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The Sacred Text. UKE, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.—Colossians iv. 14.
There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus; Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers.—Philemon 23, 24.
Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this
present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica. Only Luke is with me.—2 Timothy iv. 10, 11.
One more passage there is which in date precedes those quoted above, and which without naming St. Luke has been supposed to speak of him :
Titus went unto you. And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the Gospel throughout all the churches; and not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace. Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you : our brethren, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.—2 Corinthians viii. 16, &c.
Besides these we have St. Luke's own preface to his Gospel :
Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.—St. Luke
ITH these verses our scriptural memorial of St. Luke closes: except for that recurrent we" in the Book of Acts which indicates how, though with one apparent interval, from the time that St. Paul quitted Troas St. Luke became his companion in labours,
journeys, perils, his comfort under disappointment, his adherent in bonds.
Of St. Luke's antecedents or subsequent career we know little. By tradition he was an eminent physician, very probably a slave: a painter also, in which latter capacity he is reported to have produced many likenesses of our Lord and of the Blessed Virgin: while his writings demonstrate him to have been a man of cultivation and literary aptitude, his Gospel excelling the works of his brother Evangelists in point of apparent erudition and of style. He is said to have practised medicine in Rome, to have been rewarded by the precious gift of liberty; and having adopted, after a common custom, the name of his patron, to have returned to his native Antioch, the Syrian metropolis. Yet is the place of his birth not by any means established; nor is it certain whether he started in life as a Jew, or as a Gentile; or whether, taking a step intermediate between the two, he at some moment of his course became a Proselyte. Some persons have thought he belonged to our Lord's band of seventy disciples: but if, as it has been understood to specify, the preface to his Gospel declares him not an "eyewitness," two such statements appear at the least difficult to reconcile; while in the list of salutations which winds up so lovingly the Epistle to the Colossians St. Luke is named indeed, yet not as one of that group of St. Paul's fellowworkers who were of the circumcision."
Resuming our ravelled thread of conjecture, St. Luke encountered St. Paul at Antioch, became a convert to Christianity, and was called to the ministry: though the circumstance that St. Paul never speaks of him as his
son," a title conferred on the beloved Timothy and Titus, is cited by a thoughtful writer as suggesting that the human instrument of his conversion was not the great Apostle of the Gentiles.
Many have imagined that the Gospel of St. Luke received St. Paul's sanction, in the same way that St. Mark's was indited under the auspices of St. Peter; and a strong similarity is traced between St. Luke's record of the institution of the Lord's Supper, and the corresponding passage in St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians. A second human help vouchsafed him in conjunction with his all-sufficing inspiration, is supposed to have been converse with that Blessed Virgin Mother who, laying up all such things in her heart, brought forth from her treasure (unto edification of the Evangelist and her own solace) divers unforgotten marvels, raptures, and details of perfection which waited on the Incarnation, Infancy and early years of her Son and Saviour. St. Luke's Gospel may not improbably have been in the first instance promulgated in Greece for the instruction of Gentile converts : and his Book of Acts, which cannot have been completed much before St. Paul's first term of imprisonment at Rome expired, may equally have first seen the light in Greece, though some suggest in Alexandria of Egypt.
Italy, Africa, and different pårts of Greece are proposed as earwitnesses of St. Luke's preaching. At some period of his life he is reported to have amassed knowledge by travels in Greece, and also in Egypt.
Doubtful as are these particulars of St. Luke's career, no more certain are the time, place, manner, of its close. According to one view he attained old age; and died a natural death, probably in Achaia, about the year 70. Contrary to this, a legend has come down to us which records his martyrdom by crucifixion upon an olive tree: upon the very emblem of peace; then, while it bore its ghastly burden, no less truly and aptly so, than it had been twenty-four centuries earlier, when one olive leaf in a dove's beak revived the hope of mankind; yet neither time an emblem of peace such as the world giveth.
Traditions of a peaceful death attach to each of the four Evangelists. As concerns St. John history attests the fact: and though legends conflict in regard to the other three, and grant or deny them a martyr's own, yet so it is that round all alike lingers as it were a savour of life; as if men who pre-eminently handed down to the Church the word of life eternal, shared in some sort the recompense of Baruch for his lesser ministrations under Jeremiah.
Thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest. — Jeremiah xlv. 5.
A Prayer for Final Acceptance. GOD All-wise, who electing St. Luke to be of the number of Thy four Evangelists didst furnish him with abundance of gifts needful or expedient to so great an end, endowments natural and supernatural, human learning and superhuman wisdom, aptitude and good will,
knowledge and illumination, intercourse with Saints and inspiration of the Holy Ghost: Grant to us, we beseech Thee, hearing ears and seeing eyes that we may profit by his writings; and following in his footsteps may pass by way of life and death into the kingdom of life everlasting, from a well of life to a pure river of water of life, from the old earth to the new wherein shall dwell righteousness, from faith veiled to sight unveiled, from hope to enjoyment, from love to love. For His sake