« VorigeDoorgaan »
“allowed you to receive the COMPLIMENTS OF THE " Public on that score. It may now be seasonable to "call you to something, which, though perhaps less
agreeable to you, may yet be more profitable; aud that " is, to consider how much truth you have advanced, and $. what real service you have done, or are likely to do to
religion, by this undertaking." p. 34. And why will he not dispute the great proofs of my learning and ingenuity? Ile has disputed a more incontestible thing; the truth, which that learning and ingenuity were employed to illustrate: and, if these appeared with any distinction, it was solely owing to the advantage of the subject.
But I have had a fair time allowed me to receive the compliments of the Public. How allowed me? and by whom? certainly not by such writers as these. For if their clamours could have prevailed, I had received the public odium rather than its compliments. And the reader may see, by the short list given of them in the beginning of this pamphlet, that those clamours begun the very moment the first volume of The Divine Legation appeared; and have continued ever since, without interruption, to the publication of our Author's Epistolary Dissertation. - But, after all, what were these compliments? And where have they lain hid? Nothing, from the Public, ever came to my knowledge but the calumnies of my adversaries. In some sense, indeed, these may be called compliments, and substantial ones too. For, next to the old way of complimenting, Laudari a laudato Viro, I prize the new, now all in fashion, vituperari a perditissimo yuoque. He, perhaps, may think the sale of the book
. a good substantial compliment. But, for that, my bookseller must thank them; especially if he gave them not their pennyworth for their money. 2. However, to take these compliments in their obvious
I know of nothing for which I had more reason to expect the compliments of the public, than for the Alliance between Church and State, as it was a defence (and I will presume, from its being yet unanswered, an i effectual one) of the justice and equity of our present happy establishment; at a time when the enemies of all
Church establishments were commonly supposed to have demonstrated it to be indefensible. Yet what public compliment did I ever receive for this service? unless it may be reckoned a compliment, that those, in whose behalf it was particularly written, have never yet publicly disavowed the free and moderate principles on which it goes. But that, the honest layman will perhaps say, is no bad compliment to themselves.
I am here all along pleading for my adversary. For had I indeed received the compliments be talks of, he would find it very difficult to bring his modesty off unhurt. The wrong judgment of the Public being, in that case, the principal object of his pamphlet: the drift of which is to shew that I deserved no compliment, as I had confounded and mistaken the question, run into contradictions, and done injury to Christianity: nay, even in this very place, where he talks of the great proofs of my learning and ingenuity, he cannot forbear insinuating that I have advanced no truth, nor done any real service to religion. Miserable then, indeed, is that learning anıl ingenuity! Well does he say he would not dispute them. For, for any thing they are worth, there they may lie; and he may safely trust to time to revenge his quarrel on them.
From all this, then, we must conclude that these public compliments are but the mormos of his own brain : thing's he rather feared than saw; and that, through the false consciousness of a supposed worth, he is no judge of. In this troublesome situation, the only way he had of cusing himself was to attempt to give me pain ; indeed the only ease such writers are capable of, when they see, or imagine they see, a merit in others. It is time (says he) to call you to something less agreeable.
