Page images
PDF
EPUB

66

From this diversity it follows, that in treating this, and the alkali, and another thing different from that second branch of the subject, there will be more ne-neutral salt, ara engendered for the first time by that cessity for entering at large into the subject of the salt coming into existence. So when, by chiselling, Deity's probable designs in regard to the soul, es- "the marble softened into life grows warm," we pecially those to be inferred from its constitution, I have the marble new-moulded, and endowed with ihan we found for entering into the evidences of his the power of agreeably affecting our senses, our meexistence and attributes, although there will not be mory, and our fancy; but it is all the while the marso much labor required for proving that this is a ble: There is the beautiful and expressive marble branch of inductive science.

instead of the amorphous mass, and we have not, be. 1. PSYCHOLOGICAL ARGUMENT, OR EVIDENCE OF THE form which has been given to that stone. But the

sides the marble, a new existence created by the DEITY'S DESIGNS DRAWN FROM THE NATURE OF THE materialists have to maintain that, by matter being MIND.

arranged in a particular way, there is produced both The Immateriality of the Soul is the foundation the organized body and something different from it, of all the doctrines, relating to its Future State. If and having not one of its properties-neither dimenit consists of material parts, or if it consists of any sions, nor weight, nor color, nor form. They have modification of matter, or if it is inseparably con- to maintain that the chemist who mixed the aqua nected with any combination of material elements, fortis and potash produced both nitre and something we have no reason whatever for believing that it can quite different from all the three, and which began survive the existence of the physical part of our io exist the instant that the nitre crystalized; and frame; on the contrary, its destruction seems to fol- that the sculptor who fashioned the Apollo, not only low as a necessary consequence of the dissolution made the marble into a human figure, but called inof the body. It is true that the body is not destroyed 10 being something different from the marble and in the sense of being annihilated, but it is equally the statue, and which exists at the same time with true that the particular conformation, the particular both and without one property of either. If, therearrangement of material particles with which the fore, their theory is true, it must be admitted to rest soul is supposed to have been inseparably connect- upon nothing which experience has ever taught us; ed, or in which it is supposed to consist, is gone and supposes operations to be performed and relations destroyed even in the sense of annihilation; for that to exist of which we see nothing that bears the least arrangement or conformation has no longer an ex- resemblance in any thing we know, istence, any more than a marble statue can be said But secondly, the doctrine of the materialists, in to have an existence when it is burned into a mass every form which it assumes, is contradicted by i he of quicklime. Now, it is to the particular conforma- most plain and certain deductions of experience. tion and arrangement, and noi to the matter itself, The evidence which we have of the existence of that the soul is considered as belonging by any theo- the mind is complete in itself, and wholly independry of materialism, there being none of the theories ent of the qualities or existence of matter. It is of materialists so absurd as to make the total mass not only as strong and conclusive as the evidence of the particles themselves, independent of their which inakes us believe in the existence of matter, arrangement, the seat of the soul. Therefore, but more strong and more conclusive; the steps of the destruction of that form and organization as the demonstration are fewer; the truth to which effectually destroys the soul which consisis in it, they conduct the reason is less remote from the as the beauty or the intellectual expression of the axiom, the intuitive or self-evident position whence statue is gone when the marble is reduced to lime- the demonstration springs. We believe that matter dust.

exists because it makes a certain impression upon Happily, however, the doctrines of materialism our senses, that is, because it produces a ceriain rest upon no solid foundation, either of reason or change or a certain effect, and we argue, and argue experience. The vague and indistinct form of the justly, that this effect must have a cause, though the propositions in which they are conveyed, affords one proof is, by no means, so clear that this cause is strong argument against their truth. It is not easy something external to ourselves. But we know the to annex a definite meaning to the proposition that existence of mind by our consciousness of, or reflecmind is inseparably connected with a particular ar- tion on what passes within us, and our own existrangement of the particles of matter; it is more dif-ence as sentient and thinking beings implies the exficult to say what they mean who call it a modifica- istence of the mind which has sense and thought. tion of matter; but to consider it as consisting in a To know, therefore, that we are, and that we think, combination or matter, as coming into existence the implies a knowledge of the soul's existence. But instant that the particles of matter assume a given this knowledge is altogether independent of matter, arrangement, appears to be a wholly unintelligible and the subject of it bears no resemblance whatever collocation of words.

to matter in any one of its qualities, or babits, or Let us, however, resort to experience, and inquire modes of action. Nay, we only know the existence what results may be derived from that safe guide of matter through the operations of the mind; and whom modern philosophers most willingly trust, were we to doubt of the existence of either, it would though despised as too humble a helpmate by most be far more reasonable to doubt that matter exists of the ancient sages

than that mind exists. The existence and the opeWe may first of all observe that if a particular rations of mind, supposing it to exist, will account combination of matter gives birth to what we call for all the phenomena which matter is supposed 10 mipa, his is an operation altogether peculiar and exhibit. But the existence and action of matter, unexampled. We have no other instance of it; we vary it how we may, will never account for one of know of no case in which the combination of cer- the phenomena of mind. We do not believe more tain elements produces something quite different, not firmly in the existence of the sensible objects around only from each of the simple ingredients, but also us when we are well and awake, than we do in the different from the whole compound. We can, by reality of those phantoms which the imagination mixing an acid and an alkali

, form a third body, conjures up in the hours of sleep, or the scason of having the qualities of neither, and possessing quali-derangement. But no effect produced by material ties of its own different from the properties of each; agency ever produced a spiritual existence, or enbut here the third body consists of the other two in gendered the belief of such an existence; indeed, combination. There are not two things-two differ- the thing is almost a contradiction in terms. That ent existences—the neutral salt composed of the acid all around us should only be the creatures of our

a

fancy, no one can affirm to be impossible. But that this will offer no proof that it has ceased to exist. our mind-that which remembers, compares, ima- Indeed, when we speak of its being annihilated, we gines; in a word, that which thinks--ihat of the may be said to use a word to which no precise existence of which we are perpetually conscious meaning can be attached by our imaginations. At that which cannot but exist, if we exist-that which any rate, it is much more difficult to suppose that can make its own operations the subject of its own this annihilation has taken place, and to conceive thoughts; that this should have no existence is both in what way it is effected, than to suppose that the impossible, and, indeed, a contradiction in terms. mind continues in some state of separate existWe have, therefore, evidence of the strictest kind, ence, disencumbered of the body, and to conceive induction of facts the most precise and unerring, to in what manner this separale existence is mainjustify the conclusion that the mind exists, and is lained. different from and independent of matter altoge- It may be further observed that the material ther.*

world affords no example of creation, any more Now this proposition not only destroys the doc- than of annihilation. Such as it was in point of trine of the materialists, but leads to the strongest quantity since its existence began, such it still is, ipferences in favor of the mind surviving the body not a single particle of matter having been either with which it is connected through life. All our added to it or taken from it. Change-unceasing experience shows us no one instance of annihila- change--in all its parts, at every instant of time, it tion. Matter is perpetually changing-never de- is for ever undergoing; but though the combinations stroyed; the form and manner of its existence is or relations of these parts are unremittingly vary, endlessly and ceasingly varying-its existence never ing, there has not been a single one of them created terminates. The body decays, and is said to perish; or a single one destroyed. Of mind, this cannot be that is, it is resolved into its elements, and becomes said: it is called into existence perpetually before the material of new combinations, animate and in- our eyes. In one respect this may weaken the aranimate, but not a single particle of it is annihi- gument for the continued existence of the soul, belated; nothing of us or around us ever ceases to cause it may lead to the conclusion that, as we see exist. If the mind perishes, or ceases to exist at mind created, so may it be destroyed; while matter, death, it is the only example of annihilation which which suffers no addition, is liable to no loss. Yet we know.

the argument seems to gain in another direction But, it may be said, why should it not, like the more force than it loses in this; for nothing can body, be changed, or dissipated, or resolved into its more strongly illustrate the diversity between mind elements? The answer is plain: it differs from the and matter, or more strikingly show that the one is body in this, that it has no parts; it is absolutely one independent of the other. and simple; therefore, it is incapable of resolution Again, the mind's independence of matter and or dissolution. These words, and the operations or capacity of existence without it, appears to be strongevents they refer to, have no application to a simple ly illustrated by whatever shows the entire dissimiand immaterial existence.

larity of its constitution. The inconceivable rapidIndeed, our idea of annihilation is wholly derived ity of its operations is, perhaps, the most striking from maiter, and what we are wont to call destruc- feature of the diversity; and there is no doubt that tion means only change of form and resolution into this rapidity increases in proportion as the interparts, or combination into new forms. But for the ference of the senses, that is, the influence of the example of the changes undergone by matter, we body, is withdrawn. A multitude of facts, chiefly should not even have any notion of destruction or drawn from and connected with the Phenomena of annihilation. When we come to consider the thing Dreams, throw a strong light upon this subject, and itself, we cannot conceive it to be possible; we can seem to demonstrate the possible disconnection of well imagine a parcel of gunpowder or any other mind and matter. combustible substance ceasing to exist as such by The bodily functions are in part suspended durburning or exploding; but that its whole elements ing sleep, that is, all those which depend upon volishould not continue to exist in a different state, and tion. The senses, however, retain a portion of their in new combinations, appears inconceivable. We acuteness; and those of touch* and hearing especannot follow the process so far; we can form no cially, may be affected without awakening the conception of any one particle that once is, ceasing sleeper. The consequence of the cessation which wholly to be. How then can we form any concep- takes place of all communication of ideas through tion of the mind which we now know to exist ceas- the senses, is that the action of the mind, and, above ing to be? It is an idea altogether above our com- all, of those powers connected with the imagination, prehension. True, we no longer, after the body is becomes much more vigorous and uninterrupted. dissolved, perceive the mind, because we never This is shown in two ways; first by the celerity with knew it by the senses; we only were aware of its which any impression upon the senses, strong enough existence in others by its effecis upon matter, and to be felt without awaking, is caught up and made had no experience of it unconnected with the body. the groundwork of a new train of ideas, the mind But it by no means follows that it should not exist, instantly accommodating itself to the suggestions of merely because we have ceased to perceive its ef- the impression, and making all its thoughts chime fects upon any portion of matter. It had connection in with that; and, secondly, by the prodigiously with the matter which it used to act upon, and by long succession of images that pass through the which it used to be acted on; when its entire severance mind, with perfect distinctness and liveliness, in an took place that matter underwent a great change, but instant of time. a change arising from its being of a composite na- The facts upon this subject are numerous, and of ture. The same separatii 'n cannot have affected undeniable certainty, because of daily occurrence. the mind in the like manner, because its nature is Every one knows the effect of a bottle of hoi water simple and not composite. Our ceasing to perceive applied during sleep toʻthe soles of the feet: you inany effects produced by it on any portion of matter, the only means we can have of ascertaining its ex- * The common classification of the senses which istence is, therefore, no proof that it does not still makes the touch comprehend the sense of heat and exist; and even if we admit that it no longer does cold, is here adopted; though, certainly, there seems produce any effect upon any portion of matter, still almost as little reason for ranging this under touch,

as for ranging sight, smell, hearing, and taste under See on the Hypothesis of Materialism--Note IV.I the same head.

[ocr errors]

Number 26.

VOL. II.

stantly dream of walking over hot mould, or ashes, Now, these facts show the infinite rapidity of or a stream of lava, or having your feet burned by thought; for the puncture and the discharge of the coming too near the fire. But ihe effect of falling gun took place in an instant, and their impression asleep in a stream of cold air, as in an open car- on the senses was as instantaneous; and yet, during riage, varies this experiment in a very interesting, that instant, the mind went through a long operation and indeed, instructive manner. You will, instantly of fancy suggested by the first part of the impression, that the wind begins to blow, dream of being upon and terminated, as the sleep itself was, by the continusome exposed point, and anxious for shelter, but un- ation--the last portion of the same impression. Mark able to reach it; then you are on the deck of a ship, what was done in an instant-in a mere point of time. suffering from the gale; you run behind a sail for The sensation of the pain or noise beginning is conshelter, and the wind changes, so that it still blows veyed to the mind, and sets it a thinking of many upon you; you are driven to the cabin, but the lad- things connected with such sensations. But that der is removed, or the door locked. Presently you sensation is lost or forgotten for a portion of the are on shore, in a house with all the windows open, short instant during which the impression lasts; for and endeavor to shut them in vain; or, seeing a the conclusion of the same impression gives rise to smith's forge, you are attracted by the fire, and sud- a new set of ideas. The walk in the wood, and the denly a hundred bellows play upon it, and extin- hurrying to the post, are suggested by the sensaguish it in an instant, but fill the whole smithy with tion beginning. Then follow many things uncontheir blast, till you are as cold as on the road. If nected with that sensation, except that they grew you from time to time awake, the moment you fall out of it; and, lastly, comes the wound and the asleep again the saine course of dreaming succeeds broadside, suggested by the continuance of the senin the greatest variety of changes that can be rung sation, while, all the time, this continuance has on our thoughts.

been producing an effect on the mind wholly differBat the rapidity of these changes, and of the suc- ent from the train of ideas the dream consists of, cession of ideas, cannot be ascertained by this ex- nay, destructive of that train; namely, the effect of periment: it is most satisfactorily proved by another. rousing it from the state of sleep, and restoring its Let any one who is extremely overpowered with dominion over the body. Nay, there may be said to drowsiness, as after sitting up all night, and sleep- be a third operation of the mind going on at the ing none the next day, lie down, and begin to dic- same time with these two-a looking forward to the tale: he will find himself falling asleep atter utter- denouement of the plot, --for the fancy is all along ing a few words, and he will be awakened by the so contriving as to fit that, by terminating in some person who writes repeating the last word, to show event, some result, consistent with the impression he has written the whole; not above five or six se- made on the senses, and which has given rise to the conds may elapse, and the sleeper will find it at first whole train of ideas. quite impossible to believe that he has not been There seems every reason to conclude from these asleep for hours, and will chide the amanuensis for facts, that we only dream during the instant of having fallen asleep over his work—so great appa-transition into and out of sleep. That instant is rently will be the length of the dream which he has quite enough to account for the whole of what apdreamed, extending through half a life-time. This pears a night's dream. It is quite certain we reexperiment is easily tried : again and again the member no more than ought, according to these exsleeper will find his endless dream renewed; and periments, to fill an instant of time; and there can he will always be able to tell in how short a time be no reason why we should only recollec: this one he must have performed it. For suppose eight or portion if we had dreamt much more. The fact ten seconds required to write the four or five words ihat we never dream so much as when our rest is dictated, sleep could hardly begin in less than four frequently broken, proves the same proposition at or five seconds after the effort of pronouncing the most to demonstration. An uneasy and restless sentence; so that, at the utmost, not more than four night passed in bed, is always a night studded full or five seconds can have been spent in sleep. But with dreams. So, too, a night passed on the road indeed, the greater probability is, that not above a in travelling, by such as sleep well in a carriage, is single second can have been so passed; for a writer a night of constant dreams. Every jolt that awakwill easily finish two words in a second; and sup- ens or half-awakens us, seems to be the cause of a pose he has to write four, and half the time is con- dream. If it be said that we always or generally sumed in falling asleep, one second only is the du- dream when asleep, but only recollect a portion of ration of the dream, which yet seems to last for our dream, then the question arises, why we recol years, so numerous are the images that compose it. lect a dream each time we fall asleep, or are awak

Another experiment is still more striking, and af- ened, and no more? If we can recall twenty dreams fords a more remarkable proof both of the velocity in a night of interrupted sleep, how is it that we can of thought, and of the quickness with which its only recall one or two when our sleep is continned ? course is moulded to suit any external impression The length of time occupied by the dream we remade on the senses. But this experiment is not so collect is the only reason that can be given for our easily tried. A puncture made will immediately forgetting the rest; but this reason fails is, each produce a long dream, which seems to terminate in time we are roused, we remember separate dreams. some such accident as that the sleeper has been Nothing can be conceived better calculated than wandering through a wood, and received a severe these facts to demonstrate the extreme agility of the wound from a spear, or the tooth of a wild animal, mental powers, their total diversity from any matewhich at the same instant awakens him. A gun rial substances or actions; nothing better adapied fired in one instance, during the alarm of invasion, to satisfy us that the nature of the mind is consistent made a military man at once dream the enemy had with its existence apart from the body, Janded, so that he ran to his post, and repairing to The changes which the mind undergoes in its the scene of action, was present when the first dis- activity, its capacity, its mode of operation, are malcharge took place, which also the same moment ter of constant observation, indeed of every man's awakened him."

experience. Its essence is the same; its funda

mental nature is unalterable; it never loses the dis* The ingenious Eastern tale, in the Spectator, of tinguishing peculiarities which separate it from the magician who made the prince plunge his head matter; never acquires any of the properties of the iuto a pail of water, is founded on facts like those to latter:' but it undergoes important changes, both which we have been referring.

in the progress of time, and by means of exercise

and culture. The development of the bodily powers the mind perishes with the body, nay, the only arappears to affect it, and so does their decay ; but we gument be, as it indubitably is, derived from the rather ought to say that, in ordinary cases, its im- phenomena of death, the fact to which we have provement is contemporaneous with the growth of been referring affords an answer to this. For the the body, and its decline generally is contemporane- argument is, that we know of no instance in which ous with that of the body, after an advanced period of the mind has ever been known to exist after the life. For it is an undoubted fact, and almosi univer- death of the body. Now here is exactly the instance sally true, that the mind, before extreme old age, be desiderated, it being manifest that the same process comes more sound, and is capable of greater things, which takes place on the body more suddenly at during nearly thirty years of diminished bodily pow- death, is taking place more gradually, but as effecters; that, in most cases, it suffers no abatement of ually in the result, during the whole of life, and that strength during ten years more of bodily decline; that death itself does not more completely resolve the in many cases, a few years more of bodily decrepi- body into its elements and form it into new combitude produce no effect upon the mind; and that, in nations than living fifteen or twenty years does den some instances, its faculties remain bright to the last, stroy, by like resolution and combination, the selfsurviving the almost total extinction of the corporeal same body. And yet after those years have elapsed, endowments. It is certain that the strength of the and the former body has been dissipated and formed body, its agility, its patience of fatigue, indeed all into new combinations, the mind remains the same its qualities, decline from thirty at the latest; and as before, exercising the same memory and come yet the mind is improving rapidly from thirty to sciousness, and so preserving the same personal fifty; suffers little or no decline before sixty; and identity as if the body had suffered no change at all. therefore is better when the body is en feebled, at In short, it is not more correct to say that all of us the age of fifty-eight or fifty-nine, than it was in the who are now living have bodies formed of what acme of the corporeal faculties thirty years before. were once the bodies of those who went before us, It is equally certain, that while the body is rapidly. than to say that some of us who are now living at decaying, between sixty or sixty-three and seventy, the age of fifty have bodies which in part belonged the mind suffers hardly any loss of strength in the to others now living at that and other ages. The generality of men : that men continue to seventy- phenomena are precisely the same, and the operafive or seventy-six in the possession of all their men- tions are performed in like manner, though with tal powers, while few can boast then of more than different degrees of expedition. Now all would bethe remains of physical strength; and instances are lieve in the separate existence of the soul if they had not wanting of persons who, between eighty and experience of its existing apart from the body. But ninety, or even older, when the body can hardly be the facts referred to proves that it does exist apart said to live, possess every faculty of the mind un- from one body with which it once was united, and impaired. We are authorized to conclude, from though it is in union with another, yet as it is not these facts, that unless some unusual and violent ac. adherent to the same, it is shown to have an existcident interferes, such as a serious illness or a fatal ence separate from, and independent of that body. contusion, the ordinary course of life presents the So all would believe in the soul surviving the body, mind and the body running courses widely differ- if after the body's death its existence were made ent, and in great part of the time in opposite direc- manifest. But the facts referred to prove that after tions; and this affords strong proof, both that the the body's death, that is, after the chronic dissolumind is independent of the body, and that its de- tion which the body undergoes during life, the mind struction in the period of its entire vigor is contrary continues to exist as before. Here, then, we have to the analogy of nature.

that proof so much desiderated, the existence of the The strongest of all the arguments both for the soul after the dissolution of the bodily frame with separate existence of mind, and for its surviving the which it was connected. The two cases cannot, in body, remains, and it is drawn from the strictest in- any soundness of reasoning, be distinguished: and duction of facts. The body is constantly undergo- this argument, therefore, one of pure induction, deing change in all its parts. Probably no person at rived partly from physical science, through the evithe age of twenty has one single particle in any part dence of our senses, partly from psychological sciof his body which he had at ien; and still less does ence, by the testimony of our consciousness, appears any portion of the body he was born with continue to prove the possible Immortality of the Soul almost to exist in or with him. All that he before had has as rigorously as “if one were to rise from the dead." now entered into new combinations, forming parts Now we have gone through the first division of of other men, or of animals, or of vegetables or mi- this second branch of the subject, and have consineral substances, exactly as the body he now has dered the proofs of the separate and future existwill afterwards be resolved into new combinations ence of the soul afforded by the nature of mind. It after his death. Yet the mind continues one and is quite clear that all of them are derived from a the same, "without change or shadow of turning.” strict induction of facts, and that the doctrines rest None of its parts can be resolved; for it is one and upon precisely the same kind of evidence with that single, and it remains unchanged by the changes of upon which the doctrines respecting the constituthe body. The argument would be quite as strong tion and habits of the mind are founded. In truth, though the change undergone by the body were ad- the subjects are not to be distinguished as regards mitted not to be so complete, and though some small the species of demonstration applicable to them, portion of its harder parts were supposed to continue the process by which the investigation of them is to with us through life.

be conducted. That mind has an existence perceivBut observe how strong the inferences arising able and demonstrable as well as matter, and that it from these facts are, both to prove that the exist is wholly different from matter in its qualities, is a ence of the mind is entirely independent of the ex- truth proved by induction of facts. That mind can istence of the body, and to show the probability of exist independent of matter and survive the dissoits surviving! If the mind continues the same while lution of the body, is a truth proved exactly in the all or nearly all the body is changed, it follows that same manner, by induction of facts. The phenothe existence of the mind depends not in the least mena of dreams which lead to important concludegree upon the existence of the body; for it has al- sions touching the nature of the mind, lead, and by ready survived a total change of, or, in the common the self-same kind of reasoning, 10 important conuse of the words, an entire destruction of that body.clusions of a similar description, touching the mind's But again, if the strongest argument to show that I existence independent of the body. The facts, partly physical, partly psychological, which show the mind But the inference acquires additional strength from io be unaffected by the decay and by even the total the consideration that the faculties of the mind though gradual change of the body during life, like- ripen and improve almost to the time of the body's wise show that it can exist after the more sudden extinction, and that the destruction of the soul at change of a similar kind, which we term the disso- the moment of its being fitter than ever for worthy Intion of the body by death. There is no means of se- things seems quite inconceivable. parating the two classes of truths, those of Psycho- The tender affections so strongly and so univerlogy and those of Natural Theology; they are parts sally operating in our nature afford another arguof one and the same science; they are ascertained ment of a like kind. No doubt the purpose to which by one and the same process of investigation; they they are subservient in this life is much more disrepose upon one and the same kind of evidence; tinctly perceivable; yet still it is inconsistent with nor can any person, without giving way to a most the provisions of a benevolent Power to sappose groundless and unphilosophical prejudice, profess that we should be made susceptible of such vehehis belief in the former doctrines, and reject the latter. ment feelings, and be suffered to indulge in them, The only difference between the two is that the The- so as to make our happiness chiefly consist in their ological propositions are of much greater import- gratification, and that then we should suddenly be ance to human happiness than the Metaphysical. made to undergo the bitter pangs of separation, 11. MORAL ARGUMENT, OR EVIDENCE OF THE DEITY'S DE- out without any useful effect' resulting from our

while, by our surviving, those pains are lengthened SIGNS DRAWN FROM HIS ATTRIBUTES IN CONNECTION sufferings. That such separations should be eternal WITH THE CONDITION OF THE SPECIES.

appears irreconcilable with the strength of the af. The probable designs of Divine Providence with fections wounded, and with the goodness so generespect to the future lot of man are to be gathered rally perceived in the order of the universe. The in part from the nature of the mind itself, the work supposition of a re-union hereafter overcomes the of the Deity, and in part from the attributes of the difficulty, and reconciles the apparent inconsistency. Deity, ascertained by an examination of his whole The unequal distribution of rewards and punishworks. It thus happens that a portion of this head ments in this world, that is, the misery in which

of the argument has been anticipated in treating the virtue often exists, and the prosperity not seldom other head, the nature of the mind. Whatever qua- attendant upon vice, can in no way be so well aclities of the soul show it to differ from matter, both counted for, consistently with the scheme of a bemake it improbable that it should perish with the nevolent Providence, as by the supposition of a body, and make it improbable that the Deity should Future State. destine it to such a catastrophe; and whatever facts But perhaps there is nothing more strongly indishow that it can survive a total change of the body cative of such a design in the Creator than the uniduring life, show, likewise, the probability that the versal prevalence of religion amongst men. There same being who endowed it with that capacity will can hardly be found a tribe so dark and barbarous suffer it, in like manner, to continue in being after as to be without some kind of worship, and some the more sudden change which the body undergoes belief in a future state of existence. Now all reliat death.

gions are so far of God that he permits them; he The argument built upon the supposed designs of made and preserves the faculties which have inthe Creator, requires to be handled in an humble vented the false ones, as well as those which comand submissive spirit; but, if so undertaken, there prehend and treasure up the true faith. Religious is nothing in it which can be charged with pre- belief, religious observance, the looking forward 10 sumption, or deemed inconsistent with perfect a future existence, and pointing to a condition in though rational devotion. In truth, all the investi- which ihe deeds done on earth shall be visited with gations of Natural Theology are equally liable to just recompense, are all facts of universal occursuch a charge; for to trace the evidences of design ence in the history and intellectual habits of the in the works of nature, and inquire how far bene- species. Are they all a mere fiction? Do they involence presides over their formation and mainte- deed signify nothing? Is that a mere groundless nance-in other words, to deduce from what we fancy, which in all places, in all ages, occupies and see, the existence of the Deity, and speculate upon has occupied the thoughts, and mingled itself with His wisdom and goodness in the creation and go- the actions of all mankind, whether barbarous or vernment of the universe-is just as daring a thing, refined ?* and exactly of the same kind of audacity, as to spe- But if it be said that the belief of such a state is culate upon His probable intentions with respect to subservient to an important use, the restraining the the future destiny of man.

passions and elevating the feelings, it is obvious to The contemplation of the Deity's goodness, as de- reply that so great a mechanism to produce this efducible from the great preponderance of instances fect very imperfectly and precariously, appears litin which benevolent design.is exhibited, when ac- tle consisteni with the ordinary efficacy and simplicompanied with a consideration of the feelings and city of the works of Providence, and that the diswishes of the human mind, gives rise to the first position to shun vice and debasement could hare argument which is usually adduced in favor of the been more easily and more certainly implanted by Immortality of the Soul.' There is nothing more making them disgusting. True, there would then universal or more constant than the strong desire have been little merit in the restraint; but of what of immortality which possesses the mind, and com- value is the production of such merii, if the mind pared with which its other wishes and solicitudes which attains it and becomes adorned by it has no are but saint and occasional. That a benevolent sooner approached perfection than it ceases to exist being should have implanted this propensity with at all? The supposition of a Future State at once out the intention of gratifying it, and to serve no reconciles all inconsistencies here as before, and very apparent purpose, unless it be the proving that enables us to comprehend why virtue is taught by it is without an object, appears difficult to believe: the hopes of another life, as well as why those hopes, for certainly the instinctive fear of death would and the grounds they rest on, form so large a porhave served all the purposes of self-preservation tion of human contemplation. without any desire of immortality being connected That the existence of the soul in a new state afwith it, although there can be no doubt that this de- ter the entire dissolution of the body-nay, that the șire, or at least the anxiety about our future destiny, is intimately related to our dread of dissolution.

* Note VIII, and IX,

[ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »