Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

things yet wanting, in the account which is given us of downright say; but that it is its only, or its chief act : and some of the meaner of those functions, which he would if it be its chief act only, what hinders but that such a attribute only to organized matter, or (to use his own motion may proceed from an act that is not chief? Or espression) to the conformation of the members of the that it may have a power that may, sometimes, step forth body, and the course of the spirits, excited by the heat of into act (and in greater matters than that) without any the heart, &c.

formal deliberated command or direction of our will? So For howsoever accurately he describes the instruments little reason is there to conclude, that all our motionso and the way, his account seems very little satisfying of common to us with beasts, or even their motions themthe principle, either of spontaneous motion, or of sensation. selves, depend on nothing else than the conformation of

As to the former, though it be very apparent that the the members, and the course which the spirits, excited by muscles, seated in that opposite posture wherein they are the heat of the heart, do naturally follow, in the brain, mostly found paired throughout the body, the nerves and the nerves, and the muscles, after the same manner with the animal spirits in the brain, and (suppose we) that glan the motion of an automaton, &c. dule seated in the inmost part of it, are the instruments of But as to the matter of sensation, his account seems the motion of the limbs and the whole body; yet, what are much more defective and unintelligible, that is, how it all these to the prime causation, or much more, to the spon- should be performed (as he supposes every thing common taneity of this motion ? And whereas, with us, (who are to us with beasts may be) without a soul. For, admit that acknowledged to have such a faculty independent on the it be (as who doubts but it is) by the instruments which boly,) an act of will doth so manifestly contribute, so that, he assigns, we are still to seek what is the sentient, or what when we will, our body is moved with so admirable faci- useth these instruments, and doch sentire or exercise sense lity, and we feel not the cumbersome weight of an arm to by them. That is, suppose it be performed in the brain,P be lifted up, or of our whole coporeal bulk, to be moved and that (as he says) by the help of the nerves, which from this way or that, by a slower or swifter motion. Yea, and thence, like small strings,9 are stretched forth unto all the when as also, if we will, we can, on the sudden, in a very other members; suppose we have the three things to coninstant, start up out of the most composed, sedentary pos- sider in the nerves, which he recites-their interior subture, and put ourselves, upon occasion, into the most vio- stance, which extends itself like very slender threads from lent course of motion or action. But if we have no such the brain to the extremities of all the other members into will, though we have the same agile spirits about us, we which they are knit; the very thin little skins which enfind no difficulty to keep in a posture of rest; and are, for close these, and which, being continued with those that the most part, not sensible of any endeavour or urgency of inwrap the brain, do compose the little pipes which contain those active particles, as if they were hardly to be restrained these threads ; and lastly, the animal spirits which are from putting us into motion; and against a reluctant act of conveyed down from the brain through these pipes-yet our will, we are not moved but with great difficulty to them, which of these is most subservient unto sense ?' That he and that will give themselves, and us, the trouble. This undertakes elsewherer to declare, viz. that we are not to being, I say, the case with us; and it being also obvious think (which we also suppose) some nerves to serve for to our observation, that it is so very much alike, in these sense, others for motion only, as some have thought, but mentioned respects, with brute creatures, how inconceivable that the enclosed spirits serve for the motion of the memis it, that the directive principle of their motions, and ours, bers, and those little threads (also enclosed) for sense. Are should be so vastly and altogether unlike ? (whatsoever we yet any nearer our purpose? Do these small threads greater perfection is required, with us, as to those more sentire? Are these the things that ultimately receive and noble and perfect functions and operations which are found discern the various impressions of objects? And since they Lo belong to us.) That is, that in us, an act of will should are all of one sort of substance, how comes it to pass that signify so very much, and be for the most part necessary some of them are seeing threads, others hearing threads, to the beginning, the continuing, the stopping, or the va- others tasting, &c. Is it from the diverse and commodious rying of our motions; and in them, nothing like it, nor any figuration of the organs unto which these descend from the thing else besides, only that corporeal principlel which he brain ? But though we acknowledge and admire the curiassigns as common to them and us, the continual heat in ous and exquisite formation of those organs, and their most the heart, (which he calls a sort of fire,) nourished by the apt usefulness (as organs, or instruments) to the purposes blood of the veins; the instruments of motion already men- for which they are designed, yet what do they signify,withtioned, and the various representations and impressions of out a proportionably apt and able agent to use them, or external objects, as there and elsewherem he expresses him- percipient to entertain and judge of the several notices, self! Upon which last, (though much is undoubtedly to which by them are only transmitted from external things { be attributed to it,) that so main a stress should be laid, That is, suppose we a drop of ever so pure and transparent as to the diversifying of motion, seems strange; when we liquor, or let there be three, diversely tinctured or coloured, may observe so various motions of some silly creatures, as and (lest they mingle) kept asunder by their distinct, inof a fly in our window, while we cannot perceive, and can folding coats; let these encompass one the other, and togescarce imagine, any change in external objects about them: ther compose one little shining globe: are we satisfied that rea, a swarm of flies, so variously frisking and plying to now this curious, pretty ball can see ? Nay, suppose we and fro, some this way, others that, with a thousand di- it ever so conveniently situate; suppose we the fore-menversities and interferings in their motion,and some resting; tioned strings fastened to it, and these, being hollow, well while things are in the same state, externally, to them all. replenished with as pure air or wind or gentle flame as you So that what should cause, or cease, or so strangely vary can imagine; yea, and all the before-described little threads such motions, is from thence, or any thing else he hath to boot; can it yet do the feat ? Nay, suppose we all' said, left unimaginable. As it is much more, how, in things else to concur that we can suppose, except a living creatures of much strength, as a bear or a lion, a paw principle, (call that by what name you will,) and is it not should be moved sometimes so gently, and sometimes with still as incapable of the act of seeing, as a ball of clay or so mighty force, only by mere mechanism, without any a pebble stone? Or can the substance of the brain itself directive principle, that is not altogether corporeal. But perform that or any other act of sense,(for it is superfluous most of all, how the strange regularity of motion in some to speak distinctly of the rest,) any more than the pulp of creatures, as of the spider in making its web, and the like, an apple or a dish of curds?' So that, trace this maiter should be owing to no other than such causes as he hath whither you will, within the compass of your assigned assigned of the motions in general of brute creatures. And limits, and you are still at the same loss : range through what though some motions of our own seem wholly invo- the whole body, and what can you find but flesh and luntary, (as that of our eyelids, in the case which he sup- bones, marrow and blood, strings and threads, humour and poses,) doth it therefore follow they must proceed from a vapour; and which of these is capable of sense ? These principle only corporeal, as if our soul had no other act are your materials and such like; order them as you will, belonging to it, but that of willing? Which he doth not pat them into what method you can devise, and except I De Passion. part. 1. art. &

