« PreviousContinue »
sover was killed. And if Jesus sent them off immediately with orders to make it ready, they might have it prepared by the time he arrived at the city with the rest; at least they might have every thing ready by eight or nine o'clock, the time they usually sat down to the paschal supper, and which in the Gospels is called (ofas) the evening. According to this account of the matter, all is easy and plain. When the 14th day began, the day on which they killed the passover, the disciples asked Jesus where they should prepare it for him; he pointed out to them a particular house, and sent two of them away immediately to make it ready, following at leisure with the rest. By the time it grew dark, the lamb was roasted, and he sat down with the twelve. Thus eating the passover on the beginning of the 14th day, he anticipated the time by one whole day. This account is confirmed by Luke, who insinuates, that Jesus sent the two disciples to prepare the passover immediately on the arrival of the 14th day: mλθε δε ήμερα των αζύμων, “ Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed; and he sent Peter and John, saying, Go, and prepare us the passover, that we may eat.” To conclude, this account renders Matthew and Luke consistent with themselves; for, as has been shewn already, these evangelists have insinuated, that Jesus was crucified, not on the day following the solemnization of the passover by the nation, which according to the law was a holy convocation, but on the preparation to that holy convocation, and consequently before the Jews ate the passover.
It may be objected, that the preparation of the passover being the killing and roasting thereof, the disciples cannot be supposed to have spoken of this before the end of the 14th day, the time appointed for it by the law. To this however the answer is obThe question which the disciples proposed was not concerning the preparation of the passover, but the place where it was to be prepared. This every one sees the disciples would naturally think of, at the approach of the 14th day. And though Jesus, in answer to their question, not only told them the house where he intended to eat the passover, but sent two of them away immediately to prepare it before the usual time, they did not scruple to obey him, having long ago learned to submit implicitly to the will of one whom they regarded as the Christ, the Son of the living God. If it is objected, that however submissive the disciples might be on this occasion, the priests and Levites certainly would not kill the lamb for them sooner than the law prescribed, the answer is easy. The lambs for the passover were by far too numerous to be killed by the priests and Levites, in the short space of time appointed for this service by the law. The people therefore were allowed to perform this service for themselves. So Philo tells us, De Vita Mosis, lib. iii. "At the time
of the passover, the people did not, as at other times, bring their sacrifice to the altar to be killed by the priests, but according to the law the whole nation did sacrifice, every one killing the sacrifice with his own hand. At that time every man did act the part of a priest." The same author, in his book, De Decalogo, “ In the native tongue of the Hebrews, it is called the passover, when every one of the people sacrifices without waiting for the priest, they themselves by divine appointment performing every year the office of the priesthood, during one day appointed for that end.” We have traces of this custom likewise in the Scripture. For at the passovers celebrated by Hezekinh, 2 Chron. xxx. 17. and by Josiah, 2 Chron. xxxv. 6. we are told that the priests and Levites killed the lambs, because the people laboured under some legal impurity, incapacitating them for the office. And at the first passover, it is evident that the congregation killed the paschal lamb, Exod. xii
. Up the whole, I think it highly probable, that in celebrating his last passover, Jesus did not observe the national day, but ate it the day before. Wherefore, as he was crucified the day after he solemnized the passover, his giving up the ghost about three o'clock in the afternoon of that day, happened just at the time when the passover was killed. By this means he who was the true passover, and who was sacrificed for us, as the apostle speaks, 1 Cor. v. 7. most exactly answered the type, as in every other particular, so in the very time also of its oblation.
OF THE SECTS OF THE JEWS.
CHAP. I. Of the Sects in general. The Jews, in matters of religion and philosophy, were divided into three sects, each of which had its proper name : the Phari'sees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes. Of the two former, there is mention made in the Gospels ; but the latter living according to rules, and shunning the company of all but their own sect, had no interviews with our Lord. At least he met with them so seldom, that the evangelists have not thought it worth while to mention the matter. Of this sect, however, Josephus has given a very particular account, Antiq. xviii. 2. Bell. ii. 12.
The Sadducees, it is said, were the most ancient sect; but the Pharisees were the most celebrated. The original of the latter is in a great measure unknown. Josephus, Antiq. xiii. 9. informs us, that all the three existed in the days of Jonathan the Maccabee, about one hundred years before Christ. other passages he represents them as very ancient. But he does not any where determine the time of their first appearance. Later writers, indeed, give some account of the rise of the Sadducees. They tell us, that in the reign of Seleucus Callinicus, king of Syria, and whilst Onias was high-priest at Jerusalem, that is, about two hundred and forty years before Christ, a Jewish doctor, named Antigonus Sochæus, broached what now-adays are termed mystical notions in divinity. He taught that men ought to obey God, without hoping for any reward. This doctrine was carried much higher by one of his disciples named Sadoc, who affirmed that there would be no future rewards or punishments. And being fond of the notion, he was at pains to propagate it, drawing many over to his opinion. Thus a sect was formed, who from their master took the name of Sadducees.
