Oldalképek
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

wards, in which he was sure to be carefully watched, would be sufficient to alarm his enemies, and to induce him to withdraw himself from their envy and malice.

Lastly, Peter and Andrew, James and John, the first of our Lord's disciples, did not particularly attend upon him till after his arrival in Galilee; which I think is a presumption, that he had not spent much time in preaching elsewhere ; a great part of our Lord's business being to instruct his apostles, and train them up to their future services in the church.

II. Matthew, indeed, mentions Jesus's dwelling at Capernaum ; but he could not mean that he resided there for

any long time together; since our Lord himself sufficiently intimated, that he had no fixed habitation during his public ministry, when he said, (Matt. viii. 20,) “ The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head.” It is possible that the meaning of Matthew might be, that our Lord's family, that is, his mother and brethren, removed to Capernaum about that time, as they are expressly said to have done by John (ii. 12) a little before the passover, though they did not make a long stay at that time, but went up to the feast. We also afterwards find Jesus's mother and brethren at Capernaum, and in the neighbourhood, when his brethren are expressly said not to have been his disciples.

Or, perhaps, our Lord's dwelling at Capernaum may only mean that it was the place where he most frequently was, during his stay in Galilee. And we do, indeed, find that this town was, as it were, the centre of our Lord's business, and the terminus of all his journeys.

But notwithstanding this, we may infer that Capernaum did by no means particularly engage-the attention of Jesus, from his joining Chorazin and Bethsaida with it, in the woc which he pronounced upon those places in which his mighty works had been chiefly done, for not improving the opportunities his presence had afforded them.

II. As to our Lord's preaching in all the synagogues of Galilee, mentioned Matt. iv. 23, the time that he was absent from Capernaum, on that very progress, does not admit of its being understood literally. For Mark, describing the very same progress, in language similar to that of Matthew; saying, (i. 38, 39,) that he left Capernaum

“to go into the next towns” to “preach there also," and that “he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out

devils ;" yet says, (ii. 1,) that “he entered again into Capernaum, after some days” only.

Besides, these general expressions concerning Christ's preaching in all the towns of Galilee, though introduced in this particular place, may refer to all the time that he passed in that country, in which it is probable that few of the places escaped him or his disciples ; and that he omitted no opportunity of preaching in the synagogues wherever he could onveniently go.

Luke, indeed, says, (iv. 31,) that when Jesus “ came down to Capernaum,” he “ taught them on the sabbath-days, TOIS Gabbars; from which some infer, that he spent several sabbaths there at that time; and Dr. Doddridge, in enumerating the objections to Mr Mann's hypothesis, seems to lay stress on this circumstance. * But there are several instances, in the New Testament, in which the plural of raßBatoy is used for the singular, as in Matt. xxviii. 1, olle de sabbatwy, which we render “in the end of the sabbath." Indeed it could not have been rendered otherwise ; for it means that one particular sabbath on which our Lord lay in the grave. Mark ij. 23: “ And it came to pass that he went through the corn-fields on the sabbath-day; EV TOIS 0a66001. Also this evangelist Luke (xiii. 10): “And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath,” EV TOIS Cabbari.

But the most decisive argument is derived from the parallel part of the history, as related by Mark, (i. 21,) who makes use of the same expression with Luke, in relating the same events on the same day. “And they went into Capernaum, and straight-way on the sabbath-day (TOLS 64b6a0w) he entered into the synagogue.” Then follows the history of the cure of the demoniac, and of Peter's wife's mother, &c. exactly as in Luke. It is evident, therefore, that Luke meant only one day, though he uses the plural number, and the very same day that Mark_doth, whose expression (though the same with that of Luke) we translate in the singular number.

IV. The mission of the twelve is generally supposed to have taken up a considerable time; but from the circum. stances in which it is related by all the evangelists, it doth not appear that the apostles could have been absent more than about a week, on that occasion.

According to Matthew, all that intervened between the mission of the twelve and their return, (intimated by the

See his Note on John vi. 4, Fam. Expos. 1761, 1. p. 509.

transactions in which we find the disciples with our Lord) is the discourse concerning John; and all that intervened between them, according to Mark and Luke, are, the very same discourse, and the alarm of Herod on hearing of the miracles of Jesus; though they place both the mission of the twelve, and the discourse concerning John, in different parts of the general history.

If it be said that the charge which our Lord gave then, Matt. x., is too particular, and too solemn, for so short an excursion ; I answer, that upon any supposition, the charge he gave

them on that occasion will be found to respect several circumstances that could not happen in that particular mission, but must refer to their general mission afterwards ; especially what he says concerning their behaviour when carried before magistrates and kings, and concerning persecution unto death.

Besides, though the twelve might return pretty soon after their first excursion, occasioned by their being alarmed on hearing of the death of John the Baptist, we need not suppose that the mission expired at that time. It might be resumed occasionally afterwards, and especially in the latter part of our Lord's preaching in Galilee.

