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he hath of argument to support this opinion is but little; and may be summed up in the following observation, That God did, not PERSONALLY interfere with his directions, nor discharge the functions of a Magistrate after the establishment of the Kings as he had done before. But this, instead of proving the abolition of the Theocracy, only shews that it was administered by a Viceroy. For in what consists the office of a Viceroy but to discharge the functions of his Principal ! He had been a cipher, had God still governed immediately as before. Mr. Le Clerc could see that God acted by the ministry of the Judges". If then the Theocratic function could be discharged by deputation, why might it not be done by Kings as well as Judges? The difference, if any, is only from less to more, and from occasional to constant. No, says our Critic, the cession was in consequence of his own declaration to Samuel: For they have not rejeEted thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. This only declares the sense God had of their mutinous request; but does not at all imply
ment que les rois furent etablis, avant que la famille de David fut affermie sur le trône d'Israel. Sentimens, &c. p. 78.
- Pendant tout ce temps-la, Dieu fit les fonctions de roi, 11 jugeoit des affaires - il repondoit par l'oracle-- il regloit la marche de l'armée -- il envoyoit même quelquefois un ange. On n'étoit obligé d'obeir aveuglement, qu'aux seuls ordres de Dieu. Mais lors qu'il y eut des rois en Israel, & que le royaume fut attaché à la famille de David, les rois furent maîtres absolus, & Dieu cessa de faire leurs fonctions. p. 78, 79.
au lieu qu'auparavant Dieu lui-même la faisoit, par le ministere des Juges, qu'il suscitoit de temps en temps au milieu d'Israël. Def. des Sent. p. 121. - C'est pour cela que
Dieu dit à Samuel, lors qu'Israël voulut avoir un roi pour le juger à la maniére de toutes les nations : ce n'eft pas toi qu'ils ont rejetté, mais moi, afin que je ne regne point fur eux, 1 Sam. viii. 7.
that he gave way to it. For who, from the like words (which express so natural a resentment of an open defection) would infer in the case of any other monarch, that he thereupon stepped down from his throne, and suffered an usurper to seize his place ? This, we see, was poor reasoning. But, luckily for his reputation, he had an Adversary who reasoned worse. However Simon faw thus much into Le Clerc's cavil, as to reply, That all be had said was quite beside the purpose, for that the thing to be proved was, that, after the establishment of the Kings, God was no longer the civil Chief”. On which Le Clerc thus insults him :. As much as to fay, that in order to prove God was no longer Chief of the Hebrews after the ele&tion of a King, it is beside the purpose to shew, he never afterwards discharged the functions of a Chief of the republic. It is thus this great Genius happily unravels matters, and discovers, in an instant, what is, and what is not to the purpose. Whether Simon indeed knew why Le Clerc's objection was nothing to the purpoie, is to be left to God and his own conscience, for he gives us no reasons for the censure he passes on it: but that it was indeed nothing to the purpose, is most evident, if this proposition be true,
y je passe fous filence le long discours de Mr. le Clerc touchant le pouvoir de Dieu sur les Israëlites avant l'etablissement des rois, d'où il pretend prouver que Dieu pendant tout ce temps-la fit la foncion de soi. Tout cela est hors de propos, puis qu'il s'agit de prouver qu'apres ces temps-la Dieu n'a plus été leur chef: & c'elt ce qu'on ne prouvera jamais. Reponse aux Seniimens de queiques Theol. de Hol. p. 55.
C'est à dire que pour prouver que Dieu n'a pas été chef des Hebreux, aprés l'election des rois, il est hors de propos de prover gu'il n'a plus fait les fonctions de chef de la republique. C'est ainsi que ce grand genie debrouille heureusement les matieres, & découvre d'abord ce qui est hors de propos, de ce qui ne l'eil pas. Defense des Sentimens, p. 120.
" That a King does not cease to be King, when he puts in a Viceroy, who executes the regal office by deputation.”
