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sling. Sententia est omnium Interpretum (says this profound Rabbi) quod ad hunc textum, esse ipsum per modum commonitionis [quâ declaratur] quisnam futurus sit animæ status, et ad quid tandem deventura sit, postquam à corpore separata fuerit; atque ostendere duplicem esse ipsi statum, viz. quibusdam animabus esse gradum sublimem et locum stabilem, apud Dominum suum, dum vitâ immortali fruantur, nec morti nec perditioni obnoxiæ: aliis autem ludere fluctus naturæ, adeo ut requiem et consistendi locum non inveniant, verum dolores perpetuos et cruciatus continuos, cum æterna duratione, instar lapidis, qui è fundâ projectus circumrotatur in aëre pro ratione virium jacientis, dein vi sua naturali gravitate in terram decidit. Animæ vero nec inest gravitas quæ ipsam deorsum, nec levitas quæ sursum ferat; ideoque in perpetua est confusione, perturbatione, tristitia, et dolore usque in aæternum. Atque hæc reverâ sententia est SAPIENTUM et PHILOSOPHORUM.-How profound a Doctrine! and how noble an original! But this is not the first, by a thousand, which has been raised from a Metaphor, out of the hot-bed of theologic wisdom and philosophy. An abuse, that some cooler thinkers of late have fancied they could never get well rid of, till they had turned the few Doctrines of true Christianity back again into Metaphors. And they have succeeded to admiration.
WE come at length to the texts of the NEW TESTAMENT, which are urged to prove, against itself, that Life and Immortality was brought to light by the OLD.
I. The first is that famous argument of JESUS against the Sadducees :-Jesus answered and said unto
them, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.-But as touching the Resurrection of the dead, Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living *. Now this very Text, had it been impartially considered, would alone have been sufficient to convince these Answerers of the truth here contended for. At least it convinced a much wiser man, the excellent HUGO GROTIUS, whose words to his friend Ger. Vossius are as follow: "In Mosis lege (non dico in veteri Testamento: nam "de Prophetis, præsertim posterioribus, res longe alia "est) æternæ vitæ non fieri mentionem nisi per um"bras, aut rationis consequentiam, certissimum mihi
videtur, Christi authoritate, qui Sadducæos non "verbis directis, sed ratiocinando refellitt." There is not, I repeat it, any plain Text in the whole Bible (and this is amongst the plainest) so strangely mistaken and perverted: For, 1. The appellation of the GOD of Abraham, &c. is generally understood to be quoted by
*Matt. xxii. 29-32.
† Ep. 130. ed. Am. 1687. EPISCOPIUS had the very same idea of this argument-" Et sane opinionum, quæ inter Judæos erat, circa vitam futuri sæculi discrepantia arguit promissiones Lege factas tales esse ut ex iis certi quid de vita futuri sæculi non possit colligi. Quod et Servator noster non obscure innuit, cum resurrectionem mortuorum colligit, Matt. xxii. non ex promisso aliquo Legi addito, sed ex generali tantum illo promisso Dei, quo se Deum Abrahami, Isaaci, & Jacobi futurum spoponderat: quæ tamen illa collectio magis nititur cognitione intentionis divinæ sub generalibus istis verbis occultatæ aut comprehensæ, de qua Christo certo constabat, quam necessaria consequentia sive verborum vi ac virtute manifestâ qualis nunc et in verbis Novi Testamenti, ubi vita æterna & resurrectio mortuorum proram et puppim faciunt totius Religionis Christianæ, et tam clare ac diserte promittuntur ut ne hiscere quidem contra quis possit." Inst. Theol. lib. iii. § 1. c. 2.
