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derstands it to have been with exceptions, as appears from his own mention of the case of Achan, p. 190; and of David, p. 197. Ought he not, then, by all the rules of honest reasoning, to have understood the Proposition denied, in the same sense he understands the Proposition granted? If in the administration over the State in general, there were some few exceptions, why not in That over private men in particular?
But if now the candid reader shall ask me, Why I employed expressions, which, when divorced froin the context, might be abused by a Caviller to a perverse meaning, I will tell him. I used them in imitation of the language of the Apostle, who says that, under the Jewish Economy, EVERY transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward *. And if He be to be understood with latitude, why may
P. 165. [BR] But as God acted with them in the capacity of the Creator and Father of all Men, as well as of tutelary God and King, he was pleased, at the same time, to provide that they should never lose the memory of the attributes of the Almighty : and therefore adds,-- And shewing inercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Numb. xiv. 18. Deut. v. 10.
P. 165. [CC] “ The Author of the D. L. (says “ Dr. Sykes) goes on, and observes that this punish“ ment [of visiting the iniquities of Fathers upon “ their Children] was only to supply the want of a future state. But how will this ertraordinary eco
nomy SUPPLY this want? The Children at present “ suffer for their Parents' crimes; and are supposed .to be punished when they have no guilt. Is not “this a plain act of HARDSHIP? And if there be
no future state or compensation made, the hardship “ done must continue for ever a hardship on the
Heb. ii. 2.
unhappy sufferer.” [Examn. of Wr. W.'s Account, pp. 202, 3.] For a Reasoner, it would be hard to find his fellow. 1. The question is, whether this Law of punishing, was a suPPLY to the want of a future state?
If it laid hold of the passions, as he owns it did, it certainly was a SUPPLY. However, he will prove it was none. And how? Because it was a HARDSHIP. 2. He supposes, I hold, that when Children were punished, in the proper sense of the word, they were innocent; whereas I hold, that then they were always guilty. When the innocent were affected by their Parents' crimes, it was by the deprivation of benefits, in their nature forfeitable.
3. He supposes, that if Moses taught no future state, IT WOULD FOLLow, that there was none.
P. 165. [DD] To this it hath been objected—“ As “ to the proof, that visiting the iniquities of Parents
on their Children was designed to supply the want “ of a future state, because in a new Dispensation, “ it is foretold, that this mode of punishing will be “ changed'; this argument will not be admitted by the “ Deists, who do not allow that a new Dispensation " is revealed under the phrase of a new Covenant." Here the Objector should have distinguished. The Deists make two different attacks on Revelation. In the one, They dispute that order, connexion, and dependency between the two Dispensations, as they are delivered in Scripture, and maintained by Believers : In the other, they admit (for argument's sake) this representation of revealed Religion; and pretend to shew its falschood, even upon that footing.' Amongst their various arguments in this last method of attack, one is, that the Jewish Religion had no sanction of a future state, and so could not come from God. [Sce Lord Bolingbroke's Posthumous Writings.] The pur, pose of this work is to turn that circumstance against them: and from the omission of the Doctrine, demon: strate the Divine original of the Law. So that the
Reader sees, I am in order, when, to evince a designed omission, I explain the Law of punishing the crimes of Fathers on the Children, from the different natures of the two Dispensations; as going upon principles acceded to, though it be only disputandi gratia, by the Deists theinselves.
P. 166. [EE] It hath been objected, " That the “ Prophet here upbraids the Jews as blameable in the
use of this proverb.” Without doubt. And their fault evidently consisted in this, That they would insinuate that an innocent posterity were punished for the crimes of their forefathers; whereas we have shewn, that when the children's teeth were set on edge, they likewise had been tasting.
