A REPLY TO THE Grand Question debated; Fully proving, That the SOUL of MAN is, and must be, IMMORTAL.

WHEREIN The Folly and Infidelity of DEISM are ex­posed, and the Belief of the CHRISTIAN SYSTEM proved, rationally, necessary.


Slave to no Sect, who takes no private Road;
But looks thro' Nature up to Nature's God.

LONDON: Printed for F. STAMPER and E. DOWNHAM, in Pope's-Head-Alley, Cornhill. 1751.

[Price 1 s. 6 d.]

TO THE Right Reverend FATHER in GOD, THOMAS, Lord Archbishop of Ganterbury.

Rev. SIR,

AS I took the Liberty to lay be­fore your Grace the Design of my first Essay, I presume it is owing to the Confidence your Lord­ship was pleased to place in the Ve­racity [Page iv] of that Design, that so glaring, and seemingly impious, Attempt a­gainst the Cause of Virtue and Re­ligion was permitted to have its Ef­fect. On this Account, my Lord, I cannot resist the Temptation I feel, of presenting this Piece to your Grace; as a Confirmation of the Reality of those Intentions, on which I hope your Lordship's Par­don for my Presumption, in doing myself this Honour; which I am the more excited to, my Lord, as that Piece has had the Effect de­sign'd, infinitely beyond the Au­thor's Expectations: For, in this Age, where Deism and Infidelity are esteem'd fashionable, the weak­est Arguments, in the Support of the favourite System, will find Be­lievers, while the strongest, in the Cause of Religion in general, or [Page v] Christianity in particular, shall be derided as partial, bigotted and ir­rational. For this Reason, my Lord, I have confin'd myself, both in this Reply, and in the former Essay, to a Manner of Reasoning peculiar to the Deists; having introduc'd not a single Argument in their Favour, more than I have heard often ad­vanc'd by that Sett of Men.

I could, indeed, have reason'd more like a Christian, and conse­quently, more like a Man of Sense; but if these Disquisitions should con­vince the pretended Rationalist of the Errors of his Reasoning, or af­ford any Believer, in the System of Christianity, Arguments to refute those who are daily striving to draw Converts to that general and exten­sive Manner of Opinion, very erro­neously [Page vi] called Free-thinking, the Author's End is answered: And that such may be the Consequence, is the earnest Prayers of,

My Lord,
With the greatest Submission and Re­spect, Your Grace's most Obedient, Humble Servant, The AUTHOR.


  • SECT. I. THE Definition of the Soul, as given in our opposite Essay, examined and proved erroneous. — p.1
  • SECT. II. The Universality of the Opinion in Relation to the Soul's Immortality, enquired into. 11
  • SECT. III. Reasons for the Mortality of the Soul ex­amined. — 17
  • SECT. IV. Reasons to think the Immortality of the Soul necessary. — 26
  • SECT. V. Virtue and Vice, their Foundation and Essence considered. — 38
  • [Page viii] SECT. VI. The Necessity of future Rewards and Punish­ments examin'd. — 50
  • SECT. VII. Our Relation to the Brute Creation considered. 59
  • SECT. VIII. The Souls of Brutes and Men compared. 61
  • SECT. IX. The Understanding of Men and Brutes con­sidered. — 65
  • SECT. X. Of the Probability and Possibility of the Soul's Immortality, with a rational Definition of God. — 71

A REPLY TO The Grand Question debated.

SECT. I. The Definition of the Soul, as given in our opposite Essay, examin'd and proved erro­neous.

IT may, perhaps, be expected that this Essay, as it is written in Opposition to a foregoing, should deny, without Distinction, every thing that has been before prov'd or asserted; but it is esteemed more requisite to the Author's Design, to prove the Immortality of the Soul, without so much as endeavouring to confute the Arguments made use of to the contrary, as the Conclusions drawn from a wrong Representation of such Arguments: We shall therefore, to avoid long and tedious enquiry, allow every Assertion to be [Page 4] just, that doth not stand diametrically oppo­site to that great and important Truth, the Soul is and must be immortal.

To proceed therefore, with the same De­gree of regularity as our opposite Essay, we shall first consider the Definition there given us of the Soul; which is the following.

  • 1st. We allow that the Soul is an intel­lectual Being, not at all subject to the Acci­dents and Properties of Matter in general; such as Solidity, Extension, Contraction, Ex­pansion, or any Quality whereby it is rendered local, or in a capacity to take up the least, or the most infinite Space.
  • 2dly. That this intellectual Being is acting on only a particular Part of Matter, i. e. the Body, by certain inexplicable means, as ut­terly unknown to us, as the means how the Planets act in the Orbits, by wonderful de­pendencies on their proper Centers of Gravi­tation; all which we can attribute to nothing but the Will of the great Creator, from whom they have received such necessary Laws as are stiled the Laws of Nature
  • [Page 5]3dly. That the Soul is nothing but that Power in Man, or rather acting on the Body of Man that enables him to perceive, to re­flect, and to will.
  • 4thly. That the Soul is a perpetual, or constant Power of thinking; and that, upon its ceasing to be Active, it must immediately cease to be. —

It is, says our opposite Essay, from these stated Principles, that a late Philosopher, meaning Dr. Watts, draws the Inference of the Soul's being immortal.— But, perhaps, it may be found, at least, I am firmly per­suaded, that there is no Man but must be conscious on reading the Works of that learned Gentleman; it was from a far more sublime Idea of the human Soul, that he drew those Conclusions: For notwithstanding the above Definition does not contradict the philoso­phical Idea, entertained of the Soul by the best and most rational Philosophers, it is, nevertheless, a very imperfect one; and not in reality that of the Soul of Man: For a just Definition must consist of every essential Property, belonging to that which is defin'd; and that this does not is plainly confess'd in [Page 6] Section the 5th of our opposite Essay, where it is said that goodness of Heart and the Power of judging of Truth as to the fitness and unfit­ness of things are essential to the Soul.—Now both these Properties are evaded in the Defi­nition, under the general Term of Reflection or Reason; and tho' that Essay may be sup­posed to prove that a Soul, capable of both Reflection and Reason, may be as liable to Mortality as the Brutes; which, as is fairly enough prov'd, are as capable of some kind of Reflection and Reason as some of the lowest of Mankind; yet it is no where prov'd that a Soul, poffess'd of Goodness of Heart and that innate Power of judging of Truth, may be, or is subject to Annihilation. — It is, indeed attempted to be prov'd, that this Power of judging of Truth is implanted in the Brutes; but it will appear by and by, the Sagacity of their Actions may be much more easily accounted for, without this sup­position; and as to this innate Goodness of Heart, there made necessary to the Produc­tion of Virtue, notwithstanding it is allowed to be essential to the Soul, it is not at all brought to stand in the Comparison between the Souls of Brutes and Men. It is impos­sible then this Comparison can be just, unless [Page 7] every essential Quality, Mode and Property exactly answered, both in the Souls of Brutes and Men, to each other. And this Manner of Reasoning, however, smoothly it might be swallowed by that weak-thinking Part of Mankind, the Deists, is as stupid and ridicu­lous, as it would be to assert, that a Horse, because he has a Head, Legs, and other Parts similar to some other Animal, must be such an Animal.

There is, indeed, a very great Error in ad­judging the Source of Virtue to that Good­ness of Heart, naturally implanted in the Soul; or, as Watts calls it, a Disposition to­wards Goodness, appearing in some Degree in all People. For if, as is also allow'd by our opposite Essay, that is the greatest Act of Virtue which is calculated to produce the greatest public Happiness, it will be found, that Men may have too much as well as too little of this natural Disposition to Goodness, or, as Mr. Fielding terms it, Milk of human Kindness. But this will more evidently ap­pear by and by.

[Page 8]The above Definition of the Soul must needs be imperfect, as there is a Necessity we should have a Source for Virtue in the ratio­nal Mind, and which is allowed essential to the Soul, and expressed by the Term Good­ness of Heart. And yet this is found insuf­ficient of itself to produce Virtue, which is afterwards allowed to be owing also in a great Degree to that innate Knowledge of Truth, and that it is from these two Powers operat­ing in Conjunction, that arise Actions of Vir­tue.—Our opposite Essay, in this Point, seems plainly to be calculated for the Rea­sonings of the Deists; or, certainly it would never have proceeded upon a Definition of the Soul, that wanted even the most essen­tial Property belonging to it—the Source of moral Virtue. And how few Men must there be, or, otherwise, how besotted are they, who can think that a just Definition of the Soul of Man, that has neither the Word, or the Meaning of the Word, CONSCIENCE, in it.

If I could be persuaded, indeed, that there was no such sacred Impulse implanted in the Nature of Man, to direct his Actions; I could easily agree with our opposite Essay, [Page 9] in earnest, to favour the Doctrine of the Soul's Mortality. But it is on this only I depend for the Confutation of that Opinion. It is on this implanted Power, or, in the Lan­guage of the sacred Writings, this Law of God written in our Hearts, I am confident I can make appear the true Source of the Uni­versality of that Opinion, that the Soul is im­mortal.—From this, the Necessity of future Rewards and Punishments; and from this, that wide Difference we may reasonably make between ourselves and the Brutes—be­tween the Powers of inanimate Things, or that general Power the Law of Nature; and that intellectual, immortal Being, the Soul of Man.

That we may not, however, be accused of leaving the Reader in the dark, concern­ing what we intend by the Word Con­science—our Meaning is, an Impulse, na­turally implanted in the Soul, that infallibly tells us, we should act unto all men as we would have them act to each other; not as we would have them act to us in particular, or those we are partial to; for, in such a Case, our Affections would so far prevail, that, per­haps, there would be no such Thing as Ju­stice, [Page 10] or, at best, very little in the World. As for Instance; supposing it in my Power, ought I to ward off the Punishment due to a Villain; because, were I in his Circum­stances, and he in mine, I should no doubt be desirous of his doing me the same kind Office.—Certainly, No.—Conscience tells us, that we should act to each other, as In­dividuals, agreeable to the Duty we owe all Mankind, viz. that of promoting the pub­lick Happiness. So that when this tender Disposition to Goodness, or Goodness of Heart, above mentioned, influences us to a Pity for any particular Vice or Person, that may occasion us to act partially, to the Pre­judice of the publick Good; such a Dispo­sition, at that time, is so far from being the Source of Virtue, that it is a very great Weak­ness, nearly bordering on actual Vice itself.

Now, that there is such an innate Prin­ciple implanted in the Soul of Man, tho' the Arguments of our opposite Essay allow it, I need go no further than to appeal to every Man's self for an Evidence of it.

SECT. II. The Universality of the Opinion in relation to the Soul's Immortality, enquired into.

IN the second Section, our opposite Essay, after having notic'd how extensive and general the Opinion of the Soul's Immorta­lity is; which, with some Degree of Justice, is attributed chiefly to the Prejudice of Edu­cation, proceeds to examine, supposing it not to be communicated by any adventitious Means, whether or no it be an ìnnate Idea naturally implanted in the Soul: And, from Mr. Locke's Denial of the Doctrine of innate Ideas, a Conclusion is drawn, that this Be­lief of the Soul's Immortality arises only from the Powers of Reason being vitiated and mis­led by a certain Pleasure attendant on our Ideas of Immortality; and also that it is not owing to the just Exertion of that implanted Knowledge of Truth, or Power of judging of the Fitness and Unfitness of Things, which (notwithstanding the Doctrine of in­nate Ideas is disallowed) is granted to be es­sential to the Soul.

[Page 12]In Answer to this, —we will take it for Truth, that there are no Ideas innate, any otherwise than our opposite Essay allows. It is there asserted, that no Man can think o­therwise than that two and two make four— that when a Globe is exactly fitted into a round Case, there is a Fitness between these two Things, and such like.—This he is convinced of from that certain and unaltera­ble Impulse within, —now equally essential to to the Soul, equally powerful to establish its own sacred and undeniable Truths, is that Impulse called Conscience.

It behoves us then to consider how far may a Man's Conscience convince him that the Soul is immortal;—but, before we re­ply to this, we shall a little examine the rea­son given in our opposite Essay as the Source of this Opinion.—It says, ‘It is probable that a Man, who had never heard of the Soul's being immortal, might nevertheless be of that Opinion: Yet this Belief is oc­casioned more by the Will influencing, or as it were bribing the Reason so to con­clude, than from the natural Power of judging of Truth, which is essential to the Soul: For, from the Pleasure arising from [Page 13] our Ideas, it is natural for the Soul to will or desire never to be robb'd of that Pleasure, which must cease in its Non-existence.’

To this an Objection is there proposed, by saying, ‘The Reason is subject to the Will, not the Will to the Reason; for you cannot think or perceive what you will.—This is allow'd true; but thus answered: ‘Tho' the Will is not the Director of the Reason, it can and plainly doth impose false and specious Propositions on the Judgment, in favour of its own Cause, and the Conclu­sions form'd in Consequence of these, is called Partiality.’

If this then be the Case, that the Will doth mislead the Reason to conclude, from a Desire of the Soul's Immortality, that that Doctrine is true; why may not a Desire of having it otherwise, equally mislead the Rea­son on the other Side also?—and this is ap­parently one great Proof that those People who oppose the Immortality of the Soul, whatever may be their Pretensions, are really very desirous that it should be mortal.— And this, very aptly, agrees with the Re­flection there made, of the Difficulty attend­ing [Page 14] the Persuasion of People into a Belief of any System, against which they are biassed and partial; and the easier Con­currence to the Credit of any thing by those who are no ways prejudiced against it.— After this, our opposite Essay proceeds to remark, that all, or the greatest Part of Mankind, have naturally the Desire of Im­mortality; and that the Reflection Cato makes is applicable to all.

Whence is this pleasing Hope, this fond Desire,
This longing after Immortality;
Or whence this secret Dread, and inward Horror
Of falling into nought? &c.

But this is no more evident than the As­sertion, that the Philosophical Antients believ'd as much as the Moderns, this Opi­nion of the Soul's Immortality; of which Socrates is brought as an Instance; for So­crates himself says, that the Things relating to the Soul's Immortality, were disbelieved by the greatest Part of the World.—Cicero says, that his Opinion about the Soul's Im­mortality was contradicted by most of the [Page 15] Epicureans, as well as the learned of other Denominations.— Aristotle did not at all believe it, as he maintain'd Death to be the most terrible Thing in Nature, as putting an End to every Thing.—Lipsius says, that it was often controverted by the Sto­icks, who were indeed very dubious con­cerning the Veracity of it.—The learned Dr. Clark also tells us, there were many whole Sects of Philosophers, who absolute­ly denied the Immortality of the Soul, and that even the wisest and best of them did not always express themselves with the same Confidence concerning it.—Dr. Prideaux says, it is generally agreed among the An­tients, that Pythagoras was the first Greek who taught this Opinion,— we are also in­formed, by many, that the Egyptians were the first who asserted the Immortality of the Soul, or its Transmigration. Now from these Instances it appears, that what was in our opposite Essay offer'd for the Argument, had very little Veracity in it, and I think it very rational to believe, that, if such a strong Desire of Immortality was essential to the Soul of Man, all these Philosophers would have found Reasons, of some Kind or other, to support themselves in the Be­lief [Page 16] of this Doctrine; however they might dussent in other Points of less Importance. It is also plain, that a Man influenced with so strong a Desire of Immortality, could not be brought to acquiesce in the Unbelief of it, without some very striking Proof to the contrary; and I am pretty certain it will be allowed on all Sides, that the antient Philosophers had much less to offer against the Doctrine of the Soul's Immortality, than even a modern Deist.—But let us come now to consider, by what Means a Man's Conscience may convince him, that the Soul is immortal.—Our opposite Essay al­lows, that the Necessity of future Rewards and Punishments, if true, would make strongly for the Immortality of the Soul; and says, that the Opinion of such a Neces­sity has been entertained by Philosophers of all Ages.—Now, tho' we dont allow e­ven this Opinion to have been so general as there intimated, as it would of necessity have made the Doctrine of the Soul's Im­mortality equally universal, yet we must own these were the Sentiments of the wisest and best of those Philosophers, and their only Reason for believing the Soul immor­tal. — If it can be prov'd then, that this [Page 17] implanted Impulse, call'd Conscience, can rationally convince a Man, that there is a Necessity for future Rewards and Punish­ments; it is plain, that the Opinion of the Soul's Immortality is not owing to the Will offering specious and deluding Propositions to the Powers of Reason; but that it is owing to a just and right Use of those Pow­ers, implanted in the Soul, that occasions a rational Conviction, which is allow'd, even in our opposite Essay, to make strongly for the Soul's Immortality: And, that this is the Case, will evidently appear when we come to consider the sixth Section of that Essay.

SECT. III. Reasons for the Mortality of the Soul exa­mined.

IN this Section of our opposite Treatise, is pretended an Examination of the Proofs offer'd, in Favour of the Immortality of the Soul, wherein the two Corollaries of Dr. Watts, in which he gives his Reasons for supporting that Doctrine, are with some Justice shewn to have less Weight than they [Page 18] are generally supposed.—Nevertheless the Arguments, there made use of, are very far from supporting the opposite Opinion.

The chief Point there controverted, and on which the whole Weight of that Section depends, is, that the Powers of Reflection or Reason, are equally liable to be affected by Accidents peculiar to the Body, with the Powers of Sensation; as is instanc'd by Ex­amples of Lunatics and maim'd Persons. And, upon this Argument, which we will suppose to be true, it is concluded, that when the Powers of Sensation, cease to act by Death, the Powers of Reflection cease also; and, ceasing to act, consequently cease to be: And thus the Soul, consisting only of these Powers, ceases to be, or is annihilated.

