Imatges de pÓgina

Thip of one God? Where, by the Way, this is only a fimple Mistake of the Author, to say Arathe for the Astarte, or Astaroth, of the Sidonians. Here is again Abraham mistaken for the Father, who was the Grand-Father of Israel. Here are Ifrael's ten Sons set down for his Twelve; his little Estate mistaken for an Empire, and the twelve Tribes for ten Kingdoms. Here is Joseph taken for Jacob's youngest Son, who was his eldest by another Venter; and Mofes passes for Joseph's Son, who lived three or four hundred Years after him. Here is the Name of Jews said to be imposed by Jacob, which was not known till the Time of the Captivity, a thousand Years afterwards. Here are the Plagues which Mofes inflicted upon Ægypt, altered for the Scabbiness of the Jews, as if those heavy Judgments came only by Infection; and the spoiling of the Ægyptians of their Bracelets, Ear-rings, &c. turned into the running away with their Sacra. Here is the History of the Manna and Quails confounded with the Institution of the Sabbath ; and their Injunction of not communicating with the Nations, attributed to the foolish Fable about their Itch, or Leprofie. And besides, here is again Aaron, Moses's Brother, mistaken into his Son, and turned from a Jewisly into an Ægyptian Priest: Here is the same Aaron made King of the Jews, who was never otherways than Priest; and that said to be the Original of the Custom of the Jews having their Kings their Priests, when never any such Custom obtained among them; but only the Author has blundred the History of the Maccabees Government into this Fable. So that, Phim lologus, I would have your Gentlemen for Shame leave of, to abuse the Jewish Nation with false Stories out of Heathen Historians, that knew so very little of their Country, and are guilty of so many Mistakes about it, For in this short Account of Justin, you see there are almost as many Mistakes as Words; whether they are wilful and malicious, or no, I shall not determine; but I am fure the Account we find in Scripture, to all reasonable Blen, must be ten Times less liable to Exception,

Phil. These

Phil. These are but small Things, Credentius, for us to make many

Words about ; but I am afraid, your Inspiration-Men are guilty of a very great fundamental Error, in taking that for some supernatural Revelation of God, which is only natural Reason. For I cannot be brought to think, that the Prophets or other Writers of the Bible, which are said to be inspired, had the Mind of God revealed to them, any other way, than by the common natural Way of Reasoning and Knowledge. For natural Knowledge is but the Revelation of God, wherein God reveals to our Minds the Natures of Things, which were unknown to us before; so that God may be as well faid to speak to us by our Reason, as by the Scriptures ; and natural Knowledge may be allowed to be divine, as proceeding from God, as well as they. And I doubt not, but that it was the Hebrew Way of using the Word God, that has betrayed both Jews and Christians into the Fancy of Infpiration and Revelation, in the modern Sense; when formerly nothing but pure natural Knowledge was meant by it. For the Hebrews had always a very religious and devout Way of Talking, and attributed almost all natural A&ions to God. If they had gotten Money by their Industry, they would say it was given them by God: If they had a good Thought, they would say, God put it into their Hearts, and the like. So a great many other Things were said to be divine, or to come from God, which

were only natural, not wonderful, or extraordinary. Thus the Mountains of God is only another Name for great Mountains; the Sleep of God for a deep Sleep; and the Sons of God, Gen. vi. are but

great Sons or Giants. Now it would be a mad Way of Interpretation, to say all these Things were inspired, because they have God's Name added to them. Therefore why should we suppose, that those Men, who are called Prophets in Scripture, had any divine and supernatural Revelation, only because they are called the Men of God, or are said to have the Spirit of God? For this is only an usual Hyperbole to denote that they were extraordinary Men, Men of found Reasoning and notable



, and exquisitely gifted to move and persuade the People. And this is no more than what the Greeks and Latins mean by Divine or Godlike (i. e.) extraordinary: Only because the Hebrews made use of Genitives instead of Adjectives

, they called him the Man of God, whom the Heathens would have called a divine or extraordinary Man. So when the Prophets are said to have the Spirit of God, what need I pray of coining an Inspiration or Revelation of divine Truth, to explain this by ? For

the Spirit of God has so many Senses, and those so very • diverse in Scripture, that I think it is not fair to clap that

particular Sense only upon it, which it may but bare poflibly signify. Sometimes it signifies only the Wind, as 1ja. xl. 7. The Ruach, or Spirit of the Lord blew upon him; that is, a very dry and fatal Wind. Sometimes it signifies the Soul, as Job xlvii

. 3. The Ruach, the Spirit, or Breath of God, is in my Nostrils

. Sometimes it lignifies Life, as Ezech. xxxvii. 14. I will give my Spirit to you, and you shall live : That is, I will recover you, and give you Life or Spirit again. Other Times it signifies Mercy, as Mich. ii. 7. Is the Ruach, the Spirit, (i. e.) the Mercy of God streightned? And the Word Spirit it self singly is noted to signify a Temper of Mind, as, Caleb was of another Spirit, (i.e.) a better Temper than the murmuring Jews, Numb. xiv. 24. And in other Places of Scripture the Spirit of Jealousy, the Spirit of Meekness, the Spirit of Holiness &c. all which signify Tempers and Dispositions of Mind.

From all which I conclude, that when in Scripture the Prophets are said to have the Spirit of God; the Meaning is only, that they have great Minds, or Spirits, or extraordinary holy Dispositions, above the rest of the People. Which Expression signifies no more in Hebrew, than what the Greeks mean when they say the same of a brave Poet or Orator, that he has in his Writings Swór 7, some Thing divine and admirable, and far above the Rate of common Authors. So that when by these Passages of Scripture, it will appear, That the Prophets were good solid Writers, and excellent Preachers; why should you


go about to spoil their Character, and make them only enthusiastical Dreamers? And now, let my Infidelity be as great as you would make it, you see I am a better Friend to your old Prophets, than you your self.

Cred. You have given us here a great deal of learned Banter, and it is great Pity that Men should study Scripture so much, to make such ill Use of it. But to give an Answer to this wild sort of Arguing, which I can hardly persuade my self you urge in earnest ;

1. You affert, That natural Knowledge is the Revela- Natural tion of God, and that the Scriptures have not any more


not ReveReason to be called so than that : But this is a great lation. Mistake ; for natural Knowledge can't be said properly to be the Revelation, but only the Gift of God. Indeed whatever we know, we should never come to the Knowledge of, unless it had pleased God's Goodness to endow us with these intelligent Faculties ; but then no Body says, that God reveals these natural Truths to us, but only he gives us the Faculties of discerning them. Nay, let us be as Platonical as we please, and assert that all the Notions of the Soul, are but so many Intuitions of the Deity, and our viewing some of that Infinity of Truths, which he is pleased to exhibit to us, by communicating himself to us : I say, altho' we explain natural Knowledge this Way, yet this is far from being the same, which we generally understand by devine Revelation. For this first is a general Way of God's communicating himself indifferently to all Men; for all Men do indifferently partake of a considerable Measure of natural Knowledge. But this latter Way of God's revealing himself, which in particular we call Divine Revelation, is a Favour which God has vouchsafed but to a very few of all Mankind, that they might communicate, what was so revealed to them,, to the rest. By the first, Men only have a Power of perceiving the Ideas and Impressions of outward Objects, of compounding and dividing Thoughts, of affirming and denying concerning them, of fitting Premisses, and deducing Consequences; which every one's own Expetience tells him he has by Nature. But the latter is a


supernatural Impulse of the divine Power, which inftills into Men's Minds Thoughts not attainable by human Reason, or else gives them

an Authority, as coming from God, which they had not before. And therefore it is an idle Fallacy, to call those natural Deductions of Reason, and common Ideas of Things, by the Name of Revelation; from which they do as widely differ, as Light and Darkness. This is only a ludicrous Artifice which your Sort of Men have got, of making Use of religious Terms, when

you believe nothing of the Thing, and exposing Religion, by leaving nothing in it but a few empty Names. And besides, they have another End to ferve by it, which is this, That then their Infidelity does not appear so bare-fac'd when they make Use of the old Terms in an Infidel Sense; for otherways such Writers as Hobbs, Spinosa, and the Author of the five Letters, would appear so horrid to all Ears that had the least Spark or Christianity left, that Men would be scar'd from them at the first Reading; and so all Hopes of making Profelytes for the Devil would be over. But by this bantering and mincing the Matter, Readers are cajoled into Infidelity unawares, and the Authors escape the Punishment likewise, which would otherwise attend an open and bare-fac'd Blas

phcmy. Prophets

2. And it is much such another Kind of Argumentanot only tion, when you would have the Prophets, which are extraordi- sometimes in Scripture called the Men of God, to be only

Men of good Parts, and very considerable Men; because forsooth great Things in Scripture are sometimes called by the Name of God. For what tho' the Mountain of God be a great Mountain, and Nimrod a Hunter of God, be a mighty Hunter, may not therefore Mofes, and Isaiah, and Jeremy, be inspired Prophets? I pray, where lies the Consequence of this? Indeed if they were only in general said to be Men of God, and had no other Title, or no other Demonstration of their propherick Spirit, there would be then something tolerable in this Argument. But the Name of Min of God, is an Expression which is but rarely, but once or twice in Scripture, made Use of to




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