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Ν Ο Τ Ε S

ON

BOOK V.

Y

P. 5. [A]
ET some writers against the Divine Legation

will have it, that from the very context (ver. 16, 17. To Abraham and his seed were the promises made, &c. The Covenant that was confirmed before of God in Christ, &c.] it appears that St. Paul means, the Law was ADDED not barely to the Patriarchal Religion, but to the promise of the inheritance, the covenant i hat was confirmed before of God; and from thence, conclude that the Jewish Religion had the doctrine of a future state. This it is to have a retrospective view, and with a microscopic eye! For had they, when they went one step backward, but gone two, they would have seen, St. Paul could not possibly have had their meaning in view, for at ver. 15, he expressly says, -though it be but a man'S COVENANT [much less if it be God's] yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth or ADDETH thereto. The Law therefore mentioned as ADDED in the 1gth verse, cannot be understood, in the Apostle's sense, as being added to the COVENANT that was confirmed before of God in Christ, or indeed to any thing, but to the Putriarchal Religion of the Unity.

P. 20. [B] -1 [Ninus fils de Belus] ne peut être inventeur de l'idolatrie qui etoit bien plus ancienne; je ne dis pas seulement en Egypte, mais même au dela de l'Euphrate, puisque Rachel deroba les Te.

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raphims, &c.— Il faut aller en Egypte pour trouver sur cela quelque chose du mieux fondé. Grotius croit que, du temps de Joseph, l'idolatrie n'etoit point encore commune en Egypt. Cependant on voit des-lors dans ce pays un extrême attache nient à la magie, à la divination, aux augures, à l'interpretation des songes, &c. --Moyse defend d'adorer aucune figure, ni de ce qui est visible dans les cieux ni de ce qui est sur la terre, ni de ce qui est dans les eaux. Voilà la defense generale d'adorer les astres, les animaux, & les pois

Le veau d'or etoit une imitation du dieu Apis. La niche de Moloch, dont parle Amos, étoit apparemment portée avec une figure du soleil. Moyse defend aux Flebreux d'immoler aux boucs, comme ils ont fait autrefois. La mort en l'honneur duquel il defend de faire le deûil, etoit le même qu'Osiris. Beelphegor, aux mysteres duquel ils furent entrainez par les femmes de Madian, étoit Adonis. Moloch cruelle divinité, à laquelle on imunoloit des victimes humaines, étoit coinmune du tems de Moyse, aussibien que ces abominables sacrifices. Les Chanáneens adoroient des moûches & d'autres insectes, au rapport de l'auteur de la sagesse. Le même auteur nous parle des Egyptiens d'alors comme d'un peuple plongé dans toutes sortes d'abominations, & qui adoroit toutes sortes d'animaux, même les plus dangereux, & les plus nuisibles. Le pays de Chanaan étoit encore plus corrumpu. Moyse ordonne d'y abbattre les autels, les bois sacrez, les idoles, les monumens superstitieux. Il parle des enclos, où l'on entretenoit un feu eternel en l'honneur du soleil. Voilà la plus indubitable epoque qui nous ayons de l'idolatrie. Mais ce n'est point une epoque qui nous en inontre sa source & le commencement, ni même le progrès & l'avancement: elle nous présente une idolatrie achevée, & portée à son comble; les astres, les hommes, les animaux mêmes adorez comme autant divinitez; la magie, la divination, l'impieté au plus haut point où elles puissent aller : enfin le crime, & les desordres honteux, suites

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ordinaires du culte superstitieux & de regle. Calmet, Dissert. sur l'Origine de l’Idolatrie, tom. i. pp. 431, 432.

