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mcr part so: it is incredible, that these fourteen chapters should be written on twenty several pieces of paper, and the otlier fourteen on one large roll. If on the other hand it be faid, that St. Matthew wrote the latter part of his Gospel, as he did the former, on many pieces of paper; then it is no less incredible, that none of these pieces should have the fame misfortune to be disordered and misplaced, aj the former. How can it be supposed possible, that every one of the papers in the latter, part should be in its right and due order, and not so much as one of the former but is misplaced, except the first? I conclude therefore, that the formfer part of this Gospel is not misplaced. •"' '' '\ . '1 ""V ^i,'Ji:1-''-' L . ."
4. The improbability of this part of St. Matthew's Gospel being misplaced, will appear, if we consider that there has „ heen no time ever since St. Matthew wrote, in' which there were not some circumstances, which would prevent sochadis-^ order. To evidence this, I argue thus; If this part of St. Matthew's Gospel be misplaced, either the disorder happened in the Apostles' time, or not till aster their decease. But as it is improbable that it happened in their time* so if is morally impossible that it should have happened afterwards. ''
I. It is not^probable, that this disorder could happen in the time of the Apostles; for if it had, the y would, no doubr, have rectified it. Many reasons would oblige them, not to suffer so great a dislocation to remain in the Gospel history. They would never recommend a book to-the perufal of thur converts, which they knew justly chargeable with such notorious corruptions. It is much more reasonable to suppose, that, if this Gospel was then misplaced and out of order, they would restore it to.ifs proper order, and take care that some copies should be made, in which the histories should be placed in the fame order in which the Evangelist wrote. Now if they did this, it is strange none of these copies should have others made from them, but all the books in the world should proceed from one disordered copy, made in the Apostles' time, ,
It may perhaps be faid, that this disorder might happen in the Apostles' time, and they be ignorant of it, This indeed is possible, but very improbable. The ossice and business of an Apostle was to preach the doctrine, and publiih the miracles, racles, of Jesus Christ. Now St. Matthew having, by the influences of the Holy Spirit, collected a very early, full, and authentic^ account, both of the doctrines and miracles o£ Christ, there can be no doubt but the Apostles would make use of it themselves, and recommend it to the use of others. Not to have done this, would have been to cast that contempt upon the work of one inspired Apostle, which we cannot suppose another would do; besides not to have made use of this, would have been to neglect one likely means of obtaining the ends of their apostlefhip. Hence Eusebiusi tells us, that when the pious Pantænus (who lived in the time of Irenæus and Origen) went to preach the Gospel to the Indians. , where St. Bartholomew had been preaching- the Gospel before himyhe found there the Gospel of St. Matthew. No doubt the Apostles, when they went abroad to preach the Gospel, did take both this and the other Gospels along with them, and left copies of them, when they were gone, for the use of their converts, as I shall shew more fully hereafter. Hence it seems very reasonable to conclude the Apostles made use of this Gospel; which if they did, they being eye-witnesses to the history, could not but perceive such dislocations and misplacings, as those which we are treating of, and so, no doubt, would have corrected them. This argument is abundantly confirmed by a testimony of Eusebius % viz. that the three former Gospels were perused by St. fohn, and that he approved them. Now if St. Matthew's Gospel had been so confusedly set together, as Mr. Whiston supposes, St. John would certainly never have approved of it. Mr. Whiston cannot question this testimony of Eusebius, having himself used it on another occasion c. I conclude therefore, that this disorder did not happen to this Gospel in the Apostles' time.
• Hist. Eccl. h 5- c. 10. Vid. fiUfao-U, &c. Hist. Eccl. 1. 3.
Vales, ad loc. c. I+. The same is related by
h Tut •Kftiamyfa.tphTvfTfwt i!( Theophylact. Præfat/'in Matth. ItctvTaf ,)&) xa» il( aiTot (fe. 'P.
CHAP. CHAP. xxn.
The Disorder Mr. Wbijhnsupposes in the former Part as St. Matthew's Gospel, could not possibly happen after the Apostles' Time; because of the great Number of Copies, that were spread abroad in the World in their Time. The Time when St. 'Matthew wrote, and (he Distance between that Time and St. John's Death, considered. That tlu Gospels were very
. much dispersed in the Apo/iles' Time, largely proved. Mr. Hobbes, Mr. Toland, and Mr. Dodwell's Notion of the Gospels being a long while unknown and concealed, confuted by several Arguments.
II. A S this disorder did not happen in the time of the X*. Apostles, so it neither did nor possibly could happen afterwards. Mr. Whiston does not any where hint to us, at what time he supposes these dislocations made; nor does Mr. Toinard fay any more in this respect, than that they were done, anti/jt'jjfima schedarum transpofitione^ by a very antient confusion of the papers. , on which they were wrote. It was not without reason that they thus left the time undetermined, being well aware of the dissiculties that would attend their hypothesis, if they had determined it. As such dislocations could not happen in the Apostles' time, so it was morally impossible they should have happened afterwards: to mention no other arguments, this will sussiciently appear by the two following; considerations.
1. That there were a very great number of these Gospels, spread up and down in the world before the Apostles' death.
2. The Syriack Version, which seems to have been made in the Apostles' time, has the several branches or periods of this history in the fame order with our present Greek copies.
I. The disorder or dislocation, which Air. Whiston supposes in St. Matthew's Gospel, could not possibly happen after the Apostles' death; because between the first writing of it
and and that time, there were a very great number of true copies spread in different parts of the world, which would certainly prevent it. It is not very easy, indeed, precisely to determine the time, in which either this, or any of the Gospels, was wrote. . The most antient account, which I have met with, about the time of St. Matthew's writing, is in Irenæus, viz. that he wrote it, when St. Peter and St. Paul were preaching the Gospel at Rome \ When St. Peter was at Rome is not very certain; Irenæus tells us here, it was the fame time that St. Paul was there, viz. in the third year of Nero (according to Eusebius, in his Chronicon), and the fifty-ninth of Christ; and to this most chronologers b agree. Now according to this account, this Gospel was not written till about twenty-six years after our Lord's ascension. But this seems very improbable, because the Christian converts cannot be supposed to have been so long a time destitute of any written account of our Saviour's miracles and doctrines. It is much more likely, that this Gospel was wrote at the time, when Eusebius has placed it in his Chronicon, viz. in the third year of Caligula, and the forty-first of Christ. To this agrees the account of Theophylact c, that St. Matthew wrote his Gospel about eight years after our Lord's ascension. The fame is assirmed at the end of several antient manuscripts. So, for instance, in that of Beza (which he gave to the University of Cambridge, and is reputed the most antient manuscript of the Gospels in the world), there is written"1; The Gospel of St. Mattheiu was publiflied eight years after our Lord's ascension. The fame is written at the end of an antient manuscripte in Mr. Colbert's library. To the fame purpose, at the end of the old Arabick Version of this Gospel,*: it is written'; St. Matthew wrote eight years after our Lord ascended, in the firsl year of Clau
i^'.tiyy.ir EtlayyiJvIou, Ts Ultra) y.xi Ttt tltcvMv iv Puipvf tvctyyt^AQif/.sw. Adver. Hærel". 1. 3. c. 1.
b Helvicus, Petavius, Spanheim, TalL-nts, Dr. Lightrbot, &c. Vid. et Lactant. 1. 4.. c. 21.
'Præfat. in Matth.
6 See Bez. ad Matt, xxviii. utt.
t See Father Simon Crit. Hist, of the New Test. Par. r. c. 11.
f Vid. Lud. de Dieu, ad Matt, xxviii. ult.
dim *. Now if we take this last account, and reckon from St. Matthew's writing eight years after our Lord's ascension (in the last years of Caligula, or the first of Claudius) to the death of St. John, we shall find the intervening space to be about sixty years; for St. John lived till the reign of Trajan, as Irenæusb, who lived not long after him, and Clemens Alexandrinus1, inform us. Now Trajan, according to Eusebius4, began his reign in the year of Christ 101; so that from St. Matthew's writing in the year of Christ 41 to the death of St. John in Trajan's reign, must be at least sixty years; and, in this long interval, there were undoubtedly great numbers of copies of this Gospel dispersed in aW those distant countries, where the Gospel was preached. Very probably many thoufand copies were made, and sent into all those places, where Christianity prevailed. Eusebius e, speaking concerning the Evangelists in the apostolick times, fays, They travelled up and down in the world, preaching the Gospel, and very indvftrioufly endeavoured, Tvv Tzv tixyystiat wu^aMirat yfafry i, e. to disperse abroad copies es the holy Gospels. And in another placef he assures us, that, before St. John wrote his Gospels the other Gospels were in the hands of all men. If this be true, is it a thing credible, that of all the copies that have been known in the world, not one should be derived from any of those vast numbers of copies that were made, and spread abroad in the world, in the Apostles' time? Can it be imagined, that all the manuscripts in the world are derived from one confused, misplaced copy, that was made after the Apostles* time; and hot so much as one from any of those innumerable copies, that were in their right order till the Apostles.' death? This) I think, cannot without manifest absurdity be supposed.