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netism, and electricity, are material substances, material properties, or things superadded to matter and of a higher rank. If they be matter, gravity and ponderability are not essential properties of matter, though commonly so regarded. And if they be things superadded to matter, they are necessarily immaterial; and we cannot open our eyes without beholding innumerable instances of material and immaterial bodies co-existing and acting in harmonious unison through the entire frame of nature. But if we know nothing of the essence, and but little of the qualities, of matter ; of that common substrate which is diffused around us in every direction, and constitutes the whole of the visible world, what can we know of what is immaterial? of the full meaning of a term that, in its strictest sense, comprehends all the rest of the immense fabric of actual and possible being, and includes in its vast circumference every essence and mode of essence of every other being, as well below as above the order of matter, and even that of the Deity himself? *
Shall we take the quality of extension as the line of separation between what is material and what is immaterial ? This, indeed, is the general and favourite distinction brought forward in the present day, but it is a distinction founded on mere conjecture, and which will by no means stand the test of enquiry. Is space extended ?, every one admits it to be so. But is
mate* Stud. of Med. Vol. IV. p. 37. 2d edit.
rial ? is it body of any kind ? Des Cartes, indeed, contended that it is body, and a material body, for he denied a vacuum, and asserted space to be a part of matter itself: but it is probable that there is not a single espouser of this opinion in the present day. If then extension belong equally to matter and to space, it cannot be contemplated as the peculiar and exclusive property of the former : and if we allow it to immaterial space, there is no reason why we should not allow it to immaterial spirit. If extension appertain not to the mind, or thinking principle, the latter can have NO PLACE of existence, it can exist no WHENE, for WHERE, or PLACE, is an idea that cannot be separated from the idea of extension: and hence the metaphysical immaterialists of modern times freely admit that the mind has no Place of existence, that it does exist NO WHERE ; while at the same time they are compelled to allow that the imma. terial Creator or universal spirit exists EVERY WHERE, substantially as well as virtually.
Let me not, however, be misunderstood upon this abstruse and difficult subject. That the mind has a DISTINCT NATURE, and is a DISTINCT REALITY from the body; that it is gifted with immortality, endowed with reasoning faculties, and capacified for a state of separate existence after the death of the corporeal frame to which it is attached, are in my opinion propositions most clearly deducible from revelation, and,
or two points, adumbrated by a few
shadowy glimpses of nature. And that it may be a substance strictly IMMATERIAL and ESSENTIALLY DIFFERENT from matter, is both possible and probable; and will hereafter, perhaps, when faith is turned into vision, and conjecture into fact, be found to be the true and genuine doctrine
upon the subject; but till this glorious era arrives, or till, antecedently to it, it be proved, which it does not hitherto seem to have been, that matter, itself of divine origin, gifted even at present, under certain modifications, with instinct and sensation, and destined to become immortal hereafter, is physically incapable, under some still more refined and exalted and spiritualized modification, of exhibiting the attributes of the soul; of being, under such a constitution, endowed with immortality from the first, and capacified for existing separately from the external and grosser forms of the body and that it is beyond the power of its own Creator to render it intelligent, or to give it even brutal perception, - the argument must be loose and inconclusive ; it may plunge us, as it has plunged thousands before us, into errors, but can never conduct us to demonstration : it may lead us, on the one hand, to the proud Brahminical, or Platonic belief, that the essence of the soul is the very essence of the Deity, hereby rendered capable of division, and consequently a part of the Deity himself; or, on the other, to the gloomy regions of modern materialism, and to the cheerless doctrine that it dies and dissolves in one common grave with the body.*
There seems a strange propensity among mankind, and it may be traced from a very early period of the world, to look upon matter with contempt. The source of this has never, that I know of, been pointed out; but it will, probably, be found to have originated in the old philo. sophical doctrine we had formerly occasion to advert to, that “ nothing can spring from or be decomposed into nothing * ;' and consequently that MATTER must have had a necessary and independent existence from all eternity; and have been an immutable PRINCIPLE OF EVIL running coeval with the immutable PRINCIPLE OF GOOD; who, in working upon it, had to contend with all its essential defects, and has made the best of it in his power. But the moment we admit that matter is a creature of the Deity himself; that he has produced it, in his essential benevolence, out of nothing, as an express medium of life and happiness; that, in its origin he pronounced it, under every modification, to be VERY GOOD; that the human body, though composed of it, was at that time perfect and incorruptible, and will hereafter recover the same attributes of perfection and incorruptibility when
* See Locke, Hum. Underst. book iv. ch. iii. $ 6. as also the author's Stud. of Med. Vol. iv. p. 37. 2d Edit. 1825.
* In the words of Democritus, Μηδέν έκ του μη όντος γίνεσθαι, Mendé čís tò pery v pleiperdão. Dion. Laert. lib. ix. p. 44.
it shall again rise up fresh from the grave, contempt and despisal must give way to reverence and gratitude. Nor less so when, with an eye of devotional or even scientific feeling, we look abroad into the natural world under the present state of things ; and behold in what an infinite multiplicity of shapes, and forms, and textures, and modifications, this same degraded substrate of matter is rendered the basis of beauty and energy, and vitality and enjoyment; equally striking in the little and in the great; in the blade of grass we trample under foot, and in the glorious sun that rouses it from its winter-sleep, and re-quickens it into verdure and fragrancy; from the peopled earth to the peopled heavens; to the spheres on spheres, and systems on systems, that above, below, and all around us, fulfil their harmonious courses, and from age to age
In mystic dance, not without song, resound His praise who, out of darkness, called up light. Had the real order of nature been attended to, instead of the loose suggestions of fancy, we should have heard but little of this controversy ; for it would have made us too modest. to engage in it: it would have shown us completely our own ignorance, and the folly of persevering in so fruitless a chase. Let us then, in as few words as possible, and in order to excite this modesty, attempt that which has been too seldom attempted heretofore, and see how far the subject.