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the doctrine will be obvious to our own reflections. But forafmuch as the perfect mind and will of God is revealed to us in the facred fcriptures, we are obliged thereby to give our firm affent to this momentous principle.-And moreover, as we have there a pathetical account of the various forrows and afflictions which the righteous in all ages have chearfully undergone for the fake of a good confcience, it demonftrates, beyond all contradiction, that they did not esteem this world as their continuing city; but had their eyes fixed on another and more durable country. For who would refign his enjoyments in poffeffion, that had no expectation of greater in reverfion? And who would fubmit himself to a temporal death, but with the utmost reluctance, was he not fraught with hopes of an eternal life?—This may, I think, be a fufficient answer to those, who demand express texts of scripture for the proof of self-evident principles; and will not allow that to be found any where in facred writ, which is undeniably implied almost in every line.-God therefore, when he introduced man into this world, gave him dominion over all the creatures. He made the elements, indeed, produce all manner of plants; but "the Lord God formed man of "the duft of the ground, and breathed into his noftrils the breath "of life, and man became a LIVING SOUL." That is, a rational foul and confequently capable of immortality.
The intimations of a future ftate even in the Mofaic history will appear to an attentive reader evident to a demonftration. This affertion we fhall illuftrate by a few inftances.-ENOCH, on account of his transcendent piety was not vifited after the vifitation of all men; but was tranflated to the world of fpirits to taste of those rivers of pleasure which flow at God's right hand for evermore.-And should we but feriously reflect on the fufferings of NOAH, the fevere trials of ABRAHAM, the long and tedious pilgrimages of JACOB, the distressful circumstances of JOSEPH, the hardships and forrows of Moses, and divers others who distinguished themselves by their zeal for the hoVOL. III. O
nour and glory of the only true God; would we but seriously reflect on the various fufferings of thofe pious patriarchs, we could not but acknowledge that they were fo many plain and undeniable teftimonies of the immortality of the foul, a future state and a final judgment. For had they confulted their worldly intereft, and hearkened to the mere dictates of flesh and blood, they had, doubtless, indulged themselves in indolence and ease, and fwam down gently with the common current ;-Noah, with his relations ;-Abraham with the Chaldeans;-Mofes with the court of Pharoah,, &c. From whence it follows, that though this doctrine is not mentioned in the Old Testament in fuch exprefs terms, as it is in the New; yet: it is plainly and unquestionably implied; for what are the pious: breathings of the righteous, and the agonizing torments of the: wicked, which we meet with fo feelingly defcribed in those divine volumes, but so many leffons to inftruct us in this important truth? And we cannot affign a more fubftantial reafon for fuch an omiffion, if it be one, than this; that as the facred fcriptures command our affent to fome articles of faith beyond the capacity of our weak reafon; fo this being within the reach of our compre henfion, a more explicit mention of it was needlefs in the early ages of the world. And we find, that as mankind encreased, and those communications which the patriarchs were favoured with from God, grew lefs frequent, it was thought neceffary to remind mankind of a future ftate. The PSALMIST, in particular, abounds with admonitions of this kind. "The upright fhall have domi❝nion over them in the morning"-says he; and again, "God will "redeem my foul from the power of the grave, for he fhall receive "me."-Many of them that fleep in the duft,fays the prophet DANIEL," shall awake,, fome to everlasting life, and fome to shame "and everlasting contempt." Joв exclaims in the following manner,—" I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand
at the latter day upon the earth. And though. after
"worms destroy this body, yet in my flefh fhall I fee God: whom "I shall fee for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not an"other; though my reins be consumed within me." Innumerable other places of like import will, doubtless, occur to every one who is converfant with holy writ. In fhort, were not this the foundation-stone, religion would become contemptible, and no one would pay the leaft regard to her divine precepts, without fome finifter ends of worldly interest and advantage. From all which, it is prefumed we may safely draw this conclufion, that the being of a God and a life after this, were truths none were able or willing to conteft in the days of Mofes, and therefore arguments to prove what was then fo little doubted would have been altogether needlefs.
HAVING thus fhewn, that the Jews could be in no doubt of a future ftate, it will be a further confirmation of the doctrine in question, if we can demonstrate that all nations in general have entertained very distinct and adequate ideas of this truth. This, we hope to establish beyond dispute, before we close our discourse.— At present, we will venture to affirm, that it is neither a matter of prieftcraft, as the licentious are ever ready to suggest; nor the wild imagination of bigotted enthufiafts; neither hath it been confined to any age or climate; but has been the firm opinion of all ages; as univerfal as light itfelf; and men as different in cuftoms, as diftant in fituation all concur to own this fundamental tenet. The most barbarous nations, who have little more than' fhape to entitle them to humanity, have yet fome conceptions, though dark and confused indeed of a Deity, and a future ftate :-now artifice and delufion can never be the caufe of fuch concurrent confent; people, fo far remote, could never join in one common deceit; from whence it follows, that either they must have gained it from revelation, or else it must be the univerfal voice of nature. If from the former, then the
dispute is at an end ;—and if it is implanted in our natures, we see God does nothing in vain; and we are led into this hope, as the animal world are to the choice of such peculiar food as is proper for them.-Having drawn this natural conclufion from what has been already faid, we think there will want nothing further to confirm the fober enquirer in this great point, than to fhew, that the wifeft men in all ages, and in all nations, have acknowledged a future state. Are not the repeated recommendations of virtue and piety which may be met with in numberless heathen writers indifputable teftimonies of the univerfality of this doctrine. "Zeno the Stoick "used to say, that he had rather fee one SAVAGE devote himself chearfully to the flames, through a strong perfuafion of the immortality of the foul, and of a better world in regions unknown,. "than to hear the florid declamations of a thousand philofophers in "its behalf.-I will facrifice all my fubftance, nay my life itself,
fays an ancient author, to maintain the laws of justice." Now what would justice be but a vain name were there no life after this?" I had rather, fays another, be, than feem honeft." But for what reason, were not his virtue to be rewarded hereafter. These, and such as thefe, are the common expreffions, even of those that affect to speak doubtfully of a future ftate. Thus they deny a principle; but grant a confequence from it; like one that firft: burns himself, and then affirms there can be no heat in fire..
But to put this matter beyond all difpute, we shall beg your patience, whilst we felect fome few paffages from the ancients who speak more plainly, and in more direct terms, on the subject before us.— And this we shall the more chearfully enter upon, as it will furnfh the attentive hearer with frequent opportunities of reflecting on that harmony and agreement which they will fometimes find between: those that wrote from the dictates of nature only, and thofe who were guided by the influence of the holy Spirit; and we alfo hope they. will accompany their reflections with this ufeful inference, namely,
that fuch a conformity of fentiinents in writers of different nations, and different faiths, undeniably confirms the truth of what Mofes afferts, namely, that we all sprang from one common stock; that our first parents were taught their duty from God himself; that they delivered it to their children, who, in procefs of time, were fcattered and difperfed over the face of the whole earth; and that ftill they retained a knowledge of fome truths by uninterrupted tradition.
HERMES tells us," At the command of God, the elements "produced a vast variety of plants, &c. but that God created man "like himself; careffed him with the tenderness and indulgence of "a father, as he was exceedingly beautiful, and the exprefs image "of his person; and constituted him the Lord of the brute crea“tion.”—He exhorts men, therefore, to abstract themselves from their bodies, as the cause of their death, and to cultivate their fouls which are capable of immortality ;--to claim kindred with heaven, and avoid the fnares of fenfe; to retire within themselves, and, by complying with the divine will, commence a kind of gods. Difengage thyfelf, fays he, from that body which thou "carrieft with thee; that garment of ignorance, that foundation " of depravity, that bond of corruption, that living death, that por"table grave, and domestic robber, which flatters because it hates,
and hates because it envies; which, as long as it lives, deprives thee of thy true life, and is thy moft formidable ad"versary."
As much, however, as he inveighs against, and depreciates the body, who would chearfully fubmit to death, were it not for the hope of another, and better life?-In another place, he says, "the foul is the garment of the mind, and the garment of the “soul, a certain fubtle fpirit, by which it is united to the body. "And the understanding is properly the man, that is a divine ani"mal,, with whom the brutes are not to be compared; nay it is at questions