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And befides the care that was taken for the Prefervation of the Books of the Law, there were publick Memorials of the principal Miracles enjoined; fuch was the Feaft of the Paffover, in remebrance of the Angel's paffing over the Ifraelites, when he flew the Firft-born of the Ægyptians; and the Feast of Taber nacles, in remembrance of their dwelling in Tents in the Wilderness; fuch was the confeffion and commemoration of thofe that offered the Firft-fruits, fetting forth the Mercies of God, in bringing them out of the Land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an out-stretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with figns, and with wonders, Deut. xxvi. 8. and fuch were the Brazen Serpent, the Ark, and the Tabernacle: Thefe were things feen and obferved, or known by all; and they could not be introduced after Mofes's time, becaufe there could be no pretence for it; fince they who inaoduced them, muft fuppofe them to have been before, at the very time when they defigned firft to introduce them. The Urim and Thummim was both a conftant Miracle, and a conftant Atteftation to the Law, by which it was ordained. And it appears, that the Priefts who were to examine and judge of Leprofie either in Perfons or Things, were fecured from the Infection of it, though it were infectious to all others: And their conftant Service could not be performed without a y miraculous Difpenfations t
Thus it is evident, That there is all the Proof which it is poffible to bring in any cafe of this nature, that the Books of Mofes could not be falfified by any Man, or Party of Men whatfoever; fince the Nature and Inftitution of the Law it felf did effectually provide against all Impoftures; and the Jews had all the affurance that it is poffible for any People to have,
y Vid. Lightfoot's Profpect of the Temple, c. 34. P. 2030. N 3
that the Books of Mofes are the fame which he wrote and left behind him. And this infpired them, with fuch a zeal for their Law, as to facrifice their Lives in vindication of it; whereas there was no Book whatfoever, as Jofephus obferves, amongst the Heathens, which any Man amongst them would not rather a thousand times fee deftroyed, though it were in never fo much efteem with them, than he would fuffer for it: Which fhews, that the Jews were fully convinced of the Divine Authority of their Law, from all the Evidence above-mentioned; and were perfuaded, that it is the fame which Mofes delivered, and left behind him.
3. The Pentateuch could not be invented d nor falffied by the joint Confent of the whole Nation, either in Mofes's time, or after it. For how is it poffible that fuch a thing fhould have been concealed from all other Nations? and, that a whole Mation fhould know of the Impofture, and no Man ever difcover it, nor any Apoftate ever divulge it, but they and their Pofterity fhould always profefs, that they believed the Law to be revealed to Mofes by God himself, juft as we now have it in the Pentateuch? that under all Af flictions and Adverfities, they fhould impute their Sufferings to the violation of the Law; and that fo many thould die, rather than depart from it?
Upon the Revolt of the Ten Tribes, Jeroboam would certainly have discover'd it, if he had but fufpected any fuch thing as an Impofture, or could but have hoped to make the People believe that the Laws of Moses were not of Divine Institution, but of Humane Invention and Contrivance; but he supposed the Truth of its Divine Original, whilft he tempted the People to the tranfgreffion of it; Behold thy Gods, O Ifrach which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, 1 Kings xii. 28. he fuppofes them brought out of the Land of Egypt, and brought out by a Divine Power; and endeavours to perfuade them, that the two Calves
which he had fet up in Dan and Bethel, were the Gods who delivered them, and by whofe Authority the Law was given them; and that therefore either of thofe Places was as proper to facrifice in, as FeruJalem: which however abfurd it were, yet he did not think fo abfurd, as to endeavour to make them believe that their Law it felf was no better than an Impofture: he had fome hopes to fucceed in this Project; and the Event fhews, he understood the Temper and Principles of the People he had to deal with; but the other was too grofs for him to attempt.
The true Prophets of Ifrael were ever as zealous for the Law of Mofes, as the Prophets of Judah, and the Falfe Prophets of either Kingdom, never durft deny its Authority: thefe Falfe Prophets affronted and contradicted the Prophets of the Lord, but they ever owned the Law, and pretended to fpeak in the Name of that God who had deliver'd it to Mofes.
