Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

getful of what he says in his Prolegomena,) produces this passage out of Clemens, and supposes it to have been taken either out of the Gospel of the Nazarenes or Egyptians, and to have been taken into one of those Gospels out of this place of St. Luke, and by those who took it thence corrupted and interpolated. If we lay his thoughts together, they are these: Clemens Romanus took this passage out of some apocryphal gospel made before any of the present canonical ones: this Gospel was either that of the Nazarenes or Egyptians; for these were made before any of oursa; yet this very passage was taken out of St. Luke's Gospel, and inserted into one of these ; i. e. in short, St. Luke's Gospel was made before the Gospel of the Egyptians and Nazarenes, and the Gospel of the Egyptians and Nazarenes was made before St. Luke's Gospel. Aliquando bonus dormitat Homerus.

The second passage, viz. that Chap. V. (as to the words of Christ) is related in the same words by St. Matthew, chap. x. 16, 26, 28. and St. Luke, chap. x. 3. and chap. xii. 4, 5. Wherefore we have no need to suppose Clemens to have taken it out of any apocryphal gospel: and though indeed there be an insertion in it of a question proposed by Peter to Christ, viz. What if the wolves should tear in pieces the lambs? to which our Lord is made to reply, Fear not, &c. this seems to have been a groundless tradition, (of which there were great numbers in that time, because, by a little reflection on the series of our Lord's discourse, in the places now cited of Matthew and Luke, there will seem to have been no sign of an interruption in it, nor indeed well could be. The learned Coteleriusb therefore had no ground to suppose this taken by Clemens out of an apocryphal gospel.

The third of these passages is in part also cited by Irenæus thusc: Et ideo Dominus dicebat ingra- Wherefore the Lord said to those tis existentibus in eum ; Si in who were ungrateful to him, If modico fideles non fuistis, quod ye have not been faithful in that magnum est quis dabit vobis ?

which is little, who will give you that which is great?

c Adv. Hæres. lib. 2. c. 64.

a Prolegom. in Nov. Test. §. 35. 38. b Annot. in loc.

Dr. Grabe, in his notes on this place, conjectures, that Irenæus transcribed these words out of the Gospel of the Egyptians; but this is a mere groundless conjecture. Dr. Milla goes further, and supposes the passage to have been originally in some apocryphal gospel, which was published before ours, and consequently that Clemens, who lived, according to him, before the settling of the canon, took it out of that; but as to Irenæus, he supposes indeed he read it in his copy of Luke, chap. xvi. 10. &c. but that it was not any part of St. Luke's writing, but an interpolation or insertion into the copies of that Gospel, taken out of some apocryphal one, which had this parable of the unjust steward more at large than it was related by Luke, and being from thence first inserted by some curious person into the margin of St. Luke, was afterwards, by some careless scribe, transferred into the text or body of the book. But for all this bold conjecture there is not the least evidence produced. The case is plain; the latter part of the passage under consideration is in so many words in our present copies of St. Luke, chap. xvi. 10. and the whole meaning of the former part in the next verse. The words in Clemens are, “ If ye

have not kept that which is little, who will give you that “ which is great ?" The words in Luke are, If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches ? i. e. as is very plain by the whole design of the parable, If you have not been faithful, and made a due use of the lesser enjoyments of this life, who will intrust you, or how can you expect the greater things and enjoyments of the othere? There is no need therefore of supposing either any apocryphal gospel, or interpolated copy, out of which Clemens or Irenæus took these words. If there were, we may as well

suppose the same in ten thousand instances at least, where the fathers have thus laxly made their citations out of the books of the Old and New Testaments. And whereas it may be objected, and perhaps be thought strange, that Clemens and Irenæus should agree to paraphrase or express our Saviour's words so near the same : I answer, that it was hardly probable they should have paraphrased them any

other

d Prolegom. in Nov. Test. $.374. See Grotius, Haminond, Whitby, Le Clerc, &c.

way, because Christ himself gives the same explication of them, ver. 10. and so our best paraphrasts and expositors have done.

As to the fourth passage, although Dr. Grabef and Mr. Fabritius8 have imagined it to be a distinct Saying of Christ; and the latter says it was taken out of an apocryphal gospel, which he conjectures to be the Gospel of the Egyptians, it appears to me plainly to be only the words of Clemens, or the author of the Epistle, in explaining the preceding saying of Christ; as any one may perceive by the context; and accordingly was taken by the present archbishop of Canterbury in his English translation, though either his grace, or his printer, was very much mistaken, in putting the word soul for the Greek o@payida; which word, by the way, is a good evidence that this could not be any Saying of Christ, who never made use of this word to denote baptism, which even according to Mr. Fabritius in this place it does; and perhaps an evidence, that this Epistle under the name of Clemens was not written by him, or any other person of his time.

