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HIS FIRST MIRACLE.
observances of their own for those of the Mosaic institutes. In all these points, John, who nowhere appears to have visited Jerusalem, at least after his assumption of the prophetic office (for his presence there would doubtless have excited much commotion), followed the Essenian practice. Like them he was severe, secluded, monastic, or rather eremitical in his habits and language. But among the most marked peculiarities of the Essenian fraternity was their aversion to marriage. Though some of the less rigid of their communities submitted to this inevitable evil, yet those who were of higher pretensions, and doubtless of higher estimation, maintained inviolable celibacy, and had fully imbibed that Oriental principle of asceticism, which proscribed all indulgence of the gross and material body as interfering with the purity of the immaculate spirit. The perfect religious being was he who had receded to the utmost from all human passion; who had withdrawn his senses from all intercourse with the material world, or rather had estranged his mind from all objects of sense, and had become absorbed in the silent and ecstatic contemplation of the Deity. This mysticism was the vital principle of the Essenian observances in Judæa, and of those of the Therapeutæ, or Contemplatists, in Egypt, the lineal ancestors of the Christian monks and hermits. By giving public countenance to a marriage ceremony,
It may be worth observing (for the connexion of Jesus with the Essenes has been rather a favourite theory) that his illustrations so perpetually drawn from the marriage rite, and from the vineyard, would be in direct opposition to Essenian phraseology. All these passages were pecu
liarly embarrassing to the Gnostic ascetics. •6 Noluit Marcion sub imagine Domini a nuptiis redeuntis Christum cogitari detestatorem nuptiarum."" Marcion rejected from his Gospel, Luke xiv. 7-11. See the Gospel of Marcion by Hahn in Thilo, Cod. Apoc. Nov. Testam. p. 444 and 449.
still more by sanctioning the use of wine on such occasions (for wine was likewise proscribed by Essenian usage), Jesus thus, at the outset of his career, as he afterwards placed himself in direct opposition to the other prevailing sects, so he had already receded from the practice of these recluse mystics, who formed the third, and though not in numbers, yet in character and influence, by no means unimportant religious party.
After this event in Cana, Jesus, with his mother, his brethren, and some of his disciples, took up their abode, not in their native town of Nazareth, but in the village of Capernaum, which was situated not far from Capernaum. the rising city of Tiberias, on the shore of the
beautiful lake, the Sea of Gennesaret. It was called the Village of Comfort, or the Lovely Village, from a spring of delicious water, and became afterwards the chief residence of Jesus, and the great scene of his wonderful works."
The Passover approached, the great festival which
▾ Maundrell places Cana north- | stant companion of his Master during west of Nazareth; it was about a these journeys, and that the other day's journey from Capernaum. Jo- apostles were much less constant in sephus (De Vitâ Suâ) marched all their attendance upon him during night from Cana, and arrived at Tibe- these more distant excursions, esperias in the morning. cially at the earlier period. The Gospel of St. John (some few passages omitted) might be described as the acts of Jesus in Jerusalem and its neighbourhood.
John ii. 12.
Among the remarkable and distinctive peculiarities of the Gospel of St. John, is the much greater length at which he relates the events which occurred during the earlier visits of Jesus to Jerusalem, about which the other Evangelists are either entirely silent or extremely brief. I cannot help suspecting a very natural reason for this fact, that John was the con
b John ii. 13.
• Many writers suppose that about half a year passed between the baptism of Jesus and this Passover. This is possible; but it appears to me that there is no evidence whatever as to the length of the period.
JESUS AT JERUSALEM.
assembled not only from all parts of Palestine, but even from remoter regions, the more devout First PassJews, who at this period of the year constantly over, A. D. 27. made their pilgrimage to the Holy City: regular caravans came from Babylonia and Egypt; and, as we shall explain hereafter, considerable numbers from Syria, Asia Minor, and the other provinces of the Roman empire. There can be no doubt that at least vague rumours of the extraordinary transactions which had already excited public attention towards Jesus of Nazareth, must have preceded his arrival at Jerusalem. The declaration of the Baptist, although neither himself nor many of his immediate disciples might attend the feast, could not but have transpired. Though the single miracle wrought at Cana might not have been distinctly reported at Jerusalem-though the few disciples who may have followed him from Galilee, having there disseminated the intelligence of his conduct and actions, might have been lost in the multitude and confusion of the crowded city-though, on the other hand, the impressions thus made, would be still further counterbalanced by the general prejudice against Galilee, more especially against a Galilean from Nazareth-still the Son of Mary, even at his first appearance in Jesus at Jerusalem, seems to have been looked on with Jerusalem. a kind of reverential awe. His actions were watched; and though both the ruling powers, and, as yet apparently, the leading Pharisees kept aloof, though he is neither molested by the jealousy of the latter, nor excites the alarm of the former, yet the mass of the people already observed his words and his demeanour with anxious interest. The conduct of Jesus tended to keep up this mysterious uncertainty so likely to work on the imagination of a people thus ripe for religious
THE TEMPLE A MART.
excitement. He is said to have performed “many miracles," but these, no doubt, were still of a private, secret, and unimposing character; and on all other points he maintains the utmost reserve, and avoids with the most jealous precaution any action or language which might directly commit him with the rulers or the people.
One act alone was public, commanding, and authoriThe Temple tative. The outer court of the Temple had become, particularly at the period of the greatest solemnity, a scene of profane disorder and confusion. As the Jews assembled from all quarters of the country, almost of the world, they were under the necessity of purchasing the victims for their offerings on the spot; and the rich man who could afford a sheep or an ox, or the poor man who was content with the humbler oblation of a pair of doves, found the dealer at hand to supply his wants. The traders in sheep, cattle, and pigeons, had therefore been permitted to establish themselves within the precincts of the Temple in the court of the Gentiles;d and a line of shops (tabernæ) ran along the outer wall of the inner court. Every Jew made an annual payment of a half-shekel to the Temple; and as the treasury, according to ancient usage, only received the coin of Palestine, those who came from
d John ii. 14, 25.
e According to Hug, "the ancient imposts which were introduced before the Roman dominion were valued according to the Greek coinage; e. g. the taxes of the Temple, Matt. xvii. 24. Joseph, B. J. vii. 6, 6. The offerings were paid in these, Mark xii. 42; Luke xxi. 2. A payment which proceeded from the Temple treasury, was
made according to the ancient national payment by weight, Matt. xxvi. 15. [This is very doubtful.] But in common business, trade, wages, sale, &c., the assis and denarius and Roman coin were usual, Matt. x. 29; Luke xii. 6; Matt. xx 2; Mark xiv. 5; John xii. 5, vi. 7. The more modern state taxes are likewise paid in the coin of the nation which exercises at the time
INTERRUPTION TO THE SACRIFICES.
distant provinces were obliged to change their foreign money, the relative value of which was probably liable to considerable fluctuation. It is evident from the strong language of Jesus, that not only a fair and honest, but even a questionable and extortionate traffic was conducted within the holy precincts. Nor is it impossible, that even in the Temple courts trade might be carried on less connected with the religious character of the place. Throughout the East, the periodical assemblages of the different tribes of the same descent at some central temple is intimately connected with commercial views. The neighbourhood of the Holy Place is the great fair or exchange of the tribe or nation. Even to the present day, Mecca, at the time of the great concourse of worshippers at the tomb of the Prophet, is a mart for the most active traffic among the merchant pilgrims, who form the caravans from all quarters of the Mahometan world.g
We may conceive how the deep and awful stillness, which ought to have prevailed within the inner courts, dedicated to the adoration of the people-how the quiet prayer of the solitary worshipper, and the breathless silence of the multitude, while the priests were performing the more important ceremonies, either offering the national sacrifice, or entering the Holy Place, must have been interrupted by the close neighbourhood of this disorderly market. How dissonant must have been the noises of the bleating sheep, the lowing cattle, the clamours and disputes, and all the tumult and confusion thus crowded into a space of no great extent. No doubt
the greatest authority, Matt. xxii. 19; Mark xii. 15; Luke xx. 24." Vol. i. page 14. After all, however, some of
these words may be translations.
Burckhardt, Travels in Arabia.