THE Rector of Bury's Reply TO THE Minister at Oswestry's Answer; In a Second Letter to his Friend.

SIR,

I Was in hopes my former Letter might have Charm'd the good Man, and laid that evil Spirit which Tor­ments him. But I am mistaken: Mr. O. is no Change­ling, he chuseth still to Scrible for the Diversion rather than the Edification of his Reader, as himself I am told has confess'd, and which is manifest in the Answer. It is less to be wonder'd at, seeing this Itch of Writing scurrilously seems to run in the Blood, as you rightly observ'd from Eugenius his late Pamphlet. With much ado he has pickt up Four Instances out of my Letter, and by the help of misrepresentation, would Skreen himself from the Censure of Wise Men, as if he had only beaten the Rector at his own Weapon. Much good may his Victory do him. I am not, I own, skill'd in that Noble Science of Fencing with an Adversary, and instead of Answering his Arguments, abusing him with Contemptuous Language.

He informs you,Title Page. The Rector has effectually ac­quitted the Dissenters, &c. And this I'll warrant you must pass for Truth, without looking into the Letter or the Answer. Oh, say the Mob, its a plain case, our Oracle has said it, the Rector is baffl'd even by his own Confession; whilst the more understanding sort droop, hang the Head, and are [Page 2] asham'd of their Advocate. But how doth he prove this? Why, he sums up the cause, (you may be sure partially enough) he tells, what feats he has done, what Havock he has made in the Rector's Squadrons (i. e. Arguments,) the most part whereof he has dismounted, trampl'd under foot, left sprawling on the ground, and weltring in their Bloud, whilst the rest being put into disorder were forc'd to fly and retire with Precipitation; the unhappy General mean while being unable to rally or recruit his broken Forces.

Now the pretence for all this boasting is, The Rector not distrusting the Judgment of the Intelligent Reader, would not trouble him with impertinent Repetitions: But left his Squadrons in the Field firm, and in good order, as they were, and (he believ'd) able to make good their Ground against all Opposition. There was then no necessity of en­creasing his Troops, which had sustain'd no considerable loss, that he knows of, nor is he yet sensible there is need of any new Levies. By this time the Metaphor is suffi­ciently squeez'd.

The Titles are left out of the Liturgy Psalms, because intended to be Sung. This in good time is agreed upon as a just De­fence of the Church of England. But Mr. O. will needs have the Honour of first starting it.Answ. p. 14. 'Tis not worth while to ask why Mr. Delaune's Vindica­tor should desert and turn on the Church of England's side. This is no good sign of Victory. Nor is it tanti, which of us can lay the best claim to the [...], such as it is. But be­cause they say, there is as much right in a Penny as in a Pound, I'll not lose it for lack of demanding. See then Rs. Rs. p. 15. l. 34. which were written before Mr. O's Vindi­cation. So that Mr. Minister is beholden to Mr. Rector for that Plea, if a trifling Truth may be spoken. Hos ego ver­siculos feci, tulit alter Honorem.

I pretend not to a President in Antiquity, or a Rubrick [Page 3] in our Church for repeating the Psalms alternatelyYet see Ru­bricks before Hymns of 5th Nov. 30 Jan. 29 May, and Fire of Lon­don.. But I reckon Custom a good warrant for it, which as 'tis esteem'd a second Nature in one case, so in ano­ther is to be accounted a second sort of Command1 Cor. 11. 16.. We cannot transgress it without being Schismaticks. Saying the Psalms is a kind of Singing them, being di­stinguish'd from reading them by way of Instruction: For they are appointed, as part of our Devotion, which the Custom of our Church has determin'd unto alternate saying. We have no other Order for Singing the Psalms in Meter, but Custom.

That Women may speak in the Church is doubtless true, 1 Cor. 11. 5. where by Prophesying I understand Singing. 1 Chron. 25, 1, 2, 3, 6, 7. St. Paul indeed forbids them to speak in the Church, 1 Cor. 14. 34, 35. but explains himself, 1 Tim. 2. 12. That they are not to Teach, or Speak Authoritatively: However they may speak in Prayer and Praise. Is it not lawful for 'em to say Amen? Do not the Dissenters allow them to Sing? In a word, when prejudices are laid aside, Noise and Confusion may be objected against Singing as reasonably, as against saying the Psalms alternatìm. The Quakers will deride the Dissenters Singing David's Psalms, and call it Gibble Gabble, or bouncing and racketing them (in Eugenius his Language) with as much Reason and Justice, as the Dissenters can our saying them alternately.

