GOSPEL ACCORDING TO
We are now entering into the labours of another evangelist ; his name Luke, which some take to be a contraction of Lucilius ; born at Antioch, so St. Jerom. Some think that he was the only one of all the penmen of the scripture, that was not of the seed of Israel. He was a Jewish proselyte, and, as some conjecture, converted to Christianity by the ministry of St. Paul at Antioch ; and after his coming into Macedonia, (Acts 16. 10.) he was his constant companion. He had employed himself in the study and practice of physic ; hence Paul calls him Lu/ce the beloved Physician, Col. 4. 14. Some of the pre- tended ancients tell you that he was a painter, and drew a picture of the Virgin Mary. But Dr. Whitby ■ thinks that there is nothing certain to the contrary ; and that therefore it is probable that he was one of the sc'enty disciples, and a follower of Christ when he was here upon earth ; and if so, he was a native Israelite. I see not what can be objected against this, except some uncertain traditions of the ancients,' which we can build nothing upon, and agamst which may be opposed the testimonies of Origen and Epiphanius, who both say that he was one of the seventy disciples. He is supposed to have written this gospel when he was associated with St. Paul in his travels, and by direction from him : and some thinic that this is the brother whom Paul speaks of, (2 Cor. 8. 18.) tvhose praise is in the gospel through- out all the churches of Christ ; as if the meaning of it were, that he was celebrated in all the churches for writing this gospel ; and that St. Paul means this when he speaks sometimes of his gospel, as Rom. 2. 16. But there is no ground at all for that. Dr. Cave obsenes that his way and manner of writing are accurate and exact, his style polite and elegant, sublime and lofty, yet perspicuous ; and that he expresses himself in a vein of purer Greek than is to be found in the other writers of the holy storv. Thus he relates divers things more copiously than the other e angelists ; and thus he especially treats of those things which relate to the priestly office of Christ. It is uncertain when, or about what time, this gospel was written. Some think that it was written in Achaia, during his travels with Paul, seventy years (twenty-two years, say others) after Christ's ascension ; others, that it was written at Rome, a little before he wrote his history of the ylcts of the Apostles, (which is a continuation of this,) when he was there with Paul, while he was a prisoner, and ])reaching in his oivn hired house, with which the history of the Acts concludes ; and then Paul saitli that only Luke was ivith him, 2 Tim. 4. 1 1. When he was under that voluntary confinement with Paul, he had leisure to compile these two histories ; (and many excellent writings the church has been indebted to a prison for ;) if so, it was written about twent'-seen years after Christ's ascension, and about the fourth year of Nero. Jerom saith. He died when he was eighty-four years of age, and was never married. Some write, that he suffered martyr- dom ; but if he did, where and when is uncertain. Nor indeed is there much more credit to be given to the Cliristian traditions concerning the writers of the New Testament, than to the Jewish traditions concerning those of the Old Testament
ST. LUKE. I.
The narrative which this evansrelist wives us (or rather God by him) of the life of Christ, becrins earlier than either Malttiew or Mark; ive have reason to thank God for thrtn all, as we have for all the sifts and £;races of Clirist's minis- ters, which in one make up what is wantin^r in the other, vhile all put tosjetlier make a harmony. In this chapter, ve have, I. Luke's preface to his gospel, or his epistle ledicatory to his friend, Theophilus, v. 1 . . 4. 11. The orophecy and history of the conception of John Baptist, who was Christ's forerunner, v. 5. . 25. IIL The annun- ciation of the Virgin Mary, or the notice given to her that she should be the mother of the Messiah, v. 26 . . 36. IV. The interview between Mary the mother of Jesus and Eli- sabeth the mother nf John, when they were bnlh with riuld of those preg-nant births, and the prophecies tliey both ut- tered upon that occasion, v. 39. .56. V. The birth and circumcision of John Baptist, six months before tlie birth of Christ, v. 57 . . fi6. VL Zacharias's son? of praise, in thankfulness for the birth of John, and in prospect of the birth of Jesus, v. 67 . . 79. VTL A short account of John Baptist's infancy, v. SO. And these do more llian ^ive us" an entertaining narrative ; they will leav"! us in!o the un- derstanding of the mvstery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh.