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By the same Author, Price 78. 6d.


33 I> I T ES I> BY ^ZS S O IT ,


L O N D O N:-H A M I L T O N. ADAMS, ft CO.

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**The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and caused him to breathe
into his nostrils the breath of life ; and man became a living soul."

(Gen. ii., 7.)




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During the life of Jesus Christ on earth, he rebuked
those then professing to be explainers of God's
Word thus — "Ye have taken away the key of
knowledge." With equal justice might a similar
accusation be brought, in this age, against our
theologians — "Ye have taken away the key of
knowledge." The Arch-Deceiver has once more
destroyed the simple truth by " Ye shall not surely
die," by inculcating the immortality of the soul.

Every religion must be based upon its own psycho-
logy. The assertion that the deity is the soul
of the world, when credited, tends to Pantheism.
By this system, the human soul is declared a discerp-
tion from the divine soul, and to be merged, at man's
decease, into the Universal Spirit. On the other
hand, the religion which assumed the soul to be

*' ^'^ r> i 3 °'^''''®'^ by Google


a demon, immortal and ever-existing, drifted its
followers into calling man's body an encumbrance,
and also into fatalism. This demon of Plato, an
immortal soul implanted and apart in man, is unfor-
tunately embraced generally in Christendom, and
made a handle of consolation at the hour of death.

Alas ! the principal doctrines of our inestimable
Bible, so rich, so inexhaustible, so precious, have
been for centuries smothered imder the rubbish of
a Heathen psychology; the Biblical psychology has,
in the interval, remained latent and unknown.

This work is an attempt to shed light on the
faith once delivered to the saints, amid the darkness
involving it. The one wise God, who alone can
impart knowledge, will condemn all in this book
that is not of Him, and eternally keep His own


10, Victoria Square,

Nemcastle-upon- Tt/ne,

24th September, 1872.

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Introduction iii.



I. — Christian Platonism 1

II.— The Biblical Soul and Body 20

III.— The Biblical Spirit or Ghost 45

IV. — The Atomic and Organic Agencies 71


I.— Self 93

II. — Spiritual Personality 112

III. — Personal Perpetuity 142

IV.— The Real and Ideal 166


I. — Biblical Demonology 187

II. — Spiritual Energies and Influences .. 212


I. — Hades (Hebrew, Sheol) and Gehenna 239

II.— The Hope of Israel 266

III.— Life and Immortality 278

IV.— Death AboUshed 299

Conclusion 313

Index 317

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Page 32, for "Zenophon's" read " Xenophon's."
Page 103, for " The objective perceptions" read " The subjective

Page 181, for " to cV read '' to cV
Page 221, for " Shunamite's'* read " Shunammite's."
Page 227, for "St. John'' read "John the Baptist."
At pages 50 and 51, the passage in Deut. xx., 16, has been piis-
nnderstood. The reader, in referring to his Bible, will find that the
word neehamay in this verse, does not apply only to men, but to every
animal. The Israelites had to deal with the nations " very far off"
(verse 15) in a lenient manner ^ of these only the males had to be
destroyed. But nothing that breatheth had, on the other hand, to be
saved in the cities of the nations given to God's chosen people. There-
fore, this (Deut. xx., 16) is a further testimony to the word neshama
being applicable to both man and brute.

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Chapter I.


It is the common belief that the soul possesses a
personality distinct from the body; also that the
soul and spirit are identical. It is a philosophical
doctrine that the body is an encumbrance to the
soul, and that the latter would be better without it.
According to many the soul languishes in the body
as in a prison, and yearns after its native heavens ;
and upon the decease of the latter, it enters upon a
career of immortality, and soars to worlds unknown ;
or, in the language of Schiller in his Tract upon the
Connection of the Animal Nature of Man with his
Spiritual, death unfolds itself from life as from its
bud — matter resolves itself into its original elements
—the soul issues forth to exercise its powers of
thought in other spheres, and to contemplate the
universe in other aspects.

Whilst the mental constitution and ftiture destiny

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of man involve many perplexing questions, the
minds of ancient philosophers were in proportion
curious and enquiring; nor is it surprising that the
opinions of such men have excited a corresponding
curiosity and interest in future generations. Reve-
lation itself has been chiefly confined to an enun-
ciation of the Divine origin of our creation, and of
om* personal immortal destinies, leaving still open
to investigation how they are to be reconciled with
its own language and the p^chology of oiu* nature.

