« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Mr. Norton appeals to the language of Mark 16: 9 seq. as differing from that of the rest of his Gospel. Here,' says he,
• « Mark uses πρώτη σαββάτου, while he uses μία σαββάτων in 16: 2; as do the other Evangelists. But what does this
" ainount to ! Μία σαββάτων is a Hebraism, and πρώτη σαββαtov is conformed to the usual Greek idiom. Had not a Hebraistic writer his choice, who wished to avoid repeating the same phrase too often?
• But 'Excivn in v. 10, and Koxxivoi in v. 11, are not used demonstratively, nor emphatically; which occurs no where else in Mark's Gospel.'—Yet it lies on the face of the narration here, that Mary Magdalene is spoken of emphatically, or at any rate demonstratively, in order to render plain the distinction between her and the other Marys. As lo xoxxivoi, whoever attentively reads the preceding verse may see, that the word is here altogether in its place.
Several änat he youeva Mr. Norton has also selected from the passage, p. lxxv. But I can attribute no weight of importance to this argument. We may select passages from Matthew's account of the Sermon on the Mount, from almost any of Paul's epistles, or from the book of Acts, and disprove the genuineness of each passage on the same ground. When are we to become sufficiently aware, that the same writer is not confined to one and the same mode of expression, on all subjects and at all times ?
But Mr. Norton's main reliance is on the internal improbability of the things asserted in the paragraph under examination. · The enumeration of miracles' he says is strange.' Some of these were to be such as neither Jesus nor his disciples were accustomed to perform. They were liable to be confounded with the tricks of pretended magicians. Some of the powers promised could be of no use to others. The promise appears to be to Christians in general; while we know that all private Christians never possessed miraculous powers.' pp. Ixxvi. seq.
The passage I have marked in Italics (which Mr. Norton does not) seems to me somewhat strange. We open our New Testament at Luke 10: 19, and find the Saviour declaring to the Seventy disciples whom he sent forth on a special mission : “Behold I give you power over serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Acts 28: 5 tells us that · Paul shook off a viper from his hand, which did him no harm.' Did the Saviour not SECOND SERIES, VOL. I. NO. I.
know that magicians had played tricks with tamed serpents and scorpions, and that the Seventy would be in danger of being taken for magicians ?
Casting out devils is another miraculous power mentioned in the passage before us. Yet the Seventy Disciples before mentioned were commissioned with such a power: “Lord,” say they, in the account there given of their missions, “ devils are subject to us through thy name;" Lule 10: 17. Let the reader turn to Acts 5: 16. 8: 7. 16: 28. 19: 12, and he will see whether the apostles are represented as being possessed of the power in question.
They shall speak with new tongues, is another part of the commission in Mark. And here we need only to ask the reader to peruse Acts 11. and 1 Cor. xiv. I am aware of what Herder, Eichhorn, Bleek, and others, have said against the usual interpretation of these passages; but I am not in any measure satisfied with their views, and verily believe them to be philologically inadmissible.
They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. If the reader wishes any explanation of this, the book of Acts, the First of Corinthians, and the Epistle of James, chapter V., may
appealed to, without any room for doubt as to what was promised and what was bestowed.
What remains, then, of this list of extraordinary and improbable injraculous powers ? No one thing—except what is designated by the following phrase: If they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them. But is not this virtually contained in the commission to the Seventy Disciples, Luke 19: 19, when the Saviour says that they shall be over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt them! There is, however, no need of further defence. It is enough to say, that when serpents and poison are mentioned (as in Mark), two obvious and usually irremediable causes of death are particularized, merely as a symbol or specimen of all dangers. The passage, then, contains a promise of protection from all dangers, even the worst, until their work should be finished. What can be more common in the Scriptures, than such a mode of speech as this, where a part is particularized, and stands as representative of the whole genus?
As to miraculous powers being granted to Christians in general, I do not see how Mr. Norton gets at such an interpretation of the passaye before us. Whom does the Saviour address?
His eleven apostles ; (Judas was dead). Does all wbich he promises to them, belong also to every individual Christian in the world ?
But enough. Mr. Norton says, at the close, that “there is a conciseness and brevity of statement here, [i. e. in the paragraph before us), which is unusual for Mark, who commonly details facts with more particularity than any of the other Evangelists.' And yet, this very characteristic detail of Mark seems to be conspicuous in the passage before us. Matthew represents the Saviour as simply saying: Lo! I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Luke, in Acts 1: 5, represents the Saviour as saying: Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence.
What these two writers have thus so briefly expressed, Mark has designated in his usual way, i. e. by detailing particulars. This lies on the very face of his record. And when the other Evangelists have said so much as has just been recited and referred to, what objection can lie against the narration in Mark, with respect to the miraculous powers which it promises should be bestowed on the apostles ?
One more remark, and I have done with the discussion of this topic. I must request the reader to open bis Greek Testament at Mark 16: 8, i. e. at the verse wbich immediately precedes the paragraph that Mr. Norton thinks to be an interpolation. What kind of ending the Gospel of this Evangelist would have, if vs. 9—20 should be rejected, may be seen at once, Viz. the following: και ουδενί ουδέν είπον εφοβουντο γάρ. Now as this would be truly a örat negóuevov, if I may so speak, in the whole world of books, and as it is, moreover, too improbable for rational belief, so Mr. Norton suggests, that probably sudden death or accident interrupted Mark in the midst of his work; and then, that 'some individual who was taking copies of bis work, with good intention but not with the best judgment, added the paragraph under consideration, in order to complete the work! Mr. Norton here forgets what he has so well said, in the body of bis volume, on the impossibility that even a single sentence should be added by an interpolator, without its being detected, so difficult is it to imitate the style of the Gospels, and so marked is this style. He seems also to have forgotten the powerful argument which he urges against the probability of the corruption of the Gospels, from the fact that any one copy, or even a considerable number of copies, if interpo
lated, could produce no influence on the remainder. How strange, now, that Mr. Norton should contend at the same time, that both Matthew and Mark received large additions in the way of interpolation, even in the primitive age — yea, while some of the apostles themselves and evangelists were living ! For if these books were interpolated, it must have been tbus early. A later period renders it impossible, as Mr. Norton himself has even demonstrated, for interpolations to change the great body of Mss. in circulation among Christians.
The Evangelist Luke has almost escaped the abrading criticism of Mr. Norton. Only a very short paragraph in chap. xxii. 43, 44, respecting the agony and bloody sweat of the Saviour, and the interposition of an angel on the occasion, can, as he thinks, with good reason be doubted; p. Ixxix.
Here, indeed, with respect to the verses specified, Mr. Norton may claim more critical support than in most of the other
The Cod. Alex. and Cod. Vaticanus omit the passage; as does the Sabidic Version. In ten Mss. it is marked as doubtful. Hilary says, that many Greek and Latin Mss. omit it. Jerome merely states, that some copies contained the passage.
On the other hand, Justin Martyr quotes it; Irenaeus appeals to it in order to confute those heretics who denied the real body of Christ; and so does Epiphanius also.
It is contained in all the Mss. and versions except those mentioned above. There is no doubt of its being universal in the Codices of the New Testament, or at any rate nearly so, alter the fourth century.
How Mr. Norton reconciles what he says here in one place, with some of his previous declarations, I am unable to see. Epiphanius says, that "the passage is found in Luke's Gospel
, in those copies which have not been subjected to a revision.” His meaning plainly is : In those copies which have not been purposely altered so as to conforın to certain opinions. But Mr. Norton in commenting on this declaration of the good fatber, makes it tantamount to saying: “It is found in copies not inspected after the transcriber had done his work, by some person responsible for the correctness of the text;" to which he
' subjoins the following clause: “A care which was undoubtedly taken of all copies pretending to accuracy; p. lxxx. I have
underscored these remarkable words of Mr. Norton here ; for remarkable they truly are, when we find them in a writer who has told us repeatedly of whole chapters and long paragraphs being added by copyists to Matthew and Mark, without any embarrassment at all, as it would seem, from "persons responsible for the correctness of the text." Mr. Norton does not thus commit himself, when he is pleading in behalf of a cause that is well grounded.
But the internal difficulties, again, are in his view the principal objections to the passage. • The agony of the Saviour takes place after the angel has interposed. The bloody sweat is such an occurrence as physiology would decline undertaking to explain. The firmness and fortitude of the Saviour's character are rendered doubtful by such an event. No one was present to witness the events here related. If Jesus told the story to bis disciples, how could Matthew oinit the mention of it? The story interrupts the connection of the discourse.'
A brief reply to these objections, is all that seems to be needed. When the angel strengthened the Saviour, it was that he might bear the agony which awaited him, not to deliver him wholly from it. The cup must be drunk; it could not pass from the Saviour. Mr. Norton indeed, in his subsequent remarks, seems to imply a distrust in the interposition of angels on any occasion ; but this is a point I need not stop to argue with him here.
As to the bloody sweat being a physiological impossibility, I bave only to remark, that the Evangelist makes no statement liable to physiological objection; at least, as I understand bim. His words are : ο ιδρως αυτού ωσεί θρόμβοι αίματος καταβαίVOVIES ini arvynu, i. e. ' his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. I understand by this, that the agony of Jesus was such as to force from bis body a copious and viscous perspiration, which fell down in conglomerated drops, like blood, to the earth; an occurrence perfectly within the pale of common physiology. Even if this sweat was discoloured, and of a reddish bue, there is nothing very strange in the occurrence. But the words of the Evangelist do not at all oblige us to suppose this. Mr. Norton himself has presented us here with that which Paulus calls a philological wonder.
But the firinness and fortitude of Jesus, it seems, are in danger of being compromitted on such an occasion. Then three of the Evangelists have compromitted them; for so many re