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o not now (says he) from hence 10 IMAGINE that Dr.
Spencer was one of those Writers that supposed the “ theocracy to have ended with the Judges ? What demands of imaginaiion his trade may have upon him is hard to say. Dut, from my words, a reasoner would conclude nothing but that I meant to prove what I said; namely, that Dr. Spencer's Book of the theocracy was weak and inconsistent. Few dinswerers have stuck at a misrepresentation; but then it was to carry on their business, the manufactory of false argument. Our Examiner, on the contrary, seems to do it only to keep his hand in use; for argument he could make none, though he had the laying together of his own premisses. In a word, the whole is a studied misrepresentation of all I said on this subject. The method of which was as follows: first, to shew*, that the theocracy continued to the time of Christ. Secondly, to confute Le Clerc's arguments for its ceasing with the Judges. And this makes up the body of the Discourse concerning the duration of the theocracy. Having done this, I proceeded in these words--Thus the dispute ended [namely between Le Clerc and P. Simon); and for further satisfaction Le Clerc refers us to a Book of Spencer's, written professedly upon this very subject. It is his tract De Theocratia Judaica. What is to be found there, besides the arguments Le Clerc borrowed from it, and which have been considered already, I shall now, with some reluctancy, inform the Reader t. Then I go on to give a character of this Tract, as quoted by the Examiner. And to justify this character, I consider what is there said that may seem to contradict what I had before observed concerning the duration of the theocracy. Now the Reader sees that this is only an accessory to the body of the discourse, given, partly, to enervate the authority which Le Clerc built upon it; and partly, to strengthen and confirm what had been advanced by myself. Yet our simple-minded Doctor, after having concealed all this, says (quoting the beginning of Sect. 3. Book V.) “ HERE it is that
* Div. Leg. Book V. & III,
he attacks Dr. Spencer's Dissertation;" whenas the very mention of Dr. Spencer does not commence till fourteen pages afterwards : and, as if that were not enough, goes on in this manner :-“ Are we not now şs from hence to imagine that Dr. Spencer was one of " those Writers that supposed the theocracy to have so ended with the Judges ? &c. And yet. Mr. W. is
FORCED to own that Spencer supposes," &c. I should not have been so long in laying open so immaterial a cheat, but as it was convenient the Reader should, on his first acquaintance with our Doctor, be let a little into his
II. But he will not only shew, that my arraigning Spencer was absurd; but that the charge against him is unjust. “ His first charge against him is, that he thought “ the theocracy was established by degrees, and abro
gated by degrees. A conceit highly absurd (says “ Mr. Warburton) as God was legislator. But wherein “ lies the absurdity of this gradual progress and gradual « declension, even in cases where God was legislator? " I suppose he will say that the theocracy began at the “ instant of the Horeb covenant; and not when the “ Children of Israel were delivered from Egypt, and
were first under the immediate protection of God." But Spencer INTENDED BY HIS WORD THEOCRACY, “ all the time that the Jews were under the direct power “ and immediate dominion of God; which certainly “ began at the deliverance of the Jews from Egypt, " and was completed in the highest and fullest sense at " the Horeb covenant, when God was constituted their
King *.” I called Spencer's notion of the gradual progress and gradual declension of a theocracy, an
He says, no: and how does he prove it is not? By shewing, that, by the word theocracy, Spencer meant a thing which gradually arose and gradually declined. But is not this the very absurdity I complain of? I call an opinion absurd : and he, to free it froin this censure, tells us--what that opinion is. But as I do not suppose he will be ever able to answer my question, I will try if I can answer his-me“ Wherein
Exam. of Mr. W's Account, &c. p. 170, 171.
“ lies the absurdity of this gradual progress and gradual
declension even in the cases where God was legis" lator?” The absurdity, learned Sir, lies here: when God is pleased to assume the character of Civil Magistrate, he must, like all other magistrates, enter on his office at once ; and (as common sense requires) leave it at once. Now the government, under such a magistrate, is, what we properly call a THEOCRACY: therefore to talk of the gradual progress and gradual declension of this mode of civil relation, is the same absurdity as lo talk of the gradual progress and gradual declension of paternity, or any other mode of natural relation. Whether this was a blunder or a sophisin, is of no consequence; if the detection of it does but shew the Reader what good reason I had to suppose, that the theocracy began at the instant of the Horeb covenant; and how much Spencer was mistaken in the use of the term, if he intended by it, all the time that the Jews were under the direct power and immediate dominion of God. For, in that case, he should have used the word legislature, and not theocracy.—But I had best stop here, lest this new distinction should still further embar : rass this able advocate of Dr. Spencer,
III. However, he goes on to support his reasoning in this manner :-“ So when Dr. Spencer speaks of its
declining gradually—of the government of God
being lessened-of its making a nearer approach “ to its ceasing, I think, if there be any absurdity or * inconsistency in this manner of speaking, it may be “ justified by Mr. Warburton's own authority. He “ himself tells us, that indeed in the period immediately
preceding their (the Jews] captivity, on the gradual “ withdrawing the extraordinary providence from " them--they began to entertain doubts concerning “ God's further peculiar regard to them as his “ chosen people*. So that he here expressly owns
a GRADUAL WITHDRAWING of the extraordinary providence from the Jews. And where is the ab
surdity of Dr. Spencer's gradual declension or inmi" nution of the theocracy, which Mr. Warburton's • Div. Leg. Book V. $ 2.
“ gradual gradual withdrawing of the extraordinary providence
is not liable unto? or was not the gradual withdrawing “ of the extraordinary providence a proper imminution “ of the theocracy* ? He is so fond of this argument that he repeats it again at p. 218. 66 Dr. SPENCER and “ Mr. WARBURTON seem to express themselves so
exactly alike about the imminution OF THE THEOCRACY, " that one would wonder how it should happen that Dr.
Spencer's notion is a conceit highly absurd, and Mr. “ Warburton's should be so consistent, and easy, and “ natural.” To all this I answer, that our advocate has here fairly convicted himself of a degree of ignorance that I never would have ventured to suspect of him, which is, the not knowing the difference between the FORM OF GOVERNMENT and the ADMINISTRATION of it. Now Dr. Spencer talked of a gradual decline of the form of government; which I thought absurd. I, of the gradual decline of the administration of it; which, whether it be equally absurd, may be seen by a parallel instance. For though, not long since, I spoke of parallels, similitudes, and resemblances, as weak instruments for the discovery of truth; yet they are often of more use than better things for the detection of falsehood. If I should say then, that there was, during the reigns of James the First and Charles the Second, a gradual withdrawing the protection of the people, and the equal administration of justice; I should speak, I presume, both sense and truth: yet if Oldmiron himself should affirm that there was, during this period, a gradual with drawing of the monarchy; I should go near to say, he talked as much like a fool in this, as he talks like a knave in most other parts of his History.
IV. Well, but our Advocate will go further; and shew, that though Dr. Spencer be consistent, yet I am not. “ I will observe further (says he) Dr. Spencer “ maintains that some obscure footsteps of the theo
cracy remained even to the time of Christ. And “ Mr. Warburton holds it ended not till the coming
of Christ f. Dr. Spencer is consistent; but it is
• Exam. of Mr. IV's Account, &c. p. 171, 172,
case of such kind of writers; when they stumble, is to run instinctively, as it were, from their own blunders. But our Doctor delights to dwell upon his, affects to enjoy them, though but for a moment, returns again and again to them, as if enamoured of his own image, in them.
V. But now for a master-stroke; worthy an Answerer by profession. “ It (the extraordinary providence] had “ ceased (says he) some hundred of years before Christ
came; as Mr. Warburton over and over confesses. “ The difficulty then is to shew that the theocracy continued, or, ended not till the coming of Christ *.
Perhaps Mr. Warburton will distinguish between " the ceasing of the theocracy, and the ceasing of the
extraordinary providence : he may say that the " theocracy continued till the coming of Christ; the
ertraordinary providence entirely ceased at the full “ settlement after the return of the Jews from their cap
tivity. Let us then grant that the theocracy revived " after the return from the captivity, as he tells ust. " And that that dispensation of Providence soon “ ceased after the re-establishmentt. We are still as “ much in the dark as ever; nor will this distinction help S. the matter, or free Mr. Warburton from great self“ contradiction. For he tells us, one NECESSARY consequence [of a theocracy] was an EXTRAORDINARY
For the affairs of a people under a theocracy being administered by GOD as King; and “ his peculiar and immediate administration in human " affairs being what we call an extraordinary provi
dence, it follows that an extraordinary providence
must NEEDS be exercised over such a people. My “ meaning is, that if the Jews were really under a “ theocracy, they were really under an extraordinary “ providence. In a word, they must be either both “ true or both false, but still inseparablet.
“ If this be the case, then it is plain that a theocracy “ cannot be without an extraordinary providence. But: " then Mr. Warburton has shewn, and at large insists
upon it, that the extraordinary providence ENTIRELY • Div. Leg. Book V. $ 3.
Ibid § 4.