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mongst them; and for fo many Ages, from their first coming out of Egypt, the whole People were made continually Witnefles of the manifeft Power and Prefence of God amongst them. This will be evident, by making fome Obfervations concerning the Prophets and their Writings, and concerning their Prophecies and Miracles.
CHA P. IX.
Of the Prophets, and their Writings.
HE kinds of Prophecy among the Jews, were, 1. The Shechina. 2. The Urim and Thummim. 3. Revelation by Vifions and Dreams, or by Infpiration; for I fhall not here diftinguifh thefe ways of Revelation, to confider them apart. And when these kinds of Prophecy ceas'd under the Second Temple, the Bath Kol, or Voice from Heaven, was the only way of Revelation: But of this there is little or nothing certain to be rely'd upon.
1. The Shechina, was the fitting, or dwelling of God between the Cherubims, on the Mercy-Seat, or Cover of the Ark, Pfal. lxxxi. 1. and xcix. 1. from whence he gave out his Answers by an Articulate Voice, Exod. xxv. 22. and xxix. 42. Num. vii. 89.
2. The Urim and Thummim upon the Breaft-plate of the High-Prieft, Exod. xxviii. 30. was another ftanding Oracle, to be confulted upon all great occafions, Num. xxvii. 21. 1 Sam. xxviii. 6. xxiii. 9. xxx. 7. Ezra ii. 63. and the Answers were return'd by a vifible fignification of the Divine Will: This Oracle was not only venerable amongst the Jews, but was famous amongst the Heathen (as a Jofephus affures us)
Jofeph. Antiq. 1. 3. c. 9.
for its infallible Anfwers. Mr. Mede b thinks the Urim and Thummim to have been in ufe among the Patriarchs, before the Law was given; because the making of them is not spoken of amongst the other things of the Ephod. The common opinion is, that this Oracle was delivered by the fhining of fuch Letters of the Tribes Names, engraven on the Stones in the Prieft's Breaft-plate, as exprefs'd the Anfwer: but the fame learned Author thinks, that the Urim and the Thummim were distinct Oracles; the Thummim fhewing when their Sacrifices were accepted; and the Urim anfwering fuch Questions as were proposed upon any important occafion.
3. Revelations by Visions and Dreams, or by Infpiration, were the Revelations which properly denominated thofe, to whom they were made, Prophets. For the Prophets were Perfons fent by God, with an extraordinary Commiffion, to declare his Will; and they were not confined to the Tribe of Levi, or to any one particular Tribe, but fometimes taken out of one Tribe, and fometimes out of another: for tho' the Jews had Colleges and Schools to prepare and qualifie Men, by a vertuous and religious Education, for Divine Illuminations; yet divers others, who had not been educated in this manner, were endued with the Spirit of Prophecy; and fome of them were but of very mean Employments, and others again of Royal Blood.
They reproved both their Kings and their Priests with a fearless and undaunted Freedom and Authority: and this Plain-dealing, fuch as became Men who fpake and acted by a Divine Impulfe, without Defign, and without any Difguife, fometimes commanded great Reverence towards them from Princes, not çafie to be well advised or directed. Rehoboam, a wilful and rafh Prince, at the head of an Army of an
p Mede's Difcourfe, 35
hundred and fourfcore thousand chofen Men, upon the Word of the Lord, delivered to him by Shemaiah, returned home without attempting any thing, to regain the Tribes that had revolted from him to Jeroboam, 1 Kings xii. 21. Ahab, though an exceeding wicked King, after a fignal Victory, bore the reproof of a Prophet, who denounced a Judgment upon Him and his People, for letting Benhadad go, and was much concerned at it, 1 Kings xx. 42, 43. and the fame Ahab rent his Cloaths, and put on Sackcloth, and fafted, at the reproof of Elijah, 1 Kings xxi. 27. Amaziah, by the admonition of a Prophet, difmifs'd an hundred thousand mighty men of valour, whom he had hir'd of the Ifraelites for an hundred Talents, being content to lose so many Talents, and to want their help in the War, and to venture the Ravage that fuch an Army, who look'd upon themselves as affronted, made in his Country; upon the Prophet's affuring him, that God would give him the Victory, if he would difmifs them, but not otherwife; and telling him, The Lord is able to give thee much more than this and the Event proved the Truth of the Predi&tion, a Chron. xxv. The Children of Ifrael likewise, at the word of Oded the Prophet, fent back two hundred thousand Perfons of the Kingdom of Judah with great Spoil, which they had taken, 2 Chron. xxviii. So ready and fo general a Compliance, in fuch cafes, could arife from nothing but a certain Belief and Experience of the Truth of what the Prophets delivered: But at other times they were defpifed and perfecuted. And the Truth of their Prophecies was not only attefted dy Miracles, and juftified by the Event, and confeffed by the Deference and Respect both of the Kings and People; but it was afferted by the Sufferings, and fealed by the Blood of the Prophets, and was at laft acknowledged by the Posterity of those who had flain them; they being most forward and zealous to adorn the Tombs of the Prophets, whom
their Fore-fathers had killed; and to die, in vindication of those Prophecies, for which they had been flain. There was a conftant fucceffion of Prophets, from the time of Mofes, till the return of the Jews from their Captivity in Babylon; fome prophefied for many Years; Jeremiah, for above one and forty Years; Ezekiel, about twenty Years; the least time affigned to Hofea's Prophecying, is forty three Years; Amos prophefied about fix and twenty Years; Michah, about fifty; Isaiah, Jonah, and Daniel, a much longer time fo that they lived to fee divers of their own Prophecies fulfilled; and to have fuffered as Falfe Prophets, if they had not come to pass. And though many Prophecies were not to be fulfilled, till long after the death of the Prophets who deliver'd them; yet they wrought Miracles, or they foretold fome things, which came to pafs foon after, according to their Predictions, to give evidence to their Authority, and confirm their Divine Miffion. As to the Prefents, which are fometimes faid to have been made the Prophets, it was a Cuftom, and is known to be still in the Eastern Countries, to approach no Man of Eminency without a Prefent; which was a Token of Respect and Reverence, being in it felf often inconfiderable; as Saul for want of Bread, prefented Samuel with the fourth part of a Shekel of Silver, 1 Sam. ix. 8. which is not above nine pence of our Money. The Children of Belial to fhew their Contempt of Saul, brought him no Prefents when he was King, 1 Sam. x. 27. And Samuel was prefented with a Gift, becaufe of his Dignity; for he was an honourable Man, Chap. ix. 6.
The Prophets committed their Prophecies to writing, and left them to Pofterity, Ifa. xxx. 8. Jer. xxx. 2. and xxxvi. 32. Hab. ii. 1, 2. And the Writings of the Hiftories of the Jews belong'd to the Prophets, 1 Chron. xxix. 29. 2 Chron. xii. 2 Chron. xii. 15. xiii. 22. xx. 34. xxvi. 22. xxxii. 32. Jofephus accordingly writes,
Contra Ap. 1. 1.
that from the Death of Mofes to the Reign of Artaxerxes Succeffor to Xerxes in the Kingdoms of Perfia, the Prophets penned the Hiftories of their own times. And both in their Prophetical and Hiftorical Books they deal with the greatest Plainness and Sincerity; they record the Idolatries of the Nation, and foretel the Judginents of God which were to befal it upon that account; and they leave to Pofterity a Relation of the Miscarriages and Crimes of their best Princes: David, Solomon, and others, who were Types of the Meffias, and from whofe Race they expected Him, and looked upon the Glories of their feveral Reigns to be Prefages of His, are yet defcribed not only without Flattery, but without any Reserve or Extenuation. They write as Men who had no regard to any thing but Truth, and the Glory of God, in telling it.
The Prophets were fometimes commanded to feal and fhut up their Prophecies, that the Originals might be preserved till the fulfilling of them, and then compared with the Event, Ifa. viii. 16. Jer. xxxii. 14, Dan. viii. 26. and xii. 4. For when the Prophecies were not to be fulfilled till many Years, and, in fome cafes, not till feveral Ages afterwards, it was requifite that the Original Writings fhould be kept with all care; but when the time was fo near at hand, that the Prophecies must be in every one's memory, or that the Originals could not be fufpected or fuppofed to be loft, there was not the fame care required, Rev. xxii. 10. It seems to have been cuftomary d for the Prophets to put their Writings into the Tabernacle, or lay them up before the Lord, 1 Sam. x. 25. And there is a Tradition, That all the Canonical Books, as well as the Law, were put into the fide of the Ark.
4 Jofeph. Antiq. 1. 11. c. 1. & 1. 6. c. 5.
Epiphan. de Ponderib, & Mcnfur, c, 4. Damafcen. de Fide Orthodox. 1. 4. c. 17.