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conceivable that an individual should be called in the course of his life to perform the same action a second or third time, under the same or very similar circumstances. The expulsion of the money-changers from the temple as related by John' apparently in the beginning of our Lord's ministry, and by Matthew, Mark and Luke towards the close of it, is probably an example of this nature. We remark this simply as showing, that while a diversity in the order of narration does not require us to regard events which are similar, as different; so, on the other hand, the mere similarity does not necessarily prove that such events are the same. In deciding on such cases, the Harmonist must bring to his aid other considerations.

One of the chief difficulties, in the construction of a Harmony of the Gospels, consists in arranging that portion of them, which relates to the public life and ministry of the Saviour. Of the early part of his history a few particulars only are communicated; but these, as well as those which belong to the last scenes of it, are related by the Evangelists in nearly the same order; or, they are of such a nature that their position and succession determine themselves. It is otherwise with the internediate portions. Here the indications of time are often wholly wanting. Those which occur? are frequently indefinite, and so establish nothing with certainty. But little insight, in many instances, can be gained into the order of events from a consideration of their internal connection. They stand often isolated and alone; they do not pertain to the same series; they are not related to each other as factor and product, and the inquirer is cut off from all calculations of this nature. It is impossible that the decisions of Harmonists should not be marked here by some diversity. The judgment of individuals will vary. A probable, consistent combination is all that, in many of these instances, can be reasonably expected.

Even the duration of the period which the public ministry of Christ embraced, is involved in doubt. This question, in the absence of other means, for removing the uncertainty, depends ehiefly on the question how many passover-festivals are mentioned by the Evangelists, as included in this period. It is certain that the first three of them speak of only one; whereas John takes notice of three (2: 13. 6: 4. 13: 1), not improbably four (5: 1),

· See John 2: 14 sq.; and Matt. 21: 12 sq., Mark 11: 15 sq., Luke 19: 45 sq. 2 Such as τότε, εν ταις ημέραις εκείναις, πάλιν, μετά ταύτα, εν μιά των ημερών,




Duration of the Saviour's Ministry.


and as some say, even five. It is not the diversity in this point between the synoptists and John, which occasions the difficulty; for the former, in specifying one passover, neither affirm nor deny anything in regard to others; but the language of John, particularly in Ch. 5: 1, is not free from ambiguity, and his meaning becomes, therefore, a question of interpretation. It is obvious that a Harmony must derive one of its most distinguishing features, from the view which is entertained on this disputed point. Here we find those who have taken up this inquiry, arranged in different classes. Sir Isaac Newton, Stillingfleet, Scaliger, Macnight and others suppose that there were five passovers during the public life of Christ. But this extreme extension of the term of his ministry is now very generally abandoned. Grotius, Lightfoot, Le Clerc, Newcome, Doddridge, Hengstenberg, etc., support the quadri-paschal theory. The weight of critical opinion, at the present time, inclines probably in that direction. We have advocates, again, of a tri-paschal scheme in Lardner, Lamy, Benson, Bengel and others. This opinion, both in consequence of the arguments which commend it and the authority given to it by the support of so eminent a name as that of Bengel, has enjoyed extensive credit, and has still a wide reception. A few, finally, would extend this reduction of the time still further. They would restrict the ministry of Christ to a single year. Some of the early Christian Fathers were favorable to this view; and, among recent writers, Dr. Lant Carpenter, continues to defend it in his Apostolical Harmony of the Gospels.? It seemed not irrelevant to allude, thus briefly, to this disagree

The language in John 5: 1 is éopth Tüv 'lovdaiwv. Tholuck has stated the ambiguity of this expression thus : “According to a decided majority of witDesges topth is to be read without the article. So Griesbach, Lachmann. If the article be genuine, the reference must be to the principal festival, that is, the passover. If it be not genuine, the passover can be meant, but equally well also, another festival. Since the Genitive Tüv 'lovdaiwv is of itself sufficiently definitive, the article in connection with éoptń could be omitted. See Winer, p. 118. It is wanting even in Matt. 27: 15. Mark 15: 16, where the passover is nevertheless intended, without such a Genitive. If the Evangelist means here the passover, he then speaks in his Gospel of four such festivals, and the period during which Christ publicly taught is to be extended beyond three years." See his Comm. zum Evang. Johannis, 6te Ausg. p. 141. 1844.

- The note of Dr. Robinson on this passage (Harmony, $ 36.) contains all that is important to the investigation. He himself adopts the opinion that it refers to the passover. So also many of the ablest critics both in former and recent times.

* London, 1838, second edition.

ment of our highest critical authorities. We are thus apprised of some of the difficulties which are inherent in a subject of this kind, and prepared to judge of the labors which are undertaken for the removal of them by a more reasonable standard. It would be setting up an impracticable demand, to require that those who engage in such investigations, should propose to us no conclusion which they are not able to support by arguments to which nothing can be opposed.

One of the first things which strikes the mind of the reader on taking up a Harmony of the Greek Gospels, is the singular resemblance which these compositions bear to each other in many passages. Each of the Evangelists has indeed a character of individuality. The style of each is peculiar; the mental traits which they severally exhibit, are diverse. Each one has to some extent his own method of arrangement, and has some narrations which the others do not contain. But notwithstanding this diversity, they still discover, particularly the first three of them, a remarkable similarity. This extends not only to an occasional agreement in the order, but to a striking coincidence often in the language itself of the narration. Sometimes the expressions are identical; sometimes the words are the same, with a slight change merely in the position; and again, without being precisely the same, they are so nearly alike that it is impossible to view the agreement as accidental. This phenomenon has engaged naturally the attention of critics; and has given rise to more discussion perhaps than any other similar problem, connected with the study of the Gospels. The question how we are to explain this relation of the Evangelists to each other has been considered by theologians as a legitimate topic of inquiry, and has been variously answered. It cannot be said that any very certain results have as yet been gained here; but a brief survey of the course of thought, which the endeavor to obtain them has developed, may not be uninteresting.


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Any good Harmony will at once illustrate to the eye the frequency and nature of this accordance. De Wette has collected, and presented the passages in a form very convenient for inspection in his Einl. in das N. Testaments 79. Guerike has also enumerated the most important of them in his Historischkritische Einleitung, etc., p. 214. For readiness of reference, the following may be specified. Comp. Matth. 3: 11 with Mark 1: 8 and Luke 3: 16; Matth. 8: 2, 3 with Mark 1: 40, 41, and Luke 5: 12, 13; Matth. 8: 15 with Mark 1: 31 and Luke 4: 39; Matth. 9: 5, 6 with Mark 2: 9, 10 and Luke 5: 23, 24 ; Matth. 9: 12 with Mark 2: 17 and Luke 5: 31 ; Matth. 9: 15 with Mark 2: 20 and Luke 5: 35; Matth. 9: 22 with Mark 5: 34 and Luke 8: 48; Matth. 16: 28 with Mark 9: 1, and Luke 9:27, etc.


Origin of the Similarity of the Gospels.


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One explanation is, that the Evangelists made use of each other; that is, the Gospel first written, whichever it was, was consulted by those who wrote afterwards. This is the oldest opinion; and has been held with various modifications, according to the order in which it is supposed that the Gospels appeared. Thus some critics have maintained that Matthew was the oldest, that Mark depended upon Matthew and Luke upon both. So Grotius, Mill, Wetstein, Hug. Another opinion makes Matthew the oldest as before, but Luke a follower of Matthew, and Mark a compiler from both. Griesbach advanced this hypothesis, and brought it for a time into extensive favor. It was adopted by Schleiermacher, De Wette, Saunier and others. Storr, on the contrary, held that Mark was the original Evangelist, and that Matthew and Luke derived their materials, in part, from him. This view of the priority of Mark, though with a somewhat different idea respecting the nature of the dependence of the other Evangelists upon him, has been revived by some of the most recent writers. According to Büsching, again, in the Preface to his Harmony, Luke formed the foundation of Matthew, and Luke and Matthew together, the foundation of Mark. Vogel, finally, makes Luke the source of Mark, while Matthew is said to have had the assistance of the other two.

The idea, it will be perceived, of a mutual use of the Evangelists on the part of each other, is common to the several opinions which have now been enumerated; but they differ entirely in respect to the order in which the Gospels are said to have been produced, and in respect to the relation consequently, in which they stand to each other as original or secondary. Almost every possible combination of the order, in which the Gospels could be arranged, has been proposed as the real one. This confusion of opinion has of itself excited, in many minds, serious doubts as to the correctness of the principle on which the explanation is based. It has been thought that if the fact alleged were true, some distinct trace of it would have remained in the structure of the Gos. pels, enabling critics to fix with some unanimity upon the writer whose production gave character to that of the others. The priority of the particular Gospel which exercised so determining an influence upon the rest, might be expected to have indica

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De Wette has now returned to this opinion after a temporary rejection of it. : C. G. Wilke, Der Urevangelist. Dresd. 1833, and C. H Weisse, Die Evangelische Geschichte, etc. Leipz. Th. 1. 1838.

ted itself by marks which could be readily discerned, and thus to have rernoved all occasion for that uncertainty in which the point is now seen to be involved. Nor is the circumstance that the Evangelists themselves say nothing of such a dependence, without its weight. Perhaps it could not be affirmed that had the sacred writers placed this reliance upon each other, they would certainly have made some allusion to it; but it may at least be said, that it would have been more natural for them to have done this, than to have refrained from such reference. At all events, any such application of the theory before us as would make the Evangelists mere compilers from each other, cannot be sustained. It is perfectly at variance with the facts in the case. Though they agree in the manner that has been described, they yet differ still more. The parts which they possess in common, are inconsiderable, compared with those which are peculiar to each. John, it will be admitted of course, has his own distinctive character; and the other Evangelists exhibit, confessedly, important variations in style and arrangement. Not only so, but the contents also of the latter are different. It would be impossible to combine any two of them so as to produce our present history of Christ. This could never be said of any writing which is a mere compilation; for such a writing adds nothing to the amount of our knowledge. Nor will it escape recollection here that Luke has made a declaration at the beginning of his Gospel, which must have some bearing on this question. Whatever dispute there may be in respect to the precise meaning of certain words in this introduction, it cannot be denied that the writer claims for himself, in emphatic terms, a character of general independence and originality. No fair construction of his language allows us to infer from less than this. It seems to us most natural to understand him as saying that he follows no previously existing accounts which had been written by others, but that he derives his information from oral and personal sources, and can produce his eye-witnesses and ear-witnesses as vouchers for what he has to communicate. That he should have merely transcribed the bulk of his materials from Matthew or Mark or any one else, without increasing thereby the amount of testimony to their truth, would certainly be inconsistent with the very least which he can be supposed to have asserted in the terms to which we refer. The inference plainly is, that whatever may be true of the other writers of the Gospels, Luke certainly has not given us in his history a mere digest from other records. His own testimony sets aside as false that particular

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