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and that of other men. The analogy holds as far as their circumstances are alike and no further. We are mortal, and designed for immortality; therefore we shall die and rise like him. Our mortal frame is of the same general structure as his; therefore it will undergo the same general process. We are not appointed to prove any ulterior fact through the proof of our identity after death, and therefore our gross remains will be left to decay, and we shall not come to survivors in a visible and tangible form.
We must resist our inclination to go into the consideration of the many Scripture facts related to those we have mentioned, and of the speculations on a local heaven, &c., &c., and pass on to the reasonings of the New Testament respecting the doctrine of a resurrection and future life, adverting to them only for the sake of illustrating the supposition now before us. The two principal parts are 1 Thess. iv. 13, to the end, v. 1-12, and I Cor. xv. In considering these passages, it is clear, first, that Paul expected an event which did not come to pass ; viz. that before his generation passed away, the end of the mortal state of humanity should arrive; that the departed should come with Christ, that his living disciples should be taken, without dying, into a state of incorruptibility, and that the whole race should then have entered upon the future life promised by Christ. It is easy to account for this erroneous expectation of the Apostle by reviewing the prophecies of Christ respecting his kingdom and its close on the overthrow of the Jewish state the end of the age, as it was emphatically called and by remembering how different a thing it is to interpret a prophecy, however distinct, before its accomplishment, and to recognize its fulfilment after the event. Nothing is easier than to separate what relates to this false expectation from the philosophical reasonings on death and resurrection, which are in no way invali. dated by it. It is clear, in the second place, that the whole chain of reasoning is worthless and unintelligible on the hypothesis of a separate soul, and that it gives no intimation whatever, as a whole, or in any separate part, of a simultaneous resurrection of mankind; while it is perfectly consistent with the last of our three suppositions.
Nothing is more natural ihan that Paul should describe the dead as those who sleep, because there is certainly no stronger analogy to the apprehensions of the living than that between death and sleep; an analogy which remains apparent to the survivors long after it has, according to our doctrine, ceased to the departed. It should be remembered how perpetually Paul at the same time represents the state of the departed as a state of consciousness, of activity, and enjoyment. It is, indeed, possible to interpret these representations as having a prospective meaning, but while such an interpretation is unnecessary, and while it destroys in a great measure the analogy between the case of Christ and that of men in general, we shall scarcely be inclined to adopt it. As for the rest, it can be necessary for our readers only to institute a comparison between our doctrine and the reasoning of Paul on death and revival, to admit their perfect consistency. We were about to go over the several points of his argument, the question whether Christ arose, the application of his case to all others, the contrast of the states under Adam and Christ, the reply to objectors on physical grounds, the triumphant anticipation of the final issue to humanity—but this our readers can do for themselves, almost at a glance, and be thereby more disposed than they could be by any suggestions of ours to wonder how the belief of a separate soul could ever have been held in conjunction with concurrence in the Apostle's argument ; or how grounds of belief in a simul
taneous resurrection of mankind could ever have been found in this portion of the sacred writings, · Having thus briefly explained what view of a very obscure subject appears to us most consistent with all the facts within our reach, (which view, however, we are quite ready to modify or relinquish as soon as fuller evidence sball shew us cause for doing so,) our judgment of Mr. Carmichael's book will be easily anticipated by those of our readers who are already acquainted with it-of as much of it, at least, as relates to the subject we have been con
Mr. C., being a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, took his turn to prepare a paper, as the custom is, to be read before the Society. The two first sections of the Pttle work before us were prepared for this purpose so long ago as 1817. The remainder was written long afterwards, when the author had found reason to change his philosophical system very extensively, and to retract much which he had formerly advanced. From this singular method of putting a book together, it necessarily arises that there is much incousistency in the volume, and a vacillation of opinion not a little perplexing to an unpractised inquirer, while no form could perhaps have been better chosen for shewing the true nature of the argument, and for pointing out the direction in which evidence preponderates; or for enabling the reader to judge, on the author's own involuntary shewing, of the progress of the mind of an inquirer, not only from truth to truth, but from strength to strength in the apprehension of truth. Towards the beginning of his book, Mr. C. says,
“ The necessary attributes of Spirit, as distinguished from Matter, are the powers of sensation, perception, judgment, and will. Man is endowed with These powers; if they cannot reside in the material substance of which he is composed, they must inhere in an essence similar, bowever inferior, to the essence of God. There must, therefore, be such an essence, however inferior, in man. That essence is the soul,” &c.-P. 3.
“ The philosopher who shall establish even probable grounds for the common opinion of the soul's immortality will be, of all men, the most deserving of the gratitude of his species.”—P. 20.
Which opinion, however, he, after an interval of years, believes he “ may unhesitatingly retract,” having become a materialist, and an advocate for Lawrence on Physiology, and having learned by practice not to set out in an argument with begging the question. The result of the whole of this part of the work is, that the writer overthrows the ancient superstition (as we esteem it) of a separate soul, and not dreaming apparently of any other alternative, adopts with all its difficulties the doctrine of a simultaneous resurrection of the whole human race, excepting of course Christ, Elijah, and probably Moses, and possibly Enoch. As his object is to dwell on the Physical Considerations connected with bis various topics, he plunges with his readers into the tossing sea of the ancient metaphysics, where, however some may have found their
Of youthful sports was on its breast to be
Borne, like its bubbles, ouward," they have no right to draw others after them without a prospect of bringing them safe and pleased to shore ; which prospect is not ours at present ; so that we shall content ourselves with sympathizing with our author in his evident enjoyment of these invigorating exercises, and with congratulating him on his general acuteness ; though his zeal leads him occasionally into temptations to injure the arguments of others by exaggeration, and his own by deficiency of method in his arrangement. We cannot approve, for instance, of the following method of stating the alternative between the flight of the soul at death and the resurrection of the body on the day of judgment :
“ The question is, an immortal soul? or a resurrection from death? Let us inquire what would be our choice if that gracious Maker should say to us, • Choose ye ! an eternal state of being is assured to you. Will ye enter it at the moment when terminates your mortal career? And breaking away from a social world to which ye are linked by a thousand affectionate ties, will ye adventure, desolate and alone, into the infinitude of the universe, to seek, ye know not where, for the Elysium of your hopes, the dwelling-place of those who were dear to you upon earth? Or will ye rest awhile from your labours? Repose in the grave with those whom you loved-mingle your dust with theirs-dissolve away together into apparent nothingness; yet at the appointed time hear my promised summons, and start together into renovated existence ?' If such were the proposition, few would find a difficulty in making their election. What our gracious Creator, in his benignity, seems to have decided for us, is the distribution we should have anxiously chosen for ourselves." - P. 67.
Not, perhaps, if the alternative had been fairly put ; for the soul would not “ adventure, desolate and alone,” would not be ignorant where to seek, &c., if its separation from the body had been ordained by God. What would Mr. Carmichael think of the following statement of his adversary's argument ?
“'Choose ye!-an eternal state of being is promised to you. Will ye make that promise a mockery by falling into a state of virtual annihilation, from which ye shall not be restored for ages of ages; will ye choose corruption in its most loathsome form, and forego all which distinguished you from the clod of the valley, all which made God your God and his angels your brethren; or, if there be within you an indestructible germ of being, will ye commit that atom to the winds of heaven, or confound it with the sands of the desert, or plunge it in the deepest caverns of the ocean?-or will ye rather preserve without intermission the dignity of your conscious being, passing with incommunicable rapture from the chainber of mourning and the bed of disease to a region of life and love and glory, where blessed spirits are througing around to greet you, and where, amidst all its newness and splendour, you shall at once recognize your home?'-If such were the proposition, few would find a difficulty in making their election,” &c.
Is the one statement more fair than the other? The faults of arrangement by which the author's own argument suffers are inherent in the plan of the work, and are perplexing to his readers, who need every aid which method can give towards understanding the drift of the writer amidst his changes of opinion. One thing, however, is clear; that he vanquishes the immaterialists as far as he attempts it, and that if his own scheme is surrounded with difficulties nearly as great, he is ready to perceive and admit them.
In the section relating to the nature of superior beings, our author does not go over much of the ground turned up by the Angelic Doctor, though it may seem difficult on such a subject to avoid his traces. Here we have rather a speculation on what our own state and employments shall be here
after, than an inquiry into the actual constitution of angels. This is very well; for in the first case we have a starting point of fact; in the last we have none. Till we have some better evidence of the existence of superior beings than our own presumptions, however strong, we cannot hope to learn much of their nature, and shall only lose time in doubting " whether objects involved in utter darkness are not visible to those beings; and whether their conversation is not audible to each other, even in a void.” Does not our author perceive that in the license of conjecture he has in this instance allowed himself, the doubt itself rests on the assumption that angels have eyes, lungs, and ears ?
On the eternally interesting topic of Providence, general or particular, our author writes in a way to perpetuate the interest and beauty of the theme : but is he sure that we must wait till we join the brotherhood of superior beings before we can solve its difficulties? Do they not arise from the assumption that Time is a condition of being to which Deity itself is subject ? Our own intellectual progression here undoubtedly causes a gradual change in our relation to Time, and thereby enables us to obtain some notion of the mode in which we shall, when further improved, perceive a general and particular Providence to be the same thing. The difficulties of this subject appear to us to be so evidently soluble, that in a few generations they will probably be heard of no more. We speak not here of the designs of Providence, but merely of the perplexities attending the doctrinal division of Providence into general and particular.
Our author well exposes the absurdities which have arisen from the changes of meaning which the word spirit has undergone, from the ancient times when it signified etherealized matter as well as that which is not matter at all, to the present day, when the term is commonly used in close argument with more precision. He supposes that all beings-except the Supreme-who have been called spiritual are organized, and that it is therefore rational to speculate on the conditions of their existence, which he does with some acuteness and a great deal of eloquence. We have been doubting which of two passages to extract, a speculation on the powers of superior beings, or a defence of the inquiry on the ground that no truth can be dangerous. We conclude to give both :
“ Is it inconsistent with reason to suppose that Omnipotence could bring into existence an ORGANIZED being, endowed with more numerous and excellent faculties than man, and framed of more pure and imperishable materials-that such a being, though privileged from the inspection of senses like ours, is open to the observation of such beings as himself-that his enjoyments must be great in proportion to his capacity for happiness; and his desire of knowledge commensurate with his powers to attain it—that the wonders of nature cannot be disregarded by him, if scrutinized with enthusiasm by subordinate creatures like us.-If we follow after truth till our limited faculties fail us, will he not maintain the pursuit to the verge of creation ?-If such be his passion, will God deny him the power to indulge it?-To believe that in the wide extent of this universe, no creature exists with such passions and such powers, is almost to believe that this universe was created in vain-a menagerie indeed for rational creatures to fatten and breed in; but not the magnificent temple of God, worthy to be viewed from every aspect, examined in every detail, and studied in its beautiful and stupendous proportions.- Is it not rational then to presume that such creatures exist, animated with such propensities and endowed with such powerful means to accomplish their purposes? The speed of a comet may indeed fall short of their necessities; but they may be gifted with the velocity of light. But will that velocity suflice
them?-It will scarcely transport them from one fixed star to another, though the distance be no greater than from Sirius to the Sun, in a shorter period than six of our years-nor would it convey them to the most distant star of our own Galaxy in less than 3000.-But in travelling with the incessant speed of light to the most distant nebula, whose radiance has entered the telescope of Herschel, upwards of 30,000 years would scarcely determine their journey. -Even those superior beings could scarcely afford out of eternity, to a single purpose, so vast an expenditure of time.-Their swiftness must therefore be incomparably greater than the swiftness of light,--the greatest which has yet been submitted to human calculation. But still, however difficult it may be to conceive an impulse so great, to deny its existence were absurd and presumptuous, while it indicates no contradiction of nature or reason. In the manifold varieties of rational creatures which people the habitable spots of the universe, is it inconsistent with reason to presume that organized beings, so potent, so intelligent, so ardent after truth, so fitted to attain it, so capable of appreciating every species of happiness, so gifted with powers to ensure its acquisition, and so formed of imperishable materials to enjoy it for ever-is it inconsistent with reason to presume the existence of such beings; and if an essence, like spirit, such as it has been fabricated by metaphysical ingenuity, can scarcely be supposed to exist, is it not certain that creatures like these must fill a place in the gradations of naturel-They are not spirits because they are organized; but in all other points they are similar to that species of being, as conceived by most rational men, till the tiine of Des Cartes. Even the early Christians very generally entertained opinions almost identical, and regarded God as the only Mind which acts and thinks without material organs. If they had advanced a step farther, and believed Him to be the only Spirit that exists, they would have derogated nothing from his unparticipated nature in asserting that the noblest rank of beings whom he vouchsafed to create essentially differed from him in being simply and specifically organized creatures.”—Pp. 53–56.
Against the calculation of speed given above, we must make the objection before adverted to, that time is probably a very different thing to beings of a more enlarged comprehension than ours and to ourselves. So many other conditions of existence being supposed to be changed, why should this one be imagined stationary from the ephemeron to the Supreme himself? To our apprehension, no condition of being seems more liable to variation with varieties of state than this. But to our other extract :
“ But what is this cant of dangerous truths ?-Rude, slanderous, and lacerating truths, affecting the self-esteem of individuals and the peace of families, are unfortunately too cominon; but, dangerous truths, destructive to the well-being of society or the happiness of mankind, are a contradiction in terms-an impossible chimera. Truths may be mischievous and reprehensible in the schools of good-breeding and humanity, but in those of politics it were slavery—in those of physics it were barbarism-in those of morals it were profligacy-and in those of religion it were blasphemy to assert that there is or can be an existing absurdity so enormous as a dangerous truth. Dangerous falsehoods indeed there may be but freedom of discussion is the true mode of detecting the fallacy and obviating the danger. The magnificent works of the Creator, whether inanimate, brute, or rational-the laws by which he governs them, whether physical, moral, or divine, demand and in. vite our researches; and is it within the range of possibility that in these sacred precincts we can light on a truth degrading to him, or pernicious to ourselves ? Such truths are emphatically the truths of God; and whoever has the good fortune to discover and the guilt to suppress them, is at once ignorant of his duties to God and to man. Despicable as a coward, and odious as a hypocrite, he may lick the feet of authority and prejudice; but he knows not the way to contribute to the happiness of man by increasing his