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proper, it is so complex, [' He who shall have believed, and shall have been baptized'], that, unless where perspicuity renders it necessary, it is better to avoid it. The later Fr. translators (though that tense be, in their language, a degree simpler than in ours) take this method. P. R. Sa. and Si., though translating from the Vul. and Beau, say,
“Celui qui croira,” not" qui aura cru." 2 - He who shall believe-he who will not believe," ó ruoteúoas-amoroas. E. T. “He that believeth—he that believeth not." The change of the future from shall to will may, to a superficial view, appear capricious; but I imagine the idiom of the language requires this distinction between a positive and a negative condition. It is accordingly expressed in the same manner in the G. E. A sovereign might properly say to his minister, ' Publish, in my name, this edict to the people : if they shall obey it, they shall be rewarded, but if they will not obey, they shall be punished.' In the former part of the declaration, it is not the will that is required, so inuch as the performance : in the latter part, a threat is annexed to the non-performance, merely on account of the obstinacy, that is, pravity of will, by which it is occasioned. This distinction particularly suits the nature of the present case. The belief that results not from evidence, but from an inclination to be. lieve, is not styled faith so properly as credulity, which is always accouuted an extreme. Nor is that unbelief, or even disbelief, criminal, that is not justly imputable to a disinclination to believe in spite of evidence ; which is termed incredulity, and is as much an extreme as the other. It is required, not that our will operate in producing belief, (ample evidence is afforded for this purpose, as mentioned in the two subsequent verses), but that our will do not operate in a contrary direction, to prevent or obstruct our believing. God alone gives light, he requires of us only that we do not shut our eyes against it. It may be thought an objection to this explanation, that it would imply that there is a demerit in the unbelief that is punishable, at the same time that there is no merit in the faith that is to be rewarded. This is doubtless the case. There is no positive merit in faith; and if, when compared with infidelity, there may be ascribed to it a sort of negative merit, the term is evidently used in a sense not strictly proper. But this is no objection to the explanation given above. These contraries do not stand on a footing entirely similar. Death, we know, is the wages of sin; but eternal life, which is the same with salvation, is the gift of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
3 * Shall be condemned,” xata o anoetat. E. T. “Shall be dainned.” But this is not a just version of the Gr. word. The į term damned, with us, relates solely to the doom that shall be pro
nounced upon the wicked at the last day. This cannot be affirmed, with truth, of the Gr. xaraxpivo, which corresponds exactly to
the Eng. verb condemn. It may relate to that future sentence, and it may not. All the La. translations I know, Vul. Ar. Zu. Er. Cas. Cal. Be. say " condemnabitur.” But if the word had been damnabitur, it would have made no difference, as these two La. verbs are synonymous. It is not so with the Eng. words, to damn and to condemn. I cannot help observing, that though the ltn. and Fr. languages bave verbs exactly corresponding, in the difference of their meanings, to the two Eny. verbs, their translators have, very properly, preferred the more general term. Dio.
says, ra condannato;" G. F. L. CI. Beau. P. R. Si. Sa. “ Sera condamné.” In regard to the more modern Eng. versions, they have all replaced the proper word condemned, except Wes. who retains the term of the common translation. Chap. 12: 40. N. It is still worse to render the simple verb xoveiv (2 Thess. 2: 12,) '10 damn ;' that verb properly signifying not so much as to condemn, but 'to judge,' to try :' though sometimes used by a figure, the cause for the consequence, to denote 10 punish.
Jerom has observed, that there were few of the Gr. copies he had seen, which had the last twelve verses of this chapter. They are still wanting in many MSS., and are not comprehended in the Canons of Eusebius. But they are in the Sy. version, the Ara. and the Vul. and were in the old Itc. and other ancient versions. They are in the Al. and Cam. MSS. They are also in The's Commentaries. But what weighs most with me, I acknowledge, is, that the manner wherein so ancient a writer as Irenæus, in the second century, refers to this Gospel, renders it highly probable that the whole passage was read in all the copies known to bim: “In fine autem evangelii, ait Marcus, . Et quidem Dominus Jesus, postquam locutus est eis, receptus est in cælos, et sedet ad dexteram Dei.?” Adv. Hær. lib. iii. cap. 11. The verse quoted is the nineteenth, and the chapter las but twenty. It deserves our notice, that there is not a single MS. which has this verse, that has not also the whole passage from the eighth to the end; nor is there a MS. which wants this verse, that does not also want the whole. No authority of equal antiquity has yet been produced upon the other side. It has been conjectured, that the difficulty of reconciling the account here given of our Lord's appearances after his resurrection, with those of the other evangelists, has imboldened some transcribers to omit them. The plausibility of this conjecture, the abruptness of the conclusion of this history without the words in question, and the want of any thing like a reason for adding them if they had not been there originally, rendered their authenticity at least probable. Transcribers sometimes presume to add and alter in order to remove contradictions, but not as far as I can remember, in order to make them.
ST. LUKE'S GOSPEL.
LUKE, to whom this Gospel, the third in order, has been, from the earliest ecclesiastical antiquity, uniformly attributed, was for a long time a constant companion of the apostle Paul, and assistant in preaching the gospel, as Mark is said to have been of the apostle Peter. of Luke we find honorable mention made once and again in Paul's Epistles ; Col. 4: 14. 2 Tim. 4: 11. Pbilem. 24. But the most of what we can know of his history must be collected from the Acts of the Apostles, a book also written by him in continuation of the history contained in the Gospel. Though the author, like the other evangelists, has not named himself as the author, he has signified plainly in the introduction of bis work that he is not an apostle, nor was himself a witness of what he attests, but that he had his intelligence from apostles and others who attended our Lord's ministry upon the earth.
