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ther state; and yet they knew that the true foundai tion of immortality was laid in this point, that the same individuals should continue. The natural consequence then was, from these principles, to exclude the body from being any part of the man; and all, I believe, who asserted an immortality, agreed in this notion. The Platonists undoubtedly did; and Cicero bas every where declared it to be his opinion: Tu habito, (says he) te non esse mortalem, sed corpus : Nec enim is es quem forma ista declarat ; sed mens cujusque is est quisque. It is not you, but your body, which is mortal; for you are not what you appear to be; but it is the mind which is the man. This being the case, the controversy was necessarily brought to turn upon the nature of the soul; and the belief of immortality either prevailed or sunk, according as men conceived of the natural dignity and power of the soul. For this reason the corporealists rejected the opinion : for since it was universally agreed among the learned, that all that was corporeal of man died, they who had no notion of any thing else, necessarily concluded that the whole man died.
From this view you may judge how the cause of immortality stood, and what difficulties attended it, upon the foot of natural religion. All men had a natural sense and expectation of a future life.
The difficulty was to account how the same individuals, which lived and died in this world, and one part of which evidently went to decay, should live again in another world. The vulgar, who had no other notion of a man but what came in by their eyes, supposed that just such men as lived in this world should live in the next; overlooking the difficulties which lay in their way, whilst they ran hastily to embrace the sentiments of nature. This advantage they had, however, that their opinion preserved the identity of individuals, and they conceived thema' selves to be the very same with respect to the life to come, as they found themselves to be in regard to the life present. But then, had they been pressed, they could not have stood the difficulties arising from the dissolution of the body, the loss of which, in their way of thinking, was the loss of the individual.
The learned, who could not but see and feel this difficulty, to avoid it shut out the body from being any part of the man, and made the soul alone to be the perfect individuum. This engaged them in endless disputes upon the nature of the soul; and this grand article of natural religion, by this means, was made to hang by the slender threads of philosophy; and the whole was entirely lost, if their first position proved false, that the soul is the whole of man; and it is an assertion which will not perhaps stand the examination. The maintainers of this opinion, though they supposed a sensitive, as well as a rational soul in man, which was the seat of the pas.
sions, and consequently the spring of all human áttions; yet this sensitive soul they gave up to death, as well as the body, and preserved nothing but the pure intellectual mind. And yet it is something surprising to think that a mere rational mind should be the same individual with a man, who consists of a rational mind, a sensitive soul, and a body. This carries no probability with it at first sight, and reason cannot undertake much in its behalf.
But whatever becomes of these speculations, there is a farther difficulty, which can hardly be got over; which is, that this notion of immortality and future judgment, can never serve the ends and purposes of religion; because it is a notion which the generality of mankind can never arrive at. Go to the villages, and tell the ploughmen, that if they sin, yet their bodies shall sleep in peace; no material, no sensible fire shall ever reach them; but there is something within them purely intellectual, which shall suffer 10 eternity: you will bardly find that they have enough of the intellectual to comprehend your meaning. Now i natural religion is founded on the sense of nature ; tiat is, upon the common apprehensions of mankind; and therefore abstracted metaphysical notions beat out upon the anvil of the schools, can never support natural religion, or make any part of it.
In this point, then, nature seems to be lame, and not able to support the hopes of immortality which
she gives to all her children. The expectation of the vulgar, that they shall live again, and be just the same flesh and blood which now they are, is justifiable upon no principles of reason or nature. What is there in the whole compass of things which yields a similitude of dust and ashes rising up again into regular bodies, and to perpetual immortality? On the other side, that the intellectual soul should be the whole man, how justifiable soever it may be in other respects, yet it is not the common sense of naturé, and therefore most certainly no part of natural religion.
But it may be worth enquiring, how nature comes to be thus defective in this material point. Did not God intend men originally for religious creatures ; and, if he did, is it not reasonable to expect an original and consistent scheme of religion ? which yet in the point now before us seems to be wanting. The aecount of this we cannot learn from reason or nature: butin the sacred history the fact is cleared beyond dispute.
Lastly, If we consider how our Saviour has énlightened this doctrine, it will appear that he has removed the difficulty at which nature stumbled. As death was no part of the state of nature, so the difficulties arising from it were not provided for in the religion of nature. To remove these was the proper work of revelation; these our Lord has effectually VOL. III.
cleared by his Gospel, and shewn us that the body may and shall be united to the spirit in the day of the Lord, so that the complete man shall stand before the great tribunal, to receive a just recompence of reward for the things done in the body. This has restored religion, which had hardly one sound foot to stand on, and made our faith and our reason consistent, which were before at too great a distance. Nature indeed taught us to hope for immortality; but it was in spite of sense and experience, till the great Prince of our peace appeared, who brought life and immortality to light through his Gospel