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Home > Fathers of the Church > The Harmony of the Gospels (Augustine) > Book II, Chapter 32

The Harmony of the Gospels, Book II

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Chapter 32. Of the Occasion on Which He Upbraided the Cities Because They Repented Not, Which Incident is Recorded by Luke as Well as by Matthew; And of the Question Regarding Matthew's Harmony with Luke in the Matter of the Order.

79. Thereafter Matthew goes on as follows: Then began He to upbraid the cities wherein most of His mighty works were done, because they repented not; and so on, down to where we read, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom at the day of judgment, than for you. This section likewise is given by Luke, who reports it also as an utterence from the lips of the Lord in connection with a certain continuous discourse which He delivered. This circumstance makes it the rather appear that Luke has recorded these words in the strict consecution in which they were spoken by the Lord, while Matthew has kept by the order of his own recollections. Or if it is supposed that Matthew's words, Then began He to upbraid the cities, must be taken in such a way as to imply that the intention was to express, by the term then, the precise point of time at which the saying was uttered, and not to signify in a somewhat broader way the period at which many of these things were done and spoken, then I say that any one entertaining that idea may equally well believe these sentences to have been pronounced on two different occasions. For if it is the fact that even in one and the same evangelist some things are found which the Lord utters twice over, as is the case with this very Luke in the instance of the counsel not to take a scrip for the journey, and so with other things in like manner which we find to have been spoken by the Lord in two different places, — why should it seem strange if some other word of the Lord, which was originally uttered on two separate occasions, may happen also to be recorded by two several evangelists, each of whom gives it in the order in which it was actually spoken, and if thus the order seems to be different in the two, simply because the sentences were uttered both on the occasion noticed by the one, and on that referred to by the other?

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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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