the sun is in
every place? Does the whole light of the sun enter our eyes or only a
part of his rays? If the whole light of the sun "is entire in every
place," then the intensity of his light must be equal in all places. If
this be the case, philosophers must be entirely mistaken, for they say
that light varies in intensity inversely as the square of the distance
from the luminous body; they inform us that a body situated at twice
or three times the distance of the earth from the sun will enjoy only
one-fourth or one-ninth of the amount of light that we enjoy; but how
could this be possible, if the whole light of the sun, instead of part,
"is entire in every place?"

It takes light over eight minutes to come from the sun to the earth.
Charnock says, "The light of the sun cannot be cut into parts." This
is not true; for if an opaque body, one million of miles in diameter,
were to be placed at any given instant half way between the earth and
sun, the light of the sun would still continue to be seen for upwards
of four minutes after the intervention of this body. The rays of light
between the earth and the opaque body would be entirely cut off from
the rays on the opposite side of the body.

It matters not whether the corpuscular or the undulatory theory of
light be adopted--whether the particles of light emanate from the sun
or merely vibrate; each atom is separate from every other atom, and
each is only a part of the great whole. An infinite number of parts
enter into the vast assemblage of luminous atoms. Light radiates from
the sun in all directions, and fills the surrounding spaces by a part
being in one space and a part in another, and not, like Mr. Charnock's
god, the whole being repeated in every part of space. That part of the
essence of light which is in one place, cannot by any possibility be in
any other place at the same instant. In one sense it may be said to be
one light, or the same light, because the properties are alike. Each
particle is a distinct, separate essence from every other particle, but
the qualities of each are alike or similar. Therefore, in this sense we
may speak of the light of the sun as _one_ light, though it possesses
an infinite number of parts, the same as we speak of God being one God,
though the parts of his essence are infinite in number. Mr. Charnock
says, "Whatsoever hath parts is finite, but God is infinite, and,
therefore, hath not parts of his essence." Space likewise is infinite,
and therefore, according to this gentleman's logic, it can have no
parts. Duration is infinite, and, therefore, it also must be without
parts. What would a cubic inch of space be? Any man that was not insane
would at once say that it is a part of space. Therefore, if an infinite
space or an infinite duration can have parts, why not an infinite
essence have parts?

"The Lord he is God in heaven above and upon the earth beneath; there
is none else."--Deut. iv. 39. Such a passage when referring to the
person of God, should be understood the same as we would understand
a similar expression concerning any earthly ruler: for instance, it
can be said of her Majesty, she is queen in Great Britain and also in
Canada, and there is none else; that is, there is none else that is
queen in these two places. This would have no reference to her person
being in these two places at the same time; it only shows that she
should be the only acknowledged queen in these two places. But when God
says, "I fill heaven and earth," he has reference to his Holy Spirit,
a part of which fills heaven, and another part fills the earth. That
part which fills the earth has the same wisdom, knowledge, glory,
and power as the part that fills the heaven; hence, though distinct
and separate essences, their perfections and attributes are one. One
wisdom--one glory--one power, pervade every part of this glorious
essence. This oneness is such that the part which fills the earth will
never act contrary to the will of the part which fills the heavens.
The essence possesses a plurality of parts, but the wisdom possesses
no divisibility of parts; it is infinite wisdom in every part. Wisdom
cannot be divided into parts any more than love, hope, joy, or fear.
A truth is identically the same truth whether possessed by one or
a million of persons, and is not susceptible of being divided into
fractions. The Holy Spirit is called "_The Spirit of Truth_." Though
the essence that possesses this truth may be divided into an infinite
number of parts, occupying an infinite number of separate spaces, yet
the truth that pervades them all is ONE truth. It is the indivisibility
and unity of these perfections or qualities that constitute the oneness
of the Godhead.

3.--Mr. Taylder supposes my assertion that "there is no such thing as
moral image," to be unscriptural, and that "it denies in some respects
the moral perfections of the Godhead." (Taylder's Tract, page 33.)

We still maintain that there cannot be any such thing as moral image
independently of an essence or substance to which it belongs. And this
is the only sense which we intended to convey in our tract on the
"KINGDOM OF GOD." Indeed, it is there expressly said, that "Morality is
a property of some being or substance. A property without a substance
or being to which it appertains is inconceivable. A property can never
have figure, shape, or image of any kind." This is a truth admitted
by all philosophers. Sir Isaac Newton in the Scholium, at the end of
the "_principia_," in speaking of God says, "He is omnipresent, not by
means of his _virtue_ alone, but also by his _substance,_ for virtue
cannot subsist without substance." Virtue or morality cannot subsist
without _substance;_ hence it can have no _image_ without substance.
Substance alone can have an image. Such an image may have the property
of virtue, or of morality, and by reason of this property may be
called a virtuous image, or a moral image. It is in this sense alone
that the apostle Paul applies the term image to the new man. "Ye have
put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge, after the image
of him that created him." Col. iii. 10. "Ye have put on the new man,
which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." Eph.
iv. 24. Now what is this new man? It is the spirit of man renewed in
its properties, but not changed in its substance or essence. This
substance previously to the renewal of its qualities was immoral, after
the renewal it became moral or virtuous, possessing the same quality
in a degree as the substance or image of the Deity. The substance of
the Deity may be termed a moral substance or image, the same as the
substance of gold is called a yellow substance, or yellow image, if
it resembles a person. The yellowness of gold could not be an image
independently of the substance, neither could the morality of the Deity
be an image independently of his essence.

The spiritual substance of man was formed in the beginning after the
same image as the spiritual substance of the persons of the Father
and Son. Previously to the fall these spirits were all moral in their
nature; by the fall the spirits of men lost their morality and virtue,
but not their essence--that continued the same; by the new birth man
regains his morality and virtue, while the essence remains the same;
it now becomes a moral virtuous image, whereas the same substance was
before immoral. Paul, in speaking of the resurrection, says, "As we
have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of
the heavenly." I Cor. xv. 49.

This cannot mean a heavenly image without substance; for when man
rises from the dead, he certainly will rise with flesh and bones. The
immortal bodies of the saints when they rise from the grave "will
be fashioned," as Paul says, "like unto the glorious body of Jesus
Christ." As Jesus ascended into heaven with a body of flesh and bones,
so will his saints bear the same image, having flesh and bones after
"the image of the heavenly." That these glorious bodies of immortal
flesh and immortal bones will be moral images, in the sense above
stated, there is no doubt. But such a thing as a moral image in the
sense that the immaterialists use the term, is a clear impossibility.
Such an image, as we remarked in our treatise on the "KINGDOM OF GOD,"
never can and never will have "an existence only in the brains of
modern idolaters."

4.--Mr. Taylder falsely accuses us of denying "the _personality_ of
each person in the Trinity, making each to be only a part in the
Godhead." (Taylder's Tract, page 34.)

This author very well knows that the personalities in the godhead
are not denied by us. It will be seen on the very pages to which he
has so frequently referred, that we believe the Father and Son to be
two separate distinct personages, as much so as fathers and sons of
the human race; it will there be seen that we also believe the Holy
spirit to be a separate distinct substance from the two substances of
the Father and Son. That all may see that this author has wrongfully
accused us of denying "the personality of each person in the Trinity,"
we make the following extract from our treatise on the "KINGDOM OF GOD."

"The Godhead consists of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The
Father is a material being. The substance of which he is composed is
wholly material. It is a substance widely different in some respects
from the various substances with which we are more immediately
acquainted. In other respects it is precisely like all other materials.
The substance of his person occupies space the same as other matter.
It has solidity, length, breadth, and thickness, like all other
matter. The elementary materials of his body are not susceptible of
occupying, at the same time, the same identical space with other
matter. The substance of his person, like other matter, cannot be in
two places at the same instant. It also requires _time_ for him to
transport himself from place to place. It matters not how great the
velocity of his movements, _time_ is an essential ingredient to all
motion, whether rapid or slow. It differs from other matter in the
superiority of its powers, being intelligent, all-wise, and possessing
the power of self-motion to a far greater extent than the coarser
materials of nature. "God is a _spirit_." But that does not make him
an immaterial being--a being that has no properties in common with
matter. The expression, "_an immaterial being_," is a contradiction
in terms. Immateriality is only another name for nothing. It is the
negative of all existence. A "_spirit_" is as much _matter_ as oxygen
or hydrogen. It has many properties in common with all other matter.
Chemists have discovered between fifty and sixty kinds of matter; and
each kind has some properties in common with all other matter, and some
properties peculiar to itself which the others do not inherit. Now,
no chemist in classifying his substances would presume to say, this
substance is material, but that one is immaterial, because it differs
in some respects from the first. He would call them all material,
though they in some respects differed widely. So the substance called
spirit is material, though it differs in a remarkable degree from
other substances. It is only the addition of another element of a more
powerful nature than any yet discovered. He is not a being "without
_parts_," as modern idolators teach; for every whole is made up of
parts. The whole person of the Father consists of innumerable parts;
and each part is so situated as to bear certain relations of distance
to every other part. There must also be, to a certain degree, a freedom
of motion among these parts, which is an essential condition to the
movements of his limbs, without which he could only move as a whole.

