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Religion. Nor was the great St. Austin less allegorical (t) than ORIGEN in his Interpretations of Scripture ; in which Method he greatly improved himself by studying Platonick Authors.
Many of the primitive Fathers, and Apologists for Christianity, who for the most Part wholly address themselves to Pagans, reason allegorically, not only from natural and artificial Things (proving; that CHRIST. was to fuffer on the Cross, from Things (u) made after the Fashion of a Cross; that there must be (w) four Gospels and no more, from the four Winds and four Corners of the Earth; and that CHRIST was to have ( a ) twelve Apostles, because the Gospel was to be preach'd in the four Parts of the World, in the Name of the Trinity, three Times four making twelve; and because there were (y) twelve Bells, which hung at the Bottom of the Jewish high Priest's Garment) but from the Old Testament exactly in the same Manner with the Apostles; which implies, that they look'd on Allegories to be proper Topicks for Pagans; and some of them had particular Reason to do fo from their own Experience, who, while they were Philosophers themselves, and before they (z) became Chriftians, were accustom’d to it. - It is also well
(1) Simon Hist. Crit. du V. T. f. 399. (u) Justin Martyr, and Min. Felix. (20) Irenæus. (x) St. Austin.
(y) Justin Martyris Opera. p. 260. "See allo MONTAGU Origines Ecclesiasticæ, wherein there is a learned Disertation upon the Type TWELVE, P. 121, &c. Pars Posterior.
(z) Wake's Prelim. to Genuine Epifles of St. Clement, &c,
known, that (a) THEOPHILUS ANTIOCHENUS, CLEMENS of Alexandria, (who was the Disciple of PANTÆNUS) and ORIGEN, as well as the Gnosticks, allegorized, in their Explications and Commentaries, the Books of the New Testament ; which Commentaries may be justly supposed written for the Use of Pagans as well as Jews and Christians, in Order to give them all a more exalted Notion of Christianity and of the New Testament.
In a Word, (b) this Method of writing in Matters of Religion, (practised by Apostles, Companions of the Apostles, and most primitive Fathers) was generally used, not only among the Yews, but among the wiser and more philosophical Part of the Gentiles too; and from both came to be almost universally received among the primitive Christians; as says our most learned and judicious Archbishop WAKE. And our learned (c) Dodwell says, that Oneirocriticks and Hieroglyphicks, and other Pagan mystical Arts of Concealment are of Use towards understanding the prophetical Books of the Old Testament (the (d) whole Indulgence of God in granting the Spirit of Prophecy to the Jews being plainly accommodated to the heathen Practice of Divination); and that (e) the Revelations of the Goppel being made for the Sake of all Man-. kind, its Reasonings, (which for the most Part
(a) Simon Hist. des Comment. p. 3, 4, 5. C. J. : 16) Wake, Ib. p. 91–75. See also L'enfant. Preface Gen. fur fon Nov. Teft. p. 3.
(c) Dodwell's Letters of Advice, &c. p. 208. (d) Ib. p. 113. (€) Dodwelli Prolegomena ad Stcarn de Obftinatione.
are allegorical) were suited to the Understanding of the Generality of the People of that Age (and by Consequence to the People of future Àges) and in particular to That of the Philosophers, who were the Leaders among the Gentiles. Wherefore the Arguments of the Apostles were so far from being Arguments ad Hominem to the Jews, that they were then equally conclusive to great Numbers among the Gentiles; and the Prophepes cited from the Old in the New Testament, tho' (f) sining in a dark Place, were a Light both to Jews and Gentiles.
And I add, that almost all modern Religionists, whether Christians, Pagans, or Mahometans, are as fond of Allegories, as the Antients were. Which seems to make allegorizing the most suitable Method of applying to the Understanding of Men. And therefore the allegorical Arguments of the Apostles were proper for all Sorts of religious Men, as well as Jews, and at present are more proper for others than Jews, (among whom there has been for a long Time a direct anti-allegorical Sect call’d Caraites ) who, as they knew Nothing of the allegorical Method till long after the Captivity, and when they became (8) hellenized, so they rejected that Method, as to all Prophefies and other Quotations taken from the Old Testament by the Apostles, foon after the Rise of Christianity, and now contend for one single Sense against any allegorical
(9) 2 Pet. 1. 19.
() Clerici. Hift. Ecclef. p. 24,
Meaning of them, and argue against allegorical Interpretations as absurd in themselves, no less than Atheists and Deists, and Sadducees (who, as is before observed, never received (b) the allegorical Interpretations of their Brethren-Jews) or such (rational) Christians as Mr. Whiston; tho’ herein the Jews feem to act a most inconsistent Part ; for unless they use the allegorical Method, (i) they will not be able to establish their own Belief of a MesSIAs to come, which yet is one of the fundamental Articles of their Religion. That Article, in the Judgment of the famous Rabbi (k): ALBO, has no other Foundation than the Authority of Tradition. For, says he, there is not any Prophecy, either in the Law, or the Prophets, that foretells his Coming by any neceffary Exposition of it, with Respect to him, or which may not from the Circumstances of the Text be well explain'd otherwise. In a Word, a learned (1) Author maintains, “ that the « Books of the Old Testament are of little “ Use for the Conversion of the Jews. For “ almost all, which is said to be spoken in “ the Old Testament of the MESSIAS must “ be interpreted mystically, before it can ap“ pear to be spoken of him, and by Confe“ quence very remotely from what the Words “ do naturally signify.”
(b) Simon Bib. Crit. Vol. 4. p. 508.
(k) Albo Oratio 1. c. 1. apud Allix's Judgment of the Jewish Church against the Unitarians. p. 411. (1) Smalcius apud Ib. p. 414.
3. Thirdly, in Answer to the Objection I obferve, that Christianity is wholly (m) reveald in the Old Testament, and has its divine Authority from thence ; that it is not literally, but mystically or allegorically reveal’d therein; and that therefore Christianity is the allegorical Sense of the Old Testament, and is not improperly calld (n) mystical Judaism.
If therefore Christianity is grounded on Allegory, converted Gentiles must be convinced by Allegory, and become Allegorists or myslical Jews, no less than converted Jews. For the Religion itself, to which they were to be converted, was Allegory or Christianity as taught allegorically in the Old Testament.
The Apostle Paul in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, ist and 2d Chapters (0) (wherein it is to be observed, that he argues against the Greeks, and the Philosophers, as. well as the Jews) seems to disclaim all other Methods of arguing besides the allegorical, when he says, that (p) the Wisdom he spoke was Wisdom among them that were perfeet; That is, among them, who understood the fecret, mystical, and spiritual Sense of Things; that his Wisdom was the Wisdom of God, bidden from the World, which God had ordain'd before the World; That is, that it was the secret, divine, and spiritual Sense of Judaism, which the World, that interpreted Judaism, literally
(m) Dodwel's Letters of Aivice, &c. p. 169, &c.
(D) 1 Cor. C. E 2. Ib. c. 2. v. 6, 7, 8, 10, 14, 15, 20, 21. i