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There he renew'd the Covenant between God and them; and we are assur'd that, Israel fervd the Lord all the days of £°iv' Joshua, and all the days of the Elders that over-livd Joshua, and which had known all the works of the Lord that he had done for Israel.
But, when all these were dead, there Ju% arose another generation after them, which l2' knew not the Lor D, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. They forsook the Lord, and serv'd the Jlrange Gods of the Heathens their Neighbours, Baal and Afhtaroth. And this they seem to have done without intirely altering the Form of their Government, or utterly rejecting the Law. But having greatly displeas'd God by such their Behaviour, he withdrew his protecting Favour from them, so that they could no longer stand before their Enemies.
However the supream Being, mindful of his Promise to their Forefathers, le^ his Mercy so far temper his Justice, that he would not quite abandon them; but rais'd up Judges, under whose Admini- jud stration, as long as they liv'd conforma- 17.
ble to God's Laws, their Affairs profper'd. But, upon the Death of any of these Judges, their Intervals of Disobedience constantly return'd. And thus they went on, rebelling and provoking God, Acts xiii. for about the space of four hundred and °' fifty years, till toward the latter End of the Days of Samuel-, when they insisted upon having a King.
Afterwards, a Monarchy.
From thence began the Monarchy} when they were to be rul'd no longer by the Laws of God only, but moreover by the arbitrary Will of a single Person. This i Sam. was what they desir'd; make us a king to viu. 5. judge us like all the nations-. And this was what would infallibly be the Consequence* as Samuel the Prophet of the Loes tells them. This will be the manner of the King that Jhall reign over you -f he will take your Jons and your daughters, your menservants and your maid-servants,, and your goodliest young men, and your as es-, and put them to his work. And he will take your ■ fields and your vineyards, and your olive
yards, even the beji of them, and give them to his servants. And ye Jhall ery out iri that day, because os your King which ye have chosen you. A very just Representation of Monarchy; and which shews the Excellency of their former Government, when they liv'd under f no other Gontroul than that of good and wholfome Laws, which they had soberly and seriously covenanted to obe-y. Accordingly when they chose a King, they are said to have rejected Gody 1 Sam. as having forfeited their Liberty, and with vm* 7' it, all Pretence" to Happiness and Security.
+ Tosephus introduces. Moses speaking to the People is Urad, iff er this Manner. rt Ari Aristocracy., in' "respect to the Benefits of Life which slow from it, is "the best Thing in the World. Do not therefore rt Wantonly desire to change this for ariy other Forrti "of Government; Keep to this, which lays you un"der no Restraint but that of your own Laws, and rt makes' you accountable tb them only. Have no "other Lord, but your God. But-—-if you must "needs have a King, let him be elected from among * your own People. Antif. lib. iv." And agreeably to thbx Aristotle makes the following just Reflection. "He that desires to be govern'd by Law, desires that "God stiould be his Sovereign. He chat desires to bsr "" govern'd by a King, that is, by a1 Man, desires to "be subject to a wild Beast as it were'; since Man . rt is so far from acting always according to Reason, "that he is generally influenc'd by his Passions. Ari"stet, in Polit.
It must be confess'd that, according to the modern way of speaking, Monarchy is of two Kinds j the one, absolute-, and the other limited. But it is, at the fame Time, well known that this latter is, in Truth, a Sort of Commonwealth j which though it cannot be call'd either an Aristocracy or a Democracy^ yet is of such a Nature as may be consistent with both: It being a very common thing, in either, to have the executive Power lodg'd in the Hands of a single Person; who, during that Time, is, in Effect, much the fame as a limited Monarch-> considering, that Names and Titles, Habits and Decorations, are merely contingent, and may differ from one another as much as Times and Places do, without adding to, or detracting from the Power of the Person that wears them: that being fix'd in this cafe, by the Laws or Customs of the Land; and flowing from the Consent of those who have elected such Person to preside over their Affairs.
Such was the Aristocracy of the Israelites. First Moses held the Helm of their State; then Jojhua, and afterwards the
'Judges. But this Sort of Government they were not contented with; they must have a King after the Manner of other Nations y that is, an absolute Ruler. Such therefore was Saul their Jirjl King; and David their second, who seems to allude to this arbitrary Power in * that Psalm, where he introduces God, saying; I have set my King upon my holy hill os Si on. I will give thee the heathen for thine itiheritdnce, and the ulmojl parts of the earth for thy poffejjion. Thou fialt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dajh them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
Whether this Kingdom was hereditary or not, we shall enquire hereafter; only observing, at present, that it descended from Father to Son during the Reigns of
* Psalm ii. / know this Psalm is, by some good fud-^ ges, thought to be stlely prophetic os the Messiah, without having any Relation to David, or his Affairs. But tho' St. Paul, and the rest of the Apostles (Acts xjii. 33, iv. 24.) have appeal'd to it in such a Sense, yet that does not hinder, but it may be at the fame Time typically predictive of Christ, and Kterally descriptive of David. For tho' there are, it must be confess'd, some things which one knows not well how to refer to David; there are others again, altogether as unsuitable to Christ; particularly the latter Part os the Passage above c\tecU
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