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very same thing, that it commenced with the account of the Baptisin of John : for he tells Theophilus, that to the end he might know the certainty of the doctrine in which he had been instructed, having diligently investigated every circumstance from the very first, after the example of many others, he had written for him a regular narration of those things, of which they had received a full assurance, hav, ing been taught them by those, who from the beginning were eye-witnesses, and were made ministers of the Christian doctrine, tliat is, by the Apostles. Now it is evident that the beginning and the very first, here alluded to, must be the public preaching and baptism of John, not only because that is the æra of the Christian instruction determined by the Apostles themselves, as hath been before remarked, from their election of Matthias and their own preaching recorded in the Acts ; but also because the full assurance of the disciples here mentioned, depended upon
the circumstance of their teachers having been eye-witnesses of the facts they taught; and since, before the mission of the Baptist, the Apostles were all strangers both to John and Jesus, they could not have been eye-witnesses of any fact antecedent to it, nor, of course,
to any thing related in those two first chapters. As to the fundamental article of the faith of the church of Constantine, the miraculous conception of Jesus, it is not capable of being assured by the testimony of any eyewitness whatsoever.
There is also another unaccountable inconsistency between the story of the miraculous conception, and the subsequent history of Luke, as it now stands; I mean, the genea. logy of Jesus to prove his lineal descent from David and Abraham: for it is the genealogy of Joseph, which indeed, if Jesus be allowed to be his natural born son, and the genealogy to be a correct one, would answer the purpose of proving him to be, in that respect, the object of the prophecies concerning the family of the Messiah contained in the Pentateuch. and the book of Psalms; but if his miraculous birth related in the first chapter be admitted, he was no more the son of Joseph than of Pontius Pilate; and to answer any, even the sophistical purpose of a polemic divine on the occasion, the writer should have given us the genealogy of Mary, and not of Joseph. Such a genealogy, however, derived from the female line, could not have been allowed by any Jew, norindeed by any unprejudiced person;
for in every country, and more especially where a plurality of wives is customary, as in Judea, men being at liberty to marry women, not only of any family, but of any nation, were the caprice of deriving a genealogy from the female instead of the male to be indulged, the same man's children might be proved to be of different families, and perhaps of different nations, and the confusion of pedigrees would be inexplicable. By taking the mother's side at Obed, David's grandfather, David, and consequently his descendant, the Messiah, might be proved to be a Moabite, the offspring of the incestuous bed of Lot, instead of being proved an Israelite, the lineal, legitimate son of Abraham: for which reason, even the genealogy attributed to Matthew is the genealogy of Joseph, not of Mary. However, this additional contradictory circumstance is not much to be insisted on, because it must be frankly confessed, that there is room for doubts likewise about the authenticity of this genealogy; for from the second letter of Paul to Timothy, compared with Luke's own history of the Apostles, it appears that Luke was the constant, faithfully attached disciple, friend, and companion, of Paul; and therefore it is most probable he
had approved and adopted the same precepts and instructions, which Paul urged upon his other disciples; and, in his first letter to Timothy, we find Paul earnestly dissuading him from giving heed to endless genealogies, as furnishing matter of dispute and vain jangling, rather than Godly, edifying, and Christian charity. There is, therefore, very strong reason to believe that the genealogy was not contained in the original history as written by Luke. In the list of the twelve apostles, also given ch. vi. 13, compared with that which the author has given us in his second history, i. 13, there is a perturbation of the order of their enumeration, evidently occasioned by a similar interpolation from the Gospel according to Matthew, with what we have seen was practised respecting the Lord's Prayer, in order to make Luke agree with the pretended Matthew, in asserting the Apostle Andrew to be Simon Peter's brother. Although from the whole tenor of Luke's history of Peter, in both his books, it plainly appears, that he had no brother; and that between him and Andrew, there was no domestic connexion of any kind. But of this, more when we come to the Gospel of Matthew. There are also two or three other passages of little moment, not mentioned on this occasion, of which, from some suspicious circumstances attending them, or from their abrupt incoherence with both the preceding and following sentences, one is tempted to exclaim, assuitur pannus ! This savours much of a patch tacked on by some interpolating copyist of the second century !