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rits, and a reward after death, were not taught in the law of Moses, and then to compare this with the Scripture.
Is it not then very strange, to say, that the immortality of the soul is not taught in the law of Moses, when the Bible begins with it? what was the tree of life in Paradise ? It was not the tree of natural life; for this man had already; and every other tree in the garden would support it; therefore it was the tree of spiritual life; that is, of a sort of life which admits of no death: and when man was debarred from the use of it, the reason given is, lest he should take of it and live for ever. What is it to live for ever ? it is to be immortal : therefore, the immortality of the soul is one of the first doctrines of the Scripture. What did man gain by eating the forbidden fruit ! Mortality. What then did he lose? Immortality. Therefore it is the doctrine of Moses that man was intended for immortality; and that his mortality was an accident, occasioned by the entrance of sin. The word life, in many places of the law, can mean nothing but eternal life. What else can it signify, when it is applied to God ? " as I live, saith the Lord.”—And when it is told the people by Moses that God is their life, and the length of their days, (Deut. xxx. 20.) nothing can be understood but a divine life, no days but the days of eternity; as when it is said, that Christ is our life (in the other Testament) it means, according to his own sense, I am the resurrection and the life-and again, because I live, ye shall live also. The reason of the thing is the same in both Testaments, for the life of God must be eternal; and there is to mortal man, whose life here is a shadow, no length of days but by the resurrection from the dead. ! VOL. IV.
of Mos his morin. I
Let us next suppose, that the Jews under the law had no knowledge of another invisible world of spirits. How could this possibly be, when people, in the tiines described in the historical part of the law, had a nearer intercourse with heaven than we have now? God himself, the head and father of the world of spirits, was visibly known to Adam, to Abraham, to Moses. The host of angels, the inhabitants of the invisible world, were personally revealed to the Holy Patriarchs. We read, (Gen. xxxii.) that Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him: and when Jacob saw them, he said, this is God's host : and he called the name of that place Mahanaim : which means the encampment of an army, on account of their number. Before this, a visionary ladder was shewn to the same Patriarch, on which angels ascended and descended, to signify that there is a communication between heaven and earth. This was the immediate sense of the vision; and must have been inferred from it: but its full accomplishment is in the Person of the Son of God, the living way, on whom hereafter the angels of God will be seen ascending and descending as in Jacob's vision.
That there is in this world of spirits an evil being, the enemy of God and man, is taught in the history of the fall; and the name of a serpent is given to him ; a name much more instructive than that of the devil or satan ; because the name of a serpent gives us his whole character at once. That the serpent was not a real, but a figurative one, is evtdent from his having the gift of speech : as from his argument, it appears, that he was a lyar; and from his act, that he was a murderer from the beginning.
Let us next suppose, that the rewards of faith and obedience, promised in the law of Moses, were merely
temporal ; that is, an enjoyment of good things in the land of Canaan. If this was the sense of God's pró. mises, then they were false to Abraham, to whom they were first made: for he never received the promises in that sense. St. Stephen (Acts vii. 5.) urges the Jews with this case, in answer to their own blind worldly wisdom, which had totally mistaken the meaning of their law. We ought never to conclude what the law taught, from what some disaffected people learned from it: for when the affections are wrong, the understanding is never right. “God,” saith St. Stephen, speaking of Abraham, “ gave him none inheritance in it; no, not so much as to set his foot on; yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession.” What follows then, but that the earthly Canaan was not the thing meant in the promise, but only a figure of the thing ? and so St. Paul assures us in his epistle to the Hebrews; telling us, that they who had received this promise, did not look upon Canaan as the end of the promise, but still called themselves pilgrims and strangers upon earth, declaring that they were seeking a country, not an earthly one (for when they had left Canaan they shewed no desire of returning to it) but an heavenly country, the thing intended in the promise. The very person, to whom God promised a land to be afterwards enjoyed, had not a foot of land upon earth, except a buryingplace; and when he was laid in that, God still calls himself his God, still in covenant with him, still related to him, the same as before, though he was now dead; and consequently, still as much engaged as ever to make good his words in their true sense, and give him the land he had promised. Go then, thou worldly Jew, or thou half-blind Christian, go to the sepulchre of thy father Abraham, and there consider,
whether the promises of God in the law of Moses were temporal only. To himn they were spiritual only; I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward, saith the promise in Gen. xv. 1; and what they were to Abraham, that they were to all his posterity; and are to us at this day: for the law, which was after, could not set them aside, or render them of no effect.
The rewards of another life were also promised to the people of God, under the name of a sabbath or rest. When God's works of this world were finished, he rested. Now it was promised, that into that rest of his, his people, if faithful, should enter. Where could it be, but in heaven? for there God rested: when could it be, but after the works of man are finished; that is, after this present life; as the rest of God was after the works of God? The sabbath, or rest of the seventh day, was therefore a perpetual memorial, before and under the law, that God had so rested, and that man should rest with him ; and it was a constant monition, to those who observed it, of an heavenly rest; as the Apostle argues more at large in the Epistle to the Ilebreus*.
You will not wonder at this language of the law, nor find it difficult, when you see how it is copied in other parts of the Scripture. In the Prophet Jeremiah, where Rachel inourneth for the death of her children, she is comforted with a promise, that they shall come again from the land of the enemy : their death is expressed as a captivity; and the region of departed spirits, is the country, in which the grand, or the last enemy, detains his prisoners. But, saith the Lord, there is hope in thine end, that is, in thy death, that
* This argument is drawn out in the Lectures on the figurative Lunguage of the Scripture, p. 362. $ 6. Second Ehition.
thy children shall come aguin to their own border; that is, that they shall return at the resurrection, as captives are brought back from the land of the enemy, and restored to their native country. See Jer. xxxi. 15, 16, 17. In the same language doth the widow of Tekoah plead with David. She takes the inetaphor which arises from the occasion of Absalom's banishment; and argues, that though death is appointed to all men, yet God deviseth means, that his banished be not expelled from him. 2 Sam. xiv. 14.
i Now if death and life are thus spoken of in the Prophets, under the similitude of leaving and return-' ing to our native land ; this is the land which God promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; who never enjoyed the earthly Canaan, but were pilgrims and strangers upon earth. This is the land wherein dwelleth righteousness, in which shall be found the true tabernacle of God, the city of God, the new Jerusalern, where saints and angels shall dwell together. All this,' as the Apostle assures us, was intended by the promise in the text. God is there called the God of those who are dead in body, because they are still alive in spirit; and having prepared for them a city, which they shall enjoy at the resurrection, he is not ashamed to be called their God; as he would have been, if his covenant with them had extended only to the present life. Because he gave an earthly land, and a city built by men, we think he meant nothing else; whereas these things never were more than siinilitudes and pledges; the one of an heavenly country, the other of a city, whose builder and maker is God. Of that place which is reserved for the blessed after the resurrection, we can have no conception, but from what we see upon earth; and therefore, God doth not describe it in words of its own to Jews or Christians, but gives