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in the sky. There was also a that the Paschal Lamb was slain GREAT EARTHQUAKE in Bithy- on the FOURTEENTH DAY acnia, and it threw down a great cording to the Moon when the number of buildings in the city Sun was in Aries. In the next of Nice.”
place then, we must have recourse Thus then there is a striking io Astronomical Tables, * from harmony between the Sacred which we compute that, in the Oracles and uninspired history, year of our Lord thirty-three, the with respect to the hour at which Sun entered Aries on ihe 22nd of the darkness commenced, and to March at one minute past four the earthquake which accom- in the afternoon, according to panied that darkness, and also Solar or Apparent Time at Greento the unprecedented character of wich; and we also find that the the phenomenon. But in esta- Sun continued in Aries till the blishing the identity of the re- 22nd of April, on which day he spective accounts, it is proper to entered Taurus at 19 minutes proceed still further. It may be after five in the afternoon. After observed, therefore, that by com- obtaining these results we find puting from our Modern Astro- that the New Moon preceding nomical Tables which have been the passover happened on March brought to an unprecedented ap- the 19th at 48 minutes after ten proximation towards perfection, in the forenoon. According to it appears that there was no total our mode of reckoning, therefore, eclipse of the sun at mid-day, or the fourteenth day of the moon at any other time of the day, when the sun was in Aries, coineither at Jerusalem or in Bithynia, cided with Wednesday the first in any part of the fourth year of of April. But by referring to the 102nd Olympiad. Nor cản the Gospels we learn that our it be said that the darkness was Lord was crucified on a Friday, . occasioned by a thick fog, or by or the day before the Jewish exceedingly dense clouds; for Sabbath. Now as it is also Phlegon says,
“ the stars appear. evident that the Jews attended ed.” Hence we are led to con- to the passover on that day,t it clude that what this Greek wri- follows that the reckoning ter calls a great eclipse of the which Josephus refers, began sun was an obscuration of that from the first re-appearance of luminary by causes that consti- the moon after the change: and, tuted the event a prodigy: and in the land of Judæa, the passfrom the astonishing coincidence over moon in the year 33, would of Scripture with profane records, be first visible on Friday evening, we are at once led to consider March the 20th. For on that the respective accounts as apply evening the Moon did not set at ing to one and the same event. Jerusalem till 19 minutes after
As Phlegon, therefore, points seven, apparent time at Jerusaout the year, and the Evangelists the time of the year, we
* The Tables used in these compu
tations are Delambre's Solar Tables, brought to the time of PASSOVER and Burckhardt's Lunar Tables, the in the year THIRTY-THREE, as Secular Equations being computed for the time of the three hours' dark the particular times according to the For additional particulars,
formulæ of Laplace.
+ See Mark xv. 42.-Luke xxiii. 54. however, we must have recourse -John xix. 31. to Josephus, from whom we learn $ See John xviii, 28, and xix. 14,
lem, when the sun was seventeen (or two; and, therefore, if we degrees and one minute below were to give up the point of exthe horizon. The darkness, there. treme accuracy, we should still fore, was sufficient not only to have such an approximation to render the Moon's crescent visi-, the 490 years as no competent ble, but also to allow the other and impartial judge can
gainpart of her disc to be seen, which say or resist :” and it should be part, on the moon's first re-ap- also remarked that the prophecy pearance, is enlightened by al- will suffer nothing by our arriving most the whole of the earth's at a near approximation instead enlightened (or sunshiny) hemi- of the very acme of accuracy. sphere. On the supposition, For-such is the nature of round therefore, that the Jewish day of numbers that we ourselves should the month began at the going speak of seventy weeks, even if down of the sun, the first day of the period so denominated should Nisan would begin on the Friday be a day or two deficient or reevening; and consequently the dundant: and that this principle fourteenth of Nisan would begin obtains in Holy Writ is evident on THURSDAY EVENING, April from the respective periods as. the 2nd--and end on FRIDAY signed for the sojourning of the EVENING,* April the 3rd.—Thus Israelites. Thus in Gen. xv. 13, “the NIGHT in wbich Jesus we read that the Israelites were took bread,” (1 Cor. xi. 23,) and to be sojourners in a foreign land the DAY-TIME in which he was till 400 years were expired, reccrucified; were each on the four. koning not from their going into teenth of Abib or Nisan, both Egypt but from the time in which periods having elapsed between the prediction was first given. the two evenings.
