« PreviousContinue »
God made with Abraham. God said unto Gen.xvii
, Abraham, Thou Malt keep my covenant, thou and thy feed after thee, in their generations, This is my covenant which ye shall keep between me and you, and thy feed after thee : Every man-child among you shall be circumcis'd. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. And be that is eight days old shall be circumcis'd among jou, every man-child in your generations; he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any ftranger, which is not of thy feed. He that is born in thy bouse, and be that is bought with thy money, muft needs be cir. cumcis’d; and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcis’d man-child, whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that foul Mall be cut off from his people; be bath broken my covenant.
And, in the Law of Mofes, whatsoever is prescrib’d to the natural Ifraelites, the same is requir’d of the Stranger. For Instance: Whatsoever man there be of the Levit. boufe of Ifrael, or of the strangers that fo- xvii. 10. journ among you, that eateth any manner of
blood; I will even set my face against that foul that eateth blood, and will cut bim of from among his people. And so in other Cases of the like Nature. And when they conform'd in all those Circumstances requir’d in the Law, they were to enjoy the
same Privileges as the true-born Ifraelites Exod. xii. themselves. Thus it is ordain'd; When a 48.
franger Mall fojourn with thee, and will keep the pasover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and be shall be as one that is born in the land. One law mall be io bim that is home-born, and unto the stranger that Sojourneth among you. And this is often repeated as Occasion required.
To make these Profelytes, they spar'd no xxiii. 15. Pains; esteeming it a very meritorious Act.
And yet we may observe, that they who were Home-born valued themselves much upon it, as a more excellent and superior Qualification. When St. Paul enumerates the several Circumstances in which he
might boast himself upon occasion, he canThil. ii. not conceal this. If any other man think4, 5. eth that be hath whereof he might trust in the fleßi, I more: circumcised the eighth day; of
the stock of Israel; of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews.
However, neither these Profelytes, nor the natural-born Hebrews, except they were of the Tribe of Levi, could be legally admitted to the Priesthood, or to execute any
of the Priestly Offices. Though Herod (himself an Idumaan, and consequent*ly, as a Profelyte who pretended to observe the Law, an illegal Usurper of the Throne) advanc'd Profelytes to the very Dignity of the High-Priesthood. But that was when they were under Subjection to the Romans; and depriv'd of the Liberty and Power of ordering themselves, in every respect, according to the Mofaical Constitution. So, much for the Nature and Manner of their Government.
HE Country in which these Peo
ple were settled, was a Part of Syria, properly fo calld: being extended, in Length, from Syria of Antioch to Egypt and Arabia Petræa; in Breadth, from that Part of the Mediterranean call’d the Syriac Sea, to Cælè-Syria and Arabia Deferta. The River Jordan runs, in a manner, throʻ the middle of it lengthways; and discharges itself into the Dead Sea; after having, by the
way, form'd a Lake, call'd in the Gofpel, the Lake of Gennesareth, and the Sea of Tiberias; above twelve Miles long, and five broad.
This whole Country was anciently nam'd the Land of Canaan; even at that Time when Abraham receiv'd Orders from God to leave Mesopotamia, and to go and dwell there. And afterwards, his Posterity, when they had conquer'd and driven out the In
habitants from it, took Poffeffion of it, and 9 divided it among their twelve Tribes. Those of Reuben, Gad, and
of Manafeb (as was observ'd before) fac down on the other side Jordan, the rest on this fide. Many Years after which, when ten of the twelve Tribes were carried away Captive into Assyria, from whence they never return'd to this Day, the Country on this fide Jordan came to be distinguish'd by the Provinces of Judæa, Samaria, and Galilee : that, on the other fide, by Palestine on the Sea-Coast, Ituræa, Trachonitis, and Chalcidica.
Each of these Provinces contain'd seve ral Cities or Towns. "In That of Yudæa, which took its Name from the Tribe of Judab to which it belong'd, were these nine following (besides others of lesser Note;) Jerusalem, Bethel, Jericho, Arimathæa, Emmaus, Bethlehem, Hebron, Kirjath-jearim, and Eleutheropolis. Samaria, so callid from the City of that Name, (built by Omri King of Israel, and made the Metropolis of the Kingdom, instead of Tirzah) contain’d three, Shiloh, Sichar or Sichem, and Samaria. Galilee, known by