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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, Kaεn" 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 Apocryphal New Testament. See particularly p. vi. of Mr. Rennell's Introduction. (9) 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.

Written in
Achaia,

A.D. 64.

Written in
Achaia.

1 John i. L.

b Mark i. 1.

b

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, 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 Tv before diýynow 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. 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 (z). 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

"In

(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. (*) 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. word 3;

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.

Written in
Achaia,

A.D. 61.

Written in
Achaia.

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 *,

e

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 Oεov, 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.

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: 66 King Agrippa, removing Jesus, the son of Gamaliel, from the high priesthood, gave it to Matthias, the son of Theophilus-Edwкev avrηv MarGía 74 Oεopiλoy." 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.

SECTION II.

The Divinity, Humanity, and Office of Christ.

JOHN 1. 1-19.

g

15 In the beginning & was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

DISSERTATION ON THE LOGOS.

A.D. 97.

Written at Ephesus. g Prov. viii. 22, 23. &c.

Rev. xix. 13.

It is necessary to devote particular attention to this introduction to St. Col. i. xvii. John's Gospel, as it has been made the subject of more extensive and disingen- 1 John i. 1. uous controversy than perhaps any other passage in the New Testament. The Preface of St. Luke has been eloquently described as "the beautiful gate of the Christian Temple, the entrance into the glorious and royal fabric of the Gospels (a);" while that of St. John may be denominated the solid and deep foundation on which it rests.

To understand the expressions of any writer, particularly when they are at all dubious, or liable to misrepresentation, we must endeavour to place ourselves in the situation of those to whom they were addressed. (b) Dr. Lardner fixes the date of the publication of St. John's Gospel as early as 68, and (c) Michaelis as early as 70. The weight of the evidence, however, appears greatly in favour of the much later date 96 or 97. St. John evidently speaks in his Gospel to those who were not well acquainted with many Jewish customs; as he gives various explanations of things, which would be entirely unnecessary if the persons for whom he principally wrote had been already conversant with the usages of the Jews (d). And we might have expected that one, at least, of the apostles would live after the destruction of Jerusalem, not only as a witness of the accomplishment of those prophecies he had heard himself delivered, but to sanction and confirm the doctrines set forth by the other apostles in the books of the New Testament, and to communicate his final instructions to the Church, after that fearful event. But either of these dates will be consistent with the whole, or with the greater part of the theory we are now about to consider, which will enable us more perfectly to comprehend the great object which St. John had in view, when he wrote his introduction to this Gospel. In all our enquiries into the New Testament, we must remember, that if the Jews, in consequence of their rejection of Christianity, were not always first addressed, they were so much in the minds of their countrymen the Apostles, that they must be considered as the silent tribunal, to whom the evangelical writers may be said to appeal, when they deliver any thing to the world in general, on the one system of religion, which was of equal importance both to Jews and Gentiles (e). The Jews were the chosen people of God-his eldest born-the countrymen of the apostles for whose salvation the apostles were always most anxious, and to

(a) Lightfoot, vol. i. p. 391. (b) Dr. Lardner's Works, 4to. vol. iii. p. 229. (c) Marsh's Michaelis, vol. iii. part i. p. 321. (d) Horne's Crit. Introd. 2d edit. vol. iv. p. 329, and Jones on the Canon, 8vo. 1726, p. 139. (e) Vide Schotgenius-Pref: Hor. Talm. et Heb. p. 2, when replying to the objections proposed by some against the course of study he was adopting, he says" duo sequentia mihi a Lect. ben. concedi peto. I. Christum et omnes N. T. Scriptores Judæos fuisse, et cum Judæis conversatos, et locutos esse. II. Eos cum Judæis illo sermone, illisque loquendi formulis locutos esse, quæ, tunc temporis, ab omnibus intellecta sunt."

h Prov. viii. 30. ch. xvii. 5. 1 John i. 2. Phil. ii. 6.

i

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