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Home > Fathers of the Church > The Harmony of the Gospels (Augustine) > Book II, Chapter 38

The Harmony of the Gospels, Book II

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Chapter 38. Of the Occasion on Which It Was Said to Him that He Cast Out Devils in the Power of Beelzebub, and of the Declarations Drawn Forth from Him by that Circumstance in Regard to the Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit, and with Respect to the Two Trees; And of the Question Whether There is Not Some Discrepancy in These Sections Between Matthew and the Other Two Evangelists, and Particularly Between Matthew and Luke.

85. Matthew proceeds with his narrative in the following terms: And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow does not cast out devils but in Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them, Every kingdom divided against itself shall be brought to desolation; and so on, down to the words, By your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned. Mark does not bring in this allegation against Jesus, that He cast out devils in [the power of] Beelzebub, in immediate sequence on the story of the dumb man; but after certain other matters, recorded by himself alone, he introduces this incident also, either because he recalled it to mind in a different connection, and so appended it there, or because he had at first made certain omissions in his history, and after noticing these, took up this order of narration again. On the other hand, Luke gives an account of these things almost in the same language as Matthew has employed. And the circumstance that Luke here designates the Spirit of God as the finger of God, does not betray any departure from a genuine identity in sense; but it rather teaches us an additional lesson, giving us to know in what manner we are to interpret the phrase the finger of God wherever it occurs in the Scriptures. Moreover, with regard to other matters which are left unmentioned in this section both by Mark and by Luke, no difficulty can be raised by these. Neither can that be the case with some other circumstances which are related by them in somewhat different terms, for the sense still remains the same.

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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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