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Haft thou not heard long ago how I have done it, and of ancient times, that I have formed it, Ifa. xxxvii. 26. And Rabbi Shemaiah and Rabbi Abtalion are faid to have been Profelytes of Righteousness, of the Pofterity of Sennacherib. The Prophet Obadiah is probably thought to have been a Profelyte of Idumæat. Pharaob Necho, King of Egypt, alledges God's Command, when he came to fight against Carchemifh, 2 Chron. XXXV. 21, 22.
But our prefent Enquiry is not fo much what the Effect was, as what Means were afforded of Salvation: For though it be requifite that the True Reveal'd Religion fhould be publifh'd to the World; yet it is not neceffary in order to prove the Truth of a Religion, to fhew that obftinate Men have taken notice of it, fo far as to confider and believe it; because it is not neceffary that God fhould force his Laws upon Men, but only that he fhould discover them, and afford Men fufficient Means to know them, and be come the better for them.
To proceed then: The Philistines were in a wonderful Confternation, when they understood that the Ark was brought into the Camp, I 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 Difeafes and Plagues, wherefoever the Ark was carried; and their God was fo little able to help them, that he fell down before it, and was broken in pieces; whereof they retain❜d a Memorial in the Worship of him ever after, in not treading upon the Threshold of Dagon, in Afhdod, because he had loft the Palms of his Hands, by falling upon it, 1 Sam. v. 4, 5. And the manner of fending back the Ark, with the TrefpafsOffering prescribed by their Priests and Diviners, at
f Lightfoot Harm. Luke iv. 15. p. 612.
Munft. in Abdiæ. c. 1. Sixt. Seneuf. Bibliothec. 1. 1.
the Demand of the Lords of the Philistines, was a manifeft Atteftation to the Power of the God of Ifrael: Wherefore then (faid they), do ye harden your bearts, 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, vi. 6. The Philistines, at laft, receiv'd a miraculous Overthrow by Thunder, 1 Sam. vii. 1o. And thefe were fo remarkable Judgments, that they must be left without all excufe, who did not forfake their Idolatries, and turn to the Living God, who had thus manifested himself amongst them.
The Urim and Thummim was confulted upon any great Undertaking, whereby God return'd his Anfwer, and oftentimes, before the Battel, gave Aflurance of Victory. w Jofephus fays, the Anfwer was return'd, by the fhining of the Stones in the HighPrieft's Breaft-Plate, in fuch a manner, as that it was vifible to all the People ftanding by; and that many of the Heathen, who had been Witneffes to it, call'd it the Oracle.
The miraculous Victories of Saul, and Jonathan, and David, and Davia's Stay with Achi King of the Philiflines 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 observe Achish, in difcourfe with David, mentioning the Name of the Lord, or Jehovah, and swearing by his Name, I Sam. xxix. 6. Which fhews the infinite Mercy and Com paffion of God towards this People devoted to Deftruction, in that he would not take them away fuddenly, but by little and little, giving them space for Repentance; and turning that, which might feem to
Judg. i. 1. and xx. 18. 23, 26. 1 Sam. xviii. 6, and xxiii. 9. and xxx. 7,8, w Jofeph. Antiq. 1. 3. c.9.
rafh Judges a hard Fate, into a Means of Salvation both to themselves and others.
David extended his Conqueft far and near, and was renowned throughout all thofe Countries: And the fame of David went out into all lands; and the Lord brought the fear of him upon all nations, 1 Chron. xiv. 17. And when God had deliver'd him out of the Hand of all his Enemies, he makes this Refolution, Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and will fing praifes unto thy name, 2 Sam. xxii. 5o. Pfal. xviii. 49. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. Say among the heathen, that the Lord is King, Pfal. xcvi. 3, 10. And when the Ark was brought with great and folemn Joy, from the House of Obed-Edom, the Pfalm of Thanksgiving on that Occafion has the fame Expreffions; 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 Difpenfations of his Providence; and accordingly he made this Ufe of it, with fo good effect, that in the beginning of Solomon's Reign, the Strangers or Profelytes in the Land were found to be an hundred and fifty thousand, and three thoufand and fix hundred, 2 Chron. ii. 17. who were all Men fit to be employed in the Building of the Temple; and the reft must be supposed very much to exceed that Number, reckoning both Sexes, of all Ages.
In Solomon's Reign, the Kingdom of Ifrael became yet more famous and flourishing; Hiram King of Tyre held great Correfpondence with him: And Kimchi, and after him Dr. Lightfoot y understands by 2 Chron.
πάντας τὰς ἄνδρας τις προ omnes viros profelytos.
y Lightfoot Chorograph. Decad. on St. Mark, c. 6. § 2. p. 311.
curaye האנשים הגרים *
viii. 2. that Hiram gave Cities to Solomon in his own Land, who placed Ifraelites in them; and he, in like manner, gave Cities to Hiram, in Galilee, 1 Kings ix. 11. in Confirmation of the League between them. The Letters which paffed between Solomon and Hiram 2 were extant in the time of Jofephus: and from his time, down to Theophilus Antiochenus. Hiram blessed the Lord God of Ifrael, that made heaven and earth, 2 Chron. ii. 12. 1 Kings v. 7. which fhews, that he had a true Notion and Senfe of Religion. And Tyre was a Place of great Trade and Commerce, Ezek. xxvii. from whence the Jews were afterwards fold to the Gracians, Joel iii. 6. there was no Place of greater Traffick, nor that sent out more Colonies, or greater, or into more diftant Parts of the World; and therefore none could be more proper to establish a Correfpondence 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 feth the Lord his God, chap. x. 9. who, according to a Jofephus, was Queen both of Egypt and Ethiopia 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 wifdom, which God had put in his heart, chap. x. 24. His Dominions were exceeding great: He reigned over all the kings from the river (Euphrates) even unto the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Egypt, 2 Chron. ix. 26. The Trade and Correfpondence of the If raelites with foreign Nations was mightily advanced in his time; their Trade extended as far as Tarfhifh and Ophir. Tarfhifh is tranflated Carthage, by the Septuagint, Ifa. xxiii. 6. but is fuppofed to be Tarteffus, in Spain, though St. Jeromb thought it to be in the
z Theoph. ad Autolyc. 1. 3. p. 254- a Jofeph. Antiq. 1. 8. c. 2. b Hier. in Jon. c. 1. initio.
Indies. And Ophir was, as many learned Men think, in the Indies, beyond the River Ganges, in Pegu, or at leaft, Solomon's Merchants did traffick with the Indians that came from thofe 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, fome 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 Ifraelites 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 Ifrael highly renowned, and caufed their Laws and Customs and Religion to be much obferved and enquired into; and even the Marriages of Solomon with Pharaoh's Daughter and other Strangers, queftionlefs, through the Mercy of God, might prove an happy occafion of divulging the true Religion, and regaining many from Idolatry, in Egypt, 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 feduced Solomon himfelf into them.
The Gentiles were fo forward to become Profelytes, d in the Reigns of David and Solomon, that their Sincerity became fufpected; and the Jews tell us, that the Sanhedrim would admit no Profelytes, in the day's of David, left they fhould be induced to it by Fear; nor in the days of Solomon, left the Glory of his Kingdom fhould have been the motive to them to profefs the Religion of the Ifraelites. Nevertheless, great Numbers were received privately by Baptifm, the Sanhedrim neither rejecting nor admitting them.
e Maimonid. de Profelyt. $ 15, 16.