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Belief of the Patriarchs and Israelites and emphatic: “If thou seest oppresin a Future State.
sion and violent perversion of judg(Continued from p. 144.)
ment, marvel not; for He that is
higher than the highest regardeth_it, be a real or a fictitious one, the joice, O young man, in thy youth, &c., moral philosophy to be derived from but forget not that for all these
things.” it is the same : some parts are evi- (if misapplied and abused) “ God will dently figurative or dramatic. We bring thee into judgment.” And he may have heard in Christian pulpits sums up the whole in these remarkaportions introduced from this book, ble words: “ For God will bring every as indicative of the writer or the hero's work into judgment, with every secret disbelief of a future state. “There is thing, whether it be good or whether hope of a tree-but man goeth down it be evil.” to the grave, and where is he?” But But, in this view of the Old-Testathis is a wresting the Scriptures,” and ment writers, David appears with a pot explaining them; it is quoting peculiar lustre. Thus, in a serene and imperfectly, or by halves, without re- silent midnight sky, though every star gard to the connexion; and, there- shines with a distinct flame, yet some fore, such arguments are built only on emit a more vivid brightness, and irrethe sand. “Man,” says Job, “ lieth sistibly attract the eye of the beholder: down and riseth not again, till the hence the pious hymns of the royal poet heavens be no more ;” till then “ they will remain among the chief standards shall not awake nor be raised out of of a rational and sublime devotion to their sleep. If a man die, shall he live the end of time. “To the poet,” says a again?" No, certainly, not in this modern lecturer,* — "To the poet ever world; but what follows? “All the remain the lovely forms of animate and days of my appointed time will I wait, inanimate nature; all that is interesting till my change come !" But there are to humanity, to sympathy, to imaginaother passages still more explicit, tion. While there is a star in heaven, without alluding to that controverted it shall speak to the poet's eye of text, “I know that my Redeemer another and a better world. In poetry liveth.” Job had, upon the whole, is to be found a reservoir of the holier comfortable views of the Divine pro- feelings of our nature. It is as a robé vidence and government, which con- of light, spread over the face of things, vinced him that “the righteous should and investing them with super-hunan hold on his way, and he that had clean splendour. There is in poetry a sort hands should wax stronger and strong. of intrinsic revelation, leading man to er ;” and induced him to cry out, in consider this existence as the wreck of the midst of his sufferings, " Though other systems, or the germ of a future he slay me, yet will I trust in him?" being! But the Psalmist of Israel This text alone is in itself “ an host.” was a prophet as well as a poet and a
Solomon, though not a prophet, philosopher; hence he became emiwas endowed with extraordinary na- nently qualified for the most profound tural powers; and, in his bright and researches into the history of Provi. golden days, was furnished with the dence, the works and ways of the most copious stores of religious wis- Almighty; for magnifying his name dom. In his beautiful personification and celebrating his praises; and in of this divine quality, Prov. viii. &c., this delightful work, when loosed from he says, “ Whoso findeth me, findeth the bondage of iniquity, and rejoicing life.” In ch. xxiii., denouncing those in a sense of the Divine favour and that "remove the ancient land-marks, acceptance, he pours out his soul beand enter the fields of the fatherless," fore him in the most ecstatic transhe observes, “ Their Redeemer is ports, and calls upon universal nature mighty, he shall plead their cause with to unite with him in the great design, thee : and in ch. xiv. 32, The But the powers of language are exrighteous hath hope in his death!" hausted before him in the prosecution In the book of Ecclesiastes, generally supposed to have been written by him, and of which it bears the strongest * Mr. Campbell, at the Royal Institu, internal testimony, he is inore precise tion.
