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I must confess that this single circumstance of the language strikes my mind so strongly, that I suspect every passage and writing, wherein it is found, to be either an interpolation or fiction of no earlier date than the middle of the second century; and, if corroborated by other circumstances of inconsistency or great improbability, it affords to me a full conviction of their spuriousness and want of apostolic authenticity. ...
If the plain, express dictates of the Lord Jesus himself could not escape free from material alterations and additions, by the pens of copyists of these books, in the third, fourth, or fifth centuries, what other parts of them can we suppose secure from their daring interpolations, whenever they hoped to serve by them the cause of their particular religious system ? Yet, that the concise, instructive formula, in which Luke tells us, he, at their own request, taught his disciples to pray to God, has been so interpolated out of the Gospel called Matthew's--the latest eminent editor of the Christian Scriptures in their original language, that learned and diligent collator, professor Griesbach, has so satisfactorily shewn, from the earliest comments upon, and the best authenticated copies of,
. Luke's Gospel now existing, that he himself has rejected the additions out of the original text of that prayer; and, in so doing, has been followed by the late learned and candid · Primate of Ireland, Archbishop Newcome,
in his English translation of the New Testament. And we now know that the Lord's Prayer, as originally recorded by this Evangelist, consisted only of the following words
Luke xi. 2–4: Father, hallowed be ihy namė. Thy kingdom come. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins ; for we forgive every one that is indebted to us, And lead us not into temptation. Now we may reasonably ask, what unprejudiced, reflecting mind does not perceive, that those interpolated words which assign a local habitation to God, in heaven, are as incon-. gruous to the attribute of omnipresence, which both reason and revelation teach us is essential to the Deity, as the insinuation that his will is not done upon earth, is to his omnipotence or wisdom? And with what propriety can men pray to God, to deliver them from evil, when, under the all-directing providence of an almighty, benevolent Being, no evil can be supposed to exist, but for the wise áyd gracious purpose of producing final good?
After so convincing a proof of the daring, unwarrantable liberties taken with this most important and sacred part of the evangelical history of Luke, for the purpose of making it more conformable to that attributed to Matthew, one sees clearly, that for the same purpose; from the fabulous fictions of the same source, Luke's history has been interpolated also, with the story of the baptism of Jesus, by John; of his forty days' fasting ; and most extraordinary kind of temptation by some powerful antagonist of omnipotence, here called the Devil; and of his transfiguration on the mountain. For it.well deserves our notice, that if we pass from the account of John's imprisonment, by Herod, Luke iii. 20, to iv. 14, and read, Then came Jesus, instead of, and Jesus returned, the histories both of John and Jesus proceed regularly and in order; and the ministry of Jesus, as is most probable, commenced upon the cessation of the Baptist's ministry, by his being shut up in prison.* But if the account of our Lord's being baptized by John were genuine, Herod's imprisoning the latter must have been related very much out of its proper order ; and Luke would have given us no date for . . . . * See Acts.x. 37... See
the commencement of our Lord's ministry, which, it was reasonably to be expected, an historian would have done, who professes to relate every thing accurately and in order, though he has been so particularly exact in fixing the date of the commencement of John's preaching. Besides, the purpose of John's mission was merely to prepare the Jews, for the reception of the Messiah and his new covenant, by preaching to them the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins ; and, to say nothing of the bodily shape like a dove, which savours strongly of the superstition of the second century, with what propriety could he, who knew no sin, receive such a baptism? or the destined Messiah attend the preaching of his own precursor, to be pre
pared by him for the coming of himself? And "what probability is there, that our Lord would have studiously avoided calling himself the Son of God, during his whole ministry; and forbidden his disciples before his
death, to announce him as such to the Jews, · if God himself had miraculously declared him to be so, by a voice from heaven, in the audience of so great a multitude ? Or how could John, after such an attestation, have ever entertained a doubt whether Jesus was
the expected Messiah ;" which, from Luke vii. 18, 19, &c. it appears he did entertain. As to the account of the transfiguration, it is so directly contradictory to the repeated doctrine of the Gospel, that Jesus was the first man whom God raised from the dead, that it cannot be a true, authentic story. For whatever may be thought of Elias, Moses, we are expressly assured, died, and was buried : if, therefore, he was alive in the reign of Tiberius, and visited our Saviour on the Mount, Moses, and not Jesus, must have been the first fruits from the dead. .. iii ;
But there is a part of the Gospel according to Luke of much greater magnitude and importance, which, from the testimony of Luke himself, as well as from the numerous circumstances of inconsistency and improbability that attend it, we need not hesitate to pronounce none of his, but the daring fiction of some of the easy working interpolators, as Origen calls them, of the beginning of the second century, from amongst the pagan converts ; who, to do honour, as they deemed it, to the author of their newly-embraced religion, were willing that his birth should, at least, equal that of the pagan heroes and Jemi-gods, Bacchus and Hercules, in its won