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thoufand Years; and in the Account of his own Life, he tranfcribes his Pedigree from the Publick Regifters.
By which means it came to pafs, that every Tribe had a kind of separate Intereft; which was the occa fion of Korah's Sedition against Mofes, who was pro+ bably one of the Firft-born of the Tribe of Levi. His Confederates, Dathan, Abiram, and On, were of the Tribe of Reuben. The Priests, Exod. xix: 22. and xxiv. 5. before the Confecration of Aaron and his Sons, could be no other than the Firft-born. And the Jealoufy and Envy, which the Tribe of Levi, as well as the other Tribes, had against Aaron, because the Priesthood was confined to his Family, was the cause of that Rebellion: The Lord (fays Mofes to Korah) hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the fons of Levi; and feek ye the priesthood also? For which cause both thou and thy company are gathered together against the Lord? And what is Aaron, that ye murmur against bim? Num. xvi. 10, 11. And every Man amongst their Tribes might certainly hereby know how many Generations he was removed from thofe who first took poffeffion of the Land of Promife; and might find the Names of his Ancestors regiftred, who were in the Wilderness with Mofes, or came with Joshua over Jordan. And this muft make the memory of their Ancestors more dear and familiar to them; and it muft make them have a greater regard for any thing they had left behind them, especially for a Book upon which their Rights of Inheritance, and the Title they had to all they enjoy'd, depended: This was the Deed by which they held their Eftates; and the Last
Et mifit primogenitos filiorum Ifrael.] Qyoniam ufque ad illam horam fuit cultus inter Primogenitos: hactenus enim non factum erat Tabernaculum fœderis, & hactenus non darum erat facerdotium Abaroni, & obtulerunt holocaufta & oblationes fanétas coram Domins, Targ. Jonath. B. Uziel. in Exod. xxiv. 5.
Will and Teftament, as it were, of their Ancestors, amongst whom the Land was divided. But it is certain, Men are more careful of nothing, than of the Writings by which they enjoy their Eftates; and there is no great danger, when a Will is once come to the hands of the right Heir, that it will be loft or falfify'd, to his prejudice: But if the Books of Mofes were altered, it must be upon the account of fome Advan→ tage to fuch as must be fuppofed to make the Alterations; and confequently, to the Disadvantage of others, who therefore would have found themselves concern'd to oppofe fuch Alterations. But as the Books of Mofes were in the nature of a Deed of Settlement, to every Tribe and Family; fo they were a Law too, which all were obliged to know and ob ferve, under the fevereft Penalties: And being fo generally known, and univerfally practis'd, it could no more be falfify'd at any time fince its firft Promulga tion, than it could be now at this Day. For, sht 12. Another thing which made the People of Ifrael lefs capable of being impofed upon in this Matter, was, That they were by their Laws themselves obliged to the conftant Study of them; they were to teach them their Children, and to be continually difcours fing and meditating on them; to bind them for a fign upon their hand, that they might be as frontlets between their eyes; to teach them their children, Speaking of them when they fate in their houses, and when they walked by the way, when they lay down, and when they rofe up; to write them upon the door-pofts. of their houfes, and upon their gates, Deut. xi. 18, 19, 20. Nothing was to be more notorious and familiar to them, and accordingly they were perfectly acquainted with them, and (as Jofephus fays) knew them as well as they did their own Names; they had them conftantly in their mouths; and Thoufands have died in defence of them, and could by no Menaces or Torments be brought to forfake or renounce them. And to this end, One Day in Seven
was by Mofes's Law fet apart for the learning and understanding of it. The Jews have a Tradition, That Mofes appointed the Law to be read thrice every Week in their publick Affemblies: And Grotius* is of this opinion. However, the Scripture informs us, that Mofes, of old time, had in every city them that preached: him, being read in the fynagogues every fabbath-day, A&t. xv. 21. It is indeed the common opinion, That there were no Synagogues before the Captivity: But then, by Synagogues, muft be understood Places of Judicature, rather than of Divine Worship: For the Courts of Judicature were anciently held in the Gates of Cities, not in any Places peculiarly affign'd for that Ufe, Amos v. 12, 15. But there is no reason to queftion but the Jews had their Profeucha's, or Places of Prayer, from the Beginning; fince it is incredible, that thofe who liv'd at a great distance, and could not come to Jerufalem on the Sabbath-days, and other times of Divine Worship, (befides the three great Festivals, when all their Males were bound to be at Jerufalem) fhould not affemble for the Worship of God in the Places where they dwelt; nay, they were by an exprefs Law obliged to it on the Sabbaths: The feventh day is the fabbath of reft, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein; it is the fabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings, Levit. xxiii. 3. They must therefore have Places in all their Dwellings to refort to, where they held their Convocations or Affemblies; which is prov'd out of the Jewish Writers, by a very learned † Author. And to thefe Affemblies they went on the New Moons, as well as on the Sabbaths, 2 Kings iv. 23. Which made the Pfalmift lament, that the Enemy had burnt up all the fynagogues of God in the land, Pfal. Ixxiv. 8. And Jeremiah, that the Lord had deftroyed his places of affembly, Lam. ii. 6. And being met together, there is as
Grot. ad Matth. xv. 2. Thorndyke's Relig. Affembl. c. 2,3.
little doubt to be made but that they read the Law; which was to be read by them in their Families, and much more in their Publick Affemblies, on their folemn Days of Divine Worship. The Books of Mofes therefore were read in their Synagogues, in every City,, from ancient Generations, or from the firft Settlement of the Children of Ifrael in the Land of Canaan. 'A' ¿usev ¿ezaian, Acts xv.7. denotes the beginning of the Gospel Difpenfation towards the Gentiles. Thus St. James explains those words of St. Peter, ver. 14. Συμεὼν ἐξηγήσατο καθώς πρῶτοι ὁ Θεὸς ἐπεσκέψατο λαβὼν ἐξ ἐθνῶν λαὸν ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι αὐτῇ. And therefore his own words, ver. 21. must be understood fo, as to extend to the Age in which Mofes lived 9. And thus they still are read by the Samaritans, as well as by the Jews; which fhews, that this was a Custom ever obferv'd, not only before the Captivity, but be-fore the Separation of the Ten Tribes.
And then, at the end of every Seven Years, the Law was read in the most publick and folemn manner, in the Solemnity of the Year of Releafe, in the Feast of Tabernacles. Mofes wrote a Book of the Law, and commanded it to be put in the fide of the Ark, Deut. xxxi. 26. as the Two Tables of Stone were put into the Ark it felf, chap. x. 5. and this he deliver'd to the Priefts, and to all the Elders of Ifrael, and commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the folemnity of the year of releafe, in the feast of tabernacles, when all Ifrael is come to appear before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choofe: thou fhalt read this law before all Ifrael, in their hearing. Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy ftranger that is within thy gates, that they
¶ "Ež áęxαiwr xęóvev, Polycarp. Ep. ad Philip. c. 1. fignifies, from the firft Propagation of the Gospel, or the first Converfion of the Philippians.
* Samaritan. ad Jof. Scalig. Ep. Antiq. Eccl. Oriental, p. 120.
may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and obferve to do all the words of this law: And that their children which have not known any thing, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to poffefs it, Deut. xxxi. 10, 11, 12, 13. How is it poffible that any more effectual care could have been taken to fecure a Law from being deprav'd and alter'd by Impoftures? Every seventh Day, at leaft, was fet apart for the reading and learning it, in their feveral Tribes, throughout all the Land; and then once in feven years it was read at a publick and folemn Feast, when they were all obliged to go up to Jerufalem. And for this purpofe, M fes wrote a Book of the Law, which was put in the fide of the Ark, that it might be there for a Teftimony aginft them, if they should tranfgrefs it, much more, if they fhould make any Alterations in it.
And out of this Book the King was to write him a Copy of the Law, Deut. xvii. 18. and this Book of the Law was found by Hilkiah the High-Prieft, in the House of the Lord, 2 Chron. xxxiv. 14. 2 Kings xxii. 8. For after all that the wicked and idolatrous Kings could do to fupprefs the Law of Mofes, and draw afide the People to Idolatry, the Authentick Book of the Law, written by Mofes himself, was ftill preferv'd in Jofiah's time, befides the feveral Copies which muft be difpers'd throughout the Land, for the use of their Synagogues, and those which must be remaining in the hands of the Prophets, and other pious Men.
And there is little reafon to doubt, but that this very Book written by Mofes, was preferv'd during the Captivity, and was that Book which Ezra read to the People. It is by no means credible, that the Prophets would fuffer that Book to be loft, much lefs that they would fuffer all the Copies generally to be loft or corrupted; which indeed, confidering the number, was hardly poffible. Is it probable that Je