Page images
PDF
EPUB

7.

ib. xi. 5, 6. II.

Judg. xii. stance, of Jephthab; who is said to have

judged Israel fix years. We read that, when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the Elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah, out of the land of Tob. And they said unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon. Then Jephthah went with the Elders of Gilead ; and the people made him head and captain over them.

That they had likewise the Power of convening a Congregation of the whole People, and holding a Senate of the Elders, though the Instances of their doing so, are very rare, is, I think, unquestionable; because we find Moses and Joshua had that Power, before them, and the Kings os'd it, after them. In truth, the History and Account of the Judges, is very obscure and imperfect. And though we need not doubt but God raised

up proper Persons to record the memorable Transactions of his people, during the whole Time of the Judges; yet, such is che Imperfection of our human State, and so many the various Revolutions to which ic is liable ; that the Loss of some Mo

numents

numents of so greac Antiquity, is nothing near so much to be wonder'd ar, as thac any at all have been preserv'd and transmitted to us.

The merciful Providence of God has, however, taken care, at all Events, to secure enough to Men thro' all Ages, to build a firm and well-grounded Faith upon; to nourish their Hope of immorcal Bliss, through the Merits of their glorious Redecmer; and, above all, to let them see that Charity, mutual Love and Benevolence, is the indispensable Qualification of all those, who are ambitious of being the Children of God. 976

But to return: The Promotion of the Judges was not hereditary; but purely elective. They whose Talents or Endowments mark'd them out as proper Persons to fill that Station, were desired co accept of the Office by the concurrent Suffrages of the People. And this being the Manner of Government which God himself defign'd for them, as long as they continued to be contented with it, his di. vine Providence so far concern'd it self in chefe Elections, as to dispose them to Ff

pitch

[ocr errors]

ib. iii. 9.

15. ib. vi.

14. 34.

16.

pirch upon those Persons who were most capable of defending them, and of conducting their Affairs with the best Success.

And therefore it is said, upon those Judg. ii. Occasions, that God raised them up deli16.

verers. Nay, Gideon was appointed, by God, immediately; The LORD looked on bim, and said; Go, in this thy might, and thou malt lave Ifrael from the hand of the Midianites; have not I sent thee? Surely I will be with thee, and thou halt smite the Midianites, as one man. Again ; The Jpirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and be blew a trumpet, and Abiezer was gathered after him. And be sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, who also was gathered after him; and be sent messengers unto Ather, and unto Zebulon, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.

And of Samson likewise a Designation to be Judge of Israel was made, by an

Angel of the Lord, even before he was ib. xiii. 5. born. It is said to his Mother; Lo, thou

Jhalt conceive and bear a fon, and no razor hall come on bis bead; and be Mall begin to deliver Israel out of the band of

the

[ocr errors]

the Philistines. And, of Samuel it is said,
that all Israel, from Dan even to Beer- 1 Sam. iii.
sheba, knew that Samuel was established 20.
to be a Prophet of the LORD. No won-
der therefore that, after the Death of Eli,
we find him, in the Quality of Judge,
ordering, and presiding over, the Affairs
of the Israelites.

And, as a Confirmation, thac it was not
with God's good Liking and Approbation,
either that the Succeflion should be he-
reditary, or that any particular Person
should be fixed in this Station, for Life;
unless he was wanted, or behaved himself
well during that whole Time; when the
People were inebriated with their good
Success against the Midianites, and com-
plimented Gideon with this tempting Of-

Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy Judg.viii.
fon, and thy fon's fon also; for thou hast de- 22, 23.
livered us from the band of Midian: The
Answer of Gideon, like that of a godlike
Hero, was, as follows; I will not rule over
you, neither hall my son rule over you: The
LORD shall rule over you.

And though
his Son Abimelech did succeed him, by
Naying his seventy Brethren, it appears
Ff2

that

[ocr errors]

fer ;

3. 56.

that God was highly displeas’d with his

Conduct, and accordingly took him off by Judg. ix. an infamous Deatb.

To shew that this kind of Government by Judges thus chosen, was very agreeable to, and a part of, the Plan which God himself had design'd for them, we read that, when, after the Death of

Joshua, they had provok'd the LORD, Judg. ii. by following other Gods, Nevertheless the 16.18,19.

LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hands of those that Spoiled them. And when the Lord.raiJed them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge ; and delivered them out of the hands of their enemies, all the days of the judge. And, it came to pass when the judge was dead, that they turned and corrupted tbemselves more than their fathers. And, to shew that they were chosen

any Tribe or Family indifferently, we may observe that, of the whole Number which we have upon Record, which is fixteen, nine of them were out of nine different Tribes.

out of

SECT.

« PreviousContinue »