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Mofes

fes having no fuch Reason to put a mystical Meaning upon his Words, he must be fuppofed to have used them in the literal Sense; unless thofe which the Holy Ghoft did defign fhould be alfo typical, and thofe Actions which were to prefigure others, under the Kingdom of the Meffias.

Phil. I find it grows late, Credentius; and therefore before I take my Leave of you, let me hear what you have to fay in Defence of the Mofaick Relation of the Fall ; which you promifed juft now to do.

Cred. The Reafon why I fo much admire the Excellence of this Relation is, because it gives an eafy Solution to many Difficulties in Nature and Morality, which are otherways impoffible to be accounted for. Mofes in a few Lines of this fhort Hiftory, has made many Things plain, which have racked the Brains of many Ages, and which the greatest Philofophers in the World have blundered at.

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1. The firft of thefe is the natural Account, which he gives of the Depravation of Man's Will, or its Inclinablegives the nefs to Evil. It will amaze one to confider, what horrible, beft AcWork the Heathen Philofophers made, in their Accounts count of the Depra of it. Some of them made this Inclinableness to Sin, and vation of all the Evil, which is found in the World, to come from Man's Will. an infinitely-evil Principle; a Sort of Anti-God eternally co-exifting with the good one; which was not only the Opinion of the Perfian Magi and the Manichees, but, as Plutarch fays, was the Opinion of the most and wifeft of the Philofophers. Now this is fuch a foolish Account of Sin, that no one will prefume to compare the Mofaical Account with it. For to affert a God or Principle infinitely evil, is Contradiction in Terms: For as all the Attri butes of one God are Good, fo the other must be Evil, The Mif- or just contrary or privative to the firft. As one is infi Carriages nitely fast and Merciful, fo the other must be infinitely lafophers in Unrighteous and Cruel; as the one is infinite in Power, fo the other must be infinite in no Power, that is, must have no Power at all; as the one is Eternal and Neceffary in his Being, the other must be infinite in Non-existence, and be

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impoffible to be: All which includes a Troop of Contra dictions and Abfurdities.

Another Set of Philofophers imputed this Obliquity of the Soul to its Mixture with Matter. But it is unintelligible, how a meer Mixture with Matter, which is nei ther good nor evil, fhould make a Thing originally good to be bad. If they fay Matter was evil in it felf originally; they then make God, which was the Author of Matter, to be the Author of the Evil in it, which is injurious to the Divine Holinefs. If they fay Matter is eternal, as Plutarch and fome others of them do, and withal evil in it felf; this is to make fuch another eternal Evil Principle, which includes the Abfurdities likewife of the Manichean Principle.

A third Sort attributed this Depravation to a pre-exiftent State of Sinfulness, and that the Inclinablenefs to Sin in this World was but an ill Habit of the Soul contracted in another, by a voluntary Deviation from God. This the later Philofophers call generally seunois and quy, the Moulting of the Wings of the Soul, and its Alienation and Flight from the Deity. This laft Opinion, I fay, the latter Moralifts generally took up with, after they had been beat off from their other Accounts by the Arguments of the Chriftians. Not that they learned this from the Mofaical Account of the Lapfe, as fome will have it, in the School of Ammonius; for the resinois of Plato is much older; but afterwards they ftuck only to this Account, because the Chriftians had made the others fo apparently ridiculous. But I pray, what Evi dence had thofe Philofophers of fuch a pre-existent State? They ought folidly to have proved firft the State, in which this pretended Lapfe happened, before they afferted the Lapfe it felf; which after all is but their pure Affertion. Befides, thefe Philofophers generally make this Immerfion into grofs Matter, to be the Punishment of the Soul for her Öffences in her pre-exifting State; but then fuch an Immerfion is not a proper Way of Punishment of the Soul, and feems inconfiftent with the Wisdom and Juftice of God. For all Punishments inflicted by God, efpeci

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ally in probatory States, are in order to Amendment : Now the Soul not having Reminiscence of her former State, it is impoffible for her to amend the Errors of that State, fhe cannot remember. These are the Accounts which the Philofophers give of the Depravation of the Soul; which are all very lame and unfatisfactory in themfelves, as they are afferted without any Proof. But on the contrary, what can be more natural and eafy, than to account for this, by deducing Mankind from one common Stock, which had deviated from its original Rectitude? That the Soul was ftrangely degenerated from its original Stamp, was a Thing which all wife Men were fenfible of; but how this came to pafs, the Heathens to whom God had not vouchfafed his Revelations, was a Thing they could only guefs and blunder at in the Dark. Hence Ariftotle compares the State of the Soul in the Body, to the Etrufcan Robbers joining dead Bodies to living ones. And Tully talks of the Effects of original Sin more like a Divine than a Philofopher: For thus *St. Austin, in his 4th Book against Julian, brings him in faying, Non à Matre fed à Noverca naturâ editum effe hominem in vitam, corpore nudo, fragili & infirmo, animo anxio ad moleftias, humili ad timores, molli ad labores, prono ad libidines; in quo tamen velut obrutus ineffet ignis quidam divinus mentis: That Man was not born of Nature as of a Mother, but as a Step-Mother; with a Body naked, frail and infiim; with a Mind anxious for Troubles, dejected for Fears, fluggish to Labour, and prone to Luft; in which that divine Fire of the Soul lies, as it were, fmothered; Upon which St. Austin remarks; Non Author ifte male viventium moribus dixit effectum, fed naturam porius accufavit; Rem vidit, caufam nefcivit. Latebat enim eum, cur effet grave jugum fuper filios Adam, quia facris literis non eruditus, ignorabat originale peccatum. "This "Author did not peak of the unhappy Effect occafi"oned by the Difobedience of our firft ill-living Parents, but only accufed Nature, He very well faw the Thing,

