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supper; so that, according to this writer, Judas might or might not have been present at it; but it rather coincides with the account of John, for it cannot be supposed that Judas would stay in the company after being so particularly pointed at.
The order of narration is the same in Matthew (xxvi. 21) as it is in Mark, and as this writer represents Judas himself as asking, among the rest, whether he himself was the person that was hinted at, and says that our Lord expressly told him that he was the person; it is still more difficult to conceive that, according to this account, Judas should stay till after the institution of the Lord's supper.
Is it not probable, upon the whole, that Luke, who was not present at this scene, but had his relation from other persons, was mistaken in his conception of this transaction, and that he wrote with the idea, which the perusal of his history necessarily conveys to his readers, viz. that Judas was present at the celebration of the Lord's supper, and partook of it along with the other disciples? Do not Matthew and John clearly suppose the contrary, and as they were themselves present at the transaction, is it not more probable that their account is most to be depended on?
Some may think it more probable that Luke, notwithstanding what has been observed, might have had a just idea of the order of these transactions, but might purposely transpose them, with a view to bring together his accounts of the two questions that were agitated among the apostles at that meeting; one of which was prior to the celebration of the Lord's supper, viz. which of them should betray him; and the other posterior to the institution, viz. which of them should be the greatest; for after having related the former, he introduces the latter as in connexion with it, and there was also a strife among them, &c. But it may be replied, that these two debates had no sort of connexion, (if, indeed, the former can be called a strife, or debate,) and therefore did not require to be brought together, especially at the expense of historical truth.
Grotius supposes, that the sop which Jesus gave to Judas, did not belong to the paschal supper, but that it was the bread which he brake, and distributed to them in the institution of his own supper, dipping, or putting his hand into a dish that contained it, every time that he gave any of them a piece. So that this great man would, in a manner, reconcile the account of the evangelists upon the
supposition that Judas did receive the bread in the Lord's supper, but not the wine.
Dr. Macknight supposes that Judas partook of the Lord's supper, which, he says, might take up a quarter of an hour, though he is said to have gone out immediately (EVIEWS) after he received the sop belonging to the paschal supper, and though he had been so particularly pointed out as the betrayer of his Master. But it sits easier upon my mind to suppose one of the evangelists to have been mistaken, in a thing of so little consequence, than to reconcile them in this manner.
Mr. Wait thinks that the Lord's supper was introduced in the middle of a common supper, which he supposes followed the celebration of the paschal supper, and that Judas partook of them all, along with the rest of the disciples. But what reason is there to suppose that the Jews had any other supper besides the paschal lamb itself, no part of which was to be left till the morning? Besides, is not the supposition of an interruption in this supposed common meal, for the sake of instituting the Lord's supper, very unnatural? And what is gained by reconciling the histories of the evangelists at such an expense of probability?
§ 6. Of the Time when Jesus foretold Peter's Denial of him.
It is not easy to fix the time when Jesus foretold Peter's denial of him. Matthew says, (xxvi. 31,) that it was after they had set out to go to the Mount of Olives; and Mark (xiv. 26) relates the facts exactly in the same order. But according to Luke, (xxii. 31-39,) the discourse concerning Peter's denial of him was previous to their going to the Mount of Olives; and John relates the discourse concerning Peter and several others, before he says, (xiv. 31,)" Arise, let us go hence." John is so very circumstantial in relating all the transactions towards the close of our Lord's history, that I prefer his account, though it is not favoured by Matthew.
Some suppose that, notwithstanding the words of John, last quoted, our Lord did not leave the place where he spake them; because, in xviii. 1, it is said, that "when Jesus had spoken these words," viz. the prayer for his disciples,
"Mr. Robt. Wait, Minister of Galston," who published "The Gospel History, from the Text of the Four Evangelists, with Explanatory Notes," 8vo. This writer "proceeded upon the supposition, that there were four passovers during our Saviour's public ministry, according to the common opinion." Mon. Rev. (1765,) XXXII. pp. 189–191.
&c. "he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron." But I do not see for what purpose the evangelist would have mentioned our Lord's saying, "Arise, let us go hence," if they had not actually gone; and I see no difficulty in supposing, that, as it was night, probably very still, and certainly moon-light, Jesus might discourse as he went along, at least that he might stop at some place without the town, and before he went over the brook.
§7. Of the Day of the Passover in the Passion-week.
Critics have been exceedingly puzzled to determine whether the Thursday on which Jesus instituted the Lord's supper was the proper day of the Jewish passover; and several circumstances have contributed to make this question of somewhat difficult solution. Had there been no other Gospel besides those of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, there would, I think, have been no doubt but that the passover had been on the Thursday, and that our Lord joined in the celebration of it at the same time with the rest of the Jews. On the other hand, had there been no other Gospel than that of John, there would have been as little doubt but that Friday had been the day of the passover; and therefore that our Lord either did not celebrate it at all, or that he anticipated the day appointed by the law. All these writers, however, being present at the transaction, it is impossible that they should have had different ideas of the matter.
