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so he that goeth down to the grave doth not return b.
It has been admired by some learned men that they should deny the existence of angels, when on all hands it is agreed that they acknowledged the five books of Moses, wherein is such frequent and express mention made of the appearance and ministry of angels. To this it is answered, that they believed not the angels spoken of in the books of Moses to be of any duration, but looked on them as beings created only for the service they performed, and existing no longer. There seem to have been heretics in Justin Martyr's time of an opinion near akin to this d: and it is plain, that some among the Jews retained this notion as low down as the emperor Justinian's time. For there is a law of his extant, published against those Jews who should presume, aut resurrectionem et judicium negare, aut
facturam Dei et creaturam angelos subsistere, “ either to deny the resurrection and judgment, or “ that angels, the workmanship and creatures of “ God, did subsiste."
Since these two sects differed so widely in matters of such great concernment as the separate existence of the soul, rewards and punishments in a future state, and a resurrection or return to life, it is but reasonable to suppose that there should be frequent jars and contentions between them. Accordingly, when Josephus tells us that the Sadducees rejected what the Pharisees introduced from tradition, he adds, “Concerning these things have
b Vid. Light. vol. 2. p. 230. Tanchuin. f. 3. 1.
e Grot. in Matt. xxii. xxiii. &c. Light. vol. 2. p. 702. Whitby on Acts xxiii. 8. and Matt. xxii. 23. Basnage in Eccles. Pol. Ann. Dial. cum Tryp. p. 358. b.
e Nov. 146. cap. 2.
happened great disputes and differences between “ them?.” St. Paul, who well knew this, seeing that one part of the council were Pharisees and the other Sadducees, improved the opportunity to set them at variance, that he might the more easily escape their censure 8.
Although it was so well known by the apostle that the whole sect of the Sadducees denied the resurrection of the dead, yet he scruples not to say, To which promise, that is, the promise made of God to our fathers of a resurrection to eternal life, our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to comeh. For the Sadducees were so few in number, that they were not worthy his notice by way of exception. Josephus expressly tells us, “ That they were a few men only of the chief of “ their nation'; that they prevailed only with the “ rich to embrace their sentiments; that the com“ mon people were all on the side of the Phariseesk.” That the ancient Jews believed the resurrection to life to be part of the covenant God had made with their fathers, is evident from the place we have before referred to in the second book of Maccabees. The Jewish martyrs not only die in the hope of a resurrection to everlasting life, but they plainly found this hope upon God's covenant.
For the youngest of the seven sons says, Our brethren, who now have suffered a short pain, are dead under God's covenant of everlasting life!
Josephus says of the Pharisees, that they were f Antiq. I. 13. C. 10. §. 6.
& Acts xxiii. 6. Acts xxvi. 7. i Antiq. I. 18. c. 1. §. 4. k Ibid. I. 13. C. 10. §. 6. et c. 15. §. ult. Maccab. vii. 36.
more pious than the other Jews; by which he means, that they were more tenacious of the Jewish laws and customs : and they are represented in the history of the Acts as continuing to be such even after they had received and professed the gospel : There arose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise the believing Gentiles, and to command them to keep the law of Mosesm.
It is remarkable, that as we find the Pharisees to be the most forward and zealous against our Lord, during his ministry, in the four Gospels, so the Sadducees, we find, are the most active against his disciples in the history of the Acts. The reason is plain; it was the Pharisees chiefly whom our Lord reproved. He condemned their impious traditions, detected their hypocrisy, and laid open their vile and wicked practices: this made them so warm against him. On the other hand, the disciples preached through Jesus the resurrection of the dead. This enraged the Sadducees; and for this they would have contrived means to put them to death, had it not been for the milder counsel of Gamaliel the Pharisee". They would have done the same afterwards by St. Paul, had he not been favoured by the Phariseeso. Josephus represents the Sadducees as of a rude, savage, inconversable temper; and says, they are, above all the Jews, cruel in the sentences they pass. On the other hand, he says, the Pharisees are by nature mild in their pupishments P.
m Acts xv. 5.
n Acts iv. 1, 2. and v. 17. 33. • Acts xxiii. 9.
p De Bell. I. 2. c. 8. §. 14. Antiq. I. 20. c. 8. §. 1. 1. 13. c. 10. 9. 6. p. 587.
It is very
§. 4. When it is said, Acts vi. 9, There arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and them of Cilicia and Asia; disputing with Stephen ; this, as I apprehend it, is distinguishing the Jews according to the places they usually inhabited. The Talmudists tell us there were four hundred and sixty; some of them say, four hundred and eighty synagogues in Jerusalem 9. probable that many of these were built by the Jews of particular countries for their own use. There is mention made in the Talmud of the synagogue of Alexandria, and it is there said that the Alexandrians built it at their own expense".
In like manner, it is probable, there was a synagogue for the use of the Jews that ordinarily inhabited Cyrene, one also for those that dwelt in Cilicia, and another for those whose abode was in Asia Minor: that the Jews were numerous in those countries is abundantly evident from Philos, Dio, Josephus 4. The Libertines, I take it, were no other than the Roman Jews, or Jews who ordinarily had their residence at Rome, and were free of that city: that very great numbers of the Jews, who had been taken captives by the Romans, and were carried into Italy, had obtained their liberty, is clear from Philox and Tacitus y.
9 Vid. Light. vol. 1. p. 363. fin. vol. 2. 664. Grot. in Act. vi. 9.
r Vid. Light. vol. 2. p. 665. Leg. ad Caiuin, p. 1031. e. et in Flaccum, p. 971, c.
+ L. 68. p. 786. u Antiq. I. 16. c. 6. §. I. 5. 1. 12. C. 3. §. 1, 2. I. 14. c. 10. §. 12, &c. l. 16. c. 2. §. 3. Tully pro Flacco, n. 28. vol. 1. p. 493. * Legat. ad Caium, p. 1014, D. y Annal. 1. 2. 85. fin. “Quatuor millia “ libertini generis ea superstitione infecta, quibus idonea ætas, in “ Sardiniam veherentur.” Let this be compared with what Suetonius says in Tib. 36. 2. and Joseph. Antiq. 1. 18. c. 4. §. ult. fin.
CHAP. V. Shewing how far the Jewish customs referred to
are confirmed by other authors. I PROCEED now to the third thing, which is to shew how far the customs and manners referred to in the book of Acts are confirmed by other writers, and this, whether they be Jewish, Grecian, or Roman. I shall begin with the Jewish, and consider the other two in their order.
§. 1. Although it is certain that, by the divine appointment, and the custom of the Jewish nation, there was properly but one high priest at a time in that nation, yet is there frequent mention made in the Acts of the holy Apostles of high priests, as being many, at one and the same time 2.
We meet with the same way of speaking very often in the History of Josephus. He tells us how very much the high priests oppressed the priests in taking away their tithes a. He names one, whom he calls the oldest of the high priests b; another, whom he terms the youngest of the high priests €; and blames Herod, for that he had given the high priesthood to certain obscure persons, who were of the priests only, meaning that he ought to have taken them from among the high priests d.
z Acts iv. 23. v. 24. ix. 14. 2 1. xxii. 30. xxiii. 14. xxv. 15. and xxvi. 10. 13•
Antiq. I. 20. c. 7. §. 8. and c. 8. §. 2. b De Bell. 1. 4. C. 3. §. 7. and c. 4. §. 3. • Vit. §. 39. p. 923. 1. 35.
Antiq. 1. 20. c. 9. p. 901. 1. 25. Vid. de Bell. I. 1. C. 1. §. 1. et 1. 2. c. 14. §. 8. et c. 15. §. 2. 3. 4. 6. et c. 16. §. 2. 3. et c. 17. s. 2. 3. 5. 6. et c. 20. §. 4. et l. 4. C. 3. §. 9. et c. 4. 5. 3, 4. et