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not enjoin ; or any doctrine, of the truth of which reason cannot judge, with those of which it can; the authority of God is so compleat, that reason itself indispensably obliges us to believe whatever doctrines he shall please to reveal, and obey whatever duties he shall please to enjoin.
When therefore the Author concludes" That “ the Religion of Nature is the standard by which
we should measure the Merits of all other Re
ligions, and that That which approaches nearest ! to the Purity and Perfection of This, we should « esteem the best *: It is agreed, That no written Religion can be admitted as a Divine Revelation, which enjoins the Practice of any thing in its own nature wrong, or the Belief of any thing that is false. But if any writings; whose morality, like that of the New Testament, is the very perfection of all reason; not only lay claim to divine inspiration, but actually produce all the externalevidence of their being revealed from God, which the nature of the things can admit; how many Points soever they may contain, which reason could never have discovered ; and how'many Rites soever they may prescribe, which mere reason could never have enjoined; All that they contain, The Mysterious Truths they reveal, and the Ceremonies they enjoin, as well as the Moral Duties they recommend, must be received and submitted to as Divine t.
* P. 372
# When the Author says (p. 16.)." That the Jews were, “ and still áre, too fond of their rituals, and of the ceremonial
parts of their religion ; At least that they appear so to us, " who are convinced that things of this nature are absolutely « indifferent :" - He only gives us a specimen, either of his disingenuousness, or the confusion of his ideas.
Before the coming of CHRIST, the Jerus were no further to blame in being attached to their ceremonies, than as they. fuf. fered an attention to Them, to supplant their obedience to the
The Autbor's Arguments founded on Matthew
xvi. 27, 28; and some Other Pasages, confidered.
E have now considered all the Arguments
drawn from the Nature of Revelation in general, which the Author has, in his manner, al
moral virtues; because the exact observance of the ceremonies prescribed in their Law was their absolute duty; though by no means their only, or even chief duty: and they are severely, and repeatedly, reproved in the Old Testament, for their preference of positive precepts to those of Moral Virtue. -Since the coming of Christ, the fault of the Jews confifts, not in their being attached to the Ceremonies of the Law of Moses, but to the Law itself; long fince superseded by the coming of the Messiah. But while they adhere to their Law itself as still in force, their observance of its ceremonies, as far as they can now observe them, is so far from being a matter of indifference to them, that it is their obvious duty.
And whereas the Author is pleased to say (p. 17.) “ That “ Christ never disputed the Divine Mission of Moses with " the Jews :" - Which founds as if he would infinuate, that CHRIST did not in reality acknowledge it, but thought it a point not worth contending with them about ;-Certain it is, that CHRIST. did so expressly acknowledge the Divine Authority both of Mofes, and his Writings, that the Divine Pretensions of Christ and Moses must tland, or fall together.
Thus when the Pharisees came to Jesus, and asked him whether it was lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause! (Matth. xix. 3.) Jesus immediately referred them to Moses's Account of the Creation. “ Have ye not read that he ” which made them at the beginning, made them male and fe" male ? &c.” And then added from himself, -What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. It was impossible for him to give a stronger atteitation to the Divine Authority, both of Moses and his books than he has here given. Again we find Jesus expressly referring to Moses's account of the death of Abel ; ftiling him a Prophet, and the first that was flain after the formation of the world. (Luke xi. 50,51:)
leged, to prove that only the Moral Passages of the New Testament can be considered as the genuine Doctrines of CHRIST; and that even they
At another time, he expressly asserted the truth of Moses's History of Noah and the Flood. (Matth. xxiv. 37-39.) - On another occasion we find Jesus instructing the people, that it was their duty to obey all the commands (evidently meaning such as were lawful) which the Scribes and Pharisees enjoined them, though not to imitate their practice; Because they were the persons appointed to explain to them the precepts of the Law of Mofes : --Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his dis ciples; Jaying, The Scribes and Pharisees fit in Moses's feat : All therefore, whatsoever they bid you observe, observe and do, &c. (Matth. xxiii. 1, &c.) — Agreeably to which, in answer to the Pharisees, he cited the Fifth Commandment of the Two Tables of the Law of Moses, and repeatedly declared that it was the Commandment of God. (Matth. xv. 3, 4, 6. Mark vii. 7
11, 13.)- And thus in his Sermon on the Mount, he com. manded, Whatsoever ye would that men foould do unto you, do ye even fo to them ; upon this very account, that this was the Law and the Prophets ; (Matth. vii. 12.) Or, in other words, the Sum and Substance of the Morality enjoined in them. So again, in the Parable of the Rich Man and LaZarus, the Answer which Jesus puts into the Mouth of Abras ham, to the rich man's requeft for his Brethren, is–They have Moses and the Prophets, let them bear Them; evidently fignifying, that their obedience to the Law of Mofes, and to the Prophets, would be fufficient to secure their Acceptance, and prevent their incurring that Punishment into which he is represented to have come. And upon the Rich Man's reply, he makes Abraham return that emphatical Declaration ;-If they hear not Moses and the Prophets (whose Divine Authority they fo well know and confefs, neither will they be perfuaded though one rose front the dead. (Luke xvi. 29, 31.) When again the Sadducees questioned Jesus, whose wife the woman should be in the Resurrection, who had been wife to the seven brethren; JESUS teplied--Pe do err, not knowing the Scriptures, i. e. Ye do there fore err, because ye do not rightly understand what is declared in the Books of Mofes and the Prophets :-And to prove to them, the Sadducees, the falsehood of one of the favourite tenets of their Sect, he immediately referred them to a very remarkable paffage in one of the Books of Mofes. But as touching the Resurrection of the dead, have ye not read THAT WHICH WAS SPOKEN TO YOU BY God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, the God of lfaas, and the God of Jacob ?- (Matth. xxii. 31, 32.1
are not to be regarded as a Revelation, in the proper
sense of the word. , But as he has likewise thrown out some observations, though not new ones, upon a few particular Passages of the New Testament ; in order, as far as appears, by attempting to expose them, to set aside more effectually the revealed Authority of the Whole; it is incumbent upon us, when so far engaged, to inquire into the truth, or falsehood, of his observations on those few passages he has chosen to attack.
He afferts, in general terms, that inany parfages of the New Testament are of such a nature, that either they must have been corruptions of what it originally was; or, if they were not corruptions, that the New Testament itself could not
Here we find JESUS expressly affirming, That God really did appear to Mofes at the bush, and say to him there what Moses has related On another occasion Jesus told the Jews " That he himself would not accuse them to God; that there was one that accused them, even Mofes, in whom they truled;" and then immediately added, “ For had jie believed Moses, ye swould have believed me ; FOR HE WROTE OF ME. (John v. 450 46.) Agreeably to which we are still more fully informed, that when he walked with the two Disciples to Emmaus, after his Resurrection,-Beginning at Moses, and all the Prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures (of the Old Testament) the ihings concerning himself: Luke xxiv. 27. — And but just before his Ascension he told his Disciples, --These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you ; That all things might be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Mofes, and the Prophets, and the Psalms, concerning Me. (Ibid. ver. 44.) And thus he cxpressly declared Efaias to be a Prophet.. (Macch. xv. 7.)--After this we may venture to affert, that if Jesus himself was an inspired Messenger, sent from the God of Truth; who, as he himself declared, Came into the world to bear witness unto the Truth; (John xviii. 37.) Moses must likewise have been a special Messenger from God. To confirm which Jesus expressly declared; (Matth. v. 17.) That he came, not to destroy, but to fulfil the Law and the Prophets; plainly acknowledging the Divine Authority of Both.
Þe written by persons under the influence of Divine Inspiration *
To prove this he cites Matth. xvi. 27, 28; and alleges, that Jesus is there represented as explicitly foretelling, that he should come “ to judge is the world,” while some of those to whom he was then speaking were yet alive: and then from this position he contends, that since this event had not even yet come to pass, Christ must of necessity have been a false prophet; or, which he thinks the more probable opinion, that Jesus never really said what is there
attributed to him t. The Verses referred to are these : Matth. xvi. 27. The Son of man shall come in the glory
of his Father, with his Angels; and then he shall reward every man ac
cording to his works. 28. Verily, I say unto you, there be forne
standing here, which Mall not taste of death, till they see the son of
Man coming in his Kingdom. The point in question is, whether the last of these verses relates to the national punishment of the Jews ; or, as the Author would interpret it, to the final judgment of the world. --And he says, that ch. xvi, 28. relates to the same event with ch. xxiv. 34-Verily I say unto you, this generation Mall not pass till all these things be fulfilled; and consequently, to the same event with chap. xxiv. 30And they shall see the Son of Man, coming in the clouds of Heaven, with power and great glory.
From these principles he attempts to establish his affertion by alleging, Firít, That it is said in the title of contents at the head of chap. xxiv.
The signs of his coming to judgment, \ &c:” which, he says, shews, that the transla
7See p. 315, 318.