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to regard these Egyptian records, or any other, because they contained doctrines not found in their sacred books, which they ought to believe? No, they are cautioned against looking to Egypt for any thing; and it is well known, the Jews are commanded to have nothing to do with heathen traditions or superstitions, but to attend to God's written word. The doctrine of the resurrection of the body is a very important and correct doctrine; why was it not handed down to posterity in a similar way as that of the orthodox heaven and hell for disembodied spirits, if both are alike true?
Dr. Good adds, p. 381, "In effect, the whole of the actual knowledge possessed at any time, appears to have been traditionary: for we may well doubt whether, without such a basis to have built upon, philosophy would ever have started any well grounded opinion in favor of a future state. And this traditionary knowledge seems to have been of two kinds, and both kinds to have been delivered at a very early age of the world-the immortality of the soul, and the final resurrection of the body. From the preceding sketch it seems reasonable to suppose that both these doctrines (unquestionably beyond the reach of mere human discovery) were divinely communicated to the patriarchs; and amidst the growing wickedness of succeeding times, gradually forgotten and lost sight of: in some quarters one of them being slightly preserved, in some quarters the other, and in one or two regions, both. In this last division it is highly probable we are to class the Hebrews at the epoch of Moses: and hence, perhaps, the reason why neither of these doctrines is specially promulgated in any part of his institutes. But in subsequent times both appear to have lost much of their force even among this ple." We agree with the Dr. that human wisdom
never could have started any well-grounded opinion of a future state," either founded on the immortality of the soul, or the final resurrection of the body. But he certainly is mistaken, in asserting, that the resurrection of the body is not taught by Moses, for our Lord blamed the Sadducees for not learning it from God's words to Moses at the bush. How is it then accounted for, that this doctrine is taught in those early inspired writings, yet the immortality of the soul and the orthodox heaven and hell for disembodied spirits are not taught? The Dr. traces them to remote tradition, to Egyptian records, and at last risks the assertion, that they probably had their origin in a very early divine communication, which has not come down to us. He thinks, the immortality of the soul and the final resurrection of the body, were gradually forgotten and lost sight of amidst the growing wickedness of succeeding times. He says, "they retained their place among the Jews in the days of Moses," and assigns this as the reason "why neither of these doctrines is specially promulgated in any part of his institutes." But if the resurrection of the body, lost its force among the Jews, it was not because their sacred books did not teach it, by his own showing. No wonder it lost its force among them, when it came to be blended with the heathen doctrines of the immortality of the soul and their heaven and hell for disembodied spirits. In the very same way the doctrine of the resurrection has lost much of its force among Christians, nor will its force return, until these doctrines are laid aside.
Such is the account of the origin of the orthodox heaven and hell for disembodied spirits, and given, too, by one of its advocates. I leave our orthodox brethren to say, if I, or any other man ought to be. lieve it on such authority.
3d. The only thing which remains to be shown is-how these heathen traditions came to be incorporated with the Christian religion. It is evident they prevailed many ages before Christ appeared, and prevailed both among Jews and Gentiles at the commencement of the gospel dispensation. See a quotation in my First Inquiry, from Dr. Campbell, where he shows the Jews had imbibed many of the heathen opinions, ch. i. sect. 3. When the gospel began to be preached among all nations, the converts made to it had imbibed such heathen traditions, and in fact had been brought up in them. It was impossible it could be otherwise. It is also a fact, susceptible of the most satisfactory proof, that the first fathers of the church were all attached to the Platonic philosophy, which then generally prevailed. Some of those fathers spoke in the highest terms of Plato and his doctrines, and it is said Plato perfected the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. Augustine confessed, that the books of the philosophers were very useful to him in facilitating his understanding of some orthodox truths. Eusebius avers, that Plato even penetrated into the doctrine of the trinity. The early fathers, such as Clemens Alexandrinus, Tertullian, Origen, are all allowed to have been Platonists. That Christianity soon became corrupted from the philosophy of the times is universally allowed by all sects of Christians in the present day. I have only room for one brief extract from Enfield's History of Philosophy, p. 13, 14. "Among the first Christians, who were industriously employed in disseminating the divine doctrine of their master, the subtilties of Gentile philosophy obtained little credit. But very soon after the rise of Christianity, many persons who had been educated in the schools of the philosophers becoming converts to the Christian faith, the doctrine of the Grecian
sects, and especially of Platonism, were interwoven with the simple truths of pure religion. As the Eclectic philosophy spread, heathen and Christian doctrines were still more intimately blended, till, at last, both were almost entirely lost in the thick clouds of ignorance and barbarism which covered the earth; except that the Aristotelian philosophy had a few followers among the Greeks, and Platonic Christianity was cherished in the cloisters of monks. About the beginning of the eleventh century, a new kind of philosophy sprung up, called the scholastic, which, while it professed to follow the doctrine of Aristotle, corrupted every principle of sound reasoning, and hindered, instead of assisting, men in their inquiries after truth."
Such being the fact, that Christianity became corrupted from the philosophy of the times, let us now notice, that from this very source the apostles forewarned Christians, errors should arise among them. Paul said to the Collosians, ch. 2: 8, "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." See also 1 Tim. 6: 20, 21. 1: 4, 6. and 4: 7. 2 Tim. 2: 16-18. These errors were not introduced without opposition, for it required ecclesiastical authority to establish in some places the immortality of the soul. Accordingly Eusebius testifies, that A. D. 249, the doctrine that "the souls of men perish with their bodies," was condemned in an Arabian council. No wonder the Arabian Christians opposed the doctrine of the immortality of the soul even in the third century, for by Dr. Good's own showing, it was not found in the writings of Job, their ancestor, nor taught them by Christ their master. This doctrine however being once established, laid a foundation for a superstructure of priestcraft and superstition in the Catholic
church, which for many ages was the admiration of the nations, but the curse of the world. Its very ruins excite our astonishment. At the Reformation, many things were reformed, but all will admit, many things were left unreformed. For example, saving immortal souls after death was laid aside, but the reformers still went on to save them before death. Whether men had immortal souls to save from endless misery was never made a question with them; and from their day to this few Protestants have suspected the unscriptural nature of this doctrine.
Facts stated, showing that the common opinions respect ing man's soul, and its condition after death, cannot be true.
In the course of the preceding examination a number of facts have occurred to us which confirm the views advanced. For brevity's sake we shall introduce them chiefly in the way of question and answer.
1st. When God created man, did he inform him that he had given him an immortal soul? No; we might just as well assert this of the beasts which God created. To say an immortal being became mortal by sin, is a contradiction in terms; nor is it intimated that the entrance of sin produced such a change among mankind.
2d. Has God imparted to Adam's posterity immortal souls either by gift, or propagation, to suffer or enjoy in a disembodied state? No; no man disputes that the same kind of soul Adam had, all his posterity have; and to speak of a mortal creature