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shouldst love the Lord thy God—that thou shouldst listen to his voice, that thou shouldst cleave unto him. For He is thy life, and thy length of days in thy dwelling in the land which the Lord swear to give unto your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”
It, may, perhaps, be said that here is a distinct reference to the temporal, in the prolongation of the present life. But let it be remembered, that the life, even this temporal life, in this aspect of it, was to consist in the love and service of God, as though without him earth had no true inheritance for the soul. It had therefore, the essence of spirituality in it, even in reference to our present being. Although commencing in time, it had an element connected with eternity, and deriving its great_value, and even its very significance, from such connection. "For he is thy life; and this is thy life, that thou shouldst love the Lord thy God." How striking the resemblance between this and the language of the beloved apostle—“God is love, and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4: 16. For this is his life, and in this he lives, and “there," as the Psalmist says, (Ps. 133 : 3,) in reference to the derived and kindred affection of fraternal love for the spiritual Israel, “ there hath God commanded the blessing, even life forevermore." And of this nature, too, must be the life and corresponding death so often mentioned, Ezek. 18 and 33. The idea of the latter as a mere temporal penalty inflicted, or to be inflicted, in all the cases there mentioned, and of the former as a deliverance from it, is attended with insuperable difficulties arising from the whole tenor of these remarkable passages. The wicked man, it is over and over again declared, shall die in his sins, the righteous shall live in his righteousness. To the same effect the solemn closing strain; “For as I live saith the Lord I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, wherefore turn and live, Ezek. 18: 32 ; 33: 11.
It was in this way the pious Israelite was led, even more effectually, perhaps, than by any formal mention of a future state as merely a revealed fact in the history of our existence—to the thought of some higher condition of the soul, coming more fully up to the suggestive significance of this remarkable language, and of which higher life, the love here learned would still be the essence, the eternal realization.
This life was not merely the reward, (considered simply as a prolongation of days on earth,) but the very essence of well-doing and well-being the true & unpayla—the salvation itself, which constitutes the ultimate and permanent rest of the soul, whether in time or in eternity. It was a return, in truth, to the very life itself
1. In his sin that he hath sinned, in that shall he die.” Ezek. 18: 24. That is, in his sinning he shall die. Compare the language of Christ to the Jews, John 8: 24. • Therefore I said unto you, ye shall die in your sins.”
that Adam lost by the forbidden fruit, “in the very day he did eat thereof." Thus the Psalmist (Ps. 30: 6.) “ In thy favor is life,' Ps. 63: 3, " Thy loving, kindness is more than life.” This very Hebrew phrase, DM or "length of days,” which is so peculiar to the promises of the old law, is also the very one which David employs, (and, as we think, for the soul's ultimate rest) at the close of the twenty-third Psalm. It must have had reference to something extending beyond this brief existence ; for he had just before spoken of passing through the valley of the shadow of death, or land of shades, and expressed his perfect confidence, even then, in Him whom he is so fond of styling "his light,” “ his life," "his salvation," and the “ strength of his life.” In its largest sense, then, or in reference to his whole being, must he be regarded as saying—“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my existence;" and the succeeding clause, therefore, or the one containing the phrase alluded to, is rightly rendered in our version, “I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever;" or still more literally in the Scottish metrical translation
And in God's house forevermore
My dwelling-place shall be, This strongly suggests, Ps. 84 : 8. “ Blessed are they who dwell in thy house; they will be still praising thee,” Heb. 119, yet praising thee. It denotes something still to come, being from the root 79—iterare, iterum iterumque iterare. In this way, and when the context requires it, it becomes one of the Hebrew words to express the boundless, the termless, the perpetually recurring—the eternal. So also Ps. 139: 18, -7197 pm -—" I awake and am still with thee”—yet with thee-evermore with thee. To the same effect, Ps. 146: 2, "I will praise the Lord whilst I live,”(?) or during my natural life, (ev xgóvo)-yea more, as the rising and amplifying parallelism implies, “I will sing praises unto my God whilst I have my being,”(17797 ¿v olāvi uou). Whilst my soul liveth I will be still praising Thee.
Similar to this is the expression 797 dzis, although 79 may be from a different root. “I will praise thy name forever and ever, forever and yet—forever and more, or forever more-forever and still on-still more and more ; the same boundless going forth of the thoughts which there is an attempt to express in the Greek, and Latin reduplications—“secula seculorum, and, els tous alõvas, xal eis τους αιώνας των αιώνων. .
We might reverently say, that in no other way could the true idea of the eternal rest and blessedness be experimentally revealed to the soul, except as the continuation of a present temporal state of being, of which God was the light and life ; and thus the 77 74, or " length of days” of the old law, so easily passes, in the pious and spiritual mind, into the pšis may, the dies eternitatis—the everlasting rest, the eternal kingdom, of which it is the natural type“ They that thus believe," that thus receive the Divine promises, "have already entered into rest.”
In such a spirit did our Lord, and the apostles, commissioned and inspired by him, interpret the Old Testament. In so doing, they seem to have followed no secret cabala,' as some have thought, no hidden law of hermeneuties which is now lost, no vague system of accommodation by which any meaning or any amount of meaning, could be given to any passage. In opposition to all this, we may regard them as giving, with all simplicity and honesty the sanction of their inspiration to the then known and settled mode of interpreting the old Testament which was peculiar to the common pious mind of their age. It was no new and fanciful method of interpretation which led Christ to regard a promise like the one referred to, Deut. 30: 21-a promise made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to patriarchs who had long since departed from the present life, as having no meaning, or as deficient in a very important aspect of its meaning, if it does not imply an existence commensurate with its whole duration. It was no absurd doctrine of "correspondences,” converting the word of God into a cabalistical cypher, which led the apostle to give that higher significance to the ancient Canaan, to Zion, to " Jerusalem, the mother of us all,” to the “promised rest,” to the “chosen people.” It was no mere fancy which connected his views of the spiritual relations of Christians with those Old Testament ideas of inheritance, of allotment, of first fruits, and of redeemed possession, by which he is so fond of characterizing them. As when he speaks of the “spirit of promise which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession to the praise of his glory.” Eph. 1: 14. It was, in short, no spirit of frigid accommodation which led them to find Christ where the Grotian or Sadducean interpreter never sees him,-as the rock in the wilderness, the emblem of faithfulness and permanence, and yet ever following his people in the flowing waters of a spiritual salvation, 1 Cor. 10: 4. Even in the ancient law, Christ was present. He was not far, the apostle affirms, from the pious Jew; and there needed not that any one should ascend into heaven to bring Christ down, or descend into the abyss, to bring him from thence. Rom. 10:6, 7. To the one that looked for him, he was very nigh, even in his heart, (Deut. 10: 11, 14.) even as that very word, which, although afterwards more specifically
'This opinion is advanced by Cunaeus in his treatise De Republica Hebræer. um. Lib. III. ch. 8. He regards Paul and the other apostles as having a real and secret cabala, although of Divine origin, and taught to Moses in Horeb. This cabala had been perverted by Jewish writers, but still the method itself was sacred and genuine. Paul had learned it in the school of Gamaliel. Hence the writer does not hesitate to style the Pauline interpretations cabalistica et mystica, although meaning no irreverence or distrust by the terms.
presented, was still the same unchanged word, the same righteousness of faith" by which the “redeemed” have been justified in all ages of the world, and which Noah and Abraham preached, as well as Paul.
The Jew, it is often said, was taught by the very spirit of his religion, to confine his benevolent affections within the narrow circle of his own tribes or clans; whereas the gospel expands into a wider field, and lays before the soul the whole world, or brotherhood of humanity. Now there is no doubt that the New Testament dispensation may be said to be for the whole world, in a sense which is not applicable to the apparently local, and temporary, and preparatory Jewish dispensation, even when the latter is regarded
in its moral and inward aspect. There is no doubt that in the development of God's mysterious providence to our race, the Jew was led, by the very genius of his religion, to cherish a stronger family and national feeling than was peculiar to Christianity. Any one, however, who attentively considers the spirit of some parts of the more devotional books of the Old Testament, will be astonished to find how much more liberal and expansive in his affections was the Jew of David's time, than his descendants afterwards became in the later periods of their national history. The author of the Natural History of Fanaticism,' makes a very strong argument, under this head, to show how far the religion of the Old Testament, and the Jew of the Old Testament were from any appearance of fanaticism. For this purpose he introduces some very apposite quotations from those Psalms that seem to have belonged to the Jewish temple worship. “ Little as we may have heeded the fact,' says this exceedingly valuable author, “yet certain it is, that expressions of the most expansive philanthropy echoed in the anthems of the Jewish temple. The passages challenge attention,” "God be merciful unto us, and bless us, and cause his face to shine upon us—That thy way may be known upon the earth, thy saving
all nations. Let the people (the nations) praise thee O God; let all the people praise thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy; for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Let the people praise thee o God'; let all the people praise thee. Then God shall bless us and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.” Again, proceeds this au
'The two concluding chapters of this noble work' have the common title** The religion of the Bible not fanatical.” The first is devoted to the Old Testament, the second to the New. The two chapters constitute an argument for the Divine origin of the Scriptures, constructed on a very new and peculiar Jine. Taken and published together, they would make a manual of great value on the Evidence of Inspiration.
2 It might be contended by some, that the word here rendered earth, should be translated land-meaning the land of Judea. But such a view of the term here, (although it often has that meaning,) is opposed to the whole spirit of the context. A prayer of more expansiveness and philanthropy was never uttered at one of our monthly concerts.
thor, “Certainly it is not fanaticism that says— All nations whom thou has made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord, and shall glorify thy name.' Ps. 86 : 9. It is not fanaticism that in a moment of national exultation challenges all men to partake with itself its choicest honors. Yet, such was the style of the songs that resounded, Sabbath after Sabbath, from the consecrated places of Zion. O sing unto the 'Lord a new song; sing unto the Lord, all the earth. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. Give unto the Lord, all ye kindred of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name. Bring an offering and come into his courts. O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness ; fear before him all the earth.' Ps. 96. 'O praise the Lord all ye nations, praise him all ye people.”—Natural History of Fanaticism, ch. IX, p. 302. We
e may make an appeal, under this head, not merely to the warm and glowing spirit of devotion as exhibited in the Psalms and the Prophets. There is a feeling there, it might be said, which often overleaps the ritual and ceremonial bonds that would contract the affections and confine them within the narrow circle of clanship. Our appeal, then, is not to the warmer and more expansive parts of the Hebrew writings, but to the very Pentateuch itself. What more effectual method could have been taken to repress and break down every fanatical feeling of national pride, than the humbling declaration the Jew was required to make in one of the most solemn acts of his religious worship? “And thou shalt go unto the priest that shall be in those days, and thou shalt say unto him; I declare this day, before the Lord thy God, that I have come unto the land which the Lord swear to give unto our fathers. And the priest shall take the basket from thy hand, and he shall present it before the altar of the Lord thy God. Then shalt thou answer and say before the Lord -A poor perishing Syrian was my father, when he went down into Egypt; and he sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation great, strong, and numerous. And then the Egyptians, too, oppressed him, and afflicted him, and put upon him a cruel service. And he cried unto the Lord God of our fathers, and he heard our voice, and he beheld our trouble, and our hard labor, and our oppression. And the Lord brought us out from Egypt, with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with great terror, and with signs and wonders.” Deut. 26: 4-10.
It was in view of this humbling origin, and this sore oppression, of his fathers in a foreign land, that the Jew was commanded to “ love, and pity,” and relieve the stranger. The very facts in his history which might have been turned to the cherishing of rancor and malevolence, or to a misanthropic feeling of revenge, such as in later periods brought upon them the stigma of being hostes hu