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Mark x. 32. Luke xviii. 31. From thence to the conclusion, there is no interruption of the history in any of the evangelists; wherefore, in the late ter part of their books likewise there is a beautiful agreement which has not been sufficiently taken notice of.
Such is the plan on which I have formed the harmony of our Lord's history, from the third passover, which happened after the first miraculous dinner, John vi. 4. to his passion. It may be worth while to consider not only the foundation upon which it is built, but the opinion of others in so important a branch of the subject. All the evangelists relate the first miraculous dinner, for which reason they must all be supposed to coincide at that period. But John vij. 1. we are told, that after these things, viz. the first miraculous dinner, and the conversation in the synagogue of Capernaum, Jesus walked in Galilee, for be would not walk in Yetury, because the Yeas sought to kill him. It seems some fresh attempts had been made upon his life at the passover immediately following the first miraculous dinner, as was shewed in the account of that passover, p. 350. wherefore, the journey into Galilee mentioned John vii. 1, and the other transactions connected with it, come in naturally after that attempt. The transactions connected with the journey into Galilee are, the journey to the country of Tyre and Sidon, the return through Decapolis, the second miraculous dinner, the journey into the territory of Cesarea Philippi, the transfiguration, the cure of the epileptic boy, and the strife of the disciples about the chief posts in the Messiah's kingdom, as they were travelling into Capernaum, where the receivers of the didrachmas accosted Peter. After the transaction last mentioned, the journey into Judea, through Perea, is related by Matthew and Mark. But about this time the feasts of tabernacles and dedication were celebrated, at both which, according to John's account, Jesus was present. The difficulty therefore is, to fix precisely upon the place of the three histories, where these feasts, with their transactions, should be introduced. To begin with the gospels of Matthew and Mark; the feasts of tabernacles and dedication, which John tells us our Lord attended, should not be brought in before the journey into Judea by Perea, because, properly speaking, there is no place at which they can be introduced into these gospels, till that journey is mentioned. Besides, John, who has given us the history of these feasts, and of our Lord's trans. actions at them, tells us, that after the third passover, he industriously kept out of Judea, and walked in Galilee for a considerable time, being afraid of the Jews. Since therefore he continued so long in Galilee, his first return into Judea, and by consequence the fcasts under consideration, could hardly happen before the journey mentioned by Matthew and Mark, which brought him into Judea through Perea. Yet these feasts must have hape pened before the next particular found in the gospels of Matthew and Mark, viz. the conversation with the Pharisees on the subject of divorce; because the things related by the two evangelists after that conversation, are so connected together, that there is no where else an opportunity for the feasts to be brought in. Wherefore, with respect to the histories of Matthew and Mark, it cannot be doubted, that the feasts of tabernacles and dedication mentioned by John, should be brought in between the jour. ney into Judea by Perea, and the conversation with the Pharisees on the subject of divorce. The relation which these feasts bear to Luke's histoe ry comes next to be considered. Luke ix. 46. the strife of the disciples is mentioned, and, chap. xviii. 15. the history falls in again with Matthew and Mark, in the account of the infants who were brought to Jesus to be bless ed. Here, therefore, we have a large detail of transactions, said to have happened between the two events, which stand so near to each other in Matthew and Mark; and consequently to assign John's account of the two feasts their proper places in Luke's history, must be a matter of some diffi culty. The whole of Luke, from chap ix.si, where the histories sepa.
