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and Shew of outward Religion, without a due Regard to the Internal and Spiritual part of it; as will be evident from the several Characters given of it in the New Testament.
In Matth. 23. where our Lord denounces a Chain of Woes upon the Scribes and Pharisees, under the Character of Hypocrites; the several Descriptions of their Hypocrisy are, That they devoured Widows Houses, and for a Pretence made long Prayers; that they compassed Sea and Land to make one Proselyte, and when he was made, they made him two-fold more the Child of Hell, than themselves; that they paid Tithe of Mint, and Anise, and Cummin, and omitted the weightier Matters of the Law, Judgment, Mercy and Faith ; that they made clean the outside of the Cup and of the Platter, but within were full of Extortion and Excess; that they were like unto whited Sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but
are within full of dead Men's Bones, and of all Uncleanness; even so, they ou!t verdly appeared righteous unto Men, but within were full of Hypocris, and Iniquity. Ye Hypocrites, lays our Lord in another place well did Efaias prophefy concerning you, saying, This People draweth nigh unto me with their Mouth, and honoureth me with their Lips, but their Heart is far from me.
This Hypocrisy of the Pharisees is justly compared to Leaven by our Loid upon account of its Qualities, its secret and insensible spreading ic self
, and communicating its Influence; and its elating and puffing up the Mass in which it works: The first of which Qualities our Lord observes where he likens the Kingdom of Heaven to Leaven hid in three Measures of Meal, 'till the whole was leaven'd; and the last is a common Interpretation in the Jewish Writers. Į say that this Hypocrisy is justly
compard to Leaven upon these cwo Accounts, will appear as well from the History, as from the Nature of the Thing itself.
The History informs us, that this Leaven had tinctured the whole Jewish Nation; and tho' it be principally charg'd upon the Pharisees, yet it was also common with the Sadducees and Herodians, the only Sects amongst the Jews taken notice of in the Gofpels. In this Hypocrify they agreed, how widely foever they differed in other Particulars; and cho' the whole Body of the People seem not, in our Lord's time, to have divided themselves into these Parties, nor separaced from each other, under these Distinctions (however zealous these several Factions might be in gaining Proselytes) but only some of the more eminent and active Men amongst them: Yet we may collect, from the high Opinion they express of the
Pharisees upon all Occasions, that the Gross of the People admired their Picty, and imitated their Manners, and admitted their Leaven, and that the Religion of the Nation in general was external and ceremonial. If indeed they had not been wholly preengaged by this kind of Religion, they must have better understood and more readily complied with our Lord's spiritual Interpretations of the Law.
And if we trace this Leaven on to Christianity, we shall find that it continued to ferment amongst the new Converts, notwithstanding the great Industry of Christ and his Apostles to abolish the Shadow by introducing the Substance, and the happy Difference they shewed betwixt che Righteousness of Works and of Faith. 'Twas not long before certain of the Pharisees who believed, asserted that it was needful to circumcise the Gen
tiles, and to command them to keep the Law of Mofes. The Galatians were bewitched by this Doctrine, they desired to be under the Law. Peter and Barnabas were carried away by this Dissimulation, or Hypocrisy, as it is in the Original: And the great Design of almost all St. Paul's Epistles, is to retrieve his several Correspondents from the spreading Leaven of this Error. I cannot but rake notice of a Proverbial Saying of St. Paul's which he twice makes use of; and where it occurs in his Epistle to the Galatians, it is exprelly upon
very Occasion I am now speaking of, viz. their Readiness to relapse into the Ceremonial Law ---- a little Leaven, says he, leaveneth the whole Lump.
However the Profession of Christianity increased under the Ministration of the Apostles, the Life and Spirit of it were supported with the utmost Difficulty. St. Jude says, Be