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PHARISAISM AND CHRISTIANITY:
COMPARED AND SET FORTH IN A SERMON AT PAUL'S CROSS,
TO THE RIGHT REVEREND FATHER IN GOD,
THOMAS, LORD BISHOP OF LONDON,
WISHETH ALL GRACE AND HAPPINESS.
RIGHT REVEREND AND HONOURABLE:.
I KNOW there is store of Sermons extant: The pulpit scarce af fordeth more than the press. I add to the number, and complain not: in all good things, abundance is an easy burden. If the soul may feed itself with variety, both by the ear and by the eye, it hath no reason to find fault with choice. But if any weaker stomach, as in our bodily Tables, shall fear to surfeit at the sight of too much, it is easy for that man to look off, and to confine his eyes to some few: who cannot much sooner abate to himself, than multiply to another? Let not his nice sultenness prejudice that delight and profit, which may arise to others from this number. For me, I dare not be so envious, as not to bless God for this plenty; and seriously to rejoice, that God's people may thus liberally feast themselves by both their senses. Neither know I for whether more: the sound of the word spoken pierceth more; the letter written endureth longer: the ear is taught more suddenly, more stirringly; the eye with leisure and continuance. According to my poor ability, I have desired to do good both ways; not so much fearing censures, as caring to edify. This little labour submissively offers itself to your Lordship, as justly yours: being both preached at your call, and, as it were, in your charge; and by one under the charge of your fatherly jurisdiction, who unfeignedly desires by all means to shew his truc heart to God's Church, together with his humble thankfulness to your Lordship; and professeth still to continue
In all humble duty and observance,
MATTHEW v. 20.
Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and
THE curious Doctors of the Jews had reduced all God's statute-
The Jews of these times perverted the Law, rejected the Gospel. Our Saviour therefore, that great Prophet of the World, as it was high time, clears the Law, delivers and settles the Gospel: well approving in both these, that he came not to consume, but to consummate the Law. Wherein, as Paul to his Corinths, 1 Cor. xvi. 9. he had a great door, but many adversaries: amongst these were the great Masters of Israel, (so our Saviour terms the Pharisees,) and their fellows, and yet their rivals, the Scribes; both so much harder to oppose, by how much their authority was greater.
Truth hath no room, till falsehood be removed: Our Saviour therefore, as behoved, first shews the falsehood of their glosses, and the hollowness of their profession; and, if both their life and doctrine be naught, what free part is there in them? And lo both of these so faulty, that Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
I. WHAT WERE THE MEN? II. WHAT WAS THEIR RIGHTEOUSNESS? III. WHAT WANTED IT? Follow me, I beseech you, in these three; and, if my discourse shall seem for a while more thorny and perplexed, remedy it with your attention.
I. Those things, which are out of the ken of sense or memory, must be fetched from story. The sect, or order whether, of the Pharisees ceased with the Temple: since that, no man reads of a Pharisee; and now is grown so far out of knowledge, that the modern Jews are more ready to learn of us who they were. There is no point, wherein it is more difficult to avoid variety, yea ostentation of reading. Without any curious traversing of opinions, I study for simple truth; as one that will not lead you out of the road-way, to shew you the turnings.
Petr. Galatin. de arcan. fidei Cath. ad finem. † Ex glos. Rab. Shelomoh.
John iii. 10. Art thou a Master in Israel?
Scribes were ancient; Ezra is called, A prompt Scribe; Ezra vii. 6. As long before him, so ever since they continued till Christ's time; but in two ranks: some were yeappaleis Aas; others, vous: some, popular; others, legal: some, the people's; others, God's: the one Secretaries, Recorders, Notaries, as 2 Chron. xxiv. 11, on 10, The King's Scribe; the other, Doctors of the Law of God: The Law of the Lord is with us, in vain made he it, the pen of the Scribe is in vain; Jer. viii. 8. As the Pharisees were, voμodidasnzo, Law-masters; so these are the same, which, Luke xi. 45, are called, vounoi, Interpreters of the Law. Though to some not mean critics, it seems these should be a third sort; which consider not, that our Saviour, on purpose addressing his speech to the Pharisees, fell by the way upon the Scribes; and, being admonished by one of them, as of an oversight, now avers right down of the Scribes, what before he had but indifferently glanced at. What they were*, is plain by Ezra's pulpit, Neh. viii. 4, and Moses's chair, Mat. xxiii. 2.
