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liberty, to remind them in that connexion of their obligations to Jehovah their Redeemer from Egyptian bondage, and of the humanity due to their bond servants : for this constituted another important reason for hallowing the sabbath. Distinct motives are not necessarily inconsistent. Mr. P., in writing his several pamphlets, might both aim to free mankind from vulgar prejudices, and to obtain celebrity for himself; and he might deem it proper on some occasions to insist on the one motive, and in different circumstances to bring forward the other, without being justly chargeable with inconsistency or self-contradiction.
Mr. P. cannot suppose any Christian believes that Moses wrote the account of his own death and burial; and, if he thinks that none have attempted to account for the circumstance of these events being recorded in the last chapter of Deuteronomy, his information must be
very defective! Almost
any of those expositors against whom he declaims, though he certainly never consulted them, would have shewn him that he has made no new discoveries, and that the difficulty is far from insuperable.-Perhaps Joshua or Eleazar added this chapter, or it was taken from the authentic records of the nation at a later period; when the words, “ No man knoweth his sepulchre to this “ day," were evidently subjoined. The preceding history plainly implies that Moses should die ;? and the concluding chapter. records the accomplishment of these intimations. “ Moscs died “ there in the land of Moab, according to the
Numb. xxvii. 13. Deut. iv. 21, 22. xxxi. 14. 16. 27. xxxii. 50. “ word of the Lord, and he buried him.”! Mr. P. cannot find the antecedent to he in this passage!
-If it be asked, how it was known that the Lord buried Moses ? I answer, by immediate revelation; and a good reason may be assigned why he should thus be buried : namely, lest the Israelites should idolize his relics, as they did the brazen serpent, 2 or as papists do the bones of the saints.
II. We now proceed to consider objections of another nature, and far more important; as being intended to prove the books of Moses in all respects unworthy of God.
Mr. P.3 finds great fault with the history of the creation. . ' It begins abruptly: it is nobody that speaks ; it is nobody that hears; it is addressed to nobody; it has neither first, nor second, nor third person.' Is there either argument or common sense in this? The sacred historian begins his narrative much as other historians do, only without any exordium; and then he introduces the Creator, addressing with majestic authority, the unformed chaos, which promptly obeys his omnipotent commands: “Let there be light, and there “ was light,” And in what does this differ from the manner of other writers, except in simplicity and sublimity ? For even infidels of taste will doubtless coincide with the pagan Longinus, in admiring the history of the creation as inimitably beautiful, after all Mr. P.'s endeavours to ridicule it: and we need but compare it with the whimsical absurdities of the other world-makers' whom he mentions, to
Deut. xxxiv, 5, 6,
* 2 Kings xviii. 4,
* P. i. p. 15.
learn the difference between man's vain imaginations and the sure testimony of God.
Mr. P. attempts to burlesque the history of the fall, in subserviency to his grand design. Let the serious reader however determine, whether the sacred writers borrowed their doctrine concerning the devil and his angels from pagan mythology; or whether these fables were distorted traditions concerning the fall of angels, decorated by the ingenuity of the poets.—The notion of Satan warring against the Almighty, who defeated him, is grounded on a passage in the Revelation of St. John ; 2 which may refer to the fall of angels, and the opposition of fallen angels to the kingdom of Christ; but which directly predicts other events. -No doubt the Apocalypse was written long after the fables of Jupiter and the giants, of Jupiter's casting Vulcan out of heaven, and of Pluto's reigning in Tartarus, were invented; but the doctrine of fallen angels was published in the Old Testament, many centuries before the date of these fables, and in all probability was known by tradition from the beginning.-It is however certain that ' the Christians’ did not let Satan out of the pit, to 'introduce him into Eden,' unless Genesis was forged after the book of revelation was extant; and unless the Jews first received the Old Testament from the Christians, whom they despised and execrated.
The doctrine of scripture on this subject must here be stated.—God created multitudes of angels, and endued them with noble powers and faculties :
'P. i. p. 10. 17. 46. P. ii. 14.
Rev. xii. 7, 8.
but, as they were moral and accountable agents some of them revolted from their Creator, incurred his displeasure, lost the divine image of holiness, became malignant and desperate, and, as determined enemies, employed all their abilities in attempting to counteract his plans and to ruin his other creatures. Though “cast down to hell, and “bound in chains of darkness to the judgment of “ the great day,” so that it is impossible for them to escape eternal condemnation ; yet they are permitted, under certain limitations, for a season to shew their power and malice ; as wicked men practise and prosper for a time. Being united in one kingdom, under Satan or the Devil, every thing they do is frequently attributed to their leader ; as generals are said to do those things which they perform by the troops under their command : so that omnipotence or omnipresence is no more ascribed personally to the devil, than to Alexander or Cæsar. It is therefore á direct slander to affirm that. Christian divines give him a power
equally great, or even greater, than they ascribe 'to the Almighty.' The sacred writers never represent Satan as 'defeating the power and wisdom * of God;' but as permitted to try and prevail against our first parents, to tempt their posterity, and to maintain his influence over wicked men, his willing servants ; and even this will be overruled to the brighter display of the Lord's glory, the greater advantage of all his faithful servants, and the deeper confusion of Satan and his adherents.
The Lord created the parents of our race “ in “ his own image:” but, though perfectly holy, they were not unchangeable ; for immutability is an incommunicable divine perfection. As a test of their obedience, they were forbidden to eat of the fruit of one tree, and warned that in the day they ate of it they should surely die. The tempter, however, concealing himself in the serpent, which is represented to have been a most beautiful and sagacious animal before this transaction, prevailed by his insinuations on Eve, and by her on Adam, presumptuously to violate this single easy restriction. Immediately they both became mortal, and their future lives resembled a lingering execution. Their spiritual life, or the holy image of God, and capacity for happiness in his service and favour, was also extinct: and they became prone to sin, like the tempter to whom they had listened. And, as they were created with immortal souls, the guilt they had contracted, with the crimes which they would be continually adding, must have ensured their final misery, had not mercy been vouchsafed through the promised Seed of the
Nothing is easier than ridicule, to a man of a lively imagination who is not restrained by any regard to piety, equity, or decorum. This transaction may be called, a tete-a-tete between the 'serpent and the woman ;' 'the woman, in her ‘ longing, eating an apple ;''the snake persuading her to eat an apple ;' and the eating of that apple damning all mankind.' But what is there in all this, except profaneness? Might not the Creator require some test of obedience and gratitude from his favoured creature, and some condition of further blessings ? Could any thing be more easy than this single instance of self-denial among a