Lecture at the Medical College. Dr. Masters Talks Entertainingly About the Action of Life on Matter
There was an unusual number of visitors in attendance Wednesday afternoon at the medical college. Among them were some of our prominent clergymen and leading business men. The cause of the interest on the part of those outside of the medical fraternity and students was found to be the fact that Dr. Masters, who is professor of physiology, intended during his lecture at four o’clock to bring out some valuable thoughts on the subject: “Action of Life on Matter.” The doctor during the course of his talk laid down certain truths that could not be contradicted successfully. He held that life and matter have always existed. Life never being created and yet always existing could never be destroyed. Intelligence, or God, did not create life, it existed when He came into existence. If one could tell when that was then they could tell when life began. Intelligence, or God, operates through life upon the material and creation is produced. In His operation on matter their must be certain conditions prevailing before material matter becomes life and intelligence. The world was not made out of nothing. God took the existing conditions and made the best use of them. Reference was made to the impossibility of producing tropical fruits in the frigid zone. God [sic] purpose in creating man cannot be known until conditions that will lead to his perfect development has been attained. Evolution was said to be correct in so far as the perfection of species was concerned, but not correct in the idea of transmitting one species to another. There were different kinds of flesh, that of fish and birds that might be improved on but life impressions are eternal and will exist forever.
Such being true then comes the important subject of the duty of the human family carefully studying the conditions favorable for its propagation so as to go on to a higher rather than a lower order. In this part of the address there was brouhgt [sic] out truths that would make it impossible for man to put asunder that which God had joined together. He declared that the preacher who would unite together two physical wrecks does not appreciate his duty to mankind or responsibility to God. He thought that instead of the county court clerk issuing marriage licenses to any and everyone on application it should be so arranged that license could not be had until a medical officer had passed on the question of the condition and requirements necessary. If men would take the view of marriage and their duty to themselves and their God more at heart there would be no reason for divorces. In closing a special appeal was made to the young men to keep themselves pure as possible from the contaminating influences that would make them the producers of evil and bring to cultivate habits such as would bring about the most favorable conditions for prepetuating [sic] a life of usefulness and a blessing to others.
Source: Knoxville Daily Journal and Tribune, March 16, 1895, page 4