Billeder på siden


of this sentence, “I am the Lord's.” This agrees with what Rabbi Simeon says, “ the perfectly just are sealed, and in the moment of death are conveyed to paradise.” This sealing, St. Paul applies, as far as wishes can go, to Onesiphorus,

May the Lord grant to Onesiphorus, that he ? Timlo. may obtain mercy of the Lord in that day.”— As many,” says the same apostle, “as walk according to this rule, peace be on them as ( Kai) upon the Israel of God.” Gal. vi. 16.

Such being marked in death with the expression belonging to the Lord, explains this sentence, $ The foundation of the Lord standeth sure, hav- 2 Tim 2.19 ing this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his._" Hurt not the earth nor the trees," says the angel, in the book of Revelation, “ until we 7.3 have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads." This seal, we are told, is their Father's name ; that is, Le-hovah, the Lord's, alluding to the Old Testament form. This


he himself writes, and by doing so, acts the part
of the Kedosh-Israel, opening where none can
shut.” This sealing then, is taking them off by
death, and placing them in his Father's house ;
for after they are so sealed, we find them before
the throne,“ hungering and thirsting no more,
and the Lamb in the midst of them, and leading
them forth into pastures."
This antient rite St. Paul improves upon. Men

Y y ?


can, in sealing, go no farther than wishes, but Eph.4-30 the spirit of God can do more ; “ye are sealed by

the spirit, until the day of redemption;" that is, what others of old may have done symbolically, he will do in reality-he will write upon you Lehovah. This is a seal which no power can erase ; it will last until the day of redemption. So

in another place he says, “ ye are sealed with the Eph. 1.13

holy spirit of promise.” Now the seal Le-hovah, the Lord's, not only says they are his, but it is also their memorial (Le-Olam) through the hidden period, that he will appear and receive them unto himself, and in this waythe seal itself has in it the nature of a promise.

I hope this digression will not be unacceptable, for it was entered upon in order to shew that this rite passed out from the Hebrews to the surrounding nations. When they threw the dust upon any one, they said quiescas, “ may thy resting be in peace.” When they were upon the funeral pile, they called out to them for the last time (novissima verba) vale. So in Euripides it is said to Alcestes, who was then lying a corpse,

May it be well with thee under the earth.” So says Tacitus to the deceased Agricola, placide quiescas. Even at this day such a scaling, as far as a wish can go, is perpetually in the mouth of Persian and Arabian authors. To the situation both of the spirit and the body,



[ocr errors]

Penelope refers, when she inquires concerning her husband Ulysses. “ If he yet lives and beholds the light of the sun; or if he is now dead, and in the abodes of Hades.” So in the New Testament the rich man first dies and then lifts


his eyes in Hades. In Euripides we have poetically described how the dissolution of the union between soul and body is the cause of the former leaving earth, and retiring to the invisible state. He introduces Apollo, saying, “I behold Thanatos (death) the priest of the dead at hand, who in a little will conduct her (Alcestes) down to the abodes of Hades.” How nearly does this approach to the description of St. John, in the Rev.6.8 " And I looked, and beheld a pale horse, and his name that sat on him was death, and Hades followed with him?"

To these subterranean abodes they transferred the gloom of the sepulchre, and they believed that the light of the sun never penetrated thither. “O daughter of Peleus, who inhabitest a mansion never visited by the rays of the sun.” Should any person say that this referred to the repository of the body, this is refuted by the circumstance of her lying at this moment a corpse in the house.

The heathen also entertained the opinion that in Hades there were two regions, and that to these, two paths took off in different directions.

“ These

This ap

“ These two ways,” said Plato, “ go, the one to the islands of the blest, and the other to Tartarus.” To the same purport is this passage of Sophocles: “O thrice happpy are they who having passed the boundaries of this mortal life, go to Hades, for to some it is given to enjoy life there, but upon others in the same region all manner of calamities is poured forth.” proaches pretty close to the language of inspiration. “ That to some will be given glory, honour, and immortality, while


others will be poured out indignation and anguish, tribulation and wrath.”

“ This is the place,” says the priestess in Virgil, to Eneas, “ where the way divides itself into two branches; that on the right which leads to the walls of Pluto: by this we go to Elysium. But the way, on the left hand, displays the punishments of the wicked, and conducts to Tartarus, the abode of the reprobate.”

The elysium of the heathen, with its delightful fields and groves, and placed in an inaccessible situation, is evidently in imitation of the paradise of the antient Hebrews. The description of it by the poet Horace, approaches, in so many particulars, to the language of inspiration, that I am tempted to believe he had seen the version of the Septuagint. A few passages from both are placed in opposite columns, in order that the reader may be enabled to mark the coincidence.




Sacred Writ. - Let us seek the happy A land flowing with land where the honey milk and honey. Exod. drops from the hollow ii. 8. oak.

Neither does the No lion shall be there, evening bear

growl nor any ravenous beast around the sheep fold. shall go up thereon, but

the redeemed shall walk

there. Is. xxxy. 9. To this land no plun- Nogalley shall go with dering ship approaches; oars, neither shall galno trader from the coast lant ship pass thereby. of Tyre.

Ch. 38. 21 There no infection The inhabitants shall hurts the flock; 'no not say I am sick, v. scorching heat of any 24. The sun shall not star.

smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. Ps.

cxxi. 6. Jupiter hath set apart Open ye the gates, these shores for the, that the righteous narighteous nation. Epod. tion

which keepeth 16.

truth may enter in. Is.

xxvi. 2. What is remarkable, Horace, in his own way, tells us, that the setting apart this place of separation for happy souls, was when the first man lost his innocence and primitive mansion. Then it


« ForrigeFortsæt »