These and Pharisees differed not much: they agreed in some good, but in more evil. But the profession of Pharisees, because it is more obscure, you shall give me leave to fetch somewhat further.
There were, saith old Egesippus, as Eusebius † cites him, divers opinions in the Circumcision; which all crossed the tribe of Judah: Essens, Galileans, Emerobaptists, Masbutheans, Samaritans, Pharisees, Sadducees. It were easy to help him with more; Sabuæns, Cannans, Sampsaans : and, if need were, yet more. Where are those waverers, that stagger in their trust to the Church, because of different opinions; receiving that rotten argument of profane Celsus against the Christians? Say the Papists, "One saith I am Calvin's; another, I am Luther's." We disclaim, we defy these titles, these divisions: we are one in truth: would God we were yet more one! It is the lace and fringe of Christ's garment, that is questioned amongst us: the cloth is sound. But what? Was the Jewish Church before Christ, God's true Church, or not? If it were not, which was it? If it were: lo that here rent in more than eight parts, and one of them differing from itself in eighteen opinions ; and yet, as Irenæus ¶ well observes, "Before Christ, there were neither so many heresies, nor so blasphemous." Shew me a Church on earth without these wrinkles of division, and I will never seek for it in heaven.
Although to some, Pharisaism seems rather a several order, than a sect: but St. Luke, that knew it better, hath aiperi Qapicaíov, The
*Clerici Judeorum; saith Jerome. † Euseb. Eccl. Hist. 1. iv. c. 22. Erant in circumcisione diversæ sententiæ, quæ maximè tribui Judæ adversabantur; &c. Vid. Jos. Scalig. resp. ad Serarium. Orig. lib. v. advers. Cels. Christianos non habere zeram Religionem, quòd in varias sectas divisi essent. Domus Sammai et Hillel, Ar. Mont. in Evang.
Ante adventum Christi, non tot et tam blasphemæ hæreses, Iren, lib. v.
Sect of the Pharisees; Acts xv. 5. When the profession began, no history recordeth. Some would fain fetch them from Isaiah Ixv. 5. Touch me not, for I am holier than thou. But these strain too far: for, in the verse before, the same men eat swine's-flesh; which to the Pharisees is more than piacular.
Hear briefly their Name, their Original, their Office.
Their Name, though it might admit of other probable derivations, yet, by consent of all Hebrew Doctors (I have a great Author for it) is fetched from Separation; though, upon what grounds, all agree not: doubtless, for the perfection of their doctrine, and austerity of life.
Their Original is more intricate; which, after some scanning, I have thus learned of some great Masters † of Jewish Antiquities. Before there was any open breach in the old Jewish Church, there were two general and divers conceits about God's service:-One, that took up only with the Law of God, and, if they could keep that, thought they needed no more; neither would they sapere su pra scriptum, be wiser than their Maker: these were called KARRAIM; of which sort there are divers at this day in Constantinople and other where, at deadly feud with the other Jews, which they now call RABBINISTS:-The other, that thought it small thanks to do only what they were bidden: God's Law was too strait for their holiness: it was nothing, unless they did more than content God, earn him (for these were Popish Jews) and supererogate of him. These were therefore called CHASIDIM, Holy; above the Law: they plied God with unbidden oblations, gave more than needed, did more than was commanded; yet so, as both parts pleased themselves, resisted not the other: the more frank sort upbraided not the other, with too much niggardliness; neither did the straiter-handed envy the other, for too much lavishness. Would God we could do thus! They agreed, though they differed. But now, when these voluntary services began to be drawn into Canons, as Scaliger speaketh; and that, which was before but arbitrary, was imposed as necessary, (necessary for belief, necessary for action); questions arose, and the rent began in the Jews. Those dogmatical Doctors, which stood for supererogation and traditions above Law, were called PERUSCHIM, Pharisees; separate from the other in strict judgment, in superfluous holiness. These, as they were the brood of those Chasidim, whom we find first mentioned in the book of Maccabees by the corrupt name of Asideans, (1 Maccabees ii. 47); so from them again, in a second succession, proceeded, as their more refined issue, the ESSENS, both Collegiate and Eremitical: these Pharisees, then, were a fraternity or college of extraordinary devotion; whose rule was tradition, whose practice voluntary austereness. To them the Scribes joined themselves, as the purer Jews; for Paul calls them axpißesa aipeciv, The most exquisite sect; Acts xxvi. 5: yea,
*In eam consentiunt omnes Hebræi, teste Bahal Haruch, Pagnin. in wb. † Ar. Montanus. Jos. Scal. 1. Drusius, &c.