* Cic. Lib. 3. de Repub.

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but was ignorant of the Caufe. The Reafon was hid "from him, why fo heavy a Yoke was laid upon the "Sons of Adam; because not being educated in the fa"cred Letters, he was ignorant of original Sin," If thefe wife Men had but had the Advantage of reading the Mofaical Account, they would never have taken up with fuch foolish Hypothefes, to explain the Origin of Evil by. They would quickly have concluded, with our Saviour's Argument, that a corrupt Tree cannot bring forth good Fruit, Matt. vii. 18. Because this Explication of the Rife of Sin by an original Lapfe is freed from thofe Abfurdities, which the other Explications abound with.

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2. Another very good Argument, for the Excellency His Acof the Mofaical Account of the Fall is, because it gives count the a Rationale of the Pudor circa res venereas, which is a Thing beft of the which all the Reafon of Mankind was never able to do: ca res VeFor how strange is it to confider, what an innate Bashful- neris. nefs there is implanted in all Mankind as to thefe Things, and they are looked upon as Monsters in Nature, that can diveft themselves of it; and yet to confider, how little natural Reason is to be given for fuch a Shame? Nay. I defy the whole Wit of Mankind, to give any one tolera bly fatisfactory. For there is no Reafon in the World, why Mankind fhould not ufe publick Commixture in a lawful Way as well as eat and drink in publick; or chồn why they fhould be ashamed of one more than the other For nothing in Nature is really fhameful but Vice. And upon this Account the Cynick Philofophers reafoned themfelves into fuch Beafts, as to throw off all Shame of this Nature, and pretended it was only a vulgar Error. But notwithstanding this, the Generality of Men find a migh ty Impulfe of unaccountable Shame over-ruling them in fuch Matters, and the most impudent are forced to ftruggle long with it, before they can conquer it; which no one can give a natural Reafon for, but must be beholden to the Mofaical Relation to account for it. And from hence all the Difficulty is cleared up; we from hence learn what Irregularities we fall into by the Defect of that original

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Of the Barreness of the Earth.

original Grace forfeited by the firft Parents, and from the Predominancy of our animal Nature over our spiritual; and that this Shame is not only a Note of our own Turpitude, but a perpetual Mark and Brand of our shameful Origin from fuch a degenerate Stock.

3. Another very good Argument for the Excellence of the Mofaical Relation of the Fall, is the Pain of Child-birth. Ariftotle in his Book of Animals, long ago obferved, that Woman, of all Creatures in the World, was most vexed and tormented in bringing forth. Now what an unac countable Thing is it, that Woman, which is the prin cipal Female of the whole Creation, fhould be dealt withal more unkindly by God, than the meanest Creature upon Earth? I defy the wifeft Philofopher upon Earth, to give a Reafon, why other Females fhould bring forth with fo much Eafe, and why God fhould inflict fuch intolerable Pain upon Woman alone. To be fure God Almighty did not allot this out of Humour and Caprice, but he had a very good Reafon for it: Now never any tolerable Reason was affigned befides that, which Mofes has given in his Relation of the Fall; and this appears very fatisfactory and rational, and therefore is a very good Argument for the Truth and Excellency of this Hiftory.

4. Another Argument is, the Account Mofes has given of the modern Sterility of the Earth. It has perplexed the greatest Philofophers, to account for this Barrennefs; and it has made fuch Impreffion upon fome, as to make them turn Atheists, and deny Providence. And indeed from natural Light, there is no Reafon to be given for it. For indeed it is very furprifing to confider, what ungrateful Returns oftentimes the ftubborn Ground yields to the Care of the Husbandman; how prolifick it is of its own Accord of noxious and ufelefs Herbs, and how fparingly it produces those we want; what a great Part of the World is uninhabitable Deferts and barren Heaths, that are uncapable of any Tillage, and bring forth hardly any Thing profitable to Mankind. Now this, which has puzzled the Wit of all the Heathen World, is fairly ac

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