Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

the gate, which were formed with such exquisite art, that if any should learn the name, and be going away with it in his

, memory, they should be so affrighted with the terrible barkings of the dogs, as to forget it; but that Jesus knowing this, wrote it down in parchment, and sewed it up in a wound which he made in his thigh for that purpose, and so, after he went out of the temple, taking forth the parchment, recovered the name again which he had

forgot, and by virtue of it wrought all his miracles.

Such were the despicable objections the Jews and heathens made against our Saviour; the confutation of which in a very just and clear manner may be read in the forecited places of Origen, Eusebius, Austin, and especially Arnobius; and among the moderns in the celebrated Huetius a; and Dr. Parker's Demonstration of the Divine Authority of the Christian Reli

gion b.

CHAP. XV. A spurious Epistle of Christ among the Manichees. A noto

rious blunder of Mr. Toland. A Hymn which Christ taught his disciples, forged by the Priscillianists in the fourth century. The occasion of the forgery. The spuriousness of

the Hymn. No. XIV. The Epistle of Christ produced by the Manichees. THE only account which we have of this letter is in St. Austin's Disputation with Faustus the Manichee c. Quis est ergo tam demens, qui. Can any one be so wild, as to behodie credat esse Epistolam Chri- lieve that to be the Epistle of sti, quam protulerit Manichæus, Christ, which Manichæus proet non credat facta vel dicta esse duces, and not believe the histo-' Christi quæ scripsit Matthæus ? ries and doctrines of Christ, which

are related by Matthew ? Mr. Fabritius d supposes, that this passage does not fully

d prove, that the Manichees really had any such Epistle under the name of Christ, but that St. Austin only, for argument's

a Demonstrat. Evang. Prop. IX. c.

39;

T. Opp. 6.

. Cod. Apoc. N. T. pars 1. p. 306. in Notis.

b Sect. 25

c Contr. Faust. Manich. lib. 28. C. 4.

[ocr errors]

a

66

sake, makes such a supposition; but the whole series of the father's reasoning seems to prove the contrary. He is endeavouring to prove the reasonableness of the Manichees submitting to the authority of St. Matthew's Gospel; and his argument stands fairly thus: “ You boast of an Epistle, which you “ have, written by Christ: this, if it were really so, must needs “ have been read and received with the utmost veneration in “the church, that has a continued succession of bishops from “the apostles' time: but it has no such evidence of its being “genuine, and yet you believe it rather than Matthew's Cos

pel, which was always received by the church. Besides, your « pretended Epistle receives all its credit from an obscure man “ of Persia, who lived two hundred years or more after Christ; “ and is he likely to give a better account of what Christ said " and did than Matthew, who was one of his apostles and com

panions ? "

Thus far he; which reasoning necessarily supposes a real Epistle under Christ's name, among the Manichees: what doctrines it contained, I cannot guess, any further, than that it is probable they were such as peculiarly suited to the opinions of Manes and his followers, of which a specimen is given above, chap. v. It was certainly a spurious piece, as appears by St. Austin's reasoning and Prop. IV, V, VI.

I scarce know whether it be worth while to trouble the reader with the following remark on Mr. Toland's inaccuracy in quotations, unless it may be looked upon as (which I think I I may justly say it is) a specimen of his constant foul dealing in these matters. In his catalogue of books reported to be written by Christ (Amynt. p. 21.) he refers his reader to this book of St. Austin for an Epistle of Christ to Peter and Paul; and quotes lib. 28. c. 13. Now in all this book there is not one syllable of any such Epistle; and whereas he cites the thirteenth chapter, there are but five chapters in that book: but this is not all; he produces another book, which he calls, A Book of the Magic of Christ, and for this refers the reader to August. de Consens. Evang. lib. 1. cap. 9, 10. and then adds, “ If it be not the same with the Epistle to Peter and Paul,” i. e. the Epistle which he thought had been mentioned in the twenty-eighth book against Faustus: a learned note indeed!

a

In the first place to guess this the same with a book which was not mentioned in the place cited, and then to guess it to be the very same with itself; for had this blunderer but cast his eye upon the place he refers to in St. Austin de Consens. he must have seen that the book of the Magic of Christ was in that very place said to be wrote in form of an Epistle to Peter and Paul. But it is plain he cited from others, and was glad to say any thing which would sound bad against Christianity, though so plainly at the expense of his ingenuity and integrity.

