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property. He might thus tell him at one time, what sort of establishment it would enable him to maintain at another, whether it would be safe for him, with such a revenue, to live in a certain degree of indulgence, to travel abroad, or to introduce useful institutions among his poorer neighbours at home: at another he might mention, whether a supposed enlargement of his expenditure would render the discovery of some new source of income necessary: and from these scattered hints he might expect that the young man would collect a more just estimate of his probable condition, than could be communicated to him by a mere direct exposition of the amount of his income. And may it not be, though we would not press such a comparison to its details, that many things which are not revealed in Scripture are yet so clearly intimated there, that an attentive and humble student of the word of God may learn from these varied notices what, although by careless readers passed over, is really equivalent to a direct revelation? And this is perfectly analogous to the works of God in creation; which convey every where, to those who will observe them, but to none others, the clearest indications of his power, wisdom, goodness, and moral government: and in both cases it is a course of proceeding calculated to encourage, and perhaps designed to reward, a diligent and continued patience of investigation: for, as Dr. Whately elsewhere justly observes "the general rule of Providence evidently is, that man should be left to supply his own wants, and seek knowledge by the aid of those faculties which have been originally bestowed on him; a direct revelation being extraordinary and miraculous; not the rule, but the exception, and bestowed only where specially needed."
Now to us it appears demonstrable, that there are various intimations in Scripture which, to a
careful and humble-minded reader of the sacred volume, cannot but convey the idea of a continuance of consciousness after death. In the first place, in our Saviour's argument for a resurrection, an intermediate state of consciousness seems to enter into the premises from which the doctrine of a resurrection is deduced. "God," said he, "is not a God of the dead, but of the living; for all live unto him" (Luke xx. 38). What do we understand by this? That Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are dead, and yet living; dead to us, but living unto God; nay, that all others who are removed from this earthly scene live unto him likewise: for, as Dr. Whately remarks in stating this side of the hypothesis, "If they were spoken of as still living in another state, the like might be inferred of all men." Indeed, the Scriptures elsewhere shew us that other individuals who are departed, besides those three patriarchs, are still living; Enoch, for example, and Elijah. Moses also is living for he appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration, and conversed with Jesus. The saints who rose from the grave at his crucifixion or resurrection are living. Can we believe, with these undeniable facts before us, that they are the only living persons of all the generations that are past? or can we doubt that others also are partakers with them of life and action? The remark of Saint Paul, when he said, "To me, to depart and to be with Christ is far better than to abide in the flesh" (Phil. i. 23, 24), cannot convey, to an unprejudiced inquirer, any other idea than that, in his instance at least (and there is no hint of any peculiar privilege in his case), absence from the body would be instantly succeeded by presence with the Lord: and the promise of our Lord to his fellow-sufferer on the cross, "To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise," (Luke xxiii. 43), confirms the same conclusion. Then, with respect to the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.it clearly
intimates an immediate entrance into a state of reward or punishment, suitable to our previous character. It is true, indeed, that it is a parable; but let the parables of our Saviour be examined, and it will be found, that, even though the incidents should be conceded to be "fictitious" (for that is Dr. Whately's epithet), they are all possible. They are adapted to a state of things actually existing, and do not refer to either places or conditions that are merely imaginary. The scene of the good deed of the Samaritan traveller is delineated with scrupulous exactness: the circumstances connected with the marriage of the nobleman's son,—and the departure of the chief to another country to receive the royal dignity from a foreign court, and return, are all borrowed from known practices. And, if such was our Saviour's habit; if, when he is said to have invented incidents, he uniformly refrained from inventing scenes, manners, and conditions of being likewise; why should we fancy that he departed from that habit in the single instance of the parable to which we are now alluding? All worlds were alike under his eye; and, whether he chose to lay the scene of his parable in this world, or in paradise, or in heaven, or in hell, the state of all these, and of all other parts of creation, were equally familiar to him; and the imagined distance of the scene affords not the slightest cause for supposing that he did not adhere in this, as he did in all other cases, to actual realities. We therefore conclude, that here also, even allowing the incidents to have been imaginary, the scene and its circumstances are all according to truth; so true, that no clearer idea could be conveyed to our limited understandings of the condition of souls after death. We need not add, that, if this be in any degree
correct representation of the case, it establishes the separate state to be one of consciousness and activity.