But the real time was 430 years, From the preceding premises as we learn from Exod. xii. 40, we conclude inat our Lord was and Gal. iii. 17. crucified on FRIDAY the THIRD Having thus glanced at the of April, in the year of our Lord sources of illustration which afTHIRTY-THREE, and thus we fect the figurative language of are furnished with 490 years ex. Scripture io common with what actly for Daniel's seventy weeks. is literal, it is now proper to con-But even if this reasoniug re- sider the range and limits of inspecting the year of the cruci- terpretation when the language fixion were altogether incorrect, is figurative. yet we have other sources of in- Tu the first place then, we formation that will make us may observe that when the figuabsolutely certain within a year rative language is founded on the
relationship of ideas, the grand * Conformably to these boundaries clue to the interpretation is furassigned to one of the seven days, we nished by the CONNEXION. Thus learn from Josephus, that the Jewish when our Lord said, “ The law Sabbath began on the evening
of Fri- and the prophets were until day, and ended on the evening of Saturday. From the Scriptures also John,” (Luke xvi. 16,) it is eviwe learn that the day for killing the dent that the TIME or DAYS of Passover included a part of the day John were intended; for it is before our Lord's crucifixion, (Luke) immediately added, SINCE xxii. 7.)-as well as the greater part of the day on which he was crucified. THAT TIME the kingdom of God (John xix. 14.)
In proceeding with the illus- cause is real, and the effect fictration of figurative language, it titious. Nor should figurative may be further observed that the language in general be minutely moving cause is sometimes put analyzed, as the object of such for an intermediate cause, and language is to present to the mind must be interpreted accordingly. what is powerful by accumulaThus in Acts i. 18, we read that tion, rather than what is weakenJudas“ purchased a field with ed by diversity or disunion. the reward of iniquity:" and, on Hence when our Lord said conthis occasion, it is necessary to cerning his disciples, “Behold consult the details of this trans- my mother and my brethren,” it action in Matt. xxvii. 3-10; was obvious that he did not from which passage we shall see mean that one portion of his disthat the meaning is, that Judas was ciples was his mother, and the the cause of a field's being “pur other his brethren; but the Sachased with the reward of ini. viour meant that every true disquity.”
ciple was inconceivably dear to Sometimes too a fictitious cause him. “ For,” says he, “ whosois put instead of a real one, for ever shall do the will of my the sake of giving proper energy Father which is in heaven, the to the expression. Thus the real SAME is my BROTHER, and cause of the destruction of the sister, and MOTHER,” (Matt. armies of Sisera was the sword xii. 50.) of the Israelites, (Judges iv. 16;) The next subject that requires and the fatal nail of Jael was the our attention is the interpretation cause of the death of Sisera him- of figurative language founded on self, (Judges iv. 21.) Yet in the resemblance. With respect to sublime song of Deborah it is such language, therefore, it may said, “The stars in their courses be observed that the properties fought against Sisera. The river of the figure are not to be all Kishon swept them
away." | indiscriminately applied to the Neither the stars, however, nor object intended. Thus the name the river Kjshon were the in- of Elijah, applied to John the struments of destruction, as may Baptist, will not warrant our apbe ascertained from the details plying to John every thing said recorded in the preceding chap- and done by Elijah. For Elijah's
One subject, however, life was a life of prodigies: wherestrikes us on this occasion; as it is expressly said, “ John namely, the impossibility of ap- did no miracle.” With respect, plying the fictitious cause in a however, to the points of resemminutely subdivided state. We blance really intended, Scripture cannot even apply one species of itself presents them to us. Thus destruction to the stars, and the angel Gabriel said concernanother to the river ; but we ing John the Baptist, “ Many of must take these poetical expres- the children of Israel shall he sions in the mass. In short, turn unto the Lord their God. everything went wrong with And he (John) shall go before Sisera, as much so as if the stars, him [Jesus] in he SPIRIT and and rivers, and all creation had, Power of Elijah.” Lukei. 16, 17. in awful concert, become his im- To proceed to a combination placable foes. The same general of figures founded on resem, observations will apply when the blance, we may derive much as
sistance from Joseph's interpreta- meaning was involved in the cir. tion of Pharaob's dream; for cumstance that not a bone of the that interpretation was not the paschal lamb was to be broken. result of human efforts but of Yet this fact was actually a preDivine inspiration. It may then diction that when Jesus should be be observed, that when Joseph crucified between two malefacbad told Pharaoh that there tors, bis deatb would be distinwould be first seven years of guished from theirs by the cirplenty, and then seven years of cumstance, that not one of his famive, and that these seven bones would be broken : and the years of famine would consume Apostle John was an eye-witness the produce of the seven former of the accomplishment of this preyears; and when he had also ex- diction, and lays great stress upon plained the doubling of the what he saw, " in order," says he dream, he seems to have ex- to those whom he addressed, hausted the prophetic intimation. “ THAT YE MIGHT BELIEVE.” All the rest, therefore, was the “But why," an unbeliever will necessary appendage of the es. say, “ should