« AnteriorContinuar »
addreffes himself to defend the common system, or to attack that of the Divine Legation, he then finds himself obliged to abandon the Scripture doctrine, even as it had been interpreted by himself. Thus he directly opposes Dr. Warburton's interpretation in his fixth Sermon, tho' he as directly asserts it in his third, and in his Discourses on Prophecy. Our Author leaves it to others to ballance and determine the moment of his Lordship’s arguments alledged on either side, and proceeds to offer some observations on this mystery of the Gospel; he concludes the chapter with an examination of some objections which have been urged against the principles he defends.
The second chapter contains remarks on the Bishop of London's defence of the ancient prophecies, with fome observations on what has been lately advanced by Dr. Middleton, and Dr. Sykes, on the subject of types and secondary prophecies. Having in the first chapter endeavoured to prove that the common system, which makes Redemption and a future State a popular doctrine amongst the ancient Jews, is confuted by the plain and express authority of the New Testament, our Author now attempts to shew, that this notion will disable us from defending the Old, or giving a satisfactory answer to the objections which unbelievers bring against the ancient Prophecies. The fucility of the common system, he thinks, cannut be better or more effectually exposed, than by shewing. to what great and inexplicable difficulties it reduced the Bishop of London, in his defence of types and secondary Prophecies, against Mr. Collins; and it may be the more feasonable to review this debate, we are told, since Lord Bolingbroke seems so well fatified in his ridicule of these modes of information, which he considers only as so many convict impertinences and whims, unworthy the attention of a rational and thinking man.
Now as his Lordihip has not condescended to reason on the subject, or to specify and point out his particular objections, we can, at best, but conjecture what they might be; and as he was not famous for striking out any new lights of his own, it may reasonably be presumed, our Author imagineş that Mr. Collins was his oracle on this occasion as well as on others; and that he looked upon the arguments, advanced in the Grounds and Reasons, against Types and secondary Prophecies, as so many unanswerable truths.
These arguments suppose, first, that the modes of information are neither reasonable, just, nor proper, as not agreeable to the rules of fair Criticism and found Logic; secondly, had jhey been properly and strictly logical, yet they would 10$ have been made use of in a revealed Religion, because such a ·
one can have nothing to hide from those to whom it is deliver ed. In answer to this his Lordship of London undertakes to fhew, (see his Discourses on Prophecy, p. 145, fourth edition) that we may naturally and reasonably expect to find types and figures in the Old Testament. It was his business then, as our Author juftly observes, to prove that they were properly and strictly logical, and not the product of a warm and heated imagination, but founded on real and solid principles of reafon. Now, as he has not attempted to do this, he leaves the first objection of his adversary unanswered, and even untouched. To assume the logical fitness and propriety of these modes of information in a dispute with the author of the Grounds and Reasons, is plainly begging the question, which the rules of disputation required thould be proved. To tell the Infidel, that they are really found in the Old Testament, unlefs you have previously cleared and rescued them from the charge of being unscholastic, groundless, and absurd, would be furnishing him only with an occasion of triumph.
It is then a great, and even fundamental, defect in his Lordship’s reasoning, our Author observes, that he did not previoully explain and vindicate the logical fitness and propriety of these figures. A second defect is, that his reasoning does not come up to the point which he undertakes to prove.
He is to prove, that in the Old Testament we may reasonably look for types, or that particular mode and species of Prophecy, distinguished by this appellation. All he performs, is, that the law must have some sort of reference and relation to the Gospel, it must predict it in fome manner or other. But to what purpofe is it to Thew, that we may reasonably look for prophecy in general, or some kind of prophecy in the Old Testament, when the question relates to that particular species, and precise mode of prophecy, which we call typical? His Lordship therefore professes one thing, and proves another. He asserts the reasonableness and propriety of types in particular, but labours only to fhew the reasonableness and propriety of prophecy in general.
Nay, had he evinced the logical fitness and propriety of types, his argument had been still insufficient, since he was to prove, that this particular and precise mode of prophecy might reasonably be looked for in the Old Testament, as being well adapted to the nature and genius of the Jewish religion. Now he has not only failed to support the affirmative, but has laid down such principles as would naturally lead one to assert the negative, or to maintain that types are contrary and foreign to the nature and genius of the Jewish religion, and confequently
are not to be expected in the Old Teftament. His Lordship supposes, and it is allowed on all hands, that the spiritual blel sings promised in the Gospel, were the subject of the ancient types. He supposes also, that the Jewish religion was to predict and display these blessings clearly and openly, for the prefent information of the Jewish church. Now if the nature and genius of the law required this open and immediate instruction, what occafion was there for fo dark and obscure a medium of conveyance as that of Types ?
Since his Lordihip is forced to acknowlege, that even the metaphorical and figurative sense of the ancient prophecies was used for a veil or cover, much rather should he have seen, that the typical and secondary sense was intended for this purpose. If, therefore, he will contend that types and secondary prophecies are properly connected with, and necessarily fow from, the nature and genius of the Jewish religion, he must, in consequence, reverse his other principle, and say, that this religion was not given to reveal, but to hide, the spiritual blessings of the Gospel Dispensation. This seems to our Author to be the only idea of the Jewith religion, which can support us in making it the proper residence and seat of Types and secondary prophecies. We must, therefore, according to him, either exclude these figures, or admit them under such an idea of the Jewith religion, as is entirely subversive of the common fyftem.
