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Legation, who held Moses's pretensions to be true, might think him at liberty to go beyond his Commission. Thus far, then, we may be said to agree: But this good understanding does not last long. His Lordship's modesty and my pertness soon make the breach as wide as ever.-Why they were not so revealed (says his Lordship) some PERT DIVINE or other will be ready to tell you. For me, I dare not pretend to guess. My forwardness, and his Lordship's backwardness, are equally well suited to our respective principles. Should his Lordship have guessed, it might have brought him to what he most dreaded, the divine original of the Jewish Religion: Had I forborn to guess, I had betrayed my cause, and left those DATA unemployed, which enabled me, I do not say to guess, but to discover, and to demonstrate the Divine Legation of Moses.
However, This, his Lordship will presume to advance, that since these doctrines were not revealed by God to his servant MOSES, it is highly probable, that the Legislator made a scruple of teaching them to the Israelites, howsoever well instructed he might be in them himself, and howsoever useful to Government he might think them.
Here, you see, he personates a Believer, who holds MOSES to be an inspired Lawgiver: But observe how poorly he sustains his part! Either MOSES did indeed receive the Law from God, or he did not. If he did not, Why are we mocked with the distinction between what was revealed, and what was not revealed, when nothing was revealed? If MOSES did receive the Law from God, Why are we still worse mocked with the distinction between what was revealed, and what was not revealed, when every thing regarding the Dispensation must needs be revealed; as well, the direction
to omit a Future State, as the direction to inculcate the Unity of the Godhead? Why was all this mockery? the Reader asks. For a very good purpose: it was to draw us from the TRUE object of our inquiry, which is, What GoD intended by the omission; to that FANTASTIC object, which only respects what MOSES intended by it. For the intention of GoD supposes the mission and inspiration of a Prophet; but the intention of MOSES, when considered in contradistinction to the intention of God, terminates in the human views of a mere politic Lawgiver; which leads us back again to Infidelity.
But he soon strips Moses of his Mission, and leaves him to cool, in Querpo, under his civil character as before. And here he considers, What it was, which under this character, might induce Moses to omit a future state; and he finds it to be, lest this doctrine should have hurt the doctrine of the UNITY, which it was his purpose to inculcate amongst his People, in opposition to the Egyptian Polytheism.
Moses (says his Lordship), it is highly probable, made a scruple of teaching these Doctrines to the Israelites, howsoever well instructed he might be in them himself, and howsoever useful to Government he might think them. The People of Egypt, like all other nations, were Polytheists, but different from all others: there was in Egypt an inward as well as outward Doctrine: Natural Theology and natural Religion were the INWARD Doctrine; while Polytheism, Idolatry, and ALL THE MYSTERIES, all the impieties and follies of magic, were the OUTWARD Doctrine. Moses was initiated into those Mysteries where the secret doctrine alone was taught, and the outward exploded.-For an accurate as well as just Divider, commend me to his Lordship. In distinguishing between the
the inward and outward doctrines of the Egyptians, he puts all the mysteries amongst the outward :— though if they had an inward, it must necessarily be part of those Mysteries. But he makes amends presently (but his amends to truth is, as it should be, always at the expence of a contradiction), and directly says, that MOSES LEARNT THE INWARD DOCTRINE IN THE MYSTERIES. Let this pass: He proceedsMoses had the knowledge of both outward and inward. Not so the Israelites in general. They knew nothing more than the outside of the Religion of Egypt. And if a future state was known to them, it was known only in the superstitious rites, and with all the fabulous circumstances, in which it was dressed up and presented to the vulgar belief. It would be hard therefore to teach or to renew this doctrine in the minds of the Israelites, without giving them an occasion the more to recal the Polytheistical fables, and practise the idolatrous rites they had learnt during the Captivity.
The Children of Israel, it seems, knew no more of a future state, than by the superstitious rites and fabulous circumstances with which it was dressed up and presented to the public belief. What then? MOSES, he owns, knew more. And what hindered MOSES from communicating of his knowledge to the People, when he took them under his protection, and gave them a new Law and a new Religion? His Lordship gives us to understand that this People knew as little of the UNITY; for he tells us, it was amongst the inward Doctrines of the Egyptians: yet this did not hinder Moses from instructing his people in the doctrine of the Unity. What then should hinder his teaching them the inward doctrine of a future state, divested of its fabulous circumstances? He had di
vested Religious worship of the absurdities of DemiGods and Heroes; What should hinder him from divesting a future state of Charon's boat and the Elysian fields? But the notion of a future state would have recalled those fabulous circumstances which had been long connected with it. And was not Religious worship, under the idea of a tutelar. Deity, and a temporal King, much more apt to recal the polytheism of Egypt? Yet Moses ventured upon. this inconvenience, for the sake of great advantages: Why should he not venture on the other, for the sake of greater? for the doctrine of a future state is, as his Lordship confesses, even necessary both to civil and religious Society. But what does he talk of the danger of giving entry to the fables and superstitions concerning the Soul (superstitions, which, though learnt indeed in the Captivity, were common to all the nations under Polytheism) when in other places he assures us, that Moses indulged the Israelites in the most characteristic superstitions of Egypt?
However, let us see how he supports this profound observation. Rites and Ceremonies (says his Lordship) are often so equivocal, that they may be applied to very different doctrines. But when they are so closely connected with a doctrine, that they are not applicable to another, to teach the doctrine is, IN SOME SORT, to teach the rites and ceremonies.-In some sort, is well put in, to soften the deformity of this inverted logic. His point is to shew that a superstitious Rite, relating to, and dependent on, a certain doctrine, will, obtrude itself whenever that Doctrine is taught: and his reasoning is only calculated to prove, that where the Rite is practised, the Doctrine will soon follow. This may indeed be true. But then it does not hold in the converse, that the Rite follows the Doctrine:
because a Principal may stand without its Dependent but a Dependent can never subsist without its Principal.
Under cover of these grotesque shapes, into which his Lordship has travestied the Jewish Lawgiver, he concludes, that MOSES being AT LIBERTY to teach this doctrine of rewards and punishments in a future state, or not to teach it, he might very well chuse the latter-Yet it was but at the very beginning of this paragraph that he tells us, Moses was NOT AT LIBERTY to teach or not to teach. His words are these, Since this doctrine was not revealed by God to his servant Moses, it is highly probable that this Legislator MADE A SCRUPLE of teaching it. But his Lordship very well knows that Statesmen soon get the better of their scruples; and then, by another fetch of political casuistry, find themselves more at liberty than ever.
I had observed above, that our noble Discourser, who makes MOSES so scrupulous that he would, on no terms, afford a handle for one single superstition of Egypt to get footing among his people, has, on other occasions, charged him with introducing them in the lump. He was sensible that his Inconsistency was likely to be detected, and therefore he now attempts to obviate it.—Though he [Moses] indulged the Israelites, on account of the hardness of their hearts, and by the divine permission, as it is presumed, in several observations and customs, which did not LEAD directly, though even they did so perhaps IN CONSEQUENCE, to the Polytheism and Idolatry of Egypt. And could the teaching the doctrine of a future state possibly do more than LEAD IN CONSEQUENCE (as his Lordship elegantly expresses it) to the Polytheism and Idolatry of Egypt, by drawing after it those superstitious