Frederic William Farrar
(F.W. Farrar 1831-1903)

Chaplain to Queen Victoria, 1871-1876 | Headmaster of Marlborough College | Canon of Westminster Abbey | Rector of St. Margaret’s, Westminster | Archdeacon of Westminster | Dean of Canterbury.

  • Christ Wails Over Jerusalem (1899) “This incident is an allegory. The soul of each one amongst us is such a Jerusalem. The soul has its history of shame or of faithfulness, and its prophecy of triumph or of doom, just as Jerusalem had. Jerusalem had warnings..  Jerusalem found that it was so, and so shall all men who persist in defying the mercy of God which calleth us to repentance.”

Darkness and Dawn
A story of the Neronic persecution (1891)

“No Christian pen can paint that revelry of Antichrist, or do more than distantly allude to the scenes which followed, when Nero, disguised in the skin of a bear, crawled on all fours among the vilest of those wretches, and gave to him ‘who saw the Apocalypse’ the image of the wild beast who sprang from the foul scum of the world’s most turbid sea.”

“It has been usual to say that the Spanish Jesuit Alcasar.. was the founder of the Præterist School.. But to me it seems that the founder of the Præterist School is none other than St. John himself.”

The Early Days of Christianity | The History of Interpretation

 “Quando ? The date at which the Epistle was written cannot be fixed with precision. All that we can say is that it was certainly written before the Fall of Jerusalem, A.D. 70. This conclusion is not mainly founded on the use of the present tense in speaking of the Temple services (ix. 6, 7; x. 1, &c), because this might conceivably be due to the same figure of speech which accounts for the use of the present tense in speaking of the Jewish ministrations in Josephus, Clemens Romanus, Justin Martyr, and even in the Talmud. It is founded on the whole scope of the argument. No one who was capable of writing the Epistle to the Hebrews at all (there being no question of pseudonymity in this instance) could possibly have foregone all mention of the tremendous corroboration—nay, the absolutely demonstrative force—which had been added to his arguments by the work of God in History. The destruction of Jerusalem came as a divine comment on all the truths which are here set forth. While it in no way derogates from the permanent value of the Epistle as a possession for all time, it would have rendered superfluous its immediate aim and object. The seductions of Judaism, the temptation to apostatise to the Mosaic system, were done away with by that awful Advent which for ever closed the era of the Old Dispensation. We therefore infer that the Epistle was written when Timothy was (apparently) liberated from prison, soon after the martyrdom of St Paul, about the close of A.D. 67 or the beginning of A.D. 68.”  (Epistle to the Hebrews, 29)

Preterist Commentaries By Modern Preterism

(On The Significance of A.D.70)
“And, indeed, the Fall of Jerusalem and all the events which accompanied and followed it in the Roman world and in the Christian world, had a significance which it is hardly possible to overestimate. They were the final end of the Old Dispensation. They were the full inauguration of the New Covenant. They were God’s own overwhelming judgment on that form of Judaic Christianity which threatened to crush the work of St. Paul, to lay on the Gentiles the yoke of abrogated Mosaism, to establish itself by threats and anathemas as the only orthodoxy. Many of the early Christians and those especially who lived at Jerusalem were at the same time rigid Jews… No event less awful than the desolation of Judea, the destruction of Judaism, the annihilation of all possibility of observing the precepts of Moses, could have opened the eyes of the Judaisers from their dream of imagined infallibility. Nothing but God’s own unmistakable interposition – nothing but the manifest coming of Christ – could have persuaded Jewish Christians that the Law of the Wilderness was annulled.” (
The Early Days of Christianity, p. 489, 490)

(On Matthew 24:29 ; Forty Years and That Generation)
” The powers of heaven were being shaken. Suns and moons and stars – from Roman Emperors down to Jewish Priests – were one after another waxing dim, and shooting from their spheres. Clearly the day must be at hand of which the Lord had said that it would come ere that generation passed away, and that all the things of which He had spoken would be fulfilled” (
The Early Days of Christianity, p. 414)

(On Nature of Christ’s Return)
“It was to this event, the most awful in history – ‘one of the most awful eras in God’s economy of grace, and the most awful revolution in all God’s religious dispensations’ – that we must apply those prophecies of Christ’s coming in which every one of the Apostles and Evangelists fixed these three most definite limitations – the one, that before that generation passed away all these things would be fulfilled; another, that some standing there should not taste death till they saw the Son of Man coming in His kingdom; and third, that the Apostles should not have gone over the cities of Israel till the Son of Man be come. It is strange that these distinct limitations should not be regarded as a decisive proof that the Fall of Jerusalem was, in the fullest sense, the Second Advent of the Son of Man which was primarily contemplated by the earliest voices of prophecy” (Early Days, Vol. 2, p. 489)

(On Apocalyptic Language)
“ruler after ruler, chieftain after chieftain of the Roman Empire and the Jewish nation was assassinated and ruined. Gaius, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, all died by murder or suicide; Herod the Great, Herod Antipas, Herod Agrippa, and most of the Herodian Princes, together with not a few of the leading High Priests of Jerusalem, perished in disgrace, or in exile, or by violent hands. All these were quenched suns and darkened stars.’’ (Early Days, , p. 519)

(On the Nero, the Beast of Revelation)
“It is probable that this silence is in itself the result of the terrible scenes in which the apostles perished. It was indispensable to the safety of the whole community that the books of the Christians, when given up by the unhappy weakness of ‘traditores,’ or discovered by the keen malignity of informers, should contain no compromising matter. But how would it have been possible for St. Luke to write in a manner otherwise than compromising, if he had detailed the horrors of the Neronian persecution?  It is a reasonable conjecture that the sudden close of the Acts of the Apostles may have been due to the impossibility of speaking without indignation and abhorrence of the Emperor and the Government, which, between A.D. 64 and 68, sanctioned the infliction upon innocent men and women, of atrocities which excited the pity of the very Pagans. The Jew and the Christians who entered on such themes, could only do so under the disguise of a cryptograph, hiding his meaning from all but the initiated few, in such prophetic symbols as those of the Apocalypse. In that book alone we are enabled to hear the cry of horror which Nero’s brutal cruelties wrung from Christian hearts.” (Early Days, vol. 2. pp. 82, 83)

“the Jewish Christian would have tried the name as he thought of the name-that is in Hebrew letters. And the moment he did this the secret stood revealed. No Jew ever thought of Nero except as ‘Neron Kesar,’ and this gives at once . . . 666” (The Early Days of Christianity, Chicago and New York: Belford, Clarke& Co., 1882, p. 540)

“all the earliest Christian writers on the Apocalypse, from Irenaeus down to Victorious of Pettau and Commodian in the fourth, and Andreas in the fifth, and St. Beatus in the eighth century, connect Nero, or some Roman emperor, with the Apocalyptic Beast .” (Early Days,  p.541)

“the clue is preserved for us, not only by Jewish Talmudists, and Pagan historians and authors, such as Tacitus, Suetonius, Dion Cassius, and Dion Chrysostom; but also by Christian fathers like St. Irenaeus, Lactantius, St. Victorinus, Sulpicius Severus, and the Sibylline books, and even by St. Jerome, and by St. Augustine. Nothing can prove more decisively than these references that for four centuries many Christians identified Nero with the Beast.”

