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ST. MARK WRITES HIS GOSPEL.

95

Gregory Nazianzen-Mark wrote his Gospel for the Italians, or in Italy.

Ebedjesu—the second Evangelist is Mark, who preached (or wrote) in Latin, in the city of Rome.

Theophylact (1070,) and Euthymius (1100,)--the Gospel of St. Mark was written at Rome, ten years after Christ's ascension.

These testimonies seem to be sufficient to prove the early date of St. Mark's Gospel, and that it was probably written at Rome for the use of the proselyted Gentile converts, under the inspection of St. Peter.

There are two considerable objections to this early date of St. Mark's Gospel. One that he is said (Acts xii. 25.) to have gone to Antioch with Saul and Barnabas ; the other, the allusion to the progress of the apostles, in the last verse of his Gospel. In reply to the first, it may be said that it is probable he would leave Rome immediately on hearing of the death of Herod, and arrive there at the time when Saul and Barnabas were about to return to Antioch ; which event is placed by Dr. Lardner at this period. It appears from the manner in which ver. 8. of chap. xvi. so abruptly terminates, and the evident commencement of a new summing up of the evidence, that some extraordinary interruption took place while St. Mark was composing his Gospel. The verse terminates with the words épopoūvto yap• and many critics (as I have already shown in the notes to the eighth Part of this Arrangement,) have, from the rapid transition to the subject of the following verse, impugned the authenticity of the remaining verses of St. Mark's Gospel. I am inclined to impute this abrupt ending of the eighth verse of the sixteenth chapter, and the subsequent introduction of the contents of ver. 9. to the circumstances I have just related.

In all probability St. Mark returned to Jerusalem after the death of Herod, with his unfinished Gospel; that he afterwards accompanied Saul and Barnabas, on their return to Antioch (Acts xv. 35—37.); and after having attended the latter on his journey, he was finally settled at Alexandria, where he founded a church of great note.

We are told by Jerome-Mark, at the desire of the brethren at Rome, wrote a short Gospel, according to what he had heard related by St. Peter. Taking with him the Gospel he bad composed, Mark went to Egypt, and founded a Church at Alexandria. He died in the eighth year of Nero, and was succeeded at Alexandria by Anianus.

Chrysostom-Mark wrote his Gospel in Egypt, at the request of the believers there.

Eusebius also relates of St. Mark, that he went into Egypt, and first preached there the Gospel he had written, and planted there many Churches. And in another chapter he says, that in the eighth year of Nero, Anianus, the first bishop of Alexandria after Mark the apostle and evangelist, took upon him the care of that Church (g).

The accounts are so brief, that the exact period of his leaving Barnabas, and residing at Alexandria, cannot be ascertained. The last verse of St. Mark's Gospel, which contains an allusion to the progress of the Gospel, is supposed to be of a later date than the rest of the history, which has given rise to a doubt as to the authenticity of the last twelve verses; but if we suppose the Gospel was first published at Rome, and completed at Alexandria, and the last twelve verses added there, we can have no difficulty in accounting for this difference of date.

The conclusion to which Dr. Townson has arrived, after considering the evidence in favour of the early date of St. Mark's Gospel, does not materially differ from that which I have been now advocating. He supposes that St. Mark's Gospel was published in Italy ; but that St. Mark came to Rome by himself, studied the state of the Church there, returned to Asia, and, in conjunction with St. Peter, drew up his Gospel for the benefit of the converts in that city. Dr. Townson has adopted this perplexed theory, to avoid the opinion that St. Peter came to Rome in the reign of Claudius. Lord Barrington assigns to St. Mark's Gospel the date I have now adopted.

After considering the whole evidence respecting the Gospel of St. Mark, I cannot but conclude that it was written at a much earlier date than has been generally assigned to it by Protestant writers. The Gospel of St. Matthew was written in the first persecution, when the tidings of salvation were preached to the Jews only. The Gospel of St. Mark was published during the second persecution of the Christian Church, when the devout Gentiles, such as Cornelius, were appealed to. Both were mercifully adapted to these two stages of the Church's progress. The Gospel of St. Luke was addressed to the Gentiles of Asia, after the first Neronian persecution; and that of St. John was the supplement to the rest, and completed and perfected the canon of the New Testament. Each was fitted to the condition of the Church at the time of their respective publication ; and they now form unitedly one sublime and perfect system of truth, the immovable foundation of the temple of God.

