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The three first evangelists record what is called our Saviour's agony, i. e. his devotion in the garden, immediately before he was apprehended; in which narrative they all make him pray, " that the cup might pass from him." This is the peculiar metaphor which they all ascribe to him. St. Matthew adds, “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done."* Now St. John does not gi the scene in the garden; but when Jesus was seized, and some resistance was attempted to be made by Peter, Jesus, according to his account, checked the attempt with this reply : “ Put up thy sword into the sheath; the cup
Father hath given me, shall I not drink it ?| This is something more than bare consistency; it is coincidence: because it is extremely natural, that Jesus, who, before he was apprehended, had been praying his Father, that that cup might pass from him," yet with such a pious retraction of bis request, as to have added, “ If this cup may not pass from me, thy will be done ;” it was natural, I say, for the same person, when be actually was apprehended, to express the resignation to which he had already made up his thoughts, and to express it in the form of speech which he had before used, “The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it ?" This is a coincidence between writers, in whose narratives, there is no imitation, but great diversity.
A second similar correspondency is the following: Matthew and Mark make the charge, upon which our Lord. was condemned, to be a threat of destroying the temple ; * We heard him say, I will destroy this temple, made with hands, and, within three days I will build another made without hands ;"I but they neither of them inform us, upon what circumstance this calumny was founded. St. John, in the early part of his history, supplies, us with this infor: mation ; for he relates, that; upon our Lord's first journey to Jerusalem, when the Jews asked him, “ What sign show.. est thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? He answered, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” This agreement could hardly arise from any thing but the truth of the case. From any care or design in St. John, to make his narrative tally with the parratives of the other evangelists, it certainly did not arise, for no such design appears, but the absence of it.
A strong, and more general instance of agreement, is the following: The three first evangelists have related the apa pointment of the twelve apostles;* and have given a catalogue of their names in form. John, without ever mentioning the appointment, or giving the catalogue, supposes, throughout his whole narrative, Christ to be accompanied by a select party of disciples; the number of these to be twelve ;t and, whenever he happens to notice any one as of that number, it is one included in the catalogue of the other evangelists; and the names principally occurring in the course of his history of Christ, are the names extant in their list. This last agreement, which is of considerable moment, runs through every gospel, and through every chapter of each.
uri, 42 t asjïi. 11, Mark xiy, 5. ii. 19
All this bespeaks reality.
CHAP. V. Originality of our Saviour's Character. THE Jews, whether right or wrong, had understood their prophecies to foretell the advent of a person, who, by some supernatural assistance, should advance their nation to independence, and to a supreme degree of splendour and prosperity. This was the reigning opinion and expectation of the times.
Now, had Jesus been an enthusiast, it is probable that his enthusiasm would have fallen in with the popular delusion, and that, whilst he gave himself out to be the person intended by these predictions, he would have assumed the character, to which they were universally supposed to relate.
Had he been an impostor, it was his business to have flattered the prevailing hopes, because these hopes were to be the instruments of his attraction and success.
But what is better than conjectures, is the fact, that all the pretended Messiahs actually did so. We learn from Josephus that there were many of these. Some of them, it is probable, might be impostors, who thought that an advantage was to be taken of the state of public opinion. Others, perhaps, were enthusiasts, whose imagination had been drawn to this particular object, by the language and sentiments which prevailed around them. But, whether impostors or enthusiasts, they concurred in producing themselves in the character which their countrymen look
• Matt. X. 1. Mark iii. 14. Luke vi. 12. #vi. 7. *xx. 24. vi. 71.
** that he was removed by Caligula, the successor Tiberias ;* and of Philip, that be died in the twentieih year of Tiberius, when he had governed Trachonitis, and Batzoea. and Gaulanitis, thirty-seven years.
III. (p. 20.) Mark 5. 17.1" Herod had sent forth asi said hold upon John, and bound him in prisoo, for Herodis's sake, his brother Philip's wife ; for he bad married ber.**
With this compare Jos. Ant. I. 18. c. 7. sec. 1. - He lierod the tetrarch) made a visit to Herod bis brotherlere, falling in love with Herodías, the wife of the said erod, he ventured to make her proposals of marriage." Again, Mark vi. 22. “And when the doughter of the sit rodias came in and danced." With this also compare Jos. Ant. I. 18. c. 6. sec. 1. Ierodias was married to Herod, son of Herod tbe Great. ty nad a daughter whose name was Salome; after whose th, Herodias, in utter violation of the laws of her Coca
left her husband then living, and married Herod the rarch of Galilee, her husband's brother by the father's 1. (p. 29.) Acts xii. 1. “Now, about that time, Herod king stretched forth bis hands, to vex certain of the rch.” In the conclusion of the same chapter, Herod's ih is represented to have taken place, soon after this secution. The accuracy of our historian, or, rather, inmeditated coincidence, which truth of its owo ac
produces, is in this iostance remarkable. There was wortion of time, for thirty years before, nor ever afterAls, in which there was a king at Jerusalem, a person rcising that authority in Judea, or to whom that title Id be applied, except the three last years of this Her
life, within which period, the transaction recorded in Acts is stated to have taken place. This prince was grandsop of Herod the Great. In the Acts he appears er his family name of Herod; by Josephus be is called rippa. For proof that he was a king, properly so called
† Ant. lib. 18. c. 5. sec. 6. See also Mat. xiv.
1.13. Luke iii. 19. The affinity of the two accounts is unquestionable: but there is a difference in the
of Herodias's first husband, whieh, in the evangelist is Philip, in Josephus, Herod. difficulty, however, will not appear considerable, when we recollect how common di in thos: times, for the same person to bear two narzes; Sinon, which is called riLehbe us, whose surname is Thaddeus; Thomas, which is called Didymus; Sime who was called Niger; Saul, who was also called Paul.” The solution ; opas golesier in the present case, by the consideration, that Herod the ci nainy seven or right' wives; that Josephus mentions three of his sons Hprod; that it is nevertheless highly probable, that the brothers bon .; by which they were distinguished from one another. Lard, vol
Ant. lib. 13. c. 8. sec. 2.
ed for, that is to say, as the restorers and deliverers of the nation, in that sense in which restoration and deliver. ance were expected by the Jews.
Why therefore Jesus, if he was like them, either an enthusiast or impostor, did not pursue the same conduct as they did in framing his character and pretensions, it will be found difficult to explain. A mission, the operation and benefit of which was to take place in another life, was a thing unthought of as the subject of these prophecies. That Jesus, coming to them as their Messiah, should come under a character totally different from that in which they expected him; should deviate from the general persuasion, and deviate into pretensions absolutely singular and original, appears to be inconsistent with the imputation of enthusiasm or imposture, both which by their nature, I should expect, would, and both which throughout the experience which this very subject furnishes, in fact have followed, the opinions that obtained at the time.
If it be said, that Jesus, having tried the other plan, turned at length to this; I answer that the thing is said without evidence; against evidence ; that it was competent to the rest to have done the same, yet that nothing of this sort was thought of by any.
ONE argument which has been much relied upon, (but not more than its just weight deserves) is the conformity of the facts occasionally mentioned or referred to in scripture, with the state of things in those times, as represented by foreign and independent accounts.
Which conformity proves, that the writers of the New Testament possessed a species of local knowledge, which could only belong to an inhabitant of that country, and to one living in that age. This argument, if well made out by examples, is very little short of proving the absolute genuineness of the writings. It carries them up to the age of the reputed au. thors, to an age, in which it must have been difficult to impose upon the Christian public forgeries in the names of those authors, and in wbich there is no evidence that any forgeries were attempted. It proves at least, that the kis, whoever were the authors of them, were composed
rsons living in the time and country in wbich these