"iVec tamen quasi Pythius Apollo^ certa ut sint et
fixay qucB diQcerOy sed ut homunculus unus e muUiSy
probabilia conjectura sequens^^ (Cic. Tusc, lib. i.,
cap. 9, sec. 17).

It is proposed in the present chapter shortly to
trace the origin of the present popular notions con-
cerning the human soul, prior to entering upon
the further enquiry.

The model republic of Plato was partly deduced
fi'om his views of the harmonious constitution of
the soul and body of man himself.

From his Timaeus we may collect what were his
peculiar opinions as to the fitness of every part of
the human microcosm; how each member and
faculty was subservient to another; and how all
were subservient to the presiding mind : whilst it
is his definition of the latter which here more par-
ticularly invites attention.

In opposition to the doctrines of Parmenides,
Empedocles, and the Eleatics, who held the opinion

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that the universe itself was eternal and was in short
the Deity himself, Plato with Anaxagoras taught
the sublime doctrine that a supreme and Almighty
Creator was the Author and Parent of all that exists,
and was himself, or conceived in himself, the ideal
archetype of all.

The doctrine of the eternity of matter, as held by
the old Philosophers, was founded upon the argument
as expressed by Lucretius, ''nuUam rem e nihilo

Plato, on the contrary, distinguished between that
which is eternal and always the same, and that
which is becoming or in a state of generation.

He, therefore, identified the visible universe with
the latter, as being perceptible by the senses, and
susceptible of continued modifications; wherefore,
" we say that some originating cause must be as-
signed to that which is in a state of generation"
(StaU. Tim. 114).

But as regards the rational soul, it being always
the same and indivisible, he held it alone, like its
archetype, to be eternal. It must therefore, he
argued, have possessed a pre-existence, as well as
shall have a post-existence, independently of the

The rational soul personified those ideas which
are now denominated subjective in contradistinction
to the objective ideas of the senses : such as the
ideas of God, of the sublime and beautifiil, of
morality, and all such as do not enter from the outer

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world by the senses. These Plato seemed to con-
sider as identified with a previous existence, and to
have originated in a higher and more perfect sphere.

He did not seem to perceive that our subjective
ideas are themselves constituted of our objective
ideas or sense perceptions ; and, therefore, attributing
to the former a higher origin than that of the latter,
he embodied them in his ideal of the rational soul
as characteristic of the immortal.

After creating the demons, or inferior deities, as
Plato denominated the stars and planets, the Deity
committed to each of them, in his peculiar sphere,
the creation of all inferior races, whom he himself
provided with souls according to their nature.

The inferior animals received mortal souls; but
man, both a mortal or animal soul, representing
his passions and organic propensities, and also a
rational immortal soul.

That philosopher (in Timaeus) also informs us,
that the nobler and virtuous souls of men shall, upon
the decease of the body, return to their original state
of spiritual individuality in the sphere to which each
pertains ; or, according to their deserts, pass through
successive transmigrations of creatiu'es.

The human rational soul, which was characteristic
of personal superiority and immortality, the Deity
gave to each as a demon to occupy the most ex-
alted position in his body. Xvto daifiova Sfsog l/caory
dida)ics (Stall. Tim. 359).

He treats of this soul in such terms of indepen-

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dent personality, distinct and separable from the
body, as purport to identify the individual to whom
it pertained, after decease, as well as during life. In
its several transmigrations the same identity con-
tinues; and, finally, the purified soul returns to the
happy state of its first creation ; otherwise it is de-
voted to a less felicitous portion in Hades.

Considering the exalted views entertained by
Plato of the supreme Deity, and also of the rational
soul of man, there is something inconsistent in his
adoption of the Pythagorean metempsychosis; for,
after making a broad distinction between the ra-
tional soul of man and the mortal soul of inferior
creatures, he intimates the possibility of the former
occupying the latter, which (in order to preserve
identity) it must be supposed to do in its integrity.

That Pythagoras held the doctrine of a metempsy-
chosis in the sense usually ascribed to him, appears
to be corroborated by the explicit language of Plato
in regard to the same doctrine (Stall. Tim. 182).

However irrational this doctrine may appear, such
were not the characters or powers of the great men
who professed it. Considering that all creatures
are finally resolved into the elements from which
they were originally constituted, these elements
would again be set free to enter into the composi-
tion of new generations as well of animals as
plants; and, if the souls of men were regarded
as distinct personal demons, they were thus con-
sidered as susceptible of transference into other

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bodies by this natural process of regeneration, or

Plato regarded the human squI as a distinct per-
sonality, or demon, capable of preserving its arche-
typal identity when separated from its temporary
abode in the corruptible body.

