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has continued ever since, to be the strongest impediment to their conversion. But to come to the point. The inspired writer, in the second chapter and second verse, hath these remarkable words, For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; how shall we escape, &c. By the word spoken by angels every one knows is meant the Law delivered to Moses by them for his people so that here is an express declaration, 1. That the sanctions of this Law were of a temporal kind. He then goes on, verse the fifth, For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. And this is as express a declaration, 2. That the Law taught no future state. Thus far then we are got. Let us next attend to the fourteenth and fifteenth verses; he [Christ] also himself likewise took part of the same [flesh and blood ;] that through death The might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. The devil is here said to have the power of death, as he brought it in by the delusion of the first man; therefore, before death can be abolished, he must be destroyed. But his destruction is the work of the second man. Till then, we infer from hence, that death reigned under the devil. But this is not all; we are expressly told, that the Jews, all their lifetime, were through fear of death subject to bondage. Which certainly can imply no other than, 3. That they had no future state to secure them from this fear. See here then, for a conclusion, the principle of the Divine Legation justified on the plainest and most consequential reasoning of the holy apostlc.
But now, say these men, if the early Jews had no knowledge of a future state, the chosen people of God were in a much worse condition than the Gentiles, who all had it. To this purpose let us hear our anonymous Examiner, who has not only spoken the full sense of his party, but has urged it too with a candour peculiar 'to himself,
"You consider (says he) the ignorance of the Jere's as to the doctrine of a future state, as one of the most *"momentous truths that religion has to boast of. I, on
"the other hand, look upon it as a DISGRACE to Reve"lation; as, by the very act of God himself, it shuts out "his own chosen people, for many ages, from that, single point of knowledge, which could be the foundation of a reasonable worship; while by the directions of his providence, all the world besides were permitted to have the benefit of it." pp. 131, 132.
He says, He looks upon no future state amongst the Jews as a disgrace to Revelation. Why so? Because by the very act of God himself it shut out his own chosen people, &c. Sure he has forgot what he so oft told his reader, that Moses taught not, nor had it in his commission to teach, a future state to the Israelites: otherwise he would have seen that this, alone, went a great way towards shutting out the chosen people. And if they were let in at all, it certainly was not by this prophet of God. Consequently, if the holding, that God shut them out, be disgraceful to Revelation, this very orthodox gentleman, we sce, is got as deep in the mire as the Author of the Divine Legation. In truth, I pity the poor man, who thus, at every step, brings himself into these distresses: and all, from a false modesty. He was ashamed of the absurdity of his party, in holding that Moses taught, or ought to have taught, a future state; and therefore, at this turn, leaves them in the lurch, and takes up the better principle of his adversary, that Moses · had no commission to teach it: for he must have been dull indeed not to have collected that this was his adversary's principle, after he had seen him write a book to prove that Moses did not teach it.-And be not offended, good Sir, that I call this a false modesty; for what is it else, to be shocked with one absurdity in your party, and yet to defend all the rest? Whose only plausible support, too, happens to be in that one which you reject. Indeed, indeed, my kind friend,
-Pudor te malus urget,
Insanos qui inter vereare insanus haberi.
But the cause, though not the Advocate, demands a serious confutation. And as the only support of it, against the argument of the Divine Legation, lies in these calumnious appeals to vulgar prejudices; which
our Anonymous, in the passage above, has inforced with his heartiest malice; I will here, once for all, examine their pretensions : and so as they shall never henceforward be considered, in the learned world at least, as any other than mere vulgar prejudices..
To begin then with the subject of the first proposition, That God shut out the Israeites from the knowledge of a future state; which (in the case given) is throwing that upon God for which man only is accountable. The Israelites were indeed shut out; yet, not as he dreams, by the very act of God himself; but, if he will have the truth who never seeks it as he ought, by the very act of their forefather, Adam. It was the first man who shut them out and the door of Paradise was never opened again till the coming of the second man, the Lord from Heaven. But this, I own, is answering him in a strange language; the language of Scripture. A language his systems will never enable him to understand.-But more of this secret, for such, I find, it is to our Examiner, in my next volume.
