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" Hyl . It cannot be otherwise : but then the fruit would only seem to grow upon the stem of the rose-tree , and not really grow . ** Phil . It seems to me , that in this case Omnipotence itself can cause only the appearance of growing . The rose-tree must therefore be changed into the citron-tree ; or , to speak more accurately , the thorn must be annihilated , and the citron-tree put in its place . " Hyl . It is plain that , in this case , what has been supposed would be effected yet less , that is , a communication of properties , " Phil . The citron must then be created , and united with the rose-stem ; but how ? The stem yields no fluid with which the fruit can be fed . € * Hyl . The Almighty provides it out of the air , or by some other means .
" Phil . True . Suppose now the stock to perish : has the citron lost any thing besides its supporter ? " Hyl . Certainly not , since it neither grew out of the stock , nor was nourished by it : but how does this apply to our inquiry ? " Phil . I believe we are not far from its solution . It is granted that matter in its own nature cannot think ; that is , by virtue of its interior
structure it is capable of a boundless variety of forms , colours , and motions , but not of thought . " Hyl . I grant that Descartes has proved this . f ( Phil . The base of the power to think is not more in matter than the germ of the citron is in the rose-tree . Should God communicate to matter the power to think , must he not then create this especial power , and conjoin it with matter ?
"Hyl . It must be so according to our present example . "Phil . But in this way matter would only seem to think , and the power to think would no more be a property of matter , than the citron would really grow upon the rose-tree . " Hyl . I must admit it . " Phil . The question , then , is properly , not whether the Almighty can communicate to matter the property of thinking—for this is impossible : but whether he can create a power to think , and connect it with a material system . And see , my friend , this is what our Creator has really done . He has united with a certain portion of organized matter an especially created power , and they make conjointly the living creature , man . As the fruit was lodged upon a foreign stem , so the power to think is connected with organized matter . The latter shall be dissolved , and the former shall Jose only its transient supporter . "
As a great part of the answer to the third question is hypothetical , and , though not discordant with acknowledged anatomical facts , was written without the benefit of more recent discoveries , I shall only annex the concluding passage : " Since the brain is the organ of the soul , it must feel all the changes and every disorder of which that is the subject In dissolution , that organ is no longer united with the soul , and its functions , as the organ of its feelings , must therefore cease . The soul cannot be dissolved like the brain , for it does not consist , as that does , of parts which are joined together according to
the laws of a corporeal nature . It is an indivisible unity , which cannot be subjected to the laws of mechanism . Either it must cease to be , or it retires upon a central organ , which cannot be dissolved together with the brain : and , perhaps , as is the usual process of nature , with the destruction of the brain , it acquires a new organization . In . all nature there is no decomposition without a new composition , no destruction of one form without the commencement in its invisible particles of a new form , which reveals itself in time to the senses . Every destruction tends to a formation , every death builds the way to a new life . To him who considers this conjecture too bold , there remains only the annihilation of the soul ; for as dissolution of
Letters from Germany . 33
VOL . V . D
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1831, page 33, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2593/page/33/