Page images
PDF
EPUB

existing together, there was no difference in their names; 90 that when one was between them, he might properly, and in common language, be said to be going to and to be coming from Jericho.

Such are the solutions that have been given of the first of the difficulties that occur in the passage we are considering: They are sufficiently labored and ingenious; but one cannot so readily say that they are sufficiently satisfactory. I will now mention the second discrepancy and the solutions proposed for it.

Matthew mentions two blind men who were cured ; Luke and Mark agree and mention only one. There are two principal modes of accounting for this difference; one of which is, that one of the blind men was more distinguished than the other; the second is, that it is not uncommon in scripture for one person only to be mentioned where more than one was concerned. The following is Calvin's explanation, which is a part of the same note with what was before quoted from him. “Of the second difficulty," says he," the solution is easy. We have elsewhere seen that one demoniac is mentioned by Mark and Luke as healed where Matthew speaks of two; and so it is here : nor is there therefore a disagreement; but rather the conjecture is probable, that when at first only one man implored the assistance of Christ, another was excited by his example; and that at this time sight was given to two. Mark and Luke mention only one, either because he was more known than the other, or because his cure was as signal an instance of the power of Christ as the cure of both. Certainly Mark seems to have preferred one on account of his being better known, as he mentions his own and his father's name also.”.

This appears to me the reason why Mark and Luke mention only one, and are silent as to the other who was of inferior importance. But Matthew, who was an eye witness, would not omit even the one least known.” Calvin has here expressed almost all that has since been said by the generality of commentators to solve the difficulty. Grotius, and many others, agree in the conjecture that one only was mentioned because of his superior notoriety.-Austin is quoted by Middleton as saying, that Mark has chosen to speak only of one of them,“ because his story was more known and famous in that city : as it is evident, he says, from the mention of the name of the man and of his father also: whom he supposes to have been reduced from some flourishing state of life, to this miserable condition of blindness and beggary: whose cure therefore made the miracle as notorious as his calamity."

This opinion of Austin is also quoted by Macknight.

The words vios Tipase, the son of Timeus, are made of some importance in the preceding explanations. On these words Wakefield has the following note. “There can be no possible doubt of the words vios Tipais being the interpolation of some conceited scribe, who had a mind to shew that he knew the meaning of the Syriac word. For our evangelist to say, Bartimeus, son of Timeus, were the same as if an Englishman should say at once, He was William's son, son of William--of the same person."

In addition to what precedes, I will also mention the opinion of Lightfoot, whose solution applies to both of the difficul. ties in these accounts; and concerning that which we are immediately considering, is different from the one most commonly received. Christ, he says, “ healeth one blind man as he entereth into Jericho, of which Luke speaketh, and another as he goeth out, of which the other two. Matthew indeed speaketh of two healed as he came out of Jericho; comprehending, it may be, the story of him that was healed on the other side of the town, and this, together in one story, for briefness' sake, Or if there were two healed on this side of the town, Mark

* Augustin. de Consensu Evangelist. Lib. ii. $. 125. Middleton on the Variations, p. 36.

only mentions one, because he rather aimeth at shewing of the manner or kind of the miracle than at the number : as we have observed the like before."*

Such are the difficulties that occur in the passage of scripture which we are considering; and such are the explanations by which it has been attempted to remove them. There is yet another very simple answer to any queries on the subject, which may or may not be recommended to you by various considerations; and this is, that there was some mistake made by one or more of the writers. With respect to the first of the difficulties, Michaelis says, " I confess that I am wholly unable to reconcile the contradiction, and must therefore conclude that St. Luke, who was not an eye-witness to the fact, was in this instance mistaken.”+ If commentators, says Middleton, “ would but candidly own, as some few of them indeed have done, that the contradictions of the evangelists, ļike to those of all other authors, were owing to want of accuracy in recording circumstances of little moment, or to slips of memory, or to different informations, all would be easily and naturally accounted for, without any real offence or hurt to the authority of the gospel.” Whether this opinion be thought correct or not, it certainly can never be justly said of those who hold it, that they weaken the authority of scripture, or are wanting in respect to its writers; for the authority of no profane historians would ever be questioned, because of such trifling discrepancies; which in fact are continually found among such as relate the same events. Nor if we allow that these are real inaccuracies, are the designs of the narration at all obscured by them; so that it is less evident, that Jesus Christ had power to do mighty works, and that his actions were benevolent and kind.

* Harmony of the Four Evangelists. See. Ixix. Works, vol. i. p. 250
| Marsh's Michaelis, vol iii. p. i. ch. 2. sec. 4.
* Middleton on the Variations, p. 49.

EXTRACTS

PROM A JOURNAL AND LETTERS WRITTEN DURING A TOTR TO TAE FALLS OP NIAGARA, MONTREAL, AND QUEBEC ; IN THE SPRING AND

SUMMER OF 1812.

Jemima Wilkinson.*

June 9th.

UNE 9th. At 5 o'clock on Tuesday morning, I set out with Mr. - in a single horse waggon, for the town of Jeru- , salem, (about 23 miles southeast of Canandaigua,) in which is the residence of Jemima Wilkinson. We were provided with an introductory letter by Mr. which was addressed to the Universal Friend ;-we were told that she acknowledges no other name. So bad was the road, which is for several miles through the woods, where the path is hardly perceptible, that we did not reach the house till after 12 o'clock. It was by far the best house we had seen since we had left Canandaigua; but the reverend lady is nevertheless about to remove to a much better one, which is now finishing. As we did not find the Friend at home, we walked to the top of the hill on which the new house stands, and found it to be most spacious and elegant. It is three stories high, and has six rooms on the floor. The groves and forests around, and the whole scenery of the neighbourhood, are uncommonly beautiful, and fit to nourish the enthusiasm of its inhabitants,

* Where not particularly noted, the extracts are from the journal of Mr. Eliot.

Upon perceiving the return of the carriage of the Friend, we again went to her house ; and were surprised at finding at the door, a coach which would not disgrace by its appearance a rich citizen, with a golden star on each side, and with the letters U f F separated by a cross, with a star above, on the back. Notwithstanding the lady had received our letter as soon as she came home, we were suffered to wait in her kitchen three quarters of an hour, without any offer of refreshment, before we were admitted to an audience.

At last her prime minister appeared to conduct us into the presence. Her name is Rachel Mellen; she is from Pennsylvania, and has yielded a considerable fortune for the use of the Friend. When I saw Jemima Wilkinson, I was at first impressed with the idea that I saw a man. For her stature is large, her face full and without feminine fairness, and her dress masculine, She wore a loose black gown, which was open before, and wrapped round her, the back of which was ornamented in the manner of a clergyman's gown, and she had on a black cravat, beneath which appeared a white one, whose ends hung over her bosom, like ministerial bands. Her head had no covering, and her hair was combed back, and curled at the ends. She rose to meet us, and shook hands with us. As soon as we were seated, I observed that the end of our visit was to gratify our curiosity, and obtain such information as she would give us as to the peculiarities of her religious tenets, and her modes of worship. She took no notice of my implied inquiry; but our conversation was for a time upon unimportant subjects. She replied however to several questions as to her opinions on particular subjects of theology, with sufficient verbosity, with a confused mass of scriptural quotations, and almost always with obscurity, which sometimes was impenetrable. Her command of the contents of the Bible, and her readiness in the use of scriptural language were surprising. She used few expres,

« PreviousContinue »