Verse 20. "The Lord working with them" - This co-operation was twofold, internal and external. Internal, illuminating their minds, convincing them of the truth, and establishing them in it. External, conveying their word to the souls that heard it, by the demonstration of the Holy Ghost; convincing them of sin, righteousness, and judgment; justifying them by his blood, and sanctifying them by his Spirit. Though miraculous powers are not now requisite, because the truth of the Gospel has been sufficiently confirmed, yet this co-operation of God is indispensably necessary, without which no man can be a successful preacher; and without which no soul can be saved.
"With signs following." - epakolouqountwn shmeiwn, the accompanying signs: viz. those mentioned in the 17th and 18th verses, , and those others just now spoken of, which still continue to be produced by the energy of God, accompanying the faithful preaching of his unadulterated word.
Amen.] This is added here by many MSS. and versions; but is supposed not to have made a part of the text originally. Griesbach, Bengel, and others, leave it out.
"St. Jerome mentions certain Greek copies, which have the following remarkable addition to ver. 14, after these words" - and reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen him after he was raised up: Et illi satisfaciebant dicentes: seculum istud iniquitatis et incredulitatis substantia est, quae non sinit per immundos spiritus verem Dei apprehendi virtutem. Idcirco, jam nunc revela justitiam tuam. "And they confessed the charge, saying: This age is the substance of iniquity and unbelief, which, through the influence of impure spirits, does not permit the true influence of God to be apprehended. Therefore, even now, reveal thy righteousness." There are various subscriptions to this book in the MSS. and versions; the principal are the following: "The holy Gospel according to Mark is ended written by him-in EGYPT-in ROME-in the Latin tongue-directed by Peter the 10th-12th year after the ascension of Christ-preached in Alexandria, and all its coasts." Dr. Lardner supposes this Gospel to have been composed A. D. 64 or 65, and published before the end of the last mentioned year. See the Preface. The Gospel according to Mark, if not an abridgment of the Gospel according to Matthew, contains a neat, perspicuous abridgment of the history of our Lord; and, taken in this point of view, is very satisfactory; and is the most proper of all the four Gospels to be put into the hands of young persons, in order to bring them to an acquaintance with the great facts of evangelical history. But as a substitute for the Gospel by Matthew, it should never be used. It is very likely that it was written originally for the use of the Gentiles, and probably for those of Rome. Of this, there seem to be several evidences in the work itself. Of the other Gospels it is not only a grand corroborating evidence, but contains many valuable hints for completing the history of our Lord, which have been omitted by the others; and thus, in the mouths of FOUR witnesses, all these glorious and interesting facts are established.
One thing may be observed, that this Gospel has suffered more by the carelessness and inaccuracy of transcribers than any of the others: and hence the various readings in the MSS. are much more numerous, in proportion, than in the other evangelists. Every thing of this description, which I judged to be of real importance, I have carefully noted.
Though the matter of St. Mark's work came from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, yet the language seems to be entirely his own: it is very plain, simple, and unadorned; and sometimes appears to approach to a degree of rusticity or inelegance. Whoever reads the original must be struck with the very frequent, and often pleonastic, occurrence of euqewv, immediately, and palin, again, and such like; but these detract nothing from the accuracy and fidelity of the work. The Hebraisms which abound in it may be naturally expected from a native of Palestine, writing in Greek. The Latinisms which frequently occur are accounted for on the ground of this Gospel being written for the Gentiles, and particularly for the Roman people: this, it must be confessed, is only theory, but it is a theory which stands supported by many arguments, and highly presumptive facts.
However this may be, the Gospel according to Mark is a very important portion of Divine revelation, which God has preserved by a chain of providences, from the time of its promulgation until now; and for which no truly pious reader will hesitate to render due praise to that God whose work is ever perfect. Amen.