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themselves so to be. Let me ask the Deists but one short question; was there ever a book of sham laws, which were not the laws of the nation, palmed upon any people, since the world began? If not, with what face can they say this of the book of laws of the Jews? Why will they say that of them, which they confess impossible in any nation, or among any people?

"But they must be yet more unreasonable. For the books of Moses have a further demonstration of their truth than even other law-books have; for they not only contain the laws, but give an historical account of their institution, and the practice of them from that time: as of the passover, in memory of the death of the first-born in Egypt: (4) and that the same day, all the first-born of Israel, both of man and beast, were, by a perpetual law, dedicated to God: and the Levites taken for all the first-born of the children of Israel. That Aaron's rod which budded, was kept in the ark, in memory of the rebellion, and wonderful destruction of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; and for the confirmation of the priesthood to the tribe of Levi. As likewise the pot of manna, in memory of their having been fed with it forty years in the wilderness. That the brazen serpent was kept (which remained to the days of Hezekiah, 2 Kings xviii, 4,) in memory of that wonderful deliverance, by only looking upon it, from the biting of the fiery serpents, Num. xxi. 9. The feast of Pentecost, in memory of the dreadful appearance of God upon Mount Horeb, &c.


"And besides these remembrances of particular actions and occurrences, there were other solemn institutions in memory of their deliverance out of Egypt, in the general, which included all the particulars. As of the Sabbath, Deut. v. 15. Their daily sacrifices and yearly expiation; their new moons, and several feasts and fasts. So that there were yearly, monthly, weekly, daily remembrances and recognitions of these things.

"And not only so, but the books of the same Moses tell us, that a particular tribe (of Levi) was appointed and consecrated by God, as his priests; by whose hands, and none other, the sacrifices of the people were to be offered, and these solemn institutions to be celebrated. That it was death for any other to approach the altar. That their high priest wore a glorious mitre, and magnificent robes of God's own contrivance, with the miraculous Urim and Thummim in his breast-plate, whence the divine responses were given. (5) That at his word, the king and

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all the people were to go out, and to come in. That these Levites were likewise the chief judges even in all civil causes, and that it was death to resist their sentence. (6) Now whenever it can be supposed that these books of Moses were forged in some ages after Moses, it is impossible they could have been received as true, unless the forgers could have made the whole nation believe, that they had received these books from their fathers, had been instructed in them when they were children, and had taught them to their children; moreover, that they had all been circumcised, and did circumcise their children, in pursuance to what was commanded in these books: that they had observed the yearly passover, the weekly sabbath, the new moons, and all these several feasts, fasts, and ceremonies commanded in these books: that they had never eaten any swines flesh, or other meats prohibited in these books: that they had a magnificent tabernacle, with a visible priesthood to administer in it, which was confined to the tribe of Levi; over whom was placed a glorious high-priest, cloathed with great and mighty prerogatives, whose death only could deliver those that were fled to the cities of refuge. (7) And that these priests were their ordinary judges, even in civil matters: I say, was it possible to have persuaded a whole nation of men, that they had known and practised all these things, if they had not done it? or, secondly, to have received a book for truth, which said they had practised them, and appealed to that practice?

"But now let us descend to the utmost degree of supposition, viz. that these things were practised, before these books of Moses were forged; and that those books did only impose upon the nation, in making them believe, that they had kept these observances in memory of such and such things, as were inserted in those books.

"Well then, let us proceed upon this supposition, (however groundless,) and now, will not the same impossibilities occur, as in the former case? For, first, this must suppose that the Jews kept all these observances in memory of nothing, or without knowing any thing of their original, or the reason why they kept them. Whereas these very observances did express the ground and reason of their being kept, as the Passover, in memory of God's passing over the children of the Israelites, in that night wherein he slew all the first-born of Egypt, and so of the rest.

"But, secondly, let us suppose, contrary both to reason and matter of fact, that the Jews did not know any reason at all (6) Deut. xvii. 8 to 13. 1 Chron. xxiii. 4. (7) Numbers xxxv. 25, 28.

why they kept these observances; yet was it possible to put it upon them-That they had kept these observances in memory of what they had never heard of before that day, whensoever you will suppose that these books of Moses were first forged? For example, suppose I should now forge some romantic story, of strange things done a thousand years ago; and, in confirmation of this, should endeavour to persuade the Christian world that they had all along, from that day to this, kept the first day of the week in memory of such an hero, an Apollonius, a Barcosbas, or a Mahomet; and had all been baptized in his name; and swore by his name, and upon that very book, (which I had then forged, and which they never saw before,) in their public judicatures; that this book was their gospel and law, which they had ever since that time, these thousand years past, universally received and owned, and none other. I would ask any Deist, whether he thinks it possible that such a cheat could pass, or such a legend be received as the gospel of Christians; and that they could be made believe that they never had any other gospel?

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"Let me give one very familiar example more in this case. There is the Stonehenge in Salisbury Plain, every body knows it; and yet none knows the reason why those great stones were set there, or by whom, or in memory of what.

"Now, suppose I should write a book to-morrow, and tell them, that these stones were set up by Hercules, Polyphemus, or Garagantua, in memory of such and such of their actions. And for a further confirmation of this, should say in this book, that it was wrote at the time when such actions were done, and by the very actors themselves, or eye witnesses. And that this book had been received as truth, and quoted by authors of the greatest reputation in all ages since. Moreover, that this book was well known in England, and enjoined by act of parliament to be taught our children, and that we did teach it to our children, and had been taught it ourselves when we were children. I ask any Deist, whether he thinks this could pass upon England? and whether, if I, or any other should insist upon it, we should not, instead of being believed, be sent to Bedlam? ·

"Now, let us compare this with the Stonehenge, as I may call it, or twelve great stones set up at Gilgal, which is told in the fourth chapter of Joshua. There it is said, verse 6, that the reason why they were set up was, that when their children, in after ages, should ask the meaning of it, it should be told them.

"And the thing in memory of which they were set up, was such as could not possibly be imposed upon that nation, at that time when it was said to be done, it was as wonderful and miraculous as their passage through the Red Sea.

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"For notice was given to the Israelites the day before, of this great miracle to be done, Josh. iii. 5. It was done at noon-day before the whole nation. And when the waters of Jordan were divided, it was not at any low ebb, but at the time when that river overflowed all his banks, verse 15. And it was done, not by winds, or in length of time, which winds must take to do it: but all on the sudden, as soon as the "feet of the priests that 'bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, then 'the waters which came down from above, stood and rose up upon an heap, very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan; and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over, right against Jericho. The priests stood in the midst of Jordan till all the armies of Israel had passed 6 over. And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord were come up, out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests' feet were lift up upon 'the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks as they did before. And the people came out of Jordan, on the tenth day of the first 'month, and encamped in Gilgal on the east border of Jericho, and those twelve stones which they took out of Jordan did Joshua pitch in Gilgal. And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in 'time to come, saying, What mean these stones? Then shall 'ye let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For the Lord your God dried up the 'waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over; ' as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up 'from before us, until we were gone over, that all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty; that ye might fear the Lord your God for ever.-Chap. iv. from verse 18.

"Now, to form our argument, let us suppose, that there never was any such thing as that passage over Jordan; that these stones at Gilgal were set up upon some other occasion, in some after age; and then, that some designing man invented this book of Joshua, and said, that it was wrote by Joshua at that time, and gave this stonage at Gilgal for a testimony of the

truth of it would not every body say to him, we know the stonage at Gilgal, but we never heard before of this reason for it, nor of this book of Joshua. Where has it been all this while? And where, and how came you, after so many ages, to find it? Besides, this book tells us, that this passage over Jordan was ordained to be taught our children, from age to age: and therefore, that they were always to be instructed in the meaning of that stonage at Gilgal, as a memorial of it. But we were never taught it, when we were children; nor did ever teach our children any such thing. And it is not likely that could have been forgotten, while so remarkable a stonage did continue, which was set up for that and no other end!

"And if, for the reasons before given, no such imposition could be put upon us as to the stonage in Salisbury Plain; how much less could it be to the stonage at Gilgal?

"And if where we know not the reason of a bare naked monument, such a sham reason cannot be imposed, how much more is it impossible to impose upon us in actions and observances, which we celebrate in memory of particular passages How impossible to make us forget those passages which we daily commemorate; and persuade us, that we had always kept such institutions in memory of what we never heard of before; that is, that we knew it, before we knew it !"

This able reasoning has never been refuted, nor can be; and if the books of the Law must have been written by Moses, it is as easy to prove, that Moses himself could not in the nature of the thing have deceived the people by an imposture, and a pretence of miraculous attestations in order, like some later lawgivers among the heathens, to bring the people more willingly to submit to his institutions. The very instances of miracle he gives, rendered this impossible. Suppose," says the same writer, "any man should pretend, that yesterday he divided the Thames, in presence of all the people of London, and carried the whole city, men, women, and children, over to Southwark, on dry land, the waters standing like walls on both sides: I say, it is morally impossible that he could persuade the people of London that this was true, when every man, woman, and child could contradict him, and say, that this was a notorious falsehood, for that they had not seen the Thames so divided, or had gone over on dry land.

"As to Moses, I suppose it will be allowed me, that he could not have persuaded 600,000 men, that he had brought them out of Egypt, through the Red Sea; fed them forty years,

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