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Apostle to his host of enumerated worthies. For, whether it was faith in the generic sense as his lordship maintains, or faith in the specific sense of a prospective faith in the great Deliverer as others believe; still we are assured, that those enumerated worthies desired a better country, that is, an heavenly. Whence it will follow, unless we exhibit them as violating the first dictates of nature, that they must at least have communicated their knowledge to their children and relatives; so that, from Adam and Seth in the antediluvian world, and from Noah in the postdiluvian world, the doctrine of a future state must have been successively derived to all their descendants. But it may well be doubted, whether the bishop's view of that faith, which the apostle ascribes to the fathers, be strictly accurate: not only because such a view is irreconcileable even with his own principles : but likewise what is of much higher importance, because it ill accords with the description given of that faith by the apostle himself.

His lordship contends, that the faith spoken of is merely a generic faith in God's promises at large, whether of this nature or of that nature: so that Noah's faith, for instance was simply a full belief that God would bring over the earth the waters of an universal deluge; while the faith of the other patriarchs similarly had respect only to their several peculiar situations'.

"Div. Leg. book vi. sect. 4. p. 428-435.

But this interpretation of the faith in question does not quadrate with the bishop's own principles. He declares, as we have already seen, that, if the Jews, and consequently by a parity of reasoning the early fathers, had the knowledge or belief of a future state of reward and punishment, they must have had the knowledge of the redemption of man by the death and suffering of Jesus Christ likewise'. Such a declaration I conceive indeed to be too specific; for the subjects of the Patriarchal and the Levitical Dispensations might have had a general belief in the doctrine of redemption, without knowing the precise mode in which that redemption was to be effected : but the declaration itself is substantially accurate and well founded. Since the early fathers well knew that the penalty of death was pronounced upon man by reason of transgression, they could not possibly have believed the doctrine of a future state of happiness at least, unless they had also believed the doctrine of redemption in whatsoever manner to be effected: because the grant of a future state of happiness to a sinner implies, of absolute necessity, the idea of a reconciliation with God brought about in some manner not inconsistent with the divine attribute of inflexible and perfect justice. Hence, if the early fathers, as the bishop himself confesses and as the apostle unambiguously declares, had the knowledge of a future state of reward and punishment; they must also have had a ge

! Div. Leg. book v. sect. 6. p. 195.

neral knowledge of man’s redemption, whether they did or did not know the precise mode in which it was to be effected. Such then being the case on his lordship's own principles, it is incongruous to expound the faith of the early patriarchs as only a generic faith ; when the acknowledged fact of their acquaintance with the doctrine of a future state requires us to understand it as a specific faith in that promised Deliverer, through whose divine assistance (as the bishop speaks) man should be at length enabled to defeat all the machinations of the serpent'.

Nor is this interpretation less irreconcileable with the language of the apostle himself. Speaking of Abel and Enoch and Noah and Abraham and Sarah and Isaac and Jacob, he remarks : These all died IN FAITH, NOT HAVING RECEIVED THE PROMISES, BUT HAVING SEEN THEM AFAR OFF; and they WERE PERSUADED OF THEM, and EMBRACED THEM, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Now what were the promises to which St. Paul here alludes as constituting the object of patriarchal faith even in the article of death? In the case of Abraham it might be said, that the promise intended was the promise of the land of Canaan to his posterity; which he received in faith, though he saw it only afar off: but no such solution can be brought forward in the case of Noah. If the

Div. Leg. book vi. sect. 3. p. 387. · Heb. xi. 13,

faith of this great patriarch solely consisted in his reliance on God's promise to save him in the approaching deluge, as Bishop Warburton maintains and teaches : how can it be truly said of him, that he died in faith, not having received the promises; but having only seen them AFAR OFF, and having been simply PERSUADED of them so as cordially to EMBRACE them though he never beheld their actual accomplishment? The language of the apostle is irrestrictive; these all died in faith: and the faith of these ALL is described as operating precisely upon the same object; namely, THE




HAVE BEEN REMOVED BY THE HAND OF DEATH. It is clear therefore, that the promises in ques, tion could relate to nothing that was accomplished during the term of their several lives: for, even when Jacob the last enumerated person, died; he still, like the first mentioned Abel, had not received the promises, but had only seen them AFAR OFF. What then were the promises, thus embraced with a lively faith by each departing patriarch, though not one of them was permitted to behold their REMOTE accomplishment; save the various promises, which had been made from time to time since the fall of Adam and Eve, respecting a future Deliverer, who should bruise the head of the vanquished serpent, and in whom (as a descendant of Abraham) all the nations of the earth should be blessed ? I see not what pro

mises, except these, could alike interest each enumerated patriarch in the hour of death. Doubtless, they had a well grounded right to desire a better country, that is, an heavenly : BECAUSE, although they had not actually received the promises of a future Redeemer, but had only seen them afar off ; they were nevertheless fully persuaded of them, and embraced them, with a faith not the less lively because it was prospective. Accordingly, the apostle goes on to tell us, that the kindred faith of Moses (for he gives us no intimation, that the faith of Moses at all differed from the faith of any other persons whom he enumerates) had a direct reference to the promised Saviour: the motive, on which this eminent character chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, was, because he esteemed the reproach of CHRIST greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward'. Nothing, in short, can be more distinct than the tenor of the whole passage from beginning to end. The old fathers are described, as expecting a future state of happiness on the avowed belief, that the promises respecting a future Deliverer would at some remote period be fully accomplished. Nor indeed could they rationally expect the one, without believing the other. To whatever extent their knowledge, as to the pre

1 Heb. xi. 25, 26.

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