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being in heaven or "hell after death? No; and this we think shows, that the common opinions are not true. There are some circumstances which show them false. For example, if souls go to heaven and hell at death, we might expect the condition of the damned and saved, affectingly described to alarm men's fears and stimulate their hopes. The way our orthodox brethren preach about heaven and hell, shows this to be a reasonable expectation on their own principles. From what they say about heaven and hell, one might conclude they had made the tour of both places, for surely we are not so well acquainted with the geography of Africa as they profess to be with heaven and hell. But let only a single text be produced, which says souls are in heaven or hell, enjoying or suffering after death, and I exonerate them from all blame. Again, it is said, there is joy in heaven among the angels of God, over one sinner that repenteth. But why is it not said, there is joy in heaven among redeemed souls over one sinner that repenteth, if it be true such souls are there? One should think their joy would be the greatest, seeing they were once sinners themselves. But not a word is said about their joy, or of their being there. Again; we read of angels as ministers of God to our world. But we never read of souls or disembodied spirits, being sent here on any message whatever. Why not, if they are in heaven? For what more suitable beings could be sent, being from experience acquainted with all our weaknesses and wants, and might be supposed to take a deep interest in those they have left behind. Further; we read of angels standing in the presence of God in heaven, but we never read this of disembodied spirits. Any texts, which might be deemed an exception to this reinark, occur in the book of Revelation, a book which no sect as yet professes to understand, and
according to the interpretations given of it, do not prove such a doctrine.
Again; when Paul was caught up into the third heaven in a vision, he does not say he saw any disembodied spirits there. If he had, it was certainly as lawful for him to utter this as for our orthodox brethren to preach it. Do not they preach that disembodied spirits are in heaven? And they also confidently assert, they learn this from the Bible. We call on them to name the texts from which they learn this. I would add, no Scripture writer speaks of disembodied spirits being in hell, either in vision or plain language. The parable of the rich man, commonly appealed to, says not a word about his soul. When our orthodox friends come to advocate, that men's bodies after death are in torment, they can refer to this parable with some degree of plausibility. But they must allow, that it says nothing about the man's soul being in torment. 1 Peter 3: 19, 20, has been considered Sect. 1, and we should think, Mr. Hudson will hesitate in referring to it again as proof, that disembodied spirits are either punished or preached to in the prison of hell.
6th. Did any of the persons raised from the dead intimate, that their disembodied spirits while they were dead, enjoyed happiness, suffered misery, or had conscious existence of any kind ? No; they are all as silent as the grave in which they lay, on this subject. The widow's child at Zarephath, Jairus daughter, the widow's son of Nain, Lazarus, Dorcas, the persons who rose at our Lords crucifixion, and others, were raised again from the dead. Some of them were raised soon after death; others of them several days after death, and perhaps a longer period. If the common opinions are true, the souls of such persons must have been in heaven or hell, all the time they were dead. But permit me to ask,
did our Lord or any one else, command their souls to return from heaven or hell to reanimate their bodies? Never; well, did such persons say they saw, or heard, or felt any thing while their bodies were dead? No; not a word that even they had conscious existence. Had no person curiosity enough to ask them any questions as to their condition after death? No; nor does it appear they supposed they had any information to communicate, but believed that " the dead know not any thing," which corroborates my views stated in Section 1.
But if those persons' souls went to heaven at death, we should think they would return with some reluctance, to take up their abode again in such vile bodies. If they went to hell, they might return with pleasure ; out of two evils choosing the least. But we should presume must die again with great reluctance to take up their abode with devils and damned spirits. If it is said, God suffered their former souls to remain in heaven and hell, and furnished them with new souls when he raised them from the dead; admit this to be true, what then became of those new souls when the persons died again? Did they also go to heaven or hell? If this is admitted, then a man might have two souls in heaven or hell, or perhaps one in each place ; for if he lost his first soul it is natural to conclude he would be careful to have the second saved. Some would likely ask, to which of these souls shall the body belong at the resurrection? But enough of such senseless speculations, to which the common ideas of disembodied spirits lead.
How long the persons had been dead, who arose at our Lord's crucifixion, is not said. Be this as it may, it is certain their souls must have come from heaven to reanimate their bodies, if the common opinions are true. They were saints. But observe it is said, “ many bodies of the saints who slept arose,"
not that their disembodied spirits appeared unto many. But why inform us that their bodies “ came out of their graves," yet say nothing at all about their disembodied spirits ? The very silence of the historian shows, he did not believe souls went to heaven or hell at death. Similar remarks might be made on all the other instances of persons raised from the dead. We are aware some have said, souls go to paradise not to heaven at death. But as little is said about the souls of those persons coming from paradise as heaven, which ought to settle this question. We may just as well affirm they come from purgatory as either of those places. One thing is certain-if
any person was raised from the dead in our day, he would soon be questioned, how he felt, and what he had seen and heard in the world of spirits. Why? Because we have imbibed notions not to be found in the Bible about the immortality of the soul and its condition after death.
7th. Is any thing said in Scripture respecting the immortality of men's souls or disembodied spirits at the resurrection of the dead ? No; it is said the dead shall be raised incorruptible, but not a word is said about their souls having existed in a disembodied state, or that they ever had immortal souls. John 5: 28, 29, is no exception to this remark, for if it was admitted the
teaches a literal resurrection, nothing is said in it about souls coming forth from heaven or hell to a resurrection of life or damna. tion. No, it is all in the graves, but who supposes men's immortal souls are in the graves ? Paul, 1 Cor. 15, treats on the subject of the resurrection at length. At verse 17, he says, * if Christ be not risen then they who have fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” But how could this possibly be if their souls were immortal and in heaven ? Paul certainly seems to speak, as if he had no faith in the doctrine
of disembodied spirits. Some think the reason why the bodies of men are to be raised is because their souls are immortal. But the fact is certain, I leave others to account for it, why no sacred writer says a word about the immortal soul in treating on the subject of the resurrection. I may add, if an immortal body, is united to a soul which was immortal in this state of existence, then man after the resurrection is doubly immortal. But strange to tell, this immortal soul did not prevent its possessor from death, nor is its immortality assigned as any reason why the body is to be raised immortal at the resurrection.
8th. Is any thing said then in Scripture respecting immortal souls or disembodied spirits after the resurrection from the dead ? Nothing; nor could we expect this; for at the resurrection the intermediate state comes to an end according to the common opinions, and after it, soul and body are reunited to suffer or enjoy together for ever. But it deserves notice, that no such reunion is ever mentioned in the Bible, or that a disembodied soul, which had existed in an intermediate state, is after the resurrection connected with an immortal body.
9th. Is the term immortal ever joined in Scripture with the terms soul and spirit? No: though the terms nesme, nephish, ruah, pneuma, and psuhe, rendered soul and spirit, occur so often in the Bible, yet we never hear of an immortal soul or immortal spirit from any sacred writer. The body is mortal and they explicitly declare this. See Rom. 6: 12. 8: 11. Yea, they call the whole map mortal.
6 Shall mortal man be more just than God ?” Job 4: 17. comp. 2 Chron. 14: 11, in the margin. Was it of more importance to inform us that we are mortal, than that we have immortal souls? The first was obvious from every day's observation. The last could on.