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LUKE, to whom this Gospel, the third in order, has been, from the earliest ecclesiastical antiquity, uniformly attributed, was, for a long time, a constant companion of the Apostle Paul, and assistant in preaching the Gospel, as Mark is said to have been of the Apostle Peter. Of Luke, we find honourable mention made once and again in Paul's Epistles ?. . But the most of what we can know of his history, must be collected from the Acts of the Apostles, a book also written by him in continuation of the history contained in the Gospel. Though the Author, like the other Evangelists, has not named himself as the author, he has signified plainly in the introduction of his work, that he is not an apostle, nor was himself a witness of what he attests, but that he had
his intelligence from apostles and others who attend. ed our Lord's ministry upon the earth.
2. It has been made a question whether he was originally a Jew or a Pagan. The latter opinion has been inferred from an expression of the Apostle Paul to the Colossians?, where, after naming some with this addition, who are of the circumcision, he mentions others, and among them Luke, without any addition. These are, therefore, supposed to have been Gentiles. But this, though a plausible inference, is not a necessary consequence from the Apostle's words. He might have added the clause, who are of the circumcision, not to distinguish the persons from those after mentioned as not of the circumcision, but to give the Colossians particular information concerning those with whom perhaps they had not previously been acquainted. If they knew what Luke, and Epaphras, and Demas, whether
Jews or Gentiles, originally were, the information , was quite unnecessary with regard to them. It will perhaps add a little to the weight of this consideration to observe that, in those days, in introducing to any church such Christian brethren as were unknown to them before, it was a point of some im. portance to inform them, whether they were of the circumcision, or not; inasmuch as there were certain ceremonies and observances wherein the Jewish converts were indulged, which, if found in one con
2 Chap. iv. 10~14.
verted from Gentilism, might render it suspected, that his conversion was rather to Judaism than to Christianity.
$ 3. SOME ancients, on the contrary, have ima gined that he was not only a Jew, but one of the Seventy, commissioned by our Lord to preach the Gospel . This, I think, may be confuted from what is advanced by Luke himself, who does not pretend to have been a witness of our Lord's iniracles and teaching; but to have received his information from wit. nesses. This would not have been done by one who had attended our Lord's ministry, and was, though not an apostle, of the number of his disciples. I am not ignorant that Whitby 4, after others, has attempt. ed so to explain the words, as to make what is said concerning the information received from witnesses, to relate only to those who had published their narratives before that time, and that the phrase wapnxo284 nxori avw.)EV aaoiv axpibus, is intended for marking the distinction between their source of intelligence and his. In my opinion, he has totally mistaken the import of this clause, as I shall show in explaining the place 5. But that our Evangelist was, with all the other writers of the New Testament, a convert to Christianity from Judaism, not from Gentilism, is, upon the whole, sufficiently evident from his style, in which, notwithstanding its
Luke, x. 1.
* Preface to the Gospel of St. Luke.
greater copiousness and variety, there are as many Hebraisms as are found in the other Evangelists, and such as, I imagine, could not be exemplified in any writer, originally Gentile, unless his conversion to Judaism had been very early in life.
ġ 4. FURTHER, Luke seems to have had more learning than any of the other Evangelists. And if he be the person mentioned in the above cited passage of the Epistle to the Colossians', of which I see no reason to doubt; he was by profession a physician. Grotius has hence inferred several particulars which, as they are not supported by any positive proofs, can be ranked only among conjectures. The reason which Luke himself assigned for his writing was, it would appear, to prevent people's giving, without examination or inquiry, too easy credit to the narratives of the life of Jesus, which, at that time, seem to have abounded. I acknowledge that the word Entexelpnoav, have undertaken, used here by Luke, does not necessarily imply any blame laid on the execution ; but the scope of the place seems to imply it, if not on all, at least on some of these undertakings : for if all, or even most, were well executed, the number was an argument rather against a new attempt, than for it. The very circumstance of the number of such narratives, at so early a period, is itself an evidence that there was something in the first publication of the Chris
6 Chap. iv. 11.