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that which is before the Priests, the Levites. u4nd it jhall be with him, and he stoall read therein, all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this Law, and these statutes, to do them. That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren; and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand or to the left: To the end, that he may prolong his days in his kingdom; he, and his children, in the midst of Israel. This Time, which God foresaw, and so graciously provided a Remedy for, by these salutary Directions, came to pass accordingly in the Days of Samuel, who was the last of the Judges.
When that great good Man came to grow in Years, and had delegated a part of the Judicature to his two Sons, foes and Abiah; who, we are told, were fudges in t Sam. Beerfheba; as fobn as it appear'd, howun-TM'1'' qualified they were to fill a Post fof that Importance; being fad Wretches; who walked not in the ways of their father, but turned afde after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment; 'Then, all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came Ff$ t§
to Samuel unto Ramah, and said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons 'walk not in thy ways: Now, make us a king to judge us, like all the nations.
At this Behaviour of his Sons, the Prophet must needs have been as uneasy as they were; and would, no doubt, have gladly consulted with them how to remove or remedy that Grievance. But, knowing well, that the Time was now come in which they desired to change their old Form of Government for one, neither so agreeable to God, nor beneficial to themselves, as he could have wifh'd, as the Sequel of the "History informs us, The thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us: And Samuel prayed unto the Lor D. And the L o R D said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people, in all that they fay unto thee; For, they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me that I Jloould not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done, fince the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods: So do they also, unto thee.
Now, therefore, hearken unto their'voice: Howbeit, yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that Jhall reign over them. And Samuel told all the words of the Lord, unto the people that asked of him a king. And he said, This will be the manner of the king, that shall reign over you. He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen, and some shall run before his chariots. And he will appoint him, captains over thousands, and capt avis over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to mqjie his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your daughters to be confeclionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your feed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your men servants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your steep 5 and ye shall be his servants.
And And ye jhall cry out, in that day, because of your king which ye have chosen you: ^ini the Lord will not hear you, in that day.
This, it must be confess'd, was fair Warning; and left those, to whom it was given, inexcusable for not complying with it. Nevertheless, as the History proceeds, the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay, but we will have a king over us: 'That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of she Lord; calling God to witness that it was all their own Act and Deed: And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto, their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men os Israel, Gq ye every man unto his city.
This fine Picture of arbitrary Government, and an unlimited Monarchy, isjwelj worth transcribing; as it enhances the PJeasure of all those who are so happy as to live under a legal Establishment, and cautions them against permitting it to degenerate} by presenting to their View the
■ several Mischiefs they are to expect, when- ever they give up their Liberty.
However, it plainly appears that GocJ . was so gracious, upon this Occasion, as not utterly to forsake his People, though they had forsaken him, and were determin'd to. act in thorough Opposition to his monitory Cautions. For He, not only reveals . to Samuel, the Person, who, at that Time, was proper to be anointed King over them, bur, afterwards influences the Election, in such a manner, as to contrive that this very Person should be chosen accordingly.
Saul, having Occasion to attend Samuel about a private Affair, as they were then utter Strangers to each other, The L o R D' t Sam.ix. had told Samuel, '■saying, To-morrow aboutl6* this time, I will fend thee a man out of the land of Benjamin; . and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: For 1 have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me.
Samuel, accordingly, when they met, after having shew'd him some peculiar Marks of Distinction by an extraordinary civil Reception, at a proper Opportunity, when