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many scattered Rays, as to make a careful observer inclined to think some great scene was just beginning to open, which would amply reward our attention to this light shining in a dark place, by the change of its condition, first into a dawn; and then, into still clearer dayspring.
The Apostle having thus prepared our way to this SURER WORD, or superior excellence of PROPHECY, proceeds to acquaint us with the very IDENTICAL PROPHECY he had in his eye; which will now appear to be no other than the predictions of St. Paul and St. John concerning ANTICHRIST, or the future fortunes of the Church, under the usurpation of the MAN OF SIN; a prediction elegantly called, by way of eminence, THE WORD OF PROPHECY. For this Man of Sin began to work before the writing of this farewell Epistle. So St. Paul assures US-THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY (says he) DOTH ALREADY WORK. St. Peter, therefore, towards the conclusion of his Epistle, recurring again, as his subject required, to God's long-suffering, in the delay of his second coming to judge the world, adds, even as our beloved PAUL also, according to the WISDOM given unto him, hath written unto you as also in all his Epistles, SPEAKING IN THEM OF THESE THINGS; IN WHICH ARE SOME THINGS HARD TO BE UNDERSTOOD, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also. the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction t. Now what are these OBSCURE PARTS in St. Paul's Epistles, here characterized, but the Prophecies in St. John's Book of the REVELATIONS Concerning ANTICHRIST, abridged by St. Paul in his Epistles, and referred to by St. Peter§.
2 Thess. ii. 7.
+ Chap. iii. 15, 16.
See Sir Isaac Newton's Observations upon the Apocalypse of St. John, chap. i.
§ See the remainder of this argument in Discourse On the Rise of Antichrist, Vol. x. pp. 165, &c. of this Edit. 9
END OF THE NINTH BOOK.?
N this point it will be sufficient to refer the reader
to those two excellent Writers, Dr. Samuel Clarke and Mr. W. Baxter, for a full Demonstration of the immateriality of that Substance, in which the faculties of sense and reflection reside. See Clarke's Tracts against Dodwell and Collins, and Baxter on the Nature of the Soul. These Writers have gone much further than Locke and others on the same Subject; who contented themselves with shewing the possibility, nay, great probability, that the thinking substance in us is immaterial. [See Locke's Second Reply to the Bishop of Worcester, p. 6oo. of his Works.] But Clarke and Baxter havé clearly proved, from the discovered qualities of a thinking Being, that the Soul, cannot possibly be material, whatever undiscovered qualities it may be possessed of. And this conclusion was made (in my opinion) neither rashly nor at random. For, to unsettle our assurance in the truth of their Opinion, their Adversaries must shew that such undiscovered qualities are contrary to the qualities discovered; yet contrary qualities can never subsist together in the same substance, without one destroying the other. Hence, we understand the futility of Mr. Locke's superinduction of the faculty of thinking to a system of Matter; conceived, by that excellent Writer, in the modest fear of circumscribing Omnipotence; but Omnipotence is not circumscribed by denying its power of making qualities, destructive of one another, to reside in the same substance (for a power which produces nothing is no exercise of power); but by denying his power to change, together with consistent qualities, the nature of the substance in which those qualities reside This power (supposing Mr. Locke contended for no
more) will be readily granted; but his argument will gain nothing by it. On the contrary, by changing materiality into immateriality, it ends the dispute with the Bishop; but to Mr. Locke's disadvantage, by proving, that the Soul, or thinking Substance in us, is immaterial.
P. 251. [B.] The impious notion of the human Soul's being part or portion of the Divine Substance, made the Theistical Philosophers give no credit to the Doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments. [See the Divine Legation, book iii. § 4.] To avoid this impiety, certain Christian Enthusiasts taught that eternity was the condition of the Soul by nature as well as by grace. And so, before they were aware, fell into the very error of the Philosophers, which they were so anxious to avoid. For eternity being confessed by all to be one of the attributes of the Deity, it followed, that the human soul was indeed part or portion of the Divine Substance. This execrable frenzy, of which Religion could never get entirely free, (known by the name of SPINOZISM) hath of late appeared under its ugliest form in the Writings of Mr. W. Law, collected from the exploded ravings of Jacob Behinen. [See a book, intitled, An Appeal to all who doubt or disbelieve the Truths of the Gospel.]-But when learned men wake out of one delirium, it is not to recover their senses, but to fall back again into another; and that, generally, is its opposite, So it was here. The Philosophic Converts to the Christian Faith, in the first ages of the Church, were no sooner convinced of the folly of fancying that the human Soul was a part of the Godhead, than, in their haste to be at distance from that monstrous opinion, they ran suddenly into a contrary folly, and maintained, that the Soul had not one spark of the Divinity in her whole composition; but was MATERIAL as well as mortal: now degrading man to a brute, whom before they had exalted to a God. Nor hath this extravagance been destitute of (for what extravagance hath ever wanted) the patronage of modern Divinės. We have seen it lately employed in support of a fresh whimsy, viz. THE SLEEP OF THE SOUL. One thing however seems to be defective in the Scheme; which is, the not rectifying the old error of a RESURREC
TION. For, I apprehend, that when a MATERIAL Soul is once gone to Sleep, nothing but a RE-CREATION can awake it.
