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αν αυτού τον βίον και ο γείτων, the word] his neighbour would εις το μη αμαρτεϊν.
have regarded his life so much, as
not to have fallen into the sin.
The last is a ; Τών δ' αιρέσεων αι μεν από ονό- Of the heresies some are called ματος προσαγορεύονται, ως και από by the name of their author, as Ουαλεντίνου, και Μαρκιώνος, και
that of Valentinus, and Marcion, Βασιλείδου, κάν την Ματθίου αυ
and Basilides, though indeed χώσι προσάγεσθαι δόξαν. μία γαρ they boast of the opinions of Matή πάντων γέγονε των Αποστόλων
thias, viz. as favouring theirs. ώσπερ διδασκαλία, ούτως δε και η
But as there was but one doc
trine delivered by the apostles, so παράδοσις. .
there can be but one (true) tra
dition. These are all the accounts we have of these traditions of Matthias, concerning which I will endeavour to prove two things, viz.
I. That they were not really any book, or written collection, but only some oral traditions.
II. That if there was any such book, entitled the traditions of Matthias, it was certainly apocryphal.
I. That these traditions of Matthias were not really any book, or written collection, but mere oral traditions. To evince this, I observe,
1. That, besides Clemens Alexandrinus in the places cited, no writer of the four first centuries, nor indeed any other ancient writer, has so much as mentioned the name of these traditions of Matthias. This one can scarcely imagine, if ever such a book were really extant; for then it could not but have been frequently appealed to by the Valentinians, Marcionites, and Basilides; and consequently must have been mentioned by Irenæus, Tertullian, or Epiphanius, in their disputes against those heretics.
2. This seems clearly deducible from the passages themselves in Clemens Alexandrinus; in no one of which he uses either the word Bißaos, yéypattal, or any word of that sort, which will imply any thing to have been written ; but, on the other hand, in each of these places introduces his account with a
a Eodem lib. p. 765.
plain intimation, that he looked upon them only as oral traditions. So page 478. Aéyours Év tais tapadóceon, i.e. “ They “ say among the traditions," i. e. It is a common tradition, or commonly said, that Matthias taught, &c. And for this construction I have the countenance of the Latin translator, who renders Clemens thus, Dicunt autem in traditionibus, inserting a comma after the word traditionibus, to evidence that Clemens did not there speak of any written book. So likewise in that place, page 486. Λέγουσι γ' ούν και τον Ματθίαν ούτως διδάξαι, &c. “ They, i. e. the Nicolaitans, say, that Matthias taught so,” &c. Where, as there is no mention of any written book of Matthias, so there is a plain intimation, that this saying attributed to him by the Nicolaitans was a current tradition among them, as from him, in order to support their abominable doctrine of the communion of women. Once more, page 765, where he says, several heretics, ty Marilou aúxão i dóžav, “ boasted of the
opinions of Matthias,” as being agreeable to theirs, he manifestly shews, they were only some traditionary and spurious opinions of that apostle ; for else I know not how to understand that opposition he makes between διδασκαλία and παράδοσις; the words are μία ή πάντων γέγονε των αποστόλων ώσπερ διδασκαλία, , ούτως δε και η παράδοσις, i. e. «The doctrine of the apostles in “ their writings cannot be different from, or contrary to, any “ traditionary doctrines pretending to be theirs ;” in which there is implied a good argument against those heretics, viz. That their principles must be erroneous, because they were only supported by some traditionary doctrines, which, being contrary to those which were written, must of necessity be false, unless the apostles can be supposed to have preached one thing, and wrote another quite contrary.
3. It is a thing very notorious in Christian antiquity, that the heretics, not being able to maintain their perverse tenets by the written scriptures, nor to answer the arguments brought against them from them, continually applied not only to apocryphal forgeries, but unwritten traditions. By this means the unhappy Jews were deluded into the most fatal errors b: thus the Christians were deceived into a belief of the necessity of Judaism, as we read in the synodical epistle from Jerusalem: thus the doctrine of the millennium first gained its reputation from the credulous Papias, who was so fond of tradition : thus, in a word, a thousand ridiculous fables have received credit in the church, and even still are made use of in the church of Rome to maintain the absurdest doctrines of it, as may be seen in almost every writer against popery. From all which, with what is said above, it appears more probable, that these were some unwritten traditions, than any written book of Matthias.
b Mar. vii. 7.
c Acts xv. 24:
To this opinion I know nothing that can, with any reason, be objected; though I am sensible, these traditions have hitherto been always esteemed as a written book by those who have taken any notice of it, as Sixtus Senensis d, Dr. Grabe e, Mr. Toland f, Mr. Fabritius 8, Dr. Mill h, and Mr. Whistoni, &c. But I hope what I have urged is sufficient to prove the mistake. Dr. Grabe, Dr. Mill, and Mr. Whiston, have proposed their conjectures concerning it, which I shall here briefly examine.
