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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT



  1. PREFACE.



This and other titles, with the names of those that wrote the Gospels, are not the words of the Evangelists themselves. The Scripture itself nowhere teacheth us, which books or writings are to be received as true and canonical Scriptures. It is only by the channel of unwritten traditions, and by the testimony and authority of the Catholic Church, that we know and believe that this gospel, for example of S. Matthew, with all contained in it, and that the other books and parts of the Old or New Testament, are of divine authority, or written by divine inspiration; which made S. Augustine say, I should not believe the gospel, were I not moved thereunto by the authority of the Catholic Church: Ego evangelio non crederem, nisi me Ecclesiæ Catholicæ commoveret auctoritas. Lib. con. Epist. Manichæi, quam vocant fundamenti. tom. viii. c. 5, p. 154. A. Ed. Ben. Wi.



S. Matthew, author of the gospel that we have under his name, was a Galilean, the son of Alpheus, a Jew, and a tax-gatherer; he was known also by the name of Levi. His vocation happened in the second year of the public ministry of Christ; who, soon after forming the college of his apostles, adopted him into that holy family of the spiritual princes and founders of his Church. Before his departure from Judea, to preach the gospel to distant countries, he yielded to the solicitations of the faithful; and about the eighth year after our Saviour's resurrection, the forty-first of the vulgar era, he began to write his gospel: i.e., the good tidings of salvation to man, through Christ Jesus, our Lord. Of the hagiographers, S. Matthew was the first in the New, as Moses was the first in the Old Testament. And as Moses opened his work with the generation of the heavens and the earth, so S. Matthew begins with the generation of Him, who, in the fulness of time, took upon himself our human nature, to free us from the curse we had brought upon ourselves, and under which the whole creation was groaning. A. — This holy apostle, after having reaped a great harvest of souls in Judea, preached the faith to the barbarous nations of the East. He was much devoted to heavenly contemplation, and led an austere life; for he eat no flesh, satisfying nature with herbs, roots, seeds, and berries, as Clement of Alexanderia assures us, Pædag. l. ii. c. 1. S. Ambrose says, that God opened to him the country of the Persians. Rufinus and Socrates tell us, that he carried the gospel into Ethiopia, meaning probably the southern or eastern parts of Asia. S. Paulinus informs us, that he ended his course in Parthia; and Venantius Fortunatus says, by martyrdom. — See Butler's Saints' Lives, Sept. 21st.



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