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CHA P. XXXI. Leucius Charinus proved by several Arguments to have been the
Author of this Gospel. Obf. V. J EUCIUS Charinus seems to have been the author
w of these Acts of Pilate, or Gospel of Nicodemus. This conjecture depends upon the foregoing, and, I hope, will appear no less probable for the following reasons.
1. It is certain Leucius Charinus lived about that time which I have asigned to the original of this book, viz. in the latter' end of the third and beginning of the fourth century. This I have above largely proved, Part II. Ch. XXI.
2. It is certain Leucius was the author of many forgeries or Spurious pieces under the names of the Apostles and Disciples of Christ. This is evident from the chapter now cited in the former volume, and several parts of that work. See also Ge. Iasius’s Decree. .
3. Most of the Apocryphal books which Leucius published, were intitled Acts ; such, for instance, were the Aets of Peter,
Föhn, Andrew, Thomas, and Paul, and others above produced in the former volume ; all which were certainly made by Leucius Charinus, as appears from Photias, Biblioth. Cod. 114. Austin, and others; in the places there cited. . See also the alphabetical index at the end of the first part of this work, in the letter L.
4. The Apocryphal books of Leucius Charinus were generally filled with idle, fabulous, and romantick stories, exactly of the fame fort with those contained in these Acts of Pilate, or Gospel of Nicodemus. This will be manifest by a comparison of those fables concerning Ivíatimilla and Iphidamia, God's appearing in the form of a little boy, feigning the voice of a woman, the fouls of men like the souls of dogs, &c. produced above (Par. II. Ch. XXI.) as fragments of his Acts out of Austin and Philastrius, with several stories in these Afts of Pilate,
5. Leucius 5. Leucius was boasted of by the Montanists, as a favourer of their scheme. Phryges se a Leucio animatos mentiri, says Pacianus a, a writer of the fourth century; i. e. The Montanists boast that their principles were revived by Leucius, as I have elsewhere explained those words b. Whence I argue, as a collateral proof, that these Arts were made by Leucius, viz. because they were received by the Tessarescaidecatites, who descended from, or were formed out of, the Montanists, as appears from Epiphanius, Hæref. 50. g. 1. See the last chapter, Obf. IV. Numb. 5.
6. That which seems to put the matter out of all controversy, (viz. that Leucius Charinus was the author of these Aets of Pilate) is, that a very considerable part of it is in the book itself ascribed to him as the author. This seems to me so evident, that I much wonder it has not been observed by any of those who have read and mentioned this Apocryphal Gospel. To make this out I observe, that Jofeph of Arimathea is introduced, Ch. XVII. as inviting Annas and Caiaphas to see two sons of old Simeon (mentioned Luke ii. 25.), who were arisen from the dead, in the city of Arimathea ; that they accordingly went with him, accompanied by Joseph and Gamaliel, and found them, not in their graves, but in the city ontheir knees at prayers; brought them to Jerusalem, and obliged them upon oath to relate an account of their resurrection to them: that the names of these two sons of Simeon were Charinus and Lenthius, who, not daring to give the relation in words, called for paper, and wrote down all that long account of our Saviour's descent to hell, and his' delivery of Adam, and the Patriarchs and Fathers from hell, which is contained from Ch. XVIII. to the XXVIIIth, which makes so large a part of this Gospel : that when Charinus and Lenthius had wrote this, the former gave his writing to Annas, Caiaphas, and Gamaliel; the latter gave his to Nicodemus and Joseph. Hence it is evident that Lenthius and Charinus were authors of a large part of this book; and these, though
made here two names, are the very name of that person whom I conjecture to be the author of the whole. For though the name be here written Lenthius, and not Leucius, this was undoubtedly the same name, and the true reading ought to be Leucius; and it has been often observed by learned men, that this person's name has been promiscuously written Lentius, Leucius, Leutius, Lentitius, Leontius, Seleucus. See Ca. saubona, Fabricius 5, and the first volume of this works, in the places cited in the bottom of the page. Nor will this at all seem strange to those who consider the old contract way of . writing, which was so common, especially in the proper names of persons and things. I take it therefore for granted, that Lenthius and Leucius were one and the same name, or rather, that Lenthius was written by some scribe for Leucius; which very thing (as I have above observed) has more than once happened in the printing the former part of this book. And though the names be here transposed, viz. Charinus placed be. fore Leucius, and they are made the names of two different persons, yet this seems to have been only with design the better to disguise the imposture; it being farther observable, and very certain also, that these were both Greek or Roman names, and consequently not the names of two sons of Simeon, who was a Jew, and, according to this book, a priest.
7. The long account of Christ's going at his death to hell, and by his power delivering Adam, the Patriarchs, and Prophets, &c. from hell, contained from Ch. XVIII. to the XXVIIIth of this Gospel, and there related by Leucius and Charinus, is founded upon a doctrine not known or received in the Church till the time of Leucius Charinus : though it is certain, that the primitive Church generally believed the local descent of Christ's foul to the habitations of souls departed, as is evident from Irenæus, Clemens Alexandrinus, Tertullian, Origen, and many others d; yet it is as certain, that before that time which I have affixed to Leucius Charinus, it was not so generally bę.
* Exercit. adv. Baron. 1. n. 15.
6 Cod. Apoc. N. T. tom. I. p. 137.
? Part II. Ch. XXI.
d See Bishop Pearson on the Creed, Art. V. p. 237, &c.
lieved that he then wrought a delivery for the Patriarchs, Prophets, and other good men who lived before his time, from that state. Eusebius, Ambrose, Jerome, and other writers of the fourth century, were indeed of this opinion ; but the more antient Fathers, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, &c. thought of no such things. For the proof of all which, I shall think it sufficient to refer the reader to Bishop Pearson's clear and learned Explication of that fifth Article of the Creed, concerning Christ's Descent into Hell, p. 240, &c.
From this and the foregoing particulars it seems very probable, that Leucius Charinus was the author of the Gospel which we have now under consideration, under the title of Nicodemus, or the Asts of Pilate. For if he lived at the very time when this book was forged ; if he was the author of many forgeries under the Apostles' names; if the greatest part of his forgeries were intitled Acts; if the contents of it were of the fame sort with his other Aets ; if it was received by the disciples of the Montanists, of whom he was a favourer; if his name be expressly found in the book, and he there said to be the author of a considerable part of it; in a word, if it contains those doctrines which were not prevalent till his time; all which is proved; then we have as much evidence as can be expected in things of this fort, that Leucius Charinus was the author of this Apocryphal Gospel.
CHA P. XXXII.
The Gospel of Nicodemus is Apocryphal: not received by the
Antients : contains manifest Contradictions, many. Things false, many trifling and silly. Stories : things later than the
Time in which it pretends to be written: it is stolen out of the · genuine Scriptures : several miscellaneous: Remarks on this
ObL. VI. THE Gospel of Nicodemus, or the Acts of
1 Pilate, is a spurious and Apocryphal book. This is indeed abundantly manifest from what I have already faid; but I shall notwithstanding farther attempt this proof by my propofitions in the first part. Accordingly, because it is not found in any of the old Christian catalogues of sacred books, nor cited in any of the old Christian writings, nor appears to have been read in any of the Christian Churches, I argue it to be Apocryphal by Prop. IV, V, and VI. I add,
2. It is Apocryphal by Prop. VII. as it contains manifest contradictions. To instance only in one or two, which are very notorious. Chap. II, the twelve men, Eliezer, Afterius, Antonius, &c. who declare themselves to be no proselytes, but born Jews; when Pilate tendered them an oath, and would have had them fwear by the life of Cæsar, refused, because, they say, We have a law that forbids our swearing, and makes it finful to swear : yet Ch. IV. I observe the Elders, Scribes, Priests, and Levites, are brought in swearing by the life of Cæsar without any scruple; and, Ch. XIV. they make others, who were Jews, swear by the Law, as they do also Ch. XVII. and Pilate gives an oath to a whole assembly of the Scribes, Chief-priests, &c. Ch. XXVIII. This seems a manifest contradiction. Another is, that Ch. IX. Pilate is introduced as making a speech to the Jews, in which he gives a true and just abstract of the Old Testainent History relating to the Israelites, viz. what God had done for them, and how they had behaved themselves to him. Whereas the fame Pilate,