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tba tradition of the Elders? which our LoR» fully answers by another Question, itti.theiti'r Why do you transgress the commandment of God by your tradition f For God commanded, faying, Honour thy father, And thy> mother. But ye fay, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift by whatsoever thou mightejl be profited by me, and honour not his father or bit mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Te hypocrites, well did Isaias prophesy of you, saying, this people drawetb nigh unto me with their ■mouth, but their heart is far from me% but, in vain do they worship me, teaching, for doctrines, the commandments of men.
The Places where they usually taught these false Doctrines, were, the temple, and the Synagogues. For, fh both these we find the People assembled, to hear the Law expounded; every Sabbath Day at least. And thither we find these Doclors of the haw, as they are sometimes call'd, ger_ My came; to confer about their own Interpretations; and to hear those of other People; if any one, mov'd by a divine v, Z 2 Impulse,
Impulse, had any thing of that Kind to offer.
Hence it is that we find Jesus, though Luke ii. but twelve years of age, in the temp/e, fitting in the midst of the dotlors; both bearing them, and asking them quejiions. And when the High-Priejl question'd him about his dijciples and his doSirinez The John Answer he makes, is; I spake openly to the world; J ever taught, in the Synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.
And St. Paul in his Defence before FeActi Ux, fays; 'They neither found me, in the 'temple, disputing with any man; neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city. By which, the Apostle means no more than that he was not in either of these Places with Intent to raise a Tumult; for we find, in several Instances, that he us'd to go into the synagogues, and preach; if not, in Jerusalem, at least in other Cities, where there were Synagogues of the sews. For, in the fame Chapter, where we read, that he ib. ix. a, desired of the High-Pries, letters to Da
mascus, to the synagogues, that if he found any Believers in Christ, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem; being converted by the immediate Call of God, we find he Jiraitway preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the son of God. Tssay, we read, that he disputed in- the fy- Acts nagogue, with the Jews at Athens. All which, with many more Instances that might be brought, is only to mew that the Law was taught and expounded generally by the Scribes, after their Fashion, in the Temple at Jerusalem, and in the Synagogues,^ both there and elsewhere.
But, as a Departure from the trud Faith, in Doctrine, is generally accompanied with a Depravity of M6rals, in Life; so we find the Scribes, when our Lord came into the World, for all their outward Zeal and Profession, had little or no true Religion, at Bottom. Therefore he fays to his Audience upon the Mattt v. Mount, Except your righteousness pall ex- zoceed the righteoujhess of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye /hall, in no cafe, enter into *• *xiuthe kingdom ofheayen. Again; The Scribes 3" Z % <*nd
and Pharisees ft in Moses feat, (take upon them to dictate the haw.) Bui do ye not after their works, for they Jay, and do not. After which he proceeds to give various Instances of their irregular and unjust Doings.
Accordingly, because they, the least of all Men, could bear a Reformation, we find them taking all Occasions to oppose the Preaching and Spreading of the Gospel: They murmur at our Lord, whenever they see him do an Act of Charity Or Publick Good? . They upbraid him for eating With Publicans and Sinners. They charge him with holding a Correspondence with Beelzebub. They •match him j urge him; seek to lay Hands on him; vehemently accuse him before the Roman Governor; and finally jubom false Witnesses to procure him to be crucified.
Since therefore these Teachers and'Interpreters of the Law, under a Cloak of Hypocrisy, perpetrated the vilest Immoralities, how great a Dearth must there have been of the true Knowledge of God, among the Posterity of Abraham! And
how abundant, on the other hand, the Mercy of God, who, remembering his Promise, was pleas'd to raise up so mighty a Salvation for them, and all Mankind, by sending his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, at that Time into the World. ,- ./';,
The Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians.
This Hypocritical loose Way of professing and practising the Law, or true Religion, among other bad Effects which it pfoduc'd, made strange Factions and Divisions, even among the vain Professors themselves. There are no less than three notable Parties of them mention'd in the Gospel; those, of the Pharisees, . Sadducees, and Herodians; other historical Writers speak of four more. They all agreed, in laying a greater Stress upon Tradition than Scripture; and consequentially, in being generally very unrighteous in their Conversation in the World. But they differ'd in the following Particulars.
The Sadducees held that there was no Acts Resurrection, nor Angels, nor Spirits; all xxiii. 8. Z 4 which