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Whether or no this passage is really a fragment of the an tient Apocryphal Gospel under the name of Barnabas; seems to me very uncertain. The author of the manuscript" (which is a common-place book made after the modern alphabetical manner) does not mention the name of any Gospel from whence he took it; nor has the Doctor, who produces it, given any reasons to support his conjecture, and therefore we máy as fairly conclude it to have been taken from the Epiftle under the name of Barnabas, as from the Gospel; and though it be not now to be found in any part of that Epistle, yet I cannot see why it may not be supposed to have been in that part of it which is loft, since it is certain we have it now not complete a : and I am the rather apt to imagine this, because we cannot discover any intimations or citations of this Gospel in the antient writers, whereas the Epistle was well known, and frequently referred to. . - I can scarce tell, whether it be worth while to observe, that Mr. Taland, in his late triding book, which he calls Nazarenus, finding it very much to his purpose, endeavours to confirm the aforesaid conjecture of Dr. Grabe. He tells us, that in an Italian manuscript, which he saw in Holland, and which is now in the library of Prince Eugene, entitled, The true Gospel of Jefus, called Chrift, a new Prophet fent by God to the World, according to the relation of Barnabas the Apostle. In this, I say, he tells us, he found the passage (just above produced out of the Baroccian manuscript) almost in terms, and the sense evidently there in more than one place. It is not 'my business to make here any remarks concerning this pretended Gospel of Barnabas; it is enough to observe, that it is a very late and notorious Mahometan imposture, as appears fufficiently by the fcraps of it which Mr. Toland has produced, and more fully by the large citations out of it, which are given us by La Monnoy , who had by Baron Hohendorf, Prince Eugene's adjutant-general, the fight of the manuscript ; and as he seems to have given a more just and full account of it
than Mr. Toland, fo I verily believe he had more opportunity to do it a. It is probable the curiosity of some readers may be such, as to desire these fragments in our language, for whose fake, though it be a digression from my proposed method, I Thall insert them here, as I find them in either of the forementioned authors.
The title is, as above, « The true Gospel of Jesus, called Christ, a new Prophet « fent by God to the world, according to the relation of ♡ Barnabas the Apostle b.”
· The first words of the book are these: « Barnabas, an Apostle of Jesus of Nazareth, called Christ, « to all those who dwell upon the earth, wilheth peace and « consolation
“ He declares he was commanded to write this Gospel; « represents himself as one of the Apostles, very familiar with « Jesus Christ and the Virgin, better instructed than Paul
concerning the design of circumcision, and the usage of “ meats, either allowed or forbid to the faithful. .« He asserts, the infernal torments of the Mahometans « shall not be everlasting.
« Jesus Christ is never called any more than a Propheta."
« It informs us, that the very moment the Jews were *6 preparing to go and take Christ in the garden of Olives, to he was taken up into the third heavens, by the ministry of “ the four angels, Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, and Uriel; " that he should not die until the end of the world, and that
« it was Judas who was crucified instead of him, God per. 5 mitting that this traitor should appear to the eyes of the 6 Jews so very like to Jesus Chrift, that they apprehended « him instead of him, and as such delivered him to Pilate; " that the resemblance between them was so great, that the “ Virgin Mary and the Apostles were even deceived, but that " afterwards Jesus Christ had obtained of God premission to “ come and comfort them a.”
: What passed after this, we shall find in the following fragment, for which we are also obliged to Mr. La Monnoy, as well as the former.
A large Fragment of the GOSPEL of BARNABAS.
" The Virgin returned to Jerusalem together with the “ author (Barnabas), James and John, upon the same day in « which the decree of the high priest came forth. The Virgin, « who feared God, although she knew the injustice of the high “ priest's decree, gave a charge to all her particular acquaint« ance (or family), that they would forget her Son. But “ God, who is acquainted with the temper of all men's minds, “ knew how we and the mother of Jesus were very miserably « distressed between sorrow for the death of Judas (whom we « believed to have been Jesus our master) and expectations of “ seeing him risen again from the dead. The guardian angels « therefore of the Virgin Mary ascended into the third hea“ ven, where Jesus was in the society of angels, and related “ to him all the affair. Hereupon Jesus intreated God, that he « would permit him to go and see his mother and his Disciples. “ Then God, being merciful, commanded four of his most « beloved angels, viz. Gabriel, Michael, Raphael and Uriel, “ that they should carry Jesus to his mother's house, and “ there be his guard for three fuccessive days, and fuffer no “ persons to see him, who did not believe his doctrine. So
a La Monnoy loc. cit. p. 376, 377...
