Imatges de pÓgina

** that the least was sufficient to interrupt the course * and defeat the design of it, to make that people not

only neglect the Law, BUT CEASE TO ACKNOW

LEDGE THE LEGISLATOR. To prevent this, was " the first of these designs: and if the second was (as 5* it was, no doubt) and as it is the design or pretence “ of all Law's, to secure the happiness of the people,


OTHER : for the whole history of this people is one * continued series of INFRACTIONS OF THE Law,


To pass by that vulgar mistake (which has been sufficiently exposed above) that the Jews ever ceased to acknowledge their Legislator; let me observe it to his Lordship’s credit, that he appears to have understood so much at least of the Mosaic Institution, as to see that the first one of it was peculiar to itself; and that that which is common to all civil Communities was but the second end of This.

But is it not strange, when he saw so far into the nature of the Jewish Constitution, that he should not see that this second end was entirely dependeret OR avhat he himself makes the principal; namely, to prescrve the Israelites from idolatry; but should argue against the divinity of the Law, as if these ends were independent one of another; and that one might be obtained without the other? For, to aggravate the im. becility of the Law, he informs us in the passage last quoted, “ that it was not only unable to gain its first end, but its second likewise : that the one design was sefaited as fully as the other; that the people were anot only idolaters in spiritual matters, but poor, miserable, and calamitous in their civil interests.” Strange! that he could not see, or would not acknowledge, that Ilic Law denounces their happiness and misery as

citizens, eitizens, in exact proportion to their adherence in, or their defection from, that Law; when he saw and eonfessed (what their History records), that this was their invariable fortune. The whole history of this people (says his Lordship) is one continued series of infractions of the Law, and of national calamities. Now if the whole frame of the Mosaic Law was so eomposed, as to do that by positive institute which the Moral Law does by natural, viz. reward the obedient, and punish the disobedient (and it certainly was so composed, if a continued series of infractions was folbowed by a continued series of calamities), we must needs conclude that we have here the strongest proof of that divine Wisdom in the Constitution, which this, great modern Lawgiver pretends to seek, but assures us he is not able to find ; and yet, at the same time, brings this convincing circumstance of the truth of the Law;- This design (says he) was defeated as fully as the other. Here his rhetoric, as usual, got the better of his reasoning: Not content to say,--the whole history of this People is one continued series of infractions of the Law, -he will needs add by way of exaggeration--AND OF

CALAMITIES. Which has so perverse an influence on the argument, as to undo all he had been labouring to bring about, by discovering a connexion between infractions and calamities, which has all the marks of a divine contrivance.

Had it been the declared design of their Lawgiver to separate the two ends, and to form such an economy as that the People under it might be flourishing in peace and affluence, while they were Idolaters in Religion; or, on the other hand, true Worshippers, and at the same time calamitous Citizens; then to find them neither religious nor prosperous, under a Law


which pretended to procure truth, without temporal felicity, or to establish peace and prosperity in the midst of error; this indeed (without taking in the perversity of such a System) would have fully discredited the pretended original. But when, in this "Lair, truth and happiness, error and misery, are declared to have an inseparable connexion; the freethinking Politician, who shews from history that this connexion was constant and invariable, is intrapped by the retortion of nature and reason, to prove ag iinst himself the Divinity of that Institute he labours to discredit.

Still further : When, on reading the history of this extraordinary People, we find (as Josephus well expresses it) that, in proportion to the neglect of thie Law, easy things became unsurmountable, and all their undertakings, how just socrer, ended in incurable calamities *, we camot but acknowledge the divine direction in every stage of such a Dispensation. For, to comprehend the whole of the llistorian's meaning, we must remember, that there were some Laws given purposely to manifest the divinity of their original : such as that against multiplying horses; which, when it was transgressed, easy things became unsurmountable ; and that which most facilitates a victory, a strong body of Cavalry intermixed with l'oot, proved amongst the Israelites a certain mcans of their defeat. So again, when they transgressed the Law which commanded all the males to go annually to the temple, the historian tells us, their most just undertakings ended in incurable calamities; and sure nothing could be more just than to defend their borders froin invaders; yet they were sure to be most infested with them when

καθ' όσον δ' αν απογώσι της τέτων ακριβώς επιμελείας, άπορα μεν γίνεθαι τα σόριμα, τρέπεται δ' εις συμφοράς ανηκέτες, ό, τι σοτ' άν ως kyabès dzãr otecko woir. Antiq. v. i. p. 4.


they thought themselves best secured: that is, while their males were at home, when they should have been worshipping at the Temple.

III. But is now time to come a little closer to his Lordship. He has been all along arguing on a FALSE FACT, which his ignorance of the nature of the Jewish Separation hindered him from seeing.

He understood, indeed, that this extraordinary economy had, for its primary end, something very different from all other civil Policies; and that that which was the first indeed the only end) in others, was but the secondary end in this. Yet this primary end he saw so obscurely, as not to be able to make it out. He supposed it was to keep the Israelites from idolutry; whereas it was to PRESERVE THE MEMORY OF THE ONE GOD IN AN IDOLATROUS WORLD, till the coming of Christ: To keep the Israelites from idolatry, was but the mean to this end. Thus has our political Architect “mistaken the scaffold for the pile, as his harmonious friend expresses it. And the mistake is the more gross, as the notion of the ultimate end's being to keep the Israelities from idolatry, is founded in that vain fancy of Jewish pride, that their Fathers were selected as the favourites of God, out of his fondness for the race of Abraham.

• Under this rectified idea therefore let us consider the truth of his Lordship's assertion, That ng Law ever operated so weak and uncertain an effect as the Law of Moses did: far from prevailing against accidents and conjunctures, the least was sufficient to interrupt the course, and to defeat the designs of it.

Now if we keep the true end of the Law in view, we shall see, on the contrary, that it prevailed con, stantly and uniformly, without the least interruption, against the most violent accidents, and in the most



unfavourable conjunctures; those I mean, which happened when their propensity to the practice of idolatry, and their prejudice for the principle of intercommunity, were at the height: for amidst all the disorders consequent thereto, they still preserved the knowledge of the true God, and performed the Rites ordained by the Law. And the very calamities which followed the. infraction of the Law, of which the neighbouring Nations occasionally partook, were sufficient to alarm these latter, when most at ease, amidst the imaginary protection of their tutelary Gods, and to awaken them to the awful sense of a Being different, as well as superior to their National Protectors.

Which shews, that the Law still operated its effect, strongly and constantly; and still prevailed against accidents and conjunctures, which it governed and directed, instead of lying at the mercy of them. But as it is very probable that the frequent transgressions, which those accidents and conjunctures occasioned, would in time have defeated the end of the Law, the transgressors were punished by a seventy-years-captivity; the extraordinary circunstances of which made such an impression on their haughty masters, as brought then to confess that the God of Israel was the true God; and was so severely felt by them, that they had an utter aversion and abhorrence of Idolatry, or the worship of false Gods, ever after. So that from thence, to the coming of Cluist, a course of many ages, they adhered, though tributary and persecuted, and (what has still greater force than Persecution, if not thorough-, ly administered) despised and ridiculed by the two. greatest Empires of the world, the Greek and Roman; and though surrounded with the pomp and splendor of Pagan idolatries, recominended by the fashion of Courts, and the plausible glosses of Philosophers, they.


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