Page images

camp-, and let all, that heard him, lay their hands upon his head; and let all the congregationJlone him. He that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, Jhall surely be 'put to death, and all the congregation Jhall certainly Jlone him; as well the Jlranger as he that is born in the land, •when he blajphemeth the name of the L Or D, Jhall be put to death.

In relation to Sabbath-Breaking, the Numb. Law speaks thus; While the children of'xx.3*. Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon thefabbath-day. uind they that found him brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what Jhould be done to him. And the Lord said unto Moses, The man Jhall be Jurely put to death; All the congregation Jhall Jlone him with stones, without the camp.

In the Cafe of Adultery, it is said; If D«ut. a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto xx"'zi' an husband, and a man find her in the ci- &c. ty, and a man lie with her: Then ye Jhall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye Jhall stone them with stones E e 2 that

that they die: The damsel, because floe cried not, being in the city; and the man because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife. And, If a man be found lying with a woman that hath an husband, then they shall both of them die. And so, the damsel that was married, and upon whom the tokens of virginity were not found, was to be brought out to the door of her father s house, and there foned to death, by the men of her city.

But, by an Instance that we meet with, in the Gospel, it should seem that our Lord (who came to abolish the typical shadowy Parts of the Ceremonial Law, and had sufficient Authority to mitigate what he thought was too rigorous and inconsistent with his new Lew of universal Charity, in the Judicial Law) thought this Punishment too severe for sraii Mortals to inflict upon one another, for a Crime to which, though a very heinous one, the Generality of them are much Tohnvfl. t0° Pronc- We are told, that The Scribes 3, &c and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery. And, when they had set her in the midst, "They fay unto him; Master, This woman was taken in adultery, in

the very a£i. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned; but uahat fay eft thou? This they did, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus Jlooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, He lift up himself and said unto themt he that is without fin among you, let him, first, cast a stone at her. And again he Jlooped down and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being conviSltd by their own conscience, went out, one by one, beginning at the eldest even unto the last: And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lift up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her•, Woman, where are these thine accusers? Hath No man condemned thee? She said, no man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: Go, andstn no more.

■As much as to fay, I have no Proof whereby to condemn you; but, in ease what has been affirm'd against you be true, I admoni(h you not to be guilty of so great a fin any more; a Sin, which, though it be •iy E e 3 not

not punisli'd with Death, is in the Nature of it sure to be attended with Infamy and great Inconveniences, in this Life; and, in the next, to have its adequate and proper Reward.

We have one or two Instances of this 'Punishment being inflicted upon the pretended Account of Blasphemy, in the holy i Kings Scripture; One, in the Cafe of Naboth; where two Men, suborn'd by Jezebel, witntssed against him, in the presence of the people, saying, Naboth did blaspheme God and the King. Then they carried him forth out of the city, and Jloned him with stones, that he died. The other in the Case of Actsvi. St. Stephen. They set up false witnesses, y^'^,- which said, This man ceafeth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place% and the law. And, upon his making his Apology, They stopped their ears, and ran upon him, with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him. And the witnesses, (who began to cast the first Stone) laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.

And, upon our blessed Lord's faying, John x. / anj my father are one-, which the yews


immediately understood to be, as it really was, making himself equal with God, John v.8. they took up Jlones to jlone him. Jesus answered them, many good works have I

/hewed you from my father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews an

Jwered him, saying, For a good work we

Jlone thee not: but for blasphemy-, and because that thou, being a man, makest thy

self God.

Though Decollation or Beheading, is not mention'd in the Law, it is probable, it was the ordinary and most usual Way amongst them, of putting to Death. We Matt, find Herod, sent and beheaded John in the Xlv* I0» prison. As for Strangling or Hanging, there is no Mention of that, but in the Cafes of Achitophel and Judas, two Trail, tors, who, out of Despair, laid violent Hands upon themselves.


The Chief Magistrate among the Israel
lites, before the Time of their Kings, was . •
in the Capacity of either a Leader, or a
E e 4 Judge;

« PreviousContinue »