« AnteriorContinuar »
adverled to by that Evangelist among the many, and consequently no great reason to think disrespectfully of all the party: on the contrary, we should have some reason to believe, that they were, in general, if not all, writers duly qualified for the purpose. But as this is a point, about which neither ancients nor oderns have been able to agree (some having pronounced them censurable, though in different degrees, and others, on the contrary, that they were entitled to equal credit with Luke, as far as their narratives extended) let us endeavour to qualify ourselves to form a more satisfactory estimate of their performances, by examining attentively all that St. Luke has said of them.
The first thing observable in the account which Luke has given of those many, is the word Tigaienoar. This, however, ought not to have been permitted to arrest our attention a single moment, if those writers who have attempted to explain St. Luke's meaning, had not unaccountably omitted to pay due attention to the following part of the passage, and had they not moreover varied considerably in iheir reports of what ought to be the acceptation of this word. That they should have varied a little in their interpretation of this word, in any other case, might have been excusable, but that they should have differed so considerably in their reports of what ought to be its acceptation in this case, where other words are attached to it, to enable them to ascertain its meaning, is not a little remarkable. Such a partial mode of interpreting an author's meaning is not to be expected from men of candour and discernment at any time;
and especially in such a case : nor is it to be won, dered at, that it should have led several of the ancients, and as many in later times, as have implicitly followed their opinions, to give incoherent accounts of the Evan- . gelist's report concerning those early produotions. Origen, among the former, in his homily on the preface to St. Luke's gospel, after having pronounced that St. Luke, as well as the two eye-witnesses, and St. Mark, wrote by inspiration, (without at all regarding what Luke himself says of his motive for writing in the beginning of the ihird verse) asserts that it denotes those writers who presumed to meddle with the sacred subject, without being instigated to it by the Holy Spirit, and ap plies it to those in particular who composed the gospel according to the twelve. His words are," Matthew did
not take in hand, but wrote by the instigation of the Holy Spirit: in like manner Mark and John, as also Sl. Luke: but they who composed the gospel of the twelve took in hand.” Origen, it should be observed, in order to prevent mistakes * evidently makes a distinction between the four evangelists, whose works still remain, and the authors ascribed to the twelve, and between those parties only. Of the former he says, that they all wrote by the instigation of the Holy Spirit; and of the latter, he barely intimates that they wrote, not by the instigation of the Holy Spirit, but of their own freewill. Of other evangelists he has not made any mention, That others, however, had written before Luke, we are assured by Luke himself ;--that he could not by “the many,” of whom he speaks, have meant only the coma pilers of the gospel ascribed to the twelve, we may pretty safely conclude, as they produced only one gospel by their joint efforts ;---and that he could not have meant any of that party, we may as safely conclude, if the gospel ascribed by thein to the twelve, had not then been compiledt.” Eusebius, the next among the ancients who have given an opinion on this point, says that the word steytingar implies a severe censure. Theophylact, the last among the ancients whose opinion we shall notice, with a liitle more judgment than either Origen or Eusebius, thinks that this word implies, that those early productions were unfinished or incompletes."
* “ Here,” says Michaelis, vol. iii. p. 140, “ Origen discovers, in the
ETT EXEignoay à tacit censure on the part of Luke, of those who had written before him, a censure inapplicable to men inspired by the Holy Spirit." + See Magazine for May p. 333.
Hist. Eccl. 1. iii, c. 24,
Isaac Casaubon, in his note on this word, says, Interpretes putant de pseudapostolis loqui Evangelistam propter verbum emeyeondav, quasi innuat Lucas hos quidem επεχειρησαι sed non τελει ωσαι ut Theophilactus interpretatur. Et sane Telespesy si propriam significationen spectes, nihil aliud est quain aggredi et incipere aliquid. Verum si necessario ex eo consequitur hos, quod susce perant et instituerant non perfecisse, quia etexerpnout tantum dicuntur, quid dicemus de simili ejusdem Lucæ loco initio Actorum ubi scripsisse se ait ego ñ ñv moto ατοο Ιησος ποιειν τε και διδασκειν, &c.
o In his note of 1 Acts, i. Casaubon remarks, that it is common with the Seventy, by way of imitating the Hebrew idiom, to use such a mode of expression' as we
2 Gen. iii. **TETAUDEV ATO s egywv, αυτε, ων ηρξατο ο Θεος ποιησαι.
These are the interpretations put on this word by some of the ancients. A certain modern professor, (whose opinion concerning those early compositions, we have had already occasion to quote*, and to whose testimony on this and other several points, we shall take the liberty of appealing in the course of the following pages) seems to have entertained an opinion, that those early narratives contained several idle stories, which might have prejudiced Theophilus against the Christian Religiont: What is the true import of this word we shall perhaps be better qualified to judge, after the whole sentence has been examined. Let us now then proceed to examine the remaining parts of this sentence.
