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Published by glennpease

St. John n. 16.

Take these things hence; make not my Father s house an house of

St. John n. 16.

Take these things hence; make not my Father s house an house of

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Published by: glennpease on Nov 04, 2013
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THE CLEANSING OF THE TEMPLE.BY FREDERICK DENISON MAURICE, M.A.St. John n. 16.Take these things hence; make not my Father s house an house of merchandice,The first three Gospels have been sometimes called theOalilcean Gospels ; the fourth, the Jerusalem Gospel. Thedistinction would be a very false one, if it implied that ourLord's relation to Jerusalem was not present to the mindsof the earlier Evangelists, or that St. John overlooked Hisrelation to Galilee. In the ninth chapter of St. Luke'sGospel, we are told that Jesus set His face to go to Jerusa-lem. All the chapters which follow refer to events whichtook place in that journey, and contain discourses relatingto the end of it, and to the city itsel£ In the thirteenth,we hear of His sending a message to Herod, that a prophetcould not perish out of Jerusalem ; in the nineteenth, of His looking down upon Jerusalem and weeping over it.The climax of the narrative, not only of St. Luke, but of St Matthew and of St. Mark, is the entry of Jesus intoJerusalem^ to be hailed as a king, to die as a malefactor.On the other hand, St. John presents his Master to us inTHE CLEANSING OP THE TEMPLE. 73the midst of Galilaean disciples. He carefully omits anjallnsion to the birth at Bethlehem; he records the firstmanifestation of His power and nature as given at Gana.But though these observations show how easily thesupposed difference between these narratives may be ex-aggerated and perverted, they do not prove it not to exist.
We have no hint in the first three Evangelists of Christ'spresence at any of the Jerusalem feasts, between that inHis twelfth year and that which preceded His crucifixion.The scene of the most memorable acts and discourses re-corded in St. John, is laid at Passover, Tabernacle, Dedica-tion feasts, to which He had come up from Galilee. Thethree Evangelists speak of Him continually as teaching inthe synagogues ; only at the close of His ministry asteaching in the Temple. The second manifestation of ourLord spoken of by St John is when He drove out of theTemple those who were selling and buying in it.This narrative is the most signal instance of discrepancybetween St. John and the other Evangelists which we shallmeet with in our whole course. An act similar, in nearlyevery particular, to that which our Gospel appears to con-nect with the period immediately after Christ's baptism — before the Baptist's imprisonment — is said in the others tohave been performed when He was about to keep the lastpassover. * May not these reports,' it has been asked,' refer to the -same transaction? Need we suppose that St.* John troubled himself about chronology? May not his* recollections of events at which he was present have been* united by some other thread than one of years or days ?* Oftentimes we may have observed how a word evokes a* train of slumbering thoughts. Why may not he who had' just been speaking of the first sign which Jesus did, have'74 DISCOUESE VI.* been led on by that name to the question of the Jews in^ the eighteenth verse, ^^ What sign shewest Thau th(U Thau
* daest these things f^^ *Such a method of removins: a grave difficulty mis^ht bereaaonable enough. But is therfa grave dkculty-isthere any difficulty — to be removed? There is no internalimprobabiUty in the supposition that our Lord inauguratedHis ministry by one act of purification, and wound it up byanother. K we accept the one Evangelist as an authorityfor the first, the three for the second, we gain, I think,what more than compensates us for an apparent repetition.We acquire a deeper sense of the meaning of the Temple,of the relation in which it stood to the Jews, to mankind,and to Christ. We understand better what the threeEvangelists mean when they say that the disciples thoughtthat the destruction of the Temple must be the end of theage, of their world ; what St. John means when he speaksof the temple which would be destroyed and raised again.Some commentators upon the Scriptures, who really wishto understand them, but who feel entangled by the habitsand notions of their own time, lament that they cannot re-produce the state of feeling which belonged to the Jew whenhe gazed upon his temple, or entered within its precincts.* What help,' they say, * lies in the descriptions of the most* accurate and lively travellers ? What should we gain by* beholding them with our own eyes ? We need to annihi-* late time as well as space. The mind of the people who* gazed eighteen hundred years ago upon these spots will* not come back to us merely because we are able to receive* a tolerably correct impression of the spots themselves.'I confess, my brethren, that I am quite unable to sym-pathise with these complaints. I do not think it requires

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