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instance, how far the minds of the most learned men are biassed by their favourite and preconceived opinions. I conclude therefore, that this branch also of St. Matthew's history is so far from being misplaced, that it is in its proper order of time. It would be tedious to prove this of all the other instances. A due application of the rules laid down in the beginning of this chapter, will shew us, that there are several of the other branches, that are in the order of time in which they came to pass, which are not only by Mr. Whifton, but some others, supposed not to be so.
CHA P. XII.
None of those Branches, which are not according to the Order of
Time, in this Part of St. Matthew's Gospel, are misplaced. This evidenced by considering several of them.
II. A LTHOUGH there are several paragraphs or periods
A in this part of St. Matthew's history, which are not according to the order of time ; yet it does not appear, that any of them are misplaced, or put into an order, different from that originally intended by the Evangelis. It having been already proved, that these facred writers did not always intend strictly to obferve that order, in which the facts they relate came to pass; it follows, that we are not hastily to conclude, that a history is misplaced, because it is not in that order. This is for the most part Mr. Whifton's argument, there being in several of the particulars, which he asserts to be misplaced, not so much as an attempt to prove any more, than that they are not in the true order of time, though, in other instances, there feems at the first light to be something more.
For the clear discussing of this matter, I must observe, that the almost only method, by which it is possible to discover whether a story be misplaced or not, is by considering the notes of its cohen rence with the context. If it be apparent, by comparing any period of the history with the other Evangelifts, that it is not in its proper order of time, and if it have such a note of coherence, as necessarily joins it with the foregoing or following story (as it stands in our present copies); we must conclude, either that the Evangelist was mistaken in writing, or that our copies are corrupted and altered, since he wrote. The
question then in this matter lies principally in this, viz. whe'ther in this part of St. Matthew's Gospel, there are any periods of the history, which are not in the order of time; and yet, as they stand in our present copies, are necessarily connected, either with the foregoing or following part of the history. Of this fort there is not one ; but, on the other hand, all those that are really out of the order of time, are laid by the Evangelift in his history, in such a manner, as plainly evidences that he had no design that we should believe, that he intended to place
them in that order. · I do not think it necessary, distinctly to consider all these particular branches, because, in so doing, I shall be obliged to a dull repetition of the fame things again and again ; I shall only mention fome, and, among them, those which seem most considerable.
The cure of Peter's mother-in-law, ch. viii. 14, &c. is placed by St. Matthew after the Sermon on the Mount; whereas it is plain, from the other Evangelists, that this mi. racle was wrought a considerable time before. But then it is introduced by St. Matthew, and laid in his history in such a manner, as makes it plain, that he had no design we should think it was in the order of time. He begins it thus, Kai
GwoPinoğs eis ton ciriav létfé, &c. and when Jesus was come into Peter's house, &c. But on the other hand, St. Mark and St. Luke have so connected this story with the former, that it is impossible to separate the one from the other. They both agree that our Saviour went from the synagogue immediately to St. Peter's house, and there wrought this miracle: fee Mark i. 29, &c. and Luke iv. 38, &c. *
a Marcus certiorem notationem temporis et ordinis fervat.-Mani
feftum eft Matthæum-non fervafle ordinem-unde et tali usus est locu.
The same may be argued in respect of the other branches, viz. the mission, and instruction of the twelve Apostles, chap. X. I, &c. and the fending of John's disciples to Christ, chap. xi. 2, &c. which, being out of the order of time, are not connected to the context, by any notations of that order.
Of the other seven branches, there are two, or perhaps more, that seem to be in the same order, in which they came to pass; though I must own, there are also two, which seem not to be in the order of time ; and yet have such notes of time prefixed to them, as seern to imply immediate succession. It is necessary that both these instances be particularly confidered.
1. The first is the cure of Jairus's daughter, ch. ix. 18, &c. “ This (says Mr. Whifton) so immediately follows the “ discourse at Levi's feaft, and with such an express notation “ of the very moment of time, as is peculiarly remarkable, “ Taūga aútê nangrt@ avross, &c. as he was speaking, or while “ he spake, these things unto them, behold a ruler, &c. So that “ no unbiassed reader could imagine the least space possible “ interposed between them; whereas above a half a year was
“ gone, after the feast of Levi, before the healing of Jairus's .“ daughter. An undeniable instance of the dislocations be« fore-mentioned in this Gospel ; and I think I may well “ call it an undeniable one, since truly it was so to me. For " though, at the first, I durft not so far depend upon the other “ notes of time, as to believe the present order of this part of “ St. Matthew to be different from the original one ; yet 6 when I came to this, after a little attempt, I found it impof“ fible to be got over, &c.” This inftance therefore is plainly the main support of Mr. Whiston's hypothesis ; and I own indeed it seems very much to his purpose, though, upon a close examination, I find it will not prove what he designs, it should. There are several more probable methods of account: ing for the difficulty, than by supposing a dislocation ; but before I come particularly to consider any, I think it necessary a little more clearly to state the case.
tione, quæ non neceffario exigit or-
nisent in domum Petri, &c. Chem-
St. Matthew, ch. ix. 9. gives us an account of his call by our Saviour to follow him; ver. 10. he tells us of a feast at his house, where many publicans and finners were also present; ver. 11. he informs us of a question, put by the Pharisees to our Saviour's disciples, concerning his eating with finners; and ver. 12, 13, our Saviour's answer ; after this, ver. 14. We have an account of John's disciples coming to Christ, and asking him, why his disciples did not fast ? and ver. 15, 16, 17. Our Saviour's answer to their question, which whilft he was giving, Jairus came, ver. 18. But, says Mr. Whiston, there was half a year's space between the feast of Levi, and Jairus's coming to Christ. This is indeed easily afferted; but not the least reason offered for the assertion. It were to be wished, that in this, as well as other instances, he had told us, for what reasons he supposes them to be out of the order of time. A bare asserting that a story is fo much too soon, or so much too late, or a referring us to his Harmony, where he has so placed it, cannot be thought sufficient; and indeed, this is all that Mr. Whiston has done in this, and several other instances. But this is too considerable a point to be given up so easily. · For the sake of stating the case more fully, let us consider the reason of this assertion. It is in short only this, that -St. Mark and St. Luke place a great many of our Lord's dif courses and miracles, between this feast of St. Matthew and the discourses which follow it, and the coming of Jairus to our Saviour. The former is placed by St. Mark, ch. ii. 14, &c. and by St. Luke, ch. v. 27, &c. The latter by St. Mark, ch. v. 22, &c. and St. Luke, ch. viii. 41, &c. This is the difficulty, for the solution of which there may be two or three expedients, but I shall only make use of one, which is, that of supposing there was foine time interposed between St. Matthew's being called to be an Apoftle, and his entertaining our Saviour at his house. This supposed, will reconcile the Evan. gelists, and make St. Matthew's notation of the time, when Jairus came, to be very just and proper. Let us then sup
pose, that St. Matthew was called at the time, where St. Mark and St. Luke place it, viz. before the sermon on the Mount, and the voyage to the Gergesenes (and this indeed is probable), and that those Evangelists, having a mind to finish at once and together, all they designed to say concerning St. Matthew in particular, mentioned there also his feast, and the discourse at it, though they were some time after his call. On the other hand, let us fuppose, that St. Matthew being about to mention his feast, and the discourse at it, in its proper order of time (viz. soon after the return from the country of the Gergesenes), premised there the account of his call, which yet was some time before. If this be allowed, then there is no absurdity in supposing Jairus's coming to Christ, while he was talking to John's disciples at Levi's feast. I own indeed the preceding hypothesis is not entirely my own; I received the firft hints of it from Chemnitius and Dr. Lightfoot, and thereupon examined into the matter with the utmost diligence and impartiality; and after having weighed all the several circumftances of the stories under consideration, I made the fol. lowing observations, which seem to support the account that has been given.
1. There are many instances of a like nature with this, both among the writers of the Gospel history, and other historians. It is a very common thing with all writers, when they design to say but little of a person in their history, to join it all together, although what they relate came to pass at very distant times. This has been already shewna, and is very evident in the case of Shimei, 1 Kings ii. 36, &c. His building a house at Jerufalem, and his being put to death, are connected together (like St. Matthew's call and feast), though they were plainly three years diftant in point of time. But this is an obfervation, too common and obvious to need any instances to be produced to support it.
2. The fuppofing St. Matthew's call and feaft to have been at two different times, does not make the history of either of the Evangelifts at all the more inaccurate. It is fo far from giving