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a saying of which the force can hardly be burton in the Divine Legation may have escaped by the plea that He was inter- been made instruinental to consequences preting ancient lore in conformity with for which its author is not really responsithe current opinion of the people. ble. What he argued was, that Moses
In the Authorized, and also in the Re- never would have promulgated his sysvised, Version of Gen. v. 24, we read the tem, devoid as it was of sanctions from words,
the doctrine of a future state, unless he And Enoch walked with God : and he was
had been divinely commissioned and innot ; for God took him.
spired. But around this fair and proba
ble argument there has gathered a varied The rendering of the Septuagint is that
group errors, with this main one at the he pleased God, and that he was not head, that the religion taught by Moses found, for God transposed or transplanted was the entire religion of the patriarchs him. The natural sense of the words taken and of the ancient Hebrew nation ; or from the Hebrew is the necessary sense of that at the least it was, as a religion, an the Greek : and it appears that it is adopt- advance upon the patriarchal religion, a ed by the various Targums.* Is it possi- kind of halfway house between it and ble rationally to put any interpretation on Christianity, so that to look beyond it for this verse, except one which conveys the idea just as the Septuagint has put it, and any truths of Hebrew belief
, which it does
not contain, is to recede from the light shows that life in the unseen world was a
into the darkness. conception accepted both by the author of
There are, indeed, delivered by Moses the verse, and by those for whom it was
certain broad enunciations of principle, written? Such is the sense given to it in which appertain to the habitual religion Ecclesiasticus xliv, 16 and in Heb. xi. 5.
of the individual and may truly be called Such is the sense given by Bishop Browne spiritual commandments. In part, the inin the Speaker's Bible, by Fuller in the junctions of the Decalogue have this charStudent's Bible, by Bishop Patrick adopt- acter ; but they do not seem to mark the ed into Mant's Bible, by Grotius, Fagius, point of loftiest clevation reached by the and others in the Critici Sacri. But I declarations of Moses. The principle of
f will not pursue further this enumeration love is not expressly contained (unless as in a case which does not seem to leave
to parents only) in the ten precepts ; al. room for doubt. I will only add that the
though room, so to speak, is made for it legend of Ganymede, according to the beautiful form which it bears in the by the re-injunction of the sabbatical rest
to occupy, by the exclusion of false gods, Iliad, I with just so much of descent from
—for it may, after the Assyrian discorthe loftiness of the old Hebrew tradition
eries, * with increased confidence be deas we might have expected, seems to owe
scribed as a revival -and by the negatives its origin to the translation of Enoch.
so rigorously put upon crime and appetite. There seems to subsist a vague, but
may it not be said that those negative widespread, impression that the Hebrews forms, and that revival of the sabbath, of of ancient times were not made aware of
themselves point to something bigher ? tha existence after death. In the direc
The acme of the declarations of Moses aption of this untrue notion, two concessions
pears to be reached first in Leviticus (xix. I believe, and two only, can be made.
18), where it is proclaimed that a man is The first is, that the future state is no
to love his neighbor as he loves himself ; where proclaimed by Moses. The sec
and furtber, in Deuteronomy (vi. 5), that ond, that a national and public dispensa
he is to love the Lord his God with all his tion of rewards and punishments, purely heart, and with all his soul, and with all temporal, may have had a certain tendency his strength. These injunctions fill the to throw into the shade in the individual mind the doctrine of our surviving cor
space left open by the Decalogue. Is poral dissolution. And, for dis of this day, novelties, first taught from or after Sinai ?
there any reason for regarding them as
, it is possible that the argument of War- It is easy indeed to comprehend the ap
propriate wisdom of their solemn repubBishop Browne, in the Speaker's Com- lication after the children of Israel had so mentary, in loc.
+ In loco by each of these respect ly. | Iliad, xx, 232-5.