2. It has been made a question whether he was originally a Jew or a Pagan. The latter opinion has been inferred from an expression of the apostle Paul to the Colossians, chap. 4: 10–14, where, after naming some with this addition, who are of the circumcision, he mentions others, and among them Luke, without any addition. These are, therefore, supposed to have been Gentiles. But this, though a plausible inference, is not a necessary consequence from the apostle's words. He might have added the clause who are of the circumcision, not to distinguish the persons from those aftermentioned as not of the circumcision, but to give the Colossians particular information concerning those with whoin perhaps they had not previously been acquainted. If they knew what Luke, and Epaphras, and Demas, whether Jews or Gentiles, originally were, the information was quite unnecessary with regard to them. It will perhaps add a little to the weight of this consideration to observe, that, in those days, in introducing to any church such christian brethren as were unknown to them before, it was a point of some importance to inform them, whether they were of the circumcision or not; inasmuch as there were certain ceremonies and observances wherein the Jewish converts were indulged, which, if found in one converted from Gentilism, might render it suspected that his conversion was rather to Judaism than to Christianity.
3. Some ancients, on the contrary, have imagined that he was not only a Jew, but one of the seventy commissioned by our Lord to preach the Gospel, Luke 10: 1. This, I think, may be confuted from what is advanced by Luke himself, who does not pretend to have been a witness of our Lord's miracles and teaching, but to have received his information from witnesses. This would not have been done by one who had attended our Lord's ministry, and was, though not an apostle, of the number of his disciples. I am not ignorant that Whitby, * after others, has attempted so to explain the words, as to make what is said concerning the information received from witnesses to relate only to those who had published their narratives before that time, and that the phrase naonxolovůnxori ävoθεν πάσιν ακριβώς, is intended for marking the distinction between their source of intelligence and his. In my opinion, he has totally mistaken the import of this clause, as I shall show in explaining the place. But that our evangelist was, with all the other writers of the New Testament, a convert to Christianity from Judaism, not from Gentilism, is, upon the whole, sufficienily evident from his style, in which, notwithstanding its greater copiousness and variety, there are as many Hebraisms as are found in the other evangelists, and such as, I imagine, could not be exemplified in any writer originally Gentile, unless his conversion 10 Judaism had been very early in life.
4. Further, Luke seems to have had more learning than any of the other evangelists. And if he be the person mentioned in the above-cited passage of the Epistle to the Colossians, ch 4: 14, of wbich I see no reason to doubt, he was by profession a physician. Grotius has hence inferred several particulars, which, as they are not supported by any positive proofs, can be ranked only among conjectures. The reason which Luke bimself assigned for his writing was, it would appear, to prevent people's giving, without examination or inquiry, too easy credit to the narratives of the life of Jesus, which at that time, seem to have abounded. I acknowledge that the word inEmaionouv, have undertaken, used here by Luke, does not necessarily imply any blame laid on the execution ; but the scope of the place seems to imply it, if not on all, at least on some of these undertakings: for is all, or even most, were well executed, the number was an argument rather against a new attempt, than for it. The very circumstance of the number of such narratives at so early a period, is itself an evidence that there was something in the first publication of the Christian doctrine, which, notwithstanding the many unfavorable circumstances wherewith it was attended, excited the curiosity, and awakened the attention, of persons of all ranks and denominations; insomuch, that every narrative which pretended to furnish men with any additional information concerning so extraordinary a personage as Jesus, seems to have been read with avidity.
* Preface to the Gospel of St. Luke.
† Ch. 1: 3. Note.
5. Who they were to whom the evangelist alludes, who had, from vague reports, rashly published narratives not entirely to be depended on, it is impossible for us now to discover. Grotius justly observes, that the spurious Gospels mentioned by ancient writers are forgeries, manifestly, of a later date. He seems to expect the Gospel according to the Egyptians, which, though much earlier than the rest, can scarce claim an antiquity higher than that according to Luke. That there were, however, some such performances at the time when Luke began to write, the words of this evangelist are sufficient evidence ; for, to consider this book merely on the footing of a human composition, what writer of common sense would introduce himself to the public by observing the numerous attempts that had been made by former writers, some of whom at least bad not been at due pains to be properly informed, if he himself were actually the first, or even the second, or the third, who had written on the subject; and if one of the two who preceded him had better opportunities of knowing than he, and the other fully as good ? But the total disappearance of those spurious writings, probably no better than hasty collections of flying rumors, containing a mixture of truth and falsehood, may, after the genuine Gospels were generally known and read, be easily accounted for. Ai midnight the glimmering of a taper is not without its use; but it can make no conceivable addition to the light of the meridian sun. And it deserves to be remarked by the way, that whatever may be thought to be insinuated here by the evangelist concerning the imperfect information of former historians, there is no bint given of their bad design.
6. Some have inferred from Luke's introduction, that this must have been the first genuine Gospel that was committed to writing. In my opinion, this would need to be much more clearly implied in the words than it can be said to be, to induce a reasonable critic to adopt an opinion so repugnant to the uniform voice of antiquity. The remark of Grotius on this head appears to have more weight than is commonly allowed it. Luke, he observeș, wrote in Greek; Matthew's Gospel had been written in the Hebrew of the times, and probably was not then translated into Greek. The expression of Papias implies, in my opinion, as was hinted already,* that that Gospel remained a considerable time without any translation into Greek. If so, the only authentic Gospel which had preceded
* Preface to Matthew's Gospel, sect. 6.