P. 258. [C.] Other death had been understood, viz. Eternal life in misery. But, to see what ill use hath been made of this portentous comment, we need only attend to Collins in his discourse of free-thinking. "We "learn in the Old Testament, (says he) that Adam by eating the forbidden fruit subjected himself and all his Posterity to death. But the New Testament TEACHES US TO UNDERSTAND, by death, eternal life in misery; "and from thence, we know that GOD HAD BUT ONE "WAY to put mankind in a capacity of enjoying immortal happiness." p. 153. Having given, in this buffoon manner, so absurd and monstrous a picture of REDEMPTION, (to the composition of which the School Divines had greatly contributed) he, and his free-thinking col: leagues, hoped that their Doctrine of Christianity's being only a republication of the Religion of Nature would go down the easier. And they well enough understood how to manage that unseriptural error to their advantage; as may be seen by Tindal's book, intitled, Christianity as old as the Creation; which combats the Christian Revelation, under cover of the absurd concessions of certain latitudinarian Divines of a later date. These concessions, Tindal miscalls the PRINCIPLES OF CHRISTIANITY. Hence this formidable book became one con tinued thread of contemptible sophistry from beginning to end. Yet I remember the time when the false terror of it alarmed the whole body of the Clergy, for the danger of the Church, who were but just recovered from the Sacheverel-crisis.
P. 259. [D.] The REMONSTRANTS, fearing that this interpretation of the text might give countenance to the School doctrine of ORIGINAL SIN, deny that Infants are here meant, by those who had not sinned, &c. But the fear is vain. It was death, and not damnation, which reigned from Adam to Moses. The expression-Kai iri τὰς μη αμαρτήσαντας, &c. implies it was a part only of the human species which was free from sinning after the similitude
similitude of Adam's transgression; or the being without sin. And what part could this be but the infantine?
P. 269. [E.] It is true, that notwithstanding the conformity of this language in the Revelations to that of Peter and to the Gospel of John, some Critics, and particularly Grotius, would have the text in the Apocalypse, which says,-all that dwell upon the Earth shall worship him whose names are not written in the Book
Life, of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world-to be thus understood-The Book of Life written from the foundation of the World-and not as here translated-Christ slain from the foundation of the World. However, both the one and the other sense infers the same truth; for if the Book of Life [of the Lamb slain] was written from the foundation of the world, it is plain, that the Lamb slain, or the sacrifice of his death, was preordained from the foundation of the World.
P. 272. [F.] The reason why Jesus, at the first publication of the Gospel, refers so little to the FALL, which concerned all mankind, and so much to his MESSIAHSHIP, which directly concerned only the Jews, is apparent; his Mission was first directed to the house of Israel. He left his Apostles to carry on their Ministry of the Gospel, to the Gentiles. Hence St. Paul, who was more eminently the Apostle of the Gentiles, is so explicit in his account of the RESTORATION FROM THE FALL. This furnished a handle to Lord Bolingbroke, to affirm, with equal ignorance and malice, that-Paul preached a NEW GOSPEL, different from that of Jesus.
P. 286. [G.] A learned and serious Writer*, in a late book, intitled, Observations and Enquiries relating to the various parts of ancient History†, hath a chapter concerning HUMAN SACRIFICES; which he thus introduces-One would think it scarce possible that so unna tural a custom as that of HUMAN SACRIFICES should have existed in the world. But it is certain, that it did not only exist, but almost universally prevail'p. 267.
Our account of the origin of this unnatural custom will
* Mr. Bryant.
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