Page images

$ 134. To give our author the honour of this new invention, for I confess it is not I have first found it out by tracing his principles, and so charged it on him, it is fit my readers know that (as absurd as it may seem) he teaches it himself, p. 23, where he ingenuously says, “ In all kingdoms and commonwealths in the world, whether the prince be the supreme father of the people, or but the true heir to such a father, or come to the crown by usurpation or election, or whether some few or a multitude govern the commonwealth ; yet still the authority that is in any one, or in many, or in all these, is the only right and natural authority of a supreme father;" which right of fatherhood, he often tells us, is “ regal and royal authority;" as particularly p. 12, the page immediately preceding this instance of Abraham. This regal authority, he says, those that govern commonwealths have; and if it be true, that regal and royal authority be in those that govern commonwealths, it is as true that commonwealths are governed by kings; for if regal authority be in him that governs, he that governs must needs be a king, and so all commonwealths are nothing but downright monarchies; and then what need any more ado about the matter? The governments of the world are as they should be, there is nothing but monarchy in it. This, without doubt, was the surest way our author could have found to turn all other governments, but monarchical, out of the world.

$ 135. But all this scarce proves Abraham to have been a king as heir to Adam. If by inheritance he had been king, Lot, who was of the same family, must needs have been his subject by that title, before the servants in his family; but we see they lived as friends and equals, and when their herdsmen could not agree, there was no pretence of jurisdiction or superiority between them, but they parted by consent, Gen. xiii. hence he is called, both by Abraham and by the text, Abraham's brother, the name of friendship and equality, and not of jurisdiction and authority, though he were really but his nephew. And if our author knows that Abraham

[ocr errors]

was Adam's heir, and a king, it was more, it seems, than Abraham himself knew, or his servant whom he sent a wooing for his son ; for when he sets out the advantages of the match, Gen. xxiv. 35, thereby to prevail with the young woman and her friends, he says, “ I am Abraham's servant, and the Lord hath blessed my master greatly, and he is become great; and he hath given him flocks and herds, and silver and gold, and men-servants and maid-servants, and camels and asses; and Sarah, my master's wife, bare a son to my master when she was old, and unto him hath he given all he hath.” Can one think that a discreet servant, that was thus particular to set out his master's greatness, would have omitted the crown Isaac was to have, if he had known of any such? Can it be imagined he should have neglected to have told them, on such an occasion as this, that Abraham was a king, a name well known at that time, for he had nine of them his neighbours, if he or his master had thought any such thing, the likeliest matter of all the rest, to make his errand successful !

$ 136. But this discovery it seems was reserved for our author to make two or 3000 years after, and let him enjoy the credit of it; only he should have taken care that some of Adam's land should have descended to this his heir, as well as all Adam's lordship: for though this lordship which Abraham, (if we may believe our author) as well as the other patriarchs,“ by right descending to him, did enjoy, was as large and ample as the absolutest dominion of any monarch which hath been since the creation;" yet his estate, his territories, his dominions, were very narrow and scanty; for he had not the possession of a foot of land, till he bought a field and a cave of the sons of Heth to bury Sarah in.

$ 137. The instance of Esau joined with this of Abraham, to prove that the “ lordship which Adam had over the whole world, by right descending from him, the patriarchs did enjoy,” is yet more pleasant than the former. “ Esau met his brother Jacob with 400

men at arms;" he therefore was a king by right of heir to Adam. Four hundred armed men then, however got together, are enough to prove him that leads them to be a king, and Adam's heir. There have been Tories in Ireland, (whatever there are in other countries) who would have thanked our author for so honourable an opinion of them, especially if there had been nobody near with a better title of 500 armed men, to question their royal authority of 400. It is a shame for men to trifle so, to say no worse of it, in so serious an argument. Here Esau is brought as a proof that Adam's lordship, “ Adam's absolute dominion, as large as that of any monarch, descended by right to the patriarchs;" and in this very chap. p. 19, Jacob is brought as an instance of one, that by “ birthright was lord over his brethren." So we have here two brothers absolute monarchs by the same title, and at the same time heirs to Adam; the eldest, heir to Adam, because he met his brother with 400 men; and the youngest heir to Adam by birth right: “ Esau enjoyed the lordship which Adam had over the whole world by right descending to him, in as large and ample manner as the absolutest dominion of any monarch; and at the same time, Jacob lord over him, by the right heirs have to be lords over their brethren.” Risum teneatis? I never, I confess, met with any man of parts so dexterous as sir Robert at this way of arguing: but it was his misfortune to light upon an hypothesis that could not be accommodated to the nature of things, and human affairs; his principles could not be made to agree with that constitution and order which God had settled in the world, and therefore must needs often clash with common sense and experience.

$ 138. In the next section, he tells us, triarchal power continued not only till the flood, but after it, as the name patriarch doth in part prove.' The word patriarch doth more than in part prove, that patriarchal power continued in the world as long as there were patriarchs; for it is necessary that patriarchal power should be whilst there are patriarchs, as it is necessary there should be paternal or conjugal

66 This pa

power whilst there are fathers or husbands; but this is but playing with names. That which he would fallaciously insinuate is the thing in question to be proved, viz. that the “ lordship which Adam had over the world, the supposed absolute universal dominion of Adam by right descending from him, the patriarchs did enjoy.” If he affirms such an absolute monarchy continued to the flood in the world, I would be glad to know what records he has it from; for I confess I cannot find a word of it in my Bible: if by patriarchal power he means any thing else, it is nothing to the matter in hand. And how the name patriarch in some part proves, that those who are called by that name had absolute monarchical power, I confess I do not see, and therefore I think needs no answer till the argument from it be made out a little clearer.

$ 139. “ The three sons of Noah had the world,” says our author,“ divided amongst them by their father, for of them was the whole world overspread,” p. 14. The world might be overspread by the offspring of Noah's sons, though he never divided the world amongst them; for the earth might be replenished without being divided : so that all our author's argument here proves no such division. However, I allow it to him, and then ask, the world being divided amongst them, which of the three was Adam's heir ? If Adam's lordship, Adam's monarchy, by right descended only to the eldest, then the other two could be but his subjects, his slaves : if by right it descended to all three brothers, by the same right it will descend to all mankind; and then it will be impossible what he says, p. 19, that “ heirs are lords of their brethren,” should be true; but all brothers, and consequently all men, will be equal and independent, all heirs to Adam's monarchy, and consequently all monarchs too, one as much as another. But it will be said, Noah their father divided the world amongst them; so that our author will allow more to Noah than he will to God Almighty, for 0. 211, he thought it hard, that God himself should give the world to Noah and his sons, to the prejudice of Noah's birthright. His words are,“ Noah was left sole heir to the

[ocr errors]

world : why should it be thought that God would disinherit him of his birthright, and make him, of all men in the world, the only tenant in common with his children ?” and yet he here thinks it fit that Noah should disinherit Shem of his birthright, and divide the world betwixt him and his brethren; so that his birthright, when our author pleases, must, and when he pleases, must not, be sacred and inviolable.

$ 140. If Noah did divide the world between his sons, and his assignment of dominions to them were good, there is an end of divine institution; all our author's discourse of Adam's heir, with whatsoever he builds on it, is quite out of doors; the natural power of kings falls to the ground; and then “ the form of the power governing, and the person having that power, will not be (as he says they are, 0. 254), the ordinance of God, but they will be ordinances of man:" for if the right of the heir be the ordinance of God, a divine right; no man, father or not father, can alter it: if it be not a divine right, it is only human, depending on the will of man: and so where human institution gives it not, the first-born has no right at all above his brethren ; and men may put government into what hands, and under what form they please.

$ 141. He goes on, “ most of the civilest nations of the earth labour to fetch their original from some of the sons or nephews of Noah,” p. 14. How many do most of the civilest nations amount to? and who are they? I fear the Chinese, a very great and civil people, as well as several other people of the East, West, North, and South, trouble not themselves much about this matter. All that believe the Bible, which I believe are our author's “ most of the civilest nations," must necessarily derive themselves from Noah; but for the rest of the world, they think little of his sons or nephews. But if the heralds and antiquaries of all nations, for it is these men generally that labour to find out the originals of nations, or all the nations themselves, “ should labour to fetch their original from some of the sons or nephews of Noah,” what would this be to prove,

« PreviousContinue »