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Maccabecs; and triuinphs over the Protestants and Socinians (as he calls them) for their folly.in tlırowing that book out of the Canon, and thereby disabling themselves from proving a future state, from the Old Testament *
A very worthy protestant Bishop does as much honour to Tradition, in bis 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, TIIE COMMON BASIS OF ALL POLI+ TICAL INSTITUTIONS.-- The belief of a future'state (wlich it is manifest the Jews were possessed of long before the coming of Christ) seems to have obtained
amongst the Hebrews from priinaval 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 Roine 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 a les Sociniens qui ne ré çoivent point les Maccabees ne pourront pas la prouver solidement par le Vieux Testament. Pere Simon, Reponse au Sentimens de quelques Theologiens de Hollande, g c. P. 39.
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 inMuenced by the prospect of a future state, and expressing their hopes concerning it like the rest of mankind, who had it by Trudition, 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 Joe, which plainly shew that no such tradition obtained in their respective times?
5. If it obtained by Tradition, What occasion for the adiniaistration 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 PRIMÆVAL
TRADITION which the good Bishop so much insists upon. *. The learned Prelate indeed observes, 'that the Jew's 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 Traditions; and especially if from the colour and complexion 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 proceed in the course of my argument.
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 his 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 «s of that which is to come That is, though numerous ritual observances were enjoined by the Law,
i Tim. iv, 8.
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 shews temporal rewards 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 argued 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 therefore 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. But “ Christians have no equivalent. So far from that, * 1 Cor. xv. 19.
they are, with regard to this world only, of all mun “ most miserable; having therefore no equivalent for " the rewards of a future state, they must needs be e 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 110% is to extend to the Christian Dispensation, we destroy the strength and integrity of St. Paul's argument. He is here reasoning against judaizing Christiaus. 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 mude not after the Law Or A CARNAL COMMANDMENT, but after the power of an endless lifet. The Jewish Religion, called a carnal coinmandment, is here opposed to the Christian, called the power of an endless lije. By carnal canmondment then must needs be understood a Law promising carnal things, or the things of this life.
II. That the Mosaic Dispensation had only the sunction of temporal rewards and punishments, or that it taught not future, let us hear St. John; who in the beginning of his Gospel assures us, that the Law was given by Moses, 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 this Apostle, that Grace and Truth did not come by Moses. This Grace and Truth cannot be understood gene
* See note (RN) at the end of this Book.