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in their place in the Jewish Wars*. Suetonius, Tacitus, Dio Cassius, -have, all three, written of the reign of Tiberius. Each has mentioned many things omitted by the restt, yet no objection is from thence taken to the respective credit of their histories. We have in our own times, if there were not something indecorous in the comparison, the life of an eminent person, written by three of his friends, in which there is very great variety in the incidents selected by them; fome apparent, and perhaps some real contradi&tions; yet without any impeachment of the subftantial truth of their accounts, of the authenticity of the books, of the competent information or general fidelity of the writers.
But these discrepancies will be still more numerous, when men do not write histories but memoirs; which is perhaps the true name and proper description of our Gospels : that is, when they do not undertake, or ever meant to deliver, in order of time, a regular
* Lard. part i. vol. ii. p. 735, et seq. ^ Ib. p. 743. U 3
and complete account of all the things of importance, which the person, who is the subject of their history, did or faid; but only, out of many similar, ones, to give such palfages, op such actions and discourses as offered themselyes more immediately to their at tention, came in the way of their enquiries, occurred to their recollection, or were sugo gested by their particular design at the time of writing,
This particular design may appear fometimes, but not always, nor often; Thus I think that the partiçular design which St. Matthew had in view whilft he was writing the history of the resușrection, was to attest the faithful performance of Chrift's promifę to his discipleg to go before them into Galileę; because he alone, except Mark, who seems to have taken it from him, has record, ed this promise, and he alone has confined his narrative to that single appearance to the disciples which fulfilled it. It was the preconcerted, the great and most public manifeftation of our Lord's person. It was the
thing which dwelt upon St. Matthew's mind,
prior to the appearance in Galilee. “ He
ap. peared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country; and they went and told it unto the residue, neither believed they them: afterwards he appeared unto the eleven, as they fat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief, because they believed not them that had seen him after he was risen.
Probably the fame observation, concerna ing the particular design which guided the hiftorian, may be of use in comparing many other passages of the Gospels.
Erroneous Opinions imputed to the
A Species of candóür which is shewn towards every other book, is sometimes reful ed to the Scriptures ; and that is, the placing of a distinction between judgement and testimony. We do not usually question the credit of a writer, by reason of any opis nion he may have delivered upon subjects unconnected with his evidence, and even upon subjects connected with his account, or mixed with it in the same discourse or writing, we naturally separate facts from opinions, testimony from observation, narrative from argument,
To apply this equitable consideration to the Christian records, much controversy and much obje&tion has been raised concerning