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of existence and action—a new scene either of pain or of pleasure. That, during the interval which takes place between the death of the body and the resurrection of the dead, man is not in a state of. absolute insensibility or annihilation, as some persons have vainly imagined, but in a condition either of suffering or of rejoicing, the New Testament contains a variety of evidence, which although in some degree indirect, is nevertheless clear and satisfactory.
First, with respect to the impenitent wicked, their lot, during the separate state of existence, is described as one of pain and punishment, or, in language more or less metaphorical (and in what degree it is metaphorical no man can pretend to decide,) as one of fire and imprisonment. Although our Lord's parable of the rich man and Lazarus probably presents to our view a fictitious history, yet we have every reason to allow that the doctrines which it so clearly conveys to our understanding are the doctrines of absolute truth.
The rich man, who refused to exercise the offices of Christian charity towards his afflicted neighbour, dies; and, while his body is mouldering in the grave—while his relations are continuing to live on the earth—he is himself described as being in hell, a victim to the devouring flames: Luke xvi, 23. Again, we read, in a passage of the First Epistle of Peter, that Jesus Christ was “put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit; by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah :" 1 Pet. iii, 1820. Although this passage is in some respects of doubtful interpretation, it will, I believe, be found to be explicit as far as relates to the point now before us. For, whether we understand it as declaratory of the doctrine, that Jesus, after his crucifixion, “ descended into hell,” or as conveying the far more probable idea, that, in his preexistence and divine nature, he preached to the antediluvians by his prophet Noah,it is evident that the apostle speaks of the spirits of that ancient race of sinners, as being, at the time when he wrote “ in
Secondly, with respect to the righteous, we are again instructed that they live after the death of the body, and live in happiness. When Lazarus, in the parable, escaped from those
* Vide Schleusner. Lex. voc, nyeupe a, No. 4. “ De defunctorum animis Aveõpece quoque legitur, Heb. xiii, 23; 1 Pet. iii, 19; ubi, per tà és quraxã hreúuata, animæ flagitiosorum, Noachi coævorum, corpore exules, intelligendæ sunt.”
shackles of mortality in which he so greatly suffered, he is represented as finding his refuge and consolation in the bosom of Abraham : Luke xvi, 22. Nor can we forget the memorable expressions employed by our Saviour, when he was conversing with the Sadducees respecting the doctrine of a future life, and respecting that first resurrection of which we are now speaking: “ Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 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 :" Matt. xxii, 29–32. When, therefore, God spake these words to Moses out of the burning bush, it is certain that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who had long since paid the debt of nature, were nevertheless living. So also in the history of our Lord's transfiguration, it is recorded that Moses and Elias appeared and talked with him ; and the disciples would have erected three tabernacles-one for Jesus, and one for each of these his ancient and glorified servants : Matt. xvii, 3, 4.
When the penitent and converted thief, who was the companion of our Lord in his crucifixion, supplicated for his mercy, and cried out, “ Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom,” Jesus answered him (in words which may well be deemed completely decisive of the question now under discussion_"Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise :” Luke xxiii, 42, 43.*
In the Epistle to the Hebrews, Christians are exhorted to be diligent in their religious course, after the example of the saints already glorified-to be" followers of them who, through faith and patience, inherit (that is, as in the Greek, are inheritingt) the promises,” (vi, 12 ;) and, in reference to the same subject, it is declared, in a following chapter of this Epistle, that we are not " come unto the mount that might be touched,
* Αμήν λέγω σοι, σήμερον μετ' εμού έση εν τώ πάραδείσω. so Pessime fecerunt qui hanc vocem aut cum néz a dico conjunxerunt (quod aperte improbat Syrus) aut interpretati sunt caregor hodie, post resurrectionem. Christus plus promittit, quam erat rogatus. Rogas, inquit, ut olim tui sim memor cum Regni possessionem accepero : ego tam diu non differam tua vota : sed partem et primitias speratæ felicitatis tibi intra hunc ipsum diem repræsentabo; morere securus ; a morte statim te divina solatia expectant :” Grotii. Com. in loc.
66 For we
&c.; but unto Mount Zion ..... and to an innumerable company of angels : to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven... ... and to the spirits of just men made perfect :'* xii, 18-23. But it is in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians, that the apostle Paul has most clearly indicated the truth, that, when they are delivered from the confinement of their earthly tabernacle, the servants of Christ are alive in heaven-alive with their Lord. know, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens ..... Therefore, we are always confident, knowing, that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord (for we walk by faith, not by sight:) we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord :” 2 Cor. v, 1-8. So, again, to the Philippians, he says,
6 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better : nevertheless, to abide in the flesh is more needful for you :” i, 23. Lastly, it was long previously to his vision of the resurrection, and of the day of final retribution, that the apostle John, in the Revelation, was permitted to hear the elders, in a state of glory, singing their new song, in honour of him who “ had redeemed them to God by his blood,”” v, 9; and, on a subsequent occasion, to behold
a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues,” who “stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands”-persons, who had already passed through all their tribulations, and had entered into unspeakable joy, because they had “washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb:" vii, 9–14.
SECTION III. On the Resurrection of the Dead. While the passages of Scripture, which thus unfold to us some of the hidden mysteries of the separate state of existence, afford an ample evidence that there is in us a living substance, by which our identity is preserved, and which cannot die, there is yet another point of view in which man is represented, by the inspired writers, as the heir of an endless futurity. In an awful day to come, his mortal part shall put on immortality; his corruptible shall be clothed with incorruption ; the man who sleeps in the dust of the earth shall be quickened-shall be raised from a state of death-shall stand alive before the judgment-seat of the Alinighty.
* Vide Schleusner. Lex. voc. Ilyfūua.
This doctrine, though fully revealed in its several majestic particulars only under the dispensation of the Gospel, was by no means entirely unknown to the ancient Israelitish church. It cannot with reason be denied, that Job spake of his resurrection from the dead when, with so much emphasis, he declared his faith in that Redeemer by whom this wonderful change will be effected: “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me:" Job xix, 15—27. The same subject must have been opened to the view of David, when, primarily, in reference to the Messiah, and, secondarily, in relation to himself, he used the following expressions : “ For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (or rather, my life or person in the grave;) neither wilt thou suffer thine holy one to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life ; in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore ;” Ps. xvi, 10, 11. And again, “ As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness : I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness :” Ps. xvii, 15. Lastly, in the Book of Daniel, we have a yet clearer exhibition of the doctrine in question : “ And at that time,” said the angel to the prophet, “ shall Michael stand ur, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people ...... And many of them (or the multitude of them) that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt :” xii, 1,
In the passage now cited from the prophecies of Daniel, the
is often רביס The plural adjective .ורביס מישני ארמת עפר יקיצו .Heb *
* . . used to denote os Fondos—the many, or the multitude : vide Exod. xxiii, 2: Ps. xcvii, 1; cix, 30: Ezek. xxxi, 5 : comp. Rom. 5, 19. Or this word may be the plural of the substantive 37 multitude ; in which case the Hebrew ought to be rendered, “ et multitudines ex iis qui dormiunt, &c.”-a version which would imply the distinction, afterwards more clearly enunciated, between the multitude of the good and the multitude of the wicked; and such a sense of the passage the Jews appear to have indicated by a listinctive accent. Some critics, and amongst others that ancient enemy of Christianity, Porphyry, have explained this passage as relating to the liberation of the Jews, by the hands of Judas Maccabæus, from the yoke of Antiochus. But if the prophecy has any subordinate reference to that event, which seems very improbable, yet, the explicit and awfully descriptive terms in which it is couched appear to afford an almost irresistible evidence, that its principal subject is the general resurrection of the dead : vide Poli Syn. and especially Grotii Com. in loc.
doctrine of resurrection is brought forward in immediate connection with that of retribution; and we are assured by him of the truth, that both the good and the wicked shall rise from the dead. That truth was afterwards declared, in terms which appear to be too clear to admit of any misconception, by Jesus Christ himself: “ The hour is coming,” said he to the Jews, " in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice (the voice of the Son God,) and shall come forth ; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation :" John v, 28, 29. I cannot perceive that these pointed and plain expressions are capable of being explained in any merely metaphorical sense ; and accordingly it may be observed, that the apostles of our Lord (who, either by verbal communication or by spiritual illumination, derived from him their whole doctrinal system) uphold the same expectation of the actual raising up of the dead, both of the good and of the wicked, in order to their being rewarded according to their works. When Paul was making his apology before Felix, he said, “ But this I confess unto thce, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers .... and have hope towards God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurreciion of the ücad, both of the just and unjust :” Acts xxiv, 14, 15. " And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it,” says John in the Revelation, in evident allusion to the very same doctrine ....."and I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God: and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged, out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it: and death and hell (or the grave) delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works :" Rev, xx, 11-13.
In these several passages, no distinction is pointed out between the manner of the resurrection of the good, and the manner of the resurrection of the wicked. Both descriptions of men are simply represented as rising, and rising in order to be judged. But the resurrection of the righteous will nevertheless be unquestionably distinguished by glorious circumstances, altogether peculiar to themselves. Often is it described as connected with a scene of unmixed joy and happiness as the consummating event by which Christians are to be introduced to their crown of glory—as a privilege, which, when viewed in all its parts, is exclusively their own. " And this is