Images de page


The Denials of Peter. (Pp. 261, 2.)

EACH Evangelist appears to have had in view to record three instances in which Peter denied Christ; but it is clear that they had not all the same idea of the details. This might be expected from the circumstances of the time and place; from the absence of all witnesses except the officers and servants of the High Priest; from the period that would elapse before the facts would be retraced, as a matter of history; from the inability of any one, except the Apostle himself, to state, in regular succession, all the occurrences that took place; and from the difficulty which he must have felt to retrace them in order and detail, occurring as they did in the midst of terror and agitation, and followed as they were by overwhelming remorse, and shame, and anguish.

From the connection of the Evangelist Mark with the Apostle, as well as from the characteristics of his record, it is probable that this is the most accordant with Peter's own impression of the leading circumstances. Mark alone records the first crowing of the cock, which, as recalling the warning, so much aggravates the evil of Peter's fall; and he speaks of the maid-servant (ỷ πaidiokŋ) who occasioned his second denial, as if she were the same (μia тwv πaidiokov) that first accosted him.-St Matthew's account consists, it may be conjectured, of what he learnt from his fellow Apostle, while they still sojourned with one another; together, probably, with some information from persons concerned in the transaction: he gives it less in detail, (according to his custom in recording events); but he states that the second denial was accompanied with an oath; and he speaks of the damsel who occasioned it as another (aλλŋ), thus distinguishing her from that one who occasioned the first denial. In other respects, these two Evangelists so fully agree, that the chief source of their record must have been the same.- St. Luke gives the first denial briefly, but in accordance with the account of the preceding Gospels. What he records as the second, was occasioned by the assertion of a man; but this may have instantly followed upon the occurrence recorded by the other Evangelists; and may have been communicated by the person himself: it is to be regarded as a part of the second denial. In the third, Luke agrees, in substance, with the other two: but he specifies the interval that elapsed between it and the second; and he adds a most interesting circumstance, which must have been derived from some observant witness of the proceedings before the High Priest. The hall of audience, as appears from Mark, ver. 66, was raised above the court, (or open area), in which the officers had made the fire, and where Peter was; and from Luke, ver. 61, it obviously looked into that court: at the furthest end of the hall would be the tribunal of the High Priest; and Jesus, while standing before him, would have his back turned towards the court. The sacred historian, after recording the third denial, states that 'immediately the cock crew,' and adds, with his usual impressive simplicity, And the Lord turned and looked on Peter.' If Peter observed this look, one can scarcely account for the fact's not being noticed by St. Mark; it surely could never have been forgotten by him but it was very natural for the recording witness of it to connect it with Peter's immediately rushing out from the court; and at any rate, it shows that, while continually required to attend to the proceedings respecting himself, the Lord was not forgetful of his poor Apostle.—The Apostle John, (whom some suppose to have been the disciple' mentioned in ver. 15,) alone records what passed when our Lord was first brought into the hall of the High

[ocr errors]

Priest; and he interweaves with his record of it, what he knew respecting Peter. He also records three denials; but it is probable that what he mentions first, corresponds with the second of Matthew and Mark; and the two other denials which he specifies, correspond, in time, with their third denial. It is interesting to observe that this Apostle, who seems desirous to record enough to show the fulfilment of our Lord's prophecy, confines himself to the simple fact, and does not mention the dreadful and aggravating circumstances of it.

On the whole, the train of circumstances seems to be as follows. Peter was brought into the outer porch of the palace by another disciple, who spoke for him to the damsel that kept the door: this would make him known to her, and perhaps to some other maid-servants with her. He then went into the court where the officers and servants kindled a fire to warm themselves. There he appears to have principally been for the next hour, sometimes sitting, sometimes standing: and there he would have a partial view of the hall of audience, imperfectly lighted by the torches and lamps of the attendants; and would witness a constant hurrying backwards and forwards, of members of the Sanhedrim, of officers and messengers, of persons coming as witnesses, &c. Every thing external, was obscurity, haste, and agitation; and the circumstances in the garden of Gethsemane, from the time when the enemies of Christ entered with the treacherous Apostle-preceded as they had been by the heavy sleep of a wearied spirit, and followed as they were by a hasty flight, and then an anxious curiosity to see the issue, all had aided to prepare for the accomplishment of the thrice-given prediction. One of the maid-servants, who, we may suppose, had seen him introduced as a stranger, and had observed his hurried manner and perturbed countenance, accosted him while sitting at the fire: this led to his first denial; and he hastily went to the entrance-court (or porch) of the palace, as if to go away. He now had the first signal for watchfulness and caution; for while he was in the porch, a cock crew. Here, it seems, he was again charged by a maid-servant, (now, clearly the one that kept th door), with having been with Jesus: but he denied it with an oath and one of the bystanders immediately asserting the same thing, he denied it to him also. He then went again to the fire in the court; and after some time, (Luke says, 'about an hour,' Matthew and Mark say 'a little while,'-in such circumstances it is not easy to measure time with exactness), he was again charged with being one of the followers of Jesus. This led to his last denial or series of denials. Combining the accounts of the four Evangelists, we may state the concluding scene of Peter's fall as follows. As he was standing by the fire, one of the persons present said to him, 'Art not thou also one of this man's disciples?' he replied, I am not.' Another, who happened to be kinsman of the man whose ear Peter had smote off in Gethsemane, said, 'Did I not see thee in the garden with him?' he denied this also. The bystanders, however, now felt convinced, by his Galilean dialect, that he was one of the followers of Jesus; and one of them, in particular, confidently affirmed it on this ground. The result is impressively stated by each of the first three Evangelists; and, very briefly by the last.

