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III tenth chapter of Deuteronomy. But I need take no more: pains to shew, that this phrase does not imply immediate suco cefsion ; Mr. Whiston himself, in his Chronology of the Old Testament, p. 73, in direct contradiction to himself in these two places, has very well proved it, by the same instance which I just now mentioned out of Gen. xxxviii. 1. His words are ; « But then we must remember, that although the « words, at that time, seem to refer us to the foregoing his« tory of Joseph, yet the expression is of a much larger ex.' “ tent in the language of Scripture, and includes a great space « of time, as will appear by a view of the instances in the “ margina, of that and the like ways of speaking, both in the « Old and New Testament. Nay indeed, it seems to be little “ more than a particle of transition, or common way of intro“ ducing and beginning a new branch of an history ; just like “ the English particle, Now, as it is used at this day; which “ though at first it might infer a connection, in point of time, " with what went before, yet now it is plain it is frequently « no more than a particle of transition, to introduce a new « period, after we have made a full end of that which went “ before.” It is well observed by Mr. Whiston here, that this phrase is often used thus in Scripture. Dr. Wells has observed b, that this phrase is used three times in St. Matthew, in this lax sense. « The Greek expression aforemen« tioned (viz. 'Ev tã xaropõ éxeivo) is not to be understood in a
strict sense, or so as to denote, that the particulars which " they usher in, were done or fell out in that point of time, " which followed next in order to the time wherein came to o pass the particulars next afore related by St. Matthew ; but « the said Greek phrase is to be understood in a large sense, so " as to denote a considerable interval or space of time, in, or “ during, which the several particulars, which are ushered in « by the said Greek phrase, did come to pass, &c.” Thus rightly has the Doctor explained this phrase. The observa
* Deut. x. 8. 2 Kings xx. 1. 2 Chron. xxxii. 24. Ifai. xxxviii. 1. Matt. iii. 1.
b See his Paraphrase on Matt. ii. 25.
tion is indeed very trite and common; Ulher, Spanheim, Dr. Lightfoot, Chemnitius, and many others, have made the fame remark. I rather chose to cite the Doctor's words on this head, because he seems in them to have had a direct design to con. fute Mr. Whiston's hypothesis ; for he adds, “ Hereby are “ easily solved all objections urged against St. Matthew's « Gospel, as being faulty as to wrong dating of several par“ ticulars of our Saviour's history, without having recourse " to such notions, as that St. Matthew writ on loofe papers, « which have not been put together in their due order.” 1 was the more willing to mention this, because I know not that any one besides has taken the least publick notice of this proposition of Mr. Whiston's, which seems so injurious to the honour of this part of the facred volume.
CHA P. xiv.
Mr. Whifton's Method of accounting for the Disorder he supe
poses in this part of St. Matthew's Gospel, viz. that St. Matthew wrote it on small Pieces of Paper ; that these were confusedly put together by those, who did not perfeélly undera fand the true Series of the History. Mr. Toinard of the same Opinion. The Improbability of it, proposed to be sherun from the antient Way of writing. The most antient Methods
considered. L AVING confidered thus far Mr. Whiston's proof, that 11 the several periods of the history in this part of St. Matthew's Gospel are misplaced, I proceed now to confider the following section. The design of the section is, to observe what might be the probable occasions of the present mistaken places of these several branches. Now in order to this, Mr.
Whiston is forced to a very odd and strange suppofition, such as I am very much inclined to believe he never would have espoused, had he fufficiently weighed, and been aware of, its consequences. “ I must,” says he, “ here take it for granted, s that the several parts or periods of this former part of St. « Matthew's Gospel, were written at first separately, and upon « several diftinct papers; which papers (or whatever they were « written upon) were put together into their present order by « those, who did not perfectly know the true series of the “history.” . I have more largely observed in the Preface, that Spinoza and Father Simon have taken this method to depreciate and vilify the sacred volume, supposing that several parts of it were confufedly put together, by thofe who did not know the right and true order of the history. It is indeed a very eafy way of accounting for many of the difficulties of Chronology in the Old Testament, as well as in the Gospels, if the matter of fact could be made certain. If there are indeed several parts of the history transposed and misplaced, I cannot conceive any other way fo probable, by which the fupposed disorders can be accounted for, as this; I must, therefore do Mr. Whiston that justice to own, to his honour, that he has hit upon the only possible method of accounting for the dislocations he supposes to have happened to this part of St. Matthew's Gospel. In the next section he tells us indeed a, “ that he once de" signed to have attempted to offer some conjectures, how “ so many of these sections came to be fo ftrangely trans“ posed;" but this, I confess, is what I am not able to understand. He says here, “ that he supposes the several disordered « parts or periods were wrote at first separately, and upon « distinct pieces of paper, and placed in this wrong order by « those, who did not know the true series of the history;" and then adds, “ that he will observe, what were the probable « occasions of their present mistaken places.” And is not this offering conjectures, how they came to be transposed? I alk Mr. Whifton's pardon, if it appear that I am mistaken in
* Pag. 110.
saying, faying, that he had before offered all the conjecture, that either he, or any man could offer. Mr. Toinarda, a French gentleman (who was reputed in his country one of the greatest scholars of the age), composed a Harmony of the Gospels in Greek, which was published about a year after his death, (A.D.'1707.) in which he seems to be of the very fame opinion with Mr. Whiston in this matter. I have not been able to procure the book itself; and so could not compare his and Mr. Whiston's Harmony together. A general account of his opinion I learnt from the abstract of his book, which Mr. Le Clerc hath given us in his Bibliothéque Choisie", and from a short paragraph out of his Prolegomena, which Mr. Whiston did me the honour to send me. His words are to this purpose'; “ St. Matthew's text was the only one of the four « Evangelists, which I could not always place in my Har.. « mony in that same order, in which it is in our common co(s pies; because from the twenty-second verse of the fourth « chapter, to the thirteenth verfe of the fourteenth chapter, he « differs very much from the order of the other Evangelists. « This indeed seems very strange, when we consider, that the “ Evangelift St. Mark, who seems to be a fort of an epi“ tomizer of him, does exactly agree with St. Luke and St. « John, in relating all those particulars, which are now so o much transposed in St. Matthew. This seems very hard to
..See his character in the supplement to the last edition of Mr. Moreri's French Dictionary.
b Toutes les Evangelistes sont dans l'ordre, auquel ils ont écrit, excepté St. Matthieu, depuis le chap. iv. 22. jusqu'au chap. xiv. 13. parce qu'en cela cet Evangeliite s'est éloigné de l'ordre des autres. Mr. Toinard ne fait, d'où ce dél ordre peut être arrivé, à moins que depuis le commencement, les papiers de l'Evangeliste n'aient été transposés par quelque accident. Biblioth. Choisie, tom. 15. Art. 5. p. 251. 'c Matthæifolius ex quatuor Evangeliis textum, eodem quo in
vulgatis legitur ordine, a principio ad finem exhibere non licuit, propterea quod ab aliorum Evangelistarum ordine, a capitis quarti Evangelii fui versu vicesimo secundo, ad ejusdem Evangelii capitis decimi quarti versum decimum tertium, plurimum difcedit.' Quod fane mirari subit; cum Evangelista Mara cus, ejus veluti epitomator, cum Luca et Joanne æquo pede in iis omnibus narrandis decurrat, quæ apud Matthæum varie transposita leguntur. Quod unde evenerit, nifi ex perturbatione aliqua eaque antiquiflima Schedarum Evangelistæ hujus, difficile est perfpicere. Proleg. p. 5.
“ be accounted for, unless we suppose it done by some very “antient confusion, or disorder, of the sheets (or papers) on ~ which this Gospel was wrote.” .
This is the hypothesis of these two learned men: it is ftrange a propofition, which seems so much to need proof, should by them be taken for granted. This is such a poftu. latum, as one very feldom meets with; and it will be so far from being granted to Mr. Whiston to be a truth, that needs not to be proved, (viz. that St. Matthew wrote his Gospel on loose scraps of paper) that it will appear to every, impartial examiner to be a most unreasonable supposition. For the manifesting of this, I shall offer the best proof I can; and if it should be thought by any, that I have been at more pains in confuting this hypothesis, than was necessary; I defire it may be considered, that my arguing tends not only to overthrow this proposition, about St. Matthew's Gospel being disordered, but may be made use of (at least a good part of it) against Spinoza, Father Simon, and Mr. Whiston's opinion of several books of the Old Testament, which has been mentioned in the Preface.
The method I design to proceed in shall be ; first, to fhew, what the manner of writing among the antients was, and particularly, after what manner the Jews wrote in our Saviour's time; and from thence Thew, how highly absurd it is to ima. gine, that St. Matthew wrote after that manner, which Mr. Whiston supposes.
The accounts we have from antiquity of their manner of writing, are very defective and imperfect; and it is with no small difficulty and pains, that we are able to say any thing clear on this head. The first and most antient account that we have of any writing; is that which Jofephus tells us of the fons of Seth, before the flood; viz. that they “ having made “ some observations about the heavenly bodies, that they might « not be loft, made two pillars, the one of brick, the other of « stone, on both of which they wrote the discoveries they had “ made ; &c. a” It was after this manner the Decalogue was,
* Σοφίαν τε την περί τα Βράνια, και την τούτων διακόσμησιν επενόησαν