Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

I

BEGAN this Work by an ARGUMENT (long since

coinpleted) to prove that A FUTURE STATE OF REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS" was not taught by Moses; but that, in its stead, an equal or extraordinary Pror vidence was the Sanction of the Law. And I now conclude it, with a corroboration of that ARGUMENT, by shewing, that life and immortality was brought to tight by the Gospel alone.

From whence results this further Truth, That were Moses and the PROPHETS the commissioned Servants of God, THEY COULD NOT, by their office, TEACH A FUTURE STATE ; since it was ordained, and reserved for, thie Ministry of Jesus.

Besides, What the Law promised was to be obtained by WORKS. -- What the Gospel brought to light, under the name of Salvation, is to be procured by Faith in a crucified Saviour and Redeemer. From these Truths will arise another proof of the Divinity, both of the Law and the GOSPEL.

But as all this can be shewn no otherwise, than by a distinct and collective view of the whole of God's moral Dispensation to Man, commencing with ADAM, and completed in JESUS CHRIST, 'I have made the NATURE "AND GENIUS OF THE GOSPEL the subject of the Ninth and last Book of the DIYINE LEGATION.

Of

Of the two immediately foregoing, namely, the Seventh and the Eighth Books *, the first of them is employed in supporting the major and the minor propositions of the first Syllogism: by a continued history of the Religious Opinions of the Jewish People. on this matter, from the time of their earliest Prophets (who gave some dark intimations of a different dispensation), to the time of the Maccabees, when the Docuine of a FUTURE STATE of rewards and punishments was become National.

The other, namely the Eighth Book, is employed in supporting the Major and the MINOR propositions of the second Syllogisın; in which is considered the PERSONAL CHARACTER OF Moses, and the GENIUS OF His Law, 50 far forth as it concerns, or has a relation to the Cha racter of the LAWGIVER.

As the main Argument of all the foregoing Books, of THE NATURE AND GENIUS OF THE Law, has been hitherto esteemed too Paradoxical; the Argument of this Jast, concerning THE NATURE AND GENIUS OF THE Gospel, it is more than probable, may be condemned, and by the same men, as being too Orthodorical : For I have, long since, observed, that a religious Notion is apt to change its nature in the estiination of certain Divines, when it changes its Advocate.

Were I concerned with none but UNBELIEVERS, in this present Discourse, my only task, and a short one too, would be to prove the reasonableness of these which I hold to be the essential Doctrines of Christianity; for Unbelievers coniess they are to be found in the Gospel, but deny them to be of divine Original, on account of the supposed absurdities which attend them; in the same manner that they have allowed the Doctrine of a future state pot to be found in the Law; and therefore denied that Dispensation to be given by God, because such an omission, they pretend, makes it unworthy of him. This, I say, had been a labour both short and easy, had I not to do, likewise, with a sort of BELIEVERS, who, as they held that the doctrine of a future state made part of the Mosaic RELIGION, because they think the honour of the Law requires that it should be found there; so, with the same spirit, they deny that the Doctrine of Salvation

• See p. 144 of this Volume,

1

in a Redeemer, by Faith alone,' makes a part of the CHRISTIAN RELIGION, because, they think, the honour of the Gospel requires that it should not be found there.

Enough hath been urged, in the course of the main Argument, against the first of these perversities: the sccond will detain us longer than such plain truths seem to require: because the attempt to shew the reasonableness of these which we call the essential Doctrines of Christianity, will be deemed immature, till we have established very clear and circumstantial evidence of their real existence in the SYSTEM: for laboured Discourses have been written to prove that FAITH ALONE includes WORKS; and that REDEMPTION, according to the Scripture Doctrine of it, excludes a REDEEMER.

I am therefore, first of all, to prove the EXISTENCE of these Doctrines; and then, the REASONABLENESS of them. In doing which, I cannot but esteein it a favourable circumstance, if not a happy cinen, that the very arguments employed to evince the existence of the Doctrines, do, at the same time, serve equally to shew the reasonableness of them.

A JOVE PRINCIPIUM was the formulary of ancient Piety and Wisdom, which served to introduce what the Sage had to deliver, of more than ordinary importance, for the instruction of Mankind.

But here, the very nature of our present Argument will, of necessity, lead us up to the First CAUSE, the Author of all Being.

For, without beginning at the CREATION, our view of these things would be narrow and obscure; and human judgment not sufficiently informed to enable it to conclude, with any degree of certainty, concerning a REVELATION, which is the coinpletion of one great Moral System, the principles of which were laid in the disobedience of our first Parents,

In this Inquiry, as in all that have gone before, our desire is, not to be carried up and down with the Waves of uncertain Arguments (to use the words of a great Master of Reason), but rather positively to lead on the Minds of the simpler Sort, by plain and easy degrees, till THE VERY NATURE OF THE THING ITSELF DO MAKE MANIFEST WHAT IS TRUTH *. Wit Hooker's Eccl. Polity.

