Freethought Archives > Thomas Woolston > Six Discourses on Miracles

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Miracles of our Saviour.

Against the Bishops of St. David's and London, and his other Adversaries.


Nec Religionis est cogere Religionem, quæ sponte suscipi debeat, non Vi. Tertull.


Printed for the Author, and Sold by him next Door to the Star, in Aldermanbury, and by the Booksellers of London and Westminster.


[Price One Shilling.]

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Right Honourable

Sir Robert Raymond, Kt.

Lord Chief Justice of the Court of
King's Bench.

My Lord,

That I am no Flatterer of Patrons, appears by my other Dedications: If therefore I should tell your Lordship, what I can in Sincerity, that I think you as wise and good a Magistrate, as any of your Predecessors in that High Court of Justice, you may be assured, I don't dissemble.

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Tho' I was so unfortunate, My Lord, as to receive a Sentence in your Court, which I wish'd to avoid; yet I have no worse Opinion of your Wisdom and Justice. Your Conduct towards me, from first to last, has rather heighten'd than lessen'd my Esteem and Veneration for you. I observ'd in you such a Tenderness for our religious Liberties; such an Aversion to Persecution; and such Moderation towards my self, that if I had been absolutely acquitted, it would have been but with somewhat more Satisfaction.

And if I now write to clear my self of all Suspicions of Infidelity, for which I was sentenced; your Lordship, I humbly presume, will not think the worse of me. It is not expected that the Innocent should[Pg v] confess Guilt, in a Compliment to any Court of Justice: Nor does the Condemnation of the Guiltless, at any time almost, so much affect the Justice of the Magistrate, as the Honesty of the Evidence: So I, My Lord, know how to lay the Blame entirely on my Ecclesiastical Accusers, and believe your Lordship will be rather pleas'd than offended at any good Defence I can make for my self.

From the Beginning of the Prosecution against me, my Lord, I hardly believed, that any Sentence would be pass'd on me, till the Day I received it: And the Reason was, not only because the good Tendency of my Discourses was so visible, that I thought it could not be overlook'd by the Wise and Learned; but because I imagin'd our Bishops would have better consulted their Reputation,[Pg vi] than to let Matters come to this Issue.

That it is a Transgression of the Law of the Land to write against Christianity, establish'd in it, I'll not question, since I have your Lordship's Word for it: But for all that, I could wish, for the Sake of Christianity, that such a Liberty was indulg'd to Infidels. Whatever our zealous Clergy may think, one Persecution of an Infidel does more Harm to Religion, than the Publication of the worst Book against it.

Liberty is so essential, My Lord, to the Enquiry after Truth, that where It is wanted, Truth will want that Splendor, which it receives from Disputation: And Christianity would be the more tryumphant over its Enemies, for that unbounded[Pg vii] Liberty, they may enjoy to contest it from the Press. I say this, not for the Security of my self; against future Prosecutions but, from a Heart, full of Zeal for the Religion of the Holy Jesus.

Ever since the Reformation, which was founded on our Natural and Christian Rights to Liberty of Conscience, has this great Blessing of Liberty, at Times, been interrupted by Persecutions: But whether any of them hitherto have done any Service to Church or State, your Lordship is a good Judge.

However, tho' the Prosecution of my self, which was founded on a grand Mistake, is attended with no ill Consequence; yet I hope our Ecclesiasticks will grow cautious by it, and no more sollicit the most indulgent Civil Magistracy of this[Pg viii] Kingdom to the Persecution of any other, much less of,

London May
25. 1730.

My Lord,
Your Lordship's
Most Obedient and
Humble Servant,
Tho. Woolston.

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It's Time now to publish another Part of my Defence, which, in my former, I gave my Readers some Reason to expect from me. If I should keep Silence much longer, my Adversaries will be ready to charge me with Cowardice, or Insufficiency; and say, that I'm either absolutely confuted by the Writers against me, or so terrified by the Civil Magistrate's Authority, that I either can't, or dare not, engage afresh in the same Cause. And I must confess, that[Pg 2] if I was not convinced of the Goodness of my Cause, which is no other than God's, and of my Ability to defend it, I should chuse to hold my Peace, and be glad that it has fared no worse with me.

One Reason indeed why I have been so long ere I publish'd this, is pure Respect to the Civil Powers, whom I am oblig'd, as a Christian, to honour and reverence, so far as may be, without Disobedience to God. Had I hastily, and as soon almost as Sentence was pass'd on me, publish'd this, some might have interpreted it, as an Act of Defiance and Contempt of the Civil Authority, (for there are not wanting those who will put the worst Construction they can on my Conduct;) therefore I forbore for a while: And now that I appear again from the Press, it is not without professing a profound Veneration for our Civil Magistracy, who, I am sure, will never think the worse of a Man for vindicating his own Innocency, or for writing in a Cause that, in his Conscience, he is persuaded is most just and good.

Another Reason why I committed this no sooner to the Press, was to wait the Publication of the Bishop of St. David's his Second Volume, which he promised us last Winter. I was almost of Opinion,[Pg 3] that, in my former Defence, I gave the Bishop such Intimations of my sincere Belief of Christianity, notwithstanding my Discourses on Miracles, and of the Falseness of his repeated Charge against me for Infidelity, that I question'd whether he would write again in the same Strain. If the Bishop is convinced of this his grand Mistake about me, then the very Foundation of his past and future Work is shaken, and I shall hear no more of him. But whether he is certainly convinc'd of his Mistake or not, I am concern'd to go on with these Defences of my self, and to vindicate the Goodness and Usefulness of the Design of my Discourses on Miracles, against what the Bishops of London and St. David's, and other Adversaries have written to the contrary.

But, before I enter upon such a Defence of my self and my Discourses, I must make, what is proper here, a short Preface. It is well known, that I am for Liberty of Debate, and against all Persecution or Force, or Impositions on the Consciences of Mankind. But for all that, there are some Rules in Controversy that we polemical Writers should observe, and be oblig'd to; or, instead of discovering and illustrating the Truth we pretend to[Pg 4] search for, we shall but the more darken, obstruct and perplex it. As,

First, We should endeavour to write as plainly and intelligibly as we can, and never amuse our Readers with Expressions void of Sense, or with false Reasoning against our Adversaries, where we want what's good and solid. This Rule none can except against: Whether I am an Observer of this Rule, my Readers are to be Judges. As I am to answer it to God and a good Conscience, I endeavour to observe it; but much question, whether some of my Adversaries can say so too, or they would never vent such dark, impertinent and unintelligible Stuff, if it was not, because they are at a Loss for what's clear and shining. There's no End of giving Instances out of their Writings to this Purpose. I shall only mention one, that's repeated amongst them, and that is, of their pretended Distinction between Popish Persecution and Protestant Prosecution for Opinions, wherewith they have amused weak and injudicious Heads. The Wife, I am sure, can discern no more Difference here, than between a Rope and a Halter to hang an innocent Man, in which Case too there is a nominal Distinction without a real Difference.

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Secondly, We should be open and sincere in our Opinions, and not profess with our Mouths to believe, what we disown in our Hearts; nor, like Watermen, that look one way and row another, should we pretend to have one Design in View, when we are pursuing the quite contrary. This is a reasonable Rule, and ought to be observ'd, or we shall confound the Understandings of our Readers, who will soon lose Sight of our Arguments, if they apprehend not their Aim and Drift. This Rule, my Adversaries will say, is levell'd at my self, than whom no body has more dissembled and prevaricated in his Opinions. Have not you, will they say to me, frequently declared, that your Design in your Discourses is to make way for the Proof of the Truth of Christianity, and of the Messiahship of the Holy Jesus, when you mean and intend the Subversion of both? And is not here grand Hypocrisy, and a Transgression of this Rule? Yes, if I intend the Subversion of Christ's Religion and Messiahship, here is grand Hypocrisy, and a Transgression of this Rule; and I can't think of such a Piece of Prevarication without Horror. The Bishop of St. David's[357] and Mr. Stackhouse,[Pg 6][358] in particular, have animadverted upon me for such Hypocrisy; and if I was guilty of it, in much gentler Terms than I deserv'd. This Hypocrisy, which they falsely charge me with, is as heinous a Sin as I can think of; it is as bad as wilful Perjury, as bad as a Clergyman's taking the Abjuration Oath, with his Heart full of Zeal and Affection for the Pretender, and worse than his giving his solemn Assent and Consent to Articles of Religion he believes little or nothing of. I should hardly have mention'd this Rule to be observ'd in Controversy, if I had been guilty of the Breach of it. It is somewhat excusable in Infidels a little to disguise their real Sentiments, for fear of the Danger they may incur by an open Profession of them: But such a gross and foul Mask of Hypocrisy, as some think I have here put on, is intolerable, and must be hateful to Infidels as well as Christians, being obstructive to Truth, which, in all Inquirers after her, loves Sincerity and Simplicity. No doubt, but my Adversaries, some of them, will still think me a Transgressor of this Rule; but my present and following Defences will absolutely clear me. And if none of my Adversaries are more guilty[Pg 7] of the Transgression of it than my self, we are all entirely innocent.

Thirdly, In Controversy we should avoid all wilful Misrepresentation of the Sense of our Adversaries, and of the Authors we pretend to cite. Mistakes and Misapprehensions of one another will sometimes unavoidably happen, and are then as innocent things as involuntary Errors. But wilful Perversion and Falsification of another Author's Words, to the Service of our selves, or to the Prejudice of our Adversaries, is most blameable, and of that ill Consequence to the Search after Truth, that it will keep us always at a Distance from her. This then is another good Rule to be observed in Controversy, which some may wonder I have mention'd, because of that Misrepresentation and Falsification of Authorities I am charg'd with. And I must confess, my Adversaries have here made an hideous Outcry against me; which if I can't acquit my self of, I am the foulest Controvertist that ever appear'd in Print. The Bishop of St. David's[359] calls my Falsification of Authorities, an Immorality, and speculative Forgery; but if I was so guilty as he would have me thought, he speaks too favourably of it.[Pg 8] He should have deem'd it as great a Crime as practical Forgery by the Law; and all Philosophers and Lovers of Truth should wish it might be likewise punish'd.

But, good Christian Reader, don't too hastily pass thy Judgment on me. Suspend awhile; it may be, that I may unexpectedly vindicate my self. The Matter as yet is under Debate, whether my Adversaries or I are the grand Misrepresenters and Falsifiers of Authorities. One would think, that my Adversaries, who were bent on the Accusation of me for the foresaid Crime, should have kept themselves clear of it: But the Bishop of St. David's[360] is such a resolute Misrepresenter, that he could not find in his Heart faithfully to transcribe the Three Heads of my Discourses; but by a Suppression of some Words, and the Change of others, has given them an odious and invidious Turn to my Disadvantage: And he has studied so hard to pervert the Sense of the Fathers against me, and so tortured his Brain to make me a Misrepresenter of them, that I should not wonder, if he had labour'd under a Pain in his Head ever since, and is unable to write more. Tho' my Word should not be taken for all this at present; yet[Pg 9] in the Sequel of these Defences, it will be made manifest.

It is a great Temptation to our Bishops falsely to accuse and misrepresent their Adversaries; because they know their Writings don't equally spread and go together among all their Readers. A Bishop's Writing going more by itself amongst the Clergy, and other Friends to his Side of the Question, he is tempted to misrepresent his Adversaries, knowing his prejudiced Readers will take his Report of them, and credit it. For this Reason, and no other, did the Bishop of Litchfield[361] falsely charge the Author of the Grounds with odious Assertions, to which there is nothing akin in the Places seemingly referr'd to, nor in all that Author's Work.

However, the Rule in Controversy before laid down is a good, useful and necessary one. I pray God we may all be religious and conscientious Observers of it, or we shall retard the Discovery of Truth, and render our Attainment of it difficult, if not impossible.

Fourthly, We should think our selves oblig'd to set our Names to our Writings in Controversy, especially where it is such a warm one as is ours at present. The[Pg 10] Observation of this Rule would not only prevent much of the Violation of the two former; but would hinder abundance of the Dirt of Scandal, Lies and Defamations, that we too often throw at each other. For what Reason some of the Writers[362] against me have industriously conceal'd their Names, I know full well. They perhaps would have it thought Modesty, and that they are not ambitious of the publick Praises they may deserve for their learned and elaborate Performances. And possibly it may be Modesty in some Theological Authors to conceal themselves: But where Men have the Impudence to defame, it's in vain to pretend to the Cloak of Modesty to cover themselves under. Wherefore then do they sometimes who write on the establish'd Side of the Question, on which Honour and Preferment goes, thus conceal themselves? Why, that they might belie and slander their Adversaries the more securely, without being expostulated with for their Impudence. It's to no Purpose, they know, to upbraid an anonymous Author with his Scandal, because he can't be put to the Blush for it.[Pg 11] And a wise Man will not lose his Labour to expose and confute a libellous Writing, unless he knew whom to charge with the Guilt of it. It is my Resolution to take no Notice of any nameless Authors against me, because I, being as it were blindfolded, engage them at a Disadvantage, whilst they have a full View of me. For this Reason the Tryal of the Witnesses was pass'd by, or I should have been tempted to have made some Remarks on it. Let such Authors come forth into the Light, and it may be, they'll meet with the same Favour I have done the Bishop of St. David's. In the mean time, I declare my Abhorrence of Authors their Concealment of their Names, and I hope all ingenuous Writers in Controversy will do so too; tho' for no other Reason, than to prevent Misrepresentations, Defamations, and personal Reflections, which nameless Authors are too often guilty of.

Fifthly, and lastly, Others make it a common Rule to be observ'd in Controversy, that the Disputants should consider each other's Arguments impartially, without the Byass of Prejudice and Interest. And a very good Rule this is, if Men would but put it into Practice. But I shall long despair of such Impartiality in Controversy. Such is the Power of[Pg 12] Prejudice and Interest, that they will influence Men to believe against the most apparent Reason and Truth. Even Prejudice will much darken the Eyes of Mens Understandings, but Interest will put them quite out. O what a horrible Obstacle to the free Enquiry after Truth, is Interest! Against Demonstration itself will Men contend for Interest. Interest, upon Occasion, will induce them to desert the best Opinions, and keep them tight to the worst. This Experience proves true, and the various Faces of the Church, and Changes of the Clergy (all for Interest) is a Witness of it. God forbid that I should judge uncharitably of the Corruption of human Nature under the Power of Interest; but I believe, that was our Legislature to do, what they never will, that is, set up the Figure of a Calf in our Churches, there would be no want of Priests to worship him, if they were well paid for it; nor of Academical Students to prove his divine Power and Godship, if the Road to Preferment lay that Way. For this Reason, among many others, I am for the Abolition of an hired and establish'd Priesthood, that this grand Bar of Interest may be removed out of our Way to Truth. And the Bishop of London, that excellent Prelate, as Bishop Smalbroke calls him (for[Pg 13] so do we, like other Creatures, knab one another where it itches) should by rights be of my Mind, saying,[363] "Where there is an Unwillingness to part with worldly Interests, there must of Course be a Desire that the Christian Religion should not be true; and a Willingness to favour and embrace any Argument that is brought against it, and to cherish any Doubts and Scruples that shall be rais'd concerning it." So feelingly does this Bishop speak of the Power of Interest, by which, as I would conceive, he honestly hints to the Inhabitants of London and Westminster, that the Bishop of their Diocese, and the Parson of their Parish, are most unfit Guides in Religion, because of the worldly Interests they may have to deceive them, and keep them in Ignorance and Error.

Thus by way of Preface having spoken to the foregoing Rules to be observed in this Controversy, I come to a close. Defence of myself against the Charge of Infidelity, and to vindicate the Usefulness of my Discourses on Miracles for the Proof of the Truth of Christianity, and of the Messiahship of the Holy Jesus, against all my Adversaries. And the Method I[Pg 14] shall take to this Purpose, is this following.

I. To show the Weakness, Childishness, and Insufficiency of the Arguments of my Adversaries, for the Letter of the Stories of Jesus's Miracles; and further to prove both ludicrously and seriously the Absurdities, Incredibilities, and Improbabilities, that their literal Stories labour under.

II. To prove, that whether there be any Sense, Truth and Fact, or not, in the Letter of Jesus's Miracles; yet they are Typical Things, and ought to be allegorically interpreted, and will receive a mysterious and more wonderful Accomplishment, after the manner, and to the same Purpose, that the Fathers and I do apply them, being no other (whether actually wrought or not) than Figures, Signs and Emblems of his future and mysterious Operations.

III. To show that the mysterious and future Accomplishment of these supposed Works and Miracles of Jesus alone can and will be the Proof of his Messiahship.

If I perform well upon these Heads, which are deserving of my Reader's Review, because of their Pertinency to the Cause in Hand, I shall not only vindicate[Pg 15] myself from the Charge of Infidelity, but justify the Goodness and Usefulness of my Discourses, in order to the Demonstration of Jesus's Messiahship. And in the midst of my handling of them, without going out of my Way, I shall, as Occasion offers itself, take Notice of particular Misrepresentations of the Fathers, and false Citations out of them, that my Adversaries charge me with: And Bishop Smalbroke and others had best to look to it, or their Accusations against me will recoil and return home to them. Then

I. I should show the Weakness, Childishness and Insufficiency of the Arguments of my Adversaries for the Letter of Jesus's Miracles; and further argue both ludicrously and seriously the Absurdities, Incredibilities and Improbabilities, that their literal Stories labour under.

I should, I say, first treat on this Head, which naturally precedes the two following; but in as much as to handle it to Perfection, I should write as I did before, and shall run in Danger of Prosecution for Blasphemy and Infidelity; I must of Necessity wave and postpone it, unless I could more than dispatch it in the Compass of this Part of my Defence.

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I have heretofore made solemn Professions of my Belief of Christianity, and most seriously declared in the plainest Terms, that my Design was not to do Service to Infidelity, but to make way for the Proof of Christ's Religion and Messiahship; but my Word was not taken, being look'd upon as a Dissembler, an Hypocrite, and Prevaricator, for all that. And should I now ever so gravely repeat the like Asseverations of the Integrity and Sincerity of my Heart, that my Objections against the Letter of Jesus's Miracles are none against his Religion, but only intended to turn Mens Heads to the mystical Interpretations of them; I question much whether I should be believed, and whether Bishop Smalbroke[364] would not say again, that this is too thin a Disguise of what seems to be my great and worse Design. What then in Prudence must I do in this Case? Why, I must let This Head, which reasonably should precede, rest for a while; and by treating on the Second, tho' out of Place, I must first effectually convince my Adversaries, that I am no Infidel of wicked Designs to subvert Christianity, but only the Ministry of the Letter; and then, I conceive, I may safely resume the Consideration[Pg 17] of this First Head, and without the Imputations of Infidelity and Blasphemy, write as merrily or gravely as I please against the Letter.

Should any say, that this pretended Reason for waving this First Head for the present, is nothing but Cowardice and Inability to write more on it, I can't help it. Ictus Piscator sapit; I have already suffer'd much for the ludicrous Treatment of the Letter, and it is Wisdom to keep, if I can, out of the like Danger; neither will I do any thing, that in Conscience I can forbear, to incur the Displeasure of the Civil Magistrate. But however, if the Bishop of London would ensure me against, what the Bishop of St. David's calls, the[365] Nominal Persecutions of Protestants, which I am more afraid of, than of the real Persecutions of Papists, I will soon enter upon this Head; otherwise for Self-Preservation against the nominal Sufferings of Fines and Imprisonment, &c. I will forbear, promising my Readers, that in due Time, and on a more proper Occasion, I will resume the merry Subject of the Letter, and handle it to their entire Satisfaction.

And when I resume this Head, I will begin where I before left off in my Discourses[Pg 18] on Miracles; that is, with the Resurrection of Jesus, which tho' I believe to have been a miraculous Fact, that happen'd, yet it was by no means timed and circumstanced, so as easily and readily to conciliate the Belief of Posterity. God has given to Man Reason to judge of the Credibility of Events, and the Certainty of Miracles: And if the Reason of every Man does not disapprove of the Management of that Event, (supposing it has no figurative Meaning in it) I am much mistaken, when we come to state a Case, how such a Miracle ought to be wrought and conducted, to get and preserve the Credit of it.

Thus having told my Readers, why I postpone my First Head, I now enter upon the Second, which is

II. To shew, that whether there be any Sense, Truth and Fact, or not, in the literal Stories of Jesus's Miracles, yet they are all certainly typical Facts, and ought to be allegorically interpreted, and will receive a mysterious and more wonderful Accomplishment after the Manner, and to the same Purpose, that the Fathers and I do apply them, being no other (whether actually wrought or not) than Figures, Signs and Emblems of his future and mysterious Operations.

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If the Authority of the Fathers would be admitted of, as decisive on this Head, there would soon be an End of all Controversy upon it. Give me Leave to recite some of their Testimonies to this Purpose, which I have heretofore urg'd in my Discourses. Origen says[366] That Jesus's Works were Symbols of other Things to be done by his Power. St. Hilary[367] says, That Jesus's Actions bore a Resemblance of what he would do hereafter. St. Augustin[368] says, That the Facts of Jesus are Signs of somewhat else to be done by him. And Eusebius Gallicanus[369] says, That our Saviour manifestly shews, that his Miracles are of a spiritual Signification, or in the Work of them he would not have done somewhat or other, that seems to want Sense and Reason. These few, out of a Multitude of Citations from the Fathers that might be produced, are sufficient to the Proof of the present Proposition, if their Authority might determine[Pg 20] our Dispute. And most pertinent Citations they are too, tho' Bishop Smalbroke[370] says, that even the Passages cited by me from the Fathers, that are not falsified, are impertinent; which is such an extravagant Stretch against the most glaring Truth, that (to use the Bishop's[371] own Words against himself) it betrays a Mind lost to all Sense of Modesty and Religion, or he could not have utter'd it.

And not only the Miracles of Jesus were Signs and Figures of future Events; but, according to Origen,[372] every thing else that he did: From whence we may gather what was Origen's Meaning, when he said[373] Christ's first Advent in the Flesh is all Type and Shadow of his second, spiritual, and glorious Coming; which being an Opinion that our Clergy are Strangers to, I desire them to consider of it, and whether there is any Possibility of Truth in it, because it is contrary to modern Conceptions about Christ's second Advent.

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Nay further, according to the Fathers,[374] the very Life and Ministry of John the Baptist, so far as it is recorded by the Evangelists, is Type and Figure of another's Ministry before Christ's spiritual Advent; and I am almost, if not altogether of the same Mind with them. It is beside my present Business, to insert here many of their Testimonies to this Purpose: But if the Bishop of St. David's would spare a little Time, which can't be better employ'd, and make a Collection of the Opinions of the Fathers about the Baptist's Ministry, and print it, I dare say he'll thereupon present the learned World with the most surprizing Curiosity they ever were entertain'd with. Tho' it is improper for me to do such a Work; yet I will here tell my Readers what will be the true Meaning of John's Preaching Repentance, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand, when his Ministry revives, viz. "It will be an Exhortation to Ministers of the Letter, μετανοειν, to reconsider the Matter and Error of their literal Expositions, and to betake themselves to spiritual and allegorical Interpretations of the Scriptures, in which allegorical and spiritual Senses of them consists the[Pg 22] Kingdom of Heaven." This I assert upon the Authority of Origen,[375] and if the Clergy please to consult St. Austin and others, they'll find them of the same Mind. But, this by the by, having no more to say to the Typicalness of John's Ministry, than whenever his foresaid mystical Preaching of Repentance shall revive, it can hardly be to a more viperous Generation of Ecclesiastical Scribes and Pharisees, than are the Ministers of the Letter at this present.

But against all these, and Ten Thousand more Testimonies of the Fathers for the allegorical Interpretation of the Writings of the Evangelists, and of Jesus's Miracles in particular, the Bishop of St. David's says, the Fathers are not of good Authority in this Case, but, for all them, who were Men of whimsical and volatile Fancies, we ought to adhere to the Letter of the Story of Christ's Life and Miracles. This the Bishop asserts roundly and frequently in express or implicit Terms, as his Readers may observe; and I dare say, the Bishop himself will not here charge me with a Misrepresentation of his Opinion,[Pg 23] tho', to spare Time and Paper, I quote not his own Words and large Passages.

What Reason does the Bishop give, why the Authority of the Fathers for the allegorical Interpretation of the Evangelical Writings, and of Jesus's Miracles, in particular, is not to be allow'd of? None at all. Does he quote so much as a Canon of the Church, or a Vote in Convocation, or an Act of Parliament, or the consentient Opinion of all Protestant Writers (which are the extrascriptural Standards of modern Orthodoxy) for his Opinion? No. Does he then reject the Authority of the Fathers in all other Cases, as well as in this before us? Nor this neither. He allows their Authority,[376] as they were good Persons and credible Witnesses, "In Testimony of Facts; "And about the Observation of the Lord's Day; "And concerning the three Orders of the Clergy; "And about the Government of the Church by Bishops; "And about the Books received into the Canon of the Scripture;" But as for allegorical Interpretations of the Scriptures, they are of little, and (elsewhere) of no Authority. Who can forbear smiling, unless the Bishop had better evinced the Reason of this Difference in their Authority?[Pg 24] If he had rejected their Authority in all Cases, he would have judged more equally and impartially of it.

In my Opinion, and I appeal to my Readers, whether it ben't their Opinion, that the Bishop had been an ingenuous and plain Dealer, if he had express'd himself about the Authority of the Fathers in this following Manner, saying, "That the Authority of the Fathers is good in such and such Cases as aforesaid; because their Authority is agreeable enough to the present Doctrine, Practice and Discipline of the Church: But the Authority of the Fathers is not good for the allegorical Interpretation of the New Testament, because it is disagreeable to our Prejudices, and because their allegorical Expositions of some Miracles, if they should receive such a Sense, will bring Shame and Reproach to our Ministry. Neither is the Authority of the Fathers for Toleration, and against Persecution, good; because it is destructive of Ecclesiastical Power. Nor is the copious Authority of the Fathers against Preaching for Hire, good; because it is averse to our Interests. Where the Authority of the Fathers is agreeable to our Interests, Power, and Prejudices, there will we be for the Authority of[Pg 25] the Fathers: But where the Fathers are against us, there will we be against them; and why should we not?" This is the true Sense of the Bishop, tho' he is so unhappy as to want the Talent clearly and plainly to express his Mind.

But, like many others, who can't write Coherence, nor consistently with themselves; so the Bishop, for all his saying that the allegorical Interpretations of Scripture by the Fathers are of little or no Authority, yet almost, if not altogether, contradicts himself, and grants as much as I desire, saying[377] thus, "With relation to any Expositions of Scripture made by the Fathers in early Times, they must be allow'd to have had some Advantage in being near to the Fountain itself." I ask for nothing more from the Bishop. Why do I contend for the Authority of the Fathers as Interpreters and Expositors? Only because they lived nearer to the Days of Christ and his Apostles, whose Mind and Will consequently they must needs know better, than we at this Distance: And because (what the Bishop elsewhere grants) those primitive Ages, as well as the Apostolical one, were in some measure inspired, upon the credible[Pg 26] Testimonies of Origen, Irenæus, and Eusebius, whose Words I shall not stay here to produce.

Hence then, in the Authority of the Fathers, I should think, there is Foundation enough to build allegorical Interpretations on, and particularly to prove the literal Stories of Christ's Miracles to be Emblems of future and mysterious Operations; but all this will not do to pacify and stop the Mouths of my Gainsayers. This Controversy is pro Aris & Focis, for the ALL of the Clergy that is dear to them; and therefore they will shuffle and trifle for and against any Argument, rather than yield. Tho' the Bishop of St. David's above speaks favourably of Expositions made by the Fathers in early Times, and may grant that the Church, in her first Ages was inspired, yet he will still wrangle against allegorical Interpretations, especially such as I have made on some Miracles; as for Instance, "On Jesus's driving the Buyers and Sellers out of the Temple; "On his precipitating the Swine with the Devils into the Sea; "On his healing the Woman of an Issue of Blood; and the Woman of a Spirit of Infirmity, &c. because the Interests and Reputations of the Clergy, as Ministers of the Letter, are touch'd to the quick by them. So true[Pg 27] is that Saying of the Bishop of London, which deserves to be repeated, That "where there is an Unwillingness to part with Prejudices and worldly Interests, there must of Course be a Desire that the Christian Religion (which consists in the Ministry of the Spirit) should not be true; and a Willingness to favour and embrace any Argument that is brought against it, and to cherish any Doubts and Scruples that shall be rais'd concerning it.

What must I do here then, since no Authority, no, not the most primitive, will suffice in this Case? Why, I have nothing left to do, but absolutely to demonstrate, and make the Matter as plain as a Pike-Staff, that the Miracles of Jesus will certainly receive such a mysterious Accomplishment, as the Fathers and I have before-hand interpreted them in. Upon such a Demonstration, if the Mouths of my Adversaries are not stopt, yet the Eyes of all impartial Readers will be open'd to behold what a Heap of Impertinence the Bishop of St. David's and others, have hitherto urg'd against me.

Now to demonstrate absolutely, that the Stories of Jesus's Miracles will receive such a mysterious Accomplishment, as I, by the Help of the Fathers, have understood them in, I must do these two things.

[Pg 28]

First, show, that the Old Testament is to be allegorically interpreted, and is already in Part, and will be entirely fulfilled by Jesus, the true Messiah, in an allegorical Sense. And thence

Secondly, Infer by a natural, obvious, and necessary Consequence, that, what we vulgarly call the New Testament is to be allegorically interpreted also, even in the Manner as I have understood some Parts of it.

