תמונות בעמוד

shall deliver you up to the councilst. He that says to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the councilu. And to the Jews he says, Behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes, and some of them shall ye kill and crucifyx. And in another place, Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slayy. I am far from thinking that these places determine the question ; but surely the most natural construction of them is, that there remained in the Jewish councils a power of inflicting death. The answer which our Lord made to the Scribes and Pharisees, who brought to him a woman taken in adultery, is, He that is without sin, let him cast the first stone at her?. It was commanded in the law of Moses that the witnesses or accusers should throw the first stone; and the meaning of our Lord's answer is plainly this; Let him among you who has not been guilty of the same crime, or a crime equally great, be a witness against her, or become her accuser and prosecutor before the council. It is not to be supposed that our Lord here takes upon him the part of a judge. This in another case he utterly disclaims, saying to the person that desired it of him, Who made me a judge over you a ? much less can we suppose that he would countenance a popular and tumultuary execution",

+ Mark xiii. 9.
u Matt. v. 22.

* Matt. xxiii. 34. y Luke xi. 49. 2 Jobo viii. 7.

a Luke xii. 14. b The interpretation of the learned Grotius represents bim, I think, as too much favouring this sort of execution. Upon those words, Let him that is without sin cast the first stone, he has this note : Quia lapidatio illis temporibus erat quasi judicium populi, ideo quod de judicibus dici solet, populo aptavit. But,

or encourage any persons to lay violent hands on a criminal before sentence was passed by those who were in authority. Our Lord's answer, therefore, by a very common figure of speech, and in an equitable construction, amounts to no more than this: “ Let him among you that is not guilty of a like “ sin, accuse and prosecute her before the council.” Which answer plainly supposes that the Mosaic law in all its forms was at this time executed. And who can we think would put it thus in execution if the Jewish magistrates were not permitted ?

The four evangelists are unanimous that the Jews attempted to prosecute our Saviour for the capital crime of sabbath-breaking, and to cause him to suffer the pains of death for it. St. Matthew says, They asked him, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath-day? that they might accuse him. And because in his answer he determined that it was lawful, and actually healed a person who had a withered hand before them, it is added, The Pharisees held a council against him, how they might destroy him". St. Mark says, They watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath-day, that they might accuse him. St. Luke says the samef. To whom would they accuse him? Is it at all likely that a Roman governor would put a man to death for doing so beneficent an action on the sabbath-day? As it would be difficult to convince him that the crime of sabbath-breaking deserved death, it would be much more so to persuade him that the doing good on that day could be criminal : but the Jewish council would have readily received such an accusation. If the Talmud may be at all credited, it was every way agreeable to their maxims to proceed against and pronounce a man guilty of death for such an action as this 6. Who then can admit a doubt that

with the leave of so great a man, it was not the judges, but the witnesses or accusers, that were to throw the first stone. Не speaks this to the people that brought the woman therefore, not as judges, but as witnesses or accusers. And


those words, Hath no man condemned thee? his note is, Quasi dicat, Si lata est in te sententia, ego ei non contradico. But that there is no necessity of understanding this of a proper condemnation by a judge, appears from his own remark on the fifteenth verse : Accusatores et testes condemnare Latine dicuntur. And he interprets the Greek word katakpíveiv, here used, to the same sense in his notes on Matt. xii. 41. Heb. xi. 7. We have no reason therefore, from the use of this word, to make the people, who brought the woman to our Saviour, judges : it might very justly be said of them, although they were no more than witnesses or accusers. The learned Dr. Lightfoot supposes that the Scribes and Phari. sees who brought this woman before our Lord might be members of the great sanhedrim; and that those words, Hath no man condemned thee? intimate, that those who accused her had also power to judge and condemn ber. Thus, the Scribes and Pharisees, he thinks, signify the sanhedrim. Matt. xxiii. 2. vol. 2.

p. 1080.

d Ver. 14

e Ch. ii. 3.

i Ch. vi. 7.

< Ch. xii. io.

It was a rule with them, That what might be done on the eve of the sabbath dispensed not with the sabbath. This agrees exactly with that which the ruler of the synagogue says to the people, Luke xiji. 14. There are six days in which men ought to work : in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath-day. They thought that the withered hand might as well have been restored on any other day, and that the woman might have been healed of the spirit of infirmity on the eve before; and therefore that the doing it on the sabbath was breaking the sabbath, and deserved death. Talm. Sabbath, cap. 19. They allowed, indeed, that the danger of life dispensed with the sabbath. Tanch. fol. 9. col. 2. but in neither of the cases above mentioned would

our Saviour was to have been prosecuted before them ? and how did he avoid the threatening danger? By withdrawing himself from under their jurisdiction to the tetrarchy of Galileeh.

In like manner, when our Lord had healed the man at the pool of Bethesda, and ordered him to take up his bed and walk, St. John says, Therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath-day. The word which we translate persecute is a law term, and signifies to prosecute or accuse in a court of justice. In all probability they had actually commenced a prosecution against him before the great council for breach of the sabbath, and sought means to apprehend and convict him. Our Lord afterwards gave them further offence in calling God his Father; and the evangelist adds, Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he had not only broken the sabbath, but said also that they admit that there was danger of life. Vid. Lightfoot, vol. 1. p. 222. and vol. 2.

1 But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea, i. e. the sea of Galilee, Mark iii. 7. Vid. et Matt. xii. 15.

It is not indeed absolutely certain where our Saviour was when he healed the withered hand; but it is probable that he was in some part of Judæa : that he was now in his way from Jerusalem, where he had been celebrating the passover, to go to Galilee, is sufficiently evident from the circumstances of the history when laid together, and is the opinion, I think, of Dr. Lightfoot, vol. 1. p. 221, 222. Vid. vol. 2. p. 184. Father Pezron indeed conjectures, that when be cured the withered hand he was already arrived in some part of Galilee, from the mention of the Herodians. Histoire Evangel. vol. 2. p. 74. Can there be a more slight foundation for such a conjecture? Might there not be Herodians going from the feast at Jerusalem to Galilee as well as our Saviour ?

i John v. 16.

p. 187.

God was his Father, making himself equal with God k. There were two capital crimes therefore that the Jews would have convicted him of, and put him to death for, had he not immediately left Jerusalem. For the apostle says, After these thing's Jesus went over the sea of Galileel. And again, at the beginning of the next chapter m, Jesus walked in Galilee : for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him. He withdrew from their jurisdiction. If they had not sought to take away his life in a course of law by accusing him of capital crimes, why should he industriously avoid all Judæa, all places that were under their jurisdiction ? Had it been their design to have despatched him by a private hand, or a popular tumult, he might have escaped these as well by withdrawing into some of the remoter parts of Judæa as by going into Galilee. Or had it been their intention to have made interest with the Roman governor to execute him, could they not as easily have prevailed with Herod the tetrarch to do the same? I can see no reason therefore why he so industriously avoided all Judæa, but because he thereby avoided the jurisdiction of the Jewish sanhedrim.

Our Lord appeared again at Jerusalem at the feast of tabernacles. It was so well known to the people of that city that he was under prosecution for capital crimes, that they are struck with astonishment to see him discoursing in public, and no one apprehend him. Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he whom they seek to kill ? But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto

k John v. 18.

| John vi. 1.

m John vii. 1.


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