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. And for this, the two last rules secure us, as the two first rules in the former case : for, whenever such a matter of fact came to be in some vented ; if not only monuments were said to remain of it, but likewise, that public actions and observances were constantly used, ever since the matter of fact was said to be done ; the deceit must be detected, by no such monuments appearing ; and, by the experience of every man, woman, and child, who must know that no such actions, or observances, were ever used by them. For example-Suppose I should now invent a story of such a thing done a thouand years ago; I might, perhaps, get some to believe it : but if I say, that not only such a thing was done, but that, from that day to this, every man, at the age of twelve years, had a joint of his little finger cut off ; and that every man in this nation, did want a joint of such a finger ; and that this institution was said to be part of the matter of fact done so many years ago, and vouched as a proof and confirmation of it, and as having descended, without interruption, and been constantly practised, in memory of such matter of fact, all along from the time that such matter of fact was done ; I say, it is impossible I should be believed in such a case ; because every one could contradict me, as to the mark of cutting off a joint of the finger ; and that being part of my original matter of fact, must demonstrate the whole to be false.
III. Let us now come to the second pointto shew, that the matters of faet of Moses, and of Christ, have all these rules or marks before.
mentioned ; and that neither the matter of fact of Mahomet, or what is reported of the Heath. en deities, have the like, and that no imposture can have them all.
1. As to Moses ; I suppose it will be allowed me, that he could not have persuaded 600,000 men, that he had brought them up out of Egypt, through the Red Sea ; fed them forty years, without bread, by miraculous manna ; and the other matters of fact recorded in his books ; if they had not been true ; because every man's senses, that were then alive, must have contradicted it: and, therefore, he must have imposed upon all their senses, if he could have made them believe it, when it was false, and no such things done. So that here are the first and sec. ond of the above-mentioned four marks.
For the same reason, it was equally impossi. ble for him to have made them receive his five books as truth, and not to have rejected them, as a manifest imposture, which told of all these things as done before their eyes, if they had not been so done. See how positively he speaks to them, Deut. xi. 2-8. “And know ye 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 de did in the midst of Egypt, unto Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and unto all his land; and what he did unto the army of Egypt, unto their horses, and to their chariots ; how he made the water of the Red Sea 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 unto this place ; and what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliah, the son of Reuben : how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed. them up, and their housholds, and their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession, in the midst of all Israel. But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the Lord, which he did,” &c.
From hence we must suppose it impossible that these books of Moses, if an imposture, could have been invented, and put upon the pecple who were then alive when all these things were said to be done.
The utmost, therefore, that even a suppose can stretch to is, That these books were wrote in some ageafter Moses, and put out in his name.
And to this I say ; that if it was so, it was impossible that these books should have been received as the books of Moses, in that age 1 herein they may have been supposed to have been first invented. Why? Because they speak of themselves as delivered by Moses, and kept in the ark from his time.
66 And it came to pass, whien Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished that Moses commanded the Levites which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying, Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.” Deut. xxxi. 24, 25, 26.
And there was a copy of this book, to be left likewise with the king. “And it shall be when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law, in a book, out of that which is before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein, all the days of his life ; that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes to do them." Deut. xvii. 18, 19.
Here you see, that this book of the law speaks of itself—not only as an history, or relation of what things were then done; but as the standing, and municipal law and statutes of the nation of the Jews, binding the king as well as the people.
Now, in whatever age after Moses you will suppose this book to have been forged, it was impossible it could be received as truth; because it was not then to be found, either in the ark, or with the king, or any where else : for, when first invented, every body must know, that they had never heard of it before.
And therefore, they could less believe it to be the book of their statutes, and the standing law of the land, which they had all along received, and by which they had been governed.
Could any man, now at this day, invent a book of statutes, or acts of parliament for Eng. land, and make it pass upon the nation as the only book of statutes they had ever known As impossible was it for the books of Moses (if they were invented in any age after Moses) to have been received for what they declare them
selves to be, viz. the statutes and municipal law of the nation of the Jews; and to have persuadeď the Jews, that they had owned and acknowledged these books all along, from the day of Moses, to that day in which they were first invented : that is, that they had owned them, before they had ever so much as heard of themr. Nay, more, the whole nation must, in an instant, forget their former laws and government, , if they could receive these books, as being their former laws. And they could not otherwise receive them, because they vouched themselves so to be. Let me ask the Deists but this one short question ;-Was there ever a book of sham laws, which were not the laws of the nation, palmed upon any people, since the world began? If not, with what face can they say this of the book of the laws of the Jews ? Why will they say that of them, which they confess impossible in any nation, or among any people ?
But they must be yet more unreasonable.--For the books of Moses have a further demonstration of their trutli, than even other law books have ; for they not only contain the laws, but give an historical account of their institution, and the practice of them from that time : As of the passover, in memory of the death of the first born in Egypt :* and that the same day,all the first born of Israel,both of man and beast, were, by a perpetual law, dedicated to God; and the Levites taken for all the first born of the children of Israel : That Aaron's rod, which budded, was kept in the ark, in memory of the re
Numbers viii. 17, 18.