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(which is the close of our Lord's first year) before the return from Gadara (which coincided with the middle of his second) will furnish a case in point to shew that such exceptions, and on such grounds, had already begun to be taken against our Saviour, and to be matter of public notoriety: which case, if the account given of the feast of Levi is regular where it stands, even the Gospel of St. Luke will prove to be critically apposite and just-but on no other principle whatever. In the history of his reflections, as they ensued upon the message of John, and the departure of his messengers, ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπος φάγος καὶ οἰνοπότηςd, can be understood of nothing but the supposed contempt of the law of fastings— and, τελωνῶν φίλος καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν, of nothing but his alleged promiscuous intercourse with persons of that description. Each of these, if Luke v. 30. and 33. had really preceded, would be explained at once-but if not, would be little better than unintelligible.
IV. The entertainment, which was given by Levi, is called δοχὴ μεγάλη --a description which can scarcely imply less than the principal meal of the day. Now this meal, universally among the ancients, and at this period of ancient history more especially, was the last meal in the day, that is, the meal of supper. If so, the feast given by Levi was a supper; and, consequently, the feast intended at Matt. ix. 10. it it was the same with that, was a supper also. The application, then, of Jairus made at this feast was made at a supper-his daughter, therefore, was raised-the issue of blood was staunched-the blind men were restored to sight-the demoniac was dispossessed-all in the nighttime as such-which is a tissue of absurdities from first to last.
Besides this, I have shewn elsewheref that the return from Gadara, Matt. ix. 1. just before the feast, took place early in the morning-and certainly not at night-the feast in St. Matthew, then, might be the usual morning's meal, but neither the noonday's meal, nor, much less, a supper. But if it was the morning's meal, it could not be the feast e Luke v. 29. f Vol. ii. Diss. viii. 305-310.
d vii. 34.
of Levi-for that feast was a great feast-but the morning's repast was the simplest and lightest of all in the day, and, therefore, not a great feast. Besides which, the idea of a great feast conceived, prepared for, and executed, between the short interval of landing on the beach at Capernaum, and receiving the application of Jairus, as the feast of Levi, in this case, must have been, is little better than the idea of an impossibility. That there was no great interval between the return from Gadara, and the arrival of Jairus, may be concluded from this consideration only-that two of the Evangelists, St. Mark and St. Luke, connect these facts so closely together that they have been thought even to contradict St. Matthew-as though Jairus had met our Saviour upon the shore of the lake, and he had not time actually to go to his house. Nor can it be said that Levi was, perhaps, aware of the intended return from Gadara, and made his preparations, accordingly, before the departure thither. If Levi was Matthew, Matthew, also, must have gone to Gadara-and, as I have shewn elsewhere, both the visit to Gadara, and the return from thence, were equally unexpected events; which no one but our Saviour himself could have foreseen, or been prepared for, at the time.
V. Upon a certain occasions, where the context fixes the import of the declaration to the sacrifice of temporal possessions, Simon Peter in his own name-and in the name of the rest of the Apostles-says to our Lord, Lo! we have forsaken, or renounced, all things-and followed thee. The answer of Jesus, recognizing the fact of the sacrifice, and promising a corresponding reward, establishes the truth of the declaration. From the time, then, when the Apostles became stated followers of our Saviour, they must have given up all that they had, or might have-they must have bound themselves to a voluntary poverty-they must have bidden adieu to their worldly possessions, and worldly occupations, by which they had hitherto supported themselves, and by which they might, otherwise, have supported Matt. xix. 27.
Now it is
themselves still, on purpose to attend on Christ. surely inconsistent with this fact, and at variance also with the plain meaning of the Evangelist's assertion-Luke v. 28-that Matthew, who had forsaken äravτa, in obedience to the call of Jesus, and thenceforward devoted himself to his Master's service, should yet, six months or more afterwards, have retained the means of giving him a great entertainment. One such entertainment, immediately after his call, and in gratitude for his call, it is very possible he might have given; but many such entertainments, and however long afterwards, if he had once forsaken all things, he never could have given-nor ever have been expected to give.
