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call in question that very fact for which I was contending with their adversaries; and in a way their adversaries (except it were perhaps Spinosa and his man Toland) had never attempted, namely, by a virtual denial of the representation. If this was to be contested me, I could have wished, for the honour of Revelation, it had been done by the professed enemies of it: and then I could have exposed their prevarication without much regret. As it is, I rather chuse to draw a veil over this infirmity of the flesh; AND WAIT FOR the renewal of a right spirit within them.
END OF THE FIRST PART.
SEVERAL OCCASIONAL REFLECTIONS;
IN ANSWER TO THE
REV. DRS. STEBBING & SYKES:
Serving to explain and justify the two Dissertations in
“THE DIVINE LEGATION,"
THE COMMAND TO ABRAHAM TO OFFER UP HIS SON,
THE NATURE OF THE JEWISH THEOCRACY;
Objected to by those Learned Writers.
Et cantare pares, et RESPONDERE parati. VIRG
PART II. and Last.
Quid immerentes hospites vexas, Canis,
Nam, qualis aut Molossus, aut fulvus Lacon,
Agam per altas aure sublata nives,
Quæcunque præcedet Fera.
Tu'quum timenda voce complesti Nemus,
Projectum odoraris CIBум.
REMARKS ON OCCASIONAL REFLECTIONS;
THE two SUBJECTS here debated will deserve the attention of every serious Believer; especially, those of my own Order. For the sake of such, I shall just hazard a few observations, which I thought rather too good to be thrown away upon those whom the following -sheets more immediately concerned.
1. The Reader finds here, what the learned Dr. Stebbing has been able to object to my interpretation of the COMMAND TO ABRAHAM: Which, I presume, when fairly attended to, will be no light confirmation of its truth. But, as I have no notions to advance, not founded in a sincere desire to demonstrate the divinity of our holy religion, I would by no means take the advantage of a weak Adversary, to recommend them to the public acceptance. I hold it not 'honest, therefore, to conceal an objection to my interpretation, by far more.plausible than any that zealous Gentleman has urged against it; which is this, "That it is difficult to conceive how a *circumstance of so much importance to Revelation,
as the removing one of the strongest infidel objections "against its truth, and proving a real connexion between "the two dispensations of it, should never be clearly explained and insisted on by the Writers of the New Testament, though the Historian of the Old might have had sufficient reasons for concealing it." To which I beg leave to reply, that it is very certain, that many truths of great importance, for the support of religion against infidelity, were taught by Jesus to his disciples (amongst which, I.reckon this interpretation to
·be one) which never came down, by their conveyance, to the church. But being, by the assistance of God's Holy Spirit, discoverable by those who devote themselves to the study of the Scriptures with a pure mind, have, for the wise ends of Providence, inscrutable to us, been left for the industry of man to find out, that, as occasion required, every age might supply new evidence of God's truth, to put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: and that, in proportion as the power of darkness thickened, so might the splendour of the Gospel light; that light which was ordained, at last, entirely to disperse it. In support of what is here said, I beg the reader to reflect on what is told us by the Evangelist, of the conversation between Jesus (after his resurrection) and the two disciples journeying to Emmaus; where their Master says unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses, and all the prophets, he expounded unto them the things concerning himself. Now who can doubt but that many things were here revealed, which would have greatly contributed to the demonstration of the Gospel truth? Yet hath it pleased Providence that this discourse should never be recorded. But that the apostles used, and made a good use too, of those instructions, we have the plainest evidence from their amazing success in the conversion of the world, by this application of the writings of Moses and the prophets. And if I be not greatly deceived, amongst truths inforced on those occasions, that, which I presume to have discovered in the Command to Abraham, was not forgotten. Let the unprejudiced reader judge. St. Paul, making his apology before king Agrippa, recapitulates his defence in these words: Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets, and MOSES, DID SAY SHOULD COME: that Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead. The Greek is rather stronger, in predicating this circumstance of Moses-v τε ὁ προφῆται ἐλάλησαν μελλόζων γίνεσθαι ΚΑΙ ΜΩΣΗΣ. St. Luke xxiv. 26, 27. † Acts xxvi. 22, 23.