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Administration of Government (whereby the Magistrate was enabled to punish idolatry with death, without violating the rights of mankind), went as far towards the actual prevention of idolatrous Worship, as, according to human conceptions, CIVIL LAW, whether of human or divine original, could possibly go. And resting the matter here, I suppose, one might safely defy his Lordship, with all his legislative talents, and his vain boast of them, to form any general notions of a law more perfect.

But this reasoning on the natural efficacy of the Mosaic Law, by its innate virtue, to prevent and to restrain Idolatry, which it did not at all times, in fact, prevent and restrain, will be further supported by this consideration: That the circumstance which, from time to time, occasioned a defection from the Law, was neither an indisposition to its establishment; nor any incoherence in its general Frame and Constitutions nor aversion to any particular part, nor yet a debility or weakness in its Sanctions. The sole cause of the defection was an inveterate prejudice, exterior and foreign to the Law. The Israelites, in their house of bondage, had been brought up in the principles of LOCAL AND TUTELARY DEITIES and INTERCOMMUNITY OF WORSHIP; principles often referred to, on various occasions, in the course of this work, for the illustration of the most important truths. In these Principles, they saw the whole race of mankind agree; and, from the Practice of them, in the worship of tutelar Deities, they thought they saw a world of good ready to arise. But not only the hope of good, but the fear of evil drew them still more strongly into this road of folly. Their Egyptian education had early impressed that bugbear-notion of a set of local Deities, who expected their dues of all who came to inhabit the

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country which they had honoured with their protection *; and severely resented the neglect of payment on all new comers. This will easily account for the frequent defections of the Israelites in the divided service of the Gods of Canaan.-But it is difficult for men. fixed down to the impressions of modern manners, to let themselves into distant times; or to feel the force of motives whose operations they have never experienced Therefore, to convince such men that the early Jewish defections were not owing to any want of force or virtue in the Law, but to the exterior violence of an universal prejudice, it may be proper to observe, that, from the Babylonian Captivity to this very time, the Jews have been as averse to Idolatry under every form and fashion of it, as before they were propense unto it. If it be asked, what it was that occasioned so mighty a change? I answer, It was in part, the severity of that punishment which they had felt; and in part, the abatement of that foolish prejudice which they had favoured, of INTERCOMMUNITY OF WorSHIP: This, though still as general as eyer in the Pagan world, had yet lost greatly of its force amongst the Jews, since they became acquainted with the principles of Gentile Philosophy; the sounder parts of which being found conformable to the reasonable doctrines of their Religion, were applied by them to the use of explaining the Law. An use which this Philosophy was never put to in the place of its birth, on account of the absurdities of Pagan worship; for this kept the principles of Philosophy and the practices of Religion at too great a distance to have any influence on one another. Such was the advantage the followers of the Jewish Law reaped from the Greek Philosophy; an

*See what has been said on this matter just above, in the case of the Cutheans, inhabiting Samaria.


advantage peculiar to them; and which made some amends for the many superstitions of another kind, which the mixing Philosophy with Religion introduced into the practice of the Law: superstitions which depraved, and at length totally destroyed the noble simplicity of its nature and genius.—But I anticipate a subject for which I shall find a much fitter place,

At length then we see, that the Law of Moses was, indeed, such a one as his Lordship would require in a LAW OF DIVINE ORIGINAL, namely, that it produced its effect, if not by a physical necessity which bears down all obstruction before it, yet by a moral, which constantly kept operating when no foreign impediment stood in the way! So false is his Lordship's assertions, that the WHOLE history of this people is one continued series of infractions of the Law. If, by the whole, hẹ means (as his argument requires he should mean) the whole both of their sacred and merely civil history; and, by one continued series of infractions of the Law, their lapses into Idolatry; it is the grossest misrepresentation: the far greater part of their duration as a distinct People was free from idolatry; and an authentic account of this freedom is recorded in their Annals. But if by their whole history, he means (as his cause might necessitate him to mean) only the sacred books; and, by their infraction of the Law, only transgressions in lesser matters, it is illusory and impertinent.

2. We have seen the force of his Lordship's conclusion from the circumstance-of infinite Wisdom's framing the Law: We come next to the other circumstance, from which he deduceth the same conclusion, namely, infinite Power's administering the Law.


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"Let it be remembered (says his Lordship) that "GOD himself is said to have been their King during 166 several ages; that his presence remained amongst them, even after they had deposed him; and that the High Priest consulted him, on any emergency, by the Urim and Thummim. OCCASIONAL MIRACLES were wrought to inforce the Law; but this was a standing miracle, that might serve both to explain and inforce it, by the wisdom and authority "of the Legislator, as often as immediate recourse to "him was necessary. Can it be denied that the most imperfect system of human Laws would have been "rendered effectual by such means as these?”

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This bad reasoning seems to be urged with much good faith, contrary to his Lordship's usual custom; and arises from his ignorance of a Theocratic administration, as the nature of the administration may be collected from the common principles of the Law of Nature and Nations.

Let us consider the affair dispassionately. God, in giving laws to his chosen people, was pleased, more humano, to assume the title of King, and to administer their civil affairs by a Theocratic mode of Government. Every step in this establishment evinces, that it was his purpose to interfere no otherwise than in conformity to that political assumption. He proceeded on the most equitable grounds of civil Government: he became their King by free choice. It must needs therefore be his purpose to confine himself to such powers of legislation, as human Governors are able to exert; though he extended the powers of administration far beyond the limits of humanity. His Lordship's ignorance of so reasonable a distinction occasioned all this pompous Fallacy. He found in the Mosaic Dispensation OCCASIONAL MIRACLES pretended: and he imagined


imagined that, consistently with this pretence, Miracles ought to operate throughout, rather than that the end of the Law should be defeated. But, I presume, GOD could not, conformably to his purpose of erecting a THEOCRACY, and administering it MORE HUMANO, exert miraculous powers in legislating, though he very well might, and actually did exert them, in governing : because, in legislation, a miracle, that is, a supernatural force added to the Laws, to make them constantly obeyed, could not be employed without putting a force upon the Will; by which God's Laws would indeed produce their effect, but it would be by the destruction of the subject of them. The case was different in administering the Laws made: here God was to act miraculously; often out of wise choice, to manifest the nature of the Government, and the reality of his regal character; sometimes out of necessity, for the carrying on of that Government on the Sanctions by which it was to be dispensed: and all this he might do without the least force upon the Will.

This is sufficient to expose the futility of his Lordship's conclusion from the circumstance of infinite Power's administering the Law; it being essential to the Law, that infinite Power administering it, should restrain itself within such bounds as left the will perfectly free. But infinite Power, restrained within such bounds, might sometimes meet with unsurmountable obstructions in the course of its direction, under a Theocracy administered more humano.

II. We have seen how weak his Lordship's reasoning is in itself: Let us now see how much weaker he makes it by ill management; till at length it comes out a good argument against his own objection.

"The Law of Moses (says his Lordship) was so "far from prevailing over accidents and conjunctures,


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