Page images

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 thote bones in the valley could be restored.

To conclude with the AnswERERS of this Difsertation, 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 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 negli


gence, so desperately perplexed, that Commentators have chosen, as the easier talk, rather to find their own notions in it than to seek out those of the Author.

[ocr errors]

For the rest, For any fuller satisfaction, He that wants it is referred to third chapter of the Free and candid examination of the Bishop of London's a 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 reafoning over chicane and sophistry.


HE book of Job hath engaged me longer

than I intended : but I shall make amends, by dispatching the remainder of the objections with

[ocr errors]

great brevity.

Those brought from the Old Testament are of two kinds.

1. 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 Refurrečtion 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

a Dr. Sherlock.


« of God created he him." From whence it is inferred, that Man was created with an immaterial Soul. On the

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 fame 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 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 consiit, I conclude the Historian did not hear 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 mape; 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 bave 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 oniy? This Dominion too was apparently given for some preeminence; but man's preeminence confifts not in his having an immaterial soul, for that he has in common with all other animals : But in his Reafon alone which is peculiar to him: The likeness therefore or imoge consisted in

And thus Philo Judæus understood the

[ocr errors]


• Gen. j. 27.

c See Dr. Clarke against Mr. Collins on the Soul; and The Enquiry into the Nature of the human soul, by Mr..Baxter


matter, where alluding to this text, he says, Móyos isiv fixwv ž. Reason is the image of God. So much for the first Objection.

2. The next is drawn from the following words of the fame Writer: “ And the Lord God formed

'man of the dust of the ground, and breathed « into his nostrils the breath of life, and man be

came a living fould;" 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 foul, 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 ternis, 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 kife; 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 QUICKNING 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

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Adam's transgression, says to the serpent, I will put enmity between thee and the woman; and between thy feed and her seed: it shall bruise thy becd, and thou shalt bruise bis heels. It will be allowed that even the most early could not be so stupid as modern infidels would make them, to understand these words in their strict literal sense, that “ ferpents 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 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 affistance, should be at length enabled to defeat all his machinations."

[ocr errors]

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 bis 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, buc likewise that he was gathered to his fathers : And Jacob said, he would go down into the grave to his

& 33:

& Gen. ii. 15.

h Gen. xxv. 8—17. Chap. xxxv. ver, 29. Chap. xlix, ver. 23, NUMB. XX. 24-26-28. Chap. xxvii. ver, 13,

i Gen. xxxvii. 35. VOL. V.



« PreviousContinue »