Page images
PDF
EPUB

former language had not been then better understood in the Christiap congregation than the latter. Now, if there was no impropriety in Paul's writing them a very long Epistle in Greek, neither was there any in Mark's giving them his Gospel in that language. The only thing I know which looks like an ancient testimony in favor of the opinion of Baronius, is the inscription subjoined to this Gospel in Syriac, and in some other oriental versions. But it ought to be remembered, that these postscripts are not the testimonies of the translators: they proceed merely from the conjecture of some transcriber ; but when written, or by whom, is equally unknown. But enough, perhaps too much, for setting aside a mere hypothesis, not only unsupported by positive evidence, but in direct contradiction to it.

5. From this Gospel, as well as from the former, we should readily conclude that the author was by birth and education a Jew. The Hebraisms in the style (or examples of what has been called the idiom of the synagogue) are very evident throughout the whole. At the same time, as some critics have observed, there are several expressions here used, which clearly indicate that the writer had been accustomed for some time to live among the Latins. Not only does he use the Latin words which are to be found in other Gospels, and seem to have been then current in Judea, as heycov, a legion, unvoos, tribute, nooitoolov, prætorium, and envágcov, a denarius ; but he employs some which are peculiar to himself, as KEVTVpio, centurion, onexovlátod, sentinel, and Etorns, from sextarius, a pot ; for such transpositions of letters are not uncommon in order to avoid a collision which the language does not admit. These have been pleaded as evidences that the origina} was Latin ; but, in fact, they are much stronger marks of a Greek writer who had lived some years among the Latins, and had been accustomed to use, and hear used by others, such names of offices as were familiarly known in the place. Nothing is more common with travellers, than to interlard their conversation with such foreign words as those now described. This is not always, as people are apt to suspect, the effect of affectation ; for it is manifest from experience, that such words, in consequence of the recent habit, do most readily suggest themselves to the memory of the speaker or writer, even though using a different tongue. There are some other internal evidences, which have not escaped the notice of the inquisitive, that this Gospel was written in a country of strangers, or at least beyond the confines of Judea, where the names of places, and the peculiar phrases relating to religious ceremonies, could not be so familiar to the people, not even to the Jews, as they would be in any part of Palestine. The first time the Jordan is mentioned, ch. 1: 5, motauós is added to the name for explanation: for though no person in Judea needed to be informed that Jordan is a river, the case was dif

ferent in distant countries. The word yéerva, which, on account of its figurative application in the New Testament, is in English always rendered hell, is strictly and originally the name of a place near Jerusalem, the valley of Hinnom, where infants had been sacrificed by fire to Moloch; a place well known to the inhabitants of the country, though perfectly unknown to those of Italy or Egypt. This evangelist, therefore, when he mentions it, ch. 9: 43, 45, very properly adds for explanation zo rūp to čoßrorov, the unguenchable fire: Words and phrases not used out of Palestine and the neighboring regions, are either not named by him at all, or attended, as the above example, with some circumstances which may serve to explain them. Thus he avoids altogether the word Mammon used by Matthew and Luke, which, though familiar in Judea, and perhaps through all Syria, might not have been understood even by the Hellenist Jews at Rome. He therefore makes the common term Xoriuata, riches, which could not be misaken any-where, supply its place; and though he finds it convenient on one occasion (ch. 7:11,) to employ the oriental word corban, he immediately subjoins the interpretation o čomu dūpov, that is, a gift. In another place, (ch. 7: 2,) he adopts the terms xoivais depoi, which, though not oriental words, make a sort of oriental phraseology that would be unintelligible to the far greater part of Greek readers. For this reason he immediately explains himself by adding του έστιν, ανίTrois, that is, unwashen. Add to this, that the rite there alluded to is, in the following verses, explained in a manner which, to one in Matthew's circumstances, who wrote for the immediate use of the natives of Judea familiarized to such observances, must have appeared entirely superfluous. The woman from the confines of Tyre and Sidon, who applied to our Lord in behalf of her daughter, is by Matthew, who wrote in Hebrew for the use of the Hebrews, very properly, in the style of their ancient scripture. called Canaanitish, and is not less suitably by Mark, who wrote in Greek for the benefit of all who spoke that language, denominated Syrophenician. When the two Gospels, Matthew's and Mark's, are on these points compared together, though the particulars in the comparison, taken severally, appear inconsiderable, they bear such strong internal characters, as serve greatly to corroborate the historical proof we have relating to their respective authors and languages, the circumstances of time and place of publication, as well as to the people for whose use they were respectively written. Such little points, which have nothing of the osientation of evidence, will be admitted by the judicious to have the more weight on that very account. And let it be observed, that though the church of Rome, in that early period, and the same may be affirmed of the church of Alexandria, consisted mostly of Hellenist Jews, it was not confined to these. The sacred writers, therefore, who wrote in Greek, chose, very properly, so far to adapt their expressions as to be at least intelligible to other readers of that language.

