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panegyric. Now if the critic stood in the situation of thie
lawyers, and could receive their fee at each hearing till judgment
was finally passed, the authors whom we should most admire
would be those who would most effectually perplex our decision,
and upon whose case we might from month to month declare in
all the elegance of legal latinity, curia advisare vult. But this alas!
is far from being our case; our decisions, whether right or
wrong, must be peremptory; and all our efforts are abortive
to convert a literary tribunal into a court of chancery. Upon
most of the works which pass before us, it is no very difficult matter
to pass a fair and candid judgment; even upon those where good
and bad, both in principle and style, are mixed up in almost
equal proportions ; but where originality of conception, auima-
tion of style, and soundness of principle entitle a volume on the
one side to our warmest commendation, and a strange wildness
and irregularity pervading the whole on the other side, calls for
our correction, it is impossible to give such a sentence as shall
be satisfactory to ourselves, to the author, or to the public. Such
is the volume before us, which in many points claiming our just
admiration, in others demand our serious protest against the fan-
ciful interpretations of Scripture which it manifests, which
though in themselves of little importance as far as relates to the
present instance, may nevertheless, if suffered to pass without
censure, lead into the most dangerous errors and fatal miscou.
The volume opens with an address, which is neatly and unafa
fectedly written, and with the exception of a tone here and there
father too doginiatical, we should have but a poor opinion of the
taste of that person, who after reading it should not feel desirous
of perusing the rest of the book.
We shall not follow our author step by step through all the
details and all the events of that night, which he so justly deno-
minates the Night of Treason, but contining ourselves to the three
leading points which have been stated in the title page, we shall
say a few words on them ail.
These points are
1. That Pilaté was a traitor to Cæsar.
II. That Judas was guilty of tlie most complicate treachery.
III. That Peter after the three denials, according to a distinct
prediction, three times a postatised.
Mr. Thruston opens his narrative with a very elegant and simple statement of his ideas.
“ The eye of Jesus suddenly catching, through the partial gloom of the hall, the anxious eye of the conscious apostate, surrounded by that group of furious Jews to whom he was decisively
proving by his cursing and swearing that he could not be a disciple of Jesus, and arresting his oath in the midst of its course, this perhaps (though but by one Evangelist related, and only in one simple sentence, The Lord turned and looked upon Peter,') is the critical instant, to be seized for the canvas, in which all the circumstances are wound up to the highest pitch of interest: and this remains greatly independent of the number and nature of the preceding warnings and denials. Yet diminish our Lord's prediction and his Apostle's fall to a single denial, and it will not be denied that the interest will be proportionably diminished. Increase the circumstances to the fulfilment of a double prediction of a three fold denial, regarding different times as well as different circumstances, and it is obvious that the interest must be in due propor: tion augmented.” P.2.
“ With respect, indeed, to the motives by which Judas and Pilate were actuated, demonstration is necessarily unattainable, since none of the Evangelists give us any authoritative information upon the subject; and the clearness, therefore, of these specula. ţions cannot rival the decisive information, which may be gained on the nature of the facts which compose the novelties respecting St. Peter. Yet, while we call Cromwell a traitor in two volumes, it is not apparent why Judas should be so termed in two words Is this consistent; while the conduct and motives of every other traitor in history are accurately developed and pursued, is it con. sistent that we should rest in the simple fact of the treason, which is to be found in the naked relation of the sacred historian ? How are we to account for the omission to sift the motives of the actors in events, which, in effect unlike the partial interest excited by any merely national history, should interest every human creature on the face of the earth? Is it that one person is so emi, nently conspicuous on the sacred page as to throw all others into the comparative nothingness of a shaded back-ground? Yet ag the same time let it be remembered, that the words and actions of our Lord himself cannot be either fully or fairly understood withiş out reference to the characters and designs of those inferior actors in the piece to whom they have allusion and reference. If the history of men be principally valuable as leading to a knowledge of human nature; and if, therefore, when the mere naked tale might be told in a few pages, observations upon characters and inquiries into motives swell the tale into the dignity of History, and the pages into volumes, much more should the history of our Lord bę uniformly expanded, as at once, above all other, most interesting in its nature, and, from the casual introduction of divine directions, most certain in its grounds of speculation." P. 3, Now to the assertions, 8
* That which concerns Pilate is stated both with accuracy and truth, and reflects much credit upon our author, as it shews no inconsiderable acquaintance with all the leading passions of the human heart. Nothing indeed can be more probable, and at all events more ingenious, than the description of the sentiments which inust have influenced Pilate while he sat upon judgment against our Saviour; and though perhaps we cannot agree with Mr. Thruston upon the whole of his supposition, and of the motives which he attributes to the Roman governor, yet we must confess ourselves pleased with the ingenuity with which the subject has been stated.
“ Pilate could scarcely have been so long Governor of Judæa, and uninformed of the rumour, which prevailing over the whole East, and piercing even to Rome itself, had a form and substance in his peculiar province, that a King was at that time about to be manifested : he could not have been unaware of the expected Messias, the King of the Jews; nor presuming that this man were supposed to have been actuated by ordinary ambition, would Pilate have been foolish enough to ask his prisoner, whether he were the King, or a King; nor would much credit for loyalty have been give, non a compulsory answer, that he was not.” P. 195,
“ Nor had they at this moment relinquished Barabbas, and accepted Jesus as their King and their Christ, as Pilate, insisting on his innocence, so anxiously required of them, could Pilate have thought it possible that all would there have ended? Had the Messiah been liberated under the title of the Messiah, Pilate must have perceived that his government would have been that instant at an end. But instead of Procurator of Judæa, Pilate might have hoped a far more exalted station in the kingdom of Christ; or if indeed Pilate were not actuated by ambitious motives, in circumstances as sedụcing to an ambition man as can well be imagined, yet he must have perceived that, if he did not rise, yet he could not fall, and his dignity could not have been impaired. Under Christ, a righteous king indebted to himself for his life as well as for his royalty, he must, however, have hoped the station the nearest to the throne." P. 211.
What has been said of Pilate may also in great measure be said of Judas; and the same spirit of ingenuity, and we may say of originality, which is so apparent in the first, has been shewa by Mr. Thruston, in finding out the motives of Judas.
« The faith of Judas," says he " in the omniscience of his Lord was never, perhaps, well fixed, or it would have been impossible that he should have ventured to have been a thief, or in the glozing language of the day, a peculator. The mere principle of terror alone
might have impeded the free exercise of the characteristic vices on
account of which he was probably selected, had he ascended with
the three other disciples into the mountain, and seen the heavenly
vision, and heard the declaration respecting the Son of God; and
for this reason, among other perhaps, the three disciples were
commanded not to tell it to any one, of whatever affinity or con-
nection, until he, the Son of Man, were risen from the dead. But
the unbelief of Judas seems nevertheless to have been by no means
settled. His attempt is clearly to carry things even between all
parties, to be prepared for any emergency, to seem a zealous dis-
ciple of Jesus, should he assume the character of an earthly Poten-
tate, or should the people force it upon him, as they had many
times seemed to be exceedingly inclined ; while, on the other
hand, if the rulers prevailed, he proposed to stand well with them
and their party in the state. Upon his triumphant entry into Jeru-
salem, Jesus had, most unaccountably as Judas probably thought,
neglected the most inviting opportunity to seize, and almost with-
out an effort, the reins of Government. He only looked about on
all things : all this magnificence seemed to end in a noise ; and he
quietly retired again from the city. This must have been a severe
blow upon the ambitious hopes of Judas; and yet, after all he had
seen, it could not entirely destroy his wavering belief that this
might indeed be the expected Christ who should nevertheless tako
to himself, at his own time, his great power, and reign. He had
heard indeed the fourth day before the crucifixion, something re-
specting a crucifixon and a burial, for which our Lord was
anointed; and it must have staggered him, and he immediately
went to secure himself with the rulers. They, when they heard
his own forebodings respecting a burial, and the proposal of his
faithless disciple, were glad, and promised to give him money; but
there will nevertheless appear the utmost plausibility in an idea,
that part of his intention, when he hazarded his delivery to that
Court who, though the appointed Judges of prophetical claims,
had no power to put any man to death, was to bring the affair to a
crisis, to force Jesus to assume or to renounce the character of the
Messiah, and no longer to harrass his disciples with journeyings
and perils, and constant disappointments, and dismal presages.
Judas thought perhaps, says Michaelis, that if, contrary to his be-
lief, Jesus were really the Messiah, the measures concerted against him
would be of no avail; but on the other hand, if he were an impostor,
he would meet with the fate he deserved."
In regard to the third position, that Peter after the three
denials according to a distinct prediction three times apostatised,
we do not feel quite so confortable, nor can we bring ourselves
to agree with our author upon this particular point. Though
now and then we tind sentences and arguments which are very
striking, and appear for a moment to warrant his assertion, yet
bis argument.Laken as a whole is so indistinct, so, detached, and
go obscure, that it is impossible in any way to unravel its mys.
teries, or to make it bear upon the question. Indeed it is
astonishing to us how a man of Mr. Thrustou's abilities could
have at once departed from his plain and natural style. Instead
of stating and specifying properly and clearly every one of his
assertions and every one of his arguments, instead of stripping
the subject from all heterogeneous natter, and presenting the
whole simply and positively to the reader, Mr. Thurston pas-
sing from one thing to another, entangles the thread of his ar.
gument, takes for granted many positions which though true,
are not properly stated or proved, and therefore cannot be ad-
mitted before they are so stated and proved; and what is more,
introducing so wide a space between the assertion and the
proof which is to support it, that even the mind of a chancery
lawyer could hardly follow the train of his ideas and the flight
of his imagination. Thus for instance, in the early part of the
book he states the distinction of predictions, page 19, 20, 21,
and it is much beyond the 100th page that he comes to speak
of their being fulfilled.
It is true that this was the case in point of fact; for a cousi-
derable time did actually pass between the predictions which
Christ made to Peter, and ihe denials of this Apostle; and had
Mr. Thruston confined himself inerely to a simple statement of
the historical facts recorded by the Evangelists and received
them as they are, we should not have had any thing to urge
against the arrangeinent. But when our author takes upon him.
self to put a different construction on the text of the Gospels,
when he endeavours to prove that Christ made six several and
distinct predictions, predictions which were afterwards seyerally
fulfilled by three denials and three apostasies of Peter, then
surely we should have imagined that the arguments in favour of
30 many predictions should have gone pari passu with the
proufs in support of the fulfilment of them, and the whole
presented to the reader without breaking the narrative by the
enumeration of intermediate events. As the matter now stands,
the reader having lost sight of what has been said before is
unable to go ou without referring to passages long turned over,
and whilst he endeavours to recollect what he has forgotten,
forgets the very passage which has caused him to take so much
trouble. Besides so great a fault, the book appears to have
been avritten in a species of hurry which in many places renders
it .very.obscure, and now and then bursts forth in contradice
tions. Thus in page 2nd, he talks of fulfilment of a double
pre diction and three fold denials, and in page 6, he says that Peter rea ceived three distinct warnings of the guilt. Again-- In page 34, Judas tinds that our Saviour did know of his attempt to betray