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as a kingdom of priests, and might stand as a city on a hill, to be a light to the world. He also gradually shortened man's life, till it was brought to about one-twelfth part of what it used to be before the flood; and so, according to Dr. T. greatly diminishing his temptations to sin, and increasing his excitements to holiness. And now let us consider what the success of these means was, both as to the Gentile world, and the nation of Israel.
Dr. T. justly observes, (Key, p. 24. § 75.) “The Jewish dispensation had respect to the nations of the world, to spread the knowledge and obedience of God in the earth; and was established for the benefit of all mankind.”—But how unsuccessful were these means, and all other means used with the Heathen nations, so long as this dispensation lasted ? Abraham was a person noted in all the principal nations then in the world ; as in Egypt, and the eastern monarchies. God made his name famous by his wonderful, distinguishing dispensations towards him, particularly by so miraculously subduing, before him and his trained servants, those armies of the four eastern kings. This great work of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth, was greatly noticed by Melchizedeck; and one would think should have been sufficient to awaken the attention of all the nations in that part of the world, and to lead them to the knowledge and worship of the only true God; especially if considered in conjunction with that miraculous and most terrible destruction of Sodom and all the cities of the plain for their wickedness, with Lot's miraculous deliverance: facts which doubtless in their day were much famed abroad in the world. But there is not the least appearance, in any accounts we have, of any considerable good effect. On the contrary, those nations which were most in the way of observing and being affected with these things, even the nations of Canaan, grew worse and worse, till their iniquity came to the full, in Joshua's time. And the posterity of Lot, that saint so wonderfully distinguished, soon became some of the most gross idolaters; as they appear to have been in Moses's time. See Num. xxv.) Yea, and the far greater part even of Abraham's posterity, the children of Ishmael, Ziman, Joksham, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah, and Esau, soon forgot the true God, and fell off to heathenism.
Great things were done in the sight of the nations, tending to awaken them and lead them to the knowledge and obedience of the true God, in Jacob's and Joseph's time; in that God did miracuously, by the hand of Joseph, preserve from perishing by famine as it were the whole world; as appears by Gen. xli. 56, 57. Agreeably to which, the name that Pharaok gave to Joseph, Zaphnath-Paaneah, as is said, in the Egyptian language signifies saviour of the world. But there does not appear to have been any good abiding effect of this; no, not so much as among the Egyptians, the chief of all the heathen nations at that day, who had these great works of Jehovah in their most immediate view. On the contrary, they grew worse and worse, and seemed to be far more gross in their idolatries and ignorance of the true God, and every way more wicked and ripe for ruin, when Moses was sent to Pharaoh, than they were in Joseph's time.
After this, in Moses and Joshua's time, the great God was pleased to manifest himself in a series of the most astonishing miracles for about fifty years together, wrought in the most public manner in Egypt, in the wilderness, and in Canaan, in the view as it were of the whole world; miracles by which the world was shaken, the whole frame of the visible creation, earth, seas, and rivers, the atmosphere, the clouds, sun, moon, and stars were affected; miracles greatly tending to convince the nations of the world of the vanity of their false gods, shewing Jehovan to be infinitely above them in the thing wherein they dealt most proudly, and exhibiting God's awful displeasure at the wickedness of the heathen world. And these things are expressly spoken of as one end of these great miracles. (Exod. ix. 14. Numb. xiv. 21. Josh. iv. 23, 24.) However, no reformation followed, but by the scripture-account, the nations which had them most in view, were dreadfully hardened, stupidly refusing all conviction and reformation, and obstinately went on in opposition to the living God, to their own destruction.
After this, God from time to time very publicly manifested himself to the nations of the world, by wonderful works wrought in the time of the Judges, of a like tendency with those already mentioned. Particularly in so miraculously destroying, by the hand of Gideon, almost the whole of that vast army of the Midianites, Amalekites, and all the children of the east, consisting of about 135,000 men. (Judg. vii. 12. and viii. 10.) But no reformation followed this, or the other great works of God, wrought in the times of Deborah and Barak, Jeptha and Sampson.
After these things God used new, and in some respects much greater means with the heathen world, to bring them to the knowledge and service of the true God, in the days of David and Solomon. He raised up David, a man after his own heart, a most fervent worshipper of the true God and zealous hater of idols, and subdued before him almost all the nations between Egypt and Euphrates ; often miraculously assisting him in his battles with his enemies. And he confirmed Solomon his son in the full and quiet possession of that great empire for about forty years and made him the wisest, richest, most magnificent, and every way the greatest monarch that ever had been in the world ; and by far the most famous and of greatest name among the nations ; especially for his wisdom, and things concerning the name of his God; particularly the temple he built, which was exceeding magnificent, that it might be of fame and glory throughout all lands; 1 Chron. xxii. 5. And we are told that there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, froin all kings of the earth. (1 Kings iv. 34. and x. 24.) And the scripture informs us that these great things were done, that the nations in far countries might hear of God's great name, and of his out-stretched arm; that all the people of the earth might fear him, as well as his people Israel: And that all the people of the earth might know that the Lord was God, and that there was none else. (1 Kings viii. 41-43, 60.) But still there is no appearance of any considerable abiding effect, with regard to any one heathen nation.
