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no mention of these fountain-heads of evangelical tradition. Especially may we urge this inquiry with regard to the principal of the supposed documents, the one common to the three historians, which must have been a document of immense importance and value, of which it is inconceivable that the abovenamed writers should have seen or known any thing without mentioning it, yet which could hardly have had existence without their having been aware of the fact. This common document must have been far more valuable than the gospels compiled from it; and would not the same zeal, which prompted their frequent transcription and careful preservation, have rescued this also from destruction, or at least its memory from oblivion? Is it said that the evangelists, after compiling their own gospels, to give them greater currency and authority, destroyed their materials? This is accusing the sacred historians of a vanity and worldly ambition, utterly at variance with their well-known characters as self-denying and devoted Christian ministers and martyrs.
We would again ask, who could have been the author or authors of the document or documents thus used? Who could have been qualified to furnish Matthew, one of Christ's immediate disciples and constant followers, with his materials? Was it one of the four earliest apostles? We have a gospel by John; and, if Simon, Andrew, or James had undertaken a similar work, we see no reason why it should not have been transmitted to posterity in its original form, under the author's
We would also submit to the advocates of Eichhorn's theory, how far it is reconcilable with the following clause of St. Luke's proem: "Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me, also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write," &c.
2. Another class of hypotheses rests on the idea that the first three evangelists copied from each other. The number of actual theories of this class hardly falls short of that which is arithmetically possible; nor can it interest our readers to know by what names illustrious in critical science each has been maintained. It is easy, however, to show that this whole class of theories is untenable.
Ilagidorav, a word usually employed to indicate oral tradition.
For, first, it is inconceivable that either of the other two should have copied from Matthew; else they would surely have adopted his order of events as on the authority of an eyewitness. Especially would Luke have done this, as he professes to write, not what he knew by his own observation, but what he had heard from eyewitnesses. There are also several discrepancies between Matthew and the others, which set aside the supposition that his Gospel could have been used in the composition of theirs. Thus Matthew mentions two Gadarene demoniacs; Mark and Luke but one; - Matthew speaks of two blind men; Mark and Luke of but one, cured by Jesus in the environs of Jericho. Moreover, had Luke known of the existence of Matthew's Gospel, he would not have thought it necessary to write one of his own. He evidently regards the narratives of Christ's life, with which he was already acquainted, as void of authority and unworthy of trust, and most manifestly implies in his proem that their extreme faultiness was the chief motive which impelled him to the preparation of his Gospel, as the only means whereby Theophilus "might know the certainty of those things of which he had heard the rumor."* Yet again, Luke in his Gospel, and especially in the Acts of the Apostles, shows himself particularly careful to designate time and place with accuracy. The latter work is written with the utmost chronographical and topographical precision. And in the former, wherever he makes mention of time and place, it is with singular definiteness and formality, as a writer who deems these things of interest and moment. Now, had he possessed Matthew's Gospel, he would most assuredly have eagerly availed himself of Matthew's indications of time and place, and thus have given the when and the where of several incidents, which he represents as having occurred on a certain day, or in a certain city.
That Matthew and Luke could not have compiled their Gospels from Mark's, is evident from the far greater reach and compass of information which their Gospels manifest, and also from the entire ignorance of the existence of an authoritative history of Jesus, which Luke's proem implies.
It is impossible that Luke's Gospel should have been used by the others for purposes of compilation; for there are many
* Thus I am inclined to render xarnxdns.
3D S. VOL. IV. NO. I.
events and parables of the most intensely interesting character which Luke alone gives us, which it is absolutely inconceivable that any compiler from him should have omitted. Indeed, no one can compare the three without feeling convinced that Luke enjoyed sources of information, to which Matthew and Mark had neither direct nor indirect access.
3. We come now to the more plausible supposition that the evangelists wrote from memory, (i. e. from their own or that of others,) and independently of each other. That they wrote from memory is rendered probable by the habits of the age in which they lived. The art of writing was not commonly employed then, as now, in taking contemporaneous notes of speeches and events. But the memory received a proportionally greater cultivation than at present; so that in profane authors we read of many feats of memory, resting on undoubted authority, but which it almost shakes our faith in history to peruse. Especially unfrequent must the habit of writing have been in the class of society to which the apostles and first disciples belonged; and perhaps an absolute ignorance of the art may have been the reason why so many of the twelve have left us no records or epistles. Nor, supposing them to have been ready and apt writers, is it in the least probable that, while with Christ, on their numerous journeys, voyages, and flights, they had writing materials constantly at hand, and that, the moment their Master began to converse, they assumed the attitude of students in a lecture-room. The circumstances under which Christ's discourses were uttered, were generally such, as would produce a deep impression upon the minds of the hearers, and tend to engrave the speaker's words on their memories. Discourses, delivered in the form of parables, would have been committed to memory with much greater ease than others; nor is it improbable that this was one of the reasons why Jesus so often employed a figurative form of speech. Then, as the discourses transmitted to us are very few, even for the short period of the Saviour's ministry, we may suppose that the more important were frequently repeated in substance at least.
But if, after all, we find it hard to believe the ordinary exercise of memory adequate to the composition of the Gospels, we have only to recur to the Saviour's promise: [The holy spirit] "shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said to you."
That the Gospels were written from memory, (i. e. from the memory of Matthew himself and of Mark's and Luke's informants,) would appear from the verbal variations in the discourses which are common to the three, variations precisely such in kind and in degree, as we should suppose would exist in the accounts of three men, each of whom taxed his recollection to the utmost for an exact transcript of the speaker's language; but so unessential and trivial, that we can hardly suppose them intentional deviations from a common document.
Another reason for believing that the evangelists wrote independently alike of a common document and of each other's Gospels, is, that many of their several additions, omissions, and modifications are easily accounted for on that ground, and can be on that ground alone. They write discriminatingly, and carefully adapt their narratives to those for whom they were intended. Thus Luke, preparing his Gospel for a heathen reader, in speaking of Satan, uses a caution, (which Matthew, who wrote for the Jews, doubtless deemed superfluous,) in guarding against the doctrine of an independent evil principle: "All these things will I give thee, for that is delivered unto me." Luke, writing for one not resident in Palestine, defines places and dates (when he does not appear entirely ignorant of them) with more accuracy than either Matthew or Mark. Matthew, writing for the benefit of his own countrymen, holds forth to their view Christ's denunciation of future calamity to the Jewish nation, and gives in full his harshest censures upon the Scribes and Pharisees, while Mark, writing (as venerable tradition informs us) for the church at Rome, where a disposition to insult and oppress the Jews was prevalent, very judiciously omits a large portion of this denunciation and rebuke. This certainly seems like the conduct of independent historians, who had at their own command and in their own minds the resources from which they were to draw, and who felt that they were not tampering with foreign materials.
But we have as yet assigned no adequate cause for the singular verbal coincidence between the first three Gospels. To account for this, let us advert, for a moment, to the circumstances of the infant church, immediately after the Saviour's ascension. The apostles and more intimate disciples remained together at Jerusalem for nearly three years. They met almost daily at each other's residences, for mutual exhortation and religious exercises. Matthew was of course there; Mark's
mother's house seems to have been one of their usual places of assembly; and that Luke was also with them is rendered probable by the unanimous tradition which represents him to have been a very early convert, and by the graphic style, like that of an eyewitness, in which he depicts the doings of the day of Pentecost. The chief business of their meetings was undoubtedly discoursing to their own company, to the inhabitants of the city, and to the strangers who visited it at the great festivals, concerning all that Jesus said or did while on earth. They must have dwelt principally on what transpired in Galilee, as their hearers had enjoyed the means of knowing what had occurred at Jerusalem. In their long residence together, their modes of representing the history of Jesus would have naturally acquired an almost perfect uniformity, especially as the eleven doubtless strove, by a minute comparison of their several reminiscences, to fix every circumstance, however trivial, and to reproduce, word for word, the discourses as they were originally uttered. Thus in the course of these three years would have sprung up an oral Gospel, common to the eleven as its joint authors, having Galilee for its principal theatre, which would have been indelibly impressed, in almost identical terms, on the memories of all who uttered and heard it. Of this oral Gospel we may regard our first three Gospels, so far as their records go along together, as three separate transcripts from memory; and their coincidences and discrepancies are just such in nature and degree as we should expect to find in three such transcripts. Matthew, we have remarked, deviates farther from Mark and Luke than they do from each other; and we should naturally expect that he would deviate farther than they from the oral Gospel of the eleven, as, in committing it to writing, he would have constantly corrected it by reference to his own original and ineffaceable impressions. For the parts peculiar to him, we need refer only to his superior opportunities of knowledge as an apostle. Mark's narrative we may refer entirely to the oral Gospel of the eleven as its source.
Luke must have had sources of information peculiar to himself, sources to which even Matthew had not access. He must manifestly have had an intimate acquaintance with the family connexions of Jesus, from whom alone he could have received most of the incidents recorded in his first two chapters. We are much inclined to believe that he was the companion of Cleopas or Alpheus on the walk to Emmaus. This walk he