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There he renew'd the Covenant between [ God and them; and we are affur'd that, Ifrael ferv'd the LORD all the days of xxiv. 31, Joshua, and all the days of the Elders that over-liv'd Joshua, and which had known all the works of the LORD that he had done for Ifrael.
But, when all these were dead, there Judg. ii. arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Ifrael. They forfook the LORD, and ferv'd the ftrange Gods of the Heathens their Neighbours, Baal and Afhtaroth. And this they seem to have done without intirely altering the Form of their Government, or utterly rejecting the Law. But having greatly dif pleas'd God by fuch their Behaviour, he withdrew his protecting Favour from them, fo that they could no longer ftand before their Enemies.
However the fupream Being, mindful of his Promise to their Forefathers, let his Mercy fo far temper his Justice, that he would not quite abandon them; but rais'd up Judges, under whofe AdminiJudg. i. ftration, as long as they liv'd conforma- 17.
ble to God's Laws, their Affairs prof per'd. But, upon the Death of any of thefe Judges, their Intervals of Difobedience conftantly return'd. And thus they went on, rebelling and provoking God, Acts xiii. for about the space of four hundred and fifty years, till toward the latter End of the Days of Samuel; when they infifted upon having a King.
Afterwards, a Monarchy.
From thence began the Monarchy's when they were to be rul'd no longer by the Laws of God only, but moreover by the arbitrary Will of a fingle Perfon. This was what they defir'd; make us a king to vii. 5. judge us like all the nations: And this was what would infallibly be the Confequence; as Samuel the Prophet of the LORD tells them. This will be the manner of the King that shall reign over you; he will take your fons and your daughters, your menfervants and your maid-fervants, and i your goodliest young men, and your asses; and put them to his work. And he will take your fields and your vineyards, and your oliveyards,
10 yards, even the best of them, and give them to his fervants. And ye shall cry out in that day, because of your King which yé have chofen you. A very juft Représentation of Monarchy; and which fhews the a Excellency of their former Government, 1 when they liv'd under † no other Controul than that of good and wholfome Laws, which they had foberly and feriously covenanted to obey. Accordingly when they chofe a King, they are said to have rejected God; 1 Sam. as having forfeited their Liberty, and with viii. 7. it, all Pretence to Happinefs and Security.
+ Jofephus introduces Mofes fpeaking to the People of Ifrael, after this Manner. An Ariftocracy, in refpect to the Benefits of Life which flow from it, is "the best Thing in the World. Do not therefore ແ wantonly defire to change this for any other Form "of Government. Keep to this, which lays you un"der no Restraint but that of your own Laws, and "makes you accountable to them only. Have no "other Lord, but your God. But----if you must "needs have a King, let him be elected from among <& your own People. Antiq. lib. iv." And agreeably to this, Ariftotle makes the following juft Reflection. "He that defires to be govern'd by Law, defires that "God fhould be his Sovereign. He that defires to be
govern'd by a King, that is, by a Man, defires to "be fubject to a wild Beaft as it were; fince Man is fo far from acting always according to Reafon, "that he is generally influenc'd by his Paffions. Ari"ftot. in Polit.
It must be confefs'd that, according to the modern way of fpeaking, Monarchy is of two Kinds; the one, abfolute; and the other limited. But it is, at the same Time, well known that this latter is, in Truth, a Sort of Commonwealth; which though it cannot be call'd either an Ariftocracy or a Democracy, yet is of fuch a Nature as may be confiftent with both: It being a very common thing, in either, to have the executive Power lodg'd in the Hands of a fingle Perfon; who, during that Time, is, in Effect, much the fame as a limited Monarch; confidering, that Names and Titles, Habits and Decorations, are merely contingent, and may dif fer from one another as much as Times and Places do, without adding to, or detracting from the Power of the Perfon that wears them: that being fix'd in this cafe, by the Laws or Cuftoms of the Land; and flowing from the Confent of those who have elected fuch Perfon to prefide over their Affairs.
Such was the Aristocracy of the Ifraelites. Firft Mofes held the Helm of their State; then Joshua, and afterwards the
Judges. But this Sort of Government they were not contented with; they must have a King after the Manner of other Nations; that is, an abfolute Ruler. Such therefore was Saul their firft King; and David their fecond, who feems to allude to this arbitrary Power in that Pfalm, where he introduces God, faying; I have Jet my King upon my holy bill of Sion. I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for thy poffeffion. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces· like a potter's veffel.
Whether this Kingdom was hereditary or not, we shall enquire hereafter; only obferving, at present, that it defcended from Father to Son during the Reigns of
*Pfalm ii. I know this Pfalm is, by fome good fudges, thought to be folely prophetic of the Meffiah, without having any Relation to David, or his Affairs. But the St. Paul, and the rest of the Apostles (Acts xiii. 33, iv. 24.) have appeal'd to it in fuch a Senfe, yet that does not hinder, but it may be at the fame Time typi cally predictive of Chrift, and literally defcriptive of David. For tho there are, it must be confefs'd, fome things which one knows not well how to refer to David; there are others again, altogether as unfuitable to Chrift: particularly the latter Part of the Paffage above cited.