Imágenes de páginas

addreffes himself to defend the common fyftem, or to attack that of the Divine Legation, he then finds himself obliged to abandon the Scripture doctrine, even as it had been interpreted by himself. Thus he directly oppofes Dr. Warburton's interpretation in his fixth Sermon, tho' he as directly afferts it in his third, and in his Difcourfes on Prophecy. Our Author leaves it to others to ballance and determine the moment of his Lordship's arguments alledged on either fide; and proceeds to offer fome obfervations on this mystery of the Gospel; he concludes the chapter with an examination of fome objections which have been urged againft the principles he defends.

The fecond chapter contains remarks on the Bishop of London's defence of the ancient prophecies, with fome observations on what has been lately advanced by Dr. Middleton, and Dr. Sykes, on the fubject of types and fecondary prophecies. Having in the firft chapter endeavoured to prove that the common fyftem, which makes Redemption and a future State a popular doctrine amongst the ancient Jews, is confuted by the plain and exprefs authority of the New Testament, our Author now attempts to fhew, that this notion will difable us from defending the Old, or giving a fatisfactory answer to the objections which unbelievers bring against the ancient Prophecies. The futility of the common fyftem, he thinks, cannot be better or more effectually expofed, than by fhewing to what great and inexplicable difficulties it reduced the Bishop of London, in his defence of types and fecondary Prophecies, against Mr. Collins; and it may be the more feafonable to review this debate, we are told, fince Lord Bolingbroke feems fo well fatified in his ridicule of thefe modes of information, which he confiders only as fo many convict impertinences and whims, unworthy the attention of a rational and thinking man. Now as his Lordship has not condefcended to reafon on the fubject, or to fpecify and point out his particular objections, we can, at beft, but conjecture what they might be ; and as he was not famous for ftriking out any new lights of his own, it may reasonably be prefumed, our Author imagines that Mr. Collins was his oracle on this occafion as well as on others; and that he looked upon the arguments, advanced in the Grounds and Reafons, against Types and fecondary Prophecies, as fo many unanfwerable truths.

Thefe arguments fuppofe, firft, that the modes of information are neither reasonable, juft, nor proper, as not agreeable to the rules of fair Criticism and found Logic; fecondly, had they been properly and ftrictly logical, yet they would not have been made ufe of in a revealed Religion, because fuch a


one can have nothing to hide from those to whom it is delivered. In answer to this his Lordship of London undertakes to fhew, (fee his Difcourfes on Prophecy, p. 145, fourth edition) that we may naturally and reasonably expect to find types and figures in the Old Testament. It was his bufinefs then, as our Author justly obferves, to prove that they were properly and ftrictly logical, and not the product of a warm and heated imagination, but founded on real and folid principles of reafon. Now, as he has not attempted to do this, he leaves the first objection of his adverfary unanswered, and even untouched. To affume the logical fitnefs and propriety of thefe modes of information in a difpute with the author of the Grounds and Reafons, is plainly begging the queftion, which the rules of difputation required thould be proved. To tell the Infidel, that they are really found in the Old Testament, unless you have previoufly cleared and rescued them from the charge of being unfcholaftic, groundless, and abfurd, would be furnishing him only with an occafion of triumph.

It is then a great, and even fundamental, defect in his Lordfhip's reafoning, our Author observes, that he did not previously explain and vindicate the logical fitness and propriety of thefe figures. A fecond defect is, that his reasoning does not come up to the point which he undertakes to prove. He is to prove, that in the Old Teftament we may reasonably look for types, or that particular mode and species of Prophecy, diftinguifhed by this appellation. All he performs, is, that the law muft have fome fort of reference and relation to the Gospel, it must predict it in fome manner or other. But to what purpofe is it to fhew, that we may reasonably look for prophecy in general, or fome kind of prophecy in the Old Testament, when the question relates to that particular fpecies, and precife mode of prophecy, which we call typical? His Lordfhip therefore profeffes one thing, and proves another. He afferts the reasonableness and propriety of types in particular, but labours only to fhew the reasonableness and propriety of prophecy in general.

Nay, had he evinced the logical fitnefs and propriety of types, his argument had been still infufficient, fince he was to prove, that this particular and precife mode of prophecy might reasonably be looked for in the Old Teftament, as being well adapted to the nature and genius of the Jewish religion. Now he has not only failed to fupport the affirmative, but has laid down fuch principles as would naturally lead one to affert the negative, or to maintain that types are contrary and foreign to the nature and genius of the Jewish religion, and confequently


are not to be expected in the Old Teftament. His Lordship supposes, and it is allowed on all hands, that the fpiritual bleffings promised in the Gofpel, were the fubject of the ancient types. He fuppofes alfo, that the Jewish religion was to predict and difplay these bleffings clearly and openly, for the prefent information of the Jewish church. Now if the nature and genius of the law required this open and immediate inftruction, what occafion was there for fo dark and obfcure a medium of conveyance as that of Types?

Since his Lordship is forced to acknowlege, that even the metaphorical and figurative sense of the ancient prophecies was ufed for a veil or cover, much rather should he have feen, that the typical and fecondary fenfe was intended for this purpose. If, therefore, he will contend that types and fecondary prophecies are properly connected with, and neceflarily flow from, the nature and genius of the Jewish religion, he muft, in consequence, reverse his other principle, and fay, that this religion was not given to reveal, but to hide, the fpiritual bleffings of the Gospel Difpenfation. This feems to our Author to be the only idea of the Jewith religion, which can fupport us in making it the proper refidence and feat of Types and fecondary prophecies. We muft, therefore, according to him, either exclude thefe figures, or admit them under fuch an idea of the Jewish religion, as is entirely fubverfive of the common fyftem.

