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Expofition upon the Law; and others are on different Parts of Scripture; but they are all of less Efteem, and of much later Date. But neither the one nor the other of the Targums were much known to the primitive Chriftian Writers, though these Expofitions greatly favour the Christian Čause. Note, 2. Among the Jews, the Books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, &c. are fometimes called the former Prophets; and the Books of Ifaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve minor Prophets, are called the latter Prophets; but they are all called The Prophets: Thus the Law and the Prophets make up the
Note, 3.That there are in Daniel two hundred Verfes of the Bible, written originally in Chaldee, and fixtyfeven in Ezra, and one Verfe in Jeremiah, namely, ver. 11. chap. 10. And fome fuppofe, for this Reafon, there is no Targum on Daniel and Ezra ; neither indeed is there on Nehemiah, though that Book is called Hebrew.
5 Q. What were the Times appointed for this. Service in the Synagogues?
A. Two Days in the Week, befides the Sabbath and their other Festivals: The Law being divided into fo many Sections or Leffons as there are Weeks, in their Year, they read half a Leffon on Monday Morning, and the other half on Thursday Morning; and this fame whole Leffon they read on the Sabbath, both Morning and Afternoon, A&s xv. 21. We are told that reading the Law was a Custom of ancient Times on the Sabbath; and when reading of the Prophets was added to that of the Law, they obferved the fame Order in it.
6Q. What were the Hours of their daily Prayer? A. At the Time of Morning and Evening Sacrifice and Incense, Luke i. 9, 10. AƐts iii. 1. While Zacharias was offering Incenfe, the People were praying in the Court: And Peter and John went up to
pray in the Temple at this Time. To thefe Hours they conformed their Prayers in the Temple, and in their Synagogues, and ufually too in their own Houses.
Note, The Jews fuppofed that the offering up of the
daily Sacrifices, and the burning of Incense at the fame Time, were defigned to render God propitious to them, and make their Prayers acceptable; and for this Reason they conformed their Times of Prayer to thefe Hours. So David prays, Pfalm cxli. 2. Let my Prayer be fet forth before thee as Incenfe, &c. And Rev. viii. 4, 5-And the Smoke of the Incenfe which came with the Prayers of the Saints, afcended up before God out of the Angels Hands.
7 Q. Had they any other Season of Prayer befides these two?
A. The Jews inform us, that befides these they had a Prayer at the Beginning of Night, while the Evening Sacrifice was left burning on the Altar. Thus, by their three Prayers in a Day, they imitated the Ancients; David prayed Morning, Noon, and Evening, Palm lvii. 17. Daniel prayed three Times a Day, Dan. vi. 10.
8 Q. Who miniftered in the Service of the Synagogue?
A. The Priests and Levites were confecrated to the Service of the Temple; but for the Service of the Synagogue, Perfons of any Tribe were appointed by fome elders of that Town, who were called Rulers of the Synagogue. So our Saviour, being of the Tribe of Judah, read and expounded in the Synagogue, Luke iv. 16. So after reading the Law and the Prophets, Paul and Silas were engaged in Preaching, when the Mafter of the Synagogue afked them for a Word of Exhortation to the People, Acts xiii. 15.
9 Q. But
9 Q But were there not other Places of Prayer diftinct from the Synagogues?
A. The Synagogues were fometimes called Prayer-boufes, yet there were Prayer-houses called Profeuchai, which differed from Synagogues in three Refpects. (1.) Synagogues were built for public Worship, but thefe Places of Prayer for any one's private Devotions occafionally. (2.) Synagogues were covered Houfes, but the Places of Prayer were Courts or Inclofures, with Walls, and open to the Sky. (3) Synagogues were. chiefly in Towns or Cities, the Prayer-houses in open Fields, or on Mountains: Such are mentioned where our Saviour pent a whole Night in the Prayerhoufe, as it fhould be tranflated, Luke vi. 12. and thither pious Perfons reforted, and Prayer was wint to be made, Acts xvi. 13, 1.6
10 Q. Is there any Certainty that there were, any Synagogues before this Time?
A. That there were fome Places of Affembly for divine Things in the Land of Ifrael, before the Deftruction of Jerufalem and the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar, feems pretty plain from Pfalmlxxiv. 7,8. They have burnt up all the Synagogues of God in the Land. Though they might be but very few, and not established by any Authority, nor fo conftantly attended as afterward. And yet, con. fidering that the Jews fell fo frequently into Idolatry before, and had fo few Copies of the Law, it is queftioned by fome learned Men, whether there were any fuch Synagogues at all in the Land of Ifrael till after the Babylonifh Captivity.
IQ What eminent and remarkable Service was done at,thefe public Places of Worship?
A. It is fuppofed that frequent public Readings of the Law in the Synagogues, after that Time,
were a fpecial Means to excite and preferve in the People of the Jews that univerfal and perpetual Hatred of Idolatry, to which they were fo fhamefully prone before; and it did alfo diffuse and maintain the Knowledge of True Religion and Virtue in the Land.
12 Q. Were these Synagogues built any where befides in Judea?
A. When the Jews were afterward scattered abroad into various Nations, they built Places of Worship for themfelves, wherefoever the Rulers of the Country would permit them.
13Q Of what Advantage were these Synagogues to the Heathens, or afterward to Chriftianity?
A. It was by Means of thefe Synagogues that the Heathens, where the Jews were difperfed, came to know the true God, and fome general Principles of Virtue and Piety, and became Profelytes of the Gate; and by thefe public Places and Seasons of Worship, there was afterward an Opportunity given to publish the Gospel of Chrift by the Apoftles, both among the Jews and Gentiles, Acts xvi. 1, 2. and xix. 8.
14 Q What is meant by Profelytes of the Gate? A. Thofe Gentiles who renounced Idolatry, and received the Knowledge and the Worship of the one true God, the God of Ifrael; and (as fome affirm) they received alfo the Rules of abstaining from Blood, and Things ftrangled, and Things offered to Idols, which were forbidden, Acts xv. to the Gentile Converts to Christianity.
Note, Thefe Rules, with a few others, have been usu
ally called the feven Precepts of Noah, which the Jews make as necessary for all the World to obey, as the Law of Mofes was for them: And doubtless the
Laws given to Noah, were given to all the World, because all sprang from him.
15Q. Why were they called Profelytes of the Gate? A. The Word Profelyte fignifies "one that embraces a new Religion," and they were called Profelytes of the Gate, becaufe they were fuffered to live within the Gates of the Jews, according to the Expreffion in the fourth Commandment, The Stranger which is within thy Gates. They were alfo permitted by the Jews to enter the outward Court of the Temple, called the Court of the Gentiles, when that was built, and to worship God there; but they were excluded from the Gate of the inner Court.
Note, Thefe are they who in the Book of the Acts of the Apoftles are fuppofed by foine to be called the devout Perfons, and thofe who feared God, &c. AƐts x. 17. and chap. xiii. 50. and xvii. 4. and xiii. 16. Among thefe was the chief Harveft of the firft Chriftian Converts; though there might be many Perfons too, who worshipped the one true God, who were under no Profelytifm to the Jewish Church. 16Q. What were the other Sort of Profelytes? A. They were fuch Gentiles as confented to be circumcifed, and obliged themselves to practife all the Law of Mofes, Gal. v. 3. therefore they were called Profelytes of Righteousness: They were taken into the Jewish Nation, and united with them ; and were alfo called Profelytes of the Temple, becaufe they were admitted by the Jews into the inner Courts.
Note, This Diftin&tion of Profelytes has been fupported
by the common Opinion for near two hundred Years, but fince it is faid to have no better Fount'on than the Babylonifh Talmud, it is doubted by me learned Men whether there were any Profe