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made to bear upon the momentous topic of the immortality of the soul with a force of irresistible proof only short of demonstration!' We are compelled to acknowledge that our souls are “distinct from, and independent of, any organized system of matter," so that the destruction of our bodies by death involves not the destruction of the mysterious principle by which they were animated An accurate investigation of the ultimate causes of putrefactive decomposition is adduced to show us that the original eleinents of the human frame are indestructible and unchangeable ; and thence we are taught the grievous fallacy of the first impression from sensible appearances, that death and annihilation are identical. To establish this great conclusion, our author proves that every active agent engaged in the process of decomposition,-whether chemical attraction, or light, or heat,--and that every known property of matter, are distinct from matter itself, and consist of some active, subtile principle, governed by peculiar laws: hence he argues, that "the higher qualities developed by the organic combination of many of those properties, must be distinct from the matter organized." Adding to these characteristics of the properties of material bodies the attribute of indestructibility, and discovering that all changes and dissolutions in nature are but intermediate processes in the formation of other substances, he claims possession of strong analogous evidence for the assumption, that the vital and thinking principles are as indestructible as matter; and that their combination with, and separation from, material organization, are merely preparatory to entering another state of being." ---Introduction, p. xx.
This is the argument of the volume on our table. The inference is built, in the first place, on the changes in the forms of matter consequent on death, without reference to the active agency of the vital, sentient, and intellectual principles. Matter is indestrucible. Secondly, the properties of matter are subtile agents, distinct from mere extension, solidity, and divisibility. And therefore, thirdly, from the connexion of the immaterial principles of vitality with material organization, it is proved that "they are not only distinct from, but that, even during the continuance of that connexion, the percipient and intellectual powers are, to a certain extent, independent of the corporeal organs."— Introduction, p. xxiii.
We have thus put our readers in possession of Mr. Bakewell's argument in the three divisions of his interesting publication, which contains twenty-five chapters, whose subjects will be best seen from the Table of Contents, which we extract, as the most convenient mode of introducing our readers to the matter of the volume under examination.
Introduction.- Part 1.-The Indestructibility of Mutter.—Chap. 1. Prelimivary Observations. 2. Solution. 3. Evaporation. 4. Rarefaction. 5. Natural Decomposition, 6. Combustion. 7. General Suinmary.
Part. II.-The Properties of Matter.-Chap. 8. Preliminary Observations 9. Light. 10. Heat. - 11. Electricity and Galvanism. 12. Magnetism. 13. Chemical Attraction. '14. Gravitation. 15. General Summary
Part III.-The Phenomena of Life.-Chap. '16. Preliminary Observations. 17. Vegetation, 18. Animal Organization. '19. Animal Life. 20. Organs of Sensation. 21. Animal Mutations. 22. Personal Identity. 23. Suspended Animation. 24. Dreams and Spectral Illusions. 25. General SummaryConclusion.
How Mr. Bakewell has executed his design will be learned from the extracts with which we are about to adorn our pages. It must be borne in mind, however, that isolated quotations from a volume like this, where the cogency of the proof depends upon the concurring efficacy of evidence drawn from a variety of sources, and brought to one focus of many concentric rays, are but very meagre samples of its character, and quite insufficient to convey an accurate estimate of its combined power. Mr. Bakewell may be assured that we will do him as little injustice as possible ; and to convince our readers how impartially we treat our author, we shall lay before them some extracts from each of the three parts of the volume under review.
Part I.--Mr. Bakewell, illustrating the phenomenon of solution, with the view of showing that the process does not destroy the particles of matter, writes as follows. We entreat our readers to mark the attractive and popular style of the passage.
