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and merits the continual study of all that aspire after the perfection to which they are appointed to guide the soul; and this meaning, accordingly, their teachers pretended to search out and bring forward, in their use of the sacred volume, turning it all into allegory, and so constraining to speak, under the powerful control of fancy, whatever mystic sense they pleased. They did not bring sacrifices to the temple, as the law required; and the Therapeutæ, it seems, disapproved of bloody sacrifices altogether; the Essenes of Palestine, however, admitted the propriety of such offerings, and used to present them, from time to time, in a solemn manner, among themselves; but with peculiar rites, altogether different from those which the law appointed. They were presented, it appears, on the occasions of their great solemnities, in the night, after the day had first been observed as a fast, and were always wholly burned, together with much honey and wine. It is not improbable, that the strange rites which they made use of, occasioned their separation from the temple; since, even if they had been disposed to offer sacrifices in their way at that place, it would have been wrong for the priests to give them permission.



THE SAMARITANS, though accounted as little better than idolators outright, by the Jews, and though actually cut off from the sacred commonwealth of Israel, may, nevertheless, be looked upon as, in some sense, a Jewish sect; since they not only had their origin, in some degree, from the holy stock, but received the law of Moses as the rule of all their religion, and looked forward to the hopes of the Jewish church, with all the confidence that was cherished by any of its tribes.

We have an account of their origin, in the 17th chapter of the second book of Kings. The king of Assyria, according to the cruel policy of that ancient age, carried the great body of the ten tribes away into a distant land, and

settled their country with a colony of heathen strangersa mixed multitude from Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, on the other side of the Euphrates. These gradually amalgamated with each other, and with such of the Israelites as were still left in the land, so as to form a single people, who came to be called, from the name of their principal city, Samaritans. At first, they worshipped only the false gods of their native countries, but being chastised by the Lord in a remarkable way, they were led to desire some knowledge of the God of Israel, and the manner of his worship, and gladly received to instruct them, one of the captive priests of Israel, whom the Assyrian king sent back from Babylon, for the purpose: but they had no idea still, of giving up entirely their old idols; they foolishly thought, that every country had its particular gods; that the God of Israel was only one of the multitude among whom the earth was divided; and that, although it was unsafe to neglect him altogether in his own territory, there could be no impropriety, having now learned the manner of his worship, and being careful to show him respect and fear according to his appointed way, in showing honour, at the same time, to other deities, and in mingling with their new religion, as they might please, the miserable idolatry of their fathers; so they feared the Lord, after their own notion, and served their idol gods at the same time. In time, however, a more correct notion of religion began to gain ground; and at length, after the Jewish captivity, idolatry disappeared from among them altogether.

When the Jews, on their return, began to rebuild their temple, the Samaritans sought to associate themselves with them in the work; but that people would not consent at all to the proposal, perceiving that they were ac tuated by no good motives in urging it, and that, notwithstanding their fair professions, they had still little regard for the true religion, and were still in love with their idolatry. This refusal filled the Samaritans with rage, and led them to use every means in their power to hinder the building of the temple; in which attempts they were so successful, that the work was interrupted directly after its commencement, with a delay of full fifteen years. (Ezra, 4th, 5th, and 6th chapters.) The minds of the Jews were,

of course, greatly embittered against them by this opposition, and the enmity was still more increased by the ma. licious arts which they afterwards employed to prevent Nehemiah from restoring the walls of Jerusalem.` (Neh. 4th and 6th chapters.)

When Nehemiah undertook to reform the abuses that existed among the Jews, and among other things, required them to put away their strange wives, Manasseh, the son of the High-priest who had married a daughter of Sanballat, prince of the Samaritans, refused to comply with the order, and being compelled to quit his own people, sought refuge with his father-in-law. (Neh. xiii. 28.) Sanballat, taking that advantage of the circumstances which he thought would be most offensive to the Jews, obtained permission from the Persian monarch, erected a NEW TEMPLE on mount Gerizim, and constituted his son-in-law the father of its priesthood. Thus a regular system of national worship, corresponding in all respects to that of the true people of God, was established, and every vestige of the former idolatry became obliterated from the land. After this, it was usual for such Jews as became exposed to punishment in their own country, for violating its laws, or were excommunicated for their offences from religious and social privileges, to betake themselves, for security or relief, to the Samaritans, among whom they were received without difficulty. In this way, the jealousy and enmity of the two people, instead of wearing away with time, gathered continually fresh encouragement and renewed vigour. During the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanesthat enemy of all righteousness and truth-the Samaritans, caring more for their worldly advantage than for their religion, secured themselves from the desolating storm, by abandoning, altogether, their national worship: they complied with all the wishes of the tyrant, consecrated their temple to Jupiter, the chief of the heathen gods, and lent their aid in the war that was carried on against the Jews, to reduce them to the same apostacy. (1 Maccabees iii. 10.) After the persecution was over, they returned again to the religion of Moses; but their polluted Sanctuary was not allowed to stand much longer: John Hyrcanus, the triumphant Jewish prince, about 130 years before the time

