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that, if the Text is to be understood in this exclusive Sense, it will affect the Proofs and Authorities of any former Revelation equally with those of Sense and Reason. But then, on the other side, 'tis certain, that, if this Argument does not impeach the Authority of Moses with regard to this fundamental Article of Faith, neither will it shut out the Proofs of Natural Religion; since it must destroy the Evidence of both, or of neither. Now, that it does not set aside the Authority of Moses, js evident from our Saviour's Argument to the Sadducees: Now that the Dead are raised, even Moses Jhewed at the Bujb, 'when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of "Jacob, Luke xx. 37. From whence it appears, that our Saviour thought the Law of Moses afforded good Proof of a future Life; which is inconsistent with the Supposition that there was no Evidence for Life and Immortality till the Publication of the Gospel.
But, supposing Moses or the Law of Nature to afford Evidence for a future Life and Immortality, it remains to be considered, in what Sense the Words of the Text are to be understood, which do affirm that Life and Immortality were brought to Light through the Gospel. To bring any thing to Light
may signify, according to the Idiom of the English Tongue, to discover or reveal a Thing which was perfectly unknown before: But the Word in the Original is so far from countenancing, that it will hardly admit of this Sense. The Greek runs thus; (panWvTos <Je Canw seal ktp^trixv. Now q>otTi(tiv signifies (not to bring to Light, but) to enlighten, illustrate, or clear up any thing. You may judge by the Use of the Word in other. Places: 'Tis used in John i. 9. That was the true Light, which lighteth (or enlighteneth) every Man that cometh into the World, % <paTi(jt 'ttavto- ocvSgoi7rov. Jesus Christ did not by coming into the World bring Men to Light; but he did by the Gospel enlighten Men, and make those, who were dark and ignorant before, wise even to Salvation. In like Manner our Lord did enlighten the Doctrine of Life and Immortality, not by giving the first or only Notice of it, but by clearing up the Doubts and Difficulties under which it laboured, and giving a better Evidence for the Truth and Certainty of it, than Nature or any Revelation before had done. There is one Place more where our Translators render the original Word as they have done in the Text: 1 Cor. iv. 5, Therefore judge nothing before the Time, until the
Lord come, who both will bring to Light the hidden Things of Darkness, and will make maniff; the Counsels of the Hearts; and then fhall every Man have Praise of God. But in this Place it had been more properly rendered, who will caft Light upon the hidden Things of Darkness; and, so rendered, it better suits what follows, and will make manify? the Counsels of the Heart. The hidden Things of Darkness, which shall be brought to Light at the Coming of the Lord, are the Aćtions and Pračtices of wicked Men; which, though they are of a certain and determinate Nature, are yet hard to judge of, because we cannot discern the Springs. and Motives from whence they arise: Perfedly unknown to us they are not; if they were, there was no Occasion for the Apostle to forbid us judging of them; for Mendo' not, cannot judge at all of Things which do not at all fall under their Notice: But they are so dark and obscure, that 'tis hard to judge rightly of them; and therefore 'tis but prudent to suspend our Sentence till the Day comes which will make all. Things clear, which will hold such a Light to these hidden. Things of Darkness, that we shall manifestly discern them, and be able to view them on every Side. So that, in this Case,
• - the
the hidden Things of Darkness are not sup-
to set them in a clear Light, and to make .
tainty of a future Life and Immortality.
The Text, thus explained, leaves us at Liberty to make the best both of the Evidence of Nature and of Moses for a future Life and Immortality, and asserts nothing to the Gospel but this Prerogative, That it has given a surer and fuller Proof of this fundamental Article, than ever the World before was acquainted with. The true Point then now before us, and which takes in the whole View of the Text, is, to confider the Evidence which Mankind had for the Dočtrine of Immortality before the Coming of Christ, and the Evidence which the Gospel now affords; and to shew where the former I Evidence
Evidence failed, and how it is supplied by the latter.
It would take up too much Time to examine minutely the several Arguments for the Immortality of the Soul, which are to be found in the Writings of Heathen Authors; nor would it perhaps answer the Purpose of our present Inquiry: For the natural Evidence in this Cass e is not so much to be estimated by the Acuteness of this or that Writer, as by the common Sense and Apprehension of Mankind: And this, and all other Opinions which have any Pretension to derive themselves from Nature, owe their Authority, not to the abstracted Reasonings of any School, but to some general Sense and Notion, which is found in all Men, or to some common and uncontroverted Maxim of Reason. The Unbelievers of this Age have abused their Time and Pains in their Endeavours to expose the natural Evidence of Immortality, by confronting the different Sentiments of the antient Philosophers, and by shewing their Uncertainty and Inconsistency: For what if Plato, if Arijiotle, if Tulfy, are inconsistent with one another, or with themselves, in their abstracted Arguings upon this Point? What is this to the Evidence of Nature, which is not the single