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and that time, there were a very great number of true copies {pread 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 Romea. When St. Peter was at Rome is not very certain; Irenæus tells us here, it was the same time that Şt. Paul was there, viz, in the third year of Nero (according to Eufebius, 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-fix years after our Lord's ascension. But this feems 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 Eufebius 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 “, that St. Matthew wrote his Gospel about eight years after our Lord's afcenfon. The fame is affirmed at the end of several antient manuscripts. So, for instance, in that of Beza (which he gave to the Univerfity of Cambridge, and is reputed the most antient manuscript of the Gospels in the world), there is writtend; The Gospel of St. Matthew was published eight years after our Lord's ascènsion. The same is written at the end of an antient manuscript in Mr. Colbert's library. To the fame purpofe, at the end of the old Arabick Version of this Gospelj: it is written; St. Matthew wrote eight years after our Lord ascended, in the first year of Clau

Gospel of the Gospelose, and

o 'Okey Mardaños--yecebemo εξήνεγκεν Ευαγγελίου, το Πέτρο και tut flaÚAdd kq Pu tiYYS 6www. Adver. Hæref. I. 3. c. 1.

o Helvicus, Petavius, Spanheiin, Tallents, Ir. Lightfoot, &c. Vid. tt Lactant. 1. 4. c. 21.

. Præfat. in Matth.
d See Bez. ad Matt. xxviii. ult.

See Father Simon Crit. Hift. of the New Jeft. Par. I. c. II.

f Vid. Lud, de Dieu, ad Matt. xxviii, ult.

dius , Now if we take this last account, and reckon from St. Matthew's writing eight years after our Lord's afcenfion (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 fixty years; for St. John lived till the reign of Trajan, as Irenæus, who lived not long after him, and Clemens Alexandrinus, inform us. Now Trajan, according to Eufebius d, 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 fixty years ; and, in this long interval, there were undoubtedly great numbers of copies of this Gospel dispersed in all those diftant countries, where the Gospel was preached. Very probably many thousand copies were made, ånd sent into all those places, where Christianity prevailed. Eufebius ; fpeaking concerning the Evangelists in the apoftolick times, fays, They travelled up and down in the world, preaching the Gospel, and very induAriously endeavoured, thu tãr Selwr Etægyediwr tapaa Adórcer gypárhu i. e. to disperse abroad copies of the holy Gospels. And in another places he affures us, that, before St. John wrote his Gospel, 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.

* This does not differ above half a year from the above-mentioned account out of Eufebius, of its be. ing written in the third year of Ca. ligula; for he reigned but three years and fomne months, and Claydius fucceeded him. co Adv: Häwef. 1.-2. c. 39. in fine Son

• Apud Euseb. Hift. Eccl. l. 3. c. 23:

In Chronic.
. Hift. Eccl. l. 3. c. 37.

Tv apocraypaQÉVTWY Teasis avtas de diaded pérovi 1. 3. €. 24.

It will not be at all foreign to my present purpose, to consider a little more particularly, what a great number of copies of the Gospels, and particularly of St. Matthew's, were spread abroad in the world in the Apostles' time, at least before the death of St. John. I am the more inclined to consider this matter, because, I find, à very learned writer has taken some pains to persuade the world, that the Gospels, and other writ. ings of the New Testament, lay for a long time concealed and unobserved in the world. The person I mean is Mr. Doda well, who in his elaborate Dissertations upon Irenæus a tells us, That the Canonical writings of the New Testament lay concealed and unknown in the coffers of some private churches, or perhaps fome private persons, till the later times of Trajan, or perhaps of Adrian (i. e. till the year of Christ, 120, or perhaps 130.); fo that they, were not at all known by the Catholick Church., He proceeds for a page or two, in saying things much to the fame purpose. - Mr. Toland, observing how much this passage would serve his purpose, to render the Canon of Scripture uncertain, transcribes it at large in his Amyntor, and declares his aflent to the truth of it b. Mr. Hobbes, in his Leviathan, is very much of the same opinion; he fays', The copies of the books of the New Testament were, not many That the Councit of Laodicea is the first we know of, that recommended the Bible to the then Christian Churches--That the copies of the books of the New Testament were then only in the hands of the ecclefiafticks, &c. I do not design particularly to discuss this whimsical and groundless opinion. Mr. Nye, in his Answer to Amyntor d, Mr. Le Clerc, in his Reflections on these two Sections of Mr. Dodwell -, and Archbishop Te. nison, in his Answer to Leviathan, have sufficiently done this already. I fall only endeavour by two or three arguments ta

