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mercy and favour, and send us not away from thy presence, O our
and blessing, and mercy, and life, and peace. And let it seem good
in thine eyes, to bless thy people Israel with thy peace at all times, and in every moment.—Blessed art thou, O Lord, who blessest thy people Israel with peace Amen.”
1 i. e. The Adytum Templi, which in the Temple of Jerusalem was the holy of holies, into which none ever entered but the high priest once a year, on the great day of expiation. From this place after the Babylonish captivity were wanting the ark, the mercy seat, the Shechinah of the divine presence, and the Urim and Thum. mim, which causing an imperfection in their worship in respect of what it was formerly, a restoration of them seems to be the subject of this petition.
I. The whole nation accounted holy.—II. JMembers of the Jewish Church; Hebrews of the Hebrews.-III. Proselytes.—IV. Jews of the Dispersion.—V. Hellenistic Jews.--VI. The Libertines.— VII. Devout men.—VIII. Circumcision.—IX. Proselytes, how introduced into the Jewish Church.
I. JEHOVAH, in his infinite wisdom and goodness, having been pleased to prefer the posterity of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, before every other nation, and to select them from every other people, for the purposes of imparting to them the revelation of his will, and of preserving the knowledge and worship of the true God; He is thence said to have chosen them, and they are in many passages of Scripture represented as his chosen and elect people.' And because they were by the will of God set apart, and appropriated in a special manner to his honour and obedience, and furnished with extraordinary motives to holiness, God is therefore said to have sanctified them. (Lev. xx. 8. xxi. 8. xxii. 9. 16. 32.) For these reasons they are termed a holy nation, a kingdom of priests, and also saints;” and their covenant relation to God is urged upon them as a motive to holiness of heart and practice. (Lev. xix. 2. xx. 7, 8.26. xi. 45. Exod. xxii. 31.) But the Jews of later times, becomin proud of these titles, and of their ecclesiastical privileges, extende their charity only to those of their own faith; while towards the rest of mankind they cherished a sullen and inveterate hatred, accounting them to be profane persons and sinners.” This relative or imputed holiness of the Jews as a covenant people, separated and consecrated to the worship of the true God, was perpetual (in other words it was to subsist until the institution of the Gospel dispensation); although Ahe Jews were often extremely corrupt in their manners, as the numerous denunciations of the prophets sufficiently indicate. Hence some of the rabbinical writers call the most wicked kings of Israel ! Compare Deut. iv. 37. vii. 6. x, 15. 1 Kings viii. 22, et seq. 1 Chron. xvi. 13.
and Judah holy,–holy, or righteous, and Israelite, being with them convertible terms, (compare Wisd. x. 15. 17. 20. xviii. 1.7. 9. 20.): and in the time of our Lord the Jews held the preposterous notion, that though they should continue in their sins, yet, because they were the offspring of Abraham, God would not impute their sins to them.' The apostles being Jews by birth, though they wrote in Greek, have retained their national idiom, and have borrowed the Old Testament phraseology, which they have applied to Christians, in order to convey to them accurate ideas of the magnitude of God's love to them in Christ. Thus, the apostles not only call them disciples and brethren, that is, friends united in the same profession of faith by bonds equally close as those of brothers, having one Lord, one faith. one baptism, but, because all true Christians are by the will of God set apart and appropriated in an especial manner to his honour, service, and obedience, and are furnished with extraordinary helps and motives to holiness, they are therefore said to be sanctified (1 Cor. 1. 2. vi. 11. Heb. ii. 11; x. 29. Jude 1.); and are further styled holy, holy brethren, a holy nation, and saints.” II. The first members of this church were the immediate descendants of Abraham by Isaac and Jacob, whom God, having delivered from their oppressive bondage in Egypt, chose for himself to be his peculiar people, and their direct issue, without any intermixture of Gentile blood or language. These are termed by St. Paul Hebrews of the Hebrews (Phil. iii. 5.), as opposed to the Hellenistic Jews, or those who lived among the Greeks, whose language they spoke, and who were called Hellenists. (Acts vi. 1. ix. 29. xi. 20.) Many of the latter were descended from parents, one of whom only was a Jew. Of this description was Timothy. (Acts xvi. 1.) Those, who were born in Judaea, of parents rightly descended from Abraham, and who received their education in Judata, spoke the language of their forefathers, and were thoroughly instructed in the learning and literature of the Jews, were reckoned more honourable than the Hellenists;” and, to mark the excellence of their lineage and language, they were called Hebrews;–a name
I See Whitby on Matt. iii. 9.
2 See. Col. iii. 12. 1 Thess. v. 27. Heb. iii. 9. 1 Pet. ii. 9. Acts ir. 32, 41. xxvi 10. Rom. i. 7. xii. 13. xv. 25, 26. xvi. 15. 1 Cor. i. 2, 2 Cor. i. 1. xiii. 13. Phil. iv. 22. Eph. i. 1. Phil. i. 1. and Col. i. 2.
3. It has been remarked that Greek words ending in term; imply inferiority. Thus, the 'EX\nve; (Hellenes) were distinguished from the ‘EXAnvarai (Hellenist E); the former imply pure or native Greeks, who spoke the Greek tongue in its purity; and the latter, Jews or others sojourning among the Greeks, who spoke the Greek language according to the Hebrew idiom. These were the ‘Ex\rigra, Hellenists or Grecians who murmured against the Hebrews. (Acts vi. 1.) “Pythagoras divided his disciples into two classes. Those, who were capable of entering into the spirit and mystery of his doctrine, he called IIvSayoptive PythagonFANs, those, who were of a different cast, he termed IIv$ayoptorat, or Pythagorisrs. The former were eminent and worthy of their master; the latter, but indifferent. The same distinction is made between those who were called arrisov, or Attics, and Artuklora; or .3tticists, the pure and less pure Greeks, as between those called 'EX\nvas and "EXAnvaraç, Hellenes and Hellenists, pure Greeks, and Graecising
Jews... Iainblichus de vita Pythag. c. 18, and Schoettgen, cited by Dr A. Clarkon Acts vi. 1.
o the most antient, and therefore the most honourable, of all the dames J. borne by Abraham's descendants; for it was the name given to so Abraham himself, by the Canaanites, to signify that he had come on from the other side of the Euphrates. A Tireu, therefore, posTo sessing the character and qualifications above described, was more to honourable than an Israelite ; as that name indicated only that a (or person was a member of the commonwealth of Israel, which a Jew of might be, though born and educated in a foreign country. Saint lo Paul, indeed, was born at Tarsus, in Cilicia; yet, being a Hebrew ot of the Hebrews, who received his education at Jerusalem, spoke is the language used there, and understood the Hebrew in which the o: antient oracles of God were written, he was a Jew of the most ld. honourable class; and, therefore, when cautioning the Philippians of f against Judaising teachers and unbelieving Jews, he enumerates this s: privilege among those of which (if salvation were to be obtained by It them,) he might have confidence in the flesh. (Phil. iii. 4, 5.) The # * privileges of the Israelites, which were very highly esteemed by all Jews, are enumerated by St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Romans, in roof a very animated manner." o, or III. Although the constitution of the Jewish polity and the laws o of Moses allowed no other nations to participate in their sacred o rites, yet they did not exclude from them such persons as were willo ing to qualify themselves for conforming to them. Hence they ado mitted proselytes, who renounced the worship of idols, and joined too in the religious services of the Jews; although they were not held in Ao the same estimation as Jews by birth, descent, and language, who, to we have just seen, were termed Hebrews of the Hebrews. During , so the time of Jesus Christ, the Jews, especially the Pharisees, greatly to exerted themselves in making proselytes to their religion and sect.” o Calmet, and some other learned men after him, have distinguished o two kinds of proselytes, namely, 1. Proselytes of the gate, who * dwell either in or out of the land of Israel, and worshipped the true o God, observing the seven precepts of Noah,” but without obliging o themselves to circumcision or any other legal ceremony; and, 2. Pro
! -- selytes of justice or of righteousness, who were converts to Judaism, and engaged themselves to receive circumcision, as well as to observe the whole of the Mosaic law. There does not, however, appear I See Drs. Whitby, Doddridge, Macknight, A. Clarke, or Messrs. Scott, Henry, &c. on Rom. ix. 4. and Phil. iii. 5. * Compare Acts vi. 5. xiii.43, and Matt. xxiii. 15, with Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xiii. c. ix. § 1. and lib. xx. c. iii. § 4. 3 These precepts are by the Jewish doctors termed the seven precepts of Noah, and (they pretend) were given by God to the sons of Noah. They are as follow:— 1. That man should abstain from idolatry;-2. That they should worship the true God alone;—3. That they should hold incest in abhorrence;—4. That they should not commit murder;-5. Nor rob or steal;-6. That they should punish a murderer with death;-7. That they should not eat blood, nor any thing in which blood is, consequently, nothing strangled. “Every one,” says a living Jewish writer, “that observes these seven commandments, is entitled to happiness. But to observe them merely from a sense of their propriety, is deemed by Maimonides insufficient to constitute a pious Gentile, or to confer a title to happiness in the world to come; it is requisite that they be observed, because they are divine commands." See Allen's Modern Judaism, p. 107. Schulzii Archaeol, Hebr. pp. 148,149.
