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CANDACE'S TREASURER CONVERTED-CHAP. IX.
an Pe- treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to wor- Gaza.
28 Was returning; and, sitting in his chariot, read Esaias the prophet.
29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth "1 :
may be admitted to strengthen the Scripture account. He tells
(a) See Kuinoel in lib. Hist. N. T. vbl. iv. p. 313, and Pfeiffer dubia
5 This quotation has usually been classed among those which are taken from the Septuagint, and not from the original Hebrew. The difference between the Hebrew and the Septuagint appears at first sight to be considerable; that between the Septuagint and the Acts is very slight. It is indeed most probable that the Ethiopian would be reading that version which was in the most frequent or general use among the Hellenistic Jews in Egypt, a country which bordered so nearly upon his own; and where the Septuagint version had been sanctioned by the Alexandrian Jews, and originally made under royal authority. Pezronius (a) thinks the present reading is corrupt in the Hebrew, and the Greek version right. Alex. Morus (b) is of opinion that the original reading of the Hebrew was пp
D-in his affliction he was taken from his judgment: to
Doddridge conjectures that there must have been another
ever, is unsupported by manuscripts.
After a careful examination of these authorities, I cannot but think that the only alteration requisite is in the pointing of the first clause; and that the Septuagint have properly expressed the meaning of the Hebrew. If a pause is placed after the words Ev T TаTELVOEL, and after xy, the Greek would read thus, "He opened not his mouth in his humiliation." With respect to the Hebrew, it may be observed that the prefix is sometimes used in the sense of "because of," "by reason of,"
33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: Gaza. riod, 4747. and who shall declare his generation 52? for his life is Vulgar Era, taken from the earth.
Exod. vi. 9. and the proper interpretation of xy, from the
ἤρθη ἡ κρίσις αὐτοῦ ἐν τῇ ταπεινώσει αὐτοῦ τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ ἀνοίγει οὐκ English Translation of the N. T. & LXX. was taken away his judgment in his humiliation bis mouth he opened
Proposed mode of reading the above, so as not to alter either the Hebrew or the Septuagint :-Place the pause after yy, and Taжεvúσ, rendering the former phrase by the words "because of restraint or affliction;" or "humiliation," giving the full signification in the second clause of the word vow, in which case it will appear evident, that the meaning of both expressions will be the same.
Hebrew He opened not his mouth, because of affliction; and from a just judgment he was taken away.
Sept. and N. T.-He opened not his mouth in his humiliation; and his just judgment was taken away.
(a) Antiq. Tempor. restit. p. 167. ap. Wolfii. cur. Philolog. vol. ii. p. 1134. (b) Ap. Wolfium ut supra.
52 Bishop Lowth remarks on the parallel passage of Isaiah liii. 8.-My learned friend Dr. Kennicott has communicated to me the following passages from the Mishna, and the Gemara of Babylon, as leading to a satisfactory explication of this difficult place. It is said in the former, before any one was punished for a capital crime, proclamation was made before the prisoner by
כל מי שיודע לו זכות יבא וילמד עליו the public crier in these words
quicunque noverit aliquid de ejus innocentia, veniat et doceat de eo."-Tract. Sanhedrim. Surenhus. par. iv. p. 233. On which passage the Gemara of Babylon adds, that "before the death of Jesus, this proclamation was made for forty days; but no defence could be found." On which words Lardner ob
CANDACE'S TREASURER CONVERTED-CHAP. IX.
34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray Gaza. ned, 4747. thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or Vulgar Æra, of some other man 53 ?
serves, "It is truly surprizing to see such falsities, contrary to
Casaubon has a quotation from Maimonides, which further
Now it is plain from the history of the four Evangelists, that in the trial and condemnation of Jesus no such rule was observed, (though, according to the account of the Mishna, it must have been in practice at that time ;) no proclamation was made for any person to bear witness to the innocence and character of Jesus; nor did any one voluntarily step forth to give his attestation to it. And our Saviour seems to refer to such a custom, and to claim the benefit of it, by his answer to the High Priest, when he asked him of his disciples, and of 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 unto them: behold, they know what I said." John xviii. 20, 21. This, therefore, was one remarkable instance of hardship and injustice, among others, predicted by the prophet, which our Saviour underwent in his trial and sufferings.
St. Paul likewise, in similar circumstances, standing before the judgment seat of Festus, seems to complain of the same unjust treatment; that no one was called, or would appear to vindicate his character. 6 My manner of life (τὴν Βιώσιν μοῦ, 77) from my youth, which was at first among my own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews: which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify; that after the straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee." Acts xxvi. 4, 5. signifies age, duration, the time, which one man, or many together pass in this world, in this place, the course, tenor, or manner of life. The verb signifies according to Castell, "ordinatam vitam sive ætatem egit, ordinavit, ordine constituit." In Arabic, "curavit, administravit."-Lowth's Isaiah, notes, p. 240.
