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New Testament. ander the Great that they might be exempted from paying tribute that year ; because they could neither reap, till, nor fow (b). St. Chryfoftom, who might possibly have received it from tradition, says, in his xxxth homily on St. John, that in process of time the Samaritans forsook idolatry; and served the true God. But it is plain from history that their worship was far from being entirely free from idolatry (C). Their temple was dedicated to Jupiter of Greece in the time of Anticchus-Epiphanes. And even, if we may believe Jofephus, they solemnly abjured their religion, in a letter which they wrote to that king in order to avert from themselves the terrible calainities which were by him brought on the Jews, pretending they were originally Sidcnians, and that they looked upon the observance of the Mofaick law. as a crime, moreover stiling Antiochus a God. But it may be questioned whether Jofephus is absolutely to be depended upon in this matter ; at least if we judge of him by other Jewish authors, who have, upon all occasions, made it their business to cry down the Samaritans, as a pack of idolaters. However this be, as the persecution of Antiochus dici not continue long, they might repent of this their thameful dillen blidy, and return to the worship of the true God. Nevertheless one would be apt to conclude from these words of our Saviour to the woman of Samaria, ye worship je know not what (d), that the faith of the Samaritans was ncither grounded upon clear evidence, nor their worship so pure as it ought to have been. The which would be no wonder at all, considering the strange mixture before observed; but in the commert on this place it will be made appear, that our Saviour's words will admit of another sense. . In the mean time, these four things may be inferred from this passage in St. John's gospel concerning the Samaritans. I. That the Samaritans. did at that time call themselves the posterity of Jacob (e) ; which inclines one to entertain a favourable opinion of their reigion and worji.ip. 2. That they profeiled to be in expeciation of the Meffiah (f); which was one of the chief Articles of the Jewith faith. 3. That Jerus Chrift focus them well disposed to embrace Chastianity, before it appears he had wrought any miracles among them, which, had they been idolaters, would scarce have happened (s). Besides, our Saviour's fojourning with them so long as he did, is a good argument that they were not luch. 4. That they looked upon the temple of Gerizim as the only place where men ought to worship.
If the Samaritans had known or received all the books of the Old Testament, they could not posibly have been ignorant that Jerusalem was the only place God had choten and appointed for the perforinance of his worship. Perhaps, the reason why they rejected all the sacrid wrilings, except the five books of Moses, and it may be those of Joshua and Judges, was, that they found therein all their pretensions, which they alledged in favour of their teinple on mount Gerizim, absolutely condemned and overthrown. Though their hatred and averfion to the
(6) Id. ibid.
(c) Id. l. xii. c. 7.
Jews was the true cause of their adhering so obstinately to Gerizim, yet they alledged some specious pretences for what they did. They pleaded, in their defence, the blessings that were pronounced on mount Gerizim on the faithful observers of the law. Moreover they found in their Pentateuch, that Joshua built an altar on the same mount after the blesfings were pronounced, whereas in the Hebrew the altar is said to be erected on mount Ebal (h). This supposed altar of Joshua, they pretend, was afterwards converted into a temple ; and so by a fabulous gradition they have ascribed to their temple on mount Gerizim a much greater antiquity than that of Solomon's; which Jeroboam had induced thern to forsake, by erecting an altar at Dan, and another at Bethel, the latter of which places was apt to create reverence not only by its name, which fignifies the house of God, but especially upon account of the vi. fion which Jacob was there honoured wich (). The Samaritans, not satisfied with asserting their temple to have been built by Joshua, endea. voured to render mount Gerizim still more venerable, by affirming that the twelve patriarchs were buried there (k), and that Abraham was met there by Melchisedech (l); applying to it what the Jews say of Jerusalem. The contests and disputes between the Jews and Samaritans about their temples rose to the greatest degree imaginable. Josephus relates that they came to that height at Alexandria (m), that Ptolemy Philometor king of Egypt was forced to take the matter into his own cognizance, who accordingly appointed advocates on both sides, the one to speak in de. fence of the temple of Jerusalem, and the others of that of Samaria. The king was prevailed upon to decide the cale in favour of Jerufalem, and the Samaritan advocates were condemned to death for having so wretchedly defended their cause.
(n) The difference between the Jews and Samaritans in point of reli. gion may be reduced to these three heads : (For we are not to believe all the scandalous stories, which are by the Jews laid upon them in this
spect ;) 1. That they looked upon the temple of Gerizim as the only place which God was pleased to be worshipped in, and as the center of true religion. 2. That they received none other scriptures but the Pentateuch, that is, the five books of Moses, rejecting all the other books of the Old Testament, excepting perhaps the books of Joshua and Judges, which they also acknowledged, but would not allow to be of the same authority as the Pentateuch. 3. That their worship had some tincture of paganism, and of the opinions of the nations with whom they conversed. But it is very probable it was reformed in the time of Jesus Christ. The Jews indeed and some ancient Christian writers, confound
(1) Deut. xxvii. 4. To reconcile the greater veneration to mount Gerizim and their place of worship thereon, they have been guilty of a very great prevarication in corrupting the text (here quoted) - for they have made a facrilegious change in it, and instead of mount Ébal have put mount Geriziin, the better to serve their cause by it. Dr. Prideaux, Connect. Part i. Book 6. ad Ann. 409.
(i) Gen. xxviii. 16, 17. (k) Epist. Samar. ad Scalig. p. 126.
ing them with the Sadducees, have accused them of denying the resur re&tion of the dead and the immortality of the soul (o), but this accusa tion is so far from being proved, that it plainly appears by their chronicles these doctrines were firmly held and certainly believed among thein, as learned criticks have observed (R). The Samaritans are still in being, and profess to be more strict and exact observers of the law of Moses than the Jews themselves. Some of them are to be found in Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and other parts of the Eart. What their religious tenets and notions are, may be seen in several letters which they have wrote to some learned men in Europe, and which have been collected in one volume (7). • There is no necessity of aggravating or multiplying the errors of the Samaritans, to account for the extreme averfion which the Jews had for them. That it a&tually was so, is undeniably manifest from history. The son of Sirach ranks the foolish inhabitants of Sichem, that is, the Sa. maritans, amongst those whom his soul abhorred, and reckons them among the nations which were moft detestable to the Jews (r): If the Jews hated the Samaritans, the Samaritans were even with them, as is plain from the gospel. Jesus Chrift going one day through a village of Samaria, the inhabitants would not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem (:). The way from Galilee to Judea being through the country of the Samaritans, they often exercised acts of hoftility against the Galileans, and offered them several affronts and injuries, when they were going up to the solemn feafts at Jerusalem. Of which there is a yery remarkable instance in Jofephus, viz. That in the time of the emperor Claudius, the Samaritans made a great slaughter of the Galileans, as they were travelling to Jerusalem, through one of the villages of Samaria (t). The same thing is also evident from what the woman of Samaria, or rather St. John, in a parenthesis, says; to wit, That the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans (u). Commentators are not indeed agreed about the nature and extent of the dealings, or communication nere mentioned. Some think that these words contain only an exaggeration, which, as they imagine, ought to be restrained to their not joining together in religious performances ; not intermarrying; avoiding eating and drinking together; never making use of one another's utensils ; but not to all manner of civil intercourle. Others, on the contrary, find in them a diminution, or meiosis ; as if by them it had been intended to express the greatest aversion imaginable, even to the not asking or giving one another a glass of water. The words may likewise be looked upon as an ironical laying ; as if the woman, out of an ill-natured joy and satisfaction to find a Jew forced to beg a little water of her, should have insulted over him for acting inconsistently in this respect, with the hatred which his countrymen had for the Sainaritans. Whatever sense
you () See Dr. Prideaux, ibid. , () Reland ubi supra, p. 30.
(9) Under the title of Antiquitat. Ecclef. Orient. Londini 1682. 89. See also Basnage, Histoire des Juifs, Tom. v. Pritii Introduct. in Lect. N. Teftam. (r) Ecclus. L. 26.
(s) Luke ix. 52, 53. (1) Joseph. Antiq. 1. xx. c. 5. (u) John iv, go'
You put upon them, it amounts to the fame'; that is, to Thew that there was a mutual antipathy between the two nations. It appears from the eighth chapter of St. John's gospel, that the moft opprobrious name the Jew's thought they could give our Saviour, was, to call him a Samaritan (*). And it was undoubtedly for fear of creating in them a prejudice against his doctrine, that he ordered his disciples not to enter into any city of the Samaritans (y), till they had preached in Judea: For, in the main, that great lover of souls had the salvation of the Samaritans as much at heart, as that of the Jews, and they were indeed equally deserving of that favour, as is manifest from several places in the gospel. · This inveterate hatred begun with the schism of Jeroboam. Though it was exceeding great, yet certainly it was very ill-grounded : for if they hated one another upon the account of their religion or morals, they were inexcusable, since they were both alike very much corrupted; as may be inferred from the threatnings which the prophets denounced against them upon this account, and from Jeremiah in particular (Z). Besides, the revolt of the ten tribes, instead of creating such an extreme hatred and aversion for them in the tribe of Judah, as we find it did, should in re:lity have humbled and covered them with confusion, since this was brought upon them as a just punishment for their manifold iniquities. And lastly, the extraordinary care God was pleased to take of sending from time to time his prophets to the ten tribes (a), and the fatherly tenderness and affection which he expressed in several places, when speaking of them, ought to have taught them to look upon one another as brethren.
The hatred of the Jews against the Samaritans was very much increased by the opposition these last made against the former, on their return from the Babylonis captivity, both in the rebuilding of the temple, and the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem (b). As on the other hand, the building of the temple on mount Gerizim served very much to swell the Samaritans with arrogance and pride (c), and to raise the jealouly of the Jews; so that the feuds and animofities between them became fiercer than ever (d). Insomuch, that Hyrcanus, the grandson of Mattathias, was prompted at last utterly to destroy Samaria and the temple of Gerizim, as has been already thewn. The Samaritans, for their part, were likewise very industrious in showing their anger and relentment upon all occasions. As they did once (for instance) when a few years after the birth of Jesus Christ, they strewed the temple of Jerusalem with dead men's bones, to defile and pollute it (e). Less plausible pretences than these have often been known to breed an irreconcilable hatred between two nations.
(.x) John viii. 48.
(y) Matt. x. 3. Luke x. 33. (z) Jeren, xji. 11, 12, xxiii, 13. (a) Jerem. xxxi. 20. Hosea xi. 8. (b) Ezra iv.
. ) Jofeph. Antig. 1. xi. 2. 4. (d) Id. l. xiii. 18.
(c) Id. i. xviii.
U AVING spoken of the external and
- ; Of the Jewish cere11 political state of the Jews, it will now be, proper to take a view of their religion. As the "
monies in general. . Jewish church was a type of the Chriftian, it is worth while to have a thorough knowledge of its cer: monies. When any one considers the ceremonial law in itself, without ref cting upon the ftate and circumstances of the people for whom it was calculated, there is something in it that appears, at first light, shocking and unaccountable to human reafon. But upon a closer examination, and especially by the help of that light which the gospel affords, it will appear, on the one hand, to have been so excellently adapted to the necellities of those for whom it was instituted, and on the other, to be such an exact representation of things future, that the wisdom of its author cannot be sufficiently admired. The ceremonial law may be said to have had two objeEts, a nearer and a more remote one. The proximate or nearer objeEt were the children of Israel, to whom God gave it, to distinguish them from the rest of the world, and make them his peculiar people (a). As they had been very prone to idolatry in Egypt, and had fince discovered a very great hankering after it, there was need of a strong barrier to keep them off from so pernicious a bent and disposition. And accordingly this was the end of the ceremonial law, as might easily be thewn, if it was proper to do it here. It cannot be doubted but that each of these laws had some other particular viers; but it is certain that this was the chief design and intention of the legislator in giving them, as hath been proved by tome learned writers (b).
But besides this end and design, which related directly to the people of Ifrael, the New Testament lays before us a view more extentie, and more worthy of the Supreme Being: it teaches us that the law was a Shadow of things to come, a school-mufter to bring us unto Christ (c), and that Jesus Christ was the accomplishment, the substance, and the end of ihe law. So that christianity may be locked upon as the key of that law, and, as it were, an apology for the law-giver against the oljections that may be advanced against it. Whoever hath read the New Testament, cannot deny, but that befides the plain and literal serse, this law admitted also of a mystical or allegorical one, which was reckoned much more sublime than the literal. Though therefore thele words of our Saviour, I am not come to destroy the law, but to fuifil if (d), ought chiefly to be understood of the moral law, which he was then speaking of, yet this is not the full and adequate meaning of them. For it is plain from the following verse, that by that law which he laid he was come to
(a) Josh, xxxiv. 14. Ezek. xxiii. 2. 8. 21.