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He has wrote a large Chapter", intitled, A proof that there can neither be more nor less than four Gospels; out of all which I shall only observe these two things; (1.) That he says the very Hereticks owned them, and cited them b; (2.) He calls them vain, ignorant, and impudent, who assert, that there are either more or fewer than these four Gospels. The fact therefore, which I am upon, being thus certain, I do not think myself obliged to say any thing concerning the allegorical arguments, which Irenæus makes use of to prove his point. Mr. Toland has bantered them, and Mr. Fabricius has shewn that there is the like sort of reasoning upon that head in many of the antient Christian writers; but (as Du Pin fays f) « These fort of allegories have no other foundation “ but mere fancy; and it is in vain to seek for any other rea“ fon of the number four, than God's own will."
5. TERTULLIAN. V. Tertullian has expressly determined the number of Gofpels, which were received by the Church in his time, to four. So (l. 4. adv. Marcion. c. 2.), “ Nobis fidem ex Apostolis “ Joannes et Matthæus insinuant, ex Apoftolicis Lucas et “ Marcus instaurant;" i. e. The credit of the Gospel-history is confirmed to us by two that were Apostles, viz. Matthew and John, and two that were Apoftolick men (i.e. companions of the Apostles) Mark and Luke : and in the same book, c. 5. speaking of the same four Gospels, and naming them, he says, « Eadem auctoritas Ecclesiarum Apoftolicarum cæteris quo“ que patrocinabatur Evangeliis ;" i. e. that they were patronized or confirmed by the authority of the Apoftolick Churches.
a Adv. Hæref. lib. 3. c. 11. em Evangelii, & vel plures quam Ostensio quod neque plura, nec mi- dictæ funt, vel rursus pauciores innus quam quatuor possunt effe E- ferunt perfonas Evangelii. Ad eund, vangelia.
Ut et ipsi hæretici testimonium d Amyntor, p. 5o, &c. reddant eis, & ex ipsis egrediens e Cod. Apocr. N. T. tom. I. unusquisque eorum conetur suam. p. 382, &c. et tom. 3. p. 555, confirmare doctrinam. Lib.3.C.11. &c.
c Vani omnes, & indocti, & in- Hift. of the Can. vol. ii. super audaces, qui frustrantur fpeci. c. 2. §. 2.:
6. CLEMENS ALEXANDRINUS. VI. Clemens Alexandrinus (not long after Irenæus) is the next, whose testimony I shall produce; he, disputing against Julius Caffianus, who had cited a passage out of the Gospel of the Egyptians in favour of the doctrine of the unlawfulness of marriage, replies; First, says he, I observe this is not in either of the four Gospels delivered to us, but in the Gospel according to the Egyptians “; by which he, who knows that Clemens continually cites the four Gospels which we now receive, and no other, will be easily induced to believe he here meant the same four. See the place at large above, Vol. I. Part II. Chap. XVI. p. 199.
. 7. ORIGEN. VII. Origen, the Scholar of Clemens Alexandrinus, has also confirmed the fame; viz. that though there were many Gospels forged by the Hereticks, which, says he, we read, that we may not be thought ignorant, Ecclefia quatuor habet Evangelia, i. e. the Church receives only four Gospels b; and a little after, Quatuor tantum Evangelia sunt prolata, e quibus sub persona Domini et Salvatoris nostri proferenda funt dogmata : There are only four Gospels made use of, out of which the articles of our Religion as from Jesus Christ are to be proposed. Once more a few lines after ; In his omnibus nihil aliud probamus nifi quod Ecclesia, i. e. quatuor tantum Evangelia recipienda ; Among all these Gospels we approve none but those which the Church approves; viz. that only the four Gospels. are to be received. It would be madness for any one, who ever saw Origen's works, to ask what four Gospels he meanta Befides that, he elfewhere τον εκκλησιαστικών φυλάτων κανόνα, fpeaking of, or reciting the Canon of the Church, names these four Gotpels, και μόνα αναντίρρητα έσιν εν τη υπό τον έρανόν εκκλησία του Ošč, i. e. which four alone are received without controversy in the church of Go!, which is all over the world. Comment, in Matth. apud Euseb. H. E. 1. 6. c. 25.
• Stionat. lib. 3. p. 465.
Homil. in Luc. i. 1.
: 8. EUSEBIUS. VIII. Eusebius (who lived in the beginning of the fourth century) expressly excludes all other Gospels from the Canon besides those four which we now receive, but places them among the books which were without any controversy received by the consent of the whole Church a.
9. ATHANASIUS. IX. In the Synopsis under the name of Athanafius, the author tells us, that all the Gospels which are read by any, are rather fit to be concealed than read, except the four alone which have been delivered to us.
