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order in the evangelical histories, and from the different circumstances with which the same facts are related by the different writers. It must appear to every one who attends to the subject, that the Evangelists often join together detached and distant events, on account of a sameness in the scene, the person, the cause, or the consequences ; that they make transitions from one fact to another without any intimation that important matters intervened, that they use particles which intimate an immediate connexion, with some degree of latitude; that they neglect accurate order in the detail of particular incidents ; that they are more intent on representing the substance of what is spoken than the words of the speaker, and that, by a selection of different circumstances, they often place the same fact in very different lights. But the sacred history is not liable to any just objection from this mode of narration; for, as the learned and ingenious Author of the prefent work justly remarks, ' if on this account objections are more easily started, and it becomes more difficult to reconcile seeming variations; and to frame such materials into a regular body of history, on the other hand, the Evangelists are more scrupulously examined and compared; they are studied jointly, as well as separately; their consistency strikes us more after an attentive investigation; all suspicion of compact and collusion is removed ; and the independence of their testimony is established as far as antiquity asserts it."
The usefulness of an Harmony of the Gospels is thus reprefented by the Bishop, in his Preface, from which we have taken the preceding extract.
• By the juxtaposition of parallel passages, it is often the best comment; and it cannot but greatly alleviate the Reader's trouble in his attempts to illustrate the phraseology and manner of the Evangelists.
? It shews by intuition, that St. Mark, who inserts much new matter, did not epitomise St. Matthew's Gospel.
• It affords plain marks, from the additions and omillions in St. John's Gospel, that his was designed to be a supplemental history. .
It illustrates, in many instances, the propriety of our Lord's conduct and words. The attentive Reader will make many remarks of this kind. I shall select a few examples. Thus pre: viously to the call of the four apostles, Mark i. 16-20, Andrew had been the Baptist's disciple, and had received his testimony to Jesus*; Peter had been brought to Jesus by Andrew his brother f; and Jesus had shewn more than human know
ledge, and more than human power f, which probably had fallen within the experience of these disciples, or, at least, must have gained their belief on the firmest grounds. Thus the words of Christ, John v. 21, 25, are * prophetically spoken before he had raised any from the dead; and his reprocfs, Marth, xii. 34, Mark vii. 6, are * uttered after he had wrought miracles during two feasts at Jerusalem.
. Thus our Lord first draws + the veil of parables over his doctrine, on the very day when his miracles were attributed to the power of Satan. See $ 42, 47, 48, 49.'.
Afrer anothier instance or two the Bishop adds, .
“ Lastly, strong presumptions of their inspiration arise from an accurate comparison of the Gospels, from their being so wonderfully supplemental to each other in passages reconcileable only by the suggestion of a seemingly indifferent circumstance, and from their real agreement in the midst of a seeming dira agreement. “Truth, like honesty, often neglects appearances : hypocrisy and imposture are always guarded I.”.
In this paragraph we cannot but think his Lordship mistaken. The differences observable in the accounts which the Evangelists give of the same facts, are a proof that they did not write in concert, and they, consequently, establish the inde. pendence of their separate testimonies, and add to the credibility of the general history. That the evangelical writers may, by a diligent attention and a critical investigation, be reconciled to each other, is a proof that they were well acquainted with the facts they relate, and that they faithfully recorded them; but affords no presumption that they were divinely inspired. On the contrary, the difficulties which occur in harmonizing the Gospels, some of which are such, according to the Bishop's own observation, that we may say of them, as Le Clerc says of the two genealogies, universam antiquitatem exercitam habuere || ;' difficulties, which the united labours of all preceding harmonists and commentators have been insuffi. cient to remove, form in our opinion an insuperable objection to that plenary inspiration under which Christians in general have supposed the sacred historians to have written. If they had been divinely inspired in regard to the composition of their bira tories, or even if they had conceived alike of the facts related by them, it can scarcely be imagined that they would have placed the events they record in so different a light, or would
Evangelists differences obfervab, but think his Lo
John i. 48. ii. 11, 23. jji. 2. iv, 29, 45, 5o. * Lege, were.
+ Lege, drew. I Weit on the Resurrection. Ed. iv. 342, || Harm. p. 52;.
have related them with such different circumstances, that it should be frequently uncertain whether they be the same or not, or that it should require such an attentive investigation, and so great critical acumen to reconcile their several narratives to each other. Mr. West's observation is very just with respect to mere human writings. Divine inspiration would supersede the usefulness of all lower marks of veracity; and must be proved, if proved at all, not by internal characters, but by external evidence.
The Reader will learn, from the title, what he is to expect from this interesting and useful publication; and as far as learning, candour, and ingenuity can give him satisfaction, we may venture to assure him that his expectations will not be disappointed. Dr. Newcome appears to be well-acquainted with the writings of preceding harmonists and commentators, and to have made a judicious use of their systems and observations. When he adopts any of the improvements which later har. monists have made on the more ancient, he fails not to acknowledge it, with a due commendation of their attention and judge ment; and, when he differs from them, he proposes his reasons with great frankness and ingenuity. While his own system and remarks are supported in a manner which, if it do not convince, cannot fail to leave upon the mind a favourable imprese fion of the Author.
