GOSPEL ACCORDING TO
We have heard the evidence given in by the first witness to the doctrine and miracles of our Lord Jesus, and now here is another witness produced, wlio calls for our attention. The second living creature saith. Come and see. Rev. 6. 3. Now let us inquire a little, I. Concerning t/iis ivilness. His name is Mark. Marcus was a Roman name, and a very common one, and yet we have no reason to think, but that he was by birth a Jew ; but as Saul, when he went among the nations, took the Roman name oi Paul, so he of Mark, his Jewish name perhaps beine Mardocai; so Grotius. We read of Joiin, whose surname was Mark, sister's son to Barnabas, whom Paul was dis- pleased with, (Acts 15. 37, 38. ) but afterward had a great kindness for, and not only ordered the churches to receive him, (Col. 4. 10.) but sent for him to be his assistant, with this encomium. He is profitable to me for the ministry ; (2 Tim. 4. 11.) and he reckons him among his fellow-labourers, Philem. 24. We read of Marcus whom Peter calls his son, he having been an instrument of his conversion ; ( 1 Pet. 5. 13. ) whether that was the same with the other, and if not, which of them was the penman of this gospel, is altogether uncertain. It is a tradition very current among the ancients, that St. Mark wrote this gos- pel under the direction of St. Petei-, and that it was confirmed by his authority ; so Hieron. Catal. Scnpt. Eccles. Alarcus, discifieliis et inter/ires Petri, juxta quod Petrum referentum audierat, legatus Roma a fralrihus, breve 'acri/tsit evangelium — Mark, the discifile and interpreter of Peter, being sent from Rome by the brethren, wrote a concise gospel; and Tertullian saith, (.dv. Marcion. lib. 4. cap. 5.) Marcus quod edidit, Petri affirmelur, cujus interpres Marcus — Mark, the interpreter of Peter, del'rvered in writing the things which had been preached by Peter. But, as Dr. Whitby very well suggests. Why should we have recourse to the authority of Peter, for the support of this gospel, or to say with St. Je- rom, that Peter approved of it, and recommended it by his authority to the church to be read, when, though, it is true, Mark was no apostle, yet we have all the reason in the world to think that both he and Luke were of the number of the seventy disciples, who companied with the afiostles all alotig, (Acts 1. 21.) who had a commission like that of the apostles, (Luke 10. 19. compared with Mark 16. 18.) and who, it is highly probable, received the Holy Ghost when they did ? Acts 1. 15. — 2. 1. So that it is no diminution at all to tlie validitv or value of this gos])el, that Mark was not one of the twelve, as Matthew and John were. St. Jerom saith, that, after the writing of this gospel, he went into Egjpt, and was the first that preached the gospel at Alexandria, where he founded a church, to which he was a great ex- ample of holy living. Constituit ecclesiam tanta doctrind et vitte contintntid, ut omnes sectatores Christi ad exemplum sui cogeret — He so adorned hv his doctrine and his life the church which he founded, that his example influenced all the followers of Christ. II. Concerning this testimony. Mark's gospel, 1. Is but short, much shorter than Matthew's, not giving so full an account of Christ's sermons as that did, but insisting chiefly on his miracles. 2. It is very much a repetition of what we had in Matthew ; man- remarkable circumstances being added to the sto ries there related, but not many new matters. When many witnesses are called to prove the same fact, upon which a judgment is to be given, it is not thought tedious, but highly necessary, that they should each of them relate it in their own words, again and again, that by the agi-eement of the testimony the thing may be established ; and therefore we must not think this book of scripture needless, for it is writ- ten not only to confirm our belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, but to put us in mind of things which we have read in the foregoing gospel, that we may give the more earnest heed to them, lest at any time we let them slip ; and even pure minds hae need to be thus stirred up by way of remembrance. It was fit that such great things as these should be spoken and written once, yea twice, because man is so unapt to perceinw them, and so apt to forget them. There is no ground for the tradition, that this gospel was written first in Latin, though it was written at Rome ; it was written in Greek, as was St. Paul's epistle to the Romans, the Greek being the more universal language.
ST. MARK. I.
Mark's narrative dots rot take rise sn earlv as those of Mat- thew ami Luke Ho, from the birth of our Saviour, but from John's baptism, from which he soon passes to Christ's pub- lic ministry. Accordinslv, in this chapter, we have, I. The olficc of John Baptist illustrated by the prophecy ol iii baptism, and his being owned from heaven, v. 9..1 1. Ill, His temptation, v. 12.. IS. IV. His preaching, v. 14, 15, 21, 22, 38, 39. V. His callinj disciples, v. 16. .20. VI. His praying, V. 35. VII. His working miracles. I. His rebukinir an unclean spirit, v. 23 . . 28. 2. His curins Pe- ter's mother-in-law, ivho was ill of a fi-vrr, v. 29.. 31. 3, His healing all that came to him. v. 32. 34. 3.i. i. HiJ(v. I. . 3.) and by the history ofhiin, v. . 4. 8. II. Christ's cleansing a leper, v. 40. . 45.