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ftines had formerly desired to make a Covenant with Abraham, saying, God « with thee in all that thou dost, &C Gen. xxi. 22.
. Esau, at the Age of Forty Years , marry'd two Wives,of the Daughters of the Hittites, Gen. xxvi. 34. which, tho' it griev'd Isaac and Rebekah, who would have had him,marry with their own Kindred, yet must give the Hittites farther Opportunities of acquainting themselves with the Religion and Worship of the Hebrews; but he marries besides a Daughter of Jjhmael, Abrahams Son, Gen- xxviii. p,. which confirm'd and strengthens the Alliance between the true Believers. Esau was the Father of the Edomites, and of a numerous OfF-spring of Dukes and Kings, Gen. xxxvi. 9, 31. And according to the Custom and Design of the Book of Genesis, the Generations descended from Esau had not been so particularly set down, unless they had retain'd the Knowledge and Worship of the True God. The Edomites , as well as the Moabites and Ammonites, were put into possession of their Country by the same Divine Power by which the Israelites became possest of the Land of Canaan, and the Children of Israel Were not to meddle with them, Deut.'n. y. ,
Jacob is sent to fadan-Aram, to take to Wife one of the Daughters of Laban, and with him he abode twenty Years, Gen. xxxi. 38. and all which he took in hand prosper'd so, that there was the visible Power and Blessing of God in it, as Laban confess'd, Gen, XXX. 27. Isaac was not to leave the Land of Canaan, but was forbid to remove into nÆgyyt, when there was a Famine in the Land, Gen. xxvi. 2. and he was not upon any account to return into Chaldsa, or to go out of Canaan, Gen. xxiv. 6, 8. but Jacob went out of it, when there were enough of Abraham's House besides to keep up a Sense of the true Religion among the Canaanites.
E 4 Afterwards
56 The Reasonableness and Certainty
Afterwards God manifested himself to the vÆgypr tifins, by a various and wonderful Providence: for rl>« sojourning of the children os Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty Tears ( Exod. xii. 40.) till at last, by Signs and Wonders, and dreadfM Judgments •, by Judgments upon their First-born, and upon their Gods, Num. xxxiii- 4. they were brought out from thence; and the nations heard the fame of it, and all the earth was filled with the glory of the Lord, Num.
-xiv. 15, 21.
Thus Chajdaa and zÆ.gypt, the most famous and flourishing Countries, in those Ages of the World, had the true Religion brought home to them by the Patriarchs, who were sent from place to place to sojourn, to be a Pattern and Example to the rest of •Mankind. Aud Men who travell'd so far, and converse with so many Nations, and were so zealous for God's Honour, and had such frequent Revelations, and the immediate Direction of God himself in most •of the Actions of their Lives, and who were so Great and Powerful, and so Numerous, must needs mightily propagate Religion wherever they came, and leave the.Idolaters without excuse; and it cannot be doubted but that they had great Success in all places •, for ^even out of tÆgypt, where they endured the greatest "-Hardship, and'were in such Contempt and Hatred, •yet a mix'd multitude went up also with them, besides ■the Native Israelites, Exod. xii. 38. • And as Chaldaa. and ts£gypt were famous for Learning and Commerce, andproper Places, by their situation, from- wbence the Notions of Religion might be propagated b6th towards the East and the West, -to other Parts of the World , so I must again ob-serve, that God's Mercy was particularly manifested towards the Canaanites before-their Destruction: The Example of Mehhifedeck, wher reign'd among them, and the sojourning of Abraham, and Lot, and Isaac, and Jacob, not to mention Ijlmael and -Esau, with
■S-V!r\\'' 3 'their
their numerous Families, afforded them continual Invitations, and Admonitions for their Instruction and Amendment; especially the Judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah, and the miraculous Deliverance of Lot, was enough to strike an Awe and Terrour into the most Obdurate. But when they would not make any due use of these Mercies, when they persisted still in their Impieties, and proceeded in them till they had fill'd up the measure of their Iniquities; God made them an Example to others, after they would take no Warning themselves; yet still executing his judgments upon them by little and little., he gave them place of repentance, not being ignorant that they were a naughty generation, and that their malice wot bred in them, and that their cogitation would never be changed, Wisd. xii. 10.'"
