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own native language, Hebrew: and what credit op regard ought to be paid to an unknown translator, who presumes to translate any work, and, above all, a work of importance, into a language of which he himself is not thoroughly master ? A work, however, so evidently borrowed in many passages, and in some literally transcribed, from Luke, and in all the rest of it so badly written, cannot be a translation of any original Hebrew work; but must have been composed, in the yery form in which we have received it, long after the publication of the Gospel of Luke, and consequently not by Matthew nor any other Apostle. Indeed if, after all the instructions of their great Master, and the supernatural illumination of their minds, by divine inspiration, any one of them could still remain so ignorant of the propriety of the common forms of speech, as to tells us, our Saviour compared the kingdom to the personage of his parable, who represents the King, he was very unlike those preachers of Christianity, whom we read of in the Acts, and very unfit for the important object of his mission. But let us pass by this obvious solegism at the beginning, and attend to the meaning of the parable, as it is explained by the author himself, v. 37, &c. We are there given to understand that, according to the system of the Manichees, the world, even under the Gospel Covenant, is still subject to the influence of two opposite principles, .counteracting each other ; that as fast as Jesus Christ, the delegate of God, sows the seeds of virtue and righteousness amongst men, his equally potent enemy, the Devil, sows the seeds of vice and wickedness; that God himself cannot cause the wicked to be rooted out of the world, without destroying the righteous with them ; that, therefore, the good and bad will always remain blended together amongst men, whilst the world lasts; but that, at the end of the world, the angels will separate them, and the wicked will be thrown into hell-fire ; but the righteous will be received with honour into the kingdom of God. By the writer's giving that appellation to the future existence of the virtuous, in a state of happiness and immortality in heaven, it is manifest that, whoever he was, he did not understand our Saviour's meaning in that expression, so frequently used by him, and so peculiar to his Gospel ; for, besides
that no other writer of the New Testament uses it in that sense, the obvious meaning of the second petition of the Lord's Prayer, and of all the prophecies of both Testaments, relating to the Messiah or Christ, makes it refer merely to the state of human affairs in the present world, and not to that future state which is to succeed the general resurrection : -and, instead of teaching us, like this parable, that sin and wickedness will continue amongst men to the end of this world, all the other scriptures assure us, that the very purpose of the mission of Christ, and the preaching his Gospel, is to eradicate, and put an end to; the growth of these tares of vice and iniquity ; and that the reformed state of mankind in the present world, under the universal influence of the righteousness and moral virtue of the Gospel, is what is peculiarly denominated the kingdom of God, or of his Christ. Who then can believe that an Apostle of Jesus Christ could either be so ignorant of the great end and design of the Gospel, or so culpably daring as to put into the mouth of our blessed Saviour a doctrine so absurdly false and impiows as is taught us in this parable, and so directly contradictory to every idea
given us of the new covenant of the Messiah by all the other sacred writers, whether Jews or Christians ?
The two prophetic parables or similitudes introduced at verses 31 and 33, are transcribed evidently from Luke; so that there is nothing worthy of remark in them, except that the author, from his own misconceived idea, that what Luke calls the kingdom of God, means the future state of the virtuous in heaven, has, in both these cases, changed it for the kingdom of heaven, as he has done in most instances throughout his book, though he is the only writer who has made that alteration of the phrase.
In the two next parables, verses 44, 45, and 46, we have the same idea held out to us of the kingdom of heaven, as meaning a future state of happiness; only in the latter, the author has been guilty of a similar solecism to that observed in the parable of the wheat and tares; and, instead of comparing the eternal happiness of heaven to the pearl of great value, as he does to the hidden treasure in the former, he here compares it to the trader, who purchases the pearl.
In the last of these seven parables, v. 47, this writer gives us another idea of the king
dom of heaven, according to which, it signifies, neither the earthly nor the heavenly state of men, but the day of general judgment, and final distribution of punishments and rewards to the wicked and the just. So, little consistent is he with himself, as well as so contradictory to the best attested scriptures ?
IV. In the fourteenth chapter, we have a very singular story told us, of the cause of the death of John the Baptist; but it is the peculiar fate of this historian, to have almost all the uncommon facts he, has related, unconfirmed by any other writer, Luke, though he mentions John's being beheaded by Herod, speaks of it in the person of Herod, as his own voluntary act, and gives not the least hint, that he was artfully drawn in to murder him, against his own inclination: and Josephus, who is equally silent about the daughter of Herodias, pleasing Herod by her dancing, expressly assureș us, that Herod, after he had imprisoned him; put bim to death, because he was jealous of the great influence his character and preaching had upon the people, and because he thought it easier and more prudent, by his death to prevent any insurrection upon bis account, than to inflict