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these historical books, written and preserved by divine command, as essential to religion ; without them we should not know the ground, upon which we stand; but that which depends upon matter of fact, and upon the memory and the senses of man, is equally attached to other histories, and does not presume inspired infallibility.
I must here make some special observations upon the manner of writing by the evangelists, and particularly by the last evangelist John, as of more immediate import to the history of the resurrection. I have alluded to this branch of my subject several times in the book itself, but being unable to enlarge upon it at any particular passage, I have reserved it for my preface. The common opinion which has been handed down to us from Eusebius, in conformity' with ancient tradition is,
1. That John wrote subsequently to Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and was the last of the evangelists.
2. That John had read the three other evangelists.
3. That he confirmed them in main facts, and added, intentionally, many circumstances, which he did not find in their gospels.
I adopted this principle in my introduction to the New Testament, because it appeared to me just as clear and indispensable, as it does
The extensive influence of the two last propositions upon the harmony of the gospels was a subsequent consideration, and forms an appendix to the introduction, which I hold to be one of the most important parts of the essay.
It appears to me, from the book itself, that John had seen and read the other evangelists, although Dr. Semler doubts it from the authority of the words, chap. xx. 30,
" which are not written in this book," in which John does not mention any other evangelist; upon which I made the following comment:
“ John omits so much, as to make it probable, he supplies the deficiency from other sources; indeed, without this supposition, his gospel would be unintelligible; such for instance as in John xviii. 24–28,* the hearing before Caiaphas, and the answers of Jesus, upon which his subsequent accusation before Pilate is grounded. In general, in the history of our Saviour's
* Read with attention the verses, observing, that the facts are stated, as already notorious.
sufferings, which he has in common with the other evangelists, he purposely avoids saying, what the others have said before him, except, where, in conformity with the subject, or with a view to elucidation, it becomes necessary.”
1. John says nothing of what Jesus did, or intended to do before Caiaphas, who, according to him, was the next great person, and actually high priest; he takes him to Caiaphas, v. 24, and v. 28, he conducts him again to Pilate. This is, in other words, assuming, that the reader must have known from distinct sources, what took place before the proper judge. 2. There is no accusation, no production of evidence, no sentence even ; he is delivered
up Pilate, as a condemned malefactor. 3. The two false witnesses are omitted, whose evidence, as we find in another evangelist, John had virtually prepared his readers to understand, chap. ii. 20, 21.
I will show, in a few examples, that John not only had read the gospels, but wrote for those, who had read them, and assumes, therefore, many things as known through them, without which assumption his gospel could not be well understood. We should always bear in mind, that of all the evangelists, and bibli
cal writers, John is, by far the most distinct, and when, therefore, we find passages omitting, what the other evangelists have written, and particularly obscure to those, who had not read the other evangelists, we may conclude the fact, to which he has either alluded, or which he has omitted, to be previously well known.
He nowhere mentions, that Christ was bap-. tized, or at least, that he was baptized by John, or that, at the baptism, the Holy Ghost, in the semblance of a dove, descended upon him, and yet he makes John the baptist, subsequently say, " I knew him not; but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he, which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record, that this is the Son of God," chap. i. 33, 34. If he is not a wonderfully confused and extraordinary narrator, he here assumes readers, who knew all this from the three first evangelists.
Chap. iii. 24. “ For John was not yet cast into prison.'
He here assumes as a fact, which the reader knows from other sources, that John the baptist had been imprisoned, but of which John the evangelist says nothing.
This is the more striking, because John the evangelist wrote his gospel not in Judea, where the imprisonment and execution of John the baptist might have been locally known, but at Ephesus, where it could not have been known, except through the information of prior historians.
Chap. iv. 43, 44. “ Now after two days he departed thence, and went into Galilee; for Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country ; then, when he was come into Galilee, the Galileans received him." This would be perfectly obscure, if we did not know from the other evangelists, that Nazareth in Galilee was the place, where Jesus was educated, and from which he was, for that reason, named that he once came as a Teacher, endowed with the power of miracles, into this his early dwelling place—that he was despised, and even threatened to be thrown headlong from a rock-that he then said what is here stated by John, namely, that a prophet is no where so despised as in his own country--that he abstained from further connection with them, and travelled in other parts of Galilee. He, who knows this from the other gospels, understands the gospel of John, which unites what