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Priests, the Scribes, and the Elders *-came upon him with the interrogation, By what authority doest thou these things? the reference in which to the act of cleansing the temple we have already considered. If our Lord had either not yet begun to teach, or only just done so, the time of this question would be very probably soon after ρwi. The question would be publicly put, and the answer to it would be publicly returned: but the consultation of the Sanhedrim upon the answer must have taken place apart: that is, in their own conclave, or council-chamber, the site of which was upon the confines of the priests', and of the men's, courts respectively. The history of this transaction is remarkably similar in each of the narratives.
Upon the close of this account, St. Matthew subjoins the moral illustration of the father, and the two sonsb; the application of which by our Lord shews that it had reference to the preceding question, and therefore might have been suggested by it. The point of the comparison must be sought for in the historical fact of the different success of the same preaching of John, like the alleged different success of the same request of the father; of the former with two very different orders of persons, the Scribes and the Pharisees, on the one hand, and the publicans and sinners, on the other; of the latter with his two sons, as the first or as the last addressed respectively. The antecedent self-righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees answered to the ap
* Each of these classes, it is probable, consisted of twentyfour persons, making up the number seventy-two in all. This is certain of the Heads of the courses, or 'Apxiepeis, among whom the High-priest also would
be included: and from Rev. iv. 4, it may be presumptively collected of the Elders, or Пpeoßúτεροι : in which case, it must have been true of the Scribes, or Γραμματεῖς, likewise.
b Ch. xxi. 28-32.
parent readiness of the last addressed; the antecedent wickedness and impenitence of publicans and sinners to the apparent refusal of the first. Yet the preaching of John had failed with the former, and succeeded with the latter; as the second son had broken his original promise, and the first had retracted his original refusal.
That St. Mark omitted this discourse is nothing extraordinary; and that St. Luke did so is explained by a comparison with Luke vii. 29, 30, which is substantially to the same effect. The parable of the vineyard let out to husbandmen is a parable of a different description, recorded by each of these Evangelists, and by each in a consecutive order. Nor could it have been long over, before another of the same class, recorded by St. Matthew only, the parable of the wedding-garment, was also subjoined; the omission of which in St. Mark is to be explained as before; and its omission in St. Luke by its partial resemblance to a parable, which was previously recorded by him and by him alone, the parable of the great supper c.
The next incident appears to have been the question concerning the payment of tribute to the Roman emperor, who, at this time, was Tiberius Cæsar; touching consequently upon the principles first openly avowed in U. C. 760, by Judas the Gaulanite, commonly called the Galilean. This question was put by the Herodians; but it was suggested and abetted by the Pharisees : and the account of its circumstances, though substantially the same in all, is yet much closer together in St. Matthew and St. Mark, than in either and St. Luke; whose conciseness in particular is easily explained by the minuteness of the other two. Yet with his usual attention to precision, he has specified most distinctly
e Ch. xiv. 15-24.
both the design proposed by the question, and the effect produced by the answer. Writing also for Gentile readers, and not with the associations of a Jew himself, he suppresses the name, while he describes the character, of the instruments now employed; viz. as parties suborned, or put forward by others; feigning themselves righteous, that is, actuated by a zeal for God-whose exclusive right to the civil obedience of the Jews was the question concerned in the solution of the practical difficulty, respecting the payment of tribute to Cæsar. This assumption of pretended righteousness appears in the language of their hypocritical compliment to our Saviour, at the outset of the address; as recorded by St. Mark. Aidάokaλe, Rabbi or Διδάσκαλε, Master, we know that thou art aλnons, a plain-spoken, sincere, and honest man; who, when the truth is concerned, carest for no one: for thou payest no respect to the person of men; but teachest of a truth the way of God. The name of Herodians does not occur in the Gospel of St. Luke.
The next circumstance on record is the question proposed by the Sadducees; in which, though the Pharisees might have rejoiced to see Jesus perplexed by it, unless they had their own mode of solving the problem, they could not, perhaps, openly have concurred: for the belief in the resurrection of the dead, so far at least as was implied by a belief in the immortality and metempsychosis of the human soul, was a point of distinction between them and the Sadducees: of which Acts xxiii. 6. 8. alone is a proof. It is the object of this question, while it seems to acknowledge the futurity of a resurrection, in reality to endeavour to disprove it; assuming, indeed, a false principle, viz. that the acquired relations, which before existed between the children of this life, will exist between the children of
the resurrection; and consequently that the relations of marriage, which were established here, will be recognised and perpetuated there. Admit this principle, and also the truth of the fact which they allege, and which, though an exaggerated, might yet be an actual case; (nor does our Lord argue with them on the ground of its falsity;) and such an absurdity would result, as to discredit the futurity of any resurrection whatever.
Our Saviour's answer is directed accordingly, first to the exposure of the fallacy of their assumption; which being destroyed, the question of a resurrection to come is left free to its proper arguments of conviction: and, secondly, to establish that futurity upon such authority as the inquirers themselves acknowledged; the testimony of the word of God in the Pentateuch. This then is the first inquiry which was strictly doctrinal; concerning the knowledge and interpretation of the ancient Scriptures, as much as the wisdom and authority of our Saviour: and St. Matthew, by the usual note of time in this instance, which he premises to other remarkable passages in the course of his Gospel, év èkeivy tŷ nμépa, does as good as prepare the way for the introduction of a new and a more important topic.
The primary intention of the institution of marriage, in the infancy of the human race, was doubtless the multiplication of mankind; and its first and most direct effect was the preservation of the species amidst the constant decay and destruction of the individuals. It was so far a remedy for the curse of mortality, entailed upon men by the sin of their first parents; since though individual men and women all died and must die, yet men and women, by the appointment of mar
d Ch. xxii. 23.
riage, still were and still will be kept alive. doubtless this effect will continue until the multiplication of the human species reaches to that extent, which is its proposed limit in the purposes of the Divine Providence: and then the resurrection of the dead, it may be expected, will ensue. But when this has come to pass what further need can there be of marriage? for both the species of mankind can receive, or can require no more augmentation, beyond its preexisting multiplication; and the individuals, male or female, who compose it, will no longer be mortal as before. For none, who have once been raised from death to life, will be liable to die again in the same sense as before. This truth seems to be intimated by our Saviour's words in disproof of the assumption of the Sadducees: οὔτε γὰρ ἀποθανεῖν ἔτι δύνανται: They neither marry, nor are given in marriage-for neither can they die any more; that is, they are immortal *.
With regard to the harmony of the several accounts, every discrepancy.is trifling, except what concerns the terms or the order of our Lord's reply. The method of arranging this will best be exhibited in its place hereafter; and I will observe only at present that the concluding words of St. Luke's account, πάντες γὰρ αὐτῷ ζῶσιν, are parallel in point of construction to this passage of Josephus : οἳ τεθνήκασι τὸ πλέον ̓Αντιπάτρῳ
* Ireneus, Opera, 191. 19: lib. ii. cap. lxii: καὶ διὰ τοῦτο, πληρωθέντος τοῦ ἀριθμοῦ οὗ αὐτὸς παρ ̓ αὐτῷ προώρισε, πάντες οἱ ἐγ· γραφέντες εἰς ζωὴν ἀναστήσονται, ίδια ἔχοντες σώματα, καὶ ἰδίας ἔχοντες ψυχὰς, καὶ ἴδια πνεύματα, ἐν οἷς εὐηρέστησαν τῷ Θεῷ ... καὶ παύ
e Luke xx. 36.
σονται ἑκάτεροι τοῦ γεννᾷν ἔτι καὶ γεννᾶσθαι, καὶ γαμεῖν καὶ γαμεῖσθαι· ἵνα τὸ σύμμετρον φῦλον τῆς προορίσεως ἀπὸ Θεοῦ (legendum forsan, τῆς προωρισμένης ὑπὸ Θεοῦ) ἀνθρωπότητος ἀποτελεσθεὶς (lege ἀποτελεσθὲν) τὴν ἁρμονίαν τηρήσῃ τοῦ πατρός.
f Bell. i. xxxii. 2.