of the mighty theme! Yet what he tive church, and their successors, becan do he will endeavour to perform; lieved in and expected a future state ; he will transfer, in immortal strains, and if the comparative silence on this from the table of his heart, to suc- important subject in the Jewish Scripceeding generations, the praises of the tures be objected, it may be replied, Most High ; and call upon “all flesh (besides observing, by the way, that to bless his holy name for ever and we are to find our religion, and not to
make it,) that we are not to reject Mr. Addison observes, that the pas- any doctrine or opinion, reasonable in sages in Psalm xvi., relating to the itself, and honourable to the Supreme Messiah, “ liad a present and personal Being, on account of a comparative, sense, as well as a future and pro- or even an absolute silence in the saphetic one:” for though David him. cred writings. We know little from self “ fell on sleep and saw corrup- the Bible of the state, the numbers tion,” yet he could not consider this and the orders of angels; yet who can event as final and irreversible, for he doubt of their existence, and of their immediately adds, “Thou wilt shew important services in the creation! me the path of life: in thy presence is A scale of beings above us, supposing fulness of joy; at thy right hand there the use of our faculties, being almost are pleasures for evermore;" therefore an intuitive proposition; as a scale "his flesh did rest in hope.” And if below us is a matter of fact and exall this should be referred to the Mes- perience. We know nothing, from siah alone, it would be strange, in- this source, of the plurality of worlds ; deed, if the Psalmist, who had such but every Tyro in modern philosophy clear views of the Messiah's being can almost demonstrate the fact. And raised to an immortal life, should ne- who will say, it is not as reasonable vertheless conclude, that this great that there should be a future state, as future Prophet and Restorer, " the that there should be superior orders hope and consolation of Israel,” so of intelligent beings, or a plurality of long waited for, should himself prove worlds in the regions of immeasurable only a single and solitary instance of space? Doubtless, there were scepthe Divine power and goodness in this tics in the primitive churches, as well respect; and all the people of God as in our Saviour's time, “ who said besides, from the beginning to the there was no resurrection, neither an. end of time, should lie down for ever gel nor spirit ;” and who, with the in the land of silence and forgetful- rebellious Israelites, in the days of ness! The ideas are so absurd and the prophet Malachi, said, " It is in incongruous, that they will not bear a vain to serve God; and what profit moment's discussion; especially when is it that we have kept his ordinance, in other psalms he is as precise and and walked mournfully before him?" determinate on this point as words But, in such evil times, “ They that can well admit of.
Depart from feared the Lord spake often one to evil and do good, and dwell for ever- another, and the Lord hearkened and more.—Whom have I in heaven but heard, and a book of remembrance thee? And there is none upon earth I was written before him, for them that can desire besides thee! My flesh and feared the Lord, and that thought my heart shall fail, but thou art the upon his name; and they shall be strength of my heart and my portion mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that for ever.-Though I walk through the day when I make up my jewels, and I valley of the shadow of death, I will will spare them as a man spareth his fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy own son that serveth him. Then shall rod and thy staff they comfort me! ye discern between the righteous and Precious in the sight of the Lord is the wicked, between him that servetha the death of his saints !-I shall be God, and him that serveth him not." satisfied, when I awake, with thy like But the New Testament places this
subject in the most convincing point Thus it appears, as it should seem, of view, so that “ he may run that that there are sufficient evidences in readeth.” Our Saviour, alluding to the Old Testament to prove, to the the prophecies concerning himself, resatisfaction of any reasonable inquirer, fers the unbelieving Jews to their own that the ancient fathers of the primi. Scriptures, in which also they pro
fessed to find “ eternal life,” and he that God made the Old Testament does not deny the inference: on the saints fellow-heirs with the New-Tescontrary, concerning a resurrection, tament believers, and that it is sensehe observes to the Sadducees, that Mo- less and wicked to set the two dispenses himself "shewed it at the bush, sations at variance. Jesus Christ, far in calling the Lord the God of Abra- superior to all human glory, was ham, of Isaac and of Jacob; for he is known and celebrated long before he not the God of the (finally) dead, but came into the world. His magnifiof the living, for all live to him." cence is of all ages. The foundations These passages need no comment: of his religion were laid with those of and in the eleventh chapter of the the world, and though not born till Epistle to the Hebrews, the writer, four thousand years from the creation, enumerating the triumphs of faith in yet bis history begins with that of the the ancient world, represents the Old- world. He was first preached in PaTestament saints as looking through radise, the subject was continued down the present transitory scene, “ for a to Moses, and revealed still morc frebetter country, that is, a heavenly;" quently and more clearly during the and he emphatically declares, that the reign of the law and the prophets. only faith which can please God is Behold, before his birth, the titles of that which leads not only to a belief his grandeur ! Jesus, above all Jesus in his existence, but also in his cha- crucified, throws the brightest light racter and government, as "a re- upon the Old Testament. Without warder of those that diligently seek him the law would be a sealed book ; him; and he insists that the primitive and Judaism a confused heap of prebelievers possessed this divine princi- cepts and ceremonies, piled up without ple; that they “all died in faith," not, meaning. On the contrary, how beauindeed, having received the promises, tiful-is the history of the people of but seeing them afar off, and were God, and all their worship, when the persuaded of them, and embraced cross is the key! It is one whole, the ibem, confessing themselves to be different parts of which relate to the strangers and pilgrims on the earth." same end. It is a long allegory of
The notion which we have here en- Divine wisdom. It is an edifice which deavoured to disprove, hath called God himself hath founded and insenforth the aniinadversions of many emi- sibly raised, with a design of placing nent divines. Mr. Robinson, in his upon the top the cross of his Son!" Notes on Claude, (ed. 1779, p. 132,) Let us not, therefore, represent the says, “The present times have scarcely God of grace, “the God and Father produced a more absurd and dangerous of our Lord Jesus Christ," as in operror than that of Bishop Warburton; position to the God of nature, or to who affirms, that “the doctrine of a the God of Abraham, of Isaac and future state of rewards and punish- of Jacob;" for these “ are not three ments is not to be found in, nor did Gods, but one God,".
