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We have seen, in the foregoing Volume, that EGYPT, as it was most famed for the arts of legislation, so it most of all inculcated the doctrine of a future state of Rewards and Punishments. Now, if Egypt were indeed of the high antiquity here assigned unto it, that doctrine must needs be of national belief, at the time the Hebrews lived there in slavery. But then they having, as we find in Scripture, thoroughly imbibed the religious notions of the place, must needs be much prejudiced in favour of so reasonable and flattering a Doctrine: Consequently their Lawgiver, who likewise had been bred up in all the learning of Egypt, would, if he had acted only by human direction, have, in imitation of his Masters, taken advantage of this favourable prejudice to make the doctrine of a future state the grand SANCTION of his Religion and Law.

Again, the proof of the high Antiquity of Egypt was necessary to vindicate sacred Scripture; which all along declares for that Antiquity; and which the DEIST having endeavoured to take advantage of, in opposing Moses's pretence to inspiration, some imprudent BELIEVERS were grown not unwilling to explain away. Sir Isaac Newton's CHRONOLOGY afforded them the aid they wanted: And while it offered itself in support of the Bible-divinity, they seemed little attentive to the liberties it had taken with the Bible-history.

2. In order to bring on this Truth of the high antiquity of Egypt nearer to my purpose, I proceeded to the second Proposition, That the Jewish People were extremely fond of Egyptian manners, and did frequently fall into Egyptian superstitions: and that many of the Laws given to them by the ministry of Moses were instituted partly in compliance to their prejudices, and partly in opposition to those superstitions. In the proof of the first part of this Proposition, I shew the high probability that the Law was instituted with reference to Egyptian manners; and through the proof of the second,

cond, is deduced a demonstration that it was actually so framed.

For a further illustration of this Argument, I give an historical account of the degeneracy of the Hebrew People, and of their amazing propensity to imitate the manners of Egypt, from the time that Moses was first sent upon his Mission, to their entire settlement in the land of Judea: Which fully shews (what will stand us in stead hereafter) that a People so perverse and headstrong needed, in the construction of their civil and religious Institutions, all possible curbs to disorder: Now of all such curbs, the doctrine of a future state was ever held the chief in ancient policy; and as this doctrine was so peculiarly Egyptian, they must needs have the most favourablę prejudice towards it.

But then, as it might perhaps be objected, that while I am endeavouring to get this way into the interior of the Jewish Constitution, I open a back door to the ravages of Infidelity it was thought necessary, in order to prevent the Deist's taking advantage of the great Truth contained in the preceding Proposition (which is the second), to guard it by the following (which is the third), viz. That Moses's Egyptian Learning, and the Laws instituted in compliance to the People's prejudices, are no reasonable objection to the divinity of his Mission. Where, in explaining the first part, which shews what this learning was, and how well it suited with Moses's Mission, I had occasion to inquire into the origin and use of the SCHOOLS OF THE PROPHETS: Which the Reader will find of this further use, viz. To give strength and support to what is said in the sixth Book of the NATURE OF THE JEWISH PROPHECIES; and particularly to what is there observed of GROTIUS's fatal error, in his mode of interpreting them.

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And in explanation of the second part, having proved the Proposition, That to institute Laws in compliance to popular prejudices, is no reasonable objection to their divine original; having proved this, I say, from the


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nature of things; the Discourse proceeds to examine all the Arguments which have been urged in support of the contrary opinion, by HERMAN WITSIUS, in his learned Treatise intitled Egyptiaca, that Book having been publicly recommended by Dr. Waterland, for a distinct and solid confutation of Spencer's De Legibus Hebræorum ritualibus.

And the answer to Witsius's last argument bringing into question the intrinsic value of the ritual Law; the famous character of it given by the Prophet EZEKIEL, of statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live-is explained in a large analysis of the whole Prophecy, against an old foolish notion revived by Dr. Shuckford, that these Statutes and Judgments, here said to be given by God, were the Pagan Idolatries, which, in defiance of God, they took without leave.

