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the abominable Practices of the Nations round about them, would add this evil, to ask them a King; lays down several Rules and Directions for the Behaviour and Duty
of such their King, when they had chosen Deut. him: among which, this is one ; And it
mall be when he fitteth upon the throne of bis kingdom, that be shall write him a copy of this law in a book, out of that which is before the Priests tbe Levites. And it shall be with him, and be all read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord bis God, to keep all the words of this law, and these statutes, to do them. That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that be turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left; to the end that he may prolong bis days in his kingdom; he and his children, in the midst of Israel.
And further, that none of the People, from the highest to the lowest, might have
any Pretence to plead Ignorance of it, Deut.
Moses wrote this law, and deliver'd it unto xxxi. 9. the Priests the sons of Levi, which bare the
ark of the covenant of the LORD, and unto all the elders of Israel. And Moses com
manded them, saying ; At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles; when all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God, in the place which he Mall choose : Thou Malt read this Law before all Ifrael in their hearing. Gather the people together, men and women and children, and the stranger that is within thy gates, that they may bear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this Law. And that their children, which have not known any thing, may bear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to posess it.
Moreover Moses gave the Copy of this Law, when he had written it out, to the xxxi. 24. Levites which bare the Ark of the Covenant; and commanded them to put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD; that it might be there for a witness against them.
S E C T. V.
therefore that no Care was wanting to publish and propagate this Law among the People, who accordingly were govern'd by it, many Years, after they were settled in the Land of Canaan. But when they came to have Kings who (as Samuel in the Words of the Lord foretold they would) ruld them in a tyrannical and arbitrary manner, the Law seems to have been almost totally neglected : insomuch that Jehoshaphat, the fourth from Solomon, who was a very great and good Prince, found it necessary to send several of the wisest and best of his Subjects, in Company with some of the Priests and Levites, to go, in Circuit, thro' the whole Kingdom, and take care that the People were instructed according to the Laws, which had been dispens’d to them by God himself. These,
we find, executed their Commission ac2 Chron. cordingly; and they taught in Judah, and
had the book of the law of the Lord with them; and went about throughout all the Cities of Judah, and taught the People.
But in some of the succeeding Reigns, under a Race of wicked and idolatrous Princes, the Law was so utterly superseded, that the very Book of it, from whence the People us’d to receive their necessary and constant Instruction, was lost: till, after a long time, in the Reign of the pious King Fofiah, who had set a Reformation on foot, and given Orders to repair and fit up the Temple for the Worship of the true God, Hilkiah the High Priest, found the book of the law in the house of the LORD; and sent it to the King; who no sooner heard it read than he was struck with Astonishment and Horror at the grievous Iniquity of his Family, the Kings his Predecessors; who had so shamefully departed from the Law of the LORD, and forsaken the Covenant of their God. In the Remorse and Anguilh of his Soul, be rent his clothes; and express'd a most ear- 2 Kings nest Desire of knowing how he should a
xxii, 11. tone for this grievous Neglect, and appease God's just Resentment upon account of it; saying, Great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not bearken'd unto the words of this book.
2 Kings xxiii.
He sent therefore and gather'd unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem. And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people both small and great ; and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD. And he and all the people made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant, that were written in this book; and all the people stood to the covenant.
But, the four next Reigns being very bad ones, and the Law, in all Probability, as much neglected as ever it had been ; upon the Destruction of the City, and Captivity of the People into Babylon, which immediately follow'd, we know not what became of it.