Page images

which the Pharisees profess'd to believe. And therefore St. Paul, when he was making his Defence before the High-Priefl, and Claudius Lyjias the Chief Captain of the Roman Garrison, took Advantage of this j and perceiving that the one 'Part of bis Accusers were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees; he cried out, in the Council, Men and Brethren, I am a Pharisee, the Son of a Pharisee: of the Hope and Resurrection of the Dead, I am caWd in Question. And •when he had so said, there arose a Diffintion 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 Jlrove.

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 Christ hmfelf was the Chief Corner Stone.


The Pharisees were much greater Hypocrifes than any of the rest; and therefore we often find them so styl'd, by our Lord himself. They pretended to much Fasting and Prayer j but took care to do it in such a Manner, as to make every Body take notice of it: their whole Design thereby being only the more effectually so deceive and take Advantage of Mankind! They made long prayers for a pretence. Matt.

They set up for being more strict Ob- xxiiU I4* servers of the Law than .the rest of ;*b» Jews; but their Strictness, in Reality, went no further than Trifles, and.mere indiffer, rent Things, while Matters of: Moment and Importance to eternal Salvation, were utterly neglected by them,;; They paid ty the,—2l. of mint, and anise, and cummin, every little Herb that grew in their Garden; but omitted the weightier Matters of the Lawt Judgment and Mercy and Faith. \ . .n,./ And, because the Law orders that the Children of Israel mould make a particular Kind of fringe upon the borders of their Numb. 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 Phylacteries, and enxxui. 5. iarggdthe borders of their garments; to j>rocure 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, and the chief Jeats 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; because werseldom find our Lord charging them with Hypocrisy, and those many other foul Crimes with which he upbraids the Pharisees. The baptist indeed joins them with the Pharisees, Matt.iii. when he fays df both together, O generation 7' of vipers J And our Lord bids his Disciples

ib.xvi. 6r Beware of the leaven (the Doctrine) of the Pharisees, and of the Sadducees.

":'•: But

Bur,, as to their Error, in not believing a Resurrection; an Error of a pernicious Nature*, as it tends to deprive Mankind of the Blessings of a Social Life here, and cuts off the Wretches who are so unfortunate as to be misled by it, from eternal Happiness, hereafter; Our blessed Lord took Care, effectually, to confute and/«* toflence these stupid Maintainers of it, ata Time when they attempted to sneer and ridicule Him by, what they took to be an unanswerable Question: Whose wise of the », .. j even men that had married bert a woman 23. should be at the resurrection?

This gross sensual Supposition os theirs, in making the Cafe improbable, the better to palliate their own Incredulity, he explodes by saying, Te do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For, in the resurrection, they neither marry nor are given in marriage-, but are, as the angels of God in heaven. But, as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that •which was spoken unto you by God, faying, JF am the,God os Abraham, and the God of 6* '*"' Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And


when the multitude beard this, they were ajionijhed at his doSirine.

We have only one thing to observe further in relation to the Sadducees; which is, that this mostrous Opinion of theirs wasabetted and follow'd by the most considerable People among the Jews ; such as the Beau monde, as it is call'd, is mostly made up of, in the present Age. [When the Apostles, after the Death of Christ, began to attract the Regards of the People, both by their Doctrine and Miracles, and multitudes of believers were added to the Lord;

Acts v. then it Is said, The High-Priest rose up> and

17 all they that were with him {which is the

feel of the Sadducees) and were filled with indignation j and laid their hands on the Apostles, and put them in the common prison. Now the Reason of the Sadducees being so active against the Apostles was plainly

Acts iv. 2. this, Because they preach'dthro' Jesus, the resurrection from the dead. , ;v ,

The Herodians were a Sect, who differed from the Rest of the Jews, by believing that Herod was the Messiah: Grounding their Opinion upon that cele

^exnI0 brated Prophesy of Jacob j The sceptre pall '~v* mt

« PreviousContinue »