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A. When Simon was visiting the Cities, and giving Orders for their Welfare, one Ptolemeus, who was his Son-in-law, invited him and his Sons to a Banquet at Jericho, and New Simon, with two of his Sons, in order to get the Government of the Country into his own Hands : and sent privately to kill John also.
61 Q. Did Ptolemeus succeed in this his Treachery and murderous Enterprize
A. John having got timely Notice of it, flew the Affaffins, and was invested with the High Priesthood and the Government, after his Father. Note, Here ends that excellent History, the first Book
of the Maccabees. The following Part of this Account of the Jewsis borrowed chiefly from 7ofephus,
who usually calls John by the Surname of Hyrcanus. Sect. VII. Of the Jewish Affairs under the Conduct
of the Posterity and Successors of SIMON ,the MACCABEE ; and of the several Seels among the
Jews, namely, Pharisees, Sadducees, Effenes, Herodians, Karaites.
IQ. DID John Hyrcanus enjoy his Office in
D Peace ? A. Antiochus Sidetes, being informed of the Death of Simon, and being invited by Ptolemeus, inyaded Judea again, besieged Jerusalem, and reduced Hyrcanus and the Jews to the last Extremity by Famine : But when they sued for Peace, he granted it, upon Condition of paying certain Tributes to the King, and demolishing the Fortifications of Jerusalem. Note, About this Time Jefus, the Son of Syrach, a Jew
of Jerusalem, coming into Egypt, translated the took of Ecclefiafticus, written by Jesus his Grand
Father, father; out of Hebrew into Greek, for the Use of . the Hellenistic Jews there. The Ancients called it Panareton, or “ the Treasury of all Virtue."
2 Q. How did the Affairs of the Jews succeed under Hyrcanus?
1. A fow Years afterward he took Advantage of the vast Confusions that enfuediamong the Naitions, upon the Death of Antiochus, to enlarge bis
Borders, by seizing some neighbouring Townson • foveral Sides of Judea, and to renounce all his Dec. · pendence upon the Kings of Syria.
3 Q. Was he supported therein: by any foreign Powers? .
A. He renewed the League of Friendfip which his Father Simon had made with the Romans, who · wwere then growing to their Grandeur; and they
ordered that he thould be freed from the late imposed Tribute, and that the Syrians fhoold-make Reparation for the Damages they had done him.
4 Q. In what Manner did Hyrcanus deal with . the Edomites, or Idumeans, who were an che South of Judea ?
1. He constrained them to embrace the Jewish Religion, or to leave their Country 3 wherdupon they chose to forsake their Idolatry, and became Profelytes to Judaifm, and were mingled and incorporated with the Jews; and, by this Means, in less than two hundred Years, their very Name was loft. Note, In Defence of this Practice of Hyreanus, among
the Idumeans, which feems to be lo contrary to the Laws of Nature and Scripture, it may be faid, that at this Time these Edomites had encroached on the Land of judea, ,and inhabited all the South Part of it: So that Hyrcanus, in banishing those who would not become Jews, did but dispoffefs them of that Country which was given to the Jews by
"God himself. Yet, it must be confeffed, by this · Pra&tice he' seems to have set an unhappy Pattern to hís i Successors, to impose the Religion of the Jews on conquered Countries by Force.
5 Q. How did he treat the Samaritans-on the North, when his Power was thus increased ?
A. He'matched with his Army, 'and took Shechem, which was then the chief Seat of the Samaritan Sect; and 'he destroyed their Temple on Mount Gerizim, which Sanballat had built; though - they continued still to keep an Altar there, and to offer Sacrifices.
6'Q. How came Shechem to be their chief Seat, - instead of Samaria?
.. A. They were expelled from Samaria, by AlexLeander, for killing one of his Deputy-Governors in
a Tumult; and they, 'retiring to Shechem, made that their chief Seat; while Alexander repeopled Samaria with Heathens of the Syrian and Macedonian-Race.
7. Q. Did Hyrcanus extend his Power farther con that Şide of the Country?
4. He besieged Samaria, and took it, and utterly demolifhed it ;' he not only' ruled in Judea, but in Galilee also, and the neighbouring Towns: "He became one of the most considerable Princes" of his Age, and preserved the Jewish Church and State in Safety from their Enemies, throughout a long Government.
8 Q. What other remarkable Adions are afcribed to Hyrcanus ?
A. He was esteemed a Prophet for one or ewo "notable Predictions, or Knowledge of Things done · at a Distance. He built the Caftle Baris, on a Steep Rock, fifty Cúbits high, without the outer Square of the Temple, but on the fame Mountain :
This was the Palace of all the Afmonean Princes in Jerusalem ; and here the sacred Robes of the High Prieft were always laid up when they were not in Use.
9 Q. What Use was afterwards made of this Castle?
A. Herod new built it, and made it a very strong Fortress, to command both the City and the Temple; and called it Antonia, in Honour of his great Friend Mark Antony of Rome : He raised it so high, that he might see what was done in the Temple, and send his Soldiers in case of any Tumult. Here the Romans kept a strong Garrison, and the Governor of it was called Captain of the Temple, Aets xxi. 31. Note, It was from this Place the Centinel spying the
Jews ready to kill Paul, gave Notice to the Governor, or chief Captain, who went down immediately with some , Soldiers into the Court of the Gentiles, whither they had dragged St Paul to kill him, and rescued him, and brought him up the Stairs into this Castle, and it was upon these Stairs that Paul obtained Leave to speak to the People, Atts xxi. 26, 3c.
10Q. What Troubles did Hyrcanus meet with toward the End of his Life?
A. His Title to the High Priefthood was une juftly called in Question by a bold Man among the Pharisees; and, being craftily imposed upon to think it the Opinion of all that Party, he haftily renounced that Sect, for which he had before the greatest Value ; he abolished their Conftitutions, and falling in with the Sea of the Sadducees, loft his Efteem and Love among the common People.
II Q. Since you mention the Sect of the Pharisees here, pray let us know what were the chief Sects among the Jews ?
greatunced that Opinionsing crafted Man
A. About this Time, the most considerable Sects were the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Elenes; though in the next Century arose also the Herodians ; and some hundred of Years after was a Seet called the Karaites.
12 Q. What peculiar Opinions were held by the Pharisees?
A. The most diftinguishing Character of this Seet, was their Zeal for the Traditions of the Elders; for while they acknowledged the Writings of Moses and the Prophets to be divine, they pretended that these Traditions also were delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai; and conveyed down,' without Writing, through the leveral Generacions of the Jews, from Father to Son: And by Reason of their Pietences to a more stric and rigorous Observance of the Law, according to their Trae. ditions, which they. superadded to it, they looked on themselves as more holy than other Men, and they were called Pharisees, that is, Persons separated from others. Note, These were the Persons who had so much core !
rupted the Law in our Saviour's Time, and made it void by their Traditions : Yet their Doctrines generally prevailed among theScribes and theLawyers, who were Writers and Explainers of the Law; and the Bulk of the common People had them in high Efteem and Veneration, so that they were the most numerous of any Sect. 13 Q. Is the Sect of the Pharisees still in being ?
A. The present Religion of the Jews, in their several Dispersions (except among the few Karaites) is wholly formed and praciifed according to the Traditions of the Pharisees, rather than according to the Law and Prophets : So that they have 'cor rupted the old Jewish Religion, in the same Manner as the Papists have the Christian.
14 Q. What