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Earthly kingdom after kingdom was to rise, flourish, and decay. Dispensation after dispensation of Divine dealings with man was to elapse. Long centuries-tens of centuries-of struggle, and care, and sin, and suffering, were to pass over this weary earth. But-at the end of all this-man was to awake and leave his “ long home” of the grave, and be raised out of his sleep!
And then comes the solemn question of ver. 15, “If a man die, shall he live again?
It is quite plain that this is a question to which two very different replies can be made, according to the belief of the person who is inquired of. The Christian would say, Yes; he shall live again when Christ comes to raise him from the dead. The Epicurean and the Sadducee would say, with a sneer or with a sigh, No; man shall never live again after that he has once passed under the dominion of death. Which of these replies, we are to ask, would Job give ?
There are two means of finding this out. If we knew his faith from other passages we could tell. Now, we have already ascertained this from chap. xix. 25-27, and cannot, therefore, hesitate to say that Job would give the Christian, not the Epicurean reply. But we can also refer to the context of this 15th verse as afford. ing us clear and full proof that such would be his reply. He does not say “Yes,” but he conveys the affirmative reply beyond a doubt.
I suppose every one wil allow that if Job meant to convey his idea that, if a man died he would never live again, that if he made any reflections on this sad end of man they would be those of a hopeless sorrow and despair. We suppose that every one will allow that if words of patient hope occur in connection with this question, they indicate beyond a doubt that Job had faith in the doctrine of the resurrection of man to his second life.
Now let our readers look at the expressions which immediately follow the question, “ If a man die, shall he live again ?”. They are these : “ All the days of my appointed time (or warfare) will I wait till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer Thee: Thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thy hands."
Are these the words of sorrow and despair, or of joy and patient hope? If Job believed that when a man died he should never live again, his words would be those of a sad despairing man. But they are words of hope and faith in connection with death based on God's love for him, and God's power to do for him what man and nature could not possibly effect. With the hope of the “change"
" before him, he will wait all the days of his warfare, hard and terrible as it was ; he will not curse God and die." His glorious faith is based upon the only power which could give him his ardent wishthe power of God speaking with the voice which the dead shall hear. He knew God loved him. He knew God had a desire to him as the work of His hands. He, therefore, would reply to
"If a man die, shall he live again?"-"Yes, I know my Redeemer, the Living and the Last. He shall stand over my dust. He shall speak, and I will answer Him by coming forth to His call and praising Him throughout eternity.” As the Psalmist would reply to his question, "Shall the dead arise and praise Thee ? ”—Yes, they certainly shall; so Job would reply to his question, “If a man die, shall he live again ?”—Yes, he shall live when God shall call him out of his grave. This glorious faith it was which was at the base of Job's patience when every earthly comfort was withdrawn from him, and he saw no prospect of their return. This faith nerved Paul to fight his good fight; it nerved Job also to the warfare of a good soldier of his loving God (2 Cor. iv. 18; 2 Tim. iii. 7, 8).
I will now just say a few words in reply to two objections of Mr. Phillips, against the idea that Job believed in a future life.
He tells us then, in the first place, that passages such as chap. vii. 9, s. 21, xvi. 22, are absolutely inconsistent with the belief of Job in any future life. Our readers will examine these. We will quote but one:-“ When a few years are come, then I shall go
the way whence I shall not return."
I think I have already explained this in my observations on chap. xiv. 7-10. They convey no more than this, that to recall the human life which has departed, is beyond all nature and beyond all human skill. Perhaps the use of similar language from one who was a great master of language will show best what I mean, and justify what I say.
I believe the verse which I have quoted from (chap. xvi. 22), is the source from whence Shakespeare derived one of his most frequently quoted passages. How does he describe the state of death ? He calls it
“ The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns.”—Hamlet, A. iii. S. i. This is just as strong a passage as any of those which occur in Job, and yet Shakespeare, we know, was a believer in resurrection.
There is another objection, of a different kind, which Mr. Phillips makes to the idea that Job was a believer in a future lite.
He thinks that if Job had had such a faith, he would have had no difficulty in explaining those dealings of God with him which perplexed him and his friends so much; a belief in a future life would have solved them all, when “what is crooked shall be made straight" (RAINBOW, p. 523). It is sufficient to reply to this that men who have undoubtedly a faith in a future life have experienced the very same difficulties which Job did. They, too, are perplexed, astonished at, know not how to explain the ways of God here with His people. I suppose all will allow that the prophet Habakkuk believed in the resurrection from the dead. He was an inspired man, and lived after Isaiah and Hosea had uttered those plain predictions which enabled Martha to express her clear belief in the
grand doctrine (John xi. 24). Yet Habakkuk was astonished at the way in which God looked upon the troubles of His people. “How long shall I cry, and Thou wilt not hear ? even cry out unto
I Thee of violence, and Thou wilt not save? Wherefore lookest Thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest Thy tongue when the wicked dev
reth the man that is more righteous than he ? " (chap. i. 2, 13.) If Habakkuk spake thus, with all his belief in resurrection, so surely may Job have done so.
We hope that we have vindicated the old and generally received view that the patriarch Job was a believer in a future life. We may still read his famous passage in chap. xix. 25-27, and believe that it enunciates the same grand doctrine which St. Paul enlarges on in 1 Cor. xv. Resurrection was the primitive faith of man. Job expressed his wish that his faith in it were
graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever" (chap. xix. 24). It
” may be that inscriptions to this effect now found on marble in a fortress on the coast of Hadramaut, in the vicinity of Aden, in Arabia, may have come down to us from an antiquity almost as great as the age of the patriarch. Part of those inscriptions, believed to be of great antiquity by their learned commentator, are thus translated :-" They sanctioned for us from the religion of Hud (Heber) right laws; and we believed in miracles, the resurrection, and the resuscitation of the dead by the breath of God.” (“' Historical Geography of Arabia,” by Rev. Charles Forster, B.D., vol. 2, p. 90). Our readers may consult this book in the Guildhall
DOCTRINES INVOLVED. SUBJE UBJECTS for consideration which appear to be involved in the
Doctrine of the Eternal Punishment of impenitent sinners in the torments of hell.
1st. There are now and there will be confined from the day of their death throughout all eternity in suffering by far the greater portion of the human race; as those known to be godly in any degree or form of religion (though spoken of as "a great multitude, which no man could number") have always been by very far the smallest portion of mankind.
2nd. That those so confined will include all ages (except those in infancy) and all grades of character, from the most cruel debased profligates, to those who by reason of juvenile age or imperfect education were comparatively innocent, their chief sin being not actual ill-doing, but the neglect of the love and service of God.
3rd. That many of the latter class will be those young people and others who did not love and serve God, chiefly because they
were never taught to do so; and it was the lot of others who had the advantage of education to listen to teachers of error, under whom they were placed, and whom they were bound to listen to ; and who appeared to them to have as much or more authority for their teaching as those of a contrary nature.
4th. That all these, being the children of fallen Adam, came into the world with a nature having a bias or proneness to evil.
5th. That all these so confined, being from the nature and circumstance of their miserable condition quite incapable of providing for the maintenance of their existence (as when on earth), are and will be kept alive and capable of enduring their punishment by the miraculous power of God in order that their misery and guilt may be perpetuated.
6th. That all these being impenitent sinners in terrible sufferings would riot in blasphemy and sin to the utmost of their power and opportunity.
7th. That Satan, whose aim it has been from the first to mar or destroy the work of God in the history of the human race, would have ample cause for triumph in his great success.
8th. That the Divine Being, though a God of Love, a God of truth, and without iniquity, would regard all this horrible misery and sin with satisfaction and complacency.
9th. That, although God has declared in His Word that “He retaineth not His anger for ever, because He delighteth in mercy" (Ps. ciii. 9; Isa. lvii. 16; Jer. iii. 5; Micah vii. 18, 19), yet He will thus be false to Himself and to His Word by continuing His anger against all these.
10th. That the doctrine of the eternal punishment of impenitent sinners in the torments of hell involving these serious points is found to rest not upon clear explicit declarations of the Divine will and purpose, but upon passages in the Old Testament which are poetical and metaphorical, and in the New of like nature as parables and symbols.
11th. That these poetical, metaphorical, parabolical, and symbolical texts require to be authoritatively explained by those which are clear and explicit on the subject, of which there are none to sustain the doctrine.
THE ABOLITION OF SIN. “Now once in the end of the Age hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation."—HEB. ix. 26-28.
RY one man sin came into the world, and death by sin ; so
death passed upon all men, for all have sinned." The
appointment of death unto men once, is because of their inheritance of the sinful nature of the one man."
This is evidenced by the statement that “ death has reigned” over irresponsible children and others “who have not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression,” i.e., by an act of volition. This primary death, therefore, cannot be penal, since men are not accountable for the possession of the Adam nature. Death once is a just deprivation of original life (Gen. iii. 22, 23), not extinction, or there would be no resurrection of “the unjust” to judgment, for which they are “ reserved " in the grave (2 Peter ii. 9; Rev. xx. 12, 13). They are, however, accountable for the "deeds done in the body," the evil acts wilfully performed from the promptings of the sinful nature (Rev. xx. 13). Hence, " after this " first death comes the judicial sentence of death the second time, or God's inflexible refusal to confer a second or eternal life upon such as have given undeniable proof of the worthless and trustless nature of the life at first bestowed, but now withdrawn for ever (Acts xiii. 46).
According to John xvii. 3, the Divine object in the gift of the varied faculties of the eternal life, is to enable the possessor to estimate at its sublimest value, as well as to enjoy supremely, the moral perfections and creative glories, ways, and acts of God and of His Son Jesus Christ. To realise that which under no other circumstances can be realised. “Canst thou,” said his friend to Job, “ find out the Almighty to perfection ? ” How
unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!” (Rom. xi. 33–36; 1 Cor. ii. 9; Job xxxvii. 23 ; xi. 7, 8). In the beginning, the way to the knowledge of God lay in “the tree of life ; ” but man deliberately plucked the fatal tree which perverted that knowledge, and presented him with "the knowledge of good and evil ; ” good, which the corrupted state of nature forbade him to enjoy; and evil, from which he had no power to flee! In the end, the tree of judgment will have vanished for ever, whilst in the gift of life, with the privilege of its eternal prolongation by means of “the tree of life” transplanted into “ the midst of the street” of the New Jerusalem, man will possess the ever-increasing capacity for the appreciation and comprehension unto perfection of Omnipotence and Omniscience !
II. The word “judgment " does not always necessarily carry with it the idea of the infliction of suffering. This is apparent from the fact that believers in Christ will be called up for “judgment," that the unquestionable opinion of the Head of the Body may be expressed on the character of their conduct and works as servants. They are also to hear, before the same tribunal, His judicial decision of their absolute and manifest justification in the presence of assembled witnesses. The word, as used in the passage under
See my work on “The Revelation of Jesus Christ,"' chap. viii. p. 233-238.