Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

were made for persons by sacrifice; a careful observation of every hint that is given in these passages, and in their contexts, concerning the nature and fense of atonement; and, lastly, a careful putting of all these hints together, and a judicious comparing of them with one another; I fay, if the Dr. by comparing the passages in which atonement is said to be made for persons by Levitical sacrifices, means this way of comparing and examining them, is it not very possible, to make a discovery, by this method of investigation, of the true fense which the word atonement bears in them, even though it should have but one uniform sense in them all? In this way of proceeding, the uniformity of the fense of the word can be no hinderance to the discovery of it, because it is not supposed to be one of those means by which the fense of it is to be discovered.—In truth, it is by the means which have been mentioned, fewer or more of them, that we discover the sense of ambiguous words in all passages, wherever we meet with them: nor is it possible to conceive of any means, besides these, whereby to investigate, and find out, the true sense of a word of doubtful signification in any particular passage of a book, or writing..—By the help of a dictionary, or verbal information, we may, indeed, learn the various significations of an ambiguous

word; word; but, without a due use of the rules of criticism mentioned, 'tis impossible to di&over in which of these significations it is used in any particular passage of a book, the sense of it, in such a passage, being naturally incapable Of being investigated by any other means. In order to discover the sense of such a word, in some particular passage of a book, we may, if we please, pursue the jfome measures which the Dr. has taken to find out the fense of the word atonement in these places where it is used levitically. We may read over the whole book; mark down all the passages where the word occurs; investigate the fense in which it is used in each of them; (which, by the bye, cannot be done, but in a due use of sewer or more of the before-mentioned rules of criticism ;) bring all these senses of the word together, and compare them with one another; fort the passages, in which the word occurs, into diverse classes, according to its various significations: but when all this tedious work has been dispatched, the following questions will still recur, in which of these senses is the word to be understood in this particular ge? And, whether may not the word a fense in it, different from all these which it hath in other places? Questions, which cannot be solved by any thing that

H ' has

[graphic]

has yet been done; nor satisfactorily cleared up, but in a due use of the rules of criticism before-mentioned. Recourse, therefore, must be had to these rules of criticism, before these questions can be solved, or any thing done towards the discovery of the sense of the word in the passage under consideration. And since recourse must be had to them at last, and before any thing can be dbne to purpose, would it not be much better to have recourse to them at the beginning, than to go such a long and tedious round of speculation, that can give no light into the subject of inquiry? To conclude, what has been said is sufficient, I think, to shew that the Dr's inference, under consideration, is both drawn from a wrong observation, and has no truth in it 3 yea, and that it is an inference of bad consequence, as having a tendency to set inquisitive minds upon a false scent, and into a wrong road, in their searches after truth.

§. 37. In the other passage, which I have quoted, the Dr. suggests, that, in these places of the Levitical law, where atonement is said to be made for persons by sacrifice, the sense of the word atonement, or rather of the Hebrew word which is rendered atonement, may be discovered, and can only be discovered, by examining and finding out the sense which it bears in these

places places where it is used extra-levitically, or with no relation to sacrifices.

§. 38. Answ. What hath been already said, in answer to the Dr's last passage, shews, that it is impossible to discover the sense of the word atonement in these passages of the levitical law, by the Dr's method. And, therefore, if the fense of this word, in these places, is not found out in a different way, even by these rules of sober and just criticism, which have been mentioned, I am pretty sure, that it never will be discovered. This may serve as an answer to the Dr's hint concerning the possibility of an impossible thing. But I add, ex abundantly that the Dr. himself has actually tried this method of his, in order to discover the sense of the word atonement, in these places of the Levitical law, where atonement is said to be made for persons by sacrifice. But what has he gained by making this experiment? Just nothing. He has not been able to produce one single text, relating to extra-levitical atonements, which contains or implies his own notion of Levitical atonements; or which affords one single hint, or suggestion, from which it can be fairly and justly inferred. So far from this, that he hath not ventured to affirm, that any one text, of this class, contains such a hint, or to draw a single inference from any of them

H 2 conr

concerning the nature of Levitical atonements; as I have shewn in the course of my examination of his book. All, therefore, that the Dr. has done, in making this experiment, is vain and lost labour. And after all that he has said, and explained, and proved, about the nature of extra-lcvitical atonements, we are left as much in the dark as ever, about the nature of Levitical atonements and sacrifices.

§. 39. Hav1ng now examined all the icripture-evidence which the Dr. has produced in support of his notion of the symbolical nature of Jewish sacrifices, and his method of proceeding in the proof of this point; I (hall, here, conclude this part of my work, with a few reflections upon the Dr's notion of the meaning and nature of Jewish, piacular sacrifices, as being symbols of penitent disposition, and penitent address to God.

§. 40. I observe in general, that could the Dr's notion of piacular sacrifices be really proved to be the scripture notion of them, instead of serving to set the doctrines of revelation about this species of sacrifices in a rational light, it would only furnish people of sceptical minds, with unanswerable objections against them. For

First. In many cafes, piacular sacrifices were appointed to be offered when no sin,

or

« AnteriorContinuar »