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but his stay at this time was not long there, because his purpose was to go to Jerusalem From the be
at the approaching feast of the passover f.
ginning of the Gospels to
As soon as our Saviour came to Jerusalem, the first thing he did was to reform the Maith, ix. 8. public abuse and profanation of the temple, occasioned by the shops which moneychangers had set up, and the beasts which the dealers therein used to bring into the
court of the Gentiles fo.
This our Lord's zeal for his Father's honour could not well
brook; and therefore, with a scourge made of cords, he drove all the sellers || and bar-
+ This feast is so well known, and has been so fully explained at the time of its first institution, Exod. xii. that we need only remind our reader, that from the word pasach, which signifies to leap or skip over, the Jews gave the name of Pascha or Passover, to that great festival which was annually appointed in commemoration of their coming forth out of Egypt; because, the night before their departure, the destroying angel, who slew the first-born of the Egyptians, passed over the houses of the Israelites which were marked with the blood of the lamb killed the evening before, and for this reason called the paschal lamb. The feast itself began on the fourteenth day of Nisan, which is the first month in their sacred, but the seventh in the civil year, and answers in part to our March and April; but as the Jews began their days at six in the evening, this feast was to continue seven days compleat, and so ended on the one and twentieth day in the evening. Calmet's Dictionary under the word.
+* There were three courts belonging to the temple. The court of the priests where the altar of incense stood; the court of the Israelites where the Jews that were clean, and the proselytes of justice, i. e. those who had embraced circumcision and the whole law of Moses, met at their devotions; and the court of the Gentiles, where the unclean Jew and the Gentile, who owned the true God, without professing Judaism, were permitted to come and worship. Now, under the same pretext of having the sacrifices near at hand, as well as out of a contempt of that court where the Gentile worshippers were permitted to enter, the priests, for their sordid gain, had permitted beasts and poultry to be brought within this court, and graziers and hucksters, (whose business properly was in the markets of Jerusalem) to mix with people at their devotions, which was an abuse notoriously scandalous. Whitby's Annotations, and Eachard's Ecclesiastical History, chap. iii.
| It may possibly be asked, How our Blessed Lord, with nothing but a whip in his hand, should be able to execute this heroic act upon a multitude of people, who might suffer damage in their wares, and consequently be in a disposition to resist him 2 Now, whoever considers that our Saviour had done enough already to prove himself a prophet sent from God, and that the general concession was, that a prophet
thus sent had sufficient authority to rectify disorders; if he remembers, at the same time, the great reverence that was constantly paid to the temple, and what titles of honour and respect were given it by God himself, cannot but allow that the present abuse of it was abominable, our Saviour’s zeal in redressing it commendable, and that, from all thinking and disinterested persons, it would consequently meet with countenance and approbation. Nor is it to be doubted, but that a consciousness of guilt in the profaners themselves, might, in some measure, contribute to their submission and acquiescence; even in the same manner as his enemies were struck backwards with a sense of their own guilt, as well as the majesty of his appearance, and fell down to the ground, when they came to apprehend him in the garden, John xviii. 6. Pool's Annotations, and Bishop Smallbrook’s Windication, p. 146. +* It was an appointment of the law that every man, from twenty years old and upwards, should annually pay into the treasury of the temple, in order to defray the expence of the daily sacrifices, the sum of half a shekel, Exod. xxx. 12. 15. This, and the voluntary oblations of people of all ranks, occasioned a necessity of changing greater coin into less, and very often of foreign coins into that which was current in the nation. Under the pretence therefore of having things near at hand, the priests took this opportunity to gratify their covetousness, by letting out places to money-changers, who to make up their rent (which very likely was exorbitant) might extort from those that came to them, or (as Origen imagines) give them deyiele, 32iniuoy, base money instead of good, and so made the temple a den of thieves. Whitby's Annotations on Matth. xxi. 13. +* Whether it were the priests, the magistrates, or the common people, that put this question to our Saviour, it is certain that they do not in the least pretend to justify the profanation which he had thus reformed; and therefore their principle seems to have been, “That let the corruptions and abuses in a church be never so great, yet they were not to be reformed, but either by the ordinary authority of the magistrate, or by an extraordinary authority from God. Such an authority they were ready to acknowledge in prophets; but then they expected that those who pretended to this, and to have their mission from
Mark ii. 23.
A. M. 4034, evidence of his having a commission so to do: But to this he made no other reply than *::::::: by foretelling his own resurrection, expressed in the metaphor of the temple, which they §. ..." understood of the temple at Jerusalem, that had been || six and forty years a-building, vule, or *, but he of the temple+ of his own body, which in three days, after they had slain it, he promised to revive. Though therefore at this time he refused to work any miracle at the instigation of the Jews, yet shortly after we find him working many, which surprised the whole city, and excited the curiosity of one person in particular, whose name was Nicodemus, (a considerable man in the Sanhedrim and of the sect of the Pharisees), to repair to him (but privately and in the night-time, for fear of being known), and to declare freely to him, “That he verily believed he was come immediately from heaven, because the miracles |* which he wrought were a demonstration
God, should be able to prove that mission by some
every way suitable to the Divine attributes, and to
mens endeavours to do well; which Spirit “bloweth where it listeth,” and is, as the
the question between Christ and Nicodemus was about what was requisite to prepare a man for the kingdom, i.e. God's church, and make him partaker of the gospel blessing. Certain it is, that “baptism by water” was not only the common method of receiving proselytes into the Jewish church, but it is declared likewise by our Lord himself to be the ordinary way of entering into his kingdom; “for he that believeth and is baptized, says he, shall be saved,” Mark. xvi. 16, and therefore he gave commission to his apostles “to make disciples in all nations by baptizing them,” Matth. xxviii. 19. Nay, so far are the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit from superseding the necessity of this ordinance, that in the apostolic age, we find them rather esteemed a proper predisposition for it: for when the Holy Ghost fell upon Cornelius and his company, in the same manner that it fell upon the apostles on the day of Penticost, Acts ii.2. what is St Peter’s inference from these miraculous gifts 2 Is it that the persons on whom they rested had no need of baptism 2 No; but rather that these extraordinary gifts were a full evidence that they were the proper objects of it; for, “can any one (says he) forbid water, that these should not be baptized 2’” So far is the baptism of the Spirit (even where it is undeniable) from excluding the baptism of water, and so strong a proof is the instance before us, that the graces of the Spirit may be the foundation of a just claim to baptism, but never (where the sacrament can be had) a lawful dispensation to any man for the refusal or neglect of it. Whitby's Annotations, and Stanhope on the Epistles and Gospels
+ Our Blessed Saviour might well wonder at Nciodemus's ignorance in the point of regeneration, when this was the common notion of proselytism among the Jews, that he who was washed, and circumcised, was looked upon as a recens natus, an infant new born: And when there were so many passages in the law and the prophets relating to this very doctrine; for what else can the meaning be of the “circumcision of the heart,” commanded by Moses, Deut. x. 16. of the “renewal of a clean and right spirit,” prayed for by David, Psal. li. 10. of the “ putting God's law in the inward parts,” mentioned by Jeremiah chap. xxxi. 33. and the giving of his people a “new heart and a new spirit,” promised by God, Ezek. xxxvi. 26? These, and many more, were intimations of the doctrine of regeneration; but the Pharisees were so taken up with their rites and traditions, that they gave small attention to the spiritual things of nearer and much greater concernment to their souls. Pool's and Beausobre's Annotations.
vol. iii. :
to The evangelist does no where mention the particular place where our Saviour began his baptism; but there is reason to presume that it was somewhere about Jericho, because there it was that John the Baptist first entered upon his ministry; because it seems expedient, that he should open the first scene of his office, where his faithful forerunner had given such glorious and advantageous testimonies of him, and in one and the same place, compleat John's baptism of repentance for sins, (which was preparatory to his coming) by the baptism of remission of sins, which he alone had proper power to give. Calmet's Commentary. -
From the beginning of the Gospels to Matth. ix. 8. Mark ii. 23.
Luke vi. 1.
mony, received proselytes (and that in vast numbers) by the same ceremony of baptism
About the time of John's imprisonment, our Lord, who, by the hands of his apostles f", had been baptizing for near seven or eight months in Judea, understanding that
* This Antipas, or Antipater, (for they are words of the same signification) was the son of Herod the Great, by one of his wives named Cleopatra, a native of Jerusalem. In his first will, his father (as we said before) named him successor to his kingdom; but afterwards he changed his mind, made his son Arche
laus king of Judea, and gave to Antipas the title on
ly of Tetrarch of Galilee and Petraea, which made him
to make a journey to Rome, with an intention to ask
the Pharisees began to be envious at him for the great multitudes of people that resorted to him, resolved to leave that province and pass into + Galilee, in order to enter
upon the more solemn part of his ministerial function.
In this journey it was neces
sary for him to pass through Samaria +*; and, as he travelled on foot, and the weather was hot, when he came within a little of +5 Sychar, he sent his disciples into the city == to buy provisions, and sat himself down by the side of a famous well, called Jacob's
While he was sitting there, a woman of a loose life and conversation came out of the city to draw water; and when he requested some of her to drink, she, perceiving that he was a Jew, took the freedom to ask him, How he could offer any such request to a Samaritan, since there were so great feuds, and so little dealings to between them and
themselves and despising others, upon their being baptized by such or such an eminent apostle, 1 Cor. i. i2. Beausobre's Annotations. # It is a province of Palestine, which extends it. self chiefly into the northern parts thereof. The tribes which it contains are, Issachar, Zebulun, Naphthali, and Asher, with part (as some say) of Dan, and Paraea, beyond the Jordan. On the north it is bounded by Lebanon and Syria; on the west by Phoenicia; on the south by Samaria; and on the east mostly by the river Jordan, and the sea of Galilee. It is generally divided into two parts, the Upper and the Lower Galilee, whereof the former is called Galilee of the Gentiles, Matth. iv. 15. either because it was chiefly possessed by the Gentiles, with Jews interspersed among them, or rather because it bordered upon Gentile nations, such as the Phoenicians, Syrians, and Arabians. The whole country (according to Josephus) was fruitful and well cultivated, and the people laboriousand industrious. The number of its towns and villages was prodigiously great, and so well inhabited, that the least of them did not contain less than fifteen thousand souls. The natives were a bold intrepid race of men, who defended themselves bravely against the foreign nations that surrounded them, but then their wealth and prowess made them seditious, and very apt to rebel against the Romans, for which they sometimes suffered very much. Whitby's Alphabetical Table. +* It is a province of Palestine (so called from its city of the same name, that was once the capital of the kingdom of Israel), which lies exactly between Judea to the south and Galilee to the north, and extends itself from the Mediterranean Sea westward to the river Jordan eastward, taking up the most consi. derable part of what formerly belonged to the tribe of Ephraim, and the half tribe of Manasseh, on the west side of Jordan. Wells's Geography of the New Tes. tament. +* Sychar is only a corrupt pronunciation of Sy. chem, or Shechem, which is the capital of the country that was once called Samaria. At present it is called Naplosa, and stands in a narrow valley, between Mount Gerizzim on the south (at the foot of which it is situate), and Ebal on the north. On Mount Gerizzim they had once a temple, which seemed to rival that of Jerusalem, but in the time of the Maccabees, it was destroyed by Hyrcanus, and what they
have now is only a little place of worship, to which, at certain seasons, they nevertheless repair for the performance of the rites of their religion; but what those rites are, it is not easy to say. The whole place, in short, is strangely decayed from what it was anciently : for it consists only of two streets, that lie parallel under Mount Gerizzim, but it is full of inhabitants, and the seat of a Bassa. Wells's Geography of the New Testament. +* It is much to be questioned, whether the well that is at present shewn to travellers for Jacob’s well, be that where our Saviour discoursed the Samaritan woman, because it seems to be too remote from the town for women to come thither to draw water; unless we suppose, that the city did formerly extend itself farther that way than it does now. However this be, the well is at present covered with a small vault into which you get down through a very strait hole, and then removing a broad flat stone, you discover the mouth of the well itself. It is dug in a firm rock, about three yards in diameter, and thirty five in depth; and, to confute the story which is commonly told to travellers, (viz. that it is all the year dry, except on the anniversary when our Saviour sat upon it, but that then it bubbles up with abundance of water) Mr Maundrell tells us, that when they came to sound it, they found no less than five yards of water in it. Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem, and Wells’s Geography of the New Testament. +* The chief reasons of the Jewish hatred against the Samaritans were these three, 1st, The foreign extraction of the Samaritans, they being most of them descendants from the Cutheans whom Salmanazar sent to Samaria, when he carried away the ten tribes into captivity, 2 Kings xviii. 9. 2dly, The difference of their religion and worship, forasmuch as that of
From the be.
the Samaritans was a kind of mixture of Jewish and
Pagan rites together; and, 3dly, The rival temple which the Samaritans had built on Mount Gerizzim, and consecrated to Jupiter Olympus, in order to avoid the persecution of Antiochus. Joseph. Antiq.lib. xii. c. 7. These were the chief causes of the animosities between them. The Jews, however, did not carry their resentment so high, but that in some cases they would traffic or buy any thing of them; but then the Pharisees came in with a tradition that they were not to borrow anything of them, or receive any kindness from them, nor drink of their water, or eat of their