seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.”
John saw that these proud Jews were exalting and glorifying themselves by parading their ostentatious piety before the public. They bound portions of the law upon their foreheads and about their wrists, that all might recognize and pay deference to their assumed sanctity. True, God had commanded the children of Israel to place a ribbon of blue in the border of their garments, upon which the ten commandments, in brief, should be embroidered. This was to continually remind them of their duty to love God supremely, and their neighbor as themselves. But the farther they had departed from their primitive purity and simplicity, and the more directly their daily lives were opposed to the law of God, the more particular were they to make broad their phylacteries, and add to the words which God had specified should be traced on the ribbon of blue. Outwardly they were expressing the deepest devotion, while their acts were in strong contrast with their profession.
The spirit of reform stirred the soul of John. The light of wisdom and the power of God were upon him. Inspiration from Heaven kindled a holy zeal that led him to denounce the Jewish priests, and pronounce the curse of God upon