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AN INQUIRY INTO SCRIPTURAL PSYCHOLOGY,
AS DEVELOPED BY
THE USE OF THE TERMS, SOUL, SPIRIT, LIFE, ETC.,
VIEWED IN ITS BEARINGS ON
THE DOCTRINE OF THE RESURRECTION.
BY GEORGE BUSH,
PROFESSOR OF HEBREW IN THE NEW YORK CITY UNIVERSITY.
ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1845, by
GEORGE BUSH, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of
J. F. TROW & CO., PRINTERS,
BT 747 $8
The present work has grown, by a very natural sequence, out of the farther investigations to which I have been prompted by the tenor of several elaborate critiques on the volume recently given to the world under the title of " Anastasis,” or the Resurrection of the Body considered. So far as that work could be considered as propounding a distinct theory of the Resurrection, it is that of a spiritual, or rather psychical, body developed, by a natural law, from the material body at death. To establish this position is the drift of that portion of the volume embraced under the head of “The Rational Argument.” The position itself, if founded on a solid basis, obviously strikes at the root of the prevalent notions on the general subject; for if a spiritual body be actually assumed by every individual upon his abandonment of the material body, there is plainly a very troublesome incongruity in the idea of the soul's receiving still another spiritual body at what is called the last day, or the era of the final consummation. Accordingly it is upon this the argument that the main force of the rebutting criticism has spent itself. The reviewers, as by common consent, have selected this as the one grand point of assault, and aimed to show that there was an entire lack of proof of the existence of any such psychical element in our being which, as a tertium quid between the spirit and the gross material body, could be regarded in any sense as a vehiculum animæ, or ethereal corporeity for the inner intellectual and moral principle which forms the ipseity, selfhood, or essential hypostasis of the man.
This line of argument urged, as it has been, with great vehemence from several quarters, has naturally led to a fuller examination of the grounds on which the offending theory was
part of originally propounded. In the work itself it was put forth as an alternative theory; that is to say, as the necessary result of a chain of reasoning which, if sound, went to set aside the estabJished belief of the reconstruction, in some sense, of the perished body tenanted by the soul during its earthly life. As there is clearly to be a resurrection after death-as something must rise and live again in another world-and as I have assumed to show that that something is not the body which is deposited in the grave -Iwas obviously called upon to designate affirmatively what it is. This I have stated to be a psychical body eliminated at death from the material body, the essential nature of which, however, I do not hold it incumbent upon me to define, inasmuch as all parties are alike ignorant of the ontological attributes of the psyche (yuxù), which at the same time all parties alike acknowledge to exist. The extent of my position is, that the psychical body, whatever be its essential nature, is assumed at death, and not at some indefinitely future period. In support of this hypothesis 1 relied rather upon physiological and psychological considerations, than upon the direct testimony of Scripture.
In consequence, however, of the stern arraignment, at the bar of the pulpit and the press, of the view propounded, I have been led to a closer investigation of its merits as submitted to the test of Scripture, and in the ensuing pages have planted my defence of it not solely upon a rational but upon a strictly exegetical basis. What was before suggested is here affirmed. I claim to have shown, by a rigid and unimpeachable process of interpretation, that the inspired oracles unequivocally recognize the tripartite distinction of man's nature into spirit, soul, and body-that when the body is forsaken at death the spiritual and the psychical elements survive in coexistence together and constitute the true man, which in actual usage is commonly designated by the single term soul--that inasmuch as the psychical principle, even in the present life, is the true seat and subject of what are commonly called bodily sensations, this principle is legitimately to be regarded as performing the same office for the spirit in the other life; in other words, that the soul necessarily involves the idea conveyed by the phrase spiritual bodyand, finally, that the fact of the immediate possession of such a body after death precludes the hypothesis of the investiture of the spirit at any future period, with any other corporeity derived
from the relics, however sormed or fashioned, of the present material body. These are the points which I prosess to establish by the course of reasoning pursued in the present essay. The soundness of the conclusions must evidently depend upon the soundess of the premises. If I have given a wrong interpretation of the language of Scripture, it can doubtless be shown by confronting it with the right; and I must be allowed to demand that whoever assumes the work of refutation he shall not content himself with a bare negation of results, and especially that he shall not think to overwhelm the argument by the violent outcry of Rationalism, Neologism, or Infidelity, as characterizing the principles of exegesis which bring out these results. It is simply a question of sound or unsound interpretation, and I do not hesitate to affirm that even on the supposition that I may have erred in my exegesis, there is still so much of plausibility and probability in the senses assigned to the inspired language, that it is impossible for any one justly to maintain that an honest and truth-loving mind could not have adopted them without giving occasion for doubt as to the moral state of the inner man in eo doing. And yet what but the moral character of a false interpretation can render it a fit subject of rebuke and reprobation? And from what is its moral character derived but from the moral slate of its author, especially when his opinions concern a fundamental doctrine of Revelation ? There are doubtless some very nice questions to be settled under this head. We are constrained to believe that there is nothing that can justify a severe denunciation of the canons of exegesis which conduct to conclusions at variance with established belief upon important doctrines of religion, but the virtual assumption that a certain moral posture of the mind will not fail to see revealed truth in a certain light, and the fact of its not being seen in this light is prima fucie evidence that that condition is wanting. This rule of judgment, it is true, is seldom distinctly asserted. But we see not but it must be inwardly held and acted upon in order to warrant the hard measure which is osten dealt out to so-styled errant opinions. At any rate, if the soundness of the principle is not actually recognized, that a book is a fair e.rponent of the man, it would seem that there was a just requisition for the ayowal of some principle under the tutelage of which the stern procedure above alluded to towards the propagators of alleged intel