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As the Merits of every Caufe were to turn, upon the Evidence given, let us what Rules the Law lays down in reference thereunto. At the mouth of two Deut. witnesses, or three witnesses, shall be, that xvii. 6. is worthy of death, be put to death: But, at the mouth of one witness, he shall not be put to death. Again; One witness fhall ib. xix. (not rife up against a man for any iniquiEity, and for any fin that he finneth; at the mouth of two, or three witnesses, fhall the matter be established."
And then, in relation to false Witness,
it is faid; If a false witness rise up against dany man, to testify against him that which is wrong: Then, both the men between whom the controverfy is, fhall ftand before the LORD, before the Priests and the Judges, which shall be in those days; and the Judges fhall make diligent inquifition: And behold, if the witness be a falfe witness, and bath teftified falfely against his brother; Then fhall ye do unto him, as he had thought to do unto his brother. Life fhall go for life; eye for eye; tooth for tooth; hand for band; foot for foot.
It was likewife a Part of their Law, that no Man fhould be condemn'd without being brought to a fair Trial, and hearing what he had to fay for himself. John vii. And therefore Nicodemus fays to the Chief Priefts and Pharifees, Doth our Law judge any man before it hear him, and know what be doth?
Then as to paffing Sentence, the Law runs thus; If there be a controverfy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the Judges may judge them; then, they hall jus tify the righteous, and condemn the wicked. And, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, the Judge fhall caufe him to lie down and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number. Forty Stripes he may give him, and not exceed. We find, the Jews, in the latter Times, would not take the utmost Liberty the Law allow'd; for, though St. Paul was mortally hated by them; and they went as far in punishing him as the Romans had left them Power; which was only that of giving Stripes; and were so inveterate as to inflict this Punishment upon him, five Times; yet, they gave him, each
Time, but nine and Thirty Stripes. He
Mays Of the Jews, five times received I, 2 Cor. xi, forty Stripes, fave one. This Abatement, 24. itsism probable, was made out of a Pretence of Clemency.
SE C T. VI.
The Great Council at Jerufalem. This Council, or Court of Judicature, call'd by the Jews themselves, the Sanbedrim, was fuperior to all others, both as to the Condition and Number of the Judges which fate in it, and the Authority and Power with which it was vefted. This, like the reft, was conftituted by God himfelf, in the Law; and intended as a Court of Appeal, or Dernier Refort, if there fhould be Occafion, from any of the inferior Courts. It was kept, first, in Shiloh and afterwards, at Jerufalem; being limited to the Place, where the Ark of God food.
What swe read of it, is, as follows: If there arife a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between xvii. 8. plea and plea, and between firoke and stroke, being matters of controverfy within thy gates;
then fhalt thou arife, and get thee up into the place which the LORD thy God fhall choofe. And thou shalt come unto the Priests and Levites, and unto the Judge, that shall be in those days, and enquire: and they shall fhew thee the fentence of judgment. And thou shalt do according to the fentence, which they of that Place, which the LORD fhall choofe, fhall fhew thee; and thou shalt obferve to do according to all that they shall inform thee: Thou shalt not decline from the fentence which they shall fhew thee, to the right hand, nor to the left. And the man, that will do prefumptuously, and will not bearken unto the Priest, that ftandeth to minifter there before the LORD thy God, or unto the Judge, even that man shall die: And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do, no more, presumptuously.
By this it appears that the chief Conductor, Judge, King, High-Prieft, or whoever was at the Head of their Affairs, was to be the Prefident in this Court. The Reft of the Judges feem to have confifted of the Chief Priefts, and fuch of the Levites, as were appointed, by David's Regulation, to be Officers and Judges.
For, in the Cafe of a falfe Witness, beforementioned, Mofes determines that Both the men, between whom the controverfy is, afball ftand before the LORD, before the Priefts and the Judges which shall be in thofe days. And, it is probable, this Court took Cognizance of all Matters which were litigated during their fojourning in the Wilderness; and till the Tribes came to have Cities of their own allotted them.
Deut. xix. 17.
In Process of Time, as their Kings came to be idolatrous, this Ordinance, among others, was neglected. For we find Jehoshaphat restoring it, at the fame Time as he did the Courts in Every City. Moreover, in Jerufalem, did Jehofshaphat 2 Chron. fet, of the Levites, and of the Priefts, and of the Chief of the fathers of Ifrael, for the judgment of the LORD, and for controverfies, when they returned to Jerufalem. And be charged them, faying, Thus Shall ye do, in the fear of the LORD, faithfully, and with a perfect heart. And what cause foever shall come to you, of your brethren that dwell in their cities, between blood and blood, between law and command