Imágenes de páginas

The following instance will support both these observations, and shew, that the Doctrine was unknown; and that the Image was of more force for its being unknown. The Prophet Ezekiel *, when the state of things was most desperate, is carried, by the Spirit, into a valley full of dry bones, and asked this question, Son of man, Can these dry bones live? A question which God would hardly have made to a Prophet brought up in the knowledge and belief of a Resurrection. But supposing the question had been made; the answer by men so brought up, must needs have been, without hesitation, in the affirmative. But we find the Prophet altogether surprised at the strangeness of the demand. He was drawn one way by the apparent impossibility of it to natural conceptions ;. he was drawn the other, by his belief in the Omnipotence of God. Divided between these two sentiments, he makes the only answer which a man in such circumstances could make, O Lord God thou knowest f. This surprising act of Oinnipotency is therefore shewn in Vision, either real or imaginary. The bones come together; they are clothed with flesh, and receive the breath of life. And then God declares the meaning of the representation. « Then he said unto me, Son “ of Man, these bones are the whole house of Israel : “ Behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope “ is lost, we are cut off for our 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 o 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 Ch. xxxvii. + Ver. 3. | Ver. 8. 10.

« shall

« shall live; and I shall place you in your own Land. “ Then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it; “ and perforined it, saith the Lord *.”

Here we see, in a Prophecy delivered in Action or Vision, instead of IVords (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: Ililt thou show zonders to the dead? Shall the dead arise and praise rheet? 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 lunguage 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 ineans, 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 cither the truth or the belief of it. Put if it means, that a figurative proposition implies * Ver. 11, & seq.

† Ps.lxxxviii. u.


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 carcass; 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, 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 war, 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 ii is called) has been able to perform, in a Poem become, through length of time and negligence, so esperately perplexed, that Commentators have chosen, ; the easier task, rather to find their own notions .: 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 accustoined to see such matters, the great superiority of acute and solid reasoning over chicane and sophistry. .

SECT. III. THE book of Job 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 “ hiin :". 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 reaeons are these :- I think, indeed, it may be strictly demonstrated that Man's soul is immatcrial; 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 . * Dr. Sherlock.

+ Gen. i. 27.

to Religion * An immaterial souł 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 Sout.

The only two things peculiar to man are his Shapo 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 inimediately 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 inmaterial soul, for that he has in common with all other animals : But in his Reason alone, which is peculiar to bim: The likeness therefore or image consisted in REASON. And thus Philo Judæus understood the matter, where alluding to this text, he says, Móyos ésie einwir Oxč, 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 6 of the dust of the ground, and breathed into bis .66 nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living

sout t;" that is, say these: Reasoners, he had an immovtal soul. But this is only building on the strength of an English expression. Every one knows that what the translation calls a living souls signifies in

See Dr. Clarke against Mr. Collins on the Soul; and "The Euquiry into the Nature of the Human Soul, by, Mr. Baxter.

+ Gen. ii. 7. ; VoL, V,



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