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But the great Man with whom we have to do, is fo secure of his fact, namely that the Law was perpetually defeated, and never gained its end, that he supposes his Adversaries, the Divines, are ready to confess it; and will only endeavour to elude his inference by throwing the ill success of its operations on the hardness of the People's hearts and ibe impiety of their Governors d. And this affords him fresh occasion of triumph.
I will not be positive that this species of Divines is intirely of his own invention, and that this their apology for Moses is altogether as imaginary as their famous CONFEDERACY * against God ; because I know by experience that there are of these Divines, who, in fupport of their passions and prejudices, are always ready (as I have amply experienced) to admit what Scripture opposes, and to oppose what it admits, in almost every page. But the best Apologies of such men are never worth a defence, and indeed are rarely capable of any.
To conclude : Such as these here exposed, are all the reasonings of his Lordship's bulky volumes : And no wonder; when a writer, however able in other matters, will needs dictate in a Science of which he did not possess so much as the first Principles.
SE CT. III.
AVING thus shewn the nature of this
THEOCRACY, and the attendant circumstances of its erection ; our next enquiry will be concerning its DURATION,
# Page 293-4
e Vol. v. p. 30; 307–393.
Most writers suppose it to have ended with the JUDGES; but scarce any bring it lower than the CAPTIVITY. On the contrary, I hold that, in strict truth and propriety; it ended not 'till the coming of Christ.
1. That it ended not with tlie Judges appears evident for these reasons :
i. Tho' indeed the People's purpose, in their clamours for a King, was to live under a gentile Monarchy like their idolatrous neighbours ; (for so it is represented by God himself, in his reproof of their impiety") yet in compassion to their blindness, he, in this instance, as in many others, indulged their prejudices, without exposing them to the fatal consequence of their project : which, if complied with, in the sense they formed it, had been the withdrawing of his extraordinary protection from them, at a time when they could not support themselves without it. He therefore gave them a King; but such an one as was only his VICEROY or Deputy ; and who, on that account; was not left to the People's election, as he left his own Regality; but was chosen by himself: the only difference between God's appointment of the Judges and of. Saul being this, that They were chosen by internal impulse; He, by Lors, or external designation.
2. This king had an unlimited executive power; as God's Viceroy must needs have.
3. He had no legislative power : which a Viceroy could not possibly have.
fi Sam. viii. 7.
4. He was placed and displaced by God at pleasure: of which, as Viceroy, we see the perfect fitness; but as Sovereign by the people's choice, one cannot easily account for ; because God did not chuse to supersede the natural Rights of his People, as appears by his leaving it, at first, to their own option whether they would have God himself for their King
5. The very fame punishment was ordained for curfing the King as for blaspheming God, namely, stoning to death ; and the reason is intimated in these words of Abishai to David, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lord's ANOINTED &? This was the common title of the Kings of Israel and Judah, and plainly denoted their office of Viceroyalty : Improperly, and superstitiously transferred, in these latter ages, to christian Kings and Princes.
From this further circumstance, a Viceroyalty is necessarily inferred : The throne and kingdom of Judea is all along expresly declared to be God's throne and God's kingdom. Thus, in the first book of Chronicles, it is said that Solomon sat on the THRONE OF THE Lord, as King, instead of David his father. And the queen of Sheba, who visited Solomon, to be instructed in his wisdom, and doubtless had been informed by him of the true nature of his kingdom, compliments him in these words : Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee to set thee on HIS THRONE, TO BE KING FOR THE LORD THY God i
In like man. ner Abijah speaks to the house of Israel, on their
2 SAM, xix, 21. ix, 8.
h Chap. xxix. ver, 23.
defection from Rehoboam: And now ye think to withstand the KINGDOM OF THE LORD in the hands of the forns of David " And to the fame purpole, Nehemiah: Neither have our kings, our princes, our priests, nor our fathers kept thy law, nor hearkened unto thy commandments, and thy teftimonies wherewith thou didst testify against them. For they have not served thee in THEIR KINGDOM'. The sense, I think, requires that the Septuagint reading should be here preferred, which says EN BALIAEIA zor, IN THY KINGDOM. And this the Syriac and Arabic versions follow. As Judea is always called bis kingdom, so he is always called the King of the Jews. Thus the Palmist: Thine Altars, ÖLord of Hofts, my King and my God". And again : Let Israel rejoice in him that made himn : let the children of Zion be joyful in their King". And thus the Prophet Jeremiah ; The King, whose name is the Lord of Hoftso.
7. The penal Laws against idolatry were still in force during their Kings; and put in execution by their best rulers, and even by men inspired. Which, alone, is a demonstration of the subsistence of the THEOCRACY ; because such laws are absolutely un, just under every other form of Government.
As to the title of King given to these Rulers, this will have small weight with those who reflect that Moses likewise, who was surely no more than God's deputy, is called King: Moses commanded us a Law; even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob. And he was King in Yeshurun, when
2 CHRON, xiii. 8.
m PSALM lxxxiv. 3.
n P&ALM cxlix. 2, • Jer. li. 57 Q?
the beads of the people, and the tribes of Israel were gathered together P.
Let us now see what the celebrated M. Le Clerc says in defense of the contrary opinion, which supposeth the THEOCRACY to have ended with the Judges. Father Simon of the Oratory had said, that the republic of the Hebrews never acknowledged any other chief thanGod alone, who continued to govern in that quality, even during the time in which it was subje&t to Kings? This was enough to make his learned adversary take the other side of the question; who being piqued at Simon's contemptuous Night of his offered aslistance, in the project for
new Polyglott, revenged himself upon him in those licentious - Letters, intitled, Sentimens de quelques Theologiens de Hollande, where his only business is to pick a quarrel. He therefore maintains against Simon, That the Theocracy ceased on establishing the throne in the race of David'. What
9 La Republique des Hebreux differre en cela de tous les age tres états du monde, qu'elle n'a jamais reconnu pour chef que Dieu seul, qui a continué de la gouverner en cette qualité dans les tems mêmes qu'elle a été soûmise à des rois. Histoire Crit. de Vieux Teft. p. 15. Ed. Rotterd. 1685.
"I call them licentious, principally, for the extravagant Reasonings concerning the authority of the Pentateuch, and the divine inspiration of Scripture. The first he retracted and confuted, when the spirit of contradi&tion had given way to better principles ; the other (which he had inserted into the Letters as the work of another man) he never, that I know of, attoned for, by any'retractation whatsoever,
• Il paroît au contraire par l'Ecriture, que Dieu n'a gouverné la republique des Hebreux, en qualité de chef politique, que pendant qu'ils n'avoient point des rois, & peut-être au commence