Sidor som bilder

third, century.5 The few cotemporary writers among the Greeks and Romans, who allude to the affairs of the Jews at this time, give us no information with regard to their sentiments on the point in question. We confine ourselves, therefore, to the three authorities mentioned.

Philo was a learned and philosophical Jew of Alexandria, who wrote between A: D. 1, and A. D. 40. His speculations are to be ranked, of course, among those of the Jews in Egypt, particularly among those of the more refined and studious class in that country, rather than of the common people. The New Testament furnishes but few statements of the doctrine of the Jews on our subject; the notices, however, it does afford, relate to the opinions entertained in Palestine. Josephus, who was intimately acquainted with all the affairs of his countrymen, and whose object was, to give a full and definite account, professes to state the tenets of the several sects in Palestine; and his statements may be regarded as a true exhibition, the best we can obtain, of the popular views there received. Whenever he introduces our subject in the speeches which he ascribes to different individuals, we may suppose him to represent the manner in which it was usually treated by persons of their rank in life. He was a moderate Pharisee, and wrote between A. D. 74 and A. D. 100. His genuine works are, the Antiquities of the Jews, the Jewish War, his Life, and two books against Apion. The Discourse concerning Hades, affixed to Whiston's edition of Josephus, is the production of some Christian writer, commonly thought to be Caius or Hippolytus, of the third century. A tract, Concerning the Maccabees, is also inserted in some editions; but this is likewise spurious, and supposed to belong to a Christian author.7


It seemed advisable on entering this period, the most im

5 Mr. Whitman (Letters to a Universalist, pp. 177, 178.) quotes Medrasch Tillium, Pirke Eliezer, Beraschith Rabba, and Maase Thora, as evidence for Jewish usages in the time of Christ. For the reasons mentioned above, these works are of no authority. (See Wolfii Bibliotheca Heb. Vol. i. pp. 173, 174, 349; ii. 841; iv. 1032. De Wette, Opuscula Theolog. pp. 58, 100. Jahn's Heb. Commonwealth, Appendix, pp. 523, 567.) Mr. Whitman also quotes Jonathan's Targum on Canticles and Job. Jonathan has no Targum on these books.

This piece is sometimes entitled, 'Concerning the Universe,' and 'Concerning the Cause of the Universe,' and Concerning the Universal Cause,' &c. See Photii Biblioth. Cod. xlviii. and the quotation from Fabricius De Josepho et ejus Scriptis, § viii. in Hudson's edition of Josephus; and Dupin's Bibliotheca Patrum, Art. Caius and Hippolytus.

7 See Edit. Opp. Joseph. a Hudson. Præf. This tract is sometimes called The Fourth Book of Maccabees. See Horne's Introduction, &c. Vol. iv. p. 220. Edit. Philadelphia.

portant of all, to apprize the reader of the general tendency of the Jewish doctrines at large; and to guard against mistakes in the development of our particular subject, by carefully distinguishing the genuine authorities from the false, and by stating the precise bearing which they have on the point in view. We now proceed with the traces of opinions concerning the future state, first among the Jews of Egypt, (since it was with them that we closed the preceding period,) and then among those of Palestine.

1. Egyptian Jews; A. D. 1, A. D. 40.-Philo says, that the soul survives the body; that it is of a divine nature, and of endless duration.8 When the virtuous die, who have despised the present life, and purified their minds by heavenly contemplation, their souls ascend into the upper air, or firmament, above material objects, towards the Creator. Released from the thraldom of their bodies, they there enjoy immortality, and live forever, free from old age, having exchanged the mortal state for the incorruptible.9 On the other hand, when the wicked die, corrupted by vice, or absorbed in the cares of this life, death is but the beginning of their punishment. Their souls are cast down into the depths of Tartarus, in profound darkness.10 This is the reign of the impious, shut in by deepest night and perpetual gloom, and filled with all kinds of shadows and apparitions. Here they live, forever dying, condemned to a sort of immortal and interminable death. Extinction of their being is not permitted, lest their pains should end. They are tormented with the sense of immediate woe; and as their actual sufferings are inadequate, a fearful apprehension of coming evils, administers, like an inexhaustible fountain, a constant supply of anguish. All hope has utterly perished from their thought.12

