Imágenes de páginas

reipublicae redderet . Ep. ad Brutum liber, Ep. 12. And again: In qua videtur illud esse crudele, quod ad liberos, qui nihil meruerunt, pojna pervenit. Sed


Ep. 15. Again, the same necessities of State have obliged Governments which had been originally feudal, but were so no longer, to retain this Law offorfeiture, essential to feudal Government even after all the feudal tenures had been abolished.—But he, who would see the Law Of Forfeitures defended on the more general principles of natural justice and civil policy, may have full satisfaction, in the very elegant and masterly Discourse so intitled.

P. 171. [II] Here Dr. Sykes, who so charitably takes the Deists' part, all the way, against the'Author of the D. L. says, "It would Imve been well To "Have Told us what this doctrine was which was "brought to light, and which held up these daring "transgressors, and which continued them after death "the objects of divine justice." Defence, p. 83. Can. the Reader, when he casts his eye upon the text, and sees that / had told him, in so many words and letters, that it was a Future State, think the grave Doctor in his senses? But this quotation from him will have its use. It will serve for a specimen and example of the miserable dispositions with wlrich an Answerer by profession addresses himself to confcite Writers who have taken some pains to consider their subject, and to express their meaning.

He goes on objecting to this unknown doctrine. He asks "how this doctrine did these things?" That is, how the doctrine of a future state could extend beyond the present life? Thra shews at least, he was in earnest in his ignorance, and perfectly well assured that / had not told him "what the doctrine .was.

He proceeds with his interrogations, and asks, Why the punishing Children for their Fathers' faults, had, no further use after the bringing in a future state?

[ocr errors]

I had told him long ago, it was because the punishment was employed only to supply the want of a future state. But to this, he replies, nothing hindered its being added to the doctrine of a future state. It is very true: nor did any thing hinder temporal rewards from being added to the doctrine of a future state under the Gospel; yet when a future state was brought to light, by that Dispensation, both one and the other were abolished. But is it not a little strange that the Doctor, in thus insisting on its further use, on account of its being able to restrain more daring Spirits, by laying hold of their instincts, at all times, as well under an unequal as under an equal providence, should not see he was arguing against the DIvis E WisDons, who by the mouth of the Prophet declared it of no further use under the Gospel dispensation ?

P. 172. [KK] Ezechielis sententias adeo sententiis Mosis repugnantes invenerunt Rabini, qui nobis illos (qui jam tantum extant) libros Prophetarum reliquerunt, ut fere deliberaverint, ejus librum inter canonicos non admittere, atolue eundem plane abscondissent, nisiquidam Chananias in sesuscepisset ipsum explicare, quod tandem magno cum labore & studio (ut ibi narratur) aiunt ipsum fecisse, qua ratione autem non satis constat.—Spinoza: Tract. Theologico-Pol. pp. 27, 28. In the mean time it may be worth observing, that the explanation which I have here offered, cuts off the only means the modern Jews have of accounting for their long Captivity upon the Principle of the LAw's being still in force. Limborch urges Orobio with the difficulty of accounting for their present dispersion any other way than for the national crime of rejecting Jesus as the Messiah; seeing they are so far from falling into Pagan idolatries, the crime which brought on their other Captivities, that they are remarkably tenacious of the Mosaic Rites, To which Orobio replies, “that they are not their own sins for which they now suffer, but the sins of their forefathers.” T 2 - Now

Now Ezekiel has declared (and I have reconciled that declaration to the Law and the Prophets) that this mode of punishment hath been long abolished.

P. 174. [LL] Having thus reconciled the two Prophets, Moses and Ezekiel, on this point, one may be allowed to wonder a little at the want of good faith even in M. Voltaire, when it comes to a certain extreme.

This celebrated Poet has, like an honest man, written in defence of Religious Toleration1: and to inforce his argument, has endeavoured (not indeed like a wise one, who should weigh his subject before he undertakes it) to prove, that all Religions in the world, but the Christian, have tolerated diversities of opinion. This common weakness of rounding one's System, for the support of a plain Right which requires no such finishing, hath led him into two of the strangest paradoxes that ever disgraced common sense.

The one, that the Pagan Emperors did not persecute the Christian Faith: The other, that the Jewish Magistrate did not punish for Idolatry.

