Page images
PDF
EPUB

Acts reachesonment at Rome. Second year of the

• therefore was written in the second year of the apostle • Paul's imprisonment at Rome: for so far the bistory of the * Acts reaches. But St. Mark seems not to have written • until after the death of St. Peter, or not long before it.'

This then is the order of the four evangelists, according to Mr. Dodwell: Matthew the first, Luke the second, Mark the third, and John the fourth.

How Mr. Le Clerc argued on the same side, was' seen formerly.

On the other hand, Grotius says, its is manifest from comparing their gospels, that Mark inade use of Matthew,

Mill has spoken largely to this point in bis Prolegomena. • He says, it was not the design of St. Mark, to make an • abridgment of St. Mattbew's gospel, as some have suppos• ed. For he does not always follow St. Matthew's order, • as an abridger would have doue: and he is oftentimes • more prolix in his histories of the same thing than St. • Matthew, and has inserted many additional things, and * some of great moment for illustrating the evangelical bisa • tory, Nay,u so far was Mark from intending to abbreo viate St. Matthew's gospel, that there have been men of • great fame, as Calvin, and our Dodwell, who were of opi• nion, that St. Mark and Luke bad never seen Matthew's • gospel. However, Grotius was of a different opinion.

And indeed the great resemblance of the style and composition of these two evangelists inanifests the truth of it.'

Of St. Luke Mill says : - Nothing is more evident thani • that he made use of the gospels of Matthew and Mark. * For he has borrowed from them many phrases and express * sions, and even whole paragraphs word for word.'

But there is not sufficient foundation for such strong assertions, in the account which Mill himself gives of the time " See Vol. iv. p. 503, 504.

- Usum esse Marcum Matthæi evangelio apertum facit collatio. Grot. ad Marc. cap. i. ver. 1.

Ipsam evangelii structuram quod attinet, neutiquam Marco institutum fuit, quod nonnullis videtur, evangelium Matthæi in epitomen redigere. Præter. quam enim quod servatum a Matthæo ordinem non ubique sequatur, quod sane epitomatoris fóret, in ejusdem rei narratione Matthæo haud raro prolixior est, ac plurima passim inserta habet, eaque subinde magni ad elucidandam historiam momenti. Proleg. num. 103.

u Imo certe adeo nihil Marco erat in animo de abbreviando Matthæi evangelio, ut haud desint magni nominis auctores, qui existimant, a Marco ne quidem visum fuisse evangeliuin Matthæi.--Cæterum contrarium evincit, evangelium imprimis Matthæi et Marci quod attinet, istorum phraseos, ipsiusque contextus similitudo. Ibid. n. 107.

v Certe evulgatum fuisse illud post editionem evangeliorum Matthæi et Marci, ex collatione trium horum inter se luce clarius apparet. Nihil scilicet evi. dentius, quam D. Lucam evangeliorum Matthæi et Marci ipsas 'nonic, phrases et locutiones, imo vero totas pericopas, in suum nonnunquam avroletet, traduxisse. Ib. num. 116.

of writing the first three gospels : for, according to him, St. Matthew's gospel was published in the year 61, St. Mark's* in 63, St. Luke'sy in 64, which is but one year later. Nor bas Mill inade it out, that St. Mark's was published so soon as the year 63. For he owns, that it was not written till after Peter's and Paul's departure from Rome; which could not be till after the year 63. How then could St. Luke make so much use of St. Mark's gospel, as is pretended ?

I allege but one author more, relating to this point. Mr. Wetstein says, that? Mark made use of Matthew : and of St. Luke he says, ' thata he transcribed many things from • Matthew, and yet more from Mark.'

But may I not say, that before Mr. Wetstein asserted such things, be should have given at least some tolerable account of the times when the evangelists wrote, and that St. Mark was prior in time to Luke? Which I do not perceive him to bave done. St. Matthew's gospel, indeed, he supposes to have been written b in the eighth year after our Lord's ascension. But of St. Luke be observes, that' ecclesiastical writers say, be published his gospel at about fifteen, or as others, about two and twenty years after our Saviour's as. cension. His account of St. Mark is, that he was with • Peter at Babylon. Thence he came to Rome, and was • with St. Paul during his captivity there, Col. iv. 10; Phi. • lem. 23. Then be went to Colosse. Afterwards at the • desire of the apostle he came to him thence to Rome, 2 Tim. iv, 11. Where he is said to have written bis gospel, • abridging St. Matthew, and adding some things which he • had heard from Peter.' A very fine character of our evangelist truly! But according to this account of St. Mark's travels, and of the place where his gospel was written, it could not be published before the year 64, or 65. How then could St. Luke make use of it, if he wrote so soon as fifteen or two and twenty years after Christ's ascension ?

I proceed now to speak more distinctly to the merits of the question. Proleg. num. 61.

* Ibid. num, 10). ♡ Ibid. num. 112.

· De Marco, ap. T. Gr. T. J. p. 552. · Lucam multa ex Matthæo, ex Marco plura descripsisse, ex collatione patet. De Lucâ, ibid. p. 643.

6 Ibid. p. 223. c Ibid. p. 643.

d Postea videtur Petro adhæsisse, et cum eo Babylone fuisse, 1 Pet. v. 13. Inde Romam venit, Paulumque captivuin invisit, Col. iv. 10; Philem. 23. Inde ad Colossenses abiit, a quibus rogatu Pauli Romam rediit, 2 Tim. iv. 11, ubi evangelium conscripsisse, et Matthæum quidem in compendium redegisse, nonnulla vero, quæ a Petro audiverat, adjecisse dicitur. Ibid. p. 551. .

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

1. It does not appear that any of the learned ancient christian writers bad a suspicion, that any of the first three evangelists had seen the other histories before they wrote. They say indeed, that when the three first-written gospels • had been delivered to all men, they were also brought to • St. Jobn, and that be confirmed the truth of their narration: • but said, there were some things omitted by them, which "might be profitably related : or, that he wrote last, sup• plying some things, which had been omitted by the for

mer evangelists. After this manner speake Eusebius of Cæsarea, 'Epiphanius, & Theodore of Mopsuestia, and h Jerom. Not now to mention any others. Augustine indeed, about the end of the fourth century, or the beginning of the fifth, supposethi the first three evangelists not to have been totally ignorant of each other's labours, and considers Mark's gospel as an abridgment of St. Matthew's. But, ask formerly observed, so far as I know, he is the first, in which that opinion is found : nor does it appear, that he was followed by succeeding writers.

2. It is not suitable to the character of any of the evangelists, that they should abridge or transcribe another historian,

St. Matthew was an apostle, and eye-witness: consequently, he was able to write of his own knowledge. Or, if there were any parts of our Lord's ministry, at wbich be was not present, he might obtain information from his fel. low-apostles, or other eye-witnesses. And as for other thing's, which happened before the apostles were called to follow him, concerning his nativity, infancy, and youth ; as Augustine' says, these the apostles might know from Christ himself, or from his parents, or bis friends and acquaintance, who were to be depended upon.

St. Mark, if he was not one of Christ's seventy disciples, was an early Jewish believer, acquainted with all the apos. tles, Peter in particular, and with many otber eye-witnesses: consequently, well qualified to write a gospel. Millm bimself has been so good as to acknowledge this.

e See Vol. iv. p. 95.

1 P. 189.

8 P. 398, 399. h P. 446.

i P. 502.

k P. 504. ''P. 501.

m Marcus ille, quisquis fuerit, ad evangelium conscribendum abunde instructus accedebat. Si enim filius fuit Mariæ, civis istius Hierosolymitanæ ei sane jam a tempore conversionis tam frequens intercesserat, ac plane familiare cum ipsis apostolis commercium, ut vix aliqua ætatis suæ pars ipsorum consortio vacârit: ita ut quotidie ab illis petere licuerit de dictis ac factis Domini tapadocis, quas conferret in commentarium. Sane, quisquis fuerit hic Marcus, apud veteres plane convenit, fuisse eum D. Petri comitem et interpretem; ipsumque comitatum fuisse RoVOL. v.

