« ElőzőTovább »
traditions (see above, § i.), and the Gospel itself affords us no clue whatever.
2. One thing only we may gather from the contents of the three first Gospels,—that none of them could have been originally written after the destruction of Jerusalem. Had they been, the omission of all allusion to so signal a fulfilment of our Lord's prophecies would be inexplicable. In the case indeed of Luke, we can approximate nearer than this (see below, ch. iv. S iv.); but in those of Matthew and Mark, this is all which can be safely assumed as to the time of their first publication ;—that it was after the dispersion or even the death of most of the Apostles, and before the investment of Jerusalem by the Roman armies under Titus in the year 70.
AT WHAT PLACE IT WAS WRITTEN.
Of this we have no trustworthy evidence. Most ancient writers (Clement, Eusebius, Jerome, Epiphanius, &c.) mention Rome; but apparently in connexion with the idea of Mark having written under the superintendence of Peter. Chrysostom mentions Alexandria ; but no Alexandrine writer confirms the statement. In modern times, Storr has advanced a hypothesis that Mark wrote at Antioch, which he grounds, but insufficiently, on a comparison of ch. xv. 21, with Acts xi. 20.
IN WHAT LANGUAGE IT WAS WRITTEN.
1. There has never been any reasonable doubt that Mark wrote in Greek. The two Syriac versions contain a marginal note, that Mark preached in Rome in Latin : and four of the later manuscripts of the Gospel append a notice to the same effect. This statement, however, is destitute of probability from any external or internal evidence, and is only one more assumption from the hypothetical publication in Rome under the superintendence of Peter, and for Roman converts.
2. Many writers of the Romish Church have defended the hypothesis of a Latin original, being biassed by a wish to maintain the authority of the Vulgate: and a pretended part of the original autograph of the Evangelist is still shewn in the Library of St. Mark's church at Venice; which, however, has been detected to be merely part of an ancient Latin MS. of the four gospels. 3. If Mark wrote in Latin, it is almost inconceivable that the original should have perished so early that no ancient writer should have made mention of the fact. For Latin was the language of a considerable and increasing body of Christians,-unlike Hebrew, which was little known, and belonged to a section of converts few in number :-yet ancient testimony is unanimous to Matthew's having written in Hebrew,—while we have not one witness to Mark having written in Latin.
GENUINENESS OF THE GOSPEL.
1. This has never been called in question, till very recently, by some of the German critics on, as it appears to me, wholly insufficient grounds. They allege that the testimony of Papias (see above, $ ü. 1, a) does not apply to the contents of our present Gospel, but that some later hand has worked up and embellished the original simple and unarranged notices of Mark, which have perished.
2. But neither do the words of Papias imply any such inference as that Mark’s notices must have been simple and unarranged; nor, if they did, are they of any considerable authority in the matter. It is enough that from the very earliest time the Gospel has been known as that of Mark; confirmed as this evidence is by the circumstance, that this name belongs to no great and distinguished founder of the Church, to whom it might naturally be ascribed, but to one, the ascription to whom can hardly be accounted for, except by its foundation in matter of fact.
3. On the genuineness of the remarkable fragment at the end of the Gospel, see notes there.
ITS STYLE AND CHARACTER.
1. Of the three first Gospels, that of Mark is the most distinct and peculiar in style. By far the greater part of those graphic touches which describe the look and gesture of our Lord, the arrangement or appearance of those around Him, the feelings with which He contemplated the persons whom He addressed, are contained in this Gospel. While the matters related are fewer than in either Matthew or Luke, Mark, in by far the greater number of common narrations, is the most copious, and rich in lively and interesting detail.
2. In one part only does Mark appear as an abridger of previously well-known facts; viz. in ch. i. 1–13, where,—his object being to detail the official life of our Lord,-he hastens through the previous great
events,—the ministry of John, the baptism and temptation of Christ. But even in the abrupt transitions of this section, there is wonderful graphic power, presenting us with a series of life-like pictures, calculated to impress the reader strongly with the reality, and dignity, of the events related.
3. Throughout the Gospel, even where the narratives are the most copious, the same isolated character of each, the same abrupt transition from one to another, is observable. There is no attempt to bind on one section to another, or to give any sequences of events. But occasionally the very precision of the separate narratives of itself furnishes accurate and valuable chronological data :-.g. the important one in ch. iv. 35, by which it becomes evident that the whole former part of Matthew's Gospel is out of chronological order.
4. Mark relates but few discourses. His object being to set forth Jesus as the Son of God (see ch. i. 1), he principally dwells on the events of His official life. But the same characteristics mark his report of our Lord's discourses, where he relates them, as we have observed in the rest of his narrative. While the sequence and connexion of the longer discourses was that which the Holy Spirit peculiarly brought to the mind of Matthew, the Apostle from whom Mark's record is derived seems to have been deeply penetrated and impressed by the solemn iterations of cadence and expression, and to have borne away the very words themselves and tone of the Lord's sayings. See especially, as illustrating this, the wonderfully sublime reply, ch. ix. 39–50.
