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entertained these absurd notions of the law, have taken the means to be the end, or that there were means which led to no end; or that man was made for some other end than he really was; or made for no noble end at all, made only for this world to get provisions, to propagate, to die, to rot.

If then we may be allowed to suppose, that God could not make the Jews wiser by keeping them in ignorance about a future state; and indeed there is something very paradoxical in imagining, that men may be made wiser by being kept in ignorance of that end, about which all their wisdom was to be employed, we may proceed to enquire, Whether this ignorance could make them better ? * And here one might insist on the necessity of adding knowledge to virtue, lest men should err by following a false rule of duty, or by acting upon wrong motives. One may shew, that it is of the essence of every good action, that it should be free and matter of choice, and that it cannot be so in the present case. † And farther, that the Jews must have wanted the most powerful motive to the practice of virtue, that which takes strongest hold of the conscience, hath the greatest command over our hopes and fears, influences our thoughts as well as actions, and which alone can be an adequate foundation of universal obedience. But it will be sufficient to observe that virtue, or to act conformably to the known laws of God, supposes that free agents either know why they act so, or not. If the Jews had reasons which induced them to act virtuously, then it must be either the love of the law itself: But this it could not be, because they thought it was a real pain, yoke, bondage, slavery, and called it by almost every name that denotes an unwillingness of mind, and an uneasiness of body to observe it : or the love of its consequences, that future reward which they might hope for ; but this

Stillingfleet's Origines Sacræ, B. 3d. Ch. 1. p. 361, 362. + Locke's Hum. Unders. Vol. 1st. Ch. 21. p. 221. Sect. 60. : and po 228. Sect. 70. Stillingfileet's Orig. Sac. 471, 472.

they are supposed to be ignorant of, therefore they had no reason to be virtuous, and consequently as they were free agents, they could not be virtuous at all

But it hath been said, that we are to practise virtue because God commands us! We may perhaps in our: circumstances: but if God's laws had made us miserable here, and we had no expectations from him hereafter, what was to determine us to observe his laws? We are told that gratitude would, and that this calls upon us to make all possible returns of thankfulness to our benefactors. But if gratitude be a just sense and acknowledgment of favours received, it cannot be expressed to any being who makes us miserable. If our pleasures lie within

a small compass, if there be ever something that embitters them and dulls their relish, if indulgence in them creates real pain, and if even a great part of those we are capable of receiving are for. bidden, what room is there for thanks and praises ? If our pains exceed our pleasures, it is absurd to be grateful; because to be pleased with pain is a contradiction in terms: and therefore setting aside all hopes of an hereafter, there could be no room for gratitude, when we are made miserable by being brought into being. But if God should give us all the good things of this life, and make us really happy in this world, would not this be a sufficient motive to obedience without the knowledge of a future state? Neither could this of itself possibly answer the end proposed, because if men were absolutely free from wants, there could be no temptation, consequently no state of trial, and therefore no room for voluntary obedience.

This great silence about a future state then could not make the observers of the law either wiser or better. Every one will draw the inference, what therefore it did make them. And shall we suffer men to say that the law had such a design ? That a revelation

Law's preliminary Dissertation to King's Orig. of Evil, p. 62, 66.

from God proposed such an unworthy end? That the moral perfections of the deity could authorize such immoral proceedings ? Let us remove such unjust aspersions from the Supreme Being, and suppose at present that if we could not find out and prove that a future state does make part of the law, that however the perfections of the Deity, the end of man's creation, and the necessity of answering that end require that it ought to be there, and that our not seeing it immediately might perhaps be owing to our own ignorance, to our little insight into the customs, manners, and ceremonies of the Jews, the genius of their language, and the received opinions of the time when Moses wrote: to these and many other reasons a good man would be inclined to attribute his not discovering it immediately, before he would impeach the wisdom and goodness of God, and make him an imperfect being rather than own himself to be such an one.