But I go yet further in support of the fourth Proposi, tion, and prove, that these very circumstances of Moses's Egyptian Learning, and the Laws instituted in compliance to the People's prejudices, are a strong confirmation of the divinity of his Mission.

1st, For, that one bred up in the arts of Egyptian Legislation could never, on his own head, have thought of reducing an unruly people to government, on maxims of Religion and Policy, fundamentally opposite to all the principles of Egyptian WISDOM, at that time the universal Model on which all the Legislators worked, in reducing a barbarous People to Society. Yet Moses went upon principles diametrically opposite to that WISDOM, when he enjoined the PUBLIC worship of the one true God only, and OMITTED the doctrine of a future state of Rewards and Punishments, in the institution of his Law and Religion.

2dly, For, that One who falsely pretended to receive the whole frame of a national Constitution from God, would never have risked his pretensions by a ritual Law, which the people might see was politically instituted,

tuted, partly in compliance to their prejudices, and partly in opposition to Egyptian superstitions.

Here, all the imaginable motives are inquired into, which MOSES, though a mere human Lawgiver, might have had to act in the manner he did; and these motives are shewn to be insufficient to induce a wise Legislator thus to act. In conclusion, it is made apparent, that a ritual, contrived to oppose to the reigning superstitions; and, at the same time, to prefigure, by its typical nature, all the essential parts of a future Dispensation, contains a strong INTERNAL ARGUMENT THAT THE RITUAL LAW WAS NOT A MERE HUMAN INVENTION. And with this the fourth Book concludes.

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V. What hath been hitherto said, was to let the Reader into the genius of the Jewish Policy in general, in order to his judging more exactly of the peculiar nature of its Government; that, from thence, he might be enabled to determine, with full certainty, of the matters in question, as they are contained in the two MINOR terms.

1. The fifth Book, therefore, comes still nearer to the point, and shews, that the Government instituted by Moses was a THEOCRACY, properly so called, where God himself was the supreme civil Magistrate. It begins with assigning and settling the true reason of the separation of the posterity of Abraham from the rest of mankind;—because this separation has been greatly misunderstood-but principally because the true reason of the separation leads us into the use and necessity of a Theocratic form of Government.

In evincing this necessity, the justice of the Law for punishing Idol-worship capitally, under a Theocracy, is explained: And because the Deist hath been accustomed to urge this Law against the divine original of the whole Institution, it is here justified at large, on the principles of natural equity: Which serves, as well a past purpose, viz. the adding strength and support to what hath been said on the subject of TOLERATION, in the second Book;


as it does at present, viz. to confirm the reality of this Theocracy, which a celebrated dissenting Minister has preposterously gone out of his way to bring in question: whose reasoning, therefore, is examined and exposed.

2. This THEOCRACY, thus proved to be necessary, was likewise of the most easy introduction, as I have shewn from the notions and opinions of those times, concerning tutelary Deities. And here, speaking of the method of Divine Providence, in applying the prejudices and manners of men to the great ends of his Dispensations, I observe, that He is always accustomed to impress on his institution, some characteristic note of difference, to mark it for his own: which leading me to give instances in some of these notes, I insist chiefly upon this," that the Mosaic Religion was built upon a former, namely, the Patriarchal : whereas the various Religions of the Pagan World were all unrelated to, and independent of one another." As this was a circumstance necessary to be well attended to, by all who would fully comprehend the nature of the Mosaic Policy, I took the advantage, which the celebrated Author of the Grounds and Reasons of the Christian Religion had afforded me, to support this characteristic note, against his idle attempt to prove, that the Pagans, likewise, were accustomed to build one pretended Revelation on another.

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3. I proceed, in the next place, to shew, that those prejudices which made the introduction of a THEOCRACY so easy, occasioned as easy a defection from it. In which, I had occasion to explain the nature of the worship of tutelary Gods; and of that Idolatry wherewith the Israelites were so obstinately besotted.

Both of which Discoursès serve these further purposes: the former, to support and explain what hath been said in the second Book concerning the Pagan intercommunity of worship and the latter (besides a peculiar use to be made of it in the third* Volume) to obviate a popular See p. 144 of this Volume,




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