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no doubt, Purprised the bridegroom, who knew nothing of the matter, and occasioned an inquiry to be made about it. It is reasonable, therefore, to suppose, that the servants were publicly examined, and that the company received an account of the min recle from them. For it is expressly said that by it, Jesus manifested his glory, i. c. demonstrated his power and character, to the conviction of the disciples and of all the guests. This beginning of mirucles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory ; and his disciples believed on him. Being the first miracle they had ever seen Jesus perform, it tended not a little to the confirmation of their faith, and made his fame spread over all the neighbouring country.
From Cana Jesus went, with his disciples, to Capernaum, and from Capernaum to Jerusalem, to the passover, which, it seems, was approaching. After this, he went down from Capernauin to Jerusalem, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples, and they continued there not qnany days. And the Jews' passorer wus at hand. and Jesus went up to Jerusalein. None of the evangelists mention any further particulars of our Lord's history, between his baptism and this, which was the first passover in his ministry. But his transactions at the feast itself are mentioned by John. It is, therefore, probable, that though Christ's ministry really commenced immediately after his baptism, it began to be inore publicly exercised at this passover.
As the evangelists have not expressly determined the number of passovers which happened between the baptism and death of Christ, or during the course of his public ministry ; so it is well known that learned men have been much divided in. their opinions about them. By far the greater part have supposed there were four, reckoning this the first; the feast mentioned John v. 1, the second ; the passover spoken of, John vi. 4, as the third; and that at which Christ suffered, the fourth ; but there are others of a different opinion. The celebrated Sir Isaac Newton reckons five ; the first, that which is now before us ; the secoud, according to him, happened four months after Christ's discourse with the woman of Samaria [John iv. 35.]; the third, a few days before the story of the disciples rubbing the ears of corn (Luke vi. 1.); the fourth, a little after the feeding of the five thousand ; and the last, at the time of our Lord's crucifixion. Mr. Manne, and, after him, Dr. Priestly, have, with great learning and ingenuity, attempted to revive a long exploded notion, that Christ's ministry continued but sixteen months ; so that there were but two passovers during the whole course of it. Mr. Whiston's reasoning against this hypothesis, in the sixth of his late dissertations, appears to be unanswerable. For he there shews, that if this vas true, Christ must have travelled, on an average, near ten miles a day, during the course of his ininistry. Besides, the transpositions in scripture, which this would introduce, seem very unwarrantable and dangerous; and, among other difficulties, it is none of the least that Mr. Manne is obliged to suppose that Christ only purged the temple at his last passover, and, consequently, that St. John has misplaced this story, though verse the twenty-fourth of this chapter, and verscs 22, 23, 24, of the next, afford such strong arguments to the contrary.
While Jesus was at the passover he signalized himself in the metropolis, by driving the buyers and sellers out of the temple, and by pouring out the changers' money, and overturning their tables. It seems, the officers, whose province it was to take care of the temple, permitted a market of oxen, shcep, doves, and other things necessary for sacrifice, to be kept in the court of the Gentiles ; by which means, there was often such a bustle and confusion there, that the proselytes, who came up to worship, could not hut be much disturbed in their devotions. The changers of money were people who gave the Jews from foreign countries current money of Judca, in lien of the money of the countries from whence they had come, and, for that service, took a
small premium, in which the profits of their business consisted. These being gross profanations of a place set apart for the worship of God, Jesus thought fit to correct them, and he had a right to do it because the temple was his own house. (Mal. iii. 1.7 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, (with which they were used to tie the heasts to some rings fixed in the pavement for that purpose,) he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and thc oxen, and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables. And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence, the cages wherein the pigeons were exposed to sale, pointing to thein, make not iny Father's house an house of merchandise ; make not the temple, which is dedicated to the worship of God, a place for carrying on low traffic. It is remarkable, that the persons in the fault did not offer to make the least resistance, probably, consciousness of guilt restrained them, or the wonderful things which Jesus bad performed at this festival made them afraid to resist him. Or they may have been intimidated by the energy of our Lord's miraculous power on their minds. Nevertheless, in the apprehension of the disciples, he exposed himself to great danger, by turning out a body of factious men whom the priests and rulers supported. Ou this occasion, therefore, they called to mind that text in the Psalıns, where it is said, “The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up,” imputing their Master's action to such a concern for the purity of God's worship, as the Psalmist of old was animated by. The truth is, this affair had the marks of an extraordinary zeal, a zeal nothing inferior to what the prophets were famed for, which was the reason the rulers came to him, and desired to know by what authority he had undertaken singly to make such a reformation in the house and worship of God, especially in reference to matters which had been declared lawful by the council, and the doctors of the greatest reputation. And if he had any real authority for doing such things, they required him to shew it them, by working a greater miracle than he had hitherto done. Jesus replied by referring them to the miracle of his own resurrection. Only in appealing to it as a proof of his mission from God, he prudently expressed himself in terms somewhat obscure, that the Jews might not be hindered from accomplisbirg the divine purpose. Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up, pointing, perhaps, to his body, which, with the greatest propriety, he called a temple, on account of the divinity residing in it. But they, supposing that he spoke of Herod's temple in which they were standing, replied, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days ? but he spake of the temple of his body. When, therefore, he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. They believed the scriptures, which predicted Messiah's death; and they believed the more firmly in their Master, on account of this prophecy, which, by foretelling his resurrection so long before-hand, rendered that event, when it happened, a more illustrious proof of his mission from God.
The time which the Jews said the temple was in building deserves some remark, Josephus, in the first book of his wars with the Jews, tells us, “ that in the fifteenth year of his reign, lie (Herod) repaired the temple itself, and inclosed a space of ground about it, of double the compass with that which surrounded it before." But in the Antiquities, xv. 14, he corrects this note of time. “In the eighteenth year of his reign, Herod projected the rebuilding of the temple.” Some attempt to reconcile the passages by supposing, that, in the one, Herod's reign is dated from the decree of the senate; and in the other, from the death of Antigonus ; for the eighteenth year, from the decree of the senate, is coincident with the fifteenth from the death of Antigonus. But though this solution of the difficulty should be admitted, it cannot be refused that we have Josephus, in one passage, telling us, Herod did that which
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in the other, he said he only projected to do. For which reason, we may suppose, if we please, that the Jews dated the rebuilding of the temple from Herod's proposal to repair it, rather than from liis actually falling about the work. The proposal was made, probably, at the passover, in the eighteenth year of his reign, from the death of Antigonus, A. U. 734. And forty-six years, the time mentioned by the Jews, and it brings us to the passover, A. U. 780, A. D. 27, the ycar after John began his ministry, reckoning the fifteenth year of Tiberius from its commencement two years before the death of Augustus, as Suetonius has fixed it. Or, though the offer was made by Herod at any other of the great feasts that year, it will occasion a difference only of a few months. Herod finished what he proposed in about eight or nine years' time, for he reared the temple itself in the space of one year and an half, that is, made it fit for the sacred ministrations in that time, and the cloisters in eight years. But, it seems, a number of workmen had, for many years after, been constantly employed in beautifying and improving the buildings of the temple ; for the whole was not finished before the arrival of the procurator Florus, A. D. 65, as Josephus expressly testifies, Antiq. xx. 8, where he also informs us, that the people employed in this work amounted to eighteen thousand, and that they were paid out of the sacred treasury. The saying, therefore, of the Jews to our Lord, [icho ii. 20.] is perfectly consistent with the account which Josephus has given ; for though the reparation of the temple might, in so long a tract of years, meet with interruptions, it is probable they were short, and not worth mentioning.
During the whole of this passover our Lord 'performed many miracles, on purpose to engage the attention of the people. They read, every day, in their sacred books, astonishing accounts of miracles; but it was several ages since any thing supernatural had happened among them publicly. Wherefore, miracles being now revived again, they were beheld, no doubt, with great pleasure, and made a strong impression upon the spectators, leading many of them to believe in Jesus as the Messiah. Now, when ke was at Jerusalem, at the passover, in the feast day, or rather during the feast, i. e. the whole days of the solemnity, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit hiniself unto them, did not discover himself to be the Messiah, because he knew all men, had perfect knowledge of their dispositions. And needed not that any should testify of man, for he knew what was in man : on the present occasion, he knew that the belief of many was not yet grown up to a full conviction, and foresaw that they would quickly fall off when they found he was rejected by the great men, and did not erect a secular empire.
Of his knowledge of men's minds our Lord gave a remarkable proof in a conversation he had, during this passover, with one Nicodemus, of the sect of the Pharisees, and & member of the council, or, as others suppose, a ruler of some synagogue. This doctor had heard our Lord's miracles much talked of, perhaps, had seen some of them, and, like many of his countrymen, was thinking that he who did such things must be Messiah. On the other hand, the meanness of his appearance occasioned scruples which he could not remove. In this state of doubtfulness lie resolved to wait on Jesus, that, by conversing with him personally, he might find out the truth. [John iii. 1, 2,1 He came to Jesus privately for fear of his brethren of the council, who, from the very beginning, were Christ's enemics, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a facher come from God, for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God se with him. Christ's miracles left Nicodemus. no room to doubt of his mission from God, yet they did not prove him to be the Messiah, because he had not as yct called himself by that name, at least, in the hearing of Nicodemus. Wherefore, when the later told Jesus that he believed him to he a teacher come from God, he insinuatej
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that, at present, he aid not believe on him as Messiah, but that lié would believe if he assumed that character ; and, by these insinuations, modestly requested Jesus to explain himself with regard to his pretensions. It is remarkable that the evangelist introduces this passage of the history with observing, that Jesus know the thoughts of rill men. Probably, he meant to signify, that, in the course of the conversation, he prevented Nicodemus, by forming his discourse to him in such a manner as to obviate all the objections which his thoughts had suggested, without giving him time to propose them. This will appear the more forcibly if we consider the following brief statement of the subjects of this conversation, as given by Dr. Doddridge. Our Lord touches on the following grand points, in which it was of the utmost importance that Nicodemus and his brethren should be informed. That no external profession, nor any ceremonial observances or privileges of birth, could entitle any to the blessings of the Messiah’s kingdom :—that an entire change of heart and life was necessary to that purpose :—that this must be accomplished by a divine influence on the mind :that mankind were in a state of condemnation and inisery :-that the free mercy of God had given his Son to deliver them from it, and to raise them to a blessed immortality, which was the great design and purpose of his coming :—that all mankind, that is, Gentiles as well as Jews, were to share in the benefits of his undertaking :that they were to be procured by his being lifted up on the cross, and to be received by faith in him :--but that if they rejected him there was no other remedy, and their eternal aggravated condemnation would be the certain consequence of it. Our Lord might enlarge more copiously on these heads, which it might be the more proper to do, as some of them were directly contrary to the notions commonly entertained by the Jews concerning the Messiah's kingdom. (John iii. 3:] Jesus answered and said unto him, verily, verily, I say unto thee, Exccpt a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God, i. e. cannot enter into it, just as to see death is to die. By the Jews being begotten and born again, our Lord meant that their notions of things should be rectified, and their inclinations changed, particularly the notions concerning the sccular grandeur of the Messiah, and their passion for sensual enjoyments, their error concerning the immutability of the Iosaic law, and their hatred of heathens, more for taeir opposition to the Jewish institutions than for the wickedness of their lives. He meant, also, that their manners were to be greatly reformed, even in matters which, they pretended, were allowed by the law ; for example, they were to abstain from all degrees of lust, profane swearing, revenge, and uncharitableness. Nor was this change of opinions, dispositions, and actions, necessary to the Jews only. The Gentiles, likewise, needed to be begotten and born again, in order to their entering into the kingdom of God; for they entertained very low and dishonourable sentiments of the perfections of God, of the worship that is due to him, and of the method of appeasing ħim, not to mention that they erred in many 'essential points of morality, and, in their practise, came far short of their own imperfect ideas of virtue. Nay, to make even them, who, from their infancy, have been blessed with the gospel, the true subjects of God's kingdom, there must be a total change of opinions, inclinations, and actions, wrought in them; for as the apostle tells us, I Cor. ii. 14. The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. Conversion, therefore, has, in all ages, been a great and surprizing effect of the divine power upon the human mind, producing a change, the full extent of which cannot be better expressed than by the terms regencration, begetting again, new birth, which import the communication of a new nature. And upon the diversity of men's dispositions before and after the change, are founded the names of old and new man, by which the apostle denominates our un converted and converted states; as if, when converted, men obtained a nature.es
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