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infancy of Jesus, like many other later commentators, when they find themselves unable to elucidate the text, he has entirely omitted those parts of the two histories; and begins, where the original writing of Luke certainly began, with the preaching and baptism of John. For the same reason, as it is impossible to make the conclusions of those two Gospels harmonize together, this compiler abruptly broke off his history, at the eighth verse of the last chapter; and the twelve following verses, which are compiled partly from Luke and Matthew, and still more from the Gospel attributed to John, not having been found in the earliest and best copies of this work, are undoubtedly the addition of some still later hand, who has betrayed himself, by inadvertently making his addition expressly contradict the author whom he personated ; for, in conformity to Matthew's Gospel, which he transcribed from, the pretended Mark, in the seventh verse, makes the angel order the two women to tell his disciples to go into Galilee, and there they should see him; but this Gospel-finishing copyist, at the ninth verse, begins a distinct history of our Lord's resurrection, different from that related six or seven verses before ; and informs us, that instead of their seeing him in Galilee, he appeared ut Jerusalem, to Mary Magdalene, in one form; to two of the disciples, who were walking into the country, in another form, and afterwards, at Jerusalem again, (he does not say, whether in a third form or not) “to
all the eleven, as they sat at meat."
In enumerating the names of the twelve Apostles, in chap. iii. it is observable, that, though this writer has followed the Gospel called Matthew's, in making the Apostle Andrew, brother to Simon Peter, he has placed the name of Andrew, not second, but fourth in the list, as he stands in that given us by Luke, in Acts i.; which, since this writer has al. most always transcribed literally from the Gospel of Matthew or Luke, affords great reason to think, that, in his copy of Luke, Andrew stood there, in that order, at the time of his writing. Yet he also shews his entire igno. rance, that the Apostle James was the brother of the Lord Jesus, by calling him the son of Zebedee, and John, his brother; so that it is plain, he could be no writer of the Apostolic age.
In a book, which contains but a very few sentences, that are not directly copied from the two other Gospels, or close imitations of
them,* there can be but very little, peculiar to the author, to remark upon. One of these few passages is a parable, c. iv. v. 26, &c. which, though the hint is obviously taken from that of Matthew, of the wheat and tares, as it is here stated, is entirely this author's. He has kept clear of the solecism in the beginning, customary with the pretended Mat-, thew ; and uses the words kingdom of God, in the same sense with Luke; but with what
propriety can it be said, that the conversion of mankind to the religion of the Gospel, is as imperceptible and unaccountable, as the vegetation of plants from seed ? Was it not the reasonable and visible effects of the miracles and doctrines of its first preachers, which produced a conviction of its truth and divine authority ? And if the harvest here represents the day of judgment, as in the Gospel of Matthew, (which, without doubt, the author intended) the insinuation, that that day would take place, as soon as the state of mankind, under the influence of the Gospel, is maturely accomplished, is equally repugnant to common sense and reason, and to the
• According to the tables of Ammianus, there are but twenty passages of any kind, in the whole Gospel, which are peculiar to this writer.
clearest and most expressive prophecies of the New Testament:
II. In the sixth chapter, verse 13, this writer tells us, without the least warrant from his originals, Luke and Matthew, that when our Lord sent out the twelve Apostles, with miraculous power, to cure diseases, they anointed the sick they healed, with oil. Now, since the very intent of these miraculous cures was to convince the Jews who beheld them, in a way peculiarly adapted to the kind, benevolent genius of the Gospel, of the supernatural interposition of the Deity, in favour of the new religion they announced ; every application, though of the most simple kind, must necessarily tend to counteract the belief of the miracle, and afford ground for suspicion, that the cure was effected by some medical virtue of the oil they used, not by the immediate power of God; and therefore, as no such application is ever said to have been used by our Saviour, or any of his disciples, in either of Luke's histories, it is in the highest degree improbable, that any
such unction was ever used by them; and the very mention of such a circumstance in this Gose pel, and in the Epistle attributed to James, affords a very strong presumptive proof, that neither of the writers lived in the Apostolic age; but that, they both wrote in the second century, when the preachers of Christianity, no longer having the miraculous gift of healing, yet pretending to possess it, conscious that no effect would be produced upon the patient, by their word or touch, introduced the formal ceremony of anointing with oil, accompanied by the united prayer of the Presbytery; and if, as, no doubt, sometimes happened, the sick person recovered, the cure was attributed to the miraculous efficacy of the pious, greasy ritual, which, that it might not be deemed, in any case absolutely ineffectual, whenever the patient died, was transferred to the next world, to secure his eternal salvation there ; for which purpose alone, under the title of extreme unction, it is still used by the most perfectly and most consistently orthodox Church in Christendom.