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of Judea, had the absolute disposal of the alms. If the magistrate hapa pened to be a heathen, then the management of them was left, either to the council of the synagogue, or the chief ruler, who acted for the body.
This may serve to give us a notion of the manner how alms used at first to be distributed in the Christian church. The charity of the pri. mitive Christians was so very conspicuous, that Julian the apostate proposes it as a pattern to his own subjects. “What a shame is ir, lays
he, that we should take no care of our poor, when the Jews suffer .“ no beggars (i) among them; and the Galileans, (i. e. the Christians,) “impious as they are, maintain their own poor, and even ours (k).” We may infer from several places in St. Paul's epistles, that he had the management of the alms of several churches, and that there were collectors under him for that purpose. Justin Martyr gives us pretty near the same account of this matter in his time, in his second apology (1).
Let us now proceed to the other office belonging to the rulers of the Synagogue; which was to teach the people. This they did sometimes by way of dispute and conference; by questions and answers; or else by continued discourses like ferinons. All these diucrent ways of teachi: g they called by the general name of searching (on); the diicourse they stiled a search or inqui'ition (12); and lion that made it a jtarcher (0); frım a Hebrew word (), which properly significs to dive into the fublime, profound, myftical, illegorical, and prshetical fafes of holy scripture. In which fenre (as we have observed on tha. place, and in the preface of the epistle to the Hebrews) St. Paulaks the Corinthians (9), where is the PROFOUND SEARCHER of this worlu? It is evident from the pijikes of St. Paul, and especially fruin that to the Hebrews, that the apo le fometimes followed this initicat muthed of explaining fcripture. It may also be inferred from several paílages of St. John's golpe, that our Saviour himself seems to give into that way.
There were several places fet apart for these fearches, or expositions. Sometimes they were done in private houses. For there was no Jew of any learning cr fashion, but what had in the upper part of his house (r), one or more rcoings, where he was wont, at certain times to retire, either to pray, or tommeditate, or to discourie upon some fubject relating to the law. Several instances of persons retiring on the house top to exercise themselves on works of piety and devotion, are frequently to be met with in the fucred writings (s). The windows of
these (i) Deut. xv. ;- .
(*) Sozom. Hist. Ecclef. 1. v. c. 16.
(r) Thy are called in Latin Conacula. It was in ons of them that our Saviour celebrated his last patiover. And in a like pl ce where the Apostles ailembled together, when the Holy Ghost came down upon th.m.
(s) : Kings xvii. 19. Dan, vi. 10. Acts i. 13. X. 9. XX. 8. Trepão, or upper room, is called by the Latios Canaculum. In one of the e nur Saviour celebrated the passover, and the Holy Ghost defcended on the Ajofties.
. . these apartments were to look towards Jerufalem, in imitation of Daniel vi. 10. "But generally these exercises and debates were transacted in the schools, academies, or houses of searching, which were adjoining to every famous synagogue, and were sometimes also named fynagogues. In these were the disciples of the wise brought up and instructed, in order to be qualified for rabbies, or doctors. Lastly, the explanations of scripture, and particularly the ferm.ouis, were rehearfed in the synagogue itself, on the fabbath days and other festivals.
In the ancient fynagogue, as it was first settled and established by Ezra, the priests and Levites made those discourses, only with a defign to facilitate the understanding of the text of the facred writings (t). In our Saviour's time, the duty of preaching, and of giving others leare to do so (u), belonged to the rulers of the synagogue. This manifestly appears from the Acts of the Apostles; wherein we are told, that the rulers of the fynagogue gave the Apostles leave to fpeak (*). It is very probable, that whenever Jesus Christ preached in the synagogues, it was not without the permiffion of the prefident or chief ruler, though it be not exprefsly said fo in the gofpel, without doubi, because it was a known custom. What indeed may seem strange, is that the Jews should suffer Jesus Christ, or his disciples, to preach in their synagogues. But our wonder will cease, if we do but confider, 1. That they were Jews, and strict observers of the law. 2. That they were well versed in the law, and even were Rabbins, or Doctors. That Jesus Christ was so, is unquestionably certain, since he is frequently called Rabbi by his disciples, and even by the Jews themselves (y): now it was unlawful for them to give this title to any one, but what had been admitted to that honourable degree by the imposition of hands. The fame thing may be affirmed of St. Paul, and even of some of the other Apostles. At least we find Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, and Manaen, stiled Doctors in the Acts (z). The same is further evident from this one circumstance, recorded in the holy scriptures, That the Apostles fat down when they came into the synagogues (a). For several learned authors have observed, that the word fit down in thefe places, doth signify to fit among those who were wont to teach or preach. And the rulers of 'the synagogue undoubtedly supposed, that the Apostles, as they fat in those places were come with a design to teach the people. 3. But fupposing that they had not been Doctors; yet they might have claimed this privilege, as persons of gravity, learning, and unblameable conversation, such as they were in the judgment even of their very enemies. For we are told, that not only the Doctors, but also the sons, or disciples of the wise, that is, the young student, and such as stood candidates for the degree of Rabbi or Dozor; and even some of the common people, if duly qualified for it, were allowed to teach in the synagogues. It was but common prudence therefore in the Jews, to let Jesus Christ,
(1) Nehens. viii. 2-5. (X) Philo. de vit. Contemplat. p. 691.
