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foot, and thrown into outer darkness, there to remain weeping and gnashing his teeth.
VI. At the close of the twenty-third chapter, we meet with a very remarkable instance of this writer's ignorance of, and astonishing inattention to, the meaning of Luke's history, though he has made so free and copious an use of it in patching up his own. The reader will recollect, that, in the thirteenth chapter of Luke, our Saviour is represented, whilst he was yet in Galilee, as breaking out into a beautiful, pathetic ejaculation, upon the foresight of his own death, and the consequent destruction of the city of Jerusalem; and, though he was urged to hasten out of Herod's jurisdiction, saying, he should still stay a few days longer in Galilee, and predicting that the people of Jerusalem should not see him, till they were prepared to receive him with exclamations of “ Blessed is he that cometh “ in the name of the Lord;" a prediction which, we have seen, was literally fulfilled, at his entering Jerusalem upon a young ass, as the prophet Zechariah had foretold. But this writer having already, in his own extraordinary manner, related the accomplishment of that prophecy, in the twenty-first
chapter, here, when our Lord is actually teaching at Jerusalem, in the temple, not only makes him utter the same tender apostrophe to that city, but makes him also add the same prediction of the people's hosannas, at his entry into Jerusalem, after it had been fulilled, “ For I say unto you, ye shall not “ see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed « is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” What meaning the writer could intend to convey by these words, I cannot imagine; because such a prediction, given at the date which he has assigned to it, even according to his own history, was not completed, and was, therefore, absolutely false : for, in the very next chapter, he informs us, that, as soon as our Saviour had so said, he left the temple, and went out of the city, to the Mount of Olives, from thence to Bethany, where he was a guest to Simon the Leper; and though he returned again to Jerusalem to eat the Passover, and was seen by the whole city, during his examination before the council, and before Pontius Pilate, and at his crucifixion, yet no such circumstance, as is here predicted, is so much as said to have taken place.
The twenty-fifth chapter contains two more parables, the first entirely this author's, in which the kingdom of heaven is compared to ten virgins, half of them prudent, and careful to be always prepared for the expected coming of the bridegroom ; and the other half improvident, and unprepared for his sudden appearance. Here again we have a just representation of the state of mankind in general, under every other system of religion ; but not at all suited to the circumstances, that are predicted of the world under the Gospel Covenant, when it is become the kingdom of God. This parable, therefore, is another proof that the writer either did not comprehend, or, at least, did not believe, the universal, moral reformation of that prophetic state of man in the present life; and, consequently, that he was not an Apostle of Jesus Christ.
The next is the parable of the talents, which is evidently an imitation, though a very aukward and faulty one, of Luke's parable of the ten pounds. In the latter, our Saviour is represented as distributing the advantages of light and knowledge displayed in his Gospel, in the same equal proportion, to all his followers of every rank and degree, as is strictly the case ; because his precepts and religious instructions are equally intelligible to all ; but, since the natural powers and abilities of men are very different, his servants are described, as making different degrees of improvement of those equal advantages, except one, who, corresponding to those persons, who, having been instructed in the religion of Jesus Christ reject it, as the unwarranted imposture of an artful, unjust man, refused to make any use of them at all.* The pretended Matthew, on the contrary, makes him distribute his talents in the most partial, unequal manner-one only to one of his fol. lowers, twice as many to another, and five times as many to a third, as he himself expresses it, “ to every man according to his “ abilities ;” as if the religious instruction of that Gospel, so peculiarly preached to the poorest and most illiterate, was not equally intelligible to men of all capacities and degrees. The latter part of this chapter is a description of the day of judgment, and expressly teaches, not only that the righteous will then be rewarded with eternal life in heaven, but also, that the wicked will suffer everlasting punishment. There is such palpable injustice ascribed to the righteous Lord of heaven and earth, by all those who represent him as inflicting infinite punishment for the definite, momentary offences of finite creatures, that such a doctrine would make me strongly suspect the authenticity of any scripture in which I found it; and it is with great satisfaction I can remark, that this doctrine is peculiar to this spurious Evangelical history, and as repugnant to the positive declaration of the other scriptures of the New Testament, as it is to strict justice and the voice of reason ; for they assure us, that, not an endless life of torment, but utter destruction and a second death await” the unreformed wicked. The history of our Saviour's eating the Taschal lamb with his Apostles, and of the in
* It should be remarked, that the word napkin, used in this ser, vant's answer, in our copies of Luke's Gospel, is a Latin word, written in Greek characters; but that it cannot be the word originally used by Luke himself, is manifest from the obvious sense of the sentence, and the participle annexed to the substantive napkin, which is not wrapped or tied up, but laid up ; for the servant means to tell his Lord, that he has kept the pound deposited in a place of security, tbat he might be sure of receiving his own, when he returned, though nothing more ; accordingly, in this parable attri. buted to Matthew, he is said to have concealed the money under ground; but a napkin is no place of security to lay up money in ; and therefore, the deficiency of the original word in the earliest copies of Luke, has undoubtedly been capriciously supplied, by some unskilful copiest of the second century.