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divinely commissioned to accomplish was the reve lation of this one living and ruling God to the whole body of his countrymen. Thus we find God, in the sacred writings of the Jews, saying to Moses, ‘I am the LORD (Jehovah), and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty (El Shaddai); but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them.' We do not however intend to discuss the precise meaning of the two names of God, which we find in the Hebrew Scriptures— sufficient for us that Moses endeavoured to impress upon his people the unity and ever-living presence of the Divine Being.
II. Again, it would appear that the Jews, in addition to their belief as a nation in the unity of God, believed also in the reality of an invisible world containing spiritual intelligences, some of whom were the loyal servants and messengers of God, while others delighted in the endeavour to thwart His counsels, and were in rebellion against Him. Apparently both orders of these were supposed to have very considerable power, not only over the minds and bodies of men, but also over the operations of nature. Thus two angels were commissioned by God to destroy Sodom; and again, in the poem of Job, when Satan received power over the Patriarch, he overwhelmed him by at once inciting robbers who plundered his substance, killing his children by a wind from the wilderness, and finally smiting the body of Job himself with a loathsome disease.
It is perhaps worthy of note that while we read in these records of various appearances of good spirits
1 Exod. vi. 2.
Gen. xix. 12.
in the human form, we have no certain account of any such manifestation of evil spirits. It may even be supposed that a good deal of the Demonology of Scripture belongs to poetic or semi-parabolic representation of spiritual truths. Thus Coleridge and others have thought that the Satan of Job is only the dramatic accuser or adversary imagined by the poet.
12. Very little is said about man's future state in the Scriptures of the Jews. The Hebrews, like the Assyrians and Chaldeans, believed in Sheol (Hades), a dark and gloomy abode peopled by the shades of the dead. But the continued existence of the 'pithless' shades (Rephaim) in this land of powerlessness and forgetfulness was not thought of as constituting immortality, but rather as the essence of death itself. The religious hope of immortality which appears in some passages of the Old Testament takes the form of a victory over or rescue from the fear of Sheol. But this higher hope was not brought before the mind of the Hebrew nation in the same way as was the presence and unity of God. It seems to us that Dean Stanley's conjecture is probably correct where he says, with reference to this omission, 'Not from want of religion, but (if we might use the expression) from excess of religion, was this void left in the Jewish mind. The future life was not denied or contradicted, but it was overlooked, set aside, overshadowed by the consciousness of the living, actual presence of God Himself. That truth, at least in the limited conceptions of the youthful nation, was too vast to admit of any rival truth, however precious. When David or Hezekiah shrank from the gloomy vacancy of the
grave, it was because they feared lest, when death closed their eyes in the present world, they should lose their hold on that Divine friend with whose being and communion the present world had in their minds been so closely interwoven.'1
13. As the nation grew older we find frequent and distinct allusions indicating a belief in a resurrection of some kind. Thus we find the angel saying to Daniel, 'And many of them which sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.' And again: 'Go thy way till the end be; for thou shalt rest and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.' Again, in the Apocrypha, we find one of seven brethren who were put to death by Antiochus, saying to that tyrant,— 'It is good, being put to death by men, to look for hope from God, to be raised up again by Him; as for thee, thou shalt have no resurrection to life,' and the other brethren spoke in like manner. Here it is evident from the whole chapter that the hope expressed was rather the result of perfect trust in God than derived from any process of their own reason, or even from any revelation on the subject which they imagined to have been made.
We have likewise the testimony of Josephus as well as of the New Testament that the Pharisees believed in a resurrection. Josephus tells us,—' They [the Pharisees] say that all souls are incorruptible,
1 Lectures on the Jewish Church.
8 Dan. xii. 13.
2 Dan. xii. 2.
4 2 Macc. vii. 14
but that the souls of good men only are removed into other bodies, but that the souls of bad men are subject to eternal punishment.'1 Again, we learn from the same two authorities that the Sadducees held sceptical notions on the subject, and Josephus says'They take away the belief of the immortal duration of the soul, and the punishments and rewards in Hades.'
14. If we next turn to the Greek and Roman mythologies we find ideas of a future state very similar to those entertained by the Egyptians, from whom probably the Greek notions were originally largely derived.
They called by the name of Elysium the abode appropriated to the souls of the good, while those of the wicked suffered punishment in Tartarus. It has been well remarked by Archbishop Whately that these regions were supposed to be of the most dreamy and unsubstantial nature:—
'The poet [remarks Whately] from whom so many were content to derive their creed [meaning Homer] represents Achilles among the shades as declaring that the life of the meanest drudge on earth is preferable to the very highest of the unsubstantial glories of Elysium :
Βουλοίμην κ' ἐπάρουρος ἐὼν θητευέμεν ἄλλῳ,
It is remarkable too that the same poet seems plainly to regard the body not the soul as being properly "the man" after death has separated them. We should be
1 Wars of the Jews, II. viii. 14.
apt to say that such a one's body is here, and that he, properly the person himself, is departed to the other world; but Homer uses the very opposite language in speaking of the heroes slain before Troy: viz., that their souls were despatched to the shades, and that THEY themselves were left a prey to dogs and birds:
Πολλὰς δ' ιφθίμους ΨΥΧΑΣ "Αϊδι προΐαψεν
Ηρώων, ΑΥΤΟΥΣ δὲ ἑλώρια τεύχε κύνεσσιν. 1
We agree with this writer that the belief in an unsubstantial region of this description can have had no real influence either in deterring men from vice, or in encouraging them to virtue. Indeed its inevitable tendency must have been to foster an undue regard for the pleasures of this present life to the absolute discouragement of goodness and virtue. For while we of the present day regard the future life as in some sense the reward of piety and goodness, the antients looked upon Hades rather as a penalty which inexorable fate had reserved for all men, and from which even piety and goodness were powerless to exempt their possessors.
Cum semel occideris, et de te splendida Minos
Non, Torquate, genus, non te facundia, non te
Infernis neque enim tenebris Diana pudicum
Nec Lethæa valet Theseus abrumpere caro
15. The active-minded as well as the gross-minded members of the community could hardly be expected to care much for such an unsubstantial future, and 1 Essays on some of the Peculiarities of the Christian Religion.