Page images
PDF
EPUB

this he is followed by St. Augustine, who, about the year 400, wrote his treatise De Concordia Evangelistarum.

Comester, a Frenchman, about 1180, wrote his Historia Evangelica, which, in method, differs very little from that of Tatian and Ammonius.

Guido de Perpiniano published his Concordia Evangelica about 1330. He, in a great measure, follows St. Augustine, adhering to the present order of St. Matthew's Gospel : and he was of opinion, that, wherever any relation of facts or doctrines appears similar, in any of the Gospels, those passages ought to be connected, as being accounts of the same fact or discourse, though given in a different manner. For example: several doctrines were delivered by our Saviour, at different times, and on different occasions, correspondent to those contained in the Sermon on the Mount; wherever he met with any doctrines similar to these, in any part of St. Mark's or St. Luke's Gospel, he thus transposed them so as to connect them with St. Matthew.

St. Matthew.

St. Mark.

St. Luke.

[blocks in formation]

vi. 17-25.
xiv. 34-
viii. 16–17.
xvi. 17-18.
xii. 58
vi. 27-36,
xi. 1-5.
xii. 32-35.

xi. 34-37.
xvi. 1-16.
xii. 13-32.
vi. 36-43.
xi. 5-14.
vi. 43–46.
vi. 25-27.
vir 46-

It must appear absurd to every reader, to suppose St. Mark's and St. Luke's Gospels to be such confused rhapsodies as they are here represented. The same method was likewise continued by Ludolphus, a German, who wrote his Vita Christi about the same time with Guido: and John Gerson, who published his Monotessaron about the year 1420.

About the year 1537, Osiander, a Protestant minister of Germany, published his Annotationes in Evangelicam Harmoniam. He makes no alteration of the present order of any of the Gospels; but wherever similar facts or doctrines are placed variously, he imagines they ought to be distinctly considered. But, if the arbitrary method of transposing all the Gospels led the first Harmonists to connect passages which they ought not, the method which Osiander determined to pursue obliged him to suppose some passages to be accounts of different facts; which, upon any impartial examination into the several circumstances related, must appear to be the same : that is, two sermons are supposed to have been preached upon the Mount; one related by St. Matthew and the other by St. Luke. Two centurions' servants are supposed to have been healed—two women are supposed to have been healed of an issue of blood-two damsels to have been raised from the dead --and two tempests to have been stilled upon the sea.

The Harmony of Corn. Jansenius, Bishop of Ghent, was published about 1550. He follows the confused method of the first Harmonists: and Calvin, whose Harmonia ex tribus Evangelistis appeared in 1555, hath very nearly followed the steps of Perpinian. He omits St. John's Gospel in his Harmony, as having very little connexion with the others; though this Gospel is one of the principal guides to an Harmonist, as it mentions the several passovers, and distinguishes the times by notations omitted by the other Evangelists.

In opposition to Calvin, Carolus Molinæus, a celebrated French lawyer, published an Evangeliorum Unio, in 1565. He appears to have taken but little pains in this cause : for he so nearly copies afterOsiander, that be evidently seems rather to defend his opinion, than to advance a new one.

There was an Harmony published with the Rhemish Testament, in 1582, in the confused method of the first Harmonists: which was also followed by Beaux-Ami, whose Harmony and Annotations were first printed in 1583.

Gerrard Mercator, the great geographer, published a Harmony in 1590, wherein he keeps steadily to the present order of St. Matthew, transposing the others; but with more caution than Perpinian.

The Harmony of Martin Chemnitius, who died in 1586, was revised by Lyser, and afterwards by John Gerhard, who entirely approved of his plan. Chemnitius too much followed the method of the first Harmonists: though he saw and reformed several of their errors, and sometimes recedes from the present order of all the three first Gospels. Perkins published at Cambridge, in 1597, an abstract from Chemnitius, who, indeed, was chiefly followed by all Harmonists, with very little variation, for half a century. Among these,” says Pilkington, “I must particularly mention Sebastian Barradius, who was called, for his great zeal, knowledge, and industry, the Apostle of Portugal. Though Barradius followed nearly the same method with Chemnitius, he cannot well be supposed to have copied after him, as he appears to have been engaged in this work before that was published : and he deserves our thanks, for collecting the various opinions of all the ancient Fathers, upon every particular mentioned in the Gospels, with great care and fidelity, which renders his work a valuable Commentary.”

Thomas Cartwright, who published his Harmony about 1630, makes the present order of St. Mark his rule for method, but takes great liberties in the transposition of St. Matthew and St. Luke.

In 1654, was published the second part of the Annals of Archbishop Usher, in which is comprised a Harmony of the

Gospels, by Dr. John Richardson, Bishop of Ardagh. The Bishop supposes that St. Matthew hath alone neglected the order of time, which is regularly and constantly observed by the other three Evangelists. St. John, indeed, takes so little notice of what is mentioned by the others, and so plainly appears to have followed the proper series of history, that the freest pens have rarely taken occasion to transpose his order: Tatian, Comestor, Ludolphus, and Mann, place chap. vi. before chap. v. The value of Dr. Richardson's work has been acknowledged by Leclerc, 1701, Whiston, 1702, Bedford, 1730, &c. and the foreigners, Du Pin, and Butini; who, though they differ from Bishop Richardson, and among themselves in many particulars, yet all agree to follow the general method here mentioned.

Dr. Lightfoot published part of his Harmony in 1644, and the whole in 1654. He adheres to the present order of St. Mark and St. Luke, which he never transposes except in this instance :

Sect. Matthew.

Mark.

Luke. 39 / viii. 23-ix. 2. iv. 36-v. 22.

iv. 36-v. 22. vii. 22–41. 40 ix. 10–18. ii. 15–23.

v. 29. ix. 18-27.

viii. 41.

41

V. 22.

The Harmonia Evangelica of Monsieur Toinard, published in 1707, has deservedly met with very general approbation; for he not only pursued the true method in general, but he was possessed of great learning and judgment; and he applied himself, with great care and diligence, to settle the several circumstances, mentioned by the different Evangelists. In this laborious work every sentence, and even every word, is harmonized.

When I remembered that the valuable Diatessaron of Professor White, and the Harmonies of Newcome, Doddridge, Pilkington, Michaelis, and others, must be added to this list, I confess I contemplated the proposed completion

of the arrangement of the Scriptures with some dismay. To peruse all these works, even if they could be procured, was impossible—to reject them all would be an act of absurd presumption. The most patient labour can add but little to the good which has been already effected, and the researches of our predecessors must be the only solid foundation of every attempt to be useful.

The four Gospels having been written, as I have represented, for the use of some particular class of persons, and on various occasions in which they were interested, may be considered as letters. Each was penned on the plan of an Epistle, containing a narrative. In letter-writing, digressions, interruptions, sudden desertions and resumptions of the subject, frequently occur. If I had received four letters from a distant country, each of wbich contained an account of the life and death of a kind friend-each informing me of some event, or circumstance, which the other had omittedeach preserving the same principal circumstances, but varying in the order of the minuter events, I should endeavour to ascertain the probable order of the events related, by first selecting those which were common to all; and then by arranging, as probably consecutive, those which were made to follow each other, in any two of the letters. For the right placing of the events which might appear unconnected, certain rules must be laid down, as they would be suggested by the plan of the writer, the nature of his style, the notation of time and place, and the latitude to be assigned to the various particles, which denote nearness, or remoteness, or connexion. It would be necessary to observe, whether my correspondents were more intent on representing the substance of what is spoken, than the words of the speaker; or whether they neglected accurate order in the detail of particular incidents, though they pursue a good general method : whether detached and distant events are sometimes joined together on account of a sameness in the scene, the person, the cause, or the consequences—whether, in such concise

« PreviousContinue »