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parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, O my People, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my People, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live; and I shall place you in your own Land. Then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord."*
Here we see, in a Prophecy delivered in Action or Vision, instead of Words (the nature and original of which has been discoursed of elsewhere) and afterwards explained by words, to ascertain its meaning, that the figurative ideas of Death and Resurrection are used for temporal distresses and deliverance: and this, at a time when the Doctrine of the Resurrection, from whence the metaphor is supposed to arise, was so far from being well known, that the figure could never have acquired its force and energy but from the People's ignorance of such a doctrine; the scenical representation, without all question, alluding to that proverbial speech amongst the Jews: Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? Shall the dead arise and praise thee? On the whole then nothing was ever worse grounded than the observation, that if the Scriptures speak of temporal misfortunes and deliverance in the terms of death and a resurrection, then the DOCTRINE of a resurrection must have been well known, or the language would have been unintelligible.
II. And now for the general Rule which follows: All words that are used in a figurative sense must be first understood in a literal. If no more be meant than that every figurative sense has a literal, the proposition is true, but trifling, because figurative is a relative term, and implies literal as its correlative. If it means, that he who uses words in a figurative sense must have an idea of the literal, this is likewise true, but nothing to the purpose, because the idea of a thing does not imply either the truth or the belief of it. But if it means, that a figurative proposition implies the User's belief of its literal sense, this is to the purpose, but not true. The People had an Idea of dry bones being clothed again with flesh, and the breath of life inspired into the carcase; but they were so far from believing that was to be the case of all mankind, that they did not know whether it was possible that those bones in the valley could be restored.
To conclude with the ANSWERERS of this Dissertation, the miscellaneous Writers on the Book of Job; It may not be improper to remind them, that they would have done their duty better, and have given the learned and impartial Public more satisfaction, if, instead of labouring to evade two or three independent arguments,
• Ezek. xxxvii. 11, et seq.
† Psalm lxxxviii. 10.
though corroborative of my interpretation, they had, in any reasonable manner, accounted, How this interpretation, which they affect to represent as visionary and groundless, should be able to lay open and unfold the whole conduct of the Poem upon one entire, perfect, elegant and noble plan, which does more than vulgar honour to the Writer who composed it. And that it should at the same time, be as useful in defining the Parts as in developing the Whole; so that particular texts, which, for want of sufficient light, had hitherto been an easy prey to Critics from every quarter, are now no longer affected by the common opprobrium affixed to this book, of its being a nose of wax, made to suit every religious System. Of which, amongst many others, may be reckoned the famous text just now explained. All this, our Hypothesis (as it is called) has been able to perform, in a Poem become, through length of time and negligence, so desperately perplexed, that Commentators have chosen, as the easier task, rather to find their own notions in it than to seek out those of the Author.
For the rest, For any fuller satisfaction, He that wants it is referred to the third chapter of the Free and candid examination of the Bishop of London's* principles, &c. where he will see, in a fuller light than perhaps he has been accustomed to see such matters, the great superiority of acute and solid reasoning over chicane and sophistry.
THE book of Joв hath engaged me longer than I intended: but I shall make amends, by dispatching the remainder of the objections with great brevity.
Those brought from the OLD TESTAMENT are of two kinds :
I. Such as are supposed to prove the separate Existence, or, as it is called, the immortality of the Soul.
II. Such as are supposed to prove a future state of Reward and punishment, together with a Resurrection of the body.
I. To support the first point, the following words of Moses are urged," And God said, Let us make Man in our image, after our likeness and let them have DOMINION, &c.-And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him :"+ From whence it is inferred, that Man was created with an immaterial soul. On the contrary, I suppose, that Moses was here giving intimation of a very different thing, namely, its rationality. My reasons are these:-I think, indeed, it may be strictly demonstrated that Man's soul is immaterial; but then the same arguments which prove his immateriality, prove likewise that the souls of all living animals are immaterial; and this too without the least injury to Religion. An
DR. SHERLOCK. See DR. CLARKE against Mr. Collins on the Soul; and "The Enquiry into the Nature of the human Soul," by MR. BAXTER.
+ Gen. i. 27.
immaterial soul therefore being common to him with the whole brute creation, and it being something peculiar to man, in which the image of God is said to consist, I conclude the Historian did not here teach any thing concerning an immaterial Soul. The only two things peculiar to Man are his Shape and his Reason. None but an Anthropomorphite will say it was his shape; I conclude therefore it was his REASON: And this farther appears from hence, When God says, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, he immediately adds, And let him have DOMINION over the whole Brute Creation: Which plainly marks in what the image or likeness consisted: for what was it that could invest man with a Dominion de facto, after he had it by this grant, de jure, but his REASON only? This dominion too was apparently given for some preeminence; but man's preeminence consists not in his having an immaterial soul, for that he has in common with all other animals: But in his Reason alone, which is peculiar to him The likeness therefore or image consisted in REASON. And thus Philo Judæus understood the matter, where alluding to this text, he says, Aoyos σTìν eixàv Osoũ, Reason is the image of God. So much for the first Objection.
2. The next is drawn from the following words of the same Writer : "And 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; "that is, say these Reasoners, he had an immortal soul. But this is only building on the strength of an English expression. Every one knows that what the translation calls a living soul, signifies in the original, a living animal: Hence the same Writer speaks of a dead soul, as well as a living soul. And indeed not only the propriety of the terms, but the very sense of the Context requires us to confine the meaning of living soul, to living animal. GOD, the great plastic Artist, is here represented as making and shaping out a figure of earth or clay, which he afterwards animates or inspires with life. He breathed, says the sacred Historian, into this Statue, the breath of life; and the lump became a living creature. But St. Paul, I hope, may be believed whatever becomes of my explanation: who thus comments the very text in question :-And so it is written the first man Adam was made A LIVING SOUL, The last was made A QUICKENING SPIRIT. Here we find the Apostle is so far from understanding any immortality in this account of Man's Creation, that he opposes the mortal animal ADAM, to the immortal-making Spirit of CHRIST.
3. Again, God in his sentence of condemnation denounced against all the parties concerned in Adam's transgression, says to the serpent, I will put enmity between thee and the woman; and between thy seed • Gen. ii. 7. † Num. vi. 6. See also Lev. xxi. 1, 11. 1 Cor. xv. 45-49.
and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.* It will be allowed that even the most early mortals could not be so stupid as modern infidels would make them, to understand these words in their strict literal sense, that "serpents would be apt to bite men by the heel, and men as ready to crush their heads." But to enable them to understand, by this part of the sentence, that " should be restored to his lost inheritance of immortality by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross," needed an express revelation of this mystery. What then did the Jews understand by it? This certainly, and nothing but this, that "the evil Spirit, who actuated the Serpent, would continue his enmity to the human race; but that man, by the divine assistance, should be at length enabled to defeat all his machina
4. Again, the phrase used by the sacred Historian to indicate the deaths of the Patriarchs is further urged in support of the opposition." He died, and was gathered to his People.† And dying is expressed by going down into the grave, or into Hell, SCHEOL.-I will go down into the grave (says Jacob) [or into Hell] to my son mourning which phrases are supposed to intimate the soul's surviving the body, and retiring, on the dissolution of the union, to one common Receptacle of Souls: for that it is not only said, the man died and was buried, but likewise that he was gathered to his fathers: And Jacob said, he would go down into the grave to his son, who was supposed to have been devoured by wild beasts." But 1. The Objectors do not reflect on the genius of the Eastern speech, which gives action and motion to every thing; in which to be reduced to one common lot or condition is called being gathered to their People; in this sense Jacob might properly say, he would go down to the grave to a dead son, who was never buried, i. e. that he should find no ease to his sorrows till he was reduced to the same condition. 2. The Objectors forget too the peculiar genius of the Hebrew tongue, that delights 80 much in Pleonasms; in which to die, and to be gathered to their people, are but two different phrases for the same thing. At the same time, I am ready to allow that this latter phrase originally arose (whatever People first employed it) from the notion of some common Receptacle of Souls. But we know how soon, and from what various causes, terms and phrases lose the memory of their original. 3. The truth of this interpretation is confirmed by the several contexts, where all these expressions occur; the Historian's purpose being evidently nothing else than to record the period of their existence here on earth.
These (except such as have been considered elsewhere) are all the
• Gen. iii. 15. 28; xxvii. 13.
+ Gen. xxv. 8, 17; xxxv. 29; xlix. 29, 33; Num. xx. 24, 26, Gen. xxxvii. 35.
texts I can find objected to my position, that immortality was not taught by the LAW. How little they are to the purpose is now seen. But little or much, the Reader will remember they make nothing against my general argument, which maintains that the early Jews, (those of them, I mean, and they certainly were but few, who thought any thing of the matter) had at least some vague notion of the Soul's surviving the body. But the particular reason I had to examine them hath been given above.
II. We come next to those SCRIPTURES which are urged to prove, that a future state of reward and punishment, or a resurrection of the body, was taught by the Mosaic Law. But before we proceed to the particular texts, it will be proper to consider the general argument brought from the genius of the whole Jewish Law: "which, as they say, being entirely TYPICAL, or, as the Apostle says, SPIRITUAL, all the promises and denunciations of temporal good and evil, did denote and obumbrate a future state of reward and punishment; for that it was a shadow of things to come, but that the body was of CHRIST.” * If the Objectors mean by this, that the sanction of Temporal reward and punishment was no more than a mere representation, in figurative expressions, of the Doctrine of a future state, without any real meaning in the then Providential disposition of the things of this life: + If, I say, this be their meaning, the whole pretence to Moses's divine Mission is irrecoverably given up. Not to say, that the very pretence would be as absurd as it was false. For a THEOCRACY (from whence flowed temporal rewards and punishments) was no figurative expression, as appears from the real and substantial Laws made in support of the Thing. In a word, it is a vile and impious imagination, originally conceived by certain Jewish Allegorists after the extraordinary Providence was departed from them and only to be matched by a like madness in certain Mahometan Allegorists, whose early successes made them fancy this extraordinary Providence was come to them; and therefore supposed, on the other hand, that Hell and Paradise in the Alcoran mean no more than the pleasures and afflictions of this life. In which, Both have been outdone by a late Madman of our own, in his Discourses on the Gospel-Miracles. So odly perverse is the human understanding when it has once forsaken the road of com
But if by the Law's being TYPICAL or SPIRITUAL, no more be meant (as I think no sober man can mean more) than that the TEMPORAL REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS, equally and really distributed,
† See note FF, at the end of this book.
Col. ii. 17. "Il y a parmi les sectateurs d'Ali, une secte qui prend son nom d'un Docteur nommé Alkhatthab, lequel a enseigné que les delices du Paradis et les peines de l'Enfer ne sont autre chose que les plaisirs et les afflictions de la vie."-HERBELOT, Bibl. Orientale, Mot AKHRAT, et AKHRET.