No. XV. A Hymn which Christ taught his disciples. MR. TOLAND in his forementioned catalogue, and Mr. Fabritius e have observed this spurious piece in an epistle under St. Austin's name, inscribed to a bishop called Ceretius. But as this epistle is not in my edition of that father's works, I am obliged entirely to depend on Mr. Fabritius's quotation out of him, which, that nothing may be wanting here, I shall transcribe with the addition of a few remarks. Hymnus sane quem dicunt Pris- As for that hymn which the Priscillianistæ esse Domini nostri cillianists

say

is our Lord Jesus Jesu Christi, qui maxime permovit Christ's, and for which you have venerationem tuam, in scripturis so great a veneration, it is really solet apocryphis inveniri.--

among the apocryphal scriptures. Priscillianistæ vero accipiunt om- The Priscillianists receive all sorts nia et canonica et apocrypha si- of books, canonical and apocrymul.-Habes verba illorum in phal too. You have their words illo codice posita, Hymnus Do- in that book, A HYMN WHICH mini quem dixit secrete sanctis CHRIST SECRETLY TAUGHT HIS Apostolis et Discipulis, quia scri- APOSTLES AND DISCIPLES; for it ptum est in Evangelio, Hymno is written, Having sung a hymn, dicto ascendit in montem, et qui he went up into a mountain, and in canone non est positus propter which is not placed in the canon eos qui secundum se sentiunt, et by reason of those who are gonon secundum Spiritum et verita- verned by their own sentiments, tem Dei.-In isto hymno canta- and not by the Spirit and truth tur et dicitur, Solvere volo et of God. In that hymn there are solvi volo-Salvare volo et salvari the following words to be sung volo-Ornare volo et ornari volo and said, I will bind, and I will - Lucerna sum tibi, ille qui me be bound. I will save, and I will

• Lib. sup. cit. p. 307.

[ocr errors]

videsJanua sum tibi, quicunque be saved. I will adorn, and I will me pulsas --Qui vides quod ago, be adorned. I am a light to thee, tace opera mea.

who seest me. I am a gate to thee, who knockest at me. Thou who

seest what I do, conceal my works. From this account we see what gave occasion to this impious forgery, viz. our Saviour's singing a hymn with his apostles after the paschal supper, and their going thereupon up to the mount of Olives, Matt. xxvi. 30. The heretics, who esteemed it, were an impious sort of Christians, in the middle of the fourth century, so called from Priscillianus, a Spaniard f, who jumbled together and adopted the silly and ridiculous tenets of the Gnostics and Montanists. That this hymn was forged by Priscillian himself, or some of his followers, seems to me probable, from the last words of it in the foregoing fragment,

Thou, who seest what I do, conceal my works.” For concealing their mysteries and secrecy of their doctrines was enjoined all the sect; and St. Austin tells us, this was one of their maxims 8;

Jura; perjura ; secretum prodere noli.
Swear; forswear; but be careful of

your secrets. However it may be, as to this conjecture, the hymn was certainly spurious, for the same reasons as the former pieces falsely ascribed to Christ, Prop. IV, V, and VI. But besides, the short fragment given us by St. Austin undeniably proves it ; for there cannot be any thing more disagreeable to the style of Christ than it is; in which there are no where such jingles and playing with sounds, as appear to be in this. Moreover, if I mistake not, the jingle in the two first sentences proves this hymn to be first written in the Latin tongue; for though indeed it is possible they may be a translation, yet nothing can be more improbable, than that two such distinct ideas, as binding and saving, should have been brought together in such a manner, as they are, by any other means, than the great like

, ness which there is between the sounds solvere and salvare. Nothing else could have produced two such sentences as, sol

[ocr errors]

f Vid. August. de Hæres. Num. 70. T. Opp. 6.

& De Hæres. ad Quody. Num. 70. T. Opp. 6.

vere volo et solvi volo, salvare volo et salvari volo. It is therefore to be judged spurious by Prop. XI. and XII.

But to conclude this matter, it is plain by the express testimonies of the best writers among the ancients, that our Lord Jesus Christ left nothing behind him in writing, although there be indeed many sayings, not in our Gospels, attributed to our Saviour, to be found in the ancient books, which, for the entertainment of the curious in these things, I have collected, and shall place in an appendix at the end of this part.

CHAP. XVI. The testimonies of the ancients concerning the Gospel of the

Egyptians. All its Fragments : supposed by later writers to be written before Luke wrote his Gospel. Too highly esteemed by the moderns. Rejected by all the ancients as apocryphal. Clemens Alexandrinus rejected it. It was forged by the monks of Egypt. This largely proved, with an account of Philo's Therapeute.

No. XVI. The Gospel according to the Egyptians. THIS was one of the most celebrated of all the ancient apocryphal books; it is frequently mentioned in the old writings, and very highly esteemed by several of our modern critics, being supposed to have been a faithful composure of some ca

is 6 tholic Christians in Egypt, before either of the four canon“ ical Gospels now received.” It requires therefore a very exact and critical inquiry; in attempting which I shall, according to my method, first produce the testimonies and fragments of it, which are to be found in the ancient books, then the opinions of the moderns, which I have met with, concerning it, adding the most suitable remarks I can upon the whole. The ancient testimonies and

fragments of the Gospel according

to the Egyptians. 1. The first writer who has mentioned any thing of it, is Clemens Alexandrinus in the latter end of the second century: the several places are as follow, viz.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »