Imatges de pÓgina

the destruction of Jerusalem. Most of the Sadducees who escaped that calamity, probably became apostates and Pagans. a change for which they were too well prepared ; and most of the Jews at this time are of the sect of the Pharisees.

The bad character which is given in the scripturos of the Pharisees, ought not to be extended to all who were of that party. It is enough if the majority of them, if the most eminent in authority were very wicked. There were without qnestion several among them mistaken in many things, and carried into faults by the prevailing notions of the sect, yet mén of sincerity, and of virtuous dispositions.

Notre Seigneur a témoigné plus de mépris contre les Pharisiens, que contre les Sadducéens. C'est aux Pharisiens, qu'il en veut en tout et par tout, c'est contre eux qu'il lance ses plus séveres censures, c'est eux qu'il che de décrier. Pourquoi cela ? C'est qu'encore qu'ils fussent plus orthodoxes, ils avoient le cæur plus gâté d'hypocrisie et d'orgueil, ce qui les rendoit plus incapables de se convertir à l'Evangile. Bayle Pensées diverses § 186. I think the reasons which I have assigned are more probable than these.

As to the Essenes, who are said in the Constitutions to have adhered to the religious rites and customs of their ancestors, and who are never mentioned by the sacred writers, it is well known that they neglected some ceremonial laws, and that they observed many foolish austerities, many fantastical and superstitions institutions of their own. Thus, for example, they accounted it a heinous crime to ease nature on the Sabbath-day, as Josephus testifies, who should also have informed us what they did in cases of urgent necessi- . ty, which will sometimes happen. As the Sabbatic River, mentioned by Josephus, B. J. yii, 5. was dry for six days, and flowed plentifully on the seventh, so, on the contrary, the Essenes were open for six days, and shut on the seventh. But some of the learned think that this marvellous and most religious river flowed at other times, and rested on the Sabbath, and that there is a fault in the text of Josephus : see the notes there. If so, the parallel is better between the Fluvius Sabbaticus, and the Podex Sabbaticus.

The Essenes, says Josephus, on the Sabbath day vði σκενός τι μεακινήσαι θαρρεσιν, έδε αποπαθείν, neque as ullum loco movere qudent, nec alvum exonerare. B. J. ii. 8.

Porphyry says of them, Τοσαύτη δ' έσιν αυτών η λιθότης και σερί την δίαιτα, και η ολιγώτης, ως εν τη εβδομάδι μη δεισθαι κενώσίως, ήν τηρείν ειώθασιν εις ύμνος το Θεό και εις ανάπαυσιν. Ει quidem tanta ipsorum est in victu frugalitas, atque parsimonia, ut ne septimana quidem integra egerendi sit ulla necessitas : quam sibi abstinentiæ legem dicere, partim ut ad hymnos Deo concinendos aptiores sint, partim ut faciliori utantur somno. Apud Euseb. Præp. Ev. ix. 3.

Vigerus, the translator, though he was a learned man, fell into an absence of mind, which will sometimes happen to us all, and did not perceive that 680mais here means, not a week, but the Sabbath-day, by which mistake he was led from one error into another to the end of the sentence, and made the Essenes wonderful people indeed, and like Milton's angels, who void what they eat by insensible perspiration. The sense is ; The Essenes used so plain and spare a diet, that they had no occasion to disburden on the Sabbuth, a day which they kept as a day of rest, and which they spent in singing religious hymns.

The Essenes and Pharisees agreed in one respect very well, in being superstitious observers of trifles, and


the authors of the Constitutions seems to have had some portion of the same spirit. La natin Judique a été livrée à un tel esprit de puér les, et de chimeriques obsercances, que

leurs plus graves Docteurs ont étendu le Rio tuel jusques aux actions les plus machinales, comme est celle d'aller au privé. Malheur à qui ne sçait pas bien s'orienter; car les quatre points curdinaux de l'horison ne sont pas également favorables. Je ne puis dire qu'en Latin le reste de leurs ridicules superstitions. Dixit R. Akiba, ingressus sum aliquando post Rabbi Josuam in sedis secretæ locum, et tria ab eo didici. Didici 1, quod non versus orientem et occidentem, sed versus septentrionem et austrum convertere nos debeamus. Didici 2, quod non in pedes erectum, sed jam considentem, se retegere liceat. Didici 3, quod podex non dextra, sed sinistra manu abstergendus sit. Ad hæc objecit ibi Ben Hasas; Usque adeo vere perfricuisti frontem erga magistrum tuum ut cacantem observares? Respondit ille, Legis liæc arcana sunt ad quæ discenda id necessario mihi agendum fuit. Ex Barajetha, &c. Voila un merveilleux Docteur, qui, même sur su chaise percée, expliquoit sans dire not les mysteres de la Loi. Bayle, Dict. Akiba.

