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thought upon the matter ; that it sURVIVED THE BODY : But having, from Moses's silence and the establishment of another Sanction, no expectation of future rewards and punishments, they simply concluded that it returned to him who gave it.* But, as to any
interesting speculations concerning its state of survivorship, 'tis plain they
Indeed how should they have any ? when PERSONALITY did not enter into the idea of this survivorship, that being only annexed to the rewards and punishments of a future state.
Hence it was that those ancient Philosophers (almost all the theistical Philosophers of Greece) who considered the soul as a sUBSTANCE distinct from the body, and not a mere QUALITY of it (for they were not such idiots as to conceive, that thought could result from any combinations of matter and motion), those Philosophers, I say, who considered the soul as a substance, and yet disbelieved a future state of rewards and punishments, denied it all future personality, and held the refusion of it into the tò Êv, or the soul of the world.t And just such INTERESTING SPECULATIONS concerning it had the few philosophic Jews of the most early times, as appears from the book of Ecclesiastes, which speaks their sentiments. Who knoweth (says this author) the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth ? I And again : “ Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, AND THE SPIRIT SHALL RETURN UNTO GOD WHO GAVE IT."$ Yet this writer, perfectly conformable to what I have delivered, says, at the same time : But the dead know not any thing, neither have they ANY MORE A REWARD, for the memory of them is forgotten. ||
And where was the wonder ? that a matter which so little concerned them, namely, the future condition of a portion of etherial Spirit divested of its Personality, should only float idly in the brain, when we reflect that even the knowledge of the FirST CAUSE OF ALL THINGS, while he made no part of the National Worship, was entertained by the Gentiles (as appears from all Antiquity) with the utmost unconcern, neither regulating their notions, nor influencing their actions.
But from this uninteresting state, in which the Doctrine, concerning the Soul, remained amongst the early Jews, the SADDUCEES concluded that their Ancestors believed the extinction of the soul on death. Hence likewise came some late Revivers of this opinion, of the extinction of the soul ; though maintained under the softer name of its SLEEP between death and the resurrection : For they go upon
• Eccles, xii. 7. † See “ Divine Legation,” vol. i. book iii. 1 Eccles, iji. 2). Vide CLERICUM et DRUSJUM in loc.
$ Eccles. xii, 7. Vide CLERICUM in loc.
|| Eccles. ix. 5.
the Sadducean principle, that the soul is a quality only, and not a substance.
In support of this opinion, the Revivers of it proceed on the sophism, wbich Polytheists employ to combat the unity of the Godhead. All Philosophical arguments (says the Reviver, after having quoted a number of wonderful things from Scripture, to prove the soul a quality, and mortal) drawn from our notions of matter, and urged against the possibility of life, thought and agency, being so connected with some portions of it as to constitute a compound Being or Person, are merely grounded on our ignorance.* Just so the Polytheist. “ All arguments for the Unity, from metaphysics, are manifestly vain, and merely grounded on our ignorance. You Believers ” (says he) "must be confined to Scripture: Now Scripture assures us, THERE ARE Gods MANY,” which, by the way, I think a stronger text, certainly a directer, against the unity of the Godhead, than any this learned Writer has produced for the sleep of the Soul. But what say Believers to this? They say, that Scripture takes the unity, as well as the existence of the Deity, for granted ; takes them for truths demonstrable by natural light. Just so it is with regard to that immaterial substance, the Soul. Scripture supposes men to be so far informed of the nature of the Soul, by the same light, as to know that it cannot be destroyed by any of those causes which bring about the extinction of the body. Our Dreamers † are aware of this, and therefore hold with Unbelievers, that the Soul is no substance, but a quality only; and so have taken effectual care indeed, that its repose shall not be disturbed in this, which we may emphatically call, the SLEEP OF DEATH. We can never prove (says another of these sleepers) I that the Soul of man is of such a nature that it can and must exist and live, think, act, enjoy, &c. separate from, and independent of, the body. All our present experience shews the contrary. The operations of the mind depend CONSTANTLY and INVARIABLY upon the state of the body, of the brain in particular. If some dying persons have a lively use of their rational faculties to the very last, it is because death has invaded some other part, and the brain remains sound and vigorous. This is the long-exploded trash of Coward, Toland, Collins, &c. And he who can treat us with it at this time of day, has either never read CLARKE and Baxter on the subject (in which he had been better employed than in writing upon it), or never understood them.-So far as to the abstract truth. Let us consider next the practical consequences. Convince the philosophic Libertine
• “ Considerations on the Theory of Religion," p. 398, ed. 3d. filthy dreamers only defiled the Flesh. These defile the Spirit. Norwich.
§ Ibid. p. 401.
+ St. Jude's 1 Taylor, of
that the Soul is a quality arising out of matter, and vanishing on the dissolution of the form, and then see if ever you can bring him to believe the Christian Doctrine of the RESURRECTION ! While he held the Soul to be an immaterial substance, existing, as well in its separation from, as in its conjunction with, the body, and he could have no reason, arising from the Principles of true Philosophy, to stagger in his belief of this revealed doctrine.—Thou fool that which thou sowest is not quickened except it die,* is good philosophy as well as good divinity: for if the body, instead of its earthly nature, were to have a heavenly, it must needs pass through death and corruption to qualify it for that change. But when this body died, what occasion was there for the Soul, which was to suffer no change, to fall asleep?
But their sleep of the Soul is mere cant : and this brings me to the last consideration, the sense and consistency of so ridiculous a notion. They go, as we observed, upon the Sadducean principle, that the Soul is a quality of body, not a substance of itself, and so dies with its substratum. Now sleep, is a modification of Existence, not of nonexistence; so that though the sleep of a Substance hath a meaning, the sleep of a quality is nonsense. And if ever this Soul of theirs re-exerts its faculties, it must be by means of a REPRODUCTION, not by a mere AWAKING ; and they may as well talk of the SLEEP of a mushroom turned again into the substance of the dunghill from whence it arose, and from which, not the same, but another mushroom shall, in time, arise. In a word, neither Unbelievers nor Believers will allow to these middle men that a new-existing Soul, which is only a quality resulting from a glorified body, can be identically the same with an annihilated Soul, which had resulted from an earthly body. But perhaps, as Hudibras had discovered the Receptacle of the ghosts of defunct bodies, so these gentlemen may have found out the yet subtiler corner, where the ghosts of defunct qualities repose.
• St. Paul(1 Cor. xv. 36.)
THE FIFTH BOOK.
A late noble and voluminous Author,* who hath written with more than ordinary spleen against the RELIGION OF HIS COUNTRY, as it is founded in Revelation and established by Law, hath attacked with more than ordinary fury the Author of The Divine Legation of Moses demonstrated, and of The Alliance between Church and State vindicated.
I shall shortly find a fitter place to examine his reasoning against the Alliance. At present let us see what he has to urge against the argument of the Divine Legation, which is founded on these two facts, the omission of the Doctrine of a future State of Rewards and Punishments in the Mosaic Dispensation ; and the administration of an extraordinary Providence in the same Dispensation.
His Lordship begins with the OMISSION, which he acknowledges : and to evade the force of the argument arising from it, casts about for a reason, independent of the EXTRAORDINARY PROVIDENCE, to account for it.
His first solution is this,—“ MOSES DID NOT BELIEVE THE IMMORTALITY OF THE Soul, nor the rewards and punishments of another life, though it is possible he might have learnt these Doctrines from the Egyptians, WHO TAUGHT THEM VERY EARLY, perhaps as they taught that of the Unity of God. When I say, that Moses did not believe the immortality of the soul, nor future rewards and punishments, my reason is this, that he taught neither, when he had to do with a people whom a Theocracy could not restrain ; and on whom, therefore, terrors of Punishment, future as well as present, eternal as well as temporary, could never be too much multiplied, or too strongly inculcated.” +
This reasoning is altogether worthy of his Lordship. Here we have a DOCTRINE, confessed to be plausible in itself, and therefore of easy admittance ; most alluring to human nature, and therefore embraced by all mankind; of highest account ainong the Egyptians, and therefore ready to be embraced by the Israelites, who were fond of Egyptian notions ; of strongest efficacy on the minds of an unruly People, and therefore of indispensable use ; Yet, all this notwithstanding, Moses did not believe it, and, on that account, would not teach it.—But then, had Moses's integrity been so severe, How came he to write a IIistory which, my Lord thinks, is, in part at least, a fiction of his own? Did he believe that? How came he to leave
† Vol. iii. p. 289.
• LORD BOLINGBKOKE.
the Israelites, as my Lord assures us he did, in possession of many of the superstitious opinions of Egypt ? did he believe these too? No, but they served his purpose ; which was, The better governing an unruly People. Well, but his Lordship tells us, the doctrine of a future state served this purpose best of all ; for having to do with a People whom a Theocracy could not restrain, terrors of punishment, FUTURE as well as present, ETERNAL as well as temporary, could never be too much multiplied, or too strongly inculcated. No matter for that. Moses, as other men may, on a sudden grows scrupulous ; and so, together with the maxims of common politics, throws aside the principles of common sense; and when he had employed all the other inventions of fraud, he boggles at this, which best served his purpose; was most innocent in itself; and was most important in its general, as well as particular use. In his Lordship’s next Volume, this Omission comes again upon
the stage ; and then we have another reason assigned for Moses's conduct in this matter. “ Moses would not teach the Doctrine of the immortality of the soul, and of a future state, on account of the many superstitions which this Doctrine had begot in Egypt, as we must believe, or believe that he knew nothing of it, or assiGN SOME WHIMSICAL REASON FOR HIS OMISSION.”
We have seen before, that Moses omitted a future state, because he did not believe it. This reason is now out of date; and one or other of the three following is to be assigned ; either because it begot superstitions ; or because he knew nothing of it; or if you will allow neither of these, you must have recourse, he tells you, to Warburton's WHIMSICAL REASON, that the Jews were under an extraordinary Providence.
Let us take him then, at his word, without expecting however, that he will stand to it; and having shewn his two first reasons not worth a rush, leave the last, established, even on his own concessions.
1. Moses, says he, omitted a future state on account of the many superstitions, which this doctrine had begot in Egypt. But if the omission stands upon this principle, Moses must have omitted an infinite number of things, which, Lord Bolingbroke says, he borrowed of the Egyptians ; part of which, in his Lordship’s opinion, were those very superstitions, which this Doctrine had begot ; such as the notion of TUTELARY DEITIES : and part, what arose out of that notion ; in the number of which were distinction between things clean and unclean ; an hereditary Priesthood ; sacerdotal habits; and Rites of sacrifice.
2. However, he has another reason for the omission : MosEs might know nothing of it. To which, if I only opposed his Lordship's own words in another place, where (giving us the reasons why Moses did know something of a future state) he observes, there are certain rites, which seem to allude or have a remote relation to this very doctrine,t it might be deemed sufficient. But I will go further, and observe, that, from the very Laws of Moses themselves, we have an internal evidence of his knowledge of this doctrine. Amongst the Laws against Gentile Divinations, there is one directed against that species of them, called by the Greeks, NECROMANCY, Vol. iv. f. 470.
† Vol. v. p. 239.