Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

exposed this very specific folly which our Doctor has run into, of arguing against his 'senses, in making the Bispensation of Providence under the Asosaic 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:—“Shall “we then hereupon ARGUE Eves AGAINST ou R ow.N “ExPERIENce AND KNow LEDGE: Shall we seek to “ persuade men that, of necessity, it is with us as it “was with them, that because God is ours, in an * 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 3 or if the “same do not continue, that yet it must be, at the “least, supplicd by some such means as pleaseth us to “ account of equal foree? 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 more 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, but 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.io. 92 -- - - , ... ? 1 - . . . “ true “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 eartraordinary Providence; of which it occht THEREFor E. To BE PRESUMED that Moses had both the assurance and caperience: 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 Evi DENCE 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. Warburton 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: - t . . . . ;

1. This hint would serve the Mufti full as well, to prove the Divine Legation of Muhomet: for thus we may suppose he would argue:—“Mahonet'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 ertraordinary providence, of which it ought THEREFoRE To BE PRESUMED, that Mahomet had * . . . . * * - * * both

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

hoth the assurance and erperience; otherwise he would #ave crgaged in a very mad undertaking, and the people would have been as 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 crposed 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 Moscs to be a true one; and the Legation of Mahonet, an inposture.—ltisum teneatis, Amicil But there is another reason why I can make nothing of this gracious hint. It is because, I proposed to rhov E (and not, as he says I ought to have done, to Parsu ME upon) the Divinity of Moses's mission, by 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, he only shews his ignorance of what is meant by an INTERNA i. A RG UMEN r. An internal argument is such a one as takes for its medium some notorious Fact, or circumstance, in the frame and constitution of a Religion, not in context ; and from thence, by necessary consequence, deduces the truth of a fact supported by testimony which is in contest. Thus, from the motorious Fact of the omission of a future State in Moses's institution of Law and Religion, I deduce his Divine Legation. . . . . . . . But the learned Artist hitnself sceins conscious that the ware he would put into my hands is indeed no better that a counterfeit piece of trampery; and so far from being an internal argument, that it is no argument at all: For he tells us, Fr ought The RErook to BE PRF.sv MoD, that Moses had both the " . 5 (1.SSoll's! Plce

[ocr errors]

assurance and experience that God governed the Ha

raelites by an extraordinary Providence. But what follows is such unaccountable jargon —For supposing the Israelites did believe a future State, what would this belief effect 2 It might carry them to Heaven, but it could not put them in possession of the *and of Canaan. This looks as if the learned Doctor had supposed that, from the truth of this assertion, That no civil Society under a common Providence could subsist without a future state, I had inferred, that, with 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: and I urged it thus;–“ Had not the Jews been under an evtraordinary 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 Mahomet's; who, in the same circumstances of making conquests, and seeking 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 rapidity of their successes as the enthusiasm which that Doctrine inspired. And yet, to be sure, the Doctor never said a livelier thing, who is celebrated for saying many, than when he asked,—JWhat could this belig effect 8 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 ---> yet yet was abundantly sufficient, under such a leader as Moses, to put them in possession of the land of Camaan. 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 who knows, but when he gave the early Jews the knowledge of a future state, he gave them the Christianfaith into the bargain :

- ... S E C.T. V. THUS we sce that an Extraordis Aity Prov IDENCE w As THE NECEssa RY consequ ENCE of A threocracy; aud that this Providence is representČd in Scripture to have been really administered. Tio M port A1, REwARDs AND PUN 1sh MENTs, otherefore, (the effects of this providence) and not future, 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 ProPIE 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", that I know of, ever pretending that the doctrine of a future state was to be found in the Law. 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

« AnteriorContinuar »