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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
the Cause. So, at the Trial of our blessed Lord, of which we shall speak more by and by, Joseph of Arimathea, a rich Many and an honourable Counsellor (probably one of the Seventy Elders) was one of them who fate as Judges j but did not join in the Sentence of Condemnation. The Gospel, speaking of him, says, The Luke fame had not consented to the council, andxxiu'51' deed of them.
This Council, at their Return from the Captivity, was restor'd, with the rest of their Commonwealth: As the Prophet ILzekiel foretold it mould. The Priests, Ezekiel the Levites, Jhall teach my people the diffe- xliv- z+* rence between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. And, in controversy, they shall stand 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, 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.
<£be Priests and the Prophets (who were J«"- xxvL
Time-*servers,) and allthe people, took bint', *
sayings 'Thou jhalt surely die. When the
princes of Judah (the Members of the
Council) heard these Things, then they came
up from the king's house unto the house os
the Lord; and fate down in the entry os
the new gate of the Lor P's house. Then
spake the Priests and the Prophets (who
were Court Informers^ unto the princes,
and t<y all the people, faying-, This man is
worthy to die, for he bath propbested against
this city, as ye have heard. Then, the
Prophet having spoken in his own De^
fence, The jprinces and all the people said
unto the Priests, and to the Prophets, This
man is nqt worthy to die, for he hatbjpo
ken so us in the name of the Lord our
God. Then rose up certain of the Elders
of the land, and Jpake ta all the assembly
of the people, saying, &c.
The Form of Condemnation was thus, (as we find it in the Gospel) The Highr- M Priest rent his clothes (which by the Law xxvi.65, he was forbidden ever to do) faying, He bath spoken blasphemy: what further need have we of witnesses! Beholds now ye have v- heard
heard his blasphemy: What think "they answered and said, He is guiJf^ofi.jfeatb. But when Judæa came to be subject to the Romans, these reserv'd the Power of Life and Death to themselves j so that this Council could proceed no further than to Condemnation. For Execution, they were to apply to the Roman Governor.
Some are of Opinion that there were more Courts of Judicature at Jerusalem than this we have been speaking of j and that they were above each other in Dignity $. where Causes were heard according to their Importance, before the higher or the inferior Courts; and that each could inflict higher Degrees of Punishment than the other: And that our Saviour alludes Mat. v, to these, when he says; Whoever is angry •with his brother without a cause, Jhall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever jhall say to his brother, Raca, Jhall be in danger of the council; but, whosoever shall say, Thou fool, Jhall be in danger of hell' sire.
Interpreters suppose that our Lord proportions the Punishments in the next World, according to the different Sentences