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he shall bid his soul go out of his body undauntedly, and lift bis head with confidence before saints and angels. Surely, the comfort which it conveys at this season is something bigger than the capacities of mortality, mighty and unspeakable, and not to be under stood, till it comes to be felt.
Conscience, reply: O give it leave to speak;
An honest hour, and faithful to her trust.
Thoughts are formed in the speculative, but conscience belongs to the practical understanding. It is a very high, and awful power; it is solo Deo mi nor, and rides, (as Joseph did) in the second cha riot-the next and immediate officer under God. He saith of com science, with respect to every man, as he once said of Moses with respect to Pharaoh," See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh." (Exod. vii. 1.) The voice of conscience is the voice of God; for it is his vicegerent and representative. "What it binds on earth, is bound in heaven; and what it looseth on earth, is loosed in heaven." It observes, records, and bears witness of all our actions; and acquits and condemns, as in the name of God, for them. Its consom lations are most sweet, and its condemnations most terrible; so ter rible, that some have chosen death, which is the king of terrors, rather than, to endure the scorching heat of their own consciences. The greatest deference and obedience is due to its command, and a man had better endure any rack or torture in the world, than incur the torments of it. It accompanies us as our shadow wherever we go; and when all others forsake us, (as at death they will) conscience is then with us, and is never more active and vigorous than at that time. Nor doth it forsake us after death; but where the soul goes, it goes, and will be its companion in the other world for ever. How glad would the damned be, if they might but have left their consciences, behind them, when they went hence! But, as Bernard rightly says, "it is both witness, judge, tormentor, and prison:" it accuseth, judgeth, punisheth, and condemneth.
We are now about to enter upon by far the most important part
of our subject.
Thus far we have described this magnificent temple of the body, the rough material, the external and internal decorations; but we are now about to enter the "holy place within the vail."
We have delineated MAN from the foetus in the mother's wombthe helpless infant brought into the world-traced him to manhood -viewed his body anatomically, and watched the circulation of his blood. We have given a slight sketch of his propensities—his love of wealth and pleasure. We have viewed him sleeping and waking. We have, in some measure, opened his mind, and taken a slight view of the intellectual powers thereof his passions, his wandering imaginations, his floating ideas, his flashes of thought, that are constantly crossing his mind, his understanding, his reasoning powers. We have also discovered a conscious principle there; or, in other words, we have taken pains to analyze the casket, and now we shall attempt to describe the jewel it contains, which is, as Mr. Dente observes," the greatest wonder in the world."
It is this invisible agent which actuates the limbs, and which produces the harmony of motion. It is this which varies the physiognomy, and by turns impresses on it grace, majesty, innocence, and love.
Various indeed have been the opinions of philosophers and writers, in all ages of the world, as to the substance or essence of the soul, its situation or lodgement in the body, &c. But, whether it is lodged in the brain, or whether it looks out at every pore, I know not; but this I am willing to believe, that it does exist in the body, and will exist when the body is returned to the earth.
The stars shall fade away, the sun himself
Unhurt amid the war of elements,
The wreck of matter, and the crash of worlds.
The soul is that vital, immaterial, active substance or principle whereby man perceives, remembers, reasons, and wills. It is rather
to be described as to its operations, than to be defined as to its essence. Various, indeed, have been the opinions of philosophers concerning its substance. The Epicureans thought it a subtile air, composed of atoms, or primitive corpuscles. The Stoics maintained it was a flame, or portion of heavenly light. The Cartesians make thinking the essence of the soul.
Equally various have been their opinions concerning its situation. Hippocrates and Hierophilus place the seat of the soul in the ventricle of the brain; Democritus and Aristotle, through the whole body; Epicurus, in the stomach; the Stoics, about and within the heart; Erasistratus, adjoining the membrane of the epicranium; Empedocles, in the blood; and Moses, also Strato, between the eye-brows.
Where dwells that sovereign arbitrary soul,
And truths divine compose her godlike state?
We have each of us a power of thinking, reflecting, willing, and performing various acts, wherein our business, happiness, and importance, as intelligent creatures, consist. This active, conscious principle we call the soul. It hath its seat, at present, in the body; though it is of a nature very different from the body, and hath no symptoms or appearances attending it, which foretel its passing under such changes as are common to matter. Stennett.
The soul is an heavenly, spiritual, and immortal substance. It is a spark and ray of the Godhead, and the lively image of our great Creator; for, when God had made our first parent, he breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, (Gen. ii. 7.) that we might thereby understand that our souls alone proceeded from his unmediate hand; therefore, he is named the "Father of Spirits,” (Heb. xii.) and the "faithful Creator of souls." (1 Pet. iv.)
The soul raises us a degree above all animals, and above the celestial bodies, and renders us like the angels of heaven. It is the light that enlightens us, the salt that preserves us from corruption. In one word, by this soul we live, enjoy our senses, move, and understand. Drelincourt on Death.
If the body be an admirable machine, the soul is a substance yet more wonderful. The body, indeed, exists independent of the soul, but it is the soul which animates it. This is that invisible agent, which actuates the limbs, which produces that harmony of motion, and all those surprising movements, we discover in the body. It is the soul which varies the physiognomy, and by turns impresses thereon grace, majesty, fear, meekness, innocence, and love. This renders the countenance the index of the mind, so that we read thereon the thoughts which the tongue refuses to reveal. Without the soul, the body would be like a plant separated from the soil whence it drew its nourishment, and would perish as soon as delivered from the womb, notwithstanding its admirable structure, from its inability to select the aliments by which the decays of nature might be repaired; but however great this power of the soul, it is not confined to this. The body is undoubtedly a sensible being; but it is by the soul only, that we are enabled to judge of the univa
of both, and become conscious of that intimate communication, by which they are reciprocally sensible to the impressions of each other, and are indeed two distinct beings united in one.
The soul renders man an intelligent and free being; by its innate energy dissipates the darkness in which nature had involved him, whereby he becomes acquainted with other beings, his fellow-inhabitants of this earth; and, soaring above into the celestial regions, makes him comprehend nature in all his ideas; and is, in fine, the cause of that amazing knowledge and sagacity wherewith he is endowed.
It is the soul which assembles all the beings in nature before him, and calling back past times, in some sort extends his existence throughout all ages; raises him above sensible objects; transports him into the vast fields of imagination; enlarges, so to speak, the boundaries of the universe; creates new worlds; and enhances his enjoyments by the possession of objects which never had a being. In a word, the soul, by its knowledge and passions, enables this weak, imperfect creature, Man, to change the face of nature, and, at his will and pleasure, to become either its tyrant or benefactor.
Feltham. How great is the resemblance of the human soul to God! His existence and omnipresent agency is clearly seen in it. The invisibility of the soul demonstrates the invisible God.
Sir Richard Blackmore's Essays,
Now, in the same manner that we know what matter is, we know what a spirit is; not what the pure naked substance of a spirit is, but what its powers, virtues, operations, and qualities are, which are so essentially different from those of matter, that we have reason to make an essential difference between their substances also. We feel in ourselves something which understands, reasons, and wills; which can act freely and spontaneously; which can choose and refuse, and is the subject of different passions, of love, and hope, and fear, and desire, and grief, and the like; which are of a very different nature from all the virtues and qualities of bodies that we know of; and, therefore, must have a distinct and essentially different subject also, which we call the soul, or spirit, Dr. Sherlock,