« 이전계속 »
that he must not be fuffered to poffefs the Land which he had been so many years, in fo great dangers, leading the People of Ifrael to enjoy; though he doth not conceal how defirous he was to pafs over Jordan, Deut. iii. 23, &c. The Hiftory of his Death is like that of his Life, related with a peculiar kind of native fimplicity: He is not faid to be taken up into Heaven, as Enoch and Elijah were, and as the Romans feigned of Romulus, but to die; and his Sepulchre was hid, to prevent the Superftitious and Idolatrous Veneration which might have been paid to the Remains of fo Great a Perfon. And tho' he had Sons, yet they were but private Men, no otherwife known to us, than as they were his Sons; the Government he conferred upon Joshua, one of another Tribe. Mofes therefore was the fartheft of any Man from Vain-glorious, or Ambitious and Aspiring Designs; and could propofe no other Advantage to himself, but the fulfilling the Will of God, in delivering his Commandments to the People of Ifrael, and following his Directions in his Conduct and Government.
Aaron was of a different Temper from Mofes, and was envious of him, and both Aaron and Miriam murmured against him. It is fonotorious, that there could be no contrivance between them to deceive the People; that it was the immediate and visible Power of God, which kept Aaron as well as the reft in obedience to Mofes. Upon Mofes's abfence, Aaron compli ed with the People, in making a Golden Calf; and his two eldest Sons offered ftrange Fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded; for which they were both deftroyed by Fire miraculously iffuing out from the Presence of the Lord: And Aaron held his peace, knowing that this Punishment was inflicted by God himfelf, and having nothing to reply to Mofes, when he declared to him the Juftice of it. And both Aaron and his other two Sons are forbidden, upon pain of Death, to mourn for them, Lev. X. 1, 2, 3,6.
Atlaft, by the Commandment of God, Aaron goes up into Mount Hor, to die there, not being permit ted to enter into the Land of Promise.
Thus Mofes and Aaron were fometimes at difagree ment, Aaron envying Mofes: Aaron loft two of his Sons, by a fignal Judgment from Heaven; and Mofes advanced neither of his; and both Mofes and Aaron died by the particular Appointment and Command of God, for their Offences against him, never enjoying, nor, for fome time before, expecting to enjoy the Land of Promife, Numb. xx. 12. Deut. i. 37. And therefore, as they could never have performed what they did, but by the Almighty Power of God; fo they could have no Motive or Inducement to attempt it, but his Command and Promise of Affiftance revealed to them.
S the Books entitled to Mofes are confeffed by all to be of the greatest Antiquity; fo we have it confirmed to us by the Authority of Heathen Wri ters themselves, that the Books which go under his Name, are indeed of his writing; befides the unanimous Testimony of the whole Jewish Nation, ever fince Mofes's time, from the firft writing of them: which is infinitely better proof of their being Authentick, and entitled to the true Author, than can be pretended for any Books but the Holy Scriptures. Divers Texts of the Pentateuch imply, that it was written by Moses; and the Book of Joshua, as well as other Books of Scripture, import as much; and though fome Paffages have been thought to imply the contra
ry, yet this is but a late Opinion, and has been fufficiently confuted by learned Men.
It is obfervable, whoever wrote thefe Five Books, that there is no Partiality fhewn to any one whomsoever. Naah is faid to be overcome with Wine, and expofed to the mockery of one of his Sons. Lot is defcribed not only to have been drunken, but to have lain with his own Daughters. Abraham himself denies his Wife twice; and Ifaac imitates him in it. Jacob gets the Bleffing, by fraud and fubtilty, from his Brother Efau. Jofeph's Brethren fell him into Egypt; and he, when he is there, learns to fwear by the Life of Pharaoh. The Faults of Aaron, and of Mofes himfelf, (as I have already obferved) are not concealed. On the other fide, particular notice is taken how Melchizedeck bleffed Abraham, and received Tythes of him: And without all contradiction, the lefs is bleffed of the better, Heb. vii. 7. The Advice of Jethro is recorded; and the Prophecies of Balaam himfelf are punctually fet down. It was no Design of the Sacred Pen-man to write a Panegyrick upon any Man, but to represent the Failings and Infirmities, as well as the Excellencies of each Perfon; and to fhew by what various Methods the Providence of God brought to pass his gracious Defigns; how he turn'd Evil into Good, and made ufe even of the Infirmities and Sins of Men, to accomplish his Purpofes.
In the Book of Genefis, we have a fhort Account of the most memorable and remarkable Things, which had paft, to the times of Mofes; as the Creation of the World, the Inftitution of the Sabbath, the Fall of Man, the Promife of the Meffiah, and the Custom of offering Sacrifices as Types of his Death: who first committed Murther, and who firft brought in Polygamy; the Invention of divers Arts, the Flood, the Confufion of Tongues; the Original of the feveral Nations of the World, with the Chronology of the whole: all which is comprehended in a little Com
pafs, but a larger and more particular Account is gi ven of Abraham and his Family: For here the Scene begins to open to the main Defign of the Work, the Book of Genefis being as an Introduction to the reft of the Pentateuch, and containing fuch things as were requifite to be premifed. And in the beginning of the Hiftory of Abraham, it is noted, that the Canaanite was then in the land, Gen. xii. 6. even at that very time when Abraham erected an Altar to the Lord, ver. 7. this being a great Encouragement to the Ifra elites, to excite them to follow the Example of their Father Abraham, who worfhipp'd the True God, in a publick and folemn manner, in that Land which they were now going to poffefs, and amongst that People which they were now to drive out, and which, at that time when the Land was promis'd them, were the Inhabitants of it; and God, who had protected Abraham in fo fignal a manner, would no lefs affift them.
And if we confider those things particularly, wherein Mofes himself is concern'd as an Agent, as well as an Hiftorian, there can be no pretence for any. Man to doubt, but that at leaft the principal Points of the Hiftory of Mofes are true; that is, that Mofes was the Governor or General of the People of Ifrael, who conducted them out of Egypt; that they travell'd for many Years in the Wilderness; that they fought divers Battels with the feveral Nations who oppos'd their journeying into the Land of Canaan; and, that Mofes gave them the Laws which we find there recorded. These are the chief Points of the Hiftory of Mofes, which are, as it were, the Foundation of all the reft; the reft being but as Circumftances to fhew the Manner of doing it, and the Power by which all this was done. And that thefe main Points are true, it was never deny'd by those Heathens themselves who moft reproach'd and vilify'd the Jewish Nation: They acknowledg'd that Mofes was the great General and
Law-giver of the Ifraelites; they own'd that the Ifraelites came out of Egypt; they could deny nothing of the History it self, but only gave wrong Accounts, partly out of Ignorance, and partly out of Malice and Defign, of the Manner and Means by which this was effected, and the Reasons and Occafions upon which it came to pass. From the Books of Jofephus against Apion, in which he gives an Account of what the most ancient Authors of other Nations have deliver'd concerning the Jews; and from what the latter Heathens, Strabo, Tacitus, Justin, and others, after the Jews became fo odious and contemptible in the Eyes of all Nations, have written; it is evident, that the great and fundamental Points, as to the Matters of Fact, are confefs'd; and the only Difpute is concerning the Manner in which they were brought about, and the Means whereby all was effected.
Now we take the Hiftories of all other Nations, rather from themselves, than from Foreigners and Strangers to their Affairs, or profefs'd Enemies; and it were extreme Partiality to admit the Accounts we have of the Jewish Affairs, from Authors who liv'd fo much too late to have any certain Information of the things they write about, and who, upon every occafion, fhew fuch Difaffection to their Name and Nation, and contradict each other, and themselves too, as Jofephus fhews; it would, I fay, be notorious Partiality to follow fuch Authors, rather than credit the Jewish Records attested and deliver'd down to us by the unanimous Approbation and Teftimony of the whole Nation.
And when I come to confider the Miracles wrought by Mofes, I fhall prove, that they were of that nature, and perform'd in fuch a manner, as that they could not be feign'd or counterfeit at first, nor the Account given of them in the Pentateuch falfified afterwards; and therefore thefe Five Books of Mofes must be ge