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tain advocates of Religion, unable to reconcile to their notions of logic, the sense of some Prophecies in the Old Testament, as explained in the applications of the Writers of the New, thought it best to throw aside the care of the Jewish RELIGION, (a burden which they could as ill bear as the rebellious Israelites themselves) and try to support the CHRISTIAN, by proving its divine Original, independently and from itself alone. Upon this Mr. COLLINS (for I have chosen to instance in these two general dealers in Freethinking; the small retailers of it vanishing as fast as they appear; for who now talks of Blount or Coward? or who hereafter will talk of Strutt or Morgan ? *) that the world may see how little they agreed about their own principles, or rather how little regard they paid to any principles at all; Mr. Collins, I say, wrote a book to exclaim against our ill faith ; and to remind us of, and to prove to us, the inseparable connexion between the Old and New Testament. This was no unseasonable reproof, howsoever intended, for so egregious a folly. I will endeavour to profit by it; and manage this Controversy on their own terms. For whatever prevarication appeared in the Objectors, I conceived they had demanded no more than what they might reasonably expect. But the advantages arising to us from this management soon made them draw back, and retract what they had demanded; and now they chicane with us for calling in the assistance of the New Testament to repel their attacks upon the Oldt; while, at the same time, they think themselves at liberty to use the assistance of the Old to overthrow the New. Let the Friends of Revelation, however, constantly and uniformly hold the inseparable connexion between the two Dispensations; and then, let our Enemies, if they will, as they fairly may, take all the advantages they fancy they have against us, from the necessity we lie under of so doing.
* See note [T] at the end of this Book. + See note [U] at the end of this Book.
: In a word, We give them Judaism and Christianity as Religions equally from Heaven ; with that reciprocal dependence on cach other, which arises between two things bearing the mutual relation of foundation and superstructure. They have it in their choice to oppose our pretensions, either by disputing with us that dependency, or raising difficulties on the foot of it. But while they only suppose it visionary; and then argue against each Religion on that supposition, they only beg the question. And while they do that, we keep within the rules of good logic, when we remove their objections on that principle of dependency laid down in Scripture. This restrictive rule of interpretation being however still observed, That, in explaining any difficulty in the Old Testament, we never, on pretence of such dependency, forsake the genius and manners of the times in question, and serve ourselves of those of the later Christian period, as Collins (whether truly or no, let Thein look to, who are concerned in it) upbraids some defenders of Christianity for doing. This rule is here, I presume, observed with sufficient exactness; the foundation of my interpretation of the Command being that ancient mode of converse, so much at that time in use, of conversing by actions.
II. But the Adversaries of Revelation, how casily soever they may be confuted, are not so easily silenced. They are ready to object, that we fly to the old exploded refuge of a TYPE, which the Author of the Grounds and Reasons of the Christian Religion hath shewn to be visionary and senseless ; the mere illogical whimsy of Cabalistic Jews. To this I answer,
1. They are doubly mistaken. This interpretation is not founded in any typical sense whatsoever; the person of Isaac on the Mount being no more a Type of Christ than the six letters that compose the name are a Type of him; but only an arbitrary mark to stand for the idea of Christ, as that word does. So that their cry against
Types, Types, whatever force it may have, does not at all affect this interpretation.
2. But, secondly, I say, A TYPE is neither visionary, nor senseless, notwithstanding the disgrace which this mode of information hath undergone by the nad abuses of Fanaticism and Superstition. On the contrary, I hold it to be 'a just and reasonable manner of denoting one thing by another : not the creature of the imagination, made out of nothing to serve a turu; but as natural and apposite a figure as any employed in human converse. l'or Types, arose from that original mode of communication, the conversing by actions: the difference there is between these two modes of information being only this, that, where the action is simply significative, it has no moral import: For example, when Ezekiel is bid to shave his beard, to weigh the hair in balances, to divide it into three parts, to burn one, to strike another with a knife, and to scatter the third part in the wind*, this action having no moral import is merely significative of information given. But when the Israelites are commanded to take a male lamb without blemish, and the whole assembly of the congregation to kill it, and to sprinkle the blood upon the door-posts t, this action having a moral import as being a religious Rite, and, at the same time, representative of something future, is properly typical. Hence arose the mistake of the Interpreters of the Command to offer Isaac. These men supposing the action commanded to have a moral import, as being only for a trial of Abraham's faith; and, at the same time, seeing in it the most exact resemblance of the death of Christ, very wrongly concluded that action to be typical which was merely significative : and by this means, leaving in the action a moral import, subjected it to all those cavils of infidelity, which, by taking away all moral import, as not belonging to it, are here entirely eyaded. . Ezek. v. 1, 2,
+ Exod. xii. 5, 6; 7.
But it being of the highest importance to Revelation in general, and not a little conducive to the support of our arguments for the Divine Legation of Moses in particular, to shew the logical truth and propriety of Types in action, and Secondary senses in speech, I shall take the present opportunity to sift this matter to the bottom. For having occasionally shewn, in several parts of the preceding Discourse, that the references in the law to the GOSPEL are in typical representations, and secondary senses; and the truth of Christianity depending on the real relation (which is to be discovered by such refcrences) between the two Dispensations, it will be incumbent on me to prove the logical truth and propriety of TYPES in action, and SECONDARY SENSES in speech.
And I enter on this subject with the greater pleasure, as one of the most plausible books ever written, or likely to be written, against Christianity, is intirely leveļled at them. In this enquiry I shall pursue the same method I have hitherto taken with unbelieving Writers; examine only the grounds and principles on which they go; and having removed and overthrown these, in as few words as I am able, leave the superstructure to support itself, as it may.
SECT. VI. THE book I speak of is entitled, “ A Discourse of the Grounds and Reasons of the Christian Religion," written, as is generally supposed, by Mr. Collins; a Writer, whose dexterity in the arts of Controversy was so remarkably contrasted by his abilities in reasoning and literature, as to be ever putting one in mind of what travellers tell us of the genius of the proper Indians, who, although the veriest bunglers in all the fine arts of manual operation, yet excel every body in slight of hand and the delusive feats of activity. ·
The purpose of his book is to prove that Jesus was an impostor: and his grand argument stands thus,
“ JESUS (as he shews) claims under the promised Messiah of the Jews; and proposes himself as the Deliverer prophesied of in their sacred Books; yet (as he attempts to shew) none of these Prophesies can be understood of Jesus but in a secondary sense only; now a secondary sense (as he pretends) is fanatical, chimerical, and contrary to all scholastic rules of interpretation: Consequently, Jesus not being prophesied of in the Jewish Writings, his pretensions are false and groundless. His conclusion, the reader sees, stands on the joint support of these two Propositions, That there is no Jewish Prophecy' which relates to Jesus in a primary sense; and That a secondary sense is enthusiastical and unscholastic. If either of these fail, his phantom of a conclusion sinks again into nothing.
Though I shall not omit occasionally to confute the first, yet it is the falsehood of the second I am principally concerned to expose—That there are Jewish prophecies which relate to Jesus in their direct and primary sense, hath been proved with much force of reason and learning; But, that secondary Prophecies are not enthusiastical and unscholastic, hath not been shewn and insisted on, by the Writers on this question, with the same advantage. The truth is, the naure of a DOUBLE SENSE in Prophecies hath been so little seen or enquired into, that some Divines, who agree in nothing else, have yet agreed to second this assertion of Mr. Collins, and with the same frankness and confidence to pronounce that a double sense is indeed enthusiastical and unscholastic. To put a stop therefore to this growing evil, sown first by Socinus, and since become so pestilent to Revelation, is not amongst the last purposes of the following dis
I. It hath been shewn, that one of the most ancient and simple Modes of human converse was communicating the conceptions by an expressive Action. As this was of familiar use in Civil matters, it was natural to carry