Imágenes de páginas

intentions were pure, he has sadly parted friend. One line in a stanza, soiled his reputation as a Biblical the concluding piece of the first part critie by slipping into the mud of of the work (which first part consists Socinian absurdity.

of short poems on the various episodes

in the life of the Messiah), will exSabbath Erening Minstrelsy. By the

emplify what we cannot farther exRer. James GREEN, Curate of Upton


Orif thou hast, O Harp, in these thy strains, on-Severn. London: B. Fellowes,

Wing'd my best thoughts unto the Ludgate Street. 1828. Pp. viii. 144.

blissful sky Price

Where Mary lives, and where my Saviour It is an unthankful office, to sit

reigns, in judgment on the well-meant, but

And warm'd my soul with heav'n and weakly-executed, projects of piety and


Then sweel I'll say has been thy haraffection: and, hard-hearted as critics

mony: are said to be, their employment is no

Then rest thee, while my weary head I enviable one, when compelled by jus

fing tice to do that which, as indifferent Upon the lap of Sleep, her pow'rs to try; individuals, they would be saved from, And then may Mary bear, on angel's in the exercise of a more benevolent wing, civility. But the truth must be spoken, Her golden dreams, and teach thee sweeter however unpleasant to the speaker,

strains to sing. or however unwelcome to the hearer,

The second part consists of pieces when an opinion is called for.

on the “ Works of Nature,” of which Mr. Green appears to be an amiable

the best is “ Summer," p. 98: and and pious man: but as a poet, espe

the book concludes with three series cially a poet who invokes " the spirit

of stanzas, thus headed :—To the “Meof religion,” we are obliged to say, mory of my dear Mary." Mary's that he has little claims on our notice.

Grave."--" On the Anniversary of the Religion, at all times repulsive to

Death of my dear Mary." They are those who need a recommendation, among the least acceptable (as far as beyond itself, of its beauty and power, poetry goes) in all the book; which is not likely to be received the more

the advertisement tells us, was readily by coming to the objector,

chiefly written on a Sabbath evening to arrayed in the tattered garment of

beguile a lonely hour, and divert sad

beguile, a lonely hour, ana dive thread-bare rhyme. Therefore, while thoughts.The publication is with we applaud the motive, we can- a view “ to direct to pious reflection, not praise the performance of Mr. and excite pious feeling." Green; because there is but little in his “ Minstrelsy” to recommend it, save the subjects on which he has A Selection of Psalms and Hymns, touched ; and consequently it has no adapted, in portions, for every Sun thing to spare for the ornament of day and Festival of the Church of those subjects. It is a common mis

England. By a Layman. London: take of the day, to think, that poetry Rivingtons, 1829. Pp. xiv. 251. is made acceptable, becanse it has a 2s. 6d. 12mo. sprinkling of religion about it; or that religion is acceptable, because its pre Tuis selection of Psalms and Hymns cepts are enforced in verse.

appears to be made with a very fair The author seems to have been suf- portion of correct taste, judgment fering under the pressure of domestic and discretion ; and though strictly oraffliction. He has blended the name, thodox, nothing has been excluded and allusions to the virtues, of some which, coming from what quarter it deceased friend, “ Mary(whether may, answers the compiler's purpose. wife, or sister, or sweetheart, we know. Thus we recognise, though not acnot), with the name of his Saviour; knowledged by the Editor, the styles and has alternately sung the joys of of Heber, Watts, Cotterill, Doddridge, heaven, and the memory of his de- &c.; and discover, that at least forty

of “the Psalms and Hymns" are, if not taken from, found in, the Christian Psalmistof James Montgomery, from whose pen six or seven of them have flowed. This is as it should be; but a little more care in the choice would, we think, have rendered the selection more popular. The advertised Collection of Tunes," (price 7s. 6d.), expressly adapted for this Selection, will, perhaps, tend more to the selector's object, than any thing we could say in his behalf. But, after all, he must wait the trial of time, the only infallible guide in such a case.

from the German works of Gesenius, by Josiah W. GIBBS, A. M. of the Theological Seminary, Andover, U.S. London : Howell and Stewart, 1827. 8vo. pp. 656. Price 25s.

Tie merits of Gesenius as a Lexicographer are now fully appreciated in this country; and his larger Lexicon, which is a mass of Oriental learning, is now in the course of publication at Cambridge. The smaller work, abridged by himself from the larger, is well adapted to the ordinary purposes of a Student; and the few alterations and additions which Mr. Gibbs has introduced into his American edition, which has been reprinted in this country, are certainly improvements.

