Imágenes de páginas

out to view those arguments which, being framed on principles established in the course of the previous examination, were suitable to be employed as positive evidence in support of revealed religion.

It is natural that frequent reference should occur, in a disquisition of this nature, to the celebrated work of bishop Warburton. In relation to this subject, there is a circumstance which I deem too important to be passed over without remark.

It is well known that the celebrated treatise on the Divine Legation of Moses was never completed according to the plan of its very learned and distinguished writer. Among the parts which are wanting to fill up thor's design, is one, in which he had intended to treat of the reasons why a future state was not revealed in the Law of Moses. This will appear from a passage, in which, after stating the objection of an adversary thus, “ If a future state was not improper, much “ more if it was of use, under an extraordi

nary dispensation, how came Moses not to

give it ?” he subjoins, “ I reply, for great “ and wise ends of Providence vastly coun“ tervailing the use of that doctrine, which, “ in the last volume of this work, will be explained at large.” a Div. Leg. book v. Appendix, vol. v. p. 215. ed. 1811.

the au

Had the purpose of the great writer, as thus stated, been carried into effect, there cannot be a doubt that he would have laid the greatest stress on the principle which I have myself insisted upon as chiefly available towards the solution of the question. For, in the posthumous fragment which had been intended to form a part of the ninth book, we find the following hint respecting the line of argument which he had purposed to follow.

“ And here it will be proper to observe, " that had Jesus been only a messenger sent “ from heaven, with no other purpose than to “ propagate a system of revealed morals, or to “ republish the law of nature, we can see no reason why life and immortality might not have been promulged by Moses for the “ sanction of the Law, as well as by Jesus

Christ, who hath made it the peculiar sanc“ tion of the Gospel : and so both doctrines, " that of the true God, and of eternal life, “ have come from heaven together. The So

cinians, and they who deny a redemption “ by the atonement of a real sacrifice on the

cross, would do well to reconsider this mat“ ter, But more of it in a fitter placeb."

But the passage in which his views on this




b Book ix. chap. 1. vol. vi. pp. 265, 266,

subject are most fully disclosed, is the following. So

66 Revelation-teacheth that mankind lost “ the free gift of immortal life by the trans

gression of Adam ; and, from thence, became “ mortal, and their existence confined to this “ life. Revelation likewise teacheth that the mean which Divine Wisdom thought fit to

employ in restoring man from death to his “ first state of immortality, was the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Hence it appears to be

a thing impossible, that any messenger from God, any agent or instrument made use of “ for conducting this grand dispensation to“ wards its completion, could (were it in his choice or in his office to promulgate the doc“ trine of a future state) speak of any other “ but that purchased by Christ, and promulged and proclaimed in the Gospel, since in fact, on the principles of revelation, there is

no other; and to inculcate another, would “ be impeaching the veracity of God, and the “ eternal stability of his councils.”

“ Tooconclude, There is one thing which plainly evinceth, that if the Jews had the knowledge on belief of a future state of re“ ward and punishment; they must have had

the kBowledge of the redemption of man

by the death and suffering of Jesus Christ, “ likewise. And it is this, That all the sa





“ crifices in the Jewish ritual regarded only “ temporal things. A very competent judge “ in these matters assures us, Universa Ju“ dæorum simul congesta sacrificia ad asse

quenda hujus vitæ commoda omnia facta

erant. The consequence is this, That if “ the Jewish religion taught its followers a “ future state of rewards and punishments, it “ either afforded them no means of attaining “ future happiness, or it instructed them in “ the doctrine of the Redemption. To say “ the first, contradicts the nature of all reli“gion; to say the latter, makes the Jewish

useless, and the Christian false, as contradicting its repeated declarations, that life " and immortality, or the doctrine of the Re“ demption, was brought to light through the “ Gospeld.”

It is far from my intention to express an unqualified concurrence of judgment in relation to the contents of the foregoing citations. On the contrary, the reasoning pursued in the last of them appears to me to labour under a considerable fallacy. For it is here contended, that the doctrine of a future state must have been unknown to the Israelites, because the doctrine of redemption was: a fact which we conceive to be too hastily assumed. That the mode of our redemption by

€ 6 Outram de Sacr. p. 305."
d Div. Leg. b. v. 9.6. vol. v. pp. 195, 196.


the sacrifice of the Son of God was unknown to them, may reasonably be admitted : but it cannot with equal reason be supposed, that they were ignorant of the fact, that God had decreed to provide a redemption, which was to take effect in the fulness of time. For such ignorance was inconsistent with the discovery of the Mosaic record respecting the promise of a future triumph over the seducer of man's innocence. It was equally inconsistent with the expectation they were taught to cherish, of a blessing on the whole race of mankind to arise from the seed of Abraham : for how could they, who now lay under the malediction of death, be viewed as the subjects of a Divine blessing, unless there were expected a reversal, or at least a mitigation, of the previous sentence ? Our own views have therefore led us to maintain, that the doctrine of Redemption was known to the ancient church of Israel ; and that the doctrine of a future life would be a natural and necessary deduction from it.

With regard to another position contained in the last of the foregoing extracts, which relates to the Jewish sacrifices, I have so fully explained my views in the course of my work, that a brief remark will suffice for the present purpose. It is said, " That allīthe sacrifices “ in the Jewish ritual regarded only tempo“ ral things.” This is true of the Levitical


« AnteriorContinuar »