6. There are some peculiarities of style which have been observed in this writer, such as the more frequent use of the adverbs augus and Evows than is found in any other writer of the New Testament, his beginning sentences oftener with xai and xai @heyev avtois, idioms not unfrequent with the rest. Augustin considers this evangelist as the abridger of Matthew. “ Marcus Matthæum subsecutus tanquam pedissequus et breviator ejus videtur.". It is indeed true, Mark sometimes copies the very expressions used by Matthew. That he is not, however, to be considered as an abridger, may be evinced by the following reasons : First, he omits altogether several things related by Matthew-our Lord's pedigree, his birth, the visit of the Magians, Joseph's flight into Egypt, the cruelty of Herod. As his intention appears to have been to give in brief the history of our Lord's ministry, he begins very properly with the preaching of the Baptist. Again, there are some other things in Matthew, whereof, though they fall within the time to which Mark had confined himself, he has taken no notice ; and some things are mentioned by Mark which had been overlooked by Matthew. Further, he has not always followed the same arrangement with his predecessor : and his relation of some facts, so far from being an abridgment of Matthew's, is the more circumstantial of the two. His style in general, instead of being more concise, is more diffuse. That he had read Matthew's Gospel cannot be doubted. For their exact conformity in expression in several places, Grotius has an ingenious manner of accounting. He supposes that Mark had carefully read Matthew's Gospel in the original Hebrew, before it was translated into Greek; and that he had the particulars fresh in his memory when he was occupied in writing his Gospel. Again, he supposes, that the translator of Matthew into Greek has thought it safest to adopt the expressions of Mark, wherever they would suit the Hebrew from which he was translating. But this, it must be confessed, though not implausible, is mere conjecture. It is generally our Lord's discourses which are abridged by Mark: As to his miracles, he has rather more fully related them. The additional circumstances and incidents recorded in this Gospel, appear to rest upon the authority of the apostles, .but principally on that of Peter.

THE

GOSPEL BY MARK.

SECTION 1.--THE ENTRANCE ON THE MINISTRY.

Jo. 1: 6. Mal. 3: 1. Isa. 40, 3.

Lu. 3: 21.

I. THE beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ Son of God. Matt. 3: 1. 2 As it is written in the Prophets : `Behold I send mine angel Lo. 3:1. 3 before thee, who shall prepare thy way :' The voice of one

proclaiming in the wilderness, Prepare a way for the Lord, *

4 make for him a straight passage :' thus came John baptizing Jo. 1; 23.

in the wilderness, and publishing the baptism of reformation 5 for the remission of sins. And all the country of Judea, and

the inhabitants of Jerusalem resorted to him, and were baptized 6 by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John's

clothing was of camel's hair, tied round his waist with a lea7 thern girdle : and he lived upon locusts and wild honey. And

he proclaimed, saying : One mightier than I cometh after me, 8 whose shoe-latchet I am unworthy to stoop down to untie. I

indeed bave baptized you in water; but he will baptize you in

the Holy Spirit. Matt. 3:13. 9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was Jo. 1: 31. 10 baptized by John in Jordan. As soon as he arose out of the

water, he saw the sky part asunder, and the Spirit descend up11 on him like a dove. And a voice was heard from heaven,

which said : Thou art my beloved Son in whom I delight. Matt. 4: 1. 12 Immediately after this the Spirit conveyed him into the

13 wilderness : and he continued there in the wilderness forty days

tempted by Satan it and was ainong the wild beasts ; and the

angels ministered to him. . Matt. 4: 12 14 But after John's imprisonment, Jesus went into Galilee, proJou :43. 15 claiming the good tidings of the reign of God. The time, said

he, is accomplished, the reign of God approacheth ; reform,

and believe the good tidings. Matt. 4: 18. 16 Then walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon, and An

drew, Simon's brother, casting a drag into the sea, for they 17 were fishers. Jesus said to them, Come with me, and I will 18 make you become fishers of men. Immediately they left their 19 nets and followed him. Passing on a little, and seeing James,

Lu. 4; 1.

Lu. 5: 1.
Jo. 1: 35.

19 nets and to become fishers on them, Come

* Jehovah.

† Adversary.

[ocr errors]

Lu. 4: 31.
Matt. 7: 28.

Lu, 4; 33.

son of Zebedee, with John his brother, who were mending their 20 nets in a bark; he immediately called them : whereupon leav

ing their father Zebedee in the bark with the hired servants,

they accompanied him. 21 And they went to Capernaum ; and on the Sabbath he re

paired directly to the synagogue, and instructed the people, who 22 were astonished at his manner of teaching; for he taught as

one having authority, and not as the Scribes. 23 Now there was in their synagogue a man possessed with an 24 unclean spirit, who cried out: Ah! Jesus of Nazareth, what

hast thou to do with us? Art thou come to destroy us? I know 25 who thou art, the Holy One of God. Jesus rebuking him, 26 said, Be silent, and come out of him. Then the unclean spirit

threw bim into convulsions, and raising loud cries, came out of 27 him; at which they were all so amazed, that they asked one

another : What meaneth this? What new teaching is this?

for he commandeth with authority even the unclean-spirits, and 28 they obey him. And thenceforth his fame spread through all

the region of Galilee. 29 As soon as they were come out of the synagogue, they went Matt. 8; 14.

with James and John into the house of Simon and Andrew, 30 where Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a sever, whereof they 31 immediately acquainted Jesus. And he came, and taking her

by the hand, raised her: instantly the fever left her, and she

entertained them. 32 In the evening, after sunset, they brought to hirn all the sick, 33 and the demoniacs; the whole city being assembled at the 44 door. And he healed many persons affected with various dis

eases, and expelled many demons, whom he permitted not to Lu. 4: 41.

speak, because they knew him. , 35 On the morrow, having risen before the dawn, he went out 36 and retired to a solitary place, and prayed there. And Simon 37 and his company went in quest of him, and having found him, 38 said to him, Every body seeketh thee. Jesus said, Let us go

to the neighboring boroughs to proclaim the reign there also ; 39 for I came out with this design. Accordingly he proclaimed

it in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and expelled de

mons. 40 And a leper came to him, and on his knees entreated him, Matt. 8: 2. 4) saying: If thou wilt, thou canst cleanse me. Jesus had com

passion, and stretched out his hand, and touching him, said : I 42 will, be thou cleansed. This he had no sooner uttered, than 43 the leprosy departed from the inan, and he was cleansed. Then 44 Jesus strictly charging him, and dismissing him, said: See thou Lev. 14: 2.

tell nothing of this to any man; but go, show thyself to the
priest; and offer for thy cleansing the things prescribed by

[ocr errors]

Lu. 5: 12.

« PreviousContinue »