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church; which was submitted to as a piece of true religion by them, who, very naturally thought their priests better guides, than God in his word, appealing to their own understandings: I fay, none of these seem equal to the imposition abovemention'd.
Besides, it is so far from being evident, that the Septuagint, as it was in the hands of christians before Origen wrote his Hexa- : PLA, was uncorrupt; and that ORIGEN contributed to render it corrupt ; that on the contrary, it is manifeft; that (n) ORIGEN found the Septuagint in a very corrupt state, and did really restore a better text in innumerable places, and that to the fatisfa&tion of many christians, who approv'd of and used his text as a standard text, without thinking in the least, that they were depriv'd of any argument for the truth of christianity, that had been urg'd from former copies of the Septuagint.
(n) See GRABE de vitiis 70 Inter. ante Ævum ORIGINIS, 6 dé Remediis ab ipfo adhibitis in ejusdem Hexaplari Editione : And Montfaucon Prelimin, ad Originis Hexapla, colo
; III. That to suppose the Old Testament so cor
rupted, as Mr. WHISTON afferts, is to · gise zip christianity to Jerus and Infi
AN any thing tend more to expose U christianity to the contempt of Fews and Infidels, and to justify all unbelievers in rejecting it, than to suppose as Mr. W. does,, christianity not grounded on the present Old Testament, and therefore false, if confider'd as having its dependance thereon ? .
Do not the Jews take it for granted on vulgar tradition among themselves, that they have a true copy of the books of the old Teftament? And do not all Infidels take it for granted, upon the vulgar tradition of Jews and Christians, that the present books of the Old Teftament are the very books, upon which, not only Jews, but Christians ground their religion ? And will not both Jews and Infidels think the cause of chriAtianity fufficiently weak, if christians once allow, that the New Testament depends not on the present]'Old Testament, contrary to what christians have for many ages past asserted, and to what the primitive fathers and the apostles themfelves, according to all appearance, asserted before them? It has
been thought by divines () to be of very ill consequence to religion, to suppose any alterations have been made in the Old Testament; and PEREIRA, HOBBES, SPINOZA, Simon, and others, have been severely cenfur'd, as giving up or attacking the bible, for asserting, that some few interpolations, tho' not relating to the essentials of religion, have been made therein. Of how great consequence then, must such alterations be deem'd, which affect the very being and reason of christianity ?
Are not all unbelievers of christianity justify'd for rejecting it, from the time the true copy of the Old Testament was loft among christians, to the time Mr. W. publish'd his (P) Boylean Lectures and his Elay towards restoring the true text of the Old Testament ; wherein it is suggested to the world, that our present text is not the true text of the Old Testament in respect to those places, on which the apostles ground the truth of christianity ? For if the grounds and reasons for christianity, contain’d in the Old Testament were loft, christianity was then lost.
And may not men still justly reject chriftianity ? For can it be the duty of men to
ro) Kidderi Epift. ad J. Clericum apud Bib. Chois. tom. 4. p. 379.
(P) Whitton's Boul. Lect. p. 30.07–72.
inquire after a lost book (and that impossible now to be recover'd) in order to find outs whether christianity had any folid grounds or no at first, when all the present appearances are, according to Mr. W. that it had no folid grounds ? Or can men reafonably suppose without proof (för really that is all Mr. W. has to support his hypothefis, to which he seems merely driven by the con ceiv'd absurdity of the allegorical hypothes fis; arguing herein like (g) Faustus the manichæan bishop, who thought MATTHEW, and Luke interpolated and corrupted on account of the difficulties in their feveral genealogies of Jesus, and of their contradictis ons to one another, and also John's (9) gospel corrupted, wherein CHRIST fays; Moses wrote of bim, because he could find no such passage in the books of Moses) I say, can men reasonably suppose, without proof, that the apostles cited, interpreted, and argu'd justly from the Old Testament, when we fee (as Mr. W. fays) they did not; taking them to have cited, interpreted, and argu'd from the present Old Testament?
Lastly, may not Mr. W. as well hope to convert Jews and Infidels by allegorical reas Coming from the Old Testament, how weak and enthusiastical foever that may seem to SI
(9) Fauftus abud
(9) Faustus apud Auguft. contra Fauft. 1. 30.. I. 8. (*) Ib. 1.16. 6. 2. See also 1. 28. 6. zi & l. 32. 6. Ti;
him to be, as by a loft bible, now to be recover'd by criticism? Nay, may he not have better hopes, since that was manifestly the method of arguing used by the apostles and first fathers (by his own (s) confession in all other cases, but that of Prophesies) and has been deem'd (also by his own confeffion) to have been the method used by all christians, in all cases, from the days of Jerom, that is, from the end of the fourth century to this day : during which time christianity has greatly prevail'd over the world; tho' ftanding on allegorical reasons, that is, according to Mr. W. on (t) weak and enthufiaftical reasons; tho' (u) the Hebrew and Septuagint bave been put upon the wrack, and even tortur'd by the criticks, to see if by any violence the citations of the apostles from the Old Testament can be made to accord with the texts cited; tho' the truly judicious and impartial knowo, that this has 'been hitherto done with little success; and tho' the Old and New Teftament are in an irreconcilable state, to the great perplexity of good christians, and the open scandal of Žews and Infidels?
(1) Whifton's Boylean Le&tures, p. 67. p. 91, 92. (t) Ib. p. 92. (*) Ib. p. 2821