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3.) That the same young men should tie a piece of scarlet wool and hyllop upon a stick; and they should sprinkle every one of the people, that they should be clear from their fins a
Now there is not any intimation of either of these three things among the Laws of Moses, nor, as I can find, in any of the Jewish books; but our author found it necessary to invent them, to make his allegory more plausible, thus : “ The heifer is Chrift; the wicked men that offered it, are those who
brought him to his death- The young men who sprinkled " them, are thofe who preach to us the Gospel of the remiffion of
fins, and the purification of the heart, who were twelve, for a “ witness to the tribes, which were twelve.” He is after fo particular as to tell us, The young men who sprinkled were three, viz, in testimony of Abraham, Ifaac, and Jacob, who were great before God. But why was the wool put upon a stick? Bee cause the kingdom of Jesus was founded upon the cross, &c.
5. Ch. IX. our author has given us a masterly stroke of his allegorizing talent, and seems so pleased and confident of his being right, that he says, He who has put this infused gift of his doctrine in us, knows that I never taught any one a more pure (or genuine) doctrine. But I know that ye are worthy of it. But sure never any thing was said more trifing and ridiçulous, more filly and nauseous, than this most pure and genuine doctrine. I am here to observe only wherein it is false. His design is to prove, by the number of persons whom Abram ham circumcised, that Abraham had therein regard to Christ; and that in the number of persons circumcised, were typified Christ and his cross. Let us now see his proof. The Scripture, says he, tells us, that Abraham circuncised three hundred and eighteen men of his house : but what was the knowledge (or mystery) shewn to him berein ? Understand ye that there are firft eighteen, then three hundred. (Now the Greek letter I denotes ten, and the Greek letter H denotes eight.) Therein ye have the name Jesus, viz. because I and H are the two first letters of IHZOTE. And because be was to have grace by the
cross, the sign of which is the Greek letter T, which is the Greek numeral letter for three hundred; he therefore added three hundred. So that Jesus is denoted by two letters (I and H, which signify eighteen), and his cross by one (T, which fignifies three hundred). Glorious arguing indeed! Is it poffible for any thing to be more silly in all the cabalistick books of the Jews? I cannot but break off, and appeal to our Archbishop and Mr. Whiston, whether this is to be received with little less veneration than the facred writings? Whether this be the pure uncorrupt doctrine of our blessed Saviour? Whether this was wrote by the extraordinary assistance of the holy Spirit, and is an authoritative declaration of the Gospel of Chrift, worthy of all acceptation, and ought to have a more than hurnan approbation? In a word, whether an Epistle containing such trumpery is to be reckoned among the facred books of the New Testament? But to return: it is not the filliness of the allegory, but the falfeness of it, which I have now to do with ; and I am not afraid to assert, that it is founded upon gross and plain mistakes, and so is entirely false.
There are, among others, three mistakes which are visibly fuch, viz.
1.) That Abraham circumcised three hundred and eighteen.
2.) That Abraham understood Greek, at least knew the Greck letters.
2.) That he knew the form of the cross.
1.) This allegory is founded upon a mistaken notion, that Abraham did circumcise just three hundred and eighteen persons. The words of the Epittle are, Λέγει γάρ και περιέτεμεν 'Αβραάμ έκ τε οίκε αυτά άνδρας δέκα και οκτώ, και τριακοσίως i. e. the Scripture faith, And Abraham circumcised three hundred and eighteen males of his house. But in the whole Scriptures we shall find no such affertion. The place where the history of Abraham's circumcising his family is related, is Gen, xvii. 23, &c. and
all there faid is, that he himself was circumcised, his fon Ifmael, and every male of his house, both those who were born there, and those who were bought with money. But it is easy to fee, what led the author of the Epistle to fix upon the number three hundred and eighteen, viz. that which is said Gen. xiv. 14. And when Abraham heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. Hence the author of the Epistle concluded, that Abraham circumcised three hundred and eighteen; but the conclusion is upon many accounts unjust, and it is probable Abraham circumcised many more than three hundred and eighteen at that time. Toconfirm this, observe,
1.] That when Abraham went forth against the four kings, he armed only 517 i. e. as we render it, his trained servants, nosy Targ. Onkelos, i. e. fortes, those who were strong, and trained up to the business of war. There were left at home all the children of his family, and all infirm persons; but when he circumcised, he circumcised all a.
2.] When he went to war, he took with him only those born in his own house; but when he circumcised, he circumcised every male, both those born in his house, and those bought
3.] Abraham himself was not reckoned among the three hundred and eighteen; but he was among the circumcised.
4.] Ishmael was not born when Abraham went forth to, battle (see Gen. xvi.), but he is also reckoned among the circumcised.
5.] There were near twenty years between Abraham's going forth to battle with the three hundred and eighteen, and the circumcision of his family, and it is very probable his family was considerably increased in that time.
· Nam fi trecentos et octodecem vernas potuit armare, non dubium est, quin alii effent non pauci, qui nondum apti erant militiæ per ætatem, præter emptitios multo Ri
vet. Exercit. 75. in Gen. xiv.
6 Scimus ingentem fuisse illi turbam domi, et quæ fere populum unum æquaret. Calvin. in Gen.
All this makes it evident, that it was a mistake in the author of the Epistle, to suppose that Abraham circumcised the exact number of three hundred and eighteen; and consequently the whole foundation of the allegory is groundless and false.
2.) The author of the Epistle, in his allegory, supposes that Abraham understood Greek, at least that he knew the Greek letters. This is evident from those words, Tís gr ý dobañou avTū yoãous; which is translated by the Archbishop thus, But what therefore was the mystery which was made known to him? Which clearly implies, that Abraham had all the mystery, which he supposes hidden under the three letters, I, H, T, made known and discovered to him ; but this he could not possibly have, unless he knew those letters, and knew aiso what the numeral signification of each of those letters was. But was ever any thing more gross, more stupid, than to imagine that Abraham understood Greek? He must then understand a language, many hundred years before fo much as the letters of it were invented. If there be any credit to be given to antiquity, the Greek letters were not known till Cadmus brought them from Phænicia to Greece : see Herodotus a, Tacitus , Euphorus in Clemens Alexandrinus , and many others, cited by the great Bochart d. Cadmus is suppofed to have lived about the middle time of the Judges, or somewhat after, viz. about the year of the world 2660°.
3.) The author of the Epistle supposes, that Abraham knew the punishment and form of the cross. This is evident from what is above said; but that instrument of punishing was not known in the world till almost two thousand years after Abraham's time: it was, if I mistake not, originally a Roman punishment, and not known to the Jews till after their subjection to that empire; .infomuch that they had not in their language any word to denote it,
From all these things laid together, we have very sufficient evidence, not only of the weakness, but the mistakes and falfe
a Lib. 5. c. 58. .
d Canaan. lib. I. c. 20.
hood of this author, in his allegory concerning Christ and his cross, from the three hundred and eighteen men whom Abraham circumcised.
6. Ch. X. we have his wretched exposition of the laws of Moses, concerning animals which were not to be eaten, and as he most aukwardly explains them, by telling us they relate to such and such duties of morality; so to make room for his mystical interpretations, he premises, 'Aga oủx isov érroa Oiã có μή τρώγειν. Μωσής δε εν πνεύματι ελάλησεν: i. e. It was not the meaning of God's precepts, that they should abstain from eating such and such animals; or, they were not obliged to regard the letter of the Law, as to abstinence from unclean animals, for Moses had a spiritual meaning; and a little after blames the Jews, that they understood Moses, when he forbad their eating these animals, as though he had been speaking about
But, as Menardus says, no doubt they had finned if they had eaten any of these beasts, and they were literally obliged to observe these laws. And this now makes the whole chapter to be one continual falsehood; for whereas he says, Thou Malt not eat swine, the Lawgiver meant, thou shalt not live in pleasure, and forget God; nor the hawk, eagle, kite, nor crow, he meant, thou shalt not be ravenous ; nor the hare, i. e. thou Malt not be adulterous; and so in like manner of the rest; whereas, I say, he says these mystical interpretations were the primary intentions of Moses's laws, when it is certain he had not the least regard to them. It is evident the whole chapter is one continued falsehood, and especially in the conclusion, where he says, We have a right understanding of these come mandments, and speak as the Lord will have us.
7. Ch. XII. he says that God prefigured the cross by another prophet, saying, And when all these things be accomplished? The Lord answered, When the tree shall be fallen down and rise up again, and when blood shall drop down from the tree. But this also is false, inasmuch as neither God nor his prophets have said any such thing, but it was either taken
a In loc. He endeavours nevertheless to give the words this turn, that God principally commanded
them to observe the spiritual meaning of the laws.