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Chap. XXVIII. is made to be perfectly ignorant of the Bible, and only to have heard by report that there was such a book ; nor can it be said, that Pilate here only refers to the Bible kept in the Temple; for the manner of speech shews he was ignoránt of the contents of the book; I have heard you have a certain book, &c. and this is indeed in itself very probable.
3. It is Apocryphal by Prop. VIII. as it contains many things contrary to known truths. Such is indeed the whole of it, besides what is taken out of our present genuine Gospels. Who, for instance, will credit the long story Ch. XVIII, &c. of Christ's going down to hell, and all the romantick fabulous relations of what happened thereupon? Who will believe that Christ there signed Adam and the Patriarchs with the sign of the cross, and that all the holy Patriarchs were in hell till that time ? &c. Besides, in other places there are notorious falsehoods; as that is, to make the Jews understand our Saviour, as faying that he would destroy Solomon's Temple, Ch. IV. which they could not but know had been destroyed several hundred years before. To make the name Centurio to be the proper name of a man who came to Christ, when it is certain it was the name of his poft or office, &c. To make the words of Paul, 1 Cor. xv. 55. O death, where is thy fting? O grave, where is thy victory? to be the words of Isaiah, Ch. XXI. and to make Simeon (Ch. XVI. and XVII.) to be a High-priest, which it is certain he was not. See above in this part, Ch. XIX. Arg. IV. Inft. 7.
4. It is Apocryphal by Prop. IX. as it contains many trifling, silly, and ludicrous relations : such is that of the standards or colours bowing to Christ as he passed by, Ch. I. Christ's kising Foseph, and confining him to his house for forty days, Ch. XV. Such are all the accounts from hell, viz. The speeches of the Prophets, Seth's story of going to God at the gates of Paradise, for ointment to anoint his father Adam for the head-ach; The dia, logues between the devils; Christ's taking Adam by the hand out of hell; Christ's giving the thief the sign of the cross for a palport to heaven, and ordering him to shew it the angel at his coming to the gates; The exact agreement of the writing of Lenthius and Charinus, Ch. XXVIII. insomuch that there was
not one letter different, either more or less, in the writing of either, though they wrote separately; a story, as Mr. Fabricius (in loc.), well observes, like, and I add, very probably formed from, that trite story of the seventy Greek translators, who made their version in seventy separate columns, without the difference of so much as one word. See Justin Martyr, Parän. ad Græc. p. 13, 14.
5. It is Apocryphal, because it contains several things which were later than the time, in which it pretends to be written. Such seems to be the title or compellation (Ch. I.) wherewith the Jews address Pilate ; Rogamus magnitudinem vefiram; We intreat your highness, &c. a phraseology not known to the Jews, or used among them at that time. Such is the exprefs mention of original fin, a phrafe not known among Christians in those early days. Such is the story of Christ's going to hell to recover and bring thence the Patriarchs. Such the mighty veneration that is paid to the sign of the cross, and particularly the practice of signing with the sign of the cross, which is here said to be done by Charinus and Lenthius, Ch. XVII. before they enter upon their relation of the divine mysteries ; and Christ's making the sign of the cross upon Adam and upon all the saints in hell, before he delivered them from that state, Ch. XXIV. Concerning which practice of signing with the cross, I would observe, that though in the fourth and following centuries it was prodigiously common among Christians, by means of that noted history of Constantine's seeing the sign of the cross in the air a ; yet, as far as I can find, Tertullian is the first who has mentioned it. There is indeed, in the works under the name of Dionysius Areopagita', in the Epistle under the name of Martial (Bishop of the Lemovices in France, who lived within thirty or forty years of our Saviour's time), to the people of Bourdeaux', and in the pretended Constitutions of the Apostles d, mention of the use of the sign of the cross in
a Euseb. de Vita Constant. l. 1. c. 28, 29, 30, 31. 6 D. Eccl. Hier. C. 4, 5, 6.
E; ift. ad Burdegal. c. 8.
d Lib. 8. c. 12. Both Durant, loc. mox cit. and Spanheim Hift. Eccl. Secul. II. p. 628, refer to this passage ; but incorrectly.
baptism and on other occasions : but I regard not the authority of such books as these, being all of very late original, and will not make any scruple to affert this practice not to be mentioned by any sooner than Tertullian. He who would see the account of the Fathers concerning this matter, may consult Pamelius in his notes on Cyprian, Epist. 56. n. 31. and Epift. 63. n. 39. and the fame author on Tertull. de Co. ron. Milit. c. 3. n. 40. and especially the learned Durant. de Ritib. Eccles. Cathol. 1. 2. C. 45.
