Imatges de pàgina

4. Lastly, men were kept fast within the error into which these prejudices had drawn them, by never rightly distinguishing between a Future State of reward and punishment, as taught by what men call natural Religion, and a future state as taught by Christian Revelation; which is the CLEW, as we shall see hereafter, to conduct us through all the errors and perplexities of this region of darkness, till we come into the full and glorious light of the Gospel.

But in Religious matters, combinations much less strange are sufficient to defeat the credit of the plainest Fact. A noted instance of what OBSTINACY alone can do against the self-evidence of Truth, will abate our wonder at the perversity in question; at least it may be put to use, in the history of the human mind, towards which, will be found materials, neither vulgar nor few, in the course of this Work. There is a sect, and that no inconsiderable one, which, being essentially founded in Enthusiasın, hath, amongst other of its strange freaks, thrown out the institution of WATERBAPTISM from its scheme of Christianity. It is very likely that the illiterate Founder, while rapt in his fanatic visions, did not reflect that, of all the institutions of our holy Religion, this of water-baptism was least proper to be called in question; being most invincibly established by the practice both of PAUL and PETER. This latter finding that the houshold of Cornelius the GENTILE had received the Holy Ghost, regarded it as a certain direction for him to admit them into the Church of Christ, which he did by the initiatory Rite of water-baptism. [Acts x. 47.] Paul, in his travels through the Lesser Asia, finding some of the JEWISH Converts who had never heard of the Holy Ghost, and, on enquiry, understanding they had been only baptised by water unto John's Baptism,


U 2


thought fit to baptise them with water in the name of the Lord Jesus, that is, to admit them into the Church; and then laying his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came upon them, and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. [Acts xix. 4, 5, 6.]

In spite of these two memorable transactions, the Quakers have notwithstanding rejected water-baptism. What is the pretence ? "Water-baptism (it seems) is John's baptism, and only a type of baptism by the Holy Ghost or by Fire; so that when this last came in use, the former ceased and was abolished." Yet in the two histories given above, both these fancies are reproved; and in such a manner as if the stories had been recorded for no other purpose: For in the adventure of Paul, the water-baptism of Jesus is expressly distinguished from the water-baptism of John: And, in that of Peter, it appears, that water-baptism was necessary for admittance into the church of Christ, even after the ministration of baptism by fire, or the communicated power of the Holy Ghost. It is further observable, that these two Heads of the Mission to the two great divisions of Mankind, the JEWS and GENTILES, here acted in one another's province; Peter the Apostle of the Jews administering baptism to the Gentile houshold of Cornelius; and Paul the Apostle of the Gentiles administering the same rite to the Jewish Converts. And why was this crossing of hands, but to obviate that silly evasion, that waterbaptism was only partial or temporary?

But what is reason, evidence, or truth, when opposed to religious Prejudice! The Quakers do not hold it to be clearer, that repentance from dead works is necessary for obtaining the spiritual benefits of the Gospel-Covenant, than that WATER-BAPTISM is abolished, and of no use to initiate into the Church of Christ. II. But

II. But to proceed. The error in question is, as we said, not confined to the Christian Church. The Jews too maintain it with equal obstinacy, but not with equal indiscretion; the Children of this world are, in their generation, wiser than the Children of light* ; their fatal adherence to their long abolished Rites depending altogether upon this single prejudice, that Moses taught a future state of rewards and punishments for if he taught it not, the consequence is inevitable, his Religion could only be preparatory to one that did teach it. This therefore is their great support; and wisely have they inforced it by all the authority and power of the Synagogue t. But what †. Christians gain by so doing, I confess I know not. What they lose hath been seen in part, and will be more fully shewn hereafter: not one demonstration only, of the truth of the Mosaic Mission, but all true conception of that divine harmony which inspires every part, and runs through the whole of God's great Dispensation to Mankind.