The considerations by which these reasonings are met are, chiefly, that some parts of them admit of a different explanation-not, that they are in themselves unscriptural or untrue. One positive argument, indeed, is urged against them from the phrase of " sleep," as applied to death in Scripture; whereby a state of insensibility is said to be directly implied: whereas it would be just as possible that the figure was adopted by the sacred writers in reference to another peculiarity of sleep-namely, that it is a temporary condition, which speedily passes away, as that of death will in the morning of the resurrection. But we do not think that the expression bears on the subject either way; the word sleeping being used, like "departing" and "dissolving," to shew the tranquil and blessed dismissal of the believer to the heavenly world.
On the whole, however, the epitome which Dr. Whately has given of the arguments on each side of the question, is, as might be expected from him, ingenious, and we do not say otherwise than candid; but he does not allow force enough to those positive intimations of an intermediate state of consciousness which he cites from Scripture. Indeed, when he sums up his opposite arguments on the intermediate state by the remark that
"The notion of the soul, when separated from the body, entering immediately on a state of enjoyment or suffering, which is to last till the resurrection, has at least as many reasons against it, as for it, in Scripture" (p. 74),
we must reply in his own words, that "this arithmetical mode of ascertaining a writer's sentiments by combining the passages on opposite sides" had never occurred to us. The learned writer does not need our suggestion, that arguments require to be weighed, not numbered; and that, in weighing them, one that rests upon positive evidence is commonly worth many that depend on negative testimony.
We find Dr. Whately on many occasions resorting to the plea, that
certain transactions were peculiar, and thus dismissing the matter, as if these peculiarities were recorded in Holy Writ as peculiarities only, and not intended to impart to us some specific instruction. Are we to conceive, that, because the translation of Enoch and Elisha were events out of the common course of things, therefore we have nothing to learn from such extraordinary dispensations? Yet Dr. Whately argues thus concerning them:
Nothing generally decisive can be concluded from any case which is manifestly an exception to general rules." View, p. 57. "The prophet Elijah (or Elias), we know, did not die at all; but was visibly, in his bodily state, taken from the earth; and in the case of Moses also, a prophet still more highly favoured of God, there appears to have been something peculiar as to his departure; for we are told indeed that he died, and was buried in the land of Moab, but that no man knew of his sepulchre. Whether he also, like Elijab, and like Enoch, was permitted to forestall the general resurrection, we cannot tell; but it seems clear (as I lately observed to you) that the soul separate from the body is not an object of sight; (since, at a man's death, all that was formerly visible of him remains before our eyes in the corpse,) so that nothing can be inferred respecting a separate state of the soul from the visible appearance of Moses and Elias, which the eyes of the Apostles
"The promise of our Lord to the thief on the cross, This day thou shalt be with me in paradise,' has been urged with more reason, in favour of the opinion that man passes at once from death into a state of enjoyment or of suffering. But this also was a very peculiar case, and therefore can hardly be regarded as decisive as
to what shall be the lot of other men. I mean, supposing the promise to be under
stood in the literal sense of the word to. day; which, as I shall shew hereafter, is not absolutely necessary." pp. 57-59.
"Whether the immediate admission into paradise of the penitent thief, supposing this to be understood literally, is to be regarded as one of the miraculous and extraordinary circumstances of that awful period, and consequently different from what takes place in other cases, or whether the same will be the lot of all Christ's faithful servants immediately on their departing this life; we are not, I think, authorized by that portion of the sacred history positively to pronounce,"
Surely these remarkable facts, though singular and peculiar, and CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 352.
though they may not amount to a direct declaration, convey at least strong intimations of the state of the departed.
The argument which is implied in the observation of Dr. Whately, that
"If the paradise,' into which he was promised immediate admittance, be the place in which just men made perfect," will, after the day of judgment, dwell for 'ever with the Lord,'-or if it be the place or state into which good Christians pass immediately after death,—it is remarkable that the word paradise is not the one comof those meanings" (View, p. 60), monly used in Scripture to convey either is encountered by the general analogy of Scriptural revelation. The first promise of a Saviour was expressed by the phrase, "the Seed of the woman, who should bruise the serpent's head." He was afterwards announced as the Shiloh, the Lord's Angel, a Prophet like unto Moses, the Messiah, the Messenger of the Covenant, and under various other descriptions; each successive appellation adding something to the information imparted by the preceding. In like manner, if the doctrine of intermediate consciousness between death and judgment is at all intimated in Scripture, it is first spoken of under the name, Hades. Afterwards, the condition of those who depart in the faith and fear of the Lord is separated from that of the others, and connected with a place called Paradise; and when once that phrase is introduced, it is adopted into the vocabulary of the Bible, as part of its general storehouse of information on this subject: as in Rev. ii. 7, "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God."
