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We have now seen from undoubted testimony, that the Pentateuch has been uniformly ascribed to Moses as its author; that the most antient traditions remarkably agree with his account of the Creation of the World, the Fall of Man, the Deluge, and the Dispersion of Mankind; that about the time mentioned in the Pentateuch, a part of the inhabitants of Egypt, who came originally from the east, did migrate under a person of the name of Moyses or Moses; that a people with such laws and institutions as he professes to have given them, have existed from remote antiquity; and we ourselves are eye-witnesses that such a people, so circumstanced, exist at this hour, and in a state exactly conformable to his predictions concerning them. But it may be observed, that the civil history of the Jews is seldom contested, even by those who imagine the Pentateuch to have been written in some age subsequent to that of Moses, from a collection of Annals or Diaries; it is the miraculous part of it which is disputed. To this observation however we may
'state of the natural and moral woild, and accord with the doctrines of Christianity. We may indeed retort the charge of credulity upon those who can believe that any man could write such a history without direct Inspiration from Him " who knoweth all things.” Vol. I,
oppose the conclusive argument of a professed enemy to revealed religion (m), " that the miraculous part of the Mosaic history is not like the prodigies of Livy, and other profane authors, unconnected with the facts recorded; it is so intermixed and blended with the narrative, that they must both stand or fall together.” With respect to the Annals which are mentioned as the supposed foundation of this history, they must have been either true or false; if true, the history of the Israelites remains equally marvellous ; if false, how was it possible for the history to acquire the credit and esteen in which it was so universally held ? But upon what is this supposition founded ? No particular person is mentioned, with any colour of probability, as the author or compiler of the Pentateuch; no particular age is pointed out with any appearance of certainty, though that of Solomon is usually fixed upon as the most likely. Yet why the most enliglitened period of the Jewish history should be chosen as the best adapted to forgery, or interpolation, nay, to the most gross imposition that was ever practised upon mankind, it is difficult to conjecture. Was it possible, in such an age, to write the Pentateuch in the name of the venerated lawgiver of the Jews from a.
collection (m) Lord Bolingbroke's Letter, occasioned by one of Archbishop Tillotson's Sermons.
collection of annals, and produce the firm belief that it actually had been written more than 400 years before; and this not only throughout the nation itself, but among all those whom the extended fame of Solomon had connected with it, or had induced to study the history and pretensions of this extraordinary people?
But a more particular consideration of the contents of the Pentateuch, as relating immediately to the Jews, will furnish irrefragable arguments to prove its Authenticity, and the truth of its claims to Inspiration. The Pentateuch contains directions for the establishment of the civil and religious polity of the Jews, which, it is acknowledged, existed from the time of Moses; it contains a code of laws, which every individual of the nation was required to observe with the ut. most punctuality, under pain of the severest punishment, and with which, therefore, every individual must be supposed to have been acquainted (n); it contains the history of the ancestors
(n) “ Indeed the greatest part of mankind are so far from living according to their own laws, that they hardly know them; but when they have sinned, they learn from others that they have transgressed the law. Those also, who are in the highest and principal posts of the government, confess they are not acquainted with those laws, and are obliged to take such persons, for their assessors in
of the Jews ja regular succession, from the creation of the world; and a series of prophecies, which, in an especial manner, concerned theme selves, and which must have been beyond measure interesting to a people who were alternately enjoying promised blessings, and suffering under predicted calamities; it contains not only the wonders of creation and providence in a general view, but also repeated instances of the superintending care of the God of the whole earth over their particular nation, and the institution of feasts and ceremonies in perpetual remembrance of these divine interpositions; and all these things are professedly addressed in the name, and to the contemporaries, of Moses, to those who had seen the miracles he records, who had been witnesses to the events he relates, and who had heard the awful promulgation of the Law. Let any one reflect upon these extraordinary and wonderful facts, and surely he must be convinced, that they could never have obtained the universal belief of
those, public administrations, as profess to have skill in those laws. But for our people, if any body do but ask any one of them about our laws, he will more readily tell them all, than he will tell his own name; and this in consequence of our having learned them immediately, as soon as we became sensible of any thing, and of our having them as it were engraven on our souls.” Jose, phus against Apion.
those, among whose ancestors they are said to have happened, unless there had been the clearest evidence of their certainty and truth. Nor were these facts the transient occurrences of a single hour or day, and witnessed only by a small number of persons ; on the contrary, some of them were continued through a space of forty years, and were known and felt by several millions of people; the pillar of the cloud was seen by day, and the pillar of fire by night, during their whole journey in the wilderness (o); nor did the manna fail till they had eaten of the corn in the land of Canaan (p.) We see Moses, in the combined characters of leader, lawgiver, and historian, not once or twice, or as it were cautiously and surreptitiously, but avow edly and continually, appealing to the conviction of a whole people, who were witnesses of these manifestations of Divine power, for the justice of their punishments, and resting the authority of the Law upon the truth of the wonderful history he records. And farther, in order to preserve the accurate recollection of these events, and prevent the possibility of any alteration in this history, he expressly commanded that the whole
Pentateuch (0) Exod. c. 40. v. 38. Numbers, c. 9. v. 22, (P) Exod. c. 16. v. 35. Joshua, c. 5. v. 12.