6 Not understanding thoroughly the Italian itself, I am obliged in
this English translation to follow and depend upon the Latin one of Mr. Fabritius:
Esfus, encircles Virgin, with
the author (Baner faw him,
« Jesus, encircled with glory, came into the parlour, wherein « were Mary the Virgin, with her two sisters, Martha, with « Mary Magdalen, Lazarus, with the author (Barnabas), and « John, with James and Peter; who, when they saw him, « fell down on the ground almost dead with the surprise. “ Whereupon Jesus, lifting up his mother and the rest of « them from the ground, faid, Fear not, for I am Jefus ; « mourn not, for I am alive, and not dead. But still they all « ftood perfectly astonished at the fight of Jesus, whom they « really believed to have been dead. At length the Virgin « very mournfully addressed herself to him, and said, I be“ feech you, my son, how came it to pass, that since God had “ given you power of raising up the dead to life, he should pera “ mit you to be so betrayed to death, to the disgrace of your re« lations and friends, as well as the reproach of your doctrine, « inasmuch as all that had any kindness for you were astonished « even almost unto death? Then Jesus embracing his mother, a faid, Believe me, my mother, for I positively affirm that I « was never dead, for God has reserved me even to the end of “ the world. When he had thus faid, he desired the four an“ gels that they would shew themselves, and testify how the a whole affair was managed. The angels then appeared like « four suns in their greatest brightness, whereupon they all “ fell down again upon the ground at the surprize, as persons “ that were dead. Then Jesus gave them four linen cloths, “ that being covered with them, his mother and the rest of “ the company might be able to bear the sight of them, and “ hear them speak. Lifting them then all from the ground, 6 he encouraged them, and said, These are the ministers of. « God, Gabriel, who carries and delivers the secret messages “ of God; Michael, who battles against the enemies of God; « Raphael, who takes charge of the souls of them who die; « Uriel, who on the last day fall gather all to judgment. « Then the angels declared to the Virgin (that which God “ had commanded them by Jefus) how that Judas was trans“ formed [into the likeness of Jesus] that fo himself might as fuffer the punishment, which he designed to have brought “ upon another. Hereupon the author (Barnabas) spake, M 3
« and said, Master, may I have the same liberty of proposing a “ question to you now, which I heretofore had when you cona “ versed with us? Jesus answered, Barnabas, propose what “ questions you have a mind, and I will reply to them. The « author (Barnabas) then said, O my master, fince God is mer. « ciful, why would he fo torment us, and make us to believe you “ were really dead, and your mother to grieve almost to death? « And as to yourself, who are the holy one of God, why would « God permit you to be brought under such disgrace, as though “ you had been executed with felons in mount Calvary? Jesus “ answered, Oh, Barnabas, believe me, every sin, though it be “ a small one, is very severely punished by God, to whom it is « offensive. Inasmuch therefore as my mother and my faithful « disciples loved me with some mixture of earthly love, the right“ eous God was pleased now to punish them for that love, that « they might not hereafter suffer for it in the flames of hell. « And as for my part, although I lived a very blameless life in " the world, yet fince men called me God, and the fon of God, “ it pleased God, in order to prevent my being mocked by devils « in the judgment day, that I should suffer disgrace in this « world by the death of Judas, all men being persuaded that I “ really died on the cross. Wherefore this reproach fhall last « till the coming of Mahomet, who, when he shall come into the « world, will deliver all those who believe the law of God from “ this error."
In another part of this Gospel, Mahomet is expressly named for the Paraclete or Comforter promised to come, John xiv. 16, 26. and xvi. 7. and in several places foretold as the designed accomplisher of God's economy towards men. It is, in short, says Mr. Toland", the antient Ebionite or Nam zarene system, as to the making Jesus a mere man (though not with them the son of Joseph, but divinely conceived by the Virgin Mary), and agrees in every thing almost with the scheme of our modern Unitarians, excepting the history of his death and refura rection, about which a very different account is given from that in our Gospels, but perfectly conformable to the tradition of the Nazaren. p. 16.