Imatges de pÓgina

both the assurance and è rperience; otherwise he would hace engaged in a rery mad undertaking, and the people would have been us mad in following him."

Thus hath the learned Doctor taught the Mufti how to reason. The worst of it is, that I, for whom the kindness was principally intended, cannot profit by it, the argument lying cxposed to so terrible a retortion. To this the Doctor replies, that the cases are widely different: and that I myself allow them to be different, for that I hold, the Legation of Moses to be a true one; and the Legation of Mahomet, an iinposture. --Risum teneatis, Amici!

But thicre is another reason why I can make nothing of this gracious hint. It is because I proposed to PROVE (and not, as he says I ought to bave done, to PRESUME upon) the Divinity of Moses's mission, hy an internal argument. Indeed he tells me, that if I be for proving, he has pointed out such a one to me. He says so, 'tis true: but in so saying, lie only shers kiis ignorance of what is meant by an INTERXAI.

An internal argument is such a one as takes for its inedium some notorious Fact, or circumstance, in the frame and constitution of a Religion, not in contest; and from thence, by necessary consequence, deduces the truth of á fact supported by testimony which is in contest. Thus, froin the notorious l'act of the omission of a future State in Moses's institution of Law and Religion, I deduce bis Divine Legution.

But the learned Artist hinself secins conscious that the ware be would put into my hands is indeed no Wtter than a counterfeit piece of trainpery, and so far from being an internal argununt, that it is no argume:t at all: For he tells us, Ir OUGHT THERETORE TO BE PRESULTED, that Moses hadi both the




assurance and erperience that God governed the Is raelites by an extraordinary Providence.

But what follows is such unaccountable jargon For supposing the Isruclites did believe a future State, what would this belief effect? It might carry them to Heaven, but it could not put them in possession of the land of Cancan. This looks as if the learned Doctor had supposed that, from the truth of this assertioni, That no civil Society under a common Providence could subsist without a future state, I had inferred, that, aith a future state, Society would be able to work wonders.-What efficacy a future state hath, whether little or much, affects not my argument any otherwise than by the oblique tendency it hath to support the reasoning: anak I urged it thus ;--- IIud not the Jews been under an extraordinary Providence, at that period when Moses led them out to take possession of the land of Canaan, they were most unfit to bear the want of the doctrine of a future state:" Which observation I supported by the case of Odin's followers, and Manomet's; who, in the same circumstances of making conquests, and seching new habitations, had this Doctrine sedulously inculcated to them, by their respective Leaders. And the histories of both these Nations inform us, that nothing so much contributed to the rapility of their successes as the enthusiasm wbich that Doctrine inspired.

And yet, to be sure, the Doctor never said a livelier thing, who is celebrated for saying many, than when be asked; -What could this belief effect? It might carry them to Heaven; but it could not put them in possession of the Land of Canaan. Now unluckily, like most of these witty things, when too nearly inspected, we find it to be just the reverse of the truth. The belief could never carry them to Heaven, and


[ocr errors]

yet was abundantly sufficient, under such a leader as Moses, to put them in possession of the land of Ca-, naan. The Arabians' belief of a future state could never, in the opinion at least of our orthodox Doctor, carry them to Heaven; yet he must allow it enabled them to take and keep possession of a great part of Europe and Asia. But the Doctor's head was running on the efficacy of the Christian Faith, when he talked of belief carrying men to heaven, Yet wbo knows, but when he gave the early Jews the knowledge of a future state, he gave them the Christian faith into the bargain ?

SECT. V. THUS we see that an EXTRAORDINARY ProVIDENCE WAS THE NECESSARY CONSEQUENCE OF A TITEOCRACY; and that this Providence is representėdin Scripture to have been really administered. TEMPORAL REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS, : therefore, (the effects of this providence) and not futurez: MUST NEEDS BE THE SANCTION of their Law and Religion.

Having thus prepared the ground, and laid the foundation, I go on to shew that future Rewards and Punishments, which COULD NOT BE THE SANCTION of the Mosaic Dispensation, WERE NOT TAUGHT in it at all: and that, in consequence of this Omission, the PEOPLE had not the doctrine of a future state for many ages. And here my arguments will be chiefly directed against the believing part of my opponents ; no Deist *, triat I know of, ever prctending that the doctrine of a future state was to be found in the Lawa

Moses delivered to the Israelites a complete Digest of Law and Religion :. but, to fit it to the nature of a See note (Y) at the end of this Book.


Theocratic Government, he gave it perfectly incorpo rated. And, for the observance of the intire Institution, he added the sanction of rewards and punishments: both of which we have shewn to be necessary for the support of a Republic: and yet, that civil Society, as such, can administer only one *.

Now in the Jewish: Republic, both the rewards and punishments proinised by heaven were TEMPORAL, only. Such as health, long life, peace, plenty, and dominion, &c. Discases, immature death, war, famine, want, subjcction, and captivity, &c. And in no one place of the Mosaic Institutes is there the least mention, or any intelligible bint, of the rewards and punishments of another life.

When Solomon had restored the integrity of Religion; and, to the regulated purity of Worship, had added the utinost magnificence; in his DEDICATIOX of the new-built. Temple, he addresses a long prayer to the God of Israel, consisting of one solemn petition for the continuance of the OLD COVENANT made by the ministry of Moses. He gives an exact account of all its parts, and explains at large the sanctIOX of the Jewish Law and Religion. And here, as in the writings of Moses, we find nothing but TEMPORAL rewards and punishments; without the least hint or intimation of a future state. . The holy PROPHETS speak of no other. Thus Isaiah :: “ Then shall he give the rain of thy seed that " thou shalt sow the ground withal, and bread of the

increase of the earth, and it shall be fat and plenteous; and in that day shall thy cattle feed in large

pastures. And there shall be upon every high 4. mountain, and upon every high bill, rivers and streams of water t.” And Jeremiah: “ I will "1.6, Punishments. See Yol. I. P: 210. Ch. XXX. ver. 23. 25.



surely consume them, saith the Lord; there shall “ be no grapes on the vine, nor tigs on the fig tree, " and the leaf shall fade, and the things that I have " given them shall pass away from them. I will send

serpents and cockatrices amongst you, which will “ not be charmed, and they shall bite you, saith the « Lord *." Nay so little known, in these times, was any other kind of rewards and punishments to the Jewish People, that, when the Prophets foretell that NEW Dispensation, by which, life and immortality were brought to light, they express even those future rewards and punishments under the image of the present. Thus Zechariah, prophesying of the times of Christ, describes the punishment attendant on a refusal of the terms of Grace, under the ideas of the Jewish Economy: “ And it shall be that whoso will

not come up of all the families of the earth unto * Jerusalem, to worship the King the Lord of Hosts,

even upon them SHALL BE NO RAIN t.” I would have those men well consider this, who persist in thinking " that the early Jews had the doctrine of a future state of retards and punishments, though Moses taught it not expressly to thein;" and then toht me why Zechariah, when prophesying of the Gospeltimes, should chuse to express these future rewards and punishments under the image of the presenti ?

Indecd, were it not for the amazing prejudices which have obtained on this subject, a writer's pains to shew that a future state of rewards and punishments made no part of the Mosaic Dispensation, would appear as absurd to every intelligent reader, as his would be who should employ many formnal arguments to prove that Şir Isaac Newton's Theory of Light and Colours is not to be found in Aristotle's books de Cælo & de • Chap. viii. ver. 13. 17. .Chapxiv. vef. 17.


« AnteriorContinua »