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ST. JOHN'S FINAL SUMMARY OF THIS HISTORY.

395

CHAP.

III

own work: what He should say, and what He should speak, the Father 'Himself' had given Him commandment. Nay, this commandment, and what He spoke in it, was not mere teaching, nor Law: it was Life everlasting. And so it is, and ever shall be—eternal thanks to the love of Him Who sent, and the grace of Him Who came: that the things which He spake, He spake as the Father said unto Him.

These two things, then, are the final summary by the Apostle of the History of the Christ in His public activity. On the one hand, he shows us how Israel, hardened in the self-chosen course of its religious development, could not, and, despite the clearest evidence, did not, believe. And, on the other hand, he sets before us the Christ, absolutely surrendering Himself to do the Will and Work of the Father ; witnessed by the Father ; revealing the Father; coming as the Light of the world to chase away its moral darkness; speaking to all men, bringing to them salvation, not judgment, and leaving the vindication of His Word to its manifestation in the Last Dayand finally, the Christ as He Whose every message is commanded of God, and Whose every commandment is life everlasting—and therefore and so speaking it, as the Father said unto Him.

These two things: concerning the history of Israel and their necessary unbelief, and concerning the Christ as God-sent, God-witnessed, God-revealing, bringing light and life as the Father's gift and command—the Christ as absolutely surrendering Himself to this Mission and embodying it—are the sum of the Gospel-narratives. They explain their meaning, and set forth their object and lessons.

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COURSES—THE SADDUCEES AND THE RESURRECTION—THE SCRIBE AND
THE GREAT COMMANDMENT-QUESTION TO THE PHARISEES ABOUT DAVID's
SON AND LORD—FINAL WARNING TO THE PEOPLE: THE EIGHT 'WOES'-
FAREWELI

(St. Matt. xxii. 23–33; St. Mark xii. 18-27; St. Luke xx. 27–39; St. Matt. xxii. 3t

40; St. Mark xii. 28–34; St. Matt. xxii. 41-46; St. Mark xii. 35-40; St. Luke .. 40-47 ; St. Matt. xxiii.)

BOOK
V

* St. Matt. xvi. 1

The last day in the Temple was not to pass without other temptations' than that of the Priests when they questioned His authority, or of the Pharisees when they cunningly sought to entangle Him in His speech. Indeed, Christ had on this occasion taken a different position ; He had claimed supreme authority, and thus challenged the leaders of Israel. For this reason, and because at the last we expect assaults from all His enemies, we are prepared for the controversies of that day.

We remember that, during the whole previous history, Christ had only on one occasion come into public conflict with the Sadducees, when, characteristically, they had asked of Him a sign from heaven.' Their Rationalism would lead them to treat the whole movement as beneath serious notice, the outcome of ignorant fanaticism. Nevertheless, when Jesus assumed such a position in the Temple, and was evidently to such extent swaying the people, it behoved them, if only to guard their position, no longer to stand by. Possibly, the discomfiture and powerlessness of the Pharisees may also have had their influence. At any rate, the impression left is, that those of them who now went to Christ were delegates, and that the question which they put had been well planned.'

Their object was certainly not serious argument, but to use the

1 There seems some reference to this question put to Christ in what we regard as covert references to Christianity in that mysterious passage in the Talmud

(Yoma 66 b) previously referred to (see pp. 193, 194). Comp. the interesting dissertation of Töttermann on R. Elieser ben Hyrcanos (pp. 16-18).

CONTROVERSY WITH SADDUCEES ABOUT THE RESURRECTION.

397

IV

much more dangerous weapon of ridicule. Persecution the populace CHAP. might have resented; for open opposition all would have been prepared; but to come with icy politeness and philosophic calm, and by a well-turned question to reduce the renowned Galilean Teacher to silence, and show the absurdity of His teaching, would have been to inflict on His cause the most damaging blow. To this day such appeals to rough and ready common-sense are the main stock-intrade of that coarse infidelity, which, ignoring alike the demands of higher thinking and the facts of history, appeals—so often, alas ! effectually—to the untrained intellect of the multitude, and shall we not say it ?-to the coarse and lower in us all. Besides, had the Sadducees succeeded, they would at the same time have gained a signal triumph for their tenets, and defeated, together with the Galilean Teacher, their own Pharisaic opponents. The subject of attack was to be the Resurrection the same which is still the favourite topic for the appeals of the coarser forms of infidelity to the common sense' of the masses. Making allowance for difference of circumstances, we might almost imagine we were listening to one of our modern orators of materialism. And in those days the defence of belief in the Resurrection laboured under twofold difficulty. It was as yet a matter of hope, not of faith : something to look forward to, not to look back upon. The isolated events recorded in the Old Testament, and the miracles of Christ-granting that they were admitted—were rather instances of resuscitation than of Resurrection. That grand fact of history, than which none is better attested—the Resurrection of Christ—had not yet taken place, and was not even clearly in view of any one. Besides, the utterances of the Old Testament on the subject of the “hereafter' were, as became alike that stage of revelation and the understanding of those to whom it was addressed, far from clear. In the light of the New Testament it stands out in the sharpest proportions, although as an Alpine height afar off; but then that Light had not yet risen upon it.

Besides, the Sadducees would allow no appeal to the highly poetic language of the Prophets, to whom, at any rate, they attached less authority, but demanded proof from that clear and precise letter of the Law, every tittle and iota of which the Pharisees exploited for their doctrinal inferences, and from which alone they derived them. Here, also, it was the Nemesis of Pharisaism, that the postu

' In regard to the denial of the Resurrection by the Sadducees, and to their

views generally, we refer to the sketch of the three sects in Book III. ch. ii.

BOOK
V

a Deut, xxxi. 16

90 b the middle d Ber. R. 20

f Sanh, 91 b

lates of their system laid it open to attack. In vain would the Pharisees appeal to Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, or the Psalms. To such an argument as from the words, this people will rise up,'a the Sadducees would rightly reply, that the context forbade the application to the Resurrection; to the quotation of Isaiah xxvi. 19, they would answer that that promise must be understood spiritually, like the vision of the dry bones in Ezekiel ; while such a reference as to this

, » Cant. vii. 9 causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak,'' would scarcely :See Sanh: require serious refutation. Of similar character would be the argu

ment from the use of a special word, such as 'return' in Gen. iii. 19, or that from the twofold mention of the word 'cut off' in the

original of Num. xv. 31, as implying punishment in the present and Sanh. 200, in the future dispensation. Scarcely more convincing would be the from bottom appeal to such passages as Deut. xxxii. 39: ‘I kill and make alive,''

or the statement that, whenever a promise occurs in the tense which in Hebrew stands for the future, it indicates a reference to the Resurrection. Perhaps more satisfactory, although not convincing

to a Sadducee, whose special contention it was to insist on proof Sanh. 90 , from the Law,5 might be an appeal to such passages as Dan. xii. 2,

13, or to the restoration to life by certain of the prophets, with the superadded canon, that God had in part prefiguratively wrought by His prophets whatever He would fully restore in the future.

If Pharisaic argumentation had failed to convince the Sadducees on Biblical grounds, it would be difficult to believe that, even in the then state of scientific knowledge, anyone could have seriouslythought that there was a small bone in the spine which was indestructible, and from which the new man would spring, or that there existed even

now a species of mice, or else of snails, which gradually and visibly Sanh. 90 8 developed out of the earth. Many clever sayings of the Pharisees are,

indeed, here recorded in their controversies, as on most subjects, and by which a Jewish opponent might have been silenced. But here, especially, must it have been felt that a reply was not always an answer, and that the silencing of an opponent was not identical with proof of one's own assertion. And the additions with which the Pharisees had encumbered the doctrine of the Resurrection would not only surround it with fresh difficulties, but deprive the simple fact of its grand majesty. Thus, it was a point in discussion, whether a person would rise in his

lines 10 and 9 from bottom h Sanh. 92 4

· Hamburger (Real Encycl. vol. i. p. 125) has given the Rabbinic argumentation, and Wünsche (ad St. Matt. xxii. 23) has reproduced it-unfortunately, with the not unnatural exaggerations of Ham

burger.

2 It is well known that the Hebrew has no future tense in the strict sense.

3 Hence called the 08 sacrum (see again in the sequel).

THE JEWISH DOCTRINE OF THE RESURRECTION.

399

CHAP.
IV

* Sanh. 90 6

35 a

e 1 Sam.

a Ber. R. 95, beginning

f Ber. R. 96, towards the

clothes, which one Rabbi tried to establish by a reference to the grain of wheat, which was buried “naked,' but rose clothed. Again, some Rabbis held, that a man would rise in exactly the same clothes in which he had been buried, while others denied it. From the appa- b Jer. Cheth. rition of Samuel it was inferred, that the risen would look exactly as in life-have even the same bodily defects, such as lameness, xxviii. 14 blindness, or deafness. It was argued, that they were only afterwards to be healed, lest enemies might say that God had not healed them when they were alive, but that He did so when they were dead, and that they were perhaps not the same persons. In some respects even more strange was the contention that, in order to secure that all the pious of Israel should rise on the sacred soil of Palestine, Is. xlii. 5 there were cavities underground in which the body would roll till it reached the Holy Land, there to rise to newness of life.

But all the more, that it was so keenly controverted by heathens, close Sadducees, and heretics, as appears from many reports in the Talmud, and that it was so encumbered with realistic legends, should we admire the tenacity with which the Pharisees clung to this doctrine. The hope of the Resurrection-world appears in almost every religious utterance of Israel. It is the spring-bud on the tree, stript by the long winter of disappointment and persecution. This hope pours its morning carol into the prayer which every Jew is bound to say on awakening ;8 it sheds its warm breath over the oldest of the daily & Ber. 60 prayers which date from the time of our Lord ;1 in the formula from age to age,' world without end,' it forms, so to speak, the rearguard to every prayer, defending it from Sadducean assault ; it is one of the few dogmas denial of which involves, according to the Mishnah, the loss of eternal life, the Talmud explaining-almost in the words of Christ—that in the retribution of God this is only' measure according to measure ; nay, it is venerable even in its exag- Sanh. 90 a, geration, that only our ignorance fails to perceive it in every section of the Bible, and to hear it in every commandment of the Law.

But in the view of Christ the Resurrection would necessarily occupy a place different from all this. It was the innermost shrine in the Sanctuary of His Mission, towards which He steadily tended; it was also, at the same time, the living corner-stone of that Church which He had builded, and its spire, which, as with uplifted finger, ever pointed all men heavenwards. But of such thoughts connected

h

It forms the second of the eighteen Eulogies.

. It is expressly stated in Ber. ix. 9,

that the formula was introduced for that
purpose.

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