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BAN; and that Race possessed the land of Canaan. And surely, God may be allowed to explain his own promise: Now though he tells Abraham, he would give hin the land, yet, at the same time, he assures him that it would be many hundred years before his POSTERITY should be put into possession of it; for when Abraham desired to know whereby he might be certain that he, i.e. his seed, should inherit the land of Canaan *, he is ordered to offer a sacrifice; after which, God in a vision explains to him the import of his promise : That his seed should be a stranger in the land that was not theirs, and should serve them, and that they should aplict them four hundred years: that afterwards they should come out with great substance, and in the fourth generation should come into CaNAAN, for that the iniquity of the Ammonites was not yet fullt. And as concerning himself, that he should go to his fathers in peace, and should be buried in a good old age . Thus we see, that both what God explained to be his meaning, and what Abraham understood him to mean, was, that his Posterity, after a certain time, should be led into possession of the Land. And lest any mistake slould remain concerning the accomplishment of this promise, the sacred Historian sums up the relation in these words : In that same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, UxTO THY SEED HAVE I GIVEN this landş. But had the Historian omitted so minute an explanation of the promise, yet common sense would instruct us how to understand it. A whole Country is given to Abraham and to his seed. Could it possibly be God's design, who does nothing in vain, to place his Family in the land of Canaan, till they were numerous enough to occupy and defend it? His Posterity was his • Gen xv. 8. † Gen. xv. 13, & seq. Ver. 15. § Ver. 18.
Representative : Representative: and therefore the putting them into possession was the putting him into it. Not to say, that where a Grant is made to a body of men collectively, as to a People or a Family, no laws of contract ever understood the performance to consist in every individual's being a personal partaker. 2. Secondly, the giving an heavenly Canaan to Abraham could not be the literal sense of the text, because an earthly Canaan is owned to be the direct immediate subject of the promise. The Jews indeed contend for this literal sense, and with some show of reason ; for they hold, that the future state at the Resurrection will be passed in the land of Judea, where Abraham, they say, is then to rise and take possession *. This is consistent, however. But these CHRISTIAN Objeçtors, who hold no such opinion, must be content at last to find a future state only in the spiritual sense of the words : and that sense, we are by no means ambitious of taking from them.
2. “ The days of the years of my pilgrimage, (says “ Jacob to Pharaoh) are an hundred and thirty years: “ few and evil have the days of the years of iny life “ been, and have not attained unto the days of the 5 years of the life of my fathers in the days of their “ pilgrimage t." From this speech it is concluded, that Moses taught a future state: and, especially since the Author of the epistle to the Hebrews hath
brought * Deus Abrahamo loquens ait: Dabo tibi, & semini tuo post te, terram peregrinationis lur. Atqui constat, Abrahamum, & reliquos Patriarchas eam terram non possedisse: pecesse ergo este ụt resuscitentur, quo bonis promissis fruantur; alioqui promissa Dei irrita & falsa forent. Hinc itaque non tantum ANIJA MORTALITAS probatur, sed etiam esscntiale fundamentum legis, RESURRECTIO scilicet MORTUORUM. Manasseh Ben-Israel de Resurrectione Mont. p.7.
+ Gen. xlvii, 9.
brought * it as a proof that Jacob and the Patriarchs Looked for a better country. That Jacob did so, is unquestionable; but it can never be allowed that the words, in their literal and obvious meaning, express any such thing. Pharaoh is here questioning the Patriarch, not of human life in general, but of his own. Therefore, to make the reply pertinent, Jacob must be understood to mean by his pilgrimage, the unsettled way of life, living in tents, and removing from place to place, as the convenience of pasturage gave him invitation : and, by the evil of his days, the straits he suffered from the fraud of Laban, and the hatred of his brother Esau. As for the complaint of the fewness of kis days, he himself explains it to be, not on account of the shortness of human life in general, but, because he had not attained unto the days of the years of the life of his fathers. The sense, therefore, which the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews puts upon these words, must needs be the spiritual sense. . 3. The same Patriarch, in his last benediction of his sons, breaks in upon the prophetic blessings with this pious ejaculation, I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord t : which is supposed to respect the salvation of mankind by Jesus Christ. I grant it doth so in a spiritual sense; nay, for aught I know, it may in a literal. But how should an early Jewish Reader understand it in this sense, when the same terms of the salvation of God, or of the Lord, are perpetually employed, throughout the whole Bible, to signify God's temporal mercies to the Patriarchs and their Posterity : and when now, that the Mystery of the Gospel hath been so long revealed, Christian Commentators understand it in an hundred different senses?