rate, to chap. xviii. 18. where they again coincide, may be placed either belore the feasts mentioned, or after them, and before the resurrection of Lazarus ; or part before these feasts, and part after; or wholly after the resurrection of Lazarus, and before the concluding passover. That the wbole of this passage cannot be placed before the feasts, is evident from sveral particulars in the passage itself; for instance, Luke Xlll. 35. where, in his first lamentation over Jerusalem, Jesus declares, that its inhabitants should not see his face, till they should say, 6 Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord;" wherefore he did not enter Jerusalem after that, til he was received with hosannas. The passage in Luke cannot be wholly brought in after the feasts, and before the resurrection of Lazarus, because if our Lord died at the following passover, there was no feast in that period to which he could be going when the Samaritans refused to lodge him, Luke ix. 33. Indeed, because it is said, Luke ix. sl. And it came to . pass, tbat wben the time was come that he should be received up, &c. it may be thought, that this part of the history should be wholly placed after the resurrection of Lazarus, and before the passover at which Jesus suffered. But, besides the reason mentioned, the Greek iyevito EY TW Cupetings for *** puspas Tas avennlens KUT%, does not imply, that the precise moment of our Lord's ascension was come. The time was fulfilled, which, according to the Hebrew idiom, signifies, that it approached or drew on. Withal, the mission of the seventy disciples, the transactions following thereon, our Lord's return into Galilee, Luke xvij. is. and the journey through part of Samaria, all related in the passage before us, seem to be inconsistent, with this scheme of harmony. Upon the whole, the plan laid down in the beginning of this note, looks more like the truth than any of the rest, viz. that part of the passage in hand contains an account of what happened between the feasts of Tabernacles and Dedication, and part of it what happened after the feast of Dedication, and before the resurrection of Lazarus. Indeed Le Clerc goes differently to work about the same scheme.. He supposes that the seventy disciples were sent out as our Lord was going up to the feast of Tabernacles, accordingly he relates, their return, Luke x. 17. after John's account of the transactions at that feast, chap. vii. 2. to chap. X. 21, then brings in the whole of Luke, from chap. X. 21. to chap. xviii. 15. and after that gives John's account of the feast of Dedicaton. And becaase Matt. xix. 1. and Mark X. I. tells us, that Jesus returned into Judea through the country beyond Jordan, he supposes, that Jesus went away after the feast of Dedication into Galilee, and froin thence passed into the country beyond Jordan, and so returned to Judea. But against this order it may be objected, 1. That both Matthew and Mark affirm expressly, that the journey into Judea by Perea immediately fol. lowed the reproof given to the disciples, for contending who should be the greatest. 2: When Jesus went to the feast of Tabernacles, he did not go openly, but as it were in secret, John vii. 10. Whereas in the journey, Luke ix. 51. which Le Clerc and others suppose was to this feast, be sent forth the seventy disciples, was followed by a great crowd, and no doubt wrought several miracles, Luke ix. 59. X. 25. Besides, in the fore cited passage, John tells us, that Jesus did not go from Galilee to the feas: ot Tabernacles, till his brethren were departed; if so, he could have little x time by the way to work miracles in Sainaria, or send forth the seventy, as Le Clerc and others are obliged to suppose, who think the journey men. tioned. Luke ix. II. was to the feast of Tabernacles. To conclude, this journey is said so have happened when the time of his being received up drew on, Luke ix. 51. and consequently agrees better to the feast of Dedication, which happened about two months after the feast of Tabernacles, and bat four months before the passover ; for is that space all the sulisequent transactions mentioned in the history might easily happen. See the Bccand preliulvary observation. 3. To bring in the feast of dedication,
as Le Clerc does, after Luke xviii. 14. seems contrary to our Lord's declaration, Luke xiii. 35. re shall not see me, until the time come, when je sball say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord : which implics, that he did not go to Jerusalem, till he rode in amidst the triumphs and acclamations of the people, a few days before his death. 4. John seenis to say, that after the feast of Dedication our Lord went directly to Bethabara, beyond Jordan; whereas Le Clerc, and the rest, find themselves obliged to suppose, that he went first to Galilee, and from Galilec into Perea. § LXXVI. Jesus goes up to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of
tabernacles. In the temple he preaches to a great concourse of people. While he is preaching, the senate send their officers to apprehend him. The officers, charmed with his eloquence, go away without attempting to lay hands on him. Jesas continues his discourse. John vii. 2-53. vii. Ia
And now the feast of tabernacles drew on, which the law, Lev. xxiii. 39. ordained to begin on the fifteenth day of the se venth month, answering to our September and October so that it happened in the end of the former, or in the beginning of the latter month. "During the continuance of that solemnity, the males of the Jewish nation that were fit to travel, dwelt at Jerusalem in tents or tabernacles made of the boughs of trees, in commemoration of their fathers having dwelt in tabernacles of this kind for the space of forty years in the wilderness. A little while before the feast, Jesus being in Galilee, whither he had returned from the fourth passover, some of his kinsmen, who had not as yet believed on him, desired him to go up to the approaching sclemnity and shew himself. John vii. 2. Now the Jews feast of tabernacles was at hand: 3. His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judea, that thy disciples there also may see the works thut thou doest : 4. For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly; if thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. 5. For neither did his brethren believe on him. As they did not believe on him; they condemned him in their own minds, and said that he acted altogether absurdly, in passing so much of his time in Galilee, and the other remote corners of the country, while he pretended to so public a character as that of Messiah; that it would be much more for his interest to make disciples in Jerusalem and Judea, the seat of power; and that he ought to work his miracles there as publicly as possible, before the great and learned men of the nation, whose decision in his favour would have great influence to induce others to believe on him. But Jesus knowing the malice of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, did not incline to be among them longer than was absolutely neces. sary, lest they might have taken away his life prematurely. He therefore told his relations, that his time of going up to the feast was not yet come. 6. Then said Jesus unto them, My time is
not yet come, but your time is always really. -7. The world care not hate you, but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. It is not proper for me to go up till the feast is about to begin, but ye may go up at any time you please, since you have done nothing to make the Jews unfriend. ly to you, as I have done, who, by the purity of my doctrine, and the freedom of my reproofs, have provoked their malice to the highest pitch. 8. Go ye up unto this feast; I go not up yet unto this feast, for my time is not yet full come : the time of his sufferings, which the evangelist calls his hour, ch. vii. 20. or the time of his going up to the feast. 9. When he had said these
words unto them, he abode still in Galilee. 10. But when his brethren were gone up, then went ke also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. This suggests another reason for our Lord's delay. Had he taken his journey at the usual time, the multitudes that were on the road gathering round him, and ac, companying him to Jerusalem, might have given fresh matter of offence to his enemies ; for which reason he did not set out till the bulk of the people were gone, and then he went up, not openly, but as it were in secret; that is, he neither preached, nor wrought miracles by the way, nor had any crowd attending lim.