Moses, Moses, in the account he gives of the Creation, expressly tells us, that Man, or the human species, was the Work of the SIXTIL DAY.-.-" So God created Man in “his own linage; in the Image of God created he him ;

MALE AND FEMÀI È CREATED HE THEN. And God “ blessed them, and God said unto TUÉ N, be fruitful and

multiply and replenish the Eurth, and have Dominion

over---every living thing that moveth upon the Earth. " And God said, bebold I bave given you every herb beara ing seed wiich is upon the face of the Earth, and every 16 Tree, in which is the fruit of a Trec yielding seed,'to you it shall be for meat.- And the evening and the morning

were the SIXTÀ DAY*." Yet, because the formation : of WOMAN, from the side of Man, was not circumstuntially related till after the account of God's placing Nlan in PARADISET, 'both Jews and Christians have generally concurred in one Opinion, that Eve' was 'not created till AdA vas put into possession of the Garden of Eden ; for they took it for granted, that Moses (though in a Moral or Religious history of the Creation and Fall of Man) had observeda Chronologic Order. The very

absurdity of this Opinion renders the mistake so, apparent, that the Reader should not have been troubled with a formal confutation of it, did not the right stating of the fact (so inconsiderable; as on firsť sight it may be thoughi) serve to contirm a Truth, which hath been yenerally overlooked, though of the utinost importance towards our obtaining a just idea of Revealed Religion; as will be seen in the course of this inquiry.

1. First, therefore, let it be observed, that Eve could not be created in the Garden, since we are expressly told, that she was created along with Adam, some time before, namely, on the sixth day.-Male and female created he thèin. --A déclaration so decisive, 'that the Rabbins, who will needs have Eve completely formed in 7 Gen. i. 27-31. + Gen. ii. 8-21-22.

Le Clerc says—l'Ecriture nous apprend formellement qu'Adam golonna les noms aux anim:ux, entre lesquels, il n'en trouvoit aucut pour l'assister; apres quoi Dieu Cnta la Femine de l'une des côtés de I'Homme. Sentimens de quelques Theol. p. 423. - Dr. Z. Pearce, in this Notes on Milton against Lentley, p. 233. And Hooker, in his Eccl. Pol. Book V. Sect. 73. Woman was even in her first Estate framed by nature not only AFFIR IN TIME, l'ut'inferior in excellencie,

Paradise,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

.

[ocr errors]

i Paradise, gathered from the Words--Male and Female,

(used by the historian, where he speaks of the Creation of the sixth Day), that duim was an Androyune, a double Animal, or Min-!{comun, joined side to side * and that the operation of disjoining them was perforined in the Garden;, where indeed Jesus tells us, not a separation, but a closer union commenced.

| 2. When Moses gives us the Book of the generations of Adam ļ, he repeats what he had delivered before, that man was created male and female.--Male and female created he them, AND CALLED THEIR NAME ADAŤ, IX THE DAY WHEN, THEY WERE CREATED I

Adam was the common name for man and woman; and that'name was given them when the Male was created; cónsequently the female was created with him.

3. On the other hand, the same kind of reasoning which concludes, that the IVoman was not created till after the sixth day, will concluile, that the man himself was not created till after that day: for, if'we suppose the History of the Creation observes a strict chronologic Order, he was not created till atter the seventh day the sacred Writer, immediately after recording the work of the six days and the rest of the seventh, proceeds thus, And the Lord, formed mun of the dust of the Ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living souls. Then follows the story of his

• This Jewish interpretation of the text appears to have been very ancient: and to have come early to the knowledge of the HeathenWorld, Plato, in his Symposium, brings in one Aristophanes'saying, that the ancient nature of man was not ils we find it at present, but

He was originally Avescouros, a wan-woman._This fancy affords occasion to a pretty fable, perhaps of the Philosopher's

own invention, that these Ardpor vrou, were a kind of double-animal, insa in joined back to back. But that Jupiter, when he see thein agoing in

the World, slit every one of them, and then shuffling the separated parts well together, commịtted them to their fortúne: and the employ. ment of each of them being to find out its partner, the business of life was an incessant search of every one for its better half, in order to be rejoined in a more conimodious in.inner. This, says the Philosopher, is the true origin of Love. + Gen. v.

Ver. 2. SRL Gen. 1.7. Philo, misled by the common error; 'tớat a chrono34.7. logical order was observed in the history of the Creation; concluded

that the Adam, ¿reated in the Image of God, Gen. ir 27 was a different man from him who was formed' of the dust of the Ground, Gep. ii. 7.

very different.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »