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Father Simon of the Oratory had said, that the republic of the Hebrews never acknowledged any other CHIEF than God alone, who continued to govern in that quality even during the time in which it was subject to Kings*. This was enough to make his learned adversary take the other side of the question; who being piqued at Simon's contemptuous slight of his offered assistance in the project for a new Polyglott, revenged himself upon him in those licentious † Letters, intitled, Sentimens de quelques Theologiens de Hollande, where his only business is to pick a quarrel. He therefore maintains against Simon, That the theocracy ceased on establishing the throne in the race of David‡. What he hath of argument to support this opinion is but little; and may be summed up in the following observation, That God did not PERSONALLY interfere with his directions, nor discharge the functions of a Magistrate after the establishment of the Kings as he had done before §. But this, instead of proving the abolition of the Theocracy, only shews that it was

La Republique des Hebreux differe en cela de tous les autres états du monde, qu'elle n'a jamais reconnu pour chef que Dieu seul, qui a continué de la gouverner en cette qualité dans les tems mêmes, qu'elle a été soumise à des rois. Histoire Crit, de Vieux Test. p. 15. Ed. Rotterd. 1685.

See note [G] at the end of this Book,

Il paroît au contraire par l'Ecriture, que Dieu n'a gouverné la republique des Hebreux, en qualité de chef politique, que pendant qu'ils n'avoient point des rois, & peut-être au commencement que le rois furent etablis, avant que la famille de David fut affermie sur le trône de Israel. Sentimens, &c. p. 78,

§ -Pendant tout ce temps-la, Dieu fit les fonctions de roi, IĮ jugeoit des affairesil repondoit par l'oracle-il reglait la marche de l'armée-il envoyoit même quelquefois un ange-On n'étoit obligé d'obeïr aveuglement, qu'aux seuls ordres de Dieu. Mais lors qu'il y eut des rois en Israël, & que le royaume fut attaché à la famille de David, les rois furent maîtres absolus, & Dieu cessa de faire leurs fonctions. pp. 78, 79.

administered

administered by a Viceroy. For in what consists the office of a Viceroy but to discharge the functions of his Principal? He had been a cipher, bad God still governed immediately, as before. Mr. Le Clerc could see that God acted by the ministry of the Judges*. If then the Theocratic function could be discharged by deputation, why might it not be done by Kings as well as Judges? The difference, if any, is only from less to more, and from occasional to constant. No, says our Critic, the cession was in consequence of his own declaration to Samuel: For they have not rejected thee, but they have REJECTED ME, that I should not reign over them. This only declares the sense God had of their mutinous request; but does not at all imply that he gave way to it. For who, from the like words (which express so natural a resentiment of an open defection) would infer in the case of any other monarch, that he thereupon stepped down from his throne, and suffered an usurper to seize his place? This, we see, was poor reasoning. But, luckily for his reputation, he had an Adversary who reasoned worse. However, Simon saw thus much into Le Clerc's cavil, as to reply, That all he had said was quite beside the purpose, for that the thing to be proved was, that, after the establishment of the Kings, God was no longer the civil Chief

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* —au lieu qu'auparavant Dieu lui-même la faisoit, par le ministere des Juges, qu'il susciteit de temps en temps au milieu d'Israël. Def. des Scut. p. 121.

+C'est pour cela que Dieu dit à Samuel, lors qu' Israël voulut avoir un roi pour le juger à la manière de toutes les nations: ce n'est pas toi qu'ils ont rejetté, mais moi, afin que je ne regne point sur cux. 1 Sam. viii. 7.

Je passe sous silence le long discours de Mr. le Clerc touchant le pouvoir de Dieu sur les Israëlites avant l'etablissement des rois, d'où il pretend prouver que Dieu pendant tout ce temps-la fit la fonction de roi, Tout cela est hors de propos, puis qu'il s'agit de

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On which Le Clerc thus insults him: As much as to say, that in order to proce God was no longer Chief of the Hebrews after the election of a King, it is beside the purpose to shew, he never afterwards discharged the functions of a Chief of the republic. It is thus this great Genius happily unravels matters, and discovers, in an instant, what is, and what is not to the purpose*. Whether Simon indeed knew why Le Clerc's objection was nothing to the purpose, is to be left to God and his own conscience, for he gives us no reasons for the censure he passes on it: but that it was indeed nothing to the purpose, is most evident, if this proposition be true, "That a King does not cease "to be King, when he puts in a Viceroy, who executes "the regal office by deputation."

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Le Clerc returns to the charge in his Defence of the Sentiments:-"The Israelites did not reject God as Protector, but as civil Chief, as I observed before. They would have a King who should determine sovereignly, and command their armies. Which, "before this, God himself did by the ministry of the Judges, whom he raised up, from time to time, from "the midst of Israel. In this sense we must under"stand absolutely the words of God, in Samuel, that "I should not reign over them." It is indeed strange,

that,

prouver, qu'apres ces temps la Dieu n'a plus été leur chef: & c'est ce qu'on ne prouvera jamais, Reponse aux Sentimens de quelques Theol. de Hol. p. 55.

*

de

-C'est à dire, qué pour prouver que Dieu n'a pas été chef des Hebreux, après l'election des rois, il est hors de propos prouver qu'il n'a plus fait les fonctions de chef de la republiquè. C'est ainsi que ce grand genie debrouille heureusement les matieres, & découvre d'abord ce qui est hors de propos, de ce qui ne l'est pas. Defens. des Sentimens, p. 120.

+ Les Israelites ne rejetterent pas Dieu comme protecteur, mais comme chef politique, ainsi que je l'ai marqué. Ils voulurent

un

that, after writing two books, he should still insist on so foolish a paralogism*, That God's giving up his office of civil Chief, was a necessary consequence of the People's demanding it. For, that they did demand it, I acknowledge. Let us consider then this whole matter a little more attentively.

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Samuel (and I desire the Deists would take notice of it) had now, by a wise and painful direction of affairs, restored the purity of Religion, and rescued his Nation from the power of the Philistines, and their other hostile neighbours; against whom they were utterly unable to make head when he entered upon the public Administration. At this very time, the People, debauched, as usual, by power and prosperity, took the pretence of the corrupt conduct of the Prophet's two sons †, to go in a tumultuary manner, and demand a King. But the secret spring of their rebellion was the ambition of their leaders; who could live no longer without the splendour of a regal Court and Houshold; GIVE ME (say they, as the Prophet Hosea interprets their insolent demand) A KING AND PRINCES; where every one of them might shine a distinguished Officer of State. They could get nothing when their affairs led them to their Judges' poor residence, in the Schools of the Prophets, but the GIFT of the Holy Spirit §; which a Courtier, I presume, would not prize even at the rate Simon Magus held it, of a paltry piece of money.

un roi qui les jugeât souverainement, & qui commandât leurs armées, au lieu qu'auparavant Dieu lui-même le faişoit, par le ministere des juges, qu'il suscitoit de temps en temps au milieu d'Israël. --En ce sens il faut entendre absolument les paroles de Dieu dans Samuel, afin que je ne regne point sur eux, p. 121.

* However, foolish as it is, the Reader hath seen, how a late Sermonizer has borrowed it, and how little force he has added to it. Chap. xiii. ver. 10,

† 1 Sam. viii. 5. and xii. 12.

Chap. x. 10. and chap. xix,

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money.This it was, and this only, that made their demand criminal. For the chusing Regal rather than Aristocratic Viceroys was a thing plainly indulged to them by the Law of Moses, in the following admonition; When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwelt therein, and shalt say, I will set a KING over me, like as the nations that are about me; Thou shalt in any zwise set him King over thee, whom the LORD THY GOD SHALL CHUSE: one from amongst thy Brethren shalt thou set King over thee: Thou mayest not set a Stranger over thee, which is not thy brother*. The plain meaning of which caution is, that they should take care, when they demanded a King, that they thought of none other than such a King who was to be GOD'S DEPUTY. As therefore Court-ambition only was in the wicked view of the Ringleaders of these malecontents, and no foolish fears for the State, or hopes of bettering the public Administration; it is evident to all acquainted with the genius of this Time and People, that compliance with their demand must have ended in the utter destruction of the Mosaic RELIGION as well as LAW. But it was God's purpose to keep them SEPARATE, in order to preserve the memory of himself amidst an idolatrous World. And this not being to be done but by the preservation of their Religion and Law, we must needs conclude that he would not give way to their rebellious demand.

And what we are brought to conclude from the reason of the thing, the history of this transaction clearly enough confirins. For it having now informed us how GOD consented to give this People a King; To shew us, that he had not cast off the Government, But only transferred the immediate Administration to * Deut, xvii, 14, 15,

a Deputy,

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