Philo speaks of no day of judgment, or formal arraignment and trial, hereafter; and it is evident that he holds no resurrection of the body. This, indeed, his Platonic notions would have led him to regard as an incumbrance to the soul. The future punishment, or condition, of the wicked, he never represents by fire, either in literal or figurative language.13

Philo De Mundi Opific. Tom. i. p. 15. Edit. Mangey. 9 De Profugis. Tom. i. pp. 554, 555. De Joseph. Tom. ii. p. 78. 1° De Præmiis, et Pœnis, Tom. ii. p. 419. De Execrationibus, Tom. ii. p. 433. 11 Quod a Deo mittantur Somnia. lib. iii. Tom. i. p. 676. 12 De Posteritate Caini, Tom. i. p. 233. De Præmis et Pœniis, Tom. ii. pp. 419, 420.

Eichhorn (Einleitung in die apokryph.S. &c. 180,) says, that Philo, in one passage, (viz. De Vita Mosis, Tom. ii. p. 95,) speaks of a fearful judg

Their sufferings are those of the mind, rather than the effect of external causes, though aggravated, perhaps, by the hideousness of their situation. Gehenna does not occur in his works. His favorite epithet for eternal, or endless, is aïdios; which, with some other words, signifying immortal, interminable, &c., he applies to future misery. So far as we have observed, aionios is never so applied, though some of its compounds are used in two or three instances,14 with reference to that subject. This latter epithet is sometimes connected with the name of God; but there he defines it to mean continual, rather than endless. 15 In other cases, again, it is applied to the affairs of this world; and sometimes it would appear to be merely emphatic, or, as the grammarians say, intensive.16

Such are the direct and constituent facts, from which we are to judge of the opinions and phraseology of the Egyptian Jews, at this time, concerning the future state.

2. The Jews of Palestine A. D. 1, 2. Among these, the earliest trace that we discover of the doctrine, either of future reward or punishment, is at the first or second year of the Christian era. Two eminent men at Jerusalem, who appear to have been Pharisees, took the occasion of Herod's sickness to destroy an image which that tyrant had placed over the gate of the temple; and Josephus says that they excited the people to aid the work, telling them that if any danger should arise, it was glorious to die for their country's law; because the souls of such as came to this end, were immortal, and the everlasting [aionios,] enjoyment of happiness awaited them; while the ignoble, who were ignorant of wisdom, and had not learned to regard their souls, preferred a death by sickness, to one endured for the sake of virtue.' When they were afterwards arraigned, and asked how they could be so joyful under their sentence, they are said to have replied, that it was because they should enjoy greater happiness after death.'17 Such are the motives which Josephus attributes to them. It is true, that in another work which he

[ocr errors]

ment-day for the wicked after death, when the elements, air, fire, and wa ter, shall combine against them. But this is a mistake: Philo is here describing the judgment and plagues inflicted on the living Egyptians in the time of Moses.

14 Philo Tom. ii. p. 419, 420.

15 Tom. i. p. 342. 16 Tom. ii. p. 667. 17 Josephus, Jewish War, B. i. ch. xxiii. 2, 3. In quoting Josephus, I shall follow, as closely as I can, the original text. The reader may compare Whiston's translation, which is not exact, nor always true to the meaning, by consulting the places referred to.

wrote at a later period, with better information, and with greater accuracy, he relates these circumstances at large, repeats the language of the two patriots, but omits the particular sentiments we have here quoted.18 Whether this omission was accidental or designed, it would be in vain to inquire, as it would be impossible to determine.

