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them, “who are,” he adds,“ of the circumcision," i. e. Jews by birth. In verse 14, he says that Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas also saluted them; from which it is inferred that they were not of the circumcision, but were by birth Gentiles.

Most writers suppose that Luke, the writer of this Gospel, was intended in the above place in Colossians. If so his profession was that of a physician. And it has been remarked that his descriptions of diseases are more accurate, and circumstantial, and have more of technical correctness than those of the other evangelists.

Luke does not profess to have been an eye-witness of what he record. ed. See ch. 1, 2, 3. It is clear, therefore, that he was not one of the seventy disciples, nor one of the lio who went to Emmaus, as has been sometimes supposed. Nor was he an apostle. By the fathers he is uniformly called the companion of the apostles, and especially of

Paul. If he was not one of the apostles, and if he was not one of those expressly commissioned by our Lord, to whom the promise of the infallible teaching of the Holy Ghost was given, the question arises by what authority his Gospel and the Acts have a place in the sacred canon, or what evidence is there that he was divinely inspired ?

In regard to this question, the following considerations may give satisfaction. Ist. They were received by all the churches on the same footing as the first three Gospels. There is not a dissenting voice in regard to their authenticity and authority. The value of this argument is this --that if they had been spurious, or without authority, the fathers were the proper persons to know it. 2d. They were published during the lives of the apostles, Peter, Paul, and John, and were received during their lives, as books of sacred authority. If these books were not inspired, and had no authority, they could easily have destroyed their credit, and we have reason to think it would have been done. 3d. It is the united testimony of the fathers, that this Gospel was submitted to Paul, and received his express approbation. It was regarded as the substance of his preaching. And if it received his approbation, it comes to us on the authority of his name. Indeed, if this is the case, it rests on the same authority as the epistles of Paul himself. 4th. It bears the same marks of inspiration as the other books. It is simple, pure, yet sublime ; nothing unworthy of God; and elevated far above the writings of any uninspired

5th. If he was not inspired—if, as we suppose, he was a Gentile by birth-and if, as is most clear, he was not an eye-witness of what he records; it is inconceivable that he did not contradict the other evangelists. That he did not borrow from them is clear. Nor is it possible to conceive that he could write a bcok, varying in the order of its arrangement so much, and adding so many new facts, and repeating so many recorded also by tire cthers, without often having contradicted what was written by them. Let any man compare this Gospel with the spurious gospels of the following centuries, and he will be struck with the force of this remark. 6th. If it be ohjecteil, that not being an apostle, he did not come within the promise made to the apostles of inspiration; we reply, that this was also the case with Paul; yet no small part of the New Testament is compesed of his writings. The evidence of their inspiration is to be judged, not only by that promise, but by the early reception of the churches; the testimony of the fathers as to the judgment of inspired men when living; and by the internal character of the works. Luke has all these, equally with the other evangelists.

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CHAPTER I.

were eye-witnesses, and ministers TORASMUCH as many have ta- of the word ;

3 It seemed good to me also, hava declaration of those things which ing had perfect understanding of all are most surely believed among us, things from the very first, to write

2 Even as they delivered them unto thee in order, o most excellent unto us, which from the beginning Theophilus,

a Jno.15.27. He.2.3. Pe.5.1. 2Pe.1.16. 1 b Ro.15.16. Eph.3.7.4.11,12.

C Ac.11.4.

Jno.l.1.

d Ac.1.1.

1. Forasmuch as many. It has been a which are most surely believed doubted who are referred to here by the among us. Among Christians-among word many

It seems clear that it could all the Christians then living. Here renot be the other evangelists. For the mark, Ist. That Christians of that day Gospel by John was not yet written, and had the best of all opportunities of knowing the word many denotes clearly more than whether those things were true. Many two. Besides, it is said that they under- had seen them, and all others had had the took to record what the eye-witnesses account from those who had witnessed had delivered to them. So that the wri- | them. 2d. That infidels now cannot posters did not pretend to be eye-witnesses sibly be as good judges in the matter as themselves. It is clear, therefore, that those who lived at the time, and were other writings were meant than the evan- competent to determine whether these gelists, which we now have; but what things were true or false. 3d. That all they were is a matter of conjecture. Christians do most surely believe the What are now known as spurious gospels, truth of the gospel. It is their life, their were written long after Luke wrote his. hope, their all. Nor can they doubt that It is probable that Luke refers to frag- their Saviour lived, bled, died, rose, and ments of history, or to narratives of de- still lives; that he was their atoning sactached sayings, or acts, or parables of our rifice; and that he is God over all, LlessLord, which had been made and circula-ed forever. ted among the disciples, and others. His 2. As they delivered them. As they doctrines were original, bold, pure, and narrated them. As they gave an acauthoritative. His miracles had been ex- count of them. TFrom the beginning. traordinary, clear, and awful. His life From the commencement of these things. and death had been peculiar; and it is That is from the birth of John. not improbable--indeed it is highly pro- haps from the beginning of the ministry bable—that such broken accounts, and of Jesus. 1 Eye-witnesses. Who had narratives of detached facts would be pre- seen them themselves, and who were served. That this was what he meant, therefore proper witnesses. | Ministers appears further from v. 3; where Luke of the word. The term word, here professes to write “ in order;" i. e. to means the Gospel. Luke never uses it, give a regular, full, and systematic ac- as John does, to denote the second percount. The others were broken, and in- son of the Trinity. These eye-witnesses complete. This was to be regular and and ministers, refer doubtless to the sevfull.' 4 Taken in hand. Undertaken, enty disciples, to the apostles, and perattempted. 1 To set forth in order. haps to other preachers who had gone To compose a narrative. It does not forth to proclaim the same things. refer to the order or arrangement, but 3. It seemed good. I thought it best, means simply to give a narrative. The or I have also determined. It seemed to word rendered here, in order, is differ- be called for that there should be a full, ent from that in the third verse; which has authentic, and accurate account of these reference to order, or to a full and fair matters. | Having had perfect under. arrangement of the principal facts, &c., standing, &c. The literal translation in the history of our Lord. T A declars of the original would be “having exactly ation. A narrative—an account of. I traced every thing from the first ” Or

Or per

4 That thou mightest know the a certain priest named Zacharias, certainty of those things wherein of the course of Abia: ° and his thou hast been instructed.

wife was of the daughters of Aaron, 5 THERE. was in the days of and her name was Elisabeth. the

6 And they were both righteous

d

d Ge.7.1. Ki.9.4. 2Ki.20.3.

a Jno. 20.31. 6 Mat.2.1. ciCh.24.10. Ne. 12.4,17.

having, by diligent and careful investiga- or is due, to address men in office by their tion, followed up every thing to the customary titles; even if their moral charsource, to obtain an accurate account of acter be altogether unworthy of it. Who the matter. This much better expresses Theophilus was is unknown. It is prothe idea. Luke did not profess to have bable that he was some distinguished Roseen these things; and this expression is man, or Greek, who had been converted; to show how he acquired his information. who was a friend of Luke; and who had It was by tracing up every account till requested an account of these things. It he became satisfied of its truth. Here ob- is possible that this preface might have serve, 1st. That in religion God does not been sent to him as a private letter with set aside our natural faculties. He calls the Gospel, and thus Theophilus chose to us to look at evidence, to examine ac- have them published together. counts, to make up our own minds. Nor 4. The certainty. Have full evidence, will any man be convinced of the truth of or proof of. | Been instructed. By religion who does not make investigation, the preachers of the gospel. The originand set himself seriously to the task. 20. al word is the one from which is derived We see the nature of Luke's inspiration. Our word techism-been catechised. It was consistent with his using his natu- But it does not here denote the manner in ral faculties; his own powers of mind, in which the instruction was imparted, as it investigating the truth. God, by his Holy does with us; but simply the fact that he Spirit, presided over his faculties; di- had been taught those things. rected them; and kept him from error. 5. In the days of Herod. See Mat. T In order. This word does not indi- | ii. 1. It Of the course of Abia. When cate that the exact order of time would the priests became so numerous that they be observed; for that is not the way in could not all at once minister at the altar, which he writes. But it means distinct- David divided them into twenty-four ly, particularly, in opposition to the classes or courses, each one of which ofconfused and broken accounts to which he ficiated for a week. 1 Chron. xxiv. The had referred before. T Most excellent class, or course, of Abia, was the eighth Theophilus. The word Theophilus means in order. 1 Chron. xxiv. 10. Compare a friend of God, or a pious man, and it 2 Chron. viii. 14. The word course has been supposed by sone that Luke did means the same as class, or order. The not refer to any particular individual, but Greek word Abia is the same as the Heto any man that loved God. But there brew word Abijah. 1 His wife was is no reason for this opinion. For signi- of the daughters of Aaron. A deficant names were very common, and there scendant of Aaron, the first high priest of is no good reason to doubt that this was the Jews. So that John the baptist was some individual known to Luke. The ap- descended, on the father's and the mother's plication of the title “most excellent," side, from priests. Our Saviour was not further

proves it. It would not be given on either side. John would have been to an unknown man. The title, most legally entitled to a place, and employexcellent, has by some been supposed to ment among the priests; our Saviour, bebe given to express his character, but it ing of the tribe of Judah, would not. is rather to be considered as denoting rank 6. Both righteous. Both just, or holy. or office. It occurs only in three other This means here more than external conplaces in the New Testament, and is there formity to the law. It is an honorable given to inen in officeto Felix and Fes- testimonial of their piety towards God.

Acts xxiii. 26; xxiv. 3; xxvi. 25. Walking in, &c. Keeping the comThese titles express no quality of the men, mandments. To walk in the way that but belong to the office; and we may God commands, is to obey. 1 Ordinanhence learn that it is not improper for Rites and customs which God had Christians, in giving honor to whom hon- I ordained, or appointed. These words

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before God, walking in all the com- the temple of the Lord. mandments and ordinancesa of the 10 And the whole multitude of Lord, blameless.

the people were praying without, 7 And they had no child, be at the time of incense. cause that Elisabeth was barren, and 11 And there appeared unto him they both were now well striken in an angel of the Lord, standing on years.

the right side of the altar d of in8 And it came to pass, that cense. while he executed the priest's of- 12 And when Zacharias saw him, fice before God in the order of his he was troubled,' and fear fell upcourse,

on him. 9 According to the custom of 13 But the angel said unto him, the priest's office, his lot was to Fear not, Zacharias : for thy prayer burn incense when he went into is heard ; and thy wife Elisabeth a 1Cor.11.2. Ph.3.6. b Ex.30.7,8.

d Ex.30.1. Re.8.3,4. e Ju.13. 22.ver. 29. Da.7.14.27. Mi.4.7.

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c Le.16.17.

refer to all the duties of religion, which cense, and it was not lawful for this comwere made known to them. | Blame- pound to be used elsewhere than in the less. That is, no fault or deficiency could house of God. 1 Into the temple. See be found in them. They were strict, ex- Mat. xxi. 12. The part of the temple act, punctual. Yet this, if it had been where incense was burnt was the holy mere external observance, might have place. been no proof of piety. Paul, before his

10. The whole multitude. This was conversion, also kept the law externally the regular time of evening prayer, and blameless. Phil. iii. 6. But in the case multitudes came up to the temple to worof Zachariah and Elisabeth, it seems to ship. Praying without. That is, in have been real love to God, and sincere the courts around the temple; particularly regard for his law.

in the court of the women. 7. Well stricken in years. Old, or 11. An angel. An angel is a mesadvanced in life, so as to render the pros- senger sent from God. It had now been pect of having children hopeless.

about four hundred years since the time of 8. Before God. In the temple where Malachi, and since there had been any God dwelt, by the symbols of his presence. divine revelation. During that time the The temple was regarded by the Jews as nation was looking for the Messiah; but the house or dwelling of God; and in the still with nothing more than the ancient first temple there was, in the most holy prophecies to direct them. Now that he place a cloud called the Shechinah, or vis- was about to appear, God sent his mesible sign of the presence of God. It was senger to announce his coming, to encourthus before God, that Zachariah offered age the hearts of bis people, and to preincense.

pare them to receive him. On the 9. According to the custom of the right side, &c. The altar of incense priest's office, his lot was. The Jewish stood close by the veil which divided the writers inform us that it was customary holy place from the most holy. On the for the priests to divide their daily task by north stood the table of shew-bread. On lot. TTo burn incense. Incense is an the south the golden candlestick. As aromatic, or white rosin, procured from Zacharias entered, therefore, with his trees chiefly in Arabia. It is obtained face to the west, the angel would stand by making incisions in the tree, and the on the north, or near the table of shewgum flows out. It was distinguished for bread. a peculiarly pleasant smell when burnt,

12. He was troubled. This was an and was therefore used in ancient wor- unusual appearance. He was alone, in ship. It was burnt by the priest twice a the presence of God. · The appearance day, morning and evening. Ex.xxx. 7 was sudden, unexpected, and therefore

This was the time of the evening fearful. incense. The incense used in the temple 13. Thy prayer is heard. That is, was made of stacte, onycha, and galba- thy prayer for offspring. This, among pum, (Ex. xxx. 34), with pure frankin- the Jews, was an object of intensc desire.

-8.

4 That thou mightest know the a certain priest named Zacharias, certainty of those things wherein of the course of Abia: o and his thou hast been instructed.

wife was of the daughters of Aaron, 5 THERE, was in the days of and her name was Elisabeth,

the king Judea 6 And they were both righteous a

a Jño. 20.31. 6 Mat.2.1. clCh.24.10. Ne. 12.4,17.

d Ge.7.1. 1Ki.9.4. 2Ki.20.3.

having, by diligent and careful investiga- or is due, to address men in office by their tion, followed up every thing to the customary titles; even if their moral charsource, to obtain an accurate account of acter be altogether unworthy of it. Who the matter. This much better expresses Theophilus was is unknown. It is prothe idea. Luke did not profess to have bable that he was some distinguished Roseen these things; and this expression is man, or Greek, who had been converted; to show how he acquired his information. who was a friend of Luke; and who had It was by tracing up every account till requested an account of these things. It he became satisfied of its truth. Here ob- is possible that this preface might have serve, 1st. That in religion God does not been sent to him as a private letter with set aside our natural faculties. He calls the Gospel, and thus Theophilus chose to us to look at evidence, to examine ac- have them published together. counts, to make up our own minds. Nor 4. The certainty. Have full evidence, will any man be convinced of the truth of or proof of. I Been instructed. By religion who does not make investigation, the preachers of the gospel. The originand set himself seriously to the task. 2d. al word is the one from which is derived We see th nature of Luke's inspiration. Our word catechismbeen catechised. It was consistent with his using his natu- But it does not here denote the manner in ral faculties; his own powers of mind, in which the instruction was imparted, as it investigating the truth. God, by his Holy does with us; but simply the fact that he Spirit, presided over his faculties; di- had been taught those things. rected them; and kept him from error. 5. In the days of Herod. See Mat.

T In order. This word does not indi- ii. 1. Of the course of Abia. When cate that the exact order of time would the priests became so numerous that they be observed; for that is not the way in could not all at once minister at the altar, which he writes. But it means distinct- David divided them into twenty-four ly, particularly, in opposition to the classes or courses, each one of which of confused and broken accounts to which he ficiated for a week. 1 Chron. xxiv. The had referred before. T Most excellent class, or course, of Abia, was the eighth Theophilus. The word Theophilus means in order. 1 Chron, xxiv. 10. Compare a friend of God, or a pious man, and it 2 Chron. viii. 14.

The word course has been supposed by soine that Luke did means the same as class, or order. The not refer to any particular individual, but Greek word Abia is the same as the Heto any man that loved God. But there brew word Abijah. THis wife was is no reason for this opinion. For signi- of the daughters of Aaron. A deficant names were very common, and there scendant of Aaron, the first high priest of is no good reason to doubt that this was the Jews. So that John the baptist was some individual known to Luke. The ap- descended, on the father's and the mother's plication of the title most excellent,” side, from priests. Our Saviour was not further

proves it. It would not be given on either side. John would have been to an unknown man. The title, most legally entitled to a place, and employexcellent, has by some been supposed to ment among the priests; our Saviour, bebe given to express his character, but it ing of

the tribe of Judah, would not. is rather to be considered as denoting rank 6. Both righteous. Both just, or holy. or office. It occurs only in three other This means here more than external conplaces in the New Testament, and is there formity to the law. It is an honorable given to inen in office—to Felix and Fes- testimonial of their piety towards God.

Acts xxiii. 26; xxiv. 3; xxvi. 25. T Walking in, &c. Keeping the comThese titles express no quality of the men, mandments. To walk in the way that but belong to the office; and we may God commands, is to obey. [ Ordinanhence learn that it is not improper for Rites and customs which God had Christians, in giving honor to whom hon- I ordained, or appointed. These words

tus.

ces.

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