V. Luke is the only evangelist who mentions the mission of the seventy; and he says, (x. 1,) it was during our Lord's journey to Jerusalem, when he took his final leave of Galilee, and that they were sent “into every—place whither he himself should come;" and he speaks of their return, in ver. 17 of the same chapter, before he mentions his arrival at Jerusalem. It is evident, from the circumstances of the history, that our Lord made this journey more privately than any others, and arrived at Jerusalem in the middle of the feast, which was that of tabernacles. Perhaps, therefore, he dismissed his train, partly with a view to travel with less appearance of ostentation ; and they might only go to those places through which he himself intended to pass, in his road to Jerusalem at that time. Though, it is possible, however, he might mean the places where he should come afterwards, in the stay he, from that time, made in Judea ; but still, being so many of them, and going two and two, they would soon have visited every place in that small country. And if they followed the example of our Lord, in his excursions from Capernaum, they stayed a very short time in any place, probably seldom more than one day. This mission also might be resumed occasionally as well as that of the twelve, for Galilee.

But all these particulars will perhaps be seen in a stronger point of light, when I shall give a succinct view of all our Lord's history, in the order of time; and collect all the notes of time, and other marks of transition, that are preserved in any of the evangelists. This is such a view as, I flatter myself, will shew not only the possibility, but also the probability of this scheme of a harmony, in a manner independent of all other arguments in its favour.

VI. When our Lord was discoursing with his disciples at the well, in his journey to Galilee, he says, John iv. 35,

Say ye not, There are yet four months and then cometh harvest?” This, according to some critics (and among them Sir Isaac Newton) implies that, at the time of this journey, it wanted four months to the harvest; and consequently must have been some time in December, which by no means suits Mr. Mann's hypothesis. But I would observe, that this time of the year doth not at all agree with what is generally, and with great probability, supposed, that the heat of the weather concurred with the fatigue of travelling to increase the thirst our Lord complained of; but that it agrees remarkably well with the supposition of this journey having been made about a week after the passover, or about the middle of April; especially as it is said, (John iv. 6,) to have been “about the sixth hour” of the day, or noon. Wherefore Grotius, Whitby, and many other commentators, suppose that our Lord quoted a known proverbial expression which implied that four months generally intervened between seed-time and harvest. And whether there was such a proverbial expression current among the Jews or not, I cannot help thinking there was a peculiar propriety in the observation at that time. Our Lord, in his conversation with the woman, had, as it were, been sowing the seed of the word ; and he foresaw the immediate effect of it.

He therefore says, four months commonly intervene between seed-time and harvest, but I have only just now sown, and, lifting up your eyes, you will see, by the multitudes crowding to us, that the fields are already white for my harvest.

VII. Another objection arises from the much grass that is said to have been in the place where our Lord fed the five thousand; and which, it is thought, doth not well agree with the time of the year in which Mr. Mann places this event. But Mr. Mann places it before pentecost, * and it might be about the latter end of April, or the beginning of May that year; and though the greatest part of the grass in Judea be burnt up in the month of May, it is not very improbable that, in some favourable situation, some might remain, and even be green in the beginning of the month, supposing it to have been so late.

* John vi. 5: There was much grass in the place,' which in Palestine is ready for mowing in March, and is quite scorched up in May. It was therefore before pentecost." See True Years, p. ini,

As it is not the custom to mow the grass for hay in that part of the world, if there had been any grass in the place, it would, probably, have remained there all the summer, it being a desert place; and Mark, who was not present, is the only evangelist who mentions its being green.

VIII. It would rather embarrass Mr. Mann's hypothesis, to suppose that the Cana in which our Lord “made the water wine," and to which he went from Samaria before his arrival at Capernaum, was the Cana near Sidon ; because there would hardly be sufficient time for our Lord's journey on foot, and the stay that he made at Sychar, and probably in other places, before his arrival at Capernaum, time enough to admit of the events which intervened between that date and the feast of pentecost.

But there is no reason to suppose that that was the Cana, but another, much nearer to Capernaum, viz. that Cana which is mentioned by Josephus, as being so near to Tiberias, that, setting out from Cana in the evening, and travelling all night, with two hundred armed men, he arrived at Tiberias early the next morning. † Nor, indeed, do I see why the Cana mentioned in the Gospel should be called Cana in Galilee, but to distinguish it from some other place of the same name, in another district, probably from the Cana near Sidon, which was properly in Phænicia, as that term appears to have been used in the time of our Saviour and the apostles.

Thus Tyre, which was south of Sidon and Cana, is called (Acts xxi. 2, 3) a city of Phænicia, and a woman living in that neighbourhood, whose daughter was cured by our Saviour, is called (Mark vii. 26) a Syro-Phænician, and“ a woman of Canaan,” (Matt. xv. 22,) perhaps from being an inhabitant of this very Cana, and not a Galilean. Besides, Josephus distinguishes this Cana from the other by calling it a city of Cæle-Syria ;£ and he represents Galilee as bounded by Phænicia, including Ptolemais, Tyre, &c., so

* The preceding paragraphs of this Section are part of Essay II. Theol. Repos. II. pp. 51-59. See supra, p. 54, Note.

+ See “Life of Flavius Josephus," Sect. 16, 17, Whiston, fol. p. 662. 1 Antiq. B. xiii. Ch. xv. Sect. i. ii.; War, B. i. Ch. iv. Sect. vii. viii.

« ElőzőTovább »