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were annexed to some individual immaterial substance or no. For granting, that the thinking substance in man must be necessarily supposed immaterial, it is evident that immaterial thinking thing may sometimes part with its past consciousness, and be restored to it again, as appears in the forgetfulness men often have of their past actions: and the mind many times recovers the memory of a past consciousness, which it had lost for twenty years together. Make these intervals of memory and forgetfulness to take their turns regularly by day and night, and you have two persons with the same immaterial spirit, as much as in the former instance two persons with the same body. So that self is not determined by identity or diversity of substance, which it cannot be sure of, but only by identity of consciousness.
$. 24. Indeed it may conceive the substance, whereof it is now made up, to have existed formerly, united in the same conscious being : but consciousness removed, that substance is no more itself, or makes no more a part of it, than any other substance; as is evident in the instance we have already given of a limb cut off, of whose heat, or cold, or other affections, having no longer any consciousness, it is no more of a man's self, than any other matter of the universe. In like manner it will be in reference to any immaterial substance, which is void of that consciousness whereby I am my-, self to myself: if there be any part of its existence, which I cannot upon recollection join with that present consciousness, whereby I am now myself, it is in that part of its existence no more myself, than any other immaterial being. For whatsoever any substance has thought or done, which I cannot recollect, and by my consciousness make my own thought and action, it will no more belong to me, whether a part of me thought or did it, than if it had been thought or done by any other immaterial being any where existing
$. 25. I agree, the more probable opinion is, that this consciousness is annexed to, and the affection of one individual immaterial substance!
But let men, according to their diverse hypotheses, resolve of that as they please, this every intelligent being, sensible of happiness or misery, must grant that there is something that is himself that he is concerned for, and would have happy; that this self has existed in a continued duration more than one instant, and therefore it is possible may exist, as it has done, months and years to come, without any certain bounds to be set to its duration ; and may be the same self, by the same consciousness continued on for the future. And thus, by this consciousness, he finds himself to be the same self which did such or such an action some years since, by which he comes to be happy or miserable now. In all which account of self, the same numerical substance is not considered as making the same self; but the same continued consciousness, in which several substances may have been united, and again separated from it; which, whilst they continued in a vital union with that, wherein this consciousness then resided, made a part of that same self. Thus any part of our bodies vitally united to that which is conscious in us, makes a part of ourselves : but upon separation from the vital union, by which that consciousness is communicated, that which a moment since was part of ourselves, is now no more so, than a part of another man's self is a part of me: and it is not impossible, but in a little time may become a real part of another person. And so we have the same numerical substance become a part of two different persons; and the same person preserved under the change of various substances. Could we suppose any spirit wholly stripped of all its memory or consciousness of past actions, as we find our minds always are of a great part of ours, and sometimes of them all; the union or separation of such a spiritual substance would make no variation of personal identity, any more than that of any particle of matter does. Any substance vitally united to the present thinking being is a part of that very same self which now is: any thing united to it by a consciousness of former actions, makes also a part of tlie same self, which is the same both then and now.
§. 26. $. 26. Person, as I take it, is the name for this self. Wherever a man finds what rensick term. he calls himself, there I think another may say is the same person. It is a forensick term appropriating actions and their merit; and so belongs only. to intelligent agents capable of a law, and happiness and misery. This personality extends itself beyond present existence to what is past, only by consciousness, whereby it becomes concerned and accountable, owns and imputes to itself past actions, just upon the same ground, and for the same reason that it does the present. All which is founded in a concern for happiness, the unavoidable concomitant of consciousness; that which is conscious of pleasure and pain, desiring that that self that is conscious should be happy. And therefore whatever past actions it cannot reconcile or appropriate to that present self by consciousness, it can be no more concerned in, than if they had never been done; and to receive pleasure or pain, i. e. reward or punishment, on the account of any such action, is all one as to be made happy or miserable in its first being, without any demerit at all. For supposing a man punished now for what he had done in another life, whereof he could be made to have no consciousness at all, what difference is there between that punishment, and being created miserable ? And therefore conformable to this the apostle tells us, that at the great day, when every one shall “ receive according to his “ doings, the secrets of all hearts shall be laid open.” The sentence shall be justified by the consciousness all persons shall have, that they themselves, in what bodies soever they appear, or what substances soever that consciousness adheres to, are the same that committed those actions, and deserve that punishment for them. . .
$. 27. I am apt enough to think I have, in treating of this subject, made some suppositions that will look strange to some readers, and possibly they are so in themselves. But yet, I think, they are such as are pardonable in this ignorance we are in of the nature of that thinking thing that is in us, and which we look on as ourselves. Did we know what it was, or VOL. II.
action. I am apt enouome supposition they are so i
strange subject, made ough to think 10
pardonables: Bur readeroines
how it was tied to a certain system of ffeeting animal spirits ; or whether it could or could not perform its operations of thinking and memory out of a body organized as ours is; and whether it has pleased God, that no one such, spirit shall ever be united to any one but such body, upon the right constitution of whose organs its memory should depend : we might see the absurdity of some of those suppositions I have inade. But taking, as we ordinarily now do, (in the dark concerning these matters) the soul of a man, for an immaterial substance, independent from matter, and indifferent alike to it all, there can from the nature of things be no absurdity at all to suppose, that the same soul may, at different times, be united to different bodies, and with them make up, for that time, one man : as well as we suppose a part of a sheep's body yesterday should be a part of a man's body to-morrow, and in that union make a vital part of Melibæus himself, as well as it did of his ram. The diffi- $. 28. To conclude : Whatever substance culty from ill begins to exist, it must, during its existuse of names, ence, necessarily be the same : whatever compositions of substances begin to exist, during the union of those substances the concrete must be the same: whatsoever mode begins to exist, during its existence it is the same : and so if the composition be of distinct substances and different modes, the same rule holds. Whereby it will appear, that the difficulty or obscurity that has been about this matter, rather rises from the names ill used, than from any obscurity in things themselves. For whatever makes the specifick idea to which the name is applied, if that idea be steadily kept to, the distinction of any thing into the same and divers will easily be conceived, and there can arise no doubt about it. Continued
$. 99. For supposing a rational spirit be
9. 9. for suppo existence the idea of a man, it is easy to know what is makes iden. the same man; viz. the same spirit, whether tity.
separate or in a body, will be the same man. Supposing a rational spirit vitally united to a body of a certain conformation of parts to make a man, whilst
..that rational spirit, with that vital conformation of
parts, though continued in a fleeting successive body,' remains, it will be the saine. But if to any one the idea of a man be but the vital union of parts in a certain shape; as long as that vital union and shape remain, in a concrete no otherwise the same, but by a continued succession of fleeting particles, it will be the same. For whatever be the composition, whereof the complex idea is made, whenever existence makes it one particular thing under any denomination, the same existence, continued, preserves it the same individual under the same denomination. (1)
| C H A P.
(1) The doctrine of identity and diversity contained in this chapter, the bishop of Worcester pretends to be inconsistent with the doctrines of the Christian faith, concerning the resurrection of the dead. His way of arguing from it, is this ; He says, The reason of believing the resurrec. tion of the same body, upon Mr. Locke's grounds, is from the idea of identity. To which our author * answers : Give me leave, my lord, to say, that the reason of believing any article of the Christian faith (such as your lordship is here speaking of) to me, and upon my grounds, is its be. ing a part of divine revelation : upon this ground I believed it, before I either writ that chapter of identity and diversity, and before I ever thought of those propositions which your lordship quotes out of that chapter; and upon the same ground I believe it still ; and not from my idea of identity. This saying of your lordship’s, therefore, being a proposition neither self-evident, nor allowed by me to be true, remains to be proved. So that your foundation failing, all your large superstructure built thereon, comes to nothing..
But, my lord, before we go any farther, I crave leave humbly to represent to your lordship, that I thought you undertook to make out that my notion of ideas was inconsistent with the articles of the Christian faith. But that which your lordship instances in here, is not, that I yet know, an article of the Christian faith. The resurrection of the dead I acknowledge to be an article of the Christian faith: but that the resurrection of the same body, in your lordship’s sense of the same body, is an article of the Christian faith, is what, I confess, I do not yet know.
In the New Testament (wherein, I think, are contained all the articles of the Christian faith) I find our Saviour and the apostles to preach the resurrection of the dead, and the resurrection from the dead, in many places : but I do not remember any place where the resurrection of the same body is so much as mentioned. Nay, which is very remarkable in the case, I do not remember in any place of the New Tastament (where
* In his 3d letter to the bishop of Worcester,