« PreviousContinue »
Our author says, p. 107, • They seem to have been pro• selytes, as they are reckoned among those who came up • to Jerusalem to worsbip at the feasts. .
Whích expression is ambiguous. For as many learned men of our time say there were two sorts of proselytes, some called proselytes of the gate, others proselytes of righteousness; Dr. W. may mean the former, as do Wbitby and Hammond. I know nothing of that sort of half-proselytes. I think there were not any such men in any part of the world in the times of our Saviour and his apostles.
That these men were not proselytes, or men circumcised after the manner of the Jews, appears to me very probable. For all proselytes were entitled to the same religious privi. leges with native Jews, or the descendants of Abrabam and Jacob. Such therefore, as it seems, might have had free access to Christ at the temple. The modesty of these persons may make us think of the Centurion, wbo, when he entreated our Lord to heal his sick servant, that was dear to bim, and our Lord was going toward his house witb some elders of the Jews, who also joined in the same request; “ he sent friends unto him, saying," not only, “ that he was not worthy that Jesus should enter under bis roof :" but likewise, « that neither thought he himself worthy to come unto him,” Luke vii, 1-8. Moreover Philip himself seems to have hesitated about the propriety of the request of these persons. For he also consulted Andrew, before he made the proposal to our Lord. So is the bistory. “ And there were certain Greeks among them, who came up to worship at the feast. The same came to Philip, who was of Bethsaida in Galilee, and desired him, saying; Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh, and telleth Andrew. And again, Andrew and Philip told Jesus.”
Their request to see Jesus, I imagine, implied a desire to have access to bis person, and to have some conversation with him. Which request, I think, was granted. Supposing these men to have been uncircumcised Gentiles, it was a favour and a condescension, according to the Jewish maxims. But the woman, who was of the same country, and is also called a Greek, came near to our Lord, and spoke to him several times, and he to her, and at length very comfortably, and healed her daughter. Matt. xv. 21–28; Mark vii. If our Lord yielded so far to the importunity of that woman, why might he not also grant the request of these Greeks, though Gentiles ? It is manifest, that she was no better. For our Lord said to her: “ Let the children first
" Ib. ch. xviii, nun, ü.
be filled. It is not meet to take the children's bread, and cast it unto the dogs."
The sequel of the history confirms this supposition. In the hearing of these persons, or soon after they were gone, our Lord made use of these expressions. Ver. 23, “ And Jesus answered them, saying: The hour is come, that the Son of man shall be glorified,” that is, by the faith of the Gentiles, though inany of the Jewish people rejected him. And afterwards, as ver. 32, " And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” The coining of these persons therefore was very acceptable to our Lord. And be thereupon pleaseth himself with the prospect of the speedy and extensive progress of his doctrine. So after the profession made by the forementioned centurion, of faith in our Lord's power to heal bis servant at a distance, “ He said to them that followed : I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven," and what there follows. Matt. viii. 10–12.
That the Greeks here spoken of were Gentiles, was the opinion of the ancient writers of the church, as d Epiphanius, e Chrysostom, Theophylact, Theodore of Mopsuestia, b Jerom, and others; who never were perplexed with the notion of two sorts of proselytes, which has gained so much credit among learned christians of late times.
And we are likewise assured by Josephus, thati Gentiles, or such as were aliens, were wont to come to Jerusalem, to worship there at the time of the Jewish festivals. Though uncircumcised men might not eat the passover, nor offer sacrifices at the temple, they might pray there. And when our Lord cleansed the temple, and drove the buyers and sellers, with their merchandize, from the outer court, he reminded them that it was a written, that God's house should be called an house of prayer for all people," Isa. Ivi. 7; Matt. xxi. 13; Mark xi. 17; Luke xix. 46.
d Hær. 30. num. xxvii. e In Joh. hom. 66. [al. 65.] n. 3. p. 390. tom. VIII.
| In loc.
& Apud Cotelerii Caten. Patr. in Jo. p. 309. Ad Rufin. T. II. p. 217. al. ep. 131.
i All' 8de roic alloqulois, oool, kara Ipnokelay hapnoav. De B. J. I. 6. cap. ix. 3.
PAGE 125. Diss. xxxii. · How to reconcile St. Jobn's ac• count concerning the time of our Saviour's crucifixion • with that of the three other evangelists.
St. John writes, ch. xix. 13, 14, “ When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat in the judgment seat. And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth bour. And he saith unto the Jews: Behold your King." St. Mark says, xv. 25, “ And it was the third hour, and they crucified bim.”
For reconciling these accounts our learned author says, p. 127, 128, • And about six in the morning Pilate brought ibiin forth to the Jews, and said : “ Behold your King." • This is the time which Johu refers to, and calls the “ sixth • bour,” that is, of the civil day. The three following hours • were employed in preparing for his crucifixion, and that • of the two robbers, and carrying them to the place without • the city. At the conclusion of those three hours he was • crucified. Which Mark calls the “ third hour," that is, • of the natural day. And by the same reckoning must be i understood the “ sixth hour," at which the darkness com• menced; and also the “ ninth hour,” when he expired; as • related by all the evangelists, except John ; who has used • the Roman way of reckoning in some other places also, as •ch. i. 39, iv. 6, and xx. 19. And it is vot improbable, that • be writing so late might choose that way of reckoning the • hours of the day, which was customary among the Ro• mans: as the others bad followed that which was prac• tised by the Jews.