In answer to this, —if, when these Powers cease to act, they cease to exist, and, if a Lunatic may be entirely incapable of Reason or Reflection, as in our opposite Essay is supposed, those Powers ceasing to act, consequently cease to be: How comes it then, that he is restor'd, so as to be capa­citated to reflect and judge, as nicely as ever, unless, by the Restoration of the Body, [Page 19] this essential Property of the Soul again ex­ists; which is stupidly considering the Soul as owing itself to, or a Property of, the Bo­dy, in direct Opposition to what our oppo­site Essay allows, viz. that the Soul is a Being in itself, and not a Property belong­ing to Matter.—Or, supposing, that while either the Powers of Sensation or Reason re­main active, we should say the Soul exists, as undoubtedly it does, and that, tho' the Soul, in all its Faculties, ceasing to be active, ceases to be, (tho' several of its essential Qualities may cease to act and yet exist, as hereafter will appear) yet, notwithstanding, as the Powers of Reason, in our opposite Essay, are esteemed the most sublime Fa­culties of the Soul; how comes it that these Powers of Reason, may cease to be active, and yet those of Sensation retain their native Use and Vigour; while, if those of Sensation cease to act, it is said, those of Reflection must cease to act also; and ac­cordingly the Soul cease to be.— And this is allow'd in our opposite Essay, where it is asserted, a Lunatic that cannot remem­ber, reflect, or judge, may be sensible he hears, sees, and feels.

[Page 20]Now, is it not rational to conclude, if these essential Powers of Reflection or Rea­son can remain inactive, and the Powers of Sensation perform all their intended Offices; that, on the other Side, those of Sensation may cease to act, and yet those of Reflec­tion remain active and existing: Or else, we make the Powers of Reason much more liable to be affected with Accidents, peculiar to the Body, than those of Sensa­tion, and so subject the greater Faculties of the Soul to the less: By which means, our opposite Essay has been foolishly endeavour­ing to prove, that the Powers of Reflec­tion or Reason are not immortal, after hav­ing taken it for granted, those of Sensation are not, which, according to this Conclu­sion, are less affected by the Body than those of Reflection.

Hence we must certainly conclude, that either the Powers of Reason and Sensation, as there understood, do not perfectly con­stitute the Soul of Man; or, that they may cease to act, or, to the utmost of our Apprehension, appear so to do, without ceasing to exist; both of which will, by and by, be made evident.—Yet, for the [Page 21] present we shall conclude with the former, that there may be Souls that have both the Powers of Reflection and Sensation, and yet not be essentially the same with the Soul of Man.

What therefore is said in this Section, re­lating to those Powers, that are here suppos'd, or we will allow prov'd, to be subject to Ac­cidents peculiar to that Body or Part of Mat­ter on which they act, does not in the least argue against the Immortality of the Soul of Man, as it has been prov'd in Sect. I. it doth not consist only of those Powers.

There is also, in this third Section of our opposite Essay, another Objection endeavour'd to be solv'd or rather evaded; and this is one of Watts's Assertions, that—the Soul cannot lay aside its own thinking, —it cannot put itself out off Being.

To this it is answered, that it is possible for a Man to take a Pistol and blow his Brains out; by which Action he, at once, annihilates the Powers of Sensation, no inconsiderable Es­sence of the Soul.

[Page 22]We will suppose then, in order to re­ply to this, that every Man is so far a free Agent, that he may or may not, just as he pleases, annihilate the Powers of Sensation; for Dr. Watts himself says, that the Soul, in a separate State from the Body, is freed from all the Avocations of Sensations and sensible Things: And there­fore we may say, tho' not very justly, Death annihilates the Powers of Sensation.—But, what if it does, is the Soul thereby annihi­lated, because one particular Property of it is render'd inactive; a Property, there allow'd, essential to it no longer than while acting on the Body, and at its Departure from which, there seems no manner of Necessity for it to be possessed off—Certainly, No;—unless you will say that a Man, born incapable, or de­prived of several of the Means of Sensation, as hearing, seeing, &c. is not possessed of a perfect human Soul; because all the Powers of Sensation, essential to the Soul's Existence, do not appear to be active, so, consequently, do not exist. And this, no one will pretend to assert; because the Reason why those par­ticular sensative Qualities of the Soul are thus, inactive, is, for the most part, apparently, occasioned by some Defect in the bodily Or­gans [Page 23] of Sensation; as is plain, from the many Cures that have been performed on Persons born with and long labouring under such Defects; I say, this, no Body will pre­tend to offer for that Reason, unless at the same time it be also asserted, that an Oculist that restores a Man, born blind, to sight, adds a new Faculty to his Soul, which was before as imperfect as his Body: which is, in Effect, making the Soul owe its Existence to the Body; a Manner of Reasoning, which, as our opposite Essay disallows, has no need here of being disproved, as else it might ea­sily be.

Is it not obvious then, from hence, that the Powers of Sensation are all perfect in the Soul; tho' from the Defects of that Body, on which it acts, it shall not be able to ac­quire one Idea relative to those Things, of which, had the Organs of the Body been perfect, it must have known something.

Hence also it is clearly evident, with what has been above said concerning the Powers of Reflection or Reason, that those both of Sensation and Reflection may be inactive, at least so to our strictest Inquiry, and yet have their Existence in the Soul, whether acting [Page 24] on or in a State of Separation from the Body. For, tho' Dr. Watts allows, the Soul is free from all the Avocations of Sensations and sensible Things, when parted from the Body, yet it cannot be argued from hence, that the Soul is bereft or deprived of the Powers of Sensation, any more than that the Soul of a Man, which, by the Imperfection of his Body, is a Stranger to the Avocations of many of these Sensations, therefore it is not possessed of those Powers; which, from what we have just instanc'd, is evidently false. Thus, the Powers of Sensation may exist in the Soul, after the Death of the Body; and, supposing the Truth of the Re­surrection of that Body, be immediately able to act on it without receiving any new essen­tial Properties of Existence.

Neither do those Arguments at all clash with that Axiom of Dr. Watts, that the Soul is a constant or perpetual Power of thinking, and that upon its ceasing to be active it must immediately cease to be; for, even supposing that by Death the Powers of Sensation, held essential to the Soul, should be annihilated; yet, if those of Reflection remain active, the Soul certainly exists as a perfect Being, as [Page 25] much as when it was acting on a Body, whose Defects were such that render'd many of the Powers both of Reflection and Sen­sation inactive, and in this Sense, non-existing.

And there is none, I believe, so absurd as to imagine, that, tho' a Man should be born blind, deaf, or devoid of the Faculties of Memory and Reasoning to the greatest De­gree, on these Accounts, his Soul has not as good a Title to Immortality, as those Men who are possessed of all these Qualifica­tions.

Upon the whole then, tho' the first Co­rollary of Dr. Watts is remarkable, more for the Veracity of its Assertions, than for the Weight of Argument in favour of the Soul's Immortality; yet his second Corollary ap­pears evidently just and rational;—‘That when the human Body dies, the Soul ex­ists and continues to think and act in a separate State: And, when it is freed from all the Avocations of Sensations and sensible Things, it will live more entirely in the Reflection on its own Operations, and will commence a State of Happiness [Page 26] or Misery, according to its former Con­duct; either rejoicing in the Testimony of a good CONSCIENCE, or under inward and bitter Self-Reproaches, from the Conscious­ness of its own Guilt.’

SECT. IV. Reasons to think the Immortality of the Soul necessary.

THE first Reason our opposite Essay pretends to take under Consideration is, that it may be thought necessary to the Ho­nour and Wisdom of our great Creator, that a Soul, possessed of rational Faculties in so high a Degree, and capable of such extraordinary Attainments, should be continued longer in. Being than the short Space of Time, allotted for the Life of the Body.—

In Answer to this, it is said, that as we are so ignorant of the essential Greatness of the Deity, as well as those great and extra­ordinary Qualifications we may imagine the Soul possessed of, we cannot form any just: Idea of what Consequence we are in respect to its wonderful and incomprehensible Na­ture.

[Page 27]Well, tho' we should allow that all Man­kind are as ignorant of the Nature of the di­vine Being, as the most impartial Inquirer a­mong the Deists; who will fairly own he knows nothing at all about him; yet, as by Comparison we may attain in some degree the Ideas of high, noble, &c. we shall, in the Words of our opposite Essay, by looking round to the sensible Creatures about us, and by making some just Comparisons, ac­quire a better Idea of ourselves?

Suppose then we should grant, that the Brutes, each in their Kind, act as wisely for the Preservation of themselves and their Spe­cies as the wisest and best of Mankind; is it not evident that even the necessary Means of our Preservation are infinitely superior to those of Beasts—but this shall appear here­after—And tho' we should allow, that some of the lowest of Mankind entertain as mean and groveling Ideas of Things as the Brutes; is this the least Proof that the Souls of M [...]n are essentially the same with theirs? On the contrary, have not we, notwithstanding those Appearances, the strongest Arguments to conclude, even the meanest human Soul has infinitely the Preference, when we see [Page 28] every one of those Animals, in some Degree or other, subjected to his Use and Service— Neither is our Reasoning guilty of any Error in this Point, from an innate, partial Pride, that tells us, the Brute Creation live not so much for themselves as for us; since it is quite of a different Nature with that Man­ner of Reasoning, which Mr. Pope exclaims against, in the following Lines:

In Pride, in reas'ning Pride, our Error lies;
All quit their Sphere, and rush into the Skies.
Pride still is aiming at the blest Abodes,
Men wou'd be Angels, Angels wou'd be Gods.

And thus again in the following;

Ask for what End the heav'nly Bodies shine,
Earth for whose Use? Pride answers, "tis for mine:
For me kind Nature wakes her genial Pow'r,
Suckles each Herb; and spreads out ev'ry Flow'r;
Annual for me, the Grape, the Rose renew
The Juice nectareous, and the balmy Dew;
For me the Mine a thousand Treasures brings;
For me Health gushes from a thousand Springs;
Seas roll to waft me, Suns to light me rise;
My Footstool Earth, my Canopy the Skies."

[Page 29]Now here the Poet justly lays the Imputa­tion of Pride on Man, for presuming to, think the numberless Worlds of Light, and that vast Universe, opening to our Know­ledge, made only for himself.—But our Reasoning, in supposing ourselves of a far superior Nature to those Beings and Things that are subject to us, is quite, otherwise; and that the Brutes are so, notwithstanding all the Encomiums he gives them, Mr. Pope himself owns, in speakihg of that Instinct that directs them in their Actions;—he says;

'Twixt that, and Reason, what a nice Barrier,
For ever sep'rate, yet for ever near!
Rememb'rance and Reflection how ally'd;
What thin Partitions Sense from Thought di­vide!
Without this just Gradation, could they be
Subjected these to those, or ALL to THEE?
The Pow'rs of all subdu'd by thee alone,
Is not thy Reason all those Powers in one?

So that nothing can more stupidly or unjustly degrade the Dignity of the human Soul, than making it essentially equal to the Brutes, or Powers of inanimate Things: as [Page 30] they are in our opposite Essay—and, tho' the divine Being, as Popc says,

—Sees with equal Eye, as God of all,
A Hero perish or a Sparrow fall,
Atoms or Systems into Ruin hurl'd,
And now a Bubble burst and now a World.

Yet, tho' the one affects him, as the su­preme Author of all, no more than another; neither diminishing or increasing the Lustre of any of his essential Perfections; are we from thence to infer, that a Hero is not, in this just Gradation of Nature, more essen­tially eminent than a Sparrow; or that a Bubble of Air and a whole World of ratio­nal Creatures are exactly the same; the one not more high and noble than the other. I think the most bigotted Deist will own a Conclusion in the Affirmative here, stupid indeed.

It is true, if the Soul of Man, in its high­est Perfections, was capable of no better Reasoning; there would be Room sufficient for us to conclude the Souls of Brutes essen­tially equal to our own: Since these Senti­ments so well become them, as the above, I hope not too often quoted Author instances; [Page 31] where, in exposing the false Reasonings of Pride, he says,

While Man exclaims, "See all Things for my Use:"
See Man for mine! replies a pamper'd Goose;
What Care to tend, to lodge, to cram, to treat him!
All this he knew; but not that 'twas to eat him.
As far as Goose cou'd judge, he reason'd right;
But as to Man mistook 'the Matter quite.

It may be thought, indeed, that Mr. Pope argues strongly against this Supposition of the Brutes being so far beneath us; and that he lays us upon a Level in the following Lines; which for their extraordinary Beauty and Elegance, I cannot forbear quoting—Speak­ing to Man—

Has God, thou Fool! work'd solely for thy Good,
Thy Joy, thy Pastime, thy Attire, thy Food?
Who for thy Table feeds the wanton Fawn,
For him as kindly spreads the flow'ry Lawn.
Is it for thee the Lark ascends and sings?
Joy tunes his Voice, Joy elevates his Wings:
Is it for thee the Linnet pours his Throat?
Loves of his own and Raptures swell the Note:
[Page 32]The bounding Steed you pompously bestride?
Shares with his Lord the Pleasure and the Pride.
Is thine alone the Seed that strews the plain?
The Birds of Heav'n shall vindicate their Grain:
Thine the full Harvest of the golden Year?
Part pays, and justly, the deserving Steer:
The Hog, that plows not, nor obeys thy Call,
Lives on the Labours of this Lord of all.

It may be thought, I say, that here our Poet lays us upon an Equality with the Brutes, because he intimates that we are use­ful to the Beasts, as well as they to us; and that their own Pleasure and Satisfaction ex­cites them to the Services they pay us. This is very far from being a just Conclusion; for the same Author, when he says, Na­ture ‘Made Beast in Aid of Man, and Man of Beast,’ gives a comparative Degree of Eminence, by saying, that the ‘One all extending, all preserving Soul, Connects each Being, GREATEST with the LEAST.

[Page 33]Is it not idle then to conclude that, be­cause this Author says,

Know Nature's Children all divide her Care.
The Fur that warms a Monarch, warm'd a Bear.

that he thought a Bear a Creature of equal Dignity with a Monarch?—I think it ex­treamly so.—

Neither doth it at all appear that, because every Creature that is of Service to Man, is so from Self-Love or from an innate Plea­sure attending on its Actions, and not from a Design of obliging Mankind; it is not evi­dent, I say, because of this, that those Creatures are created less for the Service of Man, or more for themselves: As, in this, there appears the infinite Wisdom of our great Creator, in rendering that a Pleasure to every Creature which answers the End of its Creation; which, in the Brutes, is that, I conceive, of being service­able in some Degree to Man. Now, the Reason why Man acts to serve the Brute-Creation, is partly from Self-Love, and [Page 34] partly thro' Compassion; as Mr. Warburton elegantly obseves:—For, says he, Reason endowing Man with the Ability of setting the Memory of the past, and conjecturing about the future; and past Misfortunes making him apprehensive of more to come, this disposes him to pity and relieve others in a State of Suffering, and the Passion growing habitual, naturally extendeth its Effects to all that have a Sense of Suf­fering.’—So far thro' Compassion.—But, continues he, ‘This is not all; Man's In­terest, Amusement, Vanity, and Luxury, tie him close to the System of Benevolence, by obliging him to provide for the Sup­port of other Animals; and tho' it be, for the most part, only to devour them with the greater Gust, yet this does not abate the proper Happiness of the Ani­mals, so preserved, to whom Providence has not given the useless Knowledge of their End.’

So that, from hence it is plain, that every Creature in the Brute Creation, tho' acting from Principles in themselves, and for their own Happiness, may yet be justly.esteemed as living for the Use and Service of Man.— [Page 35] Now, that Man doth not live in the same Manner for the Use of Beasts, is evident; because the chief Services that Men perform to the Brutes, are from political Ends; for,

Man cares for all: to Birds he gives his Woods,
To Beasts his Pastures, and to Fish his Floods.—
That very Life his learned Hunger craves,
Saves from the Famine, from the Savage saves.
Nay, feasts the Animal he dooms his Feast,
And till he ends the Beings, makes it blest.

And that, Self-Love is the ruling Principle in Man, with respect to the animal Cre­ation, is plain, since he either preserves or destroys them, just as his Interest or Incli­nation leads him.

It will further appear that the Brute Cre­ation were particularly designed for the Service of Mankind, by that very Instinct, or innate Pleasure which they feel in acting according to their Natures, and which, in the Comparison between Brutes and Men, in our opposite Essay, is brought to prove their essential Equality in rational Knowledge: And this will be evident in their Actions be­ing [Page 36] instrumental to the Instruction of Man and Improvement of his Reason, as the Poet says;

To copy Instinct then was Reason's Part;
Thus then to Man the Voice of Nature spake—
Go, from the Creatures thy Instructions take:
Learn from the Birds what Food the Thickets yield;
Learn from the Beast the Physic of the Field;
Thy Arts of building from the bee receive;
Learn of the Mole to plow, the Worm to weave,
Great Nature spoke; observant Man obey'd;
Cities were built, Societies were made,

Thus, every Way it is plain, that the animal Creation live for the Use and Service of Man, who is the superior Creature in his own System of Knowledge; and in the Scripture Phrase, Lord of all, in that Sy­stem. But whether Man may not be e­qually serviceable to some Degree of Beings, as much above him as the Brutes are below him, as may be thought to be hinted by this Line; ‘From Brutes what Men, from Men what Spirits know.’ [Page 37] is not at all to the Purpose: or, supposing it to be true, shall we, because we must submit to own there may be Beings of a su­perior Nature, for whose Use, as well as ours, the vast Universe may be designed; shall we, I say, degrade ourselves so much as to own we are essentially the same with the lowest, because we are not of the highest Order of Beings.—I think this is not at all Reason.

We may, therefore, acquire both the I­deas of high and noble, with respect to the essential Qualifications of human Nature; and therefore; it is a Reason, why it may be thought necessary to the Honour and Wisdom of our great Creator; that a Soul possessed of rational Faculties in so high a Degree, should be continu'd longer existing than the short Space of Time allotted for the Life of the Body.

