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12. Those puissions are no reflection upon the writer, nor any disparagem.ǝnt to his history. The proper deduction to be made by us is this: we hereby perceive, that it was not the design of St. Lukė, to aggrandize Peter, or Paul, or any of the apostles, nor to write their lives : but to record the evidences of our Saviour's resurrection, and to write a history of the first preaching and planting the christian religion in the world. This design he has admirably executed : and having filled
up his plan, he concluded. 13. However, undoubtedly, many things are omitted by St. Luke: some of which we may learn froin St. Paul's epistles. I shall observe some omissions.
14. St. Luke has not, in the course of his history, mentioned the writing of any of St. Paul's epistles. It is probable, that he was at Corinth when the apostle wrote thence his large epistle to the Romans. Nevertheless he takes not any notice of it, nor of the epistles written by St. Paul at Rome, when he certainly was with him, nor indeed of any other. By comparing the epistles themselves, and St. Luke's history of the apostle in the Acts, we are enabled to trace the time and place of divers of those epistles : but they are no where particularly mentioned by the historian.
15. In Acts ix. 19—26. St. Luke, after the account of St. Paul's conversion, speaks of his being at Damascus, and his preaching there, and of the opposition, which he there met with from the Jews, and his escape thence, and then going to Jerusalem. But St. Paul, Gal. i. 17, 18. informs us, that after his conversion he went into Arabia, and then returned to Damascus : and that three years passed between his conversion and his going to Jerusalem. This is an instructive instance: for the omission is certain, and undoubted. I am of opinion, that St. Luke did not omit the journey into Arabia, because he did not know of it: but designedly, and because he did not judge it necessary to be mentioned. Jerom · has taken particular notice of the omission of that journey into Arabia.
16. Like omissions are in St. Luke's gospel. I shall take notice of two.
1.). Having given the history of our Lord's presentation at the temple, he says, ch. ii. 39. “ And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.” Nevertheless, I think the holy family did not go directly from Jerusalem to Nazareth, but to Bethlehem. There, as I suppose, our Lord received the homage of the Magians. And afterwards, to avoid the persecution of Herod, they removed thence to Egypt, and then returned to Nazareth. All which is recorded Matt. ii. 1–13.
The visit of the Magians must have been after the presentation at the temple. If it had been before, and if they had presented “their gifts, gold, and frankincense, and myrrh :” mentioned Matt. ii. 11. Mary would not have made the lesser offering for her purification, mentioned Luke ii. 23, 34. Nor could the child Jesus have been safely brought to Jerusalem, or such notice have been taken of him at the temple, as St. Luke particularly relates, ch. ii. 25–38, if “ Herod and all Jerusalem," had been just before alarmed by the inquiries of the Magians: “ Where is he that is born king of the Jews?” Matt. ï. 1, 2. Omitting therefore all those things, St. Luke says, as above observed, and afterwards they returned to Nazareth, the place of their usual abode: which is agreeable to Matt. ii. 22, 23.
2.) Another thing observable is, that all our Saviour's appearances to his disciples, after his resurrection, recorded by St. Luke, ch. xxiv. were at Jerusalem, or near it. He takes not any notice of our Saviour's meeting the disciples in Galilee, so particularly mentioned Matt. xxvii. 7, and Mark xvi. 7. St. John also, ch. xxi. 1—23, speaks of our Saviour's showing himself to the disciples at “ the sea of Tiberias.” And St. Paul assures us, that our Lord was seen of above five hundred brethren at once," 1 Cor. xv. 6; which, probably, was in the same country. And though at the beginning of his book of the Acts, St. Luke resumes the account of our Saviour's showing himself to the disciples after his resurrection, there is nothing more about Galilee, than in the former relation. Insomuch, that, if we had St. Luke's histories only, we might have been apt to conclude, that all the appearances of our Saviour to his disciples were at Jerusalem, or near it, and no where else.
17. St. Paul's epistles inform us of many things omitted by St. Luke. But we should have
• Lucam vero idcirco de Arabiâ præterisse, quia forsitan in Arabiâ fuerit; sed quod aliqua dispensatio et Dei prenibil dignum apostolatu in Arabiâ perpetrârat ; et ea potius ceptum fuerit, ut taceret. Hier. in Ep. ad Gal. cap. i. T. IV. coinpendiosa narratione dixisse, quæ digna Christi evangelio p. 235. sidebantur. Nec hoc segnitiæ Apostoli deputandum, si frustra
known many more, if we had had a parallel historian. A comparison of St. Luke's history of our Saviour, with that of the other evangelists, may assure of this.
