Page images

one and twenty Kings, from David to Zedekiab; when they were all taken, and carried away to Babylon.

After their Return from thence they resum'd their primitive Aristocracy; the High Priest, for the Time being, together with the Priests and Elders, presiding over their Affairs; till the Time of their Perfecution under Antiochus Epiphanes; when Judas Maccabeus and his Descendents, at first with the Title of Princes, then of Kings, took upon them the Administration of the Government, according to the original Plan.

When that Family was extinct, the Race of the Ascalonites, tho' mere Strangers, and only Profelytes to Judaism, ftępt into the Throne, and exercis'd arbitrary Power. The First of these was that He

rod, in whose Reign our Saviour was Mat. ii. born: who was succeeded by his Son Ar



* Mat. ii. 1. That famous Prophecy of Jacob, concerning his Son Judah, and relating to the Coming of our Saviour, [Gen. xlix. 1.0.] being hereby fulfilld; The Scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a Lawgiver from between his Feet until Shiloh come: And unto him Ihall the Gathering of the People bę.

chelaus į

chelaus ; and his other Son, Herod, was t Tetrarch of Galilee. Then, the Emperors of Rome, under whose Subjection they were, govern'd them by Procurators sent from thence, and recall'd after a certain Time. Of these, Pentius Pilate was one; in whose Procuratorship our LORD suffered: And Felix, and Festus, two others. And under these (with the Interposition of only one King more, made by Caligula, Herod Agrippa, Grandson to the first Herod) they continued, till their City and Temple were finally destroy'd, by Titus Vefpafian; and themselves dispers’d all over the World ; as they remain to this Day.

[ocr errors]


Other Particulars of their Government.

Upon examining into Particulars, we find that this Government was of a three

+ Luke iii. 1. This was He, by whole Order John the Baptist was beheaded ; and by whom, with his Men of War, Jesus Christ was mock'd and insulted, juft before his Paffion.

* Mention d [Acts xii.] and said to be eaten of Worms. He was Father of that Agrippa, in whose Presence St. Paul pleaded his Caufe (Acts xxv. and xxvi.j He was not King of Judæa, but of Chalcidica, and some ether neighbouring Provinces,


fold Nature. The first, being that which took in and related to the whole twelve Tribes in general: Within which, as it were, like another Wheel, there mov'd a second; which was that of every particular Tribe: and within that again was included a third; which was that of every one of those Cities belonging to each Tribe.

The first and principal of these was to be held in such City or Place as God him.self, for the sake of his holy Worship, Thould appoint; (of which we shall difcourse hereafter ; ) which was to consist of the Prince or highest Magistrate, the Elders, Judges, and Counsellors; and was the Great Assembly of the States of the whole Nation. Of this first Part, for want of a Prince, Judge, or Prendent, there was sometimes a Suspension, or Interreg

num, as we may call it. Such, for ExamJudges ple, as when it is said ; In those days there

was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes. At which Time, however, we cannot but conclude, the other two Magistracies subsisted, and kept Things in some sort of Order.


xvii. 6.

xxi. 25.


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

The second Branch of their Conftitution, had one President or Chief, who was callid the Head of the Tribe ; and again, several others, who were Heads of Houses or Families ; but of all them inferior and subject to the Head of the Tribe.

The third Branch was of the following Nature. Every City had a Senate or Common-Council of its own; who had the Hearing and Determination of all Causes relating to themselves; as likewise a chief Magistrate, who prefided in all their public Assemblies, and look'd after the Execution of Justice. And to all these several Branches, and the respective Members of which they consisted, do those Passages refer, where it is said, that yoshua gather'd Joshua all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and calld xxiv. 1. for the elders of Israel, and for their beads, and for their judges, and for their officers.

In Time of War, all Matters thereunto relating were manag’d by the chief President and Grand Council of the Nation; the several Heads of the Tribes and Families, and the chief Magistrates of the several Cities acting likewise in such Stations as were severally allotted them. Of which


we shall take further Notice in its proper Place.

S E C T. V.

Of the Strangers, or Proselytes. It may not be amiss, before we leave this Topic of Government, to observe, That the People of which it consisted, were of two Sorts; those who were of the Original Stock; and those of other Nations who were Naturaliz’d among them.

These latter are distinguish'd in Scripture by being callid * Strangers, and Proselytes; in respect to their being originally of some other Country; and coming in to the Religion and Conftitution of the Hebrews, by complying with those Conditions which were requisite to their Qualifi, cation.

The principal of these was Circumcifion. For this was the Mark of the Covenant

Septuag: Teachauta: Advena ; which, in our Translation of the Old Testament, is generally render'd by the Word Stranger ; in the New, by that of Profelyte; one according to the Hebrew Idiom, the other according to the Greek,


« PreviousContinue »