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selves were amongst the living, and Genesis, in different places of the same the God of the living was their God. account, speaking of the persons who Secondly, For such is the mighty appeared, he sometimes calls them power of God exerted towards the angels and sometimes men, using the righteous dead, who are worthy of words synonimously with each other, a part in the first resurrection, that which he could not do if they were, when this mortal state of things is as they appear to have been, superover, there is no further increase by natural agents, but on the ground of marriage, therefore marriage ceases, the righteous dead being employed and the righteous dead become like as divine messengers, when the Deity the messengers of God in heaven. thought proper to appoint such ex
This reply of Jesus is much illus- traordinary intercourse on any occatrated by the transfiguration on Mount sion with his creature man. This Tabor, when Moses, one of the righ- synonimous use of the word is also teous dead, who had been buried in to be found in Judges xiii. when the the land of Nebo, appeared as a mes- angel of the Lord appeared to Ma. senger of God to Jesus, with Elias noali's wife; and again in the appear. the prophet, another messenger, and ances at the sepulchre of Jesus, by conversed with Jesus on bis cruci: comparing John xx. 12, Luke xxiv. fixion that was to be. This is also 4, Matt. xxviii. 2–5, Acts i. 10. farther illustrated by Rev. xix. 10, See also the appearance to Lot, Gen. xxij. 9. In both which places we xviii. xix., and Simpson's adinirable fiud, that the angel or messenger of Essay on Angels. Jesus, sent to make kuown future From this evidence, and that in my events to John, expressly tells John, former Letters, I conclude, that seeing “ I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy all living existence is formed, ab oribrethren the teachers, and of them gine, by a union of the vital principle who keep the sayings of this book.” to matter, there is not any ground Probably a James or a Stephen, one for supposing that this vital principle of the first martyred teachers of Chris- does not exist at the death of the tianity; whosoever he was, at least body, and coinpletely independent of his resurrection and office shew that it, with a capacity of animating with there has been, and still is, a first all its recollections such spiritual body, resurrection prior to the general re as may be appointed for it, seeing surrection from the dead: and, that that original life, by its recollections, such resurrection is not the raising of continues, though the matter is mothe body, but the raising of the vital, mentarily changing. mental conscious principle; and of Against this doctrine, Dr. Priestley which principle Jesus said, Matt. x. has justly been considered as the 28, “ Fear not them who are able to most formidable antagonist. If I unkill the body, but are not able to kill derstand his arguments they may be the living principle, but rather fear reduced to these four objections :him who is able to destroy both living 1, All ideas have come from corpoprinciple and body in the grave." real senses; thought cannot exist with
Passing from the New Testament to out an organic body; the induction, the Old Testament, there the language therefore, from these allowed facts is, for death is, “ he slept, he slept with that the organic body thinks. his fathers, he was gathered to his 2, That the reason why it is confathers," all speaking of the dead as tended that the mind and body are disin a state of existence, though their tinct is, that the mind may be proved bodies were in general passed away. capable of living after the death of the If we may be permitted to take the body; but if it was capable of such language of the historians as evidence separate existence, it would also conof their ideas concerning things, it may tinue its activity when the body be said that the history of ancient swooned or slept. times by Moses, confirms the lan 3. If the mental faculty is immateguage of Jesus, where he tells the rial and immortal, all its particular Sadducees that the righteous dead are, faculties would be so too; but every in the state called heaven, as the mes- faculty is liable to be impaired, and sengers or angels of God. Thus Moses, death renders them all extinct. in the xvii. and xix. chapters of 4, If the sentient principle is imma
terial it cannot have extension, and, distinct from the body, and can exist therefore, all belonging to it must be without it or not? This, I presume, simple and indivisible; but our ideas, will, to many persons, be in general the archetype of our minds, are facts an interesting topic of inquiry; and retained : these ideas are divisible or is, perhaps, at the present time more they could not be reasoned on, and peculiarly interesting, on account of such reasoning is an extension and the expected approaching trial of Mr. divisibility of the mind, and by it John Wright, on the charge of blasprovès its materiality.
phemy, in consequence of having, in If I have, as I intended to do, rightly a discourse, advanced sentiments upon stated the learned Doctor's objections, this subject contrary to the popular I think they can have no force against notions. Sentiments similar to those facts and Scripture, and that the rea- espoused by Mr. J. W. were many soning of them confounds the distinct · years ago publicly professed by some principles of mind and body, and are persons of high rank in the Church of no more conclusive than the Doctor's England, as well as by men of research argument would be to prove that and learning amongst the Dissenters. himself and his pneumatic trough were Your Correspondent V. F. (p. 276), one person, because the one never did, has made some just remarks upon the or could act without the other; but speech of the Bishop of Chester, in my paper being filled, I have only the House of Lords, as given in some room to say, that I mean not to be of the public prints, in reference to disrespectful to his memory, by ob- the case of Mr. J. Wright. The father serving, that the premises and con- of this prelate, the late Dr. Edmund clusion appear to me unphilosophical Law, Bishop of Carlisle, was a mau and unworthy so great a man. whose soul could not be confined by
the shackles of an established system,
bnt would avail itself of its natural SIR, Stockport, July 9, 1817. liberty. Those who wish to make
impartial examination of subjects ters, which have a connexion with the connected with religion and morals, topic discussed in your learned Cor. I rejoice that so convenient and valu- respondent N.'s essays, and with the ble a medium for discussion is pre- subject, which is the ground of offence sented to the public through your in Mr. J. Wright's Sermon, would do Repository.
well to consult Dr. E. Law's “ Dis. T'he topic of ritality has, in some course on the Nature and End of late Numbers, been considered by Death under the Christian Covenant, your Correspondent N. (pp. 210 and with the Appendix and Postscript," 342). In his two Letters or Essays subjoined to his “ Considerations on he has, doubtless, discovered much the Theory of Religion." This judiknowledge of natural science; yet it cious and learned writer, in this Dis. appears to me, that the points which course, considers 1, “ In what sense he aims to prove are not so clearly we are delivered from death by the established, as I apprehend he ima- sufferings and death of Christ.” 2, gines, and that there is much justice “ Why so much of the power of death and force in the remarks of your Cor. is still permitted to continue in the respondent E. (p. 341), upon his first world." 3, “ What notions of it are essay. The subject, if I'rightly un. now proper and agreeable to the derstand the author of the two essays, Christian state." Under the first is the same as that which has often head he endeavours to ascertain the been discussed by metaphysicians and meaning of the word death, as it is divines, whether the soul is a principle strictly and properly applied in Scrip
ture; and to do this, he refers to that
“ remarkable passage, where it is * [As another Correspondent has, for first used in that denunciation which many years, used the signature of N, attached to this and the former communica: brought Adam and his posterity under tions on Vitality, we ought to have re. it, and where, we must suppose it quested some addition ur alteration in the used in all the plainness and propriety subscription, which perhaps our present of speech imaginable.”. (Gen. ii. 17.) correspondent will hereafter make. Ed.] Our author asserts, that the original VOL. XII.
Hebrew signifies, “ thou shalt utterly “ Though in the sight of the unwise die." He supposes that this matter is we seem to die, yet is our hope full “ sufficiently explained in the sentence of immortality." ' In the Appendix passed on our first parents ; where our author treats, “concerning the they are reminded of their original, use of the words soul or spirit in the and of that state to which this change Holy Scriptures, and the state of the should reduce them. “In the sweat dead there described;" and he says, of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till that “ all philosophical arguments thou return unto the ground; for out drawn from our notions of matter, and of it wast thou taken: dust thou art, urged against the possibility of life, and unto dust shalt thou return.'” thought and agency being so con(Gen. iii. 19.) This language, he con- nected with some portions of it as siders, must have been understou l by to constitute a compound being or perour first parents, as meaning “a re son, are roerely grounded on our igno. sumption of that natural life, or con- rance, and will prove equally against scious being, which their Creator had known fact and daily observation ; in been lately pleased to bestow