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fore capable of being collected again. As, therefore, a candle, though extinguished, is capable of being lighted again, so, though a man may be said, figuratively speaking, to become extinct at death, and his capacity for thinking cease, it may only be for a time : 'for no particle of that which cver constituted the man is loft. And, as I obferved before, whatever is decomposėd' may certainly be recomposed by the lanie almighty power that first composed it, with whatever change in its conftitution, advantageous
advantageous or disadvantageous, he shall think proper; and then the powers of thinking, and whatever depended upon them, will return of courfe, and the man will be, in the most proper sense, the same bring that be was before.
This is precisely the apostle Paul's idea of the resurrection of the dead, as the only founa dation for a future life; and it is to this to which I mean to adhere, 'exclusive of all the additional vain, fupports which either the
Oriental, or Platonic philofophy 'has been thought to afford to this great doctrine of revelation. I have, however, been represent
ed as having by this view of the Tubject, furnished a stronger argument againit revelation than any that infidelity has hitherto discovered, and the atheists of the age have been described as triumpbing in my conceflions; when, whatever triumph atheists may derive from my concessions, and my writingsidio
very fame they may derive from the writings of St. Paul himself, which is certainly much more to their purpose.
Farther, though I have been charged with being an abbettor of atheism, it has been by persons who have urged against my opinion the hackneyed objection that all unbelievers of ancient and modern times have made against the doctrine of any resurrection, viz. from the consideration of the matter that once composed the human body entering, afterwards, into the composition of plants, animals, &c. not considering that this objection equally affects the doctrine of St. Paul, and that of all christians, who maintain what may, by any poffible construction of the words, be called a resurrection of the dead; which certainly requires that it is something that dies, and is put into the grave (and an immaterial foul is never supposed to die at all) that must revive, and rise again out of it.
Of the Origin of the popular Opinions concern
ing the Soul.
HOUGH truth be a thing altogether
independent of the opinions of men, yet when any erroneous doctrine has prevailed long in the world, and has had a very general
spread, spread, we are apt to fufpect that it must have come from some sufficient authority, unless we be able to trace the rise and progress of it, and can assign some plausible reason for its
general reception. On this account I shall enter into a pretty large historical detail concerning the fystem that I have, in this treatise; called in question; and I hope to be able to fhew, that it camr by no means boaft so respectable an origin as many are willing to aferibe to it. On the contrary, I hope to make it'appear that it has arisen from nothing but mere superstition, and the vain imaginations of men, flattering themselves with a higher origin than they had any proper claim to, though the precise date of the system may be of too remote antiquity to be ascertained with absolute certainty at this day.
The notion of the soul of man being a substance distinct from the body, has been shown, and I hope to satisfaction, not to have been known to the writers of the scriptures, and especially those of the Old Testament. Асcording to the uniform system of revelation, all our hopes of a future life are built upon another, and I may say an opposite foundation, viz. that of the resurrection of something belonging to us that dies, and is buried, that is the body which is always considered as the man. This doctrine is manifestly superfluous on the idea of the soul being a substance so distinct from the body as to be unaffected by its death, and able to fubsist, and even to be
more free and happy, without the body. This opinion, therefore, not having been known to the Fews, and being repugnant to the scheme of revelation, must have had its fource in heathenifm; but with respect to the date of its appearance, and the manner of its introduction, there is room for conjecture and Speculation.
As far as we are able to collect any thing concerning the history of this opinion, it is evidently not the growth of Greece or 'Rome, but was received by the philosophers of those countries either from Egypt, or the countries more to the east." The Greeks in general refer it to the Egyptians, but Pausanias gives it to the Chaldeans, or the Indians. I own, however (though every thing relating to so very obscure a subject must be in a great meafure conjectural) that I am inclined to afcribe it to the Egyptians; thinking," with Mr. Toland, that it might possibly have been suggested by some of their known customs respecting the dead, whom they preserved with great care, and disposed of with a folemnity runknown to other nations; though it might have arisen among thein from other causes, without the help of those peculiar cuftoms.
The authority of Herodotus, the oldest Greek historian, and who had himfelf travelfed into Egypt, is very express to this purpose. He says (Ed. Steph. p. 137,) that “the Egyp* tians were the first who maintained that the
foul of man is immortal, that when the
« body "s body dies it enters into that of some other 5 animal, and when it has transmigrated 4-through all terrestrial, inarine and Aying 5 animals, it returns to the body of a man e again. This revolution is completed in "s three thousand years.'!. He adds, that's fe: "veral Greeks, whose names he would not « mention, had published that doctrine aas *- their own."
auf * ?E 7 A Mr. Toland's hypothesis is as follows, and I think I fhould do wrong to comit the mene tion of it. My reader may judge of the probability of it for himself... f.The-funeral-rites 6 of the Egyptians,” he says (Letters to Sem rena; p. 45) "and their historical method of “ preserving the memory of deserving pero “ fons; seems to have been the occasion of “ this belief. Their way of burying was by "embalming the dead bodies, which they de“posited in a subterranean grotto, where they " continued intire for thousands of years o fo " that before any notion of separate or im
mortal fouls, the common language was
that fochie one was underground, thatske -+was carried over the river Acherufia by 96 Charon (the title of the public ferryman før
“ that purpose) and laid happily tareft in the 164 Elyhan fields, which was the common bu
"rying place near Memphis."?? 1. This hypothefis is rendered more probable by an observation of Cicero's. He says (Tufsculan Questions, Ed. Glasg. p. 37,)." the bodies #falling to the ground, and being buried there,