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THE 


LIFE    OF    CHRIST 


_^s^  pum 


DEPARTMENTAL 
0,  SLIBR*!?Y 


THE 


LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


BY 


FREDERIC    W.    FARRAR,    D.D.,    F.R.S. ; 

LATE   FELLOW  OF  TRINITY   COLLEGE,    CAMBRIDGE  ; 

MASTER    OF   MARLEOROUGH    COLLEGE  ;   AND   CHAPLAIN    IN   ORDINARY 
TO    THE    QUEEN. 


MANET  1MMOTA    FIDES. 


IN    TWO    VOLUMES. 


VOL.  II. 


C  ASS  ELL,     PETTEE    &    GALPIN 

LONDON,    PARIS    If    KEW    YORK. 
1874. 


CONTENTS. 


CHAPTER  XXXV. 
THE  GREAT  CONFESSION. 

Reception  of  Jesus  on  His  return  to  Galilee. — An  ill-omened  Conjunc- 
tion.— Demand  of  a  Sign. — Reproof  and  Refusal. — Sadness  of  Jesus. — 
He  sails  away. — The  Prophetic  Woe. — Leaven  of  the  Pharisees  and 
of  Herod. — Literal  Misinterpretation  of  the  Apostles. — Healing  of  a 
Blind  Man  at  Bethsaida  Julias. — On  the  road  to  Caesarea  Philippi. — 
The  momentous  Questions.— "  Thou  art  the  Christ,  the  Son  of  the 
Living  God." — The  Rock. — Foundation  of  the  Church. — Misinterpre- 
tations.— Warnings  about  His  Death. — Rash  Presumption  of  Peter. — 
"Get  thee  behind  me,  Satan."— The  Worth  of  the  Human  Soul.— 
"  The  Son  of  Man  coming  in  His  Kingdom"  ..... 


CHAPTER  XXXVI. 
THE   TRANSFIGURATION. 

The  Mountain. — Not  Tabor,  but  Hermon. — The  Vision. — Moses  and  Elias. — 
Bewildered  Words  of  Peter. — The  Voice  from  Heaven. — Fading  of  the 
Vision.— The  New  Elias 


24 


CHAPTER  XXXVII. 
THE  DEMONIAC  BOY. 

The  Contrast. — The  Disciples  and  the  Scribes. — Arrival  of  Jesus. — The 
Demoniac  Boy. — Emotion  of  Jesus. — Anguish  of  the  father.- — "If 
thou  canst." — The  Deliverance. — Power  of  Faith  to  remove  Moun- 
tains.— Secluded  Return  of  Jesus. — Sad  Warnings. — Dispute  which 
should  be  the  Greatest. — The  Little  Child. — John's  Question. — Offend- 
ing Christ's  Little  Ones. — The  Unforgiving  Debtor  .... 


32 


CHAPTER  XXXVIII. 
A  BRIEF  REST  IN  CAPERNAUM. 

Hie  Temple  Tax. — The  Collectors  come  to  Peter. — His  rash  Answer. — 
Jesus  puts  the  Question  in  its  true  light. — The  Stater  in  the  Fish's 
Mouth. — Peculiar  Characteristics  of  this  Miracle  .  .41 


x  i  CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER  XXXIX. 
JESUS  AT  THE  FEAST  OF  TABERNACLES.  f* 

Observant-. -s  ,.t  the  Feast  of  Tabernacles.— Presumption  of  the  Brethren  of 
Jem.  ••  I  go  nut  up  yet  unto  this  feast." — Eager  Questions  of  the 
Multitude.— Their  differing  Opinions.— Jesus  appears  in  the  Temple.- 
llis  ivpruarhi'ul  Question.— "Thou  hast  a  devil." — Appeal  to  His 
Works.— Indignation  of  the  Sanhedrin.— Observances  of  the  Last  Day 
of  the  Feast.— "The  joy  of  the  drawing  of  water."— "  Rivers  of 
Living  Water." — Divided  Opinions. — "Never  man  spake  like  this 
Man."— Timid  Interpellation  of  Nicodemus. — Answering  Taunt  of  the 
Pharisees 4? 

CHAPTER  XL. 

THE  WOMAN  TAKEN  IN  ADULTERY. 

Question  as  to  the  Genuineness  of  the  Narrative. — The  Evidence  on  both 
sides. — Jesus  at  the  Mount  of  Olives. — Returns  at  Dawn  to  the 
Temple. — Hilarity  of  the  Feast. — Immorality  of  the  Age. — The  WTater 
of  Jealousy. — Base  Cruelty  of  the  Pharisees. — The  Woman  dragged 
into  the  Temple.—"  What  sayest  Thou  ?"— Subtlety  of  the  Assault.- 
Writing  on  the  Floor. — "  Him  that  is  without  sin  among  you."- 
Conscience-stricken. — Misery  left  alone  with  Mercy. — "  Go,  and  sin 
no  more." — Absolute  Calmness  of  Jesus  under  all  Attacks. — Eighth 
Day  of  the  Feast.— The  great  Candelabra.— The  Light  of  the  World.— 
Agitating  Discussions  with  the  Jews. — A  burst  of  Fury. — Jesus  leaves 
the  Temple 61 

CHAPTER  XLI. 
THE  MAN  BORN  BLIND. 

Jewish  notion  of  Nemesis. — "  Which  did  sin  ?" — "  Go  wash  in  the  Pool 
of  Siloam." — On  the  Sabbath  Day. — The  Man  examined  by  the  San- 
hedrin.— A  sturdy  Nature. — Perplexity  of  the  Sanhedrists. — "We 
know  that  this  man  is  a  sinner." — Blandishments  and  Threats. — 
The  Man  Excommunicated. — Jesus  and  the  Outcast. — True  and  False 
Shepherds 80 

CHAPTER  XLII. 
FAREWELL  TO  GALILEE. 

The  Interval  between  the  Feasts  of  Tabernacles  and  Dedication. — Great 
Episode  in  St.  Luke. — Character  of  the  Episode. — Mission  of  the 
Seventy. — News  of  the  GaliLoeans  massacred  by  Pilate. — Teachings 
founded  on  the  Event. — Stern  Warnings. — The  Barren  Fig-tree. — The 
Pharisees'  Plot  to  hasten  His  Departure. — "  Go  and  tell  this  fox."- 
Herod  Antipas. — Jesus  sets  forth. — Farewell  to  the  Scene  of  His 
Ministry. — Fate  that  fell  on  the  Galilaeans. — Jesus  exults  in  Spirit. — 
"  Come  unto  me  all  ye  that  labour." — Noble  Joy  ....  89 


CONTENTS.  vii 

CHAPTER  XLIII. 

INCIDENTS  OF  THE  JOURNEY.  PAGE 

Possible  Routes. — The  Village  of  En-gannim.  —Churlishness  of  the  Samari- 
tans.— Passion  of  the  Sons  of  Thunder. — Gentle  Rebuke  of  Jesus. — 
Counting  the  Cost. — Peraea. — The  Ten  Lepers. — Thanklessness.— 
"Where  are  the  nine?" 105 

CHAPTER  XLIV. 
TEACHINGS  OF  THE  JOURNEY. 

Sabbatical  Disputes. — Foolish  Ruler  of  the  Synagogue. — Healing  of  the 
Bowed  Woman. — Argumentum  ad  hominem. — Ignorant  Sabbatarianism. 
— Religious  Espionage. — The  Man  with  the  Dropsy. — Question  of 
Jesus. — Silence  of  Obstinacy. — The  Man  Healed. — Self-sufficiency  of 
the  Pharisees. — Struggles  for  Precedence. — A  vague  Platitude. — 
Parable  of  the  King's  Marriage-feast. — The  Unjust  Steward. — Avarice 
of  the  Pharisees. — Their  Sycophancy  to  Herod. — The  Rich  Man  and 
Lazarus. — "Are  there  few  that  be  saved?" — "What  must  I  do  to 
obtain  Eternal  Life  ?" — The  Good  Samaritan. — Return  of  the  Seventy. 
— The  Love  of  Publicans  and  Sinners. — The  Parable  of  the  Prodigal 
Son.— Solemn  Warnings.— " Where,  Lord?"— The  Eagles  and  the 
Carcass 113 

CHAPTER  XLV. 
THE  FEAST  OF  DEDICATION. 

The  House  at  Bethany. — Martha  and  Mary. — "  The  one  thing  needful." 
— The  Chanukkah. — Solomon's  Porch. — Reminiscence  of  the  Feast. — 
Jesus  suddenly  surrounded. — "  How  long  dost  thou  hold  us  in 
suspense?" — No  Political  Messiah. — "I  and  My  Father  are  one." — 
They  seek  to  stone  Him. — Appeal  of  Jesus  to  His  Life  and  Works. — 
He  retires  to  Bethany  beyond  Jordan 140 

CHAPTER  XL VI. 
THE  LAST  STAY  'IN  PERJEA. 

Question  about  Divorce. — Importance  of  the  Question. — Hillel  and  Sham- 
mai. — Dispute  as  to  the  meaning  of  Ervath  Dabhar. — Lax  Interpre- 
tations.— Both  Schools  wrong. — Simple  solution  of  the  Question. — 
Permission  of  Divorce  by  Moses  only  temporary. — Corruption  of  the 
Age. — Teachings  of  Jesus  about  Moral  Purity. — Celibacy  and  Marriage. 
— Jesus  blesses  Little  Children. — The  eager  Young  Ruler. — "Good 
Master." — "What  must  I  do?" — An  heroic  Mandate. — "The  Great 
Refusal." — Discouragement  of  the  Disciples. — Hundredfold  Rewards. 
—The  Labourers  in  the  Vineyard 150 

CHAPTER  XLVII. 
THE  RAISING  OF  LAZARUS. 

Message  to  Jesus. — Two  Days'  Delay. — "  Let  us  also  go  that  we  may  die 
with  Him." — He  approaches  Bethany. — Martha  meets  Him. — "The 


viii  CONTENTS. 

Resurrection  and  the  Life." — Mary's  Agony. — Deep  Emotion  of 
Jesus. — Scene  at  the  Grave. — "  Lazarus,  come  forth." — Silence  of 
the  Synoptists. — Meeting  at  the  House  of  Caiaphas. — His  wicked 
Policy. — The  Fiat  of  Death. — Retirement  to  Ephraim  .  .  .165 

CHAPTER  XLVIII. 
JERICHO  AND  BETHANY. 

Pilgrim-caravans. — Jesus  on  His  Way. — Revelation  of  the  Crowning 
Horror. — The  Sons  of  Zebedee. — The  Cup  and  the  Baptism. — Humility 
before  Honour. — Jericho. — Bartimaeus. — Zaccha3us. — His  Repentance. 
— Parable  of  the  Pounds. — Events  which  suggested  it. — Arrival  at 
Bethany. — "  Simon  the  Leper." — Intentional  Reticence  of  the  Synop- 
tists.— Mary's  Offering. — Inward  Rage  of  Judas. — Blessing  of  Mary 
by  Jesus. — "For  my  burying." — Interview  of  the  Traitor  with  the 
Priests  178 

CHAPTER  XLIX. 
PALM  SUNDAY. 

Excitement  of  Expectation. — Three  Roads  to  Bethany. — Bethphage. — 
The  Ass's  Colt. — A  humble  Triumph. — Hosanna ! — Turn  of  the  Road. 
— The  Jerusalem  of  that  Day. — Jesus  Weeps  over  the  City. — Terrible 
Fulfilment  of  the  Woe. — The  Two  Processions. — Indignation  of  the 
Pharisees. — "  Who  is  this  ?" — Jesus  once  more  cleanses  the  Temple. — 
Hosannas  of  the  Children. — "Have  ye  never  read?" — The  Greeks 
who  desired  an  Interview. — Abgarus  V. — Discourse  of  Jesus. — Voice 
from  Heaven. — The  Day  closes  in  Sadness. — Bivouac  on  the  Mount  of 
Olives 195 

•% 

CHAPTER  L. 
MONDAY  IN  PASSION  WEEK.— A  DAY  OF  PARABLES. 

Jesus  Hungers. — The  Deceptive  Fig. — Hopelessly  Barren. — Criticisms  on 
the  Miracle. — Right  View  of  it.*— Deputation  of  the  Priests. — "  Who 
gave  thee  this  authority?" — Counter-question  of  Jesus.  —  The 
Priests  reduced  to  Silence. — Parable  of  the  Two  Sons. — Parable  of 
the  Rebellious  Husbandmen. — The  Rejected  Corner-stone. — Parable  of 
the  Marriage  of  the  King's  Son. — Machinations  of  the  Pharisees  .  212 

CHAPTER  LI. 
THE  DAY  OF  TEMPTATIONS. — THE  LAST  AND  GREATEST  DAY 

OF  THE  PUBLIC  MINISTRY  OF  JESUS. 

The  Withered  Fig-tree.— Power  of  Faith.— Plot  of  the  Herodians.— Its 
Dangerous  Character. — The  Tribute  Money. — Divine  and  Ready 
Wisdom  of  the  Reply  of  Jesus. — Attempt  of  the  Sadducees. — A  poor 
Question  of  Casuistry. — The  Sevenfold  Widow. — "  As  the  Angels  of 
God." — "  The  God  of  Abraham,  Isaac,  and  Jacob." — Implicit  Teaching 
of  Immortality 226 


CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER  LII. 

THE  GREAT  DENUNCIATION.  PAGB 

Master,  thou  hast  well  said."— "  Which  is  the  great  commandment?" — 
Answer  of  the  Rabbis. — Answer  of  Jesus. — "  Not  far  from  the  king- 
dom of  heaven."— Question  of  Jesus  to  the  Scribes. — David's  Son  and 
David's  Lord. — Their  Failure  to  Answer. — The  Final  Rupture. — "  Woe 
unto  you,  Scribes  and  Pharisees,  hypocrites." — The  Voice  which  broke 
in  Tears. — "O  Jerusalem,  Jerusalem!" — The  Denunciation  Deserved. 
— The  Denunciation  Fulfilled 238 

CHAPTER  LIII. 
FAREWELL  TO  THE  TEMPLE. 

A  happier  Incident. — The  poor  Widow. — True  Almsgiving. — Splendour  of 
the  Temple. — "Not  one  stone  upon  another." — Jesus  on  the  Mount 
of  Olives. — "When  shall  these  things  be?" — The  great  Eschatological 
Discourse. — The  Two  Horizons. — Difficulties  of  the  Discourse,  and 
mode  of  meeting  them. — What  must  come  before  the  Final  End. — 
The  Immediate  Future. — Warning  Signs. — Parable  of  the  Fig-tree — of 
the  Ten  Virgins— of  the  Talents. — After  Two  Days. — Last  Evening 
Walk  to  Bethany .  .252 

CHAPTER   LIV. 
THE  BEGINNING  OF  THE  END. 

Meeting  of  Conspirators  in  the  Palace  of  Caiaphas. — Their  Discussions. — 
Judas  demands  an  Interview. — Thirty  Pieces  of  Silver. — Motives  of 
Judas. — "  Satan  entered  into  Judas." — The  Wednesday  passed  in 
Retirement. — Last  Sleep  of  Jesus  on  Earth 267 

CHAPTER  LV. 
THE  LAST  SUPPER. 

"Green  Thursday." — Preparations  for  the  Meal. — The  Upper  Room. — 
Dispute  about  Precedence. — Jesus  washes  the  Disciples'  Feet. — Peter's 
Surprise  and  Submission. — "Ye  are  clean,  but  not  all." — Teaching 
about  Humility. — Troubled  in  Spirit. — "  One  of  you  shall  betray  me." 
"  Lord,  is  it  I  ?  " — Peter  makes  a  sign  to  John. — Giving  of  the  Sop. — 
"  Rabbi,  is  it  I  ?  " — "  He  went  out,  and  it  was  night." — Revived  Joy 
of  the  Feast. — Institution  of  the  Lord's  Supper 276 

CHAPTER   LVI. 
THE  LAST  DISCOURSE. 

"  Now  is  the  Son  of  Man  glorified." — "  Little  Children." — The  New  Com- 
mandment.— "  Lord,  whither  goest  Thou  ?  "—Warning  to  Peter. — 
"Lord,  here  are  two  swords." — Consolations. — "How  can  we  know 
the  way?" — "Lord,  show  us  the  Father."— Difficulty  of  Judas 
LebbiBus.— Last  Words  before  Starting. — The  True  Vine. — Plain 
Teachings.— Gratitude  of  the  Disciples. — Fresh  Warnings  to  them. — 
The  High-Priestly  Prayer 293 


CONTENTS. 


CHAPTER  LVIL 
GETHSEMANE.— THE  AGONY  AND  THE  ARREST. 

Walk  through  the  Moonlight  to  Getlis. ni.in.  .-   I.a-t  Warning  to  Peter. — 
Gethaemane. — Scene  of    Agony. — Desire    for   Solitude   ;m<l    \ 
Sympathy. — The  First  Strim-l'1  with  Agony  of  Soul. — Its  Intensity. — 
The  Bloody  Sweat. — Not  due  to  Dread  of  Death. — "Simon,  si 
thou?"— The  Second  Agony.— The  Disciples  Sleeping.— The  Third 
Agony  and  Final  Victory. — "Sleep  on  now,  and  take  your  rest."- 
Torches  in  the  Moonlight. — Steps  taken  by  Judas. — "  Comrade." — The 
Traitor's  Kiss. — Jesus  Advances. — "  "Whom  seek  ye  ?" — "  I  am  He." 
— Terror  of  the  Band. — Historical  Parallels. — Jesus  Arrested. — Peter's 
Blow. — "  Suffer  ye  thus  far." — The  Young  Man  in  the  Linen  Sheet. 
— Bound  and  Led  away 


305 


•      CHAPTER  LVIH. 

JESUS    BEFORE   THE    PRIESTS   AND   THE   SANHEDRIN. 

Asserted  Discrepancies. — Sixfold  Trial. — "  To  Annas  first." — Hanan,  the 
High  Priest  de  jure. — His  Character. — His  Responsibility  for  the 
Result. — Degradation  of  the  then  Sanhedrin. — Pharisees  and  Saddu- 
cees. — Greater  Cruelty  of  the  Latter. — The  Sadducees,  the  Priestly 
Party. — Cause  of  their  Rage  and  Hatred. — "The  Viper  Brood."- 
Jesus  repudiates  the  Examination  of  Hanan. — "  Answerest  Thou  the 
High  Priest  so?" — Noble  Patience. — The  Second  Phase  of  the 
Trial. — In  the  Palace  of  Caiaphas.— Committees  of  the  Sanhedrin. — 
"Sought  false  witness." — Total  Failure  of  the  Witnesses. — "Destroy 
this  Temple." — Silence  of  Jesus. — Despair  of  Caiaphas. — His  violent 
Adjuration. — Reply  of  Jesus. — "  Blasphemy." — "  Ish  maveth"  . 


326 


CHAPTER  LIX. 
THE  INTERVAL  BETWEEN  THE  TRIALS. 

The  First  Derision. — The  Outer  Court. — John  procures  Admission  for 
Peter. — The  First  Denial. — The  Second  Denial. — The  Galila?an 
Accent. — The  Third  Denial. — The  Look  of  Jesus. — The  Repentance  of 
Peter. — Brutallnsults  of  the  Menials. — The  Dawn.  iii.  The  Meeting 
of  the  Sanhedrin. — Their  Divisions. — Third  Phase  of  the  Trial. — A 
Contrast  of  Two  Scenes  before  the  Sanhedrin. — Jesus  breaks  His 
Silence.— The  Condemnation.— The  Second  Derision.— The  Fate  of 
Jesus  .  ,344 


CHAPTER  LX. 

JESUS   BEFORE   PlLATE. 

Suffered  under  Pontius  Pilate." — What  is  known  of  Pilate. — First  Out- 
break of  the  Jews  against  him  on  his  Arrival. — The  Aqueduct  and 


CONTENTS.  xi 

PAGE 

the  Corban. — The  gilt  Votive  Shields. — The  Massacre  of  Galilseans. — 
The  Massacre  of  Samaritans. — The  Palace  of  Herod. — Jesus  in  the 
Palace. — Led  before  Pilate. — Pilate  comes  out  to  the  Jews. — 1.  His 
Eoman  Contemptuousness. — Determines  to  try  the  Case. — Vagueness 
of  the  Accusations. — "Art  Thou  the  King  of  the  JewsP" — "What  is 
truth  ?  " — First  Acquittal. — 2.  Fierceness  of  the  Jews. — Jesus  sent  to 
Herod  Antipas. — Cruel  Frivolity  of  Herod. — Second  Acquittal. — 3. 
Last  Phase  of  the  Trial. — Temporising  of  Pilate. — Dream  of  his  "Wife. 
— Cowardly  Concession. — Jesus  or  Bar- Abbas  ? — "  Crucify  Him." — 
The  Scourging.— Third  Derision.— The  Crown  of  Thorns.—"  Behold 
the  Man  !  " — Last  eiforts  of  Pilate  to  save  Him. — Last  Warning  to 
Pilate.—"  The  Son  of  God."—"  Behold  your  King."— Pilate  terrified 
at  the  Name  of  Caesar. — He  gives  way. — He  washes  his  Hands. — 
"His  blood  be  on  us,  and  on  our  children!"  —  Fulfilment  of  the 
Imprecation 360 

CHAPTER  LXI. 
THE  CRUCIFIXION. 

"  7,  miles,  expedi  crucem." — Two  Malefactors. — The  Cross. — Procession  to "] 
Golgotha. — Simon  of  Cyrene. — The  Daughters  of  Jerusalem. — The 
Green  and  the  Dry  Tree.— Site  of  Golgotha.— The  Medicated  Draught. 
— The  Method  of  Crucifixion. — "Father,  forgive  them." — Agony  of 
Crucifixion. — The  Title  on  the  Cross. — Rage  of  the  Jews. — The 
Soldiers. — Parting  the  Garments. — Insults  of  the  Bystanders. — The 
Robber.— Silence  of  the  Sufferer.— The  Penitent  Robber.— "  To-day 
shalt  thou  be  with  me  in  paradise." — The  Women  from  Galilee. — 
"  Woman,  behold  thy  son." — The  Noonday  Darkness. — "  Eli,  Eli,  lama 
sabachthani  ?  " — "  I  thirst." — Vinegar  to  Drink. — "  Into  Thy  hands." 
—"It  is  finished."— The  Centurion.— The  Multitude.— What  the 
Cross  of  Christ  has  Done. — The  Crurifragium. — Water  and  Blood  .  392 


CHAPTER  LXII. 
THE  RESURRECTION. 

Utter  apparent  Weakness  of  Christianity  at  the  Death  of  Christ.  —  Source 
of  its  subsequent  Strength. — Joseph  of  Arimathsea. — Nicodemus. — 
The  Garden  and  the  Sepulchre. — The  Women  mark  the  Spot. — Request 
of  the  Sanhedrin  that  the  Tomb  might  be  guarded. — The  Dawn  of 
Easter  Day. — The  Women  at  the  Sepulchre. — The  Empty  Tomb. — 
Peter  and  John. — 1.  First  Appearance  to  Mary  of  Magdala. — 2.  Ap- 
pearance to  the  Women. — Story  Invented  by  the  Jews. — 3.  Appearance 
to  Peter.— 4.  The  Disciples  at  Emmaus. — 5.  The  assembled  Apostles. 
—6.  The  Apostles  and  Thomas. — 7.  At  the  Sea  of  Galilee. — Jesus  and 
Peter.— "Feed  my  lambs."— "  What  shall  this  man  do?"— 8.  The 
Five  Hundred  on  the  Mountain. — 9.  Appearance  to  James. — 10.  The 
Ascension.—"  At  the  right  hand  of  God,  the  Father  Almighty"  .  425 


xii  CONTENTS. 

APPENDIX. 


EXCURSUS  I.  PAOB 

THE  DATE  OF  CHRIST'S  BIRTH 449 

EXCURSUS    II. 

CHRIST  AND  THE  CHRISTIANS  IN  THE  TAI.MIH 

EXCURSUS    III 

JESUS    AND    HlLLEL !•">•'• 

EXCURSUS  IV. 
GREEK  LEARNING 461 

EXCURSUS   V. 
THE  TALMUD  AND  THE  ORAL  LAW 1<>'2 

EXCURSUS   VI. 
TRADITIONAL  DESCRIPTION  OF  THE  APPEARANCES  or  OUR  LORD        .         .     464 

EXCURSUS   VII. 
JEWISH  ANGELOLOGY  AND  DEMONOLOGY -I'1"") 


EXCURSUS   VIII. 
THE  UNNAMED  FEAST  OF  JOHN  v.  1,  AND  THE  LENGTH  OF  THE  MINISTRY      1^7 

EXCURSUS  IX. 
HYPOCRISY  OF  THE  PHARISEES 171 

EXCURSUS  X. 
WAS  THE  LAST  SUPPER  AN  ACTUAL  PASSOVER? 474 

EXCURSUS  XI. 
OLD  TESTAMENT  QUOTATIONS 483 

EXCURSUS  XII. 
NOTES  ON  THE  TALMUD 

EXCURSUS   XIII. 
THE  SANHEDRIN 401 

EXCURSUS  XIV. 
PHARISEES  AND  SADDUCEES 494 

EXCURSUS   XV. 
TRADITIONAL  SAYLNGS  OF  CHRIST  .....     499 


THE 


LIFE   OF    CHRIST. 


CHAPTEK     XXXV. 

THE    GREAT    CONFESSION. 
"  These  have  known  that  Thou  hast  sent  me." — JOHN  xvii.  25. 

VERY  different  was  the  reception  which  awaited  Jesus 
on  the  farther  shore.  The  poor  heathens  of  Decapolis 
had  welcomed  Him  with  reverent  enthusiasm :  the 
haughty  Pharisees  of  Jerusalem  met  Him  with  sneering 
hate.  It  may  be  that,  after  this  period  of  absence,  His 
human  soul  yearned  for  the  only  resting-place  which 
He  could  call  a  home.  Entering  into  His  little  vessel, 
He  sailed  across  the  lake  to  Magdala.1  It  is  probable 
that  He  purposely  avoided  sailing  to  Bethsaida  or 
Capernaum,  which  are  a  little  north  of  Magdala,  and 

1  St.  Mark  says  (viii.  10),  "  the  parts  of  Dalinanutha."  Nothing  is 
known  about  Dalmanutha,  though  uncertain  identifications  of  it  have 
been  attempted;  nor  is  anything  known  of  Magadan,  which  is  found 
in  Matt.  xv.  39,  according  to  «,  B,  D,  but  does  not  seem  a  probable  reading. 
If  Magadan  is  a  confused  form  of  Megiddo,  that  must  be  an  error,  for 
Megiddo  is  in  the  middle  of  the  plain  of  Esdraelon.  Yet  even  in  Mark 
the  Codex  Bezae  reads  "Magadan."  Eusebius  and  Jerome  (Onomast.  s.  v.) 
make  Magadan  a  region  about  Gerasa,  and  therefore  east  of  the  Lake ; 
but  that  is  impossible.  The  "  Melegada  "  of  D  looks  like  a  case  of  trans- 
position, and  indeed  this  transposition  is  probably  the  source  of  the  con- 
fusion, and  may  even  account  for  the  form  Dalmanutha. 
b 


J  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

which    had    become   the   head-quarters   of  the  hostile 
Pharisees.     But  it  seems  that  these  personages  had  kept 
a  look-out  for  His  arrival.    As  though  they  had  been 
watching  from  the  tower  of  Magdala  for  the  sail  of 
His  returning  vessel,  barely  had  He  set  foot  on  shore 
than  they  came  forth  to  meet  Him.     Nor  were  they 
alone :    this   time   they  were   accompanied — ill-omened 
conjunction ! — with  their  rivals  and  enemies  the  Sad- 
ducees,  that  sceptical  sect,  half-religious,    half-political, 
to  which  at  this  time  belonged  the  two  High  Priests, 
as  well  as  the  members  of  the  reigning  family.1     Every 
section  of  the  ruling  classes — the  Pharisees,  formidable 
from  their  religious  weight  among  the  people ;  the  Sad- 
ducees,  few  in  number,  but  powerful  from  wealth  and 
position;   the  Herodians,  representing  the  influence  of 
the  Eomans,  and  of  their  nominees  the  tetrarchs ;  the 
scribes  and  lawyers,  bringing  to  bear  the  authority  of 
their   orthodoxy   and    their   learning — were   all  united 
against  Him  in  one  firm  phalanx  of  conspiracy  and  oppo- 
sition, and  were  determined  above  all  things  to  hinder 
His  preaching,  and  to  alienate  from  Him,  as  far  as  was 
practicable,  the  affections  of  the  people  among  whom 
most  of  His  mighty  works  were  done.3 

They  had  already  found  by  experience  that  the  one 
most  effectual  weapon  to  discredit  His  mission  and  un- 
dermine His  influence  was  the  demand  of  a  sign — above 
all,  a  sign  from  heaven.  If  He  were  indeed  the  Messiah, 
why  should  He  not  give  them  bread  from  heaven  as 

1  Acts  iv.  1,  5 ;  Jos.  Antt.  xv.  8,  §  1. 

2  Sepp,  whose  learning  is  strangely  deformed  by  constant  extravagances, 
compares  the   eight   sects   of  the  Jews  to  modern  schools  of  thought,  as 
follows  : — Pharisees  =  pietists ;  Essenes  =  mystics ;  Sadducees  =  rational- 
ists ;    Herodians  =  political   clubs,  &c. ;     Zealots  =  radicals ;    Samaritans 
=  schismatics! 


A  SIGN  FROM  HEAVEN.  3 

Moses,  they  said,  had  done?  where  were  Samuel's 
thunder  and  Elijah's  flame  ?  why  should  not  the  sun  be 
darkened,  and  the  moon  turned  into  blood,  and  the  stars 
of  heaven  be  shaken  ?  why  should  not  some  fiery  pillar 
glide  before  them  to  victory,  or  the  burst  of  some  stormy 
Bath  Kol  ratify  His  words  ? 

They  knew  that  no  such  sign  would  be  granted  them,, 
and  they  knew  that  He  had  vouchsafed  to  them  the 
strongest  reasons  for  His  thrice-repeated  refusal  to  gratify 
their  presumptuous  and  unspiritual  demand.1  Had  they 
known  or  understood  the  fact  of  His  temptation  in  the 
wilderness,  they  would  have  known  that  His  earliest 
answers  to  the  tempter  were  uttered  in  this  very  spirit 
of  utter  self-abnegation.  Had  He  granted  their  request, 
what  purpose  would  have  been  furthered  ?  It  is  not  the 
influence  of  external  forces,  but  it  is  the  germinal  prin- 
ciple of  life  within,  which  makes  the  good  seed  to  grow ; 
nor  can  the  hard  heart  be  converted,  or  the  stubborn 
unbelief  removed,  by  portents  and  prodigies,  but  by 
inward  humility,  and  the  grace  of  Grod  stealing  down- 
ward like  the  dew  of  heaven,  in  silence  and  unseen.  What 
would  have  ensued  had  the  sign  been  vouchsafed  ?  By 
its  actual  eye-witnesses  it  would  have  been  attributed 
to  demoniac  agency ;  by  those  to  whom  it  was  reported 
it  would  have  been  explained  away ;  by  those  of  the 
next  generation  it  would  have  been  denied  as  an  inven- 
tion, or  evaporated  into  a  myth. 

But  in  spite  of  all  this,  the  Pharisees  and  Sadducees 
felt  that  for  the  present  this  refusal  to  gratify  their 
demand  gave  them  a  handle  against  Jesus,  and  was  an 
effectual  engine  for  weakening  the  admiration  of  the 
people.  Yet  not  for  one  moment  did  He  hesitate  in 

1  John  ii.  18 ;  vi.  30 ;  Matt.  xii.  38. 


4  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

rejecting  this  their  temptation.  He  would  not  work 
any  epideictic  miracle  at  their  bidding,  any  more  than 
at  the  bidding  of  the  tempter.  He  at  once  told  them,  as 
He  had  told  them  before,  that  "  no  sign  should  be  given 
them  but  the  sign  of  the  prophet  Jonah."  Pointing  to 
the  western  sky,  now  crimson  with  the  deepening  hues 
of  sunset,  He  said,  "When  it  is  evening,  ye  say,  'Fair 
weather  !  for  the  sky  is  red  ; '  and  in  the  morning, 
c  Storm  to-day,  for  the  sky  is  red  and  frowning/  Hypo- 
crites !  ye  know  how  to  discern  the  face  of  the  sky :  can 
ye  not  learn  the  signs  of  the  times  P"1 

As  He  spoke  He  heaved  a  deep  inward  sigh.2  For 
some  time  He  had  been  absent  from  home.  He  had 
been  sought  out  with  trustful  faith  in  the  regions  of 
Tyre  and  Sidon.  He  had  been  welcomed  with  ready 
gratitude  in  heathen  Decapolis  ;  here,  at  home,  He  was 
met  with  the  flaunt  of  triumphant  opposition,  under  the 
guise  of  hypocritic  zeal.  He  steps  ashore  on  the  lovely 
plain,  where  He  had  done  so  many  noble  and  tender 
deeds,  and  spoken  for  all  time  such  transcendent  and 
immortal  words.  He  came  back,  haply  to  work  once 
more  in  the  little  district  where  His  steps  had  once 
been  followed  by  rejoicing  thousands,  hanging  in  deep 
silence  on  every  word  He  spoke.  As  He  approaches 
Magdala,  the  little  village  destined  for  all  time  to  lend 
its  name  to  a  word  expressive  of  His  most  divine  com- 
passion— as  He  wishes  to  enter  once  more  the  little 
cities  and  villages  which  offered  to  His  homelessness  the 
only  shadow  of  a  home — here,  barely  has  He  stepped 
upon  the  pebbly  strand,  barely  passed  through  the 
fringe  of  flowering  shrubs  which  embroider  the  water's 

1  Matt.  xvi.  1—4;  Mark  viii.  10—13. 

2  Mark  viii.  12,   dvaa-revd^as  T$  irvtvuari  avrov. 


RETIREMENT  FROM  GALILEE. 

edge,  barely  listened  to  the  twittering  of  the  innumerable 
birds  which  welcome  Him  back  with  their  familiar 
sounds  —  when  He  finds  all  the  self-satisfied  hypocrisies 
of  a  decadent  religion  drawn  up  in  array  to  stop  His 
path! 

He  did  not  press  His  mercies  on  those  who  rejected 
them.  As  in  after  days  His  nation  were  suffered  to 
prefer'  their  robber  and  their  murderer  to  the  Lord 
of  Life,  so  now  the  Galileans  were  suffered  to  keep  their 
Pharisees  and  lose  their  Christ.  He  left  them  as  He  had 
left  the  Gadarenes  —  rejected,  not  suffered  to  rest  even  in 
His  home;  with  heavy  heart,  solemnly  and  sadly  He  left 
them  —  left  them  then  and  there  —  left  them,  to  revisit, 
indeed,  once  more  their  neighbourhood,  but  never  again 
to  return  publicly  —  never  again  to  work  miracles,  to 
teach  or  preach.1 

It  must  have  been  late  in  that  autumn  evening  when 
He  stepped  once  more  into  the  little  ship,  and  bade  His 
disciples  steer  their  course  towards  Bethsaida  Julias,  at 
the  northern  end  of  the  lake.  On  their  way  they  must 
have  sailed  by  the  bright  sands  of  the  western  Bethsaida, 
on  which  Peter  and  the  sons  of  Zebedee  had  played  in 
their  infancy,  and  must  have  seen  the  white  marble 
synagogue  of  Capernaum  flinging  its  shadow  across  the 
waters,  which  blushed  with  the  reflected  colours  of  the 
sunset.  Was  it  at  such  a  moment,  when  He  was  leaving 
Galilee  with  the  full  knowledge  that  His  work  there  was 
at  an  end,  and  that  He  was  sailing  away  from  it  under 
the  ban  of  partial  excommunication  and  certain  death 
—  was  it  at  that  supreme  moment  of  sorrow  that  He 
uttered  the  rhythmic  woe  in  which  He  upbraided  the 


1  There  is  something  emphatic  both  in  the  KaTaXnrwv  avrovs  of  Matt. 
xvi.  4,  and  in  the  dtyels  avrovs  of  Mark  viii.  13. 


6  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

unrepentant  cities  wherein  most  of  His  mighty  works 
were  done  ?— 

"Woe  unto  thee,  Chorazin!  woe  unto  thee,  Beth- 
said;;',  lor  if  the  mighty  works  which  have  been  done  in 
you  had  heen  done  in  Tyre  and  Sidon,  they  would  have 
repented  long  ago  in  sackcloth  and  ashes. 

"  But  I  say  unto  you,  That  it  shall  be  more  tolerable 
for  Tyre  and  Sidon  at  the  day  of  judgment  than  for 
you. 

"And  thou,  Capernaum,  which  art  exalted  unto 
heaven,  shalt  be  brought  down  to  hell :  for  if  the  mighty 
works  which  have  been  done  in  thee  had  been  done  in 
Sodom,  it  would  have  remained  until  this  day. 

"  But  I  say  unto  you,  That  it  shall  be  more  tolerable 
for  the  land  of  Sodom  in  the  day  of  judgment  than  for 
thee  ! " 

Whether  these  touching  words  were  uttered  on  this 
occasion  as  a  stern  and  sad  farewell  to  His  public  ministry 
in  the  land  He  loved,  we  cannot  tell  j1  but  certainly  His 
soul  was  still  filled  with  sorrow  for  the  unbelief  and 
hardness  of  heart,  the  darkened  intellects  and  corrupted 
consciences  of  those  who  were  thus  leaving  for  Him  no 
power  to  set  foot  in  His  native  land.  It  has  been  said 

1  This  woe — evidently  complete  and  isolated  in  character — is  recorded 
in  Matt.  xi.  20 — 24 ;  Luke  x.  12 — 15.  St.  Matthew  seems  to  group  it  with 
the  utterances  at  the  feast  of  Simon  the  Pharisee;  St.  Luke  with  the 
Mission  of  the  Seventy.  It  is,  perhaps,  hazardous  to  conjecture  that  words 
so  solemnly  beautiful  and  full  of  warning  were  uttered  more  than  once ; 
and  since  the  order  of  St.  Matthew  is  in  many  places  professedly  unchrono- 
logical,  we  can  find  no  more  appropriate  occasion  for  the  words  than 
this.  They  have  evidently  the  character  of  a  farewell,  and  the  recent 
visit  of  Jesus  to  the  coasts  of  Tyre  and  Sidon  would  give  them  special 
significance  here.  The  mention  of  the  otherwise  unknown  Chorazin  is  an 
additional  proof,  if  any  were  needed,  of  the  fragmentary  character  of  the 
Gospels.  It  is  an  inland  town,  three  miles  from  Tell  Hum,  of  which  the 
deserted  ruins,  discovered  by  Dr.  Robinson,  are  still  called  Khersah. 


1AYEN  OP  HYPOCRISY. 

by  a  great  forensic  orator  that  "  no  form  of  self-deceit  is 
more  hateful  and  detestable  .  .  .  than  that  which  veils 
spite  and  falsehood  under  the  guise  of  frankness,  and 
behind  the  profession  of  religion."  Eepugnance  to  this 
hideous  vice  must  have  been  prominent  in  the  stricken 
heart  of  Jesus,  when,  as  the  ship  sailed  along  the 
pleasant  shore  upon  its  northward  way,  He  said  to  His 
disciples,  "  Take  heed,  and  beware  of  the  leaven  of  the 
Pharisees  and  Sadducees."1 

He  added  nothing  more ;  and  this  remark  the  strange 
simplicity  of  the  disciples  foolishly  misinterpreted.  They 
were  constantly  taking  His  figurative  expressions  lite- 
rally, and  His  literal  expressions  metaphorically.  When 
He  called  Himself  the  "bread  from  heaven,"  they  thought 
the  saying  hard ;  when  He  said,  "  I  have  meat  to  eat 
that  ye  know  not  of,"  they  could  only  remark,  "  Hath 
any  man  brought  Him  aught  to  eat?"  when  He  said, 
"  Our  friend  Lazarus  sleepeth,"  they  answered,  "  Lord, 
if  he  sleep,  he  shall  do  well."  And  so  now,  although 
leaven  was  one  of  the  very  commonest  types  of  sin,  and 
especially  of  insidious  and  subterranean  sin,  the  only 
interpretation  which,  after  a  discussion  among  them- 
selves, they  could  attach  to  His  remark  was,  that  He 
was  warning  them  not  to  buy  leaven  of  the  Pharisees 
and  Sadducees,  or,  perhaps,  indirectly  reproaching  them 
because,  in  the  sorrow  and  hurry  of  their  unexpected 
re-embarkation,  they  had  only  brought  with  them  one 
single  loaf !  Jesus  was  grieved  at  this  utter  non-com- 
prehension, this  almost  stupid  literalism.  Did  they 
suppose  that  He,  at  whose  words  the  loaves  and  fishes 
had  been  so  miraculously  multiplied — that  they,  who 

1  Or  "of  Herod "  (Mark  yiii.  15).     Tlie  Herodians  appear  to  have  been 
mainly  Sadducees. 


8  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

after  feeding  the  five  thousand  had  gathered  twelve 
hund-l>nskets,  and  after  feeding  the  four  thousand  had 
gathered  seven  large  baskets-full  of  the  fragments  that 
remained — did  they  suppose,  after  that,  that  there  was 
danger  lest  He  or  they  should  suffer  from  starvation  ? 
There  was  something  almost  of  indignation  in  the  rapid 
questions  in  which,  without  correcting,  He  indicated 
their  error.  "  Why  reason  ye  because  ye  have  no  bread  ? 
Perceive  ye  not  yet,  neither  understand  ?  Have  ye  your 
heart  yet  hardened  ?  Having  eyes,  see  ye  not  ?  and 
having  ears,  hear  ye  not  ?  and  do  ye  not  remember  ?  " 
And  then  once  more,  after  He  had  reminded  them  of 
those  miracles,  "  How  is  it  that  ye  do  not  understand?" 
They  had  not  ventured  to  ask  Him  for  any  explanation ; 
there  was  something  about  Him — something  so  awe- 
inspiring  and  exalted  in  His  personality — that  their  love 
for  Him,  intense  though  it  was,  was  tempered  by  an 
overwhelming  reverence  :  but  now  it  began  to  dawn 
upon  them  that  something  else  was  meant,  and  that  He 
was  bidding  them  beware,  not  of  the  leaven  of  bread, 
but  of  the  doctrine  of  the  Pharisees  and  Sadducees. 

At  Bethsaida  Julias,  probably  on  the  following 
morning,  a  blind  man  was  brought  to  Him  for  healing. 
The  cure  was  wrought  in  a  manner  very  similar  to  that 
of  the  deaf  and  dumb  man  in  Decapolis.  It  has  none  of 
the  ready  freedom,  the  radiant  spontaneity  of  the  earlier 
and  happier  miracles.  In  one  respect  it  differs  from 
every  other  recorded  miracle,  for  it  was,  as  it  were,  ten- 
tative. Jesus  took  the  man  by  the  hand,  led  him  out 
of  the  village,  spat  upon  his  eyes,  and  then,  laying  His 
hands  upon  them,  asked  if  he  saw.  The  man  looked  at 
the  figures  in  the  distance,  and,  but  imperfectly  cured  as 
yet,  said,  "I  see  men  as  trees  walking."  Not  until 


A  TENTATIVE  MIRACLE.  9 

Jesus  had  laid  His  hands  a  second  time  upon  his  eyes 
did  he  see  clearly.  And  then  Jesus  bade  him  go  to  his 
house,  which  was  not  at  Bethsaida ;  for,  with  an  em- 
phatic repetition  of  the  word,  he  is  forbidden  either  to 
enter  into  the  town,  or  to  tell  it  to  any  one  in  the  town. 
We  cannot  explain  the  causes  of  the  method  which 
Christ  here  adopted.  The  impossibility  of  understand- 
ing what  guided  His  actions  arises  from  the  brevity  of 
the  narrative,  in  which  the  writer  passes  over  much  that 
might  have  been  known  to  himself,  and  which,  as  is  so 
often  the  case  with  writers  conversant  with  their  subject, 
he  fancies  will  be  self-explaining  to  those  who  read  his 
words.  All  that  we  can  dimly  see  is  Christ's  dislike 
and  avoidance  of  these  heathenish  Herodian  towns,  with 
their  borrowed  Hellenic  architecture,  their  careless  cus- 
toms, and  even  their  very  names  commemorating,  as  was 
the  case  with  Bethsaida  Julias,  some  of  the  most  con- 
temptible of  the  human  race.1  We  see  from  the  Grospels 
themselves  that  the  richness  and  power  displayed  in  the 
miracles  was  correlative  to  the  faith  of  the  recipients  : 
in  places  where  faith  was  scanty  it  was  but  too  natural 
that  miracles  should  be  gradual  and  few.2 

Leaving  Bethsaida  Julias,  Jesus  made  his  way  to- 
wards Csesarea  Philippi.  Here,  again,  it  seems  to  be 
distinctly  intimated  that  He  did  not  enter  into  the  town 
itself,  but  only  visited  the  "  coasts  "  of  it,  or  wandered 
about  the  neighbouring  villages.3  Why  He  bent  His 

1  Herod  Philip  had  named  his  renovated  capital  in  honour  of  Julia, 
the  abandoned  daughter  of  the  Emperor  Augustus. 

2  No  one  who  has  rightly  considered  the  Gospel  miracles  will  regard 
this  as  "  a  damaging  concession."     At  any  rate,  if  so,  it  is  a  fresh  proof 
of  the  entire  truthfulness  of  the  Gospels.     (Matt.  xiii.  58 ;  Mark  vi.  5,  6 ; 
ix.  23,  &c.) 

3  Matt.  xvi.  13,  juepr?,  "  parts,"  or  "  regions ;  Mark  viii.  27, 


10  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

footsteps  in  that  direction  we  are  not  told.  It  was  a 
town  that  had  seen  many  vicissitudes.  As  "  Laish," 
it  had  been  the  possession  of  the  careless  Sidonians.  As 
"  Dan,"  it  had  been  the  chief  refuge  of  a  warlike  tribe  of 
Israel,  the  northern  limit  of  the  Israelitish  kingdom,  and 
the  seat  of  the  idolatry  of  the  golden  calf.  Colonised  by 
Greeks,  its  name  had  been  changed  into  Paneas,  in 
honour  of  the  cave  under  its  towering  hill,  which  had 
been  artificially  fashioned  into  a  grotto  of  Pan,  and 
adorned  with  niches,  which  once  contained  statues  of  his 
sylvan  nymphs.  As  the  capital  of  Herod  Philip,  it  had 
been  re-named  in  honour  of  himself  and  his  patron 
Tiberius.1  The  Lord  might  gaze  with  interest  on  the 
noble  ranges  of  Libanus  and  Anti-Libanus ;  He  might 
watch  the  splendid  and  snowy  mass  of  Hermon  glittering 
under  the  dawn,  or  flushed  with  its  evening  glow ;  He 
might  wander  round  Lake  Phiala,  and  see  where  the 
Jordan,  after  his  subterranean  course,  bursts  rejoicing 
into  the  light :  but  He  could  only  have  gazed  with  sorrow 
on  the  city  itself,  with  its  dark  memories  of  Israelitish 
apostacy,  its  poor  mimicry  of  Eoman  imperialism,  and 
the  broken  statues  of  its  unhallowed  and  Hellenic  cave. 
But  it  was  on  His  way  to  the  northern  region  that 
there  occurred  an  incident  which  may  well  be  regarded 
as  the  culminating  point  of  His  earthly  ministry.3  He 
was  alone.  The  crowd  that  surged  so  tumultuously 
about  Him  in  more  frequented  districts,  here  only 
followed  Him  at  a  distance.  Only  His  disciples  were 
near  Him  as  He  stood  apart  in  solitary  prayer.  And 
when  the  prayer  was  over,  He  beckoned  them  about 

1  On  CaBsarea  Philippi,  see  Jos.  Antt.  xv.  10,  §  3 ;   B.  J.  i.  21,  §  3 ;  and 
for  a  description  of  its  present  state,  Thomson,  Land  and  Book,  II.,  ch.  xvi. 

2  Matt,  xvi.  13—28  ;  Mark  viii.  27— ix.  1 ;  Luke  ix.  18—27. 


THE  MOMENTOUS  QUESTION. 


11 


Him  as  they  continued  their  journey,  and  asked  them 
those  two  momentous  questions  on  the  answers  to  which 
depended  the  whole  outcome  of  His  work  on  earth. 

First  He  asked  them — 

"  Whom  do  men  say  that  I  the  Son  of  Man  am  ?" 

The  answer  was  a  sad  one.  The  Apostles  dared  not 
and  would  not  speak  aught  but  the  words  of  soberness 
and  truth,  and  they  made  the  disheartening  admission 
that  the  Messiah  had  not  been  recognised  by  the  world 
which  He  came  to  save.  They  could  only  repeat  the 
idle  guesses  of  the  people.  Some,  echoing  the  verdict 
of  the  guilty  conscience  of  Antipas,  said  that  He  was 
John  the  Baptist;  some,  who  may  have  heard  the 
sterner  denunciations  of  His  impassioned  grief,  caught  in 
that  mighty  utterance  the  thunder- tones  of  a  new  Elijah; 
others,  who  had  listened  to  His  accents  of  tenderness 
and  words  of  universal  love,  saw  in  Him  the  plaintive 
soul  of  Jeremiah,  and  thought  that  He  had  come,  per- 
haps, to  restore  them  the  lost  Urim  and  the  vanished 
Ark  :  many  looked  on  Him  as  a  prophet  and  a  precursor. 
None — in  spite  of  an  occasional  Messianic  cry  wrung 
from  the  admiration  of  the  multitude,  amazed  by  some 
unwonted  display  of  power — none  dreamt  of  who  He  was. 
The  light  had  shone  in  the  darkness,  and  the  darkness 
comprehended  it  not. 

"  But  whom  say  ye  that  I  am  ?  " 

Had  that  great  question  been  answered  otherwise 
—could  it  have  been  answered  otherwise — the  world's 
whole  destinies  might  have  been  changed.  Had  it  been 
answered  otherwise,  then,  humanly  speaking,  so  far  the 
mission  of  the  Saviour  would  have  wholly  failed,  and 
Christianity  and  Christendom  have  never  been.  For  the 
work  of  Christ  on  earth  lay  mainly  with  His  disciples. 


12  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

He  sowed  the  seed,  they  reaped  the  harvest ;  He  con- 
verted them,  and  they  the  world.  He  had  never  openly 
spoken  of  His  Messiahship.  John  indeed  had  borne 
witness  to  Him,  and  to  those  who  could  receive  it  He 
had  indirectly  intimated,  both  in  word  and  deed,  that 
He  was  the  Son  of  God.  But  it  was  His  will  that  the 
light  of  revelation  should  dawn  gradually  on  the  minds 
of  His  children ;  that  it  should  spring  more  from  the 
truths  He  spake,  and  the  life  He  lived,  than  from  the 
wonders  which  He  wrought ;  that  it  should  be  conveyed 
not  in  sudden  thunder-crashes  of  supernatural  majesty 
or  visions  of  unutterable  glory,  but  through  the  quiet 
medium  of  a  sinless  and  self- sacrificing  course.  It  was 
in  the  Son  of  Man  that  they  were  to  recognise  the  Son 
of  God. 

But  the  answer  came,  as  from  everlasting  it  had 
been  written  in  the  book  of  destiny  that  it  should  come  ; 
and  Peter,  the  ever  warm-hearted,  the  coryphaeus  of  the 
Apostolic  choir,1  had  the  immortal  honour  of  giving  it 
utterance  for  them  all— 

"  THOU  ART  THE  CHRIST,  THE  SON  OF  THE  LlVING 
GOD!" 

Such  an  answer  from  the  chief  of  the  Apostles  atoned 
by  its  fulness  of  insight  and  certitude  of  conviction  for 
the  defective  appreciation  of  the  multitudes.2  It  showed 
that  at  last  the  great  mystery  was  revealed  which  had 
been- hidden  from  the  ages  and  the  generations.  The 

1  6  ira.vra.xov  Qeppbs,  6  TOV  x<>pov  ruv  a.iro(n6\<av  Kopvfyaios  (Chrys.  Horn.  liv.). 

2  He  says,  not  "we  say,"  but  "  THOU  ART  "  (Alford,  ad  loc.}.    St.  Peter 
was  "  primus  inter  pares  "—a  leader,  but  among  equals.      Had  he  been 
more  than  this — had  Christ's  words   been   intended   to   bestow    on    him 
the  least  shadow  of  supremacy — how  could  James  and  John  have  asked 
to  sit  on  the  right  hand   and   on   the   left   of    Christ  in  His  kingdom  ? 
and  how  could  the  Apostles  on  at  least  two   subsequent  occasions  have 
disputed  who  among  them  should  be  the  greatest  ? 


ON  THIS  ROCK.' 


13 


Apostles  at  least  had  not  only  recognised  in  Jesus  of 
Nazareth  the  promised  Messiah  of  their  nation,  but  it 
had  been  revealed  to  them  by  the  special  grace  of  God 
that  that  Messiah  was  not  only  what  the  Jews  expected, 
a  Prince,  and  a  Ruler,  and  a  Son  of  David,  but  was 
more  than  this,  even  the  Son  of  the  living  Grod. 

With  awful  solemnity  did  the  Saviour  ratify  that 
great  confession.  "  Jesus  answered  and  said  unto  him, 
Blessed  art  thou,  Simon,  son  of  Jonas  :l  for  flesh  and 
blood  hath  not  revealed  it  unto  thee,  but  my  Father 
which  is  in  heaven.2  And  I  say  unto  thee,  that  thou 
art  Peter  (Petros),  and  on  this  rock  (petra)  I  will  build 
my  Church,  and  the  gates  of  hell  shall  not  prevail  against 
it.3  And  I  will  give  unto  thee  the  keys  of  the  kingdom 
of  heaven;  and  whatsoever  thou  shalt  bind  on  earth 
shall  be  bound  in  heaven,  and  whatsoever  thou  shalt 
loose  on  earth  shall  be  loosed  in  heaven/' 

Never  did  even  the  lips  of  Jesus  utter  more  memor- 

1  So,  too,  Jesus  addressed  him  on   other  solemn  occasions  (John  xxi. 
15—17). 

2  Not  the  common    Jewish  abinu,  "our  Father,"  but  "my  Father" 

(6  Trarrjp  /J.QV). 

3  Similar  plays  on  words,  founded  on  very  deep  principles,  are  common 
among  deep  thinkers  in  all  tongues.      Our  Lord  was  probably  speaking 
in  Aramaic,  in  which   language  the   phrase  "  gates  of   hell "    (biro£  *\?g} 
shaare  sheol)  presents  a  pleasing  assonance.     If  so,  He  probably  said, 
"  Thou  art  Kephas,  and  on  this  Kepha  I  will,"  &c.     Many  commentators, 
from  the  earliest  ages  downwards,  have  understood  "  this  rock  "  to  be  either 
the  confession  of  Peter,  or  Christ  himself  ( see  abundant  authorities  for 
these  opinions  in  the  elaborate  note  of  Bishop  Wordsworth) ;  it  is  difficult, 
however,   in  either   of  these    cases  to  see  any  force  in  the    "Thou  art 
Peter."      On  the  other  hand,  to  speak  of  a  man  as  "  the  rock  "  is  unlike 
the  ordinary  language  of  Scripture.     "Who  is  a  rock  save  our  God?" 
(2  Sam.  xxii.  32 ;  Ps.  xviii.  31 ;  Ixii.  2 ;  Isa.  xxviii.  16 ;  and  see  especially 
1  Cor.  iii.  11 ;    x.  4).      The   key   was  a  common  Jewish   metaphor  for 
authority  (Isa.  xxii.  22;   Luke  xi.  52).     (Gfrorer,  i.  155,  283;   Schottg., 
Hor.  Hebr.  ii.  894.)     I  shall  speak  further  on  the  passage  in  a  subsequent 
note,  but  do  not  profess  to  have  fully  solved  its  difficulties. 


U  THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 

able  words.  It  was  His  own  testimony  of  Himself.  It 
was  the  promise  that  they  who  can  acknowledge  it  are 
blessed.  It  was  the  revealed  fact  that  they  only  can 
acknowledge  it  who  are  led  thereto  by  the  Spirit  of  God. 
It  told  mankind  for  ever  that  not  by  earthly  criticisms, 
but  only  by  heavenly  grace,  can  the  full  knowledge  of 
that  truth  be  obtained.  It  was  the  laying  of  the  corner- 
stone of  the  CHURCH  OF  CHRIST,  and  the  earliest  occasion 
on  which  was  uttered  that  memorable  word,  thereafter  to 
be  so  intimately  blended  with  the  history  of  the  world.1 
It  was  the  promise  that  that  Church  founded  on  the 
rock  of  inspired  confession  should  remain  unconquered 
by  all  the  powers  of  hell.  It  was  the  conferring  upon 
that  Church,  in  the  person  of  its  typical  representative, 
the  power  to  open  and  shut,  to  bind  and  loose,  and  the 
promise  that  the  power  faithfully  exercised  on  earth 
should  be  finally  ratified  in  heaven. 

"  Tute  haec  omnia  dicuntur,"  says  the  great  Bengel, 
"  nam  quid  ad  Eomam  ?"  "  all  these  statements  are  made 
with  safety;  for  what  have  they  to  do  with  Eome?" 
Let  him  who  will  wade  through  all  the  controversy  neces- 
sitated by  the  memorable  perversions  of  this  memorable 
text,  which  runs  as  an  inscription  round  the  interior  of 
the  great  dome  of  St.  Peter's.  But  little  force  is  needed 
to  overthrow  the  strange  inverted  pyramids  of  argument 
which  have  been  built  upon  it.  Were  it  not  a  matter 
of  history,  it  would  have  been  deemed  incredible  that  on 
so  baseless  a  foundation  should  have  been  rested  the  fan- 

1  It  is  a  remarkable  fact  that  the  word  tK.KXv\a(u  occurs  but  once  again 
in  the  Gospels  (Matt,  xviii.  17). 

2  The  following  texts  are  alone  sufficient  to  prove  finally  that  St.  Peter 
in  no   way  exercised  among   the   Apostles  any  paramount    or  supreme 
authority  : — Matt,  xviii.  1 ;  Eph.  ii.  20 ;  Rev.  xxi.  14 ;  2  Cor.  xi.  5 ;  xii.  11 ; 
Gal.  ii.  9,  11 ;  Luke  xxii.  24,  26 ;  John  xxi.  19—23,  &c. 


"ON  THIS  ROCK."  15 

tastic  claim  that  abnormal  power  should  be  conceded  to  the 
bishops  of  a  Church  which  almost  certainly  St.  Peter  did 
not  found,  and  in  a  city  in  which  there  is  no  indisputable 
proof  that  he  ever  set  his  foot.  The  immense  arrogancies 
of  sacerdotalism  ;  the  disgraceful  abuses  of  the  con- 
fessional ;  the  imaginary  power  of  absolving  from  oaths  ; 
the  ambitious  assumption  of  a  right  to  crush  and  control 
the  civil  power;  the  extravagant  usurpation  of  infalli- 
bility in  wielding  the  dangerous  weapons  of  anathema 
and  excommunication;  the  colossal  tyrannies  of  the 
Popedom,andthe  detestable  cruelties  of  the  Inquisition — 
all  these  abominations  are,  we  may  hope,  henceforth  and 
for  ever,  things  of  the  past.  But  the  Church  of  Christ 
remains,  of  which  Peter  was  a  chief  foundation,  a  living 
stone.  The  powers  of  hell  have  not  prevailed  against  it ; 
it  still  has  a  commission  to  fling  wide  open  the  gates  of 
the  kingdom  of  heaven ;  it  still  may  loose  us  from  idle 
traditional  burdens  and  meaningless  ceremonial  obser- 
vances ;  it  still  may  bind  upon  our  hearts  and  consciences 
the  truths  of  revealed  religion  and  the  eternal  obligations 
of  the  Moral  Law. 

To  Peter  himself  the  great  promise  was  remarkably 
fulfilled.  It  was  he  who  converted  on  the  day  of  Pen- 
tecost the  first  great  body  of  Jews  who  adopted  the 
Christian  faith ;  it  was  he  who  admitted  the  earliest 
Grentile  into  the  full  privileges  of  Christian  fellow- 
ship.1 His  confession  made  him  as  a  rock,  on  which  the 
faith  of  many  was  founded,  which  the  powers  of  Hades 
might  shake,  but  over  which  they  never  could  prevail. 
But,  as  has  been  well  added  by  one  of  the  deepest, 
most  venerable,  and  most  learned  Fathers  of  the  ancient 

1  Peter  himself  points  to  this  fact  as  a  fulfilment  of  Christ's  promise 
(Acts  xv.  7). 


16  THE   LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 

Church,  "  If  any  one  thus  confess,  when  flesh  and  blood 
have  not  revealed  it  unto  him,  but  our  Father  in  heaven, 
he,  too,  shall  obtain  the  promised  blessings  ;  as  the 
letter  of  the  Gospel  saith  indeed  to  the  great  St.  Peter, 
but  as  its  spirit  teacheth  to  every  man  who  hath  become 
like  what  that  great  Peter  was." l 

It  may  be  said  that,  from  that  time  forth,  the 
Saviour  might  regard  one  great  portion  of  His  work  on 
earth  as  having  been  accomplished.  His  Apostles  were 
now  convinced  of  the  mystery  of  His  being  ;  the  founda- 
tions were  laid  on  which,  with  Himself  as  the  chief  corner- 
stone, the  whole  vast  edifice  was  to  be  hereafter  built. 

But  He  forbade  them  to  reveal  this  truth  as  yet. 
The  time  for  such  preaching  had  not  yet  come.  They  were 
yet  wholly  ignorant  of  the  true  method  of  His  manifes- 
tation. They  were  yet  too  unconfirmed  in  faith  even  to 

1  Origen.  A  full  consideration  of  this  great  utterance  to  St.  Peter  must 
be  sought  for  in  works  professedly  theological,  but  I  may  here  call  special 
attention  to  a  calm  and  admirable  sermon,  "  Confession  and  Absolution," 
by  my  friend  Professor  Plumptre  (Isbister,  1874),  in  which  he  points  out 
the  distinction  which  must  be  carefully  drawn  between  three  separate 
things  too  often  confounded — viz.,  the  "  Power  of  the  Keys,"  the  power 
to  bind  and  loose,  and  the  power  to  remit  or  retain.  1.  The  first  (since 
the  delivery  of  a  key  formed  the  ordination  of  a  Scribe)  meant  the  "  power 
to  open  the  treasury  of  the  Divine  oracles,  and  bring  them  out  to  Christ's 
disciples  (cf .  Matt.  xiii.  52 ;  Luke  xi.  52 ;  Matt,  xxiii.  4).  To  those  who 
heard,  it  must  have  implied  the  teaching  power  of  the  Church.  2.  The 
power  to  bind  and  loose,  afterwards  conferred  on  all  the  disciples  (Matt. 
xviii.  18),  gave  them  a  power  like  that  exercised  by  the  Rabbis  (e.g.,  the 
school  of  Shamniai,  which,  according  to  the  Jewish  proverb,  bound,  and 
the  school  of  Hillel  which  loosed) — the  power,  namely,  to  declare  what 
.precepts  are,  and  what  are  not,  binding  (cf.  Matt,  xxiii.  4;  Actsx.  28).  It 
implied,  therefore,  the  legislative  action  of  the  Church.  3.  The  power  to 
forgive  and  retain  sins  (John  xx.  22,  23)  far  transcended  these,  and  was 
distinctly  rejected  by  the  Scribes.  It  belongs  to  the  prophetic  office  of  the 
Church,  and  had  direct  reference  to  the  gift  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  and  "  was 
possible  only  so  far  as  the  prophetic  gift,  in  greater  or  less  measure,  was 
bestowed  on  those  who  exercise  it "  (Plumptre,  ubi  supra,  pp.  45 — 48).  For 
wise  views  of  this  subject,  see  also  Hooker,  Eccl.  Pol.,  YI.  iv.  1,  2. 


THE  COMING  END.  17 

remain  true  to  Him  in  His  hour  of  utmost  need.  As  yet 
He  would  be  known  as  the  Christ  to  those  only  whose 
spiritual  insight  could  see  Him  immediately  in  His  life 
and  in  His  works.  As  yet  He  would  neither  strive  nor 
cry,  nor  should  His  voice  be  heard  in  the  streets.1  When 
their  own  faith  was  confirmed  beyond  all  wavering  by 
the  mighty  fact  of  His  resurrection,  when  their  hearts 
had  been  filled  with  the  new  Shechinah  of  Grod's  Holy 
Spirit,  and  their  brows,  with  final  consecration,  had  been 
mitred  with  Pentecostal  flame,  then,  but  not  till  then, 
would  the  hour  have  come  for  them  to  go  forth  and 
teach  all  nations  that  Jesus  was  indeed  the  Christ,  the 
Son  of  the  Living  Grod. 

But  although  they  now  knew  Him,  they  knew  nothing 
as  yet  of  the  way  in  which  it  was  His  will  to  carry  out 
His  divine  purposes.  It  was  time  that  they  should  yet 
further  be  prepared  ;  it  was  time  that  they  should  learn 
that,  King  though  He  was,  His  kingdom  was  not  of  this 
world ;  it  was  time  that  all  idle  earthly  hopes  of  splen- 
dour and  advancement  in  the  Messianic  kingdom  should 
be  quenched  in  them  for  ever,  and  that  they  should 
know  that  the  kingdom  of  God  is  not  meat  and  drink, 
but  righteousness,  and  peace,  and  joy  in  believing. 

Therefore  He  began,  calmly  and  deliberately,  to  re- 
veal to  them  His  intended  journey  to  Jerusalem,  His 
rejection  by  the  leaders  of  His  nation,  the  anguish  and 
insult  that  awaited  Him,  His  violent  death,  His  resur- 
rection on  the  third  day.  He  had,  indeed,  on  previous 
occasions  given  them  divers  and  distant  intimations2  of 


1  Matt.  xii.  19 ;  Isa.  xlii.  1. 

2  Matt.  x.  38;  John  iii.  14.   But  now  Tjp^aro  SeiKvJeiv  (Matt.  xvi.  21). 
A  still  further  gradation,  a  still  clearer  prophecy,  may  be  observed  from 
time  to  time  as  the  day  approached  (Matt.  xvi.  21 ;  xvii.  22 ;  xx.  18 ;  xxvi.  2 


r. 


18 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


these  approaching  sufferings,  but  now  for  the  first  time 
He  dwelt  on  them  distinctly,  and  that  with  full  freedom 
of  speech.1  Yet  even  now  He  did  not  reveal  in  its 
entire  awfulness  the  manner  of  His  approaching  death. 
He  made  known  unto  them,  indeed,  that  He  should  be 
rejected  by  the  elders  and  chief  priests  and  scribes — by 
all  the  authorities,  and  dignities,  and  sanctities  of  the 
nation — but  not  that  He  should  be  delivered  to  the 
Grentiles.  He  warned  them  that  He  should  be  killed, 
but  He  reserved  till  the  time  of  His  last  journey  to 
Jerusalem  the  horrible  fact  that  He  should  be  crucified.3 
He  thus  revealed  to  them  the  future  only  as  they 
were  best  able  to  bear  it,  and  even  then,  to  console 
their  anguish  and  to  support  their  faith,  He  told  them 
quite  distinctly,  that  on  the  third  day  He  should  rise 
again. 

But  the  human  mind  has  a  singular  capacity  for  re- 
jecting that  which  it  cannot  comprehend — for  ignoring 
and  forgetting  all  that  does  not  fall  within  the  range  of 
its  previous  conceptions.  The  Apostles,  ever  faithful  and 
ever  simple  in  their  testimony,  never  conceal  from  us 
their  dulness  of  spiritual  insight,  nor  the  dominance  of 
Judaic  preconceptions  over  their  minds.  They  them- 
selves confess  to  us  how  sometimes  they  took  the  literal 
for  the  figurative,3  and  sometimes  the  figurative  for  the 

1  Mark  viii.  32,  *al  Tra^rjtn'a  rov  \6yov  e'XaAet.      Earlier  and  dimmer 
intimations  were  John  ii.  19  ("  Destroy  this  Temple  ") ;   iii.  14  ("  shall  the 
Son  of  Man  be  lifted  up  ") ;    Matt.  ix.  15  ("  the  Bridegroom  shall  be  taken 
away  from  them  ") ;  John  vi.  51  ("  my  flesh  will  I  give  for  the  life  of  the 
world  ") ;  Matt.  xvi.  4  ("  the  sign  of  the  prophet  Jonas  "). 

2  Matt.  xvi.  21,  a.TroKTavOrit>ai,  but  in  xx.  19,  aravpuxrai.    The  manner  of 
His  death  was,  however,  distinctly  intimated  in  the  metaphor  of  "  taking 
np  the  cross,"  immediately  afterwards  (xvi.  24). 

3  Ex.  gr.,  the  leaven  of  the  Pharisees  (Matt.  xvi.  7) ;  the  meat  they  know 
not  of  (John  iv.  32) ;  the  sleep  of  death  (John  xi.  12). 


PETER'S  PRESUMPTION. 

literal.1  They  heard  the  announcement,  but  they  did  not 
realise  it.  "  They  understood  not  this  saying,  and  it 
was  hid  from  them,  that  they  perceived  it  not."  2  Now  as 
on  so  many  other  occasions  a  supernatural  awe  was  upon 
them,  "  and  they  feared  to  ask  Him."3  The  prediction 
of  His  end  was  so  completely  alien  from  their  whole 
habit  of  thought,  that  they  would  only  put  it  aside  as 
irrelevant  and  unintelligible — some  mystery  which  they 
could  not  fathom;  and  as  regards  the  resurrection,  when 
it  was  again  prophesied  to  the  most  spiritual  among 
them  all,  they  could  only  question  among  one  another 
what  the  rising  from  the  dead  should  mean.4 

But  Peter,  in  his  impetuosity,  thought  that  he  under- 
stood, and  thought  that  he  could  prevent ;  and  so  he 
interrupted  those  solemn  utterances  by  his  ignorant  and 
presumptuous  zeal.  The  sense  that  it  had  been  given 
to  him  to  perceive  and  utter  a  new  and  mighty  truth, 
together  with  the  splendid  eulogium  and  promise  which 
he  had  just  received,  combined  to  inflate  his  intellect  and 
misguide  his  heart ;  and  taking  Jesus  by  the  hand  or  by 
the  robe,5  he  led  Him  a  step  or  two  aside  from  the  dis- 
ciples, and  began  to  advise,  to  instruct,  to  rebuke  his 
Lord.  "  Grod  forbid,"6  he  said;  "  this  shall  certainly  not 

1  What  defileth  a  man  (Matt.  xv.  17).   See  too  John  xi.  11, 16.   (Lange, 
iii.  241.) 

2  Luke  ix.  45. 

3  Mark  ix.  32 ;  Luke  ii.  50 ;  xyiii.  34. 

4  Mark  ix.  10. 

5  Matt.  xvi.  22,  Trpoo-AajS^uepos  avrbv.  There  is,  as  Stier  points  out  (ii.  328), 
a  happy  instinctive  irony  in  the  tfp£aTo  eirin^av  of  Mark  viii.  32,  compared 
to  the  ^p|aro  StS&r/ceij/  of  verse  31. 

6  Such  seems  to  be  the  meaning  of  ?A.ec£s  crot,  KJpie  (Matt.  xvi.  22).    It  is 
literally  "  [May  God  be]  merciful  to  thee,"  rathei  than,  as  in  the  margin  of 
the  E.  Y.,  "  pity  thyself."     The  phrase  is  a  kind  of  expletive,  like   Di 
meliora  !  praefiscini  I  Di  averruncent !  in  Latin ;    and  Gott  bewahre !  in 
German.     The  Hebrew  expression  to  which  it  corresponds  is  sometimes 


20  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

happen  to  thee."  With  a  flash  of  sudden  indignation 
our  Lord  rebuked  his  worldliness  and  presumption. 
Turning  away  from  him,  fixing  His  eyes  on  the  other 
disciples,  and  speaking  in  the  hearing  of  them  all — for 
it  was  fit  that  they  who  had  heard  the  words  of  vast 
promise  should  hear  also  the  crushing  rebuke — He 
exclaimed,  "  Get  thee  behind  me,  Satan !  thou  art  a 
stumbling-block  unto  me;  for  thy  thoughts  are  not 
the  thoughts  of  God,  but  of  men."  This  thy  mere 
carnal  and  human  view — this  attempt  to  dissuade  me 
from  my  "  baptism  of  death " — is  a  sin  against  the 
purposes  of  God.1  Peter  was  to  learn — would  that  the 
Church  which  professes  to  have  inherited  from  him  its 
exclusive  and  superhuman  claims  had  also  learnt  in 
time ! — that  he  was  far  indeed  from  being  infallible— 
that  he  was  capable  of  falling,  aye,  and  with  scarcely  a 
moment's  intermission,  from  heights  of  divine  insight 
into  depths  of  most  earthly  folly. 

"  Get  thee  behind  me,  Satan  !  "  — the  very  words  which 
He  had  used  to  the  tempter  in  the  wilderness.  The 
rebuke  was  strong,  yet  to  our  ears  it  probably  conveys 
a  meaning  far  more  violent  than  it  would  have  done  to 
the  ears  that  heard  it.  The  word  Satan  means  no  more 
than  "  adversary/'  and,  as  in  many  passages  of  the  Old 
Testament,  is  so  far  from  meaning  the  great  Adversary 
of  mankind,  that  it  is  even  applied  to  opposing  angels. 
The  word,  in  fact,  was  among  the  Jews,  as  in  the  East 

rendered  in  the  LXX.  by  ^  yhoiro  and  MScyuSs  (Josh.  xxii.  29;  1  Sam. 
xii.  23;  xx.  2\    (See  Schleusner,  Lex.  in  N.  T.,  s.  v.) 

"  Those  whose  intentions  towards  us  are  the  best,"  says  Stier,  "are  the 
most  dangerous  to  us  when  their  intentions  are  merely  human  "  (ii.  332). 
How  often,  alas  !  are  a  man's  real  foes  they  of  his  own  household ;  his 
friends,  who  love  him  best,  become  in  their  worldliness  his  worst  enemies. 
ThfT  drag  him  down  from  heights  of  self-sacrifice  to  the  vulgar,  the  con- 
ventional, the  comfortable. 


A  ROCK  OF  OFFENCE. 


21 


generally,  and  to  this  day,  a  very  common  one  for 
anything  bold,  powerful,  dangerous — for  every  secret 
opponent  or  open  enemy.1  But  its  special  applicability 
in  this  instance  rose  from  the  fact  that  Peter  was  in 
truth  adopting  the  very  line  of  argument  which  the 
Tempter  himself  had  adopted  in  the  wilderness.  And 
in  calling  Peter  an  offence  (crfcdvSa\ov)}  Jesus  probably 
again  alluded  to  his  name,  and  compared  him  to  a  stone 
in  the  path  over  which  the  wayfarer  stumbles.  The 
comparison  must  have  sunk  deeply  into  the  Apostle's 
mind,  for  he  too  in  his  Epistle  warns  his  readers  against 
some  to  whom,  because  they  believe  not,  the  Headstone 
of  the  Corner  became  "  a  stone  of  stumbling  and  a  rod: 
of  offence  "  (jrerpa  o-tcavbaXov,  1  Pet.  ii.  8). 

But  having  thus  warned  and  rebuked  the  ignorant 
affection  of  unspiritual  effeminacy  in  His  presumptuous 
Apostle,  the  Lord  graciously  made  the  incident  an 
occasion  for  some  of  His  deepest  teaching,  which  He 
not  only  addressed  to  His  disciples,  but  to  all.2  We 
learn  quite  incidentally  from  St.  Mark,  that  even  in 
these  remote  regions  He  was  followed  by  attendant 
crowds,3  who  usually  walked  at  a  little  distance  from  Him 

1  For  instance,  in  Numb.  xxii.  22,  32,  the  same  Hebrew  word  }Tpto  is  twice 
used  of  tlie  angel  who  went  to  withstand  Balaam ;  in  1  Kings  xi.  14  it  is 
used  of  Hadad,  and  in  verse  23  of  Rezon ;  in  1  Sam.  xxix.  4  the  Philistines 
use  it  of  David.    See  too  Ps.  cix.  6,  marg.,  &c.  (v.  infr.,  Yol.  I.,  p.  236).    The 
same  remark  is  true  of  the  Koran.   Among  the  Rabbis  are  to  be  found  such 
expressions  as,  "  When  the  bull  rushes  at  a  man,  Satan  leaps  up  between 
his  horns."     They  always  drag  the  notion  in  when  they  can,  as  in  Targ. 
Jonath.,  Exocl.  xxxii.  19,  &c.    "  If  a  woman's  hair  is  uncovered,"  says  E. 
Simeon,  "evil  spirits  come  and  sit  upon  it"  (Wetstein,  ad  1  Cor.  xi.  10). 
"'If  that  young  Sheit  .  .  ,'  I  exclaimed,  'about  to  use  an  epithet  gene- 
rally given  in  the  East  to  such  adventurous  youths,' "  &c.  (Layard's  Nineveh, 
i  287).     Layard  adds  in  a  note  that  Sheitan  is  usually  applied  to  a  clever, 
cunning,  daring  fellow. 

2  Luke  ix.  23. 

3  Of.  Markviii.  34;  vii.  24. 


22 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


and  His  disciples,  but  were  sometimes  called  to  Him  to 
hear  the  gracious  words  which  proceeded  out  of  His 
mouth.  And  alike  they  and  His  disciples  were  as  yet 
infected  with  the  false  notions  which  had  inspired  the 
impetuous  interference  of  Peter.  To  them,  therefore, 
He  addressed  the  words  which  have  taught  us  for  ever 
that  the  essence  of  all  highest  duty,  the  meaning  of  all 
truest  life — alike  the  most  acceptable  service  to  God,  and 
the  most  ennobling  example  to  men — is  involved  in  the 
law  of  self- sacrifice.1  It  was  on  this  occasion  that  He 
spoke  those  few  words  which  have  produced  so  infinite 
an  effect  on  the  conscience  of  mankind.  "  What  is  a 
man  profited,  if  he  shall  gain  the  whole  world,  and  lose 
his  own  soul  ?  or  what  shall  a  man  give  in  exchange  for 
his  soul  ?"  And  then,  after  warning  them  that  He 
should  Himself  be  judged,  He  consoled  them  under  this 
shock  of  unexpected  revelation  by  the  assurance  that 
there  were  some  standing  there  who  should  not  taste  of 
death  till  they  had  seen  the  Son  of  Man  coming  in  His 
kingdom.  If,  as  all  Scripture  shows,  "  the  kingdom  of 
the  Son  of  Man"  be  understood  in  a  sense  primarily 
spiritual,  then  there  can  be  no  difficulty  in  understand- 
ing this  prophecy  in  the  sense  that,  ere  all  of  them 
passed  away,  the  foundations  of  that  kingdom  should 
have  been  established  for  ever  in  the  abolition  of  the 
old  and  the  establishment  of  the  new  dispensation. 
Three  of  them  were  immediately  to  see  Him  trans- 
figured ;2  all  but  one  were  to  be  witnesses  of  His  resur- 

1  The  metaphorical  sense  of  "  taking-  up  the  cross  "  is  well  illustrated  by 
Plato,  De  Rep.  ii.  362  A.,  di/a<rxtJ'SuAeu0^(reTot. 

2  The  translators  of  our  Bible  seem  to  have  understood  the   Trans- 
figuration as  the  first  fulfilment  of  the  prophecy,  by  separating  it  from  the 
verses  which  precede  it  in  St.  Mark  (ix.  1),  and  making  it  introduce  the 
following  narrative.     Cf.   2  Pet.  i.  16:   "eye-witnesses  (eVcn-reu)   of  His 


THE  KINGDOM  OF  HEAYEN.  23 

rection;  one  at  least — the  beloved  disciple — was  to 
survive  that  capkire  of  Jerusalem  and  destruction  of  the 
Temple  which  were  to  render  impossible  any  literal 
fulfilment  of  the  Mosaic  law.  And  the  prophecy  may 
have  deeper  meanings  yet  than  these — meanings  still 
more  real  because  they  are  still  more  wholly  spiritual. 
"  If  we  wish  not  to  fear  death,"  says  St.  Ambrose,  "  let 
us  stand  where  Christ  is;  Christ  is  your  Life;  He  is  the 
very  Life  which  cannot  die." 

majesty  "  is  there  referred  expressly  to  the  Transfiguration,  and  appealed 
to  as  the  confirmation  of  the  preaching  which  had  proclaimed  "  the  power 
and  coming  "  of  Christ.  See,  too,  1  John  i.  1 ;  iv.  14. 


CHAPTEE    XXXYI. 


THE    TRANSFIGURATION. 

"  And  this  voice  which  came  from  heaven  we  heard,  when  we  were 
with  Him  in  the  holy  mount." — 2  PETER  i.  18. 

NONE  of  the  Evangelists  tell  us  about  tlie  week  which 
followed  this  memorable  event.  They  tell  us  only  that 
"  after  six  days  "  He  took  with  Him  the  three  dearest 
and  most  enlightened  of  His  disciples,3  and  went  with 
them — the  expression  implies  a  certain  solemnity  of 
expectation2 — up  a  lofty  mountain,  or,  as  St.  Luke  calls 
it,  simply  "  the  mountain." 

The  supposition  that  the  mountain  intended  was 
Mount  Tabor  has  been  engrained  for  centuries  in  the 
tradition  of  the  Christian  Church;  and  three  churches 
and  a  monastery  erected  before  the  close  of  the  sixth 
century  attest  the  unhesitating  acceptance  of  this  belief. 
Yet  it  is  almost  certain  that  Tabor  was  not  the  scene  of 
that  great  epiphany.  The  rounded  summit  of  that  pic- 
turesque and  wood- crowned  hill,  which  forms  so  fine  a 
feature  in  the  landscape,  as  the  traveller  approaches  the 

1  Matt,  xvii.  1—13;  Mark  ix.  2—13;  Luke  ix.  28—36.     The  "about 
eight  days  after  "  of  St.  Luke  (ix.  28)  is  merely  an  inclusive  reckoning,  but 
is  one  of  the  touches  which  are  valuable  as  showing  the  independence  of  his 
narrative,  which  gives  us  several  new  particulars. 

2  o»/a<j>€pei.   Gomp.  Luke  xxiv.  51. 


HERMOK  25 

northern  limit  of  the  plain  of  Esdraelon,  had  probably 
from  time  immemorial  been  a  fortified  and  inhabited 
spot,1  and  less  than  thirty  years  after  this  time,  Josephus, 
on  this  very  mountain,  strengthened  the  existing  for- 
tress of  Itaburion.  This,  therefore,  was  not  a  spot  to 
which  Jesus  could  have  taken  the  three  Apostles  "  apart 
by  themselves."  Nor,  again,  is  there  the  slightest  inti- 
mation that  the  six  intervening  days  had  been  spent 
in  travelling  southwards  from  Csesarea  Philippi,  the 
place  last  mentioned  ;  on  the  contrary,  it  is  distinctly 
intimated  by  St.  Mark  (ix.  30),  that  Jesus  did  not  "  pass 
through  Galilee  "  (in  which  Mount  Tabor  is  situated) 
till  after  the  events  here  narrated.  Nor  again  does  the 
comparatively  insignificant  hill  Paneum,  which  is  close 
by  Csesarea  Philippi,  fulfil  the  requirements  of  the  narra- 
tive.3 It  is,  therefore,  much  more  natural  to  suppose 
that  our  Lord,  anxious  to  traverse  the  Holy  Land  of  His 
birth  to  its  northern  limit,  journeyed  slowly  forward  till 
He  reached  the  lower  slopes  of  that  splendid  snow-clad 
mountain,  whose  glittering  mass,  visible  even  as  far 
southward  as  the  Dead  Sea,  magnificently  closes  the 
northern  frontier  of  Palestine  —  the  Mount  Hermon  of 
Jewish  poetry.  Its  very  name  means  "  the  mountain," 
and  the  scene  which  it  witnessed  would  well  suffice  to 
procure  for  it  the  distinction  of  being  the  only  mountain 
to  which  in  Scripture  is  attached  the  epithet  "holy."3  On 
those  dewy  pasturages,  cool  and  fresh  with  the  breath 
of  the  snow-  clad  heights  above  them,  and  offering  that 
noble  solitude,  among  the  grandest  scenes  of  Nature, 
which  He  desired  as  the  refreshment  of  His  soul  for  the 


1  Chisloth-tabor  (Josh.  xix.  12;  Judg.  iv.  6). 

2  Tlave'tov.      The  town  is  called  on  coins  Kattrctpeta  vtrb 

3  2  Peter  i.  18. 


26 


THE   LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


mighty  struggle  which  was  now  so  soon  to  come,  Jesus 
would  find  many  a  spot  where  He  could  kneel  with  His 
disciples  absorbed  in  silent  prayer. 

And  the  coolness  and  solitude  would  be  still  more 
delicious  to  the  weariness  of  the  Man  of  Sorrows  after 
the  burning  heat  of  the  Eastern  day  and  the  incessant 
publicity  which,  even  in  these  remoter  regions,  thronged 
his  steps.  It  was  the  evening  hour  when  He  ascended,1 
and  as  He  climbed  the  hill-slope  with  those  three 
chosen  witnesses — "  the  Sons  of  Thunder  and  the  Man 
of  Eock "  —doubtless  a  solemn  gladness  dilated  His 
whole  soul ;  a  sense  not  only  of  the  heavenly  calm  which 
that  solitary  communion  with  His  Heavenly  Father 
would  breathe  upon  the  spirit,  but  still  more  than  this, 
a  sense  that  He  would  be  supported  for  the  coming 
hour  by  ministrations  not  of  earth,  and  illuminated 
with  a  light  which  needed  no  aid  from  sun  or  moon  or 
stars.  He  went  up  to  be  prepared  for  death,  and  He 
took  His  three  Apostles  with  Him  that,  haply,  having 
seen  His  glory — the  glory  of  the  only  Begotten  of  the 
Father,  full  of  grace  and  truth— their  hearts  might  be 
fortified,  their  faith  strengthened,  to  gaze  unshaken  on 
the  shameful  insults  and  unspeakable  humiliation  of 
the  cross. 

There,  then,  He  knelt  and  prayed,  and  as  He  prayed 
He  was  elevated  far  above  the  toil  and  misery  of  the 
world  whkh  had  rejected  Him.  He  was  transfigured 
before  them,  and  His  countenance  shone  as  the  sun,  and 
His  garments  became  white  as  the  dazzling  snow-fields 
above  them.  He  was  enwrapped  in  such  an  aureole  of 
glistering  brilliance — His  whole  presence  breathed  so 

1  This  is  evident  from  Luke  ix.   32,  37,  especially  when  compared 
with  Luke  vi.  12. 


THE   TRANSFIGURATION. 


27 


divine  a  radiance — that  the  light,  the  snow,  the  lightning1 
are  the  only  things  to  which  the  Evangelist  can  com- 
pare that  celestial  lustre.  And,  lo  !  two  figures  were  by 
His  side.3  "  When,  in  the  desert,  He  was  girding  Him- 
self for  the  work  of  life,  angels  of  life  came  and  minis- 
tered unto  Him;  now,  in  the  fair  world,  when  He  is 
girding  Himself  for  the  work  of  death,  the  ministrants 
come  to  Him  from  the  grave — but  from  the  grave 
conquered — one  from  that  tomb  under  Abarim,  which 
His  own  hand  had  sealed  long  ago ;  the  other  from  the 
rest  into  which  He  had  entered  without  seeing  corrup- 
tion. There  stood  by  Him  Moses  and  Elias,  and  spake 
of  His  decease.  And  when  the  prayer  is  ended,  the  task 
accepted,  then  first  since  the  star  paused  over  Him  at 
Bethlehem,  the  full  glory  falls  upon  Him  from  heaven, 
and  the  testimony  is  borne  to  His  everlasting  sonship 
and  power — '  Hear  ye  Him.'  "  3 

It  is  clear,  from  the  fuller  narrative  of  St.  Luke, 
that  the  three  Apostles  did  not  witness  the  beginning  of 
this  marvellous  transfiguration.  An  Oriental,  when  his 

1  \CVKO.  us  r'b  (peas  (Matt.    xvii.    2)  ;  Aeu/ca  \iav  us  XMI/  (Mark  ix.  3) ;    Aeu/cbs 

.  .  ,  QoLffrpairrcav  (Luke  ix,  29).  It  is  interesting  to  observe  that  St.  Luke, 
writing  for  Greeks  and  Romans,  avoids  the  word  /jLere^op^e-r)  used  by  the 
other  Evangelists,  because  his  readers  would  associate  that  word  with 
the  conceptions  with  which  they  were  familiar  in  Nicander,  Antoninus 
Liberalis,  and  Ovid.  (See  Yalckiiaer,  quoted  by  Bishop  Wordsworth, 
ad  loc.) 

2  The  KOI  i'Sou  of  Matt.  xvii.  3  shows  how  intense  was  the  impression 
which  the  scene  had  made  on  the  imagination  of  those  who  witnessed  it. 
"The  two  who  appeared   to  Him  were  the   representatives  of   the  Law 
and  the  Prophets  :  both  had  been  removed  from  this  world  in  a  mysterious 
manner;    ....  both,  like  the  greater  One  with  whom  they  spoke,  had 
endured  that  supernatural  fast  of  forty  days  and  nights ;  both  had  been  on 
the  holy  mount  in  the  visions  of  God.     And  now  they  came,  solemnly,  to 
consign  into  His  hands,  once   and  for  all,  in  a  symbolical  and  glorious 
representation,  their  delegated  and  expiring  power."    (Alford.) 

3  Ruskiu,  Mod.  Painters,  iii.  392. 


28 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


prayers  are  over,  wraps  himself  in  his  abba}  and,  lying 
down  on  the  grass  in  the  open  air,  sinks  in  a  moment 
into  profound  sleep.  And  the  Apostles,  as  afterwards 
they  slept  at  Grethsemane,  so  now  they  slept  on  Hermon. 
They  were  heavy,  "  weighed  down "  with  sleep,  when 
suddenly  starting  into  full  wakefulness  of  spirit,  they 
saw  and  heard.2 

In  the  darkness  of  the  night,  shedding  an  intense 
gleam  over  the  mountain  herbage,  shone  the  glorified 
form  of  their  Lord.  Beside  Him,  in  the  same  flood  oi 
golden  glory,3  were  two  awful  shapes,  which  they  knei 
or  heard  to  be  Moses  and  Elijah.  And  the  Three  spake 
together,  in  the  stillness,  of  that  coming  decease  at  Jeru- 
salem, about  which  they  had  just  been  forewarned  by 
Christ. 

And  as  the  splendid  vision4  began  to  fade — as  the 
majestic  visitants  were  about  to  be  separated  from  their 
Lord,  as  their  Lord  Himself  passed  with  them  into  the 
overshadowing  brightness — Peter,  anxious  to  delay  their 
presence,  amazed,  startled,  transported,  not  knowing 
what  he  said5 — not  knowing  that  Calvary  would  be  a 

1  Hence  the  merciful  provision  of  the  Mosaic  law,  that  the  outer  robe 
was  to  be  restored  at  night  if  taken  as  a  pledge  for  debt.  (See  Exod.  xxii.  26.) 

2  So  I  would  render  tiiayp-nyop-tiffavres   in  Luke  ix.  32.      It  is  a  non- 
classical  word,  and  has  this  meaning  in  Byzantine  writers.     Or  perhaps 
the  Sia  may  imply  "  waking  after  an  interval " — "  in  the  middle  of  it  all." 
Both  the  context  and  the  grammar  sufficiently  show  that  (though  it  occurs 
here  only  in  the  N.  T.)  it  cannot  mean  "  having  kept  awake,"  as  Alf ord 
and  Archbishop  Trench  (following  E/ost  and  Palm)  render  it. 

3  o^fleWes  eV  8%  (Luke  ix.  31). 

4  rb  opafj.a  (Matt.  xvii.  9).     The  word,  which  occurs  eleven  times  in  the 
Acts,  but  not  elsewhere  in  the  N.  T.,  is  applied  to  dreams  (Acts  xvi.  10 ; 
xviii.  9)  and  ecstacies  (Acts  xi.  5),  but  also  to  any  impression  on  the  spirit 
which  is  as  clear  as  an  impression  on  the  senses  (Acts  vii.  31).    Hence 

Phavorinus   says,   opa^aret  eicrt  Trpofp-rjTcav,  offa  eypyyopoTes  P\€irov(Ti  ot  Trpo^rai, 

5  This  touch  in  all  probability  comes  to  us  from  St.    Peter  himself 
(Mark  ix.  6). 


THE  TRANSFIGURATION.  29 

spectacle  infinitely  more  transcendent  than  Hermon  —  not 
knowing  that  the  Law  and  the  Prophets  were  now  ful- 
filled —  not  fully  knowing  that  his  Lord  was  unspeakably 
greater  than  the  Prophet  of  Sinai  and  the  Avenger  of 
Carmel  —  exclaimed,  "  Rabbi,  it  is  best  for  us  to  be  here  ;  ] 
and  let  us  make  three  tabernacles,  one  for  thee,  and  one 
for  Moses,  and  one  for  Elias."  Jesus  might  have  smiled 
at  the  naive  proposal  of  the  eager  Apostle,  that  they  six 
should  dwell  for  ever  in  little  succ'dth  of  wattled  boughs 
on  the  slopes  of  Hermon.  But  it  was  not  for  Peter  to 
construct  the  universe  for  his  personal  satisfaction.  He 
had  to  learn  the  meaning  of  Calvary  no  less  than  that 
of  Hermon.  Not  in  cloud  of  glory  or  chariot  of  fire 
was  Jesus  to  pass  away  from  them,  but  with  arms  out- 
stretched in  agony  upon  the  accursed  tree  ;  not  between 
Moses  and  Elias,  but  between  two  thieves,  who  "  were 
crucified  with  Him,  on  either  side  one/1 

No  answer  was  vouchsafed  to  his  wild  and  dreamy 
words  ;  but,  even  as  he  spake,  a  cloud  —  not  a  cloud  of 
thick  darkness  as  at  Sinai,  but  a  cloud  of  light,  a 
Shechinah  of  radiance  —  overshadowed  them,  and  a  voice 
from  out  of  it  uttered,  "  This  is  my  beloved  Son  ;  hear 
Him."  They  fell  prostrate,  and  hid  their  faces  on  the 
grass.2  And  as  —  awaking  from  the  overwhelming  shock 
of  that  awful  voice,  of  that  enfolding  Light  —  they  raised 
their  eyes  and  gazed  suddenly  all  around  them,3  they 


in  the  New  Testament  seems  sometimes  to  have  a  superlative 
sense.  Of.  Matt,  xviii.  8  ;  xxvi.  24,  &c.,  and  Gen.  xxxviii.  26,  where  ito 
means  "better,"  as  "  bona,"  in  Plant.  B/ud.  iv.  4,  70.  (Schleusner,  s.  v.) 

2  Matt.  xvii.  6. 

3  Mark  ix.  8,  e^diriva  7repi/3A.ei//a;u.ej/oi  (cf  .  Matt.  xvii.  8),  one  of  the  many 
inimitably  graphic  touches  of  truthfulness  and  simplicity  —  touches  never 
yet  found  in  any  "  myth  "  since  the  world  began  —  with  which  in  all  three 
Evangelists  this  narrative  abounds.     We  have  proofs  that  on  two  of  the 
three  spectators  this  scene  made  an  indelible  impression.     St.  John  most 


30 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


found  that  all  was  over.  The  bright  cloud  had  vanished. 
The  lightning-like  gleams  of  shining  countenances  and 
dazzling  robes  had  passed  away  ; l  they  were  alone  with 
Jesus,  and  only  the  stars  rained  their  quiet  lustre  on  the 
mountain  slopes. 

At  first  they  were  afraid  to  rise  or  stir,  but  Jesus, 
their  Master — as  they  had  seen  Him  before  He  knelt  in 
prayer,  came  to  them,  touched  them — said,  "  Arise,  and 
be  not  afraid." 

And  so  the  day  dawned  on  Hermon,  and  they  de- 
scended the  hill ;  and  as  they  descended,  He  bade  them 
tell  no  man  until  He  had  risen  from  the  dead.  The 
vision  was  for  them ;  it  was  to  be  pondered  over  by  them 
in  the  depths  of  their  own  hearts  in  self-denying  reti- 
cence ;  to  announce  it  to  their  fellow-disciples  might  only 
awake  their  jealousy  and  their  own  self-satisfaction;  until 
the  resurrection  it  would  add  nothing  to  the  faith  of 


clearly  allndes  to  it  in  John  i.  14 ;  1  John  i.  1.  St.  Peter  (if,  as  I  believe, 
the  Second  Epistle  is  genuine)  is  dwelling  on  it  in  2  Peter  i.  in  a  manner 
all  the  more  striking  because  it  is  partly  unconscious.  Thus,  he  not  only 
appeals  to  it  in  confirmation  of  his  preaching,  but  he  uses  just  before  the 
unusual  word  e£o8os  for  "  death  "  [2  Peter  i.  15  (cf .  Luke  ix.  31) :  it  is,  how- 
ever, possible  that  86£av  may  here  be  the  reading,  as  it  seems  to  have  been 
read  by  St.  Chrysostom],  and  ffK^vw/jLa  (ver.  13;  cf.  Matt.  xvii.  4) for  "taber- 
nacle ;  "  and  immediately  after  speaks  (ver.  19)  of  "  a  light  shining  in  a  dark 
place,"  and  immediately  preceding  the  dawn — which  is  another,  and,  so  far 
as  I  am  aware,  hitherto  unnoticed  trace  of  the  fact  that  the  Transfiguration 
(of  which  the  writer's  mind  is  here  so  full)  took  place  by  night.  On  the 
word  e£o5os  Bengel  finely  remarks,  "  Yocabulum  valde  grave,  quo  continetur 
passio,  crux,  mors,  resurrectio,  adscensio."  Archbishop  Trench  aptly  com- 
pares "  Post  obitum,  vel  potius  excessum,  Bomuli "  (Cic.  Rep.  ii.  30),  and 
says  that  St.  Peter  by  the  word  &nfomjy  (2  Peter  i.  16)  seems  to  imply 
a  sort  of  initiation  into  holy  mysteries  (Studies  in  the  Gospels,  p.  206). 
Many  have  resolved  the  narrative  of  the  Transfiguration  into  a  myth ;  it  is 
remarkable  that,  in  this  verse,  St.  Peter  is  expressly  repudiating  the  very 
kind  of  myths  (pvOoi  <re(ro4>io>teVoi)  under  which  this  would  be  classed. 

1  "  Finis  legis  Christus ;  Lex  et  Prophetia  ex  Yerbo ;  quae  autem  ex  Yerbo 
coeperunt,  in  Yerbo  desinunt "  (St.  Ambrose).  ("Wordsworth,  in  Matt.  xvii.  8.) 


ELIAS  THE  FORERUNNER. 


31 


others,  and  might  only  confuse  their  conceptions  of  what 
was  to  be  His  work  on  earth.  They  kept  Christ's 
command,  but  they  could  not  attach  any  meaning  to 
this  allusion.  They  could  only  ask  each  other,  or  muse 
in  silence,  what  this  resurrection  from  the  dead  could 
mean.  And  another  serious  question  weighed  upon  their 
spirits.  They  had  seen  Elias.  They  now  knew  more 
fully  than  ever  that  their  Lord  was  indeed  the  Christ. 
Yet  "  how  say  the  Scribes  "  —and  had  not  the  Scribes 
the  prophecy  of  Malachi  in  their  favour?1 — "that  Elias 
must  first  come  and  restore  all  things  ?  "  And  then  our 
Lord  gently  led  them  to  see  that  Elias  indeed  had  come, 
and  had  not  been  recognised,  and  had  received  at  the 
hand  of  his  nation  the  same  fate  which  was  soon  to 
happen  to  Him  whom  he  announced.  Then  understood 
they  that  He  spake  to  them  of  John  the  Baptist.3 

1  Mai.  iv.  5.     The  LXX.,   without  any  authority  from  the  Hebrew, 
read  here  'HA.IOJ/  rbv  &ea-^irrjv. 

2  Luke    i.  17,  "in  the  spirit  and  power  of  Elias;"   cf.  Matt.  xi.  10. 
The  Jewish  expectation  of  Elias  is  well  known.     A  thing  of  unknown 
ownership  may  be  kept  by  the  finder  "  till  the  coming  of  Elias."     He  was 
to  restore  to  the  Jews  the  pot  of  manna,  the  rod  of  Aaron,  &c.,  and  his 
coming  generally  was  to  be  a  XP^VOS  inruumurdmn  (cf.  Acts  iii.  21).     See 
Lightfoot,  Hor.  Hebr.  in  Matt.  xvii.  10,  11. 


CHAPTER  XXXVII. 


THE    DEMONIAC    BOY. 

Twes  8e  <paff\v  '6n  y  otyis  avrov  wpaiorepa  yivo^ 
rovs  6\ovs.  —  THEOPHYL. 


airb 


THE  imagination  of  all  readers  of  the  Grospels  has  been 
struck  by  the  contrast  —  a  contrast  seized  and  immor- 
talised for  ever  in  the  great  picture  of  Raphael  —  between 
the  peace,  the  glory,  the  heavenly  communion  on  the 
mountain  heights,  and  the  confusion,  the  rage,  the  un- 
belief, the  agony  which  marked  the  first  scene  that  met 
the  eyes  of  Jesus  and  His  Apostles  on  their  descent  to 
the  low  levels  of  human  life.1 

For  in  their  absence  an  event  had  occurred  which 
filled  the  other  disciples  with  agitation  and  alarm.  They 
saw  a  crowd  assembled  and  Scribes  among  them,  who 
with  disputes  and  victorious  inuendoes  were  pressing 
hard  upon  the  diminished  band  of  Christ's  chosen 
friends.3 

Suddenly  at  this  crisis  the  multitude  caught  sight 
of  Jesus.  Something  about  His  appearance,  some  un- 
usual majesty,  some  lingering  radiance,  filled  them 
with  amazement,  and  they  ran  up  to  Him  with  saluta- 

1  Matt.  xvii.  14—21  ;  Mark  ix.  14—29;  Luke  ix.  37—45. 

2  There  were,  of  course,  many  Jews,  and  therefore  naturally  there  would 
be  Scribes,  in  the  kingdom  of  Philip. 


THE  DEMONIAC  BOY.  33 

tions.1  "  What  is  your  dispute  with  them  ?"  He  sternly 
asked  of  the  Scribes.  But  the  Scribes  were  too  much 
abashed,  the  disciples  were  too  self-conscious  of  their 
faithlessness  and  failure,  to  venture  on  any  reply.  Then 
out  of  the  crowd  struggled  a  man,  who,  kneeling  before 
Jesus,  cried  out,  in  a  loud  voice,3  that  he  was  the  father 
of  an  only  son  whose  demoniac  possession  was  shown  by 
epilepsy,  in  its  most  raging  symptoms,  accompanied  by 
dumbness,  atrophy,  and  a  suicidal  mania.  He  had 
brought  the  miserable  sufferer  to  the  disciples  to  cast 
out  the  evil  spirit,  but  their  failure  had  occasioned  the 
taunts  of  the  Scribes. 

The  whole  scene  grieved  Jesus  to  the  heart.  "  0 
faithless  and  perverse  generation/'  He  exclaimed,  "  how 
long  shall  I  be  with  you  ?  how  long  shall  I  suffer  you  ?  " 
This  cry  of  His  indignation  seemed  meant  for  all — for 
the  merely  curious  multitude,  for  the  malicious  Scribes, 
for  the  half- believing  and  faltering  disciples.  "Bring 
him  hither  to  me." 

The  poor  boy  was  brought,  and  no  sooner  had  his 
eye  fallen  on  Jesus,  than  he  was  seized  with  another 
paroxysm  of  his  malady.  He  fell  on  the  ground  in 
violent  convulsions,  and  rolled  there  with  foaming  lips. 
It  was  the  most  deadly  and  intense  form  of  epileptic 
lunacy  on  which  our  Lord  had  ever  been  called  to  take 
compassion.3 

He  paused  before  He  acted.     He  would  impress  the 

1  Mark  ix.  14.     We  here  follow  mainly  the  full  and  vivid  narrative  of 
St.  Mark. 

2  Matt.  xvii.  14 ;  Luke  ix.  38. 

3  Matt.  xvii.  15,  ffe\t]vid^rai  Kal  KO.KWS  ir&ffxei.  This  describes,  at  any  rate, 
the  natural  side  of  his  malady ;  but  there  is,  in  truth,  to  such  maladies  no 
purely  natural  side.     They  belong  to  some  mystery  of  iniquity  which  we 
can  never  understand.    They  are  due,  not  to  the  oratm,  but  to  the  ch 

of  human  nature. 

d 


34 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


scene  in  all  its  horror  on  the  thronging  multitude,  thai 
they  might  understand  that  the  failure  was  not  of  Him, 
He  would  at  the  same  time  invoke,  educe,  confirm  th< 
wavering  faith  of  the  agonised  suppliant. 

"  How  long  has  this  happened  to  him  ?  " 

"  From  childhood  :  and  often  hath  it  flung  him  hotl 
into  fire  and  into  water  to  destroy  him;  but  if  at 
thou  canst,  take  pity  on  us  and  help  us." 

"If  thou  canst  ?"1  answered  Jesus — giving  him  bad 
his    own  word — "  all  things  are  possible  to  him  that 
believeth." 

And  then  the  poor  hapless  father  broke  out  into  that 
cry,  uttered  by  so  many  millions  since,  and  so  deeply 
applicable  to  an  age  which,  like  our  own,  has  been 
described  as  "  destitute  of  faith,  yet  terrified  at  scepti- 
cism "-  —"  Lord,  I  believe ;  help  thou  mine  unbelief." 

Meanwhile,  during  this  short  colloquy,  the  crowd  had 
been  gathering  more  and  more,  and  Jesus,  turning  to 
the  sufferer,  said,  "  Dumb  and  deaf  spirit,  I  charge  thee, 
come  out  of  him,  and  enter  no  more  into  him."  A  yet 
wilder  cry,  a  yet  more  fearful  convulsion  followed  His 
words,  and  then  the  boy  lay  on  the  ground,  no  longer 
wallowing  and  foaming,  but  still  as  death.  Some  said, 
"  He  is  dead."  But  Jesus  took  him  by  the  hand,  and, 
amid  the  amazed  exclamations  of  the.  multitude,  restored 
him  to  his  father,  calm  and  cured. 

Jesus  had  previously  given  to  His  disciples  the 
power  of  casting  out  devils,  and  this  power  was  even 
exercised  in  His  name  by  some  who  were  not  among  His 

1  This  seems  to  be  the  force  of  Mark  ix.  23,  flvev  avr$  rb  et  5wa<rai 
iri<rT€v<Tai,  TTcti/ra  Swara  r$  iriffrfvovn,  which  is  the  best  reading  («,  B,  C,  L, 
and  some  versions).  For  this  use  of  rb  see  Matt.  xix.  18;  Luke  ix.  46,  &c. 
"  As  for  the  '  if  thou  canst ' — all  things  are,  &e"  It  is  taken  thus  by  the 
.^Ethiopic  version,  and  "  proclivi  lectioni  praestat  ardua." 


POWER  OF  FAITH.  35 

professed  disciples.1  Nor  had  they  ever  failed  before. 
It  was  therefore  natural  that  they  should  take  the  first 
private  opportunity  to  ask  Him  the  cause  of  their  dis- 
comfiture. He  told  them  frankly  that  it  was  because 
of  their  unbelief.  It  may  be  that  the  sense  of  His 
absence  weakened  them ;  it  may  be  that  they  felt  less 
able  to  cope  with  difficulties  while  Peter  and  the  sons  of 
Zebedee  were  also  away  from  them ;  it  may  be,  too,  that 
the  sad  prophecy  of  His  rejection  and  death  had  worked 
with  sinister  effect  on  the  minds  of  the  weakest  of  them. 
But,  at  any  rate,  He  took  this  opportunity  to  teach  them 
two  great  lessons :  the  one,  that  there  are  forms  of 
spiritual,,  physical,  and  moral  evil  so  intense  and  so 
inveterate,  that  they  can  only  be  exorcised  by  prayer, 
united  to  that  self-control  and  self-denial  of  which  fasting 
is  the  most  effectual  and  striking  symbol;2  the  other, 
that  to  a  perfect  faith  all  things  are  possible.  Faith, 
like  a  grain  of  mustard-seed,  could  even  say  to  Hermon 
itself,3  "  Be  thou  removed,  and  cast  into  the  waves  of  the 
Great  Sea,  and  it  should  obey." 

Jesus  had  now  wandered  to  the  utmost  northern 
limit  of  the  Holy  Land,  and  He  began  to  turn  His 
steps  homewards.  We  see  from  St.  Mark  that  His 
return  was  designedly  secret  and  secluded,  and  possibly 
not  along  the  high  roads,  but  rather  through  the  hills 
and  valleys  of  Upper  Galilee  to  the  westward  of  the 

1  Mark  ix.  38. 

2  It  must,  however,  be  noticed  that  the  Kal  vrjo-reta  (Mark  ix.  29)  is  a  more 
than  dubious  reading..    It  is  not  found  in  «  or  B,  and  the  corresponding 
verse  in  Matt.  xvii.  21  is  omitted  by  «,  B,  as  well  as  by  various  versions. 
Tischendorf  omits  both.     See,  however,  Matt.  vi.  16 — 18  ;  ix.  15. 

a  "  Removing  mountains  "  was  among  the  Jews  a  common  hyperbole 
for  the  conquest  of  stupendous  difficulties.  A  great  teacher  was  called  by 
the  Rabbis  n^n  ips  (goiter  hdrim],  or  "  uprooter  of  mountains."  See  many 
instances  in  Lightfoot,  Hor.  Hebr.  in  Matt.  xxi.  21. 


36 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


Jordan.1  His  object  was  no  longer  to  teach  the  multi- 
tudes who  had  been  seduced  into  rejecting  Him,  and 
among  whom  He  could  hardly  appear  in  safety,  but  to 
continue  that  other  and  even  more  essential  part  of  His 
work,  which  consisted  in  the  training  of  His  Apostles. 
And  now  the  constant  subject  of  His  teaching2  was  His 
approaching  betrayal,  murder,  and  resurrection.  But 
He  spoke  to  dull  hearts  ;  in  their  deep-seated  prejudice 
they  ignored  his  clear  warnings,  in  their  faithless 
timidity  they  would  not  ask  for  further  enlightenment. 
We  cannot  see  more  strikingly  how  vast  was  the  change 
which  the  resurrection  wrought  in  them  than  by  ob- 
serving with  what  simple  truthfulness  they  record  the 
extent  and  inveteracy  of  their  own  shortcomings,  during 
those  precious  days  while  the  Lord  was  yet  among 
them. 

The  one  thing  which  they  did  seem  to  realise  was 
that  some  strange  and  memorable  issue  of  Christ's  life, 
accompanied  by  some  great  development  of  the  Messianic 
kingdom,  was  at  hand  ;  and  this  unhappily  produced  the 
only  effect  in  them  which  it  should  not  have  produced. 
Instead  of  stimulating  their  self-denial,  it  awoke  their 
ambition  ;  instead  of  confirming  their  love  and  humility, 
it  stirred  them  up  to  jealousy  and  pride.  On  the  road  — 
remembering,  perhaps,  the  preference  which  had  been 
shown  at  Hermon  to  Peter  and  the  sons  of  Zebedee  — 
they  disputed  among  themselves,  "Which  should  be  the 
greatest  ?  " 


1  For  the  variety  of  readings  on  Matt.  xvii.  22,  a.va.<npetyon.ev<av, 

<rTpe</>.,  &c.,  see  Keim,  Gesch.  Jesu,  ii.  581.  The  irapeiroptvovro  of  Mark 
ix.  30  is  of  uncertain  meaning.  We  have  already  considered  it  in  Mark 
ii.  23  (cf  .  Matt.  xii.  1)  [v.  supra,  Yol.  I.,  p.  436]  ;  and  in  Mark  xi.  20  ; 
xv.  29,  it  means  "passing  by,"  as  in  Matt,  xxvii.  39,  the  only  other  passage 
where  it  occurs.  In  Deut.  ii.  14,  it  is  simply  used  for  ^n,  "  he  walked." 

2  Mark  IX.  31,  eSi'Sao-Kej/  .  .  . 


AS  A  LITTLE  CHILD.' 


37 


At  the  time  our  Lord  took  no  notice  of  the  dispute. 
He  left  their  own  consciences  to  work.  But  when  they 
reached  Capernaum  and  were  in  the  house,  then  He 
asked  them,  "  What  they  had  been  disputing  about  on  the 
way  ?  "  1  Deep  shame  kept  them  silent,  and  that  silence 
was  the  most  eloquent  confession  of  their  sinful  ambitions. 
Then  He  sat  down,  and  taught  them  again,  as  He  had 
done  so  often,  that  he  who  would  be  first  must  be  last  of 
all,  and  servant  of  all,  and  that  the  road  to  honour  is 
humility.  And  wishing  to  enforce  this  lesson  by  a 
symbol  of  exquisite  tenderness  and  beauty,  He  called  to 
Him  a  little  child,  and  set  it  in  the  midst,  and  then, 
folding  it  in  his  arms,  warned  them  that  unless  they 
could  become  as  humble  as  that  little  child,  they  could 
not  enter  into  the  kingdom  of  heaven.3  They  were  to 
be  as  children  in  the  world ;  and  he  who  should  receive 
even  one  such  little  child  in  Christ's  name,  should  be 
receiving  Him,  and  the  Father  who  sent  Him. 

The  expression  "  in  my  name "  seems  to  have 
suggested  to  St.  John  a  sudden  question,  which  broke 
the  thread  of  Christ's  discourse.  They  had  seen,  he  said, 
a  man  who  was  casting  out  devils  in  Christ's  name  ;  but 
since  the  man  was  not  one  of  them,  they  had  forbidden 
him.  Had  they  done  right?3 


1  See,  for  what  follows,  Matt,  xviii.  1—35 ;  Mark  ix.  33—50;  Luke  ix. 
46 — 50 ;  which  three  passages  I  assume  to  be  one  and  the  same  continuous 
discourse  suggested  by  the  same  incidents,  but  told  with  varying  complete- 
ness by  the  three  Evangelists. 

2  The  impossible  tradition — mentioned  by  Nicephorus — 'that  this  was  the 
martyr  St.  Ignatius,  perhaps  arose  from  a  mistaken  interpretation  of  his 
name  ©eo</>o/jos  as  though  it  had  been  ®e6(popos;  but  this  name  was  derived 
from  his  celebrated  interview  with  Trajan. 

3  Bruce  (Training  of  the  Twelve,  p.  234)  quotes  an  apt  illustration  from 
the  life  of  Baxter,  whose  followers  condemned  Sir  Matthew  Hale  as  un- 
converted, because  he  did  not  attend  their  weekly  prayer  meetings !     "  I," 


38 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


"  No,"  Jesus  answered ;  "  let  the  prohibition  be 
removed."  He  who  could  do  works  of  mercy  in  Christ's 
name  could  not  lightly  speak  evil  of  that  name.  He 
who  was  not  against  them  was  with  them.  Sometimes 
indifference  is  opposition ;  sometimes  neutrality  is  aid/' ] 

And  then,  gently  resuming  His  discourse — the  child 
yet  nestling  in  His  arms,  and  furnishing  the  text  for  His 
remarks — He  warned  them  of  the  awful  guilt  and  peril  of 
offending,  of  tempting,  of  misleading,  of  seducing  from 
the  paths  of  innocence  and  righteousness,  of  teaching  any 
wicked  thing,  or  suggesting  any  wicked  thought  to  one 
of  those  little  ones,  whose  angels  see  the  face  of  His 
Father  in  heaven.  Such  wicked  men  and  seducers, 
such  human  performers  of  the  devil's  work — addressing 
them  in  words  of  more  bitter,  crushing  import  than  any 
which  He  ever  uttered — a  worse  fate,  He  said,  awaited 
them,  than  to  be  flung  with  the  heaviest  millstone  round 
their  neck  into  the  sea.3 

And  He  goes  on  to  warn  them  that  no  sacrifice  could 
be  too  great  if  it  enabled  them  to  escape  any  possible 

said  Baxter,  ....  "that  have  seen  his  love  to  all  good  men,  and  the 
blanielessness  of  his  life,  thought  better  of  his  piety  than  of  mine  own," 
(Reliquiae  Baxter,  iii.  47.) 

1  On  another  occasion  Christ  had  said  what  seemed  to  be  the  reverse  of 
this — viz.,  "He  who  is  not  with  me  is  against  me "  (Matt.  xii.  30).     But  it 
is  easy  to  see  that  the  two  truths  are  but  complementary  to  each  other. 
"  Qui  ii'a  appris  dans  le  cours  d'une  vie  active,  que,  selon  les  circonstances 
et  les  personnes,  celui  qui  s'abstient  de  concourir  et  se  tient  a  1'  ecart  tantot 
donne  appui  et  force,  tantot  au  contraire  mrit  et  entrave  "  (Guizot,  Medit. 
i.  279).     Contrast   the   quiet   insight   and  wisdom   of  this   remark  with 
Kenan's  "  deux  regies  de  proselytisme  tout  a  fait  opposees  et  ime  contra- 
diction amenee  par  une  lutte  passioiinee."     Cf.  Sueton,  Jul.   Caes.  75: 
"Denuntiante  Pompeio,pro  hostibus  se  habiturum  qui  reipublicae  defuissent, 
ipse  niedios  et  neutrius  partis  suorum  sibi  numero  futures  pronrmtiavit." 
(I  owe  this  remarkably  apposite  reference  to  Mr.  Garnett.) 

2  Mv\os  bviKbs  (Matt,  xviii.  6;   Luke  xvii.  2).     The  reehem,  or  nmner- 
stone,  i.e.  the  upper  millstone,  so  heavy  as  to  be  turned  by  au  ass. 


SOLEMN  WARNINGS. 


39 


temptations  to  put  such  stumbling-blocks  in  the  way  of 
their  own  souls,  or  the  souls  of  others.  Better  cut  off 
the  right  hand,  and  enter  heaven  maimed — better  hew 
off  the  right  foot,  and  enter  heaven  halt — better  tear 
out  the  right  eye,  and  enter  heaven  blind — than  suffer 
hand  or  foot  or  eye  to  be  the  ministers  of  sins  which 
should  feed  the  undying  worm  or  kindle  the  quenchless 
flame.  Better  be  drowned  in  this  world  with  a  millstone 
round  the  neck,  than  carry  that  moral  and  spiritual 
millstone  of  unresisted  temptation  which  can  drown  the 
guilty  soul  in  the  fiery  lake  of  alienation  and  despair. 
For  just  as  salt  is  sprinkled  over  every  sacrifice  for  its 
purification,  so  must  every  soul  be  purged  by  fire  ;  by 
the  fire,  if  need  be,  of  the  severest  and  most  terrible  self- 
sacrifice.  Let  this  refining,  purging,  purifying  fire  of 
searching  self-judgment  and  self-severity  be  theirs.  Let 
not  this  salt  lose  its  savour,  nor  this  fire  its  purifying 
power.  "  Have  salt  in  yourselves,  and  be  at  peace  with 
one  another."1 

And  thus,  at  once  to  confirm  the  duty  of  this  mutual 
peace  which  they  had  violated,  and  to  show  them  that, 
however  deeply  rooted  be  Grod's  anger  against  those  who 
lead  others  astray,  they  must  never  cherish  hatred  even 
against  those  who  had  most  deeply  injured  them,  He 
taught  them  how,  first  by  private  expostulation,  then  if 
necessary  by  public  appeal,  at  once  most  gently  and  most 
effectually  to  deal  with  an  offending  brother.  Peter,  in 
the  true  spirit  of  Judaic  formalism,  wanted  a  specific 
limit  to  the  number  of  times  when  forgiveness  should  be 

1  Isa.  xxxiii.  14,  15  :  "  Who  among  us  shall  dwell  with  devouring  fire  ? 
who  among  us  shall  dwell  with  everlasting  burnings  ?  He  that  walketh 
righteously,  and  speaketh  uprightly,  ...  he  shall  dwell  on  high."  We 
are  again  reminded  of  that  fine  bypafyov  86-y/j.a  already  quoted,  "  He  who  is 
near  me,  is  near  the  fire." 


40 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


granted ;  but  Jesus  taught  that  the  times  of  forgiveness 
should  be  practically  unlimited.1  He  illustrated  that 
teaching  by  the  beautiful  parable  of  the  servant,  who, 
having  been  forgiven  by  his  king  a  debt  of  ten  thousand 
talents,  immediately  afterwards  seized  his  fellow- servant 
by  the  throat,  and  would  not  forgive  him  a  miserable 
little  debt  of  one  hundred  pence,  a  sum  1,250,000  times 
as  small  as  that  which  he  himself  had  been  forgiven. 
The  child  whom  Jesus  had  held  in  His  arms  might 
have  understood  that  moral ;  yet  how  infinitely  more 
deep  must  its  meaning  be  to  us — who  have  been  trained 
from  childhood  in  the  knowledge  of  His  atoning  love— 
than  it  could  have  been,  at  the  time  when  it  was  spoken, 
to  even  a  Peter  or  a  John. 

1  The  Rabbinic  rule  only  admitted  a  triple  forgiveness,  referring  to  Amos 
i.  3 ;  Job  xxxiii.  29  (marg.,  "  twice  "  and  "  thrice  "). 


CHAPTER   XXXVIII. 

A     BRIEF     REST     IN     CAPERNAUM. 

"  Yade  et  scito  nos  esse  in  alio  regno  reges  et  filios  regis." — LTTTHER, 
in  Matt.  xiii. 

ONE  more  incident,  related  by  St.  Matthew  only,  marked 
his  brief  stay  on  this  occasion  in  Capernaum. 

From  time  immemorial  there  was  a  precedent  for 
collecting,  at  least  occasionally,  on  the  recurrence  of 
every  census,  a  tax  of  "  half  a  shekel,  after  the  shekel  of 
the  sanctuary,"  of  every  Jew  who  had  reached  the  age 
of  twenty  years,  as  a  "  ransom  for  his  soul,"  unto  the 
Lord.1  This  money  was  devoted  to  the  service  of  the 
Temple,  and  was  expended  on  the  purchase  of  the  sacri- 
fices, scapegoats,  red  heifers,  incense,  shewbread,  and 
other  expenses  of  the  Temple  service.  After  the  return 
from  the  captivity,  this  bekah,  or  half-shekel,  became 
a  voluntary  annual  tax  of  a  third  of  a  shekel  ;2  but  at 
some  subsequent  period  it  had  again  returned  to  its 
original  amount.  This  tax  was  paid  by  every  Jew  in 
every  part  of  the  world,  whether  rich  or  poor ;  and,  as 
on  the  first  occasion  of  its  payment,  to  show  that  the 
souls  of  all  alike  are  equal  before  God,  "the  rich  paid 

1  Exod.  xxx.   11 — 16.     The   English  "tribute-money"  is  vague  and 
incorrect ;  for  the  tribute  was  a  denarius  paid  to  the  Roman  emperor. 

2  Neh.  x.  32. 


42 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


no  more,  and  the  poor  no  less."  It  produced  vast  sums 
of  money,  which  were  conveyed  to  Jerusalem  by  honour- 
able messengers.1 

This  tax  was  only  so  far  compulsory  that  when  first 
demanded,  on  the  1st  of  Adar,  the  demand  was  made 
quietly  and  civilly ;  if,  however,  it  had  not  been  paid  by 
the  25th,  then  it  seems  that  the  collectors  of  the  contri- 
bution (tobJiin  sliekalim)  might  take  a  security  for  it  from 
the  defaulter. 

Accordingly,  almost  immediately  upon  our  Lord's 
return  to  Capernaum,  these  tobMn  sJiekalim  came  to 
St.  Peter,  and  asked  him,  quite  civilly,  as  the  Eabbis 
had  directed,  "Does  not  your  master  pay  the  didrach- 
mas?"2 

The  question  suggests  two  difficulties — viz.,  "Why 
had  our  Lord  not  been  asked  for  this  contribution  in  pre- 
vious years  ?  and  why  was  it  now  demanded  in  autumn, 
at  the  approach  of  the  Feast  of  Tabernacles,  instead  of 
in  the  month  Adar,  some  six  months  earlier?  The 
answers  seem  to  be  that  priests  and  eminent  rabbis  were 
regarded  as  exempt  from  the  tax;3  that  our  Lord's 

1  Philo  (De  Monarch,  ii.  3)  calls  them  Upoiropvol.     These  collections 
are  alluded  to  in  Cic.  Pro  Flacco,  28 ;  Dio  Cass.  Ixvi.  7 ;  Jos.  B.  J.  vii.  6,  §  6 ; 
Antt.  xviii.  9,  §  1 ;  and  other  passages  collected  by  Wetstein,  Lightf oot,  &c. 
Taking  the  shekel  roughly  at  Is.  6d.,  the  collection  would  produce  £75,000 
for  every  million  contributors. 

2  The  didrachmum  was   a  Greek   coin   exactly  equivalent  to   half   a 
shekel ;  the  stater  or  silver  tetradrachmum  was  a  shekel.     The  stater  and 
the  Roman  denarius  (which  was  rather  more  than  a  fourth  of  its  value) 
were  the  two  common  coins  at  this  time :  the  actual  didrachm  had  fallen 
into  disuse.     It  is  true  that  the  LXX.  translate  shekel  by  SiSpaxnov  and 
half-shekel  by  ri/jiicrv  rov  5i8pax/"ov,  but  it  is  now  generally  agreed  that  this 
is  because  they  adopt  the  Alexandrian,  not  the  Attic  scale.     The  value  of  a 
didrachm  was  about  eighteen-pence.  (See  Madden,  Hist,  of  Jewish  Coinage, 
p.   235 ;    Leake,  Numism.  Hellen.,  Append.  2,  3 ;    Akerman,  Numism. 
Illustr.  to  the  N.  Test.,  p.  14.) 

3  So  the  Pirke  Abhoth,  iv.  5,  quoted  by  Stier,  ii.  362. 


PETER'S  ANSWER.  43 

frequent  absence  from  Capernaum  had  caused  some 
irregularity ;  and  that  it  was  permitted  to  pay  arrears 
some  time  afterwards.1 

The  fact  that  the  collectors  inquired  of  St.  Peter 
instead  of  asking  Jesus  Himself,  is  another  of  the  very 
numerous  indications'  of  the  awe  which  He  inspired  even 
into  the  heart  of  His  bitterest  enemies ;  as  in  all  proba- 
bility the  fact  of  the  demand  being  made  at  all  shows  a 
growing  desire  to  vex  His  life,  and  to  ignore  His  dignity. 
But  Peter,  with  his  usual  impetuous  readiness,  without 
waiting,  as  he  should  have  done,  to  consult  His  Master, 
replied,  "Yes."3 

If  he  had  thought  a  moment  longer — if  he  had 
known  a  little  more — if  he  had  even  recalled  his  own 
great  confession  so  recently  given — his  answer  might 
not  have  come  so  glibly.  This  money  was,  at  any  rate, 
in  its  original  significance,  a  redemption -money  for  the 
soul  of  each  man ; 3  and  how  could  the  E-edeemer,  who 
redeemed  all  souls  by  the  ransom  of  His  life,  pay  this 
money-ransom  for  his  own  ?  And  it  was  a  tax  for  the 
Temple  services.  How,  then,  could  it  be  due  from  Him 
whose  own  mortal  body  was  the  new  spiritual  Temple 
of  the  Living  Grod  ?  He  was  to  enter  the  vail  of  the 

1  There  even  seems  to  be  some  evidence  (adduced  by  Greswell,  Dissert. 
ii.  377)  to  show  that  it  might  be  paid  at  either  of  the  yearly  feasts. 

2  It  appears  (Jost,  Gesch.  des  Judenth.  i.  218)  that  there  had  been  a 
great  dispute  between  the  Pharisees  and  Sadducees  as  to  whether  this  tax 
should  be   voluntary   or   compulsory,   and  that,   after   long   debate,   the 
Pharisees  had  carried  the  day.     Perhaps,  therefore,  the  demand  was  made 
of  our  Lord  by  way  of  testing  which  side  he  would  take,  and  if  so  we  may 
understand  His  words  to  St.  Peter  as  sanctioning  the  universal  principle 
that  all  gifts  to  God  should  be  given  "  not  grudgingly  or  of  necessity." 
See  a  very  interesting  article  by  Professor  Plumptre,  in  Smith's  Bibl.  Diet., 
on  "  Tribute." 

3  Exod.  xxx.  11, 12,  eesh  kopher  naphsho,  \vrpa  TTJS  tyvxfjs.     (Philo,  ubi 
supr.) 


44  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

Holiest  with  the  ransom  of  His  own  blood.  But  He 
paid  what  He  did  not  owe,  to  save  us  from  that  which 
we  owed,  but  could  never  pay.1 

Accordingly,  when  Peter  entered  the  house,  con- 
scious, perhaps,  by  this  time,  that  his  answer  had  been 
premature — perhaps  also  conscious  that  at  that  moment 
there  were  no  means  of  meeting  even  this  small  demand 
upon  their  scanty  store — Jesus,  without  waiting  for  any 
expression  of  his  embarrassment,  at  once  said  io  him, 
"  What  thinkest  thou,  Simon  ?  the  kings  of  the  earth, 
from  whom  do  they  take  tolls  and  taxes  ?  from  their 
own  sons,  or  from  those  who  are  not  their  children?" 

There  could  be  but  one  answer — "  From  those  who 
are  not  their  children." 

"  Then,"  said  Jesus,  "  the  sons  are  free."  I,  the  Son 
of  the  Great  King,  and  even  thou,  who  art  also  His 
son,  though  in  a  different  way,  are  not  bound  to  pay 
this  tax.  If  we  pay  it,  the  payment  must  be  a  matter, 
not  of  positive  obligation,  as  the  Pharisees  have  lately 
decided,  but  of  free  and  cheerful  giving. 

There  is  something  beautiful  and  even  playful  in  this 
gentle  way  of  showing  to  the  impetuous  Apostle  the 
dilemma  in  which  his  hasty  answer  had  placed  his  Lord. 
We  see  in  it,  as  Luther  says,  the  fine,  friendly,  loving 
intercourse  which  must  have  existed  between  Christ  and 
His  disciples.  It  seems,  at  the  same  time,  to  establish 
the  eternal  principle  that  religious  services  should  be 
maintained  by  spontaneous  generosity  and  an  innate 
sense  of  duty  rather  than  in  consequence  of  external 
compulsion.  But  yet,  what  is  lawful  is  not  always  ex- 
pedient, nor  is  there  anything  more  thoroughly  unchris- 
tian than  the  violent  maintenance  of  the  strict  letter  of 

1  Cf .  Ps.  Ixix.  5 ;  Aug.  Serm.  155. 


THE  TEMPLE  CONTRIBUTION. 


45 


our  rights.  The  Christian  will  always  love  rather  to 
recede  from  something  of  his  privilege — to  take  less  than 
is  his  due.  And  so  He,  in  whose  steps  all  ought  to 
walk,  calmly  added,  "  Nevertheless,  lest  we  should  offend 
them  "  (put  a  difficulty  or  stumbling-block  in  their  way), 
"  go  thou  to  the  sea  and  cast  a  hook,  and  take  the  first 
fish  that  cometh  up ;  and  opening  its  mouth  thou  shalt 
find  a  stater  -,1  that  take  and  give  unto  them  for  Me  and 
for  thee.";  In  the  very  act  of  submission,  as  Bengel 
finely  says,  "  His  majesty  gleams  forth."  He  would 
pay  the  contribution  to  avoid  hurting  the  feelings  of 
any,  and  especially  because  His  Apostle  had  promised  it 
in  His  behalf :  but  He  could  not  pay  it  in  an  ordinary 
way,  because  that  would  be  to  compromise  a  principle. 
In  obeying  the  law  of  charity,  and  of  self- surrender,  He 
would  also  obey  the  laws  of  dignity  and  truth.  "  He 
pays  the  tribute,  therefore,"  says  Clarius,  "  but  taken 
from  a  fish's  mouth,  that  His  majesty  may  be  recog- 
nised."3 

When  Paulus,  with  somewhat  vulgar  jocosity,  calls 
this  "a  miracle  for  half-a-crown,"  he  only  shows  his  own 
entire  misconception  of  the  fine  ethical  lessons  which  are 
involved  in  the  narrative,  and  which  in  this,  as  in  every 
other  instance,  separate  our  Lord's  miracles  from  those 

1  A  stater  equals  four  drachmas ;  it  was  a  little  more  than  three  shillings, 
and  was  exactly  the  sum  required  for  two  people.     The  tax  was  not  de- 
manded of  the  other  Apostles,  perhaps  because  Capernaum  was  not  their 
native  town.     The  shulchantm,  or  bankers  to  whom  it  was  ordinarily  paid, 
sat  in  each  city  to  receive  it  on  Adar  15.     (Our  information  on  the  subject 
is  mainly  derived  from  the  Mishna  tract  SliekaMn.} 

2  avrl,  "  instead  of  " — because  the  money  was  redemption  money ;  "  for 
me  and  for  thee  " — not  "  for  us,"  because  the  money  was  paid  differently 
for  each.    Cf.  John  xx.  17.     (Alford.) — An  interesting  parallel  of  a  king 
paying  his  own  tax  is  adduced  by  Wetstein. 

3  Trench,  On  the  Miracles,  p.  406.     His  entire  treatment  of  this  miracle 
is  suggestive  and  beautiful. 


46 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


of  the  Apocrypha.  Yet  I  agree  with  the  learned  and 
thoughtful  Olshausen  in  regarding  this  as  the  most  diffi- 
cult to  comprehend  of  all  the  Gospel  miracles — as  being 
in  many  respects,  sui  generis — as  not  falling  under  the 
same  category  as  the  other  miracles  of  Christ.  "  It  is 
remarkable,"  says  Archbishop  Trench,  "  and  is  a  solitary 
instance  of  the  kind,  that  the  issue  of  this  bidding  is  not 
told  us."  He  goes  on,  indeed,  to  say  that  the  narrative 
is  evidently  intended  to  be  miraculous,  and  this  is  the 
impression  which  it  has  almost  universally  left  on  the 
minds  of  those  who  read  it.  Yet  the  literal  translation 
of  our  Lord's  words  may  most  certainly  be,  "  on  opening 
its  mouth,  thou  shalt  get,  or  obtain,1  a  stater ; "  and 
although  there  is  no  difficulty  whatever  in  supposing 
that  a  fish  may  have  swallowed  the  glittering  coin  as  it 
was  accidentally  dropped  into  the  water,2  nor  should  I 
feel  the  slightest  difficulty  in  believing — as  I  hope  that 
this  book,  from  its  first  page  to  its  last,  will  show — that 
a  miracle  might  have  been  wrought,  yet  the  peculiarities 
both  of  the  miracle  itself  and  of  the  manner  in  which  it 
is  narrated,  leave  in  my  mind  a  doubt  as  to  whether,  in 
this  instance,  some  essential  particular  may  not  have 
been  either  omitted  or  left  unexplained. 

1  This  is  a  thoroughly  classical  and  largely  substantiated  use  of  cvpio-Ku, 
See  Liddell  and  Scott,  s.  v. ;  and  for  New  Testament  instances,  see  Heb. 
ix.  12  ;  Luke  i.  30 ;  xi.  9 ;  John  xii.  14 ;  Acts  vii.  46. 

2  Of  this  there  are  abundant  instances.     There  is  no  need  to  refer  to 
the  story  of  Polycrates  (Herod,  iii.  42),  or  to  Augustine,  De  Civ.  Dei,  xxii.  8. 
Mackerel  are  to  this  day  constantly  caught  by  their  swallowing  a  glittering 
piece  of  tin. 


CHAPTEE  XXXIX. 

JESUS    AT    THE    FEAST    OF    TABERNACLES. 

"Ecce  Innocens  inter  peccatores;  Justus  inter  reprobos;   pius  inter 
iprobos." — LTJDOLPHUS,  Vita  Christi,  p.  118. 

IT  was  not  likely  that  Jesus  should  have  been  able  to 
live  at  Capernaum  without  the  fact  of  His  visit  being 
known  to  some  of  the  inhabitants.  But  it  is  clear  that 
His  stay  in  the  town  was  very  brief,  and  that  it  was  of  a 
strictly  private  character.  The  discourse  and  the  inci- 
dent mentioned  in  the  last  chapter  are  the  only  records 
of  it  which  are  left. 

But  it  was  now  autumn,  and  all  Galilee  was  in  the 
stir  of  preparation  which  preceded  the  starting  of  the 
annual  caravan  of  pilgrims  to  one  of  the  three  great 
yearly  feasts — the  Feast  of  Tabernacles.  That  feast— 
the  Feast  of  Ingathering — was  intended  to  commemorate 
the  passage  of  the  Israelites  through  the  wilderness, 
and  was  celebrated  with  such  universal  joy,  that  both 
Josephus  and  Philo  call  it  "the  holiest  and  greatest 
feast,"  and  it  was  known  among  the  Jews  as  "the 
Feast"  pre-eminently.1  It  was  kept  for  seven  consecutive 

1 3nn.  Jos.  Antt.  viii.  4,  §  1 ;  xi.  5,  §  5.  See  on  the  details  of  this  Feast, 
Numb.  xxix.  12—38  ;  Neh.  viii.  15  ;  2  Mace.  x.  6,  7;  Exod.  xxiii.  16 ;  Lev. 
xxiii.  34,  seqq. ;  Deut.  xvi.  13 — 15. 


48  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

days,  from  the  15th  to  the  21st  of  Tisri,  and  the  eighth 
day  was  celebrated  by  a  holy  convocation.  During  the 
seven  days  the  Jews,  to  recall  their  desert  wanderings, 
lived  in  little  succdth,  or  booths  made  of  the  thickly- 
foliaged  boughs  of  olive,  and  palm,  and  pine,  and  myrtle, 
and  each  person  carried  in  his  hands  a  lulab,  consisting 
of  palm-branches,  or  willows  of  the  brook,  or  fruits  of 
peach  and  citron.1  During  the  week  of  festivities  all 
the  courses  of  priests  were  employed  in  turn  ;  seventy 
bullocks  were  offered  in  sacrifice  for  the  seventy  nations 
of  the  world;3  the  Law  was  daily  read,3  and  on  each 
day  the  Temple  trumpets  sounded  twenty-one  times  an 
inspiring  and  triumphant  blast.  The  joy  of  the  occa- 
sion was  doubtless  deepened  by  the  fact  that  the  feast 
followed  but  four  days  after  the  awful  and  comforting 
ceremonies  of  the  Great  Day  of  Atonement,  in  which  a 
solemn  expiation  was  made  for  the  sins  of  all  the 
people. 

On  the  eve  of  their  departure  for  this  feast  the  family 
and  relations  of  our  Lord — those  who  in  the  Grospels 
are  invariably  called  His  "  brethren/7  and  some  of  whose 
descendants  were  known  to  early  tradition  as  the  Des- 
posyni — came  to  Him  for  the  last  time  with  a  well- 
meant  but  painful  and  presumptuous  interference.  They 
— like  the  Pharisees,  and  like  the  multitude,  and  like 
Peter — fancied  that  they  knew  better. than  Jesus  Him- 
self that  line  of  conduct  which  would  best  accomplish 
His  work  and  hasten  the  universal  recognition  of  His 

1  Lev.  xxiii.  40,  marg.  (peri  etz  hadar  almost  certainly  means  "  citron- 
tree  ;"  see  Dr.  R-oyle  s.  v.  Tappuach  in  Kitto's  Sibl.  Cycl.};  Jos.  Antt.  iii. 

10,  §  4,  TOV  jj.^i\ov  TOV  TTJS  Uepffftts  irpoffovTOS ;   xiii.  13,  §  5,  Kirpia. 

2  Thirteen  bullocks  the  first  day,  twelve  the  second,  eleven  the  third, 
and  so  on. 

3  Neh.  viii.  18.     Cf .  John  vii.  19. 


JESUS  AKD  HIS  BRETHREN.  49 

claims.  They  came  to  Him  with  the  language  of  criti- 
cism, of  discontent,  almost  of  reproaches  and  complaints. 
;'  Why  this  unreasonable  and  incomprehensible  secrecy  ? 
it  contradicts  thy  claims ;  it  discourages  thy  followers. 
Thou  hast  disciples  in  Judaea  :  go  thither,  and  let  them 
too  see  Thy  works  which  Thou  doest?  If  Thou  doest 
these  things,  manifest  Thyself  to  the  world."  If  they 
could  use  such  language  to  their  Lord  and  Master — 
if  they  could,  as  it  were,  thus  challenge  His  power  to 
the  proof — it  is  but  too  plain  that  their  knowledge  of 
Him  was  so  narrow  and  inadequate  as  to  justify  the  sad 
parenthesis  of  the  beloved  Evangelist — "for  not  even  His 
brethren  believed  on  Him."  He  was  a  stranger  unto 
His  brethren,  even  an  alien  unto  His  mother's  children.1 

Such  dictation  on  their  part — the  bitter  fruit  of  im- 
patient vanity  and  unspiritual  ignorance — showed  indeed 
a  most  blameable  presumption ; 3  yet  our  Lord  only 
answered  them  with  calm  and  gentle  dignity.  "  ~No ; 
my  time  to  manifest  myself  to  the  world — which  is  your 
world  also,  and  which  therefore  cannot  hate  you  as  it 
hates  me — is  not  yet  come.  Gro  ye  up  to  this  feast.  I 
choose  not  to  go  up  to  this  feast,  for  not  yet  has  my 
time  been  fulfilled."3  So  he  answered  them,  and  stayed 
in  Gralilee. 

"  I  go  not  up  yet  unto  this  feast  "-is  the  rendering  of 
the  English  version,  adopting  the  reading  OVTTO),  "  not  yet  " 
but  even  if  ovtc,  "  not,"  be  the  true  reading,  the  meaning 


1  Ps.  Ixix.  8 ;  John  vii.  1—9. 

2  As  Stier  remarks,  the  ;ueTaj8rj0t  evrevGev,  "depart  hence,"  of  John  vii.  3,  is 
a  style  of  bold  imperative  which  those  only  could  have  adopted  who  presumed 
on  their  close  earthly  relationship ;  and  they  seem  almost  ostentatiously  to 
exclude  themselves  from  the  number  of  His  disciples. 

3  The  ava.fiaii'w  has  the  sense  so  frequently  found  in  the  present :  "  I  am 
not  for  going  up;"  "I  do  not  choose  to  go  up." 


50 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


is  substantially  the  same.1  The  OVTTCO  in  the  next  clause, 
"  my  time  has  not  yet  heen  fulfilled,"  distinctly  intimated 
that  such  a  time  would  come,  and  that  it  was  not  His 
object  to  intimate  to  His  brethren — -whose  utter  want  of 
sympathy  and  reverence  had  just  been  so  unhappily  dis- 
played— when  that  time  would  be.  And  there  was  a 
reason  for  this.  It  was  essential  for  the  safety  of  His 
life,  which  was  not  to  end  for  six  months  more — it  was 
essential  for  the  carrying  out  of  His  Divine  purposes, 
which  were  closely  enwoven  with  the  events  of  the  next 
few  days — that  His  brethren  should  not  know  about  His 
plans.  And  therefore  He  let  them  depart  in  the  corh- 
pletest  uncertainty  as  to  whether  or  not  He  intended  to 
follow  them.2  Certain  as  they  were  to  be  asked  by 
multitudes  whether  He  was  coming  to  the  feast,  it  was 
necessary  that  they  should  be  able  to  answer,  with  per- 
fect truthfulness,  that  He  was  at  any  rate  not  coming 
with  them,  and  that  whether  He  would  come  before  the 
feast  was  over  or  not  they  could  not  tell.  And  that  this 
must  have  occurred,  and  that  this  must  have  been  their 


1  Tischendorf  reads  OVK  with  «,  D,  K,  the  Cureton  Syriac,  &c. ;  on  the 
other   hand,  ofaw  is    the   reading   of   B,  E,  F,  Gr,  H,  &c.     What  seems 
decisive  in  favour  of  OVK  is  that  it  was  more  likely  to  be  altered  than  the 
other ;  "  proclivi  lectioni  praestat  ardua." 

2  As  early  as  the  third  century  after  Christ,  the  philosopher  Porphyry, 
one  of  the  bitterest  and  ablest  of  those  who  assaulted  Christianity,  charged 
our  blessed  Lord  with  deception  in  this  incident ;  and  it  is  therefore  clear 
that  in  his  time  the  reading  was  OVK  (ap.  Jer.  Adv.  Pelag.  iv.  21).     And 
even  an   eminent   Christian  commentator  like  Meyer  has  supposed  that, 
in  this   instance,  Jesus   subsequently   changed  His   purpose.     The  latter 
supposition  is  precarious,  perhaps  wholly  irreverent ;  the  former  is  utterly 
senseless.     For  even  if  Porphyry  supposed  that  it  could  have  happened, 
he  must  have  seen  how  preposterous  was  the  notion  of  St.  John's  holding 
such  a  view.   It  therefore  seems  to  me  a  matter  of  no  consequence  whatever 
whether  OVK  or  oviru  be  read ;  for  it  is  quite  clear  that  the  Evangelist  saw 
nothing  in  the  language  of  our  Lord  but  the  desire  to  exclude  His  brethren 
from  any  certain  knowledge  of  His  plans. 


THE  FEAST  OF  TABERNACLES.  51 

answer,  is  evident  from  the  fact  that  the  one  question 
buzzed  about  from  ear  to  ear  in  those  gay  and  busy 
streets  was,  "  Where  is  He  ?  is  He  here  already  ?  is  He 
coming  P"1  And  as  He  did  not  appear,  His  whole  cha- 
racter, His  whole  mission,  were  discussed.  The  words 
of  approval  were  vague  and  timid,  "  He  is  a  good  man ;" 
the  words  of  condemnation  were  bitter  and  emphatic, 
"  Nay,  but  He  is  a  mesith — He  deceiveth  the  people." 
But  no  one  dared  to  speak  openly  his  full  thought  about 
Him ;  each  seemed  to  distrust  his  neighbour ;  and  all 
feared  to  commit  themselves  too  far  while  the  opinion  of 
the  "  Jews,"  and  of  the  leading  Priests  and  Pharisees, 
had  not  been  finally  or  decisively  declared. 

And  suddenly,  in  the  midst  of  all  these  murmurs  and 
discussions,  in  the  middle  of  the  feast,  Jesus,  unaccom- 
panied apparently  by  His  followers,  unheralded  by  His 
friends,  appeared  suddenly  in  the  Temple,  and  taught.  By 
what  route  He  had  reached  the  Holy  City — how  he  had 
passed  through  the  bright  thronged  streets  unnoticed — 
whether  He  joined  in  the  innocent  mirth  of  the  festival 
—whether  He  too  lived  in  a  little  succah  of  palm-leaves 
during  the  remainder  of  the  week,  and  wandered  among 
the  brightly-dressed  crowds  of  an  Oriental  gala  day  with 
the  lulab  and  citron  in  His  hands — whether  His  voice 
was  heard  in  the  Hallel,  or  the  Great  Hosanna — we  do 
not  know.  All  that  is  told  us  is  that,  throwing  himself, 
as  it  were,  in  full  confidence  on  the  protection  of  His 
disciples  from  Gralilee  and  those  in  Jerusalem,  He  was 
suddenly  found  seated  in  one  of  the  large  halls  which 
opened  out  of  the  Temple  courts,  and  there  He  taught. 

For  a  time  they  listened  to  Him  in  awe-struck  silence  ; 

1  John  vii.  11,  I$\TOVV  O.VTOV  /col  e\eyov,  K.  r.  \. ;  "  they  kept  looking  for 
Him,  and  saying,"  &c. 


52  THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 

but  soon  the  old  scruples  recurred  to  them.  "  He  is  no 
authorised  Eabbi ;  He  belongs  to  no  recognised  school ; 
neither  the  followers  of  Hillel  nor  those  of  Shammai 
claim  Him ;  He  is  a  Nazarene ;  He  was  trained  in  the 
shop  of  the  Galilaean  carpenter ;  how  knoweth  this  man 
letters,  having  never  learned  ? "  As  though  the  few 
who  are  taught  of  God — whose  learning  is  the  learning 
of  a  pure  heart  and  an  enlightened  eye  and  a  blameless 
life — did  not  unspeakably  transcend  in  wisdom,  and 
therefore  also  in  the  best  and  truest  knowledge,  those 
whose  learning  has  but  come  from  other  men  !  It  is  not 
the  voice  of  erudition,  but  it  is,  as  the  old  Greek  thinker 
says,  the  voice  of  Inspiration — the  voice  of  the  divine 
Sibyl — which,  uttering  things  simple  and  unperfumed 
and  unadorned,  reacheth  through  myriads  of  }rears. 

Jesus  understood  their  looks.  He  interpreted  their 
murmurs.  He  told  them  that  His  learning  came  imme- 
diately from  His  Heavenly  Father,  and  that  they,  too,  if 
they  did  God's  will,  might  learn,  and  might  understand, 
the  same  high  lessons.  In  all  ages  there  is  a  tendency 
to  mistake  erudition  for  learning,  knowledge  for  wisdom ; 
in  all  ages  there  has  been  a  slowness  to  comprehend 
that  true  learning  of  the  deepest  and  noblest  character 
may  co-exist  with  complete  and  utter  ignorance  of  every- 
thing which  absorbs  and  constitutes  the  learning  of  the 
schools.  In  one  sense — Jesus  told  His  hearers — they 
knew  the  law  which  Moses  had  given  them ;  in  another 
they  were  pitiably  ignorant  of  it.  They  could  not  un- 
derstand its  principles,  because  they  were  not  "  faithful 
to  its  precepts."1  And  then  He  asked  them  openly, 
11  Why  go  ye  about  to  kill  me  ?" 

1  Cf .  Ecclus.  xxi.  11,  "  He  that  Jceepeth  the  law  of  the  Lord  getteth  the 
understanding  thereof."     (John  xiv.  15—17,  20,  21 ;  see  too  Job  xxviii.  28.) 


ANGER  OF  THE  JEWS.  53 

That  determination  to  kill  Him  was  known  indeed 
to  Him,  and  known  to  some  of  those  who  heard  Him, 
but  was  a  guilty  secret  which  had  been  concealed  from 
the  majority  of  the  multitude.  These  answered  the 
question,  while  the  others  kept  their  guilty  silence. 
"  Thou  hast  a  devil,"  the  people  answered  ;x  "  who 
goeth  about  to  kill  Thee  ?"  Why  did  they  speak  with 
such  superfluous  and  brutal  bluntness?  Do  not  we 
repudiate,  with  far  less  flaming  indignation,  a  charge 
which  we  know  to  be  not  only  false,  but  wholly  pre- 
posterous and  foundationless  ?  Was  there  not  in  the 
minds  even  of  this  not  yet  wholly  alienated  multitude  an 
uneasy  sense  of  their  distance  from  the  Speaker — of  that 
unutterable  superiority  to  themselves  which  pained  and 
shamed  and  irritated  them  ?  Were  they  not  conscious, 
in  their  carnal  and  vulgar  aspirations,  that  this  Prophet 
came,  not  to  condescend  to  such  views  as  theirs,  but  to 
raise  them  to  a  region  where  they  felt  that  they  could 
not  breathe  ?  Was  there  not  even  then  in  their  hearts 
something  of  the  half-unconscious  hatred  of  vice  to 
virtue,  the  repulsion  of  darkness  against  light  ?  Would 
they  have  said,  "  Thou  hast  a  devil,"  when  they  heard 
Him  say  that  some  of  them  were  plotting  against  His 
life,  if  they  had  not  felt  that  they  were  themselves 
capable  at  almost  any  moment  of  joining  in — aye,  with 
their  own  hands  of  executing — so  base  a  plot  ? 

Jesus  did  not  notice  their  coarse  insolence.  He  re- 
ferred them  to  that  one  work  of  healing  on  the  Sabbath 
day,2  at  which  they  were  all  still  marvelling,  with  an 
empty  wonder,  that  He  who  had  the  power  to  perform 
such  a  deed  should,  in  performing  it,  have  risen  above 

Jolin  vii.  20,  6  $x^°s,  not  of  'lovtiaioi. 
2  John  Y.  5. 


54  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

their  empty,  ceremonial,  fetish- worshipping  notions  of 
Sabbath  sanctity.  And  Jesus,  who  ever  loved  to  teach 
the  lesson  that  love  and  not  literalism  is  the  fulfilling 
of  the  Law,  showed  them,  even  on  their  own  purely 
ritual  and  Levitical  principle,  that  His  word  of  healing 
had  in  no  respect  violated  the  Sabbath  at  all.  For 
instance,  Moses  had  established,  or  rather  re-established, 
the  ordinance  of  circumcision  on  the  eighth  day,  and  if 
that  eighth  day  happened  to  be  a  Sabbath,  they  without 
scruple  sacrificed  the  one  ordinance  to  the  other,  and 
in  spite  of  the  labour  which  it  involved,  performed  the 
rite  of  circumcision  on  the  Sabbath  day.  If  the  law 
of  circumcision  superseded  that  of  the  Sabbath,  did  not 
the  law  of  Mercy  ?  If  it  was  right  by  a  series  of 
actions  to  inflict  that  wound,  was  it  wrong  by  a  single 
word  to  effect  a  total  cure?1  If  that,  which  was  at 
the  best  but  a  sign  of  deliverance,  could  not  even  on 
account  of  the  Sabbath  be  postponed  for  a  single  day, 
why  was  it  criminal  not  to  have  postponed  for  the  sake 
of  the  Sabbath  a  deliverance  actual  and  entire  ?  And 
then  He  summed  His  self-defence  in  the  one  calm  word, 
"  Do  not  be  ever  judging  by  the  mere  appearance,  but 
judge  a  righteous  judgment ;" J  instead  of  being  perma- 
nently content  with  a  superficial  mode  of  criticism,  come 
once  for  all  to  some  principle  of  righteous  decision. 

His  hearers  were  perplexed  and  amazed,  "  Is  this  He 
against  whose  life  some  are  plotting  ?  Can  He  be  the 
Messiah  ?  Nay,  He  cannot  be ;  for  we  know  whence 
this  speaker  comes,  whereas  they  say  that  none  shall 


1  Stier  quotes  from  the  Rabbis  a  remark  to  this  very  effect,  "Circum- 
cision, which  is  one   of  the  248  members  of  the  body,  supersedes  the 
Sabbath ;  how  much  more  the  whole  body  of  a  man  ?  " 

2  John  Yli.  24,  p.^]  icpivere  .  .  .  d\\a  .  . 


THE  JEWISH  EMISSARIES.  55 

know  whence  the  Messiah  shall  have   come  when  he 
appears/' 

There  was  a  certain  irony  in  the  answer  of  Jesus. 
They  knew  whence  He  came  and  all  about  Him,  and  yet, 
in  very  truth,  He  came  not  of  Himself,  but  from  one  of 
whom  they  knew  nothing.  This  word  maddened  still 
more  some  of  His  hearers.  They  longed  but  did  not 
dare  to  seize  Him,  and  all  the  more  because  there  were 
some  whom  these  words  convinced,  and  who  appealed  to 
His  many  miracles  as  irresistible  proof  of  His  sacred 
claims.1  The  Sanhedrin,  seated  in  frequent  session  in 
their  stone  hall  of  meeting  within  the  immediate  pre- 
cincts of  the  Temple,  were,  by  means  of  their  emissaries, 
kept  informed  of  all  that  He  did  and  said,  and,  without 
seeming  to  do  so,  watched  His  every  movement  with 
malignant  and  jealous  eyes.  These  whispered  arguments 
in  His  favour,  this  deepened  awe  of  Him  and  belief  in 
Him,  which,  despite  their  authority,  was  growing  up 
under  their  very  eyes,  seemed  to  them  at  once  humiliat- 
ing and  dangerous.  They  determined  on  a  bolder  course 
of  action.  They  sent  out  emissaries  to  seize  Him  sud- 
denly and  stealthily,  at  the  first  opportunity  which  should 
occur.  But  Jesus  showed  no  fear.  He  was  to  be 
with  them  a  little  longer,  and  then,  and  not  till  then, 
should  He  return  to  Him  that  sent  Him.2  Then,  indeed, 
they  would  seek  Him — seek  Him,  not  as  now  with  hostile 

1  It  is  a  remarkable  fact  that  the  Jews  have  never  attempted  to  deny 
the  reality  of  the  miracles  which  Jesus  wrought.     All  that  the  Toldoth 
Jeshu,  and  similar  books,  can  say  is  that  He  performed  them  by  means  of 
the  Shemhammephorash,  the  "  Tetragrammaton,"  or  sacred  name.    For  the 
preposterous  legend  by  which  they  account  for  "  that  man  "  (as  in  their 
hatred  they  always  call  Him)  having  learnt  the  pronunciation  of  the  name, 
see   the   translation   of   the    Toldoth  by  Huldric   (1705),    or   Wagenseil, 
Tela  Ignea  Satanae,  1681. 

2  Of.  John  viii.21. 


56 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


intentions,  but  in  all  the  crushing  agony  of  remorse 
and  shame;  but  their  search  would  be  in  vain.  His 
enemies  wholly  failed  to  understand  the  allusion.  In 
the  troubled  and  terrible  days  which  were  to  come  they 
would  understand  it  only  too  bitterly  and  well.  Now 
they  could  only  jeeringly  conjecture  that  possibly  He 
had  some  wild  intention  of  going  to  teach  among  the 
Gentiles.1 

So  passed  His  memorable  day  ;  and  again,  on  the  last 
day  of  the  feast,3  Jesus  was  standing  in  the  Temple. 
On  each  day  of  the  seven,  and,  possibly,  even  on  the 
eighth,  there  was  a  significant  and  joyous  ceremony.  At 
early  morning  the  people  repaired  to  the  Temple,  and 
when  the  morning  sacrifice  had  been  laid  on  the  altar, 
one  of  the  priests  went  down  with  a  golden  ewer  to  the 
Pool  of  Siloam,  not  far  from  the  foot  of  Mount  Sion. 


v  (John  vii.  35)  means  here,  in  all  probability, 
"  Gentile  countries  among  which  Jews  are  dispersed."  And  such  a  notion 
would  seem  to  those  bigoted  Jews  only  too  ridiculous.  A  modern  Rabbi  at 
Jerusalem  did  not  know  in  what  quarter  of  the  globe  he  was  living,  had 
never  heard  the  name  Europe,  and  called  all  other  parts  of  the  world, 
except  Palestine,  Chutselorets  (y^b  nsin),  i.e.  "outside  the  Holy  Laud!'5 
(Frankl,  Jews  in  the  East,  ii.  34,  E.  Tr.) 

2  The  feast  lasted  seven  days,  but  it  is  uncertain  whether  by  "  the  last 
day,  that  great  day  of  the  feast,"  the  seventh  day  is  intended,  which  was 
the  proper  conclusion  of  the  feast,  or  the  eighth,  on  which  the  booths  were 
taken  down,  but  on  which  there  were  special  offerings  and  a  holy  con- 
vocation (Numb.  xxix.  36  —  38).  It  is  said  that  the  seventh,  not  being 
distinguished  from  the  other  days,  cannot  be  called  "  the  great  day  ;  "  but 
on  the  other  hand,  the  last  day  of  a  feast  is  always  likely  to  be  conspicuous 
for  the  zest  of  its  ceremonies,  and  there  seems  to  be  at  least  some  indication 
that  such  was  actually  the  case  (Buxtorf,  Syn.  Jud.  xxi.  ;  see  "  Feast  of 
Tabernacles  "  in  Smith's  Diet,  of  the  Bible).  One  Rabbi  (R.  Juda  Hakko- 
desh),  in  the  tract  Succah,  which  is  our  chief  authority  on  this  subject, 
says  that  the  water  was  poured  out  on  the  eighth  as  well  as  on  the  previous 
days  (Succah,  iv.  9),  but  the  others  deny  this  (Surenhusius,  Mischna,  ii. 
276).  The  eighth  day  of  the  Passover,  and  of  Tabernacles,  is  in  Deut. 
xvi.  8  ;  Lev.  xxiii.  34,  called  atsereth  (E.  Y.  "  solemn  assembly,"  marg.  "  day 
of  restraint  "). 


THE  HOSANNAH    RABBAH.  57 

There,  with  great  solemnity,  he  drew  three  logs  of  water, 
which  were  then  carried  in  triumphant  procession  through 
the  water-gate  into  the  Temple.  As  he  entered  the 
Temple  courts  the  sacred  trumpets  breathed  out  a  joyous 
blast,  which  continued  till  he  reached  the  top  of  the 
altar  slope,  and  there  poured  the  water  into  a  silver 
bason  on  the  western  side,  while  wine  was  poured  into 
another  silver  bason  on  the  eastern  side.  Then  the 
great  Hallel  was  sung,1  and  when  they  came  to  the  verse 
"  Oh  give  thanks  unto  the  Lord,  for  He  is  good :  for 
His  mercy  endureth  for  ever,"  each  of  the  gaily-clad 
worshippers  as  he  stood  beside  the  altars,  shook  his  Mab 
in  triumph.  In  the  evening  they  abandoned  them- 
selves to  such  rejoicing,  that  the  Eabbis  say  that  the 
man  who  has  not  seen  this  "joy  of  the  drawing  water" 
does  not  know  what  joy  means.2 

In  evident  allusion  to  this  glad  custom — perhaps  in 
sympathy  with  that  sense  of  something  missing  which 
succeeded  the  disuse  of  it  on  the  eighth  day  of  the  feast 
— Jesus  pointed  the  yearnings  of  the  festal  crowd  in  the 
Temple,  as  He  had  done  those  of  the  Samaritan  woman 
by  the  lonely  well,  to  a  new  truth,,  and  to  one  which 

1  Ps.   cxiii. — cxviii.      Jahn,   Arcliaeol.   Bibl.   §   355.      Even    Plutarch 
(Sympos.  iv.  5)  alludes  to  the  Kparripo<popia. 

2  Succah,  v.  2.  The  feast  was  called  Shimcaih  beth  hashoabah.   The  day 
was  called  the  Hosannah  Rabbah,  or   "  Great  Hosannah,"  because  on  the 
seventh  day  the  Hallel  was  seven  times  sung.     The  origin  of  the  ceremony 
is  quite  obscure,  but  it  is  at  least  possible  that  the  extra  joy  of  it — the 
processions,  illuminations,  dances — commemorated  the  joy  of  the  Pharisees 
in  having  got  the  better  of  Alexander  Jannseus,  who,  instead  of  pouring 
the  water  on  the  altar,  disdainfully  poured  it  on  the  ground.  The  Pharisees 
in  their  fury  hurled  at  his  head  the  citron-fruits  which  they  were  carrying 
in  their  hands  (Lev.  xxiii.  40),  and  on  his  calling  his  mercenaries  to  his  aid, 
a   massacre  of  nearly  six  thousand  ensued   (Derenbourg,  Hist.  Pal.  98; 
Jos.  Antt.  xiii.  13,  §  5,  Kirpiois  aurlv  fjSaAAoj/).     This  unauthorised  use  of  the 
fruits  as  convenient  missiles  seems  not  to  have  been  rare  (Succah,  iv.  9).^ 


58 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


more  than  fulfilled  alike  the  spiritual  (Isa.  xii.  3)  and  the 
historical  meaning  (1  Cor.  x.  4)  of  the  scenes  which  they 
had  witnessed.  He  "  stood  and  cried,  If  any  man  thirst,  let 
him  come  unto  me  and  drink.  He  that  believeth  on  me, 
as  the  Scripture  hath  said,  out  of  his  belly  shall  flow  rivers 
of  living  water."1  And  the  best  of  them  felt  in  their 
inmost  soul — and  this  is  the  strongest  of  all  the  evidences 
of  Christianity  for  those  who  believe  heart  and  soul  in  a 
Grod  of  love  who  cares  for  His  children  in  the  family  of 
man — that  they  had  deep  need  of  a  comfort  and  salva- 
vation,  of  the  outpouring  of  a  Holy  Spirit,  which  He 
who  spake  to  them  could  alone  bestow.  But  the  very 
fact  that  some  were  beginning  openly  to  speak  of  Him  as 
the  Prophet  and  the  Christ,  only  exasperated  the  others. 
They  had  a  small  difficulty  of  their  own  creating,  founded 
on  pure  ignorance  of  fact,  but  which  yet  to  their  own 
narrow  dogmatic  fancy  was  irresistible — "  Shall  Christ 
come  out  of  Gralilee?  must  He  not  come  from  Beth- 
lehem? of  David's  seed?"2 

It  was  during  this  division  of  opinion  that  the 
officers  whom  the  Pharisees  had  dispatched  to  seize 
Jesus,  returned  to  them  without  having  even  attempted 
to  carry  out  their  design.  As  they  hovered  among 
the  Temple  courts,  as  they  stood  half  sheltered  behind 
the  Temple  pillars,  not  unobserved,  it  may  be,  by  Him 

1  Of.  Isa.  xliii.  20 ;  Iviii.  11 ;  Iv.  1 ;  xii.  3 ;   and  John  iv.  14 ;    vi.  35 ; 
Rev.  xxii.  17.     These  are  the  nearest  passages  to  "  as  the  Scripture  hath 
said,"   which  must   therefore   be   interpreted  as   a  general  allusion.     St. 

ChrySOstom   asks,  Kal  irov   elrei/   T\   jpa^  on   irora/JLol,  K.  r.  A.;   ovSa/JLOV.      No 

metaphor,  however,  could  be  more  intense  than  that  offered  by  the  longing 
for  water  in  a  dry  and  thirsty  land.  To  see  the  eagerness  with  which  men 
and  beasts  alike  rush  to  the  fountain- side  after  journeys  in  Palestine  is  a 
striking  sight.  The  Arabs  begin  to  sing  and  shout,  constantly  repeating 
the  words  "  Snow  in  the  sun !  snow  in  the  sun ! " 

2  Micah  v.  2  ;  Isa.  xi.  1 ;  Jer.  xxiii.  5,  &c. 


PHARISAIC   CONTEMPT.  59 

for  whom  they  were  lying  in  wait,  they  too  could  not 
fail  to  hear  some  of  the  divine  words  which  flowed  out 
of  His  mouth.  And,  hearing  them,  they  could  not  fulfil 
their  mission.  A  sacred  spell  was  upon  them,  which  they 
were  unable  to  resist;  a  force  infinitely  more  powerful 
than  their  own,  unnerved  their  strength  and  paralysed 
their  will.  To  listen  to  Him  was  not  only  to  be  disarmed 
in  every  attempt  against  Him,  it  was  even  to  be  half- 
converted  from  bitter  enemies  to  awe-struck  disciples. 
"  Never  man  spake  like  this  man/'  was  all  that  they 
could  say.  That  bold  disobedience  to  positive  orders 
must  have  made  them  afraid  of  the  possible  consequences 
to  themselves,  but  obedience  would  have  required  a 
courage  even  greater,  to  say  nothing  of  that  rankling 
wound  wherewith  an  awakened  conscience  ever  pierces 
the  breast  of  crime. 

The  Pharisees  could  only  meet  them  with  angry 
taunts.  "  What,  ye  too  intend  to  accept  this  Prophet  of 
the  ignorant,  this  favourite  of  the  accursed  and  miserable 
mob !  "  Then  Nicodemus  ventured  on  a  timid  word, 
"  Ought  you  not  to  try,  before  you  condemn  Him  ?  " 
They  had  no  reply  to  the  justice  of  that  principle  : 
they  could  only  fall  back  again  on  taunts — "  Are  you 
then  a  Gralilsean  ? "  and  then  the  old  ignorant  dogma- 
tism, "  Search,  and  look  :  for  out  of  Galilee  ariseth  no 
prophet." 

Where  then,  as  we  have  asked  already,  was  Grath- 
hepher,  whence  Jonah  came  ?  where  Thisbe,  whence 
Elijah  came  ?  where  Elkosh,  whence  Nahum  came  ? 
where  the  northern  town  whence  Hosea  came?  The 
more  recent  Jews,  with  better  knowledge  of  Scripture, 

1  The  ecclesiastical  contempt  of  the  Pharisees  surpassed,  in  its  habitual 
spirit  of  scorn,  the  worst  insolence  of  Paganism  against  "  the  many." 


60 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


declare  that  the  Messiah  is  to  come  from  Galilee ;] 
and  they  settle  at  Tiberias,  because  they  believe  that 
He  will  rise  from  the  waters  of  the  Lake  ;  and  at  Safed, 
"  the  city  set  on  a  hill,"  because  they  believe  that  He 
will  there  first  fix  His  throne.3  But  there  is  no  igno- 
rance so  deep  as  the  ignorance  that  will  not  know  ;  no 
blindness  so  incurable  as  the  blindness  which  will  not  see. 
And  the  dogmatism  of  a  narrow  and  stolid  prejudice 
which  believes  itself  to  be  theological  learning  is,  of  all 
others,  the  most  ignorant  and  the  most  blind.  Such 
was  the  spirit  in  which,  ignoring  the  mild  justice  of 
Nicodemus,  and  the  marvellous  impression  made  by 
Jesus  even  on  their  own  hostile  apparitors,  the  majority 
of  the  Sanhedrin  broke  up,  and  went  each  to  his  own 
home. 

1  See  Isa.  ix.  1,  2,  and  this  is  asserted  in  the  Zohar.     See  supra, 
Yol.  I.,  p.  65. 

2  So  I  was  assured  on  the  shores  of  the  Sea  of  Galilee. 


CHAPTEE  XL. 

THE    WOMAN    TAKEN    IN    ADULTERY. 
'Thus  conscience  doth  make  cowards  of  us  all." — SHAKESPEARE. 

IN  the  difficulties  which  beset  the  celebrated  incident 
which  follows,  it  is  impossible  for  us  to  arrive  at  any 
certainty  as  to  its  true  position  in  the  narrative.1  As 
there  must,  however,  be  some  a  priori  probability  that 
its  place  was  assigned  with  due  reference  to  the  order  of 
events,  and  as  there  appear  to  be  some  obvious  though 
indirect  references  to  it  in  the  discourses  which  imme- 
diately follow,2  I  shall  proceed  to  speak  of  it  here,  feeling 
no  shadow  of  a  doubt  that  the  incident  really  happened, 
even  if  the  form  in  which  it  is  preserved  to  us  is  by  no 
means  indisputably  genuine.3 

1  John  viii.  1 — 11.     In  some  MSS.  it  is  placed  at  the  end  of  St.  John's 
Gospel ;  in  some,  after  Luke  xxi.,  mainly,  no  doubt,  because  it  fits  on  well 
to  the  verses  37,  38  in  that  chapter.     Hitzig  (Ueber  Joh.  Marc.  205)  con- 
jectured, very  plausibly,  that  the  fact  which  it  records  really  belongs  to 
Mark  xii.,  falling  in  naturally  between  the  conspiracy  of  the  Pharisees  and 
Herodians,  and  that  of  tlie  Sadducees  to  tempt  Christ — i.e.,  between  the 
17th  and  18th  verses.     In  that  case  its  order  of  sequence  would  be  on  the 
Tuesday  in  Passion  week.     On  the  other  hand,  if  it  has  no  connection  with 
the   Feast  of  Tabernacles,  and  no   tinge  of   Johannean  authorship,  why 
should  so  many  MSS.  (including  even  such  important  ones  as  D,  F,  G) 
place  it  here  ? 

2  Ex.  gr.,  John  viii.  15,  17,  24,  46. 

3  The  whole  mass  of  critical  evidence  may  be  seen  fully  treated  in 


62  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

At  the  close  of  the  day  recorded  in  the  last  chapter, 
Jesus  withdrew  to  the  Mount  of  Olives.  Whether  He 
went  to  the  garden  of  Gethsemane,  and  to  the  house  of 

Liicke's  Commentary  (third  edition),  ii.  243 — 256.  "We  may  briefly  sum- 
marise the  grounds  of  its  dubious  genuineness  by  observing  that  (1)  it  is  not 
found  in  some  of  the  best  and  oldest  MSS.  (e.g.,  «,  A,  B,  C,  L) ;  (2)  nor  in 
most  of  the  Fathers  (e.g.,  Origen,  Cyril,  Chrysostom,  Theophylact,  Ter- 
tullian,  Cyprian) ;  (3)  nor  in  many  ancient  versions  (e.g.,  Sahiclic,  Coptic, 
and  Gothic) ;  (4)  in  other  MSS.  it  is  marked  with  obeli  and  asterisks,  or 
a  space  is  left  for  it,  or  it  is  inserted  elsewhere ;  (5)  it  contains  an  extra- 
ordinary number  of  various  readings  ("variant  singula  fere  verba  in  codicibus 
plerisque  " — Tischendorf ) ;  (6)  it  contains  several  expressions  not  elsewhere 
found  in  St.  John;  and  (7)  it  differs  widely  in  some  respects — particularly  in 
the  constant  use  of  the  connecting  5e — from  the  style  of  St.  John  through- 
out the  rest  of  the  Gospel.  Several  of  these  arguments  are  weakened — 
(i.)  by  the  fact  that  the  diversities  of  readings  may  be  reduced  to  three  main 
racensions ;  (ii.)  that  the  rejection  of  the  passage  may  have  been  due  to  a 
false  dogmatical  bias ;  (in.)  that  the  silence  of  some  of  the  Fathers  may  be 
accidental,  and  of  others  prudential.  The  arguments  in  its  favour  are — 

1.  It  is  found  in  some  old  and  important  uncials  (D,  F,  G,  H,  K,  U)  and 
in  more  than  300  cursive  MSS.,  in  some  of  the  Itala,  and  in  the  Vulgate. 

2.  The  tendencies  which  led  to  its  deliberate  rejection  would  have  ren- 
dered all  but  impossible  its  invention  or  interpolation.     3.  It  is  quoted  by 
Augustine,  Ambrose,  and  Jerome,  and  treated  as  genuine  in  the  Apostolic 
constitutions.     St.  Jerome's  testimony  (Adv.  Pelag.  ii.  6)  is  particularly 
important,  because  he  says  that  in  his  time  it  was  found  "  in  multis  et 
Graecis  et  Latinis  codicibus  " — and  it  must  be  remembered  that  nearly  all 
of  these  must  have  been  considerably  older  than  any  which  we  now  possess. 
The  main  facts  to  be  observed  are,  that  though  the  dogmatic  bias  against 
the  passage  might  be  sufficient  to  account  for  its  rejection,  it  gives  us  no 
help  in  explaining  its  want  of  resemblance  to  the  style  of  St.  John.    A  very 
simple  hypothesis  will  account  for  all  difficulties.     If  we  suppose  that  the 
story  of  the  woman  accused  before  our  Lord  of  many  sins — to  which 
Eusebius  alludes  (H.  E.  iii.  39)  as  existing  in  the  Gospel  of  the  Hebrews 
— is  identical  with  this,  we  may  suppose,  without  any  improbability,  either 
(i.)  that  St.  John  (as  Alford  hesitatingly  suggests)  may  here  have  adopted 
a  portion  of  current  synoptic  tradition,  or  (ii.)  that  the  story  may  have  been 
derived  originally  from  Papias,  the  pupil  of  St.  John,  and  having  found 
its  way  into  the  Gospel  of  the  Hebrews,  may  have  been  adopted  gradually 
into  some  MSS.  of    St.  John's  Gospel  (see  Euseb.    ubi    supr.}.      Many 
recent  writers  adopt  the  suggestion  of  Holtzmann,  that  it  belongs  to  the 
"  Ur-marcus,"  or  ground  document  of  the  Synoptists.     Whoever  embodied 
into  the  Gospels  this  traditionally-remembered  story  deserved  well  of 
the  world. 


LOYE   OF  THE   COUNTRY.  63 

its  unknown  but  friendly  owner,  or  whether — not  having 
where  to  lay  His  head — He  simply  slept,  Eastern  fashion, 
on  the  green  turf  under  those  ancient  olive-trees,  we 
cannot  tell ;  but  it  is  interesting  to  trace  in  Him  once 
more  that  dislike  of  crowded  cities,  that  love  for  the 
pure,  sweet,  fresh  air,  and  for  the  quiet  of  the  lonely 
hill,  which  we  see  in  all  parts  of  His  career  on  earth. 
There  was,  indeed,  in  Him  nothing  of  that  supercilious 
sentimentality  and  morbid  egotism  which  makes  men 
shrink  from  all  contact  with  their  brother-men ;  nor  can 
they  who  would  be  His  true  servants  belong  to  those 
merely  fantastic  philanthropists 

"Who  sigh  for  wretchedness,  yet  shun  the  wretched, 
Nursing  in  some  delicious  solitude 
Their  dainty  loves  and  slothful  sympathies." 

On  the  contrary,  day  after  day,  while  His  day-time  of 
work  continued,  we  find  Him  sacrificing  all  that  was 
dearest  and  most  elevating  to  His  soul,  and  in  spite  of 
heat,  and  pressure,  and  conflict,  and  weariness,  calmly 
pursuing  His  labours  of  love  amid  "  the  madding  crowd's 
ignoble  strife."  But  in  the  night-time,  when  men  cannot 
work,  no  call  of  duty  required  His  presence  within  the 
walls  of  Jerusalem  ;  and  those  who  are  familiar  with  the 
oppressive  foulness  of  ancient  cities  can  best  imagine  the 
relief  which  His  spirit  must  have  felt  when  he  could 
escape  from  the  close  streets  and  thronged  bazaars,  to 
cross  the  ravine,  and  climb  the  green  slope  beyond  it, 
and  be  alone  with  His  Heavenly  Father  under  the  starry 
night. 

But  when  the  day  dawned  His  duties  lay  once  more 
within  the  city  walls,  and  in  that  part  of  the  city  where, 
almost  alone,  we  hear  of  His  presence — in  the  courts 
of  His  Father's  house.  And  with  the  very  dawn  His 


64  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

enemies  contrived  a  fresh  plot  against  Him,  the  circum- 
stances of  which  made  their  malice  even  more  actually 
painful  than  it  was  intentionally  perilous. 

It  is  probable  that  the  hilarity  and  abandonment  oJ 
the  Feast  of  Tabernacles,  which  had  grown  to  be  a  kin< 
of  vintage  festival,  would  often  degenerate  into  acts  oi 
licence  and  immorality,  and  these  would  find  more 
numerous  opportunities  in  the  general  disturbance  of 
ordinary  life  caused  by  the  dwelling  of  the  whole  people 
in  their  little  leafy  booths.  One  such  act  had  been 
detected  during  the  previous  night,  and  the  guilty 
woman  had  been  handed  over  to  the  Scribes1  and 
Pharisees. 

Even  had  the  morals  of  the  nation  at  that  time  been 
as  clean  as  in  the  days  when  Moses  ordained  the  fearful 
ordeal  of  the  "water  of  jealousy  "3 — even  had  these  rulers 
and  teachers  of  the  nation  been  elevated  as  far  above 
their  contemporaries  in  the  real,  as  in  the  professed, 
sanctity  of  their  lives — the  discovery,  and  the  threatened 
punishment,  of  this  miserable  adulteress  could  hardly 
have  failed  to  move  every  pure  and  noble  mind  to  a 
compassion  which  would  have  mingled  largely  with  the 
horror  which  her  sin  inspired.  They  might,  indeed,  even 
on  those  suppositions,  have  inflicted  the  established 
penalty  with  a  sternness  as  inflexible  as  that  of  the 
Pilgrim  Fathers  in  the  early  days  of  Salem  or  Provi- 
dence ;  but  the  sternness  of  a  severe  and  pure-hearted 
judge  is  not  a  sternness  which  precludes  all  pity;  it 
is  a  sternness  which  would  not  willingly  inflict  one 


1  It  is  observable  that  in  no  other  passage  of  St.  John's  Gospel  (though 
frequently  in  the  Synoptists)  are  the  Scribes  mentioned  among  the  enemies 
of  Christ ;  but  here  a  few  MSS.  read  oi  dpx^p^s,  "  the  chief  priests." 

2  See  Numb.  y.  14—29. 


THE  SIN  OF  ADULTERY.  65 

unnecessary  pang — it  is  a  sternness  not  incompatible 
with  a  righteous  tenderness,  but  wholly  incompatible 
with  a  mixture  of  meaner  and  slighter  motives,  wholly 
incompatible  with  a  spirit  of  malignant  levity  and 
hideous  sport. 

But  the  spirit  which  actuated  these  Scribes  and 
Pharisees  was  not  by  any  means  the  spirit  of  a  sincere 
and  outraged  purity.  In  the  decadence  of  national  life, 
in  the  daily  familiarity  with  heathen  degradations,  in 
the  gradual  substitution  of  a  Levitical  scrupulosity  for  a 
heartfelt  religion,  the  morals  of  the  nation  had  long 
grown  corrupt.  The  ordeal  of  the  "  water  of  jealousy  " 
had  long  been  abolished,  and  the  death  by  stoning  as 
a  punishment  for  adultery  had  long  been  suffered  to  fall 
into  desuetude.  Not  even  the  Scribes  and  Pharisees — 
for  all  their  external  religiosity — had  any  genuine  horror 
of  an  impurity  with  which  their  own  lives  were  often 
stained.1  They  saw  in  the  accident  which  had  put  this 
guilty  woman  into  their  power  nothing  but  a  chance  of 
annoying,  entrapping,  possibly  even  endangering  this 
Prophet  of  Galilee,  whom  they  already  regarded  as  theii 
deadliest  enemy. 

It  was  a  curious  custom  among  the  Jews  to  consult 
distinguished  Eabbis  in  cases  of  doubt  and  difficulty;2 
but  there  was  no  cloubt  or  difficulty  here.  It  was  long 
since  the  Mosaic  law  of  death  to  the  adulteress  had  been 
demanded  or  enforced ;  and  even  if  this  had  not  been 
the  case,  the  Eoman  law  would,  in  all  probability,  have 

1  As  is  distinctly  proved  by  the  admissions  of  the  Talmud,  and  by  the 
express  testimony  of  Josephus.     In  the  tract  Sotah  it  is  clear  that  the 
Mosaic  ordeal  of  the  "water  of  jealousy  "  had  fallen  into  practical  desuetude 
from  the  commonness  of  the  crime.     We  are  there  told  that  R.  Johanan 
Ben  Zakkai  abolished  the  use  of  it  (see  Surenhusius,  Mischna,  ii.  290,  293). 

2  Sepp,  Leben  Jesu,  iv.  2,  17. 


66 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


prevented  such  a  sentence  from  being  put  in  execution. 
On  the  other  hand,  the  civil  and  religious  penalties  o] 
divorce  were  open  to  the  injured  husband  ;  nor  did  the 
case  of  this  woman  differ  from  that  of  any  other  who 
had  similarly  transgressed.  Nor,  again,  even  if  they 
had  honestly  and  sincerely  desired  the  opinion  of  Jesus, 
could  there  have  been  the  slightest  excuse  for  haling 
the  woman  herself  into  His  presence,  and  thus  subject- 
ing her  to  a  moral  torture  which  would  be  rendered  all 
the  more  insupportable  from  the  close  seclusion  of 
women  in  the  East. 

And,  therefore,  to  subject  her  to  the  superfluous 
horror  of  this  odious  publicity  —  to  drag  her,  fresh  from 
the  agony  of  detection,  into  the  sacred  precincts  of  the 
Temple  l  —  to  subject  this  unveiled,  dishevelled,  terror- 
stricken  woman  to  the  cold  and  sensual  curiosity  of  a 
malignant  mob  —  to  make  her,  with  total  disregard  to  her 
own  sufferings,  the  mere  passive  instrument  of  their 
hatred  against  Jesus  ;  and  to  do  all  this,  not  under  the 
pressure  of  moral  indignation,  but  in  order  to  gratify  a 
calculating  malice,  showed  on  their  parts  a  cold,  hard 
cynicism,  a  graceless,  pitiless,  barbarous  brutality  of 
heart  and  conscience,  which  could  not  but  prove,  in 
every  particular,  revolting  and  hateful  to  One  who  alone 
was  infinitely  tender,  because  He  alone  was  infinitely 
pure. 

And  so  they  dragged  her  to  Him,  and  set  her  in  the 
midst  —  flagrant  guilt  subjected  to  the  gaze  of  stainless 
Innocence,  degraded  misery  set  before  the  bar  of  perfect 


1  It  is  indeed  said  in  the  Talmud  (Sotah,  1,  5)  that  adulteresses  were  to 
be  judged  at  the  gate  of  Mkanor,  between  the  Court  of  the  Gentiles  and 
that  of  the  women  (Surenhusius,  Mischna,  iii.  189) ;  but  this  does  not  apply 
to  the  mere  loose  asking  of  an  opinion,  such  as  this  was. 


THE  SUBTLE  QUESTION.  67 

Mercy.  And  then,  just  as  though  their  hearts  were  not 
full  of  outrage,  they  glibly  begin,  with  ironical  deference, 
to  set  before  Him  their  case.  "  Master,  this  woman  was 
seized  in  the  very  act  of  adultery.  Now,  Moses  in  the 
Law  commanded  us  to  stone1  such;  but  what  sayest 
Thou  about  her?" 

They  thought  that  now  they  had  caught  Him  in  a 
dilemma.  They  knew  the  divine  trembling  pity  which 
had  loved  where  others  hated,  and  praised  where  others 
scorned,  and  encouraged  where  others  crushed ;  and 
they  knew  how  that  pity  had  won  for  Him  the  admira- 
tion of  many,  the  passionate  devotion  of  not  a  few. 
They  knew  that  a  publican  was  among  the  chosen,  that 
sinners  had  sat  with  Him  at  the  banquet,  and  harlots 
unreproved  had  bathed  His  feet,  and  listened  to  His 
words.  Would  He  then  acquit  this  woman,  and  so 
make  Himself  liable  to  an  accusation  of  heresy,  by 
placing  Himself  in  open  disaccord  with  the  sacred  and 
fiery  Law  ?  or,  on  the  other  hand,  would  He  belie  His 
own  compassion,  and  be  ruthless,  and  condemn  ?  And, 
if  He  did,  would  He  not  at  once  shock  the  multitude, 
who  were  touched  by  His  tenderness,  and  offend  the 
civil  magistrates  by  making  Himself  liable  to  a  charge  of 
sedition  ?  How  could  He  possibly  get  out  of  the  diffi- 
culty ?  Either  alternative — heresy  or  treason,  accusation 
before  the  Sanhedrin  or  delation  to  the  Procurator, 

1  The  ras  Toiavras  is  contemptuous ;  but  where  was  the  partner  of  her 
crime  ?  The  Law  commanded  that  he  too  should  be  put  to  death  (Lev.  xx, 
10).  As  to  stoning  being  the  proper  punishment  of  adultery,  a  needless 
difficulty  seems  to  have  been  raised  (see  Deut.  xxii.  22 — 24).  There  is  no 
ground  whatever  for  concluding  with  Lightfoot  (Hor.  Hebr.  ad  loc.)  that 
she  was  merely  betrothed.  (See  Ewald,  Gesch.  Christus,  480 ;  Alterthumsk, 
254—268;  Hitzig,  Joh.  Marc.  209.)  The  Rabbis  say  that  "  death,"  where 
no  form  of  it  is  specified,  is  meant  to  be  strangulation ;  but  this  is  not  the 
case  (compare  Exod.  xxxi.  14  with  Numb.  xv.  32—35). 


68 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


opposition  to  the  orthodox  or  alienation  from  the  many 
—  would  serve  equally  well  their  unscrupulous  intentions. 
And  one  of  these,  they  thought,  must  follow.  What  a 
happy  chance  this  weak,  guilty  woman  had  given  them  ! 

Not  yet.  A  sense  of  all  their  baseness,  their  hard- 
ness, their  malice,  their  cynical  parade  of  every  feeling 
which  pity  would  temper  and  delicacy  repress,  rushed 
over  the  mind  of  Jesus.  He  blushed  for  His  nation,  for 
His  race  ;  He  blushed,  not  for  the  degradation  of  the 
miserable  accused,  but  for  the  deeper  guilt  of  her  un- 
blushing accusers.1  Grlowing  with  uncontrollable  disgust 
that  modes  of  opposition  so  irredeemable  in  their  mean- 
ness should  be  put  in  play  against  Him,  and  that  He 
should  be  made  the  involuntary  centre  of  such  a  shameful 
scene  —  indignant  (for  it  cannot  be  irreverent  to  imagine 
in  Him  an  intensified  degree  of  emotions  which  even  the 
humblest  of  His  true  followers  would  have  shared)  that 
the  sacredness  of  His  personal  reserve  should  thus  be 
shamelessly  violated,  and  that  those  things  which  belong 
to  the  sphere  of  a  noble  reticence  should  be  thus  cyni- 
cally obtruded  on  His  notice  —  He  bent  His  face  forwards 
from  His  seat,  and  as  though  He  did  not,  or  would  not, 
hear  them,  stooped  and  wrote  with  His  finger  on  the 
ground. 

For  any  others  but  such  as  these  it  would  have 
been  enough.  Even  if  they  failed  to  see  in  the  action 
a  symbol  of  forgiveness  —  a  symbol  that  the  memory  of 
things  thus  written  in  the  dust  might  be  obliterated  and 
forgotten  2  —  still  any  but  these  could  hardly  have  failed 

1  In  the  Rabbinical  treatise  Beracholh,  R.  Papa  and  others  are  reported 
to  have  said  that  it  is  better  for  a  man  to  throw  himself  into  a  furnace 
than  to  make  any  one  blush  in  public,  which  they  deduced  from  Gen. 
xxxviii.  25.     (Schwab,  Berachoth,  p.  4.'04<.) 

2  Comp.  Jer.  xyii.  13. 


THE  APPEAL  TO  CONSCIENCE.  69 

to  interpret  the  gesture  into  a  distinct  indication  that  in 
such  a  matter  Jesus  would  not  mix  Himself.1  But  they 
saw  nothing  and  understood  no  chin  g,  and  stood  there 
unabashed,  still  pressing  their  brutal  question,  still  hold- 
ing, pointing  to,  jeering  at  the  woman,  with  no  com- 
punction in  their  cunning  glances,  and  no  relenting  in 
their  steeled  hearts. 

The  scene  could  not  last  any  longer ;  and,  therefore, 
raising  Himself  from  His  stooping  attitude,  He,  who 
could  read  their  hearts,  calmly  passed  upon  them  that 
sad  judgment  involved  in  the  memorable  words — 

"  Let  him  that  is  without  sin2  among  you,  first  cast 
the  stone  at  her."  3 

It  was  not  any  abrogation  of  the  Mosaic  law ;  it  was, 
on  the  contrary,  an  admission  of  its  justice,  and  doubt- 
less it  must  have  sunk  heavily  as  a  death-warrant  upon 
the  woman's  heart.  But  it  acted  in  a  manner  wholly 
unexpected.  The  terrible  law  stood  written  ;  it  was  not 
the  time,  it  was  not  His  will,  to  rescind  it.  But,  on  the 
other  hand,  they  themselves,  by  not  acting  on  the  law, 
by  referring  the  whole  question  to  Him  as  though  it 
needed  a  new  solution,  had  practically  confessed  that  the 
law  was  at  present  valid  in  theory  alone,  that  it  had 
fallen  into  desuetude,  and  that  even  with  His  authority 
they  had  no  intention  of  carrying  it  into  action.  Since, 
therefore,  the  whole  proceeding  was  on  their  part  illegal 
and  irregular,  He  transfers  it  by  these  words  from  the 
forum  of  law  to  that  of  conscience.  The  judge  may  some- 
times be  obliged  to  condemn  the  criminal  brought  before 


1  It  seems  to  have  been  well  understood.     See  "Wetstein  ad  loc. 

2  i.e.  free  from  the  taint  of  this  class  of  sins.     Cf.  Luke  vii.  37. 

3  spares  riv  \i6ov  (E,  G,  H,  K,  &c.).     Cf.  Deut.  xvii.  7.     (Surenhusius, 
Mischna,  iv.  235.) 


70 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


him  for  sins  of  which  he  has  himself  been  guilty,  but  the 
position  of  the  self-constituted  accuser  who  eagerly  de- 
mands a  needless  condemnation  is  very  different.  Herein 
to  condemn  her  would  have  been  in  God's  sight  most 
fatally  to  have  condemned  themselves  ;  to  have  been  the 
first  to  cast  the  stone  at  her  would  have  been  to  crush 
themselves. 

He  had  but  glanced  at  them  for  a  moment,  but  that 
glance  had  read  their  inmost  souls.  He  had  but  calmly 
spoken  a  few  simple  words,  but  those  words,  like  the  still 
small  voice  to  Elijah  at  Horeb,  had  been  more  terrible 
than  wind  or  earthquake.  They  had  fallen  like  a  spark 
of  fire  upon  slumbering  souls,  and  lay  burning  there 
till  "  the  blushing,  shame-faced  spirit "  mutinied  within 
them.  The  Scribes  and  Pharisees  stood  silent  and 
fearful ;  they  loosed  their  hold  upon  the  woman ;  their 
insolent  glances,  so  full  of  guile  and  malice,  fell  guiltily 
to  the  ground.  They  who  had  unjustly  inflicted,  now 
justly  felt  the  overwhelming  anguish  of  an  intolerable 
shame,  while  over  their  guilty  consciences  there  rolled, 
in  crash  on  crash  of  thunder,  such  thoughts  as  these : — 
"  Therefore  thou  art  inexcusable,  0  man,  whosoever 
thou  art  that  judgest :  for  wherein  thou  judgest  another, 
thou  condemnest  thyself:  for  thou  that  judgest  doest 
the  same  things.  But  we  are  sure  that  the  judgment  of 
God  is  according  to  truth  against  them  which  commit 
such  things.  And  thinkest  thou  this,  0  man,  that 
judgest  them  which  do  such  things  and  doest  the  same, 
that  thou  shalt  escape  the  judgment  of  God  ?  or  despisest 
thou  the  riches  of  His  goodness,  and  forbearance,  and 
long-suffering ;  not  knowing  that  the  goodness  of  God 
leadeth  thee  to  repentance  ?  but  after  thy  hardness  and 
impenitent  heart  treasurest  up  to  thyself  wrath  against 


[MISERY  AND  MERCY.  71 

the  day  of  wrath  and  revelation  of  the  righteous  judg- 
ment of  Grod,  who  will  render  to  every  man  according  to 
his  deeds."  They  were  "  such  "  as  the  woman  they  had 
condemned,  and  they  dared  not  stay. 

And  so,  with  burning  cheeks  and  cowed  hearts, 
from  the  eldest  to  the  youngest,  one  by  one  gradually, 
silently  they  slunk  away.  He  would  not  add  to  their 
shame  and  confusion  of  face  by  watching  them :  He 
had  no  wish  farther  to  reveal  His  knowledge  of  the 
impure  secrets  of  their  hearts ;  He  would  not  tempt 
them  to  brazen  it  out  before  Him,  and  to  lie  against  the 
testimony  of  their  own  memories ;  He  had  stooped  down 
once  more,  and  was  writing  on  the  ground.1 

And  when  He  once  more  raised  His  head,  all  the 
accusers  had  melted  away  :  only  the  woman  still  cowered 
before  Him  on  the  Temple-floor.  She,  too,  might  have 
gone :  none  hindered  her,  and  it  might  have  seemed 
but  natural  that  she  should  fly  anywhere  to  escape  her 
danger,  and  to  hide  her  guilt  and  shame.  But  remorse, 
and,  it  may  be,  an  awful  trembling  gratitude,  in  which 
hope  struggled  with  despair,  fixed  her  there  before  her 
Judge.  His  look,  the  most  terrible  of  all  to  meet, 
because  it  was  the  only  look  that  fell  on  her  from  a  soul 
robed  in  the  unapproachable  majesty  of  a  stainless  inno- 
cence, was  at  the  same  time  the  most  gentle,  and  the 
most  forgiving.  Her  stay  was  a  sign  of  her  penitence ; 
her  penitence,  let  us  trust,  a  certain  pledge  of  her  future 
forgiveness.  "Two  things,"  as  St.  Augustine  finely  says, 
"  were  here  left  alone  together — Misery  and  Mercy." 

1  The  MS.  U  (the  Cod.  Nanianus  in  St.  Mark's  at  Venice)  has  here  the 

Curious  reading  eypatyev  ets  T^V  ynv  evbs  eu.d(rrov  avrav  ras  a/j-aprtas — "He 
wrote  on  the  ground  the  sins  of  each  one  of  them ; "  which  shows  how 
early  began  the  impossible  and  irrelevant  surmises  as  to  what  He  wrote. 
This  is  the  only  passage  where  Christ  is  said  to  have  written  anything. 


72  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

"Woman,"»He  asked,  "where  are  those  thine  accusers! 
did  no  one  convict  thee  ?  " 

"  No  man,  Lord."  It  was  the  only  answer  which  her 
lips  could  find  power  to  frame  ;  and  then  she  received 
the  gracious  yet  heart-searching  permission  to  depart — 

"  Neither  do  I  convict  thee.  Go ;  henceforth  sin 
no  more."1 

Were  the  critical  evidence  against  the  genuineness 
of  this  passage  far  more  overwhelming  than  it  is,  it 
would  yet  hear  upon  its  surface  the  strongest  possible 
proof  of  its  own  authentic  truthfulness.  It  is  hardh 
too  much  to  say  that  the  mixture  which  it  displays  oi 
tragedy  and  of  tenderness — the  contrast  which  it  in- 
volves between  low,  cruel  cunning,  and  exalted  nobility 
of  intellect  and  emotion — transcends  all  power  of  human 
imagination  to  have  invented  it ;  while  the  picture  of  a 
divine  insight  reading  the  inmost  secrets  of  the  heart,  and 
a  yet  diviner  love,  which  sees  those  inmost  secrets  with 
larger  eyes  than  ours,  furnish  us  with  a  conception  of 
Christ's  power  and  person  at  once  too  lofty  and  too 
original  to  have  been  founded  on  anything  but  fact. 
No  one  could  have  invented,  for  few  could  even  appre- 
ciate, the  sovereign  purity  and  ineffable  charm — the 
serene  authority  of  condemnation,  and  of  pardon — by 
which  the  story  is.  so  deeply  characterised.  The  repeated 
instances  in  which,  without  a  moment's  hesitation,  He 
foiled  the  crafty  designs  of  His  enemies,  and  in  foiling 
them  taught  for  ever  some  eternal  principle  of  thought 
and  action,  are  among  the  most  unique  and  decisive 


1  "  Convict "  is  perhaps  better  than  "  condemn  "  (which  means  "  convict 
and  sentence")  here.  Perhaps  y  yw)i,  the  less  direct  address,  is  better 
than  yvvai.  After  /r/7/ceVi  I  read  airb  rov  vvv  with  D,  omitting  icoi.  But  every 
variation  of  reading  is  uncertain  in  this  paragraph. 


A  NEEDLESS  STUMBLING-BLOCK.  73 

proofs  of  His  more  than  human  wisdom.;  and  yet  not 
one  of  those  gleams  of  sacred  light  which  were  struck 
from  Him  by  collision  with  the  malice  or  hate  of  man 
was  brighter  or  more  beautiful  than  this.  The  very  fact 
that  the  narrative  found  so  little  favour  in  the  early 
centuries  of  Church  history1  —  the  fact  that  whole 
Churches  regarded  the  narrative  as  dangerous  in  its 
tendency2 — the  fact  that  eminent  Fathers  of  the  Church 
either  ignore  it,  or  speak  of  it  in  a  semi-apologetic  tone — 
in  these  facts  we  see  the  most  decisive  proof  that  its  real 
moral  and  meaning  are  too  transcendent  to  admit  of  its 
having  been  originally  invented,  or  interpolated  without 
adequate  authority  into  the  sacred  text.  Yet  it  is  strange 
that  any  should  have  failed  to  see  that  in  the  ray  of 
mercy  which  thus  streamed  from  heaven  upon  the 
wretched  sinner,  the  sin  assumed  an  aspect  tenfold  more 
heinous,  tenfold  more  repulsive  for  ever  to  the  conscience 
of  mankind — to  every  conscience  which  accepts  it  as  a 
law  of  life  that  it  should  strive  to  be  holy  as  Grod  is 
holy,  and  pure  as  He  is  pure. 

However  painful  this  scene  must  have  been  to  the 
holy  and  loving  heart  of  the  Saviour,  it  was  at  least 
alleviated  by  the  sense  of  that  compassionate  deliverance 
—deliverance,  we  may  trust,  for  Eternity,  no  less  than 
Time — which  it  had  wrought  for  one  guilty  soul.  But 
the  scenes  that  followed  were  a  climax  of  perpetual 

1  St.  Augustine  ( De  Conjug.  Adult,  ii.  6)  says  that  some  people  of  weak 
faith  removed  the  paragraph  from  their  MSS.,  "quasi  permissionem  peccandi 
tribuerifc  Q,ui  dixifc  Deinceps  noli  peccare." — St.  Ambrose  too  says  that 
"non  medrocj.'em  scrupulum  movere  potuit  imperitis."  (Apol.  David,  ii.  1.) 

2  The  Patriarch  Nikon  (in  the  tenth  century)  distinctly  says  that  the 
passage  had  been  expunged  from  the  Armenian  Version  because  it  was 
thought  pernicious   for  the    majority    (jSAajSepay    rots    ToAAoTs).      Bishop 
Wordsworth  thinks  that  the  extreme  severity  of  the  Eastern  Church 
against  adultery  facilitated  the  rejection  of  the  passage  by  them. 


74 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


misunderstandings,  fluctuating  impressions,  and  bitter 
taunts,  which  caused  the  great  and  joyous  festival  to 
end  with  a  sudden  burst  of  rage,  and  an  attempt  of  the 
Jewish  leaders  to  make  an  end  of  Him — not  by  public 
accusation,  but  by  furious  violence. 

For,  on  the  same  day — the  eighth  day  of  the  feast 
if  the  last  narrative  has  got  displaced,  the  day  after  the 
feast  if  it  belongs  to  the  true  sequence  of  events- 
Jesus  continued  those  interrupted  discourses  which  were 
intended  almost  for  the  last  time  to  set  clearly  before 
the  Jewish  nation  His  divine  claims. 

He  was  seated  at  that  moment  in  the  Treasury — 
either  some  special  building1  in  the  Temple  so  called,  or 
that  part  of  the  court  of  the  women  which  contained  the 
thirteen  chests  with  trumpet- shaped  openings — called 
sliopherotli — into  which  the  people,  and  especially  the 
Pharisees,  used  to  cast  their  gifts.  In  this  court,  and 
therefore  close  beside  Him,  were  two  gigantic  candelabra, 
fifty  cubits  high  and  sumptuously  gilded,2  on  the  summit 
of  which,  nightly,  during  the  Feast  of  Tabernacles,  lamps 
were  lit  which  shed  their  soft  light  over  all  the  city. 
Eound  these  lamps  the  people,  in  their  joyful  enthu- 
siasm, and  even  the  stateliest  Priests  and  Pharisees, 
joined  in  festal  dances,  while,  to  the  sound  of  flutes  and 
other  music,  the  Levites,  drawn  up  in  array  on  the  fifteen 
steps  which  led  up  to  the  court,  chanted  the  beautiful 
Psalms  which  early  received  the  title  of  "  Songs  of 
Degrees."3 

In  allusion  to  these  great  lamps,  on  which  some 

1  Jos.  Antt.  xix.  6,  §  1.     Compare  Luke  xxi.  1 ;  Mark  xii.  41. 

2  Pictures  of  these  colossal  lamps  are  given  in  Surenhusius's  Mischna, 
ii.  260.    The  wicks  of  the  four  lamps  which  stood  on  each  candelabrum  were 
made  of  the  cast-off  clothes  of  the  priests. 

*  3  Ps.  cxx. — cxxxiv. 


QUESTIONS   OF  THE  JEWS.  75 

circumstance  of  the  moment  may  have  concentrated 
the  attention  of  the  hearers,  Christ  exclaimed  to  them, 
"  I  am  the  Light  of  the  world."  It  was  His  constant 
plan  to  shape  the  illustrations  of  His  discourses  by  those 
external  incidents  which  would  rouse  the  deepest  atten- 
tion, and  fix  the  words  most  indelibly  on  the  memories 
of  His  hearers.  The  Pharisees  who  heard  His  words 
charged  Him  with  idle  self-glorification ;  but  He  showed 
them  that  He  had  His  Father's  testimony,  and  that 
even  were  it  not  so,  the  Light  can  only  be  seen,  only 
be  known,  by  the  evidence  of  its  own  existence ;  without 
it,  neither  itself  nor  anything  else  is  visible.1  They 
asked  Him,  "Where  is  Thy  Father?"  He  told  them 
that,  not  knowing  Him,  they  could  not  know  His 
Father ;  and  then  He  once  more  sadly  warned  them 
that  His  departure  was  nigh,  and  that  then  they  would 
be  unable  to  come  to  Him.  Their  only  reply  was  a 
taunting  inquiry  whether,  by  committing  suicide,  He 
meant  to  plunge  Himself  in  the  darkest  regions  of  the 
grave  ?2  Nay,  He  made  them  understand,  it  was  they, 
not  He,  who  were  from  below — they,  not  He,  who  were 
destined,  if  they  persisted  in  unbelief  of  His  eternal 
existence,  to  that  dark  end.  "  Who  art  thou  ?  "  they 
once  more  asked,  in  angry  and  faithless  perplexity. 
"  Altogether  that  which  I  am  telling  you/'3  He  calmly 

1  "  Testimonium  sibi  perhibet  lux :  .  .  .  sibi  ipsa  testis  est,  ut  cogno- 
scatur  lux."     (Aug.) 

2  See  Jos.  B,  Jud.  ill.  8,  §  5,  rovruv  [AW  alStjs  Se^erou  ras  ^v^as  ffKOTKarepos. 

3  John  viii.  25,  T^V  apxV  grt  Ka*  AaAt5  "A""-     A  vast  number  of  render- 
ings have  been  proposed  for  this  text.     Some  may  be  rejected  at  once — as 
Liicke's,  "  To  begin  with,  why  do  I  even  speak  to  you  ?  "  and  Meyer's,  "  Do 
ye  ask  what  I  say  to  you  at  the  first?"     That  of  De  Wette,  Stier,  Alford, 
&c.,is  "Essentially  that  which  I  speak" — i.e.,  My  being  is  My  revelation — 
I  am  the  Word.     The  objection  to  the  rendering  in  our  English  version  is 
that  it  makes  AaAw,  "Jam  speaking"  equivalent  to  eAe£a,  "I  said;"  but,  on 


76  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

answered.  They  wanted  Him  to  announce  Himself  as 
the  Messiah,  and  so  become  their  temporal  deliverer; 
but  He  will  only  tell  them  the  far  deeper,  more  eternal 
truths,  that  He  is  the  Light,  and  the  Life,  and  the 
Living  Water,  and  that  He  came  from  the  Father — as 
they,  too,  should  know  when  they  had  lifted  Him  up 
upon  the  cross.  They  were  looking  solely  for  the 
Messiah  of  the  Jews :  He  would  have  them  know 
Him  as  the  Eedeemer  of  the  world,  the  Saviour  of  their 
souls. 

As  they  heard  Him  speak,  many,  even  of  these  fierce 
enemies,  were  won  over  to  a  belief  in  Him  :  but  it  was 
a  wavering  belief,  a  half  belief,  a  false  belief,  a  belief 
mingled  with  a  thousand  worldly  and  erroneous  fancies, 
not  a  belief  which  had  in  it  any  saving  power,  or  on 
which  He  could  rely.  And  He  put  it  to  an  imme- 
diate test,  which  revealed  its  hollowness,  and  changed  it 
into  mad  hatred.  He  told  them  that  faithfulness  and 
obedience  were  the  marks  of  true  discipleship,  and  the 
requisites  of  true  freedom.  The  word  freedom  acted  as 
a  touchstone  to  show  the  spuriousness  of  their  incipient 
faith.  They  knew  of  no  freedom  but  that  political  free- 

the  other  hand,  we  never  elsewhere  find  Christ  using  such  an  expression  as 
"  I  am  that  which  I  speak"  The  same  objection  applies  to  the  interpre- 
tation of  Augustine  and  others,  "I  am,  what  I  am  saying  to  you,  The 
Beginning  "  (Rev.  xxi.  6 ;  xxii.  13 ;  1  John  ii.  13).  Lange  seems  to  me  to 
be  right  in  rendering  it  "  To  start  with  (or,  '  in  the  first  place '),  that  which 
I  represent  Myself  as  being."  Mr.  Monro  suggests  to  me  the  view  that 
the  question  of  the  Jews,  2i>  T(S  el,  evidently  refers  to  the  mysterious  tyu  etV* 
of  the  previous  verse  (ver.  24).  Treating  the  question  as  virtually  an 
interruption,  Jesus  tells  them  (ver.  28)  that  they  should  not  understand  the 
ty6  elfj.i  till  a  later  experience ;  but  returning  to  \6yos  and  AoAw  (vv.  37,  38, 
40,  43)  gives  a  hint  as  to  the  tya  elfju  in  44,  47,  and  a  yet  fuller  answer  in 
57,  58 ;  yet  not  so  full  or  clear  as  in  ix.  37.  On  this  view  viii.  25  might 
perhaps  mean,  "  I  will  tell  you  first  of  all  what  I  say." 


ANGER  OF  THE  JEWS.  77 

dom  which  they  falsely  asserted;  they  resented  the 
promise  of  future  spiritual  freedom  in  lieu  of  the  achieve- 
ment of  present  national  freedom.  So  Jesus  showed 
them  that  they  were  still  the  slaves  of  sin,  and  in  name 
only,  not  in  reality,  the  children  of  Abraham,  or  the 
children  of  Grod.  They  were  absorbed  with  pride  when 
they  thought  of  the  purity  of  their  ancestral  origin,  and 
the  privilege  of  their  exclusive  monotheism;1  but  He  told 
them  that  in  very  truth  they  were,  by  spiritual  affinity,  the 
affinity  of  cruelty  and  falsehood,3  children  of  him  who 
was  a  liar  and  a  murderer  from  the  beginning — children 
of  the  devil.3  That  home-rebuke  stung  them  to  fury. 
They  repaid  it  by  calling  Jesus  a  Samaritan,  and  a  de- 
moniac.4 Our  Lord  gently  put  the  taunt  aside,  and 
once  more  held  out  to  them  the  gracious  promise. that  if 
they  will  but  keep  His  sayings,  they  not  only  shall  not 
die  in  their  sins,  but  shall  not  see  death.  Their  dull, 
blind  hearts  could  not  even  imagine  a  spiritual  meaning 
in  His  words.  They  could  only  charge  Him  with  demo- 
niac arrogance  and  insolence  in  making  Himself  greater 
than  Abraham  and  the  prophets,  of  whom  they  could 

1  Alike  the  Bible  and  the  Talmud  abound  in  proofs  of  the  intense 
national  arrogance  with  which  the  Jews  regarded  their  religion  and  their 
descent. 

2  John  viii.  44.    Untrniibfulness   seems  to  have  been  in  all  ages  a 
failing   of  the   Jewish  national  character.      "Listen  to  all,  but   believe 
no  one — not  even  me"  said  Sapir  to  Dr.  Frankl  (Jews  in  the  East,  E.  Tr., 
ii.  11). 

3  I  am  awa,re  that  some  make  Jesus  call  the  Jews  not  "  children,"  but 
"brefliren  of  the  devil,"  translating  roG  Travpbs  TOV  8ia.p6\ov  (ver.  44),  of  "the 
father  of  the  devil,"  and  rendering  the  end  of  verse  44  "he  is  a  liar,  and 
his  father  too  ;"  but  I  do  not  understand  this  demonolcgy. 

4  John  viii.   48,    "  Thou  art  a    Samaritan "   (what    intense    national 
hatred  breathes  in  the  words  !),  "  and  bast  a  demon."     Similarly  the  Arabs 
attribute  all  madness  to  evil  spirits  (SKifnovqs  =  Medjnoun  ente}.    (Renan, 
Vie  ds  Jesus,  272.) 


78  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

only  think  as  dead.1  Jesus  told  them  that  in  prophetic 
vision,  perhaps  too  by  spiritual  intuition,  in  that  other 
world,  Abraham,  who  was  not  dead,  but  living,  saw  and 
rejoiced  to  see  His  day.  Such  an  assertion  appeared  to 
them  either  senseless  or  blasphemous.  "  Abraham  has 
been  dead  for  seventeen  centuries ;  Thou  art  not  even 
fifty2  years  old ;  how  are  we  to  understand  such  words 
as  these  ?  "  Then  very  gently,  but  with  great  solemnity, 
and  with  that  formula  of  asseveration  which  He  only 
used  when  He  announced  His  most  solemn  truths,  the 
Saviour  revealed  to  them  His  eternity,  His  Divine  pre- 
existence  before  He  had  entered  the  tabernacle  of 
mortal  flesh : 

"Verily,  verily  I  say  unto  you,  Before  Abraham 
came  into  existence,  I  am."3 

Then,  with  a  burst  of  impetuous  fury — one  of  those 

1  Luke  xvi.  22;  Matt.  xxii.  32. 

2  In  some  valueless  MSS.  this  is  quite  needlessly  corrected  into  "forty." 
It  is  strange  that  modern  writers  like  Gfrorer  should  have  revived  the 
mistaken  inference  of  Irenseus  from  this  verse  that  Jesus  lived  fifty  years 
on  earth.    The  belief  that  He  died  at  the  age  of  thirty-three  may  be  re- 
garded as  nearly  certain,  and  it  cannot  even  be  safely  conjectured  from  this 
passage  either  that  the  sorrows  of  His  lot  had  marred  His  visage,  or  that 
the  deep  seriousness  of  His  expression  made  Him  appear  older  than  He  was. 
It  is  obvious  that  the  Jews  are  speaking  generally,  and  in  round  numbers : 

Thou  hast  not  yet  reached  even  the  full  years   of  manhood,  and  hast 
Thou  seen  Abraham?" 

3  John  viii.  58,  irplv  'AjSpaa/u  yevtvGai,  eyo)  elfn.     There  could  be  no  more 
distinct  assertion  of  His  divine  nature.      I  have  pointed  out  elsewhere  that 
those  who  deny  this  must  either  prove  that  He  never  spoke  those  words, 
or  must  believe  that  He — the  most  lowly  and  sinless  and  meek-hearted  of 
men — was  guilty  of  a  colossal  and  almost  phrenetic  intoxication  of  vanity 
and  arrogance.     For  the  Jews,  more  intensely  than  any  other  nation  which 
the  world  has  ever  known,  recognised  the  infinite  transcendence  of  God, 
and  therefore  for  a  Jew,  being  merely  man,  to  claim  Divinity,  would  not 
only  be  inconsistent  with  ordinary  sense  and  virtue,  but  inconsistent  with 
anything  but  sheer  blasphemous  insanity.      See  the  Author's  Hulsean 
Lectures,  The  Witness  of  History  to  Christ,  p.  85. 


DEPARTURE   OF  JESUS.  79 

paroxysms  of  sudden,  uncontrollable,  frantic  rage  to 
which  this  people  has  in  all  ages  been  liable  upon  any 
collision  with  its  religious  convictions — they  took  up 
stones  to  stone  Him.1  But  the  very  blindness  of  their 
rage  made  it  more  easy  to  elude  them.  His  hour  was 
not  yet  come.  With  perfect  calmness  He  departed 
unhurt  out  of  the  Temple. 

1  The  unfinished  state  of  the  Temple  buildings  would  supply  them  with 
huge  stones  close  at  hand. 


CHAPTER  XLL 


THE      MAN      BORN      BLIND. 

"  He  from  thick  films  shall  purge  the  visual  ray, 
And  on  the  sightless  eyeball  pour  the  day." — POPE. 

EITHER  on  His  way  from  the  Temple,  after  this  at- 
tempted assault,  or  on  the  next  ensuing  Sabbath,1  Jesus, 
as  He  passed  by,  saw  a  man  blind  from  his  birth,  who, 
perhaps,  announced  his  miserable  condition  as  he  sat 
begging  by  the  roadside,  and  at  the  Temple  gate.3 

All  the  Jews  were  trained  to  regard  special  suffering 
as  the  necessary  and  immediate  consequence  of  special 
sin.  Perhaps  the  disciples  supposed  that  the  words  of 
our  Lord  to  the  paralytic  whom  He  had  healed  at 
the  Pool  of  Bethesda,  as  well  as  to  the  paralytic  at 
Capernaum,  might  seem  to  sanction  such  an  impression. 
They  asked,  therefore,  how  this  man  came  to  be  born 
blind.  Could  it  be  in  consequence  of  the  sins  of  his 
parents  ?  If  not,  was  there  any  way  of  supposing  that 
it  could  have  been  for  his  own  ?  The  supposition  in 

1  It  is  impossible  to  decide  between  these  alternatives,     if  it  was  on 
the  same  Sabbath,  the  extreme  calmness  of  our  Lord,  immediately  after 
circumstances  of  such  intense  excitement,  would  be  very  noticeable.     In 
either  case  the  narrative  implies  that  the  ebullition  of  homicidal  fury  against 
Him  was  transient. 

2  John  v.  14. 


A  MISTAKEN  QUESTION. 


81 


former  case  seemed  hard ;  in  the  latter,  impossible.1 
They  were  therefore  perplexed. 

Into  the  unprofitable  regions  of  such  barren  specula- 
tion our  Lord  refused  to  follow  them,  and  He  declined,  as 
always,  the  tendency  to  infer  and  to  sit  in  judgment 
upon  the  sins  of  others.  Neither  the  man's  sins,  He  told 
them,  nor  those  of  his  parents,  had  caused  that  lifelong 
affliction ;  but  now,  by  means  of  it,2  the  works  of  God 
should  be  made  manifest.  He,  the  Light  of  the  world, 
must  for  a  short  time  longer  dispel  its  darkness.  Then 
He  spat  on  the  ground,  made  clay  with  the  spittle,  and 
smearing  it  on  the  blind  man's  eyes,  bade  him  "  go  wash 
in  the  Pool  of  Siloam."3  The  blind  man  went,  washed, 
and  was  healed. 

1  Exod.  xx.  5.     "We  can  hardly  imagine  that  those  simple-minded  Gali- 
Iseans  were  familiar  with  the  doctrine  of  metempsychosis  (Jos.  Antt.  xviii. 
1,  §  3 ;   B,  J.  ii.  8,  §  14) ;    or  the  Rabbinic  fancy  of  ante-natal  sin ;  or  the 
Platonic  and  Alexandrian  fancy  of  pre-existence  ;  or  the  modern  conception 
of  proleptic  punishment  for  sins  anticipated  by  foreknowledge. 

2  The  Greek  idiom  does  not  here  imply,  as  its  literal  English  equivalent 
appears  to  do,  that  the  man  had  been  born  blind  solely  in  order  that  God's 
glory  might  be  manifested  in  his  healing.      The  'iva.  expresses  a  conse- 
quence, not  a  purpose — it  has,  technically  speaking,  a  metabatic,  not  a  telic 
force.     This  was  pointed  out  long  ago  by  Chrysostom  and  Theophylactr 
and  Glassius  in  his  valuable  Philolog.  Sacr.,  pp.  529,  530,  gives  many 
similar  instances — e.g.,  Rom.  iii.  4 ;  v.  20 ;    and  comp.  John  xi.  4  ;    xii.  40. 
It  would,  however,  carry  me  too  far  if  I  attempted  to  enter  into  the 
subject  further  here. 

3  "  Which,"  adds  St.  John — or  possibly  a  very  ancient  gloss — "  means 
Sent."     It  is  found  in  all  MSS.,  but  not  in  the  Persian  and  Syriac  versions. 
The  remark  is  rather  allusive  than  etymological,  and  connects  the  name  of 
the  fountain  with  the  name  of  the  Messiah ;  but  the  possible  grammatical 
accuracy  of  the  reference  seems  now  to  be  admitted.    (See  Neander,  Life 
of  Christ,  p.  199  ;  Ebrard,  Gosp.  Hist,  p.  317  ;  Hitzig,  Isaiah,  97.)     Justin 
Martyr  (Dial.  c.  Tryph.  63,  p.  81)  refers  to  the  Messiah  as  ctTroVroAos, 
perhaps  with  a  view  to  Isa.  viii.  6.     The  fact  that  "  the  waters  of  Siloah 
that  flow  softly  "  were  supposed,  like  those  of  other  intermittent  springs 
near  Jerusalem,  to  have  a  healing  power,  would  help  the   man's  faith. 
Even  Mohammedans  say  that  "  Zeiuzein  and  Siloah  are  the  two  fountains 
of  Paradise." 


82  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

The  saliva  of  one  who  had  not  recently  broken  his 
fast  was  believed  among  the  ancients  to  have  a  healing 
efficacy  in  cases  of  weak  eyes,  and  clay  was  occasionally 
used  to  repress  tumours  on  the  eyelids.1  But  that  these 
instruments  in  no  way  detracted  from  the  splendour  of 
the  miracle  is  obvious  ;  and  we  have  no  means  of  deciding 
in  this,  any  more  than  in  the  parallel  instances,  why  our 
Lord,  who  sometimes  healed  by  a  word,  preferred  at  other 
times  to  adopt  slow  and  more  elaborate  methods  of  giving 
effect  to  His  supernatural  power.  In  this  matter  He 
never  revealed  the  principles  of  action  which  doubtless 
arose  from  His  inner  knowledge  of  the  circumstances, 
and  from  His  insight  into  the  hearts  of  those  on  whom 
His  cures  were  wrought.  Possibly  He  had  acted  with 
the  express  view  of  teaching  more  than  one  eternal 
lesson  by  the  incidents  which  followed. 

At  any  rate,  in  this  instance,  His  mode  of  action  led 
to  serious  results.  For  the  man  had  been  well  known 
in  Jerusalem  as  one  who  had  been  a  blind  beggar  all  his 
life,  and  his  appearance  with  the  use  of  his  eyesight 
caused  a  tumult  of  excitement.  Scarcely  could  those 
who  had  known  him  best  believe  even  his  own  testimony, 
that  he  was  indeed  the  blind  beggar  with  whom  they 
had  been  so  familiar.  They  were  lost  in  amazement,  and 
made  him  repeat  again  and  again  the  story  of  his  cure. 
But  that  story  infused  into  their  astonishment  a  fresh 
element  of  Pharisaic  indignation;  for  this  cure  also 
had  been  wrought  on  a  Sabbath  day.  The  Eabbis  had 

1  See  Suet.  Vesp.  7 ;  Tac.  Hist  iv,  8 ;  Plin.  H  N.  xxviii.  7 ;  and  other 
classical  passages  quoted  by  Wetstein  and  subsequent  commentators.  Such 
indications  as  that  of  St.  John  are,  under  these  circumstances,  an  invaluable 
mark  of  truth ;  for  what  mythopoaic  imagination,  intent  only  on  glorify- 
ing its  object,  would  invent  particulars  which  might  be  regarded  as 
depreciatory  ? 


THE   SABBATH  OF  EABBINISM.  83 

forbidden  any  man  to  smear  even  one  of  his  eyes  with 
spittle  on  the  Sabbath,  except  in  cases  of  mortal  danger. 
Jesus  had  not  only  smeared  both  the  man's  eyes,  but  had 
actually  mingled  the  saliva  with  clay !  This,  as  an  act 
of  mercy,  was  in  the  deepest  and  most  inward  accord- 
ance with  the  very  causes  for  which  the  Sabbath  had 
been  ordained,  and  the  very  lessons  of  which  it  was 
meant  to  be  a  perpetual  witness.  But  the  spirit  of 
narrow  literalism  and  slavish  minuteness  and  quantita- 
tive obedience — the  spirit  that  hoped  to  be  saved  by 
the  algebraical  sum  of  good  and  bad  actions — had  long 
degraded  the  Sabbath  from  the  true  idea  of  its  insti- 
tution into  a  pernicious  superstition.  The  Sabbath  of 
Rabbinism,  with  all  its  petty  servility,  was  in  no  respect 
the  Sabbath  of  God's  loving  and  holy  law.  It  had 
degenerated  into  that  which  St.  Paul  calls  it,  ^TTTW^LKOV 
aroi^elovy  or  "  beggarly  element."1 

And  these  Jews  were  so  imbued  with  this  utter  little- 
ness, that  a  unique  miracle  of  mercy  awoke  in  them  less 
of  astonishment  and  gratitude  than  the  horror  kindled 
by  a  neglect  of  their  Sabbatical  superstition.  Accord- 
ingly, in  all  the  zeal  of  letter- worshipping  religionism, 
they  led  oif  the  man  to  the  Pharisees  in  council.  Then 
followed  the  scene  which  St.  John  has  recorded  in  a 
manner  so  inimitably  graphic  in  his  ninth  chapter. 
First  came  the  repeated  inquiry,  "how  the  thing  had 
been  done?"  followed  by  the  repeated  assertion  of  some 
of  them  that  Jesus  could  not  be  from  God,  because  He 
had  not  observed  the  Sabbath ;  and  the  reply  of  others 
that  to  press  the  Sabbath-breaking  was  to  admit  the 
miracle,  and  to  admit  the  miracle  was  to  establish  the 
fact  that  He  who  performed  it  could  not  be  the  criminal 

1  Gal.  iv.  9. 


84 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


whom  the  others  described.  Then,  being  completely  a1 
a  standstill,  they  asked  the  blind  man  his  opinion  of  hi« 
deliverer ;  and  he — not  being  involved  in  their  vicious 
circle  of  reasoning — replied  with  fearless  promptitude, 
"He  is  a  Prophet."1 

By  this  time  they  saw  the  kind  of  nature  with  which 
they  had  to  deal,  and  anxious  for  any  loophole  by  which 
they  could  deny  or  set  aside  the  miracle,  they  sent  for 
the  man's  parents.  "Was  this  their  son?  If  they 
asserted  that  he  had  been  born  blind,  how  was  it  that 
he  now  saw  ?  "  Perhaps  they  hoped  to  browbeat  or  to 
bribe  these  parents  into  a  denial  of  their  relationship,  or 
an  admission  of  imposture ;  but  the  parents  also  clung 
to  the  plain  truth,  while,  with  a  certain  Judaic  servility 
and  cunning,  they  refused  to  draw  any  inferences  which 
would  lay  them  open  to  unpleasant  consequences.  "  This 
is  certainly  our  son,  and  he  was  certainly  born  blind  ;  as 
to  the  rest,  we  know  nothing.  Ask  him.  He  is  quite 
capable  of  answering  for  himself." 

Then — one  almost  pities  their  sheer  perplexity— 
they  turned  to  the  blind  man  again.  He,  as  well  as  his 
parents,  knew  that  the  Jewish  authorities  had  agreed 
to  pronounce  the  cherem,  or  ban  of  exclusion  from  the 
synagogue,  on  any  one  who  should  venture  to  acknow- 
ledge Jesus  as  the  Messiah;  and  the  Pharisees  pro- 
bably hoped  that  he  would  be  content  to  follow  their 
advice,  to  give  glory  to  Grod,2  i.e.,  deny  or  ignore  the 

1  And  the  Jews  themselves  went  so  far  as  to  say  that  "  if  a  prophet  of 
undoubted  credentials  should  command  all  persons  to  light  fires  on  the 
Sabbath  day,  arm  themselves  for  war,  kill  the  inhabitants,  &c.,  it  would 
behove  all  to  rise  up  without  delay  and  execute  all  that  he  should  direct 
without  scruple  or  hesitation."   (Maimonides,  Porta  Mosis,  p.  29  [Pocock]  ; 
Allen's  Mod.  Judaism,  p.  26.) 

2  "As  if  they  would  bind  him  to  the  strictest  truthfulness"  (Lange,  iii. 


THE  BLIND  MAN  EXAMINED.  85 

miracle,   and  to  accept  their  dictum  that  Jesus  was  a 
sinner. 

But  the  man  was  made  of  sturdier  stuff  than  his 
parents.  He  was  not  to  be  overawed  by  their  authority, 
or  knocked  down  by  their  assertions.  He  breathed  quite 
freely  in  the  halo-atmosphere  of  their  superior  sanctity. 
"We  know''  the  Pharisees  had  said,  "that  this  man 
is  a  sinner."  "Whether  He  is  a  sinner,"  the  man 
replied,  "/  do  not  know ;  one  thing  I  do  know,  that,  being 
blind,  now  I  see."  Then  they  began  again  their  weary 
and  futile  cross-examination.  "  What  did  He  do  to 
thee  ?  how  did  He  open  thine  eyes  ?  "  But  the  man 
had  had  enough  of  this.  "  I  told  you  once,  and  ye 
did  not  attend.  Why  do  ye  wish  to  hear  again?  Is 
it  possible  that  ye  too  wish  to  be  His  disciples  ? " 
Bold  irony  this — to  ask  these  stately,  ruffled,  scrupulous 
Sanhedrists,  whether  he  was  really  to  regard  them  as 
anxious  and  sincere  inquirers  about  the  claims  of  the 
Nazarene  Prophet !  Clearly  here  was  a  man  whose 
presumptuous  honesty  would  neither  be  bullied  into 
suppression  or  corrupted  into  a  lie.  He  was  quite  im- 
practicable. So,  since  authority,  threats,  blandishments 
had  all  failed,  they  broke  into  abuse.  "  Thou  art  His 
disciple  :  we  are  the  disciples  of  Moses ;  of  this  man 
we  know  nothing."  "Strange,"  he  replied,  "thatyoa? 
should  know  nothing  of  a  man  who  yet  has  wrought  a 
miracle  such  as  not  even  Moses  ever  wrought ;  and  we 
know  that  neither  He  nor  any  one  else  could  have  done 


335).  "  The  words  are  an  adjuration  to  tell  the  truth  (comp.  Josh.  vii.  19)," 
says  Dean  Alf ord ;  but  lie  seems  to  confuse  it  with  a  phrase  like  Al-hamdu 
lilldh,  "  to  God  be  the  praise  "  (of  your  care),  which  is  a  different  thing, 
and  would  require  TTJV  86£av.  A  friend  refers  me  to  2  Cor.  xi.  31  for  a 
similar  adjuration ;  cf.  Rom.  ix.  1,  5. 


86 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


it,  unless  He  were  from  God."1  What  !  shades  of  Hillel 
and  of  Shammai  !  was  a  mere  blind  beggar,  a  natural 
ignorant  heretic,  altogether  born  in  sins,  to  be  teaching 
f/icm  !  Unable  to  control  any  longer  their  transport  of 
indignation,  they  flung  him  out  of  the  hall,  and  out  of 
the  synagogue. 

But  Jesus  did  not  neglect  His  first  confessor.  He, 
too,  in  all  probability  had,  either  at  this  or  some  pre- 
vious time,  been  placed  under  the  ban  of  lesser  excom- 
munication, or  exclusion  from  the  synagogue;2  for  we 
scarcely  ever  again  read  of  His  re-entering  any  of 
those  synagogues  which,  during  the  earlier  years  of  His 
ministry,  had  been  His  favourite  places  of  teaching  and 
resort.  He  sought  out  and  found  the  man,  and  asked 
him,  "  Dost  thou  believe  on  the  Son  of  God  ?  "  "  Why,3 
who  is  He,  Lord,"  answered  the  man,  "that  I  should 
believe  on  Him  ?  " 

"  Thou  hast  both  seen  Him,  and  it  is  He  who  talketh 
with  thee."4 


1  There  is  no  healing1  of  the  blind  in  the  Old  Testament,  or  in  the  Acts. 

2  It  is  true  that  this  mildest  form  of  excommunication  (neziphah)  was 
only  temporary,  for  thirty  days  ;  and  that  it  applied  to  only  one  synagogue. 
But  if  it  were  once  pronounced,  the  time  could  easily  be  extended,  so  as  to 
make  it  a  niddoui  (>:n?)  for  ninety  days,  and  the  decree  be  adopted  by  other 
synagogues  (Gfrorer,  Jahrh.  d.  Heils,  i.  183).      Exclusion  from  the  syna- 
gogue did  not,  however,  involve  exclusion  from  the  Temple,  where  a  separate 
door  was  provided  for  the  excommunicate.     The  last  stage  of  excommunica- 
tion was  the  cherem  or  shammatta,  which  was  as  bad  as  the  Roman  inter- 
dictio  ignis  et  aquae.     The  Jews  declare  that  Joshua  Ben  Perachiah  had 
been  the  teacher  of  Jesus,  and  excommunicated  Him  to  the  blast  of  400 
rams'-horns.    (  Wagenseil,  Sota,  p.  1057.)    But  this  Joshuah  Ben  Perachiah 
lived  in  the  reign  of  Alexander  Jannseus,  who  died  B.C.  79  ! 

3  Kal  rts  eVrt  (John  ix.  36).     The  Kal  as  often  indicates  a  question  full  of 
surprise  and  emotion.      See  Jelf  's  Greek  Syntax,  §  759.      Cf.  Mark  x.  26 
(KO.I  Tis  Svvarat  (rwQfya.1  ;  "Who  then  can  be  saved?");  Luke  x.  29;  2  Cor. 
ii.  2.) 

4  Professor  Westcott  points  out  the  striking  fact  that  this  spontaneous 


TKUE  AND  FALSE  SHEPHERDS.  87 

"  Lord,  I  believe/'  he  answered ;  and  he  did  Him 
reverence. 

It  must  have  been  shortly  after  this  time  that  our 
Lord  pointed  the  contrast  between  the  different  effects  of 
His  teaching — they  who  saw  not,  made  to  see ;  and  those 
who  saw,  made  blind.  The  Pharisees,  ever  restlessly 
and  discontentedly  hovering  about  Him,  and  in  their 
morbid  egotism  always  on  the  look-out  for  some  reflection 
on  themselves,  asked  "  if  they  too  were  blind."  The 
answer  of  Jesus  was,  that  in  natural  blindness  there 
would  have  been  no  guilt,  but  to  those  who  only 
stumbled  in  the  blindness  of  wilful  error  a  claim  to  the 
possession  of  sight  was  a  self-condemnation. 

And  when  the  leaders,  the  teachers,  the  guides  were 
blind,  how  could  the  people  see  ? 

The  thought  naturally  led  Him  to  the  nature  of  true 
and  false  teachers,  which  He  expanded  and  illustrated  in 
the  beautiful  apologue — half  parable,  half  allegory — of 
the  True  and  the  False  Shepherds.  He  told  them  that  He 
was  the  Good  Shepherd,1  who  laid  down  His  life  for  the 
sheep ;  while  the  hireling  shepherds,  flying  from  danger, 
betrayed  their  flocks.  He,  too,  was  that  door  of  the 
sheepfold,  by  which  all  His  true  predecessors  alone 
had  entered,  while  all  the  false — from  the  first  thief 
who  had  climbed  into  God's  fold — had  broken  in  some 
other  way.  And  then  He  told  them  that  of  His  own 

revelation  to  the  outcast  from  the  synagogue  finds  its  only  parallel  in  the 
similar  revelation  (John  iv.  26)  to  the  outcast  from  the  nation  "  (Charac- 
teristics of  the  Gosp.  Miracles,  p.  61). 

1  Speaking  of  this  allegory,  Mr.  Sanday  points  out  the  circumstance 
that  the  only  other  allegory  in  the  Gospels  is  in  John  xv.  "  The  Synoptists 
have  no  allegories  as  distinct  from  parables.  The  fourth  Evangelist  no 
parables  as  a  special  form  of  allegory  "  (Fourth  Gospel,  p.  167).  As  the 
phrase  is  6  vot^v  6  Ka\bs,  not  ayadbs,  perhaps  it  had  better  be  rendered  "  true 
shepherd,"  rather  than  "good."  But  Ka\bs  is  untranslateable. 


88 


THE  LITE  OF  CHRIST. 


free  will  He  would  lay  down  His  life  for  the  sheep,  bol 
of  this  and  of  His  other  flocks,  l  and  that  of  His  o^ 
power  He  would  take  it  again.  But  all  these  divine 
mysteries  were  more  than  they  could  understand  ;  and 
while  some  declared  that  they  were  the  nonsense  of  one 
who  had  a  devil  and  was  mad,  others  could  only  plead 
that  they  were  not  like  the  words  of  one  who  had  a 
devil,  and  that  a  devil  could  not  have  opened  the  eyes  of 
the  blind. 

Thus,  with  but  little  fruit  for  them,  save  the  bitl 
fruit  of  anger  and  hatred,  ended  the  visit  of  Jesus  to  the 
Feast  of  Tabernacles.  And  since  His  very  life  was  now 
in  danger,  He  withdrew  once  more  from  Jerusalem  to 
Galilee,  for  one  brief  visit  before  He  bade  to  His  old 
home  His  last  farewell. 

1  In  John  x.  16,  there  is  an  unfortunate  obliteration  of  the  distinction 
between  the  av\^}  "  fold,"  and  ITO^I/T],  "  flock,"  of  the  original. 


CHAPTEE    XLII. 

FAREWELL     TO     GALILEE. 

"  I  see  that  all  things  come  to  an  end :  but  thy  commandment  is  exceed- 
ing broad." — Ps.  cxix.  96. 

IMMEDIATELY  after  the  events  just  recorded,  St.  John 
narrates  another  incident  which  took  place  two  months 
subsequently,  at  the  winter  Feast  of  Dedication. ]  In 
accordance  with  the  main  purpose  of  his  Grospel,  which 
was  to  narrate  that  work  of  the  Christ  in  JudaBa,  and 
especially  in  Jerusalem,  which  the  Synoptists  had 
omitted,  he  says  nothing  of  an  intermediate  and  final 
visit  to  Galilee,  or  of  those  last  journeys  to  Jerusalem 
respecting  parts  of  which  the  other  Evangelists  supply 
us  with  so  many  details.  And  yet  that  Jesus  must 
have  returned  to  Gralilee  is  clear,  not  only  from  the 
other  Evangelists,  hut  also  from  the  nature  of  the  case 
and  from  certain  incidental  facts  in  the  narrative  of  St. 
John  himself.2 


1  John  x.  22^2.     The  Feast  of  Tabernacles  was  at  the  end  of  Sep- 
tember or  early  in  October.     The  Dedication  was  on  December  20. 

2  See  John  x.  25  (which  evidently  refers  to  His  last  discourse  to  them 
two  months  before)  and  40  ("again  ").     Besides,  the  expression  of  John  x. 
22,  "  And  it  was  the  Dedication  at  Jerusalem,"  would  have  little  meaning 
if  a  new  visit  were  not  implied ;  and  those  words  are  perhaps  added  for 
the  very  reason  that  the  Dedication  might  be  kept  anywhere  else. 


90 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


It  is  well  known  that  the  whole  of  one  great  section 
in  St.  Luke — from  ix.  51  to  xviii.  15 — forms  an  episode 
in  the  Gospel  narrative  of  which  many  incidents  are 
narrated  by  this  Evangelist  alone,  and  in  which  the  few 
identifications  of  time  and  place  all  point  to  one  slow 
and  solemn  progress  from  Galilee  to  Jerusalem  (ix.  51  ; 
xiii.  22;  xvii.  11  ;  x.  38).  Now  after  the  Feast  of  Dedi- 
cation our  Lord  retired  into  Peraaa,  until  He  was  sum- 
moned thence  by  the  death  of  Lazarus  (John  x.  40 — 42  ; 
xi.  1 — 46);  after  the  resurrection  of  Lazarus,  He  fled  to 
Ephraim  (xi.  54)  ;  and  He  did  not  leave  His  retirement 
at  Ephraim  until  He  went  to  Bethlehem,  six  days  before 
His  final  Passover  (xii.  1). 

This  great  journey,  therefore,  from  Galilee  to  Jeru- 
salem, so  rich  in  occasions  which  called  forth  some  of  His 
most  memorable  utterances,  must  have  been  either  a 
journey  to  the  Feast  of  Tabernacles  or  to  the  Feast  of 
Dedication.  That  it  could  not  have  been  the  former  may 
be  regarded  as  settled,  not  only  on  other  grounds,  but 
decisively  because  that  was  a  rapid  and  a  secret  journey, 
this  an  eminently  public  and  leisurely  one. 

Almost  every  inquirer  seems  to  differ  to  a  greater  or 
less  degree  as  to  the  exact  sequence  and  chronology 
of  the  events  which  follow.  Without  entering  into 
minute  and  tedious  disquisitions  where  absolute  certainty 
is  impossible,  I  will  narrate  this  period  of  our  Lord's 
life  in  the  order  which,  after  repeated  study  of  the 
Gospels,  appears  to  me  to  be  the  most  probable,  and  in 
the  separate  details  of  which  I  have  found  myself  again 
and  again  confirmed  by  the  conclusions  of  other  inde- 
pendent inquirers.  And  here  I  will  only  premise  my 
conviction— 

1.  That   the  episode  of  St.   Luke  up  to  xviii.   30, 


INCIDENTS   OF  THE  JOURNEY.  91 

mainly  refers  to  a  single  journey,  although  unity  of  sub- 
ject, or  other  causes,  may  have  led  the  sacred  writer  to 
weave  into  his  narrative  some  events  or  utterances  which 
belong  to  an  earlier  or  later  epoch.1 

2.  That  the  order  of  the  facts  narrated  even  by  St. 
Luke  alone  is  not,2  and  does  not  in  any  way  claim  to  be,3 
strictly  chronological ;  so  that  the  place  of  any  event  in 
the  narrative  by  no  means  necessarily  indicates  its  true 
position  in  the  order  of  time. 

3.  That  this  journey  is  identical  with  that  which  is 
partially  recorded   in  Matt,  xviii.  1 — xx.    16;   Mark  x. 
1—31. 

4.  That  (as  seems  obvious  from  internal  evidence4) 
the  events  narrated  in  Matt.  xx.  17 — 28 ;  Mark  x.  32 

—45;  Luke  xviii.  31 — 34,  belong  not  to  this  journey, 
but  to  the  last  which  Jesus  ever  took — the  journey  from 
JEflhraim  to  Bethany  and  Jerusalem. 

Assuming  these  conclusions   to  be  justified — and  I 

1  Kg.,  ix.  57—62  (cf.  Matt.  viii.  19—22);  xi.  1—13  (cf.  Matt.  vi.  9—15 ; 
vii.  7—12) ;  xi.  14—26  (cf.  Matt.  ix.  32—35);  xi.  29— xii.  59  (compared  with 
parts  of  the  Sermon  on  the  Mount,  &c.).    Of  course  the  dull  and  recklessly 
adopted  hypothesis  of  a  constant  repetition  of  incidents  may  here  come  in 
to  support  the  preconceived  notions  of  some  harmonists ;  but  it  is  an  hypo- 
thesis mainly  founded  on  a  false  and   unscriptural  view  of   inspiration, 
and  one  which  must  not  be  adopted  without  the  strongest  justification. 
The  occasional  repetition  of  discourses  is  a  much  more  natural  supposition, 
and  one  inherently  probable  from  the  circumstances  of  the  case. 

2  E.g.,  x.  38—42;  xiii.  31—35;  xvii.  11—19. 

3  The   notes  of  time  and  place  throughout  are  of  the  vaguest  possible 
character,  evidently  because  the  form  of  the  narrative  is  here  determined 
by  other  considerations  (see  x.  1,  25,  38 ;    xi.  1,  14 ;   xii.  1,  22 ;   xiii.  6,  22 ; 
xiv.  1 ;  xvii.  12,  &c.).     There  seems  to   be  no  ground  whatever  for  sup- 
posing that  St.  Luke  meant  to  claim  absolute  chronological  accuracy  by 
the  expression,  7raprj/coA.ou07j/cJTt  o/fpt/3a5s,  in  i.  3 ;  and  indeed  it  seems  clear 
from  a  study  of  his  Gospel  that,  though  he  followed  the  historical  sequence 
as  far  as  he  was  able  to  do  so,  he  often  groups  events  and  discourses  by 
spiritual  and  subjective  considerations. 

4  See,  among  other  passages,  Mark  x.  17 ;  Matt.  xix.  16. 


92 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


believe  that  they  will  commend  themselves  as  at  least 
probable  to  any  who  really  study  the  data  of  the  pro- 
blem —  we  naturally  look  to  see  if  there  are  any  incidents 
which  can  only  be  referred  to  this  last  residence  of  Jesus 
in  Galilee  after  the  Feast  of  Tabernacles.  The  sojourn 
must  have  been  a  very  brief  one,  and  seems  to  have  had 
no  other  object  than  that  of  preparing  for  the  Mission 
of  the  Seventy,  and  inaugurating  '  the  final  proclamation 
of  Christ's  kingdom  throughout  all  that  part  of  the 
Holy  Land  which  had  as  yet  been  least  familiar  with 
His  word  and  works.  His  instructions  to  the  Seventy 
involved  His  last  farewell  to  Galilee,  and  the  delivery 
of  those  instructions  synchronised,  in  all  probability, 
with  His  actual  .departure.  But  there  are  two  other 
incidents  recorded  in  the  13th  chapter,  which  probably 
belong  to  the  same  brief  sojourn  —  namely,  the  news 
of  a  Gralilsean  massacre,  and  the  warning  which  He 
received  of  Herod's  designs  against  His  life. 

The  home  of  Jesus  during  these  few  last  days  would 
naturally  be  at  Capernaum,  His  own  city  ;  and  while 
He  was  there  organising  a  solemn  departure  to  which 
there  would  be  no  return,  there  were  some  who  came 
and  announced  to  Him  a  recent  instance  of  those 
numerous  disturbances  which  marked  the  Procuratorship 
of  Pontius  Pilate.  Of  the  particular  event  to  which 
they  alluded  nothing  further  is  known;  and  that  a 
few  turbulent  zealots  should  have  been  cut  down  at 
Jerusalem  by  the  Eoman  garrison  was  too  common-place 
an  event  in  these  troublous  times  to  excite  more  than  a 
transient  notice.  There  were  probably  hundreds  of  such 
outbreaks  of  which  Josephus  has  preserved  no  record. 
The  inflammable  fanaticism  of  the  Jews  at  this  epoch— 
the  restless  hopes  which  were  constantly  kindling  them 


THE  SLAIN  GALILEANS.  93 

to  fury  against  the  Eoman  Governor,1  and  which  made 
them  the  ready  dupes  of  every  false  Messiah — had 
necessitated  the  construction  of  the  Tower  of  Antonia, 
which  flung  its  threatening  shadow  over  the  Temple 
itself.  This  Tower  communicated  with  the  Temple  by 
a  flight  of  steps,  so  that  the  Eoman  legionaries  could 
rush  down  at  once,  and  suppress  any  of  the  dis- 
turbances which  then,  as  now,  endangered  the  security 
of  Jerusalem  at  the  recurrence  of  every  religious  feast.2 
And  of  all  the  Jews,  the  Galilseans,  being  the  most 
passionately  turbulent  and  excitable,  were  the  most 
likely  to  suffer  in  such  collisions.  Indeed,  the  main 
fact  which  seems  in  this  instance  to  have  struck  the 
narrators,  was  not  so  much  the  actual  massacre  as 
the  horrible  incident  that  the  blood  of  these  murdered 
rioters  had  been  actually  mingled  with  the  red  streams 
that  flowed  from  the  victims  they  had  been  offering  in 
sacrifice.3  And  those  who  brought  the  news  to  Christ 
did  so,  less  with  any  desire  to  complain  of  the  sanguinary 
boldness  of  the  Eoman  Governor,  than  with  a  curiosity 

1  Acts  xxi.  34.     Three  thousand  Jews  had  been  massacred  by  Arche- 
laus  in  one  single  Paschal  disturbance  thirty  years  before  this  time ;  and 
on  one  occasion  Pilate  had  actually  disguised  his  soldiers  as  peasants,  and 
sent  them  to  use  their  daggers  freely  among  the  mob.  (See  Jos.  Antt.  xvii. 
9,  §3;  10,  §2;  xviii.  3,  §1;  B.  J.  ii.  9,  § 4) 

2  The  Turkish  Government  have,  with  considerable  astuteness,  fixed  the 
annual  pilgrimage  of  Mohammedans  to  the  Tomb  of  the  Prophet  Moses  (!) 
at  the   very  time  when  the  return  of  Easter  inundates  Jerusalem  with 
Christian  pilgrims.     I  met  hundreds  of  these  servants  of  the  Prophet  in 
the  environs  of  the  Sacred  City  during  the  Easter  of  1870,  and  they  would 
be  a  powerful  assistance  to  the  Turks  in  case  of  any  Christian  outbreak  in 
the  Church  of  the  Holy  Sepulchre. 

3  The  same  fact  recurs  more  than  once  in  the  details  of  the  siege  of 
Jerusalem.     It  is  clear,  however,  that  some  links  are  missing  to  our  com- 
prehension of  this  story ;  for  one  would  have   expected    that  Galilseans 
butchered  in  the  Temple  by  a  Roman  Governor  would  have  been  looked 
upon  as  martyrs  rather  than  as  criminals. 


94  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

about  the  supposed  crimes  which  must  have  brought 
upon  these  slaughtered  worshippers  so  hideous  and 
tragical  a  fate. 

The  Book  of  Job  stood  in  Hebrew  literature  as  an 
eternal  witness  against  these  sweeping  deductions  of  a 
confident  uncharity  ;  but  the  spirit  of  Eliphaz,  and 
Zophar,  and  Bildad  still  survived,1  and  our  Lord  on 
every  occasion  seized  the  opportunity  of  checking  and 
reproving  it.  "  Do  ye  imagine,"  He  said,  "  that  these 
Galilseans  were  sinners  above  all  the  Galilseans,  because 
they  suffered  such  things  ?  I  tell  you,  Nay  :  but,  except 
ye  repent,  ye  shall  all  likewise  perish/'  And  then  He 
reminded  them  of  another  recent  instance  of  sudden 
death,  in  which  "  the  Tower  in  Siloam"  had  fallen,  and 
crushed  eighteen  people  who  happened  to  be  under  it  ;2 
and  He  told  them  that  so  far  from  these  poor  sufferers 
having  been  specially  criminal,  they  should  all,  if  they 
did  not  repent,  be  involved  in  a  similar  destruction.  No 
doubt,  the  main  lesson  which  Christ  desired  to  teach, 
was  that  every  circumstance  of  life,  and  every  violence  of 
man,  was  not  the  result  either  of  idle  accident  or  direct 
retribution,  but  formed  part  of  one  great  scheme  of  Pro- 
vidence in  which  man  is  permitted  to  recognise  the  one 
prevailing  law — viz.,  that  the  so-called  accidents  of  life 
happen  alike  to  all,  but  that  all  should  in  due  time  receive 
according  to  their  works.3  But  His  words  had  also  a  more 
literal  fulfilment ;  and,  doubtless,  there  may  have  been 
some  among  His  hearers  who  lived  to  call  them  to  mind 
whon  the  Jewish  race  was  being  miserably  decimated  by 

1  Job  iv.  7 ;  viii.  20 ;  xxii.  5. 

2  Ewald  supposes  that  these  men  had  been  engaged  in  constructing 
the  aqueduct  which  the  Jews  regarded  as   impious,  because  Pilate  had 
sequestrated  the  corban  money  for  this  secular  purpose  (Jos.  B.  J.  ii.  9,  §  4). 

3  See  Amos,  iii.  6 ;  ix.  1. 


ABOUT  HEROD.  95 

the  sword  of  Titus,  and  the  last  defenders  of  Jerusalem, 
after  deluging  its  streets  with  blood,  fell  crushed  among 
the  naming  ruins  of  the  Temple,  which  not  even  their 
lives  could  save. 

The  words  were  very  stern  :  hut  Christ  did  not  speak 
to  them  in  the  language  of  warning  only;  He  held  out  to 
them  a  gracious  hope,  once,  and  again,  and  yet  again ;  the 
fig-tree  might  be  found  a  barren  cumberer  of  the  ground,1 
but  there  was  ONE  to  intercede  for  it  still;  and  even 
yet — though  now  the  axe  was  uplifted,  nay,  though  it 
was  at  its  backmost  poise — yet  even,  if  at  the  last  the 
tree,  so  carefully  tended,  should  bring  forth  fruit,  that 
axe  should  be  stayed,  and  its  threatened  stroke  should 
not  rush  through  the  parted  air. 

Short  as  His  stay  at  His  old  home  was  meant  to  be, 
His  enemies  would  gladly  have  shortened  it  still  further. 
They  were  afraid  of,  they  were  weary  of,  the  Lord  of  Life. 
Yet  they  did  not  dare  openly  to  confess  their  sentiments. 
The  Pharisees  came  to  Him  in  sham  solicitude  for  His 
safety,  and  said,  "  Get  thee  out,  and  depart  hence ;  for 
Herod  is  wanting  to  kill  thee."3 

Had  Jesus  yielded  to  fear — had  He  hastened  His 
departure  in  consequence  of  a  danger,  which  even  if  it 
had  any  existence,  except  in  their  own  imaginations,  had 
at  any  rate  no  immediate  urgency — doubtless,  they  would 
have  enjoyed  a  secret  triumph  at  His  expense.  But  His 
answer  was  supremely  calm  :  "  Gro,"  He  said,  "  and  tell 
this  fox,3  Behold,  I  am  casting  out  devils,  and  working 

1  Luke  xiii.  7,  Ivarl  Kal  r^v  yijv Karapye: ;  "Why  does  it  even  render  the 
ground  barren?"     There  seems  to  be  a  natural  reference  to  the  three 
years  of  our  Lord's  own  ministry. 

