صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

by practice and experience, a much better knowledge of the Greek, than had been communicated by the miraculous gift of tongues : and, on that account, the style of his later work is quite unlike that of his first. The same critics might, with equal reason and equal satisfaction to their readers, have remarked also, that the same superior advantage of time and experience had given him a knowledge of the . Platonic philosophy, of which, in his earlier days, he was entirely igporant; for whoever the writer of this Gospel really was, it must be evident to every competent, unprejudiced judge, who reads it in the original, particularly the exordium, that he was well acquainted with the writings of Plato.

According to the tradition, that John was the Apostle who, in this Gospel, is said to have been the beloved disciple of Jesus, and to have leaned upon his bosom, at the last supper, the book itself tells us he was the author; for, speaking of him, c. xxi. v. 24, it says, “ This is the disciple which testifieth of “ these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true:" but since it is unaccountable, how any writer should speak of himself in such a manner as this, the same critical sagacity has invented a mode of solving this difficulty also, and informs us, merely upon its own conjecture, that the Gospel written by John ends with the twentieth chapter; and that the following chapter is an addition made afterwards by the Church of Ephesus : by which means, the palpable falsehood contained in the last verse, under the pretence of an hyperbole, is also entirely thrown upon the same Church. However, since both the diction and credibility of the narrative appear to be the same in the twentyfirst, as in all the other chapters, the whole seems to merit to be accounted equally spurious, or equally genuine and authentic. Let us bring the whole, therefore, to the proposed test; observing, by the way, a gross contradiction between this writer and the pretended Matthew, at the very outset: for, c, i. v. 32, he tells us, that John the Baptist declared he did not know Jesus to be the destined Messiah, till he saw the Holy Spirit descending on him; whereas the Gospel of Matthew, c. iii. v. 14, informs us that he knew him as soon as he came to hiin; and, at first, refused to baptize him, “ saying, I have need to be

baptized of thee, and comest thou tó me?" Yet still the orthodox receive both these Gospels for the genuine works of Apostles; and believe both these contradictory assertions to be truth, and even the inspired word of God!!!

Luke informs us, that, previous to our Lord's having any particularly attached disciples, he wrought many miracles in the different cities of Galilee, especially at Capernaum, where he healed Simon's mother-inlaw of a fever; and, since not the least hint is given of his being a different person of the same name, from the situation of Capernaum, from his so readily receiving our Lord on board his fishing boat, and letting down his net again at his command, contrary to his own opinion and inclination, it is natural to conclude, that it was the same Simon of Capernaum who, with the sons of Zebedee, struck with the wonderful draught of fishes, superadded to the cure of his wife's mother, immediately forsook their former occupation and their homes, and became the first faithful followers of Jesus. This writer, on the contrary, with whom, if he was the Apostle John, Luke long lived, and must have frequently conversed upon the subject at Jerusalem, after our Saviour's death, informs us, c. i. v. 35, &c. that before our Lord had worked any

miracle, two of the Baptist's disciples, one of whom was Andrew, whoin he also makes Simon Peter's brother, without any call from Jesus, being told by John that he was the Lamb of God, followed him and attached themselves to him; and that. Andrew induced his brother Simon to do the same, by telling him they had found the Messiah or Christ. So that Simon Peter instead of being the first, as Luke represents him, according to this Gospel, was only the third of our Lord's disciples; and none of them were induced by any such motive as the miraculous cure of a disease or the extraordinary draught of fishes ; and far from telling us, like Luke, that Zebedee's sons, John and James, commenced disciples and followers of Jesus at the same time with Simon, the pretended John gives no account at all of the time or manner of their becoming disciples; but-telling us that Simon and Andrew were not citizens of Capernaum, but of Bethsaida; that Philip of the same city was called to be the fifth, and Nathaniel the sixth disciple, who, though declared by our Lord to be without guile, was not one of his Apostles, nor is ever once mentioned in any other history--the author goes on to inform us, that the beginning of our Sa

viour's miracles was his turning water into wine, at à marriage feast in Cana, to which he, and his mother, and his disciples, werc invited. How others can, with satisfaction to their own minds, receive both these contradictory histories for truth, I know not; to me it appears incontestable that one of them is fictitious and false.

According to Luke, our Saviour never went out of Galilee from the commencement of his public ministry till the feast of the Passover, at which he was crucified; and, upon his going to Jerusalem on that .occasion, after entering the city amidst the acclamations of the multitude, who proclaimed him their promised king, he began (i. e. attempted) to eject those out of the temple, who indecently, as predicted by Jeremiali, c. vii. v. 11, made that house of prayer a place of traffic and unjust gain; a circumstance which, it is by no means probable, should have occurred to : him twice. This writer, on the contrary, tells us, that a few days after his miracle at Cana, he went up to Jerusalem, to the feast of the Passover; and that there, in what would appear a sudden paroxysm of frantic zeal, if he were not représented as deliberately cool enough to plat.

« السابقةمتابعة »