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A.D. 64.

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2 LUKE i. 1-5.

Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in

long sentence, and consequently not to be separated from the context. They
would render the passage thus-"The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
the Son of God, was made by John, who baptized in the wilderness, and
preached the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; as it is written,"
&c. &c. It is thus translated in the German New Testament of Michaelis, and
Bishop Marsh is of opinion that it is correct; "If the first sentence," he observes,
"The beginning of the Gospel of,' &c. was used as a title only to the rest of
the book, then St. Mark's Gospel would have begun with wç yέyparral, which
would be an unsuitable commencement to any narrative." But to this it may
be answered, that the commencement, which would be unsuitable to a profane
writer, who carefully studied the arts of composition, and weighed his sen-
tences, and balanced his periods, would be by no means so to the evangelical
writers, who are careless on these points, and express themselves with that sim-
plicity, which is the distinguishing characteristic of every composition solely aim-
ing at the plain narration of facts. The sacred penmen expressed themselves in
the common idiom of their country, and the commencement of a narrative with
an appeal to their ancient prophets would not have appeared unnatural, or sin-
gular, to the persons to whom St. Mark's Gospel was addressed. Dr. Campbell
very justly observes, that the expression ἀρχὴ τοῦ εὐαγγελίε ἐγένετο Ιωάννης
Barrilwv, &c. is in no wise agreeable to the style of the sacred writers, whereas
¿yśvero 'Iwávvns Barrílwv is quite in their idiom. The point itself, indeed,
is comparatively unimportant; but, after an attentive perusal of the references, I
cannot but decide in favour of one of these two readings.-"The beginning of the
Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. John was baptizing in the wilderness,
and preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. As it is
written in the prophets, behold I send my messenger before, &c. &c. the voice
of one crying in the wilderness"-or, as Campbell renders it, "The beginning
of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God-As it is written in the prophets→→→→
Behold I send mine angel before thee, who shall prepare thy way: the voice of
one crying in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord, for thus came John
baptizing." I deduce no argument from the superscriptions to the Gospels, εvay-
γέλιον κατὰ Ματθαῖον, εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Μάρκον, &c. because these super-
scriptions were not written by the Evangelists themselves, as Father Simon (0)
shews from St. Chrysostom. They are however so ancient, that Tertullian re-
proves Marcion for having no title at the head of the copy of St. Luke's Gospel,
which Marcion acknowledged to be genuine.-Vide the chapter of F. Simon, and
Dr. Campbell's note on Matt. i. 1. vol. ii. p. 345, of his translation of the Gospels.
* The Harmonists have generally agreed in placing the introduction to St.
Luke's Gospel as the preface to their respective works; among whom are the
five whose labours form unitedly the basis of the present arrangement-Light-
foot, Archbishop Newcome, Michaelis, Doddridge, and Pilkington. This pre-
face of St. Luke may be considered as demonstrating to us the very great care
with which the first disciples of Christ inquired into every circumstance of the

(0) Critic. History of the Text of the N. T. part i. ch. ii. p. 12.

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order a declaration of those things which are most surely A.D. 64. believed among us,

life of their Divine Master, before they delivered them to the world as authenticated. It is necessary, in this part of our arrangement, to pay some attention to this fact. Even the enemies of our Lord acknowledged Him to have been an eminent and wonderful personage. His mode of teaching, his astonishing knowledge, the sanctity of his character, the boldness of his public censures, the number of his followers, and the devoted attachment of his more immediate adherents, would have been sufficient to have excited the general attention of the people, and of their rulers. Many persons, therefore, would have been naturally led to enquire into, and collect, the various circumstances and actions of a life so extraordinary. Spurious works must have been published (such as the Gospels according to the Nazarenes, Hebrews, and Egyptians; of Nicodemus, Thomas, Matthias, and of the twelve Apostles; the Gospels of Cerinthus, Basilides, and others, all of which were rejected by the Churches without hesitation, as they were scrupulously cautious of what they admitted (p),) and it became the duty of those who possessed accurate information, and were anxious for the honour of their beloved Teacher, and for the propagation of his Gospel, to transmit to posterity an authentic history of the life and death of their crucified Lord. Such were the motives by which this Evangelist professes to have been actuated, when he wrote his Gospel to Theophilus, a convert of Antioch.

Three hypotheses have been submitted to the world to account for the very singular coincidences of language and paragraphs which abound in the three first Gospels. Of these, the chief, adopted by Dr. Townson (q), Grotius, Wetstein, Owen, Mill, Hales, Harwood, and Griesbach, is, that the Evangelists copied from each other. St. Luke, however, seems to speak of his intended work, as an original history, not as a series of extracts from accredited writers. For though many circumstances are not related by St. Luke in their exact chronological order, the most important are detailed in their natural succession, καεñç" in a continued series." (Vide Kuinoel in loc.) He begins with the conception and birth both of John and of Christ, and proceeds with the events of his conversing with the doctors in the temple, his baptism, &c. &c. See some admirable observations on the difference between the historian and annalist, and the necessity of exact observance of chronological order, in Bishop Marsh's Notes to Michaelis (r). The second hypothesis is, that the Evangelists derived their information from one common source, or document; which contained those passages which so frequently occur in the three Gospels in nearly the same words. This hypothesis is adopted by Le Clerc, Lessing, Michaelis, and Eichhorn. Its chief advocate in later times has been the present learned

(p) Vide Gill's Comment. in loc.-Jones's Full and new Method of settling the Canonical Authority of the New Testament, 8vo. 3 vols. 1726. Vol. i. p. 29, &c. and vol. iii. p. 102, &c-Rennell's Proofs of Inspiration, written in reply to the insidious work of Mr. Hone, entitled, The Apocrypbal New Testament. See particularly p. vi. of Mr. Rennell's Introduction. (2) Vide Dr. Townson's work on the Gospels, vol. i. particularly pages 39 to 71; and for a very satisfactory account of these hypotheses, Horne's Critical Introduction, 2d edit. vol. iv. p. 310, &c. (r) Vol. iii. part ii. p. 12, &c.

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A.D. 64.

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b Mark i. 1.


2 a Even as they delivered them unto us, which from

a Heb. ii. 2. Bishop of Peterborough (s). He supposes that St. Luke, in this preface, 1 John i. L. alludes to the common document in question, which was known by the title John xv. 27. Διήγησις περὶ τῶν πεπληροφορημένων ἐν ἡμῖν πραγμάτων, καθὼς παρέδοσαν ἡμῖν οἱ ἀπ ̓ ἀρχῆς, αὐτόπται, καὶ ὑπήρεται γενόμενοι τοῦ λόγου—“ narrative of those things which are most firmly believed among us, even as they, who from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word delivered them unto us." The omission, however, of the article ry before dińynow is considered by the late lamented Bishop of Calcutta (t) to be fatal to this supposition. His rule is, "When a title to a book is prefixed to the book itself, the article may be omitted, but when the book is mentioned, or referred to, the article should be inserted." The hypothesis itself, although very ingenious, is attended with so many difficulties, that it is seldom adopted. The third hypothesis is that of Mr. Veysie (u), who supposes that many of the hearers of the discourses of Christ, and the witnesses of his actions, committed to writing an account of what they had heard and seen; and from the most authenticated of these sources the Gospels were compiled. This theory indeed seems to solve the difficulty, but Bishop Gleig (x), in his excellent edition of Stackhouse, prefers the more obvious and general opinion, and therefore perhaps the least discussed, that the only common document which may be called the foundation of the four Gospels was the preaching of our Lord Himself. Lightfoot (y), by a singular coincidence, has given the same idea. The learned bishop quotes the valuable tract of the late Bishop Randolph. Bishop Gleig's illustration of the mode in which many of our Lord's miracles and doctrines might have been recorded, from the manner in which the extempore lectures of a Professor at Edinburgh were preserved by his pupils, is very curious, and deserves attention. "In looking up to him, as the author of our faith and mission, and to the very words in which he was wont to dictate to them, which not only yet sounded in their ears, but were also recalled by the aid of his Holy Spirit promised (John xiv. 26.) for that very purpose, they have given us three Gospels, often agreeing in words, (though not without much diversification,) and always in sense." With this hypothesis, the preface of St. Luke seems to agree. St. Luke, originally a physician, probably one of the seventy, was a native of Antioch, and, according to Bishop Pearson, a companion of St. Paul in his travels from the year 43, attending that Apostle through Phrygia, Galatia, and Mysia, to Troas (2). He accompanied him also to Samothrace, Neapolis, and Philippi. He was one of those who went with him, and remained with him at Jerusalem; sailed with him in the same ship from Cesarea to Rome, and continued with him during the whole of the two years' imprisonment, with the account of which he concludes his book of the Acts of the Apostles. St. Luke therefore must have had abundant opportunity of conversing with the eye-witnesses and

(s) Vide Marsh's Michaelis, vol. iii. part ii. p. 186, &c. and the dissertation at the end of the same volume, on the Origin of the three first Gospels. (t) Treatise on the Greek Article, p. 289. (u) Vide the account of this hypothesis in Horne, vol. iv. p. 319. (a) Gleig's Stackhouse, vol. iii. p. 105. (y) Fol. edit. vol. ii. p. 375. (z) For an account of St. Luke, see Whitby's Preface, and the Prefaces of the commentators in general; or more particularly Lardner, Michaelis, Horne, Cave, and Bishop Tomline.

the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the A.D. 64. words;

hearers of our Lord's actions and discourses, and of making himself acquainted, from the most undeniable evidence, with every circumstance which had not passed under his own immediate observation. Perhaps, as Dr. Townson judiciously remarks, he enjoyed the additional advantages of seeing the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark at Rome, the former of whom was an undoubted eye-witness. And it is probable he left that city after the release of St. Paul from his two years' imprisonment, and went to Achaia, where he is generally supposed either to have finished or written his Gospel, and the Acts, for the use of the Gentile converts.