p Princip. Philosoph. Sect. 189. a Princip. Philosoph. Dioptric. c. 4. Dissert. de method. a De Paso, art. 13.

r Dioptr. c. 4. S. 4, 5.

0 As art. 16.
g De Passion. art. 11.

[ocr errors]

you can make it live, you cannot make it so much as feel, to their several functions; it seems a much more easy much less perform all other acts of sense besides, sunto performance, and is more conceivable, and within the which these tools alone seem as unproportionable, as a nearer reach of human apprehension, that they should be plough-share to the most curious sculpture, or a pair of furnished with such a one, than be made capable of so tongs to the most melodious music.

admirable operations without it; and the former (though But how much more inconceivable it is, that the figura- it were not a surer) were a more amazing, unsearchable, tion and concurrence of the fore-mentioned organs can and less comprehensible discovery of the most transcenalone suffice to produce the several passions of love, fear, dent wisdom, than the latter. anger, &c. whereof we find so evident indications in brute XI. But because whatsoever comes under the name of creatures, it is enough but to hint. : And (but that all per- cogitation, properly taken, is assigned to some higher cause sons do not read the same books) it were altogether un- than mechanism; and that there are operations belonging necessary to have said so much, after so plain demonstra- to man, which lay claim to a reasonable soul, as the im carte de tion already extant, that matter, howsoever modified, mediate principle and author of them; we have yet this any of the mentioned ways is incapable of sense. further step to advance, that is, to consider the most ap

