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The fixth book concludes with a long recapitulation, conífting of about fifty pages, wherein his Lorathip takes a retrospec


feries of predi&tions to be fulfilled in order, there is a fair end of this new interpretation.

First, then, it is to be observed, that the epiftle, in which the palsage in question is found, is a fare-well epistle to the Churches. St. Peter (as he tells them, chap. i. ver. 14.) knowing that shortly he must put of this bis Tabernacle:-Now the great topic of confolation orged, by chefe departing Saints, to their widowed Churches, was the second coming of their Mafter. And of this coming it is that St Peter speaks, in the words of the text--For we have not followed cunningly devised fables when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jefus Chrift. He fubjoins the reason of his confidence in this second coming, that he and the rest of the Disciples were exe-uitnesses of the majefly of the first, ver. 16.

That the second coming is che subject of the discourse, appears further from the recapitulation in the concluding part of the Epiftle, where he reproves those scoffers of the last days, who would say, where is the promise of his coming ? for force ihe Fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were, &c. (chap. iii. ver. 3, 4.) The primitive Christians, as we have seen, bad entertained an opinion that the second coming of their Mafter was at hand. And the cause and occasion of their mistake has been explained. These Scoffers the Apofle confutes at large from ver. Śth, to the 13th. And recurring again, at ver. 15, to that more fure word of propbecy, mentioned chap. i. ver. 19. he refers evidently to thofe parts of St. Paul's writings, where the Prophecies in the Revelation's concerning Antichrist are summarily abridged, of which writings he gives this character-As also in all bis Epifles, Speaking in them of beso ibing', in which are fome things hard to be understood, which they that dre unlearned and unfiable wrést, as they do all the other Scriptures, unio sbeir own deftruétion. (ver. 16.) In which words, we have the truest picture of thofe indiscreet Interpreters who set up for Prophets in predicting the events of unfulfilled Prophecies, instead of confiuing themfelves to the explanation of those already accomplished.

Bat not only the general fubject of the Epifle, but the very expres. fion used in the text in queftion, shews that this power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is his

fecond coming -For we have not followed (lays he) conningly devised Fables fotoaplonévois uoloss] when we made known uin. 10 Foarbe power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now, an attefta. tion of a voice from Heaven at his forff coming, tho' it had been a figo ment of the Relater, could with no propriety be called a cunningly devijed Fable. But fuppose the Apostle to speak of Christ's second coming, when according to the promise, there was to be a new Heaven and a new Earth, wherein was to dwell righteousness, after the old had been burnt up and deffroyed by fervent heat [chap. iii. ver. 12, 13.) if this awful scene were an invention, it was truly characterised by a cunningly devised fable, such as those in which Paganism abounded, where, in their mytho. logte relations, they speak of the Regions of departed Heroes, &c. N 2


tive view of his whole argument. Part of the introduction to this recapitulation is as follows:

« As

-Locos lætos & amoena vireta
Fortunatorum nemorum, sedesque beatas.
Largior hic Campos aiber & lumine veflit

Purpureo : Sclemque fium, Jua lidera norunt. And, to ascertain his meaning, the Apostle uses a phrafe by which only the mythologic fables of Pagan Theology can be defignedisnja σισοφισμένους ΜΥΘΟΙΣ εξακολουθύσαντες-ποι following or imitating the eanmingly deviled fables of the Greek Sopbifts and Mythologists.

Secondly, it thall be now Thewn, that, by the more jure word of prophecy, the Apostle does not mean, as Mr. Markland's interpretation fuppoles, a Prophecy fulfilled, but a long series of Prophecies to be fulfilled in order, and in the course of many ages. We may observe then, that concerning this more sure word of prophecy, the Churches are told, they do well 10 take heed, as unto a light that fhineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day.ftar arise in their b.arts. (chap. i. ver. 19.] Now, from Pro; hecy thus circumstanced, it plainly appears, that it could not be a complete Prophecy of any event fulfilled, such as that of Isaiah, chap. xlii. ver. I, which Mr. Markland supposes is the Prophecy here spoken of, because it was not a light shining in a dark place until i he day dawn; since, with regard to the Prophecy in question, the day was not only dawned, but advanced ; yet the Apostle Tupposes the darkness to exift, and the day dawn to be far diftant. Neither, on the other hand, could it be a Prophecy totally unfulfilled, for such are totally dark and enintelligible; but this, here spoken of, is a light shining, though in a dark place.

In a word, the character given of the more fure word of Propbery, as being a light shat shineth in a dark place, can agree with nothing but the Prophecies of St. Paul and St. John: and with these, it agrees admirably. These Predictions relating to one great event, the future fertune of ibe Church, under the ufurpation of the Man of Sin, are emphatically called the word of prophecy. They began fulfilling even before St. Peter wrote this Epistle ; for St. Paul, speaking of the Man of Sin, to the Thessalonians, fays, the mystery of iniquity dath already work. [2d Ep. chap. ii. ver. 7.) This Prophecy therefore, is, with the greated elegance and truth, described as a light shining in a dark place. Just fo much of the commencing completion was seen as to excite Men's attention; but this glimmering was still surrounded with thick darkness : And as the eager curiosity of man tempts him to plunge even into ob. scurity in purluit of a light just beginning to emerge from it, he subjoins a very necessary caution.-Knowing this first that no prepbery of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. (ver. 20.) As much as to say, I exhort you to give all aitention to this more Jure word of prophecy, bas previously to guard yourselves with this important truth, that the Inter. preter of Prophecy is not Man but God, and the full completion of it, its only true interpretation. He fupports this observation by a fact For the Prophecy came not in old time by the will of Man, but holy Men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghoff, (ver. 21.} i. e, the very


• As the Argument is indeed drawn out to an uncommon length; raised upon a great variety of supports; and fought out from every quarter of antiquity, and sometimes out of corners the most remote and dark, it was the less to be admired if every inattentive Reader did not see their force and various purpose; or if every attentive Reader could not combine them into the body of a compleated Syllogism ; and still less if the envious and the prejudiced should concur to represent these Volumes as an indigested and inconnected heap of discourses, thrown out upon one another, to disburthen a common-place. For the satisfaction therefore, of the more candid, who acknowledge the fairness of the attempt, who saw something of the progress of the argument, but, milled by the notice of a remaining Part, neglected to pursue the proof to the conclusion here deduced, I Mall endeavour to lay open, in one plain and simple, view, the whole conduct of these mysterious Volumes.

Nor shall I neglect the other sort of Readers, tho' it be odds, we part again as dissatisfied with one another, as the Toyman of Bath and his Customer. Of whom the story goes, that a grave well-dressed man coming into the shop of this ingenious inventor, and reliever of the distresses of those who are too dull to know what they want, and too rich to be at ease with what they have, demanded to see some of his best reading-glasses ; which when he had tried to no purpose, he returned. The Toyman surprised at fo ftrange a phænomenon, gravely asked him, whether ever he had learnt to read ? to which the other as gravely replied, that if he had been so happy he should have had no need of his assistance. Now, before I bring the distant parts of my argument to converge, for the use of these dimfighted gentlemen, may I ask them, without offence, a similar question? They have answered; without asking; but not with the same ingenuity.'

His Lordħhip concludes his recapitulation with an account of what is to be contained in the remaining part of his work, and introduces another tale, to ridicule the complaint against him, for not having performed his convention with the public,

To this, says he, a great deal might be said, and perhaps to little purpose. The following tale will put it in the fairest light. In a folemn treaty lately concluded between the governor of one of our American provinces and the neighbouring savages, it had,

Prophets themselves, under the old Law, often underslood not the true parport of what they predicted, being only the organs of God's Holy Spirit ; much less are we to suppose the common ministers of the word qualified for the office of Interpreters of unfulfilled prophecies, And in the 3d chapter ver. 16, as has been observed aboye, he (peaks of the mischiefa attending this presumption.

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it seems, been stipulated, that the settlement should supply those warrior-tribes with a certain number of good and serviceable muskets. Which engagement was so ill performed, that at their next general meeting, the chiefs of the barbarians complained, that, though indeed the colony had sent them the number of muskets agreed upon, yet, on examination, they were all found, to be without locks. This mischance (occasioned by the muskets , and the locks being put into two different cargoes) the governor promised should be redressed. It was redressed accordingly, and the locks fought out, and sent. He now flattered himself that all cause of umbrage was effectually removed ; when, at their next meeting, he was entertained with a fresh complaint, that the colony had, fraudulently sent them locks without muskets. The truth was, this brave people, of unimpeached morals, were only defective in their military logic; they had not the dexterity, till they were first fewn the way, to put the major of the murket and the minor of the musket-lock together, and from thence to draw the concluding trigger,

· But then it will be said, “If, as is here pretended, the premises have been indeed proved, in these two volumes, with all the detail which their importance required, and with all the evidence which a moral subject can supply; and the conclusion, therefore, established with all the conviction which the laws of logic are able to enforce ; Why was another volume promised ?. For no other end, as would seem, than to mislead a well-meaning reader, in the vain pursuit of an Argument already ended.”.

It was promised for a better purpole-To remove all conceivable objections against the conclusion, and to throw in every collateral light upon the premisles. For it is one thing to satisfy truth, and another,, to silence her pretended friends. He who defends Revelation has many prejudices to encounter ;, þút: he who de fends it by reason only, has many more.

· The third and laf volume, therefore, is destined to fupport what hath been already proved: not, as has been absurdly, suggested, to continue and conclude an unfinished Argument.

* It confists of three books, like each of the preceding volumes.

C? 1. The seventh book therefore is employed in supporting the major and the minor propositions of the first syllogism : in a continued history of the religious opinions of the Jews, from the time of the earlier prophets, who first gave some dark intimations of a different dispensation, to the time of the Maccabees, when the doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments was become national.

• 2. The eighth book is employed in supporting the major and minor propositions of the second fyllogifm, in which is condered the personal charafler of Moses and the genius of the law,


as far as it concerns or has a relation to the character of the Lawgiver. Under this latter head, is contained a full and fatisfactory answer to those who may object “ That a revealed religion with a future state of rewards and punishments is un. worthy the divine Author to whom it is ascribed.”

3. The ninth and last book, explains at large the nature and genius of the Chriftian dispensation : For having towards the end of the eighth book, examined the pretended reasons (offered both by believers and unbelievers to evade my conclusion) for omitting the doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments in the Mosaic dispensation, I was naturally and neceffarily led to inquire into the true. For now, it might be finally objected, “ That tho', under an extraordinary providence there might be no occafion for the doctrine of a future state, in support of religion, or for the ends of government; yet as that doctrine is a truth, and consequently, under every regimen of Providence, useful, it seems hard to conceive, that the religious feader of the Jews, because as a Laugiver he could do without it, that therefore, as a divine, he would omit it." The objec, tion is of weight in itself, and receives additional moment from what hath been observed in the fifth book, concerning the reason of the law of punishing children for the crimes of their parents. I held it therefore insufficient barely to reply, “ Moses omitted it, that bis law might thereby ftand, throughout all ages, an invincible monument of the truth of his pretences.” but proceeded to explain the great and principal reason of the omiffion. And now,-ventum ad verum eft.

The whole concludes with one general but diftinct view of the entire course of Gods universal Economy from Adam to Chrift. In which it is shewn, that if Mofes were, in truth, sent from God, he could not teach a future state ; that doctrine being out of his commission, and reserved for him who was at the head of another dispensation, by which life and immortality was to be brought to light.

• This discourse, besides the immediate purpose of supporting and illustrating the argument here compleated, serveş another end, which I had in view, as to the general disposition of the whole work: which was to explain and discriminate the distinct and various natures of the Pagan, the Jewish and the Christian religions : the Pagan having been considered in the first volume, and the

Frwish in the second; the Christian is reserved for the third and laft. Let me conclude therefore, in an address to my reverend brethren, with the words of an ancient apologist. Quid nobis invidemus, fi veritas divinitatis, noftri temporis ætate maturuit? Fruamur bono noftro, et recti fententiam temperemus : cohibeatur fuperftitio, impietas expietur, vera religio reservetur.' To the fixth book is added an appendix concerning the book

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