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sermon was faithfully reported. The present minister of the parish of Bervie has been
* The sermon that was thus preached was one of Dr Blair’s.
(a) St John xiv. 26.
* A very zealous advocate for the copying hypothesis enumerates eight words, which he thinks so unusual, that no two evangelists could have employed them in the sense in which they are employed, unless one evangelist had transcribed them from the other.
(See Brit. Crit. vol. xl. p. 293.) Unfortunately for the hypothesis, trievale; is the only word of the eight that is not employed in the same sense by different classical authors of Greece. 'Erlovcie; indeed, is not to be found in such authors; but when this learned person shall have accounted for its use by St Matthew, it will perhaps be no difficult matter to do the same for its use by St Luke.
All this may be granted in the case of ordinary translations from one language into from the le. another, of which the knowledge of one or both has been acquired by study in the usual #. of the way. In such cases the object of the translator is not to render the words of his author ver- to: 8. batim, but, whilst he conveys the sense as he believes faithfully, to make that author express Mark ii. 23. his sentiments in such a style as he supposes he would have written, had the language *** . into which his work is translated been his native tongue. Here there is room for much fanciful and groundless conjecture; but even in such cases, where the sole object of the translator is fidelity to the original, there is sometimes a wonderful coincidence of terms among different versions of the same passages of foreign writings by different translators, who all acquired their knowledge of the language by study. Such men render their original, word for word, into the language of the translation, without attempting to make an ancient Jew or Greek write in the idiomatical style of any modern language; and therefore when they are equally masters of both languages, and equally desirous to avoid all misrepresentation of the sense of their author, they fall naturally into the use of the same terms. Of this no other instance need be given than what is to be found in our authorised version of the four gospels, which was certainly made by different men. They indeed compared their different versions together, and were undoubtedly anxious to render the harmony among them as complete as fidelity to the original would permit them to make it ; but such a verbal harmony as pervades all the versions of our Lord's doctrines, and of the different accounts of his miracles, could not have prevailed through the English Gospels, had not the translators wisely sacrifised allidomatic elegance to their desire to exhibit faithfully and without mistake the sense of the original. But would not the evangelists be as desirous of translating literally into Greek their Syriac or Hebrew originals, as were our translators of rendering their Greek literally into English 2 Undoubtedly they would, even had there been nothing in their case which renderedit morally impossible that they should render the same Syriac words into different Greek words: but strange as it may appear to some readers, I do not hesitate to affirm, that the harmony which prevails among the three first Gospels, though written by different authors unconnected with each other, is much less extraordinary, than would have been three different accounts of the same doctrines and miracles of their Master in terms different from each other. That verbal harmony which is so very striking, - and has to some appeared as evidence that the second evangelist wrote with the Gospel of the first, and the third with the Gospels of both first and second lying before him, appears to me perfectly natural and almost unavoidable in their case.
Except St Luke, who probably acquired his knowledge of the Greek language by study and travelling, all the evangelists were instantaneously inspired with their knowledge . of that language, on the day of Penticost, when they with many others were filled with the Holy Ghost, “and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” But how were they inspired with the knowledge of these different languages 2 Was it with the single terms of each and their various significations 2 or were their minds, in addition to this knowledge, stored at the same time with all those phrases and idioms which constituted the elegancies of each language, where it was vernacular 2 The extravagance and absurdity of this last opinion has been shewn with such clearmess and cogency of reasoning, (a) that I believe it is now maintained by no man; but if they were inspired only with Greek words or terms corresponding to the Syriac and Hebrew words or terms in which they had been accustomed to speak, and, let me add, to think, can any thing be more natural—t might say unavoidable, than to infer, that he who infused into their minds those words and terms, made them all express by the very same words, those ideas, notions, and relations, which constituted the subject of our Lord's discourses, and of which I believe them to have taken memorandoms in his own
(a) See Warburton’s Doctrine of Grace, book 1st, Chap. 8.
A. M. 4034, words at the very time when these discourses were spoken. Perspicuity and consistency, ‘. . not elegance, were absolutely necessary to the success of the apostles preaching and 30,&c., writing; and surely nothing could contribute more to produce these qualities, than to Yoo make all the inspired preachers and writers render in the same Greek terms the Syriac terms which had been made use of by our Saviour in those discourses, which, at a distance from each other, they were translating for the instruction of the world at large. St Luke, who appears to have studied the Greek language in the usual way, by reading classical Greek books, and probably by travelling into Greece, or at least into some Greek colony, writes a much purer and more elegant style than St Matthew or St Mark; but even he makes use of some Greek words, unusual in classic authors, in common with these two evangelists, as well as of Syriac idioms and phrases, either to express notions and doctrines, for which, as they were unknown to the inhabitants of Greece, no idiomatical Greek phrase was to be found, or perhaps because no man ever yet wrote in perfect purity a language in which he was not accustomed to think. If this view of the origin of the three first Gospels be correct, it may tend perhaps to decide the question, which has been so long agitated; whether St Matthew wrote his Gospel in Hebrew or in Greek 2 The early fathers of the church declare so unanimously that he wrote in Hebrew, that it is difficult to suppose that they had not some foundation for what they say; and yet his Greek Gospel has to me so much the appearance of an original composition, that all the weight of Michaelis's authority cannot induce ime to believe it a translation. I would therefore, with Dr Townson, rather receive both his Gospels, if he really wrote in Hebrew, as originals, than suppose either of them to be a translation by some unknown hand; though I am decidedly of opinion, that had not the Greek Gospel been a more perfect composition than the other, the Hebrew Gospel could not have been so little known as it appears to have been to men so learned as were Origen and Jerome. I am therefore strongly inclined to believe, that St Matthew wrote his Greek Gospel long after the apostles had left Jerusalem and dispersed themselves in the discharge of the duties of their office; but that he left, at his departure, with the church of Jerusalem, or at least with some of its members, the Hebrew or Syriac memorandums of our Lord's doctrines and miracles which he had made for his own use, at the time when those doctrines were taught and those miracles performed. This, I confess, is a mere conjecture respecting a point of comparatively little importance; but I think, as framers of conjectures always flatter themselves, that it receives some countenance from the terms in which Eusebius, when giving his own opinion, mentions St Matthew's Hebrew Gospel. “Matthew, says that historian, having first preached to the Hebrews, delivered to them, when he was preparing to depart to other countries, his Gospel composed in their native language, that to those from whom he was sent away, he might by his writing supply the loss of his presence *.” May not what he delivered to them have been the notes containing the substance of what they had so often heard him preach 2 I am inclined to think likewise that the Gospel by St Mark contains little more than similar notes or memorandums which had been made by St Peter, which will sufficiently account for so many of the ancients calling it St Peter's Gospel. That St Mark was with that apostle at Rome, when he suffered martyrdom cannot reasonably be called in question. If he received the notes or memorandums in time to permit him to digest them into order before St Peter suffered, it is natural to suppose that the apostle revised the digest; and supposing them not to have come into the evangelist's hands till after St Peter's death, St Mark's Gospel will still be stamped with apostolical authority.
These, however, are discussions of comparatively little importance; but if I have con- From the sotributed in any degree to prove, that St Luke knew nothing of St Matthew's or St ...; gue Mark's Gospel when he wrote his own; that the several evangelists did not transcribe Main is s. from each other; and that there is no necessity to call in the aid of a common docu- ...:” ment to account either for the harmony or the discrepancies which prevail in the three =
first Gospels, this long Dissertation will not
have been written in vain.]
- From Matth. when the xii. 1. Mark ii.
23. Luke vi. 1. John v. 1. to Matth. xvii. 14. Mark ix. 14. Luke ix. 37.
himself had been at Jerusalem) makes mention of John vii. i.
OUR Blessed Saviour was now in the second year of his public ministry,
+ From the time that our Lord first began his mi
nistry, to the conclusion of it, there had been four passovers held at Jerusalem; all, except the last, are not mentioned by the three first evangelists, but St John has been mindful to set every oné down. The first, chap. ii. 13.; the second, chap. v. 1. ; the third, chap. vi. 4.; and the fourth, chap. xiii. 1. Pool’s Annotations. +*The word Koxvuota signifies any pool or head of water that is deep enough for a man to swim in : but, as in hot countries more especially, the use of constant bathing was highly necessary, for which purpose it was usual in every great city to have public baths erected, some have imagined that this pool was a large bason of water of . ; and that the porticos about it were places made for the conveniency of dressing or undressing in the shade for those that were minded to bathe. However this be, it is certain, that in ancient times there were two pools within the compass of the mount on which the temple stood, the one called the Upper Pool, 2 Kings xviii. 17. and the other the “Pool of Siloam, by the king's garden,” Neh. iii. 15. That St Jerom (who
Wol. III. P
two reservoirs, one filled with the rains that fall in the winter, and the other with water of a deep red colour, as if it still retained a tinge of the victims that formerly were washed in it; and that Mr Maundrell, in his Travels, p. 107. informs us, that when he was there he saw still remaining what was reputed the Pool of Bethesda, whereof he gives us the particular dimensions, and tells us, that at its west end, there seem to be some old arches, not unlikely the porches in which sat that multitude of lame, halt, and blind, which are mentioned by St John, ch. v. Dr Pearce's Windication of our Saviour's Miracles, and Wells's Goly of the New Testament, chap. iv. +3. Some will have this word to signify a drain or sink-house, because the water which came from the temple, and the place where the victims were washed, by subterraneous passages ran into it; but most interpreters expound it an house of mercy, so called, say some, because the erecting of baths was an act of great kindness to the common people, whose indispositions in hot countries required frequent bathing; though the generality father think, that it
A.M. toss, tude of poor impotent people, with distempers of all kinds, waiting for the moving of &c or $440, the water; for at certain times an angel came from heaven, and putting the pool in a fermentation, conveyed such a medicinal virtue into it, that the first person who envulg Fr. 29. tered it, after such commotion, was cured of whatsoever distemper he had. On the =Sabbath-day our Saviour came to this place; and seeing a poor paralytic +, who had been in that condition for the space of eight and thirty years, and lain there a long while in expectance of a cure, but all in vain, because, whenever the water was moved, some one or other always stepped in before and prevented him ; +” he immediately healed him with a word's speaking, and at the same time fo ordered him to take up his bed and walk home; but while he was doing this, the Jews exclaimed against him
for bearing a burden on the Sabbath-day, w
more properly had that name from God's great goodness shewn to his people in giving this healing virtue to these waters. Pool’s Annotations, and Pearce’s Vindication of our Saviour's Miracles. + The word &zonia, which we render infirmity or weakness, is indeed a general name for almost all distempers, but here it is so limited in its signification, by the circumstances occurring in the man's history, that it can properly denote no other disease than what we call a confirmed palsy : For, besides that the symptoms of no other distemper do so exactly agree with the description given of this infirmity, both in point of its long continuance and extreme weakness, the very word weakness, in its most obvious sense, answers exactly to such a relaxation of the nervous system as the palsy is known to be, and (what is no mean circumstance) our Saviour makes use of the same form and method of cure to this very man that he applies to another paralytic, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk,” Matth. ix. 6. - +* If it be asked, how it came to pass, that of the multitude of infirm people who lay at this pool, our Saviour should think fit to cure but one * The answer is obvious, because he was an object most to be compassionated of any in the place, not only because he was too feeble to step into the water himself, and too poor to have any to assist him, but more especially because he had been now a long while in this condition, and yet still depended upon the good Providence of God for an opportunity to be ...; at one time or other. To cure at once whole multitudes, indeed, sounds more popular, and carries the face of more extensive goodness; but, besides that our Saviour might, in this case, very probably conform to the rule of cure established providentially at Bethesda, which was to heal but one person at one time, his fo design in every action of this kind was to prove is character and commission from God, to which end one single and incontestible miracle was as suffi. cient an evidence as a thousand. The short is, since our Lord was at liberty “to do what he would with his own,” or to bestow his favours where he pleased, his goodness was conspicuous in chusing the most helpless object, and his wisdom no less manifest in leaving the rest to the standing miracle of the pool. Bishop Smallbroke's Windication of our Saviour's Miracles, p. 525. +3. It is very observable, that whenever our Lord did any miracle, he generally adjoined some circum
hich was f* directly (a) contrary to their
stance or other to denote the truth and reality of it. Thus, after his multiplication of the loaves and fishes, he ordered his disciples to gather up the fragments, which amounted to twelve baskets full. Upon his changing the water into wine at Cana, he commanded the servants to carry it to the ruler of the feast for him to taste it. When he had healed the leper near Capernaum, he sent him to present his oblation in testimony of his cure; and here, for the same reason, viz. The demonstration of the completeness of his cure, he bids the paralytic “take up his bed, and go home.” But why did he this on the Sabbath-day 2 Even to make his Divine power and mission more universally known, especially in Jerusalem, the capital of the nation, and centre of the Jewish church, by first working this miracle on the Sabbath-day, when there were more people at liberty to view and consider it; and then sending his patient along the streets. in a very uncommon manner, and, to make the people more inquisitive, with his bed upon his back. Calmet's Commentary.
+* The prohibition runs in these words:—“Thus saith the Lord, Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath-day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem, neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath-day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the Sabbath-day, as I commanded your fathers,” Jer. xvii. 21, 22. and, according to the Jewish canons, those who did this were punishable either by death or scourging. It must be acknowledged, therefore, that our Saviour's injunction to the late impotent man was contrary to the letter of the law, but then it may be justly said that it was not contrary to the sense and intention of it. The law only probibited civil labour, and restrained men from carrying such burdens as they were wont to do in the way of their trade; but it did not forbid the doing of any thing that might be a testimony of God’s mercy or goodness to mankind. As therefore the Sabbath was made for the honour of God, and this action was a public monument of his mercy and power, the man, properly speaking, did not break the Sabbath, neither did our Lord deserve any censure from the Jews; especially considering that, as he was a prophet, even by their own rules he had power to require what was contrary to the ceremonial rest of the Sabbath. Pool's and Whitby's Annotations, and Calmet's Commentary,
(a) Jer. xvii. 21.