2  The  assertion  was  probably  quite  untrue.     It  is   inconsistent  with 
Luke  xxiii.  8. 

3  Luke  xiii.  32,  ry  oAwTre/ci  TOUT??,  as  though  Herod  were  with  them  in 


96  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

cures  to-day  ix^d  to-morrow,  and  on  the  third  my  work  is 
done."1  And  then  He  adds,  with  the  perfect  confidence 
of  security  mingled  with  the  bitter  irony  of  sorrow, 
"  But  I  must  go2  on  my  course  to-day,  and  to-morrow, 
and  the  day  following ;  for  it  cannot  be  that  a  prophet 
perish  out  of  Jerusalem."  And,  perhaps,  at  this  sorrow- 
ful crisis  His  oppressed  feelinga  may  have  found  vent  ii 
some  pathetic  cry  over  the  fallen  sinful  city,  so  red  with 
the  blood  of  her  murdered  messengers,  like  that  which 
He  also  uttered  when  He  wept  over  it  on  the  summrl 
of  Olivet.3 

The  little  plot  of  these  Pharisees  had  entirely  failed. 
Whether  Herod  had  really  entertained  any  vague  inten- 
tion of  seeing  Jesus  and  putting  Him  to  death  as  he 

person,  as  lie  was  like  them  in  cunning.  "  Non  quod  haec  verba  de  Herode 
non  dixerit,  sed  quod  in  persona  Herodis,  quam  illi  sibi  induebant  .  .  .  eos 
notaverit  atque  refellerit"  (Maldon). 

1  Yulg.  "  consummor ;  "  or,  perhaps,  "  I  shall  reach  my  goal :  "   -such 
seems  to  be  at  least  an  admissible  rendering  of  the  difficult  word  Te\eioC>nai 
(cf .  Phil.  iii.  12 ;  Acts  xx.  24).    I  have  given  it  the  sense  which  it  has  in 
Johnxix.  28.     The  word  was  afterwards  used  of  a  martyr's  death,  as  in  tlie 
inscription  &  ayios  &ca/j.<x.s  Aoyx??  •  •  reXeiovrai  (Routh,  Rel.  Sacr.  i.  376,  ap., 
"Wordsworth,  ad  loc.} ;  and  even  of  natural  death  (Euseb.  Vit.  Const.  47). 
Cf.  "Sic  Tiberius  finivit"  (Tac.  Ann.  vi.  50).     (Schleusner.) 

2  TTopeveffOai  used  in  a  different  sense  from  their  previous  iropevov.     The 
TTA.TJJ/  seems  to  mean,  "  Yet,  though  my  remaining  time  is  short,  I  shall  not 
further  shorten  it,  for,"  &c.     Of  course  the  "  to-day,"  &c.,  means  a  time 
indefinite,  yet  brief. 

3  Marvellously  has  that  woe  been  fulfilled.     Every  Jewish  pilgrim  who 
enters  Jerusalem  to  this  day  has  a  rent  made  in  his  dress,  and  says,  "  Zion 
is  turned  into  a  desert,  it  lies  in  ruins ! "   (Dr.  Frankl,  Jews  in  the  East, 
E.  Tr.  ii.  2.)     Sapir,  the  Jewish  poet  of  Wilna,  addressed  Dr.  Frankl  thus 
— "Here  all  is  dust.     After  the  destruction  of  the  city,  the  whole   earth 
blossoms  from  its  ruins ;  but  here  there  is  no  verdure,  no  blossom,  only  a 
bitter  fruit — sorrow.     Look  for  no  joy  here,  either  from  men   or  from 
mountains  "  (id.  p.  9).     A  wealthy  and  pious  Jew  came  to  settle  at  Jeru- 
salem :  after  two  years'  stay  he  left  it  with  the  words,  "  Let  him  that  wishes 
to  have  neither  aulom,  haze  ('the  pleasures  of  this  life')  nor  aulom  liabo 
('those  of  the  life  to  come')  live  at  Jerusalem"  (id.  p.  120). — The  trans- 
lation is  Dr.  Frankl's,  not  mine. 


"THIS  FOX."  £7 

had  put  to  death  His  kinsman  John,  or  whether  the  whole 
rumour  was  a  pure  invention,  Jesus  regarded  it  with 
consummate  indifference.  Whatever  Herod  might  be 
designing,  His  own  intention  was  to  finish  His  brief 
stay  in  Galilee  in  His  own  due  time,  and  not  before.  A 
day  or  two  yet  remained  to  Him  in  which  He  would  con- 
tinue to  perform  His  works  of  mercy  on  all  who  sought 
Him ;  after  that  brief  interval  the  time  would  have  come 
when  He  should  be  received  up,1  and  He  would  turn 
His  back  for  the  last  time  on  the  home  of  His  youth, 
and  "  set  His  face  steadfastly  to  go  to  Jerusalem."  Till 
then — so  they  must  tell  their  crafty  patron,  whom  they 
themselves  resembled — He  was  under  an  inviolable  pro- 
tection, into  which  neither  their  malice  nor  his  cruelty 
could  intrude. 

And  He  deservedly  bestowed  on  Herod  Antipas  the 
sole  word  of  pure  unmitigated  contempt  which  is  ever 
recorded  to  have  passed  His  lips.  Words  of  burning 
anger  He  sometimes  spoke — words  of  scathing  indig- 
nation— words  of  searching  irony — words  of  playful 
humour ;  but  some  are  startled  to  find  Him  using  words 
of  sheer  contempt.  Yet  why  not  ?  there  can  be  no  noble 
soul  which  is  wholly  destitute  of  scorn.  The  "  scorn  of 
scorn"  must  exist  side  by  side  with  the  "  love  of  love." 
Like  anger,  like  the  power  of  moral  indignation,  scorn 

1  Luke  IX.  51,  ev    T$  ffvfjurXripovffOai  ras  ijfifpas  rrjs  dvaX-ff^ews  O.VTOV- — i.e., 

as  Euthymius  adds,  dvb  77)5  et's  ovpav6v.  The  word  is,  in  the  New  Testament, 
a  a7ra|  \ey6fjisvov,  but  it  is  mere  sophistry  to  make  it  fall  in  with  any 
harmonistic  scheme  by  giving  it  the  meaning  of  "  His  reception  by  men," 
as  Wieseler  does  (Synops.,  pp.  295—297).  Even  Lange  has  now  abandoned 
it  as  untenable.  It  can  only  mean  what  the  verb  av^^B-r]  means  in  Acts  i. 
2,  22  (cf.  Mark  xvi.  19),  and  in  the  LXX.  (2  Kings  ii.  9—11).  The  word 
occurs  in  the  title  of  an  Apocryphal  book,  the  'Aj/aArj^ts  Mdxrews,  or  Assump- 
tion of  Moses,  and  Irenseus  speaks  of  T^V  cvffapKov  els  robs  ovpavobs  ava\^iv. 
Sophocles  gives  several  instances  of  its  use  in  the  Apost.  Constitutions,  and 
later  writers. 
& 


98 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


has  its  due  place  as  a  righteous  function  in  the  economy 
of  human  emotions,  and  as  long  as  there  are  things  oi 
which  we  rightly  judge  as  contemptible,  so  long  must 
contempt  remain.  And  if  ever  there  was  a  man  who 
richly  deserved  contempt,  it  was  the  paltry,  perjured 
princeling  —  false  to  his  religion,  false  to  his  nation, 
false  to  his  friends,  false  to  his  brethren,  false  to  his 
wife  —  to  whom  Jesus  gave  the  name  of  "  this  fox." 
The  inhuman  vices  which  the  Caesars  displayed  on 
the  vast  theatre  of  their  absolutism  —  the  lust,  the 
cruelty,  the  autocratic  insolence,  the  ruinous  extrava- 
gance —  all  these  were  seen  in  pale  reflex  in  these  little 
Neros  and  Caligulas  of  the  provinces  —  these  local 
tyrants,  half  Idumsean,  half  Samaritan,  who  aped  the 
worst  degradations  of  the  '  Imperialism  to  which  they 
owed  their  very  existence.  Juda?a  might  well  groan 
under  the  odious  and  petty  despotism  of  these  hybrid 
Herodians  —  jackals  who  fawned  about  the  feet  of  the 
Csesarean  lions.1  Eespect  for  "  the  powers  that  be  "  can 
hardly,  as  has  well  been  said,  involve  respect  for  all  the 
impotences  and  imbecilities. 

Whether  "this  fox  "  ever  heard  the  manner  in  which 
our  Lord  had  characterised  him  and  his  dominion  we  do 
not  know  ;  in  lifetime  they  never  met,  until,  on  the 
morning  of  the  crucifixion,  Antipas  vented  upon  Jesus 
his  empty  insults.  But  now  Jesus  calmly  concluded 
His  last  task  in  Galilee.  He  summoned  His  followers 
together,  and  out  of  them  chose  seventy  to  prepare  His 


1  What  has  been  said  of  Agrippa  is  equally  true  of  Antipas,  viz.,  that 
"  he  had  been  the  meanest  thing  the  world  had  ever  seen — a  courtier  of  the 
early  empire.  ...  He  had  been  corrupted  by  the  influence  of  the  Roman 
court,  and  had  flattered  the  worst  vices  of  the  worst  men  in  the  worst  age 
of  the  world's  history."  (Paul  of  Tarsus,  p.  205.) 


THE   SEVENTY.  99 

way.  Their  number  was  probably  symbolic,1  and  the 
mission  of  so  large  a  number  to  go  before  Him  two  and 
two,  and  prepare  for  His  arrival  in  every  place  which 
He  intended  to  visit,  implies  for  this  last  journey  of 
proclamation  an  immense  publicity.  The  instructions 
which  He  gave  them  closely  resemble  those  which  He 
had  issued  to  the  Twelve ;  and,  indeed,  differ  from  them 
only  in  being  more  brief,  because  they  refer  to  a  more 
transitory  office ;  in  omitting  the  now  needless  restriction 
about  not  visiting  the  Gentiles  and  Samaritans ;  and 
perhaps  in  bestowing  upon  them  less  ample  miraculous 
power.2  They  also  breathe  a  sadder  tone,  inspired  by  the 
experience  of  incessant  rejection. 

And  now  the  time  has  come  for  Him  to  set  forth,  and 
it  must  be  in  sorrow.  He  left,  indeed,  some  faithful 
hearts  behind  Him  ;  but  how  few  !  Galilee  had  rejected 
Him,  as  Juda3a  had  rejected  Him.  On  one  side  of  the 
lake  which  He  loved,  a  whole  populace  in  unanimous 
deputation  had  besought  Him  to  depart  out  of  their 
coasts  ;  on  the  other,  they  had  vainly  tried  to  vex  His 
last  days  among  them  by  a  miserable  conspiracy  to 
frighten  Him  into  flight.  At  Nazareth,  the  sweet  moun- 
tain village  .of  His  childish  days — at  Nazareth,  with  all 

1  Some  MSS.  alter  it  into  "  seventy-two  "  to  connect  their  number  with 
the  number  of  the  Sanhedrin,  and  the  elders  appointed  by  Moses  [about 
which,  however,  there  is  the  same  variation]  (Exod.  xxiv.  1).     Others,  with 
no  authority  but  fancy,  connect  it  with  the  ideal  seventy  nations  of  the 
world.    (Lightfoot,  SOT.  Hebr.,in  John  vii.  37).     These  seventy  nations  are 
supposed  to  have  been  separated  at  Babel  (see  Targ.  Ps.  Jonath.  in  Gen. 
xi.  7,  8). 

2  Compare  Matt.  x.  5 — 42  with  Luke  x.  1 — 12.     We  must  not  press  the 
fact  that  &pvas,  "  lambs,"  is  in  Luke  x.  3  substituted  for  irp6ftara  in  Matt. 
x.  16.     The  prohibition  to  greet  any  one  by  the  way  is  proverbial  of  any 
hasty  mission  (2  Kings  iv.  29),  and  arose  from  the  fact  that  Oriental  greet- 
ings are  much  longer  and  more  elaborate  than  ours.    (Thomson,  Land  and 
Book,  II.  ch.  xxiv.) 


ICO 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


its  idyllic  memories  of  His  boyhood  and  His  mother's 
home — they  had  treated  Him  with  such  violence  and 
outrage,  that  He  could  not  visit  it  again.  And  even 
at  Chorazin,  and  Capernaum,  and  Bethsaida — on  those 
Eden- shores  of  the  silver  lake — in  the  green  delicious 
plain,  whose  every  field  He  had  traversed  with  His 
apostles,  performing  deeds  of  mercy,  and  uttering-  words 
of  love — even  there  they  loved  the  whited  sepulchres  of 
a  Pharisaic  sanctity,  and  the  shallow  traditions  of  a 
Levitical  ceremonial  better  than  the  light  and  the  life 
which  had  been  offered  them  by  the  Son  of  God.  They 
were  feeding  on  ashes;  a  deceived  heart  had  turned  them 
aside.  On  many  a  great  city  of  antiquity,  on  Nineveh 
and  Babylon,  on  Tyre  and  Sidon,  on  Sodom  and  Go- 
morrah,  had  fallen  the  wrath  of  God  ;  yet  even  Nineveh 
and  Babylon  would  have  humbled  their  gorgeous  idola- 
tries, even  Tyre  and  Sidon  have  turned  from  their  greedy 
vanities,  yea,  even  Sodom  and  Gomorrah  would  have 
repented  from  their  filthy  lusts,  had  they  seen  the  mighty 
works  which  had  been  done  in  these  little  cities  and 
villages  of  the  Galilsean  sea.  And,  therefore,  "  Woe  unto 
thee,  Chorazin!  woe  unto  thee,  Bethsaida!"  and  unto 
thee,  Capernaum,  "  His  own  city,"  a  yet  deeper  woe ! 

With  such  thoughts  in  His  heart,  and  such  words 
on  His  lips,  he  started  forth  from  the  scene  of  His 
rejected  ministry;  and  on  all  this  land,  and  most  of 
all  on  that  region  of  it,  the  woe  has  fallen.  Exquisite 
still  in  its  loveliness,  it  is  now  desolate  and  dangerous. 
The  birds  still  sing  in  countless  myriads;  the  water- 
fowl still  play  on  the  crystal  mere  ;  the  brooks  flow 
into  it  from  the  neighbouring  hill,  "  filling  their  bosoms 
with  pearl,  and  scattering  their  path  with  emeralds ;  " 
the  aromatic  herbs  are  still  fragrant  when  the  foot 
crushes  them,  and  the  tall  oleanders  fill  the  air  with 


THE  WOE  FULFILLED.  101 

their  delicate  perfume  as  of  old ;  but  the  vineyards  and 
fruit-gardens  have  disappeared ;  the  fleets  and  fishing- 
boats  cease  to  traverse  the  lake;  the  hum  of  men  is 
silent ;  the  stream  of  prosperous  commerce  has  ceased 
to  flow.  The  very  names  and  sites  of  the  towns  and 
cities  are  forgotten  ;  and  where  they  once  shone  bright 
and  populous,  flinging  their  shadows  across  the  sunlit 
waters,  there  are  now  grey  mounds  where  even  the 
ruins  are  too  ruinous  to  be  distinguishable.  One  solitary 
palm-tree  by  one  squalid  street  of  huts,  degraded  and 
frightful  beyond  any,  even  in  Palestine,  still  marks 
the  site,  and  recalls  the  name  of  the  one  little  town 
where  lived  that  sinful  penitent  woman  who  once 
washed  Christ's  feet  with  her  tears  and  wiped  them 
with  the  hairs  of  her  head.1 

And  the  very  generation  which  rejected  Him  was 
doomed  to  recall  in  bitter  and  fruitless  agony  these 
peaceful  happy  days  of  the  Son  of  Man.  Thirty  years 
had  barely  elapsed  when  the  storm  of  Eoman  invasion 
burst  furiously  over  that  smiling  land.  He  who  will,  may 
read  in  the  Jewish  War  of  Josephus  the  hideous  details 
of  the  slaughter  which  decimated  the  cities  of  Galilee, 
and  wrung  from  the  historian  the  repeated  confession 
that  "  it  was  certainly  God  who  brought  the  Eomans  to 
punish  the  Galibeans,"  and  exposed  the  people  of  city 
after  city  "to  be  destroyed  by  their  bloody  enemies/'2 
Immediately  after  the  celebrated  passage  in  which  he 
describes  the  lake  and  plain  of  Genesareth  as  "the 
ambition  of  nature,"3  follows  a  description  of  that 

1  The  "  Woe  unto  thee,  Chorazin,"  and  the  "  And  thou,  Capernaum," 
receive  a  very  striking  illustration  from  the  photographs  of  the  two  sites  by 
the  Palestine  Exploration  Fund. 

2  Jos.  S.  J.  iii.  7,  §  31. 

3  Jos.  B.  J.  iii.  10,  §  8 ;  v.  supr.,  Yol.  I.,  p.  177.     I  here  quote  the  trans- 
lation of  Winston. 


102 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


terrible  sea-fight  on  these  bright  waters,  in  which  the 
number  of  the  slain,  including  those  killed  in  the 
city,  was  six  thousand  five  hundred.  Hundreds  were 
stabbed  by  the  Eomans  or  run  through  with  poles  ; 
others  tried  to  save  their  lives  by  diving,  but  if  once 
they  raised  their  heads  were  slain  by  darts  ;  or  if  they 
swam  to  the  Roman  vessels  had  their  heads  or  hands 
lopped  off;  while  others  were  chased  to  the  land  and 
there  massacred.  "  One  might  then/'  the  historian 
continues,  "see  the  lake  all  bloody,  and  full  of  dead 
bodies,  for  not  one  of  them  escaped.  And  a  terrible 
stink,  and  a  very  sad  sight  there  was,  on  the  following 
days  over  that  country ;  for,  as  for  the  shores,  they  were 
full  of  shipwrecks  and  of  dead  bodies  all  swelled ;  and  as 
the  dead  bodies  were  inflamed  by  the  sun,  and  putrified, 
they  corrupted  the  air,  insomuch  that  the  misery  was  not 
only  an  object  of  commiseration  to  the  Jews,  but  even 
to  those  that  hated  them,  and  had  been  the  authors  of 
that  misery!9  Of  those  that  died  amid  this  butchery ; 
of  those  whom  Vespasian  immediately  afterwards  aban- 
doned to  brutal  and  treacherous  massacre  between 
Tarichese  and  Tiberias;  of  those  twelve  hundred  "old 
and  useless"  whom  he  afterwards  caused  to  be  slain 
in  the  stadium ;  of  the  six  thousand  whom  he  sent  to 
aid  Nero  in  his  attempt  to  dig  through  the  Isthmus 
of  Athos  ;  of  the  thirty  thousand  four  hundred  whom 
he  sold  as  slaves — may  there  not  have  been  many 
who  in  their  agony  and  exile,  in  their  hour  of  death 
and  day  of  judgment,1  recalled  Him  whom  they  had 
repudiated,  and  remembered  that  the  sequel  of  all  those 
gracious  words  which  had  proceeded  out  of  His  lips  had 
been  the  "woe"  which  their  obduracy  called  forth ! 

1  Since  writing  the  above  I  have  read  the  powerful  descriptions  of  the 


JOY  OF  JESUS.  103 

There  could  not  but  be  sorrow  in  such  a  parting 
from  such  a  scene.  And  yet  the  divine  spirit  of  Jesus 
could  not  long  be  a  prey  to  consuming  sadness.  Out 
of  the  tenebrous  influences  cast  about  it  from  the 
incessant  opposition  of  unbelief  and  sin,  it  was  ever 
struggling  into  the  purity  and  peace  of  heaven,  from 
the  things  seen  and  temporal  to  the  things  unseen  and 
eternal,  from  the  shadows  of  human  degradation  into 
the  sunlight  of  God's  peace.  "  In  that  hour  Jesus  re- 
joiced in  spirit/'  and  what  a  joy !  what  a  boundless, 
absorbing  exultation,1  as  He  thought  no  longer  of  judg- 
ment but  of  compassion ;  as  He  turned  not  with  faint 
trust  but  perfect  knowledge  to  "  the  larger  hope ; "  as 
He  remembered  how  that  which  was  hidden  from  the 
wise  and  prudent  had  been  revealed  unto  babes ;  as  he 
dwelt  upon  the  thought  that  He  was  sent  not  to  the 
rich  and  learned  few,  but  to  the  ignorant  and  suffering 
many ;  as  He  told  His  disciples,  that  into  His,  yea,  into 
His  own  loving  hands,  had  His  Father  committed  all 
power,  and  that  in  Him  they  would  see  and  know  the 
spirit  of  His  Father,  and  thereby  might  see  and  know 
that  revelation  for  which  many  kings  and  prophets  had 
sighed  in  vain.  And  then,  that  even  in  the  hour  of 
denunciation  not  one  of  them  might  doubt  His  own 
or  His  Father's  love,  He  uttered  in  that  same  hour  of 

same  facts   in  Renan's  L'Antechrist,  p.  277.      He   says,  "II  y  a  dans 
Phistoire  peu  d'exemples  d'une  race  entiere  ainsi  broyee." 

1  T)7aAAia<raTo.  It  seems  clear  that  Luke  x.  21  belongs  closely  to  the 
address  which  closes  in  verse  16,  though  St.  Luke  pauses  to  record  in  the 
intermediate  verses  the  return  of  the  Seventy.  This  must  be  evident  to  any 
one  who  compares  the  passage  with  Matt.  xi.  20 — 27  ;  and  unless  we  adopt 
the  unlikely  hypothesis  that  both  series  of  words  were  uttered  twice  in 
different  connections,  it  is  cle.ar  that  St.  Luke's  context  here  suits  them 
best ;  and,  moreover,  this  mark  of  time  here  given  by  St.  Luke  is  slightly 
the  more  definite  of  the  two. 


104 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


rapt  and  exalted  ecstacy,  those  tenderest  words  ever 
uttered  in  human  language  as  (rod's  message  and  invi- 
tation to  His  children  in  the  suffering  family  of  man, 
"  Come  unto  me  all  ye  that  labour  and  are  heavy  laden, 
and  I  will  give  you  rest.  Take  my  yoke  upon  you,  and 
learn  of  me ;  for  I  am  meek  and  lowly  in  heart ;  and  ye 
shall  find  rest  unto  your  souls." 

So,  over  a  temporary  sorrow  there  triumphed  an 
infinite  and  eternal  joy.  There  are  some  who  have 
dwelt  too  exclusively  on  Jesus  as  the  Man  of  Sorrows ; 
have  thought  of  His  life  as  of  one  unmitigated  suffering, 
one  almost  unbroken  gloom.  But  in  the  Bible — though 
there  alone — we  find  the  perfect  compatibility,  nay,  the 
close  union  of  joy  with  sorrow  ;  and  myriads  of  Christians 
who  have  been  "troubled  on  every  side,  yet  not  dis- 
tressed; perplexed,  but  not  in  despair;  persecuted,  but 
not  forsaken;  cast  down,  but  not  destroyed,"  can  under- 
stand how  the  Man  of  Sorrows,  even  in  the  days  of  His 
manhood,  may  have  lived  a  life  happier,  in  the  true  sense 
of  happiness — happier,  because  purer,  more  sinless,  more 
faithful,  more  absorbed  in  the  joy  of  obedience  to  His 
Heavenly  Father — than  has  been  ever  granted  to  the 
sons  of  men.  The  deep  pure  stream  flows  on  its  way 
rejoicing,  even  though  the  forests  overshadow  it,  and  no 
transient  sunshine  flickers  on  its  waves. 

And  if,  indeed,  true  joy  —  the  highest  joy  —  be 
"  severe,  and  chaste,  and  solitary,  a'nd  incompatible," 
then  how  constant,  how  inexpressible,  what  a  joy  of 
God,  must  have  been  the  joy  of  the  Man  Christ  Jesus, 
who  came  to  give  to  all  who  love  Him,  henceforth  and 
for  ever,  a  joy  which  no  man  taketh  from  them — a  joy 
which  the  world  can  neither  give  nor  take  away. 


CHAPTEE   XLIII. 

INCIDENTS    OF    THE    JOURNEY. 

"  E/eligionis  non  est  religionem  cogere." — TERT.  Ad  Scap.  2. 

WE  are  not  told  the  exact  route  taken  by  Jesus  as  He 
left  Grennesareth ;  but  as  He  probably  avoided  Nazareth, 
with  its  deeply  happy  and  deeply  painful  memories,  He 
may  have  crossed  the  bridge  at  the  southern  extremity 
of  the  Lake,  and  so  got  round  into  the  plain  of  Esdraelon 
either  by  the  valley  of  Bethshean,1  or  over  Mount  Tabor 
and  round  Little  Hermon,2  passing  Endor  and  Nain  and 
Shunem  on  His  way. 

Crossing  the  plain,  and  passing  Taanach  and  Me- 
giddo,  He  would  reach  the  range  of  hills  which  form  the 
northern  limit  of  Samaria ;  and  at  the  foot  of  their  first 
ascent  lies  the  little  town  of  En-gannim,  or  the  "Fountain 
"of  Gardens."3  This  would  be  the  first  Samaritan  village 
at  which  He  would  arrive,  and  hither,  apparently,  He 
had  sent  two  messengers  "  to  make  ready  for  Him." 
Although  the  incident  is  mentioned  by  St.  Luke  before 
the  Mission  of  the  Seventy;  yet  that  is  probably  due  to 
his  subjective  choice  of  order,  and  we  may  suppose  that 

1  Now  the  Wady  Mujeidah. 

2  Along  part  of  the  Wady  Bireh. 

3  Luke  ix.  51 — 56.     En-gannim  is  still  a  very  pleasant  spot,  deserving 
its  poetic  name,  which  is  now  corrupted  into  Jenin. 


106 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


there  were  two  of  the  seventy  who  were  dispatched  to 
prepare  the  way  for  Him  spiritually  as  well  as  in  the 
more  ordinary  sense ;  unless,  indeed,  we  adopt  the  con- 
jecture that  the  messengers  may  have  been  James  and 
John,  who  would  thus  he  likely  to  feel  with  special 
vividness  the  insult  of  His  rejection.  At  any  rate  the 
inhabitants — who  to  this  day  are  not  remarkable  for 
their  civility  to  strangers1 — absolutely  declined  to  receive 
or  admit  Him.  Previously  indeed,  when  He  was  passing 
through  Samaria  on  His  journey  northwards,  He  had 
found  Samaritans  not  only  willing  to  receive,  but  anxious 
to  detain  His  presence  among  them,  and  eager  to  listen 
to  His  words.  But  now  in  two  respects  the  circum- 
stances were  different ;  for  now  He  was  professedly  tra- 
velling to  the  city  which  they  hated  and  the  Temple 
which  they  despised,  and  now  He  was  attended,  not  by 
a  few  Apostles,  but  by  a  great  multitude,  who  were 
accompanying  Him  as  their  acknowledged  Prophet  and 
Messiah.  Had  Grerizim  and  not  Jerusalem  been  the 
goal  of  His  journey,  all  might  have  been  different ;  but 
now  His  destination  and  His  associates  inflamed  their 
national  animosity  too  much  to  admit  of  their  supply- 
ing to  the  weary  pilgrims  the  ordinary  civilities  of  life. 
And  if  the  feelings  of  this  little  frontier  village  of 
En-gannim  were  so  unmistakably  hostile,  it  became  clear 
that  any  attempt  to  journey  through  the  whole  breadth 
of  Samaria,  and  even  to  pass  under  the  shadow  of  their 
rival  sanctuary,  would  be  a  dangerous  if  not  a  hopeless 
task.2  Jesus  therefore  altered  the  course  of  His  journey, 

1  So  we  were  told  on  the  spot,  though  we  experienced  no  personal  rude- 
ness there.     "They  are,"  says  Dr.  Thomson,   "fanatical,   rude,   and  re- 
bellious "  (Land  and  Book,  II.,  ch.  xxx.). 

2  The  exacerbation  between  Jews  and   Samaritans  was   always  at  its 
worst  during  the  anniversaries  of  the  national  feasts ;  and  it  often  broke 


THE  "SONS  OF  THUNDER"  107 

and  turned  once  more  towards  the  Jordan  valley.  Ee- 
jected  by  Galilee,  refused  by  Samaria,  without  a  word 

•  He  bent  His  steps  towards  Persea. 
But  the  deep  discouragement  of  this  refusal  to  re- 
ceive Him  was  mingled  in  the  minds  of  James  and 
John  with  hot  indignation.  There  is  nothing  so  trying, 
so  absolutely  exasperating,  as  a  failure  to  find  food  and 
shelter,  and  common  civility,  after  the  fatigue  of  travel, 
and  especially  for  a  large  multitude  to  begin  a  fresh 
journey  when  they  expected  rest.  Full,  therefore,  of  the 
Messianic  kingdom,  which  now  at  last  they  thought 
was  on  the  eve  of  being  mightily  proclaimed,  the  two 
brothers  wanted  to  usher  it  in  with  a  blaze  of  Sinaitic 
vengeance,  and  so  to  astonish  and  restore  the  flagging 
spirits  of  followers  who  would  naturally  be  discouraged 
by  so  immediate  and  decided  a  repulse.  "  Lord,  wilt 
Thou  that  we  command  fire  to  come  down  from  heaven, 
and  consume  them.,  even  as  Elias  did?"  "What  wonder," 
says  St.  Ambrose,  "  that  the  Sons  of  Thunder  wished  to 
flash  lightning?"  And  this  their  fiery  impetuosity 
seemed  to  find  its  justification  not  only  in  the  precedent 
of  Elijah's  conduct,1  but  in  the  fact  that  it  had  been 

out  into  acts  of  open  hostility.  In  consequence  of  this,  the  caravans  of 
Galilsean  pilgrims  seem  in  many  instances  [though  by  no  means  always  (Jos. 
Antt.  xx.  6,  §  1 ;  Vit.  52)]  to  have  chosen  the  route  on  the  east  of  Jordan. 
The  Jews  accused  the  Samaritans  of  wilfully  molesting  their  harmless 
travellers,  even  of  the  horrible  crime  of  having  lit  false  fire-signals  to  show 
the  time  of  new  moon,  and  of  having  polluted  their  Temple  by  scattering  in 
it  the  bones  of  the  dead  (see  Jos.  Antt.  xviii.  2,  §  2;  B.  J.  ii.  12,  §§  3,  seqq.). 
(Fid.  supra,  Vol.  I.,  p.  209.) 

1  2  Kings  i.  10 — 12.  The  &s  KO.I  'H\las  tiro'iycre  (Luke  ix.  54)  is  omitted 
(perhaps  on  dogmatic  grounds)  in  N,  B,  L.  But  as  Bishop  Andrewes 
says,  "  The  times  require  sometimes  one  spirit,  sometimes  another.  Elias' 
time,  Elias'  spirit."  The  notion,  however,  that  the  brothers  received  the 
name  "  Boanerges "  («^.  '?.5)  from  this  circumstance  is  quite  groundless. 
(See  Yol.  L,  p.  256.) 


108  THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 

displayed  in  this  very  country  of  Samaria.  Was  it 
more  necessary  in  personal  defence  of  a  single  prophet 
than  to  vindicate  the  honour  of  the  Messiah  and  His 
attendants  ?  But  Jesus  turned  and  rebuked  them.  (rod's 
heaven  has  other  uses  than  for  thunder.  "  They  did 
not  know,"  He  told  them,  "what  spirit  they  were  of."1 
They  had  not  realised  the  difference  which  separated 
Sinai  and  Carrnel  from  Calvary  and  Hermon.  He  had 
come  to  save,  not  to  destroy ;  and  if  any  heard  His 
words  and  believed  not,  He  judged  them  not.2  And  so, 
without  a  word  of  anger,  He  went  to  a  different  village;3 
and  doubtless  St.  John,  who  by  that  time  did  know  of 
what  spirit  he  was,  remembered  these  words  of  Christ 
when  he  went  with  Peter  into  Samaria  to  confirm  the 
recent  converts,  and  to  bestow  upon  them  the  gift  of 
the  Holy  Ghost. 

Perhaps   it  may  have  been    on    this   occasion — for 
certainly  no  occasion  would   have   been    more  suitable 
than  that  furnished  by  this    early  and  rude  repulse- 
that  Jesus,  turning  to  the  great  multitudes  that  accom- 
panied Him,4  delivered  to  them  that   memorable  dis- 

1  The  words  are  omitted  in  many  MSS.  («,  A,  B,  C,  E,  L,  &c.).     Alford, 
however,  supposes  that  they  "have  been  unsparingly  tampered  with  "  because 
they  stood  in  the  way  of  ecclesiastical  censures.     They  occur  in  D,  and  in 
some  good  versions. 

2  John  iii.  17 ;  xii.  47. 

3  The  frepav  (Luke  ix.  56)  probably  implies  that  it  was  not  a  Samaritan 
village. 

4  Luke  xiv.  25 — 33.     We  must  ask  the  reader  to  bear  in  mind  through- 
out this  and  the  following  chapter  that  the  exact  sequence  of  events  is  not 
here  given  by  the  Evangelists,  and  therefore  that  the  certain  order  in  which 
they  occurred  is  not  ascertainable.     In  a  thoughtful  but  quite  inconclusive 
pamphlet  by  the  Rev.  W.  Stewart  (Maclehose,  Glasgow,  1873)  called  The 
Plan  of  St.  Luke's  Gospel,  he  supposes  that  the  Evangelist  arranged  these 
unchronological  incidents  alphabetically  by  the  leading  conceptions  of  the 
paragraph— e.g.,  dya-rav,  Luke  x.  25—28,  29—37,  38—42 ;  alrw,  xi.  1—4, 
5—8,  9—13;  dvTi\fyu>,  xi.  14—32,  &c.     Thus  under  K  (Kpivelv)  would  fall 


WARNINGS  TO  THE  SEVENTY.  109 

course  in  which  He  warned  them  that  all  who  would  be 
His  disciples  must  come  to  Him,  not  expecting  earthly 
love  or  acceptance,  but  expecting  alienation  and  oppo- 
sition, and  counting  the  cost.  They  must  abandon,  if 
need  be,  every  earthly  tie;  they  must  sit  absolutely 
loose  to  the  interests  of  the  world.1  They  must  take  up 
the  cross  and  follow  Him :  strange  language,  of  which 
it  was  only  afterwards  that  they  learnt  the  full  signi- 
ficance. For  a  man  to  begin  a  tower  which  he  could  not 
finish — for  a  king  to  enter  on  a  war  in  which  nothing  wras 
possible  save  disaster  and  defeat — involved  disgrace  and 
indicated  folly ;  better  not  to  follow  Him  at  all,  unless 
they  followed  Him  prepared  to  forsake  all  that  they  had 
on  earth  ;  prepared  to  sacrifice  the  interests  of  time,  and 
to  live  solely  for  those  of  eternity.  One  who  believed 
not,  would  indeed  suffer  loss  and  harm,  yet  his  lot  was 
less  pitiable  than  that  of  him  who  became  a  disciple  only 
to  be  a  backslider — who,  facing  both  ways,  cast  like  Lot's 

xii.  35—38,  39—46,  47,  48,  51—53,  54—56,  57,  58,  59 ;  xiii.  1—5,  6—9. 
Under  %  (x«^j/)  xvi.  14,  15,  16,  17,  18,  19—31,  &c.  The  theory,  which  is 
worked  out  with  as  much  ingenuity  as  it  admits,  will  at  least  serve  to  show 
how  little  chronological  sequence  is  traceable  in  the  great  division  of  St. 
Luke  x. — xviii.  31.  Professor  Westcott  (Introd,  to  Gosp.,  p.  365,  3rd 
ed.)  arranges  the  contents  of  the  section  (omitting  the  minor  divisions)  as 
follows  : — The  Universal  Church ;  The  Rejection  of  the  Jews  foreshown ; 
Preparation  (ix.  43 — xi.  13) ;  Lessons  of  warning  (xi.  14 — xiii.  9) ;  Lessons 
of  progress  (xiii.  10 — xiv.  24) ;  Lessons  of  discipleship  (xiv.  25 — xvii.  10) ; 
The  coming  end  (xvii.  11 — xviii.  30).  It  is  obviously  more  probable  that 
St.  Luke  was  guided  by  some  such  subjective  sequence,  than  that  he  should 
have  adopted  the  poor  expedient  of  an  alphabetical  arrangement  of  un- 
classified fragments. 

1  The  "  hate  "  of  Luke  xiv.  26  is  adopted,  in  strict  accordance  with  our 
Lord's  habit  of  stating  the  great  truths  which  He  uttered  in  the  extremest 
form  of  what,  to  His  hearers,  must  even  sound  like  paradox,  in  order  that 
their  inmost  essential  truth — their  truth  without  any  subterfuge  or  quali- 
fication— might  be  recognised,  and  so  fixed  eternally  in  their  memory.  (See 
supra,  Yol.  I.,  p.  268.)  It  was  necessary  that  they  should  be  uttered  in  such 
a  way  as  to  seize,  and  dominate  over,  the  imagination  of  mankind  for  ever. 


110 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


wife  a  longing  glance  on  all  that  he  ought  to  fl< 
who  made  the  attempt,  at  once  impotent  and  disastrous, 
to  serve  both  God  and  Mammon. 

As  both  Galilee  and  Samaria  were  now  closed 
to  Him,  He  could  only  journey  on  His  way  to  Persea, 
down  the  valley  of  Bethshean,  between  the  borders  of 
both  provinces.  There  a  very  touching  incident  oc- 
curred.1 On  the  outskirts  of  one  of  the  villages  a  dull, 
harsh,  plaintive  cry  smote  His  ears,  and  looking  up  He 
saw  "  ten  men  who  were  lepers,"  united  in  a  community 
of  deadly  misery.  They  were  afar  off,  for  they  dared  not 
approach,  since  their  approach  was  pollution,  and  they 
were  obliged  to  warn  away  all  who  would  have  come 
near  them  by  the  heart-rending  cry,  "  Tame!  tame!"- 
"  Unclean  !  unclean  ! "  There  was  something  in  that 
living  death  of  leprosy — recalling  as  it  did  the  most 
frightful  images  of  suffering  and  degradation,  corrupting 
as  it  did  the  very  fountains  of  the  life-blood  of  man,  dis- 
torting his  countenance,  rendering  loathsome  his  touch, 
slowly  encrusting  and  infecting  him  with  a  plague-spot 
of  disease  far  more  horrible  than  death  itself — which 
always  seems  to  have  thrilled  the  Lord's  heart  with  a 
keen  and  instantaneous  compassion.  And  never  more 
so  than  at  this  moment.  Scarcely  had  He  heard  their 
piteous  cry  of  "  Jesus,  Master,  have  mercy  on  us,"  than 
instantly,  without  sufficient  pause  even  to  approach  them 
more  nearly,  He  called  aloud  to  them,  "  Go,  show  your- 
selves unto  the  priests."  They  knew  the  significance  of 
that  command :  they  knew  that  it  bade  them  hurry  off  to 
claim  from  the  priest  the  recognition  of  their  cure,  th< 
certificate  of  their  restitution  to  every  rite  and  privile^ 


1  Luke  xvii.  11—19. 


THE  UNGRATEFUL  LEPERS.  Ill 

of  human  life.1  Already,  at  the  sound  of  that  potent 
voice,  they  felt  a  stream  of  wholesome  life,  of  recovered 
energy,  of  purer  "blood,  pulsing  through  their  veins  ;  and 
as  they  went  they  were  cleansed. 

He  who  has  not  seen  the  hideous,  degraded  spectacle 
of  the  lepers  clamorously  revealing  their  mutilations,  and 
almost  demanding  alms,  by  the  roadside  of  some  Eastern 
city,2  can  hardly  conceive  how  transcendent  and  immea- 
surable was  the  boon  which  they  had  thus  received  at 
the  hands  of  Jesus.  One  would  have  thought  that  they 
would  have  suffered  no  obstacle  to  hinder  the  passionate 
gratitude  which  should  have  prompted  them  to  hasten 
back  at  once — to  struggle,  if  need  be,  even  through  fire 
and  water,  if  thereby  they  could  fling  themselves  with 
tears  of  heartfelt  acknowledgment  at  their  Saviour's  feet, 
to  thank  Him  for  a  gift  of  something  more  precious  than 
life  itself.  What  absorbing  selfishness,  what  Jewish  in- 
fatuation, what  sacerdotal  interference,  what  new  and 
worse  leprosy  of  shameful  thanklessness  and  superstitious 
ignorance,  prevented  it  ?  We  do  not  know.  We  only 
know  that  of  ten  who  were  healed  but  one  returned, 
and  he  was  a  Samaritan.  On  the  frontiers  of  the  two 
countries  had  been  gathered,  like  froth  at  the  margin  of 
wave  and  sand,  the  misery  of  both  ;3  but  while  the  nine 
Jews  were  infamously  thankless,  the  one  Samaritan 

1  Lev.  xiii.  2;  xiv.  2.     V.  supra,  Yol.  I.,  p.  276. 

2  See  the  dreadful  yet  not  exaggerated  picture  drawn  by  Dr.  Thomson, 
Land  and  Boole,  IY.,  ch.  xliii. ;  Delitzsch,  Durch  Kranklieit  zur  Genesung, 
§  v.     I  had  not,  however,  read  either  that  little  tale,  or  his  Ein  Tag  in 

'  Capernaum,  till  the  whole  of  this  book  was  written.  I  mention  this 
because  there  are  some  accidental  resemblances  between  my  language  and 
that  of  Dr.  Delitzsch. 

3  So  it  is  only  in  the  Biut  el  Masakin  ("  abodes  of  the  unfortunate  "), 
or  lepers'  quarter  in  Jerusalem,  that  Jews  and  Mohammedans  will  live 
together. 


112 


THE  LIFE  OF   CHRIST. 


"  turned  back,  and  with  a  loud  voice  glorified  God,  an< 
fell  down  on  his  face  at  His  feet,  giving  Him  thanks. " 
The  heart  of  Jesus,  familiar  as  He  was  with  all  ingrati- 
tude, was  yet  moved  by  an  instance  of  it  so  flagrant, 
all  but  unanimous,  and  so  abnormal.  "  Were  not  tl 
ten  cleansed?"  He  asked  in  sorrowful  surprise;  "but 
the  nine — where  are  they?1  There  are  not  found  thai 
returned  to  give  glory  to  Grod  save  this  alien."5  "It 
is,"  says  Lange,  "as  if  all  these  benefits  were  falling  into 
a  deep  silent  grave."  The  voice  of  their  misery  had 
awaked  the  instant  echo  of  His  mercy ;  but  the  mira- 
culous utterance  of  His  mercy,  though  it  thrilled  through 
their  whole  physical  being,  woke  no  echo  of  gratitude  in 
their  earthy  and  still  leprous  hearts. 

But,  nevertheless,  this  alien  shall  not  have  returned 
in  vain,  nor  shall  the  rare  virtue — alas,  how  rare  a 
virtue  !3 — of  his  gratitude  go  unrewarded.  Not  his 
body  alone,  but  the  soul — whose  value  was  so  infinitely 
more  precious,  just  as  its  diseases  are  so  infinitely  more 
profound — should  be  healed  by  His  Saviour's  word. 

"  Arise  and  go,"  said  Jesus ;  "  thy  faith  hath  saved 
thee." 


1  Luke  xvii.  17,  ov%l  ol  5e«a  fKaOaplffBrja'av ;   ol  8«  eVvea,  irov  ; 

2  aXhoyevfis. 

3.  Wordsworth's  lines — 

"  I've  heard  of  hearts  unkind,  kind  deeds 

With  coldness  still  returning, 
Alas  !  the  gratitude  of  men 
Hath  oftener  left  me  mourning," 

have  been  often  quoted ;  but  if  he  found  gratitude  a  common  virtue,  his 
experience  must  have  been  exceptional. 


CHAPTER  XLIV. 

TEACHINGS  OF  THE  JOURNEY. 

min1}  TO  vojn,  "And  make  a  fence  for  the  Law." — Pirke  AbMth,  i.  1. 

EVEN  during  this  last  journey  our  Lord  did  not  escape 
the  taunts,  the  opposition,  the  depreciating  remarks — 
in  one  word,  the  Pharisaism — of  the  Pharisees  and  those 
who  resembled  them.  The  circumstances  which  irritated 
them  against  Him  were  exactly  the  same  as  they  had 
been  throughout  His  whole  career — exactly  those  in 
which  His  example  was  most  lofty,  and  His  teaching 
most  beneficial — namely,  the  performance  on  the  Sabbath 
of  works  of  mercy,  and  the  association  with  publicans 
and  sinners. 

One  of  these  sabbatical  disputes  occurred  in  a  syna- 
gogue.1 Jesus,  as  we  have  already  remarked,  whether 
because  of  the  lesser  excommunication  (the  cherem),  or  for 
any  other  reason,  seems,  during  this  latter  period  of  His 
ministry,  to  have  entered  the  synagogues  but  rarely.  The 
exclusion,  however,  from  one  synagogue  or  more  did  not 
include  a  prohibition  to  enter  any  synagogue ;  and  the 
subsequent  conduct  of  this  rdsh  hakkenesetk  seems  to 
show  that  he  had  a  certain  awe  of  Jesus,  mingled  with 
his  jealousy  and  suspicion.  On  this  day  there  sat 

1  Luke  xiii.  10—17. 


114 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


among  the  worshippers  a  poor  woman  who,  for  eighteen 
long  years,  had  been  bent  double  by  "  a  spirit  of  infir- 
mity," and  could  not  lift  herself  up.  The  compassionate 
heart  of  Jesus  could  not  brook  the  mute  appeal  of  her 
presence.  He  called  her  to  Him,  and  saying  to  her, 
"Woman,  thou  art  loosed  from  thine  infirmity,"1  laid 
His  hands  on  her.  Instantly  she  experienced  the  mira- 
culous strengthening  which  enabled  her  to  lift  up  the 
long-bowed  and  crooked  frame,  and  instantly  she  broke 
into  utterances  of  gratitude  to  God.  But  her  strain  of 
thanksgiving  was  interrupted  by  the  narrow  and  igno- 
rant indignation  of  the  ruler  of  the  synagogue.  Here, 
under  his  very  eyes,  and  without  any  reference  to  the 
"  little  brief  authority  "  which  gave  him  a  sense  of  dig- 
nity on  each  recurring  Sabbath,  a  woman — a  member 
of  his  congregation — had  actually  had  the  presumption 
to  be  healed.  Armed  with  his  favourite  "texts,"  and 
in  all  the  fussiness  of  official  hypocrisy,  he  gets  up 
and  rebukes  the  perfectly  innocent  multitude,  telling 
them  it  was  a  gross  instance  of  Sabbath-breaking 
for  them  to  be  healed  on  that  sacred  day,  when  they 
might  just  as  well  be  healed  on  any  of  the  other  six 
days  of  the  week.  That  the  offence  consisted  solely  in 
the  being  healed  is  clear,  for  he  certainly  could  not  mean 
that,  if  they  had  any  sickness,  it  was  a  crime  for 
them  to  come  to  the  synagogue  at  all  on  the  Sabbath 
day.  Now,  as  the  poor  woman  does  not  seem  to  have 
spoken  one  word  of  entreaty  to  Jesus,  or  even  to  have 
called  His  attention  to  her  case,  the  utterly  senseless 
address  of  this  man  could  only  by  any  possibility  mean 
either  "  You  sick  people  must  not  come  to  the  synagogue 

1  Luke  xiii.  12,  ewroXeAi/o-ai.     The  perfect  implies  the  instantaneousness 
and  permanence  of  the  result. 


THE  HYPOCRITICAL  PHARISEE. 


115 


at  all  on  the  Sabbath  under  present  circumstances,  for 
fear  you  should  be  led  into  Sabbath-breaking  by  having 
a  miraculous  cure  performed  upon  you ; "  or  "  If  any  one 
wants  to  heal  you  on  a  Sabbath,  you  must  decline."  And 
these  remarks  he  has  neither  the  courage  to  address  to 
Jesus  Himself,  nor  the  candour  to  address  to  the  poor 
healed  woman,  but  preaches  at  them  both  by  rebuking  the 
multitude,  who  had  no  concern  in  the  action  at  all,  beyond 
the  fact  that  they  had  been  passive  spectators  of  it ! 

The  whole  range  of  the  Gospels  does  not  supply  any 
other  instance  of  an  interference  so  illogical,  or  a  stu- 
pidity so  hopeless ;  and  the  indirect,  underhand  way  in 
which  he  gave  vent  to  his  outraged  ignorance  brought 
on  him  that  expression  of  our  Lord's  indignation  which 
he  had  not  dared  openly  to  brave.  "Hypocrite  !  "  was 
the  one  crushing  word  with  which  Jesus  addressed  him. 
This  silly  official  had  been  censorious  with  Him  because 
He  had  spoken  a  few  words  to  the  woman,  and  laid 
upon  her  a  healing  hand ;  and  with  the  woman  because, 
having  been  bent  double,  she  lifted  herself  up  and 
glorified  God !  It  would  be  difficult  to  imagine  such  a 
paralysis  of  the  moral  sense,  if  we  did  not  daily  see  the 
stultifying  effect  produced  upon  the  intellect  by  the 
"  deep  slumber  of  a  decided  opinion,"  especially  when 
the  opinion  itself  rests  upon  nothing  better  than  a 
meaningless  tradition.  Now  Jesus  constantly  varied 
the  arguments  and  appeals  by  which  He  endeavoured 
to  show  the  Pharisees  of  His  nation  that  their  views 
about  the  Sabbath  only  degraded  it  from  a  divine 
benefit  into  a  revolting  bondage.1  To  the  Eabbis  of 
Jerusalem  He  justified  Himself  by  an  appeal  to  His 

1  It  is  a  curious  but  instructive  fact  that  the  Jews  of  Palestine  to  this 
day  greatly  resemble  their  Pharisaic  predecessors.    "  I  have  no  heart,"  says 


116 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


own  character  and  authority,  as  supported  by  the  triple 
testimony  of  John  the  Baptist,  of  the  Scriptures,  and 
of  the  Father  Himself,  who  bore  witness  to  Him  by  the 
authority  which  He  had  given  Him.1  To  the  Pharisees 
of  Galilee  He  had  quoted  the  direct  precedents  of  Scrip- 
ture,2 or  had  addressed  an  appeal,  founded  on  their  own 
common  sense  and  power  of  insight  into  the  eternal 
principles  of  things.3  But  the  duller  and  less  practised 
intellect  of  these  Perseans  might  not  have  understood 
either  the  essential  love  and  liberty  implied  by  the  in- 
stitution of  the  Sabbath,  or  the  paramount  authority  of 
Jesus  as  Lord  of  the  Sabbath.  It  could  not  rise  above 
the  cogency  of  the  argumentum  ad  hominem.  It  was 
only  capable  of  a  conviction  based  on  their  own  common 
practices  and  received  limitations.  There  was  not  one 

Dr.  Thomson,  "  to  dwell  on  their  absurd  superstitions,  their  intense  fana- 
ticism, or  their  social  and  domestic  institutions  and  manners,  comprising 
an  incredible  and  grotesque  melange  of  filth  and  finery,  Pharisaic  self- 
righteousness  and  Sadducean  licentiousness.  The  following  is  a  specimen  of 
the  puerilities  enjoined  and  enforced  by  their  learned  Rabbis  : — A  Jew  must 
not  carry  on  the  Sabbath  even  so  much  as  a  pocket-handkerchief,  except 
within  the  walls  of  the  city.  If  there  are  no  walls  it  follows,  according  to 
their  perverse  logic,  that  he  must  not  carry  it  at  all !  To  avoid  this  difficulty, 
here  in  Safed,  they  resort  to  what  is  called  eruv.  Poles  are  set  up  at  the 
ends  of  the  streets,  and  strings  stretched  from  the  one  to  the  other.  This 
string  represents  a  wall,  and  a  conscientious  Jew  may  carry  his  handker- 
chief anywhere  within  these  strings.  I  was  once  amused  by  a  devout 
Israelite  who  was  walking  with  me  on  his  Sabbath.  When  we  came  to  the 
end  of  the  street  the  string  was  gone,  and  so  by  another  fiction  he  was  at 
liberty  to  go  on  without  reference  to  what  was  in  his  pocket,  because  he 
had  not  passed  the  wall.  The  last  time  I  was  here  they  had  abandoned 
this  absurdity,  probably  to  avoid  the  constant  ridicule  it  brought  upon 
them  "  (Thomson,  Land  and  Book,  II.,  ch.  xix.).  What  a  commentary  on 
the  kind  of  Sabbatarianism  which  Christ  combated !  For  abundant  further 
instances,  which  descend  into  details  not  only  puerile  but  disgusting,  see 
Buxtorf,  Syn.  Jud.,  capp.  xiv. — xvi. 

1  John  v.  17 — 47,  supra,  Yol.  I.,  p.  379. 

2  Luke  vi.  3—5,  supra,  Yol.  I.,  p.  437. 

3  Luke  vi.  9,  supra,  Yol.  I.,  p.  440. 


JBATH  TEACHINGS. 

of  them  who  did  not  consider  himself  justified  in  un- 
loosing and  leading  to  the  water  his  ox  or  his  ass  on  the 
Sabbath,1  although  that  involved  far  more  labour  than 
either  laying  the  hand  on  a  sick  woman,  or  even  being 
healed  by  a  miraculous  word !  If  their  Sabbath  rules 
gave  way  to  the  needs  of  ox  or  ass,  ought  they  not 
to  give  way  to  the  cruel  necessities  of  a  daughter  of 
Abraham  ?  If  they  might  do  much  more  labour  on  the 
Sabbath  to  abbreviate  a  few  hours'  thirst,  might  not  He 
do  much  less  to  terminate  a  Satanically  cruel  bondage 
which  had  lasted,  lo  !  these  eighteen  years  ?  At  reason- 
ings so  unanswerable,  no  wonder  that  His  adversaries 
were  ashamed,  and  that  the  simpler,  more  unsophisticated 
people  rejoiced  at  all  the  glorious  acts  of  mercy  which 
He  wrought  on  their  behalf.3 

Again  and  again  was  our  Lord  thus  obliged  to  re- 
deem this  great  primeval  institution  of  God's  love  from 
these  narrow,  formal,  pernicious  restrictions  of  an  otiose 
and  unintelligent  tradition.  But  it  is  evident  that  He 
attached  as  much  importance  to  the  noble  and  loving 
freedom  of  the  day  of  rest  as  they  did  to  the  stupefy- 

1  It  might,  moreover,  as  they  were  well  aware,  have  been  avoided  alto- 
gether if  their  Oriental  laziness,  and  want  of  real  earnestness,  had  not 
prevented  them  from  rendering  snch  tasks  unnecessary  by  procuring  a 
supply  of  water  overnight.     But  this  kind  of  letter- worship  must  of  its 
very  nature  be  purely  artificial. 

2  The  cold  hyper-saintly  ones  might  say,  If  she  has  been  bound  these 
eighteen  years,  surely  she  might  wait  yet  one  day  longer !     But  that  very 
circumstance  He  makes  an  argument  for  the  contrary,  for  he  who  loves  his 
neighbour  as  himself  would  rather  say,  Not  one  moment  longer  must   she 
suffer,  if  help  can  be  afforded'  her  !     Could  it  be  forbidden  thus  to  help  ? 
The  "  ought  not "  of  verse  16  catechetically  answers,  with  infinite  condescen- 
sion, the  inconsiderate,  proud,  and  unintelligent  "  ought "  of  verse  14.  "  Men 
ought "  was  the  theme  there ;  so  now  the  "  ought "  is  abundantly  returned ; 
"  ought  not  she,  according  to  the  law  of  love,  which  specially  ordains  God's 
works  for  the    Sabbath,  as    man's   labour  for  the  remaining  days,  to  be 
loosed  from  this  misery  ?"     (Stier,  iv.  51.) 


118 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


ing  inaction  to  which  they  had  reduced  the  normal 
character  of  its  observance.  Their  absorbing  attachment 
to  it,  the  frenzy1  which  filled  them  when  He  set  at 
naught  their  Sabbatarian  uncharities,  rose  from  many 
circumstances.  They  were  wedded  to  the  religious 
system  which  had  long  prevailed  among  them,  because 
it  is  easy  to  be  a  slave  to  the  letter,  and  difficult  to  enter 
into  the  spirit ;  easy  to  obey  a  number  of  outward  rules, 
difficult  to  enter  intelligently  and  self-sacrificingly  into 
the  will  of  Grod ;  easy  to  entangle  the  soul  in  a  network 
of  petty  observances,  difficult  to  yield  the  obedience  of 
an  enlightened  heart;  easy  to  be  haughtily  exclusive, 
difficult  to  be  humbly  spiritual ;  easy  to  be  an  ascetic 
or  a  formalist,  difficult  to  be  pure,  and  loving,  and  wise, 
and  free  ;  easy  to  be  a  Pharisee,  difficult  to  be  a  disciple ; 
very  easy  to  embrace  a  self-satisfying  and  sanctimonious 
system  of  rabbinical  observances,  very  difficult  to  love 
God  with  all  the  heart,  and  all  the  might,  and  all  the 
soul,  and  all  the  strength.  In  laying  His  axe  at  the 
root  of  their  proud  and  ignorant  Sabbatarianism,  He  was 
laying  His  axe  at  the  root  of  all  that  "  miserable  micro- 
logy  "  which  they  had  been  accustomed  to  take  for  their 
religious  life.  Is  the  spirit  of  the  sects  so  free  in  these 
days  from  Pharisaic  taint  as  not  to  need  such  lessons  ? 
Will  not  these  very  words  which  I  have  written — 
although  they  are  but  an  expansion  of  the  lessons  which 
Jesus  incessantly  taught — yet  give  offence  to  some  who 
read  them  ? 

One  more  such  incident  is  recorded — the  sixth  em- 
bittered  controversy  of  the   kind   in  which  they  had 

1  Luke  vi.  11,  €7rArjo-07j<raj/  avoias.  The  attachment  to  the  Sabbath  was 
not  all  religious ;  it  was  due  in  part  to  the  obstinate  conservatism  of  an 
exclusive  nationality,  and  as  such  it  even  attracted  heathen  notice  (Ovid, 
Ars  Amat.  i.  415  ;  Juv.  Sat.  xiv.  98—100). 


THE  MAN  WITH'  DROPSY.  119 

involved  our  Lord.1  Nothing  but  Sabbatarianism  which 
had  degenerated  into  monomania  could  account  for  their 
so  frequently  courting  a  controversy  which  always  ended 
in  their  total  discomfiture.  On  a  certain  Sabbath,  which 
was  the  principal  day  for  Jewish  entertainments,2  Jesus 
was  invited  to  the  house  of  one  who,  as  he  is  called  a 
ruler  of  the  Pharisees,  must  have  been  a  man  in  high 
position,  and  perhaps  even  a  member  of  the  Sanhedrin. 
The  invitation  was  one  of  those  to  which  He  was  so 
often  subjected,  not  respectful  or  generous,  but  due 
either  to  idle  curiosity  or  downright  malice.  Through- 
out the  meal  He  was  carefully  watched  by  hostile 
scrutiny.  The  Pharisees,  as  has  been  well  said,  "per- 
formed the  duty  of  religious  espionage  with  exemplary 
diligence."3  Among  the  unbidden  guests  who,  Oriental 
fashion,  stood  about  the  room  and  looked  on,  as  they 
do  to  this  day  during  the  continuance  of  a  meal,  was  a 
man  afflicted  with  the  dropsy.  The  prominent  position 
in  which  he  stood,  combined  with  the  keen  watch- 
fulness of  the  Pharisees,  seems  to  show  that  he  had  been 
placed  there  designedly,  either  to  test  Christ's  willing- 

1  Luke  xiv.  1 — 6.      The  others  were  the  healing  at   Bethesda  (John 
v.  10,  Yol.  I.,  p.  375) ;  the  scene  in  the  corn-field  (Mark  ii.  23,  id.,  p.  434) ; 
the  healing  of  the  withered  hand  (Matt.  xii.  10,  id.,  p.  439),  of  the  blind 
man  at  Siloam  (John  ix.  14,  supr.,  p.  82),  and  of  the  paralytic  woman 
(Luke  xiii.  14,  supr.,  p.  113). 

2  Neh.  viii.  9 — 12.     No  cooking  was  done  (Exod.  xvi.  23) ;  but,  as  those 
feasts  must  have  necessitated  more  or  less  labour,  the  fact  shows  how  little 
real  earnestness  there  was  in  the  Jewish  Sabbatarianism;  how  fast  and 
loose  they  could  play  with  their  own  convictions ;  how  physical  self-indul- 
gence and  unintelligent  routine  had  usurped  the  place  of  spiritual  enlighten- 
ment.   On  the  contrary,  there  was  no  inconsistency  whatever  in  our  Lord's 
accepting  such  invitations  ;  there  was  nothing  wrong  in  them,  and  nothing 
out  of  accordance 'with  true  principles;  and  therefore  Jesus  could  sanction 
them  with  His  presence.     But  had  there  been  any  true  principle  involved 
in  the  Jewish  view,  they  ought  to  have  thought  them  wrong. 

3  Bruce,  Training  of  the  Twelve,  p.  27.     Luke  xiv.  1 — 6. 


120 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


ness  to  respect  their  Sabbath  prejudices,  or  to  defeat  His 
miraculous  power  by  the  failure  to  cure  a  disease  more 
inveterate,  and  less  amenable  to  curative  measures,  than 
any  other.  If  so,  this  was  another  of  those  miserable 
cases  in  which  these  unfeeling  teachers  of  the  people 
were  ready  to  make  the  most  heart-rending  shame  or 
the  deepest  misery  a  mere  tool  to  be  used  or  thrown 
aside,  as  chance  might  serve,  in  their  dealings  with 
Jesus.  But  this  time  Jesus  anticipated,  and  went  to 
meet  half  way  the  subtle  machinations  of  this  learned 
and  distinguished  company.  He  asked  them  the  very 
simple  question — 

"  Is  it  lawful  to  heal  on  the  Sabbath  day  ?  " 
They  would  not  say  "  Yes ;"  but,  on  the  other  hand, 
they  dared  not  say  "  No  ! "  Had  it  been  unlawful,  it 
was  their  positive  function  and  duty  to  say  so  then  and 
there,  and  without  any  subterfuge  to  deprive  the  poor 
sufferer,  so  far  as  in  them  lay,  of  the  miraculous  mercy 
which  was  prepared  for  him,  and  to  brave  the  conse- 
quences. If  they  dared  not  say  so — either  for  fear  of 
the  people,  or  for  fear  of  instant  refutation,  or  because 
the  spell  of  Christ's  awful  ascendancy  was  upon  them, 
or  out  of  a  mere  splenetic  pride,  or — to  imagine  better 
motives — because  in  their  inmost  hearts,  if  any  spot 
remained  in  them  uncrusted  by  idle  and  irreligious  pre- 
judices, they  felt  that  it  was  lawful,  and  more  than 
lawful,  RIGHT — then,  by  their  own  judgment,  they  left 
Jesus  free  to  heal  without  the  possibility  of  censure. 
Their  silence,  therefore,  was,  even  on  their  own  showing, 
and  on  their  own  principles,  His  entire  justification.  His 
mere  simple  question,  and  their  inability  to  'answer  it,  was 
an  absolute  decision  of  the  controversy  in  His  favour. 
He  therefore  took  the  man,  healed  him,  and  let  him  go. 


STRUGGLE  FOR  PRECEDENCE.         121 

And  then  He  appealed,  as  before,  to  their  own  prac- 
tice. "  Which  of  you  shall  have  a  son,1  or  (even)  an  ox, 
fallen  into  a  pit,  and  will  not  straightway  pull  him  out 
on  the  Sabbath  day  ?  "  They  knew  that  they  could  only 
admit  the  fact,  and  then  the  argument  a  fortiori  was  irre- 
sistible ;  a  man  was  more  important  than  a  beast ;  the 
extrication  of  a  beast  involved  more  labour  by  far  than 
the  healing  of  a  man.  Their  base  little  plot  only  ended 
in  the  constrained  and  awkward  silence  of  a  complete 
refutation  which  they  were  too  ungenerous  to  acknow- 
ledge. 

Jesus  deigned  no  farther  to  dwell  on  a  subject  which 
to  the  mind  of  every  candid  listener  had  been  set  at 
rest  for  ever,  and  He  turned  their  thoughts  to  other 
lessons.  The  dropsy  of  their  inflated  self-satisfaction 
was  a  disease  far  more  difficult  to  heal  than  that  of  the 
sufferer  whom  they  had  used  to  entrap  Him.  Scarcely 
was  the  feast  ready,  when  there  arose  among  the  dis- 
tinguished company  one  of  those  unseemly  struggles  for 
precedence  which — common,  nay,  almost  universal  as 
they  are — show  the  tendencies  of  human  nature  on  its 
weakest  and  most  contemptible  side.2  And  nothing 
more  clearly  showed  the  essential  hollo wness  of  Pharisaic 
religion  than  its  intense  pride  and  self-exaltation.  Let 
one  anecdote  suffice.  The  King  Jannseus  had  on  one 
occasion  invited  several  Persian  Satraps,  and  among 

1  It  seems  certain  that  vlbs,  not  &vos,  is  the  true  reading  in  Luke  xiv.  5 ; 
an  immense  preponderance  of  the  best  MSS.  (A,  B,  and  ten  uncials)  and 
versions  (the  Syriac,  Persian,  Sahidic,  &c.)  is  in  its  favour ;  the  apparent 
strangeness  of  the  collocation  is  removed  by  certain  Rabbinic  parallels — 
e.g.,  Babha  Kama,  5,  6  (quoted  by  Sepp).    There  can  be  no  question  that  the 
Jews  had  always  theoretically  admitted,  and  acted  on,  the  very  principle 
which  our  Lord  asserts ;  and  they  do  so  to  this  day — e.g.,  the  Jews  of 
Tiberias,  with  all  their  Sabbatarianism,  bathe  often  on  the  Sabbath. 

2  Luke  xiv.  7—11. 


122 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


the  guests  asked  to  meet  them  was  the  Eabbi  Simeon 
Ben  Shetach.  The  latter  on  entering  seated  himself 
table  between  the  King  and  the  Queen.  Being  ask< 
his  reason  for  such  a  presumptuous  intrusion,  he  repli< 
that  it  was  written  in  the  Book  of  Jesus  Ben  Siracl 
"  Exalt  wisdom  and  she  shall  exalt  thee,  and  shall  make 
thee  sit  among  princes."1 

The  Jews  at  this  period  had  adopted  the  system  of 
triclinia  from  the  Greeks  and  Romans,  and  the  "  chief 
seat"  (7rpcoTOK\Lcrla)  was  the  middle  seat  in  the  cent] 
triclinium.  Observing  the  anxiety  of  each  guest  to  secure 
this  place  for  himself,3  our  Lord  laid  down  a  wiser  and 
better  principle  of  social  courtesy,  which  involved  the 
far  deeper  lesson  of  spiritual  humility.  Just  as  in  earthly 
society  the  pushing,  intrusive,  self-conceited  man  must 
be  prepared  for  many  a  strong  rebuff,  and  will  find  him- 
self often  compelled  to  give  place  to  modest  merit,  so  in 
the  eternal  world,  "  whosoever  exalteth  himself  shall  be 
abased,  and  he  that  humbleth  himself  shall  be  exalted." 
Pride,  exclusiveness,  self-glorification,  have  no  place  in 
the  kingdom  of  God.  Humility  is  the  only  passport 
which  can  obtain  for  us  an  entrance  there. 

"  Humble  we  must  be,  if  to  heaven  we  go ; 
High  is  the  roof  there,  but  the  gate  is  low." 

And  He  proceeded  to  teach  them  another  lesson, 
addressed  to  some  obvious  foible  in  the  character  of  His 
host.3  Luxury,  ostentation,  the  hope  of  a  return,  are 
not  true  principles  of  hospitality.  A  richer  recompense 
awaits  the  kindness  bestowed  upon  the  poor  than  the 
adulatory  entertainment  of  the  friendly  and  the  rich.  In 

1  Ecclus.  xv.  5 ;  TTOY.  4  ;  cf .  Prov.  iv.  8.     The  anecdote  is  quoted  by 
Sepp,  Leben  Jesu,  II.  iii.  6. 

2  Luke  xiv.  7,  e^Xeyovro,  "  They  were  picking  out  for  themselves." 

3  Luke  xiv.  12—14. 


A  GENERAL  REMARK.  123 

receiving  friends  and  relatives,  do  not  forget  the  helpless 
and  the  afflicted.1  Interested  beneficence  is  nothing  in 
the  world  but  a  deceitful  selfishness.  It  may  be  that 
thou  wouldest  have  won  a  more  eternal  blessing  if  that 
dropsical  man  had  been  invited  to  remain — if  those  poor 
lookers-on  were  counted  among  the  number  of  the  guests. 
At  this  point  one  of  the  guests,  perhaps  because  he 
thought  that  these  lessons  were  disagreeable  and  severe, 
interposed  a  remark  which,  under  the  circumstances,  rose 
very  little  above  the  level  of  a  vapid  and  misleading 
platitude.3  He  poured  upon  the  troubled  waters  a  sort 
of  general  impersonal  aphorism.  Instead  of  profiting 
by  these  Divine  lessons,  he  seemed  inclined  to  rest 
content  with  "  an  indolent  remission  of  the  matter  into 
distant  futurity,"  as  though  he  were  quite  sure  of  that 
blessedness,  of  which  he  seems  to  have  a  very  poor  and 
material  conception.  But  our  Lord  turned  his  idle  poor 
remark  into  a  fresh  occasion  for  most  memorable  teaching. 
He  told  them  a  parable  to  show  that  "  to  eat  bread  in 
the  kingdom  of  heaven"  might  involve  conditions  which 

1  Our  Lord  knew  that  the  conscience  of  each  hearer,  even  unaided  by 
the  ordinary  idioms  of  Oriental  speech,  would  rightly  understand  the  bold 
and  sometimes  almost  paradoxical  form  into  which  He  purposely  cast  His 
precepts.  That  the  "call  not  thy  friends"  means  "call  not  only  thy 
friends,  but  also,"  &c.,  has  been  admitted  by  all  except  a  few  fanatical  com- 
mentators. Even  sceptics  have  seen  that  our  Lord's  sayings  are  not  to  be 
attacked  on  methods  of  interpretation  which  would  make  them  repulsive  to 
natural  affection  no  less  than  to  common  sense.  See,  for  other  passages 
which  require  similar  principles  of  interpretation,  Matt.  v.  46,  47  (Luke  vi. 
32—34) ;  ix.  13 ;  Luke  xiv.  26  (comp.  Matt.  x.  37) ;  John  vi.  27 ;  1  Cor. 
i.  17 ;  xv.  10.  This  is  a  well-known  principle  of  Hebrew  grammar,  "  Oom- 
parativus  saepe  ita  circumscribitur,  ut  alterum  et  quidem  inf erius  ex  duobus 
comparatis  negetur,  alterum  affirmetur,  cui  excellentia  tribuenda  est" 
(Glass,  Phil.  Sacr.,  p.  468).  See  Prov.  viii.  10;  and  supr.,  p.  109.  It  is  of 
course  obvious  to  add  that  the  truest  kindness  and  charity  to  the  poor  would 
in  these  days  by  no  means  consist  in  merely  entertaining  them  at  meals. 

3  Luke  xiv.  15—24. 


124  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST 

those  who  felt  so  very  sure  of  doing  it  would  not  be 
willing  to  accept.  He  told  them  of  a  king  who  had  sent 
out  many  invitations  to  a  great  banquet,  but  who,  when 
the  due  time  came,1  was  met  by  general  refusals.  One 
had  his  estate  to  manage,  and  was  positively  obliged  to 
go  and  see  a  new  addition  to  it.  Another  was  deep  in 
buying  and  selling,  and  all  the  business  it  entailed.  A 
third  was  so  lapped  in  contented  domesticity  that  his 
coming  was  out  of  the  question.  Then  the  king,  reject- 
ing, in  his  anger,  these  disrespectful  and  dilatory  guests, 
bade  his  slaves  go  at  once  to  the  broad  and  narrow  streets, 
and  bring  in  the  poor  and  maimed,  and  lame  and  blind ; 
and  when  that  was  done,  and  there  still  was  room,  he 
sent  them  to  urge  in  even  the  houseless  wanderers  by 
the  hedges  and  the  roads.  The  application  to  all  present 
was  obvious.  The  worldly  heart — whether  absorbed  in 
the  management  of  property,  or  the  acquisition  of  riches, 
or  the  mere  sensualisms  of  contented  comfort — was  in- 
compatible with  any  desire  for  the  true  banquet  of  the 
kingdom  of  heaven.  The  Grentile  and  the  Pariah,  the 
harlot  and  the  publican,  the  labourer  of  the  roadside  and 
the  beggar  of  the  streets,  these  might  be  there  in  greater 
multitudes  than  the  Scribe  with  his  boasted  learning,  and 
the  Pharisee  with  his  broad  phylactery.  "  For  I  say  unto 
you,"  He  added  in  His  own  person,  to  point  the  moral 
more  immediately  to  their  own  hearts,  "that  none  of 
those  men  who  were  called  shall  taste  of  my  supper." 
It  was  the  lesson  which  He  so  often  pointed.  "  To  be 
invited  is  one  thing,  to  accept  the  invitation  is  another. 
Many  are  called,  but  few  are  chosen.  Many — as  the 

1  These  customs  remain  unchanged.  The  message  Tefuddulu,  el'asha 
hdder,"  Come,  for  the  supper  is  ready,"  may  be  heard  to  this  day;  and  to 
refuse  is  a  high  insult.  (Thomson,  Land  and  Book,  L,  chap,  ix.) 


THE  UNJUST  STEWARD.  125 

heathen  proverb  said  —  '  Many  bear  the  narthex,  but  few 
feel  the   inspiring    god  '  (iro\\oL  TOI  vapQ^Kocfropoi,  Travpoi,  £e 


re 


Teachings  like  these  ran  throughout  this  entire 
period  of  the  Lord's  ministry.  The  parable  just  recorded 
was,  in  its  far-sided  and  many-reaching  significance,  a 
reproof  not  only  to  the  close  exclusiveness  of  the  Phari- 
sees, but  also  to  their  worldliness  and  avarice.  On 
another  occasion,  when  our  Lord  was  mainly  teaching 
His  own  disciples,  He  told  them  the  parable  of  the 
TlDJust  Steward,1  to  show  them  the  necessity  of  care  and 
faithfulness,  of  prudence  and  wisdom,  in  so  managing  the 
affairs  and  interests  and  possessions  of  this  life  as  not  to 
lose  hereafter  their  heritage  of  the  eternal  riches.  It 

1  Luke  xvi.  1  —  13.  If  such  immense  and  needless  difficulties  had  not 
been  raised  about  this  parable,  it  would  have  seemed  almost  superfluous  to 
say  that  the  point  held  up  for  imitation  in  the  steward  is  not  his  injustice 
and  extravagance,  but  the  foresight  (^povi^s,  "prudently,"  not  as  in  the  E.V  ., 
"  wisely  ")  with  which  he  anticipated,  and  the  skill  with  which  he  provided 
against,  his  ultimate  difficulties.  It  really  seems  as  if  commentators  were  so 
perplexed  by  the  parable  as  hardly  to  have  got  beyond  Julian's  foolish  and 
unworthy  criticism,  that  it  commends  and  sanctions  cheating  !  What  can 
be  clearer  than  the  very  simple  deductions  ?  This  steward,  having  been  a 
bad  steward,  showed  diligence,  steady  purpose,  and  clear  sagacity  in  his 
dishonest  plan  for  extricating  himself  from  the  consequences  of  past  dis- 
honesty :  be  ye  faithful  stewards,  and  show  the  same  diligence,  purpose, 
sagacity,  in  subordinating  the  present  and  the  'temporal  to  the  requirements 
of  the  eternal  and  the  future.  Just  as  the  steward  made  himself  friends 
of  the  tenants,  who,  when  his  income  failed,  received  him  into  their  houses, 
so  do  ye  use  your  wealth  —  (and  time,  opportunity,  knowledge,  is  wealth,  as 
well  as  money)  —  for  the  good  of  your  fellow-men  ;  that  when  you  leave  earth 
poor  and  naked,  these  fellow-men  may  welcome  you  to  treasures  that  never 
fail.  Such  seems  to  be  the  meaning  of  verse  9,  which  is  somewhat  difficult. 
Tho  lesson  is,  in  fact,  the  same  as  in  the  famous  'dypatyov  Stfyyuo,  "Show 
yourselves  approved  money-changers."  The  parables  of  the  Unjust  Judge 
and  the  Importunate  Suitor  (aj/atSeta,  Luke  xi.  8)  show  quite  as  clearly  as 
this  parable  that  the  lesson  conveyed  by  a  parable  may  be  enforced  by 
principles  of  contrast,  and  may  involve  no  commendation  of  those  whose 
conduct  conveys  the  lesson.  It  is  very  probable  that  both  these  parables 
were  drawn  from  circumstances  which  had  recently  occurrecl. 


126  THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 

was  impossible — such  was  the  recurrent  burden  of  so 
many  discourses — to  be  at  once  worldly  and  spiritual; 
to  be  at  once  the  slave  of  God  and  the  slave  of  Mammon. 
"With  the  supreme  and  daring  paradox  which  impressed 
His  divine  teaching  on  the  heart  and  memory  of  the 
world,  He  urged  them  to  the  foresight  of  a  spiritual 
wisdom  by  an  example  drawn  from  the  foresight  of  a 
criminal  cleverness. 

Although  Christ  had  been  speaking  in  the  first 
instance  to  the  Apostles,  some  of  the  Pharisees  seem  to 
have  been  present  and  to  have  heard  Him  ;  and  it  is  a 
characteristic  fact  that  this  teaching,  more  than  any 
other,  seems  to  have  kindled  their  most  undisguised 
derision.  They  began  to  treat  Him  with  the  most  open 
and  insolent  disdain.  And  why?  Because  they  were 
Pharisees,  and  yet  were  fond  of  money.1  Had  not  they, 
then,  in  their  own  persons,  successfully  solved  the  problem 
of  "  making  the  best  of  both  worlds  ?  "  Who  could  doubt 
tJieir  perfect  safety  for  the  future  ?  nay,  the  absolute 
certainty  that  they  would  be  admitted  to  the  "  chief 
seats,"  the  most  distinguished  and  conspicuous  places  in 
the  world  to  come  ?  Were  they  not,  then,  standing 

1  Luke  xvi.  14,  Qtn.vini)pi£ov  avr6v.  The  vice  of  avarice  seems  inherent 
in  the  Jewish  race.  To  this  day,  says  Dr.  Thomson,  speaking  of  the  Jews 
in  Palestine,  "  Everybody  trades,  speculates,  cheats.  The  shepherd-boy  on 
the  mountain  talks  of  piastres  from  morning  till  night;  so  does  the 
muleteer  on  the  road,  the  farmer  in  the  field,  the  artisan  in  the  shop,  the 
merchant  in  his  magazine,  the  pacha  in  his  palace,  the  kadi  in  the  hall  of 
judgment,  the  mullah  in  the  mosque,  the  monk,  the  priest,  the  bishop — 
money,  money,  money !  the  desire  of  every  heart,  the  theme  of  every  tongue, 
the  end  of  every  aim.  Everything  is  bought  and  sold — each  prayer  has  its 
price,  each  sin  its  tariff."  (II.  ch.  xxvii.) — Quarrels  about  the  money,  com- 
plaints of  the  greed  and  embezzlement  of  the  Rabbis,  wrong  distribution 
of  the  chaluka,  or  alms,  and  the  Jcadima,  or  honorary  pay,  form  the 
main  history  of  the  Jews  in  modern  Jerusalem.  It  is  a  profoundly  melan- 
choly tale,  and  no  one  who  knows  the  facts  will  deny  it — least  of  all  pious 
and  worthy  Jews.  (Vide  Frankl,  Jews  in  the  East, passim.) 


WARNINGS  TO  THE  PHARISEES.  127 

witnesses  of  the  absurdity  of  the  supposition  that  the 
love  of  money  was  incompatible  with  the  love  of  Grod  ? 

Our  Lord's  answer  to  them  is  very  much  compressed 
by  St.  Luke,3  but  consisted,  first,  in  showing  them  that 
respectability  of  life  is  one  thing,  and  sincerity  of  heart 
quite  another.  Into  the  new  kingdom,  for  which  John 
had  prepared  the  way,  the  world's  lowest  were  pressing  in, 
and  were  being  accepted  before  them ;  the  Gospel  was 
being  rejected  by  them,  though  it  was  not  the  destruc- 
tion, but  the  highest  fulfilment  of  the  Law.  Nay — 
such  seems  to  be  the  meaning  of  the  apparently  discon- 
nected verse  which  follows2 — even  to  the  Law  itself,  of 
which  not  one  tittle3  should  fail,  they  were  faithless,  for 
they  could  connive  at  the  violation  of  its  most  distinct 
provisions.  In  this  apparently  isolated  remark  He 
alluded,  in  all  probability,  to  their  relations  to  Herod 
Antipas,  whom  they  were  content  to  acknowledge  and 
to  flatter,  and  to  whom  not  one  of  them  had  dared  to 
use  the  brave  language  of  reproach  which  had  been 
used  by  John  the  Baptist,  although,  by  the  clearest 
decisions  of  the  Law  which  they  professed  to  venerate, 
his  divorce  from  the  daughter  of  Aretas  was  adulterous, 

1  Luke  xvi.  15—18. 

2  Of.  Luke  vii.  29 ;  xv.  1 ;  Matt.  xi.  12, 13.    This  is  Luther's  interpreta- 
tion, and  seems  to  be  the  correct  one,  though  Stier  does  not  think  it  worthy 
of  refutation. 

3  "Tittle,"  Kepaia  (Luke  xvi.  17);    i.e.,  the  smallest  turn  or  stroke  of  a 
letter,  like  the  minute  points  which  distinguish  1  from  3  (Orig.,  ad  Ps. 
xxxiii.).    (Wetstein.) — This   is  one  of   Christ's   expressions  which   receive 
interesting  illustration  from  the  Rabbis.      In  Jer.  Sanhedr.,  f.  20,   the 
Book  of  Deuteronomy  prostrates  itself  before  God,  and  complains  that 
Solomon  has  robbed  it  of  the  letter  jod  (in  the  letter  nashim)  by  taking 
many  wives.     God  answers  that  Solomon  shall  perish,  but  not  the  letter 
jod.     R.  Honna  said  that  the  jod  which  God  took  from  the  name  Sarai 
He  divided  in  half,  giving  half  to  Abraham,  half  to  Sara/&  (because  n  (h}  = 
5,  '  (yod)  =  10),  &c.     (Gfrorer,  i.  236.) 


128 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


and  his  marriage  with  Herodias  was  doubly  adulterous, 
and  worse. 

But  to  make  the  immediate  truth  which  He  had 
explaining  yet  more  clear  to  them,  He  told  them 
parable  of  the  Eich  Man  and  Lazarus.1  Like  all  of  01 
Lord's  parables,  it  is  full  of  meaning,  and  admits  of  more 
than  one  application ;  but  at  least  they  could  not  miss 
the  one  plain  and  obvious  application,  that  the  decision 
of  the  next  world  will  often  reverse  the  estimation 
wherein  men  are  held  in  this  ;  that  God  is  no  respecter 
of  persons  ;  that  the  heart  must  make  its  choice  between 
the  "  good  things "  of  this  life  and  those  which  the 
externals  of  this  life  do  not  affect.  And  what  may  be 
called  the  epilogue  of  this  parable  contains  a  lesson  more 
solemn  still — namely,  that  the  means  of  grace  which 
(rod's  mercy  accords  to  every  living  soul  are  ample  for 
its  enlightenment  and  deliverance ;  that  if  these  be 
neglected,  no  miracle  will  be  wrought  to  startle  the  ab- 
sorbed soul  from  its  worldly  interests  ;  that  "  if  they 
hear  not  Moses  and  the  Prophets,  neither  will  they  be 


1  It  is  a  curious,  but  perhaps  accidental,  coincidence  that  in  this  parable 
alone  is  any  name  given ;  as  also  Lazarus  is  the  only  recipient — with  the 
exception  of  Bartimseus — of  our  Lord's  miracles  who  is  distinctly  named. 
Perhaps  there  may  be  some  reference  intended  to  names  written  in  heaven, 
but  forgotten  on  earth,  and  blazoned  on  earth,  but  unrecorded  in  heaven 
(comp.  the  erci^Tj  of  verse  22  with  the  silence  about  the  burial  of  Lazarus). 
The  name  Lazarus,  however  [either  "iw  «b,  Lo  ezer  (Chald.  La)  (?),  "  Not 
help,"  a)8o4j07jTos  (Theophyl.),  or  better,  nj»  ^«,  Eli  ezer,  "  God  my  help  "],  is 
particularly  appropriate.  Herberger,  quoted  by  Stier,  says,  "We  have  in 
this  parable  a  veritable  window  opened  into  hell,  through  which  we  can 
see  what  passes  there."  But  inferences  of  this  kind  must  be  very 
cautiously  pressed.  It  is  a  wise  and  well-established  rule,  that  "  TJieologia 
parabolica  non  est  demonstrativa."  Some  see  in  "the  five  brethren"  a 
reference  to  the  five  sons  of  Annas  (Jos.  Antt.  xx.  9,  §1) — an  entirely  ques- 
tionable allusion  (Sepp,  Leben  Jesu,  II.  vi.  11).  Some  very  ingenious  specu- 
lations on  the  subject  of  Lazarus  may  be  seen  in  Prof.  Pluniptre's  Lazarus 
and  other  Poems  (note). 


ARE  FEW  SAYED?  129 

persuaded  though  one  rose  from  the  dead."  Auditufideli 
satvamur,  says  Bengel,  non  apparitionibus — "  We  are 
saved  by  faithful  hearing,  not  by  ghosts. " 

This  constant  reference  to  life  as  a  time  of  probation, 
and  to  the  Great  Judgment,  when  the  one  word  "  Come," 
or  "  Depart/'  as  uttered  by  the  Judge,  should  decide  all 
controversies  and  all  questions  for  ever,  naturally  turned 
the  thoughts  of  many  listeners  to  these  solemn  subjects. 
But  there  is  a  great  and  constant  tendency  in  the  minds 
of  us  all  to  refer  such  questions  to  the  case  of  others 
rather  than  our  own — to  make  them  questions  rather 
of  speculative  curiosity  than  of  practical  import.  And 
such  tendencies,  which  rob  moral  teaching  of  all  its 
wholesomeness,  and  turn  its  warnings  into  mere  excuses 
for  uncharity,  were  always  checked  and  discouraged  by 
our  Lord.  A  special  opportunity  was  given  Him  for 
this  on  one  occasion  during  those  days  in  which  He  was 
going  "through  the  cities  and  villages,  teaching,  and 
journeying  toward  Jerusalem."1  He  had — not,  perhaps, 
for  the  first  time — been  speaking  of  the  small  beginnings 
and  the  vast  growth  of  the  kingdom  of  heaven  alike  in 
the  soul  and  in  the  world ;  and  one  of  His  listeners,  in 
the  spirit  of  unwise  though  not  unnatural  curiosity, 
asked  Him,  "Lord,  are  there  few  that  be  saved?" 
Whether  the  question  was  dictated  by  secure  self-satis- 
faction, or  by  despondent  pity,  we  cannot  tell ;  but  in 
either  case  our  Lord's  answer  involved  a  disapproval  of 
the  inquiry,  and  a  statement  of  the  wholly  different 
manner  in  which  such  questions  should  be  approached. 
"  Few  "  or  "  many  "  are  relative  terms.  Waste  not  the 
precious  opportunities  of  life  in  idle  wonderment,  but 
strive.  Through  that  narrow  gate,  none — not  were  they 

1  Luke  xiii.  22—30 ;  Matt.  xiii.  31,  32 ;  Mark  iv.  30,  31. 


130 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


a  thousand  times  of  the  seed  of  Abraham — can  entei 
without  earnest  effort.  And  since  the  efforts,  the  wilful 
efforts,  the  erring  efforts  of  many  fail — since  the  day  will 
come  when  the  door  shall  be  shut,  and  it  shall  be  for  ever 
too  late  to  enter  there — since  no  impassioned  appeal  shall 
then  admit,  no  claim  of  olden  knowledge  shall  then  be 
recognised — since  some  of  those  who  in  their  spiritual 
pride  thought  that  they  best  knew  the  Lord,  shall  hear 
the  awful  repudiation,  "I  know  you  not " — strive  ye  to 
of  those  that  enter  in.  For  many  shall  enter  from  every 
quarter  of  the  globe,  and  yet  thou,  0  son  of  Abraham, 
mayest  be  excluded.  And  behold,  once  more — it  may 
well  sound  strange  to  thee,1  yet  so  it  is — "  there  are  last 
which  shall  be  first,  and  there  are  first  which  shall  be 
last."2 

Thus  each  vapid  interruption,  each  scornful  criticism, 
each  erroneous  question,  each  sad  or  happy  incident,  was 
made  by  Jesus,  throughout  this  journey,  an  opportunity 
for  teaching  to  His  hearers,  and  through  them  to  all  the 
world,  the  things  that  belonged  unto  their  peace.  And 
He  did  so  once  more,  when  "  a  certain  lawyer  "  stood  up 
tempting  Him,  and  asked — not  to  obtain  guidance,  but 
to  find  subject  for  objection — the  momentous  question, 
"  What  must  I  do  to  obtain  eternal  life  ?  "  Jesus,  seeing 
through  the  evil  motive  of  his  question,  simply  asked 
him  what  was  the  answer  to  that  question  which  was 

1  Such  is  the  general  significance  of  icai  ISov  in  the  Gospels.    It  is  used 
twenty-three  times  in  St.  Matthew,  sixteen  in  St.  Luke,  but  not  in  St. 
Mark. 

2  Dante,  in  his  Inferno,  has  finely  expanded  this  truth : — 

"  He  in  the  world  was  one 
For  arrogance  noted  ;  to  his  memory 
No  virtue  lent  its  lustre.  .  .  .  There  above 
How  many  hold  themselves  for  mighty  kings 
Who  here,  like  swine,  shall  wallow  in  the  mire, 
Leaving  behind  them  horrible  dispraise." 


THE  GOOD  SAMARITAN. 


131 


given  in  the  Law  which  it  was  the  very  object  of  the 
man's  life  to  teach  and  to  explain.  The  lawyer  gave  the 
best  summary  which  the  best  teaching  of  his  nation  had 
by  this  time  rendered  prevalent.  Jesus  simply  confirmed 
his  answer,  and  said,  "  This  do,  and  thou  shalt  live/* 
But  wanting  something  more  than  this,  and  anxious  to 
justify  a  question  which  from  his  own  point  of  view  was 
superfluous,  and  which  had,  as  he  well  knew,  been  asked 
with  an  ungenerous  purpose,  the  lawyer  thought  to  cover 
his  retreat  by  the  fresh  question,  "And  who  is  my 
neighbour  ?  "  Had  Jesus  asked  the  man's  own  opinion 
on  this  question,  He  well  knew  how  narrow  and  false  it 
would  have  been  ;  He  therefore  answered  it  Himself,  or 
rather  gave  to  the  lawyer  the  means  for  answering  it, 
fey  one  of  His  most  striking  parables.  He  told  him  how 
once  a  man,  going  down  the  rocky  gorge  which  led 
from  Jerusalem  to  Jericho,  had  fallen  into  the  hands  of 
the  robbers,  whose  frequent  attacks  had  given  to  that 
descent  the  ill-omened  name  of  "  the  bloody  way,"  and 
had  been  left  by  these  Bedawin  marauders,  after  the 
fashion  which  they  still  practise,  bleeding,  naked,  and 
half  dead  upon  the  road.  A  priest  going  back  to  his 
priestly  city  had  passed  that  way,  caught  a  glimpse  of 
him,  and  crossed  over  to  the  other  side  of  the  road.  A 
Levite,  with  still  cooler  indifference,  had  come  and  stared 
at  him,  and  quietly  done  the  same.  But  a  Samaritan 
journeying  that  way — one  on  whom  he  would  have 
looked  with  shuddering  national  antipathy,  one  in  whose 
very  shadow  he  would  have  seen  pollution — a  good 
Samaritan,  pattern  of  that  Divine  Speaker  whom  men 
rejected  and  despised,  but  who  had  come  to  stanch  those 
bleeding  wounds  of  humanity,  for  which  there  was  no 
remedy  either  in  the  ceremonial  or  the  moral  law— 


132  THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 

came  to  him,  pitied,  tended  him,  mounted  him  on  hii 
own  beast,  trudged  beside  him  on  the  hard,  hot,  dusty, 
dangerous  road,  and  would  not  leave  him  till  he  had 
secured  his  safety,  and  generously  provided  for  his  future 
wants.  Which  of  these  three,  Jesus  asked  the  lawyer, 
was  neighbour  to  him  who  fell  among  thieves  ?  The 
man  was  not  so  dull  as  to  refuse  to  see  ;  but  yet,  knowing 
that  he  would  have  excluded  alike  the  Samaritans  and 
the  Gentiles  from  his  definition  of  "  neighbours,"  he  has 
not  the  candour  to  say  at  once,  "  The  Samaritan"  but 
uses  the  poor  periphrasis,  "  He  that  did  him  the  kind- 
ness." "  Gro,"  said  Jesus,  "  and  do  thou  likewise."  I, 
the  friend  of  publicans  and  sinners,  hold  up  the  example 
of  this  Samaritan  to  thee.1 

We  must  not,  however,  suppose  that  these  two 
months  of  mission-progress  were  all  occupied  in  teaching 
which,  however  exalted,  received  its  external  shape  and 
impulse  from  the  errors  and  controversies  which  met 
the  Saviour  on  His  way.  There  were  many  circum- 
stances during  these  days  which  must  have  filled  His 
soul  with  joy. 

Pre-eminent  among  these  was  the  return  of  the 
Seventy ?  We  cannot,  of  course,  suppose  that  they 
returned  in  a  body,  but  that  from  time  to  time,  two  and 
two,  as  our  Lord  approached  the  various  cities  and 
villages  whither  He  had  sent  them,  they  came  to  give 
Him  an  account  of  their  success.  And  that  success  was 
such  as  to  fill  their  simple  hearts  with  astonishment  and 
exultation.  "  Lord,"  they  exclaimed,  "  even  the  devils 
are  subject  unto  us  through  Thy  name."  Though  He 
had  given  them  no  special  commission  to  heal  demoniacs, 
though  in  one  conspicuous  instance  even  the  Apostles 

1  Luke  X.  25—37.  2  Luke  x.  17—20. 


JOY  OF  THE  SEVENTY. 


133 


had  failed  in  this  attempt,  yet  now  they  could  cast  out 
devils  in  their  Master's  name.  Jesus,  while  entering 
into  their  joy,  yet  checked  the  tone  of  over-exultation, 
and  rather  turned  it  into  a  nobler  and  holier  channel. 
He  bade  them  feel  sure  that  good  was  eternally  mightier 
than  evil ;  and  that  the  victory  over  Satan — his  fall  like 
lightning  from  heaven — had  been  achieved  and  should 
continue  for  ever.  Over  all  evil  influences  He  gave  them 
authority  and  victory,  and  the  word  of  His  promise 
should  be  an  amulet  to  protect  them  from  every  source 
of  harm.  They  should  go  upon  the  lion  and  adder,  the 
young  lion  and  the  dragon  should  they  tread  under  feet  ;x 
because  He  had  set  His  love  upon  them,  therefore 
would  He  deliver  them  :  He  would  set  them  up  because 
they  had  known  His  name.  And  yet  there  was  a 
subject  of  joy  more  deep  and  real  and  true — less  dan- 
gerous because  less  seemingly  personal  and  conspicuous 
than  this — on  which  He  rather  fixed  their  thoughts  :  it 
was  that  their  names  had  been  written,  and  stood  un- 
obliterated,2  in  the  Book  of  Life  in  heaven. 

And  besides  the  gladness  inspired  into  the  heart  of 
Jesus  by  the  happy  faith  and  unbounded  hope  of  His 
disciples,  He  also  rejoiced  in  spirit  that,  though  rejected 
and  despised  by  Scribes  and  Pharisees,  He  was  loved  and 
worshipped  by  Publicans  and  Sinners.  The  poor  to 
whom  He  preached  His  Grospel — the  blind  whose  eyes 
He  had  come  to  open — the  sick  whom  He  had  come  to 
heal — the  lost  whom  it  was  His  mission  to  seek  and 
save ; — these  all  thronged  with  heartfelt  and  pathetic 
gratitude  to  the  Grood  Shepherd,  the  Great  Physician. 

1  Ps.  xci.  13,  14.     Wetstein  shows  that  Christ  here  adopted  a  familiar 
metaphor,  found  also  in  the  Rabbis. 

2  tyytypaTrrai  (Luke  x.  20 ;   Rev.  xx.  12,  15).     See  Clemens,  Up.  ad  Cor. 
xlv.,  with  Dr.  Lightfoot's  note. 


134  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

The  Scribes  and  Pharisees  as  usual  murmured,1  but  what 
mattered  that  to  the  happy  listeners  ?  To  the  weary 
and  heavy-laden  He  spoke  in  every  varied  form  of  hope, 
of  blessing,  of  encouragement.  By  the  parable  of  the 
Importunate  Widow  He  taught  them  the  duty  of  faith, 
and  the  certain  answer  to  ceaseless  and  earnest  prayer.2 
By  the  parable  of  the  haughty,  respectable,  fasting,  alms- 
giving, self-satisfied  Pharisee — who,  going  to  make  his 
boast  to  God  in  the  Temple,  went  home  less  justified 
than  the  poor  Publican,  who  could  only  reiterate  one 
single  cry  for  God's  mercy  as  he  stood  there  beating  his 
breast,  and  with  downcast  eyes — He  taught  them  that 
God  loves  better  a  penitent  humility  than  a  merely  ex- 
ternal service,  and  that  a  broken  heart  and  a  contrite 
spirit  were  sacrifices  which  He  would  not  despise.3 
Nor  was  this  all.  He  made  them  feel  that  they  were 
dear  to  God ;  that,  though  erring  children,  they  were 
His  children  still.  And,  therefore,  to  the  parables 
of  the  Lost  Sheep  and  the  Lost  Drachma,  He  added 
that  parable  in  which  lies  the  whole  Gospel  in  its 
richest  and  tenderest  grace — the  Parable  of  the  Pro- 
digal Son. 

Never  certainly  in  human  language  was  so  much — 
such  a  world  of  love  and  wisdom  and  tenderness — com- 


1  Luke  xv.  1,  2.     This  is  the  third  instance  in  which  this  self-righteous 
exclusiveness  is  rebuked.    The  first  was  at  the  house  of  Simon  the  Pharisee 
(Luke  vii.  39;  see  Yol.  I.,  p.  301);  the  second  at  Matthew's  feast  (Matt. 
ix.  11;  Yol.  I.,  p.  348);   and  the  same  thing  occurred  again  in  the  case 
of  Zacchseus  (Luke  xix.  7).    In  each  of  these  instances  Jesus  with  a  deep 
irony  "  argued  with  His  accusers  on  their  own  premises,  accepting  their 
estimate  of  themselves  and  of  the  class  with  whom  they  deemed  it  dis- 
creditable to  associate,  as  righteous  and  sinful  respectively."  (Bruce,  Train- 
ing  of  the  Twelve,  p.  28.) 

2  Luke  xviii.  1 — 8. 

3  Luke  xviii.  9 — 14. 


THE  PRODIGAL  SON.  135 

pressed  into  such  few  immortal  words.1  Every  line, 
every  touch  of  the  picture  is  full  of  beautiful  eternal 
significance.  The  poor  boy's  presumptuous  claim  for  all 
that  life  could  give  him — the  leaving  of  the  old  home — 
the  journey  to  a  far  country — the  brief  spasm  of  "  enjoy- 
ment" there — the  mighty  famine  in  that  land — the 
premature  exhaustion  of  all  that  could  make  life  noble 
and  endurable — the  abysmal  degradation  and  unutter- 
able misery  that  followed — the  coming  to  himself,  and 
recollection  of  all  that  he  had  left  behind — the  return  in 
heart-broken  penitence  and  deep  humility — the  father's 
far-off  sight  of  him,  and  the  gush  of  compassion  and 
tenderness  over  this  poor  returning  prodigal — the  ring- 
ing joy  of  the  whole  household  over  him  who  had  been 
loved  and  lost,  and  had  now  come  home — the  unjust 
jealousy  and  mean  complaint  of  the  elder  brother — and 
then  that  close  of  the  parable  in  a  strain  of  music — "  Son, 
tliou  art  ever  with  me,  and  all  that  I  have  is  thine.  It  was 
meet  that  we  should  make  merry,  and  be  glad ' :  for  this  thy 
brother  was  dead,  and  is  alive  again;  was  lost,  and  is  found )y 
— all  this  is  indeed  a  divine  epitome  of  the  wandering  of 
man  and  the  love  of  God  such  as  no  literature  has  ever 
equalled,  such  as  no  ear  of  man  has  ever  heard  elsewhere. 
Put  in  the  one  scale  all  that  Confucius,  or  Sakya  Mouni, 
or  Zoroaster,  or  Socrates  ever  wrote  or  said — and  they 
wrote  and  said  many  beautiful  and  holy  words — and  put 
in  the  other  the  Parable  of  the  Prodigal  Son  alone,  with 
all  that  this  single  parable  connotes  and  means,  and  can 
any  candid  spirit  doubt  which  scale  would  outweigh  the 
other  in  eternal  preciousness — in  divine  adaptation  to 
the  wants  of  man  ? 

1 1  have  already  touched  on  this  parable  (supra,  Yol.  I.,  p.  426) ;  but  a 
few  more  words  on  the  subject  will  perhaps  be  pardoned  here. 


136  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

So   this   great  journey  grew  gradually  to  a  close. 
The  awful  solemnity — the  shadow,  as  it  were,  of  coming 
doom — the    half-uttered    "  too   late "  which   might    he 
dimly  heard  in  its  tones  of  warning — characterise  the 
single  record  of  it  which  the  Evangelist  St.  Luke  has 
happily  preserved.1     We  seem  to  hear  throughout  it  an 
undertone  of  that  deep  yearning  which  Jesus  had  before 
expressed — "  I  have  a  baptism    to   be   baptised  with  ; 
and  how  am  I  straitened  until  it  be  accomplished  !  "     It 
was  a  sorrow  for  all  the  broken  peace  and  angry  oppo- 
sition which  His  work  would  cause  on  earth — a  sense 
that  He  was  prepared  to  plunge  into  the  "willing  agony  " 
of  the  already  kindled  flame.2     And  this  seems  to  have 
struck  the  minds  of  all  who  heard  Him ;  they  had  an 
expectation,  fearful  or  glad  according  to  the  condition 
of  their  consciences,   of  something  great.      Some  new 
manifestation — some  revelation  of  the  thoughts  of  men's 
hearts — was  near  at  hand.      At  last  the  Pharisees  sum- 
moned up  courage  to  ask  Him  "  when  the  kingdom  of 
Grod  should  come?"3     There  was  a  certain  impatience,  a 
certain  materialism,  possibly  also  a  tinge  of  sarcasm  and 
depreciation  in  the  question,  as   though  they  had  said, 
"  When  is  all  this  preaching  and  preparation  to  end,  and 
the  actual  time  to  arrive?"     His  answer,  as  usual,  indi- 


1  As  the  main  events  and  teaching  of  this  episode  in  St.  Luke  (ix.  51 — 
xviii.  14)  are  not  recorded  by  the  other  Synoptists,  and  as  the  narratives  of 
the  three  meet  again  at  Luke  xviii.  15;  Matt.  xix.  13;  Mark  x.  13,  it  is  a 
natural  and  reasonable  supposition  that  the  things  narrated  beyond  that 
point  belong  to  a  time  subsequent  to  the  journey.  We  can,  of  course,  only 
conjecture  why  St.  Luke  is  almost  our  sole  authority  for  this  period  of  two 
months ;  it  is,  however,  possible  that  both  St.  Matthew  and  St.  Peter  (who 
was  the  informant  of  St.  Mark)  were  but  little  with  Jesus  at  this  time,  and 
were  themselves  engaged  in  a  mission  similar  to  that  of  the  Seventy. 

3  Luke  xii.  49—53. 

3  Luke  xvii.  20—37. 


THE  SECOND  ADYENT.  137 

cated  that  their  point  of  view  was  wholly  mistaken.    The 
coining  of  the  kingdom  of  Grod  could  not  he  ascertained 
by  the  kind  of  narrow  and  curious  watching1  to  which 
they  were  addicted.     False  Christs  and  mistaken  Rabbis 
might  cry  "  Lo  here  !  "  and  "  Lo  there  !  "  but  that  king- 
dom was  already  in  the  midst  of  them  ;3  nay,  if  they 
had  the  will  and  the  wisdom  to  recognise  and  to  em- 
brace it,  that  kingdom  was  within  them.     That  answer 
was    sufficient   to  the   Pharisees,  but  to  His  disciples 
He  added  words  which  implied  the  fuller  explanation. 
Even  they  did  not  fully  realise  that  the  kingdom  had 
already   come.     Their    eyes  were   strained  forward  in 
intense  and  yearning  eagerness  to  some  glorious  future ; 
but  in  the  future,  glorious  as  it  would  be,  they  would 
still  look  backward  with  yet  deeper  yearning,  not  un- 
mingled  with  regret,  to  this  very  past — to  these   days 
of  the   Son  of  Man,  in  which   they  were  seeing   and 
their  hands  handling  the  Word  of  Life.     In  those  days, 
let  them  not  be  deceived  by  any  "  Lo  there  !  Lo  here  !" 
nor  let  them  waste  in  feverish  and  fruitless  restlessness 
the  calm  and  golden  opportunities  of  life.3      For  that 
coming  of  the  Son  of  Man  should  be  bright,  sudden, 
terrible,  universal,  irresistible  as  the  lightning  flash ;  but 
before  that  day  He  must  suffer  and  be  rejected.     More- 
over, that  gleam   of   His    second  advent  would   flame 
upon  the  midnight  of  a  sensual,  unexpectant  world,  as 
the  flood  rolled  over  the  festive  sensualism  in  the  days 
of  Noah,  and  the    fire    and   brimstone    streamed  from 

1  Luke  xvii.  20,  irapar^Tjo-ts.     Of.  xiv.  1. 

2  That  fvrbs  vfjL(2j/  may  have  this  meaning  is  proved  by  the  passage  of 
Xenophon  (Andb.  i.  10,  3)  cited  by  Alford;    but  the  other  meaning  is 
probably  included.    Of.  Rom.  xiv.  17;  John  i.  26;  xii.  35,  &c.j  and  Deut. 
xxx.  14. 

3  See  2  Thess.  passim. 


138  THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 

heaven  upon  the  glittering  rottenness  of  the  Cities  of 
the  Plain.  Woe  to  those  who  should  in  that  day  he 
casting  regretful  glances  on  a  world  destined  to  pass 
away  in  flame  !  For  though  till  then  the  business  and 
companionships  of  life  should  continue,  and  all  its  various 
fellowships  of  toil  or  friendliness,  that  night  would  be  one 
of  fearful  and  of  final  separations  ! 

The  disciples  were  startled  and  terrified  by  words  of 
such  strange  solemnity.  "  Where,  Lord?"  they  ask  in 
alarm.  But  to  the  "  where  "  there  could  be  as  little 
answer  as  to  the  "  when,"  and  the  coming  of  God's 
kingdom  is  as  little  geographical  as  it  is  chronological.1 
"  Wheresoever  the  body  is,"  He  says,  "  thither  will  the 
vultures  be  gathered  together."3  The  mystic  Arma- 
geddon is  no  place  whose  situation  you  may  fix  by 
latitude  and  longitude.  Wherever  there  is  indivi- 
dual wickedness,  wherever  there  is  social  degeneracy, 
wherever  there  is  deep  national  corruption,  thither  do 
the  eagle-avengers  of  the  Divine  vengeance  wing  their 
flight  from  far:  thither  from  the  ends  of  the  earth 
come  nations  of  a  fierce  countenance,  "  swift  as  the  eagle 
flieth,"  to  rend  and  to  devour.  "  Her  young  ones  also 
suck  up  blood:  and  where  the  slain  are,  there  is  she."3 

1  See  Stier,  iv.  287. 

2  The  Jews,  and  indeed  the  ancients  generally,  classed  the  vulture  with 
the  eagle.     I  cannot  believe  the  interpretation  of  Chrysostom,  Theophy- 
lactus,  &c.,  that  the  "body"  is  Christ,  and  the  gathering  eagles  are  His 
saints.     All  that  can  be  said  for  this  view  may  be  seen  in  Bishop  "Words- 
worth on  Matt.  xxiv.  28 ;  but  a  reference  to  Job  xxxix.  30,  "  Her  young 
ones  also  suck  up  blood ;  and  where  the  slain  are,  there  is  she,"  seems  alone 
sufficient  to  refute  it. 

3  Deut.  xxviii.  49;  Job  xxxix.  30.    Cf.  Hab.  i.  8,  "They  shaU  fly  as  the 
eagle  that  hasteth  to  eat ; "  Hos.  viii.  1,  "  Set  the  trumpet  to  thy  mouth. 
He  shall  fly  as  an  eagle  against  the  house  of  the  Lord,  because  they  have 
transgressed  my  covenant,  and  trespassed  against  my  law."     In  fact,  the 
best  commentary  to  the  metaphor  will  be  found  in  Rev.  xix.  17 — 21. 


THE   GATHERING  EAGLES. 


139 


Jerusalem — nay,  the  whole  Jewish  nation — was  falling 
rapidly  into  the  dissolution  rising  from  internal  decay ; 
and  already  the  flap  of  avenging  pinions  was  in  the  air. 
"When  the  world  too  should  lie  in  a  state  of  morbid 
infamy,  then  should  be  heard  once  more  the  rushing  of 
those  "  congregated  wings." 

Is  not  all  history  one  long  vast  commentary  on 
these  great  prophecies?  In  the  destinies  of  nations 
and  of  races  has  not  the  Christ  returned  again  and 
again  to  deliver  or  to  judge  ? 


CHAPTEE  XLY. 

THE     FEAST     OF     DEDICATION. 

Thrice  blessed  whose  lives  are  faithful  prayers, 

Whose  loves  in  higher  love  endure  ; 

What  souls  possess  themselves  so  pure, 
Or  is  there  blessedness  like  theirs  ? — TENNYSON. 

NOWHERE,  in  all  probability,  did  Jesus  pass  more  restful 
and  nappy  hours  than  in  the  quiet  house  of  that  little 
family  at  Bethany,  which,  as  we  are  told  by  St.  John, 
"He  loved."  The  family,  so  far  as  we  know,  consisted 
only  of  Martha,  Mary,  and  their  brother  Lazarus.  That 
Martha  was  a  widow — that  her  husband  was,  or  had 
been,  Simon  the  Leper — that  Lazarus  is  identical  with 
the  gentle  and  holy  Rabbi  of  that  name  mentioned  in 
the  Talmud — are  conjectures  that  may  or  may  not  be 
true ; 1  but  we  see  from  the  Gospels  that  they  were  a 
family  in  easy  circumstances,  and  of  sufficient  dignity 
and  position  to  excite  considerable  attention  not  only  in 
their  own  little  village  of  Bethany,  but  even  in  Jeru- 
salem. The  lonely  little  hamlet,  lying  among  its 
peaceful  uplands,  near  Jerusalem,  and  yet  completely 
hidden  from  it  by  the  summit  of  Olivet,  and  thus 

"  Not  wholly  in  the  busy  world,  nor  quite 
Beyond  it," 

must  always  have  had  for  the  soul  of  Jesus  an  especial 

1  Peak,  f.  21,  2,  quoted  by  Sepp,  iii.  8. 


MARTHA  AND  MARY.  141 

charm ;  and  tlie  more  so  because  of  the  friends  whose  love 
and  reverence  always  placed  at  His  disposal  their  holy 
and  happy  home.  It  is  there  that  we  find  Him  on  the 
eve  of  the  Feast  of  the  Dedication,  which  marked  the 
close  of  that  public  journey  designed  for  the  full  and 
final  proclamation  of  His  coming  kingdom.1 

It  was  natural  that  there  should  be  some  stir  in  the 
little  household  at  the  coming  of  such  a  Gruest,  and 
Martha,  the  busy,  eager-hearted,  affectionate  hostess,  "  on 
hospitable  thoughts  intent,"  hurried  to  and  fro  with 
excited  energy  to  prepare  for  His  proper  entertainment. 
Her  sister  Mary,  too,  was  anxious  to  receive  Him 
fittingly,3  but  her  notions  of  the  reverence  due  to  Him 
were  of  a  different  kind.  Knowing  that  her  sister  was 
only  too  happy  to  do  all  that  could  be  done  for  His 
material  comfort,  she,  in  deep  humility,  sat  at  His  feet 
and  listened  to  His  words. 

Mary  was  not  to  blame,  for  her  sister  evidently 
enjoyed  the  task  which  she  had  chosen  of  providing  as 
best  she  could  for  the  claims  of  hospitality,  and  was 
quite  able,  without  any  assistance,  to  do  everything  that 
was  required.  Nor  was  Martha  to  blame  for  her  active 
service  ;  her  sole  fault  was  that,  in  this  outward  activity, 
she  lost  the  necessary  equilibrium  of  an  inward  calm.  As 
she  toiled  and  planned  to  serve  Him,  a  little  touch  of 
jealousy  disturbed  her  peace  as  she  saw  her  quiet  sister 
sitting — "  idly  "  she  may  have  thought — at  the  feet  of 
their  great  Yisitor,  and  leaving  the  trouble  to  fall  on  her. 

1  St.  Luke,  as  Stier  observes,  may  have  anticipated  the  true  order  of 
this  anecdote  in  order  to  let  it  throw  light  on  the  question  of  the  lawyer, 
"  What  must  I  do?"  (See  Luke  x.  25,  38—42.)  This,  if  correct,  is  a  good 
illustration  of  the  subjective  considerations  which  seem  to  dominate  in  this 
episode  of  his  Gospel. 

-  Luke  X.  39,  fy  Kal  irapaitaQiffaffa  .  .  . 


142 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


If  she  had  taken  time  to  think,  she  could  not  but  have 
acknowledged  that  there  may  have  been  as  much  of  con- 
sideration as  of  selfishness  in  Mary's  withdrawal  into  the 
background  in  their  domestic  administration ;  but  to  be 
just  and  noble-minded  is  always  difficult,  nor  is  it  even 
possible  when  any  one  meanness,  such  as  petty  jealousy, 
is  suffered  to  intrude.  So,  in  the  first  blush  of  her 
vexation,  Martha,  instead  of  gently  asking  her  sister  to 
help  her,  if  help,  indeed,  were  needed — an  appeal  which, 
if  we  judge  of  Mary  aright,  she  would  instantly  have 
heard — she  almost  impatiently,  and  not  quite  reverently, 
hurries  in,1  and  asks  Jesus  if  He  really  did  not  care  to 
see  her  sister  sitting  there  with  her  hands  before  her, 
while  she  was  left  single-handed  to  do  all  the  work. 
Would  He  not  tell  her  (Martha  could  not  have  fairly 
added  that  common  piece  of  ill-nature,  "It  is  of  no  use 
for  me  to  tell  her  ")  to  go  and  help  ? 

An  imperfect  soul,  seeing  what  is  good  and  great  and 
true,  but  very  often  failing  in  the  attempt  to  attain  to  it, 
is  apt  to  be  very  hard  in  its  judgments  on  the  short- 
comings of  others.  But  a  divine  and  sovereign  soul — a 
soul  that  has  more  nearly  attained  to  the  measure  of  the 
stature  of  the  perfect  man — takes  a  calmer  and  gentlei\ 
because  a  larger-hearted  view  of  those  little  weaknesses 
and  indirectnesses  which  it  cannot  but  daily  see.  And 
so  the  answer  of  Jesus,  if  it  were  a  reproof,  was  at  any 
rate  an  infinitely  gentle  and  tender  one,  and  one  which 
would  purify  but  would  not  pain  the  poor  faithful  heart 
of  the  busy,  loving  matron  to  whom  it  was  addressed. 
"  Martha,  Martha,"  so  He  said — and  as  we  hear  that 
most  natural  address  may  we  not  imagine  the  half-sad, 

1  Such  seems  to  be  the  force  of  eVio-Tao-o  in  St.  Luke,  who  almost  alone 
uses  the  word  fxx.  1  (cf.  ii.  38);  Acts  xxiii.  27  (cf.  1  Thess.  v.  3)  |. 


ONE  THING  NEEDFUL.  143 

half-playful,  but  wholly  kind  and  healing  smile  which 
lightened  His  face  ? — "  thou  art  anxious  and  hustling 
about  many  things,  whereas  but  one  thing  is  needful ; l 
but  Mary  chose  for  herself  the  good  part,  which  shall 
not  be  taken  away  from  her."  There  is  none  of  that 
exaltation  here  of  the  contemplative  over  the  active  life 
which  Roman  Catholic  writers  have  seen  in  the  passage, 
and  on  which  they  are  so  fond  of  dwelling.  Either  may 
be  necessary,  both  must  be  combined.  Paul,  as  has  well 
been  said,  in  his  most  fervent  activity,  had  yet  the  con- 
templativeness  and  inward  calm  of  Mary ;  and  John, 
with  the  most  rapt  spirit  of  contemplation,  could  yet 
practise  the  activity  of  Martha.  Jesus  did  not  mean 
to  reprobate  any  amount  of  work  undertaken  in  His 
service,  but  only  the  spirit  of  fret  and  fuss — the  want 
of  all  repose  and  calm — the  ostentation  of  superfluous 
hospitality — in  doing  it;  and  still  more  that  tendency 
to  reprobate  and  interfere  with  others,  which  is  so  often 
seen  in  Christians  who  are  as  anxious  as  Martha,  but 
have  none  of  Mary's  holy  trustfulness  and  perfect  calm. 
It  is  likely  that  Bethany  was  the  home  of  Jesus 
during  His  visits  to  Jerusalem,  and  from  it  a  short  and 
delightful  walk  over  the  Mount  of  Olives  would  take 
Him  to  the  Temple.  It  was  now  winter- time,  and  the 


1  The  fj.epifj.vas  alludes  to  her  inward  solicitude,  the  rvpfidfy  to  her  out- 
ward f ussiness ;  in  fact,  if  we  may  adopt  such  colloquial  terms,  "  fretting  " 
and  "fussing"  would  exactly  represent  the  two  words.  The  various 
readings,  o\(y<av  8e  eVri  xPet/a»  oxl-yuv  5e  eVrt  XP6"*  %  *"^$  («»  B,  L,  the  Coptic, 
&c.),  might  have  risen  from  the  notion  that  at  any  rate  more  than  one 
thing  would  be  required  for  the  meal;  but  in  point  of  fact  an  Eastern 
meal  usually  consists  of  one  common  dish.  Altogether,  it  seems  clear 
that  the  first  and  obvious  meaning — as  was  so  customary  with  our  Lord 
— was  meant  to  involve  the  high  and  spiritual  meaning.  Perhaps  the 
o\tyuv  (supported  by  the  consensus  of  «  and  B)  may  have  been  omitted  in 
some  MSS.,  from  a  desire  to  enforce  this  spiritual  lesson. 


144 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


Feast  of  the  Dedication  was  being  celebrated.1  This 
feast  was  held  on  the  25th  of  Cisleu,  and,  according  to 
Wieseler,  fell  this  year  on  Dec.  20.  It  was  founded  by 
Judas  Maccabseus  in  honour  of  the  cleansing  of  th< 
Temple  in  the  year  B.C.  164,  six  years  and  a  half  after 
its  fearful  profanation  by  Antiochus  Epiphanes.  Like 
the  Passover  and  the  Tabernacles,  it  lasted  eight  days, 
and  was  kept  with  great  rejoicing.2  Besides  its  Greek 
name  of  Encsenia,  it  had  the  name  of  ra  (frwra,  or  the 
Lights,  and  one  feature  of  the  festivity  was  a  general 
illumination  to  celebrate  the  legendary  miracle  of  a 
miraculous  multiplication,  for  eight  days,  of  the  holy  oil 
which  had  been  found  by  Judas  Maccabseus  in  one 
single  jar  sealed  with  the  High  Priest's  seal.3  Our 
Lord's  presence  at  such  a  festival  sanctions  the  right  of 
each  Church  to  ordain  its  own  rites  and  ceremonies,  and 
shows  that  He  looked  with  no  disapproval  on  the  joyous 
enthusiasm  of  national  patriotism. 

The  eastern  porch  of  the  Temple  still  retained  the 
name  of  Solomon's  Porch,  because  it  was  at  least  built 
of  the  materials  which  had  formed  part  of  the  ancient 
Temple.4  Here,  in  this  bright  colonnade,  decked  for 
the  feast  with  glittering  trophies,  Jesus  was  walking  up 
and  down,  quietly,  and  apparently  without  companions, 


1  John  x.  22.     Called  by  the  Jews  Chanukkah. 

2  Some  account  of  these  events  may  be  seen  in  1  Mace.  iv.  52 — 59 ; 
2  Mace.  x.  1 — 8.     "  They  decked  the  fore-front  of  the  Temple  with  crowns 
of  gold  and  with  shields  "  (Jos.  Antt.  xii.  7,  §  7). 

3  Shabbath,  21  6 ;   Rosh-hashanah,  24  6  (Derenbourg,  Hist.  Pal.  62 ; 
Jos.  Antt.  xii.  7,  §  7).     The  eight  days  had  in  reality  been  necessary  for  the 
work  to  be  done.     Perhaps  Pers.  Sat.  v.  180  seqq.  are  a  description  of  the 
Chanukkah,  though  called  by  mistake  "  Herodis  dies "  (Id.  165).     See  a 
good  account  of  the  Feast  by  Dr.  Ginsburg,  in  Kitto's  Bibl.  Cycl.  i.  653. 

4  Jos.  Antt.  xx.  9,  §  7.     That  the  actual  porch,  in  its  original  state,  had 
been  left  standing,  is  wholly  improbable. 


IN  SOLOMON'S  PORCH.  145 

sometimes,  perhaps,  gazing  across  the  valley  of  the 
Kidron  at  the  whited  sepulchres  of  the  prophets,  whom 
generations  of  Jews  had  slain,  and  enjoying  the  mild 
winter  sunlight,  when,  as  though  by  a  preconcerted 
movement,  the  Pharisaic  party  and  their  leaders  suddenly 
surrounded1  and  began  to  question  Him.  Perhaps  the 
very  spot  where  He  was  walking,  recalling  as  it  did  the 
memories  of  their  ancient  glory — perhaps  the  memories 
of  the  glad  feast  which  they  were  celebrating,  as  the  anni- 
versary of  a  splendid  deliverance  wrought  by  a  handful 
of  brave  men  who  had  overthrown  a  colossal  tyranny 
—inspired  their  ardent  appeal.  "  How  long,"  they  im- 
patiently inquired,  "  dost  thou  hold  our  souls  in  painful 
suspense  ?  If  thou  really  art  the  Messiah,  tell  us  with 
confidence.  Tell  us  here,  in  Solomon's  Porch,  now,  while 
the  sight  of  these  shields  and  golden  crowns,  and  the 
melody  of  these  citherns  and  cymbals,  recall  the  glory  of 
Judas  the  Asmonsean — wilt  thou  be  a  mightier  Macca- 
bseus,  a  more  glorious  Solomon  ?  shall  these  citrons, 
and  fair  boughs,  and  palms,  which  we  carry  in  honour  of 
this  day's  victory,  be  carried  some  day  for  thee?"2  It 
was  a  strange,  impetuous,  impatient  appeal,  and  is  full 
of  significance.  It  forms  their  own  strong  condemna- 
tion, for  it  shows  distinctly  that  He  had  spoken  words 
and  done  deeds  which  would  have  justified  and  substan- 
tiated such  a  claim  had  He  chosen  definitely  to  assert  it. 
And  if  He  had  in  so  many  words  asserted  it — above  all, 
had  He  asserted  it  in  the  sense  and  with  the  objects 
which  they  required — if  is  probable  that  they  would 


1  John  x.  24,  eKi>K\6)ffav  ovv  avriv  (cf .  Luke  xxi.  20 ;  Heb.  xi.  30)  «ot 

e  A.  e  y  o  v. 

2  2  Mace.  x.  7.    These  lulabim  assimilated  the  feast  still  more  closely  to 
the  Feast  of  Tabernacles. 

k 


146 


THE   LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


have  instantly  welcomed  Him  with  tumultuous  acclaii 
The  place  where  they  were  speaking  recalled  the  most 
gorgeous  dreams  of  their  ancient  monarchy ;  the  occasion 
was  rife  with  the  heroic  memories  of  one  of  their  bravest 
and  most  successful  warriors ;  the  political  conditions 
which  surrounded  them  were  exactly  such  as  those  from 
which  the  noble  Asmona3an  had  delivered  them.  One 
spark  of  that  ancient  flame  would  have  kindled  their 
inflammable  spirits  into  such  a  blaze  of  irresistible 
fanaticism  as  might  for  the  time  have  swept  away  both 
the  Romans  and  the  Herods,  but  which — since  tl 
hour  of  their  fall  had  already  begun  to  strike,  and  the 
cup  of  their  iniquity  was  already  full — would  only  have 
antedated  by  many  years  the  total  destruction  which 
fell  upon  them,  first  when  they  were  slain  by  myriads  at 
the  destruction  of  Jerusalem  by  Titus,  and  afterwards 
when  the  false  Messiah,  Bar-Cochebas,  and  his  fol- 
lowers were  so  frightfully  exterminated  at  the  capture 
of  Bethyr. 

But  the  day  for  political  deliverances  was  past ;  the 
day  for  a  higher,  deeper,  wider,  more  eternal  deliverance 
had  come.  Tor  the  former  they  yearned,  the  latter 
they  rejected.  Passionate  to  claim  in  Jesus  an  exclusive 
temporal  Messiah,  they  repelled  Him  with  hatred  as  the 
Son  of  God,  the  Saviour  of  the  world.  That  He  was 
their  Messiah  in  a  sense  far  loftier  and  more  spiritual 
than  they  had  ever  dreamed,  His  language  had  again 
and  again  implied ;  but  the  Messiah  in  the  sense  which 
they  required  He  was  not,  and  would  not  be.  And 
therefore  He  does  not  mislead  them  by  saying,  "  I 
am  your  Messiah/'  but  He  refers  them  to  that  repeated 
teaching,  which  showed  how  clearly  such  had  been  His 
claim,  and  to  the  works  which  bore  witness  to  that 


ONE  WITH  THE   FATHER.  147 

claim.1  Had  they  been  sheep  of  His  flock — and  He 
here  reminds  them  of  that  great  discourse  which  He 
had  delivered  at  the  Feast  of  Tabernacles  two  months 
before — they  would  have  heard  His  voice,  and  then  He 
would  have  given  them  eternal  life,  and  they  would 
have  been  safe  in  His  keeping;  for  no  one  would 
then  have  been  able  to  pluck  them  out  of  His  Father's 
hand,  and  he  added  solemnly,  "I  and  my  Father  are 


one/' 


His  meaning  was  quite  unmistakable.  In  these  V 
words  He  was  claiming  not  only  to  be  Messiah,  but  ) 
to  be  Divine.  Had  the  oneness  with  the  Father  which 
He  claimed  been  nothing  more  than  that  subjective 
union  of  faith  and  obedience  which  exists  between  all 
holy  souls  and  their  Creator — His  words  could  have 
given  no  more  offence  than  many  a  saying  of  their 
own  kings  and  prophets ;  but  "  ecce  Judaei  intellexerunt 
quod  non  intelligunt  Ariani ! " — they  saw  at  once  that 
the  words  meant  infinitely  more.  Instantly  they 
stooped  to  seize  some  of  the  scattered  heavy  stones2 
which  the  unfinished  Temple  buildings  supplied  to 
their  fury,  and,  had  His  hour  been  come,  He  could  not 
have  escaped  the  tumultuary  death  which  afterwards 
befell  His  proto-martyr.  But  His  undisturbed  majesty 
disarmed  them  with  a  word  :  "  Many  good  deeds  did  I 
show  you  from  my  Father :  for  which  of  these  do  ye 
mean  to  stone  me?"3  Not  for  any  good  deed,  they 
replied,  "  but  for  blasphemy,  and  because  thou,  being  a 
mere  man,4  art  making  thyself  Grod."  The  reply  of 
Jesus  is  one  of  those  broad  gleams  of  illumination  which 

1  See  John  v.  and  viii.  passim. 

2  John  x.  31,  cpdffTa<rav.     The  word  in  John  viii.  59  is 

3  John  x.  32,  \i0<££ere. 

4  (ver.  33).     See  Lev.  xxiv.  10—16. 


148 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


He  often  sheds  on  the  interpretation  of  the  Scriptures : 
"  Does  it  not  stand  written  in  your  Law,"  He  asked  them, 
"  '  I  said,  Ye  are  gods  ? >l  If  he  called  them  gods  (Elohim) 
to  whom  the  Word  of  God  came — and  such  undeniably 
is  the  case  in  your  own  Scriptures — do  ye  say  to  Him 
whom  the  Father  sanctified  and  sent  into  the  world, 
'  Thou  blasphemest/  because  I  said,  '  I  am  the  Son  of 
God?"  And  He  appealed  to  His  life  and  to  His 
works,  as  undeniable  proofs  of  His  unity  with  the  Father. 
If  His  sinlessness  and  His  miracles  were  not  a  proof  that 
He  could  not  be  the  presumptuous  blasphemer  whom 
they  wished  to  stone — what  further  proof  could  be  given  ? 
They,  nursed  in  the  strictest  monotheism,  and  accus- 
tomed only  to  think  of  God  as  infinitely  far  from  man, 
might  have  learnt  even  from  the  Law  and  from  the 
Prophets  that  God  is  near — is  in  the  very  mouth  and 
in  the  very  heart — of  those  who  love  Him,  and  even 
bestows  upon  them  some  indwelling  brightness  of  His 
own  eternal  glory.  Might  not  this  be  a  sign  to  them, 
that  He  who  came  to  fulfil  the  Law  and  put  a  loftier 
Law  in  its  place — He  to  whom  all  the  prophets  had 
witnessed — He  for  whom  John  had  prepared  the  way 
—  He  who  spake  as  never  man  spake — He  who  did 
the  works  which  none  other  man  had  ever  done  since 
the  foundation  of  the  world — He  who  had  ratified 
all  His  words,  and  given  significance  to  all  His  deeds, 
by  the  blameless  beauty  of  an  absolutely  stainless  life — 
was  indeed  speaking  the  truth  when  He  said  that  He  wj 
one  with  the  Father,  and  that  He  was  the  Son  of  God  ? 
The  appeal  was  irresistible.  They  dared  not  stone 
Him ;  but,  as  He  was  alone  and  defenceless  in  the  midst 
of  them,  they  tried  to  seize  Him.  But  they  could  not. 

1  Ps.  Ixxxii.  6. 


BETHANY  BEYOND  JORDAN. 


149 


His  presence  overawed  them.  They  could  only  make  a 
passage  for  Him,  and  glare  their  hatred  upon  Him  as 
He  passed  from  among  them.  But  once  more,  here  was 
a  clear  sign  that  all  teaching  among  them  was  impossible. 
He  could  as  little  descend  to  their  notions  of  a  Messiah, 
as  they  could  rise  to  His.  To  stay  among  them  was 
hut  daily  to  imperil  His  life  in  vain.  Judaea,  therefore, 
was  closed  to  Him,  as  Gralilee  was  closed  to  Him.  There 
seemed  to  be  one  district  only  which  was  safe  for  Him  in 
His  native  land,  and  that  was  Pera3a,  the  district  beyond 
the  Jordan.  He  retired,  therefore,  to  the  other  Bethany 
— the  Bethany  beyond  Jordan,  where  John  had  once 
been  baptising — and  there  He  stayed. 

What  were  the  incidents  of  this  last  stay,  or  the 
exact  length  of  its  continuance,  we  do  not  know.  We 
see,  however,  that  it  was  not  exactly  private,  for  St.  John 
tells  us  that  many  resorted  to  Him  there,1  and  believed 
on  Him,  and  bore  witness  that  John — whom  they  held 
to  be  a  Prophet,  though  he  had  done  no  miracle — had 
borne  emphatic  witness  to  Jesus  in  that  very  place,  and 
that  all  which  He  had  witnessed  was  true. 

1  John  x.  41,  42.    For  Bethany,  v.  supra,  Yol.  I,  p.  140. 


CHAPTEE   XLVI. 

THE    LAST    STAY    IN    PERJEA. 

"  At  evening  time  it  shall  be  light." — ZECH.  xiv.  7. 

WHEREVER  the  ministry  of  Jesus  was  in  the  slightest 
degree  public,  there  we  invariably  find  the  Pharisees 
watching,  lying  in  wait  for  Him,  tempting  Him, 
trying  to  entrap  Him  into  some  mistaken  judgment  or 
ruinous  decision.  But  perhaps  even  their  malignity 
never  framed  a  question  to  which  the  answer  was  so 
beset  with  difficulties  as  when  they  came  to  "tempt" 
Him  with  the  problem,  "Is  it  lawful  for  a  man  to  put 
away  his  wife  for  every  cause?"1 

The  question  was  beset  with  difficulties  on  every 
side,  and  for  many  reasons.  In  the  first  place,  the 
institution  of  Moses  on  the  subject  was  ambiguously 
expressed.  Then  this  had  given  rise  to  a  decided 
opposition  of  opinion  between  the  two  most  important 
and  flourishing  of  the  rabbinic  schools.  The  difference 
of  the  schools  had  resulted  in  a  difference  in  the  customs 
of  the  nation.  Lastly  the  theological,  scholastic,  ethical, 
and  national  difficulties  were  further  complicated  by 
political  ones,  for  the  prince  in  whose  domain  the  ques- 

1  Matt.  xix.  3—12;  Mark  x.  2—12. 


LAW  OF  DIVORCE.  151 

tion  was  put  was  deeply  interested  in  the  answer,  and 
had  already  put  to  death  the  greatest  of  the  prophets 
for  his  bold  expression  of  the  view  which  was  most 
hostile  to  his  own  practice.  "Whatever  the  truckling 
Eabbis  of  Galilee  might  do,  St.  John  the  Baptist,  at 
least,  had  left  no  shadow  of  a  doubt  as  to  what  was  his 
interpretation  of  the  Law  of  Moses,  and  he  had  paid  the 
penalty  of  his  frankness  with  his  life. 

Moses  had  laid  down  the  rule  that  when  a  man  had 
married  a  wife,  and  "  she  find  no  favour  in  his  eyes 
because  he  hath  found  some  uncleanness  (marg.,  '  matter 
of  nakedness/  Heb.  ^  rrn?,  ervath  dabhar)  in  her,  then 
let  him  write  a  bill  of  divorcement,  and  give  it  in  her 
hand,  and  send  her  out  of  his  house.  And  when  she  is 
departed  out  of  his  house,  she  may  go  and  be  another 
man's  wife."1  ~Now  in  the  interpretation  of  this  rule, 
everything  depended  on  the  meaning  of  the  expression 
ervath  dabkar,  or  rather  on  the  meaning  of  the  single 
word  ervath.  It  meant,  generally,  a  stain  or  desecra- 
tion, and  Hillel,  with  his  school,  explained  the  passage 
in  the  sense  that  a  man  might  "  divorce  his  wife  for 
any  disgust  which  he  felt  towards  her;"2  even  —  as 
the  celebrated  R.  Akiba  ventured  to  say — if  he  saw 
any  other  woman  who  pleased  him  more ;  3  whereas  the 

1  Deut.  xxiv.  1,  2.     Literally,  ervath  dabhar  is  "  nakedness  of  a  matter  " 
(blosse  im  irgend  etwas).     (Ewald,  Hebr.  Gram.,  §  286,  f.) 

2  The  Kara  iraffav  alriav  of  Matt.  xix.  3  is  a  translation  of  the  153  fe  to 
(al  col  dabhar],  which  was  Hillel's  exposition  of  the   disputed  passage. 
(See  Buxtorf,  De  Syn.  Jud.  29.)    Almost  the  identical  phrase  is  found  in 

JOS.  Antt.  iv.  8,  §  23,  *ca0'  as  STJTTOTOVJ/  curias.     Cf.  Ecclus.  XXV.  26,  "  If  she  go 

not  as  thou  wouldest  have  her,  cut  her  off  from  thy  flesh." 

3  The  comments  of  the  Rabbis  were  even  more  shameful :  e.g.,  "  If  she 
spin  in  public,  go  with  her  head  uncovered,"  &c. ;  "  Even  if  she  have  over- 
salted  his  soup  "  (Gittin,  90)  (Selden,  De  Ux.  Heb.  iii.  17).     This,  however, 
is  explained  away  by  modern  commentators  (Jost,  Gesch.  Jud.  264).     Yet 
it  is  not  surprising  that  it  led  to  detestable  consequences.     Thus  we  are 


152 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


school  of  Shammai  interpreted  it  to  mean  that  divorce 
could  only  take  place  in  cases  of  scandalous  unchastity. 
Hence  the  Jews  had  the  proverb  that  in  this  matter, 
as  in  so  many  others,  "Hillel  loosed  what  Shammai 
bound." 

Shammai  was  morally  right  and  exegetically 
wrong;  Hillel  exegetically  right  and  morally  wrong. 
Shammai  was  only  right  in  so  far  as  he  saw  that  the 
spirit  of  the  Mosaic  legislation  made  no  divorce  justi- 
fiable in  foro  conscientiae,  except  for  the  most  flagrant 
immorality ;  Hillel  only  right  in  so  far  as  he  saw  that 
Moses  had  left  an  opening  for  divorce  in  foro  civili  in 
slighter  cases  than  these.  But  under  such  circumstances, 
to  decide  in  favour  of  either  school  would  not  only  be 
to  give  mortal  offence  to  the  other,  but  also  either  to 
exasperate  the  lax  many,  or  to  disgust  the  high-minded 
few.  For  in  those  corrupt  days  the  vast  majority  acted 
at  any  rate  on  the  principle  laid  down  by  Hillel,  as  the 
Jews  in  the  East  continue  to  do  to  this  day.  Such,  in 
fact,  was  the  universal  tendency  of  the  times.  In  the 
heathen,  and  especially  in  the  Roman  world,  the  strict- 
ness of  the  marriage  bond  had  been  so  shamefully 
relaxed,  that,  whereas,  in  the  Eepublic,  centuries  had 
passed  before  there  had  been  one  single  instance  of  a 
public  divorce,  under  the  Empire,  on  the  contrary, 
divorce  was  the  rule,  and  faithfulness  the  exception. 
The  days  of  the  Virginias,  and  Lucretias,  and  Cornelias 
had  passed;  this  was  the  age  of  the  Julias,  the  Poppaeas, 
the  Messalinas,  the  Agrippinas — the  days  in  which,  as 


told  in  Bab.  Jomah,  f.  18,  2,  that  Rabbi  Nachman,  whenever  he  went  to 
stay  at  a  town  for  a  short  time,  openly  sent  round  the  crier  for  a  wife 
during  his  abode  there  (Lightfoot,  Hor.  Heb.  in  loc.).  See  Excursus  III., 
"  Jesus  and  Hillel;"  and  Excursus  IX.,  "  Hypocrisy  of  the  Pharisees." 


LAXITY  OF  DIVORCE.  153 

Seneca  says,  women  no  longer  reckoned  their  years  by 
the  consuls,  but  by  the  number  of  their  repudiated 
husbands.  The  Jews  had  caught  up  the  shameful 
precedent,  and  since  polygamy  had  fallen  into  discredit, 
they  made  a  near  approach  to  it  by  the  ease  with  which 
they  were  able  to  dismiss  one  wife  and  take  another.1 
Even  Josephus,  a  Pharisee  of  the  Pharisees,  who  on 
every  possible  occasion  prominently  lays  claim  to  the 
character  and  position  of  a  devout  and  religious  man, 
narrates,  without  the  shadow  of  an  apology,  that  his 
first  wife  had  abandoned  him,  that  he  had  divorced 
the  second  after  she  had  borne  him  three  children, 
and  that  he  was  then  married  to  a  third.  But  if 
Jesus  decided  in  favour  of  Shammai — as  all  His  pre- 
vious teaching  made  the  Pharisees  feel  sure  that  in 
this  particular  question  He  would  decide — then  He 
would  be  pronouncing  the  public  opinion  that  Herod 
Antipas  was  a  double-dyed  adulterer,  an  adulterer 
adulterously  wedded  to  an  adulterous  wife. 

But  Jesus  was  never  guided  in  any  of  His  answers 
by  principles  of  expediency,  and  was  decidedly  indif- 
ferent alike  to  the  anger  of  multitudes  and  to  the 
tyrant's  frown.  His  only  object  was  to  give,  even 
to  such  inquirers  as  these,  such  answers  as  should 
elevate  them  to  a  nobler  sphere.  Their  axiom,  "  Is  it 
lawful  ?  "  had  it  been  sincere,  would  have  involved  the 


1  Divorce  is  still  very  common  among  the  Eastern  Jews ;  in  1856  there 
were  sixteen  cases  of  divorce  among  the  small  Jewish  population  of  Jeru- 
salem. In  fact,  a  Jew  may  divorce  his  wife  at  any  time  and  for  any  cause, 
he  being  himself  the  sole  judge ;  the  only  hindrance  is  that,  to  prevent 
divorces  in  a  mere  sudden  fit  of  spleen,  the  bill  of  divorce  must  have  the 
concurrence  of  three  Rabbis,  and  be  written  on  ruled  vellum,  containing 
neither  more  nor  less  than  twelve  lines ;  and  it  must  be  given  in  the  pre- 
sence of  ten  witnesses.  (Allen's  Mod.  Judaism,  p.  428.) 


154 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


answer  to  their  own  question.  Nothing  is  lawful  to 
any  man  who  doubts  its  lawfulness.  Jesus,  therefore, 
instead  of  answering  them,  directs  them  to  the  source 
where  the  true  answer  was  to  be  found.  Setting  the 
primitive  order  side  by  side  with  the  Mosaic  institu- 
tion— meeting  their  "Is  it  lawful?"  with  "  Have  ye 
not  read?" — He  reminds  them  that  God,  who  at  the 
beginning  had  made  man  male  and  female,  had  thereby 
signified  His  will  that  marriage  should  be  the  closest 
and  most  indissoluble  of  all  relationships1 — transcending 
and  even,  if  necessary,  superseding  all  the  rest. 

"  Why,  then,"  they  ask — eager  to  entangle  Him  in 
an  opposition  to  "  the  fiery  law" — "  did  Moses  command 
to  give  a  writing  of  divorcement  and  put  her  away  ? " 
The  form  of  their  question  involved  one  of  those  false 
turns  so  common  among  the  worshippers  of  the  letter ; 
and  on  this  false  turn  they  based  their  inverted  pyramid 
of  yet  falser  inferences.  And  so  Jesus  at  once  corrected 
them  :  "  Moses,  indeed,  for  your  hardheartedness  per- 
mitted you  to  put  away  your  wives ;  but  from  the 
beginning  it  was  not  so ;"  and  then  he  adds  as  formal 
and  fearless  a  condemnation  of  Herod  Antipas — without 
naming  him — as  could  have  been  put  in  language, 
"  Whoever  putteth  away  his  wife  and  marrieth  another, 
except  for  fornication,  committeth  adultery  ;  and  he  who 
marrieth  the  divorced  woman  committeth  adultery:"1 
and  Herod's  case  was  the  worst  conceivable  instance  of 
both  forms  of  adultery,  for  he,  while  married  to  an 
innocent  and  undivorced  wife,  had  wedded  the  guilty 


1  Gen.  ii.  24.     "  They  two  "  is  in  the  LXX.,  but  not  in  the  Hebrew. 

2  It  appears  from  St.  Matthew  that  Jesus  uttered  this  precept  to  the 
Pharisees,  as  well  as  confided  it  afterwards  to  His  disciples.     See  Matt.  xix. 
9  ;  Mark  x.  11  (vide  supra,  p.  127). 


HILLEL  AKD   SHAMMAI.  155 

but  still  undivorced  wife  of  Herod  Philip,  his  own 
brother  and  host ;  and  he  had  done  this,  without  the 
shadow  of  any  excuse,  out  of  mere  guilty  passion,  when 
his  own  prime  of  life  and  that  of  his  paramour  was 
already  past. 

If  the  Pharisees  chose  to  make  any  use  of  this  to 
bring  Jesus  into  collision  with  Antipas,  and  draw  down 
upon  Him  the  fate  of  John,  they  might ;  and  if  they 
chose  to  embitter  still  more  against  Him  the  schools  of 
Hillel  and  of  Shammai,  both  of  which  were  thus  shown 
to  be  mistaken — that  of  Hillel  from  deficiency  of  moral 
insight,  that  of  Shammai  from  lack  of  exegetical  acumen 
— they  might ;  but  meanwhile  He  had  once  more  thrown 
a  flood  of  light  over  the  difficulties  of  the  Mosaic  legisla- 
tion, showing  that  it  was  provisional,  not  final — transi- 
tory, not  eternal.  That  which  the  Jews,  following  their 
famous  Hillel,  regarded  as  a  Divine  permission  of  which 
to  be  proud,  was,  on  the  contrary,  a  tolerated  evil  per- 
mitted to  the  outward  life,  though  not  to  the  en- 
lightened conscience  or  the  pure  heart — was,  in  fact,  a 
standing  witness  against  their  hard  and  imperfect  state.1 

The  Pharisees,  baffled,  perplexed,  ashamed  as  usual, 
found  themselves  again  confronted  by  a  transcendently 
loftier  wisdom,  and  a  transcendently  diviner  insight 
than  their  own,  and  retired  to  hatch  fresh  plots  equally 
malicious,  and  destined  to  be  equally  futile.  But  nothing 
can  more  fully  show  the  necessity  of  Christ's  teaching 
than  the  fact  that  even  the  disciples  were  startled  and 
depressed  by  it.  In  this  bad  age,  when  corruption  was 
so  universal — when  in  Eome  marriage  had  fallen  into  such 


1  See  Deut.  x.  16 ;  Isa.  xlviii.  4  ;  Ezek.  iii.  7,  &c.  And  yet,  according  to 
Geiger  and  a  host  of  imitators,  Jesus  was  a  Rabbi  of  the  school  of  Hillel^ 
and  taught  nothing  original !  (See  Excursus  III.) 


156 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


contempt  and  desuetude  that  a  law  had  to  be  passed 
which  rendered  celibates  liable  to  a  fine — they  thought 
the  pure  strictness  of  our  Lord's  precept  so  severe  that 
celibacy  itself  seemed  preferable  ;  and  this  opinion  they 
expressed  when  they  were  once  more  with  Him  in  the 
house.  What  a  fatal  blow  would  have  been  given  to  the 
world's  happiness  and  the  world's  morality,  had  He 
assented  to  their  rash  conclusion  !  And  how  marvellous 
a  proof  is  it  of  His  Divinity,  that  whereas  every  other 
pre-eminent  moral  teacher  —  even  the  very  best  and 
greatest  of  all — has  uttered  or  sanctioned  more  than  one 
dangerous  and  deadly  error  which  has  been  potent  to 
poison  the  life  or  peace  of  nations — all  the  words  of  the 
Lord  Jesus  were  absolutely  holy,  and  divinely  healthy 
words.  In  His  reply  He  gives  none  of  that  entire  pre- 
ference to  celibacy  which  would  have  been  so  highly 
valued  by  the  ascetic  and  the  monk,  and  would  have 
troubled  the  consciences  of  many  millions  whose  union 
has  been  blessed  by  Heaven.1  He  refused  to  pronounce 
upon  the  condition  of  the  celibate  so  absolute  a  sanction. 
All  that  He  said  was  that  this  saying  of  theirs  as  to 
the  undesirability  of  marriage  had  no  such  unqualified 
bearing ;  that  it  was  impossible  and  undesirable  for  all 
but  the  rare  and  exceptional  few.  Some,  indeed,  there 
were  who  were  unfitted  for  holy  wedlock  by  the  circum- 
stances of  their  birth  or  constitution;2  some,  again, 
by  the  infamous,  though  then  common,  cruelties  and 

1  Consider  the  pernicious  influence  exercised  over  millions  of  Buddhists 
to  this  day  by  Sakya  Mouni's  exaltation  of  ascetic  celibacy ! 

2  Matt.  xix.  10—12.     The  Rabbis  similarly  distinguished  between  three 
sorts  of  evvovxoi — the  seris  chammah  ("  of  the  sun,"  or  "  of  nature  "),  the 
seris  adam  (per  homines),  and  the  seris  bidi  shamayim  (of  God).     The 
passages  of  the  Rabbis,  quoted  by  Schottgen  in  loc.,  show  that  the  meta- 
phorical sense  given  to  the  third  class  is  justified,  and  that  the  Jews  applied 
it  to  any  who  practised  moderate  abstinence. 


TEACHINGS  ABOUT  CELIBACY.  157 

atrocities  of  the  dominant  slavery ;  and  some  who 
withdrew  themselves  from  all  thoughts  of  marriage  for 
religious  purposes,  or  in  consequence  of  higher  neces- 
sities. These  were  not  better  than  others,  but  only 
different.  It  was  the  duty  of  some  to  marry  and  serve 
God  in  the  wedded  state  ;  it  might  be  the  duty  of  others 
not  to  marry,  and  so  to  serve  God  in  the  celibate  state.1 
There  is  not  in  these  words  of  Christ  all  that  amount 
of  difficulty  and  confusion  which  some  have  seen  in 
them.  His  precepts  find  their  best  comment  in  the 
7th  and  9th  chapters  of  the  First  Epistle  to  the  Corin- 
thians, and  His  clear  meaning  is  that,  besides  the  rare 
instances  of  natural  incapacity  for  marriage,  there  are  a 
few  others — and  to  these  few  alone  the  saying  of  the 
disciples  applied — who  could  accept  the  belief  that  in 
peculiar  times,  or  owing  to  special  circumstances,  or  at 
the  paramount  call  of  exceptional  duties,  wedlock  must 
by  them  be  rightly  and  wisely  foregone,  because  they  had 
received  from  God  the  gift  and  grace  of  continence,  the 
power  of  a  chaste  life,  resulting  from  an  imagination 
purified  and  ennobled  to  a  particular  service. 

And  then,  like  a  touching  and  beautiful  comment  on 
these  high  words,  and  the  strongest  of  all  proofs  that 
there  was  in  the  mind  of  Christ  no  admiration  for  the 
"  voluntary  service  "  which  St.  Paul  condemns,  and  the 
"  works  of  superogation  "  which  an  erring  Church  upholds 
— as  a  proof  of  His  belief  that  marriage  is  honourable  in 
all,  and  the  bed  undefiled — He  took  part  in  a  scene  that 

1  It  is  well  known  that  Origen,  the  most  allegorising  of  commentators, 
unhappily  took  this  verse  literally:  other  passages  of  Christ's  teaching 
might  have  shown  him  that  such  an  offence  against  the  order  and  consti- 
tution of  Providence  was  no  protection  against  sensual  sin ;  and  indeed  this 
great  and  holy  man  lived  to  see  and  to  confess  that  in  this  matter  he  had 
been  nobly  mistaken — nobly,  because  the  error  of  the  intellect  was  com- 
bined with  the  most  fervid  impulses  of  a  self -sacrificing  heart. 


158 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


has  touched  the  imagination  of  poet  and  painter  in  every 
age.  For  as  though  to  destroy  all  false  and  unnatural 
notions  of  the  exceptional  glory  of  religious  virginity, 
He,  among  whose  earliest  acts  it  had  been  to  bless  a 
marriage  festival,  made  it  one  of  His  latest  acts  to  fondle 
infants  in  His  arms.  It  seems  to  have  been  known  in 
Persea  that  the  time  of  His  departure  was  approaching ; 
and  conscious,  perhaps,  of  the  words  which  He  had  just 
been  uttering,  there  were  fathers  and  mothers  and  friends 
who  brought  to  Him  the  fruits  of  holy  wedlock — young 
children  and  even  babes1 — that  He  might  touch  them  and 
pray  over  them.  Ere  He  left  them  for  ever,  they  would 
bid  Him  a  solemn  farewell ;  they  would  win,  as  it  were, 
the  legacy  of  His  special  blessing  for  the  generation  yet 
to  come.  The  disciples  thought  their  conduct  forward 
and  officious.3  They  did  not  wish  their  Master  to  be 
needlessly  crowded  and  troubled;  they  did  not  like  to 
be  disturbed  in  their  high  colloquies.  They  were  indig- 
nant that  a  number  of  mere  women  and  children  should 
come  obtruding  on  more  important  persons  and  interests. 
Women  were  not  honoured,  nor  children  loved  in 
antiquity  as  now  they  are ;  no  halo  of  romance  and 
tenderness  encircled  them ;  too  often  they  were  subjected 
to  shameful  cruelties  and  hard  neglect.  But  He  who 
came  to  be  the  friend  of  all  sinners,  and  the  helper  of  all 
the  suffering  and  the  sick,  came  also  to  elevate  woman  to 
her  due  honour,  centuries  before  the  Teutonic  element  of 
modern  society  was  dreamt  of,3  and  to  be  the  protector 

1  Matt.  xix.  13,  iraiSla ;  Luke  xviii.  15,  T&  jSpe'^yj,  "  their  babes." 

2  Comp.  the  haughty  repulsion  of  the  Shunamite  woman  by  Gehazi 
(2  Kings  iv.  27). 

3  Whereas  the  Essenian  celibacy  rose  distinctly  out  of  contempt  for, 
and  distrust  of  woman  (Jos.    B.    J.  ii.    8,   §  2,    rks  TU>V  -ywaiKuv  dtreA/yems 
(f)v\aff  ff6fj.fi/oi).    The  author  of  Ecclesiasticus  speaks  in  the  harshest  tone  of 


women. 


JESUS  AM)   THE   CHILDREN".  159 

and  friend  of  helpless  infancy  and  innocent  childhood. 
Even  the  unconscious  little  ones  were  to  be  admitted 
into  His  Church  by  His  sacrament  of  baptism,  to  be 
made  members  of  Him,  and  inheritors  of  His  kingdom. 
He  turned  the  rebuke  of  the  disciples  on  themselves ; 
He  was  as  much  displeased  with  them,  as  they  had 
been  with  the  parents  and  children.  "  Suffer  the 
little  children,"  He  said,  in  words  which  each  of  the 
Synoptists  has  preserved  for  us  in  all  their  immortal 
tenderness — "  Suffer  the  little  children  to  come  unto 
me,  and  forbid  them  not,  for  of  such  is  the  kingdom 
of  heaven."  And  when  He  had  folded  them  in  His 
arms,  laid  His  hands  upon  them,  and  blessed  them,  He 
added  once  more  His  constantly  needed,  and  therefore 
constantly  repeated,  warning,  "  Whosoever  shall  not 
receive  the  kingdom  of  heaven  as  a  little  child,  shall  not 
enter  therein."1 

"When  this  beautiful  and  deeply  instructive  scene  was 
over,  St.  Matthew  tells  us  that  He  started  on  His  way, 
probably  for  that  new  journey  to  the  other  Bethany  of 
which  we  shall  hear  in  the  next  chapter ;  and  on  this 
road  occurred  another  incident,  which  impressed  itself  so 
deeply  on  the  minds  of  the  spectators  that  it,  too,  has 
been  recorded  by  the  Evangelists  in  a  triple  narrative. 

A  young  man  of  great  wealth  and  high  position 
seems  suddenly  to  have  been  seized  with  a  conviction 
that  he  had  hitherto  neglected  an  invaluable  opportunity, 
and  that  One  who  could  alone  explain  to  him  the  true 
meaning  and  mystery  of  life  was  already  on  his  way  to 
depart  from  among  them.  Determined,  therefore,  not  to 
be  too  late,  he  came  running,  breathless,  eager — in  a  way 

1  Cornp.  Mark  ix.  35  ;  Luke  xxii.  26 ;  Matt.  xx.  26,  27 ;  xxiii.  11. 


160  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

that  surprised  all  who  beheld  it — and,  prostrating  himself 
before  the  feet  of  Jesus,  exclaimed,  "  Good  Master,  what 
good  thing  shall  I  do  that  I  may  inherit  life  ?  '?1 

If  there  was  something  attractive  in  the  mingled 
impetuosity  and  humility  of  one  so  young  and  distin- 
guished, yet  so  candid  and  earnest,  there  was  in  his 
question  much  that  was  objectionable.  The  notion  that 
he  could  gain  eternal  life  by  "  doing  some  good  thing," 
rested  on  a  basis  radically  false.  If  we  may  combine 
what  seems  to  be  the  true  reading  of  St.  Matthew,  with 
the  answer  recorded  in  the  other  Evangelists,  our  Lord 
seems  to  have  said  to  him,  "  Why  askest  thou  me  about 
the  good  ?  3  and  why  callest  thou  me  good  ?  One  is  the 
good,  even  God."  He  would  as  little  accept  the  title 
"  Good,"  as  He  would  accept  the  title  "  Messiah,"  when 
given  in  a  false  sense.  He  would  not  be  accepted  as  that 
mere  "  good  Rabbi,"  to  which,  in  these  days,  more  than 
ever,  men  would  reduce  Him.  So  far,  Jesus  would  show 
the  youth  that  when  he  came  to  Him  as  to  one  who  was 
more  than  man,  his  entire  address,  as  well  as  his  entire 
question,  was  a  mistake.  No  mere  man  can  lay  any 
other  foundation  than  that  which  is  laid,  and  if  the  ruler 


1  For  similar  questions  put  to  Rabbis,  see  "Wetstein,  ad  loc.      The 

in  Matt.  xix.  16  is  omitted  by  M,  B,  D,  L,  &c.,  but  it  is  found  in  Mark 
and  Luke ;  the  ayaBbv  in  Matthew  is  undoubted,  and  perhaps  the  variation 
of  readings  is  partly  accounted  for  by  the  use  of  the  word  twice. 

2  The   reading   ri  ^e  epurqs   irepl  TOV  dyaQov,  in  Matt.   xix.  17,   seems 
undoubtedly  the  right  reading  («,  B,  D,  L,  &c.,  the  Cureton  Syriac,  and 
some  of  the  chief  Fathers).     It  springs  naturally  from  the  form  of  the 
young  man's  question ;  and  it  has  certainly  not  been  altered  from  doctrinal 
reasons,  for  there  is  no  various  reading  in  Mark  x.  18 ;  Luke  xviii.  19.      It 
is  remarkable  that  the  title  "  good  Rabbi  "  was  utterly  unknown  to  the  Jews, 
and  does  not  occur  once  in  the  Talmud  (Lightfoot,  HOT.  Hebr.  ad  loc.}. 
There  was,  therefore,  an  obvious  impropriety  in  the  use  of  it  by  the  young 
ruler  from  his  point  of  view.     The  emphasis  of  our  Lord's  question  falls  on 
"  good,"  not  on  "me; "  for  in  the  latter  case  it  would  be  eV«3  not^e  (Meyer). 


TEST  OF  THE  YOUNG  RULER.  161 

committed  the  error  of  simply  admiring  Jesus  as  a  Eabbi 
of  pre-eminent  sanctity,  yet  no  Eabbi,  however  saintly, 
was  accustomed  to  receive  the  title  of  "  good/'  or  pre- 
scribe any  amulet  for  the  preservation  of  a  virtuous  life. 
And  in  the  same  spirit,  He  continued  :  "  But  if  thou  wilt 
enter  into  life,  keep  the  commandments." 

The  youth  had  not  expected  a  reply  so  obvious  and 
so  simple.  He  cannot  believe  that  He  is  merely  referred 
to  the  Ten  Commandments,  and  so  He  asks,  in  surprise, 
"  What  sort  of  commandments  ?  "  Jesus,  as  the  youth 
wanted  to  do  something,  tells  him  merely  of  those  of  the 
Second  Table,  for,  as  has  been  well  remarked,  "  Christ 
sends  the  proud  to  the  Law,  and  invites  the  humble  to  the 
Gospel"  "  Master,"  replied  the  young  man  in  surprise, 
"  all  these  have  I  observed  from  my  youth/'1  Doubtless 
in  the  mere  letter  he  may  have  done  so,  as  millions 
have ;  but  he  evidently  knew  little  of  all  that  those 
commandments  had  been  interpreted  by  the  Christ  to 
mean.  And  Jesus,  seeing  his  sincerity,  looking  on 
him  loved  him,1  and  gave  him  one  short  crucial  test 
of  his  real  condition.  He  was  not  content  with  the 
common-place ;  he  aspired  after  the  heroical,  or  rather 
thought  that  he  did ;  therefore  Jesus  gave  him  an  heroic 
act  to  do.  "  One  thing,"  He  said,  "  thou  lackest,"  and 
bade  him  go,  sell  all  that  he  had,  distribute  it  to  the 
poor,  and  come  and  follow  Him. 


1  When  the  Angel  of  Death  came  to  fetch  the  R.  Chanina,  he  said,  "Go 
and  fetch  me  the  Book  of  the  Law,  and  see  whetlier  there  is  anything  in  it 
which  I  have  not  kept"  (Gfrorer,  ii.  102  ;  Philo,  i.  400). 

2  T}-y6,iri\<rfv  (Mark  x.  21).     The  word  means  "  esteemed,"  and  the  aorist 
makes  it  mean  '•  was  pleased  with."      Origen   says,    "  Dilexit   eum,  vel 
osculatus  est  eum ;"  and  it  was  the  custom  of  the  Rabbis  to  kiss  the  head 
of  any  pupil  who  had  answered  well;   but  this  would  require 

not 


162  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

It  was  too  much.  The  young  ruler  went  away  very 
sorrowful,  grief  in  his  heart,  and  a  cloud  upon  his  brow,1 
for  he  had  great  possessions.  He  preferred  the  comforts 
of  earth  to  the  treasures  of  heaven ;  he  would  not 
purchase  the  things  of  eternity  by  abandoning  those  of 
time;  he  made,  as  Dante  calls  it,  "the  great  refusal." 
And  so  he  vanishes  from  the  Gospel  history  ;  nor  do  the 
Evangelists  know  anything  of  him  farther.  But  the  sad 
stern  imagination  of  the  poet  follows  him,  and  there, 
among  the  myriads  of  those  who  are  blown  about  like 
autumn  leaves  on  the  confines  of  the  other  world,  blindly 
following  the  nutter  of  a  giddy  flag,  rejected  by  Heaven, 
despised  even  by  hell,  hateful  alike  to  God  and  to  his 
enemies,  he  sees 

"I'ombra  di  colui 
Che  fece  per  viltate  il  gran  rifiuto,"2 

(The  shade  of  him,  who  made  through  cowardice  the 
great  refusal.) 

We  may — I  had  almost  said  we  must — hope  and 
b.elieve  a  fairer  ending  for  one  whom  Jesus,  as  He  looked 
on  him,  could  love.  But  the  failure  of  this  youth  to 
meet  the  test  saddened  Jesus,  and  looking  round  at  His 
disciples,  He  said,  "  How  hardly  shall  they  that  have 
riches  enter  into  the  kingdom  of  heaven."  The  words 
once  more  struck  them  as  very  severe.  Could  then  no 
good  man  be  rich,  no  rich  man  be  good  ?  But  Jesus 

1  \vTrovfjicvos  (Matt.  xix.  22) ;    ffrvyvdffas  (Mark  x.  22  ;   cf .  Matt.  xvi.  3) ; 
irepi\viros  (Luke  Xviii.  23). 

2  Dante,  Inferno,  iii.  60. 

"Incontanente  intesi,  e  certo  fui 
Che  quest'  era  la  setta  del  cattivi 
A  Dio  spiaoenti  ed  a'  nemici  sui." 

This  application  of  Dante's  reference  seems  to  me  more  probable  than  that 
he  intended  Pope  Celestine. 


DANGERS  OF  RICHES.  163 

only  answered — softening  the  sadness  and  sternness 
of  the  words  by  the  affectionate  title  "  children " — • 
"  Children,  how  hard  it  is  to  enter  into  the  kingdom 
of  God;"1  hard  for  any  one,  but,  He  added,  with  an 
earnest  look  at  His  disciples,  and  specially  addressing 
Peter,  as  the  Gospel  according  to  the  Hebrews  tells  us* 
"It  is  easier  for  a  camel  to  go  through  the  eye  of  a 
needle,  than  for  a  rich  man  to  enter  into  the  kingdom  of 
God."  They  might  well  be  amazed  beyond  measure. 
Was  there  then  no  hope  for  a  Nicodemus,  for  a  Joseph 
of  Arimathsea  ?  Assuredly  there  was.  The  teaching  of 
Jesus  about  riches  was  as  little  Ebionite  as  His  teach- 
ing about  marriage  was  Essene.  Things  impossible  to 
nature  are  possible  to  grace ;  things  impossible  to  man 
are  easy  to  God. 

Then,  with  a  touch — was  it  of  complacency,  or  was  it 
of  despair  ? — Peter  said,  "  Lo,  we  have  forsaken  all,  and 
followed  thee,"  and  either  added,  or  implied,  In  what 
respect,  then,  shall  we  be  gainers  ?  The  answer  of 
Jesus  was  at  once  a  magnificent  encouragement  and  a 
solemn  warning.  The  encouragement  was  that  there 


1  It  will  be  seen  that  I  follow  the  very  striking  and  probably  genuine 
reading  of  M,  B,  D,  and   other  MSS.  in  Mark  x.  24.     The  words  rovs 
•jreiroiOoTas  eVi  xp^/J-aTa>  which  our  version  accepts,  have  all  the  character  of 
a  gloss ;    and  for  those  who  "  trust  in  riches "   the  task  would  not  be 
5v<rKo\ov,  but  aStjvaTov.     It  is  of  course  true  that  it  is  the  trust  in  riches,  not 
the  possession  of  them,  which  makes  it  so  hard  to  enter  into  the  kingdom 
of  God ;  but  even  such  a  mean  and  miserable  scoffer  as  Lucian  could  see 
that  there  is  always  a  danger  lest  those  who  have  riches  should  trust  in 
them. 

2  The  alteration  to  Kdfjn\ov,  "  a  rope,"  is  shown  to  be  wrong  from  the 
commonness  of  similar  proverbs  (e.g.,  an  elephant  and  the  eye  of  a  needle) 
in  the  Talmud,  as  adduced  by  Lightf  oot,  Schottgen,  and  Wetstein.     The 
explanation  that  the  small  side  gate  of  a  city,  through  which  a  laden  camel 
could  only  crush  with  the  utmost  difficulty  was  called  a  "  needle's  eye  "  is 
more  plausible,  but  seems  to  need  confirmation. 


164 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


was  no  instance  of  self-sacrifice  which  would  not  even  ii 
this  world,  and  even  in  the  midst  of  persecutions,  receive 
its  hundred-fold  increase  in  the  harvest  of  spiritual 
blessings,1  and  would  in  the  world  to  come  be  reward< 
by  the  infinite  recompense  of  eternal  life ;  the  warninj 
"was  that  familiar  one  which  they  had  heard  before,  that 
many  of  the  first  should  be  last,  and  the  last  first.2  And 
to  impress  upon  them  still  more  fully  and  deeply  that 
the  kingdom  of  heaven  is  not  a  matter  of  mercenai 
calculation  or  exact  equivalent — that  there  could  be  no 
bargaining  with  the  Heavenly  Householder — that  before 
the  eye  of  God's  clearer  and  more  penetrating  judgment 
Gentiles  might  be  admitted  before  Jews,  and  Publicans 
before  Pharisees,  and  young  converts  before  aged 
Apostles — He  told  them  the  memorable  Parable  of  the 
Labourers  in  the  Vineyard.  That  parable,  amid  its  other 
lessons,  involved  the  truth  that,  while  all  who  serve  God 
should  not  be  defrauded  of  their  just  and  full  and  rich 
reward,  there  could  be  in  heaven  no  murmuring,  no 
envyings,  no  jealous  comparison  of  respective  services,  no 
base  stragglings  for  precedency,  no  miserable  disputings 
as  to  who  had  performed  "  the  maximum  of  service  or 
the  minimum  of  grace." 

1  The  metaphor  of  the  twelve  thrones  harmonised  with  the  ideal  hopes 
of  the  day.     (See  Lightfoot,  ad  loc.}    For  the  Palingenesia  (=  "restoration 
of  all  things,"  airoKarda-Taffis)  see  Isa.  xlii.  9;  Ixv.  17;  Rom.  viii.  19;  Rev. 
xxi.  1,  &c.     With  the  whole  passage  compare  1  Cor.  iii.  22 ;  2  Cor.  vi.  10. 

2  See  2  Esdr.  v.  42. 


CHAPTER   XLVII 

THE    RAISING    OF    LAZARUS. 

((a  ras  KAeTs  rov  aSov  Koi.  rov  Qavarov. — APOC.  i.  18. 

THESE  farewell  interviews  and  teachings  perhaps  belong 
to  the  two  days  after  Jesus — while  still  in  the  Persean 
Bethany — had  received  from  the  other  Bethany,  where 
He  had  so  often  found  a  home,  the  solemn  message  that 
"  he  whom  He  loved  was  sick."1  Lazarus  was  the  one 
intimate  personal  friend  whom  Jesus  possessed  outside 
the  circle  of  His  Apostles,  and  the  urgent  message  was 
evidently  an  appeal  for  the  presence  of  Him  in  whose 
presence,  so  far  as  we  know,  there  had  never  been  a 
death-bed  scene. 

But  Jesus  did  not  come.  He  contented  Himself — 
occupied  as  He  was  in  important  works — with  sending 
them  the  message  that  "  this  sickness  was  not  to  death, 
but  for  the  glory  of  God,"  and  stayed  two  days  longer 
where  He  was.  And  at  the  end  of  those  two  days  He 
said  to  His  disciples,  "Let  us  go  into  Judsea  again." 

1  John  xi.  1 — 46,  %v  QiXets  (quern  amas),  ver.  3.  The  same  word  is  only 
used  elsewhere  of  the  love  of  Jesus  for  the  beloved  disciple.  Where  His  love 
for  the  sisters  is  spoken  of,  rjydira,  "  diligebat"  ("  cared  for  "),  is  used  (ver.  5). 
It  is,  however,  worth  noticing  that  three  times  out  of  four  the  word  for  even 
the  beloved  disciple  is  ayairai/,  and  that  here  the  «£iA.eTs  is  not  the  Evangelist's 
own  word,  but  put  by  him  into  the  mouth  of  another. 


166 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


The  disciples  reminded  Him  how  lately  the  Jews  had 
there  sought  to  stone  Him,  and  asked  Him  how  He 
could  venture  to  go  there  again ;  but  His  answer  was 
that  during  the  twelve  hours  of  His  day  of  work  He 
could  walk  in  safety,  for  the  light  of  His  duty,  which 
was  the  will  of  His  Heavenly  Father,  would  keep  Him 
from  danger.  And  then  He  told  them  that  Lazarus 
slept,  and  that  He  was  going  to  wake  him  out  of  sleep. 
Three  of  them  at  least  must  have  remembered  how,  on 
another  memorable  occasion,  He  had  spoken  of  death  as 
sleep ;  but  either  they  were  silent,  and  others  spoke, 
or  they  were  too  slow  of  heart  to  remember  it.  As 
they  understood  Him  to  speak  of  natural  sleep,  He  had 
to  tell  them  plainly  that  Lazarus  was  dead,  and  that  He 
was  glad  of  it  for  their  sakes,  for  that  He  would  go  to 
restore  him  to  life.  "  Let  us  also  go,"  said  the  affec- 
tionate but  ever  despondent  Thomas,  "  that  we  may  die 
with  Him  " — as  though  he  had  said,  "  It  is  all  a  useless 
and  perilous  scheme,  but  still  let  us  go/' 

Starting  early  in  the  morning,  Jesus  could  easily  have 
accomplished  the  distance — some  twenty  miles — before 
sunset.  But,  on  His  arrival,  he  stayed  outside  the  little 
village.  Its  vicinity  to  Jerusalem,  from  which  it  is  not 
two  miles  distant,1  and  the  evident  wealth  and  position  of 
the  family,  had  attracted  a  large  concourse  of  distin- 
guished Jews  to  console  and  mourn  with  the  sisters  ;  and 
it  was  obviously  desirable  to  act  with  caution  in  ventur- 
ing among  such  determined  enemies.  But  while  Mary, 
true  to  her  retiring  and  contemplative  disposition,  was 
sitting  in  the  house,  unconscious  of  her  Lord's  approach,2 

1  The  "  was  "  in  John  xi.  18  does  not  necessarily  imply  that  when  St. 

John  wrote  the  village  had  been  destroyed;  but  such  was  probably  the  case. 

It  is  an  interesting  incidental  proof  of  the  authenticity  of  the  narrative 


THE  RESURRECTION  AND  THE  LIFE.  167 

the  more  active  Martha  had  received  intelligence  that 
He  was  near  at  hand,  and  immediately  went  forth  to  meet 
Him.  Lazarus  had  died  on  the  very  day  that  Jesus  re- 
ceived the  message  of  his  illness  ;  two  days  had  elapsed 
while  He  lingered  in  Persea,  a  fourth  had  been  spent  on 
the  journey.  Martha  could  not  understand  this  sad 
delay.  "  Lord/'  she  said,  in  tones  gently  reproachful, 
"  if  Thou  hadst  been  here  my  brother  had  not  died," 
yet  "  even  now  "  she  seems  to  indulge  the  vague  hope 
that  some  alleviation  may  be  vouchsafed  to  their  bereave- 
ment. The  few  words  which  follow  are  words  of  most 
memorable  import — a  declaration  of  Jesus  which  has 
brought  comfort  not  to  Martha  only,  but  to  millions 
since,  and  which  shall  do  to  millions  more  unto  the 
world's  end — 

"  Thy  brother  shall  rise  again." 

Martha  evidently  had  not  dreamt  that  he  would  now 
be  awaked  from  the  sleep  of  death,  and  she  could  only 
answer,  "  I  know  that  he  shall  rise  again  in  the  resur- 
rection at  the  last  day." 

Jesus  said  unto  her,  "  I  AM  THE  RESURRECTION  AND 

THE  LIFE  :  HE  THAT  BELIEVETH  ON  ME,  THOUGH  HE  HAVE 
DIED,  SHALL  LIVE  ;  AND  HE  THAT  LIVETH  AND  BELIEVETH 

ON  ME  SHALL  NEVER  DIE.     Believest  thou  this  ?" 

It  was  not  for  a  spirit  like  Martha's  to  distinguish 
the  interchanging  thoughts  of  physical  and  spiritual 
death  which  were  united  in  that  deep  utterance ;  but, 
without  pausing  to  fathom  it,  her  faithful  love  supplied 

— all  the  more  valuable  from  being  wholly  undesigned — that  the  characters 
of  Martha  and  Mary,  as  described  in  a  few  touches  by  St.  John,  exactly 
harmonise  with  their  character  as  they  appear  in  the  anecdote  preserved 
only  by  St.  Luke  (x.  38 — 42).  (See  supra,  p.  141.)  Those  who  reject  the 
genuineness  of  St.  John's  Gospel  must  account  (as  Meyer  says)  for  this 
"  literary  miracle." 


168 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


the  answer,  "Yea,  Lord,  I  believe  that  thou  art  the 
Christ,  the  Son  of  God,  which  should  come  into  the 
world." 

Having  uttered  that  great  confession,  she  at  once 
went  in  quest  of  her  sister,  about  whom  Jesus  had 
already  inquired,  and  whose  heart  and  intellect,  as  Martha 
seemed  instinctively  to  feel,  were  better  adapted  to 
embrace  such  lofty  truths.  She  found  Mary  in  the 
house,  and  both  the  secrecy  with  which  she  delivered 
her  message,  and  the  haste  and  silence  with  which  Mary 
arose  to  go  and  meet  her  Lord,  show  that  precaution  was 
needed,  and  that  the  visit  of  Jesus  had  not  been  unac- 
companied with  danger.  The  Jews  who  were  comforting 
her,  and  whom  she  had  thus  suddenly  left,  rose  to  follow 
her  to  the  tomb,  whither  they  thought  that  she  had 
gone  to  weep  ;  but  they  soon  saw  the  real  object  of  her 
movement.  Outside  the  village  they  found  Jesus  sur- 
rounded by  His  friends,  and  they  saw  Mary  hurry  up 
to  Him,  and  fling  herself  at  His  feet  with  the  same 
agonising  reproach  which  her  sister  also  had  used, 
"  Lord,  if  Thou  hadst  been  here  my  brother  had  not 
died."1  The  greater  intensity  of  her  emotion  spoke  in 
her  fewer  words  and  her  greater  self-abandonment  of 
anguish,  and  she  could  add  no  more.  It  may  be  that 
her  affection  was  too  deep  to  permit  her  hope  to  be  so 
sanguine  as  that  of  her  sister ;  it  may  be  that  with 
humbler  reverence  she  left  all  to  her  Lord.  The  sight 
of  all  that  love  and  misery,  the  pitiable  spectacle  of 
human  bereavement,  the  utter  futility  at  such  a  moment 


Martha  had  said,  OVK  &v  6  aoe\<t>6s  nov  4rt6vfiK€i  (John  xi.  21,  but 
,  N,  B,  C, D,  &c.)f  "my  brother  would  not  have  been  dead;  "  Mary 
says,  OVK  &y  IJLOV  dTrc6avev  6  dSeXtybs  (ver.  32),  "my  brother  [the  position  of 
the  pronoun  is  more  emphatic]  would  not  have  died." 


JESUS  AT  THE   SEPULCHRE.  169 

of  human  consolation,  the  shrill  commingling  of  a  hired 
and  simulated  lamentation  with  all  this  genuine  anguish, 
the  unspoken  reproach,  "  Oh,  why  didst  Thou  not  come 
at  once  and  snatch  the  victim  from  the  enemy,  and 
spare  Thy  friend  from  the  sting  of  death,  and  me  from 
the  more  bitter  sting  of  such  a  parting?"  —  all  these 
influences  touched  the  tender  compassion  of  Jesus  with 
deep  emotion.  A  strong  effort  of  self-repression  was 
needed1  —  an  effort  which  shook  His  whole  frame  with 
a  powerful  shudder2  —  before  He  could  find  words  to 
speak,  and  then  He  could  merely  ask,  "  Where  have  ye 
laid  him?"  They  said,  "Lord,  come  and  see."  As 
He  followed  them  His  eyes  were  streaming  with  silent 
tears.3  His  tears  were  not  unnoticed,  and  while  some  of 
the  Jews  observed  with  respectful  sympathy  this  proof 
of  His  affection  for  the  dead,  others  were  asking  dubiously, 
perhaps  almost  sneeringly,4  whether  He  who  had  opened 
the  eyes  of  the  blind  could  not  have  saved  His  friend 
from  death?  They  had  not  heard  how,  in  the  far-off 
village  of  Gralilee,  He  had  raised  the  dead  ;  but  they 
knew  that  in  Jerusalem  He  had  opened  the  eyes  of  one 
born  blind,  and  that  seemed  to  them  a  miracle  no  less 


1  Such  seems  to  be  the  meaning  of  eVejQpt^a-ctTo  r§  Tri/eu/xarj  (ver.  33), 
literally,  "  He  was  indignant  with  himself  in  spirit."  (Of.  Lam.  ii.  6,  LXX.) 
I  fully  admit,  however,  the  difficulty  of  the  expression,  and  am  not  prepared 
to  deny  that  it  may  mean  "  He  was  indignant  in  spirit  "   (at  the  want  of 
faith  of  those  who  were  present). 

2  erdpalei/  €avT6v.     The  philosophical  fancies  which  see  in  this  expression 
a  sanction  of  the  Stoic  iJ.fTpioira.Qeia,  as  though  the  meaning  were  that  Jesus 
merely  stirred  His  own  emotions  to  the  exact  extent  which  He  approved, 
are  quite  misplaced.    (Cornp.  John  xii.  27  ;  xiii.  21.)     Euthymius,  an  excel- 
lent ancient  commentator,  explains  it  as  in  the  text. 

3  eSa/cpua-ei/,  flevit,  "  He  shed  tears  ;  "  not  eKAouo-ej/,  ploravit,  "  He  wept 
aloud,"  as  over  Jerusalem  (Luke  xix.  41). 

4  Verse  37.    Alford  acutely  conjectures  the  hostile  tone  of  the  criticism, 
from  the  use  of  Se,  which  St.  John  very  frequently  uses  in  an  adversative 
sense,  as  again  in  verse  46. 


170 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


stupendous.  But  Jesus  knew  and  heard  their  comments, 
and  once  more  the  whole  scene  —  its  genuine  sorrows,  its 
hired  mourners,  its  uncalmed  hatreds,  all  concentrated 
around  the  ghastly  work  of  death  —  came  so  powerfully 
over  His  spirit,  that,  though  He  knew  that  He  was 
going  to  wake  the  dead,  once  more  His  whole  being 
was  swept  by  a  storm  of  emotion.1  The  grave,  like  most 
of  the  graves  belonging  to  the  wealthier  Jews,  was  a 
recess  carved  horizontally  in  the  rock,  with  a  slab  or 
mass  of  stone  to  close  the  entrance.2  Jesus  bade  them 
remove  this  golal,  as  it  was  called.  Then  Martha  inter- 
posed —  partly  from  conviction  that  the  soul  had  now 
utterly  departed  from  the  vicinity  of  the  mouldering 
body,  partly  afraid  in  her  natural  delicacy  of  the  shock- 
ing spectacle  which  the  removal  of  that  stone  would 
reveal.  For  in  that  hot  climate  it  is  necessary  that 
burial  should  follow  immediately  upon  death,3  and  as 
it  was  the  evening  of  the  fourth  day  since  Lazarus 
had  died,  there  was  too  much  reason  to  fear  that  by 
this  time  decomposition  had  set  in.  Solemnly  Jesus 
reminded  her  of  His  promise,  and  the  stone  was 
moved  from  the  place  where  the  dead  was  laid.  He 
stood  at  the  entrance,  and  all  others  shrank  a  little 
backward,  with  their  eyes  still  fixed  on  that  dark  and 
silent  cave.  A  hush  fell  upon  them  all  as  Jesus  raised 


1  TT<i\iv  f/j.fipiij.<ji>fj.fvos  ev  4avT<£  (John  xi.  38). 

2  The  village  of  Bethany  is  to  this  day  called  El-Azariyeh,  a  corruption 
of  Lazarus,  and  a  continuous  memorial  of  the  miracle.     A  deep  cavity 
is  shown  in  the  middle  of  it  as  the  grave  of  Lazarus.     I  visited  the  spot, 
but  with  no  belief  in  it  :  that  El-Azariyeh  is  the  ancient  Bethany  is  certain, 
but  the  tomb  of  Lazarus  could  not  have  been  in  the  centre  of  it. 

8  Frankl  mentions  that,  a  few  years  ago,  a  Jewish  Rabbi  dying  at 
Jerusalem  at  two  o'clock  was  buried  at  4.30.  The  emphatic  remark  of 
Martha  may  also  have  arisen  from  the  belief  that  after  three  days  the  soul 
ceased  to  nutter  in  the  neighbourhood  of  the  body. 


"LAZARUS,   COME  FORTH!"  171 

His  eyes  and  thanked  God  for  the  coming  confirma- 
tion of  His  prayer.  And  then,  raising  to  its  clearest 
tones  that  voice  of  awful  and  sonorous  authority,  and 
uttering,  as  was  usual  with  Him  on  such  occasions,  the 
briefest  words,  He  cried,  "  LAZARUS,  COME  FORTH  !"] 
Those  words  thrilled  once  more  through  that  region  of 
impenetrable  darkness  which  separates  us  from,  the  world 
to  come ;  and  scarcely  were  they  spoken  when,  like  a 
spectre,  from  the  rocky  tomb  issued  a  figure,  swathed 
indeed  in  its  white  and  ghastly  cerements — with  the 
napkin  round  the  head  which  had  upheld  the  jaw  that 
four  days  previously  had  dropped  in  death,  bound  hand 
and  foot  and  face,  but  not  livid,  not  horrible — the  figure 
of  a  youth  with  the  healthy  blood  of  a  restored  life  flow- 
ing through  his  veins ;  of  a  life  restored — so  tradition 
tells  us — for  thirty  more  long  years2  to  life,  and  light, 
and  love. 

Let  us  pause  here  to  answer  the  not  unnatural 
question  as  to  the  silence  of  the  Synoptists  respecting 
this  great  miracle.3  To  treat  the  subject  fully  would 
indeed  be  to  write  a  long  disquisition  on  the  structure 
of  the  Gospels ;  and  after  all  we  could  assign  no  final 
explanation  of  their  obvious  difficulties.  The  Gospels 
are,  of  their  very  nature,  confessedly  and  designedly 
fragmentary,  and  it  may  be  regarded  as  all  but  certain 
that  the  first  three  were  mainly  derived  from  a  common 
oral  tradition,  or  founded  on  one  or  two  original,  and 
themselves  fragmentary,  documents.4  The  Synoptists 
almost  confine  themselves  to  the  Galilsean,  and  St.  John 


(ver.  43).     Comp.  Matt.  xii.  19 ;  John  v.  28. 
2  Epiphan.  Haer.  66.     See  Hofmann,  Leben  Jesu,  357. 

On  this  question,  see  especially  Meyer,  p.  298. 
4  Luke  i.  1. 


172 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


to  the  Judaean  ministry,  though  the  Synoptists  distinctly 
allude  to  and  presuppose  the  ministry  in  Jerusalem, 
and  St.  John  the  ministry  in  Galilee.1  Not  one  of  the 
four  Evangelists  proposes  for  a  moment  to  give  an  ex- 
haustive account,  or  even  catalogue,  of  the  parables, 
discourses,  and  miracles  of  Jesus  ;  nor  was  it  the  object 
of  either  of  them  to  write  a  complete  narrative  of  His 
three  and  a-half  years  of  public  life.  Each  of  them 
relates  the  incidents  which  came  most  immediately 
within  his  own  scope,  and  were  best  known  to  him 
either  by  personal  witness,  by  isolated  written  docu- 
ments, or  by  oral  tradition;2  and  each  of  them  tells 
enough  to  show  that  He  was  the  Christ,  the  Son  of  the 
Living  Grod,  the  Saviour  of  the  world.  Now,  since  the 
raising  of  Lazarus  would  not  seem  to  them  a  greater 
exercise  of  miraculous  power  than  others  which  they 
had  recorded  (John  xi.  37) — since,  as  has  well  been  said, 
no  semeiometer  had  been  then  invented  to  test  the 
relative  greatness  of  miracles — and  since  this  miracle 
fell  within  the  Judsean  cycle — it  does  not  seem  at  all 
more  inexplicable  that  they  should  have  omitted  this, 
than  that  they  should  have  omitted  the  miracle  at 
Bethesda,  or  the  opening  of  the  eyes  of  him  who  had 

1 1  ought,  perhaps,  to  have  explained  the  word  Synoptists  before.  It  is 
applied  to  the  first  three  Evangelists,  because  their  Gospels  can  be  arranged, 
section  by  section,  in  a  tabular  form.  Griesbach  seems  to  have  been  the 
first  to  use  the  word  (Holtzmann  in  Schenkel,  Bibel  Lexicon,  s.  v.  "  Evan- 
gelien,"  p.  207).  But  although  the  word,  so  far  as  I  am  aware,  is  modern, 
the  contrasts  presented  by  the  first  three  and  the  fourth  Gospels  were,  of 
course,  very  early  observed  (Clem.  Alex.  ap.  Euseb.  Hist.  Ecc.  vi.  14).  Pro- 
fessor Westcott  treats  of  "the  origin  of  the  Gospels  "  with  his  usual  learn- 
ing and  candour  in  his  Introduction,  pp.  152 — 195.  He  there  mentions  that 
if  the  total  contents  of  the  Gospels  be  represented  by  100,  there  are  7  pecu- 
liarities in  St.  Mark,  42  in  St.  Matthew,  59  in  St.  Luke,  and  92  in  St.  John. 

2  Vid.  supra,  Yol.  I.,  p.  279,  n.,  where  I  have  quoted  the  testimony  of 
St.  Augustine  to  this  effect. 


RETICENCE   OF  THE  SYNOPTISTS.  173 

been  born  blind.  But  further  than  this,  we  seem  to  trace 
in  the  Synoptists  a  special  reticence  about  the  family  at 
Bethany.  The  house  in  which  they  take  a  prominent 
position  is  called  "the  house  of  Simon  the  leper;"  Mary 
is  called  simply  "  a  woman  "  by  St.  Matthew  and  St. 
Mark  (Matt.  xxvi.  6,  7 ;  Mark  xiv.  3) ;  and  St.  Luke 
contents  himself  with  calling  Bethany  "  a  certain  village  " 
(Luke  x.  38),  although  he  was  perfectly  aware  of  the 
name  (Luke  xix.  29).  There  is,  therefore,  a  distinct 
argument  for  the  conjecture  that  when  the  earliest  form 
of  the  Gospel  of  St.  Matthew  appeared,  and  when  the 
memorials  were  collected  which  were  used  by  the  other 
two  Synoptists,  there  may  have  been  special  reasons  for 
not  recording  a  miracle  which  would  have  brought  into 
dangerous  prominence  a  man  who  was  still  living,  but 
of  whom  the  Jews  had  distinctly  sought  to  get  rid  as  a 
witness  of  Christ's  wonder-working  power  (John  xii.  10). 
Even  if  this  danger  had  ceased,  it  would  have  been 
obviously  repulsive  to  the  quiet  family  of  Bethany  to 
have  been  made  the  focus  of  an  intense  and  irreverent 
curiosity,  and  to  be  questioned  about  those  hidden 
things  which  none  have  ever  revealed.  Something,  then, 
seems  to  have  "sealed  the  lips  "  of  those  Evangelists — 
an  obstacle  which  had  been  long  removed  when  St. 
John's  Gospel  first  saw  the  light. 

"  If  they  believe  not  Moses  and  the  Prophets  "• — so 
ran  the  answer  of  Abraham  to  Dives  in  the  parable — 
"  neither  will  they  be  converted  though  one  (and  this, 
too,  a  Lazarus  !)  rose  from  the  dead."  It  was  even  so. 
There  were  many  witnesses  of  this  miracle  who  believed 
when  they  saw  it,  but  there  were  others  who  could  only 
carry  an  angry  and  alarmed  account  of  it  to  the 
Sanhedrin  at  Jerusalem. 


174 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


The  Sanhedrin  met  in  a  spirit  of  hatred  aud  per- 
plexity.1 They  could  not  deny  the  miracle  ;  they  would 
not  believe  on  Him  who  had  performed  it ;  they  could 
only  dread  His  growing  influence,  and  conjecture  that 
it  would  be  used  to  make  Himself  a  king,  and  so  end 
in  Koman  intervention  and  the  annihilation  of  their 
political  existence.  And  as  they  vainly  raged  in  im- 
potent counsels,  Joseph  Caiaphas  arose  to  address  them. 
He  was  the  civil  High  Priest,  and  held  the  office  eleven 
years,  from  A.D.  25,  when  Valerius  Grratus  placed  him 
in  it,  till  A.D.  36,  when  Yitellius  turned  him  out.  A 
large  share  indeed  of  the  honour  which  belonged  to 
his  position  had  been  transferred  to  Ananus,  Annas — 
or  to  give  him  his  true  Jewish  name,  Hanan — who 
had  simply  been  deprived  of  the  High  Priesthood  by 
Eoman  authority,  and  who  (as  we  shall  see  hereafter) 
was  perhaps  the  Nasi  or  Sagan,  and  was,  at  any  rate, 
regarded  as  being  the  real  High  Priest  by  the  stricter 
Jews.  Caiaphas,  however,  was  at  this  time  nominally 
and  ostensibly  High  Priest.2  As  such  he  was  supposed 
to  have  that  gift  of  prophecy  which  was  still  believed 
to  linger  faintly  in  the  persons  of  the  descendants  of 
Aaron,  after  the  total  disappearance  of  dreams,  Urim, 
omens,  prophets,  and  Bath  Kol,  which,  in  descending 
degrees,  had  been  the  ordinary  means  of  ascertaining 

1  John  xi.  47—54. 

2  Some  have  seen  an  open  irony  in  the  expression  of  St.  John  (xi.  49), 
that  Caiaphas  was  High  Priest  "  that  same  year,"  as  though  the  Jews  had 
got  into  this  contemptuous  way  of  speaking  during  the  rapid  succession  of 
priests — mere  phantoms  set  up  and  displaced  by  the  Roman  fiat — who  had 
in  recent  years  succeeded  each  other.     There  must  have  been  at  least  five 
living  High  Priests,  and  ex-High  Priests  at  this  council — Annas,  Ismael 
Ben  Phabi,  Eleazer  Ben  Hanan,  Simon  Ben  Kamhith,  and  Caiaphas,  who 
had  gained  his  elevation  by  bribery  (see  Reland,  Antt.  Hebr.,  p.  160,  where 
he  gives  lists  of  the  High  Priests  from  Josephus,  Nicephorus,  &c.). 


THE  HILL  OF  EYIL  COUNSEL.  175 

the  will  of  God.1  And  thus  when  Caiaphas  rose,  and 
with  shameless  avowal  of  a  policy  most  flagitiously 
selfish  and  unjust,2  haughtily  told  the  Sanhedrin  that 
all  their  proposals  were  mere  ignorance,  and  that  the 
only  thing  to  be  done  was  to  sacrifice  one  victim — inno- 
cent or  guilty  he  did  not  stop  to  inquire  or  to  define 
—one  victim  for  the  whole  people — aye,  and,  St.  John 
adds,  not  for  that  nation  only,  but  for  all  God's  children 
scattered  throughout  the  world — they  accepted  unhesi- 
tatingly that  voice  of  unconscious  prophecy.  And  by 
accepting  it  they  filled  to  the  brim  the  cup  of  their 
iniquity,  and  incurred  the  crime  which  drew  upon  their 
guilty  heads  the  very  catastrophe  which  it  was  com- 
mitted to  avert.  It  was  this  Moloch  worship  of  worse 
than  human  sacrifice  which,  as  in  the  days  of  Manasseh, 
doomed  them  to  a  second  and  a  more  terrible,  and  a 
more  enduring,  destruction.  There  were  some,  indeed, 
who  were  not  to  be  found  on  that  Hill  of  Evil  Counsel,3 

1  See  Jos.  B.  J.  iii.  8,  §  3. 

2  Some  of  these  conspirators  must  have  lived  to  learn  by  the  result  that 
what  is  morally  wrong  never  can  be  politically  expedient.  The  death  of  the 
Innocent,  so  far  from  saving  the  nation,  precipitated  its  ruin,  and  that  ruin 
fell  most  heavily  on  those  who  had  brought  it  about.     When  the  Idumeans 
entered  Jerusalem,  "  Tous  les  membres  de  la  caste  sacerdotale  qu'on  put 
trouver  furent  tues.     Hanan  [son  of  the  Gospel  '  Annas  ']  et  Jesus  fils  de 
Gamala  subirent  d'affreuses  insultes ;  leurs  corps  furent  prives  de  sepulture, 
outrage  inoui  chez  les  Juifs.     Ainsi  perit  le  fils  du  principal  auteur  de  la 
mort  de  Jesus.     Ce  fut  .  .  .  .  la  fin  du  parti  sadduceen,  parti   souvent 
hautain,  egoiste   et    cruel.      Avec   Hanan  perit  le  vieux  sacerdoce   juif, 
infeode  aux  grandes  families  sadduceennes  .  .  .     Grande  fut  1'impression, 
quand  on  contempla  jetes  nus  hors  de  la  ville,  livres  aux  chiens  et  aux 
chacals,  ces  aristocrates  si  hautement  respectes  .  .  .    C'etait  un  monde  qui 
disparaissait.     Incapable  de  former  un  Etat  a  lui  seul  il  devait  en  arriver 
au  point  ou  nous  le  voyons  depuis  dix-huit  siecles,  c'est-a-dire  a  vivre  en 
guise  de  parasite,  dans  la  republique  d'autrui."    (Benan,  L 'Antechrist,  p. 
287,  who  sees  in  all  this  no  hand  of  God.) 

3  This  is  the  name  still  given  to  the  traditional  site  of  the  house  of 
Caiaphas,  where  the  meeting  is  supposed  to  have  been  held. 


176 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


or  who,  if  present,  consented  not  to  the  counsel  or 
will  of  them  ;  but  from  that  day  forth  the  secret  fiat  had 
been  issued  that  Jesus  must  be  put  to  death.  Hence- 
forth He  was  living  with  a  price  upon  His  head. 

And  that  fiat,  however  originally  secret,  became 
instantly  known.  Jesus  was  not  ignorant  of  it  ;  and  for 
the  last  few  weeks  of  His  earthly  existence,  till  the  due 
time  had  brought  round  the  Passover  at  which  He 
meant  to  lay  down  His  life,  He  retired  in  secret  to  a 
little  obscure  city,  near  the  wilderness,  called  Ephraim.1 
There,  safe  from  all  the  tumults  and  machinations  of  His 
deadly  enemies,  He  spent  calmly  and  happily  those  last 
few  weeks  of  rest,  surrounded  only  by  His  disciples,  and 
training  them,  in  that  peaceful  seclusion,  for  the  mighty 
work  of  thrusting  their  sickles  into  the  ripening  harvests 
of  the  world.  None,  or  few  beside  that  faithful  band, 
knew  of  His  hiding  place  ;  for  the  Pharisees,  when  they 
found  themselves  unable  to  conceal  their  designs,  had 
published  an  order  that  if  any  man  knew  where  He  was, 
he  was  to  reveal  it,  that  they  might  seize  Him,  if  neces- 
sary even  by  violence,  and  execute  the  decision  at  which 
they  had  arrived.  But,  as  yet,  the  bribe  had  no  effect. 

How  long  this  deep  and  much-imperilled  retirement 


1  K(&fjL-n  fjL€yi<TTT],  Euseb.  ;  "  villa  praegrandis,"  Jer.  ;  iroAi'x"""',  Jos. 
(Keim,  III.  i.  6.)  —  There  is  much  uncertainty  as  to  the  position  of  Ephraim  ; 
it  may  possibly  have  been  on  the  site  of  the  modern  village  of  Et-Taiyibeh, 
which  is  near  to  the  wilderness  (John  xi.  54),  and  not  far  from  Beitin,  the 
ancient  Bethel  (2  Chron.  xiii.  19  ;  Jos.  B.  J.  iv.  9,  §  9),  and  about  twenty 
miles  to  the  north  of  Jerusalem  (Jerome,  Onomast.}.  (See  Robinson,  Bibl. 
Res.  i.  444  seqq.)  There  is  no  necessity  to  suppose  with  Ebrard  (Gosp. 
Hist.  p.  360)  that  it  was  south-east  of  Jerusalem.  (The  Keiliibli,  in  2  Chron. 
xiii.  19,  has  "Ephron;"  the  Keri,  "Ephraim."  Wieseler  (Synops.  p.  291) 
elaborately  argues  that  Eusebius  is  right,  as  against  Jerome,  in  placing  it 
eight  miles  from  Jerusalem,  but  this  would  hardly  be  far  enough  for 
safety  ;  and  if  Ephraim  be  Et-Taiyibeh,  that  is  very  nearly  if  not  quite 
twenty  miles  from  the  Holy  City.) 


UNDER  SENTENCE. 


177 


lasted  we  are  not  told,  nor  can  we  lift  the  veil  of  silence 
that  has  fallen  over  its  records.  If  the  decision  at  which 
the  JJeth  Din  in  the  house  of  Caiaphas  had  arrived  was 
regarded  as  a  formal  sentence  of  death,  then  it  is  not 
impossible  that  these  scrupulous  legists  may  have  suffered 
forty  days  to  elapse  for  the  production  of  witnesses  in 
favour  of  the  accused.1  But  it  is  very  doubtful  whether 
the  destruction  intended  for  Jesus  was  not  meant  to  be 
carried  out  in  a  manner  more  secret  and  more  summary, 
bearing  the  aspect  rather  of  a  violent  assassination  than 
of  a  legal  judgment. 

1  Such  is  the  supposition  of  Sepp,  II.  iii.  31,  and  it  derives  some 
support  from  the  turbid  legend  of  the  Talmud,  which  says  that  forty  days 
before  His  death  (the  legal  time  for  the  production  of  witnesses)  Jesus 
was  excommunicated  by  Joshua  Ben  Perachiah,  to  the  blast  of  400 
trumpets. 


m 


CHAPTER  XLVIIL 

JERICHO       AND      BET-HANY. 

"  Those  mighty  voices  three,  — 
'irjffov  c  \erjffov  fie, 
®dpff€i,  eyfipai,  (fxavfi  fff, 
j)  iriffris  ffov  ffeffwice  ffe."  —  LONGFELLOW. 


FROM  the  conical  hill  of  Ephraim  Jesus  could  see  the 
pilgrim  bands  as,  at  the  approach  of  the  Passover,  they 
began  to  stream  down  the  Jordan  valley  towards  Jeru- 
salem, to  purify  themselves  from  every  ceremonial  defile- 
ment before  the  commencement  of  the  Great  Feast.1 
The  time  had  come  for  Him  to  leave  his  hiding-place, 
and  He  descended  from  Ephraim  to  the  high  road  in 
order  to  join  the  great  caravan  of  Galilaean  pilgrims.3 

And  as  He  turned  His  back  on  the  little  town,  and 
began  the  journey  which  was  to  end  at  Jerusalem,  a 
prophetic  solemnity  and  elevation  of  soul  struggling 
with  the  natural  anguish  of  the  flesh,  which  shrank  from 
that  great  sacrifice,  pervaded  His  whole  being,  and  gave 
a  new  and  strange  grandeur  to  every  gesture  and  every 
look.  It  was  the  Transfiguration  of  Self-sacrifice  ;  and, 
like  that  previous  Transfiguration  of  Glory,  it  filled  those 
who  beheld  it  with  an  amazement  and  terror  which 


1  Numb.  ix.  10;  2  Chron.  xxx.  17;  Jos.  Antt.  xvii.  9,  §  3. 

2  Matt.  xx.  17—19;  Mark  x.  32—34 ;  Luke  xviii.  31—34. 


GOING  TO  JERUSALEM. 


179 


they  could  not  explain.1  There  are  few  pictures  in  the 
Gospel  more  striking  than  this  of  Jesus  going  forth  to 
His  death,  and  walking  alone  along  the  path  into  the 
deep  valley,  while  behind  Him,  in  awful  reverence,  and 
mingled  anticipations  of  dread  and  hope — their  eyes  fixed 
on  Him,  as  with  howed  head  He  preceded  them  in  all 
the  majesty  of  sorrow — the  disciples  walked  behind  and 
dared  not  disturb  His  meditations.  But  at  last  He 
paused  and  beckoned  them  to  Him,  and  then,  once  more 
— for  the  third  time — with  fuller,  clearer,  more  startling, 
more  terrible  particulars  than  ever  before,  He  told  them 
that  He  should  be  betrayed  to  the  Priests  and  Scribes  ; 
by  them  condemned ;  then  handed  over  to  the  Gentiles  ; 
by  the  Gentiles  mocked,  scourged,  and — He  now  for 
the  first  time  revealed  to  them,  without  any  ambiguity, 
the  crowning  horror — crucified ;  and  that,  on  the  third 
day,  He  should  rise  again.  But  their  minds  were  full  of 
Messianic  hopes  ;  they  were  so  pre-occupied  with  the 
conviction  that  now  the  kingdom  of  God  was  to  come  in 
all  its  splendour,  that  the  prophecy  passed  by  them  like 
the  idle  wind ;  they  could  not,  and  would  not,  understand. 
There  can  be  no  more  striking  comment  on  their 
inability  to  realise  the  meaning  of  what  Jesus  had  said 
to  them,  than  the  fact  that  very  shortly  after,  and  during 
the  same  journey,  occurred  the  ill-timed  and  strangely 
unspiritual  request  which  the  Evangelists  proceed  to 
record.2  With  an  air  of  privacy  and  mystery,  Salome, 
one  of  the  constant  attendants  of  Jesus,  with  her  two 
sons,  James  and  John,  who  were  among  the  most  emi- 
nent of  His  Apostles,  came  to  Him  with  adorations,  and 

1  Mark  x.  32.   Tischendorf,  Meyer,  &c.,  accept  the  reading  of  «,  B,  C,  L, 
&c.,  of  5£  a.Ko\ov6ovvTes,  as  though  there  were  two  sets  of  the  Apostles,  of 
whom  some  in  their  fear  had  fallen  behind  the  rest. 

2  Matt.  xx.  20—28 ;  Mark  x.  35—45  ;  Luke  xviii.  32—34. 


180  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

begged  Him  to  promise  them  a  favour.  He  asked  what 
they  wished ;  and  then  the  mother,  speaking  for  her 
fervent-hearted  ambitious  sons,  begged  that  in  His  king- 
dom they  might  sit,  the  one  at  His  right  hand,  and  the 
other  at  His  left.1  Jesus  bore  gently  with  their  selfish- 
ness and  error.  They  had  asked  in  their  blindness  for 
that  position  which,  but  a  few  days  afterwards,  they 
were  to  see  occupied  in  shame  and  anguish  by  the  two 
crucified  robbers.  Their  imaginations  were  haunted  by 
twelve  thrones ;  His  thoughts  were  of  three  crosses. 
They  dreamt  of  earthly  crowns ;  He  told  them  of  a  cup 
of  bitterness  2  and  a  baptism  of  blood.  Could  they  indeed 
drink  with  Him  of  that  cup,  and  be  baptised  with  that 
baptism  ?  Understanding  perhaps  more  of  His  meaning 
now,  they  yet  boldly  answered,  "  We  can ;"  and  then  He 
told  them  that  they  indeed  should  do  so,  but  that  to  sit 
on  His  right  hand  and  on  His  left  was  reserved  for  those 
for  whom  it  had  been  prepared  by  His  Heavenly  Father.3 
The  throne,  says  Basil,  "  is  the  price  of  toils,  not  a  grace 
granted  to  ambition ;  a  reward  of  righteousness,  not  the 
concession  of  a  request." 

The  ten,  when  they  heard  the  incident,  were  naturally 
indignant  at  this  secret  attempt  of  the  two  brothers  to 
secure  for  themselves  a  pre-eminence  of  honour;  little 
knowing  that,  so  far  as  earth  was  concerned — and  of  this 
alone  they  dreamt — that  premium  of  honour  should  only 

1  In  Jos.  Antt.  vi.  11,  §  9,  Jonathan  sits  at  Saul's  right  hand,  Abner  at 
his  left.     In  the  Midrash  Tehillin,  God  is  represented  with  the  Messiah 
on  His  right  and  Abraham  on  His  left  (Wetstein  ad  loc.}.    Coinp.  1  Kings 
ii.  19  (Bathsheba) ;  xxii.  19. 

2  John  xviii.  11 ;  Rev.  xiv.  10 ;  Ps.  Ixxv.  8.  "  Lavacrum  sanguinis  "  (Tert. 
Scwp.  12).   (Keim,  iii.  43.) 

3  The  English  version  is  here  not  very  happy  in  interpolating  "it  shall 
be  given"  (Matt.  xx.  23),  for  the  meaning  is  "  not  Mine  to  give  except  to  those 
for  whom  it  is  prepared  of  My  Father."     Comp.  Matt.  xxv.  34 ;  2  Tim.  iv.  8. 


THE  TRUE  EXALTATION. 


181 


be,  for  the  one  a  precedence  in  martyrdom,  for  the  other 
a  prolongation  of  suffering.1  This  would  be  revealed  to 
them  in  due  time,  but  even  now  Jesus  called  them  all 
together,  and  taught  them,  as  He  had  so  often  taught 
them,2  that  the  highest  honour  is  won  by  the  deepest 
humility.  The  shadowy  principalities  of  earth3  were 
characterised  by  the  semblance  of  a  little  brief  authority 
over  their  fellow-men ;  it  was  natural  for  them  to  lord 
it,  and  tyrannise  it  over  their  fellows :  but  in  the  king- 
dom of  heaven  the  lord  of  all  should  be  the  servant  of 
all,  even  as  the  highest  Lord  had  spent  His  very  life 
in  the  lowest  ministrations,  and  was  about  to  give  it  as 
a  ransom  for  many. 

As   they  advanced   towards  Jericho,4   through   the 

1  Acts  xii.  2 ;  Rev.  i.  9. 

2  Matt,  xviii.  4 ;  xxiii.  11. 

3  Mark  x.  42,  of  So/cotWey  &px*iv,  those  who  profess  to  govern.     The  Kara- 
Kvpievovcri  and  Kare^ovffidCovffL  have  a  slightly  unfavourable  sense  (1  Pet.  v.  3). 

4  Matt.  xx.  30—34;  Mark  x.  46—52;  Luke  xviii.  35—43.    Those  who 
have  a  narrow,  timid,  superstitious,  and  unscriptural  view  of  inspiration 
may  well  be  troubled  by  the  obvious  discrepancies  between  the  Evangelists 
in  this  narrative.    Not  only  does  St.  Matthew  mention  two  blind  men,  while 
the  others  only  mention  one,  but  St.  Matthew  says  that  the  miracle  was  per- 
formed "  as  they  departed  from  Jericho,"  while  St.  Luke  most  distinctly 
implies  that  it  took  place  before  He  entered  it.     But  no  reasonable  reader 
will  be  troubled  by  differences  which  do  not  affect  the  truthfulness — though 
of  course  they  affect  the  accuracy — of  the  narrative  ;  and  which,  without  a 
direct  and  wholly  needless  miraculous  intervention,  must  have  occurred,  as 
they  actually  do  occur,  in  the  narratives  of  the  Evangelists,  as  in  those  of 
all  other  truthful  witnesses.     Of  the  fourteen  or  fifteen  proposed  ways  of 
harmonising  the  discrepancies,  most  involve  a  remedy  far  worse  than  the 
supposed  defect ;  but  Macknight's  suggestion  that  the  miracle  may  have 
been  performed  between  the  two  Jerichos — the  ancient  site  of  the  Canaanite 
city,  and  the  new  semi-Herodian  city — is  at  least  possible.    So,  indeed,  is  the 
supposition  that  one  of  them  was  healed  on  entering,  and  the  other  on 
leaving  the  city.     I  believe  that  if  we  knew  the  exact  circumstances  the 
discrepancy  would  vanish ;  but  even  if  it  did  not — if,  for  instance,  Matthew 
had  spoken  of  Bartimseus  and  his  guide  as  "  two  blind  men,"  or,  in  the 
course  of  time,  any  trivial  inaccuracy  had  found  its  way  into  the  early  docu- 
ments on  which  St.  Luke  based  his  Gospel — I  should  see  nothing  distressing 


182  THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 

scorched  and  treeless  Ghor,  the  crowd  of  attendant  pil- 
grims grew  more  and  more  dense  about  Him.  It  was 
either  the  evening  of  Thursday,  Nisan  7,  or  the  morning 
of  Friday,  Nisan  8,  when  they  reached  the  environs  of 
that  famous  city — the  city  of  fragrance,  the  city  of  roses, 
the  city  of  palm-trees,  the  "  paradise  of  God."  It  is  now 
a  miserable  and  degraded  Arab  village,  but  was  then  a 
prosperous  and  populous  town,  standing  on  a  green  and 
flowery  oasis,1  rich  in  honey  and  leaf-honey,  and  myro- 
balanum,  and  well  watered  by  the  Fountain  of  Elisha  and 
by  other  abundant  springs.  Somewhere  in  the  vicinity 
of  the  town  sat  blind  Bartima3us,2  the  son  of  Tima3us, 
begging  with  a  companion  of  his  misery ;  and  as  they 
heard  the  noise  of  the  passing  multitude,  and  were  told 
that  it  was  Jesus  of  Nazareth  who  was  passing  by,  they 
raised  their  voices  in  the  cry,  "  Jesus,  Thou  Son  of  David, 
have  mercy  on  us."  The  multitude  resented  this  loud 
clamour  as  unworthy  of  the  majesty  of  Him  who  was 
now  to  enter  Jerusalem  as  the  Messiah  of  His  nation. 
But  Jesus  heard  the  cry,  and  His  compassionate  heart 
was  touched.  He  stood  still,  and  ordered  them  to  be 
called  to  Him.  Then  the  obsequious  throng  alter  their 
tone,  and  say  to  Bartimseus,  who  is  so  much  the  more 
prominent  in  the  narrative  that  two  of  the  Synoptists 
do  not  even  mention  his  companion  at  all — "  Be  of  good 
cheer;  rise,  He  calleth  thee."  With  a  burst  of  hasty 
joy,  flinging  away  his  abba,  he  leaped  up,3  and  was  led 

or  derogatory  in  such  a  supposition.  For  my  views  on  Inspiration,  I 
may  perhaps  be  allowed  to  refer  to  my  papers  on  the  subject  in  Vol.  I., 
p.  190,  of  the  Bible  Educator.  On  the  fertility  of  Jericho,  see  Jos.  JB.  /. 
iv.  8,  §  3.  The  rose  of  Jericho  is  the  Anastatica  Hierochuntia  of  Linnaeus. 

1  Ecclus.  xxiv.  14 

2  The  name  seems  to  be  derived  from  the   Aramaic  same,  samia  = 
"  blind."     So  Buxtorf  and  Hitzig,  quoted  by  Keim,  iii.  52. 

3  Mark  x.  50,  avair^ffas  (  «,  B,  D,  L,  Tisch.,  Lachm.,  &c.). 


PUBLICANS  AT  JERICHO.  183 

to  Jesus.  "  What  wiliest  thou  that  I  should  do  for 
thee  ? "  "  Babboni,"  he  answered  (giving  Jesus  the 
most  reverential  title  that  he  knew),1  "that  I  may  re- 
cover my  sight."  "  Gro,"  said  Jesus,  "  thy  faith  hath 
saved  thee."  He  touched  the  eyes  both  of  him  and  of 
his  companion,  and  with  recovered  sight  they  followed 
among  the  rejoicing  multitudes,  glorifying  God. 

It  was  necessary  to  rest  at  Jericho  before  entering  on 
the  dangerous,  rocky,  robber-haunted  gorge  which  led 
from  it  to  Jerusalem,  and  formed  a  rough,  almost  con- 
tinuous, ascent  of  six  hours,2  from  600  feet  below  to 
nearly  3,000  feet  above  the  level  of  the  Mediterranean. 
The  two  most  distinctive  classes  of  Jericho  were  priests 
and  publicans ;  and,  as  it  was  a  priestly  city,  it  might 
naturally  have  been  expected  that  the  king,  the  son  of 
David,  the  successor  of  Moses,  would  be  received  in  the 
house  of  some  descendant  of  Aaron.  But  the  place 
where  Jesus  chose  to  rest  was  determined  by  other 
circumstances.3  A  colony  of  publicans  was  established 
in  the  city  to  secure  the  revenues  accruing  from  the  large 
traffic  in  a  kind  of  balsam,  which  grew  more  luxuriantly 
there  than  in  any  other  place,4  and  to  regulate  the 
exports  and  imports  between  the  Eoman  province  and 
the  dominions  of  Herod  Antipas.  One  of  the  chiefs  of 
these  publicans 5  was  a  man  named  Zacchaeus,6  doubly 


1  The  steps  of  honour  were  Rab,  Rabbi,  Rabban,  Rabboni. 
About  fifteen  miles. 
Luke  xix.  1 — 10. 

4  Jos.  Antt.  xiv.  4,  §  1 ;  xv.  4,  §  2 ;  Justin,  Hist,  xxxvi.  3,  &c. 

5  apx«"eA.wj/rjs.     This  does  not  necessarily  imply  that  he  had  reached  the 
rank  of  an  actual  publicanus,  which  was  usually  held  by  Roman  knights, 
although  some  Jews,  as  we  learn  from  Josephus,  actually  did  attain  to  this 
rank  (B.  J.  ii.  14,  §  9). 

A  Jewish  name,  an  abbreviation  of  Zachariah ;  '31,  "pure"  (Ezra  ii.  9); 
Zakkai  (Jos.  Vit.  46).    Lightfoot  (Hor.  Heir,  ad  loc.)  thinks  that  he  may 


184  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

odious  to  the  people,  as  being  a  Jew  and  as  exercising 
his  functions  so  near  to  the  Holy  City.  His  official  rank 
would  increase  his  unpopularity,  because  the  Jews  would 
regard  it  as  due  to  exceptional  activity  in  the  service  of 
their  Eoman  oppressors,  and  they  would  look  upon  his 
wealth  as  a  probable  indication  of  numerous  extortions. 
This  man  had  a  deep  desire  to  see  with  his  own  eyes 
what  kind  of  person  Jesus  was  ;  but  being  short  of 
stature,  he  was  unable,  in  the  dense  crowd,  to  catch  a 
glimpse  of  Him.  He  -therefore  ran  forward,  as  Jesus 
was  passing  through  the  town,  and  climbed  the  low 
branches  of  an  Egyptian  fig,  which  overshadowed  the 
road.1  Under  this  tree  Jesus  would  pass,  and  the  pub- 
lican would  have  ample  opportunity  of  seeing  one  who, 
alone  of  His  nation,  not  only  showed  no  concentrated 
and  fanatical  hatred  for  the  class  to  which  he  belonged, 
but  had  found  among  publicans  His  most  eager  listeners, 
and  had  elevated  one  of  them  into  the  rank  of  an 
Apostle.  Zacchaeus  saw  Him  as  He  approached,  and  how 
must  his  heart  have  beat  with  joy  and  gratitude,  when 
the  Great  Prophet,  the  avowed  Messiah  of  His  nation, 
paused  under  the  tree,  looked  up,  and,  calling  him  by 
his  name,  bade  him  hasten  and  come  down,  because  He 
intended  to  be  a  guest  in  his  house.  Zacchseus  should 
not  only  see  Him,  but  He  would  come  in  and  sup  with 
him,  and  make  His  abode  with  him — the  glorious  Messiah 
a  guest  of  the  execrated  publican.  With  undisguised 
joy  Zacchseus  eagerly  hastened  down  from  the  boughs  of 

be  identified  with  the  Zakkai  whom  the  Rabbis  mention  as  the  father  of 
Rabbi  Johanan. 

1  The  sycomore,  or  "Egyptian  fig"  (Luke  xix.  4) — not  to  be  con- 
founded with  the  sycamine-tree  or  "  mulberry "  of  Luke  xvii.  6,  or  with 
the  sycamore  or  pseudo-platanus,  which  is  sometimes  erroneously  spelt 
sycomore — is  exceedingly  easy  to  climb. 


ZACCILEUS.  185 

the  "  sycomore,"  and  led  the  way  to  his  house.1  But  the 
murmurs  of  the  multitude  were  long,  and  loud,  and 
unanimous.3  They  thought  it  impolitic,  incongruous, 
reprehensible,  that  the  King,  in  the  very  midst  of  His 
impassioned  followers,  should  put  up  at  the  house  of  a 
man  whose  very  profession  was  a  symbol  of  the  national 
degradation,  and  who  even  in  that  profession  was,  as 
they  openly  implied,  disreputable.  But  the  approving 
smile,  the  gracious  word  of  Jesus  were  more  to  Zaccha3us 
than  all  the  murmurs  and  insults  of  the  crowd.  Jesus 
did  not  despise  him  :  what  mattered  then  the  contempt 
of  the  multitude?  Nay,  Jesus  had  done  him  honour, 
therefore  he  would  honour,  he  would  respect  himself. 
As  all  that  was  base  in  him  would  have  been  driven  into 
defiance  by  contempt  and  hatred,  so  all  that  was  noble 
was  evoked  by  a  considerate  tenderness.  He  would  strive 
to  be  worthy,  at  least  more  worthy,  of  his  glorious  guest ; 
he  would  at  least  do  his  utmost  to  disgrace  Him  less. 
And,  therefore,  standing  prominently  forth  among  the 
throng,  he  uttered— not  to  them,  for  they  despised  him, 
and  for  them  he  cared  not,  but  to  his  Lord — the  vow 
which,  by  one  high  act  of  magnanimity,  at  once  attested 
his  penitence  and  sealed  his  forgiveness.  "  Behold  the 
half  of  my  goods,  Lord,  I  hereby  give  to  the  poor ;  and 
whatever  fraudulent  gain  I  ever  made  from  any  one,  I 
now  restore  fourfold/'3  This  great  sacrifice  of  that  which 

1  The  square  ruin  in  the  wretched  village  of  Riha,  the  ancient  Jericho, 
is  (of  course)  called  the  house  of  Zacchaeus,  and  is  a  Saracenic  structure  of 
the  twelfth  century. 

2  Luke  xix.  7,  airavres  5iey6yyv^ov. 

3  Lange  and  others  see  in  the  et  nv6s  n  effvKoQd.vr'tiffa  a  sort  of  denial 
that  he  had  ever  cheated — a  challenge  to  any  one  to  come  forward  and 
accuse  him ;  but  the  Greek  idiom  does  not  imply  this.     ^vKofyawelv  means 
to   gain  in  base,   underhand,   pettifogging  ways  (see  Exod.  xxii.  1 — 9). 
Fourfold  restitution  was  more  than  Zacchasus  need  have  paid  (Numb.  v.  7), 


,186  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

had  hitherto  been  dearest  to  him,  this  fullest  possible 
restitution  of  every  gain  he  had  ever  gotten  dishonestly, 
this  public  confession  and  public  restitution,  should  be  a 
pledge  to  his  Lord  that  His  grace  had  not  been  in  vain. 
Thus  did  love  unseal  by  a  single  touch  those  swelling 
fountains  of  penitence  which  contempt  would  have  kept 
closed  for  ever  !  No  incident  of  His  triumphal  procession 
could  have  given  to  our  Lord  a  deeper  and  holier  joy. 
Was  it  not  His  very  mission  to  seek  and  save  the  lost  ? 
Looking  on  the  publican,  thus  ennobled  by  that  instant 
renunciation  of  the  fruits  of  sin,  which  is  the  truest  test 
of  a  genuine  repentance,  He  said,  "Now  is  salvation 
come  to  this  house,  since  he  too  is  " — in  the  true  spiritual 
sense,  not  in  the  idle,  boastful,  material  sense  alone — "  a 
son  of  Abraham/'1 

To  show  them  how  mistaken  were  the  expectations 
with  which  they  were  now  excited — how  erroneous,  for 
instance,  were  the  principles  on  which  they  had  just 
been  condemning  Him  for  using  the  hospitality  of 
Zacchseus — He  proceeded  (either  at  the  meal  in  the 
publican's  house,  or  more  probably  when  they  had  again 
started)  to  tell  them  the  Parable  of  the  Pounds.3  Adopt- 
ing incidents  with  which  the  history  of  the  Herodian 
family  had  made  them  familiar,  He  told  them  of  a 
nobleman  who  had  travelled  into  a  far  country  to  receive 
a  kingdom,3  and  had  delivered  to  each  of  his  servants  a 

and  evidently,  if  he  could  redeem  Ms  pledge,  the  bulk  of  his  property  must 
have  been  honestly  acquired. 

1  The  legend  that  he  afterwards  became  Bishop  of  Caesarea  is  too  late 
to  be  of  any  value  (Clem.  Horn.  ii.  1,  &c.). 

2  Luke  xix.  11—27. 

3  "  A  nobleman  going  into  a  far  country  to  receive  a  kingdom  "  would 
be  utterly  unintelligible,  had  we  not  fortunately  known  that  this  was  done 
both  by  Archelaus  and  by  Antipas  (Jos.  Antt.  xvii.  9,  §  4).     And  in  the  case 
of  Archelaus  the  Jews  had  actually  sent  to  Augustus  a  deputation  of  fifty, 


PARABLE   OF  THE  POUNDS.  187 

mina  to  be  profitably  employed  till  his  return  ;  the 
citizens  hated  him,  and  sent  an  embassy  after  him  to 
procure  his  rejection.  But  in  spite  of  this  his  king- 
dom was  confirmed,  and  he  came  back  to  punish  his 
enemies,  and  to  reward  his  servants  in  proportion  to 
their  fidelity.  One  faithless  servant,  instead  of  using 
the  sum  entrusted  to  him,  had  hidden  it  in  a  napkin,  and 
returned  it  with  an  unjust  and  insolent  complaint  of  his 
master's  severity.  This  man  was  deprived  of  his  pound, 
which  was  given  to  the  most  deserving  of  the  good  and 
faithful  servants  -}  these  were  magnificently  rewarded, 
while  the  rebellious  citizens  were  brought  forth  and 
slain.  The  parable  was  one  of  many-sided  application ; 
it  indicated  His  near  departure  from  the  world;  the 
hatred  which  should  reject  Him ;  the  duty  of  faithfulness 
in  the  use  of  all  that  He  entrusted  to  them ;  the  uncer- 
tainty of  His  return ;  the  certainty  that,  when  He  did 
return,  there  would  be  a  solemn  account ;  the  condemna- 
tion of  the  slothful;  the  splendid  reward  of  all  who 
should  serve  Him  well ;  the  utter  destruction  of  those 
who  endeavoured  to  reject  His  power.  Probably  while 
He  delivered  this  parable  the  caravan  had  paused,  and 
the  pilgrims  had  crowded  round  Him.  Leaving  them 

to  recount  his  cruelties  and  oppose  his  claims,  which,  though  it  failed  at  the 
time,  was  subsequently  successful  (Id.  xvii.  13,  §  2).  Philippus  defended 
the  property  of  Archelaus  during  his  absence  from  the  encroachments  of 
the  Proconsul  Sabinus.  The  magnificent  palace  which  Archelaus  had 
built  at  Jericho  (Jos.  Antt.  xvii.  13,  §  1)  would  naturally  recall  these  circum- 
stances to  the  mind  of  Jesus,  and  the  parable  is  another  striking  example 
of  the  manner  in  which  He  utilised  the  most  ordinary  circumstanci  s 
around  Him,  and  made  them  the  bases  of  His  highest  teachings.  It  is 
also  another  unsuspected  indication  of  the  authenticity  and  truthfulness 
of  the  Gospels. 

1  The  surprised  interpellation  of  the  people,  "Lord,  he  hath  ten  pounds," 
is  an  interesting  proof  of  the  intense  and  absorbing  interest  with  which 
they  listened  to  these  parables. 


188  THE  LIFE   OF   CHRIST. 

to  meditate  on  its  significance,  He  once  more  moved 
forward  alone  at  the  head  of  the  long  and  marvelling 
procession.  They  fell  reverently  back,  and  followed 
Him  with  many  a  look  of  awe  as  He  slowly  climbed  the 
long,  sultry,  barren  gorge  which  led  up  to  Jerusalem 
from  Jericho.1 

He  did  not  mean  to  make  the  city  of  Jerusalem 
His  actual  resting-place,  but  preferred  as  usual  to  stay  in 
the  loved  home  at  Bethany.  Thither  He  arrived  on  the 
evening  of  Friday,  Nisan  8,  A.U.C.  780  (March  31,  A.D. 
30),  six  days  before  the  Passover,  and  before  the  sunset 
had  commenced  the  Sabbath  hours.  Here  He  would 
part  from  His  train  of  pilgrims,  some  of  whom  would 
go  to  enjoy  the  hospitality  of  their  friends  in  the  city, 
and  others,  as  they  do  at  the  present  day,  would  run  up 
for  themselves  rude  tents  and  booths  in  the  valley  of 
the  Kedron,  and  about  the  western  slopes  of  the  Mount 
of  Olives. 

The  Sabbath  day  was  spent  in  quiet,  and  on  the 
evening  they  made  Him  a  supper.3  St.  Matthew  and 
St.  Mark  say,  a  little  mysteriously,  that  this  feast  was 
given  in  the  house  of  Simon  the  leper.  St.  John  makes 
no  mention  whatever  of  Simon  the  leper,  a  name  which 
does  not  occur  elsewhere  ;  and  it  is  clear  from  his  narra- 
tive that  the  family  of  Bethany  were  in  all  respects  the 
central  figures  at  this  entertainment.  Martha  seems 

1  Luke  xix.  28. 

2  Matt.  xxvi.  6—13 ;    Mark  xiv.  3—9  ;    John  xii.  1—9.     This  Sabbath 
preceding  the  Passover  was   called  by  the  Jews  Shabbath  Haggadol,  or 
the  "  Great  Sabbath."     It  is  only  in  appearance  that  the  Synoptists  seem 
to  place  this  feast  two  days  before  the  Passover.     They  narrate  it  there  to 
account  for  the  treachery  of  Judas,  which  was  consummated  by  his  final 
arrangements  with  the  Sanhedrin  on  the  Wednesday  of  Holy  week ;  but 
we  see  from  St.  John  that  this  latter  must  have  been  his  second  interview 
with  them  :  at  the  first  interview  all  details  had  been  left  indefinite. 


SIMON  THE  LEPER.  189 

to  have  had  the  entire  supervision  of  the  feast,  and  the 
risen  Lazarus  was  almost  as  much  an  object  of  curiosity 
as  Jesus  himself.  In  short,  so  many  thronged  to  see 
Lazarus — for  the  family  was  one  of  good  position,  and 
its  members  were  widely  known  and  beloved — that  the 
notorious  and  indisputable  miracle  which  had  been  per- 
formed on  his  behalf  caused  many  to  believe  on  Jesus. 
This  so  exasperated  the  ruling  party  at  Jerusalem  that, 
in  their  wicked  desperation,  they  actually  held  a  con- 
sultation how  they  might  get  rid  of  this  living  witness 
to  the  supernatural  powers  of  the  Messiah  whom  they 
rejected.  Now  since  the  raising  of  Lazarus  was  so  inti- 
mately connected  with  the  entire  cycle  of  events  which 
the  earlier  Evangelists  so  minutely  record,  we  are  again 
driven  to  the  conclusion  that  there  must  have  been  some 
good  reason,  a  reason  which  we  can  but  uncertainly  con- 
jecture, for  their  marked  reticence  on  this  subject;  and 
we  find  another  trace  of  this  reticence  in  their  calling 
Mary  "  a  certain  woman,"  in  their  omission  of  all  allu- 
sion to  Martha  and  Lazarus,  and  in  their  telling  us  that 
this  memorable  banquet  was  served  in  the  house  of 
"  Simon  the  leper/7  Who  then  was  this  Simon  the 
leper?  That  he  was  no  longer  a  leper  is  of  course 
certain,  for  otherwise  he  could  not  have  been  living  in 
his  own  house,  or  mingling  in  general  society.  Had  he 
then  been  cleansed  by  Jesus  ?  and,  if  so,  was  this  one 
cause  of  the  profound  belief  in  Him  which  prevailed  in 
that  little  household,  and  of  the  tender  affection  with 
which  they  always  welcomed  Him  ?  or,  again,  was  Simon 
now  dead  ?  We  cannot  answer  these  questions,  nor  are 
there  sufficient  data  to  enable  us  to  decide  whether  he 
was  the  father  of  Martha  and  Mary  and  Lazarus,1  or, 

So  Ewald,  Gesch.  Christ.  401. 


190  THE   LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

as  some   have    conjectured,    whether   Martha   was   his 
widow,  and  the  inheritress  of  his  house. 

Be  this  as  it  may,  the  feast  was  chiefly  memorable, 
not  for  the  number  of  Jews  who  thronged  to  witness  it, 
and  so  to  gaze  at  once  on  the  Prophet  of  Nazareth  and 
on  the  man  whom  He  had  raised  from  the  dead,  but 
from  one  memorable  incident  which  occurred  in  the 
course  of  it,  and  which  was  the  immediate  beginning  of 
the  dark  and  dreadful  end. 

For  as  she  sat  there  in  the  presence  of  her  beloved 
and  rescued  brother,  and  her  yet  more  deeply  wor- 
shipped Lord,  the  feelings  of  Mary  could  no  longer  be 
restrained.  She  was  not  occupied  like  her  sister  in  the 
active  ministrations  of  the  feast,  but  she  sat  and  thought 
and  gazed  until  the  fire  burned,  and  she  felt  impelled  to 
some  outward  sign  of  her  love,  her  gratitude,  her  adora- 
tion. So  she  arose  and  fetched  an  alabaster  vase  of 
Indian  spikenard,  and  came  softly  behind  Jesus  where  He 
sat,  and  broke  the  alabaster  in  her  hands,  and  poured 
the  genuine1  precious  per/ume  first  over  His  head,  then 
over  His  feet,  and  then  —  unconscious  of  every  presence 
save  His  alone  —  she  wiped  those  feet  with  the  long 
tresses  of  her  hair,  while  the  atmosphere  of  the  whole 
house  was  filled  with  the  delicious  fragrance.  It  was  an 
act  of  devoted  sacrifice,  of  exquisite  self-abandonment  ; 


fMvpov  v&pftov  TrurriKris  iro\vre\ovs  (Mark  xiv.  3).  Cf  .  "  Nardi 
parvus  onyx  "  (Hor.  Od.  iv.  12).  The  possession  of  so  expensive  an  unguent 
shows  that  the  family  was  rich.  It  would  have  been  under  any  circum- 
stances a  princely  gift  (Herod,  iii.  120).  The  word  inffTiK-rjs,  if  it  mean 
"  genuine,"  is  opposed  to  the  pseudo-nardus  (Plin.  xii.  26)  ;  but  this  inter- 
pretation of  the  word  is  by  no  means  free  from  difficulty,  and  I  have  no 
better  to  offer.  It  "  was  so  great  an  ecstacy  of  love,  sorrow,  and  adoration, 
that  to  anoint  the  feet  even  of  the  greatest  monarch  was  long  unknown  ; 
and  in  all  the  pomps  and  greatnesses  of  the  Roman  prodigality,  it  was 
not  used  till  Otho  taught  it  to  Nero  "  (Pliny,  N.  H.  xiii.  35  ;  Jer.  Taylor, 

m.  xiii.). 


AVARICE  OF  JUDAS.  191 

and  the  poor  Gralilseans  who  followed  Jesus,  so  little 
accustomed  to  any  luxury,  so  fully  alive  to  the  costly 
nature  of  the  gift,  might  well  have  been  amazed  that  it 
should  have  all  been  lavished  on  the  rich  luxury  of  one 
brief  moment.  None  but  the  most  spiritual-hearted 
there  could  feel  that  the  delicate  odour  which  breathed 
through  the  perfumed  house  might  be  to  Glod  a  sweet- 
smelling  savour ;  that  even  this  was  infinitely  too  little 
to  satisfy  the  love  of  her  who  gave,  or  the  dignity  of 
Him  to  whom  the  gift  was  given. 

But  there  was  one  present  to  whom  on  every  ground 
the  act  was  odious  and  repulsive.  There  is  no  vice  at 
once  so  absorbing,  so  unreasonable,  and  so  degrading  as 
the  vice  of  avarice,  and  avarice  was  the  besetting  sin 
in  the  dark  soul  of  the  traitor  Judas.  The  failure  to 
struggle  with  his  own  temptations ;  the  disappointment 
of  every  expectation  which  had  first  drawn  him  to 
Jesus;  the  intolerable  rebuke  conveyed  to  his  whole 
being  by  the  daily  communion  with  a  sinless  purity; 
the  darker  shadow  which  he  could  not  but  feel  that  his 
guilt  flung  athwart  his  footsteps  because  of  the  burning 
sunlight  in  which  for  many  months  he  now  had  walked ; 
the  sense  too  that  the  eye  of  his  Master,  possibly  even 
the  eyes  of  some  of  his  fellow-apostles,  had  read  or  were 
beginning  to  read  the  hidden  secrets  of  his  heart ; — all 
these  things  had  gradually  deepened  from  an  incipient 
alienation  into  an  insatiable  repugnancy  and  hate.  And 
the  sight  of  Mary's  lavish  sacrifice,  the  consciousness 
that  it  was  now  too  late  to  save  that  large  sum  for  the 
bag1 — the  mere  possession  of  which,  apart  from  the  sums 
which  he  could  pilfer  out  of  it,  gratified  his  greed  for 
gold — filled  him  with  disgust  and  madness.  He  had  a 

(John  xii.  6).     Vid.  supr.,  Yol.  I.,  p.  315. 


192  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

devil.  He  felt  as  if  lie  had  been  personally  cheated  ;  as 
if  the  money  were  by  right  his,  and  he  had  been,  in  a 
senseless  manner,  defrauded  of  it.  "  To  what  purpose 
is  this  waste  ? "  he  indignantly  said ;  and,  alas  !  how 
often  have  his  words  been  echoed,  for  wherever  there 
is  an  act  of  splendid  self-forgetfulness  there  is  always 
a  Judas  to  sneer  and  murmur  at  it.  "  This  ointment 
might  have  been  sold  for  three  hundred  pence  and 
given  to  the  poor  !  "  Three  hundred  pence — ten  pounds 
or  more  !  There  was  perfect  frenzy  in  the  thought 
of  such  utter  perdition  of  good  money  ;x  why,  for  barely 
a  third  of  such  a  sum,  this  son  of  perdition  was  ready  to 
sell  his  Lord.  Mary  thought  it  not  good  enough  to 
anele  Christ's  sacred  feet :  Judas  thought  a  third  part  of 
it  sufficient  reward  for  selling  His  very  life. 

That  little  touch  about  its  "  being  given  to  the 
poor  is  a  very  instructive  one.  It  was  probably  the 
veil  used  by  Judas  to  half  conceal  even  from  himself 
the  grossness  of  his  own  motives — the  fact  that  he  was  a 
petty  thief,  and  really  wished  the  charge  of  this  money 
because  it  would  have  enabled  him  to  add  to  his  own 
private  store.  People  rarely  sin  under  the  full  glare  of 
self-consciousness ;  they  usually  blind  themselves  with 
false  pretexts  and  specious  motives ;  and  though  Judas 
could  not  conceal  his  baseness  from  the  clearer  eye  of 
John,  he  probably  concealed  it  from  himself  under  the 
notion  that  he  really  was  protesting  against  an  act  of 
romantic  wastefulness,  and  pleading  the  cause  of  disin- 
terested charity. 


1  Matt.  xxvi.  8,  e*s  rl  y  airuXeia  avrvj  •  "  Immo  tu,  Juda,  perditionis  es  " 
(6  vlbs  Trjs  dirwA-e/as,  John  xvii.  12).  (Bengel.) — "  More  than  three  hundred 
pence  "  would  be  at  least  £10,  while  the  thirty  pieces  of  silver  for  which 
Judas  bargained  to  betray  Jesus  were  not  more  than  £3  16s. 


TREACHERY  OF  JUDAS.  193 

But  Jesus  would  not  permit  the  contagion  of  this 
worldly  indignation — which  had  already  infected  some 
of  the  simple  disciples — to  spread  any  farther ;  nor 
would  He  allow  Mary,  already  the  centre  of  an  un- 
favourable observation  which  pained  and  troubled  her, 
to  suffer  any  more  from  the  consequences  of  her  noble 
act.  "  Why  trouble  ye  the  woman  ?"  He  said.  "  Let  her 
alone  ;  she  wrought  a  good  work  upon  Me  ;  for  ye  have 
the  poor  always  with  you,  but  Me  ye  have  not  always ; 
for  in  casting  this  ointment  on  My  body,  she  did  it 
for  My  burying."  And  He  added  the  prophecy — a 
prophecy  which  to  this  day  is  memorably  fulfilled— that 
wherever  the  Gospel  should  be  preached  that  deed  of 
hers  should  be  recorded  and  honoured. 

"  For  My  burying" — clearly,  therefore,  His  condem- 
nation and  burial  were  near  at  hand.  This  was  another  I 
death-blow  to  all  false  Messianic  hopes.  No  earthly) 
wealth,  no  regal  elevation  could  be  looked  for  by  the 
followers  of  One  who  was  so  soon  to  die.  It  may  have 
been  another  impulse  of  disappointment  to  the  thievish 
traitor  who  had  thus  publicly  been  not  only  thwarted, 
but  also  silenced,  and  implicitly  rebuked.  The  loss  of 
the  money,  which  might  by  imagination  have  been  under 
his  own  control,  burnt  in  him  with  "  a  secret,  dark, 
melancholic  fire."  He  would  not  lose  everything.  In 
his  hatred,  and  madness,  and  despair,  he  slunk  away 
from  Bethany  that  night,  and  made  his  wTay  to  Jeru- 
salem, and  got  introduced  into  the  council-room  of  the 
chief  priests  in  the  house  of  Caiaphas,  and  had  that  first 
fatal  interview  in  which  he  bargained  with  them  to 
betray  his  Lord.  "  What  are  you  willing  to  give  me, 
and  I  will  betray  Him  to  you  ?"  What  greedy  chaffer- 
ings  took  place  we  are  not  told,  nor  whether  the  counter- 


194  THE  LIFE  OF   CHRIST. 

avarices  of  these  united  hatreds  had  a  struggle  before 
they  decided  on  the  paltry  blood-money.  If  so,  the 
astute  Jewish  priests  beat  down  the  poor  ignorant 
Jewish  Apostle.  For  all  that  they  offered  and  all  they 
paid  was  thirty  pieces  of  silver1  —  about  £3  16s.  —  the 
ransom-money  of  the  meanest  slave.  For  this  price  he 
was  to  sell  his  Master,  and  in  selling  his  Master  to  sell 
his  own  life,  and  to  gain  in  return  the  execration  of 
the  world  for  all  generations  yet  to  come.  And,  so  for 
the  last  week  of  his  own  and  his  Master's  life,  Judas 
moved  about  with  the  purpose  of  murder  in  his  dark 
and  desperate  heart.  But  as  yet  no  day  had  been  fixed, 
no  plan  decided  on  —  only  the  betrayal  paid  for  ;  and 
there  seems  to  have  been  a  general  conviction  that  it 
would  not  do  to  make  the  attempt  during  the  actual 
feast,  lest  there  should  be  an  uproar  among  the  multi- 
tude who  accepted  Him,  and  especially  among  the  dense 
throngs  of  pilgrims  from  His  native  Galilee.  They 
believed  that  many  opportunities  would  occur,  either  at 
Jerusalem  or  elsewhere,  when  the  great  Passover  was 
finished,  and  the  Holy  City  had  relapsed  into  its  ordinary 
calm. 

And  the  events  of  the  following  day  would  be  likely 
to  give  the  most  emphatic  confirmation  to  the  worldly 
wisdom  of  their  wicked  decision. 


1  See  Exod.  xxi.  32  ;  Zech.  xi.  12.  The  eo-rrjo-av  of  Matt.  xxvi.  15  seems 
to  imply  that  the  money  was  paid  down.  No  actual  shekels  were  current 
at  this  time,  but  Judas  may  have  been  paid  in  Syrian  or  Phcenician  tetra- 
drachms,  which  were  of  the  same  weight  (v.  Madden).  The  paltriness  of 
the  sum  (if  it  were  not  mere  earnest-money)  undoubtedly  shows  that  the 
authorities  did  not  regard  the  services  of  Judas  as  indispensable.  He  only 
saved  them  trouble  and  possible  blood-shedding. 


CHAPTEE  XLIX. 

PALM    SUNDAY. 

"  Ride  on,  ride  on  in  majesty, 
In  lowly  pomp  ride  on  to  die  ! " — HYMN". 

THERE  seems  to  have  been  a  general  impression  for  some 
time  beforehand  that,  in  spite  of  "all  which  had  recently 
happened,  Jesus  would  still  be  present  at  the  Paschal 
Feast.  The  probability  of  this  had  incessantly  been 
debated  among  the  people,  and  the  expected  arrival 
of  the  Prophet  of  Gralilee  was  looked  forward  to  with 
intense  curiosity  and  interest.1 

Consequently,  when  it  became  known  early  on 
Sunday  morning  that  during  the  day  He  would  certainly 
enter  the  Holy  City,  the  excitement  was  very  great. 
The  news  would  be  spread  by  some  of  the  numerous 
Jews  who  had  visited  Bethany  on  the  previous  evening, 
after  the  sunset  had  closed  the  Sabbath,  and  thus  enabled 
them  to  exceed  the  limits  of  the  Sabbath  day's  journey. 
Thus  it  was  that  a  very  great  multitude  was  prepared  to 
receive  and  welcome  the  Deliverer  who  had  raised  the 
dead. 

He  started  on  foot.  Three  roads  led  from  Bethany 
over  the  Mount  of  Olives  to  Jerusalem.  One  of  these 

1  Matt.  xxi.  1—11;  Mark  xi.  1—11;  Luke  xix.  28—40;  John  xii.  12—19. 


196  THE   LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 

passes  between  its  northern1  and  central  summits;  the 
other  ascends  the  highest  point  of  the  mountain,  and 
slopes  down  through  the  modern  village  of  Et  Tur  ;  the 
third,  which  is,  and  always  must  have  been,  the  main 
road,  sweeps  round  the  southern  shoulder  of  the  central 
mass,  between  it  and  the  "  Hill  of  Evil  Counsel."  The 
others  are  rather  mountain  paths  than  roads,  and  as 
Jesus  was  attended  by  so  many  disciples,  it  is  clear  that 
He  took  the  third  and  easiest  route. 

Passing  from  under  the  palm-trees  of  Bethany,2 
they  approached  the  fig-gardens  of  Bethphage,  the 
"  House  of  Tigs,"  a  small  suburb  or  hamlet  of  undis- 
covered site,  which  lay  probably  a  little  to  the  south 
of  Bethany,  and  in  sight  of  it.  To  this  village,  or 
some  other  hamlet  which  lay  near  it,  Jesus  dispatched 
two  of  His  disciples.  The  minute  description  of  the 
spot  given  by  St.  Mark  makes  us  suppose  that  Peter 
was  one  of  them,  and  if  so  he  was  probably  accompanied 
by  John.  Jesus  told  them  that  when  they  got  to  the 
village  they  should  find  an  ass  tied,  and  a  colt  with 
her ;  these  they  were  to  loose  and  bring  to  Him,  and 
if  any  objection  arose  on  the  part  of  the  owner,  it  would 
at  once  be  silenced  by  telling  him  that  "the  Lord  had 

1  Traditionally  called  the  "  Hill  of  Offence,"  and  by  Milton,  "  that  oppro- 
brious hill;"  the  supposed  site  of  Solomon's  idolatrous  temples.    It  is  now 
known  as  the  Yiri  Galilsei,  in  reference  to  Acts  i.  11.     The  "Hill  of  Evil 
Counsel "  is  the  one  on  which  stands  the  ruin  of  the  so-called  "  Hou6e  of 
Caiaphas."    Williams  (Holy  City,  ii.  496)  notices  it  as  a  curious  fact  that 
the  tomb  of  Annas  is  not  far  from  this  spot. 

2  On  the  derivation  of  Bethany,  v.  supr.,  p.  202,  n.    There  are  no  palms 
there  now,  but  there  may  have  been  at  that  period.     Throughout  Pales- 
tine the  palm  .and  vine  and  fig-tree  are  far  rarer  than  they  were.     Some 
identify  Bethphage  with  Abu  Dis.     Lightfoot,  apparently  with  Talmudical 
authority,  makes  it  a  suburb   of   Jerusalem.     From  the  fact  that  in   a 
journey  towards  Jerusalem  it  is  always  mentioned  before  Bethany,  we 
might  assume  that  it  was  east  of  that  village. 


THE  TRIUMPHAL  ENTRY.  197 

need  of  them."  Everything  happened  as  He  had  said. 
In  the  passage  round  the  house — i.e.,  tied  up  at  the 
back  of  the  house1 — they  found  the  ass  and  the  foal, 
which  was  adapted  for  its  sacred  purpose  because  it  had 
never  yet  been  used.3  The  owners,  on  hearing  their 
object,  at  once  permitted  them  to  take  the  animals,  and 
they  led  them  to  Jesus,  putting  their  garments  over 
them  to  do  Him  regal  honour.3  Then  they  lifted  Him 
upon  the  colt,  and  the  triumphal  procession  set  forth. 
It  was  no  seditious  movement  to  stir  up  political  enthu- 
siasm, no  "  insulting  vanity  "  to  commemorate  ambitious 
triumph.  Nay,  it  was  a  mere  outburst  of  provincial 
joy,  the  simple  exultation  of  poor  GralilaBans  and  despised 
disciples.  He  rides,  not  upon  a  war-horse,  but  on  an 
animal  which  was  the  symbol  of  peace.  The  haughty 
Gentiles,  had  they  witnessed  the  humble  procession, 
would  have  utterly  derided  it,  as  indeed  they  did  deride 
the  record  of  it  ;4  but  the  Apostles  recalled  in  after  days 

1  Mark  xi.  4,  SeSe/uei/o;/  Trpbs  TTjv  dvpav  e£o>  eirl  TOV  a/jL((>65ovt  not  "where 
two  ways  met,"  as  the  English  version  translates  it,  following  the  Yulgate 
bivium ;  but  the  Hebr.  yin  (Prov.  i.  20),  #/<u/>o5a,  at  pv/j.cu,  ayvial  (Hesych.). 

2  Numb.  xix.  2;  Deut.  xxi.  3;  1  Sam.  vi.  7.      Comp.  Ov.  Met.  iii.  12; 
Hor.  Epod.  ix.  22  (Wetstein). 

3  Comp.  2  Kings  ix.  13. 

4  For  instance,  Julian  and  Sapor.     In  fact,  the  Romans  had  all  kinds  of 
sneers  against  the  Jews  in  connection  with  the  ass  (Jos.  C.  Ap.  ii.  10 ;  Tac. 
Hist.  v.  3,  4).     The  Christians  came  in  for  a  share  of  this  stupid  jest,  and 
were  called  asinarii  cultores  (Minuc.  Fel.  Oct.  9 ;  Tert.  Apol.  16 ;   see  Keim, 
iii.  82).     Sapor  offered  the  Jews  a  horse  to  serve  the  purpose  of  carrying 
their  expected  Messiah,  and  a  Jew  haughtily  answered  him  that  all  his 
horses  were  far  below  the  ass  which  should  carry  the  Messiah,  which  was 
to  be  descended  from  that  used  by  Abraham  when  he  went  to  offer  Isaac, 
and  that  used  by  Moses  (Sepp,  sect,  vi.,  ch.  6).     If,  however,  He  came  riding 
on  an  ass,  and  not  on  the  clouds,  it  was  to  be  a  sign  of  their  faithlessness 
(Lightfoot,  ad  loc.).      The  ass  is  not  in  the  East  by  any  means  a  despised 
or   a   despicable   animal    (Gen.  xlix.  14;  xxii.  3;   2  Sam.  xiii.  29;  Judg. 
v.  10) ;    it   is  curious,  however,  to  see  that,  because  it  was  despised  by 
Europeans  and  Gentiles,  Josephus  is  fond  of  substituting  for  it  KT-TIVOS  and 


198  THE   LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 

that  it  fulfilled  the  prophecy  of  Zechariah  :  "  Rejoice 
greatly,  0  daughter  of  Sion;  shout,  O  daughter  of 
Jerusalem  ;  behold,  thy  King  cometh  unto  thee  ;  He  is 
meek,  and  having  salvation  ;  lowly,  and  riding  upon  an 
ass,  and  upon  a  colt  the  foal  of  an  ass."1  Yes,  it  was  a 
procession  of  very  lowly  pomp,  and  yet  beside  it  how 
do  the  grandest  triumphs  of  aggressive  war  and  unjust 
conquest  sink  into  utter  insignificance  and  disgrace  ! 

Jesus  mounted  the  unused  foal,  while  probably  some 
of  His  disciples  led  it  by  the  bridle.  And  no  sooner 
had  He  started  than  the  multitude  spread  out2  their 
upper  garments  to  tapestry  His  path,  and  kept  tearing 
or  cutting  down  the  boughs  of  olive,  and  fig,  and  walnut, 
to  scatter  them  before  Him.  Then,  in  a  burst  of  enthu- 
siasm, the  disciples  broke  into  the  shout,  "Hosanna  to  the 
Son  of  David  !  Blessed  is  the  King  of  Israel  that  cometh 
in  the  name  of  the  Lord  !  Hosanna  in  the  highest  !  " 
and  the  multitude  caught  up  the  joyous  strain,  and  told 
each  other  how  He  had  raised  Lazarus  from  the  dead.4 


s,  and  the  LXX.,  with  dishonest  discretion,  soften  it  down  to 
and  TrwAos  in  Zech.  ix.  9.  It  is  clear  that  Jesus  rode  upon  the  foal,  which  by 
its  mother's  side  could  be  led  quietly  along.  With  the  eirdvco  avr£v  =  "  on 
one  of  them,"  comp.  Acts  xxiii.  24.  Only  inferior  MSS.  read  avrov,  and  to 
understand  avrwv  of  the  garments  is  harsh.  After  all,  however,  it  is  doubt- 
ful whether  there  were  two  animals  or  only  one  (bvdpiov,  John  xii.  14  ; 
ircaXov  SeSe/ueWv,  Mark  xi.  2  ;  Luke  xix.  30).  It  is  in  St.  Matthew  alone 
(xxi.  2,  7)  that  two  animals  are  mentioned,  and  it  is  just  conceivable  that  the 
KOI  here  may  be  epexegetic,  and  simply  due  to  parallelism. 

1  The  quotation  referred  to  is  a  mixture  (see  Glass,  Philolog.  Sacr.,  p.  969) 
of  Isa.  Ixii.  11  ;  Zech.  ix.  9  ;  and  the  Hebrew  means  literally  "  poor  ('?£)  and 
riding  upon  an  ass,  even  upon  a  colt,  son  of  she-asses."     (See  Turpie,  Old 
Test  in  New,  p.  222.) 

2  Matt.  xxi.  8,  effrpcatfav     ....     taTp&vvvov. 

3  Hosanna  =  «|  rnrpin  rendered  by  the  LXX.  ff&aov  S^,   "  Oh    save  !  " 
These  various  cries  are  all  from  the  Psalms  which  formed  the  great  Hallel, 
(Ps.  cxiii.  —  cxviii.)  sung  at  the  Feast  of  Tabernacles  (Ps.  cxviii.  25). 

4  In  John  xii.  17,  the  true  reading  (D,  E,  K,  L,  &c.)  probably  is  STI, 
"  that  "  or  "  because,"  not  ore,  "  when." 


IN  VIEW  OF  JERUSALEM.  199 

The  road  slopes  by  a  gradual  ascent  up  the  Mount 
of  Olives,  through  green  fields  and  under  shady  trees, 
till  it  suddenly  sweeps  round  to  the  northward.  It  is 
at  this  angle  of  the  road  that  Jerusalem,  which  hitherto 
has  been  hidden  by  the  shoulder  of  the  hill,  bursts  full 
upon  the  view.  There,  through  the  clear  atmosphere, 
rising  out  of  the  deep  umbrageous  valleys  which  sur- 
rounded it,  the  city  of  ten  thousand  memories  stood  clear 
before  Him,  and  the  morning  sunlight,  as  it  blazed  on 
the  marble  pinnacles  and  gilded  roofs  of  the  Temple 
buildings,  was  reflected  in  a  very  fiery  splendour  which 
forced  the  spectator  to  avert  his  glance.1  Such  a  glimpse 
of  such  a  city  is  at  all  times  affecting,  and  many  a 
Jewish  and  Gentile  traveller  has  reined  his  horse  at  this 
spot,  and  gazed  upon  the  scene  in  emotion  too  deep  for 
speech.  But  the  Jerusalem  of  that  day,  with  "  its  im- 
perial mantle  of  proud  towers,"  was  regarded  as  one  of 
the  wonders  of  the  world,2  and  was  a  spectacle  incom- 
parably more  magnificent  than  the  decayed  and  crumbling 
city  of  to-day.  And  who  can  interpret,  who  can  enter 
into  the  mighty  rush  of  divine  compassion  which,  at 
that  spectacle,  shook  the  Saviour's  soul  ?  As  He  gazed 
on  that  "  mass  of  gold  and  snow,"  was  there  no  pride, 
no  exultation  in  the  heart  of  its  true  King  ?  Far  from 
it !  He  had  dropped  silent  tears  at  the  grave  of  Lazarus  ; 
here  He  wept  aloud.3  All  the  shame  of  His  mockery,  all 

1  So  Josephus  tells  us  (B.  J.  v.  5,  §  6).    It  made -those  "  who  forced  them- 
selves to  look  upon  it  at  the  first  rising  of  the  sun,  to  turn  their  eyes  away, 
just  as  they  would  have  done  at  the  sun's  own  rays."     I  came  upon  this 
spot  in  a  walk  from  Bethany,  not  at  sunrise,  but  under  a  full  moon,  on  the 
night  of  Wednesday  in  Passion  Week,  April  14, 1870.     I  shall  never  forget 
the  impression  left  by  the  sudden  sight  of  the  city,  with  its  domes  and 
minarets  and  twinkling  lights,  as  it  lay  bathed  in  the  Paschal  moonlight. 

2  Tac.  Hist  v.  8. 

3  John  xi.  35,  £'5a/c/)U(rej/ ;  Luke  xix.  41, 


200 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


the  anguish  of  His  torture,  was  powerless,  five  days  after- 
wards, to  extort  from  Him  a  single  groan,  or  to  wet  His 
eyelids  with  one  trickling  tear;  but  here,  all  the  pity 
that  was  within  Him  overmastered  His  human  spirit, 
and  He  not  only  wept,  but  broke  into  a  passion  of 
lamentation,  in  which  the  choked  voice  seemed 
struggle  for  its  utterance.  A  strange  Messianic  triumph! 
a  strange  interruption  of  the  festal  cries  !  The  Deliverer 
weeps  over  the  city  which  it  is  now  too  late  to  save ; 
the  King  prophesies  the  utter  ruin  of  the  nation  which 
He  came  to  rule !  "If  thou  hadst  known,"  He  cried— 
while  the  wondering  multitudes  looked  on,  and  knew 
not  what  to  think  or  say — "  If  thou  hadst  known,  even 
thou,  at  least  in  thy  day,  the  things  that  belong  unto 
thy  peace  ! "  l — and  there  sorrow  interrupted  the  sen- 
tence, and,  when  He  found  voice  to  continue,  He  could 
only  add,  "  but  now  they  are  hid  from  thine  eyes.  For 
the  days  shall  come  upon  thee  that  thine  enemies  shall 
cast  a  trench  about  thee,3  and  compass  thee  round,  and 
keep  thee  in  on  every  side,  and  shall  lay  thee  even  with 
the  ground,  and  thy  children  within  thee ;  and  they 
shall  not  leave  in  thee  one  stone  upon  another,  because 
thou  knewest  not  the  time  of  thy  visitation."  It  was 
the  last  invitation  from  "the  Glory  of  Grod  on  the 
Mount  of  Olives,"  before  that  Shechinah  vanished  from 
their  eyes  for  ever.3 

1  Perhaps  with  a  play  on  the  name  Jerusalem,  which   might  recall 
(though  not  derived  from)  cftti  wv,  "  they  shall  see  peace  "  (cf .  Ps.  cxxii. 
6,  7).     Such  paronomasias  are  not  only  consistent  with,  but  the  usual  con- 
comitants of,  deep  emotion.     See  my  Chapters  on  Language,  pp.  269 — 
276. 

2  Luke  xix.  43,  x&P°£,  "a  palisade."     Cf.  Isa.  xxix.  3,  4;    xxxvii.  33), 
properly  only  the  pali  on  the  agger,  but  sometimes  of  the  entire  vallum 
(cf.  Isa.  xxxvii.  33,  LXX.). 

3  Commenting  on  Ezek.  xi.  23,  the  Rabbis  said  that  the  Shechinah 


WOE  TO  JERUSALEM.  201 

Sternly,  literally,  terribly,  within  fifty  years,  was 
that  prophecy  fulfilled.  Four  years  before  the  war 
began,  while  as  yet  the  city  was  in  the  greatest  peace 
and  prosperity,  a  melancholy  maniac  traversed  its  streets 
with  the  repeated  cry,  "  A  voice  from  the  east,  a  voice 
from  the  west,  a  voice  from  the  four  winds,  a  voice 
against  Jerusalem  and  the  holy  house,  a  voice  against 
the  bridegrooms  and  the  brides,  and  a  voice  against  this 
whole  people ; "  nor  could  any  scourgings  or  tortures 
wring  from  him  any  other  words  except  "Woe  !  woe  !  to 
Jerusalem ;  woe  to  the  city ;  woe  to  the  people ;  woe  to 
the  holy  house  ! "  until  seven  years  afterwards,  during 
the  siege,  he  was  killed  by  a  stone  from  a  catapult.  His 
voice  was  but  the  renewed  echo  of  the  voice  of  prophecy. 

Titus  had  not  originally  wished  to  encompass  the 
city,  but  he  was  forced,  by  the  despair  and  obstinacy  of 
the  Jews,  to  surround  it,  first  with  a  palisaded  mound, 
and  then,  when  this  vallum  and  agger  were  destroyed, 
with  a  wall  of  masonry.  He  did  not  wish  to  sacrifice 
the  Temple — nay,  he  made  every  possible  effort  to  save 
it — but  he  was  forced  to  leave  it  in  ashes.  He  did  not 
intend  to  be  cruel  to  the  inhabitants,  but  the  deadly 
fanaticism  of  their  opposition  so  extinguished  all  desire 
to  spare  them,  that  he  undertook  the  task  of  well- 
nigh  exterminating  the  race — of  crucifying  them  by 
hundreds,  of  exposing  them  in  the  amphitheatre  by 
thousands,  of  selling  them  into  slavery  by  myriads. 
Josephus  tells  us  that,  even  immediately  after  the  siege 
of  Titus,  no  one,  in  the  desert  waste  around  him,  would 
have  recognised  the  beauty  of  Judaea;  and* that  if  any 


retired  eastward  to  the  Mount  of  Olives,  and  there  for  three  years  called  in 
vain  to  the  peoples  -with  human  voice  that  they  should  repent ;  then  with- 
drew for  ever.  (See  Wetstein,  p.  459 ;  Keim,  iii.  93.) 


202 


THE   LIFE   OF   CHRIST. 


Jew  liad  come  upon  the  city  of  a  sudden,  however  well 
he  had  known  it  hefore,  he  would  have  asked  "  what 
place  it  was?"1  And  he  who,  in  modern  Jerusalem, 
would  look  for  relics  of  the  ten-times-captured  city  of 
the  days  of  Christ,  must  look  for  them  twenty  feet 
beneath  the  soil,  and  will  scarcely  find  them.  In  on< 
spot  alone  remain  a  few  massive  substructions,  as  though 
to  show  how  vast  is  the  ruin  they  represent ;  and  here, 
on  every  Friday,  assemble  a  few  poverty-stricken  Jews, 
to  stand  each  in  the  shroud  in  which  he  will  be  buried, 
and  wail  over  the  shattered  glories  of  their  fallen  and 
desecrated  home.2 

There  had  been  a  panse  in  the  procession  while 
Jesus  shed  His  bitter  tears  and  uttered  His  prophetic 
lamentation.  But  now  the  people  in  the  valley  of 
Kedron,  and  about  the  walls  of  Jerusalem,  and  the 
pilgrims  whose  booths  and  tents  stood  so  thickly  on  the 
green  slopes  below,  had  caught  sight  of  the  approaching 
company,  and  heard  the  echo  of  the  glad  shouts,  and 
knew  what  the  commotion  meant.  At  that  time  the 
palms  were  numerous  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Jerusalem, 
though  now  but  a  few  remain ;  and  tearing  down  their 
green  and  graceful  branches,  the  people  streamed  up  the 
road  to  meet  the  approaching  Prophet.3  And  when  the 

1  S.  J.  vi.  1,  §  1. 

2  "  Before  my  mind's  eye,"  says  Dr.  Frankl,  describing  his  first  glimpse 
of   Jerusalem,    "passed  in  review  the   deeds  and  the  forms  of  former 
centuries.     A  voice  within  me  said,  '  Graves  upon  graves  in  graves  ! '     I 
was  deeply  moved,  and,  bowing  in  my  saddle  before  the  city  of  Jehovah, 
tears  fell  upon  my  horse's  mane  "  (Jews  in  the  East,  i.  351). 

3  John  xii.  13,  ra  ftaia  TWV  (poivinwv,  "  the  branches  of  the  palm-trees," 
which  were  familiar  to  St.  John,  and  which,  if  the  old  derivation  can  stand, 
gave  to  Bethany  its  name.     The  reading  (TroijSaSas  e/c  T£V  &ypow  in  Mark 
xi.  8,  though  supported  by  x,  B,  C,  L,  A,  perhaps  arose  from  the  notion  that 
a-r.  meant  "  grass."     Dean  Stanley  is  the  first  writer  who  seems  accurately 
to  have  appreciated  the  facts  and  order  of  the  triumphal  entry  (Sin.  and 


THE  TRIUMPHAL  ENTRY.  203 

two  streams  of  people  met — those  who  had  accompanied 
Him  from  Bethany,  and  those  who  had  come  to  meet 
Him  from  Jerusalem — they  left  Him  riding  in  the  midst, 
and  some  preceding,  some  following  Him,  advanced, 
shouting  "  Hosannas "  and  waving  branches,  to  the 
gate  of  Jerusalem. 

Mingled  among  the  crowd  were  some  of  the  Phari- 
sees, and  the  joy  of  the  multitude  was  to  them  gall  and 
wormwood.  What  meant  these  Messianic  cries  and 
kingly  titles  ?  Were  they  not  dangerous  and  unseemly  ? 
Why  did  He  allow  them  ?  "  Master,  rebuke  Thy  dis- 
ciples." But  He  would  not  do  so.  "If  these  should 
hold  their  peace,"  He  said,  "the  stones  would  imme- 
diately cry  out."  The  words  may  have  recalled  to  them 
the  threats  which  occur,  amid  denunciations  against 
covetousness  and  cruelty,  and  the  utter  destruction 
by  which  they  should  be  avenged,  in  the  prophet 
Habakkuk — "  For  the  stone  shall  cry  out  of  the  wall, 
and  the  beam  out  of  the  timber  shall  answer  it."  The 
Pharisees  felt  that  they  were  powerless  to  stay  the  flood 
of  enthusiasm. 

And  when  they  reached  the  walls  the  whole  city 
was  stirred  with  powerful  excitement  and  alarm.1  "Who 
is  this  ?  "  they  asked,  as  they  leaned  out  of  the  lattices 
and  from  the  roofs,  and  stood  aside  in  the  bazaars  and 


Palest.,  pp.  189,  seqq.  See,  too,  Targ.  Esth.  x.  15 — the  streets  strewn  with 
myrtle  before  Mordecai ;  Herod,  vii.  54).  The  Maccabees  were  welcomed 
into  Jerusalem  with  similar  acclamations  (2  Mace.  x.  7).  In  Ketliubh. 
f.  66,  2,  we  are  told  of  robes  outspread  before  Nakdimon,  son  of  Gorion 
(Keim,  iii.  90).  A  singular  illustration  of  the  faithfulness  and  accuracy  of 
the  Evangelists  was  given  by  the  wholly  accidental  and  unpremeditated 
re-enactment  of  the  very  same  scene  when  Mr.  Farran,  the  English  consul 
of  Damascus,  visited  Jerusalem  at  a  time  of  great  distress,  in  1834. 

1  eVeio-077  (Matt.  xxi.  10 ;  cf.  xxviii.  4).    Perhaps  they  recalled  the  attempt 
made  upon  Jerusalem  by  "  that  Egyptian  "  (Acts  xxi.  38). 


204 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


streets  to  let  them  pass ;  and  the  multitude  answered, 
with  something  of  pride  in  their  great  countryman — but 
already,  as  it  were,  with  a  shadow  of  distrust  falling  over 
their  high  Messianic  hopes,  as  they  came  in  contact  with 
the  contempt  and  hostility  of  the  capital — "  This  is 
Jesus,  the  Prophet  of  Nazareth." 

The  actual  procession  would  not  proceed  farther 
than  the  foot  of  Mount  Moriah  (the  Har  ha-beit,  Isa.  ii.  2), 
beyond  which  they  might  not  advance  in  travelling 
array,  or  with  dusty  feet.1  Before  they  had  reached  the 
Shushan  gate  of  the  Temple  they  dispersed,  and  Jesus 
entered.  The  Lord  whom  they  sought  had  come 
suddenly  to  His  Temple — even  the  messenger  of  the 
covenant ;  but  they  neither  recognised  Him,  nor  de- 
lighted in  Him,  though  His  first  act  was  to  purify  and 
purge  it,  that  they  might  offer  to  the  Lord  an  offering  in 
righteousness.2  As  He  looked  round  on  all  things3  His 
heart  was  again  moved  within  Him  to  strong  indigna- 
tion. Three  years  before,  at  His  first  Passover,  He  had 
cleansed  the  Temple ;  but,  alas  !  in  vain.  Already  greed 
had  won  the  battle  against  reverence ;  already  the  tessel- 

1  Berach.  ix.  5,  quoted  by  Light/foot. 

2  Mai.  iii.  1—3. 

3  I  follow  the  order  of  St.  Matthew,  in  preference  to  that  of  St.  Mark, 
in  fixing  the  cleansing  of  the  Temple  on  Palm  Sunday,  and  immediately 
after  the  triumphal  entry ;  and  for  these  reasons  :  (1)  because  it  is  most 
unlikely  that  Jesus  started  late  in  the  day ;  it  would  be  very  hot,  even  in  that 
season  of  the  year,  and  contrary  to  His  usual  habits.  (2)  If,  then,  He  started 
early,  and  did  not  leave  the  Temple  till  late  (Mark  xi.  11),  there  is  no 
indication  of  how  the  day  was  spent  (for  the  journey  to  Jerusalem  would 
not  occupy  more,  at  the  very  most,  than  two  hours),  unless  we  suppose  that 
the  incidents  narrated  in  the  text  took  place  on  the  Sunday,  as  both  St. 
Matthew,  St.  Luke,  and  St.  John  seem  to  imply.     (3)  The  cleansing  of  the 
Temple  would  be  a  much  more  natural  sequel   of  the  triumphal  entry, 
than  of  the  quiet  walk  next  day.     (4)  There  is  no  adequate  reason   to 
account  for  the  postponement  of  such  a  purification  of  the  Temple  till 
the  following  day. 


THE  TEMPLE  AGAIN  DEFILED. 


205 


lated  floors  and  pillared  colonnades  of  the  Court  of  the 
Gentiles  had  been  again  usurped  by  droves  of  oxen  and 
sheep,  and  dove-sellers,  and  usurers,  and  its  whole  pre- 
cincts were  dirty  with  driven  cattle,  and  echoed  to  the 
hum  of  bargaining  voices  and  the  chink  of  gold.1  In 
that  desecrated  place  He  would  not  teach.  Once  more, 
in  mingled  sorrow  and  anger,  He  drove  them  forth, 
while  none  dared  to  resist  His  burning  zeal ;  nor  would 
He  even  suffer  the  peaceful  enclosure  to  be  disturbed  by 
people  passing  to  and  fro  with  vessels,  and  so  turning 
it  into  a  thoroughfare.  The  dense  crowd  of  Jews 
—numbering,  it  is  said,  three  millions — who  crowded 
to  the  Holy  City  in  the  week  of  the  feast,  no  doubt 
made  the  Court  of  the  Grentiles  a  worse  and  busier  scene 
on  that  day  than  at  any  other  time,  and  the  more  so 
because  on  that  day,  according  to  the  law,  the  Paschal 
lamb — which  the  visitors  would  be  obliged  to  purchase 
— was  chosen  and  set  apart.3  But  no  considerations  of 
their  business  and  convenience  could  make  it  tolerable 
that  they  should  turn  His  Father's  house,  which  was  a 
house  of  prayer  for  all  nations,  into  a  place  most  like 
one  of  those  foul  caves  which  He  had  seen  so  often  in 
the  Wady  Hammanl,  where  brigands  wrangled  over  their 
ill-gotten  spoils.3 

1  The  vast  throng  of  foreign  pilgrims,  and  the  necessity  laid  on  them  of 
changing  their  foreign  coinage,  with  its  heathen  symbols,  for  the  shekel  hak- 
Icodesh,  "  half-shekel,  after  the  shekel  of  the  sanctuary  "  (Exod.  xxx.  13), 
would  make  the  trade  of  these  men  at  this  time  a  very  thriving  one  :  their 
agio  was  a  twelfth  of  each  shekel.     The  presence  of  these  money-makers 
distinctly  contravened    the    law    of   Zech.   xiv.   21,  where   Canaauite  = 
merchant.     See  supra,  Yol.  I.,  p.  189,  n. . 

2  Exod.  xii.  1 — 5.    For  the  " booths"  in  the  Temple  Court,  see  Lightfoot 
on  Matt.  xxi.  12. 

3  airf]\aiov  Kytnuv  (Mordergrube,  Luther)  is  much  stronger  than  "den 
of  thieves ;  "  and  if  the  "  House  of  Prayer  "  reminded  them  of  Jer.  vii.  6, 
as  well  as  Isa.  Ivi.  7,  it  would  recall  ideas  of  "  innocent  blood,"  as  well  as  of 


206 


THE   LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


Not  till  He  had  reduced  the  Temple  to  decency  and 
silence  could  He  begin  His  customary  ministrations. 
Doubtless  the  task  was  easier,  because  it  had  already 
been  once  performed.  But  when  the  miserable  hubbub 
was  over,  then  the  Temple  resumed  what  should  have 
been  its  normal  aspect.  Sufferers  came  to  Him,  and  He 
healed  them.  Listeners  in  hundreds  thronged  round 
Him,  were  astonished  at  His  doctrine,  hung  upon  His 
lips.1  The  very  children  of  the  Temple,  in  their  inno- 
cent delight,  continued  the  glad  Hosannas  which  had 
welcomed  Him.  The  Chief  Priests,  and  Scribes,  and 
Pharisees,  and  leading  people  saw,  and  despised,  and 
wondered,  and  perished.  They  could  but  gnash  their 
teeth  in  their  impotence,  daring  to  do  nothing,  saying 
to  each  other  that  they  could  do  nothing,  for  the 
whole  world  had  gone  after  Him,  yet  hoping  still  that 
their  hour  would  come,  and  the  power  of  darkness.  If 
they  ventured  to  say  one  word  to  Him,  they  had  to 
retire  abashed  and  frustrated  by  His  calm  reply.  They 
angrily  called  His  attention  to  the  cry  of  the  boys  in 
the  Temple  courts,  and  said,  "Hearest  Thou  what 
these  say?"  Perhaps  they  were  boys  employed  in  the 
musical  services  of  the  Temple,  and  if  so  the  priestly 

greedy  gain.  The  Temple  was  destined  in  a  few  more  years  to  become  yet 
more  emphatically  a  "  murderer's  cave,"  when  the  sicarii  made  it  the  scene 
of  their  atrocities.  "  The  sanctuary,"  says  Josephus  (B.  J.  iv.  3,  §  7),  "  was 
now  become  a  refuge,  and  a  shop  of  tyranny."  "  Certainly,"  says  Ananus 
in  his  speech,  "  it  had  been  good  for  me  to  die  before  I  had  seen  the  house 
of  God  full  of  so  many  abominations,  or  these  sacred  places,  that  ought  not 
to  be  trodden  upon  at  random,  filled  with  the  feet  of  these  blood-shedding 
villains"  (id.  §  10).  "  When  any. of  the  Zealots  were  wounded,  he  went  up 
into  the  Temple,  and  defiled  that  sacred  floor  with  his  blood"  (id.  §12). 
"  To  say  all  in  a  word,  no  passion  was  so  entirely  lost  among  them  as 
mercy  "  (id.  iv.  6,  §  3). 

1  Luke  xix.    48,   <5  Aabs  yap  airas  e|6«rpe/iaTo  avrov  O.KOVWV  :    cf.  Yirg. 
iv.  79,  "  pendebat  ab  ore." 


EMISSARIES  FROM  THE   WEST.  207 

party  would  be  still  more  enraged.  But  Jesus  calmly 
protected  the  children  from  their  unconcealed  hatred. 
"  Yea,"  He  answered,  "  have  ye  never  read,  Out  of  the 

mouths  of  babes  and  sucklings   Thou   hast   perfected 

*     ^  "  i 
praise  r 

So  in  high  discourse,  amid  the  vain  attempts  of  His 
enemies  to  annoy  and  hinder  Him,  the  hours  of  that 
memorable  day  passed  by.  And  it  was  marked  by  one 
more  deeply  interesting  incident.  Struck  by  all  they 
had  seen  and  heard,  some  Greeks — probably  Jewish 
proselytes  attracted  to  Jerusalem  by  the  feast — came  to 
Philip,  and  asked  him  to  procure  for  them  a  private 
interview  with  Jesus.2  Chaldseans  from  the  East  had 
sought  His  cradle ;  these  Greeks  from  the  West  came  to 
His  cross.3  Who  they  were,  and  why  they  sought  Him, 
we  know  not.  An  interesting  tradition,  but  one  on 
which  unfortunately  we  can  lay  no  stress,  says  that  they 
were  emissaries  from  Abgarus  V.,  King  of  Edessa,  who, 
having  been  made  aware  of  the  miracles  of  Jesus,  and  of 
the  dangers  to  which  He  was  now  exposed,  sent  these 
emissaries  to  offer  Him  an  asylum  in  his  dominions. 
The  legend  adds  that,  though  Jesus  declined  the  offer, 
He  rewarded  the  faith  of  Abgarus  by  writing  him  a 
letter,  and  healing  him  of  a  sickness.4 

1  Ps.  viii.  2.    Did  they  recall  the  sequel  of  the  verse,  "  because  of  Thine 
enemies,  that  Thou  mightest  still  the  enemy  and  the  avenger  ?  "     Similar 
emotional  outbursts  of  children  are  adduced  by  Schottgen. 

2  John  xii.  20—50. 

3  Stier  ad  loc.     They  are  called  "EAX^i/es,  and  were  therefore  Gentiles, 
not  'E\\Tjvi(TTal  (cf .  Acts  xvi.  1 ;   John  vii.  35),  or  Greek-speaking  Jews.     In 
the  Syriac  version  they  are  called  Aramaeans.     That  they  were  proselytes 
appears  from  John  xii.  20  (comp.  Acts  viii.  27). 

4  The  apocryphal  letter  of  Abgarus  to  Christ  is  given  by  Eusebius  (Hist. 
Eccl.  i.  13),  who  professes  to  derive  it  from  Syriac  documents  preserved  at 
Edessa,  and  quoted  by  Moses  Chorenensis  (Hist.  Arm.  ii.  28).   (Herzog,  Bibl. 
Encykl.  s.  v.  "  Abgar." )     The  letter  and  reply  are  probably  as  old  as  the 


208  THE  LIFE    OF  CHRIST. 

St.  John  mentions  nothing  of  these  circumstances ; 
he  does  not  even  tell  us  why  these  Greeks  came  to  Philip 
in  particular.  As  Bethsaida  was  the  native  town  of  this 
apostle,  and  as  many  Jews  at  this  period  had  adopted 
Gentile  appellations,  especially  those  which  were  current 
in  the  family  of  Herod,  we  cannot  attach  much  impor- 
tance to  the  Greek  form  of  his  name.1  It  is  an  inte- 
resting indication  of  the  personal  awe  which  the  Apostles 
felt  for  their  Master,  that  Philip  did  not  at  once  venture 
to  grant  their  request.  He  went  and  consulted  his  fellow- 
townsman  Andrew,  and  the  two  Apostles  then  made 
known  the  wish  of  the  Greeks  to  Jesus.  Whether  they 
actually  introduced  the  inquirers  into  His  presence  we 
cannot  tell,  but  at  any  rate  He  saw  in  the  incident  a  fresh 
sign  that  the  hour  was  come  when  His  name  should  be 
glorified.  His  answer  was  to  the  effect  that  as  a  grain 
of  wheat  must  die  before  it  can  bring  forth  fruit,  so  the 
road  to  His  glory  lay  through  humiliation,  and  they  who 
would  follow  Him  must  be  prepared  at  all  times  to  follow 
Him  even  to  death.  As  He  contemplated  that  approach- 
ing death,  the  human  horror  of  it  struggled  with  the 
ardour  of  His  obedience  ;  and  conscious  that  to  face  that 


third  century.  Abgar  says  that  having  heard  of  His  miracles,  and  thence 
concluded  His  Divine  nature,  "  I  have  written  to  ask  of  Thee  that  Thou 
couldest  trouble  Thyself  to  come  to  me,  and  heal  this  sickness  which  I  have. 
For  I  have  also  heard  that  the  Jews  murmur  against  Thee,  and  wish  to 
injure  Thee.  Now  I  have  a  small  and  beautiful  city  which  is  sufficient  for 
both."  The  reply,  which  is  almost  entirely  couched  in  Scriptural  language, 
begins  with  an  allusion  to  John  xx.  29,  and  after  declining  the  king's  offer, 
adds,  "  When  I  am  taken  up,  I  will  send  thee  one  of  my  disciples  to  heal 
thy  sickness ;  he  shall  also  give  salvation  to  thee  and  to  them  that  are  with 
thee."  (B.  H.  Cowper,  Apocr.  Gosp.,  p.  220 ;  Hofmann,  Leben  Jesu  nach 
d.Apocr.,  p.  308.)  The  disease  was,  according  to  Cedrenus  (Hist.  p.  145 )» 
leprosy,  and  according  to  Procopius  (De  Bell.  Pers.  ii.  12)  the  gout. 

1  Lange  (iv.  54)  notices  the  tradition  that  Philip  afterwards  laboured  in 
Phrygia,  and  Andrew  in  Greece. 


THE  VOICE  FROM  HEAVEN.  209 

dread  hour  was  to  conquer  it,  He  cried, "  Father,  glorify 
Thy  name  ! "  Then  for  the  third  time  in  His  life  came 
a  voice  from  heaven,  which  said,  "  I  have  both  glorified 
it,  and  will  glorify  it  again."1  St.  John  frankly  tells  us 
that  that  Voice  did  not  sound  alike  to  all.  The  common 
multitude  took  it  but  for  a  passing  peal  of  thunder; 
others  said,  "  An  angel  spake  to  Him ;"  the  Voice  was 
articulate  only  to  the  few.  But  Jesus  told  them  that  the 
Voice  was  for  their  sakes,  not  for  His ;  for  the  judgment 
of  the  world,  its  conviction  of  sin  by  the  Holy  Spirit, 
was  now  at  hand,  and  the  Prince  of  this  world2  should 
be  cast  out.  He  should  be  lifted  up,  like  the  brazen 
serpent  in  the  wilderness,3  and  when  so  exalted  He 
should  draw  all  men  unto  Him.  The  people  were  per- 
plexed at  these  dark  allusions.  They  asked  Him  what 
could  be  the  meaning  of  His  saying  that  "  the  Son  of 
Man  should  be  lifted  up  ?  "  If  it  meant  violently  taken 
away  by  a  death  of  shame,  how  could  this  be  ?  Was 
not  the  Son  of  Man  a  title  of  the  Messiah  ?  and  did  not 
the  prophet  imply  that  the  reign  of  Messiah  would  be 
eternal  ?4  The  true  answer  to  their  query  could  only  be 
received  by  spiritual  hearts — they  were  unprepared  for 
it,  and  would  only  have  been  offended  and  shocked  by  it ; 

1  John  xii.  28,   not  e8j£a<ra  Kal  ira\iv  5o|a0-«.     On  the  previous  passage 
see  the  excellent  remarks  of  Stier.    (Vide  supr.,  Vol.  I.,  p.  115 ;   II.,  p.  29.) 

2  The  Jewish  Bar  ha-Olam ;  he  whom  St.  Paul  calls  "the  god  of  this 
world  "  (2  Cor.  iv.  4).   The  Greek  /cJo>ios  corresponds  to  the  Hebrew  olamtm 
or  "  aeons."     The  Jews,  unlike  the  Greeks,  did  not  so  much  regard  the 
outward  beauty  of  Creation,  as  its  inward  significance :  for  them  the  interest 
of  the  Universe  "  centered  rather  in  the  moral  than  in  the  physical  order  " 
(Westcott,  Introd.  i.  25).     (See  Eph.  ii.  2.)     A  Mussulman  title  of  God  is 
"  Lord  of  the  (three)  worlds  "  (Rabb  al  alamiri). 

3  Comp.  John  iii.  14 ;  viii.  28.  Cf .  "Adolescentum  laudandum,  ornandum, 
tollendum  "  (Letter  of  Dec.  Brutus  to  Cicero,  Epp.  ad  Div.  xi.  20). 

4  "  The  Law "  is  here  a  general  term  for  the  Old  Testament.     The 
reference  is  to  Ps.  I^YYIY.  36 ;  comp.  John  x.  34. 


210  THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 

therefore  Jesus  did  not  answer  them.  He  only  bade 
them  walk  in  the  light  during  the  very  little  while  that 
it  should  still  remain  with  them,  and  so  become  the 
children  of  light.  He  was  come  as  a  light  into  the 
world,  and  the  words  which  He  spake  should  judge  those 
who  rejected  Him ;  for  those  words — every  brief  answer, 
every  long  discourse — were  from  the  Father ;  sunbeams 
from  the  Father  of  Lights ;  life-giving  rays  from  the 
Life  Eternal.1 

But  all  these  glorious  and  healing  truths  were  dull 
to  blinded  eyes,  and  dead  to  hardened  hearts ;  and  even 
the  few  of  higher  rank  and  wider  culture  who  partially 
understood  and  partially  believed  them,  yet  dared  not 
confess  Him,  because  to  confess  Him  was  to  incur  the 
terrible  cherem  of  the  Sanhedrin ;  and  this  they  would 
not  face — loving  the  praise  of  men  more  than  the  praise 
of  God. 

Thus  a  certain  sadness  and  sense  of  rejection  fell 
even  on  the  evening  of  the  Day  of  Triumph.  It  was  not 
safe  for  Jesus  to  stay  in  the  city,  nor  was  it  in  accordance 
with  His  wishes.  He  retired  secretly  from  the  Temple, 
hid  Himself  from  His  watchful  enemies,  and,  protected 
as  yet  outside  the  city  walls  by  the  enthusiasm  of  His 
Gralilsean  followers,  "  went  out  unto  Bethany  with  the 
Twelve."  But  it  is  very  probable  that  while  He  bent 
His  steps  in  the  direction  of  Bethany,  He  did  not 
actually  enter  the  village ;  for,  on  this  occasion,  His 
object  seems  to  have  been  concealment,  which  would 
hardly  have  been  secured  by  returning  to  the  well-known 
house  where  so  many  had  seen  Him  at  the  banquet  on 

1  John  xii.  44 — 50,  verse  49,  8e8a>/ce  ri  efrrw  (de  sennone  brevi, "»?«)  ical 
rl  \a\iiff (a  (de  copioso,  "Qi).  (Bengel.)  The  e/cpa£e  (verse  44)  points  to  the 
importance  of  the  utterance.  Of.  John  vii.  28,  37  ;  xi.  43. 


THE  SHADOW  OF  THE  TRAITOR.  211 

the  previous  evening.  It  is  more  likely  that  He  sought 
shelter  with  His  disciples  by  the  olive-sprinkled  slope  of 
the  hill,1  not  far  from  the  spot  where  the  roads  meet 
which  lead  to  the  little  village.  He  was  not  unaccus- 
tomed to  nights  in  the  open  air,  and  He  and  the  Apostles, 
wrapped  in  their  outer  garments,  could  sleep  soundly  and 
peacefully  on  the  green  grass  under  the  sheltering  trees. 
The  shadow  of  the  traitor  fell  on  Him  and  on  that  little 
band.  Did  lie  too  sleep  as  calmly  as  the  rest  ?  Perhaps : 
for  "  remorse  may  disturb  the  slumbers  of  a  man  who  is 
dabbling  with  his  first  experiences  of  .wrong  ;  and  when 
the  pleasure  has  been  tasted  and  is  gone,  and  nothing  is 
left  of  the  crime  but  the  ruin  which  it  has  wrought, 
then  too  the  Furies  take  their  seats  upon  the  midnight 
pillow.  But  the  meridian  of  evil  is,  for  the  most  part,  left 
unvexed ;  and  when  a  man  has  chosen  his  road,  he  is  left 
alone  to  follow  it  to  the  end.'"*1 

1  The  i)v\t(r6T)  c'/te?  of  Matt.  xxi.  17  does  not  necessarily  imply  that  He 
bivouacked  in  the  open  air.     It  is,  however,  very  probable  that  He  did  so ; 
for  (1)  such  is  the  proper  meaning  of  the  word  (comp.  Judg.  xix.  15,  20). 

(2)   St.  Luke    says,  rjuAi^ero  ets  rb   opos  rb  KaXov^vov  'E\cucot>    (xxi.    37).      (3) 

It  was  His  custom  to  resort  for  the  night  to  Gethsemane,  where,  so  far  as 
we  are  aware,  there  was  no  house.  (4)  The  retiring  to  Bethany  would 
hardly  answer  to  the  c/cpujSTj  dir'  avrwv  of  John  xii.  36. 

2  Froude,  Hist,  of  Engl  viii.  30. 


CHAPTEE   L. 

MONDAY   IN    PASSION    WEEK A   DAY    OF    PARABLES. 

"  Apples  of  gold  in  PICTURES  of  silver."— PROV.  xxv.  11. 

Ei SING  from  His  bivouac  in  the  neighbourhood 
Bethany  while  it  was  still  early,  Jesus  returned  at  once 
to  the  city  and  the  Temple ;  and  on  His  way  He  felt 
hungry.  Monday  and  Thursday  were  kept  by  the  scru- 
pulous religionists  of  the  day  as  voluntary  fasts,  and  to 
this  the  Pharisee  alludes  when  he  says  in  the  Parable, 
"  I  fast  twice  in  the  week."  But  this  fasting  was  a  mere 
"  work  of  supererogation,"  neither  commanded  nor  sanc- 
tioned by  the  Law  or  the  Prophets,  and  it  was  alien 
alike  to  the  habits  and  precepts  of  One  who  came,  not 
by  external  asceticisms,  but  with  absolute  self- surrender, 
to  ennoble  by  Divine  sinlessness  the  common  life  of 
men.  It  may  be  that  in  His  compassionate  eagerness  to 
teach  His  people,  He  had  neglected  the  common  wants 
of  life ;  it  may  be  that  there  were  no  means  of  procuring 
food  in  the  fields  where  He  had  spent  the  night ;  it  may 
be  again  that  the  hour  of  prayer  and  morning  sacrifice 
had  not  yet  come,  before  which  the  Jews  .did  not  usually 
take  a  meal.  But,  whatever  may  have  been  the  cause, 
Jesus  hungered,  so  as  to  be  driven  to  look  for  wayside 
fruit  to  sustain  and  refresh  Him  for  the  day's  work.  A 


THE   LEAFY  FIG-TREE.  213 

few  dates  or  figs,  a  piece  of  black  bread,  a  draught  of 
water,  are  sufficient  at  any  time  for  an  Oriental's  simple 
meal. 

There  are  trees  in  abundance  even  now  throughout 
this  region,  but  not  the  numerous  palms,  and  figs,  and 
walnut-trees  which  made  the  vicinity  of  Jerusalem  like 
one  umbrageous  park,  before  they  were  cut  down  by 
Titus,  in  the  operations  of  the  siege.  Fig-trees  especially 
were  planted  by  the  roadside,  because  the  dust  was 
thought  to  facilitate  their  growth,1  and  their  refresh- 
ing fruit  was  common  property.  At  a  distance  in  front 
of  Him  Jesus  caught  sight  of  a  solitary  fig-tree,2  and 
although  the  ordinary  season  at  which  figs  ripened  had 
not  yet  arrived,  yet,  as  it  was  clad  with  verdure,  and  as 
the  fruit  of  a  fig  sets  before  the  leaves  unfold,  this  tree 
looked  more  than  usually  promising.  Its  rich  large 
leaves  seemed  to  show  that  it  was  fruitful,  and  their 
unusually  early  growth  that  it  was  not  only  fruitful  but 
precociously  vigorous.  There  was  every  chance,  there- 
fore, of  finding  upon  it  either  the  late  violet-coloured 
kermouses,  or  autumn  figs,  that  often  remained  hanging 
on  the  trees  all  through  the  winter,  and  even  until  the 
new  spring  leaves  had  come  ;3  or  the  delicious  bakkooroth, 
the  first  ripe  on  the  fig-tree,  of  which  Orientals  are  par- 


1  Plin.  Hist.  Nat.  xv.  21,  quoted  by  Meyer.     On  the  right  to  pluck 
fruit,  see  Deut.  xxiii.  24. 

2  ffvKTjv  p.iav  (Matt.  xxi.  19),  "  a  single   fig-tree."     Compare,  however, 
fj.ia  TrcuSur/cr;  (xxvi.  69).    The  et  &pa.  TI  efy>77<rei  ev  avrfj  (Mark  xi.  13)  implies  a 
shade  of  surprise  at  the  exceptional  forwardness  of  the  tree. 

3  Plin.  H.  -N.  xvi.  27,  "  Seri  f ructus  per  hiemem  in  arbore  manent,  et 
aestate  inter  novas  frondes  et  folia  maturescunt"  (comp.  Coluin.  De  Arbor, 
21).     Ebrard  says  that  it  is  doubtful  whether  this  applied  to  Palestine 
(Gosp.  Hist,  p.  376,  E.  Tr.) ;    but  it  certainly  did,  as  is  shown  by  the 
testimony  of  travellers  and  of  Jewish  writers.     The  green  or  unripe  fig 

is  only  mentioned  in  Cant.  ii.  13. 


214 


THE   LIFE   OF   CHRIST. 


ticularly  fond.1  The  difficulty  raised  about  St.  Mark's 
expression,  that  "the  time  of  figs  was  not  yet/''1 
wholly  needless.  On  the  plains  of  Gennesareth  Jesus 
must  have  been  accustomed — if  we  may  trust  Josephus 
—to  see  the  figs  hanging  ripe  on  the  trees  every  month 
in  the  year  excepting  January  and  February  ;3  and 
there  is  to  this  day,  in  Palestine,  a  kind  of  white  or 
early  fig  which  ripens  in  spring,  and  much  before  the 
ordinary  or  black  fig.4  On  many  grounds,  therefore, 
Jesus  might  well  have  expected  to  find  a  few  figs  to 
satisfy  the  cravings  of  hunger  on  this  fair-promising 
leafy  tree,  although  the  ordinary  fig-season  had  not  yet 
arrived. 

But  when  He  came  up  to  it,  He  was  disappointed. 
The  sap  was  circulating ;  the  leaves  made  a  fair  show ; 
but  of  fruit  there  was  none.  Fit  emblem  of  a  hypocrite, 
whose  external  semblance  is  a  delusion  and  sham — fit 
emblem  of  the  nation  in  whom  the  ostentatious  pro- 
fession of  religion  brought  forth  no  "  fruit  of  good  living  " 
—the  tree  was  barren.  And  it  was  hopelessly  barren ; 
for  had  it  been  fruitful  the  previous  year,  there  would 
still  have  been  some  of  the  kermouses  hidden  under 
those  broad  leaves ;  and  had  it  been  fruitful  this  year, 
the  bakkooroth  would  have  set  into  green  and  delicious 
fragrance  before  the  leaves  appeared ;  but  on  this  fruit- 
less tree  there  was  neither  any  promise  for  the  future,  nor 
any  gleanings  from  the  past. 


(Hos.  ix.  10 ;    Isa.  xxviii.  4 ;    Nah.  iii.  12 ;    Jer.  xxiv.  2,  "  Yery 
good  figs,  even  like  the  figs  that  are  first  ripe  "). 

2  There  is  no  need  whatever  to  render  this,  "  it  was  no  favourable 
weather  for  figs,"  "  not  a  good  fig-year." 

3  5.  /.iii.  10,  §8. 

4  Dr.  Thomson,  author  of  The  Land  and  the  Boole,  tells  us  that  he  has 
eaten  these  figs  as  early  as  April  or  May. 


THE  FIG-TREE  WITHERS.  215 

And  therefore,  since  it  was  but  deceptive  and  useless, 
a  barren  cumberer  of  the  ground,  He  made  it  the  eternal 
warning  against  a  life  of  hypocrisy  continued  until  it  is 
too  late,  and,  in  the  hearing  of  His  disciples,  uttered  upon 
it  the  solemn  fiat,  "  Never  fruit  grow  upon  thee  more  !" 
Even  at  the  word,  such  infructuous  life  as  it  possessed 
was  arrested,  and  it  began  to  wither  away. 

The  criticisms  upon  this  miracle  have  been  singularly 
idle  and  singularly  irreverent,  because  they  have  been 
based  for  the  most  part  on  ignorance  or  on  prejudice. 
By  those  who  reject  the  divinity  of  Jesus,  it  has  been 
called  a  penal  miracle,  a  miracle  of  vengeance,  a  miracle 
of  unworthy  anger,  a  childish  exhibition  of  impatience 
under  disappointment,  an  uncultured  indignation  against 
innocent  Nature.  No  one,  I  suppose,  who  believes 
that  the  story  represents  a  real  and  miraculous  fact, 
will  daringly  arraign  the  motives  of  Him  who  per- 
formed it ;  but  many  argue  that  this  is  an  untrue  and 
mistaken  story,  because  it  narrates  what  they  regard  as 
an  unworthy  display  of  anger  at  a  slight  disappoint- 
ment, and  as  a  miracle  of  destruction  which  violated  the 
rights  of  the  supposed  owner  of  the  tree,  or  of  the  multi- 
tude. But,  as  to  the  first  objection,  surely  it  is  amply 
enough  to  say  that  every  page  of  the  New  Testament 
shows  the  impossibility  of  imagining  that  the  Apostles 
and  Evangelists  had  so  poor  and  false  a  conception  of 
Jesus  as  to  believe  that  He  avenged  His  passing  dis- 
pleasure on  an  irresponsible  object.  Would  He  who,  at 
the  Tempter's  bidding,  refused  to  satisfy  His  wants  by 
turning  the  stones  of  the  wilderness  into  bread,  be  repre- 
sented as  having  "  flown  into  a  rage  " — no  other  ex- 
pression is  possible — with  an  unconscious  tree?  An 
absurdity  so  irreverent  might  have  been  found  in  the 


216 


THE   LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


Apocryphal  Gospels ;  but  had  the  Evangelists  been 
capable  of  perpetuating  it,  then,  most  unquestionably, 
they  could  have  had  neither  the  capacity  nor  the  desire 
to  paint  that  Divine  and  Eternal  portrait  of  the  Lord 
Jesus,  which  their  knowledge  of  the  truth,  and  the  aid 
of  God's  Holy  Spirit,  enabled  them  to  present  to  the  world 
for  ever,  as  its  most  priceless  possession.  And  as  for  the 
withering  of  the  tree,  has  the  householder  of  the  parable 
been  ever  severely  censured  because  he  said  of  his  barren 
fig-tree,  "Cat  it  down,  why  cumbereth  it  the  ground ?" 
Has  St.  John  the  Baptist  been  ever  blamed  for  violence 
and  destructiveness  because  he  cried,  "  And  now  also  the 
axe  is  laid  unto  the  root  of  the  tree  :  every  tree,  therefore, 
which  bringeth  not  forth  good  fruit,  is  hewn  down  and 
cast  into  the  fire?"  Or  has  the  ancient  Prophet  been 
charged  with  misrepresenting  the  character  of  God,  when 
he  says,  "  /,  the  Lord,  have  dried  up  the  green  tree"  l  as 
well  as  "made  the  dry  tree  to  flourish  ?"  When  the  hail 
beats  down  the  tendrils  of  the  vineyard — when  the 
lightning  scathes  the  olive,  or  "  splits  the  unwedgeable 
and  gnarled  oak  " — do  any  but  the  utterly  ignorant  and 
brutal  begin  at  once  to  blaspheme  against  God  ?  Is  it  a 
crime  under  any  circumstances  to  destroy  a  useless  tree  ? 
if  not,  is  it  more  a  crime  to  do  so  by  miracle  ?  Why, 
then,  is  the  Saviour  of  the  world — to  whom  Lebanon 
would  be  too  little  for  a  burnt-offering — to  be  blamed 
by  petulant  critics  because  He  hastened  the  withering  of 
one  barren  tree,  and  founded,  on  the  destruction  of  its  use- 
lessness,  three  eternal  lessons — a  symbol  of  the  destruc- 
tion of  impenitence,  a  warning  of  the  peril  of  hypocrisy, 
an  illustration  of  the  power  of  faith  ?2 

1  Ezek.  xvii.  24. 

2  The  many-sided  symbolism  of  the  act  would  have  been  much  more 


A  GREAT  DEPUTATION.  217 

They  went  on  their  way,  and,  as  usual,  entered  the 
Temple;  and  scarcely  had  they  entered  it,  when  they  were 
met  by  another  indication  of  the  intense  incessant  spirit 
of  opposition  which  actuated  the  rulers  of  Jerusalem.1  A 
formidable  deputation  approached  them,  imposing  alike 
in  its  numbers  and  its  stateliness.2  The  chief  priests — 
heads  of  the  twenty-four  courses — the  learned  scribes, 
the  leading  rabbis,  representatives  of  all  the  constituent 
classes  of  the  Sanhedrin  were  there,  to  overawe  Him — 
whom  they  despised  as  the  poor  ignorant  Prophet  of 
despicable  Nazareth — with  all  that  was  venerable  in 
age,  eminent  in  wisdom,  or  imposing  in  authority  in  the 
great  Council  of  the  nation.  The  people  whom  He  was 
engaged  in  teaching  made  reverent  way  for  them,  lest 
they  should  pollute  those  floating  robes  and  ample 
fringes  with  a  touch;  and  when  they  had  arranged 

vividly  apparent  to  those  more  familiar  than  ourselves  with  the  ancient 
prophets  (see  Hos.  ix.  10 ;  Joel  i.  7 ;  Micah  vii.  1).  "  Even  here,"  says 
Professor  Westcott,  "  in  the  moment  of  sorrowful  disappointment,  as  He 
turned  to  His  disciples,  the  word  of  judgment  became  a  word  of  promise. 
'  Have  faith  in  God,  and  whatsoever  things  ye  desire  when  ye  pray,  believe 
that  ye  received  them.  (e'Aa/Sere) ' — received  them  already  as  the  inspiration  of 
the  wish — 'and  ye  shall  have  them ' "  (Charact.  of  the  Gosp.  Miracles,  p.  25). 
I  have  dwelt  at  some  length  on  this  miracle,  because  to  some  able  and 
honest  thinkers  it  presents  a  real  difficulty.  Those  who  do  not  see  in  it 
the  lessons  which  I  have  indicated  (of  which  the  first  two  are  only  implied, 
not  formulated,  in  the  Gospels),  regard  it  as  a  literal  construction  of  an 
illustrative  metaphor — a  parable  of  the  power  of  faith  (cf.  Luke  xxiii.  31 ; 
Rev.  vi.  13;  and  the  Koran,  Sura  95)  which  has  got  mythically  developed 
into  a  miracle.  Better  this,  than  that  it  should  lead  them  to  unworthy 
views  of  "  Him  whom  the  Father  hath  sent ; "  but  if  the  above  views  be 
right,  the  difficulty  does  not  seem  to  me  by  any  means  insuperable. 

1  It  will  be  observed  that  I  am  following  in  the  main  the  order  of  the 
eye-witness,  St.  Matthew,  who,  however,  pauses  to  finish  the  story  of  the 
fig-tree,  the  sequel  of  which  belongs  to  the  next  day.     It  is,  however,  clear 
the  irapaxprma  of  St.  Matthew  is  only  used  relatively. 

2  Mark  xi.  27,  irepnraTovvTos  avrov  ;    Luke  XX.    1,    firfffT-rja'av    (cf.  Acts  IV. 

1 ;  vi.  12 ;  xxiii.  27).  I  have  already  (p.  142)  noticed  St.  Luke's  use  of  this 
word  to  imply  something  sudden  or  hostile. 


218 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


themselves  around  Jesus,  they  sternly  and  abruptly 
asked  Him,  "  By  what  authority  doest  thou  these  things, 
and  who  gave  thee  this  authority?"  They  demanded 
of  Him  His  warrant  for  thus  publicly  assuming  the 
functions  of  Eabbi  and  Prophet,  for  riding  into  Jeru- 
salem amid  the  hosannas  of  attendant  crowds,  for 
purging  the  Temple  of  the  traffickers,  at  whose  presence 
they  connived  ? : 

The  answer  surprised  and  confounded  them.  With 
that  infinite  presence  of  mind,  of  which  the  world's 
history  furnishes  no  parallel,  and  which  remained  calm 
under  the  worst  assaults,  Jesus  told  them  that  the 
answer  to  their  question  depended  on  the  answer  which 
they  were  prepared  to  give  to  His  question.  ".The 
baptism  of  John,  was  it  from  heaven,  or  of  men  ?  "  A 
sudden  pause  followed.  "Answer  me,"  said  Jesus,  in- 
terrupting their  whispered  colloquy.  And  surely  they, 
who  had  sent  a  commission  to  inquire  publicly  into 
the  claims  of  John,  were  in  a  position  to  answer. 
But  no  answer  came.  They  knew  full  well  the  import 
of  the  question.  They  could  not  for  a  moment  put 
it  aside  as  irrelevant.  John  had  openly  and  em- 
phatically testified  to  Jesus,  had  acknowledged  Him, 
before  their  own  deputies,  not  only  as  a  Prophet,  but  as 
a  Prophet  far  greater  than  himself — nay,  more,  as  the 
Prophet,  the  Messiah.  Would  they  recognise  that 
authority,  or  would  they  not?  Clearly  Jesus  had  a 
right  to  demand  their  reply  to  that  question  before  He 
could  reply  to  theirs.  But  they  could  not,  or  rather  they 
would  not  answer  that  question.  It  reduced  them  in  fact 


1  Mark  xi.  27—33 ;  Matt.  xxi.  23—27  ;  Luke  xx.  1—8.  The  Sanliedrin 
had  sent  a  similar  deputation  to  John  the  Baptist,  but  in  a  less  hostile 
spirit  (v.  supra,  Yol.  I.,  p.  113). 


OUR  LORD'S  ANSWER.  .  219 

to  a  complete  dilemma.  They  would  not  say  "from 
heaven"  because  they  had  in  heart  rejected  it ;  they 
dared  not  say  " of  men"  because  the  belief  in  John 
(as  we  see  even  in  Josephus)  was  so  vehement  and 
so  unanimous  that  openly  to  reject  him  would  have 
been  to  endanger  their  personal  safety.1  They  were 
reduced,  therefore — they,  the  masters  of  Israel — to  the 
ignominious  necessity  of  saying,  "  We  cannot  tell." 

There  is  an  admirable  Hebrew  proverb  which  says, 
"  Teach  thy  tongue  to  say,  *  I  do  not  know/  "  2  But 
to  say  "  We  do  not  know,"  in  this  instance,  was  a  thing 
utterly  alien  to  their  habits,  disgraceful  to  their  discern- 
ment, a  death-blow  to  their  pretensions.  It  was  igno- 
rance in  a  sphere  wherein  ignorance  was  for  them  inex- 
cusable. They,  the  appointed  explainers  of  the  Law — 
they,  the  accepted  teachers  of  the  people — they,  the 
acknowledged  monopolisers  of  Scriptural  learning  and 
oral  tradition — and  yet  to  be  compelled,  against  their 
real  convictions,  to  say,  and  that  before  the  multitude, 
that  they  could  not  tell  whether  a  man  of  immense  and 
sacred  influence — a  man  who  acknowledged  the  Scrip- 
tures which  they  explained,  and  carried  into  practice  the 
customs  which  they  reverenced — was  a  divinely  inspired 
messenger  or  a  deluding  impostor !  Were  the  lines  of 
demarcation,  then,  between  the  inspired  Prophet  (nabi)- 
and  the  wicked  seducer  (mesith]  so  dubious  and  indistinct? 
It  was  indeed  a  fearful  humiliation,  and  one  which  they 


1  Jos.  Antt.  xviii.  5,  §  2 ;   Luke  xx.  6.     The  vtireiffp&os  shows  the  per- 
manence of  the  conviction ;  the  KaraXiOdirei.  (which  is  used  here  only)  the 
violent   tumult   which   would   have  been   caused   by  a  denial  of  John's 
position  as  a  prophet.     Wetstein  quotes  from  Donat.  ad  Ter.  Eun.  v.  5,  11, 
a  most  apposite  parallel,  where  Parmenio,  unable  to  deny,  and  unwilling  to 
admit,  protects  himself  by  a  "  nescio" 

2  yfr  'lyg  Mxfy  *\yv&)  naV. 


220 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


never  either  forgot  or  forgave !  And  yet  how  just  was 
the  retribution  which  they  had  thus  brought  on  their 
own  heads.  The  curses  which  they  had  intended  for 
another  had  recoiled  upon  themselves ;  the  pompous 
question  which  was  to  be  an  engine  wherewith  another 
should  be  crushed,  had  sprung  back  with  sudden  rebound, 
to  their  own  confusion  and  shame. 

Jesus  did  not  press  upon  their  discomfiture,  though 
He  well  knew — as  the  form  of  his  answer  showed— 
that  their  "  do  not  know"  was  a  "  do  not  choose  to  say." 
Since,  however,  their  failure  to  answer  clearly  absolved 
Him  from  any  necessity  to  tell  them  further  of  an 
authority  about  which,  by  their  own  confession,  they 
were  totally  incompetent  to  decide,  He  ended  the  scene 
by  simply  saying,  "  Neither  tell  I  you  by  what  autho- 
rity I  do  these  things." 

So  they  retired  a  little  into  the  background.  He  con- 
tinued the  instruction  of  the  people  which  they  had  inter- 
rupted, and  began  once  more  to  speak  to  them  in  parables, 
which  both  the  multitude  and  the  members  of  the  San- 
hedrin  who  were  present  could  hardly  fail  to  understand. 
And  He  expressly  called  their  attention  to  what  He  was 
about  to  say.  "  What  think  ye  ?  "  He  asked,  for  now  it 
is  their  turn  to  submit  to  be  questioned ;  and  then, 
telling  them  of  the  two  sons,  of  whom  the  one  first  flatly 
refused  his  father's  "bidding,  but  afterwards  repented  and 
did  it,  the  other  blandly  promised  an  obedience  which 
he  never  performed,  He  asked,  "  Which  of  these  two  did 
his  father's  will  ?  "  They  could  but  answer,  "  the  first ;  " 
and  He  then  pointed  out  to  them  the  plain  and  solemn 
meaning  of  their  own  answer.  It  was,  that  the  very 
publicans  and  harlots,  despite  the  apparent  open  shame- 
lessness  of  their  disobedience,  were  yet  showing  them— 


THE  LABOURERS  IN  THE  VINEYARD.  221 

them,  the  scrupulous  and  highly  reputed  legalists  of 
the  holy  nation  —  the  way  into  the  kingdom  of  heaven. 
Yes,  these  sinners,  whom  they  despised  and  hated,  were 
streaming  before  them  through  the  door  which  was 
not  yet  shut.  For  John  had  come  to  these  Jews  on 
their  own  principles  and  in  their  own  practices,1  and 
they  had  pretended  to  receive  him,  but  had  not  ;  but  the 
publicans  'and  the  harlots  had  repented  at  his  bidding. 
For  all  their  broad  fringes  and  conspicuous  phylacteries, 
they  —  the  priests,  the  separatists,  the  Eabbis  of  these 
people  —  were  worse  in  the  sight  of  God  than  sinners 
whom  they  would  have  scorned  to  touch  with  one  of 
their  fingers. 

Then  He  bade  them  "hear  another  parable,"  the 
parable  of  the  rebellious  husbandmen  in  the  vineyard, 
whose  fruits  they  would  not  yield.  That  vineyard  of  the 
Lord  of  Hosts  was  the  house  of  Israel,  and  the  men  of 
Judah  were  his  pleasant  plants;2  and  they,  the  leaders  and 
teachers,  were  those  to  whom  the  Lord  of  the  vineyard 
would  naturally  look  for  the  rendering  of  the  produce. 
But  in  spite  of  all  that  He  had  done  for  His  vineyard, 
there  were  no  grapes,  or  only  wild  grapes.  "  He  looked 
for  judgment,  but  behold  oppression  ;  for  righteousness, 
but  behold  a  cry."  And  since  they  could  not  render 
any  produce,  and  dared  not  own  the  barren  fruitlessness 
for  which  they,  the  husbandmen,  were  responsible,  they 
insulted,  and  beat,  and  wounded,  and  slew  messenger 
after  messenger  whom  the  Lord  of  the  vineyard  sent  to 
them.  Last  of  all,  He  sent  His  Son,  and  that  Son— 


1  Matt.  xxi.  28  —  32,  eV  68<£  St/caioa-ui/Tjs,  minute  obedience  to  the  Law,  the 

n  of  Prov.  xvi.  31,  &c.    (Stier,  iii.  113.) 

2  Matt.  xxi.  33—46;  Mark  xii.  1—12;  Luke  xx.  9—19;  Isa.  v.  1—7  ; 
Ps.  Ixxx. 


222 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


though  they  recognised  Him,  and  could  not  but  recognise 
Him — they  beat,  and  flung  forth,  and  slew.  When  the 
Lord  of  the  vineyard  came,  what  would  He  do  to  them  ? 
Either  the  people,  out  of  honest  conviction,  or  the 
listening  Pharisees,  to  show  their  apparent  contempt  for 
what  they  could  not  fail  to  see  was  the  point  of  the 
parable,  answered  that  He  would  wretchedly  destroy  those 
wretches,  and  let  out  the  vineyard  to  worthier  and  more 
faithful  husbandmen.  A  second  time  they  had  been 
compelled  to  an  admission,  which  fatally,  out  of  their 
own  mouths,  condemned  themselves  ;  they  had  confessed 
with  their  own  lips  that  it  would  be  in  accordance  with 
God's  justice  to  deprive  them  of  their  exclusive  rights, 
and  to  give  them  to  the  Gentiles. 

And  to  show  them  that  their  own  Scriptures  had 
prophesied  of  this  their  conduct,  He  asked  them  whether 
they  had  never  read  (in  the  118th  Psalm1)  of  the  stone 
which  the  builders  rejected,  which  nevertheless,  by  the 
marvellous  purpose  of  God,  became  the  headstone  of  the 
corner?  How  could  they  remain  builders  any  longer, 
when  the  whole  design  of  their  workmanship  was  thus 
deliberately  overruled  and  set  aside  ?  Did  not  their  old 
Messianic  prophecy  clearly  imply  that  God  would  call 
otlier  builders  to  the  work  of  His  Temple  ?  Woe  to 
them  who  even  stumbled — as  they  were  doing — at  that 
rejected  stone  ;  but  even  yet  there  was  time  for  them  to 
avoid  the  more  crushing  annihilation  of  those  on  whom 

1  Comp.  Isa.  xxviil.  16 ;  Dan.  ii.  44 ;  Acts  iv.  11 ,-  Eph.  ii.  20 ;  1  Pet.  ii. 
6, 7.  Leaders  of  the  people  are  called  pinnoth  in  Judg.  xx.  2,  &c.  Stier 
points  out  that  this  was  the  Psalm  from  which  the  Hosanna  of  the 
multitude  wa^  taken  (iii.  125).  The  "  head  of  the  corner  "  (£w  or  nzs  p«, 
K€<t>a\))  ywvias  or  xldos  aicpoy<aviatos)  is  the  chief  or  foundation  stone,  some- 
times placed  at  the  angle  of  a  building,  and  so  binding  two  walls  together. 
The  av-r-n  of  Matt.  xxi.  42  (Ps.  cxviii.  23,  LXX.)  means  "this  doing,"  and 
is  a  Hebraism  for  TOVTO  (n^)  as  in  1  Sam.  iv.  7,  LXX. 


"THE  MARRIAGE   OF  THE   KING'S   SON."  223 

that  stone  should  fall.  To  reject  Him  in  His  humanity 
and  humiliation  involved  pain  and  loss ;  but  to  be  found 
still  rejecting  Him  when  He  should  come  again  in  His 
glory,  would  not  this  be  "  utter  destruction  from  the 
presence  of  the  Lord  ?  "  To  sit  on  the  seat  of  judgment 
and  condemn  Him — this  should  be  ruin  to  them  and 
their  nation ;  but  to  be  condemned  by  Him,  would  not 
this  be  to  be  "  ground  to  powder?  ": 

They  saw  now,  more  clearly  than  ever,  the  whole 
bent  and  drift  of  these  parables,  and  longed  for  the  hour 
of  vengeance !  But,  as  yet,  fear  restrained  them  :  for,  to 
the  multitude,  Christ  was  still  a  prophet. 

One  more  warning  utterance  He  spoke  on  this  Day 
of  Parables — the  Parable  of  the  Marriage  of  the  King's 
Son.  In  its  basis  and  framework  it  closely  resembled  the 
Parable  of  the  Great  Supper  uttered,  during  His  last 
journey,  at  a  Pharisee's  house ;  but  in  many  of  its  details, 
and  in  its  entire  conclusion,  it  was  different.  Here  the 
ungrateful  subjects  who  receive  the  invitation,  not  only 
make  light  of  it,  and  pursue  undisturbed  their  worldly 
avocations,  but  some  of  them  actually  insult  and  murder 
the  messenger  who  had  invited  them,  and — a  point  at 
which  the  history  merges  into  prophecy — are  destroyed 
and  their  city  burned.  And  the  rest  of  the  story  points 
to  yet  further  scenes,  pregnant  with  still  deeper  mean- 
ings.2 Others  are  invited ;  the  wedding-feast  is  fur- 
nished with  guests  both  bad  and  good ;  the  king  comes 
in,  and  notices  one  who  had  thrust  himself  into 
the  company  in  his  own  rags,  without  providing  or 

1  Dan.  ii.  34—44. 

2  The  servants  are  ordered  to  go  to  the  Ste^Sot  of  the  roads  to  search  for 
fresh  guests,  but  we  are  only  told  that  they  went  into  the  65ol  (Matt.  xxii. 
9,  10) ;  this  delicate  "  reference  to  the  imperfect  work  of  human  agents  "  is 
lost  in  our  version.     (Lightf  oot,  Revision,  p.  68.) 


224  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

accepting  the  wedding  garment,  which  the  commonest 
courtesy  required.1 

This  rude  intruding  presumptuous  guest  is  cast 
forth  by  attendant  angels  into  outer  darkness,  where 
shall  be  weeping  and  gnashing  of  teeth ;  and  then 
follows,  for  the  last  time,  the  warning  urged  in  varying 
similitudes,  with  a  frequency  commensurate  to  its  im- 
portance, that  "many  are  called,  but  few  are  chosen/'2 

Teachings  so  obvious  in  their  import  filled  the  minds 
of  the  leading  Priests  and  Pharisees  with  a  more  and 
more  bitter  rage.  He  had  begun  the  day  by  refusing 
to  answer  their  dictatorial  question,  and  by  more  than 
justifying  that  refusal.  His  counter-question  had  not 
only  shown  His  calm  superiority  to  the  influence  which 
they  so  haughtily  exercised  over  the  people,  but  had 
reduced  them  to  the  ignominious  silence  of  an  hypocrisy, 
which  was  forced  to  shield  itself  under  the  excuse  of 
incompetence.  Then  followed  His  parables.  In  the  first 
of  these  He  had  convicted  them  of  false  professions,  un- 
accompanied by  action ;  in  the  second,  He  had  depicted 
the  trust  and  responsibility  of  their  office,  and  had  indi- 
cated a  terrible  retribution  for  its  cruel  and  profligate 
abuse ;  in  the  third,  He  had  indicated  alike  the  punish- 
ment which  would  ensue  upon  a  violent  rejection  of 
His  invitations,  and  the  impossibility  of  deceiving  the 
eye  of  His  Heavenly  Father  by  a  mere  nominal  and  pre- 
tended acceptance.  Lying  lip-service,  faithless  rebellion, 
blind  presumption,  such  were  the  sins  which  He  had 
striven  to  bring  home  to  their  consciences.  And  this 

1  Zeph.  i.  8. 

2  See  Matt.  vii.  13,  14;   xix.  30;    xx.  16.      Those  who  cast  forth  the 
intruder    are  Sidicovoi,    "ministers,"    here  representing    angels;    not   the 
SoDAoi.     "  Slaves  "  are  human  messengers  of  the  earlier  part  of  the  parable, 
though  rendered  in  our  version  by  the  same  word. 


MACHINATIONS  OF  THE  JEWS. 


225 


was  but  a  superficial  outline  of  all  the  heart-searching 
power  with  which  His  words  had  been  to  them  like  a 
sword  of  the  Spirit,  piercing  even  to  the  dividing  of  the 
joints    and   marrow.     But    to  bad  men  nothing  is   so 
maddening  as  the  exhibition  of  their  own  self-deception. 
So  great  was  the  hardly-concealed  fury  of  the  Jewish 
hierarchy,  that  they  would  gladly  have  seized  Him  that 
very  hour.     Fear  restrained  them,  and  He  was  suffered 
to  retire  unmolested  to  His  quiet  resting-place.     But, 
either  that  night  or  early  on  the  following  morning,  His 
enemies  held  another  council — at  this  time  they  seem  to 
have  held  them  almost  daily — to  see  if  they  could  not 
make   one   more   combined,    systematic,    overwhelming 
effort  "  to  entangle  Him  in  His  talk,"  to  convict  Him  of 
ignorance  or  of  error,  to  shake  His  credit  with  the  mul- 
titude, or  embroil  Him  in  dangerous  relations  towards 
the   civil   authority.     We    shall   see   in   the  following 
chapter  the  result  of  their  machinations. 


P 


CHAPTEE  LI. 

THE    DAT    OF   TEMPTATIONS THE   LAST    AND    GREATEST   DAY 

OF   THE    PUBLIC    MINISTRY    OF    JESUS. 

"  And  the  door  was  shut." — MATT.  xxv.  10. 

ON  the  following  morning  Jesus  rose  with  His  disciples 
to  enter  for  the  last  time  the  Temple  Courts.  On  their 
way  they  passed  the  solitary  fig-tree,  no  longer  gay 
with  its  false  leafy  garniture,  but  shrivelled,  from  the 
root  upwards,  in  every  bough.  The  quick  eye  of 
Peter  was  the  first  to  notice  it,  and  he  exclaimed, 
"  Master,  behold  the  fig-tree  which  thou  cursedst  is 
withered  away."  The  disciples  stopped  to  look  at 
it,  and  to  express  their  astonishment  at  the  rapidity 
with  which  the  denunciation  had  been  fulfilled.  What 
struck  them  most  was  the  power  of  Jesus ;  the  deeper 
meanings  of  His  symbolic  act  they  seem  for  the  time  to 
have  missed ;  and,  leaving  these  lessons  to  dawn  upon 
them  gradually,  Jesus  addressed  the  mood  of  their 
minds  at  the  moment,  and  told  them  that  if  they  would 
but  have  faith  in  God — faith  which  should  enable  them 
to  offer  up  their  prayers  with  perfect  and  unwavering 
confidence — they  should  not  only  be  able  to  perform 
such  a  wonder  as  that  done  to  the  fig-tree,  but  even  "  if 
they  bade  this  mountain  " — and  as  He  spoke  He  may 


FRESH  ATTACKS.  227 

have  pointed  either  to  Olivet  or  to  Moriah — "to  be  re- 
moved, and  cast  into  the  sea,  it  should  obey  them."  But, 
since  in  this  one  instance  the  power  had  been  put  forth 
to  destroy,  He  added  a  very  important  warning.  They 
were  not  to  suppose  that  this  emblematic  act  gave  them 
any  licence  to  wield  the  sacred  powers  which  faith  and 
prayer  would  bestow  on  them,  for  purposes  of  anger  or 
vengeance  ;  nay,  no  power  was  possible  to  the  heart  that 
knew  not  how  to  forgive,  and  the  unforgiving  heart  could 
never  be  forgiven.  The  sword,  and  the  famine,  and  the 
pestilence  were  to  be  no  instruments  for  them  to  wield, 
nor  were  they  even  to  dream  of  evoking  against  their 
enemies  the  fire  of  heaven  or  the  "  icy  wind  of  death."  l 
The  secret  of  successful  prayer  was  faith ;  the  road  to 
faith  in  Grod  lay  through  pardon  of  transgression ; 
pardon  was  possible  to  them  alone  who  were  ready  to 
pardon  others. 

He  was  scarcely  seated  in  the  Temple  when  the 
result  of  the  machinations  of  His  enemies  on  the  pre- 
vious evening  showed  itself  in  a  new  kind  of  strategy, 
involving  one  of  the  most  perilous  and  deeply  laid  of 
all  the  schemes  to  entrap  and  ruin  Him.  The  deadly 
nature  of  the  plot  appeared  in  the  fact  that,  to  carry  it 
out,  the  Pharisees  were  united  in  ill-omened  conjunction 
with  the  Herodians  ;  so  that  two  parties,  usually  ranked 
against  each  other  in  strong  opposition,  were  now  recon- 
ciled in  a  conspiracy  for  the  ruin  of  their  common 
enemy.3  Devotees  and  sycophants — hierarchical  scrupu- 

1  Some  suppose  that  a  breath  of  the  simoom  had  been  the  agent  in 
withering  the  fig-tree. 

2  Matt.   xxii.    15—22  ;     Mark  xii.  13—17 ;   Luke  xx.  19—26.      "  Not 
the  first  or  last  instance  in  history,  in  which  priests  have  used  politicians, 
even  otherwise  opposed  to  them,  to  crush  a  reformer  whose  zeal  might 
be  inimical  to  both  "  (Meander,  p.  397,  Bohn).      Previously  we  only  find 


228  THE   LIFE   OF   CHRIST. 

losity  and  political  indifferentism — the  school  of  theo- 
cratic zeal  and  the  school  of  crafty  expediency — were 
thus  united  to  dismay  and  perplex  Him.  The  Herodians 
occur  but  seldom  in  the  Gospel  narrative.  Their  very 
designation — a  Latinised  adjective1  applied  to  the  Greek- 
speaking  courtiers  of  an  Edomite  prince  who,  hy  Eoman 
intervention,  had  become  a  Juda?an  king — showed  at 
once  their  hybrid  origin.  Their  existence  had  mainly  a 
political  significance,  and  they  stood  outside  the  current 
of  religious  life,  except  so  far  as  their  Hellenising  ten- 
dencies and  worldly  interests  led  them  to  show  an  osten- 
tatious disregard  for  the  Mosaic  law.2  They  were,  in 
fact,  mere  provincial  courtiers  ;  men  who  basked  in  the 
sunshine  of  a  petty  tyranny  which,  for  their  own  per- 
sonal ends,  they  were  anxious  to  uphold.  To  strengthen 
the  family  of  Herod  by  keeping  it  on  good  terms  with 
Roman  imperialism,  and  to  effect  this  good  understand- 
ing by  repressing  every  distinctively  Jewish  aspiration 
—this  was  their  highest  aim.  And  in  order  to  do  this 

the  Herodians  in  Mark  iii.  6.  They  seem  to  be  political  descendants  of 
the  old  Antiochians  (2  Mace.  iv.  9).  (See  Salvador,  Jesus  Christ,  i.  162.) 
Actually  they  were  perhaps  the  Boethusim  and  their  adherents,  who  had 
been  allied  to  Herod  the  Great  by  marriage  as  well  as  by  worldly  interests. 
Herod  the  Great,  when  he  fell  in  love  with  Mariamne,  daughter  of  Simon, 
son  of  a  certain  Boethus  of  Alexandria,  had  made  Simon  High  Priest  by 
way  of  ennobling  him.  These  Boethusim  had  held  the  high-priesthood  for 
thirty-five  years,  and  shared  its  influence  with  the  family  of  Annas.  In 
point  of  fact,  the  priestly  party  of  this  epoch  seem  all  to  have  been  more 
or  less  Sadducees,  and  more  or  less  Herodians.  They  had  lost  all  hold  on, 
and  all  care  for,  the  people;  and,  though  less  openly  shameless,  were  the 
lineal  representatives  of  those  bad  pontiffs  who,  since  the  days  of  Jason  and 
Menelaus,  had  tried  to  introduce  "  Greek  fashions  and  heathenish  manners  " 
(2  Mace.  iv.  13, 14). 

1  But  v.  supr.,  Yol.  I.,  p.  442. 

2  Their  attempt  to  represent  Herod  the  Great  as  the  Messiah  ( ! )  (Tert. 
Praescr.  45,  "qui  Christum  Herodem  esse  dixerunt")  was  a  thing  of  the 
past.     The  genuine  Sanhedrin,  urging  the  command  of  Deut.  xvii.  15,  had 
unanimously  appealed  against  Herod. 


[EROD1ANS  AND  PHARISEES. 

they  Grsecised  their  Semitic  names,  adopted  ethnic 
habits,  frequented  amphitheatres,  familiarly  accepted  the 
symbols  of  heathen  supremacy,  even  went  so  far  as  to 
obliterate,  by  such  artificial  means  as  they  could,  the 
distinctive  and  covenant  symbol  of  Hebrew  nationality. 
That  the  Pharisees  should  tolerate  even  the  most  tempo- 
rary partnership  with  such  men  as  these,  whose  very 
existence  was  a  violent  outrage  on  their  most  cherished 
prejudices,  enables  us  to  gauge  more  accurately  the 
extreme  virulence  of  hatred  with  which  Jesus  had  in- 
spired them.  And  that  hatred  was  destined  to  become 
deadlier  still.  It  was  already  at  red-heat ;  the  words 
and  deeds  of  this  day  were  to  raise  it  to  its  whitest 
intensity  of  wrath. 

The  Herodians  might  come  before  Jesus  without 
raising  a  suspicion  of  sinister  motives ;  but  the  Phari- 
sees, astutely  anxious  to  put  Him  off  His  guard,  did 
not  come  to  Him  in  person.  They  sent  some  of  their 
younger  scholars,  who  (already  adepts  in  hypocrisy) 
were  to  approach  Him  as  though  in  all  the  guileless 
simplicity  of  an  inquiring  spirit.1  They  evidently 
designed  to  raise  the  impression  that  a  dispute  had 
occurred  between  them  and  the  Herodians,  and  that  they 
desired  to  settle  it  by  referring  the  decision  of  the 
question  at  issue  to  the  final  and  higher  authority  of 
the  Great  Prophet.  They  came  to  Him  circumspectly, 
deferentially,  courteously.  "  Rabbi,"  they  said  to  Him 
with  flattering  earnestness,  "  we  know  that  thou  art 
true,  and  teachest  the  way  of  God  in  truth,  neither 
carest  thou  for  any  man ;  for  thou  regardest  not  the 
person  of  men."  It  was  as  though  they  would  entreat 

1  St.  Luke  (xx.  20)  calls  them  eyKaOeroi,  "  Hers  in  ambush."       Conip. 
Job  YXXI.  9. 


230  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

Him,  without  fear  or  favour,  confidentially  to  give 
them  His  private  opinion  ;  and  as  though  they  really 
wanted  His  opinion  for  their  own  guidance  in  a  moral 
question  of  practical  importance,  and  were  quite  sure 
that  He  alone  could  resolve  their  distressing  uncer- 
tainty. But  why  all  this  sly  undulatory  approach  and 
serpentine  ensalivation  ?  The  forked  tongue  and  the 
envenomed  fang  appeared  in  a  moment.  "  Tell  us,  there- 
fore "•  —  since  you  are  so  wise,  so  true,  so  courageous  — 
"  tell  us,  therefore,  is  it  lawful  to  give  tribute  to  Caesar, 
or  not?"  This  capitation  tax,1  which  we  all  so  much 
detest,  hut  the  legality  of  which  these  Herodians  support, 
ought  we,  or  ought  we  not,  to  pay  it  ?  Which  of  us  is 
in  the  right  ?  —  we  who  loathe  and  resent,  or  the  Hero- 
dians who  delight  in  it?3 

He  must,  they  thought,  answer  "Yes"  or  "No;" 
there  is  no  possible  escape  from  a  plain  question  so 
cautiously,  sincerely,  and  respectfully  put.  Perhaps  He 
will  answer,  "  Yes,  it  is  lawful"  If  so,  all  apprehension 
of  Him  on  the  part  of  the  Herodians  will  be  removed, 
for  then  He  will  not  be  likely  to  endanger  them  or  their 
views.  For  although  there  is  something  which  looks 
dangerous  in  this  common  enthusiasm  for  Him,  yet  if 
one,  whom  they  take  to  be  the  Messiah,  should  openly 
adhere  to  a  heathen  tyranny,  and  sanction  its  most  galling 
imposition,  such  a  decision  will  at  once  explode  and 
evaporate  any  regard  which  the  people  may  feel  for  Him. 
If,  on  the  other  hand,  as  is  all  but  certain,  He  should 
adopt  the  views  of  His  countryman  Judas  the  Gaulonite, 
and  answer,  "  JVo,  it  is  not  lawful"  then,  in  that  case  too, 


1  4iriK€<pd\aiov  (Mark  xii.  15,  Cod.  Bezae)  ;   K^VO-OV  (Matt.  xxii.  17)  ; 
(Luke  xx.  22).    Properly  speaking,  the   Kfiv^os  was  a  poll-tax,  the  <{>6pos  a 
payment  for  state  purposes. 

2  Matt.  xxii.  15—22  ;  Luke  xx.  19—26  ;  Mark  xii.  13—17. 


THE  TRIBUTE  M01 

we  are  equally  rid  of  Him ;  for  then  He  is  in  open  re- 
bellion against  the  Eoman  power,  and  these  new  Herodian 
friends  of  ours  can  at  once  hand  Him  over  to  the  juris- 
diction of  the  Procurator.  Pontius  Pilatus  will  deal 
very  roughly  with  His  pretensions,  and  will,  if  need  be, 
without  the  slightest  hesitation,  mingle  His  blood,  as 
he  has  done  the  blood  of  other  Galilseans,  with  the  blood 
of  the  sacrifices. 

They  must  have  awaited  the  answer  with  breathless 
interest ;  but  even  if  they  succeeded  in  concealing  the 
hate  which  gleamed  in  their  eyes,  Jesus  at  once  saw  the 
sting  and  heard  the  hiss  of  the  Pharisaic  serpent.  They 
had  fawned  on  Him  with  their  "  Babbi,"  and  "  true,"  and 
"impartial,"  and  "fearless;"  He  "blights  them  with  the 
flash"  of  one  indignant  word,  "Hypocrites  !  "  That  word 
must  have  undeceived  their  hopes,  and  crumbled  their 
craftiness  into  dust.  "  Why  tempt  ye  me,  ye  hypocrites  ? 
Bring  me  the  tribute-money."1  They  would  not  be 
likely  to  carry  with  them  the  hated  Eoman  coinage  with 
its  heathen  symbols,  though  they  might  have  been  at 
once  able  to  produce  from  their  girdles  the  Temple  shekel. 
But  they  would  only  have  to  step  outside  the  Court 
of  the  Gentiles,  and  borrow  from  the  money-changers' 
tables  a  current  Eoman  coin.  While  the  people  stood 
round  in  wondering  silence  they  brought  Him  a  denarius, 
and  put  it  in  His  hand.  On  one  side  were  stamped  the 
haughty,  beautiful  features  of  the  Emperor  Tiberius, 
with  all  the  wicked  scorn  upon  the  lip ;  on  the  obverse 
his  title  of  Pontifex  Maximus  !^  It  was  probably  due  to 
mere  accident  that  the  face  of  the  cruel,  dissolute  tyrant 


1  Mark  xii.  15,  16,  ^epere  .    .   .   ot  5e 

2  See  Madden,  p.  247 ;   Akerman,  p.  11,  where  plates  are  given.     The 
coin  would  not  bear  the  full  name  Tiberius,  but  Ti.  Csesar. 


232  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

was  on  this  particular  coin,  for  the  Komans,  with  that 
half-contemptuous  concession  to  national  superstitions 
which  characterised  their  rule,  had  allowed  the  Jews  to 
have  struck  for  their  particular  use  a  coinage  which 
recorded  the  name  without  bearing  the  likeness  of  the 
reigning  emperor.1  "  Whose  image  and  superscription 
is  this?"  He  asked.  They  say  unto  Him,  "Caesar's." 
There,  then,  was  the  simplest  possible  solution  of  their 
cunning  question.  "  Render,  therefore,  unto  Ccesar  the 
things  that  are  Casars."  That  alone  might  have  been 
enough,  for  it  implied  that  their  national  acceptance 
of  this  coinage  answered  their  question,  and  revealed 
its  emptiness.  The  very  word  which  He  used  con- 
veyed the  lesson.  They  had  asked,  "Is  it  lawful  to 
give  "  (Sovvai)  ?  He  corrects  them,  and  says,  "  Eender" 
• — "  Grive  back  "  (d-TroSore) .  It  was  not  a  voluntary  gift, 
but  a  legal  due ;  not  a  cheerful  offering,  but  a  political 
necessity.  It  was  perfectly  understood  among  the  Jews, 
and  was  laid  down  in  the  distinctest  language  by  their 
greatest  Eabbis  in  later  days,  that  to  accept  the  coinage 
of  any  king  was  to  acknowledge  his  supremacy.2  By 
accepting  the  denarius,  therefore,  as  a  current  coin  they 
were  openly  declaring  that  Caesar  was  their  sovereign, 
and  they — the  very  best  of  them — had  settled  the 
question  that  it  was  lawful  to  pay  the  poll-tax,  by 
habitually  doing  so.  It  was  their  duty,  then,  to  obey 

1  See  Keim,  Gesch.  Jes.  iii.  136.    The  Essenes  had  a  special  scruple  against 
coins  which  seemed  to  them  to  violate  the  second  commandment ;  and  Jewish 
coins  only  bear  the  signs  of  palms,  lilies,  grapes,  censers,  &c.      (See  Ewald, 
Gesch.  Christ.,  p.  83 ;  and  the  plates  in  Munk,  Akerman,  Madden,  &c.) 

2  Maimonides,  Gezelah,  5.     "Ubicumque  numisma  alicujus  regis  obtinet, 
illic  incolae  regem  istum  pro  domino  agnoscunt."     In  another  Rabbinic 
tract  Abigail  objects  to  David's  assertion  that  he  is  king,  because  the  coins 
of  Saul  are  current  (Jer.  Sanhedr.  20,  2).    See  too  the  curious  anecdote  in 
Avod.  Zar.  f.  6,  quoted  by  Keim. 


ATTEMPT  OF  THE  SADDUCEES.  233 

the  power  which  they  had  deliberately  chosen,  and  the 
tax,  under  these  circumstances,  only  represented  an 
equivalent  for  the  advantages  which  they  received.1  But 
Jesus  could  not  leave  them  with  this  lesson  only.  He 
added  the  far  deeper  and  weightier  words — "  and  to  God 
the  things  that  are  God's"  To  Caesar  you  owe  the  coin 
which  you  have  admitted  as  the  symbol  of  his  authority, 
and  which  bears  his  image  and  superscription ;  to  God 
you  owe  yourselves.2  Nothing  can  more  fully  reveal 
the  depth  of  hypocrisy  in  these  Pharisaic  questioners 
than  the  fact  that,  in  spite  of  the  Divine  answer,  and 
in  spite  of  their  own  secret  and  cherished  convictions, 
they  yet  made  it  a  ground  of  clamorous  accusation 
against  Jesus,  that  He  had  "forbidden  to  give  tribute 
unto  Ccesar  !  "3 

Amazed  and  humiliated  at  the  sudden  and  total 
frustration  of  a  plan  which  seemed  irresistible — com- 
pelled, in  spite  of  themselves,  to  admire  the  guileless 
wisdom  which  had  in  an  instant  broken  loose  from  the 
meshes  of  their  sophistical  malice — they  sullenly  re- 
tired. There  was  nothing  which  even  they  could  take 
hold  of  in  His  words.  But  now,  undeterred  by  this 
striking  failure,  the  Sadducees  thought  that  they  might 
have  better  success.4  There  wTas  something  more  super- 
cilious and  offhand  in  the  question  which  they  proposed, 

1  Compare  the  command,  given  by  Jeremiah  (xxvii.  4 — 8),  that  the  Jews 
should  obey  Nebuchadnezzar,  to  whom  their  apostacies  had  made  them 
subject ;  so  too  of  Tiberius,  Caligula,  Nero,  &c.  (Rom.  xiii.  1 ;    1  Pet.  ii. 
13, 14).     The  early  Christians  boasted  of  their  quiet  obedience  to  the  powers 
that  be  (Justin.  Apol.  i.  17). 

2  "  Ut  Caesari  quidem  pecuniam  reddas,  Deo  temetipsum "  (Tert.  De 
Idol.  xv.).     (Wordsworth.^ 

3  Luke  xxiii.  2. 

4  Matt.  xxii.  23—33;    Mark  xii.  18—27;    Luke  xx.  27—39.      Hitzig 
(TJeber  Joh.  Marc.  209)  ingeniously  conjectures  that  the  narrative  of  the 
Woman  taken  in  Adultery  belongs  to  this  place,  so  that  there  would  have 


234  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

and  they  came  in  a  spirit  of  less  burning  hatred,  but  of 
more  sneering  scorn.  Hitherto  these  cold  Epicureans 
had,  for  the  most  part,  despised  and  ignored  the  Prophet 
of  Nazareth.1  Supported  as  a  sect  by  the  adhesion  of 
some  of  the  highest  priests,  as  well  as  by  some  of  the 
wealthiest  citizens — on  better  terms  than  the  Pharisees 
both  with  the  Herodian  and  the  Eoman  power — they 
were,  up  to  this  time,  less  terribly  in  earnest,  and  pro- 
posed to  themselves  no  more  important  aim  than  to  vex 
Jesus,  by  reducing  Him  into  a  confession  of  difficulty. 
So  they  came  with  an  old  stale  piece  of  casuistry,  con- 
ceived in  the  same  spirit  of  self-complacent  ignorance 
as  are  many  of  the  objections  urged  by  modern  Sad- 
ducees  against  the  resurrection  of  the  body,  but  still 
sufficiently  puzzling  to  furnish  them  with  an  argument 
in  favour  of  their  disbeliefs,  and  with  a  "difficulty" 
to  throw  in  the  way  of  their  opponents.  Addressing 
Jesus  with  mock  respect,  they  called  His  attention 
to  the  Mosaic  institution  of  levirate  marriages,  and 
then  stated,  as  though  it  had  actually  occurred,2  a 
coarse  imaginary  case,  in  which,  on  the  death  without 
issue  of  an  eldest  brother,  the  widow  had  been  espoused 
in  succession  by  the  six  younger  brethren,  all  of  whom 
had  died  one  after  another,  leaving  the  widow  still  sur- 

been  on  this  day  three  separate  temptations  of  Christ — the  first  political, 
the  second  doctrinal,  the  third  speculative.  But  though  Lange,  Keim 
(iii.  138),  Ellicott  (p.  312),  and  others  approve  of  this  conjecture,  it  seems 
to  me  to  have  no  probability.  There  is  no  shadow  of  external  evidence  in 
its  favour ;  the  subjective  arrangement  of  the  questions  is  rather  specious 
than  real ;  the  events  of  life  do  not  happen  in  this  kind  of  order ;  and  the 
attack  of  the  Pharisees  was  in  this  instance  pre-arranged,  whereas  the  ques- 
tion about  the  adulteress  rose  spontaneously  and  accidentally. 

1  They  are  scarcely  mentioned  except  in  Matt.  xvi.  1. 

2  Matt.  xxii.  25,  "  There  were  with  us  seven  brethren."     On  levirate 
marriages — so  called  from  the  Latin  word  levir,  "  a  brother-in-law  "• 
Deut.  xxv.  5—10. 


THE  SADDUCEAN  DIFFICULTY.  235 

viving.  "  Whose  wife  in  the  resurrection,  when  people 
shall  rise/'  they  scoffingly  ask,  "  shall  this  sevenfold 
widow  be  ?"  The  Pharisees,  if  we  may  judge  from  Tal- 
mudical  writings,  had  already  settled  the  question  in  a 
very  obvious  way,  and  quite  to  their  own  satisfaction,  by 
saying  that  she  should  in  the  resurrection  be  the  wife  of 
the  first  husband.  And  even  if  Jesus  had  given  such  a 
poor  answer  as  this,  it  is  difficult  to  see — since  the  answer 
had  been  sanctioned  by  men  most  highly  esteemed  for 
their  wisdom — how  the  Sadducees  could  have  shaken  the 
force  of  the  reply,  or  what  they  would  have  gained  by 
having  put  their  inane  and  materialistic  question.  But 
Jesus  was  content  with  no  such  answer,  though  even 
Hillel  and  Shammai  might  have  been.  Even  when 
the  idioms  and  figures  of  His  language  constantly  re- 
sembled that  of  previous  or  contemporary  teachers  of  His 
nation,  His  spirit  and  precepts  differ  from  theirs  toto 
caelo.1  He  might,  had  He  been  like  any  other  merely 
human  teacher,  have  treated  the  question  with  that  con- 
temptuous scorn  which  it  deserved ;  but  the  spirit  of 
scorn  is  alien  from  the  spirit  of  the  dove,  and  with  no 
contempt  He  gave  to  their  conceited  and  eristic  dilemma 
a  most  profound  reply.  Though  the  question  came 
upon  Him  most  unexpectedly,  His  answer  was  everlast- 
ingly memorable.  It  opened  the  gates  of  Paradise  so 
widely  that  men  might  see  therein  more  than  they  had 
ever  seen  before,  and  it  furnished  against  one  of  the 

1  It  must  be  steadily  borne  in  mind  that  a  vast  majority,  if  not  all,  the 
Rabbinic  parallels  adduced  by  Wetstein,  Schottgen,  Lightfoot,  &c.,  to  the 
words  of  Christ  belong  to  a  far  subsequent  period.  These  Rabbis  had 
ample  opportunities  to  light  their  dim  candles  at  the  fount  of  heavenly 
radiance,  and  "  vaunt  of  the  splendour  as  though  it  were  their  own."  I 
do  not  assert  that  the  Rabbis  consciously  borrowed  from  Christianity, 
but  before  half  a  century  had  elapsed  after  the  resurrection,  Christian 
thought  was,  so  to  speak,  in  the  whole  air. 


236  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

commonest  forms  of  disbelief  an  argument  that  neither 
Eabbi  nor  Prophet  had  conceived.  He  did  not  answer 
these  Sadducees  with  the  same  concentrated  sternness 
which  marked  His  reply  to  the  Pharisees  and  Herodians, 
because  their  purpose  betrayed  rather  an  insipid  frivolity 
than  a  deeply-seated  malice;  but  He  told  them  that 
they  erred  from  ignorance,  partly  of  the  Scriptures, 
and  partly  of  the  power  of  Grod.  Had  they  not  been 
ignorant  of  the  power  of  Grod,  they  would  not  have 
imagined  that  the  life  of  the  children  of  the  resurrection 
was  a  mere  reflex  and  repetition  of  the  life  of  the  children 
of  this  world.  In  that  heaven  beyond  the  grave,  though 
love  remains,  yet  all  the  mere  earthlinesses  of  human 
relationship  are  superseded  and  transfigured.  "  They 
that  shall  be  accounted  worthy  to  obtain  that  world,  and 
the  resurrection  from  the  dead,  neither  marry  nor  are 
given  in  marriage ;  neither  can  they  die  any  more  \  but 
are  equal  unto  the  angels  ;  and  are  the  children  of  Grod, 
being  the  children  of  the  resurrection."  Then  as  to  their 
ignorance  of  Scripture,1  He  asked  if  they  had  never  read 
in  that  section  of  the  Book  of  Exodus  which  was  called 
"  the  Bush/'  how  God  had  described  Himself  to  their 
great  lawgiver  as  the  Grod  of  Abraham,  and  the  Grod  of 
Isaac,  and  the  Grod  of  Jacob.  How  unworthy  would 
such  a  title  have  been,  had  Abraham  and  Isaac  and 
Jacob  then  been  but  grey  handfuls  of  crumbling  dust,  or 
dead  bones,  which  should  moulder  in  the  Hittite's  cave ! 

1  Jesus  proved  to  them  the  doctrine  of  the  resurrection  from  the 
Pentateuch,  not  from  the  clearer  declarations  of  the  Prophets,  because  they 
attached  a  higher  importance  to  the  Law.  It  was  an  a  fortiori  argument, 
"  Even  Moses,  &c."  (Luke  xx.  37).  There  is  no  evidence  for  the  assertion 
that  they  rejected  all  the  Old  Testament  except  the  Law.  "  The  Bush " 
means  the  section  so  called  (Exod.  iii.),  just  as  2  Sam.  i.  was  called  "  the 
Bow,"  Ezek.  i.  "  the  Chariot,"  &c.  The  Homeric  poems  are  similarly 
named. 


THE  WORLD  TO   COME.  237 

"  He  is  not  the  God  of  the  dead,  but  the  God  of  the 
living:  ye  therefore  do  greatly  err."  Would  it  have 
been  possible  that  He  should  deign  to  call  Himself  the 
God  of  dust  and  ashes  ?  How  new,  how  luminous,  how 
profound  a  principle  of  Scriptural  interpretation  was 
this!  The  Sadducees  had  probably  supposed  that  the 
words  simply  meant,  "I  am  the  God  in  whom  Abraham 
and  Isaac  and  Jacob  trusted ;"  yet  how  shallow  a  desig- 
nation would  that  have  been,  and  how  little  adapted 
to  inspire  the  faith  and  courage  requisite  for  an  heroic 
enterprise !  "I  am  the  God  in  whom  Abraham  and 
Isaac  and  Jacob  trusted/'  and  to  what,  if  there  were 
no  resurrection,  had  their  trust  come?  To  death,  and 
nothingness,  and  an  everlasting  silence,  and  "  a  land  of 
darkness,  as  darkness  itself/'  after  a  life  so  full  of  trials 
that  the  last  of  these  patriarchs  had  described  it  as  a 
pilgrimage  of  few  and  evil  years  !  But  God  meant  more 
than  this.  He  meant — and  so  the  Son  of  God  inter- 
preted it — that  He  who  helps  them  who  trust  Him  here, 
will  be  their  help  and  stay  for  ever  and  for  ever,  nor 
shall  the  future  world  become  for  them  "  a  land  where 
all  things  are  forgotten."1 

1  R.  Simeon  Ben  Eleazar  refuted  them  by  Numb.  xv.  31  (Sanhedrin, 
90,  6).  It  is,  however,  observable  that  the  intellectual  error,  or  aopaa-ia,  of  the 
Sadducees  was  not  regarded  by  our  Lord  with  one-tenth  part  of  the  indig- 
nation which  He  felt  against  the  moral  mistakes  of  the  Pharisees.  Doubt 
has  been  thrown  by  some  modern  writers  on  the  Sadducean  rejection  of  the 
resurrection,  and  it  has  been  asserted  that  the  Sadducees  have  been  con- 
founded with  the  Samaritans ;  in  the  above-quoted  passage  of  the  Talmud, 
unless  it  has  been  altered  (Geiger,  Urschrift,  129  n),  the  reading  is  D'TK,  not 
D»rm  (Derenbourg,  Hist .  de  Palest.  131).  Some  writers  have  said  that  the 
Sadducees  merely  maintained  that  the  resurrection  could  not  be  proved  from 
the  Law  (rrnnn  *o) ;  if  so,  we  see  why  our  Lord  drew  His  argument  from 
the  Pentateuch.  That  some  Jewish  sects  accounted  the  Prophets  and  the 
Ketliubhim  of  much  less  importance  than  the  Law  is  clear  from  Midr. 
Tanchuma  on  Deut.  xi.  26.  (Gfrorer,  i.  263.) 


CHAPTEE    LII. 

THE    GREAT   DENUNCIATION. 

Prophesy  against  the  shepherds  of  Israel,  prophesy." — EZEK.  xxxiv.  2. 

ALL  who  heard  them — even  the  supercilious  Sadducees — • 
must  have  been  solemnised  by  these  high  answers.  The 
listening  multitude  were  both  astonished  and  delighted ; 
even  some  of  the  Scribes,  pleased  by  the  spiritual  refuta- 
tion of  a  scepticism  which  their  reasonings  had  been 
unable  to  remove,  could  not  refrain  from  the  grateful 
acknowledgment,  "  Master,  thou  hast  well  said."  The 
more  than  human  wisdom  and  insight  of  these  re- 
plies created,  even  among  His  enemies,  a  momentary 
diversion  in  His  favour.  But  once  more  the  insatiable 
spirit  of  casuistry  and  dissension  awoke,  and  this  time  a 
scribe,1  a  student  of  the  Torah,  thought  that  he  too 
would  try  to  fathom  the  extent  of  Christ's  learning  and 
wisdom.  He  asked  a  question  which  instantly  betrayed 
a  false  and  unspiritual  point  of  view,  "  Master,  which  is 
the  great  commandment  in  the  Law  ?  " 

The  Eabbinical  schools,  in  their  meddling,  carnal, 


1  Matt.  xxii.  34 — 40 ;  Mark  xii.  28—34.  St.  Matthew  says,  vo^s,  a 
word  more  frequently  used  by  St.  Luke  than  ypa^ar^vs,  as  less  likely  to 
be  misunderstood  by  his  Gentile  readers;  similarly  Josephus  calls  the 
scribes  f^ynrat  vfaov  (comp.  Juv.  Sat.  vi.  544). 


THE  GREATEST  COMMANDMENT.  239 

superficial  spirit  of  word-weaving  and  letter-worship, 
had  spun  large  accumulations  of  worthless  subtlety  all 
over  the  Mosaic  law.  Among  other  things  they  had 
wasted  their  idleness  in  fantastic  attempts  to  count,  and 
classify,  and  weigh,  and  measure  all  the  separate  com- 
mandments of  the  ceremonial  and  moral  law.  They  had 
come  to  the  sapient  conclusion  that  there  were  248  affir- 
mative precepts,  being  as  many  as  the  members  in  the 
human  body,  and  365  negative  precepts,  being  as  many 
as  the  arteries  and  veins,  or  the  days  of  the  year :  the 
total  being  613,  which  was  also  the  number  of  letters  in 
the  Decalogue.  They  arrived  at  the  same  result  from 
the  fact  that  the  Jews  were  commanded  (Numb.  xv.  38) 
to  wear  fringes  (tsztsith)  on  the  corners  of  their  tallith, 
bound  with  a  thread  of  blue ;  and  as  each  fringe  had 
eight  threads  and  five  knots,  and  the  letters  of  the  word 
tsttsitJi  make  600,  the  total  number  of  commandments 
was,  as  before,  613.1  Now  surely,  out  of  such  a  large 
number  of  precepts  and  prohibitions,  all  could  not  be  of 
quite  the  same  value ;  some  were  "  light "  (kal\  and 
some  were  "  heavy  "  (Jcobhed).  But  which  ?  and  what 
was  the  greatest  commandment  of  all?  According  to 
some  Eabbis,  the  most  important  of  all  is  that  about  the 
tephittm  and  the  tsztsith,  the  fringes  and  phylacteries; 
and  "  he  who  diligently  observes  it  is  regarded  in  the 
same  light  as  if  he  had  kept  the  whole  Law."2 

1  Other  Rabbis   reckoned  620,  the  numerical  value  of  the  word   ins 
(heftier],  "  a  crown."     This  style  of  exegesis  was  called  Gematria  (Buxtorf, 
8yn.  Jud.  c.  ix. ;  Bartolocci,  Lex.  Rabb.  s.  v.).    The  sages  of  the  Great  Syna- 
gogue had,  however,  reduced  these  to  eleven,  taken  from  Ps.  xv.,  and  ob- 
served that  Isaiah  reduced  them  to  six  (Isa.  Iv.  6,  7),  Micah  to  three  (vi.  8), 
and  Habbakuk  to  one  (ii.  4)  (see  Maccoth,  f.  24).     Hillel  is  said  to  have 
pointed  a  heathen  proselyte  to  Lev.  xix.  18,  with  the  remark  that  "  this  is 
the  essence  of  the  Law,  the  rest  is  only  commentary." 

2  Rashi  on  Numb.  xv.  38—40.    When  E,.  Joseph  asked  R.  Joseph  Ben 


240  THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 

Some  thought  the  omission  of  ablutions  as  bad  as 
homicide ;  some  that  the  precepts  of  the  Mishna  were 
all  "  heavy ;"  those  of  the  Law  were  some  heavy  and 
some  light.  Others  considered  the  third  to  be  the 
greatest  commandment.  None  of  them  had  realised  the 
great  principle,  that  the  wilful  violation  of  one  com- 
mandment is  the  transgression  of  all  (James  ii.  10), 
because  the  object  of  the  entire  Law  is  the  spirit  of 
obedience  to  God.  On  the  question  proposed  by  the 
lawyer  the  Shammaites  and  Hillelites  were  in  disaccord, 
and,  as  usual,  both  schools  were  wrong :  the  Sham- 
maites, in  thinking  that  mere  trivial  external  observances 
were  valuable,  apart  from  the  spirit  in  which  they  were 
performed,  and  the  principle  which  they  exemplified ; 
the  Hillelites,  in  thinking  that  any  positive  command 
could  in  itself  be  unimportant,  and  in  not  seeing  that 
great  principles  are  essential  to  the  due  performance  of 
even  the  slightest  duties. 

Still  the  best  and  most  enlightened  of  the  Eabbis 
had  already  rightly  seen  that  the  greatest  of  all  com- 
mands, because  it  was  the  source  of  all  the  others,  was 
that  which  enjoined  the  love  of  the  One  True  God. 
Jesus  had  already  had  occasion  to  express  His  approval 
of  this  judgment,1  and  He  now  repeats  it.  Pointing  to 

Rabba  which  commandment  his  father  had  told  him  to  observe  more  than 
any  other,  he  replied,  "  The  law  about  tassels.  Once  when,  in  descending 
a  ladder,  my  father  trod  on  one  of  the  threads,  and  tore  it,  he  would  not 
move  from  the  place  till  it  was  repaired"  (Shabbath,  118  6).  These  fringes 
must  be  of  four  threads,  one  being  blue,  which  are  to  be  passed  through 
an  eyelet-hole,  doubled  to  make  eight ;  seven  are  to  be  of  equal  length,  the 
eighth  to  have  enough  over  to  twist  into  five  knots,  which  represent  the 
five  books  of  the  Law !  &c.  (Buxtorf,  ubi  supra,  and  Leo  Modena,  Rites 
and  Customs  of  the  Jews,  I.  ch.  xi.).  As  for  the  tephilUn,  the  precepts 
about  them  were  amazingly  minute.  For  the  other  points  see  Tanch.,  f. 
73,  2 ;  Jer.  Berach.,  f .  3,  2. 
u !  Luke  x.  27.  V.  supr.,  p.  131. 


THE   GREAT  COMMANDMENT.  241 

the  Scribes'  tepldllm}  in  which  one  of  the  four  divisions 
contained  the  "  Shema  "  (Deut.  vi.  4) — recited  twice  a 
day  by  every  pious  Israelite — He  told  them  that  that 
was  the  greatest  of  all  commandments,  "  Hear,  0  Israel, 
the  Lord  our  God  is  one  Lord;"  and  that  the  second 
was  like  to  it,  "  Thou  shalt  love  thy  neighbour  as  thy- 
self." Love  to  Grod  issuing  in  love  to  man — love  to 
man,  our  brother,  resulting  from  love  to  our  Father, 
Grod — on  these  two  commandments  hang  all  the  Law 
and  the  Prophets.2 

The  question,  in  the  sense  in  which  the  Scribe 
had  put  it,  was  one  of  the  mere  //<a%at  vofjui/cal,  one  of 
those  "  strivings  about  the  Law,3  which,  as  they  were 
handled  by  the  schools,  were  "  unprofitable  and  vain." 
But  he  could  not  fail  to  see  that  Jesus  had  not  treated 
it  in  the  idle  disputatious  spirit  of  jangling  logomachy 
to  which  he  was  accustomed,  and  had  not  in  His 
answer  sanctioned  any  of  the  common  errors  and  heresies 
of  exalting  the  ceremonial  above  the  moral,  or  the  Tra- 
dition over  the  Tor  ah,  or  the  decisions  of  Sopherim 
above  the  utterances  of  Prophets.  Still  less  had  He 
fallen  into  the  fatal  error  of  the  Rabbis,  by  making 
obedience  in  one  particular  atone  for  transgression  in 
another.  The  commandments  which  He  had  mentioned 
as  the  greatest  were  not  special  but  general — not  selected 
out  of  many,  but  inclusive  of  all.  The  Scribe  had  the 
sense  to  observe,  and  the  candour  to  acknowledge,  that 

1  The  passages  inscribed  on  the  parchment  slips  which  were  put  into 
the  cells  of  the  little  leather  boxes  called  tephillin  were  Exod.  xiii.  1 — 10, 
11 — 16;  Deut.  vi.  4 — 9;  xi.  13 — 21.      The  sect  of  Perushim,  or  modern 
Pharisees,  to  this  day  TrXarwovo-i  T&  <f>v\aKrripia  (Matt,  xxiii.  5). 

2  The  expression  "  hangs  "  is  probably  proverbial,  but  some  have  seen 
in  it  a  special  allusion  to  the  hanging  tsitsith,  which  were  meant  to  remind 
them  of  the  Law  (Numb.  xv.  39).     (Stier,  iii.  184.) 

3  Titus  iii.  9. 


242 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


the  answer  of  Jesus  was  wise  and  noble.  "  Well, 
Master,"  he  exclaimed,  "  thou  hast  said  the  truth ;" 
and  then  he  showed  that  he  had  read  the  Scriptures  to 
some  advantage  by  summarising  some  of  those  grand 
free  utterances  of  the  Prophets  which  prove  that  love  to 
Grod  and  love  to  man  is  better  than  all  whole  burnt- 
offerings  and  sacrifices.1  Jesus  approved  of  his  sincerity, 
and  said  to  him  in  words  which  involved  both  gracious 
encouragement  and  serious  warning,  "  Thou  art  not  far 
from  the  kingdom  of  heaven."  It  was,  therefore,  at 
once  easier  for  him  to  enter,  and  more  perilous  to  turn 
aside.  When  he  had  entered  he  would  see  that  the 
very  spirit  of  his  question  was  an  erroneous  and  faulty 
one,  and  that  "whosoever  shall  keep  the  whole  law,  and 
yet  offend  in  one  point,  is  guilty  of  all."2 

No  other  attempt  was  ever  made  to  catch  or  entangle 
Jesus  by  the  words  of  His  lips.  The  Sanhedrin  had 
now  experienced,  by  the  defeat  of  their  cunning  strata- 
gems, and  the  humiliation  of  their  vaunted  wisdom, 
that  one  ray  of  light  from  the  sunlit  hills  on  which  His 
spirit  sat,  was  enough  to  dissipate,  and  to  pierce  through 
and  through,  the  fogs  of  wordy  contention  and  empty 
repetition  in  which  they  lived  and  moved  and  had  their 
being.  But  it  was  well  for  them  to  be  convinced  how 
easily,  had  He  desired  it,  He  could  have  employed 
against  them  with  overwhelming  force  the  very  engines 
which,  with  results  so  futile  and  so  disastrous,  they  had 
put  in  play  against  Him.  He  therefore  put  to  them 
one  simple  question,  based  on  their  own  principles  of 


1 1  Sam.  xv.  22;  Hosea  vi.  6;  Micah  vi.  6 — 8.  Irenseus,  Haer.  i.  17, 
adds  the  &ypa.$ov  S6y/j.a,  "  I  have  long  desired  to  hear  such  words,  and  have 
not  yet  found  the  speaker." 

2  James  ii.  10. 


PERPLEXITY   OF  THE  MASTERS  OF  ISRAEL.        243 

interpretation,  and  drawn  from  a  Psalm  (the  110th), 
which  they  regarded  as  distinctly  Messianic.1  In  that 
Psalm  occurs  the  expression,  "  The  Lord  (Jehovah}  said 
unto  my  Lord  (Adonai),  Sit  thou  on  my  right  hand/' 
How  then  could  the  Messiah  be  David's  son  ?  Could 
Abraham  have  called  Isaac  and  Jacob  and  Joseph,  or 
any  of  his  own  descendants  near  or  remote,  his  lord  ?  If 
not,  how  came  David  to  do  so  ?  There  could  be  but  one 
answer  —  because  that  Son  would  be  divine,  not  human 
—  David's  son  by  human  birth,  but  David's  Lord  by 
divine  subsistence.  But  they  could  not  find  this  simple 
explanation,  nor,  indeed,  any  other  ;  they  could  not  find 
it,  because  Jesus  was  their  Messiah,  and  they  had  rejected 
Him.  They  chose  to  ignore  the  fact  that  He  was,  in  the 
flesh,  the  son  of  David  ;  and  when,  as  their  Messiah,  He 
had  called  Himself  the  Son  of  Grod,  they  had  raised  their 
hands  in  pious  horror,  and  had  taken  up  stones  to  stone 
Him.  So  here  again  —  since  they  had  rejected  the  clue 
of  faith  which  would  have  led  them  to  the  true  expla- 
nation —  their  wisdom  was  utterly  at  fault,  and  though 
they  claimed  so  haughtily  to  be  leaders  of  the  people, 
yet,  even  on  a  topic  so  ordinary  and  so  important  as 
their  Messianic  hopes,  they  were  convicted,  for  the 
second  time  on  a  single  day,  of  being  "blind  leaders 
of  the  blind." 

And  they  loved  their  blindness  ;  they  would  not 
acknowledge  their  ignorance  ;  they  did  not  repent  them 
of  their  faults  ;  the  bitter  venom  of  their  hatred  to  Him 
was  not  driven  forth  by  His  forbearance  ;  the  dense 
midnight  of  their  perversity  was  not  dispelled  by  His 

1  See  Midrash  Tehillm  ad  Ps.  ex.  1  ;    Beresh.  Rdb,  83,  4,  quoted  by 
Wetstein;    and  the  LXX.  rendering  of  ver.  3,  e/c  yarn-pbs  irpb  'Ew<r<t>6pov 


(re  (Keim,  iii.  158).     See  Ecclus.  li.  10.     The  Chaldee  Paraphrast 
has  for  Adonai,  "  Meyimra,"  i.e.,  "  the  Word." 


244 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


wisdom.     Their   purpose   to   destroy   Him   was    fixed, 
obstinate,  irreversible  ;  and  if  one  plot  failed,  they  were 
but  driven  with  more  stubborn  sullenness  into  another. 
And,  therefore,  since  Love  had  played  her  part  in  vain, 
"  Justice  leaped  upon  the  stage  ;"  since  the  Light  of  the 
World  shone  for  them  with  no  illumination,  the  light- 
ning flash  should  at  last  warn  them  of  their  danger. 
There  could  now  be  no  hope  of  their  becoming  recon- 
ciled to  Him ;  they  were  but  being  stereotyped  in  un- 
repentant malice  against  Him.     Turning,  therefore,  to 
His  disciples,  but  in  the  audience  of  all  the  people,1  He 
rolled  over  their  guilty  heads,  with  crash  on  crash  of 
moral   anger,  the  thunder  of  His  utter  condemnation.2 
So  far  as  they  represented  a  legitimate  external  autho- 
rity He  bade  His   hearers   to   respect  them,3  but  He 
warned  them  not  to  imitate  their  falsity,  their  oppression, 
their  ostentation,  their  love  of  prominence,  their  fondness 
for   titles,  their  insinuating  avarice,  their  self-exalting 
pride.     He  bade  them  beware  of  the  broadened  phylac- 
teries and  exaggerated  tassels — of  the  long  robes  that 
covered  the  murderous  hearts,  and  the  long  prayers  that 
diverted  attention  from  the  covetous  designs.4    And  then, 

1  Some  of  the  Temple  courts  had  room  for  at  least  6,000  people  (Jos. 
B.  J.  ii.  17,  §  3),  and  it  is  probable  that  even  more  were  assembled  in  them 
at  the  Passover,  the  torch-dance  at  the  Feast  of  Tabernacles,  &c. 

2  Matt,  xxiii.  1 — 39.     The  attempt  of  Lange  to  bring  these  eight  woes 
into  allusive  contrast  with  the  eight  beatitudes  seems  to  me  an  instance  of 
that  misplaced  ingenuity  which  has  done  much  harm  to  sound  exegesis. 

3  In  the  language  spoken  by  our  Lord  there  was  a  paronomasia  between 
Moses  (Mosheh)  and  moshab.     This  is  another  of  the  interesting  probable 
indications  as  to  the  language  which  He  ordinarily  used  (v.  supr.,  Yol.  I., 
p.  90).     There  is  another  most  marked  Hebraism  in  Matt.  xxiv.  22  (where 
ov  iras  =  ovfeis,  and  <rdp£  =  &vQpuiros}  and  in  verse  24  (Swo-outn),  and  xxvi.  18 

(TTOICO  rb  Trao^a). 

4  "  Ye  devour  widows'  houses."    See  Jos.  Antt.  xvii.  2,  §  4,  ols  ...  virrjKro 
%  yvvaiKuvtris.     Most  readers  will  recall  modern  parallels  to  this  fact.     As 
to  the  proselytism,  see  Pirke  Abhoth,  iv.  2.    Ewald,  Gesch.  Christ.,  p.  44, 


THE  WRATH  OF  THE  LAMB.  245 

solemnly  and  terribly,  He  uttered  His  eightfold  "  Woe 
unto  you,  Scribes  and  Pharisees,  hypocrites"  scathing 
them  in  utterance  after  utterance  with  a  flame  which  at 
once  revealed  and  scorched.  Woe  unto  them,  for  the 
ignorant  erudition  which  closed  the  gates  of  heaven,  and 
the  injurious  jealousy  which  would  suffer  no  others  to 
enter  in  !  Woe  unto  them  for  their  oppressive  hypocrisy 
and  greedy  cant !  Woe  for  the  proselytising  fanati- 
cism which  did  but  produce  a  more  perilous  corruption ! 
Woe  for  the  blind  hair-splitting  folly  which  so  confused 
the  sanctity  of  oaths  as  to  tempt  their  followers  into 
gross  profanity ! l  Woe  for  the  petty  paltry  sham-scru- 
pulosity which  paid  tithes  of  potherbs,  and  thought 

mentions  that  the  word  "i??,  "to  proselytise,"  was  coined  at  this  period. 
As  to  their  immense  and  pretentious  self-assertion,  see  the  numerous  quota- 
tions and  anecdotes  from  the  Talmud  in  Gfrorer,  Jahrh.  d.  Sells,  pp. 
144 — 149.  One  will  be  sufficient.  They  represent  heaven  itself  as  a 
Rabbinic  school,  of  which  God  is  the  Head  Rabbi.  On  one  occasion  God 
differs  from  all  the  angels  on  a  question  as  to  a  leper  being  clean  or 
unclean.  They  refer  the  decision  to  R.  Ben  Nachman,  who  is  accordingly 
slain  by  Azrael,  and  brought  to  the  heavenly  Academy.  He  decides  with 
God,  who  is  much  pleased.  (Bdbha  Metzia,  f.  86  a.)  The  reader  will  be 
reminded  of  Pope's  criticism  on  Milton — 

"In  quibbles  angel  and  archangel  join, 
And  God  the  Father  turns  a  school  divine." 

There  is  a  marked  analogy  between  Rabbinism  and  Scholasticism.  One 
might  compare  Hillel  to  Anselm,  R.  Jehuda  Hakkodesh  to  Thomas  Aquinas, 
Gamaliel  to  Abelard,  &c. 

1  The  miserable  quibbles  by  which,  in  consequence  of  such  pernicious 
teaching,  the  Jews  evaded  their  oaths,  became  notorious  even  in  the  heathen 
world.  (See  Martial,  Ep.  xi.  94.)  The  charges  which  our  Lord  uttered  are 
amply  supported  by  Jewish  testimonies  :  e.g.,  in  Midrash  Esth.  i.,  f.  101,  4, 
it  is  said  that  there  are  ten  portions  of  hypocrisy  in  the  world,  of  which 
nine  are  at  Jerusalem  (Schottgen).  Keim  quotes  some  curious  parallels 
from  the  Psalms  of  Solomon,  the  Assumption  of  Moses,  and  the  Book  of 
Enoch.  On  the  Proselytism  of  the  Jews,  see  Juv.  Sat.  xiv.  101.  It  was 
expressly  enjoined  in  the  PirJce  Abhoth,  iv.  2.  In  tithing  anise  they  made  it 
a  question  whether  it  was  enough  to  pay  tithes  of  the  flower  only,  or  also 
of  the  seed  and  stalk ! 


246  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

nothing  of  justice,  mercy,  and  faith — which  strained  out 
animalcule  from  the  goblet,  and  swallowed  camels  into 
the  heart ! l  Woe  for  the  external  cleanliness  of  cup  and 
platter  contrasted  with  the  gluttony  and  drunkenness  to 
which  they  ministered  !  Woe  to  the  tombs  that  simu- 
lated the  sanctity  of  temples — to  the  glistening  outward 
plaster  of  hypocrisy  which  did  but  render  more  ghastly 
by  contrast  the  reeking  pollutions  of  the  sepulchre 
within  !  Woe  for  the  mock  repentance  which  condemned 
their  fathers  for  the  murder  of  the  prophets,  and  yet 
reflected  the  murderous  spirit  of  those  fathers — nay, 
filled  up  and  exceeded  the  measure  of  their  guilt  by  a 
yet  deadlier  and  more  dreadful  sacrifice  !  Aye,  on  that 
generation  would  come  all  the  righteous  blood  shed 
upon  the  earth,  from  the  blood  of  righteous  Abel  to  the 
blood  of  Zacharias,  whom  they  slew  between  the  porch 
and  the  altar.2  The  purple  cloud  of  retribution  had 

1  §iu'Ai£bj/Tes.    Vulg.  excolantes ;  cf.  Amos  vi.  6,  irivovres  tiifaurpbov  olvov, 
LXX.     They  filtered  their  water  through  linen  to  avoid  swallowing  any 
unclean  insect  (Lev.  xi.  41 — 43). 

2  A  Zacharias,  the  son  of  Baruch  or  Barachias,  one  of  the  most  eminent 
and  pious  men  of  his  day,  was  slain  thirty-four  years  after  this  time  by  the 
Zealots,  on  a  false  accusation,  in  the  midst  of  the  Temple  (ava  fi4<rov  rov 
iepoC),  and  his  body  was  flung  from  the  Temple  into  the  valley  beneath  (Jos. 
B.  J.  iv.  5,  §  4).     It  is  of  course  clear  that  this  cannot  be  the  Zacharias  alluded 
to.     Nor  is  there  any  authority  for  the  belief  of  Origen,  that  the  father  of 
John  the  Baptist  was  martyred,  or  that  he  too  was  a  son  of  Barachias.   The 
prophet  Zechariah  was  indeed  a  son  of  Berechiah  (Zech.  i.  1),  but  there  is 
no  reason  to  believe  that  he  was  put  to  death.     We  must  therefore  con- 
clude that  our  Lord  referred  to  Zechariah,  the  son  of  Jehoiada  (which  is 
the  reading  in  the  Gospel  used  by  the  Nazarenes),  who  was  stoned  by  order 
of  Joash  "  in  the  court  of  the  house  of  the  Lord."     That  he  is  referred  to 
is  clear,  because  (i.)  this  murder,  in  the  order  of  the  Jewish  books,  stood 
last  in  the  Old  Testament ;  (ii.)  in  dying,  Zechariah  had  exclaimed,  "  The 
Lord  look  upon  it  and  require  it;"    (iii.)  the  Jews  themselves  had  many 
most  remarkable  legends  about  this  murder  (see  Lightfoot  on  Matt,  xxiii. 
35 ;  Stanley,  Lectures  on  the  Jewish  Church,  p.  402),  which  made  a  deep 
impression  on  them,  and  which  they  specially  believed  to  have  kindled  God's 
wrath  against  them   (2   Chron.  xxiv.  18).      Consequently  I  believe  that 


"WOE  UNTO  YOU,  HYPOCRITES."  247 

long  been  gathering  its  elements  of  fury:  upon  their 
heads  should  it  burst  in  flame  ! 

And  at  that  point  the  voice  which  had  rung  with 
just  and  noble  indignation  broke  with  the  tenderest 
pity — "  0  Jerusalem,  Jerusalem,  thou  that  killest  the 
prophets,  and  stonest  them  that  are  sent  unto  thee,  how 
often  would  I  have  gathered  thy  children  together,  even 
as  a  hen  gather eth  her  chickens  under  her  wings,  and 
ye  would  not ! l  Behold,  your  house  is  left  unto  you 
desolate !  For  I  say  unto  you,  Ye  shall  not  see  me 
henceforth  till  ye  shall  say,  Blessed  is  He  that  cometh 
in  the  name  of  the  Lord."2 

" Woe  unto  you,  Scribes  and  Pharisees,  hypocrites" 
Some  have  ventured  to  accuse  these  words  of  injustice, 
of  bitterness — to  attribute  them  to  a  burst  of  undig- 
nified disappointment  and  unreasonable  wrath.  Yet  is 
sin  never  to  be  rebuked?  is  hypocrisy  never  to  be  un- 


"  son  of  Berechiah,"  which  is  not  found  (except  in  D)  in  Luke  xi.  51,  is 
a  very  early  and  erroneous  gloss  which  has  crept  into  the  text.  This  is 
almost  certainly  the  true  explanation.  In  Matthew  the  words  are  omitted 
by  N.  The  other  suggestions — that  Jehoiada  had  a  second  name,  or  that 
Zechariah  was  grandson  of  Jehoiada,  and  son  of  an  unrecorded  Berechiah — 
do  not  commend  themselves  by  any  probability.  If  it  be  asked  why  Jesus 
should  have  mentioned  a  murder  which  had  taken  place  so  many  centuries 
ago,  the  answer  seems  to  be  that  He  intended  to  convey  this  meaning— 
"  Your  fathers,  from  beginning  to  end  of  your  recorded  history  [a  general 
expression,  as  we  might  say,  'The  Jews  from  Genesis  to  Revelation'], 
rejected  and  slew  God's  prophets  :  you,  as  you  share  and  consummate  their 
guilt,  so  shall  bear  the  brunt  of  the  long-gathering  Nemesis." 

1  This  beautiful  image  also  occurs  in  2  Esdr.  i.  30.     This  would  be  the 
closest  parallel  between  the  Apocrypha  and  any  words  of  Christ,  were  it 
not  that  2  Esdras  i.,  ii.  are  interpolations  found  in  the  Latin  and  followed 
by  our  English  version  of  the  Apocrypha,  but  not  found  in  the  Arabic  or 
.2Ethiopic.     The  germ  of  the  image,  under  another  form,  is  in  Deut. 
xxxii.  11. 

2  i.e.  At  the  Second  Advent  (-Zech.  xii.  10;  Hos.  iii.  4,  5).     The  iroo-o/as 
indicates  that  the  ministry  of  Jesus  in  Jerusalem  had  been  much  fuller  than 
the  Synoptists  record. 


248 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


masked?  is  moral  indignation  no  necessary  part  of  the 
noble  soul  ?     And  does  not  Jewish,  literature  itself  most 
amply  support  the  charge  brought  against  the  Phari- 
sees by  Jesus?     "Fear  not  true  Pharisees,  but  greatly 
fear  painted  Pharisees,"  said  Alexander  Jannseus  to  his 
wife  on  his  deathbed.     "  The    supreme  tribunal,"  says 
R.  Nachaman,  "  will  duly  punish  hypocrites  who  wrap 
their  talliths  around  them  to  appear,  which  they  are  not, 
true  Pharisees."    Nay,  the  Talmud  itself,  with  unwonted 
keenness  and  severity  of  sarcasm,  has  pictured  to  us  the 
seven  classes  of  Pharisees,  out  of  which  six  are  charac- 
terised  by  a  mixture   of  haughtiness  and   imposture. 
There  is  the  "  Shechemite "  Pharisee,  who  obeys  the 
law  from  self-interest  (cf.  Gren.  xxxiv.  19);  the  Tumbling 
Pharisee  (nikft),  who  is  so  humble   that  he  is  always 
stumbling  because  he  will   not  lift   his  feet  from  the 
ground ;   the  Bleeding  Pharisee  (kinai),   who  is  always 
hurting  himself  against  walls,  because  he  is  so  modest  as 
to  be  unable  to  walk  about  with  his  eyes  open  lest  he 
should  see  a  woman;  the  Mortar  Pharisee  (medorkia), 
who   covers  his  eyes   as  with  a  mortar,   for  the  same 
reason ;  the  Tell-me-another-duty-and-I-will-do-it  Pharisee 
— several  of  whom  occur  in  our  Lord's  ministry;  and 
the  Timid  Pharisee,  who  is  actuated  by  motives  of  fear 
alone.     The  seventh  class  only  is  the  class  of  "Pharisees 
from  love,"  who  obey  God  because  they  love  Him  from 
the  heart.1 

1  Jer.  Berachoth,  ix.  7;  Bab.  Sota,  f.  22  a;  Abhoth  de  Rabbi  Nathan, 
xxxvii.  (Otlio,  Lex.  Rob. ;  Cohen,  Deicides,  E.  Tr.,  p.  152.)  Perhaps  the 
"Shechemite"  Pharisee  may  be  "the  humpbacked"  (schikmi),  i.e.,  "qui 
marchait  le  dos  voute  comme  s'il  portait  sur  ses  epaules  le  fardeau  entier 
de  la  loi"  (Renan,  Vie  de  Jesus,  p.  204,  ed.  pop.).  The  passages  are  a  little 
obscure,  and  in  minor  particulars  the  explanations  differ.  Nikfi  is  explained 
by  some  to  mean  the  "  flagellant  "  Pharisee  (Derenbourg,  Hist.  Pal.  p.  71). 
On  the  enormous  pretensions  and  consummate  hypocrisy  of  the  Pharisees 


THE  "WOE  FULFILLED.  249 

"  Behold,  your  house  is  left  unto  you  desolate !  " 
And  has  not  that  denunciation  been  fearfully  fulfilled?1 
Who  does  not  catch  an  echo  of  it  in  the  language  of 
Tacitus — "  Expassae  repente  delubri  fores,  et  audita 
major  humana  vox  excedere  Deos."  Speaking  of  the 
murder  of  the  younger  Hanan,  and  other  eminent  nobles 
and  hierarchs,  Josephus  says,  "  I  cannot  but  think  that 
it  was  because  God  had  doomed  this  city  to  destruction  as 
a  polluted  city,  and  was  resolved  to  purge  His  sanctuary  by 
fire,  that  He  cut  off  these  their 'great  defenders  and  well- 
wishers  ;  while  those  that  a  little  before  had  worn  the 
sacred  garments  and  presided  over  the  public  worship, 
and  had  been  esteemed  venerable  by  those  that  dwelt 
in  the  whole  habitable  earth,  were  cast  out  naked,  and 
seen  to  be  the  food  of  dogs  and  wild  beasts/'3  Never 
was  a  narrative  more  full  of  horrors,  frenzies,  unspeak- 
able degradations,  and  overwhelming  miseries  than  is 
the  history  of  the  siege  of  Jerusalem.  Never  was  any 
prophecy  more  closely,  more  terribly,  more  overwhelm- 
ingly fulfilled  than  this  of  Christ.  The  men  going 
about  in  the  disguise  of  women  with  swords  concealed 
under  their  gay  robes ;  the  rival  outrages  and  infamies 
of  John  and  Simon ;  the  priests  struck  by  darts  from 
the  upper  court  of  the  Temple,  and  falling  slain  by  their 
own  sacrifices  ;  "  the  blood  of  all  sorts  of  dead  carcases- 
priests,  strangers,  profane — standing  in  lakes  in  the  holy 
courts ; "  the  corpses  themselves  lying  in  piles  and 


as  a  class,  see  supr.,  Yol.  I.,  p.  441,  and  Excursus  IX.,  "  Hypocrisy  of  the 
Pharisees." 

1  "  One  poor  Jew  .  .  .  stood  in  humble  prayer,  with  his  tephilla  wrapped 
round  his  body  and  arms,  weeping  as  he  uttered  the  words  spoken  by  every 
Jew  when  he  sees  the  Holy  Land,  "  WOE  is  ME  !  THY  HOLY  CITIES  ARE 
TURNED  INTO  DESERTS."  (Frankl.,  ii.  344.) 

3  J3.  /.  iv.  5,  §  2  (Whiston).    Comp.  Mic.  iii.  12. 


250 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


mounds  on  the  very  altar  slopes ;  the  fires  feeding 
luxuriously  on  cedar- work  o.verlaid  with  gold;  friend 
and  foe  trampled  to  death  on  the  gleaming  mosaics  in 
promiscuous  carnage;  priests,  swollen  with  hunger, 
leaping  madly  into  the  devouring  flames,  till  at  last 
those  flames  had  done  their  work,  and  what  had  been 
the  Temple  of  Jerusalem,  the  beautiful  and  holy  House 
of  (rod,  was  a  heap  of  ghastly  ruin,  where  the  burning 
embers  were  half-slaked  in  pools  of  gore. 

And  did  not  all  the  righteous  blood  shed  upon  the 
earth  since  the  days  of  Abel  come  upon  that  generation  ? 
Did  not  many  of  that  generation  survive  to  witness  and 
feel  the  unutterable  horrors  which  Josephus  tells? — to 
see  their  fellows  crucified  in  jest,  "  some  one  way,  and 
some  another/'  till  "  room  was  wanting  for  the  crosses, 
and  crosses  for  the  carcases?" — to  experience  the  "  deep 
silence  "  and  the  kind  of  deadly  night  which  seized  upon 
the  city  in  the  intervals  of  rage  ? — to  see  600,000  dead 
bodies  carried  out  of  the  gates  ? — to  see  friends  fighting 
madly  for  grass  and  nettles,  and  the  refuse  of  the  drains  ? 
— to  see  the  bloody  zealots  "gaping  for  want,  and  stum- 
bling and  staggering  along  like  mad  dogs?"-— to  hear  the 
horrid  tale  of  the  miserable  mother  who,  in  the  pangs  of 
famine,  had  devoured  her  own  child? — to  be  sold  for 
slaves  in  such  multitudes  that  at  last  none  would  buy 
them? — to  see  the  streets  running  with  blood,  and  the 
"  fire  of  burning  houses  quenched  in  the  blood  of  their 
defenders  ?" — to  have  their  young  sons  sold  in  hundreds, 
or  exposed  in  the  amphitheatres  to  the  sword  of  the 
gladiator  or  the  fury  of  the  lion,  until  at  last,  "  since 
the  people  were  now  slain,  the  Holy  House  burnt  down, 
and  the  city  in  flames,  there  was  nothing  farther  left  for 
the  enemy  to  do  ? "  In  that  awful  siege  it  is  believed 


GUILT   OF  JERUSALEM. 


251 


that  there  perished  1,100,000  men,  beside  the  97,000 
who  were  carried  captive,  and  most  of  whom  perished 
subsequently  in  the  arena  or  the  mine ;  and  it  was  an 
awful  thing  to  feel,  as  some  of  the  survivors  and  eye- 
witnesses— and  they  not  Christians — did  feel,  that  "  the 
city  had  deserved  its  overthrow  by  producing  a  genera- 
tion of  men  who  were  the  causes  of  its  misfortunes ; " 
and  that  "neither  did  any  other  city  ever  suffer  such 
miseries,  nor  did  any  age  ever  breed  a  generation  more 
fruitful  in  wickedness  than  this  was,  since  the  beginning  of 
tlieworld"^ 

1  Every  detail  in  these  two  paragraphs  is  taken  from  Jos.  B.  J.  v.  6 — 
vi.  10,  passim.  "  A  partir  de  ce  moment  la  faim,  la  rage,  le  desespoir,  la 
folie  habiterent  Jerusalem.  Ce  fut  une  cage  de  fous  furieux,  une  ville  de 
hurlements  et  de  cannibales,  un  enfer."  (Renan,  L'Antechrist,  506.) 


CHAPTER  LIII. 

FAREWELL    TO    THE    TEMPLE. 

"Ecclesia  Dei  jam  per  totum  orbem  uberrime  germinante  Templum 
tamquam  effoetum  et  vanum  nullique  usui  bono  commodum,  arbitrio  Dei 
auferendum  fuit " — OEOS.  vii.  9. 

IT  must  have  been  clear  to  all  that  the  Great  Denuncia- 
tion recorded  in  the  last  chapter  involved  a  final  and 
hopeless  rupture.  After  language  such  as  this  there 
could  be  no  possibility  of  reconciliation.  It  was  "  top 
late."  The  door  was  shut.  When  Jesus  left  the  Temple 
His  disciples  must  have  been  aware  that  He  was  leaving 
it  for  ever. 

But  apparently  as  He  was  leaving  it — perhaps  while 
He  was  sitting  with  sad  heart  and  downcast  eyes  in  the 
Court  of  the  Women  to  rest  His  soul,  troubled  by  the 
unwonted  intensity  of  moral  indignation,  and  His  mind 
wearied  with  these  incessant  assaults — another  and  less 
painful  incident  happened,  which  enabled  Him  to  leave 
the  actual  precincts  of  the  House  of  His  Father  with 
words,  not  of  anger,  but  of  approval.  In  this  Court 
of  the  Women  were  thirteen  chests  called  shopheroth, 
each  shaped  like  a  trumpet,  broadening  downwards 
from  the  aperture,  and  each  adorned  with  various  in- 
scriptions. Into  these  were  cast  those  religious  and 
benevolent  contributions  which  helped  to  furnish  the 
Temple  with  its  splendid  wealth.  While  Jesus  was 


THE   WIDOW'S   MITE.  253 

sitting  there  the  multitude  were  dropping  their  gifts, 
and  the  wealthier  donors  were  conspicuous  among  them 
as   they   ostentatiously   offered   their   gold   and  silver. 
Raising  His  eyes,  perhaps   from  a  reverie  of  sorrow, 
Jesus  at  a  glance  took  in  the  whole  significance  of  the 
scene.1     At  that  moment  a  poor  widow  timidly  dropped 
in  her  little  contribution.     The  lips  of  the  rich  contri- 
butors may  have  curled  with  scorn  at  a  presentation 
which  was  the  very  lowest  legal  minimum.     She  had 
given  two  prutahs  (rrra-nD),  the  very  smallest  of  current 
coins  ;  for  it  was  not  lawful,  even  for  the  poorest,  to 
offer  only  one.      A  iepton,  or  prutah,  was  the  eighth 
part  of  an  as,  and  was  worth  a  little  less  than  half  a 
farthing,  so  that  her  whole  gift  was  of  the  value  of  less 
than  a  farthing ;  and  with  the  shame  of  poverty  she  may 
well  have  shrunk  from  giving  so  trivial  a  gift  when  the 
rich  men  around  her  were  lavishing  their  gold.     But 
Jesus  was  pleased  with  the  faithfulness   and  the  self- 
sacrificing  spirit  of  the  gift.     It  was  like  the  "  cup  of 
cold  water "  given  for  love's   sake,  which  in  His  king- 
dom should  not  go  unrewarded.     He  wished  to  teach 
for  ever  the  great  lesson  that  the  essence  of  charity  is 
self-denial ;    and  the  self-denial  of  this  widow  in  her 
pauper   condition   was   far   greater    than   that   of  the 
wealthiest  Pharisee  who  had  contributed  his  gold.    "For 
they  all  flung  in  of  their  abundance,  but  she  of  her 
penury  cast  in  all  she  had,  her  whole  means  of  subsist- 
ence."    "  One  coin  out  of  a  little,"  says  St.  Ambrose, 
"  is  better  than  a  treasure  out  of  much ;   for  it  is  not 
considered  how  much  is  given,  but  how  much  remains 


1  Luke  xxi.  1,  avafrxtyas.  Passages  like  "  He  that  giveth  alms  in  secret 
is  greater  than  Moses  himself ; "  "  It  is  as  well  not  to  give  as  to  give 
ostentatiously  and  openly,"  are  quoted  from  the  Talmud. 


254  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

behind."  "  If  there  be  a  willing  mind,"  says  St.  Paul, 
"it  is  accepted  according  to  that  a  man  hath,  and  not 
according  to  that  he  hath  not." 

And  now  Jesus  left  the  Temple  for  the  last  time ;  but 
the  feelings  of  the  Apostles  still  clung  with  the  loving 
pride  of  their  nationality  to  that  sacred  and  memorable 
spot.1     They  stopped  to  cast  upon  it  one  last  lingering 
gaze,  and  one  of  them  was  eager  to  call  His  attention 
to  its  goodly  stones  and  splendid  offerings — those  nine 
gates  overlaid  with  gold  and  silver,  and  the  one  of  solid 
Corinthian  brass  yet  more  precious ;  those  graceful  and 
towering  porches  ;  those  bevelled  blocks  of  marble  forty 
cubits  long  and  ten  cubits   high,  testifying  to  the  toil 
and  munificence  of  so  many  generations ;  those  double 
cloisters  and  stately  pillars ;  that  lavish  adornment  of 
sculpture  and  arabesque ;   those  alternate  blocks  of  red 
and  white  marble,  recalling  the  crest  and  hollow  of  the 
sea- waves  ;  those  vast  clusters  of  golden  grapes,   each 
cluster  as  large  as  a  man,  which  twined  their  splendid 
luxuriance  over  the  golden  doors.3     They  would  have 
Him  gaze  with  them  on  the  rising  terraces  of  courts— 
the  Court  of  the  Grentiles  with  its  monolithic  columns 
and  rich  mosaic ;  above  this  the  flight  of  fourteen  steps 
which  led  to  the  Court  of  the  Women ;  then  the  flight 
of  fifteen  steps  which  led  up  to  the  Court  of  the  Priests  ; 
then,  once  more,  the  twelve  steps  which  led  to  the  final 
platform  crowned   by   the   actual   Holy,  and  Holy  of 
Holies,  which  the  Eabbis  fondly  compared  for  its  shape 

1  Matt.  xxiv.  1 ;  Mark  xiii.  1 ;  Luke  xxi.  5,  6. 

2  Bab.  Succa,  fol.  51  a.     (De  Saulcy,  Herode,  p.  239.)    The  Talmudist 
however,  confessedly  speak  sometimes  literally  (tcrcsn  'Q1?)  and  sometimes 
hyperbolically  (wn  ]^) ;  and  perhaps  the  accounts  of  this  golden  vine,  and 
the  veil  which  it  took  300  priests  to  raise,  are  meant  to  be  taken  in  the 
latter  sense  (see  Reland,  Antt.  Hebr.,  p.  139). 


SPLENDOUR  OF   THE   TEMPLE.  255 

to  a  couchant  lion,  and  which,  with  its  marble  whiteness 
and  gilded  roofs,  looked  like  a  glorious  mountain  whose 
snowy  summit  was  gilded  by  the  sun.1  It  is  as  though 
they  thought  that  the  loveliness  and  splendour  of  this 
scene  would  intercede  with  Him,  touching  His  .heart 
with  mute  appeal.  But  the  heart  of  Jesus  was  sad. 
To  Him  the  sole  beauty  of  a  Temple  was  the  sincerity 
of  its  worshippers,  and  no  gold  or  marble,  no  brilliant 
vermilion  or  curiously- carven  cedar-wood,  no  delicate 
sculpturing  or  votive  gems,  could  change  for  Him  a  den 
of  robbers  into  a  House  of  Prayer.  The  builders  were 
still  busily  at  work,  as  they  had  been  for  nearly  fifty 
years,  but  their  work,  unblessed  of  Grod,  was  destined — 
like  the  earthquake- shaken  forum  of  guilty  Pompeii — to 
be  destroyed  before  it  was  finished.  Briefly  and  almost 
sternly  Jesus  answered,  as  He  turned  away  from  the 
glittering  spectacle,  "  Seest  thou  these  great  buildings  ? 
there  shall  not  be  left  one  stone  upon  another  which 
shall  not  be  thrown  down."  It  was  the  final  eK^wpw^ev 
— the  "  Let  us  depart  hence  "  of  retiring  Deity.  Tacitus 
and  Josephus  tell  us  how  at  the  siege  of  Jerusalem 
was  heard  that  great  utterance  of  departing  gods  ; 2  but 
now  it  was  uttered  in  reality,  though  no  earthquake 
accompanied  it,  nor  any  miracle  to  show  that  this  was 
the  close  of  another  great  epoch  in  the  world's  history. 
It  took  place  quietly,  and  God  "  was  content  to  show 

1  This  comparison  is  used  by  Josephus  in  that  elaborate  description  of 
the  Temple  (B.  J.  v.  5)  from  which  I  have  taken  the  above  particulars. 
(Tac.  Hist.  v.  8,  "immensae  opulentiae  tern/plum")     The  splendid  votive 
offerings  of  kings  continued  till  the  last :  e.g.,  Agrippa  hung  up  in  it  the 
golden  chain  presented  to  him  by  Caligula.     Descriptions  of  the  external 
appearance  of  the  Temple  and  of  Jerusalem  at  this  time  may  be  found  in 
F.  Delitzsch's  pathetic  story,  Durch  KrankJieit  zur  Genesung.   Eine  Jerusal. 
Gesch.  d.  Herodianer-Zeit.     (Leipz.  1873.) 

2  Jos.  B.  J.  vi.  5,  §  3 ;  Tac.  Hist.  v.  13. 


256  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

all  things  in  the  slow  history  of  their  ripening." 
Thirty-five  years  afterwards  that  Temple  sank  into  the 
ashes  of  its  destruction ;  neither  Hadrian,  nor  Julian, 
nor  any  other,  were  able  to  build  upon  its  site  ;  and  now 
that  very  site  is  a  matter  of  uncertainty.1 

Sadly  and  silently,  with  such  thoughts  in  their 
hearts,  the  little  band  turned  their  backs  on  the  sacred 
building,  which  stood  there  as  an  epitome  of  Jewish 
history  from  the  days  of  Solomon  onwards.  They 
crossed  the  valley  of  Kidron,  and  climbed  the  steep  foot- 
path that  leads  over  the  Mount  of  Olives  to  Bethany. 
At  the  summit  of  the  hill  they  paused,  and  Jesus  sat 
down  to  rest — perhaps  under  the  green  boughs  of  those 
two  stately  cedar-trees  which  then  adorned  the  summit 
of  the  hill.  It  was  a  scene  well  adapted  to  inspire  most 
solemn  thoughts.  Deep  on  the  one  side  beneath  Him 
lay  the  Holy  City,  which  had  long  become  a  harlot,  and 
which  now,  on  this  day — the  last  great  day  of  His  public 
ministry — had  shown  finally  that  she  knew  not  the 
time  of  her  visitation.  At  His  feet  were  the  slopes  of 
Olivet  and  the  Grarden  of  Grethsemane.  On  the  opposite 
slope  rose  the  city  walls,  and  the  broad  plateau  crowned 
with  the  marble  colonnades  and  gilded  roofs  of  the 
Temple.  Turning  in  the  eastward  direction  He  would 
look  across  the  bare,  desolate  hills  of  the  wilderness  of 
Judaea  to  the  purpling  line  of  the  mountains  of  Moab, 
which  glow  like  a  chain  of  jewels  in  the  sunset  light. 
In  the  deep,  scorched  hollows  of  the  Grhor,  visible  in 
patches  of  sullen  cobalt,  lay  the  mysterious  waters  of 

1  Titus  himself  was  amazed  at  the  massive  structures  of  Jerusalem,  and 
saw  in  his  conquest  of  it  the  hand  of  God  (Jos.  B.  J.  vi.  9,  §  1).  On  the 
desolation  of  the  Temple,  compare  4  Esdr.  x.  28.  (Gfrorer,  Jahrh.  d  Heils, 
i.  72.) 


."WHEN   SHALL  THESE  THINGS   BE?"  257 

the  Sea  of  Lot.  And  thus,  as  He  gazed  from  the  brow 
of  the  hill,  on  either  side  of  Him  there  were  visible 
tokens  of  God's  anger  and  man's  sin.  On  the  one  side 
gloomed  the  dull  lake,  whose  ghastly  and  bituminous 
waves  are  a  perpetual  testimony  to  God's  vengeance 
upon  sensual  crime ;  at  His  feet  was  the  glorious  guilty 
city  which  had  shed  the  blood  of  all  the  prophets,  and 
was  doomed  to  sink  through  yet  deadlier  wickedness  to 
yet  more  awful  retribution.  And  the  setting  sun  of 
His  earthly  life  flung  deeper  and  more  sombre  colour- 
ings across  the  whole  scene  of  His  earthly  pilgrimage. 

It  may  be  that  the  shadows  of  His  thought  gave  a 
strange  solemnity  to  His  attitude  and  features  as  He  sat 
there  silent  among  the  silent  and  saddened  band  of  His 
few  faithful  followers.  Not  without  a  touch  of  awe 
His  nearest  and  most  favoured  Apostles— Peter,  and 
James,  and  John,  and  Andrew — came  near  to  Him,  and 
as  they  saw  His  eye  fixed  upon  the  Temple,  asked  Him 
privately,  "  When  shall  these  things  be  ?  and  what 
shall  be  the  sign  of  Thy  coming,  and  of  the  end  of  the 
world  ?  "  l  Their  "  when  ?  "  remained  for  the  present 
unanswered.  It  was  the  way  of  Jesus,  when  some  igno- 
rant or  irrelevant  or  inadmissible  question  was  put  to 
Him,  to  rebuke  it  not  directly,  but  by  passing  it  over, 
and  by  substituting  for  its  answer  some  great  moral 
lesson  which  was  connected  with  it,  and  could  alone 
make  it  valuable.2  Accordingly,  this  question  of  the 
Apostles  drew  from  Him  the  great  Eschatological  Dis- 

1  Matt,  xxiv.,  xxv. ;  Mark  xiii.  3 — 37 ;  Luke  xxi.  7—38.     In  one  of  the 
unrecorded  sayings  of  Christ,  He  answers  the  question  thus:    "When 
the  two  shall  be  one,  and  that  which  is  without  as  that  which  is  within ; 
and  the  male  with  the  female  neither  male  nor  female  "  (Clem.  Rom.  Ep. 
ii.  12  ;  Clem.  Alex.  Strom,  iii.  9,  63).     (Westcott,  Introd.,  p.  431.) 

2  Comp.  Luke  xiii.  23,  24. 

f 


258 


THE   LIFE   OF   CHRIST. 


course,  or  Discourse  of  the  Last  Things,  of  which  the 
four  moral  key-notes  are  "  Beware  !  "  and  "  Watch !  " 
and  "  Endure  !  "  and  "  Pray." 

Immense  difficulties  have  been  found  in  this  dis- 
course, and  long  treatises  have  been  written  to  remove 
them.  And,  indeed,  the  metaphorical  language  in  which 
it  is  clothed,  and  the  intentional  obscurity  in  which 
the  will  of  God  has  involved  all  those  details  of  the 
future  which  would  only  minister  to  an  idle  curiosity 
or  a  paralysing  dread,  must  ever  make  parts  of  it  diffi- 
cult to  understand.  But  if  we  compare  together  the 
reports  of  the  three  Synoptists,1  and  see  how  they 
mutually  throw  light  upon  each  other ;  if  we  remem- 
ber that,  in  all  three,  the  actual  words  of  Jesus  are 
necessarily  condensed,  and  are  only  reported  in  their 
substance,  and  in  a  manner  which  admits  of  verbal 
divergencies  ;  if  we  bear  in  mind  that  they  are  in  all 
probability  a  rendering  into  Greek  from  the  Aramaic 
vernacular  in  which  they  were  spoken ; 3  if  we  lose 
sight  of  the  principle  that  the  object  of  Prophecy  in 
all  ages  has  been  moral  warning  infinitely  more  than 
even  the  vaguest  chronological  indication,  since  to  the 
voice  of  Prophecy  as  to  the  eye  of  God  all  Time  is  but 
one  eternal  Present,  "  one  day  as  a  thousand  years,  and 
a  thousand  years  as  one  day;"3  if,  finally,  we  accept 
with  quiet  reverence,  and  without  any  idle  theological 

1  Matt,  xxiv.,  xxv. ;  Mark  xiii. ;  Luke  xxi. 

2  Schott,  for  instance,  has  conjectured  that  the  ev0eo>s  of  Matt.  xxiv.  29 
is  an  unsuccessful  representative  of  the  Aramaic  DNHS.     It  may  be  so, 
but  the  difficulty  it  creates  is  in  great  measure  removed  if,  on  turning  to 
Luke  xxi.  25,  we  see  that  the  condensation  of  St.  Matthew  has  omitted  a 
particular  which  would  remove  the  reference  contained  in  the  euflews  far 
into  the  future. 

3  Ps.  xc.  4 ;  2  Peter  iii.  8.     St.  Augustine  wisely  says,  "  Latet  ultimus 
dies,  ut  observentur  omnes  dies." 


THE  LAST   THINGS.  259 

phraseology  about  the  communicatio  idiomatum,  the  dis- 
tinct assertion  of  the  Lord  Himself,  that  to  Him,  in  His 
human  capacity,  were  not  known  the  day  and  the  hour, 
which  belonged  to  "the  times  and  the  seasons  which 
the  Father  hath  kept  in  His  own  power;"- — if,  I  say,  we 
read  these  chapters  with  such  principles  kept  steadily 
in  view,  then  to  every  earnest  and  serious  reader  I  feel 
sure  that  most  of  the  difficulties  will  vanish  of  them- 
selves. 

It  is  evident,  from  comparing  St.  Luke  with  the 
other  Synoptists,  that  Jesus  turned  the  thoughts  of  the 
disciples  to  two  horizons,  one  near  and  one  far  off,  as  He 
suffered  them  to  see  one  brief  glimpse  of  the  landscape 
of  the  future.  The  boundary  line  of  either  horizon 
marked  the  winding  up  of  an  <$on,  the  o-vvre\eia  alwvos  ; 
each  was  a  great  reXo?,  or  ending ;  of  each  it  was  true 
that  the  then  existing  yevea — first  in  its  literal  sense  of 
"  generation,"  then  in  its  wider  sense  of  "race  " — should 
not  pass  away  until  all  had  been  fulfilled.  And  the 
one  was  the  type  of  the  other ;  the  judgment  upon 
Jerusalem,  followed  by  the  establishment  of  the  visible 
Church  on  earth,  foreshadowed  the  judgment  of  the 
world,  and  the  establishment  of  Christ's  kingdom  at 
His  second  coming.  And  if  the  vague  prophetic 
language  and  imagery  of  St.  Matthew,  and  to  a  less 
degree  that  of  St.  Mark,  might  lead  to  the  impression 
that  these  two  events  were  continuous,  or  at  least 
nearly  conterminous  with  each  other,  on  the  other 
hand  we  see  clearly  from  St.  Luke  that  our  Lord 
expressly  warned  the  inquiring  Apostles  that,  though 
many  of  the  signs  which  He  predicted  would  be 
followed  by  the  immediate  close  of  one  great  epoch 
in  the  world's  history,  on  the  other  hand  the  great 


260 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


consummation,  the  final  Palingenesia,  would  not  follow  at 
once,  nor  were  they  to  be  alarmed  by  the  troubles  and 
commotions   of  the  world  into  any  instant  or  feverish 
expectancy.1     In  fact,  when  once  we  have  grasped  the 
principle  that  Jesus  was  speaking  partly  and  primarily 
of  the  fall  of  the  Jewish  polity  and  dispensation,  partly 
and  secondarily  of  the  End  of  the  World  —  but  that,  since 
He  spoke  of  them  with   that  varying   interchange  of 
thought  and  speech  which  was  natural  for  one  whose 
whole  being  moved  in  the  sphere  of  Eternity  and  not 
of  Time,  the  Evangelists  have  not  clearly  distinguished 
between  the  passages  in  which  He  is  referring   more 
prominently  to    the  one  than  to  the  other  —  we   shall 
then  avoid   being  misled  by  any  superficial  and  erro- 
neous impressions,  and  shall  bear  in  mind  that  before 
the    final    end    Jesus    placed   two  great  events.     The 
first  of  these  was  a  long  treading  under  foot  of  Jeru- 
salem, until  the  times  of  the  Gentiles  (the  Kaipol  lOv&v, 
i.e.,  their  whole  opportunities  under  the  Christian  dis- 
pensation) should  be  fulfilled;3  the  second  was  a  preach- 
ing   of   the   Gospel   of   the   Kingdom   to   all    nations 
in  all  the  world.3     Nor  can  we  deny  all  probability  to 
the   supposition  that  while  the  inspired    narrators    of 
the   Gospel   history  reported  with  perfect  wisdom  and 
faithfulness  everything  that  was   essential  to  the  life 
and  salvation  of  mankind,  their  abbreviations  of  what 
Jesus  uttered,  and  the  sequence  which  they  gave  to  the 
order  of  His  utterances,  were  to  a  certain  extent  tinged 
by  their  own  subjectivity  —  possibly  even  by  their  own 


1  Luke   xxi.    9,    Set    yap    yevea-Qai    ravra    irp&Tov,    a\A'     ov  K     €  v  6  e  u  s    rb 
The  same  thing  is  brought  out,  but  in  obscurer  sequence,  by  Matt. 
xxiv.  6  ;  Mark  xiii.  7,  ofaw  rb  reAos.     See  Bossuet,  Medit.  Dern.  Serm.  76. 
-  Luke  xxi.  24. 
3  Matt.  xxiv.  14. 


BIRTH-THROES  OF  THE  COMING  TIME.  261 

natural  supposition  —  that  the  second  horizon  lay  nearer 
to  the  first  than  it  actually  did  in  the  designs  of  Heaven. 

In  this  discourse,  then,  Jesus  first  warned  them  of 
false  Messiahs  and  false  prophets  ;  He  told  them  that 
the  wild  struggling  of  nations  and  those  physical  com- 
motions and  calamities  which  have  so  often  seemed  to 
synchronise  with  the  great  crises  of  History,  were  not 
to  trouble  them,  as  they  would  be  but  the  throe  of  the 
Palingenesia,  the  first  birth-pang  of  the  coming  time.1 
He  prophesied  of  dreadful  persecutions,  of  abounding 
iniquity,  of  decaying  faith,  of  wide  evangelisation  as  the 
signs  of  a  coming  end.  And  as  we  learn  from  many 
other  passages  of  Scripture,  these  signs,  as  they  did  usher 
in  the  destruction  of  Jerusalem,  so  shall  reappear  on  a 
larger  scale  before  the  end  of  all  things  is  at  hand.2 

The  next  great  paragraph  of  this  speech  dwelt 
mainly  on  the  immediate  future.  He  had  foretold  dis- 
tinctly the  destruction  of  the  Holy  City,  and  He  now 
gives  them  indications  which  should  forewarn  them  of 
its  approach,  and  lead  them  to  secure  their  safety. 
When  they  should  see  Jerusalem  encompassed  with 
armies  —  when  the  abomination  which  should  cause 
desolation  should  stand  in  the  Holy  Place  —  then  even 
from  the  fields,  even  from  the  housetops,  they  were  to  fly 
out  of  Judsea  to  the  shelter  of  the  Trans-Jordanic  hills, 


1  Matt.  xxiv.  8,  «px^7  «5ii/«i>.  moan  'bin,  "  les  preludes  de  1'enf  antement 
messianique  "  (Renan,  L'Antechrist,  p.  290).  As  to  the  fulfilment  of  these 
prophecies,  see  Jos.  Antt.  xix.  1,  §  2  ;  Tac.  Ann.  xvi.  13  ;  xii.  38  ;  xv.  22  ; 
Sen.  Ep.  91,  and  many  other  passages  quoted  by  the  commentators  on  this 
Gospel.  The  "  Jewish  War  "  of  Josephus  alone  shows  how  accurately  our 
Lord's  words  foreshadowed  the  future  ;  and  Tacitus  describing  the  same 
epoch  (Hist.  i.  2)  calls  it  "  opimum  casibus,  atrox  proeliis,  discors  seditionibus, 
ipsa  etiam  pace  saevum,"  and  proceeds  to  speak  of  earthquakes  ("  haustae 
et  obrutae  urbes"),  adulteries,  treacheries,  violences,  pollutions. 

3  See  1  Thess.  v.  3  ;  2  Thess.  ii.  2,  &c. 


262 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST 


from  the  unspeakable  horrors  that  should  follow.  Nor 
even  then  were  they  to  be  carried  away  by  any  deceivable- 
ness  of  unrighteousness,  caused  by  the  yearning  intensity 
of  Messianic  hopes.  Many  should  cry,  "  Lo  here  !  and  lo 
there  ! "  but  let  them  pay  no  heed ;  for  when  He  came, 
His  presence,  like  lightning  shining  from  the  east  even 
to  the  west,  should  be  visible  and  unmistakable  to  all 
the  world,  and  like  eagles  gathering  to  the  carcase  should 
the  destined  ministers  of  His  vengeance  wing  their 
flight.1  By  such  warnings  the  Christians  were  preserved. 
Before  John  of  Giscala  had  shut  the  gates  of  Jerusalem, 
and  Simon  of  Grerasa  had  begun  to  murder  the  fugitives, 
so  that  "  he  who  escaped  the  tyrant  within  the  wall  was 
destroyed  by  the  other  that  lay  before  the  gates " 
— before  the  Eoman  eagle  waved  her  wing  over  the 
doomed  city,  or  the  infamies  of  lust  and  murder  had 
driven  every  worshipper  in  horror  from  the  Temple 
Courts3 — the  Christians  had  taken  timely  warning,  and 
in  the  little  Peraean  town  of  Pella,4  were  beyond  the 
reach  of  all  the  robbery,  and  murder,  and  famine,  and 

1  On  the  interpretation  of  this  symbol,  see  p.  138  on  Luke  xvii.  37.    That 
the  "  eagles  "  are  primarily  the  Romans,  finds  additional  illustration  from 
the  Book  of  Enoch  xcii.,  where  Pagan  foes  are  compared  to  ravens  and 
eagles.     Legionary  eagles  were  the  very  commonest  symbols  on  Roman 
colonial  coins,  and  so  many  are  still  found  in  the  East  that  they  must 
have  been  very  familiar  to  the  Jews,  who  regarded  them  with   special 
detestation.     (Akerman,  p.  15.)     Of.  Jos.  Antt.  xvii.  6,  §  3. 

2  Jos.  B.  J.  iv.  9,  §  10. 

3  On  the  outrages  of  the  Zealots,  see  Jos.  S.  J.  iv.  3,  §  7.    The  terrifying 
usurpation  of  the  Temple  by  these  dreadful  and  murderous  fanatics  best 
corresponds  with  the  pSeXvyna  TTJS  eprjfjLuxreoas  (comp.  Dan.  xii.  11 ;  1  Mace, 
i.  54),  of  which  the  first  reference  was  to   the  profanation   caused  by 
Antiochus  Epiphanes.      On  this  "  desolating  wing  of  Abomination,"  see 
the  note  of  Bishop  Wordsworth. 

4  Euseb.  (Hist.  Eccl.  iii.  5)  says  that  they  fled  there  in  consequence  of 
"  a  certain  oracular  utterance,"  and  Epiphanius  (Haer.  i.  123)^that  they  were 
warned  by  an  angel. 


SIGNS  IN  HEAYEN.  263 

cannibalism,  and  extermination  which  made  the  siege 
of  Jerusalem  a  scene  of  greater  tribulation  than  any 
that  has  been  since  the  beginning  of  the  world.1 

Then  Jesus  passed  to  the  darkening  of  the  sun  and 
moon,  and  the  falling  of  the  stars,  and  the  shaking  of 
the  powers  of  heaven — signs  which  may  have  a  mean- 
ing both  literal  and  metaphorical — which  should  pre- 
cede the  appearing  of  the  Son  of  Man  in  heaven,  and 
^he  gathering  of  the  elect  from  the  four  winds  by  the 
crumpet-blast  of  the  angels.  That  day  of  the  Lord 
should  have  its  signs  no  less  than  the  other,  and  He 
bade  His  disciples  in  all  ages  to  mark  those  signs  and 
interpret  them  aright,  even  as  they  interpreted  the  signs 
of  the  coming  summer  in  the  fig-tree's  budding  leaves. 
But  that  day  should  come  to  the  world  suddenly,  unex- 
pectedly, overwhelmingly;  and  as  it  should  be  a  day 
of  reward  to  all  faithful  servants,  so  should  it  be  a  day 
of  vengeance  and  destruction  to  the  glutton  and  the 
drunkard,  to  the  hypocrite  and  the  oppressor.  There- 
fore, to  impress  yet  more  indelibly  upon  their  minds 
the  lessons  of  watchfulness  and  faithfulness,  and  to 
warn  them  yet  more  emphatically  against  the  peril  of 
the  drowsy  life  and  the  smouldering  lamp,3  He  told 
them  the  exquisite  Parables — so  beautiful,  so  simple,  yet 
so  rich  in  instruction — of  the  Ten  Virgins  and  of  the 
Talents  ;  and  drew  for  them  a  picture  of  that  Great  Day 
of  Judgment  on  which  the  King  should  separate  all 

1  Matt.  xxiv.  21.     See  Jos.  B.  J.  v.  10,  §5,  where  he  expressly  says  that 
there  had  been  no  generation  so  wicked,  and  no  city  so  "  plunged  in  misery 
from  the  beginning  of  the  world." 

2  Matt.  xxv.  8,  at  Aa/i7ra5es  T)(j.<2v  ffftewwrai, not  "our  lamps  are  gone  out," 
but  "  are  smouldering,"  "  are  being  quenched."     The  light  of  God's  Holy 
Spirit  is  dying  away  in   the   "  earthen  vessels  "  of  our  life.     To  a  train 
of  thought  similar  to  the   Parable   of  the  Talents   belongs   the   &ypa<f)ov 
S6y/j.a,  "  Be  good  money-changers  "  (yivea-Qt  rpaire^Tai  So/ctuot). 


264  THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 

nations  from  one  another  as  the  shepherd  divideth  his 
sheep  from  the  goats.  On  that  day  those  who  had 
shown  the  least  kindness  to  the  least  of  these  His 
brethren  should  be  accounted  to  have  done  it  unto  Him. 
But  then,  lest  these  grand  eschatological  utterances 
should  lead  them  to  any  of  their  old  mistaken  Messianic 
notions,  He  ended  them  with  the  sad  and  now  half- 
familiar  refrain,  that  His  death  and  anguish  must 
precede  all  else.  The  occasion,  the  manner,  the  very 
day  are  now  revealed  to  them  with  the  utmost  plain- 
ness and  simplicity :  "Ye  know  that  after  two  days  is 
the  Passover,  and  the  Son  of  Man  is  betrayed  to  be 
crucified/' 

So  ended  that  great  discourse  upon  the  Mount  of 
Olives,  and  the  sun  set,  and  He  arose  and  walked  with 
His  Apostles  the  short  remaining  road  to  Bethany.  It 
was  the  last  time  that  He  would  ever  walk  it  upon 
earth ;  and  after  the  trials,  the  weariness,  the  awful 
teachings,  the  terrible  agitations  of  that  eventful  day, 
how  delicious  to  Him  must  have  been  that  hour  of 
twilight  loveliness  and  evening  calm;  how  refreshing 
the  peace  and  affection  which  surrounded  Him  in  the 
quiet  village  and  the  holy  home.  As  we  have  already 
noticed,  Jesus  did  not  love  cities,  and  scarcely  ever 
slept  within  their  precincts.  He  shrank  from  their 
congregated  wickednesses,  from  their  glaring  publicity, 
from  their  feverish  excitement,  from  their  featureless 
monotony,  with  all  the  natural  and  instinctive  dislike 
of  delicate  minds.  An  Oriental  city  is  always  dirty  ; 
the  refuse  is  flung  into  the  streets  ;  there  is  no  pave- 
ment ;  the  pariah  dog  is  the  sole  scavenger ;  beast  and 
man  jostle  each  other  promiscuously  in  the  crowded 
thoroughfares.  And  though  the  necessities  of  His 


EVENING  WALK  TO  BETHANY.  265 

work  compelled  him  to  visit  Jerusalem,  and  to  preach 
to  the  vast  throngs  from  every  climate  and  country  who 
were  congregated  at  its  yearly  festivals,  yet  He  seems  to 
have  retired  on  every  possible  occasion  beyond  its  gates, 
partly  it  may  be  for  safety — partly  from  poverty — partly 
because  He  loved  that  sweet  home  at  Bethany — and 
partly  too,  perhaps,  because  He  felt  the  peaceful  joy  of 
treading  the  grass  that  groweth  on  the  mountains  rather 
than  the  city  stones,  and  could  hold  gladder  communion 
with  His  Father  in  heaven  under  the  shadow  of  the 
olive-trees,  where  far  from  all  disturbing  sights  and 
sounds,  He  could  watch  the  splendour  of  the  sunset  and 
the  falling  of  the  dew. 

And  surely  that  last  evening  walk  to  Bethany  on  that 
Tuesday  evening  in  Passion  week  must  have  breathed 
deep  calm  into  His  soul.  The  thought,  indeed,  of  the 
bitter  cup  which  He  was  so  soon  to  drink  was  doubt- 
less present  to  Him,  but  present  only  in  its  aspect  of 
exalted  sacrifice,  and  the  highest  purpose  of  love  ful- 
filled. Not  the  pangs  which  He  would  suffer,  but 
the  pangs  from  which  He  would  save;  not  the  power 
of  darkness  which  would  seem  to  win  a  short-lived 
triumph,  but  the  redeeming  victory — the  full,  perfect, 
and  sufficient  atonement; — these  we  may  well,  though 
reverently,  believe  to  have  been  the  subjects  which  domi- 
nated in  His  thoughts.  The  exquisite  beauty  of  the 
Syrian  evening,  the  tender  colours  of  the  spring  grass 
and  flowers,  the  wadys  around  Him  paling  into  solemn 
grey,  the  distant  hills  bathed  in  the  primrose  light  of 
sunset,  the  coolness  and  balm  of  the  breeze  after  the 
burning  glare — what  must  these  have  been  to  Him  to 
whose  eye  the  world  of  Nature  was  an  open  book,  on 
every  page  of  which  He  read  His  Father's  name  !  And 


266  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

this  was  His  native  land.  Bethany  was  almost  to  Him 
a  second  Nazareth ;  those  whom  He  loved  were  around 
Him,  and  He  was  going  to  those  whom  He  loved.  Can 
we  not  imagine  Him  walking  on  in  silence  too  deep  for 
words — His  disciples  around  Him  or  following  Him 
—the  gibbous  moon  beginning  to  rise  and  gild  the 
twinkling  foliage  of  the  olive-trees  with  richer  silver, 
and  moonlight  and  twilight  blending  at  each  step  in- 
sensibly with  the  garish  hues  of  day,  like  that  solemn 
twilight-purple  of  coming  agony  into  which  the  noon- 
day of  His  happier  ministry  had  long  since  begun  to 
fade? 


CHAPTEE  LIY. 

THE    BEGINNING    OF    THE    END. 
"  So  they  weighed  for  my  price  thirty  pieces  of  silver." — ZECH.  xi.  12. 

IT  was  inevitable  that  the  burning  words  of  indigna- 
tion which  Jesus  had  uttered  on  this  last  great  day  of 
His  ministry  should  exasperate  beyond  all  control  the 
hatred  and  fury  of  the  priestly  party  among  the  Jews. 
Not  only  had  they  been  defeated  and  abashed  in  open 
encounter  in  the  very  scene  of  their  highest  dignity,  and 
in  the  presence  of  their  most  devoted  adherents  ;  not 
only  had  they  been  forced  to  confess  their  ignorance  of 
that  very  Scripture  exegesis  which  was  their  recognised 
domain,  and  their  incapacity  to  pronounce  an  opinion  on 
a  subject  respecting  which  it  was  their  professed  duty 
to  decide ;  but,  after  all  this  humiliation,  He  whom  they 
despised  as  the  young  and  ignorant  Eabbi  of  Nazareth — 
He  who  neglected  their  customs  and  discountenanced 
their  traditions — He  on  whose  words,  to  them  so  per- 
nicious, the  people  hung  in  rapt  attention — had  suddenly 
turned  upon  them,  within  hearing  of  the  very  Hall  of 
Meeting,  and  had  pronounced  upon  them — upon  them  in 
the  odour  of  their  sanctity — upon  them  who  were  accus- 
tomed to  breathe  all  their  lives  the  incense  of  unbounded 
adulation — a  woe  so  searching,  so  scathing,  so  memorably 


268 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


intense,  that  none  who  heard  it  could  forget  it  for  evermore. 
It  was  time  that  this  should  end.  Pharisees,  Sadducees, 
Herodians,  Priests,  Scribes,  Elders,  Annas  the  astute  and 
tyrannous,  Caiaphas  the  abject  and  servile,  were  all  now 
aroused,  and,  dreading  they  knew  not  what  outburst  of 
religious  anarchy,  which  would  shake  the  very  founda- 
tions of  their  system,  they  met  together  probably  on 
that  very  evening  in  the  Palace  of  Caiaphas,1  sinking  all 
their  own  differences  in  a  common  inspiration  of  hatred 
against  that  long-promised  Messiah  in  whom  they  only 
recognised  a  common  enemy.  It  was  an  alliance  for 
His  destruction  of  fanaticism,  unbelief,  and  worldliness  ; 
the  rage  of  the  bigoted,  the  contempt  of  the  atheist,  and 
the  dislike  of  the  utilitarian  ;  and  it  seemed  but  too  clear 
that  from  the  revengeful  hate  of  such  a  combination  no 
earthly  power  was  adequate  to  save. 

Of  the  particulars  of  the  meeting  we  know  nothing  ; 
but  the  Evangelists  record  the  two  conclusions  at  which 
the  high  conspirators  arrived  —  the  one  a  yet  more 
decisive  and  emphatic  renewal  of  the  vote  that  He  must, 
at  all  hazards,  be  put  to  death  without  delay  ;  the  other, 
that  it  must  be  done  by  subtilty,  and  not  by  violence, 
for  fear  of  the  multitude  ;  and  that,  for  the  same  reason 
—  not  because  of  the  sacredness  of  the  Feast  —  the  murder 
must  be  postponed,  until  the  conclusion  of  the  Passover 
had  caused  the  dispersion  of  the  countless  pilgrims  to 
their  own  homes. 

This  meeting  was  held,  in  all  probability,  on  the 
evening  of  Tuesday,  while  the  passions  which  the  events 
of  that  day  had  kindled  were  still  raging  with  volcanic 
energy.  So  that,  at  ,the  very  moment  while  they  were 

1  The  name  Caiaphas  —  a  surname  of  the  High  Priest  Joseph  —  is  only 
another  form  of  Kephas,  "  a  stone  "  (Salvador,  Vie  de  Jesus,  ii.  104). 


OVERTURES  OF   JUDAS.  269 

deciding  that  during  that  Easter-tide  our  Passover 
should  not  be  slain — at  that  very  moment,  seated  on  the 
slopes  of  Olivet,  Jesus  was  foretelling  to  His  disciples, 
with  the  calmest  certainty,  that  He  should  be  sacrificed 
on  the  very  day  on  which,  at  evening,  the  lamb  was 
sacrificed,  and  the  Paschal  feast  began. 

Accordingly,  before  the  meeting  was  over,  an  event 
occurred  which  at  once  altered  the  conclusions  of  the 
council,  and  rendered  possible  the  immediate  capture  of 
Jesus  without  the  tumult  which  they  dreaded.  The 
eight  days'  respite  from  the  bitter  sentence  of  death, 
which  their  terror,  not  their  mercy,  had  accorded  Him, 
was  to  be  withdrawn,  and  the  secret  blow  was  to  be 
struck  at  once. 

For  before  they  separated  a  message  reached  them 
which  shot  a  gleam  of  fierce  joy  into  their  hearts,  while 
we  may  well  imagine  that  it  also  filled  them  with  some- 
thing of  surprise  and  awe.  Conscious  as  they  must 
have  been  in  their  inmost  hearts  how  deep  was  the  crime 
which  they  intended  to  commit,  it  must  have  almost 
startled  them  thus  to  find  "  the  tempting  opportunity  at 
once  meeting  the  guilty  disposition,"  and  the  Evil  Spirit 
making  their  way  straight  before  their  face.  They  were 
informed  that  the  man  who  knew  Jesus,  who  had  been 
with  Him,  who  had  been  His  disciple — nay,  more,  one 
of  the  Twelve — was  ready  to  put  an  immediate  end  to 
their  perplexities,  and  to  re-open  with  them  the  com- 
munication which  he  had  already  made. 

The  house  of  Caiaphas  was  probably  in  or  near  the 
Temple  precincts.  The  gates  both  of  the  city  and  of  the 
Temple  were  usually  closed  at  sundown,  but  at  the  time 
of  this  vast  yearly  gathering  it  was  natural  that  the  rules 
should  have  been  a  little  relaxed  for  the  general  con- 


270 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


venience ;  and  when  Judas  slank  away  from  his  breth] 
on  that  fatal  evening  he  would  rely  on  being  admitted 
without  difficulty  within  the  city  precincts,  and  into  the 
presence  of  the  assembled  elders.    He  applied  accordingly 
to  the  "  captains  "  of  the  Temple,  the  members  of  tl 
Levitical  guard  who  had  the  care  of  the  sacred  buildings,1 
and  they  at  once  announced  his  message,  and  broughl 
him  in  person  before  the  priests  and  rulers  of  the  Jews 
Some  of  the  priests  had  already  seen  him  at  thei] 
previous    meeting;    others    would   doubtless   recognis< 
him.     If  Judas  resembled  the  conception  of  him  whic] 
tradition  has  handed  down — 

"  That  furtive  mien,  that  scowling  eye, 
Of  hair  that  red  and  tufted  feU  "— 

they  could  have  hardly  failed  to  notice  the  man  of 
Kerioth  as  one  of  those  who  followed  Jesus — perhaps 
to  despise  and  to  detest  Him,  as  almost  the  only 
Jew  among  the  Gralilsean  Apostles.  And  now  they 
were  to  be  leagued  with  him  in  wickedness.  The 
fact  that  one  who  had  lived  with  Jesus,  who  had 
heard  all  He  had  said  and  seen  all  He  had  done— 
was  yet  ready  to  betray  Him — strengthened  them  in 
their  purpose ;  the  fact  that  they,  the  hierarchs  and 
nobles,  were  ready  not  only  to  praise,  but  even  to  reward 
Judas  for  what  he  proposed  to  do,  strengthened  Mm 
in  his  dark  and  desperate  design.  As  in  water  face 
answereth  to  face,  so  did  the  heart  of  Judas  and  of  the 
Jews  become  assimilated  by  the  reflection  of  mutual 
sympathy.  As  iron  sharpeneth  iron,  so  did  the  blunt 
weapon  of  his  brutal  anger  give  fresh  edge  to  their 
polished  hate. 

Whether  the  hideous  demand  for  blood-money  had 

1  See  2  Chron.  xxxv.  8 ;  Acts  iv.  1 ;  v.  24. 


THE  BLOOD-MONEY.  271 

come  from  him,  or  had  been  suggested  by  them  ;  whether 
it  was  paid  immediately  or  only  after  the  arrest ;  whether 
the  wretched  and  paltry  sum  given — thirty  shekels,  the 
price  of  the  meanest  slave  ] — was  the  total  reward,  or 
only  the  earnest  of  a  farther  and  larger  sum — these 
are  questions  which  would  throw  a  strong  light  on  the 
character  and  motives  of  Judas,  but  to  which  the  general 
language  of  the  Evangelists  enables  us  to  give  no  certain 
answer.  The  details  of  the  transaction  were  probably  but 
little  known.  Neither  Judas  nor  his  venerable  abettors 
had  any  cause  to  dwell  on  them  with  satisfaction.  The 
Evangelists  and  the  early  Christians  generally,  when 
they  speak  of  Judas,  seem  to  be  filled  with  a  spirit  of 
shuddering  abhorrence  too  deep  for  words.  Only  one 
dark  fact  stood  out  before  their  imagination  in  all  its 
horror,  and  that  was  that  Judas  was  a  traitor;  that  Judas 
had  been  one  of  the  Twelve,  and  yet  had  sold  his  Lord. 
Probably  he  received  the  money,  such  as  it  was,  at  once. 
With  the  gloating  eyes  of  that  avarice  which  was  his 
besetting  sin,  he  might  gaze  on  the  silver  coins,  stamped 
(oh !  strange  irony  of  history)  on  one  side  with  an  olive 
branch,  the  symbol  of  peace,  on  the  other  with  a  censer, 
the  type  of  prayer,  and  bearing  on  them  the  superscrip- 
tion, "  Jerusalem  the  Holy."  And  probably  if  those 

1  About  £3  16s.  (Exod.  xxi.  32 ;    cf.  Gen.  xxxvii.  28;  Zech.  xi.  12,  13).i 

2  In  Matt.  xxvi.  15,  eo-TTjo-av   avry  seems  to  mean  "  they  paid,"   lite- 
rally "weighed"  (cf.  LXX.,  Zech.  xi.  12,  13).      It  cannot  be  rendered 
with  the  Vulgate,  "  constituerunt  ei,"  which  is  used  to  harmonise  it  with 
Mark  xiv.  11  (eirri'yyfix&vTo),  and  Luke  xxii.  5  (crweOevTo}.   In  these  matters, 
unimportant  as  regarded  their  purpose,  the  Evangelists  do  not  profess  a 
rigidly  minute  accuracy.     I  should  infer,  however,  that  Judas  twice  went 
before   the  priests — once  to  promise  the  betrayal,   and  another  time  to 
arrange  its  details.    Perhaps  the  money  had  been  promised  on  the  first 
occasion,  and  paid  on  the  second.     St.  Matthew  only  alludes  vaguely  to  the 
words  of  Zechariah.    The  supposed  .relation  between  the  two  passages  may 
be  seen  in  Keil,  Minor  Prophets,  ii.  373  (E.  Tr.). 


272 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


elders  chaffered  with  him  after  the  fashion  of  their  race, 
as  the  narrative  seems  to  imply,  they  might  have  repre- 
sented that,  after  all,  his  agency  was  unessential ;  that 
he  might  do  them  a  service  which  would  be  regarded  as 
a  small  convenience,  but  that  they  could  carry  out  their 
purpose,  if  they  chose,  without  his  aid.  One  thing, 
however,  is  certain :  he  left  them  a  pledged  traitor,  and 
henceforth  only  sought  the  opportunity  to  betray  his 
Master  when  no  part  of  the  friendly  multitude  was  near. 
What  were  the  motives  of  this  man?  Who  can 
attempt  to  fathom  the  unutterable  abyss,  to  find  his 
way  amid  the  weltering  chaos,  of  a  heart  agitated  by 
unresisted  and  besetting  sins  ?  The  Evangelists  can  say 
nothing  but  that  Satan  entered  into  him.  The  guilt  of 
the  man  seemed  to  them  too  abnormal  for  any  natural  or 
human  explanation.  The  narratives  of  the  Synoptists 
point  distinctly  to  avarice  as  the  cause  of  his  ruin.1 
They  place  his  first  overtures  to  the  Sanhedrin  in  close 
and  pointed  connection  with  the  qualm  of  disgust  he  felt 
at  being  unable  to  secure  any  pilferings  from  the  "three 
hundred  pence,"  of  which,  since  they  might  have  come  into 
his  possession,  he  regarded  himself  as  having  been  robbed, 
and  St.  John,  who  can  never  speak  of  him  without  a 
shudder  of  disgust,  says  in  so  many  words  that  he  was  an 
habitual  thief.2  How  little  insight  can  they  have  into 
the  fatal  bondage  and  diffusiveness  of  a  besetting  sin,  into 
the  dense  spiritual  blindness  and  awful  infatuation  with 

1  We  conclude  that  the  loss  of  the  300  pence  was  the  cause  of  the 
betrayal,  from  the  pointed  manner  in  which  the  latter  is  narrated  in  imme- 
diate proximity  to  the  former;  just  as  we  conjecture  thatNadab  and Abihu 
were  intoxicated  when  they  offered  "  strange  fire,"  from  the  prohibition  of 
strong  drink  to  the  priests  immediately  after  the  narration  of  their  fate 
(Lev.  x.  1—11). 

2  John  xii.  6. 


MYSTERIES  OF  INIQUITY.  273 

which  it  confounds  the  guilty,  who  cannot  believe  in  so 
apparently  inadequate  a  motive !  Yet  the  commonest 
observance  of  daily  facts  which  come  before  our  notice 
in  the  moral  world,  might  serve  to  show  that  the  com- 
mission of  crime  results  as  frequently  from  a  motive 
that  seems  miserably  small  and  inadequate,  as  from 
some  vast  and  abnormal  temptation.  Do  we  not 
read  in  the  Old  Testament  of  those  that  pollute  God 
among  the  people  "  for  handfuls  of  barley  and  for  pieces 
of  bread;"  of  those  who  sell  "the  righteous  for  silver 
and  the  poor  for  a  pair  of  shoes  ? " l  The  sudden  crisis 
of  temptation  might  seem  frightful,  but  its  issue  was 
decided  by  the  entire  tenor  of  his  previous  life;  the  sudden 
blaze  of  lurid  light  was  but  the  outcome  of  that  which 
had  long  burnt  and  smouldered  deep  within  his  heart. 

Doubtless  other  motives  mingled  with,  strengthened 
—perhaps  to  the  self- deceiving  and  blinded  soul  sub- 
stituted themselves  for — the  predominant  one.  "  Will 
not  this  measure/'  he  may  have  thought,  "force  Him 
to  declare  His  Messianic  kingdom  ?  At  the  worst,  can 
He  not  easily  save  Himself  by  miracle?  If  not,  has 
He  not  told  us  repeatedly  that  He  will  die ;  and  if  so, 
why  may  I  not  reap  a  little  advantage  from  that  which 
is  in  any  case  inevitable  ?  Or  will  it  not,  perhaps,  be 
meritorious  to  do  that  of  which  all  the  chief  priests 
approve?"  A  thousand  such  devilish  suggestions  may 
have  formulated  themselves  in  the  traitor's  heart,  and 
mingled  with  them  was  the  revulsion  of  feeling  which 
he  suffered  from  finding  that  his  self-denial  in  follow- 
ing Jesus  would,  after  all,  be  apparently  in  vain ;  that 
he  would  gain  from  it  not  rank  and  wealth,  but  only 
poverty  and  persecution.  Perhaps,  too,  there  was  some- 
thing of  rancour  at  being  rebuked;  perhaps  something 

1  Ezek.  xiii.  19 ;  Amos  ii.  6 ;  yiii.  6. 
S 


274 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


of  bitter  jealousy  at  being  less  loved  by  Christ  than 
his  fellows  ;  perhaps  something  of  frenzied  disappoint- 
ment at  the  prospect  of  failure;  perhaps  something 
of  despairing  hatred  at  the  consciousness  that  he  was 
suspected.  Alas  !  sins  grow  and  multiply  with  fatal 
diffusiveness,  and  blend  insensibly  with  hosts  of  their 
evil  kindred.  "  The  whole  moral  nature  is  clouded 
by  them;  the  intellect  darkened;  the  spirit  stained/' 
Probably  by  this  time  a  turbid  confused  chaos  of  sins 
was  weltering  in  the  soul  of  Judas — malice,  worldly  am- 
bition, theft,  hatred  of  all  that  was  good  and  pure,  base 
ingratitude,  frantic  anger,  all  culminating  in  this  foul 
and  frightful  act  of  treachery — all  rushing  with  blind, 
bewildering  fury  through  this  gloomy  soul. 

"  Satan  entered  into  him."  That,  after  all,  whether 
a  literal  or  a  metaphorical  expression,1  best  describes 
his  awful  state.  It  was  a  madness  of  disenchantment 
from  selfish  hopes.  Having  persuaded  himself  that  the 
New  Kingdom  was  a  mere  empty  fraud,  he  is  suffered 
to  become  the  victim  of  a  delusion,  which  led  him 
into  a  terrible  conviction  that  he  had  flung  away  the 
substance  for  a  shadow.  It  had  not  been  always  thus 
with  him.  He  had  not  been  always  bad.  The  day  had 
been  when  he  was  an  innocent  boy — a  youth  sufficiently 
earnest  to  be  singled  out  from  other  disciples  as  one  of 
the  Twelve — a  herald  of  the  New  Kingdom  not  without 
high  hopes.  The  poverty  and  the  wanderings  of  the 
early  period  of  the  ministry  may  have  protected  him  from 
temptation.  The  special  temptation — trebly  dangerous, 
because  it  appealed  to  his  besetting  sin — may  have  begun 
at  that  period  when  our  Lord's  work  assumed  a  slightly 
more  settled  and  organised  character.3  Even  then  it  did 

1  "  Satan  "  is  sometimes,  if  not  always,   used  by  our  Lord  in  senses 
obviously  metaphorical  (Matt.  xvi.  23 ;  Luke  x.  18 ;  xiii.  16,  &c.). 

2  Luke  x.  3. 


THE   LAST   SLEEP   OF  JESUS.  275 

not  master  him  at  once.  He  had  received  warnings  of 
fearful  solemnity ; l  for  some  time  there  may  have  been 
hope  for  him ;  he  may  have  experienced  relapses  into 
dishonesty  after  recoveries  of  nobleness.  But  as  he  did 
not  master  his  sin,  his  sin  mastered  him,  and  led  him  on, 
as  a  slave,  to  his  retribution  and  ruin.  Did  he  slink  back 
to  Bethany  that  night  with  the  blood-money  in  his 
bag  ?  Did  he  sleep  among  his  fellow-apostles  ? — All 
that  we  know  is  that  henceforth  he  was  ever  anxiously, 
eagerly,  suspiciously  upon  the  watch. 

And  the  next  day — the  Wednesday  in  Passion  week 

—must  have  baffled  him.  Each  day  Jesus  had  left 
Bethany  in  the  morning  and  had  gone  to  Jerusalem. 
Why  did  He  not  go  on  that  day?  Did  He  suspect 
treachery  ?  That  day  in  the  Temple  Courts  the  mul- 
titude listened  for  His  voice  in  vain.  Doubtless  the 
people  waited  for  Him  with  intense  expectation ;  doubt- 
less the  priests  and  Pharisees  looked  out  for  Him  with 
sinister  hope ;  but  He  did  not  come.  The  day  was  spent 
by  Him  in  deep  seclusion,  so  far  as  we  know,  in  perfect 
rest  and  silence.  He  prepared  Himself  in  peace  and 
prayer  for  the  awfulness  of  His  coming  struggle.  It 
may  be  that  He  wandered  alone  to  the  hilly  uplands 
above  and  around  the  quiet  village,  and  there,  under  the 
vernal  sunshine,  held  high  communing  with  His  Father 
in  heaven.  But  how  the  day  was  passed  by  Him  we  do 
not  know.  A  veil  of  holy  silence  falls  over  it.  He  was 
among  the  few  who  loved  Him  and  believed  in  Him. 
To  them  He  may  have  spoken,  but  His  work  as  a 
teacher  on  earth  was  done. 

And  on  that  night  He  lay  down  for  the  last  time  on 
earth.  On  the  Thursday  morning,  He  woke  never  to 
sleep  again. 

1  John  vi.  70. 


CHAPTEE   LY. 


THE       LAST       SUPPER. 


OUK    etya-ye   T^V  vofJUKkv 

Chron.  Pasch.,  p.  12. 


us  a\r]6r]S  a/j.v6s. — 


ON  the  Tuesday  evening  in  Passion  week  Jesus  had 
spoken  of  the  Passover  as  the  season  of  His  death.  If 
the  customs  enjoined  by  the  Law  had  been  capable  of 
rigid  and  exact  fulfilment,  the  Paschal  lamb  for  the 
use  of  Himself  and  His  disciples  would  have  been  set 
apart  on  the  previous  Sunday  evening;  but  although, 
since  the  days  of  the  exile,  the  Passover  had  been  ob- 
served, it  is  probable  that  the  changed  circumstances  of 
the  nation  had  introduced  many  natural  and  perfectly 
justifiable  changes  in  the  old  regulations.  It  would 
have  been  a  simple  impossibility  for  the  myriads  of 
pilgrims  to  provide  themselves  beforehand  with  a 
Paschal  lamb. 

It  was  on  the  moraing  of  Thursday — Green  Thurs- 
day as  it  used  to  be  called  during  the  Middle  Ages— 
that  some  conversation  took  place  between  Jesus  and 
His  disciples  about  the  Paschal  feast.  They  asked  Him 
where  He  wished  the  preparation  for  it  to  be  made. 
As  He  had  now  withdrawn  from  all  public  teaching, 
and  was  spending  this  Thursday,  as  He  had  spent  the 


PREPARATIONS  FOR   THE  FEAST.  277 

previous  day,  in  complete  seclusion,  they  probably 
expected  that  He  would  eat  the  Passover  at  Bethany, 
which  for  such  purposes  had  been  decided  by  rabbinical 
authority  to  be  within  the  limits  of  Jerusalem.  But 
His  plans  were  otherwise.  He,  the  true  Paschal  Lamb, 
was  to  be  sacrificed  once  and  for  ever  in  the  Holy  City, 
where  it  is  probable  that  in  that  very  Passover,  and  on 
the  very  same  day,  some  260,000  of  those  lambs  of 
which  He  was  the  antitype  were  destined  to  be  slain. 

Accordingly  He  sent  Peter  and  John  to  Jerusalem, 
and  appointing  for  them  a  sign  both  mysterious  and 
secret,  told  them  that  on  entering  the  gate  they  would 
meet  a  servant  carrying  a  pitcher  of  water  from  one  of 
the  fountains  for  evening  use ;  following  him  they 
would  reach  a  house,  to  the  owner  of  which  they  were 
to  intimate  the  intention  of  the  Master1  to  eat  the 
Passover  there  with  His  disciples;  and  this  house- 
holder— conjectured  by  some  to  have  been  Joseph  of 
Arimatha3a,  by  others  John  Mark — would  at  once  place 
at  their  disposal  a  furnished  upper  room,  ready  provided 
with  the  requisite  table  and  couches.2  They  found  all 
as  Jesus  had  said,  and  there  "  made  ready  the  Passover." 
Full  reasons  will,  however,  be  given  in  the  Excursus  for 
believing  that  this  was  not  the  ordinary  Jewish  Pass- 
over, but  a  meal  eaten  by  our  Lord  and  His  Apostles 
on  the  previous  evening,  Thursday,  Nisan  13,  to  which 
a  quasi-Paschal  character  was  given,  but  which  was 
intended  to  supersede  the  Jewish  festival  by  one  of  far 
deeper  and  diviner  significance.3 

1  Mark  xiv.  14.      The  expression  seems  to  imply  that  the  owner  of  the 
house  was  a  disciple ;  and  still  more  the  message,  "  My  time  is  at  hand." 

2  Mark  xiv.  15,  eo-rpw^eVoi/;  cf.  crrpcaa-ov  crtawrq  (Acts  ix.  34).    The  notion 
that  the  word  means  "  paved  "  is  an  error.     See  Ezek.  xxiii.  41,  LXX. 

3  See  Excursus  X.,  "  Was  the  Last  Supper  an  Actual  Passover  ?  " 


278 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHKIST. 


It  was  towards  the  evening,  probably  when  the 
gathering  dusk  would  prevent  all  needless  observation, 
that  Jesus  and  His  disciples  walked  from  Bethany, 
by  that  old  familiar  road  over  the  Mount  of  Olives, 
which  His  sacred  feet  were  never  again  destined  to 
traverse  until  after  death.  How  far  they  attracted 
attention,  or  how  it  was  that  He  whose  person  was 
known  to  so  many — and  who,  as  the  great  central  figure 
of  such  great  counter-agitations,  had,  four  days  before, 
been  accompanied  with  shouts  of  triumph,  as  He  would 
be,  on  the  following  day,  with  yells  of  insult — could 
now  enter  Jerusalem  unnoticed  with  His  followers,  we 
cannot  tell.  We  catch  no  glimpse  of  the  little  company 
till  we  find  them  assembled  in  that  "  large  upper  room" 
— perhaps  the  very  room  where  three  days  afterwards 
the  sorrow- stricken  Apostles  first  saw  their  risen  Saviour 
— perhaps  the  very  room  where,  amid  the  sound  of  a 
rushing  mighty  wind,  each  meek  brow  was  first  mitred 
with  Pentecostal  flame. 

When  they  arrived,  the  meal  was  ready,  the  table 
spread,  the  triclinia  laid  with  cushions  for  the  guests. 
Imagination  loves  to  reproduce  all  the  probable  details 
of  that  deeply  moving  and  eternally  sacred  scene  ;  and  if 
we  compare  the  notices  of  ancient  Jewish  custom,  with 
the  immemorial  fashions  still  existing  in  the  changeless 
East,  we  can  feel  but  little  doubt  as  to  the  general 
nature  of  the  arrangements.  They  were  totally  unlike 
those  with  which  the  genius  of  Leonardo  da  Yinci,  and 
other  great  painters,  has  made  us  so  familiar.  The  room 
probably  had  white  walls,  and  was  bare  of  all  except  the 
most  necessary  furniture  and  adornment.  The  couches 
or  cushions,  each  large  enough  to  hold  three  persons, 
were  placed  around  three  sides  of  one  or  more  low  tables 


DISPUTE   FOE,  PRECEDENCE.  279 

of  gaily  painted  wood,  each  scarcely  higher  than  stools. 
The  seat  of  honour  was  the  central  one  of  the  central 
triclinium,  or  mat.  This  was,  of  course,  occupied  by  the 
Lord.  Each  guest  reclined  at  full  length,  leaning  on 
his  left  elbow,  that  his  right  hand  might  be  free.1  At 
the  right  hand  of  Jesus  reclined  the  beloved  disciple, 
whose  head  therefore  could,  at  any  moment,  be  placed 
upon  the  breast  of  his  friend  and  Lord. 

It  may  be  that  the  very  act  of  taking  their  seats 
at  the  table  had,  once  more,  stirred  up  in  the  minds  of 
the  Apostles  those  disputes  about  precedence2  which, 
on  previous  occasions,  our  Lord  had  so  tenderly  and 
beautifully  rebuked.3  The  mere  question  of  a  place  at 
table  might  seem  a  matter  too  infinitesimal  and  unim- 
portant to  ruffle  the  feelings  of  good  and  self-denying 
men  at  an  hour  so  supreme  and  solemn ;  but  that  love 
for  "  the  chief  seats"  at  feasts  and  elsewhere,  which  Jesus 
had  denounced  in  the  Pharisees,  is  not  only  innate  in 
the  human  heart,  but  is  even  so  powerful  that  it  has 
at  times  caused  the  most  terrific  tragedies.4  But  at 
this  moment,  when  the  soul  of  Jesus  was  full  of  such 
sublime  purpose — when  He  was  breathing  the  pure 
unmingled  air  of  Eternity,  and  the  Eternal  was  to  Him, 
in  spite  of  His  mortal  investiture,  not  only  the  present 


1  The  custom  of  eating  the  Passover  standing  had  long  been  abandoned. 
Reclining  was  held  to  be  the  proper  attitude,  because  it  was  that  of  free 
men  (Maimon.  Pesach.  10,  1). 

2  Luke  xxii.  24. 

3  Mark  ix.  34;  Matt,  xviii.  1.     See  supra,  pp.  37,  180.     It  is  a  not 
impossible   conjecture   that   the  dispute  may  have  been  stirred  up  by  a 
claim  of  Judas  as  being  an  office-bearer  in  the  little  band. 

4  Many  will  recall  the  famous  scene  between  Criemhilt  and  Brunhilt  in 
the  Niebelungen.     In  the  Middle  Ages  blood  was  shed  at  the  very  altar  of 
St.   John's  Lateran  in  a  furious   dispute  about  precedence  between  an 
abbot  and  a  bishop. 


280 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


but  the  seen  —  a  strife  of  this  kind  must  have  been 
more  than  ever  painful.  It  showed  how  little,  as  -yet, 
even  these  His  chosen  followers  had  entered  into  the 
meaning  of  His  life.  It  showed  that  the  evil  spirits 
of  pride  and  selfishness  were  not  yet  exorcised  from 
their  struggling  souls.  It  showed  that,  even  now,  they 
had  wholly  failed  to  understand  His  many  and  earnest 
warnings  as  to  the  nature  of  His  kingdom,  and  the 
certainty  of  His  fate.  That  some  great  crisis  was  at 
hand  —  that  their  Master  was  to  suifer  and  be  slain— 
they  must  have  partially  realised  ;  but  they  seem  to  have 
regarded  this  as  a  mere  temporary  obscuration,  to  be 
followed  by  an  immediate  divulgence  of  His  splendour, 
and  the  setting  up  on  earth  of  His  Messianic  throne. 

In  pained  silence  Jesus  had  heard  their  murmured 
jealousies,  while  they  were  arranging  their  places  at  the 
feast.1  Not  by  mere  verbal  reproof,  but  by  an  act  more 
profoundly  significant  and  touching,  He  determined 
to  teach  to  them,  and  to  all  who  love  Him,  a  nobler 
lesson. 

Every  Eastern  room,  if  it  belongs  to  any  but  the 
very  poorest,  has  the  central  part  of  the  floor  covered 
with  mats,  and  as  a  person  enters,  he  lays  aside  his 
sandals  at  the  door  of  the  room,  mainly  in  order,  not  to 
defile  the  clean  white  mats  with  the  dust  and  dirt  of  the 
road  or  streets,  and  also  (at  any  rate  among  Mahometans) 
because  the  mat  is  hallowed  by  being  knelt  upon  in 
prayer.  Before  they  reclined  at  the  table,  the  disciples 
had  doubtless  conformed  to  this  cleanly  and  reasonable 
custom  ;  but  another  customary  and  pleasant  habit, 


1  John  xiii.  2.  "yivofievov  («,  B,  L,  &c.)  is  probably  the  right  reading,  bnt 
even  yfvo^vov  cannot  mean  "supper  being  ended,"  as  in  the  E.  Y.  (see 
xiii.  26),  but  "  when  it  was  supper-tinie." 


WASHING  THE  DISCIPLES'  FEET.  281 

which  we  know  that  Jesus  appreciated,  had  been 
neglected.  Their  feet  must  have  been  covered  with 
dust  from  their  walk  along  the  hot  and  much  fre- 
quented road  from  Bethany  to  Jerusalem,  and  under 
such  circumstances  they  would  have  been  refreshed  for 
the  festival  by  washing  their  feet  after  putting  off  their 
sandals.  But  to  wash  the  feet  was  the  work  of  slaves ; 
and  since  no  one  had  offered  to  perform  the  kindly 
office,  Jesus  Himself,  in  His  eternal  humility  and  self- 
denial,  rose  from  His  place  at  the  meal  to  do  the  menial 
service  which  none  of  His  disciples  had  offered  to  do 
for  Him.1  Well  may  the  amazement  of  the  beloved 
disciple  show  itself  in  his  narrative,  as  he  dwells  on 
every  particular  of  that  solemn  scene.  "  Though  He 
knew  that  the  Father  had  given  all  things  into  His 
hands,  and  that  He  came  from  God  and  was  going 
to  God,  He  arose  from  the  supper  and  laid  aside  His 
garments,  and  taking  a  towel,  girded  Himself."  It  is 
probable  that  in  the  utterness  of  self-abnegation,  He 
entirely  stripped  His  upper  limbs,  laying  aside  both  the 
siinkah  and  the  cetoneth,  as  though  He  had  been  the 
meanest  slave,  and  wrapping  the  towel  round  His  waist. 
Then  pouring  water  into  the  large  copper  bason  with 
which  an  Oriental  house  is  always  provided,  He  began 
without  a  word  to  wash  His  disciples'  feet,  and  wipe 
them  dry  with  the  towel  which  served  Him  as  a  girdle. 
Awe  and  shame  kept  them  silent  until  He  came  to 
Peter,  whose  irrepressible  emotions  found  vent  in  the 
surprised,  half-indignant  question,  "Lord,  dost  Thou  seek 
to  wash  my  feet  ?  "  Thou,  the  Son  of  God,  the  King 
of  Israel,  who  hast  the  words  of  eternal  life — Thou, 
whose  feet  Oriental  kings  should  anoint  with  their 

1  John  xiii.  1—20. 


282 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


costliest  spikenard,  and  penitents  bathe  in  precious 
tears — dost  thou  wash  Peter's  feet?  It  was  the  old 
dread  and  self-depreciation  which,  more  than  three 
years  before,  had  prompted  the  cry  of  the  rude  fisher- 
man of  Gralilee,  "Depart  from  me,  for  I  am  a  sii 
man,  0  Lord ; " l  it  was  the  old  self-will  which,  a  y< 
before,  had  expressed  itself  in  the  self-confident 
suasion  of  the  elated  Man  of  Eock  —  "That  be  fa 
from  Thee,  Lord;  this  shall  not  happen  unto  Thee."5 
Gently  recognising  what  was  good  in  His  impetuous 
follower's  ejaculation,  Jesus  calmly  tells  him  that  as 
yet  he  is  too  immature  to  understand  the  meaning  oi 
His  actions,  though  the  day  should  come  when  their 
significance  should  dawn  upon  him.  But  Peter,  obsti- 
nate and  rash — as  though  he  felt,  even  more  than  his 
Lord,  the  greatness  of  Him  that  ministered,  and  the 
meanness  of  him  to  whom  the  service  would  be  done- 
persisted  in  his  opposition:  "Never,  never,  for  ever,"3 
He  impetuously  exclaims ;  "  shalt  thou  wash  my  feet?" 
But  then  Jesus  revealed  to  him  the  dangerous  self- 
assertion  which  lurked  in  this  false  humility.  "  If  I 
wash  thee  not,  thou  hast  no  share  with  me."  Alike, 
thy  self-conceit  and  thy  self-disgust  must  be  laid  aside 
if  thou  wouldest  be  mine.  My  follower  must  accept  my 
will,  even  when  he  least  can  comprehend  it,  even  when 
it  seems  to  violate  his  own  conceptions  of  what  I  am. 
That  calm  word  changed  the  whole  current  of  thought 
and  feeling  in  the  warm-hearted  passionate  disciple. 
"  No  share  with  Thee  ?  oh,  forbid  it,  Heaven  !  Lord, 
not  my  feet  only,  but  also  my  hands  and  my  head !  " 
But  no  :  once  more  he  must  accept  what  Christ  wills, 


1  See  supra,  Yol.  I.,  p.  243. 
a  John  xiii.  8,  oC  / 


See  supra,  p.  19. 


"YE  ARE  CLEAN;    BUT  NOT  ALL."  283 

not  in  his  own  way,  but  in  Christ's  way.  This  total 
washing  was  not  needed.  The  baptism  of  his  initiation 
was  over ;  in  that  laver  of  regeneration  he  had  been 
already  dipped.  Nothing  more  was  needed  than  the 
daily  cleansing  from  minor  and  freshly- contracted  stains. 
The  feet  soiled  with  the  clinging  dust  of  daily  sins, 
these  must  be  washed  in  daily  renovation ;  but  the 
heart  and  being  of  the  man,  these  were  already  washed, 
were  cleansed,  were  sanctified.  "  Jesus  saith  to  him, 
He  that  is  bathed  (XeXoi^eVo?)  hath  no  need  save  to  wash 
(vtyao-0ai)  his  feet,  but  is  clean  every  whit.  And  ye 
are  clean;"  and  then  He  was  forced  to  add  with  a  deep 
sigh,  "  but  not  all."  The  last  words  were  an  allusion 
to  His  consciousness  of  one  traitorous  presence ;  for  He 
knew,  what  as  yet  they  knew  not,  that  the  hands  of  the 
Lord  of  Life  had  just  washed  the  traitor's  feet.  Oh, 
strange  unfathomable  depth  of  human  infatuation  and 
ingratitude ;  that  traitor,  with  all  the  black  and  accursed 
treachery  in  his  false  heart,  had  seen,  had  known,  had 
suffered  it ;  had  felt  the  touch  of  those  kind  and  gentle 
hands,  had  been  refreshed  by  the  cleansing  water,  had 
seen  that  sacred  head  bent  over  his  feet,  yet  stained 
as  they  were  with  the  hurried  secret  walk  which  had 
taken  him  into  the  throng  of  sanctimonious  murderers 
over  the  shoulder  of  Olivet.  But  for  him  there  had 
been  no  purification  in  that  lustral  water;  neither  was 
the  devil  within  him  exorcised  by  that  gentle  voice, 
nor  the  leprosy  of  his  heart  healed  by  that  miracle- 
producing  touch. 

The  other  Apostles  did  not  at  the  moment  notice 
that  grievous  exception — "  but  not  all."  It  may  be 
that  their  consciences  gave  to  all,  even  to  the  most 
faithful,  too  sad  a  cause  to  echo  the  words,  with  some- 


284 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


tiling  of  misgiving,  to  his  own  soul.  Then  Jesus,  after 
having  washed  their  feet,  resumed  His  garments,  and 
once  more  reclined  at  the  meal.  As  He  leaned  there  on 
His  left  elbow,  John  lay  at  His  right,  with  his  head 
quite  close  to  Jesus'  breast.  Next  to  John,  and  at  the 
top  of  the  next  mat  or  cushion,  would  probably  be  his 
brother  James ;  and — as  we  infer  from  the  few  details 
of  the  meal — at  the  left  of  Je'sus  lay  the  Man  of  Kerioth, 
who  may  either  have  thrust  himself  into  that  position, 
or  who,  as  the  holder  of  the  common  purse,  occupied  a 
place  of  some  prominence  among  the  little  band.  It 
seems  probable  that  Peter's  place  was  at  the  top  of  the 
next  mat,  and  at  the  left  of  Judas.  And  as  the  meal 
began,  Jesus  taught  them  what  His  act  had  meant. 
Sightly,  and  with  proper  respect,  they  called  Him 
"  Master  "  and  "  Lord,"  for  so  He  was  ;  yet,  though  the 
Lord  is  greater  than  the  slave,  the  Sender  greater  than 
His  Apostle,  He  their  Lord  and  Master  had  washed 
their  feet.  It  was  a  kind  and  gracious  task,  and  such 
ought  to  be  the  nature  of  all  their  dealings  with  each 
other.  He  had  done  it  to  teach  them  humility,  to 
teach  them  self-denial,  to  teach  them  love :  blessed 
they  if  they  learnt  the  lesson  !  blessed  if  they  learnt 
that  the  struggles  for  precedence,  the  assertions  of 
claims,  the  standings  upon  dignity,  the  fondness  for 
the  mere  exercise  of  authority,  marked  the  tyrannies 
and  immaturities  of  heathendom,  and  that  the  greatest 
Christian  is  ever  the  humblest.  He  should  be  chief 
among  them  who,  for  the  sake  of  others,  gladly  laid 
on  himself  the  lowliest  burdens,  and  sought  for  him- 
self the  humblest  services.  Again  and  again  He 
warned  them  that  they  were  not  to  look  for  earthly 
reward  or  earthly  prosperity ;  the  throne,  and  the  table, 


DISTURBING  PRESENCE   OF  JUDAS.  285 

and  the  kingdom,  and  the  many  mansions  were  not  of 
earth.1 

And  then  again  the  trouble  of  His  spirit  broke  forth. 
He  was  speaking  of  those  whom  He  had  chosen ;  He 
was  not  speaking  of  them  all.  Among  the  blessed 
company  sat  one  who  even  then  was  drawing  on  his 
own  head  a  curse.  It  had  been  so  with  David,  whose 
nearest  friend  had  become  his  bitterest  foe ;  it  was 
foreordained  that  it  should  be  so  likewise  with  David's 
Son.  Soon  should  they  know  with  what  full  foreknow- 
ledge He  had  gone  to  all  that  awaited  Him ;  soon 
should  they  be  able  to  judge  that,  just  as  the  man 
who  receives  in  Christ's  name  His  humblest  servant 
receiveth  Him,  so  the  rejection  of  Him  is  the  rejection 
of  His  Father,  and  that  this  rejection  of  the  Living 
God  was  the  crime  which  at  this  moment  was  being 
committed,  and  committed  in  their  very  midst. 

There,  next  but  one  to  Him,  hearing  all  these  words 
unmoved,  full  of  spite  and  hatred,  utterly  hardening 
his  heart,  and  leaning  the  whole  weight  of  his  demoniac 
possession  against  that  door  of  mercy  which  even  now 
and  even  here  His  Saviour  would  have  opened  to  him, 
sat  Judas,  the  false  smile  of  hypocrisy  on  his  face,  but 
rage,  and  shame,  and  greed,  and  anguish,  and  treachery 
in  his  heart.  The  near  presence  of  that  black  iniquity, 
the  failure  of  even  His  pathetic  lowliness  to  move  or 
touch  the  man's  hideous  purpose,  troubled  the  human 
heart  of  Jesus  to  its  inmost  depths — wrung  from  Him 
His  agony  of  yet  plainer  prediction,  "  Verily,  verily,  I 


1  It  is  probable  that  to  find  the  full  scope  of  what  Jesus  taught  on  this 
occasion  we  must  combine  (as  I  have  done)  Luke  xxii.  24 — 30  with  John 
xiii.  1 — 17.  In  Luke  xxii.  25  is  illustrated,  by  the  title  EuepYe'-njj,  "bene- 
factor," common  on  the  coins  of  the  Syrian  kings. 


286 


THE  LIFE  OF   CHRIST. 


say  unto  you,  that  one  of  you  shall  betray  me  ! "  That 
night  all,  even  the  best  beloved,  were  to  forsake  Him, 
but  it  was  not  that ;  that  night  even  the  boldest-hearted 
was  to  deny  Him  with  oaths,  but  it  was  not  that ;  nay, 
but  one  of  them  was  to  betray  Him.  Their  hearts  mis- 
gave them  as  they  listened.  Already  a  deep  unspeak- 
able sadness  had  fallen  over  the  sacred  meal.  Like  the 
sombre  and  threatening  crimson  that  intermingles  with 
the  colours  of  sunset,  a  dark  omen  seemed  to  be  over- 
shadowing them — a  shapeless  presentiment  of  evil — an 
unspoken  sense  of  dread.  If  all  their  hopes  were  to  be 
thus  blighte! — if  at  this  very  passover,  He  for  whom 
they  had  given  up  all,  and  who  had  been  to  them  all  in 
all,  was  indeed  to  be  betrayed  by  one  of  themselves  to 
an  unpitied  and  ignominious  end — if  this  were  possible, 
anything  seemed  possible.  Their  hearts  were  troubled. 
All  their  want  of  nobility,  all  their  failure  in  love,  all 
the  depth  of  their  selfishness,  all  the  weakness  of  their 
faith— 

"  Every  evil  thought  they  ever  thought, 
And  every  evil  word  they  ever  said, 
And  every  evil  thing  they  ever  did," 

all  crowded  upon  their  memories,  and  made  their  con- 
sciences afraid.  None  of  them  seemed  safe  from  any- 
thing, and  each  read  his  own  self-distrust  in  his  brother- 
disciple's  eye.  And  hence,  at  that  moment  of  supreme 
sadness  and  almost  despair,  it  was  with  lips  that  faltered 
and  cheeks  that  paled,  that  each  asked  the  humble 
question,  "Lord,  is  it  I?"  Better  always  that  question 
than  "  Is  it  lie?"  —better  the  penitent  watchfulness  of 
a  self- condemning  humility  than  the  haughty  Pharisaism 
of  censorious  pride.  The  very  horror  that  breathed 
through  their  question,  the  very  trustfulness  which 


"IS  IT  I?"  287 

prompted  it,  involved  their  acquittal.  Jesus  only 
remained  silent,  in  order  that  even  then,  if  it  were  pos- 
sible, there  might  be  time  for  Judas  to  repent.  But  Peter 
was  unable  to  restrain  his  sorrow  and  his  impatience. 
Eager  to  know  and  to  prevent  the  treachery — unseen 
by  Jesus,  whose  back  was  turned  to  him  as  He  reclined 
at  the  meal — he  made  a  signal  to  John  to  ask  "  who  it 
was."1  The  head  of  John  was  close  to  Jesus,  and  laying 
it  with  affectionate  trustfulness  on  his  Master's  breast, 
he  said  in  a  whisper,  "Lord,  who  is  it?"  The  reply, 
given  in  atone  equally  low,  was  heard  by  St.  John  alone, 
and  confirmed  the  suspicions  with  which  it  is  evident 
that  the  repellent  nature  of  Judas  had  already  inspired 
him.  At  Eastern  meals  all  the  guests  eat  with  their 
fingers  out  of  a  common  dish,  and  it  is  common  for  one 
at  times  to  dip  into  the  dish  a  piece  of  the  thin  flexible 
cake  of  bread  which  is  placed  by  each,  and  taking  up 
with  it  a  portion  of  the  meat  or  rice  in  the  dish,  to  hand 
it  to  another  guest.  So  ordinary  an  incident  of  any  daily 
meal  would  attract  no  notice  whatever.3  Jesus  handed 
to  the  traitor  Apostle  a  "  sop  "  of  this  kind,  and  this,  as 
He  told  St.  John,  was  the  sign  which  should  indicate  to 
him,  and  possibly  through  him  to  St.  Peter,  which  was 

1  John  xiii.  24     This  is  the  reading  of  many  MSS.  (  M,  A,  D,  E,  F,  &c.), 
and  of  our  version;  but  many  good  MSS.  (B,  C,  L)  read  etVe  ris  eVrt;  as 
though  St.  Peter  assumed  that  the  beloved  disciple,  at  any  rate,  must 
know  the  secret.     Perhaps  the  true  rendering  should  be,  "  Say"  (to  Jesus), 
"Who  is  it?" 

2  John    xiii.  23,   dj/o/cffjuei/os   ei/   TO?   KoXTTCf-   ver.  25,  eTwretrhv  eVi  rb  ffrrjdos 
(» ,  A,  D,  &c.).      The  oSrus  of  B,  C,  L  makes  it  still  more  graphic.     The 
impression  made  by  this  affectionate  change  of  attitude  may  be  seen  from 
John  xxi.  20  (cu/eireo'ey),  and  the  change  from  K^ATTOS  to  arrrjOos  marks  the 
eye-witness. 

3  We  can  hardly  argue  from  rb  rpvfixiov  that  there  was  only  one  dish, 
though  this  is  in  itself  probable  enough ;  nor  need  T^V  &PTOV  (Matt.  xxvi. 
26)  imply  that  there  was  but  one  loaf. 


288  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

the  guilty  member  of  the  little  band.  And  then  He 
added  aloud,  in  words  which  can  have  but  one  signifi- 
cance, in  words  the  most  awful  and  crushing  that  ever 
passed  His  lips,  "  The  Son  of  Man  goeth  indeed,  as  it  is 
written  of  Him ;  but  woe  unto  that  man  by  whom  the 
Son  of  Man  is  betrayed  !  It  were  good  for  that  man  if 
he  had  not  been  born !"  "Words,"  it  has  been  well  said, 
"  of  immeasurable  ruin,  words  of  immeasurable  woe  "• 
and  the  more  terrible  because  uttered  by  the  lips  of 
immeasurable  Love ;  words  capable,  if  any  were  capable, 
of  revealing  to  the  lost  soul  of  the  traitor  all  the  black 
gulf  of  horror  that  was  yawning  before  his  feet.  He 
must  have  known  something  of  what  had  passed;  he 
may  well  have  overheard  some  fragment  of  the  conversa- 
tion, or  at  least  have  had  a  dim  consciousness  that  in 
some  way  it  referred  to  him.  He  may  even  have  been 
aware  that  when  his  hand  met  the  hand  of  Jesus  over 
the  dish  there  was  some  meaning  in  the  action.  When 
the  others  were  questioning  among  themselves  "which 
was  the  traitor?"  he  had  remained  silent  in  the  defiant 
hardness  of  contempt  or  the  sullen  gloom  of  guilt ;  but 
now — stung,  it  may  be,  by  some  sense  of  the  shuddering 
horror  with  which  the  mere  possibility  of  his  guilt  was 
regarded — he  nerved  himself  for  the  shameful  and  shame- 
less question.  After  all  the  rest  had  sunk  into  silence, 
there  grated  upon  the  Saviour's  ear  that  hoarse  untimely 
whisper,  in  all  the  bitterness  of  its  defiant  mockery — not 
asking,  as  the  rest  had  asked,  in  loving  reverence,  "Lord, 
is  it  I  ?"  but  with  the  cold  formal  title,  "  Rabbi,  is  it  I  ?  " 
Then  that  low  unreproachful  answer,  "  Thou  hast  said," 
sealed  his  guilt.  The  rest  did  not  hear  it;  it  was 
probably  caught  by  Peter  and  John  alone ;  and  Judas 
ate  the  sop  which  Jesus  had  given  him,  and  after  the 


DEPARTURE   OF  JUDAS.  289 

sop  Satan  entered  into  him.     As  all  the  winds,  on  some 
night  of  storm,  riot  and  howl  through  the  rent  walls  of 
some  desecrated  shrine,  so  through  the  ruined  life  of 
Judas  envy  and  avarice,  and   hatred  and   ingratitude, 
were  rushing  all  at  once.      In  that  bewildering  chaos 
of  a  soul  spotted  with  mortal  guilt,  the   Satanic  had 
triumphed  over  the  human ;  in  that  dark  heart  earth  and 
hell  were  thenceforth  at  one ;  in  that  lost  soul  sin  had 
conceived  and  brought  forth  death.     "What  thou  art 
doing,  do  more  quickly,"  said  Jesus  to  him  aloud.     He 
knew  what  the  words  implied,  he  knew  that  they  meant, 
"  Thy  fell  purpose  is  matured,  carry  it  out  with  no  more 
of  these   futile    hypocrisies    and   meaningless    delays/' 
Judas    rose    from    the    feast.       The    innocent-hearted 
Apostles  thought  that  Jesus  had  bidden   him  go  out 
and  make  purchases  for  to-morrow's  Passover,  or  give 
something  out  of  the  common  store  which  should  enable 
the  poor  to  buy  their  Paschal  lamb.     And  so  from  the 
lighted  room,  from  the  holy  banquet,  from  the  blessed 
company,  from  the  presence  of  his  Lord,  he  went  imme- 
diatety  out,  and — as  the  beloved  disciple  adds,  with  a 
shudder   of  dread   significance   letting   the  curtain    of 
darkness  fall  for  ever  on  that  appalling  figure — "and  it 
was  night" 

We  cannot  tell  with  any  certainty  whether  this  took 

place  before  or  after  the  institution  of  the  Lord's  Supper 

—whether   Judas   partook   or   not   of  those    hallowed 

symbols.     Nor  can  we  tell  whether  at  all,  or,  if  at  all,  to 

what  extent,  our  Lord  conformed  the  minor  details  of 

His  last  supper  to  the  half-joyous,  half- mournful  customs 

of  the  Paschal  feast ;  nor,  again,  can  we  tell  how  far  the 

customs  of  the  Passover  in  that  day  resembled  those 

detailed  to  us  in  the  Eabbinic  writings.     Nothing  could 

t 


290  THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 

have  been  simpler  than  the  ancient  method  of  their  com- 
memorating their  deliverance  from  Egypt  and  from  the 
destroying  angel.  The  central  custom  of  the  feast  was 
the  hasty  eating  of  the  Paschal  lamb,  with  unleavened 
bread  and  bitter  herbs,  in  a  standing  attitude,  with  loins 
girt  and  shoes  upon  the  feet,  as  they  had  eaten  hastily 
on  the  night  of  their  deliverance.  In  this  way  the 
Passover  is  still  yearly  eaten  by  the  Samaritans  at  the 
summit  of  Gerizim,1  and  there  to  this  day  they  will 
hand  to  the  stranger  the  little  olive-shaped  morsel  of  un- 
leavened bread,  enclosing  a  green  fragment  of  wild  endive 
or  some  other  bitter  herb,  which  may  perhaps  resemble, 
except  that  it  is  not  dipped  in  the  dish,  the  very  ^wpiov 
which  Judas  received  at  the  hands  of  Christ.  But  even 
if  the  Last  Supper  was  a  Passover,  we  are  told  that  the 
Jews  had  long  ceased  to  eat  it  standing,  or  to  observe 
the  rule  which  forbade  any  guest  to  leave  the  house  till 
morning.  They  made,  in  fact,  many  radical  distinctions 
between  the  Egyptian  (onso  nosj  and  the  permanent  Pass- 
over (rvnvi  HDD)  which  was  subsequently  observed.  The 
latter  meal  began  by  filling  each  guest  a  cup  of  wine, 
over  which  the  head  of  the  family  pronounced  a  benedic- 
tion. After  this  the  hands  were  washed  in  a  bason  of 
water,  and  a  table  was  brought  in,  on  which  were  placed 
the  bitter  herbs,  the  unleavened  bread,  the  charoseth  (a 
dish  made  of  dates,  raisins,  and  vinegar),  the  paschal 
lamb,  and  the  flesh  of  the  cliagigali.  The  father  dipped 
a  piece  of  herb  in  the  charoseth,  ate  it,  with  a  benedic- 
tion, and  distributed  a  similar  morsel  to  all.  A  second 
cup  of  wine  was  then  poured  out ;  the  youngest  present 
inquired  the  meaning  of  the  paschal  night;  the  father 

1 1  was  present  at  this  interesting  celebration  on  Gerizirn,  on  April 
15, 1870. 


THE  LAST  SUPPER.  291 

replied  with  a  full  account  of  the  observance  ;  the  first 
part  of  the  Hallel  (Ps.  cvii. — cxiv.)  was  then  sung,  a 
blessing  repeated,  a  third  cup  of  wine  was  drunk,  grace 
was  said,  a  fourth  cup  poured  out,  the  rest  of  the  Hallel 
(Ps.  cxv. — cxviii.)  sung,  and  the  ceremony  ended  by  the 
blessing  of  the  song.1  Some,  no  doubt,  of  the  facts 
mentioned  at  the  Last  Supper  may  be  brought  into 
comparison  with  parts  of  this  ceremony.  It  appears,  for 
instance,  that  the  supper  began  with  a  benediction,  and 
the  passing  of  a  cup  of  wine,  which  Jesus  bade  them 
divide  among  themselves,  saying  that  He  would  not 
drink  of  the  fruit  of  the  vine  until  the  kingdom  of  Grod 
should  come.2  The  other  cup — passed  round  after 
supper — has  been  identified  by  some  with  the  third  cup, 
the  C6s  lia-berdcliali  or  "  cup  of  blessing  "  of  the  Jewish 
ceremonial ; 3  and  the  hymn  which  was  sung  before  the 
departure  of  the  little  company  to  Grethsemane  has,  with 
much  probability,  been  supposed  to  be  the  second  part 
of  the  great  Hallel. 

The  relation  of  these  incidents  of  the  meal  to  the 
various  Paschal  observances  which  we  have  detailed  is, 
however,  doubtful.  What  is  not  doubtful,  and  what 
has  the  deepest  interest  for  all  Christians,  is  the  esta- 
blishment at  this  last  supper  of  the  Sacrament  of  the 
Eucharist.  Of  this  we  have  no  less  than  four  accounts — 
the  brief  description  of  St.  Paul  agreeing  in  almost  verbal 
exactness  with  those  of  the  Synoptists.  In  each  account 
we  clearly  recognise  the  main  facts  which  St.  Paul  ex- 
pressly tells  us  that  "  he  had  received  of  the  Lord  " 
viz.,  that  the  Lord  Jesus,  on  the  same  night  in  which 

1  See  the  admirable  article  on  the  "  Passover,"  by  Dr.  Ginsburg,  in 
Kitto's  Cyclopaedia. 

2  Luke  xxii.  17. 

3  1  Cor.  x.  16. 


292  THE   LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 

He  was  betrayed,  took  bread ;  and  when  He  had  given 
thanks,  He  brake  it,  and  said,  '  Take,  eat ;  this  is  my 
body  which  is  broken  for  you ;  this  do  in  remembrance 
of  me/  After  the  same  manner  also  He  took  the  cup 
when  He  had  supped,  saying,  '  This  cup  is  the  New 
Testament  in  my  blood ;  this  do  ye,  as  oft  as  ye  drink  it, 
in  remembrance  of  me/  J>1  Never  since  that  memorable 
evening  has  the  Church  ceased  to  observe  the  command- 
ment of  her  Lord ;  ever  since  that  day,  from  age  to  age, 
has  this  blessed  and  holy  Sacrament  been  a  memorial 
of  the  death  of  Christ,  and  a  strengthening  and  refresh- 
ing of  the  soul  by  the  body  and  blood,  as  the  body  is 
refreshed  and  strengthened  by  the  bread  and  wine.2 

1 1  Cor.  xi.  23—25. 

2  The  "  transubstantiation  "  and  "  sacramental "  controversies  which 
have  raged  for  centuries  round  the  Feast  of  Communion  and  Christian 
love  are  as  heart-saddening  as  they  are  strange  and  needless.  They  would 
never  have  arisen  if  it  had  been  sufficiently  observed  that  it  was  a  charac- 
teristic of  Christ's  teaching  to  adopt  the  language  of  picture  and  of 
emotion.  But  to  turn  metaphor  into  fact,  poetry  into  prose,  rhetoric  into 
logic,  parable  into  systematic  theology,  is  at  once  fatal  and  absurd.  It  was 
to  warn  us  against  such  error  that  Jesus  said  so  emphatically,  "  It  is  the 
spirit  that  quickeneth  ;  the  flesh  prqfiteth  nothing  :  the  words  that  I  speak 
unto  you,  they  are  spirit  and  they  are  life  "  (John  vi.  63). 


CHAPTEE  LYI. 

THE     LAST     DISCOURSE. 

"  So  the  All-Great  were  the  All-Loving  too ; 
So,  through  the  thunder,  conies  a  human  voice, 
Saying,  '  A  heart  I  made,  a  heart  beats  here.'  " 

E/.  BKOWNING,  Epistle  of  Karshish. 

No  sooner  had  Judas  left  the  room,  than,  as  though  they 
had  "been  relieved  of  some  ghastly  incubus,  the  spirits 
of  the  little  company  revived.  The  presence  of  that 
haunted  soul  lay  with  a  weight  of  horror  on  the  heart 
of  his  Master,  and  no  sooner  had  he  departed  than  the 
sadness  of  the  feast  seems  to  have  been  sensibly  relieved. 
The  solemn  exultation  which  dilated  the  soul  of  their 
Lord — that  joy  like  the  sense  of  a  boundless  sunlight 
behind  the  earth-born  mists — communicated  itself  to  the 
spirits  of  His  followers.  The  dull  clouds  caught  the 
sunset  colouring.  In  sweet  and  tender  communion, 
perhaps  two  hours  glided  away  at  that  quiet  banquet. 
Now  it  was  that,  conscious  of  the  impending  separation, 
and  fixed  unalterably  in  His  sublime  resolve,  He  opened 
His  heart  to  the  little  band  of  those  who  loved  Him,  and 
spoke  among  them  those  farewell  discourses  preserved  for 
us  by  St.  John  alone,  so  "  rarely  mixed  of  sadness  and 
joys,  and  studded  with  mysteries  as  with  emeralds/' 
"  Now,"  He  said,  as  though  with  a  sigh  of  relief,  "  now 


294  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

is  the  Son  of  Man  glorified,  and  God  is  glorified  in  Him." 
The  hour  of  that  glorification — the  glorification  which 
was  to  be  won  through  the  path  of  humility  and  agony 
— was  at  hand.     The  time  which  remained  for  Him  to 
be  with  them  was  short ;  as  He  had  said  to  the  Jews,  so 
now  He  said  to  them,  that  whither  He  was  going  they 
could  not  come.     And  in  telling  them  this,  for  the  first 
and  last  time,  He  calls  them  "  little  children."     In  that 
company  were  Peter  and  John,  men  whose  words  and 
deeds  should  thenceforth  influence  the  whole  world  of 
man  until  the  end — men  who  should  become  the  patron 
saints  of  nations — in  whose  honour  cathedrals  should  be 
built,  and  from  whom  cities  should  be  named  ;  but  their 
greatness  was  but  a  dim  faint  reflection  from  His  risen 
glory,  and  a  gleam  caught  from  that  spirit  which  He 
would  send.     Apart  from  Him  they  were  nothing,  and 
less    than  nothing — ignorant  Gralilsean  fishermen,   un- 
known and  unheard  of  beyond  their  natiye   village — 
having  no  intellect  and  no  knowledge  save  that  He  had 
thus   regarded   them   as    His    "little   children."     And 
though  they  could  not  follow  Him  whither  He  went, 
yet  He  did  not  say  to  them,  as  He  had  said  to  the 
Jews,1  that  they  should  seek  Him  and  not  find  Him. 
Nay,   more,   He  gave  them  a  new  commandment,  by 
which,  walking  in  His  steps,  and  being  known  by  all 
men   as   His    disciples,    they    should    find   Him    soon. 
That   new    commandment  was  that  they  should   love 
one  another.     In  one  sense,  indeed,  it  was  not  new.2 
Even  in  the   law  of  Moses   (Lev.   xix.   18),   not  only 
had   there    been   room  for   the  precept,    "  Thou    shalt 

1  John  vii.  34 ;  viii.  21. 

2  And  it  is  observable  that   the  word  used  is  Kaiv6s,  recens,  not  veos, 


THE  NEW  COMMANDMENT.  295 

love  thy  neighbour  as  thyself,"  but  that  precept  had 
been  regarded  by  wise  Jewish  teachers  as  cardinal  and 
inclusive — as  "  the  royal  law  according  to  the  Scripture," 
as  "  the  message  from  the  beginning." x  And  yet,  as  St. 
John  points  out  in  his  Epistle,  though  in  one  sense  old, 
it  was,  in  another,  wholly  new — new  in  the  new  pro- 
minence given  to  it — new  in  the  new  motives  by  which 
it  was  enforced — new  because  of  the  new  example  by 
which  it  was  recommended — new  from  the  new  influence 
which  it  was  henceforth  destined  to  exercise.  It  was 
Love,  as  the  test  and  condition  of  discipleship,  Love 
as  greater  than  even  Faith  and  Hope,  Love  as  the 
fulfilling  of  the  Law.3 

At  this  point  St.  Peter  interposed  a  question.  Before 
Jesus  entered  on  a  new  topic,  he  wished  for  an  explana- 
tion of  something  which  he  had  not  understood.  Why 
was  there  this  farewell  aspect  about  the  Lord's  discourse  ? 
"  Lord,  whither  goest  thou  ?" 

"  Whither  I  go  thou  canst  not  follow  me  now,  but 
thou  shalt  follow  me  afterwards." 

Peter  now  understood  that  death  was  meant,  but  why 
could  he  not  also  die  ?  was  he  not  as  ready  as  Thomas  to 
say,  "Let  us  also  go  that  we  may  die  with  Him?"3 
"  Lord,  why  cannot  I  follow  thee  now  ?  I  will  lay  down 
my  life  for  thy  sake." 

Why  ?     Our  Lord  might  have  answered,  Because  the 

1  James  ii.  8;  1  John  iii.  11. 

2  "  For  life,  with  all  it  yields  of  joy  and  woe, 
And  hope  and  fear— believe  the  aged  friend- 
Is  just  our  chance  o'  the  prize  of  learning  love, 
How  love  might  be,  hath  been  indeed,  and  is  ; 
And  that  we  hold  henceforth  to  the  uttermost 
Such  prize,  despite  the  envy  of  the  world, 
And  having  gained  truth,  keep  truth  ;  that  is  all." 

R.  BROWNING.  "A  Death  in  the  Desert" 
3  John  xi.  16. 


296 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


heart  is  deceitful  above  all  things  ;  because  thy  want  oi 
deep  humility  deceives  thee  ;  because  it  is  hidden,  even 
from  thyself,  how  much  there  still  is  of  cowardice  and 
self-seeking  in  thy  motives.  But  He  would  not  deal 
thus  with  the  noble-hearted  but  weak  and  impetuous 
Apostle,  whose  love  was  perfectly  sincere,  though  it  did 
not  stand  the  test.  He  spares  him  all  reproach  ;  only 
very  gently  He  repeats  the  question,  "  Wilt  thou  lay 
down  thy  life  for  my  sake  ?  Verily,  verily,  I  say  unto 
thee,  The  cock  shall  not  crow  till  thou  hast  denied  me 
thrice  !  "  Already  it  was  night  ;  ere  the  dawn  of  that 
fatal  morning  shuddered  in  the  eastern  sky  —  before  the 
cock-crow,  uttered  in  the  deep  darkness,  prophesied  that 
the  dawn  was  near  —  Jesus  would  have  begun  to  lay 
down  His  life  for  Peter  and  for  all  who  sin  ;  but  already 
by  that  time  Peter,  unmindful  even  of  this  warning, 
should  have  thrice  repudiated  his  Lord  and  Saviour, 
thrice  have  rejected  as  a  calumny  and  an  insult  the  mere 
imputation  that  he  even  knew  Him.  All  that  Jesus 
could  do  to  save  him  from  the  agony  of  this  moral 
humiliation  —  by  admonition,  by  tenderness,  by  prayer 
to  His  Heavenly  Father  —  He  had  done.  He  had 
prayed  for  him  that  his  faith  might  not  finally  fail.1 
Satan  indeed  had  obtained  permission  to  sift  them  all2 
as  wheat,  and,  in  spite  of  all  his  self-confidence,  in  spite 
of  all  his  protested  devotion,  in  spite  of  all  his  imaginary 
sincerity,  he  should  be  but  as  the  chaff.  It  is  remark- 
able that  in  the  parallel  passage  of  St.  Luke  occurs  the 
only  instance  recorded  in  the  Gospel  of  our  Lord  having 
addressed  Simon  by  that  name  of  Peter  which  He  had 
Himself  bestowed.  It  is  as  though  He  meant  to 


1  Luke  xxii.  32,  e'/cAc  61-77. 

2  Luke  xxii.  31, 


.     Of.  Amos  ix.  9. 


"HE   THAT  HATH  NO   SWORD."  297 

remind  the  Man  of  Kock  that  his  strength  lay,  not  in 
himself,  but  in  that  good  confession  which  he  once  had 
littered.  And  yet  Christ  held  out  to  him  a  gracious 
hope.  He  should  repent  and  return  to  the  Lord  whom 
he  should  deny,  and,  when  that  day  should  come,  Jesus 
bade  him  show  that  truest  and  most  acceptable  proof  of 
penitence  —  the  strengthening  of  others.  And  if  his  fall 
gave  only  too  terrible  a  significance  to  his  Saviour's 
warnings,  yet  his  repentance  nobly  fulfilled  those  con- 
solatory prophecies  ;  and  it  is  most  interesting  to  find 
that  the  very  word  which  Jesus  had  used  to  him  recurs 
in  his  Epistle  in  a  connection  which  shows  how  deeply 
it  had  sunk  into  his  soul.1 

But  Jesus  wished  His  Apostles  to  feel  that  the  time 
was  come  when  all  was  to  be  very  different  from  the  old 
spring-  tide  of  their  happy  mission  days  in  Galilee.  Then 
He  had  sent  them  forth  without  purse  or  scrip  or 
sandals,  and  yet  they  had  lacked  nothing.  But  the  purse 
and  the  scrip  were  needful  now  —  even  the  sword  might 
become  a  fatal  necessity  —  and  therefore  "  he  that  hath  no 
sword  let  him  sell  his  garment  and  buy  one."2  The  very 
tone  of  the  expression  showed  that  it  was  not  to  be  taken 
in  strict  literalness.  It  was  our  Lord's  custom  —  because 
His  words,  which  were  spoken  for  all  time,  were  intended 
to  be  fixed  as  goads  and  as  nails  in  a  sure  place  —  to 
clothe  His  moral  teachings  in  the  form  of  vivid  metaphor 
and  searching  paradox.  It  was  His  object  now  to  warn 
them  of  a  changed  condition,  in  which  they  must  expect 
hatred,  neglect,  opposition,  and  in  which  even  self- 
defence  might  become  a  paramount  duty  ;  but,  as  though 


1  Luke  xxii.  32,  eV/aTpe^as  <rr^pi(rov  rovs  aSeXtyovs.      Of.  1  Pet.  V.  10. 

2  It  is  hardly  worth  observing  that  to  render  /*ax«*pou  "  knives  "  in  this 
passage  is  absurd. 


298  THE   LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

to  warn  them  clearly  that  He  did  not  mean  any  imme- 
diate effort — as  though  beforehand  to  discourage  any 
blow  struck  in  defence  of  that  life  which  He  willingly 
resigned — He  added  that  the  end  was  near,  and  that  in 
accordance  with  olden  prophecy  He  should  be  numbered 
with  the  transgressors.1  But  as  usual  the  Apostles  care- 
lessly and  ignorantly  mistook  His  words,  seeing  in  them 
no  spiritual  lesson,  but  only  the  barest  and  baldest  literal 
meaning.  "  Lord,  behold  here  are  two  swords,"  was 
their  almost  childish  comment  on  His  words.  Two 
swords ! — as  though  that  were  enough  to  defend  from 
physical  violence  His  sacred  life !  as  though  that  were  an 
adequate  provision  for  Him  who,  at  a  word,  might  have 
commanded  more  than  twelve  legions  of  angels  !  as 
though  such  feeble  might,  wielded  by  such  feeble  hands, 
could  save  Him  from  the  banded  hate  of  a  nation  of  His 
enemies  !  "  It  is  enough/'  He  sadly  said.  It  was  not 
needful  to  pursue  the  subject ;  the  subsequent  lesson  in 
Gethsemane  would  unteach  them  their  weak  misappre- 
hensions of  His  words.  He  dropped  the  subject,  and 
waiving  aside  their  proffered  swords,  proceeded  to  that 
tenderer  task  of  consolation,  about  which  He  had  so 
many  things  to  say. 

He  bade  them  not  be  troubled;  they  believed,  and 
their  faith  should  find  its  fruition.  He  was  but  leaving 
them  to  prepare  for  them  a  home  in  the  many  mansions 
of  His  Father's  house.  They  knew  whither  He  was 
going,  and  they  knew  the  way. 

"  Lord,  we  know  not  whither  thou  goest,  and  how 
can  we  know  the  way  ?  "  is  the  perplexed  answer  of  the 
melancholy  Thomas. 

1  Luke   xxii.   37.      (Mark  xv.    28  is   spurious.      It   is  not   found    in 
N,  A,  B,  C,  D.)     See  Excursus  XI.,  "  Old  Testament  Quotations." 


"LORD,  SHOW  US  THE  FATHER."  299 

"  I  am  the  Way,  the  Truth,  and  the  Life/'  answered    ' 
Jesus ;  "  no  man  cometh  unto  the  Father  hut  by  me. 
If  ye  had  known  me,  ye  should  have  known  my  Father 
also ;  and  from  henceforth  ye  know  Him,  and  have  seen 
Him." 

Again  came    one   of  those    na'ive  interruptions — so 
faithfully  and  vividly  recorded  hy  the  Evangelist — which 
yet  reveal  such  a  depth  of  incapacity  to  understand,  so 
profound  a  spiritual  ignorance  after  so  long  a  course  of 
divine  training.1     And  we  may  well  he  thankful  that 
the  simplicity  and  ignorance   of  these  Apostles  is  thus 
frankly  and  humbly  recorded;    for  nothing  can  more 
powerfully  tend  to  prove  the  utter  change  which  must 
have  passed  over  their  spirits,  before  men  so  timid,  so 
carnal,  so  Judaic,  so  unenlightened,  could  be  transformed 
into  the  Apostles  whose  worth  we  know,  and  who — in- 
spired by  the  facts  which  they  had  seen,  and  by  the 
Holy  Spirit  who  gave   them  wisdom   and  utterance — 
became,  before  their  short  lives  were  ended  by  violence, 
the  mightiest  teachers  of  the  world. 

"  Lord,  show  us  the  Father,"  said  Philip  of  Beth- 
saida,  "  and  it  sufficeth  us  !  " 

Show  us  the  Father  !  what  then  did  Philip  expect  ? 
Some  earth-shaking  epiphany?  Some  blinding  splen- 
dour in  the  heavens  ?  Had  he  not  yet  learnt  that  He 
who  is  invisible  cannot  be  seen  by  mortal  eyes  ;  that  the 
finite  cannot  attain  to  the  vision  of  the  Infinite  ;  that 


1  It  is  almost  needless  to  remark  how  utterly  inconsistent  are  some  of 
the  modern  theories  about  the  "  tendency "  origin  of  St.  John's  Gospel 
with  the  extraordinary  vividness  and  insight  into  character  displayed  by 
this  narrative.  If  this  discourse,  and  the  incidents  which  accompanied  it, 
were  otherwise  than  real,  the  obscure  Gnostic  who  is  supposed  to  have 
invented  it  must  have  been  one  of  the  greatest  and  most  spiritually-minded 
men  of  genius  whom  the  world  has  ever  seen ! 


300  THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 

they  who  would  see  God  must  see  no  manner  of  simili- 
tudes ;  that  His  awful  silence  can  only  be  broken  to 
us  through  the  medium  of  human  voices,  His  being 
only  comprehended  by  means  of  the  things  that  He 
hath  made  ?  And  had  he  wholly  failed  to  discover 
that  for  these  three  years  he  had  been  walking  with 
God  ?  that  neither  he,  nor  any  other  mortal  man,  could 
ever  know  more  of  God  in  this  world  than  that  which 
should  be  revealed  of  Him  by  "  the  only -begot  ten  Son 
which  is  in  the  bosom  of  the  Father  ? " 

Again  there  was  no  touch  of  anger,  only  a  slight 
accent  of  pained  surprise  in  the  quiet  answer,  "  Have  I 
been  so  long  with  you,  and  yet  hast  thou  not  ki\own  me, 
Philip  ?  He  that  hath  seen  me  hath  seen  the  Father, 
and  how  sayest  thou  then,  Show  us  the  Father  ?" 

And  then  appealing  to  His  words  and  to  His  works 
as  only  possible  by  the  indwelling  of  His  Father,  He 
proceeded  to  unfold  to  them  the  coming  of  the  Holy 
Ghost,  and  how  that  Comforter  dwelling  in  them  should 
make  them  one  with  the  Father  and  with  Him. 

But  at  this  point  Judas  Lebbseus  had  a  difficulty.1 
He  had  not  understood  that  the  eye  can  only  see  that 
which  it  possesses  the  inherent  power  of  seeing.  He 
could  not  grasp  the  fact  that  God  can  become  visible 
to  those  alone  the  eyes  of  whose  understanding  are 
open  so  that  they  can  discern  spiritual  things.  "  Lord, 
how  is  it,"  he  asked,  "  that  thou  wilt  manifest  thyself 
unto  us,  and  not  to  the  world  ?  " 

The  difficulty  was  exactly  of  the  same  kind  as 
Philip's  had  been — the  total  inability  to  distinguish 
between  a  physical  and  a  spiritual  manifestation ;  and 
without  formally  removing  it,  Jesus  gave  them  all, 

1  John  xiv.  22.     The  v.  1.  'Ia/co»8os  is  curious. 


THE  GREAT  HALLEL.  301 

once  more,  the  true  clue  to  the  comprehension  of  His 
words — that  God  lives  with  them  that  love  Him,  and 
that  the  proof  of  love  is  obedience.  For  all  further 
teaching  He  referred  them  to  the  Comforter  whom  He 
was  about  to  send,  who  should  bring  all  things  to  their 
remembrance.  And  now  He  breathes  upon  them  His 
blessing  of  peace,  meaning  to  add  but  little  more, 
because  His  conflict  with  the  prince  of  this  world 
should  now  begin. 

At  this  point  of  the  discourse  there  was  a  movement 
among  the  little  company.  "Arise/'  said  Jesus,  "let 
us  go  hence." 

They  rose  from  the  table,  and  united  their  voices  in 
a  hymn  which  may  well  have  been  a  portion  of  the 
great  Hallel,  and  not  improbably  the  116th,  117th,  and 
118th  Psalms.  What  an  imperishable  interest  do  these 
Psalms  derive  from  such  an  association,  and  how  full  of 
meaning  must  many  of  the  verses  have  been  to  some 
of  them !  With  what  intensity  of  feeling  must  they 
have  joined  in  singing  such  words  as  these — "  The 
sorrows  of  death  compassed  me,  the  pains  of  hell  gat  hold 
upon  me  ;  I  found  trouble  and  sorrow.  Then  called  I 
upon  the  name  of  the  Lord ;  0  Lord,  I  beseech  thee, 
deliver  my  soul;"  or  again,  "  What  shall  I  render  unto 
the  Lord  for  all  His  benefits  toward  me  ?  I  will  take 
the  cup  of  salvation,  and  call  upon  the  name  of  the 
Lord;"  or  once  again,  "Thou  hast  thrust  sore  at  me 
that  I  might  fall :  but  the  Lord  helped  me.  The 
Lord  is  my  strength  and  my  song,  and  is  become  my 
salvation.  The  stone  which  the  builders  refused  is 
become  the  head- stone  in  the  corner.  This  is  the  Lord's 
doing ;  it  is  marvellous  in  our  eyes." 

Before  they  started  for  their  moonlight  walk  to  the 


302 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


Garden  of  Gethsemane,  perhaps  while  yet  they  stood 
around  their  Lord  when  the  Hallel  was  over,  He  once 
more  spoke  to  them.  First  He  told  them  of  the  need 
of  closest  union  with  Him,  if  they  would  bring  forth 
fruit,  and  be  saved  from  destruction.  He  clothed  this 
lesson  in  the  allegory  of  "  the  Vine  and  the  Branches." 
There  is  no  need  to  find  any  immediate  circumstance 
which  suggested  the  metaphor,  beyond  the  "  fruit  of  the 
vine  "  of  which  they  had  been  partaking  ;  but  if  any 
were  required,  we  might  suppose  that,  as  He  looked  out 
into  the  night,  He  saw  the  moonlight  silvering  the 
leaves  of  a  vine  which  clustered  round  the  latticed 
window,  or  falling  on  the  colossal  golden  vine  which 
wreathed  one  of  the  Temple  gates.  But  after  impress- 
ing this  truth  in  the  vivid  form  of  parable,  He  showed 
them  how  deep  a  source  of  joy  it  would  be  to  them  in 
the  persecutions  which  awaited  them  from  an  angry 
world  ;  and  then  in  fuller,  plainer,  deeper  language  than 
He  had  ever  used  before,  He  told  them,  that,  in  spite 
of  all  the  anguish  with  which  they  contemplated  the 
coming  separation  from  Him,  it  was  actually  better  for 
them  that  His  personal  presence  should  be  withdrawn 
in  order  that  His  spiritual  presence  might  be  yet  nearer 
to  them  than  it  ever  had  been  before.  This  would  be 
effected  by  the  coming  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  when  He 
who  was  now  with  them  should  be  ever  in  them.  The 
mission  of  that  Comforter  should  be  to  convince1  the 
world  of  sin,  of  righteousness,  and  of  judgment,  and 
He  should  guide  them  into  all  truth,  and  show  them 
things  to  come.  "He  shall  glorify  me;  for  He  shall 
receive  of  mine,  and  show  it  unto  you."  And  now  He 
was  going  to  His  Father  ;  a  little  while,  and  they  should 


John  xvi.  8, 


Of.  John  viii.  9,  46  ;  Jude  15,  &c. 


RETURNING  TO  THE  FATHER,.  303 

not  see  Him ;  and  again  a  little  while,  and  they  should 
see  Him. 

The  uncertainty  as  to  what  He  meant  carried  the 
disciples  once  more  to  questions  among  themselves 
during  one  of  the  solemn  pauses  of  His  discourse. 
They  would  gladly  have  asked  Him,  but  a  deep  awe  was 
upon  their  spirits,  and  they  did  not  dare.  Already  they 
had  several  times  broken  the  current  of  His  thoughts 
by  questions  which,  though  He  did  not  reprove  them, 
had  evidently  grieved  Him  by  their  emptiness,  and  by 
the  misapprehension  which  they  showed  of  all  that  He 
sought  to  impress  upon  them.  So  their  whispered 
questioning  died  away  into  silence,  but  their  Master 
kindly  came  to  their  relief.  This,  He  told  them,  was 
to  be  their  brief  hour  of  anguish,  but  it  was  to  be 
followed  by  a  joy  of  which  man  could  not  rob  them; 
and  to  that  joy  there  need  be  no  limit,  for  whatever 
might  be  their  need  they  had  but  to  ask  the  Father,  and 
it  should  be  fulfilled.1  To  that  Father  who  Himself 

1  It  is  one  of  several  minute  coincidences  (unavoidably  obliterated  in 
the  English  version)  which  show  how  uniformly  our  Lord  claimed  His 
divine  origin,  that  whereas  He  used  the  word  alrw,  "  peto,"  of  all  other 
prayers  to  God — being  the  word  used  of  petitions  to  one  who  is  superior — 
the  word  He  uses  to  describe  His  own  prayers  is  epovro),  "  rogo,"  which  is 
(strictly  speaking)  the  request  of  an  equal  from  an  equal.  "  'Epwrav  notat 
familiarem  petendi  modum  qualis  inter  colloquentes  solet  esse.  Saepius  de 
precibus  Jesu  occurrit  (xvi.  26 ;  xvii.  9,  15,  20)  semel  tantum  de  precibus 
fidelium  "  (Lampe).  Again,  when  He  bids  His  disciples  believe  on  Him 
(John  xiv.  1),  the  phrase  used  is  7n<n-eva>  ets,  which  never  occurs  elsewhere 
except  of  God,  whereas  the  ordinary  belief  and  trust  in  man  is  expressed  by 
THo-retta,  with  the  dative  ( John  i.  12;  ii.  23;  Matt,  xviii.  6).  Again,  when 
He  speaks  of  God  as  His  Father  the  phrase  always  is  6  Trarfp,  or  6  Trar^p 
P.OV  ;  but  when  He  speaks  of  God  as  our  Father,  the  word  has  no  article. 

This   is  most   strikingly  seen  in  John  XX.  17,  avafiaivca  irpbs   rbis  irarepa  IJLOV 

Kal  Trcn-e'pa  vp.wv  ;  where,  as  St.  Augustine  truly  remarks,  "  Non  ait  Patrem 
nostrum ;  aliter  ergo  meum,  aliter  vestrum ;  natura  meum,  gratia  vestrum  " 
(Tract,  cxxi.).  "  Nos  per  ilium,"  says  Bengel,  "  ille  singularissime  et 
primo." 


304 


THE   LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


loved  them,  for  their  belief  in  Him — to  that  Father, 
from  whom  He  came,  He  was  now  about  to  return. 

The  disciples  were  deeply  grateful  for  these  plain  and 
most  consoling  words.  Once  more  they  were  unanimous 
in  expressing  their  belief  that  He  came  forth  from  God. 
But  Jesus  sadly  checked  their  enthusiasm.  His  words 
had  been  meant  to  give  them  peace  in  the  present,  and 
courage  and  hope  for  the  future  ;  yet  He  knew  and  told 
them  that,  in  spite  of  all  that  they  said,  the  hour  was 
now  close  at  hand  when  they  should  all  be  scattered 
in  selfish  terror,  and  leave  Him  alone — yet  not  alone, 
because  the  Father  was  with  Him. 

And  after  these  words  He  lifted  up  His  eyes  to 
heaven,  and  uttered  His  great  High-Priestly  prayer: 
first,  that  His  Father  would  invest  His  voluntary 
humanity  with  the  eternal  glory  of  which  He  had 
emptied  Himself  when  He  took  the  form  of  a  servant ; 
next,  that  He  would  keep  through  His  own  name  these 
His  loved  ones  who  had  walked  with  Him  in  the  world  ;3 
and  then  that  He  would  sanctify  and  make  perfect  not 
these  alone,  but  all  the  myriads,  all  the  long  generations, 
which  should  hereafter  believe  through  their  word. 

And  when  the  tones  of  this  divine  prayer  were 
hushed,  they  left  the  guest-chamber  and  stepped  into 
the  moonlit  silence  of  the  Oriental  night. 

1  The  E.  Y.  misses  the  difference  of  tense  and  meaning  in  John  xvii.  12, 
fT-fipow,  conservabam ;  e<f>v\aj-a,  custodivi. 


CHAPTER   LVII. 

GETHSEMANE  -  THE  AGONY  AND  THE  ARREST. 

"Non  mortem  horruit  simpliciter  .  .  .  peccata  vero  nostra,  quorum 
onus  illi  erat  impositum,  sua  ingente  mole  eum  premebant."  —  CALVIN 
(ad  Matt.  xxvi.  37). 

THEIR  way  led  them  through  one  of  the  city  gates  — 
probahly  that  which  then  corresponded  to  the  present 
gate  of  St.  Stephen  —  down  the  steep  sides  of  the  ravine, 
across  the  wady  of  the  Kidron,1  which  lay  a  hundred  feet 
below,  and  np  the  green  and  quiet  slope  beyond  it.  To 
one  who  has  visited  the  scene  at  that  very  season  of  the 


1  The  reading  of  St.  John,  irfpav  TOV  ^et/iappou  r<av  KeSpwu  (xviii.  1  ;  N,  D, 
rov  /ce'Spou),  is  probably  no  more  than  a  curious  instance  of  the  Grecising  of  a 
Hebrew  name,  just  as  the  brook  Kishon  is  in  1  Kings  xviii.  40  called  x*fa<*ppos 
HI*™*  (of  the  Ivies)  :  cf  .  LXX.,  2  Sam.  xv.  23  ;  Jos.  Awtt.  ix.  7,  §  3.  We 
do  not  hear  of  any  cedars  there,  but  even  if  r&v  /ceSpwi/  be  the  true  reading, 
the  word  may  have  been  surfrappe  by  the  Evangelist  himself  ;  rov  K&P&V 
is,  however,  the  most  probable  reading.  The  Kidron  is  a  ravine  rather 
than  a  brook.  No  water  runs  in  it  except  occasionally,  after  unusually 
heavy  rains.  Nor  can  we  see  any  special  significance  —  any  "pathetic 
fallacy  "  —  in  the  name  Kidron,  as  though  it  meant  (Stier  vii.  220)  "  the 
dark  brook  in  the  deep  valley,"  with  allusion  to  David's  humiliation 
(1  Kings  xv.  13),  and  idolatrous  abominations  (2  Kings  xxiii.  4,  &c.),  and 
the  fact  that  it  was  a  kind  of  sewer  for  the  Temple  refuse.  "  There,"  says 
Stier,  "  surrounded  by  such  memorials  and  typical  allusions,  the  Lord  de- 
scends into  the  dust  of  humiliation  and  anguish,  as  His  glorification  had 
taken  place  upon  the  top  of  the  mountain."  This  attempt  to  see  more  in 
the  words  of  the  Gospel  than  they  can  fairly  be  supposed  to  convey  would 
soon  lead  to  all  the  elaborate  mysticism  and  trifling  of  Rabbinic  exegesis. 


306  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 

year  and  at  that  very  hour  of  the  night — who  has  felt 
the  solemn  hush  of  the  silence  even  at  this  short 
distance  from  the  city  wall — who  has  seen  the  deep 
shadows  flung  by  the  great  boles  of  the  ancient  olive- 
trees,  and  the  chequering  of  light  that  falls  on  the  sward 
through  their  moonlight-silvered  leaves,  it  is  more  easy 
to  realise  the  awe  which  crept  over  those  few  Gralilseans, 
as  in  almost  unbroken  silence,  with  something  perhaps 
of  secrecy,  and  with  a  weight  of  mysterious  dread  brood- 
ing over  their  spirits,  they  followed  Him,  who  with 
bowed  head  and  sorrowing  heart  walked  before  them  to 
His  willing  doom.1 

We  are  told  but  of  one  incident  in  that  last  and 
memorable  walk  through  the  midnight  to  the  familiar 
Garden  of  Grethsemane.2  It  was  a  last  warning  to 
the  disciples  in  general,  to  St.  Peter  in  particular.  It 
may  be  that  the  dimness,  the  silence,  the  desertion  of 
their  position,  the  dull  echo  of  their  footsteps,  the 
stealthy  aspect  which  their  movements  wore,  the 
agonising  sense  that  treachery  was  even  now  at  work, 
was  beginning  already  to  produce  an  icy  chill  of 
cowardice  in  their  hearts ;  sadly  did  Jesus  turn  and 
say  to  them  that  on  that  very  night  they  should  all  be 
offended  in  Him — all  find  their  connection  with  Him  a 
stumbling-block  in  their  path — and  the  old  prophecy 
should  be  fulfilled,  "  I  will  smite  the  shepherd,  and  the 
sheep  shall  be  scattered  abroad."  And  yet,  in  spite  of 
all,  as  a  shepherd  would  He  go  before  them,  leading  the 
way  to  Galilee  ?3  They  all  repudiated  the  possibility  of 
such  an  abandonment  of  their  Lord,  and  Peter,  touched 


1  Luke  xxii.  39. 

2  Matt.  xxvi.  31—35;  Mark  xiv.  27—31. 

3  Zech.  xiii.  7 ;  Matt.  xxvi.  32,  irpod 


'GETHSEMAKE.  307 

already  by  this  apparent  distrust  of  His  stability,  haunted 
perhaps  by  some  dread  lest  Jesus  felt  any  doubt  of  him, 
was  loudest  and  most  emphatic  in  his  denial.  Even  if 
all  should  be  offended,  yet  never  would  he  be  offended, 
Was  it  a  secret  misgiving  in  his  own  heart  which  made 
his  asseveration  so  prominent  and  so  strong  ?  Not  even 
the  repetition  of  the  former  warning,  that,  ere  the  cock 
should  crow,  he  would  thrice  have  denied  his  Lord, 
could  shake  him  from  his  positive  assertion  that  even 
the  necessity  of  death  itself  should  never  drive  him  to 
such  a  sin.  And  Jesus  only  listened  in  mournful  silence 
to  vows  which  should  so  soon  be  scattered  into  air. 

So  they  came  to  Grethsemane,  which  is  about  half  a 
mile  from  the  city  walls.  It  was  a  garden  or  orchard1 
marked  probably  by  some  slight  enclosure ;  and  as  it 
had  been  a  place  of  frequent  resort  for  Jesus  and  His 
followers,  we  may  assume  that  it  belonged  to  some 
friendly  owner.  The  name  Gethsemane  means  "  the 
oil-press,"  and  doubtless  it  was  so  called  from  a  press 
to  crush  the  olives  yielded  by  the  countless  trees  from 
which  the  hill  derives  its  designation.  Any  one  who 
has  rested  at  noonday  in  the  gardens  of  En-gannim  or 
Nazareth  in  spring,  and  can  recall  the  pleasant  shade 
yielded  by  the  interlaced  branches  of  olive  and  pome- 
granate, and  fig  and  myrtle,  may  easily  imagine  what 
kind  of  spot  it  was.  The  traditional  site,  venerable  and 
beautiful  as  it  is  from  the  age  and  size  of  the  grey 
gnarled  olive-trees,  of  which  one  is  still  known  as  the 
Tree  of  the  Agony,  is  perhaps,  too  public — being,  as  it 
always  must  have  been,  at  the  angle  formed  by  the  two 
paths  which  lead  over  the  summit  and  shoulder  of 
Olivet — to  be  regarded  as  the  actual  spot.  It  was  more 

1  KTJTTOS  (John  xviii.  1) ;  x^p'10"  (Matt.  xxvi.  36). 


308 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


probably  one  of  the  secluded  hollows  at  no  great  dis- 
tance from  it  which  witnessed  that  scene  of  awful  and 
pathetic  mystery.1  But  although  the  exact  spot  cannot 
be  determined  with  certainty,  the  general  position  of 
Gethsemane  is  clear,  and  then  as  now  the  chequering 
moonlight,  the  grey  leaves,  the  dark  brown  trunks,  the 
soft  greensward,  the  ravine  with  Olivet  towering  over  it 
to  the  eastward  and  Jerusalem  to  the  west,  must  have 
been  the  main  external  features  of  a  place  which  must 
be  regarded  with  undying  interest  while  Time  shall  be, 
as  the  place  where  the  Saviour  of  mankind  entered  alone 
into  the  Valley  of  the  Shadow. 

Jesus  knew  that  the  awful  hour  of  His  deepest 
humiliation  had  arrived — that  from  this  moment  till 
the  utterance  of  that  great  cry  with  which  He  expired, 
nothing  remained  for  Him  on  earth  but  the  torture  of 
physical  pain  and  the  poignancy  of  mental  anguish. 
All  that  the  human  frame  can  tolerate  of  suffering  was 
to  be  heaped  upon  His  shrinking  body ;  every  misery 
that  cruel  and  crushing  insult  can  inflict  was  to  weigh 
heavy  on  His  soul;  and  in  this  torment  of  body  and 
agony  of  soul  even  the  high  and  radiant  serenity  of  His 
divine  spirit  was  to  suffer  a  short  but  terrible  eclipse. 
Pain  in  its  acutest  sting,  shame  in  its  overwhelming 
brutality,  all  the  burden  of  the  sin  and  mystery  of  man's 

1 1  had  the  deep  and  memorable  happiness  of  being  able  to  see  Geth- 
semane with  two  friends,  unaccompanied  by  any  guide,  late  at  night  and 
under  the  full  glow  of  the  Paschal  moon,  on  the  night  of  April  14th,  1870. 
It  is  usually  argued  that  the  eight  old  time-hallowed  olive-trees  cannot 
reach  back  to  the  time  of  Christ,  because  Titus  cut  down  the  trees  all 
round  the  city.  This  argument  is  not  decisive;  but  still  it  is  more  pro- 
bable that  these  trees  are  only  the  successors  and  descendants  of  those 
which  have  always  given  its  name  to  the  sacred  hill.  It  is  quite  certain 
that  Gethsemane  must  have  been  near  this  spot,  and  the  tradition  which 
fixes  the  site  is  very  old. 


THE  AGONY.  309 

existence  in  its  apostacy  and  fall — this  was  what  He 
must  now  face  in  all  its  most  inexplicable  accumulation. 
But  one  thing  remained  before  the  actual  struggle,  the 
veritable  agony,  began.  He  had  to  brace  His  body, 
to  nerve  His  soul,  to  calm  His  spirit  by  prayer  and 
solitude  to  meet  that  hour  in  which  all  that  is  evil 
in  the  Power  of  Evil  should  wreak  its  worst  upon  the 
Innocent  and  Holy.  And  He  must  face  that  hour  alone : 
no  human  eye  must  witness,  except  through  the  twilight 
and  shadow,  the  depth  of  His  suffering.  Yet  He  would 
have  gladly  shared  their  sympathy;  it  helped  Him  in 
this  hour  of  darkness  to  feel  that  they  were  near,  and 
that  those  were  nearest  who  loved  Him  best.  "  Stay 
here,"  He  said  to  the  majority,  "while  I  go  there  and 
pray."  Leaving  them  to  sleep  on  the  damp  grass, 
each  wrapped  in  his  outer  garment,  He  took  with  Him 
Peter  and  James  and  John,  and  went  about  a  stone's - 
throw  farther.  It  was  well  that  Peter  should  face  all 
that  was  involved  in  allegiance  to  Christ :  it  was  well 
that  James  and  John  should  know  what  was  that  cup 
which  they  had  desired  pre-eminently  to  drink.  But 
soon  even  the  society  of  these  chosen  and  trusted  ones 
was  more  than  He  could  bear.  A  grief  beyond  utterance, 
a  struggle  beyond  endurance,  a  horror  of  great  darkness, 
a  giddiness  and  stupefaction  of  soul  overmastered  Him, 
as  with  the  sinking  swoon  of  an  anticipated  death.1  It 
was  a  tumult  of  emotion  which  none  must  see.  "  My 
soul,"  He  said,  "is  full  of  anguish,  even  unto  death. 


1  Matt.  xxvi.  37,  tfp£a.TO  \VTre7o-0ai  Kal  a^/J.ove'iv  ;  Mark  xiv.  33,  e/ 
Of.  Job  xviii.  20  (Aqu.,  a^^ov^a-ova-tv) ;  Ps.  cxvi.  11.  See  Pearson,  On 
the  Creed,  Art.  iv.  n.  The  derivation  may  be  from  fr  STj/iew,  "  I  am  carried 
away  from  myself;  "  or,  perhaps  more  probably,  from  aS^o-at,  "to  loathe." 
It  is  remarkable  that  this  verse  (Matt.  xxvi.  38),  and  John  xii.  27,  are  the 
only  passages  where  Jesus  used  the  word  tyvx^  of  Himself. 


310 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


Stay  here  and  keep  watch."  Reluctantly  He  tore  Him- 
self away  from  their  sustaining  tenderness  and  devotion,1 
and  retired  yet  farther,  perhaps  out  of  the  moonlight 
into  the  shadow.  And  there,  until  slumber  overpowered 
them,  they  were  conscious  of  how  dreadful  was  that 
paroxysm  of  prayer  and  suffering  through  which  He 
passed.  They  saw  Him  sometimes  on  His  knees,  some- 
times outstretched  in  prostrate  supplication  upon  the 
damp  ground;2  they  heard  snatches  of  the  sounds  of 
murmured  anguish  in  which  His  humanity  pleaded 
with  the  divine  will  of  His  Father.  The  actual  words 
might  vary,  but  the  substance  was  the  same  through- 
out. "  Abba,  Father,  all  things  are  possible  unto  Thee  ; 
take  away  this  cup  from  me ;  nevertheless,  not  what  I 
will,  but  what  Thou  wilt/'3 

And  that  prayer  in  all  its  infinite  reverence  and  awe 
was  heard  ;4  that  strong  crying  and  those  tears  were  not 
rejected.  We  may  not  intrude  too  closely  into  this 
scene.  It  is  shrouded  in  a  halo  and  a  mystery  into 
which  no  footstep  may  penetrate.  We,  as  we  contem- 
plate it,  are  like  those  disciples — our  senses  are  con- 
fused, our  perceptions  are  not  clear.  We  can  but  enter 
into  their  amazement  and  sore  distress.  Half  waking, 
half  oppressed  with  an  irresistible  weight  of  troubled 
slumber,  they  only  felt  that  they  were  dim  witnesses  of 
an  unutterable  agony,  far  deeper  than  anything  which 
they  could  fathom,  as  it  far  transcended  all  that,  even 

1  Luke  xxii.  41,  aireffiraaQi]  air'  O.VT&V.      Cf.  Acts  xxi.  1. 

2  Luke    xxii.   41,    0eta   TO.  y6va,Ta.       Matt.   XXvi.    39,   eireo'ey   eirt   vp^ffcairov 
O.VTOV. 

3  Nothing,  as  Dean  Alford  remarks,  could  prove  more  decisively  the 
insignificance  of  the  letter  in  comparison  with  the  spirit,  than  the  fact  that 
the  three  Evangelists  vary  in  the  actual  expression  of  the  prayer. 

4  Heb.  V.  7,  et<ra/cou<r0fts  dirb  TTJS 


THE  BLOODY  SWEAT.  311 

in  our  purest  moments,  we  can  pretend  to  understand. 
The  place  seems  haunted  by  presences  of  good  and  evil, 
struggling  in  mighty  but  silent  contest  for  the  eternal 
victory.     They  see  Him,  before  whom  the  demons  had 
fled   in   howling   terror,  lying   on  His   face  upon  the 
ground.     They  hear  that  voice  wailing  in  murmurs  of 
broken  agony,  which  had  commanded  the  wind  and  the 
sea,  and  they  obeyed  Him.     The  great  drops  of  anguish 
which  drop   from  Him  in  the  deathful  struggle,  look 
to  them  like  heavy  gouts  of  blood.     Under  the  dark 
shadows  of  the  trees,  amid  the  interrupted  moonlight,  it 
seems  to  them  that  there  is  an  angel  with  Him,  whoj 
supports  His  failing  strength,  who  enables  Him  to  risej 
victorious  from  those  first  prayers  with  nothing  but  the? 
crimson  traces  of  that  bitter  struggle  upon  His  brow.1 

And  whence  came  all  this  agonised  failing  of  heart, 
this  fearful  amazement,  this  horror  of  great  darkness,  this 
passion  which  almost  brought  Him  down  to  the  grave 
before  a  single  pang  had  been  inflicted  upon  Him — 
which  forced  from  Him  the  rare  and  intense  phenomenon 
of  a  blood-stained  sweat — which  almost  prostrated  body, 
and  soul,  and  spirit  with  one  final  blow  ?  Was  it  the 
mere  dread  of  death — the  mere  effort  and  determination 
to  face  that  which  He  foreknew  in  all  its  dreadfulness, 


1  The  verses  (Luke  xxii.  43,  44)  are  omitted  in  some  of  the  best  MSS. 
(e.g.,  even  A,  B,  and  the  first  corrector  of  M),  and  were  so  at  a  very  early  age. 
Professor  Westcott  thinks  that  the  varying  evidence  for  their  authenticity 
points  to  a  recension  of  the  Gospel  by  the  Evangelist  himself  (Introd., 
p.  306).  Olshausen  and  Lange  here  understand  the  angel  of  "  the  accession 
of  spiritual  power  " — "  the  angel  of  the  hearing  of  prayer  "  (verse  43,  #<j>0rj 
8e  a  v  T  $).  It  seems  certain  that  an  cujuarwS^s  ISp&s  under  abnormal  patho- 
logical circumstances  is  not  unknown;  and  even  if  it  were,  all  that  the 
Evangelist  says  is  eyeVero  6  ISp&s  avrov  &  ff  e  I  6p6(jifioi  ai^aTos,  K.  r.  A.  See 

Dr.  Stroud,  On   the  Physical    Cause   of  the   Death  of  Christ,  p.  183; 
Bynaeus,  De  Morte  Christi,  ii.  33. 


312 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


but  from  which,  nevertheless,  His  soul  recoiled  ?  There 
have  been  those  who  have  dared — I  can  scarcely  write  it 
without  shame  and  sorrow — to  speak  very  slightingly 
about  Gethsemane ;  to  regard  that  awful  scene,  from  the 
summit  of  their  ignorant  presumption,  with  an  almost 
contemptuous  dislike — to  speak  as  though  Jesus  had 
there  shown  a  cowardly  sensibility.  Thus,  at  the  very 
moment  when  we  should  most  wonder  and  admire,  they 

"  Not  even  from  the  Holy  One  of  Heaven 
Refrain  their  tongues  blasphemous."  l 

And  yet,  if  no  other  motive  influence  them — if  they 
merely  regard  Him  as  a  Prophet  preparing  for  a  cruel 
death — if  no  sense  of  decency,  no  power  of  sympathy, 
restrain  them  from  thus  insulting  even  a  Martyr's 
agony  at  the  moment  when  its  pang  was  most  intense — 
does  not  common  fairness,  does  not  the  most  ordinary 
historic  criticism,  show  them  how  cold  and  false,  if 
nothing  worse,  must  be  the  miserable  insensibility  which 
prevents  them  from  seeing  that  it  could  have  been  no 
mere  dread  of  pain,  no  mere  shrinking  from  death,  which 
thus  agitated  to  its  inmost  centre  the  pure  and  innocent 
soul  of  the  Son  of  Man  ? 2  Could  not  even  a  child  see 
how  inconsistent  would  be  such  an  hypothesis  with  that 
heroic  fortitude  which  fifteen  hours  of  subsequent  sleep- 
less agony  could  not  disturb — with  the  majestic  silence 
before  priest,  and  procurator,  and  king — with  the  en- 
durance from  which  the  extreme  of  torture  could  not 

1  Ps.  xl.  13. 

2  So  Celsus  (ap.  Orig.  ii.  24),  and  Julian  (Theod.  Mops. ;  Munter,  Fragm. 
Pair.  i.  121).    Yanini,  when  taken  to  the  scaffold,  boasted  his  superiority  to 
Jesus,    "  Illi  in  extremis  prae  timore  imbellis   sudor ;  ego  imperturbatus 
morior  "  (Grammond,  Hist.  Gall.  iii.  211).   The  Jews  made  the  same  taunt, 
R.  Isaak  b.  Abraham  (Chissuh  Emunah  in  Wagenseil).     The  passages  are 
all  quoted  by  Hofmann,  p.  439. 


NOT  FROM  FEAR  OF  DEATH.         313 

wring  one  cry — with  the  calm  and  infinite  ascendancy 
which  overawed  the  hardened  and  worldly  Eoman  into 
involuntary  respect — with  the  undisturbed  supremacy  of 
soul  which  opened  the  gates  of  Paradise  to  the  repentant 
malefactor,  and  breathed  compassionate  forgiveness  on 
the  apostate  priests  ?  The  Son  of  Man  humiliated  into 
prostration  by  the  mere  abject  fear  of  death,  which 
trembling  old  men,  and  feeble  maidens,  and  timid  boys 
— Si  Polycarp,  a  Blandina,  an  Attalus — have  yet  braved 
without  a  sigh  or  a  shudder,  solely  through  faith  in  His 
name !  Strange  that  He  should  be  thus  insulted  by 
impious  tongues,  who  brought  to  light  that  life  and 
immortality  from  whence  came  the 

"  Ruendi 

In  ferrum  mens  prona  viris,  animaeque  capaces 
Mortis,  et  ignavum  rediturae  parcere  vitae  ! " l 

The  meanest  of  idiots,  the  coarsest  of  criminals,  have 
advanced  to  the  scaffold  without  a  tremor  or  a  sob,  and 
many  a  brainless  and  brutal  murderer  has  mounted  the 
ladder  with  a  firm  step,  and  looked  round  upon  a  yelling 
mob  with  an  unflinching  countenance.  To  adopt  the 
commonplace  of  orators,  "  There  is  no  passion  in  the 
mind  of  man  so  weak  but  it  mates  and  masters  the  fear 
of  death.  Eevenge  triumphs  over  death;  love  slights 
it ;  honour  aspireth  to  it ;  grief  flieth  to  it ;  fear  pre- 
occupateth  it.  A  man  would  die,  though  he  were  neither 
valiant  nor  miserable,  only  upon  a  weariness  to  do  the 
same  thing  so  oft  over  and  over.  It  is  no  less  worthy 
to  observe  how  little  alteration  in  good  spirits  the  ap- 
proaches of  death  make  :  for  they  appear  to  be  the  same 
men  till  the  last  instant."  It  is  as  natural  to  die  as  to 
be  born.  The  Christian  hardly  needs  to  be  told  that  it 

1  Luc.  PJiars,  i.  455. 


314 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


was  no  such  vulgar  fear  which  forced  from  his  Saviour 
that  sweat  of  blood.  No,  it  was  something  infinitely 
more  than  this  :  infinitely  more  than  the  highest  stretch 
of  our  imagination  can  realise.  It  was  something  far 
deadlier  than  death.  It  was  the  burden  and  the  mystery 
of  the  world's  sin  which  lay  heavy  on  His  heart ;  it  was 
the  tasting,  in  the  divine  humanity  of  a  sinless  life, 
the  bitter  cup  which  sin  had  poisoned;  it  was  the 
bowing  of  Grodhead  to  endure  a  stroke  to  which  man's 
apostacy  had  lent  such  frightful  possibilities.  It  was 
the  sense,  too,  of  how  virulent,  how  frightful,  must 
have  been  the  force  of  evil  in  the  Universe  of  Grod  which 
could  render  necessary  so  infinite  a  sacrifice.  It  was  the 
endurance,  by  the  perfectly  guiltless,  of  the  worst  malice 
which  human  hatred  could  devise ;  it  was  to  experience 
in  the  bosom  of  perfect  innocence  and  perfect  love,  all 
that  was  detestable  in  human  ingratitude,  all  that  was 
pestilent  in  human  hypocrisy,  all  that  was  cruel  in 
human  rage.  It  was  to  brave  the  last  triumph  of 
Satanic  spite  and  fury,  uniting  against  His  lonely  head 
all  the  flaming  arrows  of  Jewish  falsity  and  heathen 
corruption — the  concentrated  wrath  of  the  rich  and 
respectable,  the  yelling  fury  of  the  blind  and  brutal 
mob.  It  was  to  feel  that  His  own,  to  whom  He  came, 
loved  darkness  rather  than  light — that  the  race  of  the 
chosen  people  could  be  wholly  absorbed  in  one  insane 
repulsion  against  infinite  goodness  and  purity  and  love. 
Through  all  this  He  passed  in  that  hour  which, 
with  a  recoil  of  sinless  horror  beyond  our  capacity  to 
conceive,  foretasted  a  worse  bitterness  than  the  worst 
bitterness  of  death.  And  after  a  time — victorious  indeed, 
but  weary  almost  to  fainting,  like  His  ancestor  Jacob, 
with  the  struggle  of  those  supplications — He  came  to 


THE  PRAYERS  IN  THE  AGONY.         315 

seek  one  touch  of  human  support  and  human  sympathy 
from  the  chosen  of  the  chosen — His  three  Apostles. 
Alas  !  He  found  them  sleeping.  It  was  an  hour  of  fear 
and  peril ;  yet  no  certainty  of  danger,  no  love  for  Jesus, 
no  feeling  for  His  unspeakable  dejection,  had  sufficed  to 
hold  their  eyes  waking.  Their  grief,  their  weariness, 
their  intense  excitement,  had  sought  relief  in  heavy 
slumber.  Even  Peter,  after  all  his  impetuous  promises, 
lay  in  deep  sleep,  for  his  eyes  were  heavy.  "  Simon, 
sleepest  thou?"  was  all  He  said.  As  the  sad  reproachful 
sentence  fell  on  their  ears,  and  startled  them  from  their 
slumbers,  "  Were  ye  so  unable,"  He  asked,  "to  watch 
with  me  a  single  hour  ?  Watch  and  pray  that  ye  enter 
not  into  temptation."  And  then,  not  to  palliate  their 
failure,  but  rather  to  point  out  the  peril  of  it,  "  The 
spirit,"  He  added,  "  is  willing,  but  the  flesh  is  weak." 

Once  more  He  left  them,  and  again,  with  deeper  in- 
tensity, repeated  the  same  prayer  as  before,  and  in  a  pause 
of  His  emotion  came  back  to  His  disciples.  But  they 
had  once  more  fallen  asleep ;  nor,  when  He  awoke  them, 
could  they,  in  their  heaviness  and  confusion,  find  any- 
thing to  say  to  Him.  Well  might  He  have  said,  in  the 
words  of  David,  "  Thy  rebuke  hath  broken  my  heart ;  I 
am  full  of  heaviness  ;  I  looked  for  some  to  have  pity  on 
me,  but  there  was  no  man,  neither  found  I  any  to 
comfort  me."1 

For  the  third  and  last  time — but  now  with  a  deeper 
calm,  and  a  brighter  serenity  of  that  triumphant  confi- 
dence which  had  breathed  through  the  High-Priestly 
prayer — He  withdrew  to  find  His  only  consolation  in 
communing  with  Grod.  And  there  he  found  all  that  He 
needed.  Before  that  hour  was  over  He  was  prepared 

1  Ps.  Ixix.  20. 


316 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


for  the  worst  that  Satan  or  man  could  do.  He 
all  that  would  befall  Him ;  perhaps  He  had  ahead; 
caught  sight  of  the  irregular  glimmering  of  lights  as 
His  pursuers  descended  from  the  Temple  precincts.  Yet 
there  was  no  trace  of  agitation  in  His  quiet  words  when, 
coming  a  third  time  and  finding  them  once  more  slee] 
ing,  "  Sleep  on  now,"  He  said,  "  and  take  your  rest.  It 
is  enough.  The  hour  is  come.  Lo  !  the  Son  of  Man 
is  being  betrayed  into  the  hands  of  sinners."  For  all 
the  aid  that  you  can  render,  for  all  the  comfort  your 
sympathy  can  bestow,  sleep  on.  But  all  is  altered 
now.  It  is  not  I  who  now  wish  to  break  these  your 
heavy  slumbers.  They  will  be  very  rudely  and  sternly 
broken  by  others.  "  Rise,  then ;  let  us  be  going.  Lo  ! 
he  that  betray eth  me  is  at  hand."1 

Yes,  it  was  more  than  time  to  rise,  for  while  saints 
had  slumbered  sinners  had  plotted  and  toiled  in  exag- 
gerated preparation.  While  they  slept  in  their  heavy 
anguish,  the  traitor  had  been  very  wakeful  in  his  active 
malignity.  More  than  two  hours  had  passed  since  from 
the  lighted  chamber  of  their  happy  communion  he  had 
plunged  into  the  night,  and  those  hours  had  been  very 
fully  occupied.  He  had  gone  to  the  High  Priests  and 
Pharisees,  agitating  them  and  hurrying  them  on  with 
his  own  passionate  precipitancy ;  and  partly  perhaps  out 
of  genuine  terror  of  Him  with  whom  he  had  to  deal, 
partly  to  enhance  his  own  importance,  had  got  the 
leading  Jews  to  furnish  him  with  a  motley  band  com- 
posed of  their  own  servants,  of  the  Temple  watch  with 

1  It  has  been  asked  why  St.  John  tells  us  nothing  of  the  agony  ?  We 
do  not  know;  but  it  may  very  likely  have  been  because  the  story  had 
already  been  told  as  fully  as  it  was  known.  Certainly,  his  silence  did  not 
spring  from  any  notion  that  the  agony  was  unworthy  of  Christ's  grandeur 
(see  xii.  27  ;  xviii.  11). 


THE  ARREST.  317 

their  officers,  and  even  with  a  part  at  least  of  the  Eoman 
garrison  from  the  Tower  of  Antonia,  under  the  command 
of  their  tribune.1  They  were  going  against  One  who 
was  deserted  and  defenceless,  yet  the  soldiers  were  armed 
with  swords,  and  even  the  promiscuous  throng  had  pro- 
vided themselves  with  sticks.  They  were  going  to  seize 
One  who  would  make  no  attempt  at  flight  or  conceal- 
ment, and  the  full  moon  shed  its  lustre  on  their  un- 
hallowed expedition ;  yet,  lest  He  should  escape  them 
in  some  limestone  grotto,  or  in  the  deep  shade  of  the 
olives,  they  carried  lanterns  and  torches  in  their  hands. 
It  is  evident  that  they  made  their  movements  as  noise- 
less and  stealthy  as  possible ;  but  at  night  a  deep 
stillness  hangs  over  an  Oriental  city,  and  so  large  a 
throng  could  not  move  unnoticed.  Already,  as  Jesus 
was  awaking  His  sleepy  disciples,  His  ears  had  caught 
in  the  distance  the  clank  of  swords,  the  tread  of  hurrying 
footsteps,  the  ill-suppressed  tumult  of  an  advancing 
crowd.  He  knew  all  that  awaited  Him ;  He  knew  that 
the  quiet  garden  which  He  had  loved,  and  where  He 
had  so  often  held  happy  intercourse  with  His  disciples, 
was  familiar  to  the  traitor.  Those  unwonted  and  hostile 
sounds,  that  red  glare  of  lamps  and  torches  athwart 
the  moonlit  interspaces  of  the  olive-yards,  were  enough 

1  %  olv  a"iretpa  /col  6  xi*-'LaPX°s  (John  xviii.  12 ;  cf .  3) ;  but  clearly  St.  John 
does  not  mean  that  all  the  600  soldiers  of  the  garrison  accompanied  Judas. 
Of  course  the  consent  of  Pilate  must  have  been  obtained  with  the  express 
object  of  prejudicing  him  against  Jesus  as  a  dangerous  person.  The 
a-Tparriyol  TOV  lepov  of  Luke  xxii.  52  are  Levitical  officers.  Critics  have  tried, 
as  in  so  many  instances,  to  show  that  there  is  an  error  here  because  there 
was  only  one  "  captain  of  the  Temple "  (or  ish  ar  ha-bait)  whose  office 
seems  to  date  from  the  Captivity  [Neh.  ii.  8 ;  vii.  2  (sar  ha-birah) ;  cf . 
2  Mace.  iii.  4].  But  in  3  Esdr.  i.  8,  we  find  ol  ^iriffrararai  TOV  lepdv,  three 
in  number ;  and  as  the  captain  had  guards  under  him,  to  make  the  rounds, 
(Jos.  B.  J.  vi.  5,  §  3,  of  TOV  lepov  (j>v\aK€S  tfyyeiXav  T$  ffTpaTTjyy},  the  name 
might  be  applied  generally  to  the  whole  body. 


318 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


to   show  that   Judas   had  betrayed  the  secret   of 
retirement,  and  was  even  now  at  hand. 

And  even  as  Jesus    spoke  the  traitor  himself  aj 
peared.1     Overdoing  his  part — acting  in  the  too-hurrie< 
impetuosity  of  a  crime  so  hideous   that  he  dared  no 
pause  to  think — he  pressed  forward  into  the  enclosure, 
and  was  in  front  of  all  the  rest.2  "  Comrade/'  said  Jesus 
to  him  as  he  hurried  forward,  "the  crime  for  which  thou 
art  come—     -"3      The  sentence  seems  to  have  been  cut 
short  by  the  deep  agitation  of  His  spirit,  nor  did  Judas 
return  any  answer,  intent  only  on  giving  to  his  confede- 
rates his  shameful  preconcerted  signal.     "  He  whom  I 
kiss/'  he  had  said  to  them,  "the   same  is  He.     Seize 


1  Throughout  the  description  of  these  scenes  I  have  simply  taken  the  four 
Gospel  narratives  as  one  whole,  and  regarded  them  as  supplementing  each 
other.     It  will  be  seen  how  easily,  and  without  a  single  violent  hypothesis, 
they  fall  into  one  harmonious,  probable,  and  simple  narrative.     Lange  here 
adopts  what  seems  to  me  to  be  the  best  order  of  sequence.     The  fact  that 
Judas  gave  the  signal  too  early  for  his  own  purpose  seems  to  follow  from 
John  xviii.  4 — 9  (e^xGev}.      Alf ord  thinks  it  "  inconceivable  "  that  Judas 
had  given  his  traitor-kiss  before  this  scene ;  but  his  own  arrangement  will 
surely  strike  every  careful  reader  as  much  more  inconceivable. 

2  Luke  xxii.  47. 

3  Matt.  xxvi.  50,  e<£'  '6  Trdpet — perhaps  this  is  an  exclamation  for  "  What  a 
crime ! "   I  have  taken  it  in  the  sense  of  an  aposiopesis,  "  What  thou  art  here 
for  (do)."     But  perhaps  e</>'  '6;  may=  eVl  rl;  in  Hellenistic  Greek  (Winer, 
III.  xxiv.  4).     It  is  not,  however,  likely  that  Jesus  would  have  asked  a 
question  on  the  purpose  of  Judas's  coming.     Observe  'Ercupe  (Matt.  xxvi. 
50),  "  Comrade,"  not  "  friend "  (<f>iAe),  as  most  versions  wrongly  translate 
it.     Never,  even  in  the  ordinary  conventionalities  of  life,  would  Christ  use 
a  term  which  was  not  strictly  true.     There  is  even  something  stern  in  the 
use  of  croupe  (cf.  Matt.  xx.  13;  xxii.  12).     Judas,  in  the  strictest  sense  of 
the  word,  had  been  an  ercupos  ;  but  as  Ammonius  says,  6  IraTpos  ou 
4>iAos.     Hence  the  lines  of  Houdenius  (De  Pass.} — 

"Si  honoras,  O  dulcis  Domine, 
Inimicum  amici  nomine, 
Quales  erunt  amoris  carmine 
Qui  te  canunt  et  modulamine  ? " 

although  exquisitely  beautiful,  are  not  strictly  accurate. 


THE  SIGNAL  OF  JUDAS.  319 

Him  at  once,  and  lead  Him  away  safely."  :  And  so, 
advancing  to  Jesus  with,  his  usual  cold  title  of  address, 
he  exclaimed,  "  Rabbi,  Rabbi,  hail!"  and  profaned  the 
sacred  cheek  of  his  Master  with  a  kiss  of  overacted 
salutation.2  "Judas,"  said  Jesus  to  him,  with  stern 
and  sad  reproach,  "  dost  thou  betray  the  Son  of  Man 
with  a  kiss  ?  "  These  words  were  enough,  for  they 
simply  revealed  the  man  to  himself,  by  stating  his 
hideous  act  in  all  its  simplicity;  and  the  method  of 
his  treachery  was  so  unparalleled  in  its  heinousness,  so 
needless  and  spontaneously  wicked,  that  more  words 
would  have  been  superfluous.  With  feelings  that  the 
very  devils  might  have  pitied,  the  wretch  slunk  back  to 
the  door  of  the  enclosure,  towards  which  the  rest  of 
the  crowd  were  now  beginning  to  press. 

"  Lord,  shall  we  smite  with  the  sword  ?  "  was  the 
eager  question  of  St.  Peter,  and  the  only  other  disciple 
provided  with  a  weapon  ;  for,  being  within  the  garden, 
the  Apostles  were  still  unaware  of  the  number  of  the 
captors.3  Jesus  did  not  at  once  answer  the  question  ; 


1  Mark  xiv.  44,  Kpar^ffare  -  .    •  /col  airayayere  acrQaXws  —  one  of  the  many 
slight  undesigned  traces   of  Judas's   involuntary  terror   and  misgiving. 
His  words  probably  were  Schalom  aleka  rabbi,  "Peace  be  to  thee,  Rabbi  !" 
but  there  came  no  aleka  Shalom  in  reply  :  there  was  no  peace  for  the 
errand  on  which  Judas  had  come.     Mr.  Monro  observes  how  characteristic 
are  these  snatches  of  dialogue  like  rb  el  Svvao-cu  in  Mark  ix.  23  (v.  p.  34),  and 
the  rty  apxhv   'An  Kal   AaAco   v/juv  (John  viii.  25;  V.  p.  75),  and  e'are   e'cos  rovrov 
(Luke  xxii.  51  ;  v.  infr.,  p.  320).     Surely  the  most  inventive  of  inventors 
neither  could  nor  would  invent  phrases  like  these  ! 

2  The  KaTe<pi\r)(rei>  of  Matt.  xxvi.  49  ;  Mark  xiv.  45,  as  compared  with 
the  <f)i\^ff(a  before,  is  clearly  meant  to  imply  a  fervent  kiss.      Something  of 
the  same  kind  seems  to  be  intended  by  the  "  Rabbi  !  Rabbi  !  "  of  Mark  xiv. 
45.      Kupte  was  the  ordinary  address  of  the  Apostles  to  Christ;    but  the 
colder  and  feebler  "  Rabbi  "  seems  to  have  been  the  title  always  used  by 
Judas  (Bengel).     Of.  supr.,  p.  288. 

3  All  this  is  obvious  from  the  context.     The  place  which,  since  the  days 
of  St.  Helena,  has  been  pointed  out  as  the  garden  of  Gethsemane  may  or 


320 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


for  no  sooner  had  He  repelled  the  villainous  falsity  of 
Judas  than  He  Himself  stepped  out  of  the  enclosure  to 
face  His  pursuers.  Not  flying,  not  attempting  to  hide 
Himself,  He  stood  there  before  them  in  the  full  moon- 
light in  His  unarmed  and  lonely  majesty,  shaming  by 
His  calm  presence  their  superfluous  torches  and  super- 
fluous arms. 

"Whom  are  ye  seeking ?"  He  asked. 

The  question  was  not  objectless.  It  was  asked,  as 
St.  John  points  out,1  to  secure  His  Apostles  from  all 
molestation  ;  and  we  may  suppose  also  that  it  served  to 
make  all  who  were  present  the  witnesses  of  His  arrest, 
and  so  to  prevent  the  possibility  of  any  secret  assassina- 
tion or  foul  play. 

"  Jesus  of  Nazareth,"  they  answered. 

Their  excitement  and  awe  preferred  this  indirect 
answer,  though  if  there  could  have  been  any  doubt  as 
to  who  the  speaker  was,  Judas  was  there — the  eye  of 
the  Evangelist  noticed  him,  trying  in  vain  to  lurk  amid 
the  serried  ranks  of  the  crowd — to  prevent  any  possible 
mistake  which  might  have  been  caused  by  the  failure  of 
his  premature  and  therefore  disconcerted  signal. 

"  I  am  He,"3  said  Jesus. 

Those  quiet  words  produced  a  sudden  paroxysm  of 

may  not  be  the  authentic  site  ;  but  there  can  be  little  doubt  that  the  actual 
KTITTOS  or  xwpiov  had  an  enclosing  wall. 

1  John  xviii.  8.     How  absolutely  does  this  narrative  shatter  to  pieces  the 

infamous  calumny  of  the  Jews,  Kpvirr6p.€vos  /xei/  /ecu  StaStSpao'Kcoj'  firoveiSecrrara 

4aAa>  (Orig.  c.  Gels.  2,  9,  quoted  by  Keim,  HE.  ii.  298).  Keim,  without 
ignoring  Celsus's  use  of  Jewish  calumnies,  thinks  that  this  attack  is 
founded  on  John  x.  39,  &c. 

2  John  xviii.  5.     One  of  those  minute  touches  which  so  clearly  mark  the 
eye-witness — which  are  inexplicable  on  any  other  supposition,  and  which 
abound  in  the  narrative  of  the  beloved  disciple.    To  give  to  the  "  I  am  He  " 
any  mystic  significance  (Isa.  xliii.  10,  LXX. ;  John  viii.  28),  as  is  done  by 
Lange  and  others,  seems  unreasonable. 


TERROR  OF  THE  CONSPIRATORS.  321 

amazement  and  dread.  That  answer  so  gentle  "  had  in  it 
a  strength  greater  than  the  eastern  wind,  or  the  voice  of 
thunder,  for  Grod  was  in  that  '  still  voice/  and  it  struck 
them  down  to  the  ground."  Instances  are  not  wanting 
in  history  in  which  the  untroubled  brow,  the  mere 
glance,  the  calm  bearing,  of  some  defenceless  man,  has 
disarmed  and  paralysed  his  enemies.  The  savage  and 
brutal  Grauls  could  not  lift  their  swords  to  strike  the 
majestic  senators  of  B-ome.  "  I  cannot  slay  Marius," 
exclaimed  the  barbarian  slave,  flinging  down  his  sword 
and  flying  headlong  from  the  prison  into  which  he  had 
been  sent  to  murder  the  aged  hero.1  Is  there,  then,  any 
ground  for  the  scoffing  scepticism  with  which  many 
have  received  St.  John's  simple  but  striking  narrative, 
that,  at  the  words  "I  am  He,"  a  movement  of  contagious 
terror  took  place  among  the  crowd,  and,  starting  back 
in  confusion,  some  of  them  fell  to  the  ground  ?  Nothing 
surely  was  more  natural.  It  must  be  remembered  that 
Judas  was  among  them ;  that  Ms  soul  was  undoubtedly 
in  a  state  of  terrible  perturbation ;  that  Orientals  are 
specially  liable  to  sudden  panic ;  that  fear  is  an  emotion 
eminently  sympathetic ;  that  most  of  them  must  have 


1  Yell.  Paterc.  ii.  19.  Other  commentators  adduce  the  further  instances 
of  M.  Antonius  (Yal.  Max.  viii.  9,  2),  Probus,  Pertinax,  Teligny,  stepson  to 
Admiral  Coligny,  Bishop  Stanislaus,  &c.  No  one,  so  far  as  I  have  seen, 
quotes  the  instance  of  Avidius  Cassius,  who,  springing  to  the  door  of  [his 
tent  in  night-dress,  quelled  a  mutinous  army  by  his  mere  presence.  In  the 
Talmud ,  seventy  of  the  strongest  Egyptians  fall  to  the  earth  in  attempting 
to  bind  Simeon,  the  brother  of  Joseph.  Jeremy  Taylor  beautifully  says, 
"  But  there  was  a  divinity  upon  Him  that  they  could  not  seize  Him  at  first ; 
but  as  a  wave  climbing  of  a  rock  is  beaten  back  and  scattered  into  members, 
till  falling  down  it  creeps  with  gentle  waftings,  and  kisses  the  feet  of  the 
stony  mountain,  and  so  encircles  it :  so  the  soldiers  coming  at  first  with  a 
rude  attempt,  were  twice  repelled  by  the  glory  of  His  person,  till  they 
falling  at  His  feet,  were  at  last  admitted  to  a  seizure  of  His  body."  (Life 
of  Christ,  III.  xv.) 


322 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


heard  of  the  mighty  miracles  of  Jesus,  and  that  all  were 
at  any  rate  aware  that  He  claimed  to  be  a  Prophet; 
that  the  manner  in  which  He  met  this  large  multitude, 
which  the  alarms  of  Judas  had  dictated  as  essential  to 
His  capture,  suggested  the  likelihood  of  some  appeal  to 
supernatural  powers  ;  that  they  were  engaged  in  one  of 
those  deeds  of  guilty  violence  and  midnight  darkness 
which  paralyse  the  stoutest  minds.  When  we  bear 
this  in  mind,  and  when  we  remember  too  that  on  many 
occasions  in  His  history  the  mere  presence  and  word  of 
Christ  had  sufficed  to  quell  the  fury  of  the  multitude,  and 
to  keep  Him  safe  in  the  midst  of  them,1  it  hardly  needs 
any  recourse  to  miracle  to  account  for  the  fact  that  these 
official  marauders  and  their  infamous  guide  recoiled  from 
those  simple  words,  "  I  am  He,"  as  though  the  lightning 
had  suddenly  been  flashed  into  their  faces. 

While  they  stood  cowering  and  struggling  there,  He 
again  asked  them,  "  Whom  are  ye  seeking  ?  "  Again 
they  replied,  "  Jesus  of  Nazareth."  "  I  told  you,"  He 
answered,  "  that  I  am  He.  If,  then,  ye  are  seeking  me, 
let  these  go  away."  For  He  Himself  had  said  in  His 
prayer,  "  Of  those  whom  Thou  hast  given  me  have  I 
lost  none." 

The  words  were  a  signal  to  the  Apostles  that  they 
could  no  longer  render  Him  any  service,  and  that  they 
might  now  consult  their  own  safety  if  they  would.  But 
when  they  saw  that  He  meant  to  offer  no  resistance, 
that  He  was  indeed  about  to  surrender  Himself  to  His 
enemies,  some  pulse  of  nobleness  or  of  shame  throbbed 
in  the  impetuous  soul  of  Peter;  and  hopeless  and  useless 
as  all  resistance  had  now  become,  he  yet  drew  his  sword, 
and  with  a  feeble  and  ill-aimed  blow  severed  the  ear  of 

1  Luke  iv,  30 ;  John  vii.  30 ;  viii.  59;  x.  39 ;  Mark  xi.  18  (see  Yol.  I.,  p.  228,  &c.) 


PETER  AND  MALCHUS.  323 

a  man  named  Malchus,  a  servant  of  the  High  Priest. 
Instantly  Jesus  stopped  the  ill-timed  and  dangerous 
struggle.  "  Return  that  sword  of  thine  into  its  place," 
He  said  to  Peter,  "  for  all  they  that  take  the  sword 
shall  perish  with  the  sword ; "  and  then  He  reproach- 
fully asked  His  rash  disciple  whether  he  really  supposed 
that  He  could  not  escape  if  He  would  ?  whether  the 
mere  breathing  of  a  prayer  would  not  secure  for  Him— 
had  He  not  voluntarily  intended  to  fulfil  the  Scriptures 
by  drinking  the  cup  which  His  Father  had  given  Him 
— the  aid,  not  of  twelve  timid  Apostles,  but  of  more 
than  twelve  legions  of  angels  ? "  *  And  then,  turning 
to  the  soldiers  who  were  holding  Him,  He  said,  "  Suffer 
ye  thus  far,"3  and  in  one  last  act  of  miraculous  mercy 
touched  and  healed  the  wound. 

In  the  confusion  of  the  night  this  whole  incident 
seems  to  have  passed  unnoticed  except  by  a  very  few. 
At  any  rate,  it  made  no  impression  upon  these  hardened 
men.  Their  terror  had  quite  vanished,  and  had  been 
replaced  by  insolent  confidence.  The  Great  Prophet 
had  voluntarily  resigned  Himself ;  He  was  their  help- 
less captive.  No  thunder  had  rolled ;  no  angel  flashed 
down  from  heaven  for  His  deliverance ;  no  miraculous 
fire  devoured  amongst  them.  They  saw  before  them 
nothing  but  a  weary  unarmed  man,  whom  one  of  His  own 

1  A  legion  during  the  Empire  consisted  of  about  6,000  men.     The  fact 
that  St.  John  alone  mentions  the  names  of  St.  Peter  and  Malchus  may 
arise  simply  from  his  having  been  more  accurately  acquainted  than  the 
other  Evangelists   with   the    events    of   that  heart-shaking  scene;    but 
there  is  nothing  absurd  or  improbable  in  the  current  supposition,  that  the 
name  of  Peter  may  have  been  purposely  kept  in  the  background  in  the 
earliest  cycle  of  Christian  records. 

2  This  may  either  mean,  "  Let  me  free  for  one  moment  only,  while  I 
heal  this  wounded  man,"  as   Alford  not  improbably  understands  it;  or, 
"  Excuse  this  single  act  of  resistance." 


324 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


most  intimate  followers  had  betrayed,  and  whose  arrest 
was  simply  watched  in  helpless  agony  hy  a  few  terrified 
Gralilseans.  They  had  fast  hold  of  Him,  and  already 
some  chief  priests,  and  elders,  and  leading  officers  of  the 
Temple-guard  had  ventured  to  come  out  of  the  dark 
background  from  which  they  had  securely  seen  His 
capture,  and  to  throng  about  Him  in  insulting  curiosity. 
To  these  especially1  He  turned,  and  said  to  them,  "  Have 
ye  come  out  as  against  a  robber  with  swords  and  staves  ? 
When  I  was  daily  with  you  in  the  Temple  ye  did  not 
stretch  out  your  hands  against  me.  But  this  is  your 
hour,  and  the  power  of  darkness."  Those  fatal  words 
quenched  the  last  gleam  of  hope  in  the  minds  of  His 
followers.  "  Then  His  disciples,  all  of  them  "  —even 
the  fiery  Peter,  even  the  loving  John — "  forsook  Him, 
and  fled."  At  that  supreme  moment  only  one  unknown 
youth — perhaps  the  owner  of  Grethsemane,  perhaps  St. 
Mark  the  Evangelist,3  perhaps  Lazarus  the  brother  of 

1  Luke  xxii.   52,  elvre  8e  irpbs  rovs  irpoffysvop.4vovs  irpbs  avrbv 
ap^t6pe?s,  K.  T.  A- 

2  Matt.  xxvi.  56,  of  fj-aOyTal  irdisres.     Many  readers  will  thank  me  here 
for  quoting  the  fine  lines  from  Browning's  Death  in  the  Desert : — 

"Forsake  the  Christ  thou  sawest  transfigured,  Him 
Who  trod  the  sea  and  brought  the  dead  to  life  ? 
What  should  wring  this  from  thee  ?    Ye  laugh  and  ask 
What  wrung  it  ?    Even  a  torchlight  and  a  noise, 
The  sudden  Koman  faces,  violent  hands, 
And  fear  of  what  the  Jews  might  do  !     Just  that, 
And  it  is  written,  '  I  forsook  and  fled.' 
There  was  my  trial,  and  it  ended  thus." 

3  Mark  xiv.  51,  52  only.     As  to  the  supposition  that  it  was  Lazarus — 
founded  partly  on  the  locality,  partly  on  the  probabilities  of  the  case,  partly 
on  the  fact  that  the  ffivSkv  was  a  garment  that  only  a  person   of   some 
wealth  would  possess — see  a  beautiful  article  on  "  Lazarus,"  by  Professor 
Plumptre,  in  the  Diet,  of  the  Bible.     Ewald's  supposition,  that  it  was  St. 
Paul  (!),  seems  to  me  amazing.     The  word  DVw,  JV/JL^S,  though,  like  the 
Latin  nudus,  it  constantly  means  "with  only  the  under  robe  on"  (1  Sam. 
xix.  24 ;  John  xxi.  7 ;  Hes.  "Ep?.,  391 ;  Yirg.  G.  i.  299),  is  here  probably 
literal. 


BOUND  AND   LED  AWAY.  325 

Martha  and  Mary — ventured,  in  his  intense  excitement, 
to  hover  on  the  outskirts  of  the  hostile  crowd.  He  had 
apparently  been  roused  from  sleep,  for  he  had  nothing 
to  cover  him  except  the  sinddn,  or  linen  sheet,  in  which 
he  had  been  sleeping.  But  the  Jewish  emissaries,  either 
out  of  the  mere  wantonness  of  a  crowd  at  seeing  a  person 
in  an  unwonted  guise,  or  because  they  resented  his  too 
close  intrusion,  seized  hold  of  the  sheet  which  he  had 
wrapped  about  him;  whereupon  he  too  was  suddenly 
terrified,  and  fled  away  naked,  leaving  the  linen  garment 
in  their  hands. 

Jesus  was  now  absolutely  alone  in  the  power  of  His 
enemies.  At  the  command  of  the  tribune  His  hands 
were  tied  behind  His  back,1  and  forming  a  close  array 
around  Him,  the  Eoman  soldiers,  followed  and  sur- 
rounded by  the  Jewish  servants,  led  Him  once  more 
through  the  night,  over  the  Kedron,  and  up  the  steep 
city  slope  beyond  it,  to  the  palace  of  the  High  Priest. 

1  John  xviii.  12. 


CHAPTER  LVIII. 

JESUS    BEFORE    THE    PRIESTS    AND    THE    SANHEDRIN. 

pa  D»3inn  nn,  «  Be  slow  in  judgment." — Pirke  Abhoth,  i.  1. 

ALTHOUGH  sceptics  Lave  dwelt  with  disproportioned  per- 
sistency upon  a  multitude  of  "  discrepancies "  in  the 
fourfold  narrative  of  Christ's  trial,  condemnation,  death, 
and  resurrection,  yet  these  are  not  of  a  nature  to  cause 
the  slightest  anxiety  to  a  Christian  scholar;  nor  need 
they  awaken  the  most  momentary  distrust  in  any  one 
who — even  if  he  have  no  deeper  feelings  in  the  matter 
— approaches  the  Grospels  with  no  preconceived  theory, 
whether  of  infallibility  or  of  dishonesty,  to  support,  and 
merely  accepts  them  for  that  which,  at  the  lowest,  they 
claim  to  he — histories  honest  and  faithful  up  to  the  full 
knowledge  of  the  writers,  but  each,  if  taken  alone,  con- 
fessedly fragmentary  and  obviously  incomplete.  After 
repeated  study,  I  declare,  quite  fearlessly,  that  though 
the  slight  variations  are  numerous — though  the  lesser 
particulars  cannot  in  every  instance  be  rigidly  and 
minutely  accurate — though,  no  one  of  the  narratives 
taken  singly  would  give  us  an  adequate  impression- 
yet,  so  far  from  there  being,  in  this  part  of  the  Gospel 
story,  any  irreconcilable  contradiction,  it  is  perfectly 
possible  to  discover  how  one  Evangelist  supplements  the 


ORDER  OF  THE  TRIALS.  327 

details  furnished  by  another,  and  perfectly  possible  to 
understand  the  true  sequence  of  the  incidents  by  com- 
bining into  one  whole  the  separate  indications  which 
they  furnish.  It  is  easy  to  call  such  combinations  arbi- 
trary and  baseless  ;  but  they  are  only  arbitrary  in  so  far 
as  we  cannot  always  be  absolutely  certain  that  the  suc- 
cession of  facts  was  exactly  such  as  we  suppose ;  and  so 
far  are  they  from  being  baseless,  that,  to  the  careful 
reader  of  the  Gospels,  they  carry  with  them  a  conviction 
little  short  of  certainty.  If  we  treat  the  Gospels  as  we 
should  treat  any  other  authentic  documents  recording 
all  that  the  authors  knew,  or  all  that  they  felt  them- 
selves commissioned  to  record,  of  the  crowded  incidents 
in  one  terrible  and  tumultuous  day  and  night,  we  shall, 
with  care  and  study,  see  how  all  that  they  tell  us  falls 
accurately  into  its  proper  position  in  the  general  narra- 
tive, and  shows  us  a  sixfold  trial,  a  quadruple  derision, 
a  triple  acquittal,  a  twice-repeated  condemnation  of 
Christ  our  Lord. 

Beading  the  Gospels  side  by  side,  we  soon  perceive 
that  of  the  three  successive  trials  which  our  Lord  under- 
went at  the  hands  of  the  Jews,  the  first  only — that 
before  Annas — is  related  to  us  by  St.  John ;  the  second 
—that  before  Caiaphas — by  St.  Matthew  and  St.  Mark ; 
the  third — that  before  the  Sanhedrin — by  St.  Luke 
alone.1  Nor  is  there  anything  strange  in  this,  since  the 
first  was  the  practical,  the  second  the  potential,  the  third 
the  actual  and  formal  decision,  that  sentence  of  death 

1  But  nevertheless,  St.  John  distinctly  alludes  to  the  second  trial  (xviii. 
24,  where  aWo-Te^ei/  means  "  sent,"  not  "  had  sent,"  as  in  the  E.  V. ;  and 
cf .  xi.  46) ;  and  St.  Matthew  and  St.  Mark  imply  the  third  (Matt,  xxvii.  1 ; 
Mark  xv.  1).  St.  Luke,  though  he  contents  himself  with  the  narration  of 
the  third  only — which  was  the  only  legal  one — yet  also  distinctly  leaves 
room  for  the  first  and  second  (xxii.  54). 


328 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


should  be  passed  judicially  upon  Him.  Each  of  the 
three  trials  might,  from  a  different  point  of  view,  have 
been  regarded  as  the  most  fatal  and  important  of  the 
three.  That  of  Annas  was  the  authoritative  praejudicium, 
that  of  Caiaphas  the  real  .determination,  that  of  the 
entire  Sanhedrin  at  daybreak  the  final  ratification.1 

When  the  tribune,  who  commanded  the  detachment 
of  Roman  soldiers,  had  ordered  Jesus  to  be  bound,  they 
led  Him  away  without  an  attempt  at  opposition.  Mid- 
night was  already  passed  as  they  hurried  Him,  from  the 
moonlit  shadows  of  green  Grethsemane,  through  the 
hushed  streets  of  the  sleeping  city,  to  the  palace2  of  the 
High  Priest.  It  seems  to  have  been  jointly  occupied 
by  the  prime  movers  in  this  black  iniquity,  Annas  and 
his  son-in-law,  Joseph  Caiaphas.  They  led  Him  to 
Annas  first.  It  is  true  that  this  Hanan,  son  of  Seth, 
the  Ananus  of  Josephus,  and  the  Annas  of  the  Evan- 
gelists, had  only  been  the  actual  High  Priest  for  seven 
years  (A.D.  7 — 14),  and  that,  more  than  twenty  years 
before  this  period,  he  had  been  deposed  by  the  Procu- 
rator Valerius  Gratus.  He  had  been  succeeded  first  by 
Ismael  Ben  Phabi,  then  by  his  son  Eleazar,  then  by  his 
son-in-law,  Joseph  Caiaphas.  But  the  priestly  families 
would  not  be  likely  to  attach  more  importance  than 
they  chose  to  a  deposition  which  a  strict  observer  of  the 
Law  would  have  regarded  as  invalid  and  sacrilegious ; 

1  One  might,  perhaps,  from  a  slightly  different  point  of  view,  regard 
the  questioning  before  Annas  as  mere  conspiracy ;  that  before  Caiaphas  as 
a  sort  of  preliminary  questioning,  or  avaKpuns ;  and  that  before  the  Sanhe- 
drin as  the  only  real  and  legal  trial. 

2  av\T)  means  both  the  entire  palace  (Matt.  xxvi.  58)  and  the  open 
court  within  the  iruAcov  or  irpoav\iov  (id.  69).     Probably  the  house  was  near 
the  Temple  (Neh.  xiii.  4,  seqq.).     That  Hanan  and  Caiaphas  occupied  one 
house  seems  probable  from  a  comparison  of  John  xviii.  13  with  15.     John 
being  known  to  Caiaphas  is  admitted  to  witness  the  trial  before  Annas. 


POSITION  OF  ANNAS.  329 

nor  would  so  astute  a  people  as  tlie  Jews  be  likely  to 
lack  devices  which  would  enable  them  to  evade  the 
Roman  fiat,  and  to  treat  Annas,  if  they  wished  to  do 
so,  as  their  High  Priest  de  jure,  if  not  de  facto.  Since 
the  days  of  Herod  the  Great,  the  High  Priesthood  had 
been  degraded  from  a  permanent  religious  office,  to  a 
temporary  secular  distinction ;  and,  even  had  it  been 
otherwise,  the  rude  legionaries  would  probably  care  less 
than  nothing  to  whom  they  led  their  victim.  If  the 
tribune  condescended  to  ask  a  question  about  it,  it 
would  be  easy  for  the  Captain  of  the  Temple — who  may 
very  probably  have  been  at  this  time,  as  we  know  was  the 
case  subsequently,  one  of  the  sons  of  Annas  himself — to 
represent  Annas  as  the  Sagan1  or  Nast — the  "  Deputy," 

1  The  title  Sagan  haccoJianim,  "  deputy "  or  "  chief  "  of  the  priests,  is 
said  to  date  from  the  day  when  the  Seleucids  neglected  for  seven  years  to 
appoint  a  successor  to  the  wicked  Alcimus,  and  a  "  deputy  "  had  to  supply 
his  place.  But  accident  must  often  have  rendered  a  sagan  necessary,  and 
we  find  "  the  second  priest  "  prominently  mentioned  in  2  Kings  xxv.  18 ; 
Jer.  lii.  24  (Buxtorf,  Lex.  Talm.  s.  v.  fan).  Thus  on  one  occasion,  on  the 
evening  of  the  great  Day  of  Atonement,  Hareth,  King  of  Arabia,  was  talk- 
ing to  Simeon  Ben  Kamhith,  who,  being  High  Priest,  was  rendered  legally 
impure,  and  unable  to  officiate  the  next  day,  because  some  of  the  king's 
saliva  happened  to  fall  on  his  vestments.  His  brother  then  supplied  his 
place.  It  is,  however,  doubtful  whether  the  title  of  Sagan  did  not  originate 
later,  and  whether  any  but  the  real  High  Priest  could,  under  ordinary  cir- 
cumstances, be  the  Nasi.  In  fact,  the  name  Nast  seems  to  be  enveloped 
in  obscurity.  Perhaps  it  corresponds  to  the  mysterious  ffdpa/j.e\  (=  Sar 
am  El,  "  Prince  of  the  People  of  God).  Ewald  says  that  Hanan  might 
have  been  Ab  Beth  Din,  as  the  second  in  the  Sanhedrin  was  called ;  and  it 
is  at  any  rate  clear,  among  many  obscurities,  that  short  of  being  High 
Priest,  he  might  have  even  exceeded  him  in  influence  (cf.  Acts  iv.  6; 
Maimon.  Sarihedr.  2,  4).  The  High  Priesthood  at  this  time  was  confined 
to  some  half-dozen  closely-connected  families,  especially  the  Boethusians, 
and  the  family  of  Hanan,  the  Kamhiths,  and  the  Kantheras ;  yet,  since 
the  days  of  Herod,  the  High  Priests  were  so  completely  the  puppets  of 
the  civil  power  that  there  were  no  less  than  twenty-eight  in  107  years 
(Jos.  Anit,  xx.  10,  §  1).  Both  Josephus  (els  T&V  dpx'*p€WJ/>  B-  J-  "•  20,  §4)  and 
the  Talmud  (trVra  c^ns  »3i)  quite  bear  out  the  language  of  the  Gospels  in 
attributing  the  pontifical  power  more  to  a  caste  than  to  any  individual. 


330 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


or  the  President  of  the  Sanhedrin — and  so  as  the  proper 
person  to  conduct  the  preliminary  investigation. 

i.  Accordingly,  it  was  before  Hanan  that  Jesus  stood 
first  as  a  prisoner  at  the  tribunal.1  It  is  probable  that 
he  and  his  family  had  been  originally  summoned  by 
Herod  the  Great  from  Alexandria,  as  supple  supporters 
of  a  distasteful  tyranny.  The  Jewish  historian  calls  this 
Hanan  the  happiest  man  of  his  time,  because  he  died  at 
an  advanced  old  age,  and  because  both  he  and  five  of  his 
sons  in  succession — not  to  mention  his  son-in-law — had 
enjoyed  the  shadow  of  the  High  Priesthood  ;2  so  that,  in 
fact,  for  nearly  half  a  century  he  had  practically  wielded 
the  sacerdotal  power.  But  to  be  admired  by  such  a 
renegade  as  Josephus  is  a  questionable  advantage.  In 

The  fact  seems  to  be  that  even  in  these  bad  times  the  office  demanded  a 
certain  amount  of  external  dignity  and  self-denial  which  some  men  would 
only  tolerate  for  a  time  ;  and  their  ambition  was  that  as  many  members  of 
their  family  as  possible  should  have  "passed  the  chair."  Such  is  the 
inference  drawn  by  Derenbourg  from  Jos.  Antt.  xx.  9,  §  1 ;  and  still  more 
from  the  letter  of  the  High  Priest  Jonathan,  son  of  Hanan,  to  Agrippa 
(id.  xix.  6,  §  4).  Martha,  daughter  of  Boethus,  bought  the  priesthood  for 
her  husband,  Jesus,  son  of  Gamala,  and  had  carpets  spread  from  her  house 
to  the  Temple  when  she  went  to  see  him  sacrifice.  This  man  had  silk 
gloves  made,  that  he  might  not  dirty  his  hands  while  sacrificing !  (See 
Renan,  L'Antechrist,  49  seqq.) 

1  John  xviii.  13,  19—24. 

2Eleazar,A.D.  16;  Jonathan,  A.D.  36 ;  Theophilus,  A.D.  37 ;  Matthias, 
A.D.  42 — 43 ;  Annas  the  younger,  A.D.  63.  The  Talmudic  quotations  about 
Annas  and  his  family  are  given  in  Lightf oot.  They  were  remarkable  for 
boldness  and  cunning  (Jos.  Antt.  xx.  9,  §  1),  and  also  for  avarice  and  mean- 
ness (Sifr.  Deuteron.  §  105).  (Jer.  Pea.  1,  6,  quoted  by  Derenbourg,  who 
calls  them  "ces  pontifes  detestes  "  [Hist.  Pal.,  p.  468].) — An  energetic  male- 
diction against  all  these  families  is  found  in  PesacMm,  57  a,  in  which  occur 
the  words,  "  Woe  to  the  house  of  Hanan !  woe  to  their  serpent  hissings !  " 
(jrwnbn  >b  *i»  pn  mo  ^  *»M,  Id.  232.)— The  Boethusians  are  reproached  for 
their  "bludgeons;"  the  Kantheras  for  their  libels;  the  Phabis  for  their 
"  fists  "  (Raphall,  Hist,  of  the  Jews,  ii.  370).  The  passage  is  a  little  obscure, 
but  the  Talmud  has  many  allusions  to  the  worthlessness  and  worldliness  of 
the  priests  of  this  period.  (Renan,  L'Antechrist,  pp.  50,  51.) 


TRIAL  BEFORE  HANAN.  331 

spite  of  his  prosperity  he  seems  to  have  left  behind  him 
but  an  evil  name,  and  we  know  enough  of  his  character, 
even  from  the  most  unsuspected  sources,  to  recognise  in 
him  nothing  better  than  an  astute,  tyrannous,  worldly 
Sadducee,  unvenerable  for  all  his  seventy  years,  full  of  a 
serpentine  malice  and  meanness  which  utterly  belied  the 
meaning  of  his  name,1  and  engaged  at  this  very  moment 
in  a  dark,  disorderly  conspiracy,  for  which  even  a  worse 
man  would  have  had  cause  to  blush.  It  was  before  this 
alien  and  intriguing  hierarch  that  there  began,  at  mid- 
night, the  first  stage  of  that  long  and  terrible  trial.3 

And  there  was  good  reason  why  St.  John  should  have 
preserved  for  us  fids  phase  of  the  trial,  and  preserved 
it  apparently  for  the  express  reason  that  it  had  been 
omitted  by  the  other  Evangelists.  It  is  not  till  after 
a  lapse  of  years  that  people  can  always  see  clearly  the 
prime  mover  in  events  with  which  they  have  been  con- 
temporary. At  the  time,  the  ostensible  agent  is  the  one 
usually  regarded  as  most  responsible,  though  he  may  be 
in  reality  a  mere  link  in  the  official  machinery.  But  if 
there  were  one  man  who  was  more  guilty  than  any  other  of 
the  death  of  Jesus,  that  man  was  Hanan.  His  advanced 
age,  his  preponderant  dignity,  his  worldly  position  and 
influence,  as  one  who  stood  on  the  best  terms  with  the 
Herods  and  the  Procurators,  gave  an  exceptional  weight 
to  his  prerogative  decision.  The  mere  fact  that  he 
should  have  noticed  Jesus  at  all  showed  that  he  attached 
to  His  teaching  a  political  significance — showed  that  he 
was  at  last  afraid  lest  Jesus  should  alienate  the  people 

1  pn,  "  clement,"    or    "  merciful."      The   family  were   remarkable   for 
boldness  and  cunning,  as  well  as  for  avarice  and  meanness  (Jos.  Antt.  xx.  9, 
§  1 ;  Sifr.  Deuteron.  §  105 ;   Jer.  Pea.  1,  6,  quoted  by  Derenbourg,  Hist. 
Pal,  p.  468). 

2  John  xviii.  19—24. 


332 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


yet  more  entirely  from  the  pontifical  clique  than  had 
ever  been  done  by  Shemaia  or  Abtalion.  It  is  most 
remarkable,  and,  so  far  as  I  know,  has  scarcely  ever 
been  noticed,  that,  although  the  Pharisees  undoubtedly 
were  actuated  by  a  burning  hatred  against  Jesus,  and 
were  even  so  eager  for  His  death  as  to  be  willing  to 
co-operate  with  the  aristocratic  and  priestly  Sadducees— 
from  whom  they  were  ordinarily  separated  by  every  kind 
of  difference,  political,  social,  and  religious — yet,  from  the 
moment  that  the  plot  for  His  arrest  and  condemnation 
had  been  matured,  the  Pharisees  took  so  little  part  in  it 
that  their  name  is  not  once  directly  mentioned  in  any 
event  connected  with  the  arrest,  the  trial,  the  derisions, 
and  the  crucifixion.  The  Pharisees,  as  such,  disappear ; 
the  chief  priests  and  elders  take  their  place.  It  is, 
indeed,  doubtful  whether  any  of  the  more  distinguished 
Pharisees  were  members  of  the  degraded  simulacrum  of 
authority  which  in  those  bad  days  still  arrogated  to 
itself  the  title  of  a  Sanhedrin.  If  we  may  believe  not  a 
few  of  the  indications  of  the  Talmud,  that  Sanhedrin 
was  little  better  than  a  close,  irreligious,  unpatriotic 
confederacy  of  monopolising  and  time-serving  priests 
— the  Boethusim,  the  Kamhits,  the  Phabis,  the  family 
of  Hanan,  mostly  of  non-Palestinian  origin — who  were 
supported  by  the  government,  but  detested  by  the  people, 
and  of  whom  this  bad  conspirator  was  the  very  life  and 
soul. 

And,  perhaps,  we  may  see  a  further  reason  for  the 
apparent  withdrawal  of  the  Pharisees  from  all  active 
co-operation  in  the  steps  which  accompanied  the  con- 
demnation and  execution  of  Jesus,  not  only  in  the  supe- 
rior mildness  which  is  attributed  to  them,  and  in  their 
comparative  insignificance  in  the  civil  administration, 


COMPARATIVE  WITHDRAWAL  OF  PHARISEES.     333 

but  also  in  their  total  want  of  sympathy  with  those 
into  whose  too  fatal  toils  they  had  delivered  the  Son  of 
Grod.  There  seems,  indeed,  to  be  a  hitherto  unnoticed 
circumstance  which,  while  it  would  kindle  to  the  highest 
degree  the  fury  of  the  Sadducees,  would  rather  enlist  in 
Christ's  favour  the  sympathy  of  their  rivals.  What  had 
roused  the  disdainful  insouciance  of  these  powerful 
aristocrats  ?  Morally  insignificant — the  patrons  and 
adherents  of  opinions  which  had  so  little  hold  upon  the 
people  that  Jesus  had  never  directed  against  them  one 
tithe  of  the  stern  denunciation  which  He  had  levelled 
at  the  Pharisees — they  had  played  but  a  very  minor 
part  in  the  opposition  which  had  sprung  up  round  the 
Messiah's  steps.  Nay,  further  than  this,  they  would  be 
wholly  at  one  with  Him  in  rejecting  and  discounte- 
nancing the  minute  and  casuistical  frivolities  of  the  Oral 
Law ;  they  might  even  have  rejoiced  that  they  had  in 
Him  a  holy  and  irresistible  ally  in  their  opposition  to 
all  the  HagadotJi  and  Halachofh  which  had  germinated 
in  a  fungous  growth  over  the  whole  body  of  the  Mosaic 
institutions.1  Whence,  then,  this  sudden  outburst  of 
the  very  deadliest  and  most  ruthless  opposition?  It  is 
a  conjecture  that  has  not  yet  been  made,  but  which  the 
notices  of  the  Talmud  bring  home  to  my  mind  with 
strong  conviction,  that  the  rage  of  these  priests  was 
mainly  due  to  our  Lord's  words  and  acts  concerning  that 
House  of  Grod  which  they  regarded  as  their  exclusive 
domain,  and,  above  all,  to  His  second  public  cleansing  of 
the  Temple.  They  could  not  indeed  press  this  point  in 
their  accusations,  because  the  act  was  one  of  which, 
secretly  at  least,  the  Pharisees,  in  all  probability,  heartily 
approved ;  and  had  they  urged  it  against  Him  they 

1  Jos.  Anii.  xiii.  10,  §  6. 


334 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


would  have  lost  all  chance  of  impressing  upon  Pilate 
sense  of  their  unanimity.  The  first  cleansing  might 
have  been  passed  over  as  an  isolated  act  of  zeal,  to  which 
little  importance  need  be  attached,  while  the  teaching  of 
Jesus  was  mainly  confined  to  despised  and  far-off  Galilee : 
but  the  second  had  been  more  public,  and  more  vehement, 
and  had  apparently  kindled  a  more  general  indignation 
against  the  gross  abuse  which  called  it  forth.  Accord- 
ingly, in  all  three  Evangelists  we  find  that  those  who 
complained  of  the  act  are  not  distinctively  Pharisees,  but 
"  Chief  Priests  and  Scribes  "  (Matt.  xxi.  15;  Mark  xi.  18; 
Luke  xix.  47),  who  seem  at  once  to  have  derived  from  it 
a  fresh  stimulus  to  seek  His  destruction. 

But,  again,  it  may  be  asked,  Is  there  any  reason 
beyond  this  bold  infraction  of  their  authority,  this 
indignant  repudiation  of  an  arrangement  which  they 
had  sanctioned,  which  would  have  stirred  up  the  rage 
of  these  priestly  families  ?  Yes — for  we  may  assume 
from  the  Talmud  that  it  tended  to  wound  their  avarice, 
to  interfere  with  their  illicit  and  greedy  gains.  Avarice 
— the  besetting  sin  of  Judas — the  besetting  sin  of  the 
Jewish  race — seems  also  to  have  been  the  besetting  sin  of 
the  family  of  Hanan.  It  was  they  who  had  founded 
the  chanujoth — the  famous  four  shops  under  the  twin 
cedars  of  Olivet — in  which  were  sold  things  legally  pure, 
and  which  they  had  manipulated  with  such  commercial 
cunning  as  artificially  to  raise  the  price  of  doves  to  a 
gold  coin  apiece,  until  the  people  were  delivered  from 
this  gross  imposition  by  the  indignant  interference  of  a 
grandson  of  Hillel.  There  is  every  reason  to  believe 
that  the  shops  which  had  intruded  even  under  the 
Temple  porticoes  were  not  only  sanctioned  by  their 
authority,  but  even  managed  for  their  profit.  To  interfere 


CAUSE  OF  THE  PRIESTS'  ANGER.  335 

with  these  was  to  rob  them  of  one  important  source  of 
that  wealth  and  worldly  comfort  to  which  they  attached 
such  extravagant  importance.  There  was  good  reason 
why  Hanan,  the  head  representative  of  "  the  viper 
brood/'  as  a  Talmudic  writer  calls  them,  should  strain 
to  the  utmost  his  cruel  prerogative  of  power  to  crush  a 
Prophet  whose  actions  tended  to  make  him  and  his 
powerful  family  at  once  wholly  contemptible  and  com- 
paratively poor. 

Such  then  were  the  feelings  of  bitter  contempt  and 
hatred  with  which  the  ex-High  Priest  assumed  the 
initiative  in  interrogating  Jesus.  The  fact  that  he  dared 
not  avow  them — nay,  was  forced  to  keep  them  wholly 
out  of  sight — would  only  add  to  the  intensity  of  his 
bitterness.  Even  his  method  of  procedure  seems  to  have 
been  as  wholly  illegal  as  was  his  assumption,  in  such  a 
place  and  at  such  an  hour,  of  any  legal  function  what- 
ever. Anxious,  at  all  hazards,  to  trump  up  some  avail- 
able charge  of  secret  sedition,  or  of  unorthodox  teaching, 
he  questioned  Jesus  of  His  disciples  and  of  His  doctrine. 
The  answer,  for  all  its  calmness,  involved  a  deep  reproof, 
"/have  spoken  openly  to  the  world;  I  ever  taught  in 
the  synagogue  and  in  the  Temple,  where  all  the  Jews 
come  together,  and  in  secret  I  said  nothing.  Why 
askest  thou  me  ?  Ask  those  who  have  heard  me  what 
I  said  to  them.  Lo  !  these  "•  —pointing,  perhaps,  to 
the  bystanders1 — "  know  what  I  said  to  them."  The 
emphatic  repetition  of  the  "I,"  and  its  unusually  sig- 
nificant position  at  the  end  of  the  sentence,  show  that  a 
contrast  was  intended ;  as  though  He  had  said,  "  This 
midnight,  this  sedition,  this  secrecy,  this  indecent 
mockery  of  justice,  are  yours,  not  mine.  There  has  never 

1  OVTOI,  not  e'/ceu/OJ. 


336 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


been  anything  esoteric  in  my  doctrine  ;  never  anything 
to    conceal    in    my  actions;    no  hole-and-corner    plots 
among  my  followers.     But  thou?  and  thine?"     Even 
the  minions   of  Annas  felt  the   false  position  of  their 
master  under  this  calm  rebuke  ;  they  felt  that  before  the 
transparent  innocence  of  this  youthful  Eabbi  of  Nazareth 
the  hoary  hypocrisy  of  the  crafty  Sadducee  was  abashed. 
"  Answerest   thou  the  High   Priest  so?"  said  one  of 
them  with  a  burst  of  illegal  insolence  ;  and  then,  un- 
reproved  by  this  priestly  violator  of  justice,  he  profaned 
with  the  first  infamous  blow  the  sacred  face  of  Christ. 
Then  first  that  face  which,  as  the  poet-preacher  says, 
"  the  angels  stare  upon  with  wonder  as  infants  at  a 
bright  sunbeam,"  was  smitten  by  a  contemptible  slave. 
The  insult  was  borne  with  noble  meekness.     Even  St. 
Paul,  when  similarly  insulted,  flaming  into  sudden  anger 
at  such  a  grossly  illegal  violence,  had  scathed  the  ruffian 
and  his  abettor  with  "  Grod  shall  smite  thee,  thou  whited 
wall  i"1  but  He,  the  Son  of  Grod  —  He  who  was  infinitely 
above  all  apostles  and  all  angels  —  with  no  flash  of  anger, 
with  no  heightened  tone  of  natural  indignation,  quietly 
reproved  the  impudent  transgressor  with  the  words,  "If 
I  spoke  evil,  bear  witness  concerning  the  evil;    but  if 
well,  why  smitest  thou  me  ?"  It  was  clear  that  nothing 
more  could  be  extorted  from  Him  ;  that  before  such  a 

1  Acts  xxiii.  3.  It  is  remarkable  that  in  the  Talmudic  malediction  of 
these  priestly  families  (Pesach.  57;  Toseft.  Menachoth,  15)  there  is  an 
express  complaint  that  they  monopolised  all  offices  by  making  their  sons 
treasurers,  captains  (of  the  Temple),  &c.,  and  that  "  their  servants  (]ma») 
strike  the  people  with  their  rods."  When  Josephus  talks  of  Hanan 
the  son  of  Hanan  as  "  a  prodigious  lover  of  liberty  and  admirer  of  demo- 
cracy," the  mere  context  is  quite  sufficient  to  show  that  this  is  a  very 
careless,  if  not  dishonest,  judgment;  as  for  his  wonderful  "virtue"  and 
"  justice,"  it  is  probable  that  Josephus  hardly  cared  to  reconcile  his  own 
statements  with  what  he  records  of  him  in  Antt.  xx.  9,  8  1. 


THE  SECOND   TRIAL.  337 

tribunal  He  would  brook  no  further  question.  Bound, 
in  sign  that  He  was  to  be  condemned — though  unheard 
and  unsentenced — Annas  sent  Him  across  the  court-yard 
to  Joseph  Caiaphas,  his  son-in-law,  who,  not  by  the 
grace  of  Grod,  but  by  the  grace  of  the  Eoman  Procurator, 
was  the  titular  High  Priest. 

ii.  Caiaphas,  like  his  father-in-law,  was  a  Sadducee 
-equally  astute  and  unscrupulous  with  Annas,  but 
endowed  with  less  force  of  character  and  will.  In  his 
house  took  place  the  second  private  and  irregular  stage 
of  the  trial.1  There — for  though  the  poor  Apostles 
could  not  watch  for  one  hour  in  sympathetic  prayer, 
these  nefarious  plotters  could  watch  all  night  in  their 
deadly  malice — a  few  of  the  most  desperate  enemies  of 
Jesus  among  the  Priests  and  Sadducees  were  met.  To 
form  a  session  of  the  Sanhedrin  there  must  at  least 
have  been  twenty-three  members  present.  And  we  may 
perhaps  be  allowed  to  conjecture  that  this  particular 
body  before  wiiich  Christ  was  now  convened  was  mainly 
composed  of  Priests.  There  were  in  fact  three  Sanhe- 
drins,  or  as  we  should  rather  call  them,  committees  of 
the  Sanhedrin,  which  ordinarily  met  at  different  places 
— in  the  Lishcat  Haggazzith,  or  Paved  Hall;  in  the 
Beth  Midrash  or  Chamber  by  the  Partition  of  the 
Temple ;  and  near  the  Gate  of  the  Temple  Mount.  Such 
being  the  case,  it  is  no  unreasonable  supposition  that 
these  committees  were  composed  of  different  elements, 
and  that  one  of  them  may  have  been  mainly  sacerdotal 
in  its  constitution.  If  so,  it  would  have  been  the 
most  likely  of  them  all,  at  the  present  crisis,  to  embrace 
the  most  violent  measures  against  One  whose  teaching 

1  Matt.  xxvi.  59—68 ;  Mark  xiv.  55—65.    Irregular,  for  capital  trials 
could  only  take  place  by  daylight  (Sanhedr.  iv.  1). 

W 


338 


THE   LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


now  seemed  to  endanger  the  very  existence  of  priestly 
rule.1 

But,  whatever  may  have  been  the  nature  of  the 
tribunal  over  which  Caiaphas  was  now  presiding,  it  is 
clear  that  the  Priests  were  forced  to  change  their  tactics. 
Instead  of  trying,  as  Hanan  had  done,  to  overawe  and 
entangle  Jesus  with  insidious  questions,  and  so  to  in- 
volve Him  in  a  charge  of  secret  apostacy,  they  now 
tried  to  brand  Him  with  the  crime  of  public  error.  In 
point  of  fact  their  own  bitter  divisions  and  controversies 
made  the  task  of  convicting  Him  a  very  difficult  one. 
If  they  dwelt  on  any  supposed  opposition  to  civil  autho- 
rity, that  would  rather  enlist  the  sympathies  of  the 
Pharisees  in  His  favour  ;  if  they  dwelt  on  supposed  Sab- 
bath violations  or  neglect  of  traditional  observances, 
that  would  accord  with  the  views  of  the  Sadducees.  The 
Sadducees  dared  not  complain  of  His  cleansing  of  the 
Temple  :  the  Pharisees,  or  those  who  represented  them, 
found  it  useless  to  advert  to  His  denunciations  of  tradi- 
tion. But  Jesus,  infinitely  nobler  than  His  own  noblest 
Apostle,  would  not  foment  these  latent  animosities,  or 
evoke  for  His  own  deliverance  a  contest  of  these  slum- 
bering prejudices.  He  did  not  disturb  the  temporary 
compromise  which  united  them  in  a  common  hatred 
against  Himself.  Since,  therefore,  they  had  nothing 
else  to  go  upon,  the  Chief  Priests  and  the  entire  San- 

1  Twenty-three  would  be  about  a  third  of  the  entire  number  (Mai- 
monides,  Sanhedr.  3).  Unless  there  be  some  slight  confusion  between  the 
second  and  third  trials,  the  -navres  of  Mark  xiv.  53  cannot  be  taken  au 
pied  de  la  lettre,  but  must  mean  simply  "all  who  were  engaged  in  this 
conspiracy."  Indeed,  this  seems  to  be  distinctly  implied  in  Mark  xv.  1. 
Similarly  in  Matt.  xxvi.  59,  rb  aw&piov  '6\ov  must  mean  "that  entire  com- 
mittee of  the  Sanhedrin,"  as  may  be  seen  by  comparing  it  with  xxvii.  1. 
That  ffweSpiov  may  be  used  simply  for  a  small  Beth  Din  is  clear  from  Matt. 
v.  22.  (Jost,  i.  404.) 


FALSE   WITNESSES.  339 

hedrin  "  sought  false  witness" — such  is  the  terribly  simple 
expression  of  the  Evangelists — "  sought  false  witness 
against  Jesus  to  put  Him  to  death.  Many  men,  with  a 
greedy,  unnatural  depravity,  seek  false  witness — mostly 
of  the  petty,  ignoble,  malignant  sort ;  and  the  powers 
of  evil  usually  supply  it  to  them.  The  Talmud  seems 
to  insinuate  that  the  custom,  which  they  pretend  was 
the  general  one,  had  been  followed  in  the  case  of  Christ, 
and  that  two  witnesses  had  been  placed  in  concealment 
while  a  treacherous  disciple — ostensibly  Judas  Iscariot 
—had  obtained  from  His  own  lips  an  avowal  of  His 
claims.  This,  however,  is  no  less  false  than  the  utterly 
absurd  and  unchronological  assertion  of  the  tract  Sanhe- 
drin,  that  Jesus  had  been  excommunicated  by  Joshua 
Ben  Perachiah,  and  that  though  for  forty  days  a  herald 
had  proclaimed  that  He  had  brought  magic  from  Egypt 
and  seduced  the  people,  no  single  witness  came  forward 
in  His  favour.1  Setting  aside  these  absurd  inventions, 
we  learn  from  the  Grospels  that  though  the  agents 
of  these  priests  were  eager  to  lie,  yet  their  testimony 
was  so  false,  so  shadowy,  so  self-contradictory,  that  it 
all  melted  to  nothing,  and  even  those  unjust  and  bitter 
judges  could  not  with  any  decency  accept  it.  But  at 
last  two  came  forward,  whose  false  witness  looked  more 
promising.3  They  had  heard  Him  say  something  about 
destroying  the  Temple,  and  rebuilding  it  in  three  days. 
According  to  one  version  His  expression  had  been,  "  1 
can  destroy  this  Temple  ;  "  according  to  another,  "  /  will 
destroy  this  Temple."  The  fact  was  that  He  had  said 

1  Sanhedr.,  43  a.   (Gratz,  Gesch.  Jud.  iii.  242.)— See  Excursus  II.,  "Allu- 
sions to  Christ  and  Christians  in  the  Talmud." 

2  The  brevity  of  the  Evangelists  prevents  us  from  knowing  whether  the 
ordinary  Jewish  rules  of  evidence  were  observed.     For  Josephus's  account 
of  the  trial  of  Zechariah  the  son  of  Baruch,  see  Bell.  Jud.  iv.  5,  §  4, 


340 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


neither,  but  "  Destroy  this  Temple ;  "  and  the  impera- 
tive had  hut  heen  addressed,  hypothetically,  to  them. 
They  were  to  he  the  destroyers ;  He  had  but  promised 
to  rebuild.  It  was  just  one  of  those  perjuries  which 
was  all  the  more  perjured,  because  it  bore  some  distant 
semblance  to  the  truth  ;  and  by  just  giving  a  different 
nuance  to  His  actual  words  they  had,  with  the  inge- 
nuity of  slander,  reversed  their  meaning,  and  hoped  to 
found  upon  them  a  charge  of  constructive  blasphemy. 
But  even  this  semblable  perjury  utterly  broke  down, 
and  Jesus  listened  in  silence  while  His  disunited  enemies 
hopelessly  confuted  each  other's  testimony.  Guilt  often 
breaks  into  excuses  where  perfect  innocence  is  dumb. 
He  simply  suffered  His  false  accusers  and  their  false 
listeners  to  entangle  themselves  in  the  hideous  coil  of 
their  own  malignant  lies,  and  the  silence  of  the  inno- 
cent Jesus  atoned  for  the  excuses  of  the  guilty  Adam. 

But  that  majestic  silence  troubled,  thwarted,  con- 
founded, maddened  them.  It  weighed  them  down  for 
the  moment  with  an  incubus  of  intolerable  self-con- 
demnation. They  felt,  before  that  silence,  as  if  they 
were  the  culprits,  He  the  judge.  And  as  every  poisoned 
arrow  of  their  carefully-provided  perjuries  fell  harmless 
at  His  feet,  as  though  blunted  on  the  diamond  shield 
of  His  white  innocence,  they  began  to  fear  lest,  after 
all,  their  thirst  for  His  blood  would  go  unslaked,  and 
their  whole  plot  fail.  "Were  they  thus  to  be  conquered 
by  the  feebleness  of  their  own  weapons,  without  His 
stirring  a  finger,  or  uttering  a  word  ?  Was  this 
Prophet  of  Nazareth  to  prevail  against  them,  merely  for 
lack  of  a  few  consistent  lies  ?  Was  His  life  charmed 
even  against  calumny  confirmed  by  oaths  ?  It  was 
intolerable. 


ADJURATION   OF  CAIAPHAS.  341 

Then  Caiaphas  was  overcome  with  a  paroxysm  of 
fear  and  anger.  Starting  up  from  his  judgment- seat, 
and  striding  into  the  midst1 — with  what  a  voice,  with 
what  an  attitude  we  may  well  imagine  ! — "  Answerest 
Thou  NOTHING  ?  "  he  exclaimed.  "  What  is  it  that 
these  witness  against  Thee  ?  "  Had  not  Jesus  been 
aware  that  these  His  judges  were  wilfully  feeding  on 
ashes  and  seeking  lies,  He  might  have  answered;  but 
now  His  awful  silence  remained  unbroken. 

Then,  reduced  to  utter  despair  and  fury,  this  false 
High  Priest — with  marvellous  inconsistency,  with  dis- 
graceful illegality — still  standing  as  it  were  with  a 
threatening  attitude  over  his  prisoner,  exclaimed,  "  I 
adjure  Thee  by  the  living  Grod  to  tell  us  "  —  what  ? 
whether  Thou  art  a  malefactor  ?  whether  Thou  hast 
secretly  taught  sedition  ?  whether  Thou  hast  openly 
uttered  blasphemy  ? — no,  but  (and  surely  the  question 
showed  the  dread  misgiving  which  lay  under  all  their 
deadly  conspiracy  against  Him) — "  WHETHER  THOU  ART 
THE  CHRIST,  THE  SON  OF  GOD  ?  " 

Strange  question  to  a  bound,  defenceless,  condemned 
criminal;  and  strange  question  from  such  a  questioner — a 
High  Priest  of  His  people  !  Strange  question  from  the 
judge  who  was  hounding  on  his  false  witnesses  against 
the  prisoner  !  Yet  so  adjured,  and  to  such  a  question, 
Jesus  could  not  be  silent ;  on  such  a  point  He  could  not 
leave  Himself  open  to  misinterpretation.  In  the  days  of 
His  happier  ministry,  when  they  would  have  taken  Him 

1  Mark  xiv.  60,  avaffras  .  .  .  ets  fj.effov-  The  Sanhedrin  sat  on  opposite 
divans  of  a  circular  hall;  the  Nasi,  or  President,  who  was  usually  the 
High  Priest,  sat  in  the  middle  at  the  farther  end,  with  the  Ab  Beth  Din, 
or  Father  of  the  House  of  Judgment,  on  his  right,  and  the  Chakam,  or 
Wise  Man,  on  his  left.  The  accused  was  placed  opposite  to  him.  (See  Jos. 
Sell  Jud.  iv.  5,  §4;  Keim,  III.  ii.  328.) 


342 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


by  force  to  make  Him  a  King — in  the  days  when  to  claim 
the  Messiahship  in  their  sense  would  have  been  to  meet 
all  their  passionate  prejudices  half  way,  and  to  place 
Himself  upon  the  topmost  pinnacle  of  their  adoring 
homage — in  those  days  He  had  kept  His  title  of  Messiah 
utterly  in  the  background  :  but  now,  at  this  awful 
decisive  moment,  when  death  was  near — when,  humanly 
speaking,  nothing  could  be  gained,  everything  must  be 
lost,  by  the  avowal — there  thrilled  through  all  the 
ages — thrilled  through  that  Eternity,  which  is  the  syn- 
chronism of  all  the  future,  and  all  the  present,  and  all 
the  past — the  solemn  answer,  "  I  AM  ; l  and  ye  shall  see 
the  Son  of  Man  sitting  on  the  right  hand  of  power,  and 
coming  with  the  clouds  of  heaven."2  In  that  answer  the 
thunder  rolled — a  thunder  louder  than  at  Sinai,  though 
the  ears  of  the  cynic  and  the  Sadducee  heard  it  not 
then,  nor  hear  it  now.  In  overacted  and  ill-omened 
horror,  the  unjust  judge  who  had  thus  supplemented 
the  failure  of  the  perjuries  which  he  had  vainly  sought 
— the  false  High  Priest  rending  his  linen  robes  before 
the  True3 — demanded  of  the  assembly  His  instant  con- 
demnation. 

1  In  Matt.  xxvi.  64,  2i>  e?7ras.    Alford  refers  to  John  xii.  49. 

2  Dan.  vii.  13 :  "I  saw  in  the  night  visions,  and,  behold,  one  like  the 
Son  of  Man  came  with  the  clouds  of  heaven,  and  came  to  the  Ancient  of 
Days,  and  they  brought  him  near  before  him."     Hence  the  hybrid  term, 
Bar-^e^cATj,  "  Son  of  a  cloud,"  applied  to  the  Messiah  in  Sanhedr.  96,  6. 

3  This  was  forbidden  to  the  High  Priest  in  cases  of  mourning  (Lev.  x.  6; 
xxi.  10) ;  but  the  Jewish  Halacha  considered  it  lawful  in  cases  of  blasphemy 
(nvia,  gidduph]  (1  Mace.  xi.  71 ;  Jos.  B.  J.  ii.  15,  §  4).    As  to  Joseph  Caiaphas 
the  Talmud  is  absolutely  silent ;  but  the  general  conception  which  it  gives 
of  the  priests  of  this  epoch  agrees  entirely  with  the  Gospels.     It  tells  how 
since  the  days  of  Valerius  Gratus  the  office  had  constantly  been  bought  and 
sold ;  how  the  widow  Martha,  daughter  of  Boethus,  gave  Agrippa  II.  two 
bushels  of  gold  denarii  to  buy  it  for  Joshua  Ben  Gamala,  her  betrothed ; 
how  it  was  disgraced  by  cringing  meanness  and  supple  sycophancy ;   how 
there  were  more  than  eighty  of  these  High  Priests  of  the  second  Temple 


CONDEMNED   BY   CAIAPHAS.  343 

"  BLASPHEMY  !  "  he  exclaimed  ;  "  what  further  need 
have  we  of  witnesses?  See,  now  ye  heard  his  blas- 
phemy !  What  is  your  decision  ? "  And  with  the 
confused  tumultuous  cry,  "  He  is  ish  maveth,"  "  A  man 
of  death,"  "Guilty  of  death,"  the  dark  conclave  was 
broken  up,  and  the  second  stage  of  the  trial  of  Jesus 
was  over.1 

(which  they  quoted  in  illustration  of  Prov.  x.  27),  whereas  there  were  only 
eighteen  of  the  first  Temple   (Frankl,  Monatsschrift,  Dec.  1852,  p.  588; 
Raphall,  Hist,  of  Jews,  ii.  368) ;  and  many  other  disgraces  and  enormities. 
1  Of.  Numb.  xxxv.  31. 


CHAPTEB  LIX. 

THE    INTERVAL    BETWEEN    THE    TRIALS. 

"  I  gave  my  back  to  the  smiters,  and  my  cheeks  to  them  that  plucked 
off  the  hair :  I  hid  not  my  face  from  shame  and  spitting." — ISA.  1.  6. 

AND  this  was  how  the  Jews  at  last  received  their 
promised  Messiah — longed  for  with  passionate  hopes 
during  two  thousand  years ;  since  then  regretted  in 
bitter  agony  for  well-nigh  two  thousand  more !  From 
this  moment  He  was  regarded1  by  all  the  apparitors  of 
the  Jewish  Court  as  a  heretic,  liable  to  death  by  stoning; 
and  was  only  remanded  into  custody  to  be  kept  till  break 
of  day,  because  by  daylight  only,  and  in  the  Lishcat 
Haggazzifh,  or  Hall  of  Judgment,  and  only  by  a  full 
session  of  the  entire  Sanhedrin,  could  He  be  legally  con- 
demned. And  since  now  they  looked  upon  Him  as  a 
"  fit  person  to  be  insulted  with  impunity,  He  was  haled 
through  the  court-yard  to  the  guard-room  with  blows  and 
curses,  in  which  it  may  be  that  not  only  the  attendant 
menials,  but  even  the  cold  but  now  infuriated  Sadducees 
took  their  share.  It  was  now  long  past  midnight,  and 
the  spring  air  was  then  most  chilly.  In  the  centre  of 

1  "Millionen  gebrochener  Herzen  und  Augen  haben  seinen  Tod  noch 
m'cht  abgebiisst"  (Gratz,  iii.  245).  On  the  whole  of  this  trial,  see  the 
powerful  and  noble  remarks  of  Lange  (iv.  309)  and  Keim  (ubi  supra}. 


PETER  AND  JOHN.  345 

the  court  the  servants  of  the  priests  were  warming 
themselves  under  the  frosty  starlight  as  they  stood 
round  a  fire  of  coals.  And  as  He  was  led  past  that  fire 
He  heard — what  was  to  Him  a  more  deadly  bitterness 
than  any  which  His  brutal  persecutors  could  pour  into 
His  cup  of  anguish — He  heard  His  boldest  Apostle 
denying  Him  with  oaths. 

For  during  these  two  sad  hours  of  His  commencing 
tragedy,  as  He  stood  in  the  Halls  of  Annas  and  of 
Caiaphas,  another  moral  tragedy,  which  He  had  already 
prophesied,  had  been  taking  place  in  the  outer  court. 

As  far  as  we  can  infer  from  the  various  narratives,1 
the  palace  in  Jerusalem,  conjointly  occupied  by  Annas 
the  real,  and  Caiaphas  the  titular  High  Priest,  seems  to 
have  been  built  round  a  square  court,  and  entered  by 
an  arched  passage  or  vestibule ;  and  on  the  farther  side 
of  it,  probably  up  a  short  flight  of  steps,2  was  the  hall 
in  which  the  committee  of  the  Sanhedrin  had  met. 
Timidly,  and  at  a  distance,  two  only  of  the  Apostles  had 
so  far  recovered  from  their  first  panic  as  to  follow  far  in 
the  rear  3  of  the  melancholy  procession.  One  of  these 
— the  beloved  disciple — known  perhaps  to  the  High 
Priest's  household  as  a  young  fisherman  of  the  Lake  of 
Gralilee — had  found  ready  admittance,  with  no  attempt 
to  conceal  his  sympathies  or  his  identity.  Not  so  the 

1  In  this  narrative  again  there  are  obvious  variations  in  the  quadruple 
accounts  of  the  Evangelists ;  but  the  text  will  sufficiently  show  that  there 
is  no  irreconcileable  discrepancy  if  they  are  judged  fairly  and  on  common- 
sense  principles.     The  conception  of  accuracy  in  ancient  writers  differed 
widely  from  our  own,  and  a  document  is  by  no  means  necessarily  inaccurate, 
because  the  brevity,  or  the  special  purpose,  or  the  limited  information  of  the 
writer,  made  it  necessarily  incomplete.  "  Qui  plura  dicit,  pauciora  coinplec- 
titur ;  qui  pauciora  dicit,  plura  non  uegat." 

2  Mark  xiv.  66,  Karoo    tv  rrj  ouA.7?. 

3  Luke  xxi i.  54, 


346 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


other.  Unknown,  and  a  Gralilsean,  lie  had  been  stopped 
at  the  door  by  the  youthful  portress.  Better,  far  better, 
had  his  exclusion  been  final.  For  it  was  a  night  of 
tumult,  of  terror,  of  suspicion ;  and  Peter  was  weak,  and 
his  intense  love  was  mixed  with  fear,  and  yet  he  was 
venturing  into  the  very  thick  of  his  most  dangerous 
enemies.  But  John,  regretting  that  he  should  be 
debarred  from  entrance,  and  judging  perhaps  of  his 
friend's  firmness  by  his  own,  exerted  his  influence  to 
obtain  admission  for  him.  With  bold  imprudence,  and 
concealing  the  better  motives  which  had  brought  him 
thither,  Peter,  warned  though  he  had  been,  but  warned 
in  vain,  walked  into  the  court-yard,  and  sat  down  in  the 
very  middle  of  the  servants1  of  the  very  men  before  whom 
at  that  moment  his  Lord  was  being  arraigned  on  a 
charge  of  death.  The  portress,  after  the  admission  of 
those  concerned  in  the  capture,  seems  to  have  been 
relieved  (as  was  only  natural  at  that  late  hour)  by  another 
maid,  and  advancing  to  the  group  of  her  fellow- servants, 
she  fixed  a  curious  and  earnest  gaze 2  on  the  dubious 
stranger  as  he  sat  full  in  the  red  glare  of  the  firelight, 
and  then,  with  a  flash  of  recognition,  she  exclaimed, 
"Why,  you,  as  well  as  the  other,  were  with  Jesus  of 
Galilee."3  Peter  was  off"  his  guard.  At  this  period  of 
life  his  easy  impressionable  nature  was  ever  liable  to  be 
moulded  by  the  influence  of  the  moment,  and  he  passed 
readily  into  passionate  extremes.  Long,  long  afterwards, 

1  Luke  xxii.  55,  fJ-fffos  avru>v. 

2  Luke  xxii.   56,   areviffaffa.    For  the  other  particulars  in  this  clause 
compare  John  xviii.  17  with  Matt.  xxvi.  69 ;  Mark  xiv.  67.     For  female 
porters,  see  Mark  xiii.  34  ;  Acts  xii.  13. 

3  It  is  most  instructive  to  observe  that  no  one  of  the  Evangelists  puts 
exactly  the  same  words  into  her  mouth  (showing  clearly  the  nature  of  their 
report),  and  yet  each  faithfully  preserves  the  /col,  which,  in  the  maid's 
question,  couples  Peter  with  John. 


THE  FIRST  DENIAL.  347 

we  find  a  wholly  unexpected  confirmation  of  the  proba- 
bility of  this  sad  episode  of  his  life,  in  the  readiness  with 
which  he  lent  himself  to  the  views  of  the  Apostle  of  the 
Gentiles,  and  the  equal  facility  with  which  a  false  shame, 
and  a  fear  of  "  them  which  were  of  the  circumcision," 
made  him  swerve  into  the  false  and  narrow  proprieties  of 
"  certain  which  came  from  James."  And  thus  it  was 
that  the  mere  curious  question  of  an  inquisitive  young 
girl  startled  him  by  its  very  suddenness  into  a  quick 
denial  of  his  Lord.  Doubtless,  at  the  moment,  it  pre- 
sented itself  to  him  as  a  mere  prudent  evasion  of  needless 
danger.  But  did  he  hope  to  stop  there  ?  Alas,  "  once 
denied  "  is  always  "  thrice  denied  ;  "  and  the  sudden 
"  manslaughter  upon  truth"  always,  and  rapidly,  develops 
into  its  utter  and  deliberate  murder  ;  and  a  lie  is  like  a 
stone  set  rolling  upon  a  mountain-  side,  which  is  instantly 
beyond  its  utterer's  control. 

For  a  moment,  perhaps,  his  denial  was  accepted,  for 
it  had  been  very  public,  and  very  emphatic.1  But  it 
warned  him  of  his  danger.  Guiltily  he  slinks  away 
again  from  the  glowing  brazier  to  the  arched  entrance  of 
the  court,  as  the  crowing  of  a  cock  smote,  not  quite  un- 
heeded, on  his  guilty  ear.2  His  respite  was  very  short. 


1  Matt.   XXvi.  70,   %/j.irpoffOev   iravruv  ;    Mark  xiv.   68,    OVK   o?5a   (sc. 
o#5e  fTrlffrafJ-ai  <rv  T\  \eyeis. 

2  Matt.  xxvi.  71,  els  rbv  irvXwva  ;  Mark  xiv.  68,  cis  Tb  irpoavXiov.     There 
must  be  some  trivial  "  inaccuracy,"  if  any  one  cares  to  press  the  word, 
either  here  or  in  John  xviii.  25  (elirov  olv  aura?),  Luke  xxii.  58  (eVepos).      A 
wretched  pseudo-criticism  has  fixed  on  the  cock  as  "  unhistorical,"  because 
the  Jews  are  thought  to  have  held  cocks  unclean,  from  their  scratching  in 
the  dung.     But  not  to  mention  that  the  bird  may  have  belonged  to  some 
Roman  in  the  Tower  of  Antonia,  other  Talmudical  stories  show  that  cocks 
were  kept  at  Jerusalem  :  e.g.,  the  story  of  a  cock  that  was  stoned  for  killing 
an  infant  (Beravhoth,  27,  1  ;  see  Buxtorf,  Lex.  Talm.  81,  2653).     It  is  a 
condescension  to  notice  such  objections,  particularly  when  they  are  sup- 
posed to  rest  on  Talmudical  authorities  quoted  from  our  imperfect  know- 


348 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


The  portress — part  of  whose  duty  it  was  to  draw  atten- 
tion to  dubious  strangers — had  evidently  gossiped  about 
him  to  the  servant  who  had  relieved  her  in  charge  oi 
the  door.     Some  other  idlers  were  standing  about,  and 
this  second  maid  pointed  him  out  to  them  as  having 
certainly  been  with  Jesus  of  Nazareth.     A  lie  seem< 
more  than  ever  necessary  now,  and  to    secure  himsel 
from  all  further  molestation  he  even  confirmed  it  wrl 
an  oath.    But  now  flight  seemed  impossible,  for  it  wouL 
only  confirm  suspicion;  so  with  desperate,  gloomy  resolu- 
tion he  once  more — with  feelings  which  can  barely 
imagined — -joined  the  unfriendly  and  suspicious  group 
who  were  standing  round  the  fire. 

A  whole  hour  passed :  for  him  it  must  have  been 
a  fearful  hour,  and  one  never  to  be  forgotten.  The  tem- 
perament of  Peter  was  far  too  nervous  and  vehement  to 
suffer  him  to  feel  at  ease  under  this  new  complication  oi 
ingratitude  and  falsehood.  If  he  remain  silent  amonj 
these  priestly  servitors,  he  is  betrayed  by  the  restles 
self- consciousness  of  an  evil  secret  which  tries  in  vain 
simulate  indifference ;  if  he  brazen  it  out  with  careless 
talk,  he  is  fatally  betrayed  by  his  Gralilsean  burr.  It 
evident  that,  in  spite  of  denial  and  of  oath,  they  wholly 
distrust  and  despise  him ;  and  at  last  one  of  the  Hig] 
Priest's  servants — a  kinsman  of  the  wounded  Malchus 
— once  more  strongly  and  confidently  charged  him  with 
having  been  with  Jesus  in  the  garden,  taunting  him,  in 
proof  of  it,  with  the  misplaced  gutturals  of  his  pi 
vincial  dialect.  The  others  joined  in  the  accusation.1 


ledge  of  a  literature  which  is  inveterately  unhistorical,  and  abounds  in 
self-contradictions.     See  Excursus  XII.,  "  Notes  on  the  Talmud." 

1  John  xviii.  26  (ffvyyev^s)  ;  Luke  xxii.  59  (#\\oy  ns  8u(rxu/>tC€TO)  >  Matt. 

i.  73  (ol  etrrwTes)  ;   Mark  xiv.  70  (ote 


THE  THIRD  DENIAL.  349 

Unless  lie  persisted,  all  was  lost  which  might  seem  to 
have  been  gained.     Perhaps  one  more  effort  would  set 
him  quite  free  from  these    troublesome   charges,   and 
enable  him  to  wait  and  see  the  end.     Pressed  closer  and 
closer  by  the  sneering,  threatening  band  of  idle  servitors 
— sinking  deeper  and  deeper  into  the  mire  of  faithless- 
ness and  fear — "  then  began  he  to  curse  and  to  swear, 
saying,   I  know   not   the   man."      And   at  that   fatal 
moment  of  guilt,  which  might  well  have  been  for  him 
the  moment  of  an  apostacy  as  fatal  and  final  as  had  been 
that  of  his  brother  apostle — at  that  fatal  moment,  while 
those    shameless  curses  still  quivered  on  the  air — first 
the  cock  crew  in  the  cold  grey  dusk,  and  at  the  same 
moment,   catching  the  last  accents   of  those  perjured 
oaths,  either  through  the  open  portal  of  the  judgment- 
hall,1  or  as  He  was  led  past  the  group  at  the  fireside 
through  the  open  court,  with  rude  pushing  and  ribald 
jeers,  and  blows  and  spitting — the  Lord — the  Lord  in 
the  agony  of  His  humiliation,  in  the  majesty  of  His 
silence — "the    Lord    turned  and    looked  upon  Peter." 
Blessed  are  those  on  whom,  when  He  looks  in  sorrow, 
the  Lord  looks  also  with  love  !     It  was  enough.     Like 
an    arrow   through   his    inmost    soul,    shot  the   mute 
eloquent  anguish  of  that  reproachful  glance.     As  the 
sunbeam  smites  the  last  hold  of  snow  upon  the  rock, 
ere  it  rushes  in  avalanche  down  the  tormented  hill,  so 
the  false  self  of  the  fallen  Apostle  slipped  away.    It  was 
enough :  "  he  saw  no  more  enemies,  he  knew  no  more 
danger,  he  feared  no  more  death."     Flinging  the  fold  of 

1  The  room  in  which  Jesus  was  being  tried  may  have  been  one  of  the 
kind  called  much'ad  in  the  East,  i.e.,  a  room  with  an  open  front,  two  or 
more  arches,  and  a  low  railing,  the  floor  of  which  is  a  paved  leewa'n.  (Lane, 
Mod.  Egyptians,  i.  22.) 


350 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


his  mantle  over  his  head,1  he  too,  like  Judas,  rushed 
forth  into  the  night.  Into  the  night,  but  not  as  JutL 
into  the  unsunned  outer  darkness  of  miserable  self-con- 
demnation, but  not  into  the  midnight  of  remorse  and  of 
despair  ;  into  the  night,  but,  as  has  been  beautifully  said, 
it  was  "  to  meet  the  morning  dawn."s  If  the  angel  oi 
Innocence  had  left  him,  his  "  younger  brother/'  the 
angel  of  Eepentance,  took  him  gently  by  the  hand. 
Sternly,  yet  tenderly,  the  spirit  of  grace  led  up  this 
broken-hearted  penitent  before  the  tribunal  of  his  own 
conscience,  and  there  his  old  life,  his  old  shame,  his  old 
weakness,  his  old  self  was  doomed  to  that  death  of  godly 
sorrow  which  was  to  issue  in  a  new  and  a  nobler  birth. 

And  it  was  this  crime,  committed  against  Him  by  the 
man  who  had  first  proclaimed  Him  as  the  Christ  —  who 
had  come  to  Him  over  the  stormy  water  —  who  had  drawn 
the  sword  for  Him  in  Grethsemane  —  who  had  affirmed  so 
indignantly  that  he  would  die  with  Him  rather  than 
deny  Him  —  it  was  this  denial,  confirmed  by  curses,  that 
Jesus  heard  immediately  after  He  had  been  condemned 
to  death,  and  at  the  very  *  commencement  of  His  first 
terrible  derision.  For,  in  the  guard-room  to  which  He 
was  remanded  to  await  the  break  of  day,  all  the  ignorant 
malice  of  religious  hatred,  all  the  narrow  vulgarity  of 
brutal  spite,  all  the  cold  innate  cruelty  which  lurks  under 
the  abjectness  of  Oriental  servility,  was  let  loose  against 
Him.  His  very  meekness,  His  very  silence,  His  very 
majesty  —  the  very  stainlessness  of  His  innocence,  the 
very  grandeur  of  His  fame  —  every  divine  circumstance 


(Mark  xiv.  72).  This  seems  a  better  meaning  than  (i.) 
"vehemently"  (Matthew,  Luke,  iriKpus],  or  (ii.)  "when  he  thought  thereon  " 
(but  cf.  Marc.  Aurel.  Comment,  x.  30),  or  (iii.)  "hiding  his  face  in  his 
hands." 

2  Lange,  vi.  319. 


THE  FIRST  DERISION.  351 

and  quality  which  raised  Him  to  a  height  so  infinitely 
immeasurable  above  His  persecutors  —  all  these  made 
Him  an  all  the  more  welcome  victim  for  their  low  and 
devilish  ferocity.  They  spat  in  His  face  ;  they  smote 
Him  with  rods  ;  they  struck  Him  with  their  closed  fists 
and  with  their  open  palms.1  In  the  fertility  of  their 
furious  and  hateful  insolence,  they  invented  against  Him 
a  sort  of  game.  Blindfolding  His  eyes,  they  hit  Him 
again  and  again,  with  the  repeated  question,  "  Prophesy 
to  us,  0  Messiah,  who  it  is  that  smote  thee."2  So 
they  wiled  away  the  dark  cold  hours  till  the  morning, 
revenging  themselves  upon  His  impassive  innocence  for 
their  own  present  vileness  and  previous  terror  ;  and 
there,  in  the  midst  of  that  savage  and  wanton  varletry, 
the  Son  of  God,  bound  and  blindfold,  stood  in  His  long 
and  silent  agony,  defenceless  and  alone.  It  was  His  first 
derision  —  His  derision  as  the  Christ,  the  Judge  attainted, 
the  Holy  One  a  criminal,  the  Deliverer  in  bonds. 

iii.  At  last  the  miserable  lingering  hours  were  over, 
and  the  grey  dawn  shuddered,  and  the  morning  blushed 
upon  that  memorable  day.  And  with  the  earliest  dawn 
—for  so  the  Oral  Law  ordained,3  and  they  who  could 
trample  on  all  justice  and  all  mercy  were  yet  scrupu- 
lous about  all  the  infinitely  little  —  Jesus  was  led  into 
the  Lishcat  Haggazzith,  or  Paved  Hall  at  the  south- 
east of  the  Temple,  or  perhaps  into  the  Chanujoth,  or 


1  Matt.  xxvi.  67,  fveirrvo-av  .    .    .  °eKo\d<piffav  (slapped  with  open  palm) 

.  .  .  eppd-mffav   (struck,  probably  With  sticks)  ;    Mark  xiv.  65,    paTriff/j-ao-iv  .  . 
eAajSoj/  al.   ejSoAAoj/;   Luke  xxii.   63,  64,   evfTrai£ov    avrf    Sfpovres  .   .   .    T'IS 
fffnv  6  TT  a  iff  as  (re  ;    There  is  a  pathetic  variety  in  these  five  forms  of  insult 
by  blows  [cf  .  Acts  xxi.  32  ;  xxiii.  2  ;  Isa.  1.  6  ;  and  the  treatment  of  one  of 
Annas's  own  sons  (Jos.  B.  J.  iv.  5,  §  3).] 

2  Wetstein  quotes  from  Sanhedr.  f.  93  6,  a  similar  tentative  applied  to 
the  false  Messiah,  Bar-Cochebas. 

3  Zohar,  56.     See  Excursus  V. 


352 


THE   LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


"  Shops,"  which  owed  their  very  existence  to  Hanan  and 
his  family,  where  the  Sanhedrin  had  been  summoned,  for 
His  third  actual,  but  His  first  formal  and  legal  trial.1 
It  was  now  probably  about  six  o'clock  in  the  morning, 
and  a  full  session  met.  Well-nigh  all  —  for  there  were 
the  noble  exceptions  at  least  of  Nicodemus  and  oi 
Joseph  of  Arimathea,  and  we  may  hope  also  of  Gamaliel, 
the  grandson  of  Hillel  —  were  inexorably  bent  upon  His 
death.  The  Priests  were  there,  whose  greed  and  selfish- 
ness He  had  reproved  ;  the  Elders,  whose  hypocrisy  He 
had  branded;  the  Scribes,  whose  ignorance  He  had 
exposed  ;  2  and  worse  than  all,  the  worldly,  sceptical, 
would-be  philosophic  Sadducees,  always  the  most  cruel 
and  dangerous  of  opponents,3  whose  empty  sapience  He 

1  Luke  xxii.  66  —  71.    It  is   only  by  courtesy  that  this  body  can  be 
regarded  as  a  Sanhedrin  at  all.     Jost  observes  that  there  is  in  the  Romish 
period  no  trace  of  any  genuine  legal  Sanhedrin,  apart  from  mere  special 
incompetent  gatherings.     (See  Jos.  Antt.  xx.  9,  §  1  ;  B.  J.  iv.  5,  §  4.)    But 
all  the  facts  about  the  Sanhedrin  of  this  period  are  utterly  obscure.     On 
Sabbaths  and  feast  days  they  are  said  to  have  met  in  the  Beth  Mid/rash, 
or  Temple  Synagogue,  which  was  built  along  the  Chel,  or  wall  between  the 
Outer  Court  and  the  Court  of  the  Women.  (Lightfoot,  Hor.  Hebr.  ;  Keim, 
&c.)     R.  Ismael,  son  of  R.  Jose,  the  author  of  Seder  Olam,  is  reported  to 
have  said  that  "  forty  years  before  the  destruction  of  the  Temple  the  San- 
hedrin exiled  itself  (from  the  Paved  Hall),  and  established  itself  in  the 
Chanujoth  "  (Aboda  Zara,  8  b)  ;  and  this  is  the  first  of  ten  migrations  of 
the  Sanhedrin  mentioned  in  Rosh  Hashana,  31  a.     These  Chanujoth,  four 
in  number,  are  said  to  have  been  shops  for  the  sale  of  doves,  &c.,  under  a 
cedar  on  the  Mount  of  Olives,  connected  with  the  Temple  by  a  bridge  over 
the  Kedron  (Taaniih,  iv.  8).     They  seem  to  have  been  founded  by  the 
family  of  Annas,  who  made  them  very  profitable,  and  they  are  called 
pn  m  nvun.     They  were  destroyed  by  the  mob  when  the  goods  of  these 
detested  priests  were  pillaged  three  years  before  the  siege  of  Jerusalem. 
(Derenbourg,  Hist,  de  Pal.  468  ;  Buxtorf,  Lex.  Talm.  s.  v.  p,  p.  514.) 

2  These  are  the  Sopherim,  who  may  perhaps  have  ordinarily  formed  a 
separate  committee  of  the  Sanhedrin.  See  Excursus  XIII.,  "  The  Sanhedrin.'* 

3  Though  Josephus  was  a  Pharisee,  we  may,  from  its  probability,  accept 
his   testimony    on    this    point  —  clarl    irepl    TO.S   Kpiffeis    u/jLol    Trapa   travras   TOVS 

•louSaious  (Antt.  xiii.  10,  §  6  ;  B.  J.  ii.  8,  §  14).  The  philosophic  insouciance 
of  a  man  of  the  world,  when  once  thoroughly  irritated,  knows  no  scruples. 


MEETING  OF  THE  SANHEDRIN.  353 

had  so  grievously  confuted.  All  these  were  bent  upon 
His  death;  all  filled  with  repulsion  at  that  infinite 
goodness ;  •  all  burning  with  hatred  against  a  nobler 
nature  than  any  which  they  could  even  conceive  in 
their  loftiest  dreams.  And  yet  their  task  in  trying  to 
achieve  His  destruction  was  not  easy.  The  Jewish 
fables  of  His  death  in  the  Talmud,  which  are  shame- 
lessly false  from  beginning  to  end,1  say  that  for  forty 
days,  though  summoned  daily  by  heraldic  proclamation, 
not  one  person  came  forward,  according  to  custom,  to 
maintain  His  innocence,  and  that  consequently  He 
was  first  stoned  as  a  seducer  of  the  people  (merith), 
and  then  hung  on  the  accursed  tree.  The  fact  was 
that  the  Sanhedrists  had  not  the  power  of  inflicting 
death,2  and  even  if  the  Pharisees  would  have  ventured 

Ordinarily  the  Sanhedrin  was  a  mild  tribunal.  The  members  fasted  a 
whole  day  when  they  had  condemned  any  one  to  death,  and  many  Rabbis 
declared  themselves  with  strong  abhorrence  against  capital  punishments. 
Some  of  them — like  R.  Akiba — considered  it  a  blot  on  a  meeting  of  the 
Sanhedrin  to  condemn  even  one  offender  to  death.  (Salvador,  Institt.  de 
Mo'ise,  ii. ;  Vie  de  Jesus,  ii.  108.)  Their  savagery  on  this  occasion  was 
doubtless  due  to  Sadducean  influence.  The  Megillath  Taanith,  §  10,  men- 
tions a  sort  of  traditional  penal  code  of  this  party  which  seems  to  have  been 
Draconian  in  its  severity,  and  which  the  Pharisees  got  set  aside.  These 
Sadducean  priests,  like  Simeon  Ben  Shetach  before  them,  had  "  hot  hands." 
(Derenbourg,  p.  106.)  See  Excursus  XIV.,  "Pharisees  and  Saducees." 

1  Any  one  whp  cares  to  look  at  the  Talmudic  falsehoods  and  confusions 
about  Ben  Sotada,  Pandera,  &c.,  may  see  them  in  Buxtorf,  Lex.  Talm.  s.  v. 
"TOD,  p.  1458,  seqq. ;  Derenbourg,  Hist,  de  Pal.  468,  seqq.     In  unexpurgated 
editions  of  the  Talmud,  the  name  of  Jesus  is  said  to  occur  twenty  times. 
See  Excursus  II.,  "  Allusions  to  Christ  and  Christians  in  the  Talmud." 

2  This  is  distinctly  stated  by  the  Jews  in  John  xviii.  31,  and  though 
contemporary  notices  seem  to  show  that  in  any  common  case  the  Romans 
might  overlook  a  judicial  murder  on  religious  grounds  (John  v.  18 ;  vii.  25  ; 
Acts  xxiii.  27),  yet  the  Jews  could  not  always  act  as  they  liked  in  such 
cases  with  impunity,  as  was  proved  by  the  reprimand  and  degradation  of 
the  younger   Hanan  for  the  part  which  he  and  the   Sanhedrin  took  in 
the  execution  of  James  the  brother  of  Jesus.    Dollinger  (First  Age  of  the 
Church,  E.  Tr.,  p.  420)  takes  a  different  view,  and  thinks  that  all  they 

X 


354 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


to  usurp  it  in  a  tumultuary  sedition,  as  they  afterwards 
did  in  the  case  of  Stephen,  the  less  fanatic  and  more 
cosmopolitan  Sadducees  would  be  less  likely  to  do  so. 
Not  content,  therefore,  with  the  cherem,  or  ban  of 
greater  excommunication,  their  only  way  to  compass 
His  death  was  to  hand  Him  over  to  the  secular  arm.1 
At  present  they  had  only  against  Him  a  charge  of 
constructive  blasphemy,  founded  on  an  admission  forced 
from  Him  by  the  High  Priest,  when  even  their  own 
suborned  witnesses  had  failed  to  perjure  themselves  to 
their  satisfaction.  There  were  many  old  accusations 
against  Him,  on  which  they  could  not  rely.  His 
violations  of  the  Sabbath,  as  they  called  them,  were  all 
connected  with  miracles,  and  brought  them,  therefore, 
upon  dangerous  ground.  His  rejection  of  oral  tradition 
involved  a  question  on  which  Sadducees  and  Pharisees 
were  at  deadly  feud.  His  authoritative  cleansing  of 
the  Temple  might  be  regarded  with  favour  both  by  the 
Rabbis  and  the  people.  The  charge  of  esoteric  evil 
doctrines  had  been  refuted  by  the  utter  publicity  of  His 
life.  The  charge  of  open  heresies  had  broken  down,  from 
the  total  absence  of  supporting  testimony.  The  problem 
before  them  was  to  convert  the  ecclesiastical  charge  of 
constructive  blasphemy  into  a  civil  charge  of  construc- 
tive treason.  But  how  could  this  be  done  ?  Not  half 
the  members  of  the  Sanhedrin  had  been  present  at  the 
hurried,  nocturnal,  and  therefore  illegal,  session  in  the 
house  of  Caiaphas  ; 2  yet  if  they  were  all  to  condemn 

meant  was,  that  they  could  not  crucify  or  put  to  death  during  a  feast. 
But  whatever  may  be  the  difficulties  of  the  subject,  the  Talmud  seems  to 
confirm  the  distinct  assertion  of  St.  John.  (Berachoth,  f.  58,  1,  and  six  or 
seven  other  places.  See  Buxtorf,  Lex.  Talm,  p.  514.) 

1  Acts  ii.  23,   5t«  xeiP^v  tt"<WI/  Tpo(rir-fi£avT€S. 

2  "Be tardy  in  judgment"  (Pirke  Abhoth;  Sanh.i.  f.  7).   »an  tea  «^H  m 
(8anh.  95,  1 ;  Buxtorf,  Lex.  Talm.,  p.  515). 


JESUS  BEFORE   THE  SANHEDRIK  355 

Him  by  a  formal  sentence,  they  must  all  hear  something 
on  which  to  found  their  vote.  In  answer  to  the  adjura- 
tion of  Caiaphas,  He  had  solemnly  admitted  that  He  was 
the  Messiah  and  the  Son  of  Grod.  The  latter  declaration 
would  have  been  meaningless  as  a  charge  against  Him 
before  the  tribunal  of  the  Romans  ;  but  if  He  would 
repeat  the  former,  they  might  twist  it  into  something 
politically  seditious.  But  He  would  not  repeat  it,  in 
spite  of  their  insistence,  because  He  knew  that  it  was 
open  to  their  wilful  misinterpretation,  and  because  they 
were  evidently  acting  in  flagrant  violation  of  their  own 
express  rules  and  traditions,  which  demanded  that  every 
arraigned  criminal  should  be  regarded  and  treated  as 
innocent  until  his  guilt  was  actually  proved. 

Perhaps,  as  they  sat  there  with  their  King,  bound 
and  helpless  before  them,  standing  silent  amid  their 
clamorous  voices,  one  or  two  of  their  most  venerable 
members  may  have  recalled  the  very  different  scene  when 
Shemaia  (Sameas)  alone  had  broken  the  deep  silence  of 
their  own  cowardly  terror  upon  their  being  convened  to 
pass  judgment  on  Herod  for  his  murders.  On  that 
occasion,  as  Sameas  had  pointed  out,  Herod  had  stood 
before  them,  not  "  in  a  submissive  manner,  with  his  hair 
dishevelled,  and  in  a  black  and  mourning  garment/3  but 
"  clothed  in  purple,  and  with  the  hair  of  his  head  finely 
trimmed,  and  with  his  armed  men  about  him."  And 
since  no  one  dared,  for  very  fear,  even  to  mention  the 
charges  against  him,  Shemaia  had  prophesied  that  the 
day  of  vengeance  should  come,  and  that  the  very  Herod 
before  whom  they  and  their  prince  Hyrcanus  were 
trembling,  would  one  day  be  the  minister  of  God's  anger 
against  both  him  and  them.1  What  a  contrast  was  the 

1  Jos.  Anit.  xiv.  9,  §  4 ;    Bab.  Sanhedrin,  f .  19,  a,  &.     It  is  on  this 


356 


THE  LIFE   OF   G4HKIST. 


present  scene  with  that  former  one  of  half  a  century 
before  !  Now  they  were  clamorous,  their  King  was  silent ; 
they  were  powerful,  their  King  defenceless  ;  they  guilty, 
their  King  divinely  innocent ;  they  the  ministers  of 
earthly  wrath,  their  King  the  arbiter  of  Divine  retri- 
bution. 

But  at  last,  to  end  a  scene  at  once  miserable  and  dis- 
graceful, Jesus  spoke.  "  If  I  tell  you,"  He  said,  "  ye 
will  not  believe ;  and  if  I  ask  you  a  question,  you  will 
not  answer  me."  Still,  lest  they  should  have  any  excuse 
for  failing  to  understand  who  He  was,  He  added  in  tones 
of  solemn  warning,  "  But  henceforth  shall  the  Son  of 
Man  sit  on  the  right  hand  of  the  power  of  God."  "  Art 
thou,  then,"  they  all  exclaimed,  "the  Son  of  Grod?"1 
"  Ye  say  that  I  am,"  2  He  answered,  in  a  formula  with 
which  they  were  familiar,  and  of  which  they  understood 
the  full  significance.  And  then  they  too  cried  out,  as 
Caiaphas  had  done  before,  "  What  further  need  have 
we  of  witness?  for  we  ourselves  heard  from  His  own 
mouth."  And  so  in  this  third  condemnation  by  Jewish 
authority — a  condemnation  which  they  thought  that 
Pilate  would  simply  ratify,  and  so  appease  their  burning 
hate — ended  the  third  stage  of  the  trial  of  our  Lord. 
And  this  decision  also  seems  to  have  been  followed  by  a 
second  derision3  resembling  the  first,  but  even  more  full 

memorable  occasion  that  we  first  meet  witli  the  name  of  Sanhecirin.  Here 
Hyrcanus  is,  with  the  usual  Jewish  carelessness,  called  Jannaeus,  and 
Shemaia  is  called  Simeon  Ben  Shetach.  There  seems,  however,  to  be 
inextricable  confusion  between  the  names  Hillel,  Pollio,  Abtalion,  and 
Sameas,  Shammai,  Shemaia,  and  Simeon. 

1  Of.  Dan.  vii.  13 ;  Ps.  viii.  4 ;  ex.  1. 

2  On  this  formula  (antf?  amarta,  Keim),  which  is  found  in  the  Talmud, 
see  Schottgen,  Hor.  Hebr.,  p.  225,  and  the  remarks  of  De  Quincey,  Works, 
iii.  304.     It  is  clearly  more  than  a  mere  affirmation. 

3  Unless  Luke    xxii.    63 — 65  (which   seems   as   though   it  refers   to 


THE  TRAITOR'S  FATE.  357 

of  insult,  and  worse  to  bear  than  the  former,  inasmuch  as 
the  derision  of  Priests,  and  Elders,  and  Sadducees  is  even 
more  repulsively  odious  than  that  of  menials  and  knaves. 
Terribly  soon  did  the  Nemesis  fall  on  the  main  actor 
in  the  lower  stages  of  this  iniquity.  Doubtless  through 
all  those  hours  Judas  had  been  a  secure  spectator  of  all 
that  had  occurred,  and  when  the  morning  dawned  upon 
that  chilly  night,  and  he  knew  the  decision  of  the 
Priests  and  of  the  Sanhedrin,  and  saw  that  Jesus  was 
now  given  over  for  crucifixion  to  the  Eoman  Governor, 
then  he  began  fully  to  realise  all  that  he  had  done. 
There  is  in  a  great  crime  an  awfully  illuminating  power.1 
It  lights  up  the  theatre  of  the  conscience  with  an  un- 
natural glare,  and,  expelling  the  twilight  glamour  of 
self-interest,  shows  the  actions  and  motives  in  their  full 
and  true  aspect.  In  Judas,  as  in  so  many  thousands 
before  and  since,  this  opening  of  the  eyes  which  follows 
the  consummation  of  an  awful  sin  to  which  many  other 
sins  have  led,  drove  him  from  remorse  to  despair,  from 
despair  to  madness,  from  madness  to  suicide.  Had  he, 
even  then,  but  gone  to  his  Lord  and  Saviour,  and  pros- 
trated himself  at  His  feet  to  implore  forgiveness,  all 
might  have  been  well.  But,  alas  !  he  went  instead  to 
the  patrons  and  associates  and  tempters  of  his  crime. 
From  them  he  met  with  no  pity,  no  counsel.  He  was 
a  despised  and  broken  instrument,  and  now  he  was  tossed 
aside.  They  met  his  maddening  remorse  with  chilly 
indifference  and  callous  contempt.  "  I  have  sinned," 

verse  71)  describes  the  issue  of  one  of  the  trials  which  he  has  not  narrated ; 
but,  literally  taken,  we  might  infer  from  Matt.  xxvi.  67,  that  those  who 
insulted  Christ  after  the  second  trial  were  not  only  the  servants. 

1  TSLG.  Ann.  xiv.  10,  "  Perfecto  demum  scelere  magnitude  ejus  intellecta 
est  "  (cf.  Juv.  Sat.  xiii.  238).  I  have  tried  to  develop  this  strange  law  of 
the  moral  world  in  my  Silence  and  Voices  of  God,  p.  43. 


358 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


lie  shrieked  to  them,  "  in  that  I  have  betrayed  innocent 
blood. "  Did  he  expect  them  to  console  his  remorseful 
agony,  to  share  the  blame  of  his  guilt,  to  excuse  and 
console  him  with  their  lofty  dignity?  "  What  is  that 
fo  us?  See  thou  to  that''1  was  the  sole  and  heartless 
reply  they  deigned  to  the  poor  traitor  whom  they  had 
encouraged,  welcomed,  incited  to  his  deed  of  infamy. 
He  felt  that  he  was  of  no  importance  any  longer ;  that  in 
guilt  there  is  no  possibility  for  mutual  respect,  no  basis 
for  any  feeling  but  mutual  abhorrence.  His  paltry  thirty 
pieces  of  silver  were  all  that  he  would  get.  For  these  he 
had  sold  his  soul ;  and  these  he  should  no  more  enjoy  than 
Achan  enjoyed  the  gold  he  buried,  or  Ahab  the  garden 
he  had  seized.  Flinging  them  wildly  down  upon  the 
pavement  into  the  holy  place  where  the  priests  sat,  and 
into  which  he  might  not  enter,  he  hurried  into  the 
despairing  solitude  from  which  he  would  never  emerge 
alive.  In  that  solitude,  we  may  never  know  what  "  un- 
clean wings  "  were  flapping  about  his  head.  Accounts 
differed  as  to  the  wretch's  death.  The  probability  is 
that  the  details  were  never  accurately  made  public. 
According  to  one  account,  he  hung  himself,  and  tradition 
still  points  in  Jerusalem  to  a  ragged,  ghastly,  wind- 
swept tree,  which  is  called  the  "  tree  of  Judas."  Accord- 
ing to  another  version — not  irreconcilable  with  the  first, 
if  we  suppose  that  a  rope  or  a  branch  broke  under  his 
weight — he  fell  headlong,  burst  asunder  in  the  midst, 
and  all  his  bowels  gushed  out.2  According  to  a  third8- — 

1  Matt,  xxvii.  4,  2i»  Jtyfl-    The  same  words  were  given  back  to  them,  by 
Pilate  (ver.  24). 

2  Acts  i.  18. 

3  Said  to  be  derived  from  Papias  (see  Hofmann,  333 ;  Cramer,  Cat.  in 
Acts  Ap.,  p.  12).     In  the  Book  of  Jubilees  the  death  of  Cain  is  similarly 
described.     (Ewald,  Gesch.  Christ,,  p.  535.) 


THE  TRAITOR'S  END.  359 

current  among  the  early  Christians — his  body  swelled  to 
a  huge  size,  under  some  hideous  attack  of  elephantiasis, 
and  he  was  crushed  by  a  passing  wagon.  The  arch- 
conspirators,  in  their  sanctimonious  scrupulosity,  would 
not  put  the  blood-money  which  he  had  returned  into  the 
"  Corban,"  or  sacred  treasury,  but,  after  taking  counsel, 
bought  with  it  the  potter's  field  to  bury  strangers  in — 
a  plot  of  ground  which  perhaps  Judas  had  intended  to 
purchase,  and  in  which  he  met  his  end.  That  field  was 
long  known  and  shuddered  at  as  the  Aceldama,  or  "field 
of  blood,"  a  place  foul,  haunted,  and  horrible.1 

1  St.  Matthew,  ever  alive  to  Old  Testament  analogies,  connects  this 
circumstance  with  passages  (apparently)  of  Jeremiah  (xviii.  1,  2;  xxxii.  6 — 12) 
and  Zechariah  (xi.  12,  13).  It  is  curious  that  St.  Matthew  never  names 
Zechariah,  though  he  three  times  quotes  him  (xxi.  5;  xxvi.  31;  xxvii.  9) ;  but 
it  was  a  Jewish  proverb  that  Zechariah  had  the  spirit  of  Jeremiah,  and  it  is 
possible  (vide  "Wordsworth  ad  loc.)  that  this  passage  originally  belonged  to 
Jeremiah.  The  right  translation  seems  to  be,  "  cast  it  into  the  treasury." 
The  notion  that  two  fields  were  called  Aceldama  is  probably  a  mistake  of  the 
Harmonists.  Different  sites  for  Aceldama  have  been  pointed  out  at  dif- 
ferent times.  Since  Jeremiah's  day  pilgrims  have  been  shown  a  field  with 
a  charnel-house  in  it,  opposite  the  Pool  of  Siloam.  Papias  says  that,  as 
though  the  very  ground  were  cursed,  no  one  could  pass  it,  eav  ^  rai  faa? 


CHAPTEE   LX. 

JESUS     BEFORE      PILATE. 

"Per  procuratorem  Pentium  Pilatum  supplicio  affectus  erat." — TAC. 
Ann.  xv.  44. 

"  SUFFERED  under  Pontius  Pilate  "  —so,  in  every  creed 
of  Christendom,  is  the  unhappy  name  of  the  Roman 
Procurator  handed  down  to  eternal  execration.  Yet 
the  object  of  introducing  that  name  was  not  to  point  a 
moral,  but  to  fix  an  epoch ;  and,  in  point  of  fact,  of  all 
the  civil  and  ecclesiastical  rulers  before  whom  Jesus  was 
brought  to  judgment,  Pilate  was  the  least  guilty  of 
malice  and  hatred,  the  most  anxious,  if  not  to  spare  His 
agony,  at  least  to  save  His  life. 

What  manner  of  man  was  this  in  whose  hands  were 
placed,  by  power  from  above,  the  final  destinies  of  the 
Saviour's  life?  Of  his  origin,  and  of  his  antecedents 
before  A.D.  26,  when  he  became  the  sixth  Procurator 
of  Judaea,  but  little  is  known.  In  rank  he  belonged 
to  the  ordo  equester,  and  he  owed  his  appointment  to 
the  influence  of  Sejanus.  His  name  "  Pontius"  seems  to 
point  to  a  Samnite  extraction ;  his  cognomen  "  Pilatus" 
to  a  warlike  ancestry.  His  praenomen,  if  he  had  one, 
has  not  been  preserved.  In  Judaea  he  had  acted  with 
all  the  haughty  violence  and  insolent  cruelty  of  a  typical 


PONTIUS  PILATE.  361 

Eoman  governor.  Scarcely  had  lie  been  well  installed 
as  Procurator,  when,  allowing  his  soldiers  to  bring  with 
them  by  night  the  silver  eagles  and  other  insignia  of 
the  legions  from  Csesarea  to  the  Holy  City,  he  excited  a 
furious  outburst  of  Jewish  feeling  against  an  act  which 
they  regarded  as  idolatrous  profanation.  For  five  days 
and  nights — often  lying  prostrate  on  the  bare  ground 
— they  surrounded  and  almost  stormed  his  residence  at 
Csesarea  with  tumultuous  and  threatening  entreaties, 
and  could  not  be  made  to  desist  on  the  sixth,  even  by 
the  peril  of  immediate  and  indiscriminate  massacre  at 
the  hands  of  the  soldiers  whom  he  sent  to  surround  them. 
He  had  then  sullenly  given  way,  and  this  foretaste  of  the 
undaunted  and  fanatical  resolution  of  the  people  with 
whom  he  had  to  deal,  went  far  to  embitter  his  whole 
administration  with  a  sense  of  overpowering  disgust.1 

The  outbreak  of  the  Jews  on  a  second  occasion  was 
perhaps  less  justifiable,  but  it  might  easily  have  been 
avoided,  if  Pilate  would  have  studied  their  character  a 
little  more  considerately,  and  paid  more  respect  to 
their  dominant  superstition.  Jerusalem  seems  to  have 
always  suffered,  as  it  does  very  grievously  to  this  day, 
from  a  bad  and  deficient  supply  of  water.  To  remedy 
this  inconvenience,  Pilate  undertook  to  build  an  aque- 
duct, by  which  water  could  be  brought  from  the  "  Pools 
of  Solomon."  Regarding  this  as  a  matter  of  public 
benefit,  he  applied  to  the  purpose  some  of  the  money 
from  the  "  Corban,"  or  sacred  treasury,  and  the  people 
rose  in  furious  myriads  to  resent  this  secular  appropria- 
tion of  their  sacred  fund.  Stung  by  their  insults  and 
reproaches,  Pilate  disguised  a  number  of  his  soldiers  in 
Jewish  costume,  and  sent  them  among  the  mob,  with 

1  Jos.  Antt.  xviii.  3,  §  1 ;  B.  J.  ii.  9,  §§  2,  3. 


362 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


staves  and  daggers  concealed  under  their  garments, 
punish  the  ringleaders.  Upon  the  refusal  of  the  Je 
to  separate  quietly,  a  signal  was  given,  and  the  soldiers 
carried  out  their  instructions  with  such  hearty  good- will, 
that  they  wounded  and  beat  to  death  not  a  few  both  of 
the  guilty  and  the  innocent,  and  created  so  violent  a 
tumult  that  many  perished  by  being  trodden  to  death 
under  the  feet  of  the  terrified  and  surging  mob.1  Thus, 
in  a  nation  which  produced  the  sicarii,  Pilate  had  given 
a  fatal  precedent  of  sicarian  conduct ;  the  Assassins  had 
received  from  their  Procurator  an  example  of  the  use  of 
political  assassination. 

A  third  seditious  tumult  must  still  more  have  em- 
bittered the  disgust  of  the  Roman  Governor  for  his  sub- 
jects, by  showing  him  how  impossible  it  was  to  live 
among  such  a  people — even  in  a  conciliatory  spirit — 
without  outraging  some  of  their  sensitive  prejudices. 
In  the  palace  of  Herod  at  Jerusalem,  which  he  occupied 
during  the  festivals,  he  had  hung  some  gilt  shields 
dedicated  to  Tiberius.  In  the  speech  of  Agrippa  before 
the  Emperor  Caius,  as  narrated  by  Philo,  this  act  is 
attributed  to  wanton  malice ;  but  since,  by  the  king's 
own  admission,  the  shields  were  perfectly  plain,  and 
were  merely  decorated  with  a  votive  inscription,  it  is 
fair  to  suppose  that  the  Jews  had  taken  offence  at 
what  Pilate  simply  intended  for  a  harmless  private 
ornament;  and  one  which,  moreover,  he  could  hardly 

1  These  two  instances  are  twice  related  by  Josephus,  Antt.  xviii.  3,  §§1,2; 
B.  J.  ii.  9,  §§  2,  3,  4.  Ewald  has  precariously  conjectured  that  the  "tower 
of  Siloam"  which  fell  and  crushed  eighteen  people  may  have  been 
connected  with  these  works,  and  so  may  have  furnished  ground  to  those 
who  desired  to  interpret  that  accident  as  a  Divine  judgment  (Gesch.  v.  40 ; 
Luke  xiii.  4).  It  has  been  suggested  with  some  probability  that  the  real 
disgust  of  the  Jews  against  the  plan  for  building  an  aqueduct  was  due  to  a 
belief  that  its  construction  would  render  the  city  less  easy  of  defence. 


DISTURBANCES  UNDER  PILATE.  363 

remove  without  some  danger  of  offending  the  gloomy 
and  suspicious  Emperor  to  whose  honour  they  were 
dedicated.  Since  he  would  not  give  way,  the  chief  men 
of  the  nation  wrote  a  letter  of  complaint  to  Tiherius 
himself.  It  was  a  part  of  Tiberius's  policy  to  keep  the 
provinces  contented,  and  his  masculine  intellect  despised 
the  obstinacy  which  would  risk  an  insurrection  rather 
than  sacrifice  a  whim.  He  therefore  reprimanded  Pilate, 
and  ordered  the  obnoxious  shields  to  be  transferred  from 
Jerusalem  to  the  Temple  of  Augustus  at  Csesarea. 

The  latter  incident  is  related  by  Philo  only  ; l  and 
besides  these  three  outbreaks,  we  hear  in  the  Gospels 
of  some  wild  tumult  in  which  Pilate  had  mingled  the 
blood  of  the  Galilseans  with  their  sacrifices.  He  was 
finally  expelled  from  his  Procuratorship  in  consequence 
of  an  accusation  preferred  against  him  by  the  Samaritans, 
who  complained  to  Lucius  Vitellius,  the  Legate  of  Syria, 
that  he  had  wantonly  attacked,  slain,  and  executed  a 
number  of  them  who  had  assembled  on  Mount  Grerizim 
by  the  invitation  of  an  impostor  —  possibly  Simon 
Magus — who  promised  to  show  them  the  Ark  and 
sacred  vessels  of  the  Temple,  which,  he  said,  had  been 
concealed  there  by  Moses.2  The  conduct  of  Pilate 
seems  on  this  occasion  to  have  been  needlessly  prompt 
and  violent ;  and  although,  when  he  arrived  at  Eome, 
he  found  that  Tiberius  was  dead,  yet  even  Caius  re- 
fused to  reinstate  him  in  his  government,  thinking  it 
no  doubt  a  bad  sign  that  he  should  thus  have  become 
unpleasantly  involved  with  the  people  of  every  single 
district  in  his  narrow  government.  Sejanus  had  shown 

1  Legat.  ad  Caium,  §  38.     Philo   calls   him  &ap6/j.irivis,  and   r^v  fyvffiv 
aKa/j.ir))s  /ecu  yuera  TOV  avOdSovs  a/j.ei\iKTOs. 

2  Jos.  Antt.  xviii.  4,  §  1.     This  was  a  Messianic  expectation  (Ewald, 
Gesch.  Isr.  v.  171,  E.  Tr.). 


364 


THE   LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


the  most   utter   dislike  against  the  Jews,   and   Pilai 
probably  reflected  his  patron's  antipathies.1 

Such  was  Pontius  Pilate,  whom  the  pomps  and  peril 
of  the  great  yearly  festival  had  summoned  from  Ins 
usual  residence  at  Caesarea  Philippi  to  the  capital  of  the 
nation  which  he  detested,  and  the  head- quarters  of  a 
fanaticism  which  he  despised.  At  Jerusalem  he  occu- 
pied one  of  the  two  gorgeous  palaces  which  had  been 
erected  there  by  the  lavish  architectural  extravagance  of 
the  first  Herod.  It  was  situated  in  the  Upper  City  to 
the  south-west  of  the  Temple  Hill,  and  like  the  similar 
building  at  Caesarea,  having  passed  from  the  use  of  the 
provincial  king  to  that  of  the  Roman  governor,  was 
called  Herod's  Praetorium.2  It  was  one  of  those  luxu- 
rious abodes,  "surpassing  all  description,"  which  were 
in  accordance  with  the  tendencies  of  the  age,  and  on 
which  Josephus  dwells  with  ecstasies  of  admiration.3 
Between  its  colossal  wings  of  white  marble — called 
respectively  Csesareum  and  Agrippeum,  in  the  usual  spirit 
of  Herodian  flattery  to  the  Imperial  house — was  an  open 
space  commanding  a  noble  view  of  Jerusalem,  adorned 
with  sculptured  porticos  and  columns  of  many-coloured 
marble,  paved  with  rich  mosaics,  varied  with  fountains 
and  reservoirs,  and  green  promenades  which  furnished 
a  delightful  asylum  to  flocks  of  doves.4  Externally 

1  See  Salvador,  Dominion  Romaine,  i.  428. 

2  Acts  xxiii.  35.     Yerres  occupied  an  old  palace  of  Hiero  at  Syracuse 
(Cic.  Verr.  ii.  5,  12). 

3  Jos.  B.  J.  V.  4,  §  4 :    travTbs  \6yov  Kpeiffffcov  ;    id.,  ovd'  fpfj.rjvevffai   Swarbv 
a£(ws  ra  j8acriA.eta. 

4  See  Jos.  B.  J.  ii.  14,  §  8 ;  15,  §  5,  from  which  it  appears  that  Floras 
usually  occupied  this  palace.     For  the  Caesareum  and  the  Agrippeum,  see 
id.  i.  21,  §1,  Suo    rovs    fj-eylffTovs    Kal   7repiKaA\e(7TOTouy    O?KOVS  ols   ouSe  j/abs  irfj 
(TvveicpiveTO  ;    id.  V.  4,  §  4,  dSj^rjros    ri   iroiKiKia.   TU>V    XiQwv    ^v. — Keim    [Eine 
stolze  Residenz  fur  einen  romischen  Hitter]  has   partly  reproduced  the 
description  of  Josephus,  III.  ii.  2,  361. 


TRIPLE   TRIAL  BEFORE   PILATE.  365 

it  was  a  mass  of  lofty  walls,  and  towers,  and  gleam- 
ing roofs,  mingled  in  exquisite  varieties  of  splendour; 
within,  its  superb  rooms,  large  enough  to  accommodate  a 
hundred  guests,  were  adorned  with  gorgeous  furniture 
and  vessels  of  gold  and  silver.  A  magnificent  abode  for 
a  mere  Roman  knight  !  and  yet  the  furious  fanaticism  of 
the  populace  at  Jerusalem  made  it  a  house  so  little 
desirable,  that  neither  Pilate  nor  his  predecessors  seem  to 
have  cared  to  enjoy  its  luxuries  for  more  than  a  few  weeks 
in  the  whole  year.  They  were  forced  to  be  present 
in  the  Jewish  capital  during  those  crowded  festivals 
which  were  always  liable  to  be  disturbed  by  some  out- 
burst of  inflammable  patriotism,  and  they  soon  discovered 
that  even  a  gorgeous  palace  can  furnish  but  a  repulsive 
residence  if  it  be  built  on  the  heaving  lava  of  a  volcano. 
In  that  kingly  palace — such  as  in  His  days  of  free- 
dom He  had  never  trod — began,  in  three  distinct  acts, 
the  fourth  stage  of  that  agitating  scene  which  preceded 
the  final  agonies  of  Christ.  It  was  unlike  the  idle  in- 
quisition of  Annas — the  extorted  confession  of  Caiaphas — 
the  illegal  decision  of  the  Sanhedrin ;  for  here  His  judge 
was  in  His  favour,  and  with  all  the  strength  of  a  feeble 
pride,  and  all  the  daring  of  a  guilty  cowardice,  and  all 
the  pity  of  which  a  blood-stained  nature  was  capable,  did 
strive  to  deliver  Him.  This  last  trial  is  full  of  passion 
and  movement :  it  involves  a  threefold  change  of  scene, 
a  threefold  accusation,  a  threefold  acquittal  by  the 
Eomans,  a  threefold  rejection  by  the  Jews,  a  threefold 
warning  to  Pilate,  and  a  threefold  effort  on  his  part,  made 
with  ever-increasing  energy  and  ever-deepening  agitation, 
to  baffle  the  accusers  and  to  set  the  victim  free.1 

1  German  criticism  has,  without  any  sufficient  grounds,   set  aside  as 
unhistorical  much  of  St.  John's  narrative  of  this  trial  j  but  although  it  is 


366 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


1.  It  was  probably  about  seven  in  the  morning  that 
thinking  to  overawe  the  Procurator  by  their  numbei 
and   their    dignity,    the    imposing    procession    of    th( 
Sanhedrists  and  Priests,  headed,  no  doubt,  by  Caiaphj 
himself,  conducted  Jesus,  with  a  cord  round  His  neck,1 
from  their  Hall  of  Meeting  over  the  lofty  bridge  whicl 
spanned  the  Valley  of  the  Tyroposon,  in  presence  of 
the  city,  with  the  bound  hands  of  a  sentenced  criminal 
a  spectacle  to  angels  and  to  men. 

Disturbed  at  this  early  hour,  and  probably  prepared 
for  some  Paschal  disturbance  more  serious  than  usual, 
Pilate  entered  the  Hall  of  Judgment,  whither  Jesus  had 
been  led,  in  company  (as  seems  clear)  with  a  certain 
number  of  His  accusers  and  of  those  most  deeply  inte- 
rested in  His  case.2  But  the  great  Jewish  hierarchs, 
shrinking  from  ceremonial  pollution,  though  not  from 
moral  guilt  —  afraid  of  leaven,  though  not  afraid  of 
innocent  blood  —  refused  to  enter  the  Gentile's  hall, 
lest  they  should  be  polluted,  and  should  consequently 
be  unable  that  night  to  eat  the  Passover.  In  no  good 
humour,  but  in  haughty  and  half-necessary  condescen- 
sion to  what  he  would  regard  as  the  despicable  super- 
stitions of  an  inferior  race,  Pilate  goes  out  to  them 

not  mentioned  either  by  Josephus  or  by  Philo,  it  agrees  in  the  very 
minutest  particulars  with  everything  which  we  could  expect  from  the 
accounts  which  they  give  us,  both  of  Pilate's  own  character  and  ante- 
cedents, and  of  the  relations  in  which  he  stood  to  the  Emperor  and  to 
the  Jews. 

1  §-f}ffavT€s  (Matt,  xxvii.  2  ;  Mark  xv.  1).    In  sign  of  condemnation  :  such 
at  least  is  the  early  tradition,  and  St.  Basil  derives  from  this  circumstance 
the  use  of  the  stole  (  Jer.  Taylor,  III.  xv.). 

2  Being  only  a  procurator,  Pilate  had  no  quaestor,  and  therefore  was 
obliged  to   try   all   causes   himself.     In  this   instance,  he  very  properly 
refused  to  assume  the  responsibility  of  the  execution  without  sharing  in 
the  trial.     He  did  not  choose  to  degrade  himself  into  a  mere  tool  of  Jewish 
superstition. 


PILATE  AND  THE  JEWS.  367 

under  tlie  burning  early  sunlight  of  an  Eastern  spring. 
One  haughty  glance  takes  in  the  pompous  assemblage  of 
priestly  notables,  and  the  turbulent  mob  of  this  singular 
people,  equally  distasteful  to  him  as  a  Eoman  and  as 
a  ruler ;  and  observing  in  that  one  glance  the  fierce 
passions  of  the  accusers,  as  he  had  already  noted  the 
meek  ineffable  grandeur  of  their  victim,  his  question 
is  sternly  brief:  "What  accusation  bring  ye  against 
this  man  ?  "  The  question  took  them  by  surprise,  and 
showed  them  that  they  must  be  prepared  for  an  "uncon- 
cealed antagonism  to  all  their  purposes.  Pilate  evidently 
intended  a  judicial  inquiry;  they  had  expected  only  a 
licence  to  kill,  and  to  kill,  not  by  a  Jewish  method  of 
execution,  but  by  one  which  they  regarded  as  more 
horrible  and  accursed.1  "  If  He  were  not  a  malefactor," 
is  their  indefinite  and  surly  answer,  "  we  would  not 
have  delivered  Him  up  unto  thee."  But  Pilate's  Eoman 
knowledge  of  law,  his  Eoman  instinct  of  justice,  his 
Eoman  contempt  for  their  murderous  fanaticism,  made 
him  not  choose  to  act  upon  a  charge  so  entirely  vague, 
nor  give  the  sanction  of  his  tribunal  to  their  dark  dis- 
orderly decrees.  He  would  not  deign  to  be  an  execu- 
tioner where  he  had  not  been  a  judge.  "  Very  well," 
he  answered,  with  a  superb  contempt,  "  take  ye  Him  and 
judge  Him  according  to  your  law."  But  now  they  are 
forced  to  the  humiliating  confession  that,  having  been 
deprived  of  the  jus  gladii,  they  cannot  inflict  the  death 

1  Deut.  xxi.  22, 23.  Hence  the  name  of  hatred  ^nn,  "  the  Hung,"  applied 
to  Christ  in  the  Talmud;  and  Christians  are  called  "servants  of  the 
Hung  "  (^bnn  '"QW).  Their  reasons  for  desiring  His  crucifixion  may  have 
been  manifold,  besides  the  obvious  motives  of  hatred  and  revenge.  (1.)  It 
would  involve  the  name  and  memory  of  Jesus  in  deeper  discredit.  (2.)  It 
would  render  the  Roman  authorities  accomplices  in  the  responsibility  of 
the  murder.  (3.)  It  would  greatly  diminish  any  possible  chance  of  a  popular 
emeute. 


368  THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 

which  alone  will  satisfy  them ;  for  indeed  it  stood 
written  in  the  eternal  councils  that  Christ  was  to  die, 
not  by  Jewish  stones  or  strangulation,  but  by  that 
Eoman  form  of  execution  which  inspired  the  Jews  with 
a  nameless  horror,  even  by  crucifixion ; l  that  He  was 
to  reign  from  His  cross — to  die  by  that  most  fearfully 
significant  and  typical  of  deaths — public,  slow,  conscious, 
accursed,  agonising — worse  even  than  burning — the 
worst  type  of  all  possible  deaths,  and  the  worst  result  of 
that  curse  which  He  was  to  remove  for  ever.  Dropping, 
therefore,  for  the  present  the  charge  of  blasphemy,  which 
did  not  suit  their  purpose,2  they  burst  into  a  storm  of 
invectives  against  Him,  in  which  are  discernible  the 
triple  accusations,  that  He  perverted  the  nation,  that  He 
forbade  to  give  tribute,  that  He  called  himself  a  king. 
All  three  charges  were  flagrantly  false,  and  the  third  all 
the  more  so  because  it  included  a  grain  of  truth.  But 
since  they  had  not  confronted  Jesus  with  any  proofs  or 
witnesses,  Pilate — in  whose  whole  bearing  and  language 
is  manifest  the  disgust  embittered  by  fear  with  which 
the  Jews  inspired  him — deigns  to  notice  the  third  charge 
alone,  and  proceeds  to  discover  whether  the  confession 
of  the  prisoner — always  held  desirable  by  Eoman  insti- 

1  Dent.  xxi.  23 ;  Numb.  xxv.  4 ;  2  Sam.  xxi.  6 ;    Jos.  B.  J.  vii.  6,  §  4,  ofa 
avacrxerbv  elj/ai  rb  irddos  Xeyovres.     Some  obscurity  liangs  over  the  question 
as  to  when  and  how  the  Jews  had  lost  the  power  of  inflicting  capital 
punishment    (John  xviii.  31).     The   Talmud  seems  to  imply  (Lightfoot, 
Hor.  Hebr.  in  Zoc.)  that  they  had  lost  it  by  voluntarily  abandoning  the  use 
of  the  Lishcat  haggazzith,  on  account  of  the  number  of  murderers  whom 
they  were  forced  to  condemn.     But  this,  in  the  usual  loose  Jewish  way,  is 
fixed  "  forty  years  before  the  destruction  of  the  Temple  "  (Aboda  Zara,  f . 
8,  2  ;  Buxtorf,  Lex.  Talm.,  p.  513).     Others  suppose  that  it  was  still  per- 
mitted to  them — or  at  any  rate  its  use  connived  at — in  ecclesiastical  (Acts 
vii.  57 ;  Jos.  Antt.  xx.  9,  §  1)  but  not  in  civil  cases.     They  had,  legally,  only 
the  cognitio  caussae. 

2  Of.  Acts  xviii.  14. 


TRUE  AND  FALSE  ROYALTY.  369 

tutions — would  enable  him  to  take  any  cognisance  of  it. 
Leaving  the  impatient  Sanhedrin  and  the  raging  crowd, 
he  retired  into  the  Judgment  Hall.  St.  John  alone  pre- 
serves for  us  the  memorable  scene.  Jesus,  though  not 
"  in  soft  clothing,"  though  not  a  denizen  of  kings' 
houses,  had  been  led  up  the  noble  flight  of  stairs,  over 
the  floors  of  agate  and  lazuli,  under  the  gilded  roofs, 
ceiled  with  cedar  and  painted  with  vermilion,  which 
adorned  but  one  abandoned  palace  of  a  great  king  of  the 
Jews.  There,  amid  those  voluptuous  splendours,  Pilate 
—already  interested,  already  feeling  in  this  prisoner 
before  him  some  nobleness  which  touched  his  Eoman 
nature — asked  Him  in  pitying  wonder,  "  Art  tlwu  the 
King  of  the  Jews  ?  " — thou  poor,  worn,  tear-stained 
outcast  in  this  hour  of  thy  bitter  need x — oh,  pale, 
lonely,  friendless,  wasted  man,  in  thy  poor  peasant 
garments,  with  thy  tied  hands,  and  the  foul  traces  of  the 
insults  of  thine  enemies  on  thy  face,  and  on  thy  robes — 
thou,  so  unlike  the  fierce  magnificent  Herod,  whom  this 
multitude  which  thirsts  for  thy  blood  acknowledged  as 
their  sovereign — art  thou  the  King  of  the  Jews  ?  There 
is  a  royalty  which  Pilate,  and  men  like  Pilate,  cannot 
understand — a  royalty  of  holiness,  a  supremacy  of  self- 
sacrifice.  To  say  "  No  "  would  have  been  to  belie  the 
truth ;  to  say  "  Yes  "  would  have  been  to  mislead  the 
questioner.  "Sayest  thou  this  of  thyself?  "  He  answered 
with  gentle  dignity,  "  or  did  others  tell  it  thee  of  me  ?  "  3 
"  Am  I  a  Jew  ?"  is  the  disdainful  answer.  "  Thy  own 
nation  and  the  chief  priests  delivered  thee  unto  me. 


1  See  J.  Baldwin  Brown,  Misread  Passages  of  Scripture,  p.  2. 

2  This  shows  that  Jesus,  who  seems  to  have  been  led  immediately  inside 
the  walls  of  the  Praetorium,  had  not  heard  the  charges  laid  against  Him 
before  the  Procurator. 


370 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


What  hast  thou  done  ?  "  Done  ? — works  of  wonder, 
and  mercy,  and  power,  and  innocence,  and  these  alone. 
But  Jesus  reverts  to  the  first  question,  now  that  He  hi 
prepared  Pilate  to  understand  the  answer :  "  Yes,  He  is 
a  king  ;  but  not  of  this  world ;  not  from  hence  ;  not  one 
for  whom  His  servants  would  fight."  "  Thou  art 
king,  then  ?  "  said  Pilate  to  Him  in  astonishment.  Yes 
but  a  king  not  in  this  region  of  falsities  and  shadows, 
but  one  born  to  bear  witness  unto  the  truth,  and  om 
whom  all  who  were  of  the  truth  should  hear.  "  Truth," 
said  Pilate  impatiently,  "  what  is  truth  ?  "  What  had 
he — a  busy,  practical  Eoman  governor — to  do  with  such 
dim  abstractions  ?  what  bearing  had  they  on  the  question 
of  life  and  death  ?  what  unpractical  hallucination,  what 
fairyland  of  dreamy  phantasy  was  this  ?  Yet,  though 
he  contemptuously  put  the  discussion  aside,  he  was 
touched  and  moved.  A  judicial  mind,  a  forensic  train- 
ing, familiarity  with  human  nature  which  had  given 
him  some  insight  into  the  characters  of  men,  showed 
him  that  Jesus  was  not  only  wholly  innocent,  but 
infinitely  nobler  and  better  than  His  raving  sancti- 
monious accusers.  He  wholly  set  aside  the  floating 
idea  of  an  unearthly  royalty;  he  saw  in  the  prisoner 
before  his  tribunal  an  innocent  and  high-souled  dreamer, 
nothing  more.  And  so,  leaving  Jesus  there,  he  went 
out  again  to  the  Jews,  and  pronounced  his  first  emphatic 
and  unhesitating  acquittal :  "I  FIND  IN  HIM  NO  FAULT 

AT    ALL." 

2.  But  this  public  decided  acquittal  only  kindled 
the  fury  of  His  enemies  into  yet  fiercer  flame.  After  all 
that  they  had  hazarded,  after  all  that  they  had  inflicted, 
after  the  sleepless  night  of  their  plots,  adjurations, 
insults,  was  their  purpose  to  be  foiled  after  all  by  th( 


SENT  TO  HEROD.  371 

intervention  of  the  very  Gentiles  on  whom  they  had 
relied  for  its  bitter  consummation  ?  Should  this  victim 
whom  they  had  thus  clutched  in  their  deadly  grasp,  be 
rescued  from  High  Priests  and  rulers  by  the  contempt 
or  the  pity  of  an  insolent  heathen  ?  It  was  too  intoler- 
able !  Their  voices  rose  in  wilder  tumult.  "  He  was 
a  mesith ; x  He  had  upset  the  people  with  His  teaching 
through  the  length  and  breadth  of  the  land,  beginning 
from  Galilee,  even  as  far  as  here." 

Amid  these  confused  and  passionate  exclamations  the 
practised  ear  of  Pilate  caught  the  name  of  "  Galilee, " 
and  he  understood  that  Galilee  had  been  the  chief  scene 
of  the  ministry  of  Jesus.3  Eager  for  a  chance  of  dis- 
missing a  business  of  which  he  was  best  pleased  to  be 
free,  he  proposed,  by  a  master-stroke  of  astute  policy, 
to  get  rid  of  an  embarrassing  prisoner,  to  save  himself 
from  a  disagreeable  decision,  and  to  do  an  unexpected 
complaisance  to  the  unfriendly  Galilsean  tetrarch,  who, 
as  usual,  had  come  to  Jerusalem — nominally  to  keep  the 
Passover,  really  to  please  his  subjects,  and  to  enjoy  the 
sensations  and  festivities  offered  at  that  season  by  the 
densely-crowded  capital.  Accordingly,  Pilate  secretly 
glad  to  wash  his  hands  of  a  detestable  responsibility, 
sent  Jesus  to3  Herod  Antipas,  who  was  probably  occu- 


1  In  MasseTceth  Sanhedrin  vii.  10  a  mesith  is  defined  as  an  unauthorised 
person  (tStomjs)  who  leads  others  astray.     (TDVinn  n»  rvonn  tovin  m  rvDDrr.) 

2  Luke  xxiii.  6. 

3  Luke  xxiii.  7,  avetre^ev,  "  remisit ; "  "  propriam  E-omani  juris  vocem 
usurpavit  "  (Grotius) :  cf.  Acts  xxv.  21.    Mutual  jealousies,  and  tendencies 
to  interfere  with  each  other's  authority,  are  quite  sufficient  to  account  for 
the  previous  ill-will  of   Pilate  and  Herod.     Moreover,  in  all  disputes   it 
had  been  the    obvious  policy  of  Antipas  to  side  with  the  Jews.     Renaii 
aptly  compares    the    relations   of  the   Herods   to   the   Procurator  with 
that  of   the  Hindoo  Rajahs  to  the  Viceroy  of  India  under  the  English 
dominion. 


372 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


pying  the  old  Asmonsean  palace,  which  had  been  the 
royal  residence  at  Jerusalem  until  it  had  been  surpassed 
by  the  more  splendid  one  which  the  prodigal  tyrant, 
his  father,  had  built.1  And  so,  through  the  thronged 
and  narrow  streets,  amid  the  jeering,  raging  multitudes, 
the  weary  Sufferer  was  dragged  once  more. 

We  have  caught  glimpses  of  this  Herod  Antipas 
before,  and  I  do  not  know  that  all  History,  in  its  gallery 
of  portraits,  contains  a  much  more  despicable  figure 
than  this  wretched,  dissolute  Idumsean  Sadducee — this 
petty  princeling  drowned  in  debauchery  and  blood. 
To  him  was  addressed  the  sole  purely  contemptuous 
expression  that  Jesus  is  ever  recorded  to  have  used.2 
Superstition  and  incredulity  usually  go  together  ; 
avowed  atheists  have  yet  believed  in  augury,  and  men 
who  do  not  believe  in  Grod  will  believe  in  ghosts.3 
Antipas  was  rejoiced  beyond  all  things  to  see  Jesus. 
He  had  long  been  wanting  to  see  Him  because  of  the 
rumours  he  had  heard  ;  and  this  murderer  of  the 
prophets  hoped  that  Jesus  would,  in  compliment  to 
royalty,  amuse  by  some  miracle  his  gaping  curiosity.  He 
harangued  and  questioned  Him  in  many  words,  but 
gained  not  so  much  as  one  syllable  in  reply.  Our  Lord 
confronted  all  his  ribald  questions  with  the  majesty  of 

1  We  find  the  old  Asmonsean  palace  occupied  long  afterwards   by 
Agrippa  II.  (Jos.  B.  J.  ii.  16,  §  3 ;  Antt.  xx.  8,  §  11).     Sepp,  in  his  fanciful 
way,  points  out  that  Jesus  had  thus  been  thrown  into  connection  with  a 
palace  of  David  (at  Bethlehem)  of  the  Asmonaeans,  and  of  Herod. 

2  Luke  xiii.  32.  "  This  fox,"  rfj  aXw-n-fKi  ravrr)  (v.  supr.,  p.  95). 

3  Philippe  d'Orleans  (Egalite),  a  professed  atheist,  when  in  prison,  tried 
to  divine  his  fate  by  the  grounds  in  a  coffee-cup !      This   atheistic  age 
swarmed  with    Chaldaei,  mathematici,    magicians,    sorcerers,    charlatans, 
impostors  of  every  class.     "  Le  monde  etait  affole  de  miracles,  jamais  on 
ne  f ut  si  occupe  de  presages.     Le  Dieu  Pere  paraissait  avoir  voile  sa  face ; 
des  larves  impurs,  des  monstres  sortis  d'un  linion  mysterieux,  semblaient 
errer  dans  1'air"  (Eenan,  L'Antechr.,  p.  323). 


ACQUITTED   BY   HEROD.  373 

silence.  To  such  a  man,  who  even  changed  scorn  into 
a  virtue,  speech  would  clearly  have  been  a  profanation. 
Then  all  the  savage  vulgarity  of  the  man  came  out 
through  the  thin  veneer  of  a  superficial  cultivation. 
For  the  second  time  Jesus  is  derided — derided  this 
time  as  Priest  and  Prophet.  Herod  and  his  corrupt 
hybrid  myrmidons  "set  Him  at  nought" — treated  Him 
with  the  insolence  of  a  studied  contempt.  Mocking 
His  innocence  and  His  misery  in  a  festal  and  shining 
robe,1  the  empty  and  wicked  prince  sent  Him  back  to 
the  Procurator,  to  whom  he  now  became  half-reconciled 
after  a  long-standing  enmity.  But  he  contented  him- 
self with  these  cruel  insults.  He  resigned  to  the  forum 
apprehensionis  all  further  responsibility  as  to  the  issue 
of  the  trial.  Though  the  Chief  Priests  and  Scribes  stood 
about  his  throne  unanimously  instigating  him  to  a  fresh 
and  more  heinous  act  of  murder  by  their  intense  accusa- 
tions,2 he  practically  showed  that  he  thought  their  accu- 
sations frivolous,  by  treating  them  as  a  jest.  It  was  the 
fifth  trial  of  Jesus  ;  it  was  His  second  public  distinct 
acquittal. 

3.  And  now,  as  He  stood  once  more  before  the 
perplexed  and  wavering  Governor,  began  the  sixth,  the 
last,  the  most  agitating  and  agonising  phase  of  this 
terrible  inquisition.  Now  was  the  time  for  Pilate  to 
have  acted  on  a  clear  and  right  conviction,  and  saved 
himself  for  ever  from  the  guilt  of  innocent  blood.  He 
came  out  once  more,  and  seating  himself  on  a  stately 
bema — perhaps  the  golden  throne  of  Archelaus,  which 


1  Luke  xxiii.  11,  eV07jTa  \afjLirpdv,  probably  "white,"  as  a  festive  colour; 
but  the  notion  of  his  being  a  "  candidate  "  for  the  kingdom,  is  quite  alien 
from  the  passage. 

2  eMvus.     Cf .  Acts  xviii.  28. 


374 


THE   LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


was  placed  on  the  elevated  pavement  of  many- coloured 
marble1 — summoned  the  Priests,  the  Sanhedrists,  and 
the  people  before  him,  and  seriously  told  them  that 
they  had  brought  Jesus  to  his  tribunal  as  a  leader 
of  sedition  and  turbulence ;  that  after  full  and  fair 
inquiry  he,  their  Eoman  Governor,  had  found  theii 
prisoner  absolutely  guiltless  of  these  charges;  that  he 
had  then  sent  Him  to  Herod,  their  native  king,  and 
that  h  e  also  had  come  to  the  conclusion  that  Jesus 
had  committed  no  crime  which  deserved  the  punishment 
of  death.  And  now  came  the  golden  opportunity  for 
him  to  vindicate  the  grandeur  of  his  country's  imperial 
justice,  and,  as  he  had  pronounced  Him  absolutely  inno- 
cent, to  set  Him  absolutely  free.  But  exactly  at  that 
point  he  wavered  and  temporised.  The  dread  of  another 
insurrection  haunted  him  like  a  nightmare.  He  was 
willing  to  go  half  way  to  please  these  dangerous  secta- 
ries. To  justify  them,  as  it  were,  in  their  accusation,  he 
would  chastise  Jesus — scourge  Him  publicly,  as  though 
to  render  His  pretensions  ridiculous — disgrace  and  ruin 
Him — "  make  Him  seem  vile  in  their  eyes  "  — and 
then  set  Him  free.  And  this  notion  of  setting  Him 
free  suggested  to  him  another  resource  of  tortuous 
policy.  Both  he  and  the  people  almost  simultaneously 
bethought  themselves  that  it  had  always  been  a  Paschal 
boon  to  liberate  at  the  feast  some  condemned  prisoner. 
He  offered,  therefore,  to  make  the  acquittal  of  Jesus  an 
act  not  of  imperious  justice,  but  of  artificial  grace. 

In  making  this  suggestion — in  thus  flagrantly  tam- 


1  John  xix.  13,  "  Gabbatha."      The    Roman   governors    and    generals 
attached  great  importance  to  these  tessellated  pavements  on  which  their 
tribunals  were  placed  (Suet.  Jul.  Caes.  46). 

2  Deut.  xxv.  3.    /*<£oTt£«>  ot/cf £e<r0ai  (Jos.  B.  J.  vii.  6,  §  4). 


MISGIVINGS   OF   PILATE.  375 

pering  with  his  innate  sense  of  right,  and  resigning 
against  his  will  the  best  prerogative  of  his  authority — 
he  was  already  acting  in  spite  of  a  warning  which  he 
had  received.  That  first  warning  consisted  in  the  deep 
misgiving,  the  powerful  presentiment,  which  overcame 
him  as  he  looked  on  his  bowed  and  silent  prisoner. 
But,  as  though  to  strengthen  him  in  his  resolve  to  pre- 
vent an  absolute  failure  of  all  justice,  he  now  received 
a  second  solemn  warning — and  one  which  to  an  ordinary 
Eoman,  and  a  Eoman  who  remembered  Caesar's  murder 
and  Calpurnia's  dream,  might  well  have  seemed  divinely 
sinister.  His  own  wife — Claudia  Procula1 — ventured  to 
send  him  a  public  message,  even  as  he  sat  there  on  his 
tribunal,  that,  in  the  morning  hours,  when  dreams  are 
true,3  she  had  had  a  troubled  and  painful  dream  about 
that  Just  Man  ;  and,  bolder  than  her  husband,  she  bade 
him  beware  how  he  molested  Him. 

Gladly,  most  gladly,  would  Pilate  have  yielded  to 
his  own  presentiments — have  gratified  his  pity  and  his 
justice — have  obeyed  the  prohibition  conveyed  by  this 
mysterious  omen.  Gladly  even  would  he  have  yielded  to 
the  worse  and  baser  instinct  of  asserting  his  power,  and 
thwarting  these  envious  and  hated  fanatics,  whom  he 
knew  to  be  ravening  for  innocent  blood.  That  they — 
to  many  of  whom  sedition  was  as  the  breath  of  life — 
should  be  sincere  in  charging  Jesus  with  sedition  was, 

1  Her  name  is  given  in  the  Gospel  of  Nicodemus,  which  says  she  was 
a  proselyte.      On  the   possibility   of  a  wife's   presence  in  her  husband's 
province,  in  spite  of  the  old  Leges  Oppiae,  see  Tac.  Ann.  iii.  33,  34 ;  iv.  20. 
For  similar  instances  of  dreams,  see  Otho,  Lex.  Rabb.,  p.  316 ;  Winer, 
Realwort.,  s.  v.  "  Traurne." 

2  Matt,  xxvii.  19,  'rriu.fpov.     "  Post  mediam  noctem  visas  quum  somnia 
vera"  (Hor.  Sat.  i.  10,  31).     "Sub  auroram — tempore  quo  cerni  somnia 
vera  solent "  (Ov.  Her.  xix.  195).     Perhaps  she  had  been  awakened  that 
morning  by  the  noise  of  the  crowd. 


376 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


as  lie  well  knew,  absurd.  Their  utterly  transpareni 
hypocrisy  in  this  matter  only  added  to  his  undisguis 
contempt.  If  he  could  have  dared  to  show  his  rez 
instincts,  he  would  have  driven  them  from  his  tribunal 
with  all  the  haughty  insouciance  of  a  Gallio.  But 
Pilate  was  guilty,  and  guilt  is  cowardice,  and  cowardice 
is  weakness.  His  own  past  cruelties,  recoiling  in  kin< 
on  his  own  head,  forced  him  now  to  crush  the  impulse 
of  pity,  and  to  add  to  his  many  cruelties  another  more 
heinous  still.1  He  knew  that  serious  complaints  hung 
over  his  head.  Those  Samaritans  whom  he  had  insulted 
and  oppressed — those  Jews  whom  he  had  stabbed  pro- 
miscuously in  the  crowd  by  the  hands  of  his  disguised 
and  secret  emissaries — these  Galilseans  whose  blood  he 
had  mingled  with  their  sacrifices — was  not  their  blood 
erying  for  vengeance  ?  Was  not  an  embassy  of  complaint 
against  him  imminent  even  now  ?  Would  it  not  be 
dangerously  precipitated  if,  in  so  dubious  a  matter  as  a 
charge  of  claiming  a  kingdom,  he  raised  a  tumult  among 
a  people  in  whose  case  it  was  the  best  interest  of  the 
Romans  that  they  should  hug  their  chains  ?  Dare  he 
stand  the  chance  of  stirring  up  a  new  and  apparently 
terrible  rebellion  rather  than  condescend  to  a  simple 
concession,  which  was  rapidly  assuming  the  aspect  of  a 
politic,  and  even  necessary,  compromise  ? 

His  tortuous  policy  recoiled  on  his  own  head,  and 
rendered  impossible  his  own  wishes.     The  Nemesis  of 


1  We  see  the  same  notions  very  strikingly  at  work  in  his  former  dispute 
with  the  Jews  about  the  shields — "  He  was  afraid  that,  if  they  should  send 
an  embassy,  they  might  discuss  the  many  mal-administrations  of  his 
government,  his  extortions,  his  unjust  decrees,  his  inhuman  punishments. 
This  reduced  him  to  the  utmost  perplexity."  (Philo,  Leg.  ad  Caium,  p.  38.) 
(rb.s  fySpeis,  ras  ap-rrayas,  ras  aiKias,  ras  e'-rrT/pet'as,  rovs  aKoirovs  /cal  eVaAAijAovs 
<p6vovs,  rrjv  av^vvrov 


JESUS   AND   BAR-ABBAS.  377 

his  past  wrong-doing  was  that  he  could  no  longer  do 
right.  Hounded  on1  by  the  Priests  and  Sanhedrists, 
the  people  impetuously  claimed  the  Paschal  boon  of 
which  he  had  reminded  them ;  but  in  doing  so  they  un- 
masked still  more  decidedly  the  sinister  nature  of  their 
hatred  against  their  Redeemer.  For  while  they  were 
professing  to  rage  against  the  asserted  seditiousness  of 
One  who  was  wholly  obedient  and  peaceful,  they  shouted 
for  the  liberation  of  a  man  whose  notorious  sedition  had 
been  also  stained  by  brigandage  and  murder.  Loathing 
the  innocent,  they  loved  the  guilty,  and  claimed  the 
Procurator's  grace  on  behalf,  not  of  Jesus  of  Nazareth, 
but  of  a  man  who,  in  the  fearful  irony  of  circumstance, 
was  also  called  Jesus — Jesus  Bar- Abbas2 — who  not  only 
was  what  they  falsely  said  of  Christ,  a  leader  of  sedition, 
but  also  a  robber  and  a  murderer.  It  was  fitting  that 
they,  who  had  preferred  an  abject  Sadducee  to  their  true 
priest,  and  an  incestuous  Idumsean  to  their  Lord  and 
King,  should  deliberately  prefer  a  murderer  to  their 
Messiah. 

It  may  be  that  Bar- Abbas  had  been  brought  forth, 
and  that  thus  Jesus  the  scowling  murderer  and  Jesus 
the  innocent  Eedeemer  stood  together  on  that  high 


1  Mark  xv.  11,  ai/eVeio-ai/  rbv  \abv.     History,  down  to  this  day,  has  given 
us  numberless  instances  of  the  utter  fickleness  of  crowds  ;  but  it  is  clear 
that  throughout  these  scenes  the  fury  and  obstinacy  of  the  people  are  not 
spontaneous. 

2  Bar- Abbas,  son  of  a  (distinguished)  father ;  perhaps  Bar-Rabban,  son 
of  a  Rabbi.     The  reading  Jesus  Bar- Abbas  is  as  old  as  Origen,  and  is  far 
from  improbable,  although   Matt,  xxvii.  20  tells  a  little  against  it.     If, 
however,  Origen  (as  seems  to  be  the  case)  only  found  this  reading  in  verse 
17,  the  probability  of  its  genuineness  is  weakened.    The  ingenious  combina- 
tions of  Ewald,  that  the  Sanhedrists  desired  his  release,  as  belonging  by 
family  to  their  order,  and  the  people  because  he  had  been  imprisoned  in 
the  Corban  riot  (Jos.  Antt.,  ubi  supr.),  are  highly  uncertain.] 


378 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


tribunal  side  by  side.1  The  people,  persuaded  by  their 
priests,  clamoured  for  the  liberation  of  the  rebel  and  the 
robber.  To  him  every  hand  was  pointed ;  for  him  every 
voice  was  raised.  For  the  Holy,  the  Harmless,  the 
Undefiled — for  Him  whom  a  thousand  Hosannas  had 
greeted  but  five  days  before — no  word  of  pity  or  of 
pleading  found  an  utterance.  "  He  was  despised  and 
rejected  of  men." 

Deliberately  putting  the  question  to  them,  Pilate 
heard  with  scornful  indignation  their  deliberate  choice ; 
and  then,  venting  his  bitter  disdain  and  anger  in  taunts, 
which  did  but  irritate  them  more,  without  serving  any 
good  purpose,  "  What  then,"  he  scornfully  asked  them, 
"do  ye  wish  me  to  do  with  the  King  of  the  Jews?" 
Then  first  broke  out  the  mad  scream,  "  Crucify  !  crucify 
Him ! "  In  vain,  again  and  again,  in  the  pauses  of 
the  tumult,  Pilate  insisted,  obstinately  indeed,  but  with 
more  and  more  feebleness  of  purpose — for  none  but 
a  man  more  innocent  than  Pilate,  even  if  he  were  a 
Eoman  governor,  could  have  listened  without  quailing 
to  the  frantic  ravings  of  an  Oriental  mob3 — "  Why,  what 
evil  hath  He  done?"  "  I  found  no  cause  of  death 
in  Him."  "  I  will  chastise  Him  and  let  Him  go." 
Such  half- willed  opposition  was  wholly  unavailing.  It 
only  betrayed  to  the  Jews  the  inward  fears  of  their 
Procurator,3  and  practically  made  them  masters  of  the 

1  Matt,  xxvii.  21. 

2  See  Isa.  v.  7.     These  Jewish  mobs  could,  as  we  see  from  Josephus, 
be  very  abusive.      "  They  came  about  his  (Pilate's)  tribunal,  and  made  a 
clamour  at  it "  (B.  J.  ii.  9,  §4).    "  Many  myriads  of  the  people  got  together, 
and  made  a  clamour  against  him,  and  insisted  that  he  should  leave  off  that 
design.      Some  of  them,  also  used  reproaches,  and  abused  the  man  (Pilate), 
as  crowds  of  such  people  usually  do.    ...  So  he  bade  the  Jews  go  away, 
but  they,  boldly  casting  reproaches  upon  him,"  &c.  (Antt.  xviii.  3,  §  2). 

3  Thus,  in  the  affair  of  the  gilt  votive  shields,  the  Jewish  leaders  were 


SCOURGING  OF  JESUS.  379 

situation.  Again  and  again,  with  wilder  and  wilder 
vehemence,  they  rent  the  air  with  those  hideous  yells 
— fi  Alpe  TOVTOV.  'ATTO\VO-OV  r^jCiv  Bapapffav.  ^ravpcocrov, 
crravpcoaov — "Away  with  this  man."  "Loose  unto  us 
Bar- Abbas."  "Crucify!  crucify!" 

For  a  moment  Pilate  seemed  utterly  to  yield  to 
the  storm.  He  let  Bar- Abbas  free ;  he  delivered  Jesus 
over  to  be  scourged.  The  word  used  for  the  scourging 
((f)pcvye\\d)(rasl)  implies  that  it  was  done,  not  with  rods 
(virgae),  for  Pilate  had  no  lictors,  but  with  what 
Horace  calls  the  "  horribile  flagellum,"  of  which  the 
Eussian  knout  is  the  only  modern  representative.  This 
scourging  was  the  ordinary  preliminary  to  crucifixion 
and  other  forms  of  capital  punishment.3  It  was  a 
punishment  so  truly  horrible,  that  the  mind  revolts  at 
it ;  and  it  has  long  been  abolished  by  that  compassion  of 
mankind  which  has  been  so  greatly  intensified,  and  in 
some  degree  even  created,  by  the  gradual  comprehension 
of  Christian  truth.  The  unhappy  sufferer  was  publicly 
stripped,  was  tied  by  the  hands  in  a  bent  position  to 
a  pillar,  and  then,  on  the  tense  quivering  nerves  of 
the  naked  back,  the  blows  were  inflicted  with  leathern 

confirmed  in  their  purpose,  by  perceiving  that  Pilate's  mind  was  wavering 
(Philo,  ubi  supr.)  This,  no  doubt,  is  the  kind  of  avavSpia  with  which  he 
is  charged  in  App.  Constt.  v.  14. 

1  Matt,  xxvii.  26.     St.  Luke,  with  a  deep  touch  of  pathos,  merely  says 
that  Pilate  "  gave  up  Jesus  to  their  will,"  and  then,  as  though  he  wished  to 
drop  a  veil  on  all  that  followed,  he  does  not  even  tell  us  that  they  led  Him 
away,  but  adds,  "  And  as  they  led  Him  away  "  (Luke  xxiii.  25,  26). 

2  Matt,  xxvii.  26.     Lora  (^dffr^  not  the  [>a05oi  (2  Cor.  xi.  24,  25).     It 
was  illegal  for  Roman  citizens,  though  sometimes  inflicted,  especially  in 
the  provinces  (Acts  xxii.  26 ;  cf .  Tac.  Hist.  iv.  27 ;  Cic.  Verr.  v.  6,  62 ;  Jos. 
B.  J.  ii.  14,  §9).     We  are   not  told  the   number   of    the   blows   usually 
inflicted ;  they  depended  on  the  greater  or  less  brutality  of  the  presiding 
authority.      The  forty   mentioned   in  the   Acts   of  Pilate  are   clearly   a 
reminiscence  of  Jewish  customs.     In  John  xix.  1,  the  word  is 

— "ego  \nflagella  paratus  sum"  (Yulg.  Psa.  xxxvii.  18) ;  Isa.  1.  6. 


380 


THE   LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


thongs,  weighted  with  jagged  edges  of  bone  and  lead ; 
sometimes  even  the  blows  fell  by  accident — sometimes, 
with  terrible  barbarity,  were  purposely  struck — on  the 
face  and  eyes.1  It  was  a  punishment  so  hideous  that, 
under  its  lacerating  agony,  the  victim  generally  fainted, 
often  died ;  still  more  frequently  a  man  was  sent  away 
to  perish  under  the  mortification  and  nervous  exhaustion 
which  ensued.  And  this  awful  cruelty,  on  which  we 
dare  not  dwell — this  cruelty  which  makes  the  heart 
shudder  and  grow  cold — was  followed  immediately  by 
the  third  and  bitterest  derision — the  derision  of  Christ 
as  King. 

In  civilised  nations  all  is  done  that  can  be  done 
to  spare  every  needless  suffering  to  a  man  condemned 
to  death ;  but  among  the  Romans  insult  and  derision 
were  the  customary  preliminaries  to  the  last  agony. 
The  " et pereuntibus  addita  ludibria"  of  Tacitus2  might 
stand  for  their  general  practice.  Such  a  custom  fur- 
nished a  specimen  of  that  worst  and  lowest  form  of 
human  wickedness  which  delights  to  inflict  pain,  which 
feels  an  inhuman  pleasure  in  gloating  over  the  agonies 
of  another,  even  when  he  has  done  no  wrong.  The 
mere  spectacle  of  agony  is  agreeable  to  the  degraded 
soul.  The  low  vile  soldiery  of  the  Praetorium — not 
Romans,  who  might  have  had  more  sense  of  the  inborn 
dignity  of  the  silent  sufferer,  but  mostly  the  mere 
mercenary  scum  and  dregs  of  the  provinces — led  Him 
into  their  barrack-room,  and  there  mocked,  in  their 
savage  hatred,  the  King  whom  they  had  tortured.  It 

1  See  Cicero,  Verr.  v.  54 ;  Hor.  Sat.  i.  3 ;  /j.a<TTi£  affTpaya\wr^  (Athen. 
153,  A  ;  Luc.  Asin.  38) ;  "  flagrum  pecuinis  ossibus  catenation "  (Apul. 
Met.  8),  "  I,  lictor,  colliga  manus  "  (Liv.  i.  26) ;  "  ad  palum  delegatus,  lace- 
rate virgis  tergo"  (id.  xxvii.  13);  "verberati  crucibus  affixi"  (id.  xxxiii.  36). 

3  Ann.  xv.  44. 


THE   LAST   DERISION.  381 

added  keenness  to  their  enjoyment  to  have  in  their  power 
One  who  was  of  Jewish  birth,  of  innocent  life,  of  noblest 
bearing.1  The  opportunity  broke  so  agreeably  the  coarse 
monotony  of  their  life,  that  they  summoned  all  of  the 
cohort  who  were  disengaged  to  witness  their  brutal  sport. 
In  sight  of  these  hardened  ruffians  they  went  through 
the  whole  heartless  ceremony  of  a  mock  coronation,  a 
mock  investiture,  a  mock  homage.  Around  the  brows 
of  Jesus,  in  wanton  mimicry  of  the  Emperor's  laurel, 
they  twisted  a  green  wreath  of  thorny  leaves  ;2  in  His 
tied  and  trembling  hands  they  placed  a  reed  for  sceptre ; 
from  His  torn  and  bleeding  shoulders  they  stripped  the 
white  robe  with  which  Herod  had  mocked  Him — which 
must  now  have  been  all  soaked  with  blood — and  flung 
on  Him  an  old  scarlet  paludament — some  cast-off  war 
cloak,  with  its  purple  laticlave,  from  the  Praetorian 
wardrobe.3  This,  with  feigned  solemnity,  they  buckled 

1  Joseplms  gives  us  several  instances  of  the  insane  wantonness  with 
which   the    soldiers  delighted  to  insult  the  detested   race   among   whom 
they  were  stationed  (B.  J.  ii.  12,  §  1 ;  v.  11,  §  1 ;  Antt.  xix.  9,  §  1). 

2  It  cannot  be  known  of  what  plant  this  acanthine  crown  was  formed. 
The   nubk  (zizyphus  lotus)  struck  me,  as   it  has  struck  all  travellers  in 
Palestine,  as  being  most  suitable  both  for  mockery  and  pain,  since   its 
leaves  are  bright  and  its  thorns  singularly  strong ;  but  though  the  nubJc 
is  very  common  on  the  shores  of  Galilee,  I  saw  none  of  it  near  Jerusalem. 
There  may,  however,  have  been  some  of  it  in  the  garden  of   Herod's 
palace,  and  the  soldiers  would   give   themselves   no  sort  of   trouble,  but 
merely  take  the  first  plant  that  came  to  hand. 

3  Such  presents  were  sent  to  allied  kings  (Liv.  xxx.  17;  Tac.  Ann.  xii. 
56).   (Keim.)   Of.  1  Mace.  xiv.  44.— St.  Matthew  calls  it  "scarlet,"  St.  Mark 
"purple."     The  ancients  discriminated  colours  very  loosely;  or  rather,  very 
differently  from  what  we  do.     Our  nomenclature  dwells  chiefly  on  differ- 
ences of  hue,  and  their  implicit  analysis  was  of  another  kind.    (See  some 
excellent  remarks  in  Mr.  Gladstone's  Juventus   Mundi,  p.  540 ;    E/uskin, 
Modern  Painters,  iii.  225.) — For  instance  of  similar  mockery  see  Philo,  in 
Place.  980,  where  Herod  Agrippa   II.  is  insulted  in  the   person  of   an 
idiot,  at  Alexandria.     Shakespeare's  pathetic  scene  of  the  insults  heaped 
upon  Richard  II.  will  recur  to  every  English  reader. 


382 


THE   LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


over  His  right  shoulder,  with  its  glittering  fibula  ;  and 
then  —  each  with  his  derisive  homage  of  bended  knee 
—  each  with  his  infamous  spitting  —  each  with  the  blow 
over  the  head  from  the  reed-sceptre,  which  His  boun< 
hands  could  not  hold  —  they  kept  passing  before  Hii 
with   their   mock    salutation  of    "  Hail,  King  of  the 
Jews!"1 

Even  now,  even  yet,  Pilate  wished,  hoped,  even 
strove  to  save  Him.  He  might  represent  this  frightful 
scourging,  not  as  the  preliminary  to  crucifixion,  but 
as  an  inquiry  by  torture,  which  had  failed  to  elicit  any 
further  confession.  And  as  Jesus  came  forth  —  as  He 
stood  beside  him  with  that  martyr-form  on  the  beautiful 
mosaic  of  the  tribunal  —  the  spots  of  blood  upon  His 
green  wreath  of  torture,  the  mark  of  blows  and  spitting 
on  His  countenance,  the  weariness  of  His  deathful 
agony  upon  the  sleepless  eyes,  the  sagum  of  faded 
scarlet,  darkened  by  the  weals  of  His  lacerated  back, 
and  dropping,  it  may  be,  its  stains  of  crimson  upon  the 
tesselated  floor  —  even  then,  even  so,  in  that  hour  of 
His  extremest  humiliation  —  yet,  as  He  stood  in  the 
grandeur  of  His  holy  calm  on  that  lofty  tribunal  above 
the  yelling  crowd,  there  shone  all  over  Him  so  Godlike 
a  pre-eminence,  so  divine  a  nobleness,  that  Pilate  broke 
forth  with  that  involuntary  exclamation  which  has 
thrilled  with  emotion  so  many  million  hearts  — 

"  BEHOLD  THE  MAN  !  " 

But  his  appeal  only  woke  a  fierce  outbreak  of  the 
scream,  "  Crucify  !  crucify  !  "  The  mere  sight  of  Him, 
even  in  this  His  unspeakable  shame  and  sorrow,  seemed 
to  add  fresh  fuel  to  their  hate.  In  vain  the  heathen 
soldier  appeals  for  humanity  to  the  Jewish  priest  ;  no 

1  John  xix.  3. 


FURY   OF   THE   JEWS.  383 

heart  throbbed  with  responsive  pity ;  no  voice  of  com- 
passion broke  that  monotonous  yell  of  "  Crucify  !"-  — the 
howling  refrain  of  their  wild  "  liturgy  of  death/'  The 
E-oman  who  had  shed  blood  like  water,  on  the  field  of 
battle,  in  open  massacre,  in  secret  assassination,  might 
well  be  supposed  to  have  an  icy  and  a  stony  heart ;  but 
yet  icier  and  stonier  was  the  heart  of  those  scrupulous 
hypocrites  and  worldly  priests.  "  Take  ye  Him,  and 
crucify  Him/'  said  Pilate,  in  utter  disgust,  "for  I  find 
no  fault  in  Him/'  What  an  admission  from  a  Eoman 
judge  !  "So  far  as  I  can  see,  He  is  wholly  innocent ; 
yet  if  you  must  crucify  Him,  take  Him  and  crucify.  I 
cannot  approve  of,  but  I  will  readily  connive  at,  your 
violation  of  the  law."  But  even  this  wretched  guilty 
subterfuge  is  not  permitted  him.  Satan  will  have  from 
his  servants  the  full  tale  of  their  crimes,  and  the  sign- 
manual  of  their  own  willing  assent  at  last.  What 
the  Jews  want — what  the  Jews  will  have — is  not  tacit 
connivance,  but  absolute  sanction.  They  see  their 
power.  They  see  that  this  blood-stained  Governor 
dares  not  hold  out  against  them ;  they  know  that  the 
Eoman  statecraft  is  tolerant  of  concessions  to  local 
superstition.  Boldly,  therefore,  they  fling  to  the  winds 
all  question  of  a  political  offence,  and  with  all  their 
hypocritical  pretences  calcined  by  the  heat  of  their 
passion,  they  shout,  "  We  have  a  law,  and  by  our  law 
He  ought  to  die,  because  He  made  Himself  a  Son  of 
God/'1 

1  "It  is  not  Tiberius's  pleasure  that  any  of  our  laws  should  be  violated." 
(Philo,  ubi  supra,  and  Leg.  ad  Caium,  1014;  and  Tac.  Ann.  i.  9,  and 
the  boast  of  the  Monunaentum  Ancyranum,  "  modestiam  apud  socios.") 
The  inscription  on  the  Chel  forbidding  any  Gentile  on  pain  of  death  to 
pass  beyond  it,  has  recently  been  discovered  built  into  the  wall  of  a  mosque 
at  Jerusalem,  and  is  a  relic  of  the  deepest  interest. 


384 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


A  Son  of  God  !  The  notion  was  far  less  strange  and 
repulsive  to  a  heathen  than  to  a  Jew ;  and  this  word, 
unheard  before,  startled  Pilate  with  the  third  omen  which 
made  him  tremble  at  the  crime  into  which  he  was  being 
dragged  by  guilt  and  fear.  Once  more,  leaving  the 
yelling  multitude  without,  he  takes  Jesus  with  him  into 
the  quiet  Judgment  Hall,  and — "  jam  pro  sud  conscientid 
CJiristianus"  as  Tertullian  so  finely  observes 1 — asks 
Him  in  awe-struck  accents,  "  Whence  art  thou  ? " 
Alas  !  it  was  too  late  to  answer  now.  Pilate  was  too 
deeply  committed  to  his  gross  cruelty  and  injustice  ;  for 
him  Jesus  had  spoken  enough  already ;  for  the  wild 
beasts  who  raged  without,  He  had  no  more  to  say.  He 
did  not  answer.  Then,  almost  angrily,  Pilate  broke  out 
with  the  exclamation,  "  Dost  thou  not  speak  even  to 
me  ? 2  Dost  Thou  not  know  that  I  have  power  to  set 
thee  free,  and  have  power  to  crucify  Thee  ?  "  Power — 
how  so  ?  Was  justice  nothing,  then  ?  truth  nothing  ? 
innocence  nothing  ?  conscience  nothing  ?  In  the  reality 
of  things  Pilate  had  no  such  power ;  even  in  the  arbi- 
trary sense  of  the  tyrant  it  was  an  idle  boast,  for  at  this 
very  moment  he  was  letting  "  I  dare  not "  wait  upon 
"  I  would."  And  Jesus  pitied  the  hopeless  bewilder- 
ment of  this  man,  whom  guilt  had  changed  from  a  ruler 
into  a  slave.  Not  taunting,  not  confuting  him — nay, 
even  extenuating  rather  than  aggravating  his  sin — Jesus 
gently  answered,  "  Thou  hast  no  power  against  Me 
whatever,  had  it  not  been  given  thee  from  above  ;  there- 
fore he  that  betrayed  me  to  thee  hath  the  greater  sin." 
Thou  art  indeed  committing  a  great  crime — but  Judas, 
Annas,  Caiaphas,  these  priests  and  Jews,  are  more  to 

1  Tert.  Apol  21. 
2  The  position  of  the  e/jol  is  emphatic  (John  xix.  10,  11). 


LAST  EFFORT  OF  PILATE.  385 

blame  than  thou.  Thus,  with  infinite  dignity,  and  yet 
with  infinite  tenderness,  did  Jesus  judge  His  judge.  In 
the  very  depths  of  his  inmost  soul  Pilate  felt  the  truth 
of  the  words — silently  acknowledged  the  superiority  of 
his  bound  and  lacerated  victim.  All  that  remained  in 
him  of  human  and  of  noble — 

"  Felt  how  awful  Goodness  is,  and  Yirtue, 
In  her  shape  how  lovely;  felt  and  mourned 
His  fall." 

All  of  his  soul  that  was  not  eaten  away  by  pride  and 
cruelty  thrilled  back  an  unwonted  echo  to  these  few  calm 
words  of  the  Son  of  God.  Jesus  had  condemned  his  sin, 
and  so  far  from  being  offended,  the  judgment  only 
deepened  his  awe  of  this  mysterious  Being,  whose  utter 
impotence  seemed  grander  and  more  awful  than  the 
loftiest  power.  From  that  time  Pilate  was  even  yet 
more  anxious  to  save  Him.  With  all  his  conscience  in 
a  tumult,  for  the  third  and  last  time  he  mounted  his 
tribunal,  and  made  one  more  desperate  effort.  He  led 
Jesus  forth,  and  looking  at  Him,  as  He  stood  silent  and 
in  agony,  but  calm,  on  that  shining  Gabbatha,  above  the 
brutal  agitations  of  the  multitude,  he  said  to  those 
frantic  rioters,  as  with  a  flash  of  genuine  conviction, 
"BEHOLD  YOUR  KING!"  But  to  the  Jews  it  sounded 
like  shameful  scorn  to  call  that  beaten  insulted  Sufferer 
their  King.  A  darker  stream  mingled  with  the  passions 
of  the  raging,  swaying  crowd.  Among  the  shouts  of 
"  Crucify,"  ominous  threatenings  began  for  the  first 
time  to  be  mingled.  It  was  now  nine  o'clock,  and  for 
nearly  three  hours1  had  they  been  raging  and  waiting 

1  As  to  the  hour  there  is  a  well-known  discrepancy  between  John  xix.  14. 
"And  it  was  ....  about  the  sixth  hour;  and  he  saith  unto  the  Jews 
Behold  your  king ; "  and  Mark  xv.  25,  "  And  it  was  the  third  hour,  and 
they  crucified  Him.  .  ."  There  are  various  suggestions  for  removing  this 


386 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


there.  The  name  of  Caesar  began  to  be  heard  in 
wrathful  murmurs.  "  Shall  I  crucify  your  King  ?  "  he 
had  asked,  venting  the  rage  and  soreness  of  his  heart 
in  taunts  on  them.  "  We  have  no  kwg  but  Ccesar" 
answered  the  Sadducees  and  Priests,  flinging  to  the 
winds  every  national  impulse  and  every  Messianic 
hope.1  "  If  thou  let  this  man  go,"  shouted  the  mob 
again  and  again,  "thou  art  not  Casars  friend.  Every 
one  who  tries  to  make  himself  a  king  speaketh  against 
Gasar"  2  And  at  that  dark  terrible  name  of  Caesar, 
Pilate  trembled.  It  was  a  name  to  conjure  with.  It 
mastered  him.  He  thought  of  that  terrible  implement 
of  tyranny,  the  accusation  of  laesa  majestas?  into 

difficulty,  but  the  only  ones  worth  mentioning1  are  :  (a.)  That  in  the  word 
"crucified"  St.  Mark  practically  includes  all  the  preparations  for  the 
crucifixion,  and  therefore  much  of  the  trial  :  this  is  untenable,  because  he 
uses  the  aorist,  effravpeaa-av,  not  the  imperfect.  (£.)  That  one  of  the  Evan- 
gelists is  less  accurate  than  the  other.  If  no  other  solution  of  the  difficulty 
were  simple  and  natural,  I  should  feel  no  difficulty  in  admitting  this  ;  but 
as  the  general,  and  even  the  minute,  accuracy  of  the  Evangelists  seems  to 
me  demonstrable  in  innumerable  cases,  it  is  contrary  to  the  commonest 
principles  of  fairness  to  insist  that  there  must  be  an  inaccuracy  when 
another  explanation  is  possible.  (7.)  That  St.  John  adopts  the  Roman 
civil  reckoning  of  hours.  But(i.),  the  Romans  had  no  such  reckoning  (see 
Yol.  I,  pp.  146,  206  ;  John  iv.  6,  52  ;  xi.  9)  ;  and  (ii.),  this  will  make  Pilate's 
exclamation  to  have  been  uttered  at  six  in  the  morning,  in  which  case 
the  trial  could  hardly  have  begun  at  daylight,  as  no  time  is  left  for  the 
intermediate  incidents.  (8.)  That  the  r'  (third  )  in  John  xix.  14,  has  by 
a  very  early  error  been  altered  into  <r'  (sixth).  This  is  the  reading  of 
a  few  MSS.  and  versions,  and  the  Chron.  Alex,  actually  appeals  for  its 
genuineness  not  Only  to  ra  aKpifiij  avriypatya,  but  even  to  ourb  rb  tSio'xeipoi' 
TOV  EuajyeXia-Tov.  Unless  great  latitude  be  allowed  to  the  word  &s,  this 
appears  to  me  a  possible  solution;  it  is,  however,  perfectly  true  that  the 
ancients,  as  a  rule,  were  much  looser  than  we  are  in  their  notes  of  time. 

1  "  The  formal  equivalent  of  Emperor  is,  of  course,  avTOKpaTwp,  ..... 
but  the  provincials  freely  spoke  of   even  the  Julian  Csesars  as  j8a<n\eus." 
(Freeman,  Essays,  Ii.  316.  ) 

2  Agrippa  I.  inscribed  his  coins  with  the  title  <f>i\oKalffap.    (Akerman, 
p.  30.) 

3  Tac.  Ann.  iii.  38  (and  passim).     "  Majestatis  crimen,  omnium  accusa- 


PILATE  GIYES  WAY.  387 

which  all  other  charges  merged,  which  had  made 
confiscation  and  torture  so  common,  and  had  caused 
blood  to  flow  like  water  in  the  streets  of  Eome.  He 
thought  of  Tiberius,  the  aged  gloomy  Emperor,  then 
hiding  at  Caprese  his  ulcerous  features,  his  poisonous 
suspicions,  his  sick  infamies,  his  desperate  revenge.  At 
this  very  time  he  had  been  maddened  into  a  yet  more 
sanguinary  and  misanthropic  ferocity  by  the  detected 
falsity  and  treason  of  his  only  friend  and  minister, 
Sejanus,  and  it  was  to  Sejanus  himself  that  Pilate  is 
said  to  have  owed  his  position.  There  might  be  secret 
delators  in  that  very  mob.  Panic-stricken,  the  unjust 
judge,  in  obedience  to  his  own  terrors,  consciously 
betrayed  the  innocent  victim  to  the  anguish  of  death. 
He  who  had  so  often  prostituted  justice,  was  now  un- 
able to  achieve  the  one  act  of  justice  which  he  desired. 
He  who  had  so  often  murdered  pity,  was  now  forbidden 
to  taste  the  sweetness  of  a  pity  for  which  he  longed. 
He  who  had  so  often  abused  authority,  was  now 
rendered  impotent  to  exercise  it,  for  once,  on  the  side 
of  right.  Truly  for  him,  sin  had  become  its  own 
Erinnys,  and  his  pleasant  vices  had  been  converted  into 
the  instrument  of  his  punishment !  Did  the  solemn  and 
noble  words  of  the  Law  of  the  Twelve  Tables l — "  Vanae 
voces  populi  non  sunt  audiendae,  quando  aut  noxium 
crimine  absolvi,  aut  innocentem  condemnari  desiderant  " 
— come  across  his  memory  with  accents  of  reproach  as 

tionum  complementum  erat."  "  He  knew  very  well,"  says  Agrippa  (ap. 
Pliilon.  ubi  supr.\  "  the  inflexible  severity  of  Tiberius ; "  and  this  was  some 
years  earlier — before  the  gloom  of  the  Emperor's  mind  had  become  so  deep 
and  savage  as  was  now  the  case.  An  Apocryphal  book  (Revenges  of  the 
Saviour],  with  scarcely  an  exaggeration,  says  that  Tiberius  was  "  full  of 
ulcers  and  fevers,  and  had  nine  sorts  of  leprosy."  (See  Tac.  Ann.  iv.  57 ; 
Suet.  Tib.  68 ;  Julian,  Caes.,  p.  309,  &c.) 
1  Lex.  xii.  De  poenis. 


388 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


he  delivered  Bar- Abbas  and  condemned  Jesus  ?  It  may 
have  been  so.  At  any  rate  his  conscience  did  not  leave 
him  at  ease.  At  this,  or  some  early  period  of  tne  trial,  he 
went  through  the  solemn  farce  of  trying  to  absolve  his 
conscience  from  the  guilt.  He  sent  for  water;  he  washed 
his  hands  before  the  multitude  !  he  said,  "  I  am  innocent 
of  the  blood  of  this  just  person ;  see  ye  to  it."  Did  he 
think  thus  to  wash  away  his  guilt  ?  He  could  wash  his 
hands  ;  could  he  wash  his  heart  ?  Might  he  not  far  more 
truly  have  said  with  the  murderous  king  in  the  splendid 
tragedy — 

"  Can  all  old  Ocean's  waters  wash  this  blood 
Clean  from  my  hand  ?     Nay,  rather  would  this  hand 
The  multitudinous  seas  incarnadine, 
Making  the  green — one  red  !  " 

It  may  be  that,  as  he  thus  murdered  his  conscience, 
such  a  thought  flashed  for  one  moment  across  his 
miserable  mind,  in  the  words  of  his  native  poet — 


"  Ah  nimium  f  aciles  qui  tristia  crimina  caedis 
Fluminea  tolli  posse  putatis  aqua !" l 

But  if  so,  the  thought  was  instantly  drowned  in  a  yell, 
the  most  awful,  the  most  hideous,  the  most  memorable 
that  History  records.  "  His  blood  be  on  us  and  on  our 
children"  Then  Pilate  finally  gave  way.  The  fatal 
"  Ibis  ad  crucem  "  was  uttered  with  reluctant  wrath. 
He  delivered  Him  unto  them,  that  He  might  be  crucified. 
And  now  mark,  for  one  moment,  the  revenges  of 
History.  Has  not  His  blood  been  on  them,  and  on 
their  children  ?  Has  it  not  fallen  most  of  all  on  those 

1  Ov.  Fast.  ii.  45.  The  custom,  though  Jewish  (Deut.  xxi.  6,  7,  "all 
the  elders  .  .  .  shall  wash  their  hands  .  .  .  and  say,  Our  hands  have 
not  shed  this  blood,  neither  have  our  eyes  seen  it"),  was  also  Greek 
and  Roman. 


NEMESIS.  389 

most  nearly  concerned  in  that  deep  tragedy?  Before 
the  dread  sacrifice  was  consummated,  Judas  died  in  the 
horrors  of  a  loathsome  suicide.  Caiaphas  was  deposed 
the  year  following.  Herod  died  in  infamy  and  exile. 
Stripped  of  his  Procuratorship  very  shortly  afterwards, 
on  the  very  charges  he  had  tried  by  a  wicked  con- 
cession to  avoid,  Pilate,  wearied  out  with  misfortunes, 
died  in  suicide  and  banishment,  leaving  behind  him 
an  execrated  name.1  The  house  of  Annas  was  destroyed 
a  generation  later  by  an  infuriated  mob,  and  his 
son  was  dragged  through  the  streets,  and  scourged 
and  beaten  to  his  place  of  murder.  Some  of  those 
who  shared  in  and  witnessed  the  scenes  of  that  day— 
and  thousands  of  their  children — also  shared  in  and 
witnessed  the  long  horrors  of  that  siege  of  Jerusalem 
which  stands  unparalleled  in  history  for  its  unutter- 
able fearfulness.  "  It  seems,"  says  Eenan,  "  as  though 
the  whole  race  had  appointed  a  rendezvous  for  exter- 
mination." They  had  shouted,  "  We  have  no  king  but 


1  Euseb.  Chron.  p.  78,  iroiitiXais  ircpnreff&v  ffv^opais.  His  banishment 
to  Yienna  Allobrogum,  his  tomb,  his  connection  with  Mount  Pilate,  &c., 
are  all  uncertain  traditions.  The  Paradosis  Pilati,  Mors  Pilati,  &c.,  are 
as  spurious  as  his  "  martyrdom,"  which  is  observed  by  the  Abyssinian 
Church  on  June  25.  But  Evang.  Mcod.  i.  13,  which  speaks  of  Pilate  as 
"  circumcised  in  heart,"  shows  that  the  early  Christians  were  not  insensible 
of  his  efforts  to  save  Jesus.  "  Upon  all  murderers,"  says  Bishop  Jeremy 
Taylor,  "  God  hath  not  thrown  a  thunderbolt,  nor  broken  all  sacrilegious 
persons  upon  the  wheel  of  an  inconstant  and  ebbing  estate,  nor  spoken  to 
every  oppressor  from  heaven  in  a  voice  of  thunder,  nor  cut  off  all  rebels  in 
the  first  attempts  of  insurrection ;  but  because  He  hath  done  so  to  some, 
we  are  to  look  upon  those  judgments  as  divine  accents  and  voices  of  God, 
threatening  all  the  same  crimes  with  the  like  events,  and  with  the  ruins 
of  eternity."  (Life  of  Christ,  III.  xv.) — How  much  more  true  and  reverent  is 
this  than  the  despairing  cynicism  which  says,  "  Gardons-nous  d'une  expres- 
sion si  naivement  impie.  II  n'y  a  pas  plus  de  vengeance  dans  1'histoire  que 
dans  la  nature ;  les  revolutions  ne  sont  pas  plus  justes  que  le  volcan  qui 
eclate  ou  1'avalanche  qui  roule."  (Benan.) 


390 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


Caesar  !  "  and  they  had  no  king  but  Caesar  ;  and  leaving 
only  for  a  time  the  fantastic  shadow  of  a  local  and 
contemptible  royalty,  Caesar  after  Caesar  outraged,  and 
tyrannised,  and  pillaged,  and  oppressed  them,  till  at  last 
they  rose  in  wild  revolt  against  the  Caesar  whom  they 
had  claimed,  and  a  Caesar  slaked  in  the  blood  of  its  best 
defenders  the  red  ashes  of  their  burnt  and  desecrated 
Temple.  They  had  forced  the  Eomans  to  crucify  their 
Christ,  and  though  they  regarded  this  punishment  with 
especial  horror,1  they  and  their  children  were  themselves 
crucified  in  myriads  by  the  Komans  outside  their  own 
walls,  till  room  was  wanting  and  wood  failed,  and  the 
soldiers  had  to  ransack  a  fertile  inventiveness  of  cruelty 
for  fresh  methods  of  inflicting  this  insulting  form  of 
death.2  They  had  given  thirty  pieces  of  silver  for 
their  Saviour's  blood,  and  they  were  themselves  sold  in 
thousands  for  yet  smaller  sums.  They  had  chosen  Bar- 
Abbas  in  preference  to  their  Messiah,  and  for  them  there 
has  been  no  Messiah  more,  while  a  murderer's  dagger 
swayed  the  last  counsels  of  their  dying  nationality. 
They  had  accepted  the  guilt  of  blood,  and  the  last  pages 
of  their  history  were  glued  together  with  the  rivers  of 
their  blood,  and  that  blood  continued  to  be  shed  in 

1  See  Jos.  B.  J.  vii.  6,  §  4 

2  Jos.    B.  J,  V.   11,  §   1,  irpofffaovv  ol  (TTpu.Tia>Tai  a\\ov  &\\y  ffxhf-a-'Ti  irpbs 
X\€i>i!]v,  KOU  Sia  rb  irXrjOos  X^Pa  Te  ej/eAeiirero  rots  ffravpois  Kal   ffravpol  roTs  ffup.a.- 
ffiv.     "So  that  they  who  had  nothing  but  'crucify'  in  their  mouths  were 
therewith  paid  home  in  their  own  bodies  "  (Sir  T.  Browne,  Vulg.  Err.  v.  21). 
The  common  notion,  that  having  bought  Christ  for  thirty  pieces  of  silver, 
they  were  sold  by  thirties  for  one    piece    of   silver,  seems  to  be  solely 
derived  from  a  mediaeval  forgery  called  Tlie  Revenging  of  the  Saviour. 
Still  it  is  true  that  "  the  blood  of  Jesus  shed  for   the  salvation  of  the 
world  became  to  them  a  curse.  ...     So  manna  turns  to  worms,  and  the 
wine  of  angels  to  vinegar  and  lees,  when  it  is  received  into  impure  vessels 
or  tasted  by  wanton  palates,  and  the  sun  himself  produces  rats  and  serpents 
when  it  reflects  upon  the  slime  of  Nilus."     (Jer.  Taylor,  HI.  xv.) 


NEMESIS.  391 

wanton  cruelties  from  age  to  age.  They  who  will,  may 
see  in  incidents  like  these  the  mere  unmeaning  chances  of 
History ;  but  there  is  in  History  nothing  unmeaning  to 
one  who  regards  it  as  the  Voice  of  God  speaking  among 
the  destinies  of  men ;  and  whether  a  man  sees  any  sig- 
nificance or  not  in  events  like  these,  he  must  be  blind 
indeed  who  does  not  see  that  when  the  murder  of  Christ 
was  consummated,  the  axe  was  laid  at  the  root  of  the 
barren  tree  of  Jewish  nationality.  Since  that  day  Jeru- 
salem and  its  environs,  with  their  "  ever-extending  miles 
of  grave- stones  and  ever-lengthening  pavement  of  tombs 
and  sepulchres,"  have  become  little  more  than  one  vast 
cemetery — an  Aceldama,  a  field  of  blood,  a  potter's  field 
to  bury  strangers  in.  Like  the  mark  of  Cain  upon 
the  forehead  of  their  race,  the  guilt  of  that  blood  has 
seemed  to  cling  to  them — as  it  ever  must  until  that 
same  blood  eifaceth  it.  For,  by  Grod's  mercy,  that 
blood  was  shed  for  them  also  who  made  it  flow ;  the 
voice  which  they  strove  to  quench  in  death  was  uplifted 
in  its  last  prayer  for  pity  on  His  murderers.  May  that 
blood  be  efficacious  !  may  that  prayer  be  heard  ! l 

1  It  is  in  the  deepest  sincerity  that  I  add  these  last  words.  Any  one  who 
traces  a  spirit  of  vindictiveness  in  the  last  paragraph  wholly  misjudges  the 
spirit  in  which  it  is  written.  This  book  may  perhaps  fall  into  the  hands  of 
Jewish  readers.  They,  of  all  others,  if  true  to  the  deepest  lessons  of  the 
faith  in  which  they  have  been  trained,  will  acknowledge  the  hand  of  God 
in  History.  And  the  events  spoken  of  here  are  not  imaginative ;  they  are 
indisputable  facts.  The  Jew  at  least  will  believe  that  in  external  conse- 
quences God  visits  the  sins  of  the  fathers  upon  the  children.  Often  and 
often  in  History  have  the  crimes  of  the  guilty  seemed  to  be  visited  even  on 
their  innocent  posterity.  The  apparent  injustice  of  this  is  but  on  the 
surface.  There  is  a  fire  that  purifies,  no  less  than  a  fire  that  scathes  ; 
and  who  shall  say  that  the  very  afflictions  of  Israel — afflictions,  alas !  so 
largely  caused  by  the  sin  of  Christendom — may  not  have  been  meant  for  a 
refining  of  the  pure  gold  ?  God's  judgments — it  may  be  the  very  sternest 
and  most  irremediable  of  them — come,  many  a  time,  in*  the  guise,  not  of 
affliction,  but  of  immense  earthly  prosperity  and  ease. 


CHAPTER  LXI. 


THE        CRUCIFIXION. 

"  Dum  crucis  inimicos 
Yocabis,  et  amicos, 
O  Jesu,  Fill  Dei, 
Sis,  oro,  memor  mei." 

THOMAS  OF  CELANO,  De  Cruce  Domini. 

"  I,  MILES,  EXPEDI  CRUCEM  "  ("  Gro,  soldier,  get  ready  the 
cross").  In  some  such  formula  of  terrible  import  Pilate 
must  have  given  his  final  order.1  It  was  now  probably 
about  nine  o'clock,  and  the  execution  followed  imme- 
diately upon  the  judgment.  The  time  required  for  the 
necessary  preparation  would  not  be  many  minutes,  and 
during  this  brief  pause  the  soldiers,  whose  duty  it  was  to 
see  that  the  sentence  was  carried  out,  stripped  Jesus  of 
the  scarlet  war-cloak,  now  dyed  with  the  yet  deeper  stains 
of  blood,  and  clad  Him  again  in  His  own  garments.2 

1  That  Pilate  sent  some  official  account  of  the  trial  and  crucifixion  to 
Tiberius  would  be  a  priori  probable,  and  seems  to  be  all  but  certain  (Just. 
Mart.  Apol.  i.  76;  Tert.  Apol.  21;  Euseb.  Hist.  Eccl.  ii.  2;   Lardner,  vi. 
606) ;  but  it  is  equally  certain  that  the  existing  Ada,  Paradosis,  Mors  and 
Epistolae  Pilati  are  spurious.    Tischendorf  (De  Evang.  Apocr.,  Orig.,  p.  67) 
thinks  that,  though  interpolated,  they  may  contain  old  materials,  but  I  can 
find  nothing  of  any  interest  or  value  in  them. 

2  Some   have  supposed  that  a  second  scourging  took  place,  the  first 
being  the  question  by  torture,  the  second  the  •Kpoa.ucuri&s.   It  seems  clear, 
however,  that  Pilate  had  meant  the  scourging  to  be  this  preliminary  to 
crucifixion,  though,    at  the  last  moment,  it  suited  him  to  let  it  pass  as 
inquisitorial.     Further,  it  is  inconceivable   that    Jesus    could    have   been 
capable  of  physically  enduring  two  such  fearful  inflictions,  either  of  which 


"BEARING  HIS  CROSS."  393 

When  the  cross  had  been  prepared  they  laid  it — or  pos- 
sibly only  one  of  the  beams  of  it — upon  His  shoulders, 
and  led  Him  to  the  place  of  punishment.  The  nearness 
of  the  great  feast,  the  myriads  who  were  present  in 
Jerusalem,  made  it  desirable  to  seize  the  opportunity  for 
striking  terror  into  all  Jewish  malefactors.  Two  were 
therefore  selected  for  execution  at  the  same  time  with 
Jesus — two  brigands  and  rebels  of  the  lowest  stamp. 
Their  crosses  were  laid  upon  them,  a  maniple  of  soldiers 
in  full  armour  were  marshalled  under  the  command  of 
their  centurion,  and,  amid  thousands  of  spectators,  coldly 
inquisitive  or  furiously  hostile,  the  procession  started  on 
its  way. 

The  cross  was  not,  and  could  not  have  been,  the 
massive  and  lofty  structure  with  which  such  myriads  of 
pictures  have  made  us  familiar.  Crucifixion  was  among 
the  Romans  a  very  common  punishment,  and  it  is  clear 
that  they  would  not  waste  any  trouble  in  constructing 
the  instrument  of  shame  and  torture.1  It  would  un- 
doubtedly be  made  of  the  very  commonest  wood  that 

was  often  sufficient  to  cause  convulsions  and  death.  It  is  better  to  regard 
the  $payt\\(t>ffas  of  Matt,  xxvii.  26  as  retrospective. 

1  Of  the  various  kinds  of  cross — the  crux  decussata  (X),  the  crux 
ansata,  &c.,  it  is  certain  that  the  cross  on  which  Jesus  was  crucified  was 
either  the  crux  commissa  (T,  St.  Anthony's  cross),  or  the  crux  immissa, 
the  ordinary  Roman  cross  (f).  The  fact  that  the  former  was  in  the  shape 
of  the  Greek  capital  tau  has  given  ample  room  for  the  allegorising  pro- 
pensities of  the  Fathers.  (Cf .  Lucian,  Jud.  Vocal.  12 ;  Gesenius  s.  v.  113, 
Ezek.  ix.  4.)  See  abundant  O.  T.  instances  of  this  in  Just.  Mart.  Dial.  89 ; 
Tert.  Adv.  Jud.  10,  11 ;  Barnab.  Ep.  ix. ;  Clem.  Alex.  Strom,  vi.  See  too 
Theophyl.  on  Matt.  v.  18 ;  Sepp,  Leben  Christi,  vi.  115 ;  Mysterium  des 
Kreuzes. — I  have  not  alluded  to  the  so-called  "invention  of  the  cross," 
for  the  story  is  intrinsically  absurd,  and  the  Jews  generally  burnt  their 
crosses  (Qiho,Lex.  Rabb.s.  v.  "Supplicia").  What  seems  decisive  in  favour 
of  the  shape  preserved  by  the  traditions  of  art  for  nearly  1,500  years  is 
the  expression  of  Matt,  xxvii.  37,  that  the  title  was  put  eirdvu  TTJS  KeQaXrjs 
avrov.  I  have  collected  all  that  seemed  archseologically  interesting  on 
this  subject  in  the  articles  "Cross"  and  "Crucifixion"  in  Smith's  Diet,  of 
the  Bible. 


394 


THE   LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


came  to  hand,  perhaps  olive  or  sycamore,  and  knocked 
together  in  the  very  rudest  fashion.     Still,  to  support 
the  hody  of  a  man,  a  cross  would  require  to  be  of 
certain  size  and  weight ;  and  to  one  enfeebled  by  th< 
horrible  severity  of  the  previous  scourging,  the  carrying 
of  such  a  burden  would  be  an  additional  misery.1     Bui 
Jesus  was  enfeebled  not  only  by  this  cruelty,  but 
previous  days  of  violent  struggle  and  agitation,  by 
evening  of  deep  and  overwhelming  emotion,  by  a  night 
of  sleepless  anxiety  and  suffering,  by  the  mental  agony  oi 
the  garden,  by  three  trials  and  three  sentences  of  death 
before  the  Jews,,  by  the  long  and  exhausting  scenes  in 
the  Prsetorium,  by  the  examination  before  Herod,  and 
by  the  brutal  and  painful  derisions  which  He  had  under- 
gone, first  at   the  hands    of  the  Sanhedrin  and  their 
servants,  then  from  Herod's  body-guard,  and  lastly  from 
the  Eoman  cohort.     All  these,  superadded  to  the  sicken- 
ing lacerations  of  the  scourging,  had  utterly  broken  down 
His  physical  strength.     His  tottering  footsteps,  if  not 
His  actual  falls  under  that  fearful  load,  made  it  evident 
that  He  lacked  the  physical  strength  to  carry  it  from 
the  Prsetorium  to  Golgotha.     Even  if  they  did  not  pity 
His    feebleness,   the    Eoman    soldiers   would   naturally 
object  to   the  consequent   hindrance    and   delay.     But 
they  found  an  easy  method  to  solve  the  difficulty.  They 
had  not  proceeded  farther  than  the  city  gate,2  when  they 

1  Of.  Gen.  xxii.  6  (Isa.  ix.  6).     It  is  not  certain  whether  the  condemned 
carried  their  entire  cross  or  only  a  part  of  it — the  patibulum,  or  transom, 
as  distinguished  from  the  crux  (cf.  Plant,  fr.  ap.  Non.  3,  183,  "Patibulum 
f  erat  per  nrbem  deinde  affigatur  cruci ").     If  the  entire  cross  was  carried, 
it  is  probable  that  the  two  beams  were  not  (as  in  pictures)  nailed  to  each 
other,  but  simply  fastened  together  by  a  rope,  and  carried  like  a  V  (/urea). 
If,  as   tradition  says   (Acts   of  Pilate,  B.  10),  the  hands  were  tied,  the 
difficulties  of  supporting  the  burden  would  be  further  enhanced. 

2  Act.  Pilot.  X.  ^A0e  yitexpl  TTJS  TTV\.TJS. 


PROCESSION  TO   GOLGOTHA.  395 

met  a  man  coming  from  the  country,  who  was  known  to 
the  early  Christians  as  "  Simon  of  Gyrene,  the  father  of 
Alexander  and  Eufus  ; "  and  perhaps,  on  some  hint  from 
the  accompanying  Jews  that  Simon  sympathised  with 
the  teaching  of  the  Sufferer,  they  impressed  him  without 
the  least  scruple  into  their  odious  service.1 

The  miserable  procession  resumed  its  course,  and 
though  the  apocryphal  traditions  of  the  Romish  Church 
narrate  many  incidents  of  the  Via  Dolorosa,  only  one 
such  incident  is  recorded  in  the  Gospel  history.3  St. 
Luke  tells  us  that  among  the  vast  multitude  of  people 
who  followed  Jesus  were  many  women.  From  the  men 
in  that  moving  crowd  He  does  not  appear  to  have  re- 
ceived one  word  of  pity  or  of  sympathy.  Some  there  must 
surely  have  been  who  had  seen  His  miracles,  who  had 
heard  His  words ;  some  of  those  who  had  been  almost, 
if  not  utterly,  convinced  of  His  Messiahship,  as  they 

1  i)yydp€v<rai/.      It  seems  to   have   been  a   common   thing  for    Roman 
soldiers  to  impress  people  to  carry  burdens  for  them  (Epict.  Dissert,  iv. 
1).     The  Cyrenians  had  a  synagogue  at  Jerusalem  (Acts  ii.  10;  vi.  9). 
The   names  Alexander  and   Rufus  are  too  common  to  enable  us  to  feel 
any  certainty  as  to  their  identification  with  those  of  the  same  name  men- 
tioned in  Acts  xix.  33;  1  Tim.  i.   20;  Rom.  xvi.  13.     The  belief  of  the 
Cerinthians,  Basilidians,  Carpocratians,  and  other  Gnostics,  that  Simon  was 
crucified  for  Jesus  by  mistake  (!),  is  not  worth  notice  here   (Iren.  Adv. 
Haeres.  i.  23).     One  of  these  wild  distortions  was  that  Judas  was  crucified 
for  Him ;  and  another  that  it  was  a  certain  Titian,  or  a  phantom  created 
by  God  in  the  semblance  of  Jesus.     It  is  a  curious  trace  of  the  dissemi- 
nation of  Gnostic  and  Apocryphal  legends  in  Arabia  that  Mahomet  treats 
the  actual  crucifixion  of  Jesus  as  an  unworthy  calumny.     (Koran,  Surat. 
3,  4 ;  Sale's  Koran,  i.  64,  124,  "  They  slew  Him  not,  neither  crucified  Him, 
but  He  was  represented  by  one  in  His  likeness.") 

2  These  form  the  subjects  of  the  stations  which  are  to  be  seen  in  all 
Romish  churches,  and  are  mainly  derived  from  apocryphal  sources.    They 
originated  among  the  Franciscans.     The  so-called  Yia  Dolorosa  does  not 
seem  to  be  mentioned  earlier  than  the  fourteenth  century.     That  Jesus, 
before  being  eased  of  His  burden,  was  scourged  and  goaded  onward  is  but 
too  sadly  probable  (Plaut.  Most.  I.  i.  53,  "  Ita  te  forabunt  patibulatum 
per  viam  stimulis  ").    (Of.  Jer.  Taylor,  Life  of  Christ,  HI.  xv.  2)., 


396 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


hung  upon  His  lips  while  He  had  uttered  His  great 
discourses  in  the  Temple  ;  some  of  the  eager  crowd  who 
had  accompanied  Him  from  Bethlehem  five  days  before 
with  shouted  hosannas  and  waving  palms.  Yet  if  so, 
a  faithless  timidity  or  a  deep  misgiving — perhaps  even  a 
boundless  sorrow — kept  them  dumb.  But  these  women, 
more  quick  to  pity,  less  susceptible  to  controlling  in- 
fluences, could  not  and  would  not  conceal  the  grief  and 
amazement  with  which  this  spectacle  filled  them.  They 
beat  upon  their  breasts  and  rent  the  air  with  their  lamen- 
tations, till  Jesus  Himself  hushed  their  shrill  cries  with 
words  of  solemn  warning.  Turning  to  them — which  He 
could  not  have  done  had  He  still  been  staggering  under 
the  burden  of  His  cross — He  said  to  them,  "  Daughters 
of  Jerusalem,  weep  not  for  me  ;  but  for  yourselves  weep, 
and  for  your  children.  For  lo  !  days  are  coming  in  which 
they  shall  say,  Blessed  are  the  barren,  and  the  wombs 
which  bare  not,  and  the  breasts  which  gave  not  suck. 
Then  shall  they  begin  to  say  to  the  mountains,  Fall  on 
us,  and  to  the  hills,  Cover  us;  for  if  they  do  these 
things  in  the  green  tree,  what  shall  be  done  in  the 
dry?  "  Theirs  was  but  an  emotional  outburst  of  womanly 
tenderness,  which  they  could  not  repress  as  they  saw  the 
great  Prophet  of  mankind  in  His  hour  of  shame  and 
weakness,  with  the  herald  proclaiming  before  Him  the 
crimes  with  which  He  was  charged,  and  the  Eoman 
soldiers  carrying  the  title  of  derision,1  and  Simon  bend- 
ing under  the  weight  of  the  wood  to  which  He  was  to 
be  nailed.  But  He  warned  them  that,  if  this  were  all 
which  they  saw  in  the  passing  spectacle,  far  bitterer 
causes  of  woe  awaited  them,  and  their  children,  and 


1  Suet.    Calig.  32,  "  Praecedente  titulo  qui  caussam  poenae  indicarct." 
This  was  sometimes  hung  round  the  neck. 


THE  LAST  WARNING.  397 

their  race.  Many  of  them,  and  the  majority  of  their 
children,  would  live  to  see  such  rivers  of  bloodshed,  such 
complications  of  agony,  as  the  world  had  never  known 
before — days  which  would  seem  to  overpass  the  capaci- 
ties of  human  suffering,  and  would  make  men  seek  to 
hide  themselves,  if  it  might  be,  under  the  very  roots  of 
the  hill  on  which  their  city  stood.1  The  fig- tree  of  their 
nation's  life  was  still  green  :  if  such  deeds  of  darkness 
were  possible  now,  what  should  be  done  when  that  tree 
was  withered  and  blasted,  and  ready  for  the  burning  ?  2 — 
if  in  the  days  of  hope  and  decency  they  could  execrate 
their  blameless  Deliverer,  what  would  happen  in  the 
days  of  blasphemy  and  madness  and  despair  ?  If, 
under  the  full  light  of  day,  Priests  and  Scribes  could 
crucify  the  Innocent,  what  would  be  done  in  the  mid- 
night orgies  and  blood-stained  bacchanalia  of  zealots 
and  murderers  ?  This  was  a  day  of  crime ;  that  would 
be  a  day  when  Crime  had  become  her  own  avenging 
fury. — The  solemn  warning,  the  last  sermon  of  Christ 
on  earth,  was  meant  primarily  for  those  who  heard  it ; 
but,  like  all  the  words  of  Christ,  it  has  deeper  and  wider 

1  Hos.  ix.  12—16 ;  x.  8 ;  Isa.  ii.  10 ;  Rev.  vi.  16.     These  words  of  Christ 
met  with  a  painfully  literal  illustration  when  hundreds  of  the   unhappy 
Jews  at  the  siege  of  Jerusalem  hid  themselves  in  the  darkest  and  vilest 
subterranean  recesses,  and  when,  besides  those  who  were  hunted  out,  no 
less   than    2,000   were   killed  by   being  buried  under  the  ruins  of  their 
hiding-places  (Jos.  B.  J.  vi.  9,  §  4). 

2  The  exact  meaning  of  this  proverbial  expression  is  not  certain.     It  is 
often  explained  to  mean,  "  If,  in  the  fulfilment  of  God's  purposes,  I  the 
Holy  and   the   Innocent   must   suffer   thus — if   the  green  tree    be   thus 
blasted — how  shall  the  dry  tree  of  a  wicked  life,   with  its   abominable 
branches,  be   consumed  in   the    uttermost  burning?"  (Of.   Prov.  xi.  31; 
Ezek.    xx.    47;  xxi.  4;    and  especially  1  Peter   iv.   17.)      (See    Schenkel, 
CharaJcterbild,  p.  30,  E.  Tr.)     The  difficulty  of  understanding  the  words 
was  early  felt,  and  we  find  an  absurd  allusion  to  them  in  the  Revenging 
of  the  Saviour,  where  Titus  exclaims,  "  They  hung  our  Lord  on  a  green 
tree   ...  let  us  hang  them  on  a  dry  tree." 


398 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


meaning  for  all  mankind.  Those  words  warn  evei 
child  of  man  that  the  day  of  careless  pleasure  and  bis 
phemous  disbelief  will  be  followed  by  the  crack  of  doom 
they  warn  each  human  being  who  lives  in  pleasure  on  the 
earth,  and  eats,  and  drinks,  and  is  drunken,  that  though 
the  patience  of  Grod  waits,  and  His  silence  is  unbrokci 
yet  the  days  shall  come  when  He  shall  speak  in  thundf 
and  His  wrath  shall  burn  like  fire. 

And  so  with  this  sole  sad  episode,  they  came  to 
the  fatal  place,  called  Grolgotha,  or,  in  its  Latin  form, 
Calvary — that  is,  "  a  skull/'  Why  it  was  so  called  is  not 
known.  It  may  conceivably  have  been  a  well-known 
place  of  execution ;  or  possibly  the  name  may  imply 
a  bare,  rounded,  scalp-like  elevation.  It  is  constantly 
called  the  "  hill  of  Grolgotha,"  or  of  Calvary ;  but  the 
Gospels  merely  call  it  "  a  place,"  and  not  a  hill.1  Ee- 
specting  its  site  volumes  have  been  written,  but  nothing 
is  known.  The  data  for  anything  approaching  to 
certainty  are  wholly  wanting ;  and,  in  all  probability, 
the  actual  spot  lies  buried  and  obliterated  under  the 
mountainous  rubbish-heaps  of  the  ten-times-taken  city. 
The  rugged  and  precipitous  mountain  represented  in 
sacred  pictures  is  as  purely  imaginary  as  the  skull  of 
Adam,  which  is  often  painted  lying  at  the  foot  of  the 
cross,2  or  as  any  other  of  the  myriads  of  legends,  which 

1  Matt,  xxvii.  33 ;  Mark  xv.  22.     Calvary  is  used  by  the  E.  Y.  as  a  ren- 
dering of  Kpaviov,  "  scull,"  only  in  Luke  xxiii.  33.     It  is  called  "monticulus  " 
in  the  old  Itiner.  Burdig.  Hieros.  vii.     Renan  compares  the  French  word 
"Chaumont"    (Vie  de  Jesus,  416).       Ewald  identifies  it  with  the   hill 
Gareb  (Jer.  xxxi.  39).      It  is  hardly  worth  while  to  enter  into  elaborate 
arguments  about  the  site,  which  may  any  day  be  overthrown  by  a  discovery 
of  the  course  of  the  second  wall. 

2  "  Ibi  erectus  est  medicus  ubi  jacebat  aegrotus"  (Aug.).     Origen  com- 
pares 1  Cor.  xv.  22.      There  was  a  legend  that  three  drops  of  Christ's 
blood  fell   on  Adam's   skull,  and  caused  his  resurrection,  fulfilling  the 


CRUCIFIXION.  399 

have  gathered  round  this  most  stupendous  and  moving 
scene  in  the  world's  history.  All  that  we  know  of 
Golgotha,  all  that  we  shall  ever  know,  all  that  God  willed 
to  be  known,  is  that  it  was  without  the  city  gate.  The 
religion  of  Christ  is  spiritual ;  it  needs  no  relic ;  it  is 
independent  of  Holy  Places  ;  it  says  to  each  of  its 
children,  not  "  Lo,  here  !  "  and  "  lo,  there  !  "  but  "  The 
kingdom  of  God  is  within  you." 

Utterly  brutal  and  revolting  as  was  the  punishment 
of  crucifixion,  which  has  now  for  fifteen  hundred  years 
been  abolished  by  the  common  pity  and  abhorrence  of 
mankind,1  there  was  one  custom  in  Judaea,  and  one 
occasionally  practised  by  the  Romans,  which  reveal 
some  touch  of  passing  humanity.  The  latter  consisted 
in  giving  to  the  sufferer  a  blow  under  the  arm-pit, 
which,  without  causing  death,  yet  hastened  its  approach.3 

ancient  prophecy  quoted  in  Eph.  v.  14,  where  Jerome  had  heard  a  preacher 
adopt  the  reading,  "  Awake,  Adam  that  sleepest  .  .  .  and  Christ  shall 
touch  thee  "  (eV^cm).  ( Jer.  in  Matt,  xxvii.  33 ;  Reland,  Palest.  860,  for 
the  true  reading  e7ri(/>au<rei.)  The  words  in  the  original  are  rhythmical,  and 
as  they  do  not  occur  in  Scripture,  they  are  now  usually  considered  to  be  a 
fragment  of  some  early  Christian  hymn. 

1  It  was  abolished  by  Constantine  (Aur.  Yict.  Const.  41).     The  infamy 
of  crucifixion  is  still  preserved  in  the  reproachful  name  Talui  ( ^n )  in 
which  the  Talmud  speaks  of  Jesus,  and  *ftn  mis,  "worshippers  of  the 
Hung,"  which  they  apply  to  Christians,  though,  according  to  their  fable,  He 
was  first  stoned,  then  hung  on  the   tree.     "  Servile,'7  "  infame,"  "  crude- 
lissimuin,"    "  taeterrimum,"  "  surnmum,"  "  extremum,"  "  supplicium,"  are 
the  names  given  to  it  by  the  Romans.    (Cic.  Verr.  v.  66  and  passim.     See 
Phil.  ii.  8  ;  Cic.  Pro  Rob.  5,  "  Nonien  ipsum  crucis  absit  non  rnodo  a  corpore 
civium  Romanorum,  sed  etiam  a  cogitatione,  oculis,  auribus.")     Maecenas, 
in  one  of  the  few  interesting  fragments  of  his  verses,  speaks  of  it  as  the 
extreme  of  horror,  and  the  ultimate  agony. 

"  Vita  dum  superest  bene  est 
Hanc  mihi  vel  acutA 
Si  sedeam  cruce,  sustine."     (Sen.  Ep.  101.) 

2  So  Sen.  Ep.  101 ;  Orig.  in  Matth.  140  (Keirn).     Sometimes  men  were 
killed  before  crucifixion  (Suet.  Jul.  Cces.  i.  74). 


400 


THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST. 


Of  this  I  need  not  speak,  because,  for  whatever  reason, 
it  was  not  practised  on  this  occasion.  The  former, 
which  seems  to  have  been  due  to  the  milder  nature  of 
Judaism,  and  which  was  derived  from  a  happy  piece  of 
Habbinic  exegesis  on  Prov.  xxxi.  6,  consisted  in  giving 
to  the  condemned,  immediately  before  his  execution,  a 
draught  of  wine  medicated  with  some  powerful  opiate.1 
It  had  been  the  custom  of  wealthy  ladies  in  Jerusalem 
to  provide  this  stupefying  potion  at  their  own  expense, 
and  they  did  so  quite  irrespectively  of  their  sympathy 
for  any  individual  criminal.  It  was  probably  taken 
freely  by  the  two  malefactors,  but  when  they  offered  it 
to  Jesus  He  would  not  take  it.  The  refusal  was  an 
act  of  sublimest  heroism.  The  effect  of  the  draught 
was  to  dull  the  nerves,  to  cloud  the  intellect,  to  provide 
an  anaesthetic  against  some  part,  at  least,  of  the  linger- 
ing agonies  of  that  dreadful  death.  But  He,  whom 
some  modern  sceptics  have  been  base  enough  to  accuse 
of  feminine  feebleness  and  cowardly  despair,  preferred 
rather  "to  look  Death  in  the  face" — to  meet  the  king 
of  terrors  without  striving  to  deaden  the  force  of  one 
agonising  anticipation,  or  to  still  the  throbbing  of  one 
lacerated  nerve. 

The  three  crosses  were  laid  on  the  ground — that  of 
Jesus,  which  was  doubtless  taller  than  the  other  two, 
being  placed  in  bitter  scorn  in  the  midst.  Perhaps  the 
cross-beam  was  now  nailed  to  the  upright,  and  certainly 
the  title,  which  had  either  been  borne  by  Jesus  fastened 
round  His  neck,  or  carried  by  one  of  the  soldiers  in 


1  St.  Mark  calls  it  e<riJivpvi<rp.ivov  oivov,  "  myrrh-mingled  wine ;  "  it  is  not 
likely  that  the  exact  ingredients  would  be  known.  St.  Matthew  mentally 
refers  it  to  Ps.  Ixix.  21,  o£os  (or  possibly  oivov,  which  Tischendorf  admits 
from  «,  B,  D,  K,  L,  &c.)  ju*T£&  x°^s-  The  Romans  called  these  medicated 
cups  "  sopores  "  (Plin.  xx.  18 ;  Sen.  Ep.  83,  &c.). 


CRUCIFIXION.  401 

front  of  Him,  was  now  nailed  to  the  summit  of  His  cross. 
Then  He  was  stripped  naked  of  all  His  clothes,1  and 
then  followed  the  most  awful  moment  of  all.  He  was 
laid  down  at  full  length  upon  the  implement  of  torture. 
His  arms  were  stretched  along  the  cross-beams  ;  and  at 
the  very  centre  of  the  open  palms,  first  of  the  right, 
then  of  the  left  hand,  the  point  of  a  huge  iron  nail  was 
placed,  which,  by  the  blow  of  a  mallet,  was  driven  home 
into  the  wood,  crushing,  with  excruciating  pain,  all  the 
fine  nerves  and  muscles  of  the  hands  through  which 
they  were  driven.3  Then  the  legs  were  drawn  down  at 
full  length  ;  and  through  either  foot  separately,  or 
possibly  through  both  together  as  they  were  placed  one 
over  the  other,  another  huge  nail  tore  its  way  through 
the  quivering  and  bleeding  flesh.3  Whether  the  sufferer 
was  also  bound  to  the  cross  we  do  not  know  ;  but,  to 
prevent  the  hands  and  feet  being  torn  away  by  the 
weight  of  the  body,  which  could  not  "  rest  upon  nothing 
but  four  great  wounds,"  there  was,  about  the  centre  of 
the  cross,  a  wooden  projection  strong  enough  to  support, 
at  least  in  part,  a  human  body  which  soon  became  a 
weight  of  writhing  anguish.4 


1  We  can  but  hope  that  the  irepisfaffav  avrbv  \evriov  of  the  Acts  of  Pilate 
(ch.  10),  is  true;  if  so,  it  was  exceptional,  and  the  evidence  of  later  martyr- 
doms —  even  of  women  —  points  the  other  way,  as  does  also  the  Jewish 
custom. 

2  1  write  thus  because  the  familiarity  of  oft-repeated  words  prevents  us 
from  realising  what  crucifixion  really  was,  and  because  it  seems  well  that 
we  should  realise  this.     The  hideous  custom  was  probably  copied  by  the 
Romans  from  the  Phoanicians.     The  Egyptians  simply  bound  the  hands 
and  feet,  leaving  the  sufferer  to  die  mainly  of  starvation. 

3  This  was  the  earlier  tradition,  hence  Greg.  Naz.  (De  Christ.  Patient.) 
calls  the  cross    £v\ov  Tpia"n\ov,   and  Nonnus  calls    the  feet    VoTrAo/ceey. 
But  Cyprian,  who  had  witnessed  crucifixions,  speaks  of  four  nails  (De 
Pass.). 

4  irruna.     Hence   the    expressions    en-ox  er<r0cu  eirl  <rravpov.     "  Sedere   in 
cruce,  sedilis  excessus,"  &c.  (  Jer.  Taylor,  Life  of  Christ,  III.  xv.  2).     On  the 

a  a 


402 


THE  LIFE   OF  CHRIST. 


It  was  probably  at  this  moment  of  inconceivable 
horror  that  the  voice  of  the  Son  of  Man  was  heard 
uplifted,  not  in  a  scream  of  natural  agony  at  that  fearful 
torture,  but  calmly  praying  in  Divine  compassion  for 
His  brutal  and  pitiless  murderers — aye,  and  for  all 
who  in  their  sinful  ignorance  crucify  Him  afresh  for 
ever1 — "FATHER,  FORGIVE  THEM,  FOR  THEY  KNOW  NOT 

WHAT   THEY   DO." 

And  then  the  accursed  tree3 — with  its  living  human 
burden  hanging  upon  it  in  helpless  agony,  and  suffering 
fresh  tortures  as  every  movement  irritated  the  fresh 
rents  in  hands  and  feet — was  slowly  heaved  up  by  strong 
arms,  and  the  end  of  it  fixed  firmly  in  a  hole  dug  deep 
in  the  ground  for  that  purpose.3  The  feet  were  but  a 
little  raised  above  the  earth.  The  victim  was  in  full 


other  hand,  there  was  no  suppedaneum,  or  "  foot-rest : "  though  it  is  still 
repeated  in  modern  pictures.  The  illustrations  by  G.  Durrant  in  the 
popular  edition  of  Kenan's  Vie  de  Jesus,  though  evidently  meant  to  serve  a 
purpose,  are,  in  general,  extremely  true  to  Oriental  life ;  but  those  of  the 
Crucifixion  seem  to  me  to  be  incorrect  in  many  particulars.  The  hands 
were  probably  bound  as  well  as  nailed  (Luc.  vi.  543 — "  laqueum  nodosque 
nocentes  ore  suo  rupit ;  pendentia  corpora  carpsit  Abrasitque  cruces  .  .  . 
Insert um  manibus  chalybem  ....  sustulit "). 

1  The  thought  is  more  than  once   expressed  by  Mr.   Browning  (A 
Death  in  the  Desert) : — 

"  Is  not  His  love,  at  issue  still  with  sin, 
Closed  with,  and  cast,  and  conquered,  crucified 
Visibly  when  a  wrong  is  done  on  earth  ? " 

2  Infelix  lignum  (Liv.  i.  26 ;  Sen.  Ep.  101,  &c.).     Now  that  this  "  tree 
of  cursing  and  shame  sits  upon  the  sceptres,  and  is  engraved  and  signed 
on  the  foreheads   of  kings "  ( Jer.  Taylor),  we  can  hardly  imagine   the 
disgust  and  horror  with  which  it  was    once    regarded  when   it  had  no 
associations  but  those   "of  pain,  of  guilt,  and  of  ignominy"  (Gibbon, 
ii.  153). 

3  Compare  the  old  prophecy  alluded  to  by  Barnabas,  Ep.  12,  ZTO.V  ^\>\ov 
f\t6r}  KCU  avaffrr}.     Sometimes  the  sufferer  was  lifted  and  nailed  after  the 
cross  had    been   erected  (avriyov  $yov  ^yov  ei's  fapov  T&OS,    Greg.   !N"az., 
"  Crucisalus;"  Plaut.  Bacch.  ii.  3, 128). 


AGONY  OF  CRUCIFIXION.  403 

reach  of  every  hand  that  might  choose  to  strike,  in  close 
proximity  to  every  gesture  of  insult  and  hatred.  He 
might  hang  for  hours  to  he  abused,  outraged,  even 
tortured  by  the  ever-moving  multitude  who,  with  that 
desire  to  see  what  is  horrible  which  always  characterises 
the  coarsest  hearts,  had  thronged  to  gaze  upon  a  sight 
which  should  rather  have  made  them  weep  tears  of 
blood. 

And  there,  in  tortures  which  grew  ever  more  insup- 
portable, ever  more  maddening  as  time  flowed  on,  the 
unhappy  victims  might  linger  in  a  living  death  so 
cruelly  intolerable,  that  often  they  were  driven  to  entreat 
and  implore  the  spectators,  or  the  executioners,  for  dear 
pity's  sake,  to  put  an  end  to  anguish  too  awful  for  man 
to  bear — conscious  to  the  last,  and  often,  with  tears  of 
abject  misery,  beseeching  from  their  enemies  the  price- 
less boon  of  death.1 

For  indeed  a  death  by  crucifixion  seems  to  include 
all  that  pain  and  death  can  have  of  horrible  and  ghastly 
—dizziness,  cramp,  thirst,  starvation,  sleeplessness, 
traumatic  fever,  tetanus,  publicity  of  shame,  long  con- 
tinuance of  torment,  horror  of  anticipation,  mortification 
of  untended  wounds — all  intensified  just  up  to  the  point 
at  which  they  can  be  endured  at  all,  but  all  stopping 
just  short  of  the  point  which  would  give  to  the  sufferer 
the  relief  of  unconsciousness.  The  unnatural  position 
made  every  movement  painful ;  the  lacerated  veins  and 
crushed  tendons  throbbed  with  incessant  anguish ;  the 
wounds,  inflamed  by  exposure,  gradually  gangrened ;  the 

1  And  hence  there  are  many  ancient  instances  of  men  having  been  first 
strangled,  or  nearly  killed,  and  then  crucified;  and  of  men  who  bought  by 
large  bribes  this  mournful  but  merciful  privilege  (Ci