Nor would it seem necessary to attempt any thing in parent evidence we have of a wise, designing agent, in this kind, in particular and direct opposition to the very ihe powers and nature of this more excellent, and, among peculiar sentiments of this most ingenious author, (as he things more obvious to our notice, the noblest of his prowill undoubtedly be reckoned in all succeeding time,) ductions. who, when he undertakes to show what sense is, and how And were it not for the slothful neglect of the most to it is performed, makes it the proper business of the soul, study themselves, we should not here need to recount comprehends it under the name of cogitation ;' naming unto men the common and well-known abilities and himself a thinking thing, adds by way of question, What excellences which peculiarly belong to their own nature. is that? and answers, A thing doubting, understanding, They might take notice, without being told, that first, as affirming, denying, willing, nilling, and also imagining to their intellectual faculty, they have somewhat about and exercising sense; saysu expressly it is evident to all them, that can think, understand, frame notions of things; that it is the soul that exercises sense, not the body, w in as that can rectify or supply the false or defective represendirect words as the so much celebrated poet of old. The tations which are made to them by their external senses only wonder is, that under this general name of cogita- and fancies; that can conceive of things far above the tion he denies it unto brutes; under which name, he may reach and sphere of sense, the moral good or evil of acbe thought less fitly to have included it, than to have af- tions or inclinations, what there is in them of rectitude or firmed them incapable of any thing to which that name pravity; whereby they can animadvert, and cast their eye ought to be applied; as he doth not only affirm, but es inward upon themselves; observe the good or evil acts or teems himself by most firm reasons to have proved.* inclinations, the knowledge, ignorance, dulness, vigour,

And yet that particular reason seems a great deal more tranquillity, trouble, and, generally, the perfections or impious than it is cogent, which he gives for his choosing perfections, of their own minds; that can apprehend the his particular way of differencing brutes from human general natures of things, the future existence of what, creatures, viz. lest any prejudice should be done to the yet, is not, with the future appearance of that to us, doctrine of the human soul's immortality; there being no- which, as yet, appears not, thing, as he truly says, that doth more easily turn off weak Of which last sort of power, the confident assertion, minds from the path of virtue, than if they should think “No man can have a conception of the future, a needs the souls of brutes to be of the same nature with our own; not, against our experience, make us doubi ; especially and therefore that nothing remains to be hoped or feared being enforced by no better, than that pleasant reason after this life, more by us than by flies or písmires. For there subjoined, for the future is not yet ; that is to say, surely there were other ways of providing against that because it is future ; and so (which is aļl this reason danger, besides that of denying them so much as sense, amounts to) we cannot conceive it, because we cannot. (other than merely organical, as he somewhere alleviates For though our conceptions of former things guide us in the harshness of that position, but without telling us what forming notions of what is future, yet sure our conception useth these organs,) and the making them nothing else of any thing as future, is much another sort of conception but well-formed machines.

from what we have of the same thing as past, as appears But yet if we should admit the propriety of this ap; from its different effects; for if an object be apprehended pellation, and acknowledge (the ihing itself intended good, we conceive of it as past with sorrow, as future with to be signified by it) that all the powers belonging to hope and joy; if evil, with joy as past, with fear and sormere brutal nature are purely mechanical, and no more; row as future. And (which above all the rest discovers to what purpose is it here alleged, or what can it be and magnifies the intellectual power of the human soul) understood to signify? What is lost from our cause by that they can form a conception, howsoever imperfect, oi it? And what have atheists whereof to glory?

For was this absolutely perfect Being, whereof we are discoursing. the contrivance of these machines theirs ? Were they which even they that acknowledge not its existence, the the authors of this rare invention, or of any thing like it? cannot deny; except they will prosess themselves blindly, Or can they show any product of human device and wit, and at a venture, to deny they know not what, or what that shall be capable of vying with the strange powers of they have not so much as thought of. those machines? Or can they imagine what so highly They may take notice of their power of comparing things, exceeds all human skill, to have fallen by chance, and of discerning and making a judgment of their agreements without any contrivance or design at all, into a frame ca- and disagreements, their proportions and disproportions pable of such powers and operations ?

to one another; of affirming or denying this or that, conIf they be machines, they are (as that free-spirited au- cerning such or such things; and of pronouncing with thor speaks) to be considered as a sort of machinez made more or less confidence, concerning the truth or falsehood by the hand of God, which is by infinite degrees better of such affirmations or negations. ordered, and hath in it more admirable motions, than any And moreover, of their power of arguing, and inferthat could ever have been formed by the art of man. Yea, ring one thing from another, so as from one plain and and we might add, so little disadvantage would accrue to evident principle, to draw forth a long chain of consethe present cause (whatever might to some other) by this quences, that may be discerned to be linked therewith. concession, that rather (if it were not a wrong to the cause, They have withal to consider the liberty and the large which justly disdains.we should allege any thing false or capacity of the human will, which, when it is itself, rejects uncertain for its support) this would add much, we will the dominion of any other than the supreme Lord, and not say to its victory, but to its triumph, that pe did ac- refuses satisfaction in any other than the supreme and knowledge them nothing else than mere mechanical con- most comprehensive good. trivances. For, since they must certainly eithe, be such, And upon even so hasty and transient a view of a thing or have each of them a soul to animate, and enable them furnished with such powers and faculties, we have sufe In Dr. More's Immortality of the Soul. t Princip. Phil

