Imágenes de páginas


The Scripture Doctrine

the father, he shall Pe for thy trahey that modern
truth ? this to the choraise thee, as n., The lirik

in the Old Testament which are inconsistent with any expectations of this kind.— In death there is no remembrance of thee : in the grave who shall got thee thanks ? or, make confession unto thee !-TH dead praise not the Lord, neither any that down into silence -For the grave cannot un thee, death cannot celebrate thee: they that goen into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The line the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this ta: the fathers to the children shall make kuota thy truth". The meaning of which passages, and mine more to the same purpose, is not, as the Sadducts collected from them, that the soul dies with the body, and that there is no future state at all; te the meaning of them is to the same purpose with that of our Lord, John ix. 4. the night cometh, aka u man can work : the same with this of Solomon, Eccles. ix. 10. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor de vice, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grare, whither thou goest. And again, chap. xi. 3. if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be. See Num. XLV.] And with these testimonies of the

vice, nor knopest. And age toward the ball be. See ther thou & the south, 97th, there it shani

d Psalm vi. 5. Tk vào lồas Zxepeme dua nga, tỉ muếz; ; τηδε τα βιώ, ίνα και μετανοήσης; ότι άδηλος η έξοδός σου εκ τύ βίου έτέςχει, και εν αμαρτία τελευτήσαντι μετάνοια ουκ έσται ως λέγει δε τα Aaßid. 'Ey &è tộ cong tís e Eoponomoetab gos; Constit. Apost. lib. ii. cap. 13. Confer Menasseh Beu-Israel de Resurrect. Mort. lib. i. cap. 14. e Psalm cxv. 17.

Isaiah xxxviji. 18, 19. Idem dicit quod nos ante diximus. Hunc scilicet mundum esse, in quo virtus et vitium locum habent : in altero vero tantum operum remunerationem locum habere. Menasseh Ben-Israel, ubi sup.

estament e Testament the whole tenor of the New agrees; Fons of this och every where plainly supposes, that there is no

of the bration of our moral state, as to the nature and Or, make crd of it, between death and the day of judgment. of the leven the dead are raised, and appear at the great my?-Fyjunal 8, the inquiry is what they have done in Stolbutis world, that every one may receive the things sit kopi ne in his body, 2 Cor. v. 10. It is appointed unto J! brak, 'n once to die, but after this the judgment, Heb.

27. No reckoning, we see, is at all made of the middle state; but it is passed over, as if it really

are what it is sometimes called and compared to, in state of sleep; or as if no such period had inter

ned between the day of each man's death, and the ay of the general judgment. All which is utterly naccountable, considering how vastly longer that eriod is to the greatest part of mankind than the erm of human life, if that also, like the present, be a tate of moral agency, in which men may alter the emper and habits which they contracted in this

world, and with which they left it h. There is as w little probability of reason as proof from scripture En for this imagination. The very nature of the sepa

rate state is ill suited to it. For new habits must be acquired by exercise, and a repetition of the same

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

8 See Matt. xxv.

h Quod si alia interveniat vita ante judicium ; eaque talis, ut bene aut male agendi, virtutis et vitii, æque capax sit ac hodierna, eaque multo longior sit et diuturnior : nullam video rationem, cur ab hodierna vita sola, breviuscula, incommoda, et innumeris tentationibus obnoxia, pendeat totum pondus æternitatis, vel sortis futuræ; altera illa, multo majoris momenti, neglecta penitus, vel pro nihilo habita. Burnet De Stat. Mort. p. 93. See also Sherlock on Death, sect. vii. “ That death translates us to an un“changeable state."

acts; and virtuous habits must proceed from free choice. But what scope or opportunity will there be in hades for the acts and exercise of several virtues ? for justice, charity, temperance, and many more? They will be restrained from committing the acts indeed of intemperance, and other vices, by the very nature of their condition : but what morality is there in this? where is the virtue that pro. ceeds from free choice ?

But the deficiency in the nature of the separate state in this respect may perhaps be supplied by advantages of another kind, and what it wants in virtue may be compensated by punishment. For “ the “ fire or flame of gehenna extends into such parts of “ hades as wicked men, who are not incurably so, “ are forced into, long before the day of judgment.” And “this preliminary eruption of that fire or flame “ is intended as a punishment necessary for the re• pentance and recovery of lesser offenders i.” Of which expedients I need only say, that if the hypothesis of repentance in hades be so weak as to totter with its own weight, it is not likely to support this additional heap of absurdities with which Mr. Whiston has loaded it. It is hard to say how this material fire can affect immaterial substancek; or, if it could,

i Mr. Whiston's Discourse, p. 115.

k If it should be said, that the soul is not immaterial, it should be remembered, on the other hand, that the contrary has been proved by several excellent writers, Dr. Clarke, the author of the Enquiry into the Nature of the Human Soul, &c. The only refuge then, I conceive, must be in some “material vehicle,” or “ aerial “ body:" and this, an author I have been concerned with before says, “ is demonstrable from philosophy and apparitions.” [Letter, &c. concerning Origen, p. 65.] But as he has not explained his argument from philosophy, and as the other from apparitions

how it is calculated to produce real virtue. All punishment, it is certain, has not this effect; for then that of gehenna would not terminate, as Mr. W. supposes, in annihilation.

But want of proof, or probability, is not the worst circumstance in this affair. It has an ill aspect on practical religion ; and may for that reason be justly suspected to be no part of that gospel which contains only the doctrine which is according to godliness. The great argument for working out our salvation in the present life, while it is called today, is, because the night cometh, when no man can work. But if men are once taught to believe that there will be another day, that will answer their purpose as well; it is natural to think, that they will be too apt to trust to that resource, and so live and die without repentance. I don't say that this conduct would be reasonable, but that it is likely to be fact, considering how strongly men are attached to their old and favourite sins. It is from a sentiment of this kind that bishop Bull' expresses himself with so much warmth, with regard to the popish doctrine of purgatory; which he calls “ a gross “ imposition, that hath been, he is persuaded, the “ eternal ruin of thousands of souls, for whom our “ blessed Lord shed his most precious blood, who is too slippery to build any thing upon, I may dismiss this doctrine of vehicles with the censure of Mr. Locke; “Should aerial “and ætherial vehicles come once, by the prevalency of that doc“ trine, to be generally received any where, no doubt those terms “ would niake impressions on men's minds, so as to establish “ them in the persuasion of the reality of such things, as much as “peripatetic forms and intentional species have heretofore done." Essay, vol. ii. p. 96. 8vo. | English Works, vol. i. p. 115.


“ might have escaped hell, if they had not trusted “ to a purgatory.” This makes a material difference between Mr. Whiston's doctrine, and that of some of the early writers of the church. Their opinion, though groundless perhaps, was however harmless; was matter of speculation, which had no ill influence on Christian morality, nor was of ill consequence to the souls of men. For what if Christ, or his apostles, preached in hades to the old pious patriarchs ,-or to all the holy men of old, who in their respective ages believed in a Messiah to come, -or even to the good men in the heathen world, who had cultivated the principles of virtue ;—what is this to the case of Christians? Don't the same writers declare, as plainly as a few words can declare, that with regard to these last there is no repentance in hades? When Mr. W. meets with such declarations as these, he tells us, that he is “ obliged to un“ derstand” them with respect only " to great and “ enormous sins; such as prevented the hopes of “ amendment in hades,” &c. p. 62. But howsoever he may be obliged to understand them, to make them consistent with his own hypothesis, they are easy enough to be understood in themselves, in a sense perfectly consistent with that other opinion concerning the gospel's being preached in hades to those who had lived in the ages before it.

m See Cyril. Hieros. edit. Mills, p. 53. Clem. Alex. Strom. vi. p. 762. cum not. Reverendissimi, and Cotelerius, not. in Herm. Past. lib. iii. sim. 9. Quinetiam ad omnes solosque eos ex mortuis pertinuisse prædicationem et salutem, qui dum viverent, crediderant in Christum venturum, virtutique operam navaverant, doctrina quoque est multorum.

« AnteriorContinuar »