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purposed to correct what was inaccurate ; or (v) they wished to adapt their contents to a different class of readers, incorporating at the same time whatever additional matter they possessed; or (8), receiving them as authentic, they borrowed from them such parts as they purposed to relate in common with them.” *

The last two suppositions are so far true, but they do not meet the whole case. St Matthew wrote for the Jews—hence his constant allusions to Jewish Scriptures and the fulfilment of prophecy. St Luke wrote for Theophilus, who was not a Jew—hence he does not allude to them.

Mr Alford goes on to say, that“Our supposition (8) is, that, receiving the Gospel or Gospels before them as authentic, the evangelists borrowed from them such parts as they purposed to narrate in common with them. But this does not represent the matter of fact. In no one case does any evangelist borrow from another any considerable part even of a single narrative; for such borrowing would imply verbal coincidence, unless in the case of Hebraistic idiom or other assignable peculiarity. It is inconceivable that one writer, borrowing from another in good faith and with approval, should alter his diction so capriciously as, on this hypothesis, we find the text of the parallel sections of our Gospels altered. Let the question be answered by ordinary considerations of probability, and let any passage common to the three evangelists be put to the test.

The phenomena presented will be much as follows :—First, we shall have three, five, or more words identical; then as many wholly distinct; then two clauses or more expressed in the same words, but differing in order; then a clause contained in one or two, and not in the third; then several words identical; then a clause not wholly distinct, but apparently inconsistent; and so forth.”+

In answer to these remarks, I would observe that Mr Alford has not exhausted the possibilities of the case. He has not met a case similar to the very common one of which the histories of Napier, Suchet, and Alison are an example. Yet there is not a single phenomenon adduced in proof that the evangelists made no use of the works of their predecessors, but what may be met with in these modern contemporary historians, in cases where we know that they did make use of the works of their predecessors. In the first place, borrowing from another author does not necessarily infer verbal coincidence—because the language of the authors may be different; or even where it is the same, the one author may abridge the other, or improve his diction. There is, for instance, a much greater amount of verbal coincidence between Luke and Matthew than between Alison and Napier, yet who can doubt but that Alison made use of Napier “ in good faith and with approval ?

* Proleg., p. 3.

of Ib., p. 4.

The objections made by Dr Davidson to the supposition that any of the evangelists made use of the works of their predecessors, do not differ greatly from those of Mr Alford, and therefore do not require to be answered in detail. He states his objection to the hypothesis that Luke made use of the preceding Gospels thus

“ The form of it which supposes Luke to have made use of Matthew and Mark cannot be adopted, till it can be shown that he has in all cases rectified the sequence where it is unchronological in them; that he has repeated things with improvements in the way of addition, explanation, or definiteness, or that he has uniformly refrained from repeating various particulars in the evangelical history, where there could be no visible rectification. We believe that it is impossible to prove any of these points, and are, therefore, constrained to admit that he wrote independently."--Vol. i. p. 396.

There is no question respecting the historical independence of St Luke, for it is no impeachment of his independence to suppose that he made use of the original writings of eyewitnesses, such as I consider the works of both the preceding evangelists to be; it is not to correct, but to avail himself of their writings, that St Luke makes use of them. Dr Davidson adds :

“We cannot, indeed, seriously persuade ourselves that any one who sits down with an unbiassed mind, and looks at the Gospels arranged in harmony, will embrace the hypothesis. Diversity in arrangement and matter, but especially in style, is so intermingled with correspondence, the discrepancies so interlace the agreements in every possible variety, that it is hard to believe the assumption that any one copied from another, or from two, or that he revised them, or that he intended to supplement them in a particular method. The individuality of each writer can scarcely be lost sight of, in the midst of very close verbal correspondences. The coincidences of diction seldom continue throughout a single verse at a time. They are limited to broken parts of sentences; they are separated by discrepancies in every mode."-Vol. i. p. 397.

It would no doubt be a powerful argument against the supposition that Luke made use of an original authority in Greek, if it could be shown that “the coincidences of diction seldom continue throughout a single verse at a time; they are limited to broken parts of sentences;" but it would be none against his making use of the same document in a different language, because such are exactly the phenomena of independent translation. Dr Davidson, in the above passage, characterises with sufficient accuracy the connection between Luke and Mark, but not that which is peculiar to Luke and Matthew. Let any person compare Christ's message and his testimony to John the Baptist, as given by Luke, vii. 22, 28, with the same in Matt. xi. 4, 11, (Sec. vi. p. 236;) or John the Baptist's reproof to the people, in Luke, iii. 7, 9, with the same in Matt. iii. 7, 10, (Sec. i. p. 224,) and point out similar agreements in authors who have no common authority but oral tradition, and I will be ready to abandon the hypothesis. Let it be remembered also that we have three independent authors describing the same events, and occasionally using the same authorities. But some of these authorities are in the same language, and some of them in a different language from that used by the evangelists. They also occasionally use different authorities, and sometimes make statements from their own observations, or from information furnished by eyewitnesses. Here we have nine or ten possible causes modifying the relation of the same event, each of them consistent with the most perfect truthfulness and fidelity on the part of the historians, and of their knowledge of each other's writings. We cannot, therefore, wonder if we find “diversity in arrangement and matter intermingled with correspondence.” The phenomena must necessarily be complicated where the causes are complicated, and complicated precisely as Dr Davidson has described the complications in the Gospels to be.

Dr Davidson, and to a certain extent Mr Alford, have adopted


the theory propounded by Gieseler, that the phenomena in question are to be attributed to “oral tradition.” Now, we may admit that Luke, and even Matthew, may have derived information orally from the apostles; but we must not confound oral information with oral tradition—that is, direct with hearsay evidence. None of those who adopt the hypothesis of oral tradition have attempted to point out in the Gospels the phenomena of tradition; for tradition, like translation and transcription, has its pheno

In the writings of the Fathers we meet with them constantly, in those of the evangelists never. I reject, therefore, the hypothesis which ascribes the phenomena in question to oral tradition—not because oral tradition is bad evidence, but because there are no traces of it to be found in the Gospels.

When one person relates to another an account of events which he has witnessed, the hearer is liable to misapprehend what is said to him, or to forget what is said; and in the course of oral transmission, conjecture is often mistaken for assertion. Ву repeated transmission, the errors arising from these causes accumulate, till in process of time the report bears but little resemblance to the reality. Sir Walter Scott founds some of his tales on oral tradition, and has been at pains, in his prefaces, to discover the variations of the story. The main fact upon which the Bride of Lammermoor is founded, is that a daughter of Viscount Stair was married and died within a fortnight. According to some accounts, the bride was forced into the marriage by her parents, and made a murderous attack on the bridegroom; according to others, the marriage was against the wishes of her parents, and it was the bridegroom who attacked the bride; whilst other accounts represent it as a happy marriage.

Variation, therefore, is the inevitable characteristic of oral tradition. There is nothing in the nature of the Gospel narrative which, in this respect, takes it out of the category of all other history. The original eyewitnesses, the apostles, were indeed inspired, and therefore not liable to error ; but their hearers were not inspired, and therefore their accounts must have presented the


usual phenomena. “A stereotyped cyclus of oral tradition” never did nor ever can exist. Even poetry cannot be repeated without variations. Olshausen cites Homer' and Ossian to prove that “ the parables and discourses of our Lord might be repeated constantly in the very same way.” I do not believe that Homer and Ossian were repeated constantly in the very same way; but I am very certain that historical narration never can.

There is one phenomenon peculiar to compositions derived from the same written sources, which may be termed the phenomenon of tallying

The writers may add matter drawn from other sources, or they leave out passages, but ever and anon they return to the original authority where they will be found to tally with each other; but it is only in such cases that such correspondences

Hence, when they do occur, we are warranted in inferring the existence of a written original.

We may ask what possible reason could any of the evangelists have for having recourse to the very worst evidence-evidence which would be rejected in any court of justice—when they had access to the very best. Let us take the case of St Luke. He tells us expressly that he had communication with eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word for the expression tapedógav nuîv must of necessity include himself. He certainly would have had no right to assure Theophilus that he “investigated with accuracy,” if, with such means of doing so, he had inserted anything in his Gospel from tradition. But if Luke had no occasion to draw anything from such a source, still less had Matthew, himself an eyewitness and minister of the Word. Again, with regard to Mark, no matter whether he derived his information from Peter orally or in writing, in no case could he have made use of tradition.

I now proceed to inquire into the causes of the phenomena of the connection between the Gospels. Such investigations are best conducted in the retrograde order, for by it we can proceed from what is known to what is unknown.

Assuming that the Gospel of John was the last written, or at least last published, and that in the narrative he relates what fell

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