"All the foregoing statements in relation to the person of the Father,
are equally applicable to the person of the Son.

"The Holy Spirit being one part of the Godhead, is also a material
substance, of the same nature and properties in many respects, as
the spirits of the Father and Son. It exists in vast immeasurable
quantities, in connexion with all material worlds. This is called
God in the Scriptures, as well as the Father and Son. God the Father
and God the Son cannot be everywhere present; indeed they cannot be
even in two places at the same instant: but God the Holy Spirit is
omnipresent--it extends through all space, intermingling with all other
matter, yet no one atom of the Holy Spirit can be in two places at
the same instant, which in all cases is an absolute impossibility. It
must exist in inexhaustible quantities, which is the only possible way
for any substance to be omnipresent. All the innumerable phenomena of
universal nature are produced in their origin by the actual presence
of this intelligent all-wise and all-powerful material substance
called the Holy Spirit. It is the most active matter in the universe,
producing all its operations according to fixed and definite laws
enacted by itself, in conjuction with the Father and the Son. What are
called the laws of nature are nothing more nor less than the fixed
method by which this spiritual matter operates. Each atom of the Holy
Spirit is intelligent, and like other matter has solidity, form, and
size, and occupies space. Two atoms of this spirit cannot occupy the
same space at the same time. In all these respects it does not differ
in the least from all other matter. Its distinguishing characteristics
from other matter are its almighty powers and infinite wisdom, and
many other glorious attributes which other materials do not possess.
If several of the atoms of this Spirit should exist united together
in the form of a person, then this person of the Holy Spirit would be
subject to the same necessity as the other two persons of the Godhead,
that is, it could not be everywhere present. No finite number of atoms
can be omnipresent. An infinite number of atoms is requisite to be
_everywhere_ in infinite space. Two persons receiving the gift of the
Holy spirit, do not each receive at the same time the same identical
particles, though they each receive a substance exactly similar in
kind. It would be as impossible for each to receive the same identical
atoms at the same instant, as it would be for two men at the same time
to drink the same identical pint of water." (Kingdom of God. Part I,
page 4.)

From this extract it will be perceived that the Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit, are believed by us to be three distinct material substances,
the same in kind, but not the same in identity. The person of the
Father is a body of Spirit, consisting of parts. Mr. Taylder enquires,
"What does the author mean by 'the _elementary_ materials of his
body?' Is his body a compounded substance, capable of being reduced to
original and simple elements?" We answer that the _elements_ of his
body are the different parts of which it consists. The _whole,_ being
"_compounded_" of "_elementary_" parts.

The Godhead may be further illustrated by a council, consisting of
three men--all possessing equal wisdom, knowledge, and truth, together
with equal qualifications in every other respect. Each person would be
a separate distinct person or substance from the other two, and yet the
three would form but ONE council. Each alone possesses, by supposition,
the same wisdom and truth that the three united or the ONE council
possesses. The union of the three men in one council would not increase
the knowledge or wisdom of either. Each man would be _one part_ of the
council when reference is made to his person; but the wisdom and truth
of each man would be the _whole_ wisdom and truth of the council, and
not a part. If it were possible to divide truth, and other qualities
of a similar nature into fractions, so that the Father should have
the third part of truth, the third part of wisdom, the third part of
knowledge, the third part of love, while the Son and the Holy Spirit
possessed the other two-thirds of these qualities or affections, then
neither of these persons could make "_one_ God," "but only a _part_
of a God." But because the divisibility of wisdom, truth, or love is
impossible, the _whole_ of these qualities dwell in the Father--the
_whole_ dwells in the Son--the _whole_ is possessed by the Holy Spirit.
"The Holy Spirit is _one part_ of the Godhead" in essence; the _whole_
of God in wisdom, truth, and other similar qualities. If a truth
could become three truths, distinct from each other, by dwelling in
three persons or substances, then there would be _three_ Gods instead
of _one_. But as it is, the Trinity is _three_ in essence but _one_
in truth and other similar principles. The oneness of the Godhead,
as described in the Scriptures, never was intended to apply to the
essence, but only to the perfections and other attributes.

