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of blood. Which must induce us to believe, that this is a false and late interpretation; and that this whole scheme of Noachical precepts is a modern thing. Several learned men have argued in the like manner.
Sixthly. If the Jewish doctors say, (as undoubtedly many christian commentators now do,) that any people, who obeyed these seven precepts, though they received not circumcision, might dwell among the Israelites, and sojourn in their land; I presume, they are mistaken.
This I argue, I. From the sixth of these precepts, to have judgment, or punishment for malefactors. Or, in other words, magistracy, for restraining excesses, inconsistent with the peace of society, and for punishing delinquents. How can any learned christians suppose, that uncircumcised Gentiles were required, or allowed to have magistracy in the land of Israel? nay, it cannot be supposed, that proselytes, or men circumcised after the law of Moses, living in the land of Israel, had magistrates of their own. Whilst the Jewish people were sui juris, their own masters, all civil privileges, in their country, were appropriated to the descendants of Jacob. The case was quite different afterwards when they were subject to the Romans, and especially, when they were reduced to the state of a Roman province; as they were after the removal of Archelaus, not many years after our Saviour's nativity.
Indeed, God was the lawgiver and the king of the Jewish people. He governed them after the death of Moses, first by judges, then by kings, of his own appointment; who were to govern the people committed to their charge, according to the laws, which himself had delivered by the hand of Moses.
2. It seems to me to be probable, that, according to the law of Moses, no uncircumcised men could reside, or be stated inhabitants, in the land of Israel. Or, as I expressed it some while ago,f It seems to me, that none but 'lytes, or circumcised men, had the privilege of a settled ' abode or residence there, that is, to sojourn in the land. However, I think, there must have been an exception for 'travellers passing through the country, even though they ' were idolaters, and also for some, whose traffic was needful, and therefore allowed. As Patrick says upon Deut. 'xiv. 21. There were some, called Nocherim, which we 'translate aliens; who were mere Gentiles, and not suffered posterioris ævi commenta exigui sunt, ad expositionem horum librorum usûs. Cleric. in Gen. ix. 4.
f See Vol. vi. p. 217.
'to have an habitation among them, but only to come and 'go in their traffic among them.'
I shall now argue this point more distinctly from divers
In the first place, I argue it from the law of circumcision, as delivered to Abraham. For, as our Saviour himself said to the Jews of his time, "circumcision is not of Moses, but of the fathers," John vii. 22. The original law is in Gen. xvii. 11-14, " And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin. And it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and thee. And he that is eight days old, shall be circumcised among you. Every man-child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money, must needs be circumcised. And my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant; and the uncircumcised man-child, whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people. He has broken my covenant." Afterwards, ver. 23, " And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin, in the self-same day, as God had commanded him." And see what follows to the end of ver. 27.
That is the law, which God gave to Abraham, and Moses afterwards delivered to the children of Israel, when they were multiplied, and were become a nation.
And the institution of the passover is to this purpose. Ex. xii. 43, 44, "This is the ordinance of the passover. There shall no stranger eat thereof." In the Heb. Every son of the stranger shall not eat thereof.' Gr. was aλoyens, But every man's servant that is bought with money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof.' And ver. 48," When a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised. And then let him come near, and keep it." Such laws must have made circumcision very general in that country.
When the oppression, which the Jewish people had laboured under, in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, was abated, and Mattathias had come out of his retirement, and had got a number of men about him: it is said, 1 Macc. ii. 45, 46," Then Mattathias, and his friends, went round about, and pulled down the altars. And what children soever they found within the coast of Israel uncircumcised, those See Prideaux, Conn. year before Christ 165. Vol. ii. p. 182.
they circumcised valiantly:" that is, resolutely, strenuously, without scruple, being persuaded, that they had a right so to do.
Hyrcanus having conquered the Idumeans, in the year before Christ, one hundred and twenty-nine, as Josephus says,He permitted them to remain in the country, if they consented to be circumcised, and to observe the Jew'ish laws; which they engaged to do, rather than leave 'their country; and from that time they became Jews.'
Afterwards, in the year before Christ, one hundred and six. Aristobulus, as we also learn from' Josephus, having subdued the Itureans, added a large part of their country 'to Judea, and obliged the inhabitants, if they would stay in that country, to be circumcised, and to live according 'to the laws of the Jews.'
I suppose, that this was done, because those countries were reckoned to be part of the land which God had given to the children of Israel.
Seventhly. What has been just said under the foregoing particular, must needs render it probable, that by "the stranger, the stranger within thy gates, the stranger that sojourneth with thee," so often mentioned in the law of Moses, and other books of the Old Testament, are meant proselytes, men circumcised after the law of Moses.
Nevertheless, I shall here farther add some other proof, which may be reckoned more particular and positive. The argument which I now aim at is this: The same religious ordinances are given to the children of Israel, and to the strangers sojourning among them, and under the same penalties.
