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is his portion, and the land of Canaan a fair inheritance—That this stedfast adherence to the Lord is his confidence and peace—Then follow the words in question,—That he is sure, God will not leave his soul in Hell, &c. &c. that is, suffer him to fall immaturely, as was the lot of the transgressors of the Law : And concludes, that walking in the law of God is both the highest pleasure, and strongest security. All which is expressed in terms so magnificent, as to shew, indeed, that this Psalm hath a spiritual as well as literal meaning. And that spiritual meaning St. Peter hath explained to us : * Indeed, if Dr. Stebbing's word were to be taken, the Apostle hath explained it in a manner which overthrows all our reasoning. “ St. Peter” (says the Doctor) “ claims this passage [Ps. xvi. 10, 11.] as relating to Christ's resurrection.”+ But how does he claim it? No otherwise than by giving it a secondary sense. Now the learned Doctor himself contends that the secondary sense of the Prophecies was purposely concealed and secreted from the Jewish Church : Consequently, the Resurrection, the very doctrine which the secondary sense of this text conveys, was secreted from it. But then, the Doctor says, that “in the primary sense David declares his expectation of a future state, not in consequence of any promise of the Law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.” The result then of the Doctor's exposition is this, That the same text may serve to prove that the spiritual sense of the Law was and was not revealed at this time. The verse has a primary sense which reveals a future state, and a secondary sense which hides and secretes it.-But he insists much upon the following words of the text--In thy presence is fulness of joy, and at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore. “ Expressions,” says the Doctor, “much too great to describe any WORLDLY HAPPINESS." I-I readily confess it was no worldly happiness which is here described : for to be in the presence of God signified the same as to appear before the Ark, Ps. xvii. 15. and to enjoy pleasures there for evermore, the same as dwelling in the house of the Lord for ever, i. e. all his days, Ps. xxiii. 6. a spiritual happiness, sure, though enjoyed in this world.
But the texts of texts, the precious ones indeed, are those where a HELL is mentioned ; as here—thou shalt not leave my soul in Hell.§ And of this orthodox consolation there is no scarcity in the Old Testament. Mr. Whiston assures us, it is almost five times as often mentioned as in the New. It may be so. However, instead of examining into the justness of this nice calculation, I shall chuse rather to consider what is to be understood by the word, than how often it is repeated. Now, I suppose neither I nor my Answerers can have any reasonable objection to St. John's authority in this matter ; who speaking, in the book of Revelations, of the useless old furniture of
• Acts ii. 25--29.
+ Exam. p. 49.
§ Psalm xvi. 10.
the Law, says—and death and hell were cast into the LAKE OF FIRE: this is the second death. * From hence it
that the HELL of the Old Testament was a very different thing from the HELL of the New, called, the lake of Fire ; since the one is made the punishment, or at least the extinction of the other. And to remove all doubt, the Apostle, we see, calls this casting into the lake, a second death. Must not then the Lake itself be a second Hell ?
And if so, could the first or the Old Testament hall be any other than the GRAVE? The next words tell us, that whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. So that the sense of the whole seems to be this, that at the consummation of things (the subject here treated of) all physical and moral evil shall be abolished.
8. Again, The Psalmist says, “Deliver my soul from the wicked —from the men of the world—which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure.—As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness : I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness." I Many moral and mystical commentators (and perhaps our English translators themselves, as one would think from the turn of their language) understood these words as literally pointing, in one verse, to a future state, and, in the other, to a resurrection. And in this, the dissenter, Leland, as I remember, in some of his things, seems much to triumph. But I shall shew that it means nothing less.
They have their portion in this life, say our translators, who, with great piety, had their heads full of ANOTHER. Whereas the original word literally signifies in vitis, the Hebrew being a plural word and having no singular: which, by the way, let me observe, is a convincing proof that the ideas of the common users of this language were only employed about this life; had they been conversant, like us, with another, they would soon have found a singular to their plural. This will be thought a strange Paradox by those I have to do with, who do not know that plural nouns are often words of amplification, not of number. As our translators render it, in this life, so the Chaldee Par. goes a step further, and renders it, in life eternal. The Sept. translators, who best understood their own idiom, interpret it better than either, év tñ wn aútūv, in this life of theirs.
So that the true meaning of what we turn, their portion of this life, amounts to this—they are perfectly prosperous.
And now, concerning the words in the other verse,—I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness. For the sense of these I shall transcribe the following passage of an excellent Critic, and, what is more, a very orthodox Divine.—“The Chaldee,” says Dr. Hammond, (and what sort of interpreters they were we have seen just above) "apply this awaking to David—when I shall awake I shall be satisfied with the glory of thy countenance. And so it hath truth, in respect of the resurrection of the just.—But all the other interpreters agree to apply it to this glory και εν τω οφθήναι την δόξαν σου, at the appearing of thy glory, say the LXXII.—cum apparuerit gloria tua, says the Latin; (and so the Arabic and Æthiopic)-When thy fidelity shall awake, saith the Syriac : And so most probably it is to be understood. By (God's glory awaking) signifying his glorious and powerful interposition to David's PRESENT rescue from his enemies hands.—And thus the learned Castellio took it; 'tum satiandus, cum tua experrecta fuerit imago ;' I shall be satisfied when thy likeness shall be awaked.” * Other Interpreters, and those of the first Class, who make the awaking to refer to David, suppose it to signify his morning adorations before the Ark, the symbolic residence of the divine Presence. But that David was here speaking in the language of the Law, and not of the Gospel, I think, all but determined Bigots will confess.
† Verse 15.
• Rev. xx. 14.
| Psalm xvii. 13-15.
9. And again : Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the House of the Lord for ever. I By the house of the Lord can be meant nothing else but the Tabernacle or the Temple : So that, for ever, or as the Heb. says, to length of days, must mean that mature old age, which the Law promised to its faithful adherents.
10. In the xxxvi. Psalm, the sacred Writer says : For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. Here, to prove the immortality of Man, a text is produced, which teaches the eternity of God. But I know Some, who think there is a necessary connection between these two truths.
11. “Like sheep" (says the Psalmist) “they (the wicked) are laid in the grave, death shall feed upon them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning, and their beauty shall consume in the grave, from their dwelling. But God will redeem
soul from the power of the grave, for he shall receive me.” || The literal meaning of which is, as appears by the context, that “the wicked should be untimely cut off and destroyed,—in the morning, that is, by the judgment of the Law, which was administered in the morning hours ; ( but that his life, and the life of the upright, should be preserved and prolonged.” Here, once for all, let me desire the
7 « Videtur significare David arcam, quam singulis temporibus matutinis Deum adoraturus adibat."-CLERIC. in locum. « Pro more Hebr. Poeseos, ipsum in Sanctuario quotidie in præsentia Dei ad arcam, quod divinæ præsentiæ symbolum erat, sese velle sistere, quod illi ante omnia in votis fait, summoque gaudio perfudit."--HARE in loc. 1 Psalm xxiii. 6. $ Psalm xxxvi. 9. xlix. 14, 15.
See Jer. xxi. 12. “O house of David, thus saith the Lord, Execute judgment in THE MORNING, and deliver him that is spoiled, out of the hand of the oppressor, lest my fary go out like fire, because of the evil of your doings.”
• Annot. on Psalm xvii.
Objectors to consider, What it is that is ever opposed in the many passages of this sort) to Life, Redemption, &c. It is not Misery, Torments, &c. as it must have been, did life literally signify eternal life in a future state ; but it is DEATA, which shews it was a life here on earth,
12. Thou shalt guide me (says he again) with thy counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory.* Or, as an excellent Critic has it, Consilio tuo deduxisti me, et postea cum gloria excepisti me. “ Thou wast, or shalt be, always present with me in difficulties and distresses; and shalt lead and conduct me to better fortunes." This literal sense the context requires.
