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hast had five husbands; and he, whom thou now hast, is not thy husband.” The woman, soon after this, ran back to the city, and called out to her neighbours, “ Come, see a man which told me all things that ever I did.” This exaggeration appears to me very natural ; especially in the hurried state of spirits into which the woman may be supposed to have been thrown.

The lawyer's subtilty in running a distinction

upon the word neighbour, in the precept, “ Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” was no less natural, than our Saviour's answer was decisive and satisfactory (Luke x. 29.). The lawyer of the New Testament, it must be observed, was a Jewish divine.

The behaviour of Gallio (Acts xviii. 12—17.), and of Festus (xxv. 18, 19.), have been observed upon already.

The consistency of Saint Paul's character throughout the whole of his history (viz. the warmth and activity of his zeal, first against, and then for, Christianity), carries

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with it very much of the appearance of

truth.

There are also some properties, as they may be called, observable in the Gospels; that is, circumstances separately suiting with the situation, character, and intention of their respective aụthors.

Saint Matthew, who was an inhabitant of Galilee, and did not join Christ's society until some time after Christ had come into Galilee to preach, has given us very little of his history prior to that period. Saint John, who had been converted before, and who wrote to supply omissions in the other Gospels, relates some remarkable particulars which had taken place before Christ left Judea, to go into Galilee*.

Saint Matthew (xv. 1.) has recorded the cavil of the Pharisees against the disciples of Jesus, for eating “ with unclean hands." Saint Mark has also (vii. 1.) recorded the same transaction (taken probably from

* Hartley's Observations, vol. ii. p. 103. VOL. II.

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and pots,

Saint Matthew), but with this addition; “ For the Pharisees, 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 brazen vessels, and of tables.” Now Saint Matthew was not only a Jew himself, but it is evident, from the whole structure of his Gospel, especially from his numerous references to the Old Testament, that he wrote for Jewish readers. The above exs planation, therefore, in him, would have been unnatural, as not being wanted by the readers whom he addressed. But in Mark, who, whatever use he might make of Matthew's Gospel, intended his own narrative for a general circulation, and who himself travelled to distant countries in the service of the religion, it was properly added.

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CHAPTER IV.

Identity of Christ's character.

The argument expressed by this title, I apply principally to the comparison of the first three Gospels with that of Saint John. It is known to every reader of Scripture, that the passages of Christ's history, preserved by Saint John, are, except his pas sion and resurrection, for the most part, different from those which are delivered by the other evangelists. And I think the ancient account of this difference to be the true one, viz. that Saint John wrote after the rest, and to supply what he thought omissions in their narratives, of which the principal were our Saviour's conferences with the Jews of Jerusalem, and his disa courses to his apostles at his last supper. But what I observe in the comparison of these several accounts is, that, although actions and discourses are ascribed to

Christ by Saint John, in general different from what are given to him by the other evangelists, yet, under this diversity, there is a similitude of manner, which indicates that the actions and discourses proceeded from the same person. I should have laid little stress upon a repetition of actions substantially alike, or of discourses containing many

of the same expressions, because that is a species of resemblance, 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 sustain propriety and distinction of character, through a great variety of separate incidents and situations. But the evangelists were not dramatic writers; nor possessed the talents of dramatic writers; nor will it, I believe, be suspected, that they studied uniformity of character, or ever thought of

any

such thing, in the person who was the subject of their histories. 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 passages, and between discourses, which are in themselves extremely distinct, and

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