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in their place in the Jewish Wars*. Suetonius, Tacitus, Dio Cassius, -have, all three, written of the reign of Tiberius. Each has mentioned many things omitted by the restt,' yet no objection is from thence taken to the respective credit of their histories. We have in our own times, if there were not something indecorous in the comparison, the life of an eminent person, written by three of his friends, in which there is very great variety in the incidents selected by them; fome apparent, and perhaps some real contradictions; yet without any impeachment of the subftantial truth of their accounts, of the authenticity of the books, of the competent information or general fidelity of the writers.
. But these discrepancies will be still more numerous, when men do not write histories but memoirs; which is perhaps the true name and proper description of our Gospels : that is, when they do not undertake, or ever meant to deliver, in order of time, a regular
* Lard. part i. vol. ii. p. 735, et feq. + Ib. p. 743.
and complete account of all the things of importance, which the person, who is the subject of their history, did or faid ; but only, out of many similar, ones, to give such paffages, or such actions and discousses as offered themseļyes more immediately to their at tention, came in the way of their enquiries, occurred to their recollection, of were sug: : gested by their particular design at the time
This particular design may appear some. times, but not always, nor often Thus ! think thật the particular design which St. Matthew had in view whilst he was writing the history of the resuțrection, was to attest the faithful performance of Christ's promise to his discipleg to go before them into Galilee; because he alone, except Mark, who seems to have taken it from him, has record, ed this promise, and he alone has confined his narrative to that single appearance to the disciples which fulfilled it. It waş
great and most public manifestation of our Lord's pesson. It was the
thing which dwelt upon St. Matthew's mind, and he adapted his narrative to it. But, that there is nothing in St. Matthew's language, which negatives other appearances, or which imports that this his appearance to his disciples in Galilee, in pursuance of his promise, was his first or only appearance, is made pretty evident by St. Mark's Gospel, which uses the same terms concerning the appearance in Galilee as St. Matthew uses, yet itself records two other appearances prior to this :
tell his disciples and Peter, that he goeth before you
into Galilee, then shall ye see him as he said unto yoy." (xvi. 7.) We might be apt to infer. from these words, that this was the first time they were to see him ; at least, we might infer it, with as much reason as we draw the inference from the same wards in Matthew : yet the historian himself did not perceive that he was leading his readers to any such conclusion; for, in the twelfth and two following verses of this chapter, he informs us of two appearances, which, by comparing the order of events, are thewn to have been
prior to the appearance in Galilee. « He appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country; and they went and told it unto the residue, nei. ther believed they them: afterwards he appeared unto the eleven, as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief, because they believed not them that had seen him after he was risen."
Probably the fame observation, concerning the particular design which guided the historian, may
be of use in comparing many other passages of the Gospels.
CH A P. II.
Erronçous Opinions imputed to the
Species of candoür which is shewn towards every other book, is sometimes refur ed to the Scriptures ; and that is, the placing of a distinction between judgement and testimony. We do not usually question the credit of a writer, by reason of any opinion he may have delivered upon subjects unconnected with his evidence; and even upon subjects connected with his account, or mixed with it in the same discourse or writing, we naturally separate facts from opinions, testimony from observation, narrative from argument,
To apply this equitable consideration to the Christian records, much controversy and much objection has been raised concerning