18. In the eleventh chapter of the second epistle to the Corinthians, St. Paul mentions divers visions and revelations, with which he had been favoured: but St. Luke has not taken notice of any of them. St. Paul in his speech to the people at Jerusalem, recorded by St. Luke, Acts xxii. 17, mentions a trance which he had in the temple. But St. Luke has no where told us the exact time of it; nor has he otherwise mentioned it.
19. I do not think that these things were omitted by St. Luke, because St. Paul concealed them from him; or because by some other means he was unacquainted with the time and place of them: but it was a regard to brevity that induced him to pass them over. They were not necessary to be inserted in his history: without them he has recorded sufficient attestations of Paul's apostolical authority, and of the truth and divine original of the doctrine taught by him.
20. Says St. Paul, unwillingly, and constrained by the disadvantageous insinuations and charges of self-interested and designing men. 2 Cor. xi. 23. “ Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool:) I am more. In labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.”
" In prisons more frequent.” Therefore before writing this epistle, in the year 57, Paul had been imprisoned several times: though St. Luke has mentioned before this time one imprisonment only, which was at Philippi. Acts xvi. 23—40.
Acts xvi. 23—40. Upon which Estius a observes, that Paul did and suffered many things not mentioned in the Acts. And Rom. xvi. 7. “ Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow-prisoners...who also were in Christ before me.” Paul was not a prisoner when he wrote the epistle to the Romans, in the beginning of the year 58. But he had been in prison before with those two early Christians, his relations : but where, or when, we cannot exactly say.
21. Ver. 24. “ Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.” Nevertheless St. Luke has not mentioned one of those times. Estius conjectures that · Luke omitted these, and many other things, because he was not with the apostle when they happened, and Paul out of modesty forbore to tell him of them. I rather think that Luke was fully acquainted with Paul's history: but he aimed at brevity, and judged the things mentioned by him to be sufficient.
22. Ver. 25. “ Thrice was Î beaten with rods:” meaning, I suppose, by Roman magistrates. But St. Luke has mentioned one instance only of this; which was at Philippi, when Paul and Silas both underwent this hard usage. Acts xvi. 19–40. Of this likewise Estius has taken notice in his Commentary.
“Once was I stoned.” undoubtedly meaning at Lystra in Lycaonia, as related by St. Luke Acts xiv. 19, 20.
“ Thrice I have suffered shipwreck.” St. Luke has recorded but one instance, which was not until after this time, in the apostle's voyage from Judea to Rome: Acts xxvii. which therefore must have been the fourth.
“ A night and a day have I been in the deep.” At one of those times I escaped with the utmost difficulty, by getting on a plank, and floating in the sea a night and a day, or a whole day of four and twenty hours.
23. Ver. 26. “ In journeyings often, in perils of waters," or rather “ rivers.” Which are sometimes very dangerous. “But St. Luke has not recorded any dangers of the apostle upon rivers, either in crossing them, or sailing upon them.
24. Says Tillemont, in his life of St. Paul: • The f greatest part of interpreters think, that St. Paul made no voyages, but those which are taken notice of in the Acts......Nevertheless we
· De Paulo autem incarcerato ante hanc epistolam, in Actis Apostolorum* non legimus quidem, nisi cap. xvi. ubi a Philippensibus in carcerem missus legitur. Sed permulta Paulus et fecit et passus est, quæ in Actis non scribuntur. Est, ad 2 Cor. xi. 23.
• Porro concaptivos intellige, quod aliquando communia cum Paulo vincula pro Christo passi fuissent
Ubi tamen, aut quando factum sit, ignoratur. Est. ad Rom. xvi. 7.
• Sed cur Lucas in Actis ne unius quidem flagellationis ex quinque meminit? Ideo videlicet, quod de Paulo pene ea sola, quibus ipse præsens fuit, sigillatim recenseat; alia vero vel silentio pertranseat, vel summatim ac breviter referat. ...
Qua in re notanda humilitas Pauli, qui suas tot et tam graves pro Christo passiones Lucæ comiti suo non apernerit, ne hic quidem recitaturus, nisi coëgisset eum amor salutis Corinthiorum. Id. ib. ad ver. 24.
d 'Ter virgis cæsus sum'-a Gentilibus. Erat enim Romanis consuetudo virgis cædere nocentes.... Forro Lucas tantum semel meminit hujus contumeliæ Paulo illatæ, scilicet Act. xvi. ubi scribit eum unâ cum Sia virgis cæsum a Philippensibus. Est in loc.
c. Periculis funinum'- quæ interdum non minus periculosa sunt navigantibus, quam mare,
Est. in loc. f Mem. Ec. T. i. St. Paul. note xviii.
• must necessarily acknowledge, that beside what St. Luke informs us of the sufferings of St. • Paul this apostle was five times, scourged by the Jews, twice beaten with rods, and thrice
shipwrecked. All this happened before he wrote his second epistle to the Corinthians; that is, • in the time of which St. Luke has written the history. Nevertheless St. Luke says nothing of • all this. It is certain therefore, that either he has omitted the circumstances of the most • remarkable events which he relates, or that St. Paul made several voyages, of which he has taken no notice.'
25. The reason of St. Luke's silence here I take to be the same as has been already assigned of his silence upon other occasions: it was not necessary that these things should be related. To have written an account of all the apostle's journies and dangers, would have rendered the work more voluminous and prolix than was judged proper. When St. Luke set about composing and publishing this book, he had all the materials before him, and his plan was formed. Agreeably to which he determined to write at large the history of St. Paul's voyage from Judea to Rome, in which are many remarkable incidents, and to omit some other of the apostle's journies and voyages: though divers of them likewise were attended with affecting circumstances.
26. The chapter, from which I have just now transcribed several things, concludes in this manner: Ver. 31-33. “ The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for evermore, knows that I lie not. In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king, kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me. And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands."
I have often reflected with great satisfaction on St. Luke's not omitting this dangerous attempt upon the apostle's liberty and life: with which himself was so much affected, and which he has here mentioned with such solemnity. The history of it may be seen in Acts ix. 23–25.
I now proceed to some other things.
27. St. Paul assures us Gal. ii. 1-3, that when he went up to Jerusalem upon occasion of the debate concerning the manner of receiving Gentile converts, he took Titụs with him: which is not said by St. Luke, Acts xv. though he gives a particular account of Paul's going from Antioch to Jerusalem upon that occasion. Nor indeed has St. Luke once mentioned Titus in his history: though St. Paul wrote an epistle to hiin, and has mentioned him several times in his epistles sent to others.
28. Gal. ii. 11–21. St. Paul speaks of Peter's being at Antioch, before he and Barnabas had separated: but St. Luke says nothing of it. Jerom, in his Commentary upon the epistle to the Galatians, says: · We are not to wonder, that Luke has taken no notice of this. For by • the usual privilege of historians he has omitted many things performed by Paul, and which we • know from himself.'
29. Rom. xvi. 3, 4. St. Paul applauds an action of great generosity in Aquila and Priscilla : but St. Luke has not informed us of the place, or occasion of it. Doubtless he did not omit it, for want of respect to those excellent Christians, whom he has mentioneel more than once, ch. xviii. 18, and 26. But that particular did not come within the compass of his design.
30. Many things, not expressly mentioned by St. Luke, may be argued and concluded to have been done, from those which he has recorded.
1.) In Acts iy. 23–30, is recorded a prayer of the apostles, in which they request, that they may be enabled to work miracles for farther confirming the doctrine taught by them. And unquestionably their prayer was heard, and their request granted, and they did work many miracles in the name of Christ, more than are related by St. Luke.
2.) Acts v. 12. “ And by the hand of the apostles were many signs and wonders done among the people:” and what follows. Whence it may be concluded that many miracles were wrought, not only by Peter and John, but also by the other apostles also, beside those which are particularly recorded. See also ch. ii. 43.
3.) Says Mr. Biscoe: • Manye and great miracles are related in the history of the Acts to a Nec mirum esse, si Lucas hanc rem tacuerit, quum et ep.vno ôn ó tauta ypaowy Asxas, [cap. ii, 43.] &Devos ezerwy. alia multa, que Paulus sustinuisse se replicat, historiographi ονομασι μνημονευει, αλλ' εκεινο γραφει μονον αφ' και παντες , licentiâ prætermiserit. In Gal. cap. ii. T. IV. p. 244. εκινηθησαν. ...η και ότι 8 κομπα χαριν η συγγραφη αυτω
u Ecumenius says, that Luke omitted many miracles AUTY ECTEČAchm. Ecum. in Act. Cap. iii. tom. i. p. 25. A. B. wrought by the Apostles, for avoiding estentation. Ilon..w • The History of the Acts confirmed. ch. si. sect. 8, p. δε θαυματων επιτελεμενων υπο των απος ολων, ως και ανωτέρω
• be wrought by St. Paul and his fellow-labourers in their preaching the gospel to the Gentiles. • And agreeably hereto St. Paul says, 2 Cor. xii.12. “ Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought
amongst you in all patience, in signs and wonders, and mighty deeds.”. And to the Romans, .ch. xv. 18, 19...... I make no doubt, says that learned writer, but the apostles wrought miracles . in every city, where they came with a view to preach the gospel, and make converts. St. • Luke is so very succinct in his history of the Acts, that he often omits them. He gives an . account of only a miracle or two wrought at Philippi in his whole account of Șt. Paul's journey from Antioch to the West, when he converted a great part of Macedonia and Achaia: though it is evident from St. Paul's own epistle, already quoted, that he at that time did many • signs and wonders at Corinth. And that he did the same at Thessalonica is not obscurely • intimated in his first epistle to the Thessalonians, ch. i. 5. We read nothing in the Acts of • the apostles of what St. Paul did in Galatia the first time, more than that he went through it. • Acts xvi. 6. And all that is added the second time he was there is, that “ he went over all the • country of Galatia, strengthening all the disciples,” ch. xviii. 23. Which indeed is an intima
tion, that the first time he was there he preached the gospel among them, and made converts. • But from his epistle to the Galatian churches it is fully evident that he wrought miracles
among them, and conferred on them gifts of the Holy Spirit. For he asks them: “ He that • ministreth to you the spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doth he it by the works of the • law, or by the hearing of faith?” Gal. iii. 5. That he means himself, is manifest from the • whole tenor of the epistle. See ch. i. 6. ch. iv. 11, 13, 14, 19.'
There follow other like observations, which I may not transcribe.
4.) Mr. Biscoe, as above, makes no doubt but the apostles wrought miracles in every city, where they came, with a view to preach the gospel, and make converts. I am of opinion, that this may be truly supposed of Paul particularly, and that it may be concluded from what St. Luke has written. For, according to him, Paul wrought miracles in Cyprus. Acts xiii. 11. at Lystra, xiv. 10. at Philippi, xvi. 16—18. See also 25, 26, and very many at Ephesús; xix. 11–17. And at Troas he raised Eutychus to life, xx. 9—12. In his voyage from Judea to Rome he wrought miracles, xxviii. 3—6, and 7-10. From these miracles, recorded by St. Luke, it may be well argued, that St. Paul wrought miracles in all, or most other places, where he went and made any stay, preaching the gospel. In particular, it may be argued, that Paul wrought miracles at Athens and at Rome. What they were we cannot say, because they have not been recorded by St. Luke, nor by any other credible writer. But that miracles were performed by the apostle in those cities, appears to me very probable.
5.) St. Lukea has not given any account of St. Paul's appearing before the emperor Nero at Rome, when he was sent thither by Festus. Nevertheless, that Paul was brought before Nero soon after his arrival at Rome, is highly probable. And though St. Luke has not expressly said so, it may be concluded from what he has said. For he has again and again sufficiently intimated that Paul was certainly to appear before the emperor, to whom he had appealed. See Acts xxv. 10, 11, 12, 21. xxvi. 32. xxvii
. 24. xxviii. 19. The apostle therefore was brought before Nero, and pleaded before him. But St. Luke forbore to give a distinct account of it, because he had already given a particular account of Paul's pleadings before Felix and Festus, and Agrippa; and from them may be concluded what was the tenor of his apology before the emperor himself.
6.) St. Paul, in his epistle to the Christians at Rome, says, ch. i. 11. “I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established.”. And ch. xv. 29.
“ I am sure, that when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.” And unquestionably, the event was agreeable to these wishes and expectations.
7.) St. Luke has not particularly recorded those things in his history: but from what he has said they may be inferred. Says our historian. Acts xxviii. 13—16. “And we came the next day to Puteoli. Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days. And so we went toward Rome. And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us, as far as Appii Forum, and the three taverns. Whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage. And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to
• Mirum, quod Lucas bic nullam faciat mentionem primæ defensionis Pauli, de quâ ipse 2 Tim. iv. quam factam fuisse primo anno, quo Romam venit, non dubitandum. Est. ad Act. xxviii. 30.
the captain of the guard. But Paul was suffered to dwell by himself, with a soldier that kept him. And ver. 30. “ Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house."
8.) From the things here said it may be fairly concluded, that during the apostle's stay at Rome, there was a very delightful communication of civil and religious offices between him and the believers there, according to the abilities and the exigences of each. Before he left Rome, the Philippians seem to have sent him a supply by Epaphroditus. Philip. iv. 10–18. But it may be well supposed, that the price of his lodging, and the expenses of his maintenance, were provided for, chiefly, by the Christians, whom he found at Rome, when he came thither, and by the converts, which he made afterwards. The soldiers likewise, who by turns attended upon him, would expect to be considered, if they carried it civilly toward their prisoner. All which, we may suppose, was taken care of by the good Christians at Rome: who, as St. Luke assures us, went out to meet him, and conducted him into the city.
CHA P. IX.
ST. JOHN, APOSTLE AND EVANGELIST.
I. His History from the N. T. II. His Age. III. When he left Judea, to go to Ephesus.
IV. His History from ecclesiastical Writers. V. The Time, when he was banished into Patmos. VI. How long he was there. VII. Testimonies of ancient Writers to his Gospel. VIII. Opinions of learned Moderns concerning the Time when this Gospel was written. IX. An Argument, to prove, that it was written before the Destruction of Jerusalem. X. Objections considered. XI. Observations upon this Gospel.
OHN was the son of Zebedee, a fisherman upon the sea of Galilee, probably of the town of Bethsaida, and Salome. John was the younger brother: for James is always mentioned first, except in Luke ix. 28, and John is generally reckoned the youngest of all Christ's disciples.
Though Zebedee was by trade a fisherman, he needs not be reckoned poor: for, as St. Mark has particularly observed, he was not only master of a boat, and nets, but had “ hired servants, ch. i. 20. Moreover, we may recollect what Peter said to Christ, who also had been a fisherman upon the same sea: “ We have left all, and followed thee,” Matt. xix. 27. They left their employments
, by which they gained a subsistence: and for the present there was self-denial in their attendance upon Jesus.
It is not unlikely, that Zebedee died not long after these two brothers were called to be apostles. However, the circumstances of the family may be collected from what is said of their mother, who is mentioned Matt. xxvii. 55, and Mark xv. 40, among “ those women, who followed Jesus out of Galilee, and ministred unto him.” That ministry is described, Luke viii. 3. To which might be added, that she is mentioned among those women that bought sweet spices to embalm the body of Jesus, Mark xvi. 1. Luke xxiii. 55. And our Lord, having recommended his mother to this disciple, it is said, that “ he took her to his own home, John xix. 27.
If Salome was related to our Lord in the manner supposed by • Theophylact, or some other way, with which we are not distinctly acquainted, that may have been, in part, the ground and
• Zebedæum gente Galilæum fuisse, ex loco .commorationis circa lacum Gennesareth, suspicamur. Incertius autem, Bethsaïdensem pronuntiare, ut plerique faciunt; cum id nitatur taptum testimonio Evangelii, sociis Andrex ac Petro hoc oppidum adsignantis. Neque tamen argumenta ad manus
sunt, quibus vulgatam hanc opinionem impugnemus. Lampe. Prolegom. in Johan.
Compare Matt. xxvii. 56, with Mark xv. 40, and xvi. I.
So Matt. iv. 21. ch. . 2. Mark i. 19. ch. ïïi17. ch. x. 35. Luke v. 10. Acts i. 13.
See thisVol. p. 87