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dared to have done, after the commencement of the Sab. bath. He takes no notice at all of the preparation made by the women, mentioned by Luke ; for that would not have agreed with the sequel of his story. But to make up for that omission, he informs us of a circumstance not mentioned at all by the other Evangelists. For he tells us that on the next day which followeth the day of preparation, the Chief Priests, and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,” &c. 66 The next day which followeth the day of preparation ! !"_such is the periphrasis that he uses for the Sabbath day! It is well known that among the Jews it was, and is customary to prepare, and set out, in the afternoon of the Friday, all the food, and necessaries for every family during the Sabbath day. Because they were forbidden to light a fire, or do any servile work on that day; and therefore Friday was very properly called “ the day of preparation." But it appears to me next to impossible that any Jew would call the Sabbath “the day that followeth the day of the preparation." Yet this singular Historian so denominates it, and moreover goes on to inform us, that the Chief Priests, and Pharisees went to Pilate, to ask for a guard to place round the sepulchre till the third day, to prevent his disciples from stealing away his body, and then saying, that he was risen from the dead ; and that after obtaining the Governor's permission, “ they went, and secured the sepulchre by sealing the stone that was rolled against it, and setting a watch.” Though there appear nothing very strange in this account to a Christian, yet I assure my reader that to the Jews, it ever did, and must appear, utterly incredible. For it is wonderful! that the Jewish Rulers, and the rigorous Pharisees should in so public a manner thus violate the precept for observing the Sabbath day ; for the penalty of this action of theirs was no less than death! More wonderful still is it that they should have so much better attended to, and comprehended the meaning of the prediction of Jesus to his disciples, than his own disciples did ; and most wonderful of all, that a Roman Proconsul should consent to let his troops keep watch round a tomb, for, fear it should be thought that a dead man was come to life again.
But though our author's history of these extraordinary facts is neither consistent with reason, and probability, nor with the other histories of the same event ; it proceeds in pretty strict conformity to the manner in which it sets out. For to convince us still more fully that the author was totally ignorant of the mode of computing time in use among the Jews, and habituated to that in use among the Greeks, and Romans ; he reckons the Sabbath to last till day light on Sunday morn, and says, ch. xxviii. “ that in the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn, towards the first day of the week,”-the two Mary's beforementioned came, (not as in Luke, to embalm the body, for with a guard round the sepulchre, that would have been impracticable, but to see the sepulchre. Whilst they were there, the author tells us, there was another great earthquake, and an Angel descended, rolled away the stone, and sat upon it, at whose sight the soldiers trembled, and were frighted to death. But to prevent the like effect of his appearance upon the women, he said unto them, fear not ye, for I know that ye seek Jesus who was crucified. That the women as well as the soldiers were pres ent at the descent of this Angel, appears not only from there being nobody else, by whom these uncommon circumstances could have been related, but also by the pronoun personal ye inserted in the original Greek, which in that language is never done, unless it be emphatically to mark such a distinction, or antithesis, as there was on this occasion between them, and the Roman Guard, Here, however, the author is inadvertently inconsistent with himself, as well as with the other Evangelists; and forgetting, that the sole intent of rolling away the stone, was to open a passage, absolutely necessary to the body of Jesus to come forth out of the sepulchre ; and that if he had risen, and come forth after the Angel had rolled it away, both the women, and the soldiers must have seen him rise, he makes the Angel bid them look into the sepulchre, to see that he was not there! and tell them that he was already risen ; and that he was gone before them into Galilee, where they should see him !! In their way, the author adds, Jesus himself met the women, and said “ be not afraid, go tell my Brethren to go into Galilee, and there shall they see me:" He says that the eleven Apostles went into Galilee to an appointed mountain, and saw him there ; notwithstanding that some of them were so incredulous, as not to believe even the testiinony of their own senses.
In the interim, whilst the women were going to the Apostles, the author tells us, “ some of the watch ;" some strictly disciplined Roman soldiers left their station, to bring an account of what had passed, not to the Governor their General, nor to any other of their own officers—but to the Chief Priests of the Jews ! that they assembled a council of the elders upon the occasion, and after deliberating what was to be done, induced the soldiers, by large bribes, to run the risk of being put to death themselves, upon the highly improbable chance of the Jewish rulers having influence sufficient with the Roman Proconsul, to prevail on him to submit to the indelible infamy of neglecting the discipline of the army under his command, to such a degree, as to suffer an entire guard of soldiers avowedly to sleep upon their station, without any notice being taken of it! and to say “ his disciples came, and stole him away whilst we slept.” This incredible story is another instance how necessary it is, that those who do not adhere closely to the truth, should have extraordinary good meniories, to enable them to keep clear of absurdities, or palpable contradictions, in their narrations. For consider the circumstances. How were the tongues of these soldiers to be restrained among the inquisitive inhabitants of a large city, (at that time too, greatly crowded on account of the Paschal feast,) not only in their way to the Chief Priests ; but also during the whole time while. the Priests assembled the Sanhedrim, and were deliberating what was to be done ? And if that part of the watch, who the author says came to inform the Chief. Priests, were poltroons enough for the sake of a bribe to undergo so shameful a disgrace to themselves, as well as to hazard the resentment of their General, how could they undertake that all their comrades who remained at the sepulchre would do the same ? and to what purpose could the Jewish council bribe some, with
out a possibility of knowing how the rest of the corps would act ? And even supposing all these difficulties surmounted, and that the whole guard had agreed, and persisted in saying, “ his disciples stole him away while we slept, of what service could that be to the Jewish rulers ? For if the guards were asleep, they could be no evidence to prove that the body was taken away ; and it might be just as probable that he might rise to life again while the watch was asleep, as it was if no watch had been set.
In a word, it appears from the numbers of Latin words in Greek characters, which this Book contains; from the numerous Geographical blunders ; and the author's evident ignorance of the customs of the Jews : from the form of Baptism enjoined at the conclusion, which was : not in use in the first century as appears from the form mentioned as then used in the Acts; from the Roman Certurion's being made to call Jesus a Son of a God” which words in the mouth of a Pagan could only mean that he must be a Demi-god, like Bacchus, Hercules, or Esculapius : It is clear that this Gospel is the patched work composition of some convert from the Pagan schools. At any rate his Gospel flatly contradicts the others in several important particulars in the History of the Resurrection. For he represents the Apostles as being commanded by the Angel, and by Jesus to go to Galilee, in order to see him; and that they went there, aud saw him on a mountain. Yet it is said by the other Evangelists, see Luke, ch. 24, and Acts 1, that he appeard on the same day of the resurrection to Peter, at Jerusalem ; to two other Disciples as they went to Emmaus ; and on the succeeding night to ths whole congregation of the Disciples, not in Galilee, but in Jerusalem, and that by his express command the Apostles did not go into Galilee, but remained at Jerusalem till the feast of Pentecost.
But as this author differs from the other Evangelists so they also differ among themselves. And the latter part of the last chapter of Mark is so irreconcilable to the other Historians of the Resurrection, that in many Manuscripts it is found omitted. And that Gospel ends in them, at the eighth verse of the last
chapter. And Mr. West, in his attempted reconciliation of their accounts of the Resurection, is obliged to make a number of postulates, to take a number of things for granted, which might be denied : and after elaborately arranging the Stage for the performance, he sets the women, and the disciples a driving backwards, and forwards, from the city to the Sepulchre, and from the Sepulchre, to the city, and so agitated that they forget to know each other when they cross in their journeys. Notwithstanding his great ingenuity in reconeiling contradictions, in which he beats Surenhusius himself, he makes but a sorry piece of work of it after all. He had much better have let it alone ; for his work upon the Resurrection which he calls “ the main fact of Christianity," displays these contradictions in so glaring a light, that the very laboured ingenuity of his methods of reconciliation, inevitably, suggests “ confirmation stronges to the keen-eyed reader, of that irreconcilability which the author endeavors to refute. What rational man therefore can reasonably be required to believe the story of resurrection pretended to have been seen and known, only by the perty interested in making it believed! when in their Testimony even, they do not agree but contradict each other ?
There is really an immense number of discrepencies, and contradictions in the New Testament which the acumen of learned Christians has of late discovered, and pointed out to the world. And Mr. Evanson, in huis work on the Dissonance of the four Evangelists," has collected a mass enough I should think to terify the most determined Reconciliator that ever lived. It is a little remarkable, that Mr. Evanson lias asserted, and has proved the spuriousness of the Gospel ascribed to John, which Semler spared, in the general wreck which he made of the authenticity of the other Books of the New Testament. Mr Evanson says, in his examination of it, which has been said before, that the speeches ascribed to Jesus in it are most incoherent, contradictory and falsified by well known facts. And indeed the Author of the Book itself seems to be sensible of this; for he very naturally represents the Jews repeatedly accusing Jesus of being mad. “ He hath a devil, and