Page images

Greek word solvwia, which is the Ecclefiafti cal Term for expressing the entercourse of Di. vine Favours to his Church, wherein all rightly disposed Members are supposed to share.

The same word is used also in Coins and In· scriptions, and other good Authorities, for the mutual Communications of their Privileges between Cities and Cities, on account of fæderal Contraéts obliging them to do so: Exactly answering the Ecclefiaftical Commerce between City-Jurifdi&tions by the liter& formata. Many more things might have been observed to this purpose, if the thing had not indeed been so ac knowledged, that we may securely reason on it, and that concerning both Peculia the Evangelical, as well as the Legal. Both of them are accordingly accounted for in the Reasonings of the Apostle by a double Covenant, the Old one which he supposed temporary and abroga. ted on the publication of the Gospel, so far as it was found inconsistent with the Revelations of the Gospel; and the New and Everlasting Covenant of the Gospel it felf, which he therefore supposes Everlasting, because it was not to be succeeded by any new Covenant, or netu Revelations inconsistent with it. And indeed, the case is manifest in both of them. In the old Peculium, Circumcifion was a token of God's Covenant with them, Gen. xvii. 12. And the Covenant was tranfated by their Sacrifices, Pf. l. 5. These Sacrifices especially of the cloud, which were divided into Parts, through which the Covenanters were to pass, Jer. xxxiv. 18. thereby imprccating the like.exci. sion to themselves, if they should fail in performing the Conditions covenanted for on their parts. Such plainly was that of Abraham, Gen. XV. 9, IO. Besides, the Bleffings and Cur


es of Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim were purposely designed for covenanting Obligations; even on Man's part, for securing the perfor mance of the Conditions for which he had co. venanted. Such also was the Song of Mofesa Deut. xxxii. enumerating the Curses imprecated in case of non-performance. So also in the New Covenant, Baptism was managed by way of Question and Answer, exactly according to the form of a Roman Stipulation. And the Eucharift was no otherwise understood by the younger Pliny, than as an obligation laid by Christians on themselves, for performing the Duties required from them by their holy Religion. God might indeed (if it had pleased him .fo to do) have obliged Mankind to serve him singly, and separately, by his own Authority as their Creator, and as the Original of all the Benefits enjoyed by them : And in so doing, he needed no other Security on Man's part than what Man's Interest would have given him, to have obliged them at their peril to the observance of his Commands, on pain, if they did otherwise, of losing the rewards of Obedience, and of incurring the punishments allotted by himself for Rebels; the rather so, because Man's covenanting Imprecations could give him no more power for righting himself, than what he was already possessed of antecedently to the imprecations of the Offenders themselves. For the inflitting those Imprecations was still expected from himself, as exceeding the power of any Creature to inflict them. For those imprecations of Punishments to be inflicted by God, were the utmost Appeal to God himself, in case the breaker of his ftipulated Faith should prove too potent for Humane Tribunals. God might therefore, if he had pleased, thus have




obliged Man to obedience, by his absolutè uno controllable Empire, and by the terror of the consequences of Disobedience. It was indeed a great condescension for him to treat with us upon the equal terms of giving and receiving Securities for performance of Conditions on both parts. Yet if God had designed to deal with Mankind according to his absolute Sovereignty, there could have been'no pretence for his fecuring Performance on his own part, as the Apostle observes, - by an Oath. The Heathen Gods themselves, being suppofed to be finite Beings, were therefore thought liable to the effects of their own Imprecations in case of breach of Faith, as the most antient Poets obferve from the popular Opinions then received concerning them. But our Supreme Being is neither capable of breaking his Covenants, nor liable to any Superiour Jurisdiétion in case he could do so. There could be therefore no use of his giving his Faith this way, but only his condescension to satisfie Men in the way they had been used to of receiving satisfaction from their Gods when they entred into Covenants with them. This therefore, befides the other Arguments now produced, do plainly Thew, that, whatever God might have done, yet the way a&tually taken by him in sertling both Peculia, was, to give them the Security of a Covenant, and therefore, by the same ways then used in those early times wherein the first Covenant was made, in tranfating Covenants. This therefore we may securely reckon on in our Reasonings, from the nature of that Covenant which was made with the peculiar


[ocr errors]

This being so, it plainly appears, that God $. IV. in.covenanting with his "Peculium as a Body, The Security to

be given God took the same Security for performance on to

" for performing Man's part, which had been usudl in the like the conditions cases of Covenanting with Bodies: That is, of this Covethat he did not content himself with the Secu nane on Man's rity individuals were capable of giving him fe-pa náhle of giving him so part, was to be

given by them parately by themselves, but took in also the who had risk greater Security of the Body it felf, and of those to oblige the who were actually possessed of the Authority Body, with of the Body as far as they also were capable of

Cf which the com undertaking for all the Members of their own made. Body. For the Favours undertaken for on God's part, concerned the prosperous Condition of the ho i whole Body. It was therefore requisite, that '!" rop the Body should be engaged for performance of the Duty expected by him as well as the particulars. The Patronage engaged for on God's part, was for the good of the whole Ifraelitishi 1:5 Nation, and therefore it was hut reasonable ? that the Security to be expe£ted from the Bo- Histoi dy should be National also. The Patronage . se undertaken by God, was perpetual, and unconfined to any certain time. But single Indivi. duals could engage no farther than their own time, which could not exceed the present Generation. Besides, whilst the election of Na

tional Patrons was arbitrary, and the Supreme · Being had not yet declared, that it was his

pleasure to accept of any National Election ; the right of chusing a National Patron, was lodged in him who was invested with the Poweer of the Nation, as having a right to conclude all the particular Members of his own Natia on, and to oblige them to stand to his own determinations. On this account it seems to have been, that Foshua undertakes for himself and his Family, that they would serve the Patron of


the true Peculium. A Ruler he was in th Tribe of Ephraim, Numb. xiii. 2. and a Hea ver. 3. Therefore a Head of his own Famil

which gave him a Right to under ,רוט אכות

take for them on the Patriarchal Principles Yet we read of another, who was a Prince of Foshua's Tribe of Ephraim, as being a Head of the House of their Fathers, Numb. vii. 2, 48 that is, as I understand the place, who had 2 Right to govern the whole Tribe, as being the

Heir of the first Family of that fame Tribe. $. V. Of this fort I suppose those Elders to have governed the been who outlived Foshua, who kept the 1 Tribes feparate raelites firm and stedfast to their wo ly, when there the Supreme Being, according to the Covenant was no King in I am speaking of. For this was a time when in Ifrael, were there was no King in Israel, Judg. xix. i. xxi. enabled to maintain the

25. that is, when there was no common Gover.

25. that is, when the True Religion nour over the whole Nation, but that the Tribes as Heirs of the were governed separately, by the eldest Sons of first Families the eldest Families of each Tribe, whose Title Hive Tribes.

espen to their Government was grounded on their Se

niority, and were therefore, on account of their
Title to the Government, properly called El
ders. I know very well, these words are now
in the latter erid of the Book of Judges; and
the Traditions of the Rabbins know nothing to
the contrary, but that they were always fo.
But Fosephus certainly found them, in the Co-
pies of his Age, in the beginning of that fame
Book, and accordingly relates the History rela.
ting to them in the beginning of the History of
the Book of Judges. And the mention of Phi-
ne as in that part of the History, Fudg. XX. 28.
certainly proves the beginning of that History
to be the natural place of it: For Phineas
must certainly have been one of those Elders
who lived with Foshua, and yet out lived him.


And the of the Hith rela.

certain that part

« PreviousContinue »