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"I Am Who Am." "Before Abraham was, I am." "From eternity and to eternity Thou art God” (Psalm 89:2). "His power is an everlasting power" (Daniel 7:14).
PHILOSOPHICAL PROOFS OF GOD'S SIMPLICITY OR SPIRITUALITY.
The "Mormons” admit that God existed from all eternity; consequently, there was no time at which God did not exist. Therefore, the Eternal Being, or God, must be simple.
A compound is, at least by nature, posterior to its component parts. If God is a compound, He is posterior to His component parts. Therefore, He would not be eternal; therefore, not God.
Illustration. The Latter-day Saints believe that God creates the souls of men, long before their conception. Man is a composite being, spirit and flesh being the component parts. Man is evidently posterior to his elements; in other words, before a human being can exist, there must first be a spirit, a soul; and in the second place, there must be the embryo (or foetus); and, thirdly, both of these existing elements must be united before a human being comes into existence. No need of more illustration. Fancy a clock, an engine, a shoe, or any composite being. The parts must exist before the whole. Then to have the compound, some one or something must do the compounding, or put the ingredients or elements together. Who then did compound the Eternal? Not Himself, as no one can work before he exists; not another being, as no other being existed before it was created by God. God is the necessary Being; i. e. who could not not exist. Something exists; therefore, there exists the Necessary Being. Everything that exists is produced or unproduced. Now all things cannot be produced; for whatever is produced or made is produced by another, (otherwise it would have made itself, which is impossible, as nothing can act before it exists). This other (the producer) is either a necessary being or a produced being. If produced, it must have been produced by another: Thus we must finally come to a being that was not produced, or a necessary being. That necessary Being (who was not made and who always existed) is God.
If God were an aggregate of parts, these parts would be either necessary beings or contingent (that do not necessarily exist);
or some would be necessary and some contingent. None of these suppositions are tenable, therefore, God is not an aggregate of parts.
First supposition: If the parts of God were necessary beings, there would be several independent beings, which the infinity of God precludes. God would not be infinite, if there were even one other being independent of Him, as His power, etc., would not reach that being.
Second supposition: The necessary Being would be the aggregate of several contingent beings. An unreasonable supposition: contingent beings cannot by their addition or collection lose their essential predicate of contingency; in other words, the nature of the parts clings to the whole.
The third supposition is equally absurd, for if some part exist necessarily, it must be infinite in every perfection; therefore, it would of itself be sufficient to constitute God, and could not be improved by the addition of other parts.
The Necessary Being must be infinite, or illimitable. Nothing is done without a cause. No cause of limitation to the Necessary Being can be found.
If finite or limited, He must be limited by his own essence, or by another, or by Himself.
a. 'He cannot be limited by his own essence, for his essence, is actual Being or existence: I Am Who Am. No perfection is repugnant to that essence; for every perfection is some existence, something that is. No defect necessarily flows froin that essence, for defect is in a thing only in as much as that thing is not in some sense or regard; now in the notion or in the concept of Him who is Being itself (I Am Who Am) is not contained the concept that He is not in some regard; for something is limited not because it is, but because it is this or that, for instance, a stone, a plant, a man.
b. He cannot be limited by another, because he depends on no other, and has not received his being from another.
He could not be limited by Himself as He is not the cause of His existence, but the sufficient reason thereof.
The Infinite Being is most simple, or not compound. Were he compound, His parts would be either all finite, or all infinite, or one
infinite and the others finite. None of these suppositions are possible, therefore, He is not compound.
1. Several finite things cannot produce an infinite or an illimitable, as there would always be a first and last.
2. Many infinite beings are inconceivable; for, if there were several, they would have to differ from each other by some perfection. Now, from the moment one would have a perfection, the other one lacks, the latter would not be infinite. Therefore, God cannot be a compound of infinite parts.
3. If one is infinite, nothing can be added to it. Finite parts could not belong to the infinite essence, else they would communicate their limitations to God.
Therefore, the Infinite Being is not composite, but simple or spiritual. Therefore He is not, nor ever was, a man, who is a composite being
(To be concluded in next number.)
I WANDERED IN THE MOUNTAINS.
BY J. LLOYD WOODRUFF, PANQUITCH, UTAH.
I wandered in the mountains, far from the haunts of men,
A wildling brook was singing an elfland lullaby,
And feathered songsters carroled; the wind was a happy sigh.
All restless thoughts were banished, trouble and worldly stress,
Gave place to sacred musing my tongue would fain express.
Some find a charm in dancing, amid the thoughtless throng;
Some love the city's bustle, its right, its gilded wrong. But these can ne'er awaken that joy, to me so dear, Aroused by nature's anthem, when none but God is near.
The solitudes remind me, the Lord still arms the right:
That truth at last shall conquer, though trodden down by might.
BY ALFRED LAMBOURNE.
Serene, the marble stands where bright the glade
Ends at the thick grove's edge; and one tall tree
Leans, with a stately grace and limbs all free,
We the pale gleam of stilly waters see;
And by the tomb, of all our thoughts the key,
How like the thoughts within that deep soil grownThe poet's heart that joy and sorrow weighs
How like his life as through the muses shown! All tranquil-bright, and golden, halcyon days
Made solemn by death's changeless undertone.
THE MYSTERY OF MATTER.
I matter love for that which breathes it through,
The palpable to sense of touch and sight.
Filled with a beauty of the power of light,
The deadly hates that at love's being smite,
The subtle poison that the pure can blight, O, rivals meeting on life's avenue!
This blameless soil opposing force will sow, The butterfly and serpent share this clod,
Roses and lilies, tares and thistles grow,
Therein we may the Prince of Darkness know,
A BEETHOVEN SONATA.
Life and its passions through these charmed notes run,
Of human change the ever-shifting scale,
Love rapture-flushed, and melancholy, pale,
Dull tones like sombre crape our ears assail,
The muffled drum, the clarionet's shrill wail. And changeless nature when life's dream is done.
Of sorrow's cup, O he the dregs did taste, Who heard afar these harmonies that wake;
Upon his love and hope, fate put the ban;
In silence wrought he, felt his own heart break,