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might have made thee a more free,
unconfined, and happy spirit But check that thought; it looks like a too
,' he expect from thee whilst thou art "here? What part hath he allotted me "to act on the stage of human lise, "where he, angels, and men, are fpec"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 "toarflrig a stronger, I must try thee, and "p^rhany a clqse question to thee), tell "me, I fay, whilst thou consinest thy de"sires to sentjal gratisications, wherein "dost thou differ from the beasts that pe"rijl,l Captivated by bodily appetites, "dost thou not act beneath thyself? Dost "thou not put thyself upon a level ^with "the lower class of beings, which were
* the *
* It is (aid, when the prince of the Latin poets wai 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 cternum pingo, / am toriling sir eternity. What lore weighty consideration to justify and enforce the rmost vigilance and circumspection of lise, than this; : æternum vivo, I am living sot eternity t
"made to serve thee ? Offer an indignity
*' to thyself, and despise the work of thy
"Maker's hands? O remember thy hea
"venly extract ; remember thou art a spi
"rit. Check then the solicitations of the
"flefh; and dare to do nothing that may
"diminifh thy native excellence, dilho
"nour thy high original, or degrade thy
"noble nature*—But let me still urge it.
** Consider (I say), O my soul, that thou
"art an immortal spirit. Thy body dies;
"but thou, thou must live for ever, and
"thine eternity must take its tincture from
"the manner of thy behaviour, and the
"habits thou contractest, during this thy
"short copartnership with flefh and blood.
"O! do nothing now, but what thou
"mayest with pleasure look back upon a
** million of ages hence. For know, O
"my foul, that thy self consciousness and
"reflecting faculties will not leave thee
"with "with thy body; but will follow thee "after death, and be the instrument of "unspeakable pleasure or torment to thee "in that separate state of existence *."
* Major sum, et ad majora natus, quam quod Cm corporis mancipium: quod equidem non aliter afpicio quam vinculum libertati meæ circumdacum. Sin. Ms. 66.
"I am too noble, and of too high a birth" (faith that excellent moralist), " to be a slave to my body, "which I look upon only as a chain thrown upon*' thu liberty of my soul."
(a.) In order to a full acquaintance with ourselves, we must endeavour to know not only what we are, but what ive Jhallbe.
And O! what different creatures shall .we soon be, from what we now are ! Let us look forward then, and frequently glance our thoughts towards death; though they cannot penetrate the darkness of that passage, or reach the state behind it. That lies vailed from the eyes of our mind; and the great God hath not thought sit to throw so much light upon it, as to satisfy the anxious and inquisitive desires the foul hath to know it. However, let us make the best use we can of that little light which
scripture scripture and reason have let in upon this dark and important subject.
* As it is not the design of this treatise to enter into a nice and philosophical disquisition concerning the nature of the human soul, hut to awaken men's attention to the inward operations and afsections of it (which is by far the most necessary part of self-knowledge); so they who would be more particularly informed concerning its nature and original, and the ,various opinions of the ancients about it, may consult Nmts. de Nat. Hom. cap. I. and a treatise called the lomcrnmcnt of the Thoughts, chap. 1. and Chambers'/
Cjchp*'tia, under the word SOULt
"Compose thy thoughts, O my foul, "and imagine how it will fare with thee, "when thou goest a naked, unembodied "spirit into a world, an unknown world "of spirits, with all thy self-consciousness "about thee, where no material object "fhall strike thine eye; and where thy "dear partner and companion, the body, "cannot come nigh thee. But where, "without it thou wilt be sensible of the "most noble satisfactions, or the most "exquisite pains. Embarked in death, '** thy passage will be dark; and the shore, '* on which it will land thee, altogether "strange and unknown.—It doth not yet "appear what -we (hall be *•"
* " Thou must expire, my soul, ordain'd to range"! Through unexpcrienc'd scenes, and mysteries f
Dark the event, and dismal the exchange. J
But when compell'd to leave this house of clay, And to an unknownyoOT'"u'4w': wing thy way; \Vhen time (hall be eternity, and thou ~l
Shalt be thou know'st not what, nor where, Dots
Trembling and pale, what wilt thou see or do? J