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Lyman Abbott.

Christ is coming! : Part I. Evidences of the existence of God, and of the truth of the holy scriptures. Parts II & III. The holy scriptures and their description of the mighty plan of God. Parts IV & online

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Online LibraryLyman AbbottChrist is coming! : Part I. Evidences of the existence of God, and of the truth of the holy scriptures. Parts II & III. The holy scriptures and their description of the mighty plan of God. Parts IV & → online text (page 2 of 19)
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as inherent to that kind as the shape of its body. Instinctively
other living creatures do many things without thought, as
thoughtlessly as a living tree pushes out its branches like other
trees of its own kind — instinctively suckling, instinctively they
seek out certain kinds of food, instinctively avoiding other
food, instinctively know their own kind, not knowing their own
shape ; instinctively migi'ate, erring not ; instinctively they
build their nests, and the spider and the silkworm spin their
webs ; as their progenitors did, so, without thought, do they.
But man is only born with the absolutely necessary instinct to
suckle all other knowledge he afterwards becomes possessed of;
he acquires — gaining knowledge vastly greater than any other
living creature can possibly obtain. To man God has not given



THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MAN, ETC. 15

instinct ; but instead thereof a soul, and perfect free-wiU — free
to think, and free to act. Freedom which God has not given,
for His wise purposes, to any other living creatvire.

Mark the great intelligence of man, how greatly it trans-
cends that of every other living creature. Their knowledge
is stationary. The instinct of the parents is transmitted intact
to their offspring ; whereas no knowledge that a man acquires
does he transmit to his son, as he transmits the shape of his
body.

Can any living creature, oh my brother ! besides man, com-
prehend so as to worship God, or find out those laws of God
which govern the things of this round earth, known as che-
mistry, mechanics, astronomy 1 Is any other living creature capa-
ble of building ships of various sizes, or machines of various
forms ; or able to read or wi'ite, or transmit knowledge through
books or writings ; or bring to light or mould into many shapes
the serviceable metals ; or cause the earth to bring fortli
fruit ; — these things the most ignorant man may be taught, but
not so the brutes.

Wherefore is it not possible 1 Some have greater bulk, greater
strength, greater keenness of smell of sight and of hearing, than
man ; the constitution of their flesh and blood and bones, are
quite equal to those of man. What thing then is it that makes
the vast difference between man and every other living creature 1
What is it that stamps him, as his birthright, the visible Lord of
rU the living creatures, and of all the living vegetation of the
earth 1 Does the horse obey the lion 1 Does the lion obey the
horse? How numerous are the living creatures which obey man,
or flee from him instinctively? Man causes those to miiltiply which
are serviceable to him, and destroys those that are noxious to
him ; bending to his service the huge, the strong, and the small.
He purposely sows seed, comprehending beforehand what wiU
ensue, and behold the earth brings forth fruit and verdure as
it were at his bidding, and as it were owning man for its visible



16 THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MAN

lord. And upon the ocean he sails his numerous ships, bending
even the seas to his service. What is it that gives to man his
pre-eminence?

And behold, oh my brother ! the beauty and strength of tha
brute creation — some more beauteous, and some stronger than
any of thy kind, having bones and flesh and blood like as thou
hast ; nevertheless the most decrepit worshipper of God excels
them vastly in thy sight, and in the sight of the great Creator
of all things.

Again I ask thee, oh man ! what thing is it that places, as it
were, a vast gulf between intelligent man and every other
living creature 1 Is it the size of the brain 1 No ; for the
elephant and the whale are not more intelligent than are
minute Hving creatures, therefore difference in the size of the
brain is not the cause 1 Is man more sensitive in his body
than they ? No ; for living creatures are as sensitive to pleasure
and pain as is man. What then, finally, is it that separates
all other living creatures so widely from mani It is that
unseen living thing that is in every one of us, and which men
call the soul, without which men would be as brutish as the
gorilla.

Understand, oh man ! thou art not all soul as are the angels
of heaven ; nor, all flesh and blood as are the brutes, but mid-
way between angels and the brutes — possessing a living invisible
soul like angels, and living visible flesh and blood like brutes.
When thou art unkind or selfish, it is the brutish passions
within thee which thou hast in common with the brute creation
that prompts thee. But when thou doest good things, it is
the right knowledge thy soul has acquired that prompts thee.

Understand, oh my brother ! that every man has two lives
within him — the visible life of the body in temporary union
with the life of the invisible soul. This union of two lives
in one creature constitutes man. This is the Key of
Wisdom.



AND ALL OTHER LIVING CREATURES. 17

Every other living creature has but one life, the life of the
body.

It is the soul, oh my sister ! which gives to man his high
capacity for the attainment of knowledge — enabling him, and
him alone of all the living creatures in the earth, to comprehend
the teachings of God, and to comprehend that the starry skies
and all the wondrous things in this round earth were made
by a living Being, infinitely more powerful and wiser than
man.

It is the soul oh my brother ! which enables man to com-
prehend things his eyes cannot see, to comprehend that there
are countries of the earth in which he has never set foot,
peopled with inhabitants whom he has never seen. It is the soul,
oh my sister ! which enables thee to comprehend that those
wondrous orbs, the comets, come from distant space, so dis-
tant that the eye of man cannot see it ; that there are, as it
were, distant countries in the skies which the eye of man has
not beheld ; and to comprehend that the Creator of the wondrous
orbs that spangle the starry skies is a living Being, invisible to
the eyes of man, but not more invisible than thine own self-will
nor the air surrounding you ; a living Being full of love, full
of wisdom, and full of might. Full of love for thee, oh my
brother ! and for thee, oh my sister ! He has shown some of his
love in creating thee, man ; again showing it in having given thee
intellectual power to comprehend His teachings, that He might
carry thy worshipping soul into heaven, and be as the angels of
heaven for ever, where there is neither pain nor sorrow, but
perpetual peace and happiness.

Understand, oh my brother ' thy flesh and blood is not like
God, thy body has not the shape of God, nor has it the shape
of the angels of heaven, but thy living soul is after the like-
ness of God, in that it is invisible. Understand, oh my sister !
the shape of thy soid is not the shape of thy body, for a living
man who has lost a leg, or an arm, or an eye, or flesh or blood,

B



18 THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MAN

or hair or nails, loses naught of his soul, therefore as thou
canst not tell the shape of his unseen soul, neither canst thou
imagine the shape of God. Bow not down, therefore, oh my
brother, nor you, oh my sister, before aught that man foolishly
represents as after the image of God, for God deems himself
dishonoured thereby; be not thou foolish and tied to the things
made by man, like unto the foolish uses of imaginary images
and imaginary pictures.

Understand, oh my brother ! thy soul is immortal, living for
ever after the death of thy body. Understand, oh my sister !
that the life of the body is the mere mechanical motion of the
heart, which is transmitted from one generation to another ;
while the heart beats that is life, when its motion is stopped that
is death. The flesh, the blood, the bones, the nerves, and all
things appertaining to the body of living creatmres, and of man,
are of earth ] and understand, oh my brother ! that so long as
the earth exists will remain within the earth, — like as a once
living tree when burnt is no longer even part of a tree, but
changed entirely, its constituents becoming mixed with, and
forming part of other things. But the invisible soul, which is
in temporary union with the living body of man, being part of
that living breath of God which He united to the body of Adam,
is not of the earth but of heaven. It is a living substance,
part of the ever-living breath of God, therefore it is immortal,
and by its immortality differing from all else within the earth.

Understand, oh my brother ! that the living soul, which
gives intelligence to the living body of man, separates from the
body instantly the motion of the heart stops, and the still ever-
living soul is carried by an unseen power out of this orb, never
to retxu'n ; and understand, oh my sister ! that when you see
the corpse of a man you do not see a man, but the earthly
house which once contained a still living soul. After thy death,
oh my Christian brother ! and you, oh my Christian sister ! thy
still living soul will have no debasing flesh and blood clinging to



AND ALL OTHER LIVING CREATURES, 19

it, and although incapable of being seen by man, yet is seen of
(tocI and His glorious Son, and by the holy angels in heaven ;
full of intelligence, for God will then add largely to thy wor-
shipping soul in heaven ; quick to understand, holy in aJJ, things,
like unto them.

Understand, oh my brother ! in like manner as the living
body requires food to sustain it, so the ever-living soul requires
food to invigorate it — without mental food the soul would
starve, and be void of understanding as a horse or mule. God
has made vegetation to grow, and the briny waters of the seas
to become pure for the sustenance of living vegetation, and for
the sustenance of the flesh and blood of living creatures ; and
understand, oh my sister ! God has also provided pure food for
the sustenance of the living soul of man, which food are the
utterances of God. Men feed the soul when they talk, when
they listen, when they read, and when they write ; they feed
the soul when reading books, not by eating with their teeth the
books, but by impressing their contents upon the brain, that
photographic plate and storehouse of the soul, so that the living
soul grows in knowledge in like manner as the living body
grows in stature, each having a different species of food — the
food eaten by the teeth giving no sustenance to the soul,
because the soul being spiritual, invisible, intangible, feeds only
upon what is invisible to the eyes of man and intangible to his
touch.

Remember that while man lives upon the earth, the brain,
that storehouse of the soul, is filled with acquired knowledge,
good and bad — that only is good which is a right knowledge of
God, and that only is right knowledge which is in accordance
with the Holy Bible, for that Book only of all the books which
men have read bears the impress of God, bearing it as clearly as
the starry skies exhibit the handiwoi'k of God.

Neither the instinct of animals, nor the knowledge of earthly
things which men acquire, is true wisdom — true wisdom is a
right knowledge of God, which leads to true religion.



20

CHAPTER IL
God.

MEN mark the small intelligence of the fowls of the air, the
creatures of the earth, and the fishes of the waters, so
that we are able quickly to distinguish the things which they
have made from those that are the handiwork of man, and we
behold around us on every side wondrous things — the hills and
valleys, the waters, vegetation, living creatures in endless
variety, the sun, the moon, and stars. These wondrous things
men know came not by chance, but like their ships and houses
were created for a purpose, and being created must have been
made by a living Being, infinitely wiser and infinitely mightier
than man — this living wondrotis Being men call God.

Man also sees that everywhere throughout the earth all
things are created most perfectly, and have been maintained in
perfect order ever since man's earliest records, therefore men
are convinced that God is all-seeing, all-powerful, perfect in
wisdom, and everywhere at the same instant of time, governing
all things.



CHAPTER III.
What is Tbue Religion %



RELIGION is belief in an unseen God, the creator of all
things, who is everywhere, throughout all space, all-
powerful, aU wise ; and belief in the immortality of the soul of
man, worshiping God thus believing.

Worship is speaking reverently to the unseen God, believing
Him to be close at hand listening.



21



CHAPTER IV.

Evidences of the Existence op God.

WHEN we see a ship, or railway engine, or clock, or waggon,
or balloon sailing in the air, we know they did not come
into existence haphazard, but were designed and laboriously
made by the hands of man. You would pity the stupidity of
the man who tried to convince you that they came suddenly
into this round world, no one knowing how or whence they came.
The man would be equally stupid who tried to convince us that
the wondrous sun, the moon, this round earth with its mar-
vellous contents, and the starry skies, came into existence
haphazard, — for they bear the strongest evidence of design and
of unity, for some special purpose, as strong as any of the works
of man.

Understand, my friend, the stupendous size of the glittering
orbs which spangle the starry skies. Our round earth, the orb
on which we live, is about 24,000 miles round ; the moon is also
large and distant from the earth about 240,000 miles ; the sun
is distant about 93,000,000 of miles from the earth, and of a
bulk about 1,477,000 times gi'eater than the round earth. The
roimd stars also, which spangle the skies in millions, are also
immensely lai-ge, and every one many millions of miles away
from the star nearest to it, each appearing small because of the
immense distance from us.

Now consider, oh man ! the mechanism of a clock, which is
the highest effort of the ingenuity of man ; it is strictly made
according to that law of God known as mechanics. The several
parts are not adjusted one to the other haphazard, like unto a
heap of loose sand, but strictly according to that law ; yet so
imperfect is man's knowledge of any of the laws of God that the
time-piece of man is but a feeble imitation of God's stupendous
time-piece, which is the starry skies. The time-piece of man



22 EVIDENCES OF THE

moves but for a short time, then stops ; but the time -piece of
God has moved unerringly for about 6000 years. Tlie sun is
as the clock-face, the swaying of the moon northward and south-
ward of the earth, swaying to and fro once every lunar month,
as the pendulum. The daily revolution of the round earth
upon its own axis as the minute-hand, and the one revolution
of the earth round the sun during each year, as the hour-hand ;
and behold the planets and stars and comets, also mark the
flight of time, the one as it were testing the accuracy of every
other orb, and registering long intervals of time — nothing hap-
hazard, but all having peculiar orbits to produce peculiar eflFects.

Our common sense tells us that some living Being, as superior
to man as the infinite largeness of the staiTy skies is greater
than the house of a man, must have wisely designed and made
them, constantly watching over them and keeping them in their
proper places, and maintaining the exactitude of their motions ;
for do we not behold spring and summer, autumn and winter
following each other with great regularity year after year ? And
do we not see the moon and this round earth daily moving with
great and uniform velocity, mid-day and mid-night occurring
every twenty-four hours ^ The celestial bodies although moving
so rapidly making no noise, nothing ever going wrong, no one
star or comet ever out of its proper place, no star ever inter-
fering with any other of the millions of stars ; everywhere
perpetual change, perfect harmony, and perfect peace ! Divine
mechanism infinitely superior to the time-piece of man. Con-
stant proofs of a mighty unseen living Being holding them in
check and guiding their movements.

Observe, oh man ! concerning the living creatures of the
earth, how plainly they also bear the stamp of being the handi-
work of the liviiig God ! how plainly they reveal his wisdom
and creative power ! Note well the fact, that God has designed
and given to every lesser living creature that wondrous inherent
knowledge — instinct — exactly suited to its position ; each species



EXISTKNCE OF GOD. 23

having its own peculiar food, and instinctively knowing what is
hurtful. The young sucking or feeding intuitively, as in-
tuitively as it walks, or flies, or swims ; every species after a
fashion of its own. Those intended for the water taking to the
water, those intended for the air flying in the air, those intended
for the land keeping on the land. Every species keeping itself
apart from every other species, so that every species is as pirre
as when God made the first pair of each, although climate has
varied them, like as every species of vegetation, and as men vary
in appearance, size, and colour. Every member about a creature
is marvellously best adapted for what is required of it, therein
exhibiting plain evidence of design and the great wisdom ot
God. The size and position of the teeth, the ears, the mouth,
the nose, the tongue, the eyes, the head, the body, the legs, the
feet, and the tail, in all their varieties exquisitely adapted for
every living creature — for those that walk, or run, or climb, or
fly, or swim, or wade ; each finding food most suitable for it,
the food of one often poisonous to the other, yet each instinct-
ively keeps to its proper food, like its parents. The birds of
the air migrating during the darkness of the night, erring not,
knowing instinctively their course, every successive generation,
neither gaining an increase of instinct nor losing it, but every-
thing as at the creation.

And behold, oh man ! how marvellously God has separated
every species from every other species — not in outward shape
only, but inwardly, and in colour. Note the beauteous mark-
ings of the hairy skin, the rich plumage and delicate feathers
of the birds, the scaly covering of the finny tribes, and the
delicate hues and markings of the leaves and flowers. The
songs of the singing birds, and the other utterances of the living
creatures — all inwardly and outwardly, in shape and colour,
each like their ancestors. As men see and hear them now, so
saw and heard our fo^-efathers.

Marvellous, inde«"1 are the living things of the eai-th, mar-



24 EVIDENCES OP THE

vellous in their instinct, marvellous in their structure, marvellous
in their growtli, marvellous in their beauty, marvellous in the
adaptation of their several parts, and marvellous in the perpetua-
tion of colour, but not more marvellous than the perfect separation
of the species one from the other, from generation to generation.

And mark, oli man ! the evidences of one great plan in the
multiplication of living things, and how the males equal in
number the females, the manner of their birth varying ; — God
delighting to exhibit marvellous variety in all things. Living
creatures, having both father and mother ; living vegetation,
having vegetation for their father and earth for their mother ;
and the living things which link living creatm-es with living
vegetation, multiplying by separation of their own living selves,
having no mother, in like manner as the first infant Eve, was
born out of the first man Adam, and had no mother. And
note, oh man ! that when man and all hving creatures, and all
living vegetation were created, God placed within the males, as
part of themselves, seed within seed, in circles innumerable,
that all the seed might not be born into the world at one time,
but at intervals, throughout many generations. The sleeping
life in the seed of vegetation, finding food suitable to its
development and activity in the ground, its nursing mother ;
and sleeping life in the seed of each species of living creature,
finding food suitable for its development and activity only in the
female of its own species, thus maintaining every species of
living cz'eature distinct from every other species.

And mark, oh man ! the wondrous unseen machinery of a
living creature ! The skin and opacity of the flesh hide the
many moving parts from thy curious eyes. Thou canst not
see the pumping heart, the flowing of the blood through num-
berless tubes, the play of the muscles, the action of the nerves,
photogi-aphing thoughts, and smells, and feelings, and sights,
upon the delicate nerves in the brain. Thou canst not see
the transformings that are going on within the living creature,



EXISTENCE OF GOD. 25

vegetation and flesh being converted into bone, into hair, into
muscle, into nerves, into blood, and the many diverse liquids
and parts within them — all these take place within thee, oh
man ! and in every living creature ; but thou canst not see
them ; they are invisible to all earthly eyes, as God Himself.
How clumsy are the machines of man, compared to that won-
drous machine, a living creature. Like as the steam machines
of man derive motion from fire and water, so the living body
maintains its inward motion from the food it swallows. The
machines of man require the supervision of the soul of man to
control and direct them ; but God has given to living machines,
His creatures, inherent hereditary power to control and direct
their own movements and promptings, to take food, and to
perpetuate their kind.

And behold, oh man ! the unity of design, as seen in the
marvellous hnks between things that are animate from those
that have no life. Mark well the great gulf for ever fixed be-
tween man and the goriUa — that brute whose shape is most
like the shape of man — and note the gradation from the goriUa
downward ; and the gradation from the living creatures which
walk the earth to living creatures that fly, and with living
creatures which inhabit the waters ; also the gradation between
living creatures that walk the earth, and that swim, with those
that creep ; and the gradation between living creatures that
creep, with those that bore ; and between those that are free
to roam, and those that are fixtures — doubtful to the mind,
some of them, whether they be living creatures or living plants.
Then note, oh man ! the gradation between living plants and
things which never had life within them, which neither grow
nor die, link within link innumerable, imperceptibly, from the
gorilla to a stone. The one never changing permanently into
another, but every species maintained distinct, generation after
generation. As were the first species at the Creation, so are



26 EVIDENCES OF THE

they now — unchangeable for ever — the lion never becoming a
horse, nor the horse a lion.

And behold, oh man ! how marvellously God has designed
that wondrous machine the body of living creatures. Like as
the steam machines of man derive motion from fire and water,
so the living body maintains its motion from the food it
swallows. The machines of man require the supervision of the
soul of man to control and direct them, but God has given to
the living body inherent hereditary power to control and du'ect
its own movements, giving it instinct and sense. And mark, oh
man ! how wondrously God has given to the body of all living
creatures promptings to eat, to drink, to sleep, and the many
other promptings, not haphazard and without an object, but
absolutely necessary, every prompting exactly adapted to the
purpose which God designed, promptings not left to self-will,
but forced at times against ignorant self-will, overruling it. Tn
like manner as the time-piece of God escels the time-piece of
man, so the mechanism of the body of every Uving creature
excels the highest efibrts of man's machinery. Herein is the
infinite wisdom of God made plain to human understanding.

And behold the marvellous waters of the briny deep — how came
they salt ? Why do they ever remain neither more salt nor less,
no more in quantity nor less 1 Why do they so largely cover
the surface of the earth ] In like manner as vegetation is
necessary for the sustenance of man, so are the briny waters
necessary for the sustenance of every living thing. From the
very first God made the sea salt, as salt as now, that the dead
habiters of the waters might not pollute the air nor pollute
the water; it was necessary the sea should be salt, that tlie dead
things therein might not corrupt. God peopled the briny deep
with living creatures, in like manner as He has peopled the
land. And behold how extensively the briny seas cover the


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Online LibraryLyman AbbottChrist is coming! : Part I. Evidences of the existence of God, and of the truth of the holy scriptures. Parts II & III. The holy scriptures and their description of the mighty plan of God. Parts IV & → online text (page 2 of 19)