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people by the holiness of their lives : and such were,
4thly, The Nazarites, or as some call them, Nazareans; which is an Hebrew word, and. signifies separated. God himself is the author. of this kind of life. * From the moment that they, devoted themselves to it, they abstained from all sorts of liquors that could intoxicate, and never cut their hair afterwards, till the day that their vow ended. And of these, there were two sorts: 1st, Nazarites by birth, as were Samson, and John the Baptist; and, 2dly, Nazarites by vow and engagement. The latter folHowed this kind of life only for a time, after which they cut off their hair at the door of the tabernacle. Maimonides observes,t that there were sometimes some zealous persons, who voluntarily defrayed the expences which were necessary for cutting off the hair of one or more Nazarites, after they had offered the necessary sacrifices, when the time of their vows was expired. Which may serve to explain that passage in the twenty-first chapter of the Acts, which some persons misunderstand, in thinking that St. Paul is there spoken of, as having made a vow to become a Nazarite. But the true sense of the chapter is this, the apostles advise St. Paul to bear the necessary expences of four Nazarites, in order to remove the opinion the people had received of him, that he despised the law of Moses. Now they that bore these expences
: * In the sixth chapter of Numbers, you liave an account of the qualifications of the Nazarites and their austerities.
In his treatise of the Naturcate..
were obliged to purify themselves: and therefore St. Paul appointed a day, whereon he would (after the time of the vow was past) pay the money that was necessary to buy the victims that were to be offered up on this occasion; in order thereby to undeceive the Jews, concerning the reports that had been spread about him.* .
5thủy, The Rechabites, like the Nazarites, .separated themselves from the rest of the Jews, in order to lead a more holy kife.ti Jeremiah de: scribes the life and customs of the Rechabites, in the thirty-fifth chapter of his prophecy, thus: I set, says he, before the sons of the house of the Rechabites, pots full of wine, and cups, and I said, Drink ye wine. But they said, We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine', neither.ye nor your sons, for ever. ; Neither:shalt ye build house, nor soño seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any. I This :Rechab, the father of Jos nadab, lived under Jehu king of Israel, in the time of the prophet Elisha. These Rechabites lived in tents, and Aourished about an hundred
* Not that this is so to be understood, with Petit, as to imply that St. Paul had no yow upon himself: it is to me very evident, from Acts xviii. 18. that he had a row upon himself, (which he made at Cenchrea, and therefore shaved himself there, by way of initiation into it, as all those who made vows, or were Nazarites, did ;) as well as assisted the others in defraying the expences of their vows. De Tabern. 1. vii. c. 3. $ 2.
+ The Rechabites' manner of living was not only a matter of religion, but also a civil ordinance grounded upon a national custom. They were Kenites or Midianites, who used to live in tents, as the Arabians still do. Hab. iii. 7. Mede's Works, p. 127. Ver.5,6,7. § 2 Kings x. 15.
and fourscore years. But after the captivity they were dispersed, unless the Essenes, of whom we have spoken before,* succeeded them. It is certain that they followed the same kind of life. * 6thly, Among the number of sacred persons we may likewise put the Patriarchs. Such were Adam, Noah, Abraham, and the rest, since they did the offices of Priests, offered sacrifices, and taught religion at home and abroad, in proportion to the light they received from God. 6. 7thly, The Prophets are also of this number, and were raised up in an extraordinary manner for the performance of the most holy functions. They were at first called Seers, they discovered future things, they declared the will of God, and spoke to both kings and people with a surprising confidence and freedom. Prophecy was not always, annexed to the priesthood; there were prophets of all the tribes, and sometimes even among the Gentiles:t and the office of a Prophet was not only to foretell what should afterwards come to pass, it was their business likewisé ta instruct the people, and they interpreted the law of God; insomuch that the word Prophet sometimes signifies an Interpreter or Teacher. But of both Patriarchs and Prophets we have already spoken. See page 6, and page 122.: : * Sec page 189. + Numb. xi. .
The Jewish Confession of Faith. - Doctrine of : Original Sin.- Opinion of the Messiah's
OTHING more facilitates the understanding of an author, than the knowing what ends he proposed to himself in writing; and we can never well understand what these views were, unless we know what were the dispositions, sentiments, and customs of those for whom he wrote. For an author always adapts his discourse to all these things; he either touches upon them transiently, or he maintains thein, or he refutes them. And from hence it is easy to perceive, how useful it is, in order to understand the Gospel and apostolical epistles, to know what were the opinions and usages of the Jews, at the time when the authors of the New Testament wrote. By Jewish opinions I do not mean the precepts and doctrines of the law, but certain traditions, which they pretend were left them by their fathers, which are now found in the Talmud, and which the Jews, who are strict adherents to their customs and ceremonies, do yet observe to this day.
The Confession of Faith, which contains these traditions, consists of thirteen articles, but they are not all equally antient. The ninth, which declares that the law of Moses cannot be aboJished by any other law, was evidently drawn up against the Christian religion. This Confes. Mm
sion of Faith, as represented by Buxtorf in his treatise de Synagoga Judaica, is as follows:
1. I firmly believe, that God, blessed be his name for ever, is the creator and the master of all things; and that every thing was, is, and will be made, for him alone.
2. I firmly believe, that this Creator of all things, blessed be his name for ever, is one, by an unity peculiar to himself, and that he alone has been, is, and will be our God.
3. I firmly believe, that this Creator, blessed be his name for ever, is not corporeal, nor can in any manner whatsoever be conceived to be corporeal, and that there is nothing in the world that is like him.
4. I firmly believe, that the Creator, blessed be his name for ever, is eternal, and that he is the beginning and end of all things.
5. I firmly believe, that the Creator, blessed be his holy name for ever, ought alone to be worshipped, exclusive of any other being.
Ô. I firmly believe, that all the words of the prophets are true.
7. I firmly believe, that ail the prophecies of Moses our master (May his soul rest in peace !) are true, and that he is superior to all the Sages, who went before or came after him.
8. I firmly believe, that the law which we have now in our hands was given by inspiration to Moses...
9. I firmly believe, that this law will never be changed, and that the Creator, blessed be his holy name, will never give another.
io. I firmly believe, that the Creator, blessed be his holy name, knows all the actions and all