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That the Gospel was written by Mark which is commonly ascribed to him, and that it was the second in the order of time, are points for which the unanimous voice of antiquity can evidently be pleaded. The first authority to be produced in support of both these articles is Papias, to whom, as the oldest witness, and consequently, in a case of this nature, the most important, we are chiefly indebted for what has been advanced in relation to the evangelist Matthew. What he says concerning Mark may be thus rendered from the words of Eusebius,* who quotes him: “ This is what was related by the elder, (that is John, not the apostle, but a disciple of Jesus) : Mark being Peter's interpreter, wrote exactly whatever he remembered, not indeed in the order wherein things were spoken and done by the Lord; for he was not himself a hearer or follower of our Lord; but he afterwards, as I said, followed Peter, who gave instructions as suited the occasions, but not as a regular history of our Lord's teaching. Mark, however, committed no mistake in writing such things as occur to his memory : for of this one thing he was careful, to omit nothing which he had heard, and to insert no falsehood into his narrative.' Such is the testimony of Papias, which is the more to be regarded, as he assigns his authority. He spoke not from hearsay, but from the information he had received from a most credible witness, John the elder or presbyter, a disciple of Jesus, and companion of the apostles, by whom he had been intrusted with a ministry in the church.
2. It would be superfluous here to add other testimonies. Suffice it to say, that what is above advanced by Papias, on the authority of John, is contradicted by no person. It is, on the contrary, confirmed by all who take occasion to mention the subject. I shall only subjoin the account given by Irenæus, because it serves to ascertain another circumstance, namely, that the publication of Mark's Gospel, the second in the order of time, soon followed that of Matthew's. After telling us that Matthew published his Gospel while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, he adds,t “ After their deparure (igodov), Mark also, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, delivered to us in writing the things which had been preached by Peter.” The Greek étodos, like the English word departure, and the word used in the old Latin edition, excessus, is equivocal ; it may either denote death, which is a departure out of this world, or mean a departure out of the city. It is probably in the former of these senses that the word is here used. Yet by the accounts given by some others, Mark's Gospel was published in Peter's lifetime, and had his approbation. But not to insist on matters which cannot now be ascertained, it sufficeth us that we know by whom this Gospel was written, and whence the writer drew his information. Indeed this latter point has, from the earliest times, been considered as so well authenticated, that some have not scrupled to denominate this The Gospel according to Peter. They did not intend thereby to dispute Mark's title to be esteemed the writer, but to express,
* Hist. Eccl. I. iii. c. 39.
† Adv. Hær. I. iii. c. I.
in a stronger manner, that every thing bere advanced had the sanction of that apostle's testimony, than whom no disciple more closely attended our Lord's ministry, from its commencement to its consummation. The Gospel of Mark is said, by some, to be but two years posterior in date to that of Matthew. About this, however, it is in vain to think to arrive at any certainty.
3. But as to the person here named Mark, authors are not equally agreed. Some have thought that it was he of whom mention is several times made in the Acts and some of Paul's Epistles, who is called John, whose surname is Mark, whose mother's name was Mary, Acts 12: 12; and of whom we are likewise told, that he was sister's son to Barnabas, Col. 4: 10. From the little we are able to collect out of the apostolical writings, it appears to me rather improbable that this is he. Of John, surnamed Mark, one of the first things we learn is, that he attended Paul and Barnabas in their apostolical journies, when these two travelled together, Acts 12: 25. 13: 5. And when afterwards there arose a dispute between them concerning him, insomuch that they separated, Mark accompanied his uncle Barnabas, and Silas attended Paul. When Paul was reconciled to Mark, which was probably soon after, (for though among good men there may arise differences, as these differences are not imbittered by any malignity of disposition, a reconciliation is easily effected), we find Paul again employing Mark's assistance, recommending bim, and giving him a very honorable testimony; Col. 4: 10.2 Tim. 4:11. Pbilein. 24. But we hear not a syllable of his attending Peter as his minister, or assisting him in any capacity. This is so different from the accounts which the inost ancient writers give of the evangelist Mark, that, though they cannot be said to contradict each other, they can hardly be supposed as spoken of the same individual. The evangelist is not said to have derived any part of his information from our Lord himself, or even Vol. II.
from any of his apostles, except the apostle Peter, (for no other is ever named), whose disciple he is always represented as having been ; and who doubtless speaks of him when he says, Marcus my son saluteth you,
1 Pet. 5: 13. The denomination son was in those times commonly given, by the minister, to every one who by his means had been converted to the Christian faith. But as to the nephew of Barnabas, we have seen how differently he is represented in the Acts, as well as in Paul's Epistles. And if we recur to tradition, (for bistorical evidence cannot be pretended), it represents him as having been a disciple of our Lord, and one of the seventy wbom Jesus in his lifetime sent out to preach the gospel. Besides, no ancient author, in speaking of this evangelist, ever calls himn John, but always Mark. In brief, the accounts given of Paul's attendant, and those of Peter's interpreter, concur in nothing but the name, Mark, or Marcus—too slight a circumstance to evince the sameness of the person, especially when we consider how common the name was at Rome, and how customary it was for the Jews, in that age, to assume some Roman name when they went thither.
4. Further, that Mark wrote his Gospel in Greek, is as evidently conformable to the testimony of antiquity, as that Matthew wrote his in Hebrew. Cardinal Baronius is the only person who has strenuously maintained the contrary, affirming that this evangelist published his work in Latin. I know no argument, worthy the name of argument, but one, that he produces in support of his opinion. The external evidence of testimony is clear against him; but something like internal probability may be urged in favor of his sentiment. " This Gospel,” says the Cardinal," was published at Rome, for the benefit of the Romans. Can we then suppose it would be written in any other than the language of the place ?” I shall admit that this Gospel was published at Rome; though that is not universally believed, some rather supposing it to have been at Alexandria, after Mark had been entrusted with the superintendence of that church; but, though the design of the publication bad been the benefit of those residing at Rome, it would not have been exclusively intended for the natives. Let it be observed, that the ministry of Peter, to whom Paul tells us (Gal. 2: 7), the gospel of the circumcision was committed, was chiefly employed in converting and instructing his countrymen the Jews, who abounded at that time in the imperial city. Now it was customary with such of the Jews as went abroad, (1 may say generally with travellers of all nations, especially from the east), to make themselves masters of the Greek tongue, which was become a kind of universal language, and was more used by strangers at Rome than the language of the place. It was with such that the first Christian missionaries were principally concerned. The apostle Paul accordingly wrote to them in Greek, and not in Latin, which would not have been done, if the
former language had not been then better understood in the Christian congregation than the latter. Now, if there was no impropriety in Paul's writing them a very long Epistle in Greek, neither was there any in Mark's giving them his Gospel in that language. The only thing I know which looks like an ancient testimony in favor of the opinion of Baronius, is the inscription subjoined to this Gospel in Syriac, and in some other oriental versions. But it ought to be remembered, that these postscripts are not the testimonies of the translators: they proceed merely from the conjecture of some transcriber ; but when written, or by whom, is equally unknown. But enough, perhaps too much, for setting aside a mere hypothesis, not only unsupported by positive evidence, but in direct contradiction
5. From this Gospel, as well as from the former, we should readily conclude that the author was by birth and education a Jew. The Hebraisms in the style (or examples of what has been called the idiom of the synagogue) are very evident throughout the whole. At the same time, as some critics have observed, there are several expressions here used, which clearly indicate that the writer had been accustomed for some time to live among the Latins. Not only does he use the Latin words which are to be found in other Gospels, and seem to have been then current in Judea, as heykov, a legion, rñvous, tribute, noaitoiolov, prætorium, and Invéolov, a denarius ; but he employs some which are peculiar to himself, as κεντυρίων, centurion, σπεκουλάτωρ, sentinel, and ξέστης, from sextarius, a pot; for such transpositions of letters are not uncommon in order to avoid a collision which the language does not admit. These have been pleaded as evidences that the original was Latin'; but, in fact, they are much stronger marks of a Greek writer who had lived some years among the Latins, and had been accustomed to use, and hear used by others, such names of offices as were familiarly known in the place. Nothing is more common with travellers, than to interlard their conversation with such foreign words as those now described. This is not always, as people are apt to suspect, the effect of affectation ; for it is manisest from experience, that such words, in consequence of the recent babit, do most readily suggest themselves to the memory of the speaker or writer, even though using a different tongue. There are some other internal evidences, which have not escaped the notice of the inquisitive, that this Gospel was written in a country of strangers, or at least beyond the confines of Judea, where the names of places, and the peculiar phrases relating to religious ceremonies, could not be so familiar to the people, not even to the Jews, as they would be in any part of Pa
The first time the Jordan is mentioned, ch. 1: 5, notauós is added to the name for explanation: for though no person in Judea needed to be informed that Jordan is a river, the case was different in distant countries. The word yievvu, wbich, on account of its figurative application in the New Testament, is in English always rendered hell, is strictly and originally the name of a place near Jerusalem, the valley of Hinnom, where infants had been sacrificed by fire to Moloch; a place well known to the inhabitants of the country, though perfectly unknown to those of Italy or Egypt. This evangelist, therefore, when he mentions it, ch. 9: 43, 45, very properly adds for explanation rò rūp čoßzorov, the unquenchable fire. Words and phrases not used out of Palestine and the neighboring regions, are either not named by him at all, or attended, as the above example, with some circumstances which may serve to explain them. Thus be avoids altogether the word Mammon used by Matthew and Luke, which, though familiar in Judea, and perhaps through all Syria, might not have been understood even by the Hellenist Jews at Rome. He therefore makes the common term xoruara, riches, which could not be misaken any-where, supply its place; and though he finds it convenient on one occasion (ch. 7: 11,) to employ the oriental word corban, he immediately subjoins the interpretation o łoti dwpov, that is, a gift. In another place, (ch. 7: 2,) he adopts the terms xouvais xepoi, which, though not oriental words, make a sort of oriental phraseology that would be unintelligible to the far greater part of Greek readers. For this reason he immediately explains himself by adding του έστιν, ανίitors, that is, unwashen. " Add to this, that the rite there alluded to is, in the following verses, explained in a manner which, to one in Matthew's circumstances, who wrote for the immediate use of the natives of Judea familiarized to such observances, must have appeared entirely superfluous. The woman from the confoes of Tyre and Sidon, who applied to our Lord in behalf of her daughter, is by Matthew, who wrote in Hebrew for the use of the Hebrews, very properly, in the style of their ancient scripture, called Canaanitish, and is not less suitably by Mark, who wrote in Greek for the benefit of all who spoke that language, denominated Syrophenician. When the two Gospels, Matthew's and Mark's, are on these points compared together, though the particulars in the comparison, taken severally, appear inconsiderable, they bear such strong internal characters, as serve greatly to corroborate the historical proof we have relating to their respective authors and languages, the circumstances of time and place of publication, as well as to the people for whose use they were respectively written. Such little points, which have nothing of the ostentation of evidence, will be admitted by the judicious to have the more weight on that very account. And let it be observed, that though the church of Rome, in that early period, and the same may be affirmed of the church of Alexandria, consisted mostly of Hellenist Jews, it was not confined to these. The sacred writers, therefore, who wrote in Greck, chose,