The second Reason, in this Section of our opposite Essay, that is considered as supporting the Doctrine of the Soul's Im­mortality, is the seeming Necessity of future Rewards and Punishments; which Prin­ciple, it is there said, can have no other [Page 38] solid Foundation in the rational Mind than the abstracted Notions of Virtue and Vice. For if our Actions were neither good or evil, where is the Necessity of Rewards or Punishments?—It then proceeds to deter­mine what is Virtue and its opposite Vice.

SECT. V. Virtue and Vice, their Foundation and Es­sence considered.

THERE has been nothing, says our opposite Essay, in all the Systems of Philosophers, so much contested as this— What are Virtue and Vice—This Point, indeed, has been surprizingly debated, con­sidering that every Man, tho' he has no Faith at all in Revelation, has naturally im­planted in him a sacred Impulse, that can never fail of convincing him, if consulted, how he ought to act; being a just Standard of Wrong and Right.—It is something strange, therefore, that Men should dispute on Terms, whose Meaning they are all sen­sible to be but one and the same Truth.

With respect to the Essence of Virtue, we shall agree with our opposite Essay, in the [Page 39] Words of Mr. Brown, that it is no other than the Conformity of our Affections with the public Good, or the voluntary Production of the greatest Happiness, and the opposite to this, consequently, Vice.

We will proceed then to consider the Foundation, or Source, of this Virtue, in the Soul of Man.

Dr. Watts allows the Source of Virtue to be that innate Knowledge of Truth, implanted in the Soul; whereby we judge of the Fit­ness and Unfitness of Things: But our for­mer Essay chuses, because of some little In­consistencies seemingly attendant on that System, to declare it is that pathetic In­stinct and Disposition toward Goodness, as Watts calls it, or as it is called there, Good­ness of Heart, and not the Knowledge of Truth that is the Cause of moral Virtue. And yet our opposite Essay is afterward o­bliged to bring in this Knowledge of Truth, as essential to Virtue, in assisting this Dispo­sition to Goodness in its Offices; without which, it is there made plain, that Dispo­sition would not be apprehensive when to act justly; and, upon that Power of judging of [Page 40] Truth being vitiated or misled, this Dispo­sition to Goodness does not contribute to Virtue.

Now, the Powers, both of Goodness of Heart, and the Knowledge of Truth, are here made equally essential to the Production of Virtue; and both are, in Reality, equally incapable of that Office; since it is owned, on the opposite Side of the Question, that the Powers of Reason may be misled by spe­cious Propositions being offered to them by the Inclinations and Passions attending hu­man Nature; as it is said, in the 5th Sec­tion of our opposite Essay, ‘Many People run into Vice, by becoming familiar to Actions which at first a seeming Necessity for, imposes upon the Reason to conclude in some Measure justifiable. As a Man that is starving, might possibly prevail on his Reason to conclude, that his Condition extenuates the Crime of his robbing on the Highway, and he may silence his na­tural Disposition to Pity or Goodness of Heart, from a specious Supposition that the Losers may not be in a Condition to want, and therefore Misery may not be the Consequence of such an Action: And [Page 41] thus he goes on, from one Step to another, till this natural Disposition to Goodness is not apprehensive when to exert itself.’

From hence it is own'd, that the Powers of judging of Truth are incapable of influ­encing this allowed, innate Goodness of Heart, at all Times, to Virtue: Bút that it is subject to Deception, and may be led to Actions of Vice, and at the same time ima­gine such Actions not criminal: And with respect to Goodness of Heart, it is evident, from what has been said in Sect. 1. of this Essay, that the Liberty of its Action would in many Cases produce actual Vice, and that it equally may or may not be instrumental to Virtue.

Now, all these Difficulties seem'd to be solved in adjudging the Foundation of Virtue to that Power, I call, Conscience; and which, I believe, is the same Impulse that Dr. Watts meant by his Term, the innate Knowledge of Truth: But, by the Definition he gives of it, our opposite Essay makes it appear that, in its acting on the same Prin­ciples, it will sometimes produce Happiness, and sometimes Misery; so, consequently, be [Page 42] Virtue and Vice, alternately; as is exampled in the breaking or keeping of Contracts.

And, as that Disposition to Goodness, be­fore spoke of as the Source of Virtue, is, when not influenced by Justice, a very weak, if not vicious Faculty in the Soul, so is this innate Knowledge of Truth also; for, tho' this Power may be justly conscious that two and two make four, and that certain moral Duties are as justly requisite, as Watts sup­poses; yet, as this Power, relating to Num­bers, however justly conscious it may be, that two and two make four, three times three, nine, &c. it is liable to draw Conclusions opposite to these, in the Calculation of per­plexed and intricate Ratios. So, relating to moral Duties; tho' this Power, the innate Knowledge of Truth, may convince a Man that he ought to act justly, and that in judg­ing between two Men, he ought not to be partial to either; yet it may so happen, from a Combination of perplex'd and intricate Circumstances, that those very Means he takes to do this, tho' the best that appear to his most impartial Reason, are the very re­verse to the Justice intended.

[Page 43]So also it may happen, from, our Inabi­lity of foreseeing future Events, that the Means taken to promote the greatest public Happiness, allow'd in our opposite Essay to be Virtue, may be the very Means to pro­mote the Contrary.

From hence then appears, the Insufficiency of that innate Power of Reason to direct us in the common Affairs of Life: Surely then, that very Reason will dictate to us, how in­sufficient itself is to determine; in what De­gree we stand with respect to that Power that gave us Being; and how little; or how much, we possess of its Nature, in its Immor­tality.

But from this it may be objected; if I al­low so much the Insufficiency of Reason to determine this; how can I pretend to prove what I am attempting?—To this I say— I attempt rationally to prove it. Now, the strongest Argument that can be drawn from the impartial Powers of Reason, is all the Proof Reason can give: So that a rational Proof can have no other Meaning than the most probable Conclusion, that can be drawn [Page 44] from an impartial Enquiry into the Point in Question.

It appears then the most probable Con­clusion, to adjudge the Source of moral Vir­tue to that Power called Conscience. And then the Case will stand thus; every Man, havïng within him this sacred Impulse, should act, upon all Occasions according to its Dictates: and, as this Power was given by our Creator to every Man under Heaven, ro distinguish him from the Brutes, and make him worthy of being what his Maker de­sign'd him, the Chief of all his own Sy­stem; it will infallibly convince him, when­ever his Inclinations and Passions will permit him, to listen to its Decision; whether or no he acts right. So that, seeing the In­sufficiency of our innate Knowledge of Truth, a Man does not commit a virtuous Action, when going contrary to the Dictates of his Conscience, even tho' the strongest Appearances of the Consequence of that Action should be, the Promotion of the greatest public Happiness. And a Man ought never to act contrary to the Dictates of that Conscience, tho' the Consequence of his Actions should appear that of promoting [Page 45] public Misery: For, as no Man can think that the Author of all Things implanted that Principle in our Souls, for any other Design than that of promoting our general Happi­ness, is it not stupidly presumptuous to think our Creator knew less than we the necessary Means to that Happiness. It is also plain, that, if Mankind were void of those base In­clinations and Passions, which are allowed on all hands to be the Occasion of the great­est Part of our Miseries, and acted from the unprejudiced Dictates of their Consciences; that we should have no Necessity for Divi­nity, Politics, or Law. But as it is otherwise, every Man being born with those Pas­sions in some Degree, we find that innate Impulse is not sufficient to influence us to that Virtue, it is an infallible Judge of.— I don't say, that a true Believer in the System of Christianity, is not virtuous from a much more noble and sacred Principle than this of Conscience.—I reason here as a Deist, and am fixing the Foundation of moral Virtue in the rational, not the religious Mind.

It may, perhaps, be asked here, to what Purpose then is that innate Power of judging of Truth implanted in the Soul, if it is not [Page 46] to direct the Mind to Actions of Virtue; or to what Purpose that innate Goodness or Tenderness of Heart, before spoke of.—I answer—They are both necessary to pro­mote the public Happiness, and yet neither of them indispensably necessary to constitute a Man virtuous.—And tho' I allow the Criterion, or Test of Virtue, is the Confor­mity of our Affections with the public Good; I allow it, because I affirm, that acting from the Dictates of Conscience, is Virtue; and that if all Men were to act from those Dic­tates, the World would be compleatly hap­py. Yet, nevertheless, as the Passions and Inclinations of Mankind, as has been before observed, are so prevalent as often to silence this sacred Impulse; this pathetic Disposition to Goodness is necessary to excite Benevolence, and the Power of Reasoning of the Fitness and Unfitness of Things, to direct that Benevolence in the Promotion of the public Happiness.