. part 4. 189. * Rosp. sextæ. Dissert. de Method. C. 6. y Resp. sexta. u Medit. 2

w Dioptr. e. 4.
2 Dissert. de Method. sect. 5.

a Hobbes'. Humnes Nature.

ficient occasion to bethink ourselves. How came such a wherein they experience so many. Yea, whether those thing as this into being ? whence did it spring, or to what changes import any immutation of their very essence or original doth it owe itself? More particularly we have no, the repugnancy being so plainly manifest of the very here two things to be discoursed.--First, That, notwith- terms, necessary and changeable. And inasmuch as it is so standing so high excellences, the soul of man doth yet ap- evident that a necessary being can receive no accession to pear to be à caused being, that sometime had a beginning. itself; that it must always have, or keep itself, after the --Secondly, That, by them, it is sufficiently evident, that same manner, and in the same state; that if it be necesit owes itself to a wise and intelligent cause.

sarily such, or such, (as we cannot conceive it to be, but As to the former of these, we need say the less, because we must, in our own thoughts, affix to it some determinate that sort of atheists with whom we have chiefly now to state or other,) it must be eternally such, and ever in that do, deny not human souls to have had a beginning, as particular unchanged state. supposing them to be produced by the bodies they animate, Therefore be the perfection of our souls as great as our by the same generation, and that such generation did most certain knowledge of them can possibly allow us to sometimes begin; that only rude and wildly moving matter suppose it, it is not yet so great, but that we must be conwas from eternity; and that by infinite alterations and strained to confess them no necessary, self-originate beings, commixtures in that eternity, it fell at last into this orderly and, by consequence, dependent ones, that owe themselves frame and state wherein things now are, and became pro- to some cause. hific, so as to give beginning to the several sorts of living XII. Nor yet (that we may pass over to the other things which do now continue to propagate themselves; strangely distant extreme) is the perfection of our souls the mad folly of which random fancy we have been so so lillle, as to require less than an intelligent cause, enlargely contending against hitherto. "The other sort, who dowed with the wisdom which we assert and challenge were for an eternal succession of generations, have been unto the truly necessary, uncaused Being. Which, because sufficiently refuted by divers others, and partly by what he hath no other rival or competitor for the glory of this hath been already said in this discourse, and we may production, than only the fortuitous jumble of the blindlyfurther meet with them ere it be long. We in the mean-moving particles of matter, directs our inquiry to this time find not any professing atheism, to make human souls, single poini: Whose image the thing produced bears? Or as such, necessary and self-originate beings.

which it more resembles ? stupid, senseless, unactive matter, Yet it is requisite to consider not only what persons of (or at the best only supposed moving, though no man, atheistical persuasions have said, but what also they pos- upon the atheists' terms, can imagine how it came to be sibly may say. And moreover, some that have been so,) or the active, intelligent Being, whom'we affirm the remote from atheism, have been prone, upon the contem-cause of all things, and who hath peculiarly entitled himplation of the excellences of the human soul, to over-self, the Father of spirits. magnify, yea and even no less than deify, it. It is therefore That is, we are to consider whether the powers and needful to say somewhat in this matter. For if nothing operations belonging to the reasonable soul do not plainly of direct and downright atheism had been designed, the argue-1. That it neither rises from, nor is, mere matter; rash hyperboles, as we will charitably call them, and un- whence it will be consequent, it must have an efficient, warrantable rhetorications of these latter, should they diverse from matter–2. That it owes itself to an intelliobtain to be looked upon and received as severe and strict gible efficient. assertions of truth, were equally destructive of religion, as As to the former, we need not deal distinctly and sevethe others' more strangely bold and avowed opposition to it. rally concerning their original and their nature. For if

Such, I mean, as have spoken of the souls of men as they are not mere matter, it will be evident enough they do parts of God, one thing with him; a particle of divine not arise from thence. breath; an extract or derivation of himself ; that have not So that all will be summed up in this inquiry. Whether feared to apply to them his most peculiar attributes, or say reason can agree to matter considered alone, or by itself? that of them, which is most appropriaie and incommuni But here the case requires closer discourse. For, in cably belonging to him alone. Nay, to give them his very order to this inquiry, it is requisite the subject be detername, and say in plain words they were God.c.

