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The Spirit of Truth throughout apparent.
Moses speaks of himself with the same impartiality as he has used towards the people. Though he mentions that he was highly favoured of God, yet he more than once owns that he was near forfeiting this blessing. He confesses his diffidence and want of faith, and his neglect of some essential duties, by which he grievously offended the Deity. He tells us, that the consequence was fatal, as he was not, on account of these offences, permitted to enter the land of promise ; but, like the rest, died by the way, having had only a distant view. He scruples not to disclose the failings of his brother, and of his sister Miriam, and the rebellion of others, to whom he was nearly' related. He writes in the spirit of truth, without the least prejudice or partiality, sup- . pressing nothing that was necessary to be known, though to his own prejudice and discredit. And when he has afforded a just hiss
One would expect that he must have had some partiality for any nation of Midianites; but when he found that they seduced his own people, he shewed them no favour. Numb. Xxxi. 8.
tory of the people's ingratitude and disobedience while he survived, he proceeds to anticipate what is to come, and gives strong intimation of their future apostacy and rebellion. For I know, that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you: and evil will befal you in the latter days, because ye will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger, &c. Deut. xxxi. 29. And he farther assures them of the vengeance which should ensue. 'Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.-- The Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them; and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. ? And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a by-word among all nations whither the Lord shall lead thee. He denounces many other evils which were to come upon this rebellious nation; and which did come, as he foretold, but many of them ages afterwards. To the principal of these the Jews at this day remain a living testimony. And what the
Deut. xxviii. 19. Ibid. xxviii. 25. 3 Ibid. ver. 37. See the whole chapter.
prophet says upon these occasions is not äta tended with resentment and bitterness ; on the contrary, he shews the most affecting tenderness and concern for them, and a true zeal for their welfare. We may therefore be assured that things must have happened as he describes them; and nothing but duty and conviction could have made him transmit these truths.
Such are the inferences and deductions which I have ventured to make from the structure, and composition of this wonderful history, and from that internal evidence with which it abounds. No writings whatever are fraught with such latent truths as the scriptures in general, and particularly that part with which we have been engaged. By these, incidental lights the history of Moses is very much illustrated; and, I think, from the nature of the events, as well as from the mode of operation, it is manifest that he was an instrument in the hands of Providence, and his com mission from heaven. .
Argument still pursued. - What I have said, might perhaps be thought Sufficient, but as the subject is of the greatest consequence, I hope that it will not be deemed tedious if I recapitulate some of my arguments, and farther shew the force of the evidence which results from them. It is certain that traditional truths cannot admit of demonstration. Yet, if by a series of co-operating evidence they attain to moral certainty, we ought, if we would act consistently with reason, to acquiesce ; for upon such grounds the chief business of life is transacted, and the truth of all traditional information is founded. By this test also the history of Moses is abundantly confirmed. But let us see, if it be not so peculiarly circumstanced as to be entitled to a still higher proof.
I have maintained, and now once for all repeat it, that Moses could not of himself have carried into execution such ordinances; nor could he ever have wished to enforce them, This, I think, to any person acquainted with the nature of the law is past contradiction manifest. For no man would voluntarily make a yoke for his own neck; nor give fetters for his own hands and feet; nor designedly work out to himself trouble, when he could avoid it. Nobody would bind himself, his friends, and his posterity, by grievous, artrary, and unsupportable obligations, to the purport of which he was a stranger, and from whence no apparent good could arise.
Nothing therefore remains, but to prove that the law was given, and the internal evidence will shew plainly who was the author. The code of Moses is not like the laws of Minos, Zaleucus, or Charondas, concerning which any thing may be said, as there can be no appeal to them. Of this law we have positive proof and experimental knowledge; for it exists at this day. It is in the hands of the Jews, acknowledged and maintained by them, and religiously observed. If then it exists, it must have had a beginning; and if it confessedly could not ab origine have been the work of man, it must have been appointed and authorized by God; and the immediate legislator was his substitute and servant. His mission therefore must have been of divine original, and his ordinances from heaven; which was the point that from the beginning I purposed to prove. These