Sivut kuvina
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

feasoning confused or sophistical. See, if he be not obliged to me for my indecision. Where I speak of the common opinion, I say, the command is supposed to be GIVEX as a triul only. He thinks fit to tell me, I say not true. But when he comes to prove it, he changes the terms of the question thus," For the common

opinion is that God's INTENTION in this command

was,” fic. Now the purpose of God's giving a command to lbrah11, for his sake, inight be one thing; and huis gencial intention, in that command, as it concerned tbe whole of his dispensation, another. I leave it thercfore to the reader to determine, whether our Examiner changed the terms of the question by design or ignorance. But I bave another reason why he should have allowed me, in this place at least, not to have been unistaken. Aud tiat is, because a great man (whose authority is deservcily the highest in the learned world, and which our Esaminer has more rcasons than one to pay a due. tegarri tv) is in the same sentiments; and takes it for grunterl, as we shall see by the words that follow, that' the common opinion is that God's giving this command was only to try Abrahair.” “I was (says he) under a. ... difficulty [a case, which, I dare say, never happened

to our Examiners to account for this action on the foot “ of its being a trial only*,” But to prove further that I said not true, when I said, that, according to the comanon interpretation the command was given for a triat: only; be. ouscrres, tliat I myself lad owned that the resemblance to Christ's sacrifice uus so strong, that inAerpreters could neter overlock it. How much this is to the purpose, unless we allow Abraham's knowledge of the figure, has been seen already. . Nor does he appear to. be less conscious of its impertinence; therefore, instead of attempting to inforce it to the purpose for which he quotes it, lic turns, all on a sudilou, to show that it makes nothing to the purpose for whichi

. I cmployed it. Buti let us follow this Proteus through all his windings. “The resemblance (says he), no doubt, is very strong: : " but how this corroborates your sense of the command,

I. do not see. Your sense is, that it was an actual,
information given to Abrahum, ot the sacrifice os
- Div. Leg. vol. vi. p. 5.


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


and mit

pasa di

How to comm

[ocr errors]

. Remark 14.] OCCASIONAL REFLECTIONS. 380 hern

* Christ. But to prefigure, and to inform, are differént

things. This transaction might firefigure, and does une la profigure, the sacrifice of Christ'; whether A brohin

knew any thing of the sacrifice of Christ or no." For 4 it does not follow, that because a thing is prefigured;

therefore it must be sech and understood, at the time

when it is prefigured.” pp. 150, 151. Could it have been believed that these words should immediately follow an argument, whose force, that litile it has, is founded on the principle, That to prej gure und to inform Ire NOT different things? But. retrospects, with bad reckoners; are troublesome things. At this rate, I should soon find my task double. I shall therefore take his accounts as they lie. And if they betray themsolves, why so. Hc says then," he does not see how this CORROBORATES "my sense, because to prefigure and to intorm are dif"ferent things.” It was that very difference which inarie me call it a corroboration of my seuse.

Had there beeri sio difference, I should not have called it à corroboration of

my sense, but my very sense itself. As to the observation that follows, and the explanation of it, all he says

true. But a truth the most unlooked for ; 1. Be. cause it is a truth I myself had much inculcated throughout. The Divine Legation. 2. Because it is a full answer to all he bes himself urged in tlie body of his pamphlet for a future state's being known or taught to the Jewish people...-3. Because (as is binted at above) it is as full an answer to the vory question we are upon, riz. Whe+ ther, according to the common opinion, the command was given only to try Abraham; or whether both to try and to prefigure, &c. Now I was there speaking of the could not be one end, because it was not to inform.

XIV. But we are yet only in the skirts of his argu ment, on which, indeed, I have set too long. "Thu. much (says he') being observed to PREVENT confusion." p. 151. This puts me in inind of the constable, who being called in to appease a quarrel, first knocked down every one he met; and then said, “ Thus much to prevent disorder." For the reader secs all the confusion is of his own inaking; and that, I have reason to lear, will kccp risiuy by every new observation.

Let us now CC3


very true.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

that i


[ocr errors]

it maki

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


(says he) attend to your argument.” p. 151. Indeed it is tiine; and so, without more ceremony, take it. One of my proofs against the common interpretation was, that according to that, there was no reward subsequent to the trial. To u bich he answers, “ But how can you

prove that, according to the common interpretation, “ there was no reward subsequent to the trial?" p. 151. How shall I be able to please him?

Before he was offended that I supposed the author of the book of Genesis might omit relating the mode of a fact, when he had good reason * so to do. Here, because I suppose no fact, from there being none recorded, when no reason hindered, he is as captious on this side.“ How will

you prove it?” (says he). From the silence of the historian; say I, when nothing hindered him from speaking. Well, but he will shew it fairly recorded in Scripture, that there were rewards subsequent to the triul. This, indeed, is to the purpose :

Abraham (says he) lived a great many years after that transaction happened. He lived to

dispose of liis son Isaac in marriage, and to see liis c

seed. He lived to be married himself to another wife, “ and to have several children by her; he had not THEN " received all God's mercies, nor were all God's dispen“sations towards him at an end ; and it is to be remem* bered that it is expressly said of Abraham, Gen. xxiv. 1.

(a long time after the transaction in question) that God had blessed him in all things.” pp. 151, 152. The question here is, of the extraordinary and uncommon rewards bestowed by God on Abraham; and lie decides upon it, by an enumeration of the ordinary and common. And, to fill up the measure of these blessings, he makes the marrying of another wif

of another wife one. Though unluckily; this wife at last proves but a concubine ; as appears plainly from the place where she is mentioned. But let me ask him seriously; Could he, indeed, suppose me to mean (though he attended not to the drift of the argument) that God iimmediately withdrew all his favours from the Father of the Faithful, after the last great reward he conferred upon him, though he lived many years alter? I can hardly, I confess, account for this, any otherwise than from a certain turn of mind which I See the reason assigned, Div. Leg. Book vi. & 5.


[ocr errors]

don't caré to give á name to : but which, the habit of answering has made so common that nobody either mistakes it, or is much scandalized at it. Though I, for my part, should esteem a total ignorance of letters a much happier lot than such a learned depravity.

- But this is not all,” (says he.)--No? I am sorry for it! 'Twas enough in conscience.—“ What surprizes me most is, “s that you should argue so WEAKLY, as if the reward “ of good men had respect to this life only. Be it, that Abraham had received all God's mercies; and that all 6 God's dispensations towards him, in this world, were

at an end; was there not a life yet to come, with

respect to which the whole period of our existence * here is to be considered as a state of trial; and where *6 we are all of us to look for that reward of our virtues *" which we very often fail of in this ? ”

often fail of in this?” p. 152. Well, if it was NOT ALL, we find, at least, ’twas all of a piece. For as before he would sophistically obtrude upon us common, for extraordinary rewards ; so here (true to the genius of his trade) he puts common for extraordinary trials. The case, to which I applied my argument, was this;--God, determining to select a chosen people from the loins of Abraham, would manifest to the world that this patriarch was worthy of the distinction shewn him, by having his faith found superior to the hardest trials. In speaking of these trials, I said, that the command to offer Isaac was the last. No, says the Examiner, that "cannot be, for, with respect to a fife to come, the

whole period of our existence here, is to be considered

as a state of trial.” And so again, (says he) with regard to the reward; which you pretend, in the order of God's dispensations, should follow the trial : Why? We are to." look after it in another world.”—Holy Scripture records the history of one, to whom God only promised (in the clear and obvious sense) temporal blessings. It records, that these teinporal blessings were dispensed. One species of which were extraordinary rewards after extraordinary trials. In the most extraordinary of all, no reward followed: this was my difficulty. See here, how he has cleared it up.--I would willingly believe the best : yet the bringing in a future state (no inore to clearing up the difficulty than a future parlia

REMARKS ON SEVERAL [Part II. ment) looks so very like, what the logicians call, argue : mentum ad invidiain, that I don't know whether I shall bring the reader to believe with ine, “ What surprizes nie most (says he) is, that you should argue so weakly." I'cahly, does he say? Let him speak out, and rather say wickedly; which is indeed what he would have the reader understand, though in tenderness he prefers a softer word; for he roundly asserts, that I have argued as if the rewurd of good men had respect to this life only. I had said, indeed, frequently said, that many good men had no respect to any other reward; but that the reward of good men had respect to this life only, I not only never said, but even abhor the thoughts of. I must therefore call upon my Examiner, for this Fourth Time, to prove that I ever argued in that manier, on pain of passing for a calumniator,

XV, But he seems to be sensible of his bad argument; whatever might be his intention in using it; and would save all by another fetch: for the weakest are ever most fruitful in expedients. “ And what (says he) “ if, after all this, the wisdom of God should have qas thought fit, that this very man, whom he had singled “out to be an eminent example of piety to all genera

-tions, should, at the very close of his life, give evidence “of it, by an instance that exceeded all that liad gone “ before; that he might be a pattern of patient suffering, "even unto the end? Would there not be SENSE in “such a supposition ?" P. 153. In truth, I doubt not, as he has put it: and I will tell him, why. Abraham was not a mere instrument to stand for an example only, but a moral agent likewise ; and to be dealt with as such, Now, though, as he stands for an example, we may adurit of-as many trials for patient suffering as our goodnatured Examiner thinks fitting ; yet, as a moral agent, it is required (as I have proved from the method of God's dealing with his servants, recorded in sacred history) that each trial be attended with some work done, or some reward conferred. But these two circunıstances in: Abrahan's character, our Examiner perpetually confounds. -- lle supposesinothing to be done for Abrahan's Orin sake; but every thing for the crumple's sake. Yet; did the good cause of answering require, he could as

« EdellinenJatka »