« הקודםהמשך »
very well understood the difference of the fects among the Jews, and gives a particular account of them, makes not the least mention of any controversy between the Pharisees and the Sadducees about the resurrection of the body. All that he says is this, That the Pharisees hold the immortality of the soul, and that there are rewards and punishments in another world: but the Sadducees denied all this; and that there was any other state after this life. And this is the very fame account with that which is given of them in the New Testament, v 27. of this chapter, the Sadducees who deny that there is any resurrection : the meaning of which is more fully declared, A&s xxiii. 8. The Sadducees say, that there is no resurrection, neither angel nor spirit; but the Pharisees confess both : that is, the Sadducees denied that there was any other state of men after this life; and that there was any fiich thing as an immortal spirit, either angels, or the souls of men surviving their bodies. And, as Dr Hammond hath judiciously observed, this is the true importance of the word i'rasa'ois, viz. a future, or another state; unless in such texts where the context does restrain it to the raising again of the body, or where some word that denotes the body, as owual, or oupris, is added to it.
2. The force of this argument against those with whom our Saviour disputed, will farther appear, consider the great veneration which the Jews in general had for the writings of Moses above any other books of the Old Testament; which they, especially the Sadducees, looked upon only as explications and comments upon the law of Mofes : but they esteemed nothing as a necessary article of faith which had not some foundation in the writings of Moses. And this seems to me to be the true reason why our Saviour chose to confute them out of it Noses, rather than any other part of the Old Testament; and not, as many learned men have imagined, because the Sadducees did not receive any part of the Old Testament, but only the five books of Moses; so that it was in vain to argue against them out of any other. This I know hath becn a general opinion, grounded I think upon the mistake of a passage in Josephus, who says, “ The $ Sadducees only receive the written law.” But, if we
carefully consider that passage, we shall find that Josephus doth not there oppose the law to the other books of the Old Testament, which were also written, but to oral tradition : for 'he says expressly, that “ the Sadducees “ only received the written law; but the Pharisees, over « and besides what was written, received the oral, which
they call tradition.”
I deny not, but that in the later prophets there are more express texts for the proof of a future state, than any are to be found in the books of Moses; as Daniel, xii
. 2. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, fome to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And indeed it seems very plain, that holy men among the Jews, towards the expiration of the legal dispensation, had ftill clearer and more express apprehensions concerning a future state, than are to be met with in the writings of Moses, or of any of the prophets.
The law given by Moses did suppose the immortality of the souls of men, and the expectation of another life after this, as principles of religion in some degree naturally known; but made no new and express revelation of these things. Nor was there any occasion for it; the law of Moses being a political law, not intended for the government of mankind, but of one particular nation; and therefore was established, as political laws are, upon temporal promises and threatenings; promising temporal prosperity to the observation of its precepts, and threatening the breach of them with temporal judgments and calamities.
And this I take to be the true reason why arguments fetched from another world, are so obscurely inlifted up. on under that dispensation : not but that another life after this was always fuppofed, and was undoubtedly the hope and expectation of good men under the law; but the clear discovery of it was reserved for the times of the Messias. And therefore, as those times drew on, and the fun of righteousness was near his rising, the shadows of the night began to be chased away, and mens apprehensions of a future state to clear up; so that in the tiine of the Maccabees good men spake with more confidence and assurance of these things.
It is likewise to be considered, that the temporal calamities and sufferings with which the Jews were almost continually harrassed from the time of their captivity, had very much weaned good men from the consideration of temporal promises, and awakened their minds to the more serious thoughts of another world : it being natural to men, when they are destitute of present comfort, to support themselves with the expectation of better things for the future; and, as the Apostle to the Hebrews expresseth it, chap.vi. v 18. to fly for refuge to lay hold upon the hope that is before them, and to employ their reason to fortify themselves as well as they can in that persuasion.
And this I doubt 110t was the true occasion of those clearer and riper apprehensions of good men concerning, a future state in those times of distress and persecution : it being very agrecable to the wisdom and goodness of the divine providence, not to leave his people destitute of sufficient fapport under great trials and sufferings ; and nothing but the hopes of a better life could have borne up the spirits of men under such cruel tortures. And of this we have a molt remarkable instance in the history of the seven brethren in the Maccabees; who, being cruelly tortured and put to death by Antiochus, do most expressly declare their confident expectation of a resurrection to a better life. To which history the Apostle certainly refers, Heb. xi. 35. when he says, Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that ihey migbt obtain a better resurrection. Where the word which we render were tortured, is, ÉTUP. Avioingar, which is the very word used in the Maccabees to express the particular kind of torture used upon them; besides that, bea ing offered deliverance, they most resolutely refused to accept of it; with this express declaration, that they hoped for a resurrection to a better life.
But to return to my purpose : Notwithstanding there might be more clear and express texts to this purpose in the ancient prophets; yet our Saviour knowing how great a regard, not only the Sadducees, but all the Jews had to the authority of Moses, he thought fit to bring "his proof of the resurrection out of his writings, as that which was the most likely to convince them.
3. If we consider farther the peculiar notion which the Jews had concerning the use of this phrase or expresfion of God's being any one's God; and that was this : That God is no where in scripture said to be any one's God while he was alive: and therefore they tell us, that while Isaac lived, God is not called the God of Ifaac, but the fear of Isaac ; as Gen. xxxi. 42. Except the God of Abraham, and the fear of Ifaac, had been with me; and, V 53. when Laban made a covenant with Jacob, it is said, that Laban did swear by the God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, and the God of their father; but Jacob fwore by the fear of his father Ifaac. I will not warrant this observation to be good, because I certainly know it is not true : for God doth expressly call himself the God of Ifaac, while Isaac was yet alive, Gen. xxviii. 13. I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac. It is sufficient to my purpose, that this was a notion anciently current among the Jews. And therefore our Saviour's argument from this expression must be so much the stronger against them : for, if the souls of men be extinguished by death, as the Sadducces believed, what did it signify to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to have God called their God, after they were dead? But surely, for God to be any one's God, doth signify some great benefit and advantage; which yet, according to the notion which the Jews had of this phrase, could not respect this life; because, according to them, God is not said to be any one's God till after he is dead. But it is thus faid of Abraham, Ifaac, and Jacob, after their death ; and therefore our Saviour infers very strongly against them, that Abraham, Ifaac, and Jacob, were not extinguished by death, but do still live some where; for God is not the God of the dead, but of the living; and then he adds, by way of further explication, For all live to him ; that is, though those good inen who are departed this life, do not still live to us here in this world, yet they live to God, and are with him.
4. If we consider the great respect which the Jews had for those three fathers of their nation, Abraham, Ifaac, and Jacob. They had an extraordinary opinion of them, and elteemed nothing too great to be thought or faid of them. And therefore we find that they looked upon it as a great arrogance for any man to assume any thing to himself, that might seem to set him above Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. With what indignation did they fly upon our Saviour on this account ? John iv. 12. Art thou greater than our father Jacob? and chap. viii. ♡ 53. Art thou greater than our father Abraham ? whoin inakest thou thyself? Now, they who had so superstitious a veneration for them, would easily believe any thing of privilege to belong to them: fo that our Saviour doth, with great advantage, instance in them, in favour of whom they would be inclined to extend the meaning of any promise to the utmost, and allow it to signify as much as the words could poslibly bear. So that it is no wonder that the text tells us, that this argument put the Sadducees to filence. They durst not attempt a thing so odious, as to go about to take away any thing of privilege from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
And thus. I have, as briefly as the matter would bear, endeavoured to fhew the fitness and force of this argument to convince those with whom our Saviour difputed. I come now, in the
II. Second place, to inquire, Whether this be any more than an argument ad hominem ? and if it be, wherein the real and absolute force of it doth consist ?
I do not think it necessary to believe, that every argument used by our Saviour, or his Apostles, is absolutely, and in itself conclusive of the matter in debate. For an argument which doth not really prove the thing in question, may yet be a very good argument ad hominem; and in some cases more convincing to him with whom we dispute, than that which is a better argument in itself. Now, it is possible, that our Saviour's intention might not be to bring a conclusive proof of the resurrection, but only to confute those who would needs be disputing with him: and, to that purpose, an argument ad hominem, which proceeded upon grounds which they themselves could not deny, might be very proper and effectual. But although it be not necessary to believe, that this was more than an argument ad hominem ; yet it is the better to us, if it be absolutely and in itself conclulive of the thing in question. And this I hope will fufficiently appear, if we conlider these four things.