Le Clerc returns to the charge in his Defense of the Sentiments : -“ The Ifraelites did not reject “ God as Protetor, but as civil Chief, as I ob“ ferved before. They would have a King who “ should determine sovereignly, and command e their armies. Which, before this, God himself “ did by the ministry of the Judges, whom he “ raised up, from time to time, from the midst of « Ifrael. In this sense we must understand abso" lutely the words of God, in Samuel, that I
should not reign over them. It is indeed strange, that, after writing two books, he should still inlist on fo foolish a paralogism , That God's giving up his office of civil Chief, was a neceffary confequence of the People's demanding it. For, that they did demand it, I acknowledge. Let us confider then this whole matter a little more attentively.
Samuel (and I desire the Deists would take notice of it) had now, by a wise and painful direction of affairs, restored the purity of Religion, and refcued his Nation from the power of the Philistines, and their other hostile neighbours ; against whom
a Les Ifraëlites ne rejetterent pas Dieu comme protecteur, mais comme chef politique, ainsi que je l'ai marqué. Ils vouJurent un roi qui les jugeât souverainement, & qui commandat leurs armées, au lieu qu'auparavant Dieu lui-même le faisoit, par le miniftere des juges, qu'il suscitoit de temps en temps au milieu d'Israel.--En ce sens il faut entendre absolument les paroles de Dieu dans Samuël, afin que je ne regne point sur eux,
• However, foolish as it is, the Reader hath seen, how a late Sermonizer has borrowed it, and how little force he has added to it.
they were utterly unable to make head when he entered
upon the public Administration. At this very time, the People, debauched, as usual, by, power and prosperity, took the pretence of the corrupt conduct of the Prophet's two sons', to go in a tumultuary manner, and demand a King. But the secret spring of their rebellion was the ambition of their leaders; who could live no longer without the splendour of a regal Court and Houshold; GIVE ME (lay they, as the Prophet Hosea interprets their insolent demand) A KING AND Princes d; where every one of them might shine a distinguished Officer of State. They could get nothing when their afairs led them to their Judges' poor residence, in the Schools of the Prophets, but the GIFT of the Holy Spirit', which a Courtier, I presume, would not prize even at the rate Simon Magus held it, of a paultry piece of money.--This it was, and this only, that made their demand criminal. For, the chusing Regal rather than Aristocratic Viceroys was a thing plainly indulged to them by the Law of Moses, in the following admonition: When thout art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth ibee, and malt posess it, and shalt dwell i herein, and Malt say, I will set a King over me, like as the rations that are about me : Thou shalt in any wife set bim King over thee, whom the LORD THY GOD SHALL CHUSE: one from amongst thy Brethren shalt thou set King over thee : Thou mayest not set a Stranger over thee which is not thy brother'. The plain meaning of which caution is, that they should take care, when they demanded a King, that they thought of none other than such a King who was to be God's DEPUTY. As therefore Court-ambition
ci Sam. viii. 5. and xii. 12. & SAM. X. 10. and Chap. xix.
4 Chap. xiii. ver. 10. f Deyr. xvii, 14, 15.
only only was in the wicked view of the Ringleaders of these malecontents, and no foolish fears for the State, or hopes of bettering the public Administration, it is evident to all acquainted with the genius of this Time and People, that compliance with their demand, must have ended in the utter destruction of the Mosaic RELIGION as well as Law. But it was God's purpose to keep them SEPARATE, in order to preserve the memory of himself amidst an idolatrous World. And this not being to be done but by the preservation of their Religion and Law, we must needs conclude that he would not give way to their rebellious demand.
And what we are brought to conclude from the reason of the thing, the history of this transaction clearly enough confirms. For it having now informed us how God consented to give this People 2 King; To fhew us, that he had not cast off the Government, but only transferred the immediate Administration to a Deputy, and consequently, that their King was his Viceroy, it tells us nexț, how He was pleased to bring them to repentance in an extraordinary way; the gracious method he commonly employed when he intended to pardon. Samuel alsembled the Peoples; and to convince them of their crime in demanding a King, called down the present vengeance of their offended God in a storm of thunder and rain at the time of wheat-harvest ". This sudden desolation brings them to a sense of their guilt, and they implore mercy and forgiveness : “ And all the People said unto Samuel,
Pray for thy servants unto the Lord thy God, " that we die not; for we have added unto all our
fins this eyil, to ask us a King. And Samuel
• 1 Sam. xii.
, SAM. xii. 17, 18.