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filence may almost as well be alleged against an hundred other remarkable passages in Jofephus's works as against these before us.
XII. Nor does the like Glence of i ertullian imply that these testimonies, or any of them, were not in the copies of his age. Tertullian never once hints at any trearises of Jofephus's but those against Apion, and that in general only, for a point of chronology : Nor does it any way appear that Tertullian ever saw any of Josephus's writings belides, and far from being certain that he saw even those. He had particular occasion in his dispute against the Jews to quote Josephus, above any other writer, to prove the completion of the prophecies of the old Teftament, in the destruction of Jerusalem, and miseries of the Jews at that time, of which he there discourses, yet does he never once quote. him upon that folemn occafion; fo that it seems to me, that Tertullian never read either the Greek antiquities of Josephus, or his Greck books of the Jewish wars ; nor is this at all strange in Tertullian, a Latin writer, that lived in Africa, by none of which African writers is there any one clause, that I know of, cited out of any of Jofephus's writings: Nor is it worth my while in such numbers of positive citations of these clauses, to mention the filence of other later writers, as being here of very small conseguence.
Concerning God's command 10 ABRAHAM 10 offer up Isaac, his
Son, for a Sacrifice, CINCE this command of God to Abraham* has of late been greatly
mistaken by some, who venture to reason about v y ancient facts, from very modern notions, and this without a due regard to either the customs, or opinions, or circumstances of the times whereto those facts belong, or indeed to the true reasons of the facts themselves ; lince the mistakes about thole customs, opinions, circumstances, and reasons, have of late so far prevailed, that the very fame action of Abraham's, which was so celebrated by St. Pault St. Jan.ess the author to the Hebrewsø Philo, | and Josephus in the first century, and by innumerable others lince, as an uncommon instance of signal virtue, of heroic faith in God, and piety towards him ; nay, is in the sacred** hiftory highly commended by the divine Angel of the Covenant, in the name of God himself, and promised to be plentifully rewarded ; lince this command, I lay, is now at last in the eighteenth century, become a fone of stumbling, and a rock of offence among us, and that sometimes to persons of otherwise good senfe, and of a religious disposition of mind allo, I shall endeavor to set this matter in its true, i. e. in its ancient and original light, for the satisfaction of the inquisitive. In order whereto, we are to confider,
1. Thar till this very profane age, it has been, I think, universally allowed by all tober perions, who owned themselves the creatures of God, that the Creator has a just right over all his rational creatures, to protract their lives to what length he pleafes ; to cut them off when, and by what instruments he pleales; to aifiict them with what fick neiles he pleales ; and to remove them from one ítate or place in this his great palace of the universe to another, as he plealcs; and that all thofe rational creatures are bound in duty and intereit to acquielce un
*Gen. xxii.-- + Rom. iv. 10--22.- ames ii 21, 22. Heb xi. 1719.---- h1, de Gygant. p. 294.--- Jof. Antig. B. i. chap. xiii. Gel Wii, 16-18.
der the divine disposal, and to resign themselves up to the good provi. dence of God in all such his dispensations towards them. I do not mean to intimate, that God may, or ever does act in these cases after 2 mere arbitrary manner, or without fufficient reason, believing, accord. ing to the whole tenor of natural and revealed religion, that he hateth nothing that he hath made* that whatsoever he does, how melancholy soever it may appear at first tight to us, is really intended for the good of his créatures, and at the upshot of things, will fully appear fo to be ; but that ftill he is not obliged, nor does in general give his creaturesan account of the particular reasons of such his dispensations towards theni immediately, but usually tries and exercises their faith and pa. tience, their resignation and obedience, in their present state of probation, and reserves those reasons to the last day, she day of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God.t.
2. That the entire histories of the past ages, from the days of Adain till now, that thews, that Almighty God has ever exercised his power over mankind, and that without giving them an immedi. ate account of the reasons of such his conduct, and that withal the best and wisest men of all ages, Heathens as well as Jews, and Christians, Marcus Antonius, as well as the Patriarch Abraham, and St. Paul, have ever humbly submitted themselves to this conduct of the Divine Providence, and always confefled that they were obliged to the undeferved goodness and mercy of God for every enjoyment, but could not demand any of them of his justice, no not fo mnch as the continuance of that life whereto those enjoyments do appertain. Whea God was pleased to sweep the wicked race of men away by a flood, the young innocent infants, as well as the guilty old finners, when he was pleased to shorten the lives of men after the flood, and itill downward till the days of David and Solomon; when he was pleased to destroy impure Sodom and Gomorrha by fire and brimstone from heaven, and to extirpate the main body of the Amorites out of the land of Canaan, as soon as their iniquities were fullt and in these instances included the young innocent infants, together with the old hardened finners when God was pleased to lend an angel, and by him to destroy 185,000 AL. fyrians, (the number attested too by Berosus the Chaldean, as well as by our own Bibles) in the days of Hezekiah, most of which seem to have had no other peculiar guilt upon them than that common to foldiers in war, of obeying without reserve, their king, Sennacherib, his generals and captains; and when at the plagues of Athens, London, Marseilles, &c. fo many thousand righteous men and women, with innocent babes, were swept away on a sudden, by a fatal contagion, I do not remember that fober men have complained that God dealt unjuftly with such his creatures, in those to us seemingly severe difpenfa. tions : Nor are we certain when any such fcemingly fevere difpenfa. tions are really fuch, nor do we know but shortening the lives of men may sometimes be the greatest blefling to them, and prevent or put a stop to those courses of gross wickedness which might bring them to greater misery in the world to come: Nor is it fit for such poor, weak, and ignorant creatures as we are, in the present ftate, to call our Alunighty, and Allwise, and Allgood Creator and Benefactor, to an account, upon any such occasions; fince we cannot but acknowledge, that it is He thar barh made us, and not we ourselvest; that we are nothing, and have nothing of ourselves, independent on him, but that all we are, all we have, and all we hope for, is derived from him, from his free and undeserved bounty, which therefore he may justly take froin us, in what way foever, and whenfoever he pleafes; all wise and good inen still saying in such cases with the pious Pfalmift, xxxix.q.
* Wird. xi. 14.----+ Rom. ii. 5.-
Gen, xv, 16.
I was dumb, I opened not my mouth because thou did it; and with pa. tient Job, i. 21. ii. 10. Shall ave receive good at the hand of God, and fall not we receive evil? The Lord gave, and the Lord iook away, blessed be the name of the Lord, If therefore this shortening or taking away the lives of men be no objection against any divine command for that purpose, it is full as strong against the present fyftem of the world, against the conduct of Divine Providence in general, and against natural religion, which is founded on the justice of that Providence, and is no way peculiar to revealed religion, or to the fact of Abraham now before us. Nor is this case much different from what was soon after the days of Abraham thoroughly settled after Job s and his friends' debates, by the inspiration of Elihu, and the determination of God himself, where the Divine Providence was at length thoroughly clear. ed and justified before all the world, as it will be, no question, inore generally cleared and justified at the final judgment;
3. That till this profane age, it has also. I think, been universally allowed by all fober men, that a command of God, when sufficiently made known to be so, is abundant authority for the taking away the life of any person whomsoever. I doubt both ancient and modern princes generals of armies, and judges, even those of the best reputation also, have ventured to take many men's lives away upon much less authority : Nor indeed do the most sceptical of the moderns care to deny this authority directly; they rather take a method of objecting somewhat more plausible, though it amount to much the same :
They say, that the apparent disagreement of any command to the moral attributes of God, fuch as this of the flaughter of an only child feems plainly to be, will be a greater evidence that such command does not come from God, than any pretended revelation can be that it does. But as to this matter, although divine revelations have now so Jong ceased, that we are not well acquainted with the manner of conveying such revelations with certainty to men, and by consequence the apparent disagreement of a command with the moral attributes of God, ought at present, generally, if not conftantly, to deter men from aćting upon such a pretended revelation, yet was there no such uncertainty in the days of the old prophets of God, or of Abraham, the friend of God,* who are ever found to have had an entire certainty of those their revelations: And what evidently thews they were not deceived, is this, that the events and consequences of things afterward always corresponded, and secured them of the truth of such divine revelations. Thus the first miraculous voice from heaven, t calling to Abraham not to execute this command, and the performance of those eminent promises made by the second voice, I on account of his obedience to that command, are demonstra.ons that Abrahan's coinmission for what he did was truly divine, and are an entire justification of his conduct in this matter. The words of the first voice from heaven will come hereafter to be set down in a fitter place, but the glorious promises made to Abraham's obedience by the second voice, must hère be produced from verse 15...18. “And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, and said, By me.. self have I sworn faith the Lord; for because thou hast dore this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only fon from me, that in blefling I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy feet as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea ihore; and thy see i thall possess the gate of his enemies : And in thy feed thall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou1 haft obeyed my voice.” Every one of which promises have been eminently ful. filked ; and, what is chiefly reiniarkable, the last and principal of them,
* Isai. xli. 8.
t Gen. xxü, 11, 12.
Geaxxii, 17, 18,
that in Abraham's seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed, was never promised till this time It had been twice promised him, chap. xii. verse 3, and xviii. 18, that in himself foould all the families of tbe earth be blessed, but that this blessing was to belong to future times, and to be bestowed by the means of one of his late pofterity. That great Seed and Son of Abraham only, was never revealed before, but on such an amazing instance of his faith and obedience as was this his readiness to offer up his only begotten fon Isaac, was now first promised, and has been long ago performed, in the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the fon of David the son of Abraham, which highly deserves our observation in this place : Nor can we suppose that any thing else than clear conviction that this command came from God, could induce fo good a man, and so tender a father as Abraham was, to facrifice his only beloved son, and to lose thereby all the comfort he received from him at present, and all the expectation he had of a numerous and happy pofterity from him hereafter.
