« PreviousContinue »
compared with Matt. viii. 31. Heb. i. 7. "as lightning," Luke x. 18. whence also they are called Seraphim. Immortal, Luke xx. 36. "neither can they die any more." Excellent in wisdom; 2 Sam. xiv. 20. Most powerful in strength; Psal. ciii. 20. 2 Pet. ii. 11. 2 Kings xix. 35. 2 Thess. i. 7. Endued with the greatest swiftness, which is figuratively denoted by the attribute of wings;7 Ezek. i. 6. In number almost infinite; Deut. xxxiii. 2. Job xxv. 3. Matt. xxvi. 53. Heb. xii. 22. Rev. v. 11, 12. perfect holiness and righteousness; Luke ix. 26. John viii. 44. 2 Cor. xi. 14, 15. "angels of light...... ministers of righteousness." Matt. vi. 10. "thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven." xxv. 31. "holy angels." Hence they are also called sons of God," Job i. 6. and xxxviii. 7. Dan. iii. 25. compared with v. 28. and even Gods, Psal. viii. 5. xcvii. 7. But they are not to be compared with God; Job iv. 18. "his angels he charged with folly." xv. 15. "the heavens are not clean in his sight." xxv. 5. " yea, the stars are not pure in his sight." Isai. vi. 2. "with two wings he covered his face." They are distinguished one from another by offices and degrees; Matt. xxv. 41. Rom. viii. 38. Col. i. 16. Eph. i. 21. and iii. 10. 1 Pet. iii. 22. Rev. xii. 7. Cherubim, Gen. iii. 24. Seraphim, Isai. vi. 2. and by proper names; Dan. viii. 16. ix. 21. x. 13. Luke i. 19. Michael, Jude 9. Rev. xii. 7. 1 Thess. iv. 16. "with the voice of the Archangel." Josh. v. 14. See more on this subject in the ninth chapter. To push our speculations further on this subject, is to incur
And when Satan receives his wound from Michael, th' ethereal substance clos'd,
Not long divisible.
7 Meanwhile the winged heralds, by command
Dan. vii. 10.
Paradise Lost, VI. 330.
8 I came among the sons of God, when he
Gave up into my hands Uzzean Job. Paradise Regained, I. 368. 9 Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appear,
Yet dazzle heav'n, that brightest Seraphim
Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes.
Paradise Lost, III. 380.
1 Yea the angels themselves, in whom no disorder is feared, as the apostle that saw them in his rapture describes, are distinguished and quaternioned into their celestial princedoms and satrapies, according as God himself has writ his imperial decrees through the great provinces of heaven.' Reason of Church Government, &c. Prose Works, II. 442.
the apostle's reprehension, Col. ii. 18. "intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind."
THE VISIBLE CREATION comprises the material universe, and all that is contained therein; and more especially the human race.
The creation of the world in general, and of its individual parts, is related Gen. i. It is also described Job xxvi. 7, &c. and xxxviii. and in various passages of the Psalms and Prophets. Psal. xxxiii. 6-9. civ. cxlviii. 5. Prov. viii. 26, &c. Amos iv. 13. 2 Pet. iii. 5. Previously, however, to the creation of man, as if to intimate the superior importance of the work, the Deity speaks like to a man deliberating : Gen. i. 26. "God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our own likeness." So that it was not the body alone that was then made, but the soul of man also (in which our likeness to God principally consists); which precludes us from attributing pre-existence to the soul which was then formed,groundless notion sometimes entertained, but refuted by Gen. ii. 7. "God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; thus man became a living soul." Job xxxii. 8. "there is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding." Nor did God merely breathe that spirit into man,3 but moulded it in each individual, and infused it throughout, enduing and embellishing it with its proper faculties. Zech. xii. 1. “he formeth the spirit of man within him.”
We may understand from other passages of Scripture, that when God infused the breath of life into man, what man thereby received was not a portion of God's essence, or a participation of the divine nature, but that measure of the divine virtue or influence, which was commensurate to the capabilities of the recipient. For it appears from Psal. civ. 29, 30. that
2 'It is not good. God here presents himself like to a man deliberating; both to show us that the matter is of high consequence,' &c. Tetrachordon. Prose Works, III. 329.
3 Lest that pure breath of life, the spirit of man
♦ Unde a quibusdam dicitur, particula auræ divinæ, Horat. II. Sat. ii. quod non reprehendo, modo bene intelligatur non quasi a Dei essentia, tanquam ejus pars, avulsa fuisset; sed quod ineffabili quodam modo profluere eam ex se fecerit.' Curcellæi Institutio, III. 7.
he infused the breath of life into other living beings also ;-
Man having been created after this manner, it is said, as a consequence, that man became a living soul, whence it may be inferred (unless we had rather take the heathen writers for our teachers respecting the nature of the soul) that man is a living being, intrinsically and properly one and individual, not compound or separable, not, according to the common opinion, made up and framed of two distinct and different natures, as of soul and body,—but that the whole man is soul, and the soul man, that is to say, a body, or substance individual, animated, sensitive, and rational; and that the breath of life was neither a part of the divine essence, nor the soul itself, but as it were an inspiration of some divine virtue fitted for the exercise of life and reason, and infused into the organic body; for man himself, the whole man, when finally created, is called in express terms a living soul. Hence the word used in Genesis to signify soul, is interpreted by the apostle, 1 Cor. xv. 45. "animal." Again, all the attributes of the body are
He form'd thee, Adam, thee, O man.
6 See Beza's version in loc. vivens,'
Paradise Lost, VII. 523.
when God said,
Let the earth bring forth soul living in her kind. VII. 450.
assigned in common to the soul: the touch, Lev. v. 2, &c. "if a soul touch any unclean thing,"-the act of eating, vii. 18. "the soul that eateth of it shall bear his iniquity;" v. 20. "the soul that eateth of the flesh," and in other places:hunger, Prov. xiii. 25. xxvii. 7.-thirst, xxv. 25. " cold waters to a thirsty soul." Isai. xxix. 8.-capture, 1 Sam. xxiv. 11. "thou huntest my soul to take it." Psal. vii, 5. "let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it."
Where, however, we speak of the body as of a mere senseless stock, there the soul must be understood as signifying either the spirit, or its secondary faculties, the vital or sensitive faculty for instance. Thus it is as often distinguished from the spirit, as from the body itself. Luke i. 46, 47. 1 Thess. v. 23. "your whole spirit and soul and body." Heb. iv. 12. "to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit." But that the spirit of man should be separate from the body, so as to have a perfect and intelligent existence independently of it, is nowhere said in Scripture, and the doctrine is evidently at variance both with nature and reason, as will be shewn more fully hereafter. For the word soul is also applied to every kind of living being; Gen. i. 30. "to every beast of the earth," &c. "wherein there is life" (anima vivens, Tremell.) vii. 22. "all in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died;" yet it is never inferred from these expressions that the soul exists separate from the body in any of the brute creation.
On the seventh day, God ceased from his work, and ended the whole business of creation: Gen. ii. 2, 3.
It would seem, therefore, that the human soul is not created daily by the immediate act of God, but propagated from father to son in a natural order; which was considered as the more
speak, he keeps closely to Scripture. Now what we render living creature (Gen. i. 24.) is living soul in the Hebrew, which Milton usually follows rather than our translation.'
7 The question which Milton now begins to discuss, is thus stated by Fiddes in his Body of Divinity, Book iii. Part I. Whether they were all created at once, in order to be united to certain bodies which should be prepared afterwards in convenient time for their reception; or whether they are created at the instant when the bodies they are to inform are fit to receive them, are questions which have been much controverted.. But the arguments which have been produced for the pre-existence of souls appear to be more specious, and in the opinion of some of the
probable opinion by Tertullian and Apollinarius, as well as by Augustine, and the whole western church in the time of Jerome, as he himself testifies, Tom. II. Epist. 82. and Gregory of Nyssa in his treatise on the soul. God would in fact have left his creation imperfect, and a vast, not to say a servile task would yet remain to be performed, without even allowing time for rest on each successive Sabbath, if he still continued to create as many souls daily as there are bodies multiplied throughout the whole world, at the bidding of what is not seldom the flagitious wantonness of man.9 Nor is there any reason to suppose that the influence of the divine blessing is less efficacious in imparting to man the power of producing after his kind, than to the other parts of animated nature;1
greatest men of antiquity, heathen and Christian, whom certain moderns of distinction in the learned world have followed, really conclusive. Our articles seem to leave the question undetermined, unless descent by propagation be conceived to be implied in the following words of the 9th article: Every man that is naturally engendered of the offspring of Adam—.' 8 6 'Super animæ statu memini vestræ quæstiunculæ, immo maxime Ecclesiastica questionis; utrum lapsa de cœlo sit, ut Pythagoras philosophus, omnesque Platonici, et Origenes putant; an a propria Dei substantia, ut Stoici, Manichæus, et Hispana Priscilliani hæresis suspicantur; an in thesauro habeantur Dei olim conditæ, ut quidam Ecclesiastici stulta persuasione confidunt; an quotidie a Deo fiant, et mittantur in corpora, secundum illud quod in evangelio scriptum est, Pater meus usque modo operatur et ego operor; an certe ex traduce, ut Tertullianus, Apollinarius, et maxima pars occidentalium autumant, ut quomodo corpus ex corpore, sic anima nascatur ex anima, et simili cum brutis animantibus conditione subsistat.' Hieronymi Epist. 82. (78. Edit. Benedict.) ad Marcellinum etAnapsychiam. Οὐκ ἄρα νῦν αἱ ψυχαὶ γίνονται τὸ γὰρ, ὁ Πατήρ μου ἕως ἄρτι ἐργά ζεται, οὐκ ἐπὶ τοῦ κτίζειν, ἀλλ' ἐπὶ τοῦ προνοεῖν εἰρῆσθαι· καὶ αὐτῷ δοκεῖ ̓Απολλιναρίῳ τὰς ψυχὰς ἀπὸ τῶν ψυχῶν τίκτεσθαι ὥσπερ ἀπὸ τῶν σωμάτων προϊέναι γὰρ τὴν ψυχὴν κατὰ διαδοχὴν τοῦ πρώτου ἀνθρώπου εἰς τοὺς ἐξ ἐκείνου τεχθέντας, καθάπερ τὴν σωματικὴν diadoxnv. Greg. Nyssen. De Anima.
9 Deus absoluta sex diebus creatione mundi dicitur quievisse ab omni opere suo, Gen. xi. 2. Non autem vere a creando quievisset, si nunc singulis momentis ipse multas animas immediate produceret. Ut nunc non dicam indignum prorsus Deo videri, ut sit minister generationum fœdarum et incestuosarum quas ipse abominatur, et severe in lege prohibuit; ita ut simul atque libeat hominibus impuris corpora sua miscere, oporteat illum adesse, qui fœtui, quantumvis illegitime concepto, animam infundat.' Curcell. Instit. III. 6.
1 Deus, Adamo et Eva creatis, ipsis benedictionem suam impertitus est ad humani generis propagationem, dicens, Crescite, &c. Gen. i. 28. et ix. 1. Ergo dedit eis facultatem alios homines sibi similes, qui corpore et