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that Christ has already fulfilled all moral arities of the Gospel, many interest.
subject is exhibited in his View of
hension of the doctrines of the Old We may next bring into view the Testament ; for if the piety of observations which Dr. Whately David, for example, had reference makes on a future state. These only to the present life, it can hardly are found chiefly in an anonymous furnish us with a model: nor indeed volume, which, even if it were not is it likely, that, under such circumcurrently attributed to him, and stances, the expressions of his devodedicated to his parishioners as dis- tional feeling in the Psalms should courses preached among them “ by be so lively and animated as not to their pastor," bears too strong an in- be surpassed, if equalled, by the external evidence of bis authorship to pressions of any Christian writer, be mistaken. He makes, indeed, in inspired or uninspired, on similar his Essays on some of the Peculia' occasions. Still, if St. Paul meant
this, when he said that Jesus Christ we think scripturally, that “they brought life and immortality to light are not to be heard which feign through the Gospel, strange as it that the old fathers did look only appears, it must be so. Let us
Let us for transitory promises." We do therefore consider what his mean- not maintain, indeed, that the ing really was in this declaration. first revelation of the doctrine was
The word here translated “to through Moses: for all the revebring to light," is often used in the lations through Moses were addiNew Testament, but generally ap- tions to. revelations made before; plied to persons. So in John i. 9, and we believe this revelation to Ην το φώς το αληθινον, ο φωτιζει have been coeval with man. But, navta ar pwrov. Here our Saviour says Dr. Whately, Have we any is represented as giving light to proof of this opinion ? Our answer every man. Again, in Heb. vi. 9, is as follows : We are bound, by by rovç åraš Outlobertaç are evi. the text of St. Paul already cited, dently meant persons who have once to admit that the ancient fathers received a kind and degree of light did not know of immortal life prewhich they did not enjoy before. cisely as we know of it. But the The word may commonly be ren- force of his expression is not condered to “ throw light upon," or to travened, if only we allow, for ex“ enlighten,” that which was either ample, that they did not possess the dark or obscure : and so here our evidence derived from the resurblessed Saviour is said to have de- rection, as well as the teaching, of feated death, and thrown light upon Christ ; but had only some less dethe incorruptible life which follows. fined expectations of what has to us It cannot be inferred from this state. been made a subject of actual dement that nothing was before known monstration. We have no doubt, of life and immortality, but only indeed, that some obscurity hung that the knowledge of them was over the subject; but that the obscure and uncertain. The ques. hopes of any true servant of God tion whether any thing at all was were ever confined exclusively to known of them before, is undeter- this life, we cannot be brought to mined by that expression; though believe. When the prophecy was it is plainly implied that whatever indirectly communicated to Adam, knowledge was possessed of them in the Divine sentence pronounced was comparatively faint and indis- upon the serpent; “ I will put entinct. Now, with respect to the mity between thee and the woman, ancient heathens, we concede that and between thy seed and her Seed: they had no knowledge whatever, it shall bruise thy head, and thou properly speaking, of a future state. shalt bruise bis heel ;" can it be The fictions of poets and the dreams supposed that his hopes were diof philosophers were, we should rected by it to a deliverance to be imagine, perverted relics of early afterwards granted to his posterity, traditions, and rather intimate that but of which he was not to be a something was once known of them, partaker? Or if, as is possible, he than that all was dark from the be. then expected to witness this proginning. The arguments suggested mised deliverance in the present by the philosophers were probably life, is it to be believed, that, when rather subsequent reasonings to
he found it to be delayed through substantiate a traditional opinion, his life, he had no hope in his death? which, when once known, appeared The contrary seems to be taught by certainly reasonable, than the ante- the Apostle, when he says, Heb. cedent basis on which the opinion xi. 13, 14, 16, “ These all died in was first grounded But of the Is. faith, not having received the proraelites our firm persuasion is very mises, but having seen them afar different. Our Church holds, and off'; and were persuaded of them,
and embraced them, and confessed concerning her brother: “I know that they were strangers and pil- that he shall rise again in the resurgrims on the earth.” These all, rection at the last day." And that Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, this hope was entertained by them Sarah, died in hope : " for they that at least as far back as the time of say such things " as they confessed David, is plain from his own solemn of themselves, “ declare plainly asseveration : “As for me, I will that they seek a country." They behold thy face in righteousness; seek a better country;
is that is, a
