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pleased Providence to place the Church of Christ: with abundant evidence to support itself against infidelity; yet so much left to be discovered as may rightly exercise the faith and industry of all humble and sober adorers of the Cross. Which however shews it was not the intent of Providence that one of these virtues should thrive at the
expence of the other. Therefore when my learned Adversary*, in order, I will believe, to advance Christian faith, would discourage Christian industry, by calumniating, and rendering suspected, what he is pleased to Call EXPERIMENTS in religion, it is, I am afraid, at best, but a zeal without knowledge. Indeed, if men will come to this study with unwashed hands, that is, without a due reverence of the diguity of these sacred volumes; or, what is as ill in the other extreme, with unpurged heads, that is, stuffed full of systems, or made giddy by enthusiasm, it is not unreasonable to expect the success which Dr. Stebbing pretends to have observed. But then, let him keep his advice for those whom it concerns.
II. The other subject debated in this pamphlet is of the THEOCRACY of the Jews. Having undertaken to prove the divinity of the Mosaic religion from the actual administration of an extraordinary providence over that state in general, and over private men in particular, by the medium of the omission of a future state of rewards and punishments in their economy; what I had to do was to shew from Scripture, that such a dispensation of Providence was there represented to have been administered. This I did two ways, from the nature of the thing; and from the express words of Scripture. Under the first head, I shewed † that, from the nature of a theocracy, it necessarily followed, by as plain an induction as that protection follows obedience to the civil magistrate, that there must be an extraordinary providence over the state in general, and over all the members of it in particular. And that though a theocracy were only pretended, yet, if the institutor of it knew the meaning of his own contrivance, he must, of course, pretend this extraordinary providence likewise. In support of which last observation I have shewnt, in the ⚫ Dr. Stebbing.
+ Both in The Divine Legation and in this Pamphlet.
second place, that such a dispensation of Providence is actually, and in express words of Scripture, said to be administered. After this, what has an unbeliever to do (for it is hard to think how any other should have any thing to do in it) who would invalidate this representation, but either to deny that the Jewish form of government was theocratical, and, by that means, endeavour to deprive me of the first of my proofs, from the nature of the thing: or to allow this pretended theocracy, yet shew from fact, by Scripture history, that such a dispensation of Providence was not administered; which would subvert both my proofs. And this sure none but an unbeliever could deliberately do, because it argues Moses of imposture. For if an extraordinary providence to the state and to particulars necessarily follows a theocracy, and yet such a providence was not actually administered, then this theocracy was not real, but pretended only. Now Dr. Sykes has undertaken to prove that the extraordinary dispensation of Providence did not extend to particulars. In this I blame him not. Every man must think for himself; and the objection is fairly urged. But what creates my wonder is, that when, contrary to common sense and common Scripture, he pretends to admit an extraordinary providence to the state in consequence of a theocracy, while he opposes that to particulars, he should yet think to pass upon his reader for an advocate of the Bible. If he sees the thing in the light here stated, what an opinion must he have of the Public! If he sees it not, what an opinion must the Public have of him! But let him debate this point with himself at leisure. All the advantage I have taken of his bad reasoning, is not to discover, nor consequently to discredit, his opinions; but merely to support my own.
III. In the last place, it may be permitted me to observe, that these two learned Doctors, who imagine, that all the time they have been writing against me, they were opposing the conclusion of The Divine Legation, have, indeed, allowed all I wanted to make my argument demonstrative: Dr. Stebbing, by owning that Moses did not teach, nor had it in commission to teach, a future state of rewards and punishments; and Dr. Sykes, by owning that an extraordinary providence was administered
[Pref. administered over the Jewish state and people in general. If it be asked, then, why I would clog my argument, by insisting on the Jewish people's ignorance in general of a future state, and the administration of an extraordinary providence to particulars; I reply, it was on the same principle that Moses clogged his institution with a theocracy. He did it in obedience to the Divine command; and I, out of my observance to truth. But had he been of that species of lawgivers in which Dr. Sykes seems to rank him, I conclude he would not have unnecessarily instituted a form of government that must, at every step, have detected his imposture. And had I wrote to advance my own notions, the equitable reader will conclude I should never have given so many needless provocations to this testy race of ANSWERERS.
