Imatges de pÓgina
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difcerning the confufion of fentiment, have, to relieve their own minds, advanced other hypotheses.

Nor fhould we wonder at it, that men are difagreed in their fenfe of the doctrine of immortality, or have clouded the views of a future ftate; when we confider, that fome of the first principles of all religion have been, and yet are amazingly confounded.

Had not this been the cafe, we fhould never have heard of several opinions about God, which are abfolutely irreconcileable to reason, truth, and nature. But whilft many are industriously raising rocks of offence to the infidel world; folacing themselves in the gloomy, impenetrable shades of mystery; a rational pleasure may be had, in propofing a fenfe of revelation, more

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accommodate to the obvious documents of nature, or to the reafon and understanding of man.

In the defign of this survey, none can juftly be offended; because it is presumed not to contradict one fingle doctrine of facts, as recorded or reported in the new teftament. And the argument is conducted upon the bafis of an univerfal expectation. Only fome difference is understood to lye in the feafon and circumftances of the refurrection and judgment, which are not confidered, or admitted in the feveral established, and vulgar schemes of interpretation.

If this metaphyfical inquiry fhould be made plain and intelligible, if the doctrine of a futureftate fhould be rendered, in our views of it, lefs liable to dispute and

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and doubtings, a valuable end will be obtained; and no small fatisfaction given to the religious inquirer into the nature of the human foul, its departments, operations, and appointments. Some care and pains have been taken, to collect the whole ftrength of the argument for and against the immateriality and immortality.

Nor am I confcious of having mifrepresented any of the reafonings, or of having omitted any of the fundamental principles, which I have met withal in a furvey of those inquiries within mentioned. Moreover, from fome late writings, wherein the mechanical hypothefis is advanced, it fhould feem, there will be found fufficient apology for this attempt. Efpecially, as it fo feasonably pleads the cause of virtue, religion, and God.

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Some are of opinion, that it is of no manner of moment or importance, whether the foul be material, or not; fince its exiftence does equally depend on the good pleasure of the Creator. We difpute not the dependence; yet, think it of confiderable use and imporportance to us, that we can so far distinguish its nature, properties, powers, operations, and their tendencies, as to difcern, that they muft be widely different from those properties, impreflions and motions which are purely mechanical. Thus, when we compare the defign of Mr. Hume's effays, and the writings of fome other moderns, which are explaining away the first principles of morality, upon the merely mechanical fyftem, the distinction will A 3 be

be clear, and owned too as of vastly interesting importance.

Although it be likewife true, that men never began to doubt of the foul's immortality, until they began to philofophize on its phyfical and metaphyfical faculties and powers, and its various excitements from the material, fenfible world; yet, fince this abufive confequence has actually taken place, it can never be amiss, that we attempt to ftate the force of the reafonings, and fee how far the balance reaches in the argument. Nor need we be at all afraid, that the natural apprehenfions, or the hopes and fears of mankind, will be any other, when viewed extenfively, than an univerfal demonftration of the future exiftence of the human foul: fince it is certain

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