Hammond, in his notes on 1 Cor. v. 5. speaking of the diseases and torments which in the apostolical times seized those persons who were excommunicatel, and delivered up to Satan, says, Josephus simile quida piam inter Essenos fuisse dicit, his verbis, fc. Upon which Le Clerc remarks ; Quod Josephus de Essenis refert, id potest ita intelligi, ut excommunicatus ex mcerore interüsse dicatur, non miraculosa vi excommunicationis; quod tamen si credidisset Josephus, non esset nefus ei fio dem abrogare.

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It happens well for Josephus, that he has not affirmed so foolish a thing. He only says, Tys Sè iz cšto zpécos αμα ήμασιν αλόνας εκβάλλεσι τα τάματος· ο δε έκκριθείς, οικίσω πολλάκις μόρω διαφθείρεται. τοϊς και όρκους και τους έθεσιν ενδεδεμένος, δε της παρα τοις άλλοις τροφής δύναται μεταλαμβάνειν, αοη ραγών δε και λιμώ το σώμα τηκόμενος διαφθείρεται. διό δη τσολλές ελεταίες εν ταις εσχάταις αναπνοαϊς ανέλαβον, ικανήν επί τοίς αμαρτήματιν αυτων την μέχρι θανάτο βάσανον ηγέμενοι. Deprchenses rero in peccatis gravioribus ex ordine suo ejiciunt, isque cui contigit e cretu ejici, non raro mortem obit miserrimam. Nam juramentis et ritibus obligatus ne aliorum quidem escis iti potest; sed dum herbas comedit, corpus fame tubescit, utque ita interit. Quam ob rem etiam ipsi plurimos miscruti, extremum jam agentes spiritum receperunt ; pro peccatis satis prenirum, quod ad mortem usque fuerint crucinii, dedisse existimantes. B. J. II. viii. 8.

We see here, that the excommunicated Essenes died, neither of any miraculous distemper, nor yet of grief, but were starved to death, because they dared not to eat with other people, being bound by the oatlıs which they had taken, oaths which were superstitious, stupid, and unlawful.

One branch of the Essenes had a most uncharitable opinion of the female sex, and thought that a woman could scarcely be found who was faithful to her husband; and therefore they would not marry. How could they observe the commandment which says, Honour thy father and thy mother, who entertained such liard sentiments of their mothers ?

It is a conjecture of Van Dale, which, whether it be true or not, is ingenious and plausible, that Sadduceism owed its birth to the traditionary doctrines of the Jews. These traditions were so excessively impertinent, such quintessential, treble-refined folly, and




yet so dogmatically enforced by haughty Pharisces and prating doctors, as importances, that some of the nation who could not endure to be treated at this on verbearing rate, rebelled, and became free-thinkers, and flew out as far into the opposite extreme, and rejected the soul's immortality, as a doctrine not clearly «lelivered in the scriptures, supported by tradition, and proceeding from that muddy fountain of everlasting nonsense. Miserable spirit of contradiction ! Because a man would deprive me of common sense, I must, in resentment, throw away my religion! this is fulfilling in a very bad way the precept, If any man will take eway thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.

The Constitutions forbid Christians to wear a gold ring, and to shave their beards, which must have disgusted the Roman knights, and the Roman barbers. The true reason of the latter prohibition is this ; it is said in Leviticus xix. 27. Neither shalt thou mur the corners of thy beard. It is a wonder that they did not command Christians to keep the back door shut on Sundays, according to the laudable custom of the Essencs.

The Constitutions, from the beginning to the end, turn Christianity into a mere ceremonial law, i. 3.

They prove the resurrection by the pretty amusing story of the phenix * ; though indeed they warrant not the truth of it, but introduce the phenix with an aútoi 0201, and they cite the Sibyltine vracles as prophecies, and ten verses from them which clearly foretell the resurrection of the dead, the conflagration of the


And yet even honest Herodotus, who was inclined enough to give into the marvellous, rejected the story of the Phoenix :-o peis i sisde asyoilss. c. ii. 73.

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