6. It is Apocryphal by Prop. XIV, because for the most part it is transcribed and stolen out of other books. Nothing can be more evident to any one who is acquainted with the facred books, and has read this Gospel, than that a great part of it is borrowed and stolen from them. Every such person must perceive, that the greatest part of the history of our Saviour's trial is taken out of our present Gospels, not only because it is a relation of the same facts and circumstances, but also in the very fame words and order for the most part; and though this may be supposed to have happened accidentally, yet it is next to impossible to suppose a constant likeness of expression, not only to one, but sometimes to one, and sometimes to another of our Evangelists. In short, the author seems to have designed a sort of abstract or compendium of all which he found most considerable to his purpose in our four Gospels; though he has but aukwardly enough put it together.
Under this head I observe farther, that, to cover the importure the better, those things which were spoke according to the Scriptures, by or of one person or thing, are by this author often referred to another. So, for instance, what Christ said to the Jews, For which of these (good) works do ye stone me? John X. 32. is alluded to in that of Pilatė, Ch. II. Will they kill him for a good work? The words of Christ, John xv. 24. that he had done the works which no other person had done, are put into the mouth of Nicodemus, Ch. V. The speech of Gamaliel, Acts v. 38, 39, Refrain from these men, and let them alone ; for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought; but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it, is here
ascribed to Nicodemus, Ch. V. And though the instances which Gamaliel mentions are Theudas and Judas Galilæuş, and instead of these are put the magicians of Egypt; yet the very same words that Gamaliel says of his instances, v. 36. this author says of his, viz. They all perished and came to naught, and all who believed them. Again, what Christ said to his disciples, Matt. xiv. 27. when they were affrighted at the sight of him walking upon the sea, Be not afraid, it is I; and to his disciples, when they saw him after his resurrection, Luke xxiv. 39. he is made here to say to Joseph, Ch. XV. That which our Lord said Matt. xxiii. 39. Ye fall not see me henceforth, till ye fall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; this author expounds as relating to Christ's resurrection; and therefore, after his being risen again, puts it into the mouth of Foseph, Ch. XV. Because John is said to be the voice (Paris, which is in the feminine gender) of one crying in the wilderness, Ifai. xl. 3. and Matt. iii. 3. therefore he is, represented in hell as a little female hermit, Ch. XVIII. Many other such instances, he who has a mind, may easily collect. From all which it is evident, this author compiled his book out of our present sacred books, and consequently by Prop. XIV. that it is Apocryphal.
7. It is Apocryphal, because it is not in the Syriack Version, by Prop. XV.
Thus I have endeavoured to thew the fpuriousness of this Gospel, and offered such observations as I judged most pertinent and considerable in order thereto. , I shall close my discourse on it with the few following miscellaneous remarks, viz.
1. The names which are in this Gospel given to those which were Jews, are not Jewish, but either Greek or Roman, or of foreign countries. Such are the names Summas, Datam, Alexander, Cyrus, Ch. I. Afterius, Antonius, Caras or Cyrus, Crippus or Crispus, Ch. II. Charinus and Lenthius, Ch. XVII. This seems to be no inconfiderable evidence of the impofture.
2. The oration under the name of Epiphanius a, intitled, Είς τήν θεόσωμον ταφήν τω Κυρία και Σωτήρος ημών Ιησε Χρισέ, και εις τον Ιωσήφ τον από 'Αριμαθαίας, και εις την εν τω "Αδη τη Κυρία κατάβασιν, μετα το σωτήριον κάθε παραδόξως γεγενημένην, Αη Oration on the Burial of the Divine Body of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Chrift, and on Joseph of Arimathea, and our Lord's marvellous Descent into 'Hell after his Crucifixion-contains the fubItance of what is related in this Gospel concerning Christ's journey to hell, and delivering the saints thence, and particularly the account of his leading Adam out, the confusion of the infernal princes, the other faints following Adam, the application of feveral texts of Scripture to this event, &c. Besides this, I observe in this Oration, that Nicodemus is introduced as aslifting yoseph of Arimathea at the funeral of Christ, and bringing with him myrrh and aloes for that purpose, which is also related in this Gospel, Ch. XI. I shall not make any conclusions hence, but leave the hint to the improvement of the learned; only adding, that it seems very probable to me, though I cannot find it observed either by Coke or Rivet, that this oration is supposititious, and belonged to some other Epiphanius, different from him anong whose works it is placed b.
3. The present Latin copies of this Gospel seem to be a translation out of Greek. This (to omit other instances) seems evident, because we so frequently in it meet with quia in the sense of quod, i. e. to signify as the English particle that, and not as because, which yet it properly does. The reason of this translation seems to me the ambiguity of the Greek particle Örs, which anfwers both to quia and quod; but as it can hardly be thought a person who chose to write in Latin, would be guilty of such a mistake, I conclude this probably to have been a translation, and, for the reason mentioned, out of Greek. Add to this, that this sense or use of the particle quia for quod is common usque ad nauseam, in many or most of the old Latin translations of the Greek Fathers; and I have noted it in above twenty places in this Gofpel.