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vis inertia, imputed to it are founded only on fuperficial appearances; that the physical points of which it confifts are poffeffed of certain powers of attraction and repulfion; and that the refiftance, in particular, to which we owe the idea of its impenetrability, is caufed only by a power of repulfion inherent in it. This part of the Author's doctrine, relating to the penetrability, and the powers of matter, is founded on the theory of Mr. Michell, and Father Bofcovich, of which we formerly gave a pretty full account, in our review of the Author's History of Discoveries relating to Vifion, Light, and Colours, to which we refer the Reader. [See Monthly Review, vol. xlvii. Oct. 1772. p. 315.]


Availing himself of the advantage to his main argument, derived from this theory, the Author obferves, that the confiderations fuggefted by it tend to remove the odium which has hitherto lain upon matter, from its fuppofed neceffary property of folidity, inertness, or fluggishness; as from this circumstance only the bafeness and imperfection, which have been ascribed to it are derived.'-It ought therefore to rife in our esteem, as making a nearer approach to the nature of fpiritual and immaterial beings, as we have been taught to call thofe which are oppofed to grofs matter.'

With the fame view he afterwards obferves, that fince the only reason why the principle of thought, or fenfation, has been imagined to be incompatible with matter, goes upon the fuppofition of impenetrability being the effential property of it, and confequently that folid extent is the foundation of all the properties it can poffibly fuitain; the whole argument of an immaterial thinking principle in man, on this new fuppofition, falls to the ground: matter, deftitute of what has hitherto been called folidity, being no more incompatible with fenfation and thought, than that fubftance, which, without knowing any thing farther about it, we have been ufed to call immaterial.

Having thus in fome degree, as it were, fpiritualised matter, by animating it, if we may fo exprefs ourselves, with powers, to the activity of which we owe all that we know concerning it; the Author proceeds to fhew that this fubftance, divested of its fuppofed folidity, and pofleffed of the powers of attraction and repulfion, and the property of extenfion, may likewife poffefs the properties or powers of fenfation or perception, and thought, fuperadded to the former; in confequence of a certain organifation, whatever that may be. These last mentioned powers, he obferves, as belonging to man, have never been found but in conjunction with a certain organifed fyftem of matter; and he adds that, as we have a very imperfect idea of what these powers are, our ignorance thould make us cautious of denying that they may be capable of being affociated with certain other powers, er of belonging to a fubftance or fubftratum poffeffing the pro


perties of extenfion, attraction, and repulfion. He proceeds to fhew that thefe properties-thofe of the thinking, and thofe of the material, fubftance-are not inconfiftent with each other; and takes a review of fome of the phenomena in the human fyftem, which feem to prove their connection as properties of one and the fame fubftance; particularly of the nervous fiftem,


or rather of the brain.

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Thus, he obferves, as far as we can judge, the faculty of thinking, and a certain ftate of the brain, always accompany and correspond to one another. Whenever that faculty is impeded or injured, there is Tufficient reason to believe that the brain is difordered in proportion; and therefore we are neceffarily led to confider the latter as the feat of the former.' As this faculty, in general, ripens and comes to maturity with the body, it is alfo oblerved to decay with it.'-It is true, he acknowHedges, that, in fome difeafes, the mind preferves its vigour, while the body decays: but in thefe cafes, the brain is not much affected by the general caufe of weakness. On the other hand, a morbid affection of the brain produces a perverfion of the mental faculties.



That the perfection of thinking,' the Author adds, fhould depend on the found ftate of the body and brain in this life, in fomuch that a man has no power of thinking without it; and to fuppofe him capable of thinking better when the body and brain are deftroyed, feems to be the most unphilosophical and abfurd of all conclufions. If death be an advantage with refpect to thinking, difeafe ought to be a proportional advantage like wife; and univerfally the nearer the body approaches to a state of diffolution, the freer and less embarraffed might the faculties of the mind be expected to be found. But this is the very reverse of what really happens.'

Of the various other arguments or confiderations, more or less cogent, which the Author produces to evince that the foul is only a particular modification of the body or matter, we shall only take notice of the following:- If the mental principle was, in its own nature, immaterial and immortal, all its particular faculties would be fo too; whereas we fee that every fa culty of the mind, without exception, is liable to be impaired, and even to become wholly extinct before death. Since, therefore, all the faculties of the mind, feparately taken, appear to be mortal; the fubftance, or principle, in which they exist must be pronounced to be mortal too. Thus we might conclude that the body was mortal, from obferving that all the feparate fenfes, and limbs, were liable to decay and perifh.'

In answer to this and fome of the preceding arguments, it will doubtless be alleged, by thofe who confider the body and foul as diftinct principles, that it is easy to conceive that, during A a 3


their union, the ftate of the former may in various manners affect or determine that of the latter, and vice versa. In the cafe of a temporary lofs of memory from difeafe, for instance, it may be faid, that this faculty of the foul is not actually become extinct, nor the foul partially dead; but that, in confequence of fome depravation, or derangement in the corporeal organs, the foul is, for the present, difqualified from exerting that faculty; which may however be restored to it, on a ceflation of the caufe which obftructed or barred up the communication between the two principles.

But the Author is provided with a ready answer to this and other obfervations, which are founded on the fuppofed connection of the foul and body (confidered as diftinct principles), and on their phyfical influence on each other; by utterly denying the possi bility of fuch influence subfifting between two fubftances fo beterogeneous as they are reprefented to be by the Immaterialists:the one folid and extended;-the other, penetrable, and not occupying space. He maintains that two fubftances, having no one properly in common, cannot poffibly act upon, or be affected by, each other action and reaction being univerfally allowed to be equal, the fubjects of such action and reaction muft neceffarily be fimilar. Further, how can a fubftance, for instance, that is extended, act upon, or be acted upon by, another substance which bears no relation to space, and is properly no where? And though a body that is hard may refift, or he affected by, another hard or even soft body; how can it be affected by a fubftance that can make no resistance at all; nay which cannot, with any propriety of speech, be said even to be in the same place with it?

