The Works of

Rev. Prof. Dr. F.N. Lee

12 June

The dead don’t; but we will praise the Lord for evermore!

Psalm 115:17-18

‘The dead do not praise the Lord, neither any that go down into silence! But we will bless the Lord — from this time further, and for evermore!’ Psalm 115:17-18.

Calvin comments: “The faithful…mock at the madness of all who are addicted to the worship of idols…. They (the faithful) magnify their own happiness, in that they have been adopted by God….

“‘O God! The (ungodly) dead shall not praise you!’… The Prophet goes on to beseech God to show Himself propitious towards His Church — were there no other object to be gained, than the preventing mankind from being utterly cut off…. ‘Lord, if You should allow us to perish — what would be the result, but that Your name would become extinct and would be entombed with us?!’

“From His appearing to deprive the dead of all sensibility, a question occurs. Do souls, after they have departed from their corporeal prison, still survive?

“It is certain that they are then more vigorous and active! And therefore it must inevitably follow, that God is praised also by the dead….

“Moreover, in appointing mankind their abode upon Earth…, He leaves them a life — such as they enjoy in common with the brutal tribes. For the Earth was not given exclusively to men.

“(The Earth was not given exclusively to men) — but also to oxen, swine, dogs, lions and bears. And, what is more, to every sort of reptile and insect. For there is not a fly nor a creeping thing, however mean, which the Earth does not supply with an abode.”

The present text of Scripture is not to be understood as implying the Ancient Hebrews had no idea of a future state of human existence beyond death and the grave. Such an interpretation would be at variance with many passages of the Old Testament — such as Psalms 16:10 & 49:15 & 73:24 and Proverbs 14:32 and Ecclesiastes 8:11-13 & 11:9 & 12:14; and Hebrews 11 and Luke 20:37 too.

Calvin goes on: “The Prophet says that the Earth was given to mankind, so that they might employ themselves in God’s service until they be put in possession of everlasting felicity…. The Prophet concludes that the whole course of nature would be subverted, unless God saved His Church!”

Calvin also says in his Psychopannychia: “When will the resurrection be?… The just…have not…fallen from the hand of the Lord, nor escaped His remembrance!… ‘The dead will not praise You, O Lord, nor all who descend into the lower parts. But we who live, bless the Lord from this time. Yes, even for ever!’ (Psalm 115:18).”

The ungodly dead don’t. But we will praise the Lord for evermore! And you?