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A.M.3841. A.C.163 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M.5247. A. C.164.1 MAC.v.i.JOS. HIST.b. xii.c.14-END OF MAC.JOS.H ST b. xlii. c. 19. Backage of it, great numbers of people were put to the upon a proper occasion, the hazarding our lives : (ur sword, this was properly the effect of their own folly reputation, too, is a natural good, which we are not only and obstinacy, in refusing not so much to do a favour bound to preserve, but, by all lawful means, allowed to as an act of common right, even when it was humbly improve and increase ; and therefore charity will not requested by a general, at the head of a victorious suffer us, without very good reasons, to believe, that army.
these motives, which themselves were laudable, lost The strength of the behemoth (which by most inter- | all their merit, and were adulterated by any sinister end's preters, is supposed to be the elephant a) is thus ex- that Eleazar might propose to himself. We cannot, I pressed in the book of Job : "His bones are as strong say, without rashness, blame him, or deny him that justice pieces of brass, and his small bones like bars of iron ;' which we owe to all actions that are apparently commenand therefore it is no wonder, that creatures of this pro dable, that is, to believe them really good, so long as we digious strength (when the method of fighting was have no proofs to the contrary : and, as it is no uncomchiefly by force) should be made use of in all military ex- mon thing in such heroic acts as these, to find persons peditions. Some of these creatures bave been known (under the Jewish economy more especially) instigated to carry two cannons, fastened together by a cable rope by a divine impulse, it will best become us to suspend of three thousand pounds' weight each, for five hundred our judgments concerning this action of Eleazar's, until paces together, with their teeth ; and what reason have we can find arguments to prove that he had no motive we to doubt, but that they are able to carry a much greater extraordinary to attempt it. weight upon their backs ?
But there is not the like reason, I think, to suspend The largest and strongest species of these animals is our judgment concerning the action of Razis, which, said to be bred in India, (for those that come out of upon due consideration, was no better than self-murder. Africa are not near so big ;) and therefore, if we suppose To consider it, indeed, according to the notion which that the elephants which Antiochus carried to the wars some heathens had of courage and inagnanimity, contempt with him were of this Indian breed, (as 3 the circum- of death, and love of liberty, it comes nearer to what stances of the whole story make it highly probable that they called true heroism, than all the great actions they were) there cannot be so much difficulty as is imag- that history has recorded of the Greeks and Romans. ined in one of these creatures carrying upon its back two Nay, the Jews themselves are willing to place this man and thirty men light armed, (as archers are known to be,) in the number of their most illustrious martyrs, and from with towers, or other such vehicles as might be thought his example (as well as some others) pretend, that upon proper to give thein an ascendant in the fight, and so certain occasions, self-murder is not only allowable, but secure them from the darts and other weapons of the highly commendable; never considering,' that, in the enemy. For, upon supposition that each of these men, sixth commandment, it is as much prohibited as the murone with another, weighed an hundred and fifty pounds, der of any one else, and that, if I must not shed the the amount of the weight of thirty-two will be no more blood of another man for this very reason, because 8.be than four thousand eight hundred pounds; and yet it is is made in the image of God,' I must not shed the blood a common thing to meet with elephants of a moderate of myself, because I also am a man, and made in the size, that will carry you five or six thousand pounds' image of God as well as he. weight; so that, upon the lowest computation, we have Razis, indeed, was sorely beset, and ready to have full two thousand pounds' weight allowed for the wooden been taken by his enemies on every side ; but then he machine wherein the slingers and archers were seated should have surrendered himself to their treatment, and and secured.
testified his magnanimity, not in butchering himself, but The danger indeed of approaching this animal, with in manfully enduring whatever inflictions they laid upon such a number of armed men upon its back, is very visi - him. Had the martyrs of old thought themselves at ble; but most of the Jewish doctors and fathers of the liberty to dispose of their own lives upon any emergent Christian church look upon Eleazar's action in killing danger, or apprehension of suffering, we had read little the royal elephant, (as he took it to be,) though at the of their being 10 mocked and scourged,' and torinented, expense of his own life, as a singular instance of courage and less of their being stoned, and sawn asunder,' but and magnanimity. Fool-hardiness it would have been, a great deal of their stepping out of the world, as some had he been certainly persuaded, that the creature would call it, when any difficulty or persecution came to press have fallen upon him so directly and so suddenly as it upon them. did ; but why might he not rather think, that it might Upon the whole, therefore, we may conclude, that as possibly tumble down on one side, so as to miss him, or this was not the practice of these worthies of old, who " live for some moments after it had received the wound, l'obtained a good report by faith,' it was not true courage, so as to give him an opportunity to escape ?
but the want of it, that put Razis upon committing this 4 The motives which the history assigns for his adven- barbarous cruelty to himself; that it was pride, not paEuring upon this exploit are not discommendable. The tience, which is the proper virtue of a martyr, that made preservation of our laws, liberties, and religion, requires, bim fly to death, merely for refuge against these outrages
which he had not strength of mind to withstand ; and
therefore St Austin's short reflection upon the whole is, 1 Mac. xl. 18. 2 Calmet's Commentary on 1 Mac. vi. 37. 3 Ibid.
1 Mac. vi. 44. a This seems to be a mistake. Most of the modern interpre- 51 Mar. vi. 44. Calmet's Commentary on 2 Mac. xiv. 42 ers suppose the behemoth to be the hippopotamus er river-horse. i Bishop Fleetwood against Self-murder. 8 Gen, ix. 6. For the arguments in favour of this, see Taylor's, Calmet's, and 9 2 Mac. xiv. 42.
10 Heb. xi. 36, 37. larris's Natural Hist. of the Bible.-Ep.
!! Heb. xi, 39.
12 Epist. 61.
A. M. 3841.A.C.163 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A.M.6247. A.C.154.1 MAC.v.1.JOS.HIST,b.xi.c.14-BXD OF MACJOS. HIST,b,xii.c.19. “ The deed hath been told, but not applauded, it is rather tween them ; a nor does he say, that Hyrcanus went to be considered than imitated."
over to the Sadducees in any other particular, than in This reflection indeed will hold good in several other the abolishing the traditional constitutions of the inatters related in the history of the Maccabees, namely, Pharisees; aid therefore we can hardly think, that so that the author of it neither commends nor discommends, good and righteous a man, as he is represented to have but only relates them. Deinetrius Soter, for instance, was been, would, upon any provocation whatever, have been the rightful heir to the crown of Syria, and Alexander induced to renounce the great and fundamental articles of Balas no more than a vile impostor; and yet Jonathan his religion; but it can be no diminution to his character, thought proper to adjoin himself to him, because he we hope, that be made it his business to oppose those remembered what a bitter enemy Demetrius had all along false interpretations of the law, which our blessed been to the Jewish interest; how oft he had sent his Saviour, in the course of his ministry, so severely generals with positive orders to take his brother Judas condemned. dead or alive; and what ruin and oppression his frequent invasions had brought upon the whole nation. And therefore no wonder, that we find him taking a contrary part
CHAP. III.–Of the Original and Tenets of the to the man, whom he looked upon as an enemy to his
Jewish Sects. country. Demetrius Nicanor, in like manner, was the true heir to the same crown, and Alexander Zabina no It seems very probable, indeed, that during the times of more than a broker’s son of Alexandria ; and yet we find the prophets, who, by their commerce with God, were John Hyrcanus entering into a league and alliance with innnediately instructed in his will, no disputes about matthe latter, because indeed Demetrius had behaved so ters of religion could possibly arise, because their ungratefully to the Jews, (who had rescued him from the authority was sufficient for the decision of every conrebellion of his subjects,) as to load them with heavy troversy; but that when this race of prophets distaxes, even though he had promised them an immunity appeared, and their authority ceased, men soon began from them to engage their assistance.
to wrangle and dispute, and to form themselves into The truth is, the kingdom of Syria was always in hos- different sects and parties, upon the first occasion that tility with Judea. Its kings were tyrants, and great offered. persecutors of the Jewish religion; and therefore what After the return of the people from Babylon, Joshua reason had any Jewish prince to trouble himself with the the high priest, and Zerubbabel the governor, together right of succession in an enemy's country? All that he with the chief elders, their contemporaries and others that seemed to be concerned in was, ' to make what advan- afterwards succeeded them, collected together all the tages he could of their divisions, and by adjoining bim- ancient and approved usages of the Jewish church
, self to the party, from whence he might expect the best which had been in practice before the captivity. These, treatment and support, to secure and establish his own, and whatever else pretended to be of the like nature, and his country's interest.
Ezra brought under a review, and, after due examination, It is a mistake, however, to think, that Hyrcanus de- having settled them by his approbation and authority, stroyed Samaria, out of the hatred which the Jews bore he thereby gave birth to what the Jews call their Oral to the sect of the Samaritans, because, upon examination, Law. For: they pretend, that when God gave unto we shall find, that none of that sect did, at that time, Moses the law on Mount Sinai, he gave him, at the live in that place. 3 The ancient Samaritans, who were same time, the interpretation of it, with a strict injuncof the sect that worshipped God on mount Gerizzim, had tion to conunit the fornier to writing, but to deliver the slain in a tumult, (as we related before,) one Andro- other down to posterity only by word of mouth ; that, machus, a favourite of Alexander the Great, whom he pursuant to this injunction, Moses wrote several copies had constituted governor of Syria ; and in revenge for of the law, which he left behind him among the several this base act Alexander had expelled them all from tribes, but, in the interpretation of it, he took care nort Samaria, and in their stead, new planted the city with a especially to instruct his successor Joshua ; that, after colony of Macedonians, Greeks, and Syrians mixed his death, Joshua delivered this interpretation, or oral together, and they were the descendants of those who law, to the elders who succeeded him, and that they deinhabited Samaria, when Hyrcanus made war against it; livered it to the prophets, who transmitted it douz to for the expelled Samaritans retired to Shechem, where each other, until it caine to Jeremiah ; that Jeremiah they settled their abode, and made it the head seat of delivered it to Baruch ; Baruch to Ezra; Ezra to the their sect ever since.
men of the great synagogue, until it came to Simon the In like manner, it is a mistake to think, that, because Just ; and that Simon delivered it to others, who handed Hyrcanus is said to have left the Pharisees, and ad- it down in a continued succession, until it came to Ratjoined himself to the Sadducees, therefore he espoused bah Judah Hakkadosh, who wrote it into the book which their doctrine against the resurrection and a future state. they call the Mishnah. * On the contrary, it seems highly probable, that at this But all this is a mere fiction, spun out of the fertile time the Sadducees had gone no further in the doctrine of this sect, than their rejecting all the unwritten tradi
Prideaux's Counection, anno 446. tions which the Pharisees held in so much veneration. a 'There is good ground for supposing that the Saddueres bedel Josephus mentions no other difference, in his time, be- the impious tenets ascribed to them in the New Testament, kes
before the time of Josephus, and that even Sador, the founder
of the sect, denied that there was any future state of rewares ! Prideaux's Connection, anno 153. 2 Ibid. 331. and punishments. Indeed the author see ms to allow as much is 3 Ibid. 109. * Ibid, 108.
the succeeding dissertation.-ED,
A.M.3841. A.C.163; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A.M.5247. A.C.164, 1 MAC.v.1,JOS, HIST.b.xii.c.14-end or MAC.JOS. HIST.b.xiii.c.19. invention of the Talmudists, and the little truth that tence of the spirits or souls of men departed. Their there seems to be in it, is only this,—that after the notion was, that there was no spiritual being, but God death of Simon the Just, there arose a sort of men, only; that, as to man, this world was his all; that, at (whom the Jews call Tannaim, or Mishnical doctors,) his death, his soul and body die together, never to live that made it their business to study and descant upon any more ; and that therefore there is no future reward these traditions, which had been received, and allowed or punishment. They acknowledged indeed, that God by Ezra and the men of the great synagogue, to draw made this world by his power, and governs it by his such consequences and inferences from them, as they providence, and for the carrying on of this government, thought proper ; to ingraft these into the body of the hath ordained rewards and punishments; but then they ancient traditions, and to expect from others that suppose, that these rewards and punishments are in this they should receive them, as if they had been as authen-world only; and for this reason alone it was, that they tic as the other. But this imposition was too gross and worshipped him, and paid obedience to his laws. All palpable not to be attended with remonstrances from unwritten traditions, as well as all written books, \ exseveral : so that, in a short time, the Jewish church cept the five books of Moses, they absolutely rejected ; came to be divided into two grand parties, namely, those and the probable reason why they did so, is, that they who adhered to the written law only, among whom the could not so well maintain these opinions, which are not Sadducees were the chief; and those who, over and so flatly contradicted in the Pentateuch, as in the other above this, received the traditions and constitutions of sacred books, if once they admitted these books to be the elders, among whom the Pharisees made the greatest canonical. All supernatural helps to their duty they figure.