our blessed Lord, as a direct proof* of the Resurrection of the dead body, in the same manner that St. Paul urges the case of JESUS:-But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept †. But can any thing be more irrational or absurd? The bodies of Abraham and the Patriarchs were yet in dust, and reduced to their primitive earth. So that in this sense, the reasoning is so far from proving that God WAS NOT the God of the dead, that it proves, he was. For Abraham's body continued yet lifeless at the very time when God was called his God: Whatsoever was to be the future condition of it, that could not influence the present appellation of the God of Israel. What hath led men into this mistake is the introduction to the argument,-But as touching the resurrection of the dead,-which they supposed an exordium to a direct proof: Whereas it is an intimation only, to what an indirect proof tended; namely, that the Resurrection of the body might be inferred through the medium of the separate existence of the soul; which was the only point Jesus proposed to prove directly to them. The case stood thus: He was here arguing against the SADDUCEES. Now these supported their opinion, of no resurrection of the body, on a principle that the soul had no separate existence, but fell into nothing at the dissolution of its union with the body; which Principle once over
* Mr. Le Clerc, in his Defense des Sentimens sur l'Histoire Critique, has fallen into this mistake. Nôtre Seigneur presse ces termes, en sorte qu'il suppose qu'il ne faut qu'entendre la langue dans laquelle l'Ecriture parle pour reconnoitre la Resurrection, Matt. xxii. 31.-Il ne faut que lire ce raisonnement de Jesus Christ, pour sentir qu'il est tiré de cette expression, étre le Dieu de quelqu'un, que l'on ne pourroit appliquer à Dieu, si celui, dont on dit qu'il est le Dieu, etoit mort sans devoir jamais resusciter. pp. 102, 103, + 1 Cor. xv. 20,
thrown, they had nothing left to oppose to the writings of the Prophets, or the preaching of JESUS. Against this principle therefore our blessed Lord thus divinely argues" But as concerning the Resurrection of the dead, You ground your denial of it on this supposition, that the soul dies with the body; but you. err as much in not knowing the Scriptures, as in not rightly conceiving of the power of God. For the words of the Law, which you allow to be a good authority, directly prove that the soul doth not die with the body, but hath a separate existence. Now Moses tells us, that God, long after the death of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, called himself their God: But God is not the God of the dead, but of the living; therefore the souls of those Patriarchs are yet existing in a separate state."This is the force of the argument *.
2. The second mistake is, that JESUS, by these words, insinuates that Moses CULTIVATED the Doctrine of a Resurrection, or a Future state. But here again the Objectors seem to forget, against whom the argument is addressed, the SADDUCEES. Now these not only held that Moses did not teach, but that he did NOT BELIEVE that Doctrine. This was the error JESUS aimed to confute; and only this; because the opinion that Moses did not teach or cultivate it, was no error at all, as appears, amongst many other reasons, even from hence: that the Jews inight reasonably understand the title of the God of Abraham, &c. to mean the peculiar tutelary God of Abraham's Family; for the terms Jacob and Israel are frequently used in Scripture for the whole nation of the Jews; Aaron for the whole order of the priesthood; Dan, Judah, &c. for the whole body of each Tribe: And, as in reason they might, so by the History of the early * See note [HH] at the end of this volume.
Jews, we find in fact, they did understand it in this
The real force therefore of the text, here urged, amounts to this, from JESUS's argument it appears, that the separate existence of the soul might be fairly inferred from the writings of Moses: Which inference I not only grant some early Jews did make, but have proved likewise; though not indeed from these words, for the reason given above. And so much my Answerers might have understood, had they only observed that this has all the marks of a new Argument*, unknown to the Pharisees; as indeed both the dignity of our Lord's character, and the impression he would make on his Opposers, seemed to require it should be. Accordingly we find they are struck dumb; and the multitude that heard this, astonished at his doctrine But would Either of thein have been so affected with an old foundered argument, long hacknied in the Schools and Synagogues of the Pharisees? Nay, how should it be otherwise than NEW? for the words, I am the God of Abraham, &c. as delivered by Moses, were supposed, both by Pharisees and Sadducees, to be spoken of a NATIONAL GOD; as in Gen. xvii. 8, 9. xxvi. 3. xxviii. 13. They therefore could not see how it implied the continued existence of the Patriarch Abraham, &c. But Jesus, in using the word GOD, to signify the Maker and Lord of all things, rightly inferred that the Patriarchs still continued to exist. I am not ignorant, that the modern Rabbins employed this argument very familiarly for a Resurrection; but
* See note [II] at the end of this volume. + Matt. xxii. 33. The learned Pocock, speaking of this Argument, says, His e Lege depromptis cum Sadducæos ad silentium adegisset Christus, dicitur perculsam fuisse turbam doctrinâ ejus. Unde patet luculentiori ipsum contra eos argumento usum, quam ullo adhuc usi fuerant Pharisæi. Nota miscell. ad Portam Mosis, cap. vi.