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The Reason of the Order of the Sons of Leah.

Judah, Reuben, Gad, Aser, constitute, as you see, the first quaternion of the sons of Leah, as superior to the rest in respect to Him of whom the type points out the nobility.

Among those, the first place, as justly due, is bestowed on Judah, on account of Christ, the King of the faithful, descended from that tribe. The second on Reuben, whom that illustrious protestation concerning building the altar of remembrance on the banks of Jordan, ennobled, and which he deserved, that he might not yield the prerogative of his nativity (for he was the first-born) to any other than to the royal tribe of Judah. The third place is allotted to Gad, as the associate of Reuben in that celebrated protestation of retaining the true worship of God, and illustrious besides for Elias the prophet, and him the king, the destroyer of Baalism.

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Aser, in fine, assumes the fourth and last place in this quaternion, illustrious for the widow of Sarepta, who reverenced Elijah, (Sarepta lying in the lot of Aser,) and noted also for Anna the prophetess, of the tribe of Aser, who bore testimony to Christ, when she was remaining in the temple according to the law, but by no means to be compared with the three preceding, because each was a female.

Simeon, Levi, Issachar, and Zabulon are deferred to the last quaternion, either because they were embellished with no names, or with fewer than the former; or if they had any, by such as were obliterated afterwards by some kind of wickedness. For Levi blotted out the remembrance of the zeal by which he approved himself in the wilderness, (to pass over the sedition of Korah,) by his fellowship with Israelitish apostates and idolaters, even from the beginning. For Jonathan the Levite, the grandson of Moses, gave up his services in introducing the worship of images to Micah the Ephraimite and the Danish robbers. Judg. c. xvii. v. 10, and c. xviii. v. 30. It is possible also, that the substitution of Levi in the place of Dan might have degraded him into the fourth quaternion. Moreover, since the brethren of this quaternion have no quality in which some excel others, they preserve the order of their nativity unaltered, 134and every one is enumerated in that order in which he was born.

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