(9) Euseb. Eccles. Hist. lib. ii. cap. 16. and 24.-Ap. Lardner's Supplement to the Credibility.

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RELIEF IS SENT TO JERUSALEM.

[PART

Antioch.

J. P. 4757. 10. The Converts at Antioch, being forwarned by Agabus, send relief V. Æ. about

to their Brethren at Jerusalem, by the hands of Barnabas and Saul. 44.

ACTS xi. ver. 27, to the end '3. And in these days came prophets 14 from Jerusalem unto 27 Antioch And there stood up one of them named Agabus, 28 and signified by the spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Cæsar. Then the disciples, every man according to 29 his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judæa : which also they did, and sent it to the elders 1 30 by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

we

13 The transpositions in the order of the sacred narrative which I have thought it advisable to make in this, the preceding, and the following sections, have been adopted from a consideration of the circumstances of the Christian Church at this period. The first persecution of the Church by the Sanhedrim was terminated by the conversion of St. Paul; the second persecution, which had now begun, was the work of Herod Agrippa, the great favourite of the emperor Claudius. Dr. Lardner is of opinion that the previous repose of the Church continued only a year, or a little longer, and that the disturbances of the Church began in the year 41, when Herod was invested by Claudius with full power. He observes—" From the very beginning of his reign, especially from his arrival in Judæa, and during the remainder of it, the disciples must have been under many difficulties and discouragements.” The Jews, and their new sovereign, who was very rigid and punctual in his observances of the Mosaic law, were alike disposed to harass the Christians, as an increasing heresy. The persecution, therefore, which had ceased for a time, would soon be openly renewed ; and as James had been put to death, and Peter thrown into prison, I consider this (see note 12, p. 89, &c.) to have been the moment when the apostles for the first time left Judæa, and not, as Dr. Lardner supposes, about the year 49 or 50, after the apostolic council. Two circumstances related in the sacred narrative confirm me yet further in this opinion, and seem to justify the transposition I have here made. One is, tha ad for the first time that prophets, who appear to have been next in order to the apostles, went down from Jerusalem to Antioch; the other is, that when Paul and Barnabas arrived at Jerusalem, in consequence of their mission from the Church at Antioch, after the prophets had foretold the famine, the Church sent their contributions to the elders, and not to the apostles (chap. xi. 30): and that St. Paul, in his account of his coming up to Jerusalem on this occasion, tells us that he found none of the apostles at Jerusalem but James, the Lord's brother (Gal. i. 18).-See Lardner's Supplement to the Credibility, chap. vi. on the time when the apostles left Judæa.

14 One manuscript only, the Cambridge manuscript, reads here," as we were together," from which it has been inferred, that St. Luke was now with St. Paul. This, however, is not sufficient authority to enable us to conclude against the general opinion of the Church, and the concurrent testimony of manuscripts, that this evangelist certainly joined St. Paul till his arrival at Mysia (Acts xvi. 10).

This prophecy of Agabus resembled those of the ancient prophets, not merely in the certainty but in the manner of its fulfilment. It was accomplished in the first (a) and second year of Claudius. A second famine (6) was in the fourth year of Claudius, when Helena, Queen of the Adiabeni, sent assistance to the Jews. A third famine (c) was in the ninth year of Claudius. A fourth (d) in the eleventh year.

The most severe of these happened between the fourth and the eighth years of Claudius, under the government of Cuspius Fadus, or under that of Tiberius Alexander, perhaps under both. There is some reason to imagine, that a famine was beginning to be feared in Syria, about the time of the death of Agrippa, the father, or the elder. St. Luke says that this prince forming the design of making war upon the Tyrians and Sidonians, they sought a peace ; which they wanted, “because they obtained their provisions from the king's country.' These nations, who had the sea open, would have had no fear of a famine, if there had been plenty of provisions elsewhere.

16 It is now that we first meet with the disputed word Presbyter. It occurs in the last verse of Acts xi. The corn collected by the Church at Antioch, for the relief of the brethren in Jerusalem, was sent to the Presbyters, or elders. The word tÒ t peoBurépov occurs in the New Testament

(a) This is mentioned, with its causes, by Dio Cassius, 9. p. 949. Ed. Reimar, ap. Kuinoel in lib. Hist. N. T. Comment. vol. iv. p. 399. (6) Scaliger, animadv. ad Euseb. p. 192. and Whitby in loc. (c) Scaliger, ut sup. &c.

(d) Sueton. Vit. Claud. c. 18. See Walchius, Dissert. de Agabo vate.

p. 79.

THE DEATH OF HEROD AGRIPPA.

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11. The death of Herod Agrippa.

J. P. 4757.

V. Æ. 44. ACTS xii, latter part of ver. 19, and ver. 20—24.

Cæsarea. 19 - And he went down from Judæa to Cæsarea, and there

abode. 20 And Herod * was highly displeased with them of Tyre and 2: O baredom

Sidon : but they came with one accord to him, and, having intending made Blastus † the king's chamberlain their friend, desired + Gr. that was

peace; because their country was nourished by the king's 21 country. And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, 22 sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the

orer the king's bed-chamber.

three times-in Luke xxii. 66. Acts xxii. 5. and 1 Tim. iv. 14. The signification of the word must be ascertained from the interpretation given to it in the time of the inspired writers. The term Presbytery was applied to an united body of men, and the word Presbyter was given to the members of which it was individually composed. In the first of these passages it refers to the Sanhedrim, and it is well translated by Dr. Campbell “the national senate.” In the second it has the same meaning. In the third it is used by St. Paul, to denote the collected body of the elders, or ministers, who assisted at the ordination of Timothy.

As the Jewish Sanhedrim, with their head, consulted for the benefit of the Jewish nation, so might the Christian Presbyters, with their head, consult for the public welfare of the Christian Churches. The members of the Sanhedrim were not equal in authority to the Nasi; neither were the Presbyters of the New Testament, reasoning on the same analogy, equal in authority to him who was their Nasi, or Prince ; that is, the apostle, or his successor. But the Presbytery who governed the Christian Church at Jerusalem, and to whom St. Paul went, had no civil power, their authority was exclusively spiritual; and their head, or Nasi, or Prince, must therefore have possessed powers of a spiritual nature, superior to those which were possessed by the general body. And this appears to have been the case, from the unanimous testimony of antiquity. The privilege of preaching, teaching, and many other things, was common to all; the power of ordaining, and deciding, was reserved for one. Thus Timothy was ordained with the concurrence and sanction of the Presbytery, or general body of ministers; but he was not ordained by them, but by St. Paul. This, then, explains the meaning of the word in the third passage, in which the word Presbytery occurs, and enables us to ascertain with greater precision the import of the word Presbyter in this passage, where it is used with reference to the officers of a Christian Church.

But we are enabled to learn the precise meaning of the word Presbyter not only from the phrase " the Presbytery," but from its usual acceptation both among the Jews and Gentiles. It sometimes occurs in the usual sense of “older in years," as contrasted with the word “younger," 1 Tim. v. 1. Sometimes it denotes the elders, or predecessors of the existing generation, who had exercised authority as teachers, or were remembered for their exertions, talents, or wisdom. (Matt. xv. 2. Mark vii. 3, 5.) It is a name of dignity, denoting the members of the Sanhedrim, the rulers of the synagogues, and leaders of Israel in general. It chiefly signifies those among the Jews, who in their several cities were the heads and chiefs of congregations assembled for religious worship; and from this use of the word it was adopted by the writers of the Acts and the Epistles, to describe those who were ordained to officiate in sacred things; to administer the sacraments, to instruct and rule and control their respective congregations, under the direction of a superior head, to whom they were responsible, and to execute every ecclesiastical duty except those few of a higher nature, which were reserved for the acknowledged superiors, by whom they had themselves been appointed to the exercise of their spiritual functions: their power was so great in these departments, and their office was so important, that they are honoured with the epithet of Bishop, or Episcopus, which in subsequent ages was exclusively confined to those who imparted the Presbyteral power.

Whitby, however, is of opinion that the elders here mentioned might not even be Christians, but the elders of the Jewish synagogues, or the apūTOL Tūv ‘lepoookupitwy, the chief men of Jerusalem, to whom King Izates sent relief at the same time; or if they were Christians, they might still be the elders of the synagogues, the Christians then retaining the Jewish rites. To the first of these opinions it may be answered, that in ver. 29, we read that the relief which the Church at Antioch sent to Jerusalem, was intended for their own brethren. The second opinion is conjectural, but not probable. The elders of the synagogues who were converted, might have been admitted among the elders of the infant Church.

Whether the Christian Church was entirely constructed on the model of the Jewish synagogue, as Grotius asserts, will be considered in the notes to the next part of this Arrangement.

VOL. II.

H

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ST. PAUL RETURNS TO ANTIOCH.

[PART

Cæsarea.

§ 12.

P.4757: people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not

of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, 23 because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost *.

The Churches continue to increase.

Acts xii. 24. But the word of God grew and multiplied. § 13. Saul having seen a Vision in the Temple !?, in which he is com

manded to leave Jerusalem, and to preach to the Gentiles, returns with

Barnabas to Antioch.
J.P. 4758.

ACTS xii. 25 18.
And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they

V. E. 45.

Jerusalem.

17

16 See the account in Josephus, Antiq. 19. 7. 2.

ON THE TIME WHEN ST. PAUL WAS APPOINTED TO THE APOSTOLATE. I refer the vision seen by St. Paul in the temple, mentioned in Acts xxii. 17—24, and the commission he then received to preach to the Gentiles, to this period of his history, principally on the authority of Lord Barrington and Dr. Benson, who maintain also that this vision was the same as the ecstasy alluded to in 2 Cor. xii. 2, though Dr. Doddridge would rather refer this vision to St. Paul's first return to Jerusalem.

Dr. Lardner discusses at some length the question, When St. Paul was made an apostle ? and concludes that he was appointed to the apostolic office on his conversion : one of his principal arguments is, that he began to preach so soon after that event. That the ultimate object which our Saviour proposed to St. Paul, was mentioned to him at his conversion, is evident, from his own narration, Acts xxvi. 17, 18. But it is equally certain that he did not exercise the apostolic functions till the Holy Ghost separated him for the work to which he had been called, and till he had been ordained by the laying on of hands.

With respect to Dr. Lardner's remark, that Paul was made an apostle, it is only necessary to observe, what perhaps the learned writer would not acknowledge, that there were various duties attached to the various orders of ministers in the service of God. The deacons, evangelists, and elders, might preach as well as the apostles; but to the apostles only belonged the power of governing, and controlling, and superintending the Churches, the ordaining of elders, &c. &c. which things St. Paul did not attempt to do, till he returned from Jerusalem to Antioch.

As the essay of Lord Barrington on this subject is not in the hands of many students of Scripture, I have added an abridgment of it. The learned writer defines an apostle to be one who was a chief and primary minister of the kingdom of Christ, who was commissioned by God to testify the great facts of Christianity, as far as he was personally acquainted with them; particularly that of the resurrection ; and who was endued with superior courage in times of danger, and with extraordinary powers of working miracles, and imparting the Holy Ghost.

It is the object of this essay to fix the precise time when Paul received his commission, which Lord Barrington supposes to have been at his second visit to Jerusalem, when he saw Christ in a trance, A. D. 43. In support of the opinion, that at his conversion Paul was not made an apostle, the noble author argues, after discussing the question whether St. Paul saw Christ personally at his conversion, and deciding it in the negative, that St. Paul only preached to Jews, or Proselytes of the Gate, before his second journey to Jerusalem, and was not till that time properly an apostle : he seems to have acted only as a prophet or teacher, having only received a prediction that "God had chosen him that he should know his will."

His preaching to the Jews does not prove his apostolic commission, for he was to be the apostle of the Gentiles; nor can this term (Gentiles) be applied to the Proselytes of the Gate. These were obliged to submit to all the laws of Moses ; and by Gentiles in Scripture are meant those who served false gods. They are described as those who are "carried away or led after dumb idols ; without God, without hope, under the power of the wicked one.” St. Paul is said to have“ opened their eyes, and turned them from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto God." This could not be applied to the Proselytes of the Gate, who had the knowledge of God's law, and are said to be of clean hands, and a pure heart, &c.; and indeed the word used in Acts is always applied to idolatrous

18 See following page,

ST. PAUL RETURNS TO ANTIOCH.

99

bad fulfilled their * ministry, and took with them John, whose J, P. 4758. surname was Mark.

V. Æ. 45.

Jerusalem.
• Or, charge.
ch, xi, 29, 30.

