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Prop. I. Sometimes each of the thrée Evangelifts, St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. Luke, have related matters in a different order of time, from that in which they came to pass. ..
That several portions of St. Matthew's Gospel are not now according to the order of time, in which the things came to pass; is, I think, agreed by all, except the whimsical Ofiander, and after him Molineus, and Codomannus. That St. Luke did not defign in all things to observe the order of time, has been already proveda. That St. Mark did not is also evident, because he in several particular instances agrees with the order of St. Luke, which is not the order of time, as has been already hinted, and will more fully appear hereafter.
II. The principal and almost only methods of discovering, whether any particular matter be in its proper order of time, or not, in the Gospel Historys are these two, viz.
1. By confidering the phrases of transition or connexion, by which it is joined, either to that which precedès, or that which follows it, or both.'
2. By comparing it with the fame history, in one or more of the other Gospels.
This is sufficiently evident to any one, who has in the least considered the harmony of the Gospels. Sometimes there are indeed some circumstances in the story itself, which infallibly direct us, where it is to be placed ; but this is what happens but very rarely in the Gospel history.
III. The phrases, by which the Evangelists de conne&t one Rory or discourse to another, are very often such, as do not at all imply an immediate succeffion, in point of time, to that which precedes it in the history.
For the proof of this, I need only refer the reader, to what has been already said above, Ch. V. and desire him withal to consider, that the phrases or notes I mean, are such as these; mai byévetor i dwi de rai la düve wepiratūv de xai avoiças tò sóm.cz: &c. and it came to pass; and Jesus seeing; and Jefus coming; as be walked; and opening his mouth; &c. These are evidently such, as can be no way notes of the order of time. I would
* P. 30, &c.
CHAP. XII. only observe here further, that such as these are generally the phrases, that connect the parts of the Gospel history.
IV. On the other hand, sometimes two stories or discourses are connected by such a phrase, as does necesarily imply the immediate succesion of one to the other, in point of time. · This will be evident by mentioning a few of them : they are such as these ; xatabáuti di avrõ útrò të õpese xai id's Taūta autê ranžvtos aútoãso iv ixelon on üçge. &c. And when he was come down from the mountain ; and behold; while he spake these things unto them; behold there came ; in that hour or instant &c.
Coroll. Hence it follows, that, if any two of the Evangelifts appear to relate a fact in a different order from the third, and do not make use of such a note, as necessarily joins it with the preceding or subsequent part of the history; the other Evangelist, who does use such a note, must be supposed to have observed the order of time.'
This observation is not only very just and reasonable, but neceffary; the want of which has apparently produced many mistakes in the compilers of Gospel harmonies, who have too often made the agreement of two Evangelists (commonly St. Mark and St. Luke) the rule of placing a story, without regarding the manner of its connection with the preceding or following story.
These things premised, I will endeavour to prove the twQ following particulars, which will be a sufficient confutation of Mr. Whilton's proposition.
I. Several of those branches, which Mr. Whiston suppofes misplaced, and contrary to the order originally intended by St. Matthew, are so far from that, that they are not out of the proper order of time, in which they came to pass.
II. It does not appear, that any of those, which are in our present copies placed contrary to the order of time, are contrary to the order originally intended by St. Matthew.
1. Several of those branches, which Mr. Whiston supposes misplaced, and contrary to the order originally intended by St. Matthew, are so far from that, that they are not out of the
proper proper order of time, in which they came to pass. This will 'appear by the two following instances.
1. The history of the person whom our Lord cured of his leprofy, Matt. viii. 2-5. is not misplaced, but in the proper order of time in which it came to pass. It is placed by St. Matthew (supposing our present copies of that Gospel to be right) as what happened immediately upon our Saviour's descent from the mountain, where he had been preaching ; whereas, says Mr. Whiston, that miracle was some months before that sermon. I own indeed, several of the Gospel harmonizers are of the same opinion, and the reason why they are so is, because they found St. Luke (and perhaps St. Mark) to have placed this story a considerable time before the Sermon on the mount. This indeed is true; but then it must be observed, that these two Evangelists have related this miracle without any express notation of the timea, when it was wrought. There is no circumstance, nor phrase, which connects it, either to the foregoing or the following part of the history: see Mark i. 40. and ii. 1. and Luke v. 12, 17. On the other hand, as it stands in our present copies of St. Matthew (as Mr. Whiston rightly obseryes), it is immediately subjoined to the Sermon on the mount, in such a manner, as implies it to have happened just upon Christ's descent from the mount. I appeal then to any unprejudiced person, whether it be not more reasonable to suppose, the other two Evangelists have placed this story out of the order of time, as sometimes they are wont to do; than that it is transposed in our present copies of St. Matthew. This (viz. the present order of St. Matthew) will be abundantly confirmed, if we consider, that there is a very good
reason to be assigned, why the two other Evangelists have re· lated this story out of its proper order ; víz, because it was wrought in a place, where the other miracles, which they had just before given an account of, were done. They had before been giving an account of two miracles, which our Lord had
· Hæc autem eadem leprofi mi. tempus atque ordinem fignificat his raculofe fanati historia narratur a verbis, Cum defcendiflet de monte, Marco c. i. 40. et a Luca c. v. 12. &c. Et ecce, &c. Car. Mar. de fed folus Matthæus hujus miraculi Veil. ad loc.
wrought wrought at Capernaum, viz. the casting out the unclean spirit in the fynagogue there : and after that, the recovery of Peter's mother in law from a fever (Mark i. 23-29, &c. and Luke iv. 33–38, &c.) in the fame town. Now this miracle of the leper's cure being done at this place, they mention it here together with those other miracles, though it was really done at another time. Indeed it is true, St. Luke relates, ch. v. I, &c. the call of the four Apostles between these two miracles, and that of the leper ; but this is a very great confirmation of the foregoing observation, because this call of the Apostles hath been already proved, not to be in the order of time, and so is for the same reason placed here, because it was in the city or suburbs of Capernaum. If what has been faid be duly considered, I cannot but think it will prove this branch of St. Matthew's history to be in the proper order of time. And indeed, if it be not proved, I must do Mr. Whiston's hypothesis that justice to own, that it is, as to this instance, most certainly true: if the story of the leper be not in the proper order of time, either there must be a transposition in the history, or $t. Matthew was mistaken, which no body will suppose. Hence I cannot but wonder that Dr. Lightfoot, Mr. Le Clere, and others, have in their Harmonies, left St. Matthew's order, and followed that of St. Mark and St. Luke. I cannot see how they could join the first and fifth verse of this chapter, without supposing a transposition, which yet they certainly never thought of. Chemnitius , Ofiander, and some few more, are much more consistent with themselves; who imagine this in St. Matthew, and that in St. Mark and St. Luke, to be different miracles; though there seems to be no foundation for this supposition, but only the difference in time.
What Mr. Whiston offers in defence of his opinion (viz. that this miracle was not wrought at this time), certainly very well deserves to be considered. “St. Matthew,” says he, “ as « well as the other Evangelists, relates our Saviour's caution
“ to the leper, to keep the miracle secret; See no man know it; “ which certainly shews, it was not done fo publickly as his « present order implies, viz. when the multitude was pre« fenti” : To this I answer, that our Lord may very well be supposed to give this charge of secrecy to the leper, when the multitudes were present ; because we have an instance of his doing the same, at another time, where a transposition cannot possibly be supposed. The place I refer to, is Matt. xii. 15, 16. And great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all, and charged them, that they should not make him known. Besides, there may be very good reasons affigned, why our Lord should give this charge in the presence of a multitude, viz. .
I. That it might appear to the multitude, that he was not at all fond or ambitious of human applause, and so withal set his disciples a lively pattern of modesty and humility. Our blessed Saviour himself tells us, that he fought not to advance his own glory; John viii. 50. This was a character, which our Lord not only deserved, but which he seemed peculiarly careful to establish. To do this he had now (when he was come down from the mountain) a very fair opportunity. He could at once give a whole multitude to understand, that he did not affect or covet popular applause ; See thou tell, no man; i. e. do not publish and blaze abroad the cure that is wrought for thee; I desire not the honour, that men will be apt to give me on such an account. What could the people who were present conclude, but that he was a person of the utmost modesty ? Besides, our Saviour was not only careful to be thought humble himself, but was concerned that his disciples should learn of him, and imitate his example in this respect: hence he tells them, Matt. xi. 29. to learn of him; for, says he, I am meek and lowly in heart. Now here, in the presence of the multitude, he had a very fit feason to recommend the practice of this virtue to them by his own example. « Hence” says Theophylacta, our Lord, by this caution, teaches us, that we are not
a Vid. eum ad Marc. i.