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It will be seen in Section 3, that the immortality of the soul is not taught in the book of Job, but that future life is predicated, there, entirely on the resurrection from the dead.
On the whole of the above texts, I shall now submit the following questions and remarks, for candid consideration. Is it any honor to the sacred writers, to make them gravely and repeatedly tell us, that a dead carcass does not praise God; that it does not give him thanks? And if at death man's soul goes to heaven or hell, how could they in truth say, that "the dead know not any thing?" And that at death, "the thoughts of men perish?" Are souls. in heaven and hell destitute of all knowledge and thought? If so, how can they be either happy or miserable? Supposing a man in the present day to express himself as Job, Hezekiah, and others did in view of their death, would he not be counted a denier of the faith, and worse than an infidel? This would be dying in the dark with a witness: and would not the religious community be roused, if possible to save his precious soul? If they did not succeed in saving the man's soul, it is likely they might kill him with their kindness. Such would do well to consider, how those good men spoke as they did, yet died in peace. Did not they fall asleep with a hope and peace of mind as much superior to some deathbed scenes, praised among us, as the composure of a rational. man is to the ravings of a maniac? But I ask again, supposing the sacred writers had intended to teach us that the whole man ceases to exist at death, what better language could they have used? The texts are many, plain, and uttered without a single word of qualification, as if men had immortal souls which survive death. Does not their language justify the views I have advanced? And if I have mistaken their
meaning, how are we to reconcile them with the doctrine of the immortality of the soul? But if my views be correct, it is certain Job's question is fully and repeatedly answered in the above passages. We frankly admit, that if it can be fairly proved, that man has an immortal soul which goes to heaven or hell ter death, they ought to be understood as merely referring to his body. But if this can not be done, prejudice herself will allow, the doctrine of disembodied spirits is without foundation in the Bible. If the Scripture writers do not inform us that men have immortal souls, and where they go at death, it is fair to conclude that they had no such knowledge to communicate. If this conclusion is deemed unfair, we then ask, how people came by all this information?
The question now comes fairly before us for consideration, What saith the Scriptures respecting the immortality of man's soul, or spirit, and its condition after death? There are five words in the original languages of the Bible rendered soul and spirit in the common version, which must now be carefully examined. Nesme, nephish, and ruah of the Old Testament; and psuhe, and pneuma of the New. The reader may just notice, that if man has not an immortal soul, or spirit, it is not for want of terms to express it. And if the Bible is not full of the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, and its condition after death, it is not because these terms are seldom used, for we have found it a very laborious task to examine all the places where they occur, they are so numerous. To quote them all at length would fill a large volume; and even to give book, chapter and verse, would fill from ten to twenty pages. If given they would be of little advantage to the reader. We have examined every text with some care and atten
tion, and every passage where it could be supposed the doctrine of an immortal soul or spirit, or its existence after death is taught, shall be particularly considered. We shall begin with the word
Nesme. This word and nephish are the only terms in the Old Testament rendered soul. Taylor, in his Hebrew Concordance says, that nesme signifies "the chamelion, a kind of lizard, which hath its mouth always open gaping for the air, upon which it is said to live. So in Lev. 11: 30. But in verse 18, it is the owl, from semem, to admire, to be astonished, because other birds are astonished at the oddness of its figure. It is rendered the swan, Lev. 11:30. It is rendered breath, and breatheth in the following texts, and expresses natural life, whether in men or beasts, Deut. 20: 16. Josh. 11: 11, 14. 1 Kings 15:29. 17: 17. comp. verse 21, where the breath of the child is called "his soul." See also Isai. 2: 22, where the breath of man is said to be in his nos-. trils, and which agrees with Gen. 2: 7, where God is said to have breathed into man's nostrils the breath of life. And see Isai. 42; 5, where breath and spirit, are terms used to express the same thing. And comp. Josh. 10: 40. Ps. 150: 6. Gen. 2: 7. 7: 22. Job 27: 3. 34: 14, to the same effect. Nesme. is rendered spirit, and applied to man, Prov. 20: 27. Job 26 4. Also, souls, Isai. 57: 16. It is rendered breath, and applied to the Lord, Isai. 30: 33. Job 37: 10. Also inspiration, Job 32: 8. But observe, that what is rendered "inspiration of the Almighty," is in chap. 33: 4, translated "breath of the Almighty." In 2 Sam. 22: 16. Job 4: 9. Ps. 18: 15, it is rendered blast, and is called the "blast of the breath of God's nostrils," a figurative mode of expressing his. displeasure. Such are all the places where this word occurs and how rendered in the common ver
sion. As it has no reference to an immortal soul in man, it is not necessary to dwell on it.