The solution of a lump of sugar in a cup of tea may be adduced as a familiar illustration. The hard crystallized sugar is dropped into the tea, and after a short interval it wholly disappears. Were a person to witness such a phenomenon for the first time, he would consider the sugar to be totally lost, and he might be disposed to attribute its disappearance to magic. We are, however, so well acquainted with the process, that we cease to regard the phenomenon as worthy of notice, and feel confident the sugar has lost none of its properties by the chemical action which renders it imperceptible to the organs of sight and touch. If the lump of sugar be dissolved in a glass of water, we may perceive the solid crystallized mass gradually disappear, until no visible indication of its existence remains, and the water will then appear as limpid as at first. The presence of the sugar may, however, be detected, not only by the taste, but by the weight of the water, which will be found to have increased in exact proportion to the weight of the sugar dissolved. The saccharine matter may, indeed, be reproduced in a solid form, by evaporating the solution to dryness, when the residue will consist of crystals of sugar, which will be found to weigh exactly the same as the original lump. The sugar in this case is not, indeed, reproduced in the identical form that it previously possessed, but it is in all respects, with the exception of the arrangement of its particles, the same as before solution; and the resemblance might be made more close by conducting the process of evaporation in a vessel that would bring the crystals, as they form, into contact, by which means they would compose a solid lump. --Pp. 10, 11.
The phenomena of evaporation and rarefaction are neatly handled; but our space forbids us to make an extract even of such tenuities, "Natural decomposition" we shrink from instinctively. We dread “ combustion," and therefore forbear to touch upon so porilous a topic as the nature of heat, wisely contenting ourselves with Mr. Bakewell's “ General Summary" of the First Part of his work. In every known form of solution, of evaporation, of rarefaction, of decomposition, and even of combustion, the elements of matter are not changed or diminished; and the conclusion is thus stated :
If, then, experience teaches that the operations usually considered the most destructive do not in fact destroy one particle of matter; and if we learn, also, that those operations themselves are nothing more than the effects of new combinations, and are entirely dependent upon the operation of those combinacions; we receive additional evidence of the most conclusive nature to conorm the former deductions from analogy. We thus perceive that it would be impossible for those processes which appear to change the forms of bodies to destroy the ultimate particles of matter, because the processes themselves are only eflects consequent on the changes that have already taken place, and merely indicate that the new combinations have been completed. Pp. 64, 65.
All matter is indestructible. Granted : but how does that truth prove the imperishable nature of the sentient principle in man? Let our'author speak for himself :
If matter, which is continually undergoing apparent and most striking changes, he imperishable, we cannot reasonably suppose that the mind, which controls all the actions of matter with which it is incorporated, is of a more perishable nature than the grosser particles that are subservient to its will. The numerous instances, also, with which we are acquainted, of the continued existence of matter in a more subtile form, and therefore inappreciable by our senses, after it has apparently been annihilated, afford strong emblematical analogy to the existence of the soul after its separation from the body.-P. 67.
Part II.-From the Indestructibility, we pass on to the Properties of Matter, as confirmatory of the doctrines of a future life, and the indestructibility of mind : for " the continued existence of these subtile properties of matter after the forms with which they were combined are completely dissipated, present a close symbolical analogy to the continued existence of the soul after the dissolution of the material system of organization with which it was united."
Here, again, we are precluded from entering upon details by want of room, and avail ourselves of Mr. Bakewell's “ General Summary:"
The objects proposed to be attained by this investigation of the properties of inatter were, to exemplify by the phenomena that are continually presenting themselves to observation, the incompetence of the human faculties to understand the most simple operations of nature, and consequently to shew the folly of assuming that the limits of our comprehension must be the bounds of possibility; to shew, that the difficulties which have been raised against the presumed existence of the soul independently of the body are not greater than those which present themselves at almost every step in our endeavours to investigate the known properties of matter; and to point out, in the indestructibility of those properties and their separate existence from the matter they control, a striking analogy to the indestructibility of the sentient principle and its independence of the body.-P. 183,
Our author has taken into his view some of the principal phenomena of light, heat, electricity, magnetism, chemical attraction, and gravitation. He is showing that the nature of these agents is incomprehensible by human capacity; and he writes thus :
Whether they be regarded as one and the same property differently modified, or as distinct principles brought into action by different forms and dispositions of matter—whether they be regarded as subtile material fluids, or as immaterial essences—whether they be supposed to operate by emission, or by vibrationwhatever theory, in short, we adopt to explain their modes of operation, we are obliged to confess, after the utmost stretch of our intellects, that respecting the nature and action of any of these properties of matter we are profoundly ignorant.-P. 184.
