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THE . Reasonableness and Certainty
Of T ri E
FROM what has'been already discoursed, it appears, that these things are requisite in a Divine Revelation: I. Antiquity. II. Promulgation. III. A sufficient Evidence, by Prophecies and Miracles, in Proof of its Authority. IV. The Doctrines delivered by Divine Revelation must be Righteous and Holy, consistent with the Divine Attributes, and sutable to their Condition to whom it i9 made, and every way such as may answer the Design of a Revelation. :" .. % ;\ . v>\
. ",'-.;A..-. C H A;p.
;|f;'_''!'r7?>f Antiojinty of the Scriptures. >^~SJ3t^
AS it is evident from the Divine Attributes, that God would n&tTo wholly neglect Mankind as to take n.o.^re.to .discover and reveal bis Will and Commandments to the World i To, when there was
so great a necessity of Divine Revelation, in order tothe Happiness of Mankind, both in this World and the next, it is not to be believed that he would defer it so long, before he made known his Will, as till the date of the first Antiquities amongst the Heathen. It xannot be denied, that some Books of the Scripture are much the aacientest Books of Religion in the World-, for it were in vain to pretend that the Works in this kind (or indeed in any other) of any Heathen Author can be compared with the Pentateuchy for Antiquity. And the Antiquity of these Books is one considerable circumstance, whereby we may be convinced that they are of Divine Revelation. For if God would not suffer the World to continue long in a state of Ignorance and Wickedness without a Revelation, we may conclude, that he would not suffer the Memory of it to be lost \ and therefore a Book of this nature, which is so much the ancientest in the World, being constantly received as a Divine Revelation, carries great Evidence with it that it is Authentick. For the first Revelation, as hath^been proved, is to be the Criterion of all that follow •, and God would not suffer the ancientest Book of Religion in the World to pass all along under the Notion and Title of a Revelation^ without caufing some Discovery to be made of the Imposture* if there were any in it •, much less would he preserve it by a particular and signal Providence, for so many Ages. It is a great Argument for the Truth of the Scriptures, that they have stood the Test , and received the Approbation of so many Ages, and still retain their Authority, though so many ill Men , in all Ages, have made it their endeavour to disprove them: but it is still a farther Evidence in behalf of them, thatGacThas been pleased to mew so remarkable a Providence in; their preservation.
The Account we have of Divine Revelation, in the Writings of Moses, is from the Creation of the World 5
for he relates the Intercourse which from the Beginning past between God and Man, and this might be deliver'd down either by Writing or by Tradition, till Moses % time. For Methuselah living with Adam-,, and Shem with Methuselah, IJaac with Shem, and Amram the Father of Moses living with the Patriarchs, the Sons of Jacobs the History of the Creation, and of the Manifestations which God had been pleas'd to make of himself to their Fore-fathers, could riot be unknown to that Age: such a Posterity could not but be zealous to preserve the Memory of so great Honours and Blessings; and their living in Gojhen, separate from the *Aigyptians, did much contribute to the Preservation of their Antiquities; for there they liv'd in expectation of a Deliverance, and of seeing the Prophecies fulfiird that were made to their Fore-fathers concerning it. The famous Prediction made to Abra-r ham, Gen. xv. 13. could not be forgotten in so few . Generations: for the coming out of *Ægy}t, was, as it was there foretold it should be, in the Fourth Generation, reckoning from Isaac, the first of the promis'd Seed, to Moses, exclusively, Exod.vi. 16.
Moses seems to refer to some things that happen'd near the Beginning of the World, as well known in his own time, as Gen. iv. 22. where he fays, the sister of Tubal-Cain was Naamah: For no probable account can be given, why Naamah should be mention'd, but because her Name was then well known among the Israelites., for some reason which it doth not concern us to be acquainted with, but which serv'd to confirm to them the rest of the Relation. Some have deliver'd, that Naamah, by her Beauty, entic'd the Sons of God, or the Posterity of Seth, to commit Idolatry, Gen. vi. 2. And so Gen. xi. 29. we read, that Haran was the Father of Iscah, as well as of Mikah; and Gen. xxxvi. 24. this was, that Anah that found the Mules (or the Hot-Baths, or that fell
D 3 upon upon the Emims, or Giants, mention'd Deut. ii. 10, 11. however the word be understood ) in the wilderness, as he fed the Ajfes of Zibeon his father. In the Catalogue of the Kings of Edom, none of their Wives are mention'd, but the Wife of Hadar, and we are told, that her Name was Mahetabel, and that Ihe was the Daughter of Matred, the Daughter of Merahab , Gen. xxxvi. 39. Why such Particularity, but because these Names were then famous? These, and such like Particulars, must have been preserv'dj and commonly known among the Israelites, and were therefore inserted to serve as Epochal-, and Notes of Remembrance, for the better understanding the rest of the History. . The Story and manner of Life of Nimrod was convey'd in a Proverbs Wherefore it is said. Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord., Gen. x. 9. And the Remembrance of Abraham1?, offering up his Son, was retain'd both by the Name of the Place, and by a Proverbial Saying5, And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah- jireh: as it is said to this day-, In the mount of the Lord it frail be seen, Gen. xxii. 14. And there is no doubt to be made, but that there were other the like Remembrances of the most remarkable Transactions. Reasons are asfignM of the Names of Adam and' Eve,'of Cain and Seth and Noah, of Melchifedek, of Abraham and Sarah, and Isaac and Jacob. The Names of ajl the Patriarchs imported something remarkable in their Signification, and were design'd to preserve the Remembrance of what had come to pass. The Names of Places likewise were appointed for Memorials, Gen. xix. 22. xxviii. 19. xXxi- 49. xxxii- 30. And the Sepulchres of the E)ead were historical Monuments for the Information of 'Posterity. Abraham purchas'd Maepelah for a Burying-place, and when Jacob bury'd Rachel near JB'ethlehem, he erected a Pilfar to her Memory, Gen. xkiij. i7;-xxxv- 20. It may berhaps seem strange
to some Readers, that the Digging of Wells should be particularly taken notice of, and that the Naijnes given them should be so carefully recorded by Moses, Genes, xvi. 14. xxi. 31. xxiv. 62. xxv. nl xxvi. 20, 21, 33. But as Wells in those Countries were more rare, and or more necessary use and benefit, than in colder and moister Climates j so they serv'd as so many Memorials to Posterity, of what had befallen their Forefathers, and the Names of them stand register'd by Moses, in Confirmation of the Truth of what he wrote. But the Flood being the greatest Epocha of Time, the History of this is above all defiver'd with most Exactness: the Dimensions of the Ark , the Height of the Waters, and not only the Year, but the Month and Day, when the Waters were brought upon the Earth, and when it became dry, are punctually set down, Gen. vi. 15. vii. 11,20. viii. 13, 14.
Jofephus has prov'd, that Authors of all Nations agree, that in ancient Times Men liv'd to the Age • of about a Thousand Years \ and some are known to have liv'd to a very great Age in latter Times. But however, it had been more serviceable to Moses % purpose, if he had had any other Design but Truth, that Men should not have been so long-Jiv'd, For when he had so much scope for his Invention, (if it had been an Invention of his own): he would never have fix'd the Creation of the World at the Distance of so few Generations from the time in which he wrote, but would rather have made the Generations Of Men more, and their Lives shorter, that so he might the better have conceal'd his Fictions in obseure and uncertain Relations, which must besuppos'd tp be deliver'd through so many hands down to that Age. Of the Ten Patriarchs before the Flood , all but Noah liv'd soon enough to see Adam and the other Patriarchs their Progenitors ■■, ar.d Noah himself was old enough to know all of them, but Adam,Seth,
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