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

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series of predi&ions 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 epiftle to the Churches. St. Peter (as he tells them, chap. i. ver. 14.) knowing that shortly he mult put of this bis Tabernacle.--Now the great topic of consolation urged, by these departing Saints, to their widowed Churches, was the second coming of their Master. 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 Jesus Chrift. He subjoins the reason of his confidence in this second coming, that he and the rest of the Disciples were eye-u itnesses of the majefty of the first, ver. 16.

That the second coming is the subject of the discourse, appears further from the recapitulation in the concluding part of the Epistle, where he reproves those scoffers of the last days, who would say, where is the promise of his coming for fince the Fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were, &c. (chap. iii. ver. 3, 4.] The primitive Chriftians, as we have seen, had entertained an opinion that the second coming of their Master was at hand. And the cause and occasion of their mistake has been explained. These Scoffers the Apostle confutes at large from ver. 5th, to the 13th. And recurring again, at ver. 15, to that more fure word of propbery, mentioned chap. i. ver. 19. he refers eviden:ly to those parts of St. Paul's writings, where the Prophecies in the Revelations concerning Antichrist are summarily abridged, of which writings he gives this character--As also in all his Epistles, Speaking in them of these ibings, in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrejt, as they do all the o: her Scriptures, unto al rheir own deftruction. (ver. 16.] In which words, we have the true picture of those indiscreet Interpreters who set up for Prophets in predicting the events of unfulfilled Prophecies, instead of confining themselves to the explanation of those already accomplished.

But not only the general subject of the Epiftie, but the very exprefa fion used in the text in question, thews that this power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is his second coming -For we have not followed (iays he) cunningly devised Fables (crophouévous uulous] when we made known un to you the power and coming of our Lord Jejus Christ. Now, an atteftation of a voice from Heaven at his first coming, tho' it had been a fig. ment of the Relater, could with no propriety be called a cunningly dea vised Fable. But suppose the Apostle to speak of Christ's fecond coming, when according 10 the promise, there was to be a new Heaven and a new Earlb, wherein was to dwell righteousness, after she oli has 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 Fa. ble, such as those in which Paganism abounded, where, in their mythologic relations, they speak of the Regions of departed Heroes, &c.' N 2

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-372 The Bp. of GLOUCESTER's Divine Legation of Mofes.
tive view of his whole argument. Part of the introduction to
this recapitulation is as follows:

As

-Locos lætos & amoena vireta Fortunatorum nemorum, fedesque beatas. Largior hic Campos æther & lumine' vellit

Purpureo : Sclemque suum, sua lidera norunt. And, to ascertain his meaning, the Apostle uses a phrase by which only the mythologie fables of Pagan Theology can be designed wiv yaş Cioodiouérous MYOOIE itaxonou Qúcartes—not following or imitating the cuna ningly deviled fables of the Griek Sophifts and Mythologists.

Secondly, it shall be now fewn, that, by the more sure word of pro'phecy, the Apostle docs not mean, as Mr. Markland's interpretation supposes, 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 Chirches are told, they do well to take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day.ftar arise in their hearts. [chap. i. ver. 19.] Now, from Prophecy thus circumstanced, it plaioly appears, that it could not be a complete Prophecy of any event fulfilled, such as that of Isaiah, chap. xlii. ver. 1, which Mr. Mai kland supposes is the Prophecy here spoken of, because it was not a light shining in a dark place until the day darvn; since, with regard to the Prophecy in quellion, the day was not only dawned', but advanced ; yet the Apostle supposes the darkness to exilt, 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 unintelligible ; but this, here spoken of, is a light shining, though in a dark place.

In a word, the character given of the more Jure word of Prophecy, as being a lighi thar fhineth in a dark place, can agree with nothing but the Prophecies of St. Paul and St. John: and with these, it agrees ad. mirably. These Predi&tions relating to one great event, the future for. fure of obe Church, under the 2 far pation of the Man of Sin, are emphatically called the word of prophecy. They began fulfilling even before St. Peter wrote this Epiftle; for St. Paul, speaking of the Man of Sin, to the Thessalonians, says, the majtery of iniquiły doth already work. {2d Ep. chap. ii. ver. 7.) This Prophecy therefore, is, with the greatest elegance and cruth, described as a light joining in a dark place. Just so much of the commencing completion was seen as to excite Men's attention; but this glimmering was ftill surrounded with thick darkness : And as the eager curiosity of man tempts him to plunge even into ob. scurity in pursuit of a light just beginning to emerge from it, he fub. joins a very necessary caution.--Knowing this first that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation, (ver. 20.] As much as to say, I exhort you to give all attention to this more fure word of prophecy, but 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 supports this observation by a factFor the Prophecy came not in old time by the will of Man, but boly Mex of Gud spake as they were moved by the licly Ghost, (ver, 21.] i, e. the very

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• 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 fill less if the envie ous and the prejudiced should concur to represent there Volumes as an indigested and inconnected heap of discourses, thrown out upon one another, to dilburthen 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, misled by the notice of a remaining Part, neglected to pursue the proof to the conclufion here deduced, I shall 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 disatisfied 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 so strange a phenomenon, 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 dim. fighted gentlemen, may I ask them, without offence, a similar question ? They have answered; without asking; but not with the same ingenuity.

His Lordship 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 Jittle purpose. The following tale will put it in the faireft 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 underlood not the true porport-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 above, he speaks of the mischiefs attending this presumption.

it seems, been stipulated, that the settlement should supply thofe 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 lacks. This mischance (occafioned by the muskets and the locks being put into two different cargoes, the governor promised fhould be redressed. It was redressed accordingly; and the locks sought 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 shewn the way, to put the major of the mufket 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 premisses 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 conceive able objections against the conclufion, and to throw in every collateral light upon the premisses. For it is one thing to satisfy truth, and another, to silence her pretended friends. He who defends Revelation has many prejudices to encounter ; but he who defends it by reason only, has many more.

"The third and last volume, therefore, is destined to fupe port what hath been already proved : not, as has been abfurdly suggested, to continue and conclude an unfinished Argument.

It consists of three books, like each of the preceding volumes.

41. The seventh book therefore is employed in supporting the major and the minor propofitions 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 propofitions of the second fyllogifm, in which is considered the per fonal character of Moses and the genius of the law,

as out

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 Christian dispensation : For having towards the end of the eighth book, examined the pretended reasons (offered both by believers and unbelievers to evade my conclufion) for omitting the doctrine of a future state of rewards and punisha ments in the Mosaic dispensation, I was naturally and necessarily led to inquire into the true. For now, it might be finally objected, “ That tho', under an extraordinary providence there might be no occasion 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, leader of the Jews, because as a Lawgiver he could do without it, that therefore, as a divine, he would omit it." The objection 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 his law might thereby fiand, throughout all ages, an invincible manument of the truth of his pretences :" but proceeded to explain the great and principal reason of the omission. And now,-ventum ad verum eft.

• The whole concludes with one general but distinct view of the entire course of Gods universal Economy from Adam to, Christ. In which it is shewn, that if Mose's 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, ferves 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 Jewish in the second; the Christian is reserved for the third and last. Let me conclude therefore, in an address to my reverend brethren, with the words of an ancient apologist. Quid nobis invidemus, fi veritas divinitatis, nostri temporis ætate maturuit ? Fruamur bono noftro, et recti sententiam temperemus : cohibeatur fuperftitio, impietas expietur, vera religio reservetur.'

To the lixth book is added an appendix concerning the book

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