Lev. xvii. 8-10, " And thou shalt say unto them; Whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that offereth a burnt offering, or a sacrifice; and bringeth it not to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer it unto the Lord, even that man shall be cut off from among his people. And whatever man there shall be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood, I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people." Ver. 13,"And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth, and catcheth any beast, or fowl, that may be eaten, he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with i Antiq. 1. 13. c. ix. sect. 1. 1. Antiq. 1. 13. cap. xi. 3.
h Prid. as before, p. 307. * Prid. p. 370.
dust." Ver. 15, 16, " And every soul that eateth that which died of itself, or that which was torn with beasts, whether he be one of your own country, or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. Then shall he be clean. But if be wash not himself, nor bathe his flesh, then he shall bear his iniquity."
I might add other texts. But these appear to be sufficient. These prohibitions are delivered equally to the children of Israel, and to strangers that sojourned with them. And the penalty of transgression is that of being" cut off from his people." Therefore this sojourning stranger was one, who had joined himself to the house of Israel, or the Jewish people, by circumcision. Otherwise he could not have been cut off from them. I do not now quote any more places at length. But I would refer to Numb. xv. 13—16, and 25-31.
Eighthly. If observing the above-mentioned precepts of the sons of Noah qualified men to reside in the land of Israel; I presume it must have been lawful for Jews to con verse with them: and that they might do so, without contracting any legal impurity.
Nevertheless, St. Peter was shy of conversing with Cor nelius of Cesarea. When he came to his house, he told him and his company," they knew how it was an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation." Acts x. 28. And when St. Peter was come back to Jerusalem," they that were of the circumcision contended with him, saying; Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them," ch. xi. 2, 3.
Of that centurion it is said, "that he feared God, with all his house, that he gave much alms to the people, and that he prayed to God always." Cornelius therefore was not a transgressor of any of the precepts of the sons of Noah. He was not an idolater, nor a blasphemer, nor unjust and rapacious nor did he indulge himself in the practice of abominable filthiness. And yet, we see, from authentie evidence, that it was not lawful for a Jew to converse with him. Indeed, he lived at Cæsarea, a part of the land of Israel. But so did many idolaters, at that time, under, the Romans. It was not then in the power of the Jews to exclude any men, who were admitted by their masters.
Once more, ninthly, the seven precepts of Noah, or the sons of Noah, can afford no help for explaining the regulations of the council at Jerusalem. For there is no resem
blance between them. Nor have they any relation to each other. The Noachic precepts are all of the moral kind, as was shown just now: those of the apostles and elders at Jerusalem are, all of them, things indifferent, as will be shown hereafter.
And if the seven precepts of Noah are an invention of modern Jews, as some learned men of the best understand ing have argued, it is great pity, that so much regard has been shown to them by christians, who profess a zeal for truth, and are desirous to know the right interpretation of the scriptures. Though they are pompously called precepts of Adam and Noah, as if they had been delivered to the first man that lived on this earth, and to him who escaped the deluge, from whom all who have since lived on this earth are descended; they are, in this system and collection, a modern invention, and were unknown to Christ's apostles. We might as well attempt to explain the scriptures by the decrees of the council of Trent, or the synod of Dort, as the apostolic decree by these seven precepts.
III. THAT THERE WAS BUT ONE SORT OF JEWISH PROSE LYTES. I have spoken my mind concerning the Noachic precepts. I should now proceed to consider the first ques tion, proposed by our Author at the head of this Dissertation. To whom the apostolic decree was directed.
But this question I have answered" formerly. It was directed to all Gentile converts whatever. The letter is inscribed, Acts xv. 23," to the brethren, which are of the Gentiles in Antioch, and Syria, and Cilicia." To them the Epistle was inscribed, to them it was sent, and to them it was delivered by the messengers, who carried it from Jeru❤ salem. And afterwards. Acts xvi. 1-4, when Paul and Silas left Antioch," they came to Derbe, and Lystra-And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the
m I desire the reader to look back to p. 302, note. I add here the judg
ments of others.
Mihi dubiæ sublestaque fidei videtur quidquid Judæi de his Noachidarum præceptis, eorumque antiquitate et origine tradant Nam si Adamo in paradiso, vel Noachi filiis, fuerunt mandata; our de iis in sacris literis, et Josephi scriptis, est silentium? D. Salom. Deyling. Observation. Sacrar. P. secund. &c. Obser. 38. sect. 9. p. 465, &c.
κων εν σοι.
- peregrinus tuus, qui in portis tuis.'] LXX. Int. ò poanλvros d raporNotum quidem est, quid Rabbini de proselytis sentiant, quidve olim ab Hebræis veteribus ex iis postulatum fuisse existiment. Sed cum multa aut prorsus fingunt, aut ex sui ævi moribus judicent, tutum non est iis omnia credere. Cleric. in Ex. xx. 10.
And indeed the modern Rabbins are of small authority in all such matters ⚫ of remote antiquity.' Whiston, note, upon Josephus, of the Jewish War, " See Vol. vi. ch. xviii.
B. VI. ch. v. 3.