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Considerations on the
2lly. The scene in St. John is the house of Martha, or of Lazarus; in the other Evangelists, that of Simon the leper.
"Ans. St. John lays the scene in general at Bethany. "It seems probable, that Lazarus would not have been called is tv avxxy, if he had been the host.
Martha, the sister of Lazarus, might shew Jesus honourbe by ministering to him, in any house as well as her own. She was Simon's neighbour, and perhaps his relation,' Dr. Priestly, Harm. p. 102. Our Lord's affection for Lazarus and his sister, and the recent miracle wrought on Lazarus, were very sufficient reasons for Simon's invitation of such neighbouring guests.
3dly. St. John mentions the feet of Jesus as anointed by Mary, and wiped with her hair; the other Evangelists say, that the ointment was poured on Jesus's head.
"Ans. It is no where asserted that the unction was of Jesus's head only, or of his feet only: both actions are consistent; and St. John, in his supplemental history, may very well have added the respectful conduct of Mary, that after having anointed Jesus's head, she proceeded to anoint his feet, and even to wipe them with her hair.
4thly. In St. John, Judas alone murmurs: in St. Matthew, the disciples have indignation; or, as St. Mark expresses it, some have indignation among themselves.
“Ans. Dr. Lardner says, Serm. vol. II. p. 316. It is well known to be very common with all writers, to use the plural number when one person only is intended; nor is it impossible that others might have some uneasiness about it, though they were far from being so disgusted at it as Judas was. And their concern for the poor was sincere his was self-interested and mere pretence.'
"Grotius's words are: Reprehensa est hoc nomine mulier ab ano discipulorum; nam ita pluralis accipi solet.
5thly. The vindications of the woman by our Lord differ so much, as to shew that the occasions were different.
anointing of our Lord.
reading is, Fucilioris sensûs causâ; and adds, Verbum της τη.
"Dr. Scott, on Matthew, quotes the following passage from Theophylact: ἔθος ἦν τοῖς Ιεδαίοις μετὰ μύρων ἐνταφιάζειν τὰ σώματα, ὡς καὶ οἱ Αιγύπτιοι εποιείν, διὰ τὸ ἄτηπτα τηρεῖσθαι, καὶ ἄνευ δυσωδίας. It was a custom among the Jews, as well as among the Egyptians, to embalm the bodies of the dead, as well to keep them from putrefaction, as to prevent offensive smells.
"The expressions therefore of the three evangelists agree in sense and substance. I have explained the more difficult in St. John; leaving every one to his own judgment whether it be the true one or not; though I incline to think that the unusual phrase ought generally to be admitted into the text. "Gthly. In St. John, Mary anoints Jesus; in Matthew and Mark, a woman, not named.
"Ans. Lardner says, ubi supra p. 315. St. John having before given the history of the resurrection of Lazarus, it was very Ans. St. John's words are indeed thus misinterpreted by natural for him, when he came to relate this anointing of our Baronius: Let her alone, that she may keep it against the day of Lord, to say by whom it was done. But the two former evanmy burial, alluding to Mark xvi. 1. See Lightfoot, Harm.gelists having never mentioned Lazarus or his sisters in their p. 27. See also Lightfoot, ib. 1. 251. She hath kept it yet, gospels, when they came to relate this action forbear to mention and not spent all; that she may bestow it on a charitable use, any name, and speak only of a certain woman. Luke x. 38— the anointing of my body to its burial. 42. has an account of our Lord's being entertained at the house "Whiston also, Harm. 129. gives a wrong sense to the of Martha. But he says nothing of this anointing. If he had words. She hath spent but little of it now: she hath reserved related it, I make no question, that he, like St. John, would the main part of it for a fitter time, the day before my delivery have said by whom it was done.' Upon the whole, there is to the Jews; making this a prediction of what passed, no solid objection to the hypothesis that we have three accounts Matt. xxvi. 6-13. Mark xiv. 3—9. It must be observed of the same transaction. But it is incredible that there should that, John xii. 7. there is a remarkable various reading:be two unctions of Jesus, in Bethany, within four days, not να εἰς τὴν ἡμέραν τῷ ἐνταφιασμῷ με τηρήσῃ αὐτό. See Wetstein,plainly distinguished from each other; that the kind and and add Codd. Vercell. and Veron. in Blanchini. Of this reading we have a sound interpretation in Mill, proleg. xlv. Sine eam ut opportune usa hoc unguento, velut ad sepulturam meam, jamjam occidendi, illud servâsse ostendatur. And likewise in Bengelius ad loc. who observes, that the common
price of the ointment should be the same, that the two ac-
Whether our Lord ate the
pass-over before he suffered.
