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after. 2. That Jesus Christ, in respect of his divine nature, wherein he is one with his Father, was always worshipped and invocated, ever since God made any creatures to worship him, hath been formerly declared. 3. That there is a twofold knowledge of Christ the Mediator: one in general, in thesi, of a Mediator, the Messiah promised, which was the knowledge of the saints under the Old Testament. 2. Particular, in hypothesi, that Jesus of Nazareth was that Messiah, which also was known, and is to the saints under the New Testament. 4. That as to an explicit knowledge of the way and manner of salvation, which was to be wrought, accomplished, and brought about by the Messias, the promised seed Jesus Christ, and the address of men unto God by him, it was much more evidently and clearly given after the resurrection and the ascension of Christ, than before : the Spirit of revelation being then poured out in a more abundant manner than before. 5. There is a twofold praying unto God in the name of Christ. One in express words, clear and distinct intention of mind, insisting on his mediation, and our acceptance with God on his account. The other implied in all acts of faith, and dependance on God, wherein we rely on him, as the means of our access to God.
I say, these things being premised, 1. That before Christ's coming into the world, the saints of the Old Testament did pray, and were appointed of God to pray in the name of Jesus Christ, inasmuch as in all their addresses unto God they leaned on him (as promised to them), through whom they were to receive the blessing, and to be blessed; believing that they should be accepted on his account. This was virtually prayer to God in the name of Christ, or through him. This is evident from the tenor of the covenant wherein they walked with God; in which they were called to look to the seed of the woman, to expect the blessing in the seed of Abraham: speaking of the seed as of one and not of many; as also by all their types and sacrifices wherein they had by God's institution respect to him, with Abraham, by faith even as we; so that whether we consider the promise, on the account whereof they came to God, which was of Christ, and of blessing in him; or the means whereby they came, which were sacrifices, and types of him; or the confidence wherein they came, which was of atone
ment and forgiveness of sin by him, it is evident, that all their prayers were made to God in the name of Christ, and not any upon any other account. And one of them is express in terms to this purpose; Dan. ix. 17. If they had any promise of him, if any covenant in him, if any types representing him, if any light of him, if any longing after him, if any benefit by him or fruit of his mediation, all their worship of God was in him, and through him.
2. For them who lived with him in the days of his flesh, their faith and worship was of the same size and measure with theirs that went before; so was their address to God in the same manner, and on the same account; only in this was their knowledge enlarged, that they believed, that, that individual person was he who was promised, and on whom their fathers believed. And therefore, they prayed to him for all mercies spiritual and temporal, whereof they stood in need, as to be saved in a storm, to have their faith increased, and the like, though they had not expressly, and clearly made mention of his name in their supplications. And that is the sense of our Saviour in the place of John insisted on, Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my name ;' that is, expressly, and in direct application of the promises made in the Messiah unto him, though they had their access to God really and virtually, by and through him, in all the ways before expressed. And indeed, to evidence the glory of the presence of the Spirit, when poured forth upon them with a fulness of gifts and graces, such things are recorded of their ignorance and darkness in the mysteries of the worship of God, that it is no great wonder, if they who were then also to be detained under the judaical pedagogue for a season, had not received as yet, such an improvement of faith, as to ask and pray in the name of Jesus Christ as exhibited, which was one of the great privileges reserved for the days of the gospel. And this is all that Mr. B. gives occasion unto in this chapter.
Of the resurrection of the dead, and the state of the wicked at the last day.
IN his last chapter, Mr. Biddle strives to make his friends amends for all the wrong he had done them in those foregoing. Having attempted to overthrow their faith, and to turn them aside from the simplicity of the gospel; he now informs them, that the worst that can happen to them, if they follow his counsel, is but to be annihilated, or utterly deprived of their being, body and soul, in the day of judgment. For that everlasting fire, those endless torments, wherewith they have been so scared and terrified formerly by the catechisms and preachings of men that left and forsook the Scripture, it is all but a fable, invented to affright fools and children. On this account he lets his followers know, that if rejecting the eternal Son of God, and his righteousness, they may not go to heaven, yet as to hell, or an everlasting abode in torments, they may be secure; there is no such matter provided for them, nor any else. This is the main design in this chapter, whose title is, 'Of the resurrection of the dead, and the last judgment, and what shall be the final condition of the righteous and wicked thereupon.'
The first questions lead only to answers, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead in general; that they shall be raised and judged by Christ, who hath received authority from God to that purpose, that being the last great work that he shall accomplish by virtue of his mediatory kingdom committed to him. Some snares seem to be laid in the way in his questions, being captiously proposed; but they have been formerly broken in pieces in the chapters of the Deity of Christ, and his person; whither I remit the reader if he find himself entangled with them.
