« PreviousContinue »
had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield : the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly. As for me I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness. Thou wilt shew me the path of life : in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him : for He seeth that his day is coming. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace. Precious in the sight of God is the death of His saints. Into Thine hand I commit my spirit : Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth. Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee. Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory. My flesh and my heart faileth ; but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever."? Proverbs :“The wicked is driven away in his wickedness; but the righteous hath hope in his death. 8 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He pondereth all his goings. How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge ? Turn you at My reproof. Because I have called, and ye refused; but ye have set at nought all My counsel, and would none of My reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh , when
your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind ; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.10 If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not ; doth
1 Psalm lxxxiv. 10, 11. 2 xvii. 15. 3 xvi. 11. 4 xxxvii. 12, 13, 37. 5 cxvi. 15. 6 xxxi. 5. 7 lxxiii. 24-26. 8 Prov. xiv. 32. 9 v. 21. 10 i. 22-27.
not He that pondereth the heart consider it? and He that keepeth thy soul, doth not He know it? and shail not He render to every man according to his works ?” i Ecclesiastes :“There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit. Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner do evil a hundred times, and his day be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God 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 thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes ; but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.3 Then shall the dust return to earth as it was ; and the spirit shall return unto God Who gave it. Fear God, and keep His commandments : for God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” 4 Isaiah :"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near. Lift
up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath : for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but My salvation shall be for ever.
The sinners in Zion are afraid ; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings ?”? Jeremiah :-"I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings."Ezekiel :-“Why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth,
saith i Prov, xxiv. 12. 2 Eccles. viii. 8-12.
4 xii. 7, 13, 14. 5 Isa. lv. 6.
6 li. 6.
8 Jer. xvii. io.
3 xi. 9.
the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye." Daniel :-“And of them that sleep in the dust of the earth, some shall awake to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever.
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end : many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. . . . But go thou thy way till the end be; for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days." Hosea :-"I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death." Malachi :“Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another : and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name.
And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.
In view of the foregoing indisputable proof, texts quoted from the inspired records of the ancient Jewish nation, it is plain that the Jews were taught by their writings to believe not only in the immortality of the soul and a future state of rewards and punishments, but also in the resurrection of the body; and well, therefore, might our Lord reply to the Sadducees, who “say that there is no resurrection, neither angel nor spirit,” 5 “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. But as touching the resurrection of 1 Ezek, xviii. 32. Dan. xii. 2-4, 13.
3 Hos. xiii, 14. 4 Mal. iii. 16-18.
5 Acts xxiii. 8.
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.” 1
But, says Renan, “ Jesus was not a spiritualist, for to Him everything tended to a palpable realization; He had not the least notion of a soul separated from the body.”. This groundless assertion is sufficiently refuted by the passage just quoted; for “God," Jesus said, “is not the God of the dead”—not of those who have ceased to exist, or who have lost all consciousness of existence in death “ but of the living." But hundreds of years after they had slept the sleep of death and been “gathered to their fathers," God said, I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; and according to Christ's own words therefore, it would appear that they must necessarily have had an existence when these words were uttered. They could not have been dead in the sense of an utter extinction of conscious being, for God, he says, “is not the God of the dead, but of the living."
This view of the passage is further confirmed by our Lord's parable of the rich man and Lazarus. It is obvious that Christ could have no other design in His teaching by parable than the teaching of doctrine ; and the doctrine clearly inculcated in this parable is, that at death the soul immediately enters either a place of happiness or of misery; for while the poor Israelite is represented as having been taken to Abraham's bosom-Abraham existing in a state of happiness--and the rich man, as having lifted up his eyes in hell where he exists in a state of torment, the relatives of the latter are represented as still living upon the earth, still having Moses and the prophets for their instructors, and still therefore in 1 Matt. xxii. 29–32.
2 Page 113
a state of probation and within the reach of mercy.' It is beyond dispute, then, that Christ herein plainly teaches the doctrine of the soul's existence in a state of separation from the body. And hence also it is that we read of the conversation which He held upon the mount of transfiguration with Elias, and with Moses, whose body had been buried and long before reduced to its original dust.
Our Lord's promise to the thief upon the Cross proves the same doctrine :-“ This day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.” ? Now on that day the body of the crucified malefactor was consigned to the grave. The promise, therefore, must have related to the soul in its separate state. Another incontrovertible proof is our Lord's exhortation to His disciples to “ fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul.” 3
Stronger proof of the doctrine in question than is afforded by this passage would seem impossible. Men may “kill the body," Christ tells us, but they cannot “ kill the soul ;” thus making them two distinct things, one of which cannot be reached by mortal weapon, and retains its existence independent of the other. Luke's addition to this passage is, “I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear : Fear Him, which, after He hath killed, hath power to cast into hell."
It is plain, then, that the soul of man is of such a nature that, as St. Paul also assures us, it may be absent from the body and still consciously exist. “To be absent from the body," he tells the true believer, " is to be present with the Lord.”4 This is in perfect agreement with the teaching of Christ; and it is not true, therefore, as Renan says, that “ Jesus had not the least notion of a soul separated from the body."
Presuming to sit in judgment on our Lord's manner of i Luke xvi. 19-31. ; Luke xxiii. 43. 3 Matt. x, 28. 42 Cor. v. 8.