But farther the revelation by Moses could not come from God without the doctrine of a future state was contained in it: for though it be true in fact, that God did see and prefer man's eternal happiness to temporal, though he made him a free agent, and he also might see and prefer it, and actually taught him the means to prefer and thereby attain it; yet man preferred an imaginary to a real good, made a wrong use of his free agency, neglected the means that lead to happiness, and chose the means to misery. As a consequence of this God could not reveal his will to him whilst he was in this state, because as a sinner he was an object of the divine vengeance, of that justice which he had provoked, and of that punishment which he deserved *. If God had only left man in this state to himself, he would have been sufficiently tormented with his own terrors and despair. But that God did afterwards converse with him is a demonstration that his justice was appeased, that something had interposed to satisfy and avert the divine vengeance, and to restore man to favour and happiness. And that therefore the law by Moses, being given to those who had sinned and forfeited happiness, ought to contain the conditions

* Thirty-nine Articles, Art. 9. on Original Sin : and Art. 10. OÚ Free-will. Art. 13.

upon which they might again attain it, and consequently not only the knowledge of a future state, but also the means of attaining an happy one * For if Moses hath said, that man sinned, offended justice, could not of himself satisfy it, and that nevertheless God revealed his will to this sinful creature, is it not certain that justice was satisfied, and man again restored to favour? Otherwise what could have induced the Jews to the observance of the law, if it had not taught them some means of making this satisfaction, of reconciling them to God, and restoring them to happiness and heaven? For if they knew that God was offended with them, they must first be assured the service they paid would render them acceptable to him, before they could

pay it: unless we can suppose them so stupid as to worship God without any reason, or served him to offend and provoke him more.

If then we can prove that the law came from God, and that the Jews ever observed it as such, it must certainly follow that it ought to be full of the doctrine of a future state.

There is an objection which too much affects what hath been already observed, and is too common not to be taken notice of, that many and repeated promises every where occur in the law, which relate only to the good things of this life; and this hath staggered even those persons who have been influenced by arguments drawn from the nature of the thing, to own that a future state ought to have made part of the law. It is indeed true in fact, that many of the rewards and punishments in the law are temporal; but then let it be remembered that the very ground and reason of insisting so much upon


that it was known there were also eternal. For I would observe that at the time

Stillingfleet's Origines Sacræ, p. 600, 601, 602.

when Moses wrote, the greatest part of mankind had corrupted themselves, had withdrawn their allegiance from the true God, and set up the work of his hands in opposition to him. Most of those ancient idolaters (as it might easily be proved from numerous* authorities both of sacred and profane history,) worshipped the heavens, to which they attributed very great and extraordinary powers. It is very obvious to every one who is but superficially read in the eastern histories, or the scriptures, that the host of heaven, the queen of heaven, the sun, the light, the moon, and stars, are every where represented to be the objects of their worship. In consequence of this we find they asserted, that the heavens were the givers of all temporal happiness, the causes of motion, of light, of heat, of the earth's motions, of the seasons, of vegetation, the flux and reflux of the sea, the supporters of the animal economy, and of every operation in matter. But they did not stop here, they supposed them also to be independent, thought that they, whom they saw the chief rulers in this system, had this power originally in themselves. They who set up false gods, set up at the same time false redeemers, and therefore can have no benefit from the true. If then God was at all times concerned to prevent this false worship from becoming universal, lest the grand scheme of redemption should be defeated (for universal corruption must have brought on an universal destruction), then he must have been particularly concerned to keep the Jews from this crime, not only because they were the sole people upon the earth to whom he at that time chose to reveal his will;

* J. Boulduc, de Ecclesiâ ante Legem, 281, 282, &c. The Chevalier Ramsay's Discourse on the Theology and Mytho. of the Pagans, p. 2. parag 2. T. Goodwin's Civil and Ecclesiastical Rites of the Hebrews, p. 142, 143, 144, 145, 160, 161, 162, 163. An Essay to a Natural History of the Bible, by John Hutchinson. Acts vii. 42, 43. Diogenes Laert de Vitis. Phil. Ed. H. Stephens, 1593, p. 7. Stillinge fleet's Origines Sacræ, 42, 43, 44. I. 21. The worship of the sun as far as we can learn was the great and most early idolatry of the eastern countries, &c. p. 219, 220. J. Bossuet, Discourse, sur l'Histoire Universelle, p. 195.

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