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lastics, and school-divinity cannot stand without him. But he hopes to show, that Christianity can be no loser by this. This writer, to be sure, is mightily concerned for the honour of Christianity, and has its interests nearly at heart! We are no way obliged to vindicate any of David's faults, which are not concealed or disguised in Scripture; but he had also many eminent and noble qualities, and has been always spoken of with great regard by the whole nation: our Saviour and his apostles still mention him with honour, not only as a great king, but as an illustrious prophet; who was honoured to be the penman of a very valuable part of the sacred writings; which I doubt not is the true cause of this writer's venom, and determined malice against him.

CHAPTER IX.

His vindication of what he had said against the prophets, and particularly concerning

Elisha's management with Hazael considered. What he farther offers to show, that the prophets were the principal fomenters of the war between Israel and Judah, proved to be false and groundless. The difference between the Baalitish idolatry and that of Jeroboam shown. The heathen idolatry, not merely the worship of the one true God, by the mediation of inferior Deities. Our author's account of the ancient Persians considered. Their doctrine of two principles, not the same with that of the Jews and Christians. They were worshippers of the sun, and of fire. His accountof Zoroaster's doctrine, concerning the future punishment of the wicked. His pretence that our Saviour's doctrine, concerning the resurrection and a future judgment, was a transcript from the second book of Esdras, considered. That a future state was beliered among the ancient Jews, vindicated against this writer's exceptions.

Our author begins his viith section, p. 190, &c. with repeating what he had said before, that the burden of the Mosaical priesthood was the cause of the revolt of the ten tribes from Rehoboam, which I have shown to be all

pure

fiction and romance. He next represents me as denying that Solomon, during his whole reign, was in alliance with Egypt, p. 192, when I had said no such thing. But whereas this writer had represented, that it was his foreign alliances, and particularly with Egypt, that secured him against the conspiracy, which he pretends was formed against him by the priests and prophets, at the latter end of his reign; see Mor. Phil. vol. i. 301. I showed that this is a mere imagination, and that at the latter end of his reign, Egypt, instead of giving assistance to Solomon, rather gave encouragement to his enemies. Instances of this were produced, which he is pleased to take no notice of. He

proceeds, p. 193, to a repetition of what he had said more largely in his former book, concerning the prophets being the causes

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of the several revolutions in the kingdom of Israel, but entirely passes over what was fully and distinctly offered to the contrary. At the same time he exclaims against me for representing him as justifying Jezebel in destroying the prophets of the Lord; and declares, that he had not justified or approved of it. But if any man can read what he said in his former book, pp. 312, 314, and think he has not justified or approved of Ahab and Jezebel's conduct, in endeavouring to destroy the prophets of the Lord, I shall wonder at it. He again gives us his word, that the very constitution and profession of the prophets was founded on the principles of persecution ; and that the Mosaic law was a scheme of persecution, superstition, and false religion. And then thinks fit to represent me, as judging

. of men's commission and authority from God by their own pretensions to it, and declarations concerning it, as if I was for taking men's own word, as a sufficient evidence of their divine mission, without any farther proof. And he assures his reader, that though I admit miracles as a proof in case of Moses, &c. I would not admit them, as proofs in case of Mahomet or Zoroaster. And when he can give us as good reason to believe that Mahomet * or Zoroaster, wrought signal miracles in proof of their divine mission, as we have to believe those of Moses or Jesus Christ, it will be time enough to consider them. All these are poor insinuations that prove nothing, and are brought in to make up for a great deficiency in reason and argument.

