« AnteriorContinua »
(whatever People first employed it) from the notion of some common Receptacle of Souls. But we know how soon, and from what various causes, terms and phrases lose the memory of their original. 3. The truth of this interpretation is confirmed by the several contexts, where all these expressions occur; the Historian's purpose being evidently nothing else than to record the period of their existence here on earth.
These (except such as have been considered elsewhere) are all the texts I can find objected to my position, that immortality was not taught by the law. How little they are to the purpose is now seen.
But little or much, the Reader will remember they make nothing against my general argument, which maintains that the early Jews, (those of them, I mean, and they certainly were but few, who thought any thing of the matter) had at least some vague notion of the Souils surviving the body. But the particular reason I had to examine them hath been given above.
II. We come next to those SCRIPTURES which are urged to prove, that a future state of reward and punishment, or a resurrection of the body, was taught by the Mosaic Law. But before we proceed to the particular texts, it will be proper to consider the general argument brought from the genius of the whole Jewish Law: " which, as they say, being entirely TYPICAL, or, as the Apostle says, 'SPIRITUAL, all the promises and denunciations of temporal good and evil, did denote and obumbrate a future state of reward and punishment; for tliat it was a shadow of things to come, but that the body was of Christ *.” If the Objectors mean by this, that the sanction of Temporal reward and punishment was no more than a mere re. presentation, in figurative expressions, of the Doctrine of a future state, without any real meaning in the then * Coloss. ii.- 17.
Providential disposition of the things of this life *; If, I say, this be their meaning, the whole pretence to Moses's divine Mission is irrecoverably given up. Not to say, that the very pretence would be as absurd as it was false. For a THEOCRACY (from whence flowed temporal rewards and punishments) was no figurative Expression, as appears from the real and substantial Laws made in support of the Thing. In a word, it is a vile and impious imagination, originally conceived by certain Jewish Allegorists after the extraordinary Providence was departed from them: and only to be matched by a like madness in certain Mahometan Allegorists, whose early successes made them fancy this extraordinary Providence was come to them; and therefore supposed, on the other hand, that Hell and Paradise in the Alcoran mean no more than the pleasures and afflictions of this life f. In which, Both have been outdone by a late Madman of our own, in bis Discourses on the Gospel-Miracles. So oddly perverse is the human understanding when it has once forsaken the road of coinmon sense.
But if by the Law's being TYPICAL or SPIRITUAL; no more be meant (as I think no sober man can mean more) than that the TEMPORAL REWARDS AND PƯNISIMENTS, equally and really distributed, and the RITUAL WORSHIP, daily performed, were typical or significative of the GOSPEL DISPENSATion, and of the life and immortality which that Dispensation brought to light, I acknowledge it for a truth: And, what is more, I require nothing farther to prove my Proposi
* See note [FF] at the end of this volume.
+ Il y a parmi les sectateurs d'Ali, une secte qui prend son nom d'un Docteur nommé Alkhatthab, lequel a enseigné que les delices du Paradis & les peines de l'Enfer ne sont autre chose que los plaisirs & les afflictions de la vie. Herbelot, Bibl. Orientale, Not AKHRAT, & AKILRET.
tion, That a future state of rewards and punishments was not taught to the Jewish People by their Law. The Objectors suppose, as I do, that the Jewish and Christian Religions are two parts of one entire Dispensation. St. Paul tells us the order of these two parts, THAT WAS NOT FIRST WHICH IS SPIRITUAL BUT THAT WHICH IS NATURAL; AFTERWARDS THAT WHICH IS SPIRITUAL*. Yet, at the same time, he tells us, THE LAW IS SPIRITUALT. How is this to be reconciled? No otherwise than thus, That the Law was TYPICAL of the future spiritual part of the one entire Dispensation.—Again, The Apostles, in order to shew the superior excellence of the Gospel, in their reasoning against Jews and Judaizing Christians, set the Law in opposition to it, under the titles of The Law of a carnal Commandment; The ministration of Death; The Law of Works: and call subjection to it, Subjection to the Flesh. Yet these very Writers at the same time own that the Law was SPIRITUAL, or had a spiritual meaning. But if by this they would teach that the spiritual meaning was generally under-, stood under the Law, their whole argument had con cluded in a self-contradiction. For then it was not a Law of a carnal commandment, a ministration of death; but, indeed, a Law of spirit, a ministration of life; only under a dead and carnal cover ; which being clearly seen through, or easily taken off, served for no more than a trick of hocus pocus. The consequence of all this would be, that the Law was of equal dig. nity, and, though not of equal simplicity, yet, indeed; essentially the saine with the GOSPEL. They owned, we see, that the Law had a spiritual sense: but when, and by whom discovered, the Apostle Paul informs us, by calling that sense the NEWNESS, OF SPIRIT I; i Cor. xv. 46, + Rom, vii. 14.
I Rom. vii. 6.
which he opposes to the oldness of the letter, that is, the letter of the Law. In the former part of the verse, he speaks of the Law being dead; and, here, of its being revived with a new spirit, in contradistinction to the oldness of the letter. So true was it, what in another place he observes, that the Law was a SHADOW of things to come; but the BODY was of Christ *. The shadow not of a body then to be seen or understood, as these Answerers imagine, but of a body that was to come, and, by its presence, to explain the meaning and reason of the shadow. For the Jews being, as the Apostle says, in bondage under the elements of the world f, were as men shut up
in prison, with their faces kept turned from the light, towards the whited wall of CEREMONIES : on which indeed they saw many shadows; but the body or opposite substance at their backs, to which they could not turn, they saw nøt. And, in this state, says the same Apostle, they were kept shut up unto the Faith, which should afterwards be revealed. Therefore till that time came, it appears that the great community of the Jews had no knowledge of this Faith; one of the essential articles of which is life everlasting. This, we must needs have concluded even though he had not said, that till that time came, they were in bondage under the elements of the world. A proper character truly of a People acquainted with the revealed Doctrine of life and immortality. But the Objectors pretend that the reason why Moses did not PLAINLY teach a future state, in the manner CHRIST hath taught it, was because the Jews were a carnal people, incapable of spiritual things. Now what is the consequence of this incapacity, but that the spiritual sense was reserved for better times, when their Col. ii. 17. 1 Gal. iv. 3.
1 Gal. iii. 23. C C4
minds should grow more pure and defecated from carnal things; which all along continued so gross and bounded, that even the most easy of their typical in formations, the calling in of the Gentiles, was never understood by thein; yet this truth the Prophets had, from time to time, so plainly cultivated, that the vail of typical embroidery seems often to have been drawn aside, to assist their weak sight. But farther, The better part of the Objectors, I suppose, will allow that temporal good and evil were not only proposed, but actually dispensed to the Jews, living for some time under an equal Providence. And what was the consequence of this but to confine them to the literal sense of their Sanction, and stop them from looking farther? Yet in defiance of Reason, of Scripture, of the order of things, nay even of their own systems, these men will suppose, because the Law is said to be spiritual, or to have a spiritual sense, that therefore this sense always went along with, and was inseparably attached to, the literal, in the understandings of the Jewish People. Which is so strangely absurd, that it takes away the very cause and occasion of two senses. For, Why, let me ask, had the Law a spiritual sense, under a carnal cover, but for this reason, that the first Jews were so grossly minded as to be incapable of spiritual things; and were therefore, in order to direct and
got vern their affections, presented with the carnal, to repose upon? That Schoolmaster, as St. Paul calls the Law, which was to bring them by degrees, through those carnal elements, to the spiritual and sublime Doctrines of CHRIST.--Yet see the scheme of these Objectors. The early Jews are supposed of so sordid a taste as to be incapable of a spiritual Repast, and therefore they had a carnal Cover laid before theme yet were they, at the same time, so quick scented as: