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Chriftian Church, the extraordinary Gifts which were bestowed od the primitive Chriftians are matters of fact which cannot well be controverted; and which, if admitted, prove to a demonstration the Truth of the Christian Religion.
An Esay concerning Inspiration, taken from Doctor Benson's Paraphrase and Notes on St. Paul's Epistles.
What Dr. Powel has said in his discourse intitled The Nature and Extent of Inspiration illustrated from the writings of St. Paul, is very fimilar to what Dr. Benson has advanced in this short Essay. Both the Authors suppose the Inspiration of the Apostles to have confifted in their having had the Scheme of the Gospel commu. nicated to them from Heaven; in their having retained, to the end of their lives, the memory of what had been thus communicated to them; and in their having committed to writing, by the use of their datural faculties, what they remembered. This subject of Inspiration has been discussed by Tillotson, Secker, Warburton, and other English Divines in their Sermons; by Le Clerc, in his Letters concerning Inspiration ; by Lowth, in his Answer to Le Clerc ; by Wakefield, in his Essay on Inspiration ; by Caftalio, in a fragment printed at the End of Wetstein's Greek Teftament; by Archbishop Potter, in his Prælectiones Theologicae; by Dr. Middleton, in the second Volume of his Miscellaneous Works; by Jenkins, in his Reasonableness of Christianity ; by Du Pin, in his Prolegomenes fur la Bible ; by Calmet, in his Dissertation sur l’Inspiration, printed in the eighth Volume of his Commentary on the Bible : in this Dissertation Calmet enumerates the Sentiments of a great variety of Authors on the Manner of Inspiration ; and to those Authors I would refer the Reader who is desirous of full information on this Subjecte
An Esay concerning the Unity of Sense: to shew that no
Text of Scripture has more than one fingle Sense. p. 481.
This is prefixed to Dr. Benson's Paraphrase on St. Paul's Epistles. St. Augustine, in the first Chapter of his twelfth Book contra Fauftum Manichæum, says-Fausius aflerted that, after the most attentive and curious Search, he could not find that the Hebrew Prophets had prophesied concerning Christ ; and Celfus, as it is related by Origen, introduced a Jew affirming, that the Prophecies which were gene
rally applied to Christ, might more fitly be applied to other Matters: other Enemies of the Christian name, in the first ages of the Church, strongly objected to the pertinency of adducing the Old Testament Prophecies, as proofs that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah.
On the other hand, fome of the ancient Fathers (not content with sewing that a great many prophecies respected the Meffiah, and received a direct and full accomplishment in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth) maintained that almost all the predictions and hifto. rical Events mentioned in the Old Testament, had an indirect and typical relation to his advent, character, or kingdom.
Grotius is laid (though the fact may be questioned) to have been the first Interpreter of Scripture who distinctly thewed that the greatest part of the Prophecies of the Old Testament had a double lense, and have received a double accomplishment. He maintained that the Predictions, even of the Evangelical Prophet Isaiah, related, in their primary and literal sense, to the times and circumstances of the Jewish People, but that they respected the Messiah in a secondary and allegorical Sense. Limborch, in his Cominentary on the Acts of the Apostles, accedes to the Opinion of Grotius in these words-Recté à doctissimis interpretibus observatum eft, pau. cissima esse apud Prophetas vaticinia, quæ directè et sensu primo de Domino Jesu loquuntur; fed plerisque duplicem ineffe sensum, literalem unum, olim in typo imperfectè, alterum myfticum, in Domino Jesu plenè et perfecte impletum.
Father Baltus, a Jesuit, in the Year 1737, published his Defense des Propheties de la Religion Chretienne : in this work he purposely examines and refutes the Opinion of Grotius at great length; and shews that the most ancient Fathers of the Church, as Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Origen, &c. never thought of interpreting the Prophecies of the Old Testament in a double Sense; but applied them in their literal meaning to the Messiah. Whillon, in his Sermons preached at Boyle's Lecture in 1707, had supported the same sentiment before Baltus : he strongly contended that “the Prophecies • of the Old Testament at all appertaining to the Messialı, particu“ larly those which are quoted as Testimonies and Arguments in " the New Testament, do properly and solely belong to the Mesfiah, " and did not at all concern any other person.” In 1710, Archdeacon Clagget animadverted on this notion of Whilion, and undertook the Vindication of those Christian Commentators who had explained some prophecies concerning the Messiah as not solely relating to him, in a Treatise intituled Truth defended and Boldness in Error rebuked.
In 1724, Collins published a Discourse on the Grounds and Reafons of the Christian Religion, in which he revived the Objections of Faustus, Origen, Cellus, and such other early writers against Christianity, as had endeavoured to prove that the Prophecies of the Old Testament had no direct relation to Jesus Christ. I refer the Reader to Leland's View of the Deistical Writers, and to Fabricius' Lux Evangelica, for an Account of the several Answers which were pub4
lished to this, and to another work of the fame Author, intitled, The Scheme of literal Prophecy considered. Bishop Warburton also, in the fixth Book of the Divine Legation of Moses, has answered what Collins had objected against a second Sense of Prophecy. Lastly, Doctor Forrin, not to mention some learned Authors who are still alive, and who have written very ably on Prophecy, has given us some very judicious Observations, both concerning Prophecy in general, and concerning a double Sense of fome Prophecies, in the first Volume of his Remarks on EccleLaftical History.
THE little fatisfaction and consistency that is to be found in most of the systems of divinity I have met with, made me betake myself to the sole reading of the scripture (to which they all appeal) for the understanding the Chriftian religion.
What from thence, by an attentive and unbiaffed search I have received, Reader, I here deliver to thee.
If by this my labour thou receivest any light or confirmation in the truth, join with me in thanks to the Father of lights for his condescension to our understandings.
If, upon a fair and unprejudiced examination, thou findest I have mistaken the sense and tenor of the gospel, I beseech thee, as a true Christian, in the spirit of the gospel (which is that of charity) and in the words of fobriety, set me right in the doctrine of salvation.
T is obvious to any one who reads the New Testament that
the doctrine of redemption, and consequently of the gospel, is founded upon the supposition of Adam's fali
. To understand therefore what we are restored to by Jesus Christ, we must consider what the scripture thews we loft by Adam. This I thought worthy of a diligent and unbiassed search: since I found the two extremes, that men run into on this point, either on the one hand shook the foundations of all religion, or on the other made Christianity almost nothing. For whilft some men would have all Adam's posterity doomed to eternal infinite punishment, for the transgression of Adam, whom millions had never heard of, and no one had authoVOL. IV. B