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Dr. Ward does not differ much from them. He thinks that such things, as were before required of "proselytes of the gate," were, in the decree, enjoined upon all converts to christianity, in the countries above mentioned. But, he says, there was no need of giving such injunctions to Cornelius, he having before observed the like things, as a proselyte of the gate," living in Judea.
Upon this scheme, I now make no remarks. I put down these things here at present, only by way of explication of 'our author's sentiment.
II. THE NOACHIC PRECEPTS. Dr. W. in the words just cited, speaks of the precepts given to Noah. And. at p. 177, says, That the several things contained in the apostolic decree, are all included in the Noachic precepts.'
I therefore shall now show, what are called the seven precepts of Noah, or the sons of Noah, taking my account from Ainsworth, where I believe they are rightly represented. Which is more than can be said of some others, who talk much of them.
Says that exact and diligent writer, in his Annotations upon Gen. ix. 4, " But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat." 'The Hebrew doctors 'make this the seventh commandment given to the sons of 'Noah, which all nations were bound to keep, as there had been six from Adam's time. The first against idolatry, 'the worship of stars, images, &c. the second against blaspheming the name of God; the third against shedding of blood; the fourth against unjust carnal copulations, 'whereof they made six sorts: 1. with a man's own mother: 2. or with a father's wife: 3. or with his neighbour's wife: 4. or with his sister by the mother's side: 5. or with mankind: 6. or with beasts. The fifth precept was against rapine, or robbery. The sixth to have judgment, or 'punishment for malefactors. And unto Noah was added 'the seventh, which is here mentioned. Which they under'stand to forbid the eating of any member, or of the flesh ' of a beast, taken from it alive. Whosoever in the world transgressed any of these seven commandments wilfully, 'the Jews held, he was to be killed with the sword. But the heathen, who would yield to obey these seven precepts, though they received not circumcision, nor observed the other ordinances given afterwards to Israel, they were 'suffered to dwell as strangers among the Israelites, and to 'dwell in their land.'
• See Hammond, as before referred to.
Upon all which I beg leave to make the several following observations.
First. Fornication is not mentioned among the several kinds of unjust carnal copulation. This omission has been observed by Grotius. The reason of it, I do not stay to inquire.
Secondly. Every thing, here mentioned, is of a moral nature, even the seventh precept, as well as the rest. For it condemns cruelty. It is not, to forbear eating blood, but to eat the member, or the flesh of a beast taken from it alive. Which is great cruelty, and even barbarity.
Thirdly. This whole article, as seems to me, is a Jewish way of representing the law of nature, by which all men are obliged. For sons of Adam, and sons of Noah, comprehend the whole world. By the law of nature all are obliged. Jews and christians, who are under a particular law of revelation, are not exempted from this law, and its several obligations: but are as much subject to it as other men.
Fourthly. As this scheme is the scheme of Jewish masters only, it need not to be received without examination. Rabbinical and Thalmudical writers may be of use. But they are not infallible. Indeed, I had rather learn Jewish antiquities from the scriptures, and such other Jewish writers as lived before our Saviour's coming, or were contemporary with Christ and his apostles, than from later Jewish authors.
Fifthly. These precepts deliver a wrong interpretation of Gen. ix. 4, the command given to Noah, relating to food. They represented it to forbid the eating of any member, or of any flesh of a beast taken from it alive; which is a wrong account, as must be apparent to all. The words are: "But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat." Or, as in Lev. xvii. 14, “ Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh. For the life of all flesh is the blood thereof." And see Deut. xii. 23. And this law, as delivered to Noah, was understood by Josephus to forbid the eating
d Inter præcepta Adamo et Noæ data, Judæi non ponunt interdictum scortandi. Grot. in Act. xv. 20.
Excepto quod carnem cum sanguine non comedetis.'] Hebræi recentiores, et, ut credo, christianorum odio, sentiunt vetari hic esum membri rapti de animali vivo---At certe vetustiores Hebræorum non ita interpretatos satis docet Josephus, qui ait, χωρις αιματος" εν τ8τῷ γαρ εσιν ή ψυχη. Quem sensum iisdem prope verbis hic expressit Rabbi Sardias, et quidem sequuntur non ignobiles Hebræorum magistri. Gro. ad Gen. ix. 4.
-Ita interpretatur et Josephus, Ant. I. i. cap. 3.
-At posteriores Rabbini inter præcepta Noacho data, quæ ad totum genus humanum pertinere ab iis putantur, hoc recensent, sensumque esse volunt, membrum animalis viventis non esse comedendum '-Sed hæc
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 proselytes, 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 6 were idolaters, and also for some, whose traffic was need
ful, 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 considerations.
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 adλoyeνης, '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, asi 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 6 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
Prid. as before, p. 307. * Prid. p. 370.
Antiq. 1. 13. c. ix. sect. 1.