Translated by C. B.

Nec omnia, nec nihil.

LONDON, Printed by T. W. for William Lee, and are to be Sold at his Shop at the Sign of the Turks Head in Fleet-street over against Fetter-Lane. 1653.

THE AVTHOR'S PREFACE, TO The States of Hol­land and Westfrisia.

Most illustrious Lords,

I Offer to your view a Cōmon­wealth, the most holy, and the most exemplary in the [Page]whole World. The Rise and Advance whereof, it well becomes you perfect­ly to understand, because it had not any mortall man for its Author and Foun­der, but the immortall God; that God, whose pure veneration and wor­ship, You have underta­ken, and do maintain. Here you shall see, what it was that conteined the He­brews so long in an inno­cent way of life; what rais'd up their courage, cherished their concord, bridled their desires. In­deed, that people had [Page]Rules of Government, excelling the precepts of all wise men that ever were; Which Rules, we have shewed, may in good part be collected out of the holy Bible. Only, of their Military Discipline very little is deliver'd to our memory: Yet must every one, that considers their victories and at­chievements, confess, that the Hebrews, for milita­ry vertue, were inferiour to none. For, in the qua­lity of banished men, when they were come out of E­gypt, where they had long [Page]sate, after a tedious march up and down in the de­serts of Arabia for the space of forty years, they encountred with mighty and valiant Nations, ex­pell'd them, and possessed their Country, where they built new Towns, and de­dicated to God a magni­ficent Temple. In this most happy soil, where their valour had planted them, their mutuall con­cord made them grow to admiration. The Coun­sels of all provided for the safety of all; and the Cities, which were many, [Page]did not every one aim at their own dominion, but all used their best endea­vours to defend the pub­lick Liberty. That the Government might bee compleat and uniform, they had the same Laws, Magistrates, Senators, Judges; and the same weights, measures, mony. Wherefore, all Palestin might be accounted as one City, but only that all the Inhabitants were not shut up within the same Walls. Such a Community and Conformity there was be­tween them all. Yet, by [Page]the Law, there was one City Privileg'd above all the rest; not, to have dominion over the rest, but that all, even the re­motest dwellers, should e­very year thrice hold their Religious meetings in it. A thing so far from bree­ding any difference among them, that it was the stron­gest bond of union. Thus did the twelve Tribes of Israel, every one being multiplyed marvellously into the greatness of a Na­tion, overspread a very great and fertile Country. The force of enemies, the [Page]Tempests of Wars, and o­ther the like evils nothing prevail'd against them. They alwaies rose higher by their overthrows, were enriched by their losses, and the keeness of their enemies sword put the more courage in them. For a long time the Com­mon-wealth of the He­brews continued in this state: till at last, after Sa­lomons death, having at­tained the height of pros­perity, a great alteration happened. A certain man, Jeroboam, all whose hopes consisted in the discord of [Page]the people, stird up sedi­tion among them, and drawing to his party ten whole Tribes, constituted a kind of Common-wealth a part to himself, the head whereof was Samaria. And now there was no longer one, but two Com­mon-wealths. That of Is­rael, or the ten Tribes, la­sted but a little while, being conquered, and carried a­way into eternall exile. The other of the Jews, whose imperiall City was Jerusalem, although, be­fore the times of Vespa­sian the Emperour, it was [Page]not wholly ruined, yet the power of it was so enfee­bled, that it could seldom bear up against the enemy. Certainly, none of all this had come to pass, had not they fallen to pieces by their own dissentions, who whilst they held to­gether, and kept their force united, were victorious o­ver so many Nations. The discords of the peo­ple give the greatest ad­vantage to the enemy. This was the cause of the Hebrews ruin, and the same hath destroyed the most flourishing Kingdoms [Page]other Nations. Please you to return into the me­mory of all former times, you shall find scarce any other thing to have given a check to the most high and most mighty States. Fortune (though envious to such as prosper) seldom assisteth any people to the destruction of another, un­less the people first create trouble to themselves at home, knowing neither how to moderate their vices, nor govern their own forces. It is clear, That Politic Nation the Ro­mans (who as Tully saith, [Page] by defending their confe­derates made themselves Masters of all the world) understood exceeding well, how the most easy way to subdue confederate peo­ple, was by their domestic troubles and dissentions. Thus, while they aided the oppressed party, or became Arbitrators of the difference, they brought all things into their own power, and where they had made a waste, they called it peace. The Achaians were once terrible to all their Neighbours, by means of a confederacy, wherein [Page]upon fair conditions the Cities of Peloponnesus were united; Their Common­wealth was of an excellent frame, and very like to yours (most illustrious Lords) strengthned by their united powers, and invincible. How often did that Lordly people of Rome, knowing Greece was inexpugnable so long as confederated, endea­vour by art and cunning to dissolve that union? The Proconsul Gallus was put upon the business: and, when he found no success, the Spartans, by a trea­cherous [Page]device were added to the ligue, but upon un­equall terms, to be a per­petuall cause of difference amongst them. This af­terward undid the Achai­ans. The Annals are full of such examples, but here is no place to make a long relation. Rome, the Lady of all Nations, born for the ruin of the world (as Mithridates said) groaning under the peoples discord, and Sena­tors faction, at last gave up her liberty, and submit­ted her proud neck to the yoke of Caesar. But, to [Page]return to the Hebrews, I shall mention that in the last place, which is the chief of all. The for­mention'd breach, after Salomons death, had been probably made up again in a short time, but that the ambitious Author of it, Jeroboam, by changing the old true Religion into a vain and senseless super­stition, obstructed the way of concord, and by a smooth oration having obtruded upon the ten Tribes his new invention, made them very prone to take armes, not so much [Page]now for their Estates and Liberty, as for their Al­tars and Idols. These things, and many more of this sort, we have discour­sed of in this Treatise: and we thought it not unfit to see the light. You that are the Fathers of your Country, have alwaies had this truth in mind: That by concord a small E­state is raised, and the grea­test is by discord over­thrown. Your own ex­perience confirms you in it, since by divine favour, and your own vertue, and the conduct of your In­vincible [Page]Leader, your Common-wealth, by ma­ny degrees, is at last ar­rived to that height, that your enemies can com­plain of nothing, but your greatness. As I pray for the perpetuity of this U­nion, whereby you are so happily advanced; so, when I consider your wisdom, which hath shined forth in the greatest Tryals, I am very confident, the same will last, as all good men would have it, and re­main for ever. Yet, I confess, we are not so se­cure, but that sometimes [Page]we reflect our thoughts upon the examples of for­mer Ages. Many of your subjects are already gone into sides, and oppose each other with contrary opi­nions, since here sprung up amongst them some un­profitable controversies a­bout mysteries of Religi­on, not understood by the most part of the people. The multitude are carri­ed severall wayes by their affections, and every day the flame encreases. Your selves understand (most illustrious Lords) how [Page]much it concerns you to apply (and you do apply) seasonable remedies to this distemper, lest your flourishing affairs receive some detriment by this intestine malady, more pernicious than forein War, than Famine, than Pestilence. 'Tis vain for me to speak more, when I can propose nothing to you out of my deepest consideration, which is not obvious to your own judgement. Only my Petition to your Highness is, that you would vouch­safe [Page]an intentive eye to this Common-wealth, which I have here de­scrib'd, the most sacred, and the best that ever was. Here you shall find some things which Kings and Princes and the Modera­tors of publick affairs may select and lay up for their use. And truly I was the more easily moved to of­fer these to you, in con­templation of some ex­cellent men sitting in your Senate, whose learning is so exact, that, if I have brought any thing for the [Page]illustration of antiquity and of the best Authors, they are able to pass a right judgement on it.


PAge 17. l. 3. for two, r. too. p. 21. l. 7. for their, r. there. p. 122. l. 17. for mystery, r. ministry. p. 137. l. 3. for carried, r. carved. p. 150. l. 6. for good, r. God. p. 136. l. 23. for Susa, [...]. Susac. p. 137. l. 13. r. Salmanassar.


CHAP. I. The Institution of the Hebrew Commonwealth. Legislation. The Vain-glory of the Grecians. The seven Precepts of the Sons of Noah. The design of Moses in his Laws and Ordinances.

IN this work we shall not be over curious in our method, nor make any accurate search after mate­rials, but lay hold upon such [Page 2]things as freely and familiarly offer themselves to our conside­ration; and as they come into our mind, set down our discour­ses upon them all. The Com­mon-wealth of the Hebrews was founded by that excellent Man of God, Moses, the first Man that undertook a business of the greatest consequence in the World: For, amongst all the Actions of old, which Fame hath left upon record, this in my judgement is the most noble, the constitution of Common­wealths, and the ordering of hu­mane Societies by good Laws. Nothing is more acceptable to God, the Almighty Governour of this Universe. As the honour hereof is very great; so, many Nations have laid claim unto it. The Grecians, among the rest of the benefits, wherewith [Page 3]they boast themselves to have obliged other Nations, put Le­gislation in the Head of the Ac­count. Lycurgus, Draco, Solon, and other Antients, are names they glory in. Their Glory is but vain: For, all the Brags of this blown and arrogant Nati­on are silenc'd by the Jew, Fla­vius Josephus, whose Apology extant against Apion (an ene­my to the Jews, and a Man so famous for his eloquence that he was called Cymbalum Mun­di) is full of admirable learning. Plin. praf. There he shews, that the Greek Legislators, compar'd to Mo­ses, are but of yesterday: for, at what time their Father Ho­mer liv'd, they knew not the name of Laws, nor is it extant in all his Poems; Onely, the peo­ple had in their mouth certain common sayings and sentences, [Page 4]whereby they were govern'd; to supply the defects whereof, the unwritten Edicts of Princes were upon occasion added. The truth is, which Flavius hath well ob­served, Moses, Homer's Senior by many ages, is the onely Man to whom this honour apper­tains, which so many afterward were ambitious of. He was the first writer and publisher of Laws, teaching the people, what was right or wrong, just or unjust, and by what Decrees that Common-wealth was to be e­stablished, which the most high God had commanded to settle in Palestin. Before the time of Moses, no written Laws were known in the World: for, al­though mankind liv'd not al­together without Laws before, yet were not those Laws conse­crated and kept in any publick [Page 5]records or monuments. Of this sort were those seven Precepts which the Talmudists say were given to the Sons of Noah, con­cerning certain Rules of righte­ousness necessary for the life of Man. Wherefore they were of so large extent, that whosoever knew them not, those the Israel­ites were commanded to destroy by War, and deprive them of all Communion with mankind; And justly: For, they that had received no Law, seemed worse than beasts; and (as Aristotle hath divinely spoken) injustice strengthened with Arms and Power is most cruell and in­tolerable. Now the Arms wherewith nature hath surni­shed Man, are Reason and Pru­dence; things enabling him a­bundantly for mischief, if they be not restrained and regulated [Page 6]by Laws. But let us return to Moses. In his institution of that Common-wealth, the most holy upon earth, he assigned the Su­preme Power to God; and when others find other names (as the matter requires) calling the Government Monarchy, O­ligarchy, or Democracy, he con­ceived none of these appellati­ons suitable to the nature of so great an Empire: Wherefore he ordained such a kind of Go­vernment, which Flavius saith may very significantly be stil'd Theocracy, that is, a Common­wealth whose Ruler and Presi­dent is God alone; For, he pro­fessed all affairs were managed by divine judgement and Au­thority. And of this he gave an evident demonstration, in as much as although he saw all matters depending upon him, [Page 7]and had all the people at his devotion, yet upon so fair an invitation he sought no power, no wealth, no honour for him­self. A thing, whereby he shew'd himself more than Man: For, in all Men there is implanted a de­sire of Rule, a desire inveterate, more flagrant and eager than all other affections whatsoever: Which, I believe, Moses had never been able to expectorate and extinguish, had he not seen God himself present and presi­dent in all affairs; with whom, to seek a Partnership in the Go­vernment, had been an extreme degree of madness. Moreover, He ordered that the Magistrates should not be Lords and Ma­sters, but Keepers of the Laws and Ministers. An excellent Constitution: for, seeing even the best Men are sometimes [Page 8]transported by passion, the Laws alone are they that alwaies speak with all persons in one and the same impartiall voice; Which I conceive to be the meaning of that fine saying of Aristotle, The Law is a Mind without Affection. Lastly, we consider that which is not the least of all, the eternall stability of Moses Laws: whereto to adde, where from to take ought away, was a most high offence. So that, neither old Laws were aboli­shed, nor new brought in, but the observation of the first was exacted of all with rigour, even in the declination of that Com­mon-wealth. Which was not so in other Common wealths, being both founded and over­thrown by Law-making: for, as many of the Rulers, affecting to bring in somewhat of their [Page 9]own, have changed things before well ordered; so, many good Or­ders by desuetude, more (which is worse) abolished by contempt, gave security to vices. This di­versity we could never wonder at; seeing the Laws of other Nations, Inventions of humane Wit, are enforced only by pe­nalties that by time, or through the sloath of Governours, lose their terrour: but the Jewish Ordinances, being the Decrees of the eternall God not weak­ned either by continuance of time, or softness of the Judges, they remain still the same; and when the Ax and Scourge are no longer feared Mens minds are nevertheless kept in awe by Re­ligion.

CHAP. II. The prudence of the Lawgiver concerning Assignation of Lands. That they ought not to have been the first Seizer's. The Agrarian Law, and its inestimable Uti­lity. The Redemption of lands. The benefit of the Jubily, and So­lemnity thereof.

FLavius Josephus often cites Hecataeus of Abdera, an Author of great Faith and in­tegrity, one that waited upon Alexander the great in his Wars; Many Countries he view­ed, abounding with all kind of fruits, but admired none so much as Palestine; Of this he wrote a singular Book, out of which Iosephus recites many things in favour of the Jews. To our pur­pose, he saith the Jews inhabited [Page 11]a very good Country, and most fruitful, conteining three hundred thousand Acres; a seat, where­into as most fit for them, the divine goodness transplanted the Hebrews out of Egypt: For, as formerly they had spent their lives in tillage of the ground, and feeding of Cattel; so here in a bounteous soil they might still inrich themselves, and prosper by the same profession. So soon as the holy people had by force of Arms possessed themselves of the promised Land, the chief Captain Iosua presently put in execution the commands of Moses. The whole Country he divided into twelve portions, and gave it to be inhabited by the twelve Tribes. Then, he numbred the families in every Tribe, and according to the number of persons gave to every [Page 12]family a certain proportion of Lands, and prescrib'd their bounds. By this means, all were equally provided for; which is the prime care of good Gover­nours in every Common-wealth; a care, that the most Politick Nations, the Greeks and Ro­mans, in after-times were not unmindfull of when they car­ried forth their Colonies. Had every one made that his own, upon which he first set his foot, quarels and commotions among the people must needs have fol­lowed: for so it usually comes to pass; whilst every one seeks to get and appropriate to himself what was common, Peace is lost. Moreover. Moses, as it be­came a wise Man, not only to order things at present, but for the future ages too, brought in a certain Law providing that [Page 13]the wealth of some might not tend to the oppression of the rest; nor the people change their course, and turn their minds from their innocent labours to any new and strange employ­ment. This was the Agrarian Law; a Law, whereby all pos­sesors of Land were kept from transferring the full right and dominion of it unto any other person, by sale or other contract whatsoever: For, both they that on constraint of poverty had sold their Land, had a right granted them to redeem it at any time; and they that did not redeem it, receiv'd it freely again, by this Law, at the solemn feast of Ju­bily. There is a great writer, Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon, he that in his divine work en­titled [...] hath hap­pily collected all the Talmudicall [Page 14]doctrine except the trifles, an Author above our highest com­mendation, the only Man of that Nation, who had the good fortune to understand what it is to write seriously and to the purpose; We shall often make use of his Authority, and now it will help us out in the matter we have in Hand. He is much upon the benefit of the Jubily, consisting (saith he) herein, that all Lands returned to their an­tient Lords, although they had passed through the Hands of a hundred buyers. Neither are excepted, by this most learned writer, the Lands which came to any one by donation. These could no more than other be retained from the first possessor. It is a point of the Talmudicall Law, and I make no question but 'tis very right. The same [Page 15] Rabbin from the same fountain declares, that Redemption was permitted only to such as were recovered from their poverry, and enabled by some gain or commodity that had befallen them. The reason's plain; for, to borrow money, or to sell one piece of Land to redeem ano­ther, was to frustrate the Law, that appointed the unable, and their Heirs, to wait for the re­lief of Jubily. Yet might the Kinsmen of the necessitous, in the mean time, buy off for their money, what the poor owner, without borrowing, could not. These Jubily-solemnities retur­ned every fiftieth year, beginning at the seaventh month Tisri. No other time brought with it so much publick joy: for, be­sides the repossession of Lands that had been alienated, liberty [Page 16]was given unto all servants. Yet was nothing done before the tenth of that month, a holy Fast and day of Expiation. The nine preceding dayes were all spent in publick mirth and feasting, like the Roman Saturnalia. Hear how Maimonides relates it. From the beginning of the year, to the day of Expiations, neither were the servants dismist, nor did they serve their Ma­sters. What then? The servants did eat and drink and make merry, and every one of them set a Crown upon his Head. After, when the day of Expiations was come, the Senators of the San­hedrin sounded with their trum­pets, and forthwith the servants went away free, and the old Lords took a repossession of their Lands.

CHAP. III. Again of the Agrarian Law. The danger of two ample posses­sions. The Roman Common-wealth. Stolo's Law. How the Hebrews maintained them­selves. The Legislators provi­dence. Divine Laws of Agri­culture and Pasturage.

BUt we have more to say of the utility intended by Mo­ses in the Agrarian Law. Cer­tainly, it was of great concern­ment to the Common-wealth, as before we noted, that the a­varice of a few should not in­vade the possessions distributed with so fair equality. It is not unusuall with rich men to thrust the poor out of his inheritance, and deprive him of necessaries, whilst they enlarge their own [Page 18]estate superfluously. This pro­duceth often a change of Go­vernment: For, the truth is, That Common-wealth is full of enemies, wherein the people, many of them having lost their antient possessions, with restless desires aspire to a better fortune. These men weary of the pre­sent, study alterations, and stay no longer, than they needs must, in an unpleasing condition. Time was, when at Rome the principall men (drawing all un­to themselves, insomuch that one Citizen possessed Land e­nough for three hundred) were confined by Stolo's Law to five hundred Acres a Man. But that good order, by fraud, was quick­ly broken. Stolo himself was the first to violate his own Sanction, and was found guilty for hol­ding a thousand Acres, making [Page 19]use of his Sons name, whom to that end he had emancipated. And after, by other arts, many others eluded the sentence of the Law, themselves possessing what was purchased by their Agents. This abuse being perceiv'd by the wise Lelius, friend to Scipio A­fricanus, he endeavour'd to re­inforce the Law, but overborn by the adverse faction, to pre­vent contention and discord, he desisted. So the way was open for licence, and possessions were enlarged out of all measure; till at last all Italy and the next provinces fell into a few Hands, as their proper patrimony: whereof, it were very easy to al­lege testimonies, but here is needless. We touched also ano­ther reason of the Agrarian Law, namely, that Moses would not have the people languish [Page 20]and lose their vertue by want of exercise. The most eminent of all their Ancestors having led a pastorall life, and been good Husbands in the Field, their po­sterity could not be better se­cured from the vices and incom­modities that follow idleness, than by being obliged to the same employments: which are not only the means of getting riches, but were used by the best Men even from the beginning of the World. Indeed, those Coun­try employments would soon have been deserted, had the Law permitted every one to purchase as much as he would, and lay Field to Field; Whereby it comes to pass, that the Lords of so much Land disdain to perform those honest labours with their own Hands, but commit the business of Husbandry to others; [Page 21]such as are, for the most part, strangers hired, or servants bought with money. The inferiour peo­ple, having no Heart to bestow their labour on Land that is not their own, get out of the Fields into the Cities, and their immure themselves, and are corrupted with an idle kind of life, suppor­ted by some soft and illiberall Art. Verily, after that the Ro­man Senators, and those but few, engrossed to themselves the Fields which formerly belong'd to many, not the Citizens alone, but all free men neglected and forgot the art of tillage. The Country that had once seen such brave and gallant men as Cu­rius, Fabricius, Cato, was now fild with the noise of chained labourers and bondmen. The magnanimous of-spring of Romulus (as Varro complains) [Page 22] did no longer exercise themselves in the Corn-Fields and Vine­yards, but in the Circ and Thea­ter: For, they had now thrown away the Hook and Plow, who of old (saith he) had so divided the year, that every ninth day only they visited the City; all the other dayes they attended their Country-affairs. Thus did they decline from their Ancestors ways, which while they obser­ved, they teaped a double bene­fit; their Fields did abound with fruits, and their minds with vir­tue. For prevention of the many publick evils that arise from the fore-mentioned neglect, Mo­ses a Man excellent both in divine and humane wisdom provident­ly decreed the privileges of Re­demption, and established the Law of Jubily: A Law, that had not the least shadow of in­justice, [Page 23]nor conteined any in­commodity at all to the buyers of Land; for, in the sale, an eye was ever cast upon the Jubily, & with respect unto the nearness or distance of it, the price did ei­ther rise or fal. This is that, Lev. 25.14, &c. which is at large set down in Leviticus in these words: If thou sell ought unto thy Neighbour, or buyest ought of thy Neighbours Hand, ye shall not oppress (or circum­vent) one another: According to the number of years after the Jubily, thou shalt buy of thy Neighbour, and according to the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee: According to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof; and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years shall he sell [Page 24]unto thee: Ye shall not therefore op­press (or deceive) one another. Now, if the Seller desired to re­deem his Lands, before the Jubi­ly, it was also with great equity ordained, that he should render back the price, only retaining so much of the money, as the buyer had receiv'd in profits. By this means, Restitution of Lands was made without any damage at all to either party; and Agriculture, their old honest employment, kept up in esteem and practice amongst all the people. What the nature and condition of that people was, to whom Moses gave his Ordinances, cannot be doubted: for, among so ma­ny Laws which he made, as a great number concern Justice and Religion, so the rest which pertain to their estates and mat­ter of profit, run all upon rules of Husban­ry. [Page 25]How carefully are the peo­ple taught, when to give rest to their Land, and to intermit their seeding? what they must ob­serve at Harvest and Vintage? What years it was allowed to gather fruit of the Vine? Far­ther, with what severity are they forbidden to sow mingled seed in the same ground; to mix divers kinds of Animals in ge­neration; or put them together under one Yoke? The rest, tou­ching the breed of Cattle, First Fruits, and Tenths, are almost infinite. They are handled at full in the Talmud: where they take up the sixt part of the whole, or more. Maimonides hath com­prehended all in his Book, that he cals [...], wherein are admirable secrets.

CHAP. IV. In what streight every seventh year brought the Jews. The be­nefit granted to this Nation by Alexander the Great, for a cer­tain prophecy. The Jews had little commerce with other peo­ple. The Grecians ignorant of their affairs. Aristotles opinion of the Jews. Who are the best Common-wealths men. Of Ar­tificers.

SUch were the Laws given to the Hebrews: all whose wealth lay in the Fields. Accor­ding to the encrease whereof, they were in penury or abun­dance? Hence it was, that as oft as forein Kings imposed tribute on them, every seventh year brought them into so great a streight, that they were hardly [Page 27]able to raise the sum. For their Law would not permit them to till the ground that year, and to gather in the fruits thereof, which yeelded all their money. Alexander of Macedonia, ha­ving learned at Jerusalem out of Daniels Book, that a Grecian should overthrow the Persian Empire, glad with the prophe­cy, bad the Jews ask of him some royall favour. They an­swered, no greater benefit could be done them, than the remission of the seventh years tribute. It was granted. The Samaritans, when they said much for them­selves to obtein the same indul­gence, were not heard. But, of all that can be said in this kind, nothing is more luculent than that which 1 Apol. ad v. Ap. Flavius gives in answer to Apion, in behalf of his Country-men: Neither do [Page 28]we live near the Sea, nor delight in trading; nor have we there­fore any commerce with other Nations: but our Cities are re­mote from the Sea, and we our selves seated in a fruitfull Land, which we make more fruitfull by good Husbandry. Indeed, wher­as severall Nations are so asso­ciated by Trade, that the Com­modities of all Countries are transported and may seem na­turall to every one, the Jews alone conteined themselves within the bounds of their own Land, not applying themselves unto negotiation. For they pas­sed not the Sea, nor visited other people, nor were visited by others. Whence it came to pass, that the Grecians and others have delivered many fabulous reports concerning them. For very few had certain intelligence [Page 29]of their affairs. Hecataeus is the only man that hath written truth; The rest have related what they had by fame and hear-say; Which, how unsafe it is in all History, appears by Eph [...]rus, a famous Author of old, who said, Iberia, which he never saw, was one Citie: a ridiculous errour; for 'twas not a City, but a great and popu­lous part of the Western World. It is a marvellous ignorant con­ceit of Aristotle in Clearchus, that the Jews were propagated from the wise men of India, but had changed their name: the Philosophers of India being cal­led Callans, and in Cava Syria Jews. I am ashamed, so great a man should make such a poor conjecture. But that which the same Aristotle there addes, as it is not incredible to us, so is it [Page 30]very glorious for that holy Na­tion. He saith, when he was in Asia, there came unto him a certain Jew, a man of so much learning and science, that in comparison of him all the Gre­cians that were present, seemed to be but Blocks. Herein he hath made some amends for that, he had imprudently rela­ted concerning their Originall: which he had been better to have omitted, as a thing unknown to a stranger. And truly to me Flavius seems to glory in the Jews obscurity, when he saith, They live in mediterranean pla­ces, and Merchants and stran­gers have no access unto them. For so, they long kept their manners uncorrupted, and none of those exotick things pertaining to luxury and riot was impor­ted, whereby most potent nati­ons [Page 31]are undone. The rest of his words are such, that Flavius, you may say, is proud of his Country: We dwell in a fertile Land, and in the culture of it we spend our Labour: as if no­thing could be greater or better. Aristotle recites some Edicts, framed by most antient Law­makers, coming very nigh unto the Mosaicall. Oxylus, King of the Elians, prohibited Lands to be mortgaged for mony; and the Locrians were not permit­ted to sell the Inheritances of their Fathers. Which Ordinan­ces were (as the greatest Author of naturall wisdom noteth) to this purpose, that the people might not desert the culture of their Fields. Wherefore he so often iterates it in his Politicks, that the best Common-wealth is, where the people live upon Til­lage [Page 32]and Pasture. He gives the reason: Because they govern themselves and their affairs ac­cording to the Laws: for they maintain themselves by their labour, and cannot have any time to be idle. Other Common-weals, fill'd with a multitude of Opificers and Mechanicks, he judgeth in far worse condi­tion, because the life of such men is unactive and sedentary, and their employment of no al­liance unto virtue. It appears hence, how vain and frigid that vulgar objection is, (which Fla­vius mentions) against the Jews: In that Nation there are no in­ventors of new works, no Arti­ficers: This is no disgrace to the Jews, but the greatest praise; for how can the invention be praise worthy, when the exer­cise of the things invented is [Page 33]illiberall? All Opificers are con­versant in works that foul their hands; and Aristotle saith well, they serve a kind of servitude, but limited, because we use their hands and labour, not as of servants in all, but in some one matter. So little of what is ingenuous can be found in the Shop, wherein, beside the rest, there is also this evill, that it ef­feminates and weakens both the body and mind. Wherefore in antient Common-weals well establisht, (as the most judicious Master saith) Opificers were not Free-men, but strangers, and they were a body as it were distinct and separate from the Citizens.

CHAP. V. The Hebrews hated by the Egyptians, and why. The Egyp­tians given to idle Arts: emas­culated by Sesostris. An Egypti­an Law of inheriting trades. The Shepheards, a third of the Egyp­tians, feared by the rest: and why more hated than Husbandmen.

NOw it will be easy to ob­serve the cause why the Jews were hated alwaies by the Egyptians, not only while they sojourned there, but afterward when they had a proper seat and a Common-weal of their own in the neighbouring Land of Palestine, bounded on the South with Egypt, as Cornelius Taci­tus relates. Truly, that hatred sprang from nothing more, than a dissimilitude of life and stu­dies. For all the Plebeians of [Page 35] Egypt, set upon sellulary arts, under the shade of their Cities took their ease within the Wals; Yea some, perverting the offices of the virile sex, handled the spinning wheel. And as they were ever prone by their own disposition unto softness, so af­terward were their minds more enervated by the King Sesostris; Whose studie it was to soften his people, and as the Egypti­ans themselves report, learned the skill of Mercury. There was a Law too, that conduced to this end by confining their wit within narrow bounds: for no Opificer might exercise any o­ther Art, but that which descen­ded to him from his Father. Ju­venal, when he would smite Crispinus (a man gotten up to high place by evill Arts, and Caesars favour) with a Satyri­call [Page 36]jerk, calls him a Plebeian of Nilus, and slave of Canopus. For so it was the opinion, that the Priests were free, and the O­pificers, which were the com­mon people, servants. But there was another sort far different from those, a certain third part of the people, which liv'd at distance in the plains of Egypt, and near the marshes. These were the Shepheards; active and able men, but execrable to all the Egyptians, because they would not suffer them to be se­cure in their idle course of life. These often made great com­motions, and sometimes created Kings for themselves. Where­fore the Romans in after times, when they easily held the rest of Egypt in obedience, placed a stronger Garrison in these parts. When you have taken the most [Page 37]exact view of all things, you will find, this was the only reason that made the Egyptians, even from the first, so ill-affected un­to Shepheards; because those sedentary men and opificers could not endure their fierce and lively spirits. Pharaoh him­self, when he had decreed to a­bate and depress the growing multitude of the Israelites, speaks to his men on this wise: The Israelites are stronger than we. Come, let us deal wisely, that they encrease not, lest when War arises they joyn themselves unto our enemies, and take arms against us. That opinion I think to be right and true; nor can I assent to them, that impute the cause of this publick hatred to their superstition: as if the He­brews, Keepers of Flocks and Herds, could not be suffered by [Page 38]that Nation, who reverenced, some Sheep, some Goats, some other fourfooted Beasts, and would not slay them, being perswaded, there was in them something of divinity. But this Reason is ve­ry improbable; for what will they answer, when either they shall learn out of the Penta­teuch, that Pharaoh had innu­merable Flocks of Sheep; or when they shall see so many monuments of Histories to be produc'd, making manifest, that a considerable part of the Egyp­tians (as we have above said) lived in Pastures, and among Cattle? And yet is that saying notable in the Scripture; All Shepheards are hated by the E­gyptians. Of Husbandmen it is not so spoken: nor indeed could their valour (which was none at all) be feared or hated. For [Page 39]the lazy Clowns had all their hopes placed not in the indu­strious manuring of the ground, but in the River Nilus. The overflowing stream bred and en­creast their Corn: nor did it bring only fruitfulness to the earth, but earth it self; for be­ing mixt with much mud, it en­larg'd the Fields, and by an yearly addition stretched out the bounds of their Land. So, the Countryman admired both his soyl and Crop newly sprung, which without his labour and care had fallen to him.

