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latrous Worche Fous forloman. In
This is but wise and discreet Caution ; but to condemn all true Miracles for the Sake of some Impoftures, is unreasonable Scepticism, and would tend to dispute all Truth and Certainty out of the World, and make all Men turn
Pyrrhonicks and Seekers. .. Instances of '6. And it is likewise false, which you in the next Place the Jews, lay down; That the Miracles, and Inspiration among the and Solomon, con- you
1 Fews, had no Influence upon their Understandings, or fidered, Lives, from the Instances of the idolatrous Fews in the
Wilderness, and King Solomon. Indeed I can by no Means excuse the Jews for their perfidious Defe&tion to idolatrous Worship, whilst Mofes was in the Mount; but yet I cannot go with you so far, as to assert, that the Figure of a Calf was thought, by them, to be the divine Image. For this is such a Grosness as is not to be fuppofed in human Nature ; it is most probable that they designed this only as an Hieroglyphick, or Emblem of the true God, in Imitation of the Ægyprians. For as the
Ægyprians, with whom they had long conversed, worshiped their God Apis, under the Hieroglyphick of a Bull, or Calf: So the Jews, who loved a pompous ceremonious Worship, thought to worship the true God fo too. For it is plain, that they intended to pay their Devotion to the true God, because in the Relation of this Passage, Exod. xxxii. 4. It is said, This is the Elohim, or God, which brought thee out of the Land of Egypt. Which is more particularly explained in the next Verse, To morrow is a Feast to the LORD, or to Fehovah. And as for those Places in Ecclefiaftes, after all that is objected by Aiheifts, and Socinians, 'I do not see any Thing to the contrary i but that these are only Profopopæia's of Epicureans, wherein the Abfurdities of these Opinions are exposed, and brought into the Number of those other Vanities, which in this Book he is condemning.
Phil. But after all, Credentins, I cannot be perfuaded, but that it was the prejudiced Opinions of the unphilosophical Fews, and their Pretence more immediately to the divine Protection, which gave Occasion to the Rise of fo many Miracles in Scripture which might otherways be
the Relo pay their rod fo too
naturally accounted for. It would be too long to run through all the pretended Miracles in Scripture, which I could casily make out to be done by the Power of Nature; I shall only pick out one or two which may serve as a Sampler for the Rest, and may prove, that they all may receive a philosophical Solution. Now, i San. ix. 15. God is related to send Saul to Samuel, but in this Mission there was nothing, but what the Order of Nature did require ; for Sanl at that Time was seeking his Father's Asses. So God is said to send the Locusts as a Plague upon Ægypt, of which there was a plain natural Cause, for an Ealt-Wind blew them out of another Country, and a Weft-Wind carried them back again. So God is said to set the Rainbow in the Clouds, which is produced there by the natural Cause of Refra&tion. And again, there is a wonderful Miracle related in Hofhua of the Sun's standing still, and making a long and miraculous Day, when it happened only by the Reflexion of the Sun-Beams on the neighbouring Hills, or the Refraction which was caused by the Air, which at that Time was full of Hail and Snow, as is evident from the great Shower of Hail-stones, which fo annoyed the Enemy. Now, these, and such like Miracles, were devised, only to raise the common People's Devotions, and to affect their Fancies, which would not receive an Impresfion by an or.. dinary Way of Relation; but when it was faid, That God immediately interessed himfelf in such an Action, it made them presently to prick up their Ears, and be very attentive and devout. :.
Cred. Although it cannot be denied; Philologus, but Miracles that the Ferps had a religious Way of talking and attribu- not
U rally come ting to God the ordinary Effects of his Providence, when to all." brought to pass by the most easy and natural Means ; yet it is impossible that those supernatural and stupendous Relations, which are to be met with in many places of Scripture, are to be accounted for this Way. Neicher do your Instances, which you have alledged, in any wise prove what you contend for. For as for your Instance of God's sending Sanl; although Sapel by the Bent of his
unless you alver-ruling, and of Men, youhe Government
own Inclination was seeking his Father's Afles; yet God by making use of this natural Act of his Will and proper Resolution, brought it to pass, that he should meet the Prophet Samuel, who came to anoint him King. For unless you allow that God Almighty has the Power of inclining, over-ruling, and turning to his own proper Ends the Wills and Designs of Men, you must exclude God from having any Thing to do in the Government of the World ; otherways Mankind would be the arbitrary Lords of the whole Creation, and as long as they had a Free-will, (unless opposed by an open and apparent Resistance) they must act in Defiance to their soversign Lord and Maker. And therefore God in his infinite Wife dom is pleased, to ler his Almighty Power mix and blend it self with the natural Actions and Inclinations of Men, that he may gently lead them to the Ends he has proposed, whilst they are seemingly going thither themselves. Which is a great Kindness and Condescension to human Nature, that he will not, ruffle and struggle with them, and force them against their Wills to do what he would have them, but only casts such a gentle Influence upon their Minds, that they should do that of their own'aca cord, which he might otherwise have forced them to. 'Tis needless to give a philosophical Account of the divine Inclination of the Will, whether it be by exciting new Ideas in the Mind, or reviving old ones, by Reminiscence, or Memory, by raising and settling a keener Edge upon the Passions, by bringing new Objects to the Senses, or engaging them in a nicer Observation: For let the Modus of this be how it will, as long as God is the Governour of the World, and does exercise a Proyidence over his Creatures, fome Way or other, he must have an Influence over Men's Wills, tho' at the fame Time they seem to make use of them with the greatest Freedom. And this way God Almighty is said to have sent Saul to Samuel, by gently infuencing his Will, and the exterior Objects which inclined it, so as to make him seem to do: that of his own proper Motives, which God would have him do. It is not casy to ascertain, where divine Influ
n in a n. . as long cire a bit have these second ence gave the first Impression in this case. It may be probable upon the Fancies of the Cattle, who had some unusual Idea raised in their Imagin zion, which inclined them to wander, and then it was natural enough for Saul, their Master's Son, to pursue them, where he met Samuel. So that you see, in this Çase, that every Thing worked with its own proper Tendency, but yet all was managed and over-ruled by the Wisdom and Power of God. But as to your Instance in the Rainbow. . Now tho’this does proceed from natural Causes, yet it is very properly in Scripture attributed immediately to God. For tho it is probable, that the Rainbow was antecedent to the Deluge, (there being the Sun and Seas, and consequently Clouds and Rainbows) yet God is very properly said to fet his Bow in the Clouds: because he set it there for a Token, 'or a Sign; altho’ it was a Rainbow, yet it was not a Signor Token before it was a Rainbow by the ordinary Course of Nature, but it became a Token by God's special Ordinance.
And so for the Matter of the Locusts, Exod. x. 14. What · tho' they came with an East-Wind, and went away with
West Will the pure blowing of an East-Wind produce Caterpillars? Or supposing them to be blown from another Country, such innumerable Quantities of them, as were never heard of before, so great as utterly to destroy all the Herbage of Ægypt, were equally, as miraculous, 'as if there had been an instantaneous Creation of them. And what Reason is there to assert this Plague of Ægypt to be natural, when all the others are so apparently miraculous? You must either deny the History, or grant the Miracle ; for there is no Bantering of all those wonderful and tremendous Plagues with such little Criticisms. And the fame I have to say to your Explication of the Sun's standing still in Fossua's Time. Now let any reasonable Man consider, if there be any Thing in that Relation which looks like. Spinosa's Account of the Matter, vizi, the Twilight, being at that Time more than ordinary protracted by the Refraction of the Sun-Beams, through i he snowy Air. I grant something like this may happen, for a Minute or two; but what is this to the Sun's stand
ing ing still a whole Day ? So the Sun stood in the midst of Heaven, and bafted not to go down about a whole Day, Josh. X. 13. Nay, tho' we should grant you, what Sometimes comes to pass from the thick fleety Air in Greenland, that the Sun was seen when it was a Degree or two below the Horizon ; yet this will not salve the Matter. For the Text fays expresly, that the Sun stood still the whole Day in the midst of Heaven, or the Twelve a-Clock Line ; that is, it was twelve a Clock for twelve Hours together, the Sun staying so long in that one point.
But if your Account by Refraction were true, the Day *must receive its Lengthening about Sun-setting, when the Sun was near the Horizon, and that not above a Quarter of an Hour at the most. Neither could this easily come to pass, in so thin an Atmosphere as that of Palestine. Bee sides, the Scripture says expresly, that this was prayed for by Joshua, in order to encourage the Jews, and to dishearten their Enemies. But why should he pray for such a natural Effect as you would have this to be? Was it worth any one's while to wish for a Minute or two more Day-light, which it was impossible, that either the Fews, or their Enemies, could observe? But I am weary of answering such Arguments as these, which fall of themselves, and which I am confident can never convince those that urge them';' and 'tis honester to deny the Aùthority of Scripture altogether, than to explain the Force of it away, by such jejune Interpretations. .. phil. Why then, Credentius, if you would have me appear a bare-faced Infidel, I must plainly tell you, that I do not think, that either Mofes, or the Prophets, who succeeded him, had any Degree of that Inspiration which they pretended to. For what ever is inspired must needs be true, and agreeable, both to Reason and Goodness; but there are many Things to be found in their Writings and Lives, which are contrary to both. I shall begin with Mofes. Indeed, Credentius, you have, in some Measure, vindicated him from some Abfurdities, which are usually imputed to his History of the Creation *, but I
• Conference with a Theist, Pars I.