“Beyond all shadow of doubt or uncertainty, the Wild Beast from the sea is meant as a symbol of the emperor Nero. Here, at any rate, St. John has neglected no single means by which he could make his meaning clear without deadly peril to himself and the Christian Church. He describes this Wild Beast by no less than sixteen distinctive marks, and then all but tells us in so many words the name of the person whom it is intended to symbolize.”   (Early Days, 5.28.5)

(On the Early Date of Revelation)
“there can be no reasonable doubt respecting the (early) date of the Apocalypse.”
 (Early Days, p. 387)

“The reason why the early date and mainly contemporary explanation of the book is daily winning fresh adherents among unbiased thinkers of every Church and school, is partly because it rests on so simple and secure a basis, and partly because no other can compete with it. It is indeed the only system which is built on the plain and repeated statements and indications of the Seer himself and the corresponding events are so closely accordant with the symbols as to make it certain that this scheme of interpretation is the only one that can survive.” (The Early Days of Christianity p. 434)

“We cannot accept a dubious expression by the Bishop of Lyons as adequate to set aside an overwhelming weight of evidence, alike external and internal, in proof of the fact that the Apocalypse was written, at the latest, soon after the death of Nero.” (Early Days,  vol. ii., p.186)

“He (Irenaeus) makes the highly questionable statement that the Apocalypse was not written till the reign of Domitian.” (History, p. 176)

(On Revelation 1:7)
“John did not die till Christ had returned, in that sense of the ‘close of the aeon’ to which His own words and that of His Apostles often point. . . . The Apocalypse was written before he had witnessed the coming of Christ and the close of the Old Dispensation, in the mighty catastrophe which, by the voice of God in history, abrogated all but the moral precepts which had been uttered by the voice of God on Sinai.” (
Early Days, , 404-406)

(On the Resurrection)
“The fiery, uncompromising African practically makes Scripture say exactly what he himself chooses.  When, like Athenagoras, he condemns second marriage as “specious adultery,” he has no manner of doubt that he is expressing the opinion of St. Paul, though St. Paul says the exact opposite.  If in spite of St. Paul’s express disclaimer he insists on the resurrection of the identical flesh, he asserts that St. Paul does so likewise.” (History, p. 179)

(On Aion / World)
“Since aion meant “age,” aionios means, properly, “belonging to an age,” or “age-long,” and anyone who asserts that it must mean “endless” defends a position which even Augustine practically abandoned twelve centuries ago.” (The Eternal Hope, page 198)

“Of all the arguments on this question, the one which appears to me the most absolutely and hopelessly futile, is the one in which so many seem to rest with entire content; viz. that “eternal or aeonian life” must mean endless life, and therefore that “aeonian chastisement” must mean “endless chastisement.” This battered and aged argument, . . . if it had possessed a particle of cogency, would not have been set aside as entirely valueless by such minds as those of Origen and the two Gregories in ancient days, nor by multitudes in the days of St. Augustine and St. Jerome, nor by the most brilliant thinker among the schoolmen, nor by many of our greatest living divines. . . . No proposition is capable of more simple proof than that aeonian is not a synonym of endless. It only means, or can mean, in its primary sense, pertaining to an aeon, and therefore “indefinite,” since an aeon may be either long or short; and in its secondary sense “spiritual,” “pertaining to the unseen world,” “an attribute of that which is above and beyond time,” an attribute expressive not of duration but of quality.  Can such an explanation of the word be denied by any competent or thoughtful reader of John 5:396:5417:31 John 5:13,20?  Would not the introduction of the word “endless” into those Divine utterances be an unspeakable degradation of their meaning?  And as for the argument that the redeemed would thus lose their promised bliss, it is at once so unscriptural and so selfish that, after what Mr. Cox and others have said of it, one may hope that no one will ever be able to use it again without a blush.  I cannot here diverge into a discussion with Bishop Wordsworth and Canon Ryle, whose sermons need some adversaria rather longer than I can here devote to them; but as they both dwell on the fact that people who spoke Greek interpreted aionios to mean endless, I reply that some of the greatest masters of Greek, both in classical times and among the Fathers, saw quite clearly that, though the word might connote endlessness by being attributively added to endless things, it had in itself no such meaning. I cannot conceive how any candid mind can deny the force of these considerations.  If even Origenists would freely speak of future punishment as aionios but never as ateleutetos [without end] –– if, as even these papers have shown, Plato uses the word as the antithesis of endlessness –– if St. Gregory of Nyssa uses it as the epithet of “an interval”–– if, as though to leave this Augustinian argument without the faintest shadow of a foundation, there are absolutely two passages of Scripture (Hab.3:6 and Rom.16:25,26) where the very word occurs in two consecutive clauses, and is, in the second of the two clauses, applied to God, and yet is, in the first of the two clauses, applied to things which are temporary or terminated –– what shall be said of disputants who still enlist the controversial services of a phantom which has been so often laid in the tomb from which it ought never again to emerge?  How is it that not one out of the scores of writers who have animadverted on my book have so much as noticed the very remarkable fact to which I have called attention, that those who followed Origen in holding out a possible hope beyond the grave founded their argument for the terminability of torments on the acknowledged sense of this very word, and on the fact that other words and phrases which do unmistakably mean endless are used of the duration of good, but are never used of the duration of evil?  (The Wider Hope (1890), pages 327-330.)

(On Revelation 13:18)
“the Jewish Christian would have tried the name as he thought of the name-that is in Hebrew letters. And the moment he did this the secret stood revealed. No Jew ever thought of Nero except as ‘Neron Kesar,’ and this gives at once . . . 666” (The Early Days of Christianity, Chicago and New York: Belford, Clarke& Co., 1882, p. 540).

“The chief obstacle to the acceptance of the true date of the Apocalypse, arises from the authority of heaven.” (The Early Days of Christianity; NY, NY: A.L. Burt, 1884; p. 467) Frederic W. Farrar

Excerpts from
The Life of Christ
(Two Volumes, 1874)
F.W. FARRAR (1831-1903)

IT must have been clear to all that the Great Denunciation recorded in the last chapter involved a final and hopeless rupture. After language such as this there could be no possibility of reconciliation. It was “too late.” The door was shut. When Jesus left the Temple His disciples must have been aware that He was leaving it for ever.

But apparently as He was leaving it—perhaps while He was sitting with sad heart and downcast eyes in the Court of the Women to rest His soul, troubled by the unwonted intensity of moral indignation, and His mind wearied with these incessant assaults—another and less painful incident happened, which enabled Him to leave the actual precincts of the House of His Father with words, not of anger, but of approval. In this Court of the Women were thirteen chests called shopherôth, each shaped like a trumpet, broadening downwards from the aperture, and each adorned with various inscriptions. Into these were cast those religious and benevolent contributions which helped to furnish the Temple with its splendid wealth. While Jesus was sitting there the multitude were dropping their gifts, and the wealthier donors were conspicuous among them as they ostentatiously offered their gold and silver. Raising His eyes, perhaps from a reverie of sorrow, Jesus at a glance took in the whole significance of the scene. At that moment a poor widow timidly dropped in her little contribution. The lips of the rich contributors may have curled with scorn at a presentation which was the very lowest legal minimum. She had given two prutahs, the very smallest of current coins; for it was not lawful, even for the poorest, to offer only one. A lepton, or prutah, was the eighth part of an as, and was worth a little less than half a farthing, so that her whole gift was of the value of less than a farthing; and with the shame of poverty she may well have shrunk from giving so trivial a gift when the rich men around her were lavishing their gold. But Jesus was pleased with the faithfulness and the self-sacrificing spirit of the gift. It was like the “cup of cold water” given for love’s sake, which in His kingdom should not go unrewarded. He wished to teach for ever the great lesson that the essence of charity is self-denial; and the self-denial of this widow in her pauper condition was far greater than that of the wealthiest Pharisee who had contributed his gold. “For they all flung in of their abundance, but she of her penury cast in all she had, her whole means of subsistence.” “One coin out of a little,” says St. Ambrose, “is better than a treasure out of much; for it is not considered how much is given, but how much remains behind.” “If there be a willing mind,” says St. Paul, “it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.”

And now Jesus left the Temple for the last time; but the feelings of the Apostles still clung with the loving pride of their nationality to that sacred and memorable spot. They stopped to cast upon it one last lingering gaze, and one of them was eager to call His attention to its goodly stones and splendid offerings—those nine gates overlaid with gold and silver, and the one of solid Corinthian brass yet more precious; those graceful and towering porches; those bevelled blocks of marble forty cubits long and ten cubits high, testifying to the toil and munificence of so many generations; those double cloisters and stately pillars; that lavish adornment of sculpture and arabesque; those alternate blocks of red and white marble, recalling the crest and hollow of the sea waves; those vast clusters of golden grapes, each cluster as large as a man, which twined their splendid luxuriance over the golden doors. They would have Him gaze with them on the rising terraces of courts—the Court of the Gentiles with its monolithic columns and rich mosaic; above this the flight of fourteen steps which led to the Court of the Women: then the flight of fifteen steps which led up to the Court of the Priests; then, once more, the twelve steps which led to the final platform crowned by the actual Holy, and Holy of Holies, which the Rabbis fondly compared for its shape to a couchant lion, and which, with its marble whiteness and gilded roofs, looked like a glorious mountain whose snowy summit was gilded by the sun. It is as though they thought that the loveliness and splendour of this scene would intercede with Him, touching His heart with mute appeal. But the heart of Jesus was sad. To Him the sole beauty of a Temple was the sincerity of its worshippers, and no gold or marble, no brilliant vermilion or curiously-carven cedar-wood, no delicate sculpturing or votive gems, could change for Him a den of robbers into a House of Prayer. The builders were still busily at work, as they had been for nearly fifty years, but their work, unblessed of God, was destined—like the earthquake-shaken forum of guilty Pompeii—to be destroyed before it was finished. Briefly and almost sternly Jesus answered, as He turned away from the glittering spectacle, “Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another which shall not be thrown down.” It was the final ekchorômen—the “Let us depart hence” of retiring Deity. Tacitus and Josephus tell us how at the siege of Jerusalem was heard that great utterance of departing gods; but now it was uttered in reality, though no earthquake accompanied it, nor any miracle to show that this was the close of another great epoch in the world’s history. It took place quietly, and God “was content to show all things in the slow history of their ripening.” Thirty-five years afterwards that Temple sank into the ashes of its destruction; neither Hadrian, nor Julian, nor any other, were able to build upon its site; and now that very site is a matter of uncertainty.

Sadly and silently, with such thoughts in their hearts, the little band turned their backs on the sacred building, which stood there as an epitome of Jewish history from the days of Solomon onwards. They crossed the valley of Kidron, and climbed the steep footpath that leads over the Mount of Olives to Bethany. At the summit of the hill they paused, and Jesus sat down to rest—perhaps under the green boughs of those two stately cedar-trees which then adorned the summit of the hill. It was a scene well adapted to inspire most solemn thoughts. Deep on the one side beneath Him lay the Holy City, which had long become a harlot, and which now, on this day—the last great day of His public ministry—had shown finally that she knew not the time of her visitation. At His feet were the slopes of Olivet and the Garden of Gethsemane. On the opposite slope rose the city walls, and the broad plateau crowned with the marble colonnades and gilded roofs of the Temple. Turning in the eastward direction He would look across the bare, desolate hills of the wilderness of Judæa to the purpling line of the mountains of Moab, which glow like a chain of jewels in the sunset light. In the deep, scorched hollows of the Ghôr, visible in patches of sullen cobalt, lay the mysterious waters of the Sea of Lot. And thus, as He gazed from the brow of the hill, on either side of Him there were visible tokens of God’s anger and man’s sin. On the one side gloomed the dull lake, whose ghastly arid bituminous waves are a perpetual testimony to God’s vengeance upon sensual crime; at His feet was the glorious guilty city which had shed the blood of all the prophets, and was doomed to sink through yet deadlier wickedness to yet more awful retribution. And the setting sun of His earthly life flung deeper and more sombre colourings across the whole scene of His earthly pilgrimage.

It may be that the shadows of His thought gave a strange solemnity to His attitude and features as He sat there silent among the silent and saddened band of His few faithful followers. Not without a touch of awe His nearest and most favoured Apostles—Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew—came near to Him, and as they saw His eye fixed upon the Temple, asked Him privately, “When shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Their “when?” remained for the present unanswered. It was the way of Jesus, when some ignorant or irrelevant or inadmissible question was put to Him, to rebuke it not directly, but by passing it over, and by substituting for its answer some great moral lesson which was connected with it, and could alone make it valuable. Accordingly, this question of the Apostles drew from Him the great Eschatological Discourse, or Discourse of the Last Things, of which the four moral key-notes are “Beware!” and “Watch!” and “Endure!” and “Pray.”

Immense difficulties have been found in this discourse, and long treatises have been written to remove them. And, indeed, the metaphorical language in which it is clothed, and the intentional obscurity in which the will of God has involved all those details of the future which would only minister to an idle curiosity or a paralysing dread, must ever make parts of it difficult to understand. But if we compare together the reports of the three Synoptists, and see how they mutually throw light upon each other; if we remember that, in all three, the actual words of Jesus are necessarily condensed, and are only reported in their substance, and in a manner which admits of verbal divergencies; if we bear in mind that they are in all probability a rendering into Greek from the Aramaic vernacular in which they were spoken; if we keep hold of the certainty that the object of Prophecy in all ages has been moral warning infinitely more than even the vaguest chronological indication, since to the voice of Prophecy as to the eye of God all Time is but one eternal Present, “one day as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day;” if, finally, we accept with quiet reverence, and without any idle theological phraseology about the communicatio idiomatum, the distinct assertion of the Lord Himself, that to Him, in His human capacity, were not known the day and the hour, which belonged to “the times and the seasons which the Father hath kept in His own power;” if, I say, we read these chapters with such principles kept steadily in view, then to every earnest and serious reader I feel sure that most of the difficulties will vanish of themselves.

It is evident, from comparing St. Luke with the other Synoptists, that Jesus turned the thoughts of the disciples to two horizons, one near and one far off, as He suffered them to see one brief glimpse of the landscape of the future. The boundary line of either horizon marked the winding-up of an æon, the suntéleia aíônos; each was a great télos, or ending; of each it was true that the then existing genéa—first in its literal sense of “generation,” then in its wider sense of “race”—should not pass away until all had been fulfilled. And the one was the type of the other; the judgment upon Jerusalem, followed by the establishment of the visible Church on earth, foreshadowed the judgment of the world, and the establishment of Christ’s kingdom at His second coming. And if the vague prophetic language and imagery of St. Matthew, and to a less degree that of St. Mark, might lead to the impression that these two events were continuous, or at least nearly conterminous with each other, on the other hand we see clearly from St. Luke that our Lord expressly warned the inquiring Apostles that, though many of the signs which He predicted would be followed by the immediate close of one great epoch in the world’s history, on the other hand the great consummation, the final Palingenesia, would not follow at once, nor were they to be alarmed by the troubles and commotions of the world into any instant or feverish expectancy. In fact, when once we have grasped the principle that Jesus was speaking partly and primarily of the fall of the Jewish polity and dispensation, partly and secondarily of the end of the world—but that, since He spoke of them with that varying interchange of thought and speech which was natural for one whose whole being moved in the sphere of eternity and not of time, the Evangelists have not clearly distinguished between the passages in which He is referring more prominently to the one than to the other—we shall then avoid being misled by any superficial and erroneous impressions, and shall bear in mind that before the final end Jesus placed two great events. The first of these was a long treading under foot of Jerusalem, until the times of the Gentiles (the kairoì ethnôn, i.e., their whole opportunities under the Christian dispensation) should be fulfilled; the second was a preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom to all nations in all the world. Nor can we deny all probability to the supposition that while the inspired narrators of the Gospel history reported with perfect wisdom and faithfulness everything that was essential to the life and salvation of mankind, their abbreviations of what Jesus uttered, and the sequence which they gave to the order of His utterances, were to a certain extent tinged by their own subjectivity—possibly even by their own natural supposition—that the second horizon lay nearer to the first than it actually did in the designs of Heaven.

In this discourse, then, Jesus first warned them of false Messiahs and false prophets; He told them that the wild struggling of nations and those physical commotions and calamities which have so often seemed to synchronise with the great crises of History, were not to trouble them, as they would be but the throe of the Palingenesia, the first birth-pang of the coming time. He prophesied of dreadful persecutions, of abounding iniquity, of decaying faith, of wide evangelisation as the signs of a coming end. And as we learn from many other passages of Scripture, these signs, as they did usher in the destruction of Jerusalem, so shall reappear on a larger scale before the end of all things is at hand.

The next great paragraph of this speech dwelt mainly on the immediate future. He had foretold distinctly the destruction of the Holy City, and He now gives them indications which should forewarn them of its approach, and lead them to secure their safety. When they should see Jerusalem encompassed with armies—when the abomination which should cause desolation should stand in the Holy Place—then even from the fields, even from the housetops, they were to fly out of Judæa to the shelter of the Trans-Jordanic hills, from the unspeakable horrors that should follow. Nor even then were they to be carried away by any deceivableness of unrighteousness, caused by the yearning intensity of Messianic hopes. Many should cry, “Lo here! and lo there!” but let them pay no heed; for when He came, His presence, like lightning shining from the east even to the west, should be visible and unmistakable to all the world, and like eagles gathering to the carcass should the destined ministers of his vengeance wing their flight. By such warnings the Christians were preserved. Before John of Giscala had shut the gates of Jerusalem, and Simon of Gerasa had begun to murder the fugitives, so that “he who escaped the tyrant within the wall was destroyed by the other that lay before the gates”—before the Roman eagle waved her wing over the doomed city, or the infamies of lust and murder had driven every worshipper in horror from the Temple Courts—the Christians had taken timely warning, and in the little Peræan town of Pella, were beyond the reach of all the robbery, and murder, and famine, and cannibalism, and extermination which made the siege of Jerusalem a scene of greater tribulation than any that has been since the beginning of the world.

Then Jesus passed to the darkening of the sun and moon, and the falling of the stars, and the shaking of the powers of heaven—signs which may have a meaning both literal and metaphorical—which should precede the appearing of the Son of Man in heaven, and the gathering of the elect from the four winds by the trumpet-blast of the angels. That day of the Lord should have its signs no less than the other, and He bade His disciples in all ages to mark those signs and interpret them aright, even as they interpreted the signs of the coming summer in the fig-tree’s budding leaves. But that day should come to the world suddenly, unexpectedly, overwhelmingly; and, as it should be a day of reward to all faithful servants, so should it be a day of vengeance and destruction to the glutton and the drunkard, to the hypocrite and the oppressor. Therefore, to impress yet more indelibly upon their minds the lessons of watchfulness and faithfulness, and to warn them yet more emphatically against the peril of the drowsy life and the smouldering lamp, He told the exquisite Parables—so beautiful, so simple, yet so rich in instruction—of the Ten Virgins and of the Talents; and drew for them a picture of that Great Day of Judgment on which the King should separate all nations from one another as the shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. On that day those who had shown the least kindness to the least of these His brethren should be accounted to have done it unto Him. But then, lest these grand eschatological utterances should lead them to any of their old mistaken Messianic notions, He ended them with the sad and now half-familiar refrain, that His death and anguish must precede all else. The occasion, the manner, the very day are now revealed to them with the utmost plainness and simplicity: “Ye know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man is betrayed to be crucified.”

So ended that great discourse upon the Mount of Olives, and the sun set, and He arose and walked with His Apostles the short remaining road to Bethany. It was the last time that He would ever walk it upon earth; and after the trials, the weariness, the awful teachings, the terrible agitations of that eventful day, how delicious to Him must have been that hour of twilight loveliness and evening calm; how refreshing the peace and affection which surrounded Him in the quiet village and the holy home. As we have already noticed, Jesus did not love cities, and scarcely ever slept within their precincts. He shrank from their congregated wickednesses, from their glaring publicity, from their feverish excitement, from their featureless monotony, with all the natural and instinctive dislike of delicate minds. An Oriental city is always dirty; the refuse is flung into the streets; there is no pavement; the pariah dog is the sole scavenger; beast and man jostle each other promiscuously in the crowded thoroughfares. And though the necessities of His work compelled him to visit Jerusalem, and to preach to the vast throngs from every climate and country who were congregated at its yearly festivals, yet He seems to have retired on every possible occasion beyond its gates, partly it may be for safety—partly from poverty—partly because He loved that sweet home at Bethany—and partly too, perhaps, because He felt the peaceful joy of treading the grass that groweth on the mountains rather than the city stones, and could hold gladder communion with His Father in heaven under the shadow of the olive-trees, where, far from all disturbing sights and sounds, He could watch the splendour of the sunset and the falling of the dew. And surely that last evening walk to Bethany on that Tuesday evening in Passion week must have breathed deep calm into His soul. The thought, indeed, of the bitter cup which He was so soon to drink was doubtless present to Him, but present only in its aspect of exalted sacrifice, and the highest purpose of love fulfilled. Not the pangs which He would suffer, but the pangs from which He would save; not the power of darkness which would seem to win a short-lived triumph, but the redeeming victory—the full, perfect, and sufficient atonement—these we may well, though reverently, believe to have been the subjects which dominated in His thoughts. The exquisite beauty of the Syrian evening, the tender colours of the spring grass and flowers, the wadys around Him paling into solemn grey, the distant hills bathed in the primrose light of sunset, the coolness and balm of the breeze after the burning glare—what must these have been to Him to whose eye the world of Nature was an open book, on every page of which He read His Father’s name! And this was His native land. Bethany was almost to Him a second Nazareth; those whom He loved were around Him, and He was going to those whom He loved. Can we not imagine Him walking on in silence too deep for words—His disciples around Him or following Him—the gibbous moon beginning to rise and gild the twinkling foliage of the olive-trees with richer silver, and moonlight and twilight blending at each step insensibly with the garish hues of day, like that solemn twilight-purple of coming agony into which the noon-day of His happier ministry had long since begun to fade?



ALL, who heard them—even the supercilious Sadducees—must have been solemnised by these high answers. The listening multitude were both astonished and delighted; even some of the Scribes, pleased by the spiritual refutation of a scepticism which their reasonings had been unable to remove, could not refrain from the grateful acknowledgment, “Master, thou hast well said.” The more than human wisdom and insight of these replies created, even among His enemies, a momentary diversion in His favour. But once more the insatiable spirit of casuistry and dissension awoke, and this time a Scribe, a student of the Torah, thought that he too would try to fathom the extent of Christ’s learning and wisdom. He asked a question which instantly betrayed a false and unspiritual point of view, “Master, which is the great commandment in the Law?”

The Rabbinical schools, in their meddling, carnal, superficial spirit of word-weaving and letter-worship, had spun large accumulations of worthless subtlety all over the Mosaic law. Among other things they had wasted their idleness in fantastic attempts to count, and classify, and weigh, and measure all the separate commandments of the ceremonial and moral law. They had come to the sapient conclusion that there were 248 affirmative precepts, being as many as the members in the human body, and 365 negative precepts, being as many as the arteries and veins, or the days of the year: the total being 613, which was also the number of letters in the Decalogue. They arrived at the same result from the fact that the Jews were commanded (Numb. xv. 38) to wear fringes (tsîtsith) on the corners of their tallîth, bound with a thread of blue; and as each fringe had eight threads and five knots, and the letters of the word tsîtsith make 600, the total number of commandments was, as before, 613. Now surely, out of such a large number of precepts and prohibitions, all could not be of quite the same value; some were “light” (kal), and some were “heavy” (kobhed). But which? and what was the greatest commandment of all? According to some Rabbis, the most important of all is that about the tephillîn and the tsîtsith, the fringes and phylacteries; and “he who diligently observes it is regarded in the same light as if he had kept the whole Law.”

Some thought the omission of ablutions as bad as homicide; some that the precepts of the Mishna were all “heavy;” those of the Law were some heavy and some light. Others considered the third to be the greatest commandment. None of them had realised the great principle, that the wilful violation of one commandment is the transgression of all (James ii. 10), because the object of the entire Law is the spirit of obedience to God. On the question proposed by the lawyer the Shammaites and Hillelites were in disaccord, and, as usual, both schools were wrong: the Shammaites, in thinking that mere trivial external observances were valuable, apart from the spirit in which they were performed, and the principle which they exemplified; the Hillelites, in thinking that any positive command could in itself be unimportant, and in not seeing that great principles are essential to the due performance of even the slightest duties.

Still the best and most enlightened of the Rabbis had already rightly seen that the greatest of all commands, because it was the source of all the others, was that which enjoined the love of the One True God. Jesus had already had occasion to express His approval of this judgment, and He now repeats it. Pointing to the Scribes’ tephillîn, in which one of the four divisions contained the “Shema” (Deut. vi. 4)—recited twice a day by every pious Israelite—He told them that that was the greatest of all commandments, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord;” and that the second was like to it, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Love to God issuing in love to man—love to man, our brother, resulting from love to our Father, God—on these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.

