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and all Israel, that he spake and acted, under the influence and direction of the supreme Ruler of the universe, and had sufficiently established his character, as a prophet divinely inspired. Moses said he was sent by Jehovah, the only true God, the God of Israel, to demand of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to let his people go out from under his oppressive hand ; and foretold that if he refused to do it, God would slay his first born
Pharaoh said he knew not who Jehovah was, and bid defiance to him, declaring he would pay no regard to his demand. This gave opportunity for an open trial and decision, whether Jehovah, the God of Israel, was the true God, or the gods of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. The priests and the magicians of Egypt were collected, and entered the dispute with Moses. They wrought several miracles, in imitation of those which Moses did in the name of the God of Israel; but there was an evident, decided superiority in those wrought by Jehovah. And the contest went on, till at length they were not able to stand before Moses, and confessed publicly that Jehovah was God, and superior to theirs. Moses went on doing wonders, in the sight of all Egypt, and inflicting various successive judgments on Pharaoh, and on the Egyptians ; at the same time particularly foretelling the miraculous chastisement which Jehovah had revealed to him he would inflict. At length, Moses informed Pharaoh, that if he should still persist in refusing to let Israel go out of Egypt, Jehovah had said to him, that he would slay all the first born in Egypt; and this was foretold to all Israel ; which accordingly came to pass : And the Egyptians were made to fear and tremble before the God of Israel, and entreated his people to pray to him for them, acknowledging he was the supreme God. Thus Israel went out of Egypt, as Jehovah had promised they should, and were led through the Red Sea, the waters dividing to make them a way, at the direction and command of their God; while Pharaoh and the Egyptians, who were so hardy as to follow them, were all drowned in the waters. Thus Jehovah publicly triumphed over all the gods of Egypt, and executed judgment upon them ; and by the fullest and most incontestible evidence es
tablished his character as the only true God. The people of Israel felt, and solemnly acknowledged this, at the Red Sea ; and they were led on by the hand of Moses, attended with a constant course of miracles, unto Mount Sinai. On that Mount, God appeared in a manner suited to manifest his presence and awful glorious majesty, and excite their utmost attention, fear and reverence ; and then, from the top of the mountain, out of the fire, with a voice that could be distinctly heard by all that vast multitude, consisting of at least three millions of people, he spake the ten commandments, and added no more. They were afterwards written on two tables of stone, by the finger of God; which was most probably the first writing by letters in this world :* And Moses, being taught of God to read it, and so how to write, was directed and inspired by God to write the history of the creation of the world, and the events which had taken place since ; and of mankind, so far as was necessary these things should be recorded and known ; and, more particularly, the history of the origin of the Hebrews, and the events of divine providence respecting them. As this is the first, and oldest, so it is the only authentic history of the creation of the world, and of mankind, from the beginning to that time, which is an era of about two thousand five hundred years. Moses also wrote a code of laws for that people, which he said were dictated to him by God, containing many
promises and threatenings, together with a number of typical institutions, which were shadows of things to come.
And there are many predictions in his writings, which have already come to pass ; especially that God would raise up unto them that great prophet, the Messiah, of whom he himself was a type ; and if they would not hear him, they should be destroyed.
God having thus established his character, as the only true God, by abundant and most clear evidence ; and magnified Moses in the sight of the Egyptians and all Israel, as his servant and prophet, directed and inspired by him both to do, and to say, all that he did and said, in the name of Jehovah; he forbid them to hearken
See Dr. Winder's history of the rise, progress, declension and revival of knowledge, chiefly religious.
to a prophet, or any other person, who should arise and do wonders and miracles, not in the name of Jehovah, but of some other god, with a view to draw them away from obedience to the God of Israel, to worship and serve other gods. And every one who will attentively consider the subject, must at once see both the reasonableness of this injunction, and the wisdom and goodness of God in laying a proper foundation for it, and then giving it by Moses to Israel. For Jehovah having given all the evidence that could be reasonably expected or desired, by a series of public incontestible miracles, appearances, words and works, that he was the only true God; which all Israel had, under the fullest and most rational conviction, acknowledged, over and over again, and under this conviction, solemnly given themselves up to him, as their God; and promised to renounce all other gods, and cleave to, and obey Jehovah alone, as their God : It became them never from that time to call in question what had been made so abundantly evident, but with the greatest assurance, and the most sincere abhorrence, reject every thing which was evidently contrary to the light and revelation they had received ; and not pay the least regard to any wonders and miracles, pretended to be done, or really wrought, to prove that Jehovah was not the only true God, and in favour of other gods.
