« PreviousContinue »
Light."—The Examiner tells us, "when he first: "read these Passages, he flattered himself that his "Lordmip was endeavouring to establish the Doc"trine of the Divine Legation. The Presumption "seemed to be well-grounded, as the Expression "of bringing Life and Immortality to Light is here "interpreted in the very same Sense Dr. Warburton "understands it; and the Word <palt£w is made "to signify the opening and unfolding of a Mystery, "which was totally unknown before. I was, he "proceeds, confirmed in this Opinion, upon re"collecting that his Lordship has asserted the same "Exposition of this Text in his Discourses on Pro"phecy, where he tells us—that God, after the "Flood, said nothing to the Remnant of ManM kind of the Punijhments and Rewards of another *' Life, because they were reserved to be revealed "by him, whose Province it was to bring Life "and Immortality to Light through the Gospel." (p. 21. &c.)
I must confess, I see nothing in these Passages to incline me to believe his Lordship is endeavouring to establish the Doctrine of the D. L. or that he interprets the Expression of bringing Life, &c. to Light in the same Sense in which Dr. W.
understands it. What was the Design of the
Golpel but the Redemption of Mankind by Jesus Christ? This Design (not the Doctrine of a future ture State) is stiled a Mystery\ "because it was "kept secret since the the World began, &c." But this Destgn which was accomplished by the Coming of Christ is of course " no longer a Mystery, "but is manifest and made known, &c." The Mystery of Redemption was no longer a Secret when the Redeemer appeared; by his Coming the Hope of Immortality was confirmed; and future Rewards and Punijhments were ascertained: But will it follow that Men had no Idea or Expectation of another Life, because they were unacquainted with the destgned" Dispensation of Providence in the "Salvation of Mankind?" or because the Rewards and Punijhments of another Life were not exhibited or enforced by a competent Authority? Though the Punistments and Rewards of another Life were to be " revealed therefore by him whose Province "it was to bring Life, &c. to Light;" yet sure there might be general Disquisitions upon these Subjects antecedently to such Revelation. For undoubtedly the Notion of a future State, &c. is one Thing, and an explicit Revelation of that State is another.
"The Bishop, fays the Examiner, seems to "rest much on this Distinction, that the Word "(<p«]f£w) cannot signify to bring a Thing into "Being and Existence, but only to illustrate and "enlighten something which had a Being and
"Existence '* Existence before. But the Distinction, proceeds "he, though well grounded, is of no manner of "Service to his Argument, since those he reasons "against are agreed with him, that this Light "illustrated what was already in being, namely, "the typical Representations of a future State in the Law." (p. 15. &c.)—But where are these typical Representations, &c. (I mean, such as are peculiar to the Law, and subversive of the Sense of express Promises, &c.) to be met with? If no where, his Lordship's Distinction is of infinite "Service to "his Argument," as the Types, &c. under the Law are relative to Things of a very different Nature from that of a future State, considered as such* For though typical Representations, &c. were intended for a Veil or Cover under the Old Testament, and consequently the great spiritual Truths of the Gospel were so enveloped by them, that they were not discerned by the Body of the Jews, yet the new System must make it appear, that the Doctrine of a future State in general is of the very same spiritual, and undemonflrable Nature with that of the great Principles, and Mysteries of the Gospel Dispensation, or it will never prove that all the Types and Figures of the Old Testament put together have any Connections with God's clear, though implicit Promise to Adam, &c. or with the natural Arguments for Immortality
Again, God's gracious Purpose to redeem Mankind by his Son was a Secret, or a Mystery, no doubt, till the Times of the Gospel; and it was impossible for the Jews, or any other People, to understand the Types, and Emblems of these Times, till they were illustrated by their several Anti-types. —But the Manifestation of this Purpose, and the Illustration of these Types, have no Reference to the fundamental Truths, or great Mysteries of the Gospel, i. e. they do not explain or develop them to the human Understanding. The Doctrines of the Trinity, of the Incarnation, of the Sacrifice of the Son of God, &c. &c. and that of the Resurrection itself are as much Myjteries as ever. Nay, what clearer Idea of a future State, as Jucb, have Men now, than they had before the Publication of the Gospel? The Reality of these Things, though not the Nature of them, is indeed effectually assured to us; and they are become Objects of Faith in the highest and strictest Sense of the Word.— But can we be assured ot nothing but what we were absolutely ignorant of before? Or is it absurd to suppose a Notion of a future State, because Man could not foresee, nor can even now comprehend, the whole saving System of the Gospel? It is with respect then to the Ignorance of the Jews, as well as Gentiles, in regard to this System, that both are said to fit in Darkness, and in the Region and Shadow of Death, before the preaching of the Gospel. This is however a Description, the Examiner acquaints us, " which will by no means permit us to "suppose that they (the Jews) were enlightened "with a good Proof of Redemption, Or a future "State, &c." (p. 8.)—Redemption in and by Christ' then, and a future State are reciprocal Terms importing one and the same Thing, it seems; if so, the Point must indeed be given up; but if not, I pre^fume, both Jews and Gentiles might not want a. good Proof of the one, though they had no manner of Conception of the other.—The Promise made byGod to Adam, and afterwards to the Patriarchs, and particularly to Abraham, in whom All the Nations of the Earth were to be blessed, did manifestly importsome spiritual Blessing, in which the Jews could not but Jsdow the Gentiles as well as themselves were interested. But because the Gentiles were utterly unacquainted with this Promise, and the Jews did not see the whole, ox full Sense of it, as predicting the Redemption of Man by the only-begotten Son of God himself, so both the one and the other are very properly said to sit in Darkness, &c. before -this wonderful Transaction. For nothing but this could remove their Doubts and Uncertainties, or ascertain the Right and Claim to Salvation, through the Efficacy of those Merits which alone could take away the Sins of the World.