Page images

Note, The First-born of Men were redeemed by the Levites: The First-born of Beasts were to be facrificed, or fome way put to Death, if not redeemed, Exod. xii. 2, 12, 13, 15. Numb. iii. 41.

15 Q. What were the Laws about the Maintenance of the Priefs?

A. The Priefts were to be maintained by the Firft-born of all Cattle, and the First-fruits of Oil, and Wine, and Corn, and they had a Share in various Sacrifices, namely, the Heave-Offerings, the Wave-Breaft, and the right Shoulder, &c. Numb. xvii. 8-19.

Note, Heave-Offerings were to be moved upwards and downwards, towards Heaven and Earth. WaveOfferings were to be fhaken to and fro, or moved towards the four Quarters of the Heaven. All this is fuppofed to fignify an Offering of them to God, as univerfal Lord of all Parts of the Creation, and who dwells every where.

16Q What were the Laws about the Levites Maintenance ?

4. They were maintained by the Tenth or Tithe of Fruits and Corn, which God appointed for them, Numb. xyii. 21, 24. And they had fome Cities and their Suburbs, given them out of every Tribe, Joh. xxi.

17 Q What were fome of their special Laws about the Bodies and the Lives of Men ?

A. He that killed, or ftole, and fold a Man, muft die for it, Exod. xxi. 12, 16. And in all Cafes of real Injury or Mischief, Life was to pay for Life, an Eye for an Eye, a Hand for a Hand, or a Foot for a Foot, Lev. xxiv. 17-20.. And this was the Penalty of a falfe Witnefs, who intended to bring any Mischief whatsoever on another, Deut. xix. 18, &c. for the fame was to be executed on the falfe Witness.

18 Q. Was there no Pardon for him that killed another?

A. If he did it wilfully, there was no Pardon; but if it was done by Chance, there were fix Cities of Refuge in the Land of Canaan appointed, to which the Manilayer might fly, and be fafe. But he was bound to dwell there till the Death of the High Prieft, Numb. xxxv. 11-33.

19. Was the Law the fame for the Servant or Slave, and for the Freeman, in Cafe of Maim→ ing and of Murder?

A. Not intirely the fame; for in fome Cafes of maiming or killing a Slave, the Offender was not punished to the fame Degree as if the injured Perfon had been a Freeman, Exod. xxi. 20, 26.

20 Q. What were fome of the ufual Punishments of Criminals appointed in the Jewish Law?

A. A Fine of Money or Cattle to be paid, a cutting off from the People, or Congregation, fcourging or beating, at moft with forty Stripes, the Lofs of a Limb, or the Lofs of Life, Exod. xxi. 19, 22, 36. Lev. xix. 20. chap. xxiv. 17-20.

21 Q. What is the Meaning of being cut off from the People, or the Congregation?

A. In fome greater Crimes, fuch as prefumptuous Rebellion against the Laws of God, wilful Sabbath-breaking, &c. it may fignify capital Punishment or Death by the Hands of the Magiftrate, Numb. xv. 30, 31. Exod. xxxi. 14. In fome Cafes it may intend a being devoted to fome Judgment by the immediate Hand of God, Lev. xvii. 10. and xx. 5, 6. But in fome leffer Crimes, perhaps, it may fignify no more than to be excommunicated, or fhut out of the Congregation of Ifrael, and the Privileges thereof; as for eating leavened Bread at the Time of the Pafs-over, Exod. xii. 15. or for a Man's

Man's going unto the holy Things with his Uncleannefs upon him, Lev. xxii. 3. where it is expreffed, that that Soul fhall be cut off from the Prefence of God. But this Queftion hath fome Difficulties in it, and learned Men differ about, the Sense of these Words, being cut off.

22 Q. If the Jews were permitted to give forty Stripes, how came Paul five Times to receive but forty Stripes fave one, from the Jews, who fo much hated him? 1 Cor. xi. 24.

A. Because they pretended to be very scrupulous in obferving the Law exactly, and therefore they never inflicted more than thirty-nine Stripes, left they should happen to mistake in the Tale, while they were inflicting forty, and thus trans, grefs the Law.

23 Q. What were their most common Ways of putting Criminals to Death?

A. By hanging them on a Tree, or by ftoning them with Stones, Numb. xxv. 4. Deut. xxi. 23. xiii. 9, 10. Numb, xv. 35.

24 Q. How many Witnesses were neceffary to

condemn a Criminal to Death ?

A. At the Mouth of two or three Witneffes fhall he that is worthy of Death be put to Death, but not at the Mouth of one Witness, Deut. xvii. 6, 7.

25Q. What was the Defign of God in giving them so many peculiar Laws about their Civil or Political Affairs?

A. (1.) To let them know that God was their King as well as their God, and to keep them dif tinct and separate from the rest of the Nations, as his own People and Kingdom.

(2.) Many of thefe Laws were in themselves excellently fuited to the Advantage of that People, dwelling in that Country, and under those Circumftances.

(3.) Some of these Laws had a moral or spiritual Meaning in them, which might partly be known at that Time, and which was further difcovered afterwards.

26 Q. What Inftances can you give of moral Leffons taught by thefe Political Laws?

A. Thou shalt not take the Dam with the Young, Deut. xxii. 6, 7. is to teach Men Mildness and Compaffion. Thou shalt not muzzle the Ox that treads out the Gorn, Deut. xxv. 4. is to fhew that Minifters, who provide us fpiritual Food, ought to be maintained themselves, 1 Cor. ix. 9, 10. for fo the Apoftle has explained it.




Of the SINS and PUNISHMENTS of the Jews in the Wilderness.

1.Q. AFTER all this Account of the Moral,

Ceremonial, and Judicial Laws, can you tell me whether the People of Ifrael obeyed them, or no?

A. No; they often broke the Laws of God, and finned againft him, and were often punished, Ifa. Ixiii. 10. Pfalm lxxviii. 32-34.

2 Q. What were the most remarkable Sins against God in the Wilderness?

A. Befides their Murmurings at fome Difficulties in the Beginning of their Journey, their first remarkable and notorious Crime was their making a golden Calf, and worshipping it at the Foot of Mount Sinai, Exod. xxxii. 4, 8.

3 Q What Temptation, or what Pretence could they have for fuch a Crime?

A. Mofes

A. Mofes was gone up into Mount Sinai, and tarried there so many Days longer than they expected, that they wanted fome vifible Token of God's Prefence among them; and fo they conftrained Aaron to make this golden Image, to be a Representation of the Prefence of God, but without God's Appointment, Exod. xxxii. 1. Note, It is fcarcely to be fuppofed that this was the mereImage of a common Calf,or that the Jews could fall down and worship fuch an Image; or that they could fuppofe an Ox or Calf, which was the Idol of their Enemies the Egyptians, was a proper Emblem of the God of Ifrael, their Deliverer from Egypt, Probably therefore it was the Image of a Cherub, partly in the Form of a winged Ox And fince God was represented immediately afterward by Moses, as dwelling among the Cherubims on the Mercy-feat, this might be a common Opinion or Notion beforehand among the People even of that Age*: And it might be made as a visible Reprefentation of the Presence of God, for they proclaimed a Feaft to Jehovah, ver. 5 in the fame manner as Jeroboam, long afterward, made perhaps the fame Sort of Images for the fame Purpose, which are called Calves. But both this, and that being done without God's Appointment, it was all Idolatry, and in a way of the utmost Contempt, it was called Worshipping a Calf; and was accordingly punished as highly criminal. See Chap. V. Qu. 37.

4 Q. How

There were fome Things relating to the Worship of God which that People had fome general Notion of, before Mofes went up into the Mount to learn all the Particulars from God: As for Inftance, they had Altars, and Sacrifices, and fprinkling of Blood, Exod xxiv. 4,6, 8. They had Priefts, Exod. xix. 22, 24. and a Tabernacle, or moveable Chapel, Exod: xxxiii. 6, 7. And they might know that God dwelt among Angels, or fome glorious winged Beings, as his Attendants. And these


« PreviousContinue »