« ForrigeFortsæt »
nunciation that there is an after-state, and such as fully to compensate for any seeming irregularities in this world. This view is thrown in by Solomon, as the most effectual antidote to impatience and envy: that things would then assume a very different aspect, and that expectations which had been cherished through life, and founded on the moral character, would experience no disappointment. “ Let not thine heart envy sinners, but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day, for surely there is an after-state, and thine expectation shall not be cut off.” Prov. xxjii. 18.
2dly. It is set forth by the Psalmist as a full solution of that problem, why sometimes the wicked flourish and the righteous are held in affliction. He confesses that when he set himself to understand the reason of this, he found it difficult. The only mode of satisfaction was to apply to the living oracle, and obtain information how they were situate after death.
“ When I thought to know this, it was a task to me until I went often to the sanctuary of God; then understood I their after-state ;*" i. e. that the future world was the place, and not this, for making the discrimination between the righteous and the wicked
* Psal. lxxiii. 17. The verb to go, is here in the future tense, which sometimes possesses the force of the frequentative. So in Psal. xxii. 3, s.
There would have been no ground for these doubts, had the term after-state denoted a few of the last years of the decline of life. Surely if there was to be then a discrimination, it would be visible in all; but experience abundantly shews, that between the righteous and the wicked, there is in general no visible difference at the conclusion of life, and that in death there is a like end to both.
The parable of the beggar and the rich man is to the living, an introduction into the sanctuary or invisible world. The friends of the latter could see no further than the grave, but he who holds the keys of Hades admits us to a view of the destination of the departed spirit. The child of calamity is received into the region of peace, while the sensualist, who had wallowed in the midst of abundance, now experiences a terrible reverse.
Of the same purport with the forgoing, there is a remarkable passage in the book of Ecclesiastes, iii. 10. Solomon is endeavouring to shew that every thing has its season, and that till then its beauty will be hidden : that as man cannot find out, i. e. discern the beauty of the work that God maketh from first to last, God therefore suggests to him that a period of future adjustment is approaching, when things will appear in that beauty, which, while time was, could not be discerned, and that the only salvo to the irregularities
which happen here, is a future world. Here follows a literal version of the words. Every thing he hath done is beautiful in its season: he hath also put into their hearts (Olam) the world to come, because that man will not find out the work which God hath done from beginning to end”.* And in verse 14, “I know that whatever God doeth, it shall be for that world,” (Le-Olam) i.e. all with a view to a future adjustment.
3dly. As that state in which they were to witness their temporary evils, issuing in eternal good things. Speaking concerning what Jehovah had done for the Israelites in the wilderness, Moses says,
66 Who fed thee in the wilderness with Deut.8.16 manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might prove thee to do thee good in thyafter-state.” To prevent thinking that this after-state might be the land of Canaan, we are to consider that the bodies of many who were so fed and tried, had fallen in the wilderness, and therefore were never to come into the land of Canaan. Their after-state then must be a period coming after death. Let it further be considered, that the good which the Deity promises, in consequence of a probation undergone, must be something, al
* This is precisely as it stands in the original; Mib-beli asher lo jimetza ha-adem eth ham-maase asher asah Ha-elohim, eo quod non inventurus sit homo opus quod fecerit Deus ab initio ad finem usque. E e
though set forth under the veil of, yet extending beyond mere earthly blessings. For the good and the evil which Moses set before the sons of Israel, were such as met the moral conduct. The antient paraphrasts saw this, and therefore express life there, by the life of the future age, and death by being thrown into Gehenna.
4thly. As that state in which they were to experience the happy effects of listening to the counsels, and receiving the instructions of the Spirit. “ Hear counsel and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy after-state.” Proverbs, xix. 20. This advice would, as coming from the mouth of the Most High, greatly sink in its importance, were the latter end to be understood as denoting merely the terminating period of life ; for what great profit would accrue to hear counsel and receive instruction, were the effects to be felt only some small space
before death? Surely the wisdom, the acquisition of which is here recommended, must be abiding in its effects; or if it is confined to the present transitory period, of what avail can it be to the soul? It could not be the wisdom which is from above, but that which is from beneath. That this may more plainly appear, let us contrast it with its opposite, where a man in his after-state is said to be a fool, and where by the expression it is limited in such a way, that it must unavoidably be under
“ He who ga- 17.12.
stood as taking place after death.
The after-state of the wicked, says the Psalmist, 37.38
« The Lord of that ser
Mat, 2 2.51 vant shall come--and shall cut him asunder;" i. e. Lk.22.46
* Quorum animæ, cum a corpore separatæ fuerint exciduntur, me-hai Gan Eden. Nihil aliud est pæna illa
afficietur anima quam absentia & carentia divinæ gloriæ. Pocokii Misce..