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SERM. which are all we can conceive in such beings, II. that can produce any effect. Every one of these
latter ideas however, takes in the primary senfible qualities; whatever appears to us hot, cold, coloured, &c. appears at the same time extended, divisible and figured. But we find also in our own minds, perceptions of another kind, which take in no ideas of any sensible qualities. By attending to the exercise of our own powers and the various modes of thinking, we have notions, and the knowledge of truths, which have no manner of relation to extension, magnitude, divisibility, figure, or motion. But the other and lower, even the sentient principle, opens to us a scene in nature different from the curious and beautiful fabric of the heavens, the earth, and all other inanimate effects. For they require nothing besides unactive and unintelligent matter for the subject of them, tho'they lead us to the acknowledgment of wisdom and design in the directing and disposing cause; but bere seems to be in the effect itself a superior order of being, having properties and powers of a kind intirely different; and this seems to be in all the various forts of animals, in some degree or other, some of them being more, some less perfectly sensitive. It is true, we can't know what passes in brutes, as we do what passes in our own minds:
Yet when we consider their organs in the ex-SERM. terior form, and in the anatomy of them, ve
II. ry much resembling our own; and when we consider the effects which follow the presenting, and the application of material objects to them, very like those which appear in us on the same occasion, we cannot well avoid concluding, that they have the external senses of hearing, seeing, feeling, tasting and smelling, in common with
and the like perception of sensible qualities as we have. Some philofophers haverepresented them as mere machines ; and the whole æconomy of their senses and operations, as if it were no more than a curious piece of clock-work, form’d with exquisite art. But this notion is deservedly exploded; for indeed the obvious appearances can never be accounted for by any mechanical hypothesis.
But let us consider the sensitive powers as we find them in ourselves; and though they are the lower part of our nature, far less excellent than some other faculties of the human mind, yet they seem to be of quite another kind and original, and of a higher nature than the gross corporeal part, or any of its organs;
indeed higher than any naturally incogitative and unactive being is capable of, at least, without the interpofition of a superior designing Agent. If now we have found a being, nay, Vol. I.
SER M.a multitude of beings in the world, essentially II. distinguish'd from others by the peculiar pow
ers of perception, exercis’d in a variety of modes, this must overthrow all the Atheistical hypotheses. For their necessary mechanical causes in an infinite serious, and atoms by a fortuitous motion compounding and diversifying themselves into various forms, are wholly insufficient to produce such effects. But this particular appearance leads us directly to acknowledge fomething resembling it, rather fuperior to it, that is understanding in the author. For can any one imagine, that a blind undesigning cause could have produc'd perception, distinguish'd into so many kinds, as of colours, sounds, pain, pleasure, &c. all united in one undivided principle? This perceptive faculty is a low image of intelligence, which is very reasonably attributed to a free intending Agent, who may, himself poffess’d of perfect power and wisdom, communicate various degrees of thofe perfections to his works, as he fees fit; but can never with any pretence of reason, be accounted for by chance or necefsity, or by any unperceiving cause; especially considering it as an abiding principle, uniformly subfervient to certain ends, fubfisting in a regular diversity of outwards forms, and in a great variety of degrees.
This will be still more evident, if we con- SERM. lider in conjunction with sense, that other
II. principal appearance of the animal life, spontaneous motion. We know that inanimate things at rest, necessarily continue so, till they are moved by a force superior to their own power of resistance: But animal bodies, either the whole, or particular members of them, change their posture, begin to move or continue in motion, by an inward activity and voluntary self-determination. This, one would think, should be a very surprizing phænomenon to the Atheist, who denies the existence of an original active Cause. But how does he get rid of the difficulty ? Why, he roundly denies
any such thing as self-motion; and alledges, that all which looks like it in animal action, is the mere effect of the inward agitation of the machine, raised by the impulse of external objects on the organs of sense. But to this account the fact does not at all agree; as every one may be easily fatisfied
be easily fatisfied by his own observation. Tho' 'tis true that in our sensations we are passive, and they necessarily arise, according to an establish'd law, by the impreffion which certain objects make upon us ; we cannot avoid the perception of pleasure and pain upon some occasions, nor the hearing of sounds and seeing of colours, when the
SER M.organs are duly dispos'd, and these sensations II. are necessarily attended with some motions in
the animal system ; yet for the actions which are called voluntary, we know, that, as they are never properly caused, they are often not so much as occasioned by the impulse of external objects. Is not every man conscious to himself that he moves his hands, his feet and other
parts of his body, by the sole command of his will, frequently when there is no impulse at all from without exciting him to it; and that the proper agent in fuch cases is the same conscious self, which is intimately present in all parts of the body, perceiving the impressions which are made upon it by its organs of sense ? We cannot indeed explain the nature and manner of this operation, nor would the exactest knowledge we can attain of the animal economy enable us to understand it. For tho' a learn’d anatomist
may describe the muscles, and shew their convenient situation, fitting them by their contractions to move the several members; yet how the act of the soul contracts those muscles, how it directs the course of the animal spirits, or influences whatever are the nearest and most immediate instruments of the animal motion; this he is as ignorant of, as the most unskilful rustic. But this they equally know, and all