John (xii. 1) calls the day before the triumphant entry into Jerusalem, of which Palm Sunday is a memorial, (and therefore on this, as well as on other accounts, may be concluded to have been on a Sunday,)" the sixth day before the passover." In relating the transactions of the Thursday, he says not a word about the passover; but on the day following he represents the Jews as refusing to go into Pilate's Judgment-hall, "lest they should defile themselves, but that they might eat the passover." (xviii. 28.) He calls the same day "the preparation of the passover;" (xix. 14;) and he calls the sabbath following a "high day," (xix. 31,) as if it was the feast of unleavened bread, which immediately followed the passover. Lastly, it is thought to favour this supposition, that Jesus would then die at the very time of the celebration of the passover, while the people were killing the paschal lambs in the temple, which would make a beautiful coincidence of the type with the antitype.
On the other hand, Matthew, speaking of the events of the Thursday, (xxvi. 17,) calls it "the first day of the feast of unleavened bread." Mark useth the same expression, (xiv. 12,) and farther says, that it was the day "when they killed the passover." Luke also calls it "the day when the passover must be killed." (xxii. 7.) They likewise all of them expressly say, that on the same day "they made ready the passover; (Matt. xxvi. 19; Mark xiv. 16; Luke xxii. 13 ;) and on the evening of that day Jesus and the twelve apostles sat down to supper, which, from what went before, it is impossible not to understand of the paschal supper. Luke also represents him as saying, during that supper, (xxii. 15, 16,)" With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer. For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God." From which we could not but take it for granted that he had then eaten of the passover for the last time.
At the same time none of the evangelists give the least hint of there being two days on which the passover might be killed, which some have supposed, one for the people of Galilee, and the other for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Besides that the law expressly fixes the killing of the paschal lamb to one particular time, viz. the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month.
I own I am clearly of opinion, that our Lord ate the passover at the precise time appointed by the law, and the same day on which the rest of the Jewish nation celebrated that feast. Indeed, I do not see how he that came [Matt. iii. 15]" to fulfil all righteousness" should do otherwise; or if he had, that the Jews, who were so attentive to his conduct, would not have made it an article of their charge against him; especially, considering how ready they were to cavil at him for his neglecting to observe their superstitious ceremonies, those for which they could not allege the authority of Moses or the law: besides, it cannot be supposed that any person would have been suffered to transgress the law so publicly as this must have been done.
Dr. Macknight, without seeming to have attended to these considerations, is very decisively of a contrary opinion; maintaining that our Lord anticipated the legal time for eating the passover. He says, that the lambs for the passover being by far too numerous to be killed by the priests and Levites, in the short space of time appointed for that service by the law, the people were allowed to perform this
service themselves; and, in proof of this, he rightly quotes two passages of Philo; but he did not consider that, though the people were allowed to kill the paschal lambs themselves, they were not allowed to do it when or where they pleased.
We find in Josephus, † that it was the universal custom that all the lambs should be killed on the same day, between the hours of nine and eleven, and only in the court of the temple. And in one of the very passages that Dr. Macknight quotes from Philo, he overlooks an expression which would have satisfied him that he was quite mistaken in the inference which he drew from it; for in the very passage in which he says the people killed the paschal lambs, without waiting for the priests, he likewise says that they did it in crowds, θυεσι πανδημει αυτων εκασίος τες ιερεις αυτων εκ αναμLEVOVTES:§ and Josephus shews how a computation was made of the number of people assembled in Jerusalem at the time of the passover, by the number of lambs which were killed between the hours of nine and eleven, || which would have been no datum at all for this conclusion, if every person had been allowed to kill his lamb privately, when and where he pleased, without any public inspection. This would also have been contrary to the most fundamental principles of the Jewish ritual, in which every thing was public, in order to guard against different customs and abuses.
I therefore take it for granted, that the account of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, is strictly just, and that we have misunderstood those expressions in the Gospel of John which have led many to entertain a different opinion. In numbering the days before the passover, I suppose him to have reckoned from the 15th day of the month, which, indeed, was properly the feast-day, being the feast of unleavened bread, and a day of holy convocation; and it must have been lest they should defile themselves on that day, that the Jews refrained from going into the Roman Judgment-hall; though I own I should not have expected that he would have expressed this by saying, (xviii. 28,)" that they might eat the passover."
It is true that the Friday is called "the day of the preparation," Matt. xxvii. 62; Luke xxiii. 54; John xix. 42;
Harmony, p. 94. (P.)
See also Reland's Jewish Antiquities, p. 269. (P.)
De Decalogo, p. 766. (P.)
De Bello Judaico, L. vi. C. ix. Sect. iii. (P.)
+ War, B. vi. Ch. ix. Sect. iii.