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cke hadmercenary slavenant alone,
did the work they were only to expect the wages."2 Page 24. “ Neither the law of nature, nor the cove. nant of grace, but the Sinai covenant alone, placed men in the relation of mercenary slaves.”
Mr. Locke had given an account of the community of Israel, in his Letters on Toleration, which nearly. corresponds with this. “ As to the case. (says he) of the Israelites in the Jewish commonwealth ; who, be. ing initiated into the Mosaical rites, and made citizens of the commonwealth, did afterwards apostatize from the worship of the God of Israel ; these were proceed. ed against as rebels and traitors, guilty of no less than high treason. For the commonwealth of the Jews; different in that from all others, was an absolute The. ecracy. ; Nor was there, nor could there be, any dif. ference between the Commonwealth and the Church, The laws established there, concerning the worship of the one invisible Deity, were the civil laws of that people, and a part of their political government, in which God himself was the Legislator.*" Here we have the Church of Israel fairly transformed into a mere civil Commonwealth.
Dr. Gill attempts to rid himself of the argument drawn from the fact, of the membership of infants, in the Israelitish Church, by the same pretence. “The covenant of Horeb, was indeed a national covenant, and took in all, children, and grown persons; and which was no other than a civil contract, and not a covenant of grace, between God and the people of Israel, he as king, they as subjects ; he promising to be their Protector and Defender; and they to be his faithful subjects, and to obey his laws."f: Lowman, Witsius, Warburton, and several other modern writers, of great reputation, have given a similar view of this society: These quotations however, must serve as a specimen of the general theory.
* Bishop Warburton says, Mi, Locke was the first man who fell upon this ini vention. It is certainly a pity he was not the last. ..+ Gill's Reply to Clark, page 37. The Doctor did not consider that infants were included in this society, long before the covenant of Sinai was intro
That there is some resemblance between the institu. tions of the Sinai covenant, and those of ordinary civil governments, though this resemblance is certainly re. mote, will not be denied ; and whether some things miglit not have been ordained, out of respect to the existing institutions of those governments, we shall : not pretend to say. But one would think, the simple consideration of the moral nature and end of mere civil establishments, quite sufficient to prove, that a system of duty proceeding from God, could not come under this description. . :: To prepare, the way for the refutation of this theory,
it may be proper to make two or three preliminary re. marks. : 1. We are not to judge of the naturë of the Sinai covenant, by what was, in fact, the character of the people, uitder the first institution of the covenant, or åt any period afterwards, till it was abolished ; any more than we are to judge of the Gospel from the aca tual character of its professors. A inillion of hypocrites will not prove, that the institution was calcu: lated to promote hypocrisy, or to make it an accepta. ble service when exhibited. Let it be remarked again,
2. That the institutions upon which a society is founded,cannot be judged of by any new modifications, which that society may, in subsequent periods,assume. These modifications may arise out of incidental causés, and be an abuse of the institution. A regal government was introduced into the community of Israel; but this was a departure from the institution ; not a character of it.
3. It has been already proved, that the covenant of circumcision was the constitutional basis of the community of Israel ; that the principle of this covenant was a spiritual obedience to God, as God; that its promises were absolute; and embraced that good, and that only, which grace secures to the saved ; and that the relation which it formed between God, and its · subjects, was spiritual, and indissolvable. If then, it could be proved, that the institutions of the Sinai
covenant, its relations, duties, rewards, and penalties," were, in part,or altogether, civil; this would do nothing towards proving the discontinuance, or transformation of the Society, which was founded in the Abrahamic covenant, and which consisted of the seed. For then these institutions, and the society formed by them, would be merely superinduced and adventitious; like the putting on of an exterior garment, which neither destroys, nor alters the wearer. When these in: stitutions are withdrawn, as it is conceded the Sinaj covenant was, at the coming of Christ ; the original society will be left just what it was before this superinduction was made. But there is an offensive incon. gruity in this, imperium super imperium, this double sort of society ; especially when the Pentateuch, and the following history present one society only, and that of the simplest construction.
No doubt this theory is the product of human in. genuity , and not a work of the wise and immutable Builder of the Universe, Let us see if this cannot be evinced.
It has been proved, that the promises of the Sinai covenant terminate in the same good, in which the promises of the Abrahamic covenant terminate. It has also been proved, that the curse of the Sinai covenant, terminates in evil, entirely distinguishable from the dissolution of the body, and beyond any thing expe. rienced in this life. This inust be the punishment which the scriptures generally denounce against final impenitents. If then, it can be made to appear, that the law, which constitutes the radical principle of this covenant, required inward piety, and accepted of noth. ing, as obedience, which did not result from uprightness of heart; it will undeniably follow, that the Sinai covenant was purely a religious, and not at all a civil, or mere temporal institution. It will follow also, that if the Hebrew community was, in whole, or in part, . irreligious, hypocritical, or carnal, it was because they were disobedient to the covenant, and not because they followed its directions.
Now it is most evident, that the Sinai law required inward piety. For thus its fundamental precepts run, Deuteronomy vi. 4, and on. “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord; and thou shalt love the the Lord thy God, with all thine heart, and with alt thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house; and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." 13th verse. “ Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shaly swear by his name." Ib. X. 16. “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart and be no more stiff necked." 12th verse. “And now, O Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul ?” 1b. xii. 12. “ And thou shalt rejoice before the Lord thy. God." Ib. xi. 13. “And it shalt come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments, which ! command you this day, to love the Lord your God,and to serve him, with all your heart, and with all your soul; that I will give &c.” Here all the laws of the Sinai covenant are explained, as comprised in looing God as a portion, and serving him with all the heart, and with all the soul. Surely then, piety, and nothing else, was obedience to these laws. According to this view of the law, the people were told, that hatred of God would bring on them his severest displeasure. Deuteronomy vii. 9, and 10. “ Know, therefore, that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God; which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him, and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations. And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to de. stroy them; he will not be slack to him that hateth him; he will repay him to his face.” In conformity to this view of the law, they are also told, lb. iv. 19.--“ But if from thence, (a state of captivity) thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him ; if shou
seek him with all thy heart, and with all thy soul." These passages prove, that love was required, as the principle of obedience, to every part of the law. He who hated God, was, let him do externally what he might, in the eye of the law, an object of wrath. He was so altogether, and was to be exterminated without mercy, accordingly. This is exactly agreeable to the account which the apostle Paul gives us of the real Jew. Romans ii. 28, 29. “ For he is not a Jew, who is one outwardly ; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh ; but he is a Jew which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit ; not in the letter ; whose praise is not of men, but of God." The Jew is one who is morally con: formed to the law.
The people of Israel, therefore, when they agreed to keep the law, saying, “ All that the Lord hath said will we do and be obedient,” made a strictly religious profession, and engaged to comply with every precept of the law piously. It was upon this principle ; it could have been on no other, that God said, he had avouched them to be his people ; and called them "a holy nation, a kingdom of priests."* Farther arguments to prove that the Sinai Covenant, and the Socie.
The astonishing propensity of many divines, (it seems to prevail most ac mong those who are of the greatest literary eminence) to reduce the Mosaic system to an accordance with worldly establishments, may be seen in the following quotation from the fourth Vol. of Warburton's Divine Legation, page 14. ,"It will be necessary then to observe, that God, in his infinite wisdom, was pleased to stand in two arbitrary relations towards the Jewish people, besides that natural one, in which he stood towards them and the rest of mankind in common. The first was that of a tutelary Deity, gentilitial and local ; the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who was to bring their posterity into the land of Canaan, and to protect them these as his peculiar people. The second was that of supreme, magistrate and lawgiver. And in both these relations he was pleased to refer it to the people's choice, whether or no they would receive him for their God and King. For a tutelary Deity was supposed by the ancients to be as much a matier of election as the civil magistrate." Thus it is necessary to go abroad, not only to the civil establishments of the world ; but to the extravagances of its i. dolatry, to explain an insitution of Jehovah, designed expressly to form a kingdom which is not of this world ; but in its origin, principle, and end, entirely the opposite of every civil and idolatrous association. This expedient, to reconcile philosophy and christianity, is a covered kind of Deism ; which, while it professes to defend the authority of the Holy Scriptures, spreads over thein ob-, scurity and doubt. When will the Church be compleatly rescued out of the hands of pretended friends, who are enemies in disguise, and stand forth, in that simplicity of holiness, which is her characteristic beauty !