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Home > Fathers of the Church > The Harmony of the Gospels (Augustine) > Book II, Chapter 23

The Harmony of the Gospels, Book II

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Chapter 23. Of the Person Who Said to the Lord, I Will Follow You Wherever You Go; And of the Other Things Connected Therewith, and of the Order in Which They are Recorded by Matthew and Luke.

54. He next appends the following statement: And a certain scribe came and said to Him, Master, I will follow You wherever you go, and so on, down to the words, Let the dead bury their dead. We have a narrative in similar terms also in Luke. But he inserts it only after a variety of other matters, and without any explicit note of the order of time, but after the fashion of one only bethinking himself of the incident at that point. He leaves us also uncertain whether he brings it in there as something previously omitted, or as an anticipatory notice of something which in actual fact took place subsequently to those incidents by which it is followed in the history. For he proceeds thus: And it came to pass, that as they went in the way, a certain man said to Him, I will follow You wherever You go. And the Lord's answer is given here in precisely the same terms as we find recited in Matthew. Now, although Matthew tells us that this took place at the time when He gave commandment to depart unto the other side of the lake, and Luke, on the other hand, speaks of an occasion when they went in the way, there is no necessary contradiction in that. For it may be the case that they went in the way just in order to come to the lake. Again, in what is said about the person who begged to be allowed first to bury his father, Matthew and Luke are thoroughly at one. For the mere fact that Matthew has introduced first the words of the man who made the request regarding his father, and that he has put after that the saying of the Lord, Follow me, whereas Luke puts the Lord's command, Follow me, first, and the declaration of the petitioner second, is a matter of no consequence to the sense itself. Luke has also made mention of yet another person, who said, Lord, I will follow You, but let me first bid them farewell which are at home at my house; of which individual Matthew says nothing. And thereafter Luke proceeds to another subject altogether, and not to what followed in the actual order of time. The passage runs: And after these things, the Lord appointed other seventy-two also. That this occurred after these things is indeed manifest; but at what length of time after these things the Lord did so is not apparent. Nevertheless, in this interval that took place which Matthew subjoins next in succession. For the same Matthew still keeps up the order of time, and continues his narrative, as we shall now see.

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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. <>.

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