mined we inquire about. It hath been commonly taken Now it would render a temple alike insignificant, to for granted, that all substance is either matter or mind; suppose no worshipper, as to suppose none who should be when yet it hath not been agreed what is the distinct notion worshipped. And what should be the worshipper, when of the one or the other. And for the stating their differoar souls are thought the same thing with what should ence, there is herein both an apparent difficulty and nebe the object of our worship? But methinks, when we con- cessity. sider their necessitous, indigent state, their wants and A difficulty; for the ancient difference, that the former cravings, their pressures and groans, their grievances and is extended, having parts lying without each other, the complaints, we should find enough to convince us they are latter unextended, having no parts, is now commonly exnot the self-originate or self-sufficient being; and might ploded, and, as it seems, reasonably enough; both because even despair any thing should be plain and easy to them, we scarce know how to impose it upon ourselves, to conwith whom it is a difficulty to distinguish themselves from ceive of a mind or spirit that is unextended, or that hath God. Why are they in a state which they dislike? Where- no parts ; and that, on the other hand, the atoms of matter, fore are they not full and satisfied ? Why do they wish stríctly taken, must also be unextended, and be without and complain? Is this Godlike ? But if any have a doubt parts. And the difficulty of assigning the proper difference hanging in their minds concerning the unity of souls with between these two, is further evident, from what we expeone another, or with the soul of the world, let them read rience how difficult it is to form any clear distinct notion what is already extant: and supposing them, thereupon, of substance itself, so to be divided into matter and mind, distinct beings, there needs no more to prove them not to stripped of all its attributes. Though, as that celebrated be necessary, independent, uncaused ones,d than their sub- author also speaks, we can be surer of nothing, than that jection to so frequent changes; their ignorance, doubts, there is a real somewhat, that sustains those attributes. irresolution, and gradual progress to knowledge, certainty, Yet also, who sees not a necessity of assigning a differand stability in their purposes; their very being united ence? For how absurd is it, to affirm, deny, or inquire, with these bodies in which they have been but a little of what belongs, or belongs not

, to matter, or mind, if it while, as we all know; whereby they undergo no small be altogether unagreed, what we mean by the one, or the ehange, (admitting them to have been pre-existent,) and other.

nese.

b Sen. Ep. 82. Hor. Serm. M. Anton. aTootaOHA cavrov.

Concerning which soul, afterwards, inquiring whether all ought not to account c The Pythagoreans, concerning whom it is said, they were wont to ad. it God, he answers, Yes certainly, except any one be come to extreme mad monigh che another to take heed, lest they should rent God in themselves.

And whether an identity were not imagined of our souls, with that of Ne kao ar ror, EY CayTois, sov. Jamblich. de vit. Pythag. Plato, who the world, or with God, is too much left in doubt, both as to him and some of vlertakes to prove the immortality of the soul by such arguments as, if they his followers : to say nothing of modern enthusiasts. od conclude any thing, would conclude it to be God, that it is the fountain, d Dr. More's Poem. Antimonopsuchia. His Immortality of the Soul. Mr. the principle (wyn, kai apxnl of motion; and adds, that the principle is un. Baxter's Aprendix to the Reasons of Christian Religion, &c. begotten, &c. in Phadone. Makes it the cause of all things, and the ruler of e As is to be seen in that accurate discourse of Mr. Locke. His Essay of

, De Leg. L 10. though his words there seem meant of the soul of the world. Human Understanding, published since this was first written,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

