« AnteriorContinua »
were defective as to the account of those things which were “ done by our Saviour at the beginning of his ministry“ For which reason John, being desired by his friends, sup
plied the defects of the three others, and wrote his Gospel “ to inform us of that time, and the things which were done by “our Saviour in it, viz. before the imprisonment of John the “ Baptist.” Now hence it follows,
1. That before St. John wrote his Gospel, the Christians of that first age owned and received no other than the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke; although it is certain there were many other false Gospels extant at that time, as I have elsewhere proved.
2. That these three were universally received and approved.
3. That they were with just reason so approved, because St. John also did approve them.
Besides this testimony of Eusebius, I find in a very old book, entitled, Μαρτύριον Τιμοθέου του Αποστόλου, i. e. the Martyrdom of Timothy the Apostle, of which we have an extract in Photius, (Cod. 254 ;) “ That when, after the death of Domi“ tian, Nerva became emperor, John returned to Ephesus, “ from which place he had been banished by Domitian, he then 66 took the several books which contained the history of our “ Saviour's sufferings, and miracles and doctrines, and were “ now translated into several different languages, reviewed “ them, rectified them, and joined himself to the former three
evangelists (by writing his Gospel).” I confess I cannot certainly determine the age of this book. There is a book extant, entitled, the Martyrdom of Timothy, which goes under the name of Polycrates, a bishop of Ephesus, in the latter end of the second century, out of which Photius seems to have made this extract; and if this be true, it makes the history more valid: but it must be owned that several learned men are of opinion this book was not made by Polycrates, into which it is not my business here to inquire.
2. St. POLYCARP. II. The testimony of Polycarp, who, according to Irenæus b,
5 Και Πολύκαρπος δε ου μόνον υπό άποστόλων μαθητευθείς, και συναναστραφείς
πολλούς τους τον Χριστόν έωρακόσιν, αλλά και υπό αποστόλων κατασταθείς εις την year of Christ 480. Johan. Jacob. Grynæus (Præfat. in Orthodoxographa) places bim sooner, viz. A. D. 455; but Bellar'Ασίαν εν τη εν Σμύρνη εκκλησία επίσκοπος, tus, qui legem tanquam ex Gentibus όν και ημείς έωράκαμεν εν τη πρώτη ημών ignorabant, a causa nostræ redemptioMaoxía. Adv. Hæres. 1. 3. c. 3. et apnd nis Evangelii sumpsit exordium; quæ Euseb. l. 4. C. 14.
was not only instructed by the apostles, and acquainted with
many who had seen Christ, but placed by the apostles in “ Asia, as bishop of Smyrna, whom,” says he, “ I also saw 66 when I was young.
He (Polycarp) expressly mentions together our four Gospels and their authors thus : 6c It was not “ without reason that the evangelists began their Gospels dif“ ferent ways; though the design of each of them was the same. “ Matthew, because he wrote to the Hebrews, began with the
genealogy of Christ, that he might evidence Christ to be de“ scended of that family, which all the prophets had foretold " “ he should descend from. John being fixed among the “ Ephesians, who as Gentiles were ignorant of the law, began “ his Gospel with an account of the cause of our redemption, “ viz. that God would have his Son become incarnate for our “ salvation, Luke begins with the priesthood of Zacharias, “ that by the account of his son's miraculous birth, and his
being so considerable a preacher, he might evidence the di“ vinity of Christ to the Gentiles. Mark began his Gospel “ with the explication of some ancient prophecies relating to “ the coming of Christ, that his Gospel might appear no new
thing, but the same as had been of old.” For this fragment of Polycarp we are obliged to Feuardentius, who in his notes on Irenæus, l. 3. c. 3. published it with some other fragments of Polycarp out of a very ancient manuscript of Victor Capuanus's Catena, upon the four Evangelists, which Catena he there promises to publish ; but whether he did or no, I know not. Victor Capuanus lived, according to Feuardentius, in the
causa ex eo apparet, quod Filium suum c Rationabiliter Evangelistæ princi. Deus pro nostra salute voluit incarpiis diversis utuntur, quamvis una ea- nari. Lucas vero a Zachariæ sacerdemque evangelizandi eorum probetur dotio incipit, ut ejus filii miraculo naintentio. Matthæus, ut Hebræis scri- tivitatis, et tanti prædicatoris officio, bens, genealogiæ Christi ordinem tex- divinitatem Christi gentibus declararet. uit, ut ostenderet ab ea Christum de- Unde et Marcus antiqua prophetici scendisse progenie, de qua eum nasci. mysterii competentia adventui Christi turum universi prophetæ cecinerant. declarat, ut non nova, sed antiquitus Joannes autem ad Ephesum constitu- prolata ejus prædicatio probaretur.
