Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

[ocr errors]

That Argument which fome urge against this, feems to me of no Confideration at all, viz. That if Man be faid to be made after the Image and Likeness of God, with refpect to his Soul, to his Natural Faculties of Reafon and Will, or to his Moral Perfections; then Angels may with much greater Reafon be faid to be made after the Image of God. Truly I think fo too: But what the Inconvenience of this is, I cannot tell, Angels are call'd the Sons of God in a more eminent Senfe than Man is, and a Son must partake of his Father's Nature: And therefore if Angels be by Nature the Sons of God, they are made after his Image and Likenefs; and as much liker to God than Men are, as they are more perfect and excellent Spirits. And that they are never faid in Scripture to be made after the Likeness of God, is no great Wonder, fince we have no particular Account given us of the Creation of Angels; and if there had, there had not been the fame Reafon to mention this, as in the Creation of Man: For there can be no Doubt that pure and perfect Spirits are made after the Image of God, that Eternal Infinite Spirit, of whom we can have no fuch perfect created Image as pure Spirits. But Man being a compounded Creature of Body and Spirit, it was fitting to let us know our Divine Original, and what a near Relation and Likenefs we bear to God,

Others place this Likeness of God only in that Dominion God gave Man over all Creatures; as it immediately follows: Let us make Man in our Image, after our Likeness; and let him have Dominion over the Fish of the Sea, and over the Focol of the Air, and oves Gattle, and over all the Earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth on the Face of the Earth. But thefe Men fhould confi

der,

der, That to make Man, and to give him Authority and Dominion over all Creatures, are Two very different Things, as different as Nature and Government are. Natural Dominion is founded in Nature, and when God faid, Let us make Man in our own Image, after our Likeness, and let him have Dominion over all Creatures; it fignifies to make Man fuch a Creature, as fhould be capable of governing all other Creatures; that is, endow him with Reafon and Understanding, which gives him a Natural Dominion over all Brute Creatures: Which proves that 'tis the reasonable Soul, which is made after God's Image. For it is Reafon and Understanding, which is the Superior Nature, to which the Government of Brute Creatures do naturally belong.

The Image then of God confifts in the Soul, in its natural Powers and Faculties of Underftanding, Reason, and Will, and in its moral and fpiritual Perfections of Purity and Virtue, And this proves what I difcours'd to largely before, That the Soul has a Happiness of its own, independent on the Body, and therefore may live and be happy in a separate State. Our very Union to thefe Bodies, as they are now corrupted and defiled, very much defaces the Glory of this Divine Image, and clogs and hinders the Motions and Efforts of the Divine Life; that we cannot attain to the juft Happiness and Perfection of our Natures here, but are preffing forward with Labour and Difficulty, and with various and uncertain Succeffes; which, as I obferv'd before, is a good Reafon to be. lieve that there is another State of Life, where we fhall attain thefe fpiritual Perfections and Pleafures; where we fhall live to God, and with that God, after whofe Image and Likenefs we were made, and are now renew'd and fanctify'd by the Power of the holy Spirit.

L

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

2. If all this be not thought a direct Proof of the Immortality of the Soul, and that we shall live in another State after the Death of these Bodies; we muft obferve farther, that God made Man to be Immortal. This is neceffarily fuppos'd, in the threatning of Death upon his Difobedience: Of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, thou fhalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt furely die, Gen. 2. 17. Which does not fignify, that he fhould immediately die, as foon as he had eaten of that forbidden Fruit, as the Event proves; for he lived many Hundred Years after it: But the Meaning is, that from that Moment he would become mortal, and fhould certainly die, when God faw fit. Now the threatning Adam with Mortality and Death upon his Tranfgreffion, neceffarily proves, that he would not have died, had he not eaten the forbidden Fruit. Let us then confider what the Confequence of this is. God made Man to be Immortal; then Man had an immortal Principle of Life; for God makes no Creature for Immortality, without giving it an immortal Nature, which is its natural Immortality.

Now it is certain nothing is capable of immortal Life, but that which has a Principle of Life in it felf: And therefore 'tis only the Soul which is by Nature immortal, that Breath of Life, which God breath'd into Man, when he had form'd him of the Duft of the Earth. For the Body has no Life of its own, as I have already obferv'd, but is animated and quickned by the Soul.

This is a plain Proof of the natural Immortality of the Soul. Let us then confider what this Death is, with which God threatned Adam for his eating the forbidden Fruit. For you fay nothing can fuffer Death, but that which hath a Principle of

[ocr errors]

Life: And therefore, if the Soul only be this Breath of Life, this Threatning muft reach the Soul, which must be extinguifh'd when the Body dies, which proves the Mortality of the Soul, as well as the Body, as far as this Threatning extends,

I answer to this, we muft confider, 1. That it contradicts the Methods of divine Providence and Government, to deftroy any Nature which he has made. All Philofophers agree, that though Matter it felf is changed into a Thoufand different Shapes, yet not any one Particle of it utterly perifhes: Much lefs can we think, that God deftroys any Principle of Life, which he has made by Nature immortal.

A

And therefore, 2. We muft understand that Threatning of Death in that Notion, which is not only the common, but the Scripture Notion of Death; that is, for the Death of the Body, which is by Nature mortal; though it fhould have been preserv'd immortal by the Tree of Life. This is what all Mankind call Death, even those who believe the Soul to be immortal, that the Body lofes all Life, and Senfe, and Motion. For this is dying to this World, and to all the Pleafures and Enjoyments of it.

ر

[ocr errors]

་་་

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

And 3dly, That this is the Notion of Death, appears from that Sentence denounc'd against Adam after his Fall; Duft thou art. and to Duft thou shalt return; That as his Body was originally form'd out of the Duft of the Earth, fo upon his Tranfgreffion, he fhould return to the Duft of the Earth again: Which concerns only the Diffolution of that Union between Soul and Body, but does not threaten the Death, Annihilation, or Extinction of the Soul: For the Soul was not made of Duft, and therefore can never return to

Duft.

Duft. And if this Sentence of Death does not relate to the Soul, but only to the Diffolution of this mortal Body, then though the Body dies, the Souf is immortal ftill: This Breath of Life is not extinguifh'd, though the Body return to its original Duft. And this is an Argument of great Cónfequence, because it proves the Immortality of the Soul after Death, as it proves that the Soul is by Nature immortal; and that the Sentence of Death does not extend to the Soul, but only to the Separation of the Soul and Body, and the Diffolution of the Body into Duft.

4. To confirm us in this Belief, That Death does not put an End to us; we may obferve in what manner the Scripture fpeaks of Dying. We are told of Abraham, that he gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age; an old man, and full of years, and was gather'd to his fathers, Gen. 25. 8. The like we read of Ifaac, that he gave up the ghost and died; and was gather'd unto his People, Gen. 35. 29. Which naturally fuppofes that their Fore fathers, who were dead, did till live and fubfift in a feparate State; and that they went to them when they went out of thefe Bodies: For, as Procopius obferves, they could not be gather'd to those who were not. We must not attribute abfurd, or improper Forms of Speech to the Holy Spirit. And yet to fay, That to be gather'd to their People, fignifies no more than to die as their Forefathers did, and to fall into nothing as they did, is manifeftly abfurd. Certainly David meant fomething more by it, when speaking of his Child, which was dead, he faid, I fhall go to him, but he shall not return to me: Which fuppofes that they should meet together in the other World: And that is impoffible without a Life after Death; for Two Nothings can never meet.

not

So

« ForrigeFortsæt »