Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

P. 139. [S] To this Dr. Sykes replies, “The equal

providence over the Jews by his own confession had " ceased some hundred of years, and therefore at the " writing of this epistle, Tribulation was deemed by

nobody more an opprobrium of the Jews, or a pu“ nishment of their crimes, than it was of other “ people.” Defence, p. 62. This great Divine did not perceive that St. Paul is here speaking of the different genius of the two Religions, Judaism and Christianity, not of the condition of the two people at the time he wrote : and consequently, as what was once true would be always true, the Apostle considers the nature of the two Dispensations as invariable.

P. 143. [T] The writer of the fisrt book of Maccabees appears to have lived in the times he wrote of; and we find no wonders nor prodigies in his History. But a long time after comes the Author of the second Book, an Epitomizer of onė Jason of Syrene; and he largely supplies what he thought the other wanted. This Man is such a lover of prodigies, that, when he has made a monstrous lie, and so frighted himself at the size of it that he dare not tell it out, he insinuates it [as chap. xii. ver. 22.ix T8; T3 *1% ipapalo επιφανείας. Chap. ΧV. ver. 27. τη τα Θεά επιφανεία.] Nay he even ventures at an apology for lying Wonders, (Chap. xv. ver. 11.) and under this encouragement falls" a lying to soine purpose, [Chap. xii. ver. 16.]

P. 147. [U] I will only observe at present, what the least reflection on this matter so naturally suggests, that this complaint of inequality never could have come from good men, as it did even from Jeremiah himself, who thus expostulates with the Almighty : Righteous art thou, O Lord, when I plead with thee : yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments : Wherefore doth the way of the Wicked prosper? Wherefore are all they kappy that deal very treacherously? (Chap. xii. ver. 1.]

It

It never, I say, could have come from such men, had they been at all acquainted with the Doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments; or had they not been long accustomed to an ertraordinary Providence.

P. 148. [X] Mr. Chubb, in some or other of his Tracts, lias, as I remember, made an unusual effort; an effort to be witty. Ile observes, that the Author of the Divine Legation has done the Unbeliever's business for him ; " by proving that an equal Providence was promised; while the Bible shews that it was not performed.But he might have known, that the Author did not furnish Infidelity with this foolish objection; it lay open to them. And he might have scen, that the folly of it was here effectually exposed. However, Mr. Chubb was a very extraordinary personage; and might have said with the reasoning Rustic in Moliere,--Oui, si j'avois étudié j'aurois eté songer à des choses ou l'on n'a jamais songé. As it was, he did wonders. He began with defending the reasonableness of Christianity, and carried on his work so successfully, that, before he gave over, he had reasoned himself out of Religion.

P. 158. [Y] The Atheist Vanini, indeed, seems to rank Moses in the number of those Politicians, who, he says, promised a future state that the cheat might never be found out.-In unica naturæ lege, quam natura, quæ Deus est (est enim principium motus) in omnium gentium animis inscripsit

. Cæteras vero leges non nisi figmenta & illusiones esse asserebant, non a cacodæmone aliquo inductas, fabulosum namque illorum genus dicitur a philosophis, sed a principibus ad subditorum pædagogiam ercogitatas, & a sacrificulis ob honoris & auri aucupium confirmatas, non miraculis, sed scriptura, cujus nec originale ullibi adinvenitur, quæ miracula facta recitet, & bonarum ac malarum actionum repromissiones polliceatur, in futura tamen

vita, ne fraus detegi possit.-De admirandis natura arcanis.

P. 162. [Z] The niserable efforts of these men to evade the force of a little plain sense is deplorable. “ Moses (says one of them) could not omit the men" tion of the Devil for the reason given by the author “ of the D. L, because he mentions biin expressly, " and represents him as the patron, if not as the

author, of idolatry. Deut. xxxii. ver. 17.” Rutherforth’s Essay, p. 294.---The words of Moses are these, -They sacrificed to Devils, not to God; to Gods whom they kricw not, to new Gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. The liebrew word here translated Devils, is Schedim, which, the best interpreters tell us, has another signification. The true God being Schaddei, the omnipotent and all-sufficient; the Gentile Gods, by a beautiful opposition, are called Schedim, counterfeit Gods. And the context, where they are called new Gods, shews this interpretation to be the true. But admit that, by Schedim is to be understood evil spirits : by these spirits are not meant fallen Angels, but the souls of wicked men. These were the Demons of Paganism; but the Devils discovered by Revelation have a different nature and original : Accordingly the Septuagint, which took Schedim in the sense of the souls of wicked men, translates it by d'aquória,

P. 164. [AA] Dr. Sykes in disputing with me, as we have seen above, on this question, Whether the extraordinary Providence was only over the State in general, or whether it extended to Particulars, having sufficiently puzzled himself and his reader; To recover the ground he had lost, on a sudden changes the question, and now tells us that it is, IVhether an.

extraordiniry Providence was administered to Particulars IN SUCH A MANNER that no transgressor of the Law escaped punishment, nor any

o observer

66

obseroer of the Law missed his reward;"

“ which “ Mr. Warburton represents (says he) to be the state “ of the Jews under an equal Providence.” [Exam. pp. 187, 8.] Now what bis drift was in this piece of management, is easily understood. It was to introduce a commodious Fallacy under an ambiguous expression; which would be always at hand to answer his occasions. And indeed, the cautious reader (and I would advise no other to have to do with bim) will suspect no less, when he observes that the words, (no Transgressor escaped Punishment, nor any Observer of the Law missed his Reward] quoted from me, are not to be found in that place where I state the nature of the extraordinary Providence; but here, where I speak of the consequences of it, in the words aboveWe have shewn at large, &c. What now has this ANSWERER done? He has taken the words [no Transgressor escaping Punishment, nor any Observer of the Law missing his Reward] from their natural place; misrepresented their purpose ; and given them to the reader as my DEFINITION of an extraordinary Providence to Particulars. And not content with all this, he has put a false and sophistical sense upon them, viz. THAT NO ONE SINGLE PERSON, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, ever escaped Punishment, or missed his Reward. And in this sense, by the vilest prevarication, he repeats and applies them, on every following occasion, as the sole answer to all my reasonings on the subject of an extraordinary Providence. It will be proper then to shew, that the words could not mean, by any rules of just construction, that every single person, without exception, was thus punished and rewarded; but only that this extraordinary Providence over Particulars was so exactly administered, that no one could hope to escape it, or fear to be forgotten

by it.

First then, let it be observed, that the words are no absolute assertion; but a consequence of something asserted.--AND THEN no Transgressor escaping, etc.

which illative words the honest Examiner omitted. What I had asserted was simply this, that the extraordinary Providence over the Jews was in Scripture represented as administered over Particulars; but that this very administration would of necessity be attended with some inequalities. Must not then the consequence I draw from these premises be as restrained as the premises themselves ? Secondly, I said, that God had promised an equal Providence to Particulars, but that he had declared, at the same time, low it should be adıninistered, viz. in such a manner as would occasion some few exceptions. If therefore Dr. Sykes would not allow me, he ought to have allowed God Almighty at least, to explain his own meaning. Thirdly, had the words been absolute, as they then might have admitted of two senses, did not common ingenuity require, that I should be understood in that which was easiest to prove, when either was alike to my purpose? But there was still more than this to lead an ingenuous man into my meaning; which was, that he might observe, that I used, throughout my whole discourse of the Jewish Economy, the words extraordinary Providence and equal Providence, as equivalent terms. By which he might understand that I all along admitted of exceptions. Fourthly, If such rare cases of exception destroyed an equal Providence to Particulars, (which Providence I hold) it would destroy, with it, the equal Providence to the State, (which Dr. Sykes pretends to hold). But if not for the sake of truth in opinion, yet for fair-dealing in practice, Dr. Sykes should have interpreted my words not absolutely, bnt with exceptions. For thus stood the case. He quoted two positions from the Divine Legation. 1. That there was an extraordinary Providence over the State in general. 2. Over private men in particular. He grants the first; and denies the second.

But is mot the extent of that providence, understood to be in both cases the same? Now in that over the State, he un

derstand

« AnteriorContinuar »