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dressed to him who was by right king of the Jews, in his regal character; and that the offer was made by the Tempter in the semblance of an angel of light; who might lay claim to this power, not as independent of the Almighty, but as the delegated ruler over the kingdoms, agreeably to the received opinions of the Jews respecting the subordinate government of the world by angels, which were supposed to be countenanced by the language of the prophet Daniel.* The words of the Tempter, “ For that is delivered to me,” imply no higher pretensions than to a derived and delegated authority. And when we add to this, that the very homage which the Tempter claimed as an acknowledgement for the splendid donation, was no more than an Apostle was about to pay involuntarily to a true angel of light, when he was prevented by the heavenly messengert; we may well conceive that the temptation was one which even a good man, to say nothing of an impostor or an enthusiast, if no more than man, would have found irresistible.
Between the Temptation and the commencement of Our Lord's ministry in Galilee, there occurs a hiatus in the first three gospels, which is supplied by John i. 19--iv. 54. Mr. Greswell has devoted several dissertations to the illustration of this supplemental relation, and of the notes of time which St. John's Gospel affords with regard to the duration of Our Lord's ministry. In his Harmony, between the fourth and fifth chapters of John, he introduces the events recorded, Luke iv. 14-v. 39, and the corresponding portions of Matthew's and Mark's Gospels, which bring down the narrative, according to his hypothesis, to the close of the first year of the ministry of Our Lord. Accordingly, Part the third of bis Harmony commences with John v. 1., which he supposes to refer to a Passover. As this is a controverted, and certainly a doubtful point, and one which has employed much learned discussion, we must transcribe the Author's reasons for adopting a conclusion in which he differs from Dr. Benson and some other eminent critics, although the greater number of commentators take it for granted that the Passover is meant. One reason for the contrary supposition is, that the indefinite mention of a feast would not seem likely to designate the principal Jewish festival. Mr. Greswell thus meets this objection.
• I. The absence of the Greek article in speaking of this feast, unless its presence would infallibly have denoted the Passover, proves nothing at all; but leaves the question as open as before. The truth is, that, as the Jewish calendar contained at least three feasts, all of eqnal antiquity, and of equal authority, the article could not stand xaz ifoxo before one, any more than before the rest, unless that one had come, in the lapse of time, to be placed, for some reason or other, at the head of the rest; a circumstance of distinction which, as I have shewn elsewhere, from Josephus and from other authorities, and which St. John's expression, directly after- og bygüs in Op Tin Twv 'lovda'wv, Exnoznyia-contributes critically to confirm,) might have held good of the feast of Tabernacles, but could not of the feast of Passover.
* See Dan. X. 13, 20,
+ See Rev. xix. 10. xxii. 9.
* II. If the feast, John v. 1. was not the next Passover to ii. 13, the Passover, vi. 4. must have been so; and the feast, v. 1. must have been some feast between the two, and, consequently, some feast in the first year of our Saviour's ministry; after the Passover belonging to that year, but before the Passover at the beginning of the next: that is, it must have been either the Pentecost, or the feast of Tabernacles, or the Ençænia, within the first twelve months of his ministry. It could not have been the Pentecost, for, as I have shewn in the last dissertation, our Lord's return into Galilee out of Judæa was just before the arrival of this feast. Nor could it have been the Encænia, for the Encænia fell out in the depth of winter, at which time no such assemblage of sick and infirm persons, as was supposed at the time of this feast, could have been found about the pool of Bethesda. Nor could it have been the feast of Tabernacles; because at that feast of Tabernacles, and in the first year of his ministry, our Lord was engaged upon the circuit of Galilee. And it is a general argument why it could have been no feast in the first year of our Lord's ministry whatever, that the strain of the reflections, from v. 17 to the end, which were then delivered, would be incompatible with such a supposition. The ministry of our Saviour, and, consequently, the trial of the Jews, must have been going on at least for one year, before the futurity of his rejection, and the consequent fact of their infidelity, could be so far certain, as to admit of their being argued with, as we find them argued with on this occasion.' Vol. II. pp. 237, 8.
The remarkable expression which occurs Luke vi. 1, and which has given rise to such numerous conjectures, Mr. Greswell elsewhere shews, agreeably to Scaliger's conjecture, was intended to denote the first regular sabbath after the sixteenth of the 'Jewish Nisan, and consequently, either in, or directly after, the • '
Paschal week. * If so, he contends, we have in that passage an indication of Our Lord's attendance at a passover which the narrative of Luke (as well as the parallel narrations of Matthew and Mark) proves to have been at least a year before the Passover referred to John vi. 4. He therefore concludes that John v. 1. decidedly points to a previous Passover, the second in our Lord's ministry. In a note, the following additional considerations are
* • Rendered according to the genius of the Greek language in its compound phraseology, it denotes, first after the second, and not second after the first; primo-secundus, not secundo-primus.' That is, the first sabbath after the second day of unleavened bread, from which the fifty days were reckoned to the Pentecost.' See Vol. II. pp. 286—293. So, Doddridge. adduced in support of this view of the chronology, and in answer to objections.
• Among the arguments intended to prove that the feast indefinitely mentioned, John v. 1., could not be a Passover, none, perhaps, is more confidently put forward, and none is in reality more weak and inconclusive, than the following :-that the events which are recorded in the fifth chapter of St. John, are not sufficient to have occupied a year, and another Passover is mentioned directly after at vi. 4. It would have been strange, indeed, if they had been intended to occupy a year, since it must be self-evident, that very possibly they did not occupy a single day. But this argument proceeds upon the supposition, that St. John's Gospel is entire and complete in itself; and that it neither has, nor was intended to have, any supplemental relation to the rest: a supposition which is purely precarious, and not more precarious than contrary to the matter of fact. The truth of the supplemental relation of this one Gospel in particular, is among the few positions which, happily, do not admit of a question ;-and while this is the case, it is not to be considered whether St. John's Gospel, per se, between v. 1. and vi. 4., supplies matter sufficient to have occupied a year, but whether St. Matthew's, St. Mark's, and St. Luke's, in that portion of their gospels respectively, the true place of which is between these extremes in St. John's, can presumptively be shewn to have done so. And upon this point, there is so little room for doubt, that the affirmative may be confidently asserted. The interval in question between John v. 1. and John vi. 4. is, in fact, our Lord's second year; and with respect to that year, as it was the fullest of incident itself, so its incidents have been the most fully related of any. From its beginning, by the attendance at this Passover, to its ending, by the miracle of the five thousand, there is no part of it which was unemployed, nor the mode of whose employment it is not possible clearly to ascertain.'—Vol. II. pp. 240, 1.
Doddridge adopts a similar view of Luke vi. 1. and John v.1., as both referring to the same Passover; and he remarks, that this arrangement has at least the advantage over Manne's singular hypothesis, who, supposing the feast of Pentecost to be intended at John v. 1., gratuitously infers, that the whole fifth chapter is transposed, and should come in at the end of the sixth. Calvin inclines to the conjecture that the feast of Pentecost is intended, as agreeing best with St. John's narration, but treats it as uncertain. Dr. Benson thinks, there is very little reason to suppose
that the feast referred to was a passover; and he recognises only three during Our Lord's ministry ; adopting, as the most probable opinion, that which limits its duration to two years and a half. It is obviously only in relation to this point, that the determination of the question is important. As a mark of time, some stress has been laid upon John iv. 35, which Archbishop Newcome, Sir Isaac Newton, and Doddridge understand as intimating the season of year at the time of Our Lord's journey,
which, if it wanted four months to harvest, must have been in the middle of winter. Whitby, Grotius, Lightfoot, and the present Writer understand Our Lord as citing a proverbial expression; and its connection is thus explained.
When the seed is first sown, is it not a common saying, there are yet four months, and the harvest or reaping-time will come? Lift up your eyes, survey the country round about, and be convinced by the whiteness of the fields, that the four months are drawing to a close, and the season of the reaping is at hand. The end which is proposed by the reference to this natural phenomenon, may also be explained as follows. The ripeness of the visible and the natural harvest, now that the period requisite to the maturity of the seed is accomplished, may be an earnest to you of the ripeness of that as yet unseen and spiritual harvest, to bring which to maturity will be the object of my personal labours, but to reap which will be the object of yours; a ripeness, consequently, which will then be complete, when my ministry is over, and yours is about to begin.'-Vol. II. p. 211.