P. 167. [FF] Dr, Stebbing has thought fit to support this charge of contradiction urged by Spinoza and Tindal, very effectually. He insults the author of the D. L. for pretending to clear up a difficulty, where there was nope. “ He [the author of the AS D. L.] has also justified the equity of another Law,
that of punishing posterity for the crimes of their forefathers. Though it is one of the plainest * cases in the world, that God doth this EVERY DAY 66 in the ordinary exercise of his Providence.” Hist, of Abr. p. 89.--Moses says, God will visit the iniquity of the Fathers upon the Children. JEREMIAH and EZEKIEL say as expressly, that God will not do
See, exclaim Spinoza and Tindal, the disco dancies and contradictions amongst these Prophets. Softly, replies the Author of the Divine Legation, You mistake the matter; the contradiction is all a fiction of your own brains : Moses speaks of the Jewish Dispensation; and Jeremiah and Ezekiel
, of the Christian. I deny that, cries Dr. Stebbing : punishing posterity for the crimes of their Fathers is done every day under the Christian Dispensation, And thus the objection of Spinoza aud Tindal, by
the kind pains of Dr. Stebbing, remains not only unanswered, but unanswerable. And yet this is the man, whose zeal would not let him rest till he had rescued Revelation from the dishonours brought upon it by the Author of the Divine Legation.
P. 169. [GG] Yet Dr. Sykes modestly tells his reader, that “there is not any ground or foundation “ for this distinction; for that the innocent posterity “ were sometimes deprived of life for the crimes of “ their Parents in virtue of this Law."--But here, as the Doctor has not to do with me, but with the Prophet, I leave it to be adjusted between them, as the Public shall think fit to arbitrate.—Another has even ventured to ask, “How the Posterity, if it suffer for “ its own guilt, can be said to suffer for the transgres" sions of its Parents ?" As this doubt arises from the Prophet's words, Your iniquity and the iniquities of your fathers together, &c. I think myself not concerned to satisfy it, till these Writers have more openly rejected the authority of the Prophets.
P. 170. [HH] It is observable that by our own Constitution, no forfeitures attend capital condemnations in the Lord High Admiral's and Constable's Courts. And why? the reason is plain ; those Judicatures proceed on the Roman, and not on the municipal laws of a feudal Government. Not but that the necessities of state frequently obliged other Governments, which never had been feudal, to have recourse to an extemporaneous confiscation. Even Rome itself sometimes exercised the severity of this punishment, even before it fell under the feet of its Tyrants. Cicero, to excuse the confiscations decreed against Lepidus, which affected his children, the nephews of Brutus, says to this latter : Nec vero me fugit quàm sit acerbum, parentium scelera filiorum
Sed hoc PRÆCLARE LEGIBUS COMPARATUM est, ut caritas liberorum amiciores parentes VOL. V.
reipublicæ redderet. Ep. ad Brutum liber, Ep. 12. And again : In qua videtur illud esse crudele, quod ad liberos, qui nihil meruerunt, pæna pervenit. SED ID. ET ANTIQUUM EST, ET OMNIUM CIVITATUM. Ep. 15. Again, the same necessities of State have obliged Governments which had been originally feudal, but were so no longer, to retain this Law of forfeiture, essential to feudal Government even after all the feudal tenures had been abolished.—But he, who would see the Law or FORFEITURES defended on the more general principles of natural justice and civil policy, may have full satisfaction, in the very elegant and masterly Discourse so intitled.
P. 171. [II] Here Dr. Sykes, who so charitably takes the Dcists' part, all the way, against the Author of the D. L. says, “ It would have been well to
HAVE TOLD US what this doctrine was which was “ brought to light, and which held up these daring " transgressors, and which continued them after death " the objects of divine justice.”: Defence, p. 83. Can the Reader, when he casts bis eye 'upon the text, and sees that I had told him, in so many words and letters, - that it was a FUTURE STATE, think the grave Doctor in his senses? But this quotation from him will have its use. It will serve for a specimen and example of the miserable dispositions with which an Answerer by profession addresses himself to confute Writers: who have taken some pains to consider their subject, and to express their meaning.
He goes on objecting to this unknown doctrine. He asks " how this doctrine did these things ?” That is, how the doctrine of a future state could extend beyond the present life? This shews at least, he was in earnest in his ignorance, and perfectly well assured tliat I had not told him what the doctrine, was.
He proceeds with his interrogations, and asks, Why the punishing Children for their Fathers' faults, had No further use after the bringing in a future state?