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Ghost had placed in Disorder. Nor does Mr. WHISTOn herein much differ from
many other great Divines; who seem to pay little Deference to the Books of the New Testament, whose Text they are perpetually mending in their Sermons, Commentaries, and Writings, to serve Purposes; who pretend (PP) we should have more of the true Text by being less tenacious of the printed one, and in Consequence thereof presume to correct, by critical (9) Emendations, several capital Places in the sacred Writers; and who, by requiring Men's Afsent to, and urging the Belief of, traditionary Explications of Scripture, and of Catechisms, Creeds, Confessions of Faith, and such like Compositions, which Men, under Penalties every where, are obliged to believe the Scripture supports
, do virtually set aside the Authority of the Scripture, and place those Compositions in its stead.
That it is a common and necessary Method for
new Revelations to be built and grounded on precedent Revelations.
HIS Method of introducing Christianity
into the World by building and grounding it on the Old Testament, is agreeable to
(AP) Hare's Clergyman's Thanks to Phil. Lipfienfis, &c. p. 37. (2) Id. Scripture Vindicated, &c. p. 150.
the (r) common Method of introducing new Revelations (whether real or pretended) or any Changes in Religion, and also to the Nature of Things. For if we consider the various Revelations, and Changes in Religion, whereof we have any tolerable History, in their Beginning, we shall find them for the most Part to be grafted on some old Stock, or founded on some preceding Revelations, which they were either to supply or fulfil
, or retrieve from corrupt Glosses, Innovations, and Traditions, with which by Time they were encumber'd ; and This, which may seem Matter of Surprise to those, who do not reflect on the changeable State of all Things, has happen'd; tho' the old Revelations, far from intending any Change, Engraftment, or new Dispensation, did for the most Part declare they were to last for ever, and did forbid all Alterations and Innovations, they being the last Dispensations intended.
This we see by Experience to be the Case of all the Seets, which alike and according to the natural Course of Things, rise up in the several great and domineering Religions of the World. Nor is it less true of the domineering Religions themselves; some of which we know to have been originally but such Seets themselves.
Thus the Mission of Moses to the Israelites supposed a (s) former Revelation of God
(r) Stanhope's Charron of Wisdom, l. 2. c. 5. p. 103, &c. (s) Exod. 3.
(who from the Beginning seems to have been constantly giving a Succession of Dispensations and Revelations) to their Ancestors; and (t) many of the religious Precepts of Moses were borrow'd, or had an Agreement with the religious Rites of the Heathens, with whom the Israelites had Correspondence, and particularly with the religious Rites of the Egyptians, (who upon that Account seem (u) confounded with the Israelites by some Pagans, as both their religious Rites were equally and at the fame Time (w) prohibited by others ;) to whose religious Rites the Israelites seem to have been (*) Conformists during their Abode in Egypt; not excepting (y) Joseph himself, who by his Post in the Administration of the Government, his Match with the Prince or Priest of On's Daughter, made up by PhAROAH himself, his Manner of Swearing, his Eating with the Egyptians, his Practice of Heathen Divination, and, above all, by his political Conduct, seems to have been a most true Member of, and Convert to the establish'd Church of Egypt.
The Mission of ZOROASTER to the Perfians, supposed the Religion of the Magians ; which (z) had been for many Ages past, the
(t). Simon. Hist. Crit. du Vieux Test. p. 5o. Spencer de Legibus, &c. Stanhope's Dissert. in Charron of Wisdom, Vol. 2. p. 93, 97. Marsum Canon Chronicus, &c. p. 181. (u) Strabo. 1. 16. & 17.
(w) Taciti Annales. I. 2. Sueton. in Tiber.
(x) Jof. 24. 14. Amos 5. 26. Acts 7. 43:
(y) Gen. 41. 40, 45;
42. 19, 32.
(2) Prideaux's Connect. Vol. 1. p. 214. Pocock, Spec. Hift. Arab. p. 147-149.
antient national Religion of the Medes as well as Perhans.
The Mission of MAHOMET supposed Christianity, as That did Judaism.
And the (a) Siamese and (b) Brachmans both pretend, that they have had a Succession of incarnate Deities among them, who, at duę Distances of Time, have brought new Revelations from Heaven, each succeeding one depending on the former ; and that Religion is to be carry'd on in that Way for ever ; which is agreeable to the Practice, tho' not to the Notions of others.
And if we consider the Nature of Things, we shall find, that it must be (c) difficult, if not impossible, to introduce among Men (who in all civilized Countries are bred up in the Belief of some reveald Religion) a revealid. Religion wholly new, or such as has no Reference to a preceding One; for That would be to combat all Men in too many Respects, and not to proceed on a sufficient Number of Principles necessary to be affented to by those, on whom the first Impressions of a new Religion are proposed to be made,
Perfect Novelty (d) is a great and just Exeeption to a religious Institution; whereof religious Sects of all kinds have been so fenfible, that they have ever endeavour'd to give
(a) Gervaise, Hist. de Siam. 3d. pt. c. 1. Tachard, Voyage de Siam. Vol. 1. p. 396, &c.
(6) Delon Des Dieux Orient. p. 10^- 30. Philos. Transac, Ann. 1700, p. 734, &c.
(c) Charron of Wisdom, 1. 2. C.5. (at Defensio S. Augustini contra J. Pherë porum. p. 185, 187.
themselves, in some Manner or other, the greatest Antiquity they well could, and generally the utmost Antiquity. Thus St. LUKE says, that (e) God spake of the Redeemer by the Mouth of all his Prophets, which have been fince the World began. St. Paul defends himself and the Christian Religion from the Charge of Novelty, when he says, (f) after the Way, which ye call Heresy, fo worship I the God of my Fathers, believing all Things that are written in the Law and the Prophets; declaring hereby, that Christianity was so far from being Heresy, or a new Opinion, that it was the Doctrine of the Old Testament. And Christian (8) Divines date the Antiquity of Christianity from the Time of the Fall of ADAM, asserting; that Christ was then promised in these Words, (b) the Seed of the Woman shall break the Serpent's Head, which they say contain (i) the Gospel in Miniature ; and that, from that Time, Men have been faved by Faith in the said Promise of CHRIST to come, who was (b) the Lamb Nain from the Foundation of the World; CHRIST's (1) Death looking backward as well as forwards.
And an eminent Divine thinks he can with great Probability settle the precise Time, when the Christian Covenant began. He says, (m)
le) Luke 1. 70.
(f) Acts 24: 14. (8) Taylor's Preservat. against Deism. p. 213, &c. Whiston's Sermons and Elays. p. 59-78. Stillingficet's Sermons. fol. 187. (b) Gen. 3. 15
(i) Taylor: Ib. (k) Heb. 9. 24, 25, 26. Ib. 11.7, 13.
(1) Tillotson's Sermons. Vol. 5. p. 66, 67.
(m) Lightfoot's Works. Vol. 2. P. 1324