In support of the iirst, his bad faith is most conspicuous; in support of the hitter, his bad logic.

If there be one truth in Antiquity better established than another, it is this, That the Pagan Emperors did persecute the Christians, for their faith only; established, I say, both by the complaints of the Persecuted, and the acknowledgement of their Persecutors. But this being proved at large in the preface to this very Volume*, it is enough to refer the Reader thither.

The other Paradox is much more pleasantly supported. He proves that the Mosaic Law did not denounce punishment on religious errors (though in direct words, it does so), nor did the Jewish Magistrate execute it (though we have several instances of the infliction recorded in their history). —And what is the convincing argument he employs? It is this, The

* See Preface to Books IV. V. VI. edit. 1758. Vol. IV. p. 35. of this Edition.—Ed. . ,


- frequent def ections of the Jew ish People into Idolatry, in the early times of their apostasies. An argument . hardly so good as this, — The Church of Home did not persecute, as appears from that general defection from it, in the sixteenth Century. I say, M. Voltaire's argument is hardly so good as my illustration of it, since the defection from the Church of Rome still continues, and the Jewish defections into Idolatries were soon at an end.

But we are not to think, this Paradox was advanced for nothing, that is, for the sake of its own singular boldness (a motive generally sufficient to set reason at defiance), nor even for the support of his general question. It was apparently advanced to got the easier at his darling subject, The Abuse Of The Mosaic Religion, that Marotte of our partycoloured Philosopher.—Take this instance, which is all that a cursory note will be able to afford.

M. Voltaire, speaking of the rewards and punishments of the Jewish Dispensation, expresses himself in this manner: "Tout etait temporel; et e'est la preuve que le Savant Eveque Warburton apporte pour demontrer que la Loi des Juits, etait divine; parce que Dieu meme etant leur Roi, rendant justice imniediatement aupres la transgression ou l'obeissance, n'avoit pas besoin do leur reveler une Doctrine qu'il reservait au terns, ou'il ne governerait plus son peuple. Ceux qui par ignorance pretendent que Moyse «nseignait l'immortalitede l'ame, 6tentauNouveau Testament un de ses plus grands a vantages sur Tandem" p. 132. —Would not any one now believe (who did not know M, Voltaire) that he quoted this argument a« what he tljought a good one, for the divinity of the Mosaic Religion? Nothing like it. It was only to find occasion to accuse the Old Testament of contradiction. For thus he goes on,—" Cependant nialgre l'enonce precis de cette Loi, malgre cette declaration cxpresse de Dieu, qu'il punirait juequ' a la quatrieme

T 3 generation;

generation; Ezechiel annonce Tout Le ContraIre aux Juifs, et leur dit, que le Fib ne portera point 1'iniquite de son pere: il va meme jusqu'a faire dire a X)ieu, qu'il leur avail donne des preceptes qui rietaiewt

pas bom." p. 133

As for the precepts which were not good, the Reader will see that matter explained at large, as we go along. What I have to do with M. Voltaire at present, is to expostulate with him for his ill faith; that when he had borrowed my argument for the divinity of the Mosaic Mission from that mode of punishment, he would venture to invalidate it from an apparent contradiction between Moses and Ezekiei.; when, in that very place of the Divine Legation which he refers to, he saw the two Prophets reconciled by an argument drawn from the true natures of two approximating Dispensations; ah argument which not only removes the pretended contradiction (first insisted on by Sfinosa, and, through many a dirty channel, derived, at length, to M. Voltaire), but likewise supports that very marie of divinity which I contend for.

But it is too late in the day to call in question the Religion or the good fuith of this truly ingenious man. "What I want, in this Discourse sur la Tolerance, is .his Civil Prudence. As an Annalist, he might, in his General History, calunmiate the Jewish People just as his passions or his caprice inclined him: But .when he had assumed the character of a Divine, to recommend Toleration to a Christian State, could he think to succeed by abusing Revelation? He seems indeed, to have set out under a sense of the necessity of a different conduct: But coming to his darling subject an abuse of the Jews, he could not, for his life, sustain the personage he had assumed, but breaks out again into all the virulence and injustice with which he persecuted this unhappy People in his General History; and of which the Header will see a fair account, in this volume, p. 6, et. seq.

13 P, 175.

« AnteriorContinuar »