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fit to order matters otherwise. But, that the Apostles used, and made a good use too, of those ExpOSITIONS, long since forgotten and lost, we have great reason to believe from their amazing success in the conversion of the world, by such an application of Moses and the Prophets, to Christ. And if I be not much deceived, amongst the Truths thus inforced, that, which I presume to have discovered in the Command to Abraham, held no inferior place. Let the unprejudiced Reader judge. St. Paul, making his Apology before king Agrippa, concludes his Defence in these words : Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the Prophets and MOSES DID SAY SHOULD COME : that Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead.* The Greek is rather stronger, in predicating this circumstance of Moses,_áv te oi o popñtal iránno av MeadóYTWY yiveolar, KAI MIEHE. Now where, let me ask, in all his Writings, but in the Command to Abraham, is there the least trace of any such circumstance, as that Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead? Nor is it to be found there, unless the Command be understood in the sense I have given to it.
But this is the state in which it hath pleased Providence to place the Church of Christ : With abundant evidence in hand, to support itself against the attacks of Infidelity; yet much of this divine Treasure left sealed up, to exercise our Faith, and (in time of need) to excite our Industry: for it was not the intent of Providence that one of these virtues should thrive at the expence of the other ; but that Industry should as well be rewarded by a successful search, as Faith, by peace in believing. Therefore when my learned Adversary, † in order, I will believe, to advance the Christian Faith, would discourage Christian Industry, by calumniating, and rendering suspected what he is pleased to call EXPERIMENTS in Religion, it is, I am afraid, at best but a Zeal without knowledge. Indeed, M. Pascal ascribes this contempt of experiments to a different cause.—"Ceux qui sont capables de inventer sont rares," says he. “Ceux qui n'inventent point sont en plus grand nombre, .et par consequent, les plus fortes ; et voila pourquoi, lors que les Inventeurs cherchent la gloire qu'ils meritent, tout ce qu'ils y gagnent, c'est qu'on les traite de Visionnaires.” It is true, if men will come to the study of Scripture with unwashen hands, that is, without a due reverence for the dignity of those sacred Volumes, or, which is as ill, with unpurged heads, that is, heads stuffed with bigot-systems, or made giddy with cabalistic flights, they will deserve that title which Pascal observes is so unjustly given to those who deserve best of the Public. Acts xxvi. 22, 23; and to the same purpose, Acts xiii. 31. + DR. STEBBING.
But to return to those with whom I have principal concern. I make no question but my Freethinking Adversaries, to whose temper and talents I am no stranger, will be ready to object,
I. “That the giving a solution of a difficulty in the Old Testament by the assistance of the New, considered together as making up one intire Dispensation, is an unfair way of arguing against an Unbeliever: who supposing both the Jewish and Christian Religions to be false, of consequence supposes them to be independent on one another ; and that this pretended relation was a contrivance of the Authors of the later imposture to give it strength, by ingrafting the young shoot into the trunk of an old flourishing Superstition. Therefore, will they say, if we would argue with success against them, we must seek a solution of their difficulties in that Religion alone, from which they arise.”—Thus I may suppose them to argue. And I apprehend they will have no reason to say I have put worse arguments into their mouths than they are accustomed to employ against Revelation.
I reply then, that it will admit of no dispute, but that, if they may have the liberty of turning JUDAISM and CHRISTIANITY into two Fantoms of their own devising, they will have a very easy victory over Both. This is an old trick, and has been often tried with success. By this slight-of-hand conveyance TYNDAL hath juggled fools out of their Religion. For, in a well-known book written by him against Revelation, he hath taken advantage of the indiscretion of some late Divines to lay it down as a Principle, that Christianity is only a republication of the Religion of Nature : The consequence of which is, that CHRISTIANITY and JUDAISM are independent Institutions. But sure the Deist is not to obtrude his own Inventions, in the place of those Religions he endeavours to overthrow. Much less is he to beg the question of their falsity; as the laying it down that the Jewish and Christian are two independent Religions, certainly is : because Christianity claims many of its numerous Titles to divinity from and under Judaism. If therefore Deists will not, yet Christians of necessity must take their Religion as they find it. And if they will remove objections to either (Economy, they must reason on the Principle of Dependency. And while they do so, their reasonings will not only be fair and logical, but every solution, on such a Principle, will, besides its determination on the particular point in question, be a new proof of the divinity of Both, in general ; because such a relation, connexion, and dependency between two Religions of so distant times, could not come about by chance, or by human contrivance, but must needs be the effect of Divine provision. For a Deist, therefore, to bid us remove his objections on the principle of independency, is to bid us prove our religion true on a principle that implies its falshood ; the New Testament giving us no other idea of Christianity than as of a Religion dependent on, connected with, and the completion of Judaism.
But now suppose us to be in this excess of complaisance for our Adversaries; and then see whether the ingenuity of their acceptance would not equal the reasonableness of their demand. Without doubt, were we once so foolish to swallow their Chimeras for the heavenly Manna of Revelation, we should have them amongst the first to cry out upon the prevarication. I speak not this at random. The fact hath already happened. Certain advocates of Religion, unable to reconcile to their notions of logic, the sense of some Prophecies in the Old Testament, as explained in the applications of the Writers of the New, thought it best to throw aside the care of the JEWISH RELIGION, (a burden which they could as ill bear as the rebellious Israelites themselves) and try to support the CHRISTIAN, by proving its divine Original, independently and from itself alone. Upon this Mr. Collins (for 1 have chosen to instance in these two general dealers in Free-thinking; the small retailers of it vanishing as fast as they appear ; for who now talks of Blount or Coward ? or who hereafter will talk of Strutt or Morgan ?) * that the world may see how little they agreed about their own principles, or rather how little regard they paid to any principles at all ; Mr. Collins, I say, wrote a book to exclaim against our ill faith ; and to remind us of, and to prove to us, the inseparable connexion between the Old and New Testament. This was no unseasonable reproof, howsoever intended, for so egregious a folly. I will endeavour to profit by it ; and manage this Controversy on their own terms. For whatever prevarication appeared in the Objectors, I conceived they had demanded no more than what they might reasonably expect. But the advantages arising to us from this management soon made them draw back, and retract what they had demanded ; and now they chicane with us for calling in the assistance of the New Testament to repel their attacks upon the Old ; + while, at the same time, they think themselves at liberty to use the assistance of the Old to overthrow the New. Let the Friends of Revelation, however, constantly and uniformly hold the inseparable connexion between the two Dispensations; and then, let our Enemies, if they will, as they fairly may, take all the advantages they fancy they have against us, from the necessity we lie under of so doing.
In a word, We give them Judaism and Christianity as Religions equally from Heaven ; with that reciprocal dependence on each other which arises between two things bearing the mutual relation of foundation and superstructure. They have it in their choice to oppose our pretensions, either by disputing with us that dependency, or raising
• See note GGG, at the end of this book. book.
+ See note HHH, at the end of this
difficulties on the foot of it. But while they only suppose it 'visionary ; and then argue against each Religion on that supposition, they only beg the question. And while they do that, we keep within the rules of good logic, when we remove their objections on that principle of dependency laid down in Scripture. This restrictive rule of interpretation being however still observed, That, in explaining any difficulty in the Old Testament, we never, on pretence of such dependency, forsake the genius and manners of the times in question, and serve ourselves of those of the later Christian period, as Collins (whether truly or no, let Them look to, who are concerned in it) upbraids some defenders of Christianity for doing. This rule is here, I presume, observed with sufficient exactness ; the foundation of my interpretation of the Command being that ancient mode of converse, so much at that time in use, of conversing by actions.
II. But the Adversaries of Revelation, how easily soever they may be confuted, are not so easily silenced. They are ready to object, that we fly to the old exploded refuge of a TYPE, which the Author of the Grounds and Reasons of the Christian Religion hath shewn to be visionary and senseless ; the mere illogical whimsy of Cabalistic Jews. To this I answer,
1. They are doubly mistaken. This interpretation is not wounded in any typical sense whatsoever ; the person of Isaac on the Mount being no more a Type of Christ than the six letters that compose the name are a Type of him ; but only an arbitrary mark to stand for the idea of Christ, as that word does. So that their cry against Types, whatever force it may have, does not at all affect this interpretation.
2. But, secondly, I say, A TYPE is neither visionary, nor senseless, notwithstanding the disgrace which this mode of information hath undergone by the mad abuses of Fanaticism and Superstition. On the contrary, I hold it to be a just and reasonable manner of denoting one thing by another : not the creature of the imagination, made out of nothing to serve a turn ; but as natural and apposite a figure as any employed in human converse. For Types arose from that original mode of communication, the conversing by actions : the difference there is between these two modes of information being only this, that, where the action is simply significative, it has no moral import : For example, when Ezekiel is bid to shave his beard, to weigh the hair in balances, to divide it into three parts, to burn one, to strike another with a knife, and to scatter the third part in the wind,* this action having no moral import is merely significative of information given. But when the Israelites are commanded to take a male lamb without blemish, and the whole assembly of the congregation to kill it, and to sprinkle the blood upon the door-posts, † this action having a moral • Ezek. v. 1, 2.
+ Exod. xii. 5--7.
where the action these two modes of inting by actions : th
import as being a religious Rite, and, at the same time, representative of something future, is properly typical. Hence arose the mistake of the interpreters of the Command to offer Isaac. These men supposing the action commanded to have a moral import, as being only for a trial of Abraham's faith ; and, at the same time, seeing in it the most exact resemblance of the death of CHRIST, very wrongly concluded that action to be typical which was merely significative : and by this means, leaving in the action a moral import, subjected it to all those cavils of infidelity, which, by taking away all moral import, as not belonging to it, are here entirely evaded.
But it being of the highest importance to Revelation in general, and not a little conducive to the support of our arguments for the Divine Legation of Moses in particular, to shew the logical truth and propriety of Types in action, and Secondary senses in speech, I shall take the present opportunity to sift this matter to the bottom. For having occasionally shewn, in several parts of the preceding Discourse, that the references in the law to the GOSPEL are in typical representations, and secondary senses ; and the truth of Christianity depending on the real relation (which is to be discovered by such references) between the two Dispensations, it will be incumbent on me to prove the logical truth and propriety of types in action, and SECONDARY SENSES in speech.
And I enter on this subject with the greater pleasure, as one of the most plausible books ever written, or likely to be written, against Christianity is intirely levelled at them. In this enquiry I shall pursue the same method I have hitherto taken with unbelieving Writers ; examine only the grounds and principles on which they go ; and having removed and overthrown these, in as few words as I am able, leave the superstructure to support itself, as it may.
SECTION VI. The book I speak of is intitled, “A Discourse of the Grounds and Reasons of the Christian Religion," written, as is generally supposed, by Mr. Collins ; a Writer, whose dexterity in the arts of Controversy was so remarkably contrasted by his abilities in reasoning and literature, as to be ever putting one in mind of what travellers tell us of the genius of the proper Indians, who, although the veriest bunglers in all the fine arts of manual operation, yet excel everybody in slight of hand and the delusive feats of activity.
The purpose of his book is to prove that Jesus was an impostor : and his grand argument stands thus,—“JESUS” (as he shews) “ claims under the promised Messiah of the Jews; and proposes himself as the Deliverer prophesied of in their sacred Books ; yet” (as he attempts to shew) “none of these Prophecies can be understood of Jesus but in