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PREFACE

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MARK'S GOSPEL.

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 what"ever he remembered, not indeed in the order where

1 Hist. Eccl. 1. iii. c. 39.

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"in 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 occurred 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. Ir 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 2: "After their departure

2 Adv. Hær. 1. iii. c. 1.

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[eodov], Mark also, the disciple and interpreter "of Peter, delivered to us, in writing, the things "which had been preached by Peter." The Greek εodos, like the English word departure, and the word used in the old Latin edition, excessus, is equivocal; 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, in a stronger manner, that every thing here 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

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made in the Acts, and some of Paul's Epistles, who is called John, whose surname is Mark, whose mother's name was Mary 3, and of whom we are likewise told, that he was sister's son to Barnabas ‘. 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 journeys, when these two travelled together. 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 embittered by any malignity of disposition, a reconciliation is easily effected,) we find Paul again employing Mark's assistance, recommending him, and giving him a very honourable testimony 6. 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 most 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

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