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did understand it, and therefore that they did expound the Promise made to Adam, in this Sense. For there is no other Promise or Revelation but this, whereby they could know it.
: But to return to our Arguinent. The Jews had reason to believe, that the Tradition of a future State came from Adam ; and that he had very good Reason to believe it, whatever it was, or he would not have deliver'd it down to his Pofterity, And the great Opinion they had of the great Piety of their intermediate Ancestors, could not suffer them to think that they were mistaken in a Matter of so great Concernment to themselves, and to all Mankind. Whoever believes that immortal Life after Death was the Faith of all the ancient. Patriarchs, from Adam, 'to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who were not only skill'd in the Philosophy of Nature, but favour'd with divine Manifestations, can never suspect, that they were deceived in it. However they came by this Knowledge, whether by Nature or Revelation, the most prudent and cautious Man may venture to believe as Adam did, and as the whole Series and Succession of good Men have done from the beginning of the World. This gives new Strength and Authority to the Argument from a general Consent. For tho' the Antediluvian World were grown very wicked, and all Flesh had corrupted their Ways, yet the holy Line, which preserv’d the Belief and Worship of the true God, preserv'd also the Belief of another Life. And when we can trace this up to the beginning of the World, it is an Authority not to be resisted. This Evidence the Jews had above the rest of the World, who from the History of Moses could derive their Pedigree, and with it their Faith, from Adam himself.
But besides this, there is one Passage in their History, which puts the Matter out of doubt.
One of their Ancestors, as a Reward of singular Piety, did not die, but was immediately translated to Heaven. Enoch walked with God, and was not : for God took him, Gen. 5. 24. He was an Example
of singular Piety and Virtue ; and God made him . an Example of as great Rewards, which were not
confin'd to this World, but reach'd to Heaven. Enoch pleased the Lord, and was translated, being an Example of Repentance to all Generations, Ecclus. 44. 16. This was a visible Demonstration of another Life, where good Men shall be rewarded. It did not indeed prove, that they should be translated to Heaven without dying ; but it did prove, that there is another Life, where good Men live, and are rewarded with the Vision and Enjoyment of God. No Man can doubt of this, who believes this Story, and this Evidence the Jews had, who did most firmly believe it.
3. As for the natural Desires of Immortality, wherein all Mankind agree ; if this be a good Argument that we are immortal, the Jews faw the most powerful and visible Effects of it in their Progenitors. It is certain all Men desire to be immortal, and must own it, if you put the Question fairly to them. We feel this Desire in our selves: and in such things as are purely natural, we may judge of other Men by our felves: For Nature is the same in all. But yet few Men give any great Signs of such a Desire, that it looks rather like an unactive unform'd Wish, than a Desire of Nature, which hath always Life, and Vigor and Concernment in it. But the Jews, in their Progenitors, faw these Desires animated and inspired with mighty Hopes, and with invincible Resolutions of obtaining inimortal Life. They desir'd and hop'd to be immortal; and this made them very devout Worshippers of God, and great Examples of all divine and human Virtues. The Artediluvian Patriarchs,
from whom they descended, preserv’d their Innocence and Integrity, when all the World lay in Wickedness.
The Apostle to the Hebrews has summ’d up this in short ; and prov'd that all the great and eminent Examples of Piety and Virtue were owing to the Faith and Hope of unseen Things; which improv'd the natural Hopes and Desires of Immortality into the molt powerful Principles of Action. For Faith is the Substance of Things hoped for, and the Evidence of Things not seen ; and by it the Fathers obtain'd a good Report, Heb. xi. 1, 2. So that they did not serve God merely for present and temporal Rewards, but for the Hopes and Desires of Immortality, of things unseen. This the Apostle lays great Weight on, and undertakes to prove throughout this Chapter, by an Induction of Par. ticulars, That the Desires, and Expectations and Hopes of unseen things, were, from the beginning of the World, the great Principle of all Religion, to which we owe all these great and eminent Examples of Piety and Virtue. And it will be of good Use briefly to consider this, which will both confirm the constant Tradition of this Faith, and shew us the powerful Effects of these Desires and Hopes, and how eminently God approv'd and res warded these good Men for it.
