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AND OF THE QUESTION AS TO THE ABSENCE OF ANY DISCREPANCY BETWEEN MATTHEW AND LUKE IN THE ORDER OF NARRATION.
80. Matthew proceeds thus: “At that time Jesus answered and said, I make my acknowledgment to Thee,337 O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent,” and so on, down to where we read, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”338 This passage is also noticed by Luke, but only in part. For he does not give us the words, “Come unto me, all ye that labour,” and the rest. It is, however, quite legitimate to suppose that all this may have been said on one occasion by the Lord, and yet that Lc has not recorded the whole of what was said on that occasion. For Matthew’s phrase is, that “at that time Jesus answered and said;” by which is meant the time after His upbraiding of the cities. Luke, on the other hand, interposes some matters, although they are not many, after that upbraiding of the cities; and then he subjoins this sentence: “In that hour He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit,339 and said.”340 Thus, too, we see that even if Matthew’s expression had been, not “at that time,” but “in that very hour,” still what Lc inserts in the interval is so little that it would not appear an unreasonable thing to give it as all spoken in the same hour.
AND OF THE QUESTION AS TO HOW MATTHEW,, MARK, AND LUKE ARE IN HARMONY WITH EACH OTHER WITH RESPECT TO THE ORDER OF NARRATION THERE,
81. Matthew continues his history in the fob lowing terms: “At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath-day through the corn; and His disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat;” and so forth, on to the words, “For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath-day.”341 This is also given both by Mc and by Luke, in a way precluding any idea of antagonism.342 At the same time, these latter do not employ the definition “at that time.” That fact, consequently, may perhaps make it the more probable that Matthew has retained the order of actual occurrence here, and that the others have kept by the order of their own recollections; unless, indeed, this phrase “at that time” is to be taken in a broader sense, that is to say, as indicating the period at which these many and various incidents took place.343
AND OF THE QUESTION AS TO HOW MATTHEW'S NARRATIVE OF THIS INCIDENT CAN BE HARMONIZED WITH THOSE OF MARK AND LUKE, EITHER IN THE MATTER OF THE ORDER OF EVENTS, OR IN THE REPORT OF THE WORDS SPOKEN BY THE LORD AND BY THE JEWS.
82. Matthew continues his account thus: “And when He was departed thence, He went into their synagogue: and, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered;” and so on, down to the words, “And it was restored whole, like as the other.”344 The restoring of this man who had the withered hand is also not passed over in silence by Mc and Luke.345 Now, the circumstance that this day is also designated a Sabbath might possibly lead us to suppose that both the plucking of the ears of corn and the healing of this man took place on the same day, were it not that Luke has made it plain that it was on a different Sabbath that the cure of the withered hand was wrought. Accordingly, when Matthew says, “And when He was departed thence, He came into their synagogue,” the words do indeed import that the said coming did not take place until after He had departed from the previously mentioned locality; but, at the same time, they leave the question undecided as to the number of days which may have elapsed between His passing from the aforesaid corn-field and His coming into their synagogue; and they express nothing as to His going there in direct and immediate succession. And thus space is offered us for getting in the narrative of Luke, who tells us that it was on another Sabbath that this man’s hand was restored. But it is possible that a difficulty may be felt in the circumstance that Matthew has told us how the people put this question to the Lord, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath-day?” wishing thereby to find an occasion for accusing Him; and that in reply He set before them the parable of the sheep in these terms: “What man shall there be among you that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath-day, will he not lay hold on it and lift it out? How much, then, is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath-days;”346 whereas Mc and Lc rather represent the people to have had this question put to them by the Lord, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath-day, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill?”347 We solve this difficulty, however, by the supposition that the people in the first instance asked the Lord, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath-day?” that thereupon, knowing the thoughts of the men who were thus seeking an occasion for accusing Him, He set the man whom He had been on the point of healing in their midst, and addressed to them the interrogations which Mc and Lc mention to have been put; that, as they remained silent, He next put before them the parable of the sheep, and drew the conclusion that it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath-day; and that, finally, when He had looked round about on them with anger, as Mc tells us, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch forth thine hand.”
NAMELY, WHETHER, IN PASSING FROM THE ACCOUNT OF THE MAN WHOSE WITHERED HAND WAS RESTORED, THESE THREE EVANGELISTS PROCEED TO THEIR NEXT SUBJECTS IN SUCH A WAY AS TO CREATE NO CONTRADICTIONS IN REGARD TO THE ORDER OF THEIR NARRATIONS.
83. Matthew continues his narrative, connecting it in the following manner with what precedes: “But the Pharisees went out and held a council against Him, how they might destroy Him. But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew Himself from thence: and great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all; and charged them that they should not make Him known: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet Esaias, saying;” and so forth, down to where it is said, “And in His name shall the Gentiles trust.”348 He is the only one that records these facts. The other two have advanced to other themes. Mark, it is true, seems to some extent to have kept by the historical order: for he tells us how Jesus, on discovering the malignant disposition which was entertained toward Him by the Jews, withdrew to the sea along with His disciples, and that then vast multitudes flocked to Him, and He healed great numbers of them.349 But, at the same time, it is not quite clear at what precise point He begins to pass to a new subject, different from what would have followed in strict succession. He leaves it uncertain whether such a transition is made at the point where he tells us how the multitudes gathered about Him (for if that was the case now, it might equally well have been the case at some other time), or at the point where He says that “He goeth up into a mountain.” It is this latter circumstance that Lc also appears to notice when he says, “And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray.”350 For by the expression “in those days,” he makes it plain enough that the incident referred to did not occur in immediate succession upon what precedes.351
84. Matthew then goes on with his recital in the following fashion: “Then was brought unto Him one possessed with a devil, blind and dumb; and He healed him, insomuch that he both spake and saw.”352 Lc introduces this narrative, not in the same order, but after a number of other matters. He also speaks of the man only as dumb, and not as blind in addition.353 But it is not to be inferred, from the mere circumstance of his silence as to some portion or other of the account, that he speaks of an entirely different person. For he has likewise recorded what followed [immediately after that cure], as it stands also in Matthew).
AND OF THE DECLARATIONS DRAWN FORTH FROM HIM BY THAT CIRCUMSTANCE IN REGARD TO THE BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND WITH RESPECT TO THE TWO TREES; AND OF THE QUESTION WHETHER THERE IS NOT SOME DISCREPANCY IN THESE SECTIONS BETWEEN MATTHEW AND THE OTHER TWO EVANGELISTS, AND PARTICULARLY BETWEEN MATTHEW AND LUKE.
85. Matthew proceeds with his narrative in the following term: “And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils but in Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself shall be brought to desolation;” and so on, down to the words, “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”354 Mark does not bring in this allegation against Jesus, that He cast out devils in [the power of] Beelzebub, in immediate sequence on the story of the dumb man; but after certain other matters, recorded by himself alone, he introduces this incident also, either because he recalled it to mind in a different connection, and so appended it there, or because he had at first made certain omissions in his history, and after noticing these, took up this order of narration again.355 On the other hand, Lc gives an account of these things almost in the same language as Matthew has employed.356 And the circumstance that Lc here designates the Spirit of God as the finger of God, does not betray any departure from a genuine identity in sense; but it rather teaches us an additional lesson, giving us to know in what manner we are to interpret the phrase “the finger of God” wherever it occurs in the Scriptures. Moreover, with regard to other matters which are left unmentioned in this section both by Mc and by Luke, no difficulty can be raised by these. Neither can that be the case with some other circumstances which are related by them in somewhat different terms, for the sense still remains the same.
IN THE ACCOUNTS WHICH ARE GIVEN OF THE LORD'S REPLY TO CERTAIN PERSONS WHO SOUGHT A SIGN, WHEN HE SPOKE OF JONAS THE PROPHET, AND OF THE NINEVITES, AND OF THE QUEEN OF THE SOUTH, AND OF THE UNCLEAN SPIRIT WHICH, WHEN IT HAS GONE OUT OF THE MAN, RETURNS AND FINDS THE HOUSE GARNISHED.
86. Matthew goes on and relates what followed thus: “Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign of thee;” and so on, down to where we read, “Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.”357 These words are recorded also by Lc in this connection, although in a somewhat different order.358 For he has mentioned the fact that they sought of the Lord a sign from heaven at an earlier point in his narrative, which makes it follow immediately on his version of the miracle wrought on the dumb man. He has not, however, recorded there the reply which was given to them by the Lord. But further on, after [telling us how] the people were gathered together, he states that this answer was returned to the persons who, as he gives us to understand, were mentioned by him in those earlier verses as seeking of Him a sign from heaven. And that reply he also subjoins, only after introducing the passage regarding the woman who said to the Lord, “Blessed is the womb that bare thee.”359 This notice of the woman, moreover, he inserts after relating the Lord’s discourse concerning the unclean spirit that goes out of the man, and then returns and finds the house garnished. In this way, then, after the notice of the woman, and after his statement of the reply which was made to the multitudes on the subject of the sign which they sought from heaven, he brings in the similitude of the prophet Jonas; and then, directly continuing the Lord’s discourse, he next instances what was said concerning the Queen of the South and the Ninevites. Thus he has rather related something which Matthew has passed over in silence, than omitted any of the facts which that evangelist has narrated in this place. And furthermore, who can fail to perceive that the question as to the precise order in which these words were uttered by the Lord is a superfluous one? For this lesson also we ought to learn, on the unimpeachable authority of the evangelists,—namely, that no offence against truth need be supposed on the part of a writer, although he may not reproduce the discourse of some speaker in the precise order in which the person from whose lips it proceeded might have given it; the fact being, that the mere item of the order, whether it be this or that, does not affect the subject-matter itself. And by his present version Lc indicates that this discourse of the Lord was of greater length than we might otherwise have supposed; and he records certain topics handled in it, which resemble those which are mentioned by Matthew in his recital of the sermon which was delivered on the mount.360 So that we take these words to have been spoken twice over, to wit, on that previous occasion, and again on this one. But on the conclusion of this discourse Lc proceeds to another subject, as to which it is uncertain whether, in the account which he gives of it, he has kept by the order of actual occurrence. For he connects it in this way: “And as He spake, a certain Pharisee besought Him to dine with him.”361 He does not say, however, “as He spake these words,” but only “as He spake.” For if he had said, “as He spake these words,” the expression would of course have compelled us to suppose that the incidents referred to, besides being recorded by him in this order, also took place on the Lord’s part in that same order.
AND MARK AND LUKE ON THE OTHER, IN REGARD TO THE ORDER IN WHICH THE NOTICE IS GIVEN OF THE OCCASION ON WHICH HIS MOTHER AND HIS BRETHREN WERE ANNOUNCED TO HIM.
87. Matthew then proceeds with his narrative in the following terms: “While He yet talked to the people, behold, His mother and His brethren stood without, desiring to speak to Him;” and so on, down to the words, “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”362 Without doubt, we ought to understand this to have occurred in immediate sequence on the preceding incidents. For he has prefaced his transition to this narrative by the words, “While He yet talked to the people;” and what does this term “yet” refer to, but to the very matter of which He was speaking on that occasion? For the expression is not, “When He talked to the people, Behold, His mother and His brethren;” but, “While He was yet speaking,” etc. And that phraseology compels us to suppose that it was at the very time when He was still engaged in speaking of those things which were mentioned immediately above. For Mc has also related what our Lord said after His declaration on the subject of the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. He gives it thus: “And there came His mother and His brethren,”363 omitting certain matters which meet us in the context connected with that discourse of the Lord, and which Matthew has introduced there with greater fulness than Mark, and Luke, again, with greater fulness than Matthew. On the other hand, Lc has not kept the historical order in the report which he offers of this incident, but has given it by anticipation, and has narrated it as he recalled it to memory, at a point antecedent to the date of its literal occurrence. But furthermore, he has brought it in in such a manner that it appears dissociated from any close connection either with what precedes it or with what follows it. For, after reporting certain of the Lord’s parables, he has introduced his notice of what took place with His mother and His brethren in the following manner: “Then came to Him His mother and His brethren, and could not come at Him for the press.”364 Thus he has not explained at what precise time it was that they came to Him. And again, when he passes off from this subject, he proceeds in these terms: “Now it came to pass on one of the days, that He went into a ship with His disciples.”365 And certainly, when he employs this expression, “it came to pass on one of the days,” he indicates clearly enough that we are under no necessity of supposing that the day meant was the very day on which this incident took place, or the one following in immediate succession. Consequently, neither in the matter of the Lord’s words, nor in that of the historical order of the occurrences related, does Matthew’s account of the incident which occurred in connection with the mother and the brethren of the Lord, exhibit any want of harmony with the versions given of the same by the other two evangelists.
WHOSE SEED, AS HE SOWED IT, FELL PARTLY ON THE WAYSIDE, ETC.; AND CONCERNING THE MAN WHO HAD TARES SOWED OVER AND ABOVE HIS WHEAT; AND CONCERNING THE GRAIN OF MUSTARD SEED AND THE LEAVEN; AS ALSO OF WHAT HE SAID IN THE HOUSE REGARDING THE TREASURE HID IN THE FIELD, AND THE PEARL, AND THE NET CAST INTO THE SEA, AND THE MAN THAT BRINGS OUT OF HIS TREASURE THINGS NEW AND OLD; AND OF THE METHOD IN WHICH MATTHEW'S HARMONY WITH MARK AND LUKE IS PROVED BOTH WITH RESPECT TO THE THINGS WHICH THEY HAVE REPORTED IN COMMON WITH HIM, AND IN THE MATTER OF THE ORDER OF NARRATION.
88. Matthew continues thus: “In that day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the seaside: and great multitudes were gathered together unto Him, so that He went into a ship and sat, and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And He spake many things unto them in parables, saying;” and so on, down to the words, “Therefore every scribe which is instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.”366 That the things narrated in this passage took place immediately after the incident touching the mother and the brethren of the Lord, and that Matthew has also retained that historical order in his version. of these events, is indicated by the circumstance that, in passing from the one subject to the other, he has expressed the connection by this mode of speech: “In that day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea-side; and greatmultitudes were gathered together unto Him.” For by adopting this phrase, “in that day” (unless perchance the word “day,” in accordance with a use and wont of the Scriptures, may signify simply “time”), he intimates clearly enough either that the thing now related took place in immediate succession on what precedes, or that much at least could not have intervened. This inference is confirmed by the fact that Mc keeps by the same order.367 Luke, on the other hand, after his account of what happened with the mother and the brethren of the Lord, passes to a different subject. But at the same time, in making that transition, he does not institute any such connection as bears the appearance of a want of consistency with this order.368 Consequently, in all those passages in which Mc and Lc have reported in common with Matthew the words which were spoken by the Lord, there is no questioning their harmony with one another. Moreover, the sections which are given by Matthew only are even much more beyond the range of controversy. And in the matter of the order of narration, although it is presented somewhat differently by the various evangelists, according as they have proceeded severally along the line of historical succession, or along that of the succession of recollection, I see as little reason for alleging any discrepancy of statement or any contradiction between any of the writers.369
AS THEY LOOKED WITH CONTEMPT UPON HIS LINEAGE; OF MATTHEW'S HARMONY WITH MARK AND LUKE IN THIS SECTION; AND IN PARTICULAR, OF THE QUESTION WHETHER THE ORDER OF NARRATION WHICH IS PRESENTED BY THE FIRST OF THESE EVANGELISTS DOES NOT EXHIBIT SOME WANT OF CONSISTENCY WITH THAT OF THE OTHER TWO.
89. Matthew thence proceeds as follows: “And it came to pass that, when Jesus had finished these parables, He departed thence: and when He was come into His own country, He taught them in their synagogues;”370 and so on, down to the words, “And He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”371 Thus he passes from the above discourse containing the parables, on to this passage, in such a way as not to make it absolutely necessary for us to take the one to have followed in immediate historical succession upon the other. All the more may we suppose this to be the case, when we see how Mc passes on from these parables to a subject which is not identical with Matthew’s directly succeeding theme, but quite different from that, and agreeing rather with what Lc introduces; and how he has constructed his narrative in such a manner as to make the balance of credibility rest on the side of the supposition, that what followed in immediate historical sequence was rather the occurrences which these two latter evangelists both insert in near connection [with the parables],—namely, the incidents of the ship in which Jesus was asleep, and the miracle performed in the expulsion of the devils in the country of the Gerasenes,372 —two events which Matthew has already recalled and introduced at an earlier stage of his record.373 At present, therefore, we have to consider whether [Matthew’s report of] what the Lord spoke, and what was said to Him in His own country, is in concord with the accounts given by the other two, namely, Mc and Luke. For, in widely different and dissimilar sections of his history, Jn mentions words, either spoken to the Lord or spoken by Him,374 which resemble those recorded in this passage by the other three evangelists.
90. Now Mark, indeed, gives this passage in terms almost precisely identical with those which meet us in Matthew; with the one exception, that what he says the Lord was called by His fellow-townsmen is, “the carpenter, and the son of Mary,”375 and not, as Matthew tells us, the “carpenter’s son.” Neither is there anything to marvel at in this, since He might quite fairly have have been designated by both these names. For in taking Him to be the son of a carpenter, they naturally also took Him to be a carpenter. Luke, on the other hand, sets forth the same incident on a wider scale, and records a variety of other matters which took place in that connection. And this account he brings in at a point not long subsequent to His baptism and temptation, thus unquestionably introducing by anticipation what really happened only after the occurrence of a number of intervening circumstances. In this, therefore, every one may see an illustration of a principle of prime consequence in relation to this most weighty question concerning the harmony of the evangelists, which we have undertaken to solve by the help of God, —the principle, namely, that it is not by mere ignorance that these writers have been led to make certain omissions, and that it is as little through simple ignorance of the actual historical order of events that they have [at times] preferred to keep by the order in which these events were recalled to their own memory. The correctness of this principle may be gathered most clearly from the fact that, at a point antecedent to any account given by him of anything done by the Lord at Capharnaum, Lc has anticipated the literal date, and has inserted this passage which we have at present under consideration, and in which we are told how His fellow-citizens at once were astonished at the might of the authority which was in Him, and expressed their contempt for the meanness of His family. For he tells us that He addressed them in these terms: “Ye will surely say unto me, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capharnaum, do also here in thy country;”376 while, so far as the narrative of this same Lc is concerned, we have not yet read of Him as having done anything at Capharnaum. Furthermore, as it will not take up much time, and as, besides, it is both a very simple and a highly needful matter to do so, we insert here the whole context, showing the subject from which and the method in which the writer has come to give the contents of this section. After his statement regarding the Lord’s baptism and temptation, he proceeds in these terms: “And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from Him for a season. And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of Him through all the region round about. And He taught in their synagogues, and was magnified of all. And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as his custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath-day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Esaias: and when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me. He hath sent me to preach the gospel to the poor, to proclaim deliverance to the captives, and sight to the blind; to set at liberty them that are bruised, to proclaim the accepted year of the Lord, and the day of retribution. And when He had closed the book, He gave it again to the minister, and sat down: and the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on Him. And He began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bare Him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son? And He said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capharnaum, do also here in thy country.”377 And so he continues with the rest, until this entire section in his narrative is gone over. What, therefore, can be more manifest, than that he has knowingly introduced this notice at a point antecedent to its historical date, seeing it admits of no question that he knowsand refers to certain mighty deeds done by Him before this period in Capharnaum, which, at the same time, he is aware he has not as yet narrated in detail? For certainly he has not made such an advance with his history from his notice of the Lord’s baptism, as that he should be supposed to have forgotten the fact that up to thispoint he has not mentioned any of the things which took place in Capharnaum; the truth being, that he has just begun here, after the baptism, to give us his narrative concerning the Lord personally.378
OF WHAT WAS SAID BY HEROD ON HEARING ABOUT THE WONDERFUL WORKS OF THE LORD, AND OF THEIR CONCORD IN REGARD TO THE ORDER OF NARRATION.
91. Matthew continues: “At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, and said unto his servants, This is Jn the Baptist: he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do show forth themselves in him.”379 Mc gives the same passage, and in the same manner, but not in the same order.380 For, after relating how the Lord sent forth the disciples with the charge to take nothing with them on the journey save a staff only, and after bringing to its close so much of the discourse which was then delivered as has been recorded by him, he has subjoined this section. He does not, however, connect it in such a way as to compel us to suppose that what it narrates took place actually in immediate sequence on what precedes it in the history. And in this, indeed, Matthew is at one with him. For Matthew’s expression is, “at that time,” not “on that day,” or “at that hour.” Only there is this difference between them, that Mc refers not to Herod himself as the utterer of the words in question, but to the people, his statement being this: “They said381 that Jn the Baptist was risen from the dead;” whereas Matthew makes Herod himself the speaker, the phrase being: “He said unto his servants.” Luke, again, keeping the same order of narration as Mark, and introducing it also indeed, like Mark, in no such way as to compel us to suppose that his order must have been the order of actual occurrence, presents his version of the same passage in the following terms: “Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by Him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that Jn was risen from the dead; and of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again. And Herod said, Jn have I beheaded: but who is this of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see Him.”382 In these words Luke also attests Mark’s statement, at least, so far as concerns the affirmation that it was not Herod himself, but other parties, who said that Jn was risen from the dead. But as regards his mentioning how Herod was perplexed, and his bringing in thereafter those words of the same prince: “Jn have I beheaded: but who is this of whom I hear such things?” we must either understand that after the said perplexity he became persuaded in his own mind of the truth of what was asserted by others, when he spoke to his servants, in accordance with the version given by Matthew, which runs thus: “And he said to his servants, This is Jn the Baptist: he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do show forth themselves in him;” or we must suppose that these words were uttered in a manner betraying that he was still in a state of perplexity. For had he said, “Can this be Jn the Baptist?” or, “Can it chance that this is Jn the Baptist?” there would have been no need of saying anything about a mode of utterance by which he might have revealed his dubiety and perplexity. But seeing that these forms of expression are not before us, his words may be taken to have been pronounced in either of two ways: so that we may either suppose him to have been convinced by what was said by others, and so to have spoken the words in question with a real belief [in John’s reappearance]; or we may imagine him to have been still in that state of hesitancy of which mention is made by Luke. Our explanation is favoured by the fact that Mark, who had already told us how it was by others that the statement was made as to John having risen from the dead, does not fail to let us know also that in the end Herod himself spoke to this effect: “It is Jn whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.”383 For these words may also be taken to have beenpronounced in either of two ways,—namely, asthe utterances either of one corroborating a fact, or of one in doubt. Moreover, while Lc passes on to a new subject after the notice which he gives of this incident, those other two, Matthew and Mark, take occasion to tell us at this point in what way Jn was put to death by Herod.
92. Matthew then proceeds with his narrative in the following terms: “For Herod laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother’s wife;” and so on, down to the words, “And his disciples came and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.”384 Mc gives this narrative in similar terms.385 Luke, on the other hand, does not relate it in the same succession, but introduces it in connection with his statement of the baptism wherewith the Lord was baptized. Hence we are to understand him to have acted by anticipation here, and to have taken the opportunity of recording at this point an event which took place actually a considerable period later. For he has first reported those words which Jn spake with regard to the Lord—namely, that “His fan is in His hand, and that He will thoroughly purge His floor, and will gather the wheat into His garner; but the chaff He will burn up with fire unquenchable;” and immediately thereafter he has appended his statement of an incident which the evangelist Jn demonstrates not to have taken place in direct historical sequence. For this latter writer mentions that, after Jesus had been baptized, He went into Galilee at the period when He turned the water into wine; and that, after a sojourn of a few days in Capharnaum, He left that district and returned to the land of Judaea, and there baptized a multitude about the Jordan, previous to the time when Jn was imprisoned.386 Now what reader, unless he were all the better versed387 in these writings, would not take it to be implied here that it was after the utterance of the words with regard to the fan and the purged floor that Herod became incensed against John, and cast him into prison? Yet, that the incident referred to here did not, as matter of fact, occur in the order in which it is here recorded, we have already shown elsewhere; and, indeed, Luke himself puts the proof into our hands.388 For if [he had meant that] John’s incarceration took place immediately after the utterance of those words, then what are we to make of the fact that in Luke’s own narrative the baptism of Jesus is introduced subsequently to his notice of the imprisonment of John? Consequently it is manifest that, recalling the circumstance in connection with the present occasion, he has brought it in here by anticipation, and has thus inserted it in his history at a point antecedent to a number of incidents, of which it was his purpose to leave us some record, and which, in point of time, were antecedent to this mishap that befell John. But it is as little the case that the other two evangelists, Matthew and Mark, have placed the fact of John’s imprisonment in that position in their narratives which, as is apparent also froth their own writings, belonged to it in the actual order of events. For they, too, have told us how it was on John’s being cast into prison that the Lord went into Galilee;389 and then, after [relating] a number of things which He did in Galilee, they come to Herod’s admonition or doubt as to the rising again from the dead of that Jn whom he beheaded;390 and in connection with this latter occasion, they give us the story of all that occurred in the matter of John’s incarceration and death.
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