4. BALAAM, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, says, Let me die the death of the Righteous, * Chap. xi. ver. 13. Gen. xlix, 18.
And let my last end be like his * : Which is understood as a wish that he might be partaker with the Righteous in another life. Had the apostate Prophet said, Let me live the life of the Righteous, it would have had a much fairer claiın for such a meaning. As it is, Both the force of the words, and their relation to the context, restrain us to this literal meaning,—“Let me die in a nature old age, after a life of health and peace, with all my posterity flourishing about me: as was the lot of the righteous observers of the Law.” This vain wish, Moses, I suppose, recorded, that the subsequent account of his immature death in battlet might make the stronger impression on the serious Reader, to warn him against the impiety and folly of expecting the last reward of virtue for a life spent in the gratification of every corrupt appetite. But if any one will say, the words have, besides, a sublimer nieaning, I have no reason to contend with him. .
5. The next is a stricture of the Law in Leviticus, urged by Dr. Stebbing in this manner, “ Moses in“ forces the obedience of the Israelites upon this " consideration, Ye shall therefore keep any statutes " and judgments, which if a man do he shall live in " them . Here is a promise of life made 'to those " who should observe the statutes and judgments “ which God gave them by his servant Moses; which
cannot be understood of this temporal life only,
because the best men were often cut off in the midst 5 of their days, and frequently suffered greater advers sities than the most profligate sinners, The Jews " therefore have constantly believed that it had a so respect to the life to come. When the lawyer in - the Gospel had made that most important de
mand, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal . Numb, xxii, 10. + Ch, xxxi, ver. 8. Levit. xxiii. 5.
“ life, « life*, our blessed Lord refers him to what was “ written in the Law; and, upon his making a sound " and judicious answer, approves of it; and for sa“tisfaction to his question, tells him, This do, and « thou shalt lire."
The Objector would have the promise of life in Leviticus to signify eternal life. But St. Paul hiuself had long ago decided this question, and declared for the negative. A dispute arose between him, and the judaizing Christians, concerning what it was which justified before God, or intitled to that eternal lite brought to light by the Gospel. They held it to be the works of the Law (believing perhaps, as the Ob. jector assures us they did, that this text, in Leviticus, had a respect to the life to come :) St. Paul, on the contrary, affirms that it was faith in Jesus the Mess siah. And thus he argues—" But no man is justified “ by the Law in the sight of God, it is evident: for w the just shall live by faith. And the Law is not " of faith, but the man that doth them shall live in K them t."-As much as to say." That no man can obtain eternal life by virtue of the Law is evident from one of your own Prophets (Hab.] who expressly holds, that the just shall LIVE by FAITH I. Now, by the Law, no rewards are promised to faith, but to works only. The man that DOTi them (says the Law in Levit. D) shall live in them." Here then we see that this very text, which the Objector brings to prove that eternal life was by the Laww, St. Paul urges, to prove that it was not by the law. Let us attend to the Apostle's argument. He is to shew that justification, or eternal life, is by faith. This he docs even on the concession of a Jew, the Prophet Habbakkuk; who expressly owns it to be, by faith. But the Law, * Luke x. 25. + Gal. iii. 11, 1% [ Ch. ii 4 6 Ch. xvii. 5.