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done, by a natural sagacity: For, on the allowance os a real inspiration, it was Gon, and not the Writer, who was the proper Author of the Prophecy; and to understand his purpose, which the rules of interpretation require us to seek, we must examine the nature, reason, and end of that Religion which he gave to the Jews : For on these, commen sense assures us, the meaning of the Prophecies must be intirely regulated. Now its on enquiry, it should be found, that this which Grotius admitted for a divine Dispensation, was only preparatory of another more perfect, it would then appear not to be įmprobable that some of these Prophecies might relate, in their literal, primary; and immediate sense, to thai more perfect Dispensation. And whether they did so or not was to be deterniined by the joint evidence of the context, and of the nature of God's whole Dispensation to mankind, so far forth as it is discoverable to us. But Grotius, instead of making the matter thus reasonably problematical, and to be determined by evidence, determined first, and laid it down as a kind of Principle, that the Prophecies related directly and properly to Jewislı affairs : and into this system he wiredrew all his explanations. This, as we say; was falsely applying a true rule of interpretation. He went on this reasonable ground, that the Prophecies should be interpreted like all other ancient Writings: and, on examining theit authority, be found theın to be truly divinc. When he had gone thus far, lie theu preposterously went bac!s again, and commented as if they were confessed to be merely human : The consequence was, that several of his criticisins, to speak of them only as the performance of a man of learning, are so forced, unnatural, andabsurd; so opposed to the rational canon of interpretation, that I will venture to affirm they are, in all respects, the worst that ever came from the hand of an acute and able Critic. i

III. Having III. Having now proved that the Principles which Mr. Collins went upon are in themselves false and extravagant, one has little reason to regard how he employed thens. But as this extraordinary Writer was as great a Freethinker in Logic as in Divinity, it may not be improper to shew the fashionable World what sort of man they have chosen for their Guide, to lead them from their Religion, when they would no longer bear with any to direct them in it.

His argument against what he calls typical, allegorical, but properly, secondary senses, stands thus :-“Christianity pretends to derive itself from Judaism. JESUS appeals to the religious books of the Jews as prophesying of his Mission. None of these Prophecies can be undertood of him but in a typical allegorie sense. Now that sense is absurd, and contrary to all scholastic rules of interpretation. Christianity, therefore, not being really predicted of in the Jewish Writings, is consequently false.”—The contestable Proposition, on which the whole argument rests, is, That a typical or allegoric sense is absurd, and contrary to all scholastic rules of interpretation.

Would the Reader now believe that Mr. Collins has himself, in this very book, given a thorough confutation of his own capital Proposition ? Yet so it is; and, contrary too to his usual way of reasoning, he bas done it in a very clear and convincing manner; by shewing, that the typical and allegorical way of writing was universally practised by Antiquity.“ Allegory (says he) was much in use amongst the Pagans, being cultivated by nsany of the Philosophers themselves as well as Theologers. By SOME, AS THE METHOD OF DELIVERING DOCTRINES; but by most, as the method of

explaining away what, according to the letter, appeared " absurd in the ancient fables or historics of their Gods.

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“ Religiga “ Religion itself was deemed a mysterious thing amongst • the Pagans, and not to be publicly and plainly * declared. Wherefore it was never simply represented * to the People, but was most obscurely delivereci, 4 and vaild under Allegories, or Parables, or Hiero“ glyphics; and especially amongst the Egyptians, “ Chaldeans, and the Oriental Nations. They allego“ rized many things of nature, and particularly the

heavenly bodies---They allegorized all their ancient "s fables and stories, and pretended to discover in them " the secrets of Natural Philosophy, Medicine, Politics, u and in a word all Axts and Sciences. The works 66 of Homer in particular have furnishedjufinite maternals « for all sorts of allegorical Commentators to work

upon.-The ancient Greek Poets were reputed to as involve divine, and natural, and historical notions of " their Gods under mystical and parabolical expres-* sions— The Pythagorean Philosophy was wholly de“ livered in mystical language, the signification whereof

was entirely unkown to the world abroad-The Stoic “ Philosophers are particularly famous for allegorizing " the whole heathen Theology- We have several “ treatises of heathen Philosophers on the subject of

allegorical interpretation *."

If now this kind of allegorizing, which involved the Proposition in a double sense, was in use amongst the Pagan Oracles, Divines, Philosophers and Poets, is not the understanding ancient writings allegoricaity, or in a double sense, agreeable to all rational, scholastic rules of interpretation? Surely, as much so as the understanding mere metaphorical expressions in a tropical siya niticatian ; whose propriety no one ever yet called im question. For the sense of Propositions is imposed as arbitrarily as the sense of words. And if men, in the communication of their thoughts, agree to give, on some occasions, a double sense to Propositions, as well as, on • Grounds, &e-pp. 83, 84, 85, 86,

others

others, a single, the interpreting the first in two meanings

is as agreeable to all scholastic rules, as interpreting the other in one: And Propositions, with a double and single sense, are as easily distinguishable from each other, bý

the help of the context, as IVords with a literal and figurative meaning. But this great Philosopher scems to have imagined, that the single sense of a Proposition was imposed by Nature ; and that therefore, giving them a double meaning, was the same offence against Reason as the deviating from the unity of pure Theism into Polytheism : and, consequently, that the universal lapse into ALLEGORY and IDOLATRY rendered neither the one nor other of them the less absurd *. 2.1 say,

he seems to think so. More one cannot say of such a Writer. Besides, he seems to think otherwise, where, in another place, as if aware that Use would rescue a double sensc froin his irrational and unscholastic censure, he endeavours to prove, that the Jews, during the prophetic period, did not use this allegoric way of expression. Now if we be right in this last conjecture about his meaning, he abuses the terms he employs, under a miserable quibble; and, by scholastic and unscholastic rules, only means interpreting in a single or á double sense. ; The Reader perhaps will be curious to know how it happened, that this great Reasoner should, all at once, overthrow what he had been so long labouring to build. This fatal issue of his two books of the GROUNDS, &C. and SCHEME, &c. had these causes :

1. He had a pressing and immediate objection to remove. And, as he had no great stock of argument, and but small forecast, any thing," at a plunge, would be received, which came to his relief.

The objection was this--" That the allegorical inter“ pretations of the Apostles were not designed for {"absolute proofs of Christianity, but for arguments ad . Sce note [EE] at the end of this Book

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" homines only to the Jews, who were accustomed to " that way of reasoning.” p. 79.-Thus, he himself tells us, some Divines are accustomed to talk. 'He gives them indeed a solid answer; but he dreams not of the consequence. He says, this allegoric reasoning was common to all mankind. : Was it so ? Then the grand Proposition on which his whole Work supports itself is entirely overthrown. · For if all mankind used it, the method must needs be rational and scholastic. But this he was not aware of. What kept him in the dark, was his never being able to distinguish between the use and the ABUSE of this mode of information. These two things he perpetually confounds, The Pagan Ora delivered themselves in allegories' ;----this was the use: Their later Divines turned all their Religion -into allegory ;-this was the abuse. The elder Pythagoreans gave their Précepts in allegory ;---this was tlie use": The later Stoics allegorized every thing ;-this was the abuse. Homer had some allegories ;- this was the use: His Commentators turned all to allegory ;---and this again was the abuse. But though he has talked so much of these things, yet he knew no more of them than old JOHN BUNYAN; whose honester ignorance, joined to a good meaning, disposed him to admire that which the malignity of our Author's folly inclined him to decry: and each in the like ridiculous extreme.

2. But the other cause of this subversion of his own system was the delight he took to blacken the splendour of Religion. He supposed, we may be sure, it would prove an effectual discredit to Revelation, to have it seen, that there was this conforinity between the Pagan and Jewish method of delivering Religion and Morality, His attempt hath been already exposed as it deserves * But in this instance it labours under much additional folly. For the different reasons which induced the Propagators of Paganism, and the Author of Judaism,

See Buok is. § 1. at the end.
Vol. VI.
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