it, Nazareth about the centre, and Capernaum in the East. This part of the country was, probably, the most populous, being situated upon the sea of Galilee, which employed a great number of ships.

Our Lord spent all the early part of his life at Nazareth ; but probably was not conspicuous. He began to work miracles at Cana in the West, but presently, leaving that place, he spent the first part of his public preaching in the more populous country, about Capernaum, in the East; after he had opened his commission, as we may say, in Judea, and especially in the parts near Jordan, where John had borne witness of him, and pointed him out to the people.

During the first weeks of his preaching in Capernaum and the neighbourhood, he was closely attended by his disciples, who may be supposed not to be yet qualified to preach themselves. But before he left Galilee for that time, he removed to Nazareth and its neighbourhood, where the people must have been in some measure prepared to receive him; and not having much time to spend there, he sent out the twelve apostles, two and two, to assist him in going over that part of the country, which seems to have been but thinly in.' habited.

After pentecost our Lord made a progress through Trachonitis, and to the utmost northern boundary of the land of Canaan, towards Tyre and Sidon. During this part of his stay in Galilee, it is not improbable but that his disciples might assist him in preaching the gospel, though it be not particularly mentioned.

Taking his final leave of Galilee, Jesus sent out seventy disciples, to preach in the larger country of Judea. He also several times visited the country beyond Jordan ; nor was Samaria by any means neglected by him.

Upon the whole, all the country that was formerly possessed by the twelve tribes, may be supposed to have been pretty equally enlightened by the preaching of the gospel, and to have enjoyed nearly equal advantages, during the course of our Lord's public preaching.

For “ A Jewish and Julian Calendar for the Time of the Public Ministry of Christ," and " A Chronological Table of Considerable Events from the Beginning of the Reign of Herod, to the Death of Christ,” annexed to these Observations, in 1776 and 1780, sce the last Volume of the present Edition.

Since the Note 1, supra, p. 48, was printed, I have found the following remark, by Whiston : “Dr. Bentley revived, from his own perusal of Matthero, Mark and Luke—that Valentinian notion, that our Saviour preached only one year.-This notion came first from Dr. Bentley to Dr. Hare, and from him to his pupil, Mr. Nicholas Mann-who demonstrated an impossibility, as well as an impossibility could be demonstrated.” Memoirs, Ed. 2, 1753, pp. 101, 102. See Biog. Bril.

P. 245.






Our Saviour's Ministry.

Multa renascentur quæ jam cecidere ; cadentque
Quæ nunc sunt in honore-

Horace, De Art. Poet. I. 70.

[Birmingham-1780 and 1781.]





[ 1780.]


MY LORD, I THINK myself honoured by the notice your Lordship has thought proper to take of my Harmony of the Gospels, in the notes annexed to your own ; # and as the greatest candour is conspicuous in every thing your Lordship advances in opposition to my hypothesis, you will, I doubt not, receive what I shall now urge in defence of it with equal candour.

Our subject is not, indeed, of the first importance to us as Christian Divines, but it is a matter of some moment to us as critics. On both sides, our object, I am confident, is truth, and that we shall equally think we have gained an advantage, if any thing should be advanced on either side that shall contribute to the discovery of it.

* Translated in 1775, from Dromore, to which he had been appointed in 1766. In 1779 he was translated to Waterford, and in 1795 to the Primacy of Armagh. Archbishop Newcome died in 1800, aged 70. He “ descended from a Nonconformist family."

Several interesting Letters from this Prelate to Dr. Toulmin were commu. nicated by Dr. T. in 1806, to the Monthly Repository. In one, dated Waterford, Sept. 7, 1794, the Bishop says, “Dr. Priestley seni me, as a parting mark of attention, bis last volume of Sermons on the Evidences of Revelation.” See Mon. Repos. I. pp. 456—458, 518-520.

+ The former of these Letters is contained in my English Harmony of the Evangelists ; but not being large, it is now reprinted, that the whole correspondence might be before the reader in a more convenient form. It was the more expedient to do this, as my correspondent has set me the example of quitting the form of bis Har. mony, in printing his Letter, and as it is uncertain how far this amicable controversy may extend.

When the whole is completed, these Letters may make a volume of themselves. (P.) Advt. 1780.

1 “An Harmony of the Gospels : in which the Original Text is disposed after Le Clerc's general Manner; with such various Readings at the Foot of the Page as have received Wetstein's Sanction in his Folio Edition of the Greek Testament. Observations are subjoined, tending to settle the Time and Place of every Transaction, to establish the Series of Facts, and to reconcile seeming Inconsistencies. By William Newcome, D.D., Bishop of Ossory,Dublin, 1778.

With this full confidence I take the liberty to address to yourself what has occurred to me in considering your objections to my hypothesis, or rather that of Mr. Mann, but more truly still that of the ancients. For there is no doubt that our Lord's public ministry having extended no farther than one complete year was the opinion of the earliest Christian fathers who have mentioned the subject, and that, with very few exceptions, it continued to be so till the time of Eusebius. * The opposite opinion, therefore, being the novel one, may rather seem to require something that should be called an apology. However, as the less ancient opinion (viz. that of our Lord's ministry having continued two, three, or four complete years) has long been the prevailing one, and was, I believe, universally so before Mr. Mann revived that of the ancients, † I who have adopted it am content to call myself an apologist on this occasion ; and, as one of this class, I beg your Lordship's attention to the following replies to your remarks; and very happy should I think myself if your Lordship would condescend to enter into an amicable discussion of the question with me.

Hackneyed as the subject has been, there is much new matter before us ; and if, by this or any other means, a general attention could be drawn to subjects of Christian literature, it would (as, I dare say, your Lordship will be of opinion) be a considerable advantage in an age in which every thing relating to religion is manifestly getting out of sight, even with respect to the generality of those who do read and think; which was by no means the case formerly.

Not a century ago, there was, I believe, hardly any man of letters who did not read and study, so as to pretend to have some opinion or other on almost every theological question. Whether they liked or disliked, theological writings were interesting to them ; whereas at present every thing that savours of theology is by the generality treated with indifference, if not with contempt.

I flatter myself, however, that the prevailing indifference to these subjects is not even now so very great, but that if divines of your Lordship’s rank and character would follow the example of your Lordship, and shew that they have the subject of religion so much at heart as to write about it,

* Sec supra, p. 47.

+ See ibid. p. 48.

« ElőzőTovább »