These things have been observed, to show with what abundant evidence and assurance the church of Israel received the writings of Moses, as divine oracles, the infallible dictates of Heaven, which he was inspired to reveal and communicate ; while it is at the same time acknowledged there are many other things which have not been here brought into view, which serve to strengthen this evidence, and show that to make
other supposition, and not to admit these writings as the oracles of Heaven, is most absurd, shutting the eyes against the most glaring light, and doing violence to every principle of reason.
After Moses, other prophets and inspired men were raised up to write the history of that nation; to declare the will of God, in reproving, directing and exhorting; and adding threatenings and promises, to deter them from rebellion against Jehovah, and excite them to obey him. Whose writings also contain innumerable predictions of things to come, many of which are already come to pass; those in particular which foretold the coming of the Messiah, his incarnation, death, resurrection, exaltation and reign: and the events that should attend his coming with regard both to Jews and Gentiles, &c. &c. And in these writings there is a constant reference to the things contained in the writings of Moses, the wonders wrought by his hand, when they were delivered from a state of bondage in Egypt, &c. and to the institutions and laws, which by him were given to Israel : And at the same time there is a perfect consistence and harmony, between these writings and those of Moses.
The last prophet, whose writings we have, lived about four hundred years before Christ ; so that the sacred writings which were given to the church of Israel, and which they received as divine oracles, and have carefully kept and preserved, not only to the time of the incarna. tion of Christ, but even down to this day, were written at different times, by different men, through the space of above a thousand years, from Moses the first, to Malachi, the last writer. And yet they all agree ; and the latter constantly refer to the writings of Moses, and what is contained in them; and therefore they mutually strengthen the evidence, that they all wrote by inspiration, as most of them declared they did. And Malachi concludes with foretelling the coming of Christ, and directing the church of Israel to attend to the laws and institutions of Moses, and obey them, until Christ should come ; and to expect no more divine revelation, till that time ; plainly intimating, that then some further revelations from God should be given to the church.* Thus the standing, written revelation, given to the Jewish church, was finished ; and they were commanded not to . attempt to make, or expect any addition to it, till the days of the Messiah.
Should it be said, that perhaps all these writings were forged by some wicked, designing man, or set of men, and that the facts and miracles therein related never did take place, nor was Moses, or any other man, inspired of God to write these things; but they were imposed
Mal. iv. 4, 5.
upon that nation, and they were made to believe that which never had any reality : Such a supposition will appear most unreasonable, and even impossible, on the least reflection. When, and how, could this be done? How could that nation, even all of them, old and young, learned and unlearned, at any time be made to believe that all these things related in the writings of Moses, concerned them, and which he said took place publicly, and that they were seen and acknowledged by the whole nation; and that all those rites and laws had been re
1 ceived in a miraculous way from Jehovah, by their ancestors, and handed down, and practised from generation to generation, if there was no truth in all this ; but they were all now invented, and they never had any existence, or were heard of before, by any of them ? This is perfectly incredible, and absolutely impossible. And it is equally incredible, that a whole nation should at any time receive such writings, and pretend they were all genuine and true, and handed down from their fathers, when at the same time they knew there was no truth in it, but was real imposture and delusion. Who can believe, that any nation or people under heaven, could ever be brought to do this ; and receive and practise all those burdensome rites and ceremonies, and hand them down to their children as the institutions of Heaven, when they knew it was all a cheat? And this will appear yet more incredible, if possible, when we observe, that these writings give no agrecable, flattering idea of that nation, as a wise, excellent, and honourable people; but contrary to this, they are represented as a very stupid, ungrateful, rebellious people, always disposed to abuse and revolt from their God, and violate the most sacred obligations and solemn vows, by which they were constantly incurring the displeasure of Jehovah; and were severely punished, from time to time, for their horrid impiety, and most stupid idolatry, and their obstinate perseverance in shameful unrighteousness and cruelty towards each other. If a people could forge and receive a history of themselves as a nation, in which there was no truth ; or if it were contrived and formed by any set of men, or by any one man among them, with a design to impose it on the nation, to be received by them