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Chapter XVIII.

And challenging a comparison of book with book, I would say, “Come now, good sir, take down the poems of Linus, and of Musæus, and of Orpheus, and the writings of Pherecydes, and carefully compare these with the laws of Moses—histories with histories, and ethical discourses with laws and commandments—and see 404which of the two are the better fitted to change the character of the hearer on the very spot, and which to harden31093109    ᾽Επιτρίψαι.  Other readings are ἐπιστρέψαι and ἀποστρέψαι, which convey the opposite meaning. him in his wickedness; and observe that your series of writers display little concern for those readers who are to peruse them at once unaided,31103110    αὐτόθεν. but have composed their philosophy (as you term it) for those who are able to comprehend its metaphorical and allegorical signification; whereas Moses, like a distinguished orator who meditates some figure of Rhetoric, and who carefully introduces in every part language of twofold meaning, has done this in his five books:  neither affording, in the portion which relates to morals, any handle to his Jewish subjects for committing evil; nor yet giving to the few individuals who were endowed with greater wisdom, and who were capable of investigating his meaning, a treatise devoid of material for speculation.  But of your learned poets the very writings would seem no longer to be preserved, although they would have been carefully treasured up if the readers had perceived any benefit (likely to be derived from them); whereas the works of Moses have stirred up many, who were even aliens to the manners of the Jews, to the belief that, as these writings testify, the first who enacted these laws and delivered them to Moses, was the God who was the Creator of the world.  For it became the Creator of the universe, after laying down laws for its government, to confer upon His words a power which might subdue all men in every part of the earth.31113111    [See Dr. Waterland’s charge to the clergy, on “The Wisdom of the Ancients borrowed from Divine Revelation,” Works, vol. v. pp. 10, 24.  S.]  And this I maintain, having as yet entered into no investigation regarding Jesus, but still demonstrating that Moses, who is far inferior to the Lord, is, as the Discourse will show, greatly superior to your wise poets and philosophers.”


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