The Bishop of St. David's allows, that there is better Authority, tho' not sufficient, for the Interpretation of the Old Testament allegorically; but supposing it was better than it is, yet there is no Consequence that the New should be also allegorically interpreted. Behold his Words, for fear of a Charge of Misrepresentation[378]. "But besides this ill-founded Imitation of St. Paul (in allegorical Interpretations of the Old Testament) will his mystical Expositions of any Passages of the Old Testament support their Pretensions (meaning the Fathers and mine) to interpret the New in a like mystical manner? No, it will not.——And therefore (after a little more Reasoning against this Consequence, he concludes,[Pg 29] that) this Practice of Origen and other Fathers, that were mystical Expositors of the New Testament, was very precarious, and without Authority." From which Words of the Bishop, it is plain, that his Opinion is, that whatever Authority there may be for the allegorical Interpretation of the Old Testament, there is no Consequence to be thence drawn, that the New is to be interpreted in a like mystical manner. But in Answer to the Bishop, and in Confutation of his wild and inconsiderate Assertion, I chuse to treat on the two foregoing Particulars; and the

First is to show, that the Old Testament is to be allegorically interpreted, and is already in Part, and will be entirely fulfilled by Jesus in an allegorical Sense.

That the Old Testament is to be allegorically interpreted, I have Authority, even ancient Authority enough, if that would be allow'd to be sufficient to prove my Point. We have Apostolical Authority and Example for it. The Passages in the Epistles of St. Paul and Barnabas to this Purpose are numerous, and so well known, that I need not recite all, or any of them. And from the Passages in St. Paul, that might be here produced, the Fathers asserted and concluded from[Pg 30] his Authority, that the whole Old Testament was to be allegorized. This I believe the Bishop will grant, and spare me the Pains of Citations out of them. And if the Bishop, and my other Adversaries, were of the same Mind with the Fathers, on St. Paul's Expressions in relation to allegorical Interpretations of the Old Testament, my present Dispute with them would be half over. And what is the Reason that the Bishop and others will not give into the Opinion of the Fathers on the Apostolical Passages to this Purpose? Because of their Prejudices to the Letter of the Old Testament, otherwise they would urge St. Paul's Authority for the Spirit of it, as much as the Fathers or I can do. But being, I say, prepossess'd of literal Interpretations, and not discerning any Force and Truth in spiritual ones, they will not allow the mystical Expositions of Scripture by Origen and other Fathers, tho' made in Imitation of St. Paul, to be of good Authority. And therefore I must demonstrate to Sense and Reason, or Primitive and Apostolical Authority will stand me in no stead.

Again, If Authority for allegorical Interpretations of the Old Testament would avail any thing, there is ancienter, and I had like to have said better, Authority for[Pg 31] them, than that of the Fathers and Apostles, viz. the Authority of the more ancient Jews. The Bishop of St. David's[379] says, "The Christian Fathers (and why did he not say the Apostles too?) derived this allegorical Practice from the Jewish Interpreters." He owns[380] "that Philo Judæus was a great mystical Writer as his Works which are extant testify"; and[381] confesses that "there is Reason to believe, that this mystical Way of expounding Scripture was of greater Antiquity than Philo himself, even amongst the Essens and Therapeuts, whom Philo writes of, and who had amongst them several ancient Books of their Predecessors or Founders, full of allegorical Interpretations." Thus far the Bishop says well and truly. And what Observation should he, as a Lover of Antiquity, have made hereupon? Should he not have said, Id verius, quod prius; the older any Doctrine was, the more likely to be true, in as much as Truth precedes Error?

But could not the Bishop have carry'd his Story of the allegorical Interpretation of the Old Testament much higher? Yes,[Pg 32] he might, and have told us what I do him now, that the LXX Interpreters were Allegorists, as appears from the Translation itself, and from the Opinion of the ancient Jews and Fathers of the Church concerning them. And what's more still, he might, as a Christian, upon the Authority of St. Hilary[382] have derived the allegorical Art of Interpretation from Moses himself, who received it from God; and instructed the Seventy Elders in it, from whom it continued thro' all Ages of the Jewish and Christian Churches, without Interruption, excepting that Opposition which the later Caraites of the Jews, and Ministers of the Letter among Christians, have made to it. If this be true, as I firmly believe it, then the allegorical Method of Interpretation is of original and divine Right. And it is reasonable to think accordingly, that it is of Mosaic and divine Extraction, or the Apostles Paul and Barnabas, and the Fathers afterwards, had never been permitted of God to countenance a Practice, in Imitation of the Jews, if it was of a base, or of any other than divine Original. The Consequence is, that[Pg 33] we at this Day ought to be allegorical Interpreters of the Old Testament, or we set ourselves against all Antiquity, and oppose a Tradition that's like a Command, derived from Moses and God himself.

And what can the Bishop of St. David's say to this Consequence? Why, he'll tell us, tho' the allegorical Method of Interpretation be as ancient as the Therapeuts and some of their Predecessors, yet, whatever the Jews and Fathers may say of its Antiquity, it came not from God and Moses, or he would subscribe to it; but took its Rise, some Ages after the Giving of the Law of Moses, tho' he knows not how nor when. And I am willing the Bishop should please himself with such an Answer and Opinion, till I have absolutely demonstrated the Certainty of the allegorical Method, and thence made it manifest, that it is of Mosaick and divine Original.

As to that other Account[383] of the Original of mystical Interpretation of Scripture, or at least of the greater Progress and Improvement of it, which the Bishop out of Porphyry gives, by saying the Fathers learned it of the gentile Philosophers, it[Pg 34] is the most senseless and unscholarlike Opinion that a Christian can hold, and I was surprised to see it come from him. It is true that St. Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and others, were very conversant in the Writings of the Greek Philosophers: And wherefore were they so? Was it to learn mystical Theology of them? No, but, as St. Jerom[384] says, to confirm the Doctrines of our Religion, and to confute the Gentiles out of their own Books. For it was asserted by the Fathers, and confess'd by the Gentile Philosophers, that the Mythology of the Greeks, the hieroglyphical Learning of the Egyptians and the Oneirocritism of the Chaldæans, was all borrowed from the Hebrews, and had their Rise from the mystical and allegorical Interpretation of the Scriptures, as shall be made manifest, if the Bishop and I go on in this Controversy: And therefore the Fathers studied the Writings of the Greeks, and made the foresaid Use of them in the Conversion of the Gentiles; which the Bishop can't but know, if he remembers at all, what he has read in St. Clement of Alexandria, and other Fathers. But this, by the by,[Pg 35] with a Hint to the Bishop to consider, whether he, who holds here with Porphyry, or I who hold with the Fathers, writes the most like an Infidel. So much then to the Accounts, which the Bishop of St. David's has given, of the Origine of the mystical Interpretation of Scripture.

The Bishop of Litchfield, who is to be looked on as a Writer in this Controversy, has a large Chapter against the allegorical Way of Interpretation. I shall comprise his Opinion in a few Words out of him. He says,[385] he is not concerned to vindicate the Antiquity, ascribed by Philo, to the allegoric Way of writing, much less the Abuse it was carry'd to in After-Ages; no, nor to defend, at all, this Manner of writing. And as to St. Paul's allegorizing the Scriptures, he says,[386] It seems to be in compliance with the Demand of the Jewish Christians, who were affected with allegoric Interpretations, that St. Paul (who appears to have been no Fool) above all the other Apostles used that Way, which he was brought into against his own good liking. And in another Place he says,[387] The Laws and Facts recorded by Moses, are commonly interpreted to natural, moral, theological[Pg 36] and even anagogick Senses, which no one supposed to have been ever in Moses's Thoughts, or to be other than the Exercise of a subtle Wit, for the Instruction and Entertainment of the Hearers. Whether this Bishop had his Wits about him, when he said, No one supposed the anagogick Senses of the Law to have been ever in Moses's Thoughts, I can't tell; but if he had rubb'd up his Memory a little, he might have consider'd, what he says in another Place,[388] that the Anagogical was the accustomed Way of the whole Nation of the Jews from Moses's Time; and he might have known what St. Hilary, whom I cited before, says, that Moses taught the Children of Isræl the anagogical and allegorical Way; and whatever he may think, Origen says,[389] that Moses by the Acuteness of his Understanding, penetrated into the mystical and anagogical Meaning of his own Law. And tho' this Bishop says above, that he is not concern'd to vindicate the Antiquity of the allegorick Way of writing; yet I am oblig'd to vindicate its Antiquity and Truth, or I can't write a good Defence of[Pg 37] Christianity, which should now bring me (to what I have undertaken) to make an absolute Demonstration of the Certainty of the allegorical Method of Interpretation, and of Jesus's Messiahship upon it.

But before I enter upon a close Proof of this grand Undertaking, I must beg leave to tell my Readers a Story, which tho' it will for while defer my undertaken Demonstration, yet it is properly introductory to it. I had not long drawn up my foregoing Thoughts, (against the two Bishops, of Litchfield and St. David's) of the Jewish and Christian Antiquity of the allegorical Method of Interpretation of Scripture, before I imparted them to my old Friend the Jewish Rabbi, who is a Cabalist and Allegorist, and desired his Sentiments upon them. Whereupon he was so kind as to send me the following Letter, with a pertinent Objection in it, against the Messiahship of the Jesus of our Ministers of the Letter; with a pertinent, I say, and lucky Objection, which paves the Way for my Demonstration of the Certainty of the allegorical Way of Interpretation, and of the Messiahship of the Jesus of us Ministers of the Spirit; and if I can but prevail upon the two forenamed Bishops, to give me their Assistance in answering the said Objection, by humouring[Pg 38] my Rabbi in it; we shall go a better Step, than has been hitherto taken, for the Conversion of the Jews: And this is Encouragement enough to such hearty Friends to Christianity as we are, to set about so great and glorious a Work. The Letter is as follows.


After condoling with you for the extraordinary Penalty that was laid on you for my Invective against Jesus's Miracle of turning Water into Wine, which, in my Opinion, you should not have been so heavily charg'd with, because it was purely Cabalistical, and contains in it nothing better or worse than the Conceptions that we Jews entertain of Jesus and his Miracles; I here send you my Thoughts on the short Account you have given of the Antiquity of the allegorical Method of the Interpretation of Scripture.

You and the Fathers of your Church are certainly in the right on't, to make it as old as Moses, agreeably to the Opinion, that we cabalistical Jews[390] at this Day entertain of it. If it was of[Pg 39] later Date and original, your Adversaries are oblig'd to assign the Time when, and the Occasion how, such a surprising and extraordinary Method of Interpretation was introduced into the Jewish Nation. If our Ancestors in the Days of God's inspired Prophet, Moses, heard of none but literal Senses of the Law, and if neither he nor God himself ever intended they should run into the allegorical Strain, I ask when and what was that Incident which turn'd the Heads of our ancient Nation so religiously and devoutly to it? I can easily conceive how it came to pass, that the Sect of the Caraites amongst us Jews, who now adhere to the Letter, deserted mystical Interpretations; and why your Ministers of the Letter have forsaken them; and that was because they don't relish nor apprehend those divine Mysteries, which your and our ancient Allegorists so much talk'd of, as veil'd and latent under the Law of Moses. But if this be a good Reason, why they have forsaken the allegorical Method, it is a much better Reason, why our Ancestors, of themselves should never have taken it up. And therefore it is plain to me, that God and Moses upon the Institution of the Law, at the same Time imparted the allegorical Method; or it could never[Pg 40] afterwards, by chance, have enter'd into the Heads of Men, who have hitherto discern'd so little Use and Fruits of it.

The Reason why God by Moses communicated to the Israelites, and by his Providence since has kept up the allegorical Way of Interpretation of the Scriptures, was to prepare the World for the Reception of the Messiah, who was to be the Accomplisher of them in an allegorical Sense; and our Ancestors accordingly so much excercised their Thoughts in divine and mystical Contemplations on the Law; because, they fancied, they could thereby, as through a Glass darkly, attain to some glimmering Foresight of the Kingdom of the Messiah: For you must know, that our old Cabalists[391] held (what your Jesus undertook to fulfil) that all Things that were written in the Law and the Prophets, were, to a Tittle, Type and Prophecy of the Messiah, who would be so far the clear Fulfiller and Illustrater of them, as that Men would then see God Face to Face: And, to be particular, they expected, in the first Place, that the Messiah would work the Redemption of his Church after the same manner, and by the like Signs and Wonders that[Pg 41] Moses wrought the Deliverance of the Israelites out of Egypt.

Agreeable to these our old Opinions of the Scripture, and to our Expectations of a Messiah, did the Fathers of your Church endeavour to prove Jesus's Messiahship, by an allegorical Explication and Application of the Law and the Prophets to him: But in as much as they labour'd in vain, proving little or nothing, this Way, to the Satisfaction of our old Jews; and in as much as your Priesthood have altogether given over this Way of Proof; we persist in our Disbelief of Jesus's Messiahship, and expect another for the foresaid grand Purposes. Give me Leave here to make an Objection, founded on the concurrent and consentient Opinions of your Fathers and our Ancestors, against the Messiahship of Jesus, which if your Priests can answer, agreeably to their united Opinions, they will not only make a Convert of me, but open a Door for the Conversion of our whole Nation.

"It is agreed between us Jews, and you Christians (excepting two or three modern Commentators) that the Words of Deuteronomy, xviii. 18. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their Brethren like unto thee, are a Prophecy of the Messiah. From which Prophecy our[Pg 42] Ancestors[392] look'd upon Moses as a Type of the Messiah, in all Things, and expected that the Messiah at his coming would by way of Antitype, imitate and resemble Moses in all the History of his Life, just as Face answereth to Face in a Glass, or as a Substance agrees to its Shadow. And I am well assured that the Fathers of your Church accordingly held and believed, what they endeavoured to prove, that there was an exact Similitude between Jesus in the Christian Church, and Moses in the Jewish. Now if your Priesthood can perfect that Proof, and show me, either in a literal or allegorical Sense, an exact Resemblance, Correspondence, and Likeness between them, I must of Necessity turn Christian. It may be perhaps a Work of too large an Extent for them to shew this Agreement between Jesus and Moses in all and every Particular; I will be content therefore, if they can shew me a Similitude between them in a small Part of Moses's Life; as for Instance, in the History of Moses's delivering the Israelites out of Egypt. It[Pg 43] was most expressly the Opinion of our Ancestors, that the Messiah would deliver his People from Bondage, and, if I forget not, from Roman Bondage, after the Manner, and by the like Wonders, that Moses delivered his People from Egyptian. Jerom,[393] a Father of your Church has recorded this as the universal Opinion of our Ancestors, and therefore you have the less Reason to question it. And agreeably to this Opinion of our Ancestors, the Fathers of your Church asserted, that Christ was such a Messiah, and did deliver his Church from Roman Servitude, after the same Manner (in a Figure) that Moses delivered his Israelites out of Egypt. Nay, your Apostle Paul[394] seems to assert it, saying, Brethren, I would not, that ye should be ignorant, how that all our Fathers were under the Cloud, and all passed through the Sea, and were all baptized unto Moses in the Cloud and in the Sea. Now these things were our Examples or Types. In which[Pg 44] Words Paul apparently alludes to, and confirms the Opinion of our Ancestors, which he had imbibed before his Conversion; and intimates that Jesus, whom he took for the Messiah, was working a Redemption of his Church after the Manner of the Deliverance of the Israelites out of Egypt. And so did your Fathers understand these Words of Paul, and accordingly many of them labour'd to shew the Similitude between the Israelitish and Christian Redemption, in order to the Conversion of the Jews. But they, it seems, labour'd in vain, shewing no tolerable nor visible Likeness of this sort between Jesus and Moses; and therefore our Nation to this Day continues in Disbelief of Jesus's Messiahship. However, we have not so pertinaciously rejected Jesus's Messiahship, as not to give you Leave to resume the old Argument of it, from his Likeness to Moses in all things. If your Priests can now show a Likeness between them; if they can at this Day prove that Jesus wrought the like Miracles and Wonders (tho' in a figurative and allegorical Sense) for the Redemption of his Church from Roman Servitude, as Moses did for the Deliverance of Israelites out of Egypt, we[Pg 45] will grant him to be the Messiah, and will believe in him. But as we despair of such a Proof, so we reasonably persist in our Disbelief of his Messiahship. Your Divines indeed, because of the foresaid Prophecy in Deuteronomy, do talk of a Likeness between Moses and Jesus; but it is not at all agreeable to the Sentiments of your Fathers, or the Expectations of our Ancestors concerning the Messiah's Similitude to Moses. They tell us, that Jesus and Moses were alike, because both wrought Miracles; but this will not do, till they prove a Likeness between their Miracles, as to Number, Nature, Use and Circumstance. The Miracles that the Messiah is to work, and which are to prove his Messiahship, must be of a similar Nature, and to the like Purpose that Moses's were in Egypt, as our Ancestors asserted, and your Fathers granted: But since no such Similitude is shown to be between them, we disown Jesus's Messiahship, and appeal to the Reason and Understanding of all indifferent Judges in the Controversy, whether we are not in the right on't for so doing."

Thus, Sir, for the Use of your Clergy, have I form'd an Objection against Jesus's Messiahship, an Objection that is founded[Pg 46] on the concurrent Opinions of our Ancestors and of your Fathers: And I shall with some Longings and Impatience wait till I hear what they have to say to it. The Objection, in my Opinion, absolutely destroys Jesus's Pretences to the Messiahship, unless his Priests, by way of Answer to it, can prove the foresaid Similitude between him and Moses; between the Miracles of the One and the Miracles of the Other; between the Deliverance of the Jewish and the Redemption of the Christian Church, out of an Egypt.

I am thinking what your Clergy can say to the Objection. Will they deny, that it was the Opinion of both your Fathers and of our Ancestors, that there ought to be such a Similitude between the Messiah and Moses, as is before describ'd? That they can't do, because of the innumerable Testimonies to be produced out of them to confirm it. Will they then say, that it was a false and erroneous Opinion, which both ancient Jews and Fathers entertain'd concerning the Messiah? This surely they will not do; because of the Consequence, which charges the Apostle Paul himself (in the above-cited Place) and the primitive Christians, with the grossest Error and Mistake concerning[Pg 47] Jesus and his Messiahship; and yet I can't think they will ever give into the joint Opinion aforesaid of both Jews and Fathers; because of the Impossibility of proving Jesus to be like Moses in all Things, according to the literal Sense of the Law, which they adhere to; and because of the Improbability of doing it, in an allegorical Sense, after the Way of their Fathers, or, in all this Time surely, the Matter must have been made out, to the Satisfaction and Conversion of our Nation.

I long, I tell you, to hear what your Christian Priesthood will say to the Objection, which surely they will not let slip, without their Remarks and Observations upon it, any more than my Objections against the literal Story of some of Jesus's Miracles. And this is your and my Comfort, that if you publish this present Objection against Jesus's Messiahship, the Clergy can't account it a ludicrous, profane, and blasphemous one (as they did my others) and so bring you again under Prosecution for it: No, it is a plain, serious, and reasonable Objection, founded on ancient Jewish and Ecclesiastical Authority; and a pertinent, solid, and rational Answer is expected to it.

Now the Controversy about Jesus's Messiahship is thus far revived and commenced,[Pg 48] let us, in God's Name, go on with it, till we come to a final Determination, either in the Demonstration, or Confutation of it. Your Clergy, can't, I think, for Shame, any more interrupt the free Course of the Controversy, which will make us Jews secretly insult and triumph over them; and not only confirm us in our Unbelief of Jesus's Messiahship, but will occasion others to desert their Faith in him.

It's a strange thing to consider how your Priesthood have, in these latter Ages, managed the Controversy between Jews and Christians, all by themselves, furiously disputing against Adversaries, whom they will not allow with Impunity to speak in their own Cause: So do they make God, who is to decide the Controversy, like an unjust and partial Judge, that will hear only the Pleadings and Evidence on one Side of the Question.

But your Clergy will say, that in their Writings against the Jews, they make Objections for us as well as Answers for themselves, and that's sufficient. Not so, say I, unless their Objections were as good and strong as we can make for our selves. But however, if your Divines so please, I will thus agree the Matter with them, viz. That they alone shall make[Pg 49] Objections for us, if they'll let us alone to make Answers for them, which is most just and equal; and then the World shall behold the most pleasant and comical Farce of a Controversy, they ever were entertain'd with.

I remember, that in my Letter, you published, against Jesus's Resurrection, I promised the Controversy between the Jews and Christians, by my Consent, should turn on that Miracle. Your Clergy, one or other of them, have answer'd that Letter; and so might expect to hear of my Conversion, if I had nothing to reply to them. My Reply you durst not publish, for fear of worldly Tribulation, and so I am free from that Promise. But now that you have fortunately given me an Occasion to make the more proper and substantial Objection against Jesus's Messiahship, herein contain'd, I hope it will be freely and fully debated and consider'd to the Determination of the Controversy between us. So wishing you Health and Happiness, I am Yours,

N. N.

So ends the Letter of my good old Friend, the Jewish Rabbi, which was a most seasonable and acceptable Present, in as much as the Objection, contain'd in[Pg 50] it, will open a fair Way for me to prove, that the Stories of Jesus's Miracles, as recorded in the Evangelists, are and ought to be allegorically understood, and will certainly receive such a mystical Accomplishment, as I, by the Help of the Fathers, have conceived of them. The Bishop of St. David's, and my other Adversaries, may not, in all Probability, be aware of this Use to be made of the foresaid Objection; and I don't expect that on a sudden they should; but if they'll favour me with, what otherwise I'll endeavour to force them to, their Opinion and Debates about the foresaid Objection against Jesus's Messiahship, they shall soon discern this Use and Consequence of it, that Jesus's Miracles are not literally but allegorically to be understood, and will accordingly receive an Accomplishment.

I trust then, that the Bishop of St. David's, who is principally concern'd, will, without more Importunity, favour me with his Opinion on the foregoing Jewish Objection, which may be done in a small Compass of Paper, either in Print, or in an Epistle.

I expect he should tell me plainly and expressly, whether it was really the joint Opinion of the ancient Jews and Fathers of the Church, as is affected in the Objection,[Pg 51] that the Messiah was to be a Prophet like Moses in all things, in the whole History of his Life, and particularly with regard to the miraculous Deliverance of the Israelites out of Egypt. If the Bishop should, what I humbly conceive he will not, deny that it was the joint Opinion of both Jews and Fathers, as is before represented in the Objection, and should pretend to urge Reasons and Authorities, which he will hardly find, why such a Likeness and Agreement between the Messiah and Moses ought not to be look'd for; then my Rabbi and I will confirm the joint Opinion aforesaid, with Citations, almost innumerable out of the Jews and Fathers, till the Bishop shall yield to the Number and Clearness of them.

If the Bishop should own, what I am almost persuaded he will, that it was the joint Opinion of Fathers and Jews, that there ought to be such a Similitude and Harmony between the Messiah and Moses, as is represented above; but should say, that it was an erroneous and false Opinion, which the old Cabalistical Jews, by chance, and unfortunately took up; and which the Fathers, even the Apostle himself, unwarily and unhappily run into, complying with an Opinion of the Jews about the Messiah, without Consideration[Pg 52] of the Weakness of it; then I, with a little of my Rabbi's Help, will further prove the Truth and Certainty of the said Opinion, and demonstrate, that He can be no true Messiah, who in the History of himself and of his Church does not exactly, to a tittle, correspond to the History of Moses and of his People.

But if the Bishop should, what I am willing to hope he will, ingenuously confess, there ought to be such an Agreement and Likeness between Moses and the Messiah as is signified in the Objection, then he and I will go heartily to Work, and for the Honour of Jesus, whom we believe to be the Messiah, will absolutely demonstrate the Similitude, there is between him and Moses in all Things. And this, by the by, in the Opinion of our Fathers, is the ONLY Way to prove Jesus's Messiahship, viz. by his Resemblance to Moses, and by his Accomplishment of the Mosaick Types and Prophecy concerning him, who, upon his own Word, came to fulfil the Law and the Prophets to a Tittle.

If the Bishop and I should be so fortunate, and I trust in God we shall, as to prove a most apparent and manifest Likeness between Jesus and Moses, even such a Likeness as my Rabbi above demands,[Pg 53] then shall we stop his Mouth, and soon pave a certain Way (which will be vast Honour to the Bishop) for the Conversion of the Jews.

I don't despair of the Bishop's joint Labours and Endeavours with mine to so great and good a Work (for I can't think in my Heart, that he'll otherwise wrangle about the Objection above) so (if the Bishop pleases) we'll begin this Work with a Demonstration of the Likeness there is between the Redemption of the Christian Church, and the Deliverance of the Israelitish out of Egypt. Not only St. Augustin[395] hints that they who would show a Likeness between Jesus and Moses ought to begin here; but thereby we shall humour my Rabbi in his Objection, who calls for (upon the concurrent Testimonies of Jews and Fathers) a Proof of such a Likeness between the Redemptions of the two Churches, or he shall think it reasonable still to persist in his Disbelief of Jesus's Messiahship.

And if the Bishop and I should be so happy as to shew in an apparent Manner, this Similitude between the Redemption of the Jewish and Christian Church out[Pg 54] of Egypt, then meeting with Success in our Studies, will we proceed further, and illustrate other Prophecies of succeeding Times of the Church; for I will not part with the Bishop, till he is able to travel by himself, in his Contemplations on the Law and the Prophets, and to behold, what with an ordinary Telescope at the Eyes of his Understanding he may discern, and show to his Episcopal Brethren, Christ spiritually sitting and coming on the Clouds of the Letter to the same Purposes that the old Jews, Fathers and Apostles say he is to come, viz. To open and illustrate the Parables and Ænigma's of the Scriptures, to restore Prophecy, to shew us God Face to Face; and to raise All from a spiritual Death to Life again. And blessed are all those, who love and desire such his Appearance.

In my Third Discourse on Miracles, I happen'd to speak of Christ's second and spiritual Advent on the Clouds of the Law and Prophets; and to say "that the common Notion of his Coming on ærial Clouds for the Resurrection of dead Bodies, &c. is the most senseless and unphilosophical, that ever was taught to Mankind;" which gave Offence to my Bishop, who animadverted upon me for it; but if he ever get Sight, which I[Pg 55] don't question, of Christ's Coming on the metaphorical Clouds of Prophecy, he'll not only be of my Mind here, but will be sensible with me, that all or most of our systematical Divinity, that is built on the Letter of the Scriptures, is false and groundless; and of that ill Tendency to the Corruption of Mens Morals, that it is not so much a Wonder, that wise, good, and thinking Gentlemen are betaking themselves to Natural Religion, as it is, that there are any Believers of Christianity, upon the Literal Scheme, left among us. If it had not been Force, more than Reason, that has hitherto kept Mankind in their Christian Faith; or if Liberty had been indulg'd them to consider the Absurdities of the Letter of the Scriptures, they would have run ere now, by Shoals, into Infidelity: But the allegorical Interpretation (which the Cabalistical Jews[396] say, will convert Atheists) will reduce Mankind to the Belief of the inspired Authority of the Scriptures, by shewing them the perfect Reason, the divine Wisdom, and resplendent Truth of them; otherwise call'd the Messiah, the χρισμα, the Spirit, or the Christ of them, than whom, or than which nothing can be more desired by Philosophers,[Pg 56] to come for the spiritual Renovation, Restoration, Resurrection and Illumination of Man; consequently and implicitly for the Work of those mystical Miracles, of which those wrought by Christ in the Flesh are but Types and Figures. Whether the Bishop of St. David's be already apprised of this Consequence, I can't tell; but if he rub his Intellects but a little, he must needs apprehend the Consequence of the foresaid spiritual Advent of Christ thus far "That Ministers of the Letter then are certainly to be turn'd out of the Church: "That the Woman of the Church then will be cured of her Infirmity at the Spirit of Prophesy: "That the Eyes of Mankind, like the blind Man's, will be then open'd to see, what he has hitherto been dark about, the Mystery of the Providence of God in all Ages. And so of the mystical Accomplishment of the other Miracles, with a little Application of Thought, may he discern the Consequence. And when he does so, then he will see too, what sort of a Christian I am, whom our Ecclesiasticks have falsely accused, and unjustly persecuted for Impiety, Profaneness, Blasphemy and Infidelity, only because I have written against the Letter of Jesus's Miracles, in order to turn Mens Heads to[Pg 57] the Consideration of their mystical Accomplishment at Christ's second spiritual and glorious Advent on the Clouds of the Law and the Prophets.

I have indeed written against the literal Stories of Jesus's Miracles, which I still nauseate and abominate the Confinement of Mens Thoughts to it; but if our Clergy would but a little bear with me, they shall see, I alone do Honour to their literal Stories, by making them beautiful Emblems of future and more wonderful Operations. I have indeed call'd Jesus an Impostor, Juggler, Fortune teller (and what not?) by way of Objection against the Letter of his Miracles; but I alone shall do him Honour, in those very Miracles, which he wrought in the Flesh, by proving him to be the Wisdom, as well as Power of God, and that God was in him of a Truth, and endued him with a divine Prescience of Futurities, or he could not then have wrought such curious and admirable Models and Prefigurations of his mysterious Works at his second Advent.

Whether the Bishop of St. David's, and others, can as yet certainly discern the foresaid Consequence of Christ's mystical Accomplishment of his Miracles upon his spiritual Advent, I can't guess; but if they'll favour me with their Opinion on[Pg 58] my Rabbi's Objection above, which will lead us to the allegorical Interpretation of the Law, they shall soon clearly see it.

