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Concluding observations on
the nature of hyperboles.
δε πολυς νομος
corded that men may believe that Jesus is the Son of God,
32 ExQx. and that in believing they may have life through his name;
Οπποιον και ειπησθα επος, τοιον και επακουσαις. chap. xx. 31.
Iliad. xx. v.
214-250. We have already seen that this apostle often uses the term
But wherefore should we longer waste the time world to designate the Jewish people only; and if it have this
In idle prate; while battle roars around? sense here, which is possible, it will at once vindicate the above
Reproach is cheap. With ease we might discharge exposition of the word xwgsrv. As if he had said, were I to
Gibes at each other, till a ship that asks detail all the signs and miracles which Jesus did among his
An hundred oars, should sink beneath the load. disciples, and in the private families where he sojourned; the
The tongue of man is voluble, hath words Jewish people themselves would not receive nor credit these
For every theme, nor wants wide field and long; accounts: but enough is written to prove that this Christ was
And as he speaks, so shall he hear again. the promised Messiah.
Cowper. Bp. Pearce has a very judicious note here, of which what follows is an abstract, with a few additions.
Few instances of any thing like these have been found in Even the world itself, &c. This is a very strong eastern ex
the western world, and yet it has been observed that Cicero in pression to represent the number of miracles which Jesus
Philip. II. 44. uses a similar form : Præsertim cum illi eam wrought. But however strong and strange this expression
gloriam consecuti sunt, quæ vix cælu capi posse videaturmay seem to us of the western world, we find sacred and other
especially when they pursued that glory which heaven itself authors using hyperboles of the like kind and signification.
seems scarcely suficient to contain.” And Livy also, in vii. 25. In Numb. xiii. 33. the spies who returned from the search of
Hæ vires populi Romani, quas vix terrarum capit orbis
“these energies of the Roman people, which the terraqueous the land of Canaan, say that they saw giants there of such a prodigious size that they were in their own sight as grass
globe can scarcely contain." koppers. In Dan. iv. 11. mention is made of a tree, whereof
We may define hyperbole thus: it is a figure of speech where the height reached unto the heaven ; and the sight thereof unto
more seems to be said than is intended ; and it is well known
that the Asiatic nations abound in these. In Deut. i. 28. cities the end of all the earth. And the author of Ecclesiasticus, in chap. xlvii. 15. speaking of Solomon's wisdom, says, Thy soul
with high walls round about them, are said to be walled up covered the whole earth, and thou filledst it with parables : so
to heaven. Now what is the meaning of this hyperbole? here, by one degree more of hyperbole, it is said that the world
Why, that the cities had very high walls—then, is the hywould not contain all the books which should be written con
perbole a truth? Yes, for we should attach no other idea cerning Jesus's miracles, if the particular account of every them. Now, the author of this expression never designed
to these expressions, than the authors intended to convey by one of them were given. In Josephus, Antiq. lib. xix. c. 20.
to intimate that the cities had walls which reached to heaven; God is mentioned as promising to Jacob that he would give the land of Canaan to him and his seed; and then it is added, o
nor did one of his countrymen understand it in this sense
they affixed no other idea to it, (for the words, in common use, πληρoυσι πασαν, όσην ηλιος ορα, και γην και θαλασσαν. They shall fill all, whatsoever the sun illuminates, whether earth or sea. Philo
conveyed no other) than that these cities had very high walls. in his Tract De Ebriet. T. i. p. 362. 10. is observed to speak | When John, therefore, wrote the world itself could not conafter the same manner, ουδε γας των δωρεων ικανος ουδεις χωρησαι
tain the books, &c. what would every Jew understand by it? το αφθονον πληθος, ισος δ' ουδ' ο κοσμος. Neither is any one able
Why, that if every thing which Christ had done and said, to contain the vast abundance of gifts ; nor is the world capable had ever been written concerning any one person or subject :
were to be written, the books would be more in number than of it. And in his tract De Posterit. Caini, T. i. p. 253. I. 38.
i.e. there would be an immense number of books. And so he says, speaking of the fulness of God, Oude
γαρ εις (ει) πλουτον επιδεικνυσθαι βουληθει η του εαυτου, χως ησαι αν ηπειρωθεισης και
there would, for it is not possible that the ten thousandth θαλαττης, η συμπασα γη.
“ And should he will to draw part of the words and actions of such a life as our Lord's out his fulness, the whole compass of sea and land could not
was, could be contained in the compass of one or all of these
gospels. contain it." Homer, who, if not born in Asia Minor, had undoubtedly writers, and inserted !oy Basnage, Hist. des Juifs, liv. il.
There is a hyperbole very like this, taken from the Jewish lived there, has sometimes followed the hyperbolic manner of writers, and inserted lsy Basnage, Hist. des Juifs, lic. iii.
c. i. s. 9. “ Jochanan succeeded Simeon-he attained the speaking, which prevailed so much in the East, as in Iliad. b. xx. he makes Eneas say to Achilles,
age of Moses-he employed forty years in commerce, and
in pleading before the Sanhedrin. He composed such a great Αλλ' αγε μηκέτι ταυτα λεγαμεθα, νηπυτιοι ως,
number of precepts and lessons, that if the heavens were paper, Εταοτ' εν μεσση υσμινη δηιοτητος. .
and all the trees of the forest so many pens, and all the children Ει γας αμφοτεροισιν ονειδεα μυθηασθαι
of men so many scribes, they would not suffice to write all his Πολλα μαλ' ουδ' αν νηυς εκατονζυγος αχθος αροιτο. lessons.” Now what meaning did the author of this hyperΣτρεπτη δε γλωσσ' εςι βροτων, πολεις δ' ενι μυθοι,
bole intend to convey? Why that Jochanan had given more
On the word AMEN, and the
subscriptions at the end of this gospel.
essons than all his contemporaries or predecessors. Nor does Our Lord begins many of his discourses with this word, any Jew in the universe understand the words in any other | either singly, Amen, I say unto you; or doubled, amen, amen,
It is worthy of remark, that this Jochanan lived in I say unto you, which we translate rerily: as Christ uses it, we the time of St. John; for he was in Jerusalem when it was may ever understand it as expressing an absolute and incontrobesieged by Vespasian. See Basnage, as above.
tertible truth. Instances of the use of the single term frequentThere is another quoted by the same author, ibid. c. v.
ly occur, see Matt. v. 18, 26. vi. 2,5, 16. viii. 10. x. 15, 23, 5. 7. where, speaking of Eliezar one of the presidents of the || 42. &c. &c.; but it is remarkable that it is doubled by St.John, Sanhedrin, it is said; “ Although the firmament were vellum, see chap. i. 51. ii. 3, 5, 11. v. 19, 24, 25. vi. 26, 32, 47, 53. and the waters of the ocean were changed into ink, it would || vii. 34,51, 58. x.1,7. xii. 24. xiii. 16, 20, 21, 38. xiv. 12. not be sufficient to describe all the knowledge of Eliezar; for xvi. 20, 23. xxi. 18. and is never found iterated by any of the he made not less than three hundred constitutions concerning other Evangelists. Some have supposed that the word jox is the manner of cultivating cucumbers.” Now, what did the contructed, and contains the initials of joys 779 978 Adonai Rabbin mean by this hyperbole? Why no more than that Malec Neeman, my Lord the faithful King; to whom the perEliezar was the greatest naturalist in his time; and had son who uses it is always understood to make his appeal. written and spoken more on that subject and others, than Christ is himself called the Amen, ó Apony, Rev. i. 18. iii. 14. beany of his contemporaries. This Eliezar flourished about cause of the eternity of his nature and the unchangeableness of seventy-three years after Christ. It is farther worthy of re- his truth. In later ages, it was placed at the end of all the mark, that this man also is stated to have lived in the time books in the New Testament except the Acts, the Epistle of of St. Jubn. John is supposed to have died A. D. 99. James, and the third Epistle of John, merely as the tran
Hyperboles of this kind, common to the East and to the scriber's attestation to their truth; and perhaps, it is someWest, to the North and to the South, may be found every times to be understood as vouching to the fidelity of his own where; and no soul is puzzled with them but the critics. || transcript. The above examples, I trust, are sufficient to vindicate and The subscriptions to this Gospel, as well as to the preceding explain the words in the text. It is scarcely necessary to Gospels, are various in the different Versions and Manuscripts. add, that the common French expression, tout le monde, The following are those which appear most worthy of being which literally means the whole world, is used in a million noticed. of instances to signify the people present at one meeting, or “ The most holy Gospel of the preaching of John the the majority of them; and often the members of one par. Evangelist, which he spake and proclaimed in the Greek ricular family. And yet no man who under:tands the lan- languuge at Ephesus, is finished."-Syriac in Bib. Polyglott. guage ever imagines, that any besides the congregation in “ With the assistance of the supreme God, the Gospel of the one case, or the fiumily in the other, is intended.
St. John the son of Zebedee, the beloved of the Lord, and Amen.] This word is omitted by ABCD. several others; the preacher of eternal life, is completed. And it is the Syriac, all the Arabic, and both the Persic; the Coptic, Sa- conclusion of the four most holy and vivifying Gospels, by hidic, Æthiopic, Armenian, Syriac Hierus. Vulgate, and all the blessing of God. Amen.”-Arabic in Bib. Polyglott. the Itala but three.
“ The four glorious Gospels, of Matthew, Mark, Luke,
and John, are completed.”—Persic in Bib. Polyglott. The word as amen, which has passed unaltered into almost Other subscriptions are as follow. all the languages of the world in which the sacred writings are “ The end of the holy Gospel of John-delivered thirty extant, is pure Hebrew; and signifies to be steady, constant, || years—thirty-two years after the ascension of Christ--in the firm, established, or confirmed. It is used as a particle of afirm- Isle of Patmos—in the Greek tongue at Ephesus—under the ation and adjuration. When a person was sworn to the truth reign of Domitian—written by John when he was an exile of any fact, the oath was recited to him, and he bound himself in Patmos—under the Emperor Trajan-and delivered in by simply saying, jpx 1928 amen, amen. See an instance of Ephesus by Gaius the host of the apostles. John having rethis, Num. v. 22. In Deut. xxvii. 15—26. it is to be under- || turned from his exile in Patmos, composed his Gospel being stood in the same sense; the persons who use it binding them- 100 years of age, and lived to the age of 120.”-Suidas. selves under the curse there pronounced, should they do any It may be just necessary to inform the Reader that the of the things there prohibited. It is often used as a particle most ancient MSS. have scarcely any subscription at all, and of affirmation, approbation, and consent, examples of which that there is no dependence to be placed on any thing of frequently occur in the Old Testament. When any person this kind that is found in the others; most of the transcribers commenced a discourse or testimony with this word, it was making conclusions according to their different fancies. See considered in the light of an outh; as if he had said, I pledge the concluding note of the preceding chapter; and see the iny truth, my honour, and my life to the certainty of what Preface to this Gospel, where other subjects relative to it, are I now state.
Preface to the harmonized Table of Contents.
HARMONIZED TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE FOUR GOSPELS.
The following harmonized Table of Contents of the four Gospels, I have borrowed from Pi fessor Michaelis, Introduction to the New Testament, by Dr. Marsh, vol. iii. p. 40, &c. and think it will be of use to the Reader in pointing out where the same transaction is mentioned by the Evangelists ; what they have in common, and what is peculiar to each. The arrangement of facts, as they occur in St. Matthew, is here generally followed ; and the other Evangelists collated with his account. From this Table it will at once appear, how little St. John has, in common with the other three, except in the concluding part of his Gospel: and hence the propriety will be self-evident of considering his work in the light of a most important supplement to the Evangelical History.
A few directions for the proper use of this Table may be necessary; though it is in general so very plain, that there is little danger of its being misunderstood.
The sections, Nos. 1, 2, 3, &c. are produced in a sort of chronological order; and therefore are found prefixed to those facts in the different Evangelists, in the order of time in which those facts are supposed to have succeeded each other : e. g. Luke's Preface is sect. 1st. Matthew having nothing of the kind. The genealogy under Matt. sect. 2d. Birth of John, sect. 3d. under Luke, &c. and thus, the apparent irregularity of the numbers prefixed to the transactions mentioned in the different columns, headed by the names of the Evangelists, is to be understood. The arrangement of Matthew is seldom altered; but the consecutive facts are numbered as nearly as possible, in the supposed chronological order of their occurrence.
Besides this general harmonical Table of Contents of the four Gospels, I have added three others. The first is a Synopsis of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, constructed by Professor Griesbach, in order to shew that the whole Gospel of Mark, twenty-four verses excepted, is contained nearly in the same words, in Matthew and Luke.
The second, a Table of forty-two sections, which contain such Transactions as are common to the three first Evangelists.
And the third, a Table representing those passages in our Lord's sermon on the Mount, which are found either in word or substance in certain places of St. Luke's Gospel. These Tables, it is hoped, will be considered of real importance by every serious and intelligent Reader.
*** As I judged some kind of a general Table necessary, I give this as the most convenient, but I shall not consider my work complete without a regular Harmony of the four Gospels, in which the whole text from our own Version shall be inserted, with some improvements on Abp. Newcome's plan, and with some additional notes. This work, which is in hand, will be printed in the same form as these notes, but separately, that the subscribers who do not wish for a work of this kind, may not be obliged to take it.
London, June 1, 1813.
§ 11. Jesus sought and wor-
§ 9. Circumcision of Christ, ii.
§ 10. Presentation of Christ in
the temple, ii. 22-40.
shipped by the wise men:
Flight into Egypt, and re-
turn: Massacre of the child-
ren of Bethlehem, ij. 1-23.
§ 12. Education of Christ, and
remarkable history of him in
his 12th year at the Feast of
the Pass-over, ii. 41–52.
$ 13. John preaches, iii. 1-12.
Š 14. Christ is baptized, iii.
§ 15. Christ is tempted, iv.
iii. 21, 22
i. 12, 13.
made by this Evangelist, re-
lative to the testimonies in
favour of Christ, by which
he obtained his first disciples,
who soon increased in num-
bers, i. 15–51.
§ 17-20. History of Christ
before the imprisonment of
§ 17. Christ returns into Gali-
lee, and turns water into wine
at Cana, i. lll.
§ 18. Goes to Jerusalem at the
Feast of the Pass-over, and
drives the sellers out of the
temple, ii. 13---22.
§ 19. Instructs Nicodemus in
the nature of the new birth,
ditional testimony of John
prisonment of John) through
g 22. Arrives in Galilee, calls
iv. 43, 44. $ 23. Remarkable addition of
a second miracle at Cana, by which the absent son of a nobleman is instantly re
stored to health, iv. 45–54. § 24. Christ leaches in the
synagogue at Nazareth, iv.
25–32. History of a single day, and that a sabbath.
+ Ø 25-50. History of a single day, and that a sabbath.
Ø 25. Christ teaches in the syn.
agogue at Capernaum, and
beals a demoniac, i, 21-28.
tain, passes the night in
and then chooses bis
apostles, iii. 13–19. 27. Christ delivers a discourse in which he
condemns the morality of the Pharisees, and opposes to it a better morality, which be commissions his apostles to
teach, iv. 25. v. vi. vii. § 28. Cleanses a leper, viii. 1-4.
i. 40-45. § 29. Heals the servant of a
Centurion, viii. 5-13. § 30. Restores Peter's mother
in-law, and after the sabbatha was ended, several other sick persons, viii, 14-17.
* “In point of chronology, this does not belong to the present place, even according to St. Luke: but I place it here because St. Lukelias introduced it immediately after the preceding history Perhaps it belongs to No 50. though I have not placed it there, because it does not exactly agree with the accounts quoted in that article from St. Matthew and St. Mark.”
+ Some critics and harmonists wlio agree in the main with Professor Michaelis in this part of his Harmony, dissent in a few particulars. Michaelis thinks that all the transactions included from No. 25 to No. 30. happened on one day. And Professor Mar: h states the argument thus :
No. 27. is the sermon on the Mount, related by Matthew, chap. v. vi. and vii.
No. 28, 29, and 30. The cure of the leper—of the Centurion's servant-of Peter's mother-in-law-and other such persons at Capernaum, are all related by St. Matthew, chap. viii. 1-17. as events which took place on the same day, on which the Sermon on the Mount was delivered.
No. 23. not inentioned by Matthew, took place according to Mark, i. 29, 30. Luke iv. 38. on the same day as the cure of St. Peter's mo her-in-law, No. 30.
No. 26. Ch. ist's chuice of the twelve aposties (not mentioned by St. Matthew) immediately preceded the Sermon on the Mount, according to Luke, vi, 12 -49. Consequently all the events in Nos. 25—30. happened on the same day.
Dr. March allows the probability of Nos. 27—30 happening on the same day, but thinks Nos. 25, and 26. should not be referred to the same time.
“ On these twu articles,” says he, " Matthew is totally silent, and therefore we have the authority only of St. Mark and St. Luke. But thongh Si. Mark and St. Luke refer No. 25. to the same day as they refer No. 30. yet they both agree in referring No. 26 to a later day. We bave no authority whatsoever, therefore, to refer No. 26. to that day assigned by our author: and even if we refer No. 25. to that day, it ought not to occupy the place which he has allotted to it, but should immediately precede No. 30. for the reason already assigned. On the other hand, if we refer No. 26. to that day, we must necessarily refer No. 25. 10 an earlier day; for on these two articles, St. Mark and St. Luke are our only guides, and they both agree in making a very distinct and circumstantial separation of them.” Marsh's Notes to Michaelis' Introd. vol. iii. part ii. p. 69–71.