utterly denied : for their doctrine was, that God had The most ancient sect among the Jews, was that of made man perfect master of all his actions, with a full the Sadducees, which took its name from Sodock, the freedom to do either good or evil as he thinks fit, withfounder of it. This Sodock (as the Talmudic story is) out any assistance to him for the one, or restraint upon was the disciple of Antigonus Socho, who lived, accord him as to the other ; and for this reason, because they ing to the Jewish calculation, about three hundred years looked upon all men to have an inherent power to make before Christ, and used often to inculcate to his disciples, their condition better or worse, according as they took that they ought to serve God disinterestedly, without any right or wrong measures, whenever they sat in judgment view of compensation, and not like slaves, who only serve upon criminals, they were always remarked to pass the their master for the sake of a reward: and from hence severest sentences; as indeed their general character his disciples Sodock and Baithus made this wrong infer- was, that they were a very ill-natured sort of men, churence, namely, that there was no reward to be expected in lish and morose in their behaviour even to each other, another world, and consequently that the soul dies, but cruel and savage to every one besides. Their prinand the body will not rise again. Whether this mistake ciples, one might suppose, would have naturally led of the doctrine of Antigonus, or, as others suppose, the them into all manner of riot and excess; but it was not dissoluteness of manners which at that time might pre- always so. Some of them were men of rigid virtue and vail, gave occasion to the opinion of the Sadducees, strict probity; for 2 though they had cast off the belief but so it was, that, in process of time, they grew to be of a future state, yet as they admitted of a providence very impious and detestable. They denied the resur- to punish vice, and reward virtue, in this life, their desire rection of the dead, the being a of angels, and the exis
2 Basnage's History of the Jews, b. ii. c. 6.
6 Mr Basnage, in his History of the Jews, (b. ii. c. 6,) though Prideaux's Connection, anno 446; L'amy and Beausobre's he allows the question to be difficult, seems to be of a contrary Introduction.
opinion. lst, because the Sadducees taught and prayed in the a la what sense the Sadducees denied the existence of angels, temple, where the prophets, and other holy writers, were read, it is difficult to determine, since they certainly acknowledged the as appears from the example of Christ, who explained a passage authority of the Pentateuch. Some pretend, that they accounted out of Isaiah. 2dly, because Josephus, who ought to have been the invention of angels but a novel thing, and that their very well acquainted with the principles of this sect, relates of them, name was never heard of, until the return from the captivity, (b. vi. c. 9,) that they received what was written. And, 3dly, and therefore they rejected them; whilst others suppose, that because the Pharisees, in their disputes with them about the they looked upon them as the inseparable powers of God, which, doctrine of the resurrection, quote, not only the writings of like the rays of the sun, without being parted from that planet, Moses, but those of the prophets likewise, and other hagiograshine and shed their influence here below. But now, consider- phers, whose authority the others do not deny, but only endeaing that the Sadducees received the five books of Moses, they vour to elude the force of the passages that are thence produced could hardly entertain any such notions as these. As therein against them. Upon the whole
, therefore, Scaliger (Elench. they read of frequent apparitions of angels, they could not fancy Trihær. c. 16.) is of opinion, that these Sadducees did not absothem a new invention of the Rabbins that returned from the cap- lutely reject all the sacred writings, but rather looked upon them tivity. As they saw in these books, that they properly came down as books composed by holy men, whose memoirs they reverenced, from heaven upon earth, they could not imagine that they were though they could not believe them of the like authority with the beings inseparable from the Deity; and therefore we may suppose, law of Moses, which to them was the only rule of faith. But that they rather looked upon them only as so many phantasms; notwithstanding this, “ the account which is given us in the and that, as the bodies, which these angels put ou, had perhaps gospel,” says the learned Prideaux, “of the disputation which only the appearance of human bodies, the same notion they might Christ had with the Sadducees, plainly proves the contrary. have of the spirits which animated them: because every thing, for seeing there are so many texts in the prophets and hagiograexcept God, in their opinion, was material.- Basnage's History pha, which plainly and directly prove a future state, and the of the Jews, b. ii. c. 6. [Mr Taylor, in his supplements to resurrection from the dead, no other reason can be given why Calmet, remarks, that it is more likely when the Sadducees are Christ waved all these proofs, and drew his argument, only by charged with denying the existence of angels, we misapply the consequence, from what is said in the law, but that he knew, term; intending by it celestial angels, whereas they meant it of that the Sadducees, had rejected the prophets and the hagiogradisembodied human spirits. If this were the case, it easily pha, and therefore would admit of no arguments, but from the accounts for the reception of the Pentateuch.)-Ed.,
law only.”—Anno 107.
