{Diffusion}

 

Now, of these atoms, thus diffused, or upon diffusion, what conditions are we permitted – not to assume, but to infer, from consideration as well of their source as of the character of the design apparent in their diffusion? Unity being their source, and difference from Unity the character of the design manifested in their diffusion, we are warranted in supposing this character to be at least generally preserved throughout the design, and to form a portion of the design itself: – that is to say, we shall be warranted in conceiving continual differences at all points from the uniquity and simplicity of the origin. But, for these reasons, shall we be justified in imagining the atoms heterogeneous, dissimilar, unequal, and inequidistant? More explicitly – are we to consider no two atoms as, at their diffusion, of the same nature, or of the same form, or of the same size? – and, after fulfilment of their diffusion into Space, is absolute inequidistance, each from each, to be understood of all of them? In such arrangement, under such conditions, we most easily and immediately comprehend the subsequent most feasible carrying out to completion of any such design as that which I have suggested – the design of variety out of unity – diversity out of sameness – heterogeneity out of homogeneity – complexity out of simplicity – in a word, the utmost possible multiplicity of relation out of the emphatically irrelative One. Undoubtedly, therefore, we should be warranted in assuming all that has been mentioned, but for the reflection, first, that supererogation is not presumable of any Divine Act; and, secondly, that the object supposed in view, appears as feasible when some of the conditions in question are dispensed with, in the beginning, as when all are understood immediately to exist. I mean to say that some are involved in the rest, or so instantaneous a consequence of them as to make the distinction inappreciable. Difference of size, for example, will at once be brought about through the tendency of one atom to a second, in preference to a third, on account of particular inequidistance; which is to be comprehended as particular inequidistances between centres of quantity, in neighboring atoms of different form – a matter not at all interfering with the generally-equable distribution of the atoms. Difference of kind, too, is easily conceived to be merely a result of differences in size and form, taken more or less conjointly: – in fact, since the Unity of the Particle Proper implies absolute homogeneity, we cannot imagine the atoms, at their diffusion, differing in kind, without imagining, at the same time, a special exercise of the Divine Will, at the emission of each atom, for the purpose of effecting, in each, a change of its essential nature: – so fantastic an idea is the less to be indulged, as the object proposed is seen to be thoroughly attainable without such minute and elaborate interposition. We perceive, therefore, upon the whole, that it would be supererogatory, and consequently unphilosophical, to predicate of the atoms, in view of their purposes, any thing more than difference of form at their dispersion, with particular inequidistance after it – all other differences arising at once out of these, in the very first processes of massconstitution: – We thus establish the Universe on a purely geometrical basis. Of course, it is by no means necessary to assume absolute difference, even of form, among all the atoms irradiated – any more than absolute particular inequidistance of each from each. We are required to conceive merely that no neighboring atoms are of similar form – no atoms which can ever approximate, until their inevitable rëunition at the end.

 



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