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good, and judgments whereby they should not live.' Thus it must be undeniably plain, that the Propbel coukl not, by the statutes not good, mean any part .of the ritual law; for the whole law was given to. the fathers of those, of whom the Prophet now speaks; but these statutes were not given to the fathers, but to their descendants. 2. If we go on, and compare the narrative of the Prophet with the history of the Israelites, we shall see further, that statutes and judgments not good are so far from being any part of Moses* law, that they were not given earlier than the times of the Judges. On the first day of the eleventh month of the fortieth year after the exit from Egypt,* Moses, after he had numbered the people in the plains of Moab, by Jordan near Jericho;' and found that there was not left a man of those, whom be had almost forty years before numbered in the wilderness of Sinai, save Caleb and Joshua," by the command flf God made a covenant with the Israelites in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which he made with them in Horeb.x The fathers who bad so often provoked God, were now all dead, and here it was, that -god said unto their children, walk ye not in the *l«tutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols.---huX^ ■walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments and do them.1 Here it was that God commanded them, not to be, as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious ge
juration^ but to set their hearts aright, and to have their spirits stedfast with God.* For this was the purport of what Moses pave in chorgo to them, that they might teach their children the same, that it might be well with tliem, and that they and their children might hear, and learn to fear the Lord tlicir God, at long as they lived in the land, whither they were going over Jordan to possess it.* We do not find, but that from this time to the death of Moses, the Israelites were punctual in observing whut he commanded, and after Moses was dead, they served the Lord all the dai/s of Joshua, ami all the days of the ciders that over-lived Joshua.b Hut when all that generation were gathered unto their fathers, then lAe children of J said did evil in the sight of the Lord, and followed other gods of the godt of the people, that were round about them, and provoked the Lord to anger, and served Haul and Aihteroth »•* so that here the scene opens, of which Moses had forewarned them/ and to which Ezckiel alludes ;• and accordingly what Ezekiel mention* at the punisumcuts of these wickednesses,' began now to icome upon'them. The Prophet remarks, thut'GoD said, he would pour out bis furj upon them, tad accomplish his anger against them;" mul ugree»l)ly hereto'we find, that the anger of the Mjord was
, Prahn lxxvitl. 6. • Dial. xxxi. IS, 13.
• Joshua xxiv. 31. — Judges ii. 7. '•
• Vfcr. 10, 11, 12. 13. a Deut. xrxi.39.
• Ezek xx. 21. 'Ibid. f Ibid.
hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers, that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about; so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the Lord s>as against them for evil, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn unto them.*' The Prophet observes, that nevertheless God withdrew his hand;' and did not proceed entirely to extirpate them; and thus the historian—Nevertheless the Lord raised up judges which delivered them.k Many times indeed did he deliver them, but they went on to provoke him with their behaviour; so that he determined, for their transgressing his covenant, and not hearkening unto his voice, that he would not henceforth drive out any from before them, of the nations which Joshua left when he died.1 Hereby the Israelites became mingled with the heathen," or, as the Prophet expresses it, they were scattered among the heathen, and dispersed through the countries;" they had not a contiguous and united possession of the whole land, but among the Canaanites, If Utiles, and Amo rites, and Perizzitest and Hixites, and Jebusites. ° Thus what preceded the giving the statutes that mere not good, brings us down to the days of the Judges; and therefore thesa statutes were not given earlier than these times. But,
h Judges ii. 14,15. 'Ezek. xx.M.
k Judges ii. IS. > ii. 20, 21.
■ Psalm Cti. 35. • Ezek. xx. 3$» * Judges iii. 5.
3. Let ns examine what these statutes and judgments really were, and when, and how, God gave them to the Israelites; and in order hereto let us observe, 1. That God does in no wise give these statutes and judgments the appellation by which he called the appointments lie had made and designed for his people. Of these he says, I gave themmy statutes, and shewed them my judgments ;p these were indeed God's laws, intended for the use and observance of his people; but of the statutes not good, and judgments whereby they should not live, he says, / gave them also statutes, not my statutes, and judgments (not my judgments,) whereby they should not live;q so that these statutes and judgments were not God's statutes or God's judgments, though they are said to have been given by him. 2, But the 26th verse suggests, that in giving them these statutes and judgment* God polluted them in their gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that he might make them desolate. What the Prophet here means, is fully suggested by himself in another place. Thou hast slain my children, and delivered them, to cause them to pass through thejire for them.' The fact was, they had taken their sow.? and their daughters, and sacrificed them to be devoured;' or as the Psalmist represents it, they shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan;1 and the insti■^' "'—
t Ezck. xx. 11. , « Ver. 25. * xii. 21.
• Xti. 20. . * Psalm cvi. 38.
VOL. III. O
tutions, which directed Bucii performance*, Were tho stulutrs not good, were the judgments, whereby they should not live; for three fully answer to Hie Prophet's account. They polluted those, who used them, in their gifts; by observing tbem the land was polluted with blood, and the people defiled with their own works /» and they intended to make them desolate, by the destruction of their offspring. And God may be said to have given them these statutes, cither because 1m gave them up to their own hearts' lusts, to walk in their own counsels;" to learn these practices from their heathen neighbours. Thus God is said to havo hardened Pharaoh's heart,T when Pharaoh really liar* ticued his own heart ;* and in like manner to have given a lying spirit in the mouth of Ahab's prophets/ When in fact they prophesied out of their own hearts ;b and followed their own spirit, when they had seen toothing;' in which sense the Chaldee pafaphrast took the.passage of Ezekicl.* Or more emphatically, Goo may be said to have given them these statutes; because for their punishment he delivered them into the hands
■ Psalm civ. 38, 39. * lxxxi. 12.
» Kxod. iv. 21. vil. 3. ix. 12. x. 1, 20, 27. xi. 10, &e.
• vil. 13. 22. rill. 19, 19, 32. ix. 7, 34. See vol. ii, I.. Ix.
• 2 Chroii. xvili. 22. b Ezek. xiii. 2.
• Ver. 3.
4 Project cos, ct t rail i ill cos in manum Inimicorum suo. rum, v.t post concupisccntiam suam insipicnlcm abierunt ct feccrunt decrcta non recta, et leges in quibus son vr. votis. Targ. Jouath. in loc.