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when the evangelist finished it. According to the last chapter, Paul was two years in confinement at Rome. Here Luke breaks off, without mentioning the issue of his trial. Had this been concluded, should we not of course have had an account of the emperor's decision respecting the great apostle of the Gentiles? It can be made very probable by circumstances derived from another quarter, that Paul was liberated from his first imprisonment at Rome, and did not suffer as a martyr till he had been a second time placed in bonds. Luke, however, abruptly breaks off in the midst of his narrative. Now, as the Acts of the apostles are only the second part of Luke's work, the gospel being the first (comp. Luke 1: 1 with Acts 1: 1), the latter cannot have been written subsequently ; and probably when Paul's death was apprehended, Luke wrote down the accounts he had received from him, or through him, in order to secure them to posterity. Then the apostle, who was still living, attested the accuracy of the work, and from Rome, the great central point of the religious as well as the political world, it speedily made its way into the churches in every province of the vast Roman empire. Thus, it was not Luke's name which procured for this gospel its currency in the churches, but the authority of the apostle Paul. Without this the work of Luke, with its two divisions, the gospel and the Acts, would hardly have obtained general credit ; especially as it is a mere private production addressed to a certain Theophilus. It is, indeed, very probable that this Theophilus was a man of note, who was either already a member of the church or at least disposed to becoine so; but still he was only a private man, whose name could have no weight with the whole church. He had, probably, already perused divers accounts concerning Christ and the formation of the primitive churches which, however, were not duly authentic and certain ; and for this reason, Luke determined to compose for his use an authoritative history of the important events in our Lord's life, and of the foundation of the churches. (Comp. Luke 1: 1–4.) Under these circumstances it is not astonishing that in the primitive church there was no opposition either to Luke's gospel or his Acts of the apostles.* The many and close relations of the writer, along with the apostolic authority, were such evidence in favor of the work, that not a single valid suspicion could arise respecting its genuine

* So far as the Acts of the apostles speaks of the circumstances of Paul, it has a perfect correspondence with Paul's epistles, as the latter have with the former. See this fact more fully developed in the 4th chapter of this treatise.


Lastly, the circumstances in regard to the gospel of John are particularly calculated to place its genuineness beyond dispute. For John the evangelist lived much longer than any of the other apostles. So far as we know, none of the others were alive after the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, the Roman emperor, in the year 70, A. D. John, however, survived it nearly thirty years, dying about, the close of the first century, under the reign of the emperor Domitian. Hence many Christians who had heard of our Lord's farewell words to him (John 21: 22, 23), believed that John would not die ; an idea which the evangelist himself declares erroneous. This beloved disciple of our Lord, during the latter part of his life, as we know from testimonies on which perfect reliance may be placed, lived at Ephesus in Asia Minor, where the apostle Paul had founded a flourishing church. The importance of this church in the year 64 or 65 A. D., is evinced by Paul's epistle to the Ephesians; and subsequently it was very much enlarged. It was in this subsequent period that John wrote his gospel. This is clear, first, from a comparison of the gospel with the Revelation. This last work was written by John at an earlier period, before the destruction of Jerusalem. The style of this prophetic composition is not so completely easy as we find it at a later period in the gospel, which he must have written after longer intercourse with native Greeks. Again, John plainly had the three other gospels before him when he wrote. For he omits all which they had described with sufficient minuteness, e. g. the institution of the holy supper, and only relates that which was new respecting the life of his Lord and Master. Hence, these must have been already composed and also so generally diffused that John could presume them universally known in the church. Moreover, the persons to whom John's work has especial reference, viz. certain Gnostics, did not arrive at importance till Jerusalem was destroyed and most of the apostles had left this world. Now, if we duly consider all these circumstances it will be even more incredible in regard to John's gospel than any other that it should have been forged in his name.

As the sole surviving apostle, innumerable eyes were upon him and his movements. He lived and labored in one of the chief cities of the known world, in which was a large church and whose vicinity was wholly peopled with Christians. We have an epistle of Pliny, a distinguished Roman officer of that region, written only a few years after the death of John the evangelist, in which he describes the vast increase of the Christians in Asia Minor, and lays before the emperor Trajan (the successor of Domitian in whose reign John's death took place) measures for preventing the further extension of their tenets. Now, how was it possible that, in this state of things, a work could be forged in John's name? or, supposing even that one might have been, (though history says nothing of any such impositions in John's name), how is it conceivable that no opposition should have been made thereto, when many thousands were acquainted with Jolin and must have known exactly what he wrote and what he did not? Of such opposition, however, there is nowhere the slightest trace. Not merely all teachers of the orthodox church in all parts of the wide Roman empire, but also all heretics of the most various sects make use of the work as a sacred valuable legacy bequeathed to the church by the beloved disciple; and the few heretics who make no use of it, as e. g. Marcion, still evinced acquaintance with it, regard it as a genuine work of John's, but are impudent enough to deny that John himself had a correct knowledge of the gospel because he was too much a Jew. Whether, as was the case with the other gospels, John's also was corrupted by the heretics, who felt themselves specially aimed at in it, is uncertain. The Gnostics, with the exception of Marcion, (who, however, as has been already mentioned, is only improperly reckoned among the Gnostics) made most frequent use of John as in their opinion specially favoring their spiritual ideas. We do not learn, however, that there existed in ancient times any gospel of John corrupted by the Gnostics, as Luke's gospel was mutilated by Marcion. In modern times, it is true, a gospel of John thus disfigured has come to public knowledge ; but the alterations in it originated as late as the

middle ages.

The doubts respecting the genuineness of John's gospel which have, nevertheless, been raised in recent times, took their rise like those in regard to Matthew solely from internal character. When once doubts were thus occasioned, endeavors were made to sustain them on historical grounds likewise. These, however, are of little weight,* from the firmness of the foundation on

* The most weighty opponent of the genuineness of John has giwhich the gospel rests. It was with John much as with Matthew in regard to those characteristics which excited doubt of its genuineness. It was correctly remarked that John gives a different representation of our Lord from that presented by the first three evangelists. In his gospel Christ's actions and discourses appear as it were transfigured and spiritualized, while in the other evangelists they appear in a costume more or less Jewish and national. Now, as it is not conceivable, it is said, that the same person should be so differently represented, and John, the beloved disciple of our Lord, would certainly not have portrayed his Master as other than he really was, while the description of the actions of Jesus, (who appeared as a Jew, among Jews, and in behalf of Jews) given in the accounts of the first three evangelists, is much more conformable to truth, the gospel which bears John's name must be of later origin. But here, as in regard to Matthew, it may be observed that from a perfectly correct remark false conclusions have been deduced. It is indeed true that John exhibits the Saviour in a far more spiritual and glorified character than the first three evangelists. But this shows nothing except that John was the most spiritual of the evangelists. The same person may be regarded and described very differently by different persons. Of this truth we have a remarkable example in a great character of Grecian antiquity. Socrates is presented to our view in his actions and discourses by two of his confidential pupils, Xenophon and Plato. And how entirely different is the description given of him by these two writers ! In fact, these biographers may be said to sustain very much such a mutual relation as that of John and the first evangelists. While Xenophon paid attention principally to the external acts of Socrates, Plato describes his spiritual characteristics. Now, if it was possible to represent even a human being of eminence, in two very different lights, without doing violence to truth, how much rather might it be so in regard to one who was greater than Solomon, or than Socrates and his biographers. He who lived a purely heavenly life on earth, and spake words of eternal life, could not but be very variously described, according to the characteristics of the human soul, which received the rays of light proceeding from him. Each soul reflected his image

ven the excellent example of publicly ackvowledging that he has become convinced of the genuineness of this jewel of the church, and retracts his doubts. May this example find numerous imitators! Vol. IX. No. 25.


according to its own profundity and compass, and yet each might be right. It was for this reason that more than one gospel was included in the collection of the sacred writings, since only the presentation of different portraitures together, could prevent a partial view of our Saviour's character. As it is only from connection of the accounts of Xenophon and Plato, that we can obtain a complete picture of Socrates, so we cannot comprehend the life of our Lord, which affords so many different aspects, without uniting the peculiar traits scattered in all the four gospels, into one general portraiture. With all the difference of representation observable in the evangelists, there are still resemblances and affinities enough to make it evident that they all had the same great personage in view. As John relates narratives of cures exactly like those in Matthew, Mark and Luke, so the gospels of the latter contain passages which in elevation, depth, and richness of thought, are not inferior to our Lord's discourses in John, and indeed resemble them in phraseology. Among these is the lofty and astonishingly beautiful passage, Matt. 11: 25-30. “ I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father; and no man knoweth the Son but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” He, from whose mouth such language proceeded, might certainly be represented in such an aspect as John has given to Jesus, if the description were undertaken by one in some measure capable of appreciating such a character; and that John was such an one, is sufficiently clear from his epistles.

If, therefore, we look at the gospels as a collection, or consider each separately, we cannot but say that they are more strongly accredited and sustained by external and internal proofs, than any other work of antiquity. Few writings have such ancient testimony in their favor, reaching back to the time of the authors; none have so many, so totally distinct, so corroborative of each other. While, then, the chief argument in behalf of the Scriptures generally, and the gospels in particular, is the

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