VI. The motive, in fact, of Levi's feast, if it was really such as we suppose, is so natural and becoming as almost of itself to establish the point in dispute-in which case the modesty of St. Matthew, who was Levi himself, might induce him to suppress the account of the feast, and, consequently, of what transpired at it, where both were too intimately connected with his own personal history. At another opportunity, however, if the same things happened again, and no longer possessed this relation to himself, he would still be free to mention them. But with St. Mark and St. Luke the state of the case would be just the reverse: they could have no such inducement to suppress the account of the feast, and of its incidents, at their first occurrence-yet, having recorded them in their proper place before, they might justly be excused if they omitted to record them again. There is no good reason, but this, to be assigned why two independent authorities should each have agreed to give an arbitrary position to a matter of fact, which would have come equally well in its own placemuch less why, in so doing, they should set themselves, apparently, in opposition to a third and a prior authority, whose order was perfectly correct. A later Evangelist might rectify the transpositions of an earlier; but it is absurd to suppose he would knowingly disturb his regular accounts. St. Mark and St. Luke are regular in their order every
where else why, then, should it be presumed that they were intentionally irregular here? Every body must see that, by omitting the account of the sitting at meat after the return from Gadara, but before the application of Jairus, they have exposed themselves, primâ facie, to the suspicion of an inconsistency with St. Matthew. It is not to be imagined that they would have incurred this risk for any reason, but one so natural as this-viz. that the intermediate particulars, however instructive, necessary, or curious, had all been actually anticipated already. For it is a rule with them both-and especially with St. Luke-to record nothing of the same kind twice.
VII. If the circumstances of the two accounts be compared together, it will appear that neither the questions, which are seen to have been put, nor the answers, supposed to have been returned, on each occasion, were identical: and, therefore, that the occasions themselves may still have been distinct.
I. St. Matthew's account of the circumstances of the first question is this; It came to pass, as he was sitting at meat in the house, that many publicans and sinners came and sate down, along with Jesus and his disciples-St. Luke's is this; And Levi made a great entertainment for him in his own house; and there was a great multitude of publicans, and of others, who were sitting at meat along with them. The former of these notices describes an ordinarythe second, an extraordinary-occasion of the kind in question. The parties, who were guests along with Jesus and with his disciples, on the one, came of their own accord; on the other, came because they had been invited. And this might well be. Into our Lord's usual place of abode even publicans and sinners might reasonably be encouraged to enter; into a strange house they would have access only by permission of the owner. Their presence in the former instance was doubtless due to the desire of hearing Jesus; but their presence in the latter was much more probably the effect of their acquaintance with Levi, who himself was one of their body.
II. At Matt. ix. 14. the disciples of John were present, and put the question, there recorded, themselves—at Mark ii. 18. Luke v. 30. 33. it does not appear that the disciples of John were even present; but it plainly appears that, whether present or not, they did not put the question themselves; it was put by others concerning them. And this is a circumstance of distinction which can never be got over, and ought to be decisive of the question.
III. With regard to both the questions and the answers in each instance, St. Mark and St. Luke, who undoubtedly relate the same occurrence, agree more exactly with each other, than either of them with St. Matthew. But if they had each been relating the same things, this was not, a priori, to be expected-all should have agreed alike, or all should have differed alike.
For example-in the answer to the first question, the first part of ix. 13. which occurs in St. Matthew's account, does not occur in their's. Nor is it any objection that the same text is cited Matt. xii. 7. but wanting in the parallel places of Mark ii. 27. 28. and Luke vi. 4. 5: for this second instance of its omission would not be a case in point. This text would be the only omission in the present instancewhereas there are other omissions also in the second: it would have been purposely excepted, and by itself, in the one-only in common with more matter, in the other.
Should it be further objected that Luke v. 30. is not so elose to Mark ii. 16, as Mark ii. 16. is to Matt. ix. 11. (the former as addressed to the disciples about themselves—both the latter as addressed to the disciples about their Master) the answer is, both questions were put; why the disciples were eating—and why Christ was eating-with publicans and sinners. As it is, they amount to the same thing; for a reproach that the disciples of Jesus did so and so is a reproach that their Master did the same-nor could the particular charge in the present instance be preferred against them, without including also him. They were all alike eating in the company of such persons, and it would be indifferent of whom the question might be asked.