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Property. sion ceasing, the property, which is founded upon such into general law. And therefore also in the earliest Property.
possession and intention, ought also to cease of course. ages, on failure of children, a man's servants born under
14 trine of escheats is adopted in almost every country;
Wills, therefore, and testaments, rights of inheritance, are creawhereby the sovereign of the state, and those who claim and successions, are all of them creatures of the civil or tures of the
civil or under his authority, are the ultimate heirs, and succeed municipal laws, and accordingly are in all respects reto those inheritances to which no other title can be gulated by them; every distinct country having differ- unicipal formed.
ent ceremonies and requisites to make a testament comOf the right The right of inheritance, or descent to the children pletely valid; neither does any thing vary more than Blackst. of inheri- and relations of the deceased, seems to have been allow the right of inheritance underdifferent national establish_Comment:
ed much earlier than the right of devising by testament. ments. In England particularly, tbis diversity is carri.
15 as tbis foundation of the right of inberitance may seem, This one consideration may help to remove the Scruples it is probable that its immediate original arose not from scruples of many well-meaning persons, who set up a
beritable speculations altogether so delicate and refined, and, if mistaken conscience in opposition to the rules of law.property not from fortuitous circumstances, at least from a plainer If a man disinherits his son, by a will duly executed, removed: and more simple principle. A man's children or nearest and leaves his estate to a stranger, there are many who relations are usually about him on his death-bed, and consider this proceeding as contrary to natural justice; are the earliest witnesses of his decease. They became while others so scrupulously adhere to the supposed intherefore generally the next immediate occupants, till tention of the deed, that if a will of lands be attested at length in process of time this frequent usage ripened by only two witnesses instead of three, which the law
(A) This right, inconvenient as it certainly is, the law of Scotland gives to every man over his real estate, by authorising him to entail it on his heirs for ever. See Law, clxxx. 9, 10, 11. and TaiLziE.
PROPHECY is a word derived from gorilaise, and Definition,
Proportv. requires, they are apt to imagine that the heir is that wise and orderly maxim, of assigning to every Proper's
bound in conscience to relinquish his title to the devi. thing capable of ownership a legal and determinate Prupicey
Hence it follows, that, where the appointment is The objection he urges fairly, and answers it thus : “ It regularly made, there cannot be a shadow of right in may be observed, that the equality for which we are any one but the person appointed ; and, where the ne pleading is an equality that would succeed to a state cessary requisites are omitted, the right of the heir is of great intellectual improvement. So bold a revoluequally strong, and built upon as solid a foundation, as tion cannot take place in human affairs, till the general the right of the devisee would have been, supposing such mind has been highly cultivated. The present age of requisites were observed.
mankind is greatly enlightened; but it is to be feared of things But, after all, there are some few things, which not is not yet enlightened enough. Hasty and undigested that are still in comwithstanding the general introduction and continuance tumults
take place, under the idea of an equalizaof property, must still unavoidably remain in common ; tion of property ; but it is only a calm and clear conbeing such wherein nothing but an usufructuary pro viction of justice, of justice mutually to be rendered and perty is capable of being bad : and therefore they still received, of happiness to be produced by the desertion of belong to the first occupant, during the time he holds our most rooted habits, that can introduce an invariable possession of them, and no longer. Such (among others) system of this sort. Attempts without this preparation are the elements of light, air, and water; which a man will be productive only of confusion. Their eficct will may occupy by means of bis windows, his gardens, be momentary, and a new and more barbarous inequa. his mills, and other conveniences ; such also are the lity will succeed. Each man with unaltered appetite generality of those animals which are said to be fere will watch his opportunity to gratify his love of power, naturæ, or of a wild and untameable disposition ; wbich or his love of distinction, by usurping on his inattentive 'any man may seize upon and keep for his own use or neighbours." pleasure. All these things, so long as they remain in These are just observations, and such as we have of. The Bett possession, every man has a right to enjoy without dis ten made to ourselves on the various proposed reforma-osizioni turbance; but if once they escape from his custody, or tions of government. The illumination which the au- heman di he voluntarily abandons the use of them, they return to thor requires before he would introduce bis abolition of ture. the common stock, and any other man has an equal property, would constitute men more than angels; for right to seize and enjoy them afterwards.
to be under the influence of no passion or appetite, and Of similar
Again, there are other things in which a permanent things
to be guided in every action by unmixed benevolence which have property may subsist not only as to the temporary use, and pure intellect, is a degree of perfection which we
but also the solid substance; and wbich yet would be can attribute to no being inferior to God. But it is propriated. frequently found without a proprietor, had not the wis. the object of the greater part of this writer's book to
dom of the law provided a remedy to obviate this in prove that all men must arrive at such perfection be-
Prophecy, between God and the person who uttered the predic- lation in which they stood to him, were probably very Prophecy.
tion. Together with the power of working miracles, it gross; and we see them gradually refined by a series of
a communion. Hence among the professors of every re plicit than that by which it was preceded, till the ad-
7 the gift of prophecy. The Pagan nations of antiquity When a revelation was made of any important truth, Prophecy tended to had their oracles, augurs, and soothsayers. Modern the grounds of which the mind of man bas not facul- always ac. ite
idolaters have their necromancers and diviners ; and ties to comprehend, that revelation, though undoubt-companied the Jews, Christians, and Mahometans, have their seers edly a prophecy, must bave been so far from confirm- by mira
cles, and prophets.
ing the truth of revealed religion in general, that it The ill-founded pretensions of pagauism, ancient and could not gain credit itself, but by some extrinsic evimodern, have been exposed under various articles of dence that it came indeed from God. Hence we find this work. (See Divination, Magic, NECROMAN- Moses, after it was revealed to him from the burning cy, and MYTHOLOGY). And the claims of the Ara bush that he should deliver his countrymen from Egypbian impostor are examined under the articles Alco- tian bondage, replying, “ Behold, they will not believe RAN and MAHOMETANISM; so that at present we bave me, nor hearken to my voice ; for they will say, the only to consider the use, intent, and truth, of the Jewish Lord hath not appeared unto tbee.” This revelation and Christian prophecies.
certainly constituted bim a prophet to Israel; and there The word Previous to our entering on this investigation, it may cannot be a doubt but that he perfectly knew the divine in Scrip be proper to observe, that in the Scriptures of the old source from which he received it: but he very naturally ture has vorious mean
Cand New Testaments, the signification of the word pro and reasonably concluded, that the children of Israel ings.
phecy is not always confined to the foretelling of fu would not believe that the Lord had appeared to him,
doctrines of prior revelation. Thus in Nehemiah it is give, by having conferred upon him the power of work*Ch. si. said, “Thou hast appointed prophets to preach * ;” and ing miracles in confirmation of his prophecy. Again, ver. 7.
wlioever speaketh unto men to edification, and exhorta when Gideon was called to the deliverance of Israel, ti Cor.
tion, and comfort, is by St Paul called a prophet to the angel of the Lord came and said unto him, “ Thé ch. xiv.
Hence it was that there were schools of prophets in Is Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour: go in this
Have not I sent thee ?” Here was a
ed a sign that he was really an angel who talked with 5 Scienco Every one who looks into the history of the world him. A sign is accordingly given him, a miraculous and reli must observe, that the minds of men have from the be. sign, with wbich he is satisfied, and undertakes the work gion gra- ginning been gradually opened by a train of events still appointed him. dially ac
improving upon, and adding light to each other; as From these and many similar transactions recorded and of it. quired.
that of each individual is, by proceeding from the first in the Old Testament, it appears that prophecy was never self can be elements and seeds of science, to more enlarged views, intended as evidence of an original revelation. It is no proof and a still higher growth. Mankind neither are. nor indeed, by its very nature, totally unfit for such a pur
lation. ever have been capable of entering into the depths of pose ; because it is impossible, without some extrinsic knowledge at once; of receiving a whole system of na- proof of its divine origin, to know whether any prophetaral or moral truths together ; but must be let into cy be true or false, till the era arrive at which it ought them by degrees, and have them communicated by little to be fulblled. When it is fulfilled, it affords complete and little, as they are able to bear' it. That this is the evidence that he who uttered it spake by the spirit of case with respect to human science, is a fact which can- God, and that the doctrines which he taught of a relinot be questioned; and there is as little room to que- gious nature, were all either dictated by the same spirit, stion it with respect to the progress of religious know or at least are true, and calculated to direct mankind in Jedge among men, either taken collectively or in each the way of their duty. individual. Why the case is thus in both, why all are The prophecies vouchsafed to the patriarchs in the It was in. not adult at once in body and mind, is a question which most early periods of the world, were all intended to tended to the religion of nature is equally called upon with reve keep alive in their minds a sense of religion, and to di- preserve a lation to answer. The fact may not be easily accounted rect their views to the future completion of that first sense of refor, but the reality of it is incontrovertible.
and greatest prophecy wbich was made to Adam im: ligion a
mong men. The reve Accordingly, the great object of the several revela- mediately on his fall : but in order to secure credit to lations of tions recorded in the Old Testament was evidently to those prophecies themselves, they were always accomthe Old
keep alive a sense of religion in the minds of men, and panied by some miraculous sign that they were indeed Testament
to train them by degrees for the reception of those given by the God of truth, and not the delusions of gradual.
simple but sublime truths by which they were to be sa fanaticism or hypocrisy. Prophecy, in the proper sense
of a reve.
Prophecy. the original deceiver of mankind; “ I will put enmity as some well-meaning though weak advocates for Chris. Propbeer
between thee and the woman, and bettveen thy seed tianity have imagined, as a prediction pointing directly
As this propliecy was the first, so is it the only conProbable This prophecy, though one of the most important siderable one in which we liave any concern from the effects of that ever was delivered, when considered by itself, is ex creation to the days of Noah. It was proportioned to the first
ceedingly obscure. That Adam should have under the then wants and necessities of the world, and was the prophecy on our first stood it, as some of his degenerate sons have pretended grand charter of God's mercy after the fall
. Nature parents. to do, in a literal sense, is absolutely impossible. He had no certain help for sinners; her rights were lost
knew well that it was the great God of heaven and with her innocence. It was therefore necessary either
hopes that in God's good time they should be freed from
over themselves ; that they and their posterity declaration it is apparent that a curse had been on the should be enabled to contest his empire ; and that earth, and that seed-time and harvest had often failed; though they were to suffer much in the struggle, they that the curse was now taken off; and that in conseshould yet finally prevail, bruise the serpent's head, and quence of this covenant, as it is called, with Noah and deliver themselves from his power and dominion. his seed and with every living creature, mankind should
This prophecy therefore was to our first parents a not henceforth be subjected to toil so severe and so gelight shining in a dark place. All that they could nerally fruitless. certainly conclude from it was, that their case was not It may seem surprising perhaps to some, that after so A future desperate ; that some remedy, some deliverance from the great a revolution in the world as the deluge made, lise not evil they were under, would in time appear; but when or God should say nothing to the remnant of mankind of then expla where, or by what means they were to be delivered, they the punishments and rewards of another life, but should citive to could not possibly understand, unless the matter was make a new covenant with them relating merely to froitfurther revealed to them, as probably it was at the insti ful seasons and the blessings of the earth. But in the tution of sacrifice (see SACRIFICE). Obscure, how- scriptures we see plainly a gradual working of proviever, as this promise or prophecy was, it served after dence towards the redemption of the world from the the fall as a foundation for religion, and trust and con curse of the fall ; that the temporal blessings were first fidence towards God in hopes of deliverance in time restored as an earnest and pledge of better things to from the evils of disobedience : and this appears to have follow; and that the covenant given to Noah had, been the sole purpose for which it was given, and not, strictly speaking, nothing to do with the hopes of futuri
e Prophecy, ty, which were reserved to be the matter of anothe inherit it rere found to be a foundation for religion Prophecy.
covenant, in another age, and to be revealed by him, and confidence in God, a miraculous sign was given him
from whom this blessing on all men was expected, did
and in this protions, and practised, as we have every reason to believe, mise founded his everlasting covenant-what could Aa rational worship to the one God of the universe. At braham else expect but the completion in his seed of last, however, idolatry was by some means or other in that ancient promise and prophecy concerning the victroduced (see PolYTHEISM), and spread so universally tory to be obtained by the woman's seed? The curse of through the world, that true religion would in all pro- the ground was expiated in the flood, and the earth rebability have entirely failed, had not God visibly inter stored with a blessing, which was the foundation of the
posed to preserve such a sense of it as was necessary for temporal covenant with Noah ; a large share of which 13 the accomplishment of his great design to restore man God expressly grants to Abraham and bis posterity parromise to kind. This he did by calling Abraham from amidst ticularly, together with a promise to bring, by their braham.
his idolatrous kindred, and renewing to him the word means, a new and further blessing upon the whole race
Isaac and Jacob ; to the last of whom it was revealed, and Jacob. Upon such of these promises, as relate to tempo not only that all the nations of the earth should be ral blessings we need not dwell. They are much of blessed in his seed, but that the blessing should spring the same nature with those which had been given be from his son Judalı. It is, however, by no means evifore to Lamech, Noah, Shem, and Japheth ; and all dent that any one of those patriarchs knew precisely by the world knows how amply and literally they have what means (A) the curse of the fall was to be entirely been fulfilled. There was, however, so little probability removed, and all men called from their dust again. It in nature of their accomplishment at the time when they was enough that they were convinced of the fact in ge
were made, that we find the patriarch asking, “Where neral terms, since such conviction was a sufficient founGenesis by he should know + that he should inherit such an ex. dation of a rational religion ; and the descendants of . 8. &c. tent of country ?” And as the promises that he should Abraham had no other fourdation upon which to rest
(A) This they certainly could not know from the promises expressed in the very general terms in which they ere recorded in the book of Genesis. It is, however, not improbable that those promises, as they immediately received them, were conceived in terms more precise and particular ; and, at all events, Dr Warburton bas proved to the full conviction of every man who is not a determined unbeliever, that Abraham was commanded to sacri. fice his son Isaac, not only as a trial of his obedience, but also that God might give him what he earnestly des sired, a scenical representation of the means by which mankind were to be redeemed from death. The learned writer thinks, and his reasoning compels us to think with bim, that to this transaction our Savivur alludes when Le says, “ Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad.”