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with the fentiments of this learned, judicious, and excellent Bishop. But, on the other hand, he must express his forrow, that his Lordship was fo far s distant from his books and pa
pers," otherwife, it is moft probable, that he would have produced fome valuable teftimonies from the antients, concerning what he hints at as-" little noticed."
Another thing is alfo to be lamented, which is, that the good Bifhop did not proceed to explain what he meant by thofe """ great and "vifible imminent hazards," mentioned in the laft paragraph.
If fo fmall and inconfiderable a perfon as myself may venture to guefs at the meaning of fo confiderable and great a man as Bishop Burnet, I should suppose, that his Lordship has here a reference to his obfervation before made, concerning the difference between the fate of innocency, and that of mankind fince the fall, and to those evils which he mentions as the confequences of the latter—which could not exist during the former. Such as barrenness, sickness, uncleanness, or crossness of humour.' " What great, imminent, "and visible hazards hang over thoufands," from these causes, has been obferved before, p. To vindicate, therefore, the lawfulness of polygamy is, as the world is now conftituted, in fuch cafes at least, to act as a good citizen of the world, by vindicating the
natural privileges," and neceflary rights of mankind; and it is, at the fame time, to a&t
act as a fincere believer of divine revelation, to fet forth, openly and without difguife, that HEAVENLY SYSTEM, by which thofe rights are established and fecured. To vindicate alfo that univerfal law, which had the good of the WHOLE for its object-to shew that its wisdom and beneficence are too VAST to be confined to a fingle people, or a fingle period of particular difpenfation to free it from that obfcurity which monks and priests, and other enthufiafts and fanatics, have involved it in, to the distress and deftruction of millions-is a task referved alone for thofe, who, for the fake of truth, are willing to facrifice their eafe and reputation to the malevolence of ignorance and prejudice.
CHRIST not the Giver of a new Law.
MOSHEIM (Eccl. Hift. Maclaine's edit.
quarto, vol. i. p. 295) very juftly obferves" When once the minifters of the "church had departed from the antient fimplicity of religion, abuses were daily mul"tiplied; and fuperftition drew, from its "horrid fecundity, an incredible number of "abfurdities, which were added to the doc"trine of CHRIST and his apostles.”—This is very true, and very ftrikingly exemplified in that learned and accurate writer's hiftory of the Chriftian church, both with regard to ceremonies and doctrines. Among other abfurdities in point of doctrine, is the notion that "CHRIST's miffion upon earth, was to "exhibit to mortals a new law, diftinguished "from all others by its unblemished fanctity "and perfection." In vol. ii. p. 277, this is represented as one main article of the Socinian creed, and it is to be wished that it never had been adopted but by the immediate followers of Socinus. Yet this is the language we hear daily, and is at the bottom of that extravagant notion expreffed by Gronovius on Grotius de Jure, tom. i. p. 274, octavo, 1735 -main
tained by many learned men, and even adopted as an axiom by the generality of Chriftians, as much as the Pope's fupremacy and infallibility were before the Reformation-namely, that -"Lex naturæ & veteris fœderis concedunt polygamiam"-The law of * nature and of the "Old
* By lex naturæ, or law of nature, I understand, for my own part, as far as I can make sense of the expreffion, or reconcile it to truth, that lex non fcripta, or unwritten law, given of GOD to Adam, and from him derived by tradition to the people of GOD till the time of Mofes, when the lex fcripta, or written law, was given by Mafes. See John i. 17. former part, and Rom. v. 13. Both thefe laws are in fubftance one and the fame. The moral obligation of each demanded the fame obedience; the ceremonial inftitutions of both pointed out the fame facrifice and atonement for fin. Neither of these laws forbad polygamy, therefore it was practised by Abraham-Jacob, and doubtlefs many others who lived under what is called the patriarchal difpenfation-as well as by the Jews under the Mofaical difpenfation. As for what is generally underftood by the law of nature, the offspring of what is called the light of nature, or the mores communes naturali rationi confentanei-GROT-by which I suppose we are to underftand-"Common rules of moral action, which are con"fonant to every man's natural reafon"-thus making men their own lawgivers, as to what is morally good and evil; this, notwithstanding all the learned lumber that has been written upon the subject, is a definition not unlike that of the state of Ifrael, when they had no king, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes. Judges xvii. 6. A law of nature, which is to fpring from, and be agreeable to every man's natural reason in this corrupted state, is a ridiculous chimera, that may bear as many forms as there are men in the world. It is Atheism at bottom (for there is but ONE LAWGIVER-compare If. xxxiii. 22. James iv. 12.) and is beft defcribed by
Monftrum, horrendum, informe, ingens, cui lumen ademptum.
"Old Teftament, allow polygamy, but it is forbidden- Lege CHRISTI" - by the law of CHRIST. This appears to be the opinion of Grotius in that place on which Gronovius comments for he fays" Ex CHRISTI lege ir"ritum eft conjugium cum eo qui maritus fit "alterius mulieris, ob jus illud quod CHRIS"TUS fœminæ pudicitiam fervanti dedit in "maritum."-By the law of CHRIST, a marriage with a man who is the husband of another woman, is void and of none effect, by reason of the right which CHRIST gave to the woman, who preferves her chastity, over her husband. Here then CHRIST is fet up to exhibit to mortals a new law, and that, in oppofition to the law of nature, and of the Old Teftament, as
Let those who think I carry this matter too far, confult Rom. i. 21, &c. which paffage of holy writ may be looked upon as a fummary of what is faid in the Old Teftament, of the depravity, blindness, ignorance, and wickedness of the fallen human nature. This is abundantly confirmed by all hiftory, and daily experience. Dr. Alexander, Hift. of Wom. vol. i. p. 169, fays, very truly-" Man, in that rude and uncultivated state in "which he originally appears in all countries, before "he has been formed by fociety, and inftructed by ex"perience, is an animal, differing but little from the "wild beafts that furround him.' Here let me once more recommend to the reader's perufal, Dr. Leland's Advantage and Neceffity of the Chriftian Revelation. There he will fee a very authentic account of what MAN is, "though formed by fociety, and inftructed by expe"rience," without the light of divine revelation. This, not as it refpects the vulgar and illiterate, but those also who are handed down to us, as moft eminent for wisdom, learning, and philofophy. THE WORLD KNEW NOT GOD, 1 Cor. i. 21. Comp. Job xi. 7, 8.