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and objection to the reception of Moses as a divine prophet and law-giver; and the particular command given by him not to spare infant children where a general destruction was to take place; it seems not to be needed to skreen and justify it by a reference to the same thing taking place in the divine natural government, where whole districts, infants and grown persons, are promiscuously destroyed by earthquakes and the like; as this is a defence, which some are dissatisfied with, not holding the cases to be parallel. It was a sufficient justification for the thing, that there was the divine command for it; sufficient for all who believe in a God of all perfection and goodness, the moral governor of his creatures, and we can have no dispute with any others : for he can command nothing but what is beneficial and good to all, even to those who at present suffer by it. It is only necessary to be satisfied that it is his command, and we are to obey.
Now we have seen above, that there can be no ground to question the veracity of Moses, in what he $0 frequently declares, that it was the command of God to the Israelites by him, to exterminate those rations and take possession of their land, for that most important reason so often assigned, lest they make thee sin against me.
The Israclites also, besides the command of God given then by Moses, were further assured, from the divine extraordinary assistance vouchsafed to them in overconzing the Canaanites, that tbey acted by a di
vine command in invading and taking possession of the country ; in which, without express“ encourage-, ment from the Alınighty, they would have been Ilo better than robbers and murderers.
The Canaanites themselves also had notice and warning given them of what was coming upon them, and for what cause; which is plain from what Rahab the hostess related to the spies whom she had concealed, Joshua ij.-9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and what the Gibeonites afterwards declare to Joshua, ix. 3, &c. so that the body of the people were persuaded that the Israelites came against them by a commission from the supreme God and possessor of heaven and earth; who in aeting by his authority violated no law of nature, nor did any injury to the Canaanites in dispossessing them.
The severity, however, of these awful judgments upon these nations, for their extreme wickedness, of which the Israelites were made the instruinents, was not in that degree or to that extent which has been supposed. This has been maintained, with great strength of argument, by learned and impartial judges; Maimonides and others of the first account among the Jews; 'and -by very many Christians of our own and other countries, in particular by Grotius, who, on Deut. xx. 10, maintains that the laiv. Exod. xxiii. 31, 32, 33, and Deut. vil. 1, 2, was to be extended only to such of these people as did not surrender themselves on being summoned ; as is evident from Joshua xi. 19, 20, Thcir being commanded to save
alive nothing that breatheth, Deut. xx. 16, is to be understood only in case they did not surrender when summoned, but rejected the conditions of peace offered to them.
But perhaps with regard to that extreme inhumanity and barbarity which is imputed to the Israelites, and supposed to be enjoined by Almighty God to be exercised
the Canaanites to their utter extermination, the best refutation is the fact itself, that they were by no means all destroyed or exterminated; but were left and continued to dwell among the Israelites under their judges and their kings, even David himself; who certainly would not have permitted what was directly forbidden by God.
It is ever to be remembered, that it was not merely for their idolatry, though that alone be often named; but as it was connected with most abominable impure as well as inhuman rites, which made a part of it, and : with which it was always accompanied, that these nations of Canaan were to be exterminated. For it is not for his own sake that the Almighty requires or declares himself to have pleasure in our religious worship and homage of himself alone and of no otherbesides him ; but because it is necessary for our own perfection and happiness, and to keep us from falling into the grossest ignorance, bigotry, and superstition, and most cruel malignant dispositions to our fellow
The * See, in many parts of it, that last and inost invaluable work,
The expedience and need of this great severity against the idolatry of the Canaanites, to check and prevent its spreading, appeared from the proneness of the Israelites, and their continual relapsing into it under their judges and their kings, till their captivity in Babylon. And the honest unflattering account which their historians throughout give of their criminality in this respect, is a proof of the genuineness of their narratives, which must be agreeable to all lovers of truth, though they will lament the horrid degeneracy which they deseribe. But in the midst of it, in the worst times, there were many thousands who did not bow the knee to Baal; and even some of their princes had the virtue and the courage to attempt a reformation; and not a few among their prophets fell a sacrifice to their boldness and efforts to bring their countrymen off from their abominable vice and worship of their false gods. Heb. xi. 36–38. During the many ages, whilst the Israelites were acting, some worthily, others much the contrary, under their greater light and advantages; among the rest of the nations, those especially who dwelt nearest and had intercourse with them, enjoyed the means of
his Comparison of the Institutions of Moses with those of the Hindoor, of my most beloved friend, Dr. Priestley. Although now far separated during this transitory iife, cn the verge of which we both stand, there is humble hope of meeting again when the sleep of death is over. His numerous works will continue to enlighten the world, till the only true God be more universally known; and the pure gospel of Jesus, his messenger, have its natural influence.
becoming acquainted with the knowledge of the one true God; and must have benefited much by it, and also by observing the punishments which this people of God drew on themselves, by falling off to the impure rites and worship of false gods : and under their dispensation, and with their lesser light; nany wise and excellent characters were formed, who laboured to do good and improve others..
Among these heathens there might be, and cer-tainly there were, many distinguished patterns of ex-cellence, who were blessings to mankind, although they met with no historian to hand down their merits and example to those that came after them. But we have undoubted records of one person, who shewed: by his moral and intellectual acquirements, how far the light of nature could go, and what philosophy, was able to effect. And it may serve to humble, and to shame us into a better conduct, to reflect how far. we fall short of his attainments, and creep below him: in moral excellence, many of us, in the midst of our blaze of light and advantages-from divine revelation:
This was Socrates, the son of Sophroniscus, an-> Athenian statuary, bred to his father's profession, in which he practised for a while and excelled; but very soon applied himself wholly to the study of philoso-phy, principally that branch hitherto little cultivated; which related to the knowledge of nature and its author, and the duties men owed to him and to one another: he thus stood forth at once the most extraor-dinary example the world had ever yet seen, of de