Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

that, in a relas after quaintance at this jo;

sovereign princes, were undertaken so very seldom, and then upon such urgent business, of a political nature, that I think we may presume, that Josephus not mentioning this journey, which would have been so very convenient to your Lordship’s hypothesis, is a proof that no such journey took place. We read of one journey that Herod made to Rome before the last fatal one. But it was at his return from this journey that he married Herodias. This, therefore, must have preceded his interview with John.

Considering, therefore, that this journey to Rome was prior to Herod's acquaintance with John, and his expedition against Aretas after the death of John, it is almost a certainty that, in all the interval between the imprisonment and the death of John, Herod was in his own dominions. The preparations, however, for this single campaign, which might take place in the autumn of this year, immediately following the death of John, will help my hypothesis, though it cannot serve that of your Lordship.

What Josephus says of Philip, Herod's brother, which your Lordship quotes, * viz. “ That he lived wholly in the country tributary to him," is mentioned by the historian as a proof of his moderation, and of his love of ease and quiet, and therefore probably refers to his engaging in no wars, and making no journeys to Rome, as other princes did; but cannot imply that either Herod, or any prince in those times, lived much out of their own countries. Herod, I doubt not, excepting his journeys to Rome, and the expedition against Aretas, neither of which, as I have shewn, could have happened in the interval in question (and this expedition could not carry him far from his own territories, or be of long continuance), lived in general at home, the duties of his station necessarily requiring it, as those of the Roman governor required him to be at Jerusalem.

Your Lordship conjectures, that Herod might “ usually reside in Peræa beyond Jordan.”+ But this was in the near neighbourhood of the very country where your Lordship supposes Christ to have preached publicly for several months, before and after the imprisonment of John.

Your Lordship says, that “a short interval, very thick sown with uncommon events, seems more remarkable than a long one through which the same events are dispersed. And when the attendance of multitudes on an eminent person is hardly intermitted, a jealous governor, and his adherents

Reply, p. 105. (P.)

Ibid.

(P.)

throughout his dominions, are more likely to be alarıned with apprehensions of tumult and sedition."*

But your Lordship cannot suppose that our Saviour either resided at any place, or travelled from one place to another, without preaching, working miracles, and, consequently, drawing multitudes after him. And since John (xxi. 25) says even that “the world itself could not contain the books that should be written," if every thing that our Lord did or said should be recorded, we are naturally led to think that he spent the time of his public ministry in a pretty uniform manner, except when the crowds of his hearers occasionally obliged him to withdraw himself from public notice for a few days. This, at least, appears to have been the plan of his conduct, till it was generally known that he assumed the character of the Messiah, which was not till some time after the death of John.

We do not find that our Lord ever omitted an opportunity of working any benevolent miracle, though he disappointed the Jews / Mark viii. 11, 12] of their “ sign from heaven.” Though he did not many mighty works”at Nazareth, [Matt. xiii. 58,] he, nevertheless, laid his hands, upon a few. sick persons, and cured them.” [Mark vi. 5.) Probably, no more were brought to him. Considering, therefore, that so many more miracles must have been wrought in the interval between the imprisonment and the death of John, on your Lordship's hypothesis than upon mine, the notoriety of them must, upon the whole, have been greater. Besides they were all of so extraordinary a nature, that certainly the chance of some of them, at least, reaching the ear of Herod must have been greater, in the space of two years, than in that of three or four weeks.

To what I say of the small size of the country of Judea and Galilee, t as favourable to the communication of intelligence, your Lordship says, “ It is not merely the size of a country, but the intercourse between places, which must be considered, when the question is, whether the knowledge of facts is likely to be propagated throughout it.”I

But, my Lord, a country so exceedingly populous as, by the account of Josephus, Galilee was, cannot but be favourable to the propagation of intelligence, Its several towns resemble the different parts of one extensive metropolis, each of which is almost within the hearing of the next. And, as your Lordship acknowledges, the public feasts of the Jews

* Reply, p. 102. (P.)

+ Supra, p. 129.

Reply, pp. 105, 106, in

were such a means of communication as no other country in the world was ever possessed of. Now in this very interval between the imprisonment and the death of John, there was not, according to my hypothesis, so much as one of these public feasts'; whereas, on your Lordship's, there were no less than seven. How much more easily then may it be supposed, that the fame of Jesus might not reach Herod on my hypothesis than on that of your Lordship! :

To make your hypothesis more consistent with the ignorance of Herod concerning Jesus, your Lordship speaks of our Lord's “ lowliness and prudence.”* But I do not see that this is very consistent with your Lordship's supposition of his cleansing the temple at the first passover. But let it be as great as your Lordship pleases, the object of his withdrawing himself from public notice was only to avoid occasional inconveniencies, and was often ineffectual. For we read, that the more he enjoined silence on particular persons, the more industriously they published his benevolent miracles in their favour.

they heard of Jesus, thought that John was risen from the dead :" and that “this opinion was likewise adopted by many of the Jewish people.”+ But this observation is certainly unfavourable to your Lordship's purpose. For though you say, that you “attend to the tenour of the Gospel history, and follow wherever it leads,” and that you are 56 little concerned about the inattention or avocations of Herod and his friends; about the strange doubts of caprice, or the strange resolves of a guilty conscience,” t it cannot surely be a matter of indifference to this question, that many of the Jewish people as well as Herod, entertained doubts whether Jesus might not be " John risen from the dead."

All these doubters cannot be supposed to have been absent from their country on expeditions to Rome, or against Aretas, or to have neglected their attendance at the public feasts for the space of near two years. Whereas in a populous country great numbers may be supposed to have been so inattentive to what passed in the short interval that on my hypothesis there was between the imprisonment and death of John, in which no public feast intervened, as, for a short time, to entertain some doubts about the matter.

Your Lordship speaks of it as a difficulty on both our

Reply, p. 109. (P.)
1 Ibid. pp. 114, 115. (P.)

# Ibid. pp. 113, 114. (P.)

schemes, that John did not speak of Jesus to Herod. But, my Lord, it should be considered that John had two distinct commissions, though the one was subservient to the other, viz. the announcing the approach of the Messiah, and the preaching of repentance. We read of soldiers and publicans applying to him, to learn how they should conduct themselves. Now the application of Herod might be of the same nature, and John might not think it necessary to say any thing to him more than to them, about the Messiah ; especially as this was sufficiently the subject of his public preaching. Besides, at the beginning of his preaching, John had not seen Jesus, and probably did not know at what distance of time he was to follow him; so that his having seen Jesus might have been after his interview with Herod.

I think it no difficulty on either of our schemes, though your Lordship considers it as one, * that John in his prison should hear of the works of Jesus, though Herod did not hear of them in his palace. The disciples of John were much more likely to be attentive to Jesus, than any person belonging to the court of Herod.t

SECTION IV. Of the Interpolation of the word Passover, in John vi. 4.

In the preceding Sections I have chiefly endeavoured to support the arguments for my own hypothesis against the attacks of your Lordship. In those that immediately follow, I shall endeavour to defend myself against your Lordship's arguments.

You are not satisfied with what, it must be acknowledged, the hypothesis I contend for absolutely requires, viz. the interpolation of the word tao ya in John vi. 4, because all the present manuscripts have that reading. You add, “Shall we then oppose to this, the conjecture of G. J. Vossius, Mr. Mann, Bp. Pearce, and Dr. Priestley, some of whom have

* Reply, p. 103. (P.)

+ " Il se peut faire facilement,” says Le Clerc, (on Matt. xiv. 1,) “ que ce Prince plongé dans les délices, et environné de gens qui lui ressembloient, n'entendit parler des miracles de Jésus-Christ.-Les gens de cour ont très-rarement du goût, pour ce qui ne flatte pas leurs passions, qui ne regardent que les richesses, les honneurs, et les plaisirs, et de s'informent que de ce qui y a du rapport." Le Nouv. Test. 1703, p. 60. (It might easily happen to that prince, plunged in dissipation, and surrounded by such, alone, as resembled him, never to have heard of the miracles of Jesus Christ. Courtiers, indeed, very rarely cultivate a taste for what neither flatters their passions, nor contributes to their riches, houours, or sensual delights; objects to which their curiosity is chiefly excited.)

been imperceptibly led to view this matter through a medium unfavourable to the discovery of truth?" *

Bishop Pearce, however, cannot be said to have been of this number; and a liberal and judicious critic, though he will not be wanting in a due respect for manuscripts, will not be a slave to them; and it is of itself, independently of any hypothesis concerning the duration of Christ's ministry, exceedingly improbable that the present should have been the original reading. This, however, has been so fully stated already, t that I shall not urge it any farther. But as your Lordship gives me a quotation from Vossius on this subject, I shall in return refer your Lordship to the late Mr. Bowyer's observations on this text, in which he approves of the omission of the word tar you, and adds other things in support of Mr. Mann's hypothesis in general, I which I did not know that he was any favourer of before.

Your Lordship says that the greenness of the grass at the time to which the events mentioned in this chapter belong, is an argument that it was immediately before a passover, and therefore that the present was probably the true reading. I readily acknowledge that this is a circumstance in your Lordship's favour. But though the grass in general be burned up in May, in the country of Judea, there might be particular places in the neighbourhood of a fresh-water lake where it was not so; and besides, I have a resource which your Lordship has not in this case. For I can easily suppose that Mark, who is not known to have been present at the trans* Reply. pp. 117-119. (P.)

+ See supra, p. 17. I“ John bad spoken of the passover, Ch. ii. 13. If he had mentioned it here again, would there be any need of his adding an explavation of the word ? G. Vossius, therefore, (De Annis Christi, p. 75,) with great reason, would leave out to warxa, which was probably a marginal note of one who thought to explain what feast of the Jews was meant, and soon crept into the text, with as little reason as at Ch. ii. 23 aud xix. 14; whereas the feast, said to be approaching, was that which Jesus, Ch. v. 1, went to celebrate; and that is, by Cyril, Chrysostom, and Theophylact, supposed to be pentecost. The year of Christ's ministry is distinguished by its principal feasts. 1. The Passover after his baptismn, Ch. vi. 13, Per. Jul. 4738, A.D. 5. II. Pentecost, Ch. vi. 4, (as now amended,) and v. 1. III, The Feast of Tabernacles, Ch. vji. 2-14. IV. The Feast of Dedication, Ch. x. 22. V. The last Passover, in which he suffered, Ch. xi. 55, xii. 1, xiii. 1, Per. Jul. 4739, A.D. 26, seven years before the time fixed upon by Usher, Prideaux, &c. N. Mann, as above, p. 173, Lat. and see Diss. II. Ch. xxiv.

“Mr. Whiston would confute this hypothesis, by shewing that Christ travelled, duriog his ministry, above 1100 English miles; which, considering his stay at the end of each journey, must have taken up above four years. In this he does but beg the question in dispute: for the journeys must be first agreed on before any argument can be drawn from their number. He knew his adversary's Harmony considerably lessened them ; who urges the improbability of Christ's twice turning the money-changers out of the temple, without opposition." Conject. Emend. 1763, pp. 50, 51.

§ See Reply, p. 120.

« AnteriorContinuar »