Images de page



A FEW particulars respecting Mark have been gleaned from the New Testament and early ecclesiastical history, but not enough to form a very distinct portrait of his life and character.

This evangelist was also called John, his surname being Mark, by which, as living at Rome, he would best be known, for Marcus is Latin. Acts xii. 12. His mother, whose name, like that of the mother of Jesus, was Mary, resided at Jerusalem. She was sister to Barnabas, and the apostles and disciples often resorted to her house. Maternal piety was blessed with a son, who was to be one of the four immortal historians of Jesus Christ. Col. iv. 10.

Some of the Fathers affirmed that Mark belonged to the Seventy, sent out by our Lord, during his ministry; but the account is doubtful. For he is supposed to have been converted to Christianity by Peter. 1 Pet. v. 13. He was the companion of Paul and his uncle Barnabas, in their travels, Acts xii. 25, but left them in Asia Minor, and returned, much to the displeasure of Paul, Acts xiii. 13, xv. 37-39, who was, however, afterwards reconciled to him, as would appear from 2 Tim. iv. 11. Mark sailed to Cyprus with Barnabas, Acts xv. 39, and still later went to Rome, Col. iv. 10, Phil. 24, where, according to the unanimous voice of Christian antiquity, he composed his Gospel under the sanction and aid of Peter. Thence, we are told, on slighter authority, he sailed to Egypt, became bishop of the church of Alexandria, and was martyred, vindicating, by his death, the great cause to which he had long given his life.

His Gospel is conjectured to have been written after that of Matthew, and probably about A. D. 64 or 65. It was designed for the Christians of Rome and Italy. Hence it contains some Latin terms in the original; also, explanations of Jewish manners and customs; but has few references to the Jewish Scriptures, and omits the genealogy of Christ. Mark is understood to have drawn his information chiefly from Peter; and it has been observed that none of the Gospels is more full upon the faults of that apostle, and none more chary of his praise. His name is more often mentioned in this Gospel than in the others, in the same narrations.

Mark has given a briefer and more imperfect history of Jesus than his co-workers, but his account abounds with kindred impressions of truth and reality, contains all the essential facts of our Lord's mission and ministry, and from its brevity was none the less adapted to be circulated in a foreign land, and to gain the favorable attention of the busy crowds of the mistress of the world. In style, it is plain and unadorned, but more diffuse than

Matthew. Carpenter remarks that it is "peculiarly idiomatic, and sometimes abrupt in its construction. His Gospel displays much less of literary culture than that of Luke, and much less of general talent for composition than that of Matthew. The inartificial character of this Gospel, and the resources which the evangelist had for composing it, render it very valuable as an additional record, and especially in relating those details which strengthen the feeling of reality." Mark's order of events corresponds nearly to that of Matthew, and there are but few passages to which parallels may not be found in the other Gospels.

Written, as has always been supposed, and as the early Fathers unanimously testified, under the coöperation of Peter, this Gospel has ever been received as of the highest authority. Thus, from four different regions, and most celebrated countries of the ancient world, we have received the four histories of Jesus Christ,— Matthew writing from Judea, Mark from Rome, Luke from Greece, and John from Asia Minor, - as if every quarter of the known world was to bear its part in rehearsing the life of Him whose kingdom was to surmount all territorial limits, and fill the whole earth, as "the waters cover the sea."

The last few verses of this Gospel, chap. xvi. 9-20, have been regarded as spurious by some distinguished critics, but they are found in almost all of the ancient authorities.




The Introduction of the Ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus.

THE beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; 2 as it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee; 3 the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way 4 of the Lord, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance, for the remis5 sion of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river 6 of Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and 7 he did eat locusts and wild honey; and preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose 8 shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

1. This verse constitutes an inscription or title to the book, such as authors are accustomed to prefix to their works. Hos. i. 2. Gospel signifies good news. It was joyful tidings to the Jews that their Messiah had come, and to the Gentiles that a Saviour had been sent from the God of love. - Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The evangelist puts forward, at the introduction of his history, the highest claim upon the attention of the reader, by asserting that the being whose life he records was the Son of God. On the definitions of Jesus and Christ, see Mat. i. 1.

2-6. See notes on Mat. iii. 1-5. - In the prophets. Griesbach, with many other critics, substitutes, on the authority of the most ancient manuscripts and versions, the reading Esaias the prophet. The received text is, however, more conformable

[ocr errors]

to the connexion; for the quotations are from the prophets Mal. iii. 1, and Is. xl. 3. Behold, I send. Note on Mat. xi. 10. The baptism of repentance, for the remission of sins. He preached reformation, a token of which was baptism, and a consequence of which was forgiveness, or remission of sins. Both the Jewish and Christian dispensations, and John the Baptist, the connecting link between them, assure us of the divine pardon, when we have repented of and forsaken our sins. What a motive to penitence and reformation!

- In the river of Jordan. Mark, writing for those who were not acquainted with the geography of Judea, specifies that Jordan was a river.

7, 8. Compare Mat. iii. 11.- The latchet of whose shoes. Carpenter renders, the thong of whose sandals; for they are commonly worn in the

And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from 9 Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the 10 heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him. And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art 11 my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. 12 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of 13 Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.

Now, after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, 14 preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The 15 time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. Now as he walked by the Sea of Gal- 16 ilee, he saw Simon, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come 17 ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. when he had gone a little farther thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. And straightway he called them: and they 20

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

And 18
And 19

and destiny. - Was with the wild beasts. An intimation, that he was far in the uncultivated and wild region.

14-20. See Mat. iv. 12-22, and the notes.- John was put in prison. Notes on Mat. xiv. 3 – 12. — Preaching. Proclaiming. Haynes pertinently asks, "Did any of the great philosophers attempt the like glorious embassy to mankind?"- The time is fulfilled, i. e. for the coming of the Messiah.. Believe the gospel. Trust in, welcome these glad tidings. Forsook their nets, and followed him. "And now what a change, like the change of a dream, or of enchantment, has passed over their lives, dividing what was from what was to be! It was long before they themselves were aware how entire and how stupendous it was. In a few



left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.

And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the 22 Sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one 23 that had authority, and not as the scribes. And there was in

their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 24 saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who 25 thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, say26 ing, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came 27 out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even 28 the unclean spirits, and they do obey him. And immediately

[blocks in formation]

22. Taught them as one that had authority. See note on Mat. vii. 29. 23, 24. A man with an unclean spirit. See note on Mat. iv. 24. The Jews attributed sickness and insanity to possession by evil spirits. This appears to have been a case of epilepsy, if we may judge from the convulsions into which he was thrown, ver. 26; Luke iv. 34.-Let us alone. By some construed as an interjection, ah! -Art thou come to destroy us? See on Mat. viii. 29.- The Holy

One of God, i. e. the Prophet or Messiah.

26. Torn him. As the disease left him, he was thrown into violent spasms, such as accompany that disorder.

27. What thing is this? We may see here the use of miracles in one respect. They arrested attention, they stimulated curiosity, they made the senses instruments of good to the soul. The people beheld in one, who could cure the most inveterate disorders, a being whose words were to be listened to with the most profound interest. The proofs of Jesus' miraculous power were indubitable. He did not choose objects upon which to exert it, but cured whoever was brought. He restored all without exception, and was never defeated. His cures were at the same time sudden and perfect, and extended to every kind of disorder. formed his wonders in broad day, in the presence of multitudes, under every variety of place and circumstance. Well might the spectators be amazed! The impulses communi

He per

« PrécédentContinuer »