After this, before the captivity in Babylon, many great things were done in the sight of the Gentile nations, very much tending to enlighten, affect and persuade them. As God destroying the army of the Ethiopians of a thousand thousand, before Asa; Elijah's and Elisha's miracles; especially Elijah miraculously confounding Baal's prophets and worshippers; Elisha healing Naaman, the king of Syria's prime minister and the miraculous victories obtained, through Elisha's prayers, over the Syrians, Moabites, and Edomites; the miraculous destruction of the vast united army of the children of Moab, Ammon, and Edom, at Jehoshaphat's prayer. (2 Chron. xx.) Jonah's preaching at Nineveh, together with the miracle of his deliverance from the whale's belly; which was published, and well attested, as a sign to confirm his preaching : But more especially that great work of God, in destroying Sennacherib's army by an angel, for his contempt of the God of Israel, as if he had been do more than the gods of the heathen.
When all these things proved ineffectual, God took a new method with the heathen world, and used, in some respects, much greater means to convince and reclaim them, than ever before. In the first place, his people, the Jews, were removed to Babylon, the head and heart of the heathen world (Chaldea having been very much the fountain of idolatry) to carry thither the revelations which God had made of himself, contained in the sacred writings; and there to bear their testimony against idolatry; as some of them, particularly Daniel, Shadrach, Meshack, and Abed-nego, did in a very open manner before the king and the greatest men of the empire, with such circumstances as made their testimony very famous in the world. And God confirmed it with great miracles; which were published through the empire by order of its monarch, as the mighty works of the God of Israel, shewing him to be above all gods: Daniel, that
great prophet, at the same time being exalted to be governor of all the wise men of Babylon, and one of the chief officers of Nebuchadnezzar's court.
After this, God raised up Cyrus to destroy Babylon, for its obstinate contempt of the true God and injuriousness towards his people; according to the prophecies of Isaiah, speaking of him by name, instructing him concerning the nature and dominion of the true God. (Isai. xlv.) Which prophecies were probably shewn to him, whereby he was induced to publish his testimony concerning the God of Israel, as THE God. (Ezra. i. 2, 3.) Daniel, about the same time, being advanced to be prime minister of state in the new empire erected under Darius, did in that place appear openly as a worshipper of the God of Israel, and him alone; God confirming his testimony for him, before the king and all the grandees of his kingdom, by preserving him in the den of lions; whereby Darius was induced to publish to all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth, his testimony that that the God of Israel was the living God, and steadfast for ever, &c.
When after the destruction of Babylon, some of the Jews returned to their own land, multitudes never returned, but were dispersed abroad through many parts of the vast Persian empire; as appears by the book of Esther. And many of them asterwards, as good histories inform us, were removed into the more western parts of the world; and so were dispersed as it were all over the heathen world; having the holy scriptures with them, and synagogues every where for the worship of the true God. And so it continued to be to the days of Christ and his apostles; as appears by the Acts of the Apostles. Thus that light, which God had given them, was carried abroad into all parts of the world: So that now they had far greater advantages to come to the knowledge of the truth in matters of religion, if they had been disposed to improve their advantages.
And besides all these things, from about Cyrus's time, learning and philosophy increased, and was carried to a great height. God raised up a number of men of prodigious genius, to instruct others, and improve their reason and understanding, in the nature of things: And philosophic knowledge having gone on to increase for several ages, seemed to be got to its height before Christ came, or about that time.
And now let it be considered what was the effect of all these things.-Instead of a reformation, or any appearance or prospect of it, the heathen world in general rather grew worse. As Dr. WINDAR observes, " The inveterate absurdities of pagan idolatry continued without remedy, and increased as arts and learning increased ; and paganism prevailed in all its height of absurdity, when pagan nations were polished to the height. and in the most polite cities and countries; and thus continued to the last breath of pagan power.” And so it was with respect to wickedness in general, as well as idolatry; as appears by what the apostle Paul observes in Rom. i.-Dr. T. speaking of the time when the gospel-scheme was introduced, (Key, § 289.) says, “The moral and religious state of the heathen was very deplorable, being generally sunk into great ignorance, gross idolatry, and abominable vice.” Abominable vices prevailed, not only among the common people, but even among their philosophers themselves, yea, some of the chief of them, and of greatest genius ; so Dr. T. himself observes, as to that detestable vice of sodomy, which they commonly and openly allowed and practised without shame. (See Dr. T.'s note on Rom. 1. 27.)
Having thus considered the state of the heathen world, with regard to the effect of means used for its reformation during the Jewish dispensation, from the first foundation of it in Abraham's time; let us now consider how it was with that people themselves, who were distinguished with the peculiar privileges of that dispensation. The means used with the heathen nations were great; but they were small if compared with those used with the Israelites. The advantages by which that people were distinguished are represented in scripture as vastly above all parallel, in passages which Dr. T. takes notice of. (Key, $ 54.) And he reckons these privileges among those which he calls antecedent blessings, consisting in motives to virtue and obedience; and says, (Key, 6 66.) " That this was the very end and design of the dispensation of God's extraordinary favours to the Jews, viz. to engage them to duty and obedience, or that it was a scheme for promoting virtue, is clear beyond dispute, from every part of the old testament.” Nevertheless, the generality of that people, through all the successive periods of that dispensation, were men of a wicked character. But it will be more abundantly manifest how strong the natural bias to iniquity appeared to be among that people, by considering more particularly their condition from time to time.
Notwithstanding the great things God had done in the times of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to separate them and their posterity from the idolatrous world, that they might be a holy people to himself; yet in about two hundred years after Jacob's death, and in less than one hundred and Afty years after the death of Joseph, and while some were alive who had seen Joseph, the people had in a great measure lost the true religion, and were apace conforming to the heathen world. For a remedy, and the more effectually to alienate them from idols and engage them to the God of their fathers, God appeared, in order to bring them out from among the Egyptians and sepa