* Smith, Assyrian Discoveries, p. 12.
long dwelt in the midst of a corrupt idola- in the prominence which their systems try, and so far as we know without the assigned to the positive doctrine on the advantage either of a fixed code or of posi- subject. It might perhaps be sufficient tive institutions,* to cherish and keep to cite the care taken and cost incurred alive the truths which their fathers had by them in the sepulture of the dead, as possessed. True, these great principles proofs that when burial was accomplished of religion are nowhere taught in the Book they did not think all was over. But more of Genesis as precepts ; but neither is be- pointed proofs are not deficient. Let us lief in God, or any other part of the re- take, for instance, the case of the prophet ligion of the patriarchs, set out in a creed Elijah. In his lifetime, he must have or a code. We only see it live and work : been a character as conspicuous as the sovand are not these great principles of love ereigns of the country ; while, after his to God and man the very same principles, death, it appears that a living tradition of which made Enoch too good to remain his greatness made him the special type of under the conditions of an earthly life, the prophetic office, both in the mouth of and which fashioned the faultless char- Malachi, and when four more centuries acter of Joseph ?
had elapsed at the Transfiguration of our The Mosaic law was neither the full Saviour. * It will not, I suppose, be disenunciation of a personal religion for indi- puted, that the Hebrews received as true viduals, nor an instrument for educating a the history of his being corporally transnation into counsels of perfection. In ported into heaven : an occurrence, which truth, it dealt with the nation rather than we are specially informed that fifty men with its component members, and laid of the sons of the prophets stood to witdown precepts for each of these only in so ness from a distance, while Elijah and far as it was necessary to maintain them Elisha passed over Jordan together.t Is as a community separated from the rest, it possible that a people, who believed to testify against idolatry by the worship this prophet had thus been carried up of one God, to exhibit through its ritual from earth, believed also that with that and sacrificial system the character of sin, miraculous transportation his existence to cherish the expectation of a coming de- came to an end ? liverance, and in the meantime, and until Still more remarkable, upon the point the fulness of time should come, to gird now before us, is the proof of the populat about an encircled space, “a vineyard in belief afforded by the practice of necroa very fruitful bill;"' within which a
mancy among the people. The whole spiritual worship, and the lives befitting basis of such a practice lies in an estabit, might have full and unhindered growth Jished popular conviction that the spirits upon the basis traditionally known to the of the departed not only existed, but exfathers of the race.
isted in a state of susceptible faculty, and But it may withont difficulty be shown might be moved, by influences exercised that, while the Mosaic law was a law of in this world, to make apparition before temporal sanctions only, the people did the eyes of the living. It appears, innot fall so low, in the scale either of nature deed, that this practice was viewed by the or of grace, as to suppose that the life of governing powers with jealousy, for the man is at an end when his remains are laid
woman, who had
the familiar spirit,”' in the ground : that they did not sink so urged, when application was made to her, far beneath the other nations of remote that it was dangerous for ber to comply, antiquity, none of which appear to have because Saul had “ cut off those that have entertained that dishonoring and danger- familiar spirits, and the wizard out of the ous belief, though they varied from others land." ] "Under such circumstances, as
the prohibitions of the Mosaic law were
no dead letter, the profession of the witch * It is at any rate remarkable that the reason given for the release of the children of
could only be kept alive by strong induceIsrael from Egypt is (Exod. vii. 16 ; viii. 20) ments ; and what strong inducement could that they may serve God in the wilderness í there be, except a curiosity of the people and again it appears, from Exod. viii. 20-23, for direct information about the dead, that they could not perform the proper sacri. fices to God in Egypt, but must go into the wilderness for the purpose.
* Malachi iv, 2; Mark ix. 4. + Isaiah v.1.
| 2 Kings ii. 7. f 1 Sam. xxviii. 4, 9.
which involved the certainty of their con- popular belief in the existence of the soul tinning existence ?
