Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

says that “the Pharisees have delivered to the people many institutions as received from the fathers, which are not written in the law of Moses. For this reason the Sadducees reject these things, asserting that those things are binding which are written, but that the things received by tradition from the fathers are not to be observed.” Besides, it is generally believed that the Sadducees expected the Messiah with great impatience, which seems to imply their belief in the prophecies, though they misinterpreted their meaning. Confining all their hopes to this present world, enjoying its riches, and devoting themselves to its pleasures, they might well be particularly anxious that their lot of life should be cast in the splendid reign of this expected temporal king, with the hope of sharing in his conquests and glory: but this expectation was so contrary to the lowly appearance of our Saviour, that they joined their inveterate enemies, the Pharisees, in persecuting him and his religion. Josephus says, that “the Sadducees were able to draw over to them the rich only, the people not following them ;” and he elsewhere mentions, that “ this sect spread chiefly among the young." The Sadducees were far less numerous than the Pharisees, but they were in general persons of greater opulence and dignity. The council, Vol. I.

S

before

before whom both our Saviour and St. Paul were carried, consisted partly of Pharisees and partly of Sadducees.

ere

IV. THE Nazarites (b), of whom we read both in the Old and New Testament, were of two sorts; such as were by their parents devoted to God in their infancy, or sometimes even before their birth, and such as devoted themselves, either for life or for a limited time : the former were called Nazaræi nativi, and the latter, Nazaræi votivi. The only three instances of the Nazaræi nativi, mentioned in Scripture, are Samson (c), Samuel (d), and John the Baptist (e). Nazaritism was a divine institution ; and it was very common for Jews, both men and women, “ to vow a vow of a Nazarite,” in order to give themselves up to reading, meditation, and prayer, for the purposes of moral purification, and “ all the days of their separation they were holy unto the Lord.” The laws concerning the Nazarites are contained in the sixth chapter of the book of Numbers; and they consist principally in directing them to

abstain (b) They were so called from the Hebrew word Nazar. separavit.

(c) Juilges, c. 13. v. 5. (d) 1 Sam. c. 1. v. II. (e) Luke, c. I. v. 15.

abstain from wine and all other intoxicating liquors; to suffer their hair to grow without cutting; not to come near any dead body; and at the end of the time, to offer certain sacrifices, to shave the head at the door of the tabernacle or temple, and to burn the hair “in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace-offerings (f)." The Rabbis say, that the Nazaræi votivi could not bind themselves by a vow to observe the laws of the Nazarites for a less time than a month, but that they might bind themselves for any longer time.

V. The Herodians may perhaps be considered as a political rather than as a religious sect; but we are to remember, that among the Jews, religious and civil opinions were almost necessarily blended. Tertullian, and some other antient authors, thought that the Herodians were so called, because they believed Herod to be the Messiah; but Jerome treats this opinion with a sort of contempt; and there seems to be no foundation for it in Scripture, unless we suppose that it is alluded to in our Lord's caution to his disciples against “ the leaven of Herod.” It seems more probable that the Herodians were

only ; (fVide Spencer de Legibus Hebræorum, lib. 3. cap. 6. and Lardner, v. 1. p. 208.

only a set of men strongly attached to the family of Herod, and of particularly profligate principles. St. Mark tells us, that Christ charged his disciples to “ beware of the leaven of Herod (g);” and in the parallel passage of St. Matthew's Gospel, Christ says, “ Beware of the leaven of the Sadducees (h);" and hence some commentators have supposed that the Herodians belonged to the sect of the Sadducees. “ These men,” says Dr. Doddridge, “ from their high regard to Herod, would naturally be zealous for the authority of the Romans, by whose means Herod was made, and continued, king;" and it is probable, as Dean Prideaux conjectures, that “ they might incline to conform to Roman customs in some particulars, which the law would not allow, and especially in the admission of images, though not in the religious, or rather idolatrous, use of them. Herod’s attempt to set up a golden eagle over the east gate of the temple, is well known. These complaisant courtiers would no doubt defend it, and the same temper inight discover itself in other instances.”

1x

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

VI. The Galileans are mentioned in Scripture, in strong terms of censure, as a turbulent and seditious sect : and Josephus, who does not

name (8) c. 8. v. 15. (h) c. 16. v. 6.

name the Herodians, not only speaks of the Galilæans as a very considerable sect, but ascribes to them a great part of the calamities of his country. Their leader was Judas of Galilee, who was followed at first but by a small part of the Pharisees; but by degrees the Galilæans swallowed up almost all the other sects; and it is highly probable that the Zealots, particularly mentioned at the siege of Jerusalem, were of this sect.

LIC

VII. THE Publicans were not of any sect, civil or religious, but merely tax-gatherers and collectors of customs due to the Romans. These offices, though formerly conferred upon none but Roman citizens of the equestrian order (i), were held, at the time they are mentioned in Scripture, by persons of low condition, and the employment was generally esteerned base and infamous. Several things concurred to make the Publicans particularly odious to the Jews. Considering themselves as a free people, under the imrnediate government of God, they bore with impatience the taxes imposed by the Romans, and even questioned whether it were “lawful to

pay (i) Flos enim equitum Romanorum, ornamentum civitatis, firmamentum reipublicæ, Publicanorum ordine continetur. Cic. pro Plancio.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »