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than formerly. The prelusive rays of Messiah's advent. pierced through the gloom, and shewed that, amidst the supposed darkness, there lay the Paradise of God. The appellation of Sheol was succeeded, especially where the Greek language was spoken, by that of Hades; and Abaddon, or the house of destruction, received the appellation of Tartarus, which, by a slight inflexion, seems
derived from the Hebrew Tahtioth, the under re- gion. The phrase Gan-Eden, or Paradise, as
expressive of the state and abode of happy souls, appears often in the Chaldee paraphrasts, and the writings of the Thalmudists. These terms Christ. did not invent, but took from the popular use ; and by the additional information he vouchsafed of these respective states, gave to the truth of their existence new confirmation.. Garden of Eden expresses the undisturbed tranquillity, the peace and the consolation now enjoyed by the spirits
of the pious. This is what is by St. Paul termed (paraclesis aionios) the consolation of the future age. Of this state Philo the Jew gives the following symbolical view: “ In the celestial Paradise it is the lot of all the plants to be endued with life and reason, and for fruit bearing the virtues, and a life exempt from disease and corruption, and every thing of a nature similar to these ; for it is said that in Paradise, the plants no way resemble those which
grow in our world, but are full of immortality.” During the period of the captivity in Babylon,
Jehovah saw meet to add to the comfort of the Jews, by vouchsafing brighter views of the future world, in order that they might take a stronger hold of that people and prevent their being drawn by the fear of torture or of death, tò renounce the religion of their fathers. Daniel arose and set in the view of his captive countrymen, the visions with which he had been favoured ; that should it be their lot to be arrested by the hand of death in a foreign land, yet a native country, infinitely supérior to any on earth, awaited them, “ when the kingdom and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven should come to be possessed by the saints of the most High." Ezekiel followed on the same ground, and comforted them with the promise, that although they might imagine they were shortly to depart out of the world, and not to witness in their own persons the future good things of the children of God, yet they were even to be «
brought out of their graves, and to be led into the land of Israel." 37.12.
After Malachi, the last of the prophets, that light which had shone through a series of years with more or less brightness, now sunk below the horizon, not to emerge again until the period of its shining out with transcendant lustre in the person of Messiah. A dusk now succeeded, which although sombre, never thickened into total darkness. The Hachamim, or wise men arose, and by hu
itian instruction, endeavoured in a way to supply what was given to the prophets immediately from heaven. The books of scripture were by Ezra collected into one volume. These, from that time forth, were to form the text book of their theological pursuits, and they who devoted themselves to the study and exposition of them, were termed lawyers. These men took up the consolations, which had, by the prophets, been administered to their fathers, and declared that they looked for their accomplishment in times yet to come.
The canon of the Old Testament being closed, the Deity intimates that these must now form the future range of their search, as to information concerning the divine will. “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb, for all Israel.” Malachi. iv. 4.
The authority and influence of these wise men, although great, was much inferior to that of the prophets. They were looked up to and revered on account of the sanctity of their lives, and the knowledge of the scriptures which they possessed. These filling up the interval between the last of the prophets and the coming of Messiah, deemed it necessary to fortify the people against temptations to apostacy, by holding out to them from the book of Daniel, and other consolatory passages of sacred writ, the prospect of a better life succeeding to the present. It was during this period that
the station of souls, which in antient times had been termed, sometimes the pavilion, sometimes the sanctuary, sometimes the shadow of the hand of God, began in allusion to the garden where Adam was placed, to take the name of Gan-Eden, or Paradise ; and in order to distinguish this from that state which succeeds to the resurrection, they termed this latter the “ kingdom of heaven.' In reference to both these states is that passage of the son of Sirach, “ The just live through the future age.
With the Lord is their reward, and the care of them is with the Most High.” This is their intermediate condition. The state following the resurrection is thus described : “ For this they shall receive a glorious palace, and a diadem of beauty from the hand of the Lord.”
These doctrines struck their roots so deep into the hearts of the Jewish nation, that no suffering, however severe, could eradicate them. Hence that observation of a celebrated Roman historian, * « that to the Jews, death was an object of contempt, because it was their persuasion that the souls of such of their countrymen as had either fallen in the field, or had suffered under the hands of the executioner, survived and were eternal." What the uninformed Roman terms under the hands of the executioner, was, in the estimation of the
* Animas prælio aut suppliciis peremptorum æternas putant. Hine moriendi contemptus Tacit. Lib. 5.
Jewish nation, a witnessing to, and a suffering in behalf of the laws of Jehovah.
It is probable that the Targums, or paraphrases, composed for the use of the Jews who were born at Babylon, and to whom the Hebrew had now ceased to be the vernacular idiom, contributed to bring into more general use the terms Paradise and Gehenna. Thus in the Targum, on the Song of Solomon it is said, “ Like Paradise into which no man has the privilege of entering but the righteous, whose souls are sent thither by the hands of angels.” They, it would seem, understood these words of Messiah concerning his church. Song, iv. 12.“ A garden shut up
sister;" as expressive of the setting apart to the region of the blessed, out of mortal view, the departed spirits of the just. In harmony with this paraphrase are the words of St. John, “ Blessed are they who do his commandments, that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in through gates into the city.” Rev. xxii. 14.
During these ages it was the popular opinion, , that to the souls of the righteous certain places in Hades were assigned, termed (tameia) chambers,
Did not the righteous,” says the apocryphal Esdras, “ who are in their chambers, ask for these things, how long shall I hope for the fruit of the threshing floor, and our reward ?"2 Esdras, iv. 35. This is just a question of the sainè nature with