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tell them, that on a certain day and hour he divided the Thames, and led them on dry ground over to Southwark; appealing to them for the truth of what
I should like to see the event of such an appeal. There are many such appeals recorded of Moses to his nation; and the book, in which these appeals are so recorded, contains the municipal law by which that nation has been governed, from the days of Moses to the dissolution of their polity. This is a fact, without a parallel upon earth; and let
any man produce an hypothesis to account for it, consistently with the idea of Moses being a deceiver, which will abide the test of common sense for five minutes. If the deists can reason us out of our faith, let them do so: but we are not weak enough, as yet, to be sneered or scoffed out of it.
Page 3. “ What reply can be made to those who " affirm, that miracles have always been confined to “the early and fabulous ages?"
The reply is easy—that miracles were performed, by Christ and his apostles, in the age, of all others, esteemed the most polite and learned; and that the adversaries of Christianity, in those days, never thought of denying the facts. It was a piece of assurance reserved for these latter times.
.“ That all nations have had them; but that they disappeared in proportion as men became enlightened, and capable of discovering imposture.”
Many nations have had them, true or false : the false disappeared, when discovered to be so ; but the true will abide for ever. The Jewish rulers had their senses about them, as much as other people;
and those senses sharpened to the utmost by envy and malice. Yet were they obliged to confess“This man doth many miracles.” It may be added, that had there been no genuine miracles, there would have been no counterfeits.
Upon the whole—in this section, on so leading an article, the infidels have made no considerable progress. Rather, they can hardly be said, in the nautical phrase, to have got under way.
Our infidels seem inclined to deny that Moses was the author of the books which go under his
To this purpose they observe (and the observation is certainly a judicious one), that he could not have written the account of his own death, which occurs in the last chapter of Deuteronomy. There are likewise, as we all very well know, a few other passages, here and there, allowed both by Jews and Christians to have been inserted since his time. But these will never prevent us from looking upon him as the author of the Pentateuch, any more than a few interpolated passages in the works of Josephus prevent us from ascribing those works to that author. The Pentateuch and the institutions it prescribes have been in being ever since the days of Moses : how, when, and by whom, could they have been forged ?
But they themselves do not bụild much on this part of their performance; for they say, page 4,
Supposing these and other objections of the like “nature to be removed”—which they therefore suppose may be removed "the Scripture is frequently
contradictory with regard to facts.” Perhaps not. At least we must have some proof; and so, in their own words, vide infra.
“And represents the all-wise Creator as angry, repenting, unjust, arbitrary, and”-in short—"as a demon.
That it represents him “as angry and repenting," is true; it likewise “represents him as coming down,
and going up”-all in condescension to our capacities, and “after the manner of men,” as every
child knows among us.
Nor can we speak of the Deity in any other manner, if we would speak intelligibly to the generality of mankind'. That the Scripture should represent God as “unjust, arbitrary, and a “ demon," is very bad indeed. Let us hope better things than these of the Scripture, however. When the several charges are brought forward, we must endeavour to answer them. And notwithstanding the jokes of these gentlemen about the pillory, one or other of us, I am afraid, will be found to deserve it.
Page 5. “Did God create light before the sun?" Most assuredly. Why not? When the orb of the sun was formed on the fourth day, it became the appointed receptacle of light, from whence that glorious fuid was to be dispensed, for the benefit of the system. Before the formation of the solar orb, light was supported in action by some other means, as seemed good to the Creator. The earth might be made to revolve by the same agency, and then another question is answered : “How could time be di“ vided into days, before the creation of the sun;
• See a remarkable acknowledgement of this point by Collins, in Leland's View of the Deistical Writers; Letter xxix. vol. ii. p. 125. edit. 4th.
" since a day is the time between sun rise and sun
Page 5. “How could God divide the light from “ darkness, since darkness is nothing but the mere
privation of light?
The light was divided from the darkness, as it is now, by the interposition of the earth. This is plain ; because it follows, “God called the light day, and « the darkness he called night.” Day was the state of the hemisphere on which light irradiated; and night was the state of the opposite hemisphere, on which rested the shadow projected by the body of the earth. I see no absurdity in all this. But may not the assertion, that “darkness is only the mere
privation of light," be controverted? When “Moses
says, that darkness was upon the face of the deep, he did not mean that nothing was there. Of the darkness in Egypt, it is said, that it "might be felt.” And if the fire at the solar orb could be suddenly extinguished, would not the whole body of the celestial fuid instantly become a torpid congealed mass, and bind the creation in chains of adamant ? At the beginning, “light was formed out of dark
ness ;" and therefore may not the truth be this? In Scripture language, may not light be the celestial Auid, in a certain condition, and a certain degree of motion; and darkness the same fluid in a different condition, and without that degree of motion, or when such motion is interrupted by the interposition of an opaque body? A room, for example, is full of light. Close the shutters, and that light instantly disappears. But what is become of it? It is not