Imágenes de páginas

the following consideration might well have some influence in the establishment of a temporal Difpensation for the Israelites. - No queftion can be made, but that one principal immediate design of the difpenfation under which the Jews were placed; was; that it might be a standing evidence of the error and falsehood of those Systems of Idolatry, into which all the nations of the earth were at that time funk. And in all those Idolatrous Religions, the fictitious Gods they worshiped were believed to be the dispensers of all National evils and blesfings; as well as in fpecial tases, even of those which happened to particular persons.' To keep the Israelites therefore from running into any of these National Systems of idolatry, in which their false Gods were supposed the immediate dispensers. of all present punishments and rewards; as well as to be a direct proof to the idolatrous Nations themselves, of the folly and falfehood of their Systems of Religion ; it might be exremely useful, perhaps necessary, to oppose the Pagan Systems, by a Dispensation to the Israelites ; in which, at the fame time that God clearly declared himself the One Only True God, the Creator and Sole Moral Governour of the whole World; He likewise engaged to be a National and peculiar God to Them; in the same light in which the Nations considered their fietitious Gods; and declared, that he would dispense to them immediate National, as well as particular, blessings and evils, to reward their obedience or disobedience to his laws; as the Heathens vainly supposed their false gods to do by them. It might surely be worthy of God, thus to thew, by a constant series of present facts, his unspeakable fuperiority over all the fictitious objects of the Heathen worship. Perhaps no other than such a Temporal and National Dispensation ; which at the same time instructed them, in the fullest man5


Aer, in the real Nature of the One True God; and was likewise exactly oppofed to the Systems of Idolatry then every where embraced; would have been received, or in any degree adhered to by the Ifraelites themselves; or have been capable of producing any effects upon the idolatrous Nations round them. A Syftem, in which, as in the Chriftian, a Future State was positively and clearly revealed; and the rewards and punifhments attending obedience and disobedience to its commands referred, in a manner, wholly to That State; might perhaps, through the remoteness of its sanctions, have been unable at that time to work fufficiently upon the hopes and fears of the Israelites); habituated by their long refidence in Egypt, to the notion of National Gods, and immediate punishments and rewards; to induce them to receive, or at least adhere to it. On this Account perhaps; among others, which the Christian world longs earnestly to see more fully explained by the very learned Bishop Warburton; and perhaps for many reasons besides, which we in our present state at least shall never know; a Temporal Difpenfation, such as that of Moses, might be the most useful and proper; till the improvement of Moral Philosophy among the Gentiles, and the oppositions of Sects among the Jews, had contributed to wean mankind from their temporal Systems, and made them capable of attending to a more perfect Dispensation, founded on future punishments and rewards.

Upon the whole, so far is it from being true, " That the Law of Mofes does not appear calcu“ lated to give mankind just notions of God, and “ of his Attributes ; or to encourage pure and “ rational worship '; -Or, that the notions in“ culcated in the Law of Mofes, either with re

[merged small][ocr errors]

“spect to the Nature of God, or the duties of " Morality, were wrong in themselves, and such " as led the Jews into the moft egregious error ! and folly?;" which the Author with his usual ease has not hesitated to pronounce; that it is evident upon examining all the precepts of the Mosaic Law, that the essential notions of God there expressly inculcated, and repeatedly insisted on, are to extremely worthy of the All-perfect Being; and its Moral Doctrines fo excellent and pure; that had the Jews adhered to its Moral Commands, as they did in general to its Ceremonial injunctions, they would have been a race of men almost as much distinguished from every Heathen Nation by the Purity of their Moral Conduct, as by their fingular worship of the One True God?

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

-P. 346.

· The Author not only fays (p. 346) “ That the wrong

notions of God, which the Old Testament shews were incul“ cated into the Terus by Mofes, led them into egregious

error and folly;" but that this was improved upon, till

men funk into such ignorance, that they worshipped God “ under any form, which the maddest enthusiasm could de“ vise."-As if, forsooth, there had been no idolatry till af. ter Mofes ; and that, in fact, He and the Jews were the real Authors of all the idolatry in the world. Yet (p: 402) he agrees, that “the world was funk into gross idolatry before " the time of Mofes.And in other places he accuses Priests of being the Authors of all idolatry. --Let him prove by Au. thorities earlier than Moses, that Priests introduced the idolatry which sublisted before his time.

[ocr errors][merged small]


The Author's further Objections against the Old

Testament, and particularly bis Misrepresentations of the Setting up of the Golden-Calf, considered.


FTER the view we have just taken of the

real Nature and Tendency of the Jewish Difpensation, we shall the more readily discern the falsehood of several aspersions, which the Author has endeavoured to fix upon various particulars of the Old Testament.

He attempts to vilify the representations of God contained in the Old Testament, by opposing them to those of the New. He says, “ God is con« ftantly reprefented in the New Testament, as a « God of patience, long-suffering, now to anger, 6 and abundant in goodness and truth; though " the Jews, who were a sour gloomy people, often

represent him in the Old Testament, as a jealous,

peevish, passionate, revengeful Being *"-Now if it was the lour and gloomy temper of the Jews, which was the cause of thus representing God in the Old Testament; who was it represented him in so much more amiable a light in the New ? Was not the New wrote by Jews as well as the Old ? And if the temper of the Jews was the cause of God's being represented as he is in the Old, how comes he not to be represented in the same light in the New? The truth is, that the temper of the Jews had nothing to do with the representations of God either in the One, or the Other ; nor has the Author any grounds for ascribing a sour and glooming temper to the Jews, in the time of

[blocks in formation]

Moses especially, if it had. But besides, the fact itself which he has asserted is false. We have seen that the felf-fame amiable perfections are ascribed to God, as the essential perfections of his nature, both in the Old Testament, and in the Nero: and these very expressions, that he is long-suffering, how to anger, and abundant in goodness and truth; that he is good to all, and that his tender mercies are over all his works; are common to the Old with the New, though they do not so often occur in it, as in the Netoa. Nor is it less true that jealousy, Avenging, and wrath, are attributed to God in the New, though not so often made mention of, as well as in the Old. Thus it is there said, he may be proveked to jealousy, and by the very fame ineans, idolatry : That God will avenge bis ele&to;--- and his Apostles, and Propbets, bis fercants d;-- That he is the avenger of the fraudulento; a text which the Author himself approves': and that the wicked-Shall drink of the wine of the wrath of Ged, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignations. And wrath is attributed To God in a great variety of passages throughout che New Testament": The Author's affertions therefore on this point are as falfe, as they are invidious i.



[ocr errors]

f P. 131:

a See Exod. xxxiv. 6. Numb. xiv. 28. Deut. v. 10. Pfalin lxxxvi. S, 15. ciii. 8, 11, 17. cxlv. 8, 9. Jerem, Xxii. 18.

i Cor. . 22. Ć Luke xvisi 7, 8 and xi. ço: 51. d Rev. xviii. 20.“ xix. 3. i Theff. iv. 6.

& Rev. xiv. 1o. h See Matth. iii. 7. Luke xxi. 23. John ii. 36. Rom. i. 13. ii. 5, 8. v.9. ix. 22. xiii. 4. Ephef

. ii. 3. v. 6. Coloff. ii. 6. 1 Thess. i. 10. 7. 16. Rev. vi. 16, 17. xiv. 10, 19. XV. 1, 7. xvi. 19. xix. 15:

i The Author inveighs with great warmth (p. 136, 137.) gainst insincerity and lying; and divides lies in general into o diftinct forts of churcb-lies, laru-lies, phyfic-lies, army-lies,


« AnteriorContinuar »