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but not without danger of giving countenance to the impious doctrine of Two Principles, which at this time prevailed throughout the Pagan world. What but these important considerations could be the cause of the omission*? when it is so evident that the knowledge of this grand enemy of our welfare would have been the likeliest cure of Pagan superstitions, as teaching men to esteem of Idolatry no otherwise than as a mere diabolical illusion. And in fact we find, that when the Israelites were taught, by the later Prophets, to consider it in this light, we hear no more of their Idolatries. Hence we see, that the folly of those, who, with Collins, would have a mere serpent only to be understood, is just equal to theirs, who, with the Cabalists, would have that serpent a mere Allegory.
2. In the history of Enoch's translation† to Heaven, there is so studied an obscurity, that several of the Rabbins, as Aben Ezra and Jarchi, fond as they are of finding a future state in the Pentateuch, interpret this translation as only signifying an immature death. And Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. How different from the other history of the translation of Elijah! "And it came to
pass when the Lord would take up Elijah into "Heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with "Elisha from Gilgal, &c.-And it came to pass as
they still went on and talked, that behold there "appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and
parted them both asunder, and Elijah went up with "a whirlwind into Heaven §." But the reason of this difference is evident: When the latter history was written, it was thought expedient to make a preparation
* See note [Z] at the end of this Book.
§ 2 Kings ii. 1, 11. for
for the dawning of a future state of reward and punishment, which in the time of Moses had been highly improper. The reflections of an eminent Critic on this occasion, will shew how little he penetrated into the true design of this Economy. "Mirum est Mosem "rem tantam, si modo immortalem Henochum factum CREDIDIT, tam obiter, tamque obscure, quasi EAM LATERE VELLET, perstrinxisse. Fortè cum hæc ex antiquissimis monumentis exscriberet, nihil præter "ea quæ nobis tradidit invenit, quibus aliquid adjicere religio fuit." For Moses both knew and believed the Immortality of Enoch, and purposely obscured the fact, from whence it might have been collected. But what is most singular in this reflection is, that the learned Commentator, to aggravate the obscurity, says it is as obscure, as if he purposely designed to hide it, supposing such a design to be the highest improbability; which was indeed the fact, and is the true solution of the difficulty.
3. In his history of the Patriarchs, he entirely omits, or throws into shade, the accounts of those Revelations, with which, as we learn from the writers of the New Testament, some of them were actually favoured, concerning the Redemption of mankind. Of these favours we shall give ere long a great and noble instance, in the case of ABRAHAM, who, as we are assured by JESUS himself, rejoiced to see CHRIST's day, and saw it, and was glad.
From whence therefore could all this studied caution arise, but to keep out of sight that doctrine, which, for ends truly worthy of the divine Wisdom, he had omitted in his Institutes of Law and Religion? This shews the weakness of that evasion, which would reconcile the OMISSION, to the People's KNOWLEDGE * Vid. Clericum in Gen. v. 24.
of the doctrine, by supposing they had been so well instructed by the Patriarchs, that Moses had no occasion to say any thing farther on that subject.
Let me observe by the way, that these considerations are more than a thousand topical arguments, to prove that Moses was the real author of the book of Genesis. But the proof deduced therefrom will be drawn out and explained at large hereafter.
II. That the importance of this Doctrine to Society was well understood by Moses, may appear from a particular provision in his Institutes (besides that general one of an extraordinary providence), evidently made to oppose to the inconvenient consequences of the OMISSION.
We have shewn at large, in the first three books, that under a common or unequal providence, civil Government could not be supported without a Religion teaching a future state of reward and punishment. And it is the great purpose of this work to prove, that the Mosaic Religion wanting that doctrine, the Jews must REALLY have enjoyed that equal providence, under which holy Scripture represents them to have lived and then, no transgressor escaping punishment, nor any observer of the law missing his reward*, human affairs might be kept in good order, without the doctrine of a future State.
Yet still the violence of irregular passions would make some men of stronger complexions superior to all the fear of personal temporal evil. To lay hold therefore on These, and to gain a due ascendant over the most determined, the punishments, in this institution, are extended to the POSTERITY of wicked men; which the instinctive fondness of Parents to their offspring would make terrible even to those who
* See note [AA] at the end of this Book.
had hardened themselves into an insensibility of personal punishment: I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the Fathers upon the Children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me *.
Now that this punishment was only to supply the want of a Future state, is evident from hence † : Towards the conclusion of this extraordinary Economy, when God, by the later Prophets, reveals his purpose of giving them a NEW Dispensation, in which a Future state of reward and punishment was to be brought to light, it is then declared in the most express manner, that he will abrogate the Law of punishing Children for the crimes of their Parents. JEREMIAII, speaking of this new Dispensation, says: "In "those days they shall say no more, The Fathers “have caten a sour grape, and the Children's teeth are set on edge: but every one shall die for his own iniquity, every man that eateth the sour grape, his "teeth shall be set on edge. Behold the days come, "saith the Lord, that I will make a NEW COVENANT "with the House of Israel,-NOT according to the “Covenant that I made with their Fathers in the day "that I took them by the hand to bring them out of "the land of Egypt §," &c. And EZEKIEL, speaking of the same times, says: "I will give them one "heart, and will put a NEW spirit within you, &c. -But as for them, whose heart walketh after the "heart of their abominable things-I will recompense "their way UPON THEIR OWN HEADS, saith the Lord God." And again: "What mean ye, that you use this Proverb concerning the land of Israel, "saying, The Fathers have eaten sour grapes, and * See Note [BB.] Note [CC.]
Chap. xxxi. 29-33.
Note [DD] at the end.
Chap. xi. ver. 19---21.
"the Children's teeth are set on edge *? As I live, "saith the Lord God, Ye shall not have occasion any *more to use this Proverb in Israel. Behold all souls
are mine; as the soul of the Father, so also the soul "of the Son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall “diet."
And yet (to shew more plainly that the abrogation of the Law was solely owing to this new Dispensation) the same Prophets, when their subject is the present Jewish Economy, speak of this very Law as still in force. Thus JEREMIAH: "Thou shewest loving"kindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the Fathers into the bosom of their Children "after them." And HOSEA: "Seeing thou hast 'forgotten the Law of thy God, I will also forget thy "Children §.
From all this I conclude, That, whoever was the real Author of what goes under the name of the Law of Moses, was at least well acquainted with the importance of the doctrine of a future state of reward and punishment; and provided well for the want of it.
But the blindness of Infidelity is here most deplorable. The Deists are not content with condemning this Law of injustice, but will accuse the Dispensation itself of inconsistence; pretending that the Prophets have directly contradicted Moses in their manner of denouncing punishment.
It is indeed the standing triumph of infidelity. But let us return (says SPINOZA) to the Prophets, whose discordant opinions we have undertaken to lay open— The xviiith chap. of EZEKIEL does not seem to agree with the 7th ver. of the xxxivth chap. of Exodus, nor with the 18th ver. of the xxxiid chap. of JERE
* See note [EE] at the end of this Book. + Chap. xviii. ver. 2Chap. xxxii. ver. 18. § Chap. iv. ver. 6.