An attempt is made in the following pages to give, within the space of a single day, a striking picture of the ministerial work of Jesus in Galilee. The historical facts are derived from the Gospels, which are illustrated with all the helps of exact interpretation and antiquarian research. Other less observable features, the result of comparison, combination, and deduction, are prominently brought out. The representation of the localities in their present of modern appearance is based, though not altogether, upon the works of Robinson; and in their ancient appearance upon Josephus, and the notices scattered through the Talmud and the Midrasch, for which the author was by no means limited to the quotations from those works by Reland, Lightfoot, Schwartz, and Neubauer. The illustration of the state of the times and popular modes of life are not fictitious, but are entirely derived from the most ancient Jewish authorities.
Of course, the mingling together into a life-picture the gospel facts with these archaeological researches, is fanciful. And it was precisely this feature of the fanciful that was the most difficult, because the most responsible part of the work. All amplification of historical tradition, though failing in external proof, had to be demonstrated as containing internal truth. The popular commotion, which the appearance of Christ occasioned, had to be reproduced in faithful characteristic pictures according with the historical facts. But, above all, the person of our Lord was to be so represented agreeably to every phase in his private and public life, that every one who honors and loves him should say, " Even if all that is here related is not exactly found in the Scriptures in every particular, yet the mode of his appearing and of his work, of his conduct in solitude, and of his intercourse with men, could not have been essentially different from that here set forth."
The sketching of such a picture is difficult. We were conscious all along of the incomparable holiness and tenderness of the subject, and that which may now be read without trouble, was produced very slowly, and often in paragraphs at long intervals. The person of Jesus is the greatest mystery and the greatest miracle in the history of the world. Hence, our task embraced the discussion of the most central dogmatic problem, and, perhaps, these pages will contribute to its correct solution. For, in whatever way the question of the mysterious union of the divine and human nature in the person of Jesus Christ is to be solved (the Talmud also reckons " Gahoe ou? Righteousness" among the names of the Messiah), this is certain, that the solution is untenable, which divides the unity of his personality, or which holds confused and imperfect ideas of the truth of his humanity.