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the same reason also is the story of Shimei's death placed too Yoon, í Kings ii. 39. that the whole story of him might be finished at once, and not brought in without any connection, as it muft neceffarily have been, if it had been placed afterwards..
3. It is not at all absurd or unreasonable to suppose, that divine Wisdom ordered it to be thus, to prevent all suspicion of the Evangelists' writing in concert, or by combination, with defign to impose upon the world. Christianity was looked upon at first, by many, as a delusion, and the authors of these sacred books as cheats and impostors. Against this the Christians commonly argued, that, if the writers of the Gospel-history had had any such designs, they would not have so many things, which seein contrary to each other. The reasoning of Chryfoftom on this head is so very just, that it well deserves transcribing a. He brings in a person making this objection, that the Evangelists do not agree in their accounts. To this he answers; “ Their not agreeing in every particular, is a full « demonstration of their truth; for if they had in all things “ agreed with a perfect exactness, both as to time, and place, 6 and words, none of our adversaries but would have believed “ that they met together, and wrote by compact and consent « to deceive : but now that difference there seems to be be« tween them in these smaller matters, defends them from all « such suspicion, &c.” Such arguing seems to be very just; and if it be; what is there absurd in supposing, that divine Wisdom ordered these little differences, those in respect of time among others, for this good end ? “ The Holy Spirit,” says a learned man, “influenced the Evangelists to write many
triarcha notanda acciderent, pergere
peep zárta Cove ouroav METE a xpsesias, και μέχρι καιρού, και μέχρι τόπου,
xai Méxpo inuátwv aútūv, oideis år missuoi süx éx Joãy, TI UN OurenSóvres ÚTo Our Sýnns tuvos av pw Tróme pypal amNuvi de xain dongoos έν μικρούς είναι διαφωνία σάσης απαλλάττει αυτους υποψίας, &ς. Chryfoftom. Homil. in Matth. i. Idem vid. apud Theophylact. Præfat. in Matth.
« things in a different order, that they might not seem to have « wrote by compact, or to have borrowed one from another a,"
4. Mr.Whiston has furnished me with another reason, why the Evangelists are thus different from one another, and do not observe the same order in relating the several acts of our Saviour's life. " It ought not (says he) * to seem strange, if « that book, which contains the revealed will of God, be fo «s framed, as to have divers feeming contradictions in it, for « the perplexing the ungodly, and the exercise of the pious.". This observation of Mr. Whiston's, is what several other learned men have upon this and other occafions made, and is, if true, a very good reason, why the Evangelists were not so very exact, in observing the order of time in their histories.
Thus I have endeavoured to justify the practice of the Evangelists, in relating things in a different order from that in which they came to pass, both by shewing it was the prac. tice of the best historians, and by several other reasons. I only add, that, as it has been already proved concerning St. Luke", that he did not tell us he designed to observe the exact order of time, so it is certain no one of the Evangelists basi told us fo; and if they did not engage and promise to obferve this order, certainly they are not to be accused of falsehood in not obferving it. Hence the learned Dr. Hammond e well observed, « That all these, and (if there were) many more [differences] ď do nothing derogate from the fidelity of the writers; who, « undertaking to make some relations of what was done by « Christ, do no where undertake, nor oblige themselves, to ob« serve the order wherein every thing succeeded, that being “ generally extrinsical, and of no importance to the rela« tions."
& Voluit vero Spiritus Sanétus diverio ordine multa ab Evangelistis narrari zone vel ex compacto, vel collatis capitibus, scripfiffe, vel fiza à fe invicem defcripfiffe viderentur, &c. Spanheim. Dub. Eyang. tom. üi. Dub. 69.
Chronolog. of the Old Test. P. 3.
c Multa diverso ordine ab Evan gel itis narrari voluit Spiritus Sanctus, exercendæ et fubigendæ fidei noftræ, &c. causa. Spanheim. Dub. Evang. tom. iii. Dub. 69.
4 P. 24, &c. .
And to the same purpose, it is well remarked by the author just now cited“, “ That no one can charge that writer with “ a falsehood or contradiction, for relating things in a different 66 order from that in which they came to pass, if he did not « before-hand engage to observe that order.” The principal thing these facred writers were concerned about, was truth, to be faithful and just in the accounts they gave us ; and this indeed is the most necessary requisite, and best character of an historian. Hence Lucian, in his excellent directions for writing history, tells us ", " The one thing most peculiarly ré« quifite to history, is truth. If any go about to write a his« tory, he must principally regard truth, not concerning him“ self about any thing else.”
CHA P. V.
