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CHAP. XV.
Their Funerals.

* HEIR funérals will fall in pretty well here with their mourning. The antients in general took great care about them, and looked upon it as a terrible inisfortune that their bodies, or those of their friends, should lie'exposed to be torn by wild beasts and birds, or to putrify above ground, and infect the living. It was a consolation to rest in the 'sepulchre of their fathers. Instead of burning the bodies, as the Greeks did to preserve the ashes, the Hebrews buried the common sort of people, and embalmed person's of distinction to Pay them in sepulchres, They also sometimes burnt perfumes over the corpse. At the funeral of Asa, king of Judah, it is saia, they tuid him on a bed which was filled with scoeet Podouts, and divers kinds of spices prepared by the apothécaries" art; and they made a very great burning for him ;* and that this was customary appears from other passages. They embalmed almost in the same manner as the Egyptians, wrapping the corpse in a great quantity of drying spices; after this they laid it in the sepulchre, which was a little cavity or closet, cut in the rock so artfully that some had doors to shut, which turned upon hinges, and a table to lay

* 2 Chron, sri. 14. 2 Chron. xxi. 19. Jerem. xxxiv. 5.

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the body upon, all cut out of the same stone. There are still many of them to be seen.

They that attended the funeral were in mourning, and wept algud, as they did at the burial of Abner.*

There were women that made a trade of crying upon these occasions, and joined the mournful sound of Autes with their voices, t In fine, they composed songs instead of funeral orations for illustrious persons that came to an unfortunate end. Such were those that David made upon the death of Saul, I and Jeremiah the prophet upon that of Josiah.

Though burying the dead was a duty of piety, yet there was no religious ceremony used at it: on the contrary it was a profane action, and rendered all those unclean that were concerned in it, till they were purified; because all dead bodies are either actually corrupted, or in a state that tends to it. Thus priests were so far from being necessary at burials, that they were absolutely forbidden to assist at any, except of their very near relations. When Josiah designed to root out idolatry, he caused the bones of the false prophets to be burnt upon the altars of the idols, to inspire his people with a greater abhorrence of them.

* 2 Şam. iii. 31.

of Jerem. ix. 11. Matth. ix. 23. This ceremony is still kept up among the native Irish; between whose customs and those of the the antient Hebrews there is a striking similarity. $ 2 Sam. i. 17. 2 Chron. xxxv. 25. | Lev. xxi, 1, 2, 3.

2 Chron. xxxiv, 5.

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: Their Religion. W HAT'has been said relates to the private life of the Israelites. We come now to their religious and political government. I shall not at present be very prolix in explaining their créed : we ought to be acquainted with it, for it is contained in our own. I shall only observe, that some truths were revealed to them clearly, whilst others were still obscure, though they were already revealed.* " What they knew distinctly was this: That "there is but one God:t that he governs all things by his providence, I that there is no trust to be put in any but him, nor good to be expected from any one else :$ that he sees every, thing, even the secrets of the heart : || that he influences the will by his inward operation, and turns it, as he pleases: that all men are born in sin, and naturally inclined to evil;** that, however, they may do good by God's assistance:ft that they are free, and have the choice of doing good or evil:11 that God is strictly just, and punishes or rewards men according to their works:$$ that he is full of mercy and compassion for those that

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sincerely repent of their sins:* that he judges the actions of all men after their death;t whence it follows that the soul is immortal, and that there is another life. . . '. They knew besides, that God, out of his mere loving kindness, had chosen them from among all' mankind to be his faithful people: that from them, of the tribe of Judah, and the fa. mily of David, would be born a Saviour, § that should deliver them from all their hardships, and bring all nations to the knowledge of the true God. All this they knew very clearly, and it was the most usual subject of their prayers and meditations. This was that exalted wisdom which distinguished them from all the people of 'the earth,' For whereas, in other nations, none but the wise men knew some of these great truths, and that but imperfectly, and had different opinions about them;ll all the Israelites were instructed in this doctrine, and did not vary the least in their notions about it.818 “ The truths they were taught more obscurely, were, that in God there are three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost :** that the Saviour they expected should be God, and the Son of God:tt that he should be God and Man both at the same time: that God would not give men

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his grace, and the assistance necessary to perform his law, but through this Saviour, and upon account of his merits:* that he should suffer death to expiate the sins of mankind:f that his kingdom should be altogether spiritual : that all men shall rise again :f that in another life there shall be a just reward for the good, and punishment for the wicked. All this is taught in the Scriptures of the Old Testament; but not so clearly that all the people knew it; neither were men capable at that time of bearing such sublime truths. 5. But my design is only to explain in what the outward practice of their religion differed from our customs. They had only one temple and one altar on which it was lawful to ofier sacrifice to God. Which was a symbol of God's unity: and this building was the most magnificent in the whole world, to represent also his sovereign majesty. It was not one only building, like most of our churches, but a great enclosure, comprehending courts surrounded with galleries, and several offices for the different courses of Priests and Levites, besides the body of the temple. The temples of other nations, as the Egyptians and Chaldeans, had also large edifices adjoining to them, and stood upon a great deal of ground: but they always planted trecs about them: whereas the Israelites would not suffer any to grow, near theirs, that they might keep entirely free from the superstition of groves, which the pagans held sacred.

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