« PreviousContinue »
Jiamath, and from Sepharvaim, and plac'd them in the Cities of Samaria; a mongril People made up of various Nations, and following as great a Variety in their religious Worship: Partly, fearing the Lord; of whom, from some Israelites who were sent back to them for that Purpose, they had got some slight Notion; bur, chiefly, bigotted to the several Idolatries in which they had been educated. These, from the City of Samaria, and the Country round about it, werecall'd Samaritans: Between whom and the Jews there continually subsisted an utter Enmity.
For the latter, after they were conquer'd by Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon, when their Temple and City were destroy'd, and 1 they had continued Seventy Years in Captivity, were permitted to return to their own Country: A Favour, which the other Ten Tribes were never to expect; according as God had foretold by the Mouth of Hos. i. 6. one of his Prophets j / will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel, but I will utterly take them away. But I will have mercy upon the house of Judab, and will save them, by the Lo R D their God,
Upon their Return, they began to rebuild their City and Temple, being order'd and empower'd so to do, by Cyrus King of Persia, who had just then conquer'd Babylon. However, they made but a flow Progress in the Work, from the frequent Interruptions given them by their inveterate Enemies the Samaritans: until, at last, in the Reign of Darius, Son of Hyjlafpes, King of Persia, they were enabled to finish their Undertaking, in spite of all the Opposition of their malicious Neighbours.
Soon after this, it is probable, the Samaritans built their Temple likewise, upon Mount Gerizim, in opposition to that of the yews. And thus they continued, still maintaining their old Bickerings, and sometimes waging War with each other, many Years. Till, at last, the Samaritans being totally subdued by the yews, remain'd .under their Subjection; and finally, after many Seditions and Commotions, both of them, with the rest of the conquer'd World, fell into the Power of the Romans. All which Time, the yews found it a mighty Inconvenience, to be oblig'd (as by their Situation they were) to go through the Country of the detested Samaritans, whenever they were to pass to or from their own Province Galilee.
Which Preliminaries being thus settled, we shall proceed to enquire more particularly into their Religion and Government.
S E C T. I. t H E LA W.
E will begin with the Law, which was given by God, for the Government of this his chosen People, through the Administration of Moses; to whom it was deliver'd in a very particular and extraordinary manner. It relates to their whole Behaviour, as well Religious as Civil; and may be compris'd under two general Heads, their Love of God, and of their Neighbour. For which Reason, when the Pharisee who was a Lawyer, one who made the Study and Knowledge of this
Mztth. £aw his Profession, asks our bleffed 35' Lord, Which is th; great Commandment in the Law? He receives this Answer; Thou /halt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy foul, and with all thy mind. This is the firjl and great commandment. And the second is like unto it; Thou foalt love thy neighbour as thy self. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
But these two being a Summary too close and comprehensive for common Capacities, God was pleas'd to unfold that which he intended for general Use, in Ten Branches; whereof Four contain their Duty to Himself, and the other Six their Duty to one another.
By the first, they are charg'd, not to have any other God or Gods beside the Lord. By the second, they are forbid-, den to attempt making the Likeness or Representation of any Person or Thing whatever, in order to religious Worship.