It is my wish to point out in these notes the peculiar propriety of the various actions recorded of our Lord, according to the several situations and circumstances in which he was placed. In order to do this, it will be sometimes necessary to shew the unimpeachable nature of the evidence on which the narrative rests. Religion is an appeal to faith. Its truth was at first established by an appeal to the senses and judgment of the first witnesses and converts, and their testimony, with every other evidence, has been handed down for the examination and benefit of all succeeding ages.

The Gospel of St. Luke was always, from the very moment of its publication, received as inspired as well as authentic. It was published during the lives of St. John, St. Peter, and St. Paul, and was approved and sanctioned by them as inspired; and it was received as such by the Churches, in conformity to the Jewish canon, which decided on the genuineness or spuriousness of the inspired books of their own Church, by receiving him as a Prophet, who was acknowledged as such by the testimony of an established Prophet (a). On the same grounds, St. Luke must be considered as a true Evangelist; his Gospel being, as many suppose, dictated and approved of by an Apostle, of whose authority there can be no question. There is likewise sufficient evidence to warrant the conclusions of Whitby (b), that both St. Mark and St. Luke were of the number of the seventy, who had a commission from Christ to preach the Gospel not to the Jews only, but to the other nations-that the Holy Ghost fell on them, among the number of the seventy, who formed a part of the hundred and twenty assembled on the day of Pentecost, and from that time they were guided by the influences of the Holy Spirit in writing or preaching the Gospel. And if the Universal Church from the first ages received this Gospel as divinely inspired on these satisfactory grounds, distance of time cannot weaken the evidences of truth, and we are required to receive it on the

(a) I have borrowed this remark from Whitby's Preface to St. Mark's Gospel, fol. edit. p. 257. (b) Michaelis, like other continental writers of a subsequent period, seems to pay too little attention to the authority of the earlier writers, who lived near the apostolic age. The testimony of Origin and Epiphanius, of Theophylact, Euthymius, and Nicephorus Callistus, that St. Luke was one of the seventy disciples, is not overthrown by the opposite testimony of Chrysostom and Augustine, (vide Lardner, Supplement to the Credibility, Works, 4to. vol. iii. p. 190.) For though much weight will necessarily be attached to the arguments which ingenious men discover in the internal evidence contained in the New Testament, yet many of their conjectures are uncertain, and it may be doubted if the evidence of ancient writers is not better authority.

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A.D. 64.

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c Acts xv. 19.

25. 28. 1 Cor. vii. 40.

3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee din order, most excellent Theophilus *,


4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, d Acts xi. 4. wherein thou hast been instructed.

e Acts i. 1.

f John xx. 31.

same testimony. The necessity of inspiration rests on the necessity of Revelation itself. Without Revelation the mercy of God to man had not been complete, and it was absolutely necessary that this Revelatlon should not only be divine, but that it should be clearly proved to have been so. And of the books of the New, as well as of the Old Testament, therefore, (for the inspiration of the latter is here taken for granted) we may justly say with Mr. Rennell (c), "We believe that Holy Scripture was written by men who were under the superintendence and control of the Spirit of God; but we believe also, that, whether in writing, speaking, or acting, they were left in full possession and use of their own natural faculties. The Spirit of God directed, elevated, and purified their souls; all that was necessary He supplied, all that was erroneous He corrected. Every line, therefore, of the New Testament we believe to be stamped with unerring truth; and to be the voice of God, speaking in the language of man."

3 Macknight, in the notes to his Harmony, (4to. London, 1763, p. 2.) quotes Gomarus, Cameron, Capellus, Witsius, and Wolf, as referring this expression" of the word," to Christ, one of whose titles is Aóyos Toũ Oɛoũ, Apoc. i. 2. xix. 13. Archdeacon Nares has adopted the same opinion, (Nares, Veracity of the Evangelists, p. 40-43.) Should this remark be correct, it will prove, what many will consider a material point, that our Lord was distinguished by the word Logos before it was applied in the same sense by St. John. See the notes to the next section.

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• These simple coincidences convince Whitby that the Theophilus here mentioned was a real personage. Lardner does not venture to decide. A passage from Josephus, quoted by Lightfoot, has escaped the attention of both these writers: King Agrippa, removing Jesus, the son of Gamaliel, from the high priesthood, gave it to Matthias, the son of Theophilus-Edwкεv avrηv MarJia ry Oropiλoy." Antiq, lib. xx. cap. 8.—It proves that a man of high rank among the Jews, of the name of Theophilus, was contemporary with St. Luke, and might possibly be the person whom he addressed. The supposition that he was a real person, whether at Antioch or Jerusalem, strengthens the authenticity of the narrative.

(c) Rennell's Proofs of Inspiration, p. 17.

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