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§ 317. ON THE ANTIquity of these sects. 401
their fortune to sustain any public offices, they found themselves under the necessity of conforming to the sentiments of the Pharisees, for, otherwise, they would not have been tolerated by the people, Josephus, Antiquities, XIII. 10, 6. XVIII. 1, 3, 4.
The Essenes were a sect, who were very closely linked together, and constituted what may be termed an order of monks. The members of this sect not only lived in Egypt, and in other countries; but nearly four thousand of them resided in Palestine itself, particularly on the western shore of the Dead Sea. Consult Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews, XVIII. 1, 5, and Pliny's Natural History, Bk. V. ch. 17.
§ 317. ON the ANtiquity of these Sects.
It is remarked by Josephus, (Antiquities XIII. 10, 5–6) that John Hyrcanus went over from the Pharisees to the Sadducees, and thereby created much trouble to his family. This happened, when he was young, i.e. about the year 150 before Christ; of course both of these sects were not only in existence, but, it may reasonably be inferred, had secured no little notoriety, as far back as that period.
Furthermore; Josephus expressly says, (Antiquities XIII. 5, 9.) that the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes existed, as separate sects, at the time, when Jonathan was prince, i.e. between 159 and 144 before Christ; that they were flourishing at that period, and were even then, as he remarks, ex rov Tavv agyatov. It is true, they are not mentioned in the book of Maccabees, but it is clear from the passage in Josephus just referred to, that they existed in the time of those princes. Some, however, suppose, that the Pharisees are meant to be designated by the word wouðatous, bver, the pious, which occurs in 1 Macc. 2:42. 7: 13, also in 2 Macc. 14:6. and that this sect are there called the pious, from the circumstance of their being desirous to do more, than the Law required; while on the contrary, other persons, (among whom are to be reckoned the Sadducees,) who were willing to be satisfied with adhering to the letter of the Law, and with doing as much and no more, than it demanded, were denominated top"Tx the just. That these sects, the Sadducees and Pharisees, were nearly simultaneous in their origin, there is hardly room to doubt; but the 402 § 318. on the DoctriNE of the PHARisees.
precise time of their origin is to be referred, at any rate, to a period, anteriour to the days of the Maccabees. It is further to be added, that the wouðwtot, Assideans, mentioned in 1 Macc. 2:42. are said to have been those, Škovouw£ous vot to wouq, Flor: =::r: o, who voluntarily fought for their religion ; and, furthermore, the Jewish soldiers in general, in 2 Macc. 14. 6. are denominated aoudatov. Josephus likewise (Antiquities, XII. 10, 3) does not call the agadatot Pharisees, but ayat ovs zwe dotovs lov et vows, the good and pious of the pcople. The circumstance, which is stated in PIRKE A both, viz. that Zaddok and Balthos, disciples of Antigonus Sochaeus, were the founders of the sect of the Sadducees, is not of so much weight, in as much as nothing of the kind is mentioned in Josephus. It seems to be the fact, nevertheless, that both Sadducees and Pharisees had their origin about the time of Antigonus Sochaeus, who was the disciple of Simon the Just, i. e. about the beginning or middle of the third century before Christ. In respect to the Essenes, it appears, both from their mode of life, and from the great numbers, who resided in that country, that they had their origin in Egypt. Philo likewise, in his treatise (dE vita conte MPL.) expresses himself in such a way, as to afford evidence, that this was the fact. He indeed makes a distinction between the Essenes or Esseans, Noes, and Therapeutae, begansvrat, but it is only in some minute particulars of small consequence. Both names signify physicians, for the members of this sect professed not only the healing of the body, but of the mind.
§ 318. ON the DoctriNE of the Pharisees.
The PHARIsees boasted, that they were peculiarly acceptable to God, on account of their accurate knowledge of the Jewish Law and religion, Josephus, Antiquities, XVII. 2, 4. Jewish War, II. 8, 14. Luke 11:52, 18; 11.
We shall give a short account of their opinions, as far as they are mentioned or alluded to in the New Testament.
I. They agreed with the Stoics in teaching the doctrine of fate, or an immutable order of things, fixed by the decree of God. Perhaps it may be more agreeable to some, if we should denomi§ 318. on the DocTRINE of The pHARisees. 403
nate their opinions in this respect the doctrine of divine Providence, i. e. that oversight in the Supreme Being, which rules and cooperates with all events in such a manner, as to prevent at least their being left entirely dependent on the will of man: since the actions of man himself are dependent on the eternal purpose of God, Josephus, Antiquities, XIII. 5, 9, XVIII, 1, 3, Jewish War, II. 8, 14. Acts 5: 38, 39. II. They taught, that the souls of men were immortal, and dwelt, after the present life, in some subterranean abode, (sheol.)— They further taught, that the spirits of the wicked were tormented with everlasting punishments, and that they at times made their reappearance upon the earth to vex men with epilepsy, mental derangement, madness, and melancholy ; that the good, on the other hand, received rewards, and at length passed into other human bodies, Antiquities, XVIII. 1, 3. Jewish War, II. 8, 14. III. 8, 5. Matt. 14: 2. 16: 14. John 9: 2, 34. It is no where remarked by Josephus, that they believed in the resurrection of the dead, but that they, nevertheless, held to such a belief, is clear from the New Testament. Consult Matt. 22: 24 –34. Mark 12: 18–23. Luke 20: 27–36. John 11: 24. 2 Macc. 7: 9–11, 14, 23, 29, 36. 12:40–45. III. The Pharisees believed in, and taught the existence of angels, both good and bad. The angel, that held the highest rank among the former class, they believed, to have been uncreated. The name of this angel, at least as it occurs in the more recent Jewish writings, is that of Mitt ATRoN. The highest in rank among the latter class, or the prince of bad angels, received various names, and was called the devil, SAMAEL, AshMedA1 or the tempter, a LIAR and homicide from the beginning, the old serpent, the PRINCE of this world, who accuses men before God and demands their destruction, Matt. 4: 3. Luke 4: 2. John 8:44, 14: 30. Rev. 12; 9. 20: 2. Heb. 2: 14. They believed, that angels were the ministers or agents of the divine Being on the earth, and that some one of them was assigned, not only to every kingdom, but to every individual, and at times made his appearance, Matt. 18:10. Luke 4: 10. Heb. 2: 5. Acts 12: 15. 23: 8, 9. IV. They believed, furthermore, that God was under obligation, and bound in justice, to bestow favours upon the Jews, to render them partakers of the kingdom of the Messiah, to justify, 404 § 319. DEFEcts IN THE MoRals of the pHARISEEs.
and to render them eternally happy ; and that He could not condemn any of them. The ground of justification in the case of the
Jews, they alleged to be the merits of Abraham, the knowledge of God which existed among them, circumcision, and the offering of sacrifices, Josephus, Antiquities, XVII. 2, 4. Jewish War, II. 8, 4.
Justin's Dialogue with Trypho, Pirke Aboth, Rom. 1–xi. Heb.
§ 319. Defects in the MoRAL PRINciples AND PRActice of the PHARISEEs.
The pharisees professed to aim at the strictest moral integrity in their conduct; but the principles, by which their conduct was guided in this respect, were in a great degree, both lax and erroneous. For instance,
I. They considered many things, which, in order to prevent greater evils, had been admitted to hold a place in the civil Laws of Moses, to be for that reason, morally right; for instance, the law of retaliation, (JustAlionis,) and the divorce of a wife, for any cause whatever, Matt. 5: 31. et seq. 19:3. et seq.
II. In some instances, they adhered too closely to the letter of the Mosaic Laws, and further perverted their spirit by accommodating them to their own philosophy. Thus, according to the construction, which they put upon the Law in respect to loring one's neighbour, they were bound to love their neighbour merely, and considered themselves at liberty to exercise hatred towards their enemies, Matt. 5:43. Luke 10: 33. They maintained, that the oath, in which God was not expressly named, was not binding, or, at least, esteemed it but of little consequence, Matt. 5: 33. On the Sabbath, they forbade the gathering of a few ears of corn, healing the sick, &c. Matt. 12: 1. et seq. Luke 6: 6. et seq. 14: 1. et seq.
III. They attached but little importance to those natural Laws which Moses had not enforced by a penalty, and gave a decided preference to the ceremonial Laws, as if the latter were great and weighty commands, Matt. 5: 19. 22: 34. 15:4.
They esteemed anger without any adequate cause, and likewise the exercise of impure affections, matters of but very little moment, Matt. 5: 21, 22, 27–30.
§ 320. on the tRAditions of the phanisees. 405
They were anxious to make proselytes, but they cared more about merely enrolling them in their number, than about making them better men, Matt. 23: 15. Avaricious and devoted to the pleasures of the world, they resorted to any measures, whether just or unjust, to procure riches, Matt. 5: 1–12. 23: 4. James 2: 1 –8. Luke 16: 14. Josephus, Antiquities, XIII. 3: 4, 5. They were so desirous of vain glory, and so impressed with the idea of their own personal sanctity, that they uttered their prayers publicly, in the sight of all men, Matt. 6: 2, 5. Luke 18; 11. They
took a pride in ornamenting the tombs of the prophets, Matt. 23:29.
§ 320. ON The TRAditions of the Pharisees.
The Pharisees observed a multitude of TRAditions, i.e. unwritten ordinances, which originated with their ancestors, and some of them indeed, as they maintained, with Moses himself. They not only placed these traditions on an equality with the Laws, which were acknowledged to be divine, but even esteemed them of still higher importance, Matt. 15:2, 3, 6. Mark 7: 3—13. TALMUD, Rosh Hashchana, p. 19, 1. Zebachim, p. 101, 1. Josephus, Antiquities, XIII. 10, 6. The practices, which were founded on tradition, at length made their appearance in a collected form in the Talmud, and in truth with many additions. By the aid of what is there stated, we shall endeavour to illustrate some things, which occur in the New Testament. The washing of hands before meals, (a custom, which originated from the practice of conveying food to the mouth in the fingers,) was eventually made a religious duty; on the ground, that, if any one, though unconscious of the circumstance at the time, had touched any thing, whatever it might be, which was unclean, and remained unwashed, when he ate, he thereby communicated the contamination to the food also. The Pharisees judged the omission of this ablution to be a crime of equal magnitude with fornication, and worthy of death. Consult the TALMud of Babylon, Aboda Zara p. 11, 1. Sota p. 4, 2. Berachoth p. 46, 2. Thaanith p. 20, 2. compared with Matt. 15: 1. et seq. They taught that, if a person had not departed from the