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are the two Ends to which Mofes applies his own Songs or Poems, Exod. xv. Deut. xxxii. If it be thought, that there was no Writing before the Flood, because there is no Account of the Invention of it, tho' the Inventors of other inferior Arts be mention’d; this rather proves the contrary, and that it was coæval with Mankind, or was the Invention of Adam. It is not propable, that in so long a Life, he should find out nothing for the use of himself and his Pofterity, tho' no Invention be attributed to him; and Writing is so necessary, that the World could very ill subsist without it for between Sixteen and Seventeen Hundred Years. The Græcians, and other Nations, háve recorded the first Inventors, as they suppos’d, of Letters, as those who best deserv'd'a Memorial in History. But <Pliny is of Opinion; that the Assyrian Letters, by which we are to understand the ancient Hebrew, or Samaritan Characters, have been from the Beginning of the World. And since there is no other mention amongst the ancientest fewish Writers, but that they were before the Flood, some of them alfo ascribing them to Adam, this implies that they were of the greatest Antiquity, and the Time of their Invention is no more known than that of Ploughing and Sowing, and other necessary Arts, which were from the Beginning of the World.
But though it should be supposed, that before the Flood they had not the fame Conveniencies for preserving the Remembrance of things past, which we have had fince, yet things of this nature could never be imposed upon the Generality of Men; and if they had less means of conveying things paft to Posterity, they had fewer things to convey; and all their Histories being concerning the Ancestors of their own Families.,, they were easily remembred ; and however short and imperfect, they could not be fo
€ Plin. Hift. 1. 7. c. 56. cum Harduin. Not,
defe&tire, as that Men should generally be so grosly ignorant as to swallow such Impostures : They had One Day in Seven purposely set apart for the Praise and Worship of God, and the Commemoration of his Mercies vouchsafed to Mankind; and they, who had Proverbial Remembrances of Nimrod, the third from Noah, could not be ignorant of Noah himself, and of the Flood in his time. <. In so few Generations of Men as had past, by reason of the long Lives of the Patriarchs, it was impofsible for Moles to impofe upon those of his own Age in things so memorable as the Creation of the World, and the Flood, and the Destruction of Sodom and GCmorrah, &c. But when, so long after the Flood, the Sons of Noah were dispersed into fo far distant places of the Earth, and their Manners and Customs were different, and their Liveshorter, it became necessary that a true and lasting Account of those things should itand recorded in a Book of infallible Credit and Authority, for the benefit of future Ages, lest, in process of time, the Remembrance of them should become obscure and confus'd, and fabulous Stories should be imposed upon the World for Truth, in Matters of fo great Importance. For it has been obferv'd by divers learned Men, that the most ancient Histories, as well as the Philosophy and Theology of the Heathens, contain many things concerning the Creation of the World, the first Propagation of Mankind, the Flood, and other Particulars; which have so plain an Agreement with what we read in the Book of Genesis, that they are supposed to be taken out of it: but they are obscur d and disguis’d under other Names and Characters, to conceal from whence they were originally taken, and to gain them the better Acceptance amongst those for whose use the Books containing
them were design'd by their Authors. And when the Remembrance of God's Dealings with past Ages began to fail, and the ways of Humane Convey ance were so uncertain, it was requisite that some infallible Account should be given of God's Dispensatons, and his Communications of himself in the first Ages, which might be transınitted down to Pofterity, unto the End of the World,
HE End and Design of a Revelation from Heaven ,
must be for the Good of Mankind, and therefore it was neceflary that it should be known and promulg'd in the World; and that Revelation which has been known to most Nations, and farthest divulg'd, carries another Evidence of its Divine Authority. For since it is necessary there should be some Divine Revelation, it is likewise necessary that it should be sufficient to the Ends for which it was de fign'd; and it was revealed, not to be conceald, of confin'd to a few Persons, but to re&ifie the Mistakes, and regulate the Manners of Men; and therefore that which
has been most known, and farthest propagated, we have reason to think to be a true Revelation. If every thing else concur to prove it true, the very Promulgation of it is a considerable Evidence in proof of its Divine Authority: Because it is not to be supposed, that God would either suffes his own Revelation to be so stifled and suppress’d, as to become of little or no use and benefit to the World, or that he would permit false Revelations to be more known and divulg'd; either of which would very ill consist with the Intention of Revealing his Will to Mankind.
It has been already proved, That it is not to be expe&ted that God should reveal himself to every Man
in particular, and it could not be requisite, that he should afford a constant and standing Revelation in all Nations of the World. For if Mankind be sufficiently provided for in the Necessaries of Salvation, this is all which in Reason can be expected from a Just and Good God to sinful and perverse Man. If Men be put in the ready Way of Salvation, and have sufficient Means allow'd them to attain it; all beyond this is the mere arbitrary Effect of Infinite Goodness, and depends wholly upon the good Pleasure of God, being more than we could promise 'our selves from his Justice, or, by Reason, foresee from his Mercy it self. And his Wisdom so orders and disposes the Effects and Emanations of his Mercy, as to render them confistent with his Justice and Honour, as He is Governor of the World.
And if, in the first Agęs, Revelations were frequent, and generally known amongst all Mankind, till by their own fault and neglect they were withholden from them; it was the great Mercy of God, afterwards, to continue to those Nations, who had despised and rejected him, an Opportunity of knowing his Will revealed to others : And this God was pleas’d to do, by appointing a chosen Seed, and selecting to himself a peculiar People, to bear his Name before the Nations; and, by the various Dispensations of his Providence, he fo disposed of that people, that all Nations might be instructed in the things revealed and delivered to them. A sin
Fir fi then, I shall fhew, That in the first Ages, of the World, the Revealed Will of God was known to all Mankind.
Secondly, That in fucceeding Ages there have still been sufficient Means and frequent Opportunities for all Nations to come to the Knowledge of it.
1. In the firft Ages of the World, the Reveald Will of God was known to all Mankind. And here we must have recourse to the History of the Bible; since it is acknowledg’d, by all learned Men to be so much the ancientest Book, which can give us an Aca count of Religion, in the World. For unless we will reject all History, and believe nothing related of Ancient Times, we must take our Accounts from such Books as treat of them : And till by the Method proposed, I have proved the Bible to be of Divine Authority, I shall alledge it only as an Historical Relation of Things past; in which respect, it would be unreasonable to deny it that credit which is allowed to other Books of that naturę. And this is all that is now desired, in order to the clearing of what I am at present upon; which is to fhew, That nothing requisite to a true Revelation is wanting to the Script tures ; and therefore, that they have been sufficiently promulged and made known to the World.
In the Beginning of the World, God was pleased to create but one Man, and one Woman, and to peo ple the Earth from them ; which must exceedingly tend both to the preservation of Order and Obedience amongst Men, and to the retaining of the Knowledge of God, and of his Ways and Dealings with the first Parents of Mankind. But if Multitudes had been created, and the Earth had been peopled at once, the natural effect of this had been Ambition and Strife, Confusion and Ignorance : For as the Inhabitants of the World multiplied, so did all Sin and Wickedness, encrease; though all descended from the same Parents; and these Parents lived to see many Generations of their Off-spring, and to instruct and admonish them; which, if any thing could have done it, must have kept up a sense of God and Religion amongst Men. Adam himself performed the Office of a Father, a Priest, and a King, to his Children; and the Office and Authority of these three descended upon the
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