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able to their passions, justified themselves thereby in a course of life, into which they were led by fashion, inclination, and interest. They ran therefore into all manner of excess without any restraint, save what the laws of their country imposed upon them. To this agrees the character which Josephus has given of them, when he tells us their system is, “ that a man has nothing to do but to “ obey the laws." The Sadducean leaven however did not spread very far. Their principles, Josephus tells us, were adopted only by a few persons of the first quality.
Farther, as a natural consequence of their principles, the Sadducees were generally of a very savage temper. For when once persons have set themselves free from the restraint of a future judgment, and lie under no curb but that of the laws, they will give way to any passion that comes uppermost. Josephus adds, Antiq. xx. 8. « The Sadducees are the most cruel of all the Jews « in their judicial sentences; but the Pharisees, as oft as there “ is a question of punishment, incline to the favourable side.” This appears likewise from the history of the Acts, and particularly from the trial of the apostle Paul, who, when arraigned at the bar of the senate of Israel, was acquitted by the Pharisees, contrary to the opinion of the Sadducees, who it seems were the minority in that court, or durst not contradict the Pharisees, for fear of rendering themselves obnoxious to the people.
The Sadducees had often a share in the government. Even the high-priests themselves were sometimes of this sect. John Hyrcanus, who was both high-priest and prince, turned Sadducee upon some disgust which he took at the Pharisees ; and to humble them, abrogated their institutions, that is, the traditions of the elders, of which they were so zealous, Antiq. xii. 10. In like manner, Ananus the younger, who possessed the high-priesthood A. D. 60, was of this sect, Antiq. xxviii. sub initio. In the history of the Acts, ch. v. 17. Luke speaks of an high-priest, generally thought to be Caiaphas, who was of the sect of the Sadducees. But though these men intruded themselves into the government, neither their opinions nor their persons were acceptable to the people, by which means they had little or no influence; and therefore, as Josephus informs us, in their administration, they were always obliged to yield to the counsels of the Pharisees.
CHAP. IV. Of the Herodians and others. § 1. JOSEPHUS, who has often spoken of the sects of the Jews, takes no notice of the Herodians. They are mentioned four times in the gospels, viz. Mark iii. 6. viii. 15. xii. 13. Matt. xxii. 16. Jerome, in his commentary on the last mentioned text, tells us, that some of the Latins in his time thought the Herodians were
1 persons, +
persons who believed Herod the great, to be the Messiah. But he very justly laughs at that fancy, because there is not the least trace of such notion, either in sacred or profane history. His own opinion was, that the Herodians were either the soldiers of Herod, or else such as the Pharisees in ridicule named Herodians, on account of their paying tribute to the Romans, contrary (as they fancied) to the law of God.-Leusden, Fabritius, Basnage, and others, adopting the first opinion proposed by Jerome, suppose that the persons called Herodians in the gospels were the courtiers, officers, and soldiers of Herod the tetrarch, and that the name Herodian no more denoted a sect of religion, than the names Cæsarean or Pompeian. Carpzovius is of opinion, that they were the servants, domestics, and friends of Herod, and that the leaven of Herod, which our Lord cautioned his disciples to beware of, Mark viii. 15. was not so much any particular system of religious opinions, as a neglect and contempt of all religion. But though this opinion be founded on the Syriac version, which renders the name Herodian, by the phrase the servants of Herod, it does not seem to agree with the character given of the Herodians in the gospels. From Matthew xvi. 12. it appears that the caution to beware of the leaven of Herod, was not a caution against the practices, but against the doctrines of the Herodians. The leaven of Herod, indeed, in this sense, will apply to the collectors of the taxes for the Romans, who no doubt inculcated the lawfulness of paying tribute to Cæsar, which is the other opinion proposed by Jerome. Nevertheless, as our Lord himself taught the lawfulness of those taxes, we cannot imagine this was the tenet he cautioned his disciples against, under the notion of the leaven of Herod.-The passage in Matthew, parallel to Mark viii. 15. will, if I am not mistaken, lead us to a better account of the Herodians. For what Mark there terms the leaven of Herod, is called by, Matthew, chap. xvi. 6. The leaven of the Sadducees. Hence, we learn who the Herodians were, about whom so many disputes have arisen. It seems, Herod the great endeavoured to overturn the principles of the ancient and true religion, that he might establish a system more agreeable to his tyranny. This was the doctrine of the Sadducees, which he zealously espoused, because setting inen free from the dread of a future state, it left them at liberty to pursue what they took to be their interest, by any method they pleased. Herodian, therefore, was but another name for such sort of Sadducees, as maintained the expediency of submitting to the innovations introduced by Herod and the Romans. For it may easily be thought, that those who favoured Herod and the powers who supported him, were generally of this sect. At the same time, all the Sadducees were not Herodians, some of them being friends to the liberties of their country, and by consequence shewing
