Cornelius à Lapide.

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Assisted by Various Scholars.








THE Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, according to S. Luke, that is,
the Holy Evangelical History of the words and acts of
Jesus, as described by S. Luke. The Arabic says, "In the
name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one God, the Gospel
of the Excellent Father, Luke the Evangelist, the laying open of the
glorious Gospel." The Syraic, " In the name of the Lord and our
God, we Jeschua Mescicho, sign the Gospel, the holy message of
Luke the Evangelist, which he spoke and proclaimed in Greek, in
Alexandria." From this diversity, it is clear that the above title
or inscription was prefixed to the Gospel, not by S. Luke himself,
but by the Church which, in like manner, inscribed one Gospel
"According to S. Matthew," one " According to S. John," and another
" According to S. Mark." Nay, as regards the faith of the future,
this title would have been added to no purpose by S. Luke himself,
unless the Church had declared his Gospel to be genuine and not
supposititious, and had handed it down as such. This speaks for
Tradition against the heretics, for why is the Gospel, bearing the
name of S. Luke, to be received as truly his, whilst that with the
title of " Matthew and Thomas " is not to be considered theirs ?
Or again, why is the Gospel of S. Luke more canonical than that of
Apelles or Basilides ? No other reason can be given but the proof,
declaration, and tradition of the Church. For we accept it, not
because it is written in the sacred books, but because it has been
so handed down by the Church. For instance, we believe this to
be the Gospel of S. Luke and canonical, not because he wrote it,
but because the Church so delivers and teaches. For although its
own authority pertains to this Gospel, as to the others, yet this


authority would not be plain to us, but for the declaration of the
Church. The same is, a pari, to be said of the sense of Scripture.
For the true sense of Scripture is not what appears to you or me,
for this would be uncertain and doubtful, for Calvin affirms one sense
to be the true one, Luther another, and others another, but that
which is taught and received by the Church, whose office it is to deliver
as well what is the true Scripture as what is its true meaning. For
Holy Scripture consists not in the bark (cortice) of letters or words,
but in their genuine meaning. So the Fourth Session of the Council
of Trent, and the Fathers everywhere, especially Tertullian (B. iv.
cap. 5 against Marcion). See what I have said on S. Matthew L i.

Observe : I. S. Matthew was the first in order of the Evangelists.
He wrote in Hebrew to the Jews in Judsea. S. Mark was the
second. He wrote in Greek and Latin to the Romans in Italy;
then S. Luke wrote to the Greeks in Greek; and S. John last of all,
also in Greek ; but S. Luke wrote the more elegantly, because he was
the more perfect master of Greek. Hear S. Jerome (Ep. 84 to
Paulinus) : " Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the quadriga of the
Lord, and true Cherubim (which is interpreted, the 'multitude of
knowledge '), through their whole body they are ' full of eyes,' sparks
shine from them, lightnings flash forth, their feet are ' straight,' and
point upwards, their backs are winged, and they fly hither and thither.
They hold themselves mutually one with another, and are ' enfolded '
with one another, and are rolled together, like a wheel, and they go
wherever the influence of the Holy Spirit directs them." See Ezekiel
L 9, x. 12 ; Revelation iv. 6-8.

Moreover, among the faces or forms of the four Cherubim, the
third, that of the ox, is ascribed to S. Luke, as well because he
begins from the priesthood of Zachariah, whose chief sacrifice was
an ox, as because he underwent the labours of an ox in the Gospel,
and bore about continually in his own body the mortification of the
Cross for the honour of the name of Christ, as the Church sings of
him. See what has been said on Revelation iv. 7, and Ezekiel L 10.

II. S. Luke wrote his Gospel against certain gaping, ignorant,
perhaps even false Evangelists, who had written, in Syria or Greece,


an imperfect, it may be a lying Gospel, as S. Luke himself signifies
in the beginning of his work. So say Origen, S. Ambrose, Theo-
phylact, and S. Epiphanius (Her. 1. i), who, however, when he adds
that S. Luke wrote against Cerinthus and Meritus, does not seem to
speak correctly. For these two, and especially Basilides, were later
than S. Luke, as is clear from Eusebius (Hist. B. iii. ch. 32). Theo-
phylact and Bede think, with more truth, that S. Luke wrote against
the Apocryphal Gospels of others, such as pass under the names of
"Thomas, Matthew, and the Twelve Apostles."

III. S. Luke was not one of the seventy-two disciples of Christ, as
Euthymius and S. Gregory in his preface on Job, chap. L think, on the
authority of Origen ; for S. Luke never saw Christ in the flesh, but he
wrote what he had heard of Him from the Apostles, as he says
himself, i. 2. Hence the Fathers call S. Luke " the disciple of the
Apostles," and S. Paul mentions him by name, as his "fellow-
labourer." So S. Jerome, on the 65th chapter of Isaiah, and preface
to S. Matthew; where he says, "The third" (evangelist) is Luke
the physician, by nation a Syrian, of Antioch, whose praise is in the
Gospel (2 Cor. viii. 18 and 22), who himself was a disciple of S.
Paul. He wrote his Gospel in the neighbourhood of Achaia and
Bceotia, relating some things from the beginning, as he says himself,
and describing rather what he heard than what he saw. St. Irenaeus
says the same, i. 20 ; Theodoret, on the Lives of the holy Fathers ;
Baronius, and others. Tertullian, also (Book iv. against Marcion,
chap. 5), thinks this Gospel not so much S. Luke's as S. Paul's,
because S. Luke wrote from the dictation of S. Paul, as S. Mark
from that of S. Peter. For he says, "what S. Mark wrote may
be ascribed to S. Peter, whose interpreter S. Mark was. And so the
Gospel of S. Luke is generally given to S. Paul, for the productions
of the disciples began to be ascribed to the masters."

S. Jerome also states that "S. Luke, in the Gospel and Acts,
performed the duties of a physician of souls, as he had before done
of bodies" (Ep. 103 to Paulinus); and again (in that to Philom),
"Luke the physician left in his Gospel, and the book of the
Acts of the Apostles to the Churches, how the Apostles from fishers


of fish became fishers of men, and from the bodies of men became
concerned with their souls, whose Gospel, as often as it is read in
the churches, fails not of its medicine."

IV. Baronius thinks that S. Luke wrote in the companionship
of S. Paul, anno 58, because S. Jerome says that he wrote his
Gospel that year in Achaia and Bceotia, where S. Paul was.
Others, however, are of opinion that S. Luke wrote earlier, as we
must certainly admit, if we agree with S. Jerome (Lib. de Scrip.
Eccl. in Luc.), Tertullian (Book iv. against Marcion, c. 5), Primasius,
Anselm, and others, on 2 Cor. viii. 18, that by "the brother whose
praise is in the Gospel " S. Paul meant S. Luke as S. Ignatius,
his fellow-citizen and contemporary, plainly asserts in his letter to
the Ephesians : " As Luke bears witness, whose praise is in the
Gospel." For the Second Epistle of S. Paul to the Corinthians was
written in the year 58, so that if the praise of S. Luke was in the
Gospel at that time, we must necessarily say that it (the Gospel)
had been published previously. Hence Euthymius, and Theophy-
lact in his Preface to S. Luke, say that he wrote fifteen years
after the ascension of Christ, that is, about the year 49. But
S. Luke had not then joined S. Paul, for he came to him in the
Troad in the year 51, as Baronius rightly concludes from Acts
xvi. 10. It appears, therefore, that S. Luke wrote subsequently to
the year 51, but some years before 58, for, as S. Paul says, in that
year ne was well known and celebrated.

V. S. Luke, after he had joined S. Paul, passed some time away
from him, having been sent by him to other places (as I have
shown on Acts xvi. 10), until S. Paul, when he had passed through
other countries, came to Greece, thence to Syria, and so to
Rome. Acts xx. 3, 4. For S. Paul, with other companions of his
voyage, who are named in that verse, took S. Luke also, as S,
Luke himself states, verses 5, 15. From that time S. Luke became
the "diligent" companion of S. Paul, even up to the time of S.
Paul's first imprisonment, which was in the second year of Nero, when
S. Luke finished the Acts of the Apostles, and, especially, those of
S. Paul. Then, as S. Epiphanius says, S. Luke left S. Paul in


prison, and went into Dalmatia, Gaul, Italy, and Macedonia, and
preached the gospel everywhere till he came to Patara, a city of
Achaia, where, in his eighty-fourth year, he was crowned with
a glorious martyrdom in the year of Christ 61, the fifth of Nero,
and the seventeenth of the session of S. Peter at Rome. So Baro-
nius says, from S. Gregory Nazianzen, Paulinus, Gaudentius, Glyca,
Nicephorus and others.

Lastly, who S. Luke was of what rank and ability, I have
described at length in the Book of Acts, where I have said that
he appears to be the same as Lucius, whom S. Paul calls his kins-
man, Rom xvl 21. But he seems different to Lucius of Cyrene,
mentioned in Acts xiii. 3. For S. Luke was of Antioch, not
Cyrene. Again, the Roman Martyrology, on April 22, says that
Lucius was among the first disciples of Christ, which cannot be
said of S. Luke.

VI. The reason of S. Luke's having written a Gospel after SS.
Matthew and Mark, was twofold, i. To confute the false gospels
that were then being published in Syria and Greece, as I have
said before. 2. To write at length those words and acts of Christ
which had been passed over by the other Evangelists, and especially
His Infancy and Childhood, the Annunciation of His forerunner
John the Baptist, His Conception, Nativity, Presentation in the
Temple, Presence among the Doctors, the Conversion of St. Mary
Magdalene, Zaccheus, the thief on the cross, the appearance to the
two Disciples at Emmaus, the Parables of the Pharisee and Publican,
the Good Samaritan, the Strayed Sheep, the Lost Piece of Money,
the Prodigal Son, Lazarus and the Rich Glutton, and others ; which
show the mercy and pity of Christ to sinners and the miserable.
See S. Irenaeus, iii. 4, who recounts each. S. Luke also relates,
more fully than the others, the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascen-

Lastly, S. Peter Damianus, in his Sermon on S. Matthew, says,
"S. Luke observes the proper method and order when he describes
the priestly stock of the Lord and His Person, and, with this object
and intent, proceeds to describe at length every part of the Temple


and the priests, to the end of the history. For, as the Mediator
between God and man in His human nature, He pleased to be
King and Priest in one, that through His kingly power He might
rule, and, by His office of Priest, atone for us. These two
" Personae " of Christ are especially praised by the Fathers, for to
Him principally and by singular prerogative God gave the seat
of His Father David, that there might be no end of His Kingdom,
and that He might be a Priest for ever, after the order of Mel-

S. Anselm again, on Colos. iv., gives two reasons why S.
Luke, more than the others, should speak of the mercy of Christ
i. S. Luke was a physician of bodies; then, when he turned to
Christ, he was made a physician of souls. Hence he speaks,
more than the other Evangelists, of the mercies of the Redeemer,
by which the weaknesses of sins are driven away. 2. In Christ, he
describes the person of a Priest, making intercession for the sins
of the whole world.

Lastly, our own John de la Haye, in his Oparat. Evangel.
chap. 68, recounts the twenty-five privileges granted to S. Luke,
where, among other things, from S. Jerome, Bede, and Ado, he
says that S. Luke never committed mortal sin, but passed a strict
life of continual mortification; that he also preserved his virginity
to the end, and was therefore beloved by the Blessed Virgin especi-
ally and before all others.

S. Ambrose and Titus of Bostra have commented especially on
S. Luke. And Tertullian, in his whole work against Marcion (who
had declared the Gospel of S. Luke, though adulterated, to be his
own), treats of and explains many passages of this Gospel Cardinal
Toletus, also, wrote at length, and with exactness, on the first
twelve chapters.




I TTie preface of Luke to his -whole gospel. 5 The conception of John the Baptist, 26
and of Christ. 39 The prophecy of Elisabeth, and of Mary, concerning Christ.
57 The nativity and circumcision of John. 67 The prophecy of Zacharias, both
of Christ, 76 and of John.

"T7ORASMUCH as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration
J- of those things which are most surely believed among us,

2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eye-
witnesses, and ministers of the word ;

3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things
from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,

4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast
been instructed.

5 r I A HERE was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest

JL named Zacharias, of the course of Abia : and his wife was of the
daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.

6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments
and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

7 And they had no child, because that Elizabeth was barren, and they both
were now well stricken in years.

8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in
the order of his course,

9 According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense
when he went into the temple of the Lord.

10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time
of incense.

1 1 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right
side of the altar of incense.


2 S. LUKE, C. I.

12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias : for thy prayer is heard ;
and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shall call his name John.

14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness ; and many shall rejoice at his birth.

15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine
nor strong drink ; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his
mother's womb.

16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.

17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the
hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the
just ; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am
an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.

19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the
presence of God ; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad

20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that
these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall
be fulfilled in their season.

21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long
in the temple.

22 And when he came out, he could not speak unto them : and they perceived
that he had seen a vision in the temple : for he beckoned unto them, and re-
mained speechless.

23 And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were
accomplished, he departed to his own house.

24 And after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and hid herself five
months, saying,

25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me,
to take away my reproach among men.

26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city
of Galilee, named Nazareth,

27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of
David ; and the virgin's name -was Mary.

28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly
favoured, the Lord is with thee : blessed art thou among women.

29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her
mind what manner of salutation this should be.

30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary : for thou hast found favovr
with God.

31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and
rhalt call his name JESUS.

32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest : and the
Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David :

33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever ; and of his kingdom
there shall be no end.

34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a

35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come


upon thee, and the power of the High"st shall overshadow thee : therefore also
that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

36 And, behold, thy cousin Elizabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her
old age : and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord ; be it unto me according
to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste,
into a city of Juda;

40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elizabeth.

41 And it came to pass, that, when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary,
the babe leaped in her womb ; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost :

42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among
women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me ?

44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of the salutation sounded in mine ears, the
babe leaped in my womb for joy.

45 And blessed is she that believed : for there shall be a performance of those
things which were told her from the Lord.

46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,

47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden : for, behold, from
henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things ; and holy is his name.

50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.

5 1 He hath shewed strength with his arm ; he hath scattered the proud in the
imagination of their hearts.

52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low

53 He hath filled the hungry with good things ; and the rich he hath sent
empty away.

54 He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy ;

55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own

57 Now Elizabeth's full time came that she should be delivered ; and she
brought forth a son.

58 And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great
mercy upon her ; and they rejoiced with her.

59 And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the
child ; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.

60 And his mother answered and said, Not so ; but he shall be called John.

61 And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this

62 And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.

63 And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John.
And they marvelled all.

64 And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he
spake, and praised God.

4 S. LUKE, C. I.

65 And fear came on all that dwelt round about them : and all these sayings
were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea.

66 And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What
manner of child shall this be ! And the hand of the Lord was with him.

67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesiedt

68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel ; for he hath visited and redeemed his

69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant
David ;

70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the
world began :

71 That we should be saved from Our enemies, and from the hand of all that
hate us ;

72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy
covenant ;

73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,

74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of
our enemies might serve him without fear,

75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.

76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest : for thou shall
go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways ;

77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their

78 Through the tender mercy of our God ; whereby the dayspring from on
high hath visited us,

79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to
guide our feet into the way of peace.

80 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till
the day of his shewing unto Israel.

Ver. i. Forasmuch as many. Maldonatus is of opinion that
the Evangelists Matthew and Mark are intended ; but these were
not many, but only two. S. Luke rather seems here to allude to
the Apocryphal Gospels, which were circulated under the names of
Matthias, Thomas, and other apostles.

Most surely believed. Completes sunf, Vulgate. fl-taXjjsofoijjuatof,
Greek. This word signifies i. fully accomplished ; 2. surely ascer-
tained : as it is rendered by S. Ambrose, Theophylact, Euthymius.

Ver. 2. Which from the beginning were eye-witnesses, &c. Ipst
viderunt, Vulgate. auroVra/ xa/ vvtf'eTai ytvofitvoi rou Xo'yoo, Greek :
that is who were eye-witnesses (oculares spectatores) and ministers of
the word: which we may understand i. of Christ, for He is the
Word of the Eternal Father; the meaning then will be, "As the


Apostles who saw Christ Himself and ministered to Him delivered
them to us." 2. Of ordinary preaching ; the meaning then will be,
" As they delivered them who saw the deeds of Christ, and were
sent by Him to preach the Gospel."

Ver. 3. Having had perfect understanding. TaojxoXou0jxo'r/,
Greek : that is " carefully investigating," and therefore " having

In order. xuSigyc, Greek ; that is t. successively, 2. distinctly,
in order so as to relate, first the conception of Christ, then His
nativity, afterwards His life, and lastly His death and resurrection.

Theophilus. Theophilus was a noble and chief man of Antioch,
who was converted by S. Peter and dedicated his house as a church
in which S. Peter held assemblies of Christians, and placed his chair
as primate, as S. Clement relates Recog. lib. 10, cap. ult. Baronius
conjectures that S. Luke, who was a physician and painter of Antioch,
wrote to Theophilus as a citizen and as his own intimate friend ;
Theophylact adds that S. Luke was a catechumen of Theophilus,
for S. Peter by himself was not able to instruct the multitude who
came together to be taught the faith of Christ, and therefore he
made use of the labours of many others for instructing the faithful.
He is called most excellent, which was a title given to governors and
magistrates ; he seems therefore to have been a senator or governor
of Antioch.

Ver. 4. That thou mayest know the certainty. Veritatem, truth,
Vulgate, dapdl.fiav, Greek, certainty, stability.

Ver. 5. There was in the days of Herod. S. Luke begins by
mentioning the name of Herod to point out the time when John
the Baptist and Christ were born ; and also to show that the sceptre
had now departed from Judah, and had passed over to an alien,

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