and when I awake up after thy likeheavenly." It may be presumed, ness, I shall be satisfied with it" indeed, that this hope became (Psal.xvii. 15): from which it appears, weaker in process of time, through first, That he expected some great the prevalence of iniquity; and the advantage when he should awake up translation of Enoch might be effect from the sleep of death ; secondly, ed, among other reasons, to keep it That the advantage he looked for alive. It again grew weaker after consisted in the likeness of God; the Flood; and therefore, the rest of and thirdly, That he knew that this the world being abandoned to their blessing, when attained, would comown delusions, Abraham and his pletely satisfy bim. It is true, inposterity were called, to preserve deed, that there are other expresthe hope of the promise made to sions in the Book of Psalms, as well the fathers. Afterwards, the Law of as also in the prayer of Hezekiah, Moses was added, not to extend the quoted by Dr. Whately, which may promises of God, but to guard those seem at variance with this truth. already made; and therefore, were The strongest, perhaps, is that in it granted that the sanctions of the Psal. vi. 4, 5, Return, O Lord; Mosaical law were not in any degree deliver my soul: Oh save me, for drawn from another life, which was thy mercies sake: for in death the chief good at issue, but from there is no remembrance of thee; this, it would only prove that it was in the grave who shall give thee intended that, from the experience thanks?" Yet it is so incredible, of the faithfulness of God to his so contrary to the whole scheme of word in this life, a perverse genera- the Bible, so inconsistent with the tion might learn to rely on his pro- warmth and fervour of the devotion mises for another. But it is demon- of the sacred writers, as well as with strable that the hopes of true Is- their own language on other ocraelites were not limited to these ocasions, that such should have been temporary enactments : they looked their meaning, that we are comforward to something beyond the pelled to look again at the passages, grave; though they may not, in many and see if they do not properly bear instances, have ascertained with dis- a very different construction to that tinctness-such distinctness as we put upon them. Now we find, that, enjoy under the Gospel-what it was. whatever may be alleged to have Yet what does Saint Paul say of been the notions of the writers (or, their hope, in his speech to Agrippa? more properly, the declarations of “I stand and am judged for the hope the Holy Ghost by them) of a benefit of the promise made of God unto beyond the grave, their ideas of the fathers; unto which promise our duty were justly on this side of it ; twelve tribes, instantly serving God and it was to this only they were day and night, hope to come.” (Acts referring. If they were to praise xxvi. 6,7.) Now that hope is in the God; to declare his truth, his lovingnext verse expressly stated to be, kindness, his faithfulness, his wonthat God should raise the dead. Of ders, and his righteousness; it must which hope Martha distinctly ex- be done before they descended to pressed her assurance, in her me. the land where all things are formorable confession to our Saviour gotten—that is, forgotten, not by
the omniscient Jehovah, but by the perversions of revealed truth, than passing generations which occupy creations of an inventive fancy. Nor successively the face of the globe. must it be omitted, that two of the They therefore asked for a conti- ancient prophets, Isaiah and Ezenuation of life, that they might do kiel, by predicting the future resomething for the promotion of his storation of Israel under the figure cause, and witness something of its of a resurrection (Isa.xxvi.19; Ezek. progress, besides making advancesin xxxvii. 12, 13,) clearly indicate that their own meetness for that life which the doctrine of a resurrection from was to follow. Accordingly, amidst the dead must in their days have Hezekiah's petitions for lengthen- been familiar to their countrymen. ed days, we find him occupied in And, in fact, our Lord himself tells observing what is the life, not of the us that the Jews of his day did body, but of the spirit ; for of that think that even in the Scriptures of alone could it be said that it is pro- the Old Testament they had eternal moted by sorrow, penitence, and life (John v.39); though Dr.Whately faith. “O Lord, by these things seenis to imagine they were mismen live; and in all these things is taken in so thinking. Indeed, we the life of the spirit.” (Isa.xxxviii. 16.) cannot refrain from expressing our We are therefore persuaded—to say surprise at the stress which he lays, nothing of various strong and ex. in this whole argument, upon the pressive passages, wbich, though dis- meaning of the words ourisw and puted, we do not think fairly dis- cokew: although the former is freputable—that the old fathers looked quently applied to the illumination forward universally (that is, all the of an obscure as well as of a dark faithful among them looked forward) object; and the latter, with an into the complete fruition of God's finitive, is often little more than a promises after death ; though they periphrasis. Thus dokouvreç apXelv knew not many particulars, more (Mark x.42) does not mean less than fully revealed in the Gospel, as to apxovtec (Matt. xx. 25); nor will the way in which they should enjoy Dr.Whately, we are confident, teach them. And yet it is probable that that Saint Paul doubted his own their notions on these matters were inspiration, when he said Aokw de far more enlarged and correct than
