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idols, few were the knees which bowed to the living, true, and only God.
Moses, their inspired law-giver, judge, and prophet, is generally said to have delivered to them no doctrine of a future state : I am aware there is a learned author now living, one of their nation, David Levi by name, who controverts this assertion ; it is fit, therefore, I should leave it in reference to his future proofs, when he shall see proper to produce them; in the mean time I may fairly state it upon this alternative, that if Moses did not impart the doctrine above-mentioned, it was wholly reserved for future special revelation ; if he did impart it, there must have been an obstinate want of faith in great part of the Jewish nation, who knowingly professed a contrary doctrine, or else there must have been some obscurity in Moses's account, if they innocently misunderstood it: The Sadducees were a great portion of the Jewish community, and if they were instructed by their lawgiver to believe and expect a future state, it is high matter of offence in them to have disobeyed their teacher; on the other hand, if they were not instructed to this effect by Moses, yet having been taught the knowledge of one all-righteous God, it becomes just matter of surprise, how they came to overlook a consequence so evident.
FROM the review we have taken of the state of mankind, in respect to their religious opinions at the Christian
that the Gentile world was systematically devoted to idolatry, whilst the remnant of the Jewish tribes professed the worship of the true God; but at the same time there did not exist on earth any other temple dedicated to God's service, save that at Jerusalem. The nation so highly favoured by him, and so enlightened by his immediate revelations, was in the lowest state of political and religious declension ; ten out of their twelve tribes had been carried away into captivity, from which there has to this hour been no redemption, and the remaining two were brought under the Roman yoke, and divided into sects, one of which opposed the opinion of the other, and maintained that there was to be no resurrection of the dead; the controversy was momentous, for the eternal welfare of mankind was the object of discussion, and who was to decide upon it ? the worshippers of the true God had one place only upon earth, wherein to call upon his name; the groves and altars of the idols occupied all the rest : who was to restore his worship ? who was to redeem mankind from almost total ignorance and corruption? Where was the light that was to lighten the Gentiles? reason could do no more; it could only argue for the probability of a future state of rewards and punishments, but demonstration was required; an evidence, that might remove all doubts, and this was not in the power of man to furnish : some Being therefore must appear, of more than human talents, to instruct mankind, of more than human authority, to reform them : the world was lost, unless it should please God to interpose, for the work was above human hands, and nothing but the power which created the world, could save the world.
Let any man cast his ideas back to this period, and ask his reason if it was not natural to suppose that the Almighty Being, to whom this general ruin and disorder must be visible, would in mercy to his creatures send some help amongst them; unless it had been his purpose to abandon them to destruction, we may presume to say he surely would: is it then with man to prescribe in what particular mode and form that redemption should come? Certainly it is not with man, but with God only; he, who grants the vouchsafement will direct the means: be these what they may, they must be preternatural and miraculous, because we have agreed that it is beyond the reach of man by any natural powers of his own to accomplish: a special inspiration then is requisite, some revelation, it should seem, we know not what, we know not how, nor where, nor whence, except that it must come from God himself: what if he sends a Being upon earth to tell us his immediate will, to teach us how to please him, and to convince us of the reality of a future state ? that Being then must come down from him, he must have powers miraculous, he must have qualities divine and perfect, he must return on earth from the grave, and personally shew us that he has survived it, and is corporeally living after death : will this be evidence demonstrative ? who can withstand it? he must be of all men most obstinately bent upon his own destruction, who should attempt to hold out against it; he must prefer darkness to light, falsehood to truth, misery to happiness, hell to heaven, who would not thankfully embrace so great salvation.
Let us now apply what has been said to the appearance of that person, whom the Christian Church believes to have been the true Messias of God, and let us examine the evidences upon which we assert the divinity of his mission, and the completion of its purposes.
In what form, and after what manner, was he sent amongst us? was it by natural or preternatural means? if his first appearance is ushered in by a iniracle, will it not be an evidence in favour of God's special revelation; If he is presented to the world in some mode superior to, and differing from the ordinary course of nature, such an introduction must attract to his person and character a more than ordinary attention: if a miraculous and mysterious Being appears upon earth, so compounded of divine, and human nature, as to surpass our comprehension of his immediate essence, and at the same time so levelled to our earthly ideas, as to be visibly born of a human mother, not impregnated after the manner of the flesh, but by the immediate Spirit of God, in other words, the son of a pure virgin, shall we make the mysterious incarnation of such a preternatural being, a reason for our disbelief in that revelation, which without a miracle we had not given credit to? We are told that the birth of Christ was in this wise ; the fact rests upon the
authority of the evangelists who describe it: the Unitarians, who profess Christianity with this exception, may dispute the testimony of the sacred writers in this par, ticular, and the Jews may deny their account in toto,
but still if Christ himself performed miracles, which the Jews do not deny, and if he rose from the dead after his crucifixion, which the Unitarians admit, I do not see how either should be staggered by the miracle of his birth : for of the Jews I may demand, whether it were not a thing as credible for God to have wrought a miracle at the birth of Moses for instance, as that he should afterwards empower that prophet to perform, not one only, but many miracles? To the Unitarians I would candidly submit, if it be not as easy to believe the incarnation of Christ as his resurrection, the authorities for each being the same ? Let the authorities therefore be the test.
I am well aware that the silence of two of the evangelists is stated by the Unitarians amongst other objections against the account, and the non-accordance of the genealogies given by Saint Matthew and Saint Luke is urged against the Christian Church by the author of Lingua Sacra, in a pamphlet lately published in the following words—. The Evangelist Saint Matthew in the first chapter of his gospel gives us the genealogy of Christ, and Luke in the third chapter of his gospel does the same; but with such difference, that an unprejudiced person would hardly think they belonged to one and the same person; for the latter not only differs from the former in almost the whole genealogy from Joseph to David, but has also added a few more generations, and likewise made Jesus to descend from Nathan the son of David instead of Solomon.' - (Levi's Letter to Dr. Priestley, p. 81.)
The learned Jew is founded in his observation upon the non-accordance of these pedigrees, but not in applying that to Christ, which relates only to Joseph. Saint Matthew gives the genealogy of Joseph, whom he denominates the husband of