Now, it is possible for a Man, out of an extraordinary Tenderness of Mind, and from an uncommon Share of Reasoning, to be greatly instrumental to the public Good; and yet, at the same time, be less virtuous than a Man, who is more guided by the [Page 47] Impulse of his Conscience, and has less of either of those other Powers in his Nature. Thus, a Man, that equally acts from the Dictates of his Conscience with another, will be equally virtuous; notwithstanding the superior Powers of Reason and Benevo­lence in the one, render him far more con­ducive to the public Happiness.—This will appear in the following Instance.— Suppose two Men were separately to judge and decide the same Cause; both of them equally acting from the Convictions of Con­science: The one having naturally a great deal of Compassion, and therefore very de­sirous of having Justice done to the Sufferer; having also a large Share of the Powers of Reason to enable him to detect and unriddle a specious contriv'd Evidence, formed to screen the Guilty: He, therefore, gives his Decision in favour of the Innocent. The other, having less natural Tenderness to sym­pathize with the Distressed, does not see the Injuries committed, in the same Light; therefore is less excited to give the Cause on that Side; and, having also less of the Power of Reason to judge in an intricate Cause, is led astray by the artful Pretensions offered on the Side of the Offender, and therefore he [Page 48] gives his Decision directly opposite to Justice. —Now, both these Men are equally vir­tuous, tho' the Consequence of their Actions, so opposite to each other, can never be thought to conduce equally to the public Good: For the Act of the Conscience is as just in one as the other; as, the Cause, tho' it is in Reality the same to both, is not so to the Consciences of both; if it was, their Decision would have been the same; and it is undoubtedly no Crime in a Man to judge wrong, if he judges, to the best of his Know­ledge, right.

Upon the whole therefore, it is evident, that neither that innate Power of judging of Truth, or that pathetic Instinct, call'd Goodness of Heart, is the Source of moral Virtue: and, notwithstanding they are both requisite to balance the Frailties of human Nature, and by that to preserve the necessary Medium of the public Happiness, yet Actions of Virtue have another Foundation, and a­rise from an infallible Consciousness within the Soul, that never influences us to one Action, whatever may be its Consequence, contrary to Virtue.

[Page 49]Now, our opposite Effay says, Where is the Justice or Necessity that Men should be punished or rewarded, for acting from Prin­ciples, which they did not give themselves, nor can possibly divest themselves of? Certainly, there is none—and therefore no one will be punished for acting from that sacred, Principle in, the Soul, his Conscience.

If there be a Man then, that, laying his Hand on his Heart, and asking his Soul the Question, can reply to himself that he has always acted agreeable to that Principle, whatever may have been the Effect of his Actions, whether Happiness or Misery to himself or others, he may rest assured, he has nothihg to fear from future Punishments: And this he may safely do, if he has had ever so little of this pathetic Disposition to Goodness in his Nature, or has been ever so weak in his rational Determinations: The more, indeed, a Man has of the former, the more Pain he will feel in doing justice to the Guilty, and the more Pleasure in protecting the Innocent; and the more Judgment he has in the latter, the better he will be capaci­tated to do both; and make the public Hap­piness oftner the Consequence of his Virtue.

SECT.VI. The Necessity of future Rewards and Punish­ments examin'd.

HAving now very plainly prov'd, and of which every Man is an Evidence to himself, that Virtue and Vice do exist in the Nature of the Soul, and what they indisput­ably are; we come now to examine the Ne­cessity of future Rewards and Punishments: Which, it has been allow'd, if the Actions of Men were neither good or bad, there would be no need at all of.

But, seeing it is quite the contrary, and that there is no Man whose Conscience can assure him he never disobey'd its Dictates, we must own we are all guilty: And as Mi­sery is the necessary Consequence of Vice, all of us must have a Share in Proportion to that Guilt: And, on the other hand, as Happiness is the Consequence of Virtue, every Man must have his Share in Propor­tion to that Obedience he has paid his Con­science.

[Page 51]And it is in vain to form an Objection to this; by saying, our Actions, whether good or ill, cannot affect the supreme Being: This is not all to the Purpose.—He has im­planted a Law in our Hearts, and ourselves are the Umpires to determine it: So that, if a Man cannot, upon his. Conscience, acquit himself of all Guilt, it is in vain, even if he could justly say he has hurt No-body but himself: For that Man equally acts con­trary to this Law, given him by his Creator, when he acts prejudicial to himself, as when he offends others: So that, supposing the divine Being should inflict a Punishment on us, in Return for our Vices; we, see here his infinite Wisdom in the contriving it; since he is not excited to it from any Prejudice our Actions are capable of doing to him, but is called upon to do it, by that Sentence of Condemnation every Man passes on himself: For, as has been before observ'd, if there be a Man whose Conscience can acquit him, he may be certain, whatever he be, that the supreme Being will acquit him also.

It is clearly evident then, from what has been offer'd, that there is a Necessity Misery should be the Consequence of a Man's being [Page 52] vicious, and Happiness the Reward of his Virtue: And from this there will appear a great deal of Reason to expect a FUTURE Distribution of this Happiness and Misery, according to the Part every Man has acted in this Life.

Our opposite Essay, in Contradiction to this, would infer, that the supreme Being doth actually dispense Justice to all the human Race, tho' by Means, inexplicable to us, in this World: and that the Ballance of Happiness and Misery is adjusted at the Death of every Man.

And this is offer'd to invalidate that appa­rent Necessity of such a future Distribution, from the Sickness, Anguish, and Persecution of the Virtuous in their Life-time; while many of the Wicked seem to be entirely free from those Inconveniencies.

We shall therefore just consider the Weight of this Inference.—It is allowed that, if Justice is dispers'd to us in this World, it is done by inexplicable Means; but, by what­ever Means it may be suppos'd to be done, it is undoubtedly evident we should be sen­sible [Page 53] that it was done; or else that Man's Conscience is a Liar, that arraigns him, in his last Moments, for Actions which the Miseries, daily attendant on human Nature, have accounted for.

But to corroborate what our opposite Es­say here affirms, it is said, it is impossible to tell how much Vice is atton'd for by the Pains of the Body and Mind; by which it is insinuated, that a raging Fit of the Gout or Tooth-ach, may be inflicted on Mankind as a sufficient Reward for their Vices.—This is a Manner of Reasoning suited to the Deists, indeed; for can any rational Man conceive that such Incidents are adequate Punish­ments for our Crimes? or, if they were, that these are so distributed between the Vir­tuous and the Wicked, as to make up their Ballance of Happiness and Misery in this Life?—Certainly, No.—Stupid, resolutely stupid, indeed, must they be who can sit down with such Conclusions.

Suppose, indeed, we allow that these Frailties, constantly' attendant on human Na­ture, are the Effect of Vice in general; is it not ridiculous from thence to infer they are [Page 54] so of Vices in particular?—Is it a Crime in a Man, that, being necessitated by the Bu­siness of Life, he runs in Danger of Misfor­tunes incident to such Business, and really falls under those Misfortunes?

Is it a Crime for a Man to catch a Cold, or be particularly liable to tormenting Dis­eases?—There needs no Reply to these Questions.—And, if our Reason is capable of determining any thing, few things are more easy than for us to be sensible, that the Miseries daily incident to Mankind, with respect to Diseases and other Misfor­tunes of the Body and Mind, are distri­buted amongst us without any partial Di­stinction, relating to Vice or Virtue, in the Persons afflicted with them. For the Sun shines upon the Unjust as well as the Just: And the vicious Man is equally intitled to the Blessings of Nature, in this World, as well as the Virtuous.

Neither is it at all contradictory, our grant­ing that sometimes, in the Ways of Provi­dence, Virtue may eminently meet its Re­ward in this World, or that Vice may meet as conspicuous and remarkable a Punishment: [Page 55] Yet when the Instances on this Side are set in Competition with the many of those, in which Virtue has been, degraded and Vice bore away in Triumph, that Approbation and Reward, which should have been paid to its Opposite, we shall find ourselves inclin'd to think the good Things of this Life rather the Concomitants of Vice than Virtue.

Hence then we must conclude, from the strongest Appearances of Reason, that these Weaknesses of Nature, so far from yielding us satisfactory Cause to think them Pu­nishments for Vice, are very convincing Proofs of the Necessity that there must be others, and in a Life after this.

Our opposite Essay then, has here ad­vanced nothing to disprove the Necessity of future Rewards and Punishments.

With the same Weakness also, is advanced a pretended Parallel of Justice in the Designs of our Creator, with Respect to us and the Brutes.—It says—In whatsoever Degree we are pleas'd to consider ourselves above the Brute Creation, No-body will deny, but that the great Creator acts with impartial Justice towards [Page 56] every one, even the most minute and insignifi­cant of his Creatures.—Why is it then that a Horse, Dog or Cat shall be nourished and fed with all the Necessaries of Life, while others of their Species shall be subject to hard Labour, Whipping, or being worried to Death?

From whence it is inferred, that our great Creator dispenses Justice to these Creatures, supposing them mortal, in this Life; and, if to them, why not, by some such Means, to us? But before we pretend to determine whether or no such Sufferers as these are to be recompenced, or to have Justice done them, as here suppos'd, it is proper we should know what Injustice there would be done them, if such Recompence and supposed Justice were neglected; and I think it is obvious, none at all.

Supposing the Beasts free from any Im­putation of Guilt, whereby they may be thought to deserve either more or less of their Creator; what Right, in the true Idea of Justice, have they to expect any thing more from their Maker than he has been pleased to confer on them?—Shall the Clay reply unto the Potter, wherefore hast thou fashioned [Page 57] me thus? Has not the supreme Being un­doubtedly a just Right to do what he pleases with every Particle of Matter, and every Power in the Universe?—Most certainly he has: And, therefore, it is no Injustice to any Creature, that it is made more vile, or less happy than another; seeing it has no Merit at all in itself, nor more than a Crea­ture that is less happy than it.

