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his rejection at Nazareth, has all the marks of its being his first arrival at that place : “And he came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbathday ; and they were astonished at his doctrine, for his word was with power.” These were evidently the effects of their first hearing him.
4. At what Time Jesus entered Capernaum. It is not quite certain whether Jesus had entered Capernaum before the call of Peter, &c. or not. If he had, it should seem that he could not have made any stay there before that transaction, or have done any thing to make him conspicuous, (except the cure of the nobleman's son performed at Cana,) for it was on the sabbath after the call of Peter that his very great fame in that place commenced. Matthew mentions his dwelling at Capernaum before the call of Peter, but Mark doth not mention his entering that city till after that event. One would naturally conclude from the account of Mark, that Jesus, travelling from Cana to. wards Capernaum, came to some part of the sea.coast, where he met with Peter and the other disciples, and having called them to attend him, entered with them into the city, just before the commencement of the sabbath-day.
5. Of the Call of Peter, gc. to attend Jesus. Luke speaks of the call of Peter, &c. as an event subse. quent to our Lord's preaching in Capernaum and the neighbouring towns, and mentions the additional circumstance of the miraculous draught of fishes as preceding their call. Those disciples certainly attended Jesus before the sabbath on which he healed Peter's wife's mother; and they can hardly be supposed to have been called in the very same manner (our Lord using the very same words) twice. If the first call, related by Matthew and Mark, was not effectual, there seems to have been nothing in the second, supposed by some to be related by Luke, to make it more so.
I therefore suppose that they had only one call to attend Christ after his arrival in Galilee. Indeed, from the manner in which Luke relates the circumstances of this call, it is evident that he had no idea of any other call having preceded it. It must be observed that Peter and Andrew, and perhaps James and John also, had been the disciples of Jesus in Judea, and therefore were prepared to obey his call.
$ 6. Of the Sermon on the Mount. The discourse commonly called the Sermon on the Mount, related Matt. v. vi, and vii. and the discourse related Luke vi. 20, &c. called by some the Sermon on the Plain, agree in so many circumstances, both in the subject of them, and the incidents attending them, that I have no doubt that they were the same. They both followed our Lord's having retired to a mountain, were addressed to the disciples, in the presence of multitudes assembled from the same places. They begin and end with the same words, and there is no other difference in the contents of them, but that the discourse in Matthew is fuller, and has several things omitted by Luke. Both the discourses are followed by Jesus's going into Capernaum, and healing the Centurion's servant. Any person, and especially one in the circumstance of a public teacher, may well be supposed to have occasion to repeat the same discourses, but that so many of the same incidents should attend the same discourse is not probable. Matthew's saying that Jesus was sat down after he had gone up the mountain, and Luke's saying that he stood on the plain when he healed the sick before the discourse, are no inconsistencies ; or, if they were, are of no moment at all, considering that we do not know that either of these historians was present. It is not, however, improbable but that Matthew, who lived in that neighbourhood, might be one of the multitude that attended on the occasion, and his relating the discourse so circumstantially and fully is much in favour of this conjecture.
With respect to the circumstances preceding the discourse, they were, perhaps, as follows: Jesus had been up in the mountain, along with his disciples, but seeing the multitudes at the foot of it, he came down among them on the plain, and healed their sick; and then went a little way up the hill, or ascended some eminence at the foot of it, for the advantage of being better heard, while he discoursed to the people still standing on the plain.
It is very possible, as Mr. Whiston supposes, * that the Lord's Prayer might be delivered to the apostles twice,once in the course of the Sermon on the Mount, and afterwards in the circumstances mentioned by Luke. I have placed them together for the sake of comparison, especially as there is nothing very particular in the connexion in which Luke introduces it.
* See his Harmony, p. 127. (P.)
§ 7. Where the Leper was cured.
According to Luke, the leprous person, who applied to our Lord after the Sermon on the Mount, was cured in a certain city ; but according to Matthew, it was after he came down from the mountain, and before he entered into Caper
It probably happened in some other town that he went through, in his way to Capernaum.
§ 8. Of the Time when Matthew was called to altend Jesus.
From the time that Matthew was called to attend upon our Lord, I think his authority indisputably preferable to that of Mark or Luke, or even to them both. I have, therefore, adopted his account of the order of events on the day that he was called, the particulars of which he can least of all be supposed ever to have forgotten. He says, (ix. 18,) that it was while Jesus was talking with the disciples of John, after dining at his house, that Jairus came to desire him to cure his daughter. But both Mark and Luke expressly say, that Jairus met him with this request as he landed, after having been over the sea, where he had stilled the tempest, and cured the demoniacs among the tombs; and they mention the call of Matthew a considerable time before.