mined and Dr. Cave e place him near a hundred years later, viz. in the year 540, and 545, as also does Dr. Millf.
3. TATIAN. III. That there were only the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, received in the middle part of the second century, is evident from Tatian's Harmony, which was made about that time. He was a scholar of Justin Martyr, and συνάφειάν τινα και συναγωγήν ουκ οίδ' όπως των ευαγγελίων συνθείς, το δια τεσσάρων τούτο προσωνόμασεν ο και παρά τισιν εισέτι νύν pépet(Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. 4. c. 29.) “ compiled a certain “ harmony of the Gospels, and called it, the Gospel of the “ Four : which is even to this day in the hands of some.” The same account is also in Epiphanius, Hæres. 46. n. 1. There can be no reasonable doubt but that these four were the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; for not only the number agrees, but these were the only four Gospels that ever
, were reduced to a harmony. Besides, if the above mentioned Victor Capuanus is to be credited, the Harmony of Tatian is still extant; for that which he published in the fifth or sixth century, with a preface to prove it was wrote by Tatian, we have now printed among the Orthodoxographa &; and this contains our present four Gospels, and no other. But I must own that I question much, whether this be the work of Tatian or no; for the genealogy of Christ is in this Harmony of Tatian 5, which was not in the ancient one under his namei.
It may indeed be objected that Victor Capuanus, in his preface to that which he thought to be the Harmony of Tatian, says, that “he gave his work the title of Diapentek. I find,” says he, “ by the history of Eusebius, that Tatian, a very “ learned man and excellent orator of that time, compiled one “ Gospel out of the four, to which he gave the title of Dia
pente,” i. e. of five; or, the Gospel of Five : as though he d De Scriptor. Eccles. ad voc.
k Ex historia quoque ejus (scil. Eue Hist. Liter. tom. I. p. 411.
sebii) comperi, quod Tatianus, vir eruf Prolegom. in Nov. Testam. $.351. ditissimus, et orator illius temporis cla& Vol. 1. p. 659, &c.
rissimus, unum ex quatuor compagih See chap. 5. Orthodoxogr. 663. naverit evangelium, cui titulum Dia
i This I have observed already, vol. pente imposuit. Orthodoxogr. p. 659. 1. part 2. ch. 39. p. 340.
1 1 1
had made his Harmony out of five Gospels. Accordingly, I find that Grotius? has explained the word Diapente; “ Ta“ tian,” says he, “ when he made one Gospel out of four, fol“ lowed not only the Greek, but the Hebrew copies of Mat“thew; whence it came to pass that his work, which was com“monly called Aic Teorápwr, or the Gospel of Four, was by “ others called the Gospel according to the Hebrews, by others “ Aid Ilévte, or the Gospel of Five."
To this I answer, (1.) That though I question not but Tatian made use of the Hebrew copies of St. Matthew, yet he made use of them as what he looked upon to be the most authentic and genuine, and so made no use of the Greek, as of another or fifth Gospel. This is what I have conjectured, and endeavoured to prove in the first volume m; but all which can be concluded hence is, that by a mistake he made use of an interpolated corrupt translation of St. Matthew, instead of the true Greek original, still looking upon it as the work of that evangelist, which is sufficient to my purpose.
