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preserv'd in the hands of Daniel, Nehemiah , Ezra , Zechariah, and the other Prophets, who were not only of unquestionable Integrity, but wrote themselves by Divine Inspiration.
3. Nothing is more exprefly forbidden in the Books of Moses, than all Fraud and Deceit '■, and it cannot reasonably be suspected, that any Man would be guilty of a Fraud of the highest nature imaginable, to introduce or establish a Law that forbids it. Moses had forewarn'd them against all such Practices, both in his Laws in general, and by an express Prohibition ; Te shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither jhallye diminish ought from it, Deut- iv. 2. And all who had any Regard to the Observation of his Laws, would observe this, as well as other parts of it j for this preserv'd the Authority of all the rest inviolable: And if they had had no Regard to the Law, but had alter'd it as they pleas'd , they would certainly have made such Alterations as would have gratify'd the People, and would have taken great care to leave nothing which might give Offence *, but the Laws of Moses are such, as that without a Divine Authority to enforce them, they would never have been comply'd with, but would have been grievous to a less suspicious and impatient People than the Jews were. If it be said, That the Prohibition against Alterations might be added amongst other things •, there is no ground of Probability for it, but so much odds against it, that a Man might as well suspect that any other Passage in the whole Five Books had been forged, as to pitch upon that particular Verse, and say that it is not genuine. Besides, why should Impostors insert such a Clause as would hinder them from changing any thing in the Law ever after? Why should they not rather reserve to themselves a liberty of changing and adding as often as they thought fit? * 2. As the Laws themselves could not be invented nor alter'd, after Moses's time ; so neither could the i .. Account
Account of the Miracles wrought by him, be inserted after his Death, by any particular Man, nor by any Confederacy or Combination of Men whatsoever. For if the Miracles, by which the Law is supposed to be confirm'd, were afterwards inserted, they must be intended as a Sanction , to give Authority to it, anxj keep the People in awe, when they were become uneafie and disobedient under the Government of those Laws. But it must needs be much more difficult t'O introduce Laws at first , than to govern a People by them , after they have been once introduced, and are fettl'd and receiv'd amongst them. Indeed, it is incredible, how Laws, so little favourable to the Ease or Advantage of a People, which were so expensive and burthensome in their Ceremouies,and which were purposely design'd, in many things, to be contrary to the Customs of all the Natidns round about them, and to the Customs which they had been themselves acquainted with in eÆgypt, in so many Instances, could be a( first introduced, but by Miracle: But if they could have been once introduc'd without Miracles, there is no reason to think, but that when the People were used and accustom'd to them, there would have been no need of any Pretence of Miracles, to keep them in obedience to them; and as little reason there is to ima-. gine that they would have been over-aw'd by a Report of Miracles, which must be suppos'd never to have been heard of, till the People gave occasion for the Invention of them, by their Disobedience.
The Books of Moses were read (as I have shewn )% W the Synagogues, or Religious Assemblies, in the several Tribes, at least every Sabbath-day, and were appointed to be solemnly read, in the audience of all the People, at the Feast of Tabernacles, every Seven Years: and if they had had no Knowledge of the Laws of Moses, but from the Rehearsal of it at the feast of Tabernacles , yet can we conceive, that the Body of the Jewish Nation, should be so stupid and forgetful, as not to
remember when these Miracles must be supposed to be first read to them, that they had never heard them before? But how impossible is it , that they should be thus imposed upon, when they heard the Books of Moses read every Week to them, and had them besides in their own keeping, to read them at their leisure? The Miracles now make up great part of the Books of Moses •, they are every where interspers'd and intermix'd, throughout the History, and they are of such a nature, as is most apt to make Impression upon the Memories of Men: And can we imagine, that Miracles, so often repeated, and every where inculcated, could be inserted by any Contrivance, and imposed upon a People who were all wont to hear the Law publickly read in a solemn Assembly once every Seven Years, and heard it read in their Synagogues besides every Seventh Day? Would they not be infinitely surpriz'd, the first time they heard the Relation of the Plagues inflicted on the Egyptians, of the Judgment upon Korah and his Company, and of the miraculous Punishments which befel the Idolatrous and Disobedient in the Wilderness? Would they not soon have found out so obvious a Deceit, as this must have been, if it had been one? If we can think that such Insertions could pass without discovery; why may we not as well believe too, that as many more might be made now, and not be discover'd? Would not the whole Body of the People have been able to testify that all this was counterfeited, and inserted into the Law \ for no such thing was read to them in. their Synagogues upon the Sabbaths-, nor had been reatf at the end of the last Seven Years, but it was all nowadded to terrify them, and keep them from following the Customs of other Nations? Would not this have been the worst Contrivance that could have been thought of, to keep a People in awe, to tell them of such things as every Man of them could disprove, that was of Age, and had but Understanding and Memory
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enough to know what he had heard so often read before, and to distinguish it from such things as are so remarkable, that they could hardly escape any one's Memory, who had ever heard of them?
They had Books of the Law for their private reading; and besides the reading of it in their Weekly Assemblies, they had a solemn Publication and Proclamation of their Law once every Seven Years, as it were purposely to prevent any Design of falsifying it: And to have read any thing so remarkable, as the Miracles of Moses are, in all their circumstances, so often repeated and insisted upon, if the People had not found them in their own Books, and had not been used to hear them read to them, from the time of the giving the Law by Moses, had been only for the Projectors to proclaim themselves Impostors, but could never have deceived any Man.
And besides the care that was taken for the Preservation of the Books of the Law, there were publick Memorials of the principal Miracles enjoined j such was the Feast of the Passover, in remembrance of the Angel's passing over the Israelites, when he slew the First-born of the nÆgyftians; and the Feast of Tabernacles, in remembrance of their dwelling in Tents in the Wilderness; such was the confession and commemoration of those that offered the First-fruits, setting forth the Mercies of God, in bringing them out of the Land ofaÆgypt with a mighty hand, and with an out-stretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders, Deut. xxvi. 8. and such were the Brazen Serpent, the Ar\, and the Tabernacle: These were things seen and observed, or known by all; and they could not be introduced after Moses's time, because there could be no pretence for it; since they who introduced them, must suppose them to have been before, at the very time when they designed first to introduce them. The Vrim and Thammim was both a constant Miracle, and a constant Attesta
tion to the Law, by which it was ordained. And it appears, that the Priests who were to examine and judge of Leprosie either in Persons or Things , were secured from the Infection of ft, though it were infectious to all others: And their constant Service could not be performed without a k miraculous Dispensation.
Thus it is evident, That there is all the Proof which it is possible to bring in any cafe of this nature, that the Books of Moses could not be falsified by any Man, or Party of Men whatsoeverj since the Nature and Institution of the Law it self did effectually provide against all Impostures; and the Jews had all the assurance that it is possible for any People to have, that the Books of Moses are the fame which he wrote and left behind him. And this inspired them with such a zeal for their Law, as to sacrifice their Lives in vindication of it; whereas there was no Book what-* soever^ as Josepbut observes, amongst the Heathens* which any Man amongst them would not rather a thousand times see destroyed, though it were in never so much esteem with them, than he would suffer for it: Which shews, that the Jews were fully convinced of the Divine Authority of their Law; from all the Evidence above-mentioned ; and were persuaded, that it is the fame which Moses delivered, and left behind him.
3. The Pentateuch could not be invented nor falsified by the joint Consent of the whole Nation, either in Moses's time, or after it. For how is it possible that such a thing should have been concealed from all other Nations? and, that a whole Nation should know of the Imposture, and no Man ever discover it, nor no Apostate ever divulge it, but they and their Posterity should always profess, that they believed the Law to be revealed to Moses by God himself, just
k Vid. Lightfoofs Prospect of the Temple, c. 34. p. 2030.