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and all, they suppose the soul in the state of the dead to be invested with an aerial or luminous body.
Whatever are, or may have been the fancies of Schoolmen or Philosophers in regard to the substance, or immateriality of the soul, of one thing we are certain, and that is, that allanimate beings posses a rational and thinking part which we call Mind or Soul, unconnected with, but in subjection to matter, capable of willing and reasoning. But, as the pious and learned Dr. Watt says, when speaking of Reason, “ It is the common gift of God to all men, though all are not favoured with, it by nature in an equal degree; but the acquired improvements of it in different men, make a much greater distinction between them than nature had made. I could even venture to say, that the improvement of reason hath raised the learned and the prudent in the European world almost as much above the Hottentots, and other savages of Africa, as those savages are by nature superior to the birds, the beasts, and the fishes. And, Dr. Johnson says,
66 It is the power by which we deduce one proposition from another, and proceed from premises to consequences,
These hypothetical reasonings induce us to believe that,dead orinert matter cannot think, and if it cannot think, consequently cannot reason, and if it cannot reason, it can be no soul. On the contrary, when we find an animal endowed with the powers of willing, thinking, and reasoning, as we see daily, we must believe that, these powers are mind or soul, and not matter. Again, were one man to maintain in the face of another that, he liad no soul, his oponent could only prove the contrary by demonstrating his powers of willing, thinking, and reasoning; with all the other attributes of which it is susceptible. Well, cannot the brutes do the same, although in a less degree? Were we to take the most sagacious of the brute creation, and the most uncultivated or uncivilized of the human species, liow much inferior, to all appearance, would we find the former to the latter-little indeed! Even in the inore refined state of man, how does he degrade himself below the level of that brute which he wishes to despise, in the sensual gratification of those vicious and libidinous habits that lead to ungodliness and perdition.
Although every animal cannot be counted a moral agent; every animal may, in some degree, be capable of moral action; i. e. of
doing good or evil freely; and consequently may be in the strictest sense) deserving of reward or punishment. But if not, every an: mal is certainly capable of pleasure and pain: consequently every animal is capable of reward, though noť (properly speaking) of punishment. Thus our ideas of justice compel us to judge: reward is due to any being that suffers undeservingly; though it be not a moral agent: but punishment can belong only to moral agents, whose crimes deserve it. We allow that, an animal, if nu moral agent, can deserve no punishment; yet if it suffers, we think it ought to have reward. We deem it congruous to justice in the Almighty Maker and Governor to recompense with pleasure all undeserved pain, whether the sufferer be a moral agent or not. Therefore, we cannot reconcile to his justice the undeserved pains of animals by any other means,than by supposing that, he has appointed for them a future state where, he will bestow pleasure for their reward. Perhaps the sort of metempsychosis here suggested, is true, viz. that souls rise gradually from a lower rank into an higher, by such steps as are proper to recompense at least their sufferings, supposing them not moral; or to reward or punish their actions, supposing them
moral agents. So may they ascend, until they arrive at that final point, where God shall please to fix them for ever. It is nothing irrational to suppose that, some animals are at first incapable of moral action; yet that afterwards, by degrees, they rise to become capable of it.
The Immortality of the Souls of Brutes has long been a desideratum with those profesedly learned; and has created in the minds of many intelligent and charitable persons, a sensation of feeling not easily overcome. There have been found advocates to espouse the immortality of the souls of brutes, and others to espouse the doctrine of its annihilation.
Brutes are a part of the work of God's creation, and are a part of his special care; as we are told in many places of scripture, Gen. 1. 25, And God made the beast of his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. Ver. 30, And
beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon
the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and i was
And God emphatically says, (by the mouth of his servant David,) Psalms L. 10 &
11, For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains; and the wild beasts of the fields are mine. By the same genuine authority, we are also informed, Psalms XXXVI. 6, The Lord preservest man and beast.
In all countries, and in almost all ages of the world, from the earliest to the present time, the beasts have been in many respects ranked with man, and shared with those august personages their good and evil fortune. T'he Lord giveth them food, they know him, and call for iheir sustenance; Job xxxvIII. 41, Who provideth for the raven his food? when his
young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of food. Psalms cry. 21, The
young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. Psalms cxlvii. 9, He giveth to the beast his food, and to the
young ravens which
Maih. vi. 26, Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.
Beasts were made previous to man, and had the pre-eminence of that honour given them which was rejected to him. The holy virgin Mary, the mother of our blessed Saviour, had her accouchment among the beasts