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could not be lonely, for the roads must have been
thronged with the inhabitants pouring forth on
the same errand. No incidents which took place
on the journey are recorded. Our Lord was as
yet little known; he travelled humbly and without
observation. There were a few who knew what
he was, but to most persons he appeared in no
way distinguished from the other young men of
Ms company.

Immediately on his arrival at the holy city he
went up to the Temple; that splendid structure,
which was the delight and boast of every Jewish
heart. It had been recently rebuilt with great
magnificence by King Herod the Great; and was
now glorious in all the freshness of its spacious
porticos and marble pillars and costly ornaments.
It stood on the summit of a lofty hill, overlooking
the city, so that it was said, "Let us go up to the
house of the Lord." The house itself was not
larger than many of the ordinary churches of mod-
ern times. But it was surrounded by extensive

John ii. 13.



courts, which were also called the Temple, and
are frequently meant when the temple is spoken
of in the New Testament. These courts were
one within the other, each surrounded by a wall,
and paved with marble. The outer enclosure was
called the court of the Gentiles, because it was
open to them, but they might proceed no further.
The next enclosure was called the court of the
Israelites, because they might enter this, but could
proceed no further. It was divided into two
apartments, the outer of which was the court of
the ivomen. The third enclosure was called the
court of the jjriests. Into this the priests only and
Levites might enter. In this court stood The
Temple with the altar of burnt-offerings before
it. Here the sacrifices were offered. The peo-
ple brought their offerings no further than the
wall, of one cubit high, which separated this court
from that of the Israelites. The Temple was
divided into two parts; in the outermost of which
stood the altar of incense, the table of shew-
bread, and the golden candlestick. Into this, only
the priests could enter. The inner apartment of
the temple, separated from the outer by a splen-
did veil, was called the Holy of holies. Here
were the Cherubim, and the Ark of the covenant.
No person could enter this, but the high priest,
and he only once a year, on an occasion of spe-
cial solemnity, called the day of atonement.


Thus the several enclosures and apartments of
the temple grew more and more holy as you pro-
ceeded. The outermost court was open to all
persons, while the innermost apartment was open
only to the highest religious minister on one sol-
emn day. It is the outer court which is meant,
when we read of the conversations that took place
in the temple, and of children crying Hosanna
there. It was evidently a place of ordinary re-
sort, where the people daily congregated for con-
versation and business, and where multitudes
must have been daily passing and repassing at the
times of the sacrifices and the hours of prayer.
How commodious it must have been for all such
purposes of concourse may be perceived by re-
membering, that it was a space of more than four-
teen acres in extent. It was of a square form,
each side a furlong in length, with a magniticent
covered portico, or piazza, all around, like the
cloisters of a monastery, supported by a hundred
and sixty-two marble pillars of great size. No
wonder that such a place was constantly frequent-
ed, and that it became a resort for purposes of
business as well as religion. The offerings and
sacrifices of the temple demanded a continual sup-
ply of cattle, lambs, and doves; and it was very
convenient for the worshippers to find them ready
at hand. Those who had these animals for sale
were hence accustomed to sit with them in this


court, and offer them for sale to the people as they
passed in to the sacrifice; and for the accommo-
dation of this traffic, money-changers set up their
tables by their side.

Such was the scene which met the view of Je-
sus on his arrival at the sacred place. The peo-
ple were so accustomed to the sight, that they did
not perceive any thing wrong in it. But he felt
the profanation; and, as if the spirit of the old
prophets had risen up within him, he took a whip
of small cords, and drove the sheep and the oxen
out of the court, and commanded the sellers of
doves to take them away, and overset the tables
of the money-changers. This bold act of relig-
ious zeal created, of course, no little excitement.
His disciples, vv'ho were longing to see him take
the character which belonged to him, -vvere grati-
fied at this spirited assumption of authority, and
they applied to him the words used of the Psalm-
ist, " The zeal of thy house hath consumed me."
The people were amazed at an act which implied
such consciousness of right and authority, and
thought it possible that he might be the expected
prophet. They accordingly came to him, and
asked him to show them some sign in proof of his
authority. As he knew what v/as in man and did
not choose to commit himself to them, he answer-
ed them in a figurative expression, which could
be perfectly understood only after his resurrec-


tion. He pointed to that great event as the proof
that he was from God. "Destroy this temple,"
said he, meaning the temple of his body, " and
in three days I will raise it again." At that time
his words were not understood; but after his
crucifixion they were remembered, and served to
confirm the truth of his pretensions to divine

