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ferent manuscripts of the Gospels which are in existence give us some hundreds if not thousands of various renderings. There are differences in words or in phrases, a difference of half a sentence, sometimes differences of whole paragraphs, or sometimes of half a chapter, or even more than that. Then, we know that there were changes through the carelessness of transcribers. There were changes from dogmatic reasons, in order that the persons copying or using them might make them teach what they held to be true. . . Sometimes they were the result of intentional fraud. ... It was some time after the New Testament books were written before they took on the character of sacred writings, when a man would not have been regarded as sacrilegious for taking from or adding to them. They were considered as the work of ordinary men, and not too sacred to be touched or changed as yet. But whatever may have been thought of the works of the New Testament in the early church, the entire church of the time professed to regard with almost superstitious sacredness the books of the Old Testament. That was the Scripture before the New Testament be
. came Scripture. Yet we have the authority of Origen, writing in the third century, for the statement that in the heated and angry controversies of that period, people did not scruple to change even the text of the Old Testament for their own purposes. Concerning the Septuagint, he says: 'There are evidently great discrepancies in the copies of the Septuagint, whether attributable to the carelessness of scribes, or to the rash and pernicious alteration of the text by some, and the unauthorized interpolations and omissions of others.' Origen writes in that way about the manner in which the early church dared to treat even the Old Testament Scriptures; so you can imagine with what freedom they would handle the less sacred and newer books that afterwards came to be the New Testament.”
The Father says that the apostles “were inspired to give a narration of the events they witnessed.” He has not told us how he knows they were inspired. Mark was not an apostle; nor was Luke. Rev. Albert Barnes says of Mark, that he considers it extremely improbable that he was one of the seventy disciples. He was not an eyewitness of the events he records, and, therefore, must have received his information at second hand. The same may be said of Luke, of whom the same writer observes: “Little is certainly known concerning the time of writing this Gospel; or concerning the author.” It is not known whether he was Jew or Gentile. He lays no claim to inspiration, nor does he profess to write by dictation of any one.
The Father denies that either of the evangelists professes to give the last words of Jesus. Let the reader refer to Mark xvi. 18, 19, and Luke xxiv. 50, 51.
We now approach the famous genealogical question whichi has perplexed commentators both in past and present time.
Ingersoll.—“Two of the witnesses, Matthew and Luke, give the genealogy of Christ. Matthew says there were forty-two generations from Abraham to Christ. Luke insists there were forty-two from Christ to David, while Matthew gives the number of twenty-eight."
To explain this discrepancy the Father tells us : "Generation has two meanings. It means first, the actual number of persons in direct line, as father, son, grandson, great-grandson, etc. . . . This kind of generation is therefore of no use whatever, in calculating time or historical epochs. ... It is however used to prove legitimacy and the right of inheritance. It is generation in this sense that Luke traces, because it was his purpose to show that Christ was of the direct line of the elder branch of the royal family, and that he was the person who, if royalty had continued in the family of David, would have
legally inherited the throne. Luke was dealing with the question in reference to legitimacy and inheritance, and with no reference to historical time or epochs.
"The second meaning of generation has reference to time and denotes the average life of man, which at present is supposed to be thirty-three years. ...
Now Matthew uses the word generation with reference to time—to the average duration of life, when the prophecies concerning the coming of Christ were written—to prove that those prophecies were verified.” (You say so, prove it.)
In other words, as we understand the Father, it is affirmed that Luke spoke of generations in regard to individuals without respect to the length of time they lived, or to the average period of human life; while Matthew uses the word according to its second meaning, "which has reference to time, and de
“ notes the average life of man;" and, therefore, as Matthew uses the word in one sense, while Luke traces the genealogical line according to the other meaning of the word generationthey cannot contradict each other. This explanation might seem plausible were it not for three things:
1. It is unsupported by the genealogical tables given by the evangelists.
2. It is in flat contradiction to these tables.
3. It is unsupported, so far as we are informed, by any competent authority (save the Father), while opposed to very high orthodox commentators and critics, and to common and scriptural usage.
1. It is not supported by the tables referred to. Not one word is said either by Matthew or Luke about generation as related to individuals as contradistinguished from generation in respect to time or “the average of the life of man.” The statement, therefore, that Matthew referred to one kind of generation and Luke to another kind is a gratuitous assump
2. Worse still, it is in direct contradiction to the tables as given in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Matthew begins his narrative thus: “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begat Isaac, Isaac begat Jacob,” and so on until he comes to the finale: “And Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ. So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations," etc. Here we have not only no word which refers to time, or to the average of life, but the generations counted by the narnes of individuals, which made up the successive links in the genealogical chain that united Jesus with Abraham, and was supposed to mark him as a lineal descendant of the Father of the faithful.
The good priest, who was to grant nothing and to take nothing for granted, without referring to Scripture or other authority, assumes what flatly contradicts the express words of the Scriptures themselves.
3. The proposed explanation is opposed to respected orthodox authorities. Rev. Albert Barnes, in his Notes on Matthew i. 1, says, “. The book of the generation;' this is the proper title of the chapter. It is the same as to say, the account of the ancestry, of the family, or the genealogical table of Jesus Christ. The phrase is common in Jewish writings. Compare Genesis v. i. : 'This is the book of the generation of Adam ;'sce also Genesis vi. 9.'” Thus we see that the Father's criticism is not only opposed to the orthodox commentator but to common Jewish and scriptural usage.
But the Father himself is not satisfied with his own explanation as given above, for we next find him trying to reconcile the conflict between the two tables by asserting, without attempt at proof, that one writer (Matthew) gives the ancestry of Christ, the other (Luke) the ancestry of Mary.
Ingersoll.—“Is it not wonderful that Luke and Matthew do not agree on a single name of Christ's ancestors for thirtyseven generations ?”
Lambert.-" It is wonderful only to those who are ignorant of the fact that Matthew gives the ancestors of Joseph, while Luke gives the ancestors of Mary, the Mother of God.”
This explanation takes all the sap out of the preceding one. It was not the one accepted by most of the fathers of the church. It is opposed to the plain words and obvious interpretation of Scripture. The Father says that “Matthew
“ gives the ancestors of Joseph.” Granted. “While Luke gives the ancestors of Mary." Let us see. In neither of the family tables is the name of Mary mentioned. Strange fact, if the genealogy of her family is given, and for so important a purpose as to prove her descent from Adam through Abraham by a royal lineage. But to set the matter at rest let us inquire, what does Luke purport to do? Is he describing a male or female line of ancestry? Does he begin or end with Mary? Luke iii. 23: "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son (not the daughter) of Heli, which was the son," etc. In this way we have the male line traced
” backward to Adam from Joseph (not Mary). And yet how Tesus could be proved to be of the lineage of Abraham and David by showing that Joseph was a descendant of the royal line, when Joseph was not the father of Jesus, is a problem which puzzles the stupid “infidel.”
Above you have a specimen of a work of which the Buffalo Courier says: “Written with singular controversial insight, depth of thought, and breadth of learning.” I envy not such encomiums. Save from love of truth I would not, if I could, pluck one leaf from the laurel wreath which encircles the Father's brow. I regard him as
I regard him as an earnest, unfortunate