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ple is formed by the divine maxims of the Hebrew and the Christian law, they are fitted to enjoy a free republican government ; and so far as they deviate from these principles, they need the restraints of regal dominion. Ac. cordingly the Supreme Being, finding his antient people perversely bent on having a king, and perceiving that their turbulent disposition would require the strong corrective of royal power, condescended to their earnest pe. tition. As he early foresaw this future propensity, and was determined to permit its gratification, he thought fit in framing their laws, to prescribe some regulations both concerning their election of a king, and the manner of his administration. In the first place he expressly reserv. ed to himself the choice of their future sovereigns“ Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God will choose.” Accordingly he appointed Saul, by lot, to be their first king; David, by name, to be their second ; Solomon, his son, to be his successor ; and then made the regal government hereditary in David's family. But while Jehovah thus nominated the person, the concurring act of the people investa ed him with the sovereignty. A second regulation was, that their king must be a native Israelite" One from, among thy brethren shalt thou set over thee; thou. mayst not set a stranger over thee, who is not thy brother.” This limiting statute was well adapted to inspire a just dread of foreign intriguers and invaders, and a united vigilance in repelling them from the government. One who is born and educated in a community, is its natural brother ; his habits, attachments, and interests strongly link him to it. But the sentiments, feelings, and interests of a stranger, do often as naturally connect him with a foreign country, and alienate him from that,
in which he resides. At best they frequently attach him to some visionary, undigested, and impracticable theory, which by no means applies to the people, among whom he dwells. It is therefore in most cases unnatural and dangerous to entrust such a person with supreme power, or even with a high subordinate station. Thirdly, their king was not to multiply horses. This prohibition was intended either to check unnecessary pomp, so incident to royalty, and often so oppressive to the people; or to restrain the Jews from using cavalry in war, and thus lead them to confide not in their own military preparations, like the nations around, but in the special protection of Jehovah. Fourthly, the king is also forbidden “to greatly multiply to himself silver and gold;” which was doubtless designed to restrain royal avarice and luxury, the physical and moral effects of which are national poverty, corruption, and ruin. He is further enjoined to write out in a book, for his own use, a correct copy of the divine law; which injunction was intended to rivet this law more firmly in his memory, and to hold him in constant subjection to its authority. For the same purpose he is required to “read in this copy all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, and to keep all his statutes.” Thus the power of the Hebrew kings was circumscribed by a code of fundamental and equal laws, provided by infinite wisdom and rectitude. That the monarchs of that nation, even in the worst times, were considered, not as above law, but restrained by it, is strictly verified by the story of Ahab, a most abandoned prince. Though he earnestly coveted the vineyard of Naboth, one of his subjects, and offered to purchase it; yet because the law forbad the alienation of lands from
one tribe or family to another, he could not obtain it, till he had, by bribing false witnesses, procured the legal condemnation and death of Naboth, as a traitor and blasphemer. It appears then that a Jewish king was only God’s vicegerent, governing by his laws, which he could on no occasion alter or repeal. In fine, the monarch is charged not to let his heart be lifted up above his brethren, but to govern his subjects with condescending mildness and beneficence, not as slaves, but as brothers. Thus David, addressing his subjects, styles them his brethren. This amiable model is imitated by the firstchristian emperors, particularly by Constantine the Great. Thus we find that even the regal government, though originating in the perverse impiety and folly of the Israelites, was so shaped and guarded by the divine law, as to promise the greatest public benefits. With respect to the ceremonies of inauguration, by which the Hebrew kings were actually invested with the royal dignity, it may suffice to observe, that the head of . the person elected was first anointed with oil, and then crowned with a diadem; after which he was saluted with the kiss of homage, which was followed by the acclamations and benedictions of the people. The kingly form of administration continued about five hundred and thirty years, that is, from Saul to the Babylonish captivity. In travelling over this long period, though we meet with forty two crowned heads, we find but eight truly virtuous princes, whose authority and example were consecrated to the best interests of the people. This circumstance, compared with the general history of kings and emperors, affords mankind but little ground of confidence in the virtue of monarchs, or the
blessings of royalty.
Another remarkable fact is, that the character of the reigning prince always gave a leading complexion to that of the nation. When a good king ascended the throne, he never failed to reform and exalt the public mantiers and condition; and when a wicked king assumed the government, he never failed to draw the community after him into deep depravity and suffering. What a sol. emn lesson does this hold out to all, who either possess or expect stations of honor and influence in society ! Many of you doubtless anticipate some degree of future eminence. : You will remember that your power, and consequently your obligation to reform and bless mankind will keep pace with this eminence. If one sinner, possessing genius and science, influence and fame, may and will destroy much good, and produce incalculable mischief ; then one virtuous person, clothed with the same advantages, may and ought to produce great public benefit. It is a serious truth, that every man of influence is as much accountable for the effects of his principles and conduct on mankind, as a monarch is for the extensive good or ill, which Aows from his example and administration. If in your future spheres of operation you steadily feel and practically comport with this truth, you may, in the language of the poet, look down and pity kings ; for in true honor, satisfaction, arid usefulness you will excel a great majority of them, and will fi. nally inherit thrones of glory
An examination of Jewish Antiquities recommended from the novelty
of the subject, the pleasure it affords, and the advantages to be derived from it. Religious peculiarities of the Hebrew nation, İdolatry considered a capital offence against the state. Temporal rewards and punishments annexed to the observance or violation of the Hebrew ritual ; and the general tendency of God's conduct toward his antient people, to the final establishment of the christian system. As
S this private lecture will now be addressed to an audience consisting partly of new members, it will be proper for their sakes briefly to explain the nature and importance of the subjects, which here invite their attertion. The legislature of this university have wisely judged that a series of discourses on Jewish and Cbrisi tian Antiquities might be rendered both entertaining and profitable to every lover of useful knowledge ; especially to those, who mean to be religious instructors.
With respect to Jewish Antiquities, the study of these recommends itself to curious and liberal minds by maný. weighty considerations.
In the first place it is recommended to us by the charm of novelty. It leads us into a field for the most part new and untrodden. I grant that a number of writers, both Jewish and Christian, have employed much labor in un folding the peculiar laws and customs of the antient Hebrews. Yet very few have ever attempted to explore the true causes or ascertain the rationale of these laws; and most, who have attempted it, have left the subject at least as dark and perplexed, as they found it. While a crowd of authors have exhausted their learned industry, in trac