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tween harmonizing the statements of the four witnesses, and harmonizing the order in which they severally narrate particular circumstances and sayings, by reducing them to one chronological arrangement. If their statements could not be reconciled, it would affect the credibility of at least one of the witnesses ; but that they should observe a different order, forms no objection, unless they each professed to adhere to a strict chronological arrangement. This is not the case ; and the hypothesis, that the Four Evangelists constantly observed such an order, is not merely encumbered with insuperable difficulties, but is utterly deficient in probability. Many reasons might be given for their observing a different order. A work may be a regular composition, without being a regular history. The plan and design of the writer may require that he should bring together facts or discourses of a certain class, without reference to the topographical scene of the one, or the immediate occasion of the other, in order to present the evidence they furnish in a cumulative shape, or as specimens of what took place at many times and in many places. The connexion will not, in such a case, be less real or natural, because it is the connexion of subject, not that of chronology. We admit that a transposition in the order of leading events, would, if unexplained, affect not merely the regularity, but the accuracy, if not the absolute truth of the history, whereas transpositions of illustrative incidents and topics are allowable even to an historian, and still more natural in a composition which is not simply or strictly historical.
Most Harmonists have set out with the assumption, which we cannot but regard as altogether erroneous, that the four Gospels are alike regular and independent histories; or that, at least, the first three are Gospels communis generis, and must be classed together. Mr. Greswell in some degree sanctions the latter opinion, with this modification ; that, though each is a history of the rise and progress of the Evangelical dispensation, no one of them is a separate and independent account. Like the subject
to which they all relate, they are so connected together, that the one entire history of this one entire scheme, is that which is made up of them all. Our Author's hypothesis with regard to the supplemental character of the last three, we shall examine presently; but it appears to us, that the first Gospel, that of Matthew, is a composition very different in its structure from those of Mark and Luke. Mr. Greswell affirms, indeed, that the Gospel of St. Matthew is regular in part, and irregular in part; while the Gospels of St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John are regular throughout.' In our judgement, that of St. Matthew is not a less regular composition than the others; although it is not, and does not profess to be, a regular history. It is, as we have
elsewhere endeavoured to shew *, an account of the ministry of Our Lord, with copious specimens of his discourses, having for its specific object, to establish his Messiahship, and to combat the objections of the Jews. The historical notices are brief and, as it Fere, incidental and subsidiary to the main purpose. St. Matthew wrote his Gospel for the use, primarily, of the Christians of Palestine ; at a period, probably, when all the historical facts were fresh and notorious. Hence, he is much more concise than any of the Evangelists in narrating occurrences, except when referring to such as were called in question by the Jews. In narrating, for instance, the story invented by the chief priests to account for the disappearance of Our Lord's body from the sepulchre, he is remarkably particular and minute; and yet, he does not mention the Ascension. There are other peculiarities in this Gospel, which, together with the supposed irregularities, seem to us to admit of easy and natural explanation according to the view we have taken of it, but which ill agree with the character of regular history. Upon this ground, and not because we deem the irregularities of St. Matthew's Gospel greater than those of the other Evangelists, we think with Mr. Greswell, that it cannot be safely made, throughout, the basis of a Harmony for the rest. In the following remarks, some of the points of characteristic difference between the several Evangelists, are ably discriminated.
· The argument of those learned men who contend that, because St. Matthew would write as an eye-witness, he would write the most regularly of all, however plausible in theory, is completely false in fact. Nor, indeed, is it difficult to retort the argument; for one, like St. Luke, or St. Mark, who, though not an eye-witness, yet proposed to write an account of the same things, it might naturally be supposed, even humanly speaking, would take so much the greater pains to remedy this very defect; both to acquire a perfect knowledge of his subject, and to verify, in every instance, the order of his facts. Meanwhile, if St. Matthew in particular, though he must have written as an eye-witness, has yet written at all irregularly, this may be a good presumptive evidence that he must have written early,-while the recollection of the facts was still unimpaired, -and among, and for, eye-witnesses as well as himself, whose own knowledge, or possibilities of knowledge, would supply omissions or rectify transpositions for themselves.
• Those also who contend that the principle of classification is the characteristic principle of St. Luke's Gospel, are not less mistaken: for, while St. Luke is uniformly attentive to historical precision, this constructive tendency, by which facts really distinct in the order of time, are brought together out of deference to certain principles of association, and related consecutively, is rather the predominant characteristic of St. Matthew. The structure of all the Gospels, indeed,
* Eclec. Rev. Third Series, Vol. V. p. 379.
as far as they enter into detail, is anecdotal,--or a selection of particular passages out of a much larger and a more continuous narrative; the effect of which structure is, necessarily, that each particular stands in a great measure by itself, and has little or no connection with either what precedes or what follows it .. This anecdotal arrangement is a different thing from the principle of classification. And even this is only so far peculiar to St. Luke, compared with St. Matthew or with St. Mark, that, without altering or disturbing the order of succession, he has communicated to the particulars of his Gospel, in many instances, the most integral and independent shape, the most separate and detached position of any.
· St. John's Gospel, from its peculiar relation to the rest, could not be otherwise than a digest of remarkable passages, following at great intervals of time, and almost entirely independent of each other. And the great vivacity, minuteness, and circumstantiality of detail with which he has invested all these accounts, are truly wonderful, and among the strongest internal evidences of the inspiration and truth of a Gospel written so long after the events which it records, and so late in the life-time of its Author. Yet, St. Matthew, notwithstanding his characteristic differences in other respects, has defined with more precision than any of the rest, the eras of certain memorable events ; as, when Jesus began to preach publicly,—when to teach in parables, when to predict his sufferings and death without disguise, when the Apostles began to dispute about precedency,—and when Judas conceived the design of betraying his master. And this also may be another proof that he wrote early, and as an eye-witness of what he relates; and not late, nor as one who had obtained his information from others.' Vol. I. pp. 185—7.
In the process of constructing a Harmony, these characteristic differences naturally force themselves upon the attention of a competent critic; but, in the Harmony or Diatessaron itself, they become obscured or lost. The variations and apparent discrepancies in the several narrations, are there exhibited in a naked and palpable form, while the reason of them is not seen; and the proprieties of the composition are nearly as much violated by the perpetual interpolation of passages from the several Evangelists, as they would be in a work composed of consecutive extracts from three or four authors of different countries. Some further points of difference are adverted to in the following paragraphs.
• It will scarcely, perhaps, be disputed, that St. Mark was a Jew, and that St. Luke was not..... The internal evidence of the Gospel of St. Mark is altogether in favour of the presumption, that the Writer of this Gospel in particular must have been a Jew; and, whether a Jew of Palestine or not, yet intimately connected with the language, the topography, the idioms of Palestine, and familiar even with the habits and associations of a native Jew. And the argument from this evidence is rendered so much the stronger, because, in all or most of those respects which characterize a native Jew, St. Mark agrees with !
St. Matthew and St. John, who were unquestionably native Jews, and differs from St. Luke, who was unquestionably not a native Jew. .... That St. Mark did not write for Jews, nor for persons previously acquainted with Judea, is not less apparent from the character of his Gospel, compared with St. Matthew's; but that he himself was a Jew, or intimately familiar with Judea, does not admit of a question. ... Not to specify such remarkable passages in this Gospel, as, contrasted with similar passages in St. Matthew's, would prove this to have been expressly written for Gentile believers as such ; the frequency of Latin terms or phrases clothed in Greek, (scarcely any of which occur in the Gospel of St. Luke, and not so many in the Gospel of St. Matthew, and still fewer in the Gospel of St. John,) would prove it to have been designed for Roman converts in particular *. ...: It is no objection that a Gospel, though written at Rome, should still have been written in Greek; or, in other words, the hypothesis which supposes St. Mark's Gospel to have been originally published in Latin, is unnecessary as well as untenable. The Epistle to the Romans is a case in point; and yet that was written in Greek; and such was the prevalence of this language almost every where, that
even in Gaul, the law proceedings were carried on in Greek ; bargains of every
kind were indited in Greek; and the Roman Satirist could say,
“ Nunc totus Graias nostrasque habet orbis Athenas,
Gallia causidicos docuit facunda Britannos,
De conducendo loquitur jam rhetore Thule.” • It is much to be doubted, whether the Latin language, even in the Roman dominions, was ever so generally in use; in which case, both the perpetuity and the utility of a Gospel, though composed at Rome, were best consulted by composing it, not in Latin, but in Greek.' Vol. I. pp. 79, 80, 1; 98, 9.
Mr. Greswell, by a series of ingenious deductions, endeavours to establish the strong probability, that St. Mark's Gospel was composed or published at Rome about A.D. 54. To St. Matthew's, he is disposed to assign a date about twelve years earlier. The reasons given for this conjecture are not very satisfactory, although the opinion is sanctioned by ancient authorities, and is in accordance with probability. By the eleventh or twelfth of Nero, at all events, there was no Apostle left in Judea, by whom a * Hebrew Gospel might have been written: the Hebrew Church “itself had been, for a time, dispersed; for the Jewish war was 'begun.' Our Author adopts and vindicates the tradition, that St. Matthew's Gospel was written originally in the vernacular language of Palestine, improperly called Hebrew. The disappearance of the genuine Hebrew Gospel is accounted for on the
* Several instances of this kind are given. The most decisive, the Author thinks, are the two explanations-Entů do ö isti xodeérinsand, avans ö isti pastápoor: which are manifestly intended to render something intelligible, as it would seem, to the ideas of Romans; nor does any thing like them occur in the other Gospels.'
supposition, that the authority of the translation was known and acknowledged from the first, as equal to that of the original; which it would be, if rendered into Greek by one of the Apostles. According to Athanasius, it was translated by James the Lord's Brother,' while another less credible tradition assigns it to St. John. Mr. Greswell ventures the novel conjecture, that St. Mark translated the Hebrew Gospel of St. Matthew, and wrote his own supplementary to it. The ingenious reasoning by which this supposition is supported, we shall transcribe.
• No supposition is better calculated to explain whatever there is in St. Mark's Gospel peculiar to that, as compared with St. Matthew's, and yet, what there is in common in both; what it agrees in with his, and what it differs in from his; their verbal coincidences, both in the historical and in the discursive parts, throughout ;-the deviation from St. Matthew in the arrangement of some detached facts, with an absolute coincidence in the general outline of the whole ;—the circumstantiality of detail in the history of miracles, and the conciseness in the report of discourses, which are the reverse of each other in each ;the omission of nothing by St. Mark, recorded by St. Luke, which is not also omitted by St. Matthew ;—the very supplementary relation of St. Mark's Gospel to St. Matthew's:—all which things are critically characteristic of one Gospel adapted to another,--of St. Mark's Greek adapted to St. Matthew's by a common hand, as the author of the one, and the translator of the other; and forming both together, and always designed to form, neither more nor less than one work. If there is any difference between them in certain proprieties of idiom, confined to either respectively, this may be explained on the principle that, in his own Gospel, St. Mark would write in his natural character; in translating St. Matthew, he would be restricted to that of his original. The same conjecture solves the problem concerning the origin of the Greek Gospel of St. Matthew more satisfactorily than any which has yet been advanced, and brings Irenæus's testimony (respecting its date) as near as possible to the truth. ... The Translator must have been some one of equal authority with St. Matthew himself: otherwise his translation could never have superseded the original. The translator of St. Matthew's Gospel, too, not merely from the great variety of Hebrew words and phrases simply clothed in Greek, which the translation exhibits, but from certain isolated expressions more remarkable than others, which may be cited from it, shews plainly that, in translating from Hebrew into Greek, he was translating from a language which was his own, into a language which was not. Thus Matt. v. 22. ‘Pará-Mwpboth Hebrew words, would not have been suffered to remain in their original form by any but a native Jew, or one fully acquainted with the native language; nor, Matt. xxiii. 15. on Engår have been opposed, by way of discrimination, to znu lánaooav, except under the same circumstances. No Greek, translating Hebrew, would have transferred this idiom into his own language, when he might so easily have written the gñu. The Latin terms, which occur in this Gospel, (as xodpártus, mirov, κήνσος, κουστωδία, πραιτώριον, λεγεών, μόδιος, δηνάριον, άσσάριον,) though they are not all peculiar to it, and might have become current where