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Mt.xxvi.66. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty Jerusalem.
of death. Mar, xiv.64. And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.
cent, to the ignominious death of a common malcfactor, that he
some objectors to Christianity have argued, that the Jews
The Jews saw and acknowledged the miracles of Christ, but imputed them to the agency of evil spirits, (Matt. xii. 24. Luke xi. 15.) permitted by God to try the firmness of their faith, and the constancy of their obedience to tho Mosaic law, Deut. xiii. 3. : on the other hand, they hcard him assert his own di. vine nature-the latter they considered as blasphemous; and the supposed impiety and impossibility of this claim, in their opinion, overturned the weaker evidence of undisputed miracles wrought in its support: they weighed wbat to them appeared opposite evidences, and the preponderance of that side on which their prejudiced opinions had placed the greater weight, accounts for the persevering conduct of the Sanhedrim, and the persecuting infidelity of the people (c).
Archdeacon Blomfield has justly observed, that the sum of the offence given by our Lord to the chief priests, was, his laying claim to the litle of the Messiah: a title to which they did not imagine that any mere human being, as Jesus seemed to be, could have any right. Could he but bave convinced the leading Jews of the justice of these pretensions, they would not have objected to his assumption of divine attributes. The fact is, that for any man to profess himself to be the Messiah, was considered as an offence against their law, inasmuch as by so doing he made himself the Son of God. We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. This remark fully answers that objection to the divinity of Christ proposed by Dr. Priestley, who maintains the position that the Jews did not expect their Messiah to be a divine personage; which point is inconsiderately allowed by Mr. Wilson, in his answer to this great advocate of Unitarianism (d).
MATT. xxvi. part of ver. 61. 63.
55 And the Chief Priests and all the council sought for witness
60 And the High Priest-saying, Answerest thou nothing ?
61 But he held his peace-
63 Then the High Priest rent his clothes, and saith, What
64 Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye?
and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy; and
others smote him with the palms of their hands. Lu.xxii. 64. And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on
the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that
smote thee? Mt. xxvi,68. Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote
(a) See Fagius on Chald. Paraph. Deat. xiii. in the Critici Sacri, and on Deut. xviii. 15. vol. ii. p. 87, and 123. (6) Maimonides Præf. in Misnam. p:3. ed, Surenhusii ap Wilson. (c) See on the subject of this note, Wilson's Method of explaining the New Testament, first and second chapters. (d) See Archdeacon Blomfield's Dissertation on the Knowledge of a Redeemer before the Advent, p. 115 ; and Wilson ut supra.
5 This section is arranged in its present order on the plan of Pilkington.
* St. Matthew, in recording the accounts of the sufferings of our Lord, has omitted to mention that the soldiers and servants blindfolded him: yet he relates the indignity which immediately followed that insult, “ Propbesy unto us who is he that smote thee.” These words, according to Markland, have an immediate reference to the preceding action. When Christ was blindfolded, they ask him in derision, and according to the custom of a well known game, if he can now tell by his prophetic spirit who it was that struck him. There is a burlesque sarcasm in the word a poputevoov, which signifies to prophesy, or to guess, or tell. Ánother sarcasm is implied in the word xpısè, both being intended as sneers at Jesus being accounted
La.xxii.65, And many other things blasphemously spake they Jerusalem.
Peter's first Denial of Christ, at the Fire, in the Hall of
the High Priest?
56-57. JOHN xviii 17, 18. and 25-27.
one of the maids of the High Priest :
La. xxii. 56. earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also
a propbet; which could not have been so strongly expressed if
7 Archbishop Newcome has placed the three denials of St.
I cannot account for Archbishop Newcome's silence, in his notes to the Harmony, respecting Pilkington's order of the denials of Peter. He frequently refers to Pilkington.
Mar.xiv.68. I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. Jerusales.
made a fire of coals, for it was cold, and they warmed
his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not.
man whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did I not see thee in
the garden with him?
27. Peter then denied again. Mar.xiv.68. And he went out into the porch ; and the cock crew; Jo. xviii.27. and immediately the cock crew e.
• An objection to the words of this passage has been raised, because it is supposed inconsistent with a canon of the Jewish Church, which forbids the rearing of cocks at Jerusalem, for fear they should scratch up unclean animals with their feet, and thereby pollute sacred things. In answer to this assertion, it is afirmed that the law had not been enacted at that period—that this bird was always kept in the temple (a)—that the word 723 signifies a man, or a crier-and-that the term cock-crowing, related only to a particular hour of the morning. After enumerating these opinions, Schoetgen, gives his own solution. As the crowing of the cock is mentioned as a fact, he concludes that it is to be considered as having actually taken place, as we should interpret a passage in a classical author. Peter, in the silence of the night, could as easily hear the cocks that were crowing out of the city, as the Italian cocks could be heard in Italy, or the cocks in Asia Minor at Constantinople; especially as the house of Caiaphas was not far from the wall. The cock which Peter heard might have been kept by the Romans, and not by the Jews, as chickens were used by them in angury. And though it was prohibited to feed cocks, it was not prohibited to buy or sell them; the cock, therefore, which now crowed, might have been purchased for the purpose of being killed the next day. Therefore, in whatever way the subject is considered, it is certainly true that the cock might have been heard by Peter at Jerusalem (b).
The Jewish doctors distinguish the cock crowing into the first, second, and third. The first was called, 7228 Aytbe second, v2-when he repeats it. The third, whyvi-when he does it the third time, as in Mark xiii. 35–12. Luke xii. 38. This custom was observed also by Heathen nations. According to St. Joho xiii. 38. St. Luke xxii. 34. and St. Matthew xxvi. 34. Our Saviour predicts the cock shall not crow; that is, shall not have finished his crowing, before thou deny me thrice. Lightfoot (c) reconciles the words of these three evangelists with those of St. Mark, by suggesting, that as the hour approaebed when the event was to take place, our Saviour specities more particularly the time, and says, Mark xiv. 72. “ Verily I say unto thee, that this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.” Pilkington supposes, that the words, the cock shall not crow before thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me, should be taken literally, signifying that the cock should not crow at all before thou shalt thrice deny me; and he concludes, there is a double signification attacbed to these separato predictions, and a double accomplishment of them. He argues, according to
MATT, Xxvi. part of ver. 69, 70.
Jerusalem, 69 -and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus
70 But he denied
St. John's Gospel, that these words were primarily fulfilled by St. Peter, when he was admitted into the palace. The first denial was made to the damsel who kept the door, and had permitted him to enter. It is very natural to imagine that a clamour would be raised against Peter, upon her accusation ; as the people would conclude that the damsel who kept the door, and let him in, must have good reason for her suspicion: and accordingly St. John tells us, that the servants who were warming themselves at the fire with Peter, again questioned bim about this matter, and that he denied being a disciple of Christ the second time. Immediately upon, or soon after this, Mal. chus's kinsman recollected seeing Peter in the garden with Jesus, and charged him therewith; but Peter denied it a third time. And St. John observes, that upon this immediately the cock crew. And thus it appears how those words of our Saviour were verified, “ Before the cock crow (at all) thou shalt deny me thrice."
St. John having thus shewn the accomplishment of these words of our Lord, takes no notice of any other of Peter's donials, but of these three only, which were made at the fire, whereas the other Evangelists take notice of several denials, made after these ; and so shew us the propriety of that other expression, “ Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.” They consider the several particular denials at the fire made at the same time, and in the same place, only as one gene. ral denial: and so St. Mark tells us, that, after Peter had denied at the fire, and was gone out into the porch, the cock crew the first time, and this appears to be the same crowing wbich St. John speaks of, as immediately succeeding Peter's three several denials of bis Master there.
The second general denial was made in the porch. This evidently appears from the accounts both of St. Matthew and St. Mark. And, from what is related, we must conclude, that the denial there was not single, but that many then charged him together (as they had done before, and as we may easily imagine they would do, in such a riotous assembly), and that he again there denied to them all. For St. Luke tells us, that a man charged him, and said, “ Thou art one of them;" and be replied, and said, “Man, I am not.” St. Mark, that be denied what a maid was insinuating, “that he was one of them:" and St. Matthew, that “ he denied with an oath, I do not koow the man," upon a maid's affirming that he was with Jesus of Nazareth.
The place of the third general denial is not specified, any farther than tbat it was in the same room or court where Jesus was, who “turned and looked upon Peter." The time of it is said, by St. Mark, to have been a litile after the second (metà julkpoy). St. Matthew makes use of the same expression; and st. Luke particularly mentions, that it was “about the space of one hour after.” This also appears to have been a general accusation, and so must have been a general denial; for though St. Luke only mentions one man's charging Peter at this time, yet St. Matthew and St. Mark tell us, that they that stood by charged him with being a Galilean, and a disciple of Christ, and that in such a pressing manner, that “ he began to curse and to swear he did not know the man.” And upon this St. Mark tells us, that “the cock crew a second time:" before which Peter bad