But granting that there is no impoffibility in this cafe, and reducing it to a difficulty only; the Author contends that it is a difficulty of fuch magnitude, as greatly to exceed that of conceiving matter to be endowed with the principle of sensation; and that of those two difficulties it is certainly most philofophical to adopt the leaft.

It has been but too ufual, in the difcuffion of philofophical queftions, in which religion feemed to be interested, for those who are termed the orthodox party, to ftrengthen their arguments, and bring an odium on their antagonists, by deducing certain fuppofed horrid and dangerous confequences from their doctrines. Thus Cudworth and Clark were charged with atheism by their opponents. In the prefent cafe, particularly, it may be alleged that if fpirit and matter cannot poffibly act upon each other, as having no common property; not only the human foul, but the Divine Being muft be material.-A propofition, which in former days would have drawn down the anathemas of the church and the vengeance of the ftate upon the hardy propounder!


The Author, in a particular fection appropriated to this fubject, endeavours to fhew the perfect innocence of his doctrine, and of the confequences which may be fairly deduced from it, by a variety of confiderations. With the most awful reverence for the Supreme Being, he confeffes, that as we know little of ourfelves, we know much lefs of our Maker. We know little even of the works of God; and therefore, a fortiori, much lefs of his Effence. We know not even the effence of matter, divested of its properties and powers; nor have we a proper idea of any ef fence whatever. He obferves that the Divine Nature or Effence is thus not only neceffarily unknown to us, but that it must have properties moft effentially different from every thing else: fo that no proof of the materiality of the human mind can, by any juft analogy, be extended to a proof or evidence of a fimilar materiality of the Divine Nature: for the properties or powers being different, the fubftance, or effence (ufing the terms merely as helps to expreffion, but not at all to conception), must be different alfo. And though, according to the Author's own poflulatum, there must be fome common property in all beings that act upon each other; yet we have no evidence that the Divine Nature is poffeffed of the properties of other fubftances, in fuch a manner as to be intitled to the fame appellation. Thus the Divine Effence cannot, like matter, be the object of any one of our fenfes, &c.

The Author proceeds however to obferve, that 'fhould any perfon, on account of the very few circumftances in which the Divine Nature refembles other natures, think proper to apply the term material to both; his hypothefis-which excludes impenetrability or folidity from being a property of matter (by which, as we may fay, the reproach of matter is wiped off) makes this to be a very different kind of materialism from that groffer fort, which, however, has been maintained by many pious Chriftians, and was certainly the real belief of moft of the early fathers."

He afterwards adds, that it has been deemed dangerous to afcribe matériality either to a finite, or to the infinite mind, merely on account of the notion that matter is neceffarily inert, and abfolutely incapable of intelligence, thought, or action;-'but when this reproach is wiped away, the danger vanifhes of course, It is the powers of fupreme intelligence, omnipotence, unbounded goodness, and univerfal providence, that we reverence in the Deity; and whatever be the effence to which we believe these powers belong, it must appear equally refpectable to us, whether we call it material or immaterial: because it is not the fubftance, of which we have no idea at all, but the properties, that are the object of our contemplation and regard.'

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In a distinct fection the Author produces the most irrefragable arguments for the being and perfections of God, principally taken from his Inftitutes of Natural Religion. Thefe arguments, he fhews, are not affected by the question of materiality or immateriality: the Divine unity and perfections ftanding upon the fame ground in either of thefe hypothefes. He fhews that the hypothefis of the materiality of the Divine Nature is not a dangerous one; and produces the teftimonies of fome of the most pious and refpectable writers in favour of its innocence. He obferves, that it is the idea that all the vulgar actually form of God, whenever they think of him at all. If the idea could do harm, almoft all mankind must have received that harm; and notwithstanding all our laboured refinements, the evil, with refpect to the bulk of mankind at leaft, is naturally irremediable. But no harm whatever has come from it, nor is any to be apprehended.'-To thefe and other arguments the Author, to prevent all possible cavil with refpect to his religious fentiments, fubjoins the following declaration :

If, after this candid, explicit, and I hope clear and fatis-factory view of the fubject, any perfon will tax my opinions, according to which the Divine Effence is nothing that was ever called matter, but fomething effentially different from it (though I have fhewn that the belief of all his attributes and providence is compatible with any opinion concerning his effence), with atheifm, I fhall tax him with great fupidity or malignity. In my own idea, I have all the foundation that the nature of things admits of, for a firm belief in a firft, eternal, unchangeable, and intelligent cause of all things, and I have all the proof that can be given of his almighty power, infinite goodnefs, and conftant providence. And this fyftem of natural religion affords all the foundation that can be had in fupport of revealed religion, the history of which is contained in the books of Scripture, which I moft cordially and thankfully receive; and the truth of which I have endeavoured, in the beft manner I have been able, to prove, in the fecond volume of my Inftitutes of Natural and Revealed Religion.'


The length to which we have already extended this article prevents us from taking notice of feveral interefting particulars, contained in this treatife. Before we conclude it however we fhall obferve, with regard to the Author's doctrine, both with refpect to the Divine Effence and the human foul, that he appeals to the Scriptures to fhew that it is not only not repugnant to them in any respect, but that it is perfectly consonant to the doctrines of revelation. He defcribes likewife the origin, and traces ftep by step the progrefs, of the opinion of a foul distinct fram the body of man; which was firft eftablifhed in the Oriental


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