after death, and seems to indicate its conKing Saul finds himself placed in des- tinuity among the Israelites from the time perate straits by the attack of the Philis- of Moses onward. tine army, at the tiine when David was It is not now the question how far this serving in its ranks. Samuel, the main- belief was developed, or how far it was stay of the State, had recently died, and operative on conduct. We have no proof had been soleoinly mourned for by the from Scripture that it implied the punishpeople. Saul was driven, in order to ob- ment of bad men in the other world, tain the benefit of indispensable counsel, though the cases of Enoch and Elijah may to seek the aid of those whom he had at- fairly stand as indicating the rewards of tempted to extirpate. Failing to obtain those
those who were pre-eminently good. light upon the emergency by any of the Neither again in the Psalms is the penal ordinary means, he requires his servants part of the doctrine of a future life as to find for him a woman with a familiar plainly discernible, as the portion which spirit. le is referred to
ch a person,
As who lives at Endor. He repairs to ber in we see from Homer, the ideas of future disguise, evidently believing that, though retribution and of future existence have she would of course regard the king as her not a necessary, though they have an apenemy, yet, if he could pass for one of propriate, connection. My proposition the people, she would meet his desire, and amounts simply to this : that, as in the evoke the spirit of the dead in the regular time of our Lord, so in the pre-exilic way of business. She recognizes the king, periods, the Hebrew race in general did
. and he has to give her a promise of in- not believe in the extinction of the soul at demnity. Samuel is then brought up; death : and that, as to the completeness and a scene is reported to have taken and moral power of this belief, we do not place, in which his spirit addresses King seem to have evidence requiring or enSaul, and, in the exercise of the gift of titling us to draw any very broad distincprophecy, announces that his kingdom was tion in favor of one period as against to depart from him. Such is the narra- another. Thus much I have admitted : tive, which would appear to imply the that, as the theocratic system of Moses, reality of the apparition. Both the rab- aided by the order of prophets, worked in binical commentators, however, and the
the earlier time in a manner more legible, Christian writers, are divided upon this so to speak, by the people, than after the question down to the present day. * But exile, and as this inay have tended somethis is a matter wholly apart from the pres- what to confine or weaken the habit of ent argument, which simply rests upon the mind which resorts to future sanctions, so fact that there was a general belief in such the post-exilic period, or that large part apparitions, a belief extending even to the of it which was passed in a condition of king upon the throne.
political dependence, may to some extent taken by Saul for the suppression of necro
have been favorable to a more active sense mancy and all witchcraft, may have been of the future life. But nowhere does a adopted in obedience to the stringent and necessity seem to arise for supposing that repeated prohibitions contained in the the Jews received any large infusion of law.t Those prohibitions do not express- positive doctrine on the subject of a future ly name intercourse with the dead, but state from the circumstances of the Babythis, I apprehend, cannot be excluded Jonish captivity, or from Persian influences from the general scope of the profession ; after its close. and, if so, the number and nature of the
III. prohibitions is a fresh testimony to the
If, then, it is adınitted, even by those * See Grotius, Muneterus, and others, in who favor the argument followed in these the Critici Sacri; and, of recent commentators, pages, that the doctrine of a future state Adam Clarke, the Speaker's Bible, the Stu- nowhere entered into the prescriptions of dent's Bible, Mant, and Thomas Scott. Modern English commentators for the most part clared and inculcated in the earliest Scrip
the Mosaic law, and is not directly deaffirm the reality.
| Exodus xxii. 18 ; Levit. xix. 21, XXX, 6; tures, it probably subsisted anong the HeDeut. xviii. 10.
brews rather as a private opinion, than as an obligatory belief. And it obviously the daughter of the priest of On,* and of follows that it did not form a part of those Moses to the daughter of the priest of traths, or of that system, which the Jew- Midian,t the assignment of portions of ish people were appointed to maintain and country in the promised land to Canaanto transmit. It was not divinely intrust- ites, the remarkable history of Balaam, ed to them, as part and parcel of their the beautiful episode of Ruth the Moabspecial work. Was there, then, any other, itess, the explicit language of the Psalms, even if it were an indeterminate, provision and of the prophets, among whom Jonah among the nations for the conservation of had no other mission than to Ninevehthis belief ?
all these circumstances, which might be Undoubtedly, in this wayward world of stated with very wide developinent, onght ours, truth commonly bas error on its bor. to have made the enlarged knowledge of ders, and in the neighborhood of religious Scripture a guarantee against narrow conbeliefs, in themselves just and weighty, ceptions. But the resort to the sacred there may lie all round a set of opinions, volume was of necessity in a great degree more or less openly avowed, which, if as. polemical ; and the polemical frame of sociated with them at all in the order of mind, however effective for its immediate thought, are no better than their spurious purposes, however inevitable in the case offspring. Thus, from the Christian point before us, is too commonly fatal to enof view, it was a great fact of religion largement and impartiality of view. The that, long before the Advent, and indeed notion of a race preferred over other races, from the outset of human bistory, God and employed in a particular case to adhad selected a portion or portions of the minister punishment for depravity, was human race for high and special purposes magnified into an absolutely exclusive to which He perceived their adaptation. love, and a not less sweeping condemnaFrom the call of Abrabam onward, we tion or neglect. perceive that great and wonderful selection It was a breaking of new ground when, of his posterity, which proclaims itself to in 1815, there was published an essay of the world down to this very day. But Bishop Horsley's which treats of Messianic upon such a positive truth men have al- prophecy and of various portions of truth lowed themselves to graft the negative preserved among the heathen. Among assertion, that the rest of mankind were these were included the immortality of the outcasts, without any sign of the Divine soul; and the Bishop, in anticipation of favor, or of possessing a share in the de- researches to come, makes reference to signs of the Almighty for the education of the sacred books of Persia. I mankind.
