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of the poor widow's mite. If he was sitting at the time in the women's court, (which John viii. 20. renders probable,) his position was favourable to that survey; for the treasury or corban was situated in that court, and over against its porches *1. Ai σToal δὲ μεταξὺ τῶν πυλῶν ἀπὸ τοῦ τείχους ἔνδον ἐστραμμέναι πρὸ τῶν γαζοφυλακίων, κ, τ. λ. Between the time of that address then, and the time of the next in St. Matthew, there must have been some interval; and it is a further proof of this fact that, with the account of the widow's offering, the other two conclude their history of the transactions in the temple altogether; and what they next relate is our Lord's passing out of it for the night. The anecdote of the widow's mite was consequently one of the last, but it was not the very last of these transactions: it could not have followed after Matt. xxiii. at least; it must have come, therefore, between that and Mark xii. 40, or Luke xx. 47.
After this event, but before the next, it seems the most convenient place to insert John xii. 37. to the end; alluded to above. First, because from the express testimony of verse 36, what is afterwards recorded must have happened subsequently to the tenth of Nisan, the day of our Lord's first visit to, and departure from the temple; and subsequently also to the evening of that day, which we have shewn to have been the time when he quitted the temple. Secondly, because it is equally certain from xiii. 1. that it must have transpired before
* The treasury was situated in the women's court, no doubt, that the women, who might be disposed to make contributions to it, might have access to it; as was the case with the widow, when she threw in her mite. Our Lord, too, appears to have
sat there in particular for a similar reason, that the female Israelites might have access to him, as well as the male, whether to hear his discourses, or to partake of the benefit of his miracles.
1 Jos. Bell. Jud. v. v. 2.
the thirteenth of Nisan, when St. John, as we shall see, resumes the thread of his account, upon the evening prior to the passion. If so, it must have come between these extremes exactly; later than the tenth, but earlier than the thirteenth of Nisan; and consequently either on the eleventh or on the twelfth.
That the discourse here recorded was delivered in the temple may be taken for granted; and our Lord it will be said was on both the above days in the temple, and, therefore, that it might have been delivered on either of them. But from the strain both of the Evangelist's reflections, 37-43, and of the discourse itself, it can be referred to no day with so much propriety as the last day of our Lord's public ministry; that is, the twelfth of Nisan: nor for the same reason to any period of that day, except just before he left the temple. The reflections of the Evangelist are intended to account for the continued infidelity of the Jews, notwithstanding the many proofs which Jesus had exhibited before them; and to shew that the failure of his ministry at last was due not to any defect in the means of conviction, on his part, but to a moral incapacity of being rightly influenced by them, on their's: reflections, which would be natural and in character at the close of our Lord's ministry, when there was an end of the endeavour, and a certainty of the failure to convince; but not before it, when the process of conviction was still pending and the result of the process was still doubtful. The tenor of our Saviour's words is in unison with the same conclusion. They are to be regarded as a final warning; declaring, for the last time, what should be the consequence of ultimate perseverance in unbelief: and this is especially observable of verse 47, to the end —καὶ ἐάν τις μου ἀκούσῃ ... οὕτω λαλῶ. Under this word, which he had preached among them, are included
all the personal exertions and all the proper evidences of his ministry. The time when it should cease to be preached was now arrived; and having been preached to the last, as it had all along before, without avail, it should thenceforth be laid up—a faithful witness both of what our Lord himself had done to effect the conversion of the Jews, and of what they, by their obstinate impenitence, had frustrated-ready to be produced, as their accuser and their condemner, at the last day.
This point being presumptively established, we may much more confidently assume that the next transaction, the denunciation of woes against the Scribes and Pharisees, which takes up the whole of Matt. xxiii. was immediately followed by the departure from the temple. It is morally certain that a direct attack, like this, on his worst and most powerful enemies, would be reserved by our Lord for the close of the day. Nor, if we consider the warmth and vehemence of the invective; the spirit which animates the whole, beginning in a tone as calm and dispassionate, as it is firm and collected, but gradually taking fire as the discourse advances, and kindling at length into a terrific blaze of indignation; when we consider the keenness, and yet the justice of its reproofs; the open exposure, which it makes, of the artifices, the delusions, the hypocrisy, and the wickedness of the most arrogant, and the most influential sect of its time: can we suppose they could hear it pronounced, without the utmost exasperation; nor that, having formally bid them defiance, and inflamed their resentment and their malice to the highest degree, our Lord would continue much longer among them. Besides, if any regard is due to the plain meaning of terms, not to say to his own veracity, it can scarcely be doubted that, as he delivered the concluding sentence, λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν· οὐ μή με ἴδητε ἀπ ̓ ἄρτι, ἕως ἂν εἴπητε· εὖ
λογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι Κυρίου—he would both leave the temple, and never again return to it. With this event then the account of transactions on the twelfth of Nisan, within the temple, must be concluded.
The particulars subsequent to this, on the same day, were first, the observation made by some one or more of the disciples, as they were passing out of the temple, and personally addressed to our Lord, on the beauty and magnificence of its structure; an observation, memorable not only for the immediate answer which it drew forth from him, but also for its connection with the prophecy on the Mount; which seems to have ultimately been due to it. In this fact all the three Evangelists are agreed. Secondly, the prophecy upon Mount Olivet, delivered as we learn from St. Mark to four of the Apostles, Peter and Andrew, James and John, apart from the rest; and recorded also, either wholly or in part, by each of the same Evangelists. On the harmony of their accounts, however, I could not fully enter at present, without combining the explanation of the prophecy itself; and that is too closely connected with the kindred subject of the parables to be here attempted.
Yet the proceedings on the evening of this day are not, perhaps, completed with the close of this prophecy; for if I mistake not, another incident not less important, and not less distinctly recorded, than any of the rest is still to be referred to it: preparatory to which, however, it is necessary we should first say something on the several accounts of the unction at Bethany. Observing therefore simply that the place and purport of the remark, subjoined to St. Luke's relation of the prophecy", are a proof that he considered
m Ch. xxi. 37. 38.
our Lord's public ministry to have been concluded this day, and consequently with the evening of Wednesday in Passion-week, I shall proceed to that question.
The unction at Bethany is recorded by St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. John": between any of whose accounts, and Luke vii. 36–50, where also an unction is related, the difference is, as I think, so palpable and so indisputable, that, notwithstanding the trouble which some learned men have taken to prove them the same, I should consider it a waste of time and argument seriously to prove them distinct*.
It may be regarded as no less certain that each of these accounts is a narrative of the same material fact; or that the unction in St. John was the same event with that in St. Matthew and in St. Mark. So far as they all agree, the identity in question is proved by this agreement; and even where they differ, it is merely on points which must have been purposely omitted by them, and purposely supplied by St. John. The motive to the entertainment, as connected with the miracle of Lazarus; the relation of one of his sisters, Martha, to the master of the house; and the name of the other, Mary, as the agent in the unction; the mention of Judas as either the sole, or the most prominent party in the murmuring ascribed to the disciples, and the motive by which his complaint in particular was actuated; these are circumstances altogether passed over by St. Matthew and St. Mark, yet necessary to the historical integrity of the whole narration; and they are all either expressly, or by implication to be found in St. John. Even in the terms of our Saviour's reproof, which had
* Cf. Origen, Operum iii. 892. D-894. E. or Commentariorum
in Matt. Series 77. which treats of these several unctions.
n Matt. xxvi. 6—13. Mark xiv. 3-9. John xii. 2—8.