« 前へ次へ »
word of God, than that the expectations of the wicked shall perish. The hopes of wicked men are principally placed on the present life. They hope for great happiness, for plenty, for long life ; but their wickedness frequently cuts short their existence, and all their expectations flee away at once. The passage has no reference to the future state. Warburton says, on this text; “It appears by the context, (that is, by the whole tenor of these moral precepts and aphorisms,) that the expectation which should deceive is that of worldly, wicked men to establish themselves in their prosperity.” Divine Legation, Book vi. Sec. 3.
XXIV. “ The wicked is driven away in his wickedness; but the righteous hath hope in his death” Prov. xiv. 32.
This passage is almost precisely of the same import with the one we last considered. The wicked is driven away in his wickedness, that is, he finds no stability in iniquity ; he is like the chaff, which the wind driveth away. But does the passage assert, that the wicked are driven into endless punishment ? No ; it asserts nothing of the kind: In order to express the common doctrine which is inferred from this passage, it should read, “the wicked is driven into endless punishment in the future world ;” þut as nothing of that kind is said, so we presume nothing like it is meant. Warburton says, concerning the above passage ; “ The righteous hath hope that he shall be delivered from the most imminent dangers. So the Psalmist ; upon them that hope in his mercy, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.' And again ; thou hast delivered my soul from death ; wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living." Divine Legation, Book vi. Sec. 3.
xxy. “For there shall be no reward to the evil man ; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.” Prov. xxiv. 20.
As strange as it may seem, yet Strong and Hawes. both adduce this passage in proof of endless punishment. Is there the least reference here to the immortal exis
tence ? Not at all. Do not the wicked frequently find punishment in this world ? Is not their candle frequently put out here? Are they not in darkness here?
XXVI. “He that, being often reproved, bardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” Prov. xxix. 1.
Almost all the defenders of endless misery quote this text. But there are several particulars which ought to be clearly expressed in this text, in order to give it power to support a hereafter, endless punishment,
which are not thus expressed. 1. That the destruction here meant is in a future state. of this, the text says nothing. 2. That one destroyed, in a scripture sense, cannot find help, or deliverance. This is not stated in the text. If it be said, the text says,
without remedy, it
may be replied, that this may mean no more, than that the destruction in the case pointed out cannot be prevented; or it may mean,
that in the sense in which the destruction takes place, restoration is not to be expected. The house of Israel may be considered as an example of our subject. God was pleased to reprove them often by his prophets, but no people were ever more hardened, or more miserably destroyed.. The prophet Hosea says, xiii. 9, “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself"; but in me is thine help.” Thus we see sinners may be destroyed, and yet afterwards find help in the Lord.
XXVII. “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.' Eccl. xii. 14.
And here we inquire, as we have done in many other cases, is the least reference made to the future state of existence ? Is it said, “God shall bring every work into judgment " in the future, immortal existence ? No such statement is made. The Saviour said, when on earth, “ Now is the judgment of this world,” John xii.
“ for judgment I am come into this world,” ix. 39 ; “ verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth,” Psalms lviï. 11. In the light which these passages,
similar ones that we might quote, shed upon this passage, how can it be maintained, that Solomon was speaking of a judgment in the future state ? See Prov. xi. 31.
XXVIII. “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire ? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings ? " Isaiah xxxiii. 14. What fire was here referred to ?
The preceding words are,
The sinners in Zion are afraid ; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites.” What is more likely, then, than that the fire in Zion is referred to ? " The Lord's fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem.” Isaiah xxxi. 9. See also Ezek. xxii. 17 – 22. It is true, the term “everlasting burnings” occurs; but the term everlasting proves not that these burnings are in the future state, for it was the custom of the Hebrew writers to apply the term here rendered everlasting to things of a temporal nature, as the possession of Canaan by the Jews (Gen. xvii. 8, xlviii. 4); the hills (Gen. xlix. 26); the Levitical priesthood (Exodus xl. 15, Numbers xxv. 13); the statutes of Moses (Lev. xvi. 34); the mountains (Hab. iii. 6). Lord's fire is in Zion." " Who among us,” says the prophet, “shall dwell with devouring fire ?" He goes on to answer the question, and show who shall dwell with the devouring fire. “He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly ; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions,”. &c. Such were to dwell with the devouring fire;” that is, not in an endless hell in the future state ; but they were to dwell in the midst of the fiery affictions that God sent upon his rebellious people, and were not to be injured by them. This is implied in the question, “who shall dwell with the devouring fire ? ” that is, live in the midst of it, and not be destroyed by it. So saith the very learned Dr. Lightfoot. “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who shall dwell with everlasting burnings ?”. Yes, in the next verse, he that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly, and despiseth the gain of oppressions ; that shaketh his hands from
holding of bribes,” &c., such a one shall dwell with the devouring fire, and it shall not touch him ; as the fiery furnace did not touch a hair of the three children. But look at the beginning of verse 14.