If the Father possess infinite wisdom and knowledge, why, some may ask,
can he not get along with his work without the assistance of the Son
and Holy Spirit? We answer, the Son is necessary to reconcile fallen
man to the Father: the Holy Spirit is necessary to sanctify and purify
the affections of men, and also to dwell in them as a teacher of truth.
Immense quantities of this substance are also necessary in order to be
present in connexion with all other substances, to control and govern
them according to fixed and definite laws that good order and harmony
may obtain in every department of the universe. The Father and Son
govern the immensity of creation, not by their own actual presence, but
by the actual presence of the Spirit. The union of the three does not
give any additional wisdom and knowledge to either, but by the union,
they are able to carry on certain works which could not be carried on
by one singly. One singly, as for instance the Father, could have power
to do all things not inconsistent with his perfections and attributes,
that is, he could act where he was present, but without the assistance
of the Holy Spirit or some other being, he being a person, could not
act where he is not present. By the union of the three, each is able to
act in all places through the assistance of the others. The persons of
the Father and Son can be in heaven, and yet, through the agency of the
spirit, act upon the earth. An omnipresent person is impossible, but an
omnipresent substance, diffused through space, is not only consistent,
but reasonable. Persons through the medium of such an all-wise and
all-powerful substance, can exercise Almighty power, at the same time
in the most distant departments of creation. Without such a substance
with which they were in union, they could not carry on the grand and
powerful operations of universal nature; for no substance can act where
it is not present.

Perhaps the objector may refer to matter attracting matter as a proof
that it can act where it is not present. But we are bold to affirm that
such a thing as attraction cannot possibly exist. For matter to draw
distant matter towards itself, and consequently act where it is not
present, would be as utterly impossible as it would be for a person
to be in two or more places at the same time. All the phenomena of
universal gravitation can be accounted for upon principles infinitely
more simple and consistent, than to ascribe to matter the impossible
power of acting where it is not present. The author may, at some future
time, give his views with regard to the powers of nature, and the
laws by which it is governed. But to enter in this work into a full
development of our theory in relation to those intricate though sublime
subjects, would be a digression foreign to the objects we have in view
in this treatise.

No doubt many apparent objections to our views of the Godhead will
arise in the minds of many who nave been traditionated in the absurd
doctrines of immaterialism. Not long since a series of questions were
propounded to the Latter-day Saints by the Rev. F. Austin, a Roman
Catholic minister, a few of which, relating to the nature of God, we
insert here together with our answers. (The whole series of questions,
together with the answers, will be published in the "Millenial Star.")

Question.--"If the God of the Mormonites be like a man in figure,
we must suppose the organs of the senses to have the same uses, and
to be dependent on the same sources for information; his ears, in
consequence, for hearing must be dependent on the transmission of
sound. How, then, can he hear his people praying to him in Europe when
he is in America?"

Answer.--Because the _figure_ of two substances are alike, that is no
evidence that the _qualities_ of the two substances are alike. A wax
figure may be in the shape of a man, and yet, we all know, that it
has not the qualities of a man. A wise man may have the figure of a
foolish man, and yet be far superior to him in the qualities of wisdom,
knowledge and understanding. God may have the figure of a man, and yet
have many qualities and susceptibilities which man has not got. The
resemblance of figure, then, has nothing to do, as to whether other
qualities shall be alike or unlike. The spiritual body of the Deity is
altogether a different kind of substance from the fleshly body of man,
yet they may resemble each other in figure. The substances are entirely
different, therefore, though the figures should resemble each other,
this is no evidence that all the qualities must be alike. The ear of
the fleshly body may be affected by the vibrations of our atmosphere;
the ear of a spiritual body may be affected in an entirely different
manner, and yet their figures may resemble each other. The ear of
the fleshly body may be affected by the vibrations of many elastic
substances besides the atmosphere. Sound is conveyed through various
mediums with different degrees of velocity. The ear of the spiritual
body may be affected, not only by the atmosphere and other elastic
mediums which affect the ear of flesh, but it also may be affected
by a vast number of other more subtle and refined mediums, which may
transfer sound with a velocity immensely superior to any motion with
which we are acquainted. A refined medium which would convey sound with
no greater velocity than that of light, would carry information from
Europe to America in less than the sixtieth part of a second. But if
God foreknows all things, he must have foreknown all about our prayers
millions of ages before we were born, and must also have foreknown the
precise time when we would pray, and the kind of spirit or feeling, and
the degree of faith that would accompany each prayer; and if he knew
all these things before they come to pass, he must certainly know them
the moment they do come to pass; and, therefore, with a foreknowledge
of all things, there would be no necessity for his receiving
information of our prayers by the transmission of sound; he would know
and understand our prayers the moment they were offered up, the same
as he knew them and understood them in ages before they were offered
up. "He that formed the ear shall he not hear." Because God knows the
nature of music, that is no reason why he may not rejoice in hearing
music. One use, then, of the ears of his spiritual body is, no doubt,
to hear and rejoice in delightful music, not that it increases his
knowledge, but it is joyful to his ear. The ear of man serves a double
purpose; it is not only a medium of information, but a medium of sounds
that are delightful to the mind. The ear of the Lord may be delighted
with sounds, though he receive no additional knowledge by those sounds.