While he remained at Jerusalem, he wrought
many miracles, which drew attention to him, and
augmented the number of those who believed in
him. He did not however disclose himself to
them, for he knew that the time had not yet ar-
rived when he could advantageously do so. He
knew the nature of their expectations from him;
therefore he would not trust them, nor commit
himself to them.

The most remarkable circumstance which oc-
curred during this period, was the visit which he
received from one of the rulers, whose name was
Nicodemus. This man, a person of some conse-
quence in the nation, had become strongly inter-
ested in what he had seen and heard of the won-
derful young stranger from Galilee, and desired
to ascertain, by means of a personal interview,
whether he were the Messiah or not. Accord-
ingly he came to Jesus; but by night, when he

John iii.


would be least liable to be observed. For he
chose to satisfy himself fully, before he would at-
tract attention to his movements. He saluted our
Lord respectfully, and assured him that he be-
lieved he came from God; for, said he, " no man
can do these miracles which thou dost, except
God were with him." He thus evidently express-
ed a readiness to join himself to the Saviour; but
as our Lord knew that his views were not right,
that he was looking for a worldly Messiah and
hoping an earthly reward, he did not encourage
his advances, but immediately began to show him
his mistake, and explain the true nature of the
kinsfdom of the Messiah. He taught him that it
was not of this world, not temporal, but spiritual;
that in order to enter it, one must give up all his
worldly views and temporal expectations, and fit
himself, by spiritual-mindedness, for a spiritual
kingdom. These great truths he clothed, accord-
ing to his manner, in bold and strong, but natural
figures. But it was not easy for the Jewish ruler
to understand them. They were not consonant
to his prejudices or his desires. And he went
away without openly attaching himself to the cause
of Jesus. Yet such an impression did the con-
versation make on his mind, that he appears ever
to have regarded our Lord with reverence and
attachment. We find him, some time afterward,
one of the few who dared to speak in his defence,


and who honored him in his death. We may
trust that the memorable interview of that night
produced its true effects on his soul; that the
solemn words of Jesus taught him, as they have
taught multitudes since, the superiority and ne-
cessity of a spiritual life, and roused him from his
vain passions and worldly ambition, to the sense
of a higher existence.

The Passover being ended, Jesus and his dis-
ciples left Jerusalem, and took up their abode for
a time somewhere near the river Jordan, in Ju-
dea. Here he gained many followers, who were
baptized into his faith; not however by his own
hand, but by that of the disciples. John also was
still baptizing, but had removed from Bethabara
to iEnon, near Salim, in Samaria. This circum-
stance of two prophets being engaged in collect-
ing and baptizing followers at the same time, nat-
urally excited some speculation among the people.
Some of John's disciples fell into an argument
respecting it with a Jew, and they referred the
question to John himself for his decision. These
disciples appear to have been jealous for their
master's honor, and could not well bear that an-
other should attract more followers than he. But
John had nothing of this feeling, and he endeav-
ored to remove it from the mind of his disciples.
He reminded them that he had always asserted,
that he was not himself the Christ, but greatly iu-


ferior to him. He now repeated his assertions, and
went on to declare to them, in the strongest terms,
the necessity of believing in the son of God. In
this way John quieted the minds of his disciples.