And this Divifion of the Ten Tribes made it im poffible afterwards for either the Kingdom of Ifrael, or of Judah, to make any Alterations in the Books of Mofes becaufe there was fo great emulation and enmities betwixt the two Kingdoms, that they could never have agreed to infert the fame Corruptions; and if either of them had attempted fuch a thing, it would foon have been discovered by the other; and therefore the agreement of the Sama itan with the Hebrew Pentateuch, is a plain argument that they are but different Copies of the fame Book, and that it is undoubtedly genuine. The Children of Ifrael; notwithftanding their great pronenefs to Idolatry, never caft off the Law of Mofes as they would certainly have done, being fo often brought into Bondage by their neighbour Nations, if they had not been well affured of the Authority of that Law which they tranfgrefs'd; but they were reduced to the Obedience of the Law, by the Oppreffions of Idolatrous Nations; they ho ped for Deliverance upon their Repentance, according N 4
to the Promifes made in it, and could by no Temptations or Torments be perfuaded or forced to renounce it: But the long Captivity in Babylon wrought a perfect cure in the Jews, as to their inclination to Idolatry; which could never have been, unless by their own experience, in feeing the Prophecies fulfilled, and by other Arguments, they had been fully convinced of the Truth of their own Religion beyond all others.
If it had been of their own Invention, the People would have made their Law, in every refpect, more favourable to themselves; they would not have clogged it with burthenfom Ceremonies,to diftinguish themfelves from the neighbour Nations, to whofe Idolatries they were fo long prone, and from which thefe Cer remonies were defigned to reftrain them. They who were for a long time fo fond of the Idolatries of the Heathen, would never have invented Laws fo uneafie to themselves, and fo contrary and odious to other Nations; they would never have framed them themfelves, and then have pretended a Divine Revelation for thofe Laws with which they were fo little pleafed. They would never have expofed themselves to the whole World, through all Ages, as a stubborn and rebellious People, notwithstanding fo many and fo convincing Miracles fo long wrought amongst them. The e Miracles which I have mention'd, were most of them Judgments upon the Ifraelites, for their Dif obedience; and they would never have fet down thefe Miracles, but would rather have left them out, though they were true, as difgraceful to their Nation. For thus Jofephus has omitted fome things, to avoid the Scandal which, he was aware, would have been given to the Heathen, by a full and punctual Relation of the whole Hiftory of the Jews, as it is defcribed in the Books of Mofes. And they could be as little ignorant as Jofephus, what would prove difgraceful to them, and what would make for their Honour and
Renown; and when the defign of thefe fuppofed Forgeries and Falfifications muft have been to advance the Glory of the People of Ifrael, they would never have made fuch as these. No, if they had made any Al terations, it would have been, to ftrike out those numerous Paffages which are fo reproachful to their Nation, and to have inferted others, which might raife the Fame and Glory of Themfelves, and of their Anceftors; and to have changed those Ceremonies that were fo burthenfome and fo fingular, for those which would have been more eafie to themfelves, and might have recommended them to the good opinion and efteem of the neighbour Nations. But when fo refractory a People became fo zealous for fuch a Law, fo uneafie at firft, and fo diftaftful to them; it is an undeniable Argument, that they had the greateft Affurance of its Divine Original, and that they would neither falfifie it themselves, nor fuffer others to falfifie it.
The People of Ifrael must be fuppofed to be unanimous to a Man, in the making thefe Laws, if they were of their own making; for if any one had diffented, he could not fail of Arguments to draw others after him. In making Laws, the Interefts and Conveniences of the Law-makers are always the Motives for the enacting them; and befides the Publick Honour and Welfare of the Nation, which too often are lefs confider'd, the particular Intereft of every fingle Man would have made him concerned to put a stop to fuch Laws. No People can be fuppofed to confent to the making Laws, by which they are forbidden to fow their Land every Seventh Year, and are commanded to leave their Habitations, and to go up to the capital City, from every part of their Country, thrice in ja Year: No People could agree to enact fuch Laws of their own Contrivance; becaufe none could fubfift in the Obfervation of them, without a Miracle. How can we conceive it poffible for any People to fubfift Dros