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among Mankind, which is the most effe&tual Means to spread a Wholsome, as well as a Peftilential Contagion. And since Commerce and Traffick was not so general in those Days, as it is now, there was no such ready way to do this, as by Force of Arms, which united a great many Kingdoms and Nations into one; which, besides all other Advantages, conveyed the Knowledge of all Memorable Adions, into all Parts of the Empire. Now in the Beginning of these Great Em
pires, (for tho' the Asyrian Monare 2. Dan. 38. сhy began long before, yet Nebu
chadnezzar was the Golden Head of that Image, which represented the Four Monarchies;) God carried Judab Captive into Babylon, and thereby made himself known to be the Supreme and Sovereign Lord of the World, over all the Babylonish Empire.
The first Occasion God took to make himself known in Babylon, was Nebuchadnezzar's Dream, which he had forgot ; and none of the Magicians, or Astrologers, or Sorcerers, or Chaldeans, could shew the King his Dream, much less tell him the Interpretation of it ; but Daviel did both ; which made Nebuchadnezzar acknowledge to Daniel, Of a trutb it is that
your God is a God of Gods, and a Lord of Kings, and a revealer of secrets, since thou could
It reveal this secret, 2. Dan. 47. And this advanced Daniel to great Authority ; for the King made hina Ruler over the whole Province of Babylon, and chief of the Governors over all the wise. Men of Babylon. And we need not doubt but he used his Authority, especially among the Wise Men of Babylon; who had the greatest Influence upon others, to
propagate the Knowledge of the One Supreme God among them.
In the Reign of the same King, God mag. nified his power in the Preservation of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, from the Fiery Furnace; which occasioned a Decree, that gave great Advantage to the Jews, and disposed all Men to think very honourably of cheir God; That every People, Nation, and Language, wbich Speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill ; because there is no other God, that can deliver after this fort, 3. Dan. 28, 29. And that Experience Nebuchadnezzar had of the Power and Justice of God, in his own Person, extorted from him as devout Praises of God, and as Orthodox a Confession of his Faith in him, as any few could have inade,
Thus in the Reign of Belfhazzar, who, with his Princes, his Wives, and Concubines, drank Wine out of the Golden Veffels of the Temple, God gave a Glorious Testimony to himself, by à Hand-Writing on the Wall ; which, as Daniel expounded it, and the Event that very Night confirmed, foretold the immediate Overthrow of his Empire, by the Medes and Perfi:ins. This was a very sudden Verigeance, for their Idolatrous Revels, and che Prophanacion of the Holy. Vessels of the Temple ; as Daniel very freely acquainted the King, s. Dan. And tho' his Advancement by Brljhazzar, who made him the Third Ruler in the Kingdom, was but of a very short Continuance, the King being slain chat Night ; yet it fo recommended him to Darius, who began the Second Monarchy of the Medes and Persians, that. he advanced Bb
Daniel to the same, or greater Honour and Power ; he being made the first of the Three Presidents, who had the Government of the Hundred and Twenty Princes, whom Darius set over the whole Kingdom.
In the Beginning of this New Monarchy, God gave a fresh Demonstration of his Power, in delivering Daniel from the Lions Den ; for which Reason, Darius made a Decree, That in every dominion of bis Kingdom, Men fear and tremble before the God of Daniel, 6. Dan. 25, 26, 27. So that by the Captivity of Judah, God made himself known over all the Babylonian and Perfian Monarchy ; and this disposed Cyrus, the Seventy Years of their Captivity being accomplished, to give them Liberty to return into their own Countrey, and to publish a Decree, for the Rebuilding the City and Temple of Jerusa Salem.
But still to preserve the Knowledge of God among them, the Divine Providence fo ordered it, that when all had Liberty to return, great Numbers stay'd behind in Babylon, where they freely professed, and exercised their Religion ; which, together with the Civil Dependance of the Jewish State on the Persian Monarchy, preserved a constant Correspondence and Intercourse between them ; and that preserved the Knowledge of the Jews, and of their God.
The Grecian Empire, which put an End to the Persian, made the God of the Jews still more known to the World. Alexander the Great came to Jerusalem, treated the Jews with great Kindness, consulted the Records of their Prophets, offered Sacrifices to God, and not only confirmed their old, but granted new Privileges to them. And thus God became known,
not only to the Babylonian and Persian, but to the Grecian Monarchy. And when after Alexander's Death, the Empire was divided, this caused a new Dispersion of the Jews, especially into Syria and Egypt ; Ptolomy, the King of Egypt, having surprized Jerusalem, carried great Numbers of them into Egypt, and having entertained a kind Opinion of them there, employed them in his Armies and Garisons, and made them Citizens of Alexandria. His Son, Ptolomy Philadelphus, procured the Translation of their Law into Greek, which was a new Publication of their Religion : And after this, Onias built a Temple in Egypt, in all Things like to that of Ferusalem ; where they worshipped God according to the Rites of the Jewish Law; that God was now as much known in Egypt, as he was in Judea.
And to let pass a great many other Things, which contributed very much to propagate the Knowledge of the God of Israel in the World to compleat all, the Power and Oppressions of the Allyrian Monarchs, forced the Jews to pray the Alliance and Aflistance of the Romans; which ended, as such powerful Alliances very often' do, in their Subjection to the Roman Powers; who first governed them by Kings and Tetrarchs, and at last reduced them into a Roman Province. And thus the Jews, and their God, and their Religion, became known over all the Roman Empire. These Four fuccefsive Monarchies, did gradually increase, and spread the Knowledge of One Supreme God, over all the World, and thereby prepared the way for the Kingdom of the Messias; that Kingdom, which the Prophet Daniel cells us, the God
of Heaven would set up, which should never be des ftroyed, 2. Dan. 44.
For the better to understand this, we must observe, that though the Knowledge of God made no publick Reformation of the Pagan Idolatries, yet it greatly disposed Men to re-. ceive the Gospel, when it should be preached to them: It visibly reformed their Philosophy, and gave them the Notion of One Supreme Being, as is evident from the Poets and Philosophers of those Ages, tho’they still worshipped their Country-Gods; it gave them fome obscore Knowledge of the Jewish Prophecies, concerning the Kingdom of the Messias, and raised an Expectation even among the Romans, of some Great Prince, who was to rise in the East, as Tacitus observes. And tho' the Knowledge of the God of Israel did not refórm Nations, yet we have Reason to believe, that it made a great many private Converts, who secretly forsook the Idolatries of their Countries, and worshipped the only True God. It is reasonable to think it fhould do so ; and we must confess, it was wisely designed by God for that purpose ; and some few Examples of this Kind, which we know, may satisfy us that there were many 'more.
On the Famous Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Ghost descended on the Apostles, in a vifible Appearance of cloven tongues like as of fire, there were at Jerusalem great Numbers, not only of Jews, but of Proselytes out of every, Nation: Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and she dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judæa, and Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphilia, in Egypt, and in the Parts of Lybia , about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome ; Fews and Prose