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of their several capacities, yet differing in these as much as those who now surround your fireside and enjoy the light of your countenance and instructions.
Olympas. I believe, Thomas, your views are substantially correct and scriptural; for Elijah who was translated, and Moses that died and was buried, appear in the same company, performing the same mission on Mount Tabor; while Peter, James, and John enjoyed their company and heard their communications with each other and the Lord, while conversing about his death at Jerusalem, then soon to happen.
Thomas. It was your remarks on that scene, and on 2 Cor. v. 1–5, that led me to these views and conclusions concerning the righteous dead. But may I ask, for instruction, what difference was there in the character of Abel, Enoch, and Noah, that should have occasioned such a difference in their end. Abel was slain, Enoch was translated, and Noah died, and yet all were perfect in their generation? You say there are no degrees in perfection; and why this difference?
Olympas. But, Edward, are we agreed that these three were all equally excellent persons ?
Edward. Paul says, By faith Abel offered—by faith Enoch was translated—and' by faith Noah prepared an ark. They all walked by faith.
Olympas. Still others as well as these walked by faith, who were in moral excellence much their inferiors—such as Samson, Barak, Gideon, &c.
Edward. But more is said of Abel, Enoch, and Noah than of those three; for Abel obtained witness that he was righteous. Noah was declared
to be perfect, and Enoch walked with God. Now it would appear that they were equally perfect men: for if God said in fact that Abel was righteous, and Noah perfect, and Enoch walked with him; they were doubtless of equal moral worth, differing only in times, circumstances, and things purely accidental.
Olympas. So let it be. It will then follow that the wise and benevolent ends of the Father of all required that Abel should be a martyr~that Enoch should carry his own body into heavenand that Noah should be the saviour of a world. The universe required these three distinct services; while the three servants having done their work, were equally acceptable to Godequally perfect in their generation and circumstances; and are now equally, though diversely, blessed in the presence chamber of the King, the Lord of hosts. “ One star differeth from another star in glory;" while all are stars in the same heavens, made of the same matter, and serving the same God. Eliza, was not Enoch a prophet?
Eliza. So Jude would intimate; for he says, “Enoch the seventh from Adam prophesied.”
Olympas. Of what, Eliza, did he especially prophesy?
Eliza. Of the coming of the Lord with his angels to judge the world and to avenge his enemies.
Olympas. It is, then, indubitable that the doctrine of a future life, the consummation of all things—the doctrine of the origin and destiny of man, has been taught from the earliest ages of the world. The translation of Enoch was a demonstration of its truth, and a confirmation of its
certainty vouchsafed to all the renouned fathers of mankind before the death of Seth the immediate son of Adam. Did not I request you, Reuben, on a former occasion, to trace the history of tradition, and from the Bible to determine through how many hands the knowledge possessed by the ancients was communicated to Moses?
Reuben. You did, Sir. And from the tabular view I have completed on this subject, I find that all the knowledge, natural and supernatural, which man enjoyed in the first two thousand years of the world came to Isaac through but two persons. Indeed, I have satisfied myself that all nations had one common fountain of knowledge, and that one universal tradition obtained through Methuselah and Shein.
Olympas. This is both curious and edifying; but we must defer the farther investigation of this subject till the evening.
Wednesday Evening.-Farther remarks on the
Traditions of the Patriarchal Age.
Olympas. What do you mean, William, by tradition?
William. Any thing handed down from our fathers.
Olympas. Our names, goods, chattels, and hereditaments are handed down to us from our fathers. Call you these traditions ?
William. Only their opinions, views, and experience.
Olympas. The latter term includes all that we value in tradition. We need not the opinions nor the views of our forefathers half so much as we nead their experience. Their experience is often of great importance to us, and should always be respected.
Reuben. Is tradition necessarily oral, or may it be both oral and written ?
Olympas. It is both oral and written. Books that are truly useful are written traditions, or the narratives of human experience. Can any of you recite a passage in Paul's writings that demonstrates his views of tradition as being both oral and written.
Thomas Dilworth. To the Thessalonians Paul says, “Hold the traditions you have been taught, whether by word or our epistle.” This would
imply that traditions, in his esteem, were both oral and written.
Olympas. And how, Thomas, do you define experience ?
Thomas. Experience is practical knowledge, or our acquaintance with things from an immediate contact with them. So, I think, our school-master defined the word. He used to say that every man's experience was his knowledge, and that no person knew any thing but by experience.
Olympas. Human knowledge bas, indeed, but two chapters-our own experience and the experience of others. Faith invests us with the latter, while memory furnishes the former. But true knowledge is all comprehended under the term experience; all else is theory, hypothesis, conjecture. Tradition, then, is most valuable, as it records the knowledge or experience of past generations. But unfortunately other ideas and things have been called tradition—the dogmas, opinions, and hypotheses of men. Jews and Christians have volumes of written and unwritten traditions, which have no real knowledge or experience in them; and because of the use they have made of these, the very term tradition has fallen into bad repute.
The Jews with their oral law, or unwritten written law, and the Romanists with their written unwritten opinions and hypotheses, called traditions, have made faith in tradition a disreputable belief. Still, when properly interpreted, tradition is the record of human experience..
It is history, verbal or written. The Bible is, for the most part, tradition; for it gives us the experience of many individuals,