To me it seems, that St. John reckons the hours of the day as the other evangelists do, according to the custom of the Jews. Nor do I comprehend, how any historian could write intelligibly of transactions in Judea, without observing the Jewish custom, unless he gives particular notice of it.
In the history of the nobleman of Capernaum, who came to Jesus, “ beseeching him to come down and heal his son, it is said, John iv. 51, 52, And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then inquired he of them the hour when he began to amend ; and they said unto him, Yesterday, about the seventh hour, the fever left bim.” These persons must be supposed to speak according to the ordinary custom of the country in which they lived. And by the “ seventh hour” must be meant about one of the clock afternoon, according to our computation.
And in chap. xi. 9, our Saviour hinself says, very agreeably to the Jewish manner, “ Are there not twelve hours in the day ?” But I do not insist upon this as decisive, because the Romans, and others, might express themselves in like manner, meaning the natural day.
John iv. 5, 6, “ Then cometh Jesus unto a city called Sychar:- now Jacob's well was there; Jesus therefore being wearied with his journey sat thus on the well. And it was about the sixth hour,” that is, says Whitby, ' about * noon.' So it is generallya understood, and very rightly, as I apprehend.
So saysb Cyril of Alexandria, not very far below the beginning of the fifth century, in his comment upon this text; whom I transcribe in the margin. And in like manner Isaac, surnamed the Great, who fourished about the middle of the same century. Among his works Dr. Asseman reckons five sermons concerning the Samaritan woman. The first of which begins in this manner. • At the sixth • bour, when the day was grown bot, our Saviour came to • the well.'
I think this must be right. For I do not see how those ancient writers, who lived not very remote from Judea, could be mistaken.
Josephus dwelt at Rome, and wrote after the destruction of Jerusalem. Nevertheless be also computes the hours in the same way. Giving an account of an assembly at Tari. cheas in Galilee, in a proseucha, or oratory ; he says, • Thered certainly would have been a great disturbance, if • the assembly had not been dissolved by the approach of • the sixth hour, at which time we are wont to go to din• ner on the sabbaths.' And be assures us, • Thate the priests
• Vid. supr. cap. i. 39. Causam sitis ostendit, quia et multum itineris fecerat, et jam erat meridies. Grot. in ver. 6.
Quia, inquit, lassus erat de viâ, et instabat meridies, maximus videlicet diei æstus. Bez. in loc.
• Ευαφορμως επι τη πηγη καταλυοντα δεικνυει τον Ιησεν. Ηλια γαρ ακμαιότατην απο μεσων αψιδων τους επι της γης την ακτινα καταχεοντος, και ακρατoις τα σωματα καταφλεγοντος βολεις, το μεν ετι πρoσω βαδιζειν εκ αζημιoν. K... Cyr. H. in Joan. T. IV. p. 179. Primus sic incipit. Horá sextâ, quum dies incaluisset, venit ad puteum Dominus. Ap. Assem. B. Or. T. i. p. 232, p. 79.
4 Και παντως αν εις σασιν εχωρησαν, ει μη την συνοδον διελυσεν επελθασα EKTY wpa, kao nv TOLC oaspaol COI5OTOLELODat vouliuov ESLV vulv. Jos. Vit. sect. 54. p. 26.
---καθ' ήν θυσι μεν απο εννατης ώρας μεχρι vdekatns. De B. J. I. 6. ix. 3.
• at the temple were employed in killing paschal lambs - from the ninth hour to the eleventh.'
John i. 3539, “ Again, the next day after, John stood, and two of his disciples. And looking upon Jesus, as he walked, he saith, Behold the lamb of God. And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. — And they said to him ; Rabbi, where dwellest thou ? He saith unto them: Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day; for it was about the tenth hour.” Or, as it is said in the margin of some of our Bibles, 'two hours before night.' Which explication is very reasonable and obvious. The connexion leads us to think, that the day was declining, when these disciples went to the house where Jesus dwelt. Nor is there any consideration that should induce us to think of our ten in the forenoon, For inquisitive, attentive, and well-disposed men, as these were, might learn a great deal in the space of two hours' conversation, with so excellent a master as they now applied to.
There still remains one text more to be considered. John xx. 19, “ Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut, where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus, and stood in the midst, and saith unto them; Peace be unto
As our author here particularly refers to Dr. Benson, I must observe what he says: “We have yet a more evident • proof, that St. John followed the Roman method of reckon• ing the hours of the day. For speaking of that very day, • on which our blessed Lord rose from the dead, he first • mentions his appearing to Mary Magdalene. And then • intimates, that he appeared to other of his disciples, that * same day. But his words are very remarkable. “ The * same day, when it was evening, being the first day of the • week :' and the disciples had bolted the doors for fear of • the Jews : “ Then caine Jesus and stood in the midst of • thein,” &c. Now, no Jew would have used that language. • No! When “ the evening was come,” they would have • called it “ the second day of the week.” St. John, there• fore, in this place, hath, in effect, (though not in express • words) told bis attentive readers, that he has followed • the Roman computation of the hours of the day. For, • according to that, it was still the first day of the week, • and the same day on which our Lord arose; notwithstand
See the History of the first Planting the Christian Religion, second edit. App. n. 4. p. 52, 53.