2. As to Grotius's conjecture, that it was called Ald. Ilévte, or the Gospel of Five, for the above mentioned reason, it seems to me entirely to be founded upon a false reading; and that instead of Δια Πέντε we are to read in the preface of Victor Δια Teocápwv, as is well conjectured by Mr. Fabricius n. My reasons for this correction are,
1. That Victor in his preface says, he found the account which he gives in the history of Eusebius; but there is no such thing to be found in Eusebius; but on the contrary he saith, “ Tatian gave his work the title of Aid Teorápw,” i. e. the Gospel of Four. Either therefore Victor Capuanus was mistaken, or else we must correct his words by those of Eusebius, from whom he transcribed ; i. e. for Aid Tévte, must read and Teooápww; the Gospel of Four, and not the Gospel of Five.
2. If Victor Capuanus had thought any thing of five Gospels being in Tatian's work, he would not have said expressly,
1 Puto autem Tatianum, cum ex quatuor evangeliis unum concinnaret, secutui in Matthæi verbis non Græcos tantum, sed et Hebræos codices, unde evangelium illud quod vulgo Aid Teorégwe, per quatuor, ab aliis dictum
secundum Hebræos, ab aliis vero Aide TIévti, per Quinque. Annot. in Titul. Matth.
m Loc. jam citat. p. 388, 389.
n Cod. Apocr. Nov. Test. tom. 1. p. 379.
Unum ex quatuor compaginaverit Evangelium, “ He compiled “ one out of four Gospels."
3. Theodoret (who lived in or not long before the time of Victor Capuanus, viz. about the year of Christ 450.) tells us, “ He composed a Gospel Το Δια Τεσσάρων καλούμενον,” i. e. which was called the Gospel of Fouro.
Upon the whole then I conclude, there were but four Gospels, viz. those of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, in use in the church in the time of Tatian, i.e. in the time of Justin Martyr, who was Tatian's master.
4. IRENÆUS. IV. Irenæus, who was contemporary with Tatian, has abundantly evidenced, that there were no more than the four Gospels, which we now receive, then received in the church. He has wrote a large chapter P, entitled, A Proof that there can neither be more nor less than four Gospels; out of all which I shall only observe these two things ; (1.) That he says the very heretics owned them and cited them 9; (2.) He calls them vain, ignorant, and impudent, who assert, that there are either more or fewer than these four Gospelsr. The fact therefore, which I am upon, being thus certain, I do not think myself obliged to say any thing concerning the allegorical arguments, which Irenæus makes use of to prove his point. Mr. Toland has bantered thems, and Mr. Fabricius has shewnt that there is the like sort of reasoning upon that head in many of the ancient Christian writers; but, (as Du Pin says 4,) “ These sort “ of allegories have no other foundation but mere fancy; and “ it is in vain to seek for any other reason of the number four, " than God's own will."
o Hæretic. Fabul. lib. 1. C. 20. Be. sides all I have said on this head, it may not be amiss to add the great Casaubon's conjecture, or correction of this place, viz. That for Aià névts we should read Δια Πάντων, meaning that the title imported, the Gospel of all the Four, or the whole entire Gospel. Ad Baron. Annal. ann. 31. n. 3.
P Adv. Hæres. lib. 3. C. II. Ostensio quod neque plura, nec minus quam quatuor possunt esse evangelia.
9 Ut et ipsi hæretici testimonium
reddant eis, et ex ipsis egrediens unusquisque eorum conetur suam confirmare doctrinam. lib. 3. c. 11.
r Vani omnes, et indocti, et insuper audaces, qui frustrantur speciem evangelii, et vel plures quam dictæ sunt, vel rursus pauciores inferunt personas evangelii. Ad eund. loc.
* Amyntor, p. 50, &c.
+ Cod. Apocr. N. T. tom. 1. p. 382, &c. et tom. 3. p. 555, &c.
u Hist. of the Can. vol. 2. c. 2. §. 2.