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St. Matthew was the first who wrote, probably not long after our Lord's ascension; with a special view to reclaim the loft sheep of the house of Israel. The evidence to this priority, and to this design, is strong and unexceptionable. Of the former indeed no proof is required, because from the earliest times it has, I believe, been universally admitted: but that he addresses himself most particularly to the race of Abra

ham,

Here is a very visible and a very curious difference-in words only--the sense is in all respects precisely the fame.. But if any alteration should intentionally be made, that aifects the meaning and corrupts the doctrine of Christ, who shall estimate the guilt of fo daring an impiety ? -That such an alteration has actually been hazarded in the Doway testament, I feel myself called upon to state. The memorable words spoken by our Lord to his mother, at the marriage in Cana, are rendered in our Englith verfion, Woman, what have I do with thee? In the Doway testament, published by authority, and circulated in this country for the edification of the Romanists, the words are thus perverted, Woman, wbat is that to me and to thee? We speak of the blessed Virgin with great reverence: the was highly favoured: but the gross error of the Romanists, respecting her, we, and all the reformed churches in Christendom, utterly renounce. 'This passage is one, among many, which flatly contradicts 'the Romiflı doctrine: and because it lies, as it were, on the surface, and meets the eye of every common reader, it is of great importance that it should not be falsified. Nobody in the least acquainted wiih the Greek language, could have given such an interpretation as the Doway transator has ventured to give. But I fear we cannot aferibe the error, of which lie is guilty, to his ignorance of the Greek idiom; for the fume phrase had twice occurred in the gospel of St. Mark, and is rendered correctly. The Doway translator therefore was not igno ant!!! See John ii. 4. Mark i.

and

24.

V. 7.

I fail just mention one other instance of disagreement between the English and Doway versions. The Greek word which in the former is rendered repent, is interpreted in the latter do penance.

1. g. Luke xiii. 5. English.

Doway. Except ye repent, ye shall all Unless

pena.ice, ye Thall all likewise perish.

likewise perill. I leave the sagacious reader to coinment upon this artful diversity of exprellion, and to calculate the profits that have arisen from it.

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ham, may be inferred with almost equal certainty-from the familiar and unexplained use of terms peculiar to the Jews, which abound in his gospel (6); from the frequent appeals he makes ; and even from his manner (c) of appealing to the prophecies in the old testament, refpecting the Messiah ; from the

from the great folicitude he manifests to recite the words, rather than the a ions of our Lord: and this is a characteristic of his Gospel much to be regarded : for we find St. Matthew less distinct and circumstantial in relating the miracles of Christ, than their vast importance seems to require. They had been, in fact, performed in the presence of multitudes, who were living at the time he composed his Gospel, and by consequence fo incontrovertibly attested, that the Evangelist of the Jews had no occasion to notice all the minute circumstances that accompanied them : he accordingly speaks of those wonderful transactions with such a brevity, as is generally used in the mention of things public and notorious. But on the topics of discourse immediately applicable to the Jewish nation, which had been urged by his divine master with inimitable energy, and which to them who knew the law, were irresistibly convincing, he is copious to admiration, and the particular object of his evangelical labour becomes manifestly displayed.

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(6) Such as Holy City, Holy Place, the Children of the Kingdom, Sea of Galilee, Power as a name of God, &c. &c. &c.

(c) St. Matthew cites the Prophets as delivering orally, Moses Spoke, Spoken of by the prophct, &c. &c. Such was the Jewish manner. St. Luke on the contrary, Moses wrote, &c. &c. &c.

St. Mark followed St. Matthew, after an interval of some time, and wrote under the guidance of St. Peter, at that period when the Christian church embraced a considerable portion of Gentile as well as Hebrew converts. He consequently applies himself to both : but, for the sake of the former, is more attentive to the relation of facts than his predecessor; frequently supplying his deficiencies in that respect ; generally adding some explanation of Jewish terms and customs (d); and appealing with more reserve to the scripture of the old teftament.

As the church became ftill farther extended, a third Gospel, submitted at least to the revision of St. Paul, was published by St. Luke, with a view yet more immediate to the converted Gentiles. He studioully declines alluding to the Mosaic law (e); and never in his own person, except once (f), refers to the writings

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(d) Instances of this are very numerous. Compare Matt. xv. 1-2. and Mark vij. I-5.

le) Compare Matt. vii. 12. and Luke vi. 31. Allo Matt. xxiii. 23. and Luke xi. 42.

(f) Luke iii. 4-6. In this passage he cites at large as to persons not acquainted with the writings. Matthew, in referring to the same place, thinks it sufficient to point at it. See Matt. iii. 3. and compare.

of the prophets. But in relating the same events, he frequently adds to the perspicuity of the former narrations (8), and introduces many things, not noted by the other Evangelists, which tend to encourage a more general conversion, by proving that the doctrine of Christ was graciousy designed for all the nations of the earth, though his personal ministry had been limited to the people of Israel.

The Cospel of St. John is evidently and confessedly supplemental to the other three ; and written at a period considerably later. It contains much fewer historical facis, and cer-tainly presumes that the record of our Saviour's actions had been fully divulged. It must be considered, therefore, as bearing testimony to the truth of those accounts already published; and as giving them the fan&tion of St. John's authority, by the very filence it preserves (h). But the disciple whom Jesus loved did not shrink from the cause of his ever blefled Mafter. He chose his part: and satisfied with the histories then existing of the public ministry, he enlarges with superior force, and more than human cloquence, on the higher points; of the divinity

of

(g) Compare Mark v. 36-38. with Luke viji 5-!!. Compare also the three accounts of one action, Matt. ix. 17. Majk ii. 15. Luke v. 29. or Matt xxvi. 67–68. Mark xiv. 65. Luke xxii. 63---64.

(b) It is remarkable that even the institution of the Lord's supper is not mentioned by St. John.

Christ; of the Almighty Word; of the offices sustained by the Son of God, as the Author of Salvation, and the Giver of Eternal Life.

The reader who is thus apprized of the bials, or prevailing drift of each Evangelist, will enter upon the study of the Gospels with great advantage. He will not wonder, for he can affign a cause, why the sermon on the mount, delivered at large by St. Matthew, should be so considerably abridged in the Gospel of St. Luke. Nor again, why the parable of the prodigal son, related by St. Luke, should pass unnoticed by St. Matthew. The difference in both cases will evidently appear to be a natural consequence of their different designs. In the former instance, though much of that divine discourse is applicable to all persons, and at all times; yet much also is manifestly levelled at the house of Israel, at the singular errors, and singular prejudices of that extraordinary people. In the latter, who can fail to recognise the favourite object of the Gentile Evangelist, in the animating call, and gracious promise of reception, which that eminent parable announces to the heathen world (1).

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(i) St Luke alone relates the parable of the good Samaritan, the Pulse lican in the temple, and many others; all with the same view. fie alo:le teils of the pardon of the penitent thief on the cross; and makes it a chief ohject to impress the grateful doctrine, that the Son of man came rot to deflroy mnens' lives, but to save them.

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