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sin in this instance, and Aaron in particular for his, as to engage to send bis Angel to go before them, and that his own presence should go with themo; and after God had renewed with them his Covenant, and his former engagement to give them the Promised Land“; Moses proceeded to put into execuition all the Commands which the Lord had given him “; and among the rest, in the last place, That to anoint Acron, and his Sons, Priests. But does any thing here related imply, that Aaron was rewarded with the High Priesthood for his faulty conduct on this occafion? Or is it conceivable, that any thing less than designed perversion can put this interpretation upon it ? Nothing can be drawn from this whole relation, but what appears manifestly upon the very face of it; that notwithstanding the people had very grievously sinned, and Aaron very highly offended; though upon a very different, and much more excusable principle; the Wisdom of God nevertheless determined to accomplish his providential purposes in selecting the Ifraelites from the rest of the Nations; by proceeding to put them into That State, and under That peculiar Constitution, for which he designed them: and therefore, notwithstanding this sin, and that degree of punishment which Mofes, by his Command, had inflicted on them for it; That God proceeded to cause those Ordinances to be enforced, and that Constitution to be actually settled, by which he intended they should be
governed. Such is manifestly the true account of this whole proceeding in general, and of the appointment of Aaron and his Sons to the High Priesthood in particular. - But unhappily, so it is, that the clearest points are not too evident
a Exod. xxxii. 34.
b Ibid. xxxiii. 14.
to to be perverted, or denied, by some Writers ; when the perverting or denying them, may serve to call in question the Truth and Divine Authority of the Scriptures.
S E C T. XVI.
The Author's Objections to the Conduct of Jesus
towards the Jews in general, in preaching the Gospel ; founded especially on i Cor. ii. 7, 8, and Mark iv. 11, 12; confidered.
FTER such misrepresentations of the Old
Testament, and the Nature and Tendency of the Jewish Law, as we have just been considering; we cannot wonder at whatever objections the Author may please to make to any part of the New, or any thing connected with it.
He afferts, That Christians charge the Jews with “ obstinately finning against the conviction “ of their own minds, and with crucifying the “Son of God, knowing and believing bim to be such e :" —
Whereas nothing can be more notoriously false.
Christians do not charge the Jews with this, because they know this would be charging them with what Jesus himself acquitted them of, while he hung on the Cross ; and Peter soon after he began to preach in his Name 8; and Paul when he preached at Antioch ; and in his First Epistle to the Corinthians '. They do indeed charge the Jews of that time“ with sinning against the con« viction of their own minds," and so the Au
& Afts iji. 17
18. Ibid. xiii. 27":
thor & Matth. xi. 20—24. John xv. 22, 24. Matth. x. 15. 1 Introd. p. 19.
thor will find, upon turning to the passages here referred to, that Jesus himself most explicitly did k. But their sin consisted not, in crucifying Jesus, when «
they knew. and believed him to is be the Messiah ;” but in suffering their pride, their sensuality, and every other vicious disposition by which they were then principally governed; together with their preconceived false notions of the Prophecies relating to the Messiah; to prevent them from paying that religious regard, which their consciences could not but teach them they ought to have paid, to those pure Doctrines Jesus taught, that Divine Character he affumed, and those Miracles he performed to confirm it, and thus, in effect, from perceiving him to be the Messiah, which they must otherwise have perceived.
But it is no wonder, that he who has been forced to advance, that Belief not only necessarily arises out of evidence, but cannot arise without it, and is not therefore in any sense, or degree, a proper object of command; should mistake, perplex, and mif
represent, the real fin of the Jews, in this parti¿ cular, more than any other.
Again the Author says, appears to me, " that God never yet intended the conversion of “ the Jews in general to Christianity, for this
plain reason; viz. if be had, they would have « been converted : for who can defeat the intenti
ons of the Almighty ? Or what heart is so ob“ stinate and perverse, that God cannot turn it if « he pleases "F" And this is an argument he is so satisfied with, as even to appeal to it again " as absolutely decisive. But, for the same reason, if he will be consistent, he must say, "God never
s intended 4
m P. 22.
« intended that any wicked man, that ever ex" existed, should have been less wicked than he
was; for if God had so intended, he would “ have been less wicked.” In fact, this Argument of our Author, is only afferting in other words, that because God did not think fit to overrule their natural liberty of action, by irresistible influence; therefore it would not have been well pleasing to him, that they should have made a right use of their own understanding, in considering the abundant evidence he laid before them. A conclusion, the propriety of which common sense alone must enable every one to determine.
Again the Author says, -" That Christ's « death and all its circumstances, seem from the
mysterious parts of the New Testament, to have “ been parts of God's original plan" :- That if the " Jews had believed, Christ had not died, and “ fo our Redemption would not have been accomplished.” From whence he argues, that God purposely with-beld from the Jews such evidence as would have converted them; because to have given them such evidence, “ Would have been “ contradicting his own prescience, and acting in"consistently with himselfp."
But the truth of the case is, that the Jews had evidence abundantly more than sufficient to have converted them; as Jesus himself expressly declared, and the whole Gospel history shews; but were at that time, of such a disposition, that perhaps no evidence could have induced them to receive any one, appearing in the character Jesus appeared in, as the MESSIAH': to have been converted, perhaps they must have been so influenced immediately by God himself as to have had their freedom of action suspended. And will the Author presume to say, that God was any way obliged to do this? Or supposing we should allow what however we cannot know, and what there is very little room even for fupposing; that some greater degree of evidence might have converted the Jews in general to the faith in CHRIST; will he be bold enough to contend, that such evidence ought to have been granted; and that it's not having been granted is any objection to the revelation of Christ? When the giving mankind any Revelation at all, is a mere gratuitous act of undeserved favour; will he contend that God is bound to accompany any such Revelation with evidence irresistible, and that it is inconsistent with God's nature to accompany it with any degree of evidence less than this, though abundantly more than is necessary to the nature of the thing itself? Or will he argue from God's having done to, that He would not have been well pleased, if the Jews, for instance, had paid a rational and virtuous regard to that abundant evidence which was actually laid before them? If so, he must for the fame reasons, whatever they may be, contend, that God's having not laid the Law of Reason, or Nature before all mankind, with such irresistible force, as to oblige them actually to attend to it, and to prevent them from running into vice and Idolatry as they have done ; is a proof, that. God would not have been well pleased, if mankind had made so good and proper a use of their Natural Reason as to have avoided these errors and fins : and thus he muft neceffarily object as much against Natural Religion as Revealed.
* P. 19.
4 Luke xyi. 31.
P P. 20. * See John xii. 9--ll, and xy. 22-24.