καγω πνευμα θεου εχειν. (1 Cor. we can trace them to have been, in
vii. 40.) the portion of their writings which It would be very painful to us, remains to us. Indeed, Dr. Whately and may be unnecessary, to express himself acknowledges that “the doc- all we feel relative to the hardihood trine of a future state was, at the of some of Dr. Whately's remarks time of our Lord's coming, the be- and conjectures on this and several lief of the greater part (the Pha- other subjects, more especially in risees and their followers) among parochial sermons, which, being the Jews ; though the sect of the preached to “a mixed congregaSadducees reject it.” (View, p. 22.) tion, consisting principally of the unAnd Saint Paul himself, besides the learned,” ought to have been pecupassage already quoted, says of the liarly free from those rash and unmartyrs in still earlier times, that edifying, and we think unscriptural, “ they were tortured, not accepting speculations in which they abound. deliverance, that they might obtain We mention this once for all, that in a better resurrection” (Heb. xi. 35); our passing observations on some of which favours the idea of a primitive his statements, with a view to shew revelation, inasmuch as correct no- their unsoundness, we may not seem, tions upon such a subject could not by our abstinence from the lanbe human discoveries : and even the guage of animadversion, to imply errors entertained upon it among that we do not appreciate their danthe heathen are more likely to be ger. We do feel very strongly as
respects the complexion of many This indeed is a position susceptible parts of these volumes ; and most of illustration, as well as of demonseriously do we mourn over such stration ; for instances have occurred speculations, and regret their ap- of apparently suspended animation, pearance before an unthinking and of unnaturally protracted sleep, and ungodly world, especially in this some also of mental derangement, age of scepticism, neology, and he- in which the recovered patient has resy; but we have thought that we been altogether unaware of any shall best subserve the cause of truth terval having elapsed between the by confining ourselves to a calm commencement of that state of disreply to particular statements, rather order and its termination. But, on than by general expressions of cen- the other hand, the reader may resure, which rather close than open collect the ingenious tale in the the ear to truth.
Spectator, in which a person is made On the intermediate state of the to dream that he passes through a soul after death, which Dr. Whately series of adventures, occupying a discusses at some length, he cor- course of many years, in the inrectly states, that
terval of dipping his head into water “One thing is perfectly clear and cer
and lifting it up again. These optain, that it is not a state of trial and proba. posite cases may concur to shew tion,--a state in which any thing can take how little the actual lapse of time place to affect a man's final condition ; (as is connected with the sense of it. the Romanists pretend,) since we are
also further concede to plainly taught in Scripture that this present life is the whole of our state of trial
, the ingenious author, that an interand that we shall be judged at the last mediate state of consciousness is not day according to our conduct here on
in so many words among the direct earth.” View, p. 51.
positive revelations of Scripture. We He adds,
are here, however, desirous to observe, “Since then the intermediate state is that many things are distinctly intinot one of trial, it must be either one of mated there, which are not in so enjoyment and suffering according to each man's character, (that is, a state of reward many words directly and positively and punishment,) or else a state of utter revealed. We may explain our insensibility, and unconsiousness; either meaning by an illustration. We may of which opinions may, I think, be safely entertained (though only one of them can
suppose a father willing to convey be true), without failing in any part of the
to his son some notion of the future faith which it is essential for a Christian fortune which awaits him. The to hold.” p. 51.
shortest way to do this would be, He then exhibits some of the ar- to tell him at once the amount of guments for that state being a income which it would annually state of consciousness, and some of place at his disposal. But this those which favour. its being a precise statement, we will suppose, state of insensibility; and after a he, for some reason judged inexpereview of both, he draws the con- dient. He might think, for example, clusion, that either of them has that an inexperienced young persome evidence of probability on its son would have no adequate idea behalf, but has yet to conflict with of the difference, in the command of equally probable evidence on the comforts, which a smaller or larger otber.
income would afford him ; while the Now we readily concede te Dr. sanguine anticipations of youth Whately, that, if this intermediate would tempt him to expect from a state were one of entire insensibility, smaller sum greater advantages than the moment of resurrection would be, could actually be procured by a to the consciousness of each indi- much larger. He might therefore vidual, though at the end of ten prefer giving him by little and little thousand years, the same thing as if some occasional intimations of what it took place the instant after death. might be effected with bis future