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Rome into Achaia ; and some authors have asserted that he afterwards preached the Gospel in Africa. None of the most antient fathers having mentioned that St. Luke suffered martyrdom, we may suppose that he died a natural death; but at what time, or in what place, is not known.
We are told by some that St. Luke was a painter, and Grotius and Wetstein thought that he was in the earlier part of his life a slave; but I find no foundation for either opinion in any antient writer. It is probable that he was by birth a Jew, and a native of Antioch, in Syria; and I see no reason to doubt that " Luke, the beloved physician," mentioned in the Epistle to the Colossians (e), was Luke the Evangelist. In the introduction to his Gospel (f), Luke appears to intimate that he was not himself an eye-witness of the things which he is about to relate; however, some have thought that he was one of the seventy disciples; but there is no authority in the Scriptures for that opinion, and there are now no means of ascertaining whether he was or was not, unless the abovementioned passage may be considered as conclusive against it.
(e) Col. c.4. V: 14.
(f) 6. 1. V. I.
II. LARDNER thinks that there are a few allusions to this Gospel in some of the apostolica! fathers, especially in Hermas and Polycarp; and in Justin Martyr there are passages evidently taken from it; but the earliest. author, who actually mentions St. Luke's Gospel, is Irenæus; and he cites so many passages from it, and points out so many peculiarities in it, all agreeing with the Gospel which we now have, that he alone is sufficient to prove its genuineness. We may however observe, that his testimony is supported by Cle, inent of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, Eusebius, Jerome, Chrysostom, and many others.
III. The two learned authors, mentioned, at the end of the last chapter, have compared many parallel passages of St. Mark's and St. Luke's Gospels; and Dr. Townson has concluded that St. Luke had seen St. Mark's Gospel, and Dr. Owen, that St. Mark had seen St. Luke's; but it does not appear to me that there is a sufficient similarity of expression to justify either of these conclusions. There was among the antients a difference of opinion concerning the priority of these two Gospels; and it must be acknowledged to be a very doubtful point. Upon the whole, I am inclined to "think that St. Luke wrote
before St. Mark, and to place the publication of St. Luke's Gospel in the year 63, soon after St. Paul's release from imprisonment at Rome.
IV. THERE is also great doubt about the place where this Gospel was published. It seems most probable that it was published in Greece (g), and for the use of Gentile converts. Dr. Townson observes, that the Evangelist has inserted many explanations, particularly concerning the Scribes and Pharisees, which he would have omitted, if he had been writing for those who were acquainted with the customs and sects of the Jews.
V. We must conclude that the histories of our Saviour, referred to in the preface to this Gospel, were inaccurate and defective, or St. Luke would not have undertaken this work. It does not however appear that they were written with
any bad design; but being merely human compositions, and perhaps put together in great haste, they were full of errors. They are now entirely lost, and the names of their authors are
(g) Tertius, Lucas; Medicus, natione Tyrus Antiochensis, cujus laus in evangelio, qui, et ipse discipulus Pauli, in Achaiæ Bæotiæque partibus volumen condidit. Hieron. Præfat, in Mat,
not known. When the four authentic Gospels were published, and came into general use, all others were quickly disregarded and forgotten.
St. Luke's Gospel is addressed to Theophilus ; but there was a doubt, even in the time of Epiphanius, whether a particular person, or any good Christian in general, be intended by that name. I am inclined to think that Theophilus was a real person, that opinion being more agreeable to the simplicity of the sacred writings.
We have seen that St. Luke was for several years the companion of St. Paul; and many antient writers consider this Gospel as having the sanction of St. Paul(h), in the same manner as St. Mark's had that of St. Peter: Whoever will examine the Evangelists and the Apostle's account of the Eucharist in their respective original works, will observe a great coincidence of expression (i).
St. Luke seems to have had more learning than any other of the Evangelists, and his fanguage is more varied, copious, and pure. This superiority in style may perhaps be owing to his longer residence in Greece, and greater acquaintance with
Gentiles (h) Nam et Lucæ digestum Paulo adscribere solent. Tert, adv. Marc. lib. 4. cap. 5. Lucas, sectator Pauli, quod ab illo predicabatur, in libro condidit. Iren. lib. 3. cap. I. (i) Compare Luke, ch. 22. with 1 Cor. ch. II.
Gentiles of good education, than fell to the lot of the writers of the other three Gospels.
This Gospel contains many things which are not found in the other Gospels, among which are the following: the birth of John the Baptist; the Roman census in Judæa; the circumstances attending Christ's birth at Bethlehem; the vision granted to the shepherds; the early testimony of Simeon and Anna; Christ's conversation with the Doctors in the Temple when he was twelve years old; the parables of the good Samaritan, of the Prodigal Son, of Dives and Lazarus, of the wicked Judge, and of the Pub. lican and Pharisee; the miraculous cure of the woman who had been bowed down by illness eighteen years ; the cleansing of the ten lepers ; and the restoring to life the son of a widow at Nain; the account of Zacchæus and of the penitent thief; and the particulars of the journey to Emmaus. It is very satisfactory that so early a writer as Irenæus has noticed most of these peculiarities; which proves not only that St. Luke's Gospel, but that the other Gospels also, are the same now that they were in the second century.