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such as must have enraged the whole People against him, by the death of so many thousands, so often put to death, if they had been slain by any other means than by the Almighty Hand of God.' And indeed, what could destroy so many, so irresistibly, so fuddenly and visibly, but the Divine Power? And what could be the Design and Intent of such Miracles, but to fulfil the Will of God, and make his power to be known, and his Authority acknowledged, in the Laws which were delivered in his Name, and which were fo often affronted and transgressed by these Sinners, against their own Souls ? At their going out of Ægypt, by a miraculous Providence, there was not one feeble person among their tribes; but upon their transgressions, they were punished by Diseases as miraculous.
We have another Evidence (as I have before observed) that Moses had no design to delude the People of Ifrael
, froin the Meekness of his Disposition, from his discovering his own Faults and Infirmities in his Writings, and from his not advancing his Family, but leaving his Pofterity in a private condition, and putting the Government into the hands of Joshua, one of the
Tribe of Ephraim. But when all the People of Ifrael were Witnesses to so many Miracles wrought by him, and particularly to fo strange a Judgment as the cleaving asunder of the Earth, and the Fire and Plaguie by which so many thousands perished ; we need not insist upon any other Proof, to fhew that the Miraculous Power and Divine Authority by which Mofes acted and wrote, was as well attested, and as fully known to the whole People of Israel, as it is poflible for any Matter of Fact to be known to any single Perfon.
2. Having shewn, That the Matters of Fact and Miracles contained in the Books of Moses, as they are related to have been done, were at first fufficiently attested; and that, if we may credit that Relation, all
the Miracles there mention'd were certainly wrought by him ; since they are of that nature, that the Peo ple of Israel could not be deceived in them: I now proceed to shew, That the Relations there set down, are a true Account of those things, and such as we may depend upon. For if these Matters of Fad or Miracles are either feigned or falsified, this must be done either in Moses's time, or afterwards; and if in his time, then either by Moses and Aaron, with others who were concerned in carrying on the Design, or by the whole People of Israel together. And if it were done after Moses his death, then again it inust be done either by some particular Man, or by the contrivance of some few or more together, or it must have been by the joint Knowledge and Consent of the whole Nation. I will therefore prove, (1.). That the Miracles could not be feigned by Moses and Aaron, and others concerned with them in carrying on such a Design. (2.) That the Miracles could not be feigned, nor the Books of Moses invented or falsified by any particular Man, or by any Confederacy or combinar tion of Men, after the death of Moses. (3.) That the Miracles could not be feigned, nor the Books invented or falsified by the joint Consent of the whole Nation, either in Mofes's time, or after it. 91. These Things could not be feigned by Moses and Aaron, and others concerned with them in carrying on such a Design. It is plain, that they could never invent such an Account as that of their miraculous Escape out of Ægypt, and their Travelling in the Wilderness, under the conduct and support of the same miraculous Power, and then impose it upon the People of Israel for Truth. For the People are fupposed to be chiefly concerned in the whole Relation. Moses appeals to their own Sense and Experience; The Lord made nat this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even with us, who are all of us here: alive this day, Deut. y: 3:: And know you this day: for I speak not with
your children which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the Lord your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched-out arm, and his miracles, and his acts which he did in the midft of Ægypt, unto Pharaoh the king of Ægypt, and unto all his land; and what he did unto the army of Ægypt, unto their horses, ‘and to their chariits, how he made the water of the Redsea to overflow them as they pursued after you, and how the Lord hath destroyed them unto this day; and what he did unto you in the wilderness, until ye came into this place;
