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it would again become a subject of general attention; and from speculative religion (and such inconveniences as, with such beings as men are, must be expected to arise from the discussion of it) some practical good will not fail to accrue. In all controversy, let who will be the combatants, the chances must, in the end, be in favour of truth, and religious truth has numberless connexions with virtue. Bishop Pearce's Commentary, and Bishop Lowth's Translation of Isaiah, together with your Lordship’s Harmony of the Gospels, already give us some prospect of the revival of a more general attention to theological studies.
All your Lordship’s objections to the hypothesis I have endeavoured to support are drawn from internal considera. tions, exclusively of all foreign evidence; and though I cannot help wishing your Lordship had entered into a free discussion of the whole, I have no great objection to resting the evidence on internal arguments ; thinking the opinion of our Lord's public ministry having continued only one complete year, much more agreeable to what appears on the face of the history itself than any other. The circumstances that your Lordship
thinks bear the hardest on my scheme are the following: The stay that you suppose our Lord must have made at Jerusalem and in Judea, at and immediately after the first passover; the time that must have been taken in his journey from thence to Galilee, and his travels about that country. All these articles I shall, therefore, consider in the first place, and then make a few other observations.
1. Your Lordship supposes, that Jesus continued at Jerusalem at least during all the eight days of the festival, whereas I do not find that any thing is said to have been performed by him at that passover that requires more than the few days that I have supposed him to have stayed there at that time, especially as on my scheme, (and I have nothing to do with any other,) he did not cleanse the temple at that time. But admitting this, it could not be the business of more than an hour or two; and both that transaction and the miracles he is said to have wrought there at that time, wbich are only mentioned in general, and not specified, might, for any thing that we know to the contrary, have been dispatched, even in one day, and Nicodemus might visit him the evening of the day following, or even of the same day. For that visit is full as likely to have followed the first hearing of the miracles as not; and in a crowded city, as Jerusalem was at that time, it cannot but be sup
posed that the news of a thing so new and extraordinary would spread through the whole in a single day.
As to what your Lordship observes about the time of Jesus cleansing the temple, in reply to Mr. Mann's arguments, Bp. Pearce's, and my own, * I shall only say, that, after giving the closest attention to your remarks, I do not see that it by any means amounts to a sufficient answer. therefore still decisively of opinion, that this transaction, perhaps the boldest, and the most provoking of any thing that he ever did, respecting the Jewish rulers, is to be referred to the last passover, when he had no farther mea. sures to observe with respect to them. This, however, not being essential to my hypothesis concerning the duration of our Lord's ministry, I shall not enter into a particular discussion of it.
Also with respect to the transposition of the fifth and sixth chapters of John's Gospel, I am fully satisfied with resting it on the evidence that has already been advanced in support of it. +
2. On our Lord's being said to tarry in Judea, and to make more disciples than John, before his return into Galilee, (John iii. 22, iv. 1,) you lay very great stress.
But how o the word əsaspi6w" should necessarily import "a considerable space of time,” when you acknowledge, that in the book of Acts, (xxv. 6, xx. 6,) "it is sometimes restricted to ten or seven days,” II do not see. Indeed, I see no reason why, if the context will admit of it, it might not be restrained to a single day, or even a few hours, just as we actually use the word tarry or stay; longer or shorter being only terms of comparison, what is long in one respect being short in another.
But what you lay the most stress on is the circumstance of Jesus making more disciples than John in this interval, interpreting this to mean, that he was then making and baptizing more disciples than John had ever made and baptized.” S Your Lordship, however, must allow me to say, that I find no authority whatever for this interpretation in the evangelical history, the whole tenor of which appears to me to be evidently contrary to it. It is not even at all probable that Jesus made so many disciples as John did by all his preaching, of whatever extent you make it. John appears to have been almost universally well received ; but
* See “ Bp. Newcome's Notes on the Harmony," pp. 7-9. + See supra, p. 50.
Notes, p. 9.
Ibid. p. 11. (P.)
Jesus, for reasons that I have no occasion to enlarge upon here, was by no means so.
All that can be meant, therefore, is, that Jesus, at this opening of his ministry, made more disciples than John did at that particular time, which is altogether indefinite.
And after the miracles he had begun to work, and especially in Jerusalem itself, in the neighbourhood of which he then was, it can be no wonder that more attention should be given to him at that time than to John, who never pretended to work miracles, whose preaching was not then new to them, and whose ministry was then nearly expiring; having, indeed, according to every thing that appears, few new disciples to make. Our Lord may, therefore, well be supposed to have made more disciples than John did in these circumstances, and yet not have made very many,
But admitting that he made disciples in some considerable number, let it be considered how many converts Peter made by one discourse, and it cannot be thought very extraordinary, that the successful preaching of a few days, accompanied, as his preaching was, with the working of miracles, at that time a new and astonishing thing, and the advantage he derived from the immediately preceding testimony of John, who was held in universal esteem, and the general expectation of the Messiah, should be sufficient to account for all that the evangelist has said on this occasion ; especially considering that the thing was not so considerable as to have been even noticed by any other evangelist than John, though it was prior to any thing that they have related of the ministry of Jesus, when it was least likely to escape their notice, if it had been at all considerable. Your supposing, that, upon this occasion, our Lord“
proceeded-with that reserve and circumspection which his vicinity to the Jewish rulers seems to have required," * is hardly consistent with the supposition of his making so many disciples. John appears to have preached without any reserve at all, indeed with general approbation.
Besides this indefinite expression of tarrying in Judea, and the circumstance of our Lord's making more disciples there than John, you urge our Lord's saying, (John iv. 35,) “Say ye not after four months and then cometh the harvest ?" as if this must have been pronounced at the time of sowing barley; and therefore you fix this journey in November or December, and consequently you make our Lord's abode in
• Notes, p. 17. (P.)
Judea after this first passover about eight months ; though afterwards you content yourself with saying it could not be less than one month.
But is not this, my Lord, laying a great stress upon a very precarious foundation ? By our Lord's introducing this observation with Say ye not, I should rather conclude that he was quoting a known proverbial expression, which might therefore be used as well at one time of the year as another. And surely his resting himself at the well at six o'clock, or noon, rather leads us to imagine that he was fatigued and thirsty with travelling in the heat of the day, a short time after the passover, when also water could not be very plentiful, than that it was in the winter season.
You do not seem, my Lord, to have considered suffi. ciently the several inconveniences that must arise to your system from this stay of eight months in Judea, and of Jesus making so many disciples at that time. It is exceed. ingly evident that the great fame of Jesus in Galilee was subsequent to the miracles that he wrought after his arrival there, and that it was more especially occasioned by his curing the demoniac in the synagogue at Capernaum, and all the sick persons that were brought to him on the evening of the same day. Now is this easily consistent with our Lord's having made more disciples than Joho had ever done, when he may be said to have discipled and baptized the great mass of the Jewish nation? The report of miracles wrought so publicly, as those of Jesus subsequent to the passover generally were, could not but have spread very fast in that state of the Jewish nation, in a general expectation of the Messiah, heightened by the preaching of John.
Notwithstanding the great omissions that your Lordship observes there are in some parts of the gospel history, * it must certainly be thought very improbable, that Matthew, Mark and Luke should have known of this long stay of Jesus in Judea, and not have noticed it. Other omissions are generally of such things as were similar to such as they had noticed before, or of what, on some other account, they might deem unnecessary after what they had related. But here would be an omission of what may almost be called the very first open publication of the gospel, and of the first public miracles, of the greatest number of disciples that Jesus ever made, and likewise of the falling off of those disciples, which to me is altogether
*“The evangelists often omit very important events." Notes, p. 17.
unaccountable ; for on our Lord's appearance in Galilee we find him almost without attendants, and no crowds about him till after the cure of the demoniac at Capernaum.
Many things could not but have happened in these eight months, both discourses and miracles, that could not have failed to engage the peculiar attention of any person who should have been informed of them, and have undertaken to write our Lord's history; and yet the history of his appearance in Galilee is so written by three of the evangelists, as if they had no idea of any thing very material having been done by him before. This circumstance, considering the nature of the human mind, and the usual manner of writing history, I deem to be almost a demonstration, that nothing, at least nothing comparable to what followed, had then happened.
According to my disposition of these events, the whole, as I cannot help thinking, must appear quite easy and natural. Before the passover our Lord had wrought a single miracle at a private marriage in Cana. It is probable he had not at that time preached in public at all, or wrought any miracle of a more public nature. The first of this kind appear to have been those performed at Jerusalem during the feast; and yet because they are not distinctly mentioned, even by John, (who knew that no notice whatever had been taken of them by any of the other evangelists,) it is probable they fell far short of the magnitude of those wrought afterwards in Galilee; and indeed it might naturally be expected that some kind of gradation would be observed in these things, and that our Lord would not pass without any interval from such a miracle as that at Cana, which was not known, in the first instance, but to the servants of a private family, to those of such éclat as he performed afterwards.
In Galilee also the gospel is always said to have begun. Thus the Jews before Pilate accusing Jesus, say, (Luke xxiii. 5,) “ He stirreth up the people, teaching through all Jewry, beginning from Galilee, to this place.” Peter also preaching before Cornelius, says, (Acts x. 37,) “ That word ye know, which was published throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;" and he expressly says afterwards, (ver. 39,) “ And we are witnesses of ALL things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem.” Could he with truth have said this, if he had known of Jesus' having preached eight months in Judea before he had preached in Galilee at all, and of his having by that preaching made more disciples than John had done in