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&c. or 5439.
A. M. 4034, the things which St Luke, in his adress to Theophilus, says, "have been accomplished, Ann. Dom. and are surely believed among us."
But whom does the evangelist include under the word us, among whom, he says, that those things were believed, and to whom the appointed ministers of the Word had preached them? Surely more than himself and his friend-more than those men, * who from that oral teaching had taken in hand to write Gospels, more indeed than any private society, even the whole body of Christians then in the world. Such is the sense of we and us in almost every verse of the New Testament, where the meaning of the word is not obviously limited by the context. Thus, when St Stephen, addressing the Jewish council, says, (a)" our fathers received the lively oracles to give unto us," he cannot be supposed to mean that those oracles were to be given only to himself and those to whom he was speaking, to any private party, or to any particular generation of the Jews, but to the whole descendants of Israel through all generations, and even to the Christian church after them. When St Paul writes thus to the Romans; (b) "Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand;" and again" Hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us," he does not mean by the words, we, our, and us, that only himself and those whom he was immediately addressing, partook of those blessings, which he well knew were to be vouchsafed to the Christian church through all ages even unto the end of the world. Again, when the same apostle says to the Corinthians, (c) that " God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us, by his own power," he could not be supposed to mean that only himself and the people to whom he was writing were to be raised from the dead; for in a following chapter of the same epistle, he expressly says, that " since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead;" and that "as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." When the appointed ministers of the word were delivering those things which had been accomplished and were firmly believed in the Christian community, they were not furnishing—at least it was not their intention to furnish, either St Luke or any other individual with materials for writing a Gospel. They were merely obeying the last command of their Divine Master, who" said unto them, (d) Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature."
From the materials furnished by that preaching, many indeed had taken in hand to write in order an account of the things which had been done, and taught, and suffered, by our Blessed Lord; but, however well meant their attempts may have been, they had succeeded so ill, that St Luke judged it expedient to write a Gospel himself for the satisfaction of Theophilus, and, no doubt, of the church at large. The reason which he assigns for his undertaking is, that he had "perfect understanding of all things (i. e. of all the things which were most surely believed among the Christians) from the very first;” but the words-καθώς παρέδοσαν ἡμῖν οἱ απ ̓ ἀρχῆς αὐτόπται relate not to his knowledge, but to the source of the information of those who had taken in hand to set forth in order the narratives which he had just mentioned; and he is so far from saying that he had derived his knowledge through the same channel with them, that, though he was undoubtedly a constant attendant on the apostles preaching, his whole address implies, what the word apneno nóт must therefore mean, that he had been an eye and an ear witness of all which he was about to relate; for if this be not its meaning, how could Theophilus derive more certain knowledge from St Luke's narrative than from those which were already in circulation, and on which no censure had been passed.
Пagidora. See; on the word Schleusner,
clause here signifies quemadmodum narrarunt nobis et tradiderunt.
(a) Acts vii. 38.
(b) Ch. v. 1-6. (d) St Mark xvi. 15.
Luke vi. 1.
The verb παρακολουθέω, being compounded of παρα and ἀκολουθίω, as ἀκολουθίω again is deri- From the beved from dxoxoulos, an attendant, companion, or observer, can be properly employed only by ginning of the one, who has constantly attended, as a companion, or observed as an eye or ear witness, Matth. ix. 8. some person or thing; for it is employed to denote the observation or attendance of things Mark ii. 23. and doctrines, as well as of persons (a). Thus, Plato in Phaedro, says axonoubt Tw row-intelligentia consequi orationem-to attend with understanding to the discourse or doctrine. The historian Josephus asserting his own credit says-(b)" Every one, who undertakes to deliver the history of actions-per-truly, ought to know them accurately-axpCa-himself in the first place, as either having been present with them-concerned in them—when done, or been informed of them by those who knew them anxorovlnnóta τοῖς γεγονοσιν ἤ παρὰ τῶν εἰδότῶν πυθανομένον. Now to both these means of knowledge I may pretend in the composition of my two works." Our Lord, in St Mark's Gospel, says (c)Σημεῖα δὲ τοῖς πιστέυσασι ταῦτα παρακολουθήσει———signa autem eos qui crediderint, hac sequentur (consequentur according to Beza) "and these signs shall follow (attend) them that believe." St Paul writing to Timothy, says (d)" If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ nourished up in the words of faith, and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained- apnxoxonxas —which thou hast hitherto followed, or to which thou hast hitherto attended;" again he says (e) — "Thou hast fully known ( Tagпnorovlnnás) my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long suffering, charity, patience, &c. but how did Timothy know St Paul's doctrine, manner of life, purpose, &c.? Was it by the declaration (Tapas) of others -certain favoured disciples of the apostle, or by attending on his journeyings and ministry himself? This question admits of but one answer:-Timothy was, for a long time, the apostle's constant companion, and called his son in the faith, who heard his doctrine with his own ears, and witnessed his manner of life with his own eyes, and thus acquired a perfect knowledge of both. Why then should we suppose that St Luke meant any other kind of knowledge of the things which he was about to write to Theophilus, than St Paul, using the same word, says that Timothy had of his (the apostle's) doctrine and manner of life? St Luke was a companion of St Paul and one of his fellow-labourers; they were both well skilled in the Greek language; the style of the one is thought to have a strong resemblance to that of the other; they were both acquainted with the writings of the Greek philosophers; they both use the word zapanonovléw to express the having a perfect knowledge of things. St Paul unquestionably uses it in the same sense in which it hath been used by Plato and Josephus; and can we imagine that his friend, companion, and, as is generally supposed, his pupil, used it in a quite different sense-in a sense, which would give to himself no superiority over those who had written defective Gospels before him?
The things which had been fulfilled and were firmly believed among Christians-T πεπληροφορημένα ἐν ἡμῖν πραγμάτα, were the πραγμάτα, not of the apostles or appointed ministers of the Word, who preached those things to every creature, but "all that JESUS began both to do and to teach, until the day that he was taken up, after that he, through the Holy Ghost, had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen." This, St Luke himself (f) declares was the subject of his Gospel, as it appears indeed to be in the Gospel still extant; but of the things recorded in his Gospel he assures us that he had the same kind of knowledge that Timothy had of the doctrine and life of St Paul, and that Josephus had of the origin, progress, and issue, of the Jewish war; but the knowledge of Timothy in the one case, and of Josephus in the other, was unquestionably personal-what each had seen and heard; and therefore St Luke's knowledge of all that Jesus did and taught must have been personal likewise—what
(c) Ch. xvi. 17.
(a) See Scopula and Schleusner on the word. (d) 1 Tim. iv. 6. (e) 2 Tim. iii. 10.
(b) Cont. Apion. 1. i. c. 10.
&c. or 5439. Ann. Dom 30, &c.
A. M. 4034, he had seen with his own eyes, and heard with his own ears. St Luke therefore must have been a disciple of Christ himself, and an exact observer of all his words and actions; and if so, it is extremely probable that he was likewise one of the seventy. Vulg. Mr. 28. He is the only evangelist who gives an account of the appointment of the seventy,
(though St Matthew evidently alludes to it (a)); and he even dwells longer on their appointment and commission than he does on the call of the twelve apostles, and a similar commission given to them. This was extremely natural if he was himself one of the seventy, but appears to us almost unaccountable if he was not. The apostles were, as ministers of the Word, superior to the seventy; their commission was permanent, which the commission of the seventy seems not to have been; and they were admitted to a closer intimacy with their Divine Master. Had St Luke been only one of that promiscuous multitude of disciples, which followed our Lord, and much more had he derived all his knowledge of our Lord's preaching and miracles from the report of others, he would surely have given a more detailed account of the success of the higher order of ministers than of the lower; but if he was one of the seventy himself, it was extremely natural to expatiate most fully on events quorum pars magna fuit.
Mr Dunster has urged some very cogent arguments in support of the opinion that St Luke was one of the two disciples, to whom our Blessed Lord joined himself, almost immediately after his resurrection, in the way to Emmaus. This opinion is not new. It was the opinion of Theophylact, and, as he informs us, of others among the ancients; it was adopted by Basnage among the moderns; and Lardner declares that it has a high degree of probability. The chief ground on which Basnage rests his opinion, is the concealment of the name of one of those disciples, Cleophas being mentioned by St Luke as the other. St Mark barely mentions the interview between Christ and two of the disciples, as they were going into the country; but he does not give the name of either, which probably he had never heard; St Peter being overpowered by the appearance vouchsafed, on the same day, to himself, and the rest of the apostles, with the visit to themselves that very evening, just as the two disciples arrived from Emmaus. St Luke, however, gives a very particular and interesting account of all that passed between Christ and the two disciples both on the road and in the village; and as he mentions Cleophas by name, we can hardly suppose him to be ignorant of the name of the other. He conceals it, however, probably for the same reason that St John conceals his own name in his own Gospel Such is the reasoning of Basnage; and Mr Dunster adds great force to it by observing, I think justly, that the conversation between Cleophas and his companion, when they said to each other-" Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures ?" displays such traits of nature and such warmth of feeling, as no relater could have displayed, but he who actually felt what he described. I have therefore no doubt, but that St Luke himself was the companion of Cleophas when they two were so highly favoured by their Divine Master.
His being the companion of Cleophas, however, does not prove that he was one of the seventy, though Epiphanius ranks them both among those distinguished disciples; and I am perfectly aware that if he was, as some of the ancients say, a Syrian by birth, and a convert from heathenism, he could be neither the one nor the other. But there is, in the annals of the church, no evidence which can be depended on that St Luke was a Syrian by birth; and there is in the New Testament very sufficient evidence, that wherever he may have been born, he had been, by religion at least, a Jew before
Since this sheet was prepared for the press, I chanced to turn up the following passage in Eusebius, which shews, beyond all controversy, that, in the opinion of that learned father, agázoλoudew signities to have personal knowledge. Speaking of St Mark as
the disciple of St Peter, the historian says
(a) Ch. ix. 36, &c.
Luke vi. 1.
he became a Christian. It is justly observed by Lardner, that as St Luke was the con- From the bestant companion of St Paul, and especially at Jerusalem, some exceptions would there ginning of the have been made to him, as we know were made to Timothy and Titus, had he been an Matth. ix. 8. uncircumcised Gentile; but nothing of this kind appears either in the Acts of the Apo- Mark ii. 23. stles or in any of St Paul's epistles. It is worthy of observation too, that in all his dates St Luke follows the Jewish computations of time, which we can hardly suppose that he would have done had he been himself a Gentile Christian, writing, as he certainly did chiefly write, for the instruction of Gentile converts. But if St Luke was an early disciple of Christ *; if he was one of the seventy, or the companion of Cleophas on the road to Emmaus, there is no room for doubt but that he was one of the hundred and twenty disciples, who (Acts i. 15. ii. 1. 4.) “were all with one accord in one place, when there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire sitting upon each of them, when they were all filled with the Holy Ghost (a);" so that, in respect of plenary inspiration, St Luke, though inferior in dignity, was "not a whit behind the very chiefest of the apostles."
We have therefore every reason to believe that St Luke, if not the earliest writer of a Gospel, knew nothing of St Matthew's or St Mark's Gospel when he sat down to write his own; that he wrote, as well as they, under the superintendence of the Spirit of God; and that he was equally with St Matthew an eye and ear witness of what he relates. There are indeed, in his and St Matthew's Gospels, several things related araber" from the very first," of which neither of them nor any other evangelist could have been an eye-witness-such as the annunciation; the prediction of the birth of John the Baptist; the punishment of Zacharias for his unbelief; the presentation of Christ in the temple; the coming of the wise men from the east; the massacre of the innocents at Bethlehem; our Lord's disputing, when only twelve years old, with the doctors in the temple; and his temptation by the devil in the wilderness. All these things must have been either revealed immediately from heaven to St Luke, as some suppose to be implied in the word ärwer, or he must have learned them either immediately from the Blessed Virgin, who had long pondered them in her heart, or from the apostle St John, to whom it is natural to suppose that she would communicate them all, during her residence in his house, after being deprived of her Divine Son. This last hypothesis appears to me more probable than that they were immediately revealed to the evangelist himself; because I believe that revelations were seldom made of things which might have been easily discovered by natural means; but should any one think differently I will have no controversy with him on such a point. They were, in all probability, revealed from heaven to St Paul; for though I do not believe that the Gospel, which he says (b)" was taught to him by the revelation of Jesus Christ," contained merely a statement of those great events in the life and death of our Lord, with which every intelligent Jew must have been well acquainted, yet I think the incarnation and miraculous conception of our Lord must have been revealed to him, because
* That he was not only a personal but an early disciple of Christ, Mr Dunster produces many internal proofs from his Gospel. As I am in this Dissertation straitened in room, I shall select only one, which when first pointed out to me made a very strong impression on my own mind. "The account of our Lord's actually commencing his ministry in the city of Nazareth, where he had been brought up, is related by none of the other evangelists, being only slightly referred to by St Matthew. But the particular circumstances of our Lord standing up to read; of the book being delivered to him; of his opening it; of his closing it and giving it again to the minister; of his sit
ting down of the eyes of all being fastened upon him ;
(a) See Lightfoot and Whitby on these texts.
A. M. 4034, he could not, while a persecuting Jew, have derived the knowledge of them from any &c. or 5439. other source; and they are essential truths of the Gospel which he was, by Jesus Christ, commissioned to preach. What St Luke relates of the birth and early life of our Lord, Vulg. Er. 28. he may therefore have learned from St Paul; or it may have been immediately revealed to himself; or, which I think the most probable opinion, he may have learned it either from the Blessed Virgin herself, or from St John, to whom it was by her undoubtedly communicated.
From the whole of this investigation it appears, I think, evident, that nothing in St Luke's Gospel was received by him from the rapadors of others, but what all the other evangelists must have received in the same manner; or if they were immediately inspired with the knowledge of such things as they did not actually either hear or see, there is reason to believe that St Luke was inspired with the knowledge of such things likewise. If he was one of the hundred and twenty on whom the Holy Ghost fell on the day of Pentecost, this will be admitted by the most sceptical theologian even in Germany, who admits any part of the New Testament to have been written by inspiration; but whether our evangelist was of that number or not, it is a fact recorded in various places of the Acts of the Apostles, that the Holy Ghost was given to many by the imposition of apostolical hands, and to others without the intervention of any such ritual ministration.
On the Gospel of St Mark I have very little to add to that which has been said by our author. That St Mark, though certainly a Jew by birth, and probably an occasional follower of our Lord, as many of his unbelieving countrymen were, was however not a regular and permanent disciple, is affirmed by all the most eminent writers of antiquity. Papias, Irenæus, Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, Jerome, and Eusebius, &c. unite in representing him as the convert of St Peter, from whose mouth he wrote his Gospel, submitting it when finished to the apostle's revision; and there is in the Gospel itself much internal evidence of this being a true state of the case: St Mark, however, appears to have been a very early convert to the faith after our Lord's ascension; and that he wrote under the influence of the Spirit of God, has never been called in question till of late that some Lutheran divines in Germany, desirous, as it appears to me, of getting rid of inspiration altogether, have, by an arbitrary canon of their own, confined the gift of inspiration to the apostles and those who were with them on the day of Pentecost, when they were miraculously enabled to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. That this is a groundless hypothesis must be admitted by every man who believes the book called the Acts of the Apostles to be true history, whether its author was inspired or not; but as I do not suppose that matters of fact, of which the knowledge could be obtained by natural means, were ever miraculously revealed from heaven, it is surely reasonable to believe the unanimous testimony of the early fathers, that St Mark received the materials of his history from St Peter.
That he wrote with St Matthew's Gospel lying before him, and merely copied his narrative from it, is an opinion which I am very unwilling to admit, though it has been maintained by many other eminent and pious divines as well as by our author. Some indeed have gone so far as to contend with earnestness that St Mark transcribed literally from St Matthew, and that St Luke, whom they suppose to have written after them, transcribed likewise without acknowledgment from both!
This, to say the least of it, was surely very dishonourable conduct, and totally unlike that of the writers of the historical parts of the Old Testament, who candidly appeal to the records of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, from which the facts which they relate were taken. But this is not all that may be objected to this hypothesis. If St Mark and St Luke had St Matthew's Gospel lying before them, especially if that Gospel was written by the command of the whole college of the apostles, for the purpose supposed by Dr Townson, what inducement could the two later evangelists have to