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the prophets, and in no one portion of the gospel can be said to have brought this forward himself as a new and unheard-of doctrine. In this same gospel accordingly * we find a certain ruler (plainly a different instance, making the self-same inquiry, Good master, what shall I do to inherit æternal life? And this man, so far from being willing to become a disciple of Jesus, leaves him, sorrowful indeed, but by no means intending to yield obedience to his precepts. The same instance, seemingly, is recorded also in the Gospel of Matthew t, and Mark I, while in the former, the answer to the inquiry is again given in the same remarkable words, if thou wilt enter into life (again our Saviour does not express æternal, although it is clearly understood), keep the commandments.
With the perfect ignorance of their own hearts and nature, revealed as these were to them in the self-same“WORD"-with the self-sufficient pride by which the Jews and their teachers were induced to rest solely on obedience, to the exclusion of faithwith their partial blindness, in thus accepting one part of their law while they rejected the otherforgetting the continual burnt-offering, the blood of the atonement, and that even Aaron the saint of the Lord was not admitted into the earthly sanctuary of their God without shedding of blood---we, have now nothing to do, although we must not * xviii. 18. + xix, 16.
I x. 17
here pass these facts altogether unnoticed. To return to our inquiry-it was plainly in our Saviour's age, universally felt and acknowledged, that Moses in using the word “life," meant not always the promise of the life that now is only, but of that also which was to come. Referring to our Saviour's earliest discourses, nay, to those of his forerunner John the Baptist, we shall every where discover, that the doctrine of a future state, and that of rewards and punishments, was seemingly well known and previously established. The law was given through Moses, by the Almighty, to serve until the coming of Christ, through whom alone came grace and truth, but through the promise and the law, (contained as they are in the same writings, of which, if I may so express myself, they form the universally breathing spirit) through faith and obedience-life eternal was, until the appearance of the Mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises *.-0 generation of vipers, exclaimed the Baptist to the Pharisees, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come ?t Then clearly pointing out that this wrath was future to the present life, and moreover, what the vengeance was, he added, Every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire; whilst he clearly forewarned them that that fire should be unquenchable. The people, and their teachers, clearly knew, that some such punishment
* Heb. viii, 6. + Compare Matt. and Luke,
awaited the wicked beyond the grave; represented, therefore, as anxiously questioning the Baptist, What shall we do to avoid this awful fate? The Baptist then, preached these doctrines ere the mission of Jesus commenced. Turning next to our Saviour's sermon on the Mount, we shall find the same remarkable evidence of this fact every where disclosed.
where disclosed. Therein we discover that rewards and treasures in heaven are held out to the emulation of the believing and obedient, whilst the punishments and fires of hell are denounced against infidels and transgressors. And, farther on, in the same gospel, the way which teadeth to destruction, and the path that leadeth unto life, are enlarged upon, with the day of judgment, and the world to come, before all his hearers, amongst whom were often the Scribes and Pharisees, who never in one solitary instance are recorded as objecting a single word to his attributing these doctrines, we may say sanctions, unto their law. He came, in fact, as He always asserted, not to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfil them; and in every page throughout the four Gospels, wheresoever a future state is insisted upon, it is so, generally speaking, on the authority of previous revelations. It is needless to multiply proofs; even in the fifth of St. John, where the Saviour so plainly asserts, that the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done
evil unto the resurrection of damnation :--even this passage bears chiefly, on the revelation of himself, as the promised seed, the Almighty Redeemer. Looking forward in the same chapter we find Him charging his enemies to search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have—What? Even ÆTERNAL LIFE: and they are they, He adds, which testify of me, through whom alone, they promise, life everlasting
In reality the Sadducees were the only portion of the Jews who disbelieved in a future state; and we have only to remark the manner in which Jesus rebuked them, and confuted their errors, to collect further proofs of the truth which has been advanced. In the three Gospels of Matthew, Luke and Mark, the same answer to an insidious question by this sect, is recorded, with very little variation, even of words. In the latter Gospel these are—as touching the dead, that they rise, have ye not read in THE BOOK OF MOSES, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. He is not the God of the DEAD, but of the LIVING; ye therefore do greatly err! Nothing can be more direct than this reference to the earliest written word, as revealing and asserting life æternal. The Scribes, the Pharisees, and the Herodians, seem, from the context, to have been in the Temple about the time when this question was agitated, and yet we find no objection recorded
against our Saviour's clear interpretation of this constantly recurring passage in the Mosaic writings. On the contrary, we discover decisive marks of the approbation with which it was received :* One of the Scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them (the Sadducees) well, asked him, which is the first commandment of all? To this our Saviour replies, and finally dismisses this man with the declaration, thou art not far from the kingdom of God. These very words, the kingdom of Heaven, or of God, were terms in use among themselves, referring to a future state. They formed, we plainly find, the chief incentive of all the Baptist's and our Saviour's calls unto repentance; and in the xivth of Luke, where Jesus is described as sitting at meat with one of the chief Pharisees, and as charging them to call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, to their feasts, for thus they should be blessed, in being recompensed AT THE RESURRECTION of the just, no surprise is elicited by this doctrine; on the contrary it is received as well known-one of them, who sat at meat with Him, said unto Him, blessed is he that shall eat bread in THE KINGDOM OF GOD. They then looked for a spiritual existence with their God, and a resurrection, to life æternal. Nay, even Herod himself, the wretched and sinful Herod, living as he did also the slave of lust, and interested as he
* Luke xx. 39. Then certain of the scribes answering said, Master, thou hast well said.