In looking carefully around me for rational objection to what I have advanced, I am able to discover nothing; – but of that class of objections usually urged by the doubters for Doubt's sake, I very readily perceive three; and proceed to dispose of them in order.
It may be said, first: »The proof that the force of irradiation (in the case described) is directly proportional to the squares of the distances, depends upon an unwarranted assumption – that of the number of atoms in each stratum being the measure of the force with which they are emitted.«
I reply, not only that I am warranted in such assumption, but that I should be utterly unwarranted in any other. What I assume is, simply, that an effect is the measure of its cause – that every exercise of the Divine Will will be proportional to that which demands the exertion – that the means of Omnipotence, or of Omniscience, will be exactly adapted to its purposes. Neither can a deficiency nor an excess of cause bring to pass any effect. Had the force which irradiated any stratum to its position, been either more or less than was needed for the purpose – that is to say, not directly proportional to the purpose – then to its position that stratum could not have been irradiated. Had the force which, with a view to general equability of distribution, emitted the proper number of atoms for each stratum, been not directly proportional to the number, then the number would not have been the number demanded for the equable distribution.
The second supposable objection is somewhat better entitled to an answer.
It is an admitted principle in Dynamics that every body, on receiving an impulse, or disposition to move, will move onward in a straight line, in the direction imparted by the impelling force, until deflected, or stopped, by some other force. How then, it may be asked, is my first or external stratum of atoms to be understood as discontinuing their movement at the circumference of the imaginary glass sphere, when no second force, of more than an imaginary character, appears, to account for the discontinuance?
I reply that the objection, in this case, actually does arise out of ›an unwarranted assumption‹ – on the part of the objector – the assumption of a principle, in Dynamics, at an epoch when no ›principles,‹ in anything, exist: – I use the word ›principle,‹ of course, in the objector's understanding of the word.
›In the beginning‹ we can admit – indeed we can comprehend – but one First Cause – the truly ultimate Principle – the Volition of God. The primary act – that of Irradiation from Unity – must have been independent of all that which the world now calls ›principle‹ – because all that we so designate is but a consequence of the rëaction of that primary act: – I say »primary« act; for the creation of the absolute material particle is more properly to be regarded as a conception than as an › act‹ in the ordinary meaning of the term. Thus, we must regard the primary act as an act for the establishment of what we now call ›principles.‹ But this primary act itself is to be considered as continuous Volition. The Thought of God is to be understood as originating the Diffusion – as proceeding with it – as regulating it – and, finally, as being withdrawn from it upon its completion. Then commences Rëaction, and through Rëaction, ›Principle,‹ as we employ the word. It will be advisable, however, to limit the application of this word to the two immediate results of the discontinuance of the Divine Volition – that is, to the two agents, Attraction and Repulsion. Every other Natural agent depends, either more or less immediately, upon these two, and therefore would be more conveniently designated as sub-principle.