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other forts and fects of men," not as a distinct propofition, but as a further explication only of what had preceded. Had he not been very eigir to find out mistakes in what I have said, he would not thus, in one place, have trained my words to such a lense, as he owns, in another, they will pot bear; nor have ventured to say and unfiy the same thing in a few pages, rather than mils this small occation of a cavil.
As to my second propofition, That “ were " there no life [or, had we no hope of a better “ state] after this, the bett men would be often “ the most miferable Call other forts and ficts of “ men having the advantage of us Christians, “ upon such a fuppofitioni-I do indeed fix it exprefly on the apostle ; and am now ready to prove, that I have not fadly (or at all) mistaken his meaning.
The apostles words are, If in this life only we hore in Christ, We are of a:l men mis mijeral le. Wherein have I mifipprehended him ?
Is it, because I suppose those Corinthians, whose opinions he here encounters to have disbelieved a future state, as well as the “refurection of the body ?” No man, who reads St. Paul attentively, can suppose oiherwise Leis ciinnot be signified even by that phrase in the taxi which speaks of them, as “having hope in Christ in this life only, S dducizing Chians, fuppofe, they were who fuci, “ There was no refurreétion, neither anal ner fpirit ;" Acts xxiii. 8. mifirining perhus, with 42menau and i biots., that the “refurrec. tion was poft already (2 11.n. ii. 17.18 ) and that What oui Saviour hud taught on that hvad, was
póť to be understood litterally, but allegorically, of the new birth of the foul, and of its riting from the death of fin to the life of righteousness, by the efficacy of the Christian doctrine, and the operation of a divine priciple on the hearts of be. lievers. The Sadducee *hold (and fo, it is lik’ly, did these Corinthian).at virtue and vice were a fufficient reward to the inclous; and therefore, that future rewards and puni:hinents were not ncceffary to justify the pretinc distributions of pr vidence. However, that they denied a tuure ftate, either exprely or by plain contejue?, is evident froin several of St. Pani redfanings in this chapter, which are of no torce butoniy upon that supposition; as 7:10", in his connets on St. Mitthen larly and ir efri jably proves. P. 486, 487. It wiloorb Recitiry to pr“; luce his words, fince the letter writer ieems to have yielded this point, where he ovis, that St. Pul « is here argning againit for waik persons in “ the church at Corinth, who profited to believe “in Jefis Grijt, and yet denii che general re“ furrectn, int courquois'y (1 ys he) te refi wards * nutrime tite," LD().
Am I thin niltaken in extin:ling the upo tle's affertions to Christins in gene ro !Ve are of « all men moit mitrable!” that is, You, ull, an i ul who profits to live up to the res of the Chriiiiin institution, wit!: û rre prospect! The Letter Writer thill your ne in this refpcét also: For he th:1 X in e word, WE, “We Christians,” (1 p.
“ who now believe in ('hrist;” (p. 9) in which exposition he is so constant and uniform, (See L. p. 16, 17, 18, 19.) that I need not, in order to any a dvantage I may draw from thence in the present dispute, be at the trouble of proving the truth of it.
Thus far then we are agreed. In what points do we differ? why chiefly, if not wholely, in this; that “I make that a general proposition, and " accommodate it to all times, which the apostle " hath made a particular one, by accommodating « it manifestly to the times of the bitterest per“ secution ;"' (L: p. 14.) what he says, being « spoken merely with respect to the bitter fuffer“ings the profession of Christianity then exposed « its professors to.' (L. p. 1o.) Upon this Head I join issue with him; and proceed therefore to prove that St. Paui's Assertion is not (as he af. firms) “ limited to the times of the most grievous « persecution.” (L. P. 18 ) That it includes them, I have owned, (Pref. p. 7.) but that it is confined to them I absolutely deny; and I think with good reason. For, as to the words them. selves, there is nothing in them that sounds that way, or points particularly at the case of Perfecution. It is owned, that the apostle speaks here of Christians in general,' that is, of Christians, as distinguished from other sects and professions of men: why must these Christians needs be confidered as in a suffering State? What ground, what colour, is there for such a Restriction? There are but two things urged, or infinuated, by the Letter-Writer in behalf of it. And one of them is, the Coherence of the text with the
preceding preceding verse, where mention is made of “those « who were fallen asleep in Chrift;" which expreflion he would willingly fo understand, as if it were intended particularly to signify the “ Mars “ tyrs, who had laid down their lives for Christ's “ fake, and died, not only in his faith, but for it," (L. p. 9.) and, indeed, if the apustle be there fpeaking of the Martyrs and their sufferings, it will be natural to understand what follows, in the next verse, of a fuffering State, and of that only. But this Restriction is altogether as groundless as the former. For by “ those who were fallen « asleep in Christ,” the apostle manifestly means, not the Martyrs alone, but all “ departed Chri. “ stians ;” as our learned Gataker proves * from various authorities, which I forbear to repeat, bea cause the thing is otherwise sufficiently evident; for the or xovun Devles tv Xpesw, ver. 18. are plainly opposed to those who were still living, of whom the apostle fpake in the 19th verse. And therefore he adds (ver. 20.) that Christ, by rising, H became the first fruits of them that flept," η κεκοιμημενων. Now Chrift was not the firft fruits of the resurrection, in respect of the Martyrs only, but of all who died in the Christian faith ; and therefore “they, who were fallen asleep in “ Christ,” must comprehend all that died in the faith of Christ, whether by martyrdom or otherwise. The apostle employs the same word twice more in this chapter, ver. 6. where he affirms Christ, after his resurrection, to have been “ seen “ by five hundred brethren at once ; of whom”
(fays he) “ the greater part remain unto this prea s jentbut some are fallen asleep,” Exointning av Again, ver. 51. “We shall not all sleep,” ( 8 x9p.no Oncomeba) “ but we shall all be changed.” In both these places, Sleeping are opposed to Living, not to martyred Christians į and fo likewise i Theffi iv. 15: “ We which are alive, and remain unto as the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them "s who are asleep," tys xovun evlas. Nor is there a fingle passage in the New Testament *, where the word '(taken in its metaphorical sense) fignifics otherwise For as to what is said of St. Stephen, that “ he fell asleep,” sxoiynin, (Acts vii. 60.) it means no more that he died; though from the circumstances of his death, before reá lated, it appears, that he died by martyrdom.
I was willing to clear the sense of this Phrase beyond dispute, because, leading to the affertion of the text, it is of great use to shew the extent of it, and to prove that it is not 'linited to the
times of the most grievous pefecution,' as this author peremptorily affirms, L. p. 16. However, he hath still another evidence of this limitation in reserve. For, that St. Piu: speaks this merely • with respect to the bitter sufferings the profession ! of Christianity exposed its profesiors to, is (he
fays) evident from verses 0, 31, 32." (L. p. 10. The words of which run thus : ' And (if the dead ! rise not at all] why stand we in jeopardy every ! hour? I protest by your rejoicing, which I have
in Christ Jefus our Lord, that I die daily. If
* See Matth. xxvii. 52 John ix. 11. 1 Cor. vii 39. xi. 3@. Theff. iv. 13, 14;
Acts xiii. 36. 2 Pet. iii. 4.