Mr. Whifton's fecond Argument considered. It does not follow,
that because St. Matthew for the most part observed the Order of Time, therefore he did in every particular. The third Argument discussed The Notes of Time Mr. Whifton mentions, do not prove the Order of Time. THE fecond argument, which Mr.Whifton makes use of
I to prove, that St. Matthew originally observed the order of time through his whole Gospel, is, because he does so in the greatest part of his Gospel. After what hath been said in the two former chapters, there seems very little necessary to be said in answer to this. I agree with Mr. Whiston, that St.
a Immo nemo mendacii vel con- Deia, eñ ris isopícev ypaćat we los, Two traditionis infimulaverit illum, quί και άλλων απάντων αμελητέον αυτω, eadem diverso ordine recitat, modo &c. Luçian. de Conscrib. Hiftor. non præfertur se ordinem relaturum, . 8. 39. Historicus itaque, fi ad veæque ac res ipsas. Spanheim. Dub. rum et fidem de re propofita retule. Evang. tom. ii. Dub. 56. b"Ey gãie rēto (scil. árýdesc) "Ey são tão (fcil. C hew
bitur. Isaac. Pontan. Orat. Ifagog.
Thr, officio fuo fatisfeciffe existimaidor isogías, xai pova Juríor tñ car-' ad L. Flor. p. .
through at St. Mattheutzument, by wh
Matthew (and so indeed each of the other Evangelists) does for the most part exactly observe the order of time; yet it will by no means follow, that that inspired writer was always so confined to a strict observance of this order, that he could upon no occasions whatsoever depart from it. Several reasons have been affigned, upon the account of which an historian may fometimes deviate from this order, though for the moft part he strictly observe it. And it has been proved, that St. Luke sometimes relates things in a different order from that in which they came to pass, though for the most part he exactly observes the order of time. Mr. Whiston's argument therefore, that because St. Matthew for the most part writes in this order, therefore he does never recede from it, will not hold.
Mr. Whiston's last argument, by which he endeavours to prove, that St. Matthew originally observed the order of time through his whole Gospel, is, that the notes of the order of time, and coherence of parts, are as many in that part which is now disordered and misplaced, as in that which is regular and in its proper order. It is true indeed, those which Mr. Whiston has here collected, and calls notes of .the order of time, are as frequent in this as any other part of the Gospel; but then these are such which are only (if they may be so called) notes of transition, generally inserted by the historian only for the sake of connecting the several stories together, and not to denote the regular succession of the facts related. They are most of them such as can only relate to the story that follows them, and do not at all connect it with that foregoing. This will appear by a very flight confideration of them : they are such as these : 'Idv de xai ároížas sò sóue ait xatabánto di autū anò toữ öçouse xai idoso sioendórro de xai intáre xai açocendúr &c. and feeing ; and opening his mouth; and coming down from the mountain ; and behold; and as he was entering; and coming, &c. Is it not evident that these, and such as these, are designed only for the better transition from one story to another.? Is it not very plain that they regard only the subsequent story? For instance, 'Ida's de xai 'idé and when Jesus faw; and behold; have these phrases any reference at all to what goes before? Do they intimate that the next fact related, was immediately in
order order of time after that which was before related? Let us suppose the story, to which one of these notes is prefixed, a confiderable time after that which immediately precedes it in the history, might not the historian very properly prefix one of these notes to it? Might hè not say, xai iddy, or xai in two ó 'Inošs, and Jefus seeing, or coming, did such or such a thing, only regarding what he was about to tell, without the least respect to what he had said before ? Nay, let us go further, and fuppose one of those notes prefixed to a story, which in the order of time was before that which it immediately succeeds, yet would the prefixing of such a note be very proper. For instance, to the sermon on the Mount (Mat v. 2.) is prefixed sai civoltas tò sópa airū (which is one of Mr. Whiston's notes of the order of time) and he opened his mouth. Might not this note be very well prefixed to our Saviour's preaching, although the sermon, in the order of time, were really before that which immediately precedes it in the history? The same may be proved of almost every one of these notes, which Mr. Whiston has here mentioned, if it were necessary.
The truth is, it is a common thing in all histories to make use of such transitory or introductory phrases as these ; nay even of those which seem moft to imply an immediate and orderly succession of events, in a very great latitude. So for instance, Gen. xxxviii. 1. immediately after the account of Joseph's being sold into Egypt, it follows, at that time Judah went down from his brethren, &c. when as it is certain this happened a confiderable time before Joseph's being sold into Egypt a. Hence, says Dr. Lightfoot b, “ The words at that time are not to be refer“ red to the next words going before in the preceding chap« ter, concerning Joseph's fale to Potiphar, but are of a more “ large extent; as that phrase, and the phrase in those days, are “ oft in Scripture.” It is a trite observation among the writers of facred chronology, that these phrases in Scripture are frequently used with a great deal of latitude. It has been observed, that this phrase, In that day or time, is used fixteen times in the Old and New Testament in a lax sense, and not im
* See above, p. 36.
o Harmon, and Chronic. of the Old Teft, Gen. c. xxxviii.