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SECTION V.

AT WHAT PLACE IT WAS WRITTEN.

1. Our answer to this enquiry will of course depend upon the considerations discussed in the last section. Adopting the view there taken, we find Luke in Asia Minor, Syria, or Palestine (probably) previously to his first journey with Paul A.D. 51; and from that time till his second journey A.D. 58, perhaps remaining in Greece, but perhaps also travelling for the sake of collecting information for his Gospel. At all events, at the latter part of this period he is again found at Philippi. We need not then dissent from the early tradition, reported by Jerome, that Luke published his Gospel in the parts of Achaia and Baotia, as being on the whole the most likely inference.

2. The inscription in the Syriac version,—and Simeon Metaphrastes in the tenth century,—report that the Gospel was written at Alexandria, but apparently without any authority.

SECTION VI.

IN WHAT LANGUAGE IT WAS WRITTEN.

There never has been any doubt that Luke wrote his Gospel in Greek. His familiarity with Greek terms and idioms, and above all, the classical style of his preface, are of themselves convincing internal evidence that it was so.

SECTION VII.

GENUINENESS OF THE GOSPEL.

1. It has been generally and almost unanimously acknowledged that the Gospel which we now possess is that written and published by Luke.

2. Whatever doubts may have been raised by rationalistic Commentators as to the genuineness of the two first chapters, have been adopted in aid of their attempts to overthrow their authenticity (on which see the next section); and have rested on no sufficient ground of themselves. Their principal appeal is to Marcion, who notoriously mutilated the Gospel, to make it favour his views of the Person of Christ.

SECTION VIII.

THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE TWO FIRST CHAPTERS.

1. If the view maintained above of the probable time of the publication of the Gospel be adopted,--and its later terminus, the publication of the Acts two years after Paul's imprisonment at Rome began, is, I think, beyond question, I cannot see how any reasonable doubt can be thrown upon the authenticity of this portion of the narrative. For there were those living, who might have contradicted any false or exaggerated account of our Lord's birth and the events which accompanied it. If not the Mother of our Lord herself, yet His brethren were certainly living: and the universal reception of the Gospel in the very earliest ages sufficiently demonstrates that no objection to this part of the sacred narrative had been heard of as raised by them.

2. The “accurate tracing down” of Luke forbids us to imagine that he would have inserted any narrative in his Gospel which he had not ascertained to rest upon trustworthy testimony, as far as it was in his power to ensure this: and the means of ensuring it must have been at that time 80 ample and satisfactory, that I cannot imagine for a moment any other origin for the account, than such testimony.

3. If we enquire what was probably the source of the testimony, I answer, that but one person is conceivable as delivering it, and that person the Mother of our Lord. She was living in the Christian body for some time after the Ascension ; and would most certainly have been appealed to for an account of the circumstances attending His birth and infancy.

4. If she gave any account of these things, it is inconceivable that this account should not have found its way into the records of the Lord's life possessed by the Christian Church, but that instead of it a spurious one should have been adopted by two of our Evangelists, and that so shortly after, or even coincident with, her own presence in the Church.

5. Just as inconceivable, even supposing the last difficulty surmounted, is the formation of a mythical, or in any other way unreal account of these things, and its adoption, in the primitive age of the Church. For the establishment of this I refer to the late Professor Mill's able tract, On the Mythic Interpretation of Luke i. ;-in which he has stated and severally refuted the arguments of Strauss and the rationalists.

6. I infer then that the two first chapters of this Gospel contain the account given by the Mother of our Lord, of His birth, and its prefatory and attendant circumstances ; of some of which circumstances

that in Matt. i. 18-25 is a more compendious, and wholly independent account.

SECTION IX.

ITS STYLE AND CHARACTER.

1. We might have expected from Luke's name and profession, that he was a man of education, and versed in the elegant use of the Greek, which was then the polite language in the Roman empire. We accordingly find that while we have very numerous Hebraisms in his Gospel, we also have far more classical idioms, and a much freer use of Greek compounds than in the others.

2. The composition of the sentences is more studied and elaborate than in Matthew or Mark: the Evangelist appears more frequently in the narrative, delivering his own estimate of men and things;--e.g. ch. xvi. 14; vii. 29, 30; xix. 11 al. ;—he seems to love to recount instances of our Lord's tender compassion and mercy ;-and in the report of His parables, e.g. in ch. xv., is particularly simple in diction, and calculated to attract and retain the attention of his readers.

3. In narrative, this Evangelist is very various, according to the copiousness or otherwise of the sources from which he drew. Sometimes he merely gives a hasty compendium : at others he is most minute and circumstantial in detail, and equally graphic in description with Mark: see as instances of this latter, ch. vii. 14; ix. 29. It has been remarked (Olshausen) that Luke gives with extreme accuracy not so much the discourses, as the observations and occasional sayings of our Lord, with the replies of those who were present. This is especially the case in his long and important narrative of the journey up to Jerusalem, ch. ix. 51–xviii. 14.

4. On the question how far those doctrines especially enforced by the great Apostle of the Gentiles are to be traced, as inculcated or brought forward in this Gospel, see above in this chapter, § ii. 7.

5. In completeness, this Gospel must rank first among the four. The Evangelist begins with the announcement of the birth of Christ's Forerunner, and concludes with the particulars of the Ascension : thus embracing the whole great procession of events by which our Redemption by Christ was ushered in, accomplished, and soaled in heaven. And by recording the allusion to the promise of the Father (ch. xxiv. 49), he has introduced, so to speak, a note of passage to that other history, in which the fulfilment of that promise, the great result of Redemption, was to be related. It may be remarked, that this completeness,—while it shews the earnest diligence used by the sacred writer in searching out, and making use of every information within his reach,—forms an VOL. I. -49]

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additional proof that he can never have seen the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, -or he would (to say nothing of the other difficulties attending this view, which have before been dealt with in ch. i.) most certainly have availed himself of those parts of their narratives, which are now not contained in his own.

THE FOUR GOSPELS

AND

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.

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