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not under the suspicion or imputation of ambition and interestedness. His family was excluded from the honours of the state; his pre-eminence was a most painful one. In these writings the Jews saw the meanness of their origin, the unbelief, the rebellions, the apostasies of their forefathers, recorded. Whether is it most absurd, to charge the Jews with credulity, or Moses with imposture, the one in receiving, the other in forging the Pentateuch?
The discovering and proposing of the glories of the divine nature accord not with the character of artifice and imposition: the strictest laws against falsehood are not to be expected from one who lives in the constant and most abominable violation of them.
To those who may imagine political sagacity might draw up the Jewish law, it is natural to observe, that legistation has always been found a very difficult matter, and that the wisest laws have been always changing: but this system was completed at once. This remarkable circumstance is not the only one by which it is distinguished from other laws: it is founded on the history of the nation, the Egyptian bondage, the journeying through the wilderness: the interpositions of God, their successes, their defeats, their national honours and disgraces, as connected with their obedience or disobedience to the laws of God, and the words of his prophets. It contains in embryo, so to speak, a more glorious law. Could it have "entered into the ** heart of man" to contrive a law introductory to the Gospel?
"we shall only add to these remarks concerning the author of the Pentateuch, that, by his education in the most learned court of the world, by his early sufferings, and his great love of his nation, he was well qualified to be the historian, the judge, and the leader of the people.
After mentioning such strong presumptions, or rather evidences, of the divine original of the law, we are prepared to believe it will be safely transmitted to us. If this work is of God, it cannot fail: whatever is said is true: whatever is promised mail bt accomplished.
And have not we already seen, that sufficient provision was made for safely transmitting the sacred books from age to age, in the peculiar rites of the law, and particularly in its various memorials, in which the history of the nation, and the covenant with their fathers, were preserved; and in their separation from the rest of the world? to which we must add, the fulfilling of the promises, and of the threatenings of the law.
In the history of the judges and kings of Israel, which imposition could have no end in framing, and national pride could have no temptation in receiving, we find the promises and threatenings of the law fulfilled. Prosperity and obedience, adversity and departing from the law, were inseparably connected ; though the observation of the Jewish festivals, and the disuse of the ordinary military defence of nations, would have ruined them, humanly speaking, in a very little time. When, contrary to the law, they sought their safety in chariots and horses, and forbidden alliances; defeat, disgrace, and captivity, marked the divine displeasure; rebuked and ehastised by his providence,
they they confessed their sins, and returned to the Lord.
But the jews communicate to the world a system of prophecies also: a series of prophecies is interwoven in their law, and m their history; prophecies which connect for J mer and future times, which refer to tha origin, and law, and state of the nation, while they unfold future events, sometimes near at hand, sometimes more distant; the completion of the first confirming the people's faith, and raising their expectations, respecting what were to be fulfilled in remoter periods.
If the times of the prophecies are considered, we. shall find they were uttered so frequently, and so regularly, as at once, to preserve the memory of former things to which they referred; to prevent the neglect and abuse of the instituted worship, evils they inveighed against; and to raise their expectations for greater blessings in the coming dispensation.
That the Jews mould receive as true, P and
and regard with veneration, the histories of the Old Testament, cannot be explained but by their full conviction of their truth; but their respect and veneration for the prophets, who so fully exposed their vices, and so boldly denounced the judgements of God against them, is still more unaccountable upon any ether fupj^pfition.
Bur, it may be said, the fulfilling of the' prophecies, and particularly the dispersions and captivities that were threatened and inflicted, though they might serve to confirm, the faith of the Jews in the truth of their law and prophecies, seem unfavourable to the preservation of the Scriptures: Were they not, it may be aslced, in danger of being lost and destroyed by these very circumstances?
In the answer of this question, admire the wisdom of God, and acknowledge the safe - transmission of the sacred Scriptures. For the following events contributed to prevent this evil: The prophecies immediately before, and after, the Babylonish captivity ; the reformations of Ezra and Nehemiah; the Samaritan schism; the Samaritan Pentateuch;