Imatges de pàgina
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again : “ There is hope of a tree, if it be eut down, " that it will sprout again-though the root thereof

wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in "the ground, yet through the scent of water, it will “ bud and bring forth boughs like a plant. But man “ dieth and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the

ghost, and where is he ? As the waters fall from the

sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up: so man “ lieth down and riseth not till the Heavens be no

more, they shall not awake nor be raised out of " their sleep*.” Here the Jewish Writer, for such , he was, as shall be shewn hereafter (and might, indeed, be understood to be such from this declaration alone), opposes the revival of a vegetable to the irrecoverable death of a rational animal. Had he known as much as St. Paul, he had doubtless used that circumstance in the vegetable world (as St. Paul did) to prove analogically, the revival of the rational animal.

The Psalmist says, In death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks ? And again : What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee, shall it declare thy truth $? And again :

Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead ? Shall the “dead ARISE and praise thee? Shall thy loving kind

ness be declared in the grave, or thy faithfulness in

destruction? Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness 9?"

- The writer of the book of Ecclesiastes is still more express : For the living know that they shall die : but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any

Chap. xiv, ver. 7-12. * Psalm XXX. 10.

+ Psalm vi. 6.
$Psalm lxxxviji. 11-13,

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more

more a REWARD, for the memory of them is forgotten *

Hezekiah, in bis song of Thanksgiving for his miraculous recovery, speaks in the same strain : “ For " the grave cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate “thee : they that go down into the pit cannot hope “ for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise " thee, as I do this day: The father to the children “shall make known thy truth t."

Lastly Jeremiah, in his Lamentations and complaints of the people, says, OUR FATHERS HAVE SINNED AND ARE NOT, AND WE HAVE BORN THEIR INI'QUITIES T. Which implies, that the fathers being dead bore no part of the punishment of their sins, but that all was thrown upon the children. But could this have been supposed, had the People been instructed in the doctrine of future rewards and punishments ?

Yet a learned Answerer, in contradiction to all this, thinks it sufficient to say, That “these passages may

imply no more than that the dead cannot set forth " God's glory before men, or make his praise to be " known upon earth g.” Now I think it must needs imply something more, since the dead are said to be unable to do this under the earth as well as upon it. For it is the Grave which is called the land of forgetfulness, or that where all things are forgotten. And in another place it is said, The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence. ll. Surely, a plain intimation that all intercourse of praise between man and his Maker ceased on death, as well below ground as above; otherwise why did the sacred writer

* See note (QQ] at the end of this Book. * Isaiah xxxvii. 18, 19.

1 Chap. v. ver. 7. Dr. Stebbing's Exam. &c. p. 64.

# Ps. cxv. 17. 5.

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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 durkness, 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 froin his hymns, which, I think, fairly enough decides the controversy.--Hitherto we have only heard hiin 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.-FREł amongst the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and THEY ARE CUP OFF FROM THY HANDT. 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 begioning 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 * Heb. xii. 23.

+ Ps. lxxxviii. 4, 5. N 3

cutting

THY TRUTH.

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 Fred 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

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.

V. 32.

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Maccabees;

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