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PREFACE TO THE GOSPEL
St. LUK E.
THERE is little certain known of this Evangelist: from what is spoken in the scriptures, and by the best informed of the Primitive Fathers, the following probable account is collected.
Luke was, according to Dr. Lardner, a Jew by birth, and an early convert to Christianity, but Michaelis thinks he was a Gentile, and brings Colos. iv. 10, 11, 14. in proof, where St. Paul distinguished Aristarchus, Marcus and Jesus, who was called Justus, from Epaphras, Lucas, and Demas, who were of the circumcision, i. e. Jews. Some think he was one of our Lord's seventy disciples. It is worthy of remark that he is the only Evangelist who mentions the commission given by Christ to the seventy, chap. X. 1-20. It is likely he is the Lucius mentioned Rom. xvi. 21. and if so, he was related to the Apostle Paul, and that it is the same Lucius of Cyrene who is mentioned Acts xiii. 1. and in general with others, Acts xi. 20. Some of the ancients, and some of the most learned and judicious among the moderns think he was one of the two whom our Lord met on the way to Emmaus on the day of his resurrection, as related Luke xxiv. 13–35. one of these was called Cleopas, ver. 18. the other is not mentioned, the Evangelist himself being the person and the relator.
St. Paul stiles him his fellow-labourer, Philem. ver. 24. It is barely probable that he is the person mentioned, Col. iv. 14. Luke, the beloved Physician. All the ancients of repute, such as Eusebius, Gregory Nyssen, Jerom, Paulinus, Euthalius, Euthymius, and others, agree that he was a physician, but where he was born, and where he exercised the duties of his profession are not known. Many moderns have attributed to him the most profound skill in the science of painting, and that he made some pictures of the Virgin Mary. This is justly esteemed fabulous ; nor is this science attributed to him by any writer, previously to Nicephorus Callisti, in the fourteenth century, an author who scarcely deserves any credit, especially in relations not confirmed by others.
He accompanied St. Paul when he first went into Macedonia, Acts xvi. fa 40. xx, xxvii, and xxviii. Whether he went with him constantly afterwards is not certain ; but it is evident he accompanied him from Greece through Macedonia and Asia to Jerusalem, where he is supposed to have collected many particulars of the evangelic history: from Jerusalem he went with Paul to Rome, where he staid with him the two years of his imprisonment in that city. This alone makes out the
PREFACE TO ST. LUKE. space of five years, and upwards. It is probable that he left St. Paul when he was set at liberty, and that he then went into Greece, where he finished and published this Gospel, and the book of the Acts, which he dedicated to Theophilus, an honourable Christian friend of his in that country. It is supposed that he died in peace about the eightieth or eighty-fourth year of his age. Some sup. pose he published this Gospel fifteen, others twenty-two years, after the ascension of Christ.
See much on this subject in Lardner, Works, vol. vi. p. 104, &c. and in Michaelis's Introduction to the New Testament.
Some learned men think that Luke has borrowed considerably from St. Matthew: collate chap. iii. 7, 8, 9, 16, 17. with Matt. iii. 7–12. also chap. v. 20–38. with Matt. ix. 2-17. also chap. vi. 1--5. with Matt. xii. 1-5. Luke vii. 22-28. with Matt. xi. 4-11. also chap. xii. 22–31. with Matt. vi. 25–33. It is allowed that there is considerable diversity in the order of time, between St. Matthew and St. Luke, which is accounted for thus : Matthew deduces the facts related in his history in chronological order. Luke, on the contrary, appears to have paid little attention to this order, because he proposed to make a classification of events, referring each to its proper class, without paying any attention to chronological arrangement. Some critics divid
ngement. Some critics divide this history into five distinct classes or sections, in the following manner.
CLASS 1. Comprehends all the details relative to the birth of Christ; with the preceding, concomitant, and immediately succeeding circumstances, from chap. i. and ii. 1--40.
CLASS 11. Contains a description of our Lord's infancy and bringing up; his visit to the temple when twelve years of age; and his going down to Nazareth and continuing under the go. vernment of his parents. Chap. ii. 41-52.
CLASS III. Contains the account of the preaching of John Baptist, and his success; the baptism of Christ, and his genealogy. Chap. iii.
CLASS IV. Comprehends the account of all our Lord's transactions in Galilee, for the whole three years of his ministry, from chap. iv. to chap. ix. 1-50. This seems evident: for as soon as Luke had given the account of our Lord's temptation in the desart, chap. iv, 1-13. he repre
is immediately returning in the power of the spirit into Galilee, ver. 14; mentions Nazareth, ver. 16; Capernaum, ver. 31 ; and the lake of Galilee, chap. v. ver. 1; and thus to chap. ix. 50. goes on to describe the preaching, miracles, &c. of our Lord in Galilee.
CLASS V. and last, commences at chap. ix. ver. 51. where the Evangelist gives an account of our Lord's last journey to Jerusalem : therefore this class contains not only all the transactions of our Lord from that time to his crucifixion, but also, the account of his resurrection, his commission to his Apostles, and his ascension to heaven. Chap. ix. 51. to chap. xxiv. 53. inclusive.
A plan similar to this has been followed by Suetonius, in his life of Augustus : he does not produce his facts in chronological order, but classifies them, as he himself professes, cap. 12. giving an account of all his wars, honours, legislative acts, discipline, domestic life, &c. &c. MATTHEW therefore is to be consulted for the correct arrangement of facts in chronological order: Luke, for a classification of facts and events, without any attention to the orde curred. Many eminent historians have conducted their narratives in the same way. See Rosenmuller. It must not, however, be forgotten, that this Evangelist gives us some very valuable chronological data in several parts of the three first chapters. These shall be noticed in their proper places.
Ussherian year of the World, 3999.-Alexandrian year of the World, 5497.-Antiochian year of the World, 5487.-Con· stantinopolitan Æra of the World, 5503.—Rabbinical year of the World, 3754.— Year of the Julian Period, 4708.-Æra
of the Seleucidæ, 307.-Year before the Christian Æra, 6.--Year of the CXCIII. Olympiad, 3.--Year of the building of Rome, 748.— Year of the Julian Æra, 41.-Year of the Cæsarean Æra of Antioch, 44.—Year of the Spanish Æra, 34. Year of the Paschal Cycle or Dionysian Period, 529.--Year of the Christian Lunar Cycle, or Golden Number, 15.Year of the Rabbinical Lunar Cycle, 12.-Year of the Solar Cycle, 4.-Dominical Letter, C.-Epact, 4.-Year of the Emperor Augustus 25.-Consuls, D. Lælius Balbus, and C. Antistius Vetus, from January 1 to July 1; and Imp. C. Julius Cæsar Octav. Augustus XII. and L. Cornelius Sulla, for the remainder of the year. The reason why two sets of Consuls appear in this Chronology is this: the Consuls were changed every year in July, therefore taking in the whole year, four Consuls necessarily appear: two for the first sir months, and two for the latter half of the year.
CHAPTER I. The prefuce, or St. Luke's private epistle to Theophilus, 1--4. The conception and birth of John Baptist foretold by the angel Gabriel, 5.-17. Zacharias doubts, 18. And the angel declares he shall be dumb, till the accomplishment of the prediction, 19–25. Six months after, the angel Gabriel appears to the Virgin Mary, and predicts the miraculous conception and birth of Christ, 26–38. Mary visits her cousin Elisabeth, 39-45. Mary's song of exaltation and praise, 46–56. John the Baptist is born, 57–66. The prophetic song of his
father Zacharias, 67–79. John is educated in the desart, so. A.M.cir.4051. D ORASMUCH as many have || which are most surely believed among A.M.cir.4051. A. D. cir. 47.
A. D. cir. 47. cir. Olymp. T taken in hand to set forth in | us,
cir. Olymp. U order * a declaration of those things 2 Even as they delivered them un- CCVT.
• Acts 1. 3. 1 Thess. 1. 5. 1 Pet. 2. 12.
Hebr. 2. 3. 1 Pet. 5. 1. 2 Pet. 1. 16. 1 Jolin 1. 1.
NOTES ON CIIAP. I.
and through ignorance or design mistaking others, especially Verse 1. Many have tuken in hand] Great and remarkable in the place where St. Luke wrote ; it seemed good to the characters have always many biographers. So it appears it Holy Spirit, to inspire this holy man with the most correct was with our Lord: but as most of these accounts were in- knowledge of the whole history of our Lord's birth, preachaccurate, recording as fucts things which had not happened ; Jing, miracles, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension,
St. Luke's preface,
sent to his friend Theophilus.
A. M.cir.405), to us, which from the beginning were very first, to write unto thee in or. A. M cir.451.
A. D. cir. 47, cir. Olymp. eye-witnesses, and ministers of the der, most excellent Theophilus, cir. Olymp.
CCVI.“ - word ;
4 That thou mightest know the cer- 3 © It seemed good to me also, having had tainty of those things, wherein thou hast been perfect understanding of all things from the instructed.
that the sincere upright followers of God might have a sure From the very first ] Arwey, from their origin. Some think foun:iation, on which they might safely build their faith. aww.hey should, in this place, be translated from above; and Ste the note on chap. ix. 10.
that it refers to the inspiration by which St. Luke wrote. Most surely belitred among us] Facts confirmed by the full | I prefer our translation, or, from the origin, which several good est evidence--TWYTETAM f of miple Toy at gayuce wr. Every thing that critics contend for, and which meaning it has in some of the had been done or said by Jesus Christ, was so public, so plain, i best Greek writers. See Kypke. and so accredited by thousands of witnesses, who could have Theophilus] As the literal import of this word is friend of hard no interest in supporting an imposture, as to carry the God, Osov Piros; some have supposed that under this name, fuliest contiction to the hearts of those who heard and saw || Luke comprised all the followers of Christ, to wbom as friends him, of the divinity of his doctrine, and the truth of his mi-l of God, he dedicated this faithful bistory of the life, doctrine, rúcles. . .
death, and resurrection of our lond, But this interpretation Verse 2. Even as they delivered them unto us, which from appears to have birtle solidity in it; for if all the followers of tko begining rete eye-uitnesses} Probably this alludes to the Christ are addressed, why is the singular number used ? and Gospels of Matthew and Mark, which it is likely were writ- what good end could there be accomplished, by using a tera before St. Luke wrote bis ; and on the models of which, feigned paine ? Besides, xgamist, most excellent, could pever he professes to write bis own : and wi' axus, from the begin- he applied in this way, for it evidently designates a particular ning, nust mcan, from the time that Christ first began to person, and one probably distinguished by his situation in proclaim the glad tidings of the kingdom; and avtotta, eye- life; though this does not necessarily follow from the title, witnesses, must necessarily signify, those who had been with which was often given in the way of friendship. Theophilus him from the beginning, and consequently had the best op- 1 appears to have been some very reputable Greek or Roman, portunities of knowing the truth of every fact.
who was one of St. Luke's disciples. The first four verses Ministers of the word] Tov 20you. Some suppose that our seem a private epistle, sent by the Evangelist with this bistory, blessed Lord is meant by this phrase; as o Aoyos, the Word which having been carefully preserved by Theophilus, was or Logos, is his essential character in Jahn i. 1, &c. but it afterwards found and published with this Gospel. does not appear that any of the inspired penmen ever use the Verse 4. Wherein thou hast been instructed.] Kätexningin word in this sense except Jonn himself; for bere it certainly which thou hast been catechised. It appears that Theophilus means the doctrine of Christ; and in this sense, noyos is fre- had already received the first elements of the Christian docquently used both by the Evangelists anıl Apostles.
trine, but had not as yet been completely grounded in them. Verse 3. Having had perfect understanding) Tarpneghou In- That he might know the certainty of the things in which he XOTO ayw v, having accurately traced up-entered into the very had been thus catechised, by having all the facts and their spirit of the work, and examined every thing to the bottom; proofs brought before lum in order, the Evangelist sent him in consequence of which investigation, I am completely con- this faithful and divinely inspired narrative. Those who convinced of the truth of the whole. Though God give his Holy tent themselves with that knowledge of the doctrines of Christ Spirit to all them who ask him, yet this gift was never de-which they receive from catechisms and school-masters, howsigned to set aside the use of those faculties, with which he ever important these elementary instructions may be, are has already endued the soul; and which are as truly his gifis, never likely to arrive at such a knowledge of the truth as will as the Holy Spirit itself is. The nature of inspiration in the make them wise unto salvation, or fortify them against the case of St Luke, we at once discover: be set himself by im- attacks of infidelity and irreligion. Every man should labour partial enquiry and diligent investigation, to find the whole to acquire the most correct knowledge, and indubitable certruth, and to relate nothing but the truth; and the Spirit of tainty of those doctrines, on which he stakes his eternal salGod presided over, and directed his enquiries, so that hevation. Some suppose that St. Luke refers here to the imperdiscovered the whole truth, and was preserved from every fect instruction, which Theophilus had received from the departicle of error.
ftctive gospels to which he refers in verse }.
Account of Zacharias the priest,
and his wife Elisabeth.
A M.5999. 5 THERE was in the days of walking in all the commandments A.M.3999. R.C. 6
B. C. 6. An. Olycup.
1 Herod, the king of Judea, al and ordinances of the Lord blame- An Olymp. CXCII.3. certain priest named Zacharias, of the less.
CXCIII. 3 course of Abiah : and his wife was of the daugh. | 7 And they had no child, because that Elisaters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. beth was barren; and they both were now well 6 And they were both righteous before God, stricken in years.
• Matt. 2. 1.- mb 1 Chron. 24. 10, 19. Neh. 1%. 4, 17.
Gen. 7. 1. & 17. 1. 1 Kings 9. 4. 2 Kings 20. 3. Job 1. 1. Acts 23. 1.
& 24. 16. Phil. 3. 6.
Verse 5. In the days of llerod, the king] This was Herod, | Aaron, and Miriam, the most illustrious characters in the surnamed the Greut, the son of Antipater, an Idumean by | whole Jewish history. birth, who had professed himself a proselyte to the Jewish || Verse 6. They were both righteous] Upright and holy in all religion, but regarded no religion, farther than it promoted their outward conduct in civil life. bis secular interests and ambition. Thus, for the first time, | Before God] Possessing the spirit of the religion they prothe throne of Judah was filled by a person not of Jewish ex- fessed ; exercising themselves constantly in the presence of traction, who had been forced upon the people by the Roman | their Maker, whose eye they knew was upon all their congovernment. Hence it appears plain, that the prophecy of duct, and who examined all their motives. Jacob, Gen. xlix. 10. was now fulfilled; for the sceptre had Walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord departed from Juduh : and now was the time, according to || blameless.] None being able to lay any evil to their charge. another prophecy, to look for the governor from Bethlehem, | They were as exemplary and conscientious in the discharge who should rule and feed the people of Isruel: Mic. v. 1, 2. l of their religious duties, as they were in the discharge of the See a large account of the family of the Ilerods, in the note offices of civit life. What a sacred pair! they made their on Matt. ij, l.
duty lo God, to their neighbour, and to themselves, walk çorlThe course of Abiuh] When the sacerdotal families grew | stantly hand in hand. See the note on Matt. iii. 15. Perhaps very pumerous, so that all could not officiate together at the sytoņai, commandments, may here mean the dæulogue ; and tabernacle, David divided them into tenty-four elasses, that Doxas wp.Ora, ordinances, the ceremonial and judicial laws which they might minister by turns, 1 Chron. xxiv. 1, &c. each fa- || were delivered after the decalogue : as all the precepts deliermily serving a whole week, 2 Kings xi. 7. 2 Chron. xxiii. 8. || ed from Exod. xxi. to xxix. are termed dixkiwpote, judgmenas Abinh was the eighth in the order in which they had been or ordinances. originally established : 1 Chron. xxiv. 10. These dates and Verse 7. Both were now well stricken in years.] By the persons are particularly mentioned as a full confirmation of order of God, sterility and old age both met in the person of the truth of the facts themselves ; because any person at the | Elizabeth, to render the birth of a son (humanly speaking) time this Gospel was written, might have satisfied himself by impossible. This was an exact parallel to the case of Sarah applying to the family of John the Baptist, the family of our | and Abraham, Gen. xi. 30. xvii. 17. Christ must (by the Lord, or the surrounding neighbours. What a full proof of miraculous power of God) be born of a virgin : whatever was the Gospel history! It was published immediately after the connected with, or referred to his incarnation, must be miratime in which these facts took place; and among the very il culous and impressive. Isaac was his grand type, and there. people, thousands of whom had been eye-witnesses of them ; | fore must be born miraculously-contrary to the common and among those too, whose essential interest it was to have course and rule of nature : Abraham was a hundred years of discredited them if they could ; and yet, jn all that age, in age, Saruk was ninety, Gen. xvii. 17. and it had CEA$RD to be which only they could have been contradicted with advantage, I with Surah AFTER THE MANTER OF WOMEN, Gen. xviii. 11, and no man ever arose to call them in question! What an abso therefore, from her age and stute, the birth of a child must, lute proof was this that the thing was impossible; and that according to nature, have been impossible, and it was thus, the truth of the Gospel history was acknowledged by all who that it might be miraculous. John the Baptist was to be the forepaid any attention to the evidences it produced !
ll runner of Christ ; his birth, like that of Isaac, must be miraof the daughters of Aaron] That is, she was of one of the l culous, because like the other, it was to be a representation sacerdotal families. This shews that John was most nobly of the birth of Christ; therefore his parents were both, far descended : his father was a priest, and his mother the daugh- 1 advanced in years, and besides, Elizabeth was naturally bar. ter of a priest : and thus both by father and mother, he de- ren. The birth of these three extraordinary persons, was anseended from the family of Amram, of whom came Moses, 'nounced nearly in the same way. God himself foretells the