« 이전계속 »
occasion to wish that they had withholden what they have now bestowed.
To those Ladies and Gentlemen, whose names honour and recoinmend my work, I hold myself under peculiar obligations, for enabling me to send this volume into the world. It gives me sensible pleasure to behold in the list of my subscribers the names of a considerable number of
who patronized my former production. I hope this will afford them equal, if not superior satisfaction.
For the patronage which they have afforded me, I hope they will have the goodness to accept my most sincere thanks. It is not in my power to make them any other requital, than that which the perusal of the book will afford. May God accompany it with his blessing, and grant that all who read it may have their parts in the Resurrection of the just !
ST. AUSTELL, March 20, 1809.
THE science of human nature has always been deemed of such importance, as to hold an exalted rank in the estimation of mankind. Yet our various actions, when taken in connection with their causes and consequences, unfold an ample field, of which it is impossible for us to ascertain the limits : because the powers which we possess, can neither explore nor fix its boundaries. In this extensive region, our views are carried from the isthmus of time on which we stand, into that eternity from whence we date our origin, and which we contemplate as our future home. Its distant extremes are therefore lodged beyond the confines of our researches, and will, most probably, for ever, elude the comprehension of all finite minds.
A survey of our intellectual and corporeal powers will, nevertheless, enable us partially to draw aside the curtain which contracts the horizon of human knowledge, and teach us to perceive those secret bonds, which unite the visible with the invisible world. Human nature is a central point, in which theology and philosophy meet together. From the union of these, and the diversity of human endowments, we learn that man is a connective link, who joins both matter and spirit in his compounded nature, and cements the state of existence which now is, with that which shall be hereafter. These important subjects form a considerable branch of the inquiry which occupies the following pages.
But since the work which will accompany those introductory remarks, has exceeded my primary design, by nearly one half, I have neither room nor inclination to add to its bulk by an unwieldy and inapplicable preface. Some remarks, however, are necessary to give the reader an idea of the occasion which called it into being, and of the nature and import of those arguments which are presented for his perusal.
It was early in the year 1800, that I communicated to my benevolent friend, the late Rev. John Whitaker, my intention of writing, “ An Essay on the Immateriality and Immortality of the Human Soul.” He inquired into my views of the subject, and having obtained some knowledge of my design, so far approved of the method which I had adopted, as to encourage me to proceed with the investigation. The manuscript of this work I submitted to his inspection, and, receiving his sanction of what I had written, published it to the world towards the close of 1802.
The favourable manner in which this publication was received, stimulated me in no small degree to
make new exertions; while the subject itself induced me to turn my thoughts almost immediately from the human soul to the human body. I accordingly began to contemplate the possibility of adducing some rational evidence in favour of the General Resurrection. But this subject I soon found was so inseparably connected with that of personal identity, that without investigating the latter, I perceived it would be an act of folly to attempt the former. This circumstance led me to connect them together in the present inquiry.
In the complex view which the union of these subjects presented, I saw, or thought I saw, a variety of sources from which arguments might be drawn, all tending in one direction, and uniting their strength to authenticate the fact which I wished to establish. These thoughts I communicated to my friend, who pressed me with the utmost earnestness to proceed with the inquiry, whatever the issue might be. At the same time he observed, that I must navigate the ocean nearly alone, as I had no reason to expect much assistance, either from preceding or contemporary writers. This observation I have since found realized by fact. Encouraged, however, by his advice, rather than deterred by his remarks, I immediately began the work, and continued to pursue it through difficulties which were at once inseparable from the undertaking, and heightened by the disadvantages of my situation.
A train of circumstances incident to human life, occasionally retarded my progress ; so that the period of its completion baffled the calculations which I had previously made. Application, however, succeeded to interruption, and perseverance finally surmounted all.
It was about the close of the year 1805, that I had in my own estimation, completed the manuscript, and I fully expected that I should shortly submit it to the inspection of my much lamented friend. For it was a resolution which I had previously formed, that if it possessed any merit, Mr. Whitaker should have the first opportunity of making the discovery of it; and if it had nothing that could render it worthy of preservation, he alone should witness its disgrace.
But here an unforeseen and unpleasant difficulty arose. Preparatory to his inspection of it, I proceeded to give the whole a cool and dispassionate perusal, that in one view I might take an impartial survey of the import and connection of all its parts. In prosecuting this perusal, I had the mortification to find that the arrangements I had made were bad, --that my thoughts appeared confused,--and, that in many places, the chain of argumentation had been broken by frivolous digressions, and impertinent reflections.---That in some places the arguments were defective, and in others, those which were good in themselves, were placed in an inauspicious light;