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after Death, and an Earnest of Immortal Life, after the Death of these Bodies; and gave good Men great reason to hope for it. Thus I'm sure it was in fact in all the World. For, whatsoever Reasons they had for it, all Men thought the Expiation of Sacrifices extended to another Life. But what the Sacrifices of Beasts were but an obscure Figure of, was evident in the Sacrifice of Christ, which was typify'd by them. He died upon the Cross for us, to deliver us from Death; but then he himself rose again from the Dead, and became the Example and the Author of a Life after Death. Which shews us, what the Meaning of those Figures was ; and gives us such a Proof of a Life
after Death, as neither the Light of Nature, nor the Law of Moses could give us. Which brings me to the Third and most Perfect Evidence of immortal Life ; that Life and Immortality is now brought to Light through the Gospel.
CH A P:
СНА Р. IV. Concerning the Gospel Evidence of Im
The Gospel Notion of Life and Immortality.
AVING explained to you the natural
and moral Arguments for the Immortality of the Soul, and a future State, and shewn you what great Evidence we have of this from God's Covenant with Abraham, and from the History and Law of Moses; let us now consider what greater Evidence the Gospel of our Saviour has given us, which is the last and highest Evidence of all: As St. Paul tells us, Christ bath abolished Death, and brought Life and Immortality to light by the Gospel, 2 Tim. 1. 10.
But this seems to be a terrible Objection against all that I have already discoursed: As if the World had known nothing of Life and Immortality, till the preaching of the Gospel by Jesus Christ
. For if there were such good Evidence for a future State from the Light of Nature, and from the Laws of Moses, as I have endeavoured to prove that there is, how can the Apostle say, that Life and Immortality is brought to Light by the Gospel ; which seems to imply, that the World was in the Dark before, and knew nothing of it? And therefore it will be necessary, before I proceed, rightly to State this Matter.
The common Answer to this Objection is, That tho'Mankind did generally believe a Future State, that the Souls of good and bad Men did live after Death, and that they were rewarded and punished according as they had deservod; yet they had not so clear and certain, and distinct a Knowledge of this, as the Gospel Revelation gives us : That tho’ they were not wholly in the Dark, nor perfectly ignorant of another Life, yet now they see by a brighter Light, and have the highest Evidence that can be given for unfeen Things; that comparatively speaking, Life and Immortality may be said to be brought to Light by the Gospel, tho' the World was not wholly ignorant of a future State before.
Now this I grant is true ; but it does not seem to answer the height of this Expression. For to bring to Light, properly signifies a new Discovery of something that was unknown before, or not generally known. And therefore we must enquire what the Apostle means by Life and Immortality; for here, as I apprehend it, the Mistake lies.
Now by Life and Immortality is generally un-, derstood no more than a Future State ; that the Souls of good Men live, and receive the Rewards of Virtue afrer Death. And in this Sense it is very hard to say, Life and Immortality is brought to Light by the Gospel ; since the Generality of Mankind, whatever the Reasons of this Belief were, did believe it from the Begining of the World. But this is not, the Gospel Notion of Life and Immortality; which does
not merely signify the Life of feparate Souls, but the Refurrection of the Dead into Immortal Life, to live for ever in Immortal and Incorruptible Bodies. If it appears that this is the true Gofpel Notion of Life and Immortality, you will all grant, that this Life and Immortality is brought to Light only by the Gospel. The Heathen World knew nothing of it; their wifest Philosophers laught at the mention of it, when St. Paul preach'd" Jesus and the Resurrection. There is indeed some reason to think, that good Men, both before and under the Law, had fome Notion of the Resurrection of the Body, as I have already observ’d to you from that Passage in Job, which cannot reasonably be expounded to any other Sense. I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that be shall stand at the latter day upon the Earth. And though after my Skin, Wormes destroy this Body, yet in my Fleja mall I see God : Whom I fall See for my felf, and mine Eyes fall behold, and not another; though my Reins be conJumed within me, Job 19. 25, 26, 27. And there are several Texts in the Book of Psalms, which feem plainly to look that way. In our Saviour's Days this seems to have been the receiv'd Opinion concerning the Resurrection. For the Objection of the Sadduces against the Resurrection, plainly relates to the Resurrection of the Body.
the Case of a Woman, who had succeffively married feven Brethren, whose Wift foauld she be, of the seven, at the Refurretion, for they all had ber? which they must understand of the Resurrection of the Body; for they could not think that unbodied Spirits married. And if they intended by this Objection to oppose the received Opinion of the Refurrection, then the Resurrection of the Body was the general Faith
of those Days. And we may observe, that as often as our Saviour speaks of the Resurrection of the Dead, yet none of them ever objected againft this as a new Doctrine. And yet it does not appear, whence they had this Notion, or what Foundation there was for this in their Law, which makes no express mention of it. One thing which seems strongly to have inclind them to this Belief, is the Glory of the Kingdom of the Messias, which gave them an Expectation of rising again from the Dead, to reign with him on Earth, when he appear'd ; without which all the good Men for so many Ages, who lived before the coming of the Messias, could have had no share in the Glory and Happiness of his Reign. But this Immortal Life was never brought to Light, was never made visible, till the Appearance of Christ. The Heathen World knew nothing of it: And the Jews had but very imperfect Conjectures about it: But now we fee the Resurrection of the Dead, and Immortal Life, in the Resurrection of Christ from the Dead.
Now I need not say much to prove, that this is the true Gospel Notion of Life and Immortality: Not only that the Souls of good Men live and subsist after this Life in a separate State ; for tho’ as our Saviour fays, they all live to God, yet the Separation of Soul and Body is both in a Natural and Scripture Notion a State of Death ; and such Men are called the Dead; but Immortal Life begins in the Resurrection of the Dead. The Apostle tells us, that Christ has abolish'd Death, and brought Life and Immortality to Light. Now to abolish Death, is to put an end to it; and nothing puts an end to Death, but rising from the Dead. This Christ has done in his own Per