Lift Up Jesus Only And Jesus Will Lift You Up
See YOU At The Resurrection
See YOU At The Resurrection
ARE SOULS IMMORTAL?
REV. JOHN MILLER
PRINCETON, N. J.:
EVANGELICAL REFORM PUBLICATION CO., 1887
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THE SOUL NOT IMMORTAL
Chapter 1: The Doctrine Stated
Chapter 2: The Doctrine Abhorrent to the Views of Christendom
Chapter 3: The Doctrine Abhorrent to Certain Corrupt Forms of Faith
Chapter 4: The Doctrine Abhorrent to Certain Prevalent Superstitions
Chapter 5: The Doctrine, if True, Important
Chapter 6: The Doctrine, if Untrue, Unimportant
Chapter 7: Order of Discussion
THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL NOT IN REASON
Chapter 1: Can Reason be Unmistakable?
Chapter 2: Reasons in Favor of the Immortality of the Soul
Chapter 3: Reasons against the Immortality of the Soul
Chapter 4: A Providence in this Discussion
THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL NOT IN SCRIPTURE
Chapter 1: Can Scripture be Unmistakable?
Chapter 2: The Fourteenth Chapter of Job
Chapter 3: The Fifteenth Chapter of First Corinthians
Chapter 4: The Two Adverse Passages
Chapter 5: The Spirits in Prison
Chapter 6: What might we Expect of Scripture?
Chapter 7: The Whole Man, Body
Chapter 8: The Whole Man Dead
Chapter 9: The Whole Man Buried
Chapter 10: The Whole Man Raised from the Dead
Chapter 11: The Whole of Man, Soul
Chapter 12: Spirit
THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL A RELIC OF PAGANISM
A Relic of Paganism
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The sole object of this book is to show that the immortality of the soul is not taught in God's holy word.
The impulse to conceive of such a book was not given by science, but was bred of texts of Scripture. The author was not studying Materialism; and indeed denies that philosophy can determine whether the soul is or is not immortal. That will appear. The surprise that such changed views awakened, came upon him, not in the Porch, but in the Temple, and in his wrestlings against them he had to contend, not with science, but with the word of God.
To illustrate his helplessness in these respects take this sentence, "So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep." (Job 14: 12): or this, "In that very day his thoughts perish" (Ps.146: 4); or Paul's very unobserved passage, "These all, having been attested by faith, received not the promise, God, out of reference to us, having looked to the future for the something better, that they without us should not be made perfect" (Heb. 11: 39, 40).
To illustrate his helplessness in these respects take this sentence,
- "So man lieth down,
- and riseth not:
- till the heavens be no more,
- they shall not awake,
- nor be raised out of their sleep." (Job 14: 12):
- "In that very day
- his thoughts perish" (Ps.146: 4);
or Paul's very unobserved passage,
- "These all,
- having been attested by faith,
- received not the promise,
- God, out of reference to us,
- having looked to the future for the something better
[God provided something better for them AND us],
- that they without us should not be made perfect" (Heb. 11: 39, 40).
The manner of a book, however, needs a preface, as well as the matter. The naked denial of the immortality of the soul, without the gentleness of a careful definition, would needlessly shock people: and to mark upon our gate, "The Soul not Immortal,” when we wish to admit the guest, and lay before his candor something entirely different from what he would at first sight suppose, would be anything but skilful.
There are two questions: Will the soul be immortal? And, Is the soul immortal now?
The naked denial of the immortality of the soul, …
- would needlessly shock people: …
- "The Soul not Immortal,” …
- would be anything but skilful.
There are two questions:
- Will the soul be immortal?
- Is the soul immortal now?
To say "The Soul not Immortal," would needlessly jar upon the former. The immortality of the soul is one of our sweetest confidences. All the ecstasies of faith are wrapped up in the very expression. It has grown hallowed. And though "The Soul not Immortal" is really the correct title for the belief that it dies between death and judgment, yet we must really not turn faith too suddenly even out of a heathen temple.
Our doctrine is, that man dies at death: that the body is mortal, and that the soul is mortal: that the body will live again, and that the soul will live again: that the body will live forever, and that the soul will live forever: and therefore, keeping them together, that the whole man will die, sleep, rise, live again, and be immortal.
This doctrine is taught in Scripture, and does not touch a fibre of the tree of grace. It touches fatally the errors of the Papacy. It is this literalness of the soul's not being immortal, to which we ask the attention of the church; and we beg her to perceive, that this is all that we attempt to teach, and that if she considers this a wreck, we have fallen on it over our charts and compass, and not by peering to the land for the decoy lights of a false Materialism.
Princeton, Aug. 6th, 1876
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THE SOUL NOT IMMORTAL
THE DOCTRINE STATED
He who wishes to propound a doctrine, and has in view any conscientious object, will discover it to be discreet not to define as far as he is able, but only so far as his conscientious object obliges him to do.
It is like ship-building. The packet has to meet the billows. The wily draughtsman will curve its lines as crank as he dare. If he satisfies the great need of carrying the freight, he will make the resistence of the sea the slightest possible.
We have our own theory of the soul, and that theory will incontinently appear as we complete our book. But that theory is not necessary to our pourse. We think it is hinted at in the word of God; but it is not vital. And as we wish the greatest number of adherents, it is obviously discreet to define as little as will barely meet our end.
We may mention for example three hypotheses.
First, the hypothesis of those who think that thought is an attribute of matter. They think that Abraham is nothing but carbon and phosphorus and other elements, and that Abraham's faith will physically follow when these are felicitously combined. We scout anything so rude as this; but still, let us not exclude its advocates. We find in the word of God that the soul dies. These men think so. Let us not haggle at the specific form, since qua essentia we agree, that Abraham passes from life when his body is struck with dissolution.
Again, there is another school. They would treat matter like the orders of Masonry. They would speak of different endowments. First there are the brute molecules. Then a different endowment makes them grow, and we have the beanstalk; or a different endowment makes them feel, and we have the calf or the elephant. Incident to this feeling is thought, and it is the direct gift of the Most High. Then we have another endowment that is necessary to man.
The question whether these endowments are simply matter would be answered by asking, What do you call matter?
It would soon be found that these men think matter itself an endowment; that is, that it moves and acts; that it is forceful, and is all in motion; and therefore that matter is not life, because life is an additional gift of motion; and that life is not thought, because thought is another dose, so to speak, from the same Efficiency; and that, therefore, thought is not life, yet added, and inseparable from it; and life is not matter—the doctrine of this school being, that the first dust of earth is a divine efficency, and then life another, and then thought another, and then conscience more; all bred of God, and yet dependant back the one upon the other; dust having this supremacy, that it appears to abide, the conscience and the thought and the life following the fortunes of the dust, so that when that is disorganized, its endowments fail, and the bean-growth and the calf-life and Abraham's faith perish and become extinct together.
It would soon be found that these men
- think matter itself an endowment;
- that it moves and acts;
- that it is forceful, and is all in motion; …
- matter is not life,
- because life is an additional gift of motion;
- and that life is not thought,
because thought is another dose, so to speak, from the same Efficiency; …
- thought is not life,
- yet added, and inseparable from it; and
- life is not matter—
the doctrine of this school being, that
- the first dust of earth is a divine efficency,
- and then life another,
- and then thought another,
- and then conscience more;
- all bred of God,
- and yet dependant back the one upon the other;
- dust having this supremacy,
- that it appears to abide,
- the conscience
- and the thought
- and the life following the fortunes of the dust,
- so that when that is disorganized, its endowments fail,
- and the bean-growth and the calf-life and Abraham's faith
- perish and become extinct together.
This is another theory. We might subdivide with lesser shades, but we will deal generically.
We will give now another.
It is that of the Soul-Sleepers whom Calvin attacked.
They had not reached modern notions of the restlessness of matter. Boscovitch had not lived. They were ready to admit substantial spirit. They therefore thought matter one thing, and soul another, I mean in esse.
And reasoning just as we do, I mean from Scripture, they argued out a common history; that is, admitting that the soul had essence, and the body also, and that they existed permanently, they affirmed a participated lot, and that the soul sank into unsconsciousness the moment it was driven forth from the refuge of the body.
Now we will enforce neither of these theories.
We believe the second; with the added proviso, however, of appeal to the unknowable. There is more than can be possibly conceived in both soul and body.
When we speak of efficiency therefore, we are merely giving our last idea, and when we say that thought is but an added efficiency, it is rather giving an apology for a truth.
We only mean that the mind, as a separate substance, has not a thing to show for itself in the world's analogies.
Behold, therefore, our doctrine. It is not to be encompassed by any one of these theories.
We believe that Scripture inclines to one of them; and we may be often tempted to use its language. But if we do, we are earnest to warn our readers that it is illustrative rather than enjoined.
The whole doctrine that we plead for is, that the soul dies at death.
If Abraham lie in the grave, Abraham will think and act again no sooner than I. It was so with Christ. These simple inferences will shed light over all our purposes of teaching. When our Saviour died, He was out of being, qua homo, till the day He rose again. There is abundant sense in His descending into hell (hades).
Adam is still extinct; and if the judgment should be after millions of years, you and I will wait for it.
My brother who dies tonight, sinks into his original nothingness, with nothing to show for it that he be raised again, except his dust that is sleeping in the grave, and his spirit, if you choose to think so, existing in its dreamless essence.
We take in all the consequences.
But we consider it honoring our Master to believe that our life is hid with Christ in God; that our souls, if they rest, rest as in John's vision (Rev. 6: 9) under the altar of our blessed Redeemer; that we have a life in court; that justice will call up the lost (John 5: 29); that the thousands of years that intervene shall be to us as they are to the Lord but as one day (2 Peter 3: 8); and "that He which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus and shall present us with you" (2 Cor. 4: 14).
THE DOCTRINE ABHORRENT TO THE VIEWS OF CHRISTENDOM
The view of the immortality of the soul in which we have been brought up is, that the soul is independent of the body. I mean by that that it lives with it on earth, but that it will soar away from it when the body arrives at dissolution. This pictures two essences, the one divisible and organized into life; the other one; and this one essence incapable of death, and held back from sleep by the necessities of its being.
- of the immortality of the soul
in which we have been brought up is,
- that the soul is independent of the body.
I mean by that
- that it lives with it on earth,
- but that it will soar away from it
- when the body arrives at dissolution.
This pictures two essences,
- the one [is] divisible and organized into life;
- the other [is] one;
- and this one essence [is] incapable of death,
- and held back from sleep by the necessities of its being.
Now arrayed about this queen-cell, as though it were the centre of the hive, will be all the faith of nearly all believers. I cannot attack it without injury. It is not a vital doctrine.
In fact it is a very incredible doctrine, if we think of it as a new thing as it would first strike us when we heard it for the first time promulgated, that there is a floating spirit that is nested in us like a bird, and which a bullet crushing our brain would set flying at once as we scare an eaglet from his rock!
But I may impair half the catechism, suspect the covenant of grace, doubt the atonement, deny the imputation of Adam's sin, and advance a creed that will shake all the doctrines of the Gospel, and it will not meet so sharp a recoil as a denial of existence between death and judgment.
Now why is this?
1. Partly perhaps from the innocence of the doctrine.
Men's hearts have fiercely grappled with the doctrines of grace, and the church has been obliged to become aware of subsisting differences.
But death "whether it be a sleep or a change, or indeed which is to be preferred, whether a sleep till we are judged, or a state in which we cannot be tormented in the body, these are vague questions; and therefore sinners have not thrown themselves upon them with opposing force.
At any rate, the doctrine being rarely called into doubt, has giant hold.
The immortality of the soul has so thoroughly pervaded thought that the man who challenges it throws the glove into nearly all the camps of believers.
2. Again, it has scenic force. The heavier doctrines, like the sumpter wagons of a pilgrimage, travel slowly.
Immortality is every where. It fills all our visions. If we threaten, we call this up. If we soothe, we use this. And marvellous as is the thought itself that when I die I live still, it is not so marvellous as the feeling of certainty with which I administer to the dying so wonderful a consolation.
It is so detailed. 'You are not dying: you are going on to live. Your body is sinking in decay: but your soul will free itself. You will be in the higher world tonight.'
Immortality is everywhere. … the thought itself that
- when I die
- I live still, …
It is so detailed.
- You are not dying:
- you are going on to live.
- Your body is sinking in decay:
- but your soul will free itself.
- You will be in the higher world tonight.
There is something startling in the scenic vividness with which these things are offered; as though there had been historic search, and as though men had come back as from Spain or Palestine and reported the things that are to be witnessed.
Death, a weird spectre in itself, is made more startling; for we tell men without a moment's hesitation that dear friends whom they have lost will be in their embrace the next moment. We shrink not from sending messages to them. And we let the brother launch out into the dark with as strong a conviction as we can make that he is going among friends, and that a message to Christ Himself would reach Him the next hour, warm from the lips of those who stand round the bed.
Of course such scenic certainties are not to be displaced like colder thinkings.
3. And then the rhetoric of such thoughts. They have pervaded language.
What chance for different reasonings when each man in the tongue in which he was born finds immortal life imbedded? This is the unfair difficulty.
The flight to heaven, the parting with the vesture of the body, the advent among the blest, are beautiful words with which we comfort children; and we mix into their very souls the tender conviction that lost relatives are waiting for them beyond the tomb.
And the people's literature!
What hope is there that we can bend the current of universal thought? and what comfort can there be, through one lifetime at least, for any school who shall so thwart common speech as that Shakspeare shall have to be emended on every page, or allowed for, at least, in beautiful but obsolete conceits, where he permits himself to travel in the customary path in speaking of immortality?
4. Warning, too, what must become of that ? How can we afford to relax anything, and to give up the idea that the sinner will go down quick into hell?
5. It is precisely here that the fifth difficulty will appear most pressing.
'How can you imagine that you are right when the whole world is so continually against you? Almost anything can be thrown in doubt; but when man, with singular harmony, has almost every where adopted this doctrine of the disembodied state, why do you disturb the preaching to the impenitent?'
… the fifth difficulty
- 'How can you imagine that you are right
- when the whole world is so continually against you?
- Almost anything can be thrown in doubt;
- but when man, with singular harmony,
- has almost every where adopted this doctrine of
- the disembodied state,
- why do you disturb the preaching to the impenitent?'
6. Particularly, as men will say, 'If this doctrine be not true, how can we be sure of anything? If a teaching can lie quiet a thousand years, and then the Bible itself be suddenly found to undo it—then what next?'
Particularly, as men will say,
- If this doctrine be not true,
- how can we be sure of anything?
- If a teaching can lie quiet a thousand years,
- and then the Bible itself be suddenly found to undo it
- —then what next?
This is indeed our sad circumstance. We find the Bible squarely denying immortality. Almost the whole of our race squarely assert it.
This is indeed our sad circumstance.
- We find the Bible squarely denying immortality.
- Almost the whole of our race squarely assert it.
Quixote and his wind-mills will in spite of ourselves heave into view—nay Hobbes, and his bad skepticism. What are we to do? We have kept these Scriptures long enough for motives of prudence. May we repress them altogether ? We think deliberately not.
Though the church is in one sense infallible; that is, has never been deserted by the doctrines of the truth,—yet in single ones it has; in Christ's time, as to His temporal reign; in Paul's time, as to salvation being for the Jews ; in Calvin's time, as to the use of the sword; and in Cranmer's time, as to the right of kings; and though it seems baseless to say so, yet we believe that scores of errors are sleeping unwatched under the cloak of Christendom.
… the church … has never been deserted by the doctrines of the truth, yet in single ones it has;
- in Christ's time,
as to His temporal reign;
- in Paul's time,
as to salvation being for the Jews ;
- in Calvin's time,
as to the use of the sword;
- and in Cranmer's time,
as to the right of kings;
Let each man light his farthing candle. If it be a folly, it will go out. If it be a shame, it will be his. If it be a mischief, it will not be to the Church; for all things will work together for her good. If it have a particle of truth, it will help even the light of the sun. And if it be fetid error, it will help the triumph of truth; for truth, like a horse's hoof upon the pavement, is kept only healthy by being beaten to the earth, and made ceaselessly to put in practice its wonderful defences.
THE DOCTRINE ABHORRENT TO CERTAIN CORRUPT FORMS OF FAITH
The doctrine that souls live in a disembodied state has been made the vehicle of the chief curses of the Papacy.
1. The Papacy, like many another creed, exposes us to the unwarranted dream that all men may finally be saved. The theatre of uneasiness, certainly, is moved back just beyond the grave.
The great doctrine of Purgatory becomes a paramount one with the saint, and a means of influence in extorting from the people. This doctrine builds itself upon the fact of immortality. If we were mortal like the body, Purgatory would be a phantom like the spirit.
Rome takes the passage, "Went and preached unto the spirits in prison" (1 Pet. 3: 19), a passage that we shall explain hereafter; or she takes the passage, "For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead" (1 Pet. 4: 6); or the passage, "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not"? (1 Cor. 15: 29), and building equally upon the general belief that we are immortal, they erect the great fabric of purgatorial devotion.
Rome takes the passage,
- "Went and preached unto the spirits in prison" (1 Pet. 3: 19), …
- "For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead" (1 Pet. 4: 6);
- "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not"? (1 Cor. 15: 29),
and building equally upon the general belief
- that we are immortal,
- they erect the great fabric of purgatorial devotion.
