Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

by himself, prescribes laws by which the subjects of it are governed. These are no other than the judicial laws, which, in the sacred history, are frequently denominated JudgMents. In a theocracy, Jehovah not only

prescribed the qualification of civil rulers; but also pitched on the individual persons to be invested with that power. In other commonwealths, rulers are the Ordinance Of Man; or, as the Apostle speaks, The C R Eat U R E Of Man. In the Hebrew commonwealth they were chosen immediately by God. If the Jewish nation, at any time, exercised the power of electing; magistrates, it consisted either in an approbation of God's choice, or it was the effect of a special mandate froni God himself for that purpose: Saul and David were first chosen by God, then by the people: The people, with Moses, elected elders, God commanding them so to do. Again, Jehovah reserved to himself the prerogative of proclaiming war and making peace. Sometimes God proclaimed war against his enemies; as in the case of the Amalekites and Canaanites: At other times, he informed his subjects in this matter by Urim and Thummim, or*by his inspired prophets: Hence, they are frequently laid to Eno_uire Of The Lord before they adventured on war. In one word, This theocracy was also administered by a peculiar providence. Some imagine, that this administration was perfectly equal, both -as it respected the nation, and also as it respected individuals; but I greatly doubt if such an administration be compatible with the nature of this present world. I would readily grant, however, th,at, for the most part, public reformation was rewarded with national prosperity, and public defection punished with national adversity; as far as was consistent with the rights and exercise of divine sovereinty: For God might cither punish the perpetrators of wickedness in their own persons, or visit the iniquities of the fathers upon, the children unto to the third or fourth generation*. Now,

perhaps, no Church at all, unless it be a kind of Ecclesiastical State. The usual idea they ailix unto the term theocracy is a state in which God himself acted the part os an earthly monarch, without any regard to the internal obedience os his subjects, and without enforcing his statutes bv any but temporal rewards and punishments: "The conditions which entitled to the bleiHngs of the Sinai covenant is obedience to the letter of the Law, even when it did not flow from faith and love. A temporal monarch claims from his subjects only outward honour and obedience. God, therefore, acting in the Kinai Covenant as King of the Jews, demanded from them no more," Erskine's Dissertations, p. 37. "God, in that covenant, acted a* a temporal monarch; and from a temporal monarch, temporal prosperity is all we hope, not spiritual blellings, such as righteousness, peace, •and joy in the Holy Ghost," p. 22. Hence, they conclude, that an equal providence was administrated even unto each individual in the republic. Warburton's Divine Legat. of Moses Demonstrat. Others imagine all

judiciab are of perpetual obligation; and all states, where the Christian religion has obtained, ought to be governed by them. The abbettors of this last opinion ■<rc coufnted by Calvin, Vid. luilitut. palfiin.

the moral law bound not only unto the observation of itself; but also of all its appendages: Thus, for example, the fifth commandment, which bound to honour parents in the commonwealth, as well as in the family, bound to honour those magillrates which Gtkl had instituted among them. The second commandment, which binds unto an observance of all that God has appointed in his word, bound also unto the observance of circumcision, the pafsover, sacrifices of every species, and the observation of their solemn feasts {•.

II. I SHALL

* Twenty instances of a peculiar providence are enumerated by Lcidekker de Repub. Lib. V. cap. i. § 5. cum notis. He would fee a particular account of the theocracy may consult H. Witsius, Orat. Diet. 16. Mar. 1687. De Theocratia Israeutarum. The first author, as far as I know, who gave a view of Jewish government similar to that which 1 have offered, was Herman Conringius, de Repub. Hebræor. p. 113, 114. But he fell into the mistake of denying the distinction between the Jcwislicivil and ecclesiastic governments, which mistake we intend to consider afterwards. The peculiar form, and diilim't branches of the Hebrew polity, are delineated, with great accuracy and judgment,by Moses Lowman, in a Dissertation on the Civil Government of the Hebrews; in which the true designs and nature of the government are explained. The Justice, Wistom, and Goodness of the Mosaic constitution are vindicated. London edit. 1 740.

f The above view os the Jewish Government, which I take to be the just one, will never yield this conclusion, "That the Mosaic covenant contained only temporal

blessings;

II. I Shall now express a connected view of both the promises and precepts in this transaction, with Israel's acceptance of them. And their bond seems to have been to the following purpose : " Because the Lord God of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has been graciously pleased to take us for his peculiar people, dignifying us with the dispositions of kings and priests, as well as entitling us unto the honour of them; consecrating us to be a holynation unto himself, while he makes over himself unto us as our own God, assuring us of the guidance of the angel of his presence, to conduct us through the .wilderness in the meantime, as also the Messiah in the fulness of time; and also, because he hath renewed the security granted to our fathers, of bleflings both spiritual and temporal: "we Engage and resolve, To hear and believe all that God hath promised, to obey all the precepts he hath enjoined; particularly, to know and acknowledge God as the only true God, and our God,

bleflings; and demanded only out-fide obedience." Is it j list reasoning* to argue, because God stood in the capacity of a head to the commonwealth, therefore, he could not stand in any other relation to the members of it? That, because he demanded loyalty, and respect to the judicial law, therefore, he could not claim any spiritual obedience unto the moral law? That, because he promised temporal blessings, therefore, he could not bestow any other? Yet such are the reasonings upon which mighty bulwarks have been erected, for besieging a Covenanted Reformation! But I hope they will never make the smallest stone of it to shake.

and and to worship and glorify him accordingly; by receiving, observing, keeping pure and entire all such religious worship and ordinances as lie hath appointed in his word; making a holy and reverend use of God's names, titles, attributes, ordinances, words, and works; and keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his word, expressly one whole day in seven, to be Sabbath to himself, by an holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days, spending the whole time in the public and private exercise of God's worship, except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and. mercy: And we resolve, To preserve the honour and perform the duty which belongeth unto every one in their several places and relations, as superiors, inferiors, or equals; and to use all lawful endeavours to preserve our own life and the life of others; and to preserve our own and bur neighbour's chastity in heart, speech, and behaviour; with the lawful procuring and furthering the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and others; while we maintain and promote the truth between man and man, and endeavour to maintain, each for himself, his own and his neighbour's good name, especially in witness bearing: And we engage, To endeavour full contentment with our own condition, with a right and charitable frame of spirit towards our neighbour, and all that is his *."

* Shorter Catechism.

III. I SHAJ.L

« AnteriorContinuar »