66 The sinners in Zion are afraid ; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites; who shall dwell with the devouring fire ? &c. Not they ; but they shall be destroyed and devoured by that consuming fire ; as those that cast the three children into the furnace were consumed by the fire, though they came not into it.” (Works, V. 324, 325.) So we see it was evidently the opinion of Lightfoot, that the devouring fire was the indignation with which God visited his rebellious people in Zion, which should devour the hypocrites and sinners, but in which the righteous should dwell without being harmed.
XXIX. “ And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Dan. xii. 2.
As it is contended by some, that a general and literal resurrection of all the dead is taught in this passage, it may be useful to examine its phraseology a little. We find, then, to "repent in dust and ashes,” to be 6 bowed down to the dust,” to “lick the dust,” with similar phraseology, are modes of speaking which express a humble, subjected, and even degraded condi
see "Job xlii. 6; Isaiah xlvü. 1 ; Nahum iïi. 18; Psalm xliv. 25, and cix. 25 ; Isaiah xxv. 12, and xxvi. 5. As a contrast to these expressions, to " arise from the dust,” to “awake from the dust,” and to “shake a person's self from the dust,” are expressions used to signify being raised from a humble, subjected, degraded condition, to honor and happiness. See Isa. lii. 2, xxvi. 19, 1 Sam. ii. 8, Psalms cxiji. 7, 1 Kings xvi. 2.
But the phraseology in this passage is, to "sleep in the dust of the earth." The term sleep is often used to express natural death, John xi. 11-14, with many other passages.
It is also used for natural sloth or indolence, Prov. vi. 9-11 and xxiv. 33, 34. It is also
used to express a state of national and spiritual sloth, stupidity, and death. See Isaiah xxix. 10; Rev. iii. 1; 1 Tim. v. 8; 1 Cor. xv. 34 ; Isaiah li. 17. These texts show, that persons are said to be asleep and dead, when no one thinks natural sleep or death is meant. To awake from this state, is to be brought into its opposite state, a life of natural, moral, or spiritual activity. See Eph. v. 14, 1 Cor. xv. 34, and Rev. xx. 5, 12, 13. It is evident from all the above texts, that such language is not only used in reference to individuals, but also nations. For example, Babylon, Isaiah xlvii. 1, Nah. ii. 18, Isaiah xxv. 12, and xxvi. 5. Also of Jerusalem or of the Jewish nation, Isaiah lii. 2: By comparing 1 Kings xvi. 1 and xiv. 7, the dust seems to mean the common people, or those in a low condition ; and to be exalted out of the dust, is to be raised to office or preeininence among them.
But look at Dan. xii. 1, 2, 3, in connexion. " And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince, which standeth for the children of thy people ; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time ; [see Matt. xxiv. 21 ;] AT THAT TIME thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book, And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Compare verse 7, 10, 11 with Matt. xxiv. 15, and no one, we think, can fail to see, that Jesus applied the language in Dan. xii. 2, to the destruction of the Jewish nation by Titus. Our Saviour thus fixes the referer.ce of Daniel's language ; and we should be careful not to contradict his testimony.
Adam Clarke was clearly of opinion, that this passage referred to the things of this world, although he gives it a spiritual reference to the general resurrection. But he interprets the context generally as having reference to things of time. It will be recollected, that Dr. Jahn says of this text, that it is uncertain whether it relates to the future state at all, although it possibly may.