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Our Doctor having so well made out this point, we need not wonder at his confidence, when he assures us, that there is full as good evidence of an extraordinary providence under the Christian Dispensation as under the Jewish. This though the language of Toland, Tindal, Collins, and the whole tribe of Free-thinkers, yet comes so unexpected from a Regius Professor of Divinity, that we should be very careful not to mistake his meaning.
If, by full as good, he would insinuate that an extraordinary providence was administered under both Dispensations, I shall be in pain for his intellects: if he would insinuate, that an extraordinary providence was administered in neither, I shall be in pain for his Professorship. But he is in pain for nothing; as the reader may perceive by his manner of supporting this impertinent paradox. His proofs follow with equal ease and force.--I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth, as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in Heaven*.-And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.-Take therefore no thought saying, What shall we eat? or what shall we drink? or where withal shall we be clothed? for your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you .-And again, If ye ask any thing in my name, I will give it§. "No more, my most wise Friend? Thou hast my wonder; that's enough. My understanding shall 'Matt. xviii. 19. + Matt. xix. 29. Matt. vi. 31. & seq, mond♬ § John xiv. 14. L 4
come after;" said, once on a time, a plain good man to a profound philosopher like this.
Now not to repeat again the illogical bravado of taking and supporting a conclusion divorced from its premisses; such as is the contending for temporal sanctions and an extraordinary providence where there was no Theocracy, from whence they could be derived; we have here a Professor of Divinity who has his elements of Scripture-interpretation yet to learn. The first rule of which is, 1. "That all, does not signify all simply, but all of one kind; and, of what kind, the context must direct us to determine." When, therefore, the members of Christ's spiritual Kingdom are promised they shall obtain all they ask, this all must needs be confined to things spiritual. Now when here we find those, who are bid to leave their temporal possessions and propagate the Gospel, have the promise of a hundredfold, are we to seek for the performance, in Palestine, or in a better Country*? Again, Where, under the Law, we read of temporal promises, we read likewise that they were fulfilled. Where, under the GOSPEL, we read that those who, for the sake of Christ, forsake houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father or mother, or wife or children, or lands, shall receive an hundredfold; What are we there to look for? For the good things of this world, which this
arp-sighted Doctor is so eager and intent to find?— Now admit there might be no great inconvenience in receiving a hundred houses for one; would not a hundred wives a little embarrass his Professorship? And as to the house and land--Where did he learn that this was literally fulfilled, even to those who had the best title to them if they were literally promised, I mean the APOSTLES, yet these we always meet on foot;
Heb. xi. 16.
strangers upon earth; and without either house or hone. He, who then passed for a learned Apostle, once at Rome, indeed, got a warm house over his head; yet let us not forget that it was but a hired one. Here, in this Capital of the World, he received all who came to him. But though a good Divine, aș times then went, he never rose to a Regius Professorship.
The second elementary rule of interpretation is, "That all the promises of extraordinary blessings, made to the first propagators of the Gospel, are not to be understood as extending to their successors of all Ages, or to the Church in general." To apply this likewise to the thing in question. If it should be admitted that great temporal blessings were promised to the first disciples of Christ, it will not follow that their successors had a claim to them, any more than they had to their spiritual gifts and graces, such as the power of working miracles, prophesying, speaking with tongues, &c. Because as divine Wisdom saw these latter to be necessary for the discharge of their peculiar function; so divine Goodness might be graciously pleased to bestow the Other on them, as the reward of their abundant Faith, and superior Courage in the day of trial, when the Powers of this world were bent on their destruction. But this (blessed be God) is neither the learned Professor's case, nor mine. The worst that has betallen me, in the defence of Religion, is only the railings of the Vile and Impotent; and the worst that is likely to befal him, is only the ridicule of all the rest. Happy had it been for himself, and much happier for his hearers, had our Professor's modesty disposed him rather to seek instruction from those who have gone before, than to impart it to those who are to come after. HOOKER has so admirably
exposed this very specific folly which our Doctor has run into, of arguing against his senses, in making the Dispensation of Providence under the Mosaic and Christian Economics to be the same, that I cannot do him better service than to transcribe the words of that divine ornament of the English Priesthood:-"Shaft we then hereupon ARGUE EVEN AGAINST OUR OWN EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE Shall we seek to 64 persuade men that, of necessity, it is with us as it ,86 was with them, that because God is ours, in all respects as much as theirs, therefore, either no such way of direction hath been at any time, or if it have "been, it doth still continue in the Church or if the same do not continue, that yet it must be, at the least, supplied by some such means as pleaseth us to "account of equal force? A more dutiful and religious way for us, were to admire the Wisdom of God "which shineth in the beautiful variety of things, but
most in the manifold and yet harmonious dissi"militude of those ways, whereby his Church upon "earth is guided from age to age throughout all the "generations of men*."
But this was one of the charitable expedients em, ployed to set me right, and to prevent the disgrace of scribbling much to no purpose. However, as in a work of this nature, which partakes so much of the History of the human mind, I may be allowed occasionally, and as it falls in my way, to give as well, examples of its inore uncommon degrees of depravity and folly, as of its improvements and excellencies, I shall go on. My constant friend Dr. Stebbing proceeds another way to work, bút all for the same good end He desires me and my reader to consider, "what it was that Moses undertook; and what was the Eccl. Pol. b. iii. sec. 1o. L. 21.7
true end of his Mission. It was to carry the chil"dren of Israel out of Egypt, and put them in "possession of the Land of Canaan, in execution of "the Covenant made with Abraham. The work in "the very NATURE of it required the administration "of an extraordinary Providence; of which it oUGHT
THEREFORE TO BE PRESUMED that Moses had both the assurance and experience: otherwise he "would have engaged in a very MAD undertaking, " and the people would have been AS MAD in following him. THIS SHORT HINT POINTS OUT THE TRUE INTERNAL EVIDENCE of Moses's Divine Legation, and this evidence has no sort of depen"dence upon the belief or disbelief of the doctrine "of a future state. For supposing (what is the "truth) that the Israelites did believe it; what could "this belief effect? It might carry them to Heaven, "and would do so if they made a proper use of it, "but it could not put them in possession of the Land "of Canaan. Mr. Warburtou therefore has plainly "mistaken his point."
This intimation of my mistake is kind: and I should have taken his hint, as short as it is, but for the following reasons:
1. This hint would serve the Mufti full as well, to prove the Divine Legation of Mahomet: for thus we may suppose he would argue:" Mahomet's work was not like Moses's, the subdual of a small tract of Country, possessed by seven Tribes or Nations, with a force of some hundred thousand followers; but the conquest of almost all Asia, with a handful of Banditti. Now this work, says the learned Mahometan, in the very nature of it, required the administration of an extraordinary providence, of which IT OUGHT THEREFORE TO BE PRESUMED, that Mahomet had