A. M. 3841. A. C. 163, OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 5247. A. C. 164. 1 MAC.v.1.JOS.HIST.b.xii.c.14.END OF MAC.JOS. HIST.b.xü.4.19. of present and temporal happiness put a restraint upon mystical way of interpretation, made a considerable their appetites, and kept them within the bounds of their figure : but at length the school of Hillel, by the deterduty. And for the same reason, they were not without mination of a voice from heaven, as was pretended, their expectations of a Messias to come. Nay, upon carried it against the school of Sbammai, so that the this subject they argued with more consistency than the Karraites were quite absorbed, till they appeared again other Jews did. For confining all their hopes to the about the sixth century after Christ. present state of things, and looking upon him as a At this time the Talmud, a vast voluminous book, temporal king and deliverer only, they had a more than which contained all the traditions of the Jewish church, ordinary interest and concern in his appearance in their was published, and a great deal of deference and veneralifetime, that thereby they might reap the fruits of his tion was required to be paid to it: but when men of conquests, and enjoy the happiness which the prophets learning and judgment came to look into it, and found had promised during his reign. Their number was the it, as it is, stuffed with trifling and incredible stories, fewest of all the sects of the Jews; but they were men they rejected its authority, as not deserving their belief, of the best quality and greatest estates : and as all those and betook themselves wholly to such as were of unwho were of the greatest power and riches, were cut off doubted credibility, the writings of the law and the in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, it is prophets.' In consequence of which there arose two generally supposed that this whole sect then perished parties, one standing up for the Talmud and its tradiwith them, a
tions, and the other disavowing both, as containing, ia 1 The Jews, who were carried captive into Egypt, their opinion, the inventions of men, and not the docthough they kept themselves clear from the idolatry of trines and commands of God. Those who stood up for the country, did nevertheless, about the time of Ptolemy the Talmud and its traditions were chiefly the rabbins Philometer, fall into their method of handling divinity, and their followers, from whence their party had the and were not a little fond of their allegorical interpre- name of rabbinists, and the others, who were for the tations. This mystical treatment of the scriptures scripture only, were again called Karraites ; under alarmed others, who, from the word Kara, 2 which signi- which two names the controversy was at that time carried ties to read, obtained the name of Karraites, that is, on between them, and so continues even to this day. such as adhered to the text, and were literal expounders Among all the Jewish doctors, these Karraites are of scripture. Josephus indeed takes no notice of any justly accounted the most learned set of men; but their people of this denomination ; but his silence is no argu- number, in these western parts especially, is but small, nient against their existence, because we find him omis- | About the middle of the last century there was a partisive in other particulars of the like nature. The Hero- cular account taken of them, wherein it appeared that in dians, for instance, a sect well known in the gospel, Poland there were 2000 ; at Caffa in Crim-Tartary, and remarkable for their political as well as doctrinal | 1200; at Cairo, 300; at Damascus, 200; at Jerusalem, principles, he makes no mention of, and might there- thirty; in Babylon, 100; and in Persia, 600, which, in fore well pass by the Karraites, who, having no peculiar all, amount to no more than 4430 ; a small number in tenets, but only that of teaching and expounding the comparison of the bulk of the nation, which is of the law according to its literal sense, could not well be party of the rabbinists. discriminated by the name of any particular sect. These The Pharisees were so called from the Hebrew word Scripturists, as they were called, 3 when they came to be Pharas, which signifies to separate ; because the preheaded by Shammai, a learned doctor of the law, who vailing passion, or rather ambition, of this sect was, to about an hundred years before our Saviour Christ, distinguish and separate itself from the rest of the opened a great school against Hillel, who was for the people, by a greater degree of holiness and piety, but
accompanied with very much affectation and abundance Basnage's History of the Jews, b. ii. c. 9.
of vain observances. 5 At what time this sect began * Lamy's Introduction, b. i. c. 9.
first to appear, is no easy matter to determine. Jose. Prideaux's Connection, anno 37.
phus makes mention of them in the governinent of a This is not true. The sect of the Sadducees was not extin- Jonathan, an hundred and forty years before Christ, as guished; it was much reduced by the destruction of Jerusalem, and by the dispersion of the Jews; but it revived afterwards a very powerful body of men at that time; nor is it imAt the beginning of the third century it was so formidable in probable, that their origin was somewhat earlier, and Egypt, that Ammonius, Origen's master, thought himself obliged that, as soon as the Sadducees discovered their princito write against them; or rather against the Jews, who tolerated the Sadducees, though they denied the fundamental points of ples to the world, these men of different sentiments their religion. The emperor Justinian mentions the Sadducees might not long after rise up in opposition to them : for in one of his edicts, banishes them out of his dominions, and it is evident from the character which the Jewish histocondemns them to the severest punishments, as a people that rian gives of them, that, in the main articles of their maintained atheistical and impious tenets. Annas or Ananus, belief, they were entirely repugnant to the Sadducees
. a disciple of Juda, son of Nachman, a famous rabbin, about A. D. 755, declared himself, it is said, in favour of the Saddu
6 The Pharisees believe in a fate, says he, and attribute caes, and strenubusly protected them against their adversaries, all things to it, but nevertheless they acknowledge the They had also a celebrated defender in the twelfth century in freedom of man; but how they made these two apparent the person of Alpharagius, a Spanish rabbi. Gazor Tornich, David, p. 125. There are still Sadducees in Africa, and other incompatibles consist together, is no where sufficiently places, who deny the immortality of the soul, and the resurrec- explained. They teach, that God will one day judge the tion of the body; but few declare themselves for these opinions. Some have confounded the Sadducees with such as hold the metempsychosis, and with the defenders of the two principles,
• Calmet's Dictionary under the word. that is, the Manichees; but it is certain these sects are different "See Lamy's Introduction, and Prideaux's Connection. from the Sadducees.- Taylor': Calmet, 4to. -Ev.
Josephus on the Jewish Wars, b. ii. c. 12.
A.M.3811. A.C.163; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A.M.5247. A.C.164.2 MAC.v.1. JOS. HIST.b. xii. c. 14-END OF MAC.JOS, HIST.b. xii. c. 19. world, and punish or reward men according to their | Jews were, in the time of our Saviour and his apostles, merits. They maintain, that souls are immortal, and called scribes, but especially those, who by their skill in that, in the other world, some will be shut up in an eternal the law and divinity of the Jews, were advanced to sit in prison and others sent back again ; but with this differ- Moses' seat, either as judges in their sanhedrim, or ence, that those of good men shall enter into the bodies teachers in their schools or synagogues.
Both their of men, those of wicked men into the bodies of beasts ; name and profession began immediately after the Babywhich exactly agrees with the famous transmigration of lonish captivity, about five hundred years before the Pythagoras. Their adherence to the law was so exact, birth of Christ ; for Ezra himself was one of the first. that, for fear of violating the least precept of it, they They were a body of the most learned men of the nascrupulously observed every thing that had the least tion, and chiefly of the sect of the Pharisees, though relation to it, even though the law had neither command some of them might possibly be Karraites, or Anti-tradied nor forbidden them. Their zeal for the traditions of tionists, as it seems to appear from one of them asking the elders was such, that they derived them from the our Saviour, 6 • which was the first commandment of all, same fountain with the written word itself, pretending and being so highly pleased with his answer. that Moses received both of thein from God on Mount Those who were descended from the stock of Levi, Sinai, and therefore ascribing an equal authority to both. were usually called scribes of the clergy; but such as They had a notion, that good works were meritorious; were sprung from any other tribe, were named scribes of and therefore they invented a great number of superero- the people. The business of the latter was to take care gatory onės, upon which they valued themselves more to preserve the purity of the text in all the bibles which than upon a due observance of the law itself. Their they copied out, and to see that no corruption was crept frequent washings and ablutions, their long prayers in into the original. It was not held proper for every vulpublic places, their ? nice avoidance of reputed sinners, gar pen to transcribe the great mysteries of the law, and their fasting and great abstinence, their penance and therefore this peculiar order of men was appointed to mortification, their minute payment of tithes, their that purpose ; but they did not so entirely apply themstrict observance of the sabbath, and ostentatious selves to it, as not to take in many other matters both of enlargement of a phylacteries, were all works of this civil and religious concern, being public notaries in the kind; which nevertheless gained them such esteem and sanhedrim and courts of justice, as well as registers in veneration, that while the common people loved, the the synagogues. The office of the scribes of the clergy greater ones dreaded them, so that their power and was to teach in public, and instruct the people, by exauthority in the state was considerable, though generally pounding to them the law in their sermons and set disattended with pernicious consequences, because their courses ; by which practice they grew into such repute in hearts were evil: for notwithstanding their show of the Jewish state, that it was hard to say, whether the mighty zeal and great austerity, they were in reality, no Pharisees or they were held in the greater veneration : better than what our Saviour calls them, vain and osten- for what the Pharisees gained among the common peotatious, spiteful and malicious, griping and voracious, ple by their pretences to extraordinary sanctity, these lovers of themselves only, and despisers of others ; in- more justly obtained by their zeal for the written word, somuch, that it was hard to say which was most predo- in preserving it from the dangers of corruption, and exminant in them, their insatiable avarice, their insupporta- pounding it in the ears of the people. ble pride, or abominable hypocrisy.
It is supposed, with a good deal of probability, that In conjunction with the Pharisees, the Scribes are often the sect of the Essenes began about 150 years before mentioned in the Scriptures of the New Testament. Christ, and during the persecution of Antiochus EpiphaThey were not however any particular sect, but a pro- nes, when great numbers of Jews were driven into the fession of men of divers kinds, following literature. wilderness, where they inured themselves to a hard and For generally all that were any way learned among the laborious course of living. Why we find no mention made
of them in all the New Testament, the probable reason 1 Mat. vi. 5, &c. 2 Luke vii. 39. 3 Mat. xxiii. 23. 4 Chap. xii. 2.
may be, that the major part of them lived in Egypt at a a The word phylactery, in the Greek, signifies a place to keep considerable distance from Judea, which at this time any thing in; in the Hebrew, it is called tephillim, which sig- was infested with such persecutions and intestine broils, nifies prayers, because the Jews wear their phylacteries chiefly as were abhorrent to their retired and hermitic course of when they go to their devotion. It is a common opinion, that life, which, as it secluded them from all places of great these phylacteries were long pieces of parchment, whereon were written certain passages out of Exodus and Deuteronomy, which resort, might make them less curious to inquire after our they tied to their foreheads and left arm, in memory of the law; Saviour's person and doctrine, thinking, very probably, but a late explainer of the Jewish customs assures us, that they that if he was really the Messiah, he would not fail to were parchment cases, formed with very great nicety, into their seek and find out them; but that if he was not, he had proper shapes: that the case for their head had four cavities, already enemies enough to oppose him, without their into each of which they put a piece of parchment rolled wherein were written some sections of the law; but that which leaving the solitary and contemplative life they were acwas for the arm, had but one cavity, and into it they put one customed to, merely to bear testimony against hini. piece of parchment, wherein four passages of Scripture were Philo, who gives a full account of these people, tells us written. (Lamy's Introduction, b. i. c. 16.) The whole of this custom is founded on Exod. xiii. 9. and Deut. vi. 8; but the that they were called Essenes, from the Greek word őolos, words are only metaphorically to be understood, as a command which signifies holy, and that there were two sorts of to have God's laws perpetually before our eyes, and his deliver-them : some who, living in society and marrying, though ance always in remembrance. It cannot be denied, however, with a great deal of wariness and circumspection, lived that these phylacteries were generally worn by the Jews in our Saviour's time, and were not disused so late as St Jerome's.Lamy's Introduction.
5 Chap. xxiii. 5.
6 Mark xii. 28, &c.