Their modes of operation are equally past finding out. But there is a third class of facts, relative to the existence of the properties of matter distinct from matter itself, still more important. Our author writes
We have seen that the existence of light is not dependent upon the bodies which reflect its rays; that a substance which appears--so long as it is the subordinate agent for communicating light to the eye-to be the source of the light we behold, may be destroyed, and that yet there may be no diminution in the absolute quantity of that subtile property, though it is not perceptible to our visual organs after the removal of the reflecting agent. The phenoinena of heat afford a beautiful illustration of the same fact, as they present that property at one time actually developed, at another latent, but in all its changes still existing undiminished and unaltered, independently of the matter which it modifies; always ready, under every circumstance, to be called into activity by the agency of chemical attraction. Electricity, magnetism, and cheinical attinity, also afford clear exemplifications of their existence, independently of the matter which they qualify. The active principle, or principles, of which those attractions consist, is evidently something distinct from the bodies with which it is combined, and when that principle seems to be destroyed its powers are in reality in active though imperceptible operation.-Pp. 185, 186.
Part III.-So much for matter, and the properties of matter, in their inorganic states. We shall now have to view them in those more intricate arrangements, by the agency of which the functions of animal and vegetable life are discharged. We may take this opportunity to remark, however, that Dr. Chalmers and Mr. Bakewell are directly at variance upon that branch of Natural Theology-which is connected with the laws and the properties of matter.
Whilst, in Mr. Bakewell's judgment, “ the subtile properties of matter are alone sufficient to show that there exists some power beyond the cognizance of our senses; and the uses to which those properties are applied inform us that that power must be supremely intelligent and efficient ;” (p. 14;) we are taught by Dr. Chalmers that “ matter, whether in an organized solid, or a soft and yielding fluid, congregated apparently at random in the receptacle which holds it, might exhibit à number of properties, and manifest itself to be the subject of various laws, (chemical and optical, and magnetic and mechanical,) without announcing that either a creative power, or an intelligent purpose, had to do with the formation of it. For of what significancy is it towards any conclusion of this sort, that an isolated lamp is possessed of hardness, or solidity, or weight; or that we can discern in it the law of cohesion, and the law of impulse, and the law of gravitation ?"*
We stay not to observe upon the loose and declamatory nature of this passage from the Edinburgh professor ; but we must assume the privilege of thinking his statement an error, and Mr. Bakewell to be correct. What! Can there be a law without a lawgiver? Uniform laws manifestly subserving an end, without a legislator cognizant of those ends ? What! Are there chemical, optical, magnetic, mechanical laws, without an intelligent Agent, the framer of these laws ? Why, then, not a world without a Creator? What! Is there organized matter, and yet no artificer to organize? Upon such admissions we understand not how to refute utter Atheism. Hear Paley, to whom Dr. Chalmers refuses to award the meed of genius, and whose mind is said to have been “ of a decidedly prosaic and secular cast," + and judge how much more valuable is the common sense of that immortal divine, than the high flown poetry of transcendental sentimentalists : “ a law presupposes an agent; this is only the mode, according to which an agent proceeds: it implies a power, for it is the order according to which that power acts. Without this agent, without this power, which are both distinct from itself, the law does nothing-is nothing."--Paley's Nat. Theol. c. i. s. 7. #
To return to Mr. Bakewell. He proves in the third division of his work, when explaining the phenomena of life, that the living principle in plants, and the sentient and thinking principles in man, are distinct from the organized structures in which they are developed, and that they are not inherent in any portion of the matter which composes those organizations. Having accomplished these points, he further endeavours to prove “ from facts and illustrations, derived from an examination of the exercise of the perceptive and mental faculties, and the corporeal functions, that the sentient principle is not only distinct from, but may, and does exist, independently of the material organization of the body."-P. 197.
The chapters on “Vegetation," and " Animal Organization,” are well worthy of perusal; as are those on Animal Life,” and “ Organs of Sensation," and " Animal Mutations." But we omit particularly to point out their excellences, because they contain nothing of novelty to elicit remark; and where every thing seems equally good, selection would be a useless, perhaps an invidious task. Mr. Bakewell las ventured upon the intricate subject of “ Personal Identity ;” but we doubt whether his wonted perspicuity attend him here ; at least we seem to detect some inaccuracies of language, which cast an indistinctness upon his opinions, and assume the appearance of contradictions. At page 288, • Chalmers's Nat. Theol. Vol. I. p. 190.
# Ibid. p. 275. See Sedgwick on the Studies of Cambridge, p. 16, and Appendix, pp. 108, 109.