Having confidered his Lordship's defence of typical prophecies, and fuch as have a double meaning, our Author goes on to examine what he fays in relation to those prophecies which represent the Gospel bleffings under temporal and carnal images, and those which relate to the temporal affairs of the Jewish people; and the refult of the whole feems to him to be this, that nothing but an uniform adherence to the principles of the Divine Legation can fecure the Bishop's reafoning from the attacks of infidelity, and nothing but an uniform rejection of them can fecure it from the attacks upon itself, that is, make it perfectly confiftent. Before he concludes the chapter, he makes fome obfervations upon what Dr. Sykes and Dr. Middleton have advanced against Types and secondary Prophecies.

The third chapter contains fome reflections on the Bifhop of London's fecond. Differtation, or his explanation and account of the book of Joв. And here our Author endeavours to fhew, that a fcrupulous adherence to the common fyftem concerning the nature of the two Difpenfations, has betrayed his Lordship into much confufion and perplexity. In

this fecond Differtation his Lordship undertakes to make good three things, 1. That the argument between Job and his friends turns upon this point, Whether the afflictions of this world are certain marks of God's difpleafure, and an indication of the wickedness of those who juffer? 2. That the book is of very high antiquity, and was written long before the time of Mofes. 3. That the celebrated paffage (I know that my Redeemer liveth, &c.) in the nineteenth chapter, relates to the refurrection. Now our Author obferves, that there seems to be no natural connection between the three points here maintained. On the contrary,' fays he, the first is a direct contradiction to the third, and even to the fecond, upon the • principles of the common fyftem. And, fo circumstanced, the fecond is plainly inconfiftent with the third, as well as the first. Confequently, we cannot admit the third, without rejecting the first and fecond.'

The firft point is, that the argument between Job and his friends turns upon this question, whether the afflictions, &c. Job's friends maintain the affirmative, and he afferts the negative. But if this were the point in difpute, our Author fays, all the difficulties and perplexities, in which we find them entangled and involved, would be perfectly cleared up by the third of his Lordship's articles, which is Job's mention of the refurrection. Accordingly one of the warmest admir. ers of this Differtation owns, (Dr. Grey's preface to the book of Job) that if the hinge of the controverfy turns on this, whether or no, confiftently with God's justice, good men could be afflicted in this life, this declaration in the nineteenth chapter ought to have finifhed the debate.

As to the fecond point, namely, the high antiquity of the book of Job, it is glaringly inconfiftent, we are told, with the third, which affigns the doctrine of the Refurrection, and a future State, to the text in the nineteenth chapter. If this book was older than the law, our Author obferves, we may be certain it did not contain any clear and diftinct revelation of this doctrine. For why need it have been hid and concealed under types in the Pentateuch, if it had been nakedly and openly expofed in other infpired writings, which were then in the hands of the Jewish people?

His Lordfhip tells us, (Difcourfes on Prophecy, p. 140.) that the light and evidence of Prophecy always correfponds to the ftate and condition of the people to whom it is given. But is it eafy to conceive, our Author afks, that such very dark and fuch very clear revelations of a future State, as are recorded in


the Pentateuch, and in the book of Job, fhould correspond to the state and condition of one and the fame people?

We have his Lordship's opinion, (Difcourfes, &c. p. 56.) that Mofes was not at liberty, in writing the Hiftory of the Fall, to introduce the Devil openly, but was obliged to keep him always out of fight; because the Jews were not to know that our first parents had been feduced by the artifice of this evil fpirit. On the other fide, he affures us, that the book of Job was more ancient than thofe of Mofes; was written in oppofition to the notion of two independent principles, and often describes and represents Satan as the author of the Fall. But why all this caution and reserve in the book of Genefis, fays our Author, if the agency of the Devil, in this business, had been previously opened and explained in the book of Job? Or how was it neceffary, not to fay poffible, to conceal this circumstance in one book, while it was revealed to every body in another?

The third point much infifted on by his Lordfhip is, that the celebrated text in the nineteenth chapter, relates to the doctrine of the Resurrection and a future State. Now if Job fpeaks of a Refurrection in the nineteenth chapter, whence comes it, fays our Author, that no notice is taken of this doctrine in the remaining part of the book? Job's friends reply to what he had advanced in this chapter. He afterwards refumes the difpute against them, but infifts no more on this fupposed topic of a futurs State. Hence it seems probable, that he did not infift upon it at all. For otherwife he could not have failed to inculcate and enforce it, when he resumed the debate. Had his friends taken no notice of it, it would have been natural for him to triumph and glory in their filence, and to reproach them with their inability to answer him. If they denied or derided it, it would have been necessary for him to remove their objections, or their fcorn, and to expofe the emptinefs and futility of their cavils. Had there been neither of thefe occafions, yet a fecond mention of fo decifive an argument had been very natural in a debate wherein the difputants fo often refume their feveral topics, and leading principles.

In further treating upon this fubject, our Author fhews, that there are many paffages and circumftances in the New Teftament, which create a strong prejudice against his Lordship's interpretation of this text, and that it is directly repugnant to many things advanced in his own Difcourfes on Prophecy.

In the fourth chapter our Author confiders his Lordship's account of the particular end and defign of the Jewish Law, and endeavours to fhew its inconfiftency with the nature of a pre


« AnteriorContinuar »