Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

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 f. 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,

Matters Luke xyi. 8. . See Vol. IV. Dedication to the Jews.

Taourat. -Les Mus uns disent, que c'est l'ancien Testa. meat, que Dieu revela à Moyse écrit en langue Hebraïque, livre

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.

II. But here let nie 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 ratlier, the question being thus truly stated, they will fall of themselves.

I. My declared purpose, in this Work *, is to demonstrate The Divine 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 employ 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. Froin 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 Jeu'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 troave 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 Bibliotheque 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.

[ocr errors]

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

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 Section of this Book.

V 4

urged

urged as confutations of it. I speak not here of the dirty caluinnies of one or two forgotten scribblers, but of the unequitable censures of some who better deserve to be set right.

II. But farther, As my position is, that a Future state of reward and punishment was not taught in the Mosaic Dispensation, all texts brought to prove the knowledge of it after the time of David are as impertinent as the rest. For what was known from this time, could not supply the want of what was unknown for so many ages before. This therefore puts all the prophetic Writings out of the question, And now, when all these Texts are taken from

my Adversaries, what is there left, to keep up the quarrel? Should I be so severe to insist on the common rights of Authors, of not being obliged to answer to convict impertinencies, this part of my task would be soon over. But I shall, in charity, consider these Texts, such as they are. However, that I

However, that I may not appear altogether so absurd as the Inforcers of them, I shall give the reader my reasons for this condescension.

1. As to the FUTURE EXISTENCE OF THE SOUL, we should distinguish between the mention of it by Moses, and by the following Writers. These might, and, as we have shewn, did conclude for its existence from the nature of the thing. But Moses, who, we suppose, intentionally omitted the mention of Future reuards and punishments, would not, we must needs suppose likewise, proclaiın the preparatory doctrine of the Existence. Nor could he, on the other hand, deny what he knew to be the truth. Thus, being necessitated to speak of Enoch's Translation, it could not be, but that a separate existence might be inferred, how obscurely soever the story was delivered. But had he said any thing in his account of the Creation, which

literally

literally implied (as the words, of man's being made in the image of God, and the breath of life being breathed into his nostrils, are supposed to do) that man had an immortal soul, then must Moses be supposed, purposely, to have inculcated that Immortality; contrary to what we hold, that he purposely onnitted the doctrine built upon it, namely, a future state of reward and punishment. It will not be improper therefore ito shew that such texts have not this

pretended meaning

2. Concerning a FUTURE STATE OF REWARD AND PUNISHMENT; several texts are brought as teaching it in a typical sense, which teach it in no sense at all : several as teaching it in a direct and literal sense, which only teach it in a typical. Both these, therefore, it may

be

proper to set in a true light. 3. Lastly, concerning the texts from the later Prophets, which are without the period in question ; I own, and it is even incumbent on my Argument to prove, that these Prophets opened the first dawning of the doctrine of a Resurrection, and consequently of a Future state of reward and punishment : even these therefore shall in their proper place be carefully considered. At present let me just observe, that the dark veil under which the first set of Prophets delivered their typical representations was gradually drawn aside by the later, 2.';..

SECT. II.

HAVING premised thus much to clear the way, and shorten the inquiry, I now proceed to my examination,

And first, of the terts brought from the OLD TESTAMENT.

Now

« AnteriorContinua »