in ye mean time I have sent you a vicegerent wch I hope you will accept of & to hang up in yor closet for a remembrance of me


2 Kings 17.15, 16.

They followed vanity & became vain & went after ye heathen that were round about them concerning whom ye Ld had said yt they should not do like them. And they left all ye commandements of ye Lord their God & made them molten images even two calves & made a grove & worshipped all ye host of heaven & served Baal.

Having had formerly occasion to disourse of these words I told you how ye designe of ye place was to describe ye captivity of ye Israelites ten tribes by ye Assyrians & ye abominations for which they were captivated & ye religion of ye nations wch ye assyrians placed in Samaria in ye seats of ye captivated Israelites: wch religion was that these nations joyned together ye worship of ye true God in ye Calves of Iereboā & ye worship of ye fals Gods of ye Gentiles round about in their several Idols even as ye Israelites had joyned them before. ffor ye better understanding ye tenour & force of ye place I laid down these six particulars. 1st That ye Israelites acknowledged & worshipped ye true God at ye same time that they worshipped ye \Gods of the/ Gentiles. 2 That they & ye nations wch succeeded them in ye Cities of Lanaria worshipped ye true God in ye calves of Ieroboā 3 That this worship was Idolatry notwithstanding that it was performed to ye true God: & by parity of reason that ye worship of ye true God by any Image wch he has not commanded, (as indeed he has commanded none) is Idolatry. 4 That generally ye Israelites & Gentiles worshipped not mere Images as Gods themselves but only as dedicated to their several Gods. 5 That the ancient Idolaters, as many of them as acknowledged ye true God, did not esteem any of their other Gods equal to him but accounted them only finite beings & for ye most part the souls of men deceased, who for ye eminent passage of their life here they supposed were after death rewarded with power more or less over this world, to do good or hurt therein not only subordinately not only to ye supreme God but even to some others of their imagined Gods. Lastly <3r> that ye glory of ye true God wch Idolaters gave unto their Idols, was not any of his attributes as some are ready to suppose, but only this: To love, to fear, to trust in, & to to {sic} seek unto those Gods for ye temporal blessings of this life, for wch ye true God has appointed us to love fear trust in & seek unto none but himself immediately. {To} And consequently to do any of these things in a religious way to any other then the true god, is so far to depart from him & give his glory to another: the great crime of wch Idolaters stand accused.

