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our Reason. In good time. But, let us first see, whether "he can persuade our adversaries to the same complaisance. . If he cannot, why should the defenders of Religion throw <aside their weapons. Bad arms are better than none. Oh, • but the Reason of unbelievers is such adulterate stuff, such
very false mettle, that no great harm is to be apprehended • from it. Now, to my thinking, here is one cause the more “for not parting with ours in a hurry. Counters have never « so good a chance of passing current, as when we have no
sterling money to confront with them. • There is still more behind. The subtle Doctor has ap-.
parently communicated but one half of his scheme, and • mysteriously keeps the other in reserve; for we can never
suppose his intention is to leave Religion quite defenceless. • Human Reason I will beg leave to call, the Fortress of Faith; “it is, you will say, full of weak places. Be it fo. It has (still its advantages; or a known enemy of Revelation; (au-,
thor of Christianity not founded on Argument) tho' in maf« querade, as usual, would never have been at all that pains ( to draw us out of it. This was all he wanted, to insult us, • at pleasure; and he played his part well. But we can never
suppose, that the learned Doctor, tho' he treads in his steps, • is going his way.. We must conclude, therefore, that tho' • he has not thought fit to tell us what security he has provid• ed for Religion, yet, at least, that something he has in pet'to, ready to supply the place of Reason, as soon as ever
we shall be dispored to give it up. • Now, what this something is, we can but guess. There
are two famous fects of nominal Christians, to whom Rea• son having given as great offence, as it has happened to do ( to our learned Doctor; they have both acted on his exter(minating principle. The lects I mean are the Quakers and • the Papists: but then both of them have, in their several
ways, provided for the security of Religion, in the absence, or during the captivity of Reason.
· The Quakers have substituted the Spirit in its stead. And, indeed, suppose them not to have juggled with us, and they “ have made no ill exchange for us. “Why should you wretcho ed earth-worms (say these men to us) keep groping out your
way by the weak and feeble glimmering of human Reason, “ when you have the Light within ; the glorious Light of 's the Spirit rising in your souls?. Reason, indeed, is good, “ when nothing better can be had. It ferved the philofo
phers. But shall their old stale ware serve the saints ? " Purge out, for frame, this old leaver, that you may be a
Now these Illuminati ascribing so much more to Human Reason than our Oxford Divine, and, indeed, talking fo much more soberly concerning it, I conclude that the thing which he keeps in reserve, and is so thy of producing, is not the Spirit.
It remains then to fee, if it be that with which the Pa. pills have done such wonders. I mean, the ARM OF FLESH,
whether distinguished by the titles of Inquisitions, wholesome • Severities, Solemn Leagues and Covenants, Acts of Conformi
ty, or by whatever other name it may be called, as different
times and places hold most commodious or falutary. Now " there are many circumstances which plainly indicate the
great Secret to be this, and no other: For ift, the learned ( Doctor agrees with them in the most lavish abuses of Hu
man Realon ; especially when it fubmits to the guidance of
private judgment2dly, His fpite and rancour, like theirs, ' is chiefly directed against 'fuch whom Human Reason is fup(posed to have favoured most. 3dly, He condescends, as the
Papists have ever done, (and which the Quakers, to do "them justice, never did) to borrow aid of this enemy of all * godlinėss,' as often as it may serve his purpose. From the • Tameness in these various characteristic marks, I am inclined,
and I hope without breach of charity, to conclude, that the - learned Doctor's prime object, like theirs, is the peace, ra
ther than the purity, of Religion: and, confequently, that • he has a 'more substantial support for the Church than that • slender pillar of the Light within: which, when he pleases
to explain at large, he will, without all question, meet with " the encouragement he deserves.
• But it is time to return from whence we set out; and "make one desperate effort more, with this feeble inftrument
of Reafon, even there, where, at best, she never did much, • I mean against Authority.'
We now proceed to give some account of the performance itself; in the first chapter of which the Author endeavours to shew, that the commonly received fyftem concerning the nature of the Jewifh and Christian Dispensations, as far as respects a future State, is inconsistent with the history of the Old Testament, and with the doctrine of the New. He fets out with observing, that it is generally fuppofed by the advocates of the common system, that the great and leading principles of the Gospel, were revealed by Moses and the prophets to the ancient Jewish people ; and that the doctrine of life and immortality was as much the foundation and support of their religion then, as it is of ours now : for that do dispensation of
religion, of which this doctrine was not a fundamental and effential part, would have been able to subsist in any age or period of the world. The question, he tells us, he has done his best to examine with the utmost impartiality, and his great objeciion to the common system has ever been, that it supposes the Jews were more enlightned, and better instructed in the great truths and prir:ciples of the Gospel, than is consistent with the account they give of themselves in the Old Testament, or the account given of their dispensation in the New.
Accordingly he begins his enquiry with the New Testament, and produces a variety of passages wherein it is said, that life and immortality was brought to light, was made manifeft, firit began to be spoken, by Jesus Christ; that the Jews before the coming of our Saviour, sat in darkness, and in the region and hadow of death; that Jesus was sent to shew light unto the people, (i. e, the Jews) and to the Gentiles; with many other pallages to the fame purpose.
• If we would know,' says he, in what measure and ex(tent Jesus Christ was a light to the Jews, we must consider « their state and condition before they were enlightned by him.
