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the day of Christ is at hand. The plain purport of which words is, to guard them against a groundless expectation they were in danger of being wrought up to, of Christ's second coming, by the delusive artifices of false apostles. He cautions them not to be deceived by any of their false methods, and particularly not by any epistle they should produce under his
Nothing can be more evidently implied in the words μήτε δι' επιστολής ως δι' ημών, than that the apostle suspected some spurious epistle to be published under his name in Thessalonica. Some of our best expositorsu, not observing the force of the particle ws here, have imagined St. Paul in these words to refer to his former Epistle: but nothing can be more improbable; for, 1. It renders the significant particle cs quite useless and superfluous: 2. It makes the apostle rank his own Epistle in the same class with spurious revelations and false discourses, which he warns them not to be influenced by. Hence the ancient writers of Christianity, Tertullian, Origen, and others, who knew what great numbers of books were forged early under the apostles' names, expound this passage of some suppo sititious pieces falsely ascribed to St. Paul; and so also several of our modern writers y. I would only add, that this exposition is most clearly confirmed by the conclusion of the Epistle, which runs thus?, The salutation of me Paul with my own hand, which is the token in every epistle, so I write. In which words, by reason of the supposititious epistle under his name, he gives them a certain mark, by which they should be always able to distinguish his genuine writings, from any that pretended to be his. It is plain, therefore, that even while St. Paul was alive, there were counterfeited epistles published under his name.
3. I offer it as a conjecture, that St. Paul hath respect to the Apocryphal Gospel of the Nazarenes, in those words, Gal. i. 6. I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called
you into the grace of Christ, unto another Gospel. For though it is always supposed, the word gospel here means the
'n Beza, Hammond, and Whitby in loc.
x Tertullian. de Resurrect. Carn. c. 24. Origen. Epist. ad Charos suos apud Ruffin. de deprav. Origen.
y Grotius et Calvin. in loc. Cocus Cens. vet. Script. Præfat. Estius in 2 Thess. iii. 17. Fabrit. Cod. Apocr. Nov. Test. tom. 2. p. 916.
2 2 Thess. iii. 17.
doctrine of the gospel ; yet perhaps, as I said, it is that supposititious gospel, which the Christianized Jews were so fond of, that is here meant. The reasons of my conjecture I shall lay down in the following observations; for the support of which, I think it needless to offer any arguments, the things being, I suppose, well known to all, who are at all versed in Christian antiquities.
1. A great number of the converts to Christianity, at first, were such as professed the Jewish religion. We are told, Acts xxi. 20. of many (uupiádes) ten thousands of Jews, that believed and received the doctrines of Christ. Nor are we to suppose this true only of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the land of Palestine, but of those also who lived in Gentile countries, and very probably many of them, such who had been converted before from paganism to Judaism a.
2. These were generally such, who were for mixing Judaism with Christianity, and taught as necessary, not only a belief of Jesus as the Messiah, but an observance of the laws of Moses. This is very evident from the whole scope of several of St. Paul's Epistles. And Epiphanius tells us b, the Nazarenes (by which name these half Christians were called) “ fered little or nothing from the Jews in any thing, only that “ they believed in Christ.”
3. The better to support and propagate their principles, they had a gospel suited to their own judgments, and called by their own names. This they were so exceeding fond of, as to reject all others
4. The converts to Christianity among the Galatians were certainly much prevailed upon by these Nazarenes, to intermix Judaism with Christianity. And for this very reason St. Paul wrote this Epistle to them, in order to prevent their being any further deluded by them. This is plain by the whole design of the letter; and therefore, 5. When in this Epistle he makes mention of any false gos
Il semble qu'une grande partie de » Τα πάντα δέ εισιν Ιουδαίοι, και ουδέν ceux qui embrassèrent les premiers έτερον
–και ως οι Ιουδαίοι πάντα l'Evangile dans ces lieux-là, étoient καλώς ομολογούσι, χωρίς του εις Χριστον des gens qui étoient passez premiere- ondev TITIOTEvxívas. Hæres. 29. §. 7. ment du paganisme dans le Judaïsme, c Vid. Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 1. 3. c. 25. et qui reçurent ensuite la religion Chrétienne. Vid. Le Clerc in Gal. i. 6.
pel, by which they had been seduced to the principles of the Nazarenes, it must be very unreasonable to suppose, he did not mean the Gospel of the Nazarenes.
Coroll. If in the apostles' times, while they were yet alive, there were so many spurious and supposititious pieces published, it is not strange, if we find a much greater number after their deaths, as the Christian religion spread further; of which in the following chapter.
CHAP. III. A large catalogue of all the lost apocryphal books, which are
mentioned by the writers of the first four centuries, with the places where they are mentioned. HAVING given some account of the apocryphal books under the apostles' names during their life, I proceed now to give some account of the vast number of such books, that were in the world soon afterwards.
Papias of Hierapolis, who was one of St. John's disciples, an intimate of Polycarp, and called “a person of antiquity” by Irenæusd, who himself lived in the second century, tells use, in the preface of his Commentary on our Saviour's sayings, that “the books he had read concerning Christ were not so “ profitable to him, as the conversation of those, who had been “intimate with the apostles;” which, as he never would have said concerning any inspired books, shews he had met with several, which he did not look upon as such f.
Hegesippus (contemporary with Justin Martyr about the year of Christ 150, called by Gobarus 8 ápxaños avip xal STOOTOArxos) in his Commentaries has a Discourse concerning the apocryphal books, “ several of which,” he says, were made by " the heretics of his time h.”
Irenæusi observes, that “the Gnosticks had in his time an “ innumerable multitude of spurious and apocryphal books,"
which they had forged to delude the more weak and ignorant sort of persons, filled with the most impious and blasphemous assertions. After these times, Origen k, Jerome!, Epiphanius m, Ambrose », and others, tell us of great numbers of these books, made use of by the heretics of their times. Philastrius, in his catalogue of heresies, names one Hæresis Apocryphao, viz. of such, who opposed other books to the truly canonical ones.
Of these books some are quite lost, and not so much as the name, or the least part of them remaining. Of others there are some fer fragments remaining in the writings of the fathers, but without any express intimation, out of what books they were taken. Of others there are undoubted fragments, with the names of the books, from whence they were cited. Others perhaps are still extant.
For the better managing my design, I shall consider them under the general division of books which are lost, and books which are yet extant; and, according to my proposal, treat first concerning those which are lost, or not extant. And as it is necessary to my design, so I hope it will not be unserviceable, to present the reader with as large and full a collection of these, as I have been able to make, from the writers of the four first centuries, after the birth of Christ: my collection proceeds no further for these three reasons, viz.
1. Because by the end of the fourth century, or thereabouts, there will appear to be almost an universal agreement concerning the canon, and what books should be received into it.
2. Because the writers of the succeeding centuries are, upon many accounts, very improper evidences in this matter.
3. Because the books mentioned afterwards under the names of the apostles, &c. have either very slender, or indeed no pretences at all, to canonical authority. Such are many of those mentioned in Mr. Toland's Catalogue, under the pompous titles of St. Matthew, Mark, &c.
For these reasons I have spared myself the needless labour of reading, or searching into the writers of the fifth and following centuries; and shall now proceed to the Catalogue itself.
k Homil. in Luc. i. I.
n Comment. in Luc. i, 1.
A Catalogue of books not extant now, formerly published under
the names of our Saviour, his apostles, their companions, &c. with the places, where they are mentioned by any of the
writers of the first four centuries after Christ. N. B. The reader is not to think it strange, when he finds the
same book mentioned in this catalogue more than once; my design being to produce every place, where there is any mention of them.
In the first century. AFTER the most diligent search into the supposed writers of the first century, I cannot find that any one of them has mentioned so much as one apocryphal writing by name. Barnabas, Hermas, Clemens Romanus, Ignatius, Polycarp, in the pieces now extant under their names, never, in place, cite by name any apocryphal gospel. It must indeed be confessed, there are several passages in their writings, which, as they are not in our Gospels, seem to be taken out of some others: but these are all some sayings of our Saviour, which, with whatever others are to be found of the same sort, shall be produced, and critically examined, in the second part of this work.
It may not, however, be improper here to observe, that there are two or three passages, from whence some have concluded, that beside those Epistles we now have of St. Paul's, he wrote others, now lost. For instance, from those words, 1 Cor. v. 9. I wrote to you, in an epistle, not to
epistle, not to company with fornicators; they conclude, he had sent the Corinthians an epistle before that, which is now called the first. And Mr. Gregory of Oxford P tells us, “ he saw a third Epistle of St. “ Paul to the Corinthians, in the Armenian tongue, beginning, “ Paul a servant of Jesus Christ;" but this, and the other instances, I design particularly to examine hereafter. In the SECOND CENTURY the following apocryphal books are
By HEGESIPPUS. The Gospel according to the Hebrews. Lib. Commentar. apud Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. 4. c. 22.
p Preface to his Works, p. 11.