4. That long before the days of Abraham, the dæmons or heathen gods had required and received human facrifices, and particularly that of the offerer's own children, and this both before and after the deluge This practice had been indeed so long left off in Egypt, and the custom of sacrificing animals there was confined to fo few kinds in the days of Herodotus, that he would not believe they had ever offered human facrifices at all : For he says, + "That the fable, as if Hercules was facrificed to Jupiter in Egypt, was feigned by the Greeks, who were entirely unacquainted with the nature of the Egyptians, and their laws, for how should they sacrifice men, with whom it is unlaw ful to sacrifice any brute beast'? (boars'and bulls, and pure calves, and ganders, only excepted."). However, it is evident from Sanchoniatho, Manetho, Pausanias, Diodorus Siculus, Philo, Plutarch, and Porphyry, that such facrifices were frequent both in Phænicia and Egypt, and that long before the days of Abraham, as Sir John Marsham and Bishop Cumberland have fully proved ; nay, that in other places, (though not in Egypt) this cruel practice continued long after Abrahan, and this till the very third, if not also to the fifth century of Christianity, before it was quite abolished. Take the words of the original authors in English, as most of them occur in the originals in Sir John Marsham's Chronicon, p. 76...78. 300...304
“ Chronus offered up his only begotten son, as a burnt offering, to his father Ouranus, when there was a famine and a pestilence."
“Chronus,ll whom the Phænicians name Ifrael [it should be I] and who was after his death consecrated into the star Saturn, when he was king of the country, and had by a nymph of that country, named Ano. bret, an only begotten son, whom, on ihat account, they called Jeud, (the Phænicians to this day calling an only begotten fon by that name) he, in his dread of very great dangers that lay upon the country from war, adorned his son with royal apparel, and built an altar, and offered him in facrifice.”
"The Phænicians, when they were in great dangers by war, by famine, or by pestilence, facrificed to Saturn one of the dearest of their people, whom they chofe by public fuffrage for that purpose : And Sanchoniatho's Phænician history is full of such sacrifices. [These hitherto I take to have been before the flood.”]
"In Arabia, the Dumatii sacrificed a child every year."
"++ They relate that of old the [Egyptian] kings sacrificed such men as were of the same color with Typho, at the sepulchre of Ofiris"
* Matth. i. 1.- t Ap. Marth. Chron. p. 303,----Philo Bib, ex San chon. p. 76.- || Porphyry, p. 77.----- Philo Bib. ex S.nchoo p. 72. —
Diod. p. 78.- tt Porpbyry, p. 77.
1 * Manethe relates that they burnt Typonean men alive in the city Edithyia, [or Ilythia] and scattered their alhes like chaft that is winnowed ; and this was done publicly, and at a fet season, in the dog days."
á + The barbarous nations did a long time admit of the Naughter of children, as of an holy practice, and acceptable to the gods. And this thing both private persons, and kings, and entire nations, practise at proper seasons."
' I 'The human sacrifices that were enjoined by the Dodonean oracle, mentioned in Pausanias's Achaics, in the tragical story of Coresus and Callirhoe, sufficiently intimate that Phænician and Egyptian priests had set up this Dodónean oracle before the time of Amalis, who destroyed that .barbarous practice in Egypt."
........Ifque adytis hæc triftia difta reportat,
DRYDIN, These bloody facrifices were, for certain, instances of the greatest degree of impiety, tyranny, and cruelty, in the world, that either wicked dæmons, or wicked men, who neither made, nor preserved mankind, who had therefore no right over them, nor were they able to make them amends in the next world for what they thus lost or suffered in this, should, after so inhuman a manner, command the taking away the lives of men, and particularly of the offerer's own children, without the commission of any crime. This was, I think, an abomination derived from him who was a murderers from the beginning ; a crime truly and properly diabolical.
5. That accordingly Almighty God himself, under the Jewish dir. pensation, vehemently condemned the Pagans, and sometimes the Jews themselves for this crime ; and for this, and other heinous fins, caft the idolatrous nations (nay sometimes the Jews too) out of Palestine. Take the principal texts hereto relating, as they lie in order in the Old Testament.
"I Thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Moloch." Defile not yourself in any of these things, for in all these the nations are defiled, which I cast out before you,' &c.
66** Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Moloch, he Thall surely be put to death; the people of the land shall stone him with stone's.”
"++ Take heed to thyself, that thou be not snared by following the nations, after that they be destroyed from before thee i and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods ? Even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the Lord thy God; for every abomination of the Lord, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods, for even their sons and their daughters
* Plutarch, p. 78.- t Nonulii ap. Philon. p. 70.- t Cumb:rl. San. choo P. 378.- Virg. Æneid B. 11. ver. 115.- John viii. 44
Ley. xviii, 21.- ** Lev, XX. 2.- ++ Deut. xii. 30, 31.