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it to both in sign and figure. Our Saviour Jesus Christ tells us, that he is gone before to prepare a place for us. What that place is, he does not say. If we would know something more of it, we must look back to his fore-runner, the Joshua or Jesus of the law, who went before the people of God, to prepare a place for them in Canaan, and settle them in possession of it. Thence we shall learn, that the place prepared for us is preferable to that we now live in, as the freedom of Canaan was preferable to the bondage of Egypt; that there are many mansions in the heavenly land, as Canaan was divided and laid out into many quarters, for the orderly reception of the several tribes of Israel. That as they all went up to worship at Jerusalem, so shall all the tribes of the earth, who shall be saved, assemble together to worship in the heavenly city of God. Other particulars we might gather; but this is the only way in which we can learn; and we can go no farther than this method will carry us, in understanding the promises of God. Jewish priests and prophets, even though they had taken their lesson from the philosophers of heathenism (who thought their deities delighted in good eating and drinking) could have come no nearer than they have done: for the things of another life are not to be described, as they are, in words which man can understand : it is, therefore, never attempted : since the beginning of the world, men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seenwhat he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him. Isaiah, xiv. 4. Our present life is not a state of knowledge, but of expectation, on which alone the Patriarchs and friends of God subsisted so long as they were here. In the want of due conception, Jews and Christians are all upon a level : all the information they can



receive is conveyed under the words, life, rest, a promised land, redemption from enemies, a city of God, new heavens and new earth, and such like signatures of visible things; for which reason the doctrine of the prophet is taken up and reasserted by the Apostle. See 1 Cor. iii. 9.

I might add other things, if the time would permit;. on the character of Enoch and Elijah, and the idea given of death to the priests, and rulers, and kings of ancient times. A state of life after death could never be unknown to those, who knew that Enoch was actually taken into it. His character was handed down to the times of the Gospel, as that of an eyan: gelical prophet, who warned the people of the old world of a judgment to come--Behold the Lord cometh, &c. See Jude ver. 14.Elijah went up alive into heaven; whence it was known to all those who knew the fact, that men may live in heaven: and so, the Jews must of necessity have learned from the rapture of Elijah, what we learn from the ascension of Christ; though of heaven itself we know nothing but from the sky which we behold with our eyes. When it is said of the saints of old, that they slept with their fathers, what could be meant, but that they should awake; as it is actually applied in the prophet Daniel, chap. xii. 2. Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame, and everlasting contempt. So when it is said of Moses and Aaron, that they should be gathered to their fathers, it is therein affirmed, that their fathers were still alive : which sense is so obvious, that I find it insisted upon even by Jewish commentators.

From what has been said, I hope you will see farther than some learned men have done into the resurrection

of the dead and the life everlasting, as they were promised under the law of Moses; to shew us which, against the blindness and perverseness of the Sadducees, was the design of our blessed Saviour in the text.

It may be proper now to clear up a difficulty or two, and make some reflections to render this subject of moral use to us. . . . "-47

It has been insisted upon, that temporal blessings in the land of Canaan were plainly promised to the people under the law of Moses; and thence it has been argued, that these were the only sanctions of the law, the only rewards of obedience. But this doth by no mcans follow: because godliness, under the Gospel, hath the promise both of this life, and of that which is to come; and it is still the effect of righteousness to exalt every nation. The present blessings of this life do not exclude the blessings of the other, neither can a nation be blessed, as such, but in the present life. The promises of God are very nearly alike under both Testaments. We Christians have a promise, that, even here, our obedience shall be rewarded with houses and lands : but lest we should forget what is to come, the enjoyment of these things is tempered with persecutions : Mark x. 30. even as God, for the correcting and spiritualizing the minds of those who were under the law, preserved wicked heathens, for thorns in their sides, and terrors upon their borders. The Holy Patriarchs never enjoyed the blesSings promised in their literal sense : to them, therefore, as to us, they were no more than signs of better things: and under every age of the Mosaic dispensation, they who entered by faith into the ways of God, and the language of his law, voluntarily renounced, like the family of the Rechabites, the enjoyinents of this world, and made themselves pilgrims and so. journers upon earth, such as the best of their fathers had been before, and as all good men were to be after. . .

It has been objected farther against the doctrine of immortality in the Old Testament, that life and im. mortality irere brought to light by the Gospel. But, if by: bringing to light we understand the revealing of what was not known before, the expression is not true ; because the resurrection of the dead was certainly known to the Jews before the Gospel; and the greater part of them in our Saviour's time never thought of disputing it. Therefore, when it is said that immortality (the word is incorruption, and means the incorruption of the body) was brought to light, the sense is, that not the doctrine, but the thing itself was brought to light, by the fact of our Saviour's resurrection, and the actual abolition of the power of death. It might indeed, be said, with respect to all mankind, that the thing was then brought to light: but, if it is understood of the doctrine, that can be applied only to the Gentiles, who had no knowledge of the resurrection; and the wisest of them mocked as soon as they heard of it. Therefore take it either way, and there will be no objection from this text against the doctrine of the resurrection in the Old Testament ;

But it is objected farther, that if this doctrine is revealed in the law and the prophets, it is in a way so faint and obscure, as if it were intended that the Jews should not learn it. This merits consideration : however, if the Jews did learn it, and receive it, as they undoubtedly crid, then there must be in us some misunderstanding of the case. Accordingly we shall find, and must allow, that there is an obscurity in the law, arising partly from design in God the lawgiver, and partly from ignorance in man. When we read the historical, prophetical, or ceremonial part of the law, we see the wisdom of God there delivering itself in parables; and for the same reasons as our Saviour did afterwards; covering up the precious doctrines of life under a veil : which method, while it rendered them still more precious to the wise, who could see and understand, secured them from profane heathens and carnal Jews. They could not despise them, for they could not see them *.

The life and spirit of the signs and figures in the Christian mysteries are now as effectually lost to our Deists, Socinians, and other like disputers of this world. They who do see through this method, which God hath constantly observed from the beginning of the world, from the tree in Paradise, to the lamb of the Passover, and froin thence to the bread of the Christian sacrament, see the better for it; while those, who have not an heart to understand, are blinded, and confirined in their unbelief. Not only the immortality of the soul, and the resurrection of the dead are doctrines of the law lost to a carnal mind, but all other great doctrines are lost in like manner: the corruption of man's nature, the bondage of sin, puri. fication of the heart by gracc, atonement by the shed. ding of blood, the true character of the Messiah, the calling of the Gentile world, were none of them to be

• The sense I have here fallen upon, coincides so exactly with the words of a Jewish writer, that I shall set them down for the Reader to reflect upon. “ Servans reconditam, et relinquens doctis et sapientibus eruendam, ex variis legis locis, illanı futuram beatitudinem. Atque hæc eadem causa est, cur nulla mentio aperta fiat in Genesi ; sub metaphora tantùm proponatur," Menasseh, Ben Israel, de Resur. Mort, lib. 1. cap: 13.

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