Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

how much soever we may differ about a future state's being held out by the Law, through a Messiah to come, I suppose we are both agreed that faith in the Messiah, either actual or imputed, is necessary to obtain this future state. There are but two ways then of understanding this text of St. Luke, neither of which is to his purpose. The first is the supposing that Jesus included faith in himself in this precept of loving God with all the heart, &c. which will appear no forced interpretation to him who holds Jesus to be really and truly God; as, I imagine, the Doctor does; and may be supported by a circumstance in the story as told by St. Matthew *, though omitted by St. Luke, which is, Jesus's saying, that on these two commandments hang all the Law and the PROPHETS. The second and exacter interpretation is, that Jesus spoke to a professing follower, who pretended to acknowledge his Mission, and wanted only a RULE OF LIFE. For Jesus was here preaching the Gospel to his disciples, and a Lawyer stood up and TEMPTED him, that is, on the false footing of a disciple, required a rule of life. Now in either case, this reference of Jesus to the Law must imply this, and this only, that without righteousness and holiness no man shall see the Lord. A point in which, I suppose, we are agreed.-But still the Doctor will say that these words of Jesus allude to the words of Moses. Admit they do. It will not follow, as he seems to think, that they were given to explain them. How many allusions are there in the New Testament to passages in the Old, accommodated to a spiritual sense, where the texts alluded to are seen, by all but Fanatics, to have only a carnal? And even in this very allusion, if it be one, we find that the promise made to the observers of the whole Law is transferred

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

to the observance of one single precept, in the moral part of it. But let us grant him all he would have; and admit that these words of Jesus were given to explain the words of Moses. What would follow from thence, but that the promise in Leviticus had a secondury sense of a spiritual and sublimer import? Will this give any advantage to the Doctor and his Party? Surely none at all. And yet the abuse of this concession is all they have to support themselves in their determined opposition to Common sense.

6. A Law in Leviticus is delivered in these terms,"Whoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the

strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of "his seed unto Molech, he shall surely be put to "death*." Let me first explain the text, before I shew how it is perverted. There were two cases in which the offender here described might escape punishment:-Either the crime could not be legally proved, Or the Magistrate might be remiss in punishing. The divine Lawgiver obviates both and declares that the Infanticide, in such case, shall suffer death by God's own hand in an extraordinary manner. The supplial of the first defect, is in these words,And I will set my face against the man, and will CUT HIM OFF FROM AMONGST HIS PEOPLE †.” The supplial of the second is in these:-" And if the

people of the land do any ways hide their eyes "from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not, then I will set my face against that man and against his family, and will CUT HIM OFF." So much for the sense of the text. And now for the nonsense of our Interpreter, a Professor of Law and Divinity, the egregious Dr. RUTHERFORTH. This sage provision for the execution ‡ Ver. 4, 5.

*Levit. xx. 2.

+ Ver. 3.

of

66

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

[ocr errors]

*6

of the Law our Professor being totally unconscious of, he insists" that cutting off from amongst his People can only mean eternal damnation, the being consigned "to a state of punishment in another life." p. 33He is, as I say, a dealer both in Law and Divinity: but not having yet learnt the use of his tools, he confounds Law by Theology, and depraves Theology by Law And of this the reader has already seen some delectable instances. But at present, to regulate a little his Law-ideas, let him turn to Exod. xii. 15. and Levit. vii. 25. and he will find that the cutting off from Israel, and the cutting off from the People, are phrases which signify only capital punishment of a civil kind. Unless he will suppose that what is there threatened for eating leavened bread and prohibited fat, is ETERNAL LIFE IN TORMENTS.

7. The PSALMIST, in a holy confidence of God's mercies, says, Thou wilt not leave my soul in HELL, neither wilt thou suffer thy holy one to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life; in thy presence is fulness of joy, at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore *.-The scope of the whole Psalm is to implore the protection of God, from this consideration, that the Psalmist himself not only stedfastly adheres to the Law of God, but is ready to give his aid and support to all those who do-That the vengeance of God pursues idolatry, which he carefully avoidsThat the God of Israel is bis portion, and the land of Canaan a fair inheritance-That this stedfast adherence to the Lord is his confidence and peace-Then follow the words in question,-That he is sure, God will not leave his soul in Hell, &c. &c. that is, suffer him to fall immaturely, as was the lot of the transgressors of the Law:-And concludes, that walking in the law of God

ཝཱཏ་

*Psal. xvi. 10, 11.

DD 3

is

is both the highest pleasure, and strongest security. All which is expressed in terms so magnificent, as to shew, indeed, that this Psalm hath a spiritual as well as literal meaning. And that spiritual meaning St. Peter hath explained to us *: Indeed, if Dr. Stebbing's word were to be taken, the Apostle hath explained it in a manner which overthrows all our reasoning. "St. Peter (says the Doctor) claims this passage

(6

[Ps. xvi. 10, 11.] as relating to Christ's resurrec"tion t." But how does he claim it? No otherwise than by giving it a secondary sense. Now the learned Doctor himself contends that the secondary sense of the Prophecies was purposely concealed and secreted from the Jewish Church: Consequently, the Resurrection, the very doctrine which the secondary sense of this text conveys, was secreted from it. But then, the Doctor says, that "in the primary sense David de"clares his expectation of a future state, not in

consequence of any promise of the Law, but by "faith in Jesus Christ." The result then of the Doctor's exposition is this, That the same text may serve to prove that the spiritual sense of the Law was and was not revealed at this time. The verse has a primary sense which reveals a future state, and a secondary sense which hides and secretes it.-But he insists much upon the following words of the textIn thy presence is fulness of joy, and at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore. Expressions, says the Doctor, much too great to describe any WORLDLY HAPPINESS "I readily confess it was no worldly happiness which is here described: for to be in the presence of God signified the same as to appear before the Ark, Ps. xvii. 15. and to enjoy pleasures there for evermore, the same as dwelling in the house of the + Exam. p. 49.

66

66

*Acts ii. 25-29.

+ Id. ib.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Lord

Lord for ever, i.e. all his days, Ps. xxiii. 6. a spiritual happiness, sure, though enjoyed in this world.

But the texts of texts, the precious ones indeed, are those where a HELL is mentioned ; as here-thou shalt not leave my soul in Hell*. And of this orthodox consolation there is no scarcity in the Old Testament. Mr. Whiston assures us, it is almost five times as often mentioned as in the New. It may be so. However, instead of examining into the justness of this nice calculation, I shall chuse rather to consider what is to be understood by the word, than how often it is repeated. Now, I suppose neither I nor my Answerers can have any reasonable objection to St. John's authority in this matter; who speaking, in the book of Revelation, of the useless old furniture of the LAW, says-and DEATH and HELL were cast into the LAKE OF FIRE: this is the second death †. From hence it appears that the HELL of the Old Testament was a very different thing from the HELL of the New, called, the lake of Fire; since the one is made the punishment, or at least the extinction of the other. And to remove all doubt, the Apostle, we see, calls this casting into the lake, a second death. Must not then the Lake itself be a second Hell? And if so, could the first or the Old Testament HELL be any other than the GRAVE? The next words tell us, that whosoever was not found written in the book of life, was cast into the lake of fire. So that the sense of the whole seems to be this, that at the consummation of things (the subject here treated of) all physical and moral evil shall be abolished.

8. Again, The Psalmist says, "Deliver my soul

"from the wicked-from the men of the world"which have their portion in this life, and whose belly * Psal. xvi. 10, + Ch. xx. 14.. ↑ Ver. 15. DD 4

"thou

« AnteriorContinua »