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II. That this Theocracy, the administration of which lay, as it were, in abeyance during the Cap
this is doing me an honour which I do not pretend to. Well, but how do I justify Dr. Spencer ? Why, I say, it seems, “ That in " the period immediately preceeding the Jewish Captivity, on “ the gradual withdrawing the extraordinary Providence from “ them, they began to entertain doubts concerning God's “ further peculiar regard to them as his chosen People.” Se that here (says Dr. Sykes) he expresly owns a GRADUAL WITHDRAWING OF THE EXTRAORDINARY PROVIDENCe from the Jews. And where is the absurdity of Dr. Spencer's GRADUAL DECLENSION OR IMMINUTION OF THE THEOCRACY, which Mr. W's gradual withdrawing of the extraordinary Providence is not liable unto. Or was not the gradual withdrawing of the extraordinary Providence a proper imminution of the Theocracy? [p. 171.] He is so pleased with this argument that he repeats it at p. 218. Yet who would have suspected him of what he here discovers, a total ignorance of any difference between the FORM of Government and the ADMINISTRATION of it. Now Dr. Spencer talked of the gradual decline of the form of Government, which I thought absurd : I spoke of the gradual decline of the administration of it; which, whether it be equally absurd let those determine who have seen (unless perhaps the rarity of the fact has made it escape observation) an administration of Government grow worse and worse, while the form of it still continued the same.
So much as to Spencer's absurdity. We come next to his inconsistency, in supposing some foot-steps of the Theocracy till the time of Christ, and yet that it was entirely abrogated by the establishment of the Kings. Of this inconsistency, Dr. Spencer is absolved by the dexterity of our Answerer, in the following manner : Here again is Dr. Spencer much misrepreJented, from not considering WHAT HE MEANT by the ABROGATION of God's Government. Not that the Theocracy entirely ceased; but the Government received an ALTERATION and ABATEMENT. And therefore he uses more than once the phrase of ReGIMINIS MUTATI, in this very section ; Where is the absurdity and inconsistency of this way of reasoning, unless abrogation is mode to signify a total abolition, and duration is to be construed relation?
He asks, where is the absurdity of this way of reasoning ? I did not accuse Spencer of absurdity in his way of recjoning, but
tivity, was again exercised after the return from it; is evident from the express declaration of the Al
of contradi&tion in his way of expresion. I see no reafoning there is, or can be, in a man's delivering what he thin a fact; such as his opinion of the duration of a form of Government. But he who cannot distinguish reasoning from expression, may be well excused for confounding the form of Government, and the administration of Government with one another.
However, Spencer (he says) is much misrepresented; he did not mean by ABROGATION A CE ASING; but an ALTERATION and
It seems then, a writer is much misrepresented if, when he is charged with an inconsistent expresion, his meaning may be proved consistent. A good commodious principle for the whole class of Answerers ! But he tells us that abrogation [regimen abrogatum] does not signify ceafing. Where did he get his latin? for the Roman writers use it only in the sense of diffolution, abolition, or the entire ceasing of an office or command. What then does it signify? ALTERATION (he says) arid ABATEMENT. But now where did he get his English ? Our Country writers, I think, use the word alteration to signify a change; and abatement, to signify no change; no alteration in the qualities of things, but a diminution only in the vigour of their operations. What the alteration of a Theocracy, or any other form of
Government is, we well understand; but what the abatement of it is, one is much at a loss to conceive. However, this I know, that Dr. Sykes here confirms what I charge upon him, the confounding the mode of Government with the administration of it: Alteration being applicable to the former, and abatement, only to the latter.
But his inference from this special reasoning, is worth all the rest — and THEREFORE Spencer uses, more than once, the phrase of regiminis MUTATI, in this very fection. Therefore! Wherefore ? Why, because by abrogati he meant only abated, therefore he ufis mutati, more than once to explain himself. That is to say, “ because, by totum, I mean par?, THEREFORE I use omne more than once, to explain my meaning." Well, if he did not clear it up before, he has done it now.
And here (says he) is the absurdity or inconfiftency of this way of reasoning ? Nay, for that matter, the reasoning is full as good as the Criticism. But here he should have itopped; for fo tatal is his expression, when the fit of Answering is upon
mighty, by the Prophet Haggai: Yét now be strong, o Zerubbabel, saith the Lord, and be
him, that he cannot ask quarter for one blunder without committing another. — Unless ABRÓGATION is made to signify a TOTAL ABOLITion, and duration is confirued to be ceffátion. “ I can find (says he) no absurdity nor inconsistency in Dr: Spencer, without perverting the common signification of words:" — without calling duration cefation. This is his Argument; and so far was well. But he goes on and abrogation, a total abolition. Here he finks again ; for abrogation was abolition, amongst all nations and languages, till Dr. Sykes first pleaded in abatement. Well, but our Answerer will go farther : and having so ably vindicated Dr. Spencer, he will now shew, tho' the Dr. be confiftent, yet so am not I: fòr thać I hold, the extraordinary Providence entirely ceased on the return from the Captivity: From whence, (says this subtile logician) I argue thus, “ If the EXTRAORDINARY PROVIDENCE
entirely ceased on the full Setrlement of the Jews after their “ Return, it ceased fome centuries at least before the days of “ Christ, and CONSEQUENTLY the THEOCRACY must have “ ceased some centuries before the days of Christ. How then “ is Mr. W. consistent about the duration of the Theo
cracy, since he pleads for its continuanče till Christ's time, “ and yet maintains that it entirely ceased so long before his “ time * ?”
The argument, we fee, gathers even as it rolls from his mouth. In the beginning of the sentence, The ceasing of an extraordinary Providence only implied in consequence, the ceasing of the Theocracy; but, before we get to the end, an extraordinary Providerce and a Theocracy are one and the fame thing: • Mr. W. pleads for its [a Theocracy's] continuance “ till Christ's time, and yet maintains that it entirely ceased "Jo long before his Time," Thus again to the same purpose at p. 178. “ Or by what rule does he form a judgment that
WHAT was gradually decaying to the Captivity, was entirely to cease after their Return and fuil Settlement, and yet was
to continue till Christ's Time ?" - Nay, if he begins to talk of Rules, let me ask him by what Rule he found out, chiat
a Monarchy and an exact Admini/lration of Juftice are one “ and the same thing?" The truth is, our Examiner was thus grievously milled by the ambiguity of the English word THE
* Exam. of Mr. W's Account, &c. p. 173-4. Yol. IV.
strong, O Jobua, Son of Josedech the High Priest, and be strong, all ye People of the Land, faith the Lord, and work : for I am with you, saith the Lord of Hofts;. ACCORDING TO THE WORD THAT I coVENANTED WITH YOU WHEN - YOU CAME OUT OF Egypt, so MY SPIRIT REMAINETH AMONGST YOU : fear ye not '. What was that Covenant ? That Israel should be his People, and He, their God and King. Therefore it cannot barely mean, that he would be their God, and they should be þis People ; for this was but part of the Covenant. Nor can it mean that they should be conducted by an extraordinary providence, as at their coming out of Egypt, and during the first periods of the Theocracy; for this was but the effeEis of the Covenant : and besides, we know that that dispensation of Providence foon ceafed after the Re-eftablishment. The meaning therefore must be, that he would still continue their KING as well as God. Yet at the same Time, when this Theocracy was restored, it was both fit, on account of its own dignity, and necessary for the People's affurance,
GOVERNMENT; which fignifies either the Mode of Civil Po. licy, or the ADMINISTRATION of it. But was this to be expected of a man who had been all his life-time writing ABOUT GOVERNMENT?
To conclude this long note, The charge against SPENCER was of absurdity and contradi&tion in one single instance amidi a thousand excellencies. Dr. Sykes assumes the honour of his Defence. But with what judgment, he foon gives us to under ftand, when he could find no other part of that immortal Book to do himself the credit of supporting, but the discourse concerning the Theocracy; much in the spirit of that ancient Advocate of Cicero, who while the Patriot's character was torn in pieces by his Enemies, would needs vindicate him from the imputation of a Wart upon his Nofe, againf his Friends. Chap.
i. ver. 4 s.
that it should be attended with soine unusual dif. play of divine favour. Accordingly,
Accordingly, Prophets were raised up; and an extraordinary Providence, for some short time, administered, as appears from many places in those Prophets .
III. That the Theocracy continued even to the coming of CHRIST, may be seen from hence.
1. Whenever it was abrogated, it must needs be done in the fame folemn manner in which it was established ; so that the one might be as well known as the other : because it was of the highest importance to a people so strictly bound to obedience, not to be mistaken concerning the power under which they lived. Natural equity requires this formality as a necessary concomitant in the impofing and abrogating of all civil laws and inftitutions whatsoever. Now the Theocracy having never been thus abolished till the coming of Christ, we conclude that it continued to sublitt till that time.
2. Nor indeed, could it have been abolished without diffolving the whole frame of the Republic; since all the Laws of it, whether as to their equity, force, or fitness, as well as the whole Ritual of Worship, respected, and referred to God as civil Governour. But neither by the declaration of any Prophet, nor by the act of any good King, did the Institution suffer the least change in any of its parts, from the time of its establishment by Moses to its diffolution by Jesus CHRIST, either by addition, correction, or abrogation. Consequently, the Theocracy
• Hag. i. 6-11. Chap. ii. ver. 16-19. Zech. viii. 12. Mal. iii. 10, 11.