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fays, "Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have feen the end of the Lord." Notwithstanding, this text, the reality of Job's history, and even the existence of fuch a perfon, has been always deemed a fair fubject of enquiry and difcuffion amongst Christian divines. St. James's authority is confidered as good evidence of the existence of the book of Job at that time, and of its reception by the Jews, and of nothing more. St. Paul, in his fecond epistle to Timothy*, has this fimilitude: "Now, as Jannes and Jambres withstood Mofes, fo do these also refift the truth." These names are not found in the Old Teftament. And it is uncertain, whether St. Paul took them from fome apocryphal writing then extant, or from tradition. But no one ever imagined, that St. Paul is here afferting the authority of the writing, if it was a written account which he quoted, or making himself anfwerable for the authenticity of the tradition; much lefs, that he fo involves himself with either
of these questions as that the credit of his own history and miffion fhould depend upon the fact, whether " Jannes and Jambres withstood Mofes, or not." For what reason a more rigorous interpretation should be put upon other references, it is difficult to know. I do not mean, that other paffages of the Jewish history stand upon no better evidence than the hiftory of Job, or of Jannes and Jambres (I think much otherwife); but I mean, that a reference in the New Teftament, to a paffage in the Old, does not fo fix its authority, as to exclude all enquiry into its credibility, or into the separate reasons upon which that credibility is founded; and that it is an unwarrantable, as well as unfafe rule to lay down concerning the Jewish history, what was never laid down concerning any other, that either every particular of it must be true, or the whole falfe.
I have thought it neceffary to state this point explicitly, because a fashion revived by Voltaire, and purfued by the difciples of his school,
school, seems to have much prevailed of late, of attacking Chriftianity through the fides of Judaism. Some objections of this clafs are founded in misconstruction, fome in exaggeration; but all proceed upon a fuppofition, which has not been made out by argument, viz. that the atteftation, which the author and first teachers of Christianity gave to the divine miffion of Mofes and the prophets, extends to every point and portion of the Jewish hiftory; and fo extends, as to make Christianity responsible in its own credibility, for the circumftantial truth, I had almost faid for the critical exactness, of every narrative contained in the Old Testa
Rejection of Christianity.
WE acknowledge that the Christian re
ligion, although it converted great numbers, did not produce an univerfal, or even a general conviction in the minds of men, of the age and countries in which it appeared. And this want of a more complete and extensive success, is called the rejection of the Christian history and miracles; and has been thought by fome, to form a strong objection to the reality of the facts which the history contains.
The matter of the objection divides itself into two parts, as it relates to the Jews, and as it relates to Heathen nations; because the minds of these two descriptions of men may have been, with respect to Chrif tianity, under the influence of very different causes. The cafe of the Jews, inasmuch as
our Saviour's miniftry was originally addreffed to them, offers itself first to our confideration.
Now, upon the fubject of the truth of the Christian religion, with us there is but one question, viz. whether the miracles were actually wrought? From acknowledging the miracles we pass instantaneously to the acknowledgment of the whole. No doubt lies between the premises and the conclufion. If we believe the works, or any one of them, we believe in Jefus. And this order of reasoning is become fo univerfal and familiar, that we do not readily apprehend how it could ever have been otherwife. Yet it appears to me perfectly certain, that the state of thought, in the mind of a Jew of our Saviour's age, was totally different from this. After allowing the reality of the miracle, he had a great deal to do to perfuade himself that Jesus was the Meffiah. This is clearly intimated by vari ous paffages of the gospel history. It appears that, in the apprehenfion of the writers of