Writings of Augustine. The Harmony of the Gospels

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St. Augustin:

The Harmony of the Gospels

Translated by the Rev. S. D. F. Salmond, D.D., Free College, Aberdeen

Edited, with notes and introduction, by the Rev. M. B. Riddle, D.D., Professor of New-Testament Exegesis, Western Theological Seminary, Allegheny, PA.

Published in 1886 by Philip Schaff, New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.


Book III.


This book contains a demonstration of the harmony of the evangelists from the accounts of the Supper on to the end of the Gospel, the narratives given by the several writers being collated, and the whole arranged in one orderly connection.


Prologue.

1. Inasmuch as we have now reached that point in the history at which all the four evangelists necessarily hold their course in company on to the conclusion, without presenting any serious divergence the one from the other, if it happens anywhere that one of them makes mention of something which another leaves unnoticed, it appears to me that we may demonstrate the consistency maintained by the various evangelists with greater expedition, if from this point onwards we now bring all the statements given by all the writers together into one connection, and arrange the whole in a single narration, and under one view. [1229] I consider that in this way the task which we have undertaken may be discharged with greater convenience and facility than otherwise might be the case. What we have now before us, therefore, is to attempt the construction of a single narrative, in which we shall include all the particulars, and for which we shall possess the attestation of those evangelists who, (each selecting for recital out of the whole number of facts those which he had either the ability or the desire to relate,) have prepared these records for us: [1230] this being done in such a manner, moreover, that all these statements, in regard to which we have to prove an entire freedom from contradictions, are taken as made by all the evangelists together.

Footnotes

[1229] The text gives: et in unam narrationem faciemque digeramus. For faciem the reading seriem, series, also occurs. [1230] The text gives: ut aggrediamur narrationem omnia commemorantes, cum eorum evangelistarum attestatione qui ex his omnibus, etc. Some editions have cum eorundem evangelistarum attestatione quid ex his, etc. = the attestation of the same evangelists as to what, etc.


Chapter I.--Of the Method in Which the Four Evangelists are Shown to Be at One in the Accounts Given of the Lord's Supper and the Indication of His Betrayer.

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2. Let us commence here, accordingly, with the notice presented by Matthew, [which runs thus]: "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to His disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body." [1231] Both Mark and Luke also gave this section. [1232] It is true that Luke has made mention of the cup twice over: first before He gave the bread; and, secondly, after the bread has been given. But the fact is, that what is stated in that earlier connection has been introduced, according to this writer's habit, by anticipation, while the words which he has inserted here in their proper order are left unrecorded in those previous verses, and the two passages when put together make up exactly what stands expressed by those other evangelists. [1233] John, on the other hand, has said nothing about the body and blood of the Lord in this context; but he plainly certifies that the Lord spake to that effect on another occasion, [1234] with much greater fulness than here. At present, however, after recording how the Lord rose from supper and washed the disciples' feet, and after telling us also the reason why the Lord dealt thus with them, in expressing which He had intimated, although still obscurely, and by the use of a testimony of Scripture, the fact that He was being betrayed by the man who was to eat of His bread, at this point John comes to the section in question, which the other three evangelists also unite in introducing. He presents it thus: "When Jesus had thus said, He was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, That one of you shall betray me. Then the disciples looked (as the same John subjoins) one on another, doubting of whom He spake." [1235] "And (as Matthew and Mark tell us) they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto Him, Is it I? And He answered and said (as Matthew proceeds to state), He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me." Matthew also goes on to make the following addition to the preceding: "The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of Him; but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man shall be betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born." [1236] Mark, too, is at one with him here as regards both the words themselves and the order of narration. [1237] Then Matthew continues thus: "Then Judas, which betrayed Him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said." Even these words did not say explicitly whether he was himself the man. For the sentence still admits of being understood as if its point was this, "I am not the person who has said so." [1238] All this, too, may quite easily have been uttered by Judas and answered by the Lord without its being noticed by all the others.

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3. After this, Matthew proceeds to insert the mystery of His body and blood, as it was committed then by the Lord to the disciples. Here Mark and Luke act correspondingly. But after He had handed the cup to them, [we find that] He spoke again concerning His betrayer, in terms which Luke recounts, when he says, "But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. And truly the Son of man goeth as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom He shall be betrayed." [1239] At this point we must now suppose that to come in which is narrated by John while these others omit it, just as John has also passed by certain matters which they have detailed. In accordance with this, after the giving of the cup, and after the Lord's subsequent saying which has been brought in by Luke,--namely, "But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table," etc.,--the statement made by John is [to be taken as immediately] subjoined. It is to the following effect: "Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, and said unto him, [1240] Who is he of whom He speaketh? He then, when he had laid himself on Jesus' breast, saith unto Him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when He had dipped the sop, He gave it to Judas, the son of Simon [of] Scarioth. And after the sop Satan then entered into him." [1241]

4. Here we must take care not to let John underlie the appearance not only of standing in antagonism to Luke, who had stated before this, that Satan entered into the heart of Judas at the time when he made his bargain with the Jews to betray Him on receipt of a sum of money, but also of contradicting himself. For, at an earlier point, and previous to [his notice of] the receiving of this sop, he had made use of these terms: "And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas to betray Him." [1242] And how does he enter into the heart, but by putting unrighteous persuasions into the thoughts of unrighteous men? The explanation, however, is this. We ought to suppose Judas to have been more fully taken possession of by the devil now, just as on the other hand, in the instance of the good, those who had already received the Holy Spirit on that occasion, subsequently to His resurrection, when He breathed upon them and said, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost," [1243] also obtained a fuller gift of that Spirit at a later time, namely, when He was sent down from above on the day of Pentecost. In like manner, Satan then entered into this man after the sop. And (as John himself mentions in the immediate context) "Jesus saith unto him, What thou doest, do quickly. Now no man at the table knew for what intent He spake this unto him; for some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. He then, having received the sop, went immediately out; and it was night. Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus saith, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in Him: and if God be glorified in Him, God shall also glorify Him in Himself, and shall straightway glorify Him." [1244]

Footnotes

[1231] Matt. xxvi. 26. [1232] Mark xiv. 22; Luke xxii. 49. [1233] [Luke's first reference to the cup belongs to the passover celebration, in distinction from the Lord's Supper.--R.] [1234] John vi. 32-64. [1235] John xiii. 21, 22. [1236] Matt. xxvi. 22-25. [1237] Mark xiv. 19-21. [1238] [This explanation seems altogether inadmissible, and is equally unnecessary.--R.] [1239] Luke xxii. 21, 22. [1240] Innuit ergo huic Simon Petrus et dixit ei. [1241] John xiii. 23-27. [Whether this preceded or followed the giving of the cup is still in dispute.--R.] [1242] John xiii. 2. [1243] John xx. 22. [1244] John xiii. 28-32.


Chapter II.--Of the Proof of Their Freedom from Any Discrepancies in the Notices Given of the Predictions of Peter's Denials.

5. "Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and, as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say unto you. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. Simon Peter saith unto Him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now, but thou shalt follow me afterwards. Peter saith unto Him, Lord, why cannot I follow Thee now? I will lay down my life for Thy sake. Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, until thou deniest me thrice." [1245] John, from whose Gospel I have taken the passage introduced above, is not the only evangelist who details this incident of the prophetic announcement of his own denial to Peter. The other three also record the same thing. [1246] They do not, however, take one and the same particular point in the discourses [of Christ] as their occasion for proceeding to this narration. For Matthew and Mark both introduce it in a completely parallel order, and at the same stage of their narrative, namely, after the Lord left the house in which they had eaten the passover; while Luke and John, on the other hand, bring it in before He left that scene. Still we might easily suppose, either that it has been inserted in the way of a recapitulation by the one couple of evangelists, or that it has been inserted in the way of an anticipation by the other; only such a supposition may be made more doubtful by the circumstance that there is so remarkable a diversity, not only in the Lord's words, but even in those sentiments of His by which the incident in question is introduced, and by which Peter was moved to venture his presumptuous asseveration that he would die with the Lord or for the Lord. These considerations may constrain us rather to understand the narratives really to import that the man uttered his presumptuous declaration thrice over, as it was called forth by different occasions in the series of Christ's discourses, and that also three several times the answer was returned him by the Lord, which intimated that before the cock crew he would deny Him thrice.

6. And surely there is nothing incredible in supposing that Peter was moved to such an act of presumption on several occasions, separated from each other by certain intervals of time, as he was actually instigated to deny Him repeatedly. Neither should it seem unreasonable to fancy that the Lord gave him a reply in similar terms at three successive periods, especially when [we see that] in immediate connection with each other, and without the interposition of anything else either in fact or word, Christ addressed the question to him three several times whether he loved Him, and that, when Peter returned the same answer thrice over, He also gave him thrice over the self-same charge to feed His sheep. [1247] That it is the more reasonable thing to suppose that Peter displayed his presumption on three different occasions, and that thrice over he received from the Lord a warning with respect to his triple denial, is further proved, as we may see, by the very terms employed by the evangelists, which record sayings uttered by the Lord in diverse form and of diverse import. Let us here call attention again to that passage which I introduced a little ago from the Gospel of John. There we certainly find that He had expressed Himself in this way: "Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. Simon Peter saith unto Him, Lord, whither goest Thou?" [1248] Now, surely it is evident here that what moved Peter to utter this question, "Lord, whither goest Thou?" was the words which the Lord Himself had spoken. For he had heard Him say, "Whither I go, ye cannot come." Then Jesus made this reply to the said Peter: "Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now, but thou shall follow me afterwards." Thereupon Peter expressed himself thus: "Lord, why cannot I follow Thee now? I will lay down my life for Thy sake." [1249] And to this presumptuous declaration the Lord responded by predicting his denial. Luke, again, first mentions how the Lord said, "Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and, when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren:" next he proceeds immediately to tell us how Peter replied to this effect: "Lord, I am ready to go with Thee, both unto prison and to death;" and then he continues thus: "And He said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me." [1250] Now, who can fail to perceive that this is an occasion by itself, and that the incident in connection with which Peter was incited to make the presumptuous declaration already referred to is an entirely different one? But, once more, Matthew presents us with the following passage: "And when they had sung an hymn," he says, "they went out into the Mount of Olives. Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee." [1251] The same passage is given in precisely the same form by Mark. [1252] What similarity is there, however, in these words, or in the ideas expressed by them, either to the terms in which John represents Peter to have made his presumptuous declaration, or to those in which Luke exhibits him as uttering such an asseveration? And so we find that in Matthew's narrative the connection proceeds immediately thus: "Peter answered and said unto Him, Though all men shall be offended because of Thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus saith unto him, Verily, I say unto thee, that this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter saith unto him, Though I should die with Thee, yet will I not deny Thee. Likewise also said all His disciples." [1253]

7. All this is recorded almost in the same language also by Mark, only that he has not put in so general a form what the Lord said with regard to the manner in which the event [of Peter's failure] was to be brought about, but has given it a more particular turn. For his version is this: "Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice." [1254] Thus it appears that all of them tell us how the Lord foretold that Peter would deny Him before the cock crew, but that they do not all mention how often the cock was to crow, and that Mark is the only one who has presented a more explicit notice of this incident in the narrative. Hence some are of opinion that Mark's statement is not in harmony with those of the others. But this is simply because they do not give sufficient attention to the facts of the case, and, above all, because they approach the question under the cloud of a prejudiced mind, in consequence of their being possessed by a hostile disposition towards the gospel. The fact is, that Peter's denial, when taken as a whole, is a threefold denial. For he remained in the same state of mental agitation, and harboured the same mendacious intention, until what had been foretold regarding him was brought to his mind, and healing came to him by bitter weeping and sorrow of heart. It is evident, however, that if this complete denial--that is to say, the threefold denial--is taken to have commenced only after the first crowing of the cock, three of the evangelists will appear to have given an incorrect account of the matter. For Matthew's version is this: "Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice;" and Luke puts it thus: "I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me;" and John presents it in this form: "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, the cock shall not crow till thou hast denied me thrice." And thus, in different terms and with words introduced in diverse successions, these three evangelists have expressed one and the same sense as conveyed by the words which the Lord spake--namely, the fact that, before the cock should crow, Peter was to deny Him thrice. On the other hand, if [we suppose that] he went through the whole triple denial before the cock began to crow at all, then Mark will be made to underlie the charge of having given a superfluous statement when he puts these words into the Lord's mouth: "Verily I say unto thee, That this day, before the cock crow twice, thou shall deny me thrice." For to what purpose would it be to say, "before the cock crow twice," when, on the supposition that this entire threefold denial was gone through previous to the first crowing of the cock, it is self-evident that a negation, which would thus be proved to have been completed before the first cockcrow, must also, as matter of course, be understood to have been fully uttered before the second cockcrow and before the third, and, in short, before all the cockcrowings which took place on that same night? But, inasmuch as this threefold denial was begun previous to the first crowing of the cock, those three evangelists concerned themselves with noticing, not the time at which Peter was to complete it, but the extent [1255] to which it was to be carried, and the period at which it was to commence; that is to say, their object was to bring out the facts that it was to be thrice repeated, and that it was to begin previous to the cockcrowing. At the same time, so far as the man's own mind is concerned, we might also quite well understand it to have been engaged in, as a whole, previous to the first cockcrow. For although it is true that, so far as regards the actual utterance of the individual who was guilty of the denial, that threefold negation was only entered upon previous to the first cockcrow, and really finished before the second cockcrow, still it is equally true that, in so far as the disposition of mind and the apprehensions indulged by Peter were concerned, it was conceived, [1256] as a whole, before the first cockcrow. Neither is it a matter of any consequence of what duration those intervals of delay were which elapsed between the several utterances of that thrice-recurring voice, if it is the case that the denial completely possessed his heart even previous to the first cockcrow,--in consequence, indeed, of his having imbibed a spirit of terror so abject as to make him capable of denying the Lord when he was questioned regarding Him, not only once, but a second time, and even a third time. Thus, a more correct and careful consideration of the matter might show us [1257] that, precisely as it is declared that the man who looketh on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart, [1258] so, in the present instance, inasmuch as in the words which he spoke, Peter merely expressed the apprehension which he had already conceived with such intensity in his mind as to make it capable of enduring even on to a third repetition of his denial of the Lord, this threefold negation is to be assigned as a whole to that particular period at which the fear that sufficed thus to carry him on to a threefold denial took possession of him. In this way, too, it may be made apparent that, even if the words in which the denial was couched began to break forth from him only after the first cockcrow, when his heart was smitten by the inquiries addressed to him, it would involve neither any absurdity nor any untruthfulness, although it were said that before the cock crew he denied Him thrice, seeing that, in any case, previous to the crowing of the cock, his mind had been assailed by an apprehension violent enough to be able to draw him [1259] on even to a third denial. All the less, therefore, ought we to feel any difficulty in the matter, if it appears that the threefold denial, as expressed also in the thrice-recurring utterances of the person who made the denial, was entered upon previous to the crowing of the cock, although it was not completed before the first cockcrow. We may take a parallel case, and suppose an intimation to be made to the following effect to a person: "This night, before the cock crow, you will write a letter to me, in which you will revile me thrice." Well, surely in this instance, if the man began to write the letter before the cock had crowed at all, and finished it after the cock had crowed for the first time, that would be no reason for alleging that the intimation previously made was false. The fact, therefore, is that, in putting these words into the Lord's lips, "Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice," Mark has given us a plainer indication of the intervals of time which separated the utterances themselves. And when we come to the said section of the evangelical narrative, we shall see that the circumstances are presented in a manner which exhibits, in that connection also, the harmony subsisting among the evangelists.

8. If, however, the demand is to get at the very words, literally and completely, which the Lord addressed to Peter, we answer that it is impossible to discover these; and further, that it is simply superfluous to ask them, inasmuch as the speaker's meaning--to intimate which was the object He had in view in uttering the words--admits of being understood with the utmost plainness, even under the diverse terms employed by the evangelists. And whether, then, it be the case that Peter, instigated at different occasions in the course of the Lord's sayings, made his presumptuous declaration three several times, and had his denial foretold him thrice over by the Lord, as is the more probable result to which our investigation points us; or whether it may appear that the accounts given by all the evangelists are capable of being reduced to a single statement, when a certain order of narration is adopted, so that it could be proved that it was only on one occasion that the Lord predicted to Peter, on the exhibition of his presumptuous spirit, the fact that he would deny Him;--in either case, any contradiction between the evangelists will fail to be detected, as nothing of that nature really exists.

Footnotes

[1245] John xiii. 33-38. [1246] Matt. xxvi. 30-35; Mark xiv. 26-31; Luke xxii. 31-34. [1247] John xxi. 15-17. [1248] John xiii. 33-36. [1249] John xiii. 37. [1250] Luke xxii. 31-33. [1251] Matt. xxvi. 30-32. [1252] Mark xiv. 26-28. [1253] Matt. xxvi. 33-35. [It is very probable that the prediction of Peter's denial was repeated, being first spoken in the upper room (Luke, John), and afterwards on the way to Gethsemane (Matthew, Mark)--R.] [1254] Mark xiv. 30. [The Latin reproduces the emphatic form of the Greek text: "That thou to-day, even this night, before the cock crow twice, shalt deny me thrice" (Revised Version). It seem probable that this is the most accurate report, derived from Peter himself.--R.] [1255] Reading quanta futura esset. Quando also occurs for quanta, in which case the sense would be = the period at which it was to take place. [1256] Adopting concepta est. There is another reading, coepta est = it was commenced. [1257] The text gives simply: ut rectius diligentiusque attendentibus. Migne states that in six mss. videtur is added = it seems to those who consider the matter more correctly, etc. [1258] Matt. v. 28. [1259] The text gives eum. Another common reading is eam = it, i.e. his mind.


Chapter III.--Of the Manner in Which It Can Be Shown that No Discrepancies Exist Between Them in the Accounts Which They Give of the Words Which Were Spoken by the Lord, on to the Time of His Leaving the House in Which They Had Supped.

9. At this point, therefore, we may now follow, as far as we can, the order of the narrative, as gathered from all the evangelists together. Thus, then, after the prediction in question had been made to Peter, according to John's version, the same John proceeds with his statement, and introduces in this connection the Lord's discourse, which was to the following effect: "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions;" [1260] and so forth. He narrates at length the sayings, so memorable and so pre-eminently sublime, of which He delivered Himself in the course of that address, until, in due connection, he comes to the passage where the Lord speaks as follows: "O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee: but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith Thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them." [1261] Again we find, according to the narrative given by Luke, that there arose "a strife among them which of them should be accounted the greatest. And He said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; [1262] and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. And ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations: and I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." [1263] The said Luke also immediately subjoins to these words the following passage: "And the Lord said to Simon: Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto Him: Lord, I am ready to go with Thee, both into prison, and to death. And He said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shall thrice deny that thou knowest me. And He said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything? And they said, Nothing. Then said He unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And He was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And He said unto them, It is enough." [1264] Next comes the passage, given both by Matthew and by Mark: "And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives. Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. Peter answered and said unto Him, Though all men shall be offended because of Thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter saith unto Him, Though I should die with Thee, yet will I not deny Thee. Likewise also said all the disciples." [1265] We have introduced the preceding section as it is presented by Matthew. But Mark also records it almost in so many and the same words, with the exception of the apparent discrepancy, which we have already cleared up above, on the subject of the crowing of the cock.

Footnotes

[1260] John xiv. 1, 2. [1261] John xvii. 25, 26. [1262] Another reading is minor = as the less. [1263] Luke xxii. 24-30. [This incident may with more propriety be placed before the washing of the disciples' feet.--R.] [1264] Luke xxii. 31-38. [The conversation in regard to the swords (vers. 35-38) probably preceded the discourse reported by John (xiv.-xvii.).--R.] [1265] Matt. xxvi. 30-35.


Chapter IV.--Of What Took Place in the Piece of Ground or Garden to Which They Came on Leaving the House After the Supper; And of the Method in Which, in John's Silence on the Subject, a Real Harmony Can Be Demonstrated Between the Other Three Evangelists--Namely, Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

10. Matthew then proceeds with his narrative in the same connection as follows: "Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane." [1266] This is mentioned also by Mark. [1267] Luke, too, refers to it, although he does not notice the piece of ground by name. For he says: "And He came out, and went, as was His wont, to the Mount of Olives; and His disciples also followed Him. And when He was at the place, He said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation." [1268] That is the place which the other two have instanced under the name of Gethsemane. There, we understand, was the garden which John brings into notice when he gives the following narration: "When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which He entered, and His disciples." [1269] Then taking Matthew's record, we get this statement next in order: "He said unto His disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. [1270] And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And He went a little farther, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt. And He cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What! could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me except I drink it, Thy will be done. And He came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And He left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then cometh He to His disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that shall betray me." [1271]

11. Mark also records these passages, introducing them quite in the same method and succession. Some of the sentences, however, are given with greater brevity by him, and others are somewhat more fully explained. These sayings of our Lord, indeed, may seem in one portion to stand in some manner of contradiction to each other as they are presented in Matthew's version. I refer to the fact that [it is stated there that] He came to His disciples after His third prayer, and said to them, "Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that shall betray me." For what are we to make of the direction thus given above, "Sleep on now, and take your rest," when there is immediately subjoined this other declaration, "Behold, the hour is at hand," and thereafter also the instruction, "Arise, let us be going"? Those readers who perceive something like a contradiction here, seek to pronounce these words, "Sleep on now, and take your rest," in a way betokening that they were spoken in reproach, and not in permission. And this is an expedient which might quite fairly be adopted were there any necessity for it. Mark, however, has reproduced these sayings in a manner which implies that after He had expressed himself in the terms, "Sleep on now, and take your rest," He added the words, "It is enough," and then appended to these the further statement, "The hour is come; behold, the Son of man shall be betrayed." [1272] Hence we may conclude that the case really stood thus: namely, that after addressing these words to them, "Sleep on now, and take your rest," the Lord was silent for a space, so that what He had thus given them permission to do might be [seen to be] really acted upon; and that thereafter He made the other declaration, "Behold the hour is come." Thus it is that in Mark's Gospel we find those words [regarding the sleeping] followed immediately by the phrase, "It is enough;" that is to say, "the rest which you have had is enough now." But as no distinct notice is introduced of this silence on the Lord's part which intervened then, the passage comes to be understood in a forced manner, and it is supposed that a peculiar pronunciation must be given to these words.

12. Luke, on the other hand, has omitted to mention the number of times that He prayed. He has told us, however, a fact which is not recorded by the others--namely, that when He prayed He was strengthened by an angel, and that, as He prayed more earnestly, He had a bloody sweat, with drops falling down to the ground. Thus it appears that when he makes the statement, "And when He rose up from prayer, and was come to His disciples," he does not indicate how often He had prayed by that time. But still, in so doing, he does not stand in any kind of antagonism to the other two. Moreover, John does indeed mention how He entered into the garden along with His disciples. But he does not relate how He was occupied there up to the period when His betrayer came in along with the Jews to apprehend Him.

