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different writers,* of instances, in which it is extremely probable that Christ spoke in allusion to some object, or some occasion, then before him, though the mention of the occasion, or of the object, be omitted in the history. I only observe, that these instances are common to Saint John's Gospel with the other three.
I conclude this article by remarking, that nothing of this manner is perceptible in the speeches recorded in the Acts, or in any other but those which are attributed to Christ, and that, in truth, it was a very unlikely manner for a forger or fabulist to attempt; and a manner very difficult for any writer to execute, if he had to supply all the materials, both the incidents and the observations upon them, out of his own head. A forger or a fabulist would have made for Christ, discourses exhorting to virtue and dissuading from vice in general terms. It would never have entered into the thoughts of either, to have crowded together such a number of allusions to time and place, and other little circumstances, as occur, for instance, in the sermon on the mount, and which nothing but the actual presence of the objects could have suggested.t
II. There appears to me to exist an affinity between the history of Christ's placing a little child in the midst of his disciples, as related by the first three evangelists, and the history of Christ's washing his disciples' feet, as given by Saint John.|| In the stories themselves there is no resemblance. But the affinity which I would point out consists in these two articles: First, that both stories denote the emulation which prevailed amongst Christ's disciples, and his own care and desire to correct it; the moral of both is the same. Secondly, that both stories are specimens of the same manner of teaching, viz. by action; a mode of emblematic instruction extremely peculiar, and in these passages, ascribed, we see, to our Saviour, by the first three
Newton on Daniel, p. 148, note a. Jortin, Dis. p. 213.
† See Bisbop Law's Life of Christ.
evangelists, and by Saint John, in instances totally unlike, and without the smallest suspicion of their borrowing from each other.
III. A singularity in Christ's language, which runs through all the evangelists, and which is found in those discourses of Saint John that have nothing similar to them in the other Gospels, is the appel. lation of "the Son of man ;" and it is in all the evangelists found under the peculiar circumstance of being applied by Christ to himself, but of never being used of him, or towards him, by any other person. It occurs seventeen times in Matthew's Gospel, twenty times in Mark's, twenty-one times in Luke's, and eleven times in John's, and always with this restriction.
IV. A point of agreement in the conduct of Christ, as represented by his different historians, is that of his withdrawing himself out of the way, whenever the behaviour of the multitude indicated a disposi tion to tumult.
Matt. xiv. 22. "And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitude away. And when he had sent the mul titude away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray."
Luke v. 15, 16. "But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him, and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities: and he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed."
With these quotations, compare the following from Saint John:
Chap. v. 13. "And he that was healed wist not who it was; for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place." Chap, vi. 15. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone."
In this last instance, Saint John gives the motive of Christ's conduct, which is left unexplained by the other evangelists, who have related the conduct itself.
V. Another, and a more singular circumstance
in Christ's ministry, was the reserve, which, for some time, and upon some occasions, at least, he used in declaring his own character, and his leaving it to be collected from his works rather than I his professions. Just reasons for this reserve have [ been assigned.* But it is not what one would have expected. We meet with it in Saint Matthew's Gospel: (chap. xvi. 20.) " Then charged he his disciples, that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ." Again, and upon a different occasion, in Saint Mark's (chap. iii. 11.) " And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God: and he straitly charged them that they should not make him known." Another instance similar to រ this last is recorded by Saint Luke, (chap. iv. 41.) What we thus find in the three evangelists, appears also in a passage of Saint John, (chap. x. 24. 25.) "Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly." The occasion here was different from any of the rest; and it was indirect. We only discover Christ's conduct through the upbraidings of his adversaries. But all this strengthens the argument. had rather at any rate surprise a coincidence in some oblique allusion, than to read it in broad assertions.
VI. In our Lord's commerce with his disciples, one very observable particular is the difficulty which they found in understanding him, when he spoke to them of the future part of his history, especially of what related to his passion or resurrection. This difficulty produced, as was natural, a wish in them to ask for farther explanation; from which, however, they appear to have been sometimes kept back, by the fear of giving offence. All these circumstances are distinctly noticed by Mark and Luke upon the occasion of his informing them (probably for the first time,) that the Son of man should be delivered into the hands of men. "They understood not," the evangelists tell us," this say ing, and it was hid from them, that they perceived
*See Locke's Reasonableness of Christianity.
it not; and they feared to ask him of that saying." Luke ix. 45. Mark ix. 32. In Saint John's Gos pel we have, on a different occasion, and in a different instance, the same difficulty of apprehension, the same curiosity, and the same restraint"A little while, and ye shall not see me : and again, a little while, and ye shall see me; because I go to the Father. Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us? A little while, and ye shall not see me and again, A little while, and ye shall see and, Because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them," &c. John xvi. 16, &c.
VII. The meekness of Christ during his last sufferings, which is conspicuous in the narratives of the first three evangelists, is preserved in that of Saint John under separate examples. The answer given by him, in Saint John,* when the high-priest asked him of his disciples and his doctrine; "I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing; why askest thou me ? ask them which heard me, what I have said uuto them;" is very much of a piece with his reply to the armed party which seized him, as we read in Saint Mark's Gospel, and in Saint Luke's: "Are you come out as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not." In both answers, we discern the same tranquillity, the same reference to his public teaching. His mild expostulation with Pilate, on two several occasions, as related by Saint John,t is delivered with the same unruffled temper, as that which conducted him through the last scene of his life, as described by his other evangelists. His answer in Saint John's Gospel, to the officer who struck him with the palm of his hand, " If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou me ?" was such an answer, as
Chap. xvifi. 20, 21.
Mark xiv. 48. Luke xxii. 52.
There are moreover two other correspondences at between Saint John's history of the transaction and theirs, of a kind somewhat different from those which we have been now mentioning.
The first three evangelists record what is called our Saviour's agony, i. e. his devotion in the gar den immediately before he was apprehended; in which narrative they all make him pray," that the cup might pass from him." This is the particular metaphor which they all ascribe to him. Saint Matthew adds, "O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done." Now Saint John does not give the scene in the garden: but when Jesus was seized, and some resistance was attempted to be made by Pe ter, Jesus, according to his account, checked the attempt with this reply; "Put up thy sword into the sheath the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" This is something more than 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 his 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 he actually was apprehended, to express the resignation to which he had already made up his thoughts, and to express it in the form qt
might have been looked for from the person, who, as he proceeded to the place of execution, bid his companions (as we are told by Saint Luke,*) weep not for him, but for themselves, their posterity, and their country; and who, whilst he was suspended upon the cross, prayed for his murderers, "for they know not," said he," what they do." The urgency also of his judges and his prosecutors to extort from him a defence to the accusation, and his unwillingness to make any (which was a peculiar circumstance,) appears in Saint John's account, as well as in that of the other evangelists.t
Chap. xxiii. 28,
↑ See John xix. 9. Matt. xxvii. 14. Luke xxiii. 9.
+ Chap. xxvi. 42
Chap. xviii. 11.