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William. Pilate was procurator of Judea, a sort of president governor, appointed by the Roman Emperor. Herod Antipas and his brother Philip, together with Lysanias, were tetrarchs, or governors of the fourth part of an old estate or territory once under one governor.
Thus Galilee, Itruria, Trachonites, and Abilene were four provinces, three of them provinces of Syria, willed by Herod the great to his sons Herod Antipas and Philip. His Will was confirmed by Augustus, and the estates were continued to the family..
Olympas. Who, James, were high priests in those days ?
James. Annas and Caiaphras.
Olympas. Could there be, Thomas, two high priests at onoe, according to the law of the priesthood?
Thomas. Anpas being father-in-law of Caiphas, was principal high priest, and Caiphas was a sort of deputy or assistant high priest. That they officiated in turns is supposed by some; but I think you taught us that although the law of Moses recognised but one high priest for life, after the subjugation of Judea by the Romans it appears that they appointed high priests as they could. According to Josephus Annanias or Annas had been high priest eleven years, but had been deposed by the Roman governor before the time here mentioned by Luke; and we are expressly informed that Caiaphas was high priest the year in which our Lord was crucified. The Jews, in all probability disregarding the deposition of Annas by a pagan governor, still regarded him as a legitimate high priest according to their law, but
were content that either of them should officiate under that jurisdiction.
Olympas. Luke intended to challenge the scrutiny of the whole world as to the events he narrates. He gives them persons, places, and dates in profusion. Here is Tiberius Cesar in the fifteenth year of his reign over the Roman world, and here are four vernors of Roman provinces, and two high priests connected with the nation of the Messiah and the theatre of the great drama of Christianity in its grand introduction into the world. And such is the preamble to the introduction of John the Baptist's mission and dispensation as the harbinger of the Messiah.
What new and strange doctrine did John preach, Reuben? Give us a full statement of his doctrine, place of ministration, manner of life, &c.
Reuben. John came as the harbinger of the Messiah, and in that capacity proclaimed a deep and thorough reformation of both principle and practice. He proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. It was not mere mental regret, or sorrow for the past; but, superadded to that, and emanating from it, he enforced a reformation in all persons and in all things. Soldiers, publicans, and all the people came to him, asking what they should do. He commanded a genuine and universal reformation, which was signified by a peculiar immersion in the Jordan.
Olympas. For what were John's proselytes immersed ?
Reuben. Matthew says that they were immersed into reformation, or that they might reform, professing reformation, and with a special reference to the remission of sins. Hence the confession of sins made in baptism was indicative of a forsaking of them and a remission of them. The points in John's preaching were repentance, remission, and the immediate appearance of the Messiah-the new era and its accompaniments of judgment and mercy. All that sincerely repented were baptized and turned to the Lord escaped the impending vengeance then threatened as just to be poured out upon the ungrateful nation.
Olympas. Did he not exalt the person and character of the Messiah, and develop some attributes of the coming reign?
Reuben. He spoke of the superiority of the Messiah in very bold and decisive terms, and of the searching and discriminating character of his dispensation, and also of a baptism of the Holy Spirit and of fire, to one of which all that heard him should be subjected.
Olympas. Can you give an instance of a similar phrase in the evangelical history?
Reuben. The Apostles were a sweet savour of Christ to the saved and to the lost;" but not in the same sense all that heard Jesus were to be baptized, but not in the same manner-one class in the Holy Spirit, another in fire: for so the context, as you allege, would intimate.
The Spirit of God is frequently in its influences and effects compared to water, but never to fire, so far as I recollect. All that bearkened to Jesus were participants of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and those who did not obey were subjected to the fire of divine indignation. Jesus gathered the wheat of the people into his garner, but he burned up the chaff in a fire unquenchable. The verdant
trees he made fruitful, but the dry and withered he converted into fuel.
Olympas. What means the phrase "wrath to come," as used by the Harbinger, William ?
William. The vengeance promised to the wicked Jews in Malachi, last chapter, and afterwards explained by our Saviour. I presume reference is had to the final destruction of the nation of Israel. This was the impending judgment from which baptisın alone could save them.
Susan. But if John baptized to save men from impending vengeance, why was Jesus baptized ?
William. To honour every institution of God ; for so he expressed himself when John at first declined the honour of baptizing him.
Thomas. Have we any intimation that John spake on any other topics than those enumerated by the Evangelists?
Olympas. Yes : Luke adds, "and many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.” And hence it came to pass that he reproved Herod the tetrarch of Galilee for having taken the wife of his half brother Philip while he yet lived. This caused his imprisonment, and finally cost him his head. In consummation of the crimes of Herod, he added this above all, that “ he shut up John in prison.” And in this unfortunate perdicament we are sorry to leave him for the present.
You will study the genealogy of Jesus, as given by Luke, for the next lesson.
THE GENEALOGY OF THE MESSIAH. LUKE and Matthew's account of the genealogy being read, the conversation commenced on Matthew's account of the descent of the Messiah.
Olympas. Through whom, William, does Matthew trace our Lord's connexion with David and Abrabam ?
William. Through Joseph, his mother's husband.
Thomas. But as our Lord had no lineal connexion with Joseph, why should the relationship between Joseph and David be traced with so much accuracy?
Olympas. There is both a legal and a natural relation and right where thrones and goveruments are in question. Matthew, therefore, chooses that which primarily affected the Messiah as heir of the throne of David in virtue of his law established father.
Thomas. I have found difficulties in making out the forty-two generations. Olympas. Let us hear
difficulties. Thomas. I have none in the first' fourteen : they are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Pharez, Hezrom, Ram, Aminadab, Naashon, Salmon, Boaz, Obed, Jesse, David. These I can make; out variously, but very satisfactorily from the first and second chapters of the first book of Chronicles. There is some difficulty in the second fourteen. They are as follows: Solomon, Rehoboam, Abia,