Or, as the following modern Zen poem has it:
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 the same self, which is the same both then and now.
Can you please review this Essay Linda,
The next text your lordship brings to make the resurrection of the same body, in your sense, an article of faith, are these words of St. Paul; For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. To which your lordship subjoins this question: Can these words be understood of any other material substance, but that body in which these things were done? Answer. A man may suspend his determining the meaning of the apostle to be, that a sinner shall suffer for his sins in the very same body wherein he committed them; because St. Paul does not say he shall have the very same body when he suffers, that he had when he sinned. The apostle says indeed, done in his body. The body he had, and did things in, at five or fifteen, was, no doubt, his body, as much as that, which he did things in at fifty, was his body, though his body were not the very same body at those different ages: and so will the body, which he shall have after the resurrection, be his body, though it be not the very same with that, which he had at five, or fifteen, or fifty. He that at threescore is broke on the wheel for a murder he committed at twenty, is punished for what he did in his body, though the body he has, i. e. his body at threescore, be not the same, i. e. made up of the same individual particles of matter, that that body was, which he had forty years before. When your lordship has resolved with yourself, what that same immutable he is, which at the last judgment shall receive the things done in his body, your lordship will easily see, that the body he had when an embryo in the womb, when a child playing in coats, when a man marrying a wife, and when bed-rid dying of a consumption, and at last, which he shall have after his resurrection, are each of them his body, though neither of them be the same body, the one with the other.
2. Other uneasinesses arise from our desires of absent good; which desires always bear proportion to, and depend on the judgment we make, and the relish we have of any absent good: in both which we are apt to be variously misled, and that by our own fault.
Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
§ 26. It is easy to imagine how by these means it comes to pass, that men worship the idols that have been set up in their minds; grow fond of the notions they have been long acquainted with there; and stamp the characters of divinity upon absurdities and errors, become zealous votaries to bulls and monkeys; and contend too, fight, and die in defence of their opinions: “Dum solos credit habendos esse deos, quos ipse colit.” For since the reasoning faculties of the soul, which are almost constantly, though not always warily nor wisely, employed, would not know how to move, for want of a foundation and footing, in most men; who through laziness or avocation do not, or for want of time, or true helps, or for other causes, cannot penetrate into the principles of knowledge, and trace truth to its fountain and original; it is natural for them, and almost unavoidable, to take up with some borrowed principles: which being reputed and presumed to be the evident proofs of other things, are thought not to need any other proof themselves. Whoever shall receive any of these into his mind, and entertain them there, with the reverence usually paid to principles, never venturing to examine them, but accustoming himself to believe them, because they are to be believed, may take up from his education, and the fashions of his country, any absurdity for innate principles; and by long poring on the same objects, so dim his sight, as to take monsters lodged in his own brain, for the images of the Deity, and the workmanship of his hands.
Sure. We’re happy to do so. Please see .
§ 24. This will appear very likely, and almost unavoidable to come to pass, if we consider the nature of mankind, and the constitution of human affairs; wherein most men cannot live without employing their time in the daily labours of their callings; nor be at quiet in their minds without some foundation or principle to rest their thoughts on. There is scarce any one so floating and superficial in his understanding, who hath not some reverenced propositions, which are to him the principles on which he bottoms his reasonings; and by which he judgeth of truth and falsehood, right and wrong: which some, wanting skill and leisure, and others the inclination, and some being taught, that they ought not to examine; there are few to be found who are not exposed by their ignorance, laziness, education, or precipitancy, to take them upon trust.