and, as Josephus*, "The best expositors"; willingly expounding the Law according to their Traditions, and countenancing their Traditions by the forced senses of the Law. Both which professions were greatly enlarged and graced, by two famous Doctors, Sammai and Hillel, (whom some though falsely would have the founders of them), not long before Christ's time; for old Hillel of one hundred and twenty years, protracted his days, by likely computation, to ten years after Christ's birth. How Jerome fetcheth their names, with more wittiness than probability, from Dissipating and Profaning the Law +; and what bickerings and deadly quarrels were even amongst themselves, in those two famous houses; and what were the four § expositions of the Law, which they followed; I list not now to discourse.
Their Employment was expounding the Law, and urging Traditions: therefore their auditors had wont to say, when they called one another to Church, as St. Jerome || tells us, di σooi Seúlεpwo, "The wise", that is, the Pharisees, "expound to day." Whence, perhaps, that may be interpreted of St. Paul to the Corinths, Where is the wise? where is the scribe? 1 Corinthians i. 20. 78 copos, TE reaμμateús. So did the Scribes too: but the difference was, that the Scribes were more textual; the Pharisees more traditional ¶ : therefore observe, that the Scribe finds fault with the suspicion of blasphemy; the Pharisee, with unwashen hands, Matthew ix: the Scribes, their Doctors, excelled for learning; the Pharisees, for piety. Their attire was the same, and their fashions **; but the Pharisees had woλiteías μeilès, more sway; and were more strict and Capuchine-like; professed more years' continency; and, in a word, took more pains to go to hell. These did so carry away the hearts of the Jews, that there was no holy man, which was not termed a Pharisee: and, therefore, among the seven kinds of Pharisees in their Talmud, they make Abraham a Pharisee of Love t†; Job, a Pharisee of Fear.
II. And, if, from the Men, you cast your eyes upon their RIGHTEOUSNESS, you camot but wonder at the curiosity of their zeal. Wherein look, I beseech you, first at their Devotion, then their Holy Carriage, lastly their Strict Observation of the Law.
Such was their DEVOTION, that they prayed ouvex@s, as a Father (Epiphanius) saith; oft and long: thrice a day was ordinary; at nime, twelve, and three a clock. Yea, their progenitors, CHASIDIM, whom they would scorn not to match, divided the day into three parts; whereof one was bestowed on Prayer, the next on the Law, the third on their Work. See here: God had two parts of
* Eruditius cæteris legem exponunt Phar. Jos. 1. i. de bello Jud. c. 4. † An old saying έδεις τὸ σεβιζόμενον ὑβρίζει. Discipuli Sammai occidebant. discipulos Hillel. § Epiphan. de repos 4. In nomen Mosis, Acibæ, Annæ, Filiorum Assamonæi. ilier. Algasiæ de 11. quæstionib. Scriba lec
tionarii quasi Scripturarii vel Textuarii; Pharisæi durgura, Drus. ** Eodem habitu cum Scribis muliebri pallio, latis crepidis, et calceamentorum ligulis procedentes. Epiphan. + Meahavah.