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I. That there is something supposed; namely, that the soul of man is immortal ; otherwise it could not be capable of happiness or misery.
II. We shall consider the happiness which the members of the invisible church enjoy ; which is called communion with Christ in glory.
III. The misery which the souls of the wicked endure at death ; which is contained in the latter part of the answer.
I. To speak concerning the thing supposed in this answer; namely, that the soul of man is immortal. This is a subject of that importance, that we must be first convinced of the truth of it before we can conclude that there is a state of happiness or misery in another world. But before we proceed to the proof of it, it is necessary for us to explain what we are to understand thereby ; accordingly let it be premised,
1. That we read, in scripture, of the death of the soul, in a spiritual sense, as separated by sin, from God, the fountain of life and blessedness, and as being destitute of a principle of grace; whereby it is utterly indisposed to perform any actions that are spiritually good, as much as a dead man is unable to perform the functions of life. In this sense we are to understand the apostle's words, She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth, 1 Tim. v. 6. And in this respect unregenerate persons are said to be dead in trespasses and sins, Eph. ii. 1. and a condemned state, which is the consequence hereof, is a state of death. Now that which is opposed hereunto, is called, in scripture, a spiritual life, or immortality; but this is not the sense in which we are to consider it in our present argument.
2. Immortality may be considered as an attribute peculiar to God, as the apostle says, he only hath immortality, 1 Tim. vi. 16. the meaning of which is, that his life, which includes his Being, and all his perfections, is necessary and independent; but in this respect no creature is immortal; but their life is maintained by the will and providence of God, which gave being to it at first.
3. When we speak of creatures being immortal, we must consider them either as not having any thing in the constitution of their nature, that tends to a dissolution, which cannot be effected by any second cause ; or their eternal existence, pursuant to the will of God, who could, had he pleased, have annihilated them. It is in both these senses that we are to consider the immortality of the soul.
That it is in its own nature immortal, has been allowed by many of the Heathens, who have had just conceptions of the spirituality of its nature, possessed due regards to the providence of God, and those marks of distinction that he pute between good and bad men, as the consequence of their behaviour in this life. That the soul survives the body, has been reckoned, by some of the Heathens, as an opinion that has almost universally obtained in the world *. Thus Plato introduces Socrates as discoursing largely on this subject, immediately before his death : and, in some other of his writings, not only asserts, but gives as good proofs of this doctrine as any one, destitute of scripture-light, could do. One of his followers, in the account he gives of his doctrine, recommends and insists on an argument which he brings to prove it, which is not without its weight, namely, that the soul acts from a principle seated in its own nature, and not by the influence of some external cause, as things material do T. And Strabo speaks of the ancient Brachmans, among the Indians, as entertaining some notions of the immortality of the soul, and the judgment passed upon it in its separate state; agreeable to what Plato advances on that subject ).
Some, indeed, have thought that this notion took its rise from Thales, the Milesian, who lived between two and three hundred years before Plato, and about six hundred years before the Christian Æra, from an occasional passage mentioned by Diogenes Laertius, in his life, which is hardly sufficient to justify this supposition; which he brings in only as matter of report *: And Cicero + supposes it was first propagated by Pherecydes, who was cotemporary with him ; though Diogenes Laertius makes no mention of it. But it may be inferred from many things in Homer, the oldest writer in the Greek tongue, who lived above three hundred years before Thales, that the world had entertained some confused ideas of it in his time : As we often find him bringing in the souls of the deceased heroes appearing in a form, and speaking with a voice like that which .. they had when living, to their surviving friends. And he not only supposes, but plainly intimates that their souls existed in a separate state 5. And in other places he represents some suf
Vid. Senec. Epist. 117. Cum de animarum immortalitate loquimur, non leve momentum apud nos habet consensus hominum, aut timentium inferos, aut colentium. Utor hac persiasione publica. Et. Cic. Tusc. Quest. Lib. 1. permanere animos arbi. tramur consensu nationum omnium; qua in sede maneant, qualesque sint ratione discendum est. † In Phæd.
vid. Alcin. de doct. Plat. Cap. xxv. Avtoruvalè dit prou in fugau; OTI ouuequitu έχει την ζωων, αι ενεργεσαν καθ αυτην.
5 vid. Strao. Geog. Lib. ν. Παραπλεκίσι δε και μυθους, ωσπερ και πλατων περι το αφθαρσιας ψυχης, και των καθ' αδε κρισιαν, και αλλα τοιαύτα, περι μη των Βραχμαναν ταυτα • Vid. Diog. Laert. in Vit. Thal. † Vid. Cic. Tusc. Quest. Lib. 1.
