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of Theology, and generally without reference to the Book or the Author; yet his affairs with his Body have taught him caution, and obliged him to declare against the PROPOSITION, in support of which, those reasonings were employed by their original Author. For when he comes to the question concerning the sanction of the Jewish Law, he introduces it in the following mannerQuæstionem inchoamus difficilem, in qua explicanda adhibenda est summa verborum proprietas, ne Pelagianis ex una parte non satis fœdus Mosaicum & Evangelicum discriminantibus, aut contrariis RECENTIORUM QUORUMDAM erroribus favere videamur. And so, fortifies himself with Suarez and St. Thomas. The consequence of which is, that the two large Chapters in his second Volume (the first, To prove that a future state was always a popular doctrine amongst the Jews; and the second, That temporal rewards and punishments were really and equally distributed amongst them under the Theocracy) just serve to confute one another: Or more properly, the second Chapter, by aid of the Arguments taken from the Divine Legation, effectually overturns all that he has advanced in the first. See M. Hooke's second volume of his Course, intitled, Religionis naturalis et revelata Principia, from pp. 208 to 236. For the rest, this justice is due to the learned and ingenious Writer, that these Principles of natural and revealed Religion csmpose the best reasoned Work in defence of Revelation which we have yet seen come from that quarter.
BEING AN ATTEMPT TO EXPLAIN
THE TRUE NATURE AND GENIUS
Printed, so far as it goes, by the AUTHOR;
FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1788.
INTRODUCTION to the Ninth Book.
Book IX.-Chaps. I. II. III. IV. V. & VI.-With NOTES.
THE Reader has been already referred to an Explanation of the omission of Books VII. & VIII.-And lest, in the preceding Title page to the IXth Book, the words "left unfinished" might operate to the prejudice of this division of the work, it may be proper to repeat here a few words from Bishop HURD's introductory Discourse :- "This IXth Book is the noblest effort that has hitherto "been made to give a RATIONALE OF CHRISTIANITY . Very little is
wanting to complete the Author's design; only what he had proposed to say on the apocalyptic prophecies, and which may be supplied from the "Discourse on Antichrist."-See Vol. I. of this Edit. pp. 86. 89.—Ed.
THE DIVINE LEGATION OF MOSES,
TRUTH, the great Object of all honest as well as rational Inquiries, had been long sought for in vain; when, the Search now become desperate, after the fruitless toil of the best qualified Sages, and of the most inproved times, She suddenly appeared in PERSON to put these benighted Wanderers in their Way. I AM THE TRUTH, says the Saviour of the World. This was his Moral Nature; of more concern for us to know, than lis Physical; and, on that account, explained more at large in his eternal Gospel.
This last book, therefore, being an attempt to explain the true NATURE AND GENIUS OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION; I shall,
1. First of all, previously examine those sceptical Objections, which in the long absence of Truth, the World had begun to entertain of her very Being and existence; or at least of our capacity to discover, and get hold of her. And these being removed,
2. I shall, in the second place, lay down, under what laws, and with what disposition of mind, I have ventured to use the aids of REASON to explain the TRUTHS OF REVELATION.
3. And, lastly, I shall attempt to remove the Prejudices which may arise against any new discoveries in support of REVELATION, which the method here em
*See Sermon, concerning The Nature and Condition of Truth; Serm. I. Vol. IX. of this Edit.
ployed to analyse that capital truth of all, THE FAITH, may possibly enable us to make.
That ancient Remedy against Error, a Pyrrhonian, or, you like it better, an Academic SCEPTICISM, only added one more disorder to the human Mind; but being the last of its misbegotten issue, it became as is usual, the favourite of its Parent.
Our blessed MASTER himself was the first to encounter its attacks, and the insolence of that School has kept the Church in breath ever since.
When Jesus was carried before Pilate as a Criminal of State, for calling himself King of the Jews, he tried to shorten the intended process by pleading that his Kingdom was not of this World. But Pilate, alarmed at the names of king and kingdom, asked, Art thou a King then? The other replied,--For this cause came I into the World, that I should bear Witness unto the TRUTH. Pilate saith unto him, WHAT IS TRUTH? And when he had said this, he went out again*. For when he found that the Kingdom claimed by the supposed Criminal, was a Kingdom merely Spiritual, or, in the Roman Governor's conceit, a Kingdom only in idea, he considered the claim as no proper subject of the civil tribunal. So far he acted well, and suitably to his public Character. But when he discovered his indifference to, or rather contempt of, TRUTH, when offered to be laid before him as a private Man, by one who, he knew, had the repute of exercising every superior Power proper to enforce it, he. appears, to me, in a light much less excusable.
The negligent air of his insulting question will hardly admit of an Apology." You tell me (says he) of "TRUTH, a word in the mouth of every Leader and "Follower of a SECT; who all agree (though in nothing else) to give that name to their own Opinions: While TRUTH, if, indeed, we allow of its existence, still "wanders at large, and in disguise. Nor does the De"tection seem worth the Pains of the Search, since σε those things which Nature intended for general use "she made plain and obvious, and within the reach of "all men."
John xviii. 38.