Jesus did not appear publicly immediately on his arrival in Jerusalem, which occasioned the Jews to dispute his character. Some affirmed that he was a true prophet, and that his not at, tending the feast might be owing to several accidents. Oihers affirmed that he was a deceiver, who paid no regard to the divine institutions. However, his friends defended him only in private, not daring to speak openly in his behalf, for fear of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. John vii. 11. Then the Jews sought kim at the feast, and said, Where is he? 12. And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man ; others said, Nay, but he deceiveth the people. 13. Howbeit, no man spake openly in defence of him, for fear of the Jews. At length, about the middle of the feast, Jesus came into the temple, and preached many important doctrines of true relia gion, with such strength of reason, clearness of method, and elegance of expression, that his enemies themselves were astonished, knowing that he had not the advantage of a liberal education.' 14. Now, about the midst of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple, and laught. 15. And the Jews marvelled, soying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned ? 16. Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me: The doctrine which I te ch you is not the product of hue man wisdom. I have neither been taught it by masters, or have I acquired it by my own study; but it is the doctrine of God who has inspired me with it, because I am his messenger. He
412 A PARAPHRASE AND COMMENTARY [Sect. 76. told them likewise, that they could be at no loss to know from whence he, or any teacher, derived his doctrine, provided they were themselves virtuous persons, had laid aside their prejudices, and were resolved to do the will of God, how contrary soever it might prove to their own inclinationis. 17. If any man will do his will (Beant to demuest doty posty, is de irous to do his will) he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, of whether I speak of myself. Good men can easily judge of any teacher, whether he and his doctrine come from God, not only because the divine wisdom and goodness are interested to secure such from capital errors, but because they themselves have no predominant evil inclinations to prejudice them against the truth, when it appears; and because they can discern how far any doctrine is conformable to the principles of virtue, which they possess. Hence, if one teaches what makes for the advancement of his own worldly interest, or for the gratification of his pride, or any other evil passion, the doers of the will of God will immediately know that such a teacher is an impostor. 18. He that speaketh of kimself, seeketh his own glory. Whereas if a prophet proposes doctrines, which have a tendency to reform men and to advance the glory of God, without regard to the opinion of the world or to his own interest, he must certainly be sent of God, and should not by any means be suspected of imposture; but he that serke eth his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him: no falsehood, no design to deceive the world.19. Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? There is a remarkable beauty in this sudden turn of the sentiment. Some of the Jews called Jesus a false prophet, because on the Sabbath he had healed the paralytic, who lay in one of the porticos of Bethesda, (John v. 9.) pretending that it was a gross violation of the law of Moses, which no good man, far less a prophet, would be guilty of. In answer to these evil surmises, he told them plainly, that however much they pretended to reverence the authority of Moses in his law, they made no scruple to violate the most sacred of his precepts; they had entered into á resolution of murdering hin, direcily contrary to every law of God and man, and for the same end were laying secret plots against his life. This reproof came in with singular propriety and force, immediately after Jesus had, by the most convincing arguments, proved his mission from God. John vii. 20. The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil; either thou art mad, or thou art actualed by the. malice of the devil, (see on chap. vii. 48. $77.) who goeth about to kill thee? 21. Jesus answered and said unto them, * ]
. * Ver. 21. I have done the work, and ye all marvel.] With this clause should be joined the words dice Teto, in the beginning of the next verse, if