« AnteriorContinuar »
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 Disser. tation, 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 satisfaetion, if, instead of labouring to evade two or three independent arguments, though corroborative of my interpretationy, 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, a's 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.
SECT. III. THE book of Job hath engaged me longer than I intended : but I shall make annends, 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 Rewurd and punishinent, together with a Résurrection of the body.
1. 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 t :” 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 inmaterial; 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 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 to: MINION 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, Aóyos isiv eitwy Off, 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 t;" 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 khat what the translation calls a living soul, signifies in
See Dr. Clarke against Mr. Collins on the Soul; and The Enquiry into the Nature of the Human Soul, by Mr. Baxter. + Gen. ii. 70 VOL. V,
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 was written, the first man Adam was made a LIVING SOUL, The last was made A QUICKENING SPIRIT t. 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 and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel 1. 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 “man should be restored to his lost inheritance of immortality by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross,” needed an express revelation of
& 11. * Numb. vi. 6. See also Lev, xxi. 1,
Gen. iii, 15.--t i Cor. xv. 45–49.
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 inachinations."
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 Mell, SCHEOL.
I will go down into the grave (says Jacob) (or into Hell] to my son mourning t; 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 so 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
• Gen. xxv. 8. 17.-XXXV. 29.--xlix. 29, & 33.-Numb. xxx 24. 26. 28.---xxvii. 13.
+ Gen. xxxvii. 35. CC 2