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more appear as formerly, to take part with their fellow worshippers in the public institutions of religion. These phrases also must be limited and explained by what, it is evident, was the tenor of the general belief with respect to spirits departed. That the belief of the existence of these in some state, formed an article of the popular creed, the story of the woman of Endor renders evident beyond all contradiction.
If in that state there was a total privation of all thought and feeling, as this objection would insinuate, why should Solomon inculcate so warmly, on parents to apply timely correction to their children, that they might escape the lower Sheol? Why should he tell us that the guests of the harlot are in the deeps of Sheol, if no more were meant than a common grave, when the very same thing could be affirmed of some of the most virtuous youths that ever lived that they were dead and buried? If in that state there was no feeling, why should the rich man be represented by Christ as desirous of sending a message to earth, to his five brothers, to prevent them from coming to that place of torment?
Let one part of the popular belief be taken along with another, and it will amount to this, that spirits departed, being destitute of bodies, are thercby rendered incapable of those acts and exertions which require the instrumentality of
body. The very profession of the people of that
" that there is no work, Eccl.9.10 nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in Sheol,” he does not deny the existence of the spirit there, but only that without the body it can neither plan nor execute. This is evident from the words immediately preceding : “ Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." It was the belief of the antients, that the soul, when die vested of the body, was feeble and weak.
« Art thou also become weak as we?" said the departed spirits of the kings, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, on his entry intoSheol. Is.xiv.20. Such also is the view exhibited in the poets of old, who in general are faithful transmitters of antient opinions. The term might,* here denotes the body. It is plain then, that he points to a period when the spirit would be in its feeble state, and no longer able to wicld the hanı, or exert the activity of the
* Circumstant animæ dextra lævaque frequentes,
pars vertere terga
pars tollere vocem, Exiguam inceptus clamor frustratur hiantes. En. 6
To sum up
body; the union between them being now dissolved, and the body lying motionless in the grave.
what has been said into one view, it is evident that the antient Jewish church believed in the existence of separate spirits, and consequently in a future state, giving to that state the appellation of Sheol. That according to them, there are two classes in that world, the one the assembly of the righteous, who are in light, the other the congregation of the giants, whose abode is in darkness. That it was with them an important part of moral discipline, so to train their children, as that they should not at death go to join the latter. That in the days of David, the church understood that there was a rest awaiting happy souls ; of which
that at Canaan was merely the type : “ for,” says Heb4.8 St. Paul, “ the Spirit would not have spoken of
another day, had Joshua given them that rest." That Sheol never once signifies the grave, but uniformly the invisible world, and that it was always so understood by these antient interpreters, the Greek, the Syriac, and the Latin.-That the situation which they assigned to it, as lying at the bottom of the earth, no way militates against the truth of its existence, which is just an error of the same unavoidable nature as that which arrays the spirit in the drapery of body.---That many such errers must necessarily exist until the glass of mat
matter be removed, and we be placed in the uni tried world of spirits. That this world is not only
a state of probation, but also a state of representation, in which views of invisible things are presented to us, drawn upon the ground of matter.
When Christ said, “ search the scriptures, for ye think ye have in them eternal life (Hai-Olam) the life of the hidden period,” he spoke to an old opinion, founded on the sense in which they understood many passages of the Old Testament. This is confirmed by their antient Targums, or explications, still extant. In: 5:39.
By the admonition search, it is evident that there are in scripture, many mysteries, which an indifferent and superficial reader will miss; and that there, as in a field, there lies hid many a pearl of the heavenly kingdom, and that in order to come at these, some labour must be undergone in digging.
CHAPTER CHAPTER XVII.
A View of the Progress of this Opinion, and
the distinctive Terms that were given to the Mansions of the Righteous and the Wicked, during the Ages that intervened between Malachi, the last of the Prophets, and the coming of
Messiah. AFTER the return of the Jews from the captivity at Babylon, they began to experience somewhat of change, as to national character, and to mingle more freely among the tribes of earth. Their having been so long in Chaldea, had wore off much of that spirit which kept them at a distance from the rest of the world. While they communicated many of their forms of expression in divine things to the surrounding nations, they in their turn borrowed from them terms to express more distinctively their ideas of invisible things and places, which till then were known only in the Hebrew. The light of prophecy had considerably dispelled that gloom which for several ages had rested on the invisible state. Many of these forms of expression which human ignorance was permitted to employ, to set forth its terrific feelings, were disused. The land of darkness and shadow of death were less heard of