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and as occasion required ; as we lball fee in the sequel. Whether, therefore, we look upon them as the first body of laws that ever was compiled, whilst other nations had not so much as a name for a law, as Jofephus d has endeavoured to prove against his learned antagonist, from the writings of Homer, the most antient writer, in which the word nomas [law] is not so much as once mentioned ; or whether we suppose, with others, that the Egyptians, and other nations, had already laws of their own, and that Mofes was permitted by God to model and improve his own by them, by altering or retaining what he liked or disliked, of which more in its proper place; it is plain, that the greatest part of them were dictated by God himself; and that the rest received, if not the last perfection, at least their sanction Receive and approbation from him. And indeed, if we consider, their that they extended to all duties, cases, and exigencies, whe- fan&tion ther moral, political, or ceremonial; that the moral were from to be of eternal obligation, that the political were to laft God. as long as the Jewish polity ; that great part of the ceremonial were typical of, and consequently to endure, at least, till the coming of the Messiah; if we consider further, that the priests and rulers were to be no more than the bare guardians of them, and that they were forbid, under pain of death, and of the divine curse, to add, diminith, or alter, the least part of them, it will be scarce credible, that Mofes would have given them such a firm and durable sanction, and backed it with the divine authority, had any but God been the author or confirmer of them.
HOWEVER, our design is not to dwell here upon the display of their excellency above those of all other nations, much less to confute all the empty cavils that have been raised against them. That has been already done by Josephus, Philo, Maimonides, Moses Gerundensis, and many others among the Jews, but by a greater number of learned divines, both of our own and other churches; to whose province it belongs more particularly f. We might indeed, conveniently enough, have followed their distinction of them into moral, political, and ceremonial, and so have given the following body of them under those three heads; especially as such a distinction is generally thought to be hinted at by the three different terms which Moles makes use of, laws or precepti, judgments, and statutes 8: but, if
& Cont. Apion. ibid. e SPENCER de leg. ritual. Jud. pad. LE CLERC, & al. fVide inter al. Gror. SELDEN, Puff, CUMBERLAND, GASTREL, L'ABBADIĘ, CUNÆUM, BASNAG. ? BASNAG, republ. Heb. I. i. c. 18.
we consider, that Mofes makes use of some other terms likewise to express them by, such as ordinances, testimonies, and some others, in a very undeterminate sense ; that he calls the same laws sometimes by one, and sometimes by another of these names; and, lastly, that this distinction will not hold with respect to very many of those laws, which are partly moral, and partly ceremonial and political, and so vice versa; we shall have little ground to think, that the Jewish lawgiver designed to intimate any such distinction by those terms. Thus the law concerning the seventh day, or day of reft, is partly ceremonial and typical, and partly moral and political, as it was designed as well for the ease and rest of the labourers, servants, and Naves, as for that of their masters i. To this we may
add here, that these laws did likewise differ with respect to their observance and obligation. Some of them, such as the making the tabernacle, altar, setting up the blessings and curses on mount Ebal and Gerizzim, were to be observed but once for all; others were to last no longer than the time of the MESSIAH, and others to the end of the world. When therefore they are commanded to observe all the laws and ordinances of Mofes, some of which were of no force out of the land of Palestine, the Jews, in those cases, understand the precept not of an actual observance, but of a constant remembrance, and readiness to obey them, whenever they shall become in force again k.
INDEED, as we are writing the history of the Jews, it might perhaps be thought more proper, that we should give the body of their laws in the same order and method in which they themselves have collected and digested them out of the five books of Moses, which they call, by way of excellency, Ha-thorah, the law (A); but the truth is,
they + Confer Exod. xx. 9, 10. cum Deut. v. 14. MUNST. præf. in Genes.
(A) This goin, Thorah, ber, And he spake; and Deuteor law, they divide, as we ronomy On77 bx, Elledo, into five books, which eadevarim, These are the words. they call by the first words These five books, or pentaof each: thus, they call Genefis teuch, are again subdivided into nuxna Bereshith, that is, in 54 ning parashoth, or fecthe beginning ; Exodus they tions, of unequal lengths, accall ninu aby Ellehemoth, cording to the subject; so that, These are the names; Levi- by joining two of the shortest ticus 2 Vajikra, And be together, they read the whole called; Numbers na 71, Vajdab. law once a year. The genera
they have jumbled them so together, without order or method, and blended them so with those which they pretend were delivered by God to Moses, and conveyed by oral tradition (B), that our readers would be rather confounded than instructed by them. Those who are willing to be fur
lity of the Jews attribute these vant Joshua, and these to the divisions, and the conftitution seventy elders ; from whom it of reading them on the fabbath, pafled to all the prophets; the to Moses ; but the Christians, three last of whom, Haggai, with more probability, to Ef Zechariah, and Malachi, dedras (1) ; from whom it was livered it to the grand fanhe. continued even to the times of drin; from whom the wise men the apostles, if not longer (2). of Jerusalem and Babylon reThe first parasha reaches from ceived it. Thus they affirm, Gen. i. 1. to Gen. vi. 9. and that this oral law, given to is called Bereshith: the second Mofes, was transmitted from reaches to Gen. xii. 1. and is one generation to another, incalled nij Noach, from Noah tire and uncorrupted, under the being the chief person men- name of map cabbalab, or tioned in it: the third, which tradition, which was afterreaches to Gen. xviii. is called wards committed to writing 75 75 Lek Leka, go thy ways, by several hands, in that vofrom the command of God to lume which they call the TalAbraham to go out of his na- mud, confisting of two parts, tive land ; and so of the rest. the Mishnah and Gemarrah; to
(B) To the written law the which they give, by far, the Jews do add the oral one, preference with respect to the which, they pretend, was also written books; whence that given by God to Mofes, during saying of theirs, the Mikdas, his abode on mount Sinai. or Old Testament is like water, For first, they think it ab- the Mishnah like wine, and surd to suppose, that he spent the Gemarrah, more plain all that long interval of twice and perfect, likę hippocras, forty days in the bare wri- or the richest of wines, For ting of the written · law, for they add, secondly, that the which less than one quarter of obscurity of the written law, that time was more than suf- its seeming inconsistency in ficient. They affirm therefore, several respects, and the ill use that he was taken up all the which Ģon foresaw would be rest of that while in learning made of it by the wicked, rena the oral law by heart, which dered the oral one very nehe afterwards did carefully de: cessary, since, without it, the liver by word of mouth to Aa. other would have proved ron, to Eleazar, and to his fer: in many respects useless, if
(2) l'ids Ass
(1) Vide Packhurff mazcrab, de Parafab. Yü, 15, 27. xv. 21,
ther satisfied with respect to this subject, may fee the abridgment which Munfter has given us of them, and of the Jewish comments upon them, with his verfion of each, as he has collected them from their Talmud, and other rabbinic works. We shall therefore only add, that they acknowlege no other division of these laws, but into negative and affirmative (C), in imitation of the decalogue, which not only begins with three negative laws, but contains, in all, eight of that kind, and but two affirmative. Accordingly, they reckon up the negative laws to the number of 365, and the affirmative to 248 ; in all, 613: and as they have a wonderful skill in fetching some
not dangerous. These learned and deserving of the censure gentlemen, who love to call which our Saviour paft upon themselves Merabtze-hat hora, them, that they had made the fixers or givers of rest to the word of God of none effect by law, have taken a deal of pains their tradition (4). to find out sundry instances of (C) These they divide, acpretended inconsistency and ob- cording to the genius of the scurity, which we shall not Hebrew tongue, intocommandtrouble our readers with, since ments, thou shalt, or falt not they are but mere trifles, in do, or, as we rightly, render it, comparison of those which we negative and affirmative; conmeet with in the Talmud, and cerning which they make this its learned expositors ; through difference, that if a man fin which there reigns such a con- against the latter, it will be tìnued chain of obscurity, con- forgiven him upon his repenttradi&tion, and inconsistency, to ing, or doing some penance say nothing of their fabulous for it; whereas he that sins dreams, as almost quite darken against a negative precept canthe plain text of that divine not be cleared by any acts of lawgiver (3): for this reason repentance, but continues unwe Thall not spend any more der the guilt of it until the day time in confuting this vain of expiation, at which time it pretence of theirs, nor the will be forgiven. He that abfurd and fabulous com- commits a fin worthy of death ments with which it is stuffed, cannot be sufficiently cleared but shall content ourselves
content ourselves on the expiation-day, or by any with giving now-and-then a thing but by God's fevere chashort sketch of them, in a note, ftisements ; but as to those that as we go on with the body of profane or blafpheme the name their laws, as well when they of God, nothing can expiate are judicious and right, as when their fin but their being put to they are superstitious or wrong, death for it.
(3) Vide Maimon. præfat, in Mishn. Munf.præfat. in Mitzvotb-barbora, Cun. Bafnag, & ali (4) Matt. xxiii, 24. & Mark vii, 13, & alib.
fignificant myfteries out of every text and subject, they have not failed to apply the first number to the days of the year,
and the second to the number of parts in an human body; and to affirm, that God defigned thereby to inculcate, that not a day of our life ought to pass without meditating upon this law of God, nor any member of our bodies be enjoyed, which is not confecrated and employed in his service ; according to that saying of Ecclefiaftes, Fear God, and keep his commandments ; for that is the whole [duty] of man. These, and all fuch-like moralizing reveries, they have drawn from their Cabbala, or oral tradition, of which we have given an account in a late note: however, it must be owned, that their Caraites, a wife and antient sect among them, did always reject it, and applied themselves wholly to the plain meaning of the text; but these are few in comparison of the rest, and mortally hated by them; the reader may be convinced of it by one instance among a thousand. The Caraites are all very rich, and as they are often at a loss for a wife among themselves, they would gladly purchase one, at any rate, from their brethren the Talmudists; but, as well as these love money, they never could yet be persuaded to give one of their daughters to any of them, though ever so rich, and themselves ever so indigent (C),
(C) But here it will be ne. it; which sense, they affirm, cessary to observe, that, though has been conveyed to them from this Jewish Cabbala, or oral Mofes by the prophets, not by tradition, is juftly rejected by an human tradition, but by all the Christians, as being divine inspiration, as being very filled with the most carnal and different, if not directly conridiculous notions, yet there is trary to the obvious and literal another Cabbala, which has one. This, they think, is been received by some of the plain from the interpretation antient fathers, and is to this which some of the evangelists, day ftrenuously defended by particularly St. Matthew, as many learned moderns. This well as St. Paul, give of sevethey call, by way of distinction, ral prophecies quoted by them, Kabbla, or reception; and it particularly those which the contains that mystical sense of reader is referred to in the mare the Old Testament, in which, gin (1), in a sense so foreign itis pretended the writers of the from the literal, that it cannot, New understood and explained in their opinion, be justified
(1) Mat. ii. 15, 17, 23.,
Rom. x. 6, & seq. comp. with Deut. XXX, 122 and Epb. v. 31. wish Gen, ii. 24. Hebr. ii.
6. wiib Pf. vii. 4. * al.