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CORRUPTION. Thou wilt shew me THE PATH OF LIFE : in thy presence is fulness of joy; and, at thy right hand, there are pleasures for evermore'.
Deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword; from men which are thy hand, O Lord; from men of the world, which HAVE THEIR PORTION IN THIS LIFE, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid trensure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes. As FOR MĖ, I WILL BEHOLD THY FACE ÎN RIGHTEOUSNESS: WHEN I Á WAKE, I SHALL BE SATISFIED WITH THÝ LİKENESS ?.
Yea, ThơUGH Í WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, I will fear no evil: FOR THOU ART WITH ME; THÝ ROD AND THY STAFF THE COMFORT ME.
Thou wilt guide me with thy counsel, AND AFTERWARD RECEIVE ME TO GLÖR Y .
As for 'man, his days are as grass: tds a flower of the field, sò he fourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone : and the place thereof shall over it, and it is out THE MERCY OF THE LORD IS FROM EVERLASTING TO EVERLASTING UPON THEM THAT FEAR HIM.
Can we believe With Bishop Warburton, thất the writer whò composed these passages was wholly ignorant of a future štáte, and that he had ho hope or expectation Beyond the present life?
1 Psalm xvi. 8-11,
3 Ibid. xvii. 13-15.
In one of them, he speaks of the soul being left in Sheol or Hades, while the body suffers corruption : and then foretells respecting the great promised Deliverer, that he should be exempted, both soul and body, from this ordinary condition of mortality'. In another, he contrasts the lot of the wicked with the lot of the righteous : the former have their portion in this life; the latter, when they awake from the sleep of death, have their portion in a future life, where they behold the face of God and are satisfied with his likeness. In another, he professes to fear no evil though in the very article of death; and the reason, which he assigns, is wholly inconsistent with the idea of the soul's annihilation : thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. In another, he speaks contradistinctively of God's first guiding him with his counsel here and then receiving him to glory hereafter. And, in another, he moralizes upon the proverbial shortness of human dife: but, at the same time, what is quite unintelligible and impertinent except we suppose him to have held the doctrine of a future state, he comforts himself with the reflection, that the mercy of the Lord is FROM EVERLASTING TO EVERLASTING upon them that fear him.
Three of these passages are noticed by the bishop: and, as they stand in direct opposition to his system, he of course endeavours to ex
"See the inspired comment in Acts ii. 22—31,
plain away their natural and obvious meaning'. But, to pass over the mischievous and dangerous
Respecting Psalm xvi. 8-11, viewed as primarily spoken by the author in his own person, Bishop Warburton asserts, that the expression Thou wilt not leave my soul in Hell or in Hades is merely equivalent to Thou wilt not suffer me to fall immaturely, as was the lot of the transgressors of the Law. Div. Leg. book vi. sect. 3. § II. 7. p. 405. Never surely was there a more complete specimen of the quidlibet ex quolibet : the not LEAVING the soul in the invisible state, whither it is conveyed AFTER death, is summarily decided to mean the not suffering a person to DIE IMMATURELY; an extension of life, which must of course be before death.
So again : respecting Psalm xvii. 13-15, the bishop will allow of no antithesis between the wicked having their portion in this life, and the pious awaking to behold the face of God in righteousness. Of the former phrase, the import is, The wicked are perfectly prosperous: by the latter we are to understand the awaking of David to pay his morning adorations before the ark, or the awaking of God's glory, or what we please, provided only we do not refer it to the king's awaking from the sleep of death. Ibid. Ş II. 8. p. 407-409.
'In a similar manner, respecting Psalm lxxiii. 24, we are not to fancy, that there is any intended opposition between the Lord's guiding the Psalmist with his counsel, and then AFTERWARDS receiving him to glory. We have only, with an excellent critic, to translate the Hebrew Futures as if they were Preterites, though neither of the verbs has the convasive Vau prefixed : and the business is done. Thou hast LEÔ me with thy counsel, and afterwards HAST RECEIVED me with glory. That is to say, as the Bishop remarks, though apparently not quite satisfied with the proposed new translation : Thou WAST, or SHALT BE, always present with me in difficulties and distresses: and SHALT LEAD and CONDUCT me to better fortunes. Ibid. § II. 12. p. 410, 411,
tendency of trying such causidical experiments upon
the sacred text, let us pause a moment, while we consider how the argument stands.
By his lordship's own confesssion the doctrine of a future state was known to Abraham and his whole family: whence it will follow, that, since the inspired writer to the Hebrews declares it to have been equally known to Jacob; we may be sure, that it must have been equally familiar to, the numerous family of that patriarch also, which, at the time of his descent into Egypt, consisted of seventy persons exclusive of women and domestic servants. The doctrine being thus known to such a host of witnesses; and their descendants sojourning among a people, who were themselves even proverbial for their belief in this very doctrine, and who (according both to Herodotus and to the bishop's own theory) must have had it from the very first : we are altogether precluded from admitting the palpably gross absurdity, that a venerable and deeply interesting tenet, already known to so many, should yet have been entirely forgotten and entirely obliterated from the minds of the Israelites in the course of those very few generations which intervened between the family of Jacob and the contemporaries of Moses. Hence, unless we be content to receive a pretended fact which beggars all credibility and which itself would never have been asserted save for its manifest necessity to a system, we must allow, that the knowledge of a
future state prevailed among the Israelites at the time of their exodus from Egypt. But this circumstance multiplies the witnesses to an almost incalculable degree: and thence of necessity renders it scarcely more possible, that the doctrine should ever be lost in the Levitical than in the Christian Church. Respecting the sentiments of the Hebrews from the day of the exodus down to the reign of David, a period comprehending the space of about some 440 years, we have scarcely any notice: but the reason is obvious; no writings are extant relative to that period save historical compositions, the very nature of which forbids us to expect much information on the subject. Yet, if the doctrine were known to the Israelites at the time of the exodus, is it. rational to suppose or to assert, that their descendants had quite lost all recollection of it in the course of little more than four centuries ?
Thus stands the case, when we turn to the Psalms of David. Now in those Psalms we find various passages, which, according to their most natural and obvious construction, would lead us to conclude, that the doctrine of a future state was perfectly familiar to their author. But we have already seen, by tracing the evidence from link to link ; that, if this doctrine was known to Abraham and his whole family (which the bishop fully admits), it is only not physically impossible that it should be unknown to the contemporaries of David. Are we then to understand the pas