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If this mover, which is the cause of motion, be matter, it must be moved or acted on itself: for otherwise it could not produce a change of motion in other contiguous parts of matter. There must still be a mover prior to the former, and another prior to that, and so on to infinity, in every act of reason and argumentation. But a progression to infinity is discarded by all philosophers, both ancient and modern.
To spin out the subject in metaphysical arguments, were loss of time. Suffice it to fay, that we would contradict our reason, and belye our hearts, in supposing that the troubles, agitations, importunate remorses, we feel after the commission of some horrid crime,—the secret reproaches of a guilty conscience, which made the Athenian paricide cry out, twenty years after having murdered his father, that the crows upbraided him with his death :—we would, I fay, only belye our hearts, in supposing such interior punisliments, which tread in the heels of guilt, to be no more than an assemblage of little atoms, with hooked or rough surfaces. In supposing that patience and resignation in our afflictions, from an expectation of immortality and the spiritual joys of future bliss, the distant reward of our trials, are the result of smooth atoms gliding through the brain; or that the horrors, jvhich haunt the guilty, proceed from the fame
cause cause which produces a pain in the head, back, or stomach.
Further: Under the dispensation of a just and powerful God, crimes must be punished, and virtue rewarded. What notion can we form of a God, who makes no distinction between the wretch who strangles his father, in order to take possession of his estate, and the just man who is disposed to preser death to iniquity, from an apprehension of offending his Maker?
Yet the world has seen the greatest sinners .elated with prosperity,—arrayed with crimes, as with a raiment of glory,—rswimming in an ocean of pleasures, which the fountains of extortion and injustice supply,—strangers to those miseries which, in this world, seem to be the inheritance of the righteous. How many illustrious culprits, whose power and credit silence the authority of the laws, whilst the innocent victim is suspended on the tree, upon the deposition of a perjurer, or from the corruption of a judge J The world has seen a Herod on the throne, after murdering the innocents,—and a John the Baptist beheaded, in prison, for exclaiming against incest,—a Nero swaying the sceptre of the world, after ripping open his mother's womb,—and a Paul bound with chains, for preaching justice, judgment, and chastity.
Virtue, then, being oppressed in this life, and vice unpunished,—the silence of a Just and Allpowerful God,—points out a future state, where justice is to resume its rights, and reward each according to his works. And, if divine justice points out a future state, the soul must survive the body.
But you inform us that you believe in a future state, though the foul is nothing but a motion of the cerebrum, which perishes along with it: For, fays the Doctor, "God willchange our bodies "into spirits at the last day, when the world "will perish for want of vegetable food, on ac** count of the mould of the earth being washed ** away into the sea; so that nothing will re"main but the bare rocks ." still, he will not admit that the body will rife; but 'that God will create a spirit in the room of every body that ever appeared. This extraordinary creed runs through the whole course of hiswork; and even in his defence he does not retract it.; -'.
It is, certainly, the fittest time to change our mouths and stomachs into spirits, when we wilt have nothing to eat: for, after the resurrection, the hillocks will no longer smile with the beauty of the vine; the fields will no longer curl with ears of corn. Our bodies then are useless.- .r
Besides: In this religious chemistry, we meet "with an ample compensation: for, as we are nothing but bodies now, we will be all spijits hereafter: and the gentleman/ who grants us neither foul here, nor body hereafter, grants us both by turns,—bodies, when we have enough to eat,—spirits when We have no food. Pray, sir, between spirit and matter, is not there an infinite distance? Are not their properties so distinct:, us mutually to exclude each other? God, then, must destroy the nature of the one, before he can change it intb'the other. ' A new creatiort must ensue: and one being must be substituted in the room of another. A spirit, then, thus created, and coming from the hands of God, whose works -are 'pure, is it to'suffer for the crimes of a Nero or a Caligula, Committed thousands of years before its existence? If those monsters of human nature, whose names stand for the most odious crimes, are to be punished in a future state, is any part of the body, 'iri which they committed the most abominable actions, to be joined to this pretended spirit? If so, spirit and body can be' united together: If no part of the body is to be joined to this spirit, then it is a spirit immediately created' by the Almighty, and immediately punished, without any previous sin of its own. Reconcile this, if-you can, to the justice of God, who rewards or punishes every one according to his works.
Let you and I enjoy ourselves, and be careless about what is to happen hereafter: for God will create some spirit, who will be chastised hereafter for the faults we now commit. To your resurrection, then, may be applied what Tully said of the creed of some philosophers of his time : .** Verbis ponunt, re tollunt Deos." You acknowledge it in words: you deny it in reality.
But the gentleman returns to the charge, and attacks the spirituality of. the soul on three grounds: first, because matter cannot be put in motion by a spirit: secondly, the soul follows the disposition of the body; whereas, in sleep, drunkenness, palsy, infancy, &c. it has not the exercise or use of reason: thirdly, he has rer course to the infinite power of God, who can add thought to matter; and summons to his assistance, the brute creation, to which he attributes a foul of the fame identical nature with the foul of man •, though perhaps in an inferior degree of perfection; and concludes, that, as the soul of man and the soul of the brute are of the fame nature, they both perish alike. He is so confident of the truth of this doctrine, that he affirms " Solomon and sir Isaac Newton ** to, be no more than the production of what *- their fathers eat " and deplores our blindness for having been deceived by the schoolmen,