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at first doubted. He therefore prepared his book, which ended the doubt. Neander says: “ His work does not show the novice, who was a catechumen, but a man already mature in his convictions, if he was not orthodox according to the views of the church.” The same historian speaks of the “ free, independent manner in which he seems to have come to Christianity, through the reading of the New Testament, especially the Gospels.”
Arnobius argues very fully the intermediate nature of man. His rhetoric is strong, but he shows a warm heart. He says: “ Souls were formed not far from the yawning jaws of death, yet such that they might become long-lived by the gift and beneficence of the Sovereign Ruler, if they but endeavor and strive to know Him. For the knowledge of Him is, as it were, the leaven of life, preservative against dissolution." (Adv. Gentes, 1. 2, c. 32.) “Wherefore we should not be deceived or deluded with vain hopes, by that which a new class of men, elated with an extravagant opinion of themselves, tell us: that souls are immortal, next in rank of dignity to the Supreme God, derived from him as Creator and Father, divine, wise, inspired with knowledge, and free from stain of gross matter.” (1. 2, cc. 14, 15.) - This we do hold and know; on this one clear and manifest truth do we take our stand, that all the gifts of God are for the benefit and happiness of all; most full of delight, love, joy, and gladness; yielding pleasures incorruptible and ever-during; freely offered to the wishes and earnest efforts of all; and to be excluded from them is destruction and death.” (1. 2, c. 55.)
DOES THE DOCTRINE OF THE IMMORTALITY OF A CLASS ACCORD WITH A JUST PIIILOSOPHY AND WITH
THE SENTIMENTS OF HUMANITY?
The present and concluding chapter of my prolongued argument must be somewhat miscellaneous. I must touch briefly the supposed metaphysical proofs of man's immortality; a theological argument, or the doctrine of salvation ; the supposed reformatory design of all punishment; and the questions, What is benevolent to man? and, What is worthy of God?
§ 1. The Ontological Proof of a Future Life. The metaphysical argument for the soul's immortality is the lineal descendant of the Grecian philosophy, particularly the Platonic; though it is older than Grecian thought, as appears from Cicero's statements and from some of the Hindoo books. It is found most at length and in the most scholastic form in the early Christian literature, in Augustine. In modern times it is considerably broken down under the subtleties wilich the schoolmen have heaped upon it, and generally abandoned as unsatisfactory. Yet there is a very frequent presumption that the Scriptures teach or imply it, and that, therefore, we do well to prop it up, for the benefit of sceptics, by the support of pure reason.
The commonest rational argument is based on the immaterial nature of the soul. It is uncompounded not made up of parts, and so can not fall in pieces. Or, it is a spiritual substance, suffering no change or decay from physical causes and agencies. And, in obscure agreement with the latter view, it is often remarked that moral causes can not change or affect the substance or being of the soul.
I grant the immaterial nature of the soul; for I do not make the mind out of the brain, however dependent it may be, in the present economy, on cerebral action; rather, I regard the brain and all organism as produced by vital forces. And all life, animal and vegetable, as well as spiritual, seems a higher sort of life than the mechanical or chemical properties of atoms, or even the so-called imponderable agents — heat, light, and the electric, magnetic, and galvanic currents. When we have passed these limits, we find ourselves in a world of myriad forms of life, some of which trench very close upon the human, so that the higher examples of brute life compete with the lower examples of human life, and even bear away the palm. For dignity of nature, perhaps Bucephalus was as worthy of a city for a monument, and as worthy of immortality, as a good many men have been. The rational distinction between the human soul and the brute soul is not very well settled yet; and the fact reflects no great credit on our sagacity, or boasted superiority. And in the question of moral capacity, some dogs seem to have as tender a conscience as some men ever had.