The question considered, whether our Lord ate the pass-over with his disciples, before he suffered?
Every candid person must allow that there are great difficulties relative to the time in which our Lord ate the last passover with his disciples. In the Introduction to my Discourse on the nature and design of the Holy Eucharist, I have examined this-subject at large, and considered the four following opinions, viz. I. Our Lord did not eat the pass-over on the last year of his ministry. II. Our Lord did eat it that and at the same time with the Jews. III. He did eat it that year, but not at the same time with the Jews. IV. He did eat a pass-over of his own instituting, but widely differing from that eaten by the Jews. The two first opinions do not appear to be solidly supported. The two last are of the most import
As to the precise time of this transaction, it is natural to conclude from the accounts of Matthew and Mark, that it happened two days before the passover. I had much pleasure in observing that Mr. Jebb, in his Harmony, assigns it the same order as I do. I likewise find in Ward's Dissertations, p. 112. the following remark. John ouly mentions the day when Jesus came to Bethany, without specifying the time when he was entertained there by Simon the leper; whereas the other two evangelists acquaint us with the day when that was done, and what followed upon it, with relation to Judas.' And again, Wall says, Critical Notes, v. 3, p. 52. Wednesday he seems to have staid at Bethany, and supped there. At which supper, Mary, sister of Lazarus, poured that ointment on his body, which he interpreted to be for his burial.' And on John xii. 2. This seems to be the same supper which Matthew and Mark do say was at the house of Simon the leper;ance, are the most likely, and may be harmonized. for there it was that Mary anointed him. But then we must introduce a few observations on each in this place. And I. not take it to be the same night that he came to Bethany, but On the opinion that "Our Lord did eat the pass-over this two days before the passover.' year, but not at the same time with the Jews."
"That Judas went to the high-priests on the evening or Dr. Cudworth, who of all others has handled this subject night of our Wednesday, may be collected from Matt. xxvi. best, has proved from the Talmud, Mishna, and some of the 14-17. and the parallel places in this harmony: and he seems most reputable of the Jewish Rabbins, that the ancient Jews to have acted partly in disgust at what had passed. This is a about our Saviour's time, often solemnized as well the passgood argument for fixing the unction for Wednesday. As it overs as the other feasts, upon the ferias next before and after will appear that the other apostles did not suspect his trea- the sabbaths. And, that as the Jews in ancient times reckoned chery, we may suppose that Judas withdrew himself clandes- the new moons, not according to astronomical exactness, but tinely, probably after our Lord had retired to privacy and de- || according to the quis, or moon's appearance: and, as this votion. Our Lord's words, Matt. xxvi. 2. may have led Mary to appearance might happen a day later than the real time, conshew this respect to Jesus, lest no future opportunity should of sequently there might be a whole day of difference in the time fer. See Lardner, ubi supra, p. 327. Dr. Priestly thinks that of celebrating one of these feasts, which depended on a par◄ if the verses that contain this story in Matt. xxvi. 6-13. be ticular day of the month; the days of the month being counted considered, they will be found to stand very awkwardly in their from the Cars, or appearance of the new moon. As he depresent situation, where they interrupt an account of a con- cribes the whole manner of doing this, both from the Babysultation among the Jews about putting Jesus to death.' || lonish Talmud, and from Maimonides, I shall give an extract Harm. p. 100. But it seems to me, that the story has a re- from this part of his work, that my readers may have the markably apt connexion with the preceding and subsequent whole argument before them. history. The Jewish rulers consult how they may take Jesus by craft, and without raising a tumult among the people. An accident happens which offends one of Jesus's familiar attendants; who immediately repairs to Jesus's enemies, and receives from them a bribe to betray him in the absence of the multitude." Newcome's Harmony, Notes, p. 39, &c.
