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some, who by natural temperament are susceptible, imaginative, anxious, who wish to do the commands of God, and a great deal more if they could. Such men form estimable characters; they necessarily win the respect of mankind. But there join themselves to this portion of society people of a very different character, though like them in exterior deportment. They assume great gravity and sanctity of manner, not because their hearts dictate it, but because they wish to share the same advantages with those who are sincere.
These two different portions of the religious, by way of eminence, bear different proportions to one another at different times and under different circumstances.
On the other side are the moderate, men of cooler judgments and more phlegmatic temperaments. They draw a just distinction between the mint and the cummin, and the weightier matters of the law. They want something of the enthusiasm of feeling and the scrupulosity of conduct which characterise the best class of the more devoted, but on the whole they are found in all the relations of life quite as estimable, quite as useful, and quite as much beloved. They are more accessible, more candid, and more ready to make allowance for the weaknesses and follies which are incident to humanity. To this class join themselves another of an altogether different character, men of no religion at all. Their neglect of forms is
want of religious conviction, their liberality is licentiousness. As the first division is infested and disgraced by hypocrites, so is the last by profligates. Thus the religious world has been divided ever since men began to think and reason on religious subjects at all. Sometimes they go along peaceably together, and sometimes are in a state of alienation, one party accusing the other of hypocrisy, and the other its opponent of irreligion. The same elements ever exist, and the parties are as perennial as those of politics. Sadducee and Pharisee are as undying as Aristocrat and Democrat; and what makes the cases more parallel, both names are opprobrious, and a gross misrepresentation of the other's character and sentiments. How long these parties had existed in Judea we are unable to ascertain, but the first we read of them is in the first book of the Maccabees. Their first names were the Chasidim, translated by the Greek word Assideans, and Sadducees; that is, the Holy and the Just. The first sought a peculiar sanctity by adding certain traditions to the law, the other contented themselves with satisfying the plain and literal meaning of it, and rejected all traditions. Afterwards other questions were brought in upon philosophical grounds. A great doctor of the law and president of the Sanhedrim, having speculated on the motives which constituted virtuous action, declared that virtue must be perfectly disinterested, men ought to be good for the sake of goodness, and any regard to consequences adulterates the motives. Two of his scholars deduced from this as an inference, that there were then no rewards or punishments in a future state, or perhaps no future state at all. This tenet seems to have been adopted by the sect, and to have been held by them in the time of our Saviour. They were divided by another purely philosophical question, the freedom or necessity of human actions, the Sadducees making man absolutely free, the Pharisees maintaining a sort of mixture of fate and free will.
The Scribes, of whom we read so much in the New Testament, were not a sect, but derived their name from their profession, which was the interpretation of the Scriptures, particularly the laws of Moses. This was originally the business of the Levites, who during the freedom of the Jewish Commonwealth, were not only the religious teachers but the civil magistrates of the land, and ascertained the people's legal rights as well as religious duties. After they lost their independence, the administration of the civil government fell into the hands of foreigners, and the Scribe subsided from a civil magistrate into a religious teacher. They belonged however, for the most part to the sect of the Pharisees, and held to the oral traditions as of equal authority with the law. Such were the two leading religious sects which divided the Jewish nation at the coming of Christ. They together composed the national Senate or Council of Seventy, who managed all their religious affairs, and such of their civil interests as were left them by the Romans. They officiated indiscriminately in holy things, and often the chief priest himself was a Sadducee. Indeed the chief priesthood had long since gone out of the family of Aaron, and become in a great degree a civil office conferred by their conquerors on some court favorite. Into such hands had the administration of religion fallen, when the long expected Messiah appeared, to abolish the Jewish ritual, and establish a new sacerdotal order, and a worship which needed no temple or sacrifice, but which numbered among true worshippers all who worship the Father in sincerity and truth.
Which was the best, and which the worst of these two sects, we have now no means of determining. Christ says very little of the Sadducees, he only tries to convince them of their great error, the denial of the resurrection of the dead. Upon the Pharisees he denounces the heaviest woes, and accuses them of the most atrocious crimes.
The Sadducees and Pharisees both united in opposing Christ during his ministry, but the Pharisees with much the most bitterness. After his resurrection the Sadducees took the lead in persecuting his followers, because the very fact which the apostles asserted overthrew their fundamental doctrine, that there is no resurrection. This circumstance throws light on the fourth chapter of the Acts, in which it is related, that on the feast of Pentecost, when Peter and John were proclaiming to the people in the temple the resurrection of Jesus, they were attacked by the Sadducees: “ And as they spake to the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection of the dead.” Paul, who was himself a Pharisee, makes use of his coincidence in opinion with a part of the Council as the means of freeing himself from the accusation of his enemies, as we read in the twenty-third chapter of Acts : “ And when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the Council ; Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, and the son of a Pharisee, of the hope of the resurrection of the dead I am called in question. And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the multitude was divided. For the Sadducees say there is no resurrection, neither angel nor spirit, but the Pharisees confess both. And there arose a great cry: and the Scribes that were of the Pharisees arose and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man, but if