13. These three evangelists, therefore, have in this manner narrated the same incident, just as, on the other hand, one man might give three several accounts of a single occurrence, with a certain measure of diversity in his statements, and yet without any real contradiction. Luke, for example, has specified the distance to which He went forward from the disciples--that is to say, when He withdrew from them in order to pray--more definitely than the others. For he tells us that it was "about a stone's cast." Mark, again, states first of all in his own words how the Lord prayed that, "If it were possible, the hour might pass from Him," referring to the hour of His Passion, which he also expresses presently by the term "cup." He then reproduces the Lord's own words, in the following manner: "Abba, Father, all things are possible to Thee: take away this cup from me." And if we connect with these terms the clause which is given by the other two evangelists, and for which Mark himself has also already introduced a clear parallel, presented as a statement made in his own person instead of the Lord's, the whole sentence will be exhibited in this form: "Father, if it be possible, (for) all things are possible unto Thee, take away this cup from me." And it will be so put just to prevent any one from supposing that He made the Father's power less than it is when He said, "If it be possible." For thus His words were not, "If Thou canst do it;" but "If it be possible." And anything is possible which He wills. Therefore, the expression, "If it be possible," has here just the same force as, "If Thou wilt." For Mark has made the sense in which the phrase, "If it be possible," is to be taken quite plain, when he says, "All things are possible unto Thee." And further, the fact that these writers have recorded how He said, "Nevertheless, not what I will, but what Thou wilt" (an expression which means precisely the same as this other form, "Nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done"), shows us clearly enough that it was with reference not to any absolute impossibility on the Father's side, but only to His will, that these words, "If it be possible," were spoken. This is made the more apparent by the plainer statement which Luke has presented to the same effect. For his version is not, "If it be possible," but, "If Thou be willing." And to this clearer declaration of what was really meant we may add, with the effect of still greater clearness, the clause which Mark has inserted, so that the whole will proceed thus: "If Thou be willing, (for) all things are possible unto Thee, take away this cup from me."

14. Again, as to Mark's mentioning that the Lord said not only "Father," but "Abba, Father," the explanation simply is, that "Abba" is in Hebrew exactly what "Pater" is in Latin. And perhaps the Lord may have used both words with some kind of symbolical significance, intending to indicate thereby, that in sustaining this sorrow He bore the part of His body, which is the Church, of which He has been made the corner-stone, and which comes to Him [in the person of disciples gathered] partly out of the Hebrews, to whom He refers when He says "Abba," and partly out of the Gentiles, to whom He refers when He says "Pater" [Father]. [1273] The Apostle Paul also makes use of the same significant expression. For he says, "In whom we cry, Abba, Father;" [1274] and, in another passage, "God sent His Spirit into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." [1275] For it was meet that the good Master and true Saviour, by sharing in the sufferings of the more infirm, [1276] should in His own person illustrate the truth that His witnesses ought not to despair, although it might perchance happen that, through human frailty, sorrow might steal in upon their hearts at the time of suffering; seeing that they would overcome it if, mindful that God knows what is best for those whose well-being He regards, they gave His will the preference over their own. On this subject, however, as a whole, the present is not the time for entering on any more detailed discussion. For we have to deal simply with the question concerning the harmony of the evangelists, from whose varied modes of narration we gather the wholesome lesson that, in order to get at the truth, the one essential thing to aim at in dealing with the terms is simply the intention which the speaker had in view in using them. For the word "Father" means just the same as the phrase "Abba, Father." But with a view to bring out the mystic significance, the expression, "Abba, Father," is the clearer form; while, for indicating the unity, the word "Father" is sufficient. And that the Lord did indeed employ this method of address, "Abba, Father," must be accepted as matter of fact. But still His intention would not appear very obvious were there not the means (since others use simply the term "Father") to show that under such a form of expression those two Churches, which are constituted, the one out of the Jews, and the other out of the Gentiles, are presented as also really one. In this way, then, [we may suppose that] the phrase, "Abba, Father," was adopted in order to convey the same idea as was indicated by the Lord on another occasion, when He said, "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold." [1277] In these words He certainly referred to the Gentiles, since He had sheep also among the people of Israel. But in that passage He goes on immediately to add the declaration, "Them also I must bring, that there may be one fold and one Shepherd." And so we may say that, just as the phrase, "Abba, Father," contains the idea of [the two races,] the Israelites and the Gentiles, the word "Father," used alone, points to the one flock which these two constitute.

Footnotes

[1266] Matt. xxvi. 36-46. [1267] Mark xiv. 32-42. [1268] Luke xxii. 39-46. [1269] John xviii. 1. [1270] ["Go yonder and pray;" so the Latin, as well as the Greek text. Comp. Revised Version, which in some other instances, in the passage here cited, agrees more closely with Augustin's text than does the Authorized Version.--R.] [1271] Matt. xxvi. 36-46. [1272] Mark xiv. 41. [On the various explanations of this difficult passage, see commentaries.--R.] [1273] See Eph. ii. 11-22. [1274] Rom. viii. 15. [1275] Gal. iv. 6. [1276] Or = having compassion on the more infirm; infirmioribus compatiens. [1277] John x. 16.


Chapter V.--Of the Accounts Which are Given by All the Four Evangelists in Regard to What Was Done and Said on the Occasion of His Apprehension; And of the Proof that These Different Narratives Exhibit No Real Discrepancies.

15. When we follow the versions presented by Matthew and Mark, we find that the history now proceeds thus: "And while He yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude, with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed Him, gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is He; hold Him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, Master; and kissed Him." [1278] First of all, however, as we gather from Luke's statement, He said to the traitor, "Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?" [1279] Next, as we learn from Matthew, He spoke thus: "Friend, wherefore art thou come?" Thereafter He added certain words which are found in John's narrative, which runs in the following strain: "Whom seek ye? They answered Him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am He. And Judas also, which betrayed Him, stood with them. As soon then as He had said unto them, I am He, they went backward, and fell to the ground. Then asked He them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am He: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way; that the saying might be fulfilled which He spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none." [1280]

16. Next comes in a passage, which is given by Luke as follows: "When they which were about Him saw what would follow, they said unto Him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword? And one of them smote the servant of the high priest," as is noticed by all the four historians, "and cut off his ear," which, as we are informed by Luke and John, was his "right ear." Moreover, we gather also from John that the person who smote the servant was Peter, and that the name of the man whom he thus struck was Malchus. Next we take what Luke mentions, namely, "Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far;" [1281] with which we must connect the words appended by Matthew, namely, "Put up thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?" [1282] Along with these words we may also place the question to which John tells us He gave utterance on the same occasion, namely, "The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" [1283] And then, as is recorded by Luke, He touched the ear of the person who had been struck, and healed him.

17. Neither should we let the idea disturb us, that some contradiction may be found in the circumstance that Luke tells us how, when the disciples asked Him whether they should smite with the sword, the Lord replied in these words, "Suffer ye thus far," in a manner which might seem to imply that He thus expressed Himself, after the blow had been struck, in terms bearing that He was satisfied with what had been done so far, but desired nothing further to be done; whereas the language which is employed by Matthew might give us rather to understand that this whole incident of the use which Peter made of the sword was displeasing to the Lord. For it is more correct to suppose that when they put the question to Him, "Lord, shall we smite with the sword?" He replied then, "Suffer ye thus far;" His meaning being this: "Let not what is about to take place agitate you. These men are to be suffered to go thus far; that is to say, so far as to apprehend me, and thus to effect the fulfilment of those things which are written of me." We have further to suppose, however, that during the time which passed in the interchange of the question addressed by them to the Lord, and the reply returned by Him to them, Peter was borne on by his intense desire to appear as defender, and by his stronger excitement in the Lord's behalf, to deal the blow. But while these two things might easily have happened at the same time, two different statements could not have been uttered by the same person in one breath. [1284] For the writer would not have used the expression, "And Jesus answered and said," unless the words were a reply to the question which had been addressed by those who were about Him, and not a statement directed to Peter's act. For Matthew is the only one who has recorded the judgment passed by Jesus on Peter's act. And in that passage the phrase which Matthew has employed is also not in the form, "Jesus answered Peter thus, Put up thy sword;" but it runs in these terms: "Then said Jesus unto him, Put up thy sword;" from which it appears that it was after the deed that Jesus thus declared Himself. What is contained, again, in the phraseology used by Luke, namely, "And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far," must be taken to have been the reply which was returned to the parties who had put the question to Him. But inasmuch as, according to our previous explanation, the single blow with which the servant was struck was delivered just during the time when the terms of the said question and answer were passing between these persons and the Lord, the writer has considered it right to record that act in the same particular order, so that it stands inserted between the words of the interrogation and those in which the response was couched. Consequently, there is nothing here in antagonism to the statement introduced by Matthew, namely, "For all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword,"--that is to say, those who may have used the sword. But there might appear to be some inconsistency here if the Lord's answer were taken in a sense which would show Him to have expressed approval on this occasion of the voluntary use of the sword, even although it was only to the effect of a single wound, and that, too, not a fatal one. The words, however, which were addressed to Peter may be understood, as a whole, in an application quite in harmony with the rest; so that, bringing in also what Luke and Matthew have reported, as I have stated above, we obtain the following connection: "Suffer ye thus far. Put up thy sword into its place; for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword," etc. In what way, moreover, this sentence, "Suffer ye thus far," is to be understood, I have explained already. And if there is any better method of interpreting it, be it so. Only let the veracity of the evangelists be maintained in any case.

18. After this, Matthew continues the narrative, and mentions that in that hour He addressed the multitude as follows: "Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me." [1285] Then He added also certain words, which Luke introduces thus: "But this is your hour, and the power of darkness." [1286] Next comes the sentence given by Matthew: "But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled." This last fact is recorded also by Mark. The same evangelist makes also the following addition: "And there followed Him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and when they laid hold on him, he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked." [1287]

Footnotes

[1278] Matt. xxvi. 47-56; Mark xiv. 43-50. [1279] Luke xii. 48. [1280] John xviii. 4-9. [This passage is more naturally placed before the kissing by Judas.--R.] [1281] Luke xxii. 51. [1282] Matt. xxvi. 52-55. [1283] John xviii. 11. [1284] That is to say, while Christ's answer to the disciples and Peter's act might easily have been synchronous, the Lord could not have addressed Himself in different senses to two distinct parties at the same time, namely, to the persons who put the question, and to Peter. [1285] Matt. xxvi. 53. [1286] Luke xxii. 53. [1287] Mark xiv. 52.


Chapter VI.--Of the Harmony Characterizing the Accounts Which These Evangelists Give of What Happened When the Lord Was Led Away to the House of the High Priest, as Also of the Occurrences Which Took Place Within the Said House After He Was Conducted There in the Nighttime, and in Particular of the Incident of Peter's Denial.

19. In the line of Matthew's narrative we come next upon this statement: "And they that laid hold on Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled." [1288] We learn, however, from John that He was conducted first to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas. [1289] On the other hand, Mark and Luke omit all mention of the name of the high priest. [1290] Moreover [we find that] He was led away bound. For, as John informs us, there were at hand there, in the multitude, a tribune and a cohort, and the servants of the Jews. [1291] Then in Matthew we have these words: "But Peter followed Him afar off unto the high priest's palace, and went in and sat with the servants to see the end." [1292] To this passage in the narrative Mark makes this addition: "And he warmed himself at the fire." [1293] Luke also makes a statement which amounts to the same, thus: "Peter followed afar off: and when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were sat down together, Peter sat down among them." [1294] And John proceeds in these terms: "And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. That disciple (namely, that other) was known unto the high priest, and went in (as John also tells us) with Jesus into the palace of the high priest. But Peter (as the same John adds) stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter." [1295] For the last fact we are thus indebted to John's narrative. And in this way we see how it came about that Peter also got inside, and was within the hall, as the other evangelists mention. [1296]

20. Then Matthew's report goes on thus: "Now the chief priests and elders and all the council sought false witness against Jesus, to put Him to death, but found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none." [1297] Mark comes in here with the explanation, that "their witness agreed not together." [1298] But, as Matthew continues, "At the last came two false witnesses, and said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days." [1299] Mark states that there were also others who said, "We have heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. And therefore (as Mark also observes in the same passage) their witness did not agree together." [1300] Then Matthew gives us the following relation: "And the high priest arose and said unto Him, Answerest thou nothing? What is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held His peace. And the high priest answered and said unto Him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said." [1301] Mark reports the same passage in different terms, only he omits to mention the fact that the high priest adjured Him. He makes it plain, however, that the two expressions ascribed to Jesus as the reply to the high priest,--namely, "Thou hast said," and, "I am," [1302] --really amount to the same. For, as the said Mark puts it, the narrative goes on thus: "And Jesus said, I am; and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven." [1303] This is just as Matthew also presents the passage, with the solitary exception that he does not say that Jesus replied in the phrase "I am." Again, Matthew goes on further in this strain: "Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye? And they answered and said, He is guilty of death." [1304] Mark's version of this is entirely to the same effect. So Matthew continues, "Then did they spit in His face, and buffeted Him, and others smote Him with the palms of their hands, saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?" [1305] Mark reports these things in like manner. He also mentions a further fact, namely, that they covered His face. [1306] On these incidents we have likewise the testimony of Luke.

21. These things the Lord is understood to have passed through on to the early morning in the high priest's house, to which He was first conducted, and in which Peter was also tempted. With respect, however, to this temptation of Peter, which took place during the time that the Lord was enduring these injuries, the several evangelists do not present the same order in the recital of the circumstances. For Matthew and Mark first narrate the injuries offered to the Lord, and then this temptation of Peter. Luke, again, first describes Peter's temptation, and only after that the reproaches borne by the Lord; while John, on the other hand, first recounts part of Peter's temptation, then introduces some verses recording what the Lord had to bear, next appends a statement to the effect that the Lord was sent away thence (i.e. from Annas) to Caiaphas the high priest, and then at this point resumes and sums up the relation which he had commenced of Peter's temptation in the house to which he was first conducted, giving a full account of that incident, thereafter reverting to the succession of things befalling the Lord, and telling us how He was brought to Caiaphas. [1307]

22. Accordingly, Matthew proceeds as follows: "Now Peter sat without in the palace; and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. And as he went out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them, for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying that he knew not the man. And immediately the cock crew." [1308] Such is Matthew's version. But we are also given to understand that after he had gone outside, and when he had now denied the Lord once, the first cock crew,--a fact which Matthew does not specify, but which is intimated by Mark.

23. But it was not when he was outside at the gate that he denied the Lord the second time. That took place after he had come back to the fire-place. There was no need, however, to mention the precise time at which he did thus return. Consequently Mark goes on with his narrative of the incident in these terms: "And he went out into the porch, and the cock crew. And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. And he denied it again." [1309] This is not the same maid, however, as the former one, but another, as Matthew tells us. Nay, we gather further that on the occasion of the second denial he was addressed by two parties, namely, by the maid who is mentioned by Matthew and Mark, and also by another person who is noticed by Luke. For Luke's account runs in this style: "And Peter followed afar off. And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were sat down together, Peter sat down among them. But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. And he denied Him, saying, Woman, I know Him not. And after a little while, another saw him, and said, "Thou art also of them." [1310] Now the clause, "And after a little while," which Luke introduces, covers the period during which [we may suppose that] Peter went out and the first cock crew. By this time, however, he had come in again; and thus we can understand the consistency of John's narrative, which informs us that he denied the Lord the second time as he stood by the fire. For in his version of Peter's first denial, John not only says nothing about the first crowing of the cock (which holds good of the other evangelists, too, with the exception of Mark), but also leaves unnoticed the fact that it was as he sat by the fire that the maid recognised him. For all that John says there is this, "Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man's disciples? He saith, I am not." [1311] Then he brings in the statement which he deemed it right to make on the subject of what took place with Jesus in that same house. His record of this is to the following effect: "And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals, for it was cold. And they warmed themselves; and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself." [1312] Here, therefore, we may suppose Peter to have gone out, and by this time to have come in again. For at first he was sitting by the fire; and after a space, as we gather, he had returned, and commenced to stand [by the hearth].

24. It may be, however, that some one will say to us: Peter had not actually gone out as yet, but had only risen with the purpose of going out. This may be the allegation of one who is of opinion that the second interrogation and denial took place when Peter was outside at the door. Let us therefore look at what follows in John's narrative. It is to this effect: "The high priest then asked Jesus of His disciples, and of His doctrine. Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said. And when He had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so? Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou me? And Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest." [1313] This certainly shows us that Annas was high priest. For Jesus had not been sent to Caiaphas as yet, when the question was thus put to Him, "Answerest thou the high priest so?" Mention is also made of Annas and Caiaphas as high priests by Luke at the beginning of his Gospel. [1314] After these statements, John reverts to the account which he had previously begun of Peter's denial. Thus he brings us back to the house in which the incidents took place which he has recorded, and from which Jesus was sent away to Caiaphas, to whom He was being conducted at the commencement of this scene, as Matthew has informed us. [1315] Moreover, it is in the way of a recapitulation that John records the matters regarding Peter which he has introduced at this point. Falling back upon his narration of that incident with the view of making up a complete account of the threefold denial, he proceeds thus: "And Simon stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not." [1316] Here, therefore, we find that Peter's second denial occurred, not when he was at the door, but as he was standing by the fire. This, however, could not have been the case, had he not returned by this time after having gone outside. For it is not that by this second occasion he had actually gone out, and that the other maid who is referred to saw him there outside; but the matter is put as if it was on his going out that she saw him; or, in other words, it was when he rose to go out that she observed him, and said to those who were there,--that is, to those who were gathered by the fire inside, within the court,--"This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth." Then we are to suppose that the man who had thus gone outside, on hearing this assertion, came in again, and swore to those who were now inimically disposed, "I do not know the man." [1317] In like manner, Mark also says of this same maid, that "she began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them." [1318] For this damsel was speaking not to Peter, but to those who had remained there when he went out. At the same time, she spoke in such a manner that he heard her words; whereupon he came back and stood again by the fire, and met their words with a negative. Then we have the statement made by John in these terms: "They said, Art not thou also one of his disciples?" We understand this question to have been addressed to him on his return as he stood there; and we also recognise the harmony in which this stands with the position that on this occasion Peter had to do not only with that other maid who is mentioned by Matthew and Mark in connection with this second denial, but also with that other person who is introduced by Luke. This is the reason why John uses the plural, "They said." The explanation then may be, that when the maid said to those who were with her in the court as he went out, "This is one of them," he heard her words and returned with the purpose of clearing himself, as it were, by a denial. Or, in accordance with the more probable theory, we may suppose that he did not catch what was said about him as he went out, and that on his return the maid and the other person who is introduced by Luke addressed him thus, "Art not thou also one of his disciples?" that he met them with a denial, "and said, I am not;" and further, that when this other person of whom Luke speaks insisted more pertinaciously, and said, "Surely thou art one of them," Peter answered thus, "Man, I am not." Still, when we compare together all the statements made by the several evangelists on this subject, we come clearly to the conclusion, that Peter's second denial took place, not when he was at the door, but when he was within, by the fire in the court. It becomes evident, therefore, that Matthew and Mark, who have told us how he went without, have left the fact of his return unnoticed simply with a view to brevity.

25. Accordingly, let us next examine into the consistency of the evangelists so far as the third denial is concerned, which we have previously instanced in the statement given by Matthew only. Mark then goes on with his version in these terms: "And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them; for thou art a Galilæan. But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. And immediately the second time the cock crew." [1319] Luke, again, continues his narrative, relating the same incident in this fashion: "And about the space of one hour after, another confidently affirmed, Of a truth this fellow also was with him; for he is a Galilæan. And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately while he yet spake the cock crew." [1320] John follows with his account of Peter's third denial, which is thus given: "One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him? Peter then denied again; and immediately the cock crew." [1321] Now what precise period of time is meant under the phrase, "a little after," which is employed by Matthew and Mark, is made clear by Luke, when he says, "And about the space of one hour after." John, however, conveys no intimation of this space of time. Again, with respect to the circumstance that Matthew and Mark use the plural number instead of the singular, and speak of the persons who were engaged with Peter, while Luke mentions only a single individual, and John, too, specifies but one, particularizing him further as kinsman to him whose ear Peter cut off; we may easily explain it either by understanding Matthew and Mark to have adopted a familiar method of speech here in employing the plural number simply instead of the singular, or by supposing that one of the persons present--one who knew Peter and had seen him--took the lead in making the declaration, and that the rest, imitating his confidence, joined him in pressing the assertion upon Peter. If this is the case, then two of the evangelists have given the general statement, using simply the plural number; while the other two have preferred to particularize only the one special individual who played the chief part in the transaction. But, once more, Matthew affirms that the words, "Surely thou also art one of them, for thy speech bewrayeth thee," were spoken to Peter himself. In like manner, John tells us that the question, "Did not I see thee in the garden with him?" was addressed directly to Peter. But Mark, on the other hand, gives us to understand that the sentence, "Surely he is one of them, for he is also a Galilæan," was what those who stood by said to each other about Peter. And, in the same way, Luke indicates that the declaration uttered by the other person, who said, "Of a truth, this fellow also was with him, for he is a Galilæan," was not addressed to Peter, but was made regarding Peter. These variations, however, may be explained either by understanding the evangelists, who speak of Peter as the person directly addressed, to have fairly reproduced the general sense, inasmuch as what was spoken about the man in his own presence was much the same as if it had been spoken immediately to him; or by supposing that both these methods of address were actually practised, and that the one has been noticed by the former evangelists, and the other by the latter. Moreover, we take the second cockcrowing to have occurred after the third denial, as Mark has expressly informed us.

