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if we compare these two passages together, since we may be sure that the Holy Spirit of God cannot contradict himself, we may be also sure, that the meaning of the latter cannot be that, which Bishop Warburton ascribes to it, and which he makes the very basis of his argument so far as the New Testament is concerned. Whatever idea St. Paul may have wished to convey by the phraseology which he employs; most assuredly, since he well knew that the attestation of Daniel was already in existence, he could never have intended to intimate, that Christ was the FIRST who taught as a revealed truth the hitherto unknown doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments. Yet most strangely and most inconsistently can our learned prelate assert in his own sense of St. Paul's words, that, as to the Bible, one half of it is silent concerning life and immortality, and the other half declares that the doctrine was brought to light through the Gospel'. So far is this from being the case, that, if St. Paul be interpreted as the bishop would interpret him, he will not only be placed at variance with the prophet Daniel, but he will likewise flatly contradict himself. For, when he writes to the Hebrews, he declares of the early patriarchs, that they desired a better country, that is, an heavenly: yet, when he writes to Timothy, he declares, according to Bishop
Div. Leg. book v. sect. 5. p. 177.
Warburton, that Christ so brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel that the doctrine was wholly unknown until it was thus at length authoritatively promulgated. .
(2.). What then, it may be asked, is the real meaning of a text, on which the bishop, by an untenable gloss of his own, has insecurely built so massive a superstructure?
To this question there is not much difficulty in giving a satisfactory answer.
As the text cannot denote, that Christ was the FIRST who taught the doctrine of a future state, and consequently that that doctrine is the peculiar and exclusive characteristic of the Evangelical Dispensation; we must evidently, in order that St. Paul may be made consistent both with Daniel and with himself, understand it in a much lower and more limited sense than that àscribed to it by Bishop Warburton. If we were to say, that the illustrious Newton brought to light the true solar system; would any person deny that we spoke the truth, and yet would any person suppose we meant to intimate by such an expression that our great English philosopher was the FIRST who knew and maintained the true relative positions of the sun and his dependent spheres ? Certainly not. On the contrary, he would clearly perceive, that we simply intended to assert the blaze of light which Newton threw upon a fact by no means previously unknown, but undoubtedly known as yet only as in a glass darkly'. Now it is after this identical manner, that we must evidently, I think, understand the phraseology of St. Paul, when he speaks of Christ bringing life and immortality to light through the Gospel. Our Lord taught nothing that was not already known to a certain extent; both as to the fact of a future state, and as to the ground upon which was built man's claim to a happy immortality. But he brought the whole of this compound doctrine, out of previous comparative darkness, into a light hitherto unknown: he delivered it clearly, and fully, and explicitly: he made it the special and exclusive sanction of the new Dispensation : he communicated it, with full-orbed glory, not only to the believing Jews, but likewise to the benighted Gentiles, who either through the plain necessity of an erring philosophic system were led to reject it altogether, or who held it only as tricked out in the fantastic garb of pagan mythology: and, bringing it to light as he did
* This precise idea is most eloquently expressed by Dr. Halley in the following truly classical lines.
NUBEM PELLENTE Mathesi,
Scandere, SUBLIMIS GENII CONCESSIT ACUMEN. To the same purpose likewise speaks the conclusion of the well known epigram.
- The world was WRAPPED IN NIGHT, When Newton spoke the word, and ALL WAS LIGHT.
THROUGH THE GOSPEL, he finally established it in both its constituent parts; by distinctly shewing, how the one part stood connected with the other part, and how the tenet of man's life and happy immortality rested altogether upon the tenet of man's redemption through the piacular sacrifice of the long-erpected and late-revealed seed of the woman'.
It may well be doubted, whether even abstractedly the original Greek be capable of bearing the sense ascribed to it by Bishop Warburton through the medium of our not strictly accurate English translation. Supposing Moses or the law of nature to afford evidence for a future life and immortality, it remains to be considered, says Bishop Sherlock, in what sense the words of the text are to be understood, which do affirm that life and immortality were brought to light through the gospel. To bring any thing to light may signify, according to the idiom of the English tongue, to discover or reveal a thing which was perfectly unknown before: but the word in the original is so far from countenancing, that it will hadly admit of, this sense. The Greek runs thus : pwrioavtos dé Ewnv kai aplapolav. Now pwrišelv signifies, not to bring to light, but to enlighten, illustrate, or clear up, any thing. You may judge by the use of the word in other places. It is used in John i. 9. That was the true light which lighteth Por enlighteneth) every man that cometh into the world ; ο φωτιζει παντα ανθροπον. Jesus Christ did not by coming into the world bring men to light; but he did by the gospel enlighten men, and make those, who were dark and ignorant before, wise even to salvation. In like manner, our Lord did enlighten the doctrine of life and immortality, not by giving the first or only notice of it, but by clearing up the doubts and difficulties under which it laboured, and by giving a
3. Still, even as yet, we have not reached the end of those extraordinary contradictions, into which Bishop Warburton's concessions have unwarily led him.
Stubborn facts compel him to acknowledge, that, before the birth of Christ, the Jews certainly had the doctrine of a future retributory state, from whatever source they may have received it. How then does he account for this inopportune appearance of a doctrine, where, on his own avowed principles, it certainly ought not to have appeared ? Sometimes he tells us, that the later prophets opened the first dawning of the doctrine of a resurrection and consequently of a future state of reward and punishment': but, at other times, as if fearful of granting too much, he contends, that the Jews mainly owed what knowledge they possessed of this doctrine to their pagan neighbours. Patched up indeed this knowledge might be out of some dark and scattered insinuations of their own prophets, while it was varnished over with the metaphorical expressions employed to convey them: but still his lordship thinks, in decided opposition to the sentiments of his venerable brother of Cloyne respecting the origination of such knowledge among the
better evidence for the truth and certainty of it, than nature or any revelation before had done. Sherlock’s Serm. vol. i. serm. 6. p. 188, 189.
Div. Leg. book vi. sect. 1. p. 297. sect. 5. p. 1. ::