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No, LV: The Gospel of Perfection. THE most eminent and known heretics among the Christians in the first ages were those called the Gnosticks; of whom Irenæus says, that they forged an infinite multitude of spurious and apocryphal books u; and Epiphanius *, that they made many gospels under the names of the disciples. Among the rest of their forgeries he mentions the Gospel of Perfection in the following manner y. *Αλλοι δε εξ αυτών πάλιν επίπλα- But others of them produce a στον εισάγουσιν αγώγιμόν τι ποί- certain spurious and supposititious ημα, και ποιητεύματι επέθεντο όνο- work, to which work they have μα, Ευαγγέλιον Τελειώσεως τούτο given the name of the Gospel of φάσκοντες και αληθώς ουκ ευαγ- Perfection ; which really is no γέλιον τούτο, αλλά πένθους τελεί- Gospel, but the Perfection of
Sorrow : for all the perfection of ωσις" πάσα γαρ ή του θανάτου τελείωσις εν τη τοιαύτη υποσπορά trine) is contained in that pro
death (i. e. of destructive docτου Διαβόλου εμφέρεται. .
duct of the Devil. It seems not difficult, from the very title of this spurious book, to conjecture concerning the design or scheme of it. The Gnosticks, who forged it and used it, pretended to a greater perfection in knowledge and virtue than all others, and from thence took their very name I wotixo); Gnostici propter excellentiam sapientiæ, sic se appellatos esse vel appellari debuisse gloriantur, &c. says Austin. de Hæres. t. 6. n. 6. See also Clemens Alexandrinus De Pædagog. 1. 1. c. 6. et Stromat. 1. 2. p. 398. For the same reason they called themselves xahapol, avevmatixol, &c. pretending to greater sanctity and perfection of life than all besidesz; making themselves even wiser than the apostles, and to have found out more perfect doctrines, as Irenæus saysa; and hence they were wont to call Peter and the rest of the apostles imperfect, as we learn from the same father b; from all which it may perhaps be a just inference, that this Gospel had this title of Perfection, because it contained this their more perfect knowledge and great discoveries, which they had arrived to above even the apostles, or any other Christians. If this conjecture be just, it is sufficient u Advers. Hæres. l. 1. C. 17.
2 Vid. Iren. adv. Hæres. 1. 1. c. I.
a Adv. Hæres. I. 3. c. 2. y Hæres. 26. §. 8.
u Id. l. 3. c. 12.
* Ead. Hæres. $. 2.
to prove it apocryphal, from the design of it, by Prop. VIII. But whatever becomes of this conjecture, it was certainly (as Epiphanius calls it) spurious and supposititious, and therefore apocryphal by Prop. IV. V. and VI.
No. LVI. The Acts of Philip. CONCERNING these I have met with nothing in the authors of those ages, to which I am confined, besides their being thus mentioned by pope Gelasius, in his Decree: Actus nomine Philippi apostoli a- The Acts under the name of Phipocryphi.
lip the apostle are apocryphal. Mr. Fabritius c has produced a large fragment of these Acts out of Anastasius Sinaita, a writer of the seventh century; but this being so much after my time, I shall not transcribe it. The same learned writer in his third tome of additions to the two former d acquaints us, that Papebrochius has published some Acts under the name of Philip, and saw, but did not think fit to publish, some other Acts under the name of Philip, which are in a manuscript of the Vatican. There being nothing of them extant in the writers of the first four centuries, I shall not form any other conjecture concerning them, than that they were probably made either by Leucius Charinus, or were an appendage to his work.
No. LVII. The Gospel of Philip. AMONG the other forgeries of the Gnosticks, Epiphanius informs us there was one under this name, and adds, that Καταγελώσι δε λοιπόν των την They laugh at the conduct of the πολιτείαν ασκούντων, και αγνείαν, monks, and those who profess και παρθενίαν, ως εις μάτην τον chastity and virginity, as submitκάματον αναδεδεγμένων. Προσ- ting to unnecessary hardships. φέρουσι δε εις όνομα Φιλίππου They produce a forged gospel του αγίου μαθητού ευαγγέλιον under the name of the Holy Apoπεπλασμένον, ότι φησίν, Αποκά
stle Philip; in which it is writλυψέ μοι ο Κύριος, τι την ψυχήν ten, “The Lord hath revealed to
me what the soul must say δεί λέγειν, εν τω ανιέναι εις τον
when it makes its entry into ουρανόν και πως εκάστη των άνω
heaven, and what sort of anδυνάμεων αποκρίνεσθαι. . "OTI
swer it must make to each of © Cod. Apocr. Nov. Testam. t. 2. p.
a Tom. 3. p. 657.
επέγνων εμαυτήν, φησί, και συν- “ the heavenly powers : (viz. in έλεξα εμαυτήν πανταχόθεν, και “ the following manner :) I knew ουκ έσπειρα τέκνα το αρχοντι, , myself, and gathered', recolαλλά εξερρίζωσα τας ρίζας αυτού, ,
“ lected (or guarded) myself on και συνέλεξα τα μέλη τα διεσκος
« all sides, and did not raise πισμένα, και οίδα σε τις ει: εγώ
“ children for the Devil 8, but exγαρ, φησί, των άνωθέν είμαι και
“ tirpated all his principles, and ούτως φησίν, απολύεται: Εάν δε,
“ I have gathered together (now)
“ the scattered members, (viz. of φησίν, ευρεθή γεννήσασα υιον, κατέχεται κάτω, έως αν τα ίδια
“ the body,) and I know who thou
art, for I am one of the celesτέκνα δυνηθή αναλαβείν και ανελ
“ tial number.” And thus, says κύσαι εις εαυτήν. .
that book, she is set at liberty: but it adds, that if the soul be found to have propagated children, it is obliged to stay so long below, till she shall be able to receive and bring those children to herself, i. e. till the souls of the children depart.
This is a sufficient taste of this Gospel, which I suppose will be but indifferently relished by those, who have any taste either of religion or common sense. The book seems by this fragment to have been of a piece with the other performances of the Gnosticks, and as extravagant in its conceits as the Gospel of Basilides, Eve, or any of the rest. It seems by this fragment to have been particularly wrote with the view of supporting their doctrine of the unlarefulness of procreation ; for though, as in the beginning of this passage, they did not forbid the use of women, and therefore laughed at the monks, yet they forbade the procreation of children, and for this purpose made use of methods so very abominable, and prodigiously unnatural and vile, that I had rather the reader should be ignorant of them, than be told by me.
He who has a mind may read Epiphanius in the place referred to at the bottom of the page h. I will only observe, that in the place cited, that father tells us, they had apocryphal books which supported their obscene doctrines; which further confirms my conjecture about the contents of this Gospel. It appears plainly to be apocryphal, by Prop. IV. V. VI. VIII. and IX. and Mr. Du Pini
f I know not how else to translate Devil, this mystical passage.
h Hæres. 26. &. 5. 8 So I translate äexours, because they i Hist. of the Canon, vol. 2. c. 6. §. said that all procreation was from the
5. p. 126.
imagines, it was the same with the Gospel that was made use use of by the Ebionites, Basilides, and Apelles ; but however just his opinion may be, as to the two latter, (though there is not, nor does he pretend to offer any reason for it,) yet sure I am, he must be mistaken as to the former, since the Ebionites entertained no such principles.
CHAP. XXXVIII. The Gospel of Scythianus. He was the author of the Manichean heresy. The Gospel of the Simonians.
. The Revelation of Stephen. No. LVIII. The Gospel of Scythianus.
S. THIS Gospel is only considerable, because it was composed by him who was the source and author of the Manichean heresy : it is mentioned,
1. By Cyril of Jerusalem k. In a discourse concerning the heresy of the Manichees; of which and its rise, (seventy years before his writing), as also its progress, he gives a very particular account; he asserts one Scythianus to have been the first founder of the sect. Σκυθιανός τις ήν εν Αιγύπτω, Σα- There was a certain person in ρακηνός το γένος, ουδέν κοινωνόν, Egypt named Scythianus, by naούτε πρός Ιουδαϊσμόν, ούτε προς tion a Saracen, having nothing Χριστιανισμών κεκτημένος. Ούτος common either with the Jewish την Αλεξάνδριαν oικήσας, και τον or Christian religion. When he 'Αριστοτελικόν μιμησάμενος βίον,
lived at Alexandria, and conform
ed himself to the rules of life in τέσσαρας βίβλους συνέταξε, μίαν
the Aristotelic philosophy, he comκαλουμένην Ευαγγέλιον, ου Χριστού πράξεις περιέχουσαν, αλλ' posed four books ; one called The
Gospel, not containing any acαπλώς μόνον την προσηγορίαν, &c.
count of the actions of Christ, but only taking its title from him,
2. By Epiphanius 1. 'Εν τούτοις γαρ ο προειρημένος Such were the opinions of SeyΣκυθιανός τυφλωθείς την διάνοιαν, thianus, who was infatuated in
k Catech. 6. c. 13.
ΤΗeres. 66. 5. 2.
λαβών παρα Πυθαγόρου τας προ- his judgment, and borrowed his φάσεις, ούτως εφρόνησε και βί- principles from Pythagoras. BeBrous Thor apas êautỢ Tsdásoetai, sides, he composed four books ; τη μια όνομα θέμενος Μυστηρίων, calling one, The Book of Mysteτη δε δευτέρα Κεφαλαίων, τη τρίτη ries; the second, The Book of Euayyeríou, tỹ terágtnOnsau Principles; the third, The Gospãre év als icó suya sai ta loó- pel; the fourth, The Book of ροπα δύο αρχών συζεύξας πρόσωπα Treasures ; in which he supposed
two equal principles and persons καθ' εκάστην υπόθεσιν, ούτως υπο
united, in every argument; and λαβών ο τάλας, και ούτως κατα
by these notions the wretch τούτο το μέρος εφαντάζετο, ώς τι
thought he had made some conμέγα εύρων τω βίω και τω όντι
siderable discoveries in life; but μέγα κακόν εύρατο τω βίω, καθ'
really he formed that which was εαυτού και των υπ' αυτού πλανω
very destructive to life, both in μένων. .
respect of himself and those who
are deluded into his scheme. There is not any thing more said of this apocryphal Gospel by the old writers; nor indeed is there any need of it to prove it apocryphal : he who will consider it as one of the first books that gave birth to the sentiments of the Manichees, and knows any thing of that monstrous heresy, will easily be persuaded to look upon
it as an apocryphal book, their principles being inconsistent with the very foundation of the Christian religion. I reject it therefore by Prop. IV. V. VI. VIII. and IX. The Manichees had some other Gospels, of which perhaps I shal} say something below, No. LXV.
No. LIX. The Acts of the Apostles by Seleucus. SELEUCUS (as I have above proved, Chap. XXI.) was only a different name for Leucius; and consequently these are the same Acts with those under the name of Leucius Charinus, which have been largely considered in that place, and proved apocryphal, and therefore need no further discussion here.
Since the compiling of the catalogue in the former part of this work, I have observed in Dr. Mill an account of the Gospel of the Simonians m, as mentioned in the Arabic Preface to