ページの画像
PDF
ePub

1.) The first instance of this sort which I aflign is that in the passage of Jerome above produced, Chap. XXV. Numb. XV. where it is said, The mother and brethren of Chrift fpake to him, and said, John the Baptist baptises for the remision of fins, let us go and be baptised by him : He said to them, In what have I finned, that I have need to go and be baptised by him? unless my saying this proceeds perhaps from ignorance. The meaning of this passage will be best perceived from a parallel one in another Apocryphal book, intitled, The Preaching of Peter, hereafter to be produced : in which it was related , that Chrift confessed his fins, and was compelled, contrary to his own inclinations, by his mother Mary to submit to the baptism of John. Now hence it follows,

First, That Christ was a finner ; at least, was doubtful whether he was not fo: but this is contrary to the whole defign of the Christian scheme, which is entirely founded upon the supposition of Christ being free from all manner of fin, in order to his making atonement and the necessary satisfaction. See 2 Cor. V. 21. 1 Peter ii. 22. 1 John iii. 5.

Secondly, That Christ was unwilling to submit to the baptism of John. But this is contrary to the certain notions we have of Chrift and his conduct, who never was backward to obey any of the divine commands. Besides, St. Matthew says, (chap. iii. 15.) he compelled John to baptise him; so far was he from being unwilling. To which it may be worth adding, that after this Gospel had related the baptism of Jesus by John, it a little after adds, that John was desirous to be baptised by Jesus, and then confounding St. Matthew's words, says that of Christ's denying John baptism, which St. Matthew says of John's denying Christ baptism, and makes Christ to give that as a reason for his not baptising John, which St. Matthew says he gave as a reason for his being baptised by John. For fo the words of it are related by Epiphanius, (above, Chap. XXV. Numb. XI.) John fell down before him ond said, O Lord, I pray thee baptise me : but he hindered him, saying, that it is so fit all things should be fulfilled; on which that

• Tract. de non iterand. Baptism. ad calc. Opp. Cypriani.

Father

ples seem to

ments of a few bicheron, that as

Temporal kingdoma.ions from him then

. proved to be Apocryphal. Father justly censures that Gospel for falsehood, disorder, and confufon.

2.) The next inftance of falsehood I observe in that Gospel is that history related by Jerome, (above, Chap. XXV. Numb. XIV.) concerning James's oath, that he could not eat bread from that hour in which he drank the cup of the Lord, till he should see the Lord risen from the dead, &c. This is not only an idle fable, but contrary to known fact; for it has been long a very just observation, that as our Lord's Disciples seem to have had few higher expectations from him than the advancea ments of a temporal kingdom a; so they either did not believe, or but faintly believe, that he should be put to death, and rise again. As to their disbelief of his resurrection (which is all I have to do with now), the matter is very easily gathered from the whole conduct of the Apostles before his crucifixion, but especially from the relations of our Evangelists of what happened afterwards. So Mark tells us, that when Mary Magdalen had seen him after his resurrection, she told his Disciples that he was alive, and had been seen of her; but they believed her not b; as also, when two of the Apostles had seen him, and affirmed it to the reft, they did not believe them ; and that upon Christ's ap.. pearing to them all asembled, he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risend. St. Luke expresses this somewhat more strongly, viz. that when report was made to the Apostles of Christ's resurrection, The words of them (who related it) seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not e. And St. John, speaking of himself and Peter', faith, They knew not the Scripture as yet, that Christ must-rise again from the dead. Now after such plain testimonies, there is not any room left to question the truth of the fact, which by confequence demonstrates the falsehood of the Nazarene Gospel, which supposes the Apostle James, not only before Christ died, to be persuaded of his death, but also to be very positive

son plain teftiment which by Comel in his belief, both before his crucifixion and afterwards, that he should rise again.

- See my Vindic. of Matthew, 6. 12. p. 117, 118. | ° Chap: xvi. 9, 10, 11.

© V. 12, 13.

d V. 14.

Ch. xxiv. 11. * Ch. xx. ..

3.) To the two former may be added the account Jerome more than once gives us out of it, that at our Saviour's crucifixion a large lintel, or beam of the temple (see above, Chap. XXV. Numb. XXIV, XXV.) was rent and fell down, contrary to three of our Evangelists, who say, this happened to the veil of the temple a at that time.

