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As the Merits of every Cause were to turn, upon the Evidence given, let us fee! what Rules the Law lays down in refe-* ntnee thereunto. At the mouth of two Doit, witnesses, or three witnesses, Jhall he, that *vu*6' is ivortby of death, be put to death: But, at the tnouth of one -witness, be shall riot be put to death. Again; One witness shall'»•>. xi* not rise up against a tnah for any iniqui- 's' tyy and for any Jin that he sirineth; at the mouth of two, or three witnesses, Jhall the matter be established/'^
And then, in relation \o false Witness, it is said; If a fdlse witness rise up against any man, td testify against him that which h wrong i Then, both the men between whom the controversy is, Jhall stdnd befofe the Lord, before' the Priests and the Jud* ges, which Jhall be in those days; arid the v yu^Ses fidll make diligent inquisition: Arid behold, if the witness be a false witness, end hath testified falsely against his brother i Then stall ye do unto him, as he had thought t6 do unto his brother. Life shall go for life; eye for eye; tooth for tooth; hand for hand; foot sot foot.
It was likewise»a Part of their Law, that ho Man should 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 3'' Priests and Pharisees, Doth our Law judge
any man before it hear him, and know what be doth?
Then as to passing Sentence, the Law xxv. i. runs thus; If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the Judges may judge them; then, they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked. And, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, the fudge Jhall cause him to lie down and to be beaten before his facet 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 j 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 says 3 Of the Jews, five times received 1,2 Cor.xi, forty Jiripes, save one. This Abatement, 2+* :$B :4s -t probable, was made out of a Pretence of Clemency.
*A»\«Mi S E C T" VI
The Great Council at Jerusalem.
This Council', or Court of Judicature, calVd by the Jews themselves, the Sanhedrim, was superior 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 vested. TKis, like the rest, was constituted by God himself,' in th? haw: and intended a* a Court of Appeal, or^ Dernier Resort, if there should be Occasion, from any of the inferior Courts. It was kept, first, in Shilob-, and afterwards, at Jerusalem being limited to the Place, where the Ark of UtdRood.
'AoWhat we read of it, is, as follows: If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between XVli-8* ska and plea, and between stroke andstroke, being matters of controversy ^thin thy gates j Bb 2 then
then Jhalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which the Lord thy God Jhall choose. And thou jhalt come unto the Priests and Levites, and unto the Judge, that Jhall be in those days, and enquire: and they frail Jheiv thee the sentence of judgment. And thou jhalt do according to the sentence, •whichthey ofthat IHace, which the Lord jhall choose, Jhall Jhew thee j and thou shalt cbj'erve to do according to all that they jhall inform thee: Thou Jhalt not decline from the sentence which they Jhall Jhew thee, to the right hand, nor to the left. And the man, that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the Priest, that Jlandeth to minister there before the Lord thy God> or unto the fudge, even that man jhall die: And all the people jhall hear, and fear, and do, no more, presumptuously.
By this it appears that the chief Conductor, Judge, King, High-Tries, or whoever was at the Head of their Affairs, was to be the President in this Court. The Rest: of the Judges seem to have consisted of the Chief Priests, and such of the Levites, as were appointed, by ^Dasvid's Regulation, to be Officers and Judges. \: . For,
For, in the Case of a false Witness, be
forementioned, Moses determines that Both .Deut* -f , . xix. 17.
the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the Lord, before the Priests and the fudges which Jhall be in those days. And, it is probable, this Court took Cognizance of all Matters which were litigated during their sojourning in the Wilderness; and till the Tribes came to have Cities of their own allotted them.
In Process of Time, as their Kings came to be idolatrous, this Ordinance, among others, was neglected. For we find fehojhaphat restoring it, at the fame Time as he did the Courts in Every City. Moreover, in Jerusalem, did Jehofhaphat Chran. set, of the Levites, and of the Priests, and of the Chief of the fathers of Israel, for the judgment of the Lord, and for controversies, when they returned to Jerusalem . And he charged them, s&ying, Thus jhall ye do, in the fear of the Lord, faithfully, and with a perfeSi heart. And what cause soever Jhall come to you, of your brethren that dwell in their cities, between blood and blood, between law and commandB b 3 ment,