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XVII.

SERM. hended except by a greater.

Speculations therefore of meer Curiosity I shall wave and decline. It is enough for us and the Purpose I aim at in this Discourse, if I shew that, come it whence it will, we have a Soul within us, a Soul I mean immaterial and spiritual that subsists of itself, distinct from the Body: And to do this we need not make use of many Arguments, or many Words : It is done to our Hands in a very few, by one who has comprized all that need to be said of it in a Short Compass : “It is a thing (faith he) " felf-evident, that there is something in our

Composition, that thinks and apprehends,

and reflects and deliberates ; that deter" mines and doubts, consents and denies; “ that demurs and resolves, that chooses and .

rejects; that receives various Sensations from “ external Objects, and produces voluntary Motions in several Parts of the Body. This

every Man is conscious of; nor can the greatest Sceptick doubt of or deny it. That very doubting or denying being Part of the thing we would have supposed, and includ

ing several of the rest in their Ideas and “ Notions.--- And yet that these several Fa

culties we have mentioned are not inherent in the Matter itself of which our Bodies

are

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XVII.

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are compounded, is plain, because we then SER M. “ Thould have as much feeling upon the

clipping of a Hair, as upon the pricking " of a Nerve : Or rather as Men, i. e, as complex Beings, compounded of

many

vital Parts, we should have no Feeling or

Perception at all. For every single Par« ticle of our Bodies would upon this Suppo“ fition be a distinct Animal, endued with “ Self-consciousness and personal Sensation of its own.

Consequently a great Number “ of such living and thinking Particles unit" ed together, however close that Union

may be, could never compose one greater “ individual Animal, with one single Mind " and Understanding ; any more than a “ Swarm of Bees, or of Men and Women,

can be conceived to make up one particu“ lar living Creature, compounded and con“ stituted of the Aggregate of them all*

66 If therefore what we call our Soul or “ thinking Part cannot be the Resolution of " that Matter itself, of which our Bodies are “ compounded; it must follow that if it rea “ results from our Bodies at all it must result “ from the particular Modification, Disposi

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Bently's Boyl's Lect. Serm, II. P. 46.

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tion,

XVII.

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SERM.« tion, or Motions of such Mater. * But here

again, how ftupid must it be to believe " that all the natural Powers and acquired “ Habits of the Mind, that penetrating Un

derstanding and accurate Judgment, that Strength of Memory and Readiness of Wit

, " that Liberality, and Justice, and Prudence, " and Magnanimity, that Charity and Bene* ficence to Mankind, that ingenuous Fear " and awful Love of God, that comprehen“ five Knowledge of the Histories and Lan

guages of so many Nations, that experiens ced Insight into the Works and Wonders of " Nature, that rich Vein of Poetry and in• exhaustible Fountain of Eloquence, those " lofty Flights of Thought, and almost intuitive Perception of abstruse Notions, those " exalted Discoveries of Mathematical Theo" rems and Divine Contemplations; how ftu

pid, I say, must it be to conceive that all so these admirable Endowments and Capacişties of Human Nature, which we fome** times see actually existing in the same Per“ fon, can proceed from the blind Shuffling,

or 'casual Clashing of Atoms, or from any 4 Modification of Matter! That a little fenfe. !! less Flesh and Blood, by, whirling round

* Bently ibid. p. 57. 58.

" the

' XVII.

& the Channels of the Body should justle one SERM “ another into Life and Understanding. We « cannot without Indignation go about to “ refute such an absurd Imagination, such a “ gross Contradiction to unprejudiced Reason.

That the Spirit or Soul is indeed in its present State exceeding nearly united to the Body, we do not deny ; we see it in Fact, and Reason tells us it is very needful that so it should be: We are placed here to communicate with a material and sensible World; . to partake of its several Pleasures and Pains ; and therefore material and sensible Bodies, Members that are capable of Affections and Sensations from outward things, are necessary to render the Soul of Man an Inhabitant of this Earth : But still that the Soul is in its own Nature spiritual and active, that it is independent, for its Subsistence and Being, on Flesh and Blood, even Reason, we fee, and Philosophy alone is enough to discover. But if we think fit to call in the Evidence of holy Writ, the Question is clear and soon determined. And certainly this is the best and safest Judge in the Cafe : God who made us, best can tell, of what it is and how we are made; and therefore if we will be decided by what he has been pleased to reveal, we need not

look

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.

XVII.

SER M. look far into the facred Writings before we

haye our Question answered in full.

The first Scripture that gives us an Account of the Formation of Man, gives us an Account of the different Principles of which he was compounded. The Lord God formed Man of the Dust of the Ground, and breathed into his Nostrils the Breath of Life, and Man became a living Soul, Gen. ii. 7. .a Text that does not more evidently prove that the Body of Man was made of Duft, than that his Soul proceeded from a different Principle, the Breath of Life; by this Breath of Life we see he is made a living Soul, and a living Soul from the Breath of Life, must surely be a living Spirit. Which is enough to make good the First Head of my Discourse, viz., that the Soul is a spiritual Substance distinct from the Body, especially when the same Pofition will still be more confirmed by every Proof I shall bring for the Truth of my

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II. Second Head, to which I proceed, viz. that the Soul continues to live and exist by itself when the Body dies. And this will follow partly from what has already been said of the Spirituality of its Nature. For since it neither depends on the Body nor on any Motion or

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