Imatges de pàgina
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TRADITION which the good Bishop so much insists
upon.
• The learned Prelate indeed observes, that the Jews
were possessed of a future state long before the coming
of Christ. But what is this to the purpose, if it can
be shewn, that the knowledge of it might be obtained
from a quarter very distant from the old Hebrew Tra-
ditions; and especially if from the colour and com-
plexion of the Doctrine, it can be shewn, that it did,
in fact, come from a distant quarter? namely, from
their Pagan neighbours; patched up out of some
dark and scattered insinuations of their own Prophets,
and varnished over with the metaphorical expressions
employed to convey them. But not to anticipate what
I have to say on this head in the last volume, I pro-
ceed in the course of my argument.

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SECT. VI.

WHAT is yet of greatest weight, the inspired writers of the New Testament expressly assure us that the doctrine of a future State of reward and punishment did not make part of the Mosaic Dispensation.

Their evidence may be divided into two parts. In the first, they prove that temporal Rewards and Punishments were the sanction of the Mosaic Dispensation : and in the second, that it had NO OTHER.

I. St. Paul, in bis epistle to Timothy, enforcing, against certain judaizing Christians, the advantages of moral above ritual observances, says, “ Bodily exercise

profiteth little; but godliness is profitable unto all

things; having the promise of the life that now is, and “ of that which is to come *.” That is, though numerous ritual observances were enjoined by the Law, 1 Tim. iv. 8.

and

66

and some there must needs be under the Gospel wherever there is a Christian Church, yet they are of little advantage in comparison of moral virtue; for that, under both Religions, the rewards proper to each were annexed only to godliness: that is to say, under the Jewish, the reward of the life that now is ; under the Christian, of that which is to come. This interpretation, which shew's temporal retards to be foreign to the nature of the Christian Economy, I support,

1. From other passages of the same Writer, where he expressly informs us that Christians have not the promise of the life that now is. For to the Corinthians he says, speaking of the condition of the followers of Christ, if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable * To understand the force of which words, we must consider, that they were addressed to Jewish Converts tainted with Sadducism, who argized from the Mosaic Dispensation to the Christian : And holding that there was no future state in the former, concluded by analogy, that there was none in the latter. The argument on which they built their first Position was, that the sanctions of the Law were temporal rewards and punishments. Our Apostle thereforc argues with them, as is his usual way, on their own principles. “ You deny, says he, a resur“ rection from the dead, or a future state of reward " and punishment. And why? Because there is no “ such doctrine in the Law. How do you prove it? “ Because the sanctions of the Law are temporal “ rewards and punishments. Agreed. And now on

your own principle I confute your conclusion. You

own that the Jews had an equivalent for future re“ wards and punishments, namely the present. Bụt “ Christians have no equivalent. So far from that,

1 Cor. xv. 19.

they they are, with regard to this world only, of all men most miserable; having therefore no equivalent for " the rewards of a future state, they must needs be " entitled to them.” This shews the superior force of the Apostle's reasoning. And from hence it appears not only that Christians HAD NOT, but that the Jews had the promise of the life that now is.

2. If we understand the promise of the life that now is to extend to the Christian Dispensation, we destroy the strength and integrity of St. Paul's argument. Ile is here reasoning against judaizing Christians. So that his business is to shew, that godliness, in every state, and under every Dispensation unto which they imagined themselves bound, had the advantage of bodily exercise *

The Author of the epistle to the Hebrews, speaking of Jesus, says : After the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another Priest, who is nude not after the Law OF A CARNAL COMMANDMENT, but after the power of an endless life to The Jewish Religion, called a carnal coinmundnent, is here opposed to the Christian, called the power of an endless life. By carnal commandment then must needs be understood a Law prunising carnal things, or the things of this life.

II. That the Mosaic Dispensation had only the sanction of temporal rewards and punishinents, or that it taught not future, let us hear St. John; who in the beginuing of his Gospel assures us, that the Law was given by Jusce, but that Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ. As certain then as the Law did not come by Jesus Christ, so certain is it, according to tiis Apostle, that Grace and Truth diti not come by Moses. This Grace and Truth cannot be understood gene* See note (RR) at the end of this Book. Chap. vii. ver. 15, 16.

Chap. i. ver. 17.

rically; rically; for, the grace or favour of God was bestowed on the chosen race, and truth, or the revealed will of God, did come by Nioses. It must therefore be sonie species of grace and truth, of which the Apostle here predicates; the publication of which species constitutes what is called the Gospel. And this all know to be redemption from death, and restoration to eternal life.

Again, to this part like rise, let us once more hcar the learned Apostle: As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: for until the Lure", sin was in the world, but Sin is not inputed where there is no Laro. Nevertheless Death reigned from Adam to Moses. It is St. Paul's purpose to show, that death came by ADAM through sin, and so passed upon all men; and that life came by JESUS CHRIST: But having said that Sin, which brings forth Death, is not imputed where there is no Law, lest this should seem to contradict what he had said of Death's passing upon all men, he adds, nevertheless death reigned from Adam do A loses ; taking it for granted that his followers would understand it must needs reign from Moses to Christ, as having made Sin's being iMPUTED to consist in there being a Law given. Now I ask how the Apostle could possibly say, thut death reigned under the Mosaic Dispensation, if that People had the knowledge of immortal life to be procured by a Redeemer to coine, any more than it can be said to reign now with the sanje knowledge of a Redeemer past; since we agree that the efficacy of his death extends to all preceding as well as succeeding Ages ? Accordingly in his epistle to the Corinthians be calls the Jewish Law, the MINISTRATION OF DEATH, and the MINISTRATION OF CONDEMNATION t. Rom, v. 12, et seq.

+ 2 Cor. iii. 7, et seq.

2. In his epistle to the Galatians, he says, - Before FAITH came, we were kept under the Lail', shut up unto the Faith which should afterwards be revealed* ; i. e. we were kept in subjection to the Law of Moses; and, by that incans, shut up and sequestered from the rest of the Nations, to be prepared and made ready for the first reception of the FAITII, when it should in God's appointed time be revealed unto men. From these words therefore it appears, that till that time, the Jews had no knowledge of this FAITH. So much we must have concluded though he had not said, as he does afterwards, That till that time, the Jews were in bondage under the elements of this world 1: Now could men acquainted with the doctrine of life and immortality be said, with any sense of propriety, to be in such a state of bondage? For though men in bondage may have an idea of Liberty, yet of THIS LIBERTY they could have no idea without understanding, at the same time, that they were partakers of its benefits.

3. In his second epistle to Timothy he expressly says, That Jesus Christ HATH ABOLISHED DEATH, AND HATH BROUGHT LIFE AND IMMORTALITY TO LIGHT THROUGH THE GOSPEL 1. But now if Death were abolished by Jesus Christ, it is certain it bad reigned till his coming: and yet it is as certain, that it could reign no longer than while the tidings of the Gospel were kept back; because we agree that Christ's death hath a retrospect operation : therefore those under the Law had no knowledge of life and immortality. Again: If life and immortality were brought to light through the Gospel, consequently, till the preaching of the Gospel, it was kept hid and out of sights. But if taught by Moses and the

* Gal. iii. 33. + Chap. iv, ver. 3.
§ Sce note (SS) at the end of this Book.

1 2 Tim. i. 10.

Prophets,

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