Page images

his gospel. It was required by the Jewish law, that a surviving brother should marry the widow of a brother deceased. In conformity to that law, the Sadducees adduced an instance of seven brothers having successively married the same wife, and of her having outlived them all; and then asked whose wife she should be in the resurrection? In answer to their inquiry, Jesus informed them that while “ the children of this world marry and are given in marriage, those who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage.” Our Lord, it is affirmed, must here have intended a special, and not the general resurrection, or a resurrection which is to be a privilege peculiar to some, and not to all, since the language he employed, if strictly rendered is, the resurrection from amongst the dead.

It is, however, questionable whether, in this announcement, Christ had a reference to any resurrection properly so called ; and we should have, on our side, the opinion of eminent talent, learning, and piety, were we to assert that He had not. The fact of his reasoning, as He does in a subsequent verse, for the point He wished to establish, from Jehovah's description of himself, addressed to Moses at the bush, and his declaration that God " is not the God of the dead but

2 T'ns avaolaoswg Tng ex vexpwv.-Luke xx. 35.

of the living,” would seem to intimate that the subject of dispute, was simply a state of existence after death, or another mode of being than the present. For, while it hence clearly follows, that Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, were at that period in the enjoyment of life, we have not, throughout the whole of Scripture, a single atom of evidence, that their bodies had been released from the dominion of the grave. But even admitting, that what we usually understand by a resurrection of the dead was signified, and that the original preposition which our opponents translate “ from amongst,” may fairly be translated thus,—yet after all, the passage can avail them nothing ; because it so happens that Matthew has narrated the same discourse, and that in his account the preposition is omitted ; 5—a circumstance plainly and conclusively demonstrating, that neither its presence nor its absence, in the slightest degree affects the sense, and that if the resurrection of the dead was meant at all, the resurrection of the whole of the dead was meant. We have their own sanction to this mode of arguing; for they themselves tell us, that when our Lord promised an individual, that he should be “recompensed at the resurrection of the just," he referred to the entire body of the just. Consequently in a passage, between which and the one now alluded to, the only essential difference is, that in the place of the word translated just, there is a word to be translated dead, he must obviously be considered as speaking of the entire body of the dead. We find exactly such a passage in the thirty-first verse of the twenty-second of Matthew. And whatever was intended by that passage, must also have been intended by the parallel passage, Luke the twentieth and thirty-fifth.

4 Dwight's Theology, vol. v. p. 424. 8vo. ed. 5 Matt. xxii. 23–33. 6 Ev ton avadlaren twv doxaswv.-Luke xiv. 14.

A second Scripture considered favourable to the doctrine of the first resurrection, is adduced from the eloquent and masterly disquisition, contained in the fifteenth chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians. Having stated, verse the twenty-second, that was in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive;" the Apostle proceeds to observe, “ But every man in his own order: Christ the first-fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power,” or as it has been more properly rendered, -" Then is the end, when he is to deliver up the kingdom to God even the Father; when. he is to put down all rule and all authority and power." Millenarians get this passage to be

71 Cor. xv. 23—26. “Our first remark is, that cometh, in verse 24, is a supplement. Instead of then cometh the

come subservient to their scheme, by telling us, in the first place, that the term translated "order,"& signifies 'a band of soldiers, a cohort, or a legion,' and by consequently maintaining,

end, it ought to be read simply, then the end-or rather, supplying the substantive verb according to the usual Hebraism, then is the end. Beza, indeed, supplies erit, and probably he has misled our translators. Instead of erit, he ought to have supplied est. Our next remark is, that shall have delivered up the kingdom, (ragado,) and shall have put down all rule, &c. (xatapynon) are both unhappy renderings, and tend to introduce a degree of obscurity. Instead of the second future, both verbs ought to have been put into the first or simple future, or rather perhaps into what may be called the prospective present, and the passage ought to have been read, Then is the end when he shall deliver up, &c. and shall put down, &c. or rather, when he is to deliver up, &c. and is to put down, &c. The original words are in the aorist subjunctive, a form of the verb which is rendered in the way we speak of, times without number. An example occurs in verse 23, and another in verse 28, of this very chapter,-till he put axes ou av on, --when all things shall be subdued to him, orar de ÜTotay. Nay, the very word magaday itself, has much the same force in Mark iv. 29, when the fruit is brought forth, orar Tagada ó xagros. Our translators, we suspect, have been again misled by Beza and the Vulgate. Beza has quum tradiderit and quum aboleverit: the Vulgate has quum tradiderit and quum evacuaverit ; but shall have is not always the correct rendering of such Latin expressions. Our translators should have attended to the force of the conjunction quum, and should have rendered simply, shall deliver up the kingdom, and shall put down all rule,” &c.Edinburgh Theol. Mag. March 1828, p. 277.

8 tagua.

that since it is declared, every one of the dead shall be raised in his own or proper band, and since the righteous and the wicked are buried promiscuously, it necessarily follows that they must be raised, not at the same moment, but at distinct and successive points of time; and in the next place, by telling us that the two Greek particles,-one of which is translated “afterwards,” in the twenty-third verse, and the other of which is translated “then,” at the beginning of the twenty-fourth verse,' when occurring in the same sentence, have each of them, the same force, and a like signification, and by consequently maintaining, that as we already know the first to mean, in the instance before us, an interval of eighteen centuries, so the second may signify a long period of at least a thousand years.

That the term translated “ order,” frequently signifies a band of soldiers, a cohort, or a legion,' is readily granted; but the inference, that such was intended to be its precise import in the place under consideration, and that thus understood, it affords encouragement to the idea of two separate and successive resurrections, plainly involves the supposition of a party being mentioned, or at any rate alluded to, besides “ Christ,” and “they that are his.” For, if there be not a supposition of this kind, the inference,



« PreviousContinue »