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AND OF THE QUESTION WHETHER THERE IS NOT A DISCREPANCY BETWEEN MATTHEW AND THE OTHER TWO EVANGELISTS, IN SO FAR AS HE STATES THE INQUIRY TO HAVE BEEN, "WHAT THINK YE OF CHRIST? WHOSE SON IS HE?" AND TELLS US THAT TO THIS THEY REPLIED, "THE SON OF DAVID;" WHEREAS THE OTHERS PUT IT THUS, "HOW SAY THE SCRIBES THAT CHRIST IS DAVID'S SON?"
143. Matthew goes on thus: “Now when the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, What think ye of Christ? Whose son is He? They say unto Him, The son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in Spirit call Him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on my right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool? If David then call Him Lord, how is He his son? And no man was able to answer Him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions.”514 This is given also by Mc in due course, and in the same order.515 Luke, again, only omits mention of the person who asked the Lord which was the first commandment in the law, and, after passing over that incident in silence, observes the same order once more as the others, narrating just as these, do this question which the Lord put to the Jews concerning Christ, as to how He was David’s son.516 Neither is the sense at all affected by the circumstance that, as Matthew puts it, when Jesus had asked them what they thought of Christ, and whose son He was, they [the Pharisees] replied, “The son of David,” and then He proposed the further query as to how David then called Him Lord; whereas, according to the version presented by the other two, Mc and Luke, we do not find either that these persons were directly interrogated, or that they made any answer. For we ought to take this view of the matter, namely, that these two evangelists have introduced the sentiments which were expressed by the Lord Himself after the reply made by those parties, and have recorded the terms in which He spoke in the hearing of those whom He wished profitably to instruct in His authority, and to turn away from the teaching of the scribes, and whose knowledge of Christ amounted then only to this, that He was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, while they did not understand that He was God, and on that ground also the Lord even of David. It is in this way, therefore, that in the accounts given by these two evangelists, the Lord is mentioned in a manner which makes it appear as if He was discoursing on the subject of these erroneous teachers to men whom He desired to see delivered from the errors in which these scribes were involved. Thus, too, the question, which is presented by Matthew in the form, “What say ye?” is to be taken not as addressed directly to these [Pharisees], but rather as expressed only with reference to those parties, and directed really to the persons whom He was desirous of instructing.
AND OF THE OTHER WORDS SPOKEN BY THE LORD AGAINST THESE SAME PHARISEES; OF THE QUESTION WHETHER MATTHEW'S NARRATIVE AGREES HERE WITH THOSE WHICH ARE GIVEN BY THE OTHER TWO EVANGELISTS, AND IN PARTICULAR WITH THAT OF LUKE, WHO INTRODUCES A PASSAGE RESEMBLING THIS ONE, ALTHOUGH IT IS BROUGHT IN NOT IN THIS ORDER, BUT IN ANOTHER CONNECTION.
144. Matthew proceeds with his account, observing the following order of narration: “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to His disciples, saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: all, therefore, whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not;” and so on, down to the words, “Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.”517 Lc also mentions a similar discourse which was spoken by the Lord in opposition to the Pharisees and the scribes and the doctors of the law, but reports it as delivered in the house of a certain Pharisee, who had invited Him to a feast. In order to relate that passage, he has made a digression from the order which is followed by Matthew, about the point at which they have both put on record the Lord’s sayings respecting the sign of the three days and nights in the history of Jonas, and the queen of the south, and the unclean spirit that returns and finds the house swept.518 And that paragraph is followed up by Matthew with these words: “While He yet talked to the people, behold, His mother and His brethren stood without, desiring to speak with Him.” But in the version which the third Gospel presents of the discourse then spoken by the Lord, after the recital of certain sayings of the Lord which Matthew has omitted to notice, Lc turns off from the order which he had been observing in concert with Matthew, to that his immediately subsequent narrative runs thus: “And as He spake, a certain Pharisee besought Him to dine with him: and He went in, and sat down to meat. And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that He had not first washed before dinner. And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and platter.”519 And after this, Lc reports other utterances which were directed against the said Pharisees and scribes and teachers of the law, which are of a similar tenor to those which Matthew also recounts in this passage which we have taken in hand at present to consider.520 Wherefore, although Matthew records these things in a manner which, while it is true indeed that the house of that Pharisee is not mentioned by name, yet does not specify as the scene where the words were spoken any place entirely inconsistent with the idea of His having been in the house referred to; still the facts that the Lord by this time [i.e. according to Matthew’s Gospel] had left Galilee and come into Jerusalem, and that the incidents alluded to above, on to the discourse which is now under review,521 are so arranged in the context after His arrival as to make it only reasonable to understand them to have taken place in Jerusalem, whereas Luke’s narrative deals with what occurred at the time when the Lord as yet was only journeying towards Jerusalem, are considerations which lead me to the conclusion that these are not the same, but only two similar discourses, of which the former evangelist has reported the one, and the latter the other.
145. This is also a matter which requires some consideration,—namely, the question how it is said here, “Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord,”522 when, according to this same Matthew, they had already expressed themselves to this effect.523 Besides, Lc likewise tells us that a reply containing these very words had previously been returned by the Lord to the persons who had counselled Him to leave their locality, because Herod sought to kill Him. That evangelist represents these self-same terms, which Matthew records here, to have been employed by Him in the declaration which He directed on that occasion against Jerusalem itself. For Luke’s narrative proceeds in the following manner: “The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto Him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee. And He said unto them, Go ye and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I am perfected. Nevertheless, I must walk to-day, and to-morrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house shall be left unto you desolate: and I say unto you, that ye shall not see me until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.”524 There does not seem, however, to be anything contradictory to the narration thus given by Lc in the circumstance that the multitudes said, when the Lord was approaching Jerusalem, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” For, according to the order which is followed by Luke, He had not yet come to the scene in question, and the words had not been uttered. But since he does not tell us that He did actually leave the place at that time, not to return to it until the period came when such words would be spoken by them (for He continues on His journey until he arrives at Jerusalem; and the saying, “Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I am perfected,” is to be taken to have been uttered by Him in a mystical and figurative sense: for certainly He did not suffer at a time answering literally to the third day after the present occasion; nay, He immediately goes on to say, “Nevertheless, I must walk to-day, and to-morrow, and the day following”), we are indeed constrained also to put a mystical interpretation upon the sentence, “Ye shall not see me henceforth, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord,” and to understand it to refer to that advent of His in which He is to come in His effulgent brightness;525 it being thereby also implied, that what He expressed in the declaration, “I cast out devils, and I do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I am perfected,” bears upon His body, which is the Church. For devils are cast out when the nations abandon their ancestral superstitions and believe on Him; and cures are wrought when men renounce the devil and this world, and live in accordance with His commandments, even unto the consummation of the resurrection, in which there shall, as it were, be realized that perfecting on the third day; that is to say, the Church shall be perfected up to the measure of the angelic fulness through the realized immortality of the body as well as the soul. Therefore the order followed by Matthew is by no means to be understood to involve a digression to another connection. But we are rather to suppose, either that Lc has antedated the events which took place in Jerusalem, and has introduced them at this point simply as they were here suggested to his recollection, before his narrative really brings the Lord to Jerusalem; or that the Lord, when drawing near the same city on that occasion, did actually reply to the persons who counselled Him to be on His guard against Herod, in terms resembling those in which Matthew represents Him to have spoken also to the multitudes at a period when He had already arrived in Jerusalem, and when all these events had taken place which have been detailed above.
AND THE OTHER TWO EVANGELISTS IN THE ACCOUNTS GIVEN OF THE OCCASION ON WHICH HE FORETOLD THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE.
146. Matthew proceeds with his history in the following terms: “And Jesus went out and departed from the temple; and His disciples came to Him for to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye all these things? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another which shall not be thrown down.”526 This incident is related also by Mark, and nearly in the same order. But he brings it in after a digression of some small extent, which is made with a view to mention the case of the widow who put the two mites into the treasury,527 which occurrence is recorded only by Mc and Luke. For [in proof that Mark’s order is essentially the same as Matthew’s, we need only notice that] in Mark’s version also, after the account of the Lord’s discussion with the Jews on the occasion when He asked them how they held Christ to be David’s son, we have a narrative of what He said in warning them against the Pharisees and their hypocrisy,—a section which Matthew has presented on the amplest scale, introducing into it a larger number of the Lord’s sayings on that occasion. Then after this paragraph, which has been handled briefly by Mark, and treated with great fulness by Matthew, Mark, as I have said, introduces the passage about the widow who was at once so extremely poor, and yet abounded so remarkably. And finally, without interpolating anything else, he subjoins a section in which he comes again into unison with Matthew,—namely, that relating to the destruction of the temple. In like manner, Lc first states the question which was propounded regarding Christ, as to how He was the son of David, and then mentions a few of the words which were spoken in cautioning them against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. Thereafter he proceeds, as Mc does, to tell the story of the widow who cast the two mites into the treasury. And finally he appends the statement,528 which appears also in Matthew and Mark, on the subject of the destined overthrow of the temple.529
WHICH HE DELIVERED ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES, WHEN THE DISCIPLES ASKED WHEN THE CONSUMMATION SHOULD HAPPEN.
