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thousand Years; and in the Account of his own Life, he transcribes his Pedigree from the Publick Regifters.
By which means it came to pass, that every Tribe had a kind of separate Interest; which was the occa fion of Korah’s Sedition against Moses, who was pro bably one of the First-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 Consecration of Aaron and his Sons, could be no other than the First-born. And the Jealousy 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 (says Moses to Korah) hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi; and seek 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 bion ? Num. xvi. 10, 11. And every Man amongst their Tribes might certainly hereby know how many Generations he was removed from those who first took possession of the Land of Promise ; and might find the Names of his Ancestors registred, who were in the Wilderness with Mofes, or came with Joshua over Jordan. And this must make the memory of their Ancestors more dear and familiar to them; and it must 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 Estates; and the Last
. Et mifit primogenitos filiorum Ifrael.] Quoniam que al illam horam fuit cultus inter Primogenitos : haitenus eniam non faétum erat Tabernaculum fæderis, e haétenus non datum erat facerdotium Abaroni, v obtulerunt balocaufa coblationes fanitas Gram Domino, "Targ. Jonath. B. Uziel. in Exod. xXW, 5;
Will and Testament, 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 Estates; and there is no great danger, when a Will is once come to the hands of the right Heir, that it will be lost or falfifyd, to his prejudice: But if the Books of Moses were altered, it must be upon the account of some Advantage to such as must be supposed to make the Al terations, and confequently, to the Disadvantage
of others, who therefore would have found themselves concern'd to oppose: such Alterations. But as the Books of Moses were in the nature of a Deed of Settle ment, to every Tribe and Family; so they were a Law too, which all were obliged to know and obs ferve, under the severest Penalties : And being so.ge nerally known, and universally pra&is'd, it could no more be falsify’d at any time since its first Promulgation, than it could be now at this Day. For, 11.2. Another thing which made the People of Israel less capable of being imposed upon in this Matter, was, That they were by their Laws themselves obliged to the constant Study of them; they were to teach them their Children, and to be continually discourfing 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 sate in their houses, and when they walked by the way, when they lay down and when they rose
. up; to write them upon the door-posts of their houses, and upon their gates, Deut. xi. 18, 19, 20. Nothing was to be more notorious and familiar to them, and accordingly they were perfe&ly acquainted with them, and (as Josephus says) knew them as well as they did their own Names; they had them constantly in their mouths; and Thoufands have died in defence of them, and could by no Menaces or Torments be brought to forsake or renounce them.
And to this end, One Day in Seven
was by Moses's Law set apart for the learning and understanding of it. The Jews have a Tradition, That Moses 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 Moses, of old time, had in every city them that preached him, being read in the synagogues every fabbath-day, A&. xv. 21. It is indeed the common opinion, That there were no Synagogues before the Captivity: But then, by Synagogues; must 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 assign’d for that Ufe, Amos v. 12, 15. But there is no reason to question but the Jews had their Profeucha's, or Places of Prayer, from the Beginning ; since it is incredible, that those who livd at a great distance, and could not come to
Jerusalem on the Sabbath-days, and other times of Divine Worship, (besides the three great Festivals, when all their Males
were bound to be at Jerufalem) lould not assemble 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 seventh 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 resort to, where they held their Convocations or Assemblies; which is prov'd out of the Jewish Writers, by a very learned + Author. And to these Assemblies they went on the New Moons, as well as on the Sabbaths, 2 Kings iv. 23. Which made the Psalmist lament, that the Enemy had burnt up the synagogues of God in the land, Psal. lxxiv. 8. And Jeremiah, that the Lord had destroyed his places of allembly, 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 Laws which was to be read by them in their Families, and much more in their Publick Asemblies, on their folemn Days of Divine Worship. The Books of Moses: therefore were read in their Synagogues, in every City, és akuatio ?7,2w, from ancient Generations, or from the first Settlement of the Children of Israel in thc Land of Canaan. 'Anugowo céex, cim, Aets xv.7. denotes the beginning of the Gospel Dispensation towards the Gentiles. Thus St. James explains those words of St. Peter, ver. 14. Egues av egnryhoselo natūs mūra ó Osos éteσκέψαλο λαβων εξ ε(νών λαών επί τω ονόματι αυτά. And therefore his own words, ver. 21. must be understood for 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 shews, that this was a Custom ever observ'd, not only before the Captivity, but before 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 man-, ner, in the Solemnity of the Year of Release, in the Feast of Tabernacles. 'Moses wrote a Book of the Law, and commanded it to be put in the side of the Ark, Deut. xxxi. 26. as the Two Tables of Stone were put into the Ark it self, chap. x. 5. and this he deliver'd to the Priests, and to all the Elders of Israel, and commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the folemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, when al Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose : thou fhalt read this law before al Israel, in their hearing Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they
q 'Ez ágyaim xeów, Polycarp. Ep. ad Philip. c. 1. fignifies, from the first Propagation of the Gospel, or the first conversion of the Philippians.
r Samaritan. ad Jos. Scalig. Ep. Antiq. Eccl. Oriental. p. 120.
may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: And that their children which have not known any thing, anay hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to posless it, Deut. xxxi. 10, 11, 12, 13. How is it possible that any more effectual care could have been taken to secure a Law from being deprav’d and alter'd by Impostures? Every seventh Day, at least, was set apart for the reading and learning it, in their several Tribes, throughout all the Land ; and then once in seven years it was read at a publick and solemn Feast, when they were all obliged to go up to Jerusalem. And for this purpose, M ses wrote a Book of the Law, which was put in the side of the Ark, that it might be there for a Testimony aginst them, if they should transgress it, much more, if they should 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-Priest, 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 suppress the Law of Moses, and draw aside the People to Idolatry, the Authentick Book of the Law, written by Moses himself, was still preserv'd in Jonah's time, besides the several Copies which must be dispers'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 reason to doubt, but that this very Book written by Moles, was preserv'd during the Captivity, and was that Book which Ezra read to the People. It is by no means credible, that the Prophets would suffer that Book to be loft, much less that they would suffer all the Copies generally to be lost or corrupted; which indeed, considering the number, was hardly possible. Is it probable that Je