upon the production of various animals, them, the forfeiting which, must ne- (oviparous and vegetable ones particessarily include a total loss of all cularly,) as well as against the union those benefits, that then did, or ever of two such heterogeneous principles, could proceed from him.” After con- as those of our own soul and body are sidering the meaning of the word supposed to be." In the Postscript Dr. death, he proceeds to shew, how we Law defends his sentiments relating are delivered from it by the obedience to the subject which he had been of our Lord. This, he asserts, “ will discussing, and points out the incon. appear more clearly from the date of sistency of the popular scheme with that deliverance, and this is every the gospel, representing it as “á total where in Scripture represented as subversion of that positive covenant commencing at the resurrection. which professes to entitle us to ever• Since by man came death, by man lasting life.” came also the resurrection from the
S. P. dead,' and · as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.' Mr. Belsham's Animadversions on the Under the second head our author Attack, in the “Monthly Retrospect," takes notice, that mankind “could upon his “ Plea for Infant Baptism." not have subsisted always in the pre
Essex House, sent world; at least not been sup
October 8th, 1817. take
Repository for July, which is other's places in succeeding genera- ratherquaintly styled “The Christian's tions." "He also says, “ could we, at Survey of the Political World,” has any time, without pain or the appre- thought fit to travel somewhat out of hension of any, quit our abode here, bis record, [p. 448,] in order to pass a and convey ourselves to the realms censure upon a work which he has above, how ready, on every slight oc- probably never read, and to controcasion, would each be to dispatch vert an argument which it is plain himself and others thither!" "Our that he does not understand. As the author likewise shews, “ that such a passage is but short, as it is a sort of dispensation as this of death, however bonne bouche in controversial theology, disagreeable, is yet in our present and finally, that I may not be accused circumstances of great service." Un- of misrepresenting a writer upon der the third head of the Discourse, whom I find it necessary in self-dethe writer intimates, that we bave fence, and in justice to the argument ground for comfort, and that we may which I have advanced, to animad. look upon death, as “ a passage from vert, I will, with your permission, a mixed, imperf ut, to a pure and per- transcribe the passage entire. fect portion of relicity, tbe end of all “ But we must not be too severe in our labours in one state, and the be- our strictures on this abuse of baptism, ginning of our recompense in another. (alluding to the unwarrantable stress * Mortality is swallowed up of life.'” laid upon the rite of baptism in the Death is represented as a sleep. Roman Church as applied to the in
their turn there, and" supply cache T'e writer of that article in the
fant daughter of the Duchess of Berri,) commemoration of the resurrection of when even in our own body is found a Christ as a strange fancy; for these writer to set up the strange notion of external rites, however reasonable and the propriety of infant sprinkling as a useful in themselves, yet as Christian Christian rite, derived from the apos- institutions, they stand upon no other tles. The true Christian will not, foundation, nor can a better be de. however, be led away by such strange sired, than infant baptism, viz. the fancies: he will consider what baptism uniform, universal, undisputed pracreally was, and that it could not be tice of the primitive Church from the introduced till the parties were pre- apostolic age. This the Christian Popared to be disciples. Make disciples litician, by a misnomer, calls tradition, was the precept; the initiatory rite whereas it is in truth the very strongest was the consequence: and how a disci- species of historic evidence. It is by ple is to be made of a babe who cannot far the sürest method of tracing an inassent to any proposition, it is in vain stitution to its original authority, infor any learned Rabbinism to attempt finitely better than any positive testito explain. We must not set the mony from single texts which are liaplain terms of a law aside to bring it ble to be altered and mutilated in a within the pale of tradition. For, bad thousand ways. And, in fact, it is the the tradition been well-grounded, and self-same evidence by which the rewe believe that there is no foundation cords of the Christian religion are aufor it, this would no more justify the thenticated and their genuineness is practice than it would justify Peter's established. For how is it known error which was by Paul so justly that the Gospel of Matthew was writcondemned.”
ten by Matthew, and the Gospel of Upon this precious morceau of theo- John by John, but from the uniform logical lore, which, in the estimation undisputed testimony of Christian anof the writer and perhaps of the tiquity: and why do the Epistle to OI TOX101 with whom confidence of the Hebrews and the Book of Revelaassertion and a contemptuous sneer
tion stand upon a lower scale of cresupply the place of proof, is regarded dibility or rather of authenticity than as a decisive answer to a late Pea the Gospels and Paul's Epistles : but, FOR INFANT Baptism, I beg leave that they are in the number of the to offer the following animadversions. avlideyoueva, books whose genuine
In the first place, this political ness was not universally admitted by Christian, or Christian Politician, pro- the earliest Christians ?" fesses to soften the severity of his cen- But though the rite of infant bapsure upon the Romish error of bap- tism stands upon this very strong tismal salvation out of courtesy to the ground of primitive antiquity, yet it author of the Plea, who has asserted appears that those who practise it are the obligation of infaut baptism upon not true Christians in the estimation totally different grounds. The author of our Christian Politician. “The true is not insensible to the intended kind- Christian will not,” says he, “ be led Dess, and in return he would whisper away by such strange fancies." This, to his gentle monitor, that another methinks, is somewhat of a sweeping time it might be advisable just to take censure. I have myself been pretty the pains to understand a question be severely schooled for not extending fore he publishes his remarks upon it. indiscriminately the appellation of
But the Christian Politican regards Unitarian to the mixed multitude, infant baptism as a strange fancy.— who, for one reason or another, claim Perhaps he considers infant circum- the title, and who gather in such cision as also a strange fancy: and yet swarms around the Unitarian stanthere are many true Christians who dard, that they almost remind one of seriously believe that circumcision the old saying, “ how we apples
a divine institution. Perhaps swim!" But never did I dream of the Christian Politician may go a excluding from the great community little further still: he may think pub- of Christians any who professed to lic worship a strange fancy: he may believe in Christ, and whose lives call the Lord's Supper a strange fancy: were correspondent io their profeshe may regard the appointment of the sion, for any difference of opinion or Lord’s-day as a religious and joyful practice relating either to Christian
doctrine or to positive institutions. the Christian Politician is pleased to But this Christian Politician wields call tradition, bat which he well knows his theological hatchet with a more is the only evidence upon which the ruthless mind than the savage throws Gospel of Matthew can be received his tomabawk; and in the true spirit as genuiue, and consequently the only of the imperial tyrant who wished authority upon which the precept rests. that the Roman people had but one But the very same testimony which head that he might enjoy the pleasure establishes the obligation of proselyte of striking it off, he severs at one baptism, establishes that of infant bapmighty and decisive stroke, from the tism: and if it is competent to authoChristian community, the great mass rize the one, it is equally competent to of professing Christians for the first authorize the other. What fouudation tení centuries, all the members of the is there, then, for that unmeaning steer Asiatic, the African, the Greek, and of the Christian Politiciau, “how a the Roman Churches; Catholic and disciple is to be made of a babe, who Protestant, Lutheran and Reformed, caunot assent to any proposition, it is Episcopalian, Presbyterian and lude- in vain for any learned Rabbinism to pendent, the vast majority of martyrs attempt to explain"? and confessors of ancient and modern But the Christian Politician demurs times, the teachers, the reformers, the to the fact. “We," says he, meaning, pillars and bulwarks of the church, I suppose, himself and his snug party and without hesitation he delivers of true Christians, “ believe that there them over to Satan, and assigns them is no foundation for it." Had these their portion with hypocrites and un- true but simple Christians been men believers; for whatever they might of sound understandings and of comprofess, or however eminent they might petent learning, they would not only be for talents and virtues, for their have told us what they believe, but why piety, their orthodoxy, their zeal and they believe; they would have shewo, usefulness, they baptized infants and that though Jerome and Augustin on consequently were no“trueChristians." the one side, and Pelagius and Celestius Indeed, according to this new gospel, on the other, who examined the subject so “strait is the gate and so narrow is with the greatest attention, declare the the way," that few beside the Christian universality of iufant baptism, and that Politician himself, and the noted John they had never seen or read of any heof Leyden, and those far-famed Chris. retics so impious as to deny it; yet that tian politicians, the pious German nevertheless these great and learued Anabaptists of the sixteenth century, men, the most eminent writers of the and a few worthy and good men of fifth century, were quite mistaken; and modern times, stand any chance of that there had been a time, when the salvation.
whole Christian church were utter But the Christian Politician appeals strangers to infant baptism, and apto positive law. “Make disciples was plied the rite only to adults. They the precept: the initiatory rite was would have appealed to some nation, the consequence. We must not set or sect, or church, in which adult bapthe plain terms of a law aside to tism only was practised: or they would bring it within the pale of tradition." have produced some early instance of Granted. But does it follow that be- the descendant of a baptized person, cause proselyte baptism is a Christian whose baptism was deferred to years institution, infant baptism is not? of discretion : or at least some early Where is the Christian Politician's ecclesiastical writer, who opposed the logic, if from such premises he draws practice of infant baptism, and denied such a conclusion ? Proselyte baptism its apostolical authority. And finally, is unquestionably a rite of the highest these well-meaning true Christians, if authority: and upon what ground does they had understood any thing of the the evidence rest? Not surely upon art of reasoning, would have endeathe doubtful authority of a doubtful voured to shew how it came to pass and reasonably suspected text: but that when Christ and his apostles had upon the uniform, universal, and inva- appointed one mode of baptism, the riable practice and testimony of the universal church should, in less than a primitive church; upon that high century, practise a different mode; groupd of historic evidence, which and that this great change should have