A Sermon on Church Establishments in

General, and the Church of England in particular; preached on Sunday, Oct. 19, 1828. . By the Rev. J. W. CUNNINGHAM, M.A. Vicar of Harrow. London: Hatchard and Cadell. 1828. 8vo. pp. 32.

We are the last to deny merit where it is really due; and therefore, however we may differ in opinion from that class of preachers to which Mr. Cunningham has joined himself, we are ready to allow him full merit as the author of the Sermon before us. We are not, indeed, prepared to set our seal to every position which he has advanced; nevertheless, the Sermon is a good Sermon. It is a masterly defence of the claims which the Established Church has to the support of every Englishman; and an able appeal, more particularly in aid of the ChurchBuilding Society, for whose benefit, in compliance with the King's command, it was preached. One word, however, as to Mr. C.'s respect for Dissenters, and his “ hearty desire to co-operate with them, as friends and brothers, in all the concerns of our common Christianity" (p. 28.):--We do not much admire the peregrinations of Mr. C. at the cost of the Church (Query Conventicle?) Missionary Society.

Village Sermons on Personal and Rela

tive Duties, the Sacraments, fc. By the Rev. WILLIAM Bishop, M. A. London: Rivingtons. 1828. 2 Vols. 12mo. pp. 234, 248.

TWENTY-FOUR good practical Sermons, and well adapted to the wants and the understanding of a village congregation. In the three Sermons on the Sacraments there is much earnest and impressive writing; and we are glad to see that the benefits of Mr. Bishop's pastoral labours will be extended by their circulation beyond the limits of his owu flock.

IN THE PRESS. Mr. W. Carpenter, author of the Scientia Biblica, &c. has in the press, in one large volume, octavo, Popular Lectures on Biblical Criticism and Interpretation.

Mr. W. Jones, author of the History of the Waldenses, &c. has in the press, a Christian Biographical Dictionary, comprising the lives of such persons in every country, and in every age, since the revival of Literature, as have distinguished themselves by their talents, their sufferings, or their virtues The work may be expected to appear in the course of next month.

A Hebrew and English Lexicon to the

Old Testament, including the Biblical Chaldee. Edited, with improvements


STATE OF DISEMBODIED SPIRITS. Mr. Editor,-I read with deep attention, in the late numbers of your Miscellany, the remarks of a correspondent on the state of disembodied spirits ; but those remarks did not seem to carry with them such a decisive conclusion as the writer, doubtless, wished. The subject is one of deep interest, and it would be pleasing to arrive at some satisfactory knowledge upon it. The truth, therefore, is worth inquiring into ; and should the state of such spirits be found to be an unconscious state, although the prepossessions of some minds may be violated, yet religion herself would gain by an argument which may be brought so effectually against one of the most essential doctrines of the Roman Church. I would, therefore, in the pure love of the truth, ask you to admit the following observations on your correspondent's papers, together with a few remarks upon the unconscious state of disembodied spirits. That I may not occupy too much of your valuable space, I will briefly point out where the arguments which your correspondent advances do not bear upon his view of the question with any convincing force.

First, he thinks that the argument of the unconsciousness of disembodied spirits, is an encouragement to sin : but if he were to look into the cause of sin, he would find it operating without the aid of any such arguments; which, if ever used, are only used as the wolf argued with the lamb.

In the next place, he says, that unaided reason is able to refute the hypothesis of the insensibility of separate spirits ; but he refuses to argue from such a position. I must, however, call his attention to an argument of that kind before I conclude.

I now proceed to notice twelve positions of the writer before me, which he successively takes up as scriptural proofs of the assertion, that disembodied spirits do “live in the possession and exercise of their faculties."

1st. He (the writer of the papers in question) asks, upon the promise of eternal life (John viii. 28), “How can life be eternal, if the soul be buried between death and the resurrection in the stupidity of unconsciousness ?” I shall be pardoned if I give a mild answer to this intemperate question. We are taught that eternity will be from the day of judgment. Nor can we conceive one man's eternity to be a day or two longer or shorter than another's, which will be the case if their souls be adjudged as soon as they depart from their bodies. The fact, that we are taught that there will be a day of judgment, answers the question. But the writer, who asks it, seems to be puzzled about the time which will occur between the death and resurrection of men. Now the state of the soul, in that period, can in no wise affect the promise of its eternal life at the end thereof. But is the writer, who so fears Jest the soul should be all that time VOL. XI. NO. III.


buried in the stupidity of unconsciousness, assured, that what is time to our mortal perception, will be time to a disembodied spirit; or will be time in the economy of a spiritual state?

2d. “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." (Matt. xxii. 32.) On which I remark, that the unconscious soul is a living soul.

