From whatever aspect we view and question matter, the world-old philosophy that it was vivified and fructified by the eternal idea, or imagination — the abstract outlining and preparing the model for the concrete form — is unavoidable. If we reject this doctrine, the theory of a cosmos evolving gradually out of its chaotic disorder becomes an absurdity; for it is highly unphilosophical to imagine inert matter, solely moved by blind force, and directed by intelligence, forming itself spontaneously into a universe of such admirable harmony. If the soul of man is really an outcome of the essence of this universal soul, an infinitesimal fragment of this first creative principle, it must of necessity partake in degree of all the attributes of the demiurgic power. As the creator, breaking up the chaotic mass of dead, inactive matter, shaped it into

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form, so man, if he knew his powers, could, to a degree, do the same. As Pheidias, gathering together the loose particles of clay and moistening them with water, could give plastic shape to the sublime idea evoked by his creative faculty, so the mother who knows her power can fashion the coming child into whatever form she likes. Ignorant of his powers, the sculptor produces only an inanimate though ravishing figure of inert matter; while the soul of the mother, violently affected by her imagination, blindly projects into the astral light an image of the object which impressed it, and, by re-percussion, that is stamped upon the foetus. Science tells us that the law of gravitation assures us that any displacement which takes place in the very heart of the earth will be felt throughout the universe, “and we may even imagine that the same thing will hold true of those molecular motions which accompany thought.” Speaking of the transmission of energy throughout the universal ether or astral light, the same authority says: “Continual photographs of all occurrences are thus produced and retained. A large portion of the energy of the universe may thus be said to be invested in such pictures.”

Dr. Fournie, of the National Deaf and Dumb Institute of France, in chapter ii. of his work, in discussing the question of the foetus, says that the most powerful microscope is unable to show us the slightest difference between the ovarian cell of a mammifer and a man; and, respecting the first or last movement of the ovule, asks: “What is it? has it particular characters which distinguish it from every other ovule?” and justly answers thus: “Until now, science has not replied to these questions, and, without being a pessimist, I do not think that she ever will reply; from the day when her methods of investigation will permit her to surprise the hidden mechanism of the conflict of the principle of life with matter, she will know life itself, and be able to produce it.” If our author had read the sermon of Pere Felix, how appropriately he might utter his Amen! to the priest’s exclamation — MYSTERY! MYSTERY!

Let us consider the assertion of Magendie in the light of recorded instances of the power of imagination in producing monstrous deformities, where the question does not involve pregnant women. He admits that these occur daily in the offspring of the lower animals; how does he account for the hatching of chickens with hawk-heads, except upon the theory that the appearance of the hereditary enemy acted upon the hen’s imagination, which, in its turn, imparted to the matter composing the germ a certain motion which, before expanding itself, produced the monstrous chicks? We know of an analogous case, where a tame dove

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belonging to a lady of our acquaintance, was frightened daily by a parrot, and in her next brood of young there were two squabs with parrots’ heads, the resemblance even extending to the color of the feathers. We might also cite Columella, Youatt, and other authorities, together with the experience of all animal breeders, to show that by exciting the imagination of the mother, the external appearance of the offspring can be largely controlled. These instances in no degree affect the question of heredity, for they are simply special variations of type artificially caused.

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