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ously,' said the astronomer, ‘in the darkness of heathenism, and the first dawn of philosophy. The nature of the soul is still disputed, amidst all our opportunities of clearer knowledge: some yet say, that it may be material, who, nevertheless, believe it to be immortal.'
• Some,' answered Imlac, have indeed said, that the soul is material; but I can scarcely believe, that any man has thought it, who knew how to think; for all the conclusions of reason enforce the immateriality of mind, and all the notices of sense and investigations of science concur to prove the unconsciousness of matter.
' It was never supposed that cogitation is inherent in matter, or that every particle is a thinking being Yét, if any part of matter be devoid of thought, what part can we suppose to think? Matter can differ from matter only in form, density, bulk, motion, and direction of motion : to which of these, however varied or combined, can consciousness be annexed ? To be round or square, to be solid or fluid, to be great or little, to be moved slowly or swiftly one way or another, are modes of material existence, all equally alien from the nature of cogitation. If matter be once withour thought, it can only be made to think by some new modification, but all the modifications which it can admit are equally unconnected with cogitative powers.'
. But the materialists,' said the astronomer, urges, that matter may have qualities with which we are unacquainted.'
• He who will determine,' returned Imlac, against that which he knows, because there may he something which he knows not; he that can set :
hypothetical possibility agaiust acknowledged certainty, is not to be admitted among reasonable beings. All that we know of matter is, that matter is inert, senseless, and lifeless; and if this conviction cannot be opposed but by referring us to something that we know not, we have all the evidence that human intellect can admit. If that which is known may be overruled by that which is unknown, no being, not omniscient, can arrive at certainty.'
" Yet let us not,' said the astronomer, “too arrogantly limit the Creator's power.'
• It is no limitation of omnipotence,' replied the poet, 'to suppose, that one thing is not consistent with another, that the sanie proposition cannot be at once true and false, that the same number cannot be even and odd, that cogitation cannot be conferred on that which is created incapable of cogi. tation.'
“I know not,' said Nekayah, “any great use of this question. Does that immateriality, which in my opinion you have sufficiently proved, necessarily include eternal duration?'
• Of immateriality,' said Imlac, our ideas are negative, and therefore obscure. Immateriality seems to imply a natural power of perpetual duration as a consequence of exemption from all causes of decay: whatever perishes is destroyed by the solution of its contexture, and separation of its parts; nor can we conceive how that which has no parts, and therefore admits no solution, can be naturally corrupted or impaired.'
I know not,' said Rasselas, - how to conceive any thing without extension; what is extended must have parts, and you allow, that whatever has parts may be destroyed.'
. Consider your own conceptions,' replied Imlac, and the difficulty will be less. You will find substance without extension. An ideal form is no less. real than material bulk: yet an ideal form has no extension. It is no less certain, when you think on a pyramid, that your mind possesses the idea of a pyramid, than that the pyramid itself is standing. What space does the idea of a pyramid occupy more than the idea of a grain of corn? or how can either suffer laceration? As is the effect such is the cause : as thought such is the power that thinks; a power impassive and indiscerptible.'
* But the Being,' said Nekayah,' whom I fear to name; the Being which made the soul, can de
' He surely can destroy it,' answered Imlac, since, however unperishable, it receives from a superior nature its power of duration. That it will not perish by any inherent cause of decay, or principle of corruption, may be shown by philosophy; but philosophy can tell no more. That it will not be annihilated by him that made it, we must humbly learn from higher authority.'
The whole assembly stood awhile silent and collected. Let us return,' said Rasselas,' from this scene of mortality. How gloomy would be these. mansions of the dead to him who did not know that he should never die, that what now acts shall continue its agency, and what now thinks shall think on for ever! Those that lie here stretched before us, the wise and the powerful of ancient times, warn us to remember the shortness of our present state: they were, perhaps, snatched away while they were busy, like us, in the choice of life.'
'To me,' said the princess,' the choice of life is become less important; I hope hereafter to think only on the choice of eternity' Johnson
BEAUTY AND UTILITY COMBINED IN THE PRO
DUCTIONS OF NATURE.
THERON AND ASPASIO.
THERON and Aspasio took a morning walk into the fields; their spirits cheered, and their imaginations lively; gratitude glowing in their hearts, and the whole creation smiling around them.
After sufficient exercise, they seated themselves on a mossy hillock, wiich offered its conch. The rising Sun had visited the spot, to dry up the dews and exhale the damps, that might endanger health ; to open the violets, and to expand the primroses, that decked the green. The whole shade of the wood was collected behind them; and a beautiful, extensive, diversified landscape spread itself before them.
Theron, according to his usual manner, made many improving remarks on the prospect, and its furniture. He traced the footsteps of an Allcomprehending contrivance, and pointed out the strokes of inimitable skill. He observed the grand exertions of power, and the rich exuberance of goodness, most signally, most charmingly conspicuous through the whole. Upon one circumstance he enlarged, with particular satisfaction.
Ther. See! Aspasio, how all is calculated to administer the highest delight to mankind. Those trees and hedges, which skirt the extremities of the landscape, stealing away from their real bulk, and lessening by gentle diminutions, appear like elegant pictures in miniature. Those which oecupy the nearer situations, are a set of noble images, swelling upon the eye, in full proportion, and in a variety of graceful attitudes; both of them ornamenting the several apartments of our common abode, with a mixture of delicacy and grandeur.
The blossoms that array the branches, the flowers that embroider the mead, address and entertain our eyes with every charm of beauty: whereas, to other creatures, they are destitute of all those attractions, which result from a combination of the loveliest colours, and the most alluring forms. Yonder streams, that glide, with smooth serenity, along the valleys, glittering to the distant view, like sheets of polished crystal, or soothing the attentive ear, with the softness of aquatic murmurs, are not less exhilarating to the fancy, than refreshing to the soil through which they pass. The huge, enormous mountain; the steep and dizzy precipice; the pendent horrours of the craggy promontory; wild and awful as they are, furnish an agreeable entertainment to the human mind; and please, even while they amaze : whereas, the beasts take no other notice of those majestic deformities, than to avoid the dangers they threaten.
Asp. How wonderfully do such considerations