« AnteriorContinuar »
What is meant by this, the very following words declare: But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; becarisc he feareth not before God * -That is, though the wicked be suffered to go on for some time, yet for all that, Vengeance shall overtake and arrest him in the middle of his course t.
19. And again—“Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of
thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart, and " in the sight of thine eyes : but know thou, that for “ all these things God will bring thee into judgment. “ Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put
away evil from thy flesh; for childhood and youth
are vanity $.” That is, " in giving an innocent and lawful indulgence to thy Youth, take heed lest thou transgress the bounds of virtue and piety. For know, that God will certainly punish thy offences, either in thy own Person, or in thy Posterity.”
These are all the passages of moment (till we come to the PROPHETS) which I could find have been objected to the Opinion, That a future state of reward and punishment is not in the Mosaic Dispensation, By which it appears, that the Objectors have been very inattentive to what an Interpreter of the Old Testament should have his thoughts constantly attached, namely to these three things; to the CONTEXT; to the genius of the EASTERN STYLE; and to the economny under which the early Hebrews lived, that is to say, an EXTRAORDINARY PROVIDENCE. But this last fault, though the most inexcusable of all, they all have in common with the late Jewish Writers; wha, considering only the Dispensation under which them* Eccl. viii. 13.
+ See uote (GG) at the end of this volume. Chap. xi. ver. 9, & seq.
selves lived, thought it harsh and unnatural to interpret these Texts with reference to worldly good and evil
, which they saw unequally distributed.
On the whole therefore it appears, that all these passages, in their obvious and primary sense, relate to the things of this life; and that some of them are expressed by the Holy Spirit in such a manner, as makes it now evident, they had likewise a spiritual and sublimer meaning, and do indeed refer to the completion of the Law, by the Gospel.
The Texts here examined are urged in common both by Jews and Christians. But, besides these, the Jews have a set of Texts peculiar to themselves; which the Christians have never yet ventured to put upon Duty. As they are most of them of the nature of Riddles, Riddles, for me, they shall remain: only, for the curious Reader's satisfaction, I shall mark out what the Rabbins bring from the PENTATEUCH to prove the immortality of the soul, and the Resurrection of the body, as they are collected by the learned Manasseh Ben-Israel, in his tract De Resurrectione Alortuorum. For the IMMORTALITY, 1 Kings i. 31. Psal. cxvi. 7, 8, 9. Exod. xix. 6. chap. xxxiii. ver. 20. Levit. vii. 25. Deut. xiv. 1, 2. chap. xxii. ver. 7. chap. xxxii. ver. 47. For the RESURRECTION, Gen. iii. 19. chap. xxxvii. ver. 10. Exod. xv. 6. Levit. xxv. Numb. xv. 30. chap. xviii. ver. 28. Deut. iv. 4. chap. xxxii. ver. 39. chap. xxxiii. ver. 6. But though the reader will find many diverting things on this head in Manasseh Ben-Israel, yet they must all give place to the curious comment of Rabbi Tanchum on the following words of i Sam. xxv. 29. The soul of my Lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God: and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a
sling. Sententia est omnium Interpretum (says this profound Rabbi) quod ad hunc textum, esse ipsum per modum commonitionis [quâ declaratur] quisnam futurus sit animæ status, et ad quid tandem deventura sit, postquam à corpore separata fuerit; atque ostendere duplicem esse ipsi statum, viz. quibusdam animabus esse gradum sublimem et locum stabilem, apud Dominum suum, dum vità immortali fruantur, nec morti nec perditioni obnoxiæ : aliis autem ludere fluctus naturæ, adeo ut requiem et consistendi locum non inveniant, verum dolores perpetuos et cruciatus continuos, cum æterna duratione, instar lapidis, qui è fundâ projectus circumrotatur in aëre pro ratione virium jacientis, dein vi sua naturali gravitate in terram decidit. Animæ vero nec inest gravitas quæ ipsam deorsum, nec levitas quæ sursum ferat ; ideoque in perpetua est confusione, perturbatione, tristitia, et dolore usque in eternum. Atque hæc reverà sententia est SAPIENTUM et PhilOSOPHORUM.—How profound a Doctrine! and how noble an original! But this is not the first, by a thousand, which has been raised from a Metaphor, out of the hot-bed of theologic wisdom and philosophy. An abuse, that some cooler thinkers of late have fancied they could never get
well rid of, till they had turned the few Doctrines of true Christianity back again into Metaphors. And they have succeeded to admiration.
SE C T. IV.
WE come at length to the texts of the New TesTAMENT, which are urged to prove, against itself, that Life and Immortality was brought to light by the Old.
I. The first is that famous argument of JESUS against the Sadducees :- Jesus answered and said unto
them, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. ---But as touching the Resurrection of the dead, Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, suying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?. God is not the God of the dead, but of the living * Now this very Text, had it been impartially considered, would alone have been sufficient to convince these Answerers of the truth here contended for. At least it convinced a much wiser man, the excellent Hugo GROTIUS, whose words to his friend Ger. Vossius are as follow: “ In Mosis lege (non dico in veteri Testamento : nam “ de Prophetis, præsertim posterioribus, res longe alia
est) æternae vitæ non fieri mentionem nisi per un“ bras, aut rationis consequentiam, certissimum mihi “ videtur, Christi authoritate, qui Sadducæos non “ verbis directis, sed ratiocinando refellit 7." There is not, I repeat it, any plain Text in the whole Bible (and this is amongst the plainest) so strangely mistaken and perverted : For, 1. The appellation of the God of Abraham, &c. is generally understood to be quoted by
Our * Matt. xxii. 29–32..
7 Ep. 130. ed. Am. 1687. Episcopius had the very same idea of this argument—“ Et sane opinionuin, quæ inter Judæos erat, circa vitam futuri sæculi discrepantia arguit promissiones Lege factas tales esse ut ex iis certi quid de vita futuri sæculi non possit colligi. Quod et Servator noster non obscure innuit, eum resurrectionem mortuorum colligit, Matt. xxii. non ex promisso aliquo Legi addito, sed ex generali tantum illo promisso Dei, quo se Deum Abrahami, Isaaci, & Jacobi futurum spoponderat : quæ tamen illa collectio magis nititur cognitione intentionis divinæ sub generalibus istis verbis occultatæ aut comprehensæ, de qua Christo certo constabat, quam necessaria consequentia sive verborum vi ac virtute manifestâ qualis nunc et in verbis Novi Testamenti, ubi vita aterna & resurrectio mortuorurn proram et puppim faciunt totius Religionis Christianæ, et tan clare ac diserte promittuntur iīt ne hiscere quidem contra quis possit.” Inst. Tbeol. lib. iii. $ 1. c. 2.
our blessed Lord, as a direct proof * of the Resurrection of the dead body, in the same manner that St. Paul urges the case of Jesus:
-But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept t. But can any thing be more irrational or absurd? The bodies of Abrahain and the Patriarchs were yet in dust, and reduced to their primitive earth. So that in this sense, the reasoning is so far from proving that God WAS NOT the God of the dead, that it proves, he was. For Abraham's body continued yet lifeless at the very time when God was called his God: Whatsoever was to be the future condition of it, that could not influence the present appellation of the God of Israel. What hath led men into this mistake is the introduction to the argument,-- But as touching the resurrection of the dead,—-which they supposed an exordium to a direct proof: Whereas it is an intimation only, to what an indirect proof tended; namely, that the Resurrection of the body might be inferred through the medium of the separate existence of the soul; which was the only point Jesus proposed to prove directly to them. The case stood thus : He was here arguing against the SADDUCEES. Now these supported their opinion, of no resurrection of the body, on a principle that the soul had no separate eristence, but fell into nothing at the dissolution of its union with the body; which Principle once over
Mr. Le Clerc, in his Defense des Sentimens sur l'Histoire Critique, has fallen into this mistake.-Nôtre Seigneur presse ces termes, en sorte qu'il suppose qu'il ne faut qu'entendre la langue dans laquelle, l'Ecriture parle pour reconnoitre la Resurrection, Matt. xxii. 31.--Il ne faut que lire ce raisonnement de Jesus Christ, pour
sentir qu'il est tiré de cette expression, étre le Dieu de quelqu'un, que l'on ne pourroit appliquer à Dieu, si celui, dont on dit qu'il est le Dieu, etoit mort sans devoir jamais resusciter. pp. 102, 103.
t 1 Cor. xv. 20. VOL. V.