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il 11, Acts taken up from you into beaven, shall so come in like
manner as ye have seen him go into beaven. 24 52 Luke And they worshipped him.
Luke And returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 12 Acts Tben returned they into Jerusalem, from the mount
called Olivet, wbich is from Jerusalem a sabbath
day's journey. 53 Luke And were continually in the temple, praising
and blessing God. Amen. 16 201
Mar. And they went forth and preached every where,
the Lord (i.e. Cbrist, see Mat. xxviii.20.) work. ing with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
THE END OF THE HARMONY.
PARAPHRASE AND COMMENTARY
HARMONY OF THE FOUR GOSPELS.
The reasons which induced Luke to write his Gospel. Luke i. 1.–4.
to which he was moved of the Holy Ghost to write the history of Christ's doctrine and miracles. Many had attempted the subject before him, but, as it would seem, had executed it imperfectly, (see the 6th preliminary observ.) writing, not from their own personal knowledge, but according to the scattered informations they had received from those who were eye-witnesses and ministers of the Word. Whereas Luke, having perfect knowledge of all our Lord's transactions from the very be. ginning, was qualified to give an account of them that might be depended upon, both with respect to matter and order. i. For as much as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us. The things most surely believed among Christians, which many had taken in hand to narrate before Luke composed his Gospel, were the doctrine, miracles, death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus. To Christians these were matters of such moment, that the knowledge and remembrance of them were the
great business and comfort of their life. We may therefore believe that those who were able, would set down in writing the particulars of most importance relating to their Master, which they had learned whether from the conversations or sermons of the apostles and eye-witnesses.-2. Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were * eye-witnesses
Ver. 2. Eye-witnesses and ministers of the Word.] Because the persons, ac: cording to whose information the writers referred to by Luke composed their histories, are said to have been eye-witnesses of the Word, (T8 noys) Gomarus, Cameron, Capellus, Witzius and Wolf, have supposed that by the Hord, Luke meant Christ himself, one of whose titles is (o dogos) the IV ord, and (o doyos Ts9ix) the Word of God. See the following s. Others however, by the Word, understand the transactions of our Lord's public life, his serions and miracles, called the Word, because they were the great Vol. I. RI
and ministers of the Word. The accounts hitherto given of our Lord in writing, were collected from the sermons and conversations of the apostles and other inspired teachers, who in public and private had frequent occasion to mention the most remarkable passages of his history. But histories thus drawn up, though they might contain many things highly worthy of the notice of Christians, must needs have been defective both in the matter and manner. Wherefore Luke, having a thorough knowledge of our Lord's history from the very beginning, thought fit to give a more full, regular and connected account of it, than had hitherto appeared. 3. It seerned good to me also, * having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, * most excellent Theophilus.—And this pains he took in writing the history of Jesus, that, in every age, all who believe on him, might both see and be convinced of the truth of the things wherein they have been instructed by their teachers. 4. That thou mightest know the truth of those things tvherein thou hast been instructed. subject of the preaching of the apostles, who were eye and ear witnesses of these things.
Ver. 3. Having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first.] Luke might have this thorough knowledge by intimate conversation with the apostles, and particularly with Paul, whose companion he was for a long time ; or he may have been present himself at a number of the trans. actions which he has recorded. The assurance with which he speaks of his own knowledge of these things, leads us to think that he was an eye-witness of some of them. On this supposition, his reasoning, in the preface to his history, will be more conclusive than on any other, and will stand thus: Seeing many have written from the information of the eye-witnesses and reinisters, I who from the very first have had perfect knowledge of all things, both by conversing with the eye-witnesses, and by being present myself at many of the transactions of Jesus, thought it incumbent on me to write his history, for the more certain information of mankind.
Ibid. Most excellent Theophilus] Kgatısı otopins, validissime, potentissime, prostantissiine Theophile. This title was commonly given to persons in the highest stations of life. Accordingly Paul, speaking to the governors Felix and Festus: uses it in his addresses to them; xgx715i 07,56. Wherefore their opinion seems to be groundless, who, attending to the signification of the Greek word Theophilus, imayine that the evangelist does not mean any particular person, but all true Christians and lovers of God. Theophilus seems to have been a Greek, and a person of high rank. Probably Luke, while in Greece with Paul, had received great civilities from him, and in testimony of his respect, inscribed his two books to him, bestowing on him thereby a fame that will last while Christianity subsists. § II. Christ's divine nature and generation are asserted.
John i. 1,-5. Our Lord Jesus Christ having a twofold nature, the divine and the human, the Gospels not only explain his genealogy and miraculous conception, according to his human nature, but they assert his ineffable and eternal generation from the Father, as he is possessed of the divine. In particular, the evangelist John, to impress every reader with a sense of Christ's dignity as God, has given an account of his pre-existence in quality of the * Logos, or Word of God, and creator of the world. The first five
verses * Logos, or the word of God.] Logos, the name which John applies to the eternal Son of God, signilies, according to the Greek etymology, both Discourse and Reason. Le Clerc, in his notes on this passage, takes it in the latter sense when applied to the Son, because long before John wrote, the Platonists, and after them several learned Jews, particularly Philo, had used it in that sense, to signify the Creator of the world. The Stoics too, seem to have afhxed a similar idea to the word Logos, when they affirmed that all things were formed by reason, or the divine wisdom, in opposition to the Epicurean systern, which taught that the world came into being by cbance, or was made without reason. The Piatonists and Philo, by the divine reason, understood sometimes the most perfect idea, conception, or model which God had formed of every thing in his own mind, and of which he stamped the signature on his work's. Thus, ap. Euseb. Prep. vii, 13. Philo affirms, that the material world is made after the likeness of the second God, (os €519 EKUIV8 dogos) who is the reuson of the Supreme God. And the same author, in his book De Opificio Mundi, calls the Logos, or Divine Reason, (xcolos YONTOS) the intellectual World. At other times, these writers speak of the Divine Reason, or Lagos, as a distinct being, inferior and sub. ordinate to the Supreme God. Nevertheless, they have more than once spoken of him in terms not unlike to those used by the inspired writers, Thus Philo, in his book of agriculture, p. 152. calls the Logos, God's first born Son, (a paitoyoyos vos) an epithet the same in signification with that which the apostle has given our Lord, Col. i. 15. ( FEWTOTOXOS.) Likewise the same author, in his book De Opificio Mundi, p. 11. affirms, that Mo. ses calls the Logos, the image of God, (soxoyce 9:v) a term which he is very fond of himself. So the apostle, Col. i. 15. calls Christ the image of the invisible God. Induced by such reasons as these, Le Clerc fancies that as the name Logos was familiar to the philosophers, and learned Jews, who had imbibed Plato's principles, such Christians as admired the writings of Plato and his followers, must very carly have adopted not the name of Logos only, but all the phrases which the Platonists used in speaking of the person to whom they gave that name; and consequently were in danger of corrupting Christianity with the errors of Platonism.' At the same time, he imagines, that, though the notions of these philosophers concerning the second person of the Godhead were in general very confused, they had derived certain true ideas of him from tradition; and that the evangelist John, for this reason, in speaking of the same person, made use of the term Logos, to shew in what sense, and how far it might be used with safety by Christians; but, as it is uncertain whether the primitive Christians studied the writings of Plato and Philo, it is not probable that John would think it necessary, in composing his gospel, to adopt the terms and phrases of these philosophers. Accordingly, the generality of commentators have rejected Le Clerc's suppositions, believing that John borrowed the name Lojos either from the Mosaic history of the creation, or from Ps. xxxiii. 6. where, in allusion to that history, it is said, The heavens were created by the Flord of God: or from the Jewish Targums, particularly the Chaldee paraphrases, in which the Word of God is often substituted for what in the text is Jehovah. The first of these opinions has many abettors: Witzius, Wolf, Lampe, &c. have espoused the second : and Henry Nlore the third. And all agree that the import of t.e name Logos is better expressed by discourse (hoy os agopsgiros) than by reason (nogos avda.PETOS), terms of great fame ançiently in the Arian controversy, and so have translated it the IVord.