« AnteriorContinuar »
every Passage, either perverting, of suppressing the true Sense and Meaning of the Author, to make them come in to the Scheme; but all to no purpose. The Fathers are obstinate, and will not comply: They avow the literal Sense of the Scriptures, and declare unanimously, that, without the Supposition of its Reality, their Allegories would be mere Caftles in 'the Air, and have no Foundation at all. The Sum Since then this Custom of Allegorizing and Con- Scripture owes its Original to the Jews this Ar- ana" Gentiles, (no great Friends to the gumem. Christian Cause) and was afterwards indulged to gratify, in some measure, a depraved Taste, and extravagrant Imagination ; since no Authority can be produe'd for it in Scripture, but many Passages, out of St. Paul's Writings, to shew the danger and bold Presumption of ft, as well as the necessary Duty of our adhering to the Plainness and Simplicity of the Gospel; since no Arguments, in its Vindication, can be drawn from the Writings of the ancient Fathers, forasmuch as the greatest Masters and Admirers of it, have always acknowledg'd a literal Sense, and such as are produe'd to the contrary, upon a proper Examination, have been found to do the fame; "Remember, Reader, once for all, (as
« • tfertullian expresses it) that when we "admit of any such Scriptural Allegoriesy "the true literal Sense of the Scripture "is not alter'd, tho' the Circumstances, ** or State of the Cafe, receive a new "Turn, and have a Rhetorical Appfi11 cation given to them.
Of C H R i s T's driving the Buyers and Sellers out of the Temple.
"11 UT how can we help recurring TheOb*' Xj to *nc myjiical Sense, when the jection. "literal account of many of Jesus's "Miracles, implies luch Improbabili"ties, Incredibilities, and gross Abfur*' dities, as are very dishonourable to "the Name of Christ. The Miracle, "for instance, of his driving the Buyers "and Sellers out of the T'emple, (as great "an Exploit as some may think it) is H certainly a very absurd and impro"babie Story. For, admitting there "really was a Market kept in the "Temple, (which our Divines, I be"lieve, will find some Difficulty to
"prove) •L. 3. ft. 5. & L. j. §. 4.
lt prove) yet where's the great Sin and "Profanation of it, to buy and fell "such Things in it, as were brought on "purpose to be offer'd to God in Sacri"sice? But then, how any one, in iP the Form of a Man, and that a defpi"Jed Man too, should be able, with no-^ ** thing but a Whip in his Hand, to "execute such an heroick Work, upon "i great Multitude of People, who "were none of them his Disciples, nor "had any regard to him; who had, "some of them, been injur'd, and suf"fer'd Damage in their Wares, and "consequently must be suppos'd in a "Disposition to resist him, is a thing "incredible. But put the Case it wer« "not so; for what End and Purpose he "should now be so zealous against the "Profanation of the Temple, when he "himself, in a short time after (by the "Hands of the Romans) ordered it to "be destroyed and polluted, is some* "thing so very inconsistent, that there is "no way of accounting for it, but by "supposing it a Prophetical and Para"bolical Narrative of somewhat to be "done hereafter, more Mysteriously, and "more Wonderfully, by him.
TheCourfs A vulgar Reader indeed may think xije it very strange, that a Market should be
defcr'ib'J. * kept kept in a Church, or that the 'fables of Money-Changers, and the Seats of those that foldDoves, should be permitted in the Temple: But we mistake the Matter much, if we suppose, that the Temple of 'Jerusalem was made like one of our Churches. a It did not consist of one single Edifice only, but had several Courts and Buildings belonging to it. The first and most outward Court, which went by the Name of the Mount of the Temple, was a Square of 500 Cubits every way, containing several Buildings for different uses, and surrounded with -Cloysters, supported by Marble Pillars; Next to this was the Court of the Gentiles, rang'd round with Cloysters, and separated from the other Courts with 9 Stone Balustrades three Cubits high, with Pillars at certain Distances, upon which were engraven Exhortations to Purity and Holineis, arid a Prohibition to all the Gentiles, and to suchj as were unclean, to advance beyond them. Then follow'd the Court of the Women ; after that the great Court, which was divided into two Parts, the Israelites Court, and the Court of the Priests, contiguous to which stood the Temple itself. This was the Order of the Building, but the O wholt
whole went under the general Name of the Temple. ThePlace The Jews indeed did not place the wherethc fame Sanctity in the Court of the Gentiles, vaTkcnt. as in other Parts of the Temple, and therefore it is less wonder that they permitted it to be employ'd to Purposes, that our Saviour condemn'd. b They found it alnjost necessary, that such, as liv'd at a considerable Distance from Jerusalem^ instead of bringing living Creatures, should only bring Money with them, in order to purchase Sacrifices and Oblations there; and for the Convenience of this (as c.a great Master of fewish Learning tells us) there was always a constant Market in the Temple, # in the Place which was called the Shops:, where every day was fold Wine, Salt, Oil, and other Requisites to Sacrifices, as Oxen and Sheep, in the spacious Court of the Gentiles : and that the fame Practice was in use, in the time of our Saviour's Ministry, we have the Testimony of the ancient yews themselves. For, since in thcBabyloniJh Talmudk is declared, d that forty Tears before the T'emple was deflrof dy the great Council renwo^
* Whitby on Matt. xxi. 12.
'Light foot on Matt.xxi. 12. Vol. 2. p. 224.
* See L'Emperexr on the Codex MaMoth p- 4^; 49