The last passage was indeed in the Gospel of the Egyptians; for Julius Cassianus urges it thence, as we read in Clemens Alexandrinus, Strom. lib. 3. p. 465. and accordingly I have produced it above in the second part of this work, Chap. XVI. where I have largely proved that Gospel to be apocryphal, and a very silly forgery; and for this reason we have sufficient ground to reject it, as not really one of our Saviour's, especially when we consider how unlike it is to the known style and manner of his speaking; for as I have elsewhere said, that was perfectly clear, easy, and familiar; this is mystical, involved, perplexed, if not absurd and obscene, more like the silly ambiguous answers of the Delphic oracles, than the rational and plain discourses of Jesus Christ. What remains here is only to inquire, whether this Gospel was cited in this Epistle under the name of Clemens, or this passage taken out of it? Which is not very evident, as I conclude, 1. From the manner in which the author introduces the

passage, 'Etepwirbels autòs ó Kúpios Útó Tivos, i. e. The Lord himself being asked by a certain person, &c. which words imply that he was utterly ignorant who the person was that asked Spicileg. Patr. t. 1. p. 13.

8 Cod. Apoc. Nov. Test. par. 1. p. 333.

our Saviour the question : but had he really cited or made use of this Gospel, he could not have been ignorant, seeing it was there expressly said, that Salome was the person who asked the question ; as is evident from the place just now cited in Clemens Alexandrinus.

2. The saying or passage itself is such as can hardly be imagined to be cited or transcribed by a person of the worth and character of Clemens, St. Paul's companion ; it is not likely that he should have any regard to a book so silly, impious, and ridiculous, as the Gospel of the Egyptians has been proved to be; besides, if it was an imposture, he cannot be supposed to be ignorant of it: once more, as the passage

itself is absurd and foolish, I conclude he would never have urged it as the words of Christ. If therefore this Epistle was really wrote by Clemens, I think it very evident, that this passage was interpolated, or perhaps rather added to the end of it; for they are the last words of the Epistle, and an imperfect sentence, making, as the present archbishop of Canterbury saysh, an abrupt conclusion : and this is the more probable, because the Epistle ends perfectly and justly at the close of the eleventh chapter. Nor are such corruptions uncommon in the writings of the fathers, of which Mr. Daillé has observed many instancesi; and among which those who contend for the genuine antiquity of the first Epistle of Clemens to the Corinthians are willing to reckon that part of itk, where Danae and Dirce, two noted names among

the ancient heathen poets, are introduced among the Christian sufferers.

3. Upon the whole, I look upon this Epistle not to be the writing of Clemens, but some one after his time; and accordingly we find it rejected as spurious by Eusebius', Jeromem, Photius", and others, of which I shall treat more largely hereafter. So that if really any apocryphal gospel was cited in it, it will be no way detrimental to the credit of our present

canon.

I only add, that even the passage itself now under consideration, if it really was taken out of the Gospel of the Egyptians,

h Preliminary discourse to his Trans. | Hist. Eccl. 1. 3. C. 38. lation of the Apostolic Fathers, p. 129. Catalog. Vir. illustr. in Clem. i See his right use of the fathers.

Biblioth. Cod. 126. k Chap. 6.

[ocr errors]

by the author of the Epistle, seems no mean argument to prove the Epistle itself not to be written by Clemens; for as it is unlikely that Clemens should cite so silly a book as this Gospel was, so much more so that he should cite this passage, the apparent design of which, and indeed, as far as we know, of the whole Gospel, (as has been above shewn, Chap. XVI. of this Party) is to celebrate perpetual virginity, and the unlawfulness of marriage; a doctrine which, however caressed by the pretended successors of Clemens in the chair of Rome, I believe, was never contended for by the true Clement, who was the companion of St. Paul, but a notion espoused by the heretics, against which St. Paul himself more than once has wrote. See 1 Tim. iv. 3. and Coloss. ii. 21.

Besides Barnabas and Clemens Romanus, Mr. Dodwell and Dr. Mill assert, (as above,) that Ignatius, Hermas, and Polycarp, have made use of the apocryphal gospels in common with those now received; but in these instances they are more 'egregiously mistaken than in the former ; for as to Hermas and Polycarp, I do affirm, there is not in their writings one passage different from our present Gospels; nor have either of these writers, or any other (that I know) produced so much as one example; and as to Ignatius, though there be indeed in his Epistle to the Smyrnæans, c. 3. a Saying ascribed to Christ, which is supposed by Jerome and many later writers to be taken out of the Gospel of the Nazarenes, (which I have above produced, Chap. XXVII. of this Part,) yet I have there proved the contrary, and that the passage was not taken out of any apocryphal gospel, but out of that of St. Luke xxiv. 39. IX. A History of a woman accused before our Saviour of

many crimes, which was expounded by Papias. See Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. 3. c. 39.

THIS Papias was, as I have above shewn, a disciple of St. John, and an acquaintance of Polycarp. See Chap. XXVII. of this part.

What this history was, we are not now certain. That which makes it considerable here is, that Eusebius says, it was in the Gospel of the Nazarenes, though (as I have largely proved in the place of this work last cited) Papias did not take it thence;

« AnteriorContinua »