Vid Hom liad. 23. lin. 65. & seq.
fering punishment for their crimes committed here on earth *; which plainly argues, whatever fabulous account we have of the nature of punishment, or the person suffering it, that it was an opinion, generally received at that time, that the soul existed in a separate state.
And, indeed, this may be inferred from the doctrine of Demons, or the superstitious worship of the heathens, which they paid to the souls of those heroes who formerly lived on earth, and had done some things which they thought rendered them the peculiar favourites of God, and the objects of worship by men ; and that their souls existed with God in great honour and favour in a separate state t. But passing this by, it may be farther observed, that whatever notions some of the heathens had of the immortality of the soul in general; they were very much at a loss, many of them, in determining the place, or many things relating to the state in which they were ; and therefore many of them, with Pythagoras, asserted the doctrine of transmigration of souls, or their passing from one body to another; and being condemned to reside in vile and dishonourable bodies; which, though it perverts, yet doth not overthrow the doctrine of the soul's immortality; and others seemed to doubt whether, after four or five courses of transmigration of souls from one body to another, they might not at last shrivel into nothing It must also be acknowledged, that there was a considerable
Ηλθε δ' επι ψυχη Πατροκληος δειλοίο,
Στη δ' αρ 'υπερ’ κεραλης, και μιν προς μυθον ειπω. In which, after he had killed Hector, he addresses himself to his friend Patrocks, signifying that he had done this to revenge his death; upon which the poet bringe is · Patroclus us appearing to him.
* Vid. Odys. Lib. xi. lin. 575. & seq. in which he speaks of the punishment of T:tyus and Tantalus. In this, as well as many other things, he is imitated by Virgü See Æneid. Lib. vi. lin. 595, & seq.
† See this argument managed with a great deal of learning and judgment by Mede, in his apostasy of the latter times, who proves that the gods whom the heather worslupped, were the souls of men deifyed or cannonized after death, from many their own writers, chap. iv. and Voss. de orig. &c. idol. Lib. 1. cap. xi, xii, xiii. refers to Lanct. Lib. 1. de fals. Relig. cap. v. his words are these ; Quos imperiis
, & insipientes, tanquam Deos & nuncupant, & adorant, nemo est tam inconsideratur, qui non intelligat fuisse mortales. Quomodo ergo, inquiet aliquis, Dii crediti sunt? Nimirum quia reges maximi, ac potentissimi fuerunt, ob merita virtutum suartin aut munerum, aut artium repertarun, cum cheri fuissent iis, quibus imperitaverunt, in memoriam sunt consecrati. Quod si quis dubitet, rcs eorum gestas, & facta, com sideret : quæ universa tum poetæ, tum historici veteres, prodiderunt. Et August.de Civ. Dei, Lib. viii. cap. v. Ipsi etiam majorum gentium Dii, quos Cicero in Tusctianis, tacitis nominibus videtur attingere, Jupiter, Juno, Saturnus, Vulcanus, Vesta, & alii plurimi, quos Varro conatur ad mundi parles, sive elementa transferre homiales fuisse produntur. Et Cic. Lib. 1. de nat. Deor. Quid, qui aut fortes, aut potenres viros tracımnt post mortem ad Deos pervenisse ; eosq; ipsos quos, nos colere, pre. cari, venerorig; soleamus?
party among the heathen that adhered to the sentiments of Epi. curus, who denied the immortality of the soul, as supposing it to be material. And the Sadducees are represented, in scripture, as imbibing that notion; who are said to deny both angels and spirits, Acts xxiii. 8. In this respect they gave into his philosophy, as to what concerns his denying the immortality of the soul, or its existence in a future state * : But passing this by, we may observe, that notwithstanding all that has been said concerning this doctrine, by the better and wiser part of the heathen in their writings ; yet their notions seem very defective, if we trace them farther than what concerns the bare separate existence of the soul ; or, if they attempt to speak any thing concerning its happiness in a future state, they then discover that they know but little of this matter; and many ot them, though they cannot deny the soul's immortality, yet they seem to hesitate about it; and therefore we may say with the apostle, that life and immortality is brought to light through the gospel, 2 Tim. i. 10. that is, if we would be sure of the immortality of the soul, and know its state and enjoyments in another world, we must look farther than the light of nature for it ; and in seeking for arguments in scripture, we shall find
great satisfaction concerning this matter, which we cannot do from the writers before mentioned.
