Page images

on the total difference between polygamy and adultery, does not meet us any where, in any part of the facred biflory, than in the account which is given us of David and Bathsheba, and their iffue.

When David took Bathsheba, he was another's wife-the child which he begat upon her in that fituation was begotten in adultery -and the thing which David had done difpleafed the LORD, 2 Sam. xi. 27. And what was the confequence? We are told, 2 Sam. xii. 1. The LORD fent Nathan (the prophet) unto David. Nathan opened his commiffion with a moft beautiful parable, defcriptive of David's crime; this parable the prophet applies to the conviction of the delinquent, fets it home upon his confcience, brings him to repentance, and the poor penitent finds mercyhis life is fpared, ver. 13. Yet GOD will vindicate the honour of His moral government, and that in the moft awful manner-the murder of Uriah is to be vifited upon David and his boufe-The fword fhall never depart from thine houfe, ver. 10. The adultery with Bathsheba was to be retaliated in the most aggravated manner-Because thou hast defpifed Me, and haft taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife-Thus faith the Lord, I will raife up evil against thee cut of thine own houfe-and I will take thy wives and give them unto thy neighbour

* See alfo vol. i. p. 265–8,

+ GOD's taking and giving David's wives to Abfalom, is to be understood in a very different fenfe from His giving the deceased Saul's wives into David's bofom, ver. 8,

[ocr errors]

neighbour before thine eyes-and he shall lie with
thy wives in fight of this fun-for thou didst it
fecretly, but I will do this thing before all Ifrael,
and before the fun. All this was fhortly ful-
filled in the rebellion and incest † of Abfalom,
chap. xvi. 21, 22.
And this was done in a
way of judgment on David, for taking and
defiling the wife of Uriah, and was included
in the curfes threatened, Deut. xxviii. 30. to
the defpifers of God's laws.

This laft is peculiarly mentioned as a favour done to David, and therefore spoken of as an ingredient to heighten his ingratitude in taking the wife of Uriah-the other was threatened as a judgment (fee Deut. xxviii. 30. Jer. viii. 10. former part) and permitted, as many other evils are, in a courfe of providence, as a fore punishment on David for what he had done. But Abfalom was nevertheless guilty of adultery and inceft, in taking his father's wives and lying with them, and is no more excufable, than he was in drawing his fword in rebellion against his father, because this, as the other, was a fulfilment of GOD's threatening-ver. 11. I will raife up evil against thee out of thine own house.

So when it is faid-Ezek. xx. 25.-I gave them ftatutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live; and I polluted them in their own gifts, &c. it appears from ver. 24, where the reafons of this are fet down, that all was in a way of judgment for their departure from the ftatutes of JEHOVAH. Wherefore-ĠOD left them to follow the deceit of their own hearts, the confequence of which may be defcribed, Pf. cvi. 39. Thus were they defiled in their own gifts, and went a whoring with their own inventions. As if God had said-I gave them-that is-I permitted them to follow-fuch statutes and precepts, as a judgment on their departure from ME. See JEws Letters to M. de VOLTAIRE, vol. ì. P. 339-341, a very fenfible folution of this paffage of Ezekiel.

For the tragical story of Amnon, fee 2 Sam. xiii. throughout.


A a 4

[ocr errors]

As to the iffue of David's adulterous commerce with Bathsheba, it is written-2 Sam. xii. 15.-The LORD ftruck the child which Uriah bare unto David, and it was very fick. What a dreadful fcourge this was to David, who could not but read his crime in his punishment, the following verses declare; wherein we find David almost frantic with grief: however the child's fickness was unto death, for, ver. 18, on the feventh day the child died.

Now let us take a view of David's act of polygamy, when, after Uriah's death, he added Bathsheba to his other wives, ver. 24, 25, And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her, and she bare a fon, and be called his name (nph) Selomob (that maketh peace and reconciliation or recompence) and the LORD loved him. Again, we find Nathan, who had been fent on the former occafion, fent alfo on this, but with a very different meffage.-And He (the LORD) fent by the hand of Nathan the prophet, and He called his name JEDIDIAH (DILECTUS DOMINI-beloved of the LORD) because of the LORD-i. e. because of the favour GOD had towards him, ver. 24. Comp. 1 Chron. xxviii. 5, 6.

Let any read onward through the whole hiftory of Solomon-let them confider the inftances of God's peculiar favour towards him already mentioned, and the many others, that are to be found in the account we have of him-let them compare God's dealings

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

with the unhappy offspring of David's adultery, and this happy ifjue of his polygamy-and if the allowance and approbation of the latter, doth not as clearly appear, as the condemnation and punishment of the former, furely all distinction and difference must be at an end, and the scripture itself lose the force of it's own evidence,



See before, Vol. i. p. 374.


AVING mentioned Barbeyrac's note ee, on Grotius de Jure, lib. ii. c. v. fect. 9. --in which the latter is reprefented as having changed his opinion, with regard to a new law of CHRIST on the fubject of polygamy-I was much inclined to examine farther into this matter, and therefore procured Barbeyrac's French tranflation of Grotius de Jure, with the French annotations, to which Barbeyrac refers in the above note-imagining that I might there meet with a more ample account of the matter.

On fearching the notes of this learned Frenchman on his tranflation of Grotius de fure, I find abundant proof of a very great change of fentiment in that great man.

I will lay this before the reader in the very words of Barbeyrac; whofe proofs are inconteftible, because taken from the writings of Grotius himself.

The firft paffage which I would mention, is, Barbeyrac's note on Grot. de Jure, liv. ii. c. v. fect. 9. No. 7. which, as far as it relates to this matter, ftands thus:

"Pour éclaircir la matiére, & pour favoir "en même tems ce que penfoit nôtre auteur "depuis la premiere édition de cet ouvrage,

« PreviousContinue »