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Jesus, we have room enough for it. Our Lord might land at Capernaum early in the morning, and, after healing the sick of the palsy, be walking by the sea-side, and call Matthew long before noon; so that before evening there was time enough to make any entertainment, and invite his friends. During that entertainment was the discourse with the disciples of John, and during that discourse Jairus waited upon Jesus; and the raising of his daughter, healing the woman who had the bloody issue by the way, giving sight to two blind men, and curing a demoniac, comprise all the remaining events of the day; and they are no more than might easily fall within the compass of a day. Admitting, however, that these events took up two days, it appears that we have even three days for them.
As to Matthew's accounts, which have been urged by some; they might, for any thing that we know, have been settled in an hour. Perhaps, having just made his payments, they required no settling at all; or that business might have been done by means of a friend. The story is so told, that we cannot but suppose that Matthew became a follower of Jesus from the very day on which he was called. The sons of Zebedee immediately left their father, their nets, and every thing, and followed Jesus forthwith; and why should we allow Matthew any longer respite?
If, with Luke, we suppose the sabbath on which Jesus. healed the man who had the withered hand, not to have been the same with that on which the disciples plucked the ears of corn, (though I think it most probable that they were the same,)* we shall not be in the least embarrassed with respect to this harmony; for as this evangelist mentions no events as happening between these sabbaths, and gives no note whereby we can fix the time of them, we may suppose that they were mentioned in the same place, because the transactions in them were similar, and not because they were contiguous. We may, therefore, suppose that one of the sabbaths was the 17th of April, the 8th or 15th of May, or, indeed, any sabbath during our Lord's stay in Galilee.
If we consider the events that passed between this sabbath on which the disciples plucked the ears of corn, and on which Jesus healed the man with the withered hand, and the sabbath on which he was rejected at Nazareth, we shall not see the least reason to suppose that any other intervened between them; for we have no more transactions than are
* See supra, pp. 80, 81. (P.)
expressly limited to one day, and hints of what might require two or three.
Having incurred the violent resentment of the Pharisees, by the transactions of the last-mentioned sabbath, Jesus retired into a desert place, whither the multitudes followed him, "and he healed them." Matt. xii. 15. At this time, also, he set apart the twelves aposles. Mark iii. 13, 14.
Admitting that these things took up Sunday and Monday, Tuesday the 27th of May, will be the day on which he cured the blind and dumb demoniac, and held the discourse by the sea-side, as recited in the preceding view of the Harmony.* On Thursday, therefore, the 29th, he might set out for Nazareth, and reach it the next day.
From the sabbath on which he was rejected at Nazareth, May 1, to the feast of pentecost, which was on Thursday, May the 20th, we have two weeks and five days, and no account of any transactions that took up more than three or four days, except the mission of the twelve, which, as I have shewn, † could not well take up much more than a week.
Supposing the mission to have been on Sunday the 2nd of May, the return may be fixed for Sunday the 9th; and on the day following, Monday the 10th, Jesus might feed the five thousand, be seen walking on the sea that night, and hold the discourse concerning bread the day following, Tuesday the 11th.
As the moon changed on the 13th of this month, she would be then in her last quarter, and consequently give light in the morning, by which Jesus might be seen at a dis tance from the ship. But I do not see that the history necessarily requires the light of the moon. It is not said at what distance Jesus was seen from the ship, and it being then "the fourth," or last "watch of the night," (Matt. xiv. 25,) it must have been near break of day. Besides, the stars give more light in the clear atmosphere of Judea, than they generally do with us; and, except in the rainy season, the nights are seldom cloudy, and it was harvest time.
Upon this supposition we shall be at liberty to defer the return of the twelve till Thursday the 13th, and this will be the more convenient, as it will allow just sufficient time for feeding the five thousand, and the discourse about bread, which, being delivered in the synagogue of Capernaum, was probably on the sabbath following.
If I have acquitted myself to the satisfaction of my reader
Supra, p. 66.
+ Ibid. p. 59. (P.)
in the computation of time for the preceding part of the history, it must, I imagine, be allowed, that every difficulty attending the hypothesis I am endavouring to support, is surmounted, as far as it depends upon this computation; since, in the remainder of the history, we have fewer facts, and much more time for them. Indeed, it might be expected, that the sacred historians would be more circumstantial in their account of the first part of our Lord's ministry. The events of it being all new and extraordinary, would make a deep impression on their minds; and each of them, having related an event or discourse of any kind, would have little inducement to relate another that was similar to it, and that occurred later in the history. But the last events in the history, being much more striking and important than the rest, are related with great particularity by them all.
From the feast of pentecost to the feast of tabernacles, which was on Friday the 24th of September that year, was eighteen weeks; whereas the events belonging to this interval cannot be supposed to have taken up one half of them. It doth not appear that Jesus made any long stay at Jerusalem at this feast. The reason that is given why he did not choose to walk in Judea at that time was, that "the Jews sought to kill him ;" and that resolution was formed on the first sabbath after the feast, when he cured the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda.
The first event upon record after Jesus's return to Galilee is his discourse concerning traditions. Supposing this to have been in the neighbourhood of Capernaum, his journey from thence to the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, being about 60 miles, might take a fortnight or three weeks. As he made this journey in a private manner, which we may infer from his hope of not being known when he "entered into a house," at the end of his journey, Mark vii. 24, (an expectation which he could not have formed, if he had travelled by slow stages, preaching and working miracles all the way,) and as he is not said to have done any thing in that country, besides curing the daughter of the Syrophanician woman, we may conclude that the whole excursion could not have taken up more than the time above-mentioned.
After his return we find him travelling through the coasts of Decapolis, on the eastern shore of the sea of Tiberias, where he cured one man who had an impediment in his speech, and another who was blind. As this whole territory did not exceed twenty miles in length, we may allow a week
or a fortnight for this progress, at the end of which, being in a desert place, where the multitude had been with him "three days," Mark viii. 2, (that is, probably two nights and part of three days,) he again fed them by a miracle.
Immediately after this event, Jesus went by ship to the parts of Dalmanutha," (Mark viii. 10,) or "the coasts of Magdala," (Matt. xv. 39,) on the same side of the sea, where he discoursed with the Pharisees concerning the sign from heaven. After this he crossed the sea, and at Bethsaida cured a blind man. For these events a week may certainly be deemed more than sufficient.
The next journey we have an account of is to Cæsarea Philippi, about forty miles; when, on the way, he began to foretell his sufferings, which is expressly said to have been "six days" before the transfiguration, (Matt. xvii. 1,) on a mountain near Capernaum. If we allow a fortnight for this excursion, we shall have found events for no more than six or eight of the seventeen weeks that he was in Galilee at this time, allowing one week for his journey to and from Jerusalem. For, from the transfiguration to our Lord's taking his final leave of Galilee, nothing is said to have happened but the cure of the demoniacal child at the foot of the mount, and some discourses at Capernaum in that neighbourhood. However, as Jesus did not set out for this feast till after "his brethren were gone up, (John vii. 10,) and did not arrive at Jerusalem till about the middle of it, ver. 14, (going, perhaps, for the greater privacy, by the country "beyond Jordan," Matt. xix. 1,) we may allow a few days more for his stay in Galilee at this time.
A very few days might suffice for all that passed at Jerusalem at the feast of tabernacles, as it consisted chiefly of discourses with the Jews, related in the eighth and ninth chapters of John.
What passed between this feast and the feast of dedication, nine weeks afterwards, we are no where informed; so that, to fill up this chasm, I have been obliged to insert in this, place all those discourses and incidents mentioned by Luke, which I did not know how to dispose of better. It is probable, that the manner in which our Lord passed his time in Judea was so similar to the preceding part of his ministry in Galilee, that the evangelists, who all appear to have studied conciseness, thought it superfluous to relate the particulars. There is, however, an absolute silence in all of them from this time, till within a few weeks before our Lord's
death; except that John only mentions a few particulars of what passed at the feast of dedication, (chap. x.) and the resurrection of Lazarus.
All that is said to have passed between the feast of dedication and the last passover, an interval of more than sixteen weeks, are the discourses beyond Jordan, the journey from thence to raise Lazarus, the retreat to Ephraim, and the last journey through Jericho to Jerusalem; all which can hardly be supposed to have taken up four weeks.
It is by no means necessary for me to go over the remainder of the history, as all harmonists are agreed with respect to the time in which it was comprised, though they differ in their arrangement of particular facts. Not but that a review of the history of the last week before our Lord's death, would be favourable to the hypothesis I am endeavouring to support, as it would exhibit a scene of much more business than I have had occasion to bring into any two weeks before.
It certainly appears, upon the whole, that one year was abundantly sufficient for all the events recorded in the evangelical history. No person, reading Matthew, Mark, or Luke, could possibly have imagined that they took up more; and every thing is perfectly easy in John, admitting the transposition of one chapter, the present connexion of which evidently shows it to be out of its proper place; and the interpolation of the word passover before feast of the Jews; a mistake so easy, in some early transcriber, (by taking into the text a marginal illustration of some person's, who rashly supposed the passover was the feast referred to,) and so much like other mistakes that are generally supposed to have been made, since these books came from the hands of the original writers, that a much smaller advantage than is here proposed by it would justify us in admitting it. In fact, other critics have admitted it for different, and less weighty reasons. There are persons, however, who would not alter the present copies of the New Testament, though they were obliged to suppose that the public ministry of Christ lasted forty years instead of four, which is the general hypothesis.
I shall conclude this Section with observing, that, according to the preceding disposition of our Lord's history, we have an easy plan of his public ministry, and observe a pretty equal distribution of his labours, to instruct and convert the people of the Jews. For, almost all the former half of the year was spent in Galilee, and the latter in Judea.
Galilee is a country of about forty miles in length, lying East and West, and about fifteen, or in some places twenty miles in broadth Cana is situated on the Western part of