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men were to be interested; and yet be perfectly regardless of time and place, when and where the facts occurred, and sayings were had, is strange indeed. And stranger still, that in almost all instances, where they have mentioned the date or laid the venue of any fact, they disagree toto cælo.
First as to concealment of time and place. Can any one tell on what mount, Christ is said by Matthew, to have delivered his famous sermon! It is a matter of conjecture merely. What great wilderness was that in which Christ was tempted? All a matter of speculation. According to Matthew, the first thing Christ did, after he came down from the mount, was to cure the leper. He then goes to Capernaum, where he cures the Centurions' servant. After this cure, he enters Simon Peter's house, (now John says that Peter lived in Bethsaida,) and cures his wife's mother.Luke says that after his first sermon at Nazareth, he went to Capernaum, where he cast out' a devil, and then entered Peter's house, and cured his wifes' mother. No leper yet. Luke then makes him preach in the synagogues of Galilee, and call Peter and others; and then he adds: “And it came to pass when he was in a certain city,” &c., he cured the leper.Now what city? Were the cities so numerous in Judea, that Luke must write in this manner? We certainly must understand him as saying that the leper was cured after Peter's mother in law. Matthew expressly tells us, she was cured first. Luke says the leper was cured in a cityMatthew does not say directly where, but it must have been at the foot of the mountain or between it and Capernanum. All this transpired, according to Matthew, after the sermon on the mount_according to Luke, before. I have no hesitation in saying, that at least one hundred such palpable contradictions, as to time and place, can be detected in the New Testament.
It may be asked, how I can detect so many disagreements as to time, when I admit, there is such indefiniteness as to both time and place, in their narrations. I answer, from the order in which the events are narrated by each; as in the instance we have just had under consideration, and also in that of curing the withered hand.' Mark and Luke relate it long before the case of him called Legion, and before the sending out of the apostles; but Matthew after. You probably will say, the evangelists did not intend that the events should follow each other in their books in the order they happened. They must have been singular historians then and have intended to deceive. Each one of these books is independent of the other. Suppose but one had been preserved or admitted as canonical; Matthew's, for instance; would you have ever had any suspicion that he had not related the events in the order they happened? And if Mark's book had been bound in the volume, as apocryphal, would you not have said that his narration was erroneous and false, and calculated to give us false impressions, as to the order in which the facts followed each other? But what must compel you to acknowledge the vagueness of the first three writers, is, that you cannot and will not pretend to say, how long it was from Christ's baptism to his crucifixion. If you had had but one gospel, as you call it, say either Matthew, Mark, or Luke, you never would have had the least suspicion that it was more than a year, and would have denied stoutly, that it could have been more than two years, even if John's gospel had been preserved and declared apocryphal. I admit that the season of the year in which the various events happened, is not mentioned by either of the three first; nor do they let us know at what season they happened, by referring to any of the great feasts, except the feast of the passover, at which Jesus was crucified.
It is this vagueness whish affords you such fine opportunities for quibling and evasion. If I assert, that according to Matthew, it could not have been more than a year from the baptism to the crucifixion; you will reply, that it may have been three or twenty—that the evangelists wrote so vaguely and indefinitely, that it is impossible to determine how long it was--yet you are bound to admit, that upon a fair and a rational construction of Matthew's work, considered as independent of the rest, it could not have been more than one. Johh is more particular. He gives us to understand, that it was a little more than two years. He tells us, that soon after Christ's baptism, he went up to Jerusalem at the feast of the passover; that again he went up at a feast of the Jews—ofter which he tells us in his 6th chapter, that the feast of the passover wag (again) nigh at hand, to which it is evident Jesus did not go. One year has now elapsed
-but he went up after this to the feast of tabernacles—was there again at the dedication feast. And lastly, he went there at the passover, when he is put to death; this makes the two years. It appears, that there was one feast of the passover he did not attend.
What I wish to call the reader's particular attention to at this time is this, that at his first visit to Jerusalem, according to John, he drove the money changers out of the temple. This was two years before his crucifixion; but according to the other three, this piece of lawless violence happened during the feast at which he was crucified. They give us not the least intimation that he attended any other. The only fetch, that can be resorted to here, in order to avoid a fatal discrepancy, is, that he might have overthrown the tables twice. But is it probable that he ever did, even once? He could not have done it, if he had been a peaceable man; for these persons whom he is reported to have disturbed, were about a lawful business, in a lawful place. They were not, as many suppose, in the
temple proper-in the holy place, or the holiest of all; but in that row of buildings called the porticoes, surrounding the court of the Gentiles; which buildings were rented out no doubt by the proper authorities, to individuals, for the purpose of prosecuting their various occupations, in the same manner as the apartments in the Palais royal in Paris, are at this day. The money changers and cattle dealers, were not on ground held holy, even by the most pious or superstitious Jew. What right had he then, as a man; for he was now acting as such according to your own notions; to disturb these people in their lawful occupations, and commit violence on their persons? You must either admit that he did not do it, or, that he was acting the part of a ruffian.
At least nine out of ten of our people, liken the temple to one of their buildings called churches, and believe that these money changers and cattle dealers were in the broad aisle, counting their cash, and making contracts for the sale of beef. They are fully persuaded that Christ, when he is said to have preached in the temple, went up into the puipit of a regularly built church, took his text, and made a formal sermon to a large and attentive audience. Whereas the place at which he must have preached, if he preached at all, was much more public than the Park or the Battery in New York, or Washington square in Philadelphia. This temple, by which was meant an inclosure much larger than either of the aforementioned public walks, was a place of resort for men of business, as well as for those devoted to pleasure and amusement.
Many fanatics have been found in this, our day, preaching in markets and other pulic places. We all know in what estimation these street preachers are held.
I will now take up the great fact of the Testament, on which your religion rests; and if I do not show a palpable contradiction between Matthew and Luke, as to place—the place where Christ is said to have appeared to his disciples, after the resurrection, I will confess my inability to understand the plainest proposition. Matthew tells us, that Jesus told his disciples more than once, that he should be put to death, but would rise again; and he once told them, that after he yas risen, he would go before them into Galilee; (now remember that Galilee is forty or fifty miles from Jerusalem.) He is crucified on Friday—probably put upon the cross before midday; from which time, Matthew says, there was darkness over all the land, till 3 o'clock, P. M. (the ninth hour,) when he died. Joseph of Arimathea, (a town some twenty or thirty miles from Jerusalem,) who had been a secret disciple of Jesus, petitioned Pilate, the Roman Governor, for permission to take the body--which being granted, he took it down and placed it in his own new vault, at Jerusalem; where he did not live. We pass over other particulars, as they are not material to our present question of discrepancy. On Sunday morning, about daylight, as two women were approaching the vault, an angel came down and opened it; and turning to the women said: “Ye seek Jesus, who was crucified; he is not here; for he is risen, as he said; come see the place where the Lord lay: and go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him, lo, I have told you." That is, “Jesus is on his way to Galilee, as he said he would go there after his resurrection. Now run and tell his disciples all this, that they may immediately start for that district, if they intend to see him; for they must go there in order to see him; and they ought not to keep him waiting there.” The women obeyed orders, and did run to bring the disciples word.'
Now why the necessity of this great haste, if Jesus was to remain in Jerusalem a week, and have frequent interviews with these disciples? In truth, what the necessity of this message at all, if Jesus was not on his way to Galilee? Did the angel state a falsehood, when he said that Jesus was on his way to Galilee? Did he intend to send these eleven disciples on a Tom-fools' or an April-fools' errand; holding out to them, as an inducement to go to Galilee, that Jesus was on his way thither; knowing at the same time that he was not and did not contemplate going? Did he not intend that they should start immediately? If they had started, they could not have been back that same day. They did start as we shall see presently. I said the women obeyed orders, and did run to carry the disciples word, not only that Jesus had risen, but that he was journeying (upagon) to Galilee—the communication of this latter circumstance, to the disciples, seemed the great object of the angel's anxiety. On their way, the women fell in with Jesus. He told them just what the angel told them, viz: “Go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there they shall see me.”. Was not this equivalent to saying: “Tell my brethren if they wish to see me, they must go to Galilee; for they can see me no where else; as I told them, before my crucifixion, I would go before them to Galilee, after my resurrection.” Is it not evident he had not yet seen them, and also, that he did not expect or intend to see them, till he should see them in Galilee? Else, why send them this word? Did not he intend they should go there? If he intended to see them in Jerusalem, that same day, why send them word they must go to Galilee to see him? The women left Jesus to go to the disciples. Here Matthew takes occasion to narrate what occurrrd between the chief priests and the guard; and immediately after finishing this narration, he adds: “Then (to wit, that same day) the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Glost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” The author intends to say, that some worshipped him, and some doubted.
Why did the disciples go to Galilee? Was it not because the women had told them what the angel and Jesus had enjoined upon them, to tell them? Can any other reason be given? Does not the author intend we shall so understand him?
I ask these questions, apprehending you may invent some other reason, why they went to Galilee; merely because Matthew has not said expressly, that the women did see the eleven, and deliver the message. But if you deny that the women did see the eleven, and deliver the message, I will bring up Luke against you, who says they told all these things to the eleven, and all the rest. Why did some doubt, if they had seen him before? I submit it to the ingenuous reader, if, from the very terms in which this interview is stated, it is not manifest, that the author intended to be understood that this was the first interviow after the resurrection. I also ask