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every Sabbath-day, Ait. xiii. 27. The Books of Foshna, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, have the Title of the former Prophets, in the Hebrew Bibles, to distinguish them from the Books which they

fet out under the Title of the latter Prophets, X.2 Isaiah, Feremiah, &c. The Books of Joshua and phets Judges have been already spoken of. The Books

An of Samuel were written by Samuel, Nathan and mhetsy Gad, i Chron. xxix. 29. from whence we may NOW conclude, that the First Book of Samuel, to the ukit 25th. Chapter, was written by Samuel himself; arbe and the rest of that,and the whole Second Book, hap by Nathan and Gad : but Samuel being a Person ted so much concerned in the former part of the eral History,and having written so much of it out of alon respect to him, the whole Two Books go under Z his Name : though, indeed, the Jews anciently 20 reckoned both the Books of Samuel as one Book ;

and Aquila (as Theodorit has observed) made no distinction between the First and Second Books of Samuel, following the Hebrew Copies of his time : and in our Hebrew Bibles, though they are distinguished, yet they are not distinguilhed in the fame manner as the two Books of Kings and of Chronicles are: and it is no wonder,that a Book begun by Samueland continued by other Prophets, should bear the Name only of Samuel. From i Chron.xxix.29. we may likewise learn, that the Beginning of the First Book of Kings must be written by one of these Prophets. Both the Books of Kings, as far as Hezekiah's Reign, were written before Josiah's time;

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for, 2 Kin. 18. 5. it is said of Hezekiah, That he trusted in the Lord God of Israel : so that after him was none like him of all the kings of Judah, any

that were before him : And of Fosiah, it is said, 2 King. xxiii. 25. That like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, &c. For it is evident, that Fofah, in his Reformation, exceeded Hezekiah; and from hence it appears, that the History of Hezekiah must be written before Josiab's time; or else it could not have been, with truth, said of Hezekiah, That there was no King after him who was like him, or equalled him, of all the Kings of Judah. From 1 Chron. iv. 43. it appears, that it was written before the Captivity; though the Genealogies were transcribed afterwards out of the Records, as we learn from 1 Chron. ix. I. That the Second Book of Chronicles, as well as the First Book of Kings, was written before the Captivity, we may conclude from 2 Chron. v. 9. 1 King. viii. 8. for the Ark was not remaining after the Captivity. The last Chapter of the Second Book of Kings, gives fo particular an account of the manner of carrying them away Captive, in every material circumstance, that it seems to have been written at that very time; and is an argument, that Memoirs were constantly taken and preferved of all that happened. The Second Book of Chronicles concludes with the First Year of Cyrus, in the same words with which the Book of Ezra begins, being added by him at the time

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E when Cyrus gave out his Proclamation : for the

Prophets, from time to time, made Continuations to the Histories of their Predecessors, by inserting what related to their own Times; and it was no unusual thing, among the Ancients, (as Grotius observes ) to begin one Book with the Conclusion of another.

The Psalms are quoted under the Title of the Oi Prophets, Mat.xiii. 35.& xxvii.35. and from the

first penning,they were used in the Publick Serdvice of God, i Chron.xvi.7. 2Chron.v.13.& vii.6. it &xx.21. fer.xxxiii.ii. Ezra iii.10,11. This was Eh known, even to their Enemies, in their Captiar vity, Psal. cxxxvii. 3. and some of them were

written by the Prophets under it. And Lessons out of the Law and the Prophets, with Hymns

out of the Psalms, and Prayers, made up the PO Jewish Form of Worship. Moses and the Pro

phets, are put for the whole Old Testament, Luke xvi. 29. Aits xiii. 15.

And if both the Law and the Prophets, comprehending all the Books of Scripture written before the Captivity, were still extant, and well known, and made use of by pious Men, during all that time, and the People had Copies of

them, or had means and opportunities of being i acquainted with them, as the Prophet Zecha

riah supposes, Zech.vii. 7. there is no reason to imagine, that they had not sufficient knowledge of the Hebrew Tongue at their Restoration, many being still alive, who were first carried away Captive: and the Writings of the Pro


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phets, during the Captivity, shew that the People did understand it ; for they all wrote in the Hebrew Language, except upon some particular occasions, where their Prophecies more immediately concerned the Babylonian Affairs. Both Men and Women could understand Ezra, when he read the Law ; And the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law, Neh.viii.3. And it was not the Language, 'unless in some Particulars, which in all Languages will want explication to the Vulgar, who are Natives, but the Sence and Meaning, that was interpreted, ver. 7, 8. And in the same manner, the Letter of Artaxerxes was both written in the Syria tongue, and interpreted in the Syrian tongue, Ezra iv. 7. Nehemiah particularly complains, that the Children of those who had married strange Wives, could not speak in the Jews language : which supposes that the Children of other Parents, as well as the Parents themselves, were taught to speak the Hebrew Tongue, Neb. xiii. 24. And the Decree of Ahasuerus in favour of the Jews, was written unto every, province, according unto the writing thereof; and unto every people, after their language ; and unto the Jews, according to their writing, and according to their language, Est.viii. 9. which seems to imply, that the Jews still retained not only their Language, but their manner of Writing it, or the form and fashion of their Letters, under the Captivity


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-U ed

Not long after the Captivity, the Scriptures were translated into the Greek Tongue; and were dispersed into so

many hands, among the Jews and Profelytes, that the Copies could not be destroyed, either in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, or at any other time, by the malice of Persecutors, or any other accident. And though the Jews were so fond of their Traditions, as to make the Word of God of none effect by them ; yet they never added any Books to the Canon of Scripture, in favour of those Traditions which they were so zealous for ; but when they had no longer any Prophets among them, they durst not place any other Books in the fame Rank and Authority with those which the Prophets had left behind them. All the Canonical Books were written by Inspired Authors, and have been in constant useamong the People of the Jews, in their private Houses, and publick Assemblies, even from the first writing them; for they were preserved during the Captivity, and both understood and used by the People : but their other Books, written under the Second Temple, though never so useful and pious, were never received with the like esteem and veneration ; they pretended to no more than Humane Composition, and were never ranked with those of Divine Authority,

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