26. Matthew then proceeds with his narrative in these terms: "And Peter remembered the word of Jesus which He had said unto him, Before the cock crow thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out and wept bitterly." [1322] Mark, again, gives it thus: "And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said unto him, Before the cock crow twice thou shall deny me thrice. And he began to weep." [1323] Luke's version is as follows: "And the Lord turned and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said unto him, Before the cock crow thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out and wept bitterly." [1324] John says nothing about Peter's recollection and weeping. Now, the statement made here by Luke, to the effect that "the Lord turned and looked upon Peter," is one which requires more careful consideration, with a view to its correct acceptance. For although there are also inner halls (or courts), so named, it was in the outer court (or hall) that Peter appeared on this occasion among the servants, who were warming themselves along with him at the fire. And it is not a credible supposition that Jesus was heard by the Jews in this place, so that we might also understand the look referred to to have been a look with the bodily eye. For Matthew presents us first with this narrative: "Then did they spit in His face and buffeted Him; and others smote Him with the palms of their hands, saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, who is he that smote thee?" [1325] And then he follows this up immediately with the paragraph about Peter: "Now Peter sat without in the palace." [1326] He would not, however, have used this latter expression, had it not been the case that the things previously alluded to were done to the Lord inside the house. And, indeed, as we gather from Mark's version, these things took place not simply in the interior, but also in the upper parts of the house. For, after recording the said circumstances, Mark goes on thus: "And as Peter was beneath in the palace." [1327] Thus, as Matthew's words, "Now Peter sat without in the palace," show us that the things previously mentioned took place inside the house, so Mark's words, "And as Peter was beneath in the palace," indicate that they were done not only in the interior, but in the upper parts of the house. But if this is the case, how could the Lord have looked on Peter with the actual glance of the bodily eye? These considerations bring me to the conclusion, that the look in question was one cast upon Peter from Heaven, the effect of which was to bring up before his mind the number of times he had now denied [his Master], and the declaration which the Lord had made to him prophetically, and in this way (the Lord thus looking mercifully upon him [1328] ), to lead him to repent, and to weep salutary tears. The expression, therefore, will be a parallel to other modes of speech which we employ daily, as when we thus pray, "Lord, look upon me;" or as when, in reference to one who has been delivered by the divine mercy from some danger or trouble, we say that the "Lord looked upon him." In the Scriptures, also, we find such words as these: "Look upon me and hear me;" [1329] and "Return, [1330] O Lord, and deliver my soul." [1331] And, according to my judgment, a similar view is to be taken of the expression adopted here, when it is said that "the Lord turned and looked upon Peter; and Peter remembered the word of the Lord." Finally, we have to notice how, while it is the more usual practice with the evangelists to employ the name "Jesus" in preference to the word "Lord" in their narratives, Luke has used the latter term exclusively in the said sentence, saying expressly, "The `Lord' turned and looked upon Peter; and Peter remembered the word of the `Lord:'" whereas Matthew and Mark have passed over this "look" in silence, and consequently have said that Peter remembered not the word of the "Lord," but the word of "Jesus." From this, therefore, we may gather that the "look" thus proceeding from Jesus was not one with the eyes of the human body, but a look cast from Heaven. [1332]

Footnotes

[1288] Matt. xxvi. 57. [1289] John xviii. 13. [1290] Mark xiv. 53; Luke xxii. 54. [1291] John xviii. 12. [1292] Matt. xxvi. 58. [1293] Mark xiv. 54. [1294] Luke xxii. 54, 55. [1295] John xviii. 15-18. [1296] [It is implied here that the denials of Peter took place in the house of Annas, and also that Matthew and Mark, in their account of the night examination, refer to the same event described by John (xviii. 19-23). The objection to this is found in the explicit statement of Matthew (xxvi. 57) in regard to Caiaphas.--R.] [1297] Matt. xxvi. 59, 60. [1298] Mark xiv. 56. [1299] Matt. xxvi. 61. [1300] Mark xiv. 57-59. [1301] Matt. xxvi. 62-64. [1302] Mark xiv. 62. [1303] Mark xiv. 62. [1304] Matt. xxvi. 65, 66. [1305] Matt. xxvi. 67, 68. [1306] Mark xiv. 65. [1307] [The evangelists indicate three distinct episodes of recognition and denial, but do not refer to the same facts in detail. This Augustin seems to apprehend.--R.] [1308] Matt. xxvi. 69-74. [1309] Mark xiv. 68-70. [1310] Luke xxii. 54-58. [1311] John xviii. 17. [1312] John xviii. 18. [1313] John xviii. 19-24. [1314] Luke iii. 2. [1315] Matt. xxviii. 57. [See note on 19. Augustin's Latin text in John xviii. 24, et misit eum, etc., agrees in tense with the Greek. The Authorized Version incorrectly renders, "Now Annas had sent," etc. The Revised Version has, "Annas therefore sent," The theory of two distinct night examinations (before Annas first, and then before Caiphas) agrees best with the literal sense. Both may have occupied parts of the same house.--R.] [1316] John xviii. 25. [1317] Matt. xxviii. 71. [1318] Mark xiv. 69. [1319] Mark xiv. 70-72. [1320] Luke xxii. 59, 60. [1321] John xviii. 26, 27. [1322] Matt. xxvi. 75. [1323] Mark xiv. 72: the words, "when he thought thereon," being omitted. [There is nothing omitted. The difficult Greek term (epibalon) is explained by "when he thought thereon" in the Authorized Version. Augustin's view is given in Revised Version margin, "And he began to weep."--R.] [1324] Luke xxii. 61, 62. [1325] Matt. xxvi. 67, 68. [1326] Atrio, court. [The Revised Version properly renders the terms referring to the "court," etc. "Palace" (Authorized Version) is misleading.--R.] [1327] Mark xiv. 66. [1328] Or, regarding him, respiciente. [1329] Ps. xiii. 3. [1330] Converte. [1331] Ps. vi. 4. [1332] [This fanciful interpretation is unnecessary. The inner court of the large Jewish house, with rooms looking upon it, would allow place for all the incidents, without any departure from the simple historical sense.--R.]


Chapter VII.--Of the Thorough Harmony of the Evangelists in the Different Accounts of What Took Place in the Early Morning, Previous to the Delivery of Jesus to Pilate; And of the Question Touching the Passage Which is Quoted on the Subject of the Price Set Upon the Lord, and Which is Ascribed to Jeremiah by Matthew, Although No Such Paragraph is Found in the Writings of that Prophet.

27. Matthew next proceeds as follows: "When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus, to put Him to death; and when they had bound Him, they led Him away, and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor." [1333] Mark's version is to the like effect: "And straightway in the morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes, and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate." [1334] Luke, again, after completing his account of Peter's denial, recapitulates what Jesus had to endure when it was now about daybreak, as it appears, and continues his narrative in the following connection: "And the men that held Jesus mocked Him, and smote Him; and when they had blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face, and asked Him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee? And many other things blasphemously spake they against Him. And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people, and the chief priests, and the scribes came together, and led Him into their council, saying, Art thou the Christ? tell us. And He said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe; and if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go. Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God. Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And He said unto them, Ye say that I am. And they said, What need we further witness? For we ourselves have heard of His own mouth. And the whole multitude of them arose, and led Him unto Pilate." [1335] Luke has thus recorded all these things. His statement contains certain facts which are also related by Matthew and Mark; namely, that the Lord was asked whether He was the Son of God, and that He made this reply, "I say unto you, hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." And we gather that these things took place when the day was now breaking, because Luke's expression is, "And as soon as it was day." Thus Luke's narrative is similar to those of the others, although he also introduces something which these others have left unnoticed. We gather further, that when it was yet night, the Lord faced the ordeal of the false witnesses,--a fact which is recorded briefly by Matthew and Mark, and which is passed over in silence by Luke, who, however, has told the story of what was done when the dawn was coming in. The former two--namely, Matthew and Mark--have given connected narratives of all that the Lord passed through until early morning. After that, however, they have reverted to the story of Peter's denial; on the conclusion of which they have come back upon the events of the early morning, and have introduced the other circumstances which remained for recital with a view to the completion of their account of what befell the Lord. [1336] But up to this point they have given no account of the occurrences belonging specifically to the morning. [1337] In like manner John, after recording what was done with the Lord as fully as he deemed requisite, and after telling also the whole story of Peter's denial, continues his narrative in these terms: "Then lead they Jesus to Caiaphas, [1338] unto the hall of judgment. And it was early." [1339] Here we might suppose either that there had been something imperatively requiring Caiaphas' presence in the hall of judgment, and that he was absent on the occasion when the other chief priests held an inquiry on the Lord; or else that the hall of judgment was in his house; and that yet from the beginning of this scene they had thus only been leading Jesus away to the personage in whose presence He was at last actually conducted. But as they brought the accused person in the character of one already convicted, and as it had previously approved itself to Caiaphas' judgment that Jesus should die, there was no further delay in delivering Him over to Pilate, with a view to His being put to death. [1340] And thus it is that Matthew here relates what took place between Pilate and the Lord.

28. First, however, he makes a digression with the purpose of telling the story of Judas' end, which is related only by him. His account is in these terms: "Then Judas, which had betrayed Him, when he saw that He was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned, in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? See thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of Him that was valued, whom the children of Israel [1341] did value, and gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me." [1342]

29. Now, if any one finds a difficulty in the circumstance that this passage is not found in the writings of the prophet Jeremiah, and thinks that damage is thus done to the veracity of the evangelist, let him first take notice of the fact that this ascription of the passage to Jeremiah is not contained in all the codices of the Gospels, and that some of them state simply that it was spoken "by the prophet." It is possible, therefore, to affirm that those codices deserve rather to be followed which do not contain the name of Jeremiah. For these words were certainly spoken by a prophet, only that prophet was Zechariah. In this way the supposition is, that those codices are faulty which contain the name of Jeremiah, because they ought either to have given the name of Zechariah or to have mentioned no name at all, as is the case with a certain copy, merely stating that it was spoken "by the prophet, saying," which prophet would assuredly be understood to be Zechariah. However, let others adopt this method of defence, if they are so minded. For my part, I am not satisfied with it; and the reason is, that a majority of codices contain the name of Jeremiah, and that those critics who have studied the Gospel with more than usual care in the Greek copies, report that they have found it stand so in the more ancient Greek exemplars. I look also to this further consideration, namely, that there was no reason why this name should have been added [subsequently to the true text], and a corruption thus created; whereas there was certainly an intelligible reason for erasing the name from so many of the codices. For venturesome inexperience might readily have done that, when perplexed with the problem presented by the fact that this passage could not be found in Jeremiah. [1343]

30. How, then, is the matter to be explained, but by supposing that this has been done in accordance with the more secret counsel of that providence of God by which the minds of the evangelists were governed? For it may have been the case, that when Matthew was engaged in composing his Gospel, the word Jeremiah occurred to his mind, in accordance with a familiar experience, instead of Zechariah. Such an inaccuracy, however, he would most undoubtedly have corrected (having his attention called to it, as surely would have been the case, by some who might have read it while he was still alive in the flesh), had he not reflected that [perhaps] it was not without a purpose that the name of the one prophet had been suggested instead of the other in the process of recalling the circumstances (which process of recollection was also directed by the Holy Spirit), and that this might not have occurred to him had it not been the Lord's purpose to have it so written. If it is asked, however, why the Lord should have so determined it, there is this first and most serviceable reason, which deserves our most immediate consideration, namely, that some idea was thus conveyed of the marvellous manner in which all the holy prophets, speaking in one spirit, continued in perfect unison with each other in their utterances,--a circumstance certainly much more calculated to impress the mind than would have been the case had all the words of all these prophets been spoken by the mouth of a single individual. The same consideration might also fitly suggest the duty of accepting unhesitatingly whatever the Holy Spirit has given expression to through the agency of these prophets, and of looking upon their individual communications as also those of the whole body, and on their collective communications as also those of each separately. If, then, it is the case that words spoken by Jeremiah are really as much Zechariah's as Jeremiah's, and, on the other hand, that words spoken by Zechariah are really as much Jeremiah's as they are Zechariah's, what necessity was there for Matthew to correct his text when he read over what he had written, and found that the one name had occurred to him instead of the other? Was it not rather the proper course for him to bow to the authority of the Holy Spirit, under whose guidance he certainly felt his mind to be placed in a more decided sense than is the case with us, and consequently to leave untouched what he had thus written, in accordance with the Lord's counsel and appointment, with the intent to give us to understand that the prophets maintain so complete a harmony with each other in the matter of their utterances that it becomes nothing absurd, but, in fact, a most consistent thing for us to credit Jeremiah with a sentence originally spoken by Zechariah? [1344] For if, in these days of ours, a person, desiring to bring under our notice the words of a certain individual, happens to mention the name of another by whom the words were not actually uttered, [1345] but who at the same time is the most intimate friend and associate of the man by whom they were really spoken; and if forthwith recollecting that he has given the one name instead of the other, he recovers himself and corrects the mistake, but does it nevertheless in some such way as this, "After all, what I said was not amiss;" what would we take to be meant by this, but just that there subsists so perfect a unison of sentiment between the two parties--that is to say, the man whose words the individual in question intended to repeat, and the second person whose name occurred to him at the time instead of that of the other--that it comes much to the same thing to represent the words to have been spoken by the former as to say that they were uttered by the latter? How much more, then, is this a usage which might well be understood and most particularly commended to our attention in the case of the holy prophets, so that we might accept the books composed by the whole series of them, as if they formed but a single book written by one author, in which no discrepancy with regard to the subjects dealt with should be supposed to exist, as none would be found, and in which there would be a more remarkable example of consistency and veracity than would have been the case had a single individual, even the most learned, been the enunciator of all these sayings? Therefore, while there are those, whether unbelievers or merely ignorant men, who endeavour to find an argument here to help them in demonstrating a want of harmony between the holy evangelists, men of faith and learning, on the other hand, ought rather to bring this into the service of proving the unity which characterizes the holy prophets. [1346]

31. I have also another reason (the fuller discussion of which must be reserved, I think, for another opportunity, in order to prevent the present discourse from extending to larger limits than may be allowed by the necessity which rests upon us to bring this work to a conclusion) to offer in explanation of the fact that the name of Jeremiah has been permitted, or rather directed, by the authority of the Holy Spirit, to stand in this passage instead of that of Zechariah. It is stated in Jeremiah that he bought a field from the son of his brother, and paid him money for it. That sum of money is not given, indeed, under the name of the particular price which is found in Zechariah, namely, thirty pieces of silver; but, on the other hand, there is no mention of the buying of the field in Zechariah. Now, it is evident that the evangelist has interpreted the prophecy which speaks of the thirty pieces of silver as something which has received its fulfilment only in the Lord's case, so that it is made to stand for the price set upon Him. But again, that the words which were uttered by Jeremiah on the subject of the purchase of the field have also a bearing upon the same matter, may have been mystically signified by the selection thus made in introducing [into the evangelical narrative] the name of Jeremiah, who spoke of the purchase of the field, instead of that of Zechariah, to whom we are indebted for the notice of the thirty pieces of silver. In this way, on perusing first the Gospel, and finding the name of Jeremiah there, and then, again, on perusing Jeremiah, and failing there to discover the passage about the thirty pieces of silver, but seeing at the same time the section about the purchase of the field, the reader would be taught to compare the two paragraphs together, and get at the real meaning of the prophecy, and learn how it also stands in relation to this fulfilment of prophecy which was exhibited in the instance of our Lord. For [it is also to be remarked that] Matthew makes the following addition to the passage cited, namely, "Whom the children of Israel did value; and gave them the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me." Now, these words are not to be found either in Zechariah or in Jeremiah. Hence we must rather take them to have been inserted with a nice and mystical meaning by the evangelist, on his own responsibility,--the Lord having given him to understand, by revelation, that a prophecy of the said tenor had a real reference to this occurrence, which took place in connection with the price set upon Christ. Moreover, in Jeremiah, the evidence of the purchase of the field is ordered to be cast into an earthen vessel. In like manner, we find in the Gospel that the money paid for the Lord was used for the purchase of a potter's field, which field also was to be employed as a burying-place for strangers. And it may be that all this was significant of the permanence of the repose of those who sojourn like strangers in this present world, and are buried with Christ by baptism. For the Lord also declared to Jeremiah, that the said purchase of the field was expressive of the fact that in that land [of Judæa] there would be a remnant of the people delivered from their captivity. [1347] I judged it proper to give some sort of sketch [1348] of these things, as I was calling attention to the kind of significance which a really careful and painstaking study should look for in these testimonies of the prophets, when they are reduced to a unity and compared with the evangelical narrative. These, then, are the statements which Matthew has introduced with reference to the traitor Judas.

Footnotes

[1333] Matt. xxvii. 1, 2. [1334] Mark xv. 1, 2. [1335] Luke xxii. 63-xxiii. 1. [That Luke's account gives in detail the formal meeting of the Sanhedrin at daybreak in altogether probable, since Matthew and Mark distinguish this assembly from the night examination.--R.] [1336] The text gives: ut inde cætera contexerent quousque perducerent, etc. Seven mss. read perduxerant, = as far as they had drawn out their account, etc. [1337] Matt. xxvi. 59-xxvii. 1, 2; Mark xiv. 55-xv. 1, 2. [1338] Adducunt ergo Jesum ad Caiapham. [1339] John xviii. 28. [1340] In his 114 Tractate on John, Augustin again attempts to grapple with the difficulty created here by the reading which was before him, namely, to Caiaphas, instead of from Caiaphas. [The Greek text is "from Caiaphas." The other reading is probably harmonistic error, of early origin.--R.] [1341] The text gives filii Israel, instead of a filiis Israel = they of the children of Israel. [1342] Matt. xxvii. 3-10. [1343] [It is refreshing to find this exhibition of critical judgment and candour. The critical canon respecting the lectio difficilier is virtually accepted. The easier reading was suggested by Origen.--R.] [1344] [The simplest explanation is that the name "Jeremiah" was applied to the collection of prophetical books, in which it was placed first by the Jews.--R.] [1345] Reading a quo non dicta sint. Most of the mss. omit the non. [1346] [This explanation is at variance with many of the healthy expressions regarding inspiration which abound in Augustin's expository writings.--R.] [1347] See Jer. xxxii. [1348] Reading delineanda. Four mss. give delibanda = proper to touch upon.


Chapter VIII.--Of the Absence of Any Discrepancies in the Accounts Which the Evangelists Give of What Took Place in Pilate's Presence.

32. He next proceeds as follows: "And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked Him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? Jesus saith unto him, Thou sayest. And when He was accused of the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing. Then saith Pilate unto Him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? And He answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly. Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered Him. But when he was set down on the judgment-seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. But the governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? And they said, Barabbas. Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say, Let him be crucified. The governor said to them, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person; see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. Then released he Barabbas unto them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to them to be crucified." [1349] These are the things which Matthew has reported to have been done to the Lord by Pilate.

33. Mark also presents an almost entire identity with the above, both in language and in subject. The words, however, in which Pilate replied to the people when they asked him to release one prisoner according to the custom of the feast, are reported by this evangelist as follows: "But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?" [1350] On the other hand, Matthew gives them thus: "Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?" There need be no difficulty in the circumstance that Matthew says nothing about the people having requested that one should be released unto them. But it may fairly be asked, what were the words which Pilate actually uttered, whether these reported by Matthew, or those recited by Mark. For there seems to be some difference between these two forms of expression, namely, "Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?" and, "Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?" Nevertheless, as they were in the habit of calling their kings "anointed ones," [1351] and one might use the one term or the other, [1352] it is evident that what Pilate asked them was whether they would have the King of the Jews, that is, the Christ, released unto them. And it matters nothing to the real identity in meaning that Mark, desiring simply to relate what concerned the Lord Himself, has not mentioned Barabbas here. For, in the report which he gives of their reply, he indicates with sufficient clearness who the person was whom they asked to have released unto them. His version is this: "But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them." Then he proceeds to add the sentence, "And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I should do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews?" This makes it plain enough now, that in speaking of the King of the Jews, Mark meant to express the very sense which Matthew intended to convey by using the term "Christ." For kings were not called "anointed ones" [1353] except among the Jews; and the form which Matthew gives to the words in question is this, "Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?" So Mark continues, "And they cried out again, Crucify him:" which appears thus in Matthew, "They all say unto him, Let him be crucified." Again Mark goes on, "Then Pilate said unto them Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him." Matthew has not recorded this passage; but he has introduced the statement, "When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made," and has also informed us how he washed his hands before the people with the view of declaring himself innocent of the blood of that just person (a circumstance not reported by Mark and the others). And thus he has also shown us with all due plainness how the governor dealt with the people with the intention of securing His release. This has been briefly referred to by Mark, when he tells us that Pilate said, "Why, what evil hath he done?" And thereupon Mark also concludes his account of what took place between Pilate and the Lord in these terms: "And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged Him, to be crucified." The above is Mark's recital of what occurred in presence of the governor. [1354]

34. Luke gives the following version of what took place in presence of Pilate: "And they began to accuse Him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Cæsar, and saying that he himself is Christ a king." [1355] The previous two evangelists have not recorded these words, although they do mention the fact that these parties accused Him. Luke is thus the one who has specified the terms of the false accusations which were brought against Him. On the other hand, he does not state that Pilate said to Him, "Answerest thou nothing? behold, how many things they witness against thee." Instead of introducing these sentences, Luke goes on to relate other matters which are also reported by these two. Thus he continues: "And Pilate asked Him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And He answered him and said, Thou sayest." Matthew and Mark have likewise inserted this fact, previous to the statement that Jesus was taken to task for not answering His accusers. The truth, however, is not at all affected by the order in which Luke has narrated these things; and as little is it affected by the mere circumstance that one writer passes over some incident without notice, which another expressly specifies. We have an instance in what follows; namely, "Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man. And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place. But when Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilean. And as soon as he knew that He belonged unto Herod's jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time. And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad; for he was desirous to see Him of a long season, because he had heard many things of Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him. Then he questioned with Him in many words; but He answered him nothing. And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him. And Herod with his men of war set Him at nought, and mocked Him, and arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him again to Pilate. And the same day Herod and Pilate were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves." [1356] All these things are related by Luke alone, namely, the fact that the Lord was sent by Pilate to Herod, and the account of what took place on that occasion. At the same time, among the statements which he makes in this passage, there are some bearing a resemblance to matters which may be found reported by the other evangelists in connection with different portions of their narrations. But the immediate object of these others, however, was to recount simply the various things which were done in Pilate's presence on to the time when the Lord was delivered over to be crucified. In accordance with his own plan, however, Luke makes the above digression with the view of telling what occurred with Herod; and after that he reverts to the history of what took place in the governor's presence. Thus he now continues as follows: "And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him." [1357] Here we notice that he has omitted to mention how Pilate asked the Lord what answer He had to make to His accusers. Thereafter he proceeds in these terms: "No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him: and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him. I will therefore chastise him and release him. For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast. And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas; who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison. Pilate, therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them. But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him and let him go. And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that He might be crucified; and the voices of them [1358] prevailed." [1359] The repeated effort which Pilate, in his desire to accomplish the release of Jesus, thus made to gain the people's consent, is satisfactorily attested by Matthew, although in a very few words, when he says, "But when Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made." For he would not have made such a statement at all, had not Pilate exerted himself earnestly in that direction, although at the same time he has not told us how often he made such attempts to rescue Jesus from their fury. Accordingly, Luke concludes his report of what took place in the governor's presence in this fashion: "And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required. And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will." [1360]

35. Let us next take the account of these same incidents--that is to say, those in which Pilate was engaged--as it is presented by John. He proceeds thus: "And they themselves went not into the judgment-hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover. Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man? They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee." [1361] We must look into this passage in order to show that it contains nothing inconsistent with Luke's version, which states that certain charges were brought against Him, and also specifies their terms. For Luke's words are these: "And they began to accuse Him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Cæsar, saying that he himself is Christ a king." On the other hand, according to the paragraph which I have now cited from John, the Jews seem to have been unwilling to state any specific accusations, when Pilate asked them, "What accusation bring ye against this man?" For their reply was, "If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee;" the purport of which was, that he should accept their authority, cease to inquire what fault was alleged against Him, and believe Him guilty for the simple reason that He had been [reckoned] worthy of being delivered up by them to him. This being the case, then, we ought to suppose that both these versions report words which were actually said, both the one before us at present, and the one given by Luke. For among the multitude of sayings and replies which passed between the parties, these writers have made their own selections as far as their judgment allowed them to go, and each of them has introduced into his narrative just what he considered sufficient. It is also true that John himself mentions certain charges which were alleged against Him, and which we shall find in their proper connections. Here, then, he proceeds thus: "Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews, therefore, said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death; that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which He spake, signifying what death He should die. Then Pilate entered into the judgment-hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto Him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus answered, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?" [1362] This again may seem not to harmonize with what is recorded by the others,--namely, "Jesus answered, Thou sayest,"--unless it is made clear in what follows that the one thing was said as well as the other. Hence he gives us to understand that the matters which he records next are [not to be regarded as] things never actually uttered by the Lord, but are rather to be considered things which have been passed over in silence by the other evangelists. Mark, therefore, what remains of his narrative. It proceeds thus: "Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation, and the chief priests, have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto Him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king." [1363] Behold, here is the point at which he comes to that which the other evangelists have reported. And then he goes on, the Lord being still the speaker, to recite other matters which the rest have not recorded. His terms are these: "To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find no fault in him. But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye, therefore, that I release unto you the King of the Jews? Then cried they all again, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber. Then Pilate, therefore, took Jesus, and scourged Him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe; and they came to Him and said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote Him with their hands. Pilate went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him; for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God." [1364] This may fit in with what Luke reports to have been stated in the accusation brought by the Jews,--namely, "We found this fellow perverting our nation,"--so that we might append here the reason given for it, "Because he made himself the Son of God." John then goes on in the following strain: "When Pilate, therefore, heard that saying, he was the more afraid, and went again into the judgment-hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Then saith Pilate unto Him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. From thenceforth Pilate sought to release Him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Cæsar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Cæsar." [1365] This may very well agree with what Luke records in connection with the said accusation brought by the Jews. For after the words, "We found this fellow perverting our nation," he has added the clause, "And forbidding to give tribute to Cæsar, and saying that he himself is Christ a king." This will also offer a solution for the difficulty previously referred to, namely, the occasion which might seem to be given for supposing John to have indicated that no specific charge was laid by the Jews against the Lord, when they answered and said unto him, "If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee." John then continues in the following strain: "When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment-seat, in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour; and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King? But they cried out, Away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your king? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Cæsar. Then delivered he Him therefore unto them to be crucified." [1366] The above is John's version of what was done by Pilate. [1367]

Footnotes

[1349] Matt. xxvii. 11-26. [1350] Mark xv. 9. [1351] Or, Christs, Christos. [1352] The text gives: et qui dixit illum an illum. [1353] Or, Christs, Christos. [1354] Mark xv. 2-15. [1355] Luke xxiii. 2, 3. [1356] Luke xxii. 4-12. [1357] Luke xxiii. 13, 14. [1358] The words, and of the chief priests, are omitted in the text. [So the Greek text, according to the best authorities. Comp. Revised Version.--R.] [1359] Luke xxiii. 15-23. [1360] Luke xxiii. 24, 25. [1361] John xviii. 28-30. [1362] John xviii. 31-34. [1363] John xviii. 35-37. [1364] John xviii. 37-xix. 7. [1365] John xix. 8-12. [1366] John xix. 13-16. [1367] [Many harmonists, in view of the fact that Jesus had been scourged before the events narrated in John xix. 2-16, place these occurrences after the delivery of Jesus to be crucified. In 36 Augustin defends the view that Matthew and Mark have varied from the order. See also chap. xiii.--R.]


Chapter IX.--Of the Mockery Which He Sustained at the Hands of Pilate's Cohort, and of the Harmony Subsisting Among the Three Evangelists Who Report that Scene, Namely, Matthew, Mark, and John.

36. We have now reached the point at which we may study the Lord's passion, strictly so called, as it is presented in the narrative of these four evangelists. Matthew commences his account as follows: "Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto Him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped Him, and put on Him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head, and a reed in His right hand: and they bowed the knee before Him, and mocked Him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!" [1368] At the same stage in the narrative, Mark delivers himself thus: "And the soldiers led Him away into the hall called Prætorium; and they called together the whole band. And they clothed Him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it on His head, and began to salute Him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote Him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon Him, and, bowing their knees, worshipped Him." [1369] Here, therefore, we perceive that while Matthew tells us how they "put on Him a scarlet robe," Mark speaks of purple, with which He was clothed. The explanation may be that the said scarlet robe was employed instead of the royal purple by these scoffers. There is also a certain red-coloured purple which resembles scarlet very closely. And it may also be the case that Mark has noticed the purple which the robe contained, although it was properly scarlet. Luke has left this without mention. On the other hand, previous to stating how Pilate delivered Him up to be crucified, John has introduced the following passage: "Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged Him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe, and said, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote Him with their hands." [1370] This makes it evident that Matthew and Mark have reported this incident in the way of a recapitulation, and that it did not actually take place after Pilate had delivered Him up to be crucified. For John informs us distinctly enough that these things took place when He yet was with Pilate. Hence we conclude that the other evangelists have introduced the occurrence at that particular point, just because, having previously passed it by, they recollected it there. This is also borne out by what Matthew proceeds next to relate. He continues thus: "And they spit upon Him, and took the reed, and smote Him on the head. And after that they had mocked Him, they took the robe off from Him, and put His own raiment on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him." [1371] Here we are given to understand that the taking the robe off Him and the clothing Him with His own raiment were done at the close, when He was being led away. This is given by Mark, as follows: "And when they had mocked Him, they took off the purple from Him, and put His own clothes on Him." [1372]

Footnotes

[1368] Matt. xxvii. 27-31. [1369] Mark xv. 16-20. [1370] John xix. 1-3. [1371] Matt. xxvii. 30, 31. [1372] Mark xv. 20.


Chapter X.--Of the Method in Which We Can Reconcile the Statement Which is Made by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, to the Effect that Another Person Was Pressed into the Service of Carrying the Cross of Jesus, with that Given by John, Who Says that Jesus Bore It Himself.

37. Matthew, accordingly, goes on with his narrative in these terms: "And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear His cross." [1373] In like manner, Mark says: "And they led Him out to be crucified. And they compelled one Simon, a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear His cross." [1374] Luke's version is also to this effect: "And as they led Him away, they laid hold upon one Simon a Cyrenian, coming out of the country; and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus." [1375] On the other hand, John records the matter as follows: "And they took Jesus, and led Him away. And He bearing His cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew, Golgotha; where they crucified Him." [1376] From all this we understand that Jesus was carrying the cross Himself as He went forth into the place mentioned. But on the way the said Simon, who is named by the other three evangelists, was pressed into the service, and got the cross to carry for the rest of the course until the spot was reached. Thus we find that both circumstances really took place; namely, first the one noticed by John, and thereafter the one instanced by the other three.

Footnotes

[1373] Matt. xxvii. 32. [1374] Mark xv. 20, 21. [1375] Luke xxiii. 26. [This probably implies that the afterpart of the cross was laid upon Simon, not the whole of it. This obviates the necessity for the explanation given by Augustin.--R.] [1376] John xix. 16-18.


Chapter XI.--Of the Consistency of Matthew's Version with that of Mark in the Account of the Potion Offered Him to Drink, Which is Introduced Before the Narrative of His Crucifixion.

38. Matthew then proceeds in these terms: "And they came unto a place called Golgotha; that is to say, a place of a skull." [1377] So far as the place is concerned, they are most unmistakeably at one. The same Matthew next adds, "and they gave Him wine [1378] to drink, mingled with gall; and when He had tasted thereof, He would not drink." [1379] This is given by Mark as follows: "And they gave Him to drink wine mingled with myrrh; and He received it not." [1380] Here we may understand Matthew to have conveyed the same sense as Mark, when he speaks of the wine being "mingled with gall." For the gall is mentioned with a view to express the bitterness of the potion. And wine mingled with myrrh is remarkable for its bitterness. The fact may also be that gall and myrrh together made the wine exceedingly bitter. Again, when Mark says that "He received it not," we understand the phrase to denote that He did not receive it so as actually to drink it. He did taste it, however, as Matthew certifies. Thus Mark's words, "He received it not," convey the same meaning as Matthew's version, "He would not drink." The former, however, has said nothing about His tasting the potion.

Footnotes

[1377] Matt. xxvii. 33. [1378] Vinum. [So the correct Greek text. Comp. Revised Version.--R.] [1379] Matt. xxvii. 34. [1380] Mark xv. 23.


Chapter XII.--Of the Concord Preserved Among All the Four Evangelists on the Subject of the Parting of His Raiment.

39. Matthew goes on thus: "And after they crucified Him, they parted His garments, casting lots: and sitting down, they watched Him." [1381] Mark reports the same incident, as follows: "And crucifying Him, they parted His garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take." [1382] In like manner Luke says: "And they parted His raiment, and cast lots. And the people stood beholding." [1383] The occurrence is thus recorded briefly by the first three. But John gives us a more detailed narrative of the method in which the act was gone about. His version runs thus: "Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also His coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my garments, and for my vesture they did cast lots." [1384]

Footnotes

[1381] Matt. xxvii. 35, 36. The words, "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots," are omitted. [So the Greek text, according to the best authorities. Comp. Revised Version.--R.] [1382] Mark xv. 24. [1383] Luke xxiii. 34, 35. [1384] John xix. 23, 24.


Chapter XIII.--Of the Hour of the Lord's Passion, and of the Question Concerning the Absence of Any Discrepancy Between Mark and John in the Article of the "Third" Hour and the "Sixth."

40. Matthew continues thus: "And they set up over His head His accusation written, `This is Jesus the King of the Jews.'" [1385] Mark, on the other hand, before making any such statement, inserts these words: "And it was the third hour, and they crucified Him." [1386] For he subjoins these terms immediately after he has told us about the parting of the garments. This, then, is a matter which we must consider with special care, lest any serious error emerge. For there are some who entertain the idea that the Lord was certainly crucified at the third hour; and that thereafter, from the sixth hour on to the ninth, the darkness covered the land. According to this theory, we should have to understand three hours to have passed between the time when He was crucified and the time when the darkness occurred. And this view might certainly be held with all due warrant, were it not that John has stated that it was about the sixth hour when Pilate sat down on the judgment-seat, in a place that is called the Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. For his version goes on in this manner: "And as it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him! crucify him! Pilate said unto them, Shall I crucify your king? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Cæsar. Then delivered he Him therefore unto them to be crucified." [1387] If Jesus, therefore, was delivered up to the Jews to be crucified when it was about the sixth hour, and when Pilate was then sitting upon the judgment-seat, how could He have been crucified at the third hour, as some have been led to suppose, in consequence of a misinterpretation of the words of Mark?

41. First, then, let us consider what the hour really is at which He can have been crucified; and then we shall see how it happens that Mark has reported Him to have been crucified at the third hour. Now it was about the sixth hour when Pilate, who was sitting, as has been stated, at the time upon the judgment-seat, delivered Him up to be crucified. The expression is not that it was the sixth hour fully, but only that it was about the sixth hour; that is to say, the fifth hour was entirely gone, and so much of the sixth hour had also been entered upon. These writers, however, could not naturally use such phraseologies as the fifth hour and a quarter, or the fifth hour and a third, or the fifth hour and a half or anything of that kind. For the Scriptures have the well-known habit of dealing simply with the round numbers, without mention of fractions, especially in matters of time. We have an example of this in the case of the "eight days," after which, as they tell us, He went up into a mountain, [1388] --a space which is given by Matthew and Mark as "six days after," [1389] because they look simply at the days between the one from which the reckoning commences and the one with which it closes. This is particularly to be kept in view when we notice how measured the terms are which John employs here. For he says not "the sixth hour," but "about the sixth hour." And yet, even had he not expressed himself in that way, but had stated merely that it was the sixth hour, it would still be competent for us to interpret the phrase in accordance with the method of speech with which we are, as I said, familiar in Scripture, namely, the use of the round numbers. And thus we could still take the sense quite fairly to be that, on the completion of the fifth hour and the commencement of the sixth, those matters were going on which are recorded in connection with the Lord's crucifixion, until, on the close of the sixth hour, and when He was hanging on the cross, the darkness occurred which is attested by three of the evangelists, namely, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. [1390]

42. In due order, let us now inquire how it is that Mark, after telling us that they parted His garments when they were crucifying Him, casting lots upon them what every man should take, has appended this statement, "And it was the third hour, and they crucified Him." [1391] Now here he had already made the declaration, "And crucifying Him, they parted His garments;" and the other evangelists also certify that, when He was crucified, they parted His garments. If, therefore, it was Mark's design to specify the time at which the incident took place, it would have been enough for him to say simply, "And it was the third hour." What reason, then, can be assigned for his having added these words, "And they crucified Him," but that, under the summary statement thus inserted, he intended significantly to suggest something which might be found a subject for consideration, when the Scripture in question was read in times in which the whole Church knew perfectly well what hour it was at which the Lord was hanged upon the tree, and the means were possessed for either correcting the writer's error or confuting his want of truth? But, inasmuch as he was quite aware of the fact that the Lord was suspended [on the cross] by the soldiers, and not by the Jews, as John most plainly affirms, [1392] his hidden object [in bringing in the said clause] was to convey the idea that those parties who cried out that He should be crucified were the Lord's real crucifiers, rather than the men who simply discharged their service to their chief in accordance with their duty. We understand, accordingly, that it was the third hour when the Jews cried out that the Lord should be crucified. And thus it is intimated most truly that these persons did really crucify Christ at the time when they cried out. All the more, too, did this merit notice, because they were unwilling to have the appearance of having done the deed themselves, and with that view delivered Him up unto Pilate, as their words indicate clearly enough in the report given by John. For, after stating how Pilate said to them, "What accusation bring ye against this man?" his version proceeds thus: "They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee. Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death." [1393] Consequently, what they were especially unwilling to have the appearance of doing, that Mark here shows that they actually did do at the third hour. For he judged most truly that the Lord's murderer was rather the tongue of the Jews than the hand of the soldiers.

43. Moreover, if any one alleges that it was not the third hour when the Jews cried out for the first time in the terms referred to, he simply displays himself most insanely to be an enemy to the Gospel; unless perchance he can prove himself able to produce some new solution of the problem. For he cannot possibly establish the position that it was not the third hour at the period alluded to. And, consequently, we surely ought rather to credit a veracious evangelist than the contentious suspicions of men. But you may ask, How can you prove that it was the third hour? I answer, Because I believe the evangelists; and if you also believe them, show me how the Lord can have been crucified both at the sixth hour and at the third. For, to make a frank acknowledgment, we cannot get over the statement of the sixth hour in John's narrative; and Mark records the third hour: and, therefore, if both of us accept the testimony of these writers, show me any other way in which both these notes of time can be taken as literally correct. If you can do so, I shall most cheerfully acquiesce. For what I prize is not my own opinion, but the truth of the Gospel. And I could wish, indeed, that more methods of clearing up this problem might be discovered by others. Until that be done, however, join me, if it please you, in taking advantage of the solution which I have propounded. For if no explanation can be found, this one will suffice of itself. But if another can be devised, when it is unfolded, we shall make our choice. Only don't consider it an inevitable conclusion that any one of all the four evangelists has stated what is false, or has fallen into error in a position of authority at once so elevated and so holy.

44. Again, if any one affirms his ability to prove it not to have been the third hour when the Jews cried out in the terms in question, because, after Mark's statement to this effect, "And Pilate answered, and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews? And they cried out again, Crucify him," we find no further details introduced into the narrative of the same evangelist, but are led on at once to the statement, that the Lord was delivered up by Pilate to be crucified--an act which John mentions to have taken place about the sixth hour;--I repeat, if any one adduces such an argument, let him understand that many things have been passed by without record here, which occurred in the interval when Pilate was engaged in looking out for some means by which he could rescue Jesus from the Jews, and was exerting himself most strenuously by every means in his power to withstand their maddened desires. For Matthew says, "Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do, then, with Jesus, which is called Christ? They all say, Let him be crucified." Then we affirm it to have been the third hour. And when the same Matthew goes on to add the sentence, "But when Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made," we understand that a period of two hours had passed, during the attempts made by Pilate to effect the release of Jesus, and the tumults raised by the Jews in their efforts to defeat him, and that the sixth hour had then commenced, previous to the close of which those things took place which are related as happening between the time when Pilate delivered up the Lord and the oncoming of the darkness. Once more, as regards what Matthew records above,--namely, "And when he was set down on the judgment-seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him," [1394] --we remark, that Pilate really took his seat upon the tribunal at a later point, but that, among the earlier incidents which Matthew was recounting, the account given of Pilate's wife came into his mind, and he decided on inserting it in this particular connection, with the view of preparing us for understanding how Pilate had an especially urgent reason for wishing, even on to the last, not to deliver Him up to the Jews.

45. Luke, again, after mentioning how Pilate said, "I will therefore chastise him and let him go," tells us that the whole multitude then cried out, "Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas." [1395] But perhaps they had not yet exclaimed, "Crucify him!" For Luke next proceeds thus: "Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them. But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him!" [1396] This is understood to have been at the third hour. Luke then continues in these terms: "And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him and let him go. And they were instant with loud voices requiring that He might be crucified. And the voices of them prevailed." [1397] Here, then, this evangelist also makes it quite evident that there was a great tumult. With sufficient accuracy for the purposes of my inquiry into the truth, we can further gather how long the interval was after which he spoke to them in these terms, "Why, what evil hath he done?" And when he adds thereafter, "They were instant with loud voices, requiring that He might be crucified, and the voices of them prevailed," who can fail to perceive that this clamour was made just because they saw that Pilate was unwilling to deliver the Lord up to them? And, inasmuch as he was exceedingly reluctant to give Him up, he did not certainly yield at present in a moment, but in reality two hours and something more were passed by him in that state of hesitancy.

46. Interrogate John in like manner, and see how strong this hesitancy was on Pilate's part, and how he shrank from so shameful a service. For this evangelist records these incidents much more fully, although even he certainly does not mention all the occurrences which took up these two hours and part of the sixth hour. After telling us how Pilate scourged Jesus, and allowed the robe to be put on Him in derision by the soldiers, and suffered Him to be subjected to ill-treatment and many acts of mockery (all of which was permitted by Pilate, as I believe, really with the view of mitigating their fury and keeping them from persevering in their maddened desire for His death), John continues his account in the following manner: "Pilate went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!" [1398] The object of this was, that they might gaze upon that spectacle of ignominy and be appeased. But the evangelist proceeds again: "When the chief priests therefore and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him!" [1399] It was then the third hour, as we maintain. Mark also what follows: "Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him; for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; and went again into the judgment-hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Then saith Pilate unto Him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. From thenceforth Pilate sought to release Him." [1400] Now, when it is said here that "Pilate sought to release Him," how long a space of time may we suppose to have been spent in that effort, and how many things may have been omitted here among the sayings which were uttered by Pilate, or the contradictions which were raised by the Jews, until these Jews gave expression to the words which moved him, and made him yield? For the writer goes on thus: "But the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Cæsar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Cæsar. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment-seat, in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the passover, about the sixth hour." [1401] Thus, then, between that exclamation of the Jews when they first cried out, "Crucify him," at which period it was the third hour, and this moment when he sat down on the judgment-seat, two hours had passed, which had been taken up with Pilate's attempts to delay matters and the tumults raised by the Jews; and by this time the fifth hour was quite spent, and so much of the sixth hour had been entered. Then the narrative goes on thus: "He saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him! crucify him!" [1402] But not even now was Pilate so overcome by the apprehension of their bringing a charge against himself as to be very ready to yield. For his wife had sent to him when he was sitting at this time upon the judgment-seat,--an incident which Matthew, who is the only one that records it, has given by anticipation, introducing it before he comes to its proper place (according to the order of time) in his narrative, and bringing it in at another point which he judged opportune. In this way, Pilate, still continuing his efforts to prevent further advances, said then to them, "Shall I crucify your king?" Thereupon "the chief priests answered, We have no king but Cæsar. Then delivered he Him therefore unto them to be crucified." [1403] And in the time that passed when He was on the way, and when He was crucified along with the two robbers, and when His garments were parted and the possession of His coat was decided by lot, and the various deeds of contumely were done to Him (for, while these different things were going on, gibes were also cast at Him), the sixth hour was fully spent, and the darkness came on, which is mentioned by Matthew, Mark, and Luke. [1404]

47. Let such impious pertinacity therefore perish, and let it be believed that the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified at once at the third hour by the voice of the Jews, and at the sixth by the hands of the soldiers. For during these tumults on the part of the Jews, and these agitations on the side of Pilate, upwards of two hours elapsed from the time when they burst out with the cry, "Crucify Him." But again, even Mark, who studies brevity above all the other evangelists, has been pleased to give a concise indication of Pilate's desire and of his efforts to save the Lord's life. For, after giving us this statement, "And they cried again, Crucify him" (in which he gives us to understand that they had cried out before this, when they asked that Barabbas might be released to them), he has appended these words: "Then Pilate continued to say unto them, Why, what evil hath he done?" [1405] Thus by one short sentence he has given us an idea of matters which took a long time for their transaction. At the same time, however, keeping in view the correct apprehension of his meaning, he does not say, "Then Pilate said unto them," but expresses himself thus: "Then Pilate continued to say unto them, Why, what evil hath he done?" For, if his phrase had been "said," [1406] we might have understood him to mean that such words were uttered only once. But, by adopting the terms, "continued to say," [1407] he has made it clear enough to the intelligent that Pilate spoke repeatedly, and in a number of ways. Let us therefore consider how briefly Mark has expressed this as compared with Matthew, how briefly Matthew as compared with Luke, how briefly Luke as compared with John, while at the same time each of these writers has introduced now one thing and now another peculiar to himself. In fine, let us also consider how brief is even the narrative given by John himself, as compared with the number of things which took place, and the space of time occupied by their occurrence. And let us give up the madness of opposition, and believe that two hours, and something more, may quite well have passed in the interval referred to.

