Imatges de pÓgina

unhappy sufferer." [Exam. of Mr. W.'s Account, pp. 202, 3.] For a Reasoner, it would be hard to find his fellow. 1. The question is, whether this Law of punishing, was a SUPPLY to the want of a future state? If it laid hold of the passions, as he owns it did, it certainly was a SUPPLY. However, he will prove it was none. And how? Because it was a HARDSHIP. 2. He supposes, I hold, that when Children were punished, in the proper sense of the word, they were innocent; whereas I hold, that then they were always guilty. When the innocent were affected by their Parents' crimes, it was by the deprivation of benefits, in their nature forfeitable. 3. He supposes, that if Moses taught no future state, IT WOULD FOLLow, that there was none.

[ocr errors]



P. 165. [DD] To this it hath been objected-" As "to the proof, that visiting the iniquities of Parents on their Children was designed to supply the want "of a future state, because in a new Dispensation, "it is foretold, that this mode of punishing will be "changed; this argument will not be admitted by the "Deists, who do not allow that a new Dispensation "is revealed under the phrase of a new Covenant." Here the Objector should have distinguished.--The Deists make two different attacks on Revelation. the one, They dispute that order, connexion, and dependency between the two Dispensations, as they are delivered in Scripture, and maintained by Believers: In the other, they admit (for argument's sake) this representation of revealed Religion; and pretend to shew its falsehood, even upon that footing. Amongst their various arguments in this last method of attack, one is, that the Jewish Religion had no sanction of a future state, and so could not come from God. [See Lord Bolingbroke's Posthumous Writings.] The purpose of this work is to turn that circumstance against them and from the omission of the Doctrine, demonstrate the Divine original of the Law. So that the Reader

Reader sees, I am in order, when, to evince a designed omission, I explain the Law of punishing the crimes of Fathers on the Children, from the different natures of the two Dispensations; as going upon principles acceded to, though it be only disputandi gratia, by the Deists themselves.

P. 166. [EE] It hath been objected, "That the "Prophet here upbraids the Jews as blameable in the "use of this proverb." Without doubt. And their fault evidently consisted in this, That they would insinuate that an innocent posterity were punished for the crimes of their forefathers; whereas we have shewn, that when the children's teeth were set on edge, they likewise had been tasting.


P. 167. [FF] Dr. Stebbing has thought fit to support this charge of contradiction urged by Spinoza and Tindal, very effectually. He insults the author of the D. L. for pretending to clear up a difficulty, where there was none. "He [the author of the "D. L.] has also justified the equity of another Law, "that of punishing posterity for the crimes of their forefathers.-Though it is one of the plainest & cases in the world, that God doth this EVERY DAY in the ordinary exercise of his Providence." Hist, of Abr. p. 89.-MOSES says, God will visit the iniquity of the Fathers upon the Children. JEREMIAH and EZEKIEL say as expressly, that God will not do SO. See, exclaim Spinoza and Tindal, the discordancies and contradictions amongst these Prophets. Softly, replies the Author of the Divine Legation. You mistake the matter; the contradiction is all a fiction of your own brains: Moses speaks of the Jewish Dispensation; and Jeremiah and Ezekiel, of the Christian. I deny that, cries Dr. Stebbing; punishing posterity for the crimes of their Fathers is done every day under the Christian Dispensation, And thus the objection of Spinoza and Tindal, by the

the kind pains of Dr. Stebbing, remains not only unanswered, but unanswerable. And yet this is the man, whose zeal would not let him rest till he had rescued Revelation from the dishonours brought upon it by the Author of the Divine Legation.

P. 169. [GG] Yet Dr. Sykes modestly tells his reader, that "there is not any ground or foundation "for this distinction; for that the innocent posterity


were sometimes deprived of life for the crimes of "their Parents in virtue of this Law."-But here, as the Doctor has not to do with me, but with the Prophet, I leave it to be adjusted between them, as the Public shall think fit to arbitrate.-Another has even ventured to ask, "How the Posterity, if it suffer for "its own guilt, can be said to suffer for the transgres"sions of its Parents?" As this doubt arises from the Prophet's words, Your iniquity and the iniquities of your fathers together, &c. I think myself not concerned to satisfy it, till these Writers have more openly rejected the authority of the Prophets.

P. 170. [HH] It is observable that by our own. Constitution, no forfeitures attend capital condemnations in the Lord High Admiral's and Constable's Courts. And why? the reason is plain; those Judicatures proceed on the Roman, and not on the municipal laws of a feudal Government. Not but that the necessities of state frequently obliged other Governments, which never had been feudal, to have recourse to an extemporaneous confiscation. Even Rome itself sometimes exercised the severity of this punishment, even before it fell under the feet of its Tyrants. Cicero, to excuse the coufiscations decreed against Lepidus, which affected his children,, the nephews of Brutus, says to this latter: Nec vero me fugit quam sit acerbum, parentium scelera filiorum pœnis lui. Sed hoc PRÆCLARE LEGIBUS COMPARATUM est, ut caritas liberorum amiciores parentes VOL. V. T reipublicæ

reipublicæ redderet. Ep. ad Brutum liber, Ep. 12. And again: In qua videtur illud esse crudele, quod ad liberos, qui nihil meruerunt, pœna pervenit. SED


Ep. 15. Again, the same necessities of State have obliged Governments which had been originally feudal, but were so no longer, to retain this Law of forfeiture, essential to feudal Government even after all the feudal tenures had been abolished.--But he, who would see the LAW OF FORFEITURES defended on the more general principles of natural justice and civil policy, may have full satisfaction, in the very elegant and masterly Discourse so intitled.

P. 171. [II] Here Dr. Sykes, who so charitably takes the Deists' part, all the way, against the Author of the D. L. says, "It would have been well To (( HAVE TOLD US what this doctrine was which was

brought to light, and which held up these daring. "transgressors, and which continued them after death "the objects of divine justice." Defence, p. 83. Can the Reader, when he casts his eye upon the text, and sees that I had told him, in so many words and letters, that it was a FUTURE STATE, think the grave Doctor in his senses? But this quotation from him will have its use. It will serve for a specimen and example of the miserable dispositions with which an Answerer by profession addresses himself to confute Writers who have taken some pains to consider their subject, and to express their meaning.

He goes on objecting to this unknown doctrine. He asks "how this doctrine did these things?" That is, how the doctrine of a future state could extend beyond the present life? This shews at least, he was in earnest in his ignorance, and perfectly well assured that I had not told him what the doctrine was..

[ocr errors]

He proceeds with his interrogations, and asks, Why the punishing Children for their Fathers' faults, hud no further use after the bringing in a future state?

I had told him long ago, it was because the punishment was employed only to supply the want of a future state. But to this, he replies,-nothing hindered its being added to the doctrine of a future state. It is very true: nor did any thing hinder temporal rewards from being added to the doctrine of a future state under the Gospel; yet when a future state was brought to light, by that Dispensation, both one and the other were abolished. But is it not a little strange that the Doctor, in thus insisting on its further use, on account of its being able to restrain more daring Spirits, by laying hold of their instincts, at all times, as well under an unequal as under an equal providence, should not see he was arguing against the DIVINE WISDOM, who by the mouth of the Prophet declared it of no further use under the Gospel dispensation?

P. 172. [KK] Ezechielis sententias adeo sententiis Mosis repugnantes invenerunt Rabini, qui nobis illos (qui jam tantum extant) libros Prophetarum reliquerunt, ut fere deliberaverint, ejus librum inter canonicos non admittere, atque eundem plane abscondissent, nisi quidam Chananias in se suscepisset ipsum explicare, quod tandem magno cum labore & studio (ut ibi nar、 ratur) aiunt ipsum fecisse, qua ratione autem non satis constat.-Spinoza Tract. Theologico-Pol. pp. 27, 28. In the mean time it may be worth observing, that the explanation which I have here offered, cuts off the only means the modern Jews have of accounting for their long Captivity upon the Principle of the LAW's being still in force. Limborch urges Orobio with the difficulty of accounting for their present dispersion any other way than for the national crime of rejecting Jesus as the Messiah; seeing they are so far from falling into Pagan idolatries, the crime which brought on their other Captivities, that they are remarkably tenacious of the Mosaic Rites. To which Orobio replies, "that they are not their own sins for which they now suffer, but the sins of their forefathers."

T 2


« AnteriorContinua »