147. Matthew continues in the following strain: “And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered, and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many;” and so on, down to where we read, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.” We have now, therefore, to examine this lengthened discourse as it meets us in the three evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. For they all introduce it in their narratives, and that, too, in the same order.530 Here, as elsewhere, each of these writers gives some matters which are peculiar to himself, in which, nevertheless, we have not to apprehend any suspicion of inconsistency. But what we have to make sure of is the proof that, in those passages which are exact parallels, they are nowhere to be regarded as in antagonism with each other. For if anything bearing the appearance of a contradiction meets us here, the simple affirmation that it is something wholly distinct, and uttered by the Lord in similar terms indeed, but on a totally different occasion, cannot be deemed a legitimate mode of explanation in a case like this, where the narrative, as given by all the three evangelists, moves in the same connection at once of subjects and of dates. Moreover, the mere fact that the writers do not all observe the same order in the reports which they give of the same sentiments expressed by the Lord, certainly does not in any way affect either the understanding or the communication of the subject itself, provided the matters which are represented by them to have been spoken by Him are not inconsistent the one with the other.
148. Again, what Matthew states in this form, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come,”531 is given also in the same connection by Mc in the following manner: “And the gospel must first be published among all nations.”532 Mc has not added the words, “and then shall the end come;” but he indicates what they express, when he uses the phrase “first “in the sentence, “And the gospel must first be published among all nations.” For they had asked Him about the end. And therefore, when He addresses them thus, “The gospel must first be published among all nations,” the term “first” clearly suggests the idea of something to be done before the consummation should come.
149. In like manner, what Matthew states thus, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, whoso readeth let him understand,”533 is put in the following form by Mark: “But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation standing where it ought not, let him that readeth understand.”534 But though the phrase is thus altered, the sense conveyed is the same. For the point of the clause “where it ought not,” is that the abomination of desolation ought not to be in the holy place. Luke’s method of putting it, again, is neither, “And when ye shall see the abomination of desolation stand in the holy place,” nor “where it ought not,” but, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with an army, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.”535 At that time, therefore, will the abomination of desolation be in the holy place.
150. Again, what is given by Matthew in the following terms: “Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains; and let him which is on the house-top not come down to take anything out of his house; neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes,”536 is reported also by Mc almost in so many words. On the other hand, Luke’s version proceeds thus: “Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains.”537 Thus far he agrees with the other two. But he presents what is subsequent to that in a different form. For he goes on to say, “And let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto: for these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” Now these statements seem to present differences enough between each other. For the one, as it occurs in the first two evangelists, runs thus: “Let him which is on the house-top not come down to take anything out of his house;” whereas what is given by the third evangelist is to this effect: “And let them which are in the midst of it depart out.” The import, however, may be, that in the great agitation which will arise in the face of so mighty an impending peril, those shut up in the state of siege (which is expressed by the phrase, “they which are in the midst of it”) will appear upon the housetop [or “wall”], amazed and anxious to see what terror hangs over them, or what method of escape may open. Still the question rises, How does this third evangelist say here, “let them depart out,” when he has already used these terms: “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with an army”? For what is brought in after this—namely, the sentence, “And let not them that are in the countries enter there-into “—appears to form part of one consistent admonition; and we can perceive how those who are outside the city are not to enter into it; but the difficulty is to see how those who are in the midst of it are to depart out, when the city is already compassed with an army. Well, may not this expression, “in the midst of it,” indicate a time when the danger will be so urgent as to leave no opportunity open, so far as temporal means are concerned, for the preservation of this present life in the body, and that the fact that this will be a time when the soul ought to be ready and free, and neither taken up with, nor burdened by, carnal desires, is imported by the phrase employed by the first two writers—namely, “on the house-top,” or, “on the wall”? In this way the third evangelist’s phraseology, “let them depart out” (which really means, let them no more be engrossed with the desire of this life, but let them be prepared to pass into another life), is equivalent in sense to the terms used by the other two,” let him not come down to take anything out of his house” (which really means, “let not his affections turn towards the flesh, as if it could yield him anything to his advantage then”). And in like manner the phrase adopted by the one, “And let not them that are in the countries enter thereunto” (which is to say, “Let not those who, with good purpose of heart, have already placed themselves outside it, indulge again in any carnal lust or longing after it”), denotes precisely what the other two evangelists embody in the sentence, “Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes,” which is much the same as to state that he should not again involve himself in cares of which he had been unburdened.
