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We may appear with confidence, therefore, in the defence of this system; glorying in its practical tendency-in its eternal consequences; for it leads to heaven-to the presence of God.
3. If we possess an immortal soul, capable of existing in and separate from the body, then we may conclude, that opposition to the doctrine, is taking a criminal and dangerous stand. It is criminal, because there is no possibility of maintaining the ground without a departure from the letter and spirit of the Scriptures. The point in question, is as clearly settled there as the being of a God. It is not easy to see how it could have been stated with any greater clearnesss, than it is, in the Book of inspiration. In renouncing the belief of it, we must consider our own philosophy as being absolutely correct, and the only proper standard of decision in matters of this nature. But if philosophy must decide the momentous question, its voice is more against the resurrection of the body, than the immortality of the soul. Dr. Priestley has not, indeed, decided against that, but others have, whose acquisitions and pretensions have not been inferior to his. When the learned Greeks heard St. Paul preach on the resurrection of the dead, in the city of Athens, they treated the doctrine with the highest contempt. The language of human reason on this case, in all ages, has been, "How are the dead raised ? and with what bodies do they come ?" These quesup tions can no more be answered on the ground of reason, than the immateriality and immortality of the soul. In fact, philosophy has much to say on these points, but nothing in behalf of the resurrection. The difference is precisely this; reason and Scripture combine, in teaching that the soul is distinct from the body-incorporeal in its essence, and eternal in its duration; but the resurrection of the body, rests entirely on the testimony of the Bible. To
believe the latter and reject the former, is, therefore, not judging with, but against evidence.
In reasoning in favor of the materiality and consequent mortality of the soul, we must oppose a multitude of preeminent philosophers, as well as writers inspired by the Holy Ghost. On such accounts, we are warranted to decide against the material system. It requires the "magnanimity" of a Priestley, to think for a moment, of appearing in its defence. When he ventured to call what Moses says about the creation, "a lame account," the Anti-Trinitarian reviewers pronounced him a magnanimous writer, It is very "magnanimous," indeed, to take a stand against the Heavens! But we are not ashamed to say, that we dare not take such an elevated position. On the supposition that the material scheme is false, the crime of appearing in its defence is obvious. It is taking from the word of God. The crime of doing this is so great, that the LORD saith, that He shall take away the part of such an one from "the Book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this Book." Rev. 22. 19.
An avowal of the principle in question, is no less than doubting the knowledge and veracity of the Holy One of Israel-the God of the whole earth! If it is impossible" that soul and body should be so united as to form one complex person; or that the spirit should exist independently of the body; then we must think that God does not know these things; or, that he has not adhered to the truth; for they are certainly contained in His word. To say, that the passages which mention these things, are either insertions or mistranslations, is a miserable retreat; for after criticising the Scriptures in the closest manner, that it can be fairly done, there will be abundant evidence left to support the soul's immortality,
But when all these arts fail, Dr. Priestley and his disciples have another shift; namely, the denial of the plenary inspiration of the Scriptures. This completes the business. But in this affair, they have the unhappiness of contradicting the sacred writers, who have solemnly declared, that "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God." If they have told the truth, the doctrine of materialism cannot be supported; but if in that, they have stated a falsehood, they are not to be trusted in any part of their testimony. Anti-Trinitarianism, in all its bearings, leads directly into the gloomy region of Infidelity. We need say no more, therefore, to prove the crime of appearing as its advo
It will be readily admitted, I presume, that danger inseparably attends crime-Infinite Wisdom has established this connection. The sinful mind, on this account, is always full of fear and trouble. No self-flattering theories, that wicked men can invent, will wholly relieve their minds. The threatenings of Heaven, enforced by the conscience, are like peals of thunder; and the most obdurate of men, sometimes are forced to hear. To deny the separate existence of the soul, is a dangerous doctrine, both for the preachers and hearers; for Christ saith, "If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." Matth. 15. 14. People who embrace a delusive system, must realize its painful consequences; and to be employed in teaching it to others, greatly enhances their guilt, and adds to their misery. It is no small crime to ruin the souls of men. Being the property of God, He will, no doubt, call their destroyers to a solemn account. prised the Prophet Ezekiel of his duty in this respect, saying, "Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the
wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand." Ezek. 3. 17, 18. To be occupied in deluding immortal souls, is surely a much greater crime than merely neglecting to warn them to flee from "the wrath to come." But if all the preachers of error are involved in such guilt; in what an awful situation are they placed, who have taken the lead in capital and extensive heresies? Arius, Mahomet, Voltaire, and many others, whose names might be mentioned, have, doubtless, been instrumental in the eternal ' ruin of many millions of mankind! The inventor of the deleterious plan of materialism, must bear no inconsiderable degree of comparison, in guilt and punishment, with those conspicuous file-leaders in iniquity. Materialism is a dreadful scheme, when it is correctly viewed in its various bearings. It degrades man below the rank which he holds in the creation-cuts off his inducements to holiness-encourages him to commit sin-and prevents the very possibility of his salvation. It makes the proper Deity of Christ, an impossibility, and, of course, the idea of his Atonement, a mere farce. According to the plan in question, He, who is emphatically called, "The Son of God," can be nothing more than a curious organization of mere matter. If, as Dr. Priestley says, "there is no common property between matter and spirit, by which they can subsist in union," it will, of course, follow, that Christ's body could have no such connection with God, as to form one Person. The principle, in fact, excludes the possibility of His having even an immaterial and immortal soul. But, is it a thing credible, that One of such preeminent dignity as the Holy Scriptures represent the Lord Jesus Christ, should be, at last, no more than a composi
tion of matter, and his astonishing intellect, the result of its peculiar modification? They, who can lend themselves to believe such leamed and philosophic nonsense, are, surely, prepared to " swallow a camel!!" It is not improbable, that Dr. Priestley adopted the theory of materialism, to overthrow the Divinity and Atonement of Christ. In vain, however, "do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing." Great philosophers, with "the the rulers of the earth, may take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His anointed-He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision-He shall speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure." Psl. 2. 1-5. As to this matter, "if we are wise, we shall be wise for ourselves ;" but if we will "sit in the seat of the scornful," we must expect to be "like the chaff which the wind driveth away." Psl. 1. 1, 4. "God is not mocked." No; He is infinitely jealous of His truth, and of His glory.
4. If we possess immortal souls, it will necessarily follow, that we should examine the subject with great care, that our minds may be settled in regard to its truth. It is wicked to permit ourselves to think, that God has left a matter of such vast importance without sufficient evidence-evidence within the reach of the weakest mind. To be settled in this case, nothing farther is necessary, than diligence and common honesty; for the ground on which it rests, is the testimony of God, and that is so clear, that he that runs may read and understand. "The wayfaring man, though a fool," in respect to abstruse subjects, "need not err" in this case. In this enquiry, the Lord will guide the meek in judging of the nature and properties of the soul. It is not by human wisdom that a knowledge of the mysteries of the invisible world is acquired. Many people, of eminent abilities and learning, are whol