Dr. Grabe k supposes it to have been the same book with that I last treated of, entitled, The Gospel of Matthias. His
Inter Evangelia mala hæretico- Among the false Gospels impirum fide nominibus apostolorum ously forged under the apostles' supposita, Matthiæ quoque ad- names by the heretics, Eusebius scriptum aliquod memorat Euse- mentions one ascribed to Matbius lib. III. Hist. Eccl. c. 25. thias ; which I suppose to be the Quod idem puto esse cum tapadó- same with the tapadóceis, i. e. tra0801 traditionibus a Clemente A- ditions mentioned by Clemens Alexandrino memoratis ; quia E- lexandrinus ; because the Gospels vangelia scribebantur, Kaows tapé- were written as they delivered, δοσαν οι απ' αρχής αυτόπται και υπη- who were from the beginning ρέται γενόμενοι του λόγου.
eyewitnesses, and ministers of
the word. There is nothing can be more weak than this argument, being only founded upon a word, which may be used in a very
i Essay ou Constitut. p. 37.
large sense. It needs no other confutation than putting it in its proper light: it stands thus; the accounts of our Saviour's life were composed out of the traditions of those who saw his actions; therefore the traditions of Matthias were an account of our Saviour's life, or a Gospel ; i. e. Christ's life was wrote by tradition, therefore there were no other traditions. This is ludere cum vocibus. But besides, as Mr. Fabritius well observes, the contents of these traditions were not like the contents of a Gospel, which are always some sayings or histories of Jesus Christ, but the fragments of these traditions are of another sort, as is evident by the most cursory view of them.
Dr. Mill m follows Dr. Grabe, and supposes further, that it was one of those books, which St. Luke had respect to in the preface of his Gospel, composed and published in the following manner. Mihi sané videntur tapadóceis istæ It seems to me, that these traex ore Matthiæ in Judæa præ- ditions of Matthias were taken dicantis initio exceptæ fuisse a from his mouth, when he first Christiano quopiam, et in libel- preached in Judæa, by some Chrislum redactæ ; cui ad majorem tians, and formed into a little traditionibus istis conciliandam book ; to procure the greater reauctoritatem apostoli nomen præ- spect to which traditions, the aufixit auctor, quisquis ille fuerit. thor, whoever he was, prefixed the Cæterum cum libro isti, perinde name of the apostle. But as in ac ceteris διηγήσεσιν inserta essent, , that, as well as other accounts, ex errore dinyntoũ, quædam haud viz. of Christ, through the misασφαλή, quaedam item doctrina take of the author, several things Christianæ minus consona, qui- were inserted, neither sound, nor bus, incaute animoque non malo agreeable to the Christian docscriptis, abusi essent Basilidiani, trine, which though unguardedly Valentiniani, aliique hæretici, ad wrote, and without any ill intent, suos errores stabiliendos; hinc the Basilidians, Valentinians, and post editionem canonicorum E- other heretics, made a wrong use vangeliorum in desuetudinem ab- of, to establish their errors. It iit, atque etiam inter libros hæ- became disused after the publishreticos numeratus est.
ing of the canonical Gospels, and reckoned
books. The same learned doctor in another place n imagines
66 this I Lib. cit, p. 784. Prolegom. in Nov. Test. §. 53.
n Ibid. §. 337.
“ book of traditions to have been interpolated by Leucius," and to have “ received the addition of many trifling and false “ stories from his hand.” But as his opinion about the original of the book is not only proposed without any attempt to make it so much as probable, but appears, by what has been above said, to be false and groundless, so also is his account of the interpolations of it, as I shall shew No. XXXVIII.
Mr. Whiston”, discoursing about Philo's Therapeutæ, whom he takes for Christians in Egypt before the coming of St. Mark, supposes not only the Gospel of the Egyptians, but also the traditions of Matthias, to have been in use among them: but of this conjecture he has assigned no reason; and therefore I think it sufficient to my design only to inform the reader of it.
What further remains now is;
II. To shew, that if these traditions were really a book, they were apocryphal, which is manifest by Prop. IV. V. and VI. but especially by Prop. VIII. as it contained the principles of the most impious heretics, viz. the Nicolaitans, Carpocratians, Valentinians, Marcionites, Basilidians, &c.
No. XXXVIII. Books under the name of Matthias. IN the before cited Decree of pope Innocent I. according to one edition, we réad P; Cætera quæ sub nomine Mat- Other books, such as that under thiæ, sive Jacobi Minoris quæ the name of Matthias, or James a quodam Leucio scripta sunt the Less—which were written by non solum repudianda, verum no- one Leucius-know, that they veris esse damnanda.
are not only to be rejected, but
condemned. Dr. Milly, as I just now said, concludes from these words of Innocent, that “ these were the Gospel or Traditions of Mat“ thias, quas falsis absurdisque narratiunculis passim inter
spersit hic ipse impostor Leucius, in which the impostor “ Leucius scattered up and down several false and absurd “ stories; on the account of which Origen, Eusebius, and Je
rome rejected it.” But in this the doctor is also much mis