That the former, speaking of any continued portion of | upon any of those little motes a stream whereof you may matter, hath parts actually separable; the other being ad- perceive when the sun shines in at a window, and he mitted to have parts too, but that cannot be actually sepa- doubts not but many myriads of even ordinary atoms, go rated; with the power of self-contraction, and self-dilata- to the composition of any one of these scarcely discernible tion, ascribed to this latter, denied of the former, seem as motes ;) how sportful a contemplation were it, to suppose intelligible differences, and as little liable to exception, as one of those furnished with all the powers of a reasonable any we can think of. Besides what we observe of dulness, soul! Though it is likely they would not laugh at the inactivity, insensibility, in one sort of substance; and of jest, that think thousands of souls might be conveniently vigour, activity, capacity of sensation, and spontaneous placed upon the point of a needle. And yet, which makes motion, with what we can conceive of self-vitality, in this the matter more admirable, that very few, except they are latter sort; i. e. that whereas matter is only capable of very carefully picked and chosen, can be found among having life imparted to it, from somewhat that lives of those many myriads, but will be too big to be capable of itself, created mind or spirit, though depending for its being rationality. Here sure the fate is very hard, of those that on the supreme cause, hath life essentially included in that come nearest the size, but only, by a very little too much being, so that it is inseparable from it, and it is the same corpulency, happen to be excluded, as unworthy to be thing to it, to live, and to be. But a merely materiate counted among the rational atoms. But sure if all sober being, if it live, borrows its life, as a thing foreign to it, and reason be not utterly lost and squandered away among separable from it.

these little entities, it must needs be judged altogether inBut if, instead of such distinction, we should shortly comprehensible, why, if upon the account of mere littleand at the next have pronounced, that as mind is a cogi- ness, any atom should be capable of reason, all should not tant substance, matter is incogitant; how would this have be so: and then we could not but have a very rational squared with our present inquiry? What antagonist would world. At least, the difference in this point being so very have agreed with us upon this state of the question ? i. e. small among them, and they being all so very little, méin effect, whether that can rearn or think, that is incapa- thinks they should all bè capable of some reason, and have ble of reason or thought? Such, indeed, as have studied only less or more of it, according as they are bigger or less. more to hide a bad meaning, than express a good, have But there is little doubt, that single property of less magconfounded the terms matter or body, and substance. But nitude, will not be stood upon as the characteristical differtake we matter as contradistinguished to mind and spirit, ence of rational and irrational atoms; and because their as above described : and it is concerning this that we in- more or less gravity is reckoned necessarily and so immetend this inquiry.

diately to depend on that, (for those atoms cannot be And here we shall therefore wave the consideration of thought porous, but very closely compacted each one withtheir conceits, concerning the manner of the first origina- in itself,) this, it is likely, will as little be depended on.b tion of men, who thought their whole being was only a And so their peculiar figure must be the more trusted to, production of the earth. Whereof the philosophical ac as the differencing thing. And because there is in this count deserves as much laughter, instead of confutation, respect so great a variety among this little sort of people, as any the most fabulously poetical : that is, how they or nation, as this author somewhere calls them, (whereof were formed (as also the other animals) in certain little he gives so punctual an account,i as if he had been the gebags, or wombs of the earth, out of which when they neralissimo of all their armies, and were wont to view them grew ripe, they broke forth, &c.

at their rendezvous, to form them into regiments and squadAnd only consider what is said of the constitution and rons, and appoint them to the distinct services he found nature of the human soul itself; which is said to be com- them aptest for,) no doubt it was a difficulty to determine posed of very well polished, the smoothest and the roundest which sort of figure was to be pitched on to make up the atoms ;$ and which are of the neatest fashion, and every rational regiment. But since his power was absolute, and way, you must suppose, the best conditioned the whole there was none to gainsay or contradict, the round figure country could afford; of a more excellent make, as there was judged best, and most deserving this honour. Oiheris added, than those of the fire itself. And these are the wise, a reason might have been asked (and it might hare things you must know, which think, study, contemplate, been a greater difficulty to have given a good one) why some frame syllogisms, make theorems, lay plots, contrive busi- other figure might not have done as well; unless respect ness, act the philosopher, the logician, ihe mathematician, were had to fellow-atoms, and that it was thought, they of statesman, and every thing else; only you may except the this figure could better associate for the present purpose ; priest, for of him there was no need.

and that we shall consider of by and by. We now proThis therefore is our present theme, whether such things ceed on the supposition that possibly a single atom, by the as these be capable of such, or any acts of reason, yea or advantage of this figure, might be judged capable of this no ? And if such a subject may admit of serious discourse; high achievement. And in that case, it would not be imin this way it may be convenient to proceed, viz. either pertinent to inquire whether, if an atom were perfectly any such small particle, or atom (for our business is not round, and so very rational, but by an unexpected misadnow with Des Cartes, but Epicurus) alone, is rational, or venture, it comes to have one little corner somewhere a good convenient number of them assembled, and most clapped on, it be hereby quite spoiled of its rationality ? happily met together. It is much to be feared the former And again, whether one that comes somewhat near that way will not do. For we have nothing to consider in any figure, only it hath some little protuberances upon it, might of these atoms, in its solitary condition, besides its magni- not by a little filing, or the friendly rubs of other atoms, tude, its figure, and its weight, and you may add also its become rational ? And yet, now we think on it, of this immotion, if you could devise how it should come by it. provement he leaves no hopes, because he tells us, though

And now, because it is not to be thought that all atoms they have parts, yet they are so solidly compacted that they are rational, (for then the stump of a tree or a bundle of are by no force capable of dissolution. And so whatever straw might serve to make a soul of, for aught we know, their fate is in this particular, they must abide it withont as good as the best,) it is to be considered by which of expectation of change. And yet, though we cannot really those properties an atom shall be entitled to the privilege alter it for the better with any of them, yet we may think of being rational, and the rational atoms be distinguished as favourably of the matter as we please; and for any from the rest. Is it their peculiar magnitude or size that thing that yet appears, whatever peculiar claim the round so far ennobles them? Epicurus would here have us be ones lay to rationality, we may judge as well; and shall lieve, that the least are the fittest for this turn. Now if you not easily be disproved of any of the rest. consider how little we must snppose them generally to be, Upon the whole, no one of these properties alone is according to his account of them; (that is, that looking likely to make a rational atom : what they will all do, f Gassend. Epicur. Syntag.

motion besides their gravity, which cannot but be more, as they are bigger ; (for As may be seen in the same Syntag. and in Epicurus's Epist. tg Herodot. no doubt if you should

try them in a pair of scales, the biggest would be found in Laert. 'Efatouw avTI, OV) KELOBu delotarwv, kai sporyudaratwy, to out-weigh ;) whence also it should seem to follow, that the heaviest ha ving

most in them of that which is the cause of motion, should be the most move h Where yet it falls out somewhat crossly, that the least (and consequently able, and go by consequence the biggest. the lightest) should be thought fitter to be the matter of the rational soul, be i That they are round, oblong, oval, plain, hooked, rough, smooth, bumch. cause they are aptest for motion, when yet no other cause is assigned of their backed, &c.

&c.

meeting together, may yet seem a doubt. That is, sup- | as if any one have a treasure in it, which is in readiness posing we could hit upon one single atom that is at once for the making up an intellective faculty or power among of a very little size, and consequently very light and nim- them that should be common to them all, yet each one ble, and most perfectly smooth, and unexceptionably round, remains so locked up within itself, and is so reserved and (and possibly there may be found a good many such,) will incommunicative, that no other, much less the whole body not this do the business? May we not now hope to have of them, can be any jot the wiser. So that this is like to a ra:ional sort of people among them, that is, those of this be a very dull assembly. peculiar family or tribe? And yet still the matter will be But then, if there be nothing of reason to be commufound to go very hard; for if we cannot imagine or devise nicated, we are yet at a greater loss; for if it be said, how any one of these properties should contribute any having nothing else to communicate, they communicate thing (as upon our utmost disquisition we certainly can- themselves, what is that self? Is it a rational self? Or not) towards the power of reasoning, it is left us altogether is every single atom that enters this composition reason ? unimaginable how all these properties together should Or is it a principle of reason ? Is it a seed? Or is it a make a rational atom! There is only one relief remaining, part? Is it a thought ? What shall we suppose? Or that is, what if we add to these other properties some what is there in the properties assigned to this sort of atoms peculiarly brisk sort of actual motion : (for to be barely that can bespeak it any of these? And if none of these moveable will not serve, inasmuch as all are so :) but will can be supposed, what doth their association signify towards not actual motion, added to its being irreprehensibly little, ratiocination? They are little, what doth that contribute? light

, and round, especially if it be a very freakish one, and Therefore there may need the more of them to make a good made up of many odd, unexpected windings, and turns, large soul; but why must a little thing, devoid of reason, effect the business ? Possibly it might do something to contribute more towards it, than another somewhat bigger actual reasoning, supposing the power were there before: They are light, doth that mend the matter? They are the for who can tell but the little thing was fallen asleep, and sooner blown away, they can the less cohere, or keep by this means its power might be awakened into some together; they are the more easily capable of dissipation, exercise ! But that it should give the power itself, is the less of keeping their places in solemn counsel. They above all comprehension; and there is nothing else to give are round, and exactly smooth. But why do they the more it. These that have been mentioned, being all the prime conveniently associate upon that account for this purpose ? qualities that are assigned to atomis singly considered; all They cannot therefore come so close together as they might others that can be supposed, belonging to concrete bodies, have done, had they been of various figures. They cannot, brat are composed of many of them meeting together. indeed, give or receive so rude touches. This signifies And therefore hither in the next place our inquiry must be somewhat towards the keeping of state, but what doth it directed, whether any number of atoms, definite or in- to the exercise of reason? Their being so perfectly and definite, being in themselves severally irrational, can be smoothly round, makes them the more incapable of keepcome rational by association, or compose and make up a ing a steady station, they are the more in danger of rolling rational soul ?