Aristotle (De Anima, Trend.) appears to have
held a different opinion. According to his view,,
the body and soul in respect to personality are
inseparable; the organic faculty Qvvafiig) is cor-
poreal; the connection of the mind with the body
is its personal perfection ; the combined faculty of
body and mind in action is evipyeia. The consub-
stantial faculty thus constituted is the perfect faculty.
The soul in relation to the body constitutes the
complete man ; the perfect being Qi/reXix^ta).

He regarded man as a compound being, and
considered that instead of dividing his nature the
phenomena alone should be distinctively regarded ;
the physical, or those which were exhibited by his
bodily organism, and the dialectic or mental (De
Anima, cap. i., sec. 1, sent. 11).

" Ulud dialecticus, Jiocphysicus arripiet^ phUosophus
utrumque jungere sciet'' (Trend. Com. De Anima,
page 207).

Plato, considering the soul to be distinct from the
body, and as having a previous personal existence,
concluded that its highest cogitations were founded
upon memory, or innate ideas, the impress of its
archetype (In Menone and Tim.).

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Aristotle, on the other hand, contended that it
had no memory of anything beyond what had its
affections in the body — that the spiritual energy
or rational soul is indeed distinct, immortal, and
eternal, whilst that which is the subject of the
affections is mortal, and yet without this we are
sensible of nothing (De Anima, cap. iii., sec. 6,
sent. 2).

Hence it follows, as Trendelenburg remarks, that
apart from oiu* human nature we cannot recollect

The Deity alone is the perfect and eternal mind,
with whom all ideas are cognate. The human
mind consists of that which thinks and that which
is affected.

Aristotle thus seemed to regard the soul as a
spiritual consubstantial agency; the body without
it would be insensate, as the eye without it would be
without perception, whilst the soul without the
bodily organs would possess no personal individu-

Philoponus appears to have understood him in this
sense. Thus the various senses of the body were
regarded as organic powers dependent upon mental

Aristotle endeavours to demonstrate the mutual
and necessary dependence of mind and body, and
concludes that, if the soul could locally move of itself
independently of the body, it might quit or return
to the latter at pleasure. The very dead might

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thus rise again, which he treats as an impossibility.
And he fiirther supposes, that if the soul could thus
act independently, it might pass away from the
substance of the body altogether (De Anima,
cap. i., sec. 3, sent. 6).

The Peripatetics in general disbelieved in the
separate existence of the soul, and regarded the
Deity himself as the soul of the world, into whom
all departed spirits merged.

From what we have premised from the Timaeus,
it is manifest that Plato held both a personal pre-
existence and post-existence of the individual soul,
although not in either case a human identity, but
an individual archetypal identity.

The body, according to the Platonic view, was
an encumbrance and source of pollution to the
soul; and, when it escapes its mortal prison, it
finds its ftiture bUss not in any recognisable personal
identity with reference to its human personality,
but in the bosom of its tutelary sphere, or demon,
its first and best estate.

Cicero, in his Tusculan Disputations, ftiUy and
eloquently debates the question of the immortality
of the soul ; and, after discussing all that can be
said on both sides, he expresses himself as thereby the
more confirmed in its favour. In the absence of the
Kevelation of the Resurrection from the dead, it was
much more consolatory to cherish such a hope, how-
ever shadowy, than to reject it. He sided with
Plato against those who held the opposite doctrine.

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^^ Errare mehercule malo cum Platone, quam cum
istis vera sentire' (Tus. lib. i., cap. 17).

Yet, he was equally perplexed with other philo-
sophers as to what the fiiture state of the soul, as
the spiritual representative of the body, might be.
" Si cor^ aut sanguis^ aut cerebrum est animus^ certe^
quoniam est corpus^ interihit cum reliquo corpore. 8i
anima est^fortasse dissipahitur; si ignis^ exstinguetur;
si est Aristoxeni harmonia, dissolvetur'' (Tus. lib. i.,
cap. 11).

Socrates, the early preceptor of Plato, seems to
have held the personal immortality of the soul, as
is apparent in the Phaedo of Plato and the Tusculan
Disputations of Cicero (Tus. lib. i., cap. 23) ; yet,
he confessed himself to be by no means certain of
this in his oration before his judges, when condemned
to death, as mentioned both by Plato and Cicero
(Tus. lib. i., cap. 41).

The personal identity puzzled them all; and
yet tl^e personal identity was the faith of the
popular superstition.

Thus Virgil, in his ^neid (lib. vi.), details the
popular superstition as to the fiiture destiny of the
soul, when describing the scenes to which the Sibyl
introduced .ffineas in the infernal regions. He there
recognized various well-known characters, and
amongst the rest his own father Anchises. From
this it is manifest, that a concrete personal identity
was popularly regarded as being preserved by the
departed, although not in their mortal bodies. He
saw but their manes : " tenues sine corpore vitas''


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His account of the Coelestis Origo of Life is
rather Platonic than Pythagorean, referring it to a
supreme Creator.

Principio coelum^ ac terras^ camposque liquentes
Lucentemque (^lobum Lunse^ Titaniaque astra
Spiritus intus alit^ totamque inftisa per artus
Mens agitat molem et magno se corpore miscet.
Inde hominum pecudumque genus^ vitaeque volantum,
Et quse marmoreo fert monstra sub sequore pontus.
Igneus est oUis vigor, et coelestis origo
Seminibus (lib. vi., 724-731).

Herodotus says, that the Greeks derived their
knowledge of the immortality of the soul from
the Egyptians. Plato, in his Timaeus, gives an
account of an interview between Solon and the
Egyptian Priests, during which the latter supplied
him with certain information concerning the ancient
history of his own country. Plato himself also
visited Egypt for the pmpose of extending his
philosophical enquiries; and, according to Pliny,
the Greeks received a portion of their philosophy
from the eastern Magi. The Israelites probably left
behind them in Egypt no inconsiderable knowledge
of their own traditions; and, the Greek philosophers
and learned Jewish Rabbis of a ftiture age were not
unacquainted with each other.

When we consider that the Mosaic writings date
from about fifteen centuries before the christian era,
whilst the earliest of the Greek philosophers did not
flourish imtil about nine centuries later, there was
ample time for the dissemination of Hebraistic
doctrines; these, if imperfectly understood, philo-

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sophic ingenuity might readily modify into the
speculations which different philosophers developed
according to their different views.

We thus meet with the divine attributes in the
Orphic Hymns; and in the Greek mythology we
read of the rebel wars of the giants against Jupiter,
and of the Titans against Satiu-n. The heaven-
seeking demons of Empedocles suggest a similar
origin. The fable of Prometheus, the philosophy
of Pantheism, and the doctrine of the universal
spirit, or soul of the universe, in like manner arrest
our attention ; but we must look elsewhere for the
origin of the mythology itself

It is not improbable therefore, according to
Grotius de veritate and Eusebius, that the opinions
of the ancient heathen philosophers, and even the
popular superstitions, may have themselves been the
modifications of isolated truths widely disseminated
by tradition amongst the Egyptians and Asiatics
with whom the former held intercourse.

In a similar manner many Scriptural traditions
have foimd their way into the books of the Buddhists
and Brahmans. Sir James Emerson Tennent, in
his Ceylon, vol. i., p. 518, adverts to the influences of
Nestorian Christianity upon the genius and literature
of Buddhism, and also to many striking coincidences
which occur between the sacred books of both the
Brahmans and Buddhists and the Jewish Scriptures,
only to be accounted for by " the close proximity of
a Jewish race in Affghanistan, the progenitors of the

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Hebrew colony that still inhabits the Dekkan near
Cochin, known as the Black Jews of Malabar."

The doctrines of Plato were themselves essentially
eclectic, being a more enlightened reconstruction of
those held by some of his predecessors, attributing
the creation of all things to a supreme self-existent
Deity, the soiu^ce of uxiiversal life and intelligence,
and from whose hands man received a soul, destined
to a fiiture existence.

But then we have seen that his account of the
origin of the soul, and its ftitiu^e destiny, was very
different from the simple and more sublime narrative
of the Hebrew writings.

Notwithstanding this, there was sufl&cient in the
Platonic, philosophy to attract the admiration of the
more learned of the early Christians ; his doctrines
were accordingly held in great repute in the Alex-
andrian school, of which Origen was a distinguished
ornament ; and, from the use which he made of that
philosopher's doctrines in endeavoming to reconcile
the learned Pagans to Christianity, Origen probably
conduced in no small degree to Platonise the general
views of Christians respecting the nature of the soul
and its fiiture existence.

The hopeful and exalted views of Socrates upon
the same subjects, as delineated by Plato in his
Phsedo and Phsedrus, were well calculated to attract
the admiration of the early Christians, and are still
read with a greater interest than the more philo-

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Online LibraryJonathan Langstaff ForsterBiblical psychology ... → online text (page 1 of 20)