페이지 이미지
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

our Fathers went down into Ægypt, and we have dwelt
in Ægypt a long time, and tbe Ægyptians vexed us and
our Fathers, and when we cried unto the Lord, he beard
our voice, Num. xx. 14. The Edomites, as well as
the Muabites and Ammonites, were put into Poffeffion
of their Country, by the fame Divine Power by which
the Israelites became possess’d of the Land of Canaan,
and the Children of Israel were not to meddle with
them, Deut.ij.s.

Jacob is sent to Padar-Aram, to take to Wife one
of the Daughters of Laban, and with him he abode
twenty Years, Gen. xxxi. 38. and all which he took in
hand prospered so, that there was the visible Power
and Blessing of God in it, as Laban conless’d, Gen.
XXX. 27. Isaac was not to leave the Land of Canaan,
but was forbid to remove into Ægypt, when there was
a Famine in the Land, Gen. xxvi. 2. and he was not
upon any account to return into Chaldea, or to go out
of Canaan, Gen. xxiv. 6,8. but Jacob went out of it,
when there were enough of Abraham's House besides
to keep up a sense of the true Religion among the
Afterwards God' manifested himself to the Ægyt-

sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Ægypt,
was four hundred and thirty Years, (Exod. xii. 40.) 'till
at last, by Signs and Wonders, and dreadful Judg-
ments; by Judgments upon their Firs-born, and up-
on their Gods, Num. xxxiii. 4. they were brought out
from thence; and the Nations heard the fame of it, and
all the Earth was filled with the glory of the Lord,
Num. xiv. 15, 21,

Thus Chaldea and Ægypt, the most famous and flourishing Countries, in those Ages of the World, had the true Religion brought home to them by the Patriarchs, who were sent from Place to place to fojourn, to be a Pattern and Example to the rest of Mankind. And Men who travelled so far, and con

vers’d with so many Nations, and were so zealous for God's Honour, and had such frequent Revelations, and the immediate Direction of God himself, in most: of the Actions of their Lives, and who were so Great and Powerful, and so Numerous, must needs mightily propagațe Religion where ever they came, and leave the Idolaters without excuse; and it cannot be doubted but that they had great Success in all Places; for even out of Ægypt, where they endured the greatest Hardships, and were in such Contempt and Hatred, yet a mix'd multitude went up also with them, besides the native Ifraelites, Exod. xii. 38.

And as Chaldea and Ægypt were famous for Learning and Commerce, and proper Places, by their fițuation, from whence the Notions of Religion might be propagated both towards the East and the West, to other parts of the World; so I must again otserve, that God's Mercy was particularly manifested towards the Canaanites before their Deftri&ion: The Example of Melchizedeck, who reign'd among them, and the sojourning of Abraham, and Lot, and Ifaac, and Jacob, not to mention Ishmael and Efau, with their numerous Families, afforded them continual Invitations, and Admonitions for their Instruction and Amendment; especially the Judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah, and the miraculous Deliverance of Lot, was enough to strike an Awe and Terrour into the most Obdurate. But when they would not make any due use of these Mercies, when they perfisted still in their Impieties, and proceeded in them till they had fill’d up the measure of their Iniquities; God made them an Example to others, after they would take no Warning themselves; yet still executing his judgments upon them by little and little, he gave them place of repentance, not being ignorant that they quere a naughty generation, and that their malice was bred in them, and that their Cogitation would never be çbanged, Wifd. xii . 10.


How much the trire Religion prevaild by these Dispensations of Providence, among other Nations besides the Hebrews, we have an illustrious Instance in Job and his Friends, who were Princes in their feveral Dominions; they had Knowledge of the Fall of the Angels, Job iv. 18: and of the Original Corruption of Man, which is express’d with this Emphasis, that he cannot be clean, or righteous, who is born of a woman ; because by Eve's Tranfgreffion, Sin tame into the World, Fob xiv. 1. XV. 14. and xxv.4:

Adam is mention'd chap. xxxi: 33. the Resurre&tion is describ'd chap.xiv. 12. and it appears that Revelations were youchsafed' to these Nations, chap. xxxiii: 15.It appears that the Fundamentals of Religion were known Doctrines amongst them, and are therefore mention’d both by Fob himself

, and by his Friends, în as plain terms as may be, and as fully as can be expected in a Book which is Poetical, the Nature whereof requires that known things should be' alluded to, but not so particularly related as in History. And there is no doubt but the Propagation of Religion, in other parts of the World, would be as evident, if the Scriptures had not occasionally only, and in the course of

other things, but of ser purpose treated of this Marter;, as we may gather from the Footsteps to be found in Heathen Authors, of what the Scriptures delivet to us, and from the several Allufions and Representations in the Rites and Ceremonies of their Religionis, expressing, tho' obscurely and confusedly, the chief Points of the Scripture-story, as has been thewn by divers learned Men. It must be remember'd, that the Patriarchs built Altars wherever they came, to which they with their numerous Followers resorted to offer Sacrifice and call upon" the name of the Lord, Gen. viii. 10. xii. 7,8. xiii. 4, 18, xxvi. 25. xxxiii. 20. xxxv. 7. which publick and folémn Worship rendred their Piety very observable and exemplary. And it may with great Probability be


[ocr errors]

concluded, that not only the Priest, but the Place and Time for Divine Worship were appropriated and ftated from the beginning, inasmuch as Cain and Abel . brought their Offerings, at the same time, at the end of days to the same Place, to Adam to be presented by him to the Lord in Sacrifice: - For fo some of the ancient Jewish Expositors explain this Passage concerning Cain and Abel. ' * * 2. In fucceeding Ages, after the giving the Law, when the Jews, by their Laws concerning Religion and Government, may seem to have been wholly separated from the rest of the World, and the Divine Revelations confin'd to one Nation, there still were fufficient Means and frequent Opportunities for all Nations to come to the Knowledge of the Truth. And here I fhall fhew, I. That the Law of Moses did particularly provide for the Instruction of other Nations in the Reveald Religion, and that the Scri+ ptures give frequent Commandment and Encouragement concerning it. :- 2. That the Providence of God did fo order and dispose of the Jewis in their Affairs, as to offer other Nations frequent Opportunities of becoming instructed in the true Religion, and that Multitudes of Proselytes were - made of all Nations.

1. The Law of Moses did particularly provide for the Instruction of other Nations in the Reveald Religion, and the Scriptures give frequent Commandi menc and Encouragement concerning it. The Stran apers or Proselytes, amongst the Fows, were of two, forts ; for either they were such as became Circúm cised, and obliged themfelves to the Observation of the whole Law of Moles, who were stiled Profelytos of Righteousness, or of the Covenant; or they were such as believ'd in the True God, and profess'd only to observe the Precepts given to Noah, which comprifed the Substance of the Ten Commandments; and these were callid Profelytes

: vf the Gates, because they


were permitted to live amongst them, within their Gates; these are the Strangers in their Gates, mention'd Deut. xiv. 21. who might eat of such things as the Ifraelites themselves were forbidden to eat of.

If any would be Circumcised, and undertake the Observation of the whole Law, they had full Liberty, and the greatest Encouragement to do it. At the first Institution of Circumcision, not only Abraham and his Seed, but his whole Family, and all that were bought with money of any Stranger, were to be Circumcised, Gen. xvii. 12, 27. and at the Institution of the Passover, the Stranger is commanded to observe it, as well as the Natural Ifraelite, Exod. xii. 19. God made no distinction in the Institution of both these Sacraments, between the Jews, and those other Nations that dwelt amongst them, and were willing to conform themselves to the Observation of the Law; but first to Abraham, when he appointed Circumcision, and then to Moses, when the Passover was instituted, particular Order is given concerning Strangers or Prot felytes, who would betake themselves to them, one law shall be to him that is home-born, and to the stranger that Sojourneth among you, Exod. xii. 49. Deut. xxix. 11. And as the receiving the Seal of Circumcision was an Admission into Covenant with God, and imply'd an Obligation to observe the whole Law, and a Right to the Privileges of it, which was confirm'd and renew'd by their partaking of the Passover ; so it is to be obfervid, not only that God did in general admit Strangers and Aliens to the same Worship with the Jews, but that throughout their whole Law frequent mention is made of them, and care taken for their Reception and Behaviour : For though what is but once said in Scripture, is a sufficient Proof of the Will and Pleasure of God in any matter ; yet when a thing is often mention'd, and every-where inculcated, it is an Evidence to us, that God would have the more Notice taken of it, and has ļaid the striętest Obligation upon


« 이전계속 »