תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

« and seriously consider what sort of crea“ tures we are, and what we shall be."

« 1. What we are.”

Man is a complex being, τριμμερης υποτασις, a tripartite person, or a compound creature, made up of three distinct parts, viz. the body, which is the earthy or mortal part of him ; the soul, which is the animal or sensitive part; and the spirit or mind, which is the rational and immortal part *.

Each

* This doctrine, I think, is established beyond all dispute, not only by experience, but by authority. It was received by almolt all the ancient philosophers. 'The Pythagoreans, as we learn from Jamblicus, vid. Protrept. p. 34, 35. The Platonifts, as appears from Nemesius, Sallust, and Laertius, vid. Di. Laertius, Lib. 3. p. 219. The Stoics, as appears from Antoninus, who saith expressly, “ There are three things « which belong to a man; the body, soul, and the “ mind. And as to the properties of the division, “ fenfation belongs to the body, appetite to the soul, " and reason to the mind : owa, yuxm, 985 ; owpealos ano notis, Yuxins ogles, y8 dayuata." 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. cup. 9. Lib. 2. cap. 33. Ed. Par. Clem. Alex. Storm. 3. p. 242. Ed. Oxon. Origen. Philocal. p. 8. Ignat. Ep. ad Philadelệb. ad calcem. See also fepb. Ana tiq. Lib. 1. cap. 2. p. 5. Conftitut. Apoftol. Lib. 7. col. 34.--But above all these, is the authority of Scrip. ture; which, speaking of the original formation of man, mentions the three diftinct parts of his nature, Gen. ii. 7. viz. 707N7100 2y tie duft of the eartb, or, the body : TTILD) tbe veving Soul, or, ile

animal

Each of these three 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-knowledge. "Ba

We

animal and sensitive part: and on the breath of life, i.c, the spirit, or rational muda iu like manner, the apostle Paul divides the whole man into (ro

VELK, n Luxn, xed to twice) the spirit, the soul, and the body, I Theil. v. 23.; and what he calls (YEUHX) here, he calls (ww$) Rom. vii. 24. the word which Antoninus uses to denote the same thing. They who would see more of this may consult Nemesisis de Natura Hominis, cap. I, and W biston's Prim. Chrift, vol. .4. p. 262.

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 subsistence of the divine nature; of which every man (as “ created in « the image of God”) carries about him a kind of emblem, in the threefold distinction of his own; which, if he did not every minute find it by experience to be fact, would doubtless appear to him every whit as mysterious and incomprehensible as the fcrip. ture doctrine of the Trinity.

“ Homo habet tres partes, spiritum, animam, et « corpus; itaque homo eft imago S. S. Trinitatis.'' Auguft. Tradiat. de Symbolo.

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 cannot 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 symptoms of. Our souls, therefore, must be of a more excellent nature than theirs; and from the power of thought with which they are endowed, they are proved to be immaterial substances, and consequently in their own nature capable of immortality. And that they are actually immortal, or will never die, the facred fcriptures do abundantly testify *. -

Let

* As nature delights in the most eafy tran&tions from one class of beings to another, and as the nexus utriusque 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 bruges be considered as the nexus between material and inn, material substances, or matter and spirit, or fomething between both? The great dissimilitude of nature, in. these two substances, I apprehend, can be no folid objedion to this hypothesis, if we consider (befide our own ignorance of the nature of spirits) but how nearly they approach in other instances, and how closely they are united in man,

Let us then hereupon seriously recollect ourselves in the following soliloquy.

“ O my soul, look back but a few years, « and thou waft nothing ! And how didft R thou spring out of that nothing ? Thou « could not make thyself; that is quite “ impoffible. Most certain it is, that that « Almighty, self-existent, and eternal 66 power, which made the world, made " thee also, out of nothing, called thee “ into being when thou wast not; gave « thee these reasoning and reflecting fa« culties, 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 immor“ tal. It was he that placed thee in this “ body as in a prison; where thy capaci“ ties are cramped, thy desires debased, « and thy liberty loft. It was he that « sent thee into this world, which by all “ circumstances appears to be a state of < fhort discipline and trial. And where6 fore did he place thee here, when he "might have made thee a more free, “ unconfined, and happy spirit ? But “ check that thought ; it looks like a too « presumptuous curiosity. A more need« ful and important inquiry is, What did « he place thee here for? And what doth

B 3

ch

· he expect from thee whilst thou art “ here? What part hath he allotted me “ to act on the stage of human life, "s where he, angels, and men, are spec“ tators of my behaviour ? The part he " hath given me to act here is, doubtless, “ a very important one, because it is for “ eternity * And what is it, but to live “ 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 am “ now about to cultivate a better acquaint« ance with thee, to whom I have been “ togfong a stranger, I must try thee, and “ pul many a clofe question to thee), tell “ me, I say, whilst thou confinest thy de

fires to sential gratifications, wherein “ doft thou differ from the beasts that peir ris? Captivated by bodily appetites, " dost thou not act beneath thyself? Dost " thou not put thyself upon a level with

o the

.

* It is said, when the prince of the Latin poets was asked by his friend, why he studied so much accuracy in the plan of his poem, the propriety of his characters, and the purity of his diction, he replied, In æternum pingo, I am writing for eternity. What more weighty consideration to justify and enforce the utmost vigilance and circumspection of life, than this; in æternum vivo, I am living for eternity?

« הקודםהמשך »