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—In such a season too, artful Leaders are most disposed to support themselves by inspirations; have most need of them; and are thought, by the People, most worthy to receive them.

There is the same difference between the Writers of the New Testament and of the Old, as between the Writers of the several ages of the Old. The Apostles (who worked Miracles as well as Moses and the Prophets) represent the followers of Christ as under the same common Providence with the rest of mankind: Unlike in this, to the first propagators of the Law, who always declared the Israelites to be under an extraordinary Providence.

From all this I conclude, that as amidst the concurrence of so many favourable circumstances, no such claim was made; but that, contrary to the universal practice of all false Religions, the Jews saw and owned a great change in the Divine Economy, that therefore their former pretensions to the peculiar protection of Heaven were Tkue.

But it hath been objected, that the early sacred Writers themselves frequently speak of the inequality of Providence to Particulars *: and in such a manner as Men living under a common Providence are accustomed to speak. It is very true that these Writers do now and then give intimations of this inequality. And therefore, though we shall hereafter prove an extraordinary Providence to have been actually administered, in which, not only this objection

« — Asaph de Dei providentia dubitavit, & fere a vera via deflexisset--Salomon etiam, cujus tempore res Judaeorum in fcummo vigore erant, suspica'tur omnia casu contingere— Denique omnibus fere prophetis hoc ipsum valde obscurum fuit, nempe quomodo ordo naturae & hominum eventus cum conceptu quem de providentia Dei formaverant, pussent convenire.—Spinozas Tbeologico-Pol. pp. 73, 74.

will be seen to drop of itself, but the particular passages, on which it is founded, will be distinctly considered; yet, for the Reader's satisfaction, it may not be amiss to shew here, that these representations of inequality are very consistent with that before given of the extraordinary Providence. We say, therefore, I. That when the Sacred Writers speak of the inequalities of Providence, and the unfit distribution of things, they often mean that state of it amongst their Pagan neighbours, and not in Judea: As particularly in the Book of Psalms and Ecclesiastes”. II. We sometimes find men complaining of inequalities in events, which were indeed the effects of a most equal Providence. Such as the punishment of Posterity for the crimes of their Forefathers; and of Subjects for their Kings. Of the first, the Prophet. Ezekiel gives us an instance in the People's case: } hat mean ye, that you use this Proverb concerning the Land of Israel, saying, The Fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the Children's teeth are set on edgef? —Of the second, David gives it in his own; not duly attending to the justice of this proceeding, where he says, But these Sheep, what have they done 42. And that he was sometimes too hasty in judging of these matters appears from his own confession: Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world, they increase in riches. JWhen I thought to know this, it was too painful for me: until I went into the Sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.—So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee §. That is, I understood not the course of thy justice, till I had * See Appendix. t Chap. xviii. ver, 2. ! 2 Sam. xxiv. 17. § Psalm lxxiii. 12–22.

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considered the way in which an equal Providence must necessarily be administered under a Theocracy, and the consequences of such an Administration. For, - III. Even admitting the reality of an equal Providence to Particulars in the Hebrew State, the administration of it must needs be attended with such circumstances as sometimes to occasion those observations of inequality. For 1. it appears from the reason

of the thing, that this administration did not begin to

be exerted in particular cases till the civil Laws of the Republic had failed of their efficacy. Thus where any crime, as for instance disobedience to Parents, was public, it became the object of the civil Tribunal, and is accordingly ordered to be punished by the Judge *. But when private and secret, then it became the object of Divine vengeancef. Now the consequence of this was, that when the Laws were remissly or corruptly administered, good and ill would sometimes happen unequally to men. For we are not to suppose that Providence, in this case, generally, interfered till the corrupt administration itself, when ripe for vengeance, had been first punished. 2. In this extraordinary administration, one part of the wicked was sometimes suffered as a scourge to the other. 3. The extraordinary Providence to the State might sometimes clash with that to Particulars, as in the plague for numbering the people. 4. Sometimes thé extraordinary Providence was suspended for a Season, to bring on a national repentance: But at the same time this suspension was publicly denounced {. And a very severe punishment it was, as leaving a State which had not the sanction of a future state of rewards and punishments in a very disconsolate condis

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tion. And this was what occasioned the complaints, of the impatient Jews, after they had been so long accustomed to an extraordinary administration*. „ ,; • IV. But the general and full solution of the difficulty is this, The common cause of tiiese complaints arose from the Gradual Withdrawing the extraordinary Providence. Under the Judges it was perfectly equal. And during that period of the Theocracy, it is remarkable that we hear of no complaints. When the people had rebelliously demanded a king, and their lolly was *o far complied with, that God suffered the Theocracy to be administered by a Viceroy, there was then, as was fitting, a great abatement in the vigour of this extraordinary Providence; partly in natural consequence, God being now farther removed from the immediate administration; and partly in punishment of their rebellion. And soon after this it is that we first find them beginning to make their observation* and complaints of inequality. From hence to the time of the Captivity, the extraordinary Providence kept gradually decaying, till on their full re-establishment,, it intirely ceased f- For what great reasons, besides punishment for their crimes; and what consequences, it had on the religious sentiments of the People, will be occasionally explained as we go along.

But now, let it be observed, that though I have here accounted for the appearances of an unequal Providence, yet this is ex abundanti; the very nature of my general argument evincing, that there must needs have been an equal Providence actually administered: for a People in society, without both a future State and an equal. Providence, could have no belief in, the moral

* Isaiah v. 19. Jerem.xvu.t5. Amos v. 18. Zeph. i. lis Malac. ii. 17.

t See note [U] at the end of thii Book. •

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government of God: And under such circumstances, it hath been shewn, that they could not long subsist, but must fall back again into all the confusion of a savage state. We must conclude therefore, that what appearances soever there may be of inequality in the administration of Providence, in the early times of the Jewish Theocracy, they are but appearances: that is, nothing which can really affect such a mode of admilistration *. The Adversaries therefore of the Dicine Legation, such of them, I mean, who profess themselves Believers, should consider that, while they oppose the reality of an ertraordinary Providence over the Jewish people, they are weakening the evidence for the miracles recorded in the Old Testament. But this is the least of their care. One of thein, with an assurance that hath something in it of a prodigy, affirms, “that the Providence administered under the Law was exactly the same kind with that administered under the Gospelf.” How this could be the case, without impeaching the veracity of God himself, as not making good his repeated engagements, this man would do well to consider before he becomes the scorn and contempt of Unbelievers. But as such sort of men bear worse the disgrace of folly than impiety, I shall consider this Portent on its ridiculous side only. Temporal rewards and punishments administered by the hand of God, followed, as a consequence, from the Jewish Government's being Theocratical; and an ortraordinary Providence followed, as a consequence, from the dispensation of temporal rewards and punishments. Yet here we have a Regius Professor of Divinity affirming, That both temporal Sanctions and an £atraordinary Providence are administered under the Gospel in the very same manner they formerly were * See note [X] at the end of this Book. f. Dr. Rutherforth. * ... . . . . . - under

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