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altered his sentiments in the interval of writing so short an Epistle. Prop. VII.
3. Mr. Du Pin' thinks it very improbable, that Abgarus should at once offer half his kingdom to a person who was a stranger to him.
4. It looks not a little fabulous, that upon Thaddæus's appearing before the king, he should see somewhat extraordinary in his countenance, which none of the company else could perceive. Eusebius calls it špauce péya, a great vision: Valesius renders it divinum nescio quid, some divine appearance. Prop. IX.
5. The account in the history, that Abgarus designed to make war upon the Jews for crucifying Christ, seems very unlikely; because it is plain he was prince only of a small mean city, and that at a vast distance from Judæa, viz. in Arabia, and therefore could never be so extravagant as to imagine himself able to destroy so powerful a nation as the Jews then were, Prop. VIII. IX.
6. The account in the history, that Thaddæus promised Abgarus that he would preach to him and his people concerning the heads of the Christian religion, proves the whole much later than it pretends to be, because he is there made to say, that he would preach to them how Christ κατέβη εις τον άδην, και διέσχισε φραγμόν τον εξ αιώνος μη σχισθέντα και ανέστη, descended into hell, and divided the partition which was never divided before. But this every one knows was a phraseology or doctrine not known in the church in the apostles' days, nor till a long time after; and though it be an article in that called The Apostles' Creed, yet it was not in the ancient creeds in the three first centuries; and to use bishop Pearson's words on this article, “ The first place we find it used in was in the church of “ Aquileia, and the time we are sure it was used in the creed 6 of that church was less (and but little less) than 400 years « after Christ. It is not to be found in the rules of faith deli. “ vered by Irenæus m, by Origen", by Tertulliano. It is not
| History of the Canon, vol. 2. c. 6. • Advers. Praxeam, c. 2. De Virgin. §.1.
Veland. c. 1.-De Præscript. advers. m Lib. I. c. 2. n Lib. de Princip. in Proæm.
Hæres. C. 13.
“expressed in those creeds which were made by the councils “as larger explications of the Apostles' Creed; not in the Ni“ cene or Constantinopolitan; not in those of Ephesus or « Chalcedon; not in those confessions made at Sardica, An“ tioch, Seleucia, Sirmium, &c. It is not mentioned in several “ confessions of faith delivered by particular persons; not in “ that of Eusebius Cæsariensis, presented to the council of “ NiceP; not in that of Marcellus, bishop of Ancyra, delivered “ to pope Julius 9; not in that of Arius and Euzoius, presented " to Constantiner; not in that of Acacius, bishop of Cæsarea, “ delivered in the synod of Seleucia s; not in that of Eusta“ thius, Theophilus, and Sylvanus, sent to Liberiust: there is “ no mention of it in the creed of St. Basil u; in the creed of
Epiphanius *, Gelasius, Damasus, Macarius, &c. It is not “ in the creed expounded by St. Cyril, though some have pro“ duced that creed to prove it. It is not in the creed ex“ pounded by St. Augustine); not in that other 2, attributed
to St. Augustine in another place; not in that expounded by “ Maximus Taurinensis ; nor that so often interpreted by Pe
trus Chrysologus; nor in that of the church of Antioch, de“ livered by Cassianus a; neither is it to be seen in the MS. “ creeds set forth by the learned archbishop of Armagh. It “ is affirmed by Ruffin, that in his time it was neither in the “ Roman nor the Oriental creeds b.” Thus far bishop Pear
The certainty of all which may be easily perceived by any one who will be at the pains to search into these ancient books, or but cast his eye upon that collection which the present lord chief justice, sir Peter King, has made of all the creeds within the three first centuries. This article therefore,
c concerning the descent of Christ into hell, cannot be supposed to be one of those concerning which Thaddæus is said in this History to have preached at Edessa, and therefore the words xatéßn sis Tòv qonv, i, e. he descended into hell, could not be the language of this apostle, but of some person long after his p Theodoret. l. 1. c. 2.
y De Fide et Symbolo. 9 Epiphan. Hæres. 72.
2 De Symbolo ad Catechumenos. r Socrat. 1. 1. C. 19.
a De Incarnat. lib. 6.
b Exposit. in Symbol. Apost. 9. 20. 1 Ibid. 1. 4. C. 12.
• Inquiry into the Worship, &c. of the Primitive Church, part 2. c. 3.
's Ibid. I. 2. C. 40.
u Tract. de Fide in Ascet. x In Anchorat. c. 120. .
time; whence it most undeniably follows, that this whole History in the Edessene archives is spurious and apocryphal. Prop. X.
CHAP. IV. The main objection against the preceding proof answered, taken from the credit of Eusebius. A character of that historian. A conjecture that this History is an interpolation into the works of Eusebius. Several arguments to support this conjecture. A fragment concerning Christ's picture which he sent to Abgarus, taken out of the Orthodoxographa. The story of the picture common among the writers of the sixth and following centuries. A digression out of monsieur Durant concerning several pictures of Christ, made
in his lifetime. THE most considerable, and indeed only objection that can be made against the foregoing proof, is the credit of Eusebius, who relates the story, and is so universally reputed an historian of the most accurate judgment and perfect sincerity. To which I answer, either,
1. That Eusebius was in this matter too credulous, and betrayed too easily into the belief of that, which, if he had more carefully examined, he would have as easily rejected. This has been a fault often charged upon this learned writer of Christian antiquities. “No one,” says Scaliger d, “ has contri6 buted more to the Christian history, and no one is guilty of “ more mistakes.” And in another place e, “ If a person's
learning is to be judged of by his reading, nobody can deny 66 Eusebius the character of a learned man; but if he is to be
a “ esteemed learned, who has shewn judgment, together with “ his reading, Eusebius is not such.” It is certain, notwithstanding all that can be said for him, there are too many instaạces in his works both of partiality and credulity, to say no worse, besides that he frequently trusts too much to his memory.
I shall omit instances of this sort, being much more d Elench. Trihær. c. 29.
tory of Arianism, in French, tom.1.1.1. e In Chronic. Enseb. p. 8. See a p.32. &c. and Valesius's Life of Euseparticular account of Eusebius and his bius, prefixed to his Ecclesiastical His. character in Father Maimbourg's His- tory.
willing they should be observed by others, than enlarged on by
In the main he is certainly a good historian; and though there be several mistakes in his works, yet there seems to me none more considerable than this which we are now upon,
if indeed it was really his; for,
2. I offer it as a probable conjecture, that this chapter in the works of Eusebius, containing these two Epistles, viz. the letter of Abgarus to Christ, and his reply, with the subsequent history of Thaddæus at Edessa, was not really written by Eusebius, but foisted into his works, and an interpolation not made till the latter end of the fourth, or perhaps the fifth century. I am apprehensive a conjecture of this sort will seem surprising, but I hope not improbable to those who will impartially consider the following remarks, viz.
1.) That the article of the descent of Christ into hell has been proved not only to have been an invention after the apostles' time, but even after the time of Eusebius. For this I refer the reader to the proof just now brought of this matter out of bishop Pearson and sir Peter King; no mention at all being made of it till the latter end of the fourth century, in Ruffin's Exposition, whereas Eusebius lived in the beginning of it. It follows therefore, that unless Eusebius could speak of these things or doctrines not yet known in his time, that this history was interpolated or inserted into his works after his time. That which mightily strengthens this argument is, that neither in the Nicene Creed, which was settled and approved by Eusebius, as well as the other bishops there; nor even in that which Eusebius himself tendered to them for their approbation, is there any the least intimation of this articlef; so that it is evident, that Eusebius being ignorant of it, it was foisted into his works.
2.) That this history is an interpolation into Eusebius, seems evident by considering the context and series of the history preceding. In order to which I observe, that the design of the first book, of which this is the last chapter, is to treat concerning Christ and things relating to his time; and having in the preceding chapter just mentioned our Saviour's apostles,
* See them both at large in Scultet. Medull. Patr. de Concil. Niceno, p. 405, &c.
he proposes to defer the consideration of them and their actions after Christ's ascension; which is accordingly the main subject of the second book. Now I say, for Eusebius here to bring in the story of Thaddæus, which was after Christ's ascension, is to contradict himself, and break in upon his own design and order of history, which he proposed; wherefore I conclude this an interpolation, and the rather, because Eusebius expressly says, in the beginning of the second book, that he had only related those things which concerned the history of our Saviour, and the choice or nomination of his apostles, in the first book; but now, says he, I proceed to those things which happened after his ascension. But how is it possible he could have said this, if he had just before been writing concerning the acts of Thaddæus at Edessa, which were after Christ's ascension ? Nor can it be objected, that Eusebius relates the history of Thaddæus there, because it was connected with the history of the intercourse between Christ and Abgarus, seeing it is evident that the history of Christ and Abgarus was introduced on account of the history of Thaddæus, and not the history of Thaddæus on account of the history of Christ. It is therefore evident all this chapter must be an interpolation; to confirm which yet further I observe,
3. That Eusebius does, in the next book, viz. c. 1. when he is relating what happened to, and was done by, the apostles after our Saviour's ascension, relate this history in short, but without any, so much as one of those circumstances, by which I have above proved the history to be spurious and supposititious. Now this would have been perfectly needless, if it be supposed that he had a few lines before wrote the same history, and such a repetition as I may safely challenge any one to shew in an historian of any value. It is true indeed, he is made to refer to the former place; but this was necessary to be interpolated upon the supposition of the former being so.
4. Such interpolations have very frequently been made into the writings of the fathers. Mr. Daillég has made a large collection of instances to this purpose; I shall only mention one or two in the books of Eusebius: for instance, such I take that to be, (Hist. Eccl. lib. 3. cap. 36.) where Papias is applauded
& Right Use of the Fathers, ch. 4.