I had urged that the illustrious miracles wrought by Elijah and Elisha, sufficiently proved the divine authority and commission of those prophets. To which he replies, that first I cannot prove the

. certain truth of the facts, but must take them entirely upon trust from the historians. And then, that if true, they would not prove any commission they had to anoint Jehu, &c. To the first I answer, that we have the same proof that the prophets wrought those miracles, that we have that they had any hand in anointing Jehu. And in judging of the legality of the fact, as it is represented in the history, we must take the whole fact in all its circumstances, as there represented. And I am still of opinion, that supposing those facts true, the divine commission of those prophets is very evident. Nor can I believe, that God would have enabled them to confirm their mission by so many illustrious miracles, far transcending all human power, and some of them, e. g. raising the dead, probably that of all created beings; if all the while they had only cloaked the designs of their own ambition, by a false pretence to inspiration from God, and were for sanctifying treason and murder with an hypocritical appearance of zeal for his holy name. And yet all along

Mahomet, though often called upon by the Arabians to prove bis divine mission by miracles, as Moses and Jesus Christ had done, never durst attempt to work any before tbem. Ignorant as they were, he had no hope of being able to impose upon them in such things, of which all their senses must have been witnesses. And, therefore, endeavoured to persuade them that there was no need of miracles to prore his mission, See Prid. life of Mahomet, pp. 27, 28, &c.

to the very last, he gave them the most illustrious testimonies of his acceptance and approbation.

P. 197, he comes to vindicate the story of the prophet Elisha's pretended management with Hazael, which he had strangely misrepresented. He still insists upon it, that the present Hazael gave the prophet in the name of Benhadad, was designed to bribe the prophet in his own favour ; though it appears plainly from the text that it was by Benhadad's order, that Hazael went io the prophet, and made him that present. But he most absurdly argues from the greatness of the present, as if that was a proof that the king did not send it, but the captain gave it of himself

. Whereas it is very accountable, that the king might order this magnificent present on his own account, when he sent to inquire of the prophet about the recovery of his health; especially, as he might probably entertain some hopes, that he might be able to heal him, and that his prayers might prevail for his recovery. But no reasonable account can be given of this present on the author's scheme, who supposes that because it was so large, the captain intended it as a bribe. Indeed, if the prophet could by his interest among the Syrians have intrigued with the great men and people there, as he supposes him to have done in Israel, and so have helped to raise Hazael to the throne by his influence, there would have been some sense in his endeavouring by large presents to bribe him to his party, and engage him to embrace his interests. But to suppose that Hazael should take such pains, and be at such expense to gain a stranger to help him to the crown in a foreign country, where he had no acquaintance nor interest, is an imagination that would scarce have entered into any man's head but this author's.

I had urged the great absurdity of supposing that Elisha would contribute to fix Hazael upon the throne of Syria, when the prospect of it gave him the greatest trouble and sorrow; and he certainly knew that Hazael would prove a greater plague to Israel than all

a the other kings of Syria before him. And I had taken notice of the unfairness of this writer, who, in order to elude this, had changed the prophet's words; and whereas he said to Hazael, I know the evil which thou shalt do unto the children of Israel, &c. had represented it as if he only had said, I fear, &c. as if it was a thing of which the prophet was uncertain. Now what does our author say

. to this? instead of vindicating himself against this charge of misrepresentation, he goes on in it; and still insists upon it, that he only feared it, though the prophet expressly declares that he knew it, and speaks of it as of a thing abolutely certain.

But he urges, that he should have advised Hazael against murdering his king, if he had any notion of it; as if he could have hoped that his advice could have any influence on a man governed wholly by ambitious views, and who he well knew would stick at no villany to gain a crown; and when he had obtained it, would go on in a course of the greatest oppressions and cruelties. Nothing can be more evident, than it is from the whole story, as recorded i Kings viij, that the prophet would have been very far from doing any thing

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to promote Hazael's advancement to the throne of Syria, had it been in his power; and that though he foreknew and foretold it, as a thing that would certainly come to pass, yet it was a thing highly disagreeable to him, and which he would gladly have prevented if he could have done it. And it may as justly be said, that our Saviour was the author of Judas's treason, because he foretold it, as that the prophet was the cause of Hazael's invading the throne of Syria, because he foretold that he would be king.

He proceeds, p. 200, to take notice of the prosperity of Jeroboam's reign, and says, he had given the true reason of it, and that I had coined a reason; because I had attributed it to the divine mercy and indulgence towards Israel, to try if his goodness would lead them to repentance; to which it is expressly ascribed, 2 Kings xiji. 23; xiv, 25, 26, 27. He had alleged, that Jeroboam was as great an idolater, or supporter and encourager of idolatry, as any that had been before him.' And from thence most absurdly inferred, that the prosperity of his reign showed, that idolatry had not been the cause of any of the evils or calamities that had happened to the kings or people in former reigns. And at that rate it might be proved, that God never punishes wicked princes or nations for their crimes, because he often suffers wicked princes to prosper, and bears with a guilty people, and treats them with mercy and indulgence for a time. But besides it was shown, that Jeroboam the Second fell into the sin of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which consisted in worshipping the true God after a wrong manner, yet he and the other princes of the house of Jehu did not fall into the Baalitish idolatry, as the house of Ahab had done, which was an express and open revolting from the God of Israel. But for this I am corrected by this writer, who represents it as a very absurd thing in me to suppose, that there were two sorts of idolatry in Israel. Whereas according to him, there was only one kind of idolatry, which both Jeroboam and the house of Ahab were guilty of, the inferior worship of tutelar deities; only Jeroboam wor

; shipped the tutelar deities of the Egyptians, and Ahab of the Sidonians. But it is evident, from the accounts given us of this matter in the sacred history, that the Baalitish idolatry is there represented, as of a worse kind than that of Jeroboam, and as carrying idolatry to a greater and more criminal height than the other. Hence it is said of Ahab, that “as if it had been a light thing to him to walk in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he served Baal, and worshipped him. And on this account it is, that be did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger, than all the kings of Israel that were before him,' 1 Kings xiv. 31, 33; see also 2 Kings iii. 2, 3. Accordingly, when Jehu contrived to abolish the worship of Baal, he said, Come see my zeal for the Lord,' 2 Kings x. 16. And the worshippers of Baal are there distinguished from the other Israelites, who are called the servants of the Lord,' as professing to worship the true God, ver. 23. And yet it is observed concerning Jehu, that though he destroyed Baal out of Israel, yet he took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel

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with all his heart; for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat,' ver. 31. Jeroboam the First did not pretend to fall from the worship of the Lord Jehovah, the God of Israel. He said in his heart, “If this people go up to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again to the house of David.' Whereupon he took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto the people, ' It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem : behold thy gods, Israel, or as it might be justly rendered, 'behold thy God, O Israel,' which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.* And he set the one in Bethel, and the other in Dan, 1 Kings xii. 26–30. From whịch passage it is evident, that Jeroboam did not intend, as this writer represents it, to worship the Egyptian tutelar gods, but to worship the God that brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt, which is the character under which the Lord Jehovah is frequently described, see Exod. xx. 2; Ps. lxxxi. 10; Hos. xiii. 4. And indeed it could

; not be supposed, that the Egyptian tutelar gods would bring the Israelites out of Egypt to the destruction of the Egyptians. He professed to worship the same God that was worshipped at Jerusalem, but only told the people that it was too much for them to go up to the temple there, and therefore erected temples of his own, to which they might go for divine worship; and there placed golden calves, as symbolical representations of the Divine presence. This was a great sin, as being an express breach of the second commandment, which forbade the worship of God by images. And it tended to lead the people wrong, and gradually to debase and corrupt their notions of the Deity, and to prepare the way for other kinds of idolatry; when once they had forsaken the worship which God himself had appointed. But afterwards Ahab went farther, and established the worship of other gods. It is probable several of the people might have fallen into the worship of Baal, &c. before, and were connived at by the former kings. But now the worship of Baal, as the proper deity, was established; the altars that were erected to the Lord Jehovah were thrown down; and those that worshipped him were persecuted, 1 Kings xix. 10. This was an express and open revolt from the true God, and therefore brought the house of Ahab under a peculiar guilt and vengeance.

But our author represents the matter, as if, in worshipping Baal, they still intended to worship the true God, but only were for worshipping him by the mediation of Baal, as an inferior deity. And he positively pronounces, that the worship they paid him was all subordinate mediatorial worship. But though there were inferior deities called Baalim (though some suppose these are only to be understood of the different images of Baal) yet it seems evident, from the whole account given us, that there was a chief god, who is still called Baal by way of eminency, and spoken of in the singular number; and whom they regarded as the principal

See concerning this what is said above, p. 374,

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