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of it remained, but likewise that public actions or observances had been kept up in memory
of it ever since; the deceit must be detected by no such monuments appearing, and by the experience of every man, woman, and child, who must know that no such actions or observances had ever taken place. For example; suppose I should now fabricate a story of something done a thousand years ago, I might perhaps get a few persons to believe me; but if I were further to add, that from that day to this, every man had had a joint of his little finger cut off in memory of it, and that, of course, every man then living actually wanted a joint of that finger, and vouched this institution in confirmation of its truth, it would be morally impossible for me to gain credit in such a case, because every man then living could contradict me as to the circumstance of cutting off a joint of the finger; and that being an essential part of my original matter of fact, must prove the whole to be false.
II. Let us now come to the second point, 51. and show that all these marks do meet in the matters of fact of Moses, and of Christ; and do not meet in those reported of Mahomet,
and of the heathen deities, nor can possibly meet in any impostor whatsoever.
As to Moses, he (I take it for granted) could not have persuaded six hundred thousand men that he had brought them out of Egypt by the Red Sea, fed them forty years with miraculous manna, &c. if it had not been true, because the senses of every man who was then alive would have contradicted him: so that here are the two first marks.
For the same reason it would have been equally impossible for him to have made them receive his five books as true, which related all those things as done before their eyes, if they had not been so done. Observe how positively he speaks to them, (Deut. xi. 2–8,) “ And know you this day: for I speak not with your children, which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the Lord your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched-out arm, and his miracles ; but your eyes have seen all the great acts of the Lord, which he did,” &c. Hence we must admit it to be impossible that these books, if written by Moses in support of an imposture, could have been put upon the people, who were alive at that
time when such things are said to be done.
“ But they might have been written in some age after Moses, and published as his.”. 52.
To this we reply, that if it were so, it was impossible that they should have been received as such, because they speak of themselves as delivered by Moses, and kept in the ark from his time; (Deut. xxxi. 24–26 ;) and state that a copy of them was likewise deposited in the hands of the king. “That he might learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of his law and their statutes, to do them.” (Deut. xvii. 19.) Here these books expressly represent themselves as being, not only the civil history, but also the established municipal law of the Jews, binding the king as well as the people. In whatever age, therefore, after Moses, they might have been forged, it was impossible they should have gained any credit, because they could not have been found, either in the ark, or with the king, or any where else; and when they were first published, every body must know that they had never heard of them before. And they could still less receive them as
their book of statutes, and the standing law of the land by which they had all along been governed. Could any man at this day invent a set of Acts of Parliament for England, and make it pass upon the nation as the only book of statutes which they had ever known ? As impossible was it for these books, if written in any age after Moses, to have been received for what they declare themselves to be, viz. the municipal laws of the Jews; and for any man to have persuaded that people, that they had owned them as their code of statutes from the time of Moses, that is, before they had ever heard of them !-nay, more, they must instantly have forgotten their former laws, if they could receive these books as such; and as such only could they receive them, because such they vouched themselves to be.
Let us ask the deists but one short question: “ Was a book of sham laws ever palmed upon any nation since the world began ?" If not, with what face can they say this of the law books of the Jews ? Why will they affirm that of them, which they admit never to have happened in any other instance ?
But they must be still more unreasonable: for the books of Moses have an ampler demonstration of their truth, even than other law books have; as they not only contain the laws themselves, but give an historical account of their institution and regular fulfilment--of the passover, for instance, in memory of their supernatural protection upon the slaying of the first-born of Egypt; the dedication of the first-born of Israel, both of man and beast; the appointment and consecration of the tribe of Levi by God, as his ministers, &c. &c.
Hence therefore, also, in whatever age after Moses they might have been forged, it was impossible they should have gained any credit; unless, indeed, the fabricators could have made the whole nation believe, in spite of their invariable experience to the contrary, that they had received these books long before from their fathers; had been taught them when they were children, and had taught them their own children ; that they had been circumcised themselves, had circumcised their families, and uniformly observed their whole minute detail of sacrifices and ceremonies; that they had never eaten any swine's flesh, or other prohibited meats; that