of Christ, turned his arms against their country, subdued it completely, and destroyed, in anger, that proud temple of Sanballat.

All this, of course, had no tendency to remove the old hatred which each of the countries cherished for the other; it struck its root still deeper, and flourished in yet greater and more active luxuriance. So bitter and rancorous did the mutual enmity become, that all intercourse between the two nations was brought to an end-the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans-and it was even counted somewhat unsafe for persons, of either country, to travel through the territories of the other; or at least it was found so extremely inconvenient, by reason of the inhospitable treatment they were sure to meet with, that it was generally preferred to avoid it, though at the expense of making a considerable circuit out of the direct way; whence it was usual for the Jews, in going from Galilee to Jerusalem, or the contrary, to cross the Jordan, and pass along through Gilead, on the east side, rather than go through Samaria, which lay directly between. We ought not to be surprised, therefore, at the question of the Samaritan woman, whom our Lord, oppressed with weariness and thirst, asked to give him some water at Jacob's well: How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? (John iv. 4-9.) Nor should it seem strange, that, when Jesus, on another occasion, passing through that country, sent messengers before him to a certain village, to secure entertainment for the night, the inhabitants utterly refused to receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. (Luke ix. 51-56.) It appears, however, that the same prejudice was not cherished to such an extent among all the Samaritans; for we are told that he went to another village, where the people seem to have made no objection to his presence; and it was the common custom of our Saviour to pass through their country with his disciples, in his journeys to and from Jerusalem; so that he must have still been able to procure among them such accommoda. tions as his humble style of life required. There is reason to believe, in fact, that there was, at this time, altogether more of bitterness and malignity on the part of the Jews

than on that of the Samaritans, in the mutual hatred of the two people, (John viii. 48,) and that the Samaritan enmity, though it was deeply settled, did not, nevertheless, so thoroughly as the Jewish, crush every sentiment of generous humanity under its weight: this our Lord seems to intimate in that parable which he employed, on a certain occasion, to answer the inquiry, Who is my neigh bour? (Luke x. 31-37.) The readiness with which the inhabitants of Sychar, as we have account in the 4th chapter of John, laid aside all prejudice, honestly attended to the doctrine of Christ, and yielded to the evidence with which it was accompanied, is truly worthy of our admiration and it ought to be remembered, that, when ten lepers were, on one occasion, all healed at once, while obeying the direction of the Saviour, the only one of all their number who came back with an overflowing heart, to express his gratitude, and to give glory to God for the amazing benefit, was a Samaritan. (Luke xvii. 12-19.)

The Samaritans still continued, after the destruction of their temple, to worship on Mount Gerizim, and to insist as strenuously as ever, that no other place in the world had so good a claim to this distinction. For they had been accustomed, since the days of Sanballat, to challenge for the place of their Sanctuary, the highest measure of sacredness: they were not content to sustain its title to reverence on any thing short of a divine consecration, nor disposed at all to seek any compromise with the pretensions of Moriah; but allowing with the Jews themselves, that God had made choice of only one place for his public worship, and that no other, accordingly, ought ever to be acknowledged, they boldly maintained that their own Gerizim had been, from the first, distinguished with the honour of this choice; and that the contrary claim which Jerusalem urged in favour of her celebrated hill, was altogether unfounded and false. Here, they contended, altars were erected, and sacrifices offered, by Abraham and Jacob, (Gen. xii. 6, 7. xxiii. 18-20,) and on this account, they said, the hill was afterwards appointed by God himself, to be the place of blessing, when the Israelites entered the promised land, and they were required to build an altar upon it, and to present burnt-offerings and peace-offerings there, before the VOL. II.


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