That some of the heathen were in doubt about this important truth, is very evident from their writings ; for Plato himself t, notwithstanding the many things which he represents Socrates as saying, concerning a state of immortality after death,
endeavouring to convince his friend Cebes about that matter, , and apprehending that he had so far prevailed in the argument,
as that his antagonist allowed that the soul survived the body, but yet held the transmigration of souls into other bodies; this he seems to allow him, and adds, that it is uncertain whether the soul, having worn out many bodies, may not at last perish with one that it is united to t. And he farther says to him, that
Some have wondered how the Sadducees could deny angels, and yet receive tire five books of Moses, in which there is so frequent mention of the appearance of angels; and it might as well be wondered how they could make any pretensions to reli. gion, who denyed the immortality of the soul ; but as to both these, it may be said concerning them, that they were the most irreligious part of the Jewish nation. To make them consistent with themselves, is past the skilt of any who treat on this subject. Some suppose that they understand all those scriptures that speak concerning the apo pearance of angels, as importing nothing else but a bodily shape, appearing for a tine, and conversing with those to whom it was sent, moved and actuated by the divine power, and then disappearing and vanishing into nothing
† In Phed.
+ His τυords are these ; Κιβως δε μου διξε τελο μεν εμοι ξυν χωρείν, πολυχρονιατερινγκ sivαι Ψυχην σωματος αλλα τοδε αοήλον πανλι, μη πολλα δε σημαία και πολλάκις καθαριψασα η ψυχη, το τελευθαιον, σωμα καλαλεπεσα νυν αυθη απόλληλαιο και η αυλο τουλο θαναλος, ψυχή όλεθρος επι σωμα γ εεε: «πολλυμενή ουδεν παυεθαι.
I must now die, and you shall live ; but which of us is in the better state God only knows *.
As for Aristotle, though, in many places of his writings, he scems to maintain the immortality of the soul; yet in others appears that he is in doubı about it ; and seems to assert, that neither good nor evil happens to any man after his death 1. And the Stoicks, who did not altogether deny this doctrine; yet they supposed that in process of time, it would be dissols ed t. And even Cicero himself, notwithstanding all that ke says, by which he seems to give into this doctrine ; yet some times speaks with great hesitation about it. And notwithstanding what Seneca says concerning the immortality of the soul, as has been often before observed; yet he speaks doubtfully of it l; so that we must have recourse to scripture, and those consequences that are deduced from it, as well as those things that may be inferred from the nature of the soul to prove that it is immortal. And,
(1.) For the proof of this doctrine, let it be considered, that the soul is immaterial ; which appears from its being capable of thought, whereby it is conversant about, and takes in ideas of things divine and spiritual, which no creature below man can do. It has a power of inferring consequences from premises, and accordingly is the subject of moral government, capable of conversing with God here, and expecting rewards or punishments from him hereafter; all this cannot be produced by maiter or motion : As for matter, that is in itself altogether unactive ; and when motion is impressed upon it, the only change that is made therein, is in the situation and contexture of its parts, which cannot give it life, sensation or perception, much less a power of judging and willing, or being conversant about things spiritual and immaterial.
'Orolspor y mucer ep x=4721 PTI Quervou carpayud, admov Ale comme Tuba. # Vid. ejusd. moral. Lib. ii. cap. ix. #vid. Diog. Laert. in Vit. Zen. Tuy fungere uelde $28110v et opeerzy, pikpia us: 22 pon which occasion Cicero says, That though they assert that they shall centre a great while in being, yet they deny that they shall exist for ever. Vid. ejusd. in . Quæst. Lib. 1. Stoici nsuram nobis largiuntur, tanquam cornicibits; dia manera animos ajunt ; semper negunt.
Et ibid. Ea quæ vis, ut potero, erplicabo, nec tamen quasi Pythius Apollo ar ta ut sint, & fica quæ dixero, sed ut homunculus unus e multis, probabilia conjectura sequens ; ultra enim quo progrediar quum itt verisimilia videam, non habeo; solara Lactantius observes, speaking of hiin as in doubt about it Vill. Lactant. de Fit Beat. Lib. vii. $ 8. And elsewhere he says, in Lib. de Amicitia. Sin autem illo riora, ut idem interitus sit unimorum, & corporum, nec ullus sensus maneat: UE RÉ doni est in morte, sic certe nihil est mali ; & in Lib. de Senect. Quod si in hoc erra quocl animos hominum iinnortales esse credam, libenter erro: Nec mihi hunc erren q!!o delector, dum vivo, extorqueri 7:0lo. Sin mortuus, ut quidam minuti philezept censent, nihil sentiam; non vereor, ne hunc errorem meum philosophi mimui irridecar. Quousi non sumus immortales futuri, tamen extingui hominem suo tempore, optabilcent
| Epist. 102. Credebam opinionibus inagnorum virorum rem gratiosimam pro i solicitum, mag isquam probantium.