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and the spirit, or mind, which is the rational and immortal part*.
Each of these three
* This doctrine, I think, is established beyond all dispute, not only by experience, but by authority. It was received by almost all the antient philosophers. The Pythagoreans; as we learn from Famblicus, vid. Protrept. p. 34, 35. The Platonists ; as appears from Nemefus, Salluft, and Laertius, vid. Di. Laertius, lib. 3. p. 219. The Stoics ; as appears from Antoninus, who faith expressly, " There are o three things which belong to a man; the body, -- foul, and the mind. And as to the properties I of the division, sensation belongs to the body,
appetite to the soul, and reason to the mind, σωμα, ψυχή, νες, σωμαίος αισθησεις, ψυχης ορμαι, 78 doguald. lib. 3. 16. lib. 2. $ 2. lib. 12. 3.
It appears also to have been the opinion of most of the fathers, vid. Irenæus, lib. 5. cap. 9. lib. 2. cap. 33. Ed. Par, Clem. Alex. Strom. 3. p. 542. Ed. Oxon. Origen. Philocal. p. 8. Ignat. Ep. ad. Philadelph. ad. calcem. See also Jofeph. Antiq. lib. 1. cap. 2. p. 5. Conftitut. Apoftol. lib. 7. cap. 34.- But above all these, is the authority of Scripture, which, speaking of the original formation of man, mentions the three diftinct parts of his nature.
Gen. ii. 7. viz. 127877-10 Dy the dust of the earth, or the body : 07nWDthe living soul, or the animal and sensitive part : and D' Ow) the breath of life, i. e. the spirit or rational mind. In like manner the apostle Paul divides the whole man into (to Treuua, n tuxn, xal to owuc) the spirit, the foul, and the body, i Thef. v. 23. and what he calls (veure.ce) here, he calls (ves) Rom. vii. 24. the word which Antoninus uses to denote the same thing. - They who would see more of this may confult Nemehus de Natura Hominis, cap. 1, and Whitton's Prim At, vol. 4. pag. 262.
parts have their respective offices assigned them. And a man then acts becoming himself, when he keeps them duly employed in their proper functions, and preserves their natural subordination.---But it is not enough to know this merely as a point of speculation; we must pursue and revolve the thought, and urge the consideration to all the purposes of a practical self-acquaintance.
We are not all body, nor mere animal creatures. We find we have a more noble nature than the inanimate, or brutal part of the creation. We can not only move and act freely, but we observe in ourselves a capacity of reflection, study and forecast; and various mental operations, which irrational animals discover no fymptoms of. Our souls, therefore, must be of a more excellent nature
all the observation I shall make hereupon is, that this consideration may serve to soften the prejudices of some against the account which Scripture gives us of the mysterious manner of the existence of the divine nature; of which every man (as created in the image of God) carries about him a kind of emblem, in the three-fold distinction of his own; which, if he did not every minute find it by experience to be fact, would doubtless appear to him altogether as mysterious and incomprehenlible as the Scripture-doctrine of the Trinity.
“ Homo habit tres partes, spiritum, animam, ct corpus; itaque homo eft imago S. S. Trinitatis.” Auguft. Tractat. de Symbolo.
than their's; and from the power of thought with which they are endowed, they are proved to be immaterial substances; consequently, in their own nature, capable of immortality. And that they are actually immortal, or will never die, the sacred Scriptures do abundantly testify (m).---Let us hereupon seriously recollect ourselves in the following soliloquy.
• O my soul, look back but a few years, ' and thou wast nothing ! —And how didst
thou spring out of that nothing ?--Thou could not make thyself :-that is quite impossible :- most certain it is, that that
Almighty, self-existent and eternal power, ' which made the world, made thee also ' out of nothing: Called thee into being when thou waft not; gave thee these
(m). As nature delights in the most easy transitions from one class of beings to another, and as the nexus utriufque generis is observable in several creatures of ambiguous nature, which seem to connect the lifeless and vegetable, the vegetable and animal, the animal and rational worlds together. (See Nemefius de Nat. Hom. cap. 1. p. 6.) Why may not the souls of brutes be considered as the nexus between material and immaterial substances, or matter and spirit, or something between both ? The great dissimilitude of nature in these two subItances, I apprehend, can be no solid objection to this hypothefis, if we consider (besides our own ignorance of the nature of spirits) but how nearly they approach in other instances, and how clofely they a
ted in man,
reasoning and reflecting faculties, which * thou art now employing in searching out • the end and happiness of thy nature.• It was He, O my soul, that made thee
intelligent and immortal. It was He • that placed thee in this body as in a
prison ; where thy capacities are cramped, • thy desires debased, and thy liberty loft.
-It was He that fent thee into this world, which by all circumstances ap
pears to be a state of short discipline and :6 trial.
And wherefore did He place thee • here, when He might have made thee
a more free, unconfined and happy fpi• rit ?-But check that thought ;-it looks • like a too presumptuous curiosity. A more
needful and important enquiry is ; what ' did he place thee here for ? And what . doth he expect from thee, whilst thou
art here ?-What part hath he allotted me to act on the stage of human life; where He, angels and men, are spectators of
behaviour ? The part He * hath given me to act here is, doubtless, • a very important one; because it is for eternity (n). And what is it, but to live
up (n) It is faid when the prince of the Latin po. ets was asked by his friend, why he studied so much accuracy the plan of his poem,
up to the dignity of my rational and • intellectual nature; and as becomes a creature born for immortality ? And tell me,
O my soul, (for as I now about to cultivate a better acquaintance with thee, to whom I have been
too long a stranger, I must try thee and put many a close question to
thee,) tell me, I say, whilst thou con' finest thy desires to sensual gratifications,
wherein dost thou differ from the beasts that perish? Captivated by bodily appe
tites, doft thou not act beneath thyself ? • Dost thou not put thyself upon a level • with the lower class of beings, which
were made to serve thee, offer an in
dignity to thyself, and despise the work • of thy Maker's hands ? O remember thy
heavenly extract ; remember thou art a
spirit. Check then the folicitations of • the flesh; and dare to do nothing that
may diminish thy native excellence, dis• honour thy · high original, or degrade
priety of his characters, and the purity of his dición: he replied, in æternum pingo, I am writing for eternity. What more weighty consideration to justify and inforce the utmost vigilance and circumspection of life, than this, in æternum vivo, I am living for eternity?