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The body, although seemingly evaporate into air, or crumbled down to dust, is not lost; it is under the care of God. “ It has fallen," said one of the Maccabean brethren,“ under God's covenant of everlasting life.” Being a constituent part of man, much depends upon it; for it is only with it, that we can partake of the triumphs and glories of the judgment day. This tabernacle then is under a promise of being reared again. It is given as a saying of St. Peter;
“ if God be just, the soul is immortal.” So, in like manner, it may be affirmed concerning the body, that if there is a land promised, it must rise again.
The very care which the fathers of old took with respect to the place of their interment, is an evidence that something lay in their expectation, Why should Joseph despise a sepulchral vault in Egypt, and take an oath of the children of Israel that they would carry his body with them, and inter it in Canaan? Because he expected it again, and desired that this should be in
with his fathers, whose bodies were deposited in the same spot of earth. These all died (kata pistin) according to the trust they had expressed while in life. This trust was an expectation of things hoped for, and it was a proof (elenchos) that what they were looking for, was not yet come within the view. With their expiring breath they expressed the belief that something farther remained
to be done. Their declaration of this is engrossed in the sacred records, as the shining part of their character. Of these worthies it is recorded, that the most remarkable actions of their lives had a reference to this trust. The heavenly country was a rallying point, never from the view; a center toward which they were ever gravitating.
Adam upon receiving intimation that he was dust, and to the dust must in the end return, would soon become sensible that the principle of death was begun. He would be led to mark in himself, as years flowed away—a change. He would experience that he was now in the same decaying state as the reptile or the vegetable. The analogy betwixt him and the other appearances of nature would soon occupy his observation. He might be drawn to remark, that when the tree was cut down, the inherent vigour of the root sent forth a new body with its branches and fruits; and that when the leaves of autumn strewed the plain, the following spring supplied a new race, but it was only revelation that could make the discovery that when “ man lieth down, he was not to rise till Job:l14.12. the heavens be no more," and that the departing of these heavens was the set time appointed, when he was to be remembered. We may
conceive it to be suitable to the actings of eternal Wisdom, to communicate to Adam some knowledge of that state, with which, by
his immortal nature, he was so nearly connected. That primative worship which consisted, as now, in calling upon the name of Jehovah, would be expressive of their trust, and a pleading for the accomplishment of what, under this name, he was pleased to reveal. They might commit themselves to him in well doing, as to a faithful Creator, and this might draw from him the pleasing assurance that at death they should enter into peace, and come to their fathers.
Every thing expressed with regard to this state, and its enjoyments, must, through necessity, appear under the veil of figure, or of allegory, i. e. delineations or models, not setting forth these invisible things in their truth and reality, but taken from the materials, or sketched out in colours of earth. In this view both Jew and Christian unite. It is the language of Augustine, “ that under the Jewish dispensation there were some who expected blessings greater than those of earth, in whose hearts God had, by many discoveries, planted the expectation of a superior happiness, That these earthly promises made to the law of works, were signs of those blessings which follow the law of the spirit: but this was understood only by a few, who, although they lived in the times of the Old Testament, yet attained to that grace which was revealed during the period of the New."-" Either,” says Philo, the Jew, “ thou bast not been trained up in, or not exercised in the sacred writings. They are full of hopes which are truly sublime, and the laws (of Moses) to such, whose knowledge of them is above mediocrity, afford glorious expectations."--" What the prophets said and did,” says Justine, “ was in figures and acts, which, like mirrors, gave a reflexion of invisible things, so as that in general they were not easily understood by all ; concealing the truth in these, so that they who were desirous to discover and to learn, were put to the trouble of exertion.”
In these early ages, while mankind kept together in one community, unanimity of opinion upon the article of the invisible state would prevail. Afterwards, when in consequence of the confusion of tongues at Babel, emigrations were made to distant parts of the earth, these ancient notices would come to be affected by the channels through which they were transmitted. Part would be remembered, and what was forgotten would be supplied by fable.
A brief Investigation of the primary meaning of
the two Hebrew Words Ad and Olam.
THERE is scarce
HERE is scarce to be met with through the whole extent of Scripture, according to the present version, words of more general or more indefinite signification than these two now to come under review. A discussion of these is deemed necessary, in order to settle, as much as may be, the radical meaning, from the influence and aspect that a proper understanding of them will be found to have on different parts of this work.
Their correspoudent terms aion and ævum, in Greek and Latin exhibit the same indistinctness of signification. Aión evidently springs from the Hebrew aon, one of the words in that language expressive of time. From this arises the word ævum, for which the native Latin is seculum, a section or portion of duration; usually signifying an extent of about an hundred years, or that quantity of time which goes to the existence of one generation.
The primary notion of olam is hidden, and both as to past and future, denotes a duration that is unknown. The Latin olim is plainly of Hebrew