13. “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting, upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto childrens children ; to such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.”+ This is so far from intimating a future state, that it is the very temporal promise annexed to the second Law of the Decalogue-Shewing mercy unto thousands of their that love me, and keep my commandments. I
14.-For THERE the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. S—Where? In the habitation of brethren living together in unity. Nothing else then can be meant, but that death and dangers should not approach a house so strongly united in itself.
15. In the book of Proverbs it is said " The wicked is driven away in his wickedness : BUT THE RIGHTEOUS HATH HOPE IN HIS DEATH.”|| That is, “the righteous hath hope that he shall be delivered from the most imminent dangers.” So the Psalmist-upon them that hope in his mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. [-And again, Thou hast delivered my
soul from death; Wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living ? **
See Ps. xxxiü. 19. Ivi. 13.
16. And again— The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from Hell beneath.tt That is, The wise man prolongs his days here on earth, and escapes that untimely death which attends vice and folly. A Doctrine perpetually inculcated throughout this book; as at chap. A. ver. 2, 28. chap. xi. ver. 7. chap. xii. ver. 28. chap. Axi. ver. 16.
And again, “ When a wicked man dieth, his EXPECTATION shall perish; and the hope of unjust men perisheth."11 And again,—“So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it ; then there shall be a reward, and thy EXPECTATION shall not be cut off."'S$ In the first of these two places it appears by the
† Psalm ciii. 17, 18. i Exod. xx. 6. § Psalın
|| Prov. xiv. 32. 1 Psalm xxxiii. 18, 19. •* Psalm lvi. 13. tt Prov. xv. 24. 11 Prov. xi. 7. $$ Prov. xxiv. 14.
• Psalm lxxiii. 24. cxxxiii. 3,
context (that is, by the whole tenor of these moral precepts and aphorisms) that the expectation which should deceive is that of worldly wicked men to establish a house in their posterity: And in the second, the expectation which should not deceive is that of wise and virtuous men in the success of their honest endeavours. But there is one common fallacy which runs through all the reasoning of these Anticritics : it is this, that having taken the point in question (whether a future state be taught in the Old Testament] for granted, they confine all expressions, capable of either sense considered alone, to the sense which supports their own opinion. Whereas, while the matter is in question, fair reasoning requires, that such Texts be considered as indifferent to either sense, till determined by the Context, and according to the Analogy of the Law and the Prophets.
17. We conclude with the PREACHER, who says, that Wisdom yiceth life to them that have it : And so says the Law of Moses likewise (which is here alluded to) and yet it gives nothing but the things of this life.
18. Again : “Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God.”+ What is meant by this, the very following words declare: But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he
prolong his days, which are as a shadow : because he feareth not before God. 1-That is, though the wicked be suffered to go on for some time, yet for all that, Vengeance shall overtake and arrest him in the middle of his course.
19. And again——“Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart chear thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes : but know thou, that for all these things, God will bring thee into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh, for childhood and youth are vanity.”|| That is, “in giving an innocent and lawful indulgence to thy Youth, take heed lest thou transgress the bounds of virtue and piety. For know, that God will certainly punish thy offences, either in thy own Person, or in thy Posterity.”
These are all the passages of moment (till we come to the PROPHETS) which I could find have been objected to the Opinion, That a future state of reward and punishment is not in the Mosaic Dispensation. By which it appears, that the Objectors have been very inattentive to what an Interpreter of the Old Testament should have his thoughts constantly attached, namely to these three things; to the
to the genius of the EASTERN STYLE; and to the Economy under which the early Hebrews lived, that is to say, an
$ See note GG,
Eccles. vii. 12. at the end of this book.
† Eccles. viii. 12.
1 Verse 13. # Eccles. xi. 9, et seq.