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whom the Lord keeps, is always surely kept: This, neverthelcss, made not the the Sin of Saul the less; and accordingly it was grievously visittd upon him; for, not only he is left of the Lord in his greatest Distress, fo that, in the Agony of Despair, he is tempted to have recourse to a Witch, that is, in other Words, to the Devil; but it was plainly foretold him, that both he and his Sons should fall next Day, as they did accordingly, his three Sons by the Hands of the Philistines, and himself by his own Sword. Such, and to dreadful was the Punishment of the envious Sault for the Breach of this Commandment!
But was not even David himself g"i!ty of violating the ssme Law, though in a different manner? Undoubtedly he was in the Case of Balbshtba, which was productive both of Adultery and Murder ; and though God, in his inssinite Wisdom and Mercy; was pleased to pardon these complicated Sins, so far as related to his eternal State, yet did he visit them upon him in this Lise, in such a manner as was more grievous than even Death iiseif. If David then, who is called a Man after God's own Heart, could offend so foully, we need not wonder if we sind the mcktdjbab guilty of the fame Crime, as he was with respect to Nahotb: And what was the dreadful Consequence? Why, no less than the total Extermination of his whole Family (as hath been observed before under another Article,) and that in the most shocking Manner.
To pass on now from facred to prophane. His-tory, we shall there sind the Breach of this Law to have been attended with the fame ill Consequences; whereof the wicked Perseus, Son and Successor to Philip, King of Macedon, was an eminent Instance. This inhuman Profligate, who was tainied with all manner of Vices, had a younger
Brother, named Demetrius, of a quite contrary Character, being endued wiih many Virtues, and every way accomplished. It was no Wonder, theresore, that' the one being a Prince of such great Hopes, whilst the other was absolutely therevirse, it should gain the former the Love and Esteem of ali the Macedonians, who were Admirers of Virtue, ard desirous of the Welfare of their Country, and that their Eyes should be sixed upon him, as upon one wLom they wished their suture Sovereigns might resemble.
Ptrjeus was no Stranger to this; and not fmding himself dispofed to attract the Good-will and Affection of the Public, by treading in the Steps of his Brother, it naturally created in him a Dread and Jealousy of that young Prince, as of one whom they might possibly, one Day, raise to the Throne to his Prejudice. It was equally natural to a wicked Mind, prepossessed with this Thought, to endeavour to prevent this, by any meant, lawsul or otherwise: Accordingly, not being able to resf, ivhilst Demetrius 'was alive, he resolved to leave no Methods unessayed to compass his Death; which, at last, by the vilest Calumnies, and most notoriously false Accufations, he cruelly and infa* mously essected.
But it was not long before the Divine Justice overtook this inhuman and envious Fratricide: For King Philip, their common Parent, (whofe Affections he had alienated from his youngest and best deserving Son; by instilling into his Breast, groundless Suspicions of that unhappy Youth, as if he had concerted Measures to betray both his Father and the Kingdom into the Hands of the Romans, in order to advance himself to the Throne;) Philip, we fay, dying soon aster, through Excess of Gmef, on being informed, though too late, of the Innocency cf Demetrius, and villanous Forgeries of Perftus; 'whereby whereby he had been induced to consent to the Murder of that hopesul Prince; that Prodigy of Wickedness succeeded to the Crown; his Advancement, however, contributed only the sooner to Terify that Saying of the Poet of wicked great Men,
For, not many Years aster his Accession to the Throne, engaging unadvisedly in a War with the Remans, he was shamesully and utterly deseated by Pau/us ÆmiUus; forced to betake himself to an ignominious Flight; and being betrayed by thofe in whom he had repofed the most Considence, all Hopes of escaping being vanished, surrendered himself to the Romans, ard was disgracesully reserved by them, together with his Children, to adorn the Triumph of his Conqueror; the most mortifying Circumstance that surely could have betal'.. n a once powersul Monarch 1 Nor was this the sull Completion of" his Misery; for, to crown all, after liv-r ing to be tumbled from the Throne, to be led iu Triumph, and to see himself abhorred and despised by all Men, unable to bear up 2ny longer under such a Load, of complicated Misfortunes, he put an End to his wretched Days by starving himself to Death.
We could, a/ter this, subjoin the remarkable Example of Oredts, King of Partbia; who, not having it in his Power suitably to rev.a-d the great Services of his General Sureua, who, by the et tire Deseat of Crasfus, had faved his Crown, grew envious of his uncommon Merit, and instead of a worthy Recompence, ungratesully caused him to be put to Deaxh. But he was, not many Years afterward', repaid in his own Coin; having the cutting AfHction to receive not only as signal an Overthrow frem the Romans, under Vtntidius, but also
theretherewith to lose his beloved Son Pacorust a Prince of the greatest Hopes and Virtues; whofe Death he only survived, to be himself asterwards murdered by another of his Sons, that inhuman Parricide and Fratricide Phraatts.
To this we might likewise add, from our own Chronicles, that memorable Instance of the two great Dukes of Northumberland and Suffolk, Dudley, and Grey, who envying the Advancement of the two Seymours, Uncles to Edward VI. never ceased their invidious Machinations, till they had wrought their Ruin, the one by the other. However, they escaped not long unpunished, being both of them executed as Traytors ii> the next Reign, and dying unpitied. But we think it altogether superfluous to multiply Examples upon this Head; since what ha» been premised, must, in our Opinion, be more than sufsicient to convince al l,who are not past reclaiming that as, on the one hand, we are assured, in keeping the Commandments O^god there is great Reward; so, on the other, we may be certain, that Ven°t>ante it the Lord's, and be will repay it ; and this, all who transgress his Laws, would do well continually to remember.
To conclude: We have now run through every one of the Commandments, .and shown they are of exceeding great Latitude ; and that well will it be if any, even the bell of us, can lay our Hands upon our Hearts, and fay with Truth, we have not , transgressed them all, without Exception; if not actually, at least intentionally.* But, supposing we had nor, we are to'd by St. James, that Whosoever shall keep the whole Law, and yet offend in one Pcint be is guilty of all. And where is the Man c*n fay he never broke any one Precept of the Divine Law ] And again, we are told by St. Paul, Cursed i\ every one that continueth not in all Things which are ivritten in the Book of the Law to do_ them. This be
ing then our melancholy Case, it certainly concerns us all highly, so know the sull Extent of our Duty, lest we should offend unknowingly, and thereby be brought under the Divine Displeasure; the dreadful Consequence whereof, we know, is no less than eternal Damnation, unless we make our Peace by a timely and unseigned Repentance, besore we go hence, and are no more seen.
And upon this Account it was, that this Treatise was undertaken, and adapted as far as pofsible to the Circumstance.*, Convenience, and Capacities of all forts of Readers, in such a manner as, we hope, will be found equally instructive and enter'aining. It has at least Variety and Novelty to recommend it, both of which are reckoned no small Charms in the present resined and polite Age; and it will surely be somewhat hard, is these Sheets, having thofe Advantages, should not meet with a good Reception, merely because they are of more general Use than most modern Performances. Intfsect, we will venture to afsirm, that there will scarce be any Persons who happen to peruse them, that will not be informed of somewhat they knew not before ; at least we have all the Reason in the World to presume this, if we judge by the Lives and Behaviour of all forts of People.
For instance, we do not at all question but the present King of France, and the Queen-Dowager of Spain are sufsiciently instructed in theFundamentals of the Christian Religion, to be ser.sible they must not iKorship any other than the true Gon, and also, that they must do no Murder; but can any one imagine, that, whilst regardless of every Principle of Justice and Humanity, they have been laying waste great Part of Europe with Fire and Sword, and wantoning away the Lives of Millions, they ever thought themselves guilty of breaking both the First and Sixth Commandment? And yet this