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The twenty-fourth chapter is one entire long prophecy concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, and, as the author expresses it, the end of the world, composed of two separate prophecies of that event recorded by Luke, with a few alterations and additions. From some of these, one is led to think, the author must have intended to allude to the final day of judgment; but since he has adopted the very words of Luke, that the
generation living in our Saviour's time should. not pass away till all those predictions were fulfilled, we must suppose him to mean only the destruction and desolation of Jerusalem and the Jewish nation, and the commencement of the end of the world, as signifying the last dispensation of the New Covenant of the Gospel, by the actual abolition of the Old Covenant of Moses. But then one addition which he has made to these prophecies is manifestly false; for he says, v. 14, “This Gos
pel of the kingdom shall be preached in all " the world for a witness unto all nations, and " then shall the end come:" yet the Gospel was so far from being preached to all the nations of the world, before the destruction of Jerusalem, that there are still many amongst whom it is utterly unknown even at this day.
-At v. 9, he has directly contradicted Luke, at the time he was copying from him ; for he
that “then” (after the civil wars and great natural evils, which were to precede the destruction of Jerusalem,) 66 the Christians “should be persecuted, killed, and universally “ hated;" all which our Lord, according to Luke, expressly said would come to pass, before all these things: and the whole Christian history demonstrates that the fact was as he has stated the prediction.-There is also another remarkable difference between these two writers in stating this prophecy: Luke informs us, that our Lord told his disciples plainly, that they needed not apprehend the ruin of the Jewish nation, at the beginning of the insurrections and wars in Palestine, for it would be some years afterwards before that calamity would take place; but that when they should see Jerusalem itself invested with armies, then the fatal period was arrived, and they should lose no time in saving themselves from the general ruin, by a speedy flight out of the devoted country; and there is every reason to believe, that the Christians actually profited by this plain and timely admonition: but this writer makes our Lord tell them to flee out of Judea, when they shall see the abomin nation of desolation spoken of by Daniel stand in the holy place ; words to them absolutely unintelligible without an expla ation, and which must, therefore, have rendered the prophetic warning entirely useless to them. And what could the author mea’ı by adding, v. 22, that,
except those days should be shortened, so there should no flesh be saved; but that for " the elect's sake those days should be shorten6 ed ?" To what circumstances, in the destruca tion of Jerusalem and the ruin of the Jewish nation, can such a sentence refer?
GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MARK.
LET us next examine what internal evi
ET us next examine what internal evi
dence of authenticity is to be found in the Gospel according to Mark; and compare that also with the Evangelical history of Luke. This is the more necessary, because the author himself no where pretends to be Mark; and nothing can be slighter or less satisfactory than the external testimony or historic evidence in its favour; as every candid inquirer will be convinced, who attentively peruses the collection of those testimonies prefixed to the best editions of this Gospel, the chief of which, respecting a revelation to Peter of Mark's having written it, &c. are manifestly fabulous.
If we pursue the plan adopted with the two others, and begin by examining the style in which this history is composed, we shall
find it, with a very few exceptions, and no. greater alterations than modern harmonists and paraphrasers make in these books every day, compiled entirely of passages copied, often literally, either from the Gospel called Matthew's, or Luke's. It is certain, therefore, that whoever the author was, he must have had both those Gospels before him, and consequently could not have written till after the former was published ; that is, if there be any force in the arguments already submitted to the reader, not sooner than the beginning of the second century. He too, like the writer called Matthew, uses several Latin words written in Greek characters, contrary to the custom of all ordinary writers in Greek, prior to the reign of Trajan. From these circumstances, it seems impossible to consider the unknown author of this Gospel, in any other light, than as the first
who attempted to harmonize the two contradictory Gospels of Matthew and Luke; and, by extracting from each what he thought the most material passages, to compose of them onę regular, consistent history of the public ministry of our Saviour.
With this view, finding it absolutely impracticable to reconcile the two genealogies and accounts of the nativity and