Thus far this learned writer. And without doubt, his account of the early and overbearing progress of idolatry is exact. ---Another writer, who would pass for such, is in different sentiments. Ho thinks its rise and progress much lower. If we look (says he) amongst the Canaanites, we shall find no reason to imagine that there was a religion different from that of Abraham. Abraham travelled up and down many years in this country, and was respected by the inhabitants of it, as a person in great favour with God, &c. And again, Abraham wus entertained. by Pharaoh without the appearance of any indisposition towards him, or any the least sign of their having a different religion from that which ibraham himself professed and practised. [Connect. of Sac. and Prof. Hist. vol. i. pp. 309 & 312.) But here the learned author was deceived by mere modern ideas. He did not reflect on that general principle of intercommunity, so essential to paganism, which made all its followers disposed to receive the God of Abraham as a true, though tutelary, Deity. Josephus (the genius of whose times could not but give him a right notion of this matter) saw well the consistency between the veneration paid to Abrabain's God, and the idolatry of the venerators; as appears froin his making that Patriarch the first who propagated the belief of one God, after the whole race of mankind was sunk into idolatry; and at the same time making all those with whom he had to do, pay reverence to bis God Of Abraham he thus speaks, Δια τέτο και φρονείν έπ' αρετη μείζω των άλλων ήρεμένα, και την σερί τα θεά δόξαν, ήν άπασι συνέβαινεν είναι, καινίσαι και μέλαβαλεϊν έβγω. Πρώτα αν τολμά Θεόν απoφήνασθαι δημιουργία των όλων ένα. 1. i. C. 7. He makes the idolatrous priests of Egypt tell Pharaoh at once, that the pestilence was sent from God in punishment for his intended violation of the stranger's wife: xalà parou oci 12

so

το δεινόν αυτό παρεϊναι απεσήμαινον οι ιερείς, εφ' οίς έθελησεν ενυβρίσαι τα ξένα την γυναίκα. c. 8. And Abimelech, in the same circumstances, as ready to own the same author of this punistment. Φράζει προς τις φίλες, ως ο Θεός αυτώ ταύτην επαγάγοι την νόσον υπέρ εκδικίας τα ξένα φυλάσσων ανύβριςον αυτή την γυναίκα. C. 12. Αntig.

P. 28. [C] These considerations will lead us to a right apprehension of that part of the history of Jesus, where Jaines and John, on the inhospitable bebaviour of a village of Samaria, say to their Master, in the Legal spirit of the Jewish economny, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, even as Elias did ? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. (Luke ix. 54, 55, 56.] i.e. You consider not that you are no longer under the Dispensation of Works (in which a severity of this kind was just and necessary), but, of Grace, in which all restraint and punishment of opinions would be mischievous and unlawful. Here we see the very disposition to intolerance in James and John is severely censured. Yet the same temper in Paul, even when proceeding into act, is passed over without reproof, when Jesus, after his resurrection, is pleased to reveal his truth to hiin in a miraculous manner. Our Lord, instead of condemning the nature of the practice, only assures him of the vanity of its effects, It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. [Acts ix. 5.] The reason of this different treatment is evident. James and John had given their names to the Religion of Jesus, in which all force was unjust. Paul was yet of the Religion of Moses, where restraint was lawful. On this account it is that this Apostle, when speaking of his merits as a Jew, expresses himself in this manner, For ye have heard of my conversation in time past; how that beyond measure I PERSECUTED the church of God, and wasted it :

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and PROFITED in the Jewa religion above many my equals in mine Oun nation. (Gal. i. 13.] Here he makes the persecution and the profiting to go hand in hand. And again, though I might also hunc confidence in the flesh. !!'ani cther man ihinketh thut he hath whereof he mighi trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the righth inj, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an tsbreur of the Ikbreus; as touching the. Lerü, a l'hurisce; concerning seal, PERSECUTING THE CHURCH; touching the righteousness which is in the Ir, blueless, But what things were gain to me, thuse I counted loss for Christ. [Phil

. iü, 4.] Ilere he glories in the action, as plainly meritorious. And so indeed it was in a Jew, as appears from the commendations given to it in the case of Phineas, and others. Yet wbere be speaks of it, under his present character of a Christian, he condemns it as horrid and detestable; and this, in order to shew bis followers how it ought to be regarded in the Religion of Jesus. To the Corinthians he says, I am the least of the Apostles; that im not meet to be called an Apostle, because I PERSECUTED the church of God. (1 Ep. xv. 9.] And to Timothy, I thmk Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a PERSECUTOR, and injurious. But I oblained mercy, because I did it in IGNORANCE AND UNBELIEV, [1 Ep. I. 12.] i.e. being

a Jew.

P. 34. [D] Dr. Stebbing, though he differs from Mr. Foster in most other matters, yet agrees with bim in this, " That the justice and equity of the Jewish “ Law in punishing Idolaters with death, did not de

pend on the particular form of government." (Hist, of Abraham.] In which he is much inore consistent than his dissenting neighbour. For the Doctor approves of persecution for opinions; whereas the minister pretends to condemn it.

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