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not seek him among the pious but ignorant men who address their humble auditors in our highways with confiding trust in their own election as chosen vessels,' but they select his lordship from eminent candidates distinguished by learning, wisdom, and discretion, and his episcopal career generally justifies the choice of uninspired sagacity.
Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, and other silent members of the apostolic brotherhood may, however, plead extenuating circumstances, as how could it occur to them to provide for the religious instruction of posterity whilst expecting the second advent of their Lord and Master within their own generation ?
The apostles are, however, merely lay figures in the evangelical drama, except when depicted as envoys or heralds sent forth to announce the advent of the Kingdom, with power to heal the sick, cast out devils, and raise the dead, the latter clause being an interpolation absent from the best manuscripts. When we, however, consider that these apostolic missionaries were to carefully avoid Samaritans and Gentiles, that they would not have got through their labours in the cities of Israel before the second Advent, and that none but the Hebrews would ever, consequently, receive the message of the Kingdom, we necessarily reject this episode as apocryphal, more especially as the Apostles almost immediately re-appeared in the society of Jesus.
1 Matt, x. 5.
2 Matt. x. 23.
THE SCRIBES AND THE PHARISEES.
It is disappointing to find, from his unconditional and persistent denunciation of the Pharisees, that Jesus had not risen above the error, so common among theologians, of denying the presence of conscientious belief and honesty of purpose in their religious opponents. The Sadducees were the conservative supporters of the old Mosaic system as defined in the Pentateuch, which is silent respecting the immortality of the soul, and retribution beyond the grave. The Pharisees had borrowed the great theories of Immortality and Resurrection from the theologies of foreign nations, and gradually invested them with the authority of Mosaic sanction, through the ingenious but untenable hypothesis that the great prophet of Israel had not only received a written, but also an oral law on Mount Sinai, which had been tradionally transmitted from generation to generation. Jesus accepted the heathen doctrines of Immortality and Resurrection at the hands of the Pharisees, without the slightest pretension to more definite knowledge of these great mysteries than was derivable from the popular theology of his age and generation. How, therefore, could he consistently condemn the Pharisees for utilising traditions, through the partial adoption of which he had attained his own most important convictions ? Might not the accused have advisedly answered, “If you condemn traditions, you reject the resurrection from the dead; why, therefore, do you not join the fraternity of unbelieving Sadducees ?
In the eyes of Jesus, the Pharisees were all, without exception, hypocrites, fools, vipers, serpents, swindlers, murderers, and children of hell condemned to perdition. Is it possible to reconcile this indiscriminate condemnation of a class with reason or revelation? Is there a more unphilosophic mode of judging men than by their cloth ? And was it consistent with the Sermon on the Mount, to unconditionally exclude the most important members of the Hebrew community from fellowship in the Kingdom of Heaven?
· Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying, The Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat : all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do.'1 When we consider that this startling announcement is followed by a bitterness of denunciation which brands them as religious impostors, the inconsistency of this teaching becomes as obvious as if Protestant Reformers, instead of withdrawing men’s allegiance from the Papacy, had denounced the characters of mediæval Popes, and yet recommended acceptance of their decrees as the Vicegerents of God on earth.
Eminent apologists suggest that the authority of the Pharisees was only valid in their collective capacity as the Sanhedrim. When, therefore, that great Council condemned Jesus to death, all pious Jews, inclusive of his apostles, were bound to concur in the judgment of
1. Matt. xxiii, 1-3.
supreme court of the nation. Would it not be more prudent for apologetic theologians to question the accuracy of evangelical annalists, than to explain the inconsistencies of Jesus by conjectural exegesis, which, if even tenable, reaches us with no higher authority than the good intentions of pious apologists ?
The severity with which the Pharisees are denounced in the Evangelists is only possible by magnifying all their faults, and denying them every virtue. The Puritans of the age of Cromwell are depicted by their political opponents as merely vulgar hypocrites, parodying Hebrew fanaticism by borrowing the phraseology of prophets, and wielding the sword of the Lord and of Gideon;' and yet among their number were many who combined with these fantastic pretensions to inspired godliness an honest devotion to the sacred cause of civil and religious liberty. Were there no conscientious believers and workers among the brotherhood of Pharisees ? What of that great Rabbi, Gamaliel, who, whilst Jesus uttered his denunciations, sat in tranquil unconsciousness of evangelical anathemas, with Saul at his feet acquiring the education which was to fit him to become the greatest of the apostles ?
The Pharisees were, in fact, the theological product of their age, in the same sense that Franciscans, Jesuits, Lutherans, Puritans, Quakers, Wesleyans, and Ritualists arise in response to some religious tendency of their generation—all moved by an honesty of purpose inseparable (from religious zeal, and devoted to the regeneration of mankind through divergent forms of fanaticism. But when the zeal of their founders has as absolutely perished as the fleeting conditions which
evoked their enthusiasm, their followers, in practising the routine of an established system, seem to the superficial to be hypocrites, when they are simply the automata of an inherited faith.
The Pharisees were doubtless immoderate formalists in the time of Jesus; but the vice of that generation had been the virtue of an age when, as enthusiastic saints (Assideans or Chasîdîm), they had supported the Asmonæan dynasty in an heroic struggle with foreign despotism, and recorded their solemn protest against the Hebrew renegades who adopted the habits and customs of their Grecian masters, by that extreme devotion to the minutest requirements of the Mosaic law which is fully justified by the contents of the Pentateuch. But in the age of Jesus the Asmonæan enthusiasm was dead ; national aspirations had been crushed by the invincible power of Rome; and the descendants of the Chasîdîm had relapsed into the lethargic formalism which aroused the indignation of the man who had discovered new sources of enthusiasm in excited expectation of the Kingdom of Heaven.
As, however, indiscriminate denunciation of the Scribes and Pharisees is irreconcilable with the character and teaching of Jesus, we must seek the explanation in unreasoning acceptance of some Scriptural formula. In the Book of Enoch we read, · Woe to those who build up iniquity and oppression, and who lay the foundation of fraud ! for suddenly shall they be subverted. Woe to those who build up their houses with crime ! for from their very foundations shall they be demolished. Woe to you who recompense your neighbour with evil! for you shall be recompensed according