Page images
PDF
EPUB

o us from the uncertain relations of others, to deliver in bis • gospel a certain account of those things, of which he was • fully assured. Which passage was transcribed by us m formerly. And Epiphanius, whom I now place below, plainly affixed a disadvantageous meaning to this word.

Beausobre readily allows, that we ought to follow the ancients in their interpretation of this word, and to suppose that St. Luke here speaks of some attempts, and essays, that had not been well executed.

This may be sufficient to satisfy us, that St. Luke does not speak of any of our evangelists. Mr. P Dodwell was of the same opinion.

But we may have yet farther assurance of it by observing what St. Luke says of bimself, and his own design ; which is to this purpose, That it had seemed good to him to send • to Theophilus in writing a distinct and particular history • of Jesus Christ : that he might better know, and be more • fully confirmed in the truth of those things, in which he • had been instructed by word of mouth.

In my opinion this implies a supposition, that Theophilus had not yet in his hands any good written history of the words and works of Jesus Christ.

Consequently St. Luke at the year 62, and possibly somewhat later, did not know of St. Matthew's and St. Mark's gospels: and therefore we must suppose that they were not yet written and published, or however but lately. For if they had been published several years, St. Luke, who bad accompanied Paul in Greece, Asia, Palestine, and Rome, could not have been unacquainted with them.

This argument appears to me valid : at least I cannot discern where it fails. It has long seemed to me a clear and obvious argument, that the gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark were not written till the year 60, or afterwards. For if they had been written sooner, they would by this time have been in the hands of St. Luke and Theophilus, and all

m Vol. iv. p. 96.

n - paokwY, ETTELONTEP Trollo ETTEXELpnoav iva tiyaç ETIXELPnTag delty' Anue de Tos tepe Knovdov, kai Mnovoov, kal T85 alles. H. 51. num. vii. p. 428.

• Ce mot Grec, erexeuonoav, est certainment très équivoque, et peut fort bien signifier • des tentatives malheureuses, des efforts qui ont mal réussi.' St. Epiphane ne l'a pas entendu autrement. Origène de mème, dans sa préface sur S. Luc, et après lui la plupart des interprètes Grecs. Quand il s'agit de la signification des termes Grecs, et que les auteurs Grecs, qui les expliquent, n'ont aucun intérêt à leur donner des sens forcés, ces derniers semblent dig. nes de créance. Beaus. Remarques sur Luc. ch. i. p. 100.

p Ut plane alios fuisse necesse sit evangelicæ historiæ scriptores a Luca, yisos, a nostris, quos habemus evangelistis. Diss. Iren. i. num. xxxix.

the faithful in general: and St. Luke could not have expressed himself as be does in this introduction ; nor indeed would he have written any gospel at all.

CHAP. V.

ST. MATTHEW, APOSTLE AND EVANGELIST.

I. His History. II. Testimonies of ancient writers to his

gospel. Ill. Remarks upon them, for discerning the time of this Gospel. IV. Characters of time in the Gospel itself. V. The language in which it was written.

I. MATTHEW,' called also b Levi, son of c Alpheus, was a publican, or d toll-gatherer under the Romans. He was,

a The history of our Lord's calling this disciple is in Matt. ix. 9–13; Mark ii. 13-16; Luke v. 27-32.

b This evangelist, in his account of his being called by Christ, names him. self Matthew, ch. ix. 9. But St. Mark and St. Luke in their accounts of it call him Levi, Mark ii. 14 ; Luke v. 27, 29. This has induced Grotius to argue, that Matthew and Levi are different persons: though he cannot deny, that the circumstances of the history lead us to think, one and the same person to be intended. Video omnes hodie ita existimare, hunc eundem esse quem Marcus et Lucas Levi nominant. Et sane congruunt circumstantiæ. Grot. ad Matt. ix. 9. It is observable, that Heracleon, the Valentinian, as cited by Clement of A. Str. I. 4. p. 502, reckons among apostles, who had not suf. fered martyrdom, Matthew, Philip, Thomas, and Levi. By Levi, probably, Heracleon meant Lebbeus, otherwise called Thaddeus. Vide Fabr. Bib. Gr. 1. 4. cap. 5. T. III. p. 126. Coteler. Annot, in Constitut. I. 8. cap. 22. Dodw. Diss. Iren. i. n. 24. It is certain, that Eusebius and Jerom thought Matthew and Levi to be only two names of one and the same person. See in this work, Vol. iv. p. 91, 92, 439, 441. Moreover in the catalogues of the apostles which are in Mark iii. 18; Luke vi. 15 ; Acts i. 13, is the name Matthew. It is likely, that Levi was the name by which the apostle was called in the former part of his life ; and Matthew the name by which he was best known afterwards.

. That is said by St. Mark only, ch. ii. 14. But we do not perceive who Alphæus was. Tillemont observes to this purpose, St Mark gives him the • surname of Alphæus : Tov TAlpass. Which may have been the name of • his father. This has given occasion to some of the ancients, and to all the • modern Greeks, to say, that James the son of Alphæus, was his brother : • though it be entirely destitute of all probability. Quoiqu'il il n'y ait en • cela aucune apparence.' Tillem. S. Matt. init. Mem. T. I.

Dr. Doddridge, Family Expositor, sect. 44. Vol. I. p. 280, says roundly, • that Matthew, otherwise called Levi, was the son of Alphæus, and the brother

undoubtedly a native of Galilee, as the rest of Christ's apostles were: but of what city in that country, or of which tribe of the people of Israel, is not known.

As be sat at the receipt of custom, by the sea-side, in the city of Capernaum, or near it, “ Jesus said unto him ; Follow me: and be arose and followed him.” Which needs not to be understood to imply, that Matthew did not make up bis accounts with those, by whom he had been employed and entrusted.

Afterwards e he made an entertainment at his house, where Jesus was present, and likewise divers of his disciples. And there sat at table with them many publicans, and others, of no very reputable character in the eye of the pharisees, who were strict in external purifications, and other like observances. Mattbew, it is likely, was willing to take leave of his former acquaintance in a civil manner. He was likewise desirous that they should converse with Jesus, hoping that they might be taken with his discourse. And Jesus, with a view of doing good, and to show that he did not disdain any man, made no exceptions to this design of his new disciple. Nor is it unlikely, that the ends aimed at were obtained, in part at least. Matthew's former friends did probably discern somewhat extraordinary in Jesus, so far as to induce them to think it was not unrea

• of James. Compare Mark üü. 18. Luke vi. 15. Acts i. 13.' But I do not think those texts can afford sufficient proof that Matthew, and James the son of Alphæus, had the same father, and were brothers. If that had been the case, their relation to each other would have been hinted, or plainly declared in the gospels.

I do not love bold conjectures in others, and would not indulge myself in them. But I suspect, that these words in Mark ii. 14, son of Alphæus,' TOV T8 Algals, are an interpolation, some how or other, undesignedly, and accidentally inserted in that place. What is truly said of James, has been also applied to Matthew. The curious may do well to consider, whether this conjecture be not countenanced by the singularity of the thing, said no where else, and by the various readings of that text, which may be seen in Beza, Mill, and Wetstein.

• His office seems more particularly to have consisted in gathering the • customs of commodities, that came by the sea of Galilee, and the tribute, • which passengers were to pay, that went by water.' Cave's Lives of the Apostles, p. 177.

è That this entertainment was not made by Matthew on the very day that Christ called him to attend on him, is argued by Mr. Jones in his Vindication of the former part of St. Matthew's Gospel, p. 129-137, and by Dr. Dod. dridge, Family Expositor, Vol. I. sect. LXXI. note". who says, “It is certain, • the feast was after the day of his calling, perhaps some months after : when : he had made up his accompts, and regularly passed his business into other • hands : which, to be sure, from a principle of justice, as well as prudence, • he would take care to do.'

sonable in him to leave his former employment, for the sake of the company of Jesus, and the advantages which in time be might receive from him. The pbarisees made reflections: but our Lord vindicated bimself. And all the three evangelists have recorded this instance of our Lord's amiable familiarity and condescension, which is one of the distinctions of bis shining character. And it is a proof, that at the time of their writing, severally, their gospels, they were moulded into the temper and principles of him whose history they wrote.

Jesus now called Matthew to be with hini, to be a witness of his words and works, and be put him into the number of bis apostles. Thenceforward be continued with the Lord Jesus ; and after his ascension be was at Jerusalem, and partook of the gift of the Holy Ghost, with the other apostles. Together with them he bore testimony to the resurrection of Jesus : and, as may be supposed, preached for some wbile at Jerusalem, and in the several parts of Judea, confirming his doctrine with miracles, which God enabled bim to perform in the name of Jesus.

