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Jews. Melchezideck, though no Jew, was the high-priest of the living God. Balaam, though an idolater, was his prophet. The Holy Scripture then teaches us, that God not only tolerated every other religion, but also extended his fatherly care to them all. And th all we, after this, dare to be persecutors!
CH A P. XIII.
The Great TOLERATION exercised among
HUS then, under Moses, the Judges,
and the Kings, we find numberless inItances of toleration. Moreover, we are told by Moses, that “God will visit the sins of the " fathers upon the children, unto the third and “ fourth generation.” This threat was neceflary to a people to whom God had not revealed the immortality of the soul, and the rewards and punishment of a future state. These truths are not to be found in any part of the Decalogue, nor in the Levitic, or Deueteronomic law. They were the tenets of the Perfians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Cretans; but made no part of the Jewish religion,
. Mofes does not say, “Honour thy father and “ thy mother, that thou mayest inherit eternal « life ;” but “ that thy days may be long in “ the land, which the Lord thy God giveth bthee:" that is, in this life ; and the punishments with which he threatens them, regard only the present mortal state ; such as being smitten with the fcab and with the itch; wich
blasting and with mildew; that they shall betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her ; that they shall build houses, and others Thall dwell therein; that they shall plant vineyards, and shall not gather the grapes thereof; that they fall eat the fruit of their own bodies, the Aesh of their sons, and of their daughters, and be obliged to bow down before the stranger that is within their gates t: but he never tells them that their fouls are immortal, and shall taste of felicity or punishment after death. God, who conducted his people himself, punished or rewarded them immediately according to their good or evil deeds. Every thing relating to them was temporal, and this the learned bishop Warburton brings as a proof of the divine origin of the Jewish law f ; inasmuch,
I Deut. chap. xxviii. ver. 28. & feq.
1. There is but one paffage in the whole Mosaic law, from which one might conclude that Mofes, was acquainted with the reigning opinion among the Egyptians, that the soul did not die with the body. This passage is very particular, and is in the eighteenth chapter of Deuteronomy: “ There shall
not be found among you any one that useth divi. “ nation, or an observer of times, or an inchanter,
says he, as God being their king, and exercising justice immediately upon them, according to
kor a witch, of a charmer, or a' consulter with " familiar spirits (Python), or a wizard, or a ne“ cromancer." From this passage it appears, that by invoking the souls of the dead, this pretended necromancy supposed a permanency of the foul. It might also happen, that the necromancers of whom Moses speaks, being but ignorant decei. vers, might not have a distinct idea of the magic they operated. They made people believe that they forced the dead to speak, and by the power of their art restored the body to the fame ftate 'as when.living; without once examining whether their ridiculous' operation's 'might authorize the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. The antient magicians were never philosophers, they were at beit but a set of stupid jugglers, who played their tricks before as illiterate fpectators.
But what' is very strange and worthy of obserá vation is, that the word Python should be found in Deuteronomy, so long before that Greek term was known to the Hebrews; and indeed, this word is not to be found in the Hebrew, of which we have never had a good tranlation.
their transgression or obedience, found it not neceffary to reveal to them a doctrine which he reserved for after-times, when he should no longer so immediately govern his people. Those who through ignorance pretend, that Moses taught the immortality of the soul, deprived the New-Testament of one of its principal advantages over the Old. It is certain, that
There are many insurmountable difficulties in this language: it is a mixture of Phænician, Egyptian, Syriac, and Arabic, and has undergone many alterations to the present time. The Hebrew yerbs had only two moods, the present and the futures the rest were to be guessed at by the sense. The different vowels were frequently expressed by. the same characters, or father indeed they were not expresied at all; and the inventors of points have only increased the difficulties they meant to reinove. Every adverb had twenty different fignifications, and the same word had frequently several contrary fenfes. Add to this, that the language was in itself very dry and barren ; for the Jews. not being acquainted with the arts, could not, express what they knew nothing of, 'In a word, the Hebrew is to the Greek what the language of a pedant is to that of an academic,