a Latitabant enim usque ad recentiora illa, feu Trajani, feu etiam tortasle Hadriani tempora, in priva-, tarum ecclefiarum, feu etiam hoini. sum scriniis Seripta illa Canonica, nc ad Eccleliæ Catholicæ notitiam pervenirent, Difert. I. §. 38.

* Pag. 78.
< Leviath. Par. 3. c. 33.

P.41.
. In his third Differtation an,
nexed to his Harmony of the Gof.
pels.
? Hobbes's Creed, Art. 9.

evidence, evidence, that the Gospels were so much dispersed abroad in the world, that no such confusion could happen to St. Mat. thew, as Mr. Whiston supposes. This will appear;

1. If we consider the design and end, for which these facred books were written. They were not written for the use of any one private particular persón, but for the benefit and instruction of all mankind. They were books of a more large and extensive importance, than any which had ever yet been published in the world; they were such in which the present and future happiness of all men was nearly concerned. And is it likely, such books should lie concealed in private chests or coffers, some for forty, others for fifty, fixty, seventy, or more years? The zeal of the Apostles and first Christians, for propagating Christianity, was not such as it is represented, if they would be so negligent as this. If this be supposed, it follows, that they fighted one of the most likely means to make men converts to their new religion. Whatever others did, one would imagine the penmen of these sacred books should themselves have taken care to distribute and disperse them. If they did not thus, it will follow, that they had not very just regards to that holy Spirit, who influenced them to write. Besides Christianity, in its very infancy, made a very great noise in the world : the doctrines of it were new and furprising; vast numbers continually embraced it: one would think therefore, that, had there been nothing else, men's curiofity would have influenced them to procure those authentick accounts, which the Gospels contain; that so they might know the history of a person's life and doctrines, who had been fo remarkable, and made so great a figure in the world. I remcniber Josephus a tells us, that when he had finished his Hir tory of the War of the Jews, he immediately fold great nunbers of his books to the Romans, Jerrys, and others, who understood the Greek language. And can it be supposed that this,

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the most useful and remarkable history that ever was in the world, should lie in private coffers, quite concealed and unknown, for so long, a time as has been mentioned.

2. It will appear, that copies of the Gospels were dispersedin the Apostles' time, into distant countries, and did not lie in the coffers or chests of any private persons ; if we consider, that they are made use of, and referred to, by all those, who are reputed to be writers of the apoftolick age, except Hermas, whose design did not at all lead him to cite them.

The writers I mean (which are indeed the only ones we have), are Clemens Romanus, Barnabas, Ignatius, and Polycarp; each of which (though they lived in very distant countries) had, and made use of, those Gospels, which were published when they wrote their Epistles. I mean the Gospels of St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. Luke ; for, as far as I have observed, they do none of them cite, or so much as refer to, any thing which is in St. John's Gospel; which, by the way, seems somewhat like an argument, that these Epistles were written before that Golpel.

Mr. Dodwell, in the Dissertation just now mentioned, would persuade us, that the writers of the apoftolick age have made no use, in their books, of the Gospels, or other writings of the New Testament. This is most apparently false, as any one may easily perceive, who will read those books with this view. It is sufficient to my present purpose, to fhew that St. Matthew's Gospel is cited by these writers.

À Table of places, cited out of St. Matthew's Gospel by-the

Apoftolick Fathers. 1. Clemens Romanus, in his Epistle to the Corinthians, ... ch. xiii, advises them to remember feveral of our Lord's

sayings, which are recited by St. Matthew, chap. vi. 14. .. and vii. 1, 2, 12. II. Barnabas, ch. iv. cites Matth. ch. xx. 16. and xxii. 14.,

Ch. v, he refers to Matth, ix. 13.

Ch. v. he cites a prophecy out of Zechariah, chi xiii. 7. : ; in words different both from the Hebrew, and the Sep

iuagint,

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