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adhered, I say strictly, and even superstitiously, to the letter of that Law, which allowed of no other Gods besides the God of Israel. Now if this was not
gaining its end, we must seek for other modes of speech, and other conceptions of things, when we reason upon Government and Laws.
Yet this was not all. For the LAW not only gained its end, in delivering down the Religion of the TRUE GOD into the hands of the REDEEMER OF MANKIND; who soon spread it throughout the whole Roman Empire; but even after it had done its destined work, the vigour of the Mosaic Revelation still working at the root, enabled a bold Impostor to extend the principle of the UNITY still wider, till it had embraced the remotest regions of the habitable World: So that, at this day, almost all the Natives of the vast regions of higher Asia, whether Gentiles, Christians, or Mahometans, are the professed worshippers of the ONE ONLY GOD. How much the extension of the principle of the Unity has been owing to this Cause, under the permission and direction of that Providence, which is ever producing good out of evil, is known to all who are acquainted with the present state of the Eastern world.
The reason why I ascribe so much of this good, to the lasting efficacy of the Mosaic Law, is this: Mahomet was born and brought up an Idolater, and inhabited an idolatrous Country; so that had he seen no more of true Religion than in the superstitious practice of the Greek Church, at that time overrun with saint and image-worship, it is odds but that, when he set up for a Prophet, he might have made Idolatry the basis of his new Religion: But getting acquainted with the Jews and their Scriptures, he came to understand the folly of Gentilism and the corruptions of VOL. V. Christianity;
Christianity; and by this means was enabled to preach up the doctrine of the ONE GOD, in its purity and integrity. It is again remarkable, that to guard and secure this doctrine, which He made the fundamental principle of Ishmaelitism, he brought into his Imposture many of those provisions which Moses had put in practice to prevent the contagion of idolatry.
But the great Man with whom we have to do, is so secure of his fact, namely, that the Law was perpetually defeated, and never gained its end, that he sup poses his Adversaries, the DIVINES, are ready to confess it; and will only endeavour to elude his inference by throwing the ill sucecss of its operations or the hardness of the People's hearts and the impiety of their Governors*. And this affords him fresh ocea
sion of triumph.
I will not be positive that this species of Divines is intirely of his own invention, and that this their apology for Moses is altogether as imaginary as their fa nions CONFEDERACY † against God; because I know by experience that there are of these Divines, who, ins support of their passions and prejudices, are always 'ready (as I have amply experienced) to admit what Scripture opposes, and to oppose what it admits, în almost every page. But the best Apologies of such men are never worth a defence, and indeed are rarely capable of any.
To conclude: Such as these here exposed, are al the reasonings of his Lordship's bulky volumes: And no wonder; when a writer, however able in other matters, will needs dictate in a Science of which he did not possess so much as the first principles.
Pages 293, 4,
t. Vol. V. p. 305–307. 393~
HAVING thus shewn the nature of this THEOCRACY, and the attendant circumstances of its erection; our next enquiry will be concerning its DURATION. Most writers suppose it to have ended with the JUDGES; but scarce any bring it lower than the CAPTIVITY. On the contrary, I hold that, in strict truth and propriety, it ended not 'till the coming of CHRIST
I. That it ended not with the Judges, appears evident, for these reasons:
1. Though indeed the People's purpose, in their clamours for a King, was to live under a Gentile Monarchy, like their idolatrous neighbours (for so it is represented by God himself, in his reproof of their impiety *); yet in compassion to their blindness, he, in this instance, as in many others, indulged their prejudices, without exposing them to the fatal consequence of their project: which, if complied with, in the scuse they formed it, had been the withdrawing of his extraordináry protection from them, at a tinë when they could not support themselves without it. He therefore gave them a King; but such an one as was only his VICEROY or Deputy; and who, on that account, was not left to the People's election, as he left his own Regality; but was chosen by himself: the only difference between God's appointment of the Judges and of Saul being this, that They were chosen by internal impulse; He, by Lots, or external designation.
2. This King had an unlimited executive power; as God's Viceroy must needs have.
3. He had no legislative power: which a Viceroy could not possibly have.
4. He was placed and displaced by God at pleasure: of which, as Viceroy, we see the perfect fitness; but as Sovereign by the people's choice, one cannot easily account for; because God did not chuse to supersede the natural Rights of his People, as appears by his leaving it, at first, to their own option whether they would have God himself for their King,
5. The very same punishment was ordained for cursing the King as for blaspheming God, namely, stoning to death; and the reason is intimated in these words of Abishai to David, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lord's ANOINTED? This was the common title of the Kings of Israel and Judah, and plainly denoted their office of Viceroyalty: Improperly, and superstitiously transferred; in these later ages,, to Christian Kings and Princes.
From this further circumstance, a Viceroyalty is necessarily inferred: The throne and kingdom of Judea is all along expressly declared to be God's throne and God's kingdom. Thus, in the first book of Chronicles, it is said that Solomon sat on the THRONE OF THE LORD, as King, instead of Dacid his father. And the queen of Sheba, who visited Solomon, to be instructed in his wisdom, and doubtless had been informed by him of the true nature of his kingdom, compliments him in these words: Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee to set thee on IS THRONE, TO BE KING FOR THE LORD THY GOD. In like manner Abijah speaks to the house of Israel, on their defection from Rehoboam: And now ye think to withstand the KINGDOM OF THE LORD in the hands of the 2 Sam. xix. 21. † Chap. xxix. ver. 23. 2 Chron. ix. 8.
sons of David*. And to the same purpose, Nehemiah : Neither have our kings, oar princes, our priests, nor our fathers, kept thy law, nor hearkened unto thy commandments, and thy testimonies, wherewith thou didst testify against them. For they have not served thee in THEIR KINGDOM. The sense, I think, requires that the Septuagint reading should be here preferred, which says ΕΝ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΙΑ ΣΟΥ, IN ΤΗ KINGDOM. And this the Syriac and Arabic versions follow. As Judea is always called his kingdom, so he is always called the King of the Jews. Thus the Psalmist: Thine Altars, O Lord of Hosts, my KING, and my God. And again: Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their KING §. And thus the Prophet Jeremiah: The ·KING, whose name is the Lord of Hosts ||
7. The penal Laws against idolatry were still in force during their Kings, and put in execution by their best rulers, and even by men inspired. Which, along, is a demonstration of the subsistence of the THEOCRACY; because such laws are absolutely unjust under every other form of Government.
As to the title of King given to these Rulers, this will have small weight with those who reflect that Moses likewise, who was surely no more than God's deputy, is called King: Moses commanded us a Law; even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob. And he was KING in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people, and the tribes of Israel, were gathered together.
Let us now see what the celebrated M. Le Clerc says in defence of the contrary opinion, which supposeth the THEOCRACY to have ended with the Judges.