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joined in v. 11. viz. when Moses was grown, which seems to be added for the sake of explaining what those days mean.
Nor can those days in Matt. 3: 1, be satisfactorily explained, by merely calling the phrase a Hebraism. True it is, that the Hebrews were accustomed thus to designate time. But in all cases, where 0.77, those, is employed with bar, the context shews the nature and object of reference.
There is another expression in chapter III. which would seem to be very strange, in case chapters I. II. were not originally integral parts of Matthew's Gospel. I refer to v. 13, where it is said: “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee.” Now if chap. I. II. are removed, there is no mention whatever of Jesus, nor of the place of bis abode, previous to this declaration. Would it not be passing strange for a writer thus to introduce a most important personage wholly unknown to the reader, and thus to mention his place of abode, just as if it were already familiar to the reader ?" How can we account for a manner so abrupt, and such declarations without the least preparation for them ?
On the other hand; supposing the first two chapters of Matthew to be genuine, we can easily explain all these expressions. Aé connects chap. III. with the preceding history. 'Ev nuépais
xcivais refers to what is said at the close of chap. II., viz., that Jesus came, with Joseph and Mary, and dwelt at Nazareth, and that during his abode there John the Baptist entered upon his public ministry. That Jesus " came from Galilee,” 3: 13, is explained by 2: 22, where it is said that Joseph and Mary went to sojourn in the region of Galilee.'
That there is a large interval of time between the occurrences narrated in chap. II. and those in chap. III., is true enough. But as the writer had no intention of developing the private life of Jesus, the nature of the case required, that he should make a transition to the period of his public ministry. Transitions as great as these, are not unfrequent; specially in the prophetic parts of the Old Testament.
Let the reader now put all these facts together, and then ask himself, whether there is any probability that the two first chapters of Matthew are spurious ?' The external and internal evidence is certainly very strong in favour of the position, that they came from the hand of Matthew, the author of the whole book. Vol. XII. No. 32.
$ 9. Examination of Objections. (1) The Gospel of the Ebionites did not contain Matt. I. II.'
So Epiphanius declares; and very probably he has told us the truth. But then we have the same authority to prove, that the Hebrew Gospel of the Nazarenes, and also that of Cerinthus, did contain these chapters. Jerome who translated the Nazarene Gospel, never intimates any deficiency here ; which he surely would have done, had it been found in bis copy,
Besides, we have a solution of this difficulty in the fact, that the Ebionites rejected the miraculous conception of Jesus. This led them to do the same thing, which the Manichaeans afterwards did for another reason drawn from their theology or philosophy, viz., to reject that portion of Matthew which disagreed with their speculations." So Marcion did, in respect to the Gospel of Luke; so some of the Romish church afterwards did with respect to the epistle to the Hebrews, in their disputes against the Montanists, who appealed to that epistle in order to shew that lapsed Christians could not be restored again to repentance; and so the Anti-millenarians did, at a later period, when they rejected the Apocalypse. So even Luther did, in respect to the epistle of James, when he disputed with the Romanists about the doctrine of justification by faith alone. There is no end of such subterfuges among men of ardent temperament, or of bigoted feelings in respect to particular sectarian points of doctrine. How could Mr. Norton say, (p. liv), that “ he can perceive nothing in the prejudices or habits of mind (of the Ebionites) which led them to reject the facts (related in Matt. I. II.?)
All this, however, proves nothing except the strength of prejudice in a particular party among early Christians. Even ihe Hebrew Gospel of primitive times was mutilated, as we have seen, only by one small party; and the authority of this party can weigh but little indeed, in a matter like the present, where so much direct and positive testimony lies before us which is against them.
At all events, as Griesbach well remarks, (Comm. Crit. II. p. 52), ' nothing can be proved by the hints we have respecting the state of the Ebionite Gospel, until it shall be shown more clearly what relation this Gospel sustained toward our canonical Matthew, so that we can reason from the state of the former to that of the latter.'
The manner in which the Gospel of the Ebionites commences, shews what sort of a compilation it was: “It came to pass in the days of Herod, the King of Judea, that John came, baptizing with the baptism of repentance in the river Jordan, etc." So it is quoted in Epipban. Haeres. XXX. 13; but in Haeres. XXX. 14, he gives us another beginning of this same Gospel : “ It came to pass in the days of Herod, King of Judea, while Caiphas was high priest, there came a certain John, by name, baptizing with the baptism of repentance, etc.” Here Luke 3: 2, respecting the high-priesthood of Caiphas, is intermingled with the text. In both, the wretched mistake is made of Herod being King of Judea, when John entered on his public ministry. Herod, the King of Judea, died the year after the birth of the Saviour, i. e. some twenty-eight years before John's public appearance, and after him there was indeed a Herod who was a tetrarch, but no Herod who was a king, as here quoted.
Shall we resort, now, to such a Gospel as this, for establishing the interpolation of Matt. I. II.? I trust not.
(2) The Protevangelium from which three of the Evangelists composed their narrations, did not probably contain Matt. I. II.
Supposing now I should aver, that it did probably contain these chapters; my assertion would be just as good as the opposite one. Of the Protevangelium no ancient writer of the church ever spoke, heard, or dreamed. It is a phenomenon of Neology alone, first dreamed, I believe, among countless other like visions, by the great heresiarch Semler ; and after him by others, whose imaginations were as lively as his; finally, however, dreamed even on English ground, and by a man who is now a bishop; but, last of all, scattered, as dreams are at the opening day, by an American at Cambridge, who has, one would think, so completely dissipated it that it will not soon make its appearance again.
(3) Mark begins bis Gospel without any preface which relates the history of Jesus' infancy; and so Matthew probably began his, for Mark, who is the epitomator of Matthew, has not given us a word of the Gospel of the Infancy.'
Nor has be given us any of the Sermon on the Mount; nor of many other things contained in Matthew. Are these therefore to be rejected as spurious ?
Besides; there is no satisfactory evidence that Mark copied Matthew at all. Mr. Norton has completely overthrown this position, in his work. And if he had not, the improbability of the thing is so great, when all the circumstances are taken into view, that almost no one now pretends to believe in such an allegation.
Moreover, John gives us nothing of the Gospel of the Infancy. Is Maithew, therefore, to be judged of by a comparison with him?
(4) ‘Luke has given us a Gospel of the Infancy, which is not only different in all respects from that of Matthew, but in some respects is scarcely to be reconciled with it.'
But the fact that Luke has composed a Gospel of the Infancy, shows that such a thing might be done, and that it was done; and why could not Matthew as well compose one as Luke ? As to the fact that bis bistory differs from that of Matthew, is this any good reason for rejecting that of the latter ? Does Luke give the same account of the Sermon on the Mount, as Matthew? Does he minutely accord with him in the relation of a great many transactions, and particularly those respecting the trial, condemnation, crucifixion, and resurrection of the Saviour ? Every one knows the answer to these questions, who has made the comparison.
Another thing also is equally clear to a candid reader of both histories; viz. that there is nothing in Matthew which gainsays in the least what is set forth by Luke. On the contrary, the substantial fact, viz. the miraculous conception of the Saviour, is fully portrayed by both Evangelists.
(5) 'But there are internal difficulties, improbabilities, and at least seeming contradictions with other Evangelists, contained in Matt. I. II.'
On these Mr. Norton, and some others of his opinion, seem mainly to rely; for most of the objections already examined do not belong to Mr. Norton, but to other earlier writers. Let us now consider, then, the arguments which Mr. Norton specifically alleges in favour of his own views.
Mr. Norton concedes (p. liv.) that the two first chapters of Luke “always made a part of his Gospel.” He thinks, indeed, that they were translated by Luke, or some other person, from a Hebrew writing; and he says that “the cast of the narrative has something of a poetical, and even fabulous character about it.” But still, with these difficulties, Mr. Norton agrees to receive the narration as containing what is historically true in respect to its main facts.
He thinks, moreover, that Luke received the account given in these chapters, because it conformed to the belief of the apostles. Any thing contradictory to this, therefore, cannot be received as true.'
The first great stumbling-block thrown in his way by Matthew I. II. is, that the genealogy there differs so entirely from that of Luke. All the attempts to explain this he pronounces to be merely “conjectural ;" i. e. as I suppose, to rest merely upon what is but conjecture. None of them, he says, are satisfactory.
One mode of conciliation has been the supposition, that Luke gives the genealogy of Joseph as son-in-law, and not improbably as also an adopted son of Heli. But says Mr. Norton, “ if Luke had intended to give the genealogy of Mary, he would say so.
He would not have indicated his meaning so ambiguously and circuitously as by affirming that Joseph was the son of Heli, when he meant only that he was bis son-in-law, Heli being Mary's father.” (p. lv.)
Yet, to a man who has made himself familiar with the manner and principles of Hebrew genealogy, nothing could be less probable than such a declaration. Luke give the Hebrew genealogy of a female! And give it directly, making her one of the prominent links, the very end of the chain! Where in all the Old Testament or the New is any such thing? In Matthew's genealogy, and in others contained in the Old Testament, a female is now and then mentioned; but it is merely as an attachee, and not as one of the principal links in the chain. Luke, be it remembered, was giving a Hebrew genealogy, and not a Greek one. Had a female appeared in this directly as one of the main links, the Jews of course would have said : This is no Hebrew genealogy.
But has not Luke in fact said something, which may naturally enough lead us to suppose that he is giving the genealogy of Joseph as merely putative father or foster-father of Jesus ? Considered in this light, Jesus may naturally be regarded as the putative son, or son by reckoning, of Heli, the son of Matthat, etc. What says he of Jesus? He says: wv, us vouiζετο, υιος 'Ιωσήφ, του Ηλί, κ. τ. λ. Now it is a fair and exact translation of this, when we render it: “Being the putative son of Joseph, [the son] of Heli, etc.” The writer means clearly to say, that Jesus was not in reality, but only putatively, the son of Joseph, the son of Heli. Joseph then is reckoned here