3d. If the soul “ live in the torpor of insensibility, it cannot be said to be the subject of any covenant with the Almighty." In such a state, it is answered, that the souls of Christians are under that condition of the covenant, which claims God as their Preserver. In this condition the soul is represented as sleeping. 1 Thess. iv. 14–16.

4th. That Job did not imagine that death would “ fix him in a state of insensibility.” But yet Job uses the figure of sleep to represent the peace which he would have found in the grave had he died an infant. (Job iïi. 13.)

5th. “ They shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.” (Is. lvii. 2.) In the margin of the Bible we are referred to the parallel passage, 2 Chron. xvi. 14; and we find, that the words,“ resting in their beds,” relate to their “ lying in state.” Thus the prophet describes the righteous as entering upon a state which is secure from evil; as undergoing the ceremony usual to the dead ; and as departing in his uprightness unto the presence of God. Șt. Matthew says the saints slept.

6th. " Whence it appears that the soul of Samuel ....... was called from a state of comfort and peace.” And will not the repose or sleep of the soul, in the care of God, be a state of comfort and peace ?

7th. The parable of Dives and Lazarus is next advanced, to support the position of the soul's consciousness. With Dives I have nothing to do: but Lazarus might have been in a state of unconsciousness, when seen in Abraham's bosom, for any thing that the Evangelist says to the contrary. The author of the two articles under consideration thinks, that Lazarus is represented as seated at a “ festive table of spiritual intercourse,” and “ as enjoying the sumptuousness of a feast." In this interpretation there is too much of the Mahometan paradise. I should rather take the εν τοις κόλπους αυτού to represent the sleep of a deceased good man.

8th. That Moses and Elias were in a state of consciousness at the transfiguration. But as their bodies were seen, it would appear, if the sight was real, that their souls had been brought from some state, and rejoined to their bodies. How can it be proved that in such a state, the soul was conscious of " its intellectual perceptions ?"

9th. There is nothing said in the Scriptures, of Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, to teach us, that his soul was conscious whilst he slept, as Christ said, in the grave.

10th. The state of paradise, into which the penitent thief was assured he should go that day, is not said to be a state of active or conscious happiness.*

Qu. What place of abode does the author mean, in page 702, line 8.

11th. When St. Paul was caught up into Paradise, the voice which he heard, was doubtless from a waking speaker ; but who can argue from that fact, that the souls of the saints were not asleep, as the Gospel declares them to be?

12th. In the last place it is asked if St. Paul would have preferred insensibility, to the execution of dignified trusts? And I may answer, As to die under the new covenant is to sleep in Jesus, the Apostle would be content to be with Christ, let the state be what it may : being assured, as we all may be, that it is one provided by mercy and love.

On these twelve positions, I may say, that they do not bear upon the argument with that clearness and force which it demands : and if the conscious state of the disembodied spirit, be to be proved by Scripture, it must be by plainer and clearer quotations speaking more directly to the question.

In the absence of direct information in the Gospel on this subject, the next best argument would be a critical one. But I venture to say that the critical evidence is on the other side. For, if I be not mistaken, the single word (kojuáw) used by Christ and two of his Apostles, in the literal sense of being dead, is never so used by the ancient writers; that word being always found in them either in a paraphrase, or joined to some other word or words, when it is meant by the figure of sleep to denote the state of death. Our blessed Lord appears to be the first who used the word without any qualification to denote the defunct state of a human being : and this remark is strengthened by the fact, that this use of the word koluáw was new to the disciples, who did not understand it literally to mean, that Lazarus was dead. John xi. 11, et seq. In the 26th verse, Christ says “ Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die :" whence we may conceive, that the beautiful word which our Saviour applied to the decease of his friend, was so applied to illustrate the words of the prophet, that He (Christ) should swallow up death in victory; and also to explain the words he had previously said to the Jews_“ If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.” (John vïïi. 51.) According to this view, we find St. Matthew and St. Paul using the word in its new literal sense, and confining it in that sense to the death of saints and of Christians : “ because of the hope of the resurrection." There is nothing, therefore, in the sense of the word, as used by Christ and his Apostles, to favour the argument, that the state of sleep, into which the separated souls of men are said in the Gospel to be, (1 Thess. iv. 13,) is a state of consciousness.

Let us, in the next place, apply to reason for further light upon this interesting subject.

Whilst in this state of being, the soul is never active or conscious without the instrumentality of the body. When the body is disordered, as in some cases of mania, the faculties of the soul are also disordered, because the instrument by which it works is impaired : and when that instrument is quite inactive, as in syncope, the soul is also inactive and unconscious. Hence we know not that the soul can be conscious without the instrumentality of the body.

« AnteriorContinuar »