I have added the above, not from a conviction that the point is so elucidated, as to settle the controversy, but merely to place before the reader both sides of the question. Still, sub judice lis est, and any man may doubt, consistently with the most genuine piety, whether the relations given by the evangelists concerning the anointing of our Lord, should be understood of two different unctions, at two different times, in two different places, by two different persons; or whether they are not different accounts, with some varying circumstances, of one and the same transaction. I incline, at present, to the former opinion; but it would be rash to decide where so many emipently learned and wise men have disagreed.
"In the great or outer court there was a house called Beth Yazek, where the senate sat all the 30th day of every month, to receive the witnesses of the moon's appearance, and to examine them. If there came approved witnesses on the 30th day, who could state they had seen the new moon, the chief man of the senate stood up, and cried wp mekuddash, it is sanctified; and the people standing by caught the word from him, and cried, mekuddash! mekuddash! But if, when the consistory had sat all the day, and there came no approved witnesses of the phasis, or appearance of the new moon, then they made an intercalation of one day in the former month, and decreed the following one and thirtieth day to be the calends. But, if after the fourth or fifth day, or even before the end of the month, respectable witnesses came from far, and testified they had seen the new moon, in its due time: the senate were bound to alter the beginning of the month, and reckon it a day sooner, viz. from the thirtieth day.
"As the senate were very unwilling to be at the trouble of
Whether our Lord ate
the pass-over before he suffered.
day, for the Jews began their day at sun-setting; we at midnight. Thus Christ ate the pass-over the same day with the Jews, but not on the same hour. Christ, therefore, kept this pass-over the beginning of the fourteenth day, the precise day in which the Jews had eaten their first pass-over in Egypt: see Exod. xii. 6-12. And in the same part of the sanie day in which they had sacrificed their first paschal lamb, viz. between the two evenings, i. e. between the sun's declining west and his setting, Jesus our pass-over was sacrificed for us. For it was the third hour, in the course of between 9 and 12, Mark xv. 25 that Christ was nailed to the cross: and in the course of the ninth hour, between 12 and 3 in the afternoon, Matt. xxvii. 46. Mark xv. 34. Jesus knowing that the antetype had accom plished every thing shadowed forth by the type, said, "it is PINISHED, TETEKETTαi, completed, perfected, and having this said, he bowed his head, and dismissed his spirit. See on John xix. 14, 30. Probably there is but one objection of any force that lies against the opinion, that our Lord ate his passover some houts before the Jews in general ate theirs; which is, that, if our Lord did eat the pass-over the evening before the Jews, in ge
a second consecration, when they had even fixed on a wrong day, and therefore received very reluctantly the te timony of such witnesses as those last mentioned, they afterwards made a statute to this effect-That whatsoever time the senate should conclude on for the culends of the month, though it were certain they were in the wrong, yet all were bound to order their feasts according to it." This Dr. Cudworth supposes, actually took place in the time of our Lord, and "as it is not likely that our Lord would submit to this perversion of the original custom, and that following the true is, or appearance of the new moon, confirmed by sufficient witnesses, he and his disciples ate the pass-over on that day; but the Jews, following the pertinacious decree of the Sanhedrin, did not eat it till the day following." Dr. C. further shews from Epiphanius, that there was a contention, OogvBos, a tumult, among the Jews about the pass-over, that very year. Hence it is likely, that what was the real paschal day to our Lord, his disciples, and many other pious Jews, who adopted the true cars phasis, was only the preparation or antecedent evening to others, who acted on the decree of the senate. Besides, it is worthy of note, that not only the Karaites, who do not acknowledgeneral, ate theirs, it could not have been sacrificed according to the authority of the Sanhedrin, but also the Rabbins themselves grant, that where the case is doubtful, the pass-over should be celebrated with the same ceremonies, two days together: and it was always doubtful, when the appearance of the new moon could not be fully ascertained.
