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natural, that Jefus, who, before he was ap prehended, had been praying his Father, that "that cup might pass from him," yet with such a pious retractation of his request, as to have added, "If this cup may not pafs from me, thy will be done;" it was natural, I fay, for the fame person, when he actually was apprehended, to exprefs the refignation to which he had already made up his thoughts, and to exprefs it in the form of speech which he had before used, "The cup which my Father hath given me, fhall I not drink it?" This is a coincidence between writers, in whofe narratives there is no imitation, but great diversity.
A fecond fimilar correfpondency is the following: Matthew and Mark make the charge, upon which our Lord was condemned, to be a threat of deftroying the temple ; "We heard him fay, I will deftroy this temple, made with hands, and, within three days, I will build another made without hands *;" but they neither of them in* Mark xiv. 5.
form us, upon what circumftance this ca lumny was founded. St. John, in the early part of his history*, fupplies us with this information; for he relates, that, upon our Lord's firft journey to Jerufalem, when the Jews asked him, "What fign fhewest 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 arife from any thing but the truth of the cafe. From any care or defign in St. John, to make his narrative tally with the narratives of the other evangelifts, it certainly did not arife, for no fuch defign appears, but the abfence of it.
A ftrong and more general inftance of agreement, is the following. The three firft evangelifts have related the appointment of the twelve apoftles +; and have given a catalogue of their names in form. John, without ever mentioning the appointment, or giving the catalogue, fuppofes, through
* ii. 19.
Mat. x. 1. Mark iii. 14. Luke vi. 12.
out his whole narrative, Chrift to be accom panied by a select party of disciples; the number of these to be twelve * ; and whenever he happens to notice any one as of that number, it is one included in the catalogue of the other evangelifts; and the names principally occurring in the course of his hiftory of Chrift, are the names extant in their lift. This laft agreement, which is of confiderable moment, runs through every gospel, and through every chapter of each.
Originality of our Saviour's character.
THE Jews, whether right or wrong,
had understood their prophecies to foretell the advent of a perfon, who by fome fupernatural affiftance should advance their nation to independence, and to a fupreme degree of splendour and profperity. This was the reigning opinion and expectation of the times.
Now, had Jefus been an enthusiast, it is probable that his enthusiasm, would have fallen in with the popular delufion, and that, whilft he gave himself out to be the perfon intended by thefe predictions, he would have affumed the character to which they were univerfally supposed to relate.
Had he been an impoftor, it was his bu finefs to have flattered the prevailing hopes, because these hopes were to be the inftruments of his attraction and fuccefs.
But, what is better than conjectures, is the fact, that all the pretended Meffiahs actually did fo. We learn from Jofephus that there were many of these. Some of them, it is probable, might be impoftors, who thought that an advantage was to be taken of the state of public opinion. Others, perhaps, were enthufiafts, whofe imagination had been drawn to this particular object, by the language and fentiments which prevailed around them. But, whether impoftors or enthufiafts, they concurred in producing themfelves in the character which their countrymen looked for, that is to fay, as the reftorers and deliverers of the nation, in that fenfe in which reftoration and deliverance were expected by the Jews.