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Home > Fathers of the Church > The Harmony of the Gospels (Augustine) > Book III, Chapter 18

The Harmony of the Gospels, Book III

Chapter 18. Of the Lord's Successive Utterances When He Was About to Die; And of the Question Whether Matthew and Mark are in Harmony with Luke in Their Reports of These Sayings, and Also Whether These Three Evangelists are in Harmony with John.

55. Matthew proceeds as follows: And Jesus, crying again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. In like manner, Mark says, And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. Luke, again, has told us what He said when that loud voice was uttered. For his version is thus: And Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit: and saying this, He gave up the ghost. John, on the other hand, as he has left unnoticed the first voice, which Matthew and Mark have reported— namely, Eli, Eli— has also passed over in silence the one which has been recited only by Luke, while the other two have referred to it under the designation of the loud voice. I allude to the cry, Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit. Luke has also attested the fact that this exclamation was uttered with a loud voice; and hence we may understand this particular cry to be identified with the loud voice which Matthew and Mark have specified. But John has stated a fact which is noticed by none of the other three, namely, that He said It is finished, after He had received the vinegar. This cry we take to have been uttered previous to the loud voice referred to. For these are John's words: When Jesus, therefore, had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished; and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost. In the interval elapsing between this cry, It is finished, and what is referred to in the subsequent sentence, and He bowed His head and gave up the ghost, the voice was uttered which John himself has passed over without record, but which the other three have noticed. For the precise succession appears to be this, namely, that He said first It is finished, when what had been prophesied regarding Him was fulfilled in Him, and that thereafter— as if He had been waiting for this, like one, indeed, who died when He willed it to be so— He commended His spirit [to His Father], and resigned it. But, whatever the order may be in which a person may consider it likely that these words were spoken, he ought above all things to guard against entertaining the notion that any one of the evangelists is in antagonism with another, when one leaves unmentioned something which another has repeated, or particularizes something which another has passed by in silence.

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Source. Translated by S.D.F. Salmond. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 6. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1888.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1602318.htm>.

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