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itself, my conclusion with regard to its sources is the following :-that Luke, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, drew up his Gospel independently of, and without knowledge of, those of Matthew and Mark ; —that he fell in with, in the main, the same cycle of apostolic teaching as the writers of those Gospels placed on record, viz. that which embraced principally the Galilæan life and ministry of our Lord, to the exclusion of that part of it which passed at Jerusalem before the formal call of the twelve Apostles ;-but that he possessed other sources of information, not open to the compiler of Matthew's Gospel, nor to Mark.
5. To this latter circumstance may be attributed his access to (I believe, from its peculiar style and character) a documentary record of the events preceding and accompanying the birth of the Lord, derived probably from her who alone was competent to narrate several particulars contained in it:-his preservation of the precious and most important cycle of our Lord's discourses and parables contained in that large section of his Gospel, ch. ix. 51-xviii. 15, which is mostly peculiar to himself :- :-numerous other details scattered up and down in every part of his narrative, shewing information from an eye-witness :—and, lastly, his enlarged account of some events following the Resurrection, and the narration, by him alone, of the circumstances accompanying the Ascension.
6. A tradition was very early current, that Luke's Gospel contained the substance of the teaching of Paul. Irenæus states : “ Luke, the follower of Paul, set down in a book the Gospel preached by that Apostle?.” See also Tertullian. But this is contradicted by the implicit assertion of the Evangelist himself in his preface, that the Gospel was compiled and arranged by himself from the testimony of those who, from the beginning of our Lord's ministry,' were eye-witnesses or ministers of the word. Among these it is not, of course, possible to reckon Paul.
7. It is however an interesting enquiry, how far his continued intercourse with the great Apostle of the Gentiles may have influenced his diction, or even his selection of facts. It is a remarkable coincidence, that the account of the institution of the Lord's Supper should be nearly verbatim the same in Luke xxii. 19, and in 1 Cor. xi. 23,--and that Paul claims to have received this last from the Lord. For we know, that to compensate to Paul in his apostolic office for the want of the authority of an eye-witness, and to constitute him a witness to the truth of the Gospel, a revelation was made to him,—to which he refers, Gal. i. 12: Eph. iii. 3: 1 Cor. xi. 23 ; xv. 3,-embracing at least
? Origen, Eusebius, and Jerome go so far as to understand the expression “ my Gospel,” Rom. ii. 16, of the Gospel of Luke. But this is contrary to the usage of the word “Gospel" in the New Testament: see notes there.
the leading facts of the evangelic history. And this circumstance may have acted imperceptibly on the mind of Luke, and even shaped or filled out some of his narratives, in aid of direct historic sources of testimony.
8. There is very little trace of Paul's peculiar diction, or prominence given to the points which it became his especial work to inculcate in the Gospel of Luke. Doubtless we may trace a similar cast of mind and feeling in some instances; as e. g. Luke's carefulness to record the sayings of our Lord which were assertive of His unrestricted love for Jew and Gentile alike: Luke iv. 25 ff.; ix. 52 ff.; x. 30 ff.; xvii. 16, 18. We may observe too that in Luke those parables and sayings are principally found, which most directly regard the great doctrine of man's free justification by grace through faith : e. g. ch. xv. 11 ff.; xvii. 10; xviii. 14, in which latter place the use of "justified” (see note there) is remarkable. These instances, however, are but few,and it may perhaps be doubted whether Commentators in general have not laid too great stress upon them. It would be very easy to trace similar relations and analogies in the other Gospels, if we were bent upon doing so.
FOR WIIAT READERS AND WITH WHAT OBJECT IT WAS WRITTEN.
1. Both these questions are formally answered for us by the Evangelist himself. He states, ch. i. 3, that he wrote primarily for the benefit of one Theophilus, and that he might know the certainty of those accounts which had formed the subject of his catechetical instruction.
2. But we can hardly suppose this object to have been the only moving cause to the great work which Luke was undertaking. The probabilities of the case, and the practice of authors in inscribing their works to particular persons, combine to persuade us that Luke must have regarded his friend as the representative of a class of readers for whom his Gospel was designed. And in enquiring what that class was, we must deal with the data furnished by the Gospel itself.
3. In it we find universality the predominant character. There is no marked regard paid to Jewish readers, as in Matthew, nor to Gentiles, as in Mark; if there be any preference, it seems rather on the side of the latter. In conformity with Jewish practice, we have a genealogy of our Lord, which however does not, as in Matthew, stop with Abraham, but traces
up his descent even to the progenitor of the human race. Commentators have noticed that Luke principally records those sayings and acts of our Lord by which God's mercy to the Gentiles is set forth :
see ch. xv. 11 ff. ; xviii. 10; xix. 5 (but see notes there) ; x. 33; xvii. 19; ix. 52–56; iv. 25—27. Such instances, however, are not much to be relied on ;--see above, ch. i. $ i. 6;—to which I will add, that it would be easy to construct a similar list to prove the same point with respect to Matthew or John 8 ;—and I therefore much prefer assigning the above character of universality to this Gospel, which certainly is visible throughout it. That it was constructed for Gentile readers as well as for Jews, is plain ; and is further confirmed from the fact of its author having been the friend and companion of the great Apostle of the Gentiles.
4. I infer then that the Gospel was designed for the general use of Christians, whether Jews or Gentiles; and subordinately to this general purpose, for those readers whose acquaintance with Jewish customs and places was sufficient to enable them to dispense with those elucidations of them which Mark and John have given, but which are not found in Matthew or Luke.
5. The object of the Gospel has been sufficiently declared in Luke's own words above cited,—that the converts might know the certainty of those things in which they had received oral instruction as catechumens ; in other words, that the portions of our Lord's life and discourses thus imparted to them might receive both permanence, by being committed to writing, -and completion, by being incorporated in a detailed narrative of His acts and sayings.
AT WHAT TIME IT WAS WRITTEN.
1. We are enabled to approximate to the time of the publication of this Gospel with much more certainty than we can to that of any of the others. The enquiry may be thus conducted.—We may safely assume
Matthew relates the visit of the Magi, ch. ii. 1 ff. ; refers to Galilee of the Gentiles seeing a great light, ch. iv. 15, 16 :- Many shall come from the East and West,' &c. ch. viii. 11 – Come unto Me all ye that labour,' ch. xi. 28 : the Syrophænician woman (not related by Luke), ch. xv. 21 ff.: “The Kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation,' &c. ch. xxi. 43 (omitted by Luke): “The elect from the four winds of heaven' (not in Luke), ch. xxiv. 31 : ' The judgment of all the nations, ch. xxv. 31–46 : ' Make disciples of all the nations,' ch. xviii. 19.- Again, John relates the visit to the Samaritans, ch. iv.; . The other sheep not of this fold,' ch. x. 16 : 'not for that nation only, but that he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad, ch. xi. 52 : The request of the Greeks at the feast,' ch. xii. 20, &c. &c. See the view, that Luke wrote for Greeks principally, ingeniously illustrated in the lecture prefixed to this Gospel in the first volume of Dr. Wordsworth's Greek Testament: which however, like the other notices of this learned and estimable writer, is written far too strongly in the spirit of an advocate, who can see only that which it is his aim to prove.
that the former treatise' of Acts i. 1, can be no other than this Gospel. And on that follows the inference, that the Gospel was published before the Acts of the Apostles. Now the last event recorded in the Acts is an interview of Paul with the Jews, shortly after his arrival in Rome. We further have the publication of the Acts, by the words of ch. xxviii. 30, postponed two whole years after that arrival and interview ; but, I believe, no longer than that. For had Paul continued longer than that time in his hired house before the publication, it must have been so stated; and had he left Rome or that house, or had any remarkable event happened to him before the publication, we cannot suppose that so careful a recorder as Luke would have failed to bring his work down to the time then present, by noticing such departure or such event. I assume then the publication of the Acts to have taken place two years after Paul's arrival at Rome : i. e. according to Wieseler (see my chronological table in Introduction to Acts), in the spring of A.D. 63.
2. We have therefore a fixed date, before which the Gospel must have been published. But if I am not mistaken, we have, by internal evidence, the date of its publication removed some time back from this date. It is hardly probable that Luke would speak of, as “the former treatise," a work in which he was then, or had been very lately, engaged. But not to dwell on this,-even allowing that the prefatory and dedicatory matter, as is usually the case, may have come last from the hands of the author,-I find in the account of the Ascension, which immediately follows, a much more cogent proof, that the Gospel had been some considerable time published. For while it recapitulates the Gospel account just so much that we can trace the same hand in it (compare Acts i. 4 with Luke xxiv. 49), it is manifestly a different account, much fuller in particulars, and certainly unknown to the Evangelist when he wrote his Gospel. Now, as we may conclude, in accordance with the “having traced down all things accurately from the very first," of Luke i. 3, that he would have carefully sought out every available source of information at the time of writing his Gospel,--this becoming acquainted with a new account of the Ascension implies that in the mean time fresh sources of information had been opened to him. And this would most naturally be by change of place, seeing that various fixed cycles of apostolic teaching were likely to be current in, and about, the respective mother churches. Now the changes of place in Luke's recent history had been,-two years before, from Cæsarea to Rome, Acts xxvii. 1 ff.; two years and a half before that, from Philippi to Jerusalem, Acts xx. 6; xxi. 15 ff.,—and Cæsarea. This last is left to be inferred from his leaving Cæsarea with Paul, ch. xxvii. 1;—at all events he was during this time in Palestine, with, or near Paul. I shall make it probable in the Introduction to the Acts of the Apostles, that during this period he was engaged in collecting materials for and compiling that book; and by conse
quence (see above), that in all probability the Gospel had been then written and published. This would place its publication before A.D. 58; -consequently, before the traditional date of the Gospel of Matthew,see above, ch. ii. § iv.
3. Tracing Luke's history further back than this,-it has been thought that he remained at Philippi during the whole time comprised between Acts xvii. 1 and xx. 6, because he disuses the first person at the first of those dates, at Philippi, -and resumes it also at Philippi, at the second. Now this was a period of seven years : far too long for such an inference as the above to be made with any probability. During this time he may have travelled into Palestine, and collected the information which he incorporated in his Gospel. For that it was collected in Palestine, is on all accounts probable. And that it should have been published much before this is, I think, improbable.
4. My reasons are the following:-I have implied in the former part of this Introduction, that it is not likely that the present evangelic collections would be made, until the dispersion of all or most of the Apostles on their missionary journeys. Besides this, the fact of numerous narratives having been already drawn up after the model of the apostolic narrative teaching, forbids us to suppose their teaching by oral communication to have been in its fulness still available. Now the Apostles, or the greater part of them, were certainly at Jerusalem at the time of the council in Acts xv. 1–5 ff., i. e. about A.D. 50. How soon after that time their dispersion took place, it is quite impossible to determine :-but we have certainly this date as our starting-point, before which, as I believe, no Gospel could have been published.
5. After this dispersion of the Apostles, it will be necessary to allow some time to elapse for the narratives of which Luke speaks (ch. i. 1) to be drawn up ;—not less certainly than one or two years, or more ; which would bring us just about to the time when he was left behind by Paul in Philippi. This last arrangement must however be, from its merely hypothetical grounds, very uncertain.
6. At all events, we have thus eight years, A.D. 50—58, as the limits within which it is probable that the Gospel was published. And, without pretending to minute accuracy in these two limits, we may at least set it down as likely that the publication did not take place much before Luke and Paul are found together, nor after the last journey which Paul made to Jerusalem, A.D. 58. And even if the grounds on which this latter is concluded be objected to, we have, as a final resort, the fixed date of the publication of the Acts two years after Paul's arrival at Rome, after which, by internal evidence, the Gospel cannot have been published.