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that the former treatise' of Acts i. 1, can be no other than this Gospel. And on that follows the inference, that the Gospel was published before the Acts of the Apostles. Now the last event recorded in the Acts is an interview of Paul with the Jews, shortly after his arrival in Rome. We further have the publication of the Acts, by the words of ch. xxviii. 30, postponed two whole years after that arrival and interview; but, I believe, no longer than that. For had Paul continued longer than that time in his hired house before the publication, it must have been so stated; and had he left Rome or that house, or had any remarkable event happened to him before the publication, we cannot suppose that so careful a recorder as Luke would have failed to bring his work down to the time then present, by noticing such departure or such event. I assume then the publication of the Acts to have taken place two years after Paul's arrival at Rome: i. e. according to Wieseler (see my chronological table in Introduction to Acts), in the spring of A.D. 63.
2. We have therefore a fixed date, before which the Gospel must have been published. But if I am not mistaken, we have, by internal evidence, the date of its publication removed some time back from this date. It is hardly probable that Luke would speak of, as "the former treatise," a work in which he was then, or had been very lately, engaged. But not to dwell on this, even allowing that the prefatory and dedicatory matter, as is usually the case, may have come last from the hands of the author,—I find in the account of the Ascension, which immediately follows, a much more cogent proof, that the Gospel had been some considerable time published. For while it recapitulates the Gospel account just so much that we can trace the same hand in it (compare Acts i. 4 with Luke xxiv. 49), it is manifestly a different account, much fuller in particulars, and certainly unknown to the Evangelist when he wrote his Gospel. Now, as we may conclude, in accordance with the "having traced down all things accurately from the very first," of Luke i. 3, that he would have carefully sought out every available source of information at the time of writing his Gospel,-this becoming acquainted with a new account of the Ascension implies that in the mean time fresh sources of information had been opened to him. And this would most naturally be by change of place, seeing that various fixed cycles of apostolic teaching were likely to be current in, and about, the respective mother churches. Now the changes of place in Luke's recent history had been,-two years before, from Cæsarea to Rome, Acts xxvii. 1 ff.; two years and a half before that, from Philippi to Jerusalem, Acts xx. 6; xxi. 15 ff.,—and Cæsarea. This last is left to be inferred from his leaving Cæsarea with Paul, ch. xxvii. 1 ;—at all events he was during this time in Palestine, with, or near Paul. I shall make it probable in the Introduction to the Acts of the Apostles, that during this period he was engaged in collecting materials for and compiling that book; and by
consequence (see above), that in all probability the Gospel had been then written and published. This would place its publication before A.D. 58; ---consequently, before the traditional date of the Gospel of Matthew,— see above, ch. ii. § iv.
3. Tracing Luke's history further back than this, it has been thought that he remained at Philippi during the whole time comprised between Acts xvii. 1 and xx. 6, because he disuses the first person at the first of those dates, at Philippi,—and resumes it also at Philippi, at the second. Now this was a period of seven years: far too long for such an inference as the above to be made with any probability. During this time he may have travelled into Palestine, and collected the information which he incorporated in his Gospel. For that it was collected in Palestine, is on all accounts probable. And that it should have been published much before this, is, I think, improbable.
4. My reasons are the following :-I have implied in the former part of this Introduction, that it is not likely that the present evangelic collections would be made until the dispersion of all or most of the Apostles on their missionary journeys. Besides this, the fact of numerous narratives having been already drawn up after the model of the apostolic narrative teaching, forbids us to suppose their teaching by oral communication to have been in its fulness still available. Now the Apostles, or the greater part of them, were certainly at Jerusalem at the time of the council in Acts xv. 1-5 ff., i. e. about A.D. 50. How soon after that time their dispersion took place, it is quite impossible to determine :but we have certainly this date as our starting-point, before which, as I believe, no Gospel could have been published.
5. After this dispersion of the Apostles, it will be necessary to allow some time to elapse for the narratives of which Luke speaks (ch. i. 1) to be drawn up ;-not less certainly than one or two years, or more; which would bring us just about to the time when he was left behind by Paul in Philippi. This last arrangement must however be, from its merely hypothetical grounds, very uncertain.
6. At all events, we have thus eight years, A.D. 50—58, as the limits within which it is probable that the Gospel was published. And, without pretending to minute accuracy in these two limits, we may at least set it down as likely that the publication did not take place much before Luke and Paul are found together, nor after the last journey which Paul made to Jerusalem, A.D. 58. And even if the grounds on which this latter is concluded be objected to, we have, as a final resort, the fixed date of the publication of the Acts two years after Paul's arrival at Rome, after which, by internal evidence, the Gospel cannot have been published.
AT WHAT PLACE IT WAS WRITTEN.
1. Our answer to this enquiry will of course depend upon the considerations discussed in the last section. Adopting the view there taken, we find Luke in Asia Minor, Syria, or Palestine (probably) previously to his first journey with Paul A.D. 51; and from that time. till his second journey A.D. 58, perhaps remaining in Greece, but perhaps also travelling for the sake of collecting information for his Gospel. At all events, at the latter part of this period he is again found at Philippi. We need not then dissent from the early tradition, reported by Jerome, that Luke published his Gospel in the parts of Achaia and Boeotia, as being on the whole the most likely inference.
2. The inscription in the Syriac version,—and Simeon Metaphrastes in the tenth century,-report that the Gospel was written at Alexandria, but apparently without any authority.
IN WHAT LANGUAGE IT WAS WRITTEN.
There never has been any doubt that Luke wrote his Gospel in Greek. His familiarity with Greek terms and idioms, and above all, the classical style of his preface, are of themselves convincing internal evidence that it was so.
GENUINENESS OF THE GOSPEL.
1. It has been generally and almost unanimously acknowledged that the Gospel which we now possess is that written and published by Luke.
2. Whatever doubts may have been raised by rationalistic Commentators as to the genuineness of the two first chapters, have been adopted in aid of their attempts to overthrow their authenticity (on which see the next section); and have rested on no sufficient ground of themselves. Their principal appeal is to Marcion, who notoriously mutilated the Gospel, to make it favour his views of the Person of Christ.
THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE TWO FIRST CHAPTERS.
1. If the view maintained above of the probable time of the publication of the Gospel be adopted, and its later terminus, the publication of the Acts two years after Paul's imprisonment at Rome began, is, I think, beyond question,-I cannot see how any reasonable doubt can be thrown upon the authenticity of this portion of the narrative. For there were those living, who might have contradicted any false or exaggerated account of our Lord's birth and the events which accompanied it. If not the Mother of our Lord herself, yet His brethren were certainly living and the universal reception of the Gospel in the very earliest ages sufficiently demonstrates that no objection to this part of the sacred narrative had been heard of as raised by them.
2. The "accurate tracing down" of Luke forbids us to imagine that he would have inserted any narrative in his Gospel which he had not ascertained to rest upon trustworthy testimony, as far as it was in his power to ensure this: and the means of ensuring it must have been at that time so ample and satisfactory, that I cannot imagine for a moment any other origin for the account, than such testimony.
3. If we enquire what was probably the source of the testimony, I answer, that but one person is conceivable as delivering it, and that person the Mother of our Lord. She was living in the Christian body for some time after the Ascension; and would most certainly have been appealed to for an account of the circumstances attending His birth and infancy.
4. If she gave any account of these things, it is inconceivable that this account should not have found its way into the records of the Lord's life possessed by the Christian Church, but that instead of it a spurious one should have been adopted by two of our Evangelists, and that so shortly after, or even coincident with, her own presence in the Church.
5. Just as inconceivable, even supposing the last difficulty surmounted, is the formation of a mythical, or in any other way unreal account of these things, and its adoption, in the primitive age of the Church. For the establishment of this I refer to the late Professor Mill's able tract, On the Mythic Interpretation of Luke i. ;-in which he has stated and severally refuted the arguments of Strauss and the rationalists.
6. I infer then that the two first chapters of this Gospel contain the account given by the Mother of our Lord, of His birth, and its prefatory and attendant circumstances; of some of which circumstances
I. THE book of the generation of Jesus Christ,
2 d Abraham begat
f Gen. xxxv. 22-26.
Title] GOSPEL, from god and spel, "good message 66 or news:" a translation of the Greek "euangelion," which means the same. This name came to be applied to the writings themselves which contain this good news, very early. Justin Martyr, in the second century, speaks of "the memoirs drawn up by the Apostles, which are called gospels (euangelia)." according to Matthew] as delivered by Matthew, implies authorship or editorship. It is not merely equivalent to of Matthew, which would have been said, had it been meant. Nor does it signify that the original teaching was Matthew's, and the present gospel drawn up after that teaching. Eusebius tells us, that Matthew "delivered to writing the gospel according to him."
CHAP. I. 1-17.] GENEALOGY OF JESUS CHRIST. 1. book of the generation] Not always used of a pedigree only: see reff. Here however it appears that it refers exclusively to the genealogy, by "Jesus Christ" being used in the enunciation, and the close being "Jesus which is called Christ." Then ver. 17 forms a conclusion to it, and ver. 18 passes on to other matter. Jesus] See on ver. 21. Christ] The word is equivalent to the Hebrew Messiah, anointed. It is used of kings, priests, prophets, and of the promised Deliverer. It is here used (see ver. 16) in that sense in which it VOL. I.
1: vi. 9, &c. b Ps. cxxxii. 11
Isa. xi. 1.
Jer. xxiii. 5.
e Gen. xxv. 26. g Gen. xxxviii. 27.
became affixed to Jesus as the name of our Lord. It does not once thus occur in the progress of the Evangelic history; only in the prefatory parts of the Gospels, here and vv. 16, 17, 18: Mark i. 1: John i. 17, and once in the mouth of our Lord Himself, John xvii. 3; but continually in the Acts and Epistles. This may serve to shew that the evangelic memoirs themselves were of earlier date than their incorporation into our present Gospels. son .. son] both times refers to our Lord. Son of David was an especial title of the Messiah: see reff. That He should be son of Abraham, was too solemn a subject of prophecy to be omitted here, even though implied in the other. These words serve to shew the character of the Gospel, as written for Jews. Luke, ch. iii. 23 ff., carries his genealogy further back. 2. and his brethren] These additions probably indicate that Matt. did not take his genealogy from any family or public documents, but constructed it himself. 3.] These children of Judah were not born in marriage: see Gen. Xxxviii. 16-30. Both the sons are named, probably as recalling the incident connected with their birth. The reason for the women (Thamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba) being mentioned, has been variously assigned: it might be, to meet the objection of the Jews to our Lord's birth or for the sake of minute accuracy.