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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-
terers from the sacred ground, overturned the tables to of the money-changers, and com-
manded those who dealt in doves or pigeons to take away their goods, and “make his
Father's house no longer a house of merchandise.”
This extraordinary procedure incensed the Jews to such a degree, that they came
and demanded of him by what f* authority he did these things, and to give them some

+ 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

Vol. III.

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

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Mark ii. 23.
Luke vi. I.

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

of it.”
..+2 Hereupon our Blessed Saviour took occasion to let him know, that this belief was
not the only qualification requisite to become his disciple, and then proceeded to in-
struct him in the great mystery of regeneration, telling him, “That as no production
could transcend the nature and condition of its parent flesh, for instance, though
never so much diversified, could still produce no more than flesh; so this formation
of a new creature was to be effected by different principles, namely, by the water of
baptism #3 washing away sins, and by the holy spirit, giving a power and efficacy to

God, should be able to prove that mission by some
miraculous operations.” But how they came to put
this question to our Lord, after they had seen his mi-
racles, and knew that he claimed a Divine commis-
sion, and had told them “that the works he had done
in his Father's name bore witness of him,” John v. 36.
can be imputed to nothing but their perverseness and
obstinate infidelity. Pool's Annotations.
| From Herod's beginning to rebuild the temple to
this first passover after our Saviour's baptism, it is a-
greed that the time was exactly six and forty years;
but then Josephus, Antiq. lib. xv. c. 14. tells us, that
the whole was finished in nine years and an half.
But this is to be understood of the grand building
only, since (according to the same author, lib. xx.
c. 8.) several new works and decorations were still
carrying on, and near eighteen thousand men employ-
ed therein, even to the time that young Agrippa was
made king of Judea, which was about the sixtieth
year of the Christian era. Calmet's Comment. and
Beausobre's Annotations.
+ The Jews had a maxim or proverbial speech a-
mong them, that the sanctuary of sanctuaries was the
Messiah, and therefore there could be no impropriety
in our Saviour's calling his body a temple: For if the
apostle calls our bodies the temple of God, as he does
1 Cor. iii. 16. and 2 Cor. vi. 16. how much more does
that title belong to the body of Christ, in which “the
fulness of the Godhead dwelt” always and insepara-
bly Pool's and Beausobre's Annotations.
|*But are miracles alone a demonstration of a per-
son's being sent by God Nicodemus was not igno-
rant of the caution which Moses had given the Jews
against false prophets, Deut. xii.1, &c. nor does he
here speak of miracles in general, but of those parti-
cular ones which Jesus had done in the time of the
passover; and these were so great in their nature, so
solid in their proof, so beneficial in their effects, and
in their end so well designed to confirm a doctrine

every way suitable to the Divine attributes, and to
fulfil the prophecies concerning the Messiah, “the
Sun of Righteousness, who was to rise with healing
in his wings,” Mal. iv. 2. that there was the greatest
assurance that none without an omnipotent hand could
do them. Not to say that Nicodemus might have
both examined the doctrine and enquired into the
life of Jesus, before he made that inference from his
miracles. Pool's Annotations, and Calmet's Com-
to Some have imagined, from the seeming abrupt-
ness of the answer which our Lord gives Nicodemus,
that Nicodemus might have put some previous que-
stion to him (not recorded by the evangelist) con-
cerning the means of attaining the kingdom of God,
i. e. eternal happiness, or of qualisying himself to be
a disciple of the Messiah; for in that sense the king-
dom of God is likewise taken. But (besides that the
term answered does not always in the New Testa-
ment signify a reply to a question already propound-
ed, but very frequently no more than the beginning
of a new speech) the connection between the compli-
ment which Nicodemus makes our Lord and our
Lord's reply to it, will not be amiss, if we can but
suppose in the words this implication :-" Thy ac-
knowledgment of my Divine mission and authori-
ty, free and generous though it be, will not be suf-
ficient to render thee a member of that kingdom
which I am going to set up; for “except a man be
born again,” i.e. renewed in his mind, will, and af.
fections, by the operation of the Holy Ghost, and so
become a new creature, “he cannot see the king-
dom of God,” i.e. he cannot be a Christian here or a
saint hereafter. Pool’s, Whitby's, and Hammond’s
+3 Those who make the water and the spirit, here
mentioned by our Saviour, one and the same thing,
(which, to every common reader, must at first sight
appear to be distinct) would do well to consider that

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mens endeavours to do well; which Spirit “bloweth where it listeth,” and is, as the
wind, certain and notorious in its effects, but secret in the principle and manner of its
This doctrine of regeneration (which to Nicodemus + seemed so very abstruse)
“our Saviour proceeds to tell him was no more, in respect of other mysteries of the Go-
spel, than the earth is in comparison of the heavens, and so goes on to acquaint him
with matters of a more sublime nature; with his descent from heaven, his death, his
ascension, and the blessing of that redemption which he came into the world to accom-
plish. He instructs him in the love of the Father, the mission of the Son, the rewards
of faith, and the glories of eternity. He upbraids the unbelieving and impenitent, and
declares the difference between a pure and corrupt conscience, the shame and fears of
the one, and the confidence and serenity of the other.”
This is the substance of our Saviour's discourse to Nicodemus, who afterwards be-
came a convert; and no sooner was the passover ended, but our Lord, in company with
many of his disciples, who by his miraculous works were convinced of his Divinity,
went about the province of Judea f*, making proselytes wherever he came, and causing
them to be baptized by the hands of his disciples, because himself was employed in
greater affairs, viz. in teaching the people, and relieving their necessities.
John the Baptist had at this time removed his station from Bethabara to Ænon, a
place remarkable (as its name imports) for springs and waters, and therefore of great
conveniency for baptizing. While he was there, a dispute happened to arise between
his disciples and certain Jews who were present, which of the baptisms, that of John
or that of Jesus was preferable? And when his disciples, by way of appeal to John,
came and acquainted him, that the person of whom he had given such honourable testi-

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.

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mony, received proselytes (and that in vast numbers) by the same ceremony of baptism
as he did, John repeated the same testimony again, and reminded his disciples how fre-
quently he had told them, “That the person of whom they spake was the Messiah,
whom God had sent into the world for the salvation of mankind, and himself no more
than his herald; and that his ministry therefore was now going to decline, even as, up-
on the approach of the sun, the glory of the morning star decreases.” And having
said many things of the like nature to prove Jesus to be the Son of God, and co-equal
with the Father, he closed up his commission with these important words “He that be-
lieves on the Son, hath everlasting life; but he that believeth not on the Son, shall not
see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him "
John was at this time in the territories of Herod Antipas *, and as he was a man of
great freedom of speech upon all occasions, he was not afraid, when he came to Herod's
court, to reprove him for his many enormities, and particularly for his cohabiting with
Herodias **, the wife of his brother Philip, who was still living. This exasperated the
woman against him to such a degree, that though Herod at first had some esteem and
reverence for him, yet, by her malicious instigations f, she prevailed with him to cast
him into prison, with a purpose to have him destroyed, whenever she could find out a

proper opportunity.

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
appeal to Augustus at Rome, in order to have his fa-
ther's former will confirmed, and the latter reversed,
but he did not attain his end. Joseph. Antiq. lib.
* This woman was the daughter of Aristobulus and
Bernice, sister to king Agrippa, and grand-daughter
to Herod the Great. She was at first married to
her uncle Philip, son of the same Herod by Mariam-
me, by whom she had a daughter named Salome, the
same who pleased Herod so well in her dancing; and
how she came to run from one brother to live with
another, Josephus has thus related the story.—“An-
tipas, in his passage to Rome, made some stay with
his brother Philip, where he fell so passionately in
love with his wife Herodias, that he could not for-
bear expressing it to her, and promised her withal,
that at his return from Rome, he would put away his
own wife and marry her. Upon these conditions
Herodias accepted of the offer; and as soon as Anti-
pas was returned, and his wife gone, (for she having
notice of the engagement between her husband and
Herodias, made her escape to her father Aretas, king
of Petra) she, with her daughter Salome, left her
husband Philip, and, coming directly to Antipas, for
ever after lived, with him in a state of incest, Lev.
xviii. 1d. nor was her ambition much less criminal
than her lust: For, growing uneasy to see her bro-
ther Agrippa promoted to the title of a king, while her
new husband Antipas had no more than that of a te
trarch, she pressed him so much, that he determined

to make a journey to Rome, with an intention to ask
the like dignity of Caligula the emperor; but the em-
peror being prejudiced by several letters which A-
grippa had written against Antipas, instead of advan-
cing him, deprived him of his tetrarchy, and condemn-
ed him to perpetual banishment.” The emperor,
however, understanding that Herodias was Agrippa's
sister, shewed an inclination to pardon her; but she
chose rather to follow her husband in the calamity
she had brought upon him, than to owe anything to
her brother's fortune: so that they were both confis-
cated and banished together, first into France, and
afterwards into Spain, where they died. Jewish An-
tiq, lib. 8. c. 9.
+ The evangelists have assigned the true reason
for the Baptist's imprisonment: But since the Phari-
sees, very probably, represented him as an author of
a new sect, a promoter of seditions and rebellions, and
a person dangerous to the government, by reason of
the multitude of his followers, Antipas craftily made
that his pretence (as appears from Josephus, lib. xviii.
c. 7.) for contining him: and the better to remove
him from the people, sent him bound out of Galilee
into Petraea, to a strong castle, called Machaerus, near
the bead Sea, and towards the borders of Arabia,
where he continued above a year in prison. Eachard's
Ecclesiastical History, c. 3.
+* Several reasons may be assigned why our Sa-
viour delegated the office of baptizing to his apostles.
1. Because it was no ways proper for him to baptize
in his own name. 2. Because the baptism that was
peculiarly his was the baptism of the Holy Ghost,
Acts xi. 16. 3. Because it was an office of more im-
portance to preach the Gospel than to baptize, 1 Cor.
i. 17. And, 4. Because Christ's baptizing of any
might possibly have occasioned disgusts and jealou-
sies among the disciples, in the same manner as, in
the early ages of the church, we find people valuing

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

well +4.

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.
ginning of the
Jospels to
Matth. ix. 8.
Mark ii. 23.
Luke vi. 1.

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

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