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Tribe, in particular; and thirdly, -^hac was us'd in the several Cities belonging to the several Tribes: so there were likewise three kinds of Congregations among them. One, made up of the whole People of the twelve Tribes; another, of the Families in each Tribe, separately; and another, of the Inhabitants of every City, within themselves.
The Great Congregation, which was made up of the whole People of the twelve Tribes, was constituted by God himself; Exod. xii. where he bids Moses, speak unto dtt 'tbe 3. xiv. 2. congregation of Israel > and speak untb the children of Israel. All the Statute's, Judgments, and Ordinances, which God delivers to Moses, were, by him, to. be communicated to the People thus assembled. Exoa. And accordingly, we find Moses gathered xxxv. 1. all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said unto them, These are the words which the Lo Rd hath commanded.
These Congregations were frequently held, during the Time of Moses. And when God appoints Jojhua to be his SitcNumb. lessor, He orders him, to set him before xxvii. 19. Eleazar the Pries, and before alstbe congregation,
gregation, and give him a charge in their Jight. Again, he says, The LOr D deli- ^ut•vered unto me two tables of Jlone, in the day of the assembly.
"These Congregations no one took upo$ him to convene, but that Person who presided over their Affairs, as Conductor, Judge, or King, Jojlma, who was in the first Capacity, when he was waxen old, and Josh. stricken in age, called for all Israel; and *■ Jbr their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers. Samuel, one of their judges, said, Gather all Israel to Mizpeh. We read that'..Sam' David, when he was King, gathered, Sam. ^// the people together. And, again; that, he gathered all Israel together, to Jerusalem. Xv. 3. We read likewise, that all Israel came to 1 .^ing? Shechem to make Rehoboam King, after the Death of Solomon. Again j after the Revolt of the Ten Tribes, when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled ^ ^ all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin. And so Asa King of Judah, is iaid to have gathered all Judah and Benja- 2 Chron. min, in order to make a Jolemn covenant xv" 9'IO' •with God. They gathered themselves together A a 2 at
at Jerusalem, accordingly, in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa,I.-,,-;.. ., ,j\ v's o: '^Li bhd hri.
The manner of summoning thefe Gene~ Numb. r*/ Congregations, as prescribed by the Law, 'was by a particular Sound of Trumpet. The Lord spake unto Moses, faying, Make thee two trumpets of silver; that thou mayst use them, for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps. And when they stall blow with them, all the assembly flail assemble themselves together, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And, if they blow but with one trumpet, then the Princes, which are the heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee. When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts stall go forward. When ye blow an alarm, the second time, then the camps that lie on the south fide stall take their journey. But, when the congregation is to be gathered together, you stall blow, but you stall not found an alarm. The sons of Aaron, the Priest, stall blow with the trumpets; and they stall be to you for an ordinance, for ever, throughout your generations.
K These popular Conventions were call'd and held upon three Accounts; either, To bear iioms solemn Charge; to implore the Mercy of God upon some important Emergency; or, to transafi Matters of great Moment and Weight. The original Intention of calling them, at the frjl, was tOihear the Law, when it was dispens'd by God: When the Lord said unto Moses, Deut.iv. Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words. And when David had summon'd one of these General Assemblies, by their Representatives, at Jerusalem, he makes a Speech to them, in relation to the Building of the Temple; Hejlood up upon bis feet, and said, Hear me, i Chron. my brethren, and my people. Again; Fur-^m'1' thermore David the king said unto all the con- xxix. *. gregation.
„,,A.s to their assembling together to supplicate God's Favour and Protection; we read that Jephthah, after he had agreed with the Elders of Gilead to fight the Battles of the People of Israel against the Ammonites, and the People had made Him Head, and Captain over them, that Jepb- judges ■thah uttered all his words before the Lordtm- IU Aa 3 ia
in Mizpeh. This was a Place held in great Veneration, in those Days. Here it^wa-^ probably, that he made his famous Vow j and hither these General Congregation* were most commonly assembled, to ask Counsel of the Lord, before they attempted any Enterprize of Consequence. When the impious and rebellious Obstinacy of the Benjamites came to be known, All the children
Judges 0f Israel went oat, and the congregation was gathered together, as one man, from Dan even to Beersheba, -with the land of Gilead, unto the Lokd in Mizpeh. And the chief of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the afembly of the people of God, So Samuel says, Ga
i Sam. ther all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you to the Lo Hi*. For, though his bouse was in Ramah, it is said, It judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh, likewise. He took it in circuit year by year; and there held the Great National Congregations.'
The Matters of Weight and Importance Which they sometimes assembled together to-transact, were, either to choose, ° their Chief Judge, or King; or to determine whether they should begin a War, with