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though David himself confess them innocent, and himself ahnt guilty of the Sin they su£ fered for. And the thing is confessed, concerning the Proceedings of the Divine Providence it self, by the antientest Heathen Poets, in personating the eldest received Notions of Justice from the eldest Traditions they knew of So Homer makes the whole Body of the Greeks to suffer for Agamemnon's disrespect to the Priest of As olio. And Virgil observes it in general: delirant Reges, pleBuntur Achivi. And it was usual for them to imprecate upon their Children* Heads the Curses due on violation of their Covenants. This was the way of dealing in their Covenants With. Strangers. But to oblige Posterity to observe the Obligations laid on them, God had given Parents a right of Blessing or Cursing their Posterity, as they deserved either by their Obedience or Disobedience, with an obligation on Providence to perform their Blessings, or to infliff their Curses. We find the earliest Ages of which we have any Monuments possess'd with Opinions favourable hereunto, which must needs have been the effects of Divine Establishments for the good of Human Societies, long before the Age of their first Writings. These means therefore Abraham had, to oblige his Posterity in all future Generations, to perform their part of the Covenant. And the nature of the Covenant entered into with God for himself and his Posterity, implies, his obliging them this way, though it be not expressd. And the Curses of Mount Ebal, and the Song of Moses, in this Divine Covenant, are of the fame nature with those which were usually feared in the case of violating their Parental Authority.
But I proceed now more particularly, to con- §. x. sider the subjea of our present Enquiry. ThisTM Holiness of the Worshippers was a necessary fitted them to consequence of the Holiness of the Divine Pa- a Divine Protron. This appears from those many places action, wherein the Reason, why the Worshippers ought to be Hcly, is given from the Holiness of the Deity worshipped by them. Be ye Holy, for I am Holy. This had a double Effect on the Worshippers. It made them holy Men to God. So it is expressed, Ew</.xxii. 31. Thus it engaged God to be their Patron, and to resent all Injuries offered to them as reflecting on himjelj, after He had signified his pleasure to admit them to a participation of his Holt' ness. This obliged God to take care they Ifiould be punished by the more immediate interposition of his own Providence, in cafe human Tribunals were negligent of their own Duty in punishing them. In this cafe the whole Body were liable to a contagion of Punishment for the fault of their Governours, and might accordingly fear a Plague or Famine, or a destructive Tt/tf/-, or some such epidemical Calamity, till an Atonement were made by the principal Criminals. This was the nature of a Piaculum, of which they were supposed guilty who broke in on the Divine ProteUion. This was believed to be the cafe, if Men presumed to violate Holy Persons. Such, in the esteem of those Ages, were Poets, Diviners, j Expiators, or any others, who were singularly eminent for their Piety, or Divine Favours, . received by them. Such were even Criminals in San[fuaries, if seised violently, and without due deference to the Religion by which they were protected. This Favour the Israelites had, 'even before their Settlement in the Holy Land.
God punished even Kings for their fake, if they touched his anointed, or did his Prophets any harm. Thus God punished Abimelec and Pharaoh for their injuries to Abraham as a Prophet. Thus he threatned Laban for the lake of Jacob. Thus afterwards he plagued Pharaoh for his inhuman Oppressions of the true Peculium. He resented such Dealings as if he felt them himself, and that in the most tender and sensible part: As if they touched the Apple of his Eye. That is an Expression frequently used on this occasion, Deut. xxxii. 10. P/a/. xvii. 8. Zach. ii. 8. And, in all their Affliffions he is said to have been affliiled, Is. lxiii. 9. This implies as quick resentment, and as severe punishment of Injuries offered them, as Men . lhew under such a fense an*! provocation. And withal, that where human Justice fails, himself will undertake their Cause, and punish their Oppressors in a way of extraordinary signal Providences. So he did in the cafe of the old Peculium in many instances. And so also under the new Peculium, in the instances of Herod the Great, and of the elder Agrippa, who is called Herod also, and of Pontius Pilate. But most remarkably in that of the Jews imprecating the Blood of our Saviour on them and their Children. And it is the design of LaBantius, in his Book De mortibus Perfecutorum, to shew, that the same course of Divine Vengeance was observed against all that were any way concerned in any of the Primitive Persecutions. Thus God's owning his People as a Holy Seed, was, by these Notions of a Piaculum, received then universally by the consent of civilized Nations, sufficient to warn all Persecutors with whom they had to do in injuring them,
And as this Holiness of their Seed gave the §. Xl Veculium a Title to the Divine Proteftion, so st «(s» Dn the other side it exposed them to severer and more inevitable Punishment than others, if p^i^^ent' ffory committed any thing unworthy the i/o/i- iftheyfaiiti ness with which Gorf had favoured them. So themselves m God himself professes: Ton only have I known W0TM'^tttir. of all the Families of the Earth; therefore lQVm^' will punish you for all your Iniquities, Am. iii.2. For, he is of purer Eyes than to behold Evil, and cannot look on Iniquity, Hab. i. 13. And he will be santlified in them that draw nigh.him, Lev. x. 3. And Punishment is the way of falsifying himself on them who do not sanctifie him by a Behaviour suitable to the Honour done them, in admitting them to a nearer participation of his own Holiness. So he is said to have beensanSified in the Rebels at the Waters of Meribah, when he was pleased to pumjh them, Numb. xx. 13. The holiness of the Seed adds to the aggravation of the Sin, if any of the Peculium be guilty of it. The conversing with holy Examples, leaves them less./mptation to it than those who are educated in a promiscuous Conversation. They cannot so easily pretend Infirmity who have God lo near them, and so ready to assist any sincere and serious Endeavours. The Ingratitude is greater 1 against such Favours as are enjoy'd by the Peculium above the rest of Mankind. The Honour of God is more injured by it, if his Favourites be guilty of the like Excesses with those who have not been so regarded by him. That is not all: He is more obliged in Honour to fee them punished, who are under his profesied care and inspeSion, than those whose care he has not so exprefly undertaken. He may more securely wink at their Misbehaviour, for whom
he has no other concern than that of his genera Providence. But Mankind will expect a more accurate regard of his chosen People, and the Sheep of his own Pasture. And indeed his owe good will obliges him to punish his chosen ones, so far, at least, as temporal Punishments maj iecure their greatest Interests, that they may not perish finally and eternally. It was for our Saviour's Honour, that he had kept those vohm his Father had given him, and that none os then was lost but the Son of Perdition, John xvii. n And.it is equally for his Fathers Honour, thai none of his Favourites should fail of the Benefits designed for them, who might be reclaimable by temporal, though severe Punishments. This seems to have been the great design of the Angel of Repentance, in the Discipline so largely accounted for in the Book of Herman. Indeed, letting Sinners alone unpunished in their ill courses, Hos.lv. 17. is the severest way of treating them. But God's owning his own Relation to his Peculium as a holy Seed, is that which makes their Ingratitude Piacular, and more redounding to his Dishonour, as a prophanation of his Holiness. This therefore obliges Him to punish it, and to punish it suitably to the degree of the Prophanation, which aggravates the Crime much higher than its own nature. This is clearly the cafe of incestuous Marriages. The Reasons given from their am nature by the School-men and others, will never prove them criminal in so high a degree as our Divine Revelations suppose them (to be. But this degree results from the Consecration God has given Marriage, by the fense of all civilized Nations attested ip their earliest Writings. Which are the only proofs that can, in reason\ be expensed of a Consecration of that