Imatges de pÓgina
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tell us it was the Grave which was the place of silence to the dead? If the Answerer's interpretation be right, this world, and not the other, was the place. Had the Psalmist supposed, as the Doctor does, that the dead continued in a capacity of remembering the goodness of God, this remembrance could be no where more quickly or forcibly excited than in that World where the divine goodness is clearly unveiled to the spirits of just men made perfect*. On the contrary, the Grave is uniformly represented by all of them, as the land of darkness, silence, and forgetfulness.

But since, of all the sacred writers, the Psalmist is he who is supposed by the adversaries of the D. L. to have most effectually confuted the Author's system, I shall quote a passage from his hymns, which, I think, fairly enough decides the controversy.--Hitherto we have only heard him say, that the dead forget God; we shall now find him go further, and say that God forgets them.-"I am counted with them that go down into the pit.-FREE amongst the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and THEY ARE CUT OFF FROM THY HAND†. Let the serious reader take notice of the last words,-they (the dead) are cut off from thy hand, i.e. they are no longer the object of thy Providence or moral Government. On this account it is, that in the beginning of the sentence he calls these dead FREE; that is, manumised, set at liberty; in the same sense that Uzziah the leper's freedom is spoken of by the sacred historian--And Uzziah the King was a Leper, and dwelt in a several house [or, as the margin of our translation tells us, it signifies in the Hebrew, a FREE HOUSE, or house of freedom] being a Leper, for he was CUT OFF from the house of the Lord. The phrase of + Ps.lxxxviii. 4, 5. cutting

* Heb. xii. 23.

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cutting off, &c. signifying the same in both places, the taking away all intercourse and relation between two: And if that intercourse consisted in service on the one side, and protection on the other, as between Lord and Subject, Master and Servant, he who owed service is with great propriety of figure said to be FREE or MANUMISED. Hezekiah, as quoted above, delivers the very same sentiment, though in a different expression -they that go down into the pit cannot hope for THY TRUTH. What this truth is, the following words declare, the living, the living, they shall praise thee. THE FATHER TO THE CHILDREN SHALL MAKE KNOWN THY TRUTH. As much as to say, "the truth not to be hoped for by them who go down into the pit, is The nature and the history of God's Dispensation to his chosen people;" in which, by a particular precept of the LAW, the Fathers were commanded to instruct their Children. Thus the Psalmist and this other Jewish Ruler agree in this principle, that the Dead are no longer the object of God's general Providence, or of his particular: which evinces what I was to prove, "THAT THE BODY OF THE EARLY JEWS

HAD NO EXPECTATIONS OF A FUTURE STATE OF

REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS." And here let me take notice of a passage which the contenders for the contrary Doctrine much confide in. It is where David, speaking of his dead child, says, I shall go to him, but he will not return to me. But whither was he to follow his departed child? He himself tells you -into a land of darkness, silence, and forgetfulness, where he was to be no longer in a capacity of remembering the goodness and mercy of God, or even of being remembered by him; but was to be cut off from his hand, that is, was to be no longer the object of his Providence or moral Government.

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To proceed. If now we set all these passages together, we find it to be the same language throughout, and in every circumstance of life; as well in the cool philosophy of the author of Ecclesiastes, as amidst the distresses of the Psalmist, and the exultations of good Hezekiah.

But could this language have been used by a People instructed in the doctrine of life and immortality? or do we find one word of it, on any occasion whatever, in the Writers of the New Testament, but where it is brought in to be confuted and condemned * ?

All this, to thoughtful men, will, I suppose, be deemed convincing. Whence it follows that their subterfuge is quite cut off, who pretend, that Moses did not indeed propagate the Doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments in writing, but that he delivered it to TRADITION, which conveyed it safely down through all the ages of the Jewish Dispensation, from one end of it to the other. For we see, he was so far from teaching it, that he studiously contrived to keep it out of sight; nay provided for the want of it: and the people were so far from being influenced by it, that they had not even the idea of it. Yet the writers of the Church of Rome have taken advantage of this silence in the Law of Moses concerning a future state, to advance the honour of TRADITION: For, not seeing the doctrine in the WRITTEN LAW, and fancying they saw a necessity that the Jews should have it, they concluded (to save the credit of the Jewish Church and to advance the credit of their own) that Moses had carefully inculcated it, in the TRADITIONAL. This weighty point, Father Simon proves by the second book of

*"Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die. Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners," &c. 1 Cor. xv. 32.

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Maccabees;

Maccabees; and triumphs over the Protestants and Socinians (as he calls them) for their folly in throwing that book out of the Canon, and thereby disabling themselves from proving a future state, from the Old Testament*.

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A very worthy protestant Bishop does as much honour to Tradition, in his way. In some Miscellanies of the Bishop of Cloyne, published in 1752, we find these words" Moses, indeed, doth not insist on a 'future state, THE COMMON BASIS OF ALL POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS.--The belief of a future state (which it is manifest the Jews were possessed of lung before the coming of Christ) seems to have obtained amongst the Hebrews from prineval TRADITION, which might render it unnecessary for Moses to "insist on that article." p. 68. Though the Bishop has not the merit of saying this with a professed design, like Father Simon, pour appuyer la Tradition, yet the Church of Rome has not the less obligation to him for assigning so much virtue to this their powerful assistant, which has conveyed to them all they want ; and indeed most of what they have. But if the traditional doctrine of a future state prevailed amongst the Jews, in the time of Moses, and that he would trust to the same conveyance for the safe delivery of it down to the times of Christ, how came it to pass that

Mons. Simon avoit dit, pour appuyer la Tradition, que la resurrection des corps ne peut se demontrer par le Vieux Testament ces expressions plus claires de la resurrection & du siecle à venir, qui se trouvent dans le second Livre Maccabees, sont une preuve evidente que les Juifs avoient une Tradition touchant la Resurrection, dont ils n'est fait aucune mention dans les anciens livres de l'Ecriture. Les Protestans & les Sociniens qui ne reçoivent point les Maccabees ne pourront pas la proaver solidenrent par le Vieux Testament. Pere Simon, Reponse au Sentimens de quelques Theologiens de Hollande, &c. p. 39.

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he did his best to weaken the efficacy, by studiously contriving to draw men off, as it were, from the Doctrine, and always representing it under the impenetrable cover of temporal rewards and punishments?

2. If a future state obtained by Tradition, What occasion was there for the Law of punishing the transgression of the parent upon the children?

3. If it obtained by Tradition, How happened it that the Jews are not represented in their History sometimes at least, as acting on the motives, and influenced by the prospect of a future state, and expressing their hopes concerning it like the rest of mankind, who had it by Tradition, or otherwise?

4. If it obtained by Tradition, How came HEZEKIAH to say, that they who go down into the pit cannot hope for the truth and DAVID, to represent the dead as going into the place of silence and forgetfulness, where they were no longer to praise and celebrate the goodness of God? On the contrary, are there not passages in the books of SOLOMON and JOB, which plainly shew that no such tradition obtained in their respective times?

5. If it obtained by Tradition, What occasion for the administration of an extraordinary Providence under the Law? Or from whence arose the embarras of DAVID and JEREMIAH (not to speak of the disputants in the book of Job) to account for the prosperity of some wicked Individuals, in the present life? In a word, to the maintainers of this Tradition may be very appositely applied the words of Jesus to the Traditionists in general, when he told them, they made the word of God of none effect through their traditions. For certainly, if any thing can render that word of God which brought life and immortality to light by the Gospel, of none effect, it is the pretended PRIMEVAL

TRADITION

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