Has Man then any Right to reply to his Maker, even supposing that, acting from the Passions and Inclinations of his Nature, he has not the least Imputation of Guilt laid to his Charge? Has he any Right to com­plain that these Evils, attendant on his mortal Frame, are unjustly laid on him; tho' he be supposed free from Guilt, and, therefore it may be said, he deserves not to be afflicted with Pain; yet, as he can have not the least Merit but what was conferred on him, what Title has he to the least Satisfaction or Plea­sure?

If therefore we enjoy the Blessings and Comforts of Humanity without deserving them, with equal Justice the Sufferings and Inconveniencies of it may be inflicted on us; [Page 58] without which, those Blessings and Comforts would be less sweet, and less valuable than they now are.

Thus, it is extremely clear, that nothing is more rational than for us to conclude, there is a Necessity of future Rewards and Punishments; not only from our abstracted Notions of Virtue and Vice, but from the Sickness, Anguish and Persecutions of the Virtuous, in this Life; while many of the Wicked are much more free from those Em­barrasments.

If then there be a Necessity for a future Distribution of Justice, the Opinion of the Soul's Immortality has not its Source from a vitiated Power of Reasoning, but has its Foundation naturally implanted in the Soul. And, seeing it is so, it is no Wonder that Opinion is so extensive: But, on the con­trary, it is something remarkable that it was not so universal, or rather so general, in the earliest Ages of the World as it is now.

Having now considered the Objections made to the Proofs and apparent Reasons for the Immortality of the human Soul, and [Page 59] finding them irrational and groundless; we will proceed to examine the Reasons that induce some Men to think it otherwise.— To this End we are led to consider our Re­lation to those Creatures, whom we don't scruple to pronounce have no Title to Im­mortality.

SECT. VII. Our Relation to the Brute Creation consider'd.

IN this Section of our opposite Essay, is drawn a Parallel betwen Mankind and the Brutes; respecting the Constitution and necessary Preservation of the Body.—We are subject to Death, as they are.—We cannot live without Sustenance any more than they. —are as liable in our Natures to Hurts, Pains and Diseases, as they—and the like.

From this Manner of Comparison there­fore, should be inferred a Similarity, affecting the essential Dignity of Brutes and Men; or else it is of no Use to the Point in De­bate. And yet, it is plain, no such Infe­rence is drawn: For, after this, it is allowed that, all Matter is essentially the same, and differs only in its Modification; but that the [Page 60] different Modification of Matter gives it no superior or inferior Degree of Merit. So that this Parallel, relating to the Bodies of Men and Brutes, can have no other Effect than to convince us, they are both equally liable to Pains, Diseases, and Death: A Truth sufficiently evident, without any great ratio­nal Enquiry: And yet such Arguments as these are thought of great Consequence, a­mong the Deists; and make up great Part of their learned and rational Systems: For which Reason it is introduced in this Dis­quisition.—We shall therefore pass over this Section, with only remarking, agree­able to our opposite Essay, that the Form or Body of Man gives him no manner of Title to Immortality, or any Pre-eminence, in the Order of Beings, to the Brutes: But, there being Instances of Creatures, so nearly re­sembling the Human as well as the Brute Species, that it has been impossible to de­termine by their Form, to which they most properly belong'd; it is therefore, we may justly conclude, that, whatever may be the Form or Properties of Bodies, animated by Souls of any Degree, that the Similarity of these Properties is not the least Indication of the essential Similarity of such Souls.

[Page 61]We shall, therefore, proceed now, to ex­amine how nearly the Souls of Brutes and Men resemble each other.

SECT. VIII. The Souls of Brutes and Men compared.

OUR opposite Essay here says that, because, it is not allowed that Spirit is a Property of Matter; but, that the Soul, either of a Brute or Man, is an existent Be­ing; the actuating Principle of a Brute must, therefore, be of the same Kind with that of Man; as if it was impossible that two Beings should be essentially different. And then it proceeds to say, what possible Degree of Inferiority, suppose the lowest, can affect any Being so much as to make it mortal, while another Being, acting in the same Manner, is immortal.— Here again. it is taken for granted, that two Beings, be­cause such, and not Properties of Beings, must act in the same Manner, without con­sidering their essential Properties. To de­termine therefore, whether they act in the same Manner, or how far they are essen­tially similar, we will compare a just De­finition of the Soul of Man, with the most exalted One of that of the Brute.

[Page 62]We have, in the first Section of this Essay, shewn the great Imperfection of the Definition, there repeated, of the human Soul; which is, indeed, as applicable to the Brutes as to some of Mankind.

Suppose then, that we allow, agreeable to the Conclusions drawn in Section the ninth, of our opposite Essay, that the Souls of Brutes are capable, as well as some Men, to reflect, judge, and reason of Causes and their Effects; the ultimate End of their Actions is their own Preservation and Bene­fit, and the Source of them an innate Self-Love, that directs them to that End.

This is the most noble Definition that can possibly be given of the Soul of Brutes.

Now, having made it evident, that the Soul of Man, having implanted in it the sa­cred Impulse of his Conscience, acts, not only rationally from Self-Love, to his own Preservation and Benefit, but from the Dictates of that Conscience, impartial and just. It is equally evident, that it is by much essentially superior to that of the Brute; and that their Manner of Acting is widely [Page 63] different. And this Conclusion is just, even tho' we allow, that the Powers of Reason are, in the Brute, superior to those in some Men, whom we do not scruple to pro­nounce have immortal Souls.

Our opposite Essay says, take the most ignorant of all the human Species, and compare his intellectual Faculties, to those of a Locke, a Newton, or a Boyle,—What a wonderful Difference! and yet we allow the one a Soul as immortal as the other,— undoubtedly.—A Man who, thro' the natural Weakness of his Understanding, may be incapable of entertaining any, but the most simple and obvious Truths, may yet act more from the Dictates of his Conscience, than another, who, with all the Advanta­ges of intellectual Powers, is capacitated to entertain every Branch of the most intricate Knowledge. An artless illiterate Plowman may be a more conscientious or virtuous Man than the most learned and wise Philo­sopher.

So that the Dignity of the rational Pow­ers, in the Soul, does not determine its Immortality; notwithstanding, we have al­low'd, [Page 64] in Sect. 4th of this Essay, that the extraordinary Acquirements of those Pow­ers in the human Soul, may justly give us Reason to believe our End shall not be like that of those Animals, whose Understand­ings are calculated to render them obedient, or, in some Degree, serviceable to Man.

Now, as it appears, that the essential Pro­perties of the Souls of Brutes and Men are not the same, and that their Manner of Ac­ing is not the same, the Argument offered on this Supposition, has no Weight at all.

We shall not here pretend to justify Bi­shop Burnet's Supposition, that, because the Souls of Brutes are incapable of Good or Evil, Rewards or Punishments, therefore, they may be perpetually rolling about from one Body to another; neither, shall we commend Dr. Watts for giving up the De­cision, relating to these Souls; in which, tho' he might be at a Loss to determine, whether the Brutes have Souls or no, he might easily have made it evident, that, supposing they had Souls, they were not only of an inferior but of a different Nature, to the Souls of Men. And therefore, no Conclusion could be drawn, let the Case be [Page 65] decided either Way, with Respect to their having, or not having, Souls, that could affect the Nature, Reason, or Religion of Mankind.

SECT. IX. The Understanding of Men and Brutes con­sidered.

HAVING already determined, that no comparative Degree, in the ratio­nal Faculties of the Soul, can entitle any Creature, more or less, to Immortality: We enter on the Subject of this ninth Sec­tion, meerly to consider, whether or no, the Sagacity, appearing in the Actions of Brutes, may not be better accounted for, than by our attributing to them the Pow­ers of Reason.

It is said, in our opposite Essay, that, as the same Effect must proceed from the same Cause, therefore many of the Actions of the Beasts being reasonable, they must be en­dowed with Reason. It is true, they act wisely, for the Service and Preservation of their Species; but this no Proof they act ra­tionally; for, tho' Men sometimes, or for the most Part, acting rationally do con­tribute [Page 66] to the Service and Preservation of Mankind; yet. so imperfect are those rational Powers in the Soul, in foreseeing the consequence of our Actions; that it often happens, that, acting according to the most reasonable Design of promoting Good; proves the Production of Evil.

Thus, then, the remarkable Sagacity of the Brutes in their own Preservation; is no Proof they are possessed of Reason; because the Powers of Reason are not always pro­ductive of that Preservation: And it is plain; that Instinct: serves the Purposes of the Ani­mal equally as well as, or better than, Reason.

For, as Mr. Pope says,

Where'er full Instinct is th' unerring Guide,
What Pope or Council can, they need beside?

