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hold Senates and Councils, in order to enact fuch By-Laws as were expedient for that Body Corporate of which they were Members. Secondly, to commiffion and authorize the Judges to enter upon and to determine, in the judiciary Way, fuch Small Matters as lay properly within their Cognizance. And, thirdly, to make a Part of the Great Council of the Nation, as often as it was fummon'd to affemble by that Perfon who held the Helm of Go
These are they who are intended in that Precept, where it is faid, Judges and Deut. officers fhalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee throughout thy tribes. Which Officers we find mention'd upon other Occafions. Ye ib. xxix. ftand this day all of you before the LORD your God; your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers. Again, Mofes Lays, Gather unto me all the elders of ib. xxxi. your tribes, and your officers. And we find 28. Joshua, when he was old and stricken in age, called for all Ifrael, and for their elJofh. ders, and for their heads, and for their xxiii. 2. judges, and for their officers.
So when David calls together the Great Congregation to declare his Purpose about the Building of the Temple, we read of 1 Chron. the Captains over the Thousands, and the xxviii. 1. Captains over the Hundreds, with the Offcers, being summon'd upon that Occafion. And, afterwards, we are told that Solomon 2 Chron. made a Speech unto all Ifrael, to the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and to the judges, and to every governor in all Ifrael, the chief of the fathers. And thus, when that pious Prince Hezekiah was refolv'd upon a Reformation both of Religion and Manners, throughout his King2 Chron. dom, it is faid; Then Hezekiah the King xxix. 20. rofe early, and gathered the rulers of the city, and went up to the house of the LORD.
As to their judiciary Capacity, they were not, strictly speaking, Judges themfelves, but had the Power of admitting what Causes they thought were proper to come before the Judges, and of rejecting what they look'd upon as frivolous or unneceffary to be enquir'd into. By this means they became an obvious Mark for Bribery and Corruption; and, accordingly,
under every wicked Administration of the Government, when moft Kinds of Immorality were too fashionable to be accounted Vices, we find thefe Magiftracies of Cities or Towns corporate, loudly complain'd of for their illegal Practices, in this Respect. How is the faithful city be- Ifa. i. 21. come an barlot! It was full of judgment; righteoufnefs lodged in it; but now murderers. Thy filver is become dross, thy wine mixt with water. Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: Every I one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards:
They judge not the fatherless, neither doth [ the cause of the widow come unto them. Therefore faith the LORD, the LORD of Hofts, the mighty one of Ifrael, Ah, I will eafe me of mine adverfaries, and avenge me of mine enemies.
How lively a Defcription of a wretched infatuated People, brought just to the Brink of Destruction, by the profligate Behaviour of their corrupt Rulers! And, at the fame time, how useful an Example, if rightly confider'd, to awaken and deter all those who may unthinkingly be jogging on in the fame Road; and, unless Hh 3 they
unless they make a timely Retreat,
But, to return; The Procefs, in an Action brought against any one at Law seems to have been this. The Plaintiff laid his Cafe before one of these Rulers of Cities; who, if he thought it a Matter proper to be litigated, fent him to have it tried before the Judges; and, if the Party against whom the Information was laid, happen'd to be caft, the Judge, or Judges committed him to the Charge of a special Officer, who had him away to Prison, and there detain'd him till he made Satisfaction in all Points. And upon this Method of Proceeding, that kind and charitable Counsel of our bleffed LORD in Luke xii. the Gospel, is manifeftly founded. When 58. thou goeft, with thine adversary to the magiftrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou may't be delivered from him; (neglect no Opportunity of making it up with him;) left he hale thee to the
judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer caft thee into prison. I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence till 1 thou hast paid the very last mite.
When Ahab King of Ifrael was difpleas'd with Micaiah for prophesying his Overthrow at Ramoth-Gilead, he sent him to Amon the governour of the city, with Orders to put him in prifon, and feed him with bread and water of affliction.
Of the judiciary Authority of these Rulers, we read further in the Case of Jeremiah. When (another) Micaiah had heard his Prophetical Denunciations against Ifrael and Judah, he went down into the Jer. king's house, into the fcribe's chamber, where all the princes (thefe Rulers) were fitting, and inform'd them of it. And after, when Jeremiah was going out of the City ib.xxxvii. into the Land of Benjamin, Irijah, who fufpected that he was going to defert to the Army of the Chaldeans, who were lately broken up from befieging the City, took Jeremiah and brought him to the Princes. Wherefore the Princes were wroth with Jeremiah, and fmote him, and put him in prison.
2 Chron. xviii. 25.