John think that sential symbols. If the kine are such trivial circumstances were to arise, they must arise some calculated to produce BELIEF ?" where. The river, therefore, is Jobu himself has furnished the selected as being familiar to the answer;- “ These things were mind of an Egyptian. Again, done,” says he, “that the Scripwhen the fat kine became stature should be fulfilled, A BONE tionary, what could be OF IT SHALL NOT BE BROKEN." natural than to place them feed- John xix. 36. ing in a meadow? If also the There was, moreover, connect. ears of corn are to be blasted, ed with the paschal lamb another there must be a cause; and to circumstance, which might not what object could this task be have been considered essential, assigned with more propriety, had not the fulfilment led us to than to the East Wind ? Joseph, such a conclusion. For the time however, in his explanation, of the Passover perfectly cointakes no notice of the River, or cided with the time of the passMeadow, or East Wind. There-ing over" of the destroying angel; fore in elucidating the meaning of and the Passover was,. in Holy symbols, or of parabolic lan. Writ itself, so associated with guage, regard is to be had to the previous occurrences, as to lead prominent features, or to such the mind back to the POURsymbols as are introduced for TEENTH of Abib, when the Is. their own sake; and the mere raelites were delivered from their necessary appendages are to be bondage. Yet who can observe considered as having no counter the striking coincidence of the part in a literal interpretation. time of sacrificing the paschal
We must be careful, however, lamb with the slaughter of the not to make the limits of interpre. Lamb of God himself, without tation too narrow. For though, observing, at the same time, the for instance, we should readily accomplishment of a prophecy, acknowledge that the paschal both as to the MONTH and the lamb prefigured Jesus the Lamb DAY of the month? Nay, the of God, it would not perhaps NINTH HOUR, at wbich our strike us that any prophetical Lord's sufferings were termina
ting, was the very hour at which in the year thirty-two, as the it was customary for the Jews to moon set that evening at five mibegin to slay the Paschal Lambs. nutes after seven, apparent time For such is the hour distinctly at Jerusalem, when the sun was stated by Josephus.--Or should thirteen degrees and fifty-four we turn our attention from the minutes below the horizon; and Ecclesiastical Year to the Civil when, of course, the darkness at Year, we shall have a coincidence Jerusalem was as great as it is scarcely less striking. For if our in London on the 22nd of June, Lord was crucified on Friday the at one minute after eleven at third of April, in the year thirty- night, apparent time. The first three, that day, by computation, day of the Civil Year, therefore, appears to have been the TENTH having begun on the evening of day of the SEVENTH MONTH, the twenty-fifth of September, it according to the Civil Reckon- is obvious that Friday the third ing;* for the Jewish months con- of April following must have cosisted of thirty days each, ac incided with the tenth day of the cording to the Scriptures ;t and seventh months, as well as with the first re-appearance of the the fourteenth day of the first Moon that began the Civil Year Ecclesiastical Month :f and there must have been on Thursday was the same coincidence in Evening the 25th of September, facts; for on the very day on
which Jesus our Passover was Josephus considers the months slain, our Great High Priest made mentioned in Scripture in connexion an atonement by the sacrifice of with the flood, as months of the Civil himself, and “ by his own blood Year; but, in other cases, he' consi. ders the months enumerated as belong. entered into the Most Holy Place," ing to the Ecclesiastical Year. Thus passing into the heavens. Hence, it appears evident that he believed the on that memorable day, Jesus said Scriptures included instances of both
to the penitent malefactor, TOreckonings ; and this circumstance will account for a difference in the day DAY shalt thou be with me in of the month, even when the month it. Paradise.” Luke xxiii. 42, 43. self undergoes no change in its deno- To proceed, however, to other mination. Thus in the 52nd of Jere
particulars, we may observe that miah we read of transactions that took place on the 10th day of the fifth month
another remarkable coincidence and on the 25th of the twelfth month; happened on the Sunday after [according to the Ecclesiastical days ;} our Lord's crucifixion. For the
and in the 25th chapter of the second wave-offering was always offered book of Kings we read, [according to the Civil days,] that the very same
“the morning after the Sahtransactions took place on the 7th of the fifth month, and on the 27th of the # The Day of Atonement was the twelfth month. In short, as the first tenth day of the seventh month, accord. appearance of the Moon at the Vernal ing to the Ecclesiastical Reckoning : Equinox was, upon an average, 176 but from the coincidence of the dates days after the first appearance of the with the Civil Reckoning when the Autumnal moon, the days of the Ec- great Atonement was made by Jesus clesiastical Month would, most fre- our Great High Priest, we are led to quently, be four days beforehand from suppose that the time of such AtoneAbib to Tisri, and two days behind ment was predicted not only by the hand from Tisri to Abib.
Passover, but actually by the annual + See Gen. vii, 11, and viii. 3, 4. entry of the Jewish High Priest into from which passages we learn, that the Most Holy Place, Providence 150 days elapsed from the 17th of the having adopted a multiplicity of desecond month to the 17th of the seventh vices to point out a day that has no month.
parallel either in time or eternity,