151. Moreover, Matthew proceeds thus: “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath-day.” Part of this is given and part omitted by Mark, when he says, “And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.” Luke, on the other hand, leaves this out entirely, and instead of it introduces something which is peculiar to himself, and by which he appears to me to have cast light upon this very clause which has been set before us somewhat obscurely by these others. For his version runs thus: “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass.”538 This is to be understood to be the same flight as is mentioned by Matthew, which should not be taken in the winter or on the Sabbath-day. That “winter,” moreover, refers to these “cares of this life” which Lc has specified directly; and the “Sabbath-day” refers in like manner to the “surfeiting and drunkenness.” For sad cares are like a winter; and surfeiting and drunkenness drown and bury the heart in carnal delights and luxury—an evil which is expressed under the term “Sabbath-day,” because of old, as is the case with them still, the Jews had the very pernicious custom of rePelling in pleasure on that day, when they were ignorant of the spiritual Sabbath. Or, if something else is intended by the words whichthus appear in Matthew and Mark, Luke’s termsmay also be taken to bear on something else, while no question implying any antagonism between them need be raised for all that. At present, however, we have not undertaken the task of expounding the Gospels, but only that of defending them against groundless charges of falsehood and deceit. Furthermore, other matters which Matthew has inserted in this discourse, and which are common to him and Mark, present no difficulty. On the other hand, with respect to those sections which are common to him and Luke, [it is to be remarked that] these are not introduced into the present discourse by Luke, although in regard to the order of narration here they are at one. But he records sentences of like tenor in other connections, either reproducing them as they suggested themselves to his memory, and thus bringing them in by anticipation so as to relate at an earlier point words which, as spoken by the Lord, belong really to a later; or else, giving us tounderstand that they were uttered twice over by the Lord, once on the occasion referred to by Matthew, and on a second occasion, with which Lc himself deals.
AND JOHN ON THE OTHER, IN SO FAR AS THE FORMER STATE THAT AFTER TWO DAYS WAS TO BE THE FEAST OF THE PASSOVER, AND AFTERWARDS TELLS US THAT HE WAS IN BETHANY, WHILE THE LATTER GIVES A PARALLEL NARRATIVE OF WHAT TOOK PLACE AT BETHANY, BUT MENTIONS THAT IT WAS SIX DAYS BEFORE THE PASSOVER.
152. Matthew continues thus: “And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, He said unto His disciples, Ye know that after two days will be the feast of the passover, and the Son of man shall be betrayed to be crucified.”539 This is attested in like manner by the other two,—namely, Mc and Luke,—and that, too, with a thorough harmony on the subject of the order of narration.540 They do not, however, introduce the sentence as one spoken by the Lord Himself. They make no statement to that effect. At the same time, Mark, speaking in his own person, does tell us that “after two days was the feast of the passover and of unleavened bread.” And Lc likewise gives this as his own affirmation: “Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the passover;” that is to say, it “drew nigh” in this sense, that it was to take place after two days’ space, as the other two are more apparently at one in expressing it. John, on the other hand, has mentioned in three several places the nearness of this same feast-day. In the two earlier instances the intimation is made when he is engaged in recording certain matters of another tenor. But on the third occasion his narrative appears clearly to deal with those very times, in connection with which the other three evangelists also notice the subject,—that is to say, the times when the Lord’s passion was actually imminent.541
153. But to those who look into the matter without sufficient care, there may seem to be a contradiction involved in the fact that Matthew and Mark, after stating that the passover was to be after two days, have at once informed us how Jesus was in Bethany on that occasion, on which the account of the precious ointment comes before us; whereas John, when he is about to give us the same narrative concerning the ointment, begins by telling us that Jesus came to Bethany six days before the passover.542 Now, the question is, how the passover could be spoken of by those two evangelists as about to be celebrated two days after, seeing that we find them, immediately after they have made this statement, in company with John, giving us an account of the scene with the ointment in Bethany; while in that connection the last-named writer informs us, that the feast of the passover was to take place six days after. Nevertheless, those who are perplexed by this difficulty simply fail to perceive that Matthew and Mc have brought in their account of the scene which was enacted in Bethany really in the form of a recapitulation, not as if the time of its occurrence was actually subsequent to the [time indicated in the] announcement made by them on the subject of the two days’ space, but as an event which had already taken place at a date when there was still a period of six days preceding the passover. For neither of them has appended his account of what took place at Bethany to his statement regarding the celebration of the passover after two days’ space in any such terms as these: “After these things, when He was in Bethany.” But Matthew’s phrase is this: “Now when Jesus was in Bethany.” And Mark’s version is simply this: “And being in Bethany,” etc.; which is a method of expression that may certainly be taken to refer to a period antecedent to the utterance of what was said two days before the passover. The case, therefore, stands thus: As we gather from the narrative of John, Jesus came to Bethany six days before the passover; there the supper took place, in connection with which we get the account of the precious ointment; leaving this place, He came next to Jerusalem, sitting upon an ass; and thereafter happened those things which they relate to have occurred after this arrival of His in Jerusalem. Consequently, even although the evangelists do not mention the fact, we understand that between the day on which He came to Bethany, and which witnessed the scene with the ointment, and the day to which all these deeds and words which are at present before us belonged, there elapsed a period of four days, so that at this point might come in the day which the two evangelists have defined by their statement as to the celebration of the passover two days after. Further, when Lc says, “Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh,” he does not indeed make any express mention of a two days’ space; but still, the nearness which he has instanced ought to be accepted as made good by this very space of two days. Again, when Jn makes the statement that “the Jews’ passover was nigh at hand,”543 he does not intend a two days’ space to be understood thereby, but means that there was a period of six days before the passover. Thus it is that, on recording certain matters immediately after this affirmation, with the intention of specifying what measure of nearness he had in view when he spoke of the passover as nigh at hand, he next proceeds in the following strain: “Then Jesus, six days before the passover, came to Bethany, where Lazarus had died, whom Jesus raised from the dead;544 and there they made Him a supper.”545 This is the incident which Matthew and Mc introduce in the form of a recapitulation, after the statement that after two days would be the passover. In their recapitulation they thus come back upon the day in Bethany, which was yet a six days’ space off from the passover, and give us the account which Jn also gives of the supper and the ointment. Subsequently to that scene, we are to suppose Him to come to Jerusalem, and then, after the occurrence of the other things recorded, to reach this day, which was still a two days’ space from the passover, and from which these evangelists have made this digression, with the object of giving a recapitulatory notice of the incident with the ointment in Bethany. And after the completion of that narrative, they return once more to the point from which they made the digression; that is to say, they now proceed to record the words spoken by the Lord two days before the passover. For if we remove the notice of the incident at Bethany, which they have introduced as a digression from the literal order, and have given in the form of a recollection and recapitulation inserted at a point subsequent to its actual historical position, and if we then set the narrative in its regular connection, the recital will go on as follows;—according to Matthew, the Lord’s words coming in thus: “Ye know that after two days shall be the feast of the passover, and the Son of man shall be betrayed to be crucified. Then assembled together the chief priests and the elders of the people unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill Him. But they said, Not on the feast-day, lest there be an uproar among the people. Then one of the twelve, called Judas Scarioth, went unto the chief priests,”546 etc. For between the place where it is said, “lest there be an uproar among the people,” and the passage where we read, “then one of the disciples, called Judas, went,” etc., that notice of the scene at Bethany intervenes, which they have introduced by way of recapitulation. Consequently, by leaving it out, we have established such a connection in the narrative as may make our conclusion satisfactory, that there is no contradiction here in the matter of the order of times. Again, if we deal with Mark’s Gospel in like manner, and omit the account of the same supper at Bethany, which he also has brought in as a recapitulation, his narrative will proceed in the following order: “Now after two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take Him by craft, and put Him to death. For they said,547 Not on the feast-day, lest there be an uproar of the people. And Judas Scariothes, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray Him.”548 Here, again, the incident at Bethany which these evangelists have inserted, by way of recapitulation, is placed between the clause, “lest there be an uproar of the people,” and the verse which we have attached immediately to that, namely, “And Judas Scariothes, one of the twelve.” Luke, on the other hand, has simply omitted the said occurrence at Bethany. This is the explanation which we give in reference to the six days before the passover, which is the space mentioned by Jn when narrating what took place at Bethany, and in reference to the two days before the passover, which is the period specified by Matthew and Mark when presenting their account, in direct sequence upon the statement thus made, of that same scene in Bethany which has been recorded also by John.549
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