Page images
PDF
EPUB

" the former of these cases: For where a law was

given by God, and he condescended to become

King of a Nation, and a solemn Covenant was én“ tered into by the People and by God, as their King, “ and where blessings were solemnly promised upon “ obedience to the Law, or curses were denounced “ upon disobedience : and this by one who was able “ to execute whatever he engaged; no doubt can be “ about the reciprocal obligations, or about God's

performing his part of the obligation, since it is his

property not to lie nor deceive. Temporal Re“ wards and Punishments being then the sanction of & the Jewish Law, these must be dispensed by God

so as to make the State happy and flourishing if they keep the Law, or else miserable if they dis

obeyed it. The Blessings and Curses were general " and national, agrecable to the character of a King, “ and a legal Administration : such as related to them

as a People; and not to particular persons.” [Exam. of Mr.W.'s Account, &c. pp. 180, 187.]

Here, he assures us, he has no doubts about the ertraordinary Providence over the State in general. And he tells us his reason,--Because the Law was given by God, and he condescended to become the King of the Nation, by a solemn Covenant made with the People. Now if this very reason be found to hold equally strong for an extraordinary Providence over PARTICULARS, the point will be soon decided between us. Let me ask him, then, what those reasons are whereby he infers that, from God's becoming King of a Nation, he must administer an extraordinary Providence over the State in general, which do not. equally conclude for God's administering it over Particulars? Is not his inference founded upon this, That where God condescends to assume a civil character, he condescends to administer it in a civil manner ? which is done by extending his care over the whole. If our Doctor should say, his inference is not thus founded; I must then beg leave to tell

him, that he has no foundation at all to conclude from God's being King, that there was an extraordinary Providence exerted over the State in general. If he confesses that it is thus founded; then I infer, upon the same grounds, an extraordinary Providence over Particulars. For the justice of the Regal oflice is equally pledged to extend its care to Particulars as well as to the general. It may be asked then, what hindered our Doctor from seeing so self-evident a truth? I reply, the mistake with which he first set out; and which yet sticks to him. I have observed before, what confusion he ran into by not being able to distinguish between the Form of Government and the Administration of it. Here again he makes the same blind work, from not seeing the difference between a LEGISLATOR and a KING.-For where a Law (says he) was given by God, and he condescended to become the KING of a Nation, &c. implying that in his opinion, the giving a Law, and the becoming a King, was one and the same thing. Hence it was, that as the Legislative power, in the institution of good Laws, extends its providence only over the State in general, he concluded, that the executive power, in the administration of those Laws, does no more. Which brings hiin to a conclusion altogether worthy both of himself and his premises.---The Blessings und Curses (says he) were general and national, agrecable to the character of a king and a legal Administration.-What! Is it only agreeable to the character of a King and a legal Administration to take care of the State in general, and not of Particulus ? So, according to this new system of Policy, it is agreeable to the Constitution of England to fit out fleets, to protect the public from insults, and to enact Laws to encourage commerce; but not to erect Courts of Equity, or to send about itinerant Judges. What makes his ignorance in this matter the more inexcusable is, that I had pointed out to him this distinction, in the following passage; the former part of which he has quoted, but dropt the latter, as if determined that neither himself nor his reader should be the better for it. My words are these: It [the extraordinary Providence] is represented as administered, 1. Over the State in general

. 2. Orer private men in particular. And such a representation we should expect to find from the nature of the Republic; PECAUSE AS AN EXTRAORDINARY PROVIDENCE OVER THE STATE NECESSARILY FOLLOWS God'S BEING THEIR TUTELARY DEITY [in which capacity he gave them Laws), SO AN EXTRAORDINARY PROVIDENCE TO PARTICULARS FOLLOWS AS NECESSARILY FROM HIS BEING THEIR SUPREME MAGISTRATE [in which capacity he administered them).

P. 136. [O] To this it has been objected, “ That “ Solomon here prays for scarce so much in behalf of « his own People, as he doth, ver. 32, for every

stranger that shall come and worship in the Tem“ ple.” But the Objector should have observed that there is this difference,- the prayer for the Israelites was founded on a Covenant; the prayer for the Stranger, on no Covenant. That for the Israelites begins thus, O Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee, which KEEPETH COVENANT--and as he proceeds, the reason of bis petition all along goes upon their being possessors of the promised Land, the great object of the Covenant, ver. 25-27-31. But the prayer for the Stranger, ver. 32, is founded altogether on another principle, namely, for the sake of God's glory amongst the heathen. Moreover concerning the Stranger (words implying a new consideration] if they come and pray in this house, then hear from the Heavens-THAT ALL PEOPLE OF THE EARTH MAY

KNOW THY NAME AND FEAR THEE.

P. 136. [P] But the whole book of Psalms is one continued declaration of the administration of an extraordinary Providence to particulars, in the exact

distribution

distribution of rewards and punishmenis. See the Argument of the Divine Legation fairly stated, pp. 57 to 75, where the learned Writer has evinced the truth in question beyond the possibility of a reply.

P. 137. [Q] To this testimony from Ezekiel, Dr. Sykes objects, that “ It is but a parabolical command : “ and no argument can be drawn from parables for

an equal Providence over particulars, but at most " for a particular and peculiar Dispensation.” Defence, p. 61. This is the pleasantest of Answerers.If this parabolical command does not mean what itself says

it does mean, namely, “ that virtuous individuals “should be distinguished from the wicked, in a general

calamity;" what then does it mean? Why, at most, but a particular and peculiar Dispensation. And in what, I pray you, does a particular and peculiar Dispensation consist, if not in a distinction between the virtuous and the wicked, in a general calamity ? But he had some confused notion that there was a difference between a parabolical and a real representation: and therefore he makes it to consist in this, that no argument can be drawn from the former.-Now, if from Jesus's parable of the rebellious Husbandmen (who wounded their Lord's Servants and killed the Heir, and for their pains were ejected from their possessions, and the vineyard let to other ! Iusbandmen) I should conclude, w that he meant the Jews, who had murdered the Prophets which were sent unto them, and were ready to murder the Messiah likewise, and that for this crime they should be deprived of the blessing of the Gospel, and the Gentiles received into the Kingdom of Christ, in their stead, I make no doubt but, if it served our Doctor's purpose ef answering, he would reply, It is but a parabolical tale, and no argument can be drawn from parables, of Christ's sufferings and the rejection of the Jews, &c. but, at most, that the Jews were rebels and murderers, and would be treated as such.

Another

S4

66 As to

Another Answerer is yet more shameless. “ the parabolical command in Ezekiel (says Dr. “ Rutherforth) the very same premises were exactly “ fulfilled to the Christians. Rev. vii. 1, 2, 3.” If you ask when, where, and how, you would embarrass, but not disconcert him. Yet, as he assures us, these promises were exactly fulfilled to Christians, he must give us leave to assure him, that it could be only in a spiritual sense: for St. Paul tells us, that the Jews had the promise of the life that now is, and the Christians of that which is to come. I doubt then the learned Professor was a little disoriented when he called the promises in Ezekiel and in the Revelations, the same. There is a strange perversity in these men. mises under the Law, they tell us, are to be understood SPIRITUALLY, and this, in order that they may bring Judaism to Christianity: But then, to bring Christianity back to Judaism, they tell us on the other hand, that the promises under the Gospel are to be understood CARNALLY.

But what is to be expected, or rather what is not to be expected, from a man who dares to assert, that there was no more an extraordinary Providence under the Jewish than under the Christian Dispensation; in open defiance of the Prophets and the Apostles, of Moses and of Jesus Christ.

The pro

P. 138. [R] Yet Dr. Sykes scruples not to say, “ The passage from Amos does not prove an equal or " unequal Providence, but a peculiar interposition OCCASIONALLY administered.” Def.

p.

61. As I would be willing that every thing of this learned Answerer's should be put to use, I would recommend this observation to the reader as a paraphrase on the words of the Apostle, where he says that, under the Mosaic Dispensation, “ the word spoken by

Angels was STEDFAST, and EVERY transgression “ and disobedience received a just recompense of " reward." Heb. ii. 2.

P. 139.

« PreviousContinue »