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these combinations or divisions, to produce one single sentiment, one single thought.” And the reason is clear, for a substance composed of innumerable parts, as matter is, cannot be the subject of an individual consciousness, the seat of which must be a simple and undivided essence.
There seems to be in man a power of conscious ness, which is capable of division, and which exists independent of the organs of sensation. A man may lose his arms, or his legs, or both, and yet be conscious of being the same identical person he was before: does not this very much tend to prove that we possess a power of consciousness which is one and indivisible; which, though it be present in all parts of the body, is in fact independent of any corporeal part; that when any part or parts of the body are destroyed, it remains unaffected; and that in the article of death, this percipient faculty will remain unhurt, and in the full vigour and exercise of its powers ?
It is probable that we do not possess one particle of body that we possessed a few years ago; yet we know that our consciousness has remained the same. The process of increase and decay is continually going on in us, and the succession of new matter is accompanied by the destruction of the old, but the principle of consciousness, we are certain, survives that destruction ; may we not therefore infer that it survives the death of the body altogether! The destruction of the body may in no respect injure the thinking principle. We have indeed many instances of such unions or combinations in nature, where the destruction of the one substance does no way affect the other. For instance, suppose you destroy or dissolve a body containing a portion of the electric fluid, you would not conclude that you had destroyed the fluid along with the substance that contained it; no, it would certainly fly off and escape all your art and all your power: so, in like manner, the dissolution of the mortal body may in no respect injure the mind. The doctrine of materialism
to be contrary to fact. It denies the necessity of any thing more than the visible structure of the brain to produce the act of thinking, in consequence of perception; but the contrary seems more probable, for in the fourth Volume of Memoirs of the Literary and Philosophical Society at Manchester, there is a very valuable paper by Dr. Ferrier, proving by evidence, apparently complete, that every part of the brain has been deeply injured, or totally destroyed, without affecting the act of thought. In this paper there is much curious and interesting matter, and a number of important cases supported by the most unexceptionable authority, which almost, if not altogether, amount to a demonstration that something more than the discernible organization of the brain must be requisite to produce the phenomena of thinking. Any abridgment of the paper would weaken its reasoning, which, built on matters of fact and experience, appears to me to have shaken the modern theory of the materialists to the very foundation.
These few remarks are offered, to enable the reader in some measure to resist the sophistries of the infidel materialist, who would persuade him that he has no soul. Not that all materialists are infidels. Some are sincere believers in Christianity; yet I cannot but think that the immaterialist adopts a better philosophy, -Material beings are dull and sluggish, their loco motive powers are soon exhausted. What trifles impede the fleetest, and overcome the strongest! The genius of man submits to no such laws: it differs essentially, both in its attributes and activity. Who can number or name the inventions and productions of the human intellect? The world, in all its compartments, is but the theatre of her operations. The earth, the air, and the sea, are severally crowded with the wonders she has wrought! What spot in the whole surface of the globe has been visited by the least cultivated of our race, which is not stamped with her impression, or retains not the symbols of her presence? The sumptuous cities, palaces, and temples, which mark the progress and grandeur of
existence of one invisible Being, who is always with us, yet we cannot see him. The soul of man may be of an essence something similar to the Deity, and may govern the body in a manner, though infinitely less perfect, yet similar to the mode in which that invisible power governs the universe.
Our ignorance of the nature of the soul, and the manner of its operation, ought no more to lead us to dispute its existence, than we would, on the same ground, dispute the existence of God. Some philosophers contend for the non-existence of matter, a sentiment which I am not at all inclined to support; but I do maintain that we have at least as strong proofs of the existence of spirit, as we have of matter. Intellect and volition are very different from figure, divisibility, &c.; therefore, it is reasonable to conclude they must reside in, or emanate from, a different kind of being, a kind which, in order to distinguish it from matter, is called spirit, the source of life, energy, and motion; for it is a great mistake to suppose, that matter moves matter; on the contrary, it is clear, almost to a demonstration, that spirit, i. e. something different from matter or material powers, is the primary agent in every case.
The materialist maintains that thought and perception are the mere result of a particularly organized state of matter: but it is in the nature of things entirely inconceivable and incredible that thought should arise from matter, however shaped, or however its particles might be arranged. If this were the case, it would be an amusing and interesting question to know if a circle were wiser than a square? If the materialist should contend that a faculty and quality of thinking is superadded by the Deity to a system of matter; it is in fact granting me all I contend for. There cannot be a quality of thinking, without a thinking being; a mere
mere quality cannot have an abstract existence; whatever is a quality must be a quality of some subsistence; we are obliged to associate in our minds the two ideas. If then a faculty of thinking be superadded to matter in order to constitute the man,
there must also be added a thinking being; which is all that I mean to contend for.
If the materialist, to be more consistent, choose to maintain the former proposition, that thought and consciousness are merely the result of organization, I cannot but think that he is still involved in insuperable difficulties.
Matter is divisible, and consists of parts actually distinct. Whatever system of matter can be supposed to be conscious, is capable of being divided into several smaller parts, which will be as really distinct when laid or cemented together, .as when removed from each other. If any system of matter can be conscious, it must either have a distinct consciousness in each smaller particle, or one consciousness resulting from the union of its several parts.
There cannot be in each system a number of distinct consciousnesses, for that would suppose the mind of man to be made up of an almost infinite number of distinct consciousnesses or thinking principles. An asemblage of various unthinking parts, can never be supposed to make one thinking mass, so that thought should arise from the whole, and yet not exist in any given part. Here, therefore, the advocates of materialism are involved in a most complete dilemma. Does perception really and truly inhere in the particles which compose the organical system? Then is the human mind a mere assemblage of distinct and infinitely divisible percipiences; which is a gross and palpable absurdity. Or, is perception the property merely of the system, as such, without inhering in the component parts? Then is the power of the whole absolutely and totally different from, and not the sum or aggregate of, the powers of all the parts; which is an express and direct contradiction.
“ Pulverize matter,” says Saurin, “give it all the different forms of which it is susceptible, elevate it to its highest degree of attainment, make it vast or immense, moderate or small, luminous or obscure, opaque or transparent, there will never result any thing but figures, and never will you be able, by ail polished life, exhibit her signatures as spectacles or general curiosity and astonishment! The very sea is in some degree obedient to her will, as she extends her empire to the water as well as to the land. By the virtues of a stone, and the twinkling of a star, she binds that turbulent element with navigable laws, and rides securely on the wings of the wind! By the falling of a leaf, and the motion of a shadow, she has traced the latent principles of the universe, and described, with certainty and correctness, the regular evolutions of the planetary world!
But her essence, faculties and effects are best displayed in the various forms, revolutions, and characters, of political society. What is it that gives merit, distinction, and utility to letters, but genius and taste? What is the history of nations and ages, but the actions of mind on record! What are all the useful and elegant arts, but a picture of her feelings ? What is science, but the opinion she forms from experience and fact, of the elementary principles, relations, and specific qualities, of things ? All nature is subjected, by her industry and ingenuity, to the necessity, convenience, and the luxury, of our race. She provides them an asylum, from the inclemency of the skies, in architecture, and blends our pleasures and our wants together, by rendering it as graceful as it is useful. The reptile that burrows in the mire and the bird that soars to heaven; the fish in the bottom of the deep, and the savage on the mountain, or in the desert; contribute by her ministry to our ease, our pleasure, and our pride. She selects, combines, and conveys, whatever is most rare and precious, charming or delicious, from countries the most remote and climes the most hostile, to satiate the calls of appetite, and answer the demands of caprice. All that clothes the naked, or decorates the fine; all that supplies the wants of the poor, and the superfluities of the rich; all that solaces the former with content, and augments the equipage, adorns the mansion, or loads the tables of the laiter; whatever administers to taste or comfort, or even extravagance, and renders life