III. The error is still more extensive; and hath spread from true Religion to the false; a fitter soil for its reception. For the MAHOMETANS, who hold the divine original of the Jewish Law, are as obstinate as the best, in giving it this mistaken advantage: but, it must be owned, under a modester pretext. Their expedient for saving the honour of the Law is this: They confess the Doctrine of a future state is not at present to be found there: BUT THOUGH IT BE NOT THERE, IT OUGHT TO BE; for that the Jews, in pure spite to them, have interpolated their Bible, and taken away all mention of it.


Luke xvi. 8. ↑ See Vol. IV. Dedication to the Jews, Taourat.-Les Musulmans disent, que c'est l'ancien Testa ment, que Dieu revela à Moyse écrit en langue Hebraïque, livre

V 3


Matters being in this odd situation, the reader will excuse me, if I turn a little to consider those texts of Scripture which CHRISTIAN writers have produced to prove, That a future state of rewards and punishments does indeed make part of the Mosaic Religion.


But here let me observe, that the thing of most consequence in this part of my discourse will be to state the question clearly and plainly. When that is done, every common reader will be able, without my help, to remove the objections to my Systein; or rather, the question being thus truly stated, they will fall of themselves.

I. My declared purpose, in this Work *, is to demonstrate The Dicine Legation of Moses, in order to use it for the foundation of a projected defence of Revelation in general, as the Dispensation is completed in Christianity. The medium I exploy for this purpose is, that there was no future state of reward and punishment in the Mosaic Religion. I must needs therefore go upon these two principles :--1. That Moses did not disbelieve a future state of reward and punishment. 2. That his Religion was preparatory to the Religion of JESUS which taught such future state. Hence proceed these consequences:

1. From my holding that Moses did not disbelieve a future state, it follows, that all those texts of Scripture which are brought to prove that the ancient Jew's believed

qui a été alteré & corrumpu par les Juifs.-C'est la le sentiment des Musulmans qui a été recueilli de plusieurs auteurs Arabes par Hagi Khalfah. Le même auteur dit que l'on n'y trouve pas aussi aucun endroit où il soit parlé de l'autre vie, ni de la Resurrection, ni du Paradis, ni de l'Enfer, & que cela vient peut être de ce que les Juifs ont corrumpu leurs exemplairs.-Voyez la Biblio theque Orientale de M. D'Herbelot, Mot. TAQUART.

See Appendix to the first edition of the Alliance between Church and State, Vol. VII. p. 297, of this Edit,

believed the soul survived the body, are nothing to the purpose: but do, on the contrary, greatly confirm my Thesis: for which reason I have myself shewn that the early Jews did indeed suppose this truth.

2. From my holding that the Religion of Moses was only preparatory to the Religion of JESUS, it follows, that all such texts, as imply a Future state of rewards and punishments in their TYPICAL signification only, are just as little to the purpose. For if Moses's Religion was preparatory to one Future, it is, as I have shewn, highly reasonable to suppose, that the essential doctrine of that New Religion was shadowed out under the Rites, or by the inspired Penmen, of the Old. But such texts are not only inconclusive, but highly corroborative of the opinion they are brought to oppose. For if future rewards and punishments were taught to the People under the Law, what occasion was there for any typical representation of them, which necessarily implies the throwing things into shade, and secreting them from vulgar knowledge? What ground was there for that distinction between a carnal and a spiritual meaning (both of which it is agreed the Mosaic Law had, in order to fit it for the use of two Dispensations) if it did not imply an ignorance of the spiritual sense during the continuance of the first? Yet as clear as this is, the contrary is the doctrine of my Adversaries; who seem to think that the spiritual and the carnal sense must needs always go together, like the jewel and the foil in Aaron's breast-plate.

Both these sorts of texts, therefore, conclude only against SADDUCEES and INFIDELS. Yet hath this matter been so little attended to, in the judgements passed upon my argument, that both sorts have been * See the last Seotion of this Book.

U 4


« AnteriorContinua »