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made it drunk with the Blood of Saints; which hath put it, under the opprobrious Appellation of Heretics, upon the attrocious Attempt of excluding the Righteous from the Kingdom of Heaver, and of sending to the Devil and Hell Torments, " from Flames above to Flames below," the most excellent and worthy Characters; Men of whom the World was not worthy; Mén qualified by their superior Virtue and inflexible Integrity, to shine for ever as Stars of the first Magnitude in the Regions of Glory.
And it is most highly probable, that some Mifapprehension with Regard to the true Design and Meaning of the above-mentioned Texts; their living in an Age, in which a very bigoted and intolerant Spirit generally prevailed among Christian Professors of all Sects and Denominations, Protestants as well as Papists, towards all of a different Persuasion in Religion ; an Age, in which Errors in Judgment were almost universally deemed far more criminal and dangerous than any Errors in Conduct, and deserving of a much severer Condemnation : I say, it is most highly probable that these, in Conjunction with some other similar Causes; and, particularly, the Want of better Acquaintance with the true Geniuş, and particular Idioms of the HeC 2
brew Original, and their not adverting to the Reason why the Authors of the Sextuagint Version so frequently substituted the imperative Mood for the future Tense, and which was, that Verbs, in prophetic Language, whether used in the one or the other, had the very fame Signification ; expressed no kind of Wish, and were alike declaratory, induced the Translators of the Englis Bible to insert fo many and various Imprecations and Maledictions in the Psalms, and other parts of the Old Testament.
And these, having been once admitted into the sacred Volume, naturally acquired from their Situation an increasing Degree of Respec
tability; and for a Series of Years were generally regarded as authentic. But when their direct Contrariety to our Saviour's Command to love our Enemies, to pray for them and bless them, came to be more clearly perceived, and more generally attended to, their Credit and Infuence proportionably diminished, and their whole Authority must have been at an End, had not the Want of a more perfect Knowledge of the Hebrew Original left fome Room to fuppose, that they might be reconcileable to the Spirit of the Law, though manifestly contradictory to that of the Gospel: “ That they
might be proper for those Times, when it was thought lawful to entertain Hatred against private and public Enemies, though under the Gospel it was not lawful to wish any other to them than we would with to ourselves $.
See Le Clerc on Pràlm cxxxvi. 8. The same erroneous Idea was adopted by the great Dr. Samuel Clark, as appears from his Paraphrase on Mat. v. 43. where he expresses himself as follows. The Law commands Men to love their Neigblours, but permits them to bate their Enemies. A most dishonorable Notion of a Law given by God, which the Pfalmift pronounced to be perfect, and which the Apostle Paul declared to be boly, jus and good. Permission to hate Enemies could form no Part of such a Law. The Notion is palpably absurd, and wholly without Foundation. Love to Enemies is as much injoined by the moral part of the mosaic Law as it is in the Gospel. Thus our Saviour ("understood it, and also explained it, particularly in Mat. V. 44. wbere he says, love your Enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and Pray For those who despitefully use you and perfecute you. Here our Saviour is establishing no new Duty, but giving the full and true Meaning of that great Commandment of the Law, “ Thou shalt love thy Neighbour as thyself.” As a clear and satisfactory Proof of this point will have a Tendency to throw some additional Light on the main Subject of this Disertation, and to remove some great Mifapprehensions, which too many have entertained, not only of the Law, but also of our Saviour's Exposition of it, such Proof is attempted in the Appendix, and I trust with some good Success by the inserting of our Saviour's Commentary entire, which begins with the 17th and ends with the last Verse of Mat. v. with a Paraphrafe chiefly in the Words of the late very candid and ingenious Dr. Doddridge,
Thus while their Authenticity was admitted; no other or better Method could be found by so learned and judicious a Man as Le Clerc, in Order to vindicate them, than such as directly tended to destroy the whole Credit of the Old Testament Scriptures as a divine Revelation; or such as must be attended with the most glaring Absurdity; viz. that Religion, though proceeding from the fame God of infinite Wisdom and Goodness, may, in different Times and Places, be effentially different, and even of a diametrically opposite Nature; that at one Time it may injoin
the constant Exercise of boundless Benevolence, and at another, authorize the Indulgence of theutmost Rancor and Malignancy of Spirit: or that to hate Enemies was the Duty of Jews, though to love them is the indispenfible Duty of Christians.
How peculiarly great is our Felicity! We live in inore enlightened Times; in our Endeavours to reconcile any seeming Contradictions to be met with in one, or another part of our Bible, we are under no Neceflity of adopting any absurd and groundless Hypothesis ; and, in our Attempts to vindicate the Honor of our Religion, and the Credit of Revelation, we have no unsurmountable Difficulties to encounter. Through the united Labors of wise and learned
Men in this, and the preceding Age, we are able to see with Clearness and Certainty, that both the Old and New Testament, agreeably to the Nature of all Scripture given by the Inspiration - of God, display the very fame Spirit ; 'a Spirit of unlimitted Kindness and Charity, and that of all the numerous Expressions to be found in our English Version, which breathe a contrary Spirit, there is not one authorized by the Hebrew and Greek Originals, unless Acts i. 20, together with the first Clause in Psalm cix. 6, should be deemed an Exception.
That those were designed to express no Kind or Degree of Malevolence, or to convey any Meaning, but such as is entirely confiftent with the most perfect Charity will now be clearly Thewn, and I trust most satisfactorily proved. I Shall begin with the first Clause in Veľse the Sixth of the hundred and ninth Pfalm, the only one perhaps in the whole Hebrew Bible that is attended with any material Difficulty in Regard to its Interpretation.
The Verb there, according to its present Vowel Points, has the form of a direct, and truly malignant Imprecation, being in the Imperative Mood of the Conjugation called Hiphil, and agreeably thereto is thus rendered in our C4