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obtruded the least trash upon his readers, and that he has also shut out from the scriptures of the New Testament all spurious, dubious, and Apocryphal authors, all Apostles falsely so called, whom he served as Jupiter did Vulcan,
Ρίψε, σοδός τιταγών, από βαλ θεσσεσίοιο. * ü. 14. vi. 9.
The Constitutions call the name of Christ, το όνομα tò Xaver—from isa. Ixii. 2. which yet looks also like an allusion to Rev. ii. 17. όνομα καινόν. iii. 12.-το όνομα Het Tè narròr, and they say that the church of Christ is ύμφη κεκαλλωπισμένη Κυρίω τω Θεώ, perhaps from Rev. Xxi. 2. ήτοιμασμένην ως νύμφην κεκοσμημένην το ανδρί αυτής. And yet the seventy-sixth Apostolicul Canon mentions not the Revelation amongst the books of the New Testament. ii. 15. 25. The same Canon ascribes to St Paul the epistle to the Hebrews.
They say that tithes are due to the clergy, because flora, which stands for ten, is the first letter of the name of Jesus. Many of the clergy would be in a poor condition, if they liad no better claim to them, ii. 25.
They give an interpretation of the proper name Israel, concerning which see the notes, vii. 36.
They abound with citations of the Scriptures, and are remarkable for an exuberant profusion of words, and a most tiresome repetition of the same things, which shews that in all probability they are not one man's invention, but a medley.
They not only heap passages of Scripture one upon another, but where the thing might have been alluded to in three words, they transcribe whole pages :aliter non fit liber.
After * Hurl'd headlong rumbling from thelberial sky.
After having censured all the other Jewish sects, they give the Essenes a good character, oi dè tútar a ár. των εαυτος χωρίσαντες, και τα πάτρια φυλάσσούλες, εισίν Εσσαίοι, Qui vero ab üs omnibus separarunt se, ac patrios ritus servant, Esscei sunt. vi. 6.
When the Jews were returned from Babylon, and before the coming of Christ, three sects arose amongst them, the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and the Essenes ; of which, though none were good, the Sadducees were the worst, the Pharisees the best, and the Essenes superstitious fanatics.
The Sadducees were of opinion, that they neither wanted nor received any divine assistance for the performance of their duty ; that the rewards and the punishments which God had denounced, were only temporal; that there were neither angels nor spirits, nor resurrection, nor future state, but that the whole man perished at death. It has been supposed, but not sufficiently proved, that they rejected not only the tra. ditions of the elders, but the writings of the prophets *, and all the sacred books, except the Law: so thought Jerom, and many of the fathers.
Our Saviour proved a future state to the Sadducees from a text in the books of Moses, where God is called the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, after they were dead. Hence it has been inferred, that the Sadducees rejected the prophets; else, say they, Christ would have appealed to the prophets, who teach this doctrine more fully. But why so ? From the words of Moses cited by our Saviour, the doctrine of a fu
* When Josephus says that the Sadducees observed nothing besides ibe laws, he seems to oppose the written lows to the traditions only, not to the prophets. See Antig. XIII. X. 6. XVIII. i. Edit. Haverc.
ture state may as clearly be deduced, as from any one single text which can be produced out of any one of the prophets. The Sadducees might pay a greater regard to Moses than to the other prophets, and yet not reject them neither. Besides, as the Sadducees, in their discourse with Christ, raised an objection to ano. ther state from a passage in Moses, Christ chose to answer them from the same author. Hoc fun lamento usi sunt Sadducæi, Nullum articulum fidei admittendum esse, qui non ex libris Mosaicis probari posset. Reliquos autem Scriptur e tibrus ipsi legebant, et ita interpretabantur, at fundamento suo contradicere non viderentur. Pearson Vindic. Iznut. c. vii. Basnage is of the same opinion, Hist. des Juifs, ii. 6. Tota religio consistit in libris Mosis : in ceteris nullum fidei seu Legis dogma statuitur, says Orobius, who yet was no Sadducee, but rather, like most of his brethren, a follower of the Pharisces.
The greatest sect of the Jews was that of the Pharisees, and in many respects it seems to have been the best also. The Constitutions charge them with fatalisin, and so doth Epiphanius, and some other ancients, a charge which perhaps they could not have made good.
They ought rather to have ascribed this notion to the Essenes; for the Essenes were strict predestinarians, but the Pharisees, like the Semi-Pelagians, thouglit that divine assistance and human liberty to-operated and were 'reconcileable. So says Josephus *, who was better acquainted with them than the obscure author of the Constitutions.
The principal fault, in point of doctrine, belonging to the Pharisees was a zeal for the traditions of the elders; and
though * B. J. II. viii, 14. Antiq. XIII. v. 9. XVIII. i. 3. The Pharisees, says Prideaux, beld a free will in conjunction with predestination.
though this unwritten law was, as we may well suppose, a heap of lies, nonsense, and superstition, they paid more regard to it than to the word of God.
But if we consider the ignorance and corruption which then prevailed amongst the Jews, we must acknowledge, that the Pharisees and their disciples were by no means the worst part of the nation. St Paul bears them this testimony: According to the stratest (the exactest) sect of our religion, says he, I lived a Pharisee. Our Saviour declares concerning them : The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat : all therefure whatsoever they bid you observe and do, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works, for they say and do not *
In many places of Scripture, where it is said, Do this, but do not that, or, This shall be, but that shall not be, the words are to be understood, not absolutely, but comparatively: so that the meaning here may be; Of the two, it is better and safer to do what the Scribes and Pharisees † teach, than what they do; for their doctrine, even such as it is, is preferable to their practice; and particularly, when they interpret the precepts of Moses, that is, the written law, not the oral law, and the traditions of the elders.
The Pharisees asserted the soul's immortality, and a life to come. In this they deserved some praise, when compared with the Sadducees who rejected these doctrines. It is not unreasonable to suppose that this belief, though mixed with erroneous notions, might have
* Matt. xxiii. 2.
+ The Scribes and Pharisees : that is, says a learned friend of mine, the Scribes, who were so by their profession, and were Pbarisees by their sect. The Pharisees, as Pharisees, did not sit in the seat of pioses: the Scribes did, whether Pharisees or not.
an influence upon their behaviour, and make them in some respects and upon some occasions better than those who thought that the soul and body perished together.
To this belief and this disbelief of a future state may perhaps be ascribed the different behaviour of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees after the ascension of our Lord : for then the resurrection of Christ, and the
general resurrection of the dead, and a day of judgment and retribution was constantly and particularly taught by the apostles; and therefore the Sadducees were their opposers and persecutors, whilst the Pharisees were more inclined to protect them and side with them, and many of the first Jewish converts to Christianity seem to have consisted of this sect. But as Christ, during his ministry, often preached against the traditions of the Pharisees, and denounced woes against them, they were his chief adversaries.
It may be asked why Christ did not more frequently censure the faults and errors of the Sadducees, who were worse than the Pharisees. One reason seems to have been this, that the Pharisees were the most numerous and the most learned sect, and had the greatest influence over the common people; therefore it was most expedient that the reformation should begin amongst them, and that their followers and admirers should be undeceived, and cautioned not to repose too great a confidence in them.
Another reason was, because the peculiar defects of that sect soon crept into Christianity, and remain in it to this day; but the Sadducees were a sect which declined and came to nothing, or to very little *, after
• Justin indeed mentions the Sadducees in his Dial, with Trypho. See Basnage Hist. des Juifs, ii. 7.