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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
J. J. James
From The Baptist Pulpit, 1850, Joseph Belcher, Editor
Is the soul immortal? This was the great problem which for ages agitated the minds of heathen philosophers, and to establish which they exerted their utmost powers. To settle this question many of them spent the best portion of their lives in patient and laborious study. They probed into the secrets of nature with the most careful research, and drew from all her accessible resources whatever might tend to elucidate the subject. But after all their labors, the light which they received from nature and reason was still unsatisfactory. They were left somewhat in darkness and in doubt.
Many pious heathen endeavored to believe in the soul's immortality, and sometimes professed to do so, as did also some of their philosophers, but some of the wisest of these often doubted their own reasonings. To be convinced of this, we have only to examine their writings; and not to do more, let us listen to the declarations of a few of their most enlightened reasoners.
Cicero, the orator of Rome, when treating on this subject, says, “I do not pretend to say that what affirm is as infallible as the Pythian oracle, I speak only by conjecture."
Cyrus, in his address to his children, says, “I know not how to persuade myself that the soul lives in this mortal body, and ceases to be when the body expires. I am more inclined to think, that it acquires after death more penetration and purity."
We hear also the immortal Socrates, the prince of all heathen philosophers, when taking leave of his judges, who had wickedly condemned him to death, say, "And now we are going to part, I to suffer death, and you to enjoy life. God only knows which has the happier lot."
Thus we see that on a subject the most intensely interesting and deeply important, which poor mortals can contemplate, nature has not satisfactorily taught her most intelligent disciples. With the strongest desires to believe in the immortality of the soul, they have been compelled, in their most honest moments, to confess the insufficiency of their reasonings. The light which nature gave them did not penetrate through the dark valley and shadow of death.
How completely does revelation dissipate all this obscurity! It clearly teaches that the soul is immortal, and that its immortality is based upon the will of its Creator; that He who made it, made it immortal, and that nothing but the same almighty power can annihilate or destroy it.
Of the numerous passages which might be quoted from the sacred Scriptures, setting forth the soul's immortality, we select the following, which we think amply sufficient: