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A future State demonftrated from the con
current confent of Mankind.
GENESIS II. 7.
AND THE LORD GOD FORMED MAN OF THE DUST OF THE GROUND, AND BREATHED INTO HIS NOSTRILS THE BREATH OF LIFE, AND MAN BECAME A LIVING SOUL.
E humbly prefume that we have already fufficiently demonftrated a Future State from the nature of the foul, &c.-It may be a further confirmation of this very important truth, to produce competent evidence that it has been acknowledged by ali nations, and inculcated by the wifeft men in all ages. However, before we begin, it may not be improper to remove an objection, which the text of our last discourse feems moft glaringly to produce against us; "for therein we find a whole body of men, who profeffedly difbelieved a future ftate. "The Sadducees fay, that there is no refurrection, neither angel
nor fpirit." When therefore we affert that all mankind believe this truth, it cannot be taken in an unlimited fenfe, for fome mens paffions on the one hand, and their pride on the other, will prompt them to ftart difficulties where none could reasonably arife;-and there was once a fect among the philofo
phers who profeffed themselves diffident even of their own exiftence-A thought fo ridiculous, that the abfurdity of it must, doubtless, be evident at first fight, and cannot therefore but be the juft object of derifion and contempt.-What therefore is intended by concurrent confent can be no more than this; that the wifeft men in all ages have acknowledged a future ftate; that the number of difbelievers were but few, and thofe probably perfons who led fuch diffolute and abandoned lives, that they rather wished there was no fuch thing, than difbelieved the affertion and that even the most barbarous nations have entertained fome confufed idea of a life after this. The Sadducees, therefore, we may fuppofe were libertines, much like our modern free-thinkers, who vainly laboured to perfuade themselves that they never fhould be called to account for their enormous actions; who cruelly delighted to feduce the ignorant and unwary, and tempt them to become advocates for fuch abject and defpicable opinions.
The principal aim, therefore, of our prefent difcourfe fhall be to hew, by a cloud of teftimonies, produced from antient authors, that notwithstanding their confufed and unworthy conceptions of God and religion; yet a future ftate was always an inconteftible [article of their firm belief: for can it be fuppofed that the foul, which is fo curious and so apt to pry into the nature of all things, fhould make no enquiry concerning herself? As therefore there have been men in all ages of the world; fo all mankind being trained up in one and the same school, and under one and the fame guide, namely, nature, have all along acknowledged THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL. The facred fcriptures, which direct our fteps in the path that leads to everlasting life, produce no demonAtrations to prove the being of a God; and why? Because it is a truth apparent to sense itself: And, for the fame reason, there is no exprefs affertion, efpecially in the books of Mofes, that the foul is immortal; because, if we defcend but ever fo little into ourselves,
the doctrine will be obvious to our own reflections. But forafmuch as the perfect mind and will of God is revealed to us in the facred fcriptures, we are obliged thereby to give our firm affent to this momentous principle.-And moreover, as we have there a pathetical account of the various forrows and afflictions which the righteous in all ages have chearfully undergone for the fake of a good confcience, it demonftrates, beyond all contradiction, that they did not esteem this world as their continuing city; but had their eyes fixed on another and more durable country. For who would refign his enjoyments in poffeffion, that had no expectation of greater in reverfion? And who would fubmit himself to a temporal death, but with the utmost reluctance, was he not fraught with hopes of an eternal life?—This may, I think, be a fufficient answer to those, who demand exprefs texts of fcripture for the proof of self-evident principles; and will not allow that to be found any where in facred writ, which is undeniably implied almost in every line.-God therefore, when he introduced man into this world, gave him dominion over all the creatures. He made the elements, indeed, produce all manner of plants; but " the Lord God formed man of "the duft of the ground, and breathed into his noftrils the breath "of life, and man became a LIVING SOUL." That is, a rational foul and confequently capable of immortality.
The intimations of a future ftate even in the Mofaic history will appear to an attentive reader evident to a demonftration. This affertion we shall illuftrate by a few inftances.-ENOCH, on account of his tranfcendent piety was not vifited after the vifitation of all men; but was tranflated to the world of fpirits to taste of those rivers of pleasure which flow at God's right hand for evermore.-And should we but feriously reflect on the fufferings of NOAH, the fevere trials of ABRAHAM, the long and tedious pilgrimages of JACOB, the distressful circumstances of JOSEPH, the hardships and forrows of Moses, and divers others who distinguished themselves by their zeal for the hoVOL. III.
nour and glory of the only true God; would we but seriously reflect on the various fufferings of thofe pious patriarchs, we could not but acknowledge that they were fo many plain and undeniable teftimonies of the immortality of the foul, a future state and a final judgment. For had they confulted their worldly intereft, and hearkened to the mere dictates of flesh and blood, they had, doubtless, indulged themselves in indolence and ease, and fwam down gently with the common current ;-Noah, with his relations ;-Abraham with the Chaldeans;-Mofes with the court of Pharoah,. &c. From whence it follows, that though this doctrine is not mentioned in the Old Teftament in fuch exprefs terms, as it is in the New; yet: it is plainly and unquestionably implied; for what are the pious: breathings of the righteous, and the agonizing torments of the wicked, which we meet with fo feelingly defcribed in those divine volumes, but so many leffons to inftruct us in this important truth? And we cannot affign a more fubftantial reafon for fuch an omiffion, if it be one, than this; that as the facred fcriptures command our affent to fome articles of faith beyond the capacity of our weak reafon; fo this being within the reach of our compre henfion, a more explicit mention of it was needlefs in the early ages of the world. And we find, that as mankind encreased, and those communications which the patriarchs were favoured with from God, grew lefs frequent, it was thought neceffary to remind mankind of a future ftate. The PSALMIST, in particular, abounds with admonitions of this kind. "The upright shall have domi. ❝nion over them in the morning"-fays he ; and again, “God will. "redeem my foul from the power of the grave, for he shall receive "me."-Many of them that fleep in the duft,fays the prophet DANIEL," shall awake,, fome to everlasting life, and some to shame "and everlasting contempt." JOB exclaims in the following manner,—" I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand "at the latter day upon the earth. And though. after my fkin