2. There comes in logically Prayer to the Saints.
3. There comes in with equal consistency of course, Prayers for the Saints.
4. Then Masses for the dead.
5. Then direct gifts to pray the departed out of Purgatory.
6. Then Indulgences.
7. Of course Canonization of Saints.
8. And then, lastly, Mariolatry, with all its accursed rites, preferring a sinner to the Almighty.
Of course Papists would abhor our work more poisonously than the tenderest believer. Protestants are not affected by what we advocate. The doctrines of grace, like the works of a scratched watch, are not entered. But Romanism would be struck with death. Grant the infallibility of the Popes, and the scores of them who have pronounced for Purgatory become testifiers against the system.
The pence that built St. Peter's were for a mistake. Indulgence had a theatre the whole dream of which was a fable. Purgatory aimed at that which was the dust of sepulchres. Mary was sleeping in her grave. And masses for the dead, and intoned prayers, and millions of consecrated gold, were lavished upon that which is as senseless as a clod, or upon saints whose tutelar watch was about as precious as of the vanes above their resting place.
The pence that built St. Peter's
- were for a mistake.
- Indulgence had a theatre the whole dream of which was a fable.
- Purgatory aimed at that which was the dust of sepulchres.
- Mary was sleeping in her grave.
- And masses for the dead,
- and intoned prayers,
- and millions of consecrated gold,
- were lavished upon that which is as senseless as a clod, or
- upon saints whose tutelar watch was about as precious as of the vanes above their resting place.
THE DOCTRINE ABHORRENT TO CERTAIN PREVALENT SUPERSTITIONS
Nor would what we are convinced of be less fatal to certain prevalent superstitions.
1. This ghastly Spiritualism which has been stalking out of its grave ever since the Witch of Endor,* if men would quit reading in their Bible reports of spirits, would appear in its naked foolishness. Clairvoyance and mesmeric utterances and supernatural feats and inspirations would come down to their natural Christian measure, either as, in excessively rare instances, by demon spirits, or as legitimate plagues to the church for having mistaken the teaching of the Bible, and taught men about these disembodied sprites in derogation to the doctrine of a blessed resurrection.
* We do not doubt that the witch summoned Samuel; and we do not deny that among the endless juggles of necromancy, the devil may have been allowed to work occasional miracle: but if our doctrine be proved, of course ghosts as ghosts must disappear from the imaginations of men.
2. Of course all ghost stories would become child's reading at once.
3. And, thirdly, all Schleiermacherism and Swedenborgian conceit, and spiritual-body dogma which seems to be coming up again with renewed vigor in our day—a doctrine that would give Dives an actual "tongue" (Lu. 16: 24) the day he was buried,—all this would have to be disowned at once; and we must teach the doctrine, not that a finer frame sails off from this at the moment of dissolution, but that all life extinguishes itself in dying, and that the gracious gospel truth is, "that all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth, they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation" (John 5: 28, 29).
- Schleiermacherism and Swedenborgian conceit,
- and spiritual-body dogma
- which seems to be coming up again with renewed vigor in our day—
- a doctrine that would give Dives an actual "tongue" (Lu. 16: 24)
- the day he was buried,—
all this would have to be disowned at once;
and we must teach the doctrine,
- not that a finer frame sails off from this
- at the moment of dissolution,
- but that all life extinguishes itself in dying,
and that the gracious gospel truth is,
- "that all that are in the graves
- shall hear his voice,
- and shall come forth,
- they that have done good
- unto the resurrection of life;
- and they that have done evil,
- unto the resurrection of damnation" (John 5: 28, 29).
THE DOCTRINE, IF TRUE, IMPORTANT
So that the doctrine, if true, is important. We wish we could present it as it lies in our mind. We wish we could present it better than it lies in our mind. For the doctrine is of so radical a nature, that so full a book as the Bible ought to determine whether we have a separate soul or not. We wish we could exhaust the evidence, and like some fine judge in the Supreme Court, lay the testimony on both sides so deftly that the case could be determined,—
1. For how grand if this could be found to be the Providential method for cleansing the Augean stable of the Papacy.
I do not know that the polarity of the magnet raises bread or cooks victuals. I do not know. It may operate in these things: but I cannot see it.
I do not see that the immortality of the soul does much for our Saviour's doctrine. But I do see that its not being immortal corrects a host of errors.
I do not see that my soul's perishing at death obscures redemption, or affects in the least degree inability, the soul's depravity, the saints' perseverance, imputation, expiation, or any of the decrees of grace. But I do see that if you will "hide me in the grave" (Job 14: 13), I sleep over the time, that the Papist has polluted with his myths.