On the other hand, if our Lord's declaration," To-day thou shalt be with me in paradise," and St. Paul's statement (for it is inaccurate to call it, as Dr. Whately does, merely his "wish") that to be absent from the body is to be with Christ, may be construed to mean that the dying penitent should in a remote age, after our Lord's death, resurrection,
ascension, and return to judgment, be taken up to heaven; and that the Apostle should also, after a previous state of insensibility, be admitted to the same privilege; whatever other objections may lie against this interpretation, we must say that so loose a construction of specific terms seems to us, in Dr. Whately's own words elsewhere," a use of language which destroys the purpose for which language was designed-namely, to convey a meaning."
We must suspend the argument for the present; but we purpose resuming it in our next Number, when we intend also to notice some other of Dr. Whately's "peculiarities and "difficulties," and especially his very dangerous, and we are persuaded unscriptural and unfounded, views relative to the Christian Sabbath.
(To be continued.)
A Sermon, preached in St. George's Church, Edinburgh, on Occasion of the Death of the Rev. Dr. Andrew Thomson. By the Rev. T. CHALMERS, D.D. Glasgow. 1831.
THE name of Dr. Thomson having hitherto appeared in our volumes chiefly in reference to an unhappy controversy, in which he bore a conspicuous part, it is truly grateful to our feelings-more especially now that he has quitted a world of turmoil and controversy, and entered upon that blessed state where all is peace to sketch those bright features of his portrait which will abundantly relieve any shades which in some instances hung around it. This pleasing office we are enabled to discharge by means of the funeral discourse now before us, which is one of those striking, splendid, and thrilling compositions, which Dr. Chalmers is able, apparently almost without effort or premeditation, to throw off, for the mingled delight, instruction, and edification of his readers. Our only task shall be transcription,
without comment: for thus shall we most gratify our readers; most honour the writer, whose own pages are his best eulogium; and most graphically exhibit that remarkable man, the subject of his narrative, who deserves to be known in the South, as he was in the North, by far other characteristics than those which are currently associated with his name in the Bible Society controversy. The following are some of the principal passages of Dr. Chalmers's powerful description.
"I need not say, to this assembly of mourners, in what more striking and impressive form the lesson has been given to
It is just as if death had wanted to make the highest demonstration of his sovereignty, and for this purpose had selected as his mark, him who stood the foremost, and the most conspicuous in the view of his countrymen. I speak not at present of any of the relations in which he stood to the living society immediately around him-to the thousands in church whom his well-known voice reached upon the Sabbath-to the tens of thousands in the city, whom through the week, in the varied rounds and meetings of Christian philanthropy, he either guided by his counsel, or stimulated by his eloquence. You know, over and above, how far the wide, and the wakeful, and the untired benevolence of his nature carried him; and that, in the labours, and the locomotions connected with these, he may be said to have become the personal acquaintance of the people of Scotland. Insomuch, that there is not a village in the land, where the tidings of his death have not conveyed the intimation, that a master in Israel has fallen; and I may also add, that such was the charm of his companionship, such the cordiality lighted up by his presence in every household, that, connected with this death, there is, at this moment, an oppressive sadness in the hearts of many thousands even of our most distant Scottish families. And so, a national lesson has been given forth by this event, even as a national loss has been incurred by it. It is a public death in the view of many spectators. And when one thinks of the vital energy by which every deed and every utterance were pervaded of that prodigious strength which but gamboled with the difficulties that would have so depressed and overborne other men-of that prowess in conflict, and that promptitude in counsel with his fellows-of that elastic buoyancy which ever rose with the occasion, and bore him onward and upward to the successful termination of his cause-of the weight and multiplicity of his engagement; and yet,
as if nothing could overwork that colossal mind, and that robust framework, the perfect lightness and facility wherewith all was executed,-when one thinks, in the midst of these powers and these performances, how intensely he laboured, I bad almost said, how intensely he lived, in the midst of us, we cannot but acknowledge, that death, in seizing upon him, hath made full proof of a mastery that sets all the might and all the promise of humanity at defiance.