It has been, indeed, the belief of the It is likely that this misconception may Christian Church and community, that the have been extended and strengthened by history not only of the chosen people but the great movement of the sixteenth cen- of the world throughout a very wide circle tury. That movement threw the mind of was, before the coming of our Lord, a the reformed communities upon Scripture, grand præparatio evangelica. In some as a bulwark of defence against the ruling respects, the forms of this preliminary disauthorities of the Latin Church ; and this cipline were obvious enough. The connot upon the New Testament only, which quests of Alexander secured for that inarrecords the final breaking down of the vellous instrument of thought, the Greek wall of severance, but upon Scripture as a language, such a currency as, when backed whole : so that, especially within the by the influence which in the West had energetic sweep of Scottish Presbyterian- been acquired by its literary monuments, ism, and of Puritanism in England, the dispensed as it were with the day of PenOld Testament was lifted more nearly to tecost in the general action of the Chrisa level with the New. In details the old tian Church, and supplied a channel of Testament itself testifies, by hundreds of communication and a vehicle of worship passages, to the active providential relation with persons and races outside the
* Gen, xiv. 18 ; xlii. 50. † Ex, ii. 21. confines of the Abrahamic race and the siah dispersed among the Ileathen, pp. 16, 115.
I A Dissertation on the Prophecies of the MesMosaic dispensation. The dealing with The essay, which was posthumous, is wider Melchisedec, the inarriage of Joseph to than its title.
available in most parts of the civilized tined even to become, in the course of
Another stage on the way to the com- the spheres of knowledge there opened, prehension of a truth of the widest reach the interpretation of the Egyptian and the and highest value was attained, when the Assyrian monuments bas effected nothing world began to be sensible of its debt to less than a revolution with regard to the ancient Greece. It may well be, to us of archaic religions of the earliest great emthis day, a marvel to conceive how it could pires of the world. It is of the deepest have been that, down to a time when interest to examine whether in any and poetry and the arts had already achieved what particulars, now recognized by Christhe most splendid progress, the Christian tians as undoubted portions of revealed world remained insensible to the superla- truth, those religions were more advanced tive dignity and value of the ancient Greek or more enlarged than the religion of the literature and art. In Italy at least, the favored race. The question is hardly one compositions of the Greeks must all along entangled with controversy. No doubt, have survived in numerous manuscripts. if it be found that these extraneous and But the Greeks had not merely produced independent religions taught in any point a certain number, not after all a very large more fully than the Hebrews what Chrisone, of great works of mind and hand : tians now acknowledge, this will be for they had established habits of mind and Christians a new and striking proof that of performance, alike in art, in letters, and in the infancy of the race of Adam, and in philosophy, such that they furnished before its distribution over the earth, the the norm for civilized man in the ages to Almighty imparted to it precious knowl
Hellenism became a capital fact edge, wbicb it could hardly have discovfor the race. Greece supplied the intel ered, and was but indifferently able to relectual factor under the new dispensation tain. But those, who view religions as of Christianity, as truly as the Hebrew simply the formations gradually effected race supplied us with the spiritual force by our own unaided powers, from fetichism which was to regenerate the heart and upward, will have their solution ready will of man. And this was done for mill- also : the diversities of the opward moveions, who knew little but the name either ment, as between one race and another, of Greeks or Jews. And if this tran- will for them only show variety in tastes scendent function was assigned to the Hel. and in capacity for progress. Let me prolenic race, outside the bounds of any con. ceed to an example. tipuing revelation, the question surely It is a favorite observation with the arises whether other races may, through negative writers on religion, that the nartheir forms of religion or otherwise, have rative of the temptation in the Garden of made their special contributions to the Eden lends no support to the doctrine of fulfilment of the grand design for estab- the existence of Satan or of devils, inaslishing the religion of the Cross, and for much as the seduction of Eve from obedigiving it an ascendency which is already ence is ascribed simply to the serpent. beyond dispute, and which may be des- The personal action of the evil spirit is
mentioned in several places of the Old * Tennyson's Guinevere.
Testament. But there is no identification