48. If any one, however, asserts that if this was the real state of the case, Mark might have mentioned the third hour explicitly at the point at which it really was the third hour, namely, when the voices of the Jews were lifted up demanding that the Lord should be crucified; and, further, that he might have told us plainly there that those vociferators did really crucify Him at that time,--such a reasoner is simply imposing laws upon the historians of truth in his own overweening pride. For he might as well maintain that if he were himself to be a narrator of these occurrences, they ought all to be recorded just in the same way and the same order by all other writers as they have been recorded by himself. Let him therefore be content to reckon his own notion inferior to that of Mark the evangelist, who has judged it right to insert the statement just at the point at which it was suggested to him by divine inspiration. For the recollections of those historians have been ruled by the hand of Him who rules the waters, as it is written, according to His own good pleasure. For the human memory moves [1408] through a variety of thoughts, and it is not in any man's power to regulate either the subject which comes into his mind or the time of its suggestion. Seeing, then, that those holy and truthful men, in this matter of the order of their narrations, committed the casualties of their recollections (if such a phrase may be used) to the direction of the hidden power of God, to whom nothing is casual, it does not become any mere man, in his low estate, removed far from the vision of God, and sojourning distantly from Him, to say, "This ought to have been introduced here;" for he is utterly ignorant of the reason which led God to will its being inserted in the place it occupies. The word of an apostle is to this effect: "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost." [1409] And again he says: "To the one indeed we are the savour of life unto life; to the other, the savour of death unto death;" and adds immediately, "And who is sufficient for these things?" [1410] --that is to say, who is sufficient to comprehend how righteously that is done? The Lord Himself expresses the same when He says, "I am come that they which see not might see, and that they which see might be made blind." [1411] For it is in the depth of the riches of the knowledge and wisdom of God that it comes to pass that of the same lump one vessel is made unto honour, and another unto dishonour. [1412] And to flesh and blood it is said, "O man, who art thou that repliest against God?" [1413] Who, then, knows the mind of the Lord in the matter now under consideration? or who hath been His counsellor, [1414] where He has in such wise ruled the hearts of these evangelists in their recollections, and has raised them to so commanding a position of authority in the sublime edifice of His Church, that those very things which are capable of presenting the appearance of contradictions in them become the means by which many are made blind, deservedly given over to the lusts of their own heart, and to a reprobate mind; [1415] and by which also many are exercised in the thorough cultivation of a pious understanding, in accordance with the hidden righteousness of the Almighty? For the language of a prophet in speaking to the Lord is this: "Thy thoughts are exceeding deep. An inconsiderate man will not know, and a foolish man will not understand these things." [1416]

49. Moreover, I request and admonish those who read the statement which, with the help of the Lord, has thus been elaborated by us, to bear in mind this discourse, which I have thought it needful to introduce in the present connection, in every similar difficulty which may be raised in such inquiries, so that there may be no necessity for repeating the same thing over and over again. Besides, any one who is willing to clear himself of the hardness of impiety, and to give his attention to the subject, will easily perceive how opportune the place is in which Mark has inserted this notice of the third hour, so that every one may there be led to bethink himself of an hour at which the Jews really crucified the Lord, although they sought to transfer the burden of the crime to the Romans, whether to the leaders among them or to the soldiers, [as we see] when we come here upon the record of what was done by the soldiers in the discharge of their duty. For this writer says here, "And crucifying Him, they parted His garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take." [1417] And to whom can this refer but to the soldiers, as is made manifest in John's narrative? Thus, lest any one should leave the Jews out of account, and make the conception of so great a crime lie against those soldiers, Mark gives us here the statement, "And it was the third hour, and they crucified Him,"--his object being to have those Jews rather discovered to be the real crucifiers, who will be found by the careful investigator in a position making it quite possible for them to have cried out for the Lord's crucifixion at the third hour, while he observes that what was done by the soldiers took place at the sixth hour. [1418]

50. At the same time, however, there are not wanting persons who would have the time of the preparation--which is referred to by John, when he says, "And it was the preparation of the passover, about the sixth hour"--understood under this third hour of the day, which was also the period at which Pilate sat down upon the judgment-seat. In this way the completion of the said third hour would appear to be the time when He was crucified, and when He was now hanging on the tree. Other three hours must then be supposed to have passed, at the end of which He gave up the ghost. According to this idea, too, the darkness would have commenced with the hour at which He died--that is to say, the sixth hour of the day--and have lasted until the ninth. For these persons affirm that the preparation of the passover of the Jews was indeed on the day which was followed by the day of the Sabbath, because the days of unleavened bread began with the said Sabbath; but that, nevertheless, the true passover, which was being realized in the Lord's passion, the passover not of the Jews, but of the Christians, began to be prepared--that is, to have its parasceue--from the ninth hour of the night onwards, inasmuch as the Lord was then being prepared for being put to death by the Jews. For the term parasceue means by interpretation "preparation." Between the said ninth hour of the night, therefore, and His crucifixion, the period occurs which is called by John the sixth hour of the parasceue, and by Mark the third hour of the day; so that, according to this view, Mark has not introduced by way of recapitulation into his record the hour at which the Jews cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him," but has expressly mentioned the third hour as the hour at which the Lord was nailed to the tree. What believer would not receive this solution of the problem with favour, were it only possible to find some point [in the narrative of incidents] in connection with the said ninth hour, at which we could suppose, in due consistency with other circumstances, the parasceue of our passover--that is to say, the preparation of the death of Christ--to have commenced. For, if we say that it began at the time when the Lord was apprehended by the Jews, it was still but the first parts of the night. If we hold that it was at the time when He was conducted to the house of Caiaphas' father-in-law, where He was also heard by the chief priests, the cock had not crowed at all as yet, as we gather from Peter's denial, which took place only when the cock was heard. Again, if we suppose it was at the time when He was delivered up to Pilate, we have in the plainest terms the statement of Scripture, to the effect that by this time it was morning. Consequently, it only remains for us to understand that this parasceue of the passover--that is to say, the preparation for the death of the Lord--commenced at the period when all the chief priests, in whose presence He was first heard, answered and said, "He is guilty of death," an utterance which we find reported both by Matthew and by Mark; [1419] so that they are taken to have introduced, in the form of a recapitulation, at a later stage, facts relating to the denial of Peter, which in point of historical order had taken place at an earlier point. And it is nothing unreasonable to conjecture, that the time at which, as I have said, they pronounced Him guilty of death, may very well have been the ninth hour of the night, between which time and the hour at which Pilate sat down on the judgment-seat there came in this sixth hour, as it is called--not, however, the sixth hour of the day, but that of the parasceue--that is to say, the preparation for the sacrifice of the Lord, which is the true passover. And, on this theory, the Lord was suspended on the tree when the sixth hour of the same parasceue was completed, which occurred at the completion of the third hour of the day. [1420] We may make our choice, therefore, between this view and the other, which supposes Mark to have introduced the third hour by way of reminiscence, and to have had it especially in view, in mentioning the hour there, to suggest the fact of the condemnation brought upon the Jews in the matter of the Lord's crucifixion, in so far as they are understood to have been in a position to raise the clamour for His crucifixion to such an effect that we may hold them to have been the persons who actually crucified Him, rather than the men by whose hands He was suspended on the tree; just as the centurion, already referred to, approached the Lord in a more genuine sense than could be said of those friends whom He sent [on the matter-of-fact mission]. [1421] But whichever of these two views we adopt, unquestionably a solution is found for this problem on the subject of the hour of the Lord's passion, which is most remarkably apt at once to excite the impudence of the contentious and to agitate the inexperience of the weak.

Footnotes

[1385] Matt. xxvii. 37. [No notice is taken of the different forms the "title" on the cross, recorded by the evangelists.--R.] [1386] Mark xv. 25. [1387] John xix. 13-16. [1388] Luke ix. 28. [1389] Matt. xvii. 1; Mark ix. 1. [1390] Matt. xxvii. 45; Mark xv. 33; Luke xxiii. 44. [1391] Mark xv. 25. [1392] John xix. 23. [1393] John xviii. 29-31. [1394] Matt. xxvii. 19. [1395] Luke xxiii. 16, 18. [1396] Luke xxiii. 20, 21. [1397] Luke xxiii. 22, 23. [1398] John xix. 4, 5. [1399] John xix. 6. [1400] John xix. 6-12. [1401] John xix. 12-14. [1402] John xix. 15. [1403] John xix. 15, 16. [1404] [The arrangement of the various details is open to discussion; but the probability is, that the virtual surrender of Pilate to the demand of the Jews took place about the third hour (9 A.M.), and that it was nearly two hours before the crucifixion took place.--R.] [1405] Mark xv. 13, 14. [1406] Dixit. [1407] Dicebat. (The Greek also has the imperfect, elegen. But in the use of this verb in the New Testament the continuous force of the imperfect cannot be insisted upon, as many examples will show. The conclusion of Augustin is correct, despite the insufficiency of this argument.--R.] [1408] Fluitat = floats. [1409] 2 Cor. iv. 3. [1410] 2 Cor. ii. 16. [1411] John ix. 39. [1412] Rom. ix. 21. [1413] Rom. ix. 20. [1414] Rom. xi. 34. [1415] Rom. i. 24-28. [1416] Ps. xcii. 5, 6. [1417] Mark xv. 24. [1418] [There is so much force in the positions of Augustin in regard to the time of day, that one may overlook the irrelevant arguments he introduces. He at least candidly accepts the readings before him. The supposition of an early confusion of the numbers has no support, and such an alteration is altogether unlikely.--R.] [1419] Matt. xxvi. 66; Mark xiv. 64. [1420] [This view is extremely fanciful. "Preparation" was a Jewish term, with a distinct meaning. In early Christian times it meant Friday. To modify the sense is impossible.--R.] [1421] See above, Book ii. ch. 20.


Chapter XIV.--Of the Harmony Preserved Among All the Evangelists on the Subject of the Two Robbers Who Were Crucified Along with Him.

51. Matthew continues his narrative in the following terms: "Then were there two robbers crucified with Him, one on the right hand, and another on the left." [1422] Mark and Luke give it also in a similar form. [1423] Neither does John raise any question of difficulty, although he has made no mention of those robbers. For he says, "And two other with Him, on either side one,and Jesus in the midst." [1424] But there would have been a contradiction if John had spoken of these others as innocent, while the former evangelists called them robbers.

Footnotes

[1422] Matt. xxvii. 38. [1423] Mark xv. 27; Luke xxiii. 33. [1424] John xix. 18.


Chapter XV.--Of the Consistency of the Accounts Given by Matthew, Mark, and Luke on the Subject of the Parties Who Insulted the Lord.

52. Matthew goes on in the following strain: "And they that passed by reviled Him, wagging their heads, and saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself: if thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross." [1425] Mark's statement agrees with this almost to the letter. Then Matthew continues thus: "Likewise also the chief priests, mocking Him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save: if he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver him now, if He will: for he said, I am the Son of God." [1426] Mark and Luke, although they report the words differently, nevertheless agree in conveying the same meaning, although the one passes without notice something which the other mentions. [1427] For they are both really at one on the subject of the chief priests, giving us to understand that they insulted the Lord when He was crucified. The only difference is, that Mark does not specify the elders, while Luke, who has instanced the rulers, has not added the designation "of the priests," and thus has rather comprehended the whole body of the leading men under the general designation; so that we may fairly take both the scribes and the elders to be included in his description.

Footnotes

[1425] Matt. xxvii. 39, 40. [1426] Matt. xxvii. 41-43. [1427] Mark xv. 29-32; Luke xxiii. 35-37.


Chapter XVI.--Of the Derision Ascribed to the Robbers, and of the Question Regarding the Absence of Any Discrepancy Between Matthew and Mark on the One Hand, and Luke on the Other, When the Last-Named Evangelist States that One of the Two Mocked Him, and that the Other Believed on Him.

53. Matthew continues his narrative in these terms: "The robbers also, which were crucified with Him, cast the same in His teeth." [1428] Mark is quite in harmony with Matthew here, giving the same statement in different words. [1429] On the other hand, Luke may be thought to contradict this, unless we be careful not to forget a certain mode of speech which is sufficiently familiar. For Luke's narrative runs thus: "And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on Him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us." [1430] And then the same writer proceeds to introduce into the same context the following recital: "But the other answering, rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily, I say unto thee, To-day thou shalt be with me in paradise." [1431] The question then is, how we can reconcile either Matthew's report, "The robbers also, which were crucified with Him, cast the same in His teeth," or Mark's, namely, "And they that were crucified with Him reviled Him," with Luke's testimony, which is to the effect that one of them reviled Christ, but that the other arrested him and believed on the Lord. The explanation will be, that Matthew and Mark, presenting a concise version of the passage under review, have employed the plural number instead of the singular; as is the case in the Epistle to the Hebrews, where we find the statement given in the plural form, that "they stopped the mouths of lions," [1432] while Daniel alone is understood to be referred to. Again, the plural number is adopted where it is said that they "were sawn asunder," [1433] while that manner of death is reported only of Isaiah. In the same way, when it is said in the Psalm, "The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers took counsel together," etc., [1434] the plural number is employed instead of the singular, according to the exposition given of the passage in the Acts of the Apostles. For those who have made use of the testimony of the said Psalm in that book take the kings to refer to Herod, and the princes to Pilate. [1435] But further, inasmuch as the pagans are in the habit of bringing such slanderous charges against the Gospel, I would ask them to consider how their own writers have spoken of Phaedras and Medeas and Clytemnestras, when there really was but a single individual reputed under each of these names. And what is more common, for example, than for a person to say, "The rustics also behave insolently to me," even although it should only be one that acted rudely? In short, no real discrepancy would be created by the restriction of Luke's report to one of the two robbers, unless the other evangelists had declared expressly that "both" the malefactors reviled the Lord; for in that case it would not be possible for us to suppose only one individual intended under the plural number. Seeing, however, that the phrase employed is "the robbers," or "those who were crucified with Him," and the term "both" is not added, the expression is one which might have been used if both these men had been engaged in the thing, but which might equally well be adopted if one of the two had been implicated in it,--that fact being then conveyed by the use of the plural number, according to a familiar method of speech.

Footnotes

[1428] Matt. xxvii. 44. [1429] Mark xv. 32. [1430] Luke xxiii. 39. [1431] Luke xxiii. 40-43. [1432] Heb. xi. 33. [1433] Heb. xi. 37. [1434] Ps. ii. 2. [1435] Acts iv. 26, 27.


Chapter XVII.--Of the Harmony of the Four Evangelists in Their Notices of the Draught of Vinegar.

54. Matthew proceeds in the following terms: "Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour." [1436] The same fact is attested by two others of the evangelists. [1437] Luke adds, however, a statement of the cause of the darkness, namely, that "the sun was darkened." Again, Matthew continues thus: "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani! that is to say, My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me? And some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias." [1438] Mark's agreement with this is almost complete, so far as regards the words, and not only almost, but altogether complete, so far as the sense is concerned. Matthew next makes this statement: "And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave Him to drink." [1439] Mark presents it in a similar form: "And one ran, and filled a sponge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave Him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take Him down." [1440] Matthew, however, has represented these words about Elias to have been spoken, not by the person who offered the sponge with the vinegar, but by the rest. For his version runs thus: "But the rest said, Let be; let us see whether Elias will come to save Him;" [1441] --from which, therefore, we infer that both the man specially referred to and the others who were there expressed themselves in these terms. Luke, again, has introduced this notice of the vinegar previous to his report of the robber's insolence. He gives it thus: "And the soldiers also mocked Him, coming to Him, and offering Him vinegar, and saying, If thou be the King of the Jews, save thyself." [1442] It has been Luke's purpose to embrace in one statement what was done and what was said by the soldiers. And we ought to feel no difficulty in the circumstance that he has not said explicitly that it was "one" of them who offered the vinegar. For, adopting a method of expression which we have discussed above, [1443] he has simply put the plural number for the singular. [1444] Moreover, John has also given us an account of the vinegar, where he says: "After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to His mouth." [1445] But although the said John thus informs us that Jesus said "I thirst," and also mentions that there was a vessel full of vinegar there, while the other evangelists leave these things unspecified, there is nothing to marvel at in this.

Footnotes

[1436] Matt. xxvii. 45. [1437] Mark xv. 33-36; Luke xxiii. 44, 45. [1438] Matt. xxvii. 46, 47. [1439] Matt. xxvii. 48. [1440] Mark xv. 36. [1441] Matt. xxvii. 49. [1442] Luke xxiii. 36, 37. [1443] See chap. xvi. [1444] [This act of the soldiers was probably distinct from the giving of the vinegar referred to by the other evangelist; it belongs to the time when all were mocking the Crucified One.--R.] [1445] John xix. 28, 29.


Chapter XVIII.--Of the Lord's Successive Utterances When He Was About to Die; And of the Question Whether Matthew and Mark are in Harmony with Luke in Their Reports of These Sayings, and Also Whether These Three Evangelists are in Harmony with John.

55. Matthew proceeds as follows: "And Jesus, crying again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost." [1446] In like manner, Mark says, "And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost." [1447] Luke, again, has told us what He said when that loud voice was uttered. For his version is thus: "And Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit: and saying this, He gave up the ghost." [1448] John, on the other hand, as he has left unnoticed the first voice, which Matthew and Mark have reported--namely, "Eli, Eli"--has also passed over in silence the one which has been recited only by Luke, while the other two have referred to it under the designation of the "loud voice." I allude to the cry, "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit." Luke has also attested the fact that this exclamation was uttered with a loud voice; and hence we may understand this particular cry to be identified with the loud voice which Matthew and Mark have specified. But John has stated a fact which is noticed by none of the other three, namely, that He said "It is finished," after He had received the vinegar. This cry we take to have been uttered previous to the loud voice referred to. For these are John's words: "When Jesus, therefore, had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished; and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost." [1449] In the interval elapsing between this cry, "It is finished," and what is referred to in the subsequent sentence, "and He bowed His head and gave up the ghost," the voice was uttered which John himself has passed over without record, but which the other three have noticed. For the precise succession appears to be this, namely, that He said first "It is finished," when what had been prophesied regarding Him was fulfilled in Him, and that thereafter--as if He had been waiting for this, like one, indeed, who died when He willed it to be so--He commended His spirit [to His Father], and resigned it. [1450] But, whatever the order may be in which a person may consider it likely that these words were spoken, he ought above all things to guard against entertaining the notion that any one of the evangelists is in antagonism with another, when one leaves unmentioned something which another has repeated, or particularizes something which another has passed by in silence.

Footnotes

[1446] Matt. xxvii. 50. [1447] Mark xv. 37. [1448] Luke xxiii. 46. [1449] John xix. 30. [1450] [This view of the order is altogether the more probable one. See commentaries.--R.]


Chapter XIX.--Of the Rending of the Veil of the Temple, and of the Question Whether Matthew and Mark Really Harmonize with Luke with Respect to the Order in Which that Incident Took Place.

56. Matthew proceeds thus: "And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom." [1451] Mark's version is also as follows: "And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom." [1452] Luke likewise gives a statement in similar terms: "And the veil of the temple was rent in the midst." [1453] He does not introduce it, however, in the same order. For, with the intention of attaching miracle to miracle, he has told us first how "the sun was darkened," and then has deemed it right to subjoin the said sentence in immediate succession, namely, "And the veil of the temple was rent in the midst." Thus it would appear that he has introduced at an earlier point this incident, which really took place when the Lord expired, so as to give us there a summary description of the circumstances relating to the drinking of the vinegar, and the loud voice, and the death itself, which are understood to have taken place previous to the rending of the veil, and after the darkness had come in. For Matthew has inserted this sentence, "And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent," in immediate succession to the statement, "And Jesus, crying again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost;" and has thus given us clearly to understand that the time when the veil was rent was after Jesus had given up His spirit. If, however, he had not added the words, "And behold," but had said simply, "And the veil of the temple was rent," it would have been uncertain whether Mark and he had narrated the incident in the form of a recapitulation, while Luke had kept the exact order, or whether Luke had given the summary account of what these others had introduced in the correct historical succession.

Footnotes

[1451] Matt. xxvii. 51. [1452] Mark xv. 38. [1453] Luke xxiii. 45.


Chapter XX.--Of the Question as to the Consistency of the Several Notices Given by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, on the Subject of the Astonishment Felt by the Centurion and Those Who Were with Him.

57. Matthew proceeds thus: "And the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after the resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many." [1454] There is no reason to fear that these facts, which have been related only by Matthew, may appear to be inconsistent with the narratives presented by any one of the rest. The same evangelist then continues as follows: "Now when the centurion, and they that were with him watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God." [1455] Mark offers this version: "And when the centurion which stood over against Him saw that He so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this was the Son of God." [1456] Luke's report runs thus: "Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man." [1457] Here Matthew says that it was when they saw the earthquake that the centurion and those who were with him were thus astonished, whereas Luke represents the man's amazement to have been drawn forth by the fact that Jesus uttered such a cry, and then gave up the ghost; thus making it clear how He had it in His own power to determine the time for His dying. But this involves no discrepancy. For as the said Matthew not only tells us how the centurion "saw the earthquake," but also appends the words, "and those things that were done," he has indicated that there was room enough for Luke to represent the Lord's death as itself the thing which called forth the centurion's wonder. For that event is also one of the things which were done in so marvellous a manner then. At the same time, even although Matthew had not added any such statement, it would still have been perfectly legitimate to suppose, that as many astonishing things did take place at that time, and as the centurion and those who were with him may well have looked upon them all with amazement, the historians were at liberty to select for narration any particular incident which they were severally disposed to instance as the subject of the man's wonder. And it would not be fair to impeach them with inconsistency, simply because one of them may have specified one occurrence as the immediate cause of the centurion's amazement, while another introduces a different incident. For all these events together had really been matters for the man's astonishment. Again, the mere fact that one evangelist tells us that the centurion said, "Truly this was the Son of God," while another informs us that the words were, "Truly this man was the Son of God," will create no difficulty to any one who has retained some recollection of the numerous statements and discussions bearing upon similar cases, which have already been given above. For these different versions of the words both convey precisely the same sense and although one writer introduces the word "man" while another does not, that implies no kind of contradiction. A greater appearance of discrepancy may be supposed to be created by the circumstance, that the words which Luke reports the centurion to have uttered are not "This was the Son of God," but "This was a righteous man." But we ought to suppose either that both things were actually said by the centurion, and that two of the evangelists have recorded the one expression, and the third the other; or else perhaps that it was Luke's intention to bring out the exact idea which the centurion had in view when he said that Jesus was the Son of God. For it may be the case that the centurion did not really understand Him to be the Only-begotten, equal with the Father; but that he called Him the Son of God simply because he believed Him to be a righteous man, as many righteous men have been named sons of God. Moreover, when Luke says, "Now when the centurion saw what was done," he has really used terms which cover all the marvellous things which occurred on that occasion, commemorating a single deed of wonder, so to speak, of which all those miraculous incidents were, as we may say, members and parts. But, once more, as regards the circumstance that Matthew has also referred to those who were with the centurion, while the others have left these parties unnoticed, to whom will this not explain itself on the well-understood principle that there is no contradiction necessarily involved in the mere fact that one writer records what another passes by without mention? And, finally, as to Matthew's having told us that "they feared greatly," while Luke has said nothing about the man being afraid, but has informed us that "he glorified God," who can fail to understand that he glorified [God] just by the fear which he exhibited?

