« 이전계속 »
Haft thou not beard long ago how I have done it, and of äncient times, that I have formed it, Ifa. xxxvii. 26. And Rabbi Shemaiah and Rabbi Abtalion are f faid to have been Profelytes of Righteousness, of the Posterity of Sennacherib. The Prophet Obadiah is probably thought to have been a Profelyte of Idumeat Pharagh Necho, King of Ægypt, alledges God's Command, when he came to fight against Carchemis, 2 Chron. XXXV. 21, 22.
But our present Enquiry is not so much what the Effect was, as what Means were afforded of Salvation: For though it be requisite that the True Rea veald Religion should be publish'd to the World; yet it is not necessary in order to prove the Truth of a Religion, to fhew that obstinate Men have taken notice of it, so far as to consider and believe it, because it is not necessary that God should force his Laws upon Men, but only that he should discover them, and afford Men fufficient Means to know them, and become the better for them.
To proceed then: The Philistines were in a wonderful Consternation, when they understood that the Ark was brought into the Camp, Sam: iv. 7, 8. And when it was taken by them, it was more terrible to them, than the Enemy, if he had conquer'd them, could have been; they were tormented with Diseases and Plagues, wheresoever the Ark was carried ; and their God was so little able to help them, that he fell down before it, and was broken in pieces;. whereof they retain'd a Memorial in the Worlhip of him ever after, in not treading upon the Threshold of Dagon, in Ashdod, because he had lost the Palms of his Hands, by falling upon it, 1 Sam. v. 4, 5. And the manner of sending back the Ark, with the TrespassOffering prescribed by their Priests and Diviners, at
Lightfoot Harm. Luke iv. 15. p. 612.
the Demand of the Lords of the Pbilistines, was a manifest Attestation to the Power of the God of 15fael :: Wherefore then (said they), do ye barden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their bearts? when he had wrought wonderfully among them, did he not let the People go, and they departed, I Sam, yi. 6. The Philistines, at last, receiv'd a miraculous Overthrow by Thunder, i Șam. vij. łQ. And thefe were so remarkable Judgments, that they must be left without all excuse, who did not forsake their ļdolatries, and turn to the Living God, who had thus mat nifefíed himself amongst them.
The Urim and Thummim was consulted upon any great Undertaking, whereby God return'd his Anlwer, and oftentimes, before the Battel, gave Allur rance of Victory. w Josephus says, the Answer was return'd, by the shining of the Stones in the HighPriest's Breaft-Plate, in such a manner, as that it was visible to all the People standing by; and that many of the Heathen, who had been Witnesses to it, call'd it the Oracle.
The miraculous Vi&ories of Saul, and Jonathan, and David, and Davia's Stay with Achish King of the Philiftines at Gath, and the Favour and Confidence which he gain’d with that King, gave the Canaanites ftill repeated Opportunities and Motives to Converfion and Repentance; and we may observę Achish; in discourse with David, mentioning the Name of the Lord, or Jehovah, and (wearing by his Name, 1 Sam. xxix. 6. Which shews the infinite Mercy and Com, passion of God towards this People devoted to Destruction, in that he would not take them away suddenly, but by little and little, giving them space for Repentance; and turning that, which might seem to rash Judges a hard Fate, into a Means of Salvation both to themselves and others.
v Judg. i. 1. and xx. 18.23, 26. I Sam. xviii. 6, and xxiii. 9: and xxx. 7,8. w Jofeph. Antig. 1. 3. c.9.
rash viii. 2, 2 Thcoph. ad Autolyc. l. 3. p.254. • Hier. in Jon. c. 1. initio.
David extended his Conquest far and near, and was renowned throughout all those Countries : And the fame of David went out into all lands; and the Lord brought the fear of him upon all nations, i Chron. xiv. 17. And when God had deliver'd him out of the Hand of all his Enemies, he makes this Resolution, Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heatheni and will fing praises unto thy name, 2 Sam xxii. 5o. Psal. xvii. 49. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. Say among the heathen, that the Lord is King, Psal. xcvi. 3, 10. And when the Ark was brought with great and folemn Joy, from the House of Obed-Edom, the Psalm of Thanksgiving on that Occasion has the same Expressions ; Declare bis glory among the heathen, his marvellous works among all nations. Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoyce, and let men say among the nations, the Lord reigneth, 1 Chron. xvi. 24, 31.
He knew this to be the Design of God, in the Dispensations of his Providence; and accordingly he made this Use of it, with so good effect, that in the beginning of Solomon's Reign, the Strangers or Proselytes in the Land were found to be an hundred and fifty thousand, and three thousand and fix hundred, 2 Chron. ii. 17. who were all * Menfit to be employed in the Building of the Temple ; and the rest must be supposed very much to exceed that Number, reckoning both Sexes, of all Ages.
In Solomon's Reign, the Kingdom of Israel became yet more famous and flourishing; Hiram King of Tyre held great Correspondence with him: And Kimchi, and after him Dr. Lightfoot y understands by 2 Chron.
cumyyt ,האנשים הגרים x
πάντας τες άνδρας τες προσηλύτες, Nuineravit omnes viros proselytos. y Lightfoot Chorograph. Decad. on St. Mark, c. 6. $ 2. p. 311. I
viii. 2. that Hiram gave Cities to Solomon in his owa Land, who placed Ifraelites in them; and he, in like manner, gave Cities to Hiram, in Galilee, 1 Kings ix. II. in Confirmation of the League between them. The Letters which passed between Solomon and Hiram 2 were extant in the time of Josephus : and from his time, down to Theophilus Antiochenus. Hiram blessed the Lord God of Israel, that made heaven and earth, 2 Chron. ii. 12. i Kings v. 7. which shews, that he had a true Notion and Sense of Religion. And Tyre was a Place of great Trade and Commerce, Ezek.xxvii. from whence the Jews were afterwards fold to the Grecians, Joel iii. 6. there was no Place of greater Traffick, nor that sent out more Colonies, or greater, or into more distant Parts of the World, and therefore none could be more proper to establish a Correspondence with, from whence Religion might be better propagated. The Queen of Sheba came to fee the Glory of Solomon's Kingdom, 1 Kings ix. 10, and blef -ferh the Lord his God, chap. x.9. who, according to a Jofephus, was Queen both of Egypt and Æthiopia His Wisdom was every-where magnified: And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had beard of his wisdom, chap. iv. 34. All the earth fought to Solomon, to hear his quit; dom, which God had put in his heart, chap. x. 24. His Dominions were exceeding great : He reigned over all tbe kings from the river (Euphrates) even unto the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Ægypt, 2 Chron. ix. 26. The Trade and Correspondence of the IF raelites with foreign Nations was mightily advanced in his time; their Trade extended as far as Tarshiflo and Ophir. Tarshish is translated Carthage, by the Septuagint, Isa. xxiii. 6. but is supposed to be Tartellus, in Spain, though St. Jerom b thought it to be in the
a Joseph. Antiq. 1.8.c. 2.
Indies. And Ophir was, as many learned Men think, in the Indies, beyond the River Ganges, in Pegu, or at least, Solomon's Merchants did traffick with the Indians that came from those Parts; others have imagined Ophir to be Zephala, or Cephala, in Africa, towards the Cape of Good Hope : Some think it to be Ceylon, or Sumatra ; some are of opinion that it was in America ; all are agreed that it must have been in fome very diftant Part of the World'; and where-ever it were, the Traffick and Dealings which the Israelites had there, was a great opportunity to the Heathen to become inftructed in the True Religion.
The Traffick and Voyages by Sea, and Expeditions by Land, in Solomon's Reign, rendred the People of Ifracl highly renowned, and caused their Laws and Customs and Religion to be much observed and enquired into; and even the Marriages of Solomon with Pharaok's Daughter and other Strangers, questionless, through the Mercy of God, might prove an happy occasion of divulging the true Religion, and regaining many from Idolatry, in Ægypt, and others Parts of the World: For all his Wives were made Profelytes before he marry'd them (as Sampson's likewise had been though afterwards they not only fell away to their former Idolatries, but seduced Solumon himfelf into them.
The Gentiles were fo forward to become Profelytes, d in the Reigns of David and Solomon, that their Sincerity became suspected; and the Jews tell us, that the Sanhedrim would admit no Prosélytes, in the days of David, left they should be induced to it by Fear; nor in the days of Solomon, lest the Glory of his Kingdom should have been the motive to them to profefs the Religion of the Israelites. Nevertheless, great Numbers were received privately by Baptism, the Sanhedrim neither rejecting nor admitting them.
s Maimonid. de Profelyt. $15, 16,
d Maimonid. ib.