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Before we leave this Head, it must be observ'd that frequent Mention is made of Prophets, both true and falfe^ in the New Testament; by which, are not, always meant such as foretold, or pretended to foretell, future Events; but, manytimes, such only, as in preaching the Word of God, had an extraordinary Gift of expounding and interpreting the Writings of the old Prophets. This Difference may be discern'd with a very little Attention. For though we often read of Prophets and Prophecy in the Epistles of St. Paul, yet there is no Reason for us to think, that the Prophetic Spirit of which we have been discoursing, was ever found, in any Persons, where Christianity had taken Place, except in the Apostles them"•" • selves; who, for the more effectual Establishment and Propagation of the Gospel, were furnish'd with Abilities, in several Respects, beyond what any other Mortals

have enjoy'd since their Time.

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., jfroTM iwjjfo. through all Generations, made Jit their Business to teach and expound the

, jLmv. , ,We don't find the Name till, the Xime of David; when, 1 we read of /fo i Chron. families of the Scribes* 'which dwelt at Ja- "' 55* bez: Whjch, shews that such Persons were |then wfijl; establish d, and, had been so a considerably Time before.,

The^j were, of the Tribe of Lcvi; and, at the Tio^e that Dcivid .is said to have made the Regulation pf that Tribe, we read that .six Thousand, of them were constituted Officers and Judges; among ib.xxiii. 'whom it is reasonable to believe, the4Scribes were included. For, in another Palace we read of Shemaiah the Scribe, t Chron. 0W of //fo Levites; and again we find it XX1V- 6written; Of the Levites, there were Scribes z Chron. and Officers. xxxiv

When the Principal Officers of David's Houfhold and State are enumerated,

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The Scribe is not omitted. At one Time *...Sam- we find Seraiab was the Scribe; at ano

viu. 17. .

ib.xx. 25. ther, Sbeva is said to have fill'd that Post. Whether they were in the Nature of Secretaries of State, or Auditors of the Royal Accounts is uncertain, But probably they fill'd all those Places, where a ready Pen, and some Knowledge of the Arts and Sciences were requir'd. For, at the Time of the Captivity, it is said, The Captain of the Guard, among other consi

2 Kings derable Persons, took the Principal Scribe

jcxv. 19.' si

of the Host (or Secretary at War) •which

muster d the People of the Land.

It is not unlikely that they might have had [their Education among the Colleges of the Prophets j since we do not read of any other Schools of Learning among them. Their very Name implies ,some Degree of Scholarship; and that no inconsiderable one; since we find our Lord Matt. joyning Prophets, and wife Men} and Scribes Isaiah 3*' together; and the Prophet Isaiah, and afxxxiii. ter him St. Taul, instancing in them as 1 Cor. i. sUGh. Where is the Wife? where is the 2°- Scribe? Where is the Difputer of this World?


Some of these were they who, by Jehojhaphafs Order, taught in Judah, and ^vii, o." bad the book of the law of the Lord •with them; and went about through all the cities of Judah, and taught the people.

Thus, Ezra, call'd the Triest, the Scribe, E«a vii. even a Scribe of the words of the command* I0» &c* ments of the Lord, and of his Jlatutes to Israel) and a Scribe of the law of the God of heaven j is said to have prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to teach in Israel Jlatutes and judgments. From him, the expounding and teaching of the Law, continued to be deriv'd, successively, to the Chief Priests, and Elders and Scribes, at our Lord's Coming into the World. Therefore he says, Every Scribe that is instructed unto the kingdom Mat. x Hi. of heaven, is like unto a man that is an**2' houjholder, which bringetb forth, out of his treasure, things new and old.

They seem to have had the sole expounding of the Scriptures; and therefore the Disciples ask our Lord, saying, Why then fay the Scribes that Elias must ib.xvii. first come f Again, How fay the Scribes JJ^^ that Christ is the son of David? So 35. Z Herod,

Herod, when he wanted to kndvr where
Chrjst should be born, applies hira-

^a-Vi- self to the Chief Priests anfr-Scrites. And While our Lord is preachingy-fbe

Luke xx. G^ cfbe Chief Triests and tb* Sorites came upon him, with the Elders> faying Tell us, by what authority dost thou these things t or who is he that gave thefr this authority? which they thought 4i6v*Jne had a Right to but themselves. And therefore, it is said in another Gospel, He taught them as one that had authority, and not as the Scribes. The manifest Tiufch and Efficacy of his Doctrine, so different from the unnatural, unfcriptural Stuff which the Scribes usually entertained them with, eonvine'd them that he was, at least, a Prophet sent from God*' tdl

For tho' they were employs to be the Judges, Interpreters and Preacher* of the Law to the People, we find that they came, in Length of Time, greatly to abuse their Trust; by delivering Traditions, instead of Scripture, and thereby letting aside even the Law it self; Thus we find them very pertly demanding of Matt. xv. Christj. Why do thy disciples transgress •': the

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