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Julian Pe

SECTION XIX. riod, 4739. Valgarðra,

The Baptism of Christ *8. 26 MATT. iii. 13. to the end. MARK I, 9, 10, 11. LURE iii.

21, 22. and part of 23. Mark i. 9. And it came to pass in those days,

Bethabara,

where the Lake iii. 21. when all the people were baptized,

ark had rested on its

passage * Mach discussion has at various limes taken place respect from the

wilderness ing the period which clapsed between the commencement of the

into Canaan. ministry of John and the baptism of Christ. Lightfoot, (Harmony, p. 8. Works, vol. i.) and Newcome, (Harm. not. in loc.) suppose six months.-Bedford's (Scrip. Chron.) the same.Benson (Chron. of the Life of Cbrist,) tive months.-Dean Pri. deaux three years and a half. It is the general opinion, that about the same interval, elapsed between the commencement of the ministry of the Messiah and of his forerunner, as had previously elapsed between their births. Pilkington, however, has supposed there were about seventeen months between these events, and, contrary to the united authorities of the most learned harmonizers, and perhaps to his general good judgment, has adopted'the fanciful theory of Whiston, who supposes thirteen months to have transpired, and that the baptism of Christ followed tbe calling of Andrew, Philip, and Nathaniel-the marriage at Cana–the first driving of the buyers and sellers from the temple, and the conversations wbich were held at that period in Jerusalem, and with Nicodemus. It is after this event, that Whiston inserts the baptism of Christ. Pilkington goes on to arrange, in addition to these events, the baptizing by Christ himself of many disciples in Judea, and his conversation with the woman of Samaria--the believing of many of the Sa. maritans and Galileans, and the healing of the nobleman's son at Capernaum: he then only proceeds to the account of the baptism of our Lord, and his subsequent temptation, both of which events these two commentators concur in placing, as the Scripture expressly asserts, immediately after that event.

Whiston's arguments, and with his the arguments of Pilking-
ton and Marsball, in favour of the later date assigned to the
baptism of Christ, may be thus enumerated and answered.

1. Eusebius asserts that the three Evangelists omitted the
former part of Christ's ministry, which took place before the
imprisonment of John.

This assertion of Eusebins, as is easily proved by examining
the several harmonies, is totally groundless; the more public
ministry of Christ certainly did not begin till that event: and
even if it were correct, John Do where declares that the date
of the baptism of Christ was that, which is assigned to it by
Whiston.
2. It appears, from Matt. iii. 14. that Jesus baptized before
his own baptism.
In reply to this remark, Archbishop Newcome has observed,
that John, as a prophet, foreknew that the followers of Christ
would be by this rite initiated into his religion; and Jolin, ac-
knowledging Christ to be the Messiah, exclaims, I have need
to be baptized of Thee (by the Holy Spirit).

3. The baptism of Christ is placed after the history of John's
ministry, and before his imprisonment.

The Evangelists, like the writers of the Old Testament, do

Mark i. 9. that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee,

Bethabara, Matt. ii. 13. to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

where the ark had rested on its

passage pot exactly observe the chronological order, as Whiston sup- wilderness poses they did in this instance. As Jobo was the forerunner of into Cansan. Christ, it might have been expected that they would follow the plan they have actually adopted; that is, would put together all those actions of John which characterized the second Elias : and would then proceed to the ministry of our Lord, beginning with his baptism, in which he was solemnly anointed by the Holy Spirit to his high office.

4. It appears, from Luke iii. 21. that Christ did not come to be baptized till all the rest of the people bad been baptized.

The expression, εν τω βαπτισθήναι, implies that Christ came to John while the people were still continuing to desire baptism from John; it is not yetå . Campbell translates the passage, “ Now when John baptized all the people, Jesus was likewise baptized”-making them simultaneous.

5. The Baptist was imprisoned immediately after the baptism of Christ, Luke iv. 13, 14.

But this observation has been already answered. Whiston assumes that St. Luke wrote in order of time : whereas he bas merely anticipated the relation of the imprisonment of John, that he might better conclude for a time the history of the Baptist.

To these arguments Pilkington adds, that John did not know Christ till he had seen the Spirit descending on him-but before his baptism, when the Spirit descended, he declared he knew him.

To this the Archbishop replies. John i. 31. 33. may bo rcconciled with Matt. iii. 14. by supposing that John, for wise reasons, knew not Jesus personally till he came to be baptized; though be must have heard before of Jesus's name and wonderful birth, from his own relations. God seems to have revealed to the Baptist, soon after he entered on his ministry, that the visible descent of the Spirit should point out to bim the Messiah, John i. 33. When Jesus came to be baptized, Matt. iii. 14, it is probable John knew him by a supernatural impulse; as Samuel knew Saul and David, 1 Sam. ix. 17. xvi. 12.; and as Ahijah discovered the wife of Jeroboam, 1 Kings xiv. 5. seo also Luke ii. 28. 38. and afterwards the sign foretold, John i. 33. confirmed the Baptist in his belief that Jesus was the Christ. Le Clerc's Paraphrase on Matt. iii. 14. is, Quod afflatu prophetico ab eo dicebatur : nam Jesum non norât. Harm. p. 40. And F. Spanheim says, dub. evang. 2. p. 147. Nihil aliud propositum Joanni Baptistæ nisi ostendere se non ex familiaritate aliquâ ante contractâ Christum novisse ; sed ex merâ revelatione cælesti; adeoque nihil a se dari nec cognationi, nee amicitiæ, nec gratiæ, nec collusioni alicui clandestinæ. The Baptist is not to be understood as saying, he did not know Jesus, but by a sign from heaven ; see Dr. Priestley's Harm. p. 78. but that he knew him not, before he came to be baptized, and that God had promised a sign by which he should be known; which sigo, intended for a full confirmation, was preceded by an inspired knowledge of Jesus."-Newcome, Harm. notes, p. 6.

These appar tly inconsistent passages have been reconciled in various other ways. Hales, vol. ii. part ii. p. 731. is of opi. nion that Jobo knew Cbrist personally, but was not informed of his dignity and office, till he was assured of it by a miracle.

49

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Matt.in. 14. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized Bethabara,

where the of thee, and comest thou to me?

ark bad 15. And Jesus answering, said unto him, Suffer it to be so rested on its now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness passage

from the Then he suffered him :

wilderness Mark i. 9. And [he] was baptized of John in Jordan.

into Canaan, Matt. iii. 16. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway

out of the water : Mark i. 10. And straightway coming up out of the water; Lake iii. 21. and praying,

Lightfoot supposes that John knew not that Christ was in the world till he came to be baptized—when knowing him by the Spirit, John forbade him—and the sign of the Holy Ghost descending from heaven, was the sign given him for assurance and confirmation.-Vide Elsley in John i. 33.

I have discussed this question at greater length than to many will appear necessary: because Pilkington is one of my authorities, and has written a dissertation expressly on the subject.

48 The time had now arrived when the Messiah was to begin his public career, and to break forth from the obscurity of his lowly life. He commenced it in that manner which was most suited to his dignity as a spiritual Being, by an act of obedience to the established law of bis heavenly Father, accompanied with tbe most fervent prayer. On this important occasion, in the presence of the assembled multitude, a voice from heaven declared him to be the beloved Son of God, in whom he was well pleased. His divine mission now received the miraculous confirmation which had always satisfied the antient patriarchs and fathers of the Jewish Church. It received the testimony of the Bath Col, or voice from heaven; and the visible glory of the Shechinah hovered over him.

The question, whether the inauguration of Christ into his high office was not as public, and therefore as generally known, as that of Moses, will be discussed in the note to 2 Peter i. 16. Danzius, in a learned tract preserved by Meuschen, in bis N. T. ex Talmude, has treated this curious and interesting subject at some length.

49 Christ came to Jobin to be baptized. He was baptized by John pot of necessity, not for his own sake, but for ours. He was baptized that he might confer honour on John, sanction his ministry, and commend it to the doubting Jews. By this act he made himself the head of all who by baptism confess their sins, and are admitted into the Church. He sanctified baptism by thus subjecting himself to it, that man might not despise it as an useless or unmeaning ceremony. He would not that men should refuse to come to the baptism of their Lord, when he had not disdained the baptism of bis servant. By baptism be shadowed out the difference between the carnal and spiritual state of man, and between his own and our sallen condition ; first mean, then glorious-first earthly, then heavenly-first mortal, then immortal-first buried under the earth, as the worshipper was buried under the water, and rising therefrom spiritual, changed, and glorious. Christ by his baptism renewed his covenant with his Father; and fulfilled all righteousness, by complying with every law, which proceeded from the wisdom of God, and was designed only for the happiness and restoration of man.-Vide Wilsius de Vita Joannis Miscell. Sac. vol. ii.

p. 337.

Matt. iii. 16. lo!

Betbaban, Mark i. 10. he saw the heavens opened

where the

ark bad Matt.iii. 16. unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a rested on its dove so,

passage Lake iii. 22. in a bodily shape, like a dove,

from the

wilderness Matt, iä. 16. and lighting upon him:

into Canaan. 17. And lo! Mark i. 11. there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my be

loved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Luke iii. 23. And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of

age.

50 As a dove hovers over her nest with an undulating and gentle motion, so did the emblem of the presence of God wave and bend, and rise and fall, over the head of our Saviour. Such seems to be the most defensible, as well as the most generally received interpretation. It is consistent also with the analogy that may be found between the old and new covenants (a.) At the beginning of the material creation the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters; the Spirit of God, “ dove like, sat brooding on the vast abyss (b). At the commencement of a spiritual creation it again, by a visible emblem of gentleness and love, gives an earnest to mankind of its purifying influences. As the calm spirit of power, silently and effectually commanded the chaotic earth to produce its fruits, and verdure, and flowers: as it peopled the dry ground, the dark blue ocean, and the ample air, with all the varieties of life; as it spangled the sky with splendour, and gave order and glory to the universe-so does the same mild and invisible, yet omnipotent Spirit, gently hover over the heart of man, and produce in that cold and barren soil the fruits of obedience and holiness, the flowers and the fragrance of purity and peace; so does it imbue the soul and the intellect with all the varieties of sublime and noble thoughts, with humility and submission, with the serenity and hope of a Christian. And these magnificent objects are accomplished, by directing and guiding us to the example of Him, to whom first the heavens opened, and upon whom the glory of God descended.

(a) This view of the analogy between the action of the Spirit at the Creation, and at the baptism of Christ, I find confirmed by a singular tradition among the Jews. In a note in Brescith Rabba, sect. 2. fol. 4. 4. on Genesis i. 2. we read, Et spiritus Dei : intelligitur Spiritus Regis Messiæ, de quo dicitur, Isa. xi. 1. Et quiescit super illum Spiritus Domini. Post quæ verba allegata statim hæc addit R. Ephraim in Gr. Gibborim ad Genes. I. 2. nonon, incubuit, sicut columba, quæ volitat super nido, illum attingens, et non attingens. Pergunt vero in Brescith Rabba : Quomodo vero ministrator Spiritus Messiæ, et venit movens se super faciem aquarum? Resp. Quando vos movebitis corda vestra, sicat aquas, per pænitentiam; quem admodum dicitur, Thren. 2. 19. Effunde, sicut aquas. cor tuum coram Domino. Intelligitur Spiritus Messiæ. Quum primum enim ille se saper aquis legis commovit, statim facta est redemptio. Vide Schoetgeneii Horæ Hebraicæ, vol. i. p. 9 and 10. This, then, is another instance of the won. derful fulfilment in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, of many of the singular traditions entertained among the Jews respecting their Messiah, (6) The word in Genesis nonna without points, must be considered as a participle of Hiphil, the causative; with points it is the participle of Pihel, the intensitive; a signification mrich more consistent both with the sense of the passage in Genesis, and the description of the descent of the emblematical representation of the power of the Spirit in the Evangelical narrative.

MATT. iii. part of ver. 13. 16, and 17.

Bethabara, 13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee

where the 16-and-the heavens were opened

ark had

rested onits 17 -a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in

passage whom I am well pleased.

from the MARK i. part of ver. 10.

wilderness

into Canaan. 10 -and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him:

LUKE iii. 21, 22.
21 Now-it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized -
the heaven was opened,

22 And the Holy Ghost descended-upon him: and a voice
came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in
thee I am well pleased.

Julian Pe

SECTION XX. riod, 4739. Vulgar/£ra,

The Temptation of Christ. MATT. iv. 1-11. MARK iv, 12, 13. LUKE iv. 1-13. Lake is. l. And Jesus, being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from The Wil

derness. Jordan : and was led by the spirit into the wilderness.

SI ON TIE TEMPTATION OF CRRIST.
In order to understand the passage of the New Testament,
which is contained in this section, and is justly supposed to be
attended with more difficulties than usual, it is necessary to
consider the Messiah under that name which is alike given to
him in the Old Testament, in the New Testament, and in those
of the Jewish traditions, which may be received with most con-
fidence. Christ must be considered under the character of the
socond Adam, who came into the world to fulfil the same law
which the first Adam had violated. That he might more evi.
dently and effectually accomplish this object, it was appointed
that he should be tempted like unto Adam, and undergo the
same trial.

If we consider the Messiah in this point of view as the second
Adam, it seems possible that we shall more easily solve many of
the difficulties which have been supposed to attend the literal
interpretation of this interesting narrative. The Old Testa-
ment begins with an account of the preparation of the material
world for the accommodation of the first Adam; the New Tes-
tament relates the preparation of the spiritual world or Church,
for the reception of the second Adam.

When the time of his creation came, the first Adam was formed by the power of God, out of the then unpolluted and uncursed earth--the second Adam was created by the same power of the Most High, in a similar state of innocence and perfection.

When the first Adam was ushered into the world, ho was a perfect man, and his Father blessed him. When the second Adam had attained to the fulness of manhood, he was born again of the waters of baptism, and was blessed from above; both were sinless ; both were, in a peculiar sense, the sons of God, and partakers of the buman nature. The first Adam was placed in Paradise, and fell into the Wilderness. The second Adam was placed in the Wilderness, and regained that Paradise

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