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Their evidence is divided into two parts; the first, proving that TEMPORAL rewards and punishments were the sanction of the Jewish Dispensation ; The second, that it had no other. And thus, with the most direct and unexceptionable proof of the two Minor propositions, the fifth Book concludes.
VI. But to remove, as far as possible, all the supports of prejudice against this important Truth, the sixth and last Book of this Volume is employed in examining all those texts of the Old and Nero Testament, which had been commonly urged to prove, that the Doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments DID MAKE PART of the Mosaic Dispensation.
And amongst those of the Old Testament, the famous passage of the xixth chapter of Job, concerning a Resurrection (as it has been commonly understood) holding a principal place, it was judged expedient, for the reasons there given, to examine that matter to the bottom. This necessarily brought on an enquiry into the NATURE and GENIUS of that Book ; WHEN WRITTEN, and to wHAT PURPOSE. By the aid of which enquiry, a fair account is given of the sense of that famous Text, consistent with our general Proposition.
But the whole Discourse on the Book of Job hath this further use : It provides a strong support and illustration of what will be hereafter delivered concerning the GRADUAL DECAY of the extraordinary Providence from the time of Saul, to the return from the great Captivity.
Yet this is not all. The Discourse hath yet a further use, with regard to Revelation in general. For the explaining, How the principles of the Gospel-Doctrine were opened by degrees, fully obviates the calumnies of those two leaders in Infidelity, TYNDAL and COLLINS; who pretend, that the Heads and Governors of the Jews refined their old Doctrines concerning the Deity, and invented new ones : just as the Priests improved in knowledge, or the People advanced in curiosity ; or as Both were better taught by the instructions they received from their Masters in the country whither they were led away captive.
The discourse of Job being of this importance, we were led to support all the parts of it, from the attacks of various Writers, who had attempted to confute it.
The rest of the Old Testament-texts are gone through with greater dispatch, being divided into two parts. 1. Such as are supposed to teach the separate existence, or, as it is called, the immortality of the Soul. And, 2. Such as are supposed to teach a future state of rewards and punishments, together with a Resurrection of the body. In the course of which examination, much light, it is hoped, has been thrown both on the particular texts and on the general question.
From the texts of the Old Testament, the Argument proceeds to examine those of the New : Amongst which, the famous eleventh Chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews is not forgotten; the sense of which is cleared up, to oppose to the inveterate mistakes of Systematical Divines : And here, occasion is taken to explain the nature of St, Paul's reasoning against the errors of the Jewish converts ; a matter of highest moment for a right understanding of this Apostle's Letters to the several Churches ; and for the further illustration of the general Argument.
As in all this, nothing is taught or insinuated which opposes the doctrine of our excellent Church, commun decency required that this conformity should be fully shewn and largely insisted on.
Having therefore, all along, gone upon this principle, " That though a future State of rewards and punishments made no part of the Mosaic Dispensation, yet that the Law had a SPIRITUAL meaning; though not seen or understood till the fulness of time was come. Hence the Ritual Law received the nature, and afforded the efficacy of PROPHECY: In the interim (as is shewn) the mystery of the Gospel was occasionally revealed, by God, to his chosen servants, the Fathers and Leaders of the Jewish Nation; and the dawnings of it gradually opened by the Prophets, to the people.” Having, I say, gone, all the way, upon this principle, I shew, from the SEVENTH ARTICLE of Religion, that it is the very Doctrine of our excellent Church.
And in explaining that part of the Article which says,—That they are not to be heard which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory Promises, I support this doctrine by the case of ABRAHAM, who, our blessed Master tells us, rejoiced to see his day, and saw it and was glad.
Here, I attempt to prove, in illustration of this text, that the Command to Abraham to offer Isaac was merely an information given, at Abraham's earnest request, in a representative action, instead of words, of the REDEMPTION OF MANKIND by the great sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. Which interpretation, if it be the true one, is, I think, the noblest proof that ever was given of the HARMONY between the Old and New Testament.
From this long Dissertation, besides the immediate purpose of vindicating the Doctrine of our national Church, in its seventh Article, we gain these two advantages ; 1. The first of which is, supporting a real and essential connexion between the Mosaic and the Christian Religions. 2. The other is, disposing the Deists to think more favourably of Revelation, when they see, in this interpretation of the COMMAND, all their objections to this part of Abraham's story, overthrown.
The matter being of this high importance, it was proper to fix my
interpretation on such principles as would leave no room for reasonable doubt or objection : And this was to be done by explaining the nature of those various modes of information in use amongst the Ancients; for which explanation, a proper ground had been laid in the discourse on the Hieroglyphics in the fourth Book. To all this (for the reason here given) is subjoined a continued refutation of all that Dr. Stebbing has been able to urge against this idea of the Command.
Nor is this all. This Dissertation, which affords so many new openings into the truths of Revelation in general, and so many additional supports to the argument of the Divine Legation in particular, hath another very important use.
It is a necessary introduction to the long Discourse which follows, concerning PROPHECY.
In this (which is the last of the present Volume) I have attempted to clear up and vindicate the logical truth and propriety of Types in action, and secondary senses in speech : For on the truth and propriety of these depends the divine original of the ancient JEWISH PROPHECIES concerning Christ. A matter much needing a support : For though the greater part of these Prophecies confessedly relate to Jesus only in a secondary sense, yet had some men of name, and in the interests of Religion, through ignorance of the true origin and nature of such senses, rashly concurred with modern Judaism and Infidelity, to give them all up as illogical and enthusiastic, to the imminent hazard of the very foundation of CHRISTIANITY.
In the progress of this inquiry, I had occasion to examine, and was enabled, on the principles here laid down, to confute Mr. Collins's famous Work of the Grounds and Reasons of the Christian Religion, one of the 'most able and plausible books ever written amongst us, against our holy Faith ; he having borrowed the Argument, and stolen all the reasoning upon it, from the most sagacious of the modern Rabbins; who pretend that none of the Prophecies can relate to Jesus in any other sense than a secondary ; and that a secondary sense is illogical and fanatical.-Had I done no more, in this long work, than explain and clear up, as I have done, this much embarrassed and most important question of the Jewish Prophecies which relate to Christ, and to the Christian Dispensation, I should have thought my time and labour well employed ; so necessary to the very being of our holy Faith, is the setting this matter on its true foundation. Thus much may be said in favour of this large dissertation considered in itself alone : But, as part of the Argument of the Divine Legation of Moses, it has these more immediate uses :
1. To shew, that those who contend, that the Christian Doctrine of a future State was revealed to the early Jews, destroy all use and reason of a secondary sense of Prophecies ; for how shall it be certainly known, from the Prophecies themselves, that they contain double senses, but from this acknowledged truth, that the old Law was preparatory to, and the rudiments of, the New ? Or how shall this relation between these two Laws be certainly known, but from the evidence of this contested truth, that the Doctrine of a future state of Rewards and Punishments is not to be found in the Mosaic Dispensation ? So close a dependence have all these capital Principles on one another.
2. The other more immediate reason for this Dissertation on Types and secondary Senses was this : As I had shewn, that a future State of rewards and punishments was not revealed under any part of the Jewish (Economy, otherwise than by those modes of information ; it was neċessary, in order to shew the real connexion between Judaism and Christianity (the truth of the latter Religion depending on that real connexion) to prove those modes to be logical and rational. For, as on the one hand, had the doctrine of life and immortality been revealed under the Mosaic Economy, Judaism had been more than a rudiment of, and preparation to, Christianity; so on the other, had no covert intimations, at all, been given of the doctrine, it had been less : that is, the dependency and connexion between the two Religions had not been sufficiently marked out and ascertained. With this Dissertation therefore, so important in its use and application, the sixth and last Book of the second Volume * concludes.
Thus the READER, at length, may see how regularly, and intently, these two Volumes have been carried on : For, though the Author (whose passion is not so much a fondness for his own conceived argument, as for the honour and support of Religion itself ) hath neglected no fair occasion of inforcing every collateral circumstance, which might serve to illustrate the truth of Revelation in general ; yet he never loses sight of his end, but as the precept for conducting the most regular works directs,
Semper ad eventum festinat.
This Volume too, like the first, I thought fit to publish alone, not merely for the same reason, that it was a compleat and entire work of itself, which explained the nature and genius of the Jewish Constitution; but for this additional one, that it fairly ended and compleated the Argument.
For the first Volume having proved the MAJOR, and the second Volume, the Minor Propositions of the two SYLLOGISMS; my logic teaches me to think, that the coNCLUSION follows of course, viz. THAT
THE JEWISH RELIGION AND SOCIETY WERE BY AN EXTRAORDINARY PROVIDENCE.
• See the note in page 266.
Or put it in another light,-Having proved my three principal Propositions,
I. “That the inculcating the Doctrine of a future State of rewards and punishments, is necessary to the well-being of civil Society.
II. " That all mankind, espedally the most wise and learned nations of Antiquity, have concurred in believing, and teaching, that this Doctrine was of such use to civil Society.
III. “ That the Doctrine of a future State of rewards and punishments is. not to be found in, nor did make part of, the Mosaic Dispensation."
The conclusion is, that therefore THE LAW OF MOSES IS OF
A CONCLUSION which naturally follows the premisses contained in these three propositions. Notwithstanding all this, the evidence of their truth proving so various, extending so wide, and having been drawn out to so great a length; What between inattention and prejudice, the Argument, here brought to its final issue, hath been generally understood to be left imperfect; and the Conclusion of it reserved for another Volume. Yet a very moderate share of reflection might have led the candid Reader to understand, that I had here effectually performed what I had promised, namely, TO DEMONSTRATE THE DIVINE LEGATION OF Moses. For if it be indeed proved, That the Doctrine of a future state is necessary to the wellbeing of civil Society, under the ordinary government of Providence —That all mankind have ever so conceived of the matter—That the Mosaic Institution was without this support, and that yet it did not want it,—What follows but that the Jewish affairs were administered by an extraordinary Providence, distributing reward and punishment with an equal hand; and consequently that the MISSION OF MOSES WAS DIVINE?
However, the complaint against the Author, for not having performed his Convention with the Public, became pretty general. To which a great deal might be said, and perhaps to little purpose. The following Tale will put it in the fairest light. In a solemn Treaty lately concluded between the Governor of one of our American Provinces and the neighbouring Savages, it had, it seems, been stipulated, that the Settlement should supply those Warrior-Tribes with a certain number of good and serviceable Muskets. Which engagement was so ill performed, that at their next general meeting, the Chiefs of the Barbarians complained, that, though indeed the Colony had sent them the number of Muskets agreed upon, yet, on examination, they were all found to be without Locks. This mischance (occasioned by the Muskets and the Locks being put into two different cargoes) the Governor promised should be redressed. It was redressed accord