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Remark 19.1,QCCASIONAL REFLECTIONS. 403
. x

at the tirne when the transacțion happened, but from the similitude anibedre respondency between the event and the pran action by

which it was prefigured; which is exactly the saine no upon either supposition." pp. 156,7. Tot is 1 answer and 1. That I myself never supposed that the dependency between the two dispensation, did

Abraham's knowledge, or any body knowledge," at that or any other time; but from God'S INTENTION that this commanded action should import or represent the sacrifice of Chrisi: and tlien comes in the question

whether tliat inteniion be best discovered from God's declaration of it to Abraham, or from a similitude and correspondency between this commanded aetion and the sacrifice of Christ. Therefore, 2. I answer and say, that t a, si MILITUDE and CORRESPON

not enough to shew this DEPENDENCY to the satisiaction of unbelievers : who say, that a likeness between two things of the same nature; such as the offering up two men to

death, though in different ways, and transacted in two ai periods,

ceny

to one another With the reason they will say, you might pretend that Jephtha's e daughter, or the king of Moab's son, whom the father si

sacrificed on the wall t, were the types of Christ's sacrifice. Give us, say they, a Bible-proof that God declared

revealed his intention of prefiguring the death of Jesus ; or some better authority at least than a modern typifier,

who deals only in similitudes and correspondences. Now whether it be our Examiner, or I, who have given

them this satisfaction, or whether they have any reason consider

t.of us, is left to the impartial reader to considero Yvegla 9 BEDSTE DOV (3 213) glqionika sans XIX. We now come to the UTILITY of my interpreo tation of the command, having got through all Jais objecyitions to its. TRUTH. And here, the saine civility and recandoun which so polished and enlivened the foregoing ovparty shine out again, in the very first words of this. ati . See avhiat thé Letter-writer aboveinentioned says,' pp-53, 54. much to the same purpose, 2-1 ☆ 2 Kings iii. 27, sát

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not.”

" And now, Sir, (says he) give me leave to ask, what “ service have you done to religion by your interpreta“tion? We were prepared for it, by an intimation that " something was to arise from it to the confusion of

infidelity: As how? why first, as by your manner of

explaining this transaction of Abraham, you should illustrate God's truth by the noblest instance that ever was given of the harmony between the Old " and New Testament." And 2dly, “ as by its aid

you should be enabled to give the true solution of " those inexplicable difficulties which have been so long the stumbling-block of infidelity." p. 157.

And now he addresses hiniself to shew, that my interpretation bas neither of these advantages.

“First, as "to the harmony (he says ) he has just above shewn that " the transaction will be equally prophetic of Christ's sacrifice, whether my interpretation be admitted or

Ile hath shewn it indeed! as the Irishman shewed bis And it is fresh in the reader's memory. Come we, tien, to the second. “ As to the second ".(says he) the difficulties which have been so long the

stumbling-block of infidelity, which upon the foot of " the cominon interpretation you call insuperable; I “ greatly marvel that you

should call them so, when you “acknowledge, in the very same page, that the argu"ments, hitherto brought to support the history of " this command are of great weight and validity." pp. 157, 8. He marvels! Why let him marvel. I suppose he never heard that there are insuperable difficulties even to some demonstrable propositions. But he, of all men, should have accepted my concession upon fair terms, since it was made to humour Divines like himself; who think it enough for religion if the objections to it be, as he warily expresses it, GUARDED AGAINST; (p. 137.) which, God knows! they often are, by, arguments of no great ucight or validity.

XX. Ilowever (says he) whether you had owned “ this or not, I SHOULD HAVE TAKEN UPON MYSELF “ THE PROOF that these insuperable difficulties may be “ very, effcctually and substantially removed, without pont borrowing any aid from your interpretation. The substance of the objection to the historic truth of this

“ relation,

relation, as collected by yourself*, is this

, That God, "could never give such a command to Abrahain, 'be}" cause it would throw him into inertricuble doubts

concerning the author of it;'as whether it pro« ceeded from a good or evil being-- \because it *would mislead him in his notions of the Divine, "attributes, and of the fundamental principles of. « morality. For though the revoking the command s prevented the homicidé; yet the aciior being com"manded, and, at the revocation, not condeinneid; ** Abrahani and his family must needs huve thought "human sacrifices grateful to the Almighty. For

a simple revoking was no condemnation; but would * be more naturally esteemed a peculiar indulgence for ready obedience. Thus the Pagan fable of “ Diana's substituting a hind in the place of Iphige

nia, did not make idolaters believe that she therefore abhorred humun sacrifices, they having before "been persuaded of the contrary." p. 158.

The objection, the reader sees, consists of two parts: the one, that Abraham must doubt of the author of the command: the other, that he would be misled concerning bis attributes; or in the gratefulness of human sacrifices to him. ** To the first, our Examiner answers, partly from what I myself had observed might be urged by believers, as of great weight and validity, and partly from what he had picked up elsewhere. But here I shall avoid imitating his exainple, in endeavouring to shew the invalidity of arguments professedly brought in support of religion: an employment by no means becoming a Christian Divine. If they have any weak parts, I shall leave them to unbelievers to find out. I have the more reason foo to trust then to their own weight, both as they are none of his, with whom only I have here to do, and as I have acknowledged their validity. All I shall observe is, that, as I had made that acknowledgment, I see not to what end they are urged against me; unless it were to entertain us with his common-place: which I should have received in silence, had he not affected to introduce it with so much pomp_" Whether you had

* Div. Leg. vol. vi. p. $0.

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“ owned this or not (says he) I should have taken upon "inyself the proof." Whereas, all that he has taken is the property of others : made his own, indeed, by a weak, and an imperfect representation,

But now he comes to the second part of the objection.,, “ As to the latter part of the objection (says he) that. ** from this command, Abraham and his family must “needs have thought human sacrifices acceptable to “God; the revoking the command at last, was a suffi“cient guard against any such construction. To this,

you make the unbeliever answer: No; because the action having been commanded ought to have been "condemned; and a simple revocation was no condennution. But why was not the revocation of the

comuiand, in this case, a condemnnation of the action “ If I should tempt you to go and kill your next neigh-> « bour, and afterwards come and desire you not to do

it; would not this after-declaration be as good an " evidence of my dislike to the action, as the first was of

my apprvirution of it? Yes, and a much better, as it

may be presumed to have been the result of muturer deliberation. Now thongh deliberation and afters

thought are not incident to God; yet as God in this

case condescended (as you say, and very truly) to act " after the manner of nen; the same construction " should be put upon his actions, as are usually put

upon the actions of men in like cascs." pp: 160, 161, Now, though, as was said above, I would pay all decent regard and resterence that becomes a friend of Revelation, to the conmmon arguments of others in its defence, yet I must not betray any cwn, I confessed they had great wçight urd validity; yet, at the same time, 1 asserted, they were attended with insuperable dificulties And while I so thanzig I must beg leave to intorce my reasons for this opinion. And, I hope, without offence; as, the argumenis, I am now about to examine, are purely, thuis writer's own. And the reader hus, by this time, seen too much of him to be appreliensive, that the lessening his authority will be attended with any great disservice to religion.

I had observed, tliat the reasonings of unbelievers on this case, as it is commonly explained, were not devoid

of

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of all plausibility, when they proceeded thus—That as Abraham lived amongst heatiens, whose bighe t'act ot*** divine worship was humán sacrifice; if God had commanded that act, and, on the point of performance, only remitted it as a favour (and so it is represented); without declaring the iniquity of the practice, when addressed to idols; or his abhorrence of it, when directed to himself

t; the family must have been misled in their ideas concerning the moral rectitude of that species of religious worship: therefore, God, in these circumstances, had lic cominanded the action as a trial only, would have explicitly condemned that mode as immoral. But he is not represented as condemning but as remitting it in favour : consequently, say the unbelievers, God did not command the action at all.-Now what says our Examiner, in answer to all this? He says,—“ But why? “ Was not the revocation of the command a condemna

tion of the action ? If I should tempt you to go and kill your next neighbour, and afterwards come and

DESIRE. you not to do it, would not this after-decla*

ration be as good an evidence of my dislike to the action, as the first was of my approbation of it?”. To this I reply; that the cases are, by no means, parallel; either in themselves, or in their circunstances: ist. Not in themscltes. The murder of our next neighbour was, amongst all the Gentiles of that time, esteemed a high inmorality; but, on the contrary, human sacrifices a very holy and acceptabłe part of divine worship. 2dly, Not in their circumstances. The desire to forbear the múrder tempted to is in the case he puts) represented as repentance : whereas the stop put to the sacrifice of Isaac is in the case Moses puts) represented as favour.

But what follows I could wish (for the honour; of modern theology) that the method I have observed would have permitted me to pass over in silence. ,

though deliberation and after-thought (says he) are not incident to God, yet, as God, in this case, condescended (as you say, and very truly) to act after the aus

manner of men; the same construction should be put DinS

upon his actions, as are usually put upon the actions “ of men in like cases :” (pp. 155, 156.) i. e. though délibération and after-thought are not ifícident to God; bo 100 9:37 DD 4, Ti

yet R.

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