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were certainly first in order of time; and for making them the standard of comparison between the several Evangelical histories. We will begin therefore with the Gospel according to Luke; and examine the internal evidence which it affords of its own, 'or of the authenticity of the others.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE.
presents itself to our observation in this Gospel, is the style and language in which it is written ; which in both Luke's histories is, in
general, not only pure and unexceptionable, but the diction and composition of the parables and speeches recorded by him, are so just and elegant, that, independently of the subjects on which he writes, as hath before been remarked by much abler critics, he well deserves to be reckoned amongst the fine writers of the Greek language. But the founders of the orthodox faith of the second century, were so ready at interpolating genuine, as well as at forging spurious writings, that we must not take it for granted, that the whole of what is received as Luke's histories, is in every part and passage. just what he
wrote. I have already mentioned one famous passage, respecting a paradise, and the reasons why I think it a manifest interpolation. There are also some others, in each of his histories, which are liable to much reasonable distrust. Such, for instance, in his Gospel, is the story of the demoniac possessed by a legion of demons, who petitioned and were permitted to enter into the herd of swine ; and, in the Acts of the Apostles, the passage which says, that diseases and lunacies were cured by handkerchiefs or aprons brought from Paul's body. In the first, there is every circumstance of improbability, and of inconsistency with the rest of the history, that can well be imagined; for Luke repeatedly speaks of what was then called by the ignorant, superstitious vulgar, being possessed of demons, and in more modern terms, being bewitched, as bodily diseases, which they undoubtedly were, and calls, what was termed casting out the demon, healing the patient; the exclamations therefore recorded by him in other cases, were evidently the ravings of the lunatics; and no preternatural cause of the disease is insinuated as subsisting, and acting, after the cure was effected: but in this story of the demoniac of Gadara, the man is
said, not, as when other demonjacs are menu tioned, to have an unclean spirit, but, to have many demons. These demons also, al agents, quite distinct from the man, hol converse with Jesus, and, having obtained his permission, enter into and destroy an whole herd of swine.
Strong objections to the veracity of this story have been frequently urged, both from the great improbability of Jewish people keeping herds of swine, and from the universally benevolent, instead of injurious character, of our Lord himself : but there appear to occur still stronger objections against it, from the history itself; and such as may well warrant a conclusion, that the whole
passage was interpolated in the second century. For in the preceding part of Luke's narrative, we find our Lord was at Capernaum, on the western side of the Lake or Sea of Galilee; and, in the eighth chapter, he takes ship with his disciples, to go unto the other side of the Lake, without doubt, to preach the Gospel to those parts of Palestine which were situated on the eastern side; but, according to this most extraordinary story of the demoniac and the herd of swine, almost as soon as he was landed on the eastern shore, the Gada, renes, terrified and alarmed by the injurious though miraculous destruction of their swine, entreated him to leave their coasts: and he accordingly went up into the ship, and returned back again to Capernaum. In Galilee, therefore, on the western side of the Lake, he ought to be found in the following part of the history ; yet, in the very next chapter, we are plainly told, without the slightest insinuation of his haying crossed the Lake again, that he was on the eastern side of the Lake; for from thence he sent out his twelve Apostles, and thither they returned to him again: because, immediately on their return, he tools them aside into a desert place belonging to the city Bethsaida, which we learn from Josephus,* who, having had the command of the forces of the Jews in that district, must have been perfectly acquainted with the situation of every town upon the Lake, was on the eastern sidef of the Sea of Galilee. If then this very exceptionable miracle be an interpolation, and not part of the original writing of Luke, the narrative proceeds consistently and regularly: but if it be taken as authentic, there is such a geographical confusion