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and St. Mark. But I cannot think any one, who confiders the matter without prejudice, can be of that opinion. The circumstances are so very like, that I believe every one that, reads those two histories, concludes them to be the same. I own indeed, there are some different circumstances in the histories, and so there are in almost every one of the stories, which are related by two Evangelists. But those here are very inconsiderable, and very easily to be reconciled. Mr. Whiston however has made them fo many arguments to prove the story in St. Matthew and St. Mark, and that in St. Luke to be different. I need not be at the pains distinctly to consider them; Dr. Whitbya has in a few words sufficiently shewed, that they do not prove the two different callings of these Apostles, which. Mr. Whifton contends for. The four first reasons, by which Mr.Whifton endeavours to prove these two fories different, are only additional circumstances, mens tioned by St. Luke, and not by St. Matthew nor St. Mark. The other two are really not different at all. A bare casting the eye upon them will evidently shew it: St. Matthew and St.
St. LUKE. Mark. Pollow me, and I will make From henceforth thou halt you fishers of men.
catch men. They left their nets, and fola They left all, and followed lowed him.
him. Are these such differences, as to prove the histories to be difa ferent? One would rather think these very circumstances to be the same; and if so, it is plain, that St. Luke did not always design to observe the order of time in his history.
Another instance to the same purpose, (viz. of St. Luke's not observing the order of time in the stories which he relates) we have, ch. viii. 19, 20, 21, where he places the history of our Lord's mother and brethren, after the parable of the fower, which begins at ver. 4. of that chapter, but according to the
· Annot. on Matt. iv, 18. vid. & Spanheim. Dub. Evang. tom. 3. Dub. 72. M 4
other Evangelists, viz. St. Matthew and St. Mark, it is evident this account should have been before this parable, if the order of time had been observed; see Matt. xii. 46, &c. and xiii. 1, &c. and Mark iii. 31, &c. and iv. 1, &c. Hence Mr. Whifton has in this instance also, receded from St. Luke's order in his Harmony a. · These, were there no other, seem to be fufficient arguments to prove, that St. Luke did not confine himself always strictly, to relate the acts and circumstances of our Saviour's life, in the same order, in which they came to pass. That which induced Mr. Whiston”; as well as many others, to the contrary opinion, are those words in St. Luke's preface, c. i. ver. 3. where he says, he designed, vandens rypáska, to write in order. But to this it may be answered, that it is not at all necessary this word should be thus translated; it may be as well rendered particularly, ferie perpetua ; so it is certain the word commonly fignifies, and the best criticks have taken it in this sense. “They are mistaken (says Grotius"), who con« clude from this word, that St. Luke designed more closely “ to observe the order of time, than the others had done be“ fore him; for on the contrary it is evident, that he more
than once relates things of the same nature together, though « they were done at different times. Kedeems means nothing “ more than particularly, as is plain from the use of the word « Acts xi. 4. and xviii. 23. So that St. Luke's meaning here is no more than this, My design is to write to thee a particular account of the things done by Chrift. But if after all xaletñs ypáfan Thould be translated to write in order, why must it needs regard the order of time more than any other order? Are there not several other orders and methods of writing made use of by historians, besides this? viz. such as placing actions and discourses of a like nature together, or things which were done at the same place, though not at the
a P. 287, & 289. : P. 97. & 114.
c Falluntur, qui hinc colligunt propofitum Lucæ temporum ordinem pressius fequi, quam alii ante ipsum feciflent; nam contra apparet,
illum non femel ob rerum cohærentiam connexuiffe, quæ temporibus erant discreta. Sed xa teñs nil aliud eft quam sigillatim, ut videre eft Act. xi. 4. & xviii, 23. Grot, ad Luc. i. 3.
Same same time. An historian may be very properly said to write in order, who does not exactly observe the order of time.
But if we suppose further, that St. Luke by the word xcerēms did intend the order of time; why must he be supposed to limit and confine himself to it in every particular branch of his history, so that he could not, when he faw a juft occasion, rem cede from it? He may be well said to write in the order of time, who doth fo for the most part. And hence it is excellently observed by our late English criticka; that, “ It being « certain, that St. Luke in his Gospel doth not give us « Christ's miracles, sermons, and journeys, in that order of « time, in which they were done and spoken : it remains, « that, when he promised to write xadems in order, we under« ftand this of Christ's conception, birth, circumcision, bap« tism, preaching, death, resurrection, and ascension, of which " he truly writes in order.” Upon the whole, then, I conclude, that St. Luke in writing his Gospel did not design exactly to observe the order of time, and consequently also, that St. Mark did not; because, according to Mr. Whiston“, he every where agrees with St. Luke: and so Mr. Whiston's argument, to prove St. Matthew originally observed the order of time, viz. because other Gospel writers did so, is plainly insufficient.
* Dr. Whitby, Annot. on Luc. i. 3.
CH A P. IV.
The Practice of other Historians, as well as the Evangelists, to
neglect the Order of Time. Several Instances out of the
L OWEVER strange. it may seem to some, that these fa11 cred writers should thus disregard the order of time, and consequently differ so much from each other; yet this will not at all derogate from their honour and authority, if the matter be duly and impartially confidered. For as this is very often, upon many accounts, undoubtedly the best way of writing history, so it has been the practice of the best historians, both sacred and profane, in all ages and countries. Mr. Whiston indeed tells us, that those who do not take his method, and suppose St. Matthew's Gospel in our present copies misplaced, are forced on another method, which plainly implies the frequent inaccuracy, if not falsehood, of the inspired writers themselvesa. This is a very hard charge indeed, which at once falls upon all the harmonizers and commentators of the Gospels, that ever wrote before Mr. Whifton. It is strange that all these good men, who had so great a veneration for inspired writers, fhould thus charge the Evangelists with inaccuracies, if not falsehood; Mr. Whiston will agree with me, they had none of them this design, and then I am not afraid to affert, that no such thing follows from the method they took, to reconcile the Evangelists.
The substance of their charge amounts to no more than this, viz. That they suppose the Evangelists, not to have al ways, and in every particular instance, observed the order of time; but this is so far from supposing an inaccuracy or falsea kood in the Evangelists, that it is only supposing them to have
* P. 112.
taken the best method, and the method the best historians have taken, before and since their time.
For the clearing of this matter, I will endeavour to Thew:
I. That this is a thing very common in the history of the Old Teftament.
II. That it has been the practice of the best profane historians.
III. Offer some reasons, why the Evangelifs neglected the order of time.
I. The writers of the history of the Old Testament very free quently deviate from the order of time, in relating several bran ches of their history; fometimes placing them much sooner, fometimes much later, than the time, in which they really came to pass. This was very remarkably the practice of that best and moft accurate of all historians, Mofes. For instance,
Gen. XXV. 7, 8, 9. He places the death of Abraham before the birth of Isaac's two sons, Efau and Jacob, ver. 24, 25, &c. whereas it is very certain, that Abraham was alive when they were born, aud lived at least fifteen years afterwards, as will appear by the following account.
Abraham was a hundred years old, when his son Ifaac was born, Gen. xxi. 5. Isaac was threescore years old, when his fons Efau and Jacob were born, ch. xxv. 26. therefore Abraham was but a hundred and threescore at their birth. But Abraham lived till he was a hundred and seventy five, ch. xxv. 2. and therefore it is evident, that the death of Abraham is placed at least fifteen years too soon, being placed before the birth of Efau and Jacob; whereas if the order of time had been observed, it must have been placed at least fifteen years afterwards.
The fame may be observed also, concerning the historian's placing his account of the death of Isaac, Gen. xxxv. 28, 29, It is placed before the selling of Joseph into Egypt by his brem thren, ch. xxxvii. whereas, if the order of time had been observed, it ought to have been placed after ; it being certain,