Billeder på siden

we know to have been originally, but fuch feets themselves.

Thus the mission of Moses to the Israelites suppos'd a (s) former revelation of God (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 borrowed, 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 feem (u) confounded with the Israelites by some pagans, as both their religious rites were equally, and at the same time (2) prohibited by others ; ) to whose religious rites the Israelites seem to have been (x) 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 PHARAOH


(s) Exod. 3.

(t) Simon. Hist. Crit. du Vieux Test. p. 50. Spencer de Legibus, &c. Stanhope's Differt. in Charron of Wir dom, Vol. 2. p. 93,97. Marsham Canon Chronicus, &c. p. 181.

(11) Strabo, l. 16, & 17. (w) Taciti Annales, 1.2. Sueton. in Tiber.' (x) Jof. 24. 14. Anios 5.26. Afts 7.43. : (y) Gen. 41. 46,45. Ib. 42. 150 32. Ib. 44. 5 .

himself, his manner of swearing, his eating with the Egyptians, his practise 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 Persians, suppos’d the religion of the Magians; which (z) had been for many ages paft, the antient national religion of the Medes as well as Persians.

The mission of Mahomet suppos’d christianity, as that did judaism.

And the (a) Siamese and (6) Brachmans, both pretend, that they have had a succession of incarnate Deities' among them, who, at due 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.

And if we consider the nature of things, we shall find, that it must be c) difficult,


(z) Prideaux's Conneet. Vol. 1. p. 214. Pocock, Spec. Hift. Arab. p. 147-149.

(a) Gervaise, Hist. de Siam, 3d. pr. C. 1. Tachard, Voyage de Siam, Vol. 1. p. 396, &c.

(b) Delon Des Dieux Orient, p. 10 3 0. Philof. Transac. Ann. 1700. P. 734, &c.

(c) Charron of Wisdom, 1. 2. c. 5.

if not impossible, to introduce among men (who in all civiliz'd countries are bred up in the belief of some reveal'd religion) a reveal'd 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 lufhcient number of principles necessary to be assented 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 exception to a religious institution; whereof religious fects of all kinds have been so sensible, that they have ever endeavour'd to give 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 bace been since 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, so worship Ithe 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 beresy, or a new opinion, that it was the


(d) Defenfio S. Auguftini contra J. Phereponum, p. 185, 187. (C) Luke 1. 70. f) AEts 24. 14.

doctrine of the Old Testament. And chriftian () divines date the antiquity of chri{tianity from the time of the fall of ADAM, asserting ; that Christ was then promis'd in these words, (b) the feed of the woman fall break the serpent's head, which they fay contain (i) the gospel in miniature; and that, from that time, men have been fay'd by faith in the said promise of Christ to come, who was (k) 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) that ADAM was created on the sixth day at nine in the morning ; that he fell about noon, that being the time of eating ; and that CHRIST was promis'd about three a-clock in the afternoon.

So that the truth of christianity depends, as it ought, on antient revelations, which


[ocr errors]

(8) Taylor's Preservat. against Deism, p. 213, &c. Whilton's Sermons and Ejays, p. 59– 78. Stillingfleet's Sermons, fol. p. 187. . (b) Gen. 3. 15.

ij Taylor, Ib. and Beveridge on the Articles of she Church of England, p. 138. :(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.

are contain'd in the Old Testament, and more particularly and immediately on the reqelations made to the Jews therein.

[ocr errors]


That the chief proofs of christianity from the

Old Testament, are urged by the apostles

in the New Testament. TJOW christianity depends on those reu velations, or what proofs are therein to be met withal in behalf of christianity, are the fubjects of almost all the numerous books written by divines and other apologists for christianity; but the chief and principal of those proofs may be justly supposed to be urged in the New Testament by the authors thereof; who relate the history of the first preaching of the gospel, and were themselves, either apostles of Jesus, or companions of the apostles.


That if those proofs are valid, christianity is

invincibly establish'd on its true founda


THOSE proofs have in some measure

| been already produc'd by me. And if they are valid proofs, then is christianity strongly and invincibly established on its true


« ForrigeFortsæt »