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God is better than life. The smile of God makes rich with purest joy, in which no tinge nor taste of sorrow can be found. On you the light thereof shines, giving you a foretaste of the bliss of heaven.
Leaders! the years of your life are swiftly passing away. The gloomy and sorrowful hour of death will soon be here. When you bid a final adieu to weeping friends, when you experience sensations to which you have hitherto been strangers, when you feel the icy hand of the last foe resting heavily on your hearts, all pursuits and all interests will be seen in a new light; time will appear as nothing, and eternity as everything. What, think ye, will adequately sustain and cheer your departing spirits at that sad and solemn crisis? Will the recollection that you have laboured with all your might to improve your earthly circumstances, and that, while doing so, you have been lukewarm in the discharge of your duties as class-leaders? Ah, no! Such recollection will bite like an adder and sting like a scorpion. The memory that will refresh your souls in death, and brighten your prospect of a fairer world, will be that which rests on prayers, and contributions, and exertions for the edification and increase of the Church of Christ. How brilliant will be the crowns of rejoicing, whose flashing gems are glorified spirits! Let it be the labour of vour lives to win such crowns, and the ambition of your hearts to wear them, in the heaven of heavens.
Popish FRAUD.-THE AUTOMATOX JESUS." In the monastery of Isenach," says Luther," stands an image which I have seen. When a wealthy person came hither to pray to it (it was Mary with her child), the child turned away his face from the sinner to the mother; but if the sinner gave liberally to that monastery, then the child turned to him again, and if he promised to give more, then the child showed itself very friendly and loving, and stretched out its arms over him in the form of a cross. But this picture and image was made hollow within, and repaired with locks, lines and screws, and behind it stood a knave to move them; and so were the people mocked and deceived, who took the trick to be a miracle !"
RELICS AT AIX-LA-CHAPELLE. — Dr. Raffles, in his tour through Europe, in 1817, visited the church of the Minorites, in Aix-la-Chapelle, France. After describing sundry antiquities, among which were “the remains of one of the children whom Herod killed in the hope of destroy. ing Christ," he proceeds: “ All this was interesting, but the cream of the antiquities yet remained. We were
conducted to the restry, or robing. place of the priest, where a young man, whose province it is to expose these wonders to the gaze of the credulous, threw open the curiouslypainted doors of an immense recess, when in an instant we were dazzled with a profusion of gold and precious stones, wrought into various forms, to contain or emblazon the precious and sacred relics. ... We were shown, 1. The girdle of Jesus Christ, brought from Jerusalem by Charlemagne, and with that monarch's seal annexed to it. 2. Girdle of the Virgin Mary, derived from the same quarter. 3. Abone of the Virgin Mary's father. 4. A bit of the cord with which Jesus was bound when he was scourged. 5. A prickle from the crown of thorus. 6. A bit of the sponge with which they supplied the vinegar. 7. A bit of one of the nails by which he was fastened to the cross. 8. And, lastly, some sweat which fell from him in the garden of Gethsemane. To this may be added, a link of the chain with which Peter was chained at Rome; a bit of the bone of Simeon's arm with which he embraced the infant Jesus; a rib of St. Stephen, and a tooth of St. I homas!
CHRIST'S DESCENT INTO IIELL DISPROVED.
(Concluded from our last.) 4. Others regard the word hell as meaning the state or place in which spirits exist while disembodied; and suppose that the prophecy means that God would not leave the Redeemer's soul in that state or place, but soon reunite it with the body, and then exalt both soul and body to heaven. This is the interpretation of Baxter, Doddridge, Henry, and many others. In support of this view it is alleged that the Hebrew word sheol (hell), in its most comprehensive sense, includes the whole spiritual world, the invisible region of all departed souls, in one part of which are the righteous and in the other the wicked. It must be acknowledged that the Hebrew word sheol, and the Greek hades, rendered by our word hell, have this large and general meaning, and that such a meaning was formerly included in our own word hell, which is derived from the Saxon word hil, to cover, to hide or put out of sight. Thus sheol, hudes and hell, in their largest and most comprehensive sense, include the whole of the unseen world, the common receptacle of departed souls, where they are hidden from our view; and it is true that the soul of the Redeemer after death entered the spiritual world. But the interpretation founded on this criticism does not, we think, express the true meaning of the passage in question; for the word sheol is never used when the place of blessedness is specially intended. In its customary sense, it means either the grave or the hell of perdition; and it is only applied to the spiritual world in a large and general sense, when there is no special reference to a place or state of happiness. But the soul of Christ, on departing from the body, entered into paradise. This is expressly stated by our Lord himself; and though the words sheol, hades and hell, do in their largest sense comprehend the unseen world in general, or the region which was supposed to be the common receptacle of departed souls, yet those terms are never employed in Scripture to denote the particular region of the blessed. Thell is a term which neither in our own language nor in the original tongues is ever used in the Scripture to mean paradise or hearen. Besides, the words “ Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell“ imply, we think, a suffering condition, or some disadvan. tageous state, which the Redeemer desired not to endure; and therefore those words cannot apply to the soul of Christ when in the separate state or in paradise. Substitute the word paradise for hell in the passage, and the erroneous nature of this interpretation will at once appear; for the text will then read, “ Thou wilt not leave my soul in paradise," or in a state of blessedness! We shall hereafter show that this and other discordant and inconsistent renderings of the passage have arisen from an erroneous translation
5. Another interpretation is, that the word hell, as used in this passage, is not to be applied either to the hell of perdition, or to any region in the spiritual world, but to the grave. This interpretation is sanctioned by divines of great antiquity. We have already seen that when the clause respecting Christ's descent into hell was first introduced into the Creed by the Church of Aquileia, in the fourth century, it appears to have been understood of his burial. This view seems to have been entertained also by the Reformers of the English Churcli, in the sixteenth century; for, in the homily on the resurrection of Christ it is said, “He passed through death and hell to the intent to put us in good hope that by his strength we shall do the same." The same view is maintained by Munster, Vatablus, Grotius, Beza, and many more modern commentators and divines. It must be acknowledged that the original word sheol has this signification, and is thus extensively used in the Scriptures. There is a serious difficulty, however, in supposing how the prophecy could speak of the Redeemer's soul not being left in the grave, because it never entered there, but went to paradise immediately on the death of the body. Yet there are several modes in which this difficulty is attempted to be solved. Some suppose that though the passage speaks of the soul of Christ, yet only his dead body is intended. Thus Beza renders the word "waj (nepheshi) • my corpse," instead of “ my soul :" “ Thou wilt not leave my corpse in the grave." And Grotius renders it myself; as if the text said, “Thou wilt not leave myself in the grave.” We object to both these interpretations, on the ground that the passage clearly refers to the two-fold nature of Christ, his body and his soul, and makes mention of the two states which respectively apply to each. Sheol is evidently mentioned with respect to the soul of Christ, and corruption is mentioned in respect to his body; and therefore any interpretation which ignores this distinction in the two parts of Christ's nature cannot be correct. Some suppose that by the term soul only the animal life of Christ is meant, and that the passage simply declares that his life should not be left in the grave, but raised again. If we admit that the word nephesh frequently means life in other parts of Scripture, yet we cannot admit that to be its meaning here ; for it is exceedingly improbable that this sublime prophecy should speak of the body and animal life of the Saviour, and omit any reference to the superior part of his nature—the soul. Others, pressed by these difficulties, admit that the soul of Christ is meant, but think that the phraseology is employed in accordance with a popular notion that the soul of man descends with the body into the sepulchre. We object to this view as unscriptural. Whatever erroneous notions respect. ing the human soul descending with the body to the grave might obtain among heathens and the ignorant part of the Hebrew nation, certainly no such notion could be incorporated in an important prophecy of Christ's resurrection ; nor can any interpretation based upon such a supposition be in accordance with truth.
There is scarcely any portion of the Sacred Scripture which has been so diversely interpreted, and respecting which such a variety of conjectures hare been volunteered to harmonize it with sound doctrine and other parts of Scripture. This fact itself is suggestive that the true meaning of the passage has been generally misapprehended, and the misapprehension has, we conceive, arisen from an inaccurate translation. That inaccuracy, in our opinion, consists in the adoption of the preposition in instead of the preposition to or FOR -an error which in numerous instances might transpire without at all impairing the general sense of a passage, but which in this instance gives quite a different complexion and meaning to the prophecy, and has been a fruitful source of difficulty and embarrassment.
As the passage stands in our own version and in many others, it conveys a sense which implies that the soul of our blessed Lord should, after the death of the body, enter into some disadvantageous or suffering place or state, expressed by the Hebrew word sheol, from which it should soon be delivered; whereas the passage, when properly rendered, means that the soul of our Lord should not enter there at all. The erroneous sense we have just adverted to lies so obviously upon the surface of the passage, as it stands in our version, that it is made the foundation of Bishop Pearson's entire argument. He says, “ Now, from this place (Psalm xvi. 8-10) the article (in the Creed) is clearly and infallibly deduced thus: If the soul of Christ were not left in hell at his resurrection, then his soul was in hell before his resurrection : but it was not there before his death; therefore upon or after his death, and before his resurrection, the soul of Christ descended into hell."* This reasoning is clearly founded upon the supposition that the passage implies that the soul of Christ should, after his death, enter into the place or state called sheol, and the same view has misled other inter. preters. We believe the passage, when properly rendered, implies no such thing, but the reverse ; nainely, that the soul of Christ should not enter into the place called sheol, whatever place that word may designate.
* Pearson on the Crecd, p. 300, octavo. London, 1830.
The reader may reasonably inquire, " Will the original bear the construction you propose to put upon the passage?" Our reply is, we believe it is the most natural, simple and grammatical construction which the text can receive. We propose no aduition to or alteration of the original words; we have no emendations of the Hebrew words to suggest, either from manu scripts, versions, or the fertile source of conjecture. We take the words as they lie before us, and we take the words in their common signification, believing the word “soul" to mean the true and proper soul of Christ, and the word " sheol" to mean hell in its customary sense. The only alteration we propose, even in the English version, is that of a single word; and this word we alter because it is clearly a departure from the proper meaning of the original word.
Every tyro in Hebrew knows that the prepositions in and to are commonly expressed in Hebrew by single letters prefixed to the words they govern. Thus 1 (beth) prefixed to the name of a place means in that place, and
(lamed) prefixed to a name means to or for the object or place intended by the noun. This is so plain as scarcely to require illustration by a single example; but for the sake of the general reader we give one or two examples of each of these Hebrew prepositions. In the following instances, the preposition 1 (beth) is used, and it will be seen that its proper meaning is, as we have stated, in. “O) that thou wouldest hide me in the grave." (Job xiv. 13.) “For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?" (Ps. vi. 5.) “There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goest." (Eccles. ix. 10.) We now take an example of the other Hebrew preposition (lamed), which properly means to or for the object intended. In the Psalm before us, we hare instances of the use of both these prepositions, and we give them that the reader may see at one view the difference between them. “Preserve me, O God! for in thee do I put my trust. O my soul! thou hast said to the Lord, thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee, but to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent in whom is all my delight." (Ps. xvi. 1, 2, 3.) In every case before us, where the word in is put in italics, the preposition ) (beth) is used in the original; and in every instance where to is put in italics, the prepositions (lamed) is used in the original.*
We now turn to the text under consideration and ask, What is the preposition used before the word sheol? We see the translation of it is in, as “ Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell ; but is the preposition (beth) used, which, in its proper sense, means in, as seen in the quotations we have adduced ? It is not ; but the other preposition 5 (lamed); which, we have seen, properly means to, or for. Now had the preposition 1 (beth) been used, the word in would have been its proper translation ; but instead of that the preposition (lamed) is used, and the word to should, most certainly, have been used in the translation. Therefore the literal and proper rendering of the passage is, “ Thou wilt not leave (or abandon) my soul to hell, nor wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." Thus, instead of conveying a sense which implies that the Redeemer's soul should go to sheol, or hell, for a time, on the contrary, it predicts the fact that his soul should not be left or abandoned to go to that place at all. It corresponds, indeed, with another passage, where the Psalmist says, “ God will redeem my soul from the power of sheol; for he shall receive me.” (Ps. xlviii. 15.) So the Redeemer rejoiced to know that God would preserve his soul from the power of hell, and would receive him into paradise when his sufferings were ended on the cross.
