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were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for the meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you."

John iv. 12-14. "Art thou greater than our father Abraham, who gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her (the woman of Samaria), Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again; but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life."

John iv. 31-34. "In the mean while, his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat; but he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him aught to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work."

John ix. 1-5. "And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth: and his disciples asked him, saying, Who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents, but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day; the night cometh when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

John ix. 35-40. "Jesus heard that they had cast him (the blind man above mentioned) out: and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? And he answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe; and he worshipped him. And Jesus said, For judgment I have come into this world, that they which see not, might see; and that they which see might be made blind.”

All that the reader has now to do, is to compare the series of examples taken from Saint John, with the series of examples taken from the other evangelists, and to judge whether there be not a visible agreement of manner between them. In the above quoted passages, the occasion is stated, as well as the reflection. They seem, therefore, the most proper for the purpose of our argument. A large, however, and curious collection has been made by 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, 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 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
Newton on Daniel, p. 148, note a. Jortin, Dis. p. 213. Bishop Law's Life of Christ.
Matt. xviii. 1. Mark ix. 33. Luke ix. 45. § Chap. xiii. 3.

+ See Bishop' Law's Life of Christ.

is found in these discourses of Saint John, that have nothing similar to them in the other Gospels, is the appellation 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, twelve 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 disposition 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 multitude 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, St. 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 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 St. Mark's (chap. iii. 11): "And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, saying, Thou art the Son of God: and he straitly charged them that they should not make him known." Another instance similar to this last is recorded by Saint Luke (chap. iv. 41). What we thus find in the three evangelists, appears also in a passage of St. 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. I had rather at any time surprise a coincidence in some oblique allusion, than read it in broad


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 saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not; and they feared to ask him of that saying." (Luke ix. 45; Mark ix. 32.) In Saint John's Gospel, 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 me : and, Because I go to the Father? They said, therefore, What is this that he saith? A little

See Locke's Reasonableness of Christianity.

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, et seq.)

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 unto 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 ‡, 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 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 ¶.

There are moreover two other correspondencies 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 garden 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 Peter, 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 of speech which he had before used, "The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" This is a coincidence between writers, in whose narratives there is no imitation, but great diversity.

A second similar correspondency is the following: Matthew and Mark make the charge, upon which our Lord was condemned, to be a threat of destroying the temple; "We heard him say, I will destroy this temple, made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands ++" but they neither of them inform us, upon what circumstance this calumny was founded. Saint John, in the early part of the history §§, supplies us with this information; for he relates, that on our Lord's first journey to Jerusalem, when the Jews asked him, "What sign shewest 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 Chap xviii. 20, 21. + Mark xiv. 48. Luke xxii. 52. Chap. xviii. 34; xix. 11. Chap. xxiii. 28. See John xix. 9. Matt. xxvii. 14. Luke xxiii. 9. ++ Chap. xviii. 11. + Mark xiv. 58. §§ Chap. ii. 19.

§ Chap. xviii. 23. Chap. xxvi. 42.

could hardly arise from any thing but the truth of the case. From any care or design in Saint John, to make his narrative tally with the narratives of the other evangelists, it certainly did not arise, for no such design appears, but the absence of it.

A strong and more general instance of agreement, is the following.-The first three evangelists have related the appointment of the twelve apostles*; and have given a catalogue of their names in form. John, without ever mentioning the appointment, or giving the catalogue, supposes, throughout his whole narrative, Christ to be accompanied 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 evangelists: and the names principally occurring in the course of his history of Christ, are the names extant in their list. This last agreement, which is of considerable moment, runs through every Gospel, and through every chapter of each.

All this bespeaks reality.



THE Jews, whether right or wrong, had understood their prophecies to foretel the advent of a person, who by some supernatural assistance should advance their nation to independence, and to a supreme degree of splendour and prosperity. This was the reigning opinion and expectation of the times.

Now, had Jesus been an enthusiast, it is probable that his enthusiasm would have fallen in with the popular delusion, and that, whilst he gave himself out to be the person intended by these predictions, he would have assumed the character to which they were universally supposed to relate.

Had he been an impostor, it was his business to have flattered the prevailing hopes, because these hopes were to be the instruments of his attraction and success.