The subsequent bints with which Luke has furnished us, respecting those early compositions, seem to relate to these three points : the arrangement observable in them, the nature of the contents, and the credibility of the persons, from whom the authors of those early compositions derived their information.
As to the first, Luke says Emesignous avatašaoban dzynow, Now what else can he have meant by this, but that they endeavoured " to set forth in order a declaration" of the facts, which they undertook to relate? The word avaTa žuoOm surely does not imply much less. The next particular which he has recorded of them is this, that the διηγησίς which they undertook to arrange, was περι τπεπληροσCognu.owy I e muis ngayuatwv; and what does this mean, if not, that the things which they undertook to record, were the very things which were “most surely" believed by Christians in general, as having been said and done by our Lord. Some, we find, are inclined to doubt whether Theophilus ought to be considered among the believers here spoken of: but as the Evangelist addresses himself to no other person but Theophilus, and uses the plural pronoun of the first person, why should we not think that he meant to include Theophilus in the number of those, who, together with himself, were firmly persuaded of the truth of their reports ? The last
* See note * Mag. for April. p. 247.
1 Ad verbum de rebus quæ inter nos fuerunt prorsus certificatæ, vel certioratæ," neque eniin possum Græcum vocabulum aanço@operoles; altero Latino explicare. Beza. “ Fullness of evidence, not contidence, with which they were believed.” Doddridge. In this sense it occurs, 2 Tim. iv. 5. Michaelis, vol. iii. p. 237, 253.
circumstance which Luke has suggested, viz. xabwe wagsdo seu muivos, &c. seems to relate to each of those already noticed, viz. that the particulars recorded by the many were those very things which the eye-witnesses had delivered to Luke, Theophilus, and Christians in general, and that they were arranged “ even as” the eye-witnesses had delivered them. It moreover seems to intimate, that Luke considered the many as being on a level with himself, and that those things which they had undertaken to record, were the very same which had been previously communicated, either to believers in general, by the eye-witnesses and others, or, to the many in particular, as well as himself, by those who had been about the person of the Aoyos from the beginning. To believers in general, however, more probably, since it would perhaps deserve to be considered as rather a licentious way of interpreting scripture to understand the same number and case of the same personal pronoun here, and in the verse immediately preceding, in a different sense ; that is, as denoting believers in general in the preceding part of the same sentence, and the order of Evangelists in particular in the subsequent part. But whether the pronoun is to be understood in the second instance, as denoting believers in general, as well as in the first, or only the collective body of Evangelists, it may be remarked, that on the former supposition, it would not be very easy to assign a reason why Theophilus, to whom alone St. Luke addresses himself, should not be considered as one of the party; and on the latter, that all cause of distinction between Luke and the many, as far as the credibility of their respective performances is concerned, would, in the opinion of some, be pretty well removed.
This seems to be not far from the sum of all Luke has advanced, concerning those numerous early, gospel writers. The subject was introduced merely with a view to introduce his own motive for writing, which, by means of this short preamble, is exhibited to his friend's notice in a proper light, if he derived any encouragement from the example of others. It relates only to the contents of the gospels written by the many; it would be absurd to suppose that any part of it has a direct reference to the contents of Luke's own gospel, and much more to his history of the acts of the Apostles. Indeed it would have been unnecessary to observe this, if a mo
dern commentator had not thus applied the meaning of the word πεπληροφορημενων *.
Adya. The evangelist here speaks of those who had become απ αρχής αυτοπται και υπηρεται το λογ8. Now what else can he mean by this, but that they who had furnished himself and the many , with the materials which they had undertaken to arrange, had, from the beginning, been eyewitnesses of, and attendants on Christ? Surely, they were as certainly αυτοπται το λογα as υπηρεται το λογοή. And yet we find Michaelis has positively asserted, that the word 267 @ no where occurs in the New Testament in this sense, except in the writings of St. John.
Some Account of the Protestant Missions in the Fast-Indies
for the Year 1804. From the last Report of the Society for promoting Christian Knowlege. VINCE the publication of the last account, several let
ters have been received from the Missionaries, the leading particulars of which are included in the following abstracts. The Rev. Mr. Pazold, in a letter dated 19th Feb 1804, states that the Madras writers, having received an order to quit the college of Fort William at the expiration of that month, Lord Wellesley had directed that he should proceed with them to the presidency of Madras; and therefore that he was preparing for his departure. Gopernment had promised to grant him a free passage; and he purposed to return again to his station in the Vepery
* This refers not only to things believed, but also to things performed by Christ and his apostles. This first treatise being designed to meution the things which Jesus himself said or did. 1 Acts 1. as they were a livered by the Apostles, who had been with Christ froin the beginning. Juhń xv. 27. 1. Acts, 21, which the Seventy were not; his second, to declare the Acts of the Apostles, &c. Whitby.
Some bave conjectured, that anyo here signifies Christ, &c. perhays, it my. Doddridge.
1“ If we except the writings of St. John, the word Aorou is no where usel, either in the Old or New Testament, to denote a person.* Mich. vol. iii. p. 280.