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The Immortality of the Soul.

The Immortality of the Soul.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
UPPER CANADA TRACT SOCIETY


But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which i9 spoken
unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and
the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And when
the multitude heard this, they were astonished at His doctrine. S. MATTHEW
xxii. 31-33.
UPPER CANADA TRACT SOCIETY


But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which i9 spoken
unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and
the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And when
the multitude heard this, they were astonished at His doctrine. S. MATTHEW
xxii. 31-33.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on May 18, 2013
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The Immortality of the Soul.UPPER CAADA TRACT SOCIETYBut as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which i9 spokenunto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, andthe God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And whenthe multitude heard this, they were astonished at His doctrine. S. MATTHEWxxii. 31-33.WE have in these words a direct argument our Lord s ownargument for the immortality of the soul. I think it isthe only argument of the kind that is to be found in the pages eitherof the ew Testament or of the Old. This, of course, invests thepassage with a very high and special interest ; and this interest isgreatly enhanced by the fact, that it is the argument, not of a disciple, but of our Lord Himself.Let me begin by reminding you, that the passage from the life of Jesus, with which we are now concerned, belongs to the last day of 288OUTLIES O VARIOUS PASSAGESHis public ministry, the Tuesday, as it were, before the first Easterday. Let me remind you also, that this last day of His publicministry was emphatically a day of questions and of conflict; of questions propounded now by one party of bitter enemies and nowby another, in the hope of either destroying his popularity orcompromising Him with the Roman Government. Amongst thesequestions was the one which drew from Him this argument for man simmortality. The question was propounded by the Sadducees, thematerialists or the secularists of the day : whose faith, or no faith, isdescribed on a memorable occasion in the Acts of the Apostles, bycontrast with the Pharisees, thus : For the Sadducees say that thereis no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees confessboth. The question was intended to turn into ridicule, and reduceto the absurd, the common orthodox belief of the time in a futurestate : and as addressed to Pharisees, with their utterly unspiritualconceptions as to the nature of that future state, it would no doubthave its force and its sting. Apparently the question was one whichhad been tried by the Sadducees upon the Pharisees often before ;and with such triumphant success, as to encourage the former to put
 
their famous problem even to Jesus. Last of all the woman diedalso ; therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife shall she be of theseven ?We all know how, in a moment and with a word, Jesus swept thewhole web of pitiful Sadducean sophistry away, Ye do err, notknowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as angelsof God in heaven. This, however, is not the matter to which I ask your attention now. Having the Sadducees before Him, He wouldnot let them go until He had not only exposed the folly of theirquestion, but had assailed the key of their own position. Withoutpausing, therefore, He proceeded thus, * But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto youby God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac,and the God of Jacob ? God is not the God of the dead, but of theliving.Before we attempt to analyse the argument and discover whereits force lies, two or three matters deserve our attention. We areassured that it produced a great impression at the time upon thebystanders upon the opponents of the Sadducees and even uponthe Sadducees themselves. For the moment, at any rate, the Sadducees(S. Matthew tells us) were silenced. He pursues the narrative thus :4 But when the Pharisees had heard that He had put the Sadduceesto silence, they were gathered together. Some scribes, S. Luke says,who were present and heard what passed, could not conceal theirVOL. vii. T 289FIRST SUDAY AFTER EASTER satisfaction and their approval. Then certain of the scribes answering said, Master, thou hast well said. 1 His enemies began to feel thatit was not safe to put questions to a disputant of such matchlessability. * After that they durst not ask Him any questions at all. 1Deepest of all, it would seem, and most satisfactory, was the impression produced upon the common people. He was surrounded by agroup of hearers when the question of the Sadducees was propoundedto Him, and the result on their mind is thus described by S.Matthew : * When the multitude heard this they were astonished atHis doctrine. A distinguished commentator in a recent work on theGospel says : * This answer of our Lord to the Sadducees made astrong, and apparently a lasting, impression upon the Jews. It issubstantially adopted, in a treatise on the Resurrection, by Rabbi
 
Madasse ben Israel, quoted by Keim, who says that the passageis very like this, but of late date, and resting certainly upon it. 1Putting all these hints and suggestions together, we shall certainlyexpect to find in the argument of Jesus a vein of thought, at once profound and popular, going to the very root of the matter, yet carefullyavoiding the subtleties of philosophyand metaphysics direct in its aim,and large and truly human in its scope. Of no common kind, surely,could that argument be, which at one and the same moment couldcommand the admiration of scribes and the sympathy of a crowd.We address ourselves to the study of it with the keenest possibleinterest, bearing in mind whose the argument is ; what its themeis ; and how wide and deep the impression which it produced.I. Applying ourselves to the argument thus, I fancy that our firstfeeling is not unlikely to be one of some perplexity, and even of disappointment. The argument is so compressed, through the necessitiesof the Evangelical narrative, that it is by no means easy to seizeand firmly grasp the point of it. Were it not for the repetition of itin the Gospels of S. Mark and S. Luke, we should be exceedinglylikely to miss its aim. Most happily for us, through the good providence of God and the inspiration of His Spirit, S. Mark and S. Lukehave preserved the same striking incident, and have presented it intheir pages with just enough of variety, just sufficient shifting of thepoint of view, to preserve us from mistakes into which it would havebeen so easy to fall ; and to convert the flat plain photograph intothe solidity and the reality of the stereoscopic picture.The argument, we must remember, was addressed to Sadducees ; thatis, to men, not without education and intelligence, who denied the resurrection of the dead, 1 or, in other words, who denied, l the immortalityof the soul. 1 For this is, unquestionably, what is really intended ; and itis to this denial of immortality that the argument of Jesus is addressed.It is just possible that it might be fancied that the question at issue290OUTLIES O VARIOUS PASSAGESbetween the Sadducees and Jesus was, not the immortality of thesoul, but the resurrection of the body, meaning by the body, notthat of which S. Paul says, It is raised a spiritual body, 1 but thismaterial organism, compacted of flesh and blood, bones and sinews,which we lay decently and reverently in the ground, when the breathof life has gone out of it ; and of which the same S. Paul says, flesh

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