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LUCIUS R. PAIGE.
Search the Scriptures.-JOHN v. 39.
BENJAMIN B. MUSSEY, 29 CORNHILL.
NEW YORK: C. L. STICKNEY.-PHILADELPHIA: GIHON, FAIRCHILD & CO.
CINCINNATI: J. A. GURLEY.
Discarded by authority of the Indover-Haryard Theolpgdeał Library
Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1845,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
GEORGE A. CURTIS;
NEW ENGLAND TYPE AND STEREOTYPE FOUNDRY.
GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE.
THE writer of this Gospel, though not an apostle, was a companion of the apostles, and wrote a history of their acts. He accompanied Paul on several journeys. See Acts, ch. xvi., xx., xxi., xxvii., xxviii. Beyond this, little is known of his personal history. If he was the same person who is named in Col. iv. 14, he was by profession a physician; and this may account for the fact, often noticed, that he describes both bodily and mental diseases with more technical precision than the other evangelists. By some he is supposed to have been a Jew; but the more common opinion is that he was a proselyte from the Gentiles. The purity of style and language in the preface to his Gospel is supposed to denote his Grecian origin; while his intimate knowledge of the Jewish religion and customs sufficiently indicates that he was a proselyte, if not a Jew. At what time he was converted to Christianity, we are not informed; nor at what time or place, or in what manner, his death occurred.
This Gospel is frequently referred to by the apostolical fathers, and attributed to Luke. Many of the ancients regarded it as substantially the Gospel preached by Paul. Thus Irenæus says, "Luke, the companion of Paul, put down in a book the gospel preached by him." And Origen describes it as the gospel "commended by Paul." Indeed, it was generally allowed to have canonical and apostolical authority, though not actually written by an apostle.
By some, this Gospel is supposed to have been written as early as A. D. 53; by others, as late as A. D. 64. It was evidently written during the life of Paul; for no account of his death is given in the Acts of the Apostles, and this Gospel had been previously written. See Acts i. 1; xxviii. 30, 31. This is as near an approximation to the true date as can easily be made from existing materials.
A remarkable variation is observable between Luke and Matthew, as to the apparent order of events recorded. But this may be accounted for by supposing, which is probable, that Matthew arranged the events chronologically, and Luke classified them according to their peculiar character, with less regard to the order of time.
As Luke was not an apostle, the question has been raised, whether his Gospel was written by inspiration, and whether it has equal authority with the others. (1.) Even if Luke were not inspired, his testimony is worthy of full credit; for he obtained information by diligent inquiry of eye-witnesses, ch. i. 1-4, and his fulness and precision in regard to names and dates corroborate its truth. (2.) This Gospel was published during the lifetime of the apostles, and there is no evidence that they doubted its inspiration; on the contrary, there is evidence that Paul approved and commended it, and that the apostolical fathers received it as having canonical authority. (3.) If it was examined by Paul, and published with his sanction, as is asserted by ancient writers, then it has the authority of inspiration, whether the evangelist himself were actually inspired or not. (4.) Its substantial agreement with the other gospels, together with its circumstantial variation, satisfactorily shows, on the one hand, that it was not copied from them; and, on the other, that it was written under the guidance of the same spirit of truth. Some have denied the genuineness of the first two chapters; but the best critics generally admit that there exists no sufficient reason to reject them, inasmuch as they are found in all the ancient manuscripts and versions now extant.
INTRODUCTION TO THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUke.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE.
NORASMUCH as many have among us,
Finken in hand to set forth in
order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed
1-4. Unlike the other evangelists, Luke prefixes to his Gospel an introduction, or preface. A similar peculiarity is discoverable in his narration of the labors, instructions, and trials, of the Apostles. Acts i. 1-14. This Gospel seems to have been composed for the special benefit of the person to whom it is dedicated; but its truths are equally important to all others, and are "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." 2 Tim. iii. 16. I do not understand the author to vouch for the accuracy of the earlier narratives, to which he refers. He seems rather to propose establishing the certainty of the facts which were actually true, ver. 4. The meaning may be, that he wrote in imitation of a laudable example:-forasmuch as others had done well, therefore he also would perform his duty. But the former interpretation seems preferable.
1. Many. This term cannot well be understood to refer to the other evangelists; for, at most, only two had then written their Gospels, namely, Matthew and Mark; and it is unusual to apply the term many to that number of persons. Probably many narratives had been composed, which are not now extant, of the events connected with our Lord's life and ministry. It is generally understood that the writings which are now styled Pseudo-Gospels are of a much later date. We have no means of judging, therefore, how much or how little of truth was contained in the many narratives which preceded Luke's. ¶ Have taken in hand. Have under
2 Even as they delivered them
taken; have attempted. To set forth in order a declaration. To compose a narrative, or to write a history. Most surely believed among us. Have been accomplished amongst us."-Campbell. The word here rendered believed, ordinarily signifies to fulfil, or to accomplish. It sometimes means to persuade, or to convince. But I think no instance occurs of its use in the Scriptures, where its meaning is justly expressed by the term, believe. The evangelist seems here to assert not merely a belief in certain facts, but the truth of those facts. These things, that is, the facts which he is about to relate, have certainly been accomplished. Eye-witnesses have testified the facts. The facts being true and important, a correct history of them was desirable; and such a history the evangelist proposes to give ;-even "of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen." Acts i. 1, 2.
2. It has been supposed by many commentators, that, in this verse, Luke admits the general correctness of the preceding narrations, but intimates that they were defective in some respects; so much so, that he judged it advisable to write a more complete and methodical history. But I think this does not express the exact meaning. The many former accounts, mentioned in ver. 1, may have been merely defective in fulness or style, or they may have been absolutely erroneous and fabulous, for aught which here appears to the contrary. Luke does not assert that those who preceded him wrote truly or false