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On this ground he enquires, whether the gospels, compared with each other, bear any relative marks of the order, in which they were publifhed. And they appear, he thinks, to have many such, especially if the following propositions are juft.
1. The gospel, by which the expressions of another gospel are explained, and rendered either clearer in themselves, or to the converted gentiles, was the later gospel.
2. The gospel, in which the doctrine taught in another is adapted to a more enlarged state of the church, was the later gospel.
3. A gospel published among the gentiles, was later than that, which was published among the Jews.'
As a corollary to his observations on these heads, he adds, that a gospel designed to be of the most extensive benefit to the people of the Jews, must have been written in a language which was most generally understood by them. If therefore it was published in Hebrew, as the fathers teftify, for the fake of the common people of Jerusalem and Judea, it must, at the same time, or very soon afterwards, have been published also in Greek; as that was more familiar than Hebrew to a great body of the dispersion.
In the fourth discourse. he proceeds, in his manner, to evince the priority of St. Matthew, compared with St. Mark.
• Matth. iii. 6. Were baptised of him in Jordan. • Mar. i. 5. Were baptised of him in THE RIVER of Jordan.
• The addition of the word RIVER in Si. Mark may seem a Night circumstance, on which to found an argument; and yet I think it affords a strong probability, that St. Mark wrote at a distance from Judea, and not so near it as Egypt: for 1 much question whether this is not the only place, either in the Bible or Apocrypha, where this river is called any more than simply Jordan. So famous was it in Palestine, and the countries round, and among these in Egypt. But at Rome it was a name lictle kpnwn, except among the learned, till after the wars of Titus Vespasian, and the trophies erected on the conquest of Judea. And lince to be baptized in Jordan, like St. John's expression, John also was baprizing in Enon, does not of itself determine, whether a river or a place were intended, one would be' apt to suspect, that a question of this kind had been aked, and gave occasion to the inserting of the word river. Else it was extreme. ly natural for St. Mark to speak of Jordan, as all the other facred writers have done.
• Matth. ix. 14. Then came the disciples of john saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but I by disciples fast not?
• Mark ii. 18. AND THE DISCIPLES OF JOHN AND OF THB PHARISEES USED TO FAST. And they come to him and say unto
WASH THEY EAT NOT.
WASHING OF CUPS
him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharifees faft, but thy difciples faft not.
Here a little explanation is premised, but the next instance is more ftriking.
• Matth. xv. 1, 2. Then came to Jesus Scribes and Pharisees which were of Jerusalem, saying, Wby do rby difiiples transgress tbe tradition of tbe elders.
• Mark vii. 1-5. Then came together unto him the Pharisees and certain of the Scribes which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat with defiled. (THAT IS TO SAY, WITH UNWASHEN) bands, they found fault, FOR THE PHA
AND ALL THE Jews, excePT THEY HANDS OFT, BAT NOT, HOLDING THE TRADITION OF THE AND WHEN THEY COME FROM THE MARKET, EX
AND MANY OTHER THINGS 7 HERÉ BE, WHICH THEY HAVE RECEIVED TO'HOLD,
Then th: Pbarisees and Scribes asked bim, Wby walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders?
• St. Mark's narration goes hand in hand with St. Matthew's for a good way together, both in the preceding and subsequent parts; except that he has inserted this note for the sake of those who were strangers to Jewish customs ; of which there is no such explication in all St. Matthew's gospel, because they for whom he composed it did not want any.
• We meet with another little note concerning Judea in the xi. chapter of St. Mark, v. 13. where giving an account of the barren fig-tree he says, For the time of figs was not yet. St. Matthew does not make this observation, as every one who lived in that country must know, that the full season of ripe figs was not till some time after the latest passover. Compare Matth, xxi. 19.
• Matth. xv. 22. And behold a CANAANITISH woman came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him.
• Mark vii. 26. The woman was a GREEK a SYRO-PHOENICIAN by nation, and she befought him.
• Phænicia was part of ancient Canaan; but the latter name was grown into disuse. It is mentioned no where in the New Testament, except here, and Acts vii. ii. xiii. 19. where St. Stephen and St. Paul speak of remote antiquity, and speak of it to a Jewish audience. Josephus uses it only with regard to the higher ages. St. Mark therefore explains Canaantith by Syro-Phænician, which was more generally understood. By saying, that, the woman was a Greek, he means that she was not of the Jewish religion.
• As the term Canaanite was become obsolete, may we not conclude, that a translator of St. Matthew from the Hebrew would have rendered it either Syro-Phænician with St. Mark, or simply Phænician, as is often done in the Septuagint?
This therefore is one of the presumptive proofs, that the Greek
In the same manner the author endeavours to prove, that
St. Matthew, ch. iii. 3. quotes a passage from Isaias,
• St. Loke seems to have lengthened out St. Matthew's quo. tation for two reasons : because he wrote for those who were less acquainted with the prophecy; 2. because the part, which he has added contains a promise, that the manifestation, which God will make of himself by the gospel, will be such a blessing, as all nations will have a share in.
• Matth. xi. 11. There hath not risen a greater than John ibe Baptift.
• Luke vii, 28. There is not a greater PROPHET than Fohn obe Baptift.
• The gentiles being little acquainted with the character and office of Jobin, whose mission had been confined to his own country, St. Luke very usefully inserted the word prophet, that it might appear more evident, in which respect John was to be numbered among the greateit of those that are born of women,
• Matth. xxiv. 15. Wben ye fall see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION, Spoken of by Daniel Ibe prophet, stand in the bely place.
• Luke xxi. 20. Wben je hall see JERUSALEM compared with armies, &c.
• What Si. Matthew had delivered in the figurative style of the prophet Daniel, St. Luke, palling over the reference to the prophecy, more openly declares, the boly place is Jerofalem, and the abomination of defolation are the armies encompassing it, and encamping on this holy ground, with ensigns of idolatrous worship:
• St. Matthew fays in the fame chapter, v. 29. Immediately after the tribulation of these days, fall ibe fun be darkened, and the moon jall not give her light, and the flars fall fall from beaven, and the powers of the beavens fall be shaken.
• This is the fymbolical language of prophecy to signify the ruin of great personages and kingdoms, and denotes the same events, which are thus predi&ted in St. Luke:
* xxi. 23, 24. There fball be great distress in the land, and wraib upon tbis people. And they small fall by the edge of ube
fword; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the G neiles be fulfilled.
• It is probable that our Lord, as was sometimes done by the prophets, having first delivered these things in figurative di&ion, did then open the meaning of the prophecy to the four apostles with whom he was in private. St. Luke hath recorded the explanatory part, St. Matthew only the figurative. And if we enquire why he chose it in preference to the other, it seems evidently to have been, because he wrote in Judea, while there were reasons of prudence, respecting not only the Jews the subject of the prophecy, but the safety and even the prejudices of the first believers, not to speak more openly of such a total and long subversion of the Jewish ftate. But then it is as evident, that St. Luke had not written in Judea before him. For, had this been the case, what should induce St. Matthew to couch the prophecy under allegory and symbols, when the literal sense had been already opened, and might be read by every one in the clearest terms? There cannot be a plainer figo, I think, of the precedence of St. Matthew.'
That St. Matthew wrote very early, before either St. Mark or St. Luke, appears, he thinks, by several circumstances. St. Matthew calls Jerusalem, the holy city, the boly place, &c. The other evangelists do not give it these titles of fan&tity. The reason he apprehends to be this: • After some years, the word of God, being received by multitudes in various parts of the world, did as it were fanctify other cities, while Jerusalem by rancorous opposition to the truth, and fanguinary persecutions of it, more and more declined in the esteem of the believers. They acknowledged the title and character, which she çlained by ancient prescription, when St. Matthew wrote; but between the publication of his gospel and the next, were taught to transfer the idea of the bely city, the mother of the true Israel, to a worthier obje&t. See Gal. iv, 25, 26. Heb. xii. 22.
• St. Matthew testifies also a higher veneration than they for the temple. He calls it the temple of God. It had a peculiar sacredness, till the son of God came to tabernacle among men, and even till be, our passover, was sacrificed for us. Yet only St. Matthew continues on the notion of this sacredness to the death of Christ. No other writer of the New Testament calls it the temple of God, in treating of a time after the birth of our Lord.
• The language of an early writer appears. again in St. Matthew, when he speaks of the apostles.
At the first enumeration of them, he calls them the twelve apoftles, and after that the twelve disciples, till in ch. xxvi. where the perfidy of Judas is the subject, he styles him, one of the twelve, perhaps * Ifa. xlviii, 2. Dan. ix. 24. Neh. xi, 1, 18.
with a certain lenity of expression, that he might not seem to aggravate the guilt of Judas, by reminding the reader, that he was not only a constant attendant, but a chosen disciple. Whatever the reason was, these two are the only instances of his saying fimply the twelve throughout his gospel, according to the Vulgate, and the more approved copies of the Greek. But if the reading of our tranfators in v. 20. of this chapter, bu sat down with the twelve, is to be received, fill it is certain, that St. Matthew had weļl prepared us, before he supposed us to underltand, who the twelve were. Whereas the other evan: gelists begin early with this appellation, and scarce use any Other : because, by the time when they wrote, the twelve was become the common defignation of the twelve apostles, and the eltablished language of the church,
• There is a like difference between St. Matthew and the two other evangelifts in speaking of St. John. St. Mark at first calls him the brother of James, but as soon as he has related the death of the Baptist, changes his file, and calls him only John. When St. Luke first mentions him, he intitles him the son of Zebedee, but never afterwards. St. Matthew, who often says fingly Peter, has not named St. John without adding, that he was the son of Zebedee, or, the brother of James, The reason seems to be, that in a course of years this apolle was so eminent in the church, that John without epithet or distinction was understood to be John the apostle; but when St. Matthew wrote, to be rather John the Baptist.'
In proving, that St. Matthew wrote for the Jews, and in Judea, he observes, that the deduction of our Saviour's genealogy from Abraham ; the prophecies alleged, the errors which our Lord endeavoured to rectify in his sermon on the mount; the first miracle 'recorded, (that of healing a leper) proving on scripture authority, and their own principles, the divine mission and power of Jesus *; the frequent intimations that they were the children of the kingdom, and that Jesus was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Jsrael; the pains taken to satisfy them, that John the Baptist was the Elias foretold by Malachi ; our Lord's discourse, "ch. xxiii. concern. ing the Scribes and Pharisees, and his command to his disciples to obey those who fat in Moses's seat; his direction to pray, that their flight might not be on the fabbath day; the particular 'notice, which is taken of this dreadful imprecation, ? his blood be on us and on our children, &c.' are circumstances, which have a plain reference to the condition, manners, and principles of the Jews.
In the fifth discourse the author considers the order of St. Mark and St. Luke. And though it appears, that St. Maik . Exod. iv. 7, 8. 35.