But there were others, who were not so easily
satisfied, and who loudly expressed their displea-
sure. These were the Pharisees, the leading,
sect amongst the Jews, the sect which comprised
probably the principal part of the learned and in-
fluential men. The Pharisees professed to h&
more strictly and zealously devoted to the law
than any otliers, and by their severe external
sanctity and punctilious attention to the forms of
religion, they secured the veneration of the mul-
titude. They were scrupulous observers of the-
sabbath, they kept frequent fasts, were exact in
all washings, ostentatious in paying tithes, in re-
peating prayers, and in giving alms, professed
great abhorrence at sinners, and even carried the
show of sanctity into the phylacteries and fringes
of their garments. Thus their appearance cor-
responded with their name, which meant separat-
ed, or set apart, from other men in holiness and
piety; and their haughty treatment of all whom
they considered sinners, was of a piece with their
high pretensions.

Such was the popular and predominant sect.
Of course they were jealous to maintain their in-
fluence, and unfriendly to all persons and parties


who would either rival them in the estimation of
the people, or expose their true character. It
could not but happen, that they would look with
ill will on any one who should assume to be a re-
ligious teacher, and not consult them and forward
their purposes. It is plain, that, with their prin-
ciples and character, no one could be received
by them as the Messiah, unless he corresponded
to their expectations, and in fact were one of the
Pharisees. When therefore they heard of the
bold procedure of a young man from Galilee,
who had gone about cleansing the temple, and
teaching the people, and baptizing followers inde-
pendently of them, they were naturally displeas-
ed. His tone of instruction, too, was very unlike
theirs, and tended to bring them into discredit.
His simplicity and purity were disagreeable to
their artifice and hypocrisy. They felt themselves
rebuked by his modest but severe virtue. They
therefore felt ill-disposed toward him. They could
not listen to the idea that he was the Messiah.
Surely the Messiah would be sent to the chiefs
of the church, and not spring up from the dregs
of the people. " Search and look," said they,
'' for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet."

On hearing that this new teacher was success-
ful in gaining adherents, and that he baptized
even greater numbers than John had done, they
did not conceal their displeasure. In what man-


ner they expressed it, we are not told; but we
read that when Jesus heard of this, he left the
place where he was, for he knew that it was not
his duty to provoke opposition unnecessarily; and
in order to avoid every occasion of complaint for
the present, he quitted Judea altogether, and re-
turned to his own country of Galilee.

On his way to Galilee he necessarily passed
through Samaria, which lies between that prov-
ince and Judea. At least this was the nearest
and most convenient route, though the Jews
sometimes took a more circuitous course; as we
shall find that our Lord did on another occasion,
in order to avoid the enmity of the Samaritans.
It was on this journey that occurred one of the
most interesting incidents of his ministry. At
about the distance of forty miles from Jerusalem,
just before reaching the famous mountains of
Ebal and Gerizim, is the well which Jacob dug.
It is to be seen there even to the present day ; for
in that country wells of water are so precious, that
they are kept with the greatest care generation
after generation. At about mid-day, our Saviour
reached this well, and sat down to rest himself,
while his disciples went forward to Sychar to pur-
chase provisions for their refreshment. This town
lay at nearly a mile's distance. It is the same
which is called Shechem in the Old Testament.

John iv.


It stands in a beautiful, romantic, and fertile spot
between the mountains of Ebal and Gerizim, and
is to this day one of the most flourishing towns
in Palestine. It was for a long time the capital
of Samaria.

While Jesus sat waiting at the well, a woman
came from the city to draw water. He immedi-
ately entered into conversation with her. This
is a circumstance which marks his character. A
common Jew would not have done so. A scribe,
a priest, or a pharisee, would have esteemed him-
self dishonored by so doing. Not only w^as it
considered improper to converse with a woman
publicly, but the Jews and Samaritans were in-
veterate enemies. They had no intercourse with
each other; and it shows something in Jesus
greatly superior to the prejudices of the times
and the people, that he so readily conversed, not
only with a woman, but with a Samaritan.

The woman herself was astonished at his ad-
dressing her. " How is it that thou," she ex-
claimed, "being a Jew, dost ask drink of me,
who am a Samaritan?" She must have been
still more astonished at his reply, and the turn
which he gave to the conversation. For our
Lord, agreeably to his uniform custom of draw-
ing religious instruction from every incident, im-
mediately took occasion to speak of that living
water, of which if a man drink, he shall never


thirst again. He awakened her curiosity, he ex-
cited her desire to know more, he alluded to some
private circumstances in her life, and she saw that
he was no common person, but a prophet. She
therefore seized the opportunity to ask his judg-
ment respecting that great question which divided
the Jews and Samaritans, namely, whether the
temple at Jerusalem or the mount of Gerizim Avas
the true place of worship. Jesus replied, that
this was no longer a question of any consequence;
that a new order of things was about to be intro-
duced; that all merely local worship and all limit
ed service was to cease. " Woman, believe me,
the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this
mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Fa-
ther. — But the hour cometh, and now is, when
the true worshippers shall worship the Father in
spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to
worship him. God is a spirit: and they that wor-
ship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth."
This doctrine was as new to the woman as it
was grand and glorious. But she did not appear
fully to enter into the meaning of it; it was too
great for her to take in at once; and she answer-
ed our Lord, by observing, that when the Mes-
siah should come, they undoubtedly should be
fully instructed in this matter. Jesus at once, in
the simplest manner, discovered himself to her.
" I that speak unto thee am he." The woman,


struck with astonishment, answered not a word,
but put down her water-pot, and went back to the
city to tell what she had seen and heard. " Come,
see a man who told me all things that ever I did ;
is not this the Messiah? " The people were easi-
ly excited by such a report, and returned with her
to see the wonderful stranger.

Meantime the disciples came back to their Mas-
ter, whom they had left hungry and weary; but
he was too much engaged in the feelings and
hopes to which this incident had given rise, to
care for the food which they brought. His mind
was full of the excitement of a benevolent hope,
that here he had done some good, here he might
make some converts. He pointed to the crowd
of people coming from the city, and bade his fol-
lowers observe how the fields were already ripe
for the harvest, that they only needed to go forth
and reap, and they should gather fruit unto life
eternal. And when the Samaritans entreated him
to abide with them, he gladly accepted the invita-
tion, and remained there two days. The conse-
quence was, that many believed on him. They
heard him speak, and were convinced, as their
country-woman had been at the well. And they
said to her, " Now we believe, not because of
thy saying, for we have heard him ourselves, and
know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour
of the world."

6* E


Having spent two days at Sychar, he proceeded
on his journey into Galilee, Here he was receiv-
ed by the people with great respect, for they had
known the things which he did in Jerusalem at the
feast. Of the events which occurred during his
visit, nothing is related, excepting the cure of a
nobleman's son at Capernaum, which was the sec-
ond miracle performed in Galilee. It was while
our Lord was at Cana, that this nobleman, as he
is called, (that is, probably, some officer in the
employment of the government,) came from Ca-
pernaum, a distance of nearly twenty miles, en-
treating Jesus to heal his son. This seems to
show confidence in his power to work miracles;
but it appears from our Lord's reply, that it was
mingled with a good deal of doubt and distrust;
for, said he, " except ye see signs and wonders,
ye will not believe." But when the anxious father
urgently repeated his request, and thus evinced
a strong faith, Jesus granted more than he asked.
He assured him of the immediate safety of his
son, without departing from the spot. " Go thy
way," said he; " thy son liveth." And the father
found it so on his return.

Our Lord's residence in Galilee at this time
must have been short; for on the occurrence of
the feast of Pentecost, fifty days after that of the
Passover, he again went up to Jerusalem.




The Pentecost was a festival in commemora-
tion of the giving of the law from Mount Sinai.
This event took place fifty days after the depart-
ure of the Israelites from Egypt; consequently
the Pentecost occurred fifty days after the Pass-
over, and because it thus took place at the inter-
val of seven weeks, it was called the feast of
iveeks. It was celebrated by the offering of the
first fruits of the wheat-harvest, which at that
time was gathered in, and by various additional
sacrifices at the Temple. It was one of the three
great occasions on which all the males of the
land were required to present themselves in re-
ligious solemnity before the Lord. Our Saviour,
therefore, whose rule it was " to fulfil all right-
eousness," again went up to Jerusalem.

This vi^it to the city was signalized by the cure
of an "impotent man," as he is styled in our
translation; — one who had been disabled by
disease for thirty-eight years. Jesus found him
lying with a multitude of blind, lame and crippled

John V.


persons near a pool called Bethesda, whose wa-
ters at certain seasons were thought to possess
a mhaculous power of healing. As he had no
friend to lift him into the water, Jesus took pity
on him and healed him by his word.

This happened on the Sabbath-day. When the
strict and superstitious Jews saw the poor man
walking away with his couch on his shoulders,
they cried out against him for breaking the Sab-
bath. He defended himself by answering, that the
person who healed him had said to him, " Take
up thy bed and walk." Their displeasure was
thus turned against Jesus, and they persecuted
him for this profanation of the holy day. This
gave rise to one of those striking conversations
recorded by John, in which our Lord vindicated
himself against the charge of irreligion and blas-
phemy, asserted his authority and dignity as the
Son of God, warned his countrymen against the
rejection of his claims, and reminded them of
three proofs which they possessed that he came
from God; — namely, the testimony of John the
Baptist, the miraculous works he performed, and
the voice from heaven which was heard at his
baptism. It was in this discourse that occurred
that solemn and sublime passage respeting a
future state of retribution, of which Paley has
said,* " Had Jesus Christ delivered no other de-

* Moral Philosophy, Book v. eh. ix.


claration, he had pronounced a message of inesti-
mable importance, and well worthy of that splen-
did apparatus of prophecy and miracles with
which his mission was introduced and attested."
This declaration was, " The hour is comincr, in
which all that are in the graves shall hear his
voice, and shall come forth; they that have done
good unto the resurrection of life, and they that
have done evil unto the resurrection of condemna-

But it was in vain that he addressed his holy
doctrine and earnest warnings to the prejudiced
minds of his countrymen. They would not hear
him. They persecuted and sought to kill him.
And therefore, says the Evangelist, he did not
continue in Judea, but retired again to Galilee.

It was now the opening of the summer. The
feast of Pentecost occurred in May, and we hear
nothing more of him until the feast of Tabernacles
in September. As the summer in that climate is
intensely hot and enervating, and consequently
unfavorable to exertion, it seems probable that he
spent it in comparative retirement. No record
of any of his acts during this time has come down
to us. We are left to fancy him passing his time
in holy contemplation and devotion, occupied in
teaching and blessing the circle with which he
was immediately connected, and preparing him-

John vii. 1.


self for the severe trials and toils of the more ac-
tive months which were to follow.

The feast of Tabernacles, the third of the
three great solemnities at whiclv the men were
obliged to go up to the Temple, was instituted in
commemoration of the sojourn of the Israelites
in the wilderness, where for so many years they
dwelt in tents or tabernacles. It occurred in the
beginning of autumn, and lasted seven days, or,
as some think, eight; the first and last being the
most solemn. The manner of its celebration was
peculiar. During its whole continuance, the peo-
ple resided in tents, or arbors, constructed of
the boughs of trees, and placed in the streets, in
the outer court of the Temple, and on the tops
of the houses. On the first day, they gathered
branches of the finest trees, willow and palm-
trees especially, and went with them in procession
to the temple, and encompassed the altar of burnt-
ofFerings, singing certain songs, and crying " Ho-
sanna! " Hence these branches were called Ho-
sanna; and the last day was called the Great
Hosanna, because on that day this ceremony was
performed seven times. They also brought as
offerings to the temple the first fruits of their sec-
ond harvest, and consecrated the occasion by a
great variety of sacrifices, as well as by dancing,
music, and illuminations. In fact, this feast may
be considered as the great Thanksgiving of the


Jewish people. It was kept by joyous religious
feasting, like the autumnal festival of New Eng-

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