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cannot but suspect that the smart answer of the devil was contrived by Tertullian himself, to enforce his doctrine of the sin and danger of frequenting theatres.
Epiphanius said, that, “in imitation of the miracle at Cana in Galilee, several fountains and rivers in his days were annually turned into wine. A fountain of Cibyra, a city of Caria,” says he, " and another at Gerasa in Arabia, prove the truth of this. I myself have drunk, out of the fountain of Cibyra, and my brethren out of the other at Gerasa; and many testify the same thing of the river Nile.” Adv. Hær. 1. 2, c. 30.
For more evidence of the credulity and want of veracity of many of the Fathers, see Middleton's Inquiry concerning the Miraculous Powers of the Early Church.
ON THE DATE AND CREDIBILITY OF THE GOSPEL OF
MARK was a follower chiefly of Peter, and probably the same as John Mark, nephew of Barnabas, mentioned as one of the earliest converts. Acts xii. 12; xiii. 5, 13; xv. 37. He wrote his Gospel at Rome. Afterwards, according to Eusebius, Epiphanius, and Jerome, he preached the Gospel in Egypt, and was first bishop of the church at Alexandria.
His Gospel appears to be quoted by Clemens Romanus, A.D. 96.
The first who names him is Papias, A.D. 116, who says, “And this, the presbyter (John) said: Mark being the interpreter of Peter, wrote exactly whatever he remembered, but not in the order in which things were spoken or done by Christ. For he was neither a hearer nor follower of the Lord; but, as I said, afterwards followed Peter, who made his discourses for the profit of those that heard him, but not in the way of a regular history of our Lord's words. Mark, however, committed no mistake in writing some things as they occurred to his memory. For this one thing he made his care, to omit 'nothing which he had heard, and to say nothing false in what he related.”
A.D. 178. Irenæus: “ After the death or departure (E&odow) of Peter and Paul, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, delivered to us in writing the things that had been preached by Peter."
A.D. 194. Clement of Alexandria : “ Peter's hearers at Rome, not content with a single hearing, nor with an unwritten instruction in the divine doctrine, entreated Mark, the follower of Peter, that he would leave with them, in writing, a memorial of the doctrine which had been delivered to them by word of mouth; nor did they desist until they had prevailed with him. Thus they were the means of writing the Gospel which is called according to
St. Mark. It is said, that when the Apostle knew it, he was pleased with the zeal of the men, and authorized that scripture to be read in the churches.” But in another place, according to Eusebius, Clement said, “ That when Peter knew of it, he neither forbade nor encouraged it.”
A.D. 230. Origen: “ The second Gospel is that according to Mark, who wrote it as Peter dictated it to him.”
A.D. 315. Eusebius : “ Peter, out of an abundance of modesty, thought not himself worthy to write a gospel. But Mark, who was his friend and disciple, is said to have recorded Peter's relations of the acts of Jesus.”
A.D.368. Epiphanius : “Matthew wrote first, and Mark soon after him, being a companion of Peter at Rome.”
These are the chief early testimonies, and they are contradictory as to the important point, whether Peter knew of and sanctioned what Mark wrote. It appears from the earlier ones, that this Gospel was only published after Peter's death, which, according to Jerome and Bede, was in A.D. 68.
This agrees very well with the internal evidence; for this Gospel is evidently written by one who had Matthew's before him, since he follows him in the turn of his sentences, and even in the very words, not only in the discourses, but in the relation of events. He adds, however, a few incidents and additional details plainly gathered from some other source.
This point, that Mark made use of Matthew's Gospel, has such an important bearing on the credibility of the former, that it is worth while to make some long extracts to prove it.
Matt. iv. 18, And Jesus Mark i. 16, Now, as he walking by the sea of Gali- walked by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon lee, he saw Simon and Ancalled Peter, and Andrew drew his brother casting a his brother, casting a net net (ape pi6anspor) into the (appi Eanspov) into the sea; sea; for they were fisherfor they were fishermen. men. And Jesus said unto And he saith unto them, them, Follow me, and I Follow me, and I will make will make you to become you fishers of men. And fishers of men. And straight
they straightway left their way they forsook their nets nets (Sixtux), and followed (dixtua), and followed him; him. And going out from and when he had gone a thence, he saw two other little further thence, he saw brothers, James the son of James the son of Zebedee, Zebedee and John his bro- and John his brother, who ther, in a ship with Zebedee also were in the ship mendtheir father, mending their ing their nets. And straightnets : and he called them, way he called them: and and they immediately left they left their father Zebethe ship and their father, dee in the ship with the and followed him.
hired servants (one word, Moolwowe), and went after
him. Matt. viii. 2, And behold Marki. 40, And there came there came a leper, and made a leper to him, beseeching obeisance to him, saying, him, and kneeling down to Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst him, saying unto him, If make me clean. And Jesus thou wilt, thou canst make put forth his hand, and me clean. And Jesus, moved touched him, saying, I will; with compassion, put forth be thou clean. And immedi- his hand, and touched him, ately his leprosy was cleans- and saith unto him, I will ; ed. And Jesus saith unto be thou clean. And as him, See thou tell no man; soon as he had spoken, imbut go thy way; shew thyself mediately the leprosy deto the priest, and offer the parted from him, and he was gift that Moses commanded cleansed. And he straightly for a testimony unto them. charged him, and forthwith
sent him away; and saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man, but go thy way; shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing the things which Moses commanded for a
testimony unto them. Matt. ix. 9, And as Jesus Mark ii. 14, And as he passed forth from thence, he passed by, he saw Levi, the saw a man named Matthew son of Alpheus, sitting at the sitting at the receipt of cus-custom house (70 TEMWrior), tom (JO TEMWIov); and he and said unto him, Follow saith unto him, Follow me. me. And he arose and folAnd he arose, and followed lowed him. And it came him. And it came to pass, to pass, that as Jesus sat as Jesus sat at meat in the at meat in his house, many house, behold, many publi- publicans and sinners sat cans and sinners came and also together with Jesus and sat down with him and his his disciples : for there were disciples.
many, and they followed
Matt. xiii. 1, The same day Mark iv. 1, And, behold, he went Jesus out of the house, began again to teach them by and sat by the sea side. the sea side: and there was And great multitudes were gathered unto him a great gathered together unto him, multitude, so that he enterso that he went into a ship ed into a ship, and sat in and sat; and the whole mul- the sea; and the whole titude stood on the shore. multitude was by the sea, And he spake many things on the land : and he taught unto them in parables, say-them many things by paraing, Behold, a sower went bles, and said unto them in forth to sow; and when he his doctrine, Hearken; besowed, some fell by the way hold there went out a sower side, &c.
to sow; and it came to pass as he sowed, some fell by
the way side, &c. Matt. xiv, 22, And straight- Mark vi. 45, And straightway Jesus constrained his way he constrained his disdisciples to get into a ship, ciples to get into the ship, and to go before him unto and to go before to the other the other side, while he sent side, over against Bethsaida, the multitude away. And while he sent away the peowhen he had sent the mul- ple. And when he had sent titudes away, he went up them away, he departed into into a mountain privately to a mountain to pray. pray.
Matt. xii. 33, Another para- Markiv. 33, And with many ble spake he unto them (then such parables spake he the follow at length the para- word unto them, as they bles of the leaven, the trea- were able to hear it. But sure hid in a field, the without a parable spake he pearls, the net cast into the not unto them; and when sea, &c., and the explana- they were alone, he extion of the tares to the dis- pounded all things unto his ciples).