« AnteriorContinuar »
If then the Miracles of Moses, and consequently the Divine Authority by which he gave his Law to the Israelites, be sufficiently attested, supposing the Matters of Fact to be true, which are contained in the Pentateuch: and if neither Moses himself could feign the Matters of Fact, nor any other Person or Persons either in his time or afterwards, could insert them, or change the Law; and the whole Jewish Nation could not at any time conspire in such a Fiction and Imposture: We have all the Assurance that it is possible to have, and all that, any sober Man can desire, both of the Truth jof the Miracles wrought by Moses, and of the Divine Authority of the Books penn'd by him. And it will be found, that after all the Reflections made by Infidels, upon the Credulity, as they esteem it, of others, there are none so credulous as they; for they reject the most certain, to believe the most incredible things in the World.
The Divine Mission and Authority of Moses being fully proved •, from thence it will follow, 1. That God having instituted the Jewish Government, was in point both of Wisdom and Honour concerned in the administration of it, and that a more especial and peculiar Care and Providence must be watchful over this holy Nation, and peculiar People. 2. That whatever befel them, either by Prophecies or by Miracles, and the extraordinary Appointments of God, according to the Revelations made in the Law of Moses, has, besides its own proper and intrinsick Evidence, the additional Proof of all the Miracles and Prophecies of Moses. So that the Proof of the Divine Authority of Moses his Books, is at the fame time a Proof of all the other Books of Scripture, so far as they are in the Matter and Subject of them consequent to these. 3. That the Pentateuch, and the other Parts of the Old Testament (not to mention the New Testament in this place) reciprocally prove each other, like the Cause and the Effect; the Pentateuch being the Cause and Foundation of These; and These the Effect and the Consequence of the Pentateuch, and the Fulfilling the several Predictions of it. • of their Land, the Priests did, by God's Appointment, bear the Ark before the People; and as soon as their Feet were dipt in the brim of the water, in the time of Harvest, when the River Jordan is at the highest , and overflows all its Banks, the Waters divided themselves; those above stood on one side in heaps, and those below were cut off and fail'd, the Priests standing with the Ark in the midst of the Channel, upon dry Ground, till all the People were passed over, and until every thing was finished that the Lord commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua, Josti. iv. i o. Now, it is an undoubted Tradition among the Jew*, c That the Tents of the Israelites in the Wilderness, contain'd a Square of Twelve Miles, and that the Host took up the fame space, whilst they pass'd Jordan. However, this is certain, that they kept at the distance of about Two thousand Cubits from the Ark, when it stood in the midst of Jordan, Jolh. iii. 4. so that the Waters must be withdrawn for many Miles in the passage of the whole Army over the River, if they pass'd it in a Regular March, and in such Order of Battel as to be able to oppose the Enemy ', or if they march'd in a narrower Body, they must be so much the longer in their passage: Which way soever it were, it was a very great and manifest Miracle. The People being all gone over, and every thing perform'd which God had commanded, the Priests with the Ark came out of the Channel of the River, where they had all this while stood, and as soon as their feet were lift up unto the dry land, beyond the Waters which stood then on an heap, and did not flow down as at other times, they resum'd their Course , and returned to their place, and flowed over all the banks, as they did before, Jolh. iv. 18. And as a Memorial of this Miracle to all Posterity, Twelve Stones were set up in the midst of Jordan, in the place
Of Joshua and the Judges, and of the Miracles and Prophecies under their Government.
