[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“ true end of his Mission. It was to carry the chil“ dren of Israel out of Egypt, and put them in

possession of the Land of Canaan, in execution of " the Covenant made with Abraham. The work in “ the very NATURE of it required the administration

of an extraordinary Providence; of which it ought

THEREFORE TO BE PRESUMED that Moses had “ both the assurance and crperience : otherwise he “ would have engaged in a very man undertaking, " and the people would have been as MAD in follow


Legation, and this evidence has no sort of depen« dence upon the belief or disbelief of the doctrine

of a future state. For supposing (what is the

truth) that the Israelites did believe it; what could “ this belief effect? It might carry them to Heaven, " and would do so if they made a proper use of it, “ but it could not put them in possession of the Land “ of Canaan. Mr. Warburton therefore has plainly “ mistaken his point.”

This intiination of my mistake is kind : and I should have taken bis hint, as short as it is, but for the following reasons:

1. This hint would serve the Mufti full as well, to prove the Divine Legation of Mahomet : for thus we may suppose he would argue :-“ Mahomet's work was not like Moses's, the subdual of a small tract of Country, possessed by seven Tribes or Nations, with a force of some hundred thousand followers; but the conquest of almost all Asia, with a handful of Banditti. Now this work, says the learned Mahometan, in the very nature of it, required the administration of an extraordinary providence, of which it OUGHT THEREFORE TO BE PRESUMED, that Mahomet had

both assurance

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

both the assurance and erperience; otherwise he would huve engaged in a very mad undertaking, and the people would have been as niad in following him.

Thus hath the learned Doctor taught the Mufti how to reason. The worst of it is, that I, for whoin the kindness was principally intended, cannot profit by it, the argument lying cxposed to so terrible a retortion. To this the Doctor replies, that the cases are widely different; and that I myself allow them to be different, for that I hold, the Legation of Moses to be a true one; and the Legation of Mahomet, an impasture.-- Risum tercatis, Amici!

But there is another reason why I can make nothing of this gracious kint. It is because I proposed to PROVE (and not, as he says I ought to have done, to PRESUME upon) the Divinity of Moses's mission, by an internal argument. Indeed he tells me, that if I be for proving, he has pointed out şuch a one to ine. He says so, 'tis true: but in so saying, he only shews puis ignorance of what is ineant by an INTERNAL

An internal argument is such a ane as takes for its inedium some notoriouş Fact, or circumstance, in the fraine and constitution of a Religion, not in contest; and from thence, by necessary consequence, deduces the truth of a fact supported by testimony which is in contest. Thụs, froın the notorious l'act of the omission of a future State in Maşes's institution of Law and Religion, I deduce bis Divine Legation.

But the learned Artist himself seems conscious that the ware he would put into my hands is indeed no better than a counterfeit piece of trumpery; and so far from being an internal argument, that it is no argument at all : For he tells us, IT OÇOUT THEREFORE TO BE PRESUMED, that Aloses had both the 5

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

ássurance and experience that God governed the Israelites by an extraordinary Providence.

But what follows is such unaccountable jargon ! Por supposing the Israelites did believe a future State, what would this belief effect? It might carry them to Heaven, but it could not put them in possession of the land Canaan. This looks as if the learned Doctor hat supposed that, from the truth of this assertion, That no civil Society under a common Providence could subsist without a future state, I had inferred, that, with a future staté, Society would be able to work wonders.- What efficacy a future state bath, whether little or much, affects not my argument any otherwise than by the oblique tendency it hath to support the reasoning: and I urged it thus;-" I kad not the Jews been nader an extraordinary Providence, at that period when Muses led tiiein out to take possession of the land of Canaan, they were most unfit to bear the want of the doctrine of a future state :" Which observation I supported by the case of Odin's followers, and Mahomet's; who, in the same circumstances of making conquests, and seeking new habitations, had this Doctrine sedulously inculcated to them, by their respective Leaders. And the histories of both these Nations inform us, tlint nyothing so inuch contributed to the rapidity of their successes as the enthusiasm which that Doctrme inspired.

And yet, to be sure, the Doctor never said a livelier thing, who is celebrated for saying many, than when he asked, \Vhat could this belief effect? It might carry them to Heaven; but it could not put them in possession of the Land of Canaan. Now unluckily, fike most of these witty things, when too nearly inspeeted, we find it to be just the reverse of the truth. The belief could never carry them to Heaven, and


yet was abundantly sufficient, under such a leader as Moses, to put them in possession of the land of Canaan. The Arabians' belief of a future state could never, in the opinion at least of our orthodox Doctor, carry them to Heaven; yet he must allow it enabled them to take and keep possession of a great part of Europe and Asia. But the Doctor's head was running on the efficacy of the Christian Faith, when he talked of belief carrying men to heaven.—Yet who knows, but when he gave the early Jews the knowledge of a future state, he gave them the Christian faith into the bargain ?

SECT. V. THUS we see that an EXTRAORDINARY PROVIDENCE WAS THE NECESSARY CONSEQUENCE OF A THEOCRACY; and that this Providence is represented in Scripture to have been really adıninistered. TEMPORAL REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS, therefore, (the effects of this providence) and not future, MUST NEEDS BE THE SANCTION of their Law and Religion.

Having thus prepared the ground, and laid the foundation, I go on to shew that future Rewards and Punishments, which couLD NOT BE THE SANCTION of the Mosaic Dispensation, WERE NOT Taught in it at all: and that, in consequence of this Omission, the people had not the doctrine of a future state many ages. And here my, arguments will be chiefly directed against the believing part of my opponents; no Deist *, that I know of, ever pretending that the doctrine of a future state was to be found in the Law,

Moses delivered to the Israelites a complete Digest of Law and Religion : but, to fit it to the nature of a * See note (Y) at the end of this Book.


Theocratic Government, he gave it perfectly incorporated. And, for the observance of the intire Institution, he added the sanction of rewards and punislaments: both of which we have shewn to be necessary for the support of a Republic: and yet, that civil Society, as such, can administer only one *.

Now in the Jewish Republic, both the rewards and punishments promised by heaven were TEMPORAL only. Such as health, long life, peace, plenty, and doninion, &c. Diseases, immature death, war, famine, want, subjection, and captivity, &c. And in no one place of the Mosaic Institutes is there the least mention,' or any intelligible bint, of the rewards and punishments of another life.

When Solomon had restored the integrity of Religion; and, to the regulated purity of Worship, had added the utmost magnificence; in his DEDICATION of the new-built Temple, he addresses a long prayer to the God of Israel, consisting of one solemn petition for the continuance of the OLD COVENANT made by the ministry of Moses. He gives an exact account of all its parts, and explains at large the SANCTION of the Jewish Law and Religion. And here, as in the writings of Moses, we find nothing but TEMPORAL rewards and punishments; without the least hint or intimation of a future state.

The holy PROPHETS speak of no other. Thus Isaiah :

“ Then shall he give the rain of thy seed that " thou shalt sow the ground withal, and bread of the

increase of the earth, and it shall be fat and plenteous; and in that day shall thy cattle feed in large

pastures.--And there shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every high 'hill, rivers and

streams of water f." And Jeremiah : “I will. * 1.6. Punishmeuts. See Vol. I. p. 210. + Ch. XXX. ver. 23. 25.


[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »