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but the Sense and Meaning, that was interpreted, ver. 7,8. And in the fame manner, the Letter of Artaxerxes was both written in the Syrian tongue, and interpreted in the Syrian tongue, Ezra iv. 7. Nehemiah particularly complains, that the Children of those who had married strange Wives, could not speak in the Jews language : Which supposes that the Children of other Parents, as well as the Parents themselves were taught to speak the Hebrew Tongue, Neh. xiii. 24. And the Decree of Ahasuerus in favour of the Jews, was written unto every province, according unto the writing thereof ; and unto every people, after their language ; and unto the Jews, according to their writing, and according to their language, Est. viii. 9. which seems to imply, that the Fews still retain'd not only their Language, but their Manner of Writing it, or the Form and Fashion of their Letters, under the Captivity. The Hebrew Tongue is now understood among the Fews, tho' spoken readily by few, beside their Rabbins : But we may observe, how easie it is for that people, distinguish'd and separated by their Rites, from those among whom they live, to retain their Native Language in Captivity, by what they do now. For m many Jews, who out of Germany went into Poland, Hungary, and Russia, still retain the German Tongue in their Families; and those that, when they were driven out of Spain, fled to the Levant, carried the Spanish Tongue along with them; which remains the Language of their Posterity: And in Italy the German Jews speak Dutch, and the Spanish Fews keep the Spanish Tongue.
So little Credit is to be given to the Story in the Apochryphal
Book of Ezra, that the Law being burnt, Ezra was inspired to didate it all anew, which was taken from his Mouth by five Writers, who in forty Days wrote two hundred and four Books, the former
m Leo Moden. Pt. 2. C. I. §. I.
of which were to be made publick, but the seventy last were to be deliver'd only to the Wise, i. e. to the Rabbins, 2 Esdr. xiv. 40. which is plainly a Jewish Fable invented to authorize their Traditions. And yet this groundless Story, so contrary to Scripture, and to the Writings of some of the most learned of the n Rabbins, in a Book that is reje&ted both by Protestants and Papists, has prevaild too much with both.
After their return, the Jews were a free People 'till the time of Alexander the Great, who only requir'd Tribute of them, but left them to their own Law and Government ; so that no occasion was given to any considerable change in their Language, as • Vossius computes 'till the First Year of the cxvii
. Olympiad, when Jerusalem was taken by Ptolemæus Lagi ; and twenty seven Years after was the Version of the Septuagint, by whom, not long after the Decease of those that return'd from the Captivity, the Scriptures were translated into the Greek Tongue ; and were dispers'd into so many Hands, among the Jews and Proselytes, that the Copies could not be destroy'd, either in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, or at any other time, by the Malice of Persecutors, or any other Accident. And tho' the Jews were fo fond of their Traditions, as to make the Word of God of none effect by them; yer they never added any Books to the Canon of Scrip ture, in favour of those Traditions for which they were so zealous : But when they had no longer any Prophets among them, they durft not place any other Books in the same Rank and Authority with those which the Prophets had left behind them. All the Canonical Books were written by Inspired Authors, and have been in constant use among the People of the
1 David Kimhi & Jacob. Benhaym. apud Sixt. Senenf. 1. 8. Hær. 2. o II. Voff, ad iteratas P. Simonii Object. Refponf. p. 373.
Fews, Jews, in their private Houses, and publick Assemblies, even from the first writing them; for they were preferv'd during the Captivity, and both understood and used by the People: but their other Books, written under the second Temple, tho' never so useful and pious, were never receiv'd with the like Esteem and Veneration; they pretended to no more than Human Composition, and were never rank'd with those of Divine Authority. P Fosephus declares, that there was no Succession of Prophets after the Reign of Artaxerxes; and that the Historical Books written afterwards, were not of the same Authority with those before that time. The 9 Jews, with a general Consent, acknowledge, that during the second Temple, there was neither the Ark, (nor consequently the Shechina) nor the Urim and Thummim, nor the Fire from Heaven, nor the Holy Oil, nor the Holy Spirit, in the Gifts of Prophecies and Miracles. This is a Confession of the Jews against themselves; which is much urged upon them by Christians, to prove that our Saviour is the Messias, and that his Presence alone could make the Glory of the latter house greater than of the former, Hag. ii. 9. And their Confeffion herein, adds great Weight to their Testimony in behalf of all these kinds of Prophecy, which they affirm to have . been under the first Temple, and of this Prophecy of Haggai, as well as of the rest in the Old Testam
CH A P. X Of the Prophecies and Miracles of the Prophets.
HE False Prophets prophesied in the Name of
s Prophecies were wont to be deliverd in his Name, or else they could never have hop'd to deceive by it. And in the Historical Books of the Old Testament, in which the Prophecies and Miracles of the Prophets are related, reference is frequently made to the Records then extant in the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah and Israel; most of the Prophecies and Miracles being of that publick Nature, and so intermix'd with the Affairs of State, that they must be recorded together with them.
Fofiah. A was prophesy'd of by Name, three hundred fixty one Years before the Event : Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Fofiah by name, 1 Kings xiii. 2. and this was foretold by a Propher, who came out of Judah, purposely to denounce the Judgments of God upon the Priests of the Altar, and upon the Altar it self, which Jeroboam had newly fer up at Bethel, when Jeroboam stood by the Altar to burn Incense: And his Prediction, at the fame time, was confirm'd by two Miracles; one wrought upon Jeroboam himself, by drying up his Hand, which he ftretched forth against the Prophet, and which, by the Prophet's Prayer, was restor'd again whole to him, as it was before ; the other Miracle was wrought upon the Altar, by rending it, and pouring out the Ashes from it. And a Prophecy deliver'd in the Prefence and to the Face of an enraged Prince, against the Religion of his own setting up, to secure to himself
· Jofeph. Antiq. 1. 10. c. 5.
the Kingdom he so lately became possess’d of, at the very time when he was offering Inicense
his Altar : Aid this Prophecy, confirm'd by an immediate Judgment both upon the King himself, and his Altar, in the light of so numerous an Appearance as must be present on so solemn an Occafion, and these Enemies to the Prophet, who came from Judah, and to his Religion ; a Prophecy thus deliver'd, had all the Circumstances to make it remarkable and notorious, in all the Tribes both of Israel and Judah, then at Hostility with each other, that can almost be conceiv'd ; And yet the strange Death of the Prophet of Judah, for tranfgreffing, by his own Confession, the Word of the Lord to him; and his Sepulchre, with įts Title or Inscription, still remaining at Bethel when Fofiah demolished the Altar there, gave a farther Confirmation to it.
The fulfilling of this Prophecy by Fofah, was no less remarkable, 2 Kings Xxii. 15. Fofiah was the Son of a very wicked King, and born at a time when the People were exceedingly corrupted by the Idolatry of his Grandfather Manajes; and his Sons likewise proved wicked so that he was so singular in his Piety, and so wonderful an Example of it, that no Man of his own Age could have imagin'd that of him, which had been foretold so many hundred Years ago. In all human appearance, this was a very unlikely time to fee that Prophecy fulfilld; and that which had been wonderful in any Age, was much more wonderful in this : and in so wicked an Age, this good King set aboạt the Work of Reformation very young; to shew, that it was not of Men, but of God. The Prophet Ahijah, who had prophesyid, that Jeroboam should be King of the Ten Tribes, ( 1 Kings xi. 31:) foretold likewise the Death of Jeroboam's Son, the Destruction of his Family, and the Captivity of those Tribes by the Allyrians , ( 1 Kings xiv. 10.)