ffor evincing the first of these particulars \*/ < insertion from f 2v > * that the Israelites acknowledged & worshipped the true God at ye same time that they worshipped ye Gods of ye Gentiles. < text from f 3r resumes > I produced several places of scripture wch I shall not repeat: only ye last of them I named, I shall remind you of that I may explain it a little further. It was in Ier 44.25, 26 where a hand of Iews wch in ye time of Nebuchadnezzars captivity fled into Ægypt, vowed in ye {lo} name of ye Lord to worship ye Queen of heaven. The words run thus. Hear ye word of the lord all Iudah that are in the Land of Egypt: Thus saith ye Lord of hosts ye God of Israel, saying Ye & yor wives have both spoken with your mouth & fulfilled wth your hands, saying, We will surely perform or vows that we have vowed to burn incense to ye Queen of heaven & to pour out drink offrings unto her: Ye will surely accomplish your vows & surely perform your vows. Therefore hear ye ye word of ye Lord all Iudah yt dwell in ye Land of Egypt, Behold I have sworn by my great name saith ye Lord that my name shall be no more named in ye mouth of any man of Iudah in all ye Land of Egypt saying; The Lord God liveth. In the 42th Chapter the remnant of the people which scaped the the hands of the king of Babylon, & remained in the land after the captivity & burning of Ierusalem, came to Ieremiah & said to him: Let, we beseech thee our supplication be accepted bef{ore} the & pray for us unto the Lord thy God, even for all this remnant, that ye Lord thy God may shew us ye way wherein <4r> we may walk & the thing that we may do. After a few days Ieremiah returned them answer from ye Lord that if they went into Egypt, as they designed, they should surely be cut off there by ye armies of the king of Babylon, but if they stayd in their own land it should be well with them. But this answer being contrary to their inclination, they replied to Ieremiah, Thou speakest falsly, The Lord our God hath not sent thee to say, Go not into Egypt to sojourn there. Here you see the people acknowledged ye true God, ye God of Ieremiah \whom they called their own God/, & made their applications to him to know whether they should go into Egypt or stay in their Land. And when they received answer that they should stay they did not {present} \thereupon/ reject their God, & say we will will not obey him but only blamed the Prophet as if he had lied \feigned/ unto them, & not spoken to them from the Lord. Vpon this therefore they went into Egypt, & what they did there you have described in ye 44th Chapter, vers 7 the 7th & following verses, where Ieremiah is sent to reprove them for their Idolatry, with this message. Thus saith ye Lord, the God of hosts, ye God of Israel, Wherefore commit ye this great evil against your souls to cut off from you man & woman child & suckling out of Iudah to leave you none to remain: In that ye provoke me to wrath wth ye works of yor hands burning incence{illeg} unto other Gods in ye land of Egypt, whether ye be gone to dwell. – Have ye forgotten the wickedness of your fathers & ye wickedness of ye kings of Iudah & the wickedness of their wives, & your own wickedness & the wickedness of your wives which they have committed in ye land of Iudah & in ye streets of Ierusalem? They are not humbled even unto this day Neither have they feared nor walked in my law nor in my statutes that I set before you & before yor fathers. Therefore thus{sic} saith the lord of hosts ye God of {Israel} <5r> Behold I will set my face against you for evil, even to cut of all Iudah. These men you see {illeg} then were Idolaters in their own land before their captivity & in Egypt after it. In the midst of their abominations it was that they came to Ieremiah to enquire of the Lord, & now when Ieremiah was sent to em to tell 'em of denounce Gods judgments on 'em for their doings & exhort them to repentance & they replied that they would {not} still not hearken to him but keep to that worship wch they & their fathers had used before in Ierusalem, the Prophet replies \answers/: Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, saying ye & your wives have both spoken with your mouth & fulfilled with your hands {illeg} saying: We will surely perform or vows that we have vowed to burn incenc|s|e to ye Queen of heaven & to pour or out drink offerings unto her. Ye will surely accomplish your vows & surely perform yor vows Therefore he{illeg}|are| ye ye word of ye Lord all ye that dwell in ye Land of Egypt: Behold I have sworn by my great name saith ye Lord that my name shall be no more named in ye mouth of any man of Iudah in all ye land of Egypt saying the Lord God liveth Hitherto then notwithstanding their Idolatry, the name of the Lord continued among them, & because they vowed by it to worship the Queen of heaven & upon Ieremiahs reproving them replied that they would perform their vows therefore God threatens that his name should be no more named among them to say, the Lord God liveth. You are to know |yt| this saying ye Lord God liveth was their usual \solemn/ /usual\ way of invoking {him} God when they would swear solemnly sweare by him. An evident instance of this you have in Ier. 38.16, where Zedekiah ye king \of Iudah/ demanding ye word of ye Lord of Ieremiah, & Ieremiah fearing least the King should put him to death for telling it him it is said that ye king sware secretly to Ieremiah saying <6r> As the Lord liveth that made this soule, I will not put thee to death. So; (as I told you formerly,) the Israelites when they went to worship ye Calves at Bethel & Gilgal used to swear after this manner, & therefore in Hosea 4.15 God commands yt Iudah do not imitate Israel in this point: Though Israel, saith he, play ye harlot, yet let not Iudah offend, & come not ye unto Gilgal, neither go ye up to Bethaven, nor swear, The Lord liveth. This then was their solemn way of swearing, & as ye ten Tribes used it in their religion toward ye calves so ye two Iews in Egypt used it in their religion towards their Idols ffor had not their vows to worship ye Queen of heaven been done in ye name of ye Lord it would have been incoherent to say, b|B|ecause ye have vowed to worship ye Qeen {sic} of heaven & say ye will perform yor vows therefore my name shall be no more named among you, saying, ye Lord liveth. Tis certain therefore that these vows were done in Gods name & consequently yt in ye midst of their Idolatry they retained a religion to|ward| ye true God & thought their worshipping other Gods well pleasing to him: yea that they retained a more especial regard to ye true God then to any other & performed their worship to others, with reverence to him. ffor why els did they not in ye worshipping ye Queen of heaven vow by her name rather then by the name of ye Lord? Why did they plead their vow in such a manner as if they should be wanting in their religion to ye duty to ye true God if they did not acording to their vow worship the Queen of heaven? But how ever it be, this I have plainly shewed that theyse Idolaters both before they went into Egypt & when they were there retained some a religion towards ye true God, & if you further consider that they continued it till they were destroyed for their Idolatry the way by wch <7r> God threatened to put an end to their vowing by his {illeg} name you may perceive they continued it till, for their Idolatry, they were destroyed. {illeg}|Because|, says God, ye have vowed to worship ye Queen of heaven & say ye will perform your vows therefore my name shall be no more named in all ye mouth of any man of Iudah in all ye land of Egypt saying ye Lord God liveth: – for all ye men of Iudah yt are in ye land of Egypt shall be cut off consumed by ye sword & by the famin untill there be an end of them. This was the means by wch God foretold them he would put an end to their swearing by his name & consequently they retained a religion to ye true God & fals Gods together all ye while they lived in Egypt.

Having thus at large given you ye import of this place I shall now pass on to another. In Ezek 14. in ye former part of ye Chapter you have the Elders of Israel in the midst of their Idolatries \committed/ \before the captivity/ comeing to enquire of ye true God & God rejects them because of their Idols. The place runs thus. Then came certain of ye Elders of Israel unto me & sat before me. And ye word of ye Lord came unto me saying Son of man these men have set up their Idols in their heart, & put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them? Therefore speak unto them & say unto ym Thus saith ye Lord God, Every man of ye house of Israel that setteth up his Idols in his heart & putteth ye stumbling block of his iniquity before his face & cometh to ye Prophet, I the Lord will answer him that cometh according to ye multitude of his Idols. That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart because they are all estranged from me throug{h} <8r> their Idols. This place seems so evident as to need no explaining. But yet because there may be some scruple about their setting up Idols in their heart as if that expression might imply that they were not Idolaters in their external acts of worship but onely in their heart, I shall hereafter say something to cleare yt expression & then add an observation or two upon ye place together with some other passages of scripture to ye same purpose: by which I hope to make it appeare yt ye Iews & Israelites scarce ever so followed other Gods as to forsake their own unlesse perhaps in ye short reign of Ahab when Iezebel a forreign woman endeavoured to extirpate ye religion of ye Israelites & bring in that of her own Country.

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Professor Rob Iliffe
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