Page images

to it sufficiently declare. It is exalted above all mortal Glory and Splendorj ic is truly divine and Godlike. When the Psalmist is raising his Voice to the highest Pitch of Rapture and Gratulation, he fays,

Psalm ix. J will praise thee, 0 Lord, for thou bar.

4*7' ' maintained my right and my cause, thou satejl in the throne, judging right. Again; 'The Lord shall endure for ever; be hath prepared his throne for judgment. He Jhall judge the world in righeoufnefs; He Jhall minister judgment to the people, in uprightness.

To rule and to judge make up the natural Notion we have of the Office of a supreme Magistrate. And therefore, when Moses would have compos'd the Difference between the two contending Israelites, the Aggressor fays to him, Exod. ii. Who made thee a Prince and a Judge o> '4« -jer us? In a Word, the whole Duty of the Head of any People is, first to administer justice among them, according to their Laws; and when there is Occasion, to lead them forth, either to avoid or meer their Enemies} in Defence of their Religion, Liberty, arkl Possessions,

And such a Power God delegated to l\Æqses over the Children of Israel; even before the Promulgation of the Law; when he gave him a Commission to bring Exod. iii. forth his people out of Egypt. By Virtue of this Commission, therefore, Moses and »b- iv. *9» Aaron went and gathered together all the*1' Elders of the children of Israel: And the people believed, that he was appointed by God to be their Captain and "Judge, and they submitted themselves to him accordingly, and bowed the head and worshipped.

But, after he had brought them out into the Wilderness, Jethro, his Father-inLaw, observing that he fate to judge the xviii, people from morning until evening, said un-1^' to him; The thing that thou dojl is not good; Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: For this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to per j or m it thy self alone. Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee. Be thou for the people to Godward, that thou mayejl bring the causes unto God. And thou stalt teach them ordinances, and laws, and stall Jhew them the way, wherein they must I walk,

'Walk,' and the work that they must do. Moreover thou jhalt provide, out of all the people, able men, such as fear God; men of truth, hating covetousness, and' let" them judge the people at all seasons. And, it Jhall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee; but every small matter they Jhall judge. So Jhall it be easier for thy self, and they Jhall bear the burden with thee.

And we arc told further, that Moses hearken d to the voice of his father-in-law, and did all that he had jaid; and chose able men out of all -Israel, and made them heads over the people; rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And they judged the '^people at all seasons. The hard causes they brought unto Moses; but every small matter they judged themselves^ • Vw.^

This Jurisdiction Moses, at his Death, bequeath'd to Joshua; and, by Virtue thereof Joshua conducted and settled the People, in the Land of Canaan. After Joshua's Time, they were govern'd by that Form which God himself had prescrib'd to them; according to the Command and


Appointment of Moses. Who, whenjje. was making a Rehearsal of the severs Statutes and Judgments of the Lord, fays of them, Which ye Jhall observe to do, Deut. in the land which the Lord God of thyTM'*' fathers giveth thee to possess it. Te shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes; for ye are net, as yet, come to the rest, and to the inheritance, which the Lord your God giveth you. -r h-yh

Now the Form of Government, here spoken of, being, as we have already ob? serv'd, threefold; One iPart relating to the whole People, in general; another, to every particular Tribe; and a third, to the several Cities in every Tribe: And those who presied in the First, being originally Judges j and afterward Kings; those, in the Second, Heads of Tribes, and Heads of Families; and those in the Third, Chiefs or Princes of the Cities and States to which they belong'dj it will be best, for Method's Sake, to enquire after the Nature of each of them, separately, and in their , several Orders. . -.■*


• JO Ml J li: ■!•.■ ■> ■)■■

os. .1 SECT. XI.
T'iTife JUDGES of Israel.

Those who had the Administration of the Affairs of the People of Israel, after their Government, as appointed by God, came to take Place, though they were in the double Capacity, both of Judges, to fee that Justice was dealt among them impartially according to Law, and of Captains, to lead them forth to Battle against their Enemies, yet they were called and known, only by the first Name; as that which denoted the Province or Business of the greatest Importance and highest Dignity. And their principal Business being to judge-, that is, either to acquit or to condemn they had the Power of Life and Death in themselves-, and could make use of it, at such Times as they thought expedient, without the Concurrence of any of the inferior Judges. And this Power they exercis'd, not only in the Places where they liv'd, (Jerusalem, the Place which God intended to choose, not being, at that Time, the Seat


« PreviousContinue »