2. I argue farther, that this Hebrew Gospel was Apocryphal by Prop. IX. as it contained several ludicrous and trifling, or filly and fabulous relations. Such certainly is that (referred to by Origen above, Chap. XXV. Numb. IV. and Jerome, Numb. XVIII, as also Numb. XVII.) concerning Christ's saying, that his mother, the Holy Ghost, laid hold of him by one of his hairs, and carried him into the great mountain Thabor, &C. And that of the Holy Ghost's saying, My Son, during all the time of the Prophets I was waiting for thee, that I might reft upon thee, for thou art my reft; mentioned by Jerome, Numb. XVI. Such is that of the rich man's scratching his head, when Christ bad him fell all, and give to the poor, mentioned by Origen, Numb. V.

me of the Propheroly Ghost's lavint mountain Thahune

3. It may be farther proved Apocryphal by Prop. X. as it contained things later than the times of their being said, or in which it pretended to be written. Such seems to me that declaration said to be made by our Saviour above, (Chap. XXV. Numb. XII.) that he came to abolish all facrifices, and denounce the wrath of God upon all those who did sacrifice. It is certain from the whole of our Saviour's conduct, that he was more careful than to give any such offence to the Jews, and purposely declined all such express opposition to, and abolishment of, the Mofaick ceconomy, as in several other instances is obvious to observe. I take this therefore to be the forgery of a person, who lived not only after our Saviour's time, but even after the time of St. Matthew's writing, when the controversy was hot between the Gentile and Judaising Christians. Such also

* Mat. xxvii. 51. Mark xv. 38. Luke xxiii. 45.

seems

feems to me that compellation, with which our Saviour addresses himself to James (in that passage of Jerome, Numb. XIV.) Mi frater, my brother; a title not known to be given by our Saviour, nor in those early times when St. Matthew wrote, but afterwards very common among the Christians.

Thus much may suffice to prove the Gospel of the Nazarenes Apocryphal ; I shall conclude with a short account,

V. Of what seems most probable to me, of the nature and design of this famous book, with some short account of the hereticks who received it.

I take it to have been an early translation of the Greek Gofpel of St. Matthew into Hebrew, with the addition of many fabulous relations and erroneous doctrines, composed in the name of the Twelve Apostles, by some convert or converts to Christianity among the Jews, who with their profession of Christ retained their zeal and affection for the law of Moses, with the most preposterous and absurd notions concerning Christ and the Christian religion.

The several parts of this hypothesis will appear by the following aphorisms. .

1. The Gospel of St. Matthew was originally written in Greek, and not in Hebrew. This I having so largely proved in another book shall take here for granted. See Vindication of St. Matthew's Gospel, Chap. XVII, XVIII, XIX.

2. That the Nazarene Gospel was compiled out of St. Matthew's is very evident, because it is so frequently called by his name (as above), which cannot be imagined to have happened upon any other supposition, since there was another Gospel extant under his name. One remark I have made out of a Fragment of it in Epiphanius, Chap. preced. Numb. XI. which feems to me to demonstrate, that it was made out of St. Matthew's Greek. For whereas in this we read, chap. iii. 4.

That John the Baptist's food in the wilderness was expides xao Médo ayesor, i. c. locufts and wild honey ; instead thereof in the .VOL. I.

Nazarene

Nazarene Gospel we read, his food was péro crypsov oê M YEūors in Tð Márve is igxpés, wild honey, whose taste was like manna, or cakes made with honey and oil. · Now forasmuch as it is certain, that locusts were a very common food in those Eastern countries, as is undeniably proved by Bochart", and such food seems very agreeable to the rest of John's way of life, it is but reasonable to conclude our present Greek reading (viz. áxpédes) to be the true and authentic one; and if so, then it is evident that this Nazarene Gospel was a translation of St. Matthew's Greek, and that the Translator read éyxpides inftead of expides, and being a Jew, accustomed to the use of the Septuagint Greek Bibles, very probably was led thereto by the Septuagint translation of those words, Exod. xvi. 31. Tó de ycūzice autê ûs éyagis év péroti, or as it is in Num. xi. 8. Kai ir si dovs attē worì ysõpce byxpis frais. And this by the way seems a very demonstrative proof, that St. Matthew's present Greek was not a translation out of Hebrew, seeing there was no polsibility of such a mistake in reading the Hebrew word, as to translate it angides, where it ought to have been translated fyzgides

3. That it pretended to be made by the Twelve Apostles, is evident from its bearing that title; as also from a passage of that Fragment in Epiphanius, (which is above, Numb. XI ) where we read, there was a certain man named Jefus, about thirty years of age, who chose us to be his Apostles : where it is plain the writer speaks in the name of them all, or at least of several ; just as in the pretended Constitutions of the Apoftles, we continually read of exhortations and commands given in the name of all the Apostles. Nor do I know any reason for disputing whether it bore this title, save only that Beda is supposed to distinguish between the Gospel of the Hebrews, and the Gospel according to the Twelve Apostles, in the place above cited, Chap. XXVI. Numb. I. See the passage at length in Sixtus Senensis o: but upon a strict enquiry I do

a Hierozoic. par. 2. 1. 4. C. 7. See also Sir Norton Knatchbull's Annotations on that place of Mat

thew.

6 Biblioth. San&t. I. 2. p. 64. ad voc. Hebræorum.

not

« 前へ次へ »