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pay tribute to Cæsar.” The Publicans were generally Jews, who, farming the customs of the Romans, were too often led by motives of avarice to be extortioners also; and the people could ill endure these rigorous exactions from their brethren, who thus appeared to join with the Romans in endeavouring to entail perpetual subjection upon their nation, or at least in making the yoke more galling and oppressive; besides, the necessary dealings and connection of the Publicans with the Gentiles, which the Jew's held to be unlawful, cast a peculiar odium upon the whole body; and thus we find our Saviour was reproached for being “ a friend of Publicans and Sinners.”
VIII. The Essenes (j) appear to have been an enthusiastic sect, never numerous, and but little known; directly opposite to the Pharisees with respect to their reliance upon tradition, and their scrupulous regard to the ceremonial law, but pretending, like them, to superior sanctity of manners. They existed in the time of our Saviour; and though they are not mentioned in the New Testament, they are supposed to be alluded to by St. Paul in his Epistles to the Ephesians, and
Colossians, (j) Michaelis says that Essenes is an Egyptian word, signifying the same as Panevtal in Greek.
Collossians, and in his first Epistle to Timothy. From the account given of the doctrines and institutions of this sect by Pbilo and Josephus, we learn that they believed in the immortality of the soul; that they were absolute predestinarians; that they observed the seventh day with peculiar strictness; that they held the Scriptures in the highest reverence, but considered them as mystic writings, and expounded them allegorically; that they sent gifts to the temple, but offered no sacrifices; that they admitted no one into their society till after a probation of three years; that they lived in a state of perfect equality, except that they paid respect to the aged, and to their priests; that they considered all secular employment as unlawful, except that of agriculture; that they had all things in common, and were industrious, quiet, and free from every species of vice; that they held celibacy and solitude in high esteem; that they allowed no change of raiment till necessity required it; that they abstained from wine; that they were not permitted to eat but with their own sect; and that a certain portion of food was allotted to each person, of which they partook together after solemn ablutions. The austere and retired life of the Essenes is supposed to have given rise to monkish superstition (k).
IX. Proses (k) Eus. Hist. Eccl. lib. 2. cap. 17.
IX. Proselytes are mentioned in Scripture in contradistinctions.to. Jews, and they are represented by antient Jewish writers, and by some modern Christian divines, as divided into two sorts; Proselytes of the Gate, and Proselytes of Righteousness, or, of the Covenant. The Rabbis give à long account of the different ceremonies of initiation of these two classes. It is allowed that the Jewish nation was gradually made up of two descriptions of people, those who were descended from Abraham, and those who, being originally Gentiles, were naturalized, and considered as Jews after a certain number of generations, which seem to have been less or more, according to the merit, and other circumstances, of their respective nations. “ Certain it is, the law made a difference between one nation and another, as to what is called ' entering into the congregation of the Lord (k).' Edomites and Egyptians had this privilege in the third generation; though their immediate children were excluded, their grandchildren were admitted. An Ammonite or
Moabite (k) The received opinion concerning “ entering into the Congregation of the Lord” is, that it signifies, being permitted to bear any office in the Jewish Commonwealth ; but the Rabbis assert, that Proselytes were excluded from many civil advantages and privileges, to which the Israelites by descent were entitled.
Moabite was excluded even to the tenth generation,' saith the law, or, as it is added, "for ever,' which the Jews take to be explanatory of the tenth generation (1).”. Those who contend for these two sorts of Proselytes, define a Proselyte in general to be a person, who, being a Gentile by birth, came over to the Jewish religion, in whole or in part. Those who took upon themselves the obligation of the whole law, are supposed to have been called Proselytes of Righteousness, or of the Covenant, and were entitled to the same privileges as the seed of Abraham, though these adopted children were considered as inferior to those who were children by birth. The Proselytes of the Gate are said to have been such Gentiles as were permitted by the Jews to dwell among them, and were admitted to the worship of the God of Israel, and the hope of a future life, but did not engage to observe the whole of the law; these were not circumcised, nor did they conform to the Mosaic rites and ordinances, being obliged only to observe the laws, which the Jew's call the seven precepts of Noah (m); they were however allowed to offer
the (1) Jennings's Jewish Antiquities.
(m) These were according to the Rabbis, ist, To abstain from idolatry; 2dly, from blasphemy; 3dly, from murder; 4thly, from adultery; 5thly, from theft; 6thly, to appoint just and upright judges; 7thly, not to eat the
the temple and in the synagogues, but not to enter farther into the temple than the outer court, which was called the court of the Gentiles; and in the synagogues they had places assigned them separate from the Jews themselves (n). The term, Proselytes of the Gate, is derived from an expression frequent in the Old Testament, namely, " the stranger that is within thy gates ;” but I think it evident that “the strangers” were those Gentiles who were permitted to live among the Jews under certain restrictions (0), and whom the Jews were forbid “to vex or oppress," so long as they lived in a peaceable manner. I must own that there appears to me no ground whatever in Scripture for this distinction of Proselytes of the Gate and Proselytes of Righteousness. According to my idea, Proselytes were those, and those only, who took upon themselves the obligation of the whole Mosaic law, but retained that name till they were admitted into the
congregation flesh of any animal cut off while it was alive. Maimonides says, that the first six of these precepts were given to Adam, and the seventh to Noah; but they are not even mentioned by Onkelos, Philo, or Josephus.
(n) Naaman the Syrian, Cornelius the centurion, the Ethiopian eunuch, and the “ devout men," mentioned in the Acts, are considered by Godwin, Benson, and many others, as Proselytes of the Gate.
(0) They were to abstain from idolatry; they were not to blaspheme the God of Israel ; and they were to observe the Jewish sabbath,