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they will find so perfectly harmonizing with their favourite oracle, Reason, in this most interesting point, and which professes to give them the most authentic information concerning that unseen world, the reality of which they already admit to have been proved*.

Whereas if, on the contrary, with a view of converting the infidel to Christianity, and impressing him with a high sense of its dignity and importance, you set out with assuring him that reason gives us not the slightest hope of immortality; that soul and body perish together in the grave, but are both raised to life again at that general resurrection which the Gospel promises; he will assent probably, without scruple, to the former part of your proposition, but will never be persuaded, on the sole authority of a Revelation which he rejects, to listen to the concluding part.

It may therefore contribute not a little, both to the satisfaction of the Christian, and the conviction of the unbeliever, to state, in

That fundamental doctrine of religion (a future state) would, if believed, open and dispose the mind seriously to attend to the general evidence of the whole.-Butler's Anal. c. i.

in the first place, with as much brevity and perspicuity as the nature of the inquiry will admit, some of the plainest and most obvious of those proofs of a future existence, which our own reason is capable of suggesting to the mind, and then to proceed to those which arise from the Christian Revelation*.

The first question that naturally presents itself on this subject, is, whether that percipient and thinking agent within us, which


* The substance of this and the two following Sermons was written and preached several years ago. The discourse now before us is not, I confess, of that kind which I should have selected for publication. But the progress which the doctrine of materialism has already made on the Continent, and is now endeavouring to make in this Kingdom, induced me to think, that a compendious view of the most intelligible arguments for the immateriality and natural immortality of the soul, as well as of the other principal evidences of a future state, both moral and scriptural, would not be at this time either unseasonable or unuseful. The young reader, at least, for whose use these three discourses were principally intended, will here find (what can alone be expected, on so extensive a subject, in so short a compass) some general and leading principles to direct his judgment on a question of no small importance; to guard him against too hasty a desertion of the received opinion concerning it; and to prepare him for a more profound and accurate investigation of it, if ever he should feel himself disposed to pursue the inquiry any farther.

we usually call THE SOUL, is only a part of the body, or whether it is something totally distinct from it? If the former, it must necessarily share the extinction of the body by death; and there is an end at once of all our natural hopes of immortality. If, on the other hand, the latter supposition of its distinct subsistence be the true one; it is plain that there will then be no reason to presume, that the intellectual and the corporeal part of our frame must perish together. That fatal stroke which deprives the latter of life and motion, may have no other effect on the former, than that of dislodging it from its present earthly tabernacle, and introducing it into a different state of existence in another world.

Now, whatever difference of opinion there may have been among speculative men, either ancient or modern, concerning the specific nature of the human soul; yet in this they have all, with very few exceptions, universally agreed, that it is a substance in itself, actually distinct and separable from the body, though in its present state closely united with it. This has been the invariable




opinion of almost all mankind, learned or unlearned, civilized or savage, Christian or Pagan, in every age and nation of the world. There is scarce any one truth that can be named, which has met with so general a reception as this. We discover it in the earliest authors extant, both poets and historians; and it was maintained by every philosopher among the ancients (except by Anaximander, Democritus, and their followers*) as well as by all the primitive Christian writers, without, I believe, a single exception. Even they who supposed the soul to be material (which was undoubtedly supposed by several Pagan philosophers, as well as by two or three of the Christian fathers) yet

*See Cudworth's Intellectual System, vol. i. b. i. c. i. & ii. and c. v. p. 836—841.

Cicero (Tusc. Quæst. 1. i. c. 22,) mentions no more than two philosophers, Dicæarchus and Aristoxenus, who maintained that man had no soul; and he gives their reason for this opinion-quia difficilis erat animi quid & qualis sit intelligentia. This principle, if carried to its full extent, would, I am afraid, prove equally that we have no bodies; because, as the greatest of our philosophers, Newton, Locke, &c. have repeatedly asserted, it is full as difficult to comprehend the nature of a corporeal as of an incorporeal substance. Yet this principle seems still to have no small weight with the patrons of Materialismi.

yet uniformly held it to be a substance distinct from the body. They supposed it to be air, or fire, or harmony, or a fifth essence, or something of a finer, purer, more æthereal, texture than gross matter; and many of them conceived it also to be immortal, or capable of becoming so. Nor was it only the polished and enlightened nations of Greece and Rome, of Egypt and Asia, that believed man to be a compound being, consisting of two separate substances, but even the rudest and most barbarous tribes, of whom history has preserved any traces. And it is well known, that wherever curiosity, commerce, or the spirit of adventure has extended modern discoveries, this notion has been found existing. It has been found as prevalent throughout the vast continents of India and America, and the various islands of the Atlantic Ocean, and the southern hemisphere, as in every other quarter of the globe*. So general a suffrage of almost the whole human race, in favour of this opinion, is surely a very strong presumption of its truth. It proves it to be no


* See all the late voyages to those parts, by Captain Cook, and other navigators.

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