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withstanding this system of belief be in general very chimerical and visionary, there is something sublime in its manner of considering the influence of a Divine Being on a human soul. It has also, like most other opinions of the heathen world upon these important points, it has, I say, its foundation in truth, as it supposes the souls of good men after this life to be in a state of perfect happiness, that in this state there will be no barren hopes, nor fruitless wishes, and that we shall enjoy every thing we can desire. But the particular circumstance which I am most pleased with in this scheme, and which arises from a just reflection upon human nature, is that variety of pleasures which it supposes the souls of good men will be possessed of in another world. This I think highly probable from the dictates both of reason and revelation. The soul consists of many faculties, as the understanding and the will, with all the senses, both outward and inward; or, to speak more philosophically, the soul can exert herself in many different ways of action. She can understand, will, , imagine, see, and hear, love, and discourse, and apply herself to many other the like exercises of different kinds and natures; but what is more to be considered, the soul is capable of receiving a most exquisite pleasure and satisfaction from the exercise of any of these its powers, when they are gratified with their proper objects; she can be entirely happy by the satisfaction of the memory, the sight, the hearing, or any other mode of perception. Every faculty is a distinct taste in the mind, and hath objects accommodated to its
relish. Doctor Tillotson somewhere says, that he will not presume to determine in what consists the happiness of the blessed, because God Almighty is capable of making the soul happy by ten thousand different ways. Besides those several avenues to pleasure which the soul is endowed with in this life; it is not impossible, according to the opinions of many eminent divines, but there may be new faculties in the souls of
good men made perfect, as well as new senses in their glorified bodies. This we are sure of, that there will be new objects offered to all those faculties which are essential to us.
We are, likewise, to take notice, that every particular faculty is capable of being employed on a very great variety of objects. The understanding, for example, may be happy in the contemplation of moral, natural, mathematical, and other kinds of truth. The
memory, likewise, may turn itself to an infinite multitude of objects, especially when the soul shall have passed through
millions of years, and shall reflect with pleasure on the days of eternity. Every other faculty may be considered in the same extent.
We cannot question, but that the happiness of a soul will be adequate to its nature, and that it is not endowed with any faculties which are to lie useless and unemployed. The happiness is to be the happiness of the whole man, and we may easily conceive to ourselves the happiness of the soul, whilst any one of its faculties is in the fruition of its chief good. The happiness may be of a more exalted nature, in proportion as the faculty employed is so; but as the whole soul acts in the exertion of any of its particular powers, the whole soul is happy in the pleasure which arises from any of its particular acts. For notwithstanding, as has been before hinted, and as it has been taken notice of by one of the greatest modern philosophers, we divide the soul into several powers and faculties, there is no such division in the soul itself, since it is the whole soul that remembers, understands, wills, or imagines. Our manner of considering the memory, understanding, will, imagination, and the like faculties, is for the better enabling us to express ourselves in such abstracted subjects of speculation, not that there is any such division in the soul itself.
Seeing then that the soul has many different faculties, or, in other words, many different ways of acting; that it can be in. tensely pleased, or made happy, by all these different faculties, or ways of acting; that it may be endowed with several latent faculties, which it is not at prescat in a condition to exert; that we cannot believe the soul is endowed with any faculty which is of no use to it; that whenever any one of these faculties is transcendently pleased, the soul is in a state of happiness; and in the last place, considering that the happiness of another world is to be the happiness of the whole man; who can question, but that there is an infinite variety in those pleasures we are speaking of; and that this fulness of joy will be made up of all those pleasures which the nature of the soul is capable of receiving
We shall be the more confirmed in this doctrine, if we observe the nature of variety, with regard to the mind of man. The soul does not care to be always in the same bent. The faculties relieve one another by turns, and receive an additional pleasure from the novelty of those objects, about which they are conversant.
Revelation, likewise, very much confirms this notion, under the different views which it gives us of our future happiness. In the description of the throne of God, it represents to us all those objects which are able to gratify the senses and imagination. In very many places, it intimates to us all the happiness which the understanding can possibly receive in that state, where all things shall be revealed to us, and we shall know, even as we are known; the raptures of devotion, of divine love, the pleasure of conversing with our Blessed Saviour, with an innumerable host of angels, and with the spirits of just men made perfect, are likewise revealed to us in several parts of the holy writings There are also mentioned those hierarchies, or governments, in which the blessed shall be ranged one above another, and in which we may be sure a great part of our happiness will likewise consist; for it will not be there as in this world, where every one is aiming at power and superiority ; but on the contrary, every one will find that station the most proper for him in which he is placed, and will probably think that he could not have been so happy in any other station. These, and many other particulars, are marked in divine revelation, as the several ingredients of our happiness in heaven, which all imply such a variety of joys, and such a gratification of the soul in all its different faculties, as I have been here mentioning,
Some of the rabbins tell us, that the cherubims are a set of angels who know most, and the seraphims a set of angels who love most. Whether this distinction be not altogether imaginary, I shall not here examine ; but it is highly probable, that among the spirits of good men, there may be some one who will be more pleased with the employment of one faculty than of another, and this, perhaps, according to those innocent and virtuous habits or inclinations which have here taken the deepest root.
I might here apply this consideration to the spirits of wicked men, with relation to the pain which they shall suffer in every one of their faculties, and the respective miseries which shall be appropriated to each faculty in particular. But leaving this to the reflection of my readers, I shall conclude, with observing how we ought to be thankful to our great Creator, and rejoice in the being which he has bestowed upon us, for having made the soul susceptible of pleasure by so many different ways. We see by what a variety of passages, joy and gladness may enter into the thoughts of man. How wonderfully a human spirit is framed, to imbibe its proper satisfactions, and taste the goodness of its Creator. We may, therefore, look into ourselves with rapture and amazement, and cannot sufficiently express our gratitude to him, who has encompassed us with such profusion of blessings, and opened in us so many capacities of enjoying them.
There cannot be a stronger argument that God has designed us for a state of future happiness, and for that heaven which he has revealed to us, than that he has thus naturally qualified the soul for it, and made it a being capable of receiving so much bliss. He would never have made such faculties in vain, and have endowed us with powers that were not to be exerted on such objects as are suited to them. It is very manifest, by the inward frame and constitution of our minds, that he has adapted them to an infinite variety of pleasures and gratifications, which are not to be met with in this life. We should, therefore, at all times, take care that we do not disappoint this his gracious purpose and intention towards us, and make those faculties which be formed as so many qualifications for happiness and rewards, to be the instruments of pain and punishment.*
• The speculations, from No. 557, that is, from the time when the Spectatorial Club was dissolved, are extremely well written; but we may observe of them all, that they turn on general subjects, and are such as might have found a place in any other paper, as well as this. So that it was high time to drop the name of Spectator, and to continue these essays on a different plan.-H.
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