« السابقةمتابعة »
and undiscoverable. Though we may be allowed to regret that we cannot look on the very words which this excellent apostle used in narrating, for our exceeding benefit, the life and actions of his Master, yet our faith ought not to be in the least disturbed by the loss, while there remains to us a translation of his history, so manifestly ancient, complete, and true.
I am well aware that there are great names to be brought against the commonly received opinions of the priority of Matthew's Gospel, and its having been originally written in Hebrew. There are also great names in favor of those opinions. And I confess I am somewhat surprised that the name of Lardner stands in the former class. Irenæus, on whose authority, as being the most ancient, he justly relies, expressly says that the Gospel was written in Hebrew; and though he seems to assign the latest of the three dates to its composition, he evidently means to leave the impression that it was written before the other Gospels. I will now give the passage from Ire
who wrote about the year 178 — precisely as it is given in Lardner's own immortal work.
“ Matthew then among the Jews wrote a gospel in their own language, while Peter and Paul were preaching the gospel at Rome, and founding [or establishing] the church there. And after their
exit (that is, death, or departure] Mark also, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, delivered to us, in writing, the things that had been preached by Peter. And Luke, the companion of Paul, put down in a book the gospel preached by him Afterwards John the disciple of the Lord, who leaned upon his breast, likewise published a gospel, whilst he dwelt at Ephesus, in Asia."
And the next authority cited by Lardner is that of Origen, who says, about the year 230, “that according to the tradition received by him, the first gospel was written by Matthew, once a publican, afterwards a disciple of Jesus Christ; who delivered it to the Jewish believers, composed in the Hebrew language.” To the same purpose is the testimony of Eusebius, the third cited authority.
Although Dr. Lardner's arguments against the Hebrew original of Matthew's Gospel are learned and ingenious, they cannot convince me in opposition to such authorities. And let it be observed, that the date assigned by Irenæus to its composition is not a fixed and certain date, because the period of the preaching of Peter and Paul at Rome is not a fixed or certain year. But the priority of the Gospel is a fixed and certain fact, according to that Father, and so is the language in which it was written.
Matthew is said to have carried the religion
of Jesus into Parthia and Ethiopia, and to have suffered martyrdom at Naddaber, in the latter country, but by what death is uncertain. We are told also that his remains were brought to Bithynia, and from thence to Salernum, in the kingdom of Naples, where they were discovered in the year 1080, and where a church was built for them by Duke Robert, in the pontificate of Gregory VII. We can readily believe that relics were thus found and honored, which were de clared, and by many supposed, to be the body of the apostle ; but that they really wero so, we are at perfect liberty to question and to deny.
Matthew's festival is on the 21st of September.
JAMES THE LESS.
Next to his own name, Matthew writes that
called, in the Gospel of Mark, “ James the Less,”
His mother's name was Mary. She was one
which is only the Greek pronunciation of the Hebrew name Cleophas, is also termed in the same passage the sister of our Lord's mother, he is consequently our Lord's cousin.
He is the same person who is mentioned by Paul, when he says, in his Epistle to the Galatians, “But other of the apostles saw I none, save James, the Lord's brother.” To account for this appellation, it must be observed that the Jews were accustomed to include all near relations under the general name of brethren. And we may also remark, that, though it appears strange that Mary should be the sister of Mary, it was not uncommon among the Jews, that two sisters of the same family should bear the same name. James is likewise enumerated among the Lord's brethren by the Jews, when they asked in astonishment, “Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary ? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?” Of these four sons, three were apostles of Jesus; and the other one, Joses, or Joseph, was probably a disciple; as was Cleophas too, or Alpheus, the father of this Christian family.
The exact relationship to Jesus of James the Less, and others who are called his brethren, was a matter of controversy in very early times. Respectable names appear on each side ;//and Cave says that a majority of the ancients were of