Matthew and Levi

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May I be permitted to express the following objections to Dean Alford's reasons, and, above all, to his conclusion, that Matthew and Levi are distinct persons? It is agreed (1), that " the three narratives relate to the same event;" and (2), that " the almost general consent of all ages has supposed the two persons to be the same." But, so far from allowing that his third fact is almost inexplicable, I can only admire, with Eusebius, the humility and candor of Matthew, who gives himself the same name at the receipt of custom by which he was afterward known as an apostle. The other two Evangelists call him Levi as a publican, and Matthew as an apostle, which is surely a very intelligible thing on the supposition that he bore both names. Thomas is called Didymus by John only; and Thaddeus (or Lebbeus, as in Matthew and Mark) is called Judas by Luke and John, not to speak of his own epistle, with scarcely a note of identification. As to the fourth point, or " early tradition," that which separates the two persons is as minute as it is suspicious. Clement. of Alexandria quotes the heretic Heracleon to the effect that' Philip, Thomas, Levi, and many others, had not suffered martyrdom. Is this most vague statement of a Gnostic-even if it were clear and certain, which it is not, that he means by this Levi the Levi of Mark and Luke-to weigh against the plain and strong presumptions of 1 and 2? As to (5) Origen's testimony (contra Cels. i.), it seems in this passage to distinguish between Matthew and, not Levi, but Λεβης. It is notorious that, elsewhere, Origen identifies Matthew with Levi. So that I am wholly amazed at the Dean's No. (6): " It certainly would hence appear as if the preponderance of testimony were in favor of the distinctness of the two persons." His notions of evidence must be strange indeed, to set the assertion of Heracleon, even if precise instead of being loose, and the statement of Origen, if confirmatory instead of being adverse elsewhere, and, as I think, even here, above his own first two arguments; especially. as he is compelled to own how inexplicable on this supposition it is that Matthew should, in his account, omit all mention of Levi. In fact, such a theory, if true; would turn the seeming modesty of Matthew into a scarcely honest concealment of him who really gave the great feast. I have no doubt therefore, that the common view which identifies Matthew with Levi, as two names of the same individual, is perfectly sound, and the only tenable one.