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one such being would be a work more truly noble than a universe of worlds, though each were "one entire and perfect chrysolite.” Such a being was intended; and the production was solemnized in a way that dignifies the history of no other portion of his works. The historian, in the first brief sketch which he furnishes, intimates something like a consultation among the divine persons previous to the accomplishment of this last and noblest part of the design. And here we cannot avoid remarking by the way, that we meet with an early and very obvious intimation of a plurality of subsistences or personalities in the divine economy. “God said let us make man,” &c.
In the following chapter the historian descends to a more minute account of this part of the creation. As the production of such a being was made at first a matter of deliberation, so the accomplishment of the object was a deliberate work. The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”—Gen. ii. 7.
The body was first formed. How elevated in its mould, how varied in its powers, how nice in its susceptibilities, bow appropriate in its adaptations, let us learn from the noble ruins of our nature, now the prey of the elements and havocked by the passions for almost six thousand years. We can doubtless form but very inadequate notions of the grace and dignity of a frame that was created capable of flourishing in immortal vigor, and ordained the head and the masterpiece of this lower creation. But we gather something from what we are taught of the seduce tive beauties of the partner of his lot, the witchery of whose charms, as we shall hereafter see, wrought on him a spell more powerful than the earth has ever witnessed from that to the present bour.
But this form, however admirable, was still a lifeles mass, till “God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” We trace at every step the memorials of new honours beaped upon our nature. Had man been created an animated being, however deliberate the process, there could have existed in his pros duction no such indication of the spiritual from the material part. But in thus first preparing the receptacle of clay, and then afterwards breathing into it the breath of lives, we have a striking intimation not only of the absolute distinctness, but of the nobler order of that immortal part thus kindled into life by the breath of the Almigbty,
We said God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of lives. So you will find it rendered in the margin of your bibles. And the correction is important. The word translated life is plural, and intimates not simply a diversity of attributes in the mind of man, but really a diversity of substance in the immaterial part. We are aware that this is a subject on which a great deal of obscurity rests. And it is scarcely possible to notice it without plunging into those controversies by which metaphysicians and pathologists have done little else than puzzle themselves and distract the world. We are far from wishing to render this pulpit an arena for controversy; nor do we think an attempt at biographical sketches a proper occasion for introducing all that might be said with strict propriety upon questions so intricate as those which involve the constitution of our nature. But as the creation of the first of men forms an interesting and instructive portion of his biography; and as the sacred page has given prominence to those intimations which regard the structure of his being, it is but right that, without indulging in speculations of our own, we collect the lights which the scriptures have furnished on this subject. He who made us best knows the constitution of our nature, and he has told us that the principle which animates our clay is the breath of lites.
The first and most obvious inquiry on this subject is whether man, considered merely as an animal, is not alto. · getner material, and whether the breath of the Almighty's while it insused into his body an immmortal spirit, did not at the same time, and by the means of that inhabitant, kindle into life his animal functions? This we know to be the most common idea; and it is generally backed by the as assumption that all the inferior creatures consist of nothing more than organic matter, and that all their acts and all their feelings are to be refered to nothing higher than matter curiously organized. Now if this principle could be made out, we should have no difficulty in conceding that the breath of lives in our first father meant nothing more than the animation of the material part and the accom panying infusion of an immortal spirit. But we appre. hend that the idea of mere matter being so organized as to think and feel in any measure is contrary alike to scripture and to reason. The scriptures say that beasts have a spirit-a spirit that goeth downward, that perishes, at the moment of their death; whereas the spirit of a man goeth upward, and returns to God who gave it. And this idea certainly receives support from reason. For it is really impossible to conceive how mere organic matter can be the seat of those faculties which develop them selves in every part of the animated creation. We see the inferior creatures exercising choice, we know that they posses memory, we perceive in them imagination, for many of them obviously dream; and we feel that these are reg sults that have no sort of relation to the mere movements and changes of organic matter. Motion is not thought, motion is not feeling, and yet motion is all that can be attributed to matter. We believe then with the scriptures that there is the spirit of the beasta substance which is the proper seat of these sensations and perceptions and activities; a substance only affected by material things 2sound it, when itself is so united with organic matter, that the laws of matter reach it through its tegument. Nor are we singular in professing this view of the facts. The apostle Paul distinguishes man into three subsistences, the soul, the body and the spirit, and prays, in the case of his fellow-christians in Thessalonica, that every part, “your whole soul and body and spirit,” is his expression, “may be preserved blameless till the day of Jesus Christ.” It cannot be admitted for a moment that such a distribution of the constituents of our nature should be made by the apostle, made too under such circumstances of solemnity, and yet be construed to mean nothing. In fact, the distinction here drawn is uniformly kept up in the sacred scriptures, both Old Testament and New. The word generally employ. ed in relation to the principle of animal life, that seat of feeling and of the passions, and applied indiscriminately to man and to the inferior animals, is never used in connexion with the mention of those intelligent, moral and spiritual principles which form the attributes of our most distinguished part. In all such cases the same word is employed which is used to designate the nature of angels and of the Father of spirits. Nor is this confusion of the terms soul and spirit, so common, perhaps universal, in modern days, to be met with among the ancients generally. The Hebrews we see had perfectly distinct words to indicate
The different substances, and it is well known that both the Greeks and Romans preserved the same distinction. Nor will we be at any loss to verify the distinction thus established, if we will attend to the movements of our own minds. We really do find that we are susceptible of impressions, and capable of activities of kinds so very different, that they cannot be well refered to the same subject or to the same agent. '
Between the perceptions of sense and the perceptions of intellect we can trace no imaginable resemblance. Ev. ery one can feel that the impulse to action which is derived from animal appetites or sensations differs immeasura bly from that kind of impulse which we derive from motives distinctly perceived and intellectually balanced by the immortal spirit. So too we distinguish between the sense of pain as inflicted through the medium of the animal economy, and the weight that presses heavy on the heart, the keenness of disappointment, the sting of remorse, the anguish of a spirit that feels because it thinks, and the seat of whose pang is incapable of being refered to any sense or of being assigned to any place.
Let then the laws of mere organic matter, the laws of animal sensation and perception, and the laws of mutual feeling and discernement be distinctly traced, and we shall find that the three have nothing in common. To matter we can assign no properties but those of extension and motion; and all the changes in organic life, all that We see of the vegetable or animal, in so far as the corporiety of the latter is concerned, will be found to consist entirely in such changes as result from the motion of the parts. But motion is not feeling, it is not perception, it is in itself neither pain nor pleasure. Something else must