Page:The works of the late Edgar Allan Poe volumes 1-2.djvu/140

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113
MESMERIC REVELATION.

V. If I were awake I should like to die, but now it is no matter. The mesmeric condition is so near death as to content me.

P. I wish you would explain yourself, Mr. Vankirk.

V. I am willing to do so, but it requires more effort than I feel able to make. You do not question me properly.

P. What then shall I ask?

V. You must begin at the beginning.

P. The beginning! but where is the beginning?

V. You know that the beginning is God. [This was said in a low, fluctuating tone, and with every sign of the most profound veneration.]

P. What then is God?

V. [Hesitating for many minutes.] I cannot tell.

P. Is not God spirit?

V. While I was awake I knew what you meant by "spirit," but now it seems only a word—such for instance as truth, beauty—a quality, I mean.

P. Is not God immaterial?

V. There is no immateriality—it is a mere word. That which is not matter, is not at all—unless qualities are things.

P. Is God, then, material?

V. No. [This reply startled me very much.]

P. What then is he?

V. [After a long pause, and mutteringly.] I see—but it is a thing difficult to tell. [Another long pause.] He is not spirit, for he exists. Nor is he matter, as you understand it. But there are gradations of matter of which man knows nothing; the grosser impelling the finer, the finer pervading the grosser. The atmosphere, for example, impels the electric principle, while the electric principle permeates the atmosphere. These gradations of matter increase in rarity or fineness, until we arrive at a matter unparticled—without particles—indivisible—one; and here the law of impulsion and permeation is modified. The ultimate, or unparticled matter, not only permeates all things but impels all things—and thus is all things within itself. This matter is God. What men attempt o embody in the word "thought," is this matter in motion.

P. The metaphysicians maintain that all action is reducible