April 14, 1745.
HE curious reader of the many and various Answerers of the Divine Legation (if any such there be) cannot chuse but smile to see them so unanimously concur in representing me as desperately enamoured of controversy, and resolute and determined for the last word; especially, when it is observed, that, of ten or twelve very sizable books, written against it, I have taken notice of a small part only of two or three. What their motives were, in this representation, is neither worth mine, nor the reader's while, to conjecture. The plain fact is, I would willingly avoid all controversy, so far as is consistent with a regard to the Public; to which I have thought fit to appeal; and, to which, consequently, I have given a kind of right to expect, either an answer to all material objections, or a confession of their force,
For such as these I have still waited; and now find I am likely to wait. In the mean time, I must either be silent, or take up with what fortune sends. And who could be long undetermined? For he must be very fond of controversy indeed, who would think of entering into a serious dispute, either with him, who holds That natural religion has not, and yet the law of Moses has, the sanction of a future state of rewards and punishments*:. or with that other, who cannot see, and therefore, with a modest boldness peculiar to the blind, affirms "there "is not the least connexion between the two propositions, an extraordinary providence and the omission of a * An Essay on the Nature and Obligations of Virtue, by T. Rutherforth, B. D. Fellow of St. John's College in Cambridge, and of the Royal Society. Cambridge.
"future state*" With the same quickness of sight,
I make no doubt he would affirm, that there is not the least connexion between the old English honour, and the long omission of a qualification law for members of the House of Commons: and is therefore to be referred to the class of those whom I send for an answer, to the story of Bertrand and his reading glasses t.
But when, at present, no urgent occasion drove me to trouble the reader in my own vindication, an inviting
* The Belief of a Future State proved to be a Fundamental Arti cle of the Religion of the Hebrews, &c. By John Jackson, Rector of Rosington, &c. London.-p. 64. Where the reader will see, that all bis objections, even to the very blunders, have been obviated or answered by me long ago. An instance of this, as it now happens to lie before me, will not be unentertaining." As a future state "(says he) may be demonstrably deduced from principles of "natural reason, SO IT IS CONTAINED in the proposition laid down "by St. Paul, He that cometh to God (as a worshipper of him) must "believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently "seek him, Heb. xi. 6." p. 9. His argument requires him to mean necessarily contained. But before that can be shewn, it must be proved that God cannot, in this world, reward those who diligently seek him; and he who should go about to prove that, would go near to contradict all which Moses has said, in the sanction of his law, "that God not only could, but would, reward those, in this world, who diligently seek him." But St. Paul knew what he said, though this man does not. He knew the proposition did not necessarily, but might, or might not, contain a future state, just as the writer applied it: and he delivered it accordingly. First, As he was an exact reasoner, because the support of religion depends not on rewards here or hereafter; but on the equal distribution of them, wheresoever they are conferred. Secondly, he was a pertinent. reasoner, because he would include the sanction of the Mosaic as well as Christian religion; the first of which (as he tells us elsewhere) had the promise of the life that now is; the other, of that which is to come. This blunder, as the reader may remember, was exposed in the first part of these Remarks, pp. 335, &c. But I would recommend Mr. Jackson's whole pamphlet to his perusal, as a specimen of that illustrious band, in which he has thought fit to inlist; and which indeed would have been imperfect without this Answerer General; who has all his life long opposed himself to whatever received the public anprobation: and after having written against the Inquiry into the Nature of the Human Soul, does me too much honour to be entirely overlooked. Which however, it is probable he had been, but for these words in his Title Page,-The Doctrine of the ancient Philosophers concerning a future State shewn to be consistent with Reason. A vile insinuation! Intimating that I had written something against the reasonableness of that doctrine. † See p. 274 of this vol.-Ed.