to be any foundation in the Scriptures for such a distinction: nor can any with propriety be termed proselytes, except those who fully embraced the Jewish religion. The Scriptures mention only two classes of persons, viz. the Israelites or Hebrews of the Hebrews above mentioned, and the Gentile converts to Judaism, which last are called by the names of strangers and sojourners, or proselytes." IV. In consequence of the Babylonish captivity, the Jews were dispersed among the various provinces of the great Babylonian empire; and though a large portion of them returned under Zerubbabel, it appears that a considerable part remained behind. From this circumstance, as well as from various other causes, it happened, in the time of our Lord, that great numbers of Jews were to be found in Greece, and all the other parts of the Roman empire, which, at that time had no other limits but those of the then known world.” It was of the Jews dispersed among the Gentiles that our Lord spoke in John vii. 37.: and to them he is also supposed to have alluded when he said that he had other sheep (John x. 16.) but without excluding the Gentiles, who also were to enter into his sheepfold, or be admitted into his church. To these dispersed Jews it was, that St. Peter and St. James inscribed their respective epistles; the former to those who were scattered through Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia Minor, and Bithynia (1 Pet. i. 1.); and the latter, to the twelve tribes who were dispersed throughout the then known world. (James i. 1.) The Jews, who were assembled at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, were of the dispersion. (Acts ii. 5–11. V. There were also Jews who lived in those countries where Greek was the living language, and perhaps spoke no other. These are distinguished in the New Testament from the Hebrews or matte Jews, who spoke what was then called Hebrew (a kind of ChaldaicoSyriac), by the appellation of Hellenists, or Grecians as they are termed in our authorized English version. These in all other respects were members of the Jewish church; they are repeatedly mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, and it was a party of Hellenistic Jews that requested to see Jesus.”
1 These two classes are very frequently mentioned in the books of Moses; thus in Levit. xxv. we have “the children of Israel” (ver. 2.) and “the strangers that sojourn” among them. (ver. 45.) See also Ezek. xiv. 7-" Every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, that separateth himself from me, and setteth up idols in his heart.”—It is evident that, by the “stranger, in this passage, is meant a proselyte who had been converted to the worship of Jehovah, otherwise he could not have been separated from him. Schulzii Archaeol. Hebr. ut supra. Jenning's Jewish Antiquities, book i. ch. iii. pp. 63—80. Dr. Lardner has remarked that the notion of two sorts of proselytes is not to be found in of Christian writer before the fourteenth century; see his arguments at large, Works, vol. vi. pp. 522–533, or vol. iii. pp. 397–400. 4to. and vol. xi. pp. 313–324, 8vo. or vol. v. pp. 485–493, 4to. This observation renders it probable that the twelfth prayer of the Jews in p. 251. supra, is not of so early a date as is commonly "P"
* Philo de Legatione ad Caium, p. 1031. et in Flaccum, p. 971. Josephus, Ant Jud. lib. xvi. c. 6. lib. xii. c. 3. lib. xiv. c. 10. Cicero Orat. pro Flacco, c. 28.
* John xii. 20. See also Acts vi. 1. ix. 29. and xi. 20. and the commentator"." those passages.