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fore their birth. On the sixth day of their existence, souls are described as having the honor of being consulted regarding their future incarnation into bodies. When the Creator said, 'Let us make man,' &c, he addressed the souls, and did not force them into the body, as a prison, without their consent. That in their original and glorious state, for centuries they enjoy the utmost happiness previously to their being embodied; and might again realize the same felicity after death; rendering the resurrection of the dead needless. The descent into and occupation of the body, however, is represented as not always perfectly voluntary. Take the following specimen of the union of the spirit to the embryo body. God beckons to the angel who is set over spirits, and says to him, Pray send me such a spirit. Presently he appears before Jehovah, and worships in his presence. Then says Jehovah to him: Betake thyself to this matter. Instantly the spirit excuses himself, and says unto him: Governor of the world, I am fully satisfied with the world in which I have existed from the day I was created; if it please thee, do not oblige me to betake myself unto this putrid matter, for I am holy and pure. Jehovah says unto him, The world into which I am going to send thee, is better than the world whence thou art; besides, when I formed thee, I did not make thee but for this matter; whereupon, God immediately coerces him, whether willing or unwilling, into the midst of the matter.
The foregoing, and many other vagaries, even more extravagant, which might be adduced from Talmudical and Eabbinical writings, are taken, be it remembered, from books which the Jews hold more sacred than the Bible of the Old Testament; and painful is the reflection, that such puerile fancies should still becloud the understandings, in connection with that awful delusion and disbelief which still paralyze the heart of Israel— once the peculiar and favorite people of Jehovah, to whom appertained the law, the prophets and the covenants—and of whom as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever.—Romans ix. 5,
RANKS AND TITLES.
In the prosecution of our inquiries, under the second division of our delightful theme, we are not forbidden the appropriate and auxiliary application of the law or principle of analogy, which we have previously employed; provided we invade not the sacred jurisdiction, nor trespass beyond the permitted boundary of an evangelical Faith,— on whose awful Peniel of solemn mysteries, wrestling Reason, Jacob-like, oft adventures with her sublime truths, a determined encounter; refusing to surrender, until the Angel of the covenant, at the day-dreak of spiritual illumination, touching the sinew of bold presumption, and checking the inquiry of vain curiosity, commands her to proceed onwards, though with the halting step of human frailty, in the toilsome and troublous journey of mortality, having achieved, in the glorious contest, the benediction and assurance of Divine aid and protection, as the victory of prevailing prayer.
The interdict of Scripture is not suspended over the supposition, that in the stupendous operations of Deity, a vast and boundless scale of beings exist, confirmed to the hallowed and modest inspection of Reason, as established by the developments and discoveries of science, and further sanctioned by the inspired declaration of apostolic authority, "That one star differeth from another star in glory;" whilst in the expanse of devout contemplation, wonders are presented exceeding the utmost ken of mortal faculties, and the still more astonishing and brighter perceptions of angelic intelligences—Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection!
Any attempt, how ingenious soever or plausible, to fathom the amazing and awful machinery of the Divine Architect, beyond the precincts of Revelation, is not only vain and unprofitable, but obvious impiety; and it is on this principle that we indignantly reject, notwithstanding his pretended illuminations, the absurd supernaturalism of the Swedenborg theory of the intimate correspondency of terrestrial things, with the celestial economy; as being in direct opposition to the sacred averment of Inspiration, that Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him, as a daring encroachment upon the invisible and resplendent domains of a genuine Faith.
The subtle efforts, also, of another class of theorists, are equally objectionable, who would endeavor to reconcile the verities and mysteries of Christianity with the infidel notion of an eternal series; so ably considered and refuted in the following observation, of one of the strongest intellects, since the days of the Royal Preacher, which has appeared in gladiatorial conflict upon the capacious arena, of the splendid amphitheatre of metaphysical controversy and ethical science.
Soame Jenyns, in his Free Inquiry,—and to whose theory corresponded that of Pope* and Lord Bolingbroke,—
* "See through this air, this ocean, and this earth,
broached the hypothesis, that there exists a vast and finely graduated chain of being, from Infinity to non-enity—from God to nothing; and that to exclude a single link out of the
Beast, bird, fish, insect,—what our eye can see,
Essay on Man.
For there is in this universe a scale of creatures, rising not disorderly or in confusion, but with a comely method and proportion. Between creatures of mere existence and things of life, there is a large disproportion of nature; between plants and animals and creatures of sense, a wider difference; between them and man a far greater; and if the proportion held between man and angels there should be yet greater.—Sir Thomas Browne, Religio.
Writers have not been wanting who enforce the doctrine of necessity with regard to all the phenomena of nature, as concatenated in a chain of iron mechanism, and affirm that an unbroken chain of gradually advancing organization has been evolved from the crystal to the globule, and thence through the successive stages of the polypus, the mollusk, the insect, the fish, the reptile, the bird, and the beast, up to the monkey and man. But while, on the other hand, we avoid being led away by the dazzling generality, or being offended with a wild speculation, reckless alike of inductive facts and of moral consequences, let us not reject a principle which, when viewed, in subservient relation to other principles, may prove to exist, and to have a place in the reality of things.—Harris, Pre-Adamite Earth.
All the leading nations of the heathen world have fallen upon the belief of intermediate beings between man and the Great Supreme. The Dii Minores of the Latins and Greeks; the multitude of inferior gods amongst the Egyptians; the Amshaspands and Izeds, and Defs of Zoroaster and the Persians; the innumerable subordinate deities of the Hindoos, as well as other nations, all substantiate the propensity of the human mind to inculcate the doctrine of the existence of an order of intermediate beings between man and the Supreme.
concatenation would be destructive of the beauty and perfection of the whole. Dr. Johnson, however, asserted in opposition to this sentiment, "That this chain, from the very nature of things, must be incomplete at both ends—that between that which does, and that which does not exist, there must be an infinite difference, that chain, therefore, cannot be attached to nothing." The moralist further demonstrated, "That between the greatest of finite existences, and the adorable Infinite, there must exist another illimitable void,—that between unlimitedness and the limited, there must evidently appear an inevitable separation in nature and qualities, in relation to the existent and nonexistent. He also asserted, that not only is it incomplete at both ends, but that we must view it as nearly incomplete, in many of its intermediate links, as well as at the terminal ones; that it is already a broken chain, seeing that between its various classes of existence, myriads of intervening existences might be produced by graduating more minutely what must necessarily be capable of infinite gradation; and that to base an infidel theory on the imaginary completeness of what is positively incomplete, and the impossibility of a gap existing in what is already replete with vacuities, is just to base one absurdity upon another.
"The scale of existence from Infinity to nothing cannot possibly have being. The highest being not infinite, must be at an infinite distance from Infinity. Cheyne, who, with the desire inherent in mathematicians, to reduce everything to mathematical images, considering all existences as a cone, and allowing the basis is at an infinite distance from the body, in this distance between finite and infinite, there will be room for an infinite series of indefinable existences."Between the lowest positive existence and nothing, whenever we suppose actual existence to cease, is another