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WTES ON FASS 4 GE 9 OF SCRIPTURE .
J&att . i . 1—17 . One of the greatest difficulties to be encountered by those who acknowledge the genuineness of the introductory chapters both of Matthew and of Luke , is how to reconcile the two genealogies ;
and none of the hypotheses proposed with this view , perfectly gratuitous as they all confessedly are , appear to me in any degree satisfactory . That Joseph was the son of Jacob by descent and of Heli by adoption , is a mere arbitrary assumption , without any evidence except the explanation it is supposed to afford ; that Luke ' s is the genealogy , not of Joseph , but of Mary , is in direct and obvious contradiction of the statement itself . It must also
be remarked , that a repetition of similar difficulties , to be removed by similar conjectures and assumptions , occurs at the name of Salathiel , at least if we suppose , as is most probable , that this name denotes the same individual in both accounts . But independently of the difficulty of proving , upon either of these suppositions , that the two genealogies relate to different persons ,
it may be doubted \ yhetber they are compatible with each other , when it is considered that , at any rate , they both extend through the same series of years . Now , according to Matthew , we have from David to Salathiel , fifteen generations , while Luke ' s account exhibits twenty-one . Again , from Salathiel to Jesus we have in Matthew twelve generations only , in Luke twenty-one , making a
total , for the same interval , of twenty-seven generations by the one account , and forty- ^ two by the other . How far such a diversity , as this implies , in the average length of so long a course of generations in a pedigree , can be reconciled to the results of general experience , I submit to the consideration of those who are more learned than myself in researches of this nature . But , upon
general principles , I should be much disposed to doubt it . Differences , and great differences , in individual cases , are of course observable , in the same manner as differences , and great differ rences , present themselves in the rate of mortality , and in all other events that depend upon the action of uniform laws , modified , to a certain extent , by the influence of varying circumstances ; but I apprehend that in this , as in all similar cases , when a
number of examples , or a long series such as this , is taken , we approach very near to a certain fixed standard , and any wide deviation from that standard renders the whole suspicious . In the present instance , the interval from Salathiel to Jesus is probably from 570 to 600 years . ; which , divided by Matthew ' s num . ber > 12 , gives from 48 to 50 years for each descent ; a result , if I am not much mistaken , without a parallel in the history of mankind . The same period , divided by the number in Luke ' s
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Feb. 2, 1832, page 107, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1806/page/35/