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the Hebrews forms a beautiful commentary. A religion then, that had such advantages as these to boast of, ought not to be too hastily decried. It was perfect, in that it was suited to the situation and circumstances of the people to whom it was given; it was only imperfect when compared with the more complete economy of the gospel.

One cannot contemplate the ceremonial law without also reflecting on its gradual abolition. For it was positively binding on every Jew till the death of Christ, in whom its spiritual meaning was fulfilled. Its observance became a matter of indifference between the death of Christ and the destruction of Jerusalem, and hence those prudential maxims and regulations which are to be found in the Acts of the Apostles, and the several Epistles, with respect to those converts from Judaism to Christianity who had still an attachment to it. But it became criminal after the destruction of Jerusalem, because then it could not be legally observed, since the temple and altar were then destroyed.

SECT. III.

The Judicial Law.

The forms of government in the different periods of the Jewish history; patri

archal, the theocracy, an elective monarchy, a hereditary monarchy till the captivity : governors after it; the Asmonxan family; Herod; the Romans. The revenue of the Jewish kings.

The judicial law comprehends two distinct branches. 1st, The form of government in the different periods of the Jewish history; and 2dly, The civil and criminal laws by which justice was administered.

The first form of government among the Jews was the patriarchal, when the father of the family exercised that power which God and his superior age and experience had given him. This was the sway that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had over their respective families. And when their posterity became more numerous after their death, the heads of the tribes supplied their places ; were their counsellors in peace, and their leaders in war. We find traces of this kind of government as far as circumstances permitted, at the time when Moses was commissioned to free them from the bondage of Egypt. But on the resolution of God to effect this deliverance, their government assumed a new character; the patriarchal form was exchanged for a theocracy. The Ruler of the universe became the king of Israel. He assumed a visible relation to, and took a particular interest in his chosen race. He became their king, their lawgiver, and their judge; and never dealt so with any other people. It was in this character of king that he gave them his law from Mount Sinai; supplied its defects in cases unprovided for;) went before them by a pillar of cloud and of fire;' fought their battles ;d appointed viceroys, dictators, or judges ; sanctioned treaties; and received the half shekel as a tribute or revenue. In this point of view also, the splendid tabernacle and temple were his palace; the priests and Levites were his attendants; the shew bread, the sacrifices, and the libations of wine, were the daily allowance of food for himself, and his servants; the mercyseat was his royal throne; and the incense that was daily burnt in the holy place on the altar of incense was in conformity with the usage of eastern princes, who delight in perfumes. It is true that he was their king both in a temporal and spiritual sense ; for he was worshipped as well as obeyed; but the one tended to strengthen the other, and appears to have been necessary to suit the

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Judg. viü. 22, 23, 1 Sam. viii, 7. 5 Exod. xviii. 19. Numb. vii. 39, xy. 34. xxvii. 5.

Josb. xxiii, 3. 10,

c Numb, xiv. 14.

character of the times. For it prevented all competition for power, and, unlike the despotic government of the neighbouring nations, this singular theocracy was distinguished for mildness, security, and despatch. This order of things continued till the latter end of Samuel's life, when they foolishly asked for a king, that they might resemble the other nations :and when God in compliance with their wishes put an end to the theocracy, and gave them first an elective and then a hereditary monarchy. But this was attended with various evils. For they were oppressed by their kings as God had foretold. In place of checking idolatry, these kings set the example. And the nation, in place of remaining united, vigorous, and happy, became divided into two parts that wore out each other by continual wars, till both were carried into captivity, the one for seventy years, and the other till the present time. During the seventy years captivity, the ancients of the people were their judges. After the seventy years captivity, the tribes of Judah and Benjamin returned to their own land, and were ruled 128 years by Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, or from the year before Christ 536 till 408. For 242 years after that, or from the year before Christ 408 till 166, their high priests were their governors, and the nation was successively tributary to the Persians, Greeks, Egyptians, and Syrians. For 129 years, or from the year before Christ 166 till 37, they were under the Asmonæan family, either as princes, kings, or priests. From the year before Christ 37 till the year of our Lord 12, they were under the Romans partially, because ruled by Herod and the governors of Judea by their own laws. But from thence, till the destruction of Jerusalem, they were publicly reduced to a Roman province. Such is a summary of the forms of government under which the Jews were placed between their deliverance from Egypt, and the complete destruction of their city and temple.

6 1 Sam. viii. 11-18.

· 1 Sam. viii, 5. 19. 20.
- Hist, of Susanos, verses 5.-7.

We know very little however of the funds which the Jewish kings had to support the expenses of government. The following short notices are all that I have met with.

- In the reign of Solomon, he got from Ophir 420 talents of gold once in three years, which at 125 lbs. Troy, or 1500 ounces to the talent, and 41. to the ounce, made 2,604,0001. or 868,0001. yearly. The queen of Sheba presented him with 120 talents of gold, or 720,000l. And the whole weight of gold that came to him in one year is stated to have been 666 talents, equal to 3,996,000l. : but this was far from being the full amount of his revenue, for it is added, that he had these, 66 besides that he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffic, and of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country :* independent of the revenue which he drew from his subjects in Judea, which must have been very considerable, since, after his death, we hear them requesting of his son to alleviate their burdens. And if he exacted money of them in a rigorous and frequent manner, as Menahem king of Israel afterwards did, there was reason for the complaint. For Menahem, to pacify the wrath and purchase the friendship of Pul king of Assyria, gave him a thousand talents of silver, which he raised by a contribution on the monied men of fifty shekels apiece. And perhaps Solomon did something of the same kind, to complete his buildings, and defray the expenses of government. We hear nothing more of the revenue of the Jewish kings till the reign of Archelaus,

• 1 Kings is. 28. x. 10, 14, 15,

• 1 Kings xii. 4,

< 2 Kings xv. 30

the son of Herod the Great, who obtained the half of his father's kingdom, as a grant from Cæsar; and whose revenues stood thus. Perea and Galilee paid annually 200 talents of silver: Batanea, Trachonitis, Auranitis, and a certain part called the House of Zenadorus, paid 100 talents; and the rest paid 300 talents; making in all 600 talents of silver annually; which at 1500 ounces to the talent, and 5 shillings to the ounce, made 225,0001. But, if this was the revenue of Archelaus, it will enable us to ascertain the revenue of his father Herod the Great; who, having had double the possessions of his son, may be supposed to have had double his income, or 1200 talents, besides having the fourth part which had been abated by Archelaus when he came to the kingdom, and was equal to 400 talents. So that the whole revenue of Herod the Great might have been 1600 talents of silver, or 600,000l. ;' a sum scarcely adequate, one would think, to bribe Pompey, Cæsar, and their minions, and to build the cities and edifices which distinguished his reign. The only other notice I have met with is in the days of Herod Agrippa, who killed James with the sword. His revenues are said to have been 12 millions of drachmæ, equal to three millions of shekels, which at half an ounce each, and 5 shillings to the ounce, came to 375,0001. Thus have we seen a gradual decrease. The Jewish glory, as a kingdom was at its height in the days of Solomon. It sank very low during the 70 years captivity. It rose on its return like a phenix from its ashes. It was again at its height in the days of Herod the Great: but after his death it gradually declined, till it ceased to be reckoned in the list of nations.

With respect to their civil and criminal laws we need

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