little of that complaisance towards the reigning powers, for which their brethren were so remarkable. And this accounts sufficiently for the distinction between the Herodians and Sadducees, found Matt, xxii. 16. 23. Of the nature and number of the innovations introduced by Herod, and with what temper they were received by the Jews, the reader will be able to judge who looks to Josephus, Antiq. xv. c. 11. fine. Y
♡ 2. It is highly probable, therefore, that the Herodians were a subdivision or branch of the Sadducees. For to use the words of Dr Lardner, Cred. b. i. c. 4. 94. “ From the time that pro“phecy ceased among the Jews, new sects were continually ari“sing. There were two disciples of Antigonus Sochæus, that « were the authors of two new sects ; Sadoc, of the sect of the “ Sadducees; Baithos, or Bathus, the author likewise of a new
sect which had its name from him, and which is mentioned in " the Gemara, though not in Josephus. There was likewise at “ this time, a division in the sect of the Pharisees, some follow“ing Hillel, and others Shammai. The followers of Judas of « Galilee, were at first but a small portion of the Pharisees ; “ in time they swallowed up almost all the other parties. Jo
sephus, who so often says that the sects of the Jews are three, « once or twice calls Judas of Galilee the leader or head of a « fourth fect. The reason of his not always distinguishing these “ from the rest was, I imagine, because they differed from the « Pharisees, only in some few particulars. So that one and the * same writer, who has professedly reckoned up the Jewish « sects, according to different ways of considering them, makes “ sometimes more and sometimes fewer. Much more may two “ different writers, though they write professedly of this matter, " which the evangelists have not done."
CHAP. V. Reflections. V 1. In the account which Josephus gives of the Jewish sects, it is observable that he all along carefully distinguishes between the members of the sects, and the people. Properly speaking, the people made no part of any sect. They only attached themselves by favour and approbation, to the sects whose principles they relished most. Generally indeed they sided with the Pharisees, being altogether at their devotion ; yet, in the writings of Josephus and the evangelists, they are never dignified with the appellation of the Pharisees, but are always named simply, the people, the multitude, and the like. The truth is, the sects are not to be considered wholly in a religious light. They were distinguished from one another, by their tenets in philosophy as well as in religion. Nay, it is not improbable that they differed from one another in politics also. What confirms this notion is, that Josephus in speaking of them calls them always VOL. I. P
by the name of philosophers and sophists, and represents their doctrine under the notion of a scheme or system of philosophy. Thus in the celebrated passage before cited ; “ The Jews (says he) have “ of a long time been in possession of three schemes of philosophy 6 handed down to them from their fathers, that of the Essenes, “ that of the Sadducees, and that of the Pharisees.” The latter in particular distinguished themselves from all others by their dress, as was the custom with the Greek philosophers. The sects therefore were a kind of religious literati, who being raised above the level of the common people, by their education and their fortune, were qualified for filling the offices of the state. Accordingly, we find both from the gospels and from Josephus, that all along public offices were managed, and the nation governed, by the Pharisees and Sadducees, but especially by the Pharisees. For the Essenes living in solitude, never intermeddled in public affairs. Augustin long ago made this observation concerning the Pharisees, Serm. 106. « Pharisæi illi Judæi, erant “ quasi egregii Judæorum. Nobiliores enim atque doctiores, tunc « Pharisæi vocabantur.” i.e. « These Jewish Pharisees were the “ principal persons among the Jews. For those of highest station « and most learning were at that time called Pharisees.” In this description he might have comprehended the Sadducees likewise, who though fewer in number than the Pharisees, were persons of greater distinction in point of station and fortune.