I will be better than my word, and let Mr. O. see, I am able to recruit my Squadrons, though he has not shatter'd or dimi­nish'd them: that the Titles of the Psalms are not Essential Parts of them, seems to be the Opinion of Mr. Allix, who Writes,Judgment of the Jewish Church, &c. p. 20. ‘It is by the help of Tradition, that the Ancient Interpreters have added to the Psalms such Titles, as express their Design and their U­sage in the Synagogue.’ One might hope to find shelter under the Wings of this Learned Person, at least to be ac­quitted of Blasphemy, if not of all Error or mistake.

I refus'd the Arbitration of Jerom, for Reasons, which were not to the Honour of that Father. On th' other Hand, Mr. O. has adorn'd him with wonderful Encomiums in general. But [Page 4] quid verba audio, cum facta video. If all were true, his particu­lar Faults are not covered thereby. The Rector was forc'd to Treat him in that manner to satisfy the Reader why he declin'd his Judgment, who was too Sceptical in the point to be re­garded. But Mr. Br. without necessity let fly, and at once mauld and put to the Sword the whole Squadron of the Primi­tives. B. 4th p. 1025. Nor do I want a very good President for what I did, the Famous Mr. Mede [...] ‘St. Jerom (saith he) is a Man of no Faith with me, when he describes the Opinion of his Adversary, which he would set forth as odiously as possibly could be. He was a Man that car'd not what he said,Id. B. 3. p. 748. so it might disparage his Adversaries, as in the case of Vigilantius, and Jovinian; Again, St. Jerom was a most unequal Relator of the Opinion of his Ad­versary. What Credit he may deserve in this may appear in some fragments of those Authors still remaining, whom he charg'd with an Opinion directly contrary to that which they expresly affirm'd. And yet when he had stated it so, as it must needs be Heresy and Blasphemy whosoever held it, he is found to say he durst not damn it, because Multi virorum Ecclesiasticorum & Martyrum ista dixerunt.

Sic oculos, sic ille manus, sic or a—: unriddle me this, & Phyl­lida solus habeto.

That all Ancient versions of Scripture and the Fathers are useful to find the true Reading of Scripture will easily be gran­ted, if you call to Mind what account we all make of the Poly­glot Bibles and Primitive Writers. That a Version of less Credit in general may in some particulars be truer than even the LXX. or the Hebrew seems to be the Opinion of Mr. Mede. B. 5. p. 1095, 1096. He observ'd, that in both the Chro­nology of Gen. 11. 26, 32. ch. 12. 4. compar'd with Lu. 7. 4. was mistaken, and Corrected it by the Samari­tan Pentateuch. Now though for my own part I believe the Hebrew and LXX are not here faulty for Reasons not pro­per to be adduc'd in this place, yet this shews what that good Man's Sentiments were in the Case. Of the same mind is the [Page 5] Learned Dupin. ‘'Tis not absolutely necessary (saith he) that we should always follow the Sa­maritan Pentateuch (which he asserts to be an Origi­nal and Authentick) nor are we always oblig'd to follow the Hebrew Text.’ Compleat Hist. of the O. and N. Testam. Part 1. p. 168.

But Mr. O. is angry, that (as the Papists send us to the Fa­thers for the sense of Scripture so) the Rector carries us to them for the Scripture it self. Bless me, thought I when I read this, whither will vain Glory and thirst after Victory drive a Man, and into what Absurdities betray him? This [...] is very fatal. Because, forsooth, we ought not without fear or wit depend on the Fathers only for the sense of Scripture, neither are we beholden to them for the Scripture it self. Whence (I beseech you) had we the Scripture, but from our Predecessors in the Faith? The Holy Fathers Principally, whose Writings are so many everlasting Monuments upon Re­cord of their Divine Authority from whom we know, what Books were and what were not written by Inspiration. Whence did we derive this knowledge but from them? It was not brought us by an Angel from Heaven: We have it not by Inspiration, or from an inspir'd Prophet: It dropt not out of the Clouds, neither were we born with an innate Idea, or No­tion of the Divine Scriptures, which are and which are not such.

If the examples already produced do not prove Corruptions in the Hebrew Text (I am sure as zealous sticklers for the Hebrew verity as Mr. O. can be,Mede b. 4. p. 961, 990, b. 3. 707, 708. 709. b. 5. 1094. have confessed it) I send you then to the Margin for more. In one of these places our Author Writes to A. B. Ʋsher thus, ‘I durst shew no such Conceits as these, but to so great an Antiquary, to whom the possibility of Corruption by Writing is so well known, or rather the im­possibility to the contrary. How can it be prov'd, that the Church of the Jews had a greater Privilege than we, especially since Prophesy ceased among them? The Masorethical method was devised since Christ and applied to one Copy only, the best, written by Hillel: Supposing this, yet other Copies might in some things be righter than Hill [...]'s. [Page 6] He argues else where, the Hebrew is most liable to Corrupti­on; the Letters differing so very little are easily mistaken one for another. There is no security against Corruption, unless the Transcribers were inspir'd: But whether for these Nineteen Hundred Years past any one Copier has been inspir'd, who he was, and which is the Copy,Ib. p. 961. and where to be seen tell, me, & eris mihi magnus Apollo.

If any Corruption ('tis pleaded) had crept into the Text, the Pen Men of the N. T. would have Corrected it. And what if they did? But we had rather follow the Masorites, saith Mr. M. He after­wards observes several such Emendations, which you may examine at leisure. Is it not then equally probable, that St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans, restor'd the 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18. Verses, to the 14th Psalm? But we dote on the Maso­rites, and had rather stoop to the Rabbins than to the Apostle.

St. Justin understood the Hebrew, so I argu'd from his be­ing a Native of Flavia, Apol. 2. in init. a City in Palestine. This Squadron Mr. O. meddles not with: It keeps the Field still as I might say peacebly. But (saith he) the Martyr has mistaken the Etymology of Israel: For it is deriv'd from Sarah; Ish (not Is) signifies vir, and therefore he will not allow Justin to have been skill'd in Hebrew. A.

1. Criticks take a great deal of Liberty in Etymologies, they are like Hereticks in Religion, often broaching new Conceits, which though not always exactly true are not to be ascrib'd unto their Ignorance, but singularity and a certain Delight they take ludere Campo Philologiae, and to start Paradoxes in that kind of Learning, suiting their Etymologies to the Argument before them. The Martyr doubtless had his Eye upon Gen. 32. 24. where the Person that Wrestled with Jacob is call'd [...] vir from whence he fancy'd Israel was deriv'd. For the Eternal [...] here appearing in the shape of a Man, and being therefore [...] gave unto Jacob his own Name (as I shall shew) a name suitable to his own Nature, and Typical of it. Justin's Criticism therefore is not contemptible, nor is he to be thought a dunce in the Hebrew on this score. But you'll ask perhaps, why then did not Justin write Ish? And how comes it to pass that we write it not Ishrael, but Israel? A.

[Page 7] 2. As for Justin you must note the Greeks have no such Letter as sh which therefore they always turn into a simple s, as may be seen in the LXX. and Greek Testament: Ex. Gr. Shimeon in the Hebrew, Gen. 29. 33. is [...] in the LXX. and in Lu. 2. 25. and Shem, Gen. 5. 33. is [...] in the LXX. and in Lu. 3. 36. So that we need not wonder Justin Martyr Writes Is for vir, tho' the Hebrew writes it Ish. And as for us in English, we very frequently turn [...] into Sin, as if there were no difference between the two Letters. We Write Simeon, Isaiah, Samuel, Absolom, Ahasuerus, and others, with a Sin in stead of the Shin, from whence I infer that [...] was Originally but one Letter, tho' afterwards made two, and destinguish'd by a point on the right Shoulder of Shin, and on the left of Sin. Buxtorf thinks that Shin was the only Ancient Letter of the Hebrew Alphabet, Sin being brought into the Room of Samech, haply after Justin's time. If so then [...] is the same Letter in Israel and in Ish. Note again, that the Ephraimites, Jud. 12. 6. could not pronounce Shin, but said Sibboleth instead of Shibboleth: Questionless then they said Is also and not Ish, and so with them there was no such Letter as [...] nor any use of it: 'Tis probable it might be thus a­bout Flavia, which haply occasion'd Justin's Etymology. In this variety and uncertainty about the Letter [...] 'tis hard Justin should be taxt for want of skill in the Hebrew Tongue, tho' he took the Liberty of Starting an uncommon Etymology: But especially considering it was offer'd in confirmation of the human Nature of the [...] and Trypho the Jew had nothing to object against it, one would be apt to believe it was the true one. But,

3. Upon a review of that Passage in Justin Martyr, 'tis very probable the Father hit upon the true Etymology of Israel, which he tells us signifies [...] that is, [...] Is-ra-el by Contraction. 'Tis true presently after he renders Isra [...] leaving out [...], but it may well be imagin'd a defect or fault of the M. S. seeing he had before observ'd, that Israel signifyed a Man overcoming God. At least (I hope) [...]t will not be deny'd but that there is a great deal of ingenuity in Justin's Criticisms, and that 'tis likely enough he understood the Hebrew Language.

[Page 8] 4. Granting Justin has given us a wrong Etymology of Israel, it will not follow he understood not Hebrew. One might by the same Reason affirm Mr. O. understands neither Greek nor Latin, nor yet English, but Welsh only, because he has mi­staken himself sometime or other in all those Languages. But this is manifest, the Martyr frequently quotes the Hebrew as well as the LXX. where there was a different Reading, Dial. p. 360. and gives us the Reason of it, viz. That his Reasoning thence might not be set at naught by the Jews, that various Reading being not concerned in his present Argument with Trypho. By the way then I infer hence, as very probable, that Justin us'd the same Care and precaution, when he Challeng'd the Jews with corrupting the Scriptures, that is, had his Eye upon both Texts.

But I am surpriz'd that Mr. O. should assert, that in the Word Israel, by [...] El Justin means no other God, but the God of this World the Devil, which the blund'ring Rector (else­where call'd blind Bayard) makes to signify the true God. Is the Man possest? What? The true God gave the name of the Devil unto the Holy Patriarch, and that because he Wrestl'd with the true God and prevail'd? It could never enter into any good Man's Noddle that the Divine [...] Blessed Jacob with the Devil's name, I will at Adventures affirm the Martyr never thought nor said so. A little after indeed he useth El [...] for the Devil, whom he describes for distinction sake, the Serpent and Satan, but not with reference unto Israel. In short,Just. Dial. p. 355. E. P. he hath by good luck clear'd himself, in this matter thus, Israel was his name from above ( [...] from Heaven) by which Christ call'd Jacob Blessing him with his own name, but not with the Devil's surely.

I am still of the mind, that with Jerom and in his time the Hebrew read Deut. 32. 8. as the LXX. doth at this day. All Nations but Israel were subjected to the Angels, and govern'd by them as the Learned believe, which Dr. Scot has well explain'd and confirm'd.Christian Life Par. 2. p. 935. [...] He farther shews how probably Angels in that Text was chang'd into Children of Israel. Originally it ran thus [...] Sons of God, q. d. Angels, but the Transcribers suspecting Isra [Page 9] to be left out restor'd it, and so it became [...] q. d. Children of Israel. Setting this aside, Jerom holding the Do­ctrine of Angelocracy confirm'd from [...] Deut. 32. 8. according to the LXX. saith Mr. O. But this he would never have done contra­ry to the Hebrew verity, preferring the LXX. to it. His good Friends and Allies the Jews, would con him no thanks for this, as I guess.

There is a perfect Agreement (Mr. O. avers it) between the Hebrews and the LXX. in 1 Sam. 17. he knows it to be so, he has consulted the Chapter, and you may depend upon it. But blind Bayard's Eyes once more deceive him, or Mr. O. is taken in the manner once more. What will not some Men say to save their Bacon? Twenty Four Verses of that 17th Chap­ter in the Hebrew are missing in the LXX. a [...] that there is a perfect Agreement between them. Mr. O. might as well acquaint the World that he and I are agreed [...] Besides, let him compare the 16, 17, and 18th Chapters, as I desir'd him, and then tell me, if the LXX. have not given us a straight and intelligible Narrative of David's Action, whilst in the He­brew the course of the story is intolerably broken, perplext and transpos'd without remedy. Mr. O. sees nothing of this, al­though I know a Child of twelve Years Old, who t'other day discerning the disorder, ask'd whether there were two Davids, one Saul's Armour bearerChap. 16., the o­ther that slew Goliah Chap. 17., because Saul knew him not, v. 55.

I am content Mr. O. should have the Liberty of explain­ing himself, when he saith, The not reading the Titles of the Psalms is an innocent Omission; which (he pleads) was spoken in excuse of the Parochial Assemblies, and not of the Dissenters (as the Rector mistakes) they do read the Titles. But the matter is not yet mended: His words areFarther Vind. p. 53., ‘Now since the Psalms are read not sung in our Parochial Churches, the Titles which are Part of the Scripture ought not to be expung'd out of the Reading Psalter—They may and ought to be read as part of the Word [Page 10] of God and therefore should not be left out of the Reading Psalms. But this is not the Controversy between me and the Rector:’ The not reading of them is an innocent Omission. In short thus, the Titles ought to be read in Parochial Assem­blies because the Psalms are read there and not sung, but yet the not reading them is an innocent Omission. Is not this rare stuff? That any thing which ought to be done can be innocently left undone, to speak softly, is a strange Paradox beyond my reach to comprehend. I'll not call it vile, impious and profane: But I cannot Swallow it. At this Rate we may e'en fling a way our Bibles, renounce all Religion and Morality. As for the Dissenters reading the Titles, I would ask how often, and by what Orders. There is no direction for it in the Reformati­on of the Liturgy where one ought to expect it. Besides, I have been frequently at Presbyterian Assemblies, where not so much as the Psalms themselves were read, and near a thousand times (I believe) where, though the Psalms were now and then read, yet the Titles were not. Innocent Omission! In short the Dissenters, if one may guess at their Principles by their Practice, do not take themselves absolutely oblig'd to read the Scripture in their stated Assemblies, but will omit this Ce­remony when ever they please to make room for their own Sermons and Lecturings, which justle out the Word of God. And the People Love to have it so: They complain not, if Reading the Word be pass'd by and neglected: But if there be no Sermon, what outcries will they make, as if they were starv'd for lack of Bread? And again, when the Word of God is read, they sit like so many dull and lifeless Images till the Mi­nister begins his Harangue: Then they rouse, and listen with wonderful attention, seeming to be unwilling one Word of his Mouth shou'd drop by the way unobserv'd. Now is it fit these Men should reproach us for reading the Apocrypha now and then, or omitting the Titles of the Psalms? It were to be wish'd Men would see their own Faults and amend them in stead of quarrelling at our innocent Omissions and Appointments.

[Page 11] As to Mr. Baxter's and the Homily's leaving out These in their citation of Acts 15. 28, and (as Mr. O. argues) their being equally concern'd in the Accusation, so that either both are, or neither of them ought to be acquitted, I will now in the last place shew the contrary, and so conclude.

Mr. Baxter's business in the Petition for Peace was in general to prove the unlawfulness of imposing any but necessary things in Religious Worship, which he pretended to make good from Act. 15. 28. quoting it thus—It seemed good to the Apostles and Elders to lay upon them no greater burden than necessary things, and omit­ing These. Now this Word had it not been suppress'd would have put the Reader upon recollecting or searching what those necessary things were in particular; indeed it would have ob­lig'd Mr. Baxter himself in Reason to have mention'd them all. But that would have quite spoil'd his Argument. For every one then would have perceiv'd at first sight, that the Text speaks only of matters belonging to civil Conversation. But expressing the Passage thus, necessary things indefinitely, the Reader would be apt to run away with the Bait, and take it for granted, that the Apostles appointed nothing in Religious Worship, but necessary things, which is not nor can be prov'd from this Text. In short, Mr. Baxter's Argument (which in­deed is none at all) appear'd plausible by the Omission of These, and he is justly suspected to have design'd to insnare his Rea­der. I know an ingenious Person who was thus deceiv'd by him.

But the Author of the Homilie cannot justly be tax'd with a­ny such fallacious Design. He was urging the particular Duty of abstaining from Fornication as necessary, and prov'd it from the Text, which among other necessary things forbids Fornicati­on. His Argument is neither better nor worse by his omitting These. Nay, the Turn of the whole Period, as he contriv'd it, would not admit These to be taken in. It would have been Non-sense to say—These necessary things: Among others they willed them: This latter Word Other in a New distinct Sentence re­quir'd, that These should be left out in the former. But enough and too much of this trivial Point.

[Page 12] Here then I put an end unto my Notes on Mr. Owens's Answer. If you or any Body else should think it worth while strictly to examine all that has pass'd between him and me throughout this whole Controversy, I again declare I must send you to our former Writings, being loath to give you or my self any unnecessary Trouble. And I am pretty well assur'd the generality of Readers would not like being teaz'd with the Repetition of the same things over again: I am sensible it would be to very little purpose. I remain then,

Your Affect. and very Humble Servant. T. G.
FINIS.

THE PUBLISHER TO THE READER.

EVery Body almost has taken notice of the strange Con­fusion that is in the 1 Sam. 16, 17, 18, Chapters. There came to my hands very lately the following Essay, which pretends to restore them to their Natural Order, and gives a Conjecture how possibly this Confusion might have happen'd. In the Absence of the Author of the fore­going Letter, there being so near an Agreement in the Ar­gument, I have made bold to add this as an Appendix, the rather because the said Author seems to believe, the diffi­culties, wherewith these Chapters are perplext, to be in­superable and without Remedy.

That the Course of the History of David, in 1 Sam. 16, 17, 18, Chapters is disorder'd, every one sees, and the Septuagint for that Reason (as I fansie) in their Version, or some Tran­scriber, has intirely expung'd Twenty four Verses out of the 17. Chapter, and Eight out of the 18. by which means they made the story very easy and intelligible, and discharg'd it of all the difficulties, which appear in our Bibles at this Day. But 'tis very hard me thinks to imagine how Four and twenty, and Eight Verses, could have been interpolated in the sacred Text, seeing they contain a piece of the Histo­ry, which no where else is so much as hinted at. I there­fore chuse of the two, to believe rather that the parts of the Narrative have been transpos'd, which therefore I am [Page 14] endeavouring to restore unto their right Order. But first let us take a view of the Disorders in these three Chapters, as we now have them in the Hebrew Text and our English Version.

1. In the 17th Chapter we have an Account of David's Fa­mily and Pedegree, which is to be found immediately before in the 16th Chapter, and without any necessity repeated here. Whereas on the contrary, if we invert the Order of these two Chapters, the Repetition of them is necessary, as any one that considers will confess.

2. In the 17th Chapter David is employ'd in the meanest Offices by his Father Jesse, viz. tending the Sheep; and Snub'd by his Eldest Brother Eliab, as too Ambitious and Aspiring, though Chapter 16. he had been in the pre­sence of his Father and Brethren Anointed Saul's Successor, and the design'd King of Israel. Neither of which I am per­suaded ought nor would have been done after David's Anointing.

3. In Chapter 17. Saul calls David Youth, unfit to enter the Lists with the Giant, not knowing what it was to Fight; and especially 'tis observable, that the King again after the Fight, calls him Young Man and Stripling, tho' Chapter 16. David had sometime before been Anointed King, and ad­vanc'd to be Saul's Armour-Bearer, and was then known to be a Man of War, and prudent in Matters. All which suppose that he was beyond a Stripling, in the 16th Chap­ter, and much more in the 17th.

4. In the 17th Chapter Saul seems not to have known David's Pedegree and Family, and therefore enquires af­ter it: Probably he knew not his Name, for he never calls him David, but only Youth, Stripling and Young Man. Whereas all this was well known unto Saul before, Chap­ter 16.

[Page 15] 5. In the 18th Chapter, the 6, 7, & 8. Verses are manifest­ly broken off from the 17th Chapter, which they ought immediately to follow, but are interrupted with Five Vers [...]s, the last whereof acquaints us, that Saul employ'd David in business of Importance, set him over the Men of War: That David behav'd himself Wisely, and got the Favour of the People and of the Courtiers, which must needs have happen'd after Saul's Triumphant Return from the slaughter of the Philistines, which nevertheless we see is postpon'd to the 6, 7, & 8. Verses. These things being so I should think yet, with Submission, that the Course of the story should lie in the following Order, whereby all the foremention'd inconvenience are avoided.

I would then immediately after the 15th Chapter read the 17th, (all but the 15th Verse,) and the 6, 7, & 8. Verses of the 18th Chapter, which make up a complete account of Saul's Expedition against the Philistines that Year, and his Triumphant Return home. But whereas in the 8th Verse of that 18th Chapter it is said, that Saul was dis­pleas'd, because the People ascrib'd more unto David, than unto the King, and says he, What can David have more, but the Kingdom? Therefore in the next place, I would read Verse the 15th of the 17th Chapter—But David (obser­ving that Saul was angry, and himself in all likelihood, de­feated of the Promise of Saul's Daughter) went and return'd from Saul to feed his Fathers Sheep at Bethlehem. Now God among other Reasons, to punish Saul's breach of Promise unto David, and to recompence David another way, sent Samuel to Anoint him Saul's Successor: I would in the next place, then read the 16th Chapter intirely to the end. The latter part whereof is an Account how David return'd to Court, to Play upon his Harp and thereby to refresh Saul, when the Evil Spirit vexed him, as also how he was made Saul's Armour-Bearer. All this happen'd unto David, be­cause it was then well known, that David was a Skilful Player on the Harp (we may suppose he had in the Camp [Page 16] frequently diverted the Souldiers with his Instrument) and also that he was a Valiant Man, a Man of War, and pru­dent in such matters, (for he had given proof of his Courage and Conduct before in the War with the Philistines) When David with his Harp, Chapter 16. 23. had refreshed Saul and the Evil Spirit was departed from him, I cannot but think the King enter'd into some Discourse with him, there­fore I would here go to the 18th Chapter and first Verse, to the end of the fifth—And it came to pass when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, &c.—And David went out whither so­ever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: And Saul set him over the Men of War, and he was accepted in the sight of all the People and also in the sight of Saul's Servants. Lastly, hence I skip to the 9th Verse—And Saul (being jealous of David who was thus become popular and perhaps having some secret Intelligence by this time, that he had been Anointed to succeed in the Throne) Eyed David from that day and forward. This Jealousie brought again the Evil Spirit upon Saul, so that in the very next the 10th Verse 'tis said —And it came to pass on the Morrow (of that day when Saul began first to Eye David) that the Evil Spirit from God came upon Saul, &c. The story afterward is regular.

It will (I foresee well enough) be askt how all this dis­order could happen in the sacred History? Whereunto I Answer, that the matter of Fact seems to me so evident both from the perplexity of the Narrative, as it lies at pre­sent in our Bible, and from that perfect Agreement which must be confest to be in the parts of the story thus put toge­ther, that I reekon this not a sufficient Objection. Be­sides, if I may be allow'd to account for this, as the Lear­ned do for other smaller Corruptions, I need not despair of guessing at a probable way how this might come to pass.

Thus. The two greater Sections, which make up the 16th and 17th Chapters as they now stand in our Bibles, might have been written upon two different Rolls or loose Parchments, & so easily misplac'd or mistaken by the Copier, [Page 17] taking up one for the other. The Reader afterwards ob­serving David, who Chapter 16th was enter'd into Saul's Service, was now chap. 17. (no Body knows how, for no account is given of it) at home again with his Father at Bethlehem, noted in the Margin from a Neighbouring place —But David went and returned from Saul to feed his Father's Sheep at Bethlehem, which by degrees slipt from the Mar­gent into the Text here. Again, a Transcriber observing there was no express mention of any Discourse between Saul and David, except that in Chapter 17. 32. & Verse 58. concluded, that the five first Verses of the 18th Chap. should be plac'd immediately after the 17th Chapter, as they now stand in our Bibles. Such kind of Accounts as these Cri­ticks are wont to give of other mistakes, why may not this that I have now offer'd pass as probable, at least Possible. I cannot admit of the Prolepsis, which the inspir'd Pen-Men of the History would never have fallen into after such a gross manner as renders the whole story extremely confus'd, and impossible to be clearly understood. In a word, the Thread of the History is so often broken, that it seem'd necessary to restore the parts to their Natural Order, where­in I do believe they were first written. But supposing the Sacred Historian fell so often into the Prolepsis, yet it may be be granted (I hope) that we have gain'd thus much by this Attempt, that the genuine Order of time, when things successively happen'd, is here discover'd and render'd easy to be understood, which I am Principally concern'd for. But as for the explanations of several Difficulties in this History, which the Criticks in the Synopsis, who do not in­sist upon the Prolepsis have furnished us with, I shall in the last place shew, that they are weak, forc'd, and have no pro­bability at all in them.

It is said upon Chapter 17. 55, 58. that David was not then sufficiently known unto Saul, because he frequently went from Court home to feed his Father's Sheep: There­fore the King enquir'd of him and of his Family.

[Page 18] A. It is incredible Saul should suffer his Armour-Bearer to retire so often to feed Sheep, or frequently dispense with his Absence, who was to be constantly at hand to Play upon the Harp, when ever the Evil Spirit came upon Saul. Besides, if David frequently went home, he frequently re­turn'd unto Court, and so was better known unto the King.