10. AMBROSE. X. This Father in his preface to his Commentary on Luke has almost transcribed Origen's words on the same place; accordingly he faith, that though the Hereticks have many Gofpels, the Church hath only four, &c. b
II. JEROME. XI. In the preface to his Translation of the Gospels he mentions fome false Gospels, viz. those of Lucianus and Hesychius (see above, Vol. I. Part II. Ch. XXII.), and promises, he will only be concerned with four, which, says he, are in the following order, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
It would be endless to cite the many numerous proofs that may be easily produced out of the Fathers of the fourth century. He that has a mind may see farther proof of this matter, in the places of Epiphanius“, Jerome , Chrysostoms, and Austin s, which are cited in the margin, and in the several
a Vid. Hift. Ecclef. 1. 3. C. 24, 25. et alibi paflim. To Procem. Comment. in Luc. in
Præfat. in Evang. ad Damasum.
• Hæref. 51. §. 4, &c.
e Præf. in Comm. in Matth. Comm. in Ezek. 1. 10. et Epist. ad Paulin, de lțud. Scriptur. This last
Epistle is commonly prefixed to the
f In Matth. i. N. B. Theophylact has, according to his old cuftom, transcribed this of Chry. foftom concerning the four Evangelitts' agreement, which I refer to, into his preface on Matthew.
De Consens. Evangel, lib. 1. c. 2, 6. & Tract. 36. in Joan,
Catalogues of Origen, Eufebius, Athanafius, Cyril, that of the Council of Laodicea, Epiphanius; Gregory Nazianzen, . Philaftrius, Jerome, Austin, Ruffin, that of the third Council of Carthage, and the works of Dionysius the Areopagite, which I have collected in the first Volume, Part I. Ch. VIII p. 60, &c.
CH A P. I. Who Matthew was. Heracleon, Origen, and Grotius, mifaken : in supposing Matthew and Levi to be the Names of two Per
fons. He was a few. In what Countries he preached, and where he died : mentioned in the Talmud. The occasion of St. Matthew's writing his Gospel.
DEFORE I come to the Gospels themselves, and the proof
D of their authority, it seems to me necessary, that some account be given of the author. Accordingly, I shall now begin with some short relations or accounts concerning St. Matthew, the author of this Gospel. Besides what we have in the Canonical Gospels, there is not much that can be depended upon now left concerning him. The Popish legends, and the fabulous writers of later ages, will afford us accounts fufficiently particular ; but disregarding all these, I shall only mention such things as seem to be more credible, and built upon better foundations. The account we have of him in his Gospel is, that Jesus at Capernaum faw a man named Matthew sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me; and he arose and followed him. Matt. ix. 9. The other Evangelists (viz. Mark ii. 14. and Luke v. 27, 28.) relate the same history; only they, instead of Matthew, give him the name of Levi, which seems to have been his surname, or another name, by which he was as commonly called. It is a thing well known, that the Jews were wont to call a person
I. Heracleon, &c. mistaken.' by more names than one; e. g. Moses's father in law is called Jethro, Exod. iii. I. and Num. X. 29. he is called Hobab; and David's son, who is called 2 Sam. iii. 3. Chileab, goes under the name of Daniel, 1 Chron. iii. 1. Simon was also called Peter, Matt. X. 2. Lebbeus was surnamed Thaddeus, ver. 3, &c. which surname, or second name, seems to have been added to distinguish them from others, who had the same
first name. I have mentioned this, because some, both antient • and modern writers, have imagined Matthew and Levi to have been two different persons: thus Heracleon, an early heretick of the second century, and a remarkable person in the school of Valentinus, speaking of those disciples of Christ, who were not called to a publick acknowledgment or confession of Christ (by Martyrdom), names Matthew, Philip, Thomas, and Levia; and Origen, discoursing particularly of Christ's Apostles, first mentions Matthew the publican, and afterwards names Levi the publican, but denies him to have been an Apostle ; "Esw di rad ó Asens Tedúvs axono.Ino as tū 'Incês αλλ' ότι γε τα αριθμά των αποστόλων αυτώ ήν, ει μή κατά τινα των αντιxpaper rẽ xarà Máẹxay củay[RAP 5, Levi alo the publican, Cub followed Jesus, but was not of the number of his Apostles, unless (we follow) fome copies of Mark's Gospel. Among the moderns, Grotius is of this opinion“; but it is easy to refute it, by observing not only that the circumstances of the fact are sa exactly the same as related by the three Evangelists, but that they agree precisely as to the time, and all that which happened immediately before and after his call by Christ, viz. all the three Evangelists agree, that this call was as our Saviour was going out of Capernaum immediately after the curing of the paralytick; and the several histories, which St. Matthew relates to have happened after his call by Christ (viz. that Christ went to eat with publicans and sinners, the Pharisees censuring him for it, his justification of himself, the disciples of John coming to Christ with a question about fafting, Christ's answer, &c.), are all related by St. Mark and St. Luke after the call
a Apud Clem. Alexand. Stromat. 1. 4. p. 502,
Adv. Cell. 1, 1. p. 48.