Nephish. Some have said, this word occurs over three hundred times in the Old Testament; but if they had said, it occurs over seven hundred times, they would have been nearer the truth. Parkhurst says "as a noun, nephish hath been supposed to signify the spiritual part of man, or what we commonly call his soul: I must for myself confess, that can find no passage where it hath undoubtedly this meaning. Gen. 35: 18. 1 Kings 17: 21, 22. Ps. 16: 10, seem fairest for this signification. But may not nephish in the three former passages be most properly rendered breath, and in the last, a breathing or animal frame ?" This explicit concession, from Parkhurst, an orthodox critic, supersedes all examination of this word. I have examined all the places where it occurs, and am satisfied he is correct. In confirmation, I shall quote what Taylor says respecting the different senses in which this word is used.
He says nephish signifies "the animal life, or that principle by which every animal, according to its kind, lives, Gen. 1: 20, every moving creature that hath the soul of life. And verse 24, let the earth bring forth the living creature, the soul of life. And verse 30, every beast, fowl, &c. wherein there is life, the soul of life, Lev. 11: 46. Which animal life, so far as we know any thing of the manner of its existence, or so far as the Scripture leads our thoughts, consists in the breath, Job 41: 21, and 31: 39. And in the blood, Lev. 17: 11, 14, the life or the soul of the flesh is in the blood. And Jer. 2: 34, the blood of the souls of poor innocents. This soul or life is supported and refreshed by meat and drink. Num. 11: 6. Ps. 107: 5. Isai. 29: 8. Lam. 1: 11, 19. And is taken away when the animal dieth or is slain, Gen. 37: 21. Let
us not kill him, or smite him in the life, Deut. 19: 6, 11. Ps. 56: 13, and 116: 8. Prov. 1:19. Jer. 15: 9. Isai. 38: 17. Ps. 49: 15. 94: 17. Job 33: 30. Hence the following senses:
"1st. Life, and that which supports life. Deut. 24: 6, he taketh a man's life, or he taketh a soul to pledge. To restore, convert, relieve, refresh, the life or soul, Ruth 4:15. Ps. 19: 7. 23: 3. Prov. 25: 13. Lam. 1:16, is the same phrase in the original, and signifies to make the soul or life return; to rcfresh, invigorate, cheer and comfort the weak, faint or discouraged mind. The waters come in unto my soul. Ps. 69: 1. Jonah 2: 5, The sword reacheth unto the soul. Jer. 4: 10, i. e. advance so far as to endanger life. He puts his life in his hand, 1 Sam. 19: 5, he hazarded it, put it into a desperate, hopeless situation, where it might easily have been dashed out of his hand. Put my life in my hand, Job 13: 14. Account it to be in a desperate, hopeless condition.
"2d. Animal appetite, lust, desire, will, or pleasare, Exod. 15: 9. Deut. 23: 24. Ps. 27: 12. Prov. 23: 2, and 25: 25. Eccles. 6: 7, 9. Mic. 7: 1. Hab. 2:45.
"3d. A person, persons, Exod. 1: 5; all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls, Num. 31: 35, &c.
"4th. My soul, thy soul, his soul, &c. are used for the sake of the greater emphasis, thou, he, himself, &c. Gen. 12:13. Ps. 131: 2. Job 32: 2. Lev. 11: 43. In this manner it is also applied to God, Lev. 26: 11, 30. Jude 10: 16. Prov. 6: 16. Isai. 1: 14. 42: 1. Jer. 5: 9. 29. 68. 9:9. 51: 14, &c.
instead of I, Esth. 4: 13.
"5th. As lebeb, the heart, so nephish the life, soul, is applied to the faculties, the actions and affections of the mind; as to the understanding, memory, will,