Now, that Reason and Instinct are not the same Powers, as our opposite Essay would infer, will be evident in comparing both. The Powers of Reason are capable of entertaining Knowledge, and of making sur­prizing progressive Improvements in that Knowledge, by Inventions and Discoveries; many of them to the Destruction, not the Preservation of their Species: And while [Page 67] these Inventions have been formed to the Prejudice of Mankind, equally ingenious have been the Improvements made on the other Hand for their Benefit: Thus, Disco­very advancing upon Discovery, each suc­ceeding Age has acted in a different Sphere of Wisdom; and the necessary Means of our Preservation, are so far superior to those of the Brute-Creation, that they are infinite­ly greater than those of Men in former Ages.

Our progressive Knowledge in Arts and Sciences, the necessary Means of the Ser­vice and Preservation of Mankind, suffici­ently evidence this.

Now the Knowledge of the Brutes, and the necessary Means they take for their Pre­servation, are undoubtedly the same as they were four Thousand Years ago.

It may be objected to this, indeed, by saying, that Man, having invented other Means for the Destruction of the Beasts, than were practis'd. in the earliest Ages, we must conclude, from hence, that the Brutes take their more improv'd Methods for their Preservation.

[Page 68]This Objection, however, has very little in it; for, supposing that a Beast does now very prudently avoid Means taken for its Destruction, which those of former Ages never met with; this is no Proof that its rational Faculties are more invested with Knowledge than its Predecessors; since, had the same Circumstance attended a Beast of the same Kind many Centuries ago, we have not the least room to imagine, but that it would have avoided that Circumstance with equal Circumspection and Prudence.

The Difference between the Powers of Instinct and Reason, will further appear in comparing the Effects of both.

In Man, we are obliged to own that the Powers of Reason, given him by his Creator, are not sufficient to acquaint him with the Sciences of Commerce and Government, in their greatest Perfections, without long Application and Study; and that these Arts have risen to such Perfections has been ow­ing to the gradual Improvement made by Men of the most refined and extensive Un­derstandings.

[Page 69]In Brutes, we see no Improvement of their Sciences.—The Bees always had the same unalterable Laws and Politics as now— The Pismire the same Oeconomy.—The Spider the same Art, and every other Animal the same Knowledge, in these Respects, as now.—And it is plain, these Sciences are not in them the Production of Reason, but of Instinct; for, if of Reason, wherever there was an equal Share of the Cause, there would be so of the Effect; and as Man is allowed, in his highest Perfections, to have a greater Share of Reason than any of the Brutes; he would undoubtedly be more a­ble to act as they do: and yet, who like the Spider

—can Parallels design
Sure as De Moiyre without Rule or Line.

Now, so far from our Reason's being able to direct us in this, we cannot devise by what Means it is done.

So the wonderful Mechanism of the Birds, —each, in its several Kind, singular and inimitable, not only impracticable to us, but to Creatures, so little remov'd from [Page 70] them in their Species, that we can scarce tell the Difference, unless by these Indica­tions of their particular Instinct.

In the Mechanism of Men, we see, even the strongest Genius, must be indebted to long Application and Practice, before he ex­cels in any Art; whereas, in that of the Brutes, we see the first Attempt equal in Beauty and Elegance to the last.

It is possible this last Assertion may be de­nied; as it is the Custom of Deistical Dis­putants, to deny every Thing that they think cannot easily be proved, tho' there be not the least Room to question its Veracity; but while there is not one Reason brought to make us doubt this to be Truth, why should we question the most impartial Evidence of our Senses?

Upon the whole then, there appears the strongest Probability for us to conclude, that the Sagacity of the Brutes, respecting their Actions, is not the Effect of Reason; but of Instinct: And this is their unerring Guide.

[Page 71]But whether this be so or no; and, tho' the Brutes should be equally possess'd of ra­tional Faculties with Mankind; all their Sa­gacity cannot, as has been before proved, give them the least Title to Immortality.

SECT. X. On the Probability and Possibility of the Soul's Immortality, with a rational De­finition of God.

IN this last Section, of our opposite Essay, it is inferred from the Similarity of na­tural Powers, in their Beginning, Progress and Decays that all Powers are subject to Annihilation; because it is exampled, that, many of them may cease to act; and, as Spirit or Power is allowed to be nothing but Action, and upon its Cessation of Acting it must cease to be, therefore they may be an­nihilated.

It is also asserted, that all these Powers, whether acting on inanimate Things, by ap­parent Necessity, or rationally and freely, as is supposed, in Men and Brutes; yet, as [Page 72] effect of the same Cause, they must be all exactly of the same Nature; and therefore all equally subject to Annihilation—Here then is the pretended Possibility of the Mor­tality of the Soul—The Probability is drawn from the Cessation of Action, or the Anni­hilation of these Powers, after the Disper­sion of that Part of Matter in which they acted.

In Answer to the former—If, as Effects of the same Cause, all these Powers are es­sentially the same, every Thing that is the Effect of the Being of God must be ex­actly the same too; and then a Man, a Horse, a Tree, a Mushroom, have no es­sential Difference; and yet, supposing this to be true, it is evident that, with respect to Duration of Existence, there is a wide Di­stinction: And tho' we allow that the Powers acting on Plants, are the same in one Plant as another; yet we see some flourish but a few Days, and die; others again are more than an hundred Years in arriving to their Perfection: so that the Power which acts on a Mushroom may exist but for a Day or two—That upon a Flower something longer, [Page 73] and that upon an Aloe a Century of Years— If this then proves no essential Difference, their being of the same Nature with the Soul of Man, does not at all argue, that that Soul may not exist ten thousand Years, or to all Eternity.

In answer to the latter—Notwithstand­ing the Powers acting on inanimate Things, as Plants, Trees, &c. may be annihilated upon the Dispersion of that Matter on which they act: it is because the proper Frame of that Matter is immediately affected by their acting; whereas the Souls of Men and Brutes are allow'd capable of acting on them— selves, that is, by Reflection; for tho' the Organs of the Body, in this State of Union are assistant to the Powers of Reflection, yet the Consequence drawn from Propositions, &c. is a pure Act of the Soul. Hence then the Power of acting on Men and Brutes must be left out of this System; and the Arguments, already advanced, have not on­ly more than amounted to a Probability that the Soul of Man is immortal, but have proved it necessary, on account of that sa­cred Impulse implanted in him, called. Con­science. [Page 74] —Now our opposite Essay, not supposing the Beasts capable of Virtue and Vice, 'twould be needless to prove they are void of that Impulse, as they undoubtedly are; and of which, if required, might be given undeniable Demonstration; but, as all the Reasons offer'd in Opposition to the Im­mortality of the Soul of Man, in that Essay, which are the great Artillery of the Deists, are sufficiently confuted, in their own Man­ner of Reasoning. I have finished the De­sign of these Disquisitions.

From what has been proved then to judge of the Essence of God—It is rational to con­clude we are not left so ignorant of his Na­ture, as only to know him as the first Cause of all Things and no further. Every Man from the Dictates of Conscience, is obliged to own, that the Author of all Things has a Right to dispose of them at his Pleasure, therefore there can be no Injustice in the di­vine Being; and this Source of moral Vir­tue in the Mind, convinces us, it being the only infallible Impulse in human Nature, and coming from that first Cause, that this is the truest Image of God. — Therefore [Page 75] the divine Being must be all Virtue and Holiness. — The daily Works of Providence must fill every Man with Ideas of the infinite Wisdom and Power of this first Cause.—So that it is evident, that the Author of all Things or GOD, is infinite­ly wise, holy, just and powerful, and tho' our Ideas of Holiness, Wisdom, &c. are the Effect of the rational conscientious Mind, as a secondary Cause; yet, they have their Foundation in God: And, though they may fall short of giving us a compleat De­finition of the divine Being, they are just, though faint, Copies of its infinite Per­fections.

Since the Cause is really so then, and the rational Powers are so subject to Error, is it not to the Interest of every Man, instead of perplexing himself with metaphysical Ques­tions, to enquire, whether he acts according to the Dictates of his Conscience.

For, however other Points may be deter­mined, this is of the last Importance, and, perhaps, the only one in which he is an infallible Judge.

[Page 76]And with respect to reveal'd Systems of Religion; the Believers of them, if false, can be no Sufferers in the End, if they act equally in Obedience to their Consciences, and it is not at all irational to conclude, that some Men may have had a larger Share than others, of that Knowledge of the Deity, which is to beacquir'd by the Dictates of Con­science; and, which may be justly called, In­spiration: And that System is, undoubtedly, the most probable to be truly revealed, that is most agreeable to that sacred Im­pulse: And, that the Christian System is so, is allowed by our opposite Essay, when it says, it contains a System of Morality, truly just and noble.

Thus, Reason convinces us, that, being in itself, so liable to Error, it is rational for us to believe in the Christian System of Religion, notwithstanding there may be ever so many apparent Absurdities attend­ing it. For, after all our Enquiries, we are obliged to own

[Page 77]
The Ways of Heaven are dark and in­tricate.
Puzzled in Mazes and perplex'd in Errors,
Our Understanding traces them in vain;
Lost and bewilder'd in the fruitless Search;
Nor sees with how much Art the Windings run,
Nor where the regular Confusion ends.

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