Immagini della pagina

of some other god, with a view to draw them away from obedience to the God of Israel, to worship and serve other gods. And every one who will attentively consi. der the subject, must at once see both the reasonableness of this injunction, and the wisdom and goodness of God' in laying a proper foundation for it, and then giving it by Moses to Israel. For Jehovah having given all the evidence that could be reasonably expected or desired, by a series of public incontestible miracles, appearances, words and works, that he was the only true God; which all Israel had, under the fullest and most rational conviation, acknowledged, over and over again, and under this conviction, folemnly given themselves up to him, as their God; and promised to renounce all other Gods, and cleave to, and obey Jehovah alone, as their God: It became them never from that time to call in question what had been made fo abundantly evident, but with the greatest assurance, and the most sincere abhor rence, reject every thing which was evidently contrary to the light and revelation they had received ; and not pay' the least regard to any wonders and miracles, pretended to be done, or really wrought, to prove that Jehovah was not the only true God, and in favor of other gods.

These things have been observed, to show with what abundant evidence and affurance the church of Israel received the writings of Mofes, as divine oracles, the infallible dictates of heaven, which he was inspired to reveal and communicate ; while it is at the same time acknowledged there are many other things which have not been here brought into view, which serve to strengtheri this evidence, and show that to make any other suppoíi. tion, and not to admit these writings as the oracles of heaven, is molt absurd, shutting the eyes against the most glaring light, and doing violence to every principle of reason.

After Moses, other prophets and inspired men were pised up to write the history of that nation; to declare B 4




[ocr errors]

the will of God, in reproving, directing and exhorting; and adding threatnings and promises, to deter them from rebellion against Jehovah, and excite them to obey him, Whose writings also contain innumerable predi&tions of things to come, many of which are already come to pass; those in particular which foretold the coming of the Melliah, his incarnațion, death, resurrection, exaltation and reign; and the events that should attend his coming with regard both to Jews and Gentiles, &c. &c. And in these writings there is a constant reference to the things contained in the writings of Moses, the wonders wrought by his hand, when they were delivered from a state of bondage in Egypt, &c. and to the institutions and laws, which by him were given to Israel : And at the same time there is a perfect consistence and harmony, between these writings and those of Moses.

The last prophet, whose writings we have, lived about four hundred years before Christ ; so that the sacred writings which were given to the church of Israel; and which they received as divine oracles, and have carefully kept and preserved, not only to the time of the incarnation of Christ, but even down to this day, were written at different times, by different men, through the space of above a thousand years, from Moses the first, to Malachi, the last writer. And yet they all agree ; and the latter constantly refer to the writings of Moses, and what is contained in them; and therefore they mutually strengthen the evidence, that they all wrote by inspiration, as most of them declared they did. And Malachi concludes with foretelling the coming of Christ, and din recting the Church of Israel to attend to the laws and in. stitutions of Moses, and obey them, until Christ should come; and to expe& no more divine revelation till that time ; plainly intimating, that then some further revela. tions from God should be given to the church". Thus

che • Mal, ix, 4. 5.

[ocr errors]

the standing, written revelation, given to the Jewish church, was finished; and they were commanded not to attempt to make, or expect any addition to it, till the days of the Messiab.

Should it be said, that perhaps all these writings were forged, by some wicked, designing man, or set of men, and that the facts and miracles therein related never did take place, nor was Moses, or any other men, inspired of God to write these things; but they were imposed upon that nation, and they were made to believe that which never had any reality : Such a supposition will appear most unreasonable, and even impossible, on the lealt reflection, When, and how, could this be done ? How could thạt nation, even all of them, old and young, learned and unlearned, at any time be made to believe that all these things related in the writings of Moses concerning them, and which he said took place publicly, and that they were seen and acknowledged by the whole i nation, and that all thole rites and laws had been receiv

ed in a miraculous way from Jehovah, by their ancestors, and handed down, and practised from generation to gen| eration, if there was no truth in all this ; but they were all now invented, and they never had any existence, or were heard of before, by any of them ? This is perfectly incredible, and absolutely impossible. And it is equally incredible, that a whole nation should at any time receive such writings, and pretend they were all genuine and true, and handed down from their fathers, when at the same time they knew there was no truth in it, but was real imposture and delusion. Who can believe, that any nation or people under heaven, could ever be

brought to do this ; and receive and practice all those | burdensome rites and ceremonies, and hand their

down to their children as the institutions of heaven; when they knew it was all a cheat? And this will appear pet more incredible, if possible, when we observe, that


these writings give no agreeable, flattering idea of that nation, as a wise, excellent and honourable people ; but contrary to this, they are represented as a very stupid, ungrateful, rebellious people, always disposed to abuse and revolt from their God, and violate the most sacred obligations, and solemn vows, by which they were con. ftantly incurring the displeasure of Jehovah ; and were feverely punished, from time to time, for their horrid impiety, and most stupid idolatry, and their obftinate per feverance in shameful unrighteousness and cruelty to. wards each other. If a people could forge and receive a history of themselves as a nation, in which there was no truth ; or if it were contrived and formed by any set of men, or by any one man among them, with a design to impose it on the nation, to be received by them as genuine ; we may be sure it would be written in favour of that nation, and so as to flatter their selfishness, pride and vanity, instead of representing them, as these writings do

that nation, in a disagreeable, shameful, odious light. . Besides, these writings have no marks, not the least appearance, of imposture and forgery, when most critically examined ; but all appearance that can be desired, that they are genuine ; and were written at the different times, and in the different circumstances, in which they are said to have been written, and by those different men: Whereas, if they were a forgery, and not written by inspiration, it cannot be supposed possible they should carry all thole marks of genuineness ; and none of the contrary.

Moreover, they contain a system of truths, and point out and enjoin commands and duties to God and our neighbour, which bespeak their divine original, and are worthy to be revealed by God; and which no ungodly, selfish, designing impofior, and such these writers must be, if they wrote not by inspiration, would ever think of, and much less be disposed to publish and enjoin.


The promised Messiah, at le h made his appearaoce in the world, even at the very time in which it was foretold he thould come ; the way for his coming have ing been prepared by his harbinger, as was particularly predicted by Isaiah ; 'and by Malachi, in the last words of the Old Testament......!

It having been abundantly proved, as has been observed and thown, that Jehovah, the God of Israel, was the only true God, and that the writings in their hands were given by divine inspiration, in which the coming of the Messiah and his future kingdom, were foretold, and particularly described ; all that was now necessary, in order to his being on good ground received as king of the church, was to give proper evidence that he was the very person, the promised Saviour of the world. This was done not only by his appearing at the time, and in the character and circumstances, which were foretold by the Prophets ; but by working a series of miracles, done in a public manner : And by his predicting many things, which soon came to pass, especially his own death, and the particular circumstances of it ; and that he would rise again on the third day. He was accordingly put to death, which his enemies as well as friends confess ; and if he did rise again, as he said he would, the evidence that he was the Mefliah, the fame Jehovah who was the God of Israel, would be complete, and none could reasonably desire more..

That he did rise on the third day; and when he had continued on earth above forty days, conversing with his disciples and friends, and giving them instruc tions and commands, left the world and ascended 10 heaven, there were a competent number of chosen witnesles, who declared they were eye and ear witnesses of this ; and that they had the most satisfactory, full and abundant evidence of it. And farther to prove the


[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« IndietroContinua »