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pretty clear that his zeal led him, in these instances, to tamper with the facts. Other objects, then, might lead him to do the same in other places. Allowance must be made for many inaccuracies in every history; but a few instances only of wilful perversion are enough to bring a writer into discredit.

In the genealogy of Christ, he says that each of the epochs from Abraham to David, from David to the captivity, and from the captivity to Christ, consisted of fourteen generations each. The last series contains - only thirteen, unless Jeconiah, who ends the second, be counted again. This might be an oversight: but in the second, he omits four kings or generations—Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah, and farther on, Jehoiakim, which makes his number exact.* It is difficult to consider this also as a mere oversight. Yet, since the name of Ahaziah or Ochozias is very much like that of his great grandson Uzziah or Ozias, the excuse might be admitted on behalf of an historian of known scrupulousness.

Matthew says that "Herod slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under," ii. 16; which is not mentioned by the other three evangelists, nor by Josephus, although the latter is very minute in detailing the barbarities of Herod. The conduct attributed to Herod is in itself absurd: he makes no search after the one dangerous child, to whom the visit of the wise men must have afforded a good clue, but slays the children of a whole town and the adjoining country in a mass. It is inconceivable that any fit of passion could lead a politic old tyrant, like Herod, to indulge in such costly cruelty. And how could Josephus, who has filled thirty-seven chapters with the history of Herod, omit all allusion to such a wholesale murder? Lardner supposes that Josephus wilfully suppressed this; which is rather hard upon Josephus, since Mark, Luke, John, and all other historians, are as silent as he is.

* Some of the Fathers explained that these kings were omitted on account of their wickedness; but certainly Manasseh and Amon, who are inserted, were as bad as any of the four.

Matthew says that Pilate's wife sent to him, saying," Have nothing to do with that just man, for I have suffered many things in a dream because of him;" which is not confirmed by the other three, nor agrees with Pilate's conduct.

He says that many bodies of saints arose during the crucifixion, and appeared to many, which is not confirmed by the others, nor alluded to in the Acts or Epistles.

Some additional light will be thrown on Matthew's veracity, when we come to examine Mark.

He sometimes embellishes his story with statements which he could not have known to be true, as when he relates the words used by Jesus, whilst his only three companions, Peter, James, and John, were asleep. He also appears to introduce much of the views and opinions of his own time into the discourses which he attributes to Jesus. For instance

x. 23, Ye shall not be gone over the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man be come.

This would have been unintelligible in the mouth of Jesus, for he was already with his disciples, and, according to Matthew himself, had not yet said any thing concerning his death and resurrection. But the expectation of his re-appearance, commonly called the coming of the Lord, was very general about the year 68.*

xi. 12, And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

The mode of expression implies that the days of John the Baptist were at a considerable distance from the time at which the thought occurred. It is very applicable to the continual violence which Judea suffered before and during the war, and seems intended to keep up the hopes of the Jewish Christians, that the kingdom of heaven, though so long deferred, would still be manifested in the chosen land.

xviii. 17, If he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church; but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man or a publican.

In the lifetime of Jesus there was no Church (Exxλnσsα)

* See 1 Peter; James v. 7, 8.

or organized society of his followers; and the Jewish assemblies were called synagogues. But the term was in current use in the year 68.

IV. On the other hand, this Gospel has in many parts an air of reality, and, notwithstanding occasional dislocations of the order of events, gives a more clear and connected account than the other three of the progress of Jesus from his baptism to his death. Yet the notices of time and place are in general far from being so complete as one would expect from an eye-witness. There are continual chasms in the itinerary of Jesus; and notwithstanding an apparent endeavour to preserve the connexion of the story by joining the incidents together with such phrases as "At that time"-"And when"-"Then" -"From that time forth," &c., there are so many abrupt transitions, that it is difficult to imagine that the writer could have been travelling companion to Jesus for any length of time, as the disciples are represented to have been. For instance, ch. xv. 21, Jesus goes from thence, Gennesaret near the sea of Galilee, to the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, a distance of nearly 50 miles, and back again; and nothing is told as to the object or incidents of this journey except the affair of the Syrophenician woman, In mentioning the many journeys of Jesus and his followers about the country, an eye-witness could hardly have avoided giving some particulars about the manner in which they were performed, such as the mode of conveyance, the number of the party, the difficulties from roads and weather, the houses at which they stayed, and the like. Such minutiæ, however trifling, are almost inevitably interwoven with the narrations of an eyewitness, although they soon disappear from the story, when it passes into other hands. In Matthew, they are wanting to such a degree, that we cannot even guess whether Jesus performed his numerous land journeys on foot, or in some sort of carriage. The difference between the narratives of a travelling companion and those of a second-hand narrator is well seen by comparing Luke's account of Paul's latter journeys* with Matthew's in

* See Acts xxi 1-6, 8, 15-16; xxiii. 24, 31, 32; xxvii.; xxviii. 10-16, 30.

distinct sketches of those of Jesus, viz. "He departed from Galilee and came into the coasts of Judea," "When Jesus came into the coasts of Cesarea, Philippi," &c. The same sort of historical brevity is observable in many of the incidents recorded. Compare, for instance, the cure of the lunatic after the transfiguration with the same story in Mark. Moreover, (if the hypothesis of real miracles be rejected,) both the discourses and incidents are interwoven more closely with fiction than would probably be the case if the writer had been an eye-witness; for such an one, from the vivid impression left by real scenes, would be likely to leave, at least, long-continuous passages clear. Such is the case in the latter part of the Acts, where the stream of consecutive facts present in the writer's mind leaves him little room to introduce things strictly miraculous.

This internal evidence against the supposition that Matthew the apostle was the author of this Gospel, seems to overbalance the scanty testimony of the Fathers on its behalf. Upon the whole, the most that we can conclude seems to be, that it was the work of some one who became a member of the Jewish church before the war, and who collected the relics of the acts and sayings of Jesus reported by Matthew the Apostle, introducing some traditions which he found elsewhere, and filling up copiously from his own invention.* His aim was, probably, to do honour to Jesus and the common cause, to strengthen the church under the trying circumstances of the times, and to be the author of a work which should be generally acceptable to his brethren. That such a man should not always adhere to strict truth seems quite consistent with human nature, since in the subsequent times, and in the Christian church, we find pious men and sincere believers allowing themselves to countenance palpable falsehoods.†

* Further evidence of this will be found in Chap. vii. and viii. † Irenæus, arguing against the heretics, who only allowed thirtyone years to Christ's life, and the last alone to his ministry, affirmed that Christ was fifty years old at least at the time of his death; for which he alleges the unanimous testimony of all the old men who had lived with St. John in Asia, some of whom had also heard the same account from the other apostles. 'Quidam autem eorum non

solum Joannem, sed et alios apostolos viderunt, et hæc eadem ab ipsis audierunt, et testantur de hujusmodi relatione." L. 2, c. 39. This approaches very nearly to apostolic testimony; yet it is at variance with many important parts of the New Testament history.

The same Father also asserted, that in the church in his time some had been raised from the dead, and lived afterwards several years. "Jam etiam, quemadmodum diximus et mortui resurrexerunt, et perseveraverunt nobiscum annis multis." L. 2, c. 22, 4.

Speaking of the millennium, he says, "The elders who saw John, the disciple of the Lord, relate that they had heard from him, how that the Lord taught concerning those times, and said, The days will come, in which there shall grow vineyards having each 10,000 vine stocks, and each stock 10,000 branches, each branch 10,000 shoots, each shoot 10,000 bunches, each bunch 10,000 grapes; and each grape squeezed shall yield twenty-five measures of wine; and when any of the saints shall go to pluck a bunch, another bunch will cry out, I am better; take me, and bless the Lord through me. In like manner a grain of wheat sown shall bear 10,000 stalks, each stalk 10,000 grains, and each grain 10,000 pounds of the finest flour; and so all other fruits, seeds, and herbs, in the same proportion, &c. These words Papias, a disciple of St. John, and companion of Polycarp, an ancient man, testifies in writing in hist fourth book, and adds, that they are credible to those who believe." Iren. 1. 2, c. 33.

Irenæus thus gives the credit of this story to Papias, who was said by Eusebius to be a weak man, and of a very shallow understanding. But Papias speaks for himself thus: "As oft as I met with any one who had conversed with the ancients, I always inquired very diligently after their sayings and doctrines; what Andrew, Peter, Philip, John, and the rest of the Lord's apostles, used to teach. For I was persuaded I could not profit so much by books as by the voice of living witnesses." Euseb. H. E. 1. 3, c. 39.

Justin Martyr, speaking of the seventy elders who were shut up in cells without communication with each other, and whose translations of the Scriptures were found to agree verbatim from beginning to end, says, "that he is not telling a fable or forged tale, but that he himself had seen at Alexandria the remains of those very cells in which the translators had been shut up." Cohort. ad Græcos, p. 14.

Tertullian, writing against theatres, says, "An example happened, as the Lord is witness, of a woman who went to the theatre, and came back with a devil in her; whereupon, when the unclean spirit was urged and threatened for having dared to attack one of the faithful, he replied, I have done nothing but what is very fair, for I found her on my own ground." De Spectac. 26. On which Middleton remarks, that although it might be true that terrors of conscience threw the woman into some disorder, we


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