I shall only say by the way, that if Mr. B. may be expounded by his masters, he will scarce be found to give so
a Deinde negant resurrectionem carnis; hoc est, hujus ipsius corporis, quod carne ac sanguine præditum est, etsi fateantur corpora esse resurrectura, h. e. ipsos homines fideles; qui tunc novis corporibus cælestibus induendi sunt. Compendiolum Doctrin. Eccles. in Polon.
clear an assent to the resurrection of the dead, as is here pretended; that is to a raising again of the same individual body, for the substance, and all substantial parts. This his masters think not possible; and therefore reject it, though it be never so expressly affirmed in the Scripture. But Mr. Biddle is silent of this discovery made by his masters, and so shall I be also.
That wherewith I am to deal he enters upon in this tion. Shall not the wicked and unbelievers live for ever, though in torments, as well as the godly and faithful? or is eternal life peculiar to the faithful? A. John iii. 36.'
The assertion herein couched is, that the wicked shall not live for ever in torments: and the proof of it is, because eternal life is promised only to the faithful; yea, 'he that hath not the Son shall never see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him;' John iii. 36. As to the assertion itself we shall attend farther unto it instantly.
When Socinus first broached this abomination, he did it with the greatest cunning and sleight that possibly he could use; labouring to insinuate it insensibly into the minds of men; knowing full well how full of scandal the very naming of it would prove; but the man's success was in most things beyond his own imagination.
For the proof insinuated, life, and eternal life in the gospel, as they are mentioned as the end and reward of our obedience, are not taken merely physically, nor do express only the abode, duration, and continuance of our being, but our continuance in a state and condition of blessedness and glory. This is so evident, that there is no one place, where life to come, or eternal life, are spoken of simply in the whole
Itaque negant cruciatus impiorum et diabolorum duraturos esse in æternum, verum omnes simul penitus esse abolendos; adeo ut mors et infernus ipse dicantur conjiciendi in stagnum illud ardens; Ap. 10. Rationem addunt, quod absurdum sit, Deum irasci in æternum; et peccata creaturarum finita, pœnis infinitis mulctare : præsertim cum hinc nulla ipsius gloria illustretur. Compen. Doct. Eccles, in Polon. c Nam quod ais, ea ibi, tum de Christianorum resurrectione, tum de morte impiorum passim contineti, quæ a multis sine magna offensione, tum nostris tum aliis, legi non possint; scio equidem ea ibi contineri, sed meo judicio nec passim, nec ita aperte (cavi enim istud quantum potui) ut quisquam vir pius facile offendi possit, adeo ut quod nominatim attinet ad impiorum mortem, in quo dogmate majus est multo offensionis periculum, ea potius ex iis colligi possit, quæ ibi disputantur, quam expresse literis consignata extet; adeo ut lector, qui alioqui sententiam meam adversus Puccium de mortalitate primi hominis, quæ toto libro agitatur, quæque ob non paucos quos habet fautores parum aut nihil offensionis parere potest, probandam censeat, prius sentiat doctrinam istam sibi jam persuasam esse, quam suaderi animadvertat. Faust. Socin. Epist. ad Johan. Volkel. 6. p. 491.
New Testament, but as they are a reward, and a blessed condition to be obtained by Jesus Christ. In this sense we confess the wicked and impenitent shall never see life, nor obtain eternal life, that is, they shall never come to a fruition of. God to eternity; but that therefore they shall not have a life or being, though in torments, is a wild inference. I desire to know of Mr. B. whether the evil angels shall be consumed or no, and have an utter end? If he say they shall, he gives us one new notion more: if not, I ask him whether they shall have eternal life or no? If he says they shall not enjoy eternal life in the sense mentioned in the Scripture; I shall desire him to consider, that men also may have their being preserved and yet not be partakers of eternal life in that sense wherein it is promised.
The proof insisted on by Mr. Biddle, says, that the wrath of God abides upon unbelievers, even then when they do not see life; now if they abide not, how can the wrath of God abide on them? doth God execute his wrath upon that which is not? if they abide under wrath, they do abide. Under wrath doth not diminish from their abiding, but describes its condition.
Death and life in Scripture, ever since the giving of the first law, and the mention made of them therein, as they express the condition of man in way of reward or punishment, are not opposed naturally, but morally; not in respect of their being (if I may so say) and relation, as one is the privation of the other in the way of nature; but in respect of the state and condition which is expressed by the one and the other, viz. of blessedness or misery. So that as there is an eternal life, which is as it were a second life, a life of glory following a life of grace, so there is an eternal death, which is the second death, a death of misery following a death of sin.
The death that is threatened and which is opposed to life, and eternal life, doth not any where denote annihilation, but only a deprivation and coming short of that blessedness which is promised with life, attended with all the evils which come under that name, and are in the first commination. Those who are dead in trespasses and sins, are not nothing, though they have no life of grace. But Mr. Biddle proceeds, and saith,