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tained the highest offices, both in the state and priesthood. Their influence over the minds of the people was unbounded, and their authority, both in public and private affairs, almost absolute. The Evangelists frequently mention the Scribes and Pharisees in conjunction. Hence it appears that the former were chiefly Pharisees. Those were called Scribes who had made the law their particular study, and were considered as particularly skilled in expounding it. The Pharisees were distinguished by their belief in a large body of oral traditions, which they pretended had been regularly transmitted, through a series of ages, from Moses, who received them from God on Mount Sinai. They not only maintained that these traditions were of equal authority with the written Scriptures; but explained the latter by the former, that is, by corrupt glosses and inventions, many of which were intended to evade its obligation. Hence our Lord re« proved them for “ making the law of God of no effect by their traditions." They taught, that men may perform works of supererogation; and by alms, ablutions, and various ritua observances, make atonement for sin. It was their doctrine, that impure desires were not wicked, unless they produced wicked actions. They held also, that, while the external circumstances of all the human race were predestinated, their moral character depended on their own free will. According to them, every part of the sacred Scriptures had a spiritual and mystical as well as a plain and obvious sense. They acknowledged the immortality of the soul, a future state of rewards and punishments, and the resurrection of the body. They alleged, that the grounds of justification for the Jews were, the merits of Abraham, the knowledge of God which existed among them, circumcision, and the offering of sacrifices.
The Sadducees were much inferior to the Pharisees in number and influence. But part of them were of illustrious families, and others distinguished by their opulence. They received only the Pentateuch, which they interpreted literally, and rejected all traditions. They denied the immortality of the soul, the existence of angels and spirits; and taught that men were perfectly free to do good or
evil. This sect, like the other Jews, expected the Messiah as a temporal deliverer, and impatiently waited for the commencement of his splendid reign, with the hope of participating in his conquests and glory. But their expectations were so contrary to the humble appearance of our Saviour, that they joined their inveterate enemies the Pharisees, in persecuting bim and bis disciples. The council, before whom both our Lord and St Paul were accused, consisted partly of Sadducees, and partly of Pharisees. In process of time, many of the Sadducees appear to have admitted the immortality of the soul, and the existence of angels; and, in the eighth century, these were denominated Caraites. Both the Sadducees and Pharisees were in existence about 150 years before Christ.
The Essenes were a sect who despised riches, and led a very recluse and austere life. One branch of this sect passed their lives in celibacy, and devoted themselves to the education of the children of others, whom they adopted. Some of them employed themselves wholly in contemplation; and made it their constant endeavour to mortify the body, which they considered as the prison of the immortal spirit. Others spent part of their time in performing the duties of active life. The whole of this sect, holding the immortality of the soul, denied the resurrection of the body. They maintained that the words of the law were to be understood in a spiritual sense, and not according to their literal meaning. Hence, they did not offer sacrifices; but were strict in observing the Sabbath, and making an annual present to the temple at Jerusalem. The leading traits in their character were, sobriety, abstemiousness, and peaceableness; and they had all things in common. They forbade oaths, except upon the admission of new members into their society. Then they were solemnly imposed, and held most sacred. The Essenes are not expressly mentioned in the New Testament; but it has been thought that their sentiments are alluded to, and spoken against, by St. Paul, in his first epistle to Timothy, and in the epistle to the Colossians.
complying with many heathen customs. They continued attached to the tyrant during his life, and to his sons after his decease. This sect maintained, that it was lawful, when constrained by superiors, to comply with idolatrous customs; and opposed those who strictly adhered to the Mosaic law.
It appears that they were chiefly Sadducees; for the same persons who, in one of the Gospels, are called Herodians, are in another, styled Sadducees.
The Gaulonites, though not expressly mentioned in the New Testament, existed as a party in the time of our Saviour. The Galileans, whom Pilate slew in the temple, appear to have been of this sect. They derived their name from Judas, a native of Gaulon, in Upper Galilee. He taught that the Jewish nation was the elect of God, and he alone their governor; therefore they ought not to submit to any ordinance of men. In the tenth year of our Lord, he excited his countrymen, the Galileans, and many other Jews, to take up arms, and venture upon all extremities, rather than pay tribute to the