A. D. 11.-A. D. 70. It is when treating of the Jewish affairs at the former of these dates, that Josephus introduces his full and labored account of the religious sects in Palestine. But as it is evident that he describes them partly from his own personal acquaintance with them in the latter years of their nation, we may refer his statement to the whole of the period now designated. He says that the Pharisees (of whom he was one,) held that souls possess an immortal vigor, that all souls are incorruptible; and that, under the earth, there are rewards and punishments for them, accordingly as they have been virtuous or vicious in the present life; that only the good have the privilege of passing into other bodies, and living again; but that the souls of the bad are allotted to an eternal prison, [aidios cirgmos,] and punished with eternal retribution, [aïdios timoria.] Such was the doctrine of the Pharisees, who were by far the most numerous sect, and who alone had much influence with the populace. The Sadducees, on the other hand, who were few in number, belonging to the first families, and destitute of zeal, as well as unpopular, believed that the soul perished with the body, denying that it survived, and rejecting the doctrine of punishments and rewards in Hades. The Essenes, amounting only to four thousand, lived in deserts, shut out from the intercourse of the world. They taught that souls come forth out of the rarest and most subtile air, and are drawn, by a certain natural attraction, into our [earthly] bodies, where they are shut up as in a prison. Though the body perishes, the soul is immortal, and continues forever. When set free from the bonds of the flesh, it rejoices, as being released from long bondage, and mounts aloft. Like the Greeks, the Essenes believed that good souls have their abode beyond the ocean, in a place oppressed neither with storms nor with heat, but refreshed by gentle zephyrs that breathe continually from the sea; while the souls of the bad are sent to a dark and tempestuous cavern, full of incessant punishments, [adialeiptos timoria.] 19

19 Antiq. B. xviii. ch. i. 2—6,

18 Joseph. Antiq. B. xvii. ch. vi. 2, 3. and Jewish War, B. ii. ch. viii. 2-14.


A. D. 32. A. D. 63. To this time belong the few statements and references which we find in the New Testament: 'The Sadducees... say that there is no resurrection ; ' or, as Dr. Campbell chooses to render it, no future life.' The scribes or Pharisees, on the other hand, approved our Saviour's vindication of that doctrine.20 The Sadduces say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit; but the Pharisees confess both.' 21 St. Paul, in his defence before Felix, says, with reference to his Jewish persecutors, who, no doubt, were Pharisees, I have hope towards God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust :' 29 meaning, perhaps, that the Jews allowed a resurrection, and that he extended it both to the just and unjust. It would seem, too, from the facts already presented, that, in these passages, resurrection [anastasis,] is to be taken, not exclusively, in the peculiar Christian sense of that term, but as embracing, within the range of its signification, what Josephus calls a passing into other bodies, and living again.' Such are the notices which the New Testament affords of the opinions both of the Pharisees and Sadducees concerning the future state. The Essenes, shut out from the rest of the world, can have had little iufluence on the community at large; and they are neither mentioned, nor, so far as we can discover, alluded to, by our Saviour and his apostles.

A. D. 67.-To return to Josephus: When he and his associates lay concealed in the cavern at Jotapata, it was proposed to kill themselves, that they might not fall into the hands of the Romans. To dissuade them from such an act, he addressed them; and, among other considerations, introduced that of future rewards and punishments. In this part of his speech, we may see how a moderate and well informed Pharisee of that time would urge the subject on his hearers: The bodies of all men,' says he, are mortal and created of corruptible matter; but the soul is immortal, endures forever, and is a portion of the divinity, inhabiting our bodies.. Do you not know, that those who go out of life according to the law of nature, and who return the faculty received from God, when he who lent it is pleased to require it again, enjoy everlasting [aionios,] renown? that their houses and their posterity are sure? that pure and obedient souls survive, inherit



[ocr errors]

20 Matt. xxii. 23-34, comp. Mark xii. 18-28. Luke xx. 27-39.
21 Acts xxiii. 8.
22 Acts xxiv. 15.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »