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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, w*s 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. .<■ J*
The Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians.
This Hypocritical loose Way of profeffing and practising the Law, or true Religion, among other bad Effects which it produc'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 differed in the following Particulars.
The Sadducees held that there was no Acts Resurrection, nor Angels, nor Spirits; all xxiii. 8. Z 4 which
which the Pharisees profess'd to believe. And therefore St. Paul, when he was making his Defence before the High-Priest, and Claudius Lyjias the Chief Captain of the Roman Garrison, took Advantage of this; and perceiving that the one cPart of his Accusers were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees; be cried out, in the Council, Afeti and Brethren, I am a Pharisee, the Son of a Pharisee: of the Hope and Resurrection of the Dead, I am calsd in Que/lion. ^4xJ •when he had so said, there arose a Dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the Multitude was divided-, and there arose a great Cry; and the Scribes that were of the 'Pharisees Part, arose and strove.
This Expedient might be of Service to the Apostle, just at that Season. But otherwise, he had little Reason to expect that they, who had united in crucifying the L o R D of Life, would let their Differences prevail so far, as to be favourable to him who was employ'd in carrying on that Building, of which Jesus Chkist hmself was the Chief Corner Stone,
The Pharisees were much greater Hypocrites than any of the rest; and there* ore we often find them so styl'd, by our i o R. D himself. They pretended to much "acting and Prayer; but took care to do it n such a Manner, as to make every Bolly take notice of it: their whole Design :hereby being only the more effectually to deceive and take Advantage of Mankind; They made long prayers for a presence. -\ Matt. P They set up for being more strict Ob- xxiii- '4* servers of the Law than i\ the rest oftbB yeivs -, but their Strictness, in Reality, wen^ no further than Trifles, and.mere indiffc^ rent Things, while Matters of Moment . and Importance to eternal Salvation, were utterly neglected by them,,: They paid tythq --23. tf mint, and anise, and cummin, every little Herb that grew in their. Garden; but omitted the weightier Matters of the Law, Judgment and Mercy and Faith.;Ij, vy And, because the Law orders that the Children of Israel should ma.ke a particular Kind of fringe upon the borders of their uumb. garments, that when they look'd upon it, they xv* 38might remember the commandments of the Lord, and do them; Therefore the Pha
risees, who did all their works to be seen of Matt, men, made broad their Phylafteries, and enxxm' 5- largedthe borders of their garments $ to procure them, what they lov'd better than the Commandments of the Lord, Reverence and Respect among the ignorant Multitude,to have the uppermost rooms at feasts, ad the chief feats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be saluted with honourable titles* .\.
The Sadducees, though they did not believe a future Life, yet profess'd themselves oblig'd to observe the Law, because of the temporal Rewards or Penalties which were to attend them according as they behaved themselves; and appear, in the main, to have been a-somewhat better Sort of Men than the Pharisees j because we seldom find our Lor D charging them with Hypocrisy, and those many other foul Crimes with which he upbraids the Pharisees. The baptist indeed joins them with the Pbarifees, Matt. iii. when he fays of both together, O generation 7' ■■ K ■ • of vipers! And our Lord bids his Disciples ib.xvi. 6r Beware of the leaven (the Doctrine) of the Pharisees, and of the Sadducees.