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brought into the clear light and full blaze of open day a doctrine as yet ONLY PARTIALLY AND IM
PERFECTLY REVEALED AND UNDERSTOOD.
The same mode of reasoning will equally dispose of every other text, which the bishop, in the course of his POSITIVE demonstration, has adduced from the New Testament. Not one of them can bear the sense which he imposes upon it, without contradicting both the bishop himself and (what is still worse) the inspired writer to the Hebrews'.
Div. Leg. book v. sect. 6. The texts, cited by Bishop Warburton from the New Testament, while prosecuting his POSITIVE argument are these. 1 Tim. iv. 8. 1 Corinth. xv. 19. Heb. vii. 15, 16. John i. 17. Rom. v. 12–14. 2 Corinth. iïi. 7-11. Gal. iii. 23. iv. 3. 2 Tim. i. 10. Coloss. i. 26. Heb. vii. 19. X. 1. viii, 6, 7. ii. 2, 3, 5, 14, 15. Rom. viii. 21. Gal. iij, 21.
From what has been said, we may safely, I think, venture to conclude, that the knowledge of a future state was possessed by those who flourished both under the Patriarchal and under the Levitical Dispensation. To assert indeed, that they possessed it as clearly and as distinctly in all its grand particulars as we ourselves do, were to contradict the express declaration of St. Paul, that Christ brought it to light: but to deny, that they possessed it at all, were equally to contradict the same apostle, when he writes to the Hebrews that all the old fathers desired a better country that is an heavenly. In fact, as Bishop Warburton himself most justly remarks, the doctrine of redemption and reconciliation and the doctrine of a future state are, in the very nature of things, plainly inseparable by all those who believe, as the ancient patriarchs and the Israelites must have believed, that man is an apostate and condemned creature. If then it were the grand object of the Patriarchal Dispensation to teach the doctrine of redemption and reconciliation, and if it were one of the grand objects of the Levitical Dispensation still to teach and confirm and preserve the same vitally essential doctrine: this very circumstance alone would have proved, by necessary implication, that those, who lived whether before the Law or under the Law, possessed with greater or with less distinctness the doctrine of a future state. But we have not been compelled to rest so important a position on mere inference: we have seen, that it may be directly established by the most unobjectionable testimony ; testimony in short so unobjectionable, that it extorts from Bishop Warburton concessions of such magnitude, as to destroy by one part of his great work the identical theory which he seeks to build up by the other part of it.' DA
A very curious subject of inquiry however yet remains to be prosecuted: namely, what notices of a future state are discoverable in the writings of Moses. These writings are; allowedly, the Pentateuch ; and, as we may perhaps hereafter have reason to believe, the book of Job. But; before any such inquiry can be prosecuted satisfactorily, we must learn, What is the real and openly proposed sanction of the Hebrew Law, whatever may be the tacit and additional sanction of that part of it which is styled moral.
Some of Bishop Warburton's contemporaries, alarmed at the boldness with which that great man pushed his conclusions, seem to have imagined, that they ought to oppose him, whether right or wrong, in every stage of his argument. Hence the position, that temporal rewards and punishments were the sole openly proposed sanction of the Hebrew Law, met with the same fate as the paradoxical and untenable opinion, that the ancient Israelites were wholly ignorant of a future retributory state: insomuch that one of his lordship's opponents, in most magnanimous defiance both of direct evidence and of plain common sense, undertook to prove, in a sermon preached before the University of Oxford, that future rewards and punishments were the sanction of the Mosaic Dispensation. Yet nothing can be clearer, both from the very reason of the thing and from the most positive testimony of the Law itself, that its sole openly proposed sanction is temporal rewards and punishments, whatever may be the additional tacit sanction of the moral Law.
I. Let us begin then with discussing its openly proposed sanction; which, in fact, both is and must be its only sanction, when it is viewed as the common or statute Law of a whole nation.
1. All parties are agreed, though all parties do not equally attend to the matter in their reasonings, that the polity of Israel was of that peculiar and singular form, which is usually denominated a Theocracy.
(1.) Now the genius of such a constitution was this.
God was not merely the sovereign lord of Israel, in the same sense as he is said to be the king of the whole earth : but he held exactly the same temporal relation to his chosen people, as any mortal sovereign holds to the nation over which he presides in the quality of a temporal governor. He was the God indeed of each individual Israelite, just as he is the God of each individual Christian: but then he additionally sustained, both to every individual Israelite and to the whole collective body of the Israelitish nation, the extraordinary character of a literally temporal king or of a supreme civil magistrate.
It was this peculiar relationship between Jehovah and his people Israel, which constituted the strict moral legality of certain actions that otherwise must have been utterly unlawful.
Thus God, who is the lord and master of the universe no less than he was the temporal chief of the house of Israel, might and did command his subjects to exterminate the abandoned Canaanites, just as he might have employed on the same service an earthquake or a deluge or a pestilence: but no other temporal prince can lawfully give such orders; because no other temporal prince stands in the double capacity of a king to his own nation and of a divine irresponsible proprietor to all the rest of the world. And thus, what bears more immediately upon the