It is said, Saul was taken up with the weighty Affairs of the Kingdom, so that altho' he formerly knew David and his Family, ch. 16. 18. yet he had forgot him, ch. 17. espe­cially being often troubled with the Evil Spirit.

A. Saul was not at that time troubled with the Evil Spirit, it is manifest. If he had been often troubled with it, yet he lost not his Memory and Understanding thereby, ch. 18. 10, 11. ch. 19. 9, 10, 11. David at the Combat with Goliah was but Stripling twenty years old haply, for he was but 30 at Saul's Death, 2 Sam. 5. 4. so that there could not be sufficient time between Saul's making him his Armour-Bearer and the Combat, for Saul to have forgot David. In a word, Princes in their Consulations about the Affairs of State, are wont to confer with their Principal Officers and Ministers, of whom doubtless David the Armour-Bearer was one, at least had frequent Occasions to attend his Master, and lastly, being often admitted into Saul's Presence to Play upon the Harp, it is Morally impossible Saul could in a little time forget him and his Father's House.

It is said Princes are not wont to know their Servants, especially who have Merited at their Hands; therefore Saul made himself strange unto David, ch. 17. 55, 58. tho' otherwise he could not chuse but know him.

A. Saul had no reason to dissemble his knowledge of David. David had oblig'd him by refreshing him with his Harp, and scaring away the Evil Spirit. But then Saul had rewarded him with the Honourable Office of Armour-Bearer. That which make Princes to forget, or to pretend to forget their Subjects is, when they cannot, or will not recompense them. But this was not the case. Again Da­vid [Page 19] had slain Goliah, and occasion'd thereby the total defeat and overthrow of the Philistines; this was a noble and de­serving exploit. Right! But this was not the time, nor was it to any purpose at present to hide his former know­ledge of David; For all David's pretence now unto a further reward of his Services, was his successful Combate and slaughter of the Giant, and preservation of the Armies of Israel thereby. As to the reward of this Action, it matter'd not whether Saul had or had not been acquainted with David formerly: Still the reward was due, though Saul had never before seen or known him.

It is said, David's Face was changed and his Beard grown, so that Saul knew him not again.

A. How could David's Beard be grown, who was as yet but a Youth, a Stripling, and a Beardless Boy, ch. 17.

It is said, he appear'd now before Saul like a Shepherd, and not in his Courtly Habit, so that Saul knew him not.

A. 'Tis as easie to say, he appear'd at first, ch. 16. be­fore the King in his Shepherd's Garb, which Saul might easily know again.

It is finally said that Saul only enquir'd after the Lineage of David; for he knew his Person well enough.

A. If Saul knew and remember'd David's Person, he could not have been ignorant of his Pedegree, Tribe and Family, which were well known unto Saul when he made him Armour-Bearer, ch. 16. 18, 19, 22.

To conclude, many Incongruities in this story are not at all indeavour'd to be accounted for: Those excuses, wherewith some of 'em are palliated, seem so trivial, weak and ill grounded, that I am hereby farther and more firmly convinc'd that the order of the story has been some way or other disturb'd and ought some way or other to be rectify'd. Whether I have contributed any thing thereunto, I leave to the Judgment of other Men.

[Page 20] There are two or three Observables more in the Order of the story, as 'tis found in our Bibles, which ought not to be forgot. David was Anointed, and then advanc'd to be Saul's Armour-Bearer, ch. 16. God questionless designing hereby to make way for his succeeding Saul in the Throne. But David, tho' there had happen'd no disgust between him and the King, return'd to keep his Father's Sheep,Ch. 17. 15. and Jesse entertain'd him, which was (as much as in them lay) to defeat the Purpose of God, and expect another way than what God had appointed for his attaining the Crown.Ch. 17. It might also be ask'd, why did not the Armour-Bearer present him­self to his Master, make a tender of his Service according to his Office? Whence was it, that he needed to be intro­duc'd into the King's Presence by some Courtier, and was receiv'd as a mere Stranger. With what Face could Eliab Challenge Saul's Armour-Bearer with Pride and Naughti­ness of Heart for attending his Master in the War. In a word, is it likely the King's Armour-Bearer should appear in the Field with his Shepherd's Habit, ch. 17. As yet then he had been neither Anointed, nor taken into Saul's Ser­vice, but was a mere Shepherd, and by Consequence the 17th Chapter ought to be before the 16th, at least is before it in the Order of time, though the 16th by a bold Prolepsis was put first by the Historian.

THE END.

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