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of God and Spirits, its own Reflex Thoughts, or Consciousness of its own Operations. And if it were now capable of no Thoughts, but such as have some dependence upon the Body; yet this can never prove, that the Soul it felf is Material, or that Matter Thinks. A Man writes with his Pen, and cannot write without one; "Is it therefore his Pen properly that writes, and not the Man? The Body is the Instrument of the Soul, in its Operations here; and as the Instrument is fit or unfit, fu must its Operations be more or less perfect.
But it is strange, that the chief part of us should be of such a Nature, that we can form no Idæa of it. We inay form an Idea of it, though but an imperfect one: And do we not know, that the Eye, the noblest part of the Body, cannot see it felf, but imperfectly, and by Reflection? And let any Man try, whether he can form a better Idea of a Material Soul, than of an Im-. material one. But this Writer, by Idæa, seems to mean a Material Idea, or Imagination: and we cannot, indeed, form a Material Idea of an Immaterial Spirit. Yet, after all which he, or any Man else, has said, the Nature of the Soul is as clearly understood, as that of the Body: and there is nothing encumbred with greater Difficulties than Extension, if that be the Elsence of Matter; and if that be not, it is as hard still to know what the Effence of Matter is. The Instance which he brings of Brutes, is easily answered, Whether they can think, or not. If they cannot, the Objection falls of it
self: If they can, I should rather suppose, that their Souls may be annihilated, or may tranfmigrate and pass from one Brute to another, than that the Souls of Men must be Material, that the Souls of Brutes may be Mate
Another Gentleman, of late, has asserted, y That it is impossible for us, by the Contemplation of our own Idaa's, without Revelation, to discover whether Omnipotency hath not given to fome Systems of Matter, fitly disposed, a Power to Perceive or Think; and, That there is a Poffibility that God may, if he pleases, fuper-add to Matter a Faculty of Thinking: which is what he likewise calls a Modification of Thinking, or Power of Thinking. But it seems not intelligible, how God should fuper-add to Matter this Faculty, or Power, or Modification, of Thinking, unless he change the Nature of Matter, and make it to be quite another thing than it is, or join a Substance of another Nature to it. But the Question is, Whether a Faculty of Thinking can be produced out of the Powers and various Modifications of Matter? And we can have no more conception, how any Modification of Matter can produce Thinking, than we can, how any Modification of Sound should produce Seeing: all Modifications of Matter are the same, as to this Point; and Matter máy as well be made no Matter by Modifying, as be made to Think by it. This is
y Mr. Locke's Humane Understanding, l. 4. c. 3. §, 6, ter to the bishop of Worcester, p.06
just as if a Man should maintain, That though all Immaterial Substances are not extended and divisible, yet some of them may possibly be, or Omnipotence may super-add to them a Faculty of Extension and Divisibility : for Immaterial Substances may become Divisible and Material by the same Philosophy, by which we may conclude, that Matter may Think;, which is the same thing as to become Immaterial, and to furpass all the Powers and Capacities of Matter. He 2 urges, that there may be capacities in Matter, which nọ Man can conceive, since that Gravitating Power, which Sir Isaac Newton has proved to belong to all Bodies, would before have been thought incredible. But there is nothing in this Power above the Nature of Matter, any more than there is in Motion. For Gravitation is only a determinate Mode of Motion ; and it is very easie to conceive, that Matter is as well capable of one Determination of Motion, as of another; since Matter is herein only Passive, and not Active, or enabled to move voluntarily, and determine it felf, as humane Souls do.
That, which is capable of any one Determina , tion of Motion, may be capable of all kinds of Determination ; but that, which may be determined all ways, may not be capable of determining it self any one way, Matter must ever re, main uncapable of Thinking, unless, it could change its Nature, and become Immaterial, and
* Reply to the Bishop of Worcester's Anfwer to his Second Letter, p. 1044, 0C.
then then it would not be Matter, which would think, but something else. And it is of little Use or Consequence to enquire, what Omnipotence can do by a Super-addition of Faculties to Marter; when, between those, who prove the Soul to be immaterial, and such, as suppose it to be material, the only Question in dispute is; not what a Divine Power can effect, (for these Men are unwilling to grant any such Power presiding over Matter) but whether a Faculty of Thinking can be produc'd out of Marter, by any Modificàtions, or any Changes and Determinations of Motion. But tho’I have, upon this occasion, mention'd this Gentleman here; yet it would be a great Injury done him, to rank him with the Authors of The Oracles of Reason.
There is prefix'd to these Pieces, an Account of the Life and Death of that unhappy Gentleman, Mr. Blount, with pretence to vindicate his Murther of himself, because his deceas'd Wife's Sifter refus'd-to be marry'd to him; by all the Topicks and Arguments of Reafon and Philofophy. Which is such an Undertaking , as I am confident was never heard of before, to prove, that a Man may very gravely and philosophically kill himself, if a Woman, whom he ought not to marry, will not be his Wife. It is strange to see, that Men should think it fit to vent such things as these in the Face of the i World: but this discovers the Reason and Phitosophy of these Men, and is a fit Preface to such a Book. This «Misdom descendeth not from Above, Behold the Men in their Principles and Practices,
the demure Pretenders to Humane Reason, and Moral Vertue, and the Enemies of Reveal'd Religion !
We are fallen into an Age, in which there are a fort of Men who have shewn so
great a Forwardness to be no longer Christians, that they have catch'd at all the little Cavils and Pretences against Religion; and, indeed, if it were not more out of Charity to their Souls, than for
any Credit Religion can have of them, it were great pity but they should have their Wish: for they both think and live fo ill, that it is an Argument for the Goodness of any Cause, that they are against it. It was urged, as a Confirmation of the Christian Religion by Tertullian, that it was hated and persecuted by Nero, the worst of Men: And I am confident, it would be but small Reputation to it, in any Age, if such Men should be fond of it. They speak evil of the things they understand not; and are wont to talk with as much Confidence against any point of Religion, as if they had all the Learning in the World in their keeping, when commonly they know little or nothing of what has been laid for that against which they dispute. They seem to imagine, that there is nothing in the World, besides Re ligion, that has any Difficulty in it: but this fhęws how little they have consider'd the Nature of Things, in which multitudes of ObjeCions and Difficulties meet an observing Man in every Thought. And after all, Religion has but onę Fault, (as they accoụnt it) which they