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eating, drinking, and sleep; passionate ; petulant; revengeful ; disappointed, not unfrequently, of his wishes and desigas; lewd ; gratified by the number, variety, and smell, of his sacrifices : his character dependent and fluctuating: his government a succession of expedients and fetches. Trace both these schemes from the beginning to the end, and you will find these representations fair portraits of them both. The distinction between them, which is formed by the different diews, which they contain of the character of God, runs through every part of the two systems; and cannot but be marked by a considerate eye in all the several branches. The scheme of providence ; the views of virtue and vice; the means of restoration to the Divine favour, of justification, and acceptance; the precepts of piety and morality; the worship; the final Judgment; and the future state; are all suited, in the one case, to Jehovah ; and, in the other, to Jupiter, united with the group of gods and goddesses.
II. We are here furnished with powerful evidence, that the Scriptures are a Revelation from God. . These different systems actually exist. One of them is actually found in the Scriptures. The others are all professedly, as well as really, schemes of human Philosophy. For this difference between them there is a cause. What is that cause ?
It is not superiority of native talents. This Infidels themselves will acknowledge. There is not, so far as I know, any reason lo conclude, that any group of human beings have possessed greater native talents, than can be found among the learned Greeks and Romans. Besides, we find the same system, in substance, exhibited by all the writers of the Old and New Testament. It certainly will not be pretended, that all these were superior to Homer and Aristotle, Cicero and Virgil, in original vigour of mind.
It cannot be superiority of education.
The arts and sciences of the Greeks and Romans were certain. ly far more advanced than those of the Jews. On moral subjects, only, do they write like children ; and teach doctrines, which children in this country, who are able to write at all, would be ashamed either to teach, or believe. On all other subjects they write like men ; and like men of capacious and
superior minds. Even on moral subjects they write in one sense like men. The childish character they discover in embracing these errors; while in defending them they manifest the utmost strength and ingenuity of the human Intellect.
At the same time, David, Amos, Christ, Matthew, Mark, John, James, Peter, and Jude, were all uneducated Peasants; unpossessed of a single advantage of education, which is not enjoyed by the plainest, humblest people of this State ; and destitute of some, which they enjoy.
It is not the advantage of prior Instruction, derived from men of superior minds; whose wisdom, and sublime discoveries, they imbibed, and retailed, to succeeding generations.
I admit, that the Greeks were, to a considérable extent, obliged to form their own philosophy on these subjects. But Moses, and Job, (whom I consider as the Author of the Book, which bears his name,) are the two earliest writers, whose works are now extant: and these men enter directly upon the subjects, in question, with the same clearness and precision, with the same purity and sublimity, which are found in those who followed them. The same Jehovah reigns in their works; the same scheme of creation and providence ; the same system of morals and religion; which prevail every where throughout the Scriptures.
Should it be said, that Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians ; it is readily acknowledged. But it must be acknowledged also, that the Egyptians had no such doctrines, as these. The laws and government of the Egyptians appear to have been wise, and deserving of respect: while their religious philosophy was puerile and contemptible.
Should it be said, that the Persian and Hindoo writings are, in some instances, prior in time to those of Job and Moses ; I answer, that this is said gratuitously, without the least support from evidence. But, should it be granted, it will not at all affect the point in debate. The Brahminical and Persian systems are even more absurd and childish, than those of the Egyptians and Greeks. All of them contain some just and sublime doctrines : but they are blended with such a mass of despicable rubbish, as to prove, on the one hand, the immeasurable supe
riority of the Scriptural system to them all; and, on the other, that those, who have delivered the superior parts of them to us, were not the discoverers of these just and sublime doctrines , but received them, traditionarily, from revelations, communicated to men of preceding ages.
It is here to be observed, that these Philosophers, of every Country, and of every age, differed endlessly from each other, concerning those parts of their respective systems, which were of primary importance, as well as concerning others. The two most important of all subjects of contemplation are God and the Supreme Good. Concerning the former of these, Varro, who probably knew better than any other ancient, declares, that there were three hundred different opinions. In other words, there were three hundred different gods of the philosophy, with which he was acquainted. Concerning the latter, the diversities of opinions, among the same men, were, as he asserts, two hundred and eighty-eight. If they differed in this manner concerning these all-important objects; it will be easily believed, that in forming a system, into every part of which these must enter as constituent materials, they must differ in a similar maoner. Accordingly, they differ, contend, and contradict each other, with respect to almost every thing, which has been called philosophy. Nor is this discordance found in different sects of Philosophers only; but in different members also of the same sect, and in different discourses of the same writer.
How opposite to all this is the appearance of the Scriptures! They were written, during the whole progress of fifteen centuries, with no considerable interval, except that between Malachi and Matthew; and were, therefore, liable to all the diversities of opinion, which could be supposed to arise during this long period, in a single nation, from any source whatever. There were at least one hundred writers, and speakers, concerned in them, as teachers of Divine truth. They were of all classes of society, from the Prince to the Peasant. The modes, in which they wrote, may be considered as involving all those, in which men have thought it desirable to write, except such, as are professedly fictitious. The states of society, and the spheres of life, in which the writers lived, and the occasions which called forth
their several compositions, were at least equally numerous, and diverse. Still, an entire harmony runs through them all. Amos the herdsman, Matthew the toll.gatherer, and John the fisherman, exhibit the same just, clear, extensive, pure, and exalted views of Divine subjects, the same religion, the same morality, and the same scheme of salvation, with those of Moses and Paul, not. withstanding all their learning, and those of Daniel and Isaiah, David and Solomon, notwithstanding the high rank, which they held in human society.
It is further to be observed, that the Scriptural writers have taught all, which mankind at present know, concerning morals and religion. There is no rule of faith, and no rule of practice, known by men at the present time, and fairly defensible, which is not either expressly declared, or unquestionably implied, in the Scriptures.
It cannot here be said, that these defects of Philosophy arose from the want of sufficient numbers, engaged in the pursuit of this great object; or of sufficient zeal, industry, and exertion, on the part of those, who were engaged. The number of men embarked in this pursuit was prodigious. Success in it was a source of distinction, coveted by Kings and Emperors. The zeal, with which it was prosecuted, was accordingly intense; and the labours, employed in it, extended through a long succession of ages.
For this mighty difference between the schemes of Philosophy, and the system of the Scriptures, no Infidel has hitherto accounted ; and no rational account, it is presumed, can be given, not involving a cause, which, if adequate to the effect, will be more difficult of admission, more miraculous, than Inspiration.
PROVERBS viii. 6.
Hear! for I will speak of excellent things ; and the opening of my
lips shall be right things. In the preceding part of this discourse, after recapitulating the great subjects, adopted as parts of a Theological System in the series of sermons, then brought to a close, and making a few observations on the import of the text, I proceeded to make some general Remarks on the subject at large.
In the first, I considered the superiority of the Moral Scheme of the Scriptures, which I had so long been employed in unfolding to this audience, to the moral schemes of Philosophy.
In the second, I mentioned, that this view of Theology furnished powerful evidence of the Revelation of the Scriptures.
I shall now proceed to finish the discourse with two other remarks, which I had not then sufficient time to consider; and observe,
III. How well does the Theology of the Scriptures merit the diligent investigation of every man, furnished with an enlightened education.
In periods, not long past, a great proportion of those, who