But, what is better than conjectures, is the fact, that all the pretended Messiahs actually did so. We learn, from Josephus, that there were many of these. Some of them, it is probable, might be impostors, who thought that an advantage was to be taken of the state of public opinion. Others, perhaps, were enthusiasts, whose imagination had been drawn to this particular object, by the language and sentiments which prevailed around them. But, whether impostors or enthusiasts, they concurred in producing themselves in the character which their countrymen looked for, that is to say, as the restorers and deliverers of the nation, in that sense in which restoration and deliverance were expected by the Jews.

Why therefore Jesus, if he was, like them, either an enthusiast or impostor, did not pursue the same conduct as they did, in framing his character and pretensions, it will be found difficult to explain. A mission, the operation and benefit of which was to take place in another life, was a thing unthought of as the subject of these prophecies. That Jesus, coming to them, as their Messiah, should come under a character totally different from that in which they expected him; should deviate from the general persuasion, and deviate into pretensions absolutely singular, and original; appears to be inconsistent with the imputation of enthusiasm or imposture, both which, by their nature, I should expect, would, and both which, throughout the experience which this very subject furnishes, in fact have, followed the opinions that obtained at the time.

If it be said, that Jesus, having tried the other plan, turned at length to this; I answer, that the thing is said without evidence; against evidence; that it was competent to the rest to have done the same, yet that nothing of this sort was thought of by any.

Matt. x. 1. Mark iii. 14. Luke vi. 12.

+ Chap. vi. 70.

Chap. xx. 24; vi. 71.


ONE argument, which has been much relied upon (but not more than its just weight deserves), is the conformity of the facts occasionally mentioned or referred to in Scripture, with the state of things in those times, as represented by foreign and independent accounts; which conformity proves, that the writers of the New Testament possessed a species of local knowledge, which could belong only to an inhabitant of that country, and to one living in that age. This argument, if well made out by examples, is very little short of proving the absolute genuineness of the writings. It carries them up to the age of the reputed authors, to an age in which it must have been difficult to impose upon the Christian public, forgeries in the names of those authors, and in which there is no evidence that any forgeries were attempted. It proves, at least, that the books, whoever were the authors of them, were composed by persons living in the time and country in which these things were transacted; and consequently capable, by their situation, of being well informed of the facts which they relate. And the argument is stronger when applied to the New Testament, than it is in the case of almost any other writings, by reason of the mixed nature of the allusions which this book contains. The scene of action is not confined to a single country, but displayed in the greatest cities of the Roman empire. Allusions are made to the manners and principles of the Greeks, the Romans, and the Jews. This variety renders a forgery proportionably more difficult, especially to writers of a posterior age. A Greek or Roman Christian, who lived in the second or third century, would have been wanting in Jewish literature; a Jewish convert in those ages would have been equally deficient in the knowledge of Greece and Rome*.

This, however, is an argument which depends entirely upon an induction of particulars; and as, consequently, it carries with it little force, without a view of the instances upon which it is built, I have to request the reader's attention to a detail of examples, distinctly and articulately proposed. In collecting these examples, I have done no more than epitomise the first volume of the first part of Dr. Lardner's Credibility of the Gospel History. And I have brought the argument within its present compass, first, by passing over some of his sections in which the accordancy appeared to me less certain, or upon subjects not sufficiently appropriate or circumstantial; secondly, by contracting every section into the fewest words possible, contenting myself for the most part with a mere apposition of passages; and thirdly, by omitting many disquisitions, which though learned and accurate, are not absolutely necessary to the understanding or verification of the argument.

The writer principally made use of in the inquiry, is Josephus. Josephus was born at Jerusalem four years after Christ's ascension. He wrote his history of the Jewish war some time after the destruction of Jerusalem, which happened in the year of our Lord LXX, that

is, thirty-seven years after the ascension; and his history of the Jews he finished in the year XCIII, that is, sixty years after the ascension.

At the head of each article, I have referred, by figures included in brackets, to the page of Dr. Lardner's volume, where the section, from which the abridgment is made, begins. The edition used, is that of 1741.

I. [p. 14.] Matt. ii. 22. "When he (Joseph) heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea, in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee."

In this passage it is asserted, that Archelaus succeeded Herod in Judea; and it is implied, that his power did not extend to Galilee. Now we learn from Josephus, that Herod the Great, whose dominion included all the land of Israel, appointed Archelaus his successor in

* Michaelis's Introduction to the New Testament (Marsh's translation), c. ii. sect. xi.

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