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panegyric. . Now if the critic stood in the situation of the 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 legallatinity, 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 mostof 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, animation 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 fanciful 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 misconceptions. - The volume opens with an address, which is neatly and unaffectedly written, and with the exception of a tone here and there father too dogmatical, we should have but a poor opinion of the laste 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 might, which he so justly denominates the Night of Treason, but confining ourselves to the three leading points which have been stated in the title page, we shall say a few words on them ail. - - , so These points are
I. That Pilate was a traitor to Caesar.
prediction, three times apostatised.
... 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 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 cir
cumstances 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 proportion augmented.” P. 2.
And again, - : “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: tions 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 cali 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 consistent that we should rest in the simple fact of the treason, which
is to be found in the naked relation of the sacred historian 2 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 crea
ture on the face of the earth 2 Is it that one person is so emir
nently conspicuous on the sacred page as to throw all others into the comparative nothingness of a shaded back-ground 2 Yet .# the same time let it be remembered, that the words and actions of our Lord himself cannot be either fully or fairly understood with: 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 maked, 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 be 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 ' 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 qan be more probable, and at all events more ingenious, than the description of the sentiments which must have influenced Pilate while he sat upon judgment against our Saviour; and though perhaps we cannot
agree with Mr. Thrustom 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 Judaea, and yet 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 Judaea, 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 seducing 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. 21 1.
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 shewn 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 lan
guage of the day, a peculator. The mere principle of terror alone
might have impeded the free exercise of the characteristic vices on
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
times seemed to be exceedingly inclined; while, on the other
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 comfortable, nor can we bring ourselves ...to agree with our author upon this particular point. Though now and then we find sentences and arguments which are very striking, and appear for a mounent to warrant his assertion, yet abis argument laken, as a whole is so indistinct, so, detached, and - - - $Q
so obscure, that it is impossible in any way to unravel its mysteries, or to make it bear upon the question. Indeed it is astonishing to us how a man of Mr. Thruston'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 matter, and presenting the whole simply and positively to the reader, Mr. Thurston passing from one thing to another, entangles the thread of his argument, 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 cousiderable time did actually pass between the predictions which Christ made to Peter, and the denials of this Apostle; and had Mr. Thruston confined himself unerely 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 arrangement. But when our author takes upon hinself 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 severally
fulfilled by three denials and three apostasies of Peter, then
surely we should have imagined that the arguments in favour of so many predictions should have gone pari passu with the proofs 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 wnable 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 written in a species of hurry which in many places renders it very obscure, and now and then bursts forth in contradic
lions. Thus in page 2nd, he talks of fulfilment of a double pre
diction aud three fold denials, and in page 6, he says that Peter re
£éited three distinct warnings of the guilt. Again—In page 84,
Judas finds that our Saviour did know of his attempt to betray - him,