Be it so. Here, then, was a Gospel which contained all the separate incidents recorded in SS. Matthew and Luke, and, of course, combined them in one narrative. How is it that so inestimably valuable a Christian document was irretrievably lost, and its place supplied by three others, each far its inferior, each picking and choosing separate parts from the original; and that, about 120 years after the original promulgation of the Gospel, these three forged narratives superseded a Gospel which would have been, in the matter of our Lord’s Birth, Death, and Resurrection, a complete and perfect harmony? I leave the author of “Supernatural Religion” to explain so unlikely a fact. One explanation is, however, on our author’s own showing, inadmissible, which is, that our present Synoptics were adopted because they pandered more than the superseded one to the growing taste for the supernatural, for the earlier Gospel or Gospels contained supernatural incidents which are wanting in our present Synoptics.
The principal witness.—His testimony respecting the moral teaching of our Lord.
One more class of apparent quotations from our Synoptic Gospels must now be considered, viz., the citations in Justin of the moral teaching or precepts of Christ. Those are mostly to be found in one place, in one part of the First Apology (chapters xv.-xviii.), and they are introduced for the express purpose of convincing the Emperor of the high standard of Christ’s moral teaching.
The author of “Supernatural Religion” gives very considerable extracts from these chapters, which I shall give in his own translation:—
“He (Jesus) spoke thus of chastity: ’Whosoever may have gazed on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery already in the heart before God.’ And, ’If thy right eye offend thee cut it out, for it is profitable for thee to enter into the kingdom of heaven with one eye (rather) than having two to be thrust into the everlasting fire.’ And, ’Whosoever marrieth a woman, divorced from another man, committeth adultery.’”
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“And regarding our affection for all He thus taught: ’If ye love them which love you what new thing do ye? for even the fornicators do this; but I say unto you, pray for your enemies, and love them which hate you, and bless them which curse you, and offer prayer for them which despitefully use you.’ And that we should communicate to the needy, and do nothing for praise, He said thus: ’Give ye to every one that asketh, and from him that desireth to borrow turn not ye away, for, if ye lend to them from whom ye hope to receive, what new thing do ye? for even the publicans do this. But ye, lay not up for yourselves upon the earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and