Well, but if it be, as he promises, more profitable, he makes me sufficient amends. And there was no danger of his not keeping his word: for an use is always to be made of the calumnies of one's enemies. Besides, it must be a poor thing indeed that will not afford more profit than the airy compliments he talks of: which were they as real as, for auglit appears, they are imaginary, I solemnly assure
I him, I would give them all for the honest satisfaction of 15
having having made one single convert; and I have reason to hope I have made many by my writings, from irreligion to the faith of Jesus,
However, the profit I may get by an adversary is one thing; and the profit he may propose is another. Let us see then what our Anonymous ains at. It is (he tells us) to consider how much truth I have advanced, or what
hora real service I have done, or am likely to do to religion, by this undertaking. Modestly intimating, that I have advanced no trụth ; done no real service, nor likely to do any to religion. And now, methinks, I hear the equitable and indignant reader crying out, Sume superbiam, &c. And certainly if this liberty may be allowed in any case, it must in this, where a man's honest endeavours, in his. proper station, to serve his country and mankind, are blackened by the dull low envy of an anonymous slanderer. What! Was it advancing no truth, was it doing no service to religion, to confute the Atheistic principles of Bayle, the immoral doctrine of Mandeville, and settling morality on its true basis, and shewing it to be that ou which Revelation hath placed it? To justify the equity of an established religion ; vindicate the Christian from the charge of a persecuting spirit; shew the absolute necessity of religion for the support of society, and yet that it had its original, neither from priests nor statesmen, but from truth, and truth's great Author? Again, JV as it advancing no truth, was it doing no service to religion, to shew that the Mosaic had all the distinguishing marks of divinity; to vindicate the Bible history against the greatest modern Philosopher and Chronologer; to explain the nature of the Jewish theocracy, and, by that, to justify the equity of those two famous laws, of punishing for opinions, and punishing posterity for the crimes of their forefathers; to confute the most able book ever wrote against Revelation, the Grounds and Reasons of the Christian Religion; and, above all, to explain, and to be the first who ever did explain, the nature of types in action, and secondary senses in speech, on which, depend altogether the rational interpretation of ancient prophecies, and the truth of the mission of Jesus ? --- But for the further confutation of so wretched a calumny, the reader need only turn back again to Y 3
the view I have here given of the argument of the Divine Legution. Yet none of these matters, no, nor an hundred more, has he so much as touched upon, or pretendeel to confute. Will he say therefore that these are not what he meant, when he promised to shew, that I had advanced no truth, done no real service to religion? But only iny peculiar argument for The Divine Legation of Moses. Why then did he make his charge so general, when his proof was so confined? As his modesty will not suffer him to tell, it shall be helped out. The reader then must know, that it is a fundamental maxim with all the writers of this class (as it is amongst the Jesuits) never to acknowledge that an adversary can do any thing well, lest the public should take it into their heads that other things are not so ill as is represented. This is the wicked spirit of controversy, and under the possession of it I leave him. For I am ashamed of having wasted a moment with so unprofitable a writer.
The judicious reader, I am sure, would not excuse me if he thought many were so misemployed. The truth is, the reading his book (which is the first I ever read through, of all that have been hitherto wrote against me), and the writing this Appendir, took me up but a part only of this one evening. Though I have answered every thing in it worth notice; or that had the least chance of misleading a well-nicaning reader. However, if he will tell his name, and shew bis face; and it appears that the one has been heard of, or the other ever scen in good company, I do hereby promiso to give his Considerations on the Case of Abrahain, &c. a distinct answer, paragraph by paragraph, in the manner of that, to'oue much his betters, the truly learned and worthy Editor of the book of Job. Nay, I will do more for his encouragement: I will shew as particular a respect to the rest of his pamphlet; but on this further condition, liowever,
that he, at the same time, produce me some one competent judge who shall say, on his credit, that it deserves. any other answer than what has been already given to it. But without this, a final adieu to his naineless nothing; but with this testimony, however, that a duller, a more disingenuous, or ignorant book, I never read.
December 17, 1743.
I HAVE said, that all this writer has urged, from texts of Scripture, to prove a future state in the Jewish dispensation, is so utterly contemptible, and void of sense, as to deserve no kind of answer. But that he may not, flatter himself in the imagination of any other cause of my neglect of him, I shall here examine a single objection (sent me in a private anonymous Letter), which has more plausibility of reason than all his arguments, on this head, put together, And, as the Author's manner of communicating it has the appearance of candour and love of truth, he will always deserve inore regard than a thousand such writers as the Examiner of the sccond Proposition. The objection is in these words : “ Moses Sintorces the obedience of the Israelites upon this con"sideration, Ye shull therefore keep my statutes und 19 judgments, which if a man do, he shall live in them*
Here is a promise of life made to those who should “observe the statutes and judgments which God gave
them by his servant Moses; which cannot be understood " of this temporal life only, because the best men were * often cut off in the midst of their days, and frequently
suffered greater adversities than the most profligate * sinners. The Jews therefore have constantly believed " that it had a respect to the lite to come. When the
latvyer in the Gospel had made that most important
demand, Master, what shall I do to inherit cternal “ life t? our blessed Lord refers him to what was written 6 in the Law; and, upon his making a sound and judicious
answer, approves of it; and for satisfaction to his
question tells him, This do, and thou shalt live."--The objection is very ingenious; and, as we shall see, not less artfully managed. w: The objector would have the promise of life in Leviti
cus to signify eternal life. But St. Paul' himself has » long ago moderated this question for us, and declared for the negative. :-Aldispute arose between him, and the • Levit, xviii.5.