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at the feast whereto they sent for Samson to deride him, till which time he bare his affliction with patience: but it was truly said of Seneca ; Patientia sæpe læsa vertitur in furorem ; “ Patience often wounded is converted into fury:” neither is it at any time so much wounded by pain and loss, as by derision and contumely.
SECT. II. Of Eli, and of the ark taken, and of Dagon's fall, and the sending
back of the ark. THE story of Eli the priest, who succeeded Samson, is written in the beginning of Samuel; who foretold him of the destruction of his house for the wickedness of his sons, which he suppressed not, neither did he punish them according to their deserts : n whose sins were horrible, both in abusing the sacrifice, and profaning and polluting the holy places ; though Levi Ben Gerson, to extenuate this filthy offence of forcing the women by the sons of Eli, hath a contrary opinion. In this time therefore it pleased God to cast the Israelites under the swords of the Philistines ; of whom there perished in the first encounter 4000, and in the second battle 30,000 footmen; among whom the sons of Eli being slain, their father, (hearing the lamentable success,) by falling from his chair, brake his neck. He was the first that obtained the high priesthood of the stock of Ithamar, the son of Aaron, before whose time it continued successively in the race of Eleazar, the eldest brother of Ithamar: for Aaron was the first, Eleazar the second, Phinees the son of Eleazar the third, Abisue the son of Phinees the fourth, his son Bocci the fifth, Ozi the son of Bocci the sixth, and then Eli, as Josephus and Lyranus out of divers Hebrew authors have conceived. In the race of Ithamar the priest, hood continued after Eli to the time of Salomon, who cast out Abiathar, and established Sadok and Achimaas and their successors. The ark of God which Israel brought into the field was in this battle taken by the Philistines. For as David witnesseth, Psal. lxxviii. God greatly abhorred ni Sam. ii. 22.
• 1 Kings ii. 27. and i Chron. vi.
Israel, so that he forsook the habitation of Shilo ; even the tabernacle where he dwelt among men, and delivered his power into captivity, &c.
Now as it pleased God at this time, that the ark whereby himself was represented should fall into the hands of the heathen, for the offences of the priests and people: so did he permit the Chaldeans to destroy the temple built by Salomon; the Romans to overthrow the second temple; and the Turks to overthrow the Christian churches in Asia and Europe. And had not the Israelites put more confidence in the sacrament or representation, which was the ark, than in God himself, they would have observed his laws, and served him only; which whensoever they did, they were then victorious. For after the captivity they had no Park at all, nor in the times of the Maccabees ; and yet for their piety it pleased God to make that family as victorious, as any that guarded themselves by the sign instead of the substance. And that the ark was not made to the end to be carried into the field as an ensign, David witnessed when he fled from Absalom. For when the priests would have carried the ark with him, he forbade it, and caused it to be returned into the city, using these words: 9 If I shall find favour- in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me again : if not, let him do to me as seemeth good in his eyes.
The Trojans believed, that while their palladium, or the image of Minerva, was kept in Troy, the city should never be overturned: so did the Christians, in the last fatal battle against Saladine, carry into the field, as they were made believe, the very cross whereon Christ died, and yet they lost the battle, their bodies, and the wood. But Chrysostom upon St. Matthew (if that be his work) giveth a good judgment, speaking of those that ware a part of St. John's Gospel about their necks, for an amulet or preservative: Si tibi ea non prosunt in auribus, quomodo proderunt in collo ? “ If “ those words do not profit men in their ears, (to wit, the “ hearing of the gospel preached,) how should it profit them “ by hanging it about their necks?” For it was neither the Di Sam. v. 6.
9 2 Sam. xv. 25, 26. RALEGH, HIST. WORLD. VOL. II. H h
wood of the ark, nor the wood of the cross, but the reverence of the Father, that gave the one for a memory of his covenant, and the faith in his Son, which shed his blood on the other for redemption, that could or can profit them and us, either in this life or after it.
The Philistines returning with the greatest victory and glory which ever they obtained, carried the ark of God with them to Azotus, and set it up, in the house of Dagon their idol; but that night the idol fell out of his place, from above to the ground, and lay under the ark. The morning following they took it up, and set it again in his place, and it fell the second time, and the head brake from the body, and the hands from the arms, shewing that it had nor power nor understanding in the presence of God; for the head fell off, which is the seat of reason and knowledge, and the hands (by which we execute strength) were sundered from the arms. For God and the Devil inhabit not in one house nor in one heart. And if this idol could not endure the representation of the true God, it is not to be marvelled, that at such time as it pleased him to cover his only-begotten with flesh, and sent him into the world, that all the oracles, wherein the Devil derided and betrayed mortal men, lost power, speech, and operation at the instant. For when that true Light, which had never beginning of brightness, brake through the clouds of a virgin's body, shining upon the earth, which had been long obscured by idolatry, all those foul and stinking vapours vanished. Plutarch rehearseth a memorable accident in that age concerning the death of the great god Pan, as he styleth him; where (as ignorant of the true cause) he searcheth his brains for many reasons of so great an alteration; yet finds he none out but frivolous. For not only this old devil did then die, as he supposed, but all the rest, as Apollo, Jupiter, Diana, and the whole rabble became speechless.
Now while the Philistines triumphed after this victory, God struck them with the grievous disease of the hemorrhoids, of which they perished in great numbers: for it is written, that the Lord destroyed them. It was therefore by ge
neral consent ordered, that the ark should be removed from Azotus to Gath, or Geth, another of the five great cities of the Philistines ; to prove, as it seemeth, whether this disease were fallen on them by accident, or by the hand of God immediately: but when it was brought to Gath, and received by them, the plague was yet more grievous and mortal : "For the hand of the Lord was against the city with a very great destruction : and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, &c. And being not yet satisfied, they of Gath sent the ark to Ekron, or Accaron, a third city of the Philistines : but they also felt the same smart, and cried out that themselves and their people should be slain thereby; for there was a destruction and death throughout all the city. In the end, by the advice of their priests, the princes of the Philistines did not only resolve to return the ark, but to offer gifts unto the God of Israel, remembering the plague which had fallen on the Egyptians, when their hearts were hardened to hold the people of God from their inheritance and from his service by strong hand. Wherefore confessing the power of the God of Israel to be almighty, and that their own idols were subject thereunto, they agreed to offer a sin-offering, using these words; So ye shall give glory to the God of Israel : that he may take his hand from you, and from your gods, and from your land, 1 Sam. vi. 5. And what can be a more excellent witnessing, than where an enemy doth approve our cause ? according to Aristotle; Pulchrum est testimonium, quo nostra probantur ab hostibus. So did Pharaoh confess the living God, when he was plagued in Egypt; and Nabuchodonosor and Darius, when they had seen his miracles by Daniel.
This counsel therefore of the priests being embraced, and the golden hemorrhoids and the golden mice prepared, they caused two milch kine to be chosen, such as had not been yoked, and a new cart or carriage to be framed; bụt they durst not drive or direct it to any place certain, thereby to make trial whether it were indeed the hand of God that had strucken
* i Sam. v.9.
them. For if the ark of God were carried towards Bethshemesh, and into the territory of Israel, then they should resolve that from God only came their late destruction. For the Philistines knew that the milch kine, which drew the ark, could not be forced from their calves, but that they would have followed them wheresoever ; much less when they were left to themselves, would they travel a contrary way. For in the darkest night in the world, if calves be removed from their dams, the kine will follow them through woods and deserts by the foot, till they find them. But the kine travelled directly towards Bethshemesh; and when they came into the fields thereof, to wit, of one Joshua of the same city, they stood still there, which when the princes of the Philistines perceived, they returned to Ekron: after which, God spared not his own people the Bethshemites, in that they presumed to look into the ark. And because they knew God and his commandments, and had been taught accordingly, he struck them more grievously than he did the heathen, for there perished of them fifty thousand and seventy. From hence the ark was carried to Kirjath-jearim, and placed in the house of Abinadab; where it is written, that it remained twenty years in the charge of Eleazar his son, until David brought it to Jerusalem.
Now whereas it is said, that in the mean while the Sark was in Nob, Mispah, and Galgala, it was the tabernacle which was at this time severed from the ark; or at least, it was for the present occasion brought to these places, and anon returned to Kirjath-jearim.
Of Samuel, and of his government. THESE tragedies overpast and ended, Samuel, to whom God appeared while he was yet a child, became now judge and governor of Israel. He was descended of the family of u Chore, or Korach. For Levi had three sons, Gerson, Cheath, and Merari; Cheath had Amram and Izaar; of
Le was dewhild, becamuel, to wh.
• 2 Sam. vi. and i Chron. xii.
in the margin.
u 1 Chron. vi. 22.