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A P P E N D I X
THE FIRST EDITION
HE substance of the preceding Discourse being
other than a single Chapter of a Treatise which I have now by me, and which, therefore, I had oft occasion to refer to as I went along, I thought it not amiss, for these reasons (not to mentior others), to give the Reader some short account of a work that may, I hope, on its appearance, engage his further attention.
It is intitled, The Divine Legation of Moses Demonstrated (on the Principles of a Religious Theist), from the Omission of the Doctrine of a Future State in the Jewish Dispensation. For having chalked out a plan for a defence of revealed religion against Deists, Jews, and Mahometans, which we are desirous of raising as a lasting monument to the glory of the Christian name, we were not reduced to that poverty of invention, or ignorance in design, to frame it of old or already-formed materials. Such second-hand labours are only worthy the adversaries of our holy faith; whose cause relying on the strength of half a dozen plausible sophisins, their business is to cook them up in different disguises, just as the palate
* See the Discourse prefixed to this Edition of the Author's Works, Vol. I. p. 16,
of the times, or the fantastic appetite of their followers, give them opportunity or invitation.
But Truth, which is eternal, and whose relations are infinite, affords unexhausted inatter for defence and illustration. The views in which she may be placed are numberless; and attentive contemplation flashes conviction on every view.
This, if heaven give me life and health, I hope to execute. In the mean time, this Defence of Moses was composed as a specimen of what can be performed, in the new road I purpose to take, for a complete defence of Revelation.
1. Why I chose to make the Defence of Moses the subject of my specimen, was, Because we have of late seen several Writers, who profess to believe the Christian Religion, treat Moses and his dispensation so cavalierly that one would suspect they thought the abandoning him could have no consequences destructive of Christianity. And those who profess to think more soberly, are generally gone into an opinion, that the truth of the Jewish religion is impossible to be proved but upon the foundation of the Christian. . An opinion, that had been long peculiar to the Socinians: Who go so far as to maintain *, That the knowledge of the Old Testament is not absolutely neces
ary for Christians.-As to the first sort of people, if they really imagine Christianity hath no dependence on Judaism, I have nothing further to say to them here. But if, as is most reasonable to think, they only affect this air of indifference when pressed with difficulties too weighty to remove, this Demonstration may not come unseasonably to their relief. As for the other, I shall, I am persuaded, merit their thanks,
Cuper advers. Trad. Theologico-polit. 1, i.
if I succeed in freeing their reasonings from a vicious circle; that first, prove the Christian by the Jewish; and then, the Jewish by the Christian Religion.
2. Why I chose this medium, namely, the omission of a future state in the Jewish Dispensation (before several others of equal strength, which I had in my choice), to prove its divine original, was, 1. Because I should be, thereby, enabled to shew, to the confusion of infidelity, that this very circumstance of omission, which those men esteem such an imperfection as makes the dispensation unworthy the author to whom we ascribe it, is, in truth, a demonstrative proof of the divinity of its original. Whereby it will be found, that several passages of Scripture, which they charge with obscurity, injustice, and contradiction, are, indeed, full of light, equity, and concord. 2. Because this inedium affords us an internal
argument for revelation. Which a late able writer denies can be found for its support. Strictly speaking, says he, there can be no internal evidence of a revelation * Now this being a sort of evidence on which my proposed defence of revelation will be chiefly built; and it having been hitherto little cultivated, and at length, as we see, its very existence denied, I will beg leave to say a word of two concerning it.
The writers in defence of revealed religion distinguish their arguments under two sorts. The first they call the internal, and the other the external evidence. Of these, the first is, in its nature, more simple and noble, and even capable of demonstration. While the other, made up of very dissimilar materials, and borrowing aid from without, must needs, on these ac
* Dr. Conybeare's Defense of Revealed Religion, second edit. $vo. p. 431.
counts, have some parts of unequal strength with the rest; and consequently lie open to the attacks of a willing adversary. Besides, the internal evidence is, by its nature, perpetuated, and so fitted for all times and periods : while the external, by length of time, weakens and decays. For the nature and genius of the religion defended affording the proofs of the first kind, these materials of defence are inseparable from its existence; and so always at hand, and the same. But time may, and doth efface memorials independent of that existence, out of which the external evidence is composed. Which evidence must therefore become more and more imperfect; without being affected by that whimsical calculation to which a certain Scotsman* would subject it. Nay so necessary is the internal evidence, that even the very best of the external kind cannot support itself without it. As may be seen from hence, that when the miracles, performed by the founders of our holy faith, are, from human testiniony, irresistibly established, the consequence, that therefore they come froin God, cannot be deduced till the nature of that doctrine is examined, for whose establishment they were performed. But was there no other benefit în cultivating the internal evidence, yet the gaining, by it, a more perfect knowledge of revealed religion would fully recompence the pains, And this is best acquired in that pursuit.
Notwithstanding these superior advantages, it has so happened, that the internal evidence hath been hitherto used as an introduction only, to the external : and while, by this latter, men have proved our religion actually divine, they have gone no further with the former, than to shew it worthy, indeed, of such
* Craig, Theologiæ Christ. Principia Mathematica. Lond. 1699, 4to.
original. But from this observation, a late writer, as I have said, hath drawn a quite contrary conclusion. I, from the small progress hitherto made in it, exhort to its better cultivation; he, from the same fact, concludes, that strictly speaking there can be no internal evidence at all of a revelation. He supposes this small advance to be owing to a defect in the nature of the proof; I, to the negligence of its cultivators. Which of us is in the right, a few pages will, I hope, discover.
What may have occasioned this neglect, in my view of it, is not so easy to find out. Whether it be that writers have imagined that, in general, the labours and difficulties attending the effectual prosecution of the internal method, are not so easily surmounted as those which the writer in the external is engaged in. While they suppose, that this latter, to be master of his subject, needs only the common requisites of church history, diligence and judgment. But that the reasoner, on the internal proof, must, besides these, have a thorough knowledge of human nature, civil policy, the universal history of mankind, ani exact idea of the Mosaic and Christian dispensations, cleared from the froth and grounds of school subtilties, and church systeins : and, above all, should be blessed with a certain sagacity to investigate the relations of human actions through all the combinations of natural, civil, and moral complexities. What may suggest this opinion may be the reflection, that in the external evidence each circumstance of fact, that makes for the truth of revealed religion, is seen to do -$o as soon as known; so that the chief labour, here, is to search and pick out such facts; and to place them in their proper light and situation, but, that in prosecuting the internal evidence, the case is widely