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bellion, and wonderful destruction of Korah, Dathan and Abiram ; and, for the confirmation of the priesthood to the tribe of Levi : As likewise, the pot of manna, in memory of their hav. ing been fed with it forty years in the wilderness: That the brazen serpent was kept (which remained to the days of Hezekiah. 2 Kings xviii. 4.) in memory of that wonderful deliverance, by only looking upon it, from the biting of the fiery serpent. Numb. xxi. 9. The feast of Pentecost, in memory of the dreadful appearance of God upon mount Horeb, &c.
And besides these remembrances of particular actions and occurrences, there were other solemn institutions, in memory of their deliverance out of Egypt, in the general, which included all the particulars : as of the sabbath, Deut. v. 15; their daily sacrifices, and yearly expiation; their new moons; and several feasts and fasts. So that there were yearly, monthly, weekly,daily, remembrances and recognitions of these things.
And not only so, but the books of the same Moses, tell us that a particular tribe (of Levi) was appointed and consecrated by God, as his priests; by whose hands, and by none other, the sacrifices of the people were to be offered, and these solemn institutions to be celebrated : That it was death for any other to approach the altar : That their high-priest wore a glorious mitre, and magnificent robes of God's own contrivance; with the miraculous Urim and Thumnim in his brcast-plate, whence the divine res.
ponses were given :* That, at his word, the king, and all the people, were to go out, and to come in : That these Levites were likewise the chief judges, even in all civil causes ; and that it was death to resist their sentence. f Now, whenever it can be supposed, that these books of Moses were forged, in some ages after Mo. ses, it is impossible they could have been receiv. ed as true, unless the forgers could have made the whole nation believe, that they had received these books from their fathers; had been instructed in them when they were children, and had taught them to their children: moreover, that they had all been circumcised, and did cir: cumcise their children, in pursuance to what was commanded in these books; that they had observed the yearly passover, the weekly sabbath, the new moons, and all these several feasts, fasts, and ceremonies, commanded in these books; that they had never eaten any swine's flesh, or other meats prohibited in these books; that they had a magnificent tabernacle, with a visible priesthood to administer in it, which was confined to the tribe of Levi; over whom was placed a glorious high-priest, clothed with great & mighty prerogatives; whose death only could deliver those that were fled to the cities of refa uge ;and that these priests were their ordinary judges, even in civil matters : I say, was it possible, to have persuaded a whole nation of men, that they had known & practised all these things, if they had not done it? Or, secondly, to have
Numbers xxvii. 21. + Deut, xvi. 8, 13. 1 Chron, xxiii. ale Numbers xxxv, 25, 28,
received a book for truth, which said they had practised them, and appealed to that practice ? So that here are the third and fourth of the marks above-mentioned.
But now, let us descend to the utmost degree of supposition; viz. That these things were practised before the books of Moses were forged; and that these books did only impose upon the nation, in making them believe that they had kept these observances, in memory of such and such things, as were inserted in those books.
Well, then, let us proceed upon this supposition, however groundless, And now, will not the same impossibilities occur, as in the former case? For, first, This must suppose that the Jews kept all these observances, in memory of nothing; or without knowing any thing of their original, or the reason why they kept them : whereas, these very observances did express the ground and reason of their being kept; as the passover, in memory of God's passing over the children of the Israelites, in that night wherein he slew all the first born of Egypt; and so of the rest. · But,
Secondly, Let us suppose, contrary both to reason and matter of fact, that the Jews did not know any reason at all why they kept these observances; yet was it possible to put it upon them, that they had kept these observances, in memory of what they had never heard of before that day, whensoever you will suppose that these books of Moses, were first forged ? For example; Suppose I should now forge some roman,
tic story, of strange things done a thousand years ago; and in confirmation of this, should endeavor to persuade the Christian world, that they had, all along, from that day to this, kept the first day of the week in memory of such an heTo, an Apollonius, a Barcosbas, or a Mahomet; and had all been baptized in his name, and swore by his name, and upon that very book, (which I had then forged, and which they never saw before) in their public judicature; that this book was their gospel, and law, which they had ever since that time, these thousand years past, universally received and owned, and none Other : I would ask any Deist,whether he thinks it possible that such a cheat could pass,or such a legend be received, as the gospel of Christians ?--and that they could be made believe, that they never had had any other gospel ? The same reason is as to the books of Moses; and must be as to every matter of fact, which has all the four marks before-mentioned. And these marks secure any such matter of fact, as much from being invented and imposed in any after ages, as at the time when such matters of fact were said to be done.
Let me give one very familiar example more, in this case. There is the Stonehenge, in Salisbury Plain ; every body knows it; and yet, none knows the reason why those great stones were set there, by whom, or in memory of what. ·
Now,suppose I should write a book, to-mor. Tow; and say there, that these stones were set -up by Hercules, Palyphemus, or Garagantua,in
memory of such and such of their actions; and for a further confirmation of this, should say in this book, that it was written at the time when such actions were done ; and by the very actors themselves, or eye-witnesses; and that this book had been received as truth, and quoted by authors of the greatest reputation, in all ages since : moreover, that this book was well known in England, and enjoined by act of par. liament, to be taught our children, and that we did teach it to our children, and had been taught it ourselves, when we were children : I ask any Deist, whether he thinks this could pass-upon England ? and whether, if I, or any other person should insist upon it, we should not, instead of being believed, be sent to Bedlam ?
Now, let'us compare this with the Stonelienge, as I may call it, or twelve great stones, set up at Gilgal; which is told in the fourth chapter of Joshua. There it is said, (verse 6) that the reason why they were set up, was, that when their children in after ages, should ask the meaning of it, it should be told them.
And the thing, in memory of which they were set up, was such as coukl not possibly be imposed upon that nation, at that time when it was said to be done; it was as wonderful and miraculous as their passage thro' the Red Sea
And, withal, free from a very poor objection, which the Deists have advanced against that miracle of the Red Sea : thinking to solve it by a spring-tide, with the concurrence of a strong wind, happening at the same time, which