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  • ADAM CLARKE'S BIBLE COMMENTARY -
    MATTHEW 26

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    CHAPTER XXVI

    Christ predicts his being betrayed and crucified, 1, 2. The chief priests, scribes, and elders consult about his death, 3-5. A woman anoints his head at Bethany, at which the disciples are offended, but Christ vindicates her conduct, 6- 13. Judas, for thirty pieces of silver, engages with the chief priests to betray him, 14-16. He eats a passover with his disciples, and assures them of his approaching death, and that one of them would betray him, 17-21. On each asking, Is it I? Christ asserts that Judas is the traitor, 22-25. Having eaten his last supper, he institutes the eucharist, to be observed in his Church as a memorial of his sacrificial death, 26-29. They sing a hymn, go to the mount of Olives, and he again announces his approaching death and resurrection, 30-32. Peter asserts his resolution to be faithful to his Master, and Christ foretells his denial and apostasy, 33-35. He goes to Gethsemane; the transactions there, 36-46. Judas comes with the high priest's mob and betrays him with a kiss, 47-50. Peter cuts off the ear of the high priest's servant; Christ discourses with the multitude, 51-55. The disciples flee, and he is led to Caiaphas, 56, 57. Peter follows at a distance, 58. They seek false witnesses, and question our Lord, who declares himself to be the Christ, 59-64. They accuse him of blasphemy, and abuse him, 65-68. Peter's denial and repentance, 69-75.

    NOTES ON CHAP. XXVI

    Verse 1. "When Jesus had finished all these sayings" - He began these sayings on Mount Olivet, chap. xxiv. 1, and continued them till be entered into Bethany, whither he was going.

    Verse 2. "The passover" - A feast instituted in Egypt, to commemorate the destroying angel's passing over the houses of the Israelites, when he slew the firstborn of the Egyptians. See the whole of this business largely explained in the Notes on Exodus xii. 1-27. This feast began on the fourteenth day of the first moon, in the first month, Nisan, and it lasted only one day; but it was immediately followed by the days of unleavened bread, which were seven, so that the whole lasted eight days, and all the eight days are sometimes called the feast of the passover, and sometimes the feast or days of unleavened bread. See Luke xxii. 1-7. The three most signal benefits vouchsafed to the Israelites were,

    1. The deliverance from the slavery of Egypt; to commemorate which they kept the feast of unleavened bread, and the passover.

    2. The giving of the law; to commemorate which, they kept the feast of weeks.

    3. Their sojourning in the wilderness, and entrance into the promised land; to commemorate which, they kept the feast of tabernacles. See these largely explained, Exod. xxiii. 14; Lev. xxiii. 2-40.

    "The Son of man is betrayed, (rather delivered up,) to be crucified." - With what amazing calmness and precision does our blessed Lord speak of this awful event! What a proof does he here give of his prescience in so correctly predicting it; and of his love in so cheerfully undergoing it! Having instructed his disciples and the Jews by his discourses, edified them by his example, convinced them by his miracles, he now prepares to redeem them by his blood! These two verses have no proper connection with this chapter, and should be joined to the preceding.

    Verse 3. "Then assembled together the chief priests" - That is, during the two days that preceded the passover.

    "The high priest, who was called Caiaphas" - Caiaphas succeeded Simon, son of Camith, about A. D. 16, or, as Calmet thinks, 25. He married the daughter of Annas, who was joined with him in the priesthood. About two years after our Lord's crucifixion, Caiaphas and Pilate were both deposed by VITELLIUS, then governor of Syria, and afterwards emperor. Caiaphas, unable to bear this disgrace, and the stings of his conscience for the murder of Christ, killed himself about A. D. 35. See Joseph. Ant. b. xviii. c. 2-4.

    Verse 4. "And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty" - The providence of God frustrated their artful machinations; and that event which they wished to conduct with the greatest privacy and silence was transacted with all possible celebrity, amidst the thousands who resorted to Jerusalem, at this season, for the keeping of the passover. It was, doubtless, of the very first importance that the crucifixion of Christ, which was preparatory to the most essential achievement of Christianity, viz. his resurrection from the grave, should be exhibited before many witnesses, and in the most open manner, that infidelity might not attempt, in future, to invalidate the evidences of the Christian religion, by alleging that these things were done in a corner. See WAKEFIELD in loco.

    Verse 5. "Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar" - It was usual for the Jews to punish criminals at the public festivals; but in this case they were afraid of an insurrection, as our Lord had become very popular. The providence of God directed it thus, for the reason given in the preceding note.

    He who observes a festival on motives purely human violates it in his heart, and is a hypocrite before God. It is likely they feared the Galileans, as being the countrymen of our Lord, more than they feared the people of Jerusalem.

    Verse 6. "In Bethany" - For a solution of the difficulties in this verse, about the time of the anointing, see the observations at the end of this chapter.

    Simon the LEPER] This was probably no more than a surname, as Simon the CANAANITE, chap. x. 4, and Barsabas JUSTUS, Acts i. 23, and several others. Yet it might have been some person that Christ had healed of this disease. See chap. xi. 5.

    Verse 7. "There came unto him a woman" - There is much contention among commentators about the transaction mentioned here, and in John xii. 3; some supposing them to be different, others to be the same. Bishop Newcome's view of the subject I have placed at the end of the chapter.

    Some think that the woman mentioned here was Mary, the sister of Lazarus; others Mary Magdalene; but against the former opinion it is argued that it is not likely, had this been Mary the sister of Lazarus, that Matthew and Mark would have suppressed her name. Besides, say they, we should not confound the repast which is mentioned here, with that mentioned by John, John xii. 3. This one was made only two days before the passover, and that one six days before: the one was made at the house of Simon the leper, the other at the house of Lazarus, John xii. 1, 2. At this, the woman poured the oil on the head of Christ; at the other, Mary anointed Christ's feet with it. See on Mark xiv. 3, and see the notes at the end of this chapter.

    Verse 8. "His disciples" - One of them, viz. Judas. This mode of speaking was common among the Hebrews. So, chap. xxvii. 44, the thieves also, i.e. one of them. So, chap. xxviii. 17, some doubted, i.e. one, Thomas. See also Gen. viii. 4; Judg. xii. 7; Neh. vi. 7, &c. By a figure called among rhetoricians enallage, the plural is put for the singular; it is, however, possible that Judas, who made the objection, was followed in the sentiment by the rest of the disciples.

    Verse 9. "And given to the poor." - How often does charity serve as a cloak for covetousness! God is sometimes robbed of his right under the pretense of devoting what is withheld to some charitable purpose, to which there was no intention ever to give it.

    Verse 10. "Why trouble ye the woman?" - Or, Why do ye put the woman to pain? See this sense of kopouv parecein, established by Kypke in loco. A generous mind is ever pained when it is denied the opportunity of doing good, or when its proffered kindness is refused.

    Verse 11. "Ye have the poor always with you" - And, consequently, have the opportunity of doing them good at any time; but me ye have not always; my bodily presence is about to be removed from you for ever. The woman, under a presentiment of my death is preparing me for my burial.

    Verse 12. "She did it for my burial." - Or, She hath done it to embalm me-entafiasai me. The Septuagint use entafiasthv for the person whose office it was to embalm, Gen. l. 2, and entafiazw for the Hebrew fnh which signifies to prepare with spices, or aromatics, Gen. l. 3. Our Lord took this opportunity to tell them, once more, that he was shortly to die.

    Verse 13. "Wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached" - Another remarkable proof of the prescience of Christ. Such a matter as this, humanly speaking, depended on mere fortuitous circumstances, yet so has God disposed matters, that the thing has continued, hitherto, as firm and regular as the ordinances of heaven.

    "For a memorial of her." - As embalming preserves the body from corruption, and she has done this good work to embalm and preserve this body, so will I order every thing concerning this transaction to be carefully recorded, to preserve her memory to the latest ages. The actions which the world blames, through the spirit of envy, covetousness, or malice, God takes delight to distinguish and record.

    Verse 14. "Then-Judas" - After this supper at Bethany, Judas returned to Jerusalem, and made his contract with the chief priests.

    Verse 15. "Thirty pieces of silver." - triakonta arguria, thirty silverlings; but stathrav, staters, is the reading of the Codex Bezae, three copies of the Itala, Eusebius, and Origen sometimes; and stathrav arguriou, silver staters, is the reading of the famous Basil MS. No. 1, in Griesbach, and one copy of the Itala.

    A stater was the same as the shekel, and worth about 3s. English money, according to Dean Prideaux: a goodly price for the saviour of the world! Thirty staters, about 4l. 10s. the common price for the meanest slave! See Exod. xxi. 32. The rabbins say, thirty y[lo selain of pure silver was the standard price for a slave, whether good or bad, male or female. See tract Erachin, fol. 14, and Shekalim, cap. 1. Each selaa weighed 384 barley-corns; the same number was contained in a shekel; and therefore the shekel and the selaa were the same. See the notes on Gen. xx. 16, and Exod. xxxviii. 24.

    Verse 16. "He sought opportunity" - eukairian, a convenient or fit opportunity. Men seldom leave a crime imperfect: when once sin is conceived, it meets, in general, with few obstacles, till it brings forth death.

    How deceitful, how deeply damning, is the love of money! Well might a heathen exclaim, while contemplating the grave of a person who was murdered for the sake of his wealth:- - Quid non mortalia pectora cogis AURI SACRA FAMES? VIRG. AEn. iii. 56 "O! cursed lust of gold! what wilt thou not compel the human heart to perpetrate?." Judas is deservedly considered as one of the most infamous of men, his conduct base beyond description, and his motives vile. But how many, since his time, have walked in the same way! How many, for the sake of worldly wealth, have renounced the religion of their Lord and Master, and sold Jesus, and their interest in heaven, for a short-lived portion of secular good! From John xii. 6, we learn that Judas, who was treasurer to our Lord and his disciples, (for he carried the bag,) was a thief, and frequently purloined a portion of what was given for the support of this holy family. Being disappointed of the prey he hoped to have from the sale of the precious ointment, Matthew xxvi. 9, he sold his Master to make up the sum. A thorough Jew!

    Verse 17. "Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread" - As the feast of unleavened bread did not begin till the day after the passover, the fifteenth day of the month, Lev. xxiii. 5, 6; Num. xxviii. 16, 17, this could not have been, properly, the first day of that feast; but as the Jews began to eat unleavened bread on the fourteenth, Exod. xii. 18, this day was often termed the first of unleavened bread. The evangelists use it in this sense, and call even the paschal day by this name. See Mark xiv. 12; Luke xxii. 7.

    "Where wilt thou that we prepare" - How astonishing is this, that HE who created all things, whether visible or invisible, and by whom all things were upheld, should so empty himself as not to be proprietor of a single house in his whole creation, to eat the last passover with his disciples! This is certainly a mystery, and so, less or more is every thing that God does. But how inveterate and destructive must the nature of sin be, when such emptying and humiliation were necessary to its destruction! It is worthy of note what the Talmudists say, that the inhabitants of Jerusalem did not let out their houses to those who came to the annual feasts; but afforded all accommodations of this kind gratis. A man might therefore go and request the use of any room, on such an occasion, which was as yet unoccupied.

    The earthen jug, and the skin of the sacrifice, were left with the host. See Lightfoot, vol. ii. p. 21.

    Verse 18. "Go-to such a man" - ton deina It is probable that this means some person with whom Christ was well acquainted, and who was known to the disciples. Grotius observes that the Greeks use this form when they mean some particular person who is so well known that there is no need to specify him by name. The circumstances are more particularly marked in Luke xxii. 8, &c.

    "My time is at hand" - That is, the time of my crucifixion. Kypke has largely shown that kairov is often used among the Greeks for affliction and calamity. It might be rendered here, the time of my crucifixion is at hand.

    Verse 19. "And the disciples did" - The disciples that were sent on this errand were Peter and John. See Luke xxii. 8.

    "They made ready the passover" - That is, they provided the lamb, &c., which were appointed by the law for this solemnity. Mr. Wakefield justly observes, "that the Jews considered the passover as a sacrificial rite; Josephus calls it qusian, A SACRIFICE; and Trypho, in Justin Martyr, speaks of probaton tou pasca quein, SACRIFICING the paschal lamb.

    But what comes nearer to the point is this, that Maimonides, one of the most eminent of the Jewish rabbins, has a particular treatise on the paschal sacrifice; and throughout that piece, speaks of the lamb as a victim, and of the solemnity itself as a sacrifice. And R. Bechai, in his commentary on Lev. ii. 11, says that the paschal sacrifice was of a piacular nature, in order to expiate the guilt contracted by the idolatrous practices of the Israelites In Egypt." It was highly necessary that this should be considered as an expiatory sacrifice, as it typified that Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. For much more on this important subject than can, with propriety, be introduced into these notes, see a Discourse on the Eucharist, lately published by the author of this work.