And now I would have the Bishop of St. David's to compare this Part of my Defence with the Third Chapter of his Vindication, which treats on the Practice of the Fathers in interpreting the Scriptures in a mystical and allegorical Method, and consider whether He or I write the most like a Christian of an orthodox and primitive Faith and Practice. The Bishop says[397] "That it is certain, that without such Assistance (of the Spirit) as St. Paul enjoy'd, the mystical Expositions of the Scripture by Origen and other Fathers, tho' made in Imitation of St. Paul, have no such Authority as that of St. Paul stampt on them." What, in the Name of Wonder, does the Bishop here mean? Tho' St. Paul has not allegoriz'd the whole Law, but only some few Parts; yet he expressly says, often enough, that the whole is a Figure and Shadow of Things to come under Christ; and our Saviour himself, as the Fathers understood him, intimates often, that all Things that were written in the Law and the Prophets, are Types and Prophecy of him, and that he[Pg 59] came to fulfil them to a Tittle. Is not here Authority enough for the Fathers to allegorize the whole Law and the Prophets, in order to shew the Agreement between the Type and Antitype; between the Shadow and the Substance; between the Figure and the Thing figured; and between the Prophecy and its Accomplishment. And whether the Fathers, in their allegorical Expositions, rightly or not, hit off the Sense of the Prophecy; (for it must be confess'd they variously allegorized this and that Passage of Scripture) yet it was their and our Duty and Office, from the Words of Christ, and the Practice of the Apostle, to keep on in the allegorical Method, till an Harmony between the Prophecy and its Accomplishment was made most clear.

The Bishop says in this his Third Chapter of his Vindication, "That the Fathers and I have abusively cited this Passage of St. Paul, The Letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth Life, in Justification of our mystical Expositions;" whereupon the Bishop gave us a large Explication out of his own Head, on that whole Verse; which (because of the Shallowness of my own Pate, or the Confusion of the Bishop's) I don't understand, and much question, whether the Bishop understands himself.[Pg 60] However, I will here paraphrastically give my Readers the easy, plain, and intelligible Sense of the Fathers and my self on that whole Verse[398] thus, Who hath made us able Ministers of the New Testament, not of the Letter [that is, not of the literal Sense of the Law and the Prophets, which is the Old Testament] but of the Spirit, [that is, of the spiritual Sense of the Law and the Prophets, which is the New Testament] for [as the Testimony of Jesus, according to St. John, is the Spirit of Prophecy, so] the Letter [that is, the literal Sense of the Law and Prophets] killeth [that is, nulls the Testimony of Jesus which is in them] but the Spirit [that is, the spiritual Sense of the Law and Prophets] giveth Life [to their prophetical Testimony.] This is most certainly the Sense of the Fathers on this Text; and I believe the Bishop will not gainsay it, tho' he may dislike it. Hence the Fathers, when they spoke properly and not vulgarly, call'd the spiritual Sense of the Law and the Prophets, the[399] New Testament, and asserted that there was or would be such an Agreement between the Old and New Testament; that is, between the[Pg 61] Testament of the Letter, and the Testament of the Spirit of the Scriptures, as that there would not be[400] one Tittle in the one, that would not be consonantly fulfilled in the other; and so far as I already apprehend this Harmony between these two Testaments, of the Letter, and of the Spirit, I must needs say with Origen[401] that it's pleasant and ravishing to behold and contemplate it, and hope in a short time to make the Bishop of St. David's a Partaker of the same Pleasure. The same right Notion had the Fathers of the Gospel of Christ, which they have of the New Testament. Vulgarly speaking, the Writings of the Evangelists, and of the Apostles, were call'd the Gospel of Christ: But properly speaking, Christ's spiritual Accomplishment of the Law was the Gospel: Hence is the Meaning of their frequent saying, "That under the Law the Gospel was vail'd, and under the Gospel the Law was reveal'd." Hence they said, "That those Men had nothing of the Gospel, who understood not the Spirit of the Law." Hence they said, "The Gospel[Pg 62] was hid to those, who had the Veil of the Letter upon their Hearts in reading of the Old Testament." Hence it was too, that they said, "That the Gospel was but in Part, and that too in a very little Part, reveal'd at Christ's first Coming; the full Revelation of it being reserv'd for his second and more glorious Advent, which the World is now in great Want of, for the curing of their spiritual Blindness, Deafness, and Lameness; that is, for the Correction of their gross Ignorance and Errors in Religion; for the Healing of their Divisions; for the Manifestation of Truth; for the Conversion of Jews and Gentiles; and for the Reformation of the Manners of Mankind.

Dear Jesu, to what a sad Purpose have our Hired Priesthood and Ministers of the Letter, of all Denominations, hitherto studied and preach'd, even till they have lost the true, primitive, and Apostolical Notion of "the Gospel; "of Revelation; and "of the New Testament!

The Bishop of London has of late publish'd two Pastoral Letters on the Certainty, Necessity, and Use of Revelation, against Infidels, particularly against my self, whom he (God help his Understanding!) takes for a Favourer of Infidelity: And to do the Man Justice, I believe he's[Pg 63] sincere, and laments at his Heart the Unbelief of this Age: But however, when the true Gospel, otherwise call'd the Revelation of the Law and the Prophets, or the New Testament (which will be fatal to the Ministry of the Letter, and an hired Priesthood) shall be republished, restored, and repreach'd, I dare say, without Censoriousness, or pretending to a prophetick Spirit, that He, of all the Inhabitants of London and Westminster, will be the greatest Enemy to it; and for no other Reason than his own, "because of his Unwillingness to part with his worldly Interests, which will induce him to embrace any Arguments against it, and to cherish any Doubts and Scruples concerning it."

Whether the Bishop of St. David's intends to proceed in this Controversy against me, as he has begun, I know not. He promised us his Second Volume last Winter, but has adjourn'd the Publication of it to the next, and I am apt to think he'll defer it to latter Lammas: For being, I suppose, sensible, that his First Volume is built on the false Bottom of my supposed Infidelity, he'll hardly trouble the World with another of that kind. But however, I'll not release him out of the Controversy. I shall insist upon his[Pg 64] letting me know his Opinion on my Rabbi's Objection against Jesus's Messiahship, herein contain'd, which if he'll favour me with, I'll forgive him all the Virulence, and pass by all the Impertinence (to say no worse) of his Vindication: Otherwise I shall be tempted to do an unpleasant Work to myself, as well as an ungrateful one to him; that is, further to expostulate with him for his false Accusations, Misrepresentations, and other ill Usage of me.

When I review my Discourses on Miracles, and consider not only their visible Tendency to the Proof of Jesus's Messiahship, but my solemn Declarations of the Belief of Christianity; I wonder that such a Number of Writers against me should all of them (excepting Mr. Laurence[402] whom I here thank and praise for his Ingenuity) take me for an Infidel. I don't indeed much wonder, that the inferior Tribe of Levi (such is their egregious Ignorance!) should take me for one; but that such presumed great Scholars, as are the Bishops of London and St. David's, should so mistake me, is astonishing. And I am not as yet fully satisfied, whether it be their Ignorance or their Malice, thus[Pg 65] to accuse me of Infidelity: If it was really Ignorance in them, they'll soon be convinced of their Error; and then, like good Christians, they'll make me Satisfaction for the Injuries done me. But if it was Malice, and in Revenge on me for writing so much against an Hired-Priesthood, then they'll go on, and die hard, without any Remorse for the Troubles, Sufferings and Expences they have put me to.

As I am really a Christian, and shall, by God's Help, demonstrate the Messiahship of Jesus, to which my Discourses on his Miracles were subservient; so I will make bold to tell the Bishops concern'd, that I am as certainly persecuted, as ever any Christian was since the Days of the Apostles: And they will do well to consider, whether they have not everlastingly disgraced themselves, and done some Dishonour to the best Civil Administration, that ever Nation was bless'd with, by engaging them in the Persecution of the most sincere Advocate for the Truth of Christianity, that ever set Pen to Paper.

I am so far from being an Infidel, that, notwithstanding my Discourses on Miracles, I am an implicit Believer, and most devout Admirer of Doctrines, Historical Facts, and Traditions of the primitive[Pg 66] Church, adhering to many Notions of the Fathers, besides their allegorical Scheme (as will be seen in the Sequel of this Controversy) which the Divines of these last Ages have rejected, as so many Weaknesses and Mistakes in them. And when I come more fully to open my Mind, it will be well if the Clergy don't change their Note about me; and instead of accusing me of Infidelity, ridicule me for too much Credulity, and even Superstition; or I would not espouse such and such Doctrines and Traditions, which all learned and Protestant Criticks have discarded. Some of these old Notions I'll keep to myself, for fear of being over-much laught at by the Clergy for them, but others upon Occasion I will divulge; and don't care if I tell my Readers here one of them, thus:

"The Fathers intimate that Ministers of the Letter are Worshippers of the Apocalyptical Beast, or Anti-Christ; and that that Beast of a God, old Baal, was a Type of Anti Christ." This their Opinion I found hard to digest; but if there be any Truth in it, it can't be unlawful to jest a little with his Priests, or to ridicule their nonsensical, foolish and absurd Doctrines, founded on the Letter.

[Pg 67]

But let my Theological Notions and Speculations be of what kind soever; what Harm can my Arguings for them do to the Community? None at all. If they are not of God, they will come to nought sooner and better than by a Persecution of me for them. But if they are of God, they will stand and prevail against all Opposition of the Clergy, who will lose their Reputation, if they take any other Measures, than what Reason and Religion do allow of, to suppress them.

My earnest Request then to the Clergy is, that under the Debate I am like to have with them, they would be pleased to keep their Temper; or wise and impartial By-standers will say, that it's more for their Interests than the Truth, that they are zealous and furious.

I am not afraid of another Prosecution at Law, because I already have, or soon shall cut off all Pretences to it, by clearing myself of all Suspicions of Infidelity; but, for all that, I am more apprehensive of the Rage and Indignation of the Clergy, than if I had been a downright Atheist. No Atheist or Deist is or can be of that dangerous Consequence to the modern Priesthood, as the Christian Allegorist. Against the Growth of Deism and Atheism, the Clergy may be able for some[Pg 68] time to maintain their Ground; but upon the Revival of the Ministry of the Spirit of the Law and the Prophets, they can't stand long. And if I should demonstrate, what I have undertaken, the Certainty of the allegorical Scheme, and Jesus's Messiahship upon it; tho' Jews and Infidels then will be ready to rejoice, yet Ministers of the Letter, notwithstanding their pretended Love to, and Faith in Jesus, will be enraged; and it will be well, if I don't feel the Weight of their Displeasure and Resentment. If that foolish old Dotard, Mr. Ayscough[403] the Rector of St. Olave's, Southwark, could find in his Heart to instigate the Mob to drag me through the Streets, and throw me into some Repository of Filth and Nastiness, what may I not dread from young hot-headed Priests, upon the Performance of what is here undertaken? But I hope our pious and good Bishops, notwithstanding the Danger of their Thousands a Year, will be my Safeguard.

