Imatges de pÓgina

still continue you a select and sequestered people-I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out from the Countries wherein you are scattered. And will still rule over you by my Law; now, in my wrath, as before in my mercy. With fury poured out I will rule over you, and bring you into the bond of the Covenant." · I suppose the thing that led our Doctor into this rash judgment, That when the sanctions of a positive law are withdrawn, the obligation to the law ceases, was his totally misunderstanding the principles of the best writers on the Law of Nature: Not by their fault, I dare assure the Reader.--The Law of Nature is written in the heart; but by Whom, is the question. And a question of much importance; for if not written by a competent Obliger it is no Law, to bind us. The enquirers therefore into this matter had no other way of coming to the Author of the Law, but by considering the effects which the observance or inobservance of it would have on mankind. And they found that the observance tended to the benefit of all, the inobservance to their destruction. They concluded therefore that it must needs have been given by God, as a Law to mankind; and these effects of its observance or inobservance they called the sanction. Hence it appears that the knowledge of our obligation to the Law of nature arises from the knowledge of the sunction. And, this sanction away, we had not been obliged, because we could never have discovered any real ground of obligation.

But the positive Law of the Jews was written in stone by the finger of God, in a visible manner; in which the senses of the People were appealed to, for the truth of the transaction. Here the knowledge of their obligation did not arise from their knowledge of


the sanction, but from quite another thing, namely, the immediate knowledge they had by their senses, that God, their sovereign Lord and Master, gave them the Law. To inforce which, a sanction indeed was added; but a sanction that added nothing to the obligation, nor consequently that took from it, when it was withdrawn.

This is a plain and clear state of the case. Yet so miserably has our Professor mistaken it, that for want of seeing on what principle it was which the writers on the Law of Nature proceeded, when they supposed obligation to depend on the sanction, he hath, of a particular case, made a general maxim: and in apply. ing that maxim, he hath turned every thing topsyturvy, and given us just the reverse of the medal. He supposes the taking the sanction from the moral Law might not destroy the obligation (which it certainly would)--whatsover, says he, might be the cause of God's moral Laws; and that taking away the sanction from his positive Law would destroy the obligation (which it certainly would not).

What might further mislead our Professor (for the more such men read, the less they understand) is the attribute the Roman Lawyers give to such civil Laws as are made without a penal sanction. These they are wont to call, Leges imperfecte : And our great Civilian might believe that this assigned

that this assigned imperfection, had a reference to the obligation they imposed, whereas it refers to the efficacy they were able to work. He should have known at least this first principle of Law, That it is the AUTHORITY of the Lawgiver, not the Sanction he annexes to his Law, which makes it, I will not say, OPERATE properly (for this is nothing to the purpose), but makes it OBLIGE really, which is only to the purpose. In a word, I know of nobody


but Hobbes, besides this Doctor, who pretended to teach that the obligation to Laws depended upon their sanction: and this he did, because he derived all right and wrong from the Civil Magistrate : which, for aught I know, our learned Professor may do likewise, as only mistaking right and wrong (by a blunder like to the foregoing) for good and evil. Yet liath this grave man written most enormously both on Laws and Morals: And is indeed a great Writer, just as the mighty Giant, Leon Gawer, was a great Builder; of whom the Monk of Chester so sweetly sings:

“ The Founder of this City, as saith Polychronicon, “ Was Leon Gawer, a mighty strong Giant, “ Which builded Caves and Dungeons many a one: “No goodly Building, ne proper, ne pleasant.”

But our business at present is not with the actual administration of an extraordinary Providence, but with the Scripture representation of such an administration. And this the sacred history of the Jews attests in one uniform unvaried manner; as well by recording many instances of it in particular, as by constantly referring to it in general.

1. The first is in the History of MIRACLES. For an equal Providence being, by the nature of man's situation and affairs, necessarily administered partly by ordinary and partly by extraordinary means, these latter produce what we call Miracles, the subject of the sacred Writers their more peculiar regard. But I apprehend it would be thought presuming too much on the reader's patience, to expect his attention, while I set myself formally to prove that many miracles are related in the sacred history of the Israelites.

The simpler sort of Deists fairly confess that the Bible records the working of many Miracles, as appears even from the free names they give to those,


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accounts. But there are refiners in Infidelity, such as SPINOZA and his mimic TOLAND; who acknowledge many of the facts recorded, but deny them to have becn miraculous. These are to our purpose, and an Appeal to the common sense of Mankind is a sufficient answer to them all. And surely I should have done no more, had they not attempted to draw in to their Party much honester men than themselves. For such, therefore, even charity requires us to attempt some kind of defence.

The infamous Spinoza would persuade us that JOSEPHUS himself was as backward in the belief of Miracles as any modern Pagan whatsoever. The handle, for his calumny, is * that Writer's relatiou of the passage of the Rell-sea; which he compares to Alexander's through the Pamphylian, and which concludes with saying that every Man may believe of it as he pleases. No unusual

No unusual way with this Historian, of Scriptura de natura in genere quibusdam in locis affirmat eam fixam atque immutabilern ordinem servare.-Philosophus præterea in suo Eccl. clarissime docet nihil novi in natura contingere.- llæc igitur in Scriptura expresse docentur, at nullibi, quod in natura aliquid contingat, quod ipsius legibus repugnet, aut quod ex iis nequeat sequi, adeoque neque etiam Scripturæ aftingendum. -Ex quibus evidentissime sequitur miracula res naturales fuisse. --Attamen-de his unicuique, prout sibi nielius esse sentiet, ad Dei cultum & religionein integro animo suscipiendum, liberuni est existimare. Quod etiam JosEPHUS SENTIT; sic enim in conclusione, l. 2. Antiq. scribit, Nullus vero discredat verbo miraculi, si antiquis hominibus, f malitia privatis ria salutis liquet per mare facta, sire voluntate Dei, sive sponte revelata: dum & eis, qui cum Alexandro rege Niacedoniæ fueruni olim, & antiquitus à resistentibus Pamphylicum mare divisum sit, & cum aliud iter non esset, transitum prabuit iis, volente Dco, per eum Persarum destruere principatum; & hoc confitentur omnes, qui actus Alexandri scripserunt; DE BUS ITAQUE, SICUT PLACUERIT CUILIBET, EXISTIMET. Hæc sunt verba Josephi, ejusque de FIDE MIRACULORUM JUDICIUM. Tract. Theologico-Pol. C. vi. de Miraculis, p. 81, 82.

introducing introducing or ending a miraculous Adventure. This hath indeed so libertine an air, that it hath betrayed some Believers into the same false judgment concerning Josephus; as if he afforded only a political or pliilosophical belief to these things; and gave a latitude to those of his own Religion, to think as they should see cause.

But here lies the difficulty; the Historian is every now and then putting on a very different aspect, and talking like a most determined Believer. Many are the places where he expresses the fullest and firmest assent to the Divinity of the Mosaic Religion, and to the Truth of the sacred Volumes. To mention only one or two, from a Book so known, and in a point so notorious. The following words of his Introduction (where he cannot possibly be considered as a translator, or relator only of what he found in the sacred books, from which he composed his History) these, I say, shew in how different a light be regarded Moses from all other Lawgivers : “ And now I earnestly “ intreat all who take these Volumes in hand, to apply “ themselves with their whole faculties to the contein

plation of the Divine Nature, and then turn to our “ LAWGIVER, and see whether he has not made a

representation of that Nature entirely worthy of “ it; always assigning such Actions to God, as become his excellence, and preserving the high subject “ clear froin any impure mixture of FABLE. Though “ if we consider the distance and antiquity of the “ Time he wrote in, we cammot but understand he was “ at full liberty to invent and falsify at pleasure. For « he lived full two thousand years ago.----A distance 6 of Time to which even the Poets dared not to carry. up the birth of their Gods, the actions of their

“ Ilcroes,


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