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approved by those who were most reverenced and esteemed *.
If therefore the peremptory law, to which gods and men were compelled to submit, was founded on principles of infinite wisdom, yet that wisdom not being made fully manifest on earth, its present appointments must have been judged with reference to some expected dispensation to take place hereafter.
Such convictions had their influence, though they are not conceived with that clearness, nor expressed with that confidence which has been felt, since revelation has fully explained that this is only a probationary state,-a part of a scheme of which the conclusion is yet to be developed.
They were sufficient, however, to incline both the philosophical and the vulgar eagerly to catch at any intimations of a future life, and to take up any superstitious opinions which prevailed, rather than to live in impatient murmuring against the gods, and to die without hope of an existence in another world.
There are figurative images used by the
# Lucan. Phars, 1. i. 128.
Greeks upon the subject of a future state, which were probably received through the Egyptians from the Jews: thus the expression of Job *, nia nyeti was the original, probably, from which Homer derived his notion of “the gates of hell.” The expression occurs also in the works of Theocritus, Sophocles, Euripides, Lucretius, and Virgil.
The superstitions entertained by the Greeks and Romans upon this subject, were of a gross and corporeal nature; and even when they were refined by men of elevated minds, and decorated by all the advantage of poetry, they seemed to exhibit scenes in which the same affections and passions as prevail on earth were supposed to continue, and to be gratified with their accustomed objects.
Pluto, the sovereign of the infernal regions, is by some supposed to have been the Egyptian Typhon; and Enceladon is, by Bochart, considered as Akalathon the crooked
Virgil, in his description of the Tartarean and Elysian regions, has introduced much of popular opinion, and much of mysterious allusion with respect to these interesting subjects. He describes the punishments as inflicting chains and stripes, and labour and suffering, which affected the body.
* J. 1. xxviii. 17.
+ Αιδαω πυλαν.
| Isai. xxvii. 1.
As he discloses the mournful plains, and the lofty walls to which the guilty were condemned, we behold wretches bearing the same wounds which they received on earth. In the vestibule as it were of hell, and on the first threshold, grief and vengeful cares, and fear, and afflicted age, and death and labour and evil passions were to be found; while, in the happy groves in which the virtuous were received, the heroes were still occupied in the games of the Palæstra, and entertained the same love of chariots and arms and of horses which prevailed on earth. Their time was still occupied in contemplating the steeds, which conducted their cars of victory, now feeding idle on the
pasture ; and their thoughts were employed in l'ecalling to remembrance the actions in which they had served: but little of intellectual pleasure is specified, excepting the recitation of verse.
Such were the notions which occupied the minds of men of enlarged views, for they had nothing better to substitute, and even Socrates, Cicero, and Seneca, rested their hope on the subject upon arguments of very insufficient weight *.
Socrates, though one of the most enlightened of the Heathens, appears in his discourses to have been much embarrassed
upon the subject. Epictetus and others mention the happiness of good men after death, but he lived after the promulgation of the Gospel.
Whatever persuasions were entertained with respect to the immortality of the soul, no general expectation seems to have been formed of the resurrection of the body, 'till our Saviour brought this great doctrine to light, and illustrated its possibility by his own appearance in the body on the third day after his crucifixion.
The notion of the Stoics, which looked to the restoration and renewal of all things after the revolution of ages, might be thought to imply a resurrection of human bodies ; and Diogenes Laertius states, that Theopompus asserted that the Chaldæan Magi believed that the Magi would revive again. Phocylides also, a philosophical poet, intimated a hope that, after the dissolution of the human body, the remains of the dead would come to light, and become gods.
* Chrysost. in 1 Cor. xi. 21. Plato Phæd. Grot. lib. ii. c. 7. Cicero Tuscul. Quæst. Seneca Epist. 66. Epictet.