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About purifying the old leaven before the passover: Whether they must begin again to purify a house, if they should see a mouse running across it with a crumb of bread? If it be lawful to keep pasted paper, or any plaister that has flour in it? If it be lawful to eat what has been dressed with the coals that remain after the old lea. ven is burnt?* and a thousand of other such cases of conscience, with which the Talmud and its Commentaries are stuffed.
Thus the Jews forgot the greatness and majesty of the law of God, applying themselves to mean and trifling things; and were now stupid and ignorant in comparison of the Greeks, who réasoned upon more useful und elevated subjects in their schools, and who, at least, were polite and agreeable, if not virtuous.
Not but there were always some Jews more curious than the rest, who took pains to speak Greek correctly, read Greek books, and applied to their studies, as grammar, rhetoric, and philosophy. Such a one was Aristobulus, a peripatetic philosopher, preceptor to Ptolomý Philométor; and such were Eupolemus, Demetrius, and the two Philos'. Some of them wrote histories in Greek, and after the Greek manner; as Jason of Cyrene; and the author of the second book of Maccabees, who has abridged his works; and Josephus the celebrated historian.
Most of the Jews that studied Greek lived at Alexandria. Others were content to speak
Greek so as to be understood, that is, badly, and always retaining the turn of their native language: and it is in this compound Greek that the translations of the Old Testament, and the original of the New, are written. The apostles and evangelists thought it sufficient to write in ä clear concise manner, despising all ornaments of language, and making use of that which was most easy to be understood by the common people of their own nation; so that, to understand their Greek perfectly, one must be acquainted with Hebrew and Syriac...
The Jews of these later times employed themselves much in reading their law, and the holy „Scriptures in general. They were not satisfied with expounding them according to the letter : they found out several senses in them, expressed by allegories and divers metaphors: we see it not only in the new Testament, and the writings of the most antient fathers in controversy with them,* but by the books of Philo, the Talmud, and oldest Hebrew commentators upon the law, which they call great Genesis, great Exodus, and so on.f. They held these figurative senses by tradition from their fathers. .
But to say all at once, the manners of the Jews in those times were excessively corrupt. They were ridiculously proud of being descended from Abraham, and puffed up with the promises of the Messiah's kingdom, which they knew to be near, and imagined would abound with victories and all manner of temporal pros
perity. They were selfish, avaricious, and sordid, especially the Pharisees, who were in general great hypocrites: they were wavering and unfaithful, always ripe for sedition and revolt, under a pretence of casting off the yoke of the
P inchom they were intentando Gentiles. In short, they were violent and cruel, as appears by what they made our Saviour and his apostles undergo, and the unexampled inju. ries they did one another, both in the time of the civil war, and the last siege of Jerusalem.
The true Israelites. HOWEVER, it was among these people that the tradition of virtue was preserved, as well as that of doctrine and religion. In this last time they had still splendid examples of holiness ; Zacharias and Elizabeth his wife, Joseph, old Simeon, Anna the prophetess, Nathanael, Gamaliel the great doctor, and many others taken notice of in the history of the New Testament. All these holy persons, and the spiritual Jews in general, that were circumcised in heart, as well as body, were children of Abraham, more by imitation of his faith, than by birth. They firmly believed the prophecies and promises of God, they waited with patience for the redemption of Israel and the reign of the Messiah, which they vehemently wished for : but they plainly saw they were not to confine their hopes to this life, and believed the resurrection, and expected the kingdom of heaven. Thus the grace of God being superadded to such holy dispositions, it was easy to make perfect Christians of these true Israelites.
PART PA RT IT.
Containing farther Particulars concerning the CUSTOMS, MANNERS, &c. of the ISRAELITES, in which a Variety of Subjects, either pot touched before, or but slightly handled, are considered more at large.
CHAP. I. Division of the Hebrews into Tribes and Families.
THE Hebrews were divided into twelve tribes, according to the number of the sons of Jacob. But God reserved to himself the posterity of Levi, and consecrated them to the service of his altars. So that tribe could not properly be reckoned among the twelve tribes; but then Ephraim and Manasseh, the two sons of Joseph, made two different tribes, which thereby supplied its place. The tribe of Levi was divided into three families, which derived their names and origin from the three sons of Levi. From Gershon came the Gershonites; from Kohath, the Kohathites; from Merari, the Merarites. Kohath, the second son of Levi, had Amram, the father of Aaron and Moses; the latter of which was the governor and lawgiver of the Hebrews, the former their high-priest. Aaron had four sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. After the death of the two former, the
- C c2 , priesthood
priesthood remained with the two others; whose posterity David divided into twenty-four classes, who performed the offices of the priesthood weekly, in their turns.* Sixteen of these classes were in the family of Eleazar; whose names and order were as follows:- . Jehoiarib, 2. Jedaiah, 3. Harim, 4. Seorim, 5. Malchijah, 6. Mijamim, 7. Hakkoz, 8. Abijah, 9. Jeshuah, 10. Shecaiah, 11. Eliashib, 12. Jakim, 13. Huppah, 14. Jeshebeah, 15. Bilgah, 16: Immer. So that there were but eight in the family of Ithamar, viz. 17. Hezir, 18. Aphses, 19. Pethahiah, 20. Jehezekel,t 21. Jachin, 22. Gamul, 23. Delaiah, 24: Maaziah. .
The other tribes were divided into different families, in the same manner, and their names were these: - The tribe of Reuben had four families; the Hanochites, the Palluites, the Hesronites, the Carmites.
The tribe of Simeon had five; the Nemuelites, the Jaminites, the Jachinites, the Zarhites, the Shaulites.
The tribe of Gad had seven; the Zephonites, the Haggites, the Shanites, the Oznites, the Erites, the Arodites, the Arelites. · The tribe of Judah had five; the Shelanites, the Pharzites, the Zarhites, the Hesronites, the Hamulites. .
The tribe of Issachar had four; the Tolaites, the Punites, the Jashubites, the Shimronites. : The tribe of Zebulun had three; the Sardites, the Elonites, the Jahleelites. * 1 Chron, xxiv. + Or, Ezechiel,