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The agreement of the Proposition of no future State
To support the foregoing Interpretation, The Origi-
and likewise the Reasoning of Dr. Sykes against
FTER such convincing evidence that a
of the Religion of Moses, the reader would not have suspected, he must once more be stopt to hear a long Answer to a set of texts brought from the Old and New Testament to prove, That the Doctrine of a future state of reward and punishment did make the most essential part of the 'Mosaic Disper, ation: and this, not by a few fanciful Allegorists, or outrageous Bigots only, who will say, or do any thing; but by many fober men of all Sects and Parties, of all Times, and of all Religions.
I. Several of the ancient CHRISTIAN Writers were so persuaded of this point, that not content to VOL. V. B
say, the doctrine of a Future state made part of the Mofaic Dispensation, they would be confident that the very Pagans learnt it all from thence. Some modern Christians have not been behind them in their Faith, but have far outstripped them in their Charity, while they treated the denial of this extravagant Opinion as a new species of infidelity. It is true, they are all extremely confused and obscure about the way, they represent it to have been taught: And there have not been wanting, at all times men of greatest eminence for parts and piety, who have not only doubted, but plainly denied this Future state to be in the Mosaic Religion; though, to be just to all, with the same inconsistency and embar. ras that the others have maintained it. However, the more current doctrine hath always been, Tbat a future state of rewards and punishments was taught by the Law of Mofes.
As surprizing as this may seem to those who have weighed the foregoing Evidence, yet indeed no less could be expected from such a number of concurrent and oddly combined Prejudices, which have ferved, till now, to discredit one of the clearest and most important truths of Revelation.
1. The first was, that several Patriarchs and Prophets, both before and under the Mofaic Difpensation, were certainly favoured with the reve
* To give an example only in Bishop BULL, whose words, in a latin tract, for a future state's not being in the Mosaic Dispensation I have quoted in the fourth section of this VIth book; yet in an Englisla posthumous sermon, he seems to speak in a very different manner. - I fhould not have illustrated this censure by the example of so respectable a Person, but for the indiscretion of my Answerers, who, to support their own ill logic, have exposed his morals. 6
lation of man's Redemption; in which the doctrine of a Future state is eminently contained : And they think it utterly incredible that These should not have conveyed it to their People and Pofterity.
2. They could not conceive how a Religion could be worthy of God, which did not propose to its Followers a Future state of rewards and punishments ; but confined their views to the carnal things of this life only.
3. The truth, here attempted to be established, had been received and abused by the Enemies of all true Religion and Godliness; such as the Sadducees of the old Jewish church, the Gnostics of the old Chriftian, and Unbelievers in all Churches.
4. Lastly, men were kept fast within the error into which these prejudices had drawn them, by never rightly distinguishing between a Future state of reward and punilhment, as taught by what men call natural Religion, and a future state as taught by Christian Revelation ; which is the clue, as we shall see hereafter, to conduct us through all the errors and perplexities of this region of darkness, till we come into the full and glorious light of the Gospel.
But in Religious matters, combinations much less strange are sufficient to defeat the credit of the plainest Fact. A noted instance of what OBSTINACY alone can do against the felf-evidence of Truth, will abate our wonder at the perversity in question; at least it may be put to use, in the history of the human mind, cowards . which, will be found materials, neither vulgar nor few, in the
course of this work. There is a sect, and that no inconsiderable one, which, being essentially founded in Enthusiasm, hath, amongst other of its strange freaks, thrown out the Institution of waTER-BAPTISM from its scheme of Christianity. It is very likely that the illiterate Founder, while rapt in his fanatic visions, did not reflect that, of all the institutions of our holy Religion, this of water-baptifm was least proper to be called in queftion; being most invincibly established by the practice both of Paul and PETER. This latter finding that the houshold of Cornelius the Gentile bad received the holy Ghost, regarded it as a certain direction for him to admit them into the Church of Christ, which he did by the initiatory Rite of water-baptism. (Acts X. 47.] Paul, in his travels through the lesser Alia, finding some of the Jewish Converts who had never heard of the Holy Ghost, and, on enquiry, understanding they had 'been only baptised by water unto John's Baptism, thought fit to baptise them with water in the name of the Lord Jesus, that is, to admit them into the Church; and then laying his bands upon them the Holy Ghost came upon them, and they spake with tongues and prophesied. [Acts xix. 4, 5, 6.]
In spite of these two memorable transactions, the Quakers have notwithstanding rejected waterbaptism. What is the pretence? “ Water-baptism (it seems) is John's baptism, and only a type of baptism by the Holy Ghost or by Fire ; so that when this last came in use, the former ceased and was abolished.” Yet in the two histories given above, both these fancies are reproved; and in fuch à manner as if the stories had been recorded for no other purpose: For in the adventure of Paul, the water-baptism of Jesus is expressly distinguished