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CEASED several hundred years before Christ's “coming : Nay he says, that he knows from the course " and progress of God's economy, that the extraordi
nary providence would cease at the full settlement
of the Jews after their return from the Captivity*. “ He has likewise proved by several arguments, that “ the theocracy continued even to the coming of
Christt. By this means we are left in inextricable “ difficulties: For first, we have a theocracy subsisting
many hundred years without an ertraordinary pro“ vidence, viz. from the settlement of the Jews, after “ their return, to the time of Christ : And consequently,
secondly, a theocracy wherein an extraordinary
providence NEEDS not be exercised. Thirdly, we “ have a theocracy without a NECESSARY CONSE
QUENCE of a theocracy, i. e. without an extraordinary “ providence. And whereas he asserts that the theo
cracy and extraordinary providence must be either “ both true or both false, but still inseparable, He " himself has shewn them to be separable, by shewing " that the one did in fact subsist without the other for so many hundred
years as were between the settlement of the Jeu's after their return from captivity and “ the coming of Christi.
The first thing I shall observe is, that the theocracy and the extraordinary providence are now become tuo again, after they had been so long one. But who can help it! The Author of The Divine Legation would needs have them two. However, he will still shew they are inseparable ; and that, froin the Author's own confession. I have here quoted bim word for word, without the omission of a syllable; that when we sce what he was resolved not to see, we may the better judge of what he meant, by a mind open to conviction : no more, I dare say, than a man who had been often convicted ; though never perhaps before in so flagrant an instance. The truth is, I had expressly and particularly considered and confuted this very objection, in the beginning of Sect. V. Book IV. of The Divine Legation, where (on the-word3--They (the theocracy and extra
* Book V. § 4. + Ibid. 3.
I Exam. of Mr. IV's Account, p. 180-182. Vol. XII.
ordinary providence] must be either both true or both false, but still inseparable, words which our Examiner has twice quoted) I say---The thing here asserted. has been misunderstood, as contradicting what I afterwards observe concerning the gradual decay and total extinction of the extraordinary providence, while the theocracy yet existed. But when I say an extraordinary providence was one necessary consequence of a theocracy, I must needs mean that it was so in its original constitution, and in the established nature of things : Not that in this, which was matter of compact, the contravening acts of one party might not make a separation. For as this extraordinary providence was, besides, a reward for obedience to the theocracy, it became subject to a forfeiture by disobedience and rebellion, though subjection to the government still continued. To illustrate this by a domestic instance: A voice in the supreme council of the kingdom is the necessary consequence of an English Barony ; yet they may be separated by a judicial sentence; and actually have been so, as in the case of the famous Lord Bacon, who was deprived of his seat in the House of Lords, and yet held his Barony. This was the specific punishment of the rebellious Israelites. They were deprived of the extraordinary providence; and yet held subject to the theocracy, as. appears from the sentence pronounced upon them by the mouth of the Prophet Ezekiel : “Ye pollute your“ seloes with your idols even unto this day: and shall “ I be enquired of by you, O House of Israel? As I “ live, saith the Lord God, I will not be enquired of by
you. And that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all, that ye say, we will be as the Heathen, the families of the countries to serve wood and
As I live, saith the Lord, with a mighty hand, with a stretched-out arm, and with fury poured
out, will I rule over you. And I will bring you out " from the people, and will gather you out of the coun“ tries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, " and with a stretched-out arm, and with fury
poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you
“ face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in “ the wilderness of the Land of Egypt, so will I plead “ with you, saith the Lord. And I will cause you to
pass under the rod. And I will bring you into the
BOND OF THE COVENANT.” Chap. xx. ver. 31-37. It is here, we see, denounced that the extraordinary providence should be withdrawn; or, in Scripture phrase, that God would not be enquired of by them; that they should remain in the condition of their fathers in the wilderness, when the extraordinary providence, for their signal disobedience, was for some time suspended. But for all that, though they strove to disperse themselves amongst the people round about, and projected in their minds to be as the Heathen, and the families of the countries to serve wood and stone, yet they should still be held under the government of a theocracy: which, when administered without its naa, turally attendant blessing of an extraordinary providence, was, and was justly called, the ROD and BOND OF THE COVENANT* He is now fairly and openly : convicted. What shall be his punishment? That which hath proved, hitherto, his Reader's; To write on.
VI. He proceeds, “Mr. Warburton's second ob
jection against Dr. Spencer is-in his arguments for “ the abolition of the theocracy, instead of attempting
to prove it on the great principles of civil policy, " the only way of determining the question with cer" tainty, he insists much on the disuse of urim and
thummim, &c. Fle brings the despotic power of " the kings, as another argument, which I think
proves the very contrary. For were these kings " the viceroys of God, whose power was despotic, “ theirs must necessarily be the same; not so, if “ monarchs in their own right t.-In his arguments for the abolition of the theocracy. Has Dr. Spencer
any arguments for the abolition of the theocracy be“ fore the days of Christ? He has no such arguments;
nor, I dare say, never thought of such a topic; be
cause he tells us it continued to the last times of their “ policy. He has indeed a section about the duration “ of the theocracy, in which he lays down four theses,
* Div. Leg. Book V. $ 4. init. + Ibid. § 3. :
“ about the gradual declining of the theocracy: And it
one of them he shews it was not at an end in Saul and “ David's days, because in their time the divine oracle
was consulted; that in Solomon's time, there was a “ disuse of urim and thummim, which was a most “ eminent pledge and indication of the divine govern
ment: From this he concludes it nearer å panopū, to a disappearing. But since he allows it to continue for
a thousand or eleven hundred years after this, how is “it POSSIBLE for him to bring arguments for the aboli« tion of the theocracy from the urim and thummim? " He could MEAN only an abatement*.”
Hear now my own words, fairly printed together, in The Divine Legation; and let the Reader believe it, if he can :This treatise is by no means in the number of those on which Spencer raised his reputation. He goes on a wrong hypothesis; he uses weak arguments; and he is confused and INCONSISTENT in his assertions. 1. He thinks the theocracy was established by degrees and abrogated by degrees. A conceit highly absurd, as God was legislator. He thinks the first step to its introduction was the delivery at the Red sea; and the first step to its' abolition, the Israelites demand of him a king : That it was more impaired when Saul and David got possession of the throne : That it approached much nearer its end when it became hereditary, under Solomon: And yet, for all this, that some obscure footsteps of it remained even to the time of Christ. 2. In his ARGUMENT for the ABOLITION of the theocracy, instead of employing the great principles of civil policy, the only means of determining the question with certainty, he insists much on the disuse of urim and thummim, &c. He brings the despotic power of the kings as another argument; which, I think, proves just the contrary, For were these kings the viceroys of God, whose power was despotic, their power must necessarily be 80 too : not so, if monarchs, in their own right. 3. Though, as we observed, Spencer, in the second Section of the fourth Chapter, supposes a gradual decay of the theocracy; and that even some obscure foot # Examination of Mr. W's Account, p. 182, 183.
steps of it remained to the time of Christ; yet in the following Section he all the way ARGUES UPON THE SUPPOSITION OF AN ABSOLUTE AND ENTIRE A BROGATION by the establishment of the kings*. And in evidence of this last assertion, I quote at the bottom of the page these following words of Dr. Spencer :--
Regiminis hujus MUTATI vel A BROGATI causa princi
palis-- De regiminis hujus A BROGATI effectu vel eventú « breviter disserendum est."-Op. Spen. I. p. 241. 243.
This then is the whole of what I said of Dr. Spencer on this occasion. Where the Reader sees, my sole purpose was to prove iny assertion, that Dr. Spencer argued weakly and inconsistently. In the first paragraph, I shew his arguments for a gradual decay are weak. In the second, that his arguments for an abolition are as weak. And in the third, that he was inconsistent, talking one while of the continuance of it to the time of .Christ; and another, of its abrogation under the kings. Now what says our learned Doctor to all this? Why in the first place, he detaches the second paragraph from the first and third; though they all relate to, and connect with one another; and quotes it alone as if intire and independent. With such a liberty the Reader would reasonably think he might have made some shew at least of an argument: but, by the good provision of Nature, his head was made an exact tally to his heart. I had said that Spencer talked inconsistently in, first, supposing a gradual decay and continuance to the time of Christ; and yet saying that it was abrogated under the kings. What is his answer ?
“ Since Spencer " allows it to continue for a thousand or eleven hundred
years after Solomon's time, how is it POSSIBLE for him
to bring arguments for the abolition of the theocracy " from the disuse of urim and thumiim? He COULD
MEAN only an abatement.” That is in plain English -How is it possible a man should contradict himself? Or in still plainer~-Your charge of INCONSISTENCY must be false, otherwise Dr. Spencer would be incon
VII.“ The third objection of Mr. IVarburton (says our Doctor) is, that though Spencer in one place * Div. Leg. Book V. $ 3.
is C 3