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last, that he was not altogether certain that others would be ready to adopt his opinion concerning the purport of St. Luke's preface to his Gospel. In sect. 8. chap. vi. p. 267, however, speaking of the motive which induced St. Luke to write a Gospel, he neither expresses himself so indecisively concerning the contents of those Gospels, and the cause of their having fallen into disrepute, nor concerning the purport of St. Luke's preface : and with regard to the latter point, he does not appear to allow others that liberty of opinion concerning it, which he has in the passage above quoted. In the beginning of that section be thus expresses himself: He there (that is, St. Luke in his preface) assigns the motive which induced him to send to Theophilus an authentic narrative of the miracles and resurrection of Christ, which, to use his own words, was the following Επειδηπες πολλοι επιχειρησαν αναταξασθαι διηγησιν περι των πεπληροφορημενων εν ημιν πραγματων. To the accounts of these “many," he certainly must have had some objections to make, for no man would reason thus*: since several persons have delivered accounts of Christ on which perfect reliance may be placed, I have likewise thought proper to write the history of Christ. We must conclude, therefore, that his intention was to correct the inaccuracies of the accounts which were then in circulation, and to deliver to Theophilus a true and genuine document, in order to silence several idle stories, which might have prejudiced Theophilus against the Christian Religion." This he has said in the beginning of that section; and towards the end of it, we find, he has made use of still more decisive and more impressive language, both concerning the contents of those early Gospels and St. Luke's motive for writing. He there says, " It is true, that the accounts contained in the histories, which it was Luke's object to correct, were not wholly fabulous, and the mere inventions of the authors who recorded them : but they contained so much falsehood, intermixed with truth, that a correction of them was absolutely necessary." In these two extracts, we perceive, he takes upon him to
By the professor's own account, St. John and St. Mark did reason thus, the title of sect. vi. chap. 7. of the same volume, from which this extract is made, is this, "St. Johu had read the three first Gospels before he wrote his own" that he approved those Gospels, he has made appear in that section by the testimony of Clement of Alexandria and Eusebius. And at p. 220, he says, “ It may be said, therefore, that St. Nark used the Gospel by St. Luke," &c.
tell us precisely what opinion we ought to entertain concerning those early productions, and is no longer at a loss 1o specify their defects: he tells us in the former, that we must conclude that our evangelist wrote “ in order to silence several idle stories which might have prejudiced Theophilus against the Christian Religion;" and, in the latter, that the histories, which it was Luke's object to correct, “ contained so much falsehood, intermixed with truth, that a correction of them was absolutely necessary." This is a very heavy charge, and, if true, it accounts at once for the short existence of those early narratives. But what has the professor to tell us further concerning those short-lived productions? At p. 94, investigating the cause of the remarkable verbal agreement, perceivable in the three first of those Gospels now extant, be says, * This remarkable verbal agreement I am unable to explain on any other than the following hypothesis :before the three first Gospels were written, or at least before St. Matthew's Gospel had been translated into Greek, there existed several apocryphal Gospels, to which St. Luke alludes in his preface, and of which it was his object to correct the inaccuracies. But when the accounts which they contained were accurate, St. Luke as well as St. Mark, and the translator* of St. Matthew, abided by the expressions which they found, as they were regardless of the ornaments of style. It is likewise possible that St. Mark and St. Luke followed these early accounts in the arrangement of the recorded facts, and that hence arose the deviation from St. Matthew's Gospel, which has occasioned so much perplexity among harmonists. Another argument for the opinion that the evangelists made use of written documents, is, that St. Luke, who when left to himself was able to write good Greek, has sometimes such harsh He braisms, as he would hardly have used unless he had drawn from written documents."
Notwithstanding the very bad opinion which the primitive church, by the professor's account, entertained
* Is it at all credible, that the translator of St. Matthew's Gospel would have adopted the expressionss of such inaccurate, and so much less credible historians in preference to those used by him whose work he had undertaken to translate? If the professor be right in what he says here, can he be right too in what he says at p. 154. “Besides as the Greek translation is really half Hebrew, it is manifest that it is a very close one.". Surely this has too much the appearance of a plain contra diction.
concerning those early productions; notwithstanding they were, as he positively pronounces, so full of inaccuracies, fable, stories, or falsehood," that a correction of them was absolutely necessary;" yet we find he here confesses himself unable to acccount for the remarkable verbal agreement perceivable in the three first Gospels now extant, otherwise than by supposing that St. Luke, as well as St. Mark and the translator of St. Matthew, abided by the expressions which they found in those lost many: he likewise acknowledges that it is possible St. Mark and St. Luke followed those early accounts in the arrangement of the recorded facts. But if such concessions as these were considered by him as consistent with his former animadversions on those apocryphal Gospels, what may we not expect to discover by extending our enquiries a little father? Let us proceed. At p. 215, he thus expresses himself on this same subject: * St. Luke, in the preface to his Gospel, mentions that several written accounts were then in circulation; and I think it probable, not only that St. Luke, but likewise St. Mark, made use of these written documents, correcting at the same time whatever was ei roneous by the assistance of St. Peter.” So then what was before only possible
appears now to be probable; this probability, it will per· haps be thought unreasonable to expect he has any where
reduced to an absolute certainty. If he has not, we shall have the less reason to be surprised. However, let us not be discouraged from sifting this point too, and especially as we perceive something like the beginning of a clue to direct our enquiry in the page immediately preceding that from which the last extract was made. Speaking therein of the sources from which St. Mark derived his information, he says, “ But, notwithstanding the silence of the fathers in respect to any written documents which were used by Mark, it is certain, that he made use of other Gospels in the composition of his own." How! did St. Mark certainly make use of other Gospels in the composition of his owo? Our informant not only tells us so bere, but he gives us to understand the same thing again at p. 216,where he says, “On the other hand, the circumstance that no ecclesiastical writer before Augustin has advanced this opinion, is no argument against it: for they are equally silent in respect to other written documents, and yet some wriuen document was certainly used by Mark.” But what written document, or rather,
what Gospels (for he has undertaken to prove in the section from which the extract immediately preceding was taken, that this Evangelist used, more than once, written documents in the composition of his own,) did he make use of? From St. John's Gospel he could not derive any information, because that Gospel, by the professor's own account, was written after that by St. Mark. Did he then borrow any thing from St. Matthew's Gospel? That he did not, we find the professor was encouraged to think after he had made it his business to sift this point, by what he says at p. 220, viz. “ If St. Mark had copied from St. Matthew, this difference would hardly have taken place.” Indeed, we perceive that he had pronounced more positively on this point too, a little before in the same page : he there says, “Now let the harmonists reconcile these examples in whal manner they please, there will always remain a difference betweeu the two accounts, which would have been aroided if St. Mark had copied from St. Matthew. But what shall we say of instances, in which, as far as I am able to judge, there is no mode of reconciliation?". Neither St. John's Gospel then, nor that by St. Matthew, is to be reckoned among those which Mark, by the professor's account, certainly made use of in the composition of his own. St. John's, we find, he could not use; and St. Matthew's, the professor seems to have been persuaded, he did not use, as their accounts appear to be, in certain instances, irreconcilable*. But," it may be said, we learn, at p. 220, that he used the Gospel of St. Luke." St. Luke's, howa ever, is but one; but Mark, the professor has set apart a section to convince ust, certainly made use of more than one. By all that we collect, then, from professor Michaelis's account of St. Mark's Gospel, we must conclude that he certainly made use of those early Gospels, notwithstanding they “contained so much falsehood, that it was absolutely necessary to correct them," &c. &c. &c. As our enquiries concerning St. Mark's Gospel have been attended with so much unexpected success, we shall be the less surprised if, by resuming our enqui
*« I have already shewrr (says the professor at p. 214) in the third chapter, that St. Mark agrees in his expressions both with St. Matthew and with St. Luke, in such a manner as he would hardly have done, unless the three first Gospels had been connected, either mediately or im. mediately, with each other.”
+ P. 214.
ries concerning that by St. Luke, we should discover that it is more than possible or probable, that he also was indebted to those early documents. Let us then collect what the professor says farther of St. Luke's Gospel. At p. 233, speaking of the inaccuracies* in that Gospel, among several others, the professor points ont one to our attention in chap. xvii. 3, 4; concerning which he thus pronounces, " The addition, therefore, of ons nepas is certainly without authority ;” and immediately adds, “and St. Luke must have derived his information, in this instance, not from the Apostles, but from the apocryphal Gospels, of which he speaks in the preface." St. Luke then, we find after all, made use of those early compositions, as well as Mark; and by so doing, we perceive, was certainly led to transfer from those earlier Gospels into his own, an inaccuracy with regard to an important doctrine, of no less magnitude, perhaps, than any of those which he purposely set himself to correct, and, it may moreover be, to deviate from the arrangement of facts made by St. Matthew. St. Mark too, it seems, either by copying from those early documents, or from St. Luke's Gospel (for we find “it may be said he used the Gospel by St. Enket," "as this supposition accounts for the agreement of those two Evangelists in the arrangement of facts.") deviated from the arrangement made by St. Matthew; but whether he adopted any inaccuracies from Luke and the many," it does not appear." It 'may be said s, indeed, that Mark, if he wrote under the
* At p. 231, Michaelis says, “St. Luke was neither an Apostle nor an "eye-witness to the facts which he has recorded in his Gospel; and therefore, when he differs from an Apostle and an eye-witness, we must con clude, since two accounts, which vary from each other, cannot both of them be accurate, that the innaccuracy is on the part of Luke.” And he then immediately proceeds to produce one instance wherein he differs from St. John, and four from St. Matthew. + P. 222.
“ In the arrangement of facts he sometimes agrees with St. Luke, where the order of lime is not observed, and in opposition to St. Matthew, which can hardly be explained by mere accident," p. 214. What! did St. Mark, an inhabitant of Jerusalem, agree with St. Luke a gentile, " in opposition to St. Matthew, “and where the order of time is not obe served?"
|| P. 223.
Š P. 222. But if this may be said, why may it not be said too, that if he wrote under the direction of St. Peter, he ought “ hy his assistance to have corrected whatever was erroneous," and therefore, among other things, to have arranged his matter according to Matthew's report?