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expect some invisible Vengeance to pursue them ; especially the least Approach of Death puts them into Agonies and Fears, and they go into the other World Self-condemn'd, expecting to find there the just Recompence of all the Mischiefs they have done here. If all this be Dream and Fancy, 'tis a strange Fairy Land and enchanted World we live in ; we have not one true Notion of any thing; either these Principles, which we find stick most close to us, are all false, or we know not how to draw one true Conclusion from them ; Nature and our most natural Notions and Ideas are as mere Riddles, Mysteries, and Contradictions, as these Men pretend all Revelation to be.
Thus I have shewn you, what natural and moral Proofs we have of the Immortality of the Soul, and a Future State: And now I shall briefly Sum up the Evidence, and see what it amounts to. And if we have all the Evidence that Reason and Nature can possibly give us in such a Case, we have all the natural Evidence that any wise considering Man can expect.
Let any reasonable Man then consider, what Evidence he would expect from mere Nature, of the Immortality of the Soul. Now it is certain, this Evidence must be from within, not from without; we must find it in our selves, not in the visible Creation : For the external Frame and Constitution of the World cannot prove human Souls to be Immortal, as it proves the Being of a God, who made it. If Nature then can discover the Immortality of the Soul, it must be our own Nature; and if we must learn our own Immortality by reflecting upon our selves, there can be no other way
of doing this, but by considering what the Nature of the Soul is, or what its natural Notions, Ideas, and Passions are.
As for the first
, I have sewn you by all the fair, , Probabilities that Reason and Philosophy can furan nish us with, That 'the Soul is by Nature immortal, and therefore cannot die with the Body, but must survive in a separate State , før it is an imma. terial Being, perfectly distinct from the Body, and independent on it. For as far as we can judge, all that peculiarly belongs to the; Squi, luch as conscious Life, Sense, and Understanding, is not ef sential to Matter There is no other thinking, living, reasoning Matter in the World and therefore there can be no Reason to fax, that the Spůl, which is a thinking understanding, reasoning Be ing, is mere Matter. And if Life, Sense, and Understanding be not essential to Matter, as it is certain they are not, because all Matter has not Life, Sense and Ynderstanding i it is very unreafonable to think they should be in any Subject to which they do not effentially belongs for they are not transient mutable Accidents, but the most real effential Things in Nature: Ang yet if there be no Subject of Nature, to which they essentially belong, they are mere perishing Accidents, which might never have been, and may never be again.
Besides this, there is no natural Connexion be tween Matter, and the Affections of Matter, and Thinking; nay, as I have shewn you, there is a natural Incapacity in Matter to think For all Thoughts and Ideas are immaterial, and imma, terial Thoughts and Ideas can never be lodg'd in Matter. Now, though I will not say, that these are demonstrative Arguments of the immaterial and spiritual Nature of the Soul, because we can't tend to such a perfect Knowledge of the. Nature either of Body of Spirit, as win' amoust tó a Der monstration ; yet" I will say, that the most visible Advantage is on that side ; that these are better natural Arguments to prove the Soul to be a Spirit,
than any that can be produc'd to prove it to be mere Matter. And if it be a Spirit, it may live when the
Nay, we have several moral Arguments to prove that the Soul cah fubfift and be happy in a State of Separation from the Body : For the Soul has a Happiness proper and peculiar to it felf, such as the Pleafures of Wifdom, and Knowledge, and Virtue, and Religion, which are immediately fenced in the Mind, and have no refation to the Body, any otherwise than as the Soul lives and acts in the Body, and governs all its Motions: And yet these are the greateft and divinest Pleasures, and these the Soul is cảpable of in a separate State, And if it have a Happiness independent on the Body, it must have a Principle of Life independent on the Body alfo. And yet our Souls never attain their juft Perfection of this intellectual and fpiritual Happiness, while they live in these Bodies; but makė a gradual Progtefs toward Perfection; which is a good Argument that this Life is only a State of Triál and Probation, for a more perfect Life. Fór cán we think, that when the Soul has arrivid: to the greatest Improvements it can make in this Body, it shall immediately fall into nothing? These are very sensible Arguments for the Immortality of the Soul'; and if ckey prøve no more, yet certainly they prove thus much, That the Soul cannot die as the Body does, but may live and be happy in a separate Stace. And this alone is é nough to confound the Philosophy, and to destroy the unnatural Hopes and vain Security of Infidels.
But the next Argument, I think, carries this á little I a Sense and Persuasion of their own Immortality.
For it is not ealý to conceite, were human souls mortal, how it should come to pass that all Men Mould agree iti this Belief; That their souls are immortal. But when we have fo many Arguments to prove that our Souls are iinmortal, the universal Content of Mankind in this Belief is a very good Argument to prove it to be the Voice and sense of Nature For it is reasonable to think, that if the Soul be immortal, it should have some natural Sense of its own Immortality.
Especially, if to this we add that universal Délire of immortality, which confirms tħe univer: fal Belief of it. That these Desires are universal, proves that they are natural ; and the Desires of Nature never rise above it felf. And therefore a mortal Nature cannot naturally desire Immortality: Nor can that Nature be mortal, which has a nå: tural Senfe and Desire of Immortaliey. These natural Desires of Immortality confirm our natural Sense and Belief of it: For natural Delires must be founded in a natural Sense and Knowledge ; and the natural Belief and Persuasion of Immortality confirms all the natural Arguments for it. And such a concurrent Testimony as this, is all that wë can désire or expect from mếrë Nature ; especially when all this agrees with all those other Notions we find in our Minds concerning the Difference of Good and Evil, and the Justice of the divine Providence, in rewarding good Men, and punishing the Wicked; and the natural Hopës and Fears of good and bad Men. I fay, laying all this together, if there be any such thing as å moral Demonftration, I think this may very faitly lay claim to it. I am not sensible that any thing material cán bé obječked against any of these Arguinents, taken finglý; but as they are support. ed by each other, there is fuch á Harmony and Confent; as can be owing to nothing but Nature ; I 2
and therefore I hope will be of some Authority, with those who reject all other, Means of Knowledge. I only delire they would believe with us, till they can produce as great and concurrent an Evidence of Nature on the other side. And yet, Thanks be to God, we are in a much better State than this, and have greater and better Evidence than mere Nature, can give us. As will appear from what follows.
What farther Evidence the Law of
Moses gives us of the Immortality of the Soul, and a Future State.
The Mofaical Evidence for the Immateriality
of the Soul.
have for the Immortality of the Soul, and a Future State ; the next step is, to consider what farther Evidence the Mofaical Revelation gives us of this. It is very certain that the whole Jewiss Nation, except the Saducees, which was but a: late Sect, and whom our Saviour himself confuted out of their own Law, did firmly believe another Life after this : And yet we do not find any express literal Promise of immortal Life made to good Men under the Law. They