This exposition makes the journey into Samaria coincident with harvest; either the barley harvest, the first fruits of which were consecrated at the Passover, or the wheat harvest, the first fruits of which were presented at Pentecost. If the former, the feast at which our Lord was present (John v. 1.) might well be, as Calvin supposes, the feast of Pentecost; but this would still require a passover to have intervened between the one mentioned in John ii. 13, and that referred to in John vi. 4, at which Our Lord appears not to have been present.
It is observable that, in our Lord's discourse with the Jews, John v. 35, he employs language which denotes that the ministry of his Forerunner was now terminated by his being cast into prison. This event, therefore, in all probability, occurred beween Our Lord's leaving Judea and his return to the feast mentioned in verse 1. Mr. Greswell supposes it to have taken place immediately after Our Lord's return into Galilee, as recorded in John iv.
A specific reason is assigned for Our Lord's withdrawing himself on that occasion, the jealousy of the Pharisees, and even of John's disciples, having been excited by his growing popularity. The time of that return, Mr. Greswell thinks, was probably not earlier, though it might have been somewhat later, than the 14th day before the Pentecost, A.u. 780, May 16; to which day he assigns the imprisonment of John. And he supposes that event to have taken place while Our Lord was on his journey through Samaria ; inferring from the language of the other Evangelists, that, by the time he arrived in Galilee, on this very return, John was already in prison. The language of St. Matthew, however, in ch. iv. 1., seems rather to indicate a subsequent departure out of Judea into Galilee, in consequence of
learning the fate of his precursor. He would hear of it on going up to Jerusalem at the feast mentioned John v. 1.; on which occasion he bore that remarkable testimony to his character, as “ a burning and shining light.” After that, not deeming it proper to expose himself unnecessarily to the malice of the Jews, or the jealousy of Herod, till his time was come, he again “departed into Galilee,” (Matt. iv. 12.) and, removing from Nazareth to Capernaum, entered more openly upon his public ministry. It was not till after this period, that St. Matthew's personal acquaintance with Our Lord commenced ; and as his testimony as an eye-witness could not have been given to any of the previous circumstances of his Master's public life, this seems to present the most natural reason for his beginning his account of Our Lord's ministry at this period, from which time it assumed a new character, in consequence of his choosing the Twelve Apostles as his constant attendants, and his preaching more openly in the Synagogues in his circuits through the country.
Mr. Greswell, however, taking a different view, makes Matt. iv. 12, &c., and Luke iv. 14, &c., follow John iv.; bringing down the narrative, in his second Part, to the end of Luke v., and including in it Matt. viii. 1-4; 14–17, and ix. 2–9. In his third Part, Ş 1. comprises John v. 1–47. § 2. consists of the parallel narrations, Matt. xii. 9-14, Mark iii. 1-6, and Luke vi. 6–11. The next two sections proceed regularly ; but, in $ 5, the ordination of the twelve apostles, Matt. x., Mark iii., Luke vi., is introduced with questionable accuracy. In the subsequent sections, St. Matthew's narrative undergoes very unceremonious treatment, the chapters occurring in the following transposed order ; viii. 5–13; xi. 2–30; xii. 22–50; xiii. 1-17; 2430; 18–23; 36-52; viii. 18–34; ix. 1. 10—34; xiii. 54 58 ; ix. 35—38; x. 1–42; xi. 1 ; xiv. As parallel with verses 13--21 of this last chapter, in Sect. 28, the Author introduces John vi. 1–13; continuing that chapter in the subsequent sections, as the conclusion of Part the third. The transpositions above specified are the result of much patient investigation; some are obviously required in order to bring together the correspondent narratives, others may admit of question ; but to examine the arrangement in detail, with the reasons assigned for it, would occupy more space than we can afford. Upon examination it will be found, that the transpositions are, for the most part, confined to the didactic portions of St. Matthew's Gospel; that they do not relate to events, unless the delivery of a discourse be so called ; and that more than half the difficulties of the Harmonist arise from the very unnecessary and (as it seems to us) unprofitable attempt to fix the precise date and locality of all the specimens that are given of Our Lord's sayings and miraculous works.