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It is sufficiently obvious, from the foregoing description of the assault on Tarragona, that both Napier and Alison have taken

their accounts from Suchet, and that the original was by an author personally cognisant of the events which he has recorded, from his autoptical details-giving the names of unimportant individuals, &c. It would be easy, were there any doubts on the subject, to extract evidence from Suchet's Memoirs, not only to prove that it was the work of an eyewitness, but that it was written by the commander of the French forces, although it is never so stated by the author.

The supposition that the historical writers, Matthew and Luke, made use of the works of their predecessors, has been objected to as inconsistent with their independence as historians, and as weakening the authority of the Gospels, by reducing them to two,

or even to one.

Before considering the objection, let us see, in the first place, to what extent it interferes with the originality of the sacred historians. I maintain that the Gospels of Mark and John are, in respect to matter, entirely original; in the next place, that Matthew appears, from comparing the parallel passages, to have taken about 500 verses from the original of Mark's Gospel; but Matthew's Gospel consists of 1071 verses-hence the largest half of this Gospel is original. Luke appears to have taken 308 verses from Mark's (or rather Peter's) memoir, and 120 from Matthew-in all, 428; but there are 1150 verses in Luke's Gospel-hence the largest portion of Luke's Gospel is also original. So that, of the four Gospels, two are entirely original; and of the two remaining, the largest portion of each is composed of original matter. Now, as I trace all that portion of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, which is not original, to the writings of apostles, it is not easy to see in what manner their authority can be weakened by the process. We cannot say that the authority of Alison is weakened because, in narrating the Peninsular campaigns, he has made use of Napier's History, or Suchet's Memoirs. Let us now inquire in what respect St Luke injures the value of Matthew's testimony, by the use he has made of his history.

In the first place, who was St Luke?—that is, who was the

author of the third Gospel? We are apt, from the circumstance of his writings forming a part of the same volume, to look upon them in no other light than as part of the same work; but we have proof of the genuineness and authenticity of St Luke as an author, totally distinct, and independent not only of that by which we can authenticate the writings of Matthew or Mark, but even independent of the external evidence furnished by ancient authorities. He is the author of another work describing a series of events, some of which could only have been written by a person who was actually engaged in them. Now, this narrative terminates abruptly, exactly in the manner in which narratives written up to the time of writing terminate. We know, therefore, that the "Acts of the Apostles" was written early in the third year of the procuratorship of Festus, A.D. 63; but in the preface to the Acts he alludes to a former work, corresponding in every particular to the Gospel of St Luke, and evidently written. by the same author.

*

The evidence of the historical truth of St Matthew's Gospel, therefore, so far from being lessened by the use St Luke has made of it, receives from it its strongest confirmation; for here we have a contemporary author who had the best means of procuring information from personal intercourse with the apostles, (Acts, xxi. 17, 18,) and who, as he himself tells us, received from them written accounts of our Lord's transactions, (Luke, i. 2.) Now, if St Luke, writing less than thirty years after these transactions, and whilst in communication with the principal actors, made use of the Gospel of St Matthew, it is, in fact, the best evidence which we possess of the genuineness and authenticity of that Gospel. It is an evidence which Paley says is, of all others,

"The most unquestionable, the least liable to any practices of fraud, and is not diminished by the lapse of ages. Bishop Burnet, in the History of his Own Times, inserts various extracts from Lord Clarendon's History. One such insertion is a proof that Lord Clarendon's was extant at the time when Bishop

Wieseler, Chronologie der Apostolischen Zeitalters, p. 66. Art de vérifier des Dates,

i. 128.

Burnet wrote, that it had been read by Bishop Burnet as the work of Lord Clarendon, and was regarded by him as an authentic account of the transactions which it relates; and it will be a proof of these points a thousand years hence, or as long as the books exist."

We have the very same evidence of the priority of St Matthew's Gospel, in Greek, to St Luke's, that we have of Clarendon's to Burnet, or Napier's to Alison. But it can be shown that Luke must have written his Gospel in Judea, before he "sailed into Italy" with St Paul, in the first year of the governorship of Festus. It follows, therefore, that St Matthew's must have been written at a still earlier period.

Independent altogether of the mass of original and important matter contained in the writings of St Luke, and which forms, as already shown, the largest portion of his Gospel, his writings would be invaluable as evidence of the genuineness and authenticity of the two preceding Gospels; for it will be seen that his testimony as to St Mark's Gospel, although different in its nature, is not less conclusive than that which he bears to St Matthew. It does not indeed show, as in the case of St Matthew, that Mark's Gospel existed in Greek, as we now have it, when St Luke wrote his Gospel-but it shows that the original, of which the second Gospel must be a translation, existed not only then, but that it must have been written at a still earlier date; in fact, that part of it must have been written in Galilee, whilst our Lord and his disciples still inhabited it.

But however valuable the testimony of one evangelist may be to the authenticity of the others, we must not, in our researches after truth, allow our fears or wishes to interfere with our conclusions; we must not avail ourselves of their evidence, if it can be shown that they were ignorant of the writings of their predecessors, or even if strong probable reasons can be adduced for supposing that they were.

Dr Lardner, in his History of the Apostles and Evangelists, contends that the authors of the Gospels made no use of the works of their predecessors; and as Mr Horne, in his Introduction to the

Scriptures, adopts his arguments, and gives them in a more condensed form, I shall briefly notice them, as stated in that work. He says

"I. It does not appear that any of the learned ancient Christian writers had a suspicion that either of the first three evangelists had seen the other Gospels before he wrote his own."-(2d edit. iv. 311.)

Answer. Augustine, the earliest writer on the subject of the agreement of the Gospels, says expressly, "that they did not write as if they were ignorant of the works of those who preceded them ;"* and, in particular, that Mark followed Matthew.†

"II. It is not suitable to the character of any of the evangelists that they should abridge or transcribe another historian."

A matter of opinion in which I cannot coincide, and which is at variance with Luke's declaration, that he wrote from the information of others.

"III. It is evident, from the nature and design of the first three Gospels, that the evangelists had not seen any authentic written history of Jesus Christ."

I shall state the argument in Mr Horne's own words. He admits that John was acquainted with the other Gospels, but says with regard to Mark and Luke,

"There is no certain evidence either that St Mark knew that St Matthew had written, or that St Luke knew that the two evangelists had written Gospels before him. If St Mark had seen the work of Matthew, it is likely he would have remained satisfied with it as being the work of an apostle of Christ—that is, an eyewitness, which he was not. Nor would St Luke, who, from the beginning of his Gospel, appears to have been acquainted with several memoirs of the sayings and actions of Christ, have omitted to say that one or more of them was written by an apostle, as Matthew was."-(2d edit. iv. 312.)

"Et quamvis singuli suum quendam narrandi ordinem tenuisse videantur, non tamen unusquisque eorum velut alterius precedentis ignarus voluisse scribere reperitur, vel ignorata prætermisisse quæ scripsisse alius invenitur."-De Cons. Evangelist. i. c. 1.

+ “Marcus eum (Matthæum) subsecutus.”—Ib.

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