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St. John, in general different from what are given to him by the other evangelifts, yet, under this diverfity, there is a fimilitude of manner, which indicates that the actions and difcourfes proceeded from the fame person. I fhould have laid little stress upon a repetition of actions fubftantially alike, or of dif courses containing many of the fame expreffions, because that is a fpecies of refemblance, which would either belong to a true history, or might easily be imitated in a false one. Nor do I deny, that a dramatic writer is able to fuftain propriety and diftinction of character, through a great variety of separate incidents and fituations. But the evangelifts were not dramatic writers; nor poffeffed the talents of dramatic writers; nor will it, I believe, be suspected, that they fludied uniformity of character, or ever thought of any fuch thing, in the perfon who was the fubject of their hiftories. Such uniformity, if it exist, is on their part casual; and if there be, as I contend there is, a perceptible resemblance of manner, in paffages, and between discourses, which are in themfelves
felves extremely diftinct, and are delivered by hiftorians writing without any imitation of, or reference to, one another, it affords a just prefumption, that these are, what they profefs to be, the actions and the difcourfes of the fame real person; that the evangelists wrote from fact, and not from imagination.
The article in which I find this agreement moft ftrong, is in our Saviour's mode of teaching, and in that particular property of it, which confists in his drawing of his doctrine from the occafion; or, which is nearly the fame thing, raising reflections from the objects and incidents before him, or turning a particular discourse then paffing into an opportunity of general inftruction.
It will be my bufinefs to point out this manner in the three first evangelifts; and then to enquire, whether it do not appear also, in feveral examples of Chrift's dif courses, preferved by St. John.
The reader will obferve in the following
quotations, that the italic letter contains the reflection, the common letter the incident. or occafion from which it fprings.
Mat, xii. 49, 50. "Then they said unto him, Behold thy mother and thy brethren ftand without, defiring to speak with thee, But he answered, and faid unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he ftretched forth his hands towards his disciples, and faid, Behold my mother and my brethren; for whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the fame is my brother, and fifter, and mother.
Mat. xvi. 5. "And when his difciples were come to the other fide, they had forgotten to take bread; then Jefus faid unto them, Take heed, and beware of the leaven of the Pharifees, and of the Sadducees. And they reafoned among themselves, faying, It is beçaufe we have taken no bread.-How is it. that ye do not understand, that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye fhould beware of the leaven of the Pharifees, and of the
the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the DOCTRINE of the Pharifees and of the Sadducees."
Mat. xv. 1, 2. 10, 11. 17-20. "Then came to Jefus Scribes and Pharifees, which were of Jerufalem, faying, Why do thy difciples tranfgrefs the traditions of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. And he called the multitude, and faid unto them, Hear and understand, not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man, but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then answered Peter, and faid unto him, Declare unto us this parable. And Jesus said, Are ye alfo yet without understanding? Do ye not yet underftand, that whatfoever entereth in at the mouth, goeth into the belly, and is caft out. into the draught? but those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart, and they defile the man; for out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, falfe witness, blafphemies;
blafphemies; these are the things which defile
a man, BUT TO EAT WITH UNWASHEN HANDS DEFILETH NOT A MAN.' Our Saviour, upon this occafion, expatiates rather more at large than ufual, and his difcourfe alfo is more divided, but the concluding fentence brings back the whole train of thought to the incident in the first verse, viz. the objurgatory queftion of the Pharifees, and renders it evident that the whole fprung from that circumftance.
Mark x. 13, 14, 15. "And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them, and his disciples rebuked those that brought them; but when Jefus faw it, he was much difpleafed, and faid unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of fuch is the kingdom of God: verily I say unto you, whosoever fhall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein."
Mark i. 16, 17. "Now as he walked by the fea of Galilee, he faw Simon and