* We know this criticism is totally unnecessary to the veriest tyro in Hebrew; but we are thus minute that the general reader, for whose benefit we write, may go with us through the entire argument, and be satisfied that our interpretation is correct. The translation we bave given of this passage is supported by two of the oldest versions in existence—the Chaldee paraphrase and the Septuagint. In the former the same preposition is used as in the Hebrew, and has precisely the same meaning, to or for, and in the latter that proposition is employed which the most exactly corresponds with this meaning. It is well known that in the Greek language the words which correspond with the Hebrew prepositions are xy (en) and its (eis), the former meaning in, and properly representing a (beth), and the latter meaning to, and expressing the meaning of 5 (lamed). Now in the translation of the passage by the Septuagint us (eis) is used, and not ay (en), thus exactly agreeing with the translation we have given. It is worthy of notice, too, that when the apostle Peter quoted this psalm in Acts ii. 27, he employed the preposition Els (eis), which properly expresses the sense we have given to the Hebrew word in our interpretation. It does not invalidate our argument to admit that these prepositions, both in Hebrew and Greek, are interchangable, and are sometimes substituted the one for the other. The true and proper meaning is that which we have given in our interpretation, and though the particles may sometimes be used almost indifferently, there are many cases where they cannot be interchanged one for another, and the passage in question presents one of those instances. The proper meaning of the particle 5 (lamed) is to or for, and such is its meaning in the text we are examining; and to give it the meaning of 2 (beth) or in is to obscure the passage, perplex the reader, sanction error, and induce interpreters to have recourse to various conflicting opinions and conjectures. T'he literal rendering we have given to the passage removes the obscurity, and presents a plain intelligible sense.
While this interpretation agrees with the most ancient versions, it harmonizes with the several subjects named in the passage, and helps to bring out their natural and obvious meaning. The passage evidently speaks of the twofold nature of Christ; his soul is expressly mentioned, and his bodily frame, his material structure is referred to; for corruption is spoken of, and it is only a material substance that can be liable to corruption. Now, in the interpretation we have given, there is no difficulty which compels us to con. found these distinct parts of Christ's nature, or to resort to a lame conjecture that perhaps the soul is only another word for the body, or for the corpse of the Saviour. We take the soul to mean literally the spiritual nature of Christ, that vital and immortal substance which survived the death of the body. The passage speaks also of two states, as applying to each part of human nature-corruption, as pertaining to the body, and sheol, or hell, as applying to the soul. These words are clearly distinct the one from the other in their meaning, and our interpretation maintains this distinction. It does not compel us to resort to a vague conjecture that perhaps they mean substantially the same thing. But we take the words in their obvious sense, corruption being spoken of as the state pertaining to the human body, and sheol, or hell, as the place of the soul; but into neither of those Christ should enter; for it is said, " Thou wilt not abandon my soul to hell," to be consigned to that abode of misery ; “neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." The soul shall suffer, but thou wilt not abandon it to hell; and the body shall die, but thou wilt not consign it to putrefaction.
This interpretation agrees also with the context and the general scope and design of the prophecy. The Psalm contains one of the most remarkable predictions of the Old Testament in reference to Christ's passion, deatli, resurrection, and ascension to glory. Here, too, the prophecy is expressed in the first person. Christ himself is the speaker, and he speaks of the things concerning himself. Ages before his incarnation, he contemplates the great purpose of his advent. The work he would have to perform and the sufferings he would have to endure pass before him. The scene is one of mingled terror and glory. He knows that his sufferings from men and