The question, in the sense in which the Scribe had put it, was one of the mere máchai nomikaì, one of those “strivings about the Law,” which, as they were handled by the schools, were “unprofitable and vain.” But he could not fail to see that Jesus had not treated it in the idle disputatious spirit of jangling logomachy to which he was accustomed, and had not in his answer sanctioned any of the common errors and heresies of exalting the ceremonial above the moral, or the Tradition over the Torah, or the decisions of Sopherîm above the utterances of Prophets. Still less had he fallen into the fatal error of the Rabbis, by making obedience in one particular atone for transgression in another. The commandments which He had mentioned as the greatest were not special but general—not selected out of many, but inclusive of all. The Scribe had the sense to observe, and the candour to acknowledge that the answer of Jesus was wise and noble. “Well, Master,” he exclaimed, “thou hast said the truth;” and then he showed that he had read the Scriptures to some advantage by summarising some of those grand free utterances of the Prophets which prove that love to God and love to man is better than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices. Jesus approved of his sincerity, and said to him in words which involved both gracious encouragement and serious warning, “Thou art not far from the kingdom of heaven.” It was, therefore, at once easier for him to enter, and more perilous to turn aside. When he had entered he would see that the very spirit of his question was an erroneous and faulty one, and that “whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, is guilty of all.”

No other attempt was ever made to catch or entangle Jesus by the words of His lips. The Sanhedrin had now experienced, by the defeat of their cunning stratagems, and the humiliation of their vaunted wisdom, that one ray of light from the sunlit hills on which His spirit sat, was enough to dissipate, and to pierce through and through, the fogs of wordy contention and empty repetition in which they lived and moved and had their being. But it was well for them to be convinced how easily, had He desired it, He could have employed against them with overwhelming force the very engines which, with results so futile and so disastrous, they had put in play against Him. He therefore put to them one simple question, based on their own principles of interpretation, and drawn from a Psalm (the 110th), which they regarded as distinctly Messianic. In that Psalm occurs the expression, “The Lord (Jehovah) said unto my Lord (Adonai), Sit thou on my right hand.” How then could the Messiah be David’s son? Could Abraham have called Isaac and Jacob and Joseph, or any of his own descendants near or remote, his Lord? If not, how came David to do so? There could be but one answer—because that Son would be divine, not human—David’s son by human birth, but David’s Lord by divine subsistence. But they could not find this simple explanation, nor, indeed, any other; they could not find it, because Jesus was their Messiah, and they had rejected Him. They chose to ignore the fact that He was, in the flesh, the son of David; and when, as their Messiah, He had called Himself the Son of God, they had raised their hands in pious horror, and had taken up stones to stone Him. So here again—since they had rejected the clue of faith which would have led them to the true explanation—their wisdom was utterly at fault, and though they claimed so haughtily to be leaders of the people, yet, even on a topic so ordinary and so important as their Messianic hopes, they were convicted, for the second time on a single day, of being “blind leaders of the blind.”

And they loved their blindness; they would not acknowledge their ignorance; they did not repent them of their faults; the bitter venom of their hatred to Him was not driven forth by His forbearance; the dense midnight of their perversity was not dispelled by His wisdom. Their purpose to destroy Him was fixed, obstinate, irreversible; and if one plot failed, they were but driven with more stubborn sullenness into another. And, therefore, since Love had played her part in vain, “Justice leaped upon the stage;” since the Light of the World shone for them with no illumination, the lightning flash should at last warn them of their danger. There could now be no hope of their becoming reconciled to Him; they were but being stereotyped in unrepentant malice against Him. Turning, therefore, to His disciples, but in the audience of all the people, He rolled over their guilty heads, with crash on crash of moral anger, the thunder of his utter condemnation. So far as they represented a legitimate external authority He bade His hearers to respect them, but He warned them not to imitate their falsity, their oppression, their ostentation, their love of prominence, their fondness for titles, their insinuating avarice, their self-exalting pride. He bade them beware of the broadened phylacteries and exaggerated tassels—of the long robes that covered the murderous hearts, and the long prayers that diverted attention from the covetous designs. And then, solemnly and terribly, He uttered His eightfold “Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites,” scathing them in utterance after utterance with a flame which at once revealed and scorched. Woe unto them, for the ignorant erudition which closed the gates of heaven, and the injurious jealousy which would suffer no others to enter in! Woe unto them for their oppressive hypocrisy and greedy cant! Woe for the proselyting fanaticism which did but produce a more perilous corruption! Woe for the blind hair-splitting folly which so confused the sanctity of oaths as to tempt their followers into gross profanity! Woe for the petty paltry sham-scrupulosity which paid tithes of potherbs, and thought nothing of justice, mercy, and faith—which strained out animalculae from the goblet, and swallowed camels into the heart! Woe for the external cleanliness of cup and platter contrasted with the gluttony and drunkenness to which they ministered! Woe to the tombs that simulated the sanctity of temples—to the glistening outward plaster of hypocrisy which did but render more ghastly by contrast the reeking pollutions of the sepulchre within! Woe for the mock repentance which condemned their fathers for the murder of the prophets, and yet reflected the murderous spirit of those fathers—nay, filled up and exceeded the measure of their guilt by a yet deadlier and more dreadful sacrifice! Aye, on that generation would come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zacharias, whom they slew between the porch and the altar. The purple cloud of retribution had long been gathering its elements of fury: upon their heads should it burst in flame.

And at that point the voice which had rung with just and noble indignation broke with the tenderest pity—”O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate! For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.”

“Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites.” Some have ventured to accuse these words of injustice, of bitterness—to attribute them to a burst of undignified disappointment and unreasonable wrath. Yet is sin never to be rebuked? is hypocrisy never to be unmasked? is moral indignation no necessary part of the noble soul? And does not Jewish literature itself most amply support the charge brought against the Pharisees by Jesus? “Fear not true Pharisees, but greatly fear painted Pharisees,” said Alexander Jannæus to his wife on his death-bed. “The supreme tribunal,” says R. Nachaman, will duly punish hypocrites who wrap their tallîths around them to appear, which they are not, true Pharisees.” Nay, the Talmud itself, with unwonted keenness and severity of sarcasm, has pictured to us the seven classes of Pharisees, out of which six are characterised by a mixture of haughtiness and imposture. There is the “Shechemite” Pharisee, who obeys the law from self-interest (cf. Gen. xxxiv. 19) the Tumbling Pharisee (nikfi), who is so humble that he is always stumbling because he will not lift his feet from the ground; the Bleeding Pharisee (kinai), who is always hurting himself against walls, because he is so modest as to be unable to walk about with his eyes open lest he should see a woman; the Mortar Pharisee (medorkia), who covers his eyes as with a mortar, for the same reason; the Tell-me-another-duty-and-I-will-do-it Pharisee—several of whom occur in our Lord’s ministry; and the Timid Pharisee, who is actuated by motives of fear alone. The seventh class only is the class of “Pharisees from love,” who obey God because they love Him from the heart.

“Behold, your house is left unto you desolate!” And has not that denunciation been fearfully fulfilled? Who does not catch an echo of it in the language of Tacitus—”Expassac repente delubri fores, et audita major humana vox excedere Deos.” Speaking of the murder of the younger Hanan, and other eminent nobles and hierarchs, Josephus says, “I cannot but think that it was because God had doomed this city to destruction as a polluted city, and was resolved to purge His sanctuary by fire, that He cut off these their great defenders and well-wishers; while those that a little before had worn the sacred garments and presided over the public worship, and had been esteemed venerable by those that dwelt in the whole habitable earth, were cast out naked, and seen to be the food of dogs and wild beasts.” Never was a narrative more full of horrors, frenzies, unspeakable degradations, and overwhelming miseries than is the history of the siege of Jerusalem. Never was any prophecy more closely, more terribly, more overwhelmingly fulfilled than this of Christ. The men going about in the disguise of women with swords concealed under their gay robes; the rival outrages and infamies of John and Simon; the priests struck by darts from the upper court of the Temple, and falling slain by their own sacrifices; “the blood of all sorts of dead carcasses—priests, strangers, profane—standing in lakes in the holy courts;” the corpses themselves lying in piles and mounds on the very altar slopes; the fires feeding luxuriously on cedar-work overlaid with gold; friend and foe trampled to death on the gleaming mosaics in promiscuous carnage; priests, swollen with hunger, leaping madly into the devouring flames, till at last those flames had done their work, and what had been the Temple of Jerusalem, the beautiful and holy House of God, was a heap of ghastly ruin, where the burning embers were half-slaked in pools of gore.