I say these things, not to jostle the human race into rank with the brutes, for I am as proud as any one of my humanity, though sometimes very much ashamed of it, but to raise the question whether differences of character may not be even more important than differences of race, in this question of the immortality of souls, whereof the Scriptures say naught. Many good men - Duns Scotus, Ramsay, Dean, Wesley, Clarke, Tennyson, Theodore Parker, Agassiz — have held or allowed the immortality of brutes; and Bishop Butler and Isaac Taylor have remarked that the metaphysical arguments for our immortality are about as good for the immortal life of our four-footed and our footless neighbors. There is something in them besides atomic pieces of matter. And that something else, it seems to me, may be vital, spiritual substance a great deal more manifold in its kind than atoms are, of which we have found about seventy sorts- - gold, silver, copper, nickel, and so on down. There is a common notion that all spiritual substance is homogeneous; whence it is inferred that God and we are
made of the same stuff. So the Platonists believed, with inevitable consistency, that the soul is immortal because eternal and divine. I reject the conclusion, because I deny the premise; and I reject the premise, also, because I deny the conclusion. And if we once admit that spiritual substance is heterogeneous, we may, perhaps we must, allow that no kind of created spirit is absolutely imperishable; and the greater frailty of one kind may denote at least a measure of frailty in another kind. In God we live, and move, and have our being — not in ourselves. And whether we shall live in Him and with Him eternally, may depend on our observance of the precept, “ Be strong ; quit you like men."
If I am asked how the soul, as a spiritual substance, can perish from being, I will reply by asking how it comes into being. Or, rather,—not to debate the question whether it is created or propagated, — does the soul grow? and if so, how ? Is the substance of the infant soul as entire and complete as that of the matured and full-grown intellect, master of a hundred arts and sciences? Is the quantity of being the same in the one case as in the other? I do not ask if the one weighs as many ounces or measures as many inches; but is there, for substance and amount, as much soul in the one case as in the other? If so, then are all souls equal in quantity of being ? and if thus equal, whence the manifest and striking differences in their original and native power and capacity? If the brain and the material organism make all these differences, then do disembodied souls retain any of these differences, or any differences of constitutional habit or quality, intellectual or moral ? If two souls in very different bodies should make an exchange, would they at once exchange characters ? and if not, why? Again, if there is acquired power or habit of the soul, is that a development of what was in the soul at the outset, or is it something superadded to its nature or being ?
I ask these questions for information. I can not answer them myself. And until they are answered, I think we should not hold. with any dogmatism, that idea of the soul which makes it a pure entelechy-a logical entity or substance, imperishable as truth itself, and which must be precisely similar in all individuals. But if there are real differences in human souls, and real processes of growth, however unlike the growths of matter, then all argument for its proper immortality is at an end. Aside from revelation, we might suppose that the soul has a certain and fixed period of growth, maturity, and decay; a period much longer, possibly, than the three thousand years of the cedar, yet strictly a period beyond which it could not live. And with the revelation, I find nothing to oppose this view : viz., that even without a natural and necessary period of life, the soul may suffer in its very being by all that wars against its well-being. The disregarded laws of its life may become the laws of its death. If it may thrive, it may languish; if it may wax stronger, it may grow weaker; if it may become more, it may become less. If the true, the beautiful, and the good are for “ the soul's health,” the false, the gross, and the evil may give it ill health. If purity may adorn it, vice may contaminate it. If virtue and love may give it power, sin may give it disease. Sin is the transgression of law; and if the “ wages of sin is death,” that death may be something more than a metaphor, and the disease which causes it may be mortal disease — a sin unto death. I have already remarked that death “ in trespasses and sins” probably signifies a sentence of death yet future. And I find nothing in the proper nature of the soul to rescue it from the analogies which make disease the symptom of decay and the pathway of death.
Here I meet the objection that moral causes do not directly produce physical effects. But I am not so sure of this. The indirect physical effects of moral causes are legion. The world is full of the produce of mind. We can not glance amiss to see what thought has done. But by what intermediate stages has all the work of the human race grown out of its mind ? It has not been by magic, as if we had the lamp of Aladdin ; nor has it been done by Leibnitz's rule of preëstablished harmony, which grew out of the notion that spiritual forces could not be harnessed to work in matter. Pyramids, temples, cities, steamships, and railroads have not sprung into existence because men