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ássurance and experience that God governed the Israelites by an extraordinary Providence.
But what follows is such unaccountable jargon !-For supposing the Israelites did believe a future State, what would this belief effect? It might carry them to Heaven, but it could not put them in possession of the land of Canaan. This looks as if the learned Doctor had supposed that, from the truth of this assertion, That no civil Society under a common Providence could subsist without a future state, I had inferred, that, with a future state, Society would be able to work wonders. What efficacy a future state hath, whether little or much, affects not my argument any otherwise than by the oblique tendency it hath to support the reasoning: and I urged it thus;-" Had not the Jews been nader an extraordinary Providence, at that period when Muses led them out to take possession of the land of Canaan, they were most unfit to bear the want of the doctrine of a future state?" Which ob- . servation I supported by the case of Odin's followers, and Mahomet's; who, in the same circumstances of making conquests, and seeking new habitations, had this Doctrine sedulously inculcated to them, by their respective Leaders. And the histories of both these Nations inform us, that nothing so inuch contributed to the rapidity of their successes as the enthusiasm which that Doctrine inspired.
And yet, to be sure, the Doctor never said a livelier thing, who is celebrated for saying many, than when he asked,What could this belief effect? It might carry them to Heaven; but it could not put them in possession of the Land of Canaan. Now unluckily, like most of these witty things, when too nearly inspected, we find it to be just the reverse of the truth. The belief could never carry them to Heaven, and
yet was abundantly sufficient, under such a leader as Moses, to put them in possession of the land of Canaan. The Arabians' belief of a future state could never, in the opinion at least of our orthodox Doctor, carry them to Heaven; yet he must allow it enabled them to take and keep possession of a great part of Europe and Asia. But the Doctor's head was running on the efficacy of the Christian Faith, when he talked of belief carrying men to heaven.-Yet who knows, but when he gave the early Jews the knowledge of a future state, he gave them the Christian faith into the bargain?
THUS we see that an EXTRAORDINARY PROVIDENCE WAS THE NECESSARY CONSEQUENCE OF
A THEOCRACY; and that this Providence is represented in Scripture to have been really adininistered. TEMPORAL REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS, therefore, (the effects of this providence) and not future, MUST NEEDS BE THE SANCTION of their Law and Religion.
Having thus prepared the ground, and laid the foundation, I go on to shew that future Rewards and Punishments, which COULD NOT BE THE SANCTION of the Mosaic Dispensation, WERE NOT TAUGHT in it at all: and that, in consequence of this Omission, the PEOPLE had not the doctrine of a future state for many ages. And here my arguments will be chiefly directed against the believing part of my opponents; no Deist*, that I know of, ever pretending that the doctrine of a future state was to be found in the Law. Moses delivered to the Israelites a complete Digest of Law and Religion: but, to fit it to the nature of a * See note [Y] at the end of this Book. Theocratic
Theocratic Government, he gave it perfectly incorporated. And, for the observance of the intire Institution, he added the sanction of rewards and punishments: both of which we have shewn to be necessary for the support of a Republic: and yet, that civil Society, as such, can administer only one*.
Now in the Jewish Republic, both the rewards and punishments promised by heaven were TEMPORAL only. Such as health, long life, peace, plenty, and dominion, &c. Diseases, immature death, war, famine, want, subjection, and captivity, &c. And in no one place of the Mosaic Institutes is there the least mention, or any intelligible hint, of the rewards and pu
nishments of another life.
When SOLOMON had restored the integrity of Religion; and, to the regulated purity of Worship, had added the utmost magnificence; in his DEDICATION of the new-built Temple, he addresses a long prayer to the God of Israel, consisting of one solemn petition for the continuance of the OLD COVENANT made by the ministry of Moses. He gives an exact account of all its parts, and explains at large the SANCTION of the Jewish Law and Religion. And here, as in the writings of Moses, we find nothing but TEMPORAL rewards and punishments; without the least hint or intimation of a future state.
The holy PROPHETS speak of no other. Thus Isaiah: "Then shall he give the rain of thy seed that "thou shalt sow the ground withal, and bread of the "increase of the earth, and it shall be fat and plenteous; and in that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures. And there shall be upon every high "mountain, and upon every high hill, rivers and streams of water †.” And Jeremiah: “I will
• i. c. Punishments. See Vol. I. p. 210.
+ Ch. xxx. ver. 23. 25.
"surely consume them, saith the Lord; there shall "be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig-tree, " and the leaf shall fade, and the things that I have "given them shall pass away from them.-I will send કંદ serpents and cockatrices amongst you, which will "not be charmed, and they shall bite you, saith the "Lord." Nay so little known, in these times, was any other kind of rewards and punishments to the Jewish People, that, when the Prophets foretell that NEW Dispensation, by which, life and immortality were brought to light, they express even those future rewards and punishments under the image of the present. Thus Zechariah, prophesying of the times of CHRIST, describes the punishment attendant on a refusal of the terms of Grace, under the ideas of the Jewish Economy: "And it shall be that whoso will
not come up of all the families of the earth unto "Jerusalem, to worship the King the Lord of Hosts, tt even upon them SHALL BE NO RAIN †." I would have those men well consider this, who persist in thinking "that the early Jews had the doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments, though Moses taught it not expressly to them," and then tell me why Zechariah, when prophesying of the Gospeltimes, should chuse to express these future rewards and punishments under the image of the present?
Indeed, were it not for the amazing prejudices which have obtained on this subject, a writer's pains to shew that a future state of rewards and punishments made no part of the Mosaic Dispensation, would appear as absurd to every intelligent reader, as his would be who should employ many formal arguments to prove that Sir Isaac Newton's Theory of Light and Colours is hot to be found in Aristotle's books de Cato & de Chap. xiv. ver. 17.
Chap. viii. ver. 13. 17.
Coloribus. I will therefore for once presume so much on the privilege of Common Sense, as to suppose, the impartial reader may be now willing to confess, that the doctrine of Life and Immortality was not yet known to a people while they were sitting in darkness, and in the region and shadow of death*; and go on to other matters that have more need to be explained. II.
I shall shew then, in the next place, that this OMISSION was not accidental; or of a thing which Moses did not well understand: but that, on the contrary, it was a designed omission; and of a thing well known by him to be of high importance to Society.
I. That the doctrine of a future state of Rewards and Punishments was studiously omitted, may appear from several circumstances in the book of Genesis. For the history of Moses may be divided into two periods; from the Creation to his Mission; and from his Mission to the delivering up his command to Joshua: The first was written by him in quality of HISTORIAN; the second, of LEGISLATOR; in both of which he preserves an equal silence concerning the doctrine of a future state.
1. In the history of the Fall of Man, it is to be observed, that he mentions only the instrument of the agent, the SERPENT; not the agent himself, the DEVIL: and the reason is plain; there was a close connexion between that agency,-The spiritual effects of the Fall,-the work of Redemption,—and the doctrine of a future State. If you say, the connexion was not so close but that the Agent might have been mentioned without any more of his history than the temptation to the Fall; I reply, it is true it might ;
* Matt. iv. 16.