Page images
PDF
EPUB

pitch upon those Persons who were most capable of defending them, and of conducting their Affairs with the best Success.

And therefore it is said, upon those Judg. ii. Occasions, that God raised them up deliIb ill a. verers- Nay, Gideon was appointed, by • 5« God, immediately; The Lord looked on

U.^*.4 bm> and said; Go, in this thy might, and thou Jhalt save Israel from the hand os tht Midianites; have not I sent thee? Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smitt the Midianites, as one man. Again; The spirit os the Lord came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, and Abiezer was gathered after him. And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, who also was gathered after him; and be sent messengers unto Afher, a?id unto Zebulon, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them. And of Samson likewise a Designation to be Judge of Israel was made, by an Angel of the Lokd, even before he was ib. xiii. 5. born. It is said to his Mother; Lo, thou Jhalt conceive and bear a son, and no razor Jhall come on his head; and be shall begin to deliver Israel out os the band os ...: the the Philistines. And, of Samuel it is said, that all Israel, from Dan even to Beer- 1 Sam. Hi. sheba, knew that Samuel -was ejlablijhed20' to be a Prophet of the Lord. No wonder therefore that, aster the Death of Elit we find him, in the Quality of Judge, ordering, and presiding over, the Affairs of the Israelites.

And, as a Confirmation, that it was not with God's good Liking and Approbation, either that the Succession should be hereditary, or that any particular Person should be fixed in this Station, for Life; unless he was wanted, or behaved himself well during that whole Time; when the People were inebriated w/th their good Success against the Midianites, and complimented Gideon with this tempting Offer; Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy Judg.viiu son, and thy sons son also-, for thou hast de- 22> 23' livered us from the hand of Midian: The Answer of Gideon, like that of a godlike Hero, was, as follows; I will not rule over you, neither stall my son rule over you: The Lord Jhall rule over you. And though his Son Abimelech did succeed him, by flaying his seventy Brethren, it appears Ff 2 that

that God was highly displeas'd with his Conduct, and accordingly took him off by

Judg. Ix. an infamous Death.

>3-5°. To {hew that this kind of Government by Judges thus chosen, was very agreeable to, and a Part of, the Plan which God himself had design'd for them, we read that, when, after the Death of Joshua, they had provok'd the Lord,

Judg. ii. Dy following other Gods, Nevertheless the 16.18,19. / p .' /

Lord raised up judges; which delivered

them out of the hands of those that spiled them. And when the LoRn.raifed them up judges, then the Lord was with the judge; and delivered them out of the hands of their enemies, all the days of the judge. And, it came to pass when the judge was dead, that they turned and corrupted themselves more than their fathers.

And, to shew that they were chosen out of any Tribe or Family indifferently, we may observe that, of the whole Number which we have upon Record, which is sixteen, nine of them were out of nine different Tribes.

; SECT.

SECT. XII.
The KINGS.

They were succeeded by the Kings; but, upon a quite different Footing and Establishment. For whereas the others; were chosen only to see the Laws executed j or to head the People, when they found it necessary to march out and engage their Enemies: These exercis'd a despotic Power; made War, when, and with whom they pleas'd; and regarded the Law just as much as they thought fir; just, as it suited with their Humour or Conveniency.

God indeed, foreseeing, that when his People, by his good Providence, had got Possession of the promis'd Land, and were bless'd with every thing desirable in Life, Prosperity would make them wanton; and that they would be apt to run into the luxurious Fashions of the Heathen Nations that liv'd round about them, to serve their Gods, and to desire a King, to whom they might be Slaves, as the others were; yet, kindly F f 3 and

and mercifully, prescribes some Rules, with which, if their Kings complied, they might possibly preserve some Degree peat 0f Happiness under them. When thou jjC." " art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and jhalt possess it, and Jl:alt dwell therein; and Jhalt fay, I •will Jet a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me: Thou Jhalt in any wije, Jet him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose; One} from among thy brethren, Jhalt thou set king over thee: thou may's not Jet a granger over thee, which is not thy brother.

But he Jhall not multiply horses to himself; nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he Jhould multiply horses: forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you, Ye Jhall henceforth return no more that way. Neither Jhall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither jhall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.

And, it shall be, when he ftteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this Law, in a book; out of •■"*> I *' . that

« PreviousContinue »