And did not all the righteous blood shed upon the earth since the days of Abel come upon that generation? Did not many of that generation survive to witness and feel the unutterable horrors which Josephus tells?—to see their fellows crucified in jest, “some one way, and some another,” till “room was wanting for the crosses, and crosses for the carcasses?”—to experience the “deep silence” and the kind of deadly night which seized upon the city in the intervals of rage?—to see 600,000 dead bodies carried out of the gates?—to see friends fighting madly for grass and nettles, and the refuse of the drains?—to see the bloody zealots “gaping for want, and stumbling and staggering along like mad dogs?”—to hear the horrid tale of the miserable mother who, in the pangs of famine, had devoured her own child?—to be sold for slaves in such multitudes that at last none would buy them?—to see the streets running with blood, and the “fire of burning houses quenched in the blood of their defenders?”—to have their young sons sold in hundreds, or exposed in the amphitheatre to the sword of the gladiator or the fury of the lion, until at last, “since the people were now slain, the Holy House burnt down, and the city in flames, there was nothing farther left for the enemy to do?” In that awful siege it is believed that there perished 1,100,000 men, beside the 97,000 who were carried captive, and most of whom perished subsequently in the arena or the mine; and it was an awful thing to feel, as some of the survivors and eye-witnesses—and they not Christians—did feel, that “the city had deserved its overthrow by producing a generation of men who were the causes of its misfortunes;” and that “neither did any other city ever suffer such miseries, nor did any age ever breed a generation more fruitful in wickedness than this was, since the beginning of the world.”


1911 Encyclopedia
“FARRAR, FREDERIC WILLIAM (1831-1903), English divine, was born on the 7th of August 1831, in the Fort of Bombay, where his father, afterwards vicar of Sidcup, Kent, was then a missionary. His early education was received in King Williams College, Castletown, Isle of Man, a school whose external surroundings are- reproduced in his popular schoolboy tale, Eric; or, Little by Little. In 1847 he entered Kings College, London.. Through the influence of F.D. Maurice he was led to the study of Coleridge, whose writings had a profound influence upon his faith and opinions. He proceeded to Trinity College, Cambridge, in October 1851, and in the following year took the degree of B.A. at the university of London. In. 1854 he took his degree as fourth junior optime, and fourth in the first class of the classical tripos. In addition to other college prizes he gained the chancellors medal for the English prize poem on the search for Sir John Franklin in 185 2,the Le Baa prize and the Norrisian prize. He was elected fellow of Trinity College ill 1856.

On leaving the university Farrar became an assistant-master un.der G. E. L. Cotton at Marlborough College. In November 1855 he was appointed an assistant-master at Harrow, where he remained for fifteen years. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in. 1864, university preacher in 1868, honorary chaplain to the queen in 1869 and Hulsean lecturer in 1870. In 1871 he was appointed headmaster of Marlborough College, and in the following year he became chaplain-in-ordinary to the queen. In 1876 he was appointed canon of Westminster and rector of St Margarets, Westminster. He took his D.D. degree in 1874, the first under the new regulations at Cambridge. Farrar began his literary labors with the publication of his schoolboy story Eric in 1858, succeeded in the following year by Julian Home and Lyrics of Life, and in 1862 by St Winifreds; or the World of School. He had already published a work on The Origin of Language, and followed it up by a series of works on grammar and scholastic philology, including Chapters on Language (1865); Greek Grammar Rules (1865); Greek Syntax (1866); and Families of Speech (1869). He edited Essays on a Liberal Education in 1868; and published Seekers after God in the Sunday Library (1869). It was by his theological works, however, that Farrar attained his greatest popularity. His Hulsean Lectures were published in 1870 under the title of The Witness of History to Christ. The Life of Christ, which was published in 1874, speedily passed through a great number of editions, and is still in much demand. It reveals considerable powers of imagination and eloquence, and was partly inspired by a personal knowledge of the sacred localities depicted. In 1877 appeared In the Days of My Youth, sermons preached in the chapel of Marlborough College; and during the same year his volume of sermons on Eternal Hopein which he called in question the dogma of everlasting punishmentcaused much controversy in religious circles and did much to mollify the harsh theology of an earlier age. There is little doubt that his boldness and liberality of thought barred his elevation to the episcopate. In 1879 appeared The Life and Works of St Paul, and this was succeeded in 1882 by The Early Days of Christianity. Then came in order of publication the following works: Everyday Christian Life; or, Sermons by the Way (1887); Lives of the Fathers (1888); Sketches of Church History (I 889); Darkness and Dawn, a story of the Neronic persecution (1891); The Voice from Sinai (1892); The Life of Christ as Represented in Art (1894); a work on Daniel (1895); Gathering Clouds, a tale of the days of Chrysostom (1896); and The Bible, its Meaning and Supremacy (i 896). Farrar was a copious contributor of articles to various magazines, encyclopaedias and theological commentaries. In 1883 he was made archdeacon of Westminster and rural dean; in 1885 he was appointed Bampton lecturer at Oxford, and took for his subject The History of Interpretation. He was appointed dean of Canterbury in 1895. From 1890 to 1895 he was chaplain to the speaker of the House of Commons, and in 1894 he was appointed deputy-clerk of the closet to Queen Victoria. He died at Canterbury on the 22nd of March 1903.

As a theologian Farrar occupied a position midway between the Evangelical party and the Broad Church; while as a somewhat rhetorical preacher and writer he exerted a commanding influence over wide circles of readers. He was an ardent temperance and local reformer, and was one of the founders of the institution known as the Anglican Brotherhood, a religious band with modern aims and objects.  See his Life, by his son R. Farrar (1904).”

Expositors Bible

Dean of Canterbury; b. at Bombay, India, Aug. 7, 1831; d. at Canterbury Mar. 221903. He studied at King William’s College, Isle of Man, King’s College, London. (B.A., 1852), and Trinity College, Cambridge (B.A., 1854). He was ordered deacon in 1854 and ordained priest in 1857, and was assistant master in Marlborough College (1854) and Harrow School (1855-71), and head master of Marlborough College (1871-76). He was select preacher at Cambridge in 1868-69, 1872, 1874, and frequently afterward, honorary chaplain to the queen 1869-1873 and chaplain in ordiary after 1873, Hulsean Lecturer at Cambridge in 1870, and Bampton Lecturer at Oxford in 1885. In 1876 he was installed rector of St. Margaret, Westminster, and canon of Westminster; and in 1883 was appointed archdeacon of Westminster and rural dean of St. Margaret and St. John the Evangelist. In 1890 he became chaplain to the House of Commons and in 1891 examining chaplain to the bishop of Worcester. In 1895 he was made dean of Canterbury. In all these positions he won distinction. As a teacher he had the admiration of his scholars, and as an ecclesiastic he discharged his duties with peculiar efficiency. His sermons, though written hastily and marked by a somewhat exuberant eloquence, were listened to by thousands. His rare powers of advocacy were specially devoted to the improvement of public school education and the cause of total abstinence.

Dean Farrar’s publications were numerous and in varied fields. The earlier of them dealt with pedagogy and philology and included three famous stories of English school-life — Eric (Edinbburgh, 1858), Julian Home (1859), and St. Winifred’s (London, 1862). He prepared the commentary on Judges (1883) for Bishop Ellicott’s commentary, Kings (1893-94) and Daniel (1895) for The Expositor’s Bible, Wisdom (1888) for H. Wace’s commentary on the Apocrypha, and Luke (1880) and Hebrews (1883) for the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges and for the Cambridge New Testament. Probably his best known book was his Life and Work of St. Paul (2 vols., London, 1879), though his Life of Christ (2 vols., 1874), passed through many editions. With these may be mentioned The Early Days of Christianity (2 vols., London 1882); The Messages of the Books (1884); Lives of the Fathers (1889); and The Life of Lives: Further Studies in the Life of Christ (1900). His Hulsean and Bampton Lectures were published under the titles respectively of The Witness of History to Christ (1871) and The History of Interpretation (1886). Of his many volumes of sermons the most important was Eternal Hope (1878), containing five discourses preached in Westminster Abbey in 1877. Herein and in Mercy and Judgement (1881) he defended the doctrine that though there may be for some an endless hell because they resist the grace of God beyond the grave, there is no hell of material fire, and for the great majority, through God’s mercy and Christ’s sacrifice, a complete purification and salvation.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Reginald Farrar. Life of Frederic William Farrar, London, 1904 (by his son). A memoir by Dean William Lefroy of Norwich was prefixed to the Life of Christ, London, 1903. Consult also Three Sermons preached in Cathedral of Christ Church, Canterbury, March 29, 1903, by A. J. Mason and others, Ib. 1903. (The Expositor’s Bible)


Papers, 1825-1904.


EXTENT: .6 cubic ft. (1 letter-size archives box and 1 half-size letter box)

ACCESS: Unrestricted

REPRODUCTION: All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

COPYRIGHT: Information on copyright (literary rights) available from repository.

CITATION:  Frederic William Farrar Papers, MSS 062, Archives and Manuscripts Dept., Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.

Biographical Note

Anglican theologian and scholar, Frederic William Farrar, was the second son of Charles Pinhorn Farrar and his wife Caroline Turner. He was born on August 7, 1831 in the fort at Bombay, India. At the age of three, he was sent with his elder brother to live with two aunts in Aylesbury until their parents returned to England. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1854 and proceeded to obtain his Master of Arts in 1857, and Doctorate of Divinity in 1874.

In 1854, Farrar accepted a mastership at Marlborough College, where he showed special gifts as a master. On Christmas day 1854, he was ordained deacon, and priest in 1857. He left Marlborough in November 1855 to take mastership under Dr. Vaughn at Harrow College. Reverend Farrar remained at Harrow for fifteen years. While at Harrow, Farrar devoted much of his time to literary pursuits, earning for himself a reputation in the fields of fiction, philology, and theology.

He published a number of works including Eric, or Little by Little (1858), Julian Home: a Tale of College Life (18th ed., 1905), An Essay on the Origin of Language: based on Modern Researches and especially on the Works of M. Renan (1860), and Families of Speech (1890). In 1866, Farrar was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in recognition for his work as a philologist. He composed a card of “Greek Grammar Rules” and published A Brief Greek Syntax (1867). In 1870, he visited Palestine with Walter Leaf to finish research for his Life of Christ (1874). He also completed the Life of St. Paul (1879) and The Early Days of Christianity (1882).

In 1876, he accepted a canonery of Westminister with the rectory of St. Margaret’s parish. In 1883, he was appointed archdeacon of Westminister. In 1890, he was chosen chaplain to the House of Commons. In 1895, he became dean of Canterbury on the recommendation of Lord Rosebery. In three years, he raised 19,000 pounds in public subscriptions for the repair and restor- ation of Canterbury Cathedral. In 1899, his right hand was affected by muscular atrophy, which slowly attacked all his muscles. After a long illness, he died on March 22, 1903.

Scope and Content Note

Arranged chronologically from 1825 to 1904, most of the approximately 375 letters are written to Farrar from other British theologians and scholars. It is unclear to whom the 1904 letter is written. Many of the letters to Farrar concern matters of the Church of England, including letters from Frederick Temple, Bishop of Liverpool, and William Boyd Carpenter, Bishop of Liverpool.  Most of the letters concern the daily routine matters of English school masters.  A few of the letters, particularly from William Sanday and Dr. Whewell, offer criticisms of works by Farrar. The collection also contains correspondence written in 1888 concerning Farrar’s efforts to erect a monument to Admiral Robert Blake. There also are some letters concerning the Church of England Temperance Party. Among the more notable correspondents are William H. Thompson, Dr. Whewell, Lord Rosebery, William Sanday, and George Trevelyan.  The undated letters written by Farrar, mostly to Sir Edwin Arnold, were probably written between the 1870’s and the 1890’s.

 A Selected List of Correspondents

Amherst, [Honourable Percy A.?]
Arnold, Sir Edwin, Editor of the “Daily Telegraph” and poet
Auckland, Bishop
Bramwell, Frederick
Carpenter, William Boyd, Bishop of Ripon
Cheyne, Thomas Kelly, Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford
Copleston, Edward, Bishop of Llandaff
Cranbrook, [James?]
Dambrymple, Charles, House of Commons
Davidson, Randall Thomas, Archbishop of Canterbury
Davis, Rev. J. Dewelyn
Festing, John Wogan, Bishop of St. Albans
Gore, Charles, Bishop of Oxford
Hamilton, Lord George Francis, Secretary of State for India
Hamilton, Walter Kerr, Bishop of Salisbury
Harcourt, Sir William Vernon, Professor of international law at the University of Cambridge
Hawkins, F. Vaughn
Hayman, Dr. Henry?, Head Master of Rugby School
Henyon, [H. Henly?]
Holland, Rev. Henry Scott
How, William Walsham, Bishop of Wakefield
Hughes, H. Price, great Methodist Divine
Jessopp, Dr. Augustus, Head Master of the Grammar School, Norwich
Jex-Blake, Dr. Thomas William, Principal of Cheltenham College
Lansdowne, (3rd Marquis of)
Lawson, Sir Wilfred
Liddon, Dr. Henry Parry, Canon of St. Paul’s, London, Dean Ireland’s Professor of
Exegesis in the University of Oxford
Littledale, Rev. Richard Fred., Red Lion Square, London
Jackson, John, Bishop of Liverpool
Lushington, Godfrey
Lyall, Rev. William Hearle, Rector of St. Dionis Backchurch, London?
Maclear, George Frederick, Head master of King’s College School, London
Moberly, George, Bishop of Salisbury
Northcott, Lord
Peel, Arthur Wellesley, Speaker of the House of Commons
Pemberton, Busick
Ridley, Sir Matthews White, Secretary of State Home Department
Rosebery, Lord
Russell, George
Ryle, John Charles, Bishop of Liverpool
Salisbury, Lord
Sanday, Rev. William, Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford, and Vicar Great Waltham, Essex
Savory, Sir Joseph
Selwyn, William, Canon resident of Ely
Stainer, Sir Lovelace
Stanhope, Edward (one of Farrar’s first pupil at Harrow)
Straton, Norman Dumenil John, Bishop of Sodor
Temple, Frederick, Bishop of Liverpool
Thompson, William Hepworth, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, and Honourable
Canon of Ely
Trevelyan, Sir George Otto
Vaughan, Bernard
Vaughan, Herbert Alfred, Cardinal, Westminister
Wakefield, William Walsham
Whewell, Dr.



1/1                1825-1861
1/2                1865-1866
1/3                1867
1/4                1868-1869
1/5                1870
1/6                1871
1/7                1873-1875
1/8                1876-1877
1/9                1878-1880
1/10              1881
1/11              1882-1886
1/12              1887
1/13              1888
1/14              1889
1/15              1890 January-August
1/16              1890 October-December
1/17              1891 January-March
1/18              1891 April-December
1/19              1892 January-June
1/20               July-December
1/21              1893
1/22              1894
1/23              1895 January-April
1/24               May-December
1/25              1896 January-May
1/26               June-October
1/27               November-December
1/28              1897 January-April
1/29               May
1/30               June-September
1/31               October-December
1/32              1898 January-April
1/33               May-December
2/1                1899 February-March
2/2                 April-December
2/3                1900 April-September
2/4                 November-December
2/5                1901
2/6                1902-1904
2/7-11           undated

Separated material:  Pictures of Dean Farrar from a magazine (P-62/1-9)

Archives & Manuscripts
Pitts Theology Library
Emory University

Atlanta, GA  30322

Farrar, Frederick William, born Aug. 7th, 1831. Left Oct. 1847 Son of C. P. Farrar. Nassick, near Bombay. Principal’s.

Head of School. King’s College, London. Classical and Theologies
Scholarships and Prizes, also Matriculation Scholarship and B.~
Scholarship, London, 1852. Trinity Coll. , Camb. , Scholar and Fellow
Chancellor’s Medallist, 1852. Huisean Essay and Le Bas Essay Prize,
1856. 4th in 1st Class Classical Tripos, 1854. MA. 1857. B.L
1872. D.D. 1873. D. 1854. P. 1857. Ordained as Asst.Master a Marlborough Coll. 16 years Asst. -Master at Harrow, and 6 years Head Master of Marlborough College, 1875-76. Canon of Westminster and Archdeacon of Westminster and Rector of St. Margaret’s, Westminster 1876-1895. Chaplain to the House of Commons. Hon. Chaplain and Chaplain-in-Ordinary and Deputy-Clerk of the Closet to Her Majesty Queen Victoria. Deputy-Clerk of the Closet to His Majesty King Edward, Fellow of the Royal Society. Dean of Canterbury in 1895. Author Eric ; Julian Home ; Origin of Language ; St. Winifred ; Seekers after God ; Life of Christ ; In the Days of my Youth ; Eternal Hope ; Saintly Workers : Life and Work of St. Paul ; Ephphatha ; Mercy and Judgment Early Days of Christianity ; Lives of the Fathers ; Social and Present day Questions ; Darkness and Dawn ; Gathering Clouds ; The Life of live, and numerous other works. Died March 22nd, 1903, at the Deaner3





2 Thess. ii. 2  St. Paul did not here tell the Thessalonians that the day of Christ was not “at hand.”  On the contrary, he, like most Christians  in the first century, fully believed that it was “at hand:” — and tightly so believed, if we see in the destruction of Jerusalem the close of the Old Dispensation, and therefore a marked “day of the Lord;” by what he says is “do not be thrown into a state of excitement as though the day of the Lord is ‘already beginning,’ or ‘now present.'” (x,14)

31-8 “Eternal” This is, in all cases, the proper rendering of aionios.  It does not mean “everlasting” but “Agelong” or “pertaining to the aion.”  As regards time, it is a perfectly general  expression, and is generally used of things which belong to a timeless sphere.

15. “The abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet”  “The abominable wing (kanaph) which maketh desolate,” to which Daniel alluded, was the little heathen altar erected by Antiochus Epiphanes, on the top of the great altar of sacrifice, when he desecrated and defiled the Temple precincts.  Perhaps the turn of expression in the Hebrew may have been due to the fact that on this altar was carved the figure of the Syrian or Roman eagle.

The abominations of desolation after the Crucifixion were many, but the definite allusion may be to the Roman eagles and standards carried by the victorious Romans in to the very sanctuary at the destruction of the Temple by Titus (AD70), within the lifetime of some whom our Lord was then addressing.” (p 39)

46. “And these shall go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous iunto eternal life.”

The adjective in both instances is aionios, and ought in both instances to have been rendered by the same English word.  The fatal preference for variety of expression, in place of accuracy of representation, which runs through the AV, has here cause a serious mistake.  It leads uneducated readers to attach to “punishment” the conception of invariable endlessness, and it fosters the pernicious delusion that eternal means “never ending.”  “eternity.” When understood as it is set for in Scripture, involved  the absolute exclusion of the conception of time, and sequence, instead of its endless prolongation.” (pp 41-42)

1. “Till they see the kingdom of God come with power.”

The allusion must be either to the approaching Transfiguration , or to the close of the Mosaic aeon in the Destruction of Jerusalem.  St. John, the last survivor of the Apostles — as his brother St. James was their earliest martyr — lived till after BC 70.  (p. 54)

16. “The wrath.”

I.e. the wrath of God, as in Rom. v. 9, xii. 19.  Fifteen years later Jerusalem was utterly destroyed (p. 172 — first thess. 2:16)

Romans 12:19 “Avenge not yourselves, but give place unto wrath”

Rather “unto the wrath,” i.e. the Divine anger against injury (as the context shows).  Do not take vengeance unto your own hands, but leave the matter in God’s hands, and leave room for His wrath or work.  We have the same used of “the wrath (i.e. of God) in ch. v.9; 1 Thess. ii. 16) (p. 250

Ephesians 1:21 “Not only in this world [“age’] but also in that which is to come” (comp. 1 Pet. ii. 9).

We find the same phrase in Matt. xii. 32 (comp. Matt xiii. 39,40; heb vi. 5).  The translation “world,” both in A. and R. V., is quite misleading.  “The age” (“aeon,” Heb ii. 5; 1 Cor. x 11 ; Eph. ii. 7 ; iii. 21)  is “an epoch of Divine dispensation.”  The Jewish aeon was trembling to its close; the new Gospel aeon had already dawned, but its full morning did not come till after the Fall of Jerusalem.  ” (.276)

Hebrews 1:2 “At the end of these days.”

Comp. Num. xxiv. 14, LXX ; 1 Pet i.20.

That is. at the wane of the Old Dispensation, which was still, in its evanescence, lasting on, until the destruction of Jerusalem, side by side with the Messianic Dawn; the grey shadows of night still, as it were, struggling with the spread of the boundless day.  “This aeon,” which the Jews called the olam hazzeh (the old Mosaic aeon), was being day by day displaced by “the coming, or future, aeon, ” the olam habba, i.e. the age of the Messiah (see 1 Pet. i. 5) ; 1 Tim. iv. 1). (p334)

The Apocalypse is the earliest of St. John’s writings, and was written about A.D.68, in the reign of Galba; (p. 365)

“The thundering reverberation of a might spirit, struck by the plectrum of the Neronian persecution.” (prof. seeley)

6:9 “The ‘”souls under the altar” probably represent the martyrs burnt and flung to the wild beasts in the Neronian persecution” (p. 369)

vii. 14 “Out of the great tribulation”

Perhaps the first outburst of persecuting fury in the days of Nero, when the Christians were falsely charged with having caused the conflagration of Rome.” (p 369)

X 6 The rendering of the A.V. which makes the angel swear that “there should be time no longer” is incorrect.  The words mean “there shall be no longer delay.” (p. 370)

ciii 17 “The number of the beast”

These riddles, in which numbers were substituted for letters, were very common in Hebrew and Greek, and were called by the Jews Gematria (i.e. Geometria).

Six hundred and sixty-six stand s in Hebrew letters for Neron Kesar (Nero Caesar), the form in which Nero’s name occurs on some Eastern coins.  The well-attested alternative reading 616, represents Nero Kesar.  The difficulty in the solution in this case “He that hath  understanding let him count the number of the beast” only lay in the fact that St. John, for safety’s sake, placed the solution in Hebrew  letters, which would be unknown to Gentile reader.  In this solution lies one undoubted key to the age and general purpose of the book.” (p. 371)

What do YOU think ?

Submit Your Comments For Posting Here
Comment Box Disabled For Security

25 Oct 2003


christiana in the Talmud

18 Mar 2004


Proposal for solving Revelation l3:l8. NEBEKEDNESSER, that is, the Greek letters: Nu (50) + Eta (8) + Beta (2) + Eta (8) + Kappa (20) + Eta (8) + Delta (4) + Nu (50) + Eta (8) + Sigma (200) + Sigma (200) + Eta (8) + Rho (l00) = 666. (See Daniel 4:l6; lst Peter 5:l3; Book of Judith; Midrash Rabbah Ecclesiastes; Midrash Rabbah Canticles. [Walter C. Cambra]

26 Apr 2004


I have the original book The Prince of Glory or The Story of the Saviour by Canon Farrar aka F.W.F.. I have never seen such beautiful illistrations. This book was published in 1890. Glenda Wright

Date: 07 Oct 2005
Time: 17:13:31


I have the 2 volume set of this SIGNED by F. W. Farrar! Is this of value to anyone?

Date: 21 Sep 2006
Time: 04:39:55


I am a M.Div. 2nd year student. I found it is very useful and we have submit a reading report on this book. I ask the teacher shall I submit any other book which relates to the life and work of St. Paul, but he insist on Dr. F.W. Farrar’s book only.
Pastor John Koodarathil Mathew, EBC – Puzhikol, Kerala – Kottayam, India.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *