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and the other matters of fact, recorded in his books, if they had not been true. Because every man's senses that was then alive must have contradicted it. And therefore he must have imposed upon all their senses, if he could have made them believe it, when it was false and no such things done.

"From the same reason, it was equally impossible for him to have made them receive his five books as truth, and not to have rejected them as a manifest imposture, which told of all these things as done before their eyes, if they had not been so done. See how positively he speaks to them, Deut. xi, 2, to verse 8: And know you this day, for I speak not with your children, which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the Lord your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched-out arm, and his miracles, and his acts, which he did in the midst of Egypt, unto Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and unto all his land, and what he did unto the army of Egypt, unto their horses, and to their chariots; how he made the water of the Red Sea to overflow them as they pursued after you; and how the Lord hath destroyed them unto this day: And what he did unto you in the wilderness, until ye came unto this place; and what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliah, the son of Reuben, how the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession, in the midst of all Israel. But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the Lord, which he did,' &c.

"From hence we must suppose it impossible that these books of Moses (if an imposture) could have been invented and put upon the people who were then alive when all these things were said to be done."

By these arguments (9) the genuineness and authenticity of the books of Moses are established; and as to those of the prophets, which, with some predictions in the writings of Moses, comprise the prophetic branch of the evidence of the Divine authority of the revelations they contain, it can be proved both from Jewish tradition, the list of Josephus, the Greek translation, and from their being quoted by ancient writers, that they existed many ages before several of those events occurred, to which we shall refer in the proper place as eminent and unequivocal instances of prophetic accomplishment. This part of the argument will

(9) The reasoning of Leslie, so uncontrovertible as to the four last books of the Pentateuch, does not so fully apply to the book of Genesis. Few, however, will dispute the genuineness of this, if that of the other books of Moses be conceded. That the book of Genesis must have been written prior to the other books of the Pentateuch is, however, certain, for Exodus constantly refers to events nowhere recorded but in the book of Genesis; and without the book of Genesis, the abrupt commencement of Exodus would have been as unintelligible to the Jews as it would be to us. The Pentateuch must therefore be considered as one book, under five divisions, having a mutual coherence and dependence.

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therefore be also sufficiently established: the prophecy will be shown to have been delivered long before the event, and the event will be proved to be a fulfilment of the prophecy. A more minute examination of the date of the prophetic books rather belongs to those who write expressly on the canon of Scripture.

The same author from whom we have already largely quoted, (Leslie,)· applies his celebrated four rules for determining the truth of matters of fact in general, with equal force to the facts of the Gospel history as to those contained in the Mosaic writings. The rules are, "1. That the matter of fact be such, as that men's outward senses, their eyes and ears, may be judges of it.-2. That it be done publicly in the face of the world.-3. That not only public monuments be kept up in memory of it, but some outward actions be performed.-4. That such monuments and such actions and observances be instituted, and do commence from the time that the matter of fact was done."

We have seen the manner in which these rules are applied to the books of Moses. The author thus applies them to the Gospel :

"I come now to show, that as in the matters of fact of Moses, so likewise all these four marks do meet in the matters of fact which are recorded in the Gospel of our blessed Saviour. And my work herein will be the shorter, because all that is said before of Moses and his books, is every way as applicable to Christ and his Gospel. His works and his miracles are there said to be done publicly in the face of the world, as he argued to his accusers, 'I spake openly to the world, and in secret have I said nothing,' John xviii, 20. It is told, Acts ii, 41, that three thousand at one time, and Acts iv, 4, that above five thousand at another time, were converted upon conviction of what themselves had seen, what had been done publicly before their eyes, wherein it was impossible to have imposed upon them. Therefore here were the two first rules before mentioned.


"Then for the two second: Baptism and the Lord's Supper were instituted as perpetual memorials of these things; and they were not instituted in after ages, but at the very time when these things were said to be done; and have been observed without interruption, in all ages through the whole Christian world, down all the way from that time to this. And Christ himself did ordain apostles and other ministers of his Gospel, to preach and administer the sacraments; and to govern his Church and that always even unto the end of the world, Matt. xviii, 20. Accordingly, they have continued by regular succession to this day and no doubt ever shall while the earth shall last. So that the Christian clergy are as notorious a matter of fact, as the tribe of Levi among the Jews. And the Gospel is as much a law to the Christians, as the book of Moses to the Jews: and it being part of the matters of fact related in the Gospel, that such an order of men were appointed

by Christ, and to continue to the end of the world; consequently, if the Gospel was a fiction, and invented (as it must be) in some ages after Christ; then, at that time when it was first invented, there could be no such order of clergy, as derived themselves from the institution of Christ; which must give the lie to the Gospel, and demonstrate the whole to be false. And the matters of fact of Christ being pressed to be true, no otherwise than as there was at that time, (whenever the Deists will suppose the Gospel to be forged,) not only public sacraments of Christ's institution, but an order of clergy, likewise, of his appointment to administer them and it being impossible there could be any such things before they were invented, it is as impossible that they should be re. ceived when invented. And therefore, by what was said above, it was as impossible to have imposed upon mankind in this matter, by invent. ing of it in after ages, as at the time when those things were said to be done.

"The matters of fact of Mohammed, or what is fabled of the heathen deities, do all want some of the aforesaid four rules, whereby the certainty of matters of fact is demonstrated. First, for Mohammed, he pretended to no miracles, as he tells us in his Alcoran, c. 6, &c; and those which are commonly told of him pass among the Mohammedans themselves but as legendary fables; and, as such, are rejected by the wise and learned among them: as the legends of their saints are in the Church of Rome. See Dr. Prideaux's Life of Mohammed, page 34.. "But, in the next place, those which are told of him do all want the two first rules before mentioned. For his pretended converse with the moon; his Mersa, or night journey from Mecca to Jerusa. lem, and thence to heaven, &c, were not performed before any body. We have only his own word for them. And they are as groundless as the delusions of the Fox or Muggleton among ourselves. The same is to be said (in the second place) of the fables of the heathen 'gods, of Mercury's stealing sheep, Jupiter's turning himself into a bull, and the like; beside the folly and unworthiness of such senseless pretended miracles.

"It is true the heathen deities had their priests: they had likewise feasts, games, and other public institutions in memory of them. But all these want the fourth mark, viz. that such priesthood and institutions should commence from the time that such things as they commemorate were said to be done; otherwise they cannot secure after ages from the imposture, by detecting it, at the time when first invented, as hath been argued before. But the Bacchanalia, and other heathen feasts, were instituted many ages after what was reported of these gods was said to be done, and therefore can be no proof. And the priests of Bacchus, Apollo, &c, were not ordained by these supposed gods; but were appointed by others, in after ages, only in honour to them. And

therefore these orders of priests are no evidence to the matters of fact which are reported of their gods.

"Now to apply what has been said. You may challenge all the Deists in the world to show any action that is fabulous, which has all the four rules or marks before mentioned. No, it is impossible. And (to resume a little what is spoken to before) the histories of Exodus and the Gospel never could have been received, if they had not been true; because the institution of the priesthood of Levi, and of Christ; of the Sabbath, the Passover, of Circumcision, of Baptism, and the Lord's Supper, &c, are there related, as descending all the way down from those times, without interruption. And it is full as impossible to persuade men that they had been circumcised or baptized, had circumcised or baptized their children, celebrated passovers, sabbaths, sacraments, &c, under the government and administration of a certain order of priests, if they had done none of these things, as to make them believe that they had gone through seas upon dry land, seen the dead raised, &c. And without believing these, it was impossible that either the Law or the Gospel could have been received.

"And the truth of the matters of fact of Exodus and the Gospel, being no otherwise pressed upon men, than as they have practised such public institutions, it is appealing to the senses of mankind for the truth of them; and makes it impossible for any to have invented such stories in after ages, without a palpable detection of the cheat when first invented; as impossible as to have imposed upon the senses of mankind, at the time when such public matters of fact were said to be done." (1)

But other evidence of the truth of the Gospel history, beside that which arises from this convincing reasoning, may be adduced.

In the first place, the narrative of the evangelists, as to the actions, &c, of Christ, cannot be rejected without renouncing all faith in history, any more than to deny that he really existed.

"We have the same reason to believe that the evangelists have given us a true history of the life and transactions of JESUS, as we have that Xenophon and Plato have given us a faithful and just narrative of the character and doctrines of the excellent SOCRATES. The sacred writers were, in every respect, qualified for giving a real circumstantial detail of the life and religion of the person whose memoirs they have transmitted down to us. They were the select companions and familiar friends of the hero of their story. They had free and liberal access to him at all times. They attended his public discourses, and in his moments of retirement he unbosomed his whole soul to them without disguise. They were daily witnesses of his sincerity and goodness of

(1) See Note B at the end of this chapter, in which the same kind of argument is illustrated by the miraculous gift of tongues.

heart. They were spectators of the amazing operations he performed, and of the silent unostentatious manner in which he performed them. In private he explained to them the doctrines of his religion in the most familiar, endearing converse, and gradually initiated them into the principles of his Gospel, as their Jewish prejudices admitted. Some of these writers were his inseparable attendants, from the commencement of his public ministry to his death, and could give the world as true and faithful a narrative of his character and instructions, as Xenophon was enabled to publish of the life and philosophy of Socrates. If PLATO hath been in every respect qualified to compose an historical account of the behaviour of his master in his imprisonment; of the philosophic discourses he addressed to his friends before he drank the poisonous bowl; as he constantly attended him in those unhappy scenes; was present at those mournful interviews; (2)-in like manner was the Apostle JOHN fitted for compiling a just and genuine narration of the last consolatory discourses our Lord delivered to his dejected followers, a little before his last sufferings, and of the unhappy exit he made, with its attendant circumstances, of which he was a personal spectator. The foundation of these things cannot be invalidated, without invalidating the faith of history. No writers have enjoyed more propitious, few have ever enjoyed such favourable opportunities for publishing just accounts of persons and things as the evangelists. Most of the Greek and Roman historians lived long after the persons they immortalize, and the events they record. The sacred writers commemorate actions they saw, discourses they heard, persecutions they supported; describe cha. racters with which they were familiarly conversant, and transactions and scenes in which they themselves were intimately interested. The pages of their history are impressed with every feature of credibility: an artless simplicity characterizes all their writings. Nothing can be farther from vain ostentation and popular applause. No studied arts to dress up a cunningly-devised fable. No vain declamation after any miracle of our SAVIOUR they relate. They record these astonishing operations with the same dispassionate coolness, as if they had been common transactions, without that ostentatious rhodomontade which enthusiasts and impostors universally employ. They give us a plain, unadorned narration of these amazing feats of supernatural powersaying nothing previously to raise our expectation, or after their performance breaking forth into any exclamation-but leaving the reader to draw the conclusion. The writers of these books are distinguished above all the authors who ever wrote accounts of persons and things,

(2) Quid dicam de Socrate, (says Cicero,) cujus morti illachrymari soleo, Platonem legens.-De Natura Deorum, p. 329, Edit. Davies, 1723.-See also PLATO's Phado, passim, particularly pages 311, 312.-Edit. Forster, Oxon. 1741,

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