« AnteriorContinuar »
sacrifices, considered as such in their peculiar and distinctive character. But it is to be remembered, that this peculiar and distinctive character of sacrifice, as it occurs in the Mosaic ritual, was superadded to, but not destructive of, that character which belonged to it as an ordinance generally observed among mankind antecedently to the promulgation of the Law. When remodelled in the Mosaic Law, it would still retain that anterior and more prevailing character, in which we regard it as a general means of propitiating the Deity, without any restricted application to the blessings of the present life. While we conceive this to be the true statement of the case, we also conceive that it involves in it no dissonance from the language of the learned and excellent writer whose authority is here alleged by Warburton : since the design of that writer, in his work upon sacrifice, was limited to an examination of the Levitical sacrifices as viewed in relation to the sacrifice of Christ, and did not embrace a regard to the same ordinance as it prevailed in times and countries to 'which the temporal sanction of the Mosaic Law was unknown.
The purpose of the foregoing citations was to shew, that so far as, in' relation to the omission of the Law, the present writer concurs with the sentiments of Warburton, he has also the concurrence of that distinguished prelate as to the principle on which the omission is chiefly to be explained. Of this concurrence he was wholly unconscious when he framed his own view of the subject; since that view had been formed, and the statement of it prepared for publication in its present form, with no other knowledge of the learned writer's opinions, than what had been derived from an early edition of the Divine Legation, in which none of the above-cited passages will be found. b. A coincidence of judgment with a writer so highly gifted as to genius and learning, may reasonably be allowed to strengthen an author's conviction on the subject to which it relates. In relation to that same subject, the views which I have taken up, derive, as I cannot but think, the strongest confirmation from another circumstance, which I will now submit to the reader's attention. - The course of argument which I have pursued in the earlier part of my work, has been designed to prove, that a premature employment, in the Law of Moses, of the sanction derived from a future life, would have been hostile to the acknowledgment of our Redeemer and the reception of his doctrines. This reasoning I have, by the matter adduced in the Supplementary Remarks, been able to fortify by the evidence of facts. From an examination of that evidence it will appear, that the errors which I have described as so many corollaries deducible from the doctrine of a future state in the Law, are the very authentic doctrines entertained by the unbelieving Jews; that they are entertained in conjunction with a firm belief, that a future state was promulgated by Moses as the sanction of the Law; and that they also constitute the grounds on which that'nation refuse to acknowledge the authority of the Gospel. These doctrines are indeed nothing more than so many inferences correctly deduced from a false assumption of fact: a case in which correctness of reasoning can lead only to a wider department from the object pursued, since it precludes the only chance, which fallacy would otherwise have afforded, of blundering upon truth. It will also be seen from the same evidence, that while the written Law is insisted upon as declaring the sanction lof future rewards and punishments: the general reasoning in the application of the texts which have been adduced from it as declaratory of that sanction, is such as to shew, that those texts are of no avail to the purpose till they have, if I may so speak, changed their sensible qualities in a passage through the alembịck of cabalistical or rabbinicalzini terpretation, dumal titanolaqua uit
The , tenor of the foregoing remarks will naturally lead the reader to expect, in the course of this work, a considerable difference of judgment from preceding writers, many of them of eminent name, who have pursued the same objects of inquiry. In the statement and vindication of these differences, I hope I shall not be found to have violated the moderation of a Christian temper. While illustrating also the defects inherent in the systems of foregoing writers, I trust it will not be thought that I have been insensible of the prospect, that many and considerable blemishes will be discovered in my own work. But in relation to such blemishes, I cannot but derive satisfaction from the following reflection. If my reasonings be objected to, they are at least those which have convinced my own mind: if my allegation of facts should in any case prove to be erroneous, the mistake has not arisen from any wilful neglect as to diligence of inquiry or fidelity of statement. And, if any thing shall be found in my work, which may harbour a tendency in the slightest degree injurious' to the sacred cause of pure religion, I trust that no man will rejoice more sincerely than myself in any endeavour which may be employed, or any event which may operate, to detect the error, and obstruct its propagation: .13141 Jan. 24, 1825.