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the tradition of the Elders? which our
LORD fully answers by another Question, a to: them; W by do you tranfgress the com- mandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father,
and thy mother. But ye fay, Whosoever fball say to his father of his mother, It is a gift by whatsoever thou mightest be
profited by me, and honour not bis father or * bi's mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye
made the commandment of God of none efi feet by your tradition, Ye bypocrites, well
did Ifaias propbefy of you, faying, 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, in both these we find the People assembled, to hear the Law expounded ; every Sabbath Day ac leaft. And thicher we find these Doctors of the Law, as they are sometimes callid, ger...: 'ly came; to confer about their own Interpretations; and to hear those of other People; if any one, mov'd by a divine
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 temple,
fitting in the midst of the dočtors; both bearing them, and asking them questions. And when the High-Priest question'd him a
bout bis disciples and bis doctrine: The John Answer he makes, is; I spake openly to xviii. 20.
the world; I ever taught, in the Synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always refort; and in secret bave I said nothing
And St. Paul in his Defence before FeActo, lix, says ; They neither found me, in the temple, disputing with
any man ; neither raihng up the people, neither in the synagogues, nar 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 Yerusalem, at least in ocher Cities, where there were Synagogues of the Jews. · For, in the
same Chapter, where we read, that he ib. ix. a, defired of the High-Priest, 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 be Araitway preached CHRIST in the synagogues, that he is the fon of God. Nay, we read, that he disputed in the sy- Ads nagogue, with the Jews at Athens. All which, with many more Instances that might be brought, is only to thew that the Law was taught and expounded generally by the Scribes, after their Fashion, in the Temple at Jerufalem; and in the Synagogues, both there and ellewhere.
pis But, as. a Departure from the true Faith, in Doctrine, is generally accompanied with a Depravity of Mórals, in Life ; so we find the Scribes, when our LORD came into the World, for all their outward Zeal and Profession, had liccle or no true Religion, at Bottom. Therefore he says to his Audience upon the Matt. v. Mount, Except your righteousness shall ex- 20. ceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye faall, in no: case, enter into ib. xxiii. the kingdom of heaven. Again; The Scribes 3.
and Pharisees ht in Moses feat, (také upon them to dictate" the Law.) But do ye not after their works, for they fay, and do not. After which he proceeds' to'gi
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 oppofe the Preaching and Spreading of the Gofpel: They murmur at our LORD, whenever they see him do an Act of Chari. tyor Publick Good. They upbraid him for- cating with Publicans and Sinners." They charge him with holding a Correspondence with Beelzebub. They watch him; urge him; seek to lay Hands on him; vehemently accufe him before the Roman Governor; and finally suborn 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 Pofterity of Abrabam! And
how abụndant, 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 profefsing and practising the Law, or crue 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 thạn Scripture; and consequentially, in being generally very unrighteous in their Conversation in the World. But they ditfer'd in the following Particulars. The Sadducees held that there was no
Acts Resurrection, nor Angels, nor Spirits; all xxiii. 8.