Book II The Harmony of the Gospels
Chapter XXXVII.-Of the Consistency of the Accounts Given by
Matthew and Luke Regarding the Dumb and Blind Man Who Was Possessed with
84. Matthew then goes on with his recital in the following fashion:
"Then was brought unto Him one possessed with a devil, blind and dumb;
and He healed him, insomuch that he both spake and saw."352
Luke introduces this narrative, not in the same order, but after a number
of other matters. He also speaks of the man only as dumb, and not as blind
in addition.353 But it is not to be inferred, from
the mere circumstance of his silence as to some portion or other of the
account, that he speaks of an entirely different person. For he has likewise
recorded what followed [immediately after that cure], as it stands also
Chapter XXXVIII.-Of the Occasion on Which It Was Said to Him
that He Cast Out Devils in the Power of Beelzebub, and of the Declarations
Drawn Forth from Him by that Circumstance in Regard to the Blasphemy Against
the Holy Spirit, and with Respect to the Two Trees; And of the Question
Whether There is Not Some Discrepancy in These Sections Between Matthew
and the Other Two Evangelists, and Particularly Between Matthew and Luke.
85. Matthew proceeds with his narrative in the following term: "And
all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But
when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils
but in Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. And Jesus knew their thoughts,
and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself shall be brought
to desolation;" and so on, down to the words, "By thy words thou shalt
be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."354
Mark does not bring in this allegation against Jesus, that He cast out
devils in [the power of] Beelzebub, in immediate sequence on the story
of the dumb man; but after certain other matters, recorded by himself alone,
he introduces this incident also, either because he recalled it to mind
in a different connection, and so appended it there, or because he had
at first made certain omissions in his history, and after noticing these,
took up this order of narration again.355 On the other
hand, Luke gives an account of these things almost in the same language
as Matthew has employed.356 And the circumstance that
Luke here designates the Spirit of God as the finger of God, does not betray
any departure from a genuine identity in sense; but it rather teaches us
an additional lesson, giving us to know in what manner we are to interpret
the phrase "the finger of God" wherever it occurs in the Scriptures. Moreover,
with regard to other matters which are left unmentioned in this section
both by Mark and by Luke, no difficulty can be raised by these. Neither
can that be the case with some other circumstances which are related by
them in somewhat different terms, for the sense still remains the same.
Chapter XXXIX.-Of the Question as to the Manner of Matthew's
Agreement with Luke in the Accounts Which are Given of the Lord's Reply
to Certain Persons Who Sought a Sign, When He Spoke of Jonas the Prophet,
and of the Ninevites, and of the Queen of the South, and of the Unclean
Spirit Which, When It Has Gone Out of the Man, Returns and Finds the House
86. Matthew goes on and relates what followed thus: "Then certain of
the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see
a sign of thee;" and so on, down to where we read, "Even so shall it be
also unto this wicked generation."357 These words
are recorded also by Luke in this connection, although in a somewhat different
order.358 For he has mentioned the fact that they
sought of the Lord a sign from heaven at an earlier point in his narrative,
which makes it follow immediately on his version of the miracle wrought
on the dumb man. He has not, however, recorded there the reply which was
given to them by the Lord. But further on, after [telling us how] the people
were gathered together, he states that this answer was returned to the
persons who, as he gives us to understand, were mentioned by him in those
earlier verses as seeking of Him a sign from heaven. And that reply he
also subjoins, only after introducing the passage regarding the woman who
said to the Lord, "Blessed is the womb that bare thee."359
This notice of the woman, moreover, he inserts after relating the
Lord's discourse concerning the unclean spirit that goes out of the man,
and then returns and finds the house garnished. In this way, then, after
the notice of the woman, and after his statement of the reply which was
made to the multitudes on the subject of the sign which they sought from
heaven, he brings in the similitude of the prophet Jonas; and then, directly
continuing the Lord's discourse, he next instances what was said concerning
the Queen of the South and the Ninevites. Thus he has rather related something
which Matthew has passed over in silence, than omitted any of the facts
which that evangelist has narrated in this place. And furthermore, who
can fail to perceive that the question as to the precise order in which
these words were uttered by the Lord is a superfluous one? For this lesson
also we ought to learn, on the unimpeachable authority of the evangelists,-namely,
that no offence against truth need be supposed on the part of a writer,
although he may not reproduce the discourse of some speaker in the precise
order in which the person from whose lips it proceeded might have given
it; the fact being, that the mere item of the order, whether it be this
or that, does not affect the subject-matter itself. And by his present
version Luke indicates that this discourse of the Lord was of greater length
than we might otherwise have supposed; and he records certain topics handled
in it, which resemble those which are mentioned by Matthew in his recital
of the sermon which was delivered on the mount.360
So that we take these words to have been spoken twice over, to wit, on
that previous occasion, and again on this one. But on the conclusion of
this discourse Luke proceeds to another subject, as to which it is uncertain
whether, in the account which he gives of it, he has kept by the order
of actual occurrence. For he connects it in this way: "And as He spake,
a certain Pharisee besought Him to dine with him."361
He does not say, however, "as He spake these words," but only "as He spake."
For if he had said, "as He spake these words," the expression would of
course have compelled us to suppose that the incidents referred to, besides
being recorded by him in this order, also took place on the Lord's part
in that same order.
352 Matt. xii. 22.
353 Luke xi. 14.
354 Matt. xii. 23-37.
355 Mark iii. 22-30.
356 Luke xi. 14-26.
357 Matt. xii. 38.
358 Luke xi. 16-37.
359 Luke xi. 27.
360 Matt. v.-vii.
361 Luke xi. 37.