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then /halt thou arise, and get thee up into \ the place which the Lord thy God shall' choose. And thou shalt come unto the Priests \ and Levites, and unto the Judge, that jho/f be in those days, and enquire: and they jhall Jheiv thee the sentence os judgment. And thou shalt do according to the sentence, •which they of that Place, which the Loud shall choose, Jhall Jhew thee j and thou shalt \ observe to do according to all that they shall < inform thee: Thou shalt not decline from thesentence which they shallJhew thee, to the right hand, nor to the lest. And the man, that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the Priest, that Jiandeth to minister there before the Lord thy God, or unto the Judge, even that man shall die: And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do, no more, presumptuously.
By this it appears that the chief Conductor, Judge, King, High-Triest, 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 *Da, vid's Regulation, to be Officers and Judges. T, • .' . F°r> 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,
merit, statutes and judgments, ye shall ever, warn them that they trespass not against tbt Lord, &c.
And here we find, that if the^ Cause was of a Spiritual Nature, the High-Prhst' was the Chief Judge-, if otherwise, a'Cbief Justice, who sate in Behalf of the'King. For thus it immediately follows; And behold, Amariah the Chief Priest is over you, in all matters of the Lord; And 2ebadiah the son e/'Ifhmael, the ruler &f tbt house of Judah, for all the king's Matters. Also the Levites stall be officers before you. Deal courageously, and the c L 0 Jk. O shall Be with the Good, ~
It is probable that in Causes Ecclesiastical, the Consistory Court was made up of the High-Triesi, and the Chief Priests, or Heads of the four and twenty Courses, only; and that, in Matters purely temporal, the supreme Magistrate, with the Princes and Elders, and Scribes, who were Doctors of the Law, either by himself or his Deputy, took Cognizance. And that, where any one was accus'd of Crimes relating to Religion and State both, the Judges, in each of these Faculties, sale to hear
he Cause. So, at the Trial of our blesed L# o R D, of which we shall speak more yy and by, Joseph of Arimathea, a fyftzn, and an honourable Counsellor (probably one of the Seventy Elders) was one of them who fate as Judges; but did not join in the Sentence of Condemnation. The Gojpel, speaking of him, says, 'The Luke fame had not consented to the councils and*xm'$l deed of them.
This Council, at their Return from the Captivity, was restor'd, with the rest of their Commonwealth: As the Prophet Ezekiel foretold it should. The Priests, Ezekiel the Levites, Jhall teach my people the diffe- xliv*z4" rence between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. And, in controversy, they shall si and in judgment', and they jhall judge it according to my judgments.
The Method of Proceeding in this Court, was as follows. They who had a mind to implead any one, applied either to the King, or the High-Priest, or whoever filled the Post of Chief Justice, and inform'd against him. Upon this, proper ; Officers were sent to take him up; and, 1 B b 4 if
irrx -ml if GccaGon f«q.uirt(l, a Dccichment stoir 3lJ «' th^^ttl^fe^j^^ weritalotig withff/iem. 3"hewCfirfon tfeus\^akcn;-. was xjjsQnjgfai% th* Justice, and tjaen committed, either to Prison, ot: w»ttt£ Custody oCitkfftQf? ficer of the Guard* till his Trial, can*
pnt•..-..» v.^ ii v>?s. >ti *a- i
d ^Vhcci;the;. jJ&ctrt^iacc, those ,, wfc brought the Information against, the iCri* minal, did it in t^efc ,Words; 'This Man haying done &r fot .is worthy to dieAnd they who* vjrefe io defend him, an? swer'd; This Map .W&Pt. worthy to die; for he has only dpne^jo ^r fo> And, when the Pleadings, onpotk Sides, were finifh'd, the Judges gave their Opinions, singly, whether he was guilty, or not: And, according to the Majority of .Votes, one way. pr .t'other,, the- Culprit was acquitted pr condemn'd. ^ ,v
Of the Manner; of laying the Indictment, and giving in the Answer, we have an Instance in the Case of Jeremiah; who was jnform'd against for prophesying the Pestruction of both the City and Temple of Jerusalem, in pase the Jews continued la peglect the Observance of God's Law.