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Neither is Some very
physician; so St. Paul calls him, Col. v., “Luke, the beloved physician." It is not clear whether St. Luke was by birth a heathen or a Jew, but it is probable that he was a heathen; although he may have been a proselyte to Judaism before he became a Christian. the time of his conversion certain. early writers have thought that he was of the number of the seventy, whom Jesus Christ sent out with the apostles ;-which would also seem to be the mind of the Church, in that the Gospel for the day contains the mission of the seventy, and would hardly apply to St. Luke, unless he were thought to have been one of them; others have supposed that he was converted after our Lord's ascension, at Antioch, and by St. Paul; this, however, is certain, both from holy Scripture and early Christian writers, that St. Luke was a faithful companion of St. Paul, and journeyed and laboured with him during very many years of his ministry.
The place at which he joined St. Paul would seem to have been Troas, and the time, just before St. Paul made his first journey into Macedonia and Greece. Thus we read, Acts xvi. 10, 11: "And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us to preach
the gospel unto them. Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia." From this place, and from this time, St. Luke is thought to have been the constant companion of St. Paul: at any rate, it is clear from other places in this chapter that he was with him in Macedonia; and from chapters xx., xxi., that he went with him his last journey to Jerusalem; and again, from chap. xxvii., that he Iwent with him to Rome. And that St. Luke was with St. Paul at Rome, is clear from passages in more than one epistle. Thus, to Philemon : "There salute thee. . . . Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow-labourers." And to the Colossians: "Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas greet you.' And that St. Luke was found faithful to the last, when others failed, is clear from the text, "Only Luke is with me." There is, further, another place in holy Scripture, in which St. Luke is not mentioned by name, but where he is usually thought to be meant, 2 Cor. viii. 18: "We have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the Churches." Which place, if it mean St. Luke, (as is thought, and as the Church would seem to intimate in the collect for the day,) would shew both that St. Luke
was trusted by St. Paul and joined with Titus in his mission, and also that St. Luke was already known and esteemed among the Christians throughout all the Churches. After the death of St. Paul little is known of St. Luke, his life, and labours, save only that he lived to a great old age, and laboured much in divers countries for the gospel, and also suffered much for the name of Jesus Christ, being a confessor of Him, if not a martyr.
Besides the Gospel, St. Luke wrote also the Acts of the Apostles. Both the Gospel and the Acts are addressed to the same person, Theophilus, who, by the title "most excellent," would seem to have been a person of rank. The Gospel is said to have been written and published by St. Luke, with the help and sanction of St. Paul; indeed, certain early writers say that St. Paul refers to this Gospel of St. Luke, and calls it his own, when he says, "according to my Gospel." However this may be, the Gospel of St. Luke was written by him with the help of them who had been eye-witnesses to what it relates; who had themselves seen the miracles and heard the discourses of our Lord; had been with Him, and ministered to Him; and it was written, as it should seem, to set
aside certain false and untrue accounts of our' Lord, which evil men and false teachers had: spread abroad; thus St. Luke himself begins his Gospel: "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among' us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word; it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all: things from the very first, to write unto thee: in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been instructed." Such was the purpose of St. Luke in writing his Gospel; such the human helps which he had only let us ever remember, that there was in all this a higher and divine purpose, that of God Himself, hereby brought about,-the comfort and teaching of His Church in all ages,—a higher and divine: help, that of God the Holy Ghost, guarding from all error, and leading into all truth, the mind and pen of St. Luke. For this we must: most surely believe of all the books of holy Scripture, that (however they may be, in some sense, the work of men,-men frail and erring in themselves, yet that) they are also, or rather,
the work of God the Holy Ghost, and so are all-true, all-perfect; and thus, that the Gospel of St. Luke is not so much the Gospel of St. Luke, or of St. Paul, or of those others, "the eye-witnesses and ministers of the word," as the Gospel of the Holy Spirit of God; and so is to be received and believed as the word of God, not merely as the word of man.
And what is thus said of the Gospel of St. Luke may be said also of the Acts of the Apostles. St. Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles to continue, as it were, the history which he had begun in the Gospel. Thus he himself refers to the Gospel at the very beginning of the Acts of the Apostles: "The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up." Almighty God willed that the history of the first years of the Church; the first preachings of the apostles; the first deaths of His martyrs; the first persecutions of the Jews and of the heathens; the faith, charity, zeal, purity of the early Church, in the days of her first love; Almighty God willed that these should not pass away and be forgotten, nor the record of these be changed, or corrupted, by human error or human frailty, but consigned for