Š 2. By forming a just notion of the Jewish sects, and by understanding the character of the members thereof, we shall be the better able to judge of our Lord's conduct. We find him often engaged in conversation with the Jewish philosophers. The Pharisees and Sadducees followed him from place to place, and watched him, in order that if possible they might find some matter of blame, either in his doctrine or in his life. They found fault with his conduct openly before the people. They formally required him to shew them the sign from heaven, in proof of his being the Messiah. They attended him when he rode into Jerusalem amidst the acclamations of the multitude. They put many difficult questions to him, with a design to ensnare him. They canvassed his miracles in the senate of Israel, and they examined a person on whom a signal miracle had been performed. From these things it appears, that Jesus of Nazareth by no means lived an obscure life; that his ministry was not exercised, nor his miracles done in a corner; and that he was not overlooked by the great men of his country as an insignificant person, whose character, pretensions, and actions were unworthy of notice.
No. He was one who made a great noise. His sermons were attended by the rulers and the people, by the rich and the poor, the learned and the unlearned. His doctrine made a wonderful impression on those who heard it. His miracles filled the whole country with his fame; nay, his fame spread itself through the neighbouring heathen countries, insomuch, that they brought their sick to him to be healed. In short, the attention of all men was turned towards him. And no less persons than the Sadducees and Pharisees, the scribes and the lawyers, the priests and elders, with their assistants, that is the chief magistrates, the nobility, and the most learned doctors of all denominations, concurred in examining an affair, which in the judgment of all was deemed of the last importance. But the effect of their scrutiny was, that no fault at all could be found either with the life, the doctrine, or the miracles of Jesus.
§ 3. When we know who the Pharisees and Sadducees were, the freedom, and boldness, and openness which Jesus used in all his encounters with them, cannot fail to raise our idea of his integrity and intrepidity to the highest pitch.
He cheerfully subjected his conduct to the examination of persons, whose learning rendered them fit to judge of his pretensions, and to detect any deceit that was in his miracles, and whose rank in the state enabled them to punish him with that infamy which he would have merited, if he had been a deceiver. Accordingly, he at no time scrupled to discharge the duties of his ministry in their presence, when any occasion offered, whether of preaching or working miracles. So that he gave them all the opportunities they could wish, of examining both with as much exactness as they pleased.
In the next place, because the Pharisees by their station, their character for learning, and that shew of sanctity which they put on, had attained an absolute dominion over the consciences of the people, while in reality they were the most flagitious of men, mere hypocrites, who altogether misled the people, and who had nothing in view but to make gain of godliness, Jesus failed not to strip them of the mask, under which they hid the odious deformities of their conduct. And his intrepidity in this particular was admirable. Their station and learning did not abash him, nor even their influence with the people. With a courage highly becoming the messenger of God, he addressed these great men personally, on the subject of their errors and vices. These he laid open to the view of all, and sharply reproved them to their faces, even in the hearing of the people, whose approbation and favour they so anxiously courted. The truth is, in the exercise of his ministry, Jesus was strictly impartial. He knew, however enraged his enemies might be, they could not hurt his character; than which, a clearer demonstration of his innocence cannot, I think, be wished for.
Lastly, the general esteem in which the Pharisees were held by the people, shews us the propriety of our Lord's conduct towards