« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
it not that this would be to anticipate that very examination of those topics in detail, which is requisite to the confirmation of the assertion alluded to above. Το this examination then, but no further than may suffice for that purpose, I shall accordingly proceed.
That the chapter contains the particulars of a series of discourses, all belonging to the same period of time, may be proved by various considerations.
First, the reference at the beginning to the collection of a numerous multitude, during something else which had been going on meanwhile, is clearly to the circumstances related in the preceding chapter; more especially, to the time taken up by the sitting at meat, and by the protracted conversation, consequent upon it, in the house of the Pharisee. The same reference is implied in the nature of the topic, first insisted on, the ζύμη τῶν Φαρισαίων, or ὑπόκρισις; for that is best explained upon the principles of association, by the recollection of what had just occurred; not merely with respect to those pretensions to superior purity and virtue, which were instanced at xi. 38, 39, but also to that series of captious interrogations, designed to make our Lord commit himself in some manner or other, which is alluded to xi. 53, 54.
Secondly, when he returned into public, and had begun to address those about him, they were his disciples whom he addressed first; which clearly implies that, 'some time in the course of the same occasion, he must have addressed the people also. Accordingly, this is seen to have happened in two different instances, one xii. 13– 21, and the other xii. 54-the end; to one or to both of which the Evangelist must consequently refer. Now there is this circumstance of distinction between them; that, in the second, our Lord spoke to the multitude of his own accord; in the first, in consequence of an
interruption in the second, upon a general subject connected with his ministry; in the first, upon a particular topic suggested by the interruption itself. The second then was the more likely of the two to be referred to; and the second is the conclusion of the chapter. But if the end and the beginning of a certain discourse belong to the same point of time, the intermediate parts, whatever be the subject to which they relate, cannot belong to a different one.
Besides which, the topic of this last address to the people is evidently connected with the demand of an extraordinary sign; and verse tenth, in the course of the original address to the disciples, is connected with the fact of the blasphemy against the Son of man, as contradistinguished to the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost: both which were subjects suggested by recent events, and largely discussed a little before. It follows then that the whole of this twelfth chapter is strictly consecutive upon the course of proceedings from xi. 14 forwards; and it is not less apparent that xiii. 1-9 at least is strictly consecutive upon it: so that from xi. 14 to xiii. 9, we possess a continuous account of events, belonging to either the whole or to some one and the same part of one day.
This conclusion being established, the substance of 35-48, which is in general the doctrine of Christian watchfulness, besides being parabolic in its nature, and therefore not a fit subject for the present work; as far as it was qualified to supply any argument respecting the time of the chapter, has been in fact anticipated. The next division, which contains either clear or presumptive intimations to the same effect, is that which concludes the chapter-from verse 49-59; distributable into two parts; one from 49-53, the other from 5459: the former, a continuation of the address to the
disciples, and the latter, the substance of an address to the people.
In the first of these divisions itself, there is also a double reference; one, to the speaker, 49, 50, the other, to the parties addressed, and consequently the disciples, 51-53. Upon each of these we may observe in common that it would be in vain to search for the connection of either with the discourse which goes before, in any community of topics, or in the usual laws which regulate the transition of ideas: nor in any principle but that of the proximity of the close of our Lord's personal ministry, and of the natural effect, in reference both to himself and to his hearers, which the contemplation of that proximity was likely to produce upon his mind.
For to consider the latter division first. The address to the disciples is obviously levelled against something in their present opinions or persuasions, concerning the speaker and the final event of his coming, which the result would prove to be diametrically the reverse of the truth. This same thing, it cannot admit of a question, was their persuasion of the nature of the kingdom of the Messiah, or of what would be the effect of the appearance of Christ both upon him and upon them. Their minds at this present time were possessed with one idea, that his kingdom would be temporal, and the immunity of his person perpetual; so that, before the event of the crucifixion itself, they could not comprehend the most simple and direct assurances of the fact, because they could not conceive the possibility, of his future sufferings. Much less were they prepared to entertain the distinct apprehension of those personal dangers and inconveniences, which, under the general name of persecution emanating from the enmity of their unbelieving countrymen,
were sometime to redound upon themselves who believed in Christ.
What however I would particularly observe is this; that the substance of these verses, in St. Luke, occurred before, and at a much earlier period, not less than a year from the present time, at Matt. x. 34-37 or 39: where, with the same specific allusion to the future fortunes of the disciples, in consequence of their master's coming, there was none to our Lord's own; with the same general prediction of the fact, there was no such express intimation of the instant proximity of the fact, of persecution and suffering, as concerned either him or them, like that which is here conveyed in the terms ἤδη ἀνήφθη, and still more in those of the ἀπὸ τοῦ VUV. It is reasonable to infer that the time of the fulfilment of the prediction was much nearer now than then; for, if that was the case, it would account for the distinction at once.
With respect to the first of the same divisions; that apostrophe to our Lord's personal sufferings, so forcible, as to shew that he felt them in prospect deeply; so abrupt, as to seem the effect of a sudden emotion; is by nothing so easily to be accounted for, as by the contemplation of the near approach of his passion itself. Neither the kind nor the degree of those sufferings was unknown to our Lord from the first; and if the prospect of their futurity, combined with this perfect understanding of their nature, could not but be at all times revolting to the oμolomália of his common humanity, it is probable it would be most so when the crisis was nearest at hand. The intensity of the agony in Gethsemane, whatever else might contribute towards it, must partly if not mainly be ascribed to this cause. What I have to observe here also is that, if the idea of his personal sufferings is seen to have ever, even mo
mentarily, disturbed the equanimity of our Lord, it was only on the eve of their arrival. At the beginning of his ministry, when they were yet comparatively distant, and even when two thirds of its duration were overb, he alluded to their futurity with the same calmness and composure, which he displayed at last in the endurance of them.
And that the words do contain an allusion to these sufferings is proved by verse 50, in the occurrence of the term Bánτioμа. The same word, along with another still more significant, in the use of a similar metaphorical expression for the same idea, occurs in the answer to the sons of Zebedee; Can ye drink of the cup, which I am to drink? and be baptized with the baptism, with which I am baptized? The word BarriεOOαι, in this figurative sense of persecution or suffering, endured for the sake of religion in general, or of any main article of religion in particular, seems to be so employed in that celebrated passage: ἐπεὶ τί ποιήσουσιν οἱ βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν, εἰ ὅλως νεκροὶ οὐκ ἐγείρονται ; τί καὶ βαπτίζονται ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν; τί καὶ ἡμεῖς κιν δυνεύομεν πᾶσαν ὥρανd; the context of which proves that βαπτίζεσθαι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν is κινδυνεύειν ὑπὲρ τῶν νεKpov-the fire of which baptism, the brunt of which danger, in vindication of one of the main articles of the Christian faith, the resurrection of the dead, falling principally on the champions of all those articles κar' Cox, the Apostles, St. Paul naturally specifies them in general, or himself in particular, directly afterwards: τί καὶ ἡμεῖς κινδυνεύομεν πᾶσαν ὥραν; and, καθ ̓ ἡμέραν ἀποθνήσκω. κ. τ. λ. *
* This explanation of the phrase, I think, is strikingly illustrated by the following pas
b John ii. 19. vi. 51-58. 70. d 1 Cor. xv. 29, 30.
sage from the Acta Pionii, Acta Martyrum, 150. cap. 21.
Hæc me ducit causa, hæc me c Matt. xx. 22. Mark x. 38.