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6. This is the establishment of Christianity upon the fall of Judaism. It is the setting up of the reign of God and of his Christ. ... It is not meant that the kingdoms of this world had then already been, in full effect, won over to Christ. That, of course, was not true; but it was true that a train of measures was put into operation which would in time render that event certain. The work was commenced; the kingdom of heaven was established among men; and it was certain that in the operation of the principles of Christ, the whole world should at last be subdued. The language of the revelator regards the future as being present. As if a general should say, on taking some favorable position that ensured him the victory, • I have gained the day,' i. e., I have taken those measures that render success certain."-(Whittemore in loc.)
The prophet Daniel, in describing what the Saviour would accomplish, spoke in the same manner as the apostle and revelator. He represented what would be accomplished under the Messiah's reign, as completed at the establishment of Christianity. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sin, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.' This language must be explained in the same way that we interpreted the apostle's and the revelator's. What was to be done under the gospel dispensation is spoken of as completed, at the setting up of his kingdom here on earth.
If the views presented are correct, they will aid in understanding 1 Peter ii. 18-20. They make plain the object of his preaching unto the spirits in prison.” They had not then been exalted into that heavenly abode—the resurrection. They were in sheol, or hades, the state of the dead; yet, according to the Saviour's words, in the enjoyment of some sort of an existence. At the setting up of his kingdom, they were to be introduced into that higher and more desirable state.
That Christ descended at his death into &ons, that state into which all who had previously died had gone, is evident from
22 Daniel ix, 24.
the words of Peter, “ Thou wilt not leave my (Christ's) soul in hell (üdns ;) neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." 23 If we compare this with the Saviour's words to Mary, “ Touch me not ; for I am (have) ) not yet ascended to my Father ; but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God and your God ”24, the plain inference seems to be this: while his body lay in the tomb, he was in Hades, the state of the dead. How he was there employed, the passage in Peter tells us : he preached unto the spirits in prison.
The difficulties that commentators have met with in explaining the words of Christ to Mary, have evidently arisen from an effort to put a construction upon
them that certainly would not be regarded as the most obvious. Allowing that the expression, “ I am not yet ascended to my Father, means, “I am not now ascending, that is, going to ascend; does not the saying, Tell my brethren, " I ascend unto my Father, imply that he had not been with him, while his body was in the tomb ? And when we observe that the verb, translated “am ascended,” is in the perfect tense in the Greek, and that the ordinary translation would be, "I have not yet ascended unto my Father ; ” the common esposition appears more questionable than our English translation renders it ; and the view we have suggested is strengthened.
We are aware that üvaßtBrx is sometimes used as in the present; but, when so employed, it denotes “ habitual and repeated action.” Now, if we admit that the verb “ am ascended” is rightly construed in the present tense, is the “ habitual and repeated action,” which it denotes, consistent with the idea that Christ had been with his Father during the three preceding days that his body was in the tomb? Would not the language rather imply, that, as he was not with his Father before his crucifixion, so he had not been with him since his crucifixion? Whether, therefore, the verb be regarded as in the perfect tense, or employed as a present, the fact that it is not the usual present tense favors the view taken.
Another question may arise, How can Christ's promise to the thief, “ To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise,” be harmonized with the views advanced ? The difficulty arises, undoubtedly, from regarding paradise and heaven as synonymous; a point certainly not obvious. According to Parkhurst, paradise (rapieseidos) was borrowed by the Greeks “ from the Persians, among whom it signified a garden, park, or enclosure full of all the valuable products of the earth.” In the Septuagint, the “LXX almost constantly render the Hebrew'word, (gan) when it relates to the Garden of Eden, by Ilapúdeloos. He also states, that the Jews use the “ Garden of Eden (figuratively) for the intermediate state of holy departed souls." Bloomfield says, " Among the later Jews, the term denoted that pleasant abode in hades appointed for the reception of the pious dead, until they should, after the day of judgment, be again united to their bodies in a future state.” The origin of the word and its use in the Old Testament show, that it is not synonymous with heaven; but might with propriety be applied to any pleasant or happy place.
23 Acts ii. 27.
24 John xx. 17.
In the New Testament, the word is found only three times. In 2 Cor. xii. 4, it means heaven. In Rev. ï. 7, “ to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God,” is a metaphorical description of the rich blessings of the Gospel,—the reward of overcoming in the Christian warfare. That Christ did not mean heaven by paradise will be seen by comparing his words with those of Peter, “thou wilt not leave my (Christ's) soul in hell (údns.) The apostle here evidently conveys the idea, that Christ, at his death, went to hades, the state of the dead; and, if he did, he and the thief were not in heaven together on the day of his crucifixion, but in hades.
From Christ's use of the word paradise, in his reply to the thief, and from its origin and its use in the Old Testament, we infer that the place of the departed patriarchs was a state of real though imperfect happiness. And, if so, the language of the Saviour affords no objection to the doctrine of the resurrection as here presented, but rather corrobo. rates the views we have advanced.
If the conclusions to which we have arrived in relation to the resurrection, and the part the Saviour has in this great work, are correct, the way is prepared for determining in what sense Christ is the Saviour of all men. There is no difficulty in understanding in what sense he is the special Saviour of those who believe, but in what sense he is the Saviour of those who have lived and died since his day, without even hearing his name, and of those who have heard of the gospel, and yet have turned a deaf ear,—is quite another question. And to understand it, the true idea of the resurrection must be kept in mind, which means, as we define it, “ a life of peace and joy beyond the grave, and also includes the great moral work which is to take place with every person, by which every soul rises, through human and divine agency united, from its state of moral imperfection at death to a perfect man,' and becomes conformed to Christ's spiritual likeness.' Since it is through Christ that all become children of the resurrection, and enjoy all the holy and happy influences of that heavenly state, the sense in which he is their Saviour becomes apparent. But it may, perhaps, be made plainer by answering the question, Where would people be after death, if Christ had not died and rose again?
Two points which we have endeavored to establish, must be kept in view, in order to settle this question understandingly. First, Christ taught that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and others who had died, were in the enjoyment of some sort of an existence. Second, the apostles taught that by or through Jesus “came the resurrection of the dead." From these two important truths, we infer that if Christ had not died for the world, and rose again, "abolished death,” all at death would have entered upon the same kind of existence with these patriarchs; and this would have been their final and everlasting condition. In whatever respect, therefore, people are better off in the resurrection than the patriarchs were in the state in which they were before death was abolished, in that very respect they will be indebted to Christ.
If the doctrine of the resurrection, as we have presented it, be conceded, it is evident that Christ is something more than a perfect man, though inferior to, and dependent on, the Father. He is something more than a great Moral Teacher, who illustrated his principles by his life. The tenor of the New Testament places the Saviour entirely above a mere man; and, in this respect, strengthens the views advanced. The idea that he was simply a perfect man, that he had little more to do in the salvation of the world than Peter or Paul, merely proclaiming the Father's unbounded love, and illustrating his teachings by his life, seems not to come up to the prophecies concerning him, what he claimed to be himself, nor what the apostles said of him.
It is scarcely necessary here to add, that the Resurrection holds no unimportant place among the truths of the gospel ; for, aside from its own intrinsic merit, a correct view of the subject is indispensable to a clear understanding of other doctrinal points--especially important to us as a denomination.
L. L. R.
Hale's Ninety Days' Worth of Europe.
Ninety Days' Worth of Europe. By Edward E. Hale. Walker, Wise & Co., 1861.
Journals of parsonic travel run the risk of being professional, and are apt to be priggish. We have endured much in reading some of them, where sectarian prejudice supplies the animus of the work and meagreness of culture does the filling up. The clerkly authors had plainly changed their climate, not their temper, when they crossed the sea. Their only transport was the carrying over their wonted social sourness and theologic bitterness, as fit criterion of judgment upon stranger men and manners.
Of such ungenial disrespect, and consequent utter failure to enter into foreign ways of thinking and living, this book has not a trace. It is simple, generous, full of humor, and so is appreciative. Its humor is notable. That quality we hold to be a prime condition, as well of just estimate of what the traveller sees, as of agreeableness in what he writes. By it, the Howadji’s “Syria” and Kinglake's “Eothen” were not only attractive for freshness and brilliancy, but authoritative, as penetrating to the heart of that remote Eastern life. Very different are those unhumorous, and so unsympathetic, works upon the East, like the Rev. Cream-cheese's “Sou