« 前へ次へ »
under the imputation of digging up foundations, and greatly unsettling the minds of
. to aver, as St. Paul does, that the ends of governmen: were then effe&tually answered, I fear, was greatly Praining the point. Nevertheless, this does not affect St. Paul's main argument, which is taken, not from the right use and application of power, but from it's origin and foundation. But then, St. Paul fhewed himself to be as bold an adventurer, with regard to the ground of his argument, as in what he offered as an additional frength to it. For, whether we regard government in general, or the particular government that then subsisted at Rome, or whether we regard the forms of government, or the perfons who adminifter it; in all or any of those views, it cannot be said, with propriety and iruth, that they are the ordinance, and by the appointment, of God, so as to be a proper foundation for what St. Paul builds upon it; because, strictly speaking, they are the ordinance, and by the appointment, of men, and of men only. And as the proposition St. Paul grounded his argument upon, viz. that government, and governors, are the ordinance, and the ministers, of God, was not true, whiccher applied to his own time, or any other; whether to the government at Rome, or to government in general; therefore, it cannot be a proper premise to the conclusions he draws from it; and consequently, St. Paul's authority, or declaration, in the present case, cannot be a proper evidence to prove the truth of, or support, the doctrine it is brought to vouch for. St. Paul's bold, adventuring genius was most fully exemplified, in his extirpation of Judaism. After the Apostles and companions of Christ had been personally instructed, by their master, in the things that pertained to his kingdom, and after they had been filled with the holy Ghost, (as on the day of Pentecost) they, then, went forth to preach the gospel ; and they all set out upon this principle, (there not being one dissenter) viz. tbat Chriftianity was a supplement to Judaism, and was to be grafted upon it; in consequence of which, all the preachers of, and converts to, Christianity, were zealous of, and
men. But debat foundations have I dug up? Or what minds have I unsettled ? Perhaps,
at paid a strict regard to, Moses's law: and thus it continued, 'cill after St. Paul's conversion. And, surely, I think, it must be allowed, that if the abolition of Judaism was, originally, intended to be a part of that scheme of providence, that was to be executed by the ministry of Jesus Christ; then it may fairly be presumed, that Jesus Christ would have fully instructed his Disciples in this momentous affair, both in the exercise of his ministry, before his death, upon his resurrection, when he informed them of the things that appertained to his kingdom, and by the ministry of the holy Ghoft, after his ascension, as on the day of Pentecost, by which they were to be led into all necessary truth, according to Christ's promise ; whereas nothing of this took place, but rather the contrary; and therefore this affords a kind of presumptive evidence, or proof, that no fuch thing was intended. Upon St. Paul's becoming a Christian, as one extreme sometimes produces it's oppofite, a rigid dislenter makes a violent high-church-man; To St. Paul, from a most strict adherer to Moses's law, took upon him the total extirpation of it. And as St. Paul could not otherwise get clear of that law of ceremonies, so he turned them all into figures, types, and shadows, a thing that does not appear to have been ever heard of before, or even thought of, by Jesus Christ, or any of his disciples and followers. For Christ made fome changes, as to the moral and judicial parts of Moses's law, and which, I apprehend, are considered to be improvements of it; yet he left the ceremonial parts of it in their full force, requiring obedience to be paid to the most minute parts of it, such as the tything of mini, anniss and cummin ; and, notwithstanding this, Sc. Paul boldly pushed at the extirpation of them. And tho St. Paul had no authority, nor no sort of evidence, that appears, for what he did, nor did he pretend to any, but his own reasoning upon the case, and what a lively and strong imagination could furnith him with; yet be prosecuted his delign, with such ardent zeal, application, and
at last, these words will be found to have no meaning ; because it may be a difficult talk to Mew how they can, with any propriety, be applied to me. As to those who are interested in popular and received opinions; they, in general, are out of all danger; as they carry about them the loadstone of self-interest, which so strongly attracts their attention and application, as effectually secures them from being unsettled by any thing I can say, or do. As to the bigotted, the superstitious, and the enthusiastical, which probably make up much the greater part of our species ; these are either not settled at all, or else are so settled as to be unmoveable ; because all these are quite out of the reach of argument, and, therefore, can be neither settled, nor unsettled, by it. And as to the more intelligent part of our species, who are not interested in
popular opinions, or who will not be governed by such interest, these, surely, cannot suftain any injury by my Dissertations ; because as I have treated, with plainness and freedom, the points therein discussed ; so, of
course, diligence, and by the strength of his superior learning and abilities, as that, probably, he got over most of the apostles to his fide, and in process of time carried his
course, I must have ministered to their pleie fure, whether they perceive me to have truth on my side, or not. The questions, therefore, will return. What foundations have I dug up ? Who are unsettled by my Differtations ? Or, who has sustained any injury thereby ? Indeed, it has been complained, that I deny a Providence, because I do not admit that God has any hand in the plots and intrigues, in the roguery and wickedness, that take place in the world, nor yet in those wastings and defolations, that have been brought upon mankind thereby; for if God has no hand in the means, then he has no hand in the end produced by them. James i. 13, 14. Let no man say, when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, (or to do evil) neither tempteth he any man. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away, of his own luf, and enticed. My thus vindicating God's providence, from those imputations, may be called a denying it; but then, as this is an old conplaint, so it can answer 120 other purpose, now, than to beighten and enlarge the cry.
. What my sentiments are, touching Providence, I have shewn, long ago, in my Differtation on that subject, to which I refer my reader.