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"In that day when I chose Ifrael, and lifted up my hand unto the feed of the house of Jacob, and made myself known unto them in the land of Egypt, when I lifted up mine hand unto them, faying, I am the Lord your God; then faid I unto them, cast ye away every man the abomination of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt."

Nothing, therefore, but the miraculous interpofition of divine power, could have fo immediately operated to detach them from their folly. Had not the Ifraelites been firmly perfuaded of a divine Providence particularly exerted in their favour, they might fuperftitiously have imagined themselves, on every change of place, to be fubjected to the dif pleasure and vengeance of jealous tutelar deities; which circumftance would have been fufficient to have deprived them of all that fpirited refolution and energy, fo effential to fupport them under the numerous and deftructive perils generally incident to great undertakings. The Hexaemeron, therefore, begins with that moft animating of all doctrines, which excluding the notion of blind chance on the one hand, and the filly idea of a plurality of ruling deities con

tending

tending for their respective favourites, on the other hand, displays and inculcates the omnipotence and unity of the Godhead; who by an almighty fiat, brought into existence a variety of worlds, which his wifdom has arranged in the most regular harmonious order, ornamented and fitted for the most gracious and glorious purposes. The first chapter of Genefis, therefore, ftrongly inculcates the fame doctrine which St. Paul expreffed in an oration before the Areopagus, in these words:

"God, that made the world and all things therein, feeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands, neither is worshipped with men's hands as though he needed any thing, seeing that he giveth to all, life and breath and all things, and hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times beforehand, and the bounds of their habitation, that they might feek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him and find him, tho' he be not far from every one of us; for in him we live and move, and have our being: as alfo certain of your own poets have faid: for we also are the offspring of God. Forafmuch then as we are the offspring of God, let

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let us not think that the Godhead is like unto gold or filver, or ftone graven by man's device."

The defign of Mofes, the infpired penman, or rather of that bleffed fpirit which inspired him in his history of creation, was not, fays Mr. Whiston, the gratifying the philofophical inquiries of a few elevated minds, but of a more general and useful nature, namely to inform the Jews and the rest of the world, that the visible frame of heaven and earth, was neither exiftent from all eternity, nor the result of blind chance, fatal neceffity, nor unaccountable accident; but the workmanfhip of God Almighty, to make them fenfible that every thing they had any knowledge of was derived from, and subject to that Jéhovah whom they worshipped; and that in him, themselves, with all their fellowcreatures in the open air, on the wide earth, and in the deep feas, lived, moved, and had their being, who therefore muft needs be the governor and ruler of them all; to affect their minds by this means with the awfuleft veneration for the God of Ifrael, and inspire them with a juft gratitude to him for all their enjoyments; who had not only created this earth for mankind, and furnished it with various

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various creatures for their ufe, but befides thefe terreftrial, had made the very celeftial bodies fubfervient to their neceffities, to demonftrate the original goodness and perfection of things; and that, therefore, whatever was evil, must have been the confequence of man's fall, and not God's primary introduction, and thereby to teach men humility, and raise their abhorrence of fin, the cause of all their miferies. To fhew them the unreasonableness of all idolatry, or of the worfhipping any visible beings, tho' never fo ufeful and glorious: by affuring them, they were all in common the creatures of God, and all their influences, of what kind foevér, intirely derived from him, and under his difpofal.

In fhort, the main defign was, to secure obedience to thofe laws he was about to deliver from God to them, by giving them the greatest and jufteft ideas of their legislator, the ALMIGHTY MAKER of heaven and earth,

SKETCH

SKETCH VIII,

OF RABBINICAL PHILOSOPHICAL AND RELIGIOUS THEORIES ERRONEOUSLY FOUNDED ON THE MOSAIC WRITINGS.

SECT. I.

OF THE JEWISH WRITERS.

THE

HE Jews, (of whom Apollonius gives this charačter, αφυεςατος είναι των βαρβάρων, και δια τύτο,

μηδέν εις βιον εύρημα συμβεβλησθαι μόνες. that they were

the moft illiterate of the barbarians, infomuch, that thefe alone were never the inventors of any thing useful in life,) were not altogether fo bad or fo ignorant as they have been represented. When we judge of others we should be careful to fhew ourfelves impartial, if we are not disposed to be charitable. The scriptures, it is true, accuse the mof being a stubborn and a refractory generation; they

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