and what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the Jons of Eliab the fon of Reuben ; how the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up, and their housholds, and their tents, and all their substance that was in their pof Jession in the midst of all Ifrael : But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the Lord, which he did, Deut. xi. 2, 3,4,5,6,7; Here is a Recapitulation of all the Miracles that had been wrought, with an Appeal to their Senses for the Truth of them. And Mofès would never have made fuch Appeals as these, if they could possibly have disproved him; they could never be perswaded that they came out of Ægypt, after so many Plagues infli&ed upon the Ægyptians, to proçure their Deliverance, if there had been no such thing; or that they were so long time in the Wilderness, and that so many and fo great Miracles were wrought in their fight, if they had never been done before them. Though Men may, perhaps, be persuaded to believe, that their Ancestors, a long time ago, saw and heard things which they never saw nor heard ; yet a whole Nation was never supposed to have been persuaded out of their Senses at once: And Mofes could not attempt to make so many Men believe what they must all have known to have been false, as well as himself, if it had been so; but he would have laid the Scene at a greater distance of Time, and not have brought thofe in as chicfly concerned in the whole Bufiness, who were then alive, and present, to con
vince him of Falshood : And therefore, if the Particulars fer down in the Pentateuch be false, and as ancient as Moses's his time, they must be invented with the knowledge, and received by the consent of the whole Nation. For Moses and Aaron could never lo far delude so many Thousands, as to make them believe such variety of Matter of Fact, in so many and fo wonderful Instances set forth, and with such nocorious Circumstances, and appeal to the senses of those whom they deceived, whether they had not seen and perceived, and had the experience of what had been done for so many Years, if it had been all but Fixion.
z The Miracles could not be feigned, nor the Books of Mofes invented or falsified by any particular Man, or by any Confederacy or combination of Men, after the death of Mofes. If the Miracles were feigned after the death of Moses, either the Laws most likewise be invented or altered after his death, and the Miracles inferted to procure them Authority; or the Laws remained as they had been deliver'd by him, and the Miracles only were added. For the Books of Moses may be conlider'd, either as containing the Laws delivered by him, or as relating the Miracles by which these Laws were ratified and established; in each of which respe&s, there could be no Forgery or Falfification. For,
1. The Laws themfelves could not be invented, nor altered or fallified': Because the whole Jewifh State and Policy was founded upon them, and could not sublist without them; and therefore they must be as ancient as the Jewish Government, which is confess'd on all hands to have been first erected by Moses. For not only their Religious Worship, but their Civil Rights and Interests, depended entirely upon the Laws of Moses; their Publick Proceedings, and their Private Dealings one with another, were all to be regulated and governed by these Laws: And when any
Laws are brought into constant use and practice in any Nation, it is ridiculous to imagine that they can be altered and falfified, and a new System of Laws introduced instead of them, without the knowledge of the People governed by them, or any remembrances of it left amongst them. No material Alterations can be made in Laws which are of continual Ufe, and which concern every Man's Interest, but they must be taken notice of and discovered by such as shall find themfelves aggrieved by such Alterations. But this was less practicable amongst the Jews, than amongst any other People.
1. Because the Distinction of their Tribes, and the Genealogies which were kept of every Family, made them have a more separate and distin& Interest in every Tribe, and a more exact Account of Times, and perfect Knowledge of Things in every Family, and therefore they were not.fo capable of being imposed upon in Things of this nature, as the People of other Nations might be, where Marriages and Inheritances are promiscuous, and no occasion is given for the like Emulation and Watchfulness over one another, and where no such Remembrances and Notices of the
Transactions of Affairs are to be consulted by any one of every private Family : In the wilderness of Sinai, on the first day of the second month, in the fecond year after they were come out of the land of Ægypt, Moses and Aaron allembled all the congregation together, and they declared their pedigrees after their families, by the boufe of their fathers, according to the number of their names, from twenty years old and upward, by their poll, Num. i. 1, 18. and this was done again in the plains
. of Moab, at the end of Forty Years, chap. xxvi. And these Genealogies were preservd, not only during the Captivity, Ezra vii. and down to the Reign of Herod, but even to the time of Fosephus, who (in his First Book against Apion) fays, That they had the Genealogies of their Priests then still extant for Two 3