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functions of his office. Hence all which related to that he details very carefully ; while whatever did not pertain thereto he either entirely omits, as, e. g., the history of the childhood of Jesus, or communicates very briefly, as, e. g., many of our Lord's larger discourses. Matthew, on the contrary, makes it his chief object to communicate our Lord's discourses. He commonly makes use of events only as points of support for the discourses ; to which he, like Jolin, directs special attention. If it be considered, moreover, that the graphic nature of style is, in great part, owing to peculiar talent, such as is not bestowed on all men, and such as was not required by every one of the apostles, there remains not a shadow of reason why the want of vivacity, which is certainly exhibited in Matthew's gospel, should be made a motive for denying its genuineness. In truth, moreover, there is no period at which a forgery of the gospel in Matthew's name is even conceivable. For it is demonstrable from the book itself that it must have been composed a few years before the destruction of Jerusalem, and hence about sixty-six years after the birth of Christ. Now we find Matthew in use in the church before the close of the same century, at a time when John the evangelist was hardly dead, and many disciples of the apostles were living and laboring in all parts of the world. How was it possible in such circumstances to introduce a work forged in the name of Matthew into so general currency that not the very slightest opposition should ever have been raised against it?
From what has just been said it will have been thought probable that the genuineness of Mark is not at all disputed. Indeed his graphic, lively manner, has even been made to afford occasion for assailing the genuineness of Matthew. Nor, in truth, was there, in ancient times, the least opposition to Mark's gospel. It was known to Papias of Hierapolis, as early as the close of the first century, and there is an unbroken chain of evidence in its favor, since that time. True, Mark's work was, in all probability, written at Rome, at that time the capital of the known world, and therefore a fixed and sure tradition as to the author of the work, might be formed at once, and would easily diffuse itself every where abroad.
Still, however, there is one thing which appears very remarkable in regard to the rapid diffusion and reception of Mark, viz. that it was a production whose author was not an apostle. John Mark, frequently called Mark only, was the son of a certain Mary who had a house in Jerusalem. (Acts 12: 12.) Mark
, as we are told in the Acts, (12: 25. 13: 5. 15: 36 seq.) at first accompanied the apostle Paul in his travels for the dissemination of Christianity. He afterwards attached himself to his kinsman Barnabas. At a later period, however, we find him again in Paul's company. (2 Tim. 4: 11.) According to the fathers, he was also, for a considerable time, closely connected with Peter, and was interpreter to the latter when he preached among the Greeks. He invariably, however, occupied a dependent situation, and on this account it is impossible that his name alone, should have procured his gospel an introduction into the church. But, as has been already mentioned, Mark did not write without apostolic authority. On the contrary, he was under the direction of the apostle Peter. This is stated by the entire series of church-fathers, during the second and third centuries, with perfect unanimity in the main ; and the statement is corroborated by the case of Luke, which was exactly similar. On this account, the gospel of Mark was considered as originating with Peter, and such individuals as were particularly attached to this apostle, used Mark in preference to all others. Unfortunately, however, we have no minute accounts as to this matter, and hence do not know whether these individuals corrupted the gospel of Mark, as the Jewish Christians did that of Matthew, or not. It is possible, however, , that the so-called gospel of the Ægyptians, was a corruption of Mark; though the fragments we have of it, are not sufficient to enable us to form a certain opinion on this point.
As to Luke, we have more clear and certain evidence in this respect. We know that that sect which carried the sentiment of Paul to an erroneous extreme, the Marcionites, used only the gospel of Luke, although Marcion was very well acquainted with the other gospels, and regarded them as genuine. They had, however, altered Luke in conformity with their opinions, and thus formed, as it were, a new gospel out of it, which, notwithstanding, still retained much resemblance to the original. The reason why the Marcionites selected Luke, was that this gospel was written under the direction of the apostle Paul, whom alone they would admit to have been a genuine apostle of our Lord. Luke, as we know from the Acts of the apostles, had travelled about with the apostle Paul for a long time, and in particular, had also accompanied him to Rome. This is clear from the final chapters of the history of the apostles. Connecting this fact with the close of the work, it is perfectly evident
when the evangelist finished it. According to the last chapter, Paul was two years in confinement at Rome. Here Luke breaks off, without mentioning the issue of his trial. Had this been concluded, should we not of course have had an account of the emperor's decision respecting the great apostle of the Gentiles ? It can be made very probable by circumstances derived from another quarter, that Paul was liberated from his first imprisonment at Rome, and did not suffer as a martyr till he had been a second time placed in bonds. Luke, however, abruptly breaks off in the midst of his narrative. Now, as the Acts of the apostles are only the second part of Luke's work, the gospel being the first (comp. Luke 1: 1 with Acts 1: 1), the latter cannot have been written subsequently ; and probably when Paul's death was apprehended, Luke wrote down the accounts he had received from him, or through him, in order to secure them to posterity. Then the apostle, who was still living, attested the accuracy of the work, and from Rome, the great central point of the religious as well as the political world, it speedily made its way into the churches in every province of the vast Roman empire. Thus, it was not Luke's name which procured for this gospel its currency in the churches, but the authority of the apostle Paul. Without this the work of Luke, with its two divisions, the gospel and the Acts, would hardly have obtained general credit; especially as it is a mere private production addressed to a certain Theophilus. It is, indeed, very probable that this Theophilus was a man of note, who was either already a member of the church or at least disposed to becoine so; but still he was only a private man, whose name could have no weight with the whole church. He had, probably, already perused divers accounts concerning Christ and the formation of the primitive churches which, however, were not duly authentic and certain ; and for this reason, Luke determined to compose for his use an authoritative history of the important events in our Lord's life, and of the foundation of the churches. (Comp. Luke 1: 1–4.) Under these circumstances it is not astonishing that in the primitive church there was no opposition either to Luke's gospel or his Acts of the apostles.*
* So far as the Acts of the apostles speaks of the circumstances of Paul, it has a perfect correspondence with Paul's epistles, as the latter have with the former. See this fact more fully developed in the 4th chapter of this treatise.
The many and close relations of the writer, along with the apostolic authority, were such evidence in favor of the work, that not a single valid suspicion could arise respecting its genuine
Lastly, the circumstances in regard to the gospel of John are particularly calculated to place its genuineness beyond dispute. For John the evangelist lived much longer than any of the other apostles. So far as we know, none of the others were alive after the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, the Roman emperor, in the year 70, A. D. John, however, survived it nearly thirty years, dying about, the close of the first century, under the reign of the emperor Domitian. Hence many Christians who had heard of our Lord's farewell words to him (John 21: 22, 23), believed that John would not die ; an idea which the evangelist himself declares erroneous. This beloved disciple of our Lord, during the latter part of his life, as we know from testimonies on which perfect reliance may be placed, lived at Ephesus in Asia Minor, where the apostle Paul had founded a fourishing church. The importance of this church in the year 64 or 65 A. D., is evinced by Paul's epistle to the Ephesians; and subsequently it was very much enlarged. It was in this subsequent period that John wrote his gospel. This is clear, first, from a comparison of the gospel with the Revelation. This last work was written by Jolin at an earlier period, before the destruction of Jerusalem. The style of this prophetic composition is not so completely easy as we find it at a later period in the gospel, which he must have written after longer intercourse with native Greeks. Again, John plainly had the three other gospels before him when he wrote. For he omits all which they had described with sufficient minuteness, e. g. the institution of the holy supper, and only relates that which was new respecting the life of his Lord and Master. Hence, these must have been already composed and also so generally diffused that Jolin could presume them universally known in the church. Moreover, the persons to whom John's work has especial reference, viz. certain Gnostics, did not arrive at importance till Jerusalem was destroyed and most of the apostles had left this world. Now, if we duly consider all these circumstances it will be even more incredible in regard to John's gospel than any other that it should have been forged in his name. As the sole surviving apostle, innumerable eyes were upon him and his movements. He lived and labored in one of the chief cities of the known world, in
which was a large church and whose vicinity was wholly peopled with Christians. We have an epistle of Pliny, a distinguished Roman officer of that region, written only a few years after the death of John the evangelist, in which he describes the vast increase of the Christians in Asia Minor, and lays before the emperor Trajan (the successor of Domitian in whose reign John's death took place) measures for preventing the further extension of their tenets. Now, how was it possible that, in this state of things, a work could be forged in John's name ? or, supposing even that one might have been, (though history says nothing of any such impositions in John's name), how is it conceivable that no opposition should have been made thereto, when many thousands were acquainted with John and must have known exactly what he wrote and what he did not? Of such opposition, however, there is nowhere the slightest trace. Not merely all teachers of the orthodox church in all parts of the wide Roman empire, but also all heretics of the most various sects make use of the work as a sacred valuable legacy bequeathed to the church by the beloved disciple; and the few heretics who make no use of it, as e. g. Marcion, still evinced acquaintance with it, regard it as a genuine work of John's, but are impudent enough to deny that John himself had a correct knowledge of the gospel because he was too much a Jew. Whether, as was the case with the other gospels, John's also was corrupted by the heretics, who felt themselves specially aimed at in it, is uncertain. The Gnostics, with the exception of Marcion, (who, however, as has been already mentioned, is only improperly reckoned among the Gnostics) made most frequent use of John as in their opinion specially favoring their spiritual ideas. We do not learn, however, that there existed in ancient times any gospel of John corrupted by the Gnostics, as Luke's gospel was mutilated by Marcion. In modern times, it is true, a gospel of John thus disfigured has come to public knowledge ; but the alterations in it originated as late as the
The doubts respecting the genuineness of John's gospel which have, nevertheless, been raised in recent times, took their rise like those in regard to Matthew solely from internal character. When once doubts were thus occasioned, endeavors were made to sustain them on historical grounds likewise. These, however, are of little weight,* from the firmness of the foundation on
* The most weighty opponent of the genuineness of John has gi