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S E C T. VI. The Observance of the Law revived. However, upon their Return from the Captivity after Seventy Years, Ezra, who was one of the Number, a ready fcribe in Ezra vai. the law of Moses which the LORD God of Ifrael bad given, having prepar'd his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it; and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments, is thought to have restor’d the Law in such manner as we now have it. From him, this part of the Office of the Scribes (of whom hereafter) in the Jewish Government, seems to have taken rise; for we find it was their Employment to interpret, expound, and comment upon the Law.

From this Time, to that of their Troubles under Antiochus Epiphanes King of Syria, about 350 Years, the Jews liv'd under the Government of their own Law, administer'd by their High-Priests; without any great Interruptions. During which Interval the Greek Translation of the Bible, commonly call’d the Septuagint, was probably made: Not by Seventy-two In

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terpreters of the Elders of that Narion at the Command of Ptolemy Philadelphus King of Egypt, (which Account the best Critics reject as spurious ;) but by those Jews who sojourn'd altogether in some parts of Greece and Egypt; for whom, especially in regard to their making Profelytes, that Tongue must have been much more commodious than their own: which, whether it were the old Hebrew of their Fathers; or the Chaldee, which they might have learn'd in their Captivity; or the same which the Samaritans their Neighbours us'd; or the Syriac, which we find obtain'd among them in our Saviour's time; is, I doubt, as impossible, as it is needless, for us to know. It being reasonable to conclude, that, after the Grecian Arms, under Alexander, had subdued the World; that Language likewise would

prevail over all others, and spread itself wherever his Conquests made way for it.

Their Sufferings under the Tyranny of Antiochus Epiphanes were very great: since he us'd his utmost Endeavours to abolish their whole Law, Religion, and Customs; and they were as obstinately bent not to change

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chem. Unspeakable were the Hardships ! Mac.

i, ii, iii. 3 and Tortures they endur'd under {this Per- &c.

fecution; which lasted upwards of two

Years; when Judas surnam'd Maccabeus, s of the Tribe of Levi, resolutely and fuc- cessfully standing up in the Defence of

his Country, at the same time rescued it
from Misery and Slavery, and restor'd the
free Exercise of its Religion and Laws.

And thus they went on, but pester'd
and corrupted, partly by intestine Factions
in the State, and partly by growing He-
resies in the Church; govern'd by a Race
of, sometimes Princes, sometimes Kings,
the Descendents of Judas Maccabeus, for
above a hundred Years; 'till they fell un-
der the Dominion of the Romans; foon
after which our LORD and Saviour J E-
SUS CHRIST came into the World.

S E C T. VII.

The L Aw in a languishing State, at

CHRIST's coming into the World. What Regard was had to the Law at that Time, our LORD himself makes plainly appear, when he upbraids them

19.

xxiii. 23.

Luke ii.

John vii. with this Interrogation; Did not Moses

give you the Law? and yet none of you keepeth the Law. They were indeed Hypocrites enough to pretend a mighty Veneration for it, though in Practice they generally ran counter to it; for which

Reason our LORD denounces a severe Matt. Sentence against them: Wo unto you

Scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites; for ye pay Tythe of Mint and Anise and Cummin, and bave omitted the weightier Matters of the Law, Judgment, Mercy, and Faith.

They were also calld Doctors of the 46. v. 17. Law; and us'd, at certain Times, to af

semble themselves together, at Jerusalem, from all the Cities of Yudea, in order to expound it, and to instruct others in it; who sat on low Seats, just under theirs, for that Purpose. In which Sense it is, that St. Paul tells us, he was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, who was one of them: But how they edified their Hear

ers our blessed Lord sufficiently intiMatt. xv. mates, when he charges them with ma

king the commandment of God of no effect by their tradition; and teaching, for the true Doctrine of God, the Commandments of men.

SECT.

Acts v.

34

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SECT. VIII. The Law fulfilld by CHRIST. As to himself, that he paid the higheft Regard to it, appears from that falemn Declaration in his Discourse on the Mount. Think not that I am come to destroy the Matt. v. Law and the Prophets: I am not come to 17. destroy but to fulfill. For verily I say unyou,

till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wife pass from the Law, till all be fulfill'd. Whosoever therefore Mall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be calld the least in the kingdom of Heaven: But whofoever fall do and teach them, the same shall be call'd great in the kingdom of hea

For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of beaven.

And, indeed, he amply made his Words good. For, every thing that was merely ceremonial, typical, and predi&tive of the Mesah, either in the Law or the Prophets, he clearly fulfilld by the corresponding Circumstances of his Birth, Life, Pas

ven.

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