He gives us three eminent Examples of this before the Flood, which were signaliz'd with three as extraordinary Events; Abel, Enoch, and Noah, By Faith Abel offer'd to God a more acceptable Sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtain'd witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his Gifts; and by it, be being dead, yet Speaketh, V. 4. Abel offer'd the best he had to God, out of a great Zeal to honour him, and from a firm Belief and Expectation to be accepted and rewarded by him. And God accepted his Sacrifice, and be obtained witness that be
was righteous, God testifying of his Gifts by foine visible Signs of his Grace and Favour. But how does this prove that Abel believ'd another Life, and serv'd God in Hopes of unseen Rewards? Now there needs no other Proof of this, than that he chose to serve and please God at the Peril of his Life, though he knew how he provoked his bloody Brother by it; and therefore was the first Martyr for Religion : And he that dies for Religion, must expect his Reward after Death. And that Testimony God gave of his Acceptance of Abel, and of his Offering, whom yet he suffer'd to fall an early Sacrifice to the Rage and Jealousy of his wicked Brother, proves the future Rewards of good Men ; unless you can think that God commends and approves of Piety and Virtue, which he will not reward. And this is one Thing which he being dead, yet speaketh. His Example teaches us to do well, though we should suffer ill for it in this World, and to expect our Reward in the next. His next Example which is of a very different Nature from this, is that of Enoch, who was tranNated, That be bould not fee Death, and was not found, because God bad translated bim; for before his Translation be bad this Testimony, That be pleased God. But without Faith, it is impossible to please God; for be that comes to God, must believe that he is, and that he is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek bim, v. 5 and 6. This is another Example of the Faith and Hope of unseen Things, which made Enoch an Example of extraordinary Piety ; and God made him as eminent an Example of the Truth and Certainty of these Hopes, by translating him immediately to Heaven without dying. The next Example is Noah, who by God's own Testimony was the only righteous Man then living: and the Apostle expresly takes notice, that he be-" liev'd unseen Things : For being warn'd of God of
which nod Men, not the old Worcestimonies ana
things not seen as yet, mov’d with Fear, prepared an Ark for the saving of bis House. And there is no doubt that he who believ'd God as to unseen Things, did as firmly believe the unfeen World, as the unseen Deluge: The first preserv'd him from that Deluge of Wickedness which overspread the Earth; the second from that Deluge of Water which destroy'd it. And he is a mystical Example to us, by what Means we must escape the final Deftruction of the World, and of all ungodly Men, to wit, by Faith and Baptismal Regeneration; as St. Peter expounds it, i Pet. 3. 20, 21. In these good Men we not only see the great Examples of Faith, and a powerful Hope of Immortality, but the great and certain Rewards of it too. For which Reason the Apostle particularly mentions these good Men, not because they were the only Examples of Faith in the old World, but because God had given such extraordinary Testimonies and Confirmation to their Faith. Abel facrific'd in Faith, and died in Faith ; his very Death was precious to God: And a Faith, which God owns and approves in this world without any Reward, cannot fail of a Reward in the next. Enoch by Faith walked with God, and he was translated to Heaven without dying; which is the original Notion of Immortality. Noah by Faith was righteous before God, and God sav'd him from that universal Deluge which he brought upon the wicked World; which shews us, that good Men shall be finally deliver'd from the Ruin and Destruction of the Wicked.
From these good Men the Apostle proceeds to the Example of Abraham, who was the Father of the Faithful, and takes notice of several eminent Acts of his Faith: As that he left his own Country and Father's House at God's Command, and went into a strange Country, not knowing whither
Confirmation died in Faithnich, which