Page images
PDF
EPUB

Again, in reporting the answer to the second enquiry at Matt. ix. 15. our Lord is described to have used the remarkable term mevdeñv, instead of yoteúely, as at Mark ii. 19. and Luke v. 34. These words were not synonymous, neither in themselves—nor in the estimation of the parties who asked the question : to fast was not necessarily to mourn, especially as a mere formality, as a stated part of the ceremonial of religion, but nothing more. In the use, therefore, of such a term, with respect to his own disciples, our Lord had an occasion in view, not yet indeed arrived, but sometime to arrive, of more than mere formal fasting—an occasion of real grief and mourning, expressing themselves in the outward significant acts of fasting and prayer--an occasion which Theophylact (in locum) describes most correctly as follows: "Έσται ούν καιρός, φησιν, ότε εμού παθόντος, και αναληφθέντος, νηστεύσουσιν εν λιμώ και δίψη, διωκόμενοι h. This prophetical allusion to the future sufferings of the Apostles, we may justly contend, was too remarkable to have been purposely suppressed, yet too obscure to have been purposely introduced. If our Lord, in St. Mark or in St. Luke, had made use of the word tevðeiv, they would have retained it; if, in St. Matthew, he had made use of moteuer, he would not have changed it.

St. Luke's account of this answer, in general, differs on the whole from St. Mark's, only as a supplementary might differ from a partial--of which Luke v. 36. compared with Mark ii. 21. affords a luminous proof. I have little doubt that, as resulting from the harmony of both together, our Lord's words ought to stand exactly as follows: Kai oúdeis επίβλημα ράκους αγνάφου επιρράπτει επί ιματίω παλαιώ· ει δε μή, αίρει το πλήρωμα αυτού, το καινόν, του παλαιού, και χείρον σχίσμα γίνεται. Ει δε μήγε, και το καινόν σχίζει, και το παλαιώ ου συμφωνεί επίβλημα το από του καινού k. The correctness of this arrangement is proved by the reason of the thing. The two arguments tend to the same reductio ad absurdum; but they are perfectly distinct from each other, and, notwithstanding a like state of the case, suppose two very different consequences. The first goes on the assumption that an old garment cannot sustain a piece of new cloth-whence, that, which is designed to fill up a rent, only enlarges it, and makes it worse than before: the second, on the assumption that an old garment will not match with a piece of new cloth—whence, both the new is cut to provide a patch for the old, and the patch of new cloth, being put upon the old, will not suit to, nor assort with, the old.

h Commentar. 48.

i Mark ii. 21.

k Luke vi. 36.

Lastly—as to the objection from the antecedent improbability that two distinct occasions, requiring a defence in terms so much alike, should yet have arisen in the course of our Saviour's ministry, however great this improbability might be, it must still succumb to the evidence of the fact. But the improbability itself is not so great. No part of his public conduct was more uniformly on principle-nor, consequently, more uniformly obnoxious to the cavils of those who were disposed to find fault with it, than this unreserved intercourse with publicans and sinners. The passage quoted from Luke vii. 34. proves it to have soon become a standing reproach against him; and there are two other instances, Luke vii. 36–50. xv. 1-10. both later in their occurrence than the present instance, upon which similar exceptions, and the defence against them, are found on record. As to the renewal of the question concerning fasting, if those who put it in the first instance were not the disciples of John, and those who put it in the second were so, the occasions must have been distinct. Such a question, at that time, was very possible from them—for John was not as yet put to death. But he had been long suffering imprisonment; and this may be one reason why our Lord, in answer to their question, made use of the word asybeira which he had not used in his answer to the former. They might have cause to fast and to mourn even then his own disciples would have cause to do so only some time to

come.

DISSERTATION XI.

On the ordination of the Twelveand the Sermons from

the Mount. THE concurrent testimony of St. Mark and St. Luke establishes the fact that, until the present period of our Saviour's ministry—which is the first quarter of its second year—not only had not the Twelve been yet ordained to their office, but even the name of Apostle was not yet in being. Hitherto, then, they had been merely disciples distinguished, perhaps, by nothing above the rest of the disciples in common, except that all, or some, of them might have been personally called by our Saviour_as the rest of the disciples had not. But from this time forward they were expressly discriminated from the rest, and formed into a body, or society, of their own.

Of the ordination itself St. Matthew has given no account—though, as far as the commencement of that circuit in the neighbourhood of the lake, of which the ordination appears to have been the conclusion, his narrative goes along with St. Mark's—and his silence is naturally to be explained by the consideration that he was himself one of the Twelve, and that it might not become the modesty of a Christian Apostle to record his own appointment, by the choice of Christ himself, to so high and so illustrious an office.

In a part of his Gospel, however, which follows not long after this timea, he speaks of the Twelve, as of a body already in existence, and known by that name as such ; whence, it is clear, he recognises implicitly the fact of their previous ordination. On the same occasion he introduces also the catalogue of their names, which agrees, upon the whole, with the lists of St. Mark and St. Luke; and the isolated, yet natural, manner, in which he brings in this ca

[blocks in formation]

talogue b, is a strong internal evidence that he kept it back, in its proper place, only from a motive of genuine Christian humility. The same conclusion follows from the way in which even here he speaks of himself: for he puts his own name after that of Thomas; though, according to the order of St. Mark and of St. Lukec, it should have taken precedence of it; and he adds to his name the designation of o Tenórns-a designation, in the opinion at least of his countrymen, expressive only of reproach—and which the other two, with a becoming regard to the memory of a Christian Apostle, accordingly omit.

As this event was the last, the most solemn, and the most important, which transpired in the course of the preceding circuit, the Gospel of St. Luke, which had accompanied St. Mark's as far as the beginning of the circuit, but not further, rejoins it again at this point. If, then, the proof of a position like this, which seems to be so clearly made out by the direct testimony of two Evangelists, and by the indirect testimony of a third, viz. that the appointment and ordination of the Twelve as Apostles were some time posterior to their call as disciples, required any more confirmation, there are two distinct considerations, which must place it beyond a question. First, the regular occurrence, from this time forward, but never before it, of the phrase Oi &c&exa, to express the Apostles, in opposition to the rest of the disciples; a phrase to be met with in St. Matthew eight times, in St. Mark ten times, and in St. Luke eight times. Besides this, there are instances also of the phrase Oi &éxa, to express the rest of the Twelve in contradistinction to twoand of the phrase Oi čvdexa, to express them all but one —which, consequently, amount to the same thing. This uniformity of designation, which yet begins to appear only now, and hereafter, must be a demonstrative argument that, until now, and hereafter, there was no such distinction, among our Lord's disciples, in being, as that of some one body in particular, opposed to the rest in general. The very name of Apostle had not yet been bestowed upon any -the only person who had borne it hitherto was our Lord himself—the Shiloh or Apostle of the Father-and, if we look at the precise point of time at which, as it is, the Twelve were chosen, and at the use which is made of their services directly afterwards, it may be concluded that the imposition of this name on them now referred as much to something immediate, as to something remote-to their part and character of Gospel-missionaries in our Saviour's lifetime, as well as after his death. St. Mark in particular declares this to have been the direct cause, and the primary purpose, or final end, of their appointmentd: 'Iva coi let' αυτού, και να αποστέλλη αυτούς κηρύσσειν, και έχειν εξουσίαν θεραπεύειν τας νόσους, και εκβάλλειν τα δαιμόνια.

b X. 2—4.

cji. 18. vi. 15.

Secondly, the regular occurrence, from this time forward, but not before it, of the name of Peter. St. Mark and St. Lukee both shew that, when our Lord appointed Simon Barjonas an Apostle, he gave him also, agreeably to a wellknown custom of the East, and to many similar instances which might be produced from the Old Testament, a new name, in allusion to his office itself—the name of Cephas, or Peter: and it is a curious circumstance, displaying in an eminent degree the extreme accuracy of both these Evangelists, their strict attention to propriety, as well as to the truth and fidelity of history, in the least things, not less than in the greatest, that, speaking of him before this period, they invariably call him Simon; speaking of him after it, they invariably call him Peter. His name of Simon, up to this time, occurs in St. Mark five times; but his name of Peter after it occurs eighteen times; in St. Luke, up to the same period, the former name occurs eight times; after it, the latter occurs eighteen times.

There is one exception, indeed, to the rule in St. Luke at v. 8—at least if the text be genuine. But, even there, the name of Peter is merely added to that of Simon; and, after all, it is most probable that this addition itself was

d jii. 14. 15.

• ii. 16. vi. 14.

« PreviousContinue »