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fuch as must have enraged the whole People against him, by the death of fo many thousands, fo often put to death, if they had been flain by any other means than by the Almighty Hand of God. And indeed, what could deftroy fo many, fo irrefiftibly, fo fuddenly and vifibly, but the Divine Power? And what could be the Design and Intent of fuch Miracles, but to fulfil the Will of God, and make his Power to be known, and his Authority acknowledged, in the Laws which were delivered in his Name, and which were fo often affronted and tranfgreffed by thefe Sinners, against their own Souls? At their going out of Egypt, by a miraculous Providence, there was not one feeble perfon among their tribes; but upon their tranfgreffions, they were punished by Difeafes as mi→
We have another Evidence (as I have before obferved) that Mofes had no defign to delude the People of Ifrael, from the Meekness of his Difpofition, from his difcovering his own Faults and Infirmities in his Wri tings, and from his not advancing his Family, but leaving his Pofterity in a private condition, and putting the Government into the hands of Joshua, one of the Tribe of Ephraim. But when all the People of Ifrael were Witneffes to fo many Miracles wrought by him, and particularly to fo ftrange a Judgment as the cleaving afunder of the Earth, and the Fire and Plague by which fo many thousands perished; we need not infift upon any other Proof, to fhew that the Miraculous Power and Divine Authority by which Mofes acted and wrote, was as well attefted, and as fully known to the whole People of Ifrael, as it is poffible for any Matter of Fact to be known to any fingle Perfon.
2. Having fhewn, That the Matters of Fact and Miracles contained in the Books of Mofes, as they are related to have been done, were at firft fufficiently attefted; and that, if we may credit that Relation, all
the Miracles there mention'd were certainly wrought by him; fince they are of that nature, that the People of Ifrael could not be deceived in them: I now proceed to fhew, That the Relations there fet down, are a true Account of thofe things, and fuch as we may depend upon. For if thefe Matters of Fact or Miracles are either feigned or falfified, this must be done either in Mofes's time, or afterwards; and if in his time, then either by Mofes and Aaron, with others who were concerned in carrying on the Defign, or by the whole People of Ifrael together. And if it were done after Mofes his death, then again it must be done either by fome particular Man, or by the contrivance of fome few or more together; or it must have been by the joint Knowledge and Confent of the whole Nation. I will therefore prove, (1.) That the Miracles could not be feigned by Mofes and Aaron, and others concerned with them in carrying on fuch a Defign. (2.) That the Miracles could not be feigned, nor the Books of Mofes invented or falfified by any particular Man, or by any Confederacy or Combination of Men, after the death of Mofes. (3.) That the Miracles could not be feigned, nor the Books invented or falfified by the joint Confent of the whole Nation, either in Mofes's time, or after it.
1. Thefe Things could not be feigned by Mofes and Aaron, and others concerned with them in carrying on fuch a Defign. It is plain, that they could never invent fuch an Account as that of their miraculous Escape out of Egypt, and their Travelling in the Wilderness, under the conduct and fupport of the fame miraculous Power, and then impofe it upon the People of Ifrael for Truth. For the People are fupposed to be chiefly concerned in the whole Relation. Mofes appeals to their own Sense and Experience; The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even with us, who are all of us here alive this day, Deut. y. 3. And know you this day: for I Speak not with M 4
your children which have not known, and which have not feen the chaftifement of the Lord your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his ftretched-out arm, and his miracles, and his acts which he did in the midft 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 Redfea to overflow them as they pursued after you, and how the Lord hath deftroyed them unto this day; and what he did unto you in the wilderness, until ye came into this place; and what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the fons of Eliab the fon of Reuben; how the earth opened her mouth and fwallowed them up, and their housholds, and their tents, and all their fubftance that was in their pos feffion in the midst of all Ifrael: But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the Lord, which he did, Deut. xi. 2,3,4,5,6,7. Here is a Recapitulation of all the Miracles that had been wrought, with an Appeal to their Senfes for the Truth of them. And Mofes would never have made fuch Appeals as thefe, if they could poffibly have difproved him; they could never be perfwaded that they came out of Egypt, after fo many Plagues inflicted upon the Ægyptians, to procure their Deliverance, if there had been no fuch thing; or that they were fo long time in the Wildernefs, and that fo many and fo great Miracles were wrought in their fight, if they had never been done before them. Though Men may, perhaps, be perfuaded to believe, that their Ancestors, a long time ago, faw and heard things which they never faw nor heard; yet a whole Nation was never fuppofed to have been perfuaded out of their Senfes at once: And Mofes could not attempt to make so many Men believe what they must all have known to have been falfe, as well as himself, if it had been fo; but he would have laid the Scene at a greater diftance of Time, and not have brought thofe in as chiefly concerned in the whole Bufinefs, who were then alive, and present, to con
vince him of Falfhood: And therefore, if the Particulars fet down in the Pentateuch be falfe, and as ancient as Mofes's his time, they must be invented with the knowledge, and received by the confent of the whole Nation. For Mofes and Aaron could never fo far delude fo many Thousands, as to make them believe fuch variety of Matter of Fact, in so many and fo wonderful Inftances fet forth, and with fuch notorious Circumftances, and appeal to the senses of those whom they deceived, whether they had not feen and perceived, and had the experience of what had been done for fo many Years, if it had been all but Fiction...
Czy The Miracles could not be feigned, nor the Books of Mofes invented or falfified by any particular Man, or by any Confederacy or Combination of Men, after the death of Mofes. If the Miracles were feigned after the death of Mofes, either the Laws must likewise be invented or altered after his death, and the Miracles inferted to procure them Authority; or the Laws remained as they had been deliver'd by him, and the Miracles only were added. For the Books of Mofes may be confider'd, either as containing the Laws delivered by him, or as relating the Miracles by which thefe Laws were ratified and eftablifhed; in each of which refpects, there could be no Forgery or Falfification. For, bid als F
The Laws themfelves could not be invented, nor altered or falfified: Because the whole Jewish State and Policy was founded upon them, and could not fubfift without them; and therefore they muft be as ancient as the Jewish Government, which is confefs'd on all hands to have been firft erected by Mofes. For not only their Religious Worship, but their Civil Rights and Interefts, depended entirely upon the Laws of Mofes; their Publick Proceedings, and their Private Dealings one with another, were all to be regulated and governed by these Laws: And when any
Laws are brought into conftant ufe and practice in any Nation, it is ridiculous to imagine that they can be altered and falfified, and a new Syftem of Laws introduced instead of them, without the knowledge of the People governed by them, or any remembrances of it left amongst them. No material Alterations can be made in Laws which are of continual Ufe, and which concern every Man's Intereft, but they must be taken notice of and discovered by fuch as fhall find themfelves aggrieved by fuch Alterations. But this was lefs practicable amongst the Jews, than amongst any other People.
1. Because the Distinction of their Tribes, and the Genealogies which were kept of every Family, made them have a more feparate and diftin&t Intereft in every Tribe, and a more exact Account of Times, and perfect Knowledge of Things in every Family; and therefore they were not fo capable of being impofed upon in Things of this nature, as the People of other Nations might be, where Marriages and Inheritances are promifcuous, and no occafion is given for the like Emulation and Watchfulness over one another, and where no fuch Remembrances and Notices of the Tranfactions of Affairs are to be confulted by any one of every private Family: In the wilderness of Sinai, on the first day of the second month, in the fecond year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, Mofes and Aaron aflembled all the congregation together, and they declared their pedigrees after their families, by the houfe of their fathers, according to the number of their names, from twenty years old and upward, by their poll, Num. i. 1, 18. and this was done again in the Plains of Moab, at the end of Forty Years, chap. xxvi. And thefe Genealogies were preferv'd, not only during the Captivity, Ezra vii. and down to the Reign of Herod, but even to the time of Jofephus, who (in his First Book against Apion) fays, That they had the Genealogies of their Priests then ftill extant for Two thoufand