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

tive

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series of prédiations 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 pas-
fage in question is found, is a fare-well epistle to the Churches. 'Si.
Peter (as he tells them, chap. i. ver. 14.) knowing that shortly he muf
put off bis bis Tabernacle--Now the great topic of consolation urged,
by these 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 fa-
bles when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord
Jefus Chrift. He subjoins the reason of his confidence in this second
coming, that he and the rest of the Disciples were eye-u itreffes of the ma-
jesty 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 laft days, who would say, where is the prom mife of his coming for fince the Falbers fell asleep all things continue as they were, &c. (chap. iii. ver. 3, 4.] The primitive Christians, as we have seen, had entertained an opinion that the second coming of their Master was at hand. And the cause and occafion of their mistake has been explained. These Scoffers the Apostle confutes at large from ver. sth, to the 13th. And recurring again, at ver. 15, to that more fure word of prophecy, 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 fummarily abridged, of which writings he gives chis character-As also in all bis Epifles, Speaking in them of these ibings, in which are some things bard to be understood, which they that

also are unlearned and unstable wrejt

, as they do all the o: her Scriptures, unto their own deftru&ion. (ver. 16.] In which words, we have the truef 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 expref-
fion used in the text in question, thews that this power and coming of our
Lord Jesus Cbrift is his

fecond coming. -For we have not followed (says he)
Cunningly devifed Fables (σισοφισμένους μύθους] when we made known
to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now, an attefta
tion of a voice from Heaven at bis forft coming, tho' it had been a fig-
ment of the Relater, could with no propriety be called a cunningly deo
vised Fable. But fuppose the Apostle to speak of Christ's second coming,
when according to the promise, there was 1o be a new Heaven and a new
Earlb, wherein was to dwell righteousness, after the old has been burnt up
and defroyed by fervent heat [chap. iii. ver. 12, 13.] if this awful scene
were an invention, it was truly characterised by a curningly d: vifed Fa-
ble, such as those in which Paganism abounded, where, in their mytho-
logic relations, they speak of the Regions of departed Hcroes, &c,
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Locos

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

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

Purpureo : Sclemque fuum, suasjdera norunt.
And, to ascertain his meaning, the Apostle uses a phrase by which only
the mythologie fables of Pagan Theology can be designed yaş
σεσοφισμένοις ΜΥΘΟΙΣ εξακολουθύσαντες-not following or imitating the cun-
ningly devised fables of the Greek Sophifts and Mythologists.

Secondly, it shall be now shewn, that, by the more Jure word of prophecy, the Apostle does not mean, as Mr. Markland's interpretation suppofes, a Propbery 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 Jure word of prophecy, the Chirches are told, they do well 10 take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day.ftar arise in their brarts. [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. Maiklaná fupposes is the Prophecy here spoken of, because it was not a light shining in a dark place until the day darwn; since, with regard to the Prophecy in quellion, the day was not only dauned', but advanced ; yet the Apostle supposes the darkness to exist, and the day dawn to be far distant. 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 1.ore Jure word of Prophecy, as being a light that fbineth in a dark place, can agree with nothing but the Prophecies of St. Paul and St. John: and with thefe, it agrees ad. mirably. These Predictions relating to one great event, the fulure fore ture of the Cburch, under the furpation of the Man of Sir, are emphatically called the word of prophecy. They began fulfilling even before St. Peter wrote this Epittle ; for St. Paul, fpeaking of the Man of Sin, to the Thessalonians, says, the m«/tery of iniquiły doth already work. {2d Ep. chap. ii. ver. 7.) This Prophecy therefore, is, with the greatest elegance and truth, described as a light flsining in a dark place. Just so much of the commencing completion was seen as to excite Men's attention ; but this glimmering was till 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 sub. joins a very necessary caution.-- Knowing this first that a propbery of the Scripture is of any private interpretatiin. (ver. 20.] As much as to say, I exhort you to give all attention to this more sure word of prophecy, but previocfly to guard yourselves with this important truth, that the interpreter 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 sine by the will of Man, but holy Mex of God spake as they were moved by she licly Ghof, (ver. 21.) i.e. the very

Pror

« 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 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 fatisfaction 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 fort 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 so strange 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 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 faid, and perhaps to little purpose. The following tale will put it in the faireft light. In'a solemn 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.

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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 lacks. This mischance (occasioned by the musets 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 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 premiffes 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 conceiv. 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 support 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 fyllogism : 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 difpcnfation, to the time of the Maccabees, when the doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments was become national.

• 2. The eighth bock is employed in supporting the major. and minor propofitions of the second fyllogifm, in which is con{idered the personal character of Moses and the genius of the law,

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as far as it concerns or has a relation to the character of the
Lawgiver. Under this latter head, is contained a full and sa-
tisfactory 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 punishments 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, “ Mofes omitted it, that his law might thereby siand, throughout all ages, an invincible manument of the truth of his pretences :" but proceeded to explain the great and principal reason of the omision. 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 Moses 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, serves another end, which I had in view, as to the general difpofition 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 conlidered 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 no. bis invidemus, fi veritas divinitatis, noftri temporis ætate maturuit? Fruamur bono noftro, et recti sententiam temperemus : cohibeatur fuperftitio, impietas expietur, vera religio reservetur.' To the sixth book is added an appendix concerning the book

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