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tion would have been low and trifling, and would have proved nothing at all. Since I suppose he will hardly say, that a person or thing's being holy to the Lord is a proof of its being to be offered to God in sacrifice; or that when it is said, as it often is, concerning the priests, that they were holy to the Lord, it signifies they were to be sacrificed, see Lev. xxi. 6, 7. But it happens, that what the author so confidently affirms, is entirely false. For in the ori

, ginal law concerning the redemption of the first-born, it is said of them, as of the Levites afterwards, they are mine,' Exod. xii. 2, 12. And in the very passage he refers to, where the Levitical males were taken instead of the first-born of the children of Israel, as it is said, the Levites shall be mine, it is immediately added, because all the first-born are mine,' Numb. iii. 12, 13. I need not take any

notice of the way he pretends to account for the Israelites being brought into the settling the priesthood, &c. in the tribe of Levi, viz. because they were hereby freed from the obligation they were under of sacrificing their first-born. This goes upon the supposition, that they looked upon themselves as having been legally obliged to sacrifice their first-born by that very law that enjoined them not to sacrifice their first-born, but to redeem them; a thing, that as stupid as they were, could not have entered into their heads, but was a discovery reserved for the extraordinary sagacity and penetration of this writer.

He next proceeds to the case of Abraham, pp. 126, &c. which I had considered fully and distinctly. He has not thought proper to answer what was offered, but thinks it sufficient to represent me as going upon if's and may-be's; and no doubt, this will be esteemed a full confutation of my whole reasoning on this subject.

But he urges, that it is the most absurd and ridiculous supposition in the world, that God himself should command this to try what Abraham would do in such a case, as if God did not know as well without it. But it is not pretended, that it was for his own information that God did this, nor is this ever the meaning of the phrase of his trying persons, which is frequently made use of in the sacred writings; but it was to give Abraham an opportunity of discovering to the world the excellent temper of his mind, and exhibiting a lasting example to all ages. And this author himself owns, p. 128, that it served to show the strength and invincibility of Abraham's faith and trust in God, and that he was ready to do any thing, or part with any thing, at his command.' p.

128. he takes to account for Abraham's conduct in this matter is one of the most extraordinary that ever was invented. The Canaanites, it seems, told him, that if he would sacrifice his own son, God would raise him from the dead, and they would worship the God of Abraham, and be of his religion, p. 129. And Abraham was such a fool, as upon this, and no other foundation, to entertain a strong and indubitable persuasion and impression upon his mind, that God would do as the Canaanites had said, yea, and fancied that God appeared to him, and commanded him to sacrifice his own beloved son Isaac, the heir of all the promises. And if all this was

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merely owing to the strength of his own fancy, no account can be given why this indubitable enthusiastic persuasion did not carry him actually to execute it.

I had showed the great absurdity of supposing, that Abraham's believing he had such a command from God was owing to the force of his own enthusiasm. * Our author, without troubling himself to answer what had been alleged to this purpose, pronounces that it was an irrational enthusiastic persuasion, which God himself could never have been the author of; and to show that it was so, he urges, that Abraham, according to the representation made of it by the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, was persuaded that God would certainly raise his son from the dead, if he sacrificed him; whereas says he, it is certain that God had never intended or promised any such thing. It will be easily allowed, that God had not promised it. Nor if he had, would Abraham's self-denial, and trust in God, and submission to his will in this instance, been so illustrious. But he had promised, that in Isaac should his sced be called ; and he did not doubt, but that promise would be accomplished in God's own way. And when he received the command about sacrificing his son, 'he reasoned with himself as the apostle to the Hebrews represents it, Heb. xi. 19, not that God had promised to raise his son, but that he was able to raise him from the dead ; and he concluded, that God would do this rather than fail of the accomplishment of his promise. There is nothing in this, but what is just and sober reasoning, and which shows a calm and steady temper of mind, a sound judgment, as well as eminent faith and trust in God, as I observed, Divine Authority, p. 93.

As this writer thinks fit to charge this upon Abraham's enthusiasm, so he gives us a plain hint, that he looks upon all the promises and appearances of God to Abraham, and consequently the covenant founded upon them, to have been nothing else but wild enthusiasm. For he intimates, that if Abraham was mistaken in this, he might be in other cases too, where he depended on any immediate revelation or communication from God, p. 129. So that this father of the faithful, so much celebrated by St. Paul, and of whom our author himself frequently affects to speak with respect, was the father of visionaries and enthusiasts. However, he has here let us know his own opinion, and it may go as far as his authority goes; but the instance he produces proves the quite contrary of what he pretends to prove by it. For he refers to the prediction made to Abraham, that ‘his seed should be strangers, oppressed and afflicted in a land that was not theirs, and at the end of four hundred years should come out with great substance, and come to the land of Canaan,' Gen. xv. 13, 16. He wants to know whether this be supposed to be a prophecy, or a conditional promise. I answer that it was a prophecy or prediction, and not merely a promise. For that his seed should be afflicted, &c. could not be a promise. But then he urges, that it

a was not accomplished. And in order to make this appear, he is

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See Divine Authority, p. 95, &c.

pleased to represent it, as if it had been promised or foretold, that at the end of the four hundred years, they were to be put into the quiet, peaceable possession of the land for ever, or throughout all their generations, p. 129. But there is no such thing there promised or foretold. All that is there said is, that at the end of four hundred years, they, Abraham's posterity, shall come hither again, that is, to the land of Canaan; but how they were to possess it, whether in a quiet and peaceable way, or by war, or how long they were to continue there, is not said.' But what is immediately there added, as a reason for their not coming thither sooner, viz. that the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full, seems plainly to intimate, that it was to be by the expulsion of the Canaanites, who were then to be exemplarily punished for their iniquities. All which was punctually and literally fulfilled.

As to what he observes from Dr. Hyde, that this case of Abraham was the original or first occasion of human sacrifices all over the east; there is no proof of this. And Abraham's case rather furnished a manifest proof, that human sacrifices were what God would not accept, since though he was pleased to lay this injunction upon him for the trial of his faith and obedience, yet he expressly forbade him, by a voice from heaven, to execute it. Concerning which, see Divine Authority, pp. 91, 101.

CHAPTER VII.

What he offers to show that the whole power of the government, by the Mosaic constitu

tion, was vested in the tribe of Lovi, examined. His vain attempt to vindicate what he had said concerning the priests having twenty shillings in the pound upon all the lands of Israel. The falsehood and extravagance of his computations shown. The burden of the legal priesthood not the cause of the revolt of the ten tribes from Rehoboam. The law of Moses did not forbid all inquiries into the reasons of its injunctions. Reasons for several of those injunctions given in the lawitself. Sabiisme prohibited in the law of Moses, which was the most ancient kind of idolatry that prevailed among the eastern nations.

Our author next proceeds to vindicate what he had said concerning the power and revenues of the priesthood under the law of Moses. He is pleased to declare, p. 135, that my 'pretence, that he had asserted that the Levites were exempted, by law, from the common jurisdiction of the law; and what I say upon it, pp. 106, 107, is nothing but forgery and abuse.' I did not charge him with asserting, that the Levites were exempted by law, from the jurisdiction of the law; for he had not used those words, by law, and I kept religiously to his own words in citing him. But I charged him with asserting that 'the Levites, though servants in the temple, had greater rights and immunities than any prince or first magistrate of another tribe, and that Levi was a tribe exempted from the jurisdiction of the law, and protected against it.' See Mor. Philos. vol. i. p. 141. The falsehood of this was plainly shown, and that in that constitution the Levites, or priests, were not exempted from the jurisdiction of the law more than any other persons. Our author answers all that I had offered by saying, that this is nothing but forgery and abuse. A very compendious answer this! and which must no doubt, pass, with every intelligent reader, for an effectual confutation of the proofs I had brought.

But he is pleased to mention some of the legal privileges, in which the meanest of the Levites were superior to the Princes, &c. of the other tribe. See pp. 133, 135. One of them is, that they could not be obliged to civil offices, nor to bear arms. And at this rate he may also undertake to prove, that the meanest clergyman, or curate or teacher, allowed by the act of toleration, has greater privileges and immunities than the greatest magistrate in the nation. As to what he saith farther there concerning their receiving all the revenues of the nation; this is not true, except by it be meant only their receiving the tithes, and other dues. And whereas he adds, that they were only 'Lords and Judges, and not common subjects; I suppose he will hardly pretend that this was a privilege belonging to the meanest of the Levites, and that in a more eminent degree than to the princes and first magistrates of other tribes. He urges, indeed, p. 135, that the court was entirely levitical, and therefore the Levites might easily evade the jurisdiction of the law in common cases.' And this he has the confidence to affirm, notwithstanding the clear proof that was brought, and to which he has not been able to return the least answer, that the inferior judges, who were appointed by Moses to judge the people in the lesser causes, and the seventy elders that were appointed to judge in the more difficult and important cases, were chosen out of all the tribes, and not that of Levi only. It was shown, that by the acknowledgment of all the Jews, the great Sanhedrim, or supreme council of judicature, was to consist not merely of priests and Levites, but of any other persons, of other tribes, that were qualified by their knowledge of the law; without which qualification, even the high-priest himself had no right to sit there, by virtue of his birth or place.

Page 133, he repeats what he had said before, that the supreme power was in the high-priest, by the Mosaic constitution; and that this is so very evident, that I could not deny it. And yet he knows I did deny it, and showed that Moses himself

, who was not the highpriest, had the government in his hands during his own life-time; and that he appointed Joshua, who was not a high-priest, nor of the tribe of Levi, to succeed him in the government of the people. And afterwards the supreme power was vested in the judges, who were extraordinarily raised, and appointed by God. And the nation continued generally under their government some hundreds of years. And when there happened to be no such judge governing them, it is represented as a state of anarchy; and that every man did what was right in his own eyes; though all the while there was an highpriest among them : nor was any one of those judges a high-priest except Eli; nor any of them, so much as of the tribe of Levi, except Eli and Samuel. And as to the kings who succeeded the judges in the government of the people, our author himself acknowledges, that the high-priest had not the supreme power in their time. But then he pretends, that the people's throwing off the supreme power, vested in the high-priest by the law of Moses, was a fundamental breach of their constitution, and a rejecting God from being their king. But this is wrongly represented. It was not the throwing off the

power of the high-priests, who still continued to exercise their office, under the kings, as much as before, that is represented under this idea ; but it was the throwing off the government by judges, who were officers extraordinarily raised up, and appointed by God himself, to judge and govern the people, and instead of them, choosing to be governed by kings, after the manner of other nations, who should succeed one another, in the government in a lineal descent. But notwithstanding this, they still continued to acknowledge the Lord for their God, and still continued to be his people, in a special sense, bound to the observation of the Mosaic covenant and polity; the main of which still subsisted, after that alteration in their form of government, as well as before. Nor is it true, which this writer suggests, that thenceforth it was to no purpose to ask counsel of God, or consult the oracle, when the high-priest was become subject. For it is certain they still continued to ask counsel of God, under their kings; and had his direction, both by the oracle of Urim, of which instances were given,* and by prophets, extraordinarily inspired from time to time. As to what he here again repeats concerning the God of Israel's being only a local, oracular, tutelar Deity, the residential God of that country, the palpable absurdity of this hath been already shown. See above, pp. 370, &c. to which I refer the reader, that I may not, like this author, clog him with continual repetition.

He next proceeds to vindicate what he had said in his former book, that it would be easy to prove that the church revenues, under this government, amounted to full twenty shillings a pound, upon all the lands of Israel. I had called this a wild assertion: and I think so still. But our author, after desiring the reader to observe it as a specimen of my uncommon talents, and that this shows I never rented an estate myself, and paid the rent;' which, to be sure, must be allowed to be a manifest proof of my talents as a writer ; proceeds to prove, that 'the revenue to the priests could not amount, by law, to less than an annual rent upon the lands, which he explains to be a third part of the yearly produce or real value of the land, besides what the priests and Levites might extort by the power and privileges granted them.

I must own that I understood him that the whole yearly value of the land went to the priests; and though this appeared to me a very strange assertion, yet I thought it not too extravagant for this writer in his rant against the priests. But now he has reduced

* See Divine Authority, pp. 138, 139.

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