5. According to the view adopted and vindicated in the notes on ch. xvi. 9—20, the Gospel terminates abruptly with the words " for they were afraid,” ver. 8. That this was not intentionally done, but was a defect,-is apparent, by the addition, in apostolic times, of the authentic and most important fragment which now concludes the narrative.
6. I regard the existence of the Gospel of Mark as a gracious and valuable proof of the accommodation by the divine Spirit of the records of the life of our Lord to the future necessities of the Church. While it contains little matter of fact which is not related in Matthew and Luke, and thus, generally speaking, forms only a confirmation of their more complete histories, it is so far from being a barren duplicate of that part of them which is contained in it, that it comes home to every reader with all the freshness of an individual mind, full of the Holy Ghost, intently fixed on the great object of the Christian's love and worship, reverently and affectionately following and recording His positions, and looks, and gestures, and giving us the very echo of the tones with which He spoke. And thus the believing student feels, while treating of and studying this Gospel, as indeed he does of each in its turn, that,—without venturing to compare with one another in value these rich and abiding gifts of the Holy Spirit to the Church,--the Gospel of Mark is at least as precious to him as any of the others; serving an end, and filling a void, which could not without spiritual detriment be left uncared for.
OF THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE.
1. ALTHOUGH the Author of this Gospel plainly enough speaks of himself in his Introduction, and in that to the Acts of the Apostles, we are left to gather his name from tradition. Here, however, as in the case of Mark, there seems to be no reasonable ground of doubt. It has been universally ascribed to Lucas, or Luke, spoken of Col. iv. 14,
and again Philem. 24, and 2 Tim. iv. 11.
2. Of this person we know no more with any certainty than we find related in the Acts of the Apostles and the passages above referred to. From Col. iv. 11, 14, it would appear that he was not born a Jew, being there distinguished from “ those of the circumcision.” It is, however, quite uncertain whether he had become a Jewish proselyte previous to his conversion to Christianity. His worldly calling was that of a Physician ; he is called “the beloved Physician” by Paul, Col. iv. 14. A very late tradition, generally adopted by the Romish Church, makes him also to have been a painter ; but it is in no respect deserving of credit. His birthplace is said by Eusebius and Jerome to have been Antioch, but traditionally only, and perhaps from a mistaken identification of him with Lucius, Acts xiii. 1. Tradition, as delivered by Epiphanius, Theophylact, Euthymius, &c., makes him to have been one of the seventy, Luke x. 1; but this is refuted by his own testimony, in his Preface,where he by implication distinguishes himself from those who were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word. It seems to have arisen from his Gospel alone containing the account of their mission.
3. Luke appears to have attached himself to Paul during the second missionary journey of the Apostle, and at Troas (Acts xvi. 10). This may perhaps be inferred from his there first making use of the first person plural in his narrative ; after saying (ver. 8) “they came down to Troas,” he proceeds (ver. 10), “immediately we endeavoured to go
into Macedonia." He thence accompanied Paul to Macedonia, remaining perhaps at Philippi (but see below, $ iv. 3) until Paul returned thither again at the end of his second visit to Greece, after the disturbance at Ephesus. Thence (Acts xx. 5) we find him again accompanying Paul to Asia and Jerusalem (xxi. 17); being apparently with him at Cæsarea during his imprisonment (xxiv. 23); and travelling with him to Rome (xxvii. 1-xxviii. 16). There we also find him remaining with the Apostle to a late period, very nearly till his martyrdom. (See 2 Tim. iv. 11.)
4. Of the time and manner of his death nothing certain is known, and the traditions are inconsistent with one another : some alleging him to have suffered martyrdom, while the general report is that he died a natural death.
1. A plain statement of the origin of this Gospel is given us by the Author himself, in his preface, ch. i. 1-4. He there states that many had taken in hand to draw up a statement, according to the testimony of those who were from the beginning eye-witnesses and ministers of the word, of the matters received (or fulfilled) among Christians; and that it therefore seemed good' to him also, having carefully traced the progress of events from the first, to write an arranged account of the same to his friend (or patron) Theophilus.
2. From this we gather, (1) that Luke was not himself an eye-witness, nor a minister of the word from the beginning ; (2) that he compiled his Gospel from the testimony of eye-witnesses and Apostles, which he carefully collected and arranged. For (1) he implicitly excludes himself from the number of the “ eye-witnesses and ministers of the word,” and (2) by the “to me also” he includes himself among the “many" who made use of the testimony of eye-witnesses and of Apostles.
3. I have before proved generally that the Gospels of Matthew and Mark cannot have been among the number of these narratives of which Luke speaks. I may now add to those proofs, that if Luke had seen and received, as of apostolic authority, either or both of these gospels, then his variations from them are, on his own shewing, unaccountable ; if he had seen them, and did not receive them, his coincidences with them are equally unaccountable. The improbabilities and absurdities involved in his having either or both of them before him and working up their narratives into his own, I have before dealt with, in the general Introduction to the Three Gospels. 4. Judging entirely from the phenomena presented by the Gospel