Having considered his Lord hip's defence of typical pro, phecies, and such as have a double meaning, our
Author goes on to examine what he says in relation to those prophecies which represent the Gospel blessings under temporal and carnal images, and those which relate to the temporal affairs of the Jewish people ; and the result of the whole seems to him to be this, that nothing but an uniform adherence to the principles of the Divine Legation can secure the Bishop's reasoning from the attacks of infidelity, and nothing but an uniform rejection of them can secure it from the attacks upon itself, that is, make it perfectly consistent. Before he concludes the chapter, he makes some observations upon what Dr. Sykes and Dr. Middleton have advanced against Types and secondary Prophecies.
The third chapter contains some reflections on the Bishop of London's second Dissertation, or his explanation and account of the book of Job. And here our Author endeavours to shew, that a fcrupulous adherence to the common fyftem concerning the nature of the two Dispensations, has betrayed his Lordship into much confusion and perplexity. In
this second Dissertation bis Lordship undertakes to make good three things, 1. That the argument between Job and his friends turns upon this point, Whether the otHictions of this world are certain marks of God's displeasure, and an indication of the wickedness of those who suffer 2. That the book is of very high antiquity, and was written long before the time of Móses. 3. That the celebrated passage (I know that my Redeemer liveth, &c.) in the nineteenth chapter, relates to the resurrection. Now our Author observes, that there seems to be no natural connection between the three points here maintained.
On the contrary,' says he, the first is a direct contradiction to the third, and even to the second, upon the principles of the common fyftem. And, lo circumstanced, the fecond is plainly inconsistent with the third, as well as the first. Confequently, we cannot admit the third, without rejecting the first and second.'
The first point is, that the argument between Job and his friends turns upon this question, whether the afflictions, &c. Job's friends maintain the affirmative, and he afferts the negative. But if this were the point in dispute, our Author jays, all the difficulties and perplexities, in which we find them entangled and involved, would be perfectly cleared up by the third of his Lordship’s articles, which is Job's mention of the resurrection. Accordingly one of the warmest admir, ers of this Differtation owns, (Dr. Grey's preface to the book of Job) that if the hinge of the controversy turns on this, whether or no, consistently with God's justice, good men could be af. flicted in this life, this declaration in the nineteenth chapter ought to have finished the debate.
As to the second point, namely, the high antiquity of the book of Job, it is glaringly inconsistent, we are told, with the third, which afligns the doctrine of the Resurrection, and a future State, to the text in the nineteenth chapter. If this book was older than the law, our Author observes, we may be certain it did not contain any clear and distinct revelation of this doctrine. For why need it have been hid and concealed under types in the Pentateuch, if it had been nakedly and openly exposed in other inspired writings, which were then in the hands of the Jewish people ?
His Lordfhip tells us, (Discourses on Prophecy, p. 140.) that the light and evidence of Prophecy always corresponds to the Itate and condition of the people to whom it is given. But is it easy to conceive, our Author asks, that such very dark and such very clear revelations of a future State, as are recorded in
the Pentateuch, and in the book of Job, should correspond to the state and condition of one and the same people?
We have his Lordship's opinion, (Discourses, &c. p. 56.) that Mofes was not at liberty, in writing the History of the Fall, to introduce the Devil openly, but was obliged to keep him always out of sight; because the Jews were not to know that our first parents had been seduced by the artifice of this evil spirit. On the other side, he assures us, that the book of Job was more ancient than those of Moses; was written in oppofition to the notion of two independent principles, and often describes and represents Satan as the author of the Fall. But why all this caution and reserve in the book of Genesis, says our Author, if the agency of the Devil, in this business, had been previously opened and explained in the book of Job? Or how was it necessary, not to lay possible, to conceal this circumstance in one book, while it was revealed to every body in another?
The third point much insisted on by his Lordship is, that the celebrated text in the nineteenth chapter, relates to the doctrine of the Resurrection and a future State. Now if Job speaks of a Resurrection in the nineteenth chapter, whence comes it, says our Author, that no notice is taken of this doctrine in the remaining part of the book? Job's friends reply to what he had advanced in this chapter. He afterwards resumes the dispute against them, but infifts no more on this supposed topic of a future State. Hence it seems probable, that he did not infist upon it at all. For otherwise he could not havę failed to inculcate and enforce it, when he resumed the debate. Had his friends taken no notice of it, it would have been natural for him to triumph and glory in their filence, and to reproach them with their inability to answer him. If they denied or derided it, it would have been necesary for him to remove their objections, or their scorn, and to expose the emptiness and futility of their cavils. Had there been neither of these occasions, yet a second mention of so decisive an argument had been very natural in a debatę wherein the disputants so often resume their several topics, and leading principles.
In further treating upon this subject, our Author shews, that there are many passages and circumstances in the New Testament, which create a strong prejudice against his Lordship’s interpretation of this text, and that it is directly repugnant to many things advanced in his own Discourses on Prophecy.
In the fourth chapter our Auihor considers his Lordship's account of the particular end and design of the Jewish Law, and endeavours to fhew its inconsistency with the nature of a pre