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2. The eighth Book is employed in supporting the MAJOR and minor Propositions of the second Syllogisin, in which is considered the PERSONAL CHARACTER of Moses and the GENIUS OF THE LAW, as far as it concerns or has a relation to the character of the Law. giver. Under this latter head, is contained a full and satisfactory Answer to those who may object, " That a revealed Religion with a future state of rewards and punishments is unworthy the Divine Author to whom it is ascribed."
3. The ninth and last Book explains at large the nature and genius of the CHRISTIAN DISPENSATION : For having, towards the end of the eighth Book, examined the PRETENDED REASONS (offered both by Believers and Unbelievers to evade my conclusion) for omitting the Doctrine of a future State of rewards and punishments in the Mosaic Dispensation, I was naturally and necessarily led to inquire into the TRUE. For now, it might be finally objected, “ That though, under an extraordinary Providence, there might be no occasion for the doctrine of a future State, in support of Religion, or for the ends of Government; yet as that Doctrine is a truth, and consequently, under every regimen of Providence, useful, it seems hard to conceive, that the Religious Leader of the Jews, because as a Lawgiver he could do without it, that therefore, as a Divine, he would omit it.” The objection is of weight in itself, and receives additional moment from what hath been observed in the fifth Book, concerning the Reason of the Law of punishing Children for the crimes of their parents. I held it therefore insufficient barely to reply, “ Moses omitted it, that “ his Law might thereby stand, throughout all ages, an « invincible. Monument of the truth of his pretences : but proceeded to explain the GREAT AND PRINCIPAL reason of the omission. And now, ventum ad VERUM est.
The whole concludes with one general but distinct view of the entire course of God's universal economy
from Adam to Christ. In which it is shewn, that if Moses were, in truth, sent from God, he could not teach a future State ; that Doctrine being out of his Commission, and reserved for hiin who was at the head of another Dispensation, by which life and immortality was to be brought to light.
This Discourse, besides the immediate purpose of supporting and illustrating the ARGUMENT here completed, serves another end, which I had in view, as to the general disposition of the whole work: which was to explain and discriminate the distinct and various natures of the PAGAN, the JEWISH and the CHRISTIAN Religions : the Pagan having been considered in the first Volume, and the Jewish in the second; the Christian is reserved for the third* and last. Let me conclude therefore, in an address to my Reverend Brethren, with the words of an Ancient Apologistt: Quid nobis invidemus, si veritas Divinitatis, nostri temporis Ætate maturuit ? Fruamur bono nostro, et recti sententiam temperemus : cohibeatur SUPERSTITIO, IMPIETAS expietur, VERA RELIGIO reservetur.
As the first and second volumes of the Edition alluded to, conitained Books I. to VI. the third volume was intended to comprise the VIIth Villth & IXth; but the VIIth & VIIIth Books were never composed (See Life of the Author, vol. i. pp. 80 to 89, of this Edition). The Išsh Book forms the concluding part of this volume. -Ed.
† Minucius Felix.
END OF THE SIXTH BOOK.
THE BOOK OF JOB,
N excellent Writer having freely and candidly А
examined the late Bishop of London's collection of Sermons, and in page 165 of his Examination, asked this question, Where was Idolatry ever punished by the Magistrate, but under the Jewish Economy? The Oxford Professor, in the second Edition of his Prelections, concerning the sacred Poetry of the Hebrews, thinks fit to give the following answer—" It was punished under " the Economy of the Patriarchs, in the families and “ under the DOMINION of Abraham, Melchisedec and “ JOB. Idolatry spreading wider and wider, Abraham
was called by God from Chaldea, for this end, to be - the father of a People, which, divided from all others,
might continue to worship the true God; to be set up s for an exemplar of true Religion, and to be ready to “ give testimony against the worship of vain Deitics, “ Was not Abraham, therefore (exercising the sove" REIGNTY in his own family) to punish Idolatry? ŚWere not Melchisedec and Job, and all the Sove
REIGNS of Tribes of that time, who still retained the “ knowledge and worship of the true God, amidst a
general defection of all the surrounding People, to take care that their own did not backslide? To curb offend
ers, and to inflict punishment on the obstinate, the ” REBELLIOUS, and on all those who spread abroad
the contagion of this vice.”—Ad quæstionem responVol. VI.
detur : Sub oeconomia Patriarcharum; in familiis, et sub DOMINATU Abrahami, Melchizedechi, Jobi, cæterorumque. Ingruente Idololatria divinitus evocabatur ex Chaldæa Abrahamus : eum in finem, ut fieret pater Gentis, quæ ab aliis omnibus divisa, verum Deum coleret, publicum propoveret exemplum puræ religionis, contraque cultum vanorum numinum testimonium perhiberet. Nonne erat igitur Abrahami in sua familia PRINCIPATUM exercentis proprium officium et munus in Idololatriam animadvertere? Nonne Melchizedechi, Jobi, omniumque tunc temporis in suis Tribubus PRINCIPUM, qui veri Dei cognitionem et cultum in communi fere gentinm circunvicinarum defectione adhuc retinebant, cavere, ne sui deficerent; coercere delinquentes; obstinatos et REBELLES, et sceleris contagionem propagantes, supplicio afficere:--- Supplementum ad primam Prelectionum Editionem: Addit. Editionis secunda, p. 312.
This is so pleasant an answer, and so little needing the masterly hand of the Eraminer, to correct, that a few strictures, in a cursory Note, will be more than sufficient to do the business.
1. The Examiner, to prove, I suppose, that the book of Job was a dramatic work, written long after the time of the Patriarch, asks, Where was Idolatry ever punished by the MAGISTRATE, but under the Jewish Economy ? The Professor answers, It was punished under the JoBean Economy. And he advances nothing without proof. Does not Job himself say, that Idolatry was an iniquity to be punished by the Judge? The Examiner replies, that the Job who says this, is an airy Phantom, raised for other purposes than to lay down the Law for the Patriarchal times. The Professor maintains that they are all Asses, with ears as long as Father Harduin's, who cannot see that this is the true and genuine old Job.--In good time. Sub Judice lis est : And while it is so, I am afraid the learned Professor BEGS THE QUESTION; when, to prove that Idolatry was punished by
the Magistrate, out of the land of Judea, he affirms that KING JOB punished it. If he say, he does not rest his assertion on this passage of the Book of Job alone, but on the sacred Records, from whence he concludes that those civil MAGISTRATES, Abraham and Melchisedec, punished Idolatry; I shall own he acts fairly, in putting them all upon the same footing; and on what ground that stands, we shall now see.
2. The Examiner says, Where was Idolatry ever punished by the Magistrate, but under the Jewish Economy? A question equivalent to this,—“Where was Idolatry punished by the civil Magistrate on the established Laws of the State, but in Judea ? To which, the Professor replies, “ It was punished by all the Patriarchal Monarchs, by king Job, king Abraham, and king Melchisedec.
Of a noble race was Shenkin, But here, not one, save the last, had so much as a nominal title to civil Magistracy: And this last drops, as it were, from the clouds, without lineage or parentage; so that, though of divine, yet certainly not a Monarch of the true stamp, by hereditary right. The Critic therefore fails in his first point, which is, finding out civil Magistrates to do bis hierarchical drudgery.
3. But let us admit our Professor's right of investiture, to confer this high office, and then see how he proves, that these his Lieges punished the crime of Idolatry by civil punishment. ABRAHAM, and the Patriarchs his descendants, come first under consideration. What! (says he) was not Abraham, exercising the SOVEREIGNTY in his own family, to punish Idolatry? Hobbes is, I be lieve, the only one (save our Professor) who holds that “ Abraham had a right to prescribe to his family what “ Religion they should be of, to tell them what was the “ word of God, and to punish those who countenanced any
Doctrine which he had forbidden.” Leviath. chap. 40.-But God speaking of Abrahạın, says, I know