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sides this document, it is supposed, that there was another, a miscellaneous collection of discourses and sayings of Jesus, likewise written in Hebrew, which was used only by Matthew and Luke. Thus, the genuine correspondence of matter and language, among all three evangelists, and between any two of the evangelists in portions peculiar to them, is thought to be accounted for. The verbal coincidences between Mark and Luke are explained by the supposition, that they both used a Greek translation of the Original Gospel, made before that work had received any additions ; and the verbal coincidences between our present Greek Gospel of Matthew and the other two Gospels, by the supposition, that his translator used their Gospels in rendering into Greek the Hebrew original of Matthew;

p. cxxxvi.


On the supposed Protevangelium or Original Gospel thus proffered to the notice of the critical world, Mr. Norton

proceeds to make some judicious and common-sense remarks. Very plain and striking is it, as he shews, that if such an Original Gospel did exist in early ages, it must have been regarded as a work of great importance and of very high credit. Otherwise, how is it rational to suppose, that the Evangelists all chose it as the basis of their respective works?

Copies, moreover, of such a work must have been widely circulated, and have of course been in the hands of many Christians in different regions and countries. How then comes it about, that no ancient writer ever once makes mention of any such Protevangelium ? THE FACT

DISPUTED. There is not a solitary hint of any such thing in all Christian antiquity. Yet we have often repeated mention of any and all kinds of apocryphal writings, even the most contemptible and insignificant. But the book of books—the great legitimate source of our canonical Gospels—the spring from which all these streans issued—is not even once named among such writers as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, or any of their followers !

The whole affair, then, is upon the very face of it an incredible thing. And still more difficult than even the matter above, is the fact that no copy of such an authentic and important work as the Protevangelium, has ever been preserved. Origen, the great investigator of all ancient Mss., never, in all his travels, lighted upon such a treasure as this.

Facts such as these give a death-blow to all the claims which can be urged, in favour of such a work. Mr. Norton has not failed to urge these, and to set the whole matter in its proper light. Other considerations, and weighty and conclusive ones too, Mr. Norton urges against the claims that have been made in favour of a Protevangelium. It could not have been tampered with, considering its weight and authenticity, in such a manner as Eichhorn and Marsh suppose. Such a process was contrary to all preconceived notions and ordinary habits of the Jews, in respect to writinys deemed sacred. Matthew, in particular, having been an original eye-witness of the public life of Jesus, did not need any such additions as were made to the Protevangelium, nor indeed the work itself, to give him information. Luke and Mark had a more certain source to which they could appeal, than an interpolated document which had gone through alterations by all sorts of hands. Luke's own testimony, in the Preface to his Gospel, is directly in the face of such a supposition; for there he states, not his dependence on written documents, but the contrary. Nothing like the embodying of an Original Gospel in their productions, can be found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke; nor do these Gospels enable any one at all, as Eichhorn affirms they do, to separate what was originally selected and what was adjectitious. The variations—unimportant variations—of the Evangelists from each other, in cases where the matter and expression in various respects correspond, cannot be accounted for on any rational ground, if we suppose them to have copied an Original Gospel. Such variations exhibit no appearance of being designed emendations ; and if they are not so, how came they to be made ? Moreover, the appropriate uniformity of style in each of the different Gospels shews that they are not compiled from a work, which had already been altered some five or six times (as Eichhorn and Marsh would lead us to suppose) before it came into their bands.

I hope Mr. Norton will be ready, when we come to the examination of his theory about the spuriousness of Matt. i. j. and his belief in a Hebrew original of Matthew, to recognize what he has here so well and truly said, of the individual and consistent character, "the well defined features," of Matthew's Gospel. I fully accord with wbat is here said ; and have only to ask that neither he nor my readers may suffer it to pass from their recollection.

Although I have made out a short summary, and a very brief one it is, of Mr. Norton's arguments against the supposition of a Protevangelium, yet, that the reader may be led still better to comprehend this subject, I will present him with a recapitulation made by Mr. Norton himself, near the close of his arguments.

Notwithstanding, therefore, the ingenuity and labor with which the hypothesis in question has been defended, I believe the objections to which it is exposed, occur, in a more or less definite form, to almost every one who has examined it. It supposes an Original Gospel, sanctioned by the apostles; yet, had such a work existed, we cannot believe, that, even if the Hebrew original had perished, its Greek translation would have been lost, and no memory of the book remain. It supposes this book to have been treated in a manner without parallel in literary history, and wholly inconsistent with the authority which must have been ascribed to it. It implies a solicitude about the finishing and refashioning of writings, equally inconsistent with the character and habits of the Jews of Palestine. It requires us to believe, that the evangelists copied into their histories the collections of anonymous individuals; when one of them was an eyewitness of the events which he related, and the other two were in habits of continual intercourse with those, who, like him, were the primary sources of information respecting the history of Jesus, and the business of whose lives it was to afford this information to others. It is inconsistent with the account which St. Luke gives of the manner in which he procured the materials for his Gospel, and with the historical notices which we have of the composition of the other Gospels of Matthew and Mark, notices, which, so far as they represent these Gospels as containing what the apostles had before delivered orally, are confirmed by their intrinsic probability. And it fails of its proposed object. It does not explain the phenomena of the agreement and disagreement of the first three Gospels ; but, on the other hand, is irreconcilable with the appearances those Gospels present. For it supposes, that an original document was so used as the basis of the first three Gospels, that it is still preserved in each; while, in fact, no such document can be discovered. On the contrary, in the unsuccessful attempts made to restore this document, it becomes necessary to represent it as so brief, defective, and unsatisfactory, that we cannot believe such a work to have existed, because we can discern no purpose for which it could have been intended. The hypothesis implies, that the correspondences of the three Gospels may be separated from their differences by a sort of mechanical process, so that the former may afterward be brought together and form a connected whole ; while, in fact, the one and the other are blended so intimately, as continually to appear together in the same narrative. In attempting to account for the correspondences of these books with each other, it presents a solution which requires much more correspondence than exists. And, in the last place, the number of writers whom it represents as contributing materials for the Gospels, is irreconcilable with the individuality of character evident in each of them ; pp. clix.

seq. Mr. Norton next proceeds to shew, that there is another and more satisfactory method of accounting for the coincidences of the three first Gospels. In substance this is given on p. 289 seq. above. The amount of it is, that the events of Jesus's life and his sayings were so deeply impressed on the minds of multitudes, that they needed no writings at first, in order to recal them to memory. But when a new generation came to spring up, who had not witnessed these things, the danger of forgetting them, and of varying the narrations respecting them, became more and more apparent. There were, however, many original witnesses still living, when the Gospels were written. The preachers of the Gospel had often, and in each other's presence, given accounts of many important facts and sayings of Jesus. On all sides, the essential features in narrations of this sort were preserved, and were apparent ; while some individuality would also of course appear, in the different modes of expression adopted by different narrators.

A single passage from Mr. Norton here, will illustrate and expand this view.

We conclude, then, that portions of the history of Jesus, longer or shorter, were often related by the apostles; and it is evident, that the narrative at each repetition by the same individual, would become more fixed in its form, so as soon to be repeated by him with the same circumstances and the same turns of expression. Especially, would no one vary from himself in reporting the words of his Master. We have next to consider, that the apostles, generally, would adopt a uniform mode of relating the same events. The twelve apostles, who were companions of our Saviour, resided together at Jerusalem, we know not for how long a period, certainly for several years; acting and preaching in concert." This being the case, they would confer together continually; they would be present at each other's discourses, in which the events of their Master's life were related ; they would, in common, give instruction respecting his history and doctrine to new converts, especially to those who were to go forth as missionaries. From all these circumstances, their modes of narrating the same events would become assimilated to each other. Particularly would their language be the same, or nearly the same, in quoting and applying passages of the Old Testament as prophetical; and in reciting the words of Jesus, whose very expressions they must have been desirous of retaining. But the verbal agreement between the first three Gospels is found, as we have seen, principally where the evangelists record words spoken by Christ or by others, or allege passages from the Old Testament. Elsewhere there is often much resemblance of conception and expression, but, comparatively, much less verbal coincidence; pp. clxvi. seq.

Mr. Norton, in mentioning that the instruction of the Rabbies was given orally and retained by memory, and thus showing that the Jews were accustomed to the exercise of their memories in the way of preserving what their teachers inculcated, has not urged the subject, as it seems to me, so far as he might and should have done. He does not mention that the whole copy of the oral law of the Jews, which they call Mishna (i. e. the iteration) was brought down memoriter to the time of the Rabbi Joseph Hakkodesh, i. e. to more than a century after the birth of Christ. There cannot be a question that many of the rites and maxims of the Pharisees, adverted to in the Gospels, are embodied in the Mishna. The book itself begins with the declaration, that the contents of it were delivered orally to Moses on Mount Sinai; then by him to the Seventy Elders ; by these to heads of divisions and families ; by them to the mass of the people; and so in succession down to the time when Rabbi Judah committed the whole to writing. I do not cite this story because I believe in it; but I cite it to shew, that the Mishna must have been quite an ancient tradition, in order to render it possible for a writer to palm off such a story upon the Jewish nation ; and that, at all events, the extraordinary retention in a mere memoriter way of the whole of the Misbna for a long time, shews to what extent such matters were carried among the Jews.

All the Eastern world exhibits the like phenomena. Let the reader call to mind the rhapsodists in hither Asia who so long preserved Homer, while they sung him; or the innumerable story-tellers of the East, who will entertain their employers, by reciting memoriter many more narrations than the Thousand and One contains. Among all nations, in earlier ages, such practices existed to a wide extent, where there was any cultivation of mind.

There is nothing strange then in the fact, that those who sat daily at the feet of Jesus for more than three years, should have remembered to a wide extent his sayings and doings; nothing strange in the fact, that when they reduced the account of these things to writing, there should have been so many striking coin

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