Bishop Pearce supposes, that it was lawful for the Jews to eat he paschal lamb at any time, between the evening of Thursday, and that of Friday; and, that this permission was necessary, because of the immense number of lambs which were to be killed for that purpose: as in one year, there were not fewer than 256,500 lambs offered. See Josephus, War, b. vii. c. 9. sect. 3. In Matt. xxvi. ver. 17, it is said, Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, (gry a) the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the pass-over? As the feast of unleavened bread did not begin till the day after the pass-over, the fifteenth day of the month, Lev. xxiii. 5, 6. Numb. xxviii. 16, 17. this could not have been properly the first day of that feast: but as the Jews began to eat unleavened bread on the fourteenth day, Exod. xii. 18. this day was of ten termed the first of unleavened bread. Now it appears, that the Evangelists use it in this sense, and call even the paschal day by this name, see Mark xiv. 12. Luke xxii. 7.
the law; nor is it at all likely that the blood was sprinkled at the foot of the altar. If, therefore, the blood was not thus sprinkled by one of the priests, that which constituted the very essence of the rite, as ordained by God, was lacking in that celebrated by our Lord.
To this it is answered-First, we have already seen that, in consequence of the immense number of sacrifices to be offered on the paschal solemnity, it is highly probable the Jews were obliged to employ two days for this work. It is not at all likely that the blood of 256,500 lambs could be shed and sprinkled at one altar, in the course of one day, by all the priests in Jerusalem, or indeed in the Holy Land; since they had but that one altar where they could legally sprinkle the blood of the victims.
Secondly, we have also seen that, in cases of doubt relativé to the time of the appearance of the new moon, the Jews were permitted to hold the pass-over both days; and that it is probable such a dubious case existed at the time in question. In any of these cases, the lamb might have been killed and its blood sprinkled according to the rules and ceremonies of the Jewish church.
Thirdly, as our Lord was the true paschal lamb, who was, in a few hours after this time, to bear away the sin of the world, At first view, this third opinion, which states that Christ he might dispense with this part of the ceremony, and act did eat the pass-over with his disciples that year, but not in as Lord of his own institution in this, as he had done before the same hour with the Jews; and that he expired on the in the case of the subbath. At any rate, as it seems procross the same hour in which the paschal lamb was killed, bable that he ate the pass-over at this time, and that he died seems the most probable. For it appears, from what has already about the time the Jews offered theirs, it may be fully prebeen remarked, that our Lord and his disciples ate the pass-sumed that he left nothing undone towards a due performance over some hours before the Jews ate theirs; for they, accord- of the rite, which the present necessity required, or the law ing to custom, ate theirs at the end of the fourteenth day, but of God could demand. Christ appears to have eaten his the preceding evening, which was the beginning of the same sixth day of the week, or Fri
The objection, that our Lord and his disciples appear to have sat or reclined at table all the time they ate what is supLl
Whether our Lord ate
posed above, to have been the pass-over, contrary to the paschal institution, which required them to eat it standing, with their staves in their hands, their loins girded, and their shoes on, cannot be considered as having any great weight in it; for, though the terms avEXTO, Matt. xxvi. 20. and avento, Luke xxii. 14. are used in reference to their eating that evening, and these words signify reclining at table, or on a couch, as is the custom of the Orientals, it does not follow that they must necessarily be restrained to that meaning; nor does it appear that this part of the ceremony was much attended to, perhaps not at all, in the latter days of the Jewish church.
The second opinion which we have to examine is this: Our Lord did eat a pass-over of his own instituting, but widely different from that eaten by the Jews.
Mr. Toinard, in his Greek Harmony of the Gospels, strongly contends, that our Lord did not eat what is commonly called the pass-over this year, but another, of a mystical kind. His chief arguments are the following: It is indubitably evident, from the text of St. John, that the night on the beginning of which our Lord supped with his disciples, and instituted the holy sacrament, was not that on which the Jews celebrated the pass-over; but the preceding evening, on which the pass-over could not be legally offered. The conclusion is evident from the following passages: John xiii. 1. Now before the feast of the pass-over, Jesus knowing, &c. Ver. 2. And supper (not the paschal, but an ordinary supper) being ended, &c. Ver. 27. That thou doest, do quick- || ly. Ver. 28. Now no one at the table knew for what intent he spake this. Ver. 29. For some thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him: Buy what we have need of against the feast, &c. Chap. xviii. 28. Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas to the hall of judgment, and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the pass-over. Chap. xix. 14. And it was the preparation of the pass-over, and about the sixth hour. Now as it appears, that at this time the disciples thought our Lord had ordered Judas to go and bring what was necessary for the pass-over, and they were then supping together, it is evident that it was not the paschal lamb on which they were supping; and it is as evident, from the unwillingness of the Jews to go into the hall of judgment, that they had not as yet eaten the pass-over. These words are plain, and can be taken in no other sense, without offering them the greatest violence.
the pass-over before he suffered.
ish month Nisan, could not commence that thirty-third year sooner than the setting of the sun on Friday, March 20th; and consequently, that Friday, April 3d, on which Christ died, was the 14th of Nisan, (uot the 15th) the day appointed by the law for the celebration of the pass-over. All these points he took care to have ascertained by the nicest astronomical calculations, in which he was assisted by a very eminent astronomer and mathematician, Bullialdus (Mr. Bouilleau.)
These two last opinions, apparently contradictory, and which alone, of all those offered on the subject, deserve consideration, may be brought to harmonize. That Jesus ate the pass-over with his disciples the evening before the Jews ate theirs, seems pretty clearly proved from the text of St. Luke, and the arguments founded on that text.
All that is assumed there, to make the whole consistent, is, that the Jews that year held the pass-over both on the 13th and 14th of Nisan, because of the reasons already assigned; and that therefore Peter and John, who were employed on this business, might have got the blood legally sprinkled by the hands of a priest, which was all that was necessary to the legality of the rite.
But, secondly, should it appear improbable that such double celebration took place at this time, and that our Lord could not have eaten the pass-over that year with his disciples, as he died on the very hour on which the paschal lamb was slain, and consequently before he could legally eat the passover; how then can the text of St. Luke be reconciled with this fact? I answer, with the utmost ease; by substituting a pass-over for the pass-over, and simply assuming, that our Lord at this time instituted the holy EUCHARIST, in place of the PASCHAL LAMB and thus it will appear, he ate a pass-over with his disciples the evening before his death, viz. the mystical pass-over, or sacrament of his body and blood: and that this was the pass-over which he so ardently longed to eat with his disciples before he suffered. This is the opinion of Mr. Toinard, and, if granted, solves every difficulty. Thus the whole controversy is brought into a very narrow compass: Our Lord did eat a pass-over with his disciples some short time before he died :-the question is, what pass-over did he eat the regular legal pass-over, or a mystical one? That he ate a pass-over is, I think, demonstrated: but whether the literal or mystical one, is a matter of doubt. On this point, good and learned inen may innocently hesitate and differ: but on either Mr. Toinard, having found that our Lord was crucified on hypothesis, the text of the Evangelists is unimpeachable, and the sixth day of the week, (Friday) during the paschal solem- all shadow of contradiction done away: for the question then nity, in the thirty-third year of the vulgar æra, and that the rests on the peculiar meaning of names and words. On this paschal moon of that year was not in conjunction with the hypothesis, the preparation of the pass-over must be consisun till the afternoon of Thursday the 19th of March, and dered as implying no more than-1. Providing a convenient that the new moon could not be seen in Judea until the followroom. 2. Bringing water for the baking on the following ing day, (Friday) concluded, that the intelligence of the pacis, day, because on that day the bringing of the water would or appearance of the new moon, could not be made by the have been unlawful. 3. Making inquisition for the leaven, witnesses to the beth din, or senate, sooner than Saturday morn- that every thing of this kind might be removed from the ing, the 21st of March. That the first day of the first Jew-house where the pass-over was to be eaten, according to the
Whether our Lord ate
the pass-over before he suffered.
very strict and awful command of God, Exod. xii. 15—20. || absurd to suppose, that under such terrible evidences of the xxiii. 15. xxxiv. 25. These, it is probable, were the acts of divine indignation, any religious ordinances or festive prepapreparation which the disciples were commanded to perform, rations could possibly have taken place. Matt. xxvi. 18. Mark xiv. 13, 14. Luke xxii. 8-11. and which, on their arrival at the city, they punctually executed. See Matt. xxvi. 19. Mark xiv. 16. Luke xxii. 13. Thus every thing was prepared, and the holy sacrament instituted, which should, in the Christian church, take place of the Jewish pass-over, and continue to be a memorial of the sacrifice which Christ was about to make, by his death on the cross: for as the paschal lamb had shewed forth his death till he came, this death fulfilled the design of the rite, and sealed up the vision and prophecy.
