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first who published a statement showing that these difficulties might be accounted for on the principle of there being two companies of women; and, singular to relate, Pilkington and Doddridge had at the same time come to a similar conclusion. Townson has shown that these two parties of women may easily be supposed to have visited the sepulchre, nearly at the same time, without encountering each other, either in going or returning. He illustrates this by reference to a plan of Jerusalem, compiled from ancient documents. It will be necessary to observe, that the situation of the houses mentioned has been preserved by tradition, and by the erection of churches or public buildings upon their sites; and there is no reason to doubt its being correct, as, though the city was razed from its foundations by the Romans, yet it did not remain long without inhabitants, and the christians returning thither would be guided to the sites they venerated, by the natural elevations of the ground, and the bases of the walls near which these houses were situated. Nor is it difficult to suppose many circumstances which explain Zebedee's possessing a house at Jerusalem, and we are to remember that this account of the resurrection, and the map referred to, were drawn up and framed quite independently of each other, so that their undesigned agreement adds considerable weight to the evidence.
We now have to state the places from whence the first party of women had to proceed. 1. Zebedee's house. This supposea to have stood near the wall, a little to the north of the Dunghillgate. Here Salome, the wife or widow of Zebedee, would reside with her son John, and here probably the spices were deposited. The two Marys would proceed from the places where they lodged to this house, and from thence their nearest way to the sepulchre would be through the Dunghill-gate. 2. Joanna, being the wife of Herod's steward, would probably lodge in or near the house of Herod, which was situated to the north of the temple. The direct way from that quarter to the sepulchre would be through the gate of the Valley, and the way thither was quite different from that of the other party. The distance the party of Joanna had to go was more than twice as much as the distance from Zebedee's house, and if they were rather later in starting, there is no difficulty in concluding that their arrival at the sepulchre would be at least an hour later, which is time enough for all that is supposed to have taken place before their arrival.
The first party of women were sent to the apostles. John, we conclude, lived in the house of his father, and Peter evidently was near him; the sites of the houses of James and of Thomas are also pointed out as having been in the immediate neighbourhood. The women therefore, in proceeding thither, would not meet Joanna and her companions advancing by a different road.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MARK.
Or Mark, the writer of this Gospel, little is certainly known. From the New Testament, we learn that he was sister's son to Barnabas, Col. iv. 10; and that his mother's name was Mary, a pious woman in Jerusalem, at whose house the apostles and primitive christians often assembled, Acts xii. 12.
His Hebrew name was John, Acts xii. 12. and it is probable that he adopted a name better known, or more familiar, when he visited the gentiles, a practice not uncommon in that age. He was at first the companion of Paul and Barnabas, on their journies to propagate Christianity, Acts xiii. 5. He chose not to attend them through their whole journey, but left them at Pamphylia, Acts xv. 38. Afterwards he went with Barnabas to Cyprus, Acts xv. 39. Subsequently he went to Rome, at the express desire of Paul, in company with Timothy, 2 Tim. iv. 11. He remained at Rome while Paul was a captive there, but how long is uncertain, Col. iv. 10. Philemon 24. Eusebius, Epiphanius, and Jerome say, that Mark went from Rome to Alexandria, in Egypt, where he planted a church, and died and was buried in the eighth year of the reign of Nero, A.D. 64.
This Gospel is supposed to have been written between the years 56 and 63. Mark was, for a considerable time, the companion of Peter. Though he had not himself been with the Saviour in his ministry, yet, by his long acquaintance with Peter, he was rendered familiar with the events of his life, and with his instructions. The uniform opinion of the Fathers is, that he was the interpreter of Peter; and that he wrote this Gospel under the eye of Peter, and with his approbation. Its right to a place among the inspired books has never been questioned,
1 THE beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
"The beginning of the gospel.' The word 'gospel' literally signifies good tidings, and particularly the good tidings respecting the way of salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ. It here means the beginning of the good news, or annunciation respecting the Messiah. It was very customary thus to prefix a title to a book. 'The Son of God.' This title was used here, to attract attention, and to secure respect. It is no common history. It recounts the doctrines and doings of the Son of God, when he took upon him the nature of man.
2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
As it is written in the prophets. These places are found in Malachi iii. 1; and in Isa. xl. 3. See note on Matt. iii. 3.
4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preached the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; 7 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. 8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
See notes, Matt. iii. 4-6, 11.
9 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. 10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: 11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my be loved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
See notes, Matt. iii. 13-17.
12 And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. 13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.
Matthew has recorded this more at length in ch. iv. 'The Spirit driveth.' The word 'driveth' does not mean that he was compelled forcibly against his will to go there. The Spirit of God, for important purposes, caused him to go. Compare Matt. ix. 25, where the same word is used in the original. "And when the people were put forth;' in Greek, 'all driven out.' 'And was with the wild beasts. This shows the desolation and danger of his dwelling there. Amidst want and perils, Satan might suppose he would be more easily seduced from God. 'And the angels ministered to him.' From Luke iv. 2, we learn that in those days he did eat nothing. The angels ministered to him after the days of temptation had expired, as is said by Matthew, iv. 11.
14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God.
John was imprisoned by Herod, Matt. xiv. 3. 'Jesus came into Galilee.' He expected that if he remained in Judea, Herod would also persecute him. Hence we may learn, that when we have great duties to perform for the church of God, we are not wantonly to endanger our lives. When we can secure them without a sacrifice of principle we are to do it. See Matt. xxiv. 16.
15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
'The time is fulfilled.' That is, the time for the appearance of the Messiah. The time, so long foretold, has come. The kingdom of God is at hand.' The time when God shall reign, or set up a kingdom in the hearts of men, by the gospel, is near. See Matt. iii. 2. 6 Repent ye.' Exercise sorrow for sins, and turn from them. 'And believe the gospel.' Literally, trust in the gospel, or believe the good tidings-to wit, respecting salvation, See note, Matt. iv. 17.
16 Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea for they were fishers. 17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. 18 And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. 19 And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of