« السابقةمتابعة »
not possible, that both these contradictory assertions should be true; and on which the guilt of falsehood rests, every man must judge for himself.
IV. The fourth chapter commences with the most extraordinary and incredible narrative of our Lord's forty days fast, and subsequent temptation, by that manichean, imaginary being, denominated the Devil. A narrative, which, I have before observed, there is the strongest reason to believe, was from hence interpolated into Luke's history, in the second century, together with the story of his Baptism by John. And as the mortification of long fasting, or (to use Paul's prophetic language, respecting the first authors of the apostasy from the true religion of Christ) frequent abstinence from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanks. giving, was held amongst the sect of the Encratites, that arose early in the second century, to be the next meritorious virtue to celi. bacy and unnatural chastity, there seems no doubt but that the whole Gospel, and this fable in particular, was the production of one of that apostate sect of professed Christians, with a view to authorize and encou
rage the general adoption of the tenets of their own superstition, by the pretended example of our Lord himself. In verses 13, 14, 15, we have another remarkable instance of the author's very imperfect knowledge of the geography of Palestine, which cannot be supposed of any native of the country; as well as another direct contradiction to the much more probable account given us by Luke. As if he imagined the city of Nazareth was not as properly in Galilee, as Capernaum was, (which indeed seems implied also in the second chapter, where he tells us Joseph $6 went aside, not into Galilee, but “into " the parts or coasts of Galilee,”) he informs us, that after John's imprisonment, our Saviour departed into Galilee, and, leaving Nazareth, came and dwelt at Capernaum, in order to fulfil: a saying of Isaiah's, respecting the country beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the Gentiles. Now to Isaiah, or any inhabitant of Judea, the country beyond: must be the country east of the Jordan, as Gaulanitis or Galilee of the Gentiles, is well known to have been; whereas, Capernaum was a city on the western side of the lake of Gennesareth, through which the Jordan flows., This whole story of the removal of Jesus from Nazareth to dwell at Capernaum, is also in direct opposition to the history of Luke ; for he assures us, c. iv. that the reason of our Lord's leaving Nazareth was, because the inhabitants, offended with his discourse to them, drove him out of their city, with intent to throw him headlong from an adjoining precipice; but that he escaped through the midst of them, and went down to Capernaum, where he preached to the people for a short time, and wrought many miracles of healing; but was so far from taking up his dwelling there, that, though the inhabitants entreated him to stay and not depart from them, he left them saying, he must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also ; for that was the purpose of his mission.
In the last verse of this chapter, the au. thor informs us, that great multitudes of people followed Jesus, amongst other places, from Decapolis ; and speaks of this Decapolis, not only as a particular country or province, but as a country, which did not lie eastward of the Jordan, because he expressly distinguishes it from “ the country beyond 6 Jordan;" and the writer called Mark, speakmg of the same Decapolis, c. vij. v. 31, more than insinuates that it was a country lying north-west of the sea of Galilee ; for he tells us, that Jesus “ came from the coasts of
Tyre and Sidon, to the sea of Galilee,
through the midst of the coasts of Décapolis. These are circumstances, which merit the critical attention of every candid reader, who wishes to satisfy himself, respecting the true time when these two Gospels were really written: for no such country as Decapolis is once mentioned by any other writer of either Testament; and, from the geographïcal description of Palestine, given us by Luke, confirmed both by Josephus and Tacitus, it appears that in the fifteenth year of Tiberius, and during his whole reign, the Jewish territory was divided by the Romans into four tetrarchies, Judea in the south, which was go. verned by a Roman prefect ; the north-eastern tetrarchy, which contained Trachonitis, Iturea, and Batanea, with Gaulanitis, or Galilee, east of the Jordan, under the governinent of Philip, a son of Herod; the western, comprehending Galilee proper, and all the country west of the Jordan, and north of the prefecture of Judea, to which was annexed the province of Perea, on the eastern banks of the Jordan, governed by Herod, another són of Herod the great ; and Abilene, so
called from its metropolis Abila, including, except Perea, all Palestine east of the Jordan, and south of Gaulanitis, subject to the dominion of Lysanias. Under this division by the Romans, its conquerors, Palestine seems to have remained, until the reign of of the emperor Claudius, who, Tacitus informs us,* erected several smaller principalities or prefectures in that country, to gratify his freedmen and favourite Roman knights, alluding, most probably, to the toparchies that Judea was, at length, divided into, which are enumerated, though with some little difference, by Josephus and the elder Pliny, and to some others which are occasionally mentioned by Josephus. In the twelfth year of his reign, Claudiust gave the country, which had formed the tetrarchies of Philip and Lysanias, as a kingdom, to Agrippa : but though Josephus particularly describes the kingdom allotted by the Emperor to that Jewish prince, and the several additional grants of territory, which were made to him afterwards; though several of the ten cities which, Pliny tells us, were generally reckoned to compose the Decapolis, were situated in the country expressly said to be
+ Jos. Ant. I. xx. c. 5
* Hist. 1. v. c. 9.