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IT is generally supposed by commentators, on the authority of ancient writers, that the person whom St. Peter speaks of, 1st epistle, chap. v. 13, and terms, "Marcus his son," was the author of this gospel; and that it was the second gospel that was written in order of time. Papias's testimony on the former of these points, preserved by Eusebius, (Hist. Eccl., lib. iii. cap. 39,) is very important; and, as he is the oldest witness, ought first to be produced. "This is what is related by the elder;" (that is, John, not the apostle, but a disciple of Jesus ;) "Mark, being Peter's interpreter, wrote exactly whatever he remembered, not indeed in the order wherein things were spoken and done by the Lord; for he was not himself a hearer of our Lord, but he afterward, as I said, followed Peter, who gave instructions as suited the occasions, but not as a regular history of our Lords teaching. Mark, however, committed no mistake in writing such things as occurred to his memory; for of this one thing he was careful, to omit nothing which he had heard, and to insert no falsehood in his narrative." Such is the testimony of Papias, which is the more to be regarded, as he assigns his authority, namely, John the elder, or presbyter, a disciple of Jesus, and companion of the apostles, by whom he had been intrusted with a ministry in the church. Now, what is advanced by Papias, on the authority of John, is contradicted by none. On the contrary, it is confirmed by all who take occasion to mention the subject. But it will be sufficient to insert here the account given by Irenæus, (Adv. Hær., lib. iii. cap. 1,) which is the rather subjoined to that of Papias, because it serves to ascertain another circumstance, namely, that the publication of Mark's gospel soon followed that of Matthew. After telling us that Matthew published his gospel while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, he adds, "After their departure, (eodov,) Mark also, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, delivered us in writing the things which had been preached by Peter." The Greek word rendered departure," in this sentence, like the English word by which it is so translated, may either denote death, or a departure out of the city. It is here probably used in the latter of these senses, because, according to the accounts given by some others, Mark's gospel was published in Peter's life-time, and had his approbation. But, not to insist on this, which cannot be now ascertained, it is sufficient for us that we know by whom this gospel was written, and whence the writer drew his information. Indeed this latter point has, from the earliest times, been considered as so well authenticated, that some have not scrupled to denominate this, "The Gospel according to Peter." Not that they intended thereby to dispute Mark's title to be esteemed the writer, but to express, in a stronger manner, that every thing here advanced had the sanction of that apostle's testimony, than whom no disciple more closely attended our Lord's ministry, from its commencement to its consummation.

Some have thought that the writer of this gospel was the person of whom mention is several times made in the Acts and some of Paul's epistles, called "John, whose surname is Mark," and whose mother's name was Mary, (Acts xii. 12,) of whom we are likewise told, (Col. iv. 10,) that he was sister's son to Barnabas. But, from the little that we are able to collect out of the apostolical writings, this appears rather improbable. Of John, surnamed Mark, one of the first things we learn is, that he attended Paul and Barnabas in their apostolical journeys, when these two travelled together, Acts xii. 25; xiii. 5. And when afterward there arose a dispute between them concerning him, insomuch that they separated, Mark accompanied his uncle Barnabas, and Silas attended Paul. When Paul was reconciled to Mark, which was probably soon after, we find him again employing Mark's assist


ance, recommending him, and giving him a very honourable testimony, Col. iv. 10; 2 Tim. iv. 11; Philem. 24. But we hear not a syllable of his attending Peter as his minister, or assisting him in any capacity. This account is so different from that which the most ancient writers give of the Evangelist Mark, that, though they cannot be said to contradict each other, they can hardly be understood as spoken of the same individual. To the above may be added, that no ancient author, in speaking of this evangelist, ever calls him " John," (the name given to the nephew of Barnabas,) but always "Mark." In brief, the accounts given of Paul's attendant, and those of Peter's interpreter, concur in nothing but the name "Mark,” or Mark," or "Marcus ;" too slight a circumstance from which to conclude the sameness of the person, especially when we consider how common the name was at Rome, and how customary it was for the Jews in that age to assume some Roman name when they went thither.