Gentiles, unless particularly restricted in sense by some other word. It seems that it was not known to the Church, nor indeed to the other apostles, that St. Paul had received a commission to preach to the Gentiles till his third journey to Jerusalem, of which they would probably have been informed, had that commission been given very long before ; and he appeals to the being acknowledged as a fellow apostle by his enemies. None of his Epistles were written till some time after the year 43, and till that period he neither preached nor acted with any boldness. His journey to Arabia, immediately after his conversion, Lord Barrington explains thus ;-He merely preached to Christian Hebrews in an adjoining country to Judæa, who were protected by Aretas, king of the country, in opposition to Herod, with whom he was at war; and here it is not probable he ever preached to proselytes; for Cornelius and his family are said to be the first-fruits of the heathens (or proselytes), who were converted about the year 41, and St. Paul's journey to Arabia took place in 35, A.D.

The account St. Paul gives before Agrippa (Acts xxvi.), has been adduced as an argument that he was appointed an apostle at his conversion; but is it not more likely that he would give a brief and perhaps obscure relation of this event before the king, than that the two accounts of the circumstance (Acts ix. and xxii.) should be incorrect ? and in both these places it seems to specify that no commission was received. If, indeed, the Gentiles were converted so early as has been generally supposed, they would have formed part of the Christian Church, before Peter preached to the Proselytes of the Gate, which would destroy the wise order in which Christianity was spread, which was in the order our Saviour had before preached, and agrees also to his prediction, as related in Acts i. 8, &c. first to the Jews of the Holy City, then in Judæa, then in Samaria, to the proselytes, and lastly to the Gentiles. Again Paul says, that at first (after his conversion) he preached "the faith he once destroyed," and that afterwards he committed the Gospel he preached to the Gentiles. He did not change his name to Paul till ten years after his conversion, and he altered it then from a Jewish to a Roman name. He is always placed after Barnabas, till a short time after his second journey to Jerusalem, and the contrary from this period. Lastly, it is not probable that Christ gave him his commission at the time of his first journey to Jerusalem, for he says himself, “When I was come again to Jerusalem," Acts xxii. 17; and this may be better seen by comparing Acts ix. 26. Gal. i. 18. with Acts xi. 29, 30. and xii. 25.

At Paul's second journey to Jerusalem, he received from Christ an apostolic commission. Lord Barrington says, we may be sure this was the first time Paul saw the Saviour, from the particular emphasis he lays on the vision, Acts xxii. 18. He speaks of this revelation to the Corinthians, in his second Epistle to them, which was written about the year 58, as having taken place fourteen years preceding, and seems to point out that he then received his commission as apostle of the Gentiles (2 Cor. xii.), which account agrees well with the prediction of Ananias. He speaks of it as an "high vision and revelation,” something whereof he might boast and glory-a mystery now to be made manifest-a revelation of importance-(Col. i. 27. Eph. iii.) where it appears St. Paul thinks it the greatest of all his revelations.

Lord Barrington supposes that he had some view of the glory of heaven, for his encouragement in the difficulties he had to encounter, and makes a singular conjecture concerning the " thorn in the flesh," of which St. Paul speaks in his relation of his vision to the Corinthians, which he supposes to have been some bodily infirmity caused by the heavenly glory, which was too great for him to bear; as stammering, or a convulsive motion in the muscles of his face, which made him fear that the Gentiles, who paid great regard to eloquence and outward appearances, would despise him, as Moses was afraid of appearing before Pharaoh for the same reason. He therefore besought the Lord thrice that it might depart from him ; but after he was assured that Christ's strength should be made perfect in his infirmities, he gloried in his weakness.

There were none of the apostles at Jerusalem at Paul's second journey there, probably that it might be manifest that he received his mission from no man; and of this circumstance he often particularly informs us, that he received his message from Christ alone (a).

18 Mr. Fleming would place this passage after the account of the death of James, and in the interval between the committal and the deliverance of Peter from prison. Dr. Lardner, whose authority I follow, adheres to the present order of the sacred text, and argues that the commission of Barnabas and Saul was not given till after the death of Herod (b).

(a) See Hales's Analysis, vol. ii. part ii. p. 1211--Miscellanea Sacra, Essay iii.-Doddridge's Family Expositor, notes on Acts xxii. and Dr. Lardner. (6) Flem. Christology, vol. ii. p. 230. and Lardner's Credibility, book i. chap. ii. sect. ii. vol. i.- Ap. Doddridge's Family Expositor, vol. iii. p. 68.

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