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comparing Things, and by an eafy Application in many Cases, take Don Quixote for a Termigant Saint, and a Termigant Saint for a Don Quixote.
14. It may be objected to Mr. WHISTON, that he has advanced a Multitude of Paradoxes about very important Matters, many of which are founded on very flight Appearances of Probability ; and, in particular, that he calls in Question the Integrity of our present Copies of the Old Testament, which he supposes corrupted to that Degree by the Jews, in Respect to some of the Quotations made from thence by the Apostles, as to make their Reasonings from, and Use of, those Quotations, seem weak and enthusiastical.
To which I answer,
That Mr. WHIston acts tħe Part of an honest Man, and Lover of Truth, by thus proposing his Conje&tures and Sentiments, and putting Points of Conscience in the Way of Examination, and is so much better than all other such learned Divines as himself, as he exceeds them in the Liberty he takes of pro
posing his Conje&tures and Sentiments; that the Method, whereof he sets us an Example, tends to the Information of all Men of Sense, and both increases the Number of capable judges, and renders the Learned themfelves better judges than they were before ; that, in partieular, the Old Testament will appear so undoubtedly genuine and uncorrupt in the Respect above-mention’d, when the Question is debated, that it must unavoidably gain Ground as a genuine and uncorrupt Book, in that Respect, in the Minds of all intelligent Men, who are not wedded to an Hypothesis ; and that it ought to be consider'd, that Mr. Whiston proposes his Scheme (0) of a corrupted Old Testament, as the best and only Method of defending Christianity, which, according to him, had a rational Dependence on the Old Testament before it was corrupted; and that he apprehends, that the Scheme or Supposition of an uncorrupted Old Testament really destroys the Truth of Christianiry, and gives the Deists, Jews, and Infidels, a just Subject of Triumph over it, which, accord
PO) See also bis Advertisement before his Supplement to his Es ay, &C.
ing to him, is now in an (p) irreconcileable State with, and depends not on, the present Old Testament; whereby this Matter amounts to no more than a Question between Christians contending for the Truth of Christianity against Unbelievers, viz. which is the best Method of defending Christianity, whether by supposing the Old Testament corrupted, or uncorrupted,
But Mr. Whiston himself, in few Words, makes a just and true Defence for Liberty, and also a noble Proposal in Behalf of Truth and Christianity, when he says (9) “ I wish " that all Unbelievers' were openly allow'd and s invited to produce their real Arguments, sub“ stantial Objections, and considerable Doubts “ without Molestation; as being persuaded, says " be, they are capable of satisfactory Answers « and Solutions.” For it is sufficient, that all the Unbelievers Arguments can be answer'd. The Answers and Solutions mention'd by Mr. W. which are now wanting, would, if produced, greatly weaken the Cause of Unbebelievers; who can now pretend to have real
(0) Whitton's Eljay, &c. p. 263. ( Whiston's Reflections on the Disc. of Freethinking, p. 6.
Arguments, and substantial Objections unananswer'd, and confiderable Doubts unsolved ; and clamour, because they have not Liberty to speak for themselves ; and who have a Pretence to say that their Adversaries, conscious of the Weakness of their own Cause, dare not let them speak or write against it. And Mr. W. is very far from being singular in thinking, that it would be a Benefit to allow Infidels to publish their Objections against Chriftianity.
Grotius, in a Letter to PEIRESKI, says, * (r) I send you, most noble Sir, fome Paf“ sages taken out of the Writings of Por“PHYRY, by the Defenders of the Christian " Religion; from whence you may easily see, " how many Things might have been pro• duced out of his Books for the Purpose of “ Christianity, if we had them intire; those “ Books especially, which he wrote against " the Christians, wherein he put many Weas pons into our Hands that might be em“ ploy'd against himself and the Pagans. As “ to the Poison contain’d in those Books, suf
(7) Grotii Epift. p. 197. Ep.509.
iss ficient Antidotes were to be had out of many “apologetick. Writings of the antient Chris“ tians, and especially out of the Books of “Origen against Celsus, and of Cy"RIL against JULIAN. Wherefore I should “ esteem it a publick Benefit to have those “ Books in the Hands of such Men, who are “ willing and able to use them.”
(s) “ It were MUCH TO BE DESIRED, " says the great Joseph SCALIGER, that we " had the Books, which PORPHYRY wrote ^ against the Christian Religion.
LE CLERC (t) says, that “the thirty “ Books of EU SEBIU s against PoRHYRY “ are the greatest Loss that could be in Re“ fpect to the Works of EUSEBIUS; for by “ them we might have learn'd the Objections “c of the ableft Philosopher of his Time a“ gainst the Christian Religion, and the An“ fwer of the most learned Bishop of his «s Age.”
(s) Scaligerana Art. Porphyrius.