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great truth under consideration without assuming it as something ultimate, as something resulting from our constitution, and that nothing more is wanting in order to arrive at it than a train of reasoning.—The sun, it is said, rose to day, therefore he will rise to-morrow: Food nourished me to-day, therefore it will do the same tomorrow : The fire burned me once, therefore it will again.
But it demands no uncommon sagacity to perceive that something is here wanting, and that a link in the chain of thought must be supplied in order to make it cohere. The mere naked fact that the sun rose to-day, without anything else being connected with it, affords not the least ground for the inference that it will rise again; and the same may be said of all similar instances. Now the link which is wanting in order to bind together the beginning and the end in such arguments as have been referred to, is the precise assumption which has been made, and which is held to be as reasonable as it is necessary, because it is founded on an acknowledged, universal, and elementary feeling of our nature. And we may here affirm with perfect confidence, that, without making this assumption, the power of reasoning cannot deduce a single general inference, cannot arrive at so much as one general conclusion, either in matter or mind, which has relation to the future.
But the moment we make the assumption, a vast foundation of knowledge is laid. Grant us this (to which we are fully entitled by virtue of that elementary belief which the Author of our being has uniformly called forth in the human mind in his appointed way), that nature is uniform in her laws; then give us the fact that food nourished us to-day, or that the sun rose to-day, or any other fact of the kind, and it follows, with readiness and certainty, that what has once been will be again.—So that we must regard the principle of the permanency and uniformity of the laws of nature as something antecedent to reasoning, and not subsequent to it; a principle authorized and sustained by an ultimate, and not by any secondary action of the mind.
9 14. On the meaning of the terms material and immaterial. ANOTIIER of those topics which may be deemed introductory and auxiliary to the main subject, is the question of the materiality or immateriality of the soul. In entering upon this inquiry, which is obviously too important to be altogether dispensed with, it will be necessary, in the first place, to explain the meaning of the leading terms.—The words MATERIAL and IMMATERIAL are relative, being founded on the observation of the presence or of the absence of certain qualities.—Why do we call a piece of wood, or of iron, material ? It is because we notice in them certain qualities, such as extension, divisibility, impenetrability, and colour. And, in whatever other bodies we observe the presence of these qualities, we there apply the term. The term IMMATERIAL, therefore, by the established use of the language and its own nature, it being in its etymology the opposite of the other, can be applied only in those cases where these qualities are not found.
Hence we assert the mind to be immaterial, because, in all our knowledge of it, we have noticed an utter absence (or, perhaps, more properly, have always failed to detect the presence of those qualities which are acknowledged to be the ground of the application of the opposite epithet
. The soul undoubtedly has its qualities or properties, but not those which have been spoken of. Whatever we have been conscious of, and have observed within us, our thought, our feeling, remembrance, and passion, are evidently and utterly diverse from what is understood to be included under the term materiality.
Such is the origin of these two terms, and the ground of the distinction between them. And, thus explained, they can hardly fail to be understood. We may, therefore, now proceed to state the evidence of the actual ex..
istence of that distinction between mind and matter which is obviously implied in every application of them. In other words, we are to attempt to show that the soul is not matter, and that thought and feeling are not the result of material organization.
Ø 15. Difference between mind and matter shown from language.
Is it a fact that the being or existence called the soul is distinct and different from that existence which we call MATTER?-It is not unusual, in writings on the philosophy of the mind, to refer to the structure of languages in order to illustrate our mental nature; and, in respect to the question now before us, we are warranted in saying, in the first place, that Language, in general, is one proof of such distinction. In the preceding section we have seen the use of certain terms in our own language, and the grounds of it. All other languages, as well as our own, have names and epithets distinctly expressive of the two existences in question. This circumstance, when we consider that the dialects of men are only their thoughts and feelings imbodied, as it were, may be regarded as a decisive proof that the great body of mankind believe in both, and, of course, believe in a well-founded distinction between them.
That such is the belief of men generally, as clearly evinced by the structure of languages and in various other ways, will not, probably, be denied. It is a matter too evident to permit us to anticipate a denial. When, , therefore, we take into view that there are grounds of belief fixed deeply and originally in our constitution, and. that, in their general operation, they must be expected to lead to truth and not to error, we are unable to harbour the supposition, that men are deceived and led astray in this opinion ; that they so generally and almost universally believe in the existence of what, in point of fact, does not exist.
$ 16. Their different nature shown by their respective properties.
Again, the distinction between mind and matter is shown by the difference in the qualities and properties which men agree in ascribing to them respectively.--The
properties of matter are extension, hardness, figure, wo lidity, divisibility, and the like. The attributes of inind are thought, feeling, volition, reasoning, the passions. The phenomena exhibited by matter and mind are not only different in their own nature, but are addressed, considered as objects of perception, to different parts of our constitution. We obtain a knowledge of material properties, so far as it is direct and immediate, by means of the senses; but all our direct knowledge of the nature of the mental phenomena is acquired by consciousness.
Every one knows that the phenomena in question are not identical There is no sameness or similitude, for instance, in what we express by the terms hardness and desire, solidity and hatred, divisibility and belief, extension and imagination. But let us look more at particulars. All matter is divisible. The smallest particle has its top and bottom, its right and left side, and may be regarded as susceptible of measurement. But what does consciousness testify in regard to the mental phenomena? Does it gives us the least intimation that they are mechanically divisible ? Is any man ever conscious of a half, quarter, or third of a hope, joy, or sorrow, actually cut asunder and set off from the remaining half, two thirds, or three quarters of such hope, joy, or sorrow? It is not only true that no one has had such experience, but no one ever conceives such experience possible. And as to extension, are we ever conscious of a thought, feeling, or volition as having length and breadth; as being, for instance, an inch in length and a half an inch in breadth ? There is nothing of the kind. Consciousness never gave, and it is not too much to say that it never will give, any such information. The properties or attributes of matter and mind, therefore, are entirely different. And as all persons hold it to be unphilosophical to ascribe attributes so different to the same subject, we conclude the subjects of them are not the same.
And accordingly, we call the subject of one class of phenomena Mind, and that of the other Matter. Ø 17. The soul's immateriality indicated by the feeling of identity. There is another somewhat striking consideration
which may aid in evincing the immateriality of the soul. It is well known that the materials of which the human body is composed are constantly changing. The whole bodily system repeatedly undergoes, in the course of the ordinary term of man's life, a complete renovation; and yet we possess, during the whole of this period, and amid these utter changes of the bodily part, a consciousness of the permanency as well as of the unity of the mind. “ This fact,” remarks Mr. Stewart,“ is surely not a little favourable to the supposition of mind being a principle essentially distinct from matter, and capable of existing when its connexion with the body is dissolved." Truly, if the soul, like the body, were made up of
particles of matter, and the particles were in this case, as in the other, always changing, we should be continually roving, as an old writer expresses it, and sliding away from ourselves, and should soon forget what we once were. The new soul, that entered into the same place, would not necessarily enter into the possession of the feelings, consciousness, and knowledge of that which had gone. And hence we rightly infer, from an identity in these respects, the identity or continued existence of the subject to which such feelings, consciousness, and knowledge belong. And as there is not a like identity or continued existence of the material part, we may infer, again, that the soul is distinct from matter.
$ 18. The material doctrine makes man a machine. The doctrine that thought is the result of material organization, and that the soul is not distinct from the body, is liable, also, to this no small objection: that it makes the soul truly and literally a machine. If what we term mind be in truth matter, it is, of course, under the same influences as matter. But matter, in all its movements and combinations, is known to be subject to a strict and inflexible direction, the origin of which direction is exterior to itself. The material universe is truly an automaton, experiencing through all time the same series of motions, in obedience to some high and authoritative intelligence; and is so entirely subject to fixed laws, that we can express in mathematical formulas not only the state of large