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THE

INTRODUCTION

CONCERNING

The CARE of the SOUL.

I. Man is compofed of an immortal Soul; and II. of a mortal Body. III. How the future State of the Soul is determined; and IV. the Neceffity of caring for the Soul. V. It is in every Man's Power to take that Care of bis Soul which the Gospel requires.

I.

MA

AN confifts of foul and body; a foul, which never dieth, and, according to the care we take of it in this life, is defigned to return unto God, who made it; when the body fhall return unto the earth, from whence it was taken. And therefore, We may rightly conclude, that the foul of man

is an immaterial principle, diftinct from the The foul is, ተ body, and is the cause of those several operations, which by inward fenfe and experience we are conscious of to ourselves. It is that whereby we think and remember, whereby we reafon and debate about any thing, and do freely chufe and re

Man confifts

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body.

+ We learn from scripture, that a beast has a spirit diftinct from its body, and that the faid fpirit is feparated from it by death; and, that they are not to be confidered as mere machines and engines without real fenfation, is as evident to us, as that Men have fenfations; for the brute beafts appear to have all the five fenfes as truly as any man whatever. Nevertheless it will not follow, that their fouls are immortal in the sense we attribute immortality to the fouls of men; because they are not capable of the exercise of reafon and religion: whereas the immortality of mens fouls confift not only in a capacity of living in a state feparate from the body, but of living so as to be fenfible of happinets and mifery, in that itate of fe paration; because they are not only endued with a faculty of fenfe, but with other faculties that do not depend upon, or have any connection with matter. And therefore altho' it fhould be allowed, that the fouls of brutes remain when feparated from their bodies; yet being only endowed with a fenfitive principle, the operations of which depend upon an organical difpofition of the body, which being. once diffolved, they probably lapfe into an infenfible and inactive state; and being no further neceffary, may return to their primitive nothing.

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fufe fuch things as are prefented to us; it is fo created by thể divine wisdom and goodness, as not to have in itself any principle of corruption; but that it will naturally, or of itself, continue for ever, and cannot by any natural deImmortal. cay, or power of nature, be diffolved or deftroyed: That when the body falls into the ground, the foul will ftill remain and live separate from it, and continue to perform all fuch operations, towards which the organs of the body are not neceffary, and not only continue, but live in this feparate state, so as to be fenfible of happiness or misery.

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All which truths have great probability from lity proved the evidence of reafon ; and natural arguments inby reason. cline us to believe them. Now the arguments from reafon are taken from the nature of the foul itfelf; for those several actions and operations, which we are all conscious of to ourselves, fuch as liberty, or a power of chufing or refufing, and the feveral acts of reafon and understanding, cannot without great violence be ascribed to matter, or be refolved into any bodily principle; and therefore we must attribute them to another principle different from matter; and confequently immortal and incapable of corruption in its own nature. Befides,

When all men, tho' diftant and remote from one another, and different in their tempers and manners, and ways of education; when the most barbarous nations, as well as the most polite, agree in a thing, we may well call it the voice of nature, or a natural notion or dictate of our minds. And it is evident from the teftimony of many ancient heathen writers, and the confent of feveral credible hiftories, that they believed that men and women do live after death, and have an existence, when separated from their bodies; and confequently that the foul is immortal. It is true, that fome few inftances may be brought where some have denied this, but their oppofition is no proof that this notion is not natural; for fome few exceptions are no better arguments against an universal confent, than some few monsters and prodigies are against the regular course of nature; because men may offer violence to nature, and debauch their understandings by luft, intereft or pride, and an affectation of fingularity. Moreover

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The fenfe of nature is very evident from the great number of wicked men in the world, who, notwithstanding it is their intereft that there fhould be no life after this, cannot overcome the fears of those torments in which the wicked are threatened to be punished for ever.

Again, this truth is confirmed by thofe natural notions we have of God, and of the effential difference between good and evil; for the belief of a God implies the belief of his infinite. goodness and justice. The first, or his goodness inclines him to make fome creatures more perfect than others, and capable of greater degrees of happiness, and of longer duration; because goodness delights in communicating its own perfections: and fince in man are found the perfections of an immortal nature, which are knowledge and liberty, we may infer, that he is endowed with fuch a principle as in its own nature is capable of eternal life.

The latter, or his infinite justice proves, that he loves righteousness and hates iniquity: but the difpenfations of his providence in this world being very promifcuous, fo that good men often suffer, and that for the fake of righteousness; that wicked men frequently profper, and that by means of their wickedness; it is reasonable to believe the fuitable distribution of rewards and punishments in a future ftate: because, as there is a difference between good and evil founded in the nature of things, it is reasonable to imagine they will be distinguished by rewards and punishments, not in this world, but in a future ftate, where all things fhall be fet right, and the juftice of God's providence vindicated; which is the very thing meant by the immortality of the foul. And

Lastly, the natural hopes and fears of men, cannot well be accounted for without the belief of the foul's immortality; fuch hopes and fears are common to all men. For, what would it avail to be defirous to perpetuate a name to pofterity, and by brave actions endeavour to purchase fame, if there was not a belief of an existence in another world to enjoy it? Or, can it be thought that they, who by the virtue and piety of their lives, by the juftice and honefty of their actions have endeavoured to feek the Lord, have not been raised to an expectation of rewards after death? Again, how can you account for

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that shame and horror, which follow the commiffion of any wicked action, tho' covered with the greatest privacy, and unknown to anyone but the offender? certainly it can be only the effect of nature, which fuggefts to them the certainty of an after-reckoning, when they fhall be punished for their bad actions, or rewarded for their good; and fo fills the one full of hopes, and the other with fear and dread.

These are fuch arguments as in reason the nature of the thing will bear; for, an immortal nature is neither capable of the evidence of sense, nor of mathematical demonftration; and therefore we should content ourselves with these arguments in this matter, so far as to fuffer ourselves to be perfuaded, that it is highly probable. But

That which giveth us the greatest affurance of it, By fcripture. is the revelation of the gofpel,whereby life and immortality is brought to light, and which is the only fure foundation of our hopes, and an anchor for our faith; because the authority of God is above all reason and human knowledge. The refurrection of Chrift is not only a manifeft proof of his divine authority, and that he was a prophet fent from God, but also that we shall rife again to be reunited with our fouls; and therefore should make us prefer the intereft of our fouls before all the advantages of this life: nay, it should make us ready and willing to part with every thing that is most dear to us in this world, to fecure their eternal welfare; because if we lose our own fouls, all the enjoyments of this world can make us no recompence. Wherefore

Let us always be zealous and diligent in the ways of piety and virtue; for, it is only by fuch qualifications that our fouls can be prepared to enjoy the happiness of their immortal ftate. Let us carefully avoid all fin, as the greatest enemy to our future hopes, as well as of our present comfort and ease. Let us not yield our affections too much to this world, which was never defigned for our happiness, and is not capable of fatisfying the defires of an immortal being: for, the belief of our immortal state will fupport us under all the afflictions of this life, knowing that here we have no abiding city, but expect one to come immortal in the heavens, and will comfort us at the approach of

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death; because when this earthly tabernacle is diffolved, we fhall be received into the manfions of eternal bliss. For,

Notwithstanding the fall of our first parents has made us all fubject to death, yet our fouls, when feparated from our bodies, fhall live in another ftate; and even our bodies, tho' com-. mitted to the grave, and turned to duft, shall, at the last day, rife again, and be united to our fouls; and being fo united, the whole man, body and foul, fhall be made capable of eternal happiness or mifery. And

II. Since this is the cafe with all of us, how in- The body. confiderately do men act in fpending fo much thought about the body, which is the feat of pains and the most noisome diseases, whilst it is alive; and which death (which it cannot escape) renders fo intolerably offenfive and odious, that it must be buried out of our fight. To fpend all our time and care about this vile part the body, and to neglect the most valuable part the foul, which is of ineftimable worth, on account of its noble faculties, and as it is made after God's own image, and is to exift to all eternity, certainly argues the greateft degree of imprudence and stupidity. Not that I would be understood to intend, that we must neglect our bodies: but that which promotes the intereft of our fouls, must be preferred before any interefts of the body, which cannot live without the foul. For

Every prefent enjoyment, tho' it be ever fo Has no cer comfortable, may be loft; and as riches, whatever tain happiadvantage they give us, may take themselves wings and fly away; How many are reduced in a few hours from plentiful circumstances to extreme neceffity by fire or water? Befides, if people do imagine themselves fecure in an inheri tance, a small obfervation of human life may fhew, that this cannot abfolutely be depended upon; for, fraud and violence may turn a man out of his fortune or eftate: And where is the perfon that can depend upon a continued state of health? The most confirmed conftitution is not proof against the affaults of pain or fickness; for, every member of the body, every bone, and joint, and finew, lies open to many disorders; and the greatest prudence, or precaution, or fkill of the phyfician cannot many times prevent those disorders from com

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