But, that the reader may form a proper notion of the Jewish sects, their opinions, and their manners, it will be necessary to consider particularly what Josephus has said of them. That author, Antiq. xviii. 2. gives the following account of them. “The Jews of a long time have had three schemes of philososophy handed down to them from their ancestors, that of the Essenes, that of the Sadducees, and that of the Pharisees.—The Pharisees contemn luxury, and indulge themselves in nothing that is elegant. And while they believe that all things happen by fate, they do not take from the will of man its own proper power. They think God has tempered and conjoined the decrees of fate and ihe will of man, so as to render men accessory, whether to virtue or vice. They believe there is an immortal strength in souls; that there are rewards and punishments under the earth, to such as have attached themselves either to virtue or vice in this life; that the one are condemned to perpetual imprisonment, but that the other have an easy return into life. By such opinions as these, the Pharisees have procured themselves great authority with the common people, insomuch that all things relalive to religion or the worship of God are performed according to their prescription : such a testimony do their countrymen bear to their virtue, on account of their care to behave always well, both in word and in deed. But the system of the Sadducees is, that the souls of men perish with their bodies; and that there is no other thing to be done by a man but to obey the laws. And it is reckoned with them a virtue to wrangle with the teachers of that wisdom which the others follow." He means that the Sadducees thought it meritorious to dispute against the traditions of the elders enjoined by the Pharisees. « However, this system is adopted only by a few persons of the first quality, and those have scarce any thing to say in the government. For when they obtain offices, they follow, though unwillingly, and as it were by necessity, the direction of the Pharisees, because otherwise the conmon people would not endure them."
The same historian, Bell. č. 12. gives us this farther account of the sects : « The Pharisees explain, with great accuracy, the whole institutions of the law, and rejecting the fundamental heresy (of the Sadducees), they ascribe all things to fate and to God. Nevertheless, they allow that for the most part it is in mens own power to do that which is right, or to neglect it ; and that fate assists all men. That every soul is incorruptible, but that the souls of the good only pass into other bodies, and that the souls of the wicked are punished with eternal punishments. But the Sadducees deny fate altogether, and place God both above the commission and inspection of evil. They affirm that good and evil is proposed to the election of men, and that one's attaching himself to either depends upon his own choice. Moreover, they deny the immortality of the soul, together with the rewards and punishments of a future state. The Pharisees are lovers of one another, and exercise benevolence towards all. The Sadducees in their manners are savage, being inhuman in their intercourse even with those of their own sect, as well as with strangers. Suffice it to have said thus much concerning the Jewish philosophers.”
In the above descriptions it is observable that while the historian paints the Sadducees in their proper colours, the account which he gives of the Pharisees is such as will not convey any disadvantageous idea of them. And yet from the reproofs which our Lord gave this sect, it is certain that the Pharisees were generally very debauched, both in their principles and practices. This however is not to be wondered at. Josephus was himself a zealous member of the sect of the Pharisees, and therefore may be supposed in his description to have set them off to the best advantage. The truth is, whilst he displays their virtues, he altogether conceals their faults, or touches at them but slightly. Accordingly his account, as far as it goes, does not disagree with the gospels, which mention most of the particulars taken notice of by the Jewish historian. But besides these, they rip open the iniquities of the sect, and shew them in their true colours. Wherefore by joining the two accounts together, and taking what assistance can be had from later Jewish writings, we shall be able to form a pretty just notion of the men and of their doctrine.
CHAP. II. Of the Pharisees in particular. $1. From the account given in the preceding chapter, it appears that the Pharisees universally were fatalists, though not in the highest sense of the word. Josephus has explained their opinion on this subject more fully, Ant. xiii. 9. “ The Pharisees atfirm that not all things, but only some things are the work of fate; because several things are in our own power, happening or not, as we please. The Essenes' affirm that all things are subject to the government of fate, and that nothing can happen to a man otherwise than fate decrees it. But the Sadducees take away fate altogether, affirming that it is nothing; that human actions receive no determination from it ; that all things are in our own power ; so that we are the causes of whatever good happens to us, and that every evil thing befalling us, is owing to our own folly.”
Many disputes have arisen about the meaning which the Pharisees allixed to the word Fate. Some imagine, that by fate they understood the influence of the plannets; others, the providence of God exercised in the government of the world; others, an inevi. table necessity arising from a certain concatenation of second causes originally established by God, and only intimated and confirmed by the planets. That this latter is the true meaning of the word is certain, because the Pharisees believed fate in the very sense in which the Sadducees denied it. But the Sadducees by no means denied the providence of God. On the contrary, acVOL. I. 0