CHAP. VI. The Jubily not celebrated after the Captivity. That solem­nity was kept in the 49. year, which was the 7. sabbaticall.

COncerning the Egyptians, what disposition they were of, and how different from their Neighbours of Judea, wee have spoken sufficiently; We return, to say a little more of the Ju­bily. The Agrarian Law made by Moses touching the resti­tution of possessions was obser­ved with very great Religion untill the desolation of the for­mer sanctuary by the Assyrians. After that, Palestin lay forsa­ken and incult for the space of 70. years, as the Prophets had foretold. But when at length that fatall time was expired, [Page 41]the Jews indeed returned to their antient habitations, and the Temple was built a-new, but never was the Agrarian Law revived, nor the Jubily solem­nities celebrated any more. No more now did every fiftieth year give liberty to servants, nor re­store unto the former Lords their lost and sold possessions. Whether justly the fiftieth year or the forty ninth was the year of Jubily, 'tis made a question. We joyn with those incompa­rable men of our time that hold the forty ninth: nor can we as­sent unto Maimonides in this, though for the most, we religi­ously embrace his judgement. For this Author hath recompen­ced us, for his few and little er­rours, with many great virtues, and very choice observations every where. It is observed by [Page 42]the same Maimonides, that as to the intermission of Agricul­ture, there is the same reason of the Jubily and every seventh year; nor is this a conjecture of the Jews only, or a probable opinion, but certain and undoubted truth, which the Legislators own word confirms, Levit. 25. But now, if the 50, year exactly were the Jubily, two Sabbaticall years (for the 49. is Sabbaticall) would with­out intermission have been ce­lebrated together. A singular, strange and unusuall thing. For, whereas providence had so or­dained that every sixt year in Palestin, by its exceeding fruit­fulness, should prevent the fa­mine of the seventh, being the year of rest to the Fields, there must now be a more miracu­lous fruitfulness, if two years [Page 43]of rest should come together. In neither was it lawfull to Plow or Sow. Therefore, the divine bounty, which is expressed in Levit. (I will send my blessing upon you in the sixt year, and it shall bring forth the fruits of three years) must be encreased to serve for four years, the 49. and 50. being, upon divers rea­sons, both Sabbaticall. No such fruitfulness was ever granted to any other Land or Nation. We confess indeed the Land of Palestin was the favourite of Heaven, and much indebted to the divine influence above o­ther Lands; yea, things went there sometimes contrary to the Laws of Nature. Nevertheless, seeing none of the Prophets have given testimony to so great a miracle, nor any histories have made any record of it, we must [Page 44]not, by too easy a credulity, give occasion to our Reader to charge us with stupidity.

CHAP. VII. The three consecrations of Pa­lestin and of the Cities; Of City­houses, of Jerusalem and her pri­vileges. Agrippa's offence, and the Jews embassage upon it to Nero. Of enlarging their terri­tories: and the right of fortify­ing. The ruin of the Common­wealth. The Cities of refuge.

THe Talmudists affirm, when Josuah marched into Pa­lestin, he consecrated all the walled Cities. This they called the first entrance. But when the holy people was carried [Page 45]away by the Babylonians, be­yond Euphrates, their Country was polluted by the wicked: Wherefore, after the return of the Jews into their seats, Ezra the high Priest, by a solemn act, restored sanctimony to the Ci­ties, and that was the second en­trance. At last Caesar Titus, having overthrown the Jews, prophaned all again. And here the Talmudists flatter them­selves with a pleasing error. For they doe yet expect Messias, who, as they would have it, shall invade the kingdom of Pale­stin, and consecrate the Cities once more. This, say they, will be the third entrance. More­over, the same Authors tell us, wherein consists the Religion and sanctimony of Cities; and why the Villages and Coun­try were not consecrated also: [Page 46]Which it would be tedious to relate. When the Towns of Palestin were assigned to the severall tribes, the Levites too received Cities for their habita­tions; but the Country, the Fields and possessions were so divided, that they had no share: For they had the Tenths only, and first fruits, and all the Sa­crifices. Of these they lived, and with these they did abound. But we must observe with Mai­monides, what is here said hath place only in the Land, which by Covenant was given to A­braham, I saac, and Jacob, and which was held by their chil­dren, and divided amongst them. But in other regions, which were subdued by some Kings of Is­rael, the Priests and Levites had their portion with the rest of the Hebrews. Concerning City-dwellings [Page 47]there was a Law, that he who had sold his House might redeem it within a year: the year being past, it was the buy­ers; nor had the next of Kin any right to redeem it, nor was the Jubily here of any benefit. If the House were redeemed, the whole price was repayed to the buyer, although the sale and delivery had been made many months before. And the for­mer possessor might redeem his House, even on the last day of the year. In case he was ab­sent, who had bought it, or was gone out of the way on pur­pose, the Redeemer addressed himself to the Court, and ha­ving there in presence of the Senate laid down the price he had received, departed, brake open the doors, and took pos­session of his House again. Thus [Page 48]the Talmudists. In the Cities of the Levites it was not so but, for their houses, they had the benefit of the same Law which was establisht by Moses con­cerning the Fields and rurall possessions of all the Hebrews, as hath been said. Wherefore they might redeem them after the year was past; and what was not before redeemed, the Jubily restored. Amongst all the Cities, most eminent was Jerusalems sanctity, and (as the Talmud delivers) it remain'd perpetuall, ever since the De­dication by the most glorious King Salomon: That Ezra consecrated it again, was un­necessary, for it was not capa­ble to be prophan'd, like other Cities, by the hands of the Sa­crilegious. Whence it came to pass, (as the Talmud-tradition [Page 49]is, that it was lawfull to sacri­fise at Hierusalem, and to feast upon the sacrifices, even in the dust and ashes of the destroyed City. But how great was the Religion of the place, appea­red by those Jews, whom Ha­drian the Emperour permitted once a year to visit the deformed reliques of the holy City, and there to lament and deplore the misery of their Nation. This City was not assigned by lot unto any one tribe, but was common to them all: Where­fore the Talmudists free it from that Law, which commands the bloud secretly shed in the bor­ders of the Tribes, to be expia­ted by slaving of a Heifer. This which follows is not from su­perstition but from the antient and approved custom of the Nation. Maimonides relates, [Page 50]if any had an upper room so high that it gave them a pros­pect to the Holy of Holies, they might indeed once a week go up to see all safe, but oftner or for other cause, they might not Ve­rily King Agrippa much offen­ded his people when from a lofty room in his palace he took a fre­quent view of the Temple & saw from on high what was done within it. The Jews, thinking this to be an unsufferable thing, raised a high wall to cut off the Kings prospect, and without de­lay sent unto Rome ten Legates, with Ismael the High-Priest, and Eleazar the Treasurer, to Pe­tition Nero for a confirmation of that, which Religion had compell'd the people to do. What Hec [...]taeus of Abdera saith in Flavius, that Jerusalem was of 50. furlongs compass, [Page 51]inhabited by one hundred twen­ty thousand persons, were not very materiall for us to know, but that there is something of singular note concerning the en­largement of their pomaeria, which Maimonides hath de­clared out of the Talmudicall Books. And this it is. In the enlargement of the City, the great Senate Sanhedrin, and the King▪ and one Prophet, consul­ted the oracle called Urim and Thummim. After that they had agreed among themselves about the interpretation of the divine answer, the Senators of the Sanhedrin recited two Verses of thanksgiving, and having taken two Loaves of leavened Bread, and departing presently with instruments of Musick, made a stand at the turning of every Sticet, and at all Monu­ments [Page 52]erected in the City, and pronounced these words: I will extoll thee O Lord, because thou hast lifted me up. At last, when they were come unto the place designed for consecration, be­cause it was to be the bound of their pomaeria, they all stayed; and there, of the two Loaves taken with them, after the Ver­ses sung, they eat one; the o­ther, they burnt in the flames. These things received from their Ancestors, the Talmudicall wri­ters have thus left upon record. Nor are they improbable, see­ing the like and almost the same are exstant in the 12. Chapter of Nehemiahs commentaries. Yet in after times, the liberty of the Jews being opprest by the Ro­mans, this prolation of their po­maeria depended not upon the pleasure of the great Councill, but [Page 53]of the Roman people. Farther, this is also deliver'd by Cornelius Tacitus, that the Jews, with a great sum of money purchased leave to fortify. Whence it ap­pears, the Queen of Cities, Je­rusalem, was in the same con­dition with all towns under the Roman power, whose Walls could not be repair'd without the Authority of the Prince or Governour, nor any thing joy­ned to them, or set upon them: as L. 9. sect. ff. de rerum divis. Ulpian the Lawyer saith. And truly, Claudius Caesar, when he had received intelligence that they were enclosing Jeru­salem with a mighty Wall, ad­monished Agrippa of that new attempt; and thereupon the King, in obedience to the Em­perour, left off the work he had undertaken. The Talmudicall writers say, Jerusalem had this [Page 54]privilege, above other Towns of Judaea, that no house in the City, after one year, could be retained by the buyer. They say also, it was not lawfull to plant Orchards or gardens there affirming that of the whole Ci­ty, which Hecataeus hath writ­ten of the circuit of the Temple. Dead bodies, which were car­ried any whither, were not ad­mitted into that City, out of a respect unto the Holiness there­of. Only two Sepulchers were there, of David, and of Olda, built (they say) by the old Pro­phets. Yet were the Levits bound up with a more strict Religion being prohibited to bury the dead in their Cities and in the Field of their Suburbs too. Wherefore, by divine appoint­ment, they received from the o­ther Tribes a parcell of ground [Page 55]without their own borders, where they might lay the bones of their dead to rest. In other Towns, it was not unlawfull to bury, provided seven honest men gave assent thereto; but when once the Corps was carried forth of the gate, it might not be recei­ved again within the walls, al­though all the people should desire it. Jerusalem, as we said above, was the head city, the seat of Religion and holy rites; Wherefore, that being over­thrown, there fell with it the form of the Jewish Common-weal, both Civill and sacred. Truly what Flavius saith of a voice heard out of the Temple, before the destruction of the City, Let us go hence; seemeth unto me to signifie nothing else, but that the Common-weal was to be dissolved, and the [Page 56]Scepter to be taken away, which of old was given to the holy Nation. For within a short time, the orders, and functions, and rites, and almost all their Laws ceased; and there follow­ed great confusion, desolation, and distraction. First of all the most sacred College of the Ha­sideans, that drew its Originall from the Prophets, was now no more; because their custom was, to goe every day to the Temple, and to bestow volun­tary charges upon Sacrifices, and upon the Porches and Walls of the Sanctuary. And whereas Moses imposed upon strangers that should become Proselytes, the oblation of some certain gift, this upon the dissolution began to be deferred altogether till another time when the third sanctuary, which they yet ex­pect, [Page 57]shall be built. Nor doe they any more marry their Bro­thers Widows, which have no Children. And the solennity of the Passeover, never since that time, hath been rightly celebra­ted; for the Law commanded it should be kept in that place, wherein. God had chosen the seat of his house. Of so much consequence was the fall of one City it hath changed and per­verted all things, and brought to ruin the Common-wealth of the greatest people in the world. Concerning other Towns of Ju­daea, nothing memorable comes into our mind, but that God appointed some of them for Cities of refuge that such as had unwittingly slain a man might find safety and protection there. There did they endure a gentle banishment till the High-Priest [Page 58]dyed, whose death set them all at liberty; so that, if happy any had deceased before, yet their bones might then be carried in­to the Sepulchers of their Fa­thers. These towns were six; and three more shall be added to them, say the Talmud-wri­ters, when the greatest of Kings, Messias, shall come upon the earth; to which they refer that of M [...]ses, not spoken surely in vain, When the Lord your God shall enlarge your borders. Be­sides the six Cities, the same pri­vilege was granted to the two and forty towns of Levits; but that the same writers deny, those places to have been safe for them, that understood not the benefit of the Law Other things, which may be said of the Right of these Cities, together with what the Jews comment [Page 59]upon some other towns, we will therefore let pass, because we cannot polish nor grace them by our handling.

CHAP. VIII. What Palestin had above o­ther Countries. The Hebrew Common-wealth could not bee translated into other places. Of the Babylonian Jews: and their power. Of the Scepter, against M [...]imon. The J [...]ws Common-wealth bound to Palestin. No Temple to be built elsewhere.

THe Common-wealth of the Hebrews had it be­ginning then, when the holy people was brought into the happy land of [...]. Before which time, though in the A­rabian [Page 60]deserts most wholesome Laws, both ceremoniall and ju­diciall, were given by Moses the man of God: yet all their force pertained to that Country, wherein as the severall Tribes should have severall Towns, so there should be one City sin­gularly appointed, to be the Chamber of the Empire, and sent of sacred rites. In the last part of the Pentateuch, the most wise Legislator, repeating what he had given in charge before, hath to our purpose added these express words again and again: These are the precepts, the Sta­tutes and judgements, which ye shall observe in the Land which is given you for an inheritance to possess. Truly, Palestin had this excellency above other Countries, that the holy Na­tion and Common-wealth was [Page 61]affixed unto it alone. Had any one led that people out of their proper seat, and established the same Common-wealth by the same Laws, neither would the Common-wealth have retai­ned its sanctimony, nor the peo­ple their Majesty. Pertinent here and fit to be consider'd on our way is that saying of Lib. 14. M [...]sn. in Hal. Mel. cap. 5. Mai­monides: As it is not lawfull for the Jews to move their seats out of Palestin, so neither may they pass out of Babylon into o­ther Countries. Without the explication of this, whosoever read the writings of the Hebrew Masters will meet with rubs. The truth is, Maimonides speaks not of all the Jews, but of them only who were car­ryed away by the enemy be­yond Euphrates, and dwelt at Babylon and thereabout. Some [Page 62]of these, after 70. years, retur­ned into Palestin: the rest, mo­ved by the beneficence of the Kings, under whom they lived, continued at Babylon, and fixed their colonies there. The mul­titude of them was very great, and at last grew up into a Na­tion. 'Tis incredible, what strength these exiles had; for they did almost ofter both the Miter and the Diadem that is, the Priesthood and the Kingdom, to Hircanus, h [...]stening out of Part [...] unto H [...]rod; and to them were committed the Ar­can [...] of the Babylonian Empire, which [...]n Hebrew Priest kept in a grea [...] strong Tower at E [...]b [...] ­tan of the M [...]des. These Jews were joyned in a very close al­liance with those of Pal [...]st [...]. The same institutions, the same course of life, the same language [Page 63]was common to both sorts: all things were the same. Where­fore, as God permitted them to dwell at Babylon far from their Country, because they were free there from the contagion of any forein customs; so were they denyed to proceed any farther, and to go to any other habita­tion. This is the meaning of Maimonides where he interprets that of Jeremy; they shall be carried into B [...]bylon and re­main there. There is no more question to be made of this mat­ter. That is very glorious, which some wise men of the higher form approved and fol­lowed by M [...]imon [...]i, have conceived of these Babylonians. Their opinion is after the fatall relapse and decay of the affairs and state of Jerusalem, these Babylonian Jews are the only [Page 64]people upon whom was trans­fer'd the Imperiall dignity, promised in that famous Ora­cle: Gen. 49.10. The Scepter shall not de­part from Juda, nor a Law gi­ver from between his feet, untill Shiloh come. We, who reve­rence the excellent virtues of Maimonides, make no scruple to reprehend his errours. Cer­tainly, that most considering Author, in this opinion, whilst he too much favours his Coun­try-mens conceits, forsook his own judgement. I am not ig­norant, that the Babylonian Jews had a Common-wealth among themselves, and admi­nistred Justice to the [...]est of their own Nation that were without Palestin. Nor do we forget, that some Peers, descended from the house of David, alwaies held the principality there. Yet [Page 65]therefore follows not, that which Rabbi Ben Maimon would have. For the Scepter, whereof the Oracle was, is nothing else, but the Jewish Common-wealth, that is, that Priestly Kingdom, whereunto the Re­ligions and Ceremonies were, not an accession or prop, but the very soul and spirit. Besides, the custody of Ceremonies and sacred Rites did not belong to every City, but one, wherein was the sanctuary, the peculiar seat and habitation of the Deity. That City first was Shiloh, af­terward Jerusalem in the midst of Pal [...]stin. If any schismatical Jew built a Temple or Altar in other Lands they offended a­gainst the Rights and inviolable Laws of the Common-wealth. There is extant, among the mo­numents of history, the Epistle [Page 66]of Onias to Ptolomy and Cleo­patra; wherein he accuseth his Countrvmen because they had built sanctuaries in the Pheni­cian Cities and elsewhere, con­trary to the Law: being him­self guilty of no less fault ha­ving built a Temple at Helio­polis, pretending the Authority of the Prophet Isaiah to coun­tenance his ambitions enterprize. This could not be done without violation of the Cerem [...]nies. It was amongst the decrees of the most antient Jews, which Rab­bi Moses Egyptius delivers thus: L. 8. in Hal. Biath. c. ult. If one hath transgressed the Law, and built an other house beside the sanctuary at Jerusa­lem, it is not indeed to be accoun­ted a temple of I dols; but yet the Priest that hath served there, can never sacrifice at the san­ctuary of God, which is at Jeru­salem. [Page 67] Yea the vessels, which he hath used, no man shall apply to the Ministries of the true san­ctuary, but they must be [...]id.

CHAP. IX. Criminall causes judged only in Palestin, not by the Babylo­nian Jews and others. When the Common-weal was of all the Hebrews, when of the Jews. What the Scepter was. The plausible opinion of Eusebius confuted. Wherein consists and to whom belongs Imperiall Ma­jesty.

WHat we have now said of the sanctuary is of great moment to the confuting of M [...]monides: but wee must produce other Arguments to [Page 68]prove, that the Common-wealth of which old Jacob spake to Juda on his death Bed, was no where seated but in Pa­lestin. We will not go far; but cite M [...]monides for a witness against himself. How often doth he tell us, the holy peo­ple, without the bounds of the Holy L [...]nd, was loosed from many of the Mosaicall Laws? He hath a notable In Hala­cha sanhe­drin. d ssertation, wherein he circumscribes with certain limits the power of the Judges, both of Palestin, and Babylon. Certainly, the greatest part of M [...]ses Law is conver­sant about criminall causes. The judgement hereof, saith Mai­m [...] could be no where exerci­sed by the Babylonian Jews, no not in Palestin. And the Jews of Palestin, as by the Law they gave judgement to their [Page 69]own people in all causes, with­in their own Country; so, with­out it, they gave no sentence upon their Country-men, un­less by the permission of the Babylonian Peers, or other heads of the exiled Jews. Whence we gather, that the Jews of Palesti [...] judged of crimes, in their own Country alwaies, by ver­tue of the Law; sometimes out of their Country, but by per­mission and leave of others: the Babylonians no where judged of them; not in their own do­minion, not in Palestin; not by force of Law, nor by permission. And are these the men, think you, to whom was given the Jewish Scepter, after the affairs of Palestin were broken and decayed? Surely either the ex­cellent writer knew not what was the dignity of the Scepter, [Page 70]or he thought too well of some States of straw, that do there boast themselves to be of Da­vids house. But wee wonder not at this light mistake of Maimonides, when we consi­der by what strange interpreta­tions others have laboured for the sense of Jacobs divine speech. I remember, I had conference, concerning this, with the ho­nourable Apollonius Scottus as­sessor of the supreme Senate, at what time in his house at the Hague, I sweetly spent the Va­cation, and with great ardor ran over the Luculent commen­tations of Rabbi Ben Maimon: wherewith I was so taken, that I crossed almost all my former notes concerning the Jewish State. There did this Senator, such is his learning and the ex­ceeding vigor of his wit, signifie [Page 71]more than once, that in his judg­ment no other Text in the sa­cred Book is more examined by learned men, and less under­stood. Verily I was glad to find of my opinion a man, whose authority and repute might en­courage me to oppose the in­terpretations of any other what­soever. Wherefore by his in­citement. I think I shall not do amiss if in so great a multitude of conjectures. I shall also pub­lish what my judgment is, a­bout a prophecy so illustrious. The Argument indeed is wor­thy, wherein the wit of every man may exercise it self, and shew its strength. Although in this our Treatise we handle the affairs of Hebrews and Jews in common and without diffe­rence, for the most part, yet to secure the Reader from mistake, [Page 72]we will once for all demonstrate, that the sacred Common-wealth constituted by Moses according to Gods appointment, was al­waies the same, and founded on the same Laws, but not alwaies of the same persons. A long time it was of the Hebrews, afterward by change of times it was only of the Jews. And so, the oracle of Jacob, which is of Juda's Scepter, pertaineth only to those later times. The ignorance whereof is the cause why this admirable prophecy hath been hitherto misunderstood. I will not mention here the miserable hallucinations of Origen, Au­stin, Epiphanius and others, who thought the Jews were promi­sed by those words of Jacob, a perpetuall succession of Kings of the same tribe and the same linage, even to the times of Messiah. An opinion which led [Page 73]the followers of it into insupe­rable difficulties; for they know not what to say, nor whither to turn themselves, when they saw, from the death of Sedechiah to the times of Aristobulus, the Kingdom of the Jews was none; and after that untill He­rods tyranny, it was in the hands only of the Hasmonaei of the tribe of Levi. These things of late are discussed well, and with good success, in the exercitati­ons against Baronius, by the most learned man of our age I saack Casaubon, who is pleased with the famous opinion of Eusebius extant in the eighth Book of his Evangelicall demonstrations. We pretermit all things rightly said both by Eusebius and by Casaubon, that we may not do what is done to our hand. And we confess, among all the In­terpretations [Page 74]hitherto divulged, that of Eusebius is far the best. But because neither Eusebius, nor that great Scholar that fol­lows him, seem to me to have understood, what that Scepter is, of which the old Prophet speaks to his Son a little before his death, nor when it was gi­ven to the Jews, this is needfull now to be cleared, but not without a preface. For it is no pleasure to us to dissent, neither from Eusebius, whom we have ever esteemed among the grea­test writers; nor from him, whom we have above named, the prime man of our age, the follower of Eusebius; to whom we owe so much reverence, that no man is so great with us, as He. For He it is, by whose conduct these our times have made ad­mirable proficiency toward the [Page 75]perfection of all learning. But we are constrained by our in­genuous love of truth, to lay a­side affection, and impartially inquire what is right. The first error of Eùsebius is, that the Scepter was given to Juda even from the time of Moses, be­cause this Tribe excelled alwaies among the rest, with singular dignity, and held a more ho­nourable place both in the Camps and in the order of them that offered gifts in the Temple. Which Argument moves me no more, tha [...] if one should say, the Majesty of the Scepter, at R [...] or Athens, was not in the Roma [...] Athenian people, but in one [...] which was more noble or flou [...]ing For tru­ly it is manifest by the most con­stant affirmation of antient Au­thors, that in Rome and Athens [Page 76]both; were many and divers tribes, some above the rest in dignity, place and order. What is it then? Verily I suppose the Scepter to be nothing else, but the Majesty of Empire, Maje­sty I mean pertaining to the Common-wealth it self; Wher­fore, whose is the Common­wealth, theirs also is the Scepter. Now, the Hebrew Common­wealth, from the age of Moses until the reign of Rehoboam, was not of the Jews, but of the twelve tribes. Whence it follows, that the Scepter, all that space of time, was of all the Israelites. But of this Scepter, which a long time was common to all the tribes, the divine Patriarch spoke not in that celebrious oracle. He had respect unto the later times and the ages to come, when the tribe of Juda, the [Page 77]people being divided into con­trary parts, began to have a Common-wealth of their own, a sunder from the Israelites: a Common-wealth approved and favoured of God, and called Judaicall from the name of Ju­da alone, untill he should come, who was designed for the King not of the Jews only, but of all Nations. And this Majesty of the Scepter, from the time it once began to be the Jews, con­tinued theirs, although the State of the Common-wealth was sometimes altered, and the power was in the hand, one while of the best men and the Priests, other while of the Kings and Princes. It is want of judg­ment in them that restrain the honour of this Title to Kings alone. For what people soever en­joys a Common-wealth of their [Page 78]own, and Laws of their own, that people may justly glory in their Empire, and in their Scep­ter. It is recorded, that in Je­rusalem, even at the time when the people were govern'd not by Princes but by the best, in the midst of the Great Councill, which they call Sanhedrin, there hang'd a Scepter. Which was, no question, a certain token of that Majesty, which In part. orat. Tully ex­presseth to be a certain greatness of a people, in retaining that pow­er and right, which appears in Empire and all kind of Honour. Not Kings, not Princes, but Con­suls and Senators managed the Roman Common-wealth, when that Law of confederation was given to the Etolians (as Livy relates) that they should well and truly conserve the Majesty of the Roman people. And that the [Page 79]same was imposed upon all free people that were confederates (but upon unequall terms) and friends to the Romans, the Law­yer In l. 7. ff. de captiv. & postlim. reversis. Proculus is a witness. Neither is it materiall to us, of what family or tribe they were, who governed the Judaicall State. For, although the Has­monaei of the tribe of Levi ma­ny years possessed the Kingdom, nevertheless was the Common­wealth of the Jewish people. Nero Caesars most wise Sen. l. 1. de clemen­tia. Ma­ster told him, The Common­wealth is not the Princes, but the Prince the Common-weal's. And Ulpian the Lawyer was just of the same opinion: The crime of Majesty, L. 1. sect. 1. ff. ad lo­gem Jul. Majest. or Treason (saith he) is that which is committed a­gainst the Roman people, or a­gainst the security thereof. Ul­pian lived in those times, when [Page 80]neither the commands nor suf­frages were in the people, but the Caesars held the Empire and power of all: yet he, that is wont most accurately to de­fine every thing, ascribeth Ma­jesty to the people.

CHAP. X. The twelve Tribes of the Hebrews was never called by the name of Jews. The ten tribes car­ried captive by Salmanassar ne­ver returned into Palestin. Two tribes served the Romans, and no more, in the time of Josephus.

EUsebius is not sufficiently confuted, untill wee have made it plain how imprudently he drew himself into the snare. L. 8. De­monst. evan. dem. 1. In the forecited Book are extant [Page 81]these words: Ever since the time of Moses, the Governours of Is­rael, if you look upon them in par­ticular, were chosen out of se­verall tribes, but in generall the tribe of Juda was over the whole Nation. Hitherto he agrees with himself and falls into no contradiction; but he addes, For example, as in the Roman Empire, the Governours of several Nations, and Camp-masters, and the Kings, greater than all the rest were not all born at Rome, nor descended from Romulus and Remus, but sprung of many o­ther Nations, some of one, some of another; and yet, as well all the Kings, as the succeeding Go­vernours and Leaders, were called Romans, and the power and authority said to be of the Romans, not of any other name: so must we think of the Hebrew [Page]State, that one tribe of Juda gave an illustrious name to all the rest, though the Rulers and Kings were created out of the severall tribes, all honoured with the common appellation of Jews. See whither incogitancy will bring a man! Eusebius con­cludes contrary to what himself would have. For, affirming the Scepter was the Jews from Mo­ses time; he proves it by this reason, because the Common­wealth, the Empire, and the whole people of twelve tribes, had their appellation from the one name of Juda. With this argument twice or thrice in se­verall places he triumpheth; and you shall hardly find any other proof of his opinion in the whole discourse. But, by his leave, all this is nothing. For, neither did the Common-wealth, [Page 83]nor the Empire begin to be called after Juda's name, till after the greater part of the Israelites, had made a defection, drawn a­way by Jeroboam, who shortly at Samaria strenthened his Kingdom by introducing a change of ceremonies and Re­ligion. I will make it good to Eusebius, and to all that have any acquaintance with sacred story, that this is so. Eusebius often and with confidence af­firms, all the twelve tribes were called by the name of Jews, and hath obtruded this groundless opinion upon unwary men, nor have there been wanting some writers of greatest eminence to defend it. We cannot yield un­to it: whether you respect the times antecedent to the seisure of the Kingdom, or subsequent. And, we may conjecture, that [Page 84] Eusebius, although he doth not plainly express his mind, thought it came to pass at the rise of the Empire when the Common-wealth was first setled in the Land of Canaan, and it was deba­ted by what name to call it. But this hath no colour of truth, wherefore that excellent man, the Defender of Eusebius, makes him think otherwise of the time, and what he believes he thought, himself approves and follows. For, saith he, it was observed by Eusebius, that the twelve tribes of Israel received appellation from the name of Juda; and the appellation be­gan to be used, when the Kingly power, which the tribe of Ju­da had lost in Sedechiah, was by the High Priests trans­ferred upon themselves. And this, saith he, is a thing most [Page 85]worthy of admiration, and fell out by speciall providence. For, seeing in Polybius his opinion 'twas not without some great cause that the Acheians, a little people of Greece, once gave name to all the Grecians; sure­ly here also we must conceive some more sublime and weigh­ty reason, when after the return from captivity all the children of Abraham of all the tribes were called Jews. This errour we neither can, nor ought to excuse. The truth is this: When the Kingdom of the Israelites was rent and divided, two tribes, Levi and Benjamin, joy­ned themselves with the Jews; which tribes being but few in number, and of mean estate, were accounted but for an ad­dition; the Common-wealth was not named from them, but [Page 86]they even lost their own name, and at length the name of Jews was common to them all. There is no doubt to be made of thus much. But what, or how this can concern the other ten tribes, let them consider that are pleased with the con­ceit. Certainly, after that those ten tribes of Israel were once carried away by Salmanassar the Assyrian, and dispersed through Colchos, Parthia, India, and Ethiopia, they never came back again into their native soil, nor were again conjoyned with the Jews: but even to this day, (if there be any reliques of them) under the command of barbarous Nations, they suf­fer the grievous punishment of their Apostacy. Wherefore, to be in the Common-wealth of the Jews, or to have the honour [Page 87]a name from the Jews, was im­possble for them who had no familiarity, nothing to do with the Jews, but were seated in a­nother World far off, and be­held a different Heaven, diffe­rent Stars. It will be worth our pains, and much to the present dispatch, to examine a memo­rable place, that is in Flavius Josephus, L. 11. c. 5. Antiquit. an Author of exqui­sit and unusuall diligence, Fla­vius had spoken first concer­ning them, who from every quarter out of the neighbouring places came to Babylon, that they might return with Ezra to Jerusalem. They all were Jews, and their Associates of Levi and Benjamin. And then, concerning the Hebrews of o­ther tribes, he addes: But all the people of Israel remained in their Where they were carried by Salmanas­sar beyond Euphrates. seats; wherefore both in [Page 88]Asia and in Europe, two tribes only fell under the dominion of the Romans; the other ten do still continue on the other side of Euphrates, being infinite in number and unknown. Verily, they were under a harder fate, whom Salmanassar led into captivity, than whom afterward Nebuchodonozor carried away. For the Israelites were for ever restrained and kept back by the River Euphrates, which they had once passed over. But the Jews passed the same, and repas­sed, and came again at last into Palestin: and when Palestin it self became either too nar­row for them, or less gratefull, they enlarged and spred their habitations through Europe and Asia. This is the reason why Josephus said, only two tribes of the Hebrews were brought [Page 89]into subjection by the Romans. For at that time the people of Rome, although they had almost subdued the World, and the Sun did both rise and set with­in the compass of their Empire, being Lords of the East and West, they had not yet extended their bounds beyond Euphrates. Therefore, that the ten tribes of Israel, shut up in eternall prison by that River, were not then under the Roman power, was truly said by the most ac­curate Writer.

CHAP. XI. Their Conjecture that say the Scepter of Juda was first given to David. The prophecy concer­ning the Scepter not fulfilled till after times. When the Scepter was taken away.

I Have ingenuously and freely spoken my opinion, when the Scepter, whereof Jacobs pro­phecy is extant, was given to the Jews: also, what were the members of that Common-wealth, which had its rise and beginning from the Secession of the common people. These things Eusebius did not under­stand: yet he alone, among so many Interpreters, hath rightly and almost divinely judged of that oracle. The comments of other men I will not relate. But, [Page 91]what Eusebius affirms to have been done from the beginning of the Hebrew Common-wealth, very many conjecture, came to pass at that time, when the royall power was devolved up­on David, descended of the tribe of Juda, as the sacred Hi­story doth witness. These men have already received such a so­lid and happy confutation from Eusebius, that no place is left here for the industry of any o­ther. For he shews, that Da­vids posterity possessed the King­dom only for a small time, un­till the Babylonian captivity: and the sundry Scriptures that speak of his eternall throne, he hath well and wisely interpre­ted in relation to the Messias. To adde more of this after Eu­sebius, were to labour in vain; for by his pains herein, he hath [Page 92]eased every one. It remains only, that wee answer their doubt, who wonder why the event came so far behind the prediction concerning the Jew­ish Common-wealth. For we have said, it began under Reho­boam, and not before. But we give them to understand, this was very agreeable to the mea­ning of the prophetick Patri­arch. For the old Father, be­fore his death, breathing forth his last words to his children, saith, he would tell them, what should come to pass in the later dayes. Besides, in prophecies, the times are not curiously to be insisted on: for most of them are to be interpreted with very great latitude. Observe, in this very prophecy, when it is said, The Scepter shall not be taken a­way, untill Shiloh come; you [Page 93]would think 'twere meant, that presently upon the appearance of Messias, the Scepter should be snatcht out of the hands of that Nation. Which came not so to pass. For the Jews lost not that honour, till the City being destroyed, and the Tem­ple burnt, they ceased to have any Common-wealth, and to govern themselves by their own Laws. Nevertheless, the oracle was infallibly true. For although the Saviour of the World had left the earth long before, yet, for certain, these things hapned in the same age: which was presig­nified by the Messias himself, wher he speaks of the destruction of the City and Temple, in these words: Verily, Mat. 24. this Generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. This is enough for the wise. The rest, that love to [Page 94]raise doubts and scruples every where, we regard not. For my part, seeing men of great name fluctuating among uncertain er­rours, I applyed my self to find out some firm ground to rest on, which henceforth I might without danger constantly maintain. For otherwise this matter would have often hin­dred our proceeding in this Trea­tise.

CHAP. XII. Of Dictators and Judges. Of the Senate Sanhedrin. Of the initiation of Senators. The im­position of hands: and the solemn words. Who were chosen into that Council, and what was their jurisdiction. Of the peoples as­semblies.

WE have shewed, that the Common-wealth, of which we discourse, was of all the Hebrews for a long time, and then only of the Jews. The stating whereof concern'd us much. Now, having past the trouble of that dispute, let us declare who they were that ru­led over the Holy Nation, and what is to be thought of their judicature, and of their Senate. The Divine goodness granted [Page 96]not leave to Moses, to behold in Palestin the beginnings of that Common-wealth, whose Laws he had published in the wilderness. That Grace was vouchsafed to his Successor Josuah, the Captain General and Soveraign of the people; for both at home, and abroad in the War, his word was a Law. His Successors with e­quall power were they, who, for going in and out before the people, and commanding them, might well be called Praetors and Dictators, but in the sacred Annals are, for the like reason, named Judges. Flavius hath stil'd them Monarchs, a name, that the Greek writers gave al­so to Sylla, Cinna, Marius, and other Roman Dictators. These Judges, in great commo­tions, were created by necessity: [Page 97]and experience witnessed, that in War they had alwaies good success, when the Kings very often had their rashness requi­ted with ill fortune. Sometime also the same Judges were em­ploy'd in civill affairs, and heard causes, but those of the greater moment. For they seldom sate in the judgment seat. Only the commands, and the Empire, and the Soveraingty pertained unto them. The last of their number was Samuel, He, whom the Kings followed. Who not content with power and rule, lifted up themselves above the multitude, in their robes and or­naments and splendor of for­tune. Moreover, besides the So­veraign Rulers and Judges of the people, and those that were after called Kings, there were others not a few, who consul­ted [Page 98]of the Common-wealth, gave judgment, and arbitrated business. For there were certain Synedryes or Councils; where­in, who were the Senators, and what where the matters of their cognizance, we must now en­quire. In the first place presents it self the great Councill of the Sanhedrin, into which were as­crib'd seventy Adsessors. That Council, constituted by Moses, continued under the Judges, and Kings, and high Priests, untill the last desolation of Judaea; and was holden in that City which was the seat of the San­ctuary, and the head of the Com­mon-wealth. But because the first times, and the next to them, are most part obscure, and the Holy Book hath delivered to us nothing of principall conside­ration concerning the City Shi­loh; [Page 99]We will deliver what the Jews have observed of that Council in the Princess of Ci­ties Jerusalem, after the Tem­ple was built there: and then wee shall speak of the other Councils, which were either at Jerusalem, or at particular Ci­ties. The Seat of the great Council was in the very San­ctuary, where the seventy Sena­tors judged both of divine and humane things: Men, not cho­sen from among the Plebeians, but all most noble, commended by their honourable Parentage, and the antient ornaments of their family. The place was assigned to them by Moses, who commanded they should meet in the place which God should choose to have his name ado­red there. From these Judges was no appeal. Whatsoever the [Page 100]other Magistrates and Judges in the towns of Palestin and in Jerusalem it self were not able to decide, belonged unto their jurisdiction. Two of them ex­celled the rest in honour and authority: one was the head of the Sanedrin, by the Talmudists entitled Prince in every place; the other next in degree, but inferiour to him, whom they called the Father of judgment. The rest were equall among themselves. This Senatorious dignity, because it was most ho­nourable, was granted to none without a legitimate act, name­ly, imposition of hands. So, Moses layd his hand upon Jo­suah and the seventy Elders: which solemnity being perfor­med, presently a divine spirit from above fell down upon them, and fill'd their breasts. [Page 101]And these, being thus initiated themselves, admitted others af­ter the same way. Yet could not that rite be used without the Holy Land, because all the vertue thereof was confined by the bounds of Palestin. It is very observeable, which Mai­monides hath delivered in the fourth Chapter of his Halacha Sanhedrin. For whereas of old this act was celebrated at their pleasure, by all those upon whom hands had been once imposed, that right (saith he) was streightned by the wise men, and a constitution made, that no man should after that time use it, but by grant from Rabbi Hillel, that divine old man. He was Prince of the great Coun­cill, and had another vice Pre­sident, Sameas, a man trucu­lent and ambitious; whose fol­lowers, [Page 102]when a little after they had risen up against the Disci­ples of Hillel, stirred the minds of men with so much passion, that willingly the whole peo­ple was drawn into their party. At length this imposi­tion of hands, which had been used long, ceased. And there was only pronounced a certain form of words (according to Ben Maimon) of this sense: Behold, the hand is imposed on thee, and power given thee to judge, in criminall causes also. Besides, the Talmudists have told us of another form; whose words, because the illustrious Joseph Scaliger In elen­ [...]ho Trihae­res. hath mista­ken, we shall here restore unto their proper sense. The Talmu­dists, after they had spoken of Juda the son of Baba, a stout defender of the antient customs [Page 103]of his Nation, and who, when the jurisdiction in criminals and imposition of hands were almost lost, supported the sinking cause, adde thus: That solemn act is not only done by the hand impo­sed, as Moses did to Josuah; but it is also done by a form of words only, after this manner, I im­pose my hand upon thee, and be the hand on thee imposed. But the excellent Scaliger collected from the place, that Juda had found out a form different from the most antient, which is there conceived (when 'tis not so, nor do the Talmudists say so) being deceived by a word which bee renders, besides, which in Rab­binism signifies only. But this is a Grammaticall note, and ought to be left to others. We are here to consider graver mat­ters. Into the Great Councill, [Page 104]not only Citizens of prime No­bility, as we have said, but Le­vits also and Priests were cho­sen. And the High Priest (saith Maimonides) was elected too, if he were a considering man, and fit for Counsell. Other­wise, it was lawfull to lay him aside. For he came not to the Senate by any right of his own, but he was admitted by suffra­ges. All the Adsessors were re­quired to be entire and perfect in body. Whosoever had any main or deformity was exclu­ded. Nor were strangers and foreiners received into this or­der, except the Mother at least were a Jew. The Senators of the Sanhedrin had this charge, to make their progress through all Judea, to take a view of the Assemblies of the people, to ap­point them Magistrates in every [Page 105]town. And all the vertue and au­thority of the Cabbala (a myste­rious doctrine delivered from hand to hand even from the be­ginnings of the Cōmon-wealth) was with them. Their part also it was, to make Statutes in sacred matters, and to devise certain wayes to expound the Law. Whereof Maimonides hath spo­ken with great care. Moreover, the causes of Prophets, who had highly offended, were no where tryed but in this great Councill. Which our Saviour had respect unto, when he said in Luke, It is not possible, that a Prophet should perish out of Jerusalem. Lastly, which is a point of the greatest power, they did also con­stitute a King, and deliberat of waging War, and giving battail to the enemy, and enlarging the Empire. But because, in these [Page 106]things the common safety, and publick state was so much con­cerned, consultation was there­in had (for the most part) with the people. For meetings were called, wherein alone they had some share in the Government. And truly, otherwise they ought not. Honours and Magistracies are committed to single and se­lect men. Plebeians have not strength and skill to bear them. In their meetings (as Aristotle hath discreetly noted) and in conjuncture, the multitude hath some understanding, and can advance the publick good, be­cause the wiser men are present and lead the way; but single and apart they have little judge­ment. Concerning a King then, and concerning War, as I have said, Decrees were made some­times the people being Author: [Page 107]all other things the Senators of Sanhedrin dispatched by them­selves. The weightiest affairs were not too heavy for them, because they were chosen for their worth, and great abilities; by the divine Moses rightly na­med Elders, not only for their age, but for their wi [...]dom and experience.

CHAP. XIII. Of two other Councils at Je­rusalem besides the Sanhedrin. The Senate of 23. in every town. The College of 3. The measure of Cities. The 5. men for expia­tion of slaughter. The 7. men and 3. men for ordering the Calen­dar. The times disposed by Rab­bi Hillel. The authority of San­hedrin lessened.

OF the great Senate we have said, what came to mind: the other Councils will not de­tain us long. The most learned [...]n Hala­ [...]a San­hedrin. c. 1. Maimonides relates, that in the City of Jerusalem it self were two Councils more. They are described in the In Misna & in Ge­mara. Talmud. In either of them sate three and twenty Judges. And as the Great Council was held in that [Page 109]part of the Temple, which is called Gazith, so one of these at the Court-gate, the other was kept at the Gate opening to the Mount of the Temple. The Dignity of them also was not the same: for the Judges at the Mount-Gate, took it for a preferment to be ascrib'd into the Senate at the Court-Gate. And again, it was a new degree of honour to ascend hence into the Sanedrin. The distinction is exactly made by Rabbi Ben Maimon. Farther, beside these Councils at Jerusalem, there was constituted in every town of Palestin, a Senate for jurisdi­ction and the care of publick affairs. It consisted of 23. men, who sate in judgement upon the life and fortunes of the people, and decided all causes, except a few reserved, as is aforesaid, [Page 110]to the great Councill. Ben Maimou also describes a cer­tain College of three men, and saith it was in such a City, which had not a hundred and twenty inhabitants. But I am of A­ristotles mind, that this is not a City. For, as it is not a Ship, which is of one handfull, or of two furlongs: so is it not a Ci­ty, which wanteth a just mea­sure; if it be too little, it cannot (as a City should) subsist by it self; and too much greatness turns it from a City to a Nation. But we must not call a Rabbi to so strict account. It was the of­fice of those three, to judge of trespasses of moneys, and goods moveable. The Capitall offen­ders were brought (as I have shewed) before another Bench. [...]hedrin, c. 5. Ben Maimon In Halu­cho San­hedrin. c. 5. addes, somethings were of such a kind that they [Page 111]belonged neither to the seventy Elders, nor to the College of twenty three, nor to the three men: but were to be referred to a peculiar Senate. In which number he reckons man-slaugh­ter committed by an uncertain hand in the borders of any town. Five men (saith he) must expiate this by the Sacrifice of a Heifer. The same Author hath more of this nature, which I willingly praetermit. For we doe not repeat Dictates. That may seem strange, that the or­dering of times was commen­ded to certain Judges; for, In eadem Halacha, eod. cap. con­cerning the Leap-year, seven, concerning the month, three men determined. But Hillel the Ba­bylonian afterward acquitted all his Countrymen of this care: the prime man of his age, of whom we have this honourable [Page 112]testimony from Rabbi Abra­ham In libro juchasin. Zacuth: Rabbi Hillel, president of the great Councill composed the Intercalation for all Israel till the times of Messiah; and that was done by him, be­fore the Lawfull act of imposition of hands was abrogated. Had not this same Hillel maturely prevented so great an evill, cer­tainly the times would have been much confused; for, not long after ceased the solennity of imposing hands, without which those seven men and three men were not appointed over­seers and correctors of the Ca­lendar, as Maimonides obser­veth. But no more of this, lest the Reader think we prepare an accurate and perfect work, wher­as we only thrust out our sud­dain and tumultuary Meditati­ons. And we desire it may be [Page 113]noted, whatsoever we have said of Councils hath relation to the time before Judaea had received the Roman conqueror. For he changed and repealed many things, not for his lust or plea­sure, nor out of any cruell design, but that he might secure his Dominion. Gabinius chiefly, the Proconsul of Syria, seeing the principall pillar of the Com­mon-wealth was the Sanhe­drin, thought it good policy to take away the authority there­of in many towns. Wherefore at Gadar, Amath, Hiericho, and Sephor he setled four Syne­dries, and a fift at Jerusalem (now but a part of what she was) all of equall power. And the Councils placed by Gabinius in the other Cities, as they were not inferiour to that in Jeru­salem for power, so were they [Page 114]far beyond it in continuance. These are meant, if I mistake not, by In l. 17. c. de Jud. & Cal. Justinian, when he re­quires a Canon, from the pri­mates, who rule the Synedries of either Palestin. But we make no excursion into these times. The antient Common-wealth and primitive Institutions are under our consideration. To en­quire into the rest, and set down things that were often changed, were unhappily to place our study, where no certain truth can be delivered.

CHAP. XIV. The creation of a King. A bad one first chosen, why. What qualities the Prophet had res­pect unto. The Book of the King­dom laid up. The power of the Hebrew Kings. Their honour above Priests and Prophets. Kings and Priests at first the same. The annointing of Kings made them sacred. The Holy Ointment hid by Josia, and lost with other things.

RAbbi Ben Maimon In part. post. Misnae. saith, the Israelites received three commands from God, to bee fulfilled in Palestin; the first whereof was, to make them­selves a King; another to blot out the memory of the Amale­kites; the third concerning the building of a Temple. The per­formance [Page 116]whereof (saith he) was at severall times and long distant, but in the same order wherein they were commanded. For a King was created before the War with Amalek, and the building of the Temple was not begun, untill that most odi­ous Nation was brought to an end, and quite destroyed. The testimonies illustrious, which are related by the same Author, need not be transcribed hither. In the 17 of Deuteronomy the most high God, saying the Israelites would desire a King, addes the truest reason of it, because all the neighbouring Nations lived under the royall Government. For such is the nature and dis­position of men, inhabiting that part of the world: few prefer liberty before subjection unto just Lords. And Claudius Ci­vilis [Page 117]in Tacitus truly saith to his Batavians, that Syria and Asia serve, and the East is accustomed to the yoke of Kings. This be­ing so, many have admired, why God took it ill, that the Sove­raign power was transferred from Samuel to a King, since he had approved it before, and said it should be according to the in­clination of the holy people. Maimonides answers learnedly, that the divine Indignation arose from hence, Because they desir'd a King by unfaithfull complaints and seditious murmurings, not that they might comply with Gods design in the Law, but out of a distast of the most holy Pro­phet Samuel: to whom it was spoken by the voice of God. They have not rejected thee, but me. Verily I am of this opinion, and I doubt not to assert it, that the [Page 118]Kingdom was given to Saul, not out of Gods love and care of the Common-wealth, but because he perceived his arrogance and cruelty, hee meant to glorify Samuel by this unequall compa­rison, and by such a successor make his vertue the more desira­ble. The qualities seem but light and superficiall, but they are of great moment, which (as the Holy Book in severall places hath it) were considered by Sa­muel in the Kings election: a gracefull look, talness of body, and such like, which affect and draw the eyes and minds of all. These are the things, which the great Prophet, in the midst of the Assembly, commended, when he spake these words: 1 Sam. 10.24. Behold, whom God hath chosen: that there is none equall to him in all the people. Wherefore, it is not [Page 119]the property of Barbarians on­ly, but of the most civill men, to think them capable of great atchievements, whom nature hath graced with a goodly form and stately countenance. No less a man than Aristotle hath pro­nounced thus: If any persona­ges are by nature framed so much more excellent than o­thers, as the images of Gods excell the images of men, it seemeth meet, that the rest should be servants unto such. If this be true in the body, much more in the soul: but the souls form and beauty cannot be so easily discerned. To leave this: In the Holy Bible is mentioned a certain volume, 1 Sam. 10.25. wherein Sa­muel wrote the sacred rights of the Kingdom, and laid it up in the Tabernacle. A text not well understood by Josephus; who [Page 120]imagined all the evils, which God foretold the people they should fear from an unjust King were comprehended in that volume. We on the contrary believe, there were in that Book the Laws, which commanded the King to follow justice and equity, and to govern the Com­mon-wealth wisely for the peo­ples good: also, not to play the Prince in lusts and riots: lastly, to retain modesty in the great­ness of his fortune, a vertue well becomming the best of men, and very pleasing unto God. The matter is deliver'd in Deu­teronomy thus: Deut. 17.15, &c. Thou shalt set him King over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose: One from among thy Brethren shalt thou set King over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy Brother. [Page 121]But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt. For as much as the Lord hath said unto you, ye shall henceforth return no more that way. Neither shall he mul­tiply Wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to him­self silver and gold. And it shall be when he sitteth upon the throne of his Kingdom, that he shall write him a Copy of this Law in a Book, out of that which is be­fore the Priests the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the dayes 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. These words of the Law are not obscure, and they [Page 122]seem to contain the sum of that volume, which the great Pro­phet laid up in the Sanctuary. We said Cap. 8. above, the Jews had such a Common-wealth, which in the Scripture is called a Priest­ly Kingdom. Whence it fol­lows, that their Kings did not only govern in civill affairs, and military, but were Presidents of Religion and holy Ceremonies. For they were sacred persons, to whom Gods Commission and the voice of a Prophet gave Em­pire, honour and authority. Yet as the Over-sight of Sacred things, the Soveraign power and judgment pertained unto them, so the mystery and charge of the same things was of right claimed by the Levites, that is, the High Priest, the rest of the Priests, and their assistants. It was their office, to slay the Sa­crifices, [Page 123]to make expiations, to rehearse the divine Laws before the people, and to perform other services in the Temple. The Talmudicall writers well ob­serve how much the King ex­celled all, both Priests and Pro­phets: which we will relate out of In Halu­cha Mela­chim, cap. 2. Maimonides. The words are to this effect: It was a Sta­tute, that the chief Priest should reverence the King, and yield him his place to sit in, and him­self stand, when the King came to him. But, the King standeth not in the presence of the Priest, unless when he consults the U­rim after the solemn manner. And, such is the dignity of the King, that even the Prophet himself, as oft as he comes into his presence, bows himself down to the earth: as it is written, Nathan the Prophet came be­fore [Page 124]the King, and, to honour him, fell upon his face to the ground. Yet more, David himself, whom the Prophet formerly had anointed King, so little feared to take upon him the honour of the High Priest, that he put upon himself the Ephod, and enquired of the Lord, whether he should pursue the enemy. The place is eminent in the Book of Samuel, Cap. 30. v. 7. perver­ted by the late Interpreters, men very learned, but here they seem indiligent. Let all men judge that have any skill in the origi­nall, whether the words tran­slated by them, Applicavit sibi Abiathar amiculum, Davidis causa, signify not the same I have said, that David, having put on the Ephod of Abiathar, consulted the Oracle [The Eng­lish Bible reads it, And Abia­thar [Page 125]brought thither the Ephod to David. Grotius de Imperio c. 6. reads it in this sense, Abia­thar made the Ephod to come near to David, that as he stood before the high Priest (which the King only did when he con­sulted Urim) he might see whe­ther the sparkling of the prectous stones would promise him good success. Abiathar then had the Ephod upon him, not David. The Urim answered. i. e. God by the Urim. vide locum.] But let us give you some more of our Collections from the Rabbins. Herein also consisted an high point of honour, M [...]im. c. 2. in Hal. M [...]l. & c. 7. Hal. Beth. Habb. that the King only, and no man else, might sit in the Court of the Temple, in any place; only the King who was of Davids family. That Court was divided by certain spaces, one part for the Priests, [Page 126]another assigned for the people; Yet the Priests cuuld not sit down, though within their own prescribed bounds. The Sena­tors of Sanhedrin had right to sit: Maimon ib. but, in the midst of that place which the prophane com­mon people had. Never did the more sacred spaces of the Court behold any man sitting, but the King: this being his Prerogative, as if he were nearer to God than the Priests themselves, and a greater President of Religion. And, if we go to other Nations, Aristotle saith, in the first times the same person, for the most part, was both King and Priest. This was no depraved custom, being in use, while people fol­lowed nature more incorruptly, and saw what was right, so much better, by how much nearer they were to the divine originall. [Page 127]But, to speak of the Hebrew Kings, their sacredness depended much upon their being anoin­ted. This was proper to them and the high Priests, as the Tal­mud saith, That anointing ad­ded a divine Majesty to the Kings, and made them sacred, and allyed unto God. The rea­son, why in those times they or­dered or restored Religion, was not because they were Prophets: (that's a groundless and erro­neous opinion, for except Da­vid, and perhaps Saul, no one of the rest prophecyed of things to come:) but Salonion and Jehoshaphat and Ezechiah and Josiah, and others exercised power and authority over things divine, because the vertue of the sacred Ointment had been communicated to them. This Ointment Moses was directed [Page 128]to make of those aromatick in­gredients which In Hal. Cele Ham­mik. c. 1. Maimonides describes. And the Talmud saith, it was used for initiation and consecration untill the times of J [...]siah, who hid it un­der ground in the Temple, in a secret place prepared carefully long before by Salomon, upon notice of the prophecies, that the Temple should at last be thrown down by the Assyrians. In the same secret place (as the Tradition also is) the Ark of the Covenant, and Aarons red, and the stones Urim and Thum­mim, with the residue of Manna, were laid up by Josiah: and none of them all was restored to the Jews, when upon their return from Babylon into their native seat, they built the second Tem­ple. Wherefore, since that time the Kings and Priests received [Page 129]not the same Majesty from the mysterious initiation. Nor was the Deity so propitious to their ceremonies and sacred rites, as before The Jews have a pro­verb among them, related by In libro Juchasia. Rabbi Zacuth: The fire lay upon the Altar, as a Dog, be­cause the vertue of it was ex­tinct, after the five things were wanting in the later temple: but in the former, that fire was like a Lyon. The learned wri­ter plainly saith, the five things were wanting, which even now we said were so hidden by Jo­siah, that posterity never found them.

CHAP. XV. Jeroboams policy to get the Kingdom. The declination and change of Common-wealths. Scipio's moderation. The dis­position of common people. Sama­ria an imperiall City. Change of Religion a secret of State. The division of the ten tribes, and the miserable effects of it. The Captivity of the I sraelites, and of the Jews. Babylon enlarged by the spoils of Jerusalem. The return of the Jews, and the Do­minion of the Levites.

THe unity of the Hebrew na­tion, and the frame of that goodly Empire was cleft in two by Jeroboams policy, a man no less ambitious than valiant. Being commander of the Tribe of Joseph in the War, and put [Page 131]in hope of the Kingdom by the Prophet, rightly conceiving Prin­ces are made by Providence, He applyed his vast and climing spirit to obtain the Dominion. First he attempted the Souldiers faith, endeavouring to draw a­way their affections from Sa­lomon to himself: but the Plot being discovered, to avoid pu­nishment he left his Country, and hid his head in Egypt. After the death of Salomon he retur­ned and met with a conjuncture of affairs very favourable to his great designs. The heavy tri­butes, the unjust exactions were a fair pretence, which he gladly layd hold on to stir up the com­mon people: and so brought all into a combustion, and became the Author of very great cala­mities, that quickly invaded [Page 132] Palestin. Verily, so it usually comes to pass, that no grear Common-wealth hath a for­tune long continuing at one stay. The Hebrews were now come to the hight of their prosperity. All was safe and quiet, incre­dible was the encrease of riches, the Kings and Princes near and far off were friends, and no room now was left for their greatness to extend it self. Wherefore, be­ing uncapable of any farther encrease, what remained, but that it should according to the Law of fate, decrease, and (which is the most miserable condition of humane affairs) decline to the worse. Scipio Africanus, when he purged the City by Sacrifice, being Censor, and the Scribe re­hearsed to him the solemn pray­er, that the Gods would advance the Common-wealth of Rome, [Page 133]said, it was great enough already, and desir'd the Gods only to preserve it: commanding the prayer, in the publick record, should be thus corrected. The most prudent Roman well knowing, that the celestiall bounty doth not so favour its own gifts, as to make them al­waies peculiar to any people, feared a vicissitude and change of fortune, proceeding (as he doubtless had in his thoughts) not only from a forein Invader, but from domestick causes; every State breeding, within her own bowels, diseases to con­sume and destroy it self. Jeru­salem is an example. The most flourishing City in the world, where David and Salomon, two most potent and most wise Kings, had made a deep and secure peace, could not long [Page 134]continue quiet. For, Salomon being dead, although she had no enemy abroad, she found one at home. Jeroboam, of whom I spake, a man of a most turbu­lent spirit, arose; who in short time with better success effected the rebellious design he had be­fore unprosperously attempted. An Assembly being called, he accused the publick State, and the condition of the times, and the Princes doings, in the pre­sence of the people: whose ears (he knew) are ever open, and glad to hear ill reports of their Superiours. Liberty and other specious names hee pretended, when his secret thoughts were, how to enslave others, and get Dominion to himself. The peo­ple, enflamed by his violent words, fell presently into sedi­tious ways, whereby the most [Page 135]antient Kingdoms and the grea­test Common-wealths usually go to ruin, or at least are chan­ged. Forthwith, the Captain of the Rebellion drew off the ten Tribes, whom he had pre­vailed with, from the territories of Jerusalem; and, to secure his dominion, and settle it, chose Sa­maria for his Imperiall City. That his Government might be more firm, he altered many customs of the Nation, and de­vised another worship of the deity, a new Religion. For, set­ting up calves to be adored, he renewed the old superstition, and made Religion, (the cement of Common-wealths) a tye upon the people, to keep them in his obedience, when he could not oblige them by the goodness of his cause. After which time, the twelve Tribes of Israel, drunk [Page 136]with their sweet abominations, reeled more and more from Je­rusalem, and refused (as upon their Gods command) to have any Communion with the In­habitants thereof. And now, whatsoever cause of hostility there happened else, the greatest reason alwaies seemed that, which was taken from their different Religions. Thus be­gan the Kingdom of Israel, divers from that of the Jews, the seat whereof was at Jeru­salem. And here is the spring of all the calamities that came up­on the Hebrews. For, being weak­ned by themselves, and having drawn much blood from one a­nother, they were made a prey to forein Nations, who before were invincible against all the world. Now Susac the Egyptian spoi­led the holy City and the Tem­ple, [Page 137]and by way of disgrace set Pillars in severall places, upon which were carved ('tis a sha me to speak) the secrets of Women. A fact, which Herodotus, as­cribes unto Sesostris, by mistake of the name, as Flavius hath rightly judged. A bitter cala­mity, this: but the things which a long time after were suffered both by the Jews and Israelites, were far more grievous. And first by Salmanassar the Assyri­an, was quite destroy'd and o­verthrown, the Empire of the ten Tribes. The whole Nation, being carried into Media and Persia, gave place to the pro­phane Hittites, whom Esarhad­don soon after sent out of Per­sia into Palestin to inhabit the Land of Israel. So do Kings, according to their pleasure, use to translate Nations, like Cat­tle, [Page 138]which Shepheards drive sometimes into their Winter, sometimes into their Summer pasture. For by this means peo­ple are tamed and softned, and they that dare any thing at home, are held under quiet subjection in a strange Land. Never had the Israelites, after that time, the happiness to return into their own Country, or to repair the ruins of their Common­wealth. They had so highly offended God by their impious Idolatry, that no length of time, nor revolution of ages, could pacify his wrath. The Israelites being thus gone into their eter­nall exile, the Jews remained to receive their due punishment likewise. Which was inflicted on them as surely, though more slowly. In the reign of Zede­kiah, Nebuchodonozor with a [Page 139]mighty army subdued Egypt and Syria: and burnt to ashes the City of Jerusalem, and the Tem­ple, a place of infinite opulen­cy. In which time, Himself, upon news of Nabolassars death, hastning home to take possession of the Kingdom, left Commission with his Comman­ders, to bring away the Jews to Babylon and the places there­about. There he assigned them their seats, and Fields, in the culture whereof this new Colo­ny might spend their time and get their living. Venerable mo­numents of antiquity remain of Berosus Annals, wherein 'tis written, that Nebuchodonozor, out of the spoils brought thence, built a Temple to Belus, enlar­ged Babylon according to the Majesty of his Empire, and girt it with Walls of Brick: More­over, [Page 140]made Gardens in the Air, and pendent Woods in favour of his Wife, who having been bred in the mountainous parts of Media, delighted in the prospect of Woods growing in high places. Whence appears the vanity of that which the Grecians have delivered with great consent, that Semiramis raised those admired works. For they are confuted by an Author in Flavius beyond all exception; namely Berosus the Chaldean, who (as all men have believed) is most antient, and with very great Religion and truth hath consecrated the affairs of his own Nation to eternall memo­ry. But the Jews were not pu­nish [...] so grievously by the hand of God, nor so long as the Is­raelites. They lived in a gentle and easy exile, as in a Country [Page 141]of their own: and, after seventy years were gone about, they were restor'd to Palestin, rebuilt their City and Temple, and e­stablished their Common-wealth again. Here now was the state of things much different from what it was before. For, the Empire which before was in the House of David, was now u­surped by the Levits, after a various manner. These men, having gotten into their hands the Supreme Power, advanced the Common-wealth indeed to the height of riches and great­ness; but, while they contend among themselves for power and honour, they trod under foot both divine and humane things. So little of piety and modesty did the most sacred name of Religion give to them, whom God had selected for [Page 142]himself, out of all the rest, and separated so long ago, that a­mong the holy offices and ce­remonies, they should lead their lives, far from ambition and vain glory.

CHAP. XVI. The Priests have the Govern­ment. Their evill behaviour. Of the sons of Elisab. The tem­ple of Garizin built. The wic­kedness of Onias. The vertue of Matthias, and of Judas Mac­cabaeus. Alcimus his outrage. Judea again under Kings. Of Herod, his cruelty, and ini­quity.

OF the Tribe of Levi, af­ter the restauration of the City and Temple, first the High [Page 143]Priests ruled all, without assu­ming the Title of Prince or King. These enjoyed themselves, or disposed of to others, all favour, wealth and power: the rest were Plebeians, without honour, without authority. Therefore, they that were but Levites were competitors, for so great a pre­ferment; and used all endea­vour, some by force, some by fraud and fallacies, few by the true way, to attain unto it. No­thing can be imagined more dishonourable, than what the two Sons of the high Priest E­lisab committed after their Fa­ther's death. For both Jesus, by the help of a barbarous Cap­tain, went about wickedly to deprive his Brother Jannes of the high Priesthood, which he had received according to the Law: and Jannes, to retain his right, [Page 144]became guilty of a greater wic­kedness; for he slew the same Je­sus with his own hand, in the temple of God, and sprinkled the altars with his Brothers Blood. Jannes not long after had for his successor Jaddus; Whose Pontificate likewise his Brother Manasses devoured in his hopes: but having married, against the Law, a strange Woman, the Daughter of Sanballet, whence arose a tumult amongst the peo­ple, he quickly perceived a ne­cessity lying upon him, either to lose his affinity with so potent a Father-law, or else relinquish his hopes of the Priest-hood. Here, upon long deliberatioa with him­self, at last, having communi­cated his Counsels to his Father-in-Law, he conceived a notable enterprize, which all posterity talks of, none approves. For [Page 145]he resolved to erect a Temple in Garizin, the highest mountain of Samaria, and shortly recei­ved power to doe so, from A­lexander, by the mediation of Sanballet. Thus he, that was not capable of the most honou­rable office at Jerusalem, be­cause he had violated the Law, became High-Priest, as he could, in another place, and in the pos­session of it thought himself in Heaven. See the heart of a most wicked man, in whom you may doubt whether his ambition or impiety were the greater. Yet was this but a small thing, in comparison of what Onias the fourth did, out of a desire of do­mination. Being made High-Priest, and seeing himself too weak for Jasons faction, to get the favour of Antiochus Epi­phanes, [Page 146]whose protection he nee­ded, he forswore the Mosaic Laws, and instead of them ad­mitted the Religions and rites of the Grecians. And more, that he might not bear in his Body the marks of Circumcision, he renewed his fore-skin by Phy­sicall Art, and perswaded all his people to do the like. After­ward, Antiochus Epiphanes, the High-Priest being his Mi­nister, impiously perverted all the institutions of the Jews. And now nothing of the sound and the antient customs remained when Matthias the Hasm [...] ­naean, the great restorer of the State, having taken up Arms, rendred to the Jews their Laws, and received the Common­wealth under his Rule, with the title of Prince. Being de­ceased, [Page 147]to him succeeded Judas in the Principality, the same that is called Maccabaeus. Yet was there great power and autho­rity in the High-Priest. Where­fore Antiochus Eupator after that time, cunningly having got entrance into Jerusalem, when he distrusted Onias, upon whom he saw the people and the State affairs depended much, placed Alcimus in his room. But he, being gotten into the holy chair, was more depraved than his Predecessor; for he went over to King Demetrius the Son of Seleucus, with criminations a­gainst Judas, whose principa­lity he could not away with. Impiety can be never quiet, nor content with a single transgres­sion. Wherefore hee brought against his own Country the [Page 148]Kings Lieutenant Bacohides, with an Army; and after his return to the King without effecting the work, he encreased the Com­panies left by Bacchides, by the concourse of wicked men. From every place were gathered unto Alcimus, Murderers, Sacrilegious Persons, Adulterers; whom their guilty consciences would not suffer to rest at home: and he engaged them all to do him service, by fair words and boun­tifull pay. At the last, this gal­lant Priest, to adde more unto his glorious impiety, prepared to throw down the Walls of the Sanctuary raised by the Prophets and the Hasidaeans; But in the midst of his design death cut him off, and in his place the people constituted, in the most sacred office, their Prince [Page 149] Judas; the first of all the Jews that joynd the Miter and the Crown together, and was both Prince and Priest. The same was done, after him, by Jona­than, Simon and Jannes: untill Aristobulus, the name of Prince being laid aside, took upon him the title of King. And so, in the end, long after the death of Ze­dekiah, Kings again ruled over Judaea, but they were of the Tribe of Levi; the last of whom was Antigonus. Antigonus being expelled and slain, He­rod held the Scepter, which he had before received from the Romans: a man, not indeed descended of the Royall family, no nor of the Sacerdotall, but one of Idumaea, an insititious Jew or Proselyte; for the Idu­maeans were not truly Jews, but [Page 150]only accounted and called so, since the time that Hircanus forced them to submit to the rites and ceremonies of the true God, when before they wor­shipt, I know not what good, Gosan, whose rites were kept by the Costobari, a noble family in that Country. Famous was that prophecy of Sameas, who had long since foretold, that Herod should bee given the Jews for a King, but to be a Plague unto them. Even so it came to pass. This Idumaean presently put to death Aristo­bulus the High-Priest, being ve­ry young; and after him Hir­canus, allured out of Parthia; and after him, whatsoever re­mained of the Hasmonaean bloud, he extinguished, and left not any branch of the old stock. [Page 151]Nor did the seventy Elders, the Assessors of the Great Councill Sannedrin, speed better. Thus all being remov'd out of the way, who might create him either fear or danger, Herod grew up to his height, and the greatness of his power gave him boldness to break forth into great licence; for he altered the old customs of the Jews, and brought in new, and did many things contrary to the Laws. Whereof let us hear Josephus speaking thus: The antient discipline, untainted before, he weakned with Innovations: whence, in our following times, we have had no small harm; for all those things, whereby the multitude was heretofore led unto piety, are now neglected and despised.

CHAP. XVII. Of Messias, King of the Jews and all Nations. The everla­sting throne is his. A word in Esay written mystically. Bala­ams prophecy in the sense of the Jews. The singular nature of Messia's Kingdom. The re­prehender of Maimonides cen­sured. Ezekiels obscure vision, not to be curiously searched.

ANd in this manner, after the Jews return out of Ba­bylon, they were in possession of the Empire that had no right unto it; first the High-Priests, then the Hasmonaean Princes, being also Levites, then Kings of the same tribe, and lastly Herod the Idumaean; He, un­der whom was born Messias, [Page 153]the King of Kings, a branch of Davids family. To him alone must be referr'd that promise God made to David, that his throne should bee everlasting, and his seed should sit therein. Certainly, it is not spoken of Salomon, nor of any other of his race; for, the kingdom once lost, they never recover'd after the Babylonian exile. Wherefore, unless wee will (which were great impiety) make the promise of God vain and false, we must understand that Son of David to bee the Messias, our Redeemer, of whom the Angel hath pronounced that which is written in St. Luke: Of his Kingdom there shall be no end. The words are taken out of the ninth of Esaiah, where Rabbi Jarchi notes: It was [Page 154]subtilly disputed by the Scribes, why in the midst of a word, con­trary to custom, the letter Mem is closed. A doubt not to be contemned. Thereby is signi­fied (as the Talmudists are of opinion) some great mystery, not opened promiscuously unto all, but close and reserved. A­mongst all the Oracles in Scrip­ture, concerning the greatest King Messias, the Jews think none so worthy of admiration, as that which Balaam uttered by divine instinct. Num. 24. But the same Interpreters, looking narrowly into the Prophets meaning, sagely found, the words are not all spoken of one King: but the oracle is so to be divided, that part may belong to David, who first of Juda's race possest the Kingdom, the rest to the [Page 155]Messias, the last King indeed of the same race, but greater and more potent than all the other. Maimonides in the end of his Misna hath handled this exact­ly. And the same excellent Master there refutes those, that exspect in the Kingdom of Mes­sias another face of nature, and a new course of things going on perpetually. For, saith he, they understood not the words of Esaiah in the 12. Chapter. The dark sayings whereof doe signifie, that all pious and good men shall have such quietness in the midst of the wicked, that they need not fear. Nor hath Rabbi Abraham the Son of David any just reason to repre­hend Maimonides for this: whose other reprehensions too, for the most part, are more [Page 156]sharp than solid, they make a shew of reason, but, when they are examined, come to nothing. As oft as I survey the sacred pla­ces, the rites and Religious so­lemnities, described by the most holy Prophet Ezekiel in the last part of his Book, I consider with my self, what they mean, or whither they are to be referr'd. So different are they from Mo­ses precepts, and the Jewish customs, as themselves confess. What opinion is to be had of them, the In tract. Menachoth. Talmud hath resol­ved, and In Mis­na, l. 8. c. 2. Maimonides hath in brief expressed: All manner of offerings, spoken of in Ezekiel, and whatsoever is there written of the number of Sacrifices, and of the order of divine worship, are nothing else but the pacific ob­lations, which have not been [Page 157]used in former ages by the peo­ple; but the Prophet shews, how they shall be performed at the dedication of the new Altar, in the times of Messias, when the third Temple shall be built. This is no Jewish dream, nor Tal­mudicall conceit, but a certain Truth. The Prophet hath de­scribed another Temple, which should be in Messia's reign, and other sacred rites: and hath measured the structure of the Temple, the Courts, the Gates, and the rest, by an accurate rule of the work. The form of it, say the Jews, is not fully under­stood, but Ezra, when he built the second Temple after the pat­tern of Salomons, followed also the description of Ezekiels third Temple, so far as the capacity of the most holy man could [Page 158]reach, in so obscure and perplext a matter. This we learn from the Prince of Rabbins in In Hal. Beth. Hab. c. 1. ano­ther place. Nevertheless, it is no little blindness in the Jews, that they hope for such a Temple to be built by the Messias, which may be seen with the eyes, and approached with the feet. We that are born in Messia's Kingdom know full well, 'tis otherwise. All the Prophets words, of the measure of the buildings, and the parts, have another more secret sense; but what that sense is, and how the words are to be explained, is hard to say. For my part, with Xe­nophane in Varro, I would have every man to set down what he thinketh, not what he will as­sert; for man may have an opi­nion of such things, God alone [Page 159]knows them certainly. Truly the Jews when they mention some pieces of the Bible, the reading whereof is interdicted youth, put the end of Ezekiels pro­phecy in that rank. And not without cause. For the whole discourse is more obscure than Plato's number. Let them all, who would seem the greatest proficients in divine wisdom, call hither their industry: they will sweat enough, before they open the least of the things laid up in those leaves. The best interpreter can but give a handsom conje­cture at the utmost, and when all is done we must remain unresol­ved. This is certain, that these, and some other things of like kind, are such, as the most high God hath set above the reach of humane wit; for, though in this [Page 160]light of the Gospell, great pro­gress hath been made into sci­ence, yet somewhat is still left for admiration. Wherefore to go farther into these secrets, than the bounds prescribed to us by the Holy Spirit, would be a very unwise adventure.

CHAP. XVIII. The State of the Jews after Messia's comming. Of their re­stitution yet exspected. The dig­nity of that Nation even at this day. How much our Religion ows to the Jews. The Scripture not corrupted by them. The Ma­sorites dilligence and fidelity.

IT was the pleasure of the im­mortall God, that the Jews should be called a Royall Priest­hood, [Page 161]and a chosen Generation, and that his sacred rites and ce­remonies should be embraced by them alone, untill the day shined forth, that shewed the Messias to the world. From that time, the Son of God ordained, that the celestiall benefits, long confined unto one Nation, should be common to all; the Tydings whereof, sent abroad far and wide, profited believers only. Here we must admire at the strange conversion of things. For the great Author of Salva­tion, who had left his heaven­ly throne to relieve the miseries of men, was entertained by pro­phane Nations with joy and ve­neration: but the Jews, to whom more than one Prophet had sig­nified both the place and time of his coming, knew him not, [Page 162]when he was come and presen­ted himself amongst them. So great a dulness had seized on them. Their eyes were blind, when their thoughts were on o­ther matters and refused to be­hold what was set before them in the midst. Hereupon they were abdicated and cast off by God, and even to this day they eat Pottage, and deplore their lost birth-right. Their crime is engraven in the Hardest Ada­mant, saith Jeremy the Prophet. Nor did they deprecate their punishment, but called it to themselves saying. His blood be upon us, and upon our Children. Very memorable is that which S. Paul writeth to the Romans: Rom. 11. v. 25. I would not have you ignorant of this mystery, that hardness, in part, hath happened unto Is­rael, [Page 163] untill the fulness of the Gen­tiles be come in. Certainly there will come a time, when the Jews shall be reduced into the right path, who do now wan­der miserably through ignorance of the way. The Suns of all days are not yet gone down: their light shall once again break forth unto them: and though they are fallen, they are not fal­len away for ever. Ezekiel also hath published some pro­phecies in favour of them. Ch. 36. The Prophet faith, a new heart shall be given them from Hea­ven, and a better understanding shall dwell in their breast. Then shall the veil be taken off, which Moses put upon his face; for they shall convert themselves unto God, who suffered them to live in darkness, and in igno­rance [Page 164]of the greatest matters, that at last he might take occa­sion to shew his old loving kind­ness. And on this wise do we commodiously interpret these words of Paul: 2 Cor. 3.16. When Israel shall be turned to the Lord; the veil shall be taken away: a very obscure place to many, and wherein some have taken much pains. The thing of which we speak, is of such consequence, that justly we cannot henceforth be altogether averse from the Jews, as if they were given up to publick hatred, when as yet so great hopes are remaining for them. And truly S. Paul doth them reverence, and ex­tols them with high praise, even while they are in errour. Rom. 9.4.5. To whom (saith he) pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the [Page 165]Covenants, and the giving of the Law, and the service of God, and the promises: Whose are the Fathers, and of whom concerning the flesh Christ came. What Nobility could be greater? So many Patriarchs, and Prophets, and Kings, they number among their forefathers; and so many brave men, and men of divine vertue, whose names are con­secrated in Heaven. I confess, all the Jews at this day are of a base and illiberall disposition; and, if you look upon their course of life, you can hardly find any thing worthy of no­ble and erected spirits: Nei­ther do we marvell at the cause hereof. For these things goe in a round, and as the times are tur­ned, so are mens manners. Ve­rily, the same day that depri­ved [Page 166]them of the fair light of li­berty, and struck the Scepter out of their hands, did also so abate the edge of their ingenu­ous spirits, that they have no more vigor now, nor keeness in them. Servitude dwarfs the mind, and enchains the spirit, and choaks all the seeds of ge­nerosity. What high thoughts can they possibly have, who, for so many years, through the whole world, have been wea­ryed out with so great scorn and contumely? whom Children, in contempt, have pulled by the sleeve, and men by the beard? lastly, upon whom the fury of all the Caesars spent it self. Ti­berius distributed their young men, sending them as it were for Souldiers, into the Provinces of unwholesome air. The air of [Page 167] Sardinea was very pestilent, Thither are four thousand com­manded away, to meet an un­timely death. Titus cast al­most as many to the beasts, when hee set forth shews at Berytum and Caesarea. Trajan himself, the mildest of all the Princes, decreed they should not read the Law; so did other Emperors after him at severall times. This was the greatest of afflictions, and by Rabbi Za­cuth is numbred among the per­secutions: They decreed (saith he) a persecution, that the Jews should not read the Law. But these things were done by Pa­gans: Let us, who are joyned to them with a closer bond, shew them more favour, having this communion with them, to hear the commands of one and [Page 168]the same God. Truly S. Paul desires to lay down his life for them, so fervent is his charity to the Nation. And it is his saying, Rom. 11.16. If the first fruits bee holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. I will not now am­bitiously celebrate their praises: for wee abhor from nothing more; than such Vanity. Yet, as to these later times, the truth is, if we cast up the ac­count rightly, out Religion is much endebted to that people. For who are they but the Jews, that have preserved for us the sacred volumes of the Bible safe and sound? How many Erra­ta's had stoln into the Holy Scriptures, had the custody thereof been committed only to such as Lactantius, Austin, [Page 169]Gregory, Chrysostom, most holy men indeed, but unskilfull of the Hebrew tongue? Amongst all the Greek and Latine Fa­thers that governed the antient Church, Origen, and (to speak the most) Jerom were the only Hebricians: the rest had not learned so much as the very Letters; Wherefore if the care­lesness of Transcribers had made default, they were not the men that could make amends. But this was all the Jews only stu­dy, and their sole care, to vin­dicate the Books of Moses, and the Prophets, and the other holy writings, from the inju­ries of time. This is their pro­per praise: wherein no other Nation c [...]imeth any share. There is an eminent place in Rabbi Abraham In libre Juchasin: of Salman­tica, [Page 170]whence we learn. That all the Copies of the Bible were amended according to a certain Book of venerable antiquity, written long before by the hand of Rabbi Hillel, High-Priest of the Jews, who came from Ba­bylon into Syria sixty years be­fore the Nativity of our Lord God Jesus Christ. In the King­dom of Leon (saith he) they found the Bible written by Rab­bi Hillel, and by it corrected all their Copies; part of it I saw, which was sold in Afric, and was written 900. years before my time. Kimhi in his Grammar saith, the Pentateuch was at the City of Toledo. At that time therefore the Jews were the only Correctors to keep the con­text of the Bible pure. Indeed, it had been easy for them, to [Page 171]alter and corrupt those places, which seemed to condemn their follies, when the Christians un­derstood scarce three words of Hebrew: but piety with-stood, and Religion would not per­mit them to change what was sacred. Nevertheless, some have charged them with unfaithful­ness in describing much of the text; but these men have al­ready had sufficient answer from learned 8. Ex­plan. Esaiae. Origen. As for me, when I consider the unwearyed dilligence and infinite pains of the Masorites, I do even stand a­mazed; for, having revised ac­curately, and compared all the parts of the Hebrew Bible, they signed them with certain notes. This was done after the destru­ction of the second Temple, a­bout the year 436. It was ob­served [Page 172]by them, not only how many Verses and words, but also how many Letters every Book contained. Wherefore, that afterward, when extreme barbatism opprest the world, no tittle of that most excellent Book was lost, is a benefit we ow to them. Not without cause have the Rabbins said, The Masora is as it were the wall and the hedge of the Law. In Rabbi Zacuth above cited, are Judaicall trifles, whereby forsooth it is concluded, that the Accents and the Points were extant in the time of Ezra; which I therefore mention, that it may be added to the rest of those vain arguments alleged by some, who in our time de­ny them to be the invention of the Masorites. And in the same [Page 173]Rabbies Book, by the same proof is the Targum of Onke­los referd to Ezra's age. Which, although it be false, and easily discovers how little worth the other is, yet will find some to defend it, the rather, that the other may not fall. Many are so obstinately given, they care not what they say, if it may but serve to maintain the opi­nion they have once embraced. That the reading of the holy Scripture is not uncertain, and subject to any more variation, wee thankfully acknowledge the care and pains of the Jews, who lived in the later times, after the destruction of the second Temple: For, when they were fallen from their great and wealthy State, they made it their business, amidst [Page 174]their extreme calamity, to save out of the common Shipwrack this one Chest of inestimable value. And this is that we love them for; the rest deserve our compassion: For they read the Tittles, and Letters, and Books, but they read them only, not regarding nor seeking the true and sacred sense. So that, the saying of their own well agrees unto themselves: They make that which is fundamentall, a lesser matter; and the lesser matter, fundamentall. And, which is worst of all, they are not sensible of their Childish­ness and folly; for, whereas all their infelicity consisteth in their ignorance of the divine Law, they complain of the loss of their Country, and of the Kingdom taken from them, [Page 175]and of the like things: whose possession makes no man hap­py, and whose loss makes no man miserable. Seneca tels us of his Wifes fool, Harpa­ste, that having on the sodain lost her sight, she knew not she was blind, and often requested her keeper to bring her to ano­ther house, for her own was dark. The Jews are in the same case. They carry about in their own breast the cause of all their misery: and suppose, by some divine favour, they should recover Canaan, they would change their climat, not their mind. Whithersoever they turn themselves, their night goes along too, and overshadows them: nor shall it be dispelled, before they [Page 166]have throughly smarted for their ingratitude, and their ob­stinacy, and the hardness of their hearts.



Edm. Calamy.

THE Table Alphabe­ticall.

  • R. ABraham. 155
  • Acheians. 85
  • Agrarian Law. 13 17, 40
  • Agriculture. 20, 24
  • Agrippa's offence. 50
  • Alcimus High-Priest. 147
  • His impiety. 148
  • Alexander M. his favour to the Jews. 27
  • [Page]Alterations whence. 18
  • Ambition. 141
  • Anointing of Kings. 127
  • Antigonns King. 149
  • Antiochus Epiphanes. 146
  • Apion cymbalum mundi. 3
  • Apollonius Scotus praised. 70
  • Aristobulus King. 149
  • Aristotle's opinion of the Jews. 29, 30
  • Arist. cited 5, 8, 31, 119
  • Arms of nature. 15
  • Artificers, none among the Jews. 32
  • Avarice, the hurt of it. 17
  • Author. 1, 70, 74, 112, 114
  • BAbylon enlarged by Ne­buch. 139
  • Babylonian Jews. 62. Had not the Scepter. 69
  • Balaam's prophecy expounded. 154
  • [Page]Beginning of the Heb. Com. 59
  • Benefit of the Jubily. 14
  • Berosus Annals. 139
  • Bible, some parts not to be read by Youth. 159. Forbidden the Jews by Trajan. 167 Not corrupted by the Jews 168
  • Buriall of the dead. 55
  • CAbala. 105
  • Capitall offenders. 110
  • Casaubons exercit. 73. His praise. 74. His errour. 85
  • Calendar corrected. 112
  • Captivtty. 137
  • Change of Laws. 58
  • City-life. 21
  • Cities of refuge. 58
  • City, what. 110
  • Colonies. 12
  • Commands, three to be fulfild [Page]in Palestin. 115
  • ommon-wealth founded by Moses. 2. When full of ene­mies. 18. The best. 31. Af­fixt to Palestin. 61
  • Consecration of Cities. 44
  • Councils of the Jews. 98, 108
  • Country bred gollant men. 21
  • Court of the Temple. 125
  • DAvids Scepter. 91. Ever­lasting throne. 153
  • Day of expiation. 16
  • Defection of the ten Tribes. 136
  • Deformity. 104
  • Desolation of Jerusalem. 56, 93
  • Dominion secured by change. 113
  • EGyptians, their, idle life. 35
  • Elders. 107
  • [Page]Elisab's Sons. 142
  • Ephod. 124
  • Ephorus his errour. 29
  • Equality. 12
  • Eusebius confuted. 74, 82
  • Ezekiels obscure prophecy. 156
  • Ezra. 157
  • FAthers errour. 72. Unskil­full in the Hebrew text. 168
  • Field laid to field. 20
  • Fire on the Altaer. 129
  • Fortification. 53
  • GAbinius abates the power of Sanhedrin. 113
  • Gardons and Woods in Baby­lon. 140
  • God, the ruler of the Heb. Com. 6. Why angry at the desire of a King. 117
  • [Page]Gospell common to all Nations. 161
  • Grecians Law-givers. Their ignorance of the Jews. 29
  • HAsmoneans. 79
  • Hebrews, why hated by the Egyptians 34
  • Hecateus praised. 10
  • Herod King. 149. His cruelty. 150
  • Herodotus errour. 137
  • High Priest. 104
  • Hillel. 101, 111.
  • Hircanus. 150
  • Holy of Holies. 50
  • Holy ointment hid and lost with other things. 128
  • Homer hath not the name of Laws. 3
  • Houses in Cities redeemed. 47
  • [Page]Husbandmen of Egypt lazy 38
  • Husbandry praised. 22
  • JAcobs prophecy. 64
  • Jarchi. 153
  • Jeroboam. 83. His policy. 130. Turbulent. 134.
  • Idolatry punished. 138
  • Idumaeans. 150
  • Jerusalems sarstity. 48. Privi­lege. 54. The head City. 55 Her fall. 56
  • Jews had no commerce with o­ther Nations. 28. Spred a­broad. 88. Knew not their Messias. 161. Cast off. 162 Not without hope. 163. Their dignity. 164. Their baseness. 165. Our relation to them. 167. Our debt to them. 168
  • Imperiall dignity. 64
  • Impiety never quiet. 147
  • [Page]Imposition of hands. 100
  • Josephus against Apion prai­sed. 3. Jos. cited. 27, 50, 87, 151. His errour. 120
  • Joshua Captain Generall. 96
  • Jubily, the benefit of it 14. the 49 year. 41. not kept after the captivity. 41
  • Judas Maccabaeus. 147 Prince and Priest. 149
  • Juda's Scepter. 77
  • Judges of Palestin and Baby­lon. 68
  • Juvenal cited. 36
  • KEepers of the Laws. 7
  • Kings. 97
  • King created. 116. Qualities of a King. 118. Rules for him. 120. Presidents of Reli­gion. 122. Dignity. 123 King and Priest. 126. A­nointed. 127
  • [Page]Kingdom of the Levites. 149
  • Of the Messias. 155
  • LAelius his wisdom. 19
  • Law of Jubily. 23
  • Laws, none written before Mo­ses. 4. Impartiall. 8. Stolo's Law. 18
  • Law-givers, their honour. 2 The Grecian. 3
  • Levi and Benjamin called Jews. 85
  • Levites portion. 46. Office. 122 Reign. 141
  • Liberty pretended, to enslave, 134
  • MAgistrates: 106
  • Majesty of the Empire. 76. In the people of Rome. 79
  • Maimonides praised. 13. Cited. 16, 25, 41, 49, 61, 64, 68, 101, 102, 108, 115, 155
  • [Page]Manslanghter expiated. 111
  • Manasses High-Priest. 144
  • Matthias the Hasmonean. 146
  • Masorites diligence and fide­lity. 169
  • Mem clausum. 154
  • Merchants. 30
  • Messias. 93, 153. Reign. 157
  • Modesty in opinion. 158
  • Monarchs, the Judges and Dictators so stiled. 96
  • Moses, the first Law-giver. 2 More than man. 7. The stabi­lity of his Law. 8
  • NEbuchadonozor. 139
  • Nero petition'd by the Jews. 50
  • Nilus fruitfull. 39
  • Noahs seven precepts. 5
  • ORdinances of the Jews. 9
  • Opificers illiberall. 33
  • [Page]Onias High-Priest. 145. Re­newed his fore-skin. 146
  • PAlestin. 9. Fruitfulness thereof. 11, 43. Divided by Joshua. 16
  • Pastorall life. 20
  • Paul interpreted. 164. His charity to the Jews. 168
  • Peace of Jerusalem. 133
  • Peace lost by appropriating what was common. 12
  • Personage goodly. 119
  • Persecution of the Jews. 167
  • Pharaohs policy. 37
  • Plebeians single and in con­junction. 106
  • Peoples Majesty. 78. Jealous of Superiors. 134
  • Possessions too ample. 17
  • Priestly kingdom. 122
  • Princes made by providence. 131
  • [Page]Progress into science. 160
  • Prophecies. 92
  • Prophets not perish out of Je­rusalem. 105
  • QUestion of Juda's scepter discussed. 71
  • Quiet of Common­wealths. 132
  • REason and prudence. 5
  • Redemption of Land. 15 Of houses. 47
  • Refuge. 57
  • Religion keeps in awe. 9. The soul of the Common-wealth. 65. The cement. 135. Po­litickly changed. 136
  • Return of the Jews. 141
  • Roman Common-wealth. 21 Power. 89
  • Royall Priest-hood. 160
  • Rule, the flagrant desire of it. 7
  • [Page]SAmaria an imperiall seat 135
  • Sameas. 101, 150
  • Samuel. 97, 118
  • Sanballets enterprize. 144
  • Sanhedrin. 51, 78, 98
  • Saul. 118
  • Scaliger mistaken. 102
  • Scepter of Juda. 64
  • Schismaticall Jews. 65
  • Scipio African. 132
  • Secrets to be admired. 159
  • Sedition brings ruin. 135
  • Semiramis. 140
  • Senators. 98, 126
  • Sepulchers. 54
  • Servants released. 16
  • Servitude dwarfs the mind. 166
  • Sesostris. 35
  • Seventh year. 26
  • Shepheards active. 36
  • [Page]Solemnity of Jubily. 16
  • Soveraignty. 97
  • State, every state breeds disea­ses. 133
  • Stolo violates his own Law. 18
  • Subjection preferd before Li­berty. 116
  • Successoy. 118
  • TAlmud quoted. 14, 25, 48, 102, 154
  • Temple, the voice there. 55 Only at Jerusalem. 66
  • Temple in Garizin 145
  • Ten tribes captive. 86, 137
  • Theocracy. 6
  • Territories enlarged. 57
  • Tiberius. 166
  • Times ordered. 111
  • Titus. 167
  • Trade. 28. Inherited. 35
  • Translation of Nations. 137
  • [Page]Tribute heavy, an occasion of rebellion. 131
  • Truth before affection. 75
  • VArro cited. 21
  • Vertue lost by want of exercise. 20
  • Vicissitude. 133
  • Urim and Thummim. 51, 124
  • VVAr. 105
  • Wealth without op­pression. 13
  • XEnophanes his saying. 158
  • YEar of rest. 42. The sixt years fruitfulness. 43
  • Leap-year. 111
  • R. ZAcuth. 112, 129, 167

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