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the kind pains of Dr. Stebbing, remains not only unanswered, but unanswerable. And yot 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 tlie 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 thie 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 sometiines exercised the severity of t! iş 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, parentiuin scelera filiorum penis lui. Sed hoc PRÆCLARE LEGIBUS COMPAPATUM est, ut caritas liberorum amiciores parentes Vol. V.
reipublicæ reipublicæ redderet. Ep. ad Brutum liber, Ep. 12.. And again : In qua videtur illud esse crudele, quod ad liberos, qui nihil meruerunt, pæna pervenit. SED ID ET ANTIQUUM EST, ET OMNIUM CIVITATUM. Ep. 15. Again, the same necessities of State havę 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 or FORFEITURES defended on the more general principles of natural justice and civil policy, may have full satisfaction, in the very elegant and inasterly Discourse so intitled.
P. 171. [II] Ilere Dr. Sykes, who so charitably takes the Deists
' part, all the way, against the Author of the D. L. says,
It would liave been well TO HAVE TOLD us what this doctrine was which was “ brought to light, and which held up these daring 4 transgressors, and which continued them after death “ the objects of divine justice.” Defence, p. 83. Can the Reader, when he casts bis 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
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.
Ile 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.
He proceeds with his interrogations, and asks, Wliy the punishing Children for their Fathers' fuults, had 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
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 be was arguing against the DIVINE WISDOM, who by the inouth 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 Prophetaruin reliquerunt, ut fere deliberaverint, ejus libruin inter canonicos non admittere, atque eundem plane abscondissent, nisi quidam Chananias in se suscepisset ipsum explicare, quod tandem magno cum labore & studio (ut ibi narratur) aiunt ipsuin 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 incans 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. Ta wiich Orobio replies, “ that they are not their own sins for which they now suffer, but the sins of their forefathers."
Now Ezekiel has declared (and I have reconciled that declaration to the Law and the Prophets) that this mode of punishment hath been long abolished.
P. 174. [LL] Having thus reconciled the two Prophets, Moses and Ezekiel, on this point, one may
be allowed to wonder a little at the want of good faith even in M. Voltaire, when it comes to a certain extreme.
This celebrated Poet has, like an honest man, written in defence of RELIGIOUS TOLERATION: and to inforce his argument, has endeavoured (not indeed like a wise one, who should weigh his subject before he undertakes it) to prove, that all Religions in the world, but the Christian, have tolerated diversities of opinion. This common weakness of rounding one's Systein, for the support of a plain Right which requires no such finishing, hath led him into two of the strangest paradoxes. that ever disgraced common sense.
The one, that the Pagan Emperors did not persecute the Christian Faith: The other, that the Jewish Magistrate did not punish for Idolatry.
In support of the first, his bed faith is most conspicuous; in support of the latter, his bad logic.
If there be one truth in Antiquity better established than another, it is this, That the Pagan Einperors did persecute the Christians, for their faith only ; established, I say, both by the complaints of the Persecuted, and the acknowledgement of their Persecutors. But this being proved at large in the preface to this very Volume *, it is enough to refer the Reader thither.'.
The other Paradox is much more pleasantly supported. He proves that the Mosaic Law did not denounce punishment on religious errors (though in direct words, it does so), nor did the Jewish Magistrate execute it (though we have several instances of the infiiction recorded in their history). ---And what is the convincing argument he employs? It is this, The
* Sec Proface to Books IV. V. VI. edit. 1758. Vol. IV. p. 35. of this Edition. Ed.
frequent defections of the Jewish People into Idolatry, in the early times of their apostasies. An argument hardly so good as this, --The Church of Rome did not persecute, as appears from that general defection from it, in the sixteerith Century. I say, M. Voltaire's argument is harily so good as my illustration of it, since the detection from the Church of Rome still continues, and the Jewish defections into Idolatries were soon at an end.
But we are not to think, this Paradox was advanced for nothing, that is, for the sake of its own singular boldness (a motive generally sufficient to set reason at defiance), nor even for the support of his general question. It was apparently advanced to get the easier at his darling subject, THE ABUSE OF THE MOSAIC RELIGION, that Marotte of our partycoloured Philosophier.-- Take this instance, which is all that a cursory note will be able to afford.
M. Voltaire, speaking of the rewards and punishments of the Jewish Dispensation, expresses himself in this manner : “ Tout etait temporel ; et c'est la preuve que le sayant Evêque Warburton apporte pour démontrer que la Loi des Juifs, était divine; parce que Dieu même étant leur Roi, rendant justice immédiatement aupres la transgression ou l'obéissance, n'avoit pas besoin de leur révéler une Doctrine qu'il réservait au tems, ou'il ne governerait plus son peuple, Ceux qui par ignorance prétendent que Moyse enseignait l'immortalité de l'ame, ôtent au Nouveau Testament un de ses plus grands avantages sur l'ancien.” p. 132. -Would not anyone now believe (who did not know M. Voltaire) that he quoted this argument as what he thought a good one, for the divinity of the Mosaic Rcligion? Nothing like it. It was only to find occasion to accuse the Old Testament of contradiction. For thus he yocs on,-“ Cependant malgré l'énoncé précis de cette Loi, malgré cette declaration expresse de Dieu, qu'il punirait jusqu'à la quatrieme