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Hebrew's from primeval tradition į thát, froni the very colour and completion of the doctrlie, it can be shewn, that it did in fact come from a distant quarter; famely the somewhat ufiexpected quarter of pagan mythology'.
What need the Jews should have to fill their urns from the turbid waters of gentile supera stition, when fast by the oracle of God flowed the limpid brook of Siloa; why they shou.d send to inquire of Baal-Zebub the god of Accaron, respecting the dread secrets of the central Tartarus and his own Acherusian pool, when Daniel had unequivocally taught the resurrection of the dead some to everlasting life and some to everlasting contempt; what resemblance the learn. ed prelate can discover between the noble confession of the Maccabean mother and those fabled Manes and subterranean kingdoms which among the later pagans were scarcely believed by the very boys, when the head and front of her offending before the monster Antiochus was her strenuous refusal to pollute herself by conformity to the idolatrous manners of the Gentiles 2 : all this it is passing difficult to comprehend. Bishop Warburton, hampered on every side with contradictions of his own raising, and yet determined not to adopt any mode of solu
· Div. Leg. book v. sect. 5. p. 186. The bishop promises to establish this position in the last portion of his great work : but he lived only to write a fragment of the ninth book. 2 2 Macc. vi. 4-9. vii. 20—23, 27-38,
tion which may too roughly clash with his favourite hypothesis, resembles some strong animal; which has haply entangled itself in the perplexities of a well-fabricated net, and which by every indignant struggle to regain its freedom binds round its mighty labouring bulk the subtle meshes only more closely and more inextricably.
ON THE DEGREE OF KNOWLEDGE RESPECTING
A FUTURE STATE OF RETRIBUTION POSSESSED
BY THOSE WHO LIVED UNDER THE LEVITICAL DISPENSATION.
WE have seen, that the object of the Patriarchal Dispensation was to inculcate the doctrine of redemption, and that the object of the Levitical Dispensation was at once to perpetuate this aboriginal doctrine and to preserve the knowledge of the one true. God in the midst of surrounding idolatry and polytheism. .
But, with the doctrine of redemption, is inseparably connected (as Bishop Warburton himself allows) the doctrine of a future state of retribution. For, if man be redeemed from the penalty brought upon him by the machinations of the infernal serpent, he must needs recover his lost immortality of happiness : while yet, since it is doubtless in his power to reject the benefits of redemption, he may still be liable to the condition in which the penalty left his imperishable soul, namely an immortality of woe.
Thus do the two doctrines of redemption and of a future state of retribution stand inseparably connected together. Hence, as it was the object of the Patriarchal Dispensation, to inculcate the former, we learn from the most unobjectionable testimony, that its subjects were also well acquainted with the latter: and hence, as the whole ritual of the Levitical Dispensation, and the whole concomitant scheme of prophecy (which is no other than a continued testimony respecting Christ'), sufficiently demonstrate, that it was at least one object of that Dispensation to perpetuate and confirm the doctrine of redemption; we may be morally sure, from the very reason of the thing, that its subjects could not be ignorant of the doctrine of a future state of retribution,
In this manner might wę argue even independently of all other considerations : but let us see, how the case stands with respect to the ground which has now been gained,
From the knowledge of a future retributory state possessed (according to St. Paul) by Abel and Enoch and Noah, and from the remarkable prophecy of a final judgment delivered (according to St. Jude) by Enoch to the antediluvian world, we have found ourselves obliged to conclude, on the obvious principle of plain common sense,
· The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy : or rather, The spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus. Rev. xix. 10.
that not only certain of the old fathers were acquainted with the doctrine of the soul's immortality, but likewise all the descendants of Adam in the first instance and all the descendants of Noah in the second.
Bad men, during the period which preceded the deluge, might no doubt, in the pride of their high speculations, reject the doctrine, as they seem also to have rejected the doctrine of the atonement: but the very act of rejection implies previous possession ; and whatever might be the presumptuous madness of antediluvian infidelity, those, who were untainted with it, firmly held each doctrine as their best and most valuable treasure.
The knowledge of a future state of retribution, which
Abraham and his family are allowed to have possessed, involves, by a moral necessity, the same knowledge on the part of the Israelites at the time of the Erodus.
Among the children of Noah after the deluge, though neither of the two doctrines was renounced, each was grievously corrupted ; and, with this corruption, was introduced the polytheistic system of Hero-worship and Sabianism.