    Verse 20. "Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve." - It is a common opinion that our Lord ate the passover some hours before the Jews ate it; for the Jews, according to custom, ate theirs at the end of the fourteenth day, but Christ ate his the preceding even, which was the beginning of the same sixth day, or Friday; the Jews begin their day at sunsetting, we at midnight. Thus Christ ate the passover on the same day with the Jews, but not on the same hour. Christ kept this passover the beginning of the fourteenth day, the precise day and hour in which the Jews had eaten their first passover in Egypt. See Exod. xii. 6-12. And in the same part of the same day in which the Jews had sacrificed their first paschal lamb, viz. between the two evenings, about the ninth hour, or 3 o'clock, Jesus Christ our passover was sacrificed for us: for it was at this hour that he yielded up his last breath; and then it was that, the sacrifice being completed, Jesus said, IT IS FINISHED. See Exod. xii. 6, &c., and Deuteronomy xvi. 6, &c. See on John xviii. 28, and the Treatise on the Eucharist, referred to ver. 19; and see the notes on ver. 26 and following verses.

    Verse 21. "One of you shall betray me." - Or, will deliver me up. Judas had already betrayed him, ver. 15, and he was now about to deliver him into the hands of the chief priests, according to the agreement he had made with them.

    Verse 22. "They were exceeding sorrowful" - That is, the eleven who were innocent; and the hypocritical traitor, Judas, endeavoured to put on the appearance of sorrow. Strange! Did he not know that Christ knew the secrets of his soul! Or had his love of money so far blinded him, as to render him incapable of discerning even this, with which he had been before so well acquainted?

    Verse 23. "He that dippeth his hand" - As the Jews ate the passover a whole family together, it was not convenient for them all to dip their bread in the same dish; they therefore had several little dishes or plates, in which was the juice of the bitter herbs, mentioned Exod. xii. 8, on different parts of the table; and those who were nigh one of these, dipped their bread in it.

    As Judas is represented as dipping in the same dish with Christ, it shows that he was either near or opposite to him. If this man's heart had not been hardened, and his conscience seared beyond all precedent, by the deceitfulness of his sin, would he have showed his face in this sacred assembly, or have thus put the seal to his own perdition, by eating of this sacrificial lamb? Is it possible that he could feel no compunction? Alas! having delivered himself up into the hands of the devil, he was capable of delivering up his Master into the hands of the chief priests; and thus, when men are completely hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, they can outwardly perform the most solemn acts of devotion, without feeling any sort of inward concern about the matter.

    Verse 24. "The Son of man goeth" - That is, is about to die. Going, going away, departing, &c., are frequently used in the best Greek and Latin writers, for death, or dying. The same words are often used in the Scriptures in the same sense.

    "It had been good for that man" - Can this be said of any sinner, in the common sense in which it is understood, if there be any redemption from hell's torments? If a sinner should suffer millions of millions of years in them, and get out at last to the enjoyment of heaven, then it was well for him that he had been born, for still he has an eternity of blessedness before him. Can the doctrine of the non-eternity of hell's torments stand in the presence of this saying? Or can the doctrine of the annihilation of the wicked consist with this declaration? It would have been well for that man if he had never been born! Then he must be in some state of conscious existence, as non-existence is said to be better than that state in which he is now found. It was common for the Jews to say of any flagrant transgressor, It would have been better for him had he never been born. See several examples in Schoettgen. See the case of Judas argued at the end of Acts 1.

    Verse 25. "Judas-said, Master, is it I?" - What excessive impudence! He knew, in his conscience, that he had already betrayed his Master, and was waiting now for the servants of the chief priests, that he might deliver him into their hands; and yet he says, (hoping that he had transacted his business so privately that it had not yet transpired,) Master, is it I? It is worthy of remark, that each of the other disciples said kurie, LORD, is it I? But Judas dares not, or will not, use this august title, but simply says rabbi, TEACHER, is it I? Thou hast said.] su eipav, or wtyrma wta atun amaritun, "Ye have said," was a common form of expression for YES. IT IS so. "When the Zipporenses inquired whether Rabbi Judas was dead? the son of Kaphra answered, Ye have said," i.e. He is dead. See Schoettgen. Hor. Hebr. p. 225.

    Verse 26. "Jesus took bread" - This is the first institution of what is termed the LORD'S SUPPER. To every part of this ceremony, as here mentioned, the utmost attention should be paid.

    To do this, in the most effectual manner, I think it necessary to set down the text of the three evangelists who have transmitted the whole account, collated with that part of St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians which speaks of the same subject, and which, he assures us, he received by Divine revelation. It may seem strange that, although (John xiii. 1-38) mentions all the circumstances preceding the holy supper, and, from chap. xiv. 1-36 the circumstances which succeeded the breaking of the bread, and in chapters 15, 16, and 17, the discourse which followed the administration of the cup; yet he takes no notice of the Divine institution at all. This is generally accounted for on his knowledge of what the other three evangelists had written; and on his conviction that their relation was true, and needed no additional confirmation, as the matter was amply established by the conjoint testimony of three such respectable witnesses. ver. 26. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it (euloghsav and blessed God) and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat, this is my body.

    Mark xiv. 22. And as they did eat, Jesus took bread and blessed (euloghsav, blessed God) and brake it, and to them, and said, Take, eat, this is my body.

    Luke xxii. 19. And he took bread and gave thanks, (eucaristhsav, i.e. to God,) and gave brake it, and gave unto them, saying: This is my body which is given for you: This do in remembrance of me.

    Cor. xi. 23. The Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread; V. 24. And when he had given thanks (kai eucaristhsov, i.e. to God) he brake it, and said, Take, eat, this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

    After giving the bread, the discourse related, John xiv. 1- 31, inclusive, is supposed by Bishop Newcome to have been delivered by our Lord, for the comfort and support of his disciples under their present and approaching trials. ver. 27. And he took the cup, and gave thanks (eucaristhsav,) and gave it to them, saying: Drink ye all of it. V. 28. For this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many or the remission of sins. V.

    29. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.

    Mark xiv. 23. And he took the cup; and when he had given thanks, (eucaristhsav,) he gave it to them; and they all drank of it. V. 24. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many. V. 25. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.

    Luke xxii. 20. Likewise also the cup, after supper, saying: This cup is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

    Cor. xi. 25. 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.

    After this, our Lord resumes that discourse which is found in the 15th, 16th, and 17th chapters of John, beginning with the last verse of chap. 14, Arise, let us go hence. Then succeed the following words, which conclude the whole ceremony.

    Matt. xxvi. 30. And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives.

    Mark xiv. 26. And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives.

    Luke xxii. 39. And he came out, and went as he was wont to the Mount of Olives. And his disciples also followed him.

    John xiv. 1. When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Kedron.

    From the preceding harmonized view of this important transaction, as described by three EVANGELISTS and one APOSTLE, we see the first institution, nature, and design of what has been since called THE LORD'S SUPPER. To every circumstance, as set down here, and the mode of expression by which such circumstances are described, we should pay the deepest attention.

    Verse 26. "As they were eating" - Either an ordinary supper, or the paschal lamb, as some think. See the observations at the end of this chapter.

    Jesus took bread] Of what kind? Unleavened bread, certainly, because there was no other kind to be had in all Judea at this time; for this was the first day of unleavened bread, (ver. 17,) i.e. the 14th of the month Nisan, when the Jews, according to the command of God, (Exod. xii. 15-20; xxiii. 15; xxxiv. 25,) were to purge away all leaven from their houses; for he who sacrificed the passover, having leaven in his dwelling, was considered to be such a transgressor of the Divine law as could no longer be tolerated among the people of God; and therefore was to be cut off from the congregation of Israel. Leo of Modena, who has written a very sensible treatise on the customs of the Jews, observes, "That so strictly do some of the Jews observe the precept concerning the removal of all leaven from their houses, during the celebration of the paschal solemnity, that they either provide vessels entirely new for baking, or else have a set for the purpose, which are dedicated solely to the service of the passover, and never brought out on any other occasion." To this divinely instituted custom of removing all leaven previously to the paschal solemnity, St. Paul evidently alludes, 1 Cor. v. 6-8. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ, our passover, is sacrificed for us; therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the UNLEAVENED bread of sincerity and truth.

    Now, if any respect should be paid to the primitive institution, in the celebration of this Divine ordinance, then, unleavened, unyeasted bread should be used. In every sign, or type, the thing signifying or pointing out that which is beyond itself should either have certain properties, or be accompanied with certain circumstances, as expressive as possible of the thing signified. Bread, simply considered in itself, may be an emblem apt enough of the body of our Lord Jesus, which was given for us; but the design of God was evidently that it should not only point out this, but also the disposition required in those who should celebrate both the antetype and the type; and this the apostle explains to be sincerity and truth, the reverse of malice and wickedness. The very taste of the bread was instructive: it pointed out to every communicant, that he who came to the table of God with malice or ill-will against any soul of man, or with wickedness, a profligate or sinful life, might expect to eat and drink judgment to himself, as not discerning that the Lord's body was sacrificed for this very purpose, that all sin might be destroyed; and that sincerity, eilikrineia, such purity as the clearest light can discern no stain in, might be diffused through the whole soul; and that truth, the law of righteousness and true holiness, might regulate and guide all the actions of life. Had the bread used on these occasions been of the common kind, it would have been perfectly unfit, or improper, to have communicated these uncommon significations; and, as it was seldom used, its rare occurrence would make the emblematical representation more deeply impressive; and the sign, and the thing signified, have their due correspondence and influence.

    These circumstances considered, will it not appear that the use of common bread in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper is highly improper? He who can say, "This is a matter of no importance," may say with equal propriety, the bread itself is of no importance; and another may say, the wine is of no importance; and a third may say, "neither the bread nor wine is any thing, but as they lead to spiritual references; and, the spiritual reference being once understood, the signs are useless." Thus we may, through affected spirituality, refine away the whole ordinance of God; and, with the letter and form of religion, abolish religion itself. Many have already acted in this way, not only to their loss, but to their ruin, by showing how profoundly wise they are above what is written. Let those, therefore, who consider that man shall live by every word which proceeds from the mouth of God, and who are conscientiously solicitous that each Divine institution be not only preserved, but observed in all its original integrity, attend to this circumstance. The Lutheran Church makes use of unleavened bread to the present day.

    "And blessed it" - Both St. Matthew and St. Mark use the word euloghsav, blessed, instead of eucaristhsav, gave thanks, which is the word used by St. Luke and St. Paul. But instead of euloghsav, blessed, eucaristhsav, gave thanks, is the reading of ten MSS. in uncial characters, of the Dublin Codex rescriptus, published by Dr. Barrett, and of more than one hundred others, of the greatest respectability. This is the reading also of the Syriac and Arabic, and is confirmed by several of the primitive fathers. The terms, in this case, are nearly of the same import, as both blessing and giving thanks were used on these occasions. But what was it that our Lord blessed? Not the bread, though many think the contrary, being deceived by the word IT, which is improperly supplied in our version. In all the four places referred to above, whether the word blessed or gave thanks is used, it refers not to the bread, but to God, the dispenser of every good. Our Lord here conforms himself to that constant Jewish custom, viz. of acknowledging God as the author of every good and perfect gift, by giving thanks on taking the bread and taking the cup at their ordinary meals. For every Jew was forbidden to eat, drink, or use any of God's creatures without rendering him thanks; and he who acted contrary to this command was considered as a person who was guilty of sacrilege.

    From this custom we have derived the decent and laudable one of saying grace (gratas thanks) before and after meat. The Jewish form of blessing, probably that which our Lord used on this occasion, none of my readers will be displeased to find here, though it has been mentioned once before.

    On taking the bread they say:- rah m jl axwmh lw[h lm wnyhla hta wrb Baruch atta Elohinoo, Melech, haolam, ha motse Lechem min haarets.

    Blessed be thou, our God, King of the universe, who bringest forth bread out of the earth! Likewise, on taking the cup, they say:-: pgh yrp arwb lw[h lm wnyhla wrb Baruch Elohinoo, Melech, haolam, Bore perey haggephen.

    Blessed be our God, the King of the universe, the Creator of the fruit it of the vine! The Mohammedans copy their example, constantly saying before and after meat:- [-Arabic-] Bismillahi arahmani arraheemi.

    In the name of God, the most merciful, the most compassionate.

    No blessing, therefore, of the elements is here intended; they were already blessed, in being sent as a gift of mercy from the bountiful Lord; but God the sender is blessed, because of the liberal provision he has made for his worthless creatures. Blessing and touching the bread are merely Popish ceremonies, unauthorized either by Scripture or the practice of the pure Church of God; necessary of course to those who pretend to transmute, by a kind of spiritual incantation, the bread and wine into the real body and blood of Jesus Christ; a measure the grossest in folly, and most stupid in nonsense, to which God in judgment ever abandoned the fallen spirit of man.

    "And brake it" - We often read in the Scriptures of breaking bread, but never of cutting it. The Jewish people had nothing similar to our high-raised loaf: their bread was made broad and thin, and was consequently very brittle, and, to divide it, there was no need of a knife.

    The breaking of the bread I consider essential to the proper performance of this solemn and significant ceremony: because this act was designed by our Lord to shadow forth the wounding, piercing, and breaking of his body upon the cross; and, as all this was essentially necessary to the making a full atonement for the sin of the world, so it is of vast importance that this apparently little circumstance, the breaking of the bread, should be carefully attended to, that the godly communicant may have every necessary assistance to enable him to discern the Lord's body, while engaged in this most important and Divine of all God's ordinances. But who does not see that one small cube of fermented, i.e. leavened bread, previously divided from the mass with a knife, and separated by the fingers of the minister, can never answer the end of the institution, either as to the matter of the bread, or the mode of dividing it? Man is naturally a dull and heedless creature, especially in spiritual things, and has need of the utmost assistance of his senses, in union with those expressive rites and ceremonies which the Holy Scripture, not tradition, has sanctioned, in order to enable him to arrive at spiritual things, through the medium of earthly similitudes.

    "And gave it to the disciples" - Not only the breaking, but also the DISTRIBUTION, of the bread are necessary parts of this rite. In the Romish Church, the bread is not broken nor delivered to the people, that THEY may take and eat; but the consecrated wafer is put upon their tongue by the priest; and it is generally understood by the communicants, that they should not masticate, but swallow it whole.

    "That the breaking of this bread to be distributed," says Dr. Whitby, "is a necessary part of this rite is evident, first, by the continual mention of it by St. Paul and all the evangelists, when they speak of the institution of this sacrament, which shows it to be a necessary part of it. 2dly, Christ says, Take, eat, this is my body, BROKEN for you, 1 Cor. xi. 24.

    But when the elements are not broken, it can be no more said, This is my body broken for you, than where the elements are not given. 3dly, Our Lord said, Do this in remembrance of me: i.e. 'Eat this bread, broken in remembrance of my body broken on the cross:' now, where no body broken is distributed, there, nothing can be eaten in memorial of his broken body. Lastly, The apostle, by saying, The bread which we BREAK, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? sufficiently informs us that the eating of his broken body is necessary to that end, 1 Cor. x. 10.

    Hence it was that this rite, of distributing bread broken, continued for a thousand years, and was, as Humbertus testifies, observed in the Roman Church in the eleventh century." WHITBY in loco. At present, the opposite is as boldly practised as if the real Scriptural rite had never been observed in the Church of Christ.

    "This is my body." - Here it must be observed that Christ had nothing in his hands, at this time, but part of that unleavened bread which he and his disciples had been eating at supper, and therefore he could mean no more than this, viz. that the bread which he was now breaking represented his body, which, in the course of a few hours, was to be crucified for them.

    Common sense, unsophisticated with superstition and erroneous creeds,-and reason, unawed by the secular sword of sovereign authority, could not possibly take any other meaning than this plain, consistent, and rational one, out of these words. "But," says a false and absurd creed, "Jesus meant, when he said, HOC EST CORPUS MEUM, This is my body, and HIC EST CALIX SANGUINIS MEI, This is the chalice of my blood, that the bread and wine were substantially changed into his body, including flesh, blood, bones, yea, the whole Christ, in his immaculate humanity and adorable divinity!" And, for denying this, what rivers of righteous blood have been shed by state persecutions and by religious wars! Well it may be asked, "Can any man of sense believe, that, when Christ took up that bread and broke it, it was his own body which he held in his own hands, and which himself broke to pieces, and which he and his disciples ate?" He who can believe such a congeries of absurdities, cannot be said to be a volunteer in faith; for it is evident, the man can neither have faith nor reason, as to this subject.

    Let it be observed, if any thing farther is necessary on this point, that the paschal lamb, is called the passover, because it represented the destroying angel's passing over the children of Israel, while he slew the firstborn of the Egyptians; and our Lord and his disciples call this lamb the passover, several times in this chapter; by which it is demonstrably evident, that they could mean no more than that the lamb sacrificed on this occasion was a memorial of, and REPRESENTED, the means used for the preservation of the Israelites from the blast of the destroying angel.

    Besides, our Lord did not say, hoc est corpus meum, (this is my body,) as he did not speak in the Latin tongue; though as much stress has been laid upon this quotation from the Vulgate as if the original of the three evangelists had been written in the Latin language. Had he spoken in Latin, following the idiom of the Vulgate, he would have said, Panis hic corpus meum signficat, or, Symbolum est corporis mei:-hoc poculum sanguinem meum representat, or, symbolum est sanguinis mei:-this bread signifies my body; this cup represents my blood. But let it be observed that, in the Hebrew, Chaldee, and Chaldeo-Syriac languages, as used in the Bible, there is no term which expresses to mean, signify, denote, though both the Greek and Latin abound with them: hence the Hebrews use a figure, and say, it is, for, it signifies. So Gen. xli. 26, 27. The seven kine ARE (i.e. represent) seven years. This IS (represents) the bread of affliction which our fathers ate in the land of Egypt. Dan. vii. 24. The ten horns ARE (i.e. signify) ten kings. They drank of the spiritual Rock which followed them, and the Rock WAS (represented) Christ. 1 Cor. x. 4. And following this Hebrew idiom, though the work is written in Greek, we find in Rev. i. 20, The seven stars ARE (represent) the angels of the seven Churches: and the seven candlesticks ARE (represent) the seven Churches.

    The same form of speech is used in a variety of places in the New Testament, where this sense must necessarily be given to the word.

    Matt. xiii. 38, 39. The field IS (represents) the world: the good seed ARE (represent or signify) the children of the kingdom: the tares ARE (signify) the children of the wicked one. The enemy IS (signifies) the devil: the harvest IS (represents) the end of the world: the reapers ARE (i.e. signify) the angels. Luke viii. 9. What might this parable BE? tiv eih h parabolh auth:-

    What does this parable SIGNIFY? John vii. 36. tiv estin autov o logov: What is the SIGNIFICATION of this saying? John x. 6. They understood not what things they WERE, tina hn, what was the SIGNIFICATION of the things he had spoken to them. Acts x. 17. ti an eih orama, what this vision MIGHT BE; properly rendered by our translators, what this vision should MEAN. Gal. iv. 24. For these ARE the two covenants, autai gar eisin ai duo diaqhkai, these SIGNIFY the two covenants. Luke xv. 26. He asked, ti eih tauta, what these things MEANT. See also Luke xviii. 36. After such unequivocal testimony from the Sacred writings, can any person doubt that, This bread is my body, has any other meaning than, This bread REPRESENTS my body? The Latins use the verb, sum, in all its forms, with a similar latitude of meaning. So, ESSE oneri ferendo, he is ABLE to bear the burthen: bene ESSE, to LIVE sumptuously: male ESSE, to LIVE miserably: recte ESSE, to ENJOY good health: EST mihi fistula, I POSSESS a flute: EST hodie in rebus, he now ENJOYS a plentiful fortune: ESt mihi namque domi pater, I HAVE a father at home, &c.: ESSE solvendo, to be ABLE to pay: FUIMUS Troes, FUIT Ilium; the Trojans are EXTINCT, Troy is NO MORE.

    In Greek also, and Hebrew, it often signifies to live, to die, to be killed.

    ouk eimi, I am DEAD, or a dead man. chap. ii. 18: Rachel weeping for her children, oti ouk eisi, because they WERE MURDERED. Gen. xlii. xx16: Joseph is not, wnnya Powy Yoseph einennu, iwshf ouk estin, Sept., Joseph is DEVOURED by a WILD BEAST. Rom. iv. 17: Calling the things that ARE not, as if they were ALIVE. So Plutarch in Laconicis: "This shield thy father always preserved; preserve thou it, or may thou not BE," h mh eso, may thou PERISH. ouk ontev nomoi, ABROGATED laws. eimi en emoi, I POSSESS a sound understanding. eiv patera umin esomai, I will PERFORM the PART of a father to you. eimi thv polewv thv de, I AM an INHABITANT of that city. 1 Tim. i. 7: Desiring to BE teachers of the law, qelontev einai nomodidaskaloi, desiring to be REPUTED teachers of the law, i.e. ABLE divines. ta onta, the things that ARE, i.e. NOBLE and honourABLE men: ta mh onta, the things that are not, viz. the VULGAR, or those of IGNOBLE BIRTH.

    Tertullian seems to have had a correct notion of those words of our Lord, Acceptum panem et distributum discipulis, corpus illum suum fecit, HOC EST CORPUS MEUM dicendo, id est, FIGURA corporis mei. Advers. Marc. l. v. c. 40. "Having taken the bread, and distributed that body to his disciples, he made it his body by saying, This is my body, i.e. a FIGURE of my body." That our Lord neither spoke in Greek nor Latin, on this occasion, needs no proof. It was, most probably, in what was formerly called the Chaldaic, now the Syriac, that our Lord conversed with his disciples. Through the providence of God, we have complete versions of the Gospels in this language, and in them it is likely we have the precise words spoken by our Lord on this occasion. In ver. 26, 27, the words in the Syriac version are, hanau pagree, This is my body, hanau demee, This is my blood, of which forms of speech the Greek is a verbal translation; nor would any man, even in the present day, speaking in the same language, use, among the people to whom it was vernacular, other terms than the above to express, This represents my body, and this represents my blood.

    As to the ancient Syrian Church on the Malabar coast, it is a fact that it never held the doctrine of transubstantiation, nor does it appear that it was ever heard of in that Church till the year 1599, when Don Alexis Menezes, Archbishop of Goa, and the Jesuit Fransic Rez, invaded that Church, and by tricks, impostures, and the assistance of the heathen governors of Cochin, and other places, whom they gained over by bribes and presents, overthrew the whole of this ancient Church, and gave the oppressed people the rites, creeds, &c., of the papal Catholic Church in its place. Vid. La Croz. Hist. du Ch. des Indes.

    This was done at the Synod of Diamper, which began its sessions at Agomale, June 20, 1599. The tricks of this unprincipled prelate, the tool of Pope Clement VIII., and Philip II., King of Portugal, are amply detailed by Mr. La Croze, in the work already quoted.

    But this form of speech is common, even in our own language, though we have terms enow to fill up the ellipsis. Suppose a man entering into a museum, enriched with the remains of ancient Greek sculpture: his eyes are attracted by a number of curious busts; and, on inquiring what they are, he learns, this is Socrates, that Plato, a third Homer; others Hesiod, Horace, Virgil, Demosthenes, Cicero, Herodotus, Livy, Caesar, Nero, Vespasian, &c. Is he deceived by this information? Not at all: he knows well that the busts he sees are not the identical persons of those ancient philosophers, poets, orators, historians, and emperors, but only REPRESENTATIONS of their persons in sculpture, between which and the originals there is as essential a difference as between a human body, instinct with all the principles of rational vitality, and a block of marble.

    When, therefore, Christ took up a piece of bread, brake it, and said, This IS my body, who, but the most stupid of mortals, could imagine that he was, at the same time, handling and breaking his own body! Would not any person, of plain common sense, see as great a difference between the man Christ Jesus, and the piece of bread, as between the block of marble and the philosopher it represented, in the case referred to above? The truth is, there is scarcely a more common form of speech in any language than, This IS, for, This REPRESENTS or SIGNIFIES. And as our Lord refers, in the whole of this transaction, to the ordinance of the passover, we may consider him as saying: "This bread is now my body, in that sense in which the paschal lamb has been my body hitherto; and this cup is my blood of the New Testament, in the same sense as the blood of bulls and goats has been my blood under the Old: Exodus 24; Hebrews 9. That is, the paschal lamb and the sprinkling of blood represented my sacrifice to the present time this bread and this wine shall represent my body and blood through all future ages; therefore, Do this in remembrance of me." St. Luke and St. Paul add a circumstance here which is not noticed either by St. Matthew or St. Mark. After, this is my body, the former adds, which is given for you; the latter, which is broken for you; the sense of which is: "As God has in his bountiful providence given you bread for the sustenance of your lives, so in his infinite grace he has given you my body to save your souls unto life eternal. But as this bread must be broken and masticated, in order to its becoming proper nourishment, so my body must be broken, i.e. crucified, for you, before it can be the bread of life to your souls. As, therefore, your life depends on the bread which God's bounty has provided for your bodies, so your eternal life depends on the sacrifice of my body on the cross for your souls." Besides, there is here an allusion to the offering of sacrifice-an innocent creature was brought to the altar of God, and its blood (the life of the beast) was poured out for, or in behalf of, the person who brought it. Thus Christ says, alluding to the sacrifice of the paschal lamb, This is my body, to uper umwn didomenon, which IS GIVEN in your stead, or in your behalf; a free GIFT, from God's endless mercy, for the salvation of your souls. This is my body, to uper umwn klwmenon, (1 Corinthians xi. 24,) which is broken- sacrificed in your stead; as without the breaking (piercing) of the body, and spilling of the blood, there was no remission.

    In this solemn transaction we must weigh every word, as there is none without its appropriate and deeply emphatic meaning. So it is written, Eph. v. 2. Christ hath loved us, and given himself, eper hmwn, on our account, or in our stead, an offering and a SACRIFICE (qusia) to God for a sweet-smelling savour; that, as in the sacrifice offered by Noah, Gen. viii. 21, (to which the apostle evidently alludes,) from which it is said, The Lord smelled a sweet savour, jjynh jyr riach hanichoach, a savour of rest, so that he became appeased towards the earth, and determined that there should no more be a flood to destroy it; in like manner, in the offering and sacrifice of Christ for us, God is appeased towards the human race, and has in consequence decreed that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

    Verse 27. "And he took the cup" - meta to deipnhsai, after having supped, Luke xxii. 20, and 1 Cor. xi. 25. Whether the supper was on the paschal lamb, or whether it was a common or ordinary meal, I shall not wait here to inquire: see at the end of this chapter. In the parallel place, in Luke 22, we find our Lord taking the cup, Luke xxii. 17, and again Luke xxii. 19; by the former of which was probably meant the cup of blessing, hkrbh owk kos haberakah, which the master of a family took, and, after blessing God, gave to each of his guests by way of welcome: but this second taking the cup is to be understood as belonging to the very important rite which he was now instituting, and on which he lays a very remarkable stress. With respect to the bread, he had before simply said, Take, eat, this is my body; but concerning the cup he says, Drink ye all of this: for as this pointed out the very essence of the institution, viz. the blood of atonement, it was necessary that each should have a particular application of it; therefore he says, Drink ye ALL of THIS. By this we are taught that the cup is essential to the sacrament of the Lord's Supper; so that they who deny the cup to the people sin against God's institution; and they who receive not the cup are not partakers of the body and blood of Christ. If either could without mortal prejudice be omitted, it might be the bread; but the cup, as pointing out the blood poured out, i.e. the life, by which alone the great sacrificial act is performed, and remission of sins procured, is absolutely indispensable. On this ground it is demonstrable, that there is not a priest under heaven, who denies the cup to the people, that can be said to celebrate the Lord's Supper at all; nor is there one of their votaries that ever received the holy sacrament. All pretension to this is an absolute farce, so long as the cup, the emblem of the atoning blood, is denied. How strange is it, that the very men who plead so much for the bare literal meaning of this is my body, in the preceding verse, should deny all meaning to drink YE ALL of this cup, in this verse! And though Christ has in the most positive manner enjoined it, they will not permit one of the laity to taste it! O, what a thing is man-a constant contradiction to reason and to himself.

    I have just said that our blessed Lord lays remarkable stress on the administration of the cup, and on that which himself assures us is represented by it. As it is peculiarly emphatic, I beg leave to set down the original text, which the critical reader will do well minutely to examine: touto gar esti to aima mou to thv kainhv diaqhkhv, to peri pollwn ekcunomenon eiv afesin amartiwn. The following literal translation and paraphrase do not exceed its meaning:-For THIS is THAT blood of mine which was pointed out by all the sacrifices under the Jewish law, and particularly by the shedding and sprinkling of the blood of the paschal lamb. THAT blood of the sacrifice slain for the ratification of the new covenant. THE blood ready to be poured out for the multitudes, the whole Gentile world as well as the Jews, for the taking away of sins; sin, whether original or actual, in all its power and guilt, in all its internal energy and pollution.

    "And gave thanks" - See the form used on this occasion, on Matthew xxvi. 26; and see the MISHNA, TRACT twkrb Beracoth.

    Verse 28. "For this is my blood of the New Testament" - This is the reading both here and in St. Mark; but St. Luke and St. Paul say, This cup is the New Testament in my blood. This passage has been strangely mistaken: by New Testament, many understand nothing more than the book commonly known by this name, containing the four Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, apostolical Epistles, and book of the Revelation; and they think that the cup of the New Testament means no more than merely that cup which the book called the New Testament enjoins in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. As this is the case, it is highly necessary that this term should be explained. The original, h kainh diaqhkh, which we translate, The New Testament, and which is the general title of all the contents of the book already described, simply means, the new COVENANT. Covenant, from con, together, and venio, I come, signifies an agreement, contract, or compact, between two parties, by which both are mutually bound to do certain things, on certain conditions and penalties. It answers to the Hebrew tyrb berith, which often signifies, not only the covenant or agreement, but also the sacrifice which was slain on the occasion, by the blood of which the covenant was ratified; and the contracting parties professed to subject themselves to such a death as that of the victim, in case of violating their engagements. An oath of this kind, on slaying the covenant sacrifice, was usual in ancient times: so in Homer, when a covenant was made between the Greeks and the Trojans, and the throats of lambs were cut, and their blood poured out, the following form of adjuration was used by the contracting parties:-zeu kudiste, megiste, kai aqanatoi qeoi alloi, oppoteroi proteroi uper orkia phmhneian, ode sf egkefalov camadiv reoi, wv ode oinov, autwn, kai tekewn? alocoi d alloisi migeien All glorious Jove, and ye, the powers of heaven! Whoso shall violate this contract first, So be their blood, their children's and their own, Poured out, as this libation, on the ground And let their wives bring forth to other men! ILIAD l. iii. v. 298-301 Our blessed saviour is evidently called the diaqhkh, tyrb berith, or covenant sacrifice, Isa. xlii. 6; xli10: 8; Zech. ix. 11. And to those Scriptures he appears to allude, as in them the Lord promises to give him for a covenant (sacrifice) to the Gentiles, and to send forth, by the blood of this covenant (victim) the prisoners out of the pit. The passages in the sacred writings which allude to this grand sacrificial and atoning act are almost innumerable. See the Preface to Matthew.

    In this place, our Lord terms his blood the blood of the NEW covenant; by which he means that grand plan of agreement, or reconciliation, which God was now establishing between himself and mankind, by the passion and death of his Son, through whom alone men could draw nigh to God; and this NEW covenant is mentioned in contradistinction from the OLD covenant, h palaia diaqhkh, 2 Cor. iii. 14, by which appellative all the books of the Old Testament were distinguished, because they pointed out the way of reconciliation to God by the blood of the various victims slain under the law; but now, as the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world, was about to be offered up, a NEW and LIVING way was thereby constituted, so that no one henceforth could come unto the Father but by HIM. Hence all the books of the New Testament, which bear unanimous testimony to the doctrine of salvation by faith through the blood of Jesus, are termed, h kainh diaqhkh, The NEW covenant. See the Preface.

    Dr. Lightfoot's Observations on this are worthy of serious notice. "This is my blood of the New Testament. Not only the seal of the covenant, but the sanction of the new covenant. The end of the Mosaic economy, and the confirming of a new one. The confirmation of the old covenant was by the blood of bulls and goats, Exodus 24, Hebrews 9, because blood was still to be shed: the confirmation of the new was by a cup of wine, because under the new covenant there is no farther shedding of blood. As it is here said of the cup, This cup is the New Testament in my blood; so it might be said of the cup of blood, Exodus 24, That cup was the Old Testament in the blood of Christ: there, all the articles of that covenant being read over, Moses sprinkled all the people with blood, and said, This is the blood of the covenant which God hath made with you; and thus the old covenant or testimony was confirmed. ln like manner, Christ, having published all the articles of the new covenant, he takes the cup of wine, and gives them to drink, and saith. This is the New Testament in my blood; and thus the new covenant was established."-Works, vol. ii. p. 260.

    "Which is shed (ekcunomenon, poured out) for many" - ekcew and ekcuw, to pour out, are often used in a sacrificial sense in the Septuagint, and signify to pour out or sprinkle the blood of the sacrifices before the altar of the Lord, by way of atonement. See 2 Kings xvi. 15; Lev. viii. 15; ix. 9; Exod. xxix. 12; Lev. iv. 7, 14, 17, 30, 34; and in various other places. Our Lord, by this very remarkable mode of expression, teaches us that, as his body was to be broken or crucified, uper hmwn, in our stead, so here the blood was to be poured out to make an atonement, as the words, remission of sins, sufficiently prove for without shedding of blood there was no remission, Heb. ix. 22, nor any remission by shedding of blood, but in a sacrificial way. See the passages above, and on ver. 26.

    The whole of this passage will receive additional light when collated with Isa. liii. 11, 12. By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify MANY, for he shall bear their iniquities-because he hath POURED OUT his soul unto death, and he bare the sin of MANY. The pouring out of the soul unto death, in the prophet, answers to, this is the blood of the new covenant which is poured out for you, in the evangelists; and the ybr , rabbim, multitudes, in Isaiah, corresponds to the MANY, pollwn, of Matthew and Mark. The passage will soon appear plain, when we consider that two distinct classes of persons are mentioned by the prophet. 1. The Jews. Isa. liii. 4. Surely he hath borne OUR griefs, and carried OUR sorrows. Isa. liii. 5. But he was wounded for OUR transgressions, he was bruised for OUR iniquities, the chastisement of OUR peace was upon him. Isaiah liii. 6. All WE like sheep have gone astray, and the Lord hath laid upon him the iniquity of US all. 2. The GENTILES. Isa. liii. 11. By his knowledge, wt[db bedaato, i.e. by his being made known, published as Christ crucified among the Gentiles, he shall justify ybr rabbim, the multitudes, (the GENTILES,) for he shall (also) bear THEIR offenses, as well as OURS, the Jews, Isa. liii. 4, &c. It is well known that the Jewish dispensation, termed by the apostle as above, h palaia diaqhkh, the OLD covenant, was partial and exclusive. None were particularly interested in it save the descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob: whereas the Christian dispensation, h kainh diaqhkh, the NEW covenant, referred to by our Lord in this place, was universal; for as Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for EVERY man, Heb. ii. 9, and is that Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the WORLD, John i. 29, who would have ALL MEN to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth, 1 Tim. ii. 4, even that knowledge of Christ crucified, by which they are to be justified, Isa. liii. 11, therefore he has commanded his disciples to go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to EVERY CREATURE, Mark xvi. 15. The reprobate race, those who were no people, and not beloved, were to be called in; for the Gospel was to be preached to all the world, though it was to begin at Jerusalem, Luke xxiv. 47. For this purpose was the blood of the new covenant sacrifice poured out for the multitudes, that there might be but one fold, as there is but one Shepherd; and that God might be ALL and in ALL.

    "For the remission of sins." - eiv afesiv amartiwn, for (or, in reference to) the taking away of sins. For, although the blood is shed, and the atonement made, no man's sins are taken away until, as a true penitent, he returns to God, and, feeling his utter incapacity to save himself, believes in Christ Jesus, who is the justifier of the ungodly.

    The phrase, afesiv twn amartiwn, remission of sins, (frequently used by the Septuagint,) being thus explained by our Lord, is often used by the evangelists and the apostles; and does not mean merely the pardon of sins, as it is generally understood, but the removal or taking away of sins; not only the guilt, but also the very nature of sin, and the pollution of the soul through it; and comprehends all that is generally understood by the terms justification and sanctification. For the use and meaning of the phrase afesiv amartown, see Mark i. 4; Luke i. 77; iii. 3; xxiv. 47; Acts ii. 38; v. 31; x. 43; xiii. 38; xxvi. 18; Colossiansi. 14; Hebrews x. 18.

    Both St. Luke and St. Paul add, that, after giving the bread, our Lord said, Do this in remembrance of me. And after giving the cup, St. Paul alone adds, This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. The account, as given by St. Paul, should be carefully followed, being fuller, and received, according to his own declaration, by especial revelation from God. See 1 Cor. xi. 23, For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, &c. See the harmonized view above.

    Verse 29. "I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine" - These words seem to intimate no more than this: We shall not have another opportunity of eating this bread and drinking this wine together; as in a few hours my crucifixion shall take place.

    "Until that day when I drink it new with you" - That is, I shall no more drink of the produce of the vine with you; but shall drink new wine-wine of a widely different nature from this-a wine which the kingdom of God alone can afford. The term new in Scripture is often taken in this sense. So the NEW heaven, the NEW earth, the NEW covenant, the NEW man-mean a heaven, earth, covenant, man, of a very different nature from the former. It was our Lord's invariable custom to illustrate heavenly things by those of earth, and to make that which had last been the subject of conversation the means of doing it. Thus he uses wine here, of which they had lately drunk, and on which he had held the preceding discourse, to point out the supreme blessedness of the kingdom of God. But however pleasing and useful wine may be to the body and how helpful soever, as an ordinance of God. It may be to the soul in the holy sacrament; yet the wine of the kingdom, the spiritual enjoyments at the right hand of God, will be infinitely more precious and useful. From what our Lord says here, we learn that the sacrament of his supper is a type and a pledge, to genuine Christians, of the felicity they shall enjoy with Christ in the kingdom of glory.

    Verse 30. "And when they had sung a hymn" - umnhsantev means, probably, no more than a kind of recitative reading or chanting. As to the hymn itself, we know, from the universal consent of Jewish antiquity, that it was composed of Psalms 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, and 118, termed by the Jews llh halel, from hy-wllh halelu-yah, the first word in Psalm 113. These six Psalms were always sung at every paschal solemnity. They sung this great hillel on account of the five great benefits referred to in it; viz.

    1. The Exodus from Egypt, Psa. cxiv. 1. When Israel went out of Egypt, &c.

    2. The miraculous division of the Red Sea, Psa. cxiv. 3. The sea saw it and fled.

    3. The promulgation of the law, Psa. cxiv. 4. The mountains skipped like lambs.

    4. The resurrection of the dead, Psa. cxvi. 9. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.

    5. The passion of the Messiah, Psa. cxv. 1. Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, &c. See Schoettgen, Hor. Hebr. p. 231, and my Discource on the nature and design of the Eucharist, 8vo. Lond. 1808.

    Verse 31. "All ye shall be offended" - Or rather, Ye will all be stumbled-pantev umeiv skandalisqhsesqe-ye will all forsake me, and lose in a great measure your confidence in me.

    "This night" - The time of trial is just at hand.

    "I will smite the shepherd" - It will happen to you as to a flock of sheep, whose shepherd has been slain-the leader and guardian being removed, the whole flock shall be scattered, and be on the point of becoming a prey to ravenous beasts.

    Verse 32. "But after I am risen again" - Don't lose your confidence; for though I shall appear for a time to be wholly left to wicked men, and be brought under the power of death, yet I will rise again, and triumph over all your enemies and mine.

    "I will go before you" - Still alluding to the case of the shepherd and his sheep. Though the shepherd has been smitten and the sheep scattered, the shepherd shall revive again, collect the scattered flock, and go before them, and lead them to peace, security, and happiness.

    Verse 33. "Peter-said unto him, Though all men shall be offended-yet will I never" - The presumptuous person imagines he can do every thing, and can do nothing: thinks he can excel all, and excels in nothing: promises every thing, and performs nothing. The humble man acts a quite contrary part. There is nothing we know so little of as ourselves-nothing we see less of than our own weakness and poverty. The strength of pride is only for a moment. Peter, though vainly confident, was certainly sincere-he had never been put to a sore trial, and did not know his own strength. Had this resolution of his been formed in the strength of God, he would have been enabled to maintain it against earth and hell. This most awful denial of Christ, and his abandoning him in the time of trial, was sufficient to have disqualified him for ever from being, in any sense, head of the Church, had such a supremacy been ever designed him. Such a supremacy was never given him by Christ; but the fable of it is in the Church of Rome, and the mock Peter, not Peter the apostle, is there and there only to be found.

    Verse 34. "Jesus said" - Our Lord's answer to Peter is very emphatic and impressive. Verily-I speak a solemn weighty truth, thou wilt not only be stumbled, fall off, and forsake thy Master, but thou wilt even deny that thou hast, or ever had, any knowledge of or connection with me; and this thou wilt do, not by little and little, through a long process of time, till the apostasy, daily gathering strength, shall be complete; but thou wilt do it this very night, and that not once only, but thrice; and this thou wilt do also in the earlier part of the night, before even a cock shall crow. Was not this warning enough to him not to trust in his own strength, but to depend on God?

    Verse 35. "Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee." - He does not take the warning which his Lord gave him- he trusts in the warm, sincere attachment to Christ which he now feels, not considering that this must speedily fail, unless supported by the power of God.

    Verse 36. "A place called Gethsemane" - A garden at the foot of the mount of Olives. The name seems to be formed from hg gath, a press, and ms shemen, oil; probably the place where the produce of the mount of Olives was prepared for use. The garden of the oilpress, or olive-press.

    "Sit ye here" - Or, stay in this place, while I go and pray yonder: and employ ye the time as I shall employ it-in watching unto prayer.

    Verse 37. "And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee" - That is, James and John; the same persons who had beheld his transfiguration on the mount-that they might contemplate this agony in the light of that glory which they had there seen; and so be kept from being stumbled by a view of his present humiliation.

    "Began to be sorrowful" - lupeisqai, from luw, to dissolve- exquisite sorrow, such as dissolves the natural vigour, and threatens to separate soul and body.

    "And very heavy." - Overwhelmed with anguish-adhmonein. This word is used by the Greeks to denote the most extreme anguish which the soul can feel-excruciating anxiety and torture of spirit.

    Verse 38. "Then saith he" - Then saith-Jesus:-I have added the word Jesus, o ihsouv, on the authority of a multitude of eminent MSS. See them in Griesbach.

    "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, (or, is surrounded with exceeding sorrow,) even unto death." - This latter word explains the two former: My soul is so dissolved in sorrow, my spirit is filled with such agony and anguish, that, if speedy succour be not given to my body, death must be the speedy consequence.

    Now, the grand expiatory sacrifice begins to be offered: in this garden Jesus enters fully into the sacerdotal office; and now, on the altar of his immaculate divinity, begins to offer his own body-his own life-a lamb without spot, for the sin of the world. St. Luke observes, Luke xxii. 43, 44, that there appeared unto him an angel from heaven strengthening him; and that, being in an agony, his sweat was like great drops of blood falling to the ground. How exquisite must this anguish have been, when it forced the very blood through the coats of the veins, and enlarged the pores in such a preternatural manner as to cause them to empty it out in large successive drops! In my opinion, the principal part of the redemption price was paid in this unprecedented and indescribable agony.

    Bloody sweats are mentioned by many authors; but none was ever such as this-where a person in perfect health, (having never had any predisposing sickness to induce a debility of the system,) and in the full vigour of life, about thirty- three years of age, suddenly, through mental pressure, without any fear of death, sweat great drops of blood; and these continued, during his wrestling with God to fall to the ground.

    To say that all this was occasioned by the fear he had of the ignominious death which he was about to die confutes itself- for this would not only rob him of his divinity, for which purpose it is brought, but it deprives him of all excellency, and even of manhood itself. The prospect of death could not cause him to suffer thus, when he knew that in less than three days he was to be restored to life, and be brought into an eternity of blessedness. His agony and distress can receive no consistent explication but on this ground-He SUFFERED, the JUST for the UNJUST, that he might BRING us to GOD. O glorious truth! O infinitely meritorious suffering! And O! above all, the eternal love, that caused him to undergo such sufferings for the sake of SINNERS!

    Verse 39. "Fell on his face" - See the note on Luke xxii. 44. This was the ordinary posture of the supplicant when the favour was great which was asked, and deep humiliation required. The head was put between the knees, and the forehead brought to touch the earth-this was not only a humiliating, but a very painful posture also.

    "This cup" - The word cup is frequently used in the Sacred Writings to point out sorrow, anguish, terror, death. It seems to be an allusion to a very ancient method of punishing criminals. A cup of poison was put into their hands, and they were obliged to drink it. Socrates was killed thus, being obliged by the magistrates of Athens to drink a cup of the juice of hemlock. To death, by the poisoned cup, there seems an allusion in Heb. ii. 9, Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, TASTED death for every man. The whole world are here represented as standing guilty and condemned before the tribunal of God; into every man's hand the deadly cup is put, and he is required to drink off the poison-Jesus enters, takes every man's cup out of his hand, and drinks off the poison, and thus tastes or suffers the death which every man otherwise must have undergone.

    "Pass from me" - Perhaps there is an allusion here to several criminals standing in a row, who are all to drink of the same cup; but, the judge extending favour to a certain one, the cup passes by him to the next.

    Instead of proelqwn mikron, going a little forward, many eminent MSS.

    have proselqwn, coming a little forward-but the variation is of little moment. At the close of this verse several MSS. add the clause in Luke xxii. 43, There appeared an angel, &c.

    Verse 40. "He-saith unto Peter" - He addressed himself more particularly to this apostle, because of the profession he had made, ver. 33; as if he had said: "Is this the way you testify your affectionate attachment to me? Ye all said you were ready to die with me; what, then, cannot you watch ONE hour?" Instead of ouk iscusate, could YE not, the Codex Alexandrinus, the later Syriac in the margin, three of the Itala, and Juvencus, read ouk iscusav, couldst THOU not- referring the reproach immediately to Peter, who had made the promises mentioned before.

    Verse 41. "That ye enter not into temptation" - If ye cannot endure a little fatigue when there is no suffering, how will ye do when the temptation, the great trial of your fidelity and courage, cometh? Watch-that ye be not taken unawares; and pray-that when it comes ye may be enabled to bear it.

    "The spirit-is willing, but the flesh is weak" - Your inclinations are good-ye are truly sincere; but your good purposes will be overpowered by your timidity. Ye wish to continue steadfast in your adherence to your Master; but your fears will lead you to desert him.

    Verse 42. "O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me" - If it be not possible-to redeem fallen man, unless I drink this cup, unless I suffer death for them; thy will be done-I am content to suffer whatever may be requisite to accomplish the great design. In this address the humanity of Christ most evidently appears; for it was his humanity alone that could suffer; and if it did not appear that he had felt these sufferings, it would have been a presumption that he had not suffered, and consequently made no atonement. And had he not appeared to have been perfectly resigned in these sufferings, his sacrifice could not have been a free-will but a constrained offering, and therefore of no use to the salvation of mankind.

    Verse 43. "Their eyes were heavy." - That is, they could not keep them open. Was there nothing preternatural in this? Was there no influence here from the powers of darkness?

    Verse 44. "Prayed the third time" - So St. Paul-I besought the Lord THRICE that it might depart from me, 2 Cor. xii. 8. This thrice repeating the same petition argues deep earnestness of soul.

    Verse 45. "Sleep on now, and take your rest" - Perhaps it might be better to read these words interrogatively, and paraphrase them thus: Do ye sleep on still? Will no warnings avail? Will no danger excite you to watchfulness and prayer? My hour-in which I am to be delivered up, is at hand; therefore now think of your own personal safety.

    "The Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners." - amartwlwn, viz. the Gentiles or heathens, who were generally distinguished by this appellation from the Jews. Here it probably means the Roman cohort that was stationed on festivals for the defense of the temple. By the Romans he was adjudged to death; for the Jews acknowledged that they had no power in capital cases. See the note on chap. ix. 10.

    Verse 46. "Rise, let us be going" - That is, to meet them, giving thereby the fullest proof that I know all their designs, and might have, by flight or otherwise, provided for my own safety; but I go willingly to meet that death which their malice designs me, and, through it, provide for the life of the world.

    Verse 47. "Judas, one of the twelve" - More deeply to mark his base ingratitude and desperate wickedness-HE was ONE of the TWELVE-and he is a TRAITOR, and one of the vilest too that ever disgraced human nature.

    "A great multitude with swords and staves" - They did not come as officers of justice, but as a desperate mob. Justice had nothing to do in this business. He who a little before had been one of the leaders of the flock of Christ is now become the leader of ruffians and murderers! What a terrible fall!

    Verse 48. "Gave them a sign" - How coolly deliberate is this dire apostate! The man whom I shall kiss-how deeply hypocritical! That is he, hold him fast, seize him-how diabolically malicious! Hail, Master] A usual compliment among the Jews. Judas pretends to wish our Lord continued health while he is meditating his destruction! How many compliments of this kind are there in the world! Judas had a pattern in Joab, who, while he pretends to inquire tenderly for the health of Amasa, thrust him through with his sword; but the disciple here vastly outdoes his master, and through a motive, if possible, still more base. Let all those who use unmeaning or insidious compliments rank for ever with Joab and Judas.

    "And kissed him." - And tenderly kissed him-this is the proper meaning of the original word katefilhsen, he kissed him again and again-still pretending the most affectionate attachment to him, though our Lord had before unmasked him.

    Verse 50. "Jesus said-Friend" - Rather, companion, etaire, (not FRIEND,) wherefore, rather, against whom (ef d, the reading of all the best MSS.) art thou come? How must these words have cut his very soul, if he had any sensibility left! Surely, thou, who hast so long been my companion, art not come against me, thy Lord, Teacher and Friend! What is the human heart not capable of, when abandoned by God, and influenced by Satan and the love of money! Laid hands on Jesus] But not before they had felt that proof of his sovereign power by which they had all been struck down to the earth, John xviii. 6. It is strange that, after this, they should dare to approach him; but the Scriptures must be fulfilled.

    Verse 51. "One of them which were with Jesus" - This was Peter- struck a servant of the high priest's, the servant's name was Malchus, John xviii. 10, and smote off his ear. In Luke xxii. 51, it is said, Jesus touched and healed it.

    Here was another miracle, and striking proof of the Divinity of Christ.

    Peter did not cut the ear, merely, he cut it OFF, afeilen. Now to heal it, Jesus must either take up the ear and put it on again, or else create a new one-either of these was a miracle, which nothing less than unlimited power could produce. See the note on John xviii. 10.

    Verse 52. "Put up again thy sword into his place" - Neither Christ nor his religion is to be defended by the secular arm. God is sufficiently able to support his ark: Uzzah need not stretch out his hand on the occasion.

    Even the shadow of public justice is not to be resisted by a private person, when coming from those in public authority. The cause of a Christian is the cause of God: sufferings belong to one, and vengeance to the other. Let the cause, therefore, rest in his hands, who will do it ample justice.

    "Shall perish with the sword" - Instead of apolountai, shall perish, many excellent MSS., versions, and fathers, have apoqanountai, shall die. The general meaning of this verse is, they who contend in battle are likely, on both sides, to become the sacrifices of their mutual animosities. But it is probably a prophetic declaration of the Jewish and Roman states. The Jews put our Lord to death under the sanction of the Romans-both took the sword against Christ, and both perished by it. The Jews by the sword of the Romans, and the Romans by that of the Goths, Vandals, &c. The event has verified the prediction-the Jewish government has been destroyed upwards of 1700 years, and the Roman upwards of 1000.

    Confer with this passage, Psa. ii. 4, 9; cx. 1, 5, 6. But how came Peter to have a sword? Judea was at this time so infested with robbers and cut-throats that it was not deemed safe for any person to go unarmed. He probably carried one for his mere personal safety.

    Verse 53. "More than twelve legions of angels?" - As if he had said, Instead of you twelve, one of whom is a traitor, my Father can give me more than twelve legions of angels to defend me. A legion, at different times, contained different numbers; 4,200, 5,000, and frequently 6,000 men; and from this saying, taking the latter number, which is the common rate, may we not-safely believe that the angels of God amount to more than 72,000?

    Verse 54. "But how then" - Had I such a defense-shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say, that thus it must be? That is, that I am to suffer and die for the sin of the world. Probably the Scriptures to which our Lord principally refers are Psa 22, 69, and especially Isaiah 53, and Dan. ix. 24-27. Christ shows that they had no power against him but what he permitted; and that he willingly gave up himself into their hands.

    Verse 55. "Are ye come out as against a thief" - At this time Judea was much infested by robbers, so that armed men were obliged to be employed against them-to this our Lord seems to allude. See on ver. 52.

    "I sat daily with you" - Why come in this hostile manner? Every day, for four days past, ye might have met with me in the temple, whither I went to teach you the way of salvation. See on Matthew xxi. 17.

    Verse 56. "But all this was done" - This is probably the observation of the evangelist. See on chap. ii. 23.

    "Then all the disciples forsook him and fled." - O what is man! How little is even his utmost sincerity to be depended on! Jesus is abandoned by all!-even zealous Peter and loving John are among the fugitives! Was ever master so served by his scholars? Was ever parent so treated by his children? Is there not as much zeal and love among them all as might make one martyr for God and truth? Alas! no. He had but twelve who professed inviolable attachment to him; one of these betrayed him, another denied him with oaths, and the rest run away and utterly abandon him to his implacable enemies! Are there not found among his disciples still, 1st.

    Persons who betray him and his cause? 2dly. Persons who deny him and his people? 3dly. Persons who abandon him, his people, his cause, and his truth? Reader! dost thou belong to any of these classes?

    Verse 57. "They-led him away to Caiaphas" - John says, John xviii. 13, that they led him first to Annas; but this appears to have been done merely to do him honour as the father-in- law of Caiaphas, and his colleague in the high priesthood. But as the Sanhedrin was assembled at the house of Caiaphas, it was there he must be brought to undergo his mock trial: but see on John xviii. 13.

    Verse 58. "Peter followed him afar off" - Poor Peter! this is the beginning of his dreadful fall. His fear kept him from joining the company, and publicly acknowledging his Lord; and his affection obliged him to follow at a distance that he might see the end.

    "And sat with the servants, to see the end." - When a man is weak in faith, and can as yet only follow Christ at a distance, he should avoid all dangerous places, and the company of those who are most likely to prove a snare to him. Had not Peter got to the high priest's palace, and sat down with the servants, he would not thus have denied his Lord and Master.

    Servants-officers, uphretwn. Such as we term serjeants, constables, &c.

    Verse 59. "All the council sought false witness" - What a prostitution of justice!-they first resolve to ruin him, and then seek the proper means of effecting it: they declare him criminal, and after that do all they can to fix some crime upon him, that they may appear to have some shadow of justice on their side when they put him to death. It seems to have been a common custom of this vile court to employ false witness, on any occasion, to answer their own ends. See this exemplified in the case of Stephen, Acts vi. 11-13.

    Verse 60. "Though many false witnesses came" - There is an unaccountable confusion in the MSS. in this verse: without stating the variations, which may be seen in Griesbach, I shall give that which I believe to be the genuine sense of the evangelist. Then the chief priests and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; but they found it not, though many false witnesses came up. At last two false witnesses came up, saying; This man said, &c. It is the property of falsity to be ever inconsistent, and to contradict itself; therefore they could not find two consistent testimonies, without which the Jewish law did not permit any person to be put to death. However, the hand of God was in this business: for the credit of Jesus, and the honour of the Christian religion, he would not permit him to be condemned on a false accusation; and, therefore, at last they were obliged to change their ground, and, to the eternal confusion of the unrighteous council, he is condemned on the very evidence of his own innocence, purity, and truth!

    Verse 61. "I am able to destroy the temple of God" - 1st. These words were not fairly quoted. Jesus had said, John ii. 19, Destroy this temple, and I will build it again in three days. 2dly. The inuendo which they produce, applying these words to a pretended design to destroy the temple at Jerusalem, was utterly unfair; for these words he spoke of the temple of his body. It is very easy, by means of a few small alterations, to render the most holy things and innocent persons odious to the world, and even to take away the life of the innocent.

    Verse 62. "Answerest thou nothing?" - The accusation was so completely frivolous that it merited no notice: besides, Jesus knew that they were determined to put him to death, and that his hour was come; and that therefore remonstrance or defense would be of no use: he had often before borne sufficient testimony to the truth.

    Verse 63. "I adjure thee by the living God" - I put thee to thy oath. To this solemn adjuration Christ immediately replies, because he is now called on, in the name of God, to bear another testimony to the truth. The authority of God in the most worthless magistrate should be properly respected. However necessary our Lord saw it to be silent, when the accusations were frivolous, and the evidence contradictory, he felt no disposition to continue this silence, when questioned concerning a truth, for which he came into the world to shed his blood.

    Verse 64. "Thou hast said" - That is, I am the Christ, the promised Messiah, (see on ver. 25;) and you and this whole nation shall shortly have the fullest proof of it: for hereafter, in a few years, ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, fully invested with absolute dominion, and coming in the clouds of heaven, to execute judgment upon this wicked race. See chap. xxiv. 30. Our Lord appears to refer to Dan. vii. 13: One like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, &c. This may also refer to the final judgment.

    Verse 65. "The high priest rent his clothes" - This rending of the high priest's garments was expressly contrary to the law, Leviticus x. 6: xxi. 10.

    But it was a common method of expressing violent grief, Genesis xxxvii. 29, 34; Job i. 20, and horror at what was deemed blasphemous or impious. 2 Kings xviii. 37; xix. 1; Acts xiv. 14. All that heard a blasphemous speech were obliged to rend their clothes, and never to sew them up again. See Lightfoot.

    "He hath spoken blasphemy" - Quesnel's note on this is worthy of notice.

    "See here a false zeal, a mask of religion, and a passionate and seditious way of proceeding, tending only to incense and stir up others, all which are common to those who would oppress truth by cabal, and without proof.

    By crying out, 'heresy, blasphemy, and faction,' though contrary to all appearance, men fail not to stir up those in power, to gain the simple, to give some shadow of authority to the ill-disposed, to cast devout but ignorant people into scruples, and thereby to advance the mystery of iniquity, which is the mystery of all ages." This was the very plan his Catholic brethren adopted in this country, in the reign of Queen Mary, called the bloody queen, because of the many murders of righteous men which she sanctioned at the mouth of her Catholic priesthood.

    Verse 66. "He is guilty of death." - enocov qanatou esti, he is liable to death. All the forms of justice are here violated. The judge becomes a party and accuser, and proceeds to the verdict without examining whether all the prophecies concerning the Messiah, and the innumerable miracles which he wrought, did not justify him. Examination and proof are the ruin of all calumnies, and of the authors of them, and therefore they take care to keep off from these two things. See Quesnel.

    Verse 67. "Then did they spit in his face" - This was done as a mark of the most profound contempt. See Job xvi. 10; xxx. 10; Isa. l. 6; Micah v. 1.

    The judges now delivered him into the hands of the mob.

    "And buffeted him" - Smote him with their fists, ekolafisan. This is the translation of Theophylact. kolafizein, says he, means, "to beat with the hand, the fingers being clenched. sugkamtomenwn twn daktulwn, or, to speak more briefly, to buffet with the fist." Smote him with the palms of their hands] errapisan. rapizw, says Suidas, means "pataxai thn gnaqon aplh th ceiri, to smite the cheek with the open hand." Thus they offered him indignity in all its various and vexatious forms. Insults of this kind are never forgiven by the world: Jesus not only takes no revenge, (though it be completely in his power,) but bears all with meekness, without even one word of reply.

    Verse 68. "Prophesy unto us, thou Christ" - Their conduct toward him now was expressly prophesied of, by a man whose Divine mission they did not pretend to deny; see Isa. l. 6. It appears that, before they buffeted him, they bound up his eyes, See Mark xiv. 65.

    Verse 69. "A damsel came unto him" - A maid servant, paidiskh. See this translation vindicated by Kypke.

    "Thou also wast with Jesus" - What a noble opportunity had Peter now to show his zeal for the insulted cause of truth, and his attachment to his Master. But, alas! he is shorn of his strength. Constables and maid servants are no company for an apostle, except when he is delivering to them the message of salvation. Evil communications corrupt good manners.

    Had Peter been in better company, he would not have had so foul a fall.

    Verse 70. "But he denied before them all" - So the evil principle gains ground. Before, he followed at a distance, now he denies; this is the second gradation in his fall.

    Verse 71. "Unto them that were there" - Instead of legei toiv ekei? kai, more than one hundred MSS., many of which are of the first authority and antiquity, have legei autoiv? ekei kai, she saith unto them, this man was THERE also. I rather think this is the genuine reading. toiv might have been easily mistaken for autoiv, if the first syllable au were but a little faded in a MS. from which others were copied: and then the placing of the point after ekei? instead of after autoiv? would naturally follow, as placed after toiv, it would make no sense. Griesbach approves of this reading.

    Verse 72. "And again he denied with an oath" - This is a third gradation of his iniquity. He has told a lie, and he swears to support it. A liar has always some suspicion that his testimony is not credited, for he is conscious to his own falsity, and is therefore naturally led to support his assertions by oaths.

    Verse 73. "Thy speech" - Thy manner of speech, h lalia sou, that dialect of thine-his accent being different from that of Jerusalem. From various examples given by Lightfoot and Schoettgen, we find that the Galileans had a very corrupt pronunciation, frequently interchanging a, h, t, and [ , and so blending or dividing words as to render them unintelligible, or cause them to convey a contrary sense.

    "Bewrayeth thee." - dhlou se poiei, maketh thee manifest, from the Anglo-saxon , to accuse, betray; a word long since lost from our language.

    Verse 74. "Then began he to curse and to swear" - Rather, Then he began positively to affirm-kataqematizein, from kata intensive, and tiqhmi, I lay down, place, affirm. But the common reading is katanaqematizein, which signifies to wish curses on himself. The former reading is supported by almost every MS. of value, and is, beyond dispute, the true reading, and has been received by Griesbach into the text. The business is bad enough, but the common reading makes it worse. In ver. 72, Peter is said to deny with an oath; here, he positively affirms and swears, probably by the name of God, for this is the import of the word omnuein.

    "This makes the fourth and final gradation in the climax of Peter's fall. From these awful beginnings it is not unfair to conclude that Peter might have gone almost as far as Judas himself, had not the traitorous business been effected before. Yet all this evil sprung simply from the fear of man. How many denials of Christ and his truth have sprung since, from the same cause! The cock crew" - This animal becomes, in the hand of God, the instrument of awaking the fallen apostle, at last, to a sense of his fall, danger, and duty. When abandoned of God, the smallest thing may become the occasion of a fall; and, when in the hand of God, the smallest matter may become the instrument of our restoration. Let us never think lightly of what are termed little sins: the smallest one has the seed of eternal ruin in it. Let us never think contemptibly of the feeblest means of grace: each may have the seed of eternal salvation in it. Let us ever remember that the great Apostle Peter fell through fear of a servant maid, and rose through the crowing of a cock.

    Verse 75. "Peter remembered the word of Jesus" - St. Luke says, Luke xxii. 61, The Lord turned and looked upon Peter. So it appears he was nigh to our Lord, either at the time when the cock crew, or shortly after. The delicacy of this reproof was great-he must be reproved and alarmed, otherwise he will proceed yet farther in his iniquity; Christ is in bonds, and cannot go and speak to him; if he call aloud, the disciple is discovered, and falls a victim to Jewish malice and Roman jealousy; he therefore does the whole by a look. In the hand of Omnipotence every thing is easy, and he can save by a few, as well as by many.

    "He went out" - He left the place where he had sinned, and the company which had been the occasion of his transgression.

    "And wept bitterly." - Felt bitter anguish of soul, which evidenced itself by the tears of contrition which flowed plentifully from his eyes. Let him that standeth take heed lest he fall! Where the mighty have been slain, what shall support the feeble? Only the grace of the ALMIGHTY God.

    This transaction is recorded by the inspired penmen, 1st. That all may watch unto prayer, and shun the occasions of sin. 2dly. That if a man be unhappily overtaken in a fault, he may not despair, but cast himself immediately with a contrite heart on the infinite tenderness and compassion of God. See the notes on John xviii. 27.

    I have touched on the subject of our Lord's anointing but slightly in the preceding notes, because the controversy upon this point is not yet settled; and, except to harmonists, it is a matter of comparatively little importance. Bishop Newcome has written largely on this fact, and I insert an extract from his notes.

    BISHOP NEWCOME'S ACCOUNT OF THE ANOINTING OF OUR LORD "The histories of Jesus' unction, in Matthew, Mark, and John, are accounts of the same fact. Hoc fixum maneat, eandem ab omnibus historiam referri. Calv. Harm. p. 375.

    "The following objections to this position occur in Lightfoot, Whiston, Whitby, and Macknight.

    1st. "The unction recorded by St. John happens six days before the passover; but the other unction is fixed to the second day before that feast.

    "Ans. The day of the entertainment related John xii. 2, is not restrained to the sixth day before the passover. Quo die factum illi fuerit convivium, in quo a Maria unctus est, Johannes non exprimit. Calv. Harm. Johann. p. 144. John xii. 12, 13, much people are said to meet Jesus on the day after his arrival at Bethany, not on the day after his unction. See John xii. 9. St. John has recorded events on the sixth and on the fifth day before the passover; and then, John xiii. 1, he proceeds to the evening on which the passover was eaten. On this account he anticipates the history of Jesus's unction; and he naturally anticipates it on mentioning the place where it happened.

    2dly. "The scene in St. John is the house of Martha, or of Lazarus; in the other evangelists, that of Simon the leper.

    "Ans. St. John lays the scene in general at Bethany. "It seems probable that Lazarus would not have been called eiv twn anakeimenwn, if he had been the host.

    "Martha, the sister of Lazarus, might show Jesus honour by ministering to him in any house as well as her own. 'She was Simon's neighbour, and perhaps his relation,' Dr. Priestley, Harm. p. 102. Our Lord's affection for Lazarus and his sister, and the recent miracle wrought on Lazarus, were very sufficient reasons for Simon's invitation of such neighbouring guests.

    3dly. "St. John mentions the feet of Jesus as anointed by Mary, and wiped with her hair; the other evangelists say that the ointment was poured on Jesus's head.

    "Ans. It is no where asserted that the unction was of Jesus's head only, or of his feet only: both actions are consistent; and St. John, in his supplemental history, may very well have added the respectful conduct of Mary, that, after having anointed Jesus's head, she proceeded to anoint his feet, and even to wipe them with her hair.

    4thly. "In St. John, Judas alone murmurs: in St. Matthew, the disciples have indignation; or, as St. Mark expresses it, some have indignation among themselves.

    "Ans. Dr. Lardner says, Serm. vol. ii. p. 316: 'It is well known to be very common with all writers to use the plural number when one person only is intended; nor is it impossible that others might have some uneasiness about it, though they were far from being so disgusted at it as Judas was.

    And their concern for the poor was sincere: his was self- interested and mere pretense.' Grotius's words are: Reprehensa est hoc nomine mulier ab uno discipulorum; nam ita pluralis accipi solet.

    5thly. "The vindications of the woman by our Lord differ so much as to show that the occasions were different.

    "Ans. St, John's words are indeed thus misinterpreted by Baronius: Let her alone, that she may keep it against the day of my burial, alluding to, Mark xvi. 1. See Lightfoot, Harm. p. 27. See also Lightfoot, ib. l. 251. 'She hath kept it yet, and not spent all; that she may bestow it on a charitable use, the anointing of my body to its burial.' "Whiston also, Harm. 129, gives a wrong sense to the words. She hath spent but little of it now: she hath reserved the main part of it for a fitter time, the day before my delivery to the Jews; making this a prediction of what passed, ver. 6-13; Mark xiv. 3-9. It must be observed that John xii. 7, there is a remarkable various reading: ina eiv thn hmeran tou entafiasmou mou thrhsh auto. See Wetstein, and add Codd. Vercell.

    and Veron. in Blanchini. Of this reading we have a sound interpretation in Mill, proleg. xlv. Sine eam ut opportune usa hoc unguento, velut ad sepulturam meam, jamjam occidendi, illud servasse ostendatur. And likewise in Bengelius ad loc. who observes that the common reading is, Faciioris sensus causta; and adds, Verbum thrhsh servaret, pendet ex praeterito, cujus vis latet in afev authn, i.e. Noli reprehendere hanc, quoe unguentum ideo nec vendidit, nec pauperibus dedit, ut, &c. And the common reading is thus rightly explained by Lightfoot, 2, 588. 'If Baronius's exposition do not take, then add this clause:-Let her alone; for this may be an argument and sign that she hath not done this vainly, luxuriously, or upon any delicacy spent so costly an ointment upon me; because she hath reserved it for this time, wherein I am so near my grave and funeral, and poured it not on me before.' Lardner's comment, ubi supra, p. 312, is applicable to the three evangelists. If this ointment were laid out upon a dead body, you would not think it too much. You may consider this anointing as an embalming of me. The words are a prediction of Christ's death, which was to happen on the third day after; and they are a prediction beautifully taken from the occasion. She has done this to embalm me, Matthew. She has anticipated the embalming of me, Mark.

    She has not sold this ointment, and given it to the poor, that she might reserve it to this day, which is, as it were, the day of my embalming, so soon is my burial to follow, John.

    "Dr. Scott, on Matthew, quotes the following passage from Theophylact: eqov hn toiv ioudaioiv meta murwn entafiazein ta swmata, wv kai oi aiguptioi epoioun, dia to ashpta threisqdi, kai aneu duswdiav. It was a custom among the Jews, as well as among the Egyptians, to embalm the bodies of the dead, as well to keep them from putrefaction, as to prevent offensive smells.

    The expressions therefore of the three evangelists agree in sense and substance. I have explained the more difficult in St. John; leaving every one to his own judgment whether it be the true one or not; though I incline to think that the unusual phrase ought generally to be admitted into the text.

    "6thly. In St. John, Mary anoints Jesus in Matthew and Mark, a woman not named.

    "Ans. Lardner says, ubi supra, p. 315. 'St. John having before given the history of the resurrection of Lazarus, it was very natural for him, when he came to relate this anointing of our Lord, to say by whom it was done. But the two former evangelists having never mentioned Lazarus or his sisters in their Gospels, when they came to relate this action forbear to mention any name, and speak only of a certain woman. Luke x. 38-42, has an account of our Lord's being entertained at the house of Martha. But he says nothing of this anointing. If he had related it, I make no question that he, like St. John, would have said by whom it was done.' Upon the whole, there is no solid objection to the hypothesis, that we have three accounts of the same transaction. But it is incredible that there should be two unctions of Jesus, in Bethany, within four days, not plainly distinguished from each other; that the kind and price of the ointment should be the same; that the two actions should be censured in the same manner; and that words to the same effect should be used in defense of the woman who anointed Jesus, within so short a time, in the same place, and among the same persons. See Doddridge on John xii. 1. As to the precise time of this transaction, it is natural to conclude from the accounts of Matthew and Mark, that it happened two days before the passover. I had much pleasure in observing that Mr. Jebb, in his Harmony, assigns it the same order as I do. I likewise find in Ward's Dissertations, p. 112, the following remark.

    'John only mentions the day when Jesus came to Bethany, without specifying the time when he was entertained there by Simon the leper; whereas the other two evangelists acquaint us with the day when that was done, and what followed upon it, with relation to Judas.' And again, Wall says, Critical Notes, v. 3. p. l2: 'Wednesday he seems to have stayed at Bethany, and supped there. At which supper, Mary, sister of Lazarus, poured that ointment on his body which he interpreted to be for his burial.' And on John xii. 2: 'This seems to be the same supper which Matthew and Mark do say was at the house of Simon the leper; for there it was that Mary anointed him. But then we must not take it to be the same night that he came to Bethany, but two days before the passover.' "That Judas went to the high priests on the evening or night of our Wednesday, may be collected from ver. 14-17, and the parallel places in this harmony; and he seems to have acted partly in disgust at what had passed. This is a good argument for fixing the unction for Wednesday. As it will appear that the other apostles did not suspect his treachery, we may suppose that Judas withdrew himself clandestinely, probably after our Lord had retired to privacy and devotion. Our Lord's words, chap. x16: 2, may have led Mary to show this respect to Jesus, lest no future opportunity should offer. See Lardner, ubi supra, p. 327. Dr. Priestley thinks that 'if the verses that contain this story in ver. 6-13, be considered, they will be found to stand very awkwardly in their present situation, where they interrupt an account of a consultation among the Jews about putting Jesus to death.' Harm. p. 100. But it seems to me that the story has a remarkably apt connection with the preceding and subsequent history. The Jewish rulers consult how they may take Jesus by craft, and without raising a tumult among the people. An accident happens which offends one of Jesus's familiar attendants; who immediately repairs to Jesus's enemies, and receives from them a bribe to betray him in the absence of the multitude." Newcome's Harmony, Notes p. 39, &c.

    I have added the above, not from a conviction that the point is so elucidated as to settle the controversy, but merely to place before the reader both sides of the question. Still, sub judice lis est; and any man may doubt, consistently with the most genuine piety, whether the relations given by the evangelists, concerning the anointing of our Lord, should be understood of two different unctions, at two different times, in two different places, by two different persons; or whether they are not different accounts, with some varying circumstances, of one and the same transaction. I incline, at present, to the former opinion, but it would be rash to decide where so many eminently learned and wise men have disagreed.

    The question considered, whether our Lord ate the passover with his disciples before he suffered? Every candid person must allow that there are great difficulties relative to the time in which our Lord ate the last passover with his disciples. In the Introduction to my Discourse on the nature and design of the Holy Eucharist, I have examined this subject at large, and considered the four following opinions, viz. I. Our Lord did not eat the passover on the last year of his ministry. II. Our Lord did eat it that year; and at the same time with the Jews. III. He did eat it that year, but not at the same time with the Jews. IV. He did eat a passover of his own instituting, but widely differing from that eaten by the Jews. The two first opinions do not appear to be solidly supported. The two last are of the most importance, are the most likely, and may be harmonized. I shall introduce a few observations on each in this place. And I. On the opinion that "our Lord did eat the passover this year, but not at the same time with the Jews." Dr. Cudworth, who of all others has handled this subject best, has proved from the Talmud, Mishna, and some of the most reputable of the Jewish rabbins, that the ancient Jews, about our saviour's time, often solemnized as well the passovers as the other feasts, upon the ferias next before and after the Sabbaths. And, that as the Jews in ancient times reckoned the new moons, not according to astronomical exactness, but according to the fasiv, or moon's appearance: and, as this appearance might happen a day later than the real time, consequently there might be a whole day of difference in the time of celebrating one of these feasts, which depended on a particular day of the month; the days of the month being counted from the fasiv, or appearance of the new moon. As he describes the whole manner of doing this, both from the Babylonish Talmud, and from Maimonides, I shall give an extract from this part of his work, that my readers may have the whole argument before them.

    "In the great or outer court there was a house called Beth Yazek, where the senate sat all the 30th day of every month, to receive the witnesses of the moon's appearance, and to examine them. If there came approved witnesses on the 30th day, who could state they had seen the new moon, the chief man of the senate stood up, and cried dqm mekuddash, it is sanctified; and the people standing by caught the word from him, and cried, Mekuddash! mekuddash! But if, when the consistory had sat all the day, and there came no approved witnesses of the phasis, or appearance of the new moon, then they made an intercalation of one day in the former month, and decreed the following one and thirtieth day to be the calends.

    But if, after the fourth or fifth day, or even before the end of the month, respectable witnesses came from far, and testified they had seen the new moon in its due time, the senate were bound to alter the beginning of the month, and reckon it a day sooner, viz. from the thirtieth day.

    "As the senate were very unwilling to be at the trouble of a second consecration, when they had even fixed on a wrong day, and therefore received very reluctantly the testimony of such witnesses as those last mentioned, they afterwards made a statute to this effect-That whatsoever time the senate should conclude on for the calends of the mouth, though it were certain they were in the wrong, yet all were bound to order their feasts according to it." This, Dr. Cudworth supposes, actually took place in the time of our Lord; and "as it is not likely that our Lord would submit to this perversion of the original custom, and that following the true fasiv, or appearance of the new moon, confirmed by sufficient witnesses, he and his disciples ate the passover on that day; but the Jews, following the pertinacious decree of the Sanhedrin, did not eat it till the day following." Dr. C. farther shows from Epiphanius, that there was a contention, qorubov, a tumult, among the Jews about the passover, that very year. Hence it is likely that what was the real paschal day to our Lord, his disciples, and many other pious Jews who adopted the true fasiv phasis, was only the preparation or antecedent evening to others, who acted on the decree of the senate. Besides, it is worthy of note, that not only the Karaites, who do not acknowledge the authority of the Sanhedrin, but also the rabbins themselves grant that, where the case is doubtful, the passover should be celebrated with the same ceremonies, two days together; and it was always doubtful, when the appearance of the new moon could not be fully ascertained.

    Bishop Pearce supposes that it was lawful for the Jews to eat the paschal lamb at any time between the evening of Thursday, and that of Friday; and that this permission was necessary, because of the immense number of lambs which were to be killed for that purpose: as, in one year there were not fewer than 256,500 lambs offered. See Josephus, War, b. vii. c. 9. sect. 3. In ver. 17, it is said, Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, (th de prwth twn azumwn,) the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? As the feast of unleavened bread did not begin till the day after the passover, the fifteenth day of the month, Lev. xxiii. 5, 6; Num. xxviii. 16, 17, this could not have been properly the first day of that feast; but, as the Jews began to eat unleavened bread on the fourteenth day, Exod. xii. 18, this day was often termed the first of unleavened bread.

    Now it appears that the evangelists use it in this sense, and call even the paschal day by this name, see Mark xiv. 12; Luke xxii. 7.

    At first view, this third opinion, which states that Christ did eat the passover with his disciples that year, but not in the same hour with the Jews; and that he expired on the cross the same hour in which the paschal lamb was killed, seems the most probable. For it appears, from what has already been remarked, that our Lord and his disciples ate the passover some hours before the Jews ate theirs; for they, according to custom, ate theirs at the end of the fourteenth day, but Christ appears to have eaten his the preceding evening, which was the beginning of the same sixth day of the week, or Friday, for the Jews began their day at sun-setting; we at midnight. Thus Christ ate the passover the same day with the Jews, but not on the same hour. Christ, therefore, kept this passover the beginning of the fourteenth day, the precise day in which the Jews had eaten their first passover in Egypt: see Exodus xii. 6-19. And in the same part of the same day in which they had sacrificed their first paschal lamb, viz. between the two evenings, i, e, between the sun's declining west and his setting, Jesus, our passover was sacrificed for us. For it was the third hour, in the course of between 9 and 12, Mark xv. 25, that Christ was nailed to the cross: and in the course of the ninth hour, between 12 and 3 in the afternoon, chap. xxvii. 46; Mark xv. 34, Jesus, knowing that the antetype had accomplished every thing shadowed forth by the type, said, "It is FINISHED," tetelestai, completed, perfected, and, having thus said, he bowed his head, and dismissed his spirit. See on John xix. 14,30.

    Probably there is but one objection of any force that lies against the opinion, that our Lord ate his passover some hours before the Jews in general ate theirs; which is that, if our Lord did eat the passover the evening before the Jews in general ate theirs, it could not have been sacrificed according to the law; nor is it at all likely that the blood was sprinkled at the foot of the altar. If, therefore, the blood was not thus sprinkled by one of the priests, that which constituted the very essence of the rite, as ordained by God, was lacking in that celebrated by our Lord.

    To this it is answered:-First, we have already seen that, in consequence of the immense number of sacrifices to be offered on the paschal solemnity, it is highly probable the Jews were obliged to employ two days for this work. It is not at all likely that the blood of 256,500 lambs could be shed and sprinkled at one altar, in the course of one day, by all the priests in Jerusalem, or indeed in the Holy Land; since they had but that one altar where they could legally sprinkle the blood of the victims.

    Secondly, we have also seen that, in cases of doubt relative to the time of the appearance of the new moon, the Jews were permitted to hold the passover both days; and that it is probable such a dubious case existed at the time in question. In any of these cases the lamb might have been killed and its blood sprinkled according to the rules and ceremonies of the Jewish Church.

    Thirdly, as our Lord was the true paschal lamb, who was, in a few hours after this time, to bear away the sin of the world, he might dispense with this part of the ceremony, and act as Lord of his own institution in this, as he had done before in the case of the Sabbath. At any rate, as it seems probable that he ate the passover at this time, and that he died about the time the Jews offered theirs, it may be fully presumed that he left nothing undone towards a due performance of the rite which the present necessity required, or the law of God could demand.

    The objection that our Lord and his disciples appear to have sat or reclined at table all the time they ate what is supposed above to have been the passover, contrary to the paschal institution, which required them to eat it standing, with their staves in their hands, their loins girded, and their shoes on, cannot be considered as having any great weight in it; for, though the terms anekeito, ver. 20, and anepese, Luke xxii. 14, are used in reference to their eating that evening, and these words signify reclining at table, or on a couch, as is the custom of the orientals, it does not follow that they must necessarily be restrained to that meaning; nor does it appear that this part of the ceremony was much attended to, perhaps not at all, in the latter days of the Jewish Church.

    The second opinion which we have to examine is this: Our Lord did eat a passover of his own instituting, but widely different from that eaten by the Jews.

    Mr. Toinard, in his Greek Harmony of the Gospels, strongly contends that our Lord did not eat what is commonly called the passover this year, but another, of a mystical kind. His chief arguments are the following:-It is indubitably evident, from the text of St. John, that the night on the beginning of which our Lord supped with his disciples, and instituted the holy sacrament, was not that on which the Jews celebrated the passover; but the preceding evening, on which the passover could not be legally offered. The conclusion is evident from the following passages: John xiii. 1.

    Now before the feast of the passover, Jesus knowing, &c. John xiii. 2. And supper, (not the paschal, but an ordinary supper,) being ended, &c. John xiii. 27. That thou doest, do quickly. John xiii. 28. Now no one at the table knew for what intent he spake this. John xiii. 29. For some thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy what we have need of against the feast, &c. John xviii. 28. Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas to the hall of judgment, and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the passover. John xix. 14. And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour. Now as it appears that at this time the disciples thought our Lord had ordered Judas to go and bring what was necessary for the passover, and they were then supping together, it is evident that it was not the paschal lamb on which they were supping; and it is as evident, from the unwillingness of the Jews to go into the hall of judgment, that they had not as yet eaten the passover. These words are plain, and can be taken in no other sense, without offering them the greatest violence.

    Mr. Toinard, having found that our Lord was crucified the sixth day of the week, (Friday,) during the paschal solemnity, in the thirty-third year of the vulgar aera, and that the paschal moon of that year was not in conjunction with the sun till the afternoon of Thursday the 19th of March, and that the new moon could not be seen in Judea until the following day, (Friday,) concluded that the intelligence of the fasiv, or appearance of the new moon, could not be made by the witnesses to the beth din, or senate, sooner than Saturday morning, the 21st of March. That the first day of the first Jewish month, Nisan, could not continence that thirty-third year sooner than the setting of the sun on Friday, March 20th; and, consequently, that Friday, April 3d, on which Christ died, was the 14th of Nisan, (not the 15th,) the day appointed by the law for the celebration of the passover. All these points he took care to have ascertained by the nicest astronomical calculations, in which he was assisted by a very eminent astronomer and mathematician, Bullialdus. (Mr. Bouilleau.) These two last opinions, apparently contradictory, and which alone, of all those offered on the subject, deserve consideration, may be brought to harmonize. That Jesus ate the passover with his disciples the evening before the Jews ate theirs, seems pretty clearly proved from the text of St. Luke, and the arguments founded on that text.

    All that is assumed there, to make the whole consistent, is, that the Jews that year held the passover both on the 13th and 14th of Nisan, because of the reasons already assigned: and that therefore Peter and John, who were employed on this business, might have got the blood legally sprinkled by the hands of a priest, which was all that was necessary to the legality of the rite.

    But, secondly, should it appear improbable that such double celebration took place at this time, and that our Lord could not have eaten the passover that year with his disciples, as he died on the very hour on which the paschal lamb was slain, and consequently before he could legally eat the passover, how then can the text of St. Luke be reconciled with this fact? I answer, with the utmost ease; by substituting a passover for the passover, and simply assuming that our Lord at this time instituted the holy EUCHARIST, in place of the PASCHAL LAMB: and thus it will appear he ate a passover with his disciples the evening before his death, viz. the mystical passover, or sacrament of his body and blood; and that this was the passover which he so ardently longed to eat with his disciples before he suffered. This is the opinion of Mr. Toinard, and, if granted, solves every difficulty. Thus the whole controversy is brought into a very narrow compass: Our Lord did eat a passover with his disciples some short time before he died:-the question is, What passover did he eat-the regular legal passover, or a mystical one? That he ate a passover is, I think, demonstrated: but whether the literal or mystical one, is a matter of doubt.

    On this point, good and learned men may innocently hesitate and differ: but on either hypothesis, the text of the evangelists is unimpeachable, and all shadow of contradiction done away: for the question then rests on the peculiar meaning of names and words. On this hypothesis, the preparation of the passover must be considered as implying no more than-1. Providing a convenient room. 2. Bringing water for the baking on the following day, because on that day the bringing of the water would have been unlawful. 3.

    Making inquisition for the leaven, that every thing of this kind might be removed from the house where the passover was to be eaten, according to the very strict and awful command of God, Exod. xii. 15-20; xxiii. 15; xxxiv. 25.

    These, it is probable, were the acts of preparation which the disciples were commanded to perform, ver. 17; Mark xiv. 13, 14; Luke xxii. 8-11, and which, on their arrival at the city, they punctually executed. See ver. 19; Mark xiv. 16; Luke xxii. 13. Thus every thing was prepared, and the holy sacrament instituted, which should, in the Christian Church, take place of the Jewish passover, and continue to be a memorial of the sacrifice which Christ was about to make by his death on the cross: for as the paschal lamb had showed forth his death till he came, this death fulfilled the design of the rite, and sealed up the vision and prophecy.

    All preparations for the true paschal sacrifice being now made, Jesus was immediately betrayed, shortly after apprehended, and in a few hours expired upon the cross. It is therefore very likely that he did not literally eat the passover this year; and may I not add, that it is more than probable that the passover was not eaten in the whole land of Judea on this occasion? The rending of the vail of the temple, chap. xxvii. 51; Mark xv. 38; Luke xxiii. 45, the terrible earthquake, chap. xxvii. 51-54; the dismal and unnatural darkness, which was over the whole land of Judea, from the sixth hour, (twelve o'clock,) to the ninth hour (i.e. three o'clock in the afternoon,) with all the other prodigies which took place on this awful occasion, we may naturally conclude, were more than sufficient to terrify and appal this guilty nation, and totally to prevent the celebration of the paschal ceremonies. Indeed, the time in which killing the sacrifices, and sprinkling the blood of the lambs, should have been performed, was wholly occupied with these most dreadful portents; and it would be absurd to suppose that, under such terrible evidences of the Divine indignation, any religious ordinances or festive preparations could possibly have taken place.

    My readers will probably be surprised to see the preceding opinions so dissentient among themselves, and the plausible reasons by which they are respectively supported, where each seems by turns to prevail. When I took up the question, I had no suspicion that it was encumbered with so many difficulties. These I now feel and acknowledge; nevertheless, I think the plan of reconciling the texts of the evangelists, particularly St. Luke and St. John, which I have adopted above, is natural, and, I am in hopes, will not appear altogether unsatisfactory to my readers. On the subject, circumstanced as it is, hypothesis alone can prevail; for indubitable evidence and certainty cannot be obtained. The morning of the resurrection is probably the nearest period in which accurate information on this point can be expected. Je suis trompe, says Bouilleau, si cete question peut etre jamais bien eclaircie. "If I be not mistaken, this question will never be thoroughly understood." It would be presumptuous to say, Christ did eat the passover this last year of his ministry: it would be as hazardous to say he did not eat it. The middle way is the safest; and it is that which is adopted above. One thing is sufficiently evident, that Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed for us; and that he has instituted the holy eucharist, to be a perpetual memorial of that his precious death until his coming again: and they who, with a sincere heart, and true faith in his passion and death, partake of it, shall be made partakers of his most blessed body and blood. Reader, praise God for the atonement, and rest not without an application of it to thy own soul.

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