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This treatise is given to the public with the hope that it may serve, to some extent, as a check to the advancing tide of Materialism, and define, with some precision, the ground Vitalists should occupy in this great debate. Believing that the things and facts of nature are their own best interpreters, we have labored to shun the metaphysical aspects of the subject, and allow them to speak for themselves and for truth. If the "new philosophy" is a true solution of the problems presented by the universe, then in matter itself, and in matter alone, should be found an explanation of the cause and origin of all phenomena, especially of such as are vital and intellectual in their character. Having doubts on this subject, we have made a special examination of all the kinds of matter which enter organic bodies and tested their properties, for the purpose of detecting in them the presence of a vital force or any capacity to work themselves into living organisms; and the conclusion reached is,that matter is not, never was, and never can be, till the constitution of nature is changed, the cause of vital phenomena. It follows that, as vitality does not originate in matter, its marvelous forces must have either an independent existence, which logically is inconceivable, or an antithetic cause in a vital substance.