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A Word or two' 10 Unbelievers, and the Scorners
of Moses, in particular.
WHAT Legislator erer established a national priesthood, without one foot of property in land, which, as that great statesman, Harrington, observes, " is the strong and durable pillar of power, respect, and wealth ?” Even when he saw the priests of Ægypt possessing one-fifth part of the land ; when he knew too, by full experience, that the people he had to lead and govern, were so untractable and disobedient, under the most extraordinary acts and miracles of God in their favor.-He could not but foresee, that this precarious subsistence might be withdrawn, as the prophets afterwards complained, of the robbing of God of the tenths he gave to his own immediate servants, in his house or palace, the tabernacle and temple.—The folly of claiming them under the Christian church, by divine right, is gross enough, and has nothing to do with the religion of Christ.
Shew the world who, but this lawgiver, pub. lishes the shame & nakedness of the rebellions, murmurings, and seditions of his own people, under the seal of God's word; while all other ancient kingdoms appear so jealous of their national character, that they paint their own pic. tures full of virtue, goodness, and every pero fection that can adorn and exalt their name?
What legislator opened so free and general an admission into the rites and privileges, civil and religious, as Moses ? He demanded no more of strangers, than what was enjoined to his own people.
Who shewed so little fear or jealousy of religious rites, secreted by other nations and their priests, as this servant of God, who threw the altars and courts open to every eye, describing the manner, and commanding the whole law to be read every seventh year before all Israel, men women, and children, and strangers who were perfect proselytes, and entitled to the same priveleges as natives of the land ?
Who among ancient founders of states, ordained a sabbatical year, promising such extraordinary abundance, without sowing, or any cultivation of the earth, such plenty as should suffice for more than two years ? Of the truth or falsehood of which institution, he called his own people, and all persons adopted from other mations, to be witnesses for, or against him and his successors.
Who expressed such an impartiality & veracity, in predicting the future calamities of this people for rebellion and disobedience; and the last and now.continuing dispersion of this nation; and yet with a promise, so improbable in appearance, of a return in the latter days?
Where can be found one full and perfect system of civil and religious laws and statutes, where so many veins of mercy and attention to the four most exposed states of human nature, run through every part, I mean to the
poor, the widow, the fatherless, & the stranger ? in which too, there were no infamous punishments of public whipping, and other barbarous treatment, which tend to harden the offender, and prevent his return to better conduct, and future regard in society. Who ever limited stripes to forty only, lest “ thy brother should seem vile in thy sight ;" to which every one was subject in their courts of judicature-even the high-priest, as well as an inferior Israelite, for such offences as demanded this rod?
Who forbade imprisonment for debt-not punishing misfortunes for crimes-judging poverty a cup bitter enough in itself: And even under the servitude in which debtors were bound to work for the creditors, enjoined the remission of debts on the first day of every seventh year ? Let the Egyptian, the Grecian, and Roman laws, produce such alleviations of human misery !
Who secured the peace, honor, and happiness of parents, in their most tender feelings, from the power of the rich, and seduction of the licentious, by compelling marriage, or dowry to the injured daughter ?
Who could venture, but by the order of God to predict, that a people comparatively small to the great empires, their neighbors, and hated for their religion, (a bar of clistinction odious and despised by the idolatrous kingdoms) should exist, till the promised Messiah came, when they were included in a country of so small an extent ; which, by the best geographical ac count, exceeded not three of the largest coun,
ies of this little island, * and was surrounded y the most powerful states on every side ; hould, I say, exist, distinct and separate, in poitical and religious laws and statutes, when other nations and kingdoms, more numerous, exensive and powerful, had changed names and government often, in a less tract of time than hiteen centuries ?
Who among all the ancient lawgivers gave their people an injunction, not to hate their en. emy, neither Edom, the house of Esau, nor an Egyptian, under whom they had groaned with the heaviest yoke of servitude and oppression ; and with a reason added, because the judgments of the Lord God on both would pass away in the third generation (a time limit. ed, whatever it signily) and “ the children begotten of them, shall enter the congregation or church of the Lord,” Deut. xxiii. 7. The disobedience of this people to such lessons, be to their own shame, and confusion : However, few believers, or unbelievers, knowing themselves thoroughly, will cast a stone even at them.
Who, without the command of the all-comprehensive mind and eye of the most high God, could foretel, that when the true Joseph, one chosen in old time ont of the brethren, beloved of his father above all his children, should appear in the form of the flesh of Sin, as the apostle speaks, “ that his brethren should hate him, and the archers sorely grieve him, and shoot at him, sell him,and crucify him,” while his hands
were dealing out blessings in the most benefi. cent miracles of love and kindness, yet of a superior nature to those' he himself had done? Gen. xlix. 22, 23, 24.
The creation of bread and fishes, as well as the raising of the dead by his word, were more illustrious proofs of power, given him over all things.
Who attempted to establish such an agrarian law, as I may call it, in a political view, as the year of jubilee, when the restitution of lands under mortgage, and a temporary disinberison, were to return back to the families? Under this kind institution, as a barrier against covetousness, strongly rooted in corrupt 11ature, the noblest blessings were prefigured ; but these I touch not, observing only, that in this people the picture of mankind, under all fornis and colors of good and evil, appear delincated ! though pride and ignorance of ourselves may dispose us to confine it.
Lastly. Who promised the restitution of those wicked nations, which were cut off by the sword of the Lord, save Moses? Yet is he of late, in particular, insulted as a man of blood and cruelty-by such only however, who are 10tally ignorant of the judgments of the Lord, and of the the two-edged sword out of his mouth, killing flesh and quickening spirit.-" To Shilob' shall be the obedience of the people,” Gen. xlix. 10. "To Moses was given the full knowl. ege of the great name ; in which he has taught us, how far the mercies of the Lord extended beyond his judgments ;. shewing the first, to