IT is generally agreed, that Joshua himself was the Author of the Book under his Name •-, and some who are of another opinion, yet acknowledge that it must be written by his particular Order, in his Lifetime, or soon after his Death. The Land was described by Cities in a Book , which was brought to Jojhua, Jojh. xviii. 8, 9. The nature of the thing it self required , that the Division of the Land of Canaan amongst the several Tribes, should forthwith be committed to Writing: for no People can be named , who had the use of Letters, that trusted the Boundaries of their Lands to Memory ; and there is no delay to be used in such cases: Joshua therefore, who did by Lot set out the Bounds of the Tribes, at the fame time put them down in Writing; which he left upon Record to Posterity, to prevent Disputes, and to be appeal'd to, in cafe any Controversie should arise. But the bare Distribution of the Land was not to be transmitted, without an Account of the miraculous Conquests of it, which might dispose them to be contented with their several Lots, and remind them of their Duty, in the possession and enjoyment of a Land, which they were settled in, by the immediate Hand of God
The Book of Jofliua appears to have been written during the Life-time of Rahab, Josh. vi. 25. and by pne, who pass'd over Jordan when its Waters were
N 3 cuf
cut off: for none, but one who had been present, could properly have said, until We were faffed over. Jofhvv.i. and to have been written (in part at least ) by Jojhuœ himself, and annex'd to the Law of Moses, chap.xxiv. 26. But the five last Verses, giving an Account of the Death of Joshua, and of what follow'd after it, were added by some of the Prophets, probably by Samuel, who, according to the Jewifh/Tradition, is the Author of the Book of Judges, where we find the fame things repeated concerning the Death of Joshua, Judg. ii. 7
The Books of Judges anda Ruth are reckon'd by the Jews as one Book; and the Book of Judges is reckon'd among the Books of the Prophets, Mat. ii. 23. Judg. xiii. 5. and it seems to be entitl'd to Samuel-, Act. iii. 24. where Samuel is mention'd as the first of the Prophets, that is, the first Author of the Books written by them : for which reason, he is likewise by the b Jews accounted the first of the Prophets. That the Book of Judges was penn'd before .the Taking of Jerusalem by David, we may learn iromjudg. i. 21.
After the Death of Moses, Joflma undertakes the Government and Conduct of the People of Israel, according to God's Appointment, and his Investiture to it by Moses, Num. xxvii. 22. who also foretold the great Success that afterwards attended him, Deut. i. 38. and at his first Entrance upon the Government, God gave to him the fame Divine Attestation that had before been given to Moses, in their Passage thro' the Red-Sea: And the Lord said unto Joshua, "This day will I begin to magnife thee in the fight of all Israel, that they may know that as I was with Moses, so I will he with thee, Josti. iii. 7. And for a certain Demonstration that the living God was among them, and would give them Victory over the Seven Nations, and Polleffion
f Lights, Chorograph. Cencur. c. 48. p. 4$.
N 4 where where the feet of the priests which bare the Ar\ of the covenant stood, ver. 8, 9. and Twelve Stones more were taken out of Jordan , whilst it was dry, by Twelve Men chosen out of the People, one out of every Tribe, and were pitch'd in Gilgal, ver. 20. Thus did the Lord magniste Joshua in the fight of all Israel, and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life, ver. 14. Here was a Miracle wrought in the most remarkable manner, which the whole People were Witnesses to, and effectual care was taken to keep up the Remembrance of it. The Waters of Jordan were cut off, for the passage of the Children of Israel into Canaan, as the Waters of the Red-Sea had been divided, to procure their Escape out of sÆgypt; and such an Experiment was not to have been made twice, if it had not been a true Miracle.
They were no sooner come into the promised Land, but all the Males were Circumcised, (that Rite having been omitted in the Wilderness) and were thereby disabled for War: which had been a strange Policy f for the Invaders of a Country'to wound themselves , and render themselves unfit for Fight, as soon as they 3rriv'd in the Coasts of the Enemy, if the Canaanites had not been restrain'd by a miraculous Awe and Power from setting upon them, as the Sons of Jacob did upon the Shechemites, Gen. xxxiv. before they were recover'd of their Soreness, after Circumcision.
The Walls of Jericho were thrown down, only by marching round it seven Days, and blowing with Trumpets; and .this was accompany'd with a Prophecy, That whosoever should attempt to rebuild Jericho, should lay the foundation thereof in his first-born, and in his youngest son should he set up the gates of it, Josh. Vi. 26. which was fulfill'd in the Reign of Ahab, when. Hiel she Beth-elite lost his eldest Son Abiram, upon his Jaying the Foundation of it, and his youngest Son Segub',' upon his setting up the Gates, 1 King. xyi. 34« ^These Miracles, and the Standing still of the Sun and •>.» ..«. 1 v - **•-•«/ Moon;