That Mark wrote his gospel in Greek, is as evidently conformable to the testimony of antiquity, as that Matthew wrote his in Hebrew. "Cardinal Baronius," says Dr. Campbell, " is the only person who has strenuously maintained the contrary, affirming that this evangelist published his work in Latin. I know no argument, worthy the name of argument, but one, that he produces in favour of his opinion. 'This gospel,' says he, 'was published at Rome for the benefit of the Romans. Can we then suppose it would be written in any other than the language of the place?' I shall admit that this gospel was published at Rome; though that is not universally believed, some rather supposing it to have been at Alexandria, after Mark had been intrusted with the superintendence of that church. But though the design of the publication had been the benefit of those residing at Rome, it would not have been exclusively intended for the natives. Let it be observed, that the ministry of Peter, to whom Paul tells us, Gal. ii. 7, the gospel of the circumcision was committed, was chiefly employed in converting and instructing his countrymen the Jews, who abounded at that time in the imperial city. Now, it was customary with such of the Jews as went abroad, (I may say, generally with travellers of all nations, especially from the East,) to make themselves masters of the Greek tongue, which was become a kind of universal language, and was more used by strangers at Rome, than the language of the place. It was with such that the first Christian missionaries were principally concerned. The Apostle Paul, accordingly, wrote to them in Greek, and not in Latin, which would not have been done, if the former language had not then been better understood in the Christian congregation than the latter. Now, if there was no impropriety in Paul's writing them a very long epistle in Greek, neither was there any in Mark's giving them his gospel in that language.

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"From this gospel, as well as from the former, we should readily conclude that the author was by birth and education a Jew. The Hebraisms in the style, or examples of what has been called the idiom of the synagogue, are very evident throughout the whole. At the same time, as some critics have observed, there are several expressions here used which clearly indicate that the writer had been accustomed for some time to live among the Latins. Not only does he use the Latin words which are to be found in the other gospels, and seem to have been current in Judea, as, λɛyɛwv, ‘legion,' and Sŋvapiov, ‘a denarius;' but he employs some which are peculiar to himself, as kεvтupiov, 'centurion,' and otεköharop, sentinel.' These have been pleaded as evidences that the original was Latin ; but, in fact, they are much stronger marks of a Greek writer who had lived some years among the Latins, and had been accustomed to use such names of offices as were familiarly known in the place. Augustine considers this evangelist as the abridger of Matthew: Marcus Matthæum subsecutus tanquam pedissequus et breviator ejus videtur. It is indeed true that Mark sometimes copies the very expressions used by Matthew. That he is not, however, to be considered as an abridger, may be evinced by the following reasons: First, he omits altogether several things related by Matthew,-our Lord's pedigree, his birth, the visit of the Magians, Joseph's flight into Egypt, the cruelty of Herod. As his intention appears to have been to give, in brief, the history of our Lord's ministry, he begins very properly with the preaching of the Baptist. Again: there are some other things in Matthew, whereof, though they fall within the time to which Mark had confined himself, he has taken no notice; and some things are mentioned by Mark which had been overlooked by Matthew. Further: he has not always followed the same arrangement with his predecessor; and his relation of some facts, so far from being an abridgment of Matthew's, is the more circumstantial of the two. His style, în general, instead of being more concise, is more diffuse. That he had read Matthew's gospel, cannot be doubted. For their exact conformity in expression in several places, Grotius has an in


genious manner of accounting. He supposes that Mark had carefully read Matthew's gospel in the original Hebrew, before it was translated into Greek; and that he had the particulars fresh in his memory, when he was occupied in writing his gospel. Again: he supposes that the translator of Matthew into Greek has thought it safest to adopt the expressions of Mark, wherever they would suit the Hebrew, from which he was translating. But this, it must be confessed, though not implausible, is mere conjecture. It is generally our Lord's discourses which are abridged by Mark. As to his miracles, he has rather more fully related them. The additional circumstances and incidents recorded in his gospel appear to rest upon the authority of the apostles, but principally on that of Peter."

As to the travels and labours of this evangelist, it is said that for some time he preached the gospel, in conjunction with St. Peter, in Italy and at Rome. Afterward, he was sent by him into Egypt, fixing his chief residence at Alexandria, and the places thereabouts; where he was so successful in his ministry, that he converted multitudes, both men and women, to the Christian faith. He afterward removed westward, toward the parts of Lybia, going through the countries of Marmorica, Pentapolis, and others thereabouts, where, notwithstanding the barbarity and idolatry of the inhabitants, he planted the gospel. Upon his return to Alexandria, he ordered the affairs of the church, and there suffered martyrdom in the following manner: About Easter, at the time the solemnities of Serapis were celebrated, the idolatrous people, being excited to vindicate the honour of their deity, seized St. Mark, when engaged in the solemn celebration of divine worship; and, binding his feet with cords, dragged him through the streets and most craggy places to the Bucelus, a precipice near the sea, and then for that night shut him up in prison, where he had the comfort of a divine vision. Early the next morning the tragedy began again: they dragged him about in the same manner, till, his flesh being raked off, and his blood run out, his spirits failed, and he expired. Some add that they burned his body, and that the Christians decently interred his bones and ashes near the place where he used to preach. This is supposed to have happened A. D. 68. Some writers assert, that the remains of St. Mark were afterward, with great pomp, translated from Alexandria to Venice. However, he is the tutelary patron of that republic, and has a very rich and stately church erected to his memory. See the Encyclopædia Britannica.







We have in this chapter, (1,) The ministry and success of John the Baptist, answerable to the predictions of the prophets, 1-8. (2,) Christ's baptism by John, and attestation from heaven, 9–11. (3,) His temptation by Satan, and assistance from angels in the wilderness, 12, 13. (4,) His labours in preaching, 14, 15, 21, 22, 38, 39; and prayer, 35. (5,) His calling of disciples, 16-20. (6,) His rebuking and casting out an unclean spirit, to the astonishment of the spectators, 23–28. (7,) His curing Peter's mother-in-law of a fever, 29–31. (8,) His healing all that came to him, 32–35. (9,) His healing a leper, and charging him to conceal the cure, 40-45.

A. D. 26.

A. M. 4030. THE beginning of the gospel of || Prepare ye the way of the Lord, A. M. 4030 Jesus Christ, a the Son of God; make his paths straight.

A. D. 26.

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a Matt. xiv. 33; Luke i. 35; John i. 34. b Mal. iii. 1;|| iii. 4; John i. 15, 23.iii. 4; John i. 15, 23.———d Matt. iii. d Matt. iii. 1; Luke iii. 3; John iii. Matt. x. 16 ke vii. 27.ike vii. 27.—c Isa. xl. 3; Matt. iii. 3; Luke 23.- -1 Or, unto.— e Matt. iii. 5.


of by those prophets, being sent of God for that end; Verses 1-3. The beginning of the gospel-That || did baptize in the wilderness—Which lay east from is, of the gospel history; of Jesus Christ, the Son || Jerusalem, along the river Jordan and the lake Asof God-Who was, or is, in the bosom of the Father, phaltites, also called the Dead sea. By wilderness, John i. 18, and came down from heaven, John iii. 13, || in the Scriptures, it is plain that we are not always to reveal his Father's will unto us, to confirm his to understand what is commonly denominated so doctrine by a great variety of astonishing miracles, || with us, a region either uninhabitable or uninhabited. to set us a perfect example of every branch of piety || No more seems to have been denoted by it than a and virtue, to expiate our sins by the sacrifice of || country fitter for pasture than for agriculture, mounhimself, and to abolish death, with respect to such || tainous, woody, and but thinly inhabited. These as believe aright in him, by rising from the dead as εpnuoi, wildernesses, did not want their towns and the first-fruits of them that sleep. The evangelist || villages. And preach the baptism of repentancespeaks with strict propriety in this sentence, for the|| That is, preach repentance, and baptize as a sign beginning of the gospel is in the account of John and means of it. Thus John endeavoured to prethe Baptist, contained in the first paragraph; the pare men for the coming of that Messiah who was gospel itself in the rest of the book. Thus the verse to save his people from their sins. See notes on must be considered as being connected with the fol- Matt. iii. 2, 3. This baptism, says Dr. Lightfoot, lowing, and as signifying that the gospel of Jesus || may belong to children, though it be the baptism of Christ began, according to the prediction of the|| repentance, and they know not what repentance prophets, with the preaching and baptism of John || means; for it requireth not their repentance at the the Baptist. In styling Jesus the Son of God, while the other evangelists describe him chiefly as the Son of man, Mark gives him a title the most likely, as being the most august, to engage the attention and obedience of the Romans, those lords of the earth,|| to the religion which was promulgated by him. || Behold, I send my messenger, &c.-See notes on Mal. iii. 1; Matt. xi. 10. The voice of one, &c.— The voice of one, &c.—|| See notes on Isa. xl. 3; Matt. iii. 3. Verse 4. John-Who was the very person spoken

receiving of this sacrament, but it engageth them to it for the time to come, namely, when they shall come to the use of reason, and the knowledge of the engagement. And so was it with the children that were circumcised; for they by that sacrament became debtors to observe the whole law, Gal. v. 3, when they knew not what obedience or the law meant; but that bound them to it when they came to years of knowledge and discretion.

Verses 5-8. There went out to him all Judea, &c.

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A. M. 4030. of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.

6 And John was fclothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat & locusts and wild honey;


Jesus tempted in the wilderness.

A. D. 27.

10 m And straightway coming up A. M. 4031. out of the water, he saw the heavens 2 opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon hini.

11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, "Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

12 And immediately the Spirit driveth

7 And preached, saying, 1 There cometh one
mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose
shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and un-him into the wilderness.


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13 And he was there in the wilderness forty 8 I indeed have baptized you with water: days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. || beasts; and the angels ministered unto him. 9 ¶1And it came to pass in those days, that 14 ¶ Now after that John was put in priJesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was son, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the baptized of John in Jordan. gospel of the kingdom of God,


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f Matt. iii. 4.——-5 Lev. xi. 22.- h Matt. iii. 11; John i. 27; Acts xiii. 25.- i Acts i. 5; xi. 16; xix. 4.———————k Isa. xliv. 3; Joel ii. 28; Acts ii. 4; x. 45; xi. 15, 16; 1 Cor. xii. 13. Matt. iii.

13; Luke iii. 21.m Matt. iii. 16; John i. 32.
2 Or, cloven,
or, rent. Psa. ii. 7; Matt. iii. 17; Ch. ix. 7.—— Matt. iv. 1;
Luke iv. 1.-P Matt. iv. 11.- -9 Matt. iv. 12.—r Matt. iv. 23.

-So disposed were the people to receive his bap- || TEρi aνт8, he waited for John's testimony concerning tism. See note on Matt. iii. 5. The latchet of him. Accordingly, St. Peter represents Christ as whose shoes, &c.-That is, whose servant I am not || beginning thus to preach from Galilee, after the worthy to be, or to perform for him the meanest || baptism which John preached was ended, Acts x. 37. offices. He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost || Now hence it is evident, that his coming into Galilee, -The promise of which is made to you and your mentioned Luke iv. 14, must refer to the same time, children, Acts ii. 39; where see the note, and on that so all the evangelists may agree. The time is Matt. iii. 11. fulfilled-The time of my kingdom, foretold by Verses 9-11. It came to pass in those days—Of || Daniel, and expected by you, is fully come. The John's baptism at the river Jordan; that Jesus came || kingdom of God is at hand-That kingdom which from Nazareth of Galilee-Where he lived for || God is about to erect by the Messiah, (foretold by many years in a retired manner, with his parents; || Daniel, chap. ii. 44; and vii. 14,) whereby he will and was baptized of John in Jordan-Near Bethabara. John i. 28. See on Matt. iii. 13–17.

rescue men from the dominion of Satan and of sin, of the world and of the flesh, and constitute them his loyal subjects and obedient servants; whereby he will reign in them, as well as over them, ruling their hearts by his grace as well as their lives by his laws; that kingdom, which is not in word, but in power, 1 Cor. iv. 20, which is righteousness, internal and external, love to God and all mankind, and obedience flowing therefrom; peace with God and peace of conscience, consequent on deliverance from the guilt and power of sin, and joy in the Holy Ghost,

Verses 12, 13. Immediately the Spirit driveth him —Gr. εxbɑ22ɛι, thrusteth him out, or, sends him away, || as the same word signifies, verse 43. Luke says, nyɛto, he was moved, or led; Matthew, avnxon, he|| was led up, namely, from the plain of Jordan. He was forty days tempted of Satan-Invisibly. After this followed the temptation by him in a visible || shape, related by Matthew. These forty days, says Dr. Lightfoot, the holy angels ministered to Christ || visibly, and Satan tempted him invisibly; at the end || arising from the Holy Spirit's influences assuring us of them, Satan puts on the appearance of an angel of our adoption into the family of God, inspiring us of light, and pretends to wait on him as they did. | with a lively hope of his glory, Gal. iv. 6; Rom. v. 2; See on Matthew iv. 2-11. And was with the wild and giving us an earnest of our future inheritance in beasts-Though they had no power to hurt him. our hearts, Eph. i. 14. See note on Rom. xiv. 17. Mark, we may observe, not only gives us a compen- This kingdom of God, of which believers are posdium of Matthew's gospel, but likewise several va- || sessed on earth, is at once a preparation for, and an luable particulars, which he and the other evangel- earnest of, the kingdom of God in heaven. Repent ists have omitted; especially such particulars as ye, and believe the gospel-That you may be Christ's might enable the Romans, or Gentiles in general, || loyal subjects in time and in eternity, and be made better to understand him. Thus, as a Roman might || not know how wild and uninhabited the deserts of Arabia were, in which Christ was tempted, he adds here, that he was with the wild beasts.


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partakers of this two-fold kingdom. Observe well,
reader, the one, only way leading to the kingdom of
God on earth and in heaven, is, repentance toward
God, productive of fruits worthy of repentance, and
faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the great
truths and precious promises of his holy gospel.

Verses 14, 15. After John was put in prison-By
Herod; Jesus came into Galilee, preaching, &c.-
Till that time, say the fathers, aveμɛive avтov μaρтupnoaι || See on Matt. iii. 2; John i. 12; and iii. 16.




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