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the sanction, but from quite another thing, namely, the immediate knowledge they had by their senses, thať God, their sovereign Lord and Master, gave them the Law: To inforce which, a sanction indeed was'added; but a sanction that added nothing to the obligation, nor consequently that took from it,' when it was with drawn.
This is a plain and clear state of the case. Yet so miserably has our Professor mistaken it, that for want of seeing on what principle it was which tlie writers on the Law of Nature proceeded, when they supposed obligation to depend on the sanction, he hath, of a particular case, made a general maxim : and in applying that maxim, he hath turned every thing topsyturvy, and given us just the reverse of the medal. He supposes the taking the sanction from the moral Law might not destroy the obligation (which it certainly would)---whatsover, says he, might be the cause of God's moral Laws; and that taking away the saràction from his positive Law would destroy the obligation (which it certainly would not).
What might further mislead our Professor (for thie more such men read, the less they understand) is the attribute the Roman Lawyers give to such civil Law's asa are made without a penal sanction. These they are wont to call, Leges imperfecte.: And our great Civilian might believe that this assigned imperfection, iad a reference to the obligation they imposed, whereas it refers to the efficacy they were able to work." He should have known at least this first principle of Law, That it is the AUTHORITY of the Lawgiver, not the SANCTION he annexes to his Law, which makes it, I? will not say, OPERATE properly (for this is nothing to the purpose), but makes it OBLIGE really, which is only to the purpose. In-a word, I know of nobody
but Hobbes, besides this Doctor, who pretended to teach that the obligation to Laws depended upon their sunction: and this he did, because he derived all right and wrong from the Civil Magistrate : which, for, aught I know, our learned Professor. may do likewise, aş only mistaking right and wrong (by a blunder like to the foregoing) for good and evil. Yet hath this grave man written most enormously both on Laws and MORALS: And is indeed a great Writer, just as the mighty Giant, Leon Gawer, was a great Builder; of whom the Monk of Chester so sweetly sings :
The Founder of this City, as saith Polychronicon, “ Was Leon Gawer, a mighty strong Giant, “ Which builded Caves and Dungeons many a one: “No goodly Building, ne proper, ne pleasant.”
But our business at present is not with the actual admioistration of an extraordinary Providence, but with the Scripture representation of such an administration. And this the sacred history of the Jews attests in one uniform unvaried manner; as well by recording many instances of it in particular, as by constantly referring to it in general.
I. The first is in the History of MIRACLES. Fors an equal Providence being, by the nature of man's situation and affairs, necessarily administered partly by ordinary, and partly by extraordinary means, these latter, produce what we call Miracles, the subject of the sacred Writers their more peculiar regard. But I . apprehend it would be thought presuming too much on the reader's patience, to expect his attention, while I set myself formally to prove that many miracles are : related in the sacred history of the Israelites. »
The simpler sort of Deists fairly confess that the Bible records the working of many Miracles, as appears even 'from the free names they give to those
accounts. But there are refiners in Infidelity, such as Spinoza and his mimic TOLAND; who acknowledge many of the facts recorded, but deny them to have been miraculous. These are to our purpose, and an Appeal to the common sense of Mankind is a sufficient answer to them all. And surely I should have done no more, had they not attempted to draw in to their Party much honester men than themselves, For such, therefore, even charity requires us to attempt some kind of defence.
The infamous Spinoza would persuade us that JOSEPHUS himself was as backward in the belief of Miracles as any modern Pagan whatsoever. The handle, for his calumny, is * that Writer's relation of the passage of the Red-sea; which he compares to Alexander's through the Pamphylian, and which concludes with saying that every Man may believe of it as he pleases. No unusual way with this Historian, of
Scriptura de natura in genere quibusdam in locis affirmat eam fixam atque immutabilem ordinem servare.-Philosophus præterea in suo Eccl. clarissime docet nihil novi in natura contingere.— Hæc igitur in Scriptura expresse docentur, at nullibi, quod in natura aliquid contingat, quod ipsius legibus repugnet, aut quod ex jis nequeat sequi, adeoque neque etiam Scripturæ affingendum. -Ex quibus evidentissime sequitur miracula res naturales fuisse. -Attamen-de his unicuique, prout sibi melius esse sentiet, ad Dei cultum & religionem integro animo suscipiendum, liberum est existimare. Quod etiam JOSEPHUS SENTIT; sic enim in conclusione, l. 2. Antiq. scribit, Nullus vero discredat verbo miraculi, si antiquis hominibus, f; malitia privatis via salutis liquet per mare facta, sive voluntate Dei, sive sponte revelata: dum & eis, qui cum Alexandro rege Macedoniæ fueruni olim, & antiquitus à resistentibus Pamphylicum mare divisum sit, & cum aliud iter non esset, transitum præbuit iis, zolente Deo, per eum Persarum destruere principatum; & hoc confitentur omnes, qui actus Alexandri scripserunt; DE HIS ITAQUE, SICUT PLACUERIT CUILIBET, EXIS
læc sunt verba Josephi, ejusque DE FIDE MIRACULORUM JUDICIUM. Tract. Theologico-Pol. C. vi. de Miraculis, p. 81, 82,
introducing or ending a miraculous Adventure. This hath indeed so libertine an air, that it hath betrayed some Believers into the same false judgment concerning Josephus; as if he afforded only a political or philosophical belief to these things; and gave a latitude to those of his own Religion, to think as they should see cause.
But here lies the difficulty; the Historian is every now and then putting on a very different aspect, and talking like a most determined Believer. Many are the places where he expresses the fullest and firmest assent to the Divinity of the Mosaic Religion, and to the Truth of the sacred Volumes. To mention only one or two, from a Book so known, and in a point so notorious. The following words of his Introduction (where he cannot possibly be considered as a translator, or relator only of what he found in the sacred books, from which he composed his History) these, I say, shew in how different a light he regarded Moses from all other Lawgivers : " And now I earnestly
intreat all who take these Volumes in hand, to apply " themselves with their whole faculties to the contem
plation of the Divine Nature, and then turn to our " LAWGIVER, and see whether he has not made a
representation of that Nature entirely worthy of “ it; always assigning such Actions to God, as be
conie his excellence, and preserving the high subject " clear from any impure mixture of FabLE. Though “ if we consider the distance and antiquity of the “ Time he wrote in, we cannot but understand he was
at full liberty to invent and falsify at pleasure. For “ he lived full two thousand years ago.—A distance 66 of Time to which even the Poets dared not to carry up the birth of their Gods, the actions of their
“ Heroes, or the establishment of their Laws*.” Here, ve see, the Historian expressly declares that Moses in his writings employed no degree of fiction, so common in the practice of other ancient Laivgivers.
And low truly divine he supposed the Law, appears from his observing, in the same place, that, while the Jews religiously observed its Precepts, all things went well and prosperously; but that, whenever they transgressed, then nothing but disasters followed. And lest any one should pretend, he meant no more than that national happiness was the natural consequence of adhering to the Laws of their Country; or that those Laws, being founded on Just and Right, God (whose general Providence it is agreed he acknowledged) would reward the virtuous observers, whatever were the original of such Laws; lest, I say, this should be pretended, he adds, that these disasters followed whenever they transgressed the Law, though in pursuit of things just and good. His words are these : “ Upon the whole, what the Reader of this
History may chiefly Icarn from it is this: That “ those who obsequiously study the Will of God, “ and reverence his well established Laivs, pass their “ lives in incredible prosperity; Happiness, the re“ ward from God, ever attending theit obedience. " But in proportion to their neglect of these Laws,
* "Ηδη τοίνυν τις εντευξομένως τους βιβλίους παρακαλώ των γνώμης Θεώ προσανέχειν, και δοκιμάζειν την ημέτερον Νομοθέτην, ει τήν τε φύσιν αυτά αξίως καλινόησε, και τη δυνάμει πρεπέσας αεί τας πράξης αλέθηκε, στάσης καθαρίν τον περί αυτά φυλάξας λόγος της παρ' άλλους αίσχήμονόμυθολογίας καίτοιξε, όσον επί μήκει χρόνο και παλαιότητα, πολλήν έχων άδειαν ψευδών πλασμάτων. γέγονεν γαρ προ ετών δισχιλίων,- εφ' όσον πλήθG- αιώνος εδ' αυτών οι ποιηλαί τάς γενέσεις των Θεών, μήτιγε τας των ανθρώπων πράξεις, ή τις νόμες ανενεγκείν ετόλμησαν. Vol. i, pp. 3, 4.