Now the inspired writers tell us, that they were covered
with the thickest darkness, in which they wandered, like -men whoie eyes are not opened : and how was it possible to 6 enlighten men thus situated, but by bringing objects to light, ' in the firict and proper sense of the words, or by rendering ( things visible which before were invisible? It would be ri(diculous to lay tliat they sat in darkness, or that they had
not their eyes opened, merely because they did not see the object in its full proportion and extent, or had not an exact
view of every distinct and minute part, and the opportunity • of examining and surveying it quite round.
• The fitting in darkness, and in the region and shadow of death, evidently implies, therefore, a total absence and want ? of light, or a perfect and entire ignorance of the doctrines ! by which the people, thus circumstanced, were to be en
lightned; it being imposible to express the most absolute and entire ignorance in more fignificant and emphatic ter
In regard to the text which informs us, that Christ brought life ar.d ima:ortality to light through the Gospel, our Author observes, that the word owo2w alludes to the character and description of our Saviour el ewhere, in which he is said to be the light of the world, and the light which lightneth every man; that the term, when predicated of Christ, is sometimes applied to per fons, and sometimes to things ; that when it is applied to persons, it signifies giving lightio those who were in darkness ;
whén « His
when to things, the illuminating what lay hid: consequently it supposes that the doctrines, with which men were enlightned, had hitherto lain in obfcurity.
According to his Lordship of London the word Owti3w imports only such an accesfion and increase of light, (Sermons, vol. I. p. 189—191.) as would afford a perfect and exact view of objects, which were, in a good measure, discerned before, though not thoroughly, nor in every distinct and minute part. According to our Author, the Jews could never be said to fit in darkness, if they had a good general view of the object; nor could their eyes want opening, nor could they be described as blind, if they, in a good measure, faw already what they were afterwards enabled to difcern only more accurately.
St. Paul says, continues he, that Jesus Christ opened. their eyes; his Lordship, that Jesus only cured fome defects in their sight, which was very good, though not eagleeyed before. In excess of charity, he calls that a mote which the Apostle calls a beam. Old Zacharius affirms, that the day-spring gave light to men in darkness; his Lorda fhip, that the days of thick darkness were passed, and that nothing more than fome thin clouds remained, to be diffipated and difpelled by this Sun of righteousness.'
His Lordship infifts much that the Greek word fignifies only to enlighten, and make plain; and that it cannot fignify, to bring a thing into being and existence, but only to illustrate something which had a being and existence before. But this distinction, Our Author endeavours to shew, is of no manner of service to his Lordship’s argument, fince those he reasons against, are agreed with him, that this light illustrated what was already in being, namely, the typical representations of a future State in the law. The only point in difpute is concerning the degree of darkness and obscurity which encompassed those typical representations, and which was scattered and dispelled by the Gospel light. This leads our Author to enquire whether the doctrine so enveloped was obvious and visible to the body of the Jews : part of what he advances is as follows. Hits Now his Lordship himself afferts,' says he, that they
were intended for a veil or cover; and therefore he must own that they would not have answered the end proposed, unless
they had kept the doctrine out of fight, and bid from the i notice of the people. If then Jesus Christ took off, and entirely removed this yeil or cover, and openly and nakedly,
up to fight, the doctrine which had been concealed under it, we may strictly and properly fay, that life and immortality was brought to light by him. I 4
• His Lordship tells us, that the doctrine of a future State
was involved in doubts and uncertainties under the law, ' which were cleared up by the knowlege of the Resurrection, « revealed in the Gospel. Here I would desire to know, whesther the Jews had such quick and piercing apprehensions, as
to penetrate through the carnal veil or cover of these types • and figures, and to discern the spiritual doctrine of a future < State, which lay hid beneath ? If they were not able to do ! this, then they could have no good proof of a future life, so s industriously placed out of their light, and secreted from
them. If they saw into the spiritual sense, they could have s no doubts and uncertainties: if they saw not into the spiri• tual sense, they could have no good proof.
* Take it which way you will, his Lordship’s hypothesis 6 will not hold water: whether you allow, or whether you
deny them the spiritual sense, the whole doctrine contained
in this hypothesis lips away from us. On the first supposiition, the Jews must have seen the whole power and subchance of the Gospel in the law; and then, contrary to the
hypothesis, they must have been as well acquainted with the s doctrine of the Resurrection, as with the doctrine of a fu-, • ture State. On the other sųpposition, they could have haờ ! no better proof of a future State than of a Resurrection; 6
which is still as contrary to the hypothesis. In a word, as s the two doétrines were exhibited together under types, or
transinitted under the same common medium of conveyance,
we must suppose that they were either both discovered, or « both secreted, during the period in question.
- Whatever the advocates of the common system may happen to think, or may venture to talk, of ihe great truths and principles of the Gospel being opened and revealed to
the Jewish church, St. Paul declares, that they were kept i secret in the age of the law. We speak the wisdom of God ? in a mystery, (1 Cor. ii. 7.) even the hidden wisdom, which ! God ordained before the world unto our glory. Here the Apof« tle represents the scheme of our salvation, or the good tid
îngs of the Gospel, as the wisdom of God in a mystery, or as the hidden wisdom of God, purposed, indeed, before the foundation of the world, but not manifested and discovered till the age of the Gospel.'
Our Author goes on to observe, that when his Lordship of London considers the passages of the New Testament, which mention the mystery of the Gospel, he finds himself obliged to acknowlege, that the great points of Christianity were kept secret till the coming of Christ; but that when he afterwards