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knowledge of their histories. He relates many events respecting the birth of John the Baptist, and of our Lord, omitted by the other evangelists; and has preserved some parables spoken by Christ, of which the others make no mention, as that of the prodigal son ; of the rich man and Lazarus ; of the good Samaritan, &c. It is almost the universal belief that this gospel was written in the Greek language, with which Luke was well acquainted, and which was then the prevailing and popular language of the whole civilized world. Where it was written, is not so certain. Some have supposed at Rome, others, with more probability, that it was written in Achaia in Greece, or at Antioch in Syria, bordering on the east of Greece, the place of the residence of this evangelist.
Though Luke was a man of more learning than the other writers of the evangelical history, and wrote the Greek language with greater purity and elegance than they, he makes no unnecessary parade of learning. He aims at no artificial eloquence. His narration is simple, and natural: and his object appears to have been to relate the miracles and the discourses of his divine Master without exaggeration, and without eulogy. In writing his gospel, it is supposed lie had the assistance of St. Paul, with whom he was many years associated in extending the knowledge and blessings of Christianity. It is not probable, however, that he received that direct and personal assistance from St. Paul in writing his gospel, which Mark is supposed to have had from St. Peter in preparing bis history. For Luke was acquainted with the immediate apostles of Christ, and with others who had heard his discourses and seen his miraculous works; and from thein procured a thorough knowledge of the life and character of our Lord, with the particolar design of giving a more correct and complete narrative for the instruction of the believers in Greece, at whose request he prepared this history. This is fully implied in the introduction to his gospel.
Some have maintained that this evangelist was one of the seventy disciples sent out by Christ to teach and preaclı in the cities of Judea. By others it is said, that this supposition militates with his own declaration, in the beginning of his gospel. Upon careful attention to what is there said, however, we think it will appear, that be has
reference to some others who had given an aocount of the miracles and doctrines of Christ, when he says, that they wrote what had been delivered unto them by eye-witnesses, &c. and when he adds, as in the third verse of the first chapter, “It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understand. ing of all things from the very first, to write unto thee, in order," &c. Now this expression does, by no means, exclude the idea of the evangelist having had personal knowledge of Christ and of his miracles. He might, indeed, justly use such language, though he derived his information from others, who kuew the facts they related. But the original conveys this idea, that "it seemed fit and proper to him, to write a history of Christ, as he had been contemporary with and perfectly acquainted with all persons and events from the first, &c. And we cannot but believe that St. Luke personally enjoyed the favor of hearing and seeing our Lord; and that the natural meaning of his lauguage in this place is this, that much of what he relates he had himself witnessed, and of the other things he was assured by the apostles themselves, with whom he was intimately acquainted.
Before he accompanied Paul, and after he left the apostle upon his first visit to Rome, as related in the last chapter of Acts, St. Luke is supposed to have travelled through various parts of Greece to preach the Gospel : and it is said by some of the ancient ecclesiastical writers, that he died at Ephesus. But there is no precise and satisfactory historical proof of this fact.
Amidst the variety of testimonies from the early Christian writers respecting the gospel of Luke, the following may be sufficient. Irenæus, as already quoted in the preface to Matthew's gospel, says, “Luke, the companion of Paul, put down in a book the gospel preached by him.” Again, he says of this evangelist, that,"he was not only a companion and fellow-laborer of Paul; but of some of the other apostles.” Tertullian, a very learned Christian father, speaks thus of Luke_though not an apostle, yet he was apostolical.” Origen, another learned doctor in the primitive Christian church, says, "the third gospel is that according to Luke, which St. Paul commended, and which was published for the sake of the Gentile conyerts." Eusebius. bishop of Cesarea, asserts, that "Luke, who was of Antioch,
and by profession a physician, for the most part a companion of Paul, but who was also acquainted with the other apostles, has left us in two books, divinely inspired, evidences of the art of healing souls, which he had learned from them. One of these is the gospel, which he professes to have written as they delivered it to him. The other is the Acts of the Apostles, which he composed from his own knowledge." Jerome's testimony is nearly the same as that of Eusebius, whose account probably he copied with some slight verbal alterations. He says, that “Luke, a physi. eian of Antioch, not unskilful in the Greek language, a constant companion of St. Paul in his travels, wrote a gospel; and another excellent volume, entitled the Acts of the Apostles. It is supposed, that Luke did not learn his gospel from St. Paul only, who had not seen our Lord in the flesh; but also from the other apostles. But the Aets he composed from what he had seen and knew himself.”
1 AS many* have undertaken to give a partic.
* ular account of those things which are most 2 surely believed among us, even as they deliv.
ered them unto us, who from the beginning were eye witnesses, and ministers of the word: 3 It seemed good to me also, (having had per
fect understanding of all things from the very
first,)t to write unto thee in order, most ex. 4 cellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know
the certainty of those things wherein thou hast
been instructed. 5 IN the days of Herod the king of Judea,
there was a priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia : and his wife was of the daugh
ters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God,
walking in all the commandments and ordi7 nances of the Lord blameless. And they had
no child, because that Elizabeth was barren, aud they were both far advanced in years :
Who perhaps were not wholly competent to it. + That is, being contemporary, and acquainted with all persons and circumstances.
8 And it came to pass, that, while he executed
the priest's office before God in the order of 9 his course, according to the custom of the
priest's office, his lot was to burn incense
when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were 11 praying without, at the time of incense. And
there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord,
standing on the right side of the altar of in12 cense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was 13 troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the
angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias : for thy prayer is heard ; and thy wife Elizabeth
shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his 14 name John. And thou shalt have joy and
gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. 15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord,
and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink;
and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, 16 even from his mother's womb. And many
of the children of Israel he shall turn to the 17 Lord their God. And he shall go before him
in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just ; to
make ready a people prepared for the Lord. 18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby
shall I know this? for I am an old man, and 19 my wife advanced in years. And the angel
answering, said unto him, I am Gabriel, who stand in the presence of God; and am sent to
speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad 20 tidings. And behold, thou shalt be dumb,
and not able to speak, until the day that these