8 9. Of the Sabbath on which the Disciples plucked the Ears
of Corn, &c. According to Luke, the sabbath on which the disciples plucked the ears of corn, was not the same with that on which Jesus restored the withered hand in the synagogue. But it should seem that Matthew and Mark, according to the easiest construction of their language, suppose both these events to have happened on the same day.
After reciting the discourse in the corn-fields, Matthew says, (xii. 9,)“ And when he was departed thence,” (that is, probably from the corn-fields,) “ he went into their synagogue,” that is, the synagogue belonging to the same Jews with whom he had been discoursing. And Mark, after reci. ing the same discourse, says, (iii. 1,)“ And he entered again into the synagogue," as if he had been there before on the same day. And, according to Reland, the Jews did assemble in their synagogues both morning and evening, on the sabbath, as well as on certain other days. I therefore suppose the two sabbaths mentioned by Luke (who certainly was not so well informed as Matthew, and probably not so well as Mark) to have been only one. The meaning of the word DEUTEPOT PWrepov is so very uncertain, that no interpretation of it can afford a sufficient foundation for the disposition of the fact to which it relates. Mr. Whiston renders it the first sabbath after the second day of the passover. But it is not probable that Jesus could have returned from Jerusalem into Galilee so soon ; as this sabbath must, in general, have been, within the seven days of the feast.
§ 10. Of the Discourse concerning the Sin against the Holy
The discourse concerning the sin against the Holy Ghost is introduced by Luke after his account of the cure of the dumb demoniac, which is related by Matthew (ix. 32, &c.) But this evangelist introduces it after the cure of a demoniac that was both blind and dumb, mentioned xii. 22, &c. I have followed the order of Matthew. It is possible, however, that they may not really differ ; as the demoniac mentioned by Luke might have been blind as well as dumb, though he has not mentioned that circumstance.
$ 11. Of the Time when the Mother and Brethren of Jesus in
quired for him. Luke (viii. 19) represents our Lord's mother and brethren inquiring for him after he had related the parable of the sower, but according to Matthew and Mark, this inquiry was made after the discourse concerning the sin against the Holy Ghost, which the former of these evangelists says was delivered in the former part of the same day. In favour of the probability of the former it may be said, that, being pretty late in the day, his relations might think he would be quite exhausted ; and in favour of the latter, that his subject would lead him to speak with peculiar earnestness and vehemence. Luke seems not to have supposed that the parable of the sower was delivered from a ship.
§ 12. Of the Observation concerning the Candle and the
Bushel, gc. The observation concerning the candle and the bushel, and the admonitions, “ Take heed how ye hear,” and “ To him that hath shall more be given,” follow one another in the same order in Mark and Luke ; and are in both introduced after the parable of the sower. In Mark they are succeeded by another parable concerning sowing. But in Matthew all the above-mentioned particulars make part of the Sermon on the Mount. I make no difficulty of admitting that our Lord might repeat the same observations and admonitions again and again ; but I do not think that the place assigned to these in Mark and Luke is quite natural. But that both these writers, who, I am persuaded, had not seen each other's Gospels till they had composed their own, should arrange these things, that appear to have little or no connexion, in the same order, is rather remarkable.
It is not, however, the only instance of the kind that will occur to a person who shall attentively peruse the Gospels. I sometimes think that these seemingly odd coincidences may have arisen from their having seen one another's Gospels, after they had written their own, and adding from the others (but in their own words and manner) what they thought proper ; or they might both make use of such notes of detached parts of the history of Jesus, taken from the mouths of the apostles, as might contain them both.
§ 13. Of what followed the Parable of the Sower. Mark says, (iv. 36,) that after Jesus had delivered the parable of the sower, &c. from the ship, “they took him even as he was in the ship;" that at this time he stilled the tempest, and, landing on the other side, cured the demoniacs. But, according to Matthew, (xiii. 36,) “ Jesuswent into the house" after delivering those parables ; and the voyage cross the sea, when he cured the demoniacs, had happened before.
Both those writers are very express in noting these very different circumstances of this transaction. I have adhered to the account of Matthew, as unquestionably an eye-witness. *
* “ S. Mark," says Layton, “ is taken to write from the mouth of S. Peter," or, “ possibly, S. Barnabas.-S. Matthew was himself both apostle and evangelist, and likely an eye-witness; and there is an old rule, that one eye witness is better than two ear-witnesses.” Search after Souls, 1706, p. 209.