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3. It is complete. It comprises in the compass of its contents the main facts and doctrines of Christianity, and accomplishes all which the author intended.
4. It is not a history of our Blessed Lord's life, but confines itself to an account of a portion of his public ministry.
5. It is regular. Each event of the ministry is recorded in the order in which it occurred.
6. Like the other gospels it is anecdotal, a selection of a few out of the many proofs of divine power and authority which the Saviour's history disclosed.
7. It is supplemental. It passes over much which S. Matthew has recorded ; and it supplies several incidents and very many circumstances which he thought fit to omit. It reduces also to chronological order those
* There are two passages which may seem to deviate from this regularity ; but properly considered they are ceptions. Both are episodes, not parts of the leading narrative and main design, but subsidiary and subordinate. 1. The account of the Baptist's imprisonment and death, in vi. 14—29, related there because our Lord's fame, more widely spread by the mission of the twelve, had now seriously excited the apprehensions of the tetrarch. 2. The account of the supper at Bethany, in xiv. 3—9, related there because connected with the treachery of Judas, in verses 10, 11, and this last with the consultation of the priests and scribes, in verses 1, 2.
parts of his gospel which are arranged on a different principle.
8. It is special. The author has particular regard to those among whom his account was first to be circulated. Traces may be discovered of its being intended for three distinct classes of readers : 1. Jewish converts; 2. Latin converts; and, 3. Converts neither Jews nor Romans, yet acquainted with the language and topography of Syria.
9. It is obviously suited to a particular state of the Church, such as prevailed after the apostles had left Jerusalem, and before Christianity had been widely established among the Gentiles by the labours of S. Paul.
10. It presents us with a peculiar aspect of the Christian scheme. S. Matthew's is the gospel of divine wisdom and prescience; S. Mark's is the exhibition of divine power and supremacy; in S. Luke's, we have the portraiture of divine compassion ; in S. John's, the developement of divine love.a
• It is remarkable that the character and training commonly attributed to the several evangelists should so accurately correspond with the peculiar task which each has, under the guidance of the Blessed Spirit, accomplished. The Hebrew penman, the Roman soldier, the Greek physician, the beloved disciple, would, it must be acknowledged, be appropriate exponents of the special objects and views which we descry in
11. The author was Mark, called by S. Peter his son, and, as we infer from that expression, converted by him to the Christian faith. Probably he was the same with John Mark, sister's son to Barnabas, mentioned several times in the Acts and the Epistles of S. Paul. Admitting this identity, we collect from Scripture the following facts regarding him. In the early days of the gospel he was resident at Jerusalem, and had frequent opportunities of intercourse with the apostles and first disciples, his mother's house being a resort of the Christians, and S. Peter being familiarly known to her household. At the time of the famine, in the reign of Claudius, about A.D. 43, Paul and Barnabas having been sent to Jerusalem with the alms of the faithful, brought Mark back with them to Antioch. Shortly afterwards he was taken by them on their mission to the their respective narratives. Nor does it seem possible to imagine a more striking adaptation of the instrument to the end, of the writer to the subject, than this fact, that to complete and crown the gospel history by portraying, in words simple and almost angelic, the exceeding and eternal love of God in the mystery of redemption, should be reserved for him who alone of mortal men was privileged to behold with the eye of bodily sense the consummation of the Saviour's triumphs over death and hell, and the safe conduct of his elect into the mansions of everlasting peace and joy.
Gentiles and travelled through Cyprus and as far as Perga in Pamphylia. Being for reasons unknown to us unable to persuade himself to proceed further on that journey, he left the two apostles and returned to Jerusalem. When Paul and Barnabas were preparing for their second circuit, about A.D. 49, Mark was again at Antioch, and was the occasion of that difference between them which led to their separation - Barnabas sailing away to Cyprus, and taking Mark; Paul preferring Silas.
S. Peter wrote his first epistle not later, it is believed, than A.D. 59; at the time of writing it, Mark was with him at Babylon, most probably the Babylon in Mesopotamia, and sends his salutations to those Jewish Christians of Asia Minor to whom the letter was addressed. We next hear of Mark in the Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon. He was then, about A.D. 61, with S. Paul at Rome, labouring with him in the work of the gospel, and a comfort to him in his troubles. We learn from the same source that Mark had an intention of visiting Colossæ, and that the church there had, on some former occasion it would seem, received express directions con
, cerning him.
We last hear of Mark in the second epistle to Timothy. He was then either at Ephesus, or at some neighbouring place where Timothy might take him up and bring him with him to Rome. Mark, it is clear, was greatly esteemed and beloved by S. Paul; and we willingly believe that he arrived in time to cheer the aged apostle in the last days of his imprisonment, and to witness the martyrdom which crowned his unparalleled labours and sufferings.
12. S. Mark was certainly a Jew, born of a Jewish mother, his father being perhaps Roman proselyte. The young man whom he mentions as following our Blessed Lord after his betrayal and apprehension has been supposed, and not without reason, to have been the evangelist himself. The wording of that passage, and his manner of expressing himself in several other places, give great weight to the further conjecture, that he had been engaged in military service. Early tradition makes S. Mark the first Bishop of Alexandria.
13. It has been the general opinion in the Church that S. Mark wrote his gospel under the inspection, and with the aid, of S. Peter; and there are so many points in the narrative