But, to shew what infinite loss they sustained in this exclusion, he goes on, and says, that a future state is the single point of knowledge which can be the foundation of a reasonable worship. Here, doctors differ. St. PAUL places the foundation of a reasonable worship in another thing. He saith, that HE THAT COMETH TO GOD MUST BELIEVE
THAT HE IS, AND THAT HE IS A REWARDER OF THEM
THAT DILIGENTLY SEEK HIM *. What is man's purpose in coming to God? Why, certainly, to worship him. And what doth the apostle tell us is the true, the reasonable foundation of this worship? Why, to believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek him. What becomes then of our Examiner's only foundation of a reasonable worship? The apostle, we see, places it in the nature, and not (as our Examiner) in the inessential circumstances, of reward: consequently a reward given here, was as true a foundation of reasonable worship to the carly Jews, living under an extraordinary providence, as a reward given hereafter is to us Christians, living under an ordinary one: and consequently our Examiner must have been mistaken, when he made a FUTURE Heb. xi. 6.
STATE the singie point of knowledge which can be the foundation of a reasonable worship. But does not common sense say the same thing?
For, to come a little closer to this formidable man, now I have got an apostle on my side; I will undertake to demonstrate (how much soever he dislikes the word) that a FUTURE STATE is so far from being the only foundation of a reasonable worship, that, while God is believed the rewarder of them that diligently seek him (and that is the case of a people under an extraordinary providence) the ignorance of a future state neither affects piety nor morality; the two things which constitute a reasonable worship, and perfect mankind in virtue.
Not piety, because that (in the case given) depends solely on the belief that God is.
Not morality, because that depends solely on the knowledge of what God commands.
And this, which right reason teaches, the Law of Moses has promulged. We are commanded to love God for his sake, that is, for the excellence of his nature, the most lovely of all objects. We are commanded to love our neighbour; and the prescribed measure, as our, selves, points to the equity of the command; for, being all equal by nature, we should have but one rule of acting, for ourselves and others. This is resolvable into the natural relations of things; and those relations are the declarations of God's will, the only true foundation of morality; and, as such, perpetually inforced by the Law of Moses. Thus firmly established are the duties of the first and second table. Now, on the love of God and of our neighbour hang all the law and the prophets. That these therefore should not be able at the same time to support a reasonable worship, when, to all this Mosaic enforcement of the belief that God is, it is added, that he is an exact rewarder of them that diligently seek him, would be a very hard case indeed; especially if we consider, that, to our corrupt nature, it is not the immeasurable reward at distance, but that which is present, and understood by us, that most forcibly attracts us. And this it was, which the Law of Moses held out.
In a word then, since pure virtue, under which tern I comprise piety and morality, consists in acting agreeably
agreeably to those relations in which we stand to all beings whatsoever; is it possible there can be any more forcible inducement to our reasonable nature for the prac-. tice of it, than that which is proposed by the Law of Moses, namely, that God commands it out of our love and fear and duty towards him? Or any more forcible inducement to our corrupt nature, than that every work shall receive its full recompence of reward, through the administration of an extraordinary providence? How then is it possible that a long, or short duration, the rewards of this, or of another life, should in the least essentially affect the purity, or integrity of human virtue, so taught and recommended; that is, a reasonable wor ship, in the spirit of piety, and truth of morality?
To suppose that virtue cannot be pure and perfect but when forced upon men by the immensity of punishment, is having no better an idea of it than the Pagan slave in the Poet,
Sum bonus ac frugi: renuit negitatque Sabellus.
Indeed, in the ordinary distribution of things, where the rewards and punishments of religion lie at distance, I believe nothing less than the promises and terrors of the Christian would be, generally, sufficient to support the practice it enjoins. But here too, it is still the love and fear of God, not of reward and punishment, that are held out to us, to perfect and sublime our virtue; though the others likewise be laid before us to raise and quicken it.
But here, let me not be again misunderstood, as I have been once already, by this super-subtile Examiner. I deny indeed that the want of a future state in the Jewish religion, under an extraordinary providence, could at all affect the truth and purity of human virtue, as there founded and enforced: yet, at the same time, I am very far from denying but that other things did hinder that religion from being perfect. Nay, in my Address to the Jews, prefixed to the second volume of The Divine Legution, I have shewn what these things were: as, first, the whole turn of their ritual law and, secondly, See vol, iv, p. 13. of this Edit.. Z