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ticular Persons there referred to (without the Intervention of a timely and thorough Repentance] had Reason to be apprehensive of, for thus the Passage will run; “ Let a wicked Man make Inquisition against him, and the Adversary shall stand at his right Hand. When he is judge ed he shall come out a wicked Man, and his Prayer shall be a Sin. His Days shall be few, and another shall take his Office, and so on to the End; and the fame Observation holds good in most other places, where we have rendred it in the Form of an Imprecation." and as to the few Expressions, which really have in the Original an imprecatory Form, none of them, in the Judgment of this learned Writer, are in the least inconsistent with Humanity, ar that Charity, the Exercise of which is essential to the Christian Character.
“ There is Nothing, says another very ju-, dicious and amiable Critic, in the Book of Psalms, or any other part of the Old Testament contrary to this; [ i, e. the unlimited Benevolence and Charity injoined in the Command to love our Neighbour as ourselves, which will appear, if we consider the peculiar Reasons for those Expressions, which may seem to imply any Thing that is so; when some of them, which
found like Curses, may be even Blessings in
And having in Proof of his Observations
*Vid. Ats, i, 16, 20. Luke XX. 42. xxiv. 44. 2 Sam. xxxiii, 2.
to be understood. And then there remains no farther' Question or • Difficulty how these, and the like Passages, are to be accommodated to the Christian Affection and Spirit; thạn how the plain Denunciations of the Gospel are to be entertained by us; as, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." *
In further Attestation of the Point under Consideration, I shall only add the following Paragraph out of Bishop Kidder's Sermon on Mat. v. 40, 44. “ It is certain, says he, that the Hebrews have no such Thing in their Language as an Optative Mood. † And therefore we cannot, from the bare Formation of the Verb, conclude the Desire or Wish of him, who speaks. For the Truth of this, I appeal to those, who are best skill'd in their Language. They have however a Way, by which they express their With or Defire that a Thing should come to pass. This the Pfalmift does by two Words, mi itten, who shall give, or Oh! that any one would
Thus, “Oh! that the Salvation of Israel were come out of Sion.” Psalm liii. 6.
* Vid. Dr. Jenkins's Reasonableness of the Christian Ree Jigion.
+ He might have added and no tbird Person in the imperative,
or " who shall give it out of Sion ?" Pfalm. xiv. 7. “ And Oh! that I had the Wings of a Dove." Psalm lv. 6. &c. In this manner does the Pfalmift express his With or Desire. But he no where uses this Expression, where he is supposed to pray against his Enemies; there is not in any one of these places any Expression, that imports any With or Defire. .
To Close the Argument; it is clear to every one, who understands Hebrew, that all the Imprecations, either against wicked Men, private or public Enemies, to be met with in the Psalms, or any other parts of the Old Testament, according to our Version, are in the Original only narrative, or declaratory of such Evils as, without Repentance, would befal them. * Repentance would prevent the Completion of the Prophecy, And with Respect to those few Imprecations to be found in the Original Hebrew, it is certain that they are all consistent with every Dictate of Humanity, and the divine Principle of genuine, unbounded Charity Against Enemies, either public or private, Bp.
* The Verbs not being in the imperative Mood but the future Tense;
; except the first Clause of Psalm cix. 6. and perhaps, a very few more ; but even these will be proved to express ng Kind or Degree of Malevolence, and to be only declaratory
Kidder hath positively affirmed that in the Hebrew there are no Imprecations at all. However against notoriously wicked Men there certainly are a few, but none that express any Malevolence or Hatred; none but such as are genuine Dictates of Charity. Of this Kind is the following Imprecation mentioned by Dr. Jenkins. “ Put them in Fear, O Lord, that the Heathens may know themselves to be but Men.” Pfalm ix. 20.
Of a : inilar Nature, and of a Sense equally benevolent and harmless, are all others to be met with in the Hebrew Bible; and particularly in Psalm xxviii. “Give them according to their Deeds, and according to the Wickedness of their Endeavours ; give them after the Work of their Hands, render to them their Deserts." By which Words nothing else could be signified but this; That God, in some way that fhould be most agreeable to his infinite Wisdom and Goodness, would be pleased to stop these Sinners in their career of Wickedness, and take such Measures with them as should effectually lead them to Repentance; " or plague them with their own Inventions, till they should come to a proper Sense of their Guilt and FolJy;" and agreeable to this construction the Pfalmist