2 h

St. Luke, if he was not one of Christ's seventy disciples, nor an eye witness, was a disciple, and companion of apostles, especially of Paul, as is universally allowed : and he must therefore bave been well qualified to write a gospel. Moreover," as bas been shown, it is manifest from bis introduction, that he knew not of any authentic history of Jesus Cbrist, that bad been yet written, And he expressly says of himself, “ that he had perfect understanding of all things from the very first," and he professeth “ to write of them to Theopbilus in order.” After all this, to say, that he transcribed many things from one historian, and yet more from another, so far as I am able to judge, is no less than a contradiction of the evangelist himself.

3. The nature and design of the first three gospels manifestly show, that the evangelists had not seen any authentic written history of Jesus Christ.

This is one of the observations of Le Clerc relating to this point. “We o can scarcely doubt, whether St. John • had seen the other three gospels. For as he is said to • have lived to a great age, so it appears from his gospel it. self, that he took care not to repeat things related by them, • except a few only, and those necessary things. But I do • not see how it can be reckoned certain that Mark knew of • Matthew's having written a gospel before him : or that • Luke knew, that they two had written gospels before him. • If Mark bad seen the work of Matthew, it is likely tbat he • would have remained satisfied with it, as being the work s of an apostle of Christ, that is, an eye-witness, which he • was not. And what there follows.

I must enlarge opon this observation. I forbear to insist now on the genealogies, which are in St. Matthew, and St. Luke only. But I say, that the writings of all and each one of these three evangelists contain an entire gospel, or a complete history of the ministry of Jesus Christ : or, to borrow St. Luke's expressions, Acts i. 1, 2, a history of “ all that Jesus both did and taught, until the day, in the which he was taken up to heaven.” For in all and every one of them is the history of our Lord's forerunner, bis baptism, preaching, and death, and of our Lord's being baptized by him : wben, by a voice from heaven, he was proclaimed to be the Messiab. Then follows our Lord's temptation in the wilderness. After which is an account of our Lord's preach

mam usque adeo ut ex apostoli anpvogojevous acceperit necesse sit plenissimam et exactissimam historiæ totius evangelicæ cognitionem. Mill. Proleg. n. 102.

See before, p. 292–294. • See Vol. iv. p. 504, 505.

ing, and his beginning to gather disciples, the choice of the twelve apostles, and their names : and our Lord's going over the land of Israel, preaching the doctrine of the kingdom, attended by his twelve apostles, in synagogues, and in cities and villages, working all kinds of healing and saving miracles, upon all sorts of persons, in all places, in the presence of multitudes, and before scribes and pharisees, as well as others. A particular mission of his apostles, in the land of Israel. Our Lord's transfiguration on the mount, when there appeared Moses and Elias talking with him, and there came a voice from heaven, saying: “ This is my beloved Son, hear him." His going up to Jerusalem, and making a public entrance into the city, then cleansing the temple, where he often taught the people, and preached the gospel, and openly asserted his authority and character: keeping the passover with his disciples, and instituting a memorial of himself: his last sufferings, and death, with the behaviour of Judas the traitor, Peter, and the rest of the disciples : bis burial, resurrection, with the evidences of it, and the general commission to his apostles, to preach the gospel in all the world, and to all sorts of persons therein.

Here are all the integrals of a gospel. And they are properly filled up. And all these things are in all and every one of the first three evangelists : which show that they did not know of each other's writings. For it cannot be thought that they should be disposed to say the same things over and over, or to repeat what had been well said already. St. John, who had seen the other three gospels, has little in common with them: almost every thing in his gospel is new and additional. So it would have been with every other writer in the like circumstances.

And if St. Matthew's gospel had been written at about eight, or fifteen, or twenty years after our Lord's ascension, and had become generally known among the faithful, (as it certainly would, soon after it was written,) it is not improbable, that we should have had but two gospels, his and St. John's. Or if there had been several, they would all, except the first, have been in the manner of supplements, like St. John's, not entire gospels, like those of the first three evangelists.

This consideration appears to me of great moment, for showing that our first three evangelists are all independent witnesses. Indeed it seems to me to be quite satisfactory and decisive,

4. There are in these three gospels, as was observed just now by Mr. Dodwell, many seeming contradictions: which

« PreviousContinue »