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creatures on such an employment.” They have offered no reasons for this bold assertion: and I can find none. In the mean tiine, we must needs be much edified with the inodesty of these men ; who deny that liberty to God, which they are not backward to allow to their earthly Sovereigns : Amongst whom, the right of employing one part of their Subjects to execute their Sentence on another, is every, where practised, without censure or control.

But they say further, " that although God might, yet he certainly would not have recourse to human agency in this matter, on account of the mischiefs which such agency was likely to produce.

First, as it is extremely liable to abuse. Every Pretender to a divine command, whether feigned by an Impostor, or fancied by an Enthusiast, would, when supported by this example, never suffer their Neighbours to live in peace.

And Saracen armies and Popish Crusades would be always at hand to carry on desolation in the name of God."

Secondly, “this instrumentality must have an ill effect on the MANNERS of the Israelites, by making their hearts callous, and insensible to the calamities of their Fellow-Creatures." These are the objections of our PHILOSOPHERS. But before they give us time to reply, they kindly take the trouble off our hands, and will needs answer for us, themselves. This is one of their usual tricks, to stop or cover the disgrace of a foolish Sophism, by a shew of candour. But, indeed, their aim is to draw the Advocate of religion from solid ground, which is fairly and steadily to confute infidelity, ON ITS OWN PRINCIPLES. Of this slight of hand, the Poet Voltaire has here given us an example most worthy of him.This [the extermination of the Canaanites] had been an enormous crime, had not God himself, THE SOVEREIGN ARBITER OF LIFE AND DEATH, of whose conduct me are not to ask a reason, so ordained, in the impenetrable depths of his justice.--Indeed! But we will be bold to bring him back to the state of the question.—“God the

. MORAL GOVERNOR of the World could not or would not (say unbelievers) make use of human Instruments for the destruction of the Canaanites.” This is the objection.


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But to keep us from answering, they take the business into their own hands-God (says this prince of Philosophers) the Creator, the sovereign arbiter of life and death, of whose conduct we are not to ask, what dost thou? hath foreclosed all reasoning, in the impenetrable depths of his Justice.

Thus they raise their objection against a coinmand of God, as MORAL GOVERNOR of the Universe, (and such he is always represented in Scripture) and then, to stop our mouthis with a Flam, answer the objection themselves, by putting a PHYSICAL CREATOR in his place.

Now, of the actions of a MORAL GOVERNOR, we may, with due modesty and humility, ask the reason ;--Shall 'not THE JUDGE OF ALL THE EARTH do right? was asked * in a similar case, by the Father of the Faithful. But, to the PhysiCAL CREATOR of the Universe, who will venture to say, what doest thou t?--Illustrious PhiJosopher! permit us therefore to answer for ourselves. We say, that the moral Governor of the World can never be debarred from carrying on his Administration in such a way as may best suit the ends of divine Wisdom, because human folly may encourage itself to raise, on that ground, an impious and abusive imitation. And, neither under natural, nor under revealed Religion, hath God thought fit to exempt or secure his Laws from such abuses.

God, under natural Religion, in the ordinary course of his Providence, hath, by annexing evil to Vice, made that Constitution of things the Instrument of punishment; but how hath this Dispensation been dishonoured, and even to the disturbance of Society itself, when these punishments, interpreted by ignorant or uncharitable men, have been turned into EXTRAORDINARY JUDGMENTS ?--Again, Peter and John said, what every honest Deist is ready to say,—IVe must obey God rather than Mant. Yet how perpetually has this truth been abused by Rebels and Fanatics.

Under Revealed Religion, MIRACLES, (the necessary Credential of those intrusted with its promulgation) by which Power, both the physical and intellectual Systems were controlled, have yet occasioned innumerable abuses, defiling every age of the Church with fantastic Prodigics, and lying Wonders.

* Gen. xviii. 25. + Job ix. 12. Acts y. 29.


But why do I speak of these sanctions of Revelation, (the Credentials of God's Messengers) avhen the very Communication of his Will to Man, REVELATION itselt, hath filled all ages and nations with Impostors, pretending to a divine Commission?

But our Philosophers go on; and say, “ That this Office of destruction, imposed upon the Israelites, must have produced an ill effect on their Moral Character, by giving them wrong notions of the divine Nature; and by vitiating their own; as it had a tendency to destrov or to weaken the Social passions and affections:”.

Nay, further, they pretend to see the marks of these evils in the Character of the chosen People : whom, therefore, instead of pitying, (and if the evils arose from the cause they assign, were most deserving of pity) they have most mercilessly abused and misrepresented. But to answer to the FIRST PART of this infidel objection, which pretends that the Jews were brought, by this einployment, to entertain wrong ideas of the Divine Nature, I reply,—The most adorable attribute of God, tije moral Governor of the world, is liis LONG-SUFFERING, by wlrich he bears with the crimes and follies of men, in order to bring them to repentance: Now this attribute he hath made manifest to all : but more fully te> Lis chosen People; even in the very case of these devoted Canaanites. For when their crimes were arrived at the height of human depravity, He still withlield his hand, and, by divers awakening Judgments, gave them time and invitation for repentance. But on their neglect and contempt of his repeated warnings, He, at length, was forced, as it were, to pour out his full vengeance

upon them.

The Author of the Apocryphal Book, of the Wisdom of Solomon, thus graphically paints their case, in an Address to the Almighty :-“ Thou hast mercy upon " all--thou winkest at the Sins of Men, because they " should amend—Thou sparest all; for they are thine, " thou Lover of Souls ! »Therefore thou chastenest thein, by little and little, that offend; and warnest

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" them by putting them in remembrance wherein they « have offended; that leaving their wickedness, they


OLD INHABITANTS OF THY HOLY LAND; whom " thou hatest for doing most odious works of Sorceries, “ and WICKED SACRIFÈCES--merciless murderers of children, and devourers of man's flesh, and the feasts

of blood-Nevertheless even those thou sparedst as * Men*, and didst send Wasps, forerunners of thine “ host, to destroy them by little and little executing thy judgments upon them by little and little, THOU GAVEST

THEM PLACE OF REPENTANCE; not being ignorant “ that they were a naughty Generation-and their “ cogitations would never be changed t."

The Canonical Books of Scripture authenticate what this Sage Writer of after-times, here delivers, concerning God's dealing with these devoted Nations.

Moses, on the egression of the Israelites from Egypt, speaks thus to them, in the Person of the Almighty * I will send Hornets before thee, which shall drive

out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite from “ before thee. I will not drive them out from before * thee in one year, lest thie land become desolate ; but

by little and little will I drive them out from before “ thee." And again in his last exhortation to his People,-“ Behold the Lord, thy God, will send the Hornet amongst them, until they that are left, and « hide themselves from thee, be destroyed Q.” And Joshua, on the like occasion, tells the People that what Moses had promised, in the name of the God of Israel; God had fulfilled--I sent the HORNET before you, which drove them out from before you, even the two Kings of the Amorites || .

Here, the Reader may observe, that the Apocryphal Writer gives one reason for the temporary plagues, which forerun the total destruction of the Canaanites: and the Authentic Text gives another; nor will the

i. e. for the sake of their rational nature, though by their un. natural' vices they had forfeited all the prerogatives of humanity.

+ Ch.xi. 23 & seq.--Ch. xii. 2. & seq. Excd. sx111. 28. $ Deut. vii. 20. !! Josh. xxiv. 12.


learned Reader be at a loss to account for this difference.

The Israelites, under their Leader, Moses, did not want to be told, that those temporary Plagues were sent in mercy. They had, on the first opening of his Commission, been instructed by him, in the attributes of the true God, his long suffering and bearing with the contradiction of Sinners; and his merciful acceptance even of a late-delayed Repentance. They had experienced the unwearied exertion of this attribute, even in their own case, when their repeated perversities, which would have tired out every thing but infinite Goodness, were as often pardoned as they were committed. So that they were not ignorant, though their degenerate Posterity, in the time of this Apocryptical Writer, might want to be informed of the gracious purpose, in those warnings to a devoted People.

And as there was another use in these probationary plagues, viz. the wasting the Inhabitants of Canaan, this

was the design which Moses and Joshua principally insist · on, as it was the greatest encouragement to a dastardly People. Moses, in the name of his Master, promiseth to send Hornets before them, which should DRIVE

HORNETS out the Hivite, &c. And Joshua reminds his People how the promise had been performed-God sent the HORNET before you, which drove them out from before

you, &c.

This assurance was no more than needed. The cowardice contracted in a long state of Slavery; (a state fairly recorded, and deeply lamented by their Leader) required the assistance of all NATURE in their support.

“ O nimiuin dilecte Deo-cui militat Æther,

“ Et conjurati veniunt ad Classica venti.” But though these warning Judgments, these chastisements of mercy, were lost on those to whoin they were sent, yet they were not cast away; for, in aggravating the Crimes of the Canaanites, they served, at the same time, to promote their speedier extermination. So admirably is the moral government of God administered, that its acts, directed to various purposes, are never issued in vain. But what is said in holy Writ, of the previous punishments on the Canaanites, in mercy, is

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