53 We have been so accustomed, and that rightly, both on the internal evidence and on the testimony of the Jewish Church, and the Church as well as on that of the contents of this section, to apply the words of Isaiah to our Lord, that many readers will be much surprized to hear that various other interpretations have been given, even by Christian theologians. There is a long list of names of authors mentioned by Kuinoel, with the opinions they have espoused. Doederlein, by the servant of Jehovah, (Isai. lii. 13.) of whom the prophet continues to speak in the ensuing chapter, understands the Jewish people. Others
Julian Period, 4747. Vulgar Era,
35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the Gaza. same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized "?
37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip", that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
40 But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through, he preached in all the cities, till he came to Cesarea.
Many of the Converts who had fled from Jerusalem, in
ACTS viii. 4.
4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every The Prowhere preaching the word ".
the pious Jews; others the converted Gentiles; and others the
54 This verse is wanting in a great number of manuscripts.
55 The reading in the Alexandrian and some other manuscripts, is, "the Holy Spirit fell upon the eunuch, but an angel of the Lord took away Philip," which is probably the true reading.
56 This section gives an account of the state of the infant Church at this time, and may be considered as an introduction to the history of St. Paul. By him the new converts had been compelled to fly from Jerusalem, and he was now persecuting them even to strange cities; not only to Damascus, but to other adjacent
I would refer to this period the publication of St. Matthew's
vince of Judea, &c.
ST. MATTHEW WRITES HIS GOSPEL-CHAP. IX.
Julian Pe- Gospel. Both the fathers and heretics of the early Church The Proried, 4747. have unitedly acknowledged that the first Gospel was written by vince of JuVulgar Era, this Evangelist, and at an early date. It was very improbable that dea, &c, a long space of time should be allowed to elapse, without any attempt on the part of the apostles to supply the converts with a published account of the life and sufferings of the blessed Jesus; particularly as those converts who had not seen the miracles of our Lord, or of his apostles, were prevented by the furious persecution which was now going on, from regularly attending the Christian assemblies. The Church consisted, at this time, solely of Jewish believers, and the first Gospel was primarily intended for the instruction of the Jews in Jerusalem and in Judea. This purport was as uniformly asserted and believed, as its early composition. His Gospel, doubtless, says Dr. Townson, was designed for the benefit of the Universal Church, as well immediately by the history and doctrine of Christ, as mediately by a right institution of the Jewish believers, who were to be the first teachers of the Gentiles. But the Holy Spirit, under whose influence it was written, seems to have guided, or left St. Matthew to recite many particulars more directly relative and interesting to the Jews. This is meant by saying, that he wrote for their instruction. And this was the sense of antiquity.
We read in Justin Martyr's Apology, that the Jews circu. lated among their brethren, their own invented account of the resurrection, (Matt. xxviii. 13.) imputing the removal of the body to the spoliation of the tomb by the apostles. This circumstance affords an additional proof of the great probability that St. Matthew would publish his Gospel at an early period, and address it to the Jews, to counteract the erroneous statement of the authorities at Jerusalem. As St. Matthew had held a public office under the government, it was most probable that he was selected to write the history of his blessed Lord's life, as being more known than the other disciples, and therefore the most likely to excite attention.
Bishop Tomline remarks, that the apostles, immediately after the descent of the Holy Ghost, which took place only ten days after the ascension of our Saviour into heaven, preached the Gospel to the Jews with great success: and surely it is reasonable to suppose that an authentic account of our Saviour's doctrines and miracles would very soon be committed to writing for the confirmation of those who believed in his divine mission, and for the conversion of others; and more particularly to enable the Jews to compare the circumstances of the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus, with their ancient prophecies relative to the Messiah: and we may conceive that the apostles would be desirous of losing no time in writing au account of the miracles which Jesus performed, and of the discourses which he delivered, because, the sooner such an account was published, the easier it would be to inquire into its truth and accuracy; and consequently when these points were satisfactorily ascertained, the greater would be its weight and authority (a). On these accounts the learned prelate assigns the date of St. Matthew's Gospel to the year 38.
The sacred writers, says Mr. Horne, from whom I extract the principal part of the remainder of this note, had a regard to the circumstances of the persons for whose use they wrote, and we have therefore an additional evidence for the early date of this Gospel, in the state of persecution in which the Church was at the time when it was written: for it contains many obvious references to such a state, and many very apposite addresses both to the injuring and to the injured party (b). During this