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PART sumptions of the Inmortality of human
I. Minds: I say the greatest Part; for it is less mapplicable to the following Observation, which
is more peculiar to Mankind :
III. That as it is evident our present Powers and Capacities of Reason, Memory, and Affection, do not depend upon our gross Body in the Manner in which Perception by our Organs of Sense does ; so they do not appear to depend upon it at all in
it at all in any such Manner, as to give Ground to think, that the Dissolution of this Body, will be the Destruction of these our present Powers of Reflection, as it will of our Powers of Sensation or to give Ground to conclude, even that it will be so much as a Suspension of the former.
Human Creatures exist at present in two States of Life and Perception, greatly different from each other ; each of which has its own peculiar Laws, and its own peculiar Enjoyments and Sufferings. When any of our Senses are affected or Appetites gratified with the Objects of Them, we may be said to exist or live in a State of Sensation. When none of our Senses are affected or Appetites gratified, and yet we perceive and reason and act; we may be said to exist or live in a State of Reflection. Now it is by no means cer
tain, that any thing which is dissolved by Chap.
D 3 Presump
Par t Presumption, from their mutually affecting I. each other, that the Diffolution of the Body
is the Destruction of the living Agent. And by the fame Reasoning, it must appear too, that there is no Presumption, from their mutually affecting each other, that the Diffolution of the Body is the Destruction of our present reflecting Powers: But Instances of their not affecting each other, afford a Presumption of the contrary. Instances of mortal Difeases not impairing our present reflecting Powers, evidently turn our Thoughts even from imagining such Diseases to be the Destruction of them. Several things indeed greatly affect all our living Powers, and at length sufpend the Exercise of them; as for Instance Drowsiness, increasing till it ends in sound Sleep: and from hence we might have imagined it would destroy them, till we found by Experience the Weakness of this Way of judging. But in the Diseases now mentioned, there is not so much as this Shadow of Probability, to lead us to any such Conclufion, as to the reflecting Powers which we have at present. For in those Diseases, Persons the moment before Death appear to be in the highest Vigour of Life. They discover Apprehension, Memory, Reason, all entire ; with the utmost Force of Affection ; Sense of a Character, of Shame and Honour; and the highest mental Enjoyments and Sufferings,
even to the last Gasp: and these surely prove Chap.
It is obvious that this general Observation may be carried on further : and there appears so little Connection between our bodily Powers of Sensation, and our present Powers of Reflection, that there is no Reason to conclude, that Death, which destroys the former, does so much as suspend the Exercise of the latter, or interrupt our continuing to exist in the like State of Reflection which we do now. For Suspension of Reason, Memory, and the Affections which they excite, is no Part of the Idea of Death, nor is implied in our Notion of it. And our daily experiencing these Powers to be exercised, without any Affistance, that we know of, from those Bodies, which will be dissolved by Death; and our finding often, that the Exercise of them is so lively to the last; these Things afford a
PAR T sensible Apprehension, that Death may not
1. perhaps be so much as a Discontinuance of m the Exercise of these Powers, nor of the En
joyments and Sufferings which it implies f.
Nay, for ought we know of Ourselves, of our present Life and of Death ; Death may immediately, in the natural Course of Things, put us into a higher and more enlarged State of Life, as our Birth does $; a State in which
f There are three distinct Questions, relating to a future Life, here considered : Whether Death be the Destruction of living Agents ; If not, Whether it be the Destruction of their present Powers of Reflection, as it certainly is the Destruction of their present Powers of Sensation; And if not, Whether it be the Suspension, or Discontinuance of the Exercise, of these present reflecting Powers. Now if there be no Reason to be. lieve the last, there will be, if that were possible, less for the next, and less still for the first.
& This according to Strabo was the Opinion of the Bracho mans, νομίζειν μεν δη τ μεν αθάδε βίον, ώς αν ακμην κυομένων είναι το θάνατον, γένεσιν εις τ όντως βίον, και η ευδαίμονα τους Pinocopyruor Lib. XV. p. 1039. Ed. Amk. 1707. To which