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with nature and with experience, as the flux and reflux of a wave.
The rulers and Pharifees rejecting Christ, whilst many of the common people received him, was the effect which, in the then ftate of Jewish prejudices, I fhould have expected. And the reason with which they' who rejected Chrift's miffion kept themfelves in countenance, and with which alfo they answered the arguments of those who favoured it, is precisely the reason which fuch men usually give :-" Have any of the Scribes or Pharifees believed on him?”" John vii. 48.
In our Lord's converfation at the well, (John iv. 29.) Chrift had surprised the Samaritan woman with an allufion to a single particular in her domeftic fituation, "Thou haft had five hufbands, and he, whom thou now haft, is not thy hufband." The woman, soon after this, ran back to the city, and called out to her neighbours, "Come, fee a man which told me all things that ever H 3 I did."
I did." This exaggeration appears to me very natural; especially in the hurried state of fpirits into which the woman may be supposed to have been thrown.
The lawyer's fubtlety in running a diftinction upon the word neighbour, in the precept "Thou fhalt love thy neighbour as thyfelf," was no lefs natural than our Saviour's answer was decifive and fatisfactory, (Luke x. 29.) The lawyer of the New Teftament, it must be obferved, was a Jewish divine.
The behaviour of Gallio, Acts xviii. 12 -17, and of Feftus, xxv. 18, 19, have been obferved upon already.
The confiftency of St. Paul's character throughout the whole of his hiftory (viz. the warmth and activity of his zeal, firft againft, and then for Chriftianity) carries with it very much of the appearance of truth.
There are also fome proprieties, as they may be called, obfervable in the gospels; that is, circumstances feparately fuiting with the fituation, character, and intention of their respective authors.
St. Matthew, who was an inhabitant of Galilee, and did not join Chrift's fociety until fome time after Chrift had come into Galilee to preach, has given us very little of his hiftory prior to that period. St. John, who had been converted before, and who wrote to supply omiffions in the other gofpels, relates fome remarkable particulars, which had taken place before Chrift left Judea to go into Galilee*,
St. Matthew (xv. 1.) has recorded the cavil of the Pharifees against the disciples of Jefus, for eating " with unclean hands." St. Mark has alfo (vii. 1.) recorded the fame tranfaction (taken probably from St. Matthew), but with this addition, "For the
* Hartley's Obf. vol. ii. p, 103.
Pharifees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands often, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders; and when they come from the market, except they wash they eat not; and many other things there be which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups and pots, brazen veffels, and of tables." Now St. Matthew was not only a Jew himself, but it is evident, from the whole ftructure of his gospel, especially from his numerous references to the Old Teftament, that he wrote for Jewish readers. The above explanation therefore in him would have been unnatural, as not being wanted by the readers whom he addreffed. But in Mark, who, whatever use he might make of Matthew's gofpel, intended his own narrative for a general circulation, and who himself travelled to distant countries in the fervice of the religion, it was properly added.
Identity of Chrift's character.
THE argument expreffed by this title I
apply principally to the comparison of the three firft gofpels with that of St. John. It is known to every reader of scripture, that the paffages of Chrift's hiftory preserved by St. John, are, except his paffion and refurrection, for the moft part different from thofe which are delivered by the other evangelists. And I think the ancient account of this difference to be the true one, viz. that St. John wrote after the reft, and to fupply what he thought omiffions in their narratives, of which the principal were our Saviour's conferences with the Jews of Jerufalem, and his difcourfes to his apoftles at his last supper. But what I obferve in the comparison of thefe feveral accounts is, that, although actions and difcourfes are afcribed to Chrift by St.