--one in name, make a part of, the Mosaic dispensa- one in nature, one in person, one in tion." After citing some of the texts power and glory! Who, though he above-named, and making a few re- varies his dispensations to his rational marks, not very creditable to the sin- offspring, according to their different cerity of the learned prelate, he gives situations and circumstances, talents some extracts from eminent foreign and capacities, which are ordered “afwriters, in favour of the contrary opi- ter the counsel of his own will;" is nion ; namely, " That the patriarchal himself “ without variableness or shareligion included the doctrine of a fu- dow of turning !" Who ture state : that the Mosaic economy nothing which he hath made;" nor included the patriarchal religion: that expects “ to reap where he hath not the apostles preached what was sown, or to gather where he hath not written in the law and the prophets,' strewed;" with whom is “ no respect and was believed by the bulk of the of persons,” but who “judgeth acJewish people (Acts xxiv. 14, 15): cording to every man's work ;” and that the promise of the Messiah alone who, with regard to the leading and included all spiritual blessings, and essential principles of all true religion, that the Israelites understood it so: “ hath never left himself without wit
ness;” but, in different degrees, “en- that it is a compilation of different lighteneth every man that comesh into documents ; nor to offer any remarks the world.”
on the variations in the Divine name, AN OCCASIONAL READER.
adduced as evidences against the prophet Moses' being the author of the whole book of Genesis, as the need of
them is superseded by the ingenious Kidderminster,
observations of Ben David, and the Sir, April 12, 1822.
quotations he has made from Essenus, LTHOUGH I entertain a very which appeared in a late Repository learning, judgment and integrity, and to state the view I entertain of the first greatly esteem the rich and glowing chapter of this book, as containing nasentiments concerning the unity and tural philosophy consistent with the glorious perfections of the Divine discoveries of modern ages, in the Majesty which appear in a sermon hope it may contribute to convince he has lately published ; [see Mon. some of your readers of its correctness, Repos. XVII. 111, &c.] yet I cannot and help to confirm the belief of its concur with him in some of the ideas having proceeded from the infinite he has advanced respecting the con- Fountain of wisdom and truth. tents of the first chapter of the book An attention to this chapter, with a of Genesis, commonly called the Mo- desire, I own, to retain it as a valuable saic account of the creation. He con- and important part of the Holy Scripsiders the narrative to be philosophi- tures, has led me to believe that it is cally wrong, or inconsistent with the a mistaken sentiment, though comsystem of nature, as demonstrated by monly conceived, that the process remodern philosophy; and I cannot but presented to have been the employregret that such a decided opinion has ment of six days, includes the primitive proceeded from a person of his me- creation of the world, which appears rited theological and literary eminence. to have been prior to their commenceIf the contents of this chapter be thus ment. In the first sentence of the erroneous, they certainly could not chapter we read, In the beginning have been coinmunicated by divine God created the heavens and the earth, inspiration to Adam, or any of his or the luminaries of the etherial space, posterity, and transmitted from that usually termed the firmament, but sacred origin to Moses ; nor could in a sense different from the etymothey have been imparted by the Crea- logy of this word,) and this terraquetor immediately to him or any other ous globe. Understanding the word writer. And as it must be utterly beginning to mean anterior to the impossible that any human being measured time of this world, the sencould know what transactions occur- tence appears to be a proem to what red before the human race had exist- succeeds, and entirely distinct from it, ence, without being favoured with such declaring all the existing worlds in the inspiration, the whole narrative can universe to be the product of God's be nothing else than the effusion of almighty power in a former period, man's imagination, which might have without stating the mode in which the been conveyed from one generation to creative energy was exerted, or the another as a tradition of the primitive duration of the process; which, for age; and which may now be admired aught we know, may have comprefor its high antiquity, and regarded as hended millions of such spaces of time a curiosity for the singular information as we denominate ages. If what is it gives of the false philosophical opi- contained in this declarative introducnions of that early period of the world, tion were included in the narrative of but cannot be venerated as a part of six days, then the natural order would divine revelation, for which it has been have been to begin with a particular generally esteemed both by Jews and representation of the heavens, or heaChristians. My design is not to con- venly luminaries, as having been first sider the question whether or not mentioned, and as claiming priority there be discordances in the former in the account for their stupendous chapters of this book, tending to prove grandeur ; whereas it begins with the
