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xvii. 18.

the abominable Practices of the Nations round about them, would add this evil, to ask them a King; lays down feveral Rules and Directions for the Behaviour and Duty of fuch their King, when they had chosen him: among which, this is one; And it fhall be when he fitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book, out of that which is before the Priests the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law, and these ftatutes, to do them. That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not afide from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left; to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom; he and his children, in the midst of Ifrael.

And further, that none of the People, from the highest to the lowest, might have any Pretence to plead Ignorance of it, Mofes wrote this law, and deliper'd it unto xxxi. 9. the Priests the fons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the


to all the elders of Ifrael.

LORD, and unAnd Mofes commanded

manded them, faying; At the end of every Seven years, in the folemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles; when all Ifrael is come to appear before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose: Thou shalt read this Law before all Ifrael in their hearing. Gather the people together, men and women and children, and the Stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and obferve to do all the words of this Law. And that their children, which have not known any thing, may bear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to poffefs it.

Moreover Mofes gave the Copy of this Deut. Law, when he had written it out, to the xxxi. 24, Levites which bare the Ark of the Covenant; and commanded them to put it in the fide of the ark of the covenant of the LORD; that it might be there for a witness against


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I Sam.

viii. 10.


How the LAW came to be neglected.


It appears therefore that no Care was wanting to publish and propagate this Law among the People, who accordingly were govern'd by it, many Years, after they were fettled in the Land of Canaan. But when they came to have Kings who (as Samuel in the Words of the Lord foretold they would) rul'd them in a tyrannical and arbitrary manner, the Law feems to have been almost totally neglected: infomuch that Jehoshaphat, the fourth from Solomon, who was a very great and good Prince, found it neceffary to send several of the wifest and best of his Subjects, in Company with fome of the Priefts and Levites, to go, in Circuit, thro' the whole Kingdom, and take care that the People were instructed according to the Laws, which had been difpens'd to them by God himself. These, we find, executed their Commiffion ac2 Chron. cordingly; and they taught in Judah, and xvii. 9. had the book of the law of the LORD with them; and went about throughout all the Ci

ties of Judah, and taught the People.


But in fome of the fucceeding Reigns, under a Race of wicked and idolatrous Princes, the Law was fo utterly fuperfeded, that the very Book of it, from whence the People us'd to receive their necessary and constant Inftruction, was loft: till, after a long time, in the Reign of the pious King Jofiah, who had fet a Reformation on foot, and given Orders to repair and fit up the Temple for the Worfhip of the true God, Hilkiah the High Prieft, found the book of the law in the house of the LORD; and fent it to the King; who no fooner heard it read than he was ftruck with Astonishment and Horror at the grievous Iniquity of his Family, the Kings his Predeceffors; who had fo shamefully departed from the Law of the LORD, and forfaken the Covenant of their God. In the Remorfe and Anguish of his Soul, he rent his clothes; and exprefs'd a most ear- 2 Kings neft Defire of knowing how he should atone for this grievous Neglect, and appease God's just Resentment upon account of it; faying, Great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearken'd unto the words of this book.

xxii, 11.

2 Kings xxiii.

He fent therefore and gather'd unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerufalem. And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerufalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people both fmall and great; and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD. And he and all the people made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments, and his teftimonies, and his ftatutes, with all their heart and all their foul, to perform the words of this covenant, that were written in this book; and all the people stood to the co


But, the four next Reigns being very bad ones, and the Law, in all Probability, as much neglected as ever it had been; upon the Destruction of the City, and Captivity of the People into Babylon, which immediately follow'd, we know not what became of it.


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