« EdellinenJatka »
Argument still pursued.
What I have said, might perhaps be thought sufficient, but as the subject is of the greatest consequence, I hope that it will not be deemed tedious if I recapitulate some of my argu ments, and farther shew the force of the evidence which results from them. It is certain that traditional truths cannot admit of demonstration. Yet, if by a series of co-operating evidence they attain to moral certainty, we ought, if we would act consistently with reason, to acquiesce; for upon such grounds the chief business of life is transacted, and the truth of all traditional information is founded. By this test also the history of Moses is abundantly confirmed. But let us see, if it be not so peculiarly circumstanced as to be entitled to a still higher proof.
I have maintained, and now once for all repeat it, that Moses could not of himself have carried into execution such ordinances; nor could he ever have wished to enforce them. This, I think, to any person acquainted with the nature of the law is past contradiction manifest. For no man would voluntarily
make a yoke for his own neck; nor give fetters for his own hands and feet; nor de signedly work out to himself trouble, when he could avoid it. Nobody would bind himself, his friends, and his posterity, by grievous, artrary, and unsupportable obligations, to the purport of which he was a stranger, and from whence no apparent good could arise.
Nothing therefore remains, but to prove that the law was given, and the internal evidence will shew plainly who was the author. The code of Moses is not like the laws of Minos, Zaleucus, or Charondas, concerning which any thing may be said, as there can be no appeal to them. Of this law we have positive proof and experimental knowledge; for it exists at this day. It is in the hands of the Jews, acknowledged and maintained by them, and religiously observed. If then it exists, it must have had a beginning; and if it confessedly could not ab origine have been the work of man, it must have been appointed and authorized by God; and the immediate legislator was his substitute and servant. His mission therefore must have been of divine original, and his ordinances from heaven; which was the point that from the beginning I purposed to prove. These
truths are partly inferred and partly experimentally obtained; and the proofs resulting from them will perhaps appear to many as cogent and certain as a direct demonstration. By some they may be esteemed more satisfactory and intimately affecting, as they afford more copious and redundant conviction from the various concurring articles upon which they are founded. Such evidence is best adapted to the general apprehension of mankind, and is certainly very conclusive.
Such are the arguments which I have produced in proof of the divine mission of Moses. It is an article which deserves our most serious consideration. For if the law, which was only preparatory, can be shewn to be of divine original, that which succeeded and was completed in Christ must have an equal sanction. The proofs for the one operate as strongly for the other, and point out the power of God, the interposition of divine wisdom. And as the latter dispensation is attended with a greater efficacy, and is the very ultimate to Τ
which the former was directed, there can be no doubt of its superiority, as well as certainty, In short, if the Jewish lawgiver had his mission from heaven, and his laws were of divine inspiration, we must allow the same prerogative to the evangelists and apostles, and the same sanction to their writings. We may therefore abide by the declaration of St Paul : πασα γραφη θεοπνευτος---all scripture is of divine inspiration.
PLACE OF RESIDENCE
Given to the CHILDREN of ISRAEL in Egypt,
Of their DEPARTURE from it.
To determine these articles it will be necessary to consider, first, what the sacred historian has said upon the subject; and, in the next place, to illustrate and support his evidence by every article of intelligence, which profane authors have transmitted to this purpose. And though the events to which we must refer are of very high antiquity, yet we shall find a wonderful concurrence of circumstances towards their illustration and proof; such as few histories can pretend to, though of far later date. All our intelligence concerning past facts must be either from oral tradition or written evidence. And the more distant the fact, the more uncertain we might expect it to be. But this is by no means the The histories of Moses, however re