After all, it is a sad and melancholick Consideration, that the Understandings of Mankind, especially of the Wise, Thinking and Philosophical Part of them, should be enslaved to the Interests of Ecclesiastical[Pg 69] Clodpates, who for the sake of Mammon more than Truth, are furious and turbulent; otherwise any Opinions in Religion might be profess'd, consistently with the Peace of the Publick; and any Speculations publish'd without Animosities and Molestations.

What Course can be taken with the Clergy, to persuade them to Patience and Forbearance, whilst I prove them to be the most stupid Sect of Philosophers, who have amongst them the fewest Rudiments of true Philosophy, and even of the Gospel, of any Sect the World ever knew? It's said, there is nothing so absurd, which some of the old Philosophers have not held; but there is nothing, for Absurdity, equal to this Belief, that the Bible, for its literal Story, is the Word of God, and given by Inspiration of him.

The Bishop of St. David's complains[404] of my unmannerly Behaviour towards my Ecclesiastical Superiors; and I must confess, I am no body at that low and Right Reverend Bow, that he is fam'd for, or I might have put in for a Bishoprick before now: But if our Bishops and Clergy will be pleased to keep their Temper, till I get to the End of this Controversy, I'll[Pg 70] pass such Compliments upon them for their good Humour and Learning too, if they deserve it, as they hardly ever met with.

To conclude, I have written as plainly and intelligibly as I can, in this Part of my Defence. If any one shall complain of Obscurity any where, I will, upon Intimation, endeavour to illustrate it. I have, in some Places, asserted Things upon the Authority of the Fathers, without producing their Testimonies, in Proof of them; but if any question, whether their Testimonies can be here or there urg'd, they shall, upon a proper Occasion, have Satisfaction given them. The Reason why I have sometimes omitted the Testimonies of the Fathers, where they might be look'd for, is because I study Brevity, intending never to publish at once a larger Volume than this present. And no body need question my Testimonies to be ready at Hand; because I have neither the Courage nor Confidence (like many others) to vent any new Doctrines out of my own Head. My Talent is only to illustrate what the Fathers have asserted; and tho' some would account me a Falsifier and Misrepresenter of primitive Authorities, my honest Endeavours shall be to turn the Hearts of our Clergy, who are like Children in Understanding, to the[Pg 71] Fathers. I shall end all seriously, gravely, calmly and sedately, with the same Words that I began my First Discourse on Miracles with, saying, "If ever there was a useful Controversy started or revived in this Age of the Church, it is this about the Messiahship of the Holy Jesus, which the Discourse of the Grounds, &c. has of late rais'd. I believe this Controversy will end in the absolute Demonstration of Jesus's Messiahship from Prophecy, which is the only Way to prove him to be the Messiah, that great Prophet expected by the Jews, and promised under the old Testament." And whether Bishop Smalbroke or Mr. Stackhouse will believe me, or not, I do now solemnly declare, that what I have written in my Discourses, or shall write in these Defences, is with a View to, what I am persuaded I shall effect, the absolute Demonstration of the Messiahship of the Holy Jesus, to whom be Glory for ever and ever. Amen.


[Pg 72]

BOOKS written by Mr. Woolston, and sold by him next Door to the Star in Aldermanbury, and by the Booksellers of London and Westminster.

I. The old Apology reviv'd, &c.

II. Dissertatio de Pontii Pilati Epistola ad Tiberium circa Res Jesu Christi gestas.

III. Origenis Adamantii Epistolæ duæ circa Fidem vere orthodoxam & Scripturarum Interpretationem.

IV. The exact Fitness of the Time of Christ's Advent, demonstrated by Reason, against the Objections of the old Gentiles, and modern Unbelievers.

V. Four Free-Gifts to the Clergy, or Challenges to a Dispute on this Question, whether the Hireling Priests of this Age, who are all Ministers of the Letter, be not Worshippers of the Apocalyptical Beast, and Ministers of Anti-Christ.

VI. An Answer to the said Four Free-Gifts.

VII. Two Letters to Dr. Bennet, on this Question, Whether the People call'd Quakers, do not the nearest of any other Sect in Religion, resemble the primitive Christians in Principle and Practice.

VIII. An Answer to the said two Letters.

IX. The Moderator between an Infidel and an Apostate: Or, the Controversy between the Grounds and his ecclesiastical Opponents, set in a clear Light, &c.

X. Two Supplements to the Moderator, &c.

XI. A Defence of the Miracle of the Thundering Legion, against a Dissertation of Walter Moyle Esq.

XII. Six Discourses on the Miracles of our Saviour.

XIII. Two Defences of the said Discourses.


[357] Vindication in Preface, p. ix. x.

[358] Fair State of the Controversy, p. 293, 294.

[359] In his Preface, p. xi.

[360] Vindication, p. 2.

[361] Defence of Christianity, p. 295, 310.

[362] Some Observations of a Layman. 2. Tom of Bedlam's Letter to his Cousin T. Woolston. 3. For God or the Devil: Or, Just Chastisement no Persecution. 4. A Defence of the Scripture-History, &c.

[363] In his First Pastoral Letter, p. 5.

[364] In his Preface, p. ix.

[365] In his Dedication to the Queen.

[366] Siquidem Symbola quædam erant, quæ tunc gerebantur, eorum quæ Jesu virtute semper perficiuntur. In Matt. C. xv.

[367] Peragunt Formam futuri Gesta præsentia. In Matt. C. xxi.

[368] Quæ a Jesu facta alicujus significantia erant. In Serm. lxxvii.

[369] Ipse Salvator noster apertissimè ostendit, quòd ejus miracula aliquid significent, dum ea faciendo aliquid agit, quod ratione carere videatur. In Hom. quarta post Dominic. quartam.

[370] In his Preface, p. xi.

[371] Ibid. p. x.

[372] Similitudo erat & Typus futurorum unumquodque, quod Jesus faciebat in Corpore. In Isai. C. vi.

[373] Adventus Christi unus quidem in Humilitate completus est, alius verò speratur in Gloria: Et hic primus Adventus in Carne, mystico quodam Sermone, in Scripturis sanctis umbra ejus appellatur. In Jesu Nave, C. viii.

[374] Pertingit ad usque secundum & diviniorem Christi Adventum Johannis Testimonium. Origen. in Lucam. Tom. V.

[375] Appropinquat enim Regnum Cœlorum, ut Scribæ qui in simplici Littera acquiescunt, resipiscentes ab ejusmodi Intellectu, erudiantur spirituali Doctrina, quæ est per Jesum Christum, vivum Verbum, quæ vocatur Regnum Cœlorum. In Matt. C. xiii.

[376] P. 123, 124.

[377] P. 124.

[378] P. 108.

[379] P. 93.

[380] P. 94.

[381] Ibid.

[382] Nam idem Moses quamvis Veteris Testamenti verba in literis condidisset, tamen separatim quædam ex occultis Legis secretiora mysteria septuaginta senioribus, qui Doctores deinceps manerent, intimaverat. In Psal. ii. Sect. 2.

[383] P. 96.

[384] Origenes decem scripsit Stromateas, omnia nostræ religionis dogmata de Platone, Aristotele, Numenio, Cornutoque confirmans. In Epist. ad Magnum.

[385] Defence of Christianity, p. 345.

[386] P. 347, 353, 358.

[387] P. 341.

[388] P. 344.

[389] Perspicuum est Mosem mentis acie Legis Veritatem Historiarumque apud Scripturam Allegorias juxta Anagogen vidisse. In Johan. Tom. VI.

[390] Asseverant Judæi, deum Mosi primùm Legem scriptam tradidisse, arque hanc postea in longo illo Dierum 40 spatio, quo in monte apud se agebat Moses, exposuisse, ita ut singulorum præceptorum genuinum Sensum, Causas, & Fines tum Rationem quoque eadem adimplendi illi accurate declararet. Apud Wagens. Tel. ignea. p. 580.

[391] See Basnage's History of the Jews, p. 189.

[392] Doctioribus inter Judæos notissimum est, quod Moses qui primus fuit Salvator Israelis, etiam in omni Vita & Operibus suis fuerit Typus & Figura ultimi Redemptoris. Christiani Meyer de Gen. Christi, p. 145.

[393] Judæi veteres expectabant similem Ægyptiacæ Liberationem, ut scilicet Pharoah & omnis ejus Exercitus qui per 430 Annos Populum Dei captivum tenuit, in mari rubro submersus est; sic etiam Romani qui eodem Annorum numero Judæos possessuri, ultione Domini deleantur. In Joelis C. iii.

[394] 1 Cor. C. x, 1, 2, 6.

[395] Eloquar Propositiones sive Ænigmata ab Initio, id est, ex quo Populi Congregatio adducta est ex Ægypto. In Ps. lxxvii. Sect. 4.

[396] See Basnage's History of the Jews, p. 189.

[397] P. 108.

[398] 2 Cor. iii. 6.

[399] Et non Litera Legis, sed ejus Spiritus, hoc est, Novitas Testamenti. Tertull. contra Marcion, Lib. V. C. 11.

[400] Veteris Testamenti ad Novum tanta Congruentia, ut Apex nullus, qui non consonet, relinquetur. Sti. Augustini de Utilit. Credendi, Sect. 9.

[401] Jucundum est istum Consensum intelligere circa convenientia duorum Testamentorum. In Matt. Tract. 6.

[402] In his Expostulatory Letter to Mr. Woolston.

[403] In his Lent Sermon at St. Saviour's, Anno 1729.

[404] In his Preface, p. xvii.

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