How much the true Religion prevail'd by these Dispensations of Providence, among other Nations besides the Hebrews, we have an illustrious Instance in Job and his Friends, who were Princes in their several Dominions; they had Knowledge of the Fall of the Angels, Job xv. 18. and of the Original Corruption of Man, which is exprefs'd with this Emphalis, that he cannot be clean, or righteous, who is born of a woman; because by Eve's Transgression, Sin came into the World, Job xiv. 1. xv- 14- and xxv. 4. Adam is mention'd chap. xxxi. 33. the Resurrection is deicrib'd chap. xiv. 12. and it appears that Revelations were vouchsafed to these Nations, chap, xxxiii. 15. It appears, that the Fundamentals of Religion were known Doctrines amongst them, and are therefore mention'd both by Job himself, and by his Friends, in as plain terms as may be, and as fully as can be expected in a Book which is Poetical, the Nature whereof requires that known things should be alluded to, but not so particularly related as in History. And there is no doubt but the Propagation of Religion, in other parts of the World, would be as evident, if the
Scriptures Scriptures had not occasionally only, and in the course of other things, but of set purpose treated of this Matter \ as we may gather from the Footsteps to be found in Heathen Authors, of what the Scriptures deliver to us, and from the several Allusions and Re* presentations in the Rites and Ceremonies of their Religions, expressing, tho' obscurely and confusedly, the chief Points of the Scripture-story, as has been shewn by divers learned Men.
2. In succeeding Ages, after tne giving the Law, when the Jews, by their Laws concerning Religion and Government, m3y seem to have been wholly separated from the rest of the World, and the Divine Revelations consin'd to one Nation, there still were sufficient Means and frequent Opportunities for all Nations to come to the Knowledge of the Truth. And here I shall shew, i. That the Law of Moses did particularly provide for the Instruction of other Nations in the Reveal'd-Religion, and that the Scriptures give frequent Commandment and Encouragement concerning it. 2. That the Providence of God did so order and dispose of the Jews in their Affairs, as to offer other Nations frequent Opportunities of becoming instructed in the true Religion, and that Multitudes of Proselytes were made of all Nations.
i. The Law. of Moses did particularly provide for the Instruction of other Nations in the Reveal'd Religion, and the Scriptures give frequent Commandment and Encouragement concerning it. The Strati* gers or Proselytes, amongst the Jews, were of two sorts: for either they were such as became Circumcised, and obliged themselves to the Observation of the whole Law of Moses, who were styled Proselytes of Righteousness, or of the Covenant; or they were such as believ'd in the True God, and profess'd only to observe the Precepts given to Naah, which comprised the Substance of the Ten Commandments; .-.<■• ■ . an,d
and these were call'd Proselytes of the Gates, because they were permitted to live amongst them, within their Gates ; these are the Strangers in their Gates , mention'd Deut. xiv. 21. who might eat of such things as the Israelites themselves were forbidden to fat of.
If any would be Circumcised, and undertake the Observation of the whole Law, they had full Liberty, and the greatest Encouragement to do it- At the first Institution of Circmncilion, not only Abraham and his Seed, but his whole Family, and all that were bought with money of any Stranger, were to be circumcised, Gen, xvii. 12, 27. and at the Institution of the Paslbver, the Stranger is commanded to observe it, as well as the Natural Israelite, Exod. xii. 19. God made no distinction in the Institution of both these Sacraments between the Jews and those other Nations that dwelt amongst them, and were willing to conform themselves to the Observation of the Law; but first to Abraham, when he appointed Circumcision, and then to Moses, when the Passover was instituted, particular Order is given concerning Strangers or Pro" Jelytes, who would betake themselves to them, one law shall be to him that is home-born , and to the stranger that sojoumeth among you, Exod. xii. 49- Deut. xxix. 11. And as the receiving the Seal of Circumcision was an Admission into Covenant with God, and iraply'd an Obligation to obseive the whole Law, and a Right to the Privileges of it, which was confirm'd and renew'd by their partaking of the Passover: so it is to be observ'd, not only that God did in general admit Strangers and Aliens to the fame Worship with the Jews, but that throughout their whole Law frequent mention is made of them, and care taken for their Reception and Behaviour: for though what is but once said in Scripture, is a sufficient Proof of the Will and Pleasure of God in any matter; yet when a thing is often mention'd, and every where inculcated, it is an