My readers will probably be surprised to see the preceding opinions so dissentient among themselves, and the plausible reasons by which they are respectively supported, where each seems by turns to prevail. When I took up the question, I had no suspicion that it was encumbered with so many difficulties. These I now feel and acknowledge; nevertheless, I think the plan of reconciling the texts of the Evangelists, particularly St. Luke and St. John, which I have adopted above, is natural; and I am in hopes will not appear altogether unsatisfactory to my readers. On the subject, circumstanced All preparations for the true paschal sacrifice being now as it is, hypothesis alone can prevail; for indubitable evidence made, Jesus was immediately betrayed, shortly after appre- and certainty cannot be obtained. The morning of the resurhended, and in a few hours expired upon the cross. It is rection, is probably the nearest period in which accurate intherefore very likely, that he did not literally eat the pass-over formation on this point can be expected. Je suis trompé, says this year; and may I not add, that it is more than probable, that Bouilleau, si cette question peut être jamais bien eclaircie. the pass-over was not eaten in the whole land of Judea on this I be not mistaken, this question will never be thoroughly unoccasion. The rending of the vail of the temple, Matt. xxvii.derstood." It would be presumptuous to say, Christ did eat 51. Mark xv. 38. Luke xxiii. 45. the terrible earthquake, Matt. xxvii. 51-54. the dismal and unnatural darkness, which was over the whole land of Judea, from the sixth hour (twelve o'clock) to the ninth hour, (i. e. three o'clock in the afternoon) with all the other prodigies which took place on this awful occasion, we may naturally conclude, were more than sufficient to terrify and appal this guilty nation, and totally to prevent the celebration of the paschal ceremonies. Indeed, the time in which killing the sacrifices, and sprinkling the blood of the lambs, should have been performed, was wholly occupied with these most dreadful portents; and it would be
the pass-over this last year of his ministry: it would be as hazardous to say he did not eat it. The middle way is the safest; and it is that which is adopted above. One thing is sufficiently evident, that Christ our paschal lamb has been sacrificed for us; and that he has instituted the holy eucharist, to be a perpetual memorial of that his precious death until his coming again: and they who with a sincere heart, and true faith in his passion and death, partake of it, shall be made partakers of his most blessed body and blood. Reader, praise God for the atonement, and rest not without an application of it to thy
In the morning, Christ is bound and delivered to Pontius Pilate, 1, 2. Judas, seeing his Master condemned, repents, acknowledges his transgression to the chief priests, attests Christ's innocence, throws down the money, and goes and hangs himself, 3-5. They buy the potter's field with the money, 6-10. Christ questioned by Pilate, refuses to answer, 11-14. Pilate, while enquiring of the Jews whether they would have Jesus or Barabbas released, receives a message from his wife to have nothing to do in this wicked business, 15-19. The multitude, influenced by the chief priests and elders, desire Barabbas to be released, and Jesus to be crucified, 20-23. Pilate attests his innocence, and the people make themselves and their posterity responsible for his blood, 24, 25. Barabbas is released, and Christ is scourged, 26. The soldiers strip him, clothe him with a scarlet robe, crown him with thorns, mock, and variously insult him, 27-31. Simon compelled to bear his cross, 32. They bring him to Golgotha, give him vinegar mingled with gall to drink, crucify him, and cast lots for his raiment, 33—36. His accusation, 37. Two thieves are crucified with him, 38. He is mocked and insulted while hanging on the cross, 39-44. The awful darkness, 45. Jesus calls upon God, is offered vinegar to drink, expires, 46-50. Prodigies that accompanied and followed his death, 51-53. He is acknowledged by the centurion, 54. Several women behold the crucifixion, 55, 56. Joseph of Arimathea begs the body of Pilate, and deposits it in his own new tomb, 57-60. The women watch the sepulchre, 61. The Jews consult with Pilate, how they may prevent the resurrection of Christ, 62-64. He grants them a guard for the sepulchre, and they seal the stone that stopped the mouth of the tomb where he was laid, 65, 66.