Matthew and Mark have recorded the denials of Peter, after they have stated the occurrences respecting Christ which took place in the High Priest's palace: and this, though it neglects the order of time, is the most convenient method, and is here followed. This arrangement requires the transposition of ver. 63-65 in Luke; which portion clearly belongs to those occurrences.





On the Day after the Crucifixion, the Chief Priests and Pharisees seal the Sepulchre and set a Guard of Roman Soldiers over it, by the Authority of the Governor.


62 Now on the morrow, (that is the day after the preparation-day), the Chief Priests and the Pharisees came together unto Pilate, 63 saying, "Sir," we remember that that impostor said, while he was yet alive, After three days+ I rise again.' 64 Com

mand therefore that the sepulchre‡ be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come and steal him away, and say unto the people, 'He hath been raised from the dead:' and the last imposture will be worse than the first." 65 Pilate said unto them, "Ye have a guard: § go your way, make it secure as ye know how." 66 So they went, and made the sepulchre secure with the guard, having sealed the


[blocks in formation]

* Κύριε. ↑ Or, within three days, μɛтa тρeis pɛpas. See Note p. 163.

* τον τάφον.

Or, take a guard, EXETE KovoTwdiav. The usual guard consisted of four quaternions of soldiers, each set of four to watch for three hours. If such guard had been appointed to the Jewish Rulers for the Crucifixion, and were still under their direction; or if (see Pearce) there were a body of Roman soldiers then stationed at the entrance of the Temple, who were under the control of the Chief Priests; the indicative rendering is preferable.-There appears to be no ground on which to decide certainly.


The Morning of the Resurrection.

To ascertain the order of the occurrences, with any probability, requires to compare carefully the several accounts of the Evangelists: these must have been principally derived from those women to whom the first disclosures of the Resurrection were made.

The narrative of MATTHEW is obviously derived from the account of some or other of the Roman guard, in connection with what he heard from the other Mary'; and her relation he has recorded-such is the internal evidence-as she first gave it to him on her return to Bethany from the sepulchre. MARK's narrative appears to have been chiefly derived from Salome; but he very distinctly records the fact, that the first appearance of Christ was to Mary Magdalene. JOHN has given what he knew personally or from Mary Magdalene; and to this he confines his narrative. LUKE's account may have been principally derived from Joanna or one of her companions; but he adds some general statements from other sources.-This view of the sources of the four narratives, is, in essence, what Griesbach has taken; and, from him, Kuinoel.

The descent of the angel who rolled away the stone and then sat upon it, may have occurred in the last watch, not very long before sunrise. The Roman soldiers appear to have rushed in terror from their station, on the sudden appearance of the Angel; and, without leaving the garden, to have been out of sight of the women as they were approaching the sepulchre. No mortal eye witnessed the glorious moment when the Son of God came forth from the tomb-the first-fruits of a resurrection to an immortal life; and the narratives of the Evangelists merely respect the disclosures of the great event. Their close adherence to what alone was known, is very striking.

[ocr errors]

Bethany was about two miles and a half from the garden of Joseph ; and it may be admitted that most of the Apostles were residing there, and that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary,' with one or two more, came thence to visit the sepulchre, setting out even while it was dark. Peter and John were obviously residing at no great distance from the sepulchre,-say four or five furlongs, in the direction of Mount Zion; and Salome, the mother of John, may have resided with him, and set out from that part of the city, with a companion or two, to meet the party from Bethany at the entrance to the garden at sunrise. As they approached the sepulchre, on looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled from the entrance; and Magdalene, at once inferring that the body had been taken away, ran to tell Peter and John. The other women proceed, and are informed by the Angel who had rolled away the stone that the Lord had arisen. Some appear to have seen the heavenly messenger without the sepulchre, before the others had come up; but all entered it, and received a message to the Apostles and Peter.' The women immediately left the garden: those from Bethany proceeded towards the Mount of Olives; and the others towards Mount Zion, but without meeting Peter and John, who, however, must have left their abode on the report of Mary Magdalene, before Salome returned to it by a different route.

The wife of Herod's steward we may suppose to have resided in or near Herod's palace, which was on Mount Bezetha, in the north of the city, about half a mile from the sepulchre. It is probable that Joanna and her companions entered the garden very shortly after the other party had left it. Their stay in it was short. After coming out

« PrécédentContinuer »