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Enough; 1 claim no more. 'My toils are paid,
LXXV.-A moral Argument to prove the natural Immortat
of the Soul. THE great God has manifested astonishing wisdom is the works of his creation, contriving, forming, and endowing every creature with powers and properties suitable to the various purposes of its designed existence, and of his own governinent.
God has given to his creature man an understanding and will, and various powers whereby be is capable of knowing, loving, and serving his Maker ; by these sampe powers be als becomes capable of dishonouring, affronting and blasphemiag him.
Man is formed also with a power or capacity of receiving recompences according to his works, that is, pleasure and bappiness answerable to his obedience, or punishment and misery if he disobey : And the great God, as a righteous Governor of the world, has thought fit to assign happiness to virtue, and misery to vice, as a reward or recompence of good or evil actions.
Man is also created with a power to destroy his own animal life, as well as the animal life of his fellow-creatures.
Now if a man be never so pious, and has no surviving spirit, no conscious power remaining after this animal life be destroyed, God cannot certainly reward him according to the course of nature; because a wicked man may put a speedy end to the aniinal life of the rightcous, by sword or club, and thus he may insolently forbid or prevent all God's rewarding goodness and justice, with regard to that righteous man.
Or if a man be never so vicious; if he blaspheme and insult his Maker with never so much indignity, and commit all outrages possible against his neighbours; yet God cannot punish him for such aggravated guilt, according to the course of nature, if he has no surviving spirit, no conscious power remaining be yond this animal life : for by the sword, halter, or poison, be may put a speedy end to his own animal life, and to all his consciousness of being, and to all power of suffering punishment.
But surely the all-wise God would never form creatures of such a bature, and with such powers, as that they might inso
Te Wreatly prevent his governing justice from distributing rewards 35 dered punishments according to their works,: He would never TALLES Y ake a creature capable of breaking his laws and insulting his
2*** athority, and then defyiog bis Maker to punish him ; a creature 2. Am F
ho might do outrage to bis Creator, and yet have power to oscape beyond the reach of his avenging hand. This would be text pas ach a piece of conduct as would tempt one to suspect great at deze veakness in the Creator and Governor of the world; which God 2008 ** orbid.
Perhaps it may be said here, that God can find a way to 'eward or punisb, by raising his creatures again from the dead ergy to.o a more firm and durable life.
To this I answer two ways.
First, If the thinking spirit in man, or the conscious prinrung ciple, be entirely extinguished at the death of the body, the sotke o resurrection of man to a new consciousness, is the creation of flisco a new conscious being, and it is not the same conscious being,
which once merited reward or punishment; and where would be is is the justice of such punishments or rewards ? It is possible in
deed, that almighty power might make a new conscious being which should suppose itself to remember things done in a former state, before it bad any existence; but this would be properly a false apprehension, an error, and not real memory of what was done before, and would lay no just foundation for the recompences of vice or virtue.
Secondly, This very resurrection must be a miracle, a supernatural exercise of divine power, in contradiction to the laws of nature, and not acccording to the course of nature. Now is it not hard to say, and very unreasonable to suppose, that God has so contrived the nature of his creature man, that though he be capable of high degrees of virtue, or of most insolent and horrid vices, yet, according to the course of nature, he cannot effectually and certainly reward or punish him; or that the wise Creator and righteous Governor of the universe cannot effectually and certainly distribute the recompences of virtue and vice, without a miracle?
Upon the whole, doth it not evidently follow from this argument, ibat since God is a wise Creator and Governor of the world, since man is capable of voluntary vice or virtue, and consequently of deserving rewards or punishments, there is, and there must be, svine living conscious principle in man whoidla may be naturally capable of rewards and punishinents, answerable to his behaviour ? That there is a soul in man hich survive's his animal life, and is immortal, which cannot put an end to its own life and consciousness, nor to the life ani consciousness of its fellow-souls? And by this natural in nortality of the sonlit comes to pass, that it is not in the power of a wicked man ie
prevent the rewards of the righteous, nor to Convey himself out of the reach of his Maker's vengeance.
And may it not be hence inferred, in the first place, that the soul of man is so immortal, that it is not in the power of any mere creature to kill it ? For it doth not seem fit that the great Lord of the universe should give the prerogative of rewards and punishinents so far out of his own hand, as to put it entirely into the power of a creature, to defraud the righteous of their reward, or secure the wicked from due punishment. It is fit that God only, who gave life, and being, and consciousness, to the soul, should be able to destroy it, or take away its consciousness, or make it cease to be.
May we not also infer yet farther, in the second place, that there is no such thing as the sleep of the soul; or at least that neither the soul itself, nor any other creature, can put the soul into a sleeping state? For this is a state without perception or consciousness; and if this could be done, then the designed rewards and punishments of divine justice might be as effectually disappointed by creatures as if they could kill or annihilate the soul.
Perbaps you will here say also, that the soul may be awakened again by divine power to receive punishments or rewards. To this I answer, that if the soul is laid to sleep, or sinks into an insensible state when the animal body dies, will it ever awake again of itself naturally to be punished or rewarded; or can any creature awaken it? If not, then God alone, who works supernaturally, can awaken it. And thus, in the order of nature, there is no capacity in this soul to be punished or rewarded, nor can it be done without a miracle.
I think therefore we may draw this conclusion, namely, that every intelligent being, as it is made capable of virtue and vice, of rewards and punishments, so it must necessarily be made inmortal in its own nature, and hath such an essential and perpetual consciousness belonging to it, as is not in the power
of creatures either to stupify or destroy, lest the recompenccs of vice and virtue be wrested out of the hands of God, as the God of nature, the wise Creator, and the righteous Governor of all intelligent creatures.
And may we not draw a third inference also, namely, that the mere death of the body is not the only punishment of the sin of man against the God of nature, and against the natural law? for then the worst of criminals, by a dose of opium, or a halter, might finish his punishment at once, he might convey himself away from the reach of punishing justice, and the crimes of men could not be punished in proportion to their aggravations. It is the 'immortality of the soul that lays the foundation of different degrees of punishment according to crimes.
After all, perhaps some persons may raise another objection
against my argument, namely, if there be sufficient provision in the very nature of man after death, to receive the due rewarris of virtue or vice in his immortal part, or his soul, what necessity is there of a resurrection of the body? And yet we find that in the New Testament, where the invisible world and future state of rewards and punishments is most particularly discovered, the holy writers generally represent those rewards and punishments as consequents of this resurrection.
To this I think there is a full answer given in the last pages of a late “Essay towards the Proof of a separate State of Souls," to wbich I refer the reader. But in this place I think it sutficient to say, that the soul only is the moral agent, and the God of pature can effectually reward or punish the virtues or the vices of man in his immortal part, or his soul, which naturally survives the body; but the God of grace baving introduced a gospel for the recovery of sinful maukind from ruin, whereby the resurrection of the body is promised to those who comply with it, for an increase of bappiness, he thought it proper also and just, that the rejection of this gospel, or the utter inn penitence of men, should be punished with a resurrection of the body, for an increase of misery. It is the gospel only which introduces the resurrection of the body; the original law of God knows nothing of it. “As by man, ibat is Adam, came in death, so by man, that is Christ, came in the resurrection of the dead ;" 1 Cor. xv. 21.
And thence may I not take occasion to iofer, that the gospel, or the covenant of grace, which is founded in the undertaking of Christ, bath been some way or other made known to all mankind, at least by some obscure and general notices of it; and that the great God doth actually deal with all men now upon terms of grace, from this very argument, because “all mankind are to be raised again from the dead, who have done good or evil !" John v. 28, 29. Whereas those who never sinned against a gospel, or against the grace or mercy of God, but only against God as the God of nature, would perhaps only lie exposed to such a sentence as the light of nature might find out, or as might be executed according to the course of nature, without the miracle of a resurrection, that is, by the death of the body, and the punishment of the surviving spirit in a separate state.
If this last inference should be found to run counter to the sense of any one text of scripture, I renounce it upon the spot : But if by venturing to step out of the common tract of the schools, we may find any little beam of light shed upon the couduct of God toward man, and be thereby enabled the better to viodicate the wisdom and righteousness of the God of nature and the God of grace; let not that little beam be quenched, merely because it has not the support of vulgar opinion, nur been consecrated by creeds or councils. Vol. IX.
LXXVI.-Three modern Absurdities. SENSE, consciousness and reason are three of the chief principles or mediuins of our knowledge of things. This, I suppose, will be acknowledged by men of all religions, and of pone. Sense informs us chiefly of the things that are without us, even all that we know by sight or hearing, by smell, taste, or feeling. Consciousness acquaints us with all that passes within us, and particularly the ideas we have in our mind, the inclination of our hearts, the consent, the choice, or any action of our wills. And then reason assures us of the truth of a conclusion which is evi. dently derived from other propositions which we know to be true before. Now the deists, the papists, and the fatalists among them do really renounce all these; they run on blindly and resolutely in their opinions, and maintain several articles of their own belief, in direct contradiction to these three principles of knowledge, how much soever they may profess to be led by them.
First, The papist tells you, that in all the instanccs of com. mon life he believes the dictates of his senses about things which are near to him, and which he hath all proper advantages to examine ; but in the business of transabstantiation he begs your es. cuse, for he believes a piece of bread to be real flesh and blood, and gives the lie grossly and obstinately to his eye-sight and his feeling, his smell and his taste at once, apd bis religion requires bim to contradict all his senses.
Crucifer, a man of this profession, believes the resurrectiou of the body of Christ from the dead, and confesses that it could not be known nor proved without giving credit to our senses, our seeing and feeling; and yet he renounces the dictates of these senses utterly, when they tell him that the bread of the sacrament is not the body of the risen Saviour : Aud thus he chooses to overthrow the foundation on which he believes the doctrine of the resurrection of Christ, (which doctripe is the foundation of all his christianity) rather than believe what his senses tell him, when they assure him the body of Christ is not a wafer-cake. Monstrous victory and dominion of the church of Rome over all the powers of sense and reason at once, and the very principles of our faith
In the next place, Hylander, a young fatalist, will acknow. ledge in general, that though he cannot assent to any of the religions of men, nor believe a word of what they preach about vice and virtue, a heaven and a hell, yet he believes whiat he himself feels, and what he is conscious of within himself. But if you ask him presently, Whether man be a free creature? Whether he bimself hath a liberty of choice in any motion of his will, or in any action of his life? he denies it. No; he is necessarily moved by a trajn of other causes to every particular volition and action, and bas not, nor ever had, any free choice. Ask him, whether he is