Dr. Priestley, in his Harmony of the Evangelists, published about two years * ago, revived and defended Mr. Mann's hypothesis respecting the duration of our Lord's ministry. Di. Newcome; not satisfied with the reasons produced in favour of that scheme, has adhered to the more common opinion, first advanced by Eusebius, and generally followed by harmonizers and ecclesiastical historians, that our Lord's ministry continued three years and a half, and included in that space of time four pafsovers; and we think that his Lordship has shewn it to be very improbable that the several journies of our Saviour in Galilee, and the transactions connected with them, should have been performed in so little time as Mr. Mann and Dr. Priestley have allotted to them. Not to add, as the Bishop does not fail to remark, that their hypothesis rests upon a supposition that there is an interpolation of a verse, or at least of the words To narxa ý, John vi. 4. Which supposition is not supported by the authority of a single copy, and is weakened by the pro. bability (arising from the circumstance noted of there being much grass) that the miracle was performed rather before than after the paschal season.
• Vid. Rev, vol. Iviii. p. 89, Number for February, 1778,
Le Clerc having, in Dr. Newcome's opinion, exhibited the text in the most useful manner of any harmonist, he has adopted his method ; though with much difference in the general and particular arrangement. His Lordfhip has divided the evangelical history into seven parts or periods. The whole Harmony is farther and more usefully divided into sections; to each of which is prefixed a title, designed to mark the general order of the history at first view, and not faithfully to exhibit the contents.' Those passages in the first Epistle to the Corinthians, and at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles, which cone tain an account of the institution of the Lord's Supper, of the appearances of Jesus to his disciples after his resurrection, and of his ascent in their presence to heaven, are introduced in their proper places. At the close of the Harmony are two appendixes : the first containing Dr. Benson's, the second Dr. Lardner's, manner of harmonizing the accounts of Christ's resurrection, as far as respects his first appearances to Mary Magdalene and others, on the day on which he arose. The extract from Dr. Benson is taken from his Life of Christ, p. 520, &c. that from Dr. Lardner, from his Observations on Macknight's Harmony of the Four Gospels, lo far as relates to the History of our Saviour's Resurrection. To the whole are subjoined, notes on the Harmony of the Gospels, and on the time and place of the transactions recorded in them. These contain a variety of quotations and remarks, tending to justify both the Author's general scheme and particular arrangement of facts, and, in a few instances, to explain and illustrate the meaning of particuJar phrases and passages. From these we shall give our Readers some extracts, by which they may form an idea of the manner in which this part of the work is conducted, and judge of his Lordship’s abilities as an harmonist and critic. We begin with the following:
$2*. St. John's introduction is rightly continued to ver, 18, though some harmonists suppose it to end with ver. 14. From the connection of the whole, ver. 18 appears to be its natural clore, as it contains a reason why the word was made flesh. Ver. 15 refers to ver. 6, 7, 8; and in these passages John's testimony is anticipated in order of time, and is very fitly mentioned to illustrate Jesus's pre-eminence. Ver. 16, 17, have a plain reference to ver. 14. The word was full of grace and truth, received a most honourable testimony from one who was confeffedly a prophet, and communicated to us of his fulness; for by him came grace and truth: who for this purpose among others dwelt among us, the prophet, the representative, and the only begotten Son of the invisible God. * N. B. The notes refer to the sections of the Harmony,
. After this St. John proceeds to a particular transaction, which will appear in its proper place.'
The Bishop has a note, too long to be transcribed, on the genealogies in St. Matthew's and St. Luke's Gospels, and the manner of harmonizing them.' The following is the substance of his own remarks on the subject. His Lord hip is of opinion that many names have been omitted in the genealogy in St. Matthew's Gospel, through the carelessness of transcribers : these he has supplied as far as he was able from the Old Teftament. He is persuaded that ver. 17 of the firft chapter of St. Matthew, is a marginal note taken into the text. In this he agrees with Bishop Pearce, who confirms his opinion from Josephus, Ant. 5. 9. 4. where it is said “that David reigned and left the government to his descendants, for twenty-one generations of men : and as the Bishop obferves, there were twentyone reigns including David's, if we add to the nineteen in this corrected list Jehoahaz, 2 Chron. xxxvi. 2, and Zedekiah, ib. ver. 10.” Dr. Newcome takes it for granted that the genealogy in St. Luke is that of Mary the mother of Jerus; and he is of opinion, with Spanheim, that Joseph is called the son of Heli, as he was his son-in-law, by being married to Mary his daughter,
This may be the best solution of the difficulties attending the subject, but being founded on arbitrary suppositions, cannot, we think, give full satisfaction to the rational inquirer.
The following is his Lord ship's note on the visit of the Magi, and the other transactions recorded, Matth. chap. ii. which have been thought, not without reason, inconsistent with St. Luke's assertion, chap. ii. 39, that after the purification of Mary, according to the law, Jesus and his parents returned into Galilee to their own city, Nazareth.
$13. The ho!y Family return to Bethleem, from Jerusalem, and not to Nazareth; to which latter place they did not go till after their retreat into Egypt. Mary, who attentively considered every circumstance relating to her son Jesus, might prefer Bethleem from Micah v. 2: and from the fame of the angelic vision, Luke ii. 18. Bishop Chandler thinks it probable that the parents of Jesus had some property at Bethleem. Vind. p. 456. But Calvin disapproves of this reason, because in Bethleem Jofeph hofpitium nullum invenire potuit. Harm. fol. p. 50. Ordering their affairs, or bidding farewell to their friends, might have been among their reasons for going there. Their return to this place is to be inferred from the narration, (see Matth. ii. 8, 13, 16) like the return into the High-priest's Hall, $ 133 ; and the return of Mary Magdalene to the fepulchre, $ 147. Thus the death of Jofeph is implied, Joho xix. 27. It may be collected from Matth. ii. 22, that Judea was