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doth it concern us to know; some of them will have more to plead for themselves, in point of Ignorance, than others can have ; and they are in the hands of the merciful Creator and Saviour of Mankind, and there we must leave them. But it must be acknow ledg’d, that it is much more agreeable to the Goodness and Mercy of God, to reveal his Will, and to give so many Opportunities to the World to be inItruded in it, though never so many should negle& the Means of Salvation, than it is to suppose him to take no care to reduce Mankind to the Senfe and Praaice of Vertue and Religion, but to let them continue in all manner of Idolatry and Wickedness, without giving them any warning against it. I have not Spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth. Look unto me, and be ye Saved all the ends of the earth : for I am God, and there is none else. Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning ; from the time that it was, there am I. Ifa. xlv. 19, 22. and xlviii. 16.
Having proved, that the Scriptures want nothing requisite to a Divine Revelation, in regard either of their Antiquity or Promulgation; I proceed to fhew, That they have sufficient Evidence, both by Prophecies and Miracles, in Proof of their Authority.
This Evidence depends upon Matter of Fact, which concerns either the Prophecies and Miracles themselves, in their several Circumstances, as we find them stand recorded; or the Lives and Personal Qualifications of those by whom they were performed, or by whom they are related in the Scriptures. For if we can be afsured both that they are truly related, and that, if the Prophecies and Miracles were such as they are related to have been, they could proceed from none but a Divine Power; we have all the Evidence for the Truth of the Scriptures that can be had for a Revelation,
CH A P. · III.
Of Moses and Aaron.
Hat Moses was a very Great and Wife Man, and
a mostantient Lawgiver, is related by several of the most eminent Heathen Writers; and I think it has never been denied by any Man. But it is no less evident, that he was likewise a very Good and Pious Man. The first. Forty Years of his Life, which were spent in honour, he passes over in silence, mentioning nothing of his own Education, nor of his Learning, in all the Wisdim of the Ægyptians, tho this be related by St. Stephen, who also says, that he was exa ceeding fair, and mighty in words and in deeds, (A&s vii. 20, 22.) or renowned both for the Arts of Peace and the Glory of Arms: His Beauty and his Wifdom are likewise taken notice of a by Trogus Pompeius, as well as by b Josephus, who also writes, That Moses obtain'd a memorable Conquest over the Æthiopians, who had over-run Ægypt. And ? Artapanus mentions him as General of the Ægyptian Forces against the Æthiopians, in a War which lasted Ten Years. However, we may be certain, that his Life in Pharaoh's Court was not fuch, as that he had performed nothing considerable, or which might deserve to be taken notice of: yet the first thing which Mofes mentions of himself, is his killing the Ægyptian, Exod. ï. 12. an A&tion, which fome have thought blameable, with little Reason indeed; but he took no care to prevent the Censure, tho' St. Stephen vindicates him, by observing that he acted by a Divine Commission. For Forty Years more, he says little of him
a Justin. I. 36. C. 2. Antiq. 1. 2. C. 5. c Apud Eufeb. Præp. Evang. 1. 9. C. 27.
self, but that he dwelt in the Land of Midian, and there married Jethro's Daughter, by whom he had Two Sons. And when God had appeared to him in the Bush, it is said, that afterwards, the Lord met him, and sought to kill him, (Exod. iv. 24.). for having neglected to circumcise one of his Sons. Mofes has left such an Account of himself, as might seem Detraction, if another had given it ; so much is concealed, and so little told, but what was either really to be blamed, or might be liable to misconstruction. He frequently declares his own Failings and Infirmities, Exod. iii. 11. and iv. 1, 10, 13. Num. xi. 10. XX. 12. and xxvii. 14. and never speaks any thing tending to his own Praise, but upon a just and necefsary occasion, when it might become a prudent and modest Man, especially one Divinely Inspired : For all the Praise of such an one doth not terminate in himself, but is attributed to God, whose Instrument and Servant he is; and in such cases where God's Honour is concerned, it was a Duty to set forth the Favour and Goodness of God towards him, though some Honour did redound to himself thereby. The greatest Masters of Decency have not thought it always improper for Men to commend themselves, either because they supposed fome occasions might require it, or because it was a more usual thing in ancient Times, when Mens Lives and Manners were more natural and sincere ; and they oftner spoke as they thought both of themselves and others; yet we no where find Men speaking so freely in disparagement of themselves, as in the Holy Scriptures : Which fhews, that Moses, and the rest of the Inspired Writers, little regarded their own Praise or Dispraise, but wrote what God was pleased to appoint; it being a thing indifferent to them, fo God might be honoured, whether they lost or gained in their own Reputation by it. But what we read of Moses, Num. xii. 3: that he was very meek above all the men which
were upon the face of the earth, which is the only commendable Character that Moses gives of himself, may be translated, that he was the most afflisted Man, (according to the Marginal Reading;) and if he mentions his own Meekness, he mentions also his great Anger, or heat of Anger, Exod. xi. 8. and his being very wroth, Num. xvi. 15. But if Mofes had not had more respect to Truth, than to his own Reputation, he would never have left it upon Record; That he fo often declined the Message and Employment which God appointed him to undertake, Exod. iii. 11, 13, and iv. 1, 10, 13, 14. and that God was angry with him upon other occasions, and for that reason would not permit him to enter into the promised Land: He would certainly have ascribed "Balaam's Prophecy, and Jethro's Advice, to himself ; at least he would never have recorded, That by Jethro's Counsel, he took
a new and better Method for the adminiftration of Justice : If he had been led by Ambition and Vain-glory, he would have endeavoured by these things, to adorn his own Character; and would never have lefsen'd-it, by telling his own Infirmities at the same time, when, to the diminution of himself, he publishes the Excellencies of others. The Wonders of the Magicians of Ægypt are not conceal'd by him: and being to give an account of his own Genealogy from Levi, he first sets down the Families of Reuben and Simeon, the two elder Brothers, lest hę might feem to arrogate too much to himself, and his own Tribe. Some have observed, that Mofes relates his own Birth to have been by a Marriage contrary to the Laws afterwards by himself established: which indeed is doubtful, by reason of the latitude of signification in the word Sister in the Hebrew Language, which is here taken by the Septuagint for his Cousin German, (Exod. vi. 20.) yet it is certain, he was not careful to avoid the being thought to have been born from such a Marriage, as he would have been, if his
Laws had been of his own contrivance, left his own Reputation, or the Authority of bis Laws, or perhaps both, might have suffered by it, Exod. vi. 14, 20: He fers.forth the Ingratitude, Idolatry, and perpetual Revolts and Murmurings of his whole Nation, and relates the Failings and Faults of their Ancestors the Patriarchs, and particularly of Levi, from whom he was descended, Gen. xxxiv, 30. and xlix. 6. He spares neither his People, nor his Ancestors, nor himself
, in what he relates; and, these are all the Characters of a faithful Historian, and a sincere Man, that can be defired.
And as Moses was not ambitious of Praisé, so neither was he ambitious of Power and Dominion. For befides that he entered upom ferch an. Undertaking, as no sober Man would have attempted without a Revelation, it appearing otherwise impoffble to accomplifb it, his whole Conduct thews, that he had no defign of advancing his own Interest or Dominion. If he had been never fo Ambitious, he needed not have gone into the Wilderness to seek his Preferment, 2. mongft a wandring and stubborn People, when he had been bred up to all the Honours and the pleasures that Ægypt or Pharaoh's Court could afford : but he refirfed to be called the fon of Pharaoh's daughter z chuling rua ther to fulffer affliction with the people of God, than to ens joy the pleasures of fin fon a feafon ; esteeming the reproach of Cbrift greater riches than the treasures of Ægypt, Heb xi. 24, 29." He undertook to lead the People of IF vael, for Forty Years, through a barren Wilderness; where he could promife hiinfelt but a very uneasie and inglorious Reign, if that had been his Delign; and, by the course of Nature, he could not hope to OUET live that period of Time: and tho' he was preserved, in his Old Age, in the full ftrength and vigour of Manhood ; yet, upon their entrance into the promised Land, he meekly refigned himself to death, in the very fight and borders of Canaan; knowing before-hand