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The tribe of Manasseh had eight: the Ma. chirites, the Gileadites, the Jeezerites, the Hélekites, the Asrielites, the Shechemites, the Shemidaites, the Hepherites. ..
The tribe of Ephraim had four; the Shuthal: hites, the Bachrites, the Tahanites, the Eranites.
The tribe of Benjamin had seven; the Be laites, the Ashbelites, the Abiramites, the Shuphamites, the Huphamites, the Ardites, the Naamites.
The tribe of Dan had but one; the Shuhamités,
The tribe of Asher had five; the Jimnites, the Jesuites, the Beriites, the Heberites, the Malchielites.
The tribe of Naphtali had four; the Jahzeel. ites, the Gunites, the Jezerites, the Shillemites.
Hitherto we have spoken only of the Hebrews by birth, who descended from Abraham, and belonged to one of the tribes; whence it was, that they were better esteemed among the Jews, than those who had been born Gentiles, and had embraced Judaism. For thus we find St. Paul urging it, as a matter of merit among the Jews, that he was born a Jew. I was, says he, circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee.* The second sort of Hebrews we mentioned were such as were Gentiles by birth, but had embraced the Jewish religion.
None was excluded from receiving Judaism but Eunuchs. All strangers were received into it, whenever they thought fit. to submit to its
Phil. iii. 5.
laws, laws, or at least to the principal of them ; for these proselytes, (that is to say, strangers,*) were of two sorts. Some were called proselytes of habitation,t others, proselytes of justice. The former had only their dwelling or habitation among the Jews, and did not engage themselves to an entire observance of the law. But they were nevertheless obliged to keep the sabbath, and what the Talmudists call the precepts of Noah, that is, what God commanded Noah to observe, namely, not to worship idols, and to abstain from blood; together with some other commandments which he gave him, and of which we shall speak more particularly in another place. For the Jews were far from suffering the strangers, who dwelled among them, to live without laws. All which Maimonides explains in his treatise of a proselyte. I « What,” says he, is a proselyte of habitation?' He is one who en. gages to renounce idolatry, and observe the commandments, which were given to the children of Noah; but neither is circumcised, nor baptized. He is called a proselyte of habitation, because we are permitted to give such a one an habitation among the children of Israel, and he is received as a religious Gentile.” He adds,
Whoever engages to keep the commandments of Noah, and is exact in his observance of them, has a right to the rewards of a future state." And the Jews were forbidden to suffer any Gen, tile to live among them, who did not submit to
in his treaties. All which Maimng them, to live
+ Or, Proselytes of the gate, because permitted to live within their gates. Prid. Con. Pt. II, lib, 5.
Ibid. chap. 2.
the observance of these precepts; as we learn from the same author. “ We are obliged,” says he,“ to kill all the Gentiles, who refuse to keep the commandments of Noah, if they are in our power. It is only to us, who are the inheritance of Jacob, and to those of any other nation who will become proselytes, that Moses has given the law. For it is said, There shall be no difference between the proselytes and you. And therefore, as to the law, let him embrace it that will; we force nobody to it: but as for the commandments of Noah, Moses our master, who was taught by God himself, has commanded us to force all those who shall come into the world to observe them, and to kill all those who shall refuse to keep them. He who receives them is called a Proselyte of habitation, and must engage himself to do so, in the presence of three learned persons.”
The second sort of converted Hebrews were called Proselytes of justice. They were so called, because they embraced the whole law of Moses, and engaged themselves to live holily and justly. And they therefore had the rank and privileges of natural Jews. And it is of them that we are to understand those words of our blessed Saviour in the Gospel, Ye compass sea and land. to make one proselyte.* .
In order to become a proselyte of justice, there were three ceremonies to be performed; the first of which was circumcision. The blood that was spilt in the performance of this, was called the blood of the covenant ; and these new con
„verts were thought to be the children of it. And as to the necessity of it, the commandment of God to Abraham is very express : The uncircumcised man-child, whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people. * Circumcision was, as it were, the seal; which sealed the covenant, which the proselyte .entered into with God, and the solemn profession he made of observing the law of Moses. Which made St. Paul say,+ I testify to every mari .that is circumcised, I that he is a debtor to the whole law. And Maimonidess also teaches the same thing. “When a Gentile,” says he; “ has a mind to enter into the covenant, to shelter himself under the wings of the majesty of God, and to submit to the law, he must be cir: cumcised."
The second ceremony was washing, or baptism ; which must have been performed in the presence of, at least, three Jews of distinction. At the time of the performance of it, the proseJyte declared his abhorrence of his past life, and that it was neither ambition nor avarice, but a sincere love for the law of Moses, which prevailed on him to be baptized : and he was then likewise instructed in the most essential part of the law. He promised, at the same time, to lead a godly life, to worship the true God, and to keep his commandments. And hence the Christian church has borrowed those ceremonies, which she makes use of in receiving proselytes,
.. * Gen. xvii. 14. + Gal. v. 3
Or, as the French has it, Every man that causes himself to be circumcisedo t. Ibid. ch. i.
whether. Jews or Gentiles ; for it is manifest, that the institution of baptism: by: Jesus Christ; and the discipline of the primitive church in the administration of it, have a relation to this ceremony among the Jews. : 1,551979: :.',
The third ceremony to iber performed, was that of offering sacrifice: All these, except circumcisión; were performed by the women as well as the men, who became proselytes. And as concerning those who had gone thiough all these ceremonies, it was a common opinion among the Jews, that they ought to be looked on as newborn infants. Maimonides says it in express terms: 6, A Gentile,” says the, “ who is be come a proselyte, and a slave who is set at lia berty, are both as it were new-born babes : which is the reason why those who before were their parents, are now. no longer so." Whence it is evident, that nothing could be more just than Jesus Christ's reproaching Nicodemus, with his being a master in Israel, and yet being at the same time ignorant how a man could be born a second time * : is.it
But to be more particular; I cannot forbear relating here at large, all that Maimonides says, of the manner of their receiving proselytes. It will, I doubt not,' be some pleasure to the reader to trace out in it the origin of Christian baptism, and of the antient ceremonies, which the church observed in it. For they are all borrowed from the Jews; Jesus Christ and his apostles not having thought fit to abolish them, or to substitute new ones in their room.