Question--"If he be like man, his legs must be the organs of motion; if
not, what purpose do they serve? If they are, are they good for walking
through the air as well as on land? Or has he wings, or how? or some
organ of motion we have not got? And if we have not sot this organ, how
can we be created to his image and likeness, supposing the resemblance
in every thing?"

Answer.--The resemblance between man and God has reference, as we
have already observed, to the shape or figure; other qualities may or
may not resemble each other. Man has legs, so has God, as is evident
from his appearance to Abraham. Man walks with his legs, so does God
sometimes, as is evident from his going with Abraham towards Sodom. God
can not only walk, but he can move up or down through the air without
using his legs as in the process of walking. (See Gen. xvii. 22; also
xi. 5; also xxxv. 13.)--"A man wrestled with Jacob until the breaking
of day;" after which, Jacob says--"I have seen God face to face, and my
life is preserved."--Gen. xxxii. 24-30. That this person had legs is
evident from his wrestling with Jacob. His image and likeness was so
much like man's, that Jacob at first supposed him to be a man.--(See
24th verse.) God, though in the figure of a man, has many powers that
man has not got. He can go upwards through the air. He can waft himself
from world to world by his own self-moving powers. These are powers not
possessed by man only through faith, as in the instances of Enoch and
Elijah. Therefore, though in the figure of a man, he has powers far
superior to man.

Question--"When God appears surrounded with glory, is this glory
essential to him or not? If essential, how can he lay it aside, as he
seems to have done when he appeared to Abraham? If his appearing so
does not prove it essential, how does his appearance in the form of a
man prove that form essential to him?"

Answer--The glory of God is essential to him under all circumstances,
whether his person is visible or invisible--whether man is permitted
to behold that glory or not. He never lays aside his glory, though he
may not always render it visible to mortals. "The God of glory," says
the martyr Stephen, "appeared unto our father Abraham when he was in
Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran"--Acts, vii. 2. But because he
showed Abraham his person, it did not necessarily follow that he must
also show him his glory. The person of God is one thing, and his glory
is another; they are inseparably connected. He cannot divest his person
of his glory, nor lay it aside, but he can hide his glory from the
gaze of man, or he can reveal it and his person also, or he can reveal
his person and not his glory. The visibility or the invisibility of
the glory of God does not render it non-essential to him. The glory is
just as essential as his image and likeness, and his image or likeness,
resembling that of man's, is as essential as his glory--neither can be
laid aside, though one or both may be rendered visible or invisible.

Question.--"If his presence do not extend beyond his size, that is,
the size of a man, how could he divide the waters of the sea--how could
he hold them up? If they were a solid mass, it might be conceived;
but all the strength in the world won't hold up water; and it must be
remembered that a person must be present where he acts."

Answer.--He could divide the waters of the sea, and hold them up by the
actual presence of his Holy Spirit which not only moves upon the face
of the waters, but is likewise in and through the waters, governing
them and controlling all the elements according to the mind of God. It
is the actual presence of this Spirit that produces all the phenomena
ascribed to the laws of nature, as well as many of the deviations from
those laws, commonly called miracles; it extends, like the golden rays
of the bright luminary of heaven, through all extent; it spreads life
and happiness through all the varied species of animated beings, and
gilds the starry firmament with a magnificent splendor, celestial,
immortal, and eternal.

_15, Wilton Street, Liverpool, July 31st, 1849_.


R. James, Printer, 39, South Castle Street, Liverpool.

Transcriber's Note

This ebook aims to reproduce the 1849 Liverpool edition. Signature
Books very kindly gave permission for the Mormon Texts Project to use
the text of "Absurdities of Immaterialism" they originally published
in "The Essential Orson Pratt" (as made available on their website) as
a basis for this work. This text was compared to scans of the pamphlet
that Google has helpfully made available. The end of the pamphlet,
which was not in the Signature Books text, was produced based off the
Google scans, and the rest of the text was carefully compared to the
scans and in a few cases edited to conform more closely.

Footnote citations in the original have been converted to parenthetical
form to improve readability. Some unmatched quotation marks have been
corrected in cases where the correct placement could be established. A
few typographical errors (wont for won't, actua for actual) have been

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Absurdities of Immaterialism - Or, A Reply to T. W. P. Taylder's Pamphlet, Entitled, "The - Materialism of the Mormons or Latter-Day Saints, Examined - and Exposed."" ***

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