Page images

receive the soul mmediately from God, it must be pure, for who in such case will venture to call it impure ?4 But if it be pure, how are we conceived in sin in consequence of receiving a pure soul, which would rather have the effect of cleansing the impurities of the body; or with what justice is the pure soul charged with the sin of the body? But, it is contended, God does not create souls impure, but only impaired in their nature, and destitute of original righteousness; I answer that to create pure souls, destitute of original righteousness,—to send them into contaminated and corrupt bodies,—to deliver them up in their innocence and helplessness to the prison house of the body, as to an enemy, with understanding blinded and with will enslaved,—in other words, wholly deprived of sufficient strength for resisting the vicious propensities of the body—to create souls thus circumstanced, would argue as much injustice, as to have created them impure would have argued impurity; it would have argued as much injustice, as to have created the first man Adam himself impaired in his nature, and destitute of original righteousness.

Again, if sin be communicated by generation, and transmitted from father to son, it follows that what is the #PÔTOY OEXTıxdy, or original subject of sin, namely, the rational soul, must be propagated in the same manner; for that it is from the soul that all sin in the first instance proceeds, will not be denied. Lastly, on what principle of justice can sin be imputed through Adam to that soul, which was never either in Adam, or derived from Adam? In confirmation of which Aristotle's argument may be added, the truth of which in my opinion is indisputable. If the soul be equally diffuse. 4 Yet evil whence? in thee can harbour none,


Paradise Lost, V, 99. 5 Subjectum distingui potest in recipiens, quod Græce dektikòv appel. lant, et occupans, quod objectum dici solet, quia in eo adjuncta occupantur .... Sic anima est subjectum scientiæ, ignorantiæ, virtutis, vitii, quia hæc animæ adjunguntur, id est, præter essentiam accedunt.'— Artis Logicæ plenior Institutio. Prose Works, VI. 220.

6 See Aristot. Tepi yoxñs, I. 9. Per omnes ejus particulas tota simul adest, nec minor in minoribus, et in majoribus major, sed alicubi intensius, alicubi remissius, et in omnibus tota, et in singulis tota est.'-Augus tinus De Origine inimæ hominis ad Hieron. Ep. 166. Edit. Benedict.

Spirits that live throughout
Vita. in every part, not as frail man
In entrails, heart or head, liver or reins.-

Created pure.


throughout any given whole, and throughout every part of that whole, how can the human seed, the noblest and more intimate part of all the body, be imagined destitute and devoid of the soul of the parents, or at least of the father, when communicated to the son by the laws of generation? It is acknowledged by the common consent of almost all philosophers, that every form, to which class the human soul must be considered as belonging, is produced by the power of matter.

It was probably by some such considerations as these that Augustine was led to confess that he could neither discover by study, nor prayer, nor any process of reasoning, how the * doctrine of original sin could be defended on the supposition of the creation of souls. The texts which are usually ad

All heart they live, all head, all eye, all ear,
Al intellect, all sense.

Paradise Lost, VI. 344.
if it be true
That light is in the soul,
She all in every part.

Samson Agonistes, 91. 7 Milton frequently uses the word forma in its philosophical sense. in his English works he commonly expresses it by the word shape.


Virtue in her shape how lovely. Paradise Lost, IV. 846. • Discipline is not only the removal of disorder ; but if any visible shape can be given to divine things, the very visible shape and image of virtue.' The Reason of Church Government, &c. Prose Works, II. 442. •Regenerate in us the lovely shapes of virtues and graces.' Ibid. 446. • Truth indeed came once into the world with her divine master, and was a perfect shape most glorious to look on.' Speech for Liberty of Printing. Ibid. 89.

8 •We cannot deny but that besides Origen, several others of the ancient "fathers before the fifth council seem either to have espoused the preexistence of souls, or at least to have had a favour and kindness for it; insomuch that St. Augustine himself is sometimes staggering in this point, and thinks it to be a great secret whether men's souls existed before their generations or no, and somewhere concludes it to be a matter of indifferency, wherein every one may have his liberty of opinion either way without offence.' Cudworth's Intellectual System, chap. v. • Hujus igitur damnationis in parvulis causam requiro, quia neque animarum, si novæ fiunt singulis singulæ, video esse ullum in illa ætate peccatum, nec a Deo damnari aliquam credo quam videt nullum habere peccatum.' Augustinus De Origine animæ, &c. ad Hieron. Quære ubi, vel unde, vel quando cæperint [animæ] damnationis meritum habere, si novæ sunt, ita sane ut Deum non facias, nec aliquam naturam, quam non condidit Deus, vel peccati earum vel innocentum damnationis auctorem. Et si inveneris quod te quærere admonui, quod ipse adhuc, fateor, non inveni, defende



vanced, Eccles. xii. 7. Isai. lvii. 16. Zech. xii. 1. certainly indicate that nobler origin of the soul implied in its being breathed from the mouth of God; but they no more prove that each soul is severally and immediately created by the Deity, than certain other texts, which might be quoted, prove that each individual body is formed in the womb by the immediate hand of God. Job x. 8–10. “thine hands have made me.

hast thou not oured me out as milk ?”' Psal. xxxiii. 15. “he fashioneth their hearts alike.” Job xxxi. 15. “ did not he that made me in the womb make him ?Isai. xliv. 24. “ thus saith Jehovah.... he that formed thee from the womb." Acts xvii. 26. “ he hath made of one blood all nations of men.” We are not to infer from these passages, that natural causes do not contribute their ordinary efficacy for the propagation of the body; nor on the other hand that the soul is not received by traduction from the father, because at the time of death it again betakes itself to different elements than the body, in conformity with its own origin.

With regard to the passage, Heb. xii. 9. where the fathers of the flesh are opposed to the Father of spirits, I answer, that it is to be understood in a theological

, not in a physical sense, as if the father of the body were opposed to the father of the soul; for flesh is taken neither in this passage, nor probably any where else, for the body without the soul ; nor the father of spirits for the father of the soul, in respect of the work of generation, but the father of the flesh here means nothing else than the earthly or natural father, whose offspring are begotten in sin; the father of spirits is either the heavenly father, who in the beginning created all spirits, angels as well as the human race, or the spiritual father, who bestows a second birth on the faithful ; according to John iii. 6. “that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which quantum potes, atque assere animam infantium ejusmodi esse novitatem, ut nulla propagatione ducantur ; et nobiscum quod inveneris fraterna dilectione communica.' Augustinus Ep. 157. (190. Edit. Benedict.) ad Optatum.

9.Sunt quædam scripturæ loca, quæ id asserere videntur, ut Job xxxii. 4. Eccles. xii. 9. Zach. xii. 4. Respondeo, ex eo quod Jobus ait, spira. culum Omnipotentis vitam sibi indidisse, non magis sequi id factum esse immediate a Deo, quam ex eo quod idem dicit, nonne sicut lac mulsisti me, &c. Job x. 8. colligi legitime potest corpora nostra a parentibus non gigni. ed immediate a Deo ipso formari.' Curcell. Institutio. III. 10. 9.


[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The argument, too, will proceed better, if the whole be understood as referring to edification and correction, not to generation ; for the point in question is not, from what source each individual originated, or what part of him thence originated, but who had proved most successful in employing chastisement and instruction. By parity of reasoning, the apostle might exhort the converts to bear with his rebuke, on the ground that he was their spiritual father. God indeed is as truly the father of the flesh as of the spirits of flesh, Numb. xvi. 22. but this is not the sense intended here, and all arguments are weak which are deduced from passages of Scripture originally relating to a different subject.

With regard to the soul of Christ, it will be sufficient to answer that its generation was supernatural, and therefore cannot be cited as an argument in the discussion of this controversy. Nevertheless, even he is called the seed of the woman, the seed of David according to the fesh; that is, undoubtedly, according to his human nature.

There seems therefore no reason, why the soul of man should be made an exception to the general law of creation. For, as has been shewn before, God breathed the breath of life into other living beings, and blended it so intimately with matter, that the propagation and production of the human form were analogous to those of other forms, and were the proper effect of that power which had been communicated to matter by the Deity.

Man being formed after the image of God, it followed as a necessary consequence that he should be endued with natural wisdom, holiness, and righteousness. Gen. i. 27. 31. ii. 25. Eccles. vii. 29. Eph. iv. 24. Col. iii. 10. 2 Cor. iii. 18. Certainly without extraordinary wisdom he could not have given names to the whole animal creation with such sudden intelligence, Gen. ii. 20.1

1 In this illustration the chief stress is laid upon the suddenness with which Adam was enabled to give appropriate names to the brute creation, as it passed in review before him. Milton has two other allusions to this event, and the same circumstance is marked as the prominent feature of the case in both passages. There is nothing in the scriptural narration to suggest the particular idea, or the coincidence would have been less remarkable



GENERAL GOVERNMENT OF THE UNIVERSE. The remaining species of God's external efficiency, is his GOVERNMENT OF THE WHOLE CREATION.

This government is either GENERAL Or SPECIAL.


GOD THE FATHER. Neh. ix. 6. “thou, even thou, art Jehovah alone. ... thou hast made, and thou preservest them all.” To this truth Christ himself bears witness everywhere. Matt. v. 45. “that ye may be the children of your

Father which is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise. ... and sendeth rain,” &c. vi. 4. “thy Father which seeth in secret.” v. 8. “your Father knoweth. v. 13. “thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory.” v. 26. “your heavenly Father feedeth them.” v. 32. “your heaveniy Father knoweth that

” ye have need of all these things.” vii. 11. which is in heaven shall give good things unto them that ask him.” x. 29. “one of them shall not fall on the ground without


Father.” Acts i. 7. “ the times and the seasons which the Father hath put in his own power.” Eph. i. 11. "according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." James i. 17. “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.”. Even as regards the Son himself. Acts iv. 27. "against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed .... for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done."

The preservation of the universe is attributed to the Son also, but in what sense, and on what grounds, may be seen in the fifth chapter, on the Son of God. Col. i. 17.“ by him all things consist,


'your Father

[ocr errors]

I nam’d them as they pass’d, and understood
Their nature, with such knowledge God endu'd
My sudden apprehension.

Paradise Lost, III. 352. • But Adam, who had the wisdom given him to know all creatures, and to name them according to their properties, no doubt but he had the gift to discern perfectly that which concerned him much more, and to apprehend at first sight the true fitness of that consort which God provided him Tetrachordon. Prose Works, III. 336.

« PreviousContinue »