In his own catalogue of the twelve apostles, cb. x. he is the eigbth in order. In St. Mark's, ch. iii. and St. Luke's, ch. vi. he is the seventh. He is also named in the eighth place, Acts i. 13. Nor is there any particular account in ibe gospels of the call of any of the apostles, except his and four others, Andrew and Peter, and the two sons of Zebedee, who were called before.

Clement of Alexandria says, that & the apostle Matthew used a very sparing diet, eating no flesh, but only vegetables. But perhaps this is said upon the ground only of some uncertain tradition not well attested.

Socrates, in the fifth century, says, that b when the apostles went abroad to preach to the Gentiles, Tbomas took Parthia for bis lot, Matthew Ethiopia, and Bartholomew India. And it is now a common opinion, that Matthew i died a martyr in Ethiopia, in a city called Nadabbar, or Naddaver; but by wbat kind of death is altogether uncer

St. John says, ch. i. 43, « The day following, Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him: Follow me.” if Philip was then called by our Lord to be an apostle, he ought to be added to the others above named.

8 Ματθαιος μεν Αν ο αποσολος σπερματων, και ακροδρυων, και λαχανων, avev kPEwv, uetelapßavev. Clem. Pæd. I. 2. p. 148. D.

* Ηνικα οι αποσολοι κληρη την εις τα εθνη πορειαν εποιoντο. θωμας μεν την Jap9wy anosolny v ECEXETO· Marfaloc de Angloriav. k. lSocr. H. E. 1. i. c. 19.

See Cave's Lives of the Apostles, and his Hist. Lit.

tain. However, some otbers speak of his preaching and dying in Parthia or Persia: and the diversity of those accounts seems to show, that they all are without good foundation,

I think it may be of use to take here at length a passage of Eusebius, at the beginning of the third book of his Ecclesiastical History, after having in the preceding book spoken of the many calamities in Judea, when the war was just breaking out. • This,' says he, ‘was the state of things • with tbe Jews. But the holy apostles and disciples of our • Saviour, being dispersed abroad, preached in the whole • world. Thomas, as we learn by tradition, had Parthia for • his lot: Andrew, Scythia; John, Asia, who having lived • there a long time died at Ephesus. Peter, as it seems, • preached to the dispersed Jews in Pontus, and Galatia, • Bithynia, Cappadocia, and Asia : at length coming to • Rome, he was crucified, with his head downward, as he • bad desired. What need I to speak of Paul, who fully

preached the gospel of Christ from Jerusalem to Illyri• cum, and at last died a martyr at Rome, in the time of • Nero ? So says Origen expressly in the third tome of his • expositions of the book of Genesis.'

Thus writes our ecclesiastical bistorian. But, as Valesius observes, it k is not easy to determine exactly where the quotation from Origen begins.

However, from this passage, as it seems, we may conclude, that at the beginning of the fourth century, there were not any certain and well attested accounts of the places out of Judea, in which many of the apostles of Christ preached : for if there had, Eusebius must have been ac- quainted with them. In particular, we may hence infer, as I apprehend, that there was no certain account, wbither Matthew went when he left Judea ; for there is no notice taken of him in this passage. Nor does Jerom in bis article of St. Matthew, in bis book of Illustrious Men, formerly! transcribed at large, take any notice of the countries in wbich he preached: nor do I recollect, that in any other of his genuine works he has said any thing of the travels of this apostle.

Heracleon, a learned Valentinian, in the second century, as cited by Clement of Alexandria, reckons m Matthew

* Cum Eusebius hic dicat superiora ex libro tertio Explanationum Origenis in Genesim esse desumpta, dubitari merito potest, unde incipiant Origenis verba, &c. Vales. Annot. in l. 3 cap. l. I Vol. iv. ch. cxiv. num viii. 1.

η Ου γαρ παντες οι σωζομενοι ώμολογησαν την δια της φωνης ομολογιαν, και εξηλθον εξ ών Ματθαιος, PIALA TOS, Owpas, Arvis, kai allou nollor. Clem. Stir. l. 4. p. 502. B.

« PreviousContinue »