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A Harmony of the Gospels for Students of the Life

So Matthew omits some things which Luke records cf


The contents are radically

different. It is objected by Alford, Greswell, etc., that Luke omits large portions of what Matthew has so that Luke has only thirty verses, while Matthew has one hundred and seven. But this leaves out of consideration the several large portions of the same matter which Luke has placed elsewhere, or which Jesus repeated on other occasions (cf. Matt. 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4; Matt. 6:25-34 and Luke 12:22-31). Jesus often repeated his sayings on other occasions as all teachers do and ought to do. Neither evangelist gives a complete report of this wonderful discourse. So Matthew omits some things which Luke records (cf. Matt. 5:12 with Luke 6:23-6; Matt. 7:12 with Luke 6:31-40). Nor need we be surprised that Luke, writing generally for all Christians, omits large portions towards the beginning of the sermon that were designed especially for Jews (see Matt. 5:17-27; 6:1-18). These Matthew would be sure to record. Luke adds four woes to the beatitudes. It is unnecessary to remark upon minor variations of language, since the gospels manifestly aim to give the sense of what the Saviour said and not the _verbatim_ words. The variations in the Synoptic reports of the sayings of Jesus add much to the interest of the narratives. Moreover, to offset these variations, which admit of explanation, it ought to be remembered that the two discourses begin alike and end alike, that they have a general similarity in the order of the different parts, and that they show a general likeness and often absolute
identity of expression.

So these differences all melt away on careful comparison, and it is not proved that there are two distinct sermons.

2. Another theory holds that the two sermons are distinct, but spoken on the same day, and near together. So Augustine, who is followed by Lange. The further points of this theory are two. _(a)_ The one (Matt.) was spoken before the choice of the Apostles, to the disciples alone, and while Jesus was sitting on the mountain. _(b)_ The other (Luke) was spoken after the choice of the Apostles, to the multitudes, and standing upon the plain. It is not hard to see that these points do not solve the question. In Matt. 7:28 we are told that the multitudes were astonished at his teaching and in Luke 6:20 that "he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said." So this distinction vanishes. The question of the mountain and the plain has been already discussed, and another more probable explanation suggested. It is only a conjecture that the discourse of Matthew was before the appointment of the Twelve. This theory has had no great following.

3. Wieseler holds that Matthew has simply brought together detached sayings of Jesus on different occasions and does not mean to present the whole as one discourse; Luke's account being only one of the discourses used by Matthew. But this violates the evident notes of place and audience and surroundings by which Matthew gives local color and cast to the entire discourse. See Matt. 5:1 and 8:1. The case of the grouping of the miracles in chapters 8 and 9 is not parallel, since there Matthew does not state that they occurred on one occasion. The fact that various portions of this discourse are repeated elsewhere by Matthew is immaterial, because this was a common habit of Jesus in his discourses. Votaw in his exhaustive and able discussion of the Sermon on the Mount in the extra volume in the Hastings D. B. admits the possibility of this hypothesis, but considers it far less probable than the historical reality of the Sermon as recorded by both Matthew and Luke. Moffatt (Encycl. Biblica) considers it "a composition rather than an actual address," while Bacon (Sermon on the Mount) admits only what is also in Luke. Adeney (Hastings D. C. G.) holds to the essential integrity of the address in Matthew.


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