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Nature of Our Existence

Relation between mind and matter is not fancied by some poet, but stands in will of God, and so is free to be known by all men. It appears to men, or it does not appear. When in fortunate hours we ponder this miracle, wise man doubts, if, at all other times, he is not blind and deaf;


- "Can these things be,

And overcome us like a summer's cloud

Without our special wonder?"

-From Shakespeare's Macbeth (act 3, scene 4)


for the universe becomes transparent, and light of higher laws than its own shines through it. It is the standing problem that has exercised wonder and study of every fine genius since our world began; from the era of Egyptians and Brahmins to that of Pythagoras, Plato, Bacon, Leibnitz, of Swedenborg. There sits by, he tries his fortune at reading her riddle. There seems to be a necessity in spirit to manifest itself in material forms; day and night, river and storm, beast and bird, acid and alkali, preexist in necessary affections, in world of spirit. A Fact is an end or last issue of spirit. Visible creation is terminus or circumference of invisible world. *"Material objects are necessarily kinds of scoria of the substantial thoughts of the Creator, which must always preserve an exact relation to their origin; in other words, visible nature must have a spiritual and moral side."*

This doctrine is abstruse, and through images of "garment," "scoria," "mirror,", may stimulate the fancy, we must summon aid of subtler and more vital expositors to make it plain. **"Every scripture is to be interpreted by the same spirit which gave it forth,"**

- is fundamental law of criticism. A life in harmony with nature, love of truth and virtue, will purge eyes to understand her text. By degrees, we may come to know primitive sense of permanent objects of nature, so our world shall be to us an open book, and every form significant of its hidden life and final cause.

A new interest surprises us, whilst, under view now suggested we contemplate fearful extent and a multitude of objects; since ***"every object rightly seen, unlocks a new faculty of soul,"*** That which was unconscious truth, becomes, when interpreted and defined in an object, a part of the domain of knowledge, - a new weapon in the magazine of power.


*French philosopher Guillaume Oegger in The True Messiah (1829), (Scoria is slag or refuse left after metal has been smelted from ore.)

**Written by English Quaker George Fox.

***from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Aids to Reflection (1825)


Emmerson, Ralph Waldo, Essays and Poems by Ralph Waldo Emmerson, Barns & Noble Classics, 1903-4, chapter 4, Nature, pages 25-26.



Chinese Chan Master Han Shan (7th century, CE)

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