Footnotes

[1454] Matt. xxvii. 51-53. [1455] Matt. xxvii. 54. [1456] Mark xv. 39. [1457] Luke xxiii. 47.


Chapter XXI.--Of the Women Who Were Standing There, and of the Question Whether Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Who Have Stated that They Stood Afar Off, are in Antagonism with John, Who Has Mentioned that One of Them Stood by the Cross.

58. Matthew proceeds thus: "And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee: among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee's children." [1458] Mark gives it in this form: "There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joseph, and Salome (who also, when He was in Galilee, followed Him, and ministered unto Him); and many other women which came up with Him unto Jerusalem." [1459] I see nothing which can be supposed to constitute a discrepancy between these writers here. For in what way can the truth be affected by the fact that some of these women are named in both lists, while others are referred to only in the one? Luke has likewise connected his narrations as follows: "And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned. And all His acquaintance and the women that followed Him from Galilee stood afar off beholding these things." [1460] Here we perceive that he is quite in harmony with the former two as far as regards the presence of the women, although he does not mention any of them by name. On the subject of the multitude of people who were also present, and who, as they beheld the things which were done, smote their breasts and returned, he is in like manner at one with Matthew, although that evangelist has introduced into the context this distinct statement: "Now the centurion and they that were with him." Thus it simply appears that Luke is the only one who has spoken expressly of His "acquaintance" who stood afar off. For John has also noticed the presence of the women before the Lord gave up the ghost. His narrative runs thus: "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple standing by whom He loved, He saith unto His mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith He to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home." [1461] Now, as regards this statement, had not Matthew and Mark at the same time mentioned Mary Magdalene most explicitly by name, it might have been possible for us to say that there was one company of women afar off, and another near the cross. For none of these writers has mentioned the Lord's mother here but John himself. The question, therefore, which rises now is this, How can we understand the same Mary Magdalene both to have stood afar off along with other women, as the accounts of Matthew and Mark bear, and to have been by the cross, as John tells us, unless it be the case that these women were at such a distance as made it quite legitimate to say at once that they were near, because they were at hand there in the sight of Him, and also afar off in comparison with the crowd of people who were standing round about in closer vicinity along with the centurion and the soldiers? It is open for us, then, to suppose that those women who were present at the scene along with the Lord's mother, after He commended her to the disciple, began then to retire with the view of extricating themselves from the dense mass of people, and of looking on at what remained to be done from a greater distance. And in this way the rest of the evangelists, who have introduced their notices of these women only after the Lord's death, have properly reported them to be standing by that time afar off.

Footnotes

[1458] Matt. xxvii. 55, 56. [1459] Mark xv. 40, 41. [1460] Luke xxiii. 48, 49. [1461] John xix. 25-27.


Chapter XXII.--Of the Question Whether the Evangelists are All at One on the Subject of the Narrative Regarding Joseph, Who Begged the Lord's Body from Pilate, and Whether John's Version Contains Any Statements at Variance with Each Other.

59. Matthew proceeds as follows: "Now when the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: he went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered." [1462] Mark presents it in this form: "And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, an honourable councillor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. And Pilate marvelled if He were already dead: and, calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether He had been any while [1463] dead. And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph." [1464] Luke's report runs in these terms: "And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a councillor; and he was a good man, and a just (the same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them): he was of Arimathea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus." [1465] John, on the other hand, first narrates the breaking of the legs of those who had been crucified with the Lord, and the piercing of the Lord's side with the lance (which whole passage has been recorded by him alone), and then subjoins a statement which is of the same tenor with what is given by the other evangelists. It proceeds in these terms: "And after this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus." [1466] There is nothing here to give any one of them the appearance of being in antagonism with another. But some one may perhaps ask whether John is not inconsistent with himself, when he at once unites with the rest in telling us how Joseph begged the body of Jesus, and comes forward as the only one who states here that Joseph had been a disciple of Jesus secretly for fear of the Jews. For the question may reasonably be raised as to how it happened that the man who had been a disciple secretly for fear had the courage to beg His body--a thing which not one of those who were His open followers was bold enough to do. We must understand, however, that this man did so in the confidence which his dignified position gave him, the possession of which rendered it possible for him to make his way on familiar terms into Pilate's presence. And we must suppose, further, that in the performance of that last service relating to the interment, he cared less for the Jews, however he tried in ordinary circumstances, when hearing the Lord, to avoid exposing himself to their enmity.

Footnotes

[1462] Matt. xxvii. 57, 58. [1463] [Augustin's text has jam a second time, agreeing with some early Greek mss. Comp. Revised Version margin, "were already dead."--R.] [1464] Mark xv. 42-45. [1465] Luke xxiii. 50-52. [1466] John xix. 38.


Chapter XXIII.--Of the Question Whether the First Three Evangelists are Quite in Harmony with John in the Accounts Given of His Burial.

60. Matthew proceeds thus: "And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed." [1467] Mark's version is as follows: "And he bought fine linen, [1468] and took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen, and laid Him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre." [1469] Luke reports it in those terms: "And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid." [1470] So far as these three narratives are concerned, no allegation of a want of harmony can possibly be raised. John, however, tells us that the burial of the Lord was attended to not only by Joseph, but also by Nicodemus. For he begins with Nicodemus in due connection with what precedes, and goes on with his narrative as follows: "And there came also Nicodemus (which at the first came to Jesus by night), and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight." [1471] Then, introducing Joseph again at this point, he continues in these terms: "Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus, therefore, because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand." [1472] But there is really as little ground for supposing any discrepancy here as there was in the former case, if we take a correct view of the statement. For those evangelists who have left Nicodemus unnoticed have not affirmed that the Lord was buried by Joseph alone, although he is the only one introduced into their records. Neither does the fact, that these three are all at one in informing us how the Lord was wrapped in the linen cloth by Joseph, preclude us from entertaining the idea that other linen stuffs may have been brought by Nicodemus, and added to what was given by Joseph, so that John may be perfectly correct in his narrative, especially as what he tells us is that the Lord was wrapped not in a linen cloth, but in linen clothes. [1473] At the same time, when we take into account the handkerchief which was used for the head, and the bandages with which the whole body was swathed, and consider that all these were made of linen, we can see how, even although there was really but a single linen cloth [of the kind referred to by the first three evangelists] there, it could still have been stated with the most perfect truth that "they wound Him in linen clothes." For the phrase, linen clothes, is one applied generally to all textures made of flax.

Footnotes

[1467] Matt. xxvii. 59, 60. [1468] [All three evangelists use the same term in referring to "the linen cloth;" so the Latin text. The Authorized Version makes an unnecessary variation. John uses another word; see below.--R.] [1469] Mark xv. 46. [1470] Luke xxiii. 53. [1471] John xix. 39. [1472] John xix. 40-42. [1473] [John uses the term othoniois, which the Latin renders linteis. Augustin's discussion is not intelligible unless this variation is recognised.--R.]


Chapter XXIV.--Of the Absence of All Discrepancies in the Narratives Constructed by the Four Evangelists on the Subject of the Events Which Took Place About the Time of the Lord's Resurrection.

61. Matthew proceeds thus: "And there was there Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre." [1474] This is given by Mark as follows: "And Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of Joseph, beheld where He was laid." [1475] So far it is evident that there is no kind of inconsistency between the accounts.

62. Matthew continues in these terms: "Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying, Sir, we have remembered that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch; go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch." [1476] This narrative is given only by Matthew. Nothing, however, is stated by any of the others which can have the appearance of contrariety.

63. Again, the same Matthew carries on his recital as follows: "Now, in the evening of the Sabbath, [1477] when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, [1478] came Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. And his countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay: And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and, behold, He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him: lo, I have told you." [1479] Mark is in harmony with this. It is possible, however, that some difficulty may be felt in the circumstance that, according to Matthew's version, the stone was already rolled away from the sepulchre, and the angel was sitting upon it. For Mark tells us that the women entered into the sepulchre, and there saw a young man sitting on the right side, covered with a long white garment, and that they were affrighted. [1480] But the explanation may be, that Matthew has simply said nothing about the angel whom they saw when they entered into the sepulchre, and that Mark has said nothing about the one whom they saw sitting outside upon the stone. In this way they would have seen two angels, and have got two separate angelic reports relating to Jesus,--namely, first one from the angel whom they saw sitting outside upon the stone, and then another from the angel whom they saw sitting on the right side when they entered into the sepulchre. Thus, too, the injunction given them by the angel who was sitting outside, and which was conveyed in the words, "Come, and see the place where the Lord lay," would have served to encourage them to go within the tomb; on coming to which, as has been said, and venturing within it, we may suppose them to have seen the angel concerning whom Matthew tells us nothing, but of whom Mark discourses, sitting on the right side, from whom also they heard things of like tenor to those they had previously listened to. Or if this explanation is not satisfactory, we ought certainly to accept the theory that, as they entered into the sepulchre, they came within a section of the ground where, it is reasonable to suppose, a certain space had been by that time securely enclosed, extending a little distance in front of the rock which had been cut out in order to construct the place of sepulture; so that, according to this view, what they really beheld was the one angel sitting on the right side, in the space thus referred to, which same angel Matthew also represents to have been sitting upon the stone which he had rolled away from the mouth of the tomb when the earthquake took place, that is to say, from the place which had been dug out in the rock for a sepulchre.

64. It may also be asked how it is that Mark says: "And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they anything to any man; for they were afraid;" [1481] whereas Matthew's statement is in these terms: "And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy, and did run to bring His disciples word. [1482] The explanation, however, may be that the women did not venture to tell either of the angels themselves,--that is, they had not courage enough to say anything in reply to what they had heard from the angels. Or, indeed, it may be that they were not bold enough to speak to the guards whom they saw lying there; for the joy which Matthew mentions is not inconsistent with the fear of which Mark takes notice. Indeed, we ought to have supposed that both feelings had possession of their minds, even although Matthew himself had said nothing about the fear. But now, when this evangelist also particularizes it, saying, "They departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy," he allows nothing to remain which can occasion any question of difficulty on this subject.

65. At the same time, a question, which is not to be dealt with lightly, does arise here with respect to the exact hour at which the women came to the sepulchre. For when Matthew says, "Now, on the evening of the Sabbath, when it was dawning toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre," what are we to make of Mark's statement, which runs thus: "And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun"? [1483] It is to be observed that in this Mark states nothing inconsistent with the reports given by other two of the evangelists, namely, Luke and John. For when Luke says, "Very early in the morning," and when John puts it thus, "Early, when it was yet dark," they convey the same sense which Mark is understood to express when he says, "Very early, at the rising of the sun;" that is to say, they all refer to the period when the heavens were now beginning to brighten in the east, which, of course, does not take place but when the sunrise is at hand. For it is the brightness which is diffused by the rising sun that is familiarly designated by the name of the dawn. [1484] Consequently, Mark does not contradict the other evangelist who uses the phrase, "When it was yet dark;" for as the day breaks, what remains of the darkness [of the night] passes away just in proportion as the sun continues to rise. And this phrase, "Very early in the morning," need not be taken to mean that the sun itself was actually seen by this time [blazing] over the lands; but it is rather to be taken as like the kind of expression which we are in the habit of employing when speaking to people to whom we wish to intimate that something should be done more betimes than usual. For when we have used the term, "Early in the morning," [1485] if we wish to keep the persons addressed from supposing that we refer directly to the time when the sun is already conspicuously visible over earth, we usually add the word "very," and say, "very early in the morning," in order that they may clearly understand that we allude to the time which is also called the daybreak. [1486] At the same time, it is also customary for men, after the cockcrow has been repeatedly heard, and when they begin to surmise that the day is now approaching, to say, "It is now early in the morning;" [1487] and when after this they weigh their words and observe that, as the sun now rises,--that is to say, as it now makes its immediate advent into these parts,--the sky is just beginning to redden, or to brighten, those who said, "It is early in the morning," then amplify their expression and say, "It is very early in the morning." But what does it matter, provided only that, whichever method of explanation be preferred, we understand that what is meant by Mark, when he uses the terms "early in the morning," [1488] is just the same as is intended by Luke when he adopts the phrase, "in the morning;" [1489] and that the whole expression employed by the former--namely, "very early in the morning" [1490] --amounts to the same as that which we find in Luke--namely, "very early in the dawn," [1491] --and as that which is chosen by John when he says, "early, when it was yet dark"? [1492] Moreover, when Mark speaks of the "rising of the sun," he just means that by its rising the sun was now beginning to bring the light in upon the sky. But the question now is this: how can Matthew be in harmony with these three when he says neither "in the early morning" nor "early in the morning," but "in the evening of the Sabbath, when it was beginning to dawn toward the first day of the week"? This is a matter which must be carefully investigated. [1493] Now, under that first part of the night, which is [here called] the evening, Matthew intended to refer to this particular night, at the close of which the women came to the sepulchre. And we understand his reason for so referring to the said night to have been this: that by the time of the evening it was lawful for them to bring the spices, because the Sabbath was then indeed over. Consequently, as they were hindered by the Sabbath from doing so previously, he has given a designation of the night, taken from the time at which it began to be a lawful thing for them to do what they did at any period of the same night which pleased them. Thus, therefore, the phrase "in the evening of the Sabbath" is used, as if what was said had been "in the night of the Sabbath," or in other words, in the night which follows the day of the Sabbath. The express words which he employs thus indicate this with sufficient clearness. For his terms are these: "Now, in the evening of the Sabbath, when it began to dawn toward the first day of the week;" and that could not be the case if what we had to understand to be denoted by the mention of the "evening" was simply the first short space of the night, or in other words, only the beginning of the night. For what can be said "to begin to dawn toward the first day of the week" is not explicitly the beginning [of the night], but the night itself, as it commences to be brought to its close by the advance of the light. For the terminus of the first part of the night is just the beginning of the second part, but the terminus of the whole night is the light. Hence we could not speak of the evening as dawning toward the first day of the week unless under the term "evening" we should understand the night itself to be meant, which, as a whole, is brought to its close by the light. It is also a familiar method of speech in divine Scripture to express the whole under the part; and thus, under the word "evening" here, the evangelist has denoted the whole night, which finds its extreme point in the dawn. [1494] For it was in the dawn that those women came to the sepulchre; and in this way they really came on the night, which is here indicated by the term "evening." For, as I have said, the night as a whole is denoted by that word; consequently, at whatever period of that night they might have come, they certainly did come in the said night. And, accordingly, if they came at the latest point in that night, it is still unquestionably the case that they did come in the said night. But it could not be said to be on "the evening, when it began to dawn toward the first day of the week," unless the night as a whole can be understood under that expression. Accordingly, the women who came in the night referred to, came in the evening specified. And if they came at any period, even the latest during that night, they surely came in the night itself.

66. For the space of three days, which elapsed between the Lord's death and resurrection, cannot be correctly understood except in the light of that form of expression according to which the part is dealt with as the whole. [1495] For He said Himself, "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." [1496] Now, in whichever way we reckon the times, whether from the point when He yielded up the ghost, or from the date of his burial, the sum does not come out clearly, unless we take the intermediate day, that is to say, the Sabbath, as a complete day--in other words, a full day along with its night,--and, on the other hand, understand those days between which that one intervenes--that is to say, the day of the preparation and the first day of the week, which we designate the Lord's day--to be dealt with on the principle of the part standing for the whole. For of what avail is it that some, hard pressed by these difficulties, and not knowing the very large part which the mode of expression referred to--namely, that which takes the part as the whole--plays in the matter of solving the problems presented in the Holy Scriptures, have struck out the idea of reckoning as a distinct night those three hours, namely, from the sixth hour to the ninth, during which the sun was darkened, and as a distinct day the other three hours, during which the sun was restored again to the lands, that is to say, from the ninth hour on to its setting? For the night connected with the coming Sabbath follows, and if we compute it along with its day, there will then be two days and two nights. But, further, after the Sabbath there comes in the night connected with the first day of the week, that is to say, with the dawning of the Lord's day, which was the time when the Lord arose. Consequently, the result to which this mode of calculation leads us will be just two days and two nights, and one night, even supposing it possible to take the last as a complete night, and taking it for granted that we were not to show that the said dawn was in reality the ultimate portion of the same. Thus it would appear that, even although we were to compute these six hours in that fashion, during three of which the sun was darkened, and during the other three of which it shone forth again, we would not establish a satisfactory reckoning of three days and three nights. In accordance, therefore, with the usage which meets us so frequently in the language of the Scriptures, and which deals with the part as the whole, it remains for us to hold the time of the preparation to constitute the day at the one extremity, [1497] on which the Lord was crucified and buried, and, from that limit, to find one whole day along with its night which was fully spent. In this way, too, we must take the intermediate member, that is to say the day of the Sabbath, not as calculated simply from the part, but as a really complete day. The third day, again, must be computed from its first part; that is to say, calculating from the night, we must look upon it as making up a whole day when its day-portion is connected with it. Thus we shall get a space of three days, on the analogy of a case already considered, namely, those eight days after which the Lord went up into a mountain; with respect to which period we find that Matthew and Mark, fixing their attention simply on the complete days intervening, have put it thus, "After six days," whereas Luke's representation of the same is this, "An eight days after." [1498]

67. Let us now proceed, therefore, to look into the rest of this passage, and see how in other respects these statements are quite consistent with what is given by Matthew. For Luke tells us, with the utmost plainness, that two angels were seen by those women who came to the sepulchre. One of these angels we have understood to be referred to by each of the first two evangelists; that is to say, one of them is noticed by Matthew, namely, the one who was sitting outside upon the stone, and a second by Mark, namely, the one who was sitting within the sepulchre on the right side. But Luke's version of the scene is to the following effect: "And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath drew on. And the women which had come with Him from Galilee beheld the sepulchre, and how His body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath-day, according to the commandment. [1499] Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared. [1500] And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments; and as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how He spake unto you when He was yet in Galilee, saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered His words. And they returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest." [1501] The question, therefore, is this, how can these angels have been seen sitting each one separately,--namely, one outside upon the stone, according to Matthew, and another within upon the right side, according to Mark,--if Luke's report of the same bears that the two stood beside those women, although the words ascribed to them are similar? Well, it is still possible for us to suppose that one angel was seen by the women in the position assigned by Matthew, and in the circumstances indicated by Mark, as we have already explained. In this way, we may understand the said women to have entered into the sepulchre, that is to say, into a certain space which had been fenced off within a kind of enclosure, in such a manner that an entrance might be said to be made when they came in front of the rocky place in which the sepulchre was constructed; and there we may take them to have beheld the angel sitting upon the stone which had been rolled away from the tomb, as Matthew tells us, or in other words, the angel sitting on the right side, as Mark expresses it. [1502] And then we may further surmise that the said women, after they had gone within, and when they were looking at the place where the body of the Lord lay, saw other two angels standing, as Luke informs us, by whom they were addressed in similar terms, with a view to animate their minds and edify their faith. [1503]

68. But let us also examine John's version, and see whether or in what manner its consistency with these others is apparent. John, then, narrates these incidents as follows: "Now the first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and saw the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciples whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid Him. Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and they came to the sepulchre. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he, stooping down, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, and the napkin, that was about His head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and, as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, and seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. They say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing Him to be the gardener, saith unto Him, Sir, if thou have borne Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto Him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things unto her." [1504] In the narrative thus given by John, the statement of the day or time when the sepulchre was come to agrees with the accounts presented by the rest. Again, in the report of two angels who were seen, he is also at one with Luke. But when we observe how the one evangelist tells us that these angels were seen standing, while the other says that they were sitting; when we notice, also, that there are certain other things which are left unrecorded by these two writers; and, further, when we consider how questions are thus raised regarding the possibility of proving the consistency of the one set of historians with the other on these subjects, and of fixing the order in which those said things took place, we see that, unless we submit the whole to a careful examination, there may easily appear to be contradictions here between the several narratives.

69. This being the case, therefore, let us, so far as the Lord may help us, take all these incidents, which took place about the time of the Lord's resurrection, as they are brought before us in the statements of all the evangelists together, and let us arrange them in one connected narrative, which will exhibit them precisely as they may have actually occurred. It was in the early morning of the first day of the week, as all the evangelists are at one in attesting, that the women came to the sepulchre. By that time, all that is recorded by Matthew alone had already taken place; that is to say, in regard to the quaking of the earth, and the rolling away of the stone, and the terror of the guards, with which they were so stricken, that in some part they lay like dead men. Then, as John informs us, came Mary Magdalene, who unquestionably was surpassingly more ardent in her love than these other women [1505] who had ministered to the Lord; so that it was not unreasonable in John to make mention of her alone, leaving those others unnamed, who, however, were along with her, as we gather from the reports given by others of the evangelists. She came accordingly; and when she saw the stone taken away from the sepulchre, without pausing to make any more minute investigation, and never doubting but that the body of Jesus had been removed from the tomb, she ran, as the same John states, and told the state of matters to Peter and to John himself. For John is himself that disciple whom Jesus loved. They then set out running to the sepulchre; and John, reaching the spot first, stooped down and saw the linen clothes lying, but he did not go within. But Peter followed up, and went into the sepulchre, and saw the linen clothes lie, and the napkin, which had been about His head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then John entered also, and saw in like manner, and believed what Mary had told him, namely, that the Lord had been taken away from the sepulchre. "For as yet they knew not the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping," [1506] --that is to say, before the place in the rock in which the sepulchre was constructed, but at the same time within that space into which they had now entered; for there was a garden there, as the same John mentions. [1507] Then they saw the angel sitting on the right side, upon the stone which was rolled away from the sepulchre; of which angel both Matthew and Mark discourse. "Then he said unto them, Fear not ye; for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay: and go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and, behold, He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him: lo, I have told you." [1508] In Mark we also find a passage similar in tenor to the above. At these words, Mary, still weeping, bent down and looked forwards into the sepulchre, and beheld the two angels, who are introduced to us in John's narrative, sitting in white raiment, one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been deposited. "They say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him." [1509] Here we are to suppose the angels to have risen up, so that they could be seen standing, as Luke states that they were seen, and then, according to the narrative of the same Luke, to have addressed the women, as they were afraid and bowed down their faces to the earth. The terms were these: "Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how He spake unto you when He was yet in Galilee, saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise. And they remembered His words." [1510] It was after this that, as we learn from John, "Mary turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing Him to be the gardener, saith unto Him, Sir, if thou have borne Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto Him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." [1511] Then she departed from the sepulchre, that is to say, from the ground where there was space for the garden in front of the stone which had been dug out. Along with her there were also those other women, who, as Mark tells us, were surprised with fear and trembling. And they told nothing to any one. At this point we next take up what Matthew has recorded in the following passage: "Behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail! And they came and held Him by the feet, and worshipped Him." [1512] For thus we gather that, on coming to the sepulchre, they were twice addressed by the angels; and, again, that they were also twice addressed by the Lord Himself, namely, at the point at which Mary took Him to be the gardener, and a second time at present, when He meets them on the way, with a view to strengthen them by such a repetition, and to bring them out of their state of fear. "Then, accordingly, said He unto them, Be not afraid: go, tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me." [1513] "Then came Mary Magdalene, and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things unto her;" [1514] --not herself alone, however, but with her also those other women to whom Luke alludes when he says, "Which told these things unto the eleven disciples, and all the rest. And their words seemed to them like madness, and they believed them not." [1515] Mark also attests these facts; for, after telling us how the women went out from the sepulchre, trembling and amazed, and said nothing to any man, he subjoins the statement, that the Lord rose early the first day of the week, and appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven devils, and that she went and told them who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept, and that they, when they heard that He was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. [1516] It is further to be observed, that Matthew has also introduced a notice to the effect that, as the women who had seen and heard all these things were going away, there came likewise into the city some of the guards who had been lying like dead men, and that these persons reported to the chief priests all the things that were done, that is to say, those of them which they were themselves also in a position to observe. He tells us, moreover, that when they were assembled with the elders and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, and bade them say that His disciples came and stole Him away while they slept, promising at the same time to secure them against the governor, who had given those guards. Finally, he adds that they took the money, and did as they had been taught, and that this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. [1517]

Footnotes

[1474] Matt. xxvii. 61. [1475] Mark xv. 47. [1476] Matt. xxvii. 62-66. [1477] Vespere autem Sabbati. [The Greek does not present the difficulty which is found in the Latin text, and discussed by Augustin in 65 (latter part). The phrase is properly rendered in the Revised Version, "Now late on the Sabbath day."--R.] [1478] The editions often give, in prima Sabbati = on the first day of the week. The best mss. read, as above, in primam, etc. [1479] Matt. xxviii. 1-7. [1480] Mark xvi. 5. [1481] Mark xvi. 8. [1482] Matt. xxviii. 8. [1483] Mark xvi. 2. [Mark's expression, according to the Greek text is more explicit: "when the sun was risen." But this is to be explained by the context, as Augustin indicates.--R.] [1484] Auroræ. [1485] Mane. [1486] Albescente. [1487] Mane. [1488] Mane. [1489] Diluculo. [1490] Valde mane. [1491] Valde diluculo. [1492] Mane cum adhuc tenebræ essent. [1493] [The difficulty arises from taking vespere in its technical sense, as referring to the previous evening. As already intimated (see note on 63), the Greek does not necessarily imply this.--R.] [1494] Diluculo. [1495] A sentence is sometimes added here in the editions, namely, Hinc magna redditur ratio verbi Domini = hence a large account is given of the Lord's word. It is omitted in the mss. [1496] Matt. xii. 40. [1497] The text gives, extremum diem tempus parasceues. One of the Vatican mss. reads primum diem, etc. = the first day. [1498] See above, Book ii. chap. 56, 113. [1499] [The Greek text connects closely this clause with the following one. Comp. Revised Version.--R.] [1500] The words, "and certain others with them," are omitted here. [So the Greek text, according to the best authorities. Comp. Revised Version.--R.] [1501] Luke xxiii. 54-xxiv. 12. [1502] [Matthew tells nothing of their entering the tomb; but Mark distinctly affirms this, as does Luke.--R.] [1503] [The view that there were two parties of women is not noticed by Augustin. His explanations are in the main pertinent, though harmonists and commentators still disagree in regard to the details.--R.] [1504] John xx. 1-18. [1505] The text follows the mss. in reading sine dubio cæteris mulieribus...plurimum dilectione ferventior. Some editions insert cum before cæteris mulieribus; in which case the sense would be = Mary Magdalene, unquestionably accompanied by the other women who had ministered to the Lord, but herself more ardent, etc. [1506] John xx. 9, 10. [1507] John xix. 41. [1508] Matt. xxviii. 5-7. [1509] John xx. 13. [1510] Luke xxiv. 5-8. [1511] John xx. 13-18. [1512] Matt. xxviii. 9. [1513] Matt. xxviii. 10. [1514] John xx. 18. [1515] Luke xxiv. 10, 11. [1516] [Augustin makes no allusion to the doubtful genuineness of Mark xvi. 9-20. The passage appears in nearly all early Latin codices.--R.] [1517] Matt. xxviii. 11-15.


Chapter XXV.--Of Christ's Subsequent Manifestations of Himself to the Disciples, and of the Question Whether a Thorough Harmony Can Be Established Between the Different Narratives When the Notices Given by the Four Several Evangelists, as Well as Those Presented by the Apostle Paul and in the Acts of the Apostles, are Compared Together.

70. We must take up the consideration of the manner in which the Lord showed Himself to the disciples after His resurrection, and that with the view not only of bringing out clearly the consistency of the four evangelists with each other on these subjects, but also of exhibiting their agreement with the Apostle Paul, who discourses of the theme in his First Epistle to the Corinthians. The statement by the latter runs in the following terms: "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures; and that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: [1518] after that He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this day, but some are fallen asleep. After that, He was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all He was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time." [1519] Now this succession of the appearances is one which has been given by none of the evangelists. Hence we must examine whether the order which they have put on record does not stand in antagonism to this. For neither has Paul related all, nor have the evangelists included everything in their reports. And the real subject for our investigation, therefore, is the question, whether, among the incidents which do come under our notice in these various narratives, there is anything fitted to establish a discrepancy between the writers. Now Luke is the only one among the four evangelists who omits to tell us how the Lord was seen by the women, and confines his statement to the appearance of the angels. Matthew, again, informs us that He met them as they were returning from the sepulchre. Mark likewise mentions that He appeared first to Mary Magdalene; as also does John. Only Mark does not state how He manifested Himself to her, while John does give us an explanation of that. Moreover, Luke not only passes by in silence the fact that He showed Himself to the women, as I have already remarked, but also reports that two disciples, one of whom was Cleophas, talked with Him, before they recognised Him, in a strain which seems to imply that the women had related no other appearance seen by them than that of the angels who told them that He was alive. For Luke's narrative proceeds thus: "And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus Himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden, that they should not know Him. And He said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleophas, answering, said unto Him, Art thou only a stranger [1520] in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And He said unto them, What things? And they said unto Him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people; and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and have crucified Him. But we trusted that it had been He that should have redeemed Israel: and besides all this, to-day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; and when they found not His body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that He was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women said; but Him they saw [1521] not." [1522] All these things they relate, according to Luke's narrative, just as they were able to command their recollections and bethink themselves of what had been reported to them by the women, or by the disciples who had run to the sepulchre when the intelligence was conveyed to them that His body had been removed from the place. It is at the same time true that Luke himself reports only Peter to have run to the tomb, and there to have stooped down and seen the linen clothes laid by themselves, and then to have departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass. This notice about Peter, moreover, is introduced previous to the narrative of these two disciples whom He found on the way, and subsequently to the story of the women who had seen the angels, and who had heard from them that Jesus had risen again; so that this position might seem to mark the period at which Peter ran to the sepulchre. But still we must suppose that Luke has inserted the passage about Peter here in the form of a recapitulation. For the time when Peter ran to the sepulchre was also the time when John ran to it; and at that point all that they had heard was simply the statement conveyed to them by the women, and in particular by Mary Magdalene, to the effect that the body had been carried away. Furthermore, the period at which the said woman brought such tidings was just the occasion when she saw the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And it was at a later point that these other things occurred, connected with the vision of the angels, and the appearance of the Lord Himself, who showed Himself twice over to the women, namely, once at the sepulchre, and a second time when He met them as they were returning from the tomb. This, however, took place previous to His being seen by those two upon the journey, one of whom was Cleophas. For, when this Cleophas was talking with the Lord, before he recognized who He was, he did not say expressly that Peter had gone to the sepulchre. But his words were these: "Certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women said;" which last statement is also to be understood as introduced in the form of a recapitulation. For the reference is to the report brought first of all by the women to Peter and John about the removal of the body. And thus, when Luke here informs us that Peter ran to the sepulchre, and also states how Cleophas mentioned that some of those who were with them went to the tomb, he is to be taken as attesting John's account, which bears that two persons proceeded to the sepulchre. But Luke has specified Peter alone in the first instance, just because it was to him that Mary had brought the earliest tidings. A difficulty, however, may also be felt in the circumstance that the same Luke does not say that Peter entered, but only that he stooped down and saw the linen clothes hid by themselves, and that thereupon he departed, wondering in himself; whereas John intimates that it was rather himself (for he is the disciple whom Jesus loved) that looked at the scene in this fashion, not going within the sepulchre, which he was the first to reach, but simply bending down and beholding the linen clothes laid in their place; although he also adds that he did enter the tomb afterwards. The explanation, therefore, is simply this, that Peter at first did stoop down and look in after the fashion which Luke specifies, but to which John makes no allusion; and that he went actually in somewhat later, but still before John entered. And in this way we shall find that all these writers have given a true account of what occurred in terms which betray no discrepancies. [1523]

71. Taking, then, not only the reports presented by the four evangelists, but also the statement given by the Apostle Paul, we shall endeavour to bring the whole into a single connected narrative, and exhibit the order in which all these incidents may have taken place, comprehending all the Lord's appearances to the male disciples, and leaving out His earlier declarations to the women. Now, in the entire number of the men, Peter is understood to be the one to whom Christ showed Himself first. At least, this holds good so far as regards all the individuals who are actually mentioned by the four evangelists, and by the Apostle Paul. But, at the same time, who would be bold enough either to affirm or to deny that He may have appeared to some one among them before He showed Himself to Peter, although all these writers pass the matter over in silence? For the statement which Paul also gives is not in the form, "He was seen first of Cephas." But it runs thus: "He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once." And thus it is not made clear who these twelve were, just as we are not informed who these five hundred were. It is quite possible, indeed, that the twelve here instanced were some unknown twelve belonging to the multitude of the disciples. For now the apostle might speak of those whom the Lord designated apostles, not as the twelve, but as the eleven. Some codices, indeed, contain this very reading. I take that, however, to be an emendation introduced by men who were perplexed by the text, supposing it to refer to those twelve apostles who, by the time when Judas disappeared, were really only eleven. It may be the case, then, that those are the more correct codices which contain the reading "eleven;" or it may be that Paul intended some other twelve disciples to be understood by that phrase; [1524] or, once more, the fact may be that he meant that consecrated number [1525] to remain as before, although the circle had been reduced to eleven: for this number twelve, as it was used of the apostles, had so mystical an importance, that, in order to keep the spiritual symbol of the same number, there could be but a single individual, namely, Matthias, elected to fill the place of Judas. [1526] But whichever of these several views may be adopted, nothing necessarily results which can appear to be inconsistent with truth, or at variance with any one most trustworthy historian among them. Still, it remains the probable supposition, that, after He was seen of Peter, He appeared next to those two, of whom Cleophas was one, and regarding whom Luke presents us with a complete narrative, while Mark gives us only a very brief notice. The latter evangelist [1527] reports the same incident in these concise terms: "And after that He appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked and went to a country-seat." [1528] For it is not unreasonable for us to suppose that the place of residence [1529] referred to may also have been styled a country-seat; [1530] just as Bethlehem itself, which formerly was called a city, is even at the present time also named a village, although its honour has now been made so much the greater since the name of this Lord, who was born in it, has been proclaimed so extensively throughout the Churches of all nations. In the Greek codices, indeed, the reading which we discover is rather "estate" [1531] than "country-seat." But that term was employed not only of residences, [1532] but also of free towns [1533] and colonies beyond the city, which is the head and mother of the rest, and is therefore called the metropolis.

72. Again, if Mark tells us that the Lord appeared to these persons in another form, Luke refers to the same when he says that their eyes, were holden, that they should not know Him. For something had come upon their eyes which was suffered to remain until the breaking of the bread, in reference to a well-known mystery, so that only then was the different form in Him made visible to them, and they did not recognise Him, as is shown by Luke's narrative, until the breaking of the bread took place. And thus, in apt accordance with the state of their minds, which were still ignorant of the truth, that it behoved Christ to die and rise again, their eyes sustained something of a similar order; not, indeed, that the truth itself proved misleading, but that they were themselves incompetent to perceive the truth, and thought of the matter as something else than it was. The deeper significance of all which is this, that no one should consider himself to have attained the knowledge of Christ, if he is not a member in His body--that is to say, in His Church--the unity of which is commended to our notice under the sacramental symbol of the bread by an apostle, when he says: "We being many are one bread and one body." [1534] So was it that, when He handed to them the bread which He had blessed, their eyes were opened, and they recognised Him, that is to say, their eyes were opened for such knowledge of Him, in so far as the impediment was now removed which had prevented them from recognising Him. For certainly they were not walking with closed eyes. But there was something in them which debarred them from seeing correctly what was in their view,--a state of matters, indeed, which is the familiar result of darkness, or of a certain kind of humour. It is not meant by this, however, that the Lord could not alter the form of His flesh, so that His figure might be literally and actually different, and not the one which they were in the habit of beholding. For, indeed, even before His passion, He was transfigured on the mount so that His countenance "did shine as the sun." [1535] And He who made genuine wine out of genuine water can also transform any body whatsoever in all unquestionable reality into any other kind of body which may please Him. But what is meant is, that He had not acted so when He appeared in another form unto those two individuals. For He did not appear to be what He was [1536] to these men, because their eyes were holden, so that they should not know Him. Moreover, not unsuitably may we suppose that this impediment in their eyes came from Satan, with the view of precluding their recognition of Jesus. But, nevertheless, permission that it should be so was given by Christ on to the point at which the mystery of the bread was taken up. And thus the lesson might be, that it is when we become participants in the unity of His body, that we are to understand the impediment of the adversary to be removed, and liberty to be given us to know Christ.

73. Besides, it is necessary to believe that these were the same persons to whom Mark also refers. For he informs us, that they went and told these things to the rest: just as Luke states, that the persons in question rose up the same hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, "The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon." [1537] And then he adds that these two also told what things were done on the way, and how He was known of them in breaking of bread. [1538] By this time, therefore, a report of the resurrection of Jesus had been conveyed by those women, and also by Simon Peter, to whom He had already shown Himself. For these two disciples found those to whom they came in Jerusalem talking of that very subject. Consequently, it may be the case that fear made them decline mentioning formerly, when they were on the way, that they had heard that He had risen again, so that they confined themselves to stating how the angels had been seen by the women. For, not knowing with whom they were conversing, they might reasonably be anxious not to let any word drop from them on the subject of Christ's resurrection, lest they should fall into the hands of the Jews. But again, we must remark that Mark states that "they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them:" [1539] whereas Luke tells us that these others were already saying that the Lord was risen indeed, and had appeared unto Simon. Is not the explanation, however, simply this, that there were some of them there who refused to credit what was related? Moreover, to whom can it fail to be clear that Mark has just omitted certain matters which are fully set forth in Luke's narrative,--that is to say, the subjects of the conversation which Jesus had with them before He recognised them, and the manner in which they came to know Him in the breaking of the bread? For, after recording how He appeared to them in another form, as they went towards a country-seat, Mark has immediately appended the sentence, "And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them;" as if men could tell of a person whom they had not recognised, or as if those to whom He had appeared only in another form could know Him! Without doubt, therefore, Mark has simply given us no explanation of the way in which they came to know Him, so as to be able to report the same to others. And this, then, is a thing which deserves to be imprinted on our memory, in order that we may accustom ourselves to keep in view the habit which these evangelists have of passing over those matters which they do not put on record, and of connecting the facts which they do relate in such a manner that, among those who fail to give due consideration to the usage referred to, nothing proves itself a more fruitful source of misapprehension than this, leading them to imagine the existence of discrepancies in the sacred writers.

74. Luke next proceeds with his narrative in the following terms: "And as they thus spake, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you: it is I; be not afraid. [1540] But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And He said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when He had thus spoken, He showed them His hands and His feet." [1541] It is to this act, by which the Lord showed Himself after His resurrection, that John is also understood to refer when he discourses as follows: "Then, when it was late on the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus, and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when He had so said, He showed unto them His hands and His side." [1542] Thus, too, we may connect with these words of John certain matters which Luke reports, but which John Himself omits. For Luke continues in these terms: "And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, He said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And when He had eaten before them, He took what remained, [1543] and gave it unto them." [1544] Again, a passage which Luke omits, but which John presents, may next be connected with these words. It is to the following effect: "Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained." [1545] Once more, we may attach to the above section another which John has left out, but which Luke inserts. It runs thus: "And He said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me. Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city, until ye be endued with power from on high." [1546] Observe, then, how Luke has here referred to that promise of the Holy Spirit which we do not elsewhere find made by the Lord, save in John's Gospel. [1547] And this deserves something more than a passing notice, in order that we may bear in mind how the evangelists attest each other's truth, even on subjects which some of them may not themselves record, but which they nevertheless know to have been reported. After these matters, Luke passes over in silence all else that happened, and introduces nothing into his narrative beyond the occasion when Jesus ascended into heaven. And at the same time he appends this [statement of the ascension], just as if it followed immediately upon these words which the Lord spake, at the same time with those other transactions on the first day of the week, that is to say, on the day on which the Lord rose again; whereas, in the Acts of the Apostles, [1548] the self-same Luke tells us that the event really took place on the fortieth day after His resurrection. Finally, as regards the fact that John states that the Apostle Thomas was not present with these others on the occasion under review, whereas, according to Luke, the two disciples, of whom Cleophas was one, returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven assembled and those who were with them, it admits of little doubt that we must suppose Thomas simply to have left the company before the Lord showed Himself to the brethren when they were talking in the terms noticed above.

75. This being the case, John now records a second manifestation of Himself, which was vouchsafed by the Lord to the disciples eight days after, on which occasion Thomas also was present, who had not seen Him up to that time. The narrative proceeds thus: "And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto Him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." [1549] This second appearance of the Lord among the disciples--that is to say, the appearance which John records in the second instance--we might also recognise as alluded to by Mark in a section concisely disposing of it, according to that evangelist's habit. A difficulty, however, is created by the circumstance that his terms are these: "Lastly, [1550] He appeared unto those eleven as they sat at meat." [1551] The difficulty does not lie in the mere fact that John says nothing about their sitting at meat, for he might well have omitted that; but it does rest in the use of the word "lastly," for that makes it seem as if He did not show Himself to them after that occasion, whereas John still proceeds to record a third appearance of the Lord by the sea of Tiberias. And then we have to keep in view the fact that the same Mark tells us how Jesus "upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen." In these words he refers to the two disciples to whom He appeared after He was risen, as they went toward a country-seat, and to Peter, to whom the examination of Luke's narrative has shown us that He manifested Himself first of all [among the apostles],--perhaps also to Mary Magdalene, and those other women who were along with her on the occasion when He was seen by them at the sepulchre, and again when He met them as they were returning on the way. For the said Mark has constructed his record in a manner which leads him first to insert his brief notice of the two disciples to whom He appeared as they went toward the country-seat, and of their giving a report to the residue and obtaining no credit, and then to subjoin in the immediate connection this statement: "Lastly, He appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen." How, then, is this phrase "lastly" used, as if they did not see Him subsequently to this occasion? For the last time that the apostles saw the Lord upon the earth was really the time when He ascended into heaven, and that event took place on the fortieth day after His resurrection. Now, is it likely that He would upbraid them at that period on the ground that they had not believed those who had seen Him after He was risen, when by that time they had seen Him themselves so often after His resurrection, and especially when they had seen Him on the very day of His resurrection,--that is to say, on the first day of the week, when it was now about night, as Luke and John record? It remains for us, therefore, to suppose that, in the passage under review, it was Mark's intention to give a statement, in his own concise fashion, simply on the subject of the said day of the Lord's resurrection; that is to say, that first day of the week on which Mary and the other women who were along with her saw Him after daybreak, on which also Peter beheld Him, on which likewise He appeared to the two disciples, of whom Cleophas was one, and to whom Mark himself also seems to refer; on which, further, when it was now about night, He showed Himself to the eleven (Thomas, however, being excepted) and those who were with them; and on which, finally, the persons already instanced reported to the disciples the things which they had seen. Hence it is that he has employed the term "lastly," because the incident mentioned was the last that took place on this same day. For the night was now coming on by the time that the two disciples had returned from the place where they had recognised Him in the breaking of bread, and had made their way into Jerusalem and found the eleven, as Luke tells us, and those who were with them, speaking to each other about the Lord's resurrection and about His having appeared to Peter; to whom these two also related what had occurred on the way, and how they came to know Him in the breaking of bread. But, assuredly, there were also there some who did not believe. Hence we see the truth of Mark's words, "Neither believed they them." When these, therefore, were now sitting at meat, as Mark informs us, and when they were talking of these subjects, as Luke tells us, the Lord stood in their midst, and said unto them, "Peace be unto you," as Luke and John both record. Moreover, the doors were shut when He entered among them, as John alone mentions. And thus, among the words which, as Luke and John have reported, the Lord spoke to the disciples on that occasion, this expostulation also comes in, which is instanced by Mark, and in which He upbraided them for not believing those who had seen Him after He was risen.

76. But, again, a difficulty may also be felt in understanding how Mark says that the Lord appeared to the eleven as they sat at meat, if the time referred to is really the beginning of the night of that Lord's day, as is indicated by Luke and John. For John, indeed, tells us plainly that the Apostle Thomas was not with them on that occasion; and we believe that he left them before the Lord entered among them, but after the two disciples who returned from the village had been conversing with the eleven, as we discover from Luke. Luke, it is true, presents a point in his narrative, at which we may fairly suppose, first, that Thomas went out while they were talking of these subjects, and then that the Lord came in. Mark, however, who says, "Lastly, He appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat," compels us to admit that Thomas also was there. But it may be the case, perhaps, that he chose to style them the eleven, although one of the company was absent, because the same apostolic society was designated by this number at the time previous to the election of Matthias in the place of Judas. Or, if there is a difficulty in accepting this explanation, we may still suppose that, after the many manifestations in which He vouchsafed His presence to the disciples during the forty days, He also showed Himself on one final occasion to the eleven as they sat at meat,--that is to say, on the fortieth day itself; and that, as He was now on the point of leaving them and ascending into heaven, He was minded on that memorable day specially to upbraid them with their refusal to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen until they should first have seen Him themselves; and this particularly because it was the case that, when they preached the gospel subsequently to His ascension, the very Gentiles would be ready to believe what they did not see. For, after mentioning this upbraiding, Mark at once proceeds to subjoin this passage: "And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." [1552] If, therefore, they were charged to preach that he who believes not shall be condemned, when that indeed which he believes not is just what he has not seen, was it not meet that they should themselves first of all be thus reproved for their own refusal to believe those to whom the Lord had shown Himself at an earlier stage until they should have seen Him with their own eyes?

77. In what follows we have a further recommendation to take this to have been the last manifestation of Himself in bodily fashion which the Lord gave to the apostles. For the same Mark continues in these terms: "And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." [1553] Then he appends this statement: "So then, after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by signs following." [1554] Now, when he says, "So then, after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven," he appears probably enough to indicate that this was the last discourse He held with them upon the earth. At the same time, the words do not seem to shut us up to that idea absolutely. For what he says is not, "after He had spoken these things unto them," but simply, "after He had spoken unto them;" and hence it would be quite admissible, were there any necessity for such a theory, to suppose that this was not the last discourse, and that that was not the last day on which He was present with them upon the earth, but that all the matters regarding which He spake with them in all these days may be referred to in the sentence, "After He had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven." But, inasmuch as the considerations which we have detailed above lead us rather to conclude that this was the last day, than to suppose that the allusion is specifically to the eleven at a time when, in consequence of the absence of Thomas, they were only ten, we are of opinion that after this discourse which Mark mentions, and with which we have to connect in their proper order those other words, whether of the disciples or of the Lord Himself, which are recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, [1555] we must believe the Lord to have been received up into heaven, to wit, on the fortieth day after the day of His resurrection.

78. John, again, although he tells us plainly that he has passed over many of the things which Jesus did, has been pleased, nevertheless, to give us a narrative of a third manifestation of Himself, which the Lord granted to the disciples after the resurrection, namely, by the sea of Tiberias, and before seven of the disciples,--that is to say, Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, the sons of Zebedee, and two others who are not mentioned by name. That is the occasion when they were engaged in fishing; when, in obedience to His command, they cast the nets on the right side, and drew to land great fishes, a hundred and fifty and three: when He also asked Peter three times whether He was loved by him, and charged him to feed His sheep, and delivered a prophecy regarding what he would suffer, and said also, with reference to John, "Thus [1556] I will that he tarry till I come." And with this John has brought his Gospel to its conclusion.

79. We have next to consider now what was the occasion of His first appearance to the disciples in Galilee. For this incident, which John narrates as the third in order, took place in Galilee by the sea of Tiberias. And one may perceive that the scene was in that district, if he calls to mind the miracle of the five loaves, the narrative of which the same John commences in these terms: "After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias." [1557] And what should naturally be supposed to be the proper locality for His first manifestation to the disciples after His resurrection but Galilee? This seems to be the conclusion to which we should be led when we recollect the words of the angel who, according to Matthew's Gospel, addressed the women as they came to the sepulchre. The words were these: "Fear not ye; for I know that ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay: and go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and, behold, He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him: lo, I have told you." [1558] Mark presents a similar report, whether the angel of whom he speaks be the same one or a different. His version runs thus: "Be not affrighted: ye seek Jesus of Nazareth which was crucified; He is risen; He is not here: behold the place where they laid Him. But go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see Him, as He said unto you." [1559] Now the impression which these words seem to produce is, that Jesus was not to show Himself to His disciples after His resurrection, but in Galilee. The appearance thus referred to, however, is not recorded even by Mark himself, who has informed us how He showed Himself first to Mary Magdalene in the early morning of the first day of the week; how she went and told them that had been with Him as they mourned and wept; how these persons refused to believe her; how, after this, He was next seen by the two disciples who were going to the residence in the country; how these twain reported what had occurred to them to the residue, which, as Luke and John agree in certifying, took place in Jerusalem on the very day of the Lord's resurrection, and when night was now coming on. Thereafter the same evangelist comes next to that appearance which he calls His last, and which was vouchsafed to the eleven as they sat at meat; and when he has given us his account of that scene, he tells us how He was received up into heaven, which event took place, as we know, on the Mount Olivet, at no great distance from Jerusalem. Thus Mark nowhere relates the actual fulfilment of that which he declares to have been announced beforehand by the angel. Matthew, on the other hand, confines his statement to a single occurrence, and refers to no other locality whatsoever, whether earlier or later, where the disciples saw the Lord after He was risen, but the Galilee which was specified in the angel's prediction. This evangelist, in short, first introduces his notice of the terms in which the women were addressed by the angel; then he subjoins an account of what happened as they were going, and how the members of the watch were bribed to give a false report; and then he inserts his statement [of the appearance in Galilee], just as if that were the very event which followed immediately on what he has been relating. For, indeed, the angel's words, "He is risen; and behold, He goeth before you into Galilee," were really such as might make it seem reasonable to suppose that nothing would intervene [before that manifestation in Galilee]. Matthew's version, accordingly, proceeds as follows: "Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw Him, they worshipped Him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." [1560] In these terms has Matthew closed his Gospel.

80. Thus, then, were it not that the consideration of the narratives given by others of the evangelists led us inevitably to examine the whole subject with greater care, we might entertain the idea that the scene of the Lord's first manifestation of Himself to the disciples after His resurrection, could be nowhere else but in Galilee. In like manner, had Mark passed over the angel's announcement without notice, any one might have supposed that Matthew was induced to tell us how the disciples went away to a mountain in Galilee, and there worshipped the Lord, by his desire to show the actual fulfilment of the charge, and of the prediction which he had also recorded to have been conveyed by the angel. As the case now stands, however, Luke and John both certify with sufficient clearness, that on the very day of His resurrection the Lord was seen by His disciples in Jerusalem, which is at such a distance from Galilee as makes it impossible for Him to have been seen by these same individuals in both places in the course of a single day. In like manner, Mark, while he does report in similar terms the announcement made by the angel, nowhere mentions that the Lord actually was seen in Galilee by His disciples after He was risen. These, therefore, are considerations which strongly force upon us an inquiry into the real import of this saying, "Behold, He goeth before you into Galilee! there shall ye see Him." For if Matthew himself, too, had not stated that the eleven disciples went away into Galilee into a mountain, where Jesus had appointed them, and that they saw Him there and worshipped Him, we might have supposed that there was no literal fulfilment of the prediction in question, but that the whole announcement was intended to convey a figurative meaning. And a parallel to that we should then find in the words recorded by Luke, namely, "Behold I cast out devils, and I do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected;" [1561] which prediction certainly was not accomplished in the letter. In like manner, if the angel had said, "He goeth before you into Galilee, there shall ye see Him first;" or, "Only there shall ye see Him;" or, "Nowhere else but there shall ye see Him;" unquestionably, in that case, Matthew would have been in antagonism with the rest of the evangelists. As the matter stands, however, the words are simply these: "Behold, He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him;" and there is no statement of the precise time at which that meeting was to take place--whether at the earliest opportunity, and before He was seen by them elsewhere, or at a later period, and after they had seen Him also in other places besides Galilee; and, further, although Matthew relates that the disciples went away into Galilee into a mountain, he neither specifies the day of that departure, nor constructs his narrative in an order which would force upon us the necessity of supposing that this particular event must have been actually the first appearance. Consequently, we may conclude that Matthew stands in no antagonism with the narratives of the other evangelists, but that he makes it quite competent for us, in due consistency with his own report, to understand the meaning and accept the truth of these other accounts. At the same time, as the Lord thus pointed, not to the place where He intended first to manifest Himself, but to the locality of Galilee, where undoubtedly He appeared afterwards; and as He conveyed these instructions about beholding Himself at once through the angel, who said," Behold, He goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see Him;" and by His own words, "Go, tell my brethren, that they go into Galilee, and there shall ye see me;"--in these facts we find considerations which make every believer anxious to inquire with what mystical significance all this may be understood to have been stated.

81. In the first place, however, we must also consider the question of the time at which He may thus have shown Himself in bodily form in Galilee, according to the statement given by Matthew in these terms: "Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them; and when they saw Him, they worshipped Him; but some doubted." That it was not on the day of His resurrection is manifest. For Luke and John agree in telling us most plainly that He was seen in Jerusalem that very day, when the night was coming on; while Mark is not so clear on the subject. When was it, then, that they saw the Lord in Galilee? I do not refer to the appearance mentioned by John, by the sea of Tiberias; for on that occasion there were only seven of them present, and they were found fishing. But I mean the appearance detailed by Matthew, when the eleven were on the mountain, to which Jesus had gone before them, according to the announcement made by the angel. For the import of Matthew's statement appears to be this, that they found Him there just because He had gone before them according to appointment. It did not take place, then, either on the day on which He rose, or in the eight days that followed, after which space John states that the Lord showed Himself to the disciples, when Thomas, who had not seen Him on the day of His resurrection, saw Him for the first time. For, surely, on the supposition that the eleven had really seen Him on the mountain in Galilee within the period of these eight days, it may well be asked how Thomas, who had been of the number of these eleven, could be said to have seen Him for the first time at the end of these eight days. To that question there is no answer, unless, indeed, one could say that they were not the eleven, who by that time bore the specific designation of Apostles, but some other eleven disciples singled out of the numerous body of His followers. For those eleven were, indeed, the only persons who were yet called by the name of Apostles, but they were not the only disciples. It may perhaps be the case, therefore, that the apostles are really referred to; that not all but only some of them were there; that there were also other disciples with them, so that the number of persons present was made up to eleven; and that Thomas, who saw the Lord for the first time at the end of those eight days, was absent on this occasion. For when Mark mentions the said eleven, he does not use the general expression "eleven," but says explicitly, "He appeared unto the eleven." [1562] Luke, likewise, puts it thus: "They returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them." There he gives us to understand that these were the eleven--that is to say, the apostles. For when he adds, "and those who were with them," he has surely indicated plainly enough, that those with whom these others were, were styled "the eleven" in some eminent sense; and this leads us to understand those to be meant who were now called distinctively Apostles. Consequently, it is quite possible that, out of the body of apostles and other disciples, the number of eleven disciples was made up who saw Jesus upon the mountain in Galilee, within the space of these eight days.

82. But another difficulty in the way of this settlement arises here. For, when John has recorded how the Lord was seen, not by the eleven on the mountain, but by seven of them when they were fishing in the sea of Tiberias, he appends the following statement: "This is now the third time that Jesus showed Himself to His disciples, after that He was risen from the dead." [1563] Now, if we accept the theory that the Lord was seen by the company of the eleven disciples within the period of these eight days, and previous to His being seen by Thomas, this scene by the sea of Tiberias will not be the third but the fourth time that He showed Himself. Here, indeed, we must take care not to let any one suppose that, in speaking of the third time, John meant that there were in all only three appearances of the Lord. On the contrary, we must understand him to refer to the number of the days, and not to the number of the manifestations themselves; and, further, it is to be observed that these days are not presented as coming in immediate succession after each other, but as separated by intervals in accordance with intimations given by the evangelist himself. For, keeping out of view His appearance to the women, it is made perfectly plain in the Gospel that He showed Himself three several times on the first day after He was risen; namely, once to Peter; again to those two disciples, of whom Cleophas was one; and a third time to the larger body, while they were conversing with each other as the night came on. But all these John, looking to the fact that they took place on a single day, reckons as one appearance. Then he identifies a second--that is to say, an appearance on another day--with the occasion on which Thomas also saw Him; and he particularizes a third by the sea of Tiberias, that is to say, not literally His third appearance, but the third day of His self-manifestations. Thus the result is, that after all these incidents, we are constrained to suppose this other occasion to have occurred on which, according to Matthew, the eleven disciples saw Him on the mountain in Galilee, to which He had gone before them according to appointment, so that all that had been foretold, both by the angel and by Himself, should be fulfilled even to the letter.

83. Consequently, in the four evangelists we find mention made of ten distinct appearances of the Lord to different persons after His resurrection. First, to the women near the sepulchre. [1564] Secondly, to the same women as they were on the way returning from the sepulchre. [1565] Thirdly, to Peter. [1566] Fourthly, to the two who were going to the place in the country. [1567] Fifthly, to the larger number in Jerusalem, when Thomas was not present. [1568] Sixthly, on the occasion when Thomas saw Him. [1569] Seventhly, by the sea of Tiberias. [1570] Eighthly, on the mountain in Galilee, of which Matthew speaks. [1571] Ninthly, at the time to which Mark refers in the words, "Lastly, as they sat at meat," thereby intimating that now they were no more to eat with Him upon the earth. [1572] Tenthly, on the same day, not now indeed upon the earth, but lifted up in the cloud, as He ascended into heaven, as Mark and Luke record. This last appearance, indeed, is introduced by Mark, directly after he has told us how the Lord showed Himself to them as they sat at meat. For his narrative goes on connectedly as follows: "So then, after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven." [1573] Luke, on the other hand, omits all that may have passed between Him and His disciples during the forty days, and, after giving the history of the first day of His resurrection-life, when He showed Himself to the larger number in Jerusalem, he silently connects therewith the closing day on which He ascended up into heaven. His statement proceeds in this form: "And He led them out as far as to Bethany; and He lifted up His hands, and blessed them; and it came to pass, that while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven." [1574] Thus, therefore, besides seeing Him upon the earth, they beheld Him also as He was borne up into heaven. So many times, then, is He reported in the evangelical books to have been seen by different individuals, previous to His completed ascension into heaven, namely, nine times upon the earth, and once in the air as He was ascending.

84. At the same time, all is not recorded, as John plainly declares. [1575] For He had frequent intercourse with His disciples during the forty days which preceded His ascension into heaven. [1576] He had not, however, showed Himself to them throughout all these forty days without interruption. For John tells us, that after the first day of His resurrection-life, there elapsed other eight days, at the end of which space He appeared to them again. The appearance which is identified [in John] as the third--namely, the one by the sea of Tiberias--may perhaps have taken place on an immediately succeeding day; for there is nothing antagonistic to that. And then He showed Himself when it seemed the proper time to Him, as He had appointed with them (which appointment had also been conveyed in the previous prophetic announcement) to go before them into Galilee. And all throughout these forty days, He appeared on occasions, and to individuals, and in modes, just as He was minded. To these appearances Peter alludes when, in the discourse which he delivered before Cornelius and those who were withhim, he says, "Even to us who did eat and drink with Him after He rose from the dead, for the space of forty days." [1577] It is not meant, however, that they had eaten and drunk with Him daily throughout these forty days. For that would be contrary to John's statement, who has interposed the space of eight days, during which He was not seen, and makes His third appearance take place by the sea of Tiberias. At the same time, even although He [should be supposed to have] manifested Himself to them and lived with them every day after that period, that would not come into antagonism with anything in the narrative. And, perhaps, this expression, "for the space of forty days," which is equivalent to four times ten, and may thus sustain a mystical reference to the whole world or the whole temporal age, has been used just because those first ten days, within which the said eight fall, may not incongruously be reckoned, in accordance with the practice of the Scriptures, on the principle of dealing with the part in general terms as the whole.

85. Let us therefore compare what is said by the Apostle Paul with the view of deciding whether it raises any question of difficulty. His statement proceeds thus: "That He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen of Cephas." [1578] He does not say, "He was seen first of Cephas." For this would be inconsistent with the fact that it is recorded in the Gospel that He appeared first to the women. He continues thus: "then of the twelve;" and whoever the individuals may have been to whom He then showed Himself, and whatever the precise hour, this was at least on the very day of His resurrection. Again he goes on: "After that He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once." And whether these were gathered together with the eleven when the doors were shut for fear of the Jews, and when Jesus came to them after Thomas had gone out from the company, or whether the reference is to some other appearance subsequent to these eight days, no discrepancy is created. Again he says, "after that He was seen of James." We ought not, however, to suppose this to mean that this was the first occasion on which He was seen of James; but we may take it to allude to some special appearance to that apostle by himself. Next he adds, "then of all the apostles," which does not imply that this was the first time that He showed Himself to them, but that from this period He lived in more familiar intercourse with them on to the day of His ascension. Finally he says, "And last of all He was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time." But that was a revelation of Himself from heaven some considerable time after His ascension.

86. Consequently, let us now take up the subject which we had postponed, and inquire what mystical meaning may underlie the report given by Matthew and Mark, namely, that on rising He made this statement, "I will go before you into Galilee: there shall ye see me." For this announcement, if it was fulfilled at all, was certainly not fulfilled till a considerable interval had elapsed; whereas it is couched in terms which seem to lead us (although such a conclusion is not an absolute necessity) most naturally to expect that the appearance referred to would be either the only one or the first that would ensue. We observe, however, that the words in question are not given as the words of the evangelist himself, in the form of a narrative of a past occurrence, but as the words of the angel, who spoke according to the Lord's commission, and subsequently also as the words of the Lord Himself; that is to say, the words are used by the evangelist in his narrative, but they are presented by him as a direct statement of what was spoken by the angel and by the Lord. This, therefore, unquestionably compels us to accept them as uttered prophetically. [1579] Now Galilee may be interpreted to mean either "Transmigration" or "Revelation." Consequently, if we adopt the idea of "Transmigration," what other sense occurs to us to put upon the sentence, "He goeth before you into Galilee, there shall you see Him," but just this, that the grace of Christ was to be transferred from the people of Israel to the Gentiles? That in preaching the gospel to these Gentiles, the apostles would meet with no acceptance unless the Lord prepared a way for them in the hearts of men,--this may be what is to be understood by the sentence, "He goeth before you into Galilee." And, again, that they would look with joy and wonder at the breaking down and removing of difficulties, and at the opening of a door for them in the Lord through the enlightenment of the believing,--this is what is to be understood by the words, "there shall ye see Him;" that is to say, there shall ye find His members, there shall ye recognise His living body in the person of those who shall receive you. Or, if we follow the second view which takes Galilee to signify "Revelation," the idea may be, that He was now no more to be in the form of a servant, but in that form in which He is equal with the Father; [1580] as He promised to those who loved Him when He said, according to the testimony of John, "And I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." [1581] That is to say, He was afterwards to manifest Himself, not merely as they saw Him before, nor merely in the way in which, rising as He did with His wounds upon Him, He was to give Himself to be touched as well as seen by them, but in the character of that ineffable light, wherewith He enlightens every man that cometh into this world, and in virtue of which He shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehends Him not. [1582] Thus has He gone before us to something from which He withdraws not, although He comes to us, and which does not involve His leaving us, although He has preceded us thither. That will be a revelation which may be spoken of as a true Galilee, when we shall be like Him; there shall we see Him as He is. [1583] Then, also, will there be for us the more blessed transmigration, from this world into that eternity, if we embrace His precepts so as to be counted worthy of being set apart on His right hand. For there, those on the left hand shall go away into eternal burning, but the righteous into life eternal. [1584] Hence they shall pass thither, and there, shall they see Him, as the wicked do not see Him. For the wicked shall be taken away, so that he shall not see the brightness of the Lord; [1585] and the unrighteousness shall not see the light. For He says, "And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent;" [1586] even as He shall be known in that eternity to which He will bring His servants by the form of a servant, in order that in liberty they may contemplate the form of the Lord.

Footnotes

[1518] Some editions read undecim = the eleven. [1519] 1 Cor. xv. 3-8. [1520] [Tu solus peregrinus es, agreeing with the Greek text: "Art thou the only sojourner," etc. But comp. Revised Version.--R.] [1521] Another reading occurs here, non invenerunt = Him they found not. [1522] Luke xxiv. 13-24. [1523] [Luke xxiv. 12 is omitted by Tischendorf, on the authority of codices allied to the text of the Vulgate. The omission was probably occasioned by the difficulties discussed above.--R.] [1524] The text has, Sive alios quosdam duodecim discipulos Paulus, etc. In the mss. another reading is found: Sive alios quosdam duodecim apostolus, etc. = it may be that the Apostle Paul intended some other twelve to be understood, etc. [1525] For sacratum illum numerum, five mss. give sacramentum illius numeri = the mystical symbol of that number. [1526] Acts i. 26. [1527] Mark xvi. 12. [1528] In villam. [1529] Castellum. [1530] Villam. [1531] Agrum = field, domain, as the equivalent for agron. [1532] Castella. [1533] Municipia. [1534] 1 Cor. x. 17. [1535] Matt. xvii. 2. [1536] The text gives, Non enim sicut erat, apparuit, etc. Some editions make it non enim aliter quam erat, sed sicut erat apparuit = for He did not really assume another form, but appeared in that which He had. [1537] Luke xxiv. 33, 34. [1538] Luke xxiv. 35. [1539] Mark xvi. 13. [1540] The words Ego sum, nolite timere, are thus inserted. [1541] Luke xxiv. 36-40. [1542] John xx. 19, 20. [1543] Et cum manducasset coram eis, sumens reliquias dedit eis. [1544] Luke xxiv. 41-43. [1545] John xx. 20-23. [1546] Luke xxiv. 44-49. [Many harmonists place this passage in connection with this appearance (evening of the Resurrection day); but part of it may belong to the final appearance, or be a summary of the teaching during the forty days.--R.] [1547] John xiv. 26, xv. 26. [1548] Acts i. 2-9. [1549] John xx. 26-29. [1550] Novissime. [The Greek is husteron, "afterwards," not necessarily "lastly."--R.] [1551] Mark xvi. 14. [1552] Mark xvi. 15, 16. [1553] Mark xvi. 17, 18. [1554] Mark xvi. 19, 20. [1555] Acts i. 4-8. [1556] Some editions read si = if I will, etc. But the best editions and mss. give sic, as above. And that Augustin read it so, is clear also from what occurs further on in Book iv. 20. [1557] John vi. 1. [1558] Matt. xxviii. 5-7. [1559] Mark xvi. 6, 7. [1560] Matt. xxviii. 16-20. [1561] Luke xiii. 32. See above, Book ii. chap. 75, 145. [1562] Illis undecim = those eleven. [1563] John xxi. 14. [1564] John xx. 14. [1565] Matt. xxviii. 9. [1566] Luke xxiv. 35. [1567] Luke xxiv. 15. [1568] John xx. 19-24. [1569] John xx. 26. [1570] John xxi. 1. [1571] Matt. xxviii. 16, 17. [1572] Mark xvi. 14. [1573] Mark xvi. 19. [1574] Luke xxiv. 50, 51. [1575] John xxi. 25. [1576] Acts i. 3. [1577] Acts x. 41--the words, per quadraginta dies, being added. [1578] 1 Cor. xv. 4, 5. [1579] [The discussion of the appearances of the Risen Lord is so clear and candid, that one must regret that it finds its conclusion in the allegorizing exegesis of this section.--R.] [1580] Phil. ii. 6, 7. [1581] John xiv. 21. [1582] John i. 5-9. [1583] 1 John iii. 2. [1584] Matt. xxv. 33-46. [1585] Isa. xxvi. 10. [1586] John xviii. 3.


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