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mongst them; and for so many Ages, from their first coming out of Ægypt, the whole People were made continually Witnefles of the manifest Power and Presence of God amongst them. This will be evident, by making some Obfervations concerning the Prophets and their Writings, and concerning their Prophecies and Miracles.
CHA P. IX.
HE kinds of Prophecy among the Jews, were,
The Shechina. 2. The Urim and Thummim. 3. Revelation by Visions and Dreams, or by Inspiration; for I shall not here distinguish these ways of Revelation, to consider 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, Psal. Ixxxi. 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-Priest, Exod. xxviii. 30. was another ftanding Oracle, to be consulted 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 signification of the Divine Will: This Oracle was not only venerable amongst the Jews, but was famous amongst the Heathen (as a Žofephus aflures us)
· Joseph. Antiq. 1. 3. c. 9.
for its infallible Answers. Mr. Mede b thinks the Urim and Thummim to have been in use 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 shining of such Letters of the Tribes Names, engraven on the Stones in the Priest's Breast-plate, as express’d the Answer : but the fame learned Author thinks, that the Urim and the Thummim were distinct Oracles; the Thummim shewing when their Sacrifices were accepted; and the Urim answering such Questions as were proposed upon any important occasion.
3. Revelations by Visions and Dreams, or by Inspiration, were the Revelations which properly denominated those, to whom they were made, Prophets. For the Prophets were Persons sent by God, with an extraordinary Commission, to declare his Wills and they were not confined to the Tribe of Levi, or to any one particular Tribe, but sometimes taken out of one Tribe, and sometimes 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 some 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, such as became Men who fpake and acted by a Divine Impulse, without Design, and without any Disguise, sometimes commanded great Reverence towards them from Princes, not easie to be well advised or directed. Rehoboam, a wilful and rash Prince, at the head of an Army of an
b Mede's Discourse, 35.
hundred and fourscore thousand chosen 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 Jerom boam, 1 Kings xii. 21. Ahab, though an exceeding wicked King, after a signal 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, dismiss'd an hundred thousand mighty men of valour, whom he had hir'd of the Israelites 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 such an Army, who look’d upon themselves as affronted, made in his Country ; upon the Prophet's afluring him, that God would give him the Vi&tory, if he would dismiss them, but not otherwise; and telling him, The Lord is able to give thee much more than this: and the Event proved the Truth of the Prediction, 2 Chron. xxv. The Children of Israel likewise, at the word of Oded the Prophet, fent back two hundred thousand Persons of the Kingdom of Judah with great Spoil, which they had taken, 2 Chron. xxviii. Šo ready and so general a Compliance, in such cases, could arise from nothing but a certain Belief and Experience of the Truth of what the Prophets delivered: But at other times they were despised and persecuted. And the Truth of their Prophecies was not only attested dy Miracles, and justified by the Event, and confessed by the Deference and Respect both of the Kings and People; but it was asserted by the Sufferings, and fealed by the Blood of the Prophets, and was at last acknowledged by the Posterity of those who had fain 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 Nain. There was a constant succession of Prophets, from the time of MS-s, till the return of the Jews from their Captivity in Babylon ; fome prophesied for many Years ; Jeremiah, for above one and forty Years; Ezekiel, about twenty Years; the least time afsigned to Holed's Prophecying, is forty three Years; Amos prophesied about fix and twenty Years; Michah, about fifty; Isaiah, Jonah, and Daniel, a much longer time: so that they lived to see divers of their own Prophecies fulfilled; and to have suffered as False 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 some things, which came to pass soon after, according to their Predi&ions, to give evidence to their Authority, and confirm their Divine Miffion. As to the Presents, which are sometimes 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 self often inconfiderable; as Saul for want of Bread, presented Samuel with the fourth part of a Shekel of Silver, 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 Presents when he was King, i Sam. x. 27. And Samuel was presented with a Gift, because of his Dignity; for he was an honourable Man, Chap. ix. 6.
The Prophets committed their Prophecies to writing, and left them to Posterity, Isa. xxx. 8. Jer. xxx. 2. and xxxvi. 32. Hab. ii. 1, 2. And the Writings of the Histories of the Jews belong’d to the Prophets, i Chron. xxix. 29. 2 Chron. xii. 15. xiii. 22. XX, 34. xxvi. 22. xxxii. 32.
- Josephus accordingly writes, ¢ Contra Ap. 1. 1.
that from the Death of Moses to the Reign of Artaxerxes Succeffor to Xerxes in the Kingdoms of Persia, the Prophets penned the Histories of their own times. And both in their Prophetical and Historical 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 Posterity a Relation of the Miscarriages and Crimes of their best Princes: David, Solomon, and others, who were Types of the Messias, and from whose Race they expected Him, and looked upon the Glories of their several Reigns to be Presages of His, are yet described 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 sometimes commanded to seal and shut up their Prophecies, that the Originals might be preserved till the fulfilling of them, and then compared with the Event, Isa. 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 some cases, 'not till several Ages afterwards, it was requifite that the Original Writings should be kept with all care ; but when the time was so near at hand, that the Prophecies must be in every one's memory, or that the Originals could not be suspected or fupposed to be lost, there was not the same care required, Rev. xxii. 10. It seems to have been customary d for the Prophets to put their Writings into the Tabernacle, or lay them up before the Lord, I Sam. X. 25. And there is a Tradition, That all the Canonical Books, as well as the Law, were put into the side of the Ark.
& Jofeph. Antig. 1. 11. C. I. & 1. 6. c. 5.
Epiphan. de Ponderib. & Mcnsur, c. 4. Damascen. de Fide Orthodox. l. 4. C. 17.