(2) Acts xiii. 1. discorados.
and his Apostles, preach in these aílemblies of theirs, for fear of provoking the people, who had a great respect and veneration for them, and to rest satisfied with hindering them, as much as poffible, from spreading and publishing their doctrine in other places. It is evident from the New Testament and ecclefiaftical biftery, that the sermons and discourses spoken by the primitive Chriflians in their assemblies, were regulated much after the same manner, as those that were delivered in the ancient fynagogue of the Jews. There were also in every synagogue leveral ministers, who had different employments assigned them: 1. One called fbeliach zibbor, or the messenger or angel of the synagogue, standing before the ark or cheft wherein the scriptures were kept, repeated the prayer cadisch before and after the reading of the law. This was to be a person very eminent for his learning and virtue. Sometimes indeed the chief ruler, or one of the elders of the synagogue, repeated this prayer, but most commonly the foliach zibbor did it. And hence it is, that the bishops of the seven churches of Asia, are in the Revelations called the angels of those churches, because what the peliach zibbor did in the synagogue, that the bishop did in the church of Christ. 2. Another officer, who was called the minister of the synagogue, from the pulpit gave the Levites notice when they were to found the trumpet (6). This minister read sometimes the law; though at first there was no particular person set apart for the doing it; for, excepting women, any one that was but qualified for it, and pitched upon by the ruler of the fynagogue, might do it. It is commonly supposed that the deacons, appointed among the primitive Christians, of whom mention is made in the epifles of St. Paul, were in imitation of these ministers of the synagogue. But it is to be observed, that these deacons are very different from those of whom we have an account in the 6th chapter of the Acts, and which answered to the collectors of the alms, spoken of before. Besides these two ministers, there was another of an inferior degree, called Chafan, that is, the guardian, or keeper. His business was to take the book of the law out of the chest wherein it was kept; to give it the person that was appointed to read; to take it of him after he had done, and to lay it up in the chest again. He was likewise to call out him that was pitched upon by the ruler of the synagogue to read the lesson out of the law, or the prophets, to stand by and overlook him whilft he did it, and to set him right, when he read amiss. He blowed also the trumpet upon some particular occasions, as to give notice of the fabbath, of the beginning of the new year, to publish an excommunication, and the like. This minister was moreover to let the people know when they should say alien, after the prayer which the angel of the synagogue repeated before and after the reading of the law. Lastly, his business was to take care of the synagogue, to shut and open the doors of it, to sweep and keep it Clean: he had the charge of the utenfils belonging to it, fastened the tail before the ark or chest wherein the law was kept, and took it off, when there was cccasion. This office was very much like that of a burch-warden (or rather church-clerk) among us.
Several (6) See above, p. 169, note (o).
Several learned men are of opinion, and it is indeed very probable, that the government and service in the Christian church were first taken .from those of the synagogue. Several instances of this agreement between them are to be met with in the New Testament. But we must not expect to find an exact resemblance between them, either for want of ancient monuments, or because the same officers both of the church and synagogue, had more than one name, which often occasions a great deal of perplexity and obscurity in these matters; or else, because they were confounded, when their offices or employments had any relation one to another.
The times of the synagogue fervice were three times a day; viz. in the morning, in the oftirnoon, and at night (c). But though this service was performed every day, yet there were three days in the week that were more folemn than the rest, and on which they thought themselves more indispensably obliged to appear in the fynagogue ; namely, Mondavs, Thursdays, and Saturdays, ike most folcmn of all. As more sacrifices than ordinary were offered on the fabbah day, and other festivals, they were wont to have prayers four times upon those days. We shall give an account only of the morning service of the foncregue, without entering into the particulars of that which was performed in the evening; because they were both pretty much alike, and besides, the latter was attended with leís solemnity than the former.
Before the beginning of the public prayers by tlie angel of the fynagogue, the people repeated several private ones which were of a considerable length. These condited of 19 prayers; the first of which contained praises to God; in the second, they confessed their fins, and begged pardon for them; the third contained thanksgivings and petitions, for all the wants and neceflities of this life, as well spiritual as temporal, &c.(d). These nineteen prayers were not however said ali at length on the fab. bath day, and other festivals; and even on common days, several re. peated only a summary of them. When these prayers were ended, the minifter standing up, began the public prayers, the people likewile ftanding and bowing the knee and body (as did also the minifier,) from time to time, at the rehearsing of some particular passages. They had also then their heads covered with a vail. Their service began and ended with the prayer Cadiich, which the Jews generally joined at the end of all their prayers; it was composed in theie terms, which come very near those of the Lord's Prayer : Hallowed be his great Name in the world, which he has created according to his good pleasure, and may bis Kingdom be e/tablijed. May we behold lis redemption (pring up and flourijb. May his Niclian Jidderly appear in our days, and in the days of oil ike koje of Israel, to deliver bis pionki. Prayers' burg ended, thë minister or Chofan, before mentioned, icok ulit of the click the book of the law;
(c) In the morning, at the time of the morning facrifce, in the evening, at the time of the crening jacrific, and at the beginning of the nigh:, becaute till then the earning lucri pie Wüs iu! leit baming won the altar. Dr. Puideaux Conn. P. 1. B. VI. under the year +44. Sect. 3. concerning the time of the fyna : 04 ile fervice.
(ri) You may lee all these prayers at length in Dr. Prideaux, ubi fupra.
whereupon the whole congregation shouted, and expressed a great deal
ing opened, ded into seven parts for Chions (8), and each section was
or rolls of vellum, stitched or glued very neatly together, and fastened at one end to sticks very nicely turned (c). As the whole Pentateuch, that is, the five books of Moses, could not possibly be read over at once in one of their assemblies, the Jews divided it into several large sections, which they called Paraschahs; one of which being read every sabbath day, the whole Pentateuch was by this means read over once every year (f). They began it on the fabbath next after the feast of tabernacles. It was divided into fifty-three or fifty-four sections (s), and each section was again subdivided into seven parts for so many readers. The book being opened, or rather unfolded, he that was to read, rehearsed some short prayers over it, which the people joined in, by way of responses. After which he that was appointed to read first, began the section for that day. There were commonly feven readers each fabbath. Every Ifraelite had the privilege of reading, except women, flaves, and others that were deemed unfit for it. They commonly however pitched upon a Priest, a Levite, a Doétor, or person of distinction among the people, sooner than on any of the vulgar, who were not permitted to read till the others had done (b). When the last reader had made an end of reading, he folded the book, and gave it the Chulan, or Minister, who put it again into the chest. After which followed some thanksgiving or doxologies, which ended with the prayer Cadisch. The person that read, did it standing; but the audience either stood up, or fat down, as they thought fit. After the reading of the law, followed that of the prophets, before
(e) As all books formerly were.
1) Their manner of reading the law, was as followeth. " The whole " law, or five books of Mofes, being divided into as many sections, or lessons, * as there are weeks in the year, (as hath been shewn) on Monday they began " with that which was proper for that week, and read is half way through, “ and on Thursday proceeded to read the remainder; and on Saturday, which " was their folemu fabbath, they did read all over again, from the beginning w to the end of the said leffon or fection ; and this both morning and even“ing. On the week days they did read it only in the morning, but on the " sabbath they did read it in the cvening, as well as in the inorning, for the “ sake of labourers and artificers, who could not leave their work to attend " the synagogues on the week days, that so all might hear, twice every week, " the whole section or lesion of that week read unto them. Dr. Prideaux, " Conpeet. P. I. B. VI. under the year 444.
(3) The Jewish year being lunar, they had near 54 weeks in it. See Leuiden's Preface to his Hebrew Bible. Sect. 1.
(1) A Priest was called out first, and next a Levite, if any of these orders were present in the congregation, and after that any other Ifraclite, till they made up in all the number of 12.uen. And hence it was anciently, that every Section of the law was divided into seven lefler sections, for the lake of these seven readers. And in fome Hebrew bibles these lefler sections are marked in the margin ; the first with the word Choen, i. e, the Priest; the second with the word Levi, i. e. the Levite; the third with the word Sbelifhi, i. e, the third, Cs, Ds. Prideaux, ubi supra.