And as I see nothing but resurrection in the Bible, I am determined to strike at immortality; and who knows that this seton in the neck of the Church, viz., a disembodied spirit, may not be the thread that has gathered through the ages much of the corruption of the church, and, poor figment as it is, that it may not be the will of the Master that it may finally be pulled away, with all the foulness that it has gathered through the ages of its history?
2. But not only would Spiritualism and Popery and Swedenborgian conceits perish if the spirit did, but we foresee another triumph, with a miserable Scientism.
The studious are periling the doctrine that man can think without a body.
We deny that they can settle it; but they can throw probabilities forward that can beguile many an unstable soul. The scalpel has certainly moved nearer to the facts; and consumption of material cells has actually been seen in every pulse of thinking.
What a strange Providence it would be if men should taunt the Christian and say,
Look now at your doctrine of immortality, and as in the instance of Galileo's globe, should rear amazing probabilities against our thinking,—if, as in late geologic revelations they could so fortify their analogies as to make it well nigh certain that a man cannot think without a brain,—how marvellous, just as the last battering ram boomed, and the enemy were shouting our discomfiture, if the Bible should appear, as in the instance of the Mosaic attack, nestled in another camp, divine Providence having shed fresh light upon the word of truth, and men having arisen who found in the Book itself that priceless proof—I mean unknown agreements with the facts in nature!
… if men should taunt the Christian and say,
- Look now at your doctrine of immortality, …
- man cannot think without a brain,
THE DOCTRINE, IF UNTRUE, UNIMPORTANT
On the other hand the doctrine, if untrue, could work but little mischief.
The most serious evil that could possibly arise from it is that which has been already alluded to in the unsettling of Scripture. Men would say, How can we be sure of anything doctrinal?
But bating this, which I confess should be an occasion of misgiving, the promulger would be as innocent as a child. For let us trace consequences. Where would the belief impugn orthodoxy?
Suppose a soul, sinking into death, supposes that it will wake again only for the judgment. Does that affect the Gospel ?
Suppose the whole world goes to sleep thus universally convinced.
Suppose they fare differently, and the whole turns out to be a mistake; where will it affect salvation?
When a soul is garnered in the grave, atonement and pardon, justification and all the forensic doctrines both of grace and penalty, are safe no matter when we rise.
The feat of living bisembodied could not help any of the promises.
The times and the seasons God might safely keep in His own power.
And that a soul cannot sleep at death would be as vain a principle of ethics as that a man could not sleep over night for that it would destroy his responsible identity to break the thread of his thought as between night and morning.
We work, therefore, with a less troubled conscience. If we mistake, the gospel is untouched. If we do not, we pull down, as far as men accept our reasoning, shameless conceits, which have grown venerable in age; and which have so dazed the Church; and which have made our Protestant tribe but a slender part of it.
ORDER OF DISCUSSION
To keep paramount the fact that Scripture suggested all that we are writing, we intended to put Scripture first, and indeed all our book was to be chiefly under this head,—"THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL NOT IN SCRIPTURE."
But as a mere mechanical device we changed this for the convenience of the reader. It being altogether unnatural to complete a work like this, and say not one word about the philosophical question, we devised a short space for that: but observing that there it would be that by the necessities of the case we would be driven to the closest definition, we saw the advantage of arranging that first.
Will the reader, therefore, understand our policy? Scripture is our whole appeal.
Our resort to reason is chiefly to show that reason never could resolve the difficulty. That will be our very thesis. But in bringing that out we will have to define our being immortal very accurately. To avoid doing that twice, we find it mechanically better to fix an order of discussion that shall place reason first.
Let it be under a sort of protest. This is a book entirely bred of texts of Scripture. And that we cannot put them first and all the time, is a grief to us; and is only submitted to, to avoid that hateful thing in any writing, a striking twice unnecessarily upon the same descriptions.
A clear idea, therefore, of all that we mean to teach will be reached best in the outset under the heading, THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL NOT IN REASON.
Then will follow the main body of the work, THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL NOT IN SCRIPTURE.
And then, to anticipate the retort, How did the world come so universally to believe the opposite, we shall consider as our last head, THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL A RELIC OF PAGANISM.
A clear idea, therefore, of all that we mean to teach …,
- The Immortality of the Soul not in Reason
- The Immortality of the Soul not in Scripture
- The Immortality of the Soul a Relic of Paganism