original state of the earth, and no illumines our world, and is essential further notice is taken of these lumina- to its being a fit dwelling-place for ries until the fourth day is described, living creatures. and not, I conceive, as being then The second day's work is thus decreated, but as having their regular scribed : Let there be an expanse functions assigned to them relative to amidst the waters, which may divide the earth. It seems that at the com- the water from the water. This has mencement of this process the earth been supposed to imply that the wriwas a dark, chaotic mass, completely ter was so egregiously deluded as to covered with water, and encompassed conceive the heavenly canopy, to with air. The breath of God, a form which was applied the term firinaof expression denoting an abundant ment, from the Latin translation of treasure of air, brooded upon the face the Greek word sepawua, in the Sepof the water. This incumbent air tuagint, to be a solid, bespangled arch must have been a comparatively dense or vault, sustaining a reservoir of wafluid, and perfectly still, before the ter for supplying rain to the earth ; properties of elasticity and expansion but such an irrational conceit was,
I were given to it, to counteract the imagine, as distant from the mind of earth's gravitating power, which must Moses, as it is from the astronomy of have been coeval with its existence; the present age. The Divine enactand before the laws of humidity and ment, denoted by the words, Let there motion were superadded, for accom- be an expanse, seems to have been the plishing the uses designed by Unli- spreading upwards the vast volume of mited Intelligence.
air which lay brooding on the face of The first employment of the Divine the water, so as to form an elastic, wisdom and power was causing light expanded atmosphere as now existing, upon the earth : God said, Let there and which God called heaven, which be light, and there was light. It is must mean the lower heaven. This not conceivable that the Creator spoke expanse is said to be amidst the wathis or any other sentence to himself, ters, and such is the reality; for, beor uttered such words to any lifeless sides the visible aqueous vapours that substance which he had previously compose the floating clouds, the atmade; but this is obviously a most mosphere holds, as a component part, sublime mode of declaring the pro a vast quantum of liquid in gaseous duction of light by almighty energy, solution, its particles being extremely as the instantaneous effect of the Dir attenuated by the chemical union of sine volition. That this might have caloric; which is rendered evident in been caused without the sun's beams, dry, sultry weather by a metallic suras Mr. Frend suggests, [Mon. Repos. face, reduced to a temperature below XVI. 647,] cannot be denied, but that of the atınosphere, when the surit is not probable that such was the rounding air will, by parting with a light here intended. So great an portion of its caloric to restore an abundance of the electric fuid and equilibrium in the metal, release the of hydrogen might have been evolved liquid, which will appear
in a state of from the world, as would have served condensation. And if so small a quanfor irradiating its surface for all the tity of air is found to have contained duration that the six days comprise ; so much moisture, what a vast abunbut this could not strictly have con- dance of volatilized water may be supstituted the day. God suw the light posed to occupy the immense circumthat it was good, and separated the ference of the atmosphere, encomlight from the darkness; and he called passing the globe to the height of the light day, and the darkness he many leagues, and which gives to the called night. It was, therefore, by clear sky its beautiful azure aspect. the rays of the sun that the Almighty If all this rarified vapour were to be caused the earth to be enlightened, condensed by Omnipotence, and united and heated for exhalation, or extended with the oceans of the earth, there the solar light through the etherial would then be water enough to drown region of ninety-five millions of miles. the whole world, for it would bring Thus he commanded the exercise of the earth back to its primeval state, that power, which he afterwards esta- before the copious evaporations reblished as a great law of nature, which duced the terraqueous waters, and