Wright - BT300 W8 1788

8 The NEW and COMPLETE LIFE of our BLESSED behaviour was, Standby ! Come not near me! I am holier than thou! They were fcrupuloufly exaa in the performance of the minutel rituals, and prided themfelves in their punauality in paying tithes of herbs, while they negleaed the weightier Matters of the law. They prefumed fo far, as proudly to mention their good deeds in their prayers, and propofed them as the groundsof the divine acceptance ; though, at the fame time, while they maintained the fair outward fhew of piety and goodnefs, they were privately guilty of great and fcandalous vices. This fea of the Phari- fees, in procefs of time, fwallowed up all the other feas amongfl the Jews; and, at prefent, it is by the traditions of the Phari- fees, and not by the law and the prophets, that the Jewiíh religion is formed; it ha- ving been corrupted by thefe men much in the fame manner as the Chriftian religion is by the Romilh church. Joined with the Pharifees in the gofpels, are the Scribes and the Lawyers, who were not diílina feas or parties amongfl the Jews, but men profeffing learning, and chiefly followers of the Pharrifees in their religion: for the learning of the Jews prin- cipally confining in the knowledge of the Pharifaical traditions, and the interpreta- tion of the Scriptures by them, it is no won- der that the twelve folio volumes, above mentioned, found employment for great numbers of thefe men. Another noted fea amongft the Jews, at the timeof our great Redeemer's birth, was the Sadducees: Thefe, at their firfl fe- paration, differed only from the Pharifees in.their refufing to receive the tradition of the elders, and abiding by the written law; but in procefs of time, they degenerated into an univerfal fcepticifm ; and, like our modern Dents, they neither believed there exiled good orevilfpirits, orthat therewould be a refurreaion, or a futurelate. As to the Herodians, it is not fo precifely known what their diftinguifhing tenets were ; but as their doarineis called in the gofpel, The leaven of Herod, and as their party takes it's name from that prince, it is to be fup- pofed their particular opinions were de- rived from him : now as, from his general charaaer and condua, we may conclude that the doétrine of the Sadducees would be very agreeable to him, as it delivered him from the fears ofan hereafter, and as it is well known, that as foon as he was fe- curely fettled onhis throne (having cut off all the heirs of the Afmonian family) he began to introduce Pagan cufloms amongfl the Jews; it is very likely that the Hero- dians held nearly the fame fentiments as the Sadducees, and that they approved the condua of Herod, in the introduaion of the heathen fuperflitions. It is deceffary, hilly, to give force account of the Samaritans: Thefe people were not ofJewifh extraaion, but were the offspring of thofe heathen nations whom the king ofAffyria fent to dwell in the land of Ifrael, in the roomof the ten tribeswho were carried away captive. Thofe people when firft planted in the land, were griev- oufly annoyed by lions ; and fuppofingthat this misfortune arofe from their being ig- norant of the worfhip of the god of the land (for the Heathens fuppofed that every land had it's peculiar deity) they applied to Efarhaddon, the grandfon of the king who carried them captive, and he fent them an Ifraelitifh prieft, who taught them the wor- shipof God according to the lawofMofes. They now took the God of Ifrael into the number of their deities, and worfhipped him in conjunaion with the gods of the na- tionsfrom whence they came. Hence, when the Jews returned from the Babylonilh cap- tivity, and, by the permifrion and aflìflance ofCyrus kingof Perfia, were building their temple, the Samaritans,' as they in part profeffed the fame religion, propofed an alliance with them, and offered their afrifl- ance in carrying on the work. This the Jews abruptly refufed, which gave fuch of- fence to the Samaritans, that they took all t poflìbie