"But while in no possible way could general society have, through means of but one individual example, been more impressively told of the power of death -to you, in particular, it is a lesson of deepest pathos. The world at large can form no estimate of the tenderness which belongs to the spiritual relationship, though I trust that on this topic, mysterious to them, yet familiar, I hope and believe, to many of you, I now speak to a goodly number who can own him as their spiritual father." pp. 5—7.
"The lesson is prodigiouly enhanced, when we pass from his pulpit to his household ministrations. I perhaps do him wrong, in supposing that any large proportion of his hearers did not know him personally-for such was his matchless superiority to fatigue, such the unconquerable strength and activity of his nature, that he may almost be said to have accomplished a sort of personal ubiquity among his people. But ere you can appreciate the whole effect of this, let me advert to a principle of very extensive operation in nature. Painters know it well. They are aware, how much it adds to the force and beauty of any representation of theirs, when made strikingly and properly to contrast with the back-ground on which it is projected. And the same is as true of direct nature, set forth in one of our own immediate scenes, as of reflex nature, set forth by the imagination and pencil of an artist. This is often exemplified in those Alpine wilds, where beauty may, at times, be seen embosomed in the lap of grandeur,-as when, at the base of a lofty precipice, some spot of verdure, or peaceful cottage-home, seems to smile in more intense loveliness, because of the towering strength and magnificence which are behind it. Apply this to character, and think how precisely analogous the effect is when, from the ground-work of a character that, mainly, in its texture and general aspect, is masculine, there do effloresce the forth-puttings of a softer na ture, and those gentler charities of the heart, which come out irradiated in tenfold beauty, when they arise from a substratum of moral strength and grandeur underneath. It is thus, when the man of strength shows himself the man of tenderness; and he who, sturdy and impreg. nable in every righteous cause, makes his graceful descent to the ordinary com..
panionships of life, is found to mingle, with kindred warmth, in all the cares and the sympathies of his fellow-men. Such, I am sure, is the touching recollection of very many who now hear me, and who can tell, in their own experience, that the vigour of his pulpit, was only equalled by the fidelity and the tenderness of his household ministrations. They understand the whole force and significancy of the contrast I have now been speaking of→ when the pastor of the church becomes the pastor of the family; and he who, in the crowded assembly, held imperial sway over every understanding, entered some parent's lowly dwelling, and prayed and wept along with them over their infant's dying bed. It is on occasions like these when the minister carries to its highest pitch the moral ascendency which belongs to his station. It is this which furnishes him with a key to every heart, —and when the triumphs of charity are superadded to the triumphs of argument, then it is that he sits enthroned over the affections of a willing people.
"But I dare not venture any further on this track of observation. While yet standing aghast at a death which has come upon us all with the rapidity of a whirlwind, it might be easy, by means of few touching and graphic recollections, to raise a tempest of emotion in the midst of you. It might be easy to awaken, in vivid delineation to the view of your mind, him who but a few days ago trod upon the streets of our city with the footsteps of firm manhood; and took part, with all his accustomed earnestness and vigour, in the busy concerns of living men. could image forth the intense vitality which beamed in every look, and kept up, to the last moment, the incessant play of a mind, that was the fertile and evereddying fountain of just and solid thoughts. We could ask you to think of that masterspirit, with what presiding efficacy, yet with what perfect lightness and ease, he moved among his fellow-men; and, whether in the hall of debate, or in the circles of private conviviality, subordinated all to his purposes and views. We could fasten your regards on that dread encounter, when Death net this most powerful and resolute of men upon his way, and, laying instant arrest upon his movements, held him forth, in view of the citizens, as the proudest, while the most appalling of his triumphs. We could bid you weep at the thought of his agonized family-or rather, hurrying away from this big and insupportable distress-we would tell of the public grief and the public consternation,-how the tidings of some great disaster flew from household to household, till, under the feeling of one common and overwhelming bereavement, the whole city became a city of mourners-we could recall to you that day when the earth was committed to the earth from which it