away from one another; they can upon this account lay Hitherto it must be acknowledged we have not fought no hold of each other. Their counsels and resolves are with any adversary; not having met with any that have likely to be the more lubricous, and liable to an uncertain asserted the rationality of single, corporeal atoms; yet yolubility. It is not to be imagined what a collection of because we know not what time may produce, and whither individuals, only thus qualified, can do when they are the distress and exigency of a desperate cause may drive come together, an assembly thus constituted. Are we the maintainers of it, it was not therefore fit to say nothing hence to expect oracles, philosophical determinations, maxto that supposable or possible assertion, I mean possible ims of state? And since they are supposed to be so much to be asserted, howsoever impossible it is to be true. alike, how are the mathematical atoms to be distinguished Nor yet could it well admit of any thing to be said to it, from the moral ? those from the political ? the contembat in that ludicrous and sportful way. If we will sup- plative from the active? Or when the assembly thinks fit pose any to be so foolish, they are to be dealt with accord- to entertain itself with matters of this or that kind, what ing to their folly.

must be its different composure or posture ? Into what But now as to this other conceit, that atoms, provided mould or figure must it cast itself for one purpose, and they be of the right stamp or kind, may, a competent num- into what, for another? It is hard to imagine that these ber of them assembled together, compose a reasonable soul, little globular bodies, that we may well suppose to be as is an express article of the Epicurean creed. And there like as one egg can be to another, should by the mere fore, here, we are to deal more cautiously; not that this alteration of their situation, in respect of one another, (and is any whit a wiser fancy than the other, but that the truth no alteration besides can be so much as imagined among in this matter is surer to meet with opposition in the minds them,) make so great a change in the complexion of this of some persons, already formed unto that wild apprehen- assembly; so that now, it shall be disposed to seriousness, sion, and tinctured with it.

and by some transposition of the spherical particles, to Wherefore such must be desired to consider in the first mirth; now to business, and by and by to pleasure. And place, if they will be true disciples of Epicurus through- seeing all human souls' are supposed made of the same out, what he affirms of all atoms universally, that they sort of material, how are the atoms modelled in one man, must be simple, uncompounded bodies, (or, if you will, and bow in another ? What atoms are there to dispose to corpuscles,) not capable of division or section, by no force this sect more, and what to another? Or if a good reason dissoluble, and therefore immutable, or in themselves void can be assigned for their difference, what shall be given of any mutation.

for their agreement? Whence is it that there are so many, Hereupon let it be next considered, if there were in so unquestionable, common notions every where received them, those that are of the right size, shape, and weight, Why are not all things transposed in some minds, when severally, some certain sparks or seeds of reason, (that we such a posture of the atoms as might infer it, is as supmay make the supposition as advantageous as we can,) or posable as any other ? Yea, and since men are found not dispositions thereto, yet how shall it be possible to them always to be of one mind with themselves, it is strange to communicate, or have that communion with one another, and incomprehensible, that such a situation of these atoms, as logether to constitute an actually and completely rational that constitute his soul, should dispose him to be of one or thinking thing? If every one could bring somewhat to opinion, and another of another How are they to be a common stock that might be serviceable to that purpose; ranged when for the affirmative ? how for the negative ? how shall each one's proportion or share be imparted? And yet a great deal more strange, that since their situaThey can none of them emit any thing, there can possibly tion is so soon changed, and so continually changing, (the be no such thing as an effluvium from any of them, inas- very substance of the soul being supposed nothing else much as they are incapable of diminution; and are them than a thing very like, but a little finer than a busy and selves each of them as little as the least imaginable efluvi- continually moving flame of fire,) any man should ever z that we would suppose to proceed from this or that par- continue to be of the same opinion with himself, one quar, ticular atom. They can at the most but touch one another; ter of an hour together; that all notions are not confounded penetrate, or get into one another they cannot; insomuch I and jumbled; that the same thing is not thought and un

« AnteriorContinuar »