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thoroughly wedded to his own interest, that he was capable of the vilest' actions to promote that favourite end.
He made his whole administration, according to Josephus, one continued scene of venality, rapine, tyranny, and wickedness, delivering innocent men, without trial or condemnation, to torture and to death, and practising every species of detestable cruelty.
We hinted, a little higher, that the other sons of Herod had still kept possession of their toparchies, notwithstanding Archelaus's deposition and banishment; it will be, therefore, very proper here to give some further account of them before we enter into a new and different scene. They had, each of them, settled themselves the best they could in their small territories. Antipas, better known by the name of Herod, who had the country of Galilee, began with rebuilding the city of Sephoris, which had, but a little before, been reduced to ashes, by the son of Varus, by a strong wall and towers, so that it became the bulwark, and one of the best cities of that canton ; and as he had been successful enough to ingratiate himself with the new emperor, he built another, a fine city, on the northern banks of the lake of Gennezareth, and called it Tiberias, in honour of him, and from thence that lake came to be called the sea of Tiberias. His brother Philip followed his example, and raised the village of Bethsaida, on the opposite end of the same lake, into a magnificent city, and called it, likewise, Julias, and gave the name of Cæsarea to Paleas, the place where the Jordan had its spring head, after he had greatly enlarged and beautified it. During this time came out that edict of Tiberius, which obliged all Jews and Egyptians to depart from the city of Rome, or, according to another, out of the territories of Italy.
Hitherto, Judea, though in a violent ferment, on account of the late tax, and sone other tumults which the Romans had appeased by main force, had not, however, broke into such a violent and universal flame as it did after the coming of Pilate. It was this governor, whose fierce, obstinate, and cruel temper hastened on those seditions and revolts which did not end but with the total extirpation of the Jewish state. His predecessors had, hitherto, wisely forborne to bring the Roman standards into the eity, because their bearing the images of men and living creatures made them to be had in abomination by the Jews. But Pilate, who thought it beneath him to shew them the same complaisance, ordered his troops, which were to winter in that metropolis, to enter it in the night with those standards covered, and caused them, on the next morning, to be displayed. This new and shocking sight put the whole city into an uproar ; they went to him, in a body, to Cæsarea, where he then was, and begged of him that they might be removed to some other place; but were answered that he could not comply with their request, without glancing an affront on the emperor. As they stood stiff in their petition, and he, in his denial, six whole days, five of which the former had continued prostrate on the ground before his palace, night and day; he, at length, came out to them, as with design to give them audience, and, being mounted on his tribunal, which he had reared in the circus, gave the signal to some of his troops, whom he had conveniently posted, to fall on them, and to murder all that should not immediately depart, and who instantly came out and surrounded them. The Jews, however, far from being terrified at so horrid a perfidy, meekly held out their necks to those butchers, telling thein and the governor, that the loss of their lives was nothing 50 terrible to them as the violation of their laws; and Pilate, who expected nothing less than such a passive constancy in that turbulent nation, was so moved at it, that he, at length, granted their request, and ordered the standards to be removed out of their metropolis.
But as he seems to have been wholly hent upon mortifying the Jewish nation, he soon resumed his usual course. A project came next into his head to set up a number of
shields in the royal palace of Jerusalem, in honour of Tiberius, but which the Jews failed not to represent as an indignity offered to them, rather than a compliment to that emperor. He had. it is true, taken care that there should be no carved images upon them that might give them offence, but the very inscription of them was, they thought, contrary to their law ; otherwise, there was nothing more common, both before and after the Jewish captivity, than for the Jewish monarchs to cover even the front of the temple with such ornaments as the reader must have often observed through the course of their history. The magistrates, therefore, of that metropolis, with the sons of Hered at their head, went to represent to him, in the most civil terms, that such a consecration was contrary to their laws, and to beg of him that he would pay a greater regard to them. But their remonstrances not being able to prevail with him, they immediately withdrew, and soon after sent a very pressing, but submissive, letter to Rome, which had the desired effect. Tiberius immediately dispatched another to Pilate, wherein he highly blamed him for what he had done, and ordered him to remove the shields into some other place, which he accordingly did, and sent them to be hung up at Cæsarea.
His next project to vex the Jews was to find out some specious pretence for drawing money out of the sacred treasury. This, indeed, was the most effectual way to touch them to the quick, next to the rilling of the temple ; for he knew, but too well, their invincible attachment to those two places. The plausible pretext he chose for it was the bringing of an aqueduct, about two hundred furlongs off, into Jerusalem, the expence of which he expected should be supplied out of that sacred depository, and commanded, accordingly, of them, that a tax should be levied upon it. However, as he knew that this would not fail to provoke the people into a mutiny, he took care to provide against it, by causing a number of his soldiers to mix themselves with the crowd, with clubs hid under their coats, to be ready, upon a signal, to fall upon the mutipeers, He was hardly seated on his tribunal before it was surrounded, accordingly, by a vast concourse of the Jews, who came exclaiming against his project, and were some of the meaner sort, as is usual in such mobs, accompanied their clamours with bitter invectives against him. Pilate had not heard them long before he gave his men the signal, who immediately fell on the Jews with then clubs, wounded, lamed, and even killed many of them indiscriminately, and dispersed the rest.
All these calamities were so far from affecting any reformation among the Jews, that their wickedness continued daily to increase. Zealously devoted to the Mosaic dispensation, and equally tenacious for the traditions of the elders, they omitted the more weighty matters of the law, justice, mercy, and truth ; and while they compassed ses and land to obtain a proselyte, caused, through their abominable practices, the name of God to be blasphemed among the Gentiles. Thus did darkness cover the land, and gross darkness the people, immediately before that the sun of righteousness arose with healing in his beams.
THE MINISTRY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST.
The public appearance of John the Baptist--- His divine mission foretold by the prophets,
end asserted by the evangelists---the date of the commencement of his mission--his dress and diet compared with those of the present inhabitants of the east---his baptism and general preaching---his particular address to the Pharisees, Sadducees, publicans, and soldiers---the obscurity of Christ's private life---his baptism---the testimony of the Father to the divine character of Christ---the temptation---reasons for God's permission, and for Satan's conduct in this affair---how he was shewn all the kingdoms of the earth---John confesses that he is not the Christ---John, having announced Christ to be the Lamb of God, Andrew, and another disciple, Peter, Philip, and Nathaniel, become acquainted with him--at the wedding in Cana, Christ turns the water into wine-he attends his first passover---how many passovers there were during his ministry~he cleanses the temple---the forty-six years which the temple had been building---Christ converses with Nicodemus---John's last testimony to Christ---his imprisonment--reflections
John, the son of Zachariah and Elizabeth, the peculiar circumstances of whose birth and education have been already described, after remaining nearly thirty years in obscurity, burst forth, on a sudden, upon the attention of the public. The evangelists have not only given us a brief sketch of his history, but have unanimously concurred to assert the divinity of his mission.
The evangelist John tells us that the Baptist had a special commission from God, being called to his office by inspiration, as the prophets were of old, and that he was sent to bear witness of the light, or to point out the Messiah, whom he had called, in the preceding fourth verse, the light of men, because it was one of the principal prophetical characters of the Messiah, that he was to enlighten the world. John i. 6..8. There was a man sent from God whose name was John. The same came for a witness to bear witness of the light, that all men, through him, might believe. He was not that light, but was sent to bear witness of that light: though sent from God, he was not the Word of God, who has enlightened the world; but he caine to peint him out to mankind
. Mark' refers to this event, the fulfilling of Malachi in 1, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, icho shall prepare thy way before thee. Matthew, Mark, and Luke, observe, that John's preaching, the design of it, its efficacy upon the minds
people, and even the place where he first appeared publicly, were all foretold by
the prophet Isaiah. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Luke, however, cites the passage more fully than the rest. Luke ini. 5, 6. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth.
And als flesh shall see the salvation of God. Of these metaphors, which are plainly taken from the making of roads, the meaning is, that Messiah's forerunner, by preaching the doc. trine of repentance, shall produce such a change in the minds of the Jews, that many of them, laying aside their prejudices, shall receive and acknowledge Messiah when he appears. After such a preparation of the way, mankind shall behold, not a splendid temporal monarch, accompanied with a magnificent retinue, but the author of that salvation which God lias prepared before the face of all people. (Luke ii. 30, 31.]
Luke has marked the cominencement of the Baptist's ministry with a great degree of precision, ch. iii. 1, 2. Now, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, und Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea, and of the region of Trac!onitis and Lysanias, the tetrarci of Abilene, Amas 'and Cauphas being the high-priests, the word of God came unto John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness. This account is, however, attended with several difficulties. 1. The reign of Tiberius had two commencements, one, when Augustus made him his colleague in the empire, in the year of Rome 764, or 765, and the other, when he began to reign alone, after Augustus’s death, in 767. The earliest of these computations is usually preferred, but it does not appear that any of them would be attended with consequences at all dangerous to the credibility of the evangelical history. 2. Luke says, Philip's dominions were Iturea and Trachonitis, but Josephus says, they were Auranitis and Trachonitis. Reland reconciles the historian with the evangelist, by supposing that Iturea and Auranitis were different names of the same country. 3. Annas and Caiaphas, we are told, were high-priests when John began his ministry. But, according to the institutions of the Jewish religion, there could be only one high-priest, properly so called, at a time, that minister being typical of the one mediator between God and man. The most probable solution, therefore, of this difficulty, is, that Annas was the high-priest, and Caiaphas his sagan, or deputy, to whom, also, the title of high-priest might improperly be given.
John the Baptist began his public labours in the wilderness of Judea, and his appearance was every way answerable to the ruggedness of the country. [Mat. iii. 4.] And the same John had his raiment of camels' hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild luoney. These locusts were a species of large insects, such as frequently destroy the crops in Barbary and Syria, and were, on a particular occasion, the means of executing the wrath of God. Wild honey, the other article of the Baptist's fare, is supposed, by many, to have been a kind of liquor, which, in those countries, distilled from thie trees. But because this kind of juice, when used as food, was sometimes attended with bad effects, others are of opinion, that the wild honey on which the Baptist fed was that which bees deposit in the hollow trunks of trees, and of which there was great plenty in Palestine. [1 Sam. xiv. 25..27.] It will, however, be proper to compare the diet and clothing of the Baptist with those of the present inhabitants of the same countries ; and here we shall be considerably assisted by the observations of the late Mr. Harmer. He is speaking concerning the use of honey as a luxury in the east, and concerning the prediction that the Messiah should eat butter and honey, that he might learn to choose the good, and refuse the evil.
" The account that is given of the diet of John the Baptist may be thought a