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been the most fully recorded by them, and therefore is the least particularly insisted on by him; he has yet supplied one sentence, at the outset of the address, which, because repeated substantially in the course of it, had probably been omitted by them.
Now the place of the unction in St. John is clearly on the evening of the arrival at Bethany; which, as it has been shewn, according to the Jewish reckoning, was the evening of the ninth of Nisan: its place in St. Matthew, or in St. Mark, is at the close of the proceedings on the twelfth. In this case, if St. John's order is regular, their's it would seem, must be irregular. And yet I shall endeavour to shew that, though his order exhibits no Anticipation, neither does their's any Trajection.
No account, which happens to be merely introduced in the regular course of events to explain what came to pass at one time, though it may itself belong to another, can be considered strictly an instance of a Transposition still less so, where there is such a connection between the two, that the later event was a consequence of the prior. The account of the death of John the Baptist, though it occurred in St. Matthew and in St. Mark, some months after that death, and more than a year after his imprisonment, was yet no irregularity; because it was inserted to explain something which was passing at the time. It was an historical parenthesis, or a recapitulation of the past for the sake of the present; but no Trajection. And this, as it appears to me, is the true statement or description of the Transposition in the present instance also. It was not designed on its own. account, but for the sake of a further topic; the history of the treachery of Judas.
This history is divisible into three stages, each of
which has been accurately defined; the first cause and conception of his purpose; the overt step towards its execution; and lastly, its consummation. On none of these points but the first is there any difficulty. The consummation took place in the garden of Gethsemane; the overt step was the compact with the Sanhedrim; the first cause and conception of the purpose, if they are to be traced up to any thing on record, must be referred to what happened at the unction in Bethany. There is no evidence that any such design had been formed before Passion-week in general, nor before the time of the supper and the unction during that week in particular. Here, however, the implicit testimony of St. John may justify us in placing it; and its motive will be that disappointment of the avarice of Judas, on which the Evangelist principally insists; as well as probably the offence which he might take at our Saviour's rebuke, personally levelled against his complaints.
Let us suppose then that the design having been now formed, or a sufficient foundation for its formation hereafter having been now laid, the overt step of communicating with the Sanhedrim was taken on the evening of the Wednesday afterwards. If St. Matthew and St. Mark record that step, as they do record it, in its proper place; viz. upon the day when it was taken; what was more natural than that they should premise an account of the unction also? This is precisely the case to which our distinction between a Transposition as such, and a merely historical explanation, would be strikingly apposite. To have related the effect, without specifying the cause, would have been under any circumstances repugnant to the reason of things; but to have perpetuated the treachery of Judas, without assigning also the motive which led to it, would have been unworthy of the candour of Gospel historians;
and to suppose a monstrous and unnatural effect (for what could be more so, than the betrayal of Jesus by one of his own Apostles?) without a cause, and much more an adequate cause. It was due to the innocence of our Lord himself, that the baseness of the treacherous disciple's motive, which only could have prompted him to so unnatural an act, should be fitly represented; without exaggeration indeed, yet in its simple and naked atrocity.
The overture of Judas to the Sanhedrim could not have taken place before the Wednesday in Passionweek, nor later than the Thursday. Both these propositions may be asserted with confidence; the latter because the consummation of his treachery itself ensued early on the morning of the Friday, and there was some interval, after the proposal to the Sanhedrim, during which he was waiting for an opportunity to execute his compact; the former from what is related, in each of these instances, concerning the consultations of the Sanhedrim before. They would neither have been deliberating how they might secure possession of the person of Jesus, nor have come to the resolution of attempting nothing against him until after the feast, if Judas had made his overture already. If then this deliberation took place on the evening of the Wednesday, the overture of Judas had not been received before the evening of the Wednesday.
The same conclusion follows from what was so often repeated, at certain times, on the days before, that the enemies of our Lord, had they not been restrained by their fear of the people, would gladly have laid hold upon him on the spot. I conjecture therefore that the overture was made at this critical moment, directly after the
o Matt. xxvi. 3—5. 14-16. Mark xiv. 1, 2. 10, 11.
Luke xxii. 2. 4, 5.
deliberation in question; when, as removing the only difficulty in the way of their designs, viz. how to lay hands on Jesus do or covertly, it would be gladly accepted. There was an opportunity for making it, after our Lord had left the temple, and while he was subsequently engaged in the lengthened conversation on the mount, attended by four only of the Apostles, and consequently in the absence of the rest; which would be as convenient for the purpose of Judas, as if it had been intentionally afforded him. Nor is it improbable that Matt. xxvi. 2, which is immediately subjoined to the close of the prophecy, may contain a significant allusion to the execution of some such purpose at that very time. And, if we consider the state of irritation in which our Saviour had recently left the Sanhedrim, a circumstance which could not be unknown to the traitor, perhaps his cupidity could not have selected a more favourable moment for making the most advantageous bargain.
There can be no objection to this account of the Transposition in St. Matthew and St. Mark, except the supposition that the breast of the Apostle must have harboured his design three or four days before he executed it. But this objection would be frivolous. The mind which could conceive was manifestly capable of harbouring such a design. The crime of Judas could derive no extenuation unless perhaps from the impulse of sudden passion; and even that cannot be pleaded in its behalf; for he acted deliberately and with premeditation throughout. He must in any case have been conscious of his purpose, and pondering with himself the means of its execution, long before he carried it into effect. Hence, if passion had ought to do with the first conception of his design, malice and
hardness of heart must have been mainly concerned in its consummation.
I shall conclude, then, by observing briefly that the language and manner of all the Evangelists are in unison with these conclusions. St. Matthew's exordium is to be rendered thus: Now when Jesus was in Bethany; and St. Mark's the same: And as he was in Bethany; where the Kai is equivalent to dé. St. Luke, alluding to the design as formed but not yet executed, speaks accordingly: Now Satan had entered into Judas-and he went his way. The TоTe therefore, Matt. xxvi. 14, is to be referred to xxvi. 5; and the kaì, Mark xiv. 10, to xiv. 2; upon which respectively they would be strictly consecutive: the intermediate matter in each instance being entirely parenthetic. Lastly, had the execution of the purpose of Judas taken place, in any sense, on the same night when it was conceived; if St. John related the circumstances which gave occasion to the conception, he would have mentioned also the effect which arose out of it. His silence therefore as to any such consequences at the time of the unction, may be presumptively an argument that none such followed immediately after the unction. Yet he himself demonstrates plainly that they had happened before the night of the Thursday P: they had happened therefore sometime between the Saturday and the Thursday.
p Ch. xiii. 2. 11. 26--30.