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and sentiments in Paul's Epiftles to the Churches; and that in Paul's fourth, where he says, that Nero was both an adınirer and favourer of Christianity This, I say, is notoriously false, and contrary to the unanimous relations of Heathen and Christian writers, concerning Nero, and his regard to the Christians. Who knows not, who almost has not read the dreadful cruelties, and the barbarous inhumanities, he exercised against them? Who has not heard the accounts of Tacitus a and Suetonius b among the Romans; and Tertullian, Eusebius, Lactantius, Auftin', and many others, among the Christian writers, concerning his horrid persecutions of the Roman Christians ? Who therefore can credit these Epistles, in which both Paul and Seneca represent that Emperor as a favourer of the Christians? I conclude them therefore to be spurious by Prop. VIII. Besides,

8. The preceding account of Nero's favour to the Christians, in Paul and Seneca's fourth Epistles, seems but very indifferently to agree with what Paul afterwards adds in that Epiftle, viz. that he intreats Seneca to venture no more to say any thing of him or the Christian religion to Nero, lest he should offend him. If the Emperor did, as Seneca says, admire Paul's Epiftles; and if, as Paul fays, he was both an admirer and favourer of the Christians, what need this caution? What hazard could it be for Seneca to communicate more of his knowledge in Christianity to him? Add to this;

9. That it is very improbable that St. Paul would obstruct Seneca in his intentions of recommending Christianity to the Emperor. Is not this directly contrary to his known and con

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2 Annal. lib. xv.

C. 44. He Says, as others, that Nero having burnt the city, laid the crime unjylly to the Christians' charge, and thereupon masacred them in the 1720ft barbarous manner. Pereuntibus addita ludibria, ut ferarum tergis contecti, laniatu canum interirunt; aut crucibus affixi, aut flampiandi, atque ubi defecisset dies, in usum nociurni luminis uterentur. Forts fuos {p-ctaculo Nero obtulerat, et Circense ludicrum edeba

habitu auriga, permistus plebi, vel curriculo infiftens, &c.

• Afficti fuppliciis Christiani, genus hominum fuperftitionis novæ ac maleficæ, in Neron. c. 16.

c Apologet. c. 5. et 22.
d Histor. Ecclefiaft. lib. 2. c.

25:

e Lib. 4. C. 21. et alibi.

f De Civitat. Dei, lib. 18. C. 52. Vid. Lud. Viv, in loc. t. opp. 5.

ftant

ftant zeal and endeavours for its propagation ? Would he not rather have rejoiced in so probable an opportunity of spreading the knowledge of Christ, and by the means of one fo near to, and so much in favour with, the Emperor, have procured the liberty for himself and the other Christian converts of exercising their religion freely? To imagine the contrary is to fuppose the Apostle at once defective in his regards to himself and the whole body of Christians, and acting in direct contradiction to the whole of his conduct, and zealous endeavours to advance the interest of Christianity.

But besides, it has happened here, as commonly in such cases; want of memory betrays the forgery: although the author, so unlike Paul, in this place is for not discovering the Christian religion to the Emperor, yet in another Epistle, viz. the fixth of Paul, he is made to advise Seneca to take conveni. ent opportunities of insinuating the Christian religion, and things in favour of it, to Nero and his family; than which nothing can be a more manifeft contradiction. They are therefore Apocryphal by Prop. VII.

CHAP. XII.

A Conjecture concerning the Occasion of the Forgery of these

Epistles under the Names of Paul to Seneca, and Seneca to Paul, taken from Phil. i. 13. and iv. 22. Authors who

have rejected them. IT would not be difficult to collect many other evidences

of the spuriousness of these Epistles from internal evidences, or such as themselves afford: but to omit these, I Thall offer to the reader what I conjecture, and think most probable, concerning the original of them, or the occasion and time of the forgery, in the following particulars.

1. St. Paul, when he was at Rome, had several converts to Christianity in the Emperor's house or family. This I gather

from

from two passages in his Epistle to the Philippians; the first is that (ch. i. ver. 13.) My bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, ir öngu tū argastapów, j, e. in all the court of Cæfar (as. our translators rightly paraphrase it in the margin“); the word oogastuspoor properly denoting the palace or place of the Ema peror's residence : the other is (chap. iv. ver. 22.) All the saints falute you, chiefly they, that are of Cæsar's houshold, i. e. the converts to Christianity, who were of Cæsar's court or family,

2. Seneca was of the court or family of this Emperor, viz. Nero. He was his tutor, and had the direction of his youth, together with Afranius Burrus. (Vid. Sueton. in Neron. cap. 7. et 35.)

3. Several of the antient writers of Christianity did esteem Seneca as almost, if not altogether a Christian. Andreas Schottus, or whoever was the author of Seneca's Life, after having given very large encomiums to his works, adds; Quorum admiratione duéti fancti Patres, Tertullianus, Lactantius, Hieronymus, Auguftinus, cum propter rerum quæ in his tractantur pondus, sententiarumque quibus explicantur gravitatem, tum etiam propter convenientiam conjunctionemque do£irina cum sua, pars Christianum esse, alii a religione Chriftiana non abhorrere cenfuerunt : “ which the holy Fathers Tertullian, Lactantius, “ Jerome, and Austin, so much admired, partly by reason of " the importance of his subjects, and the seriousness of his “ stile, and partly by reason of the agreement of his principles « with theirs, that some of them esteemed him actually as a « Christian, and others thought him not much less." I know not what places in these Fathers' works this author refers to; but in Tertullian I observe b, that he applauds Seneca for his treatise of Superfition, which he wrote against the folly of idolatry; and elsewhere o stiles him, Seneca, who is often ours, viz, as Pamelius d says, because he often agrees in his notions with the Christians. Lactantius in very 'many places cites him, as having solidly confuted the ridiculous superstitions of

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Pagánífma. Austin for the same reasons highly commends him, and in one place adds, that Seneca did not blame or say any thing against the Christians, because perhaps he could not do it without violence to his own conscience b; on which Ludovicus Vives notes, that when Nero had burnt Rome, and bar. baroufly punished the Christians as guilty of that crime, Seneca' defired leave of the Emperor to retire into the country for a while; which he did, says he, in my opinion, because he could not bear to see the daily and cruel massacre of the innocent Christians.

4. On these accounts I conjecture the occasion of forging these Epistles was first taken, viz. When some one observed that there were some of Nero's court made Christians, and that Seneca was of this court, and generally reputed a Christian, it is not unlikely he should thence be influenced to forge a conference between Paul and Seneca, and publish these spurious letters under their names. This cannot seem strange to those who are acquainted with the nature of the antient forgeries, and will remember that there are few persons mentioned in the New Testament, as companions of the Apostles, who have not had some fpurious piece or other fathered upon them.

To confirm this conjecture, besides what is already said, I shall only observe;

1.) That in the spurious A&s under the name of Linus, where these Epiftles are mentioned, the text Phil. iv. 22. is also referred to ; and it is there urged to prove the genuineness of the Epistles, that Paul says, he had conperts in Cæsar's family. See the place above, Obf. II.

2.) That several later writers have imagined, that Paul particularly had reference to Seneca, when he speaks of the faints of Cæfar's houfhold : fo Salmero the jesuit“, and several other interpreters mentioned by Calvin"; also Bezae and Heinsius f. Now though indeed the Acts of Linus be spurious, and there'be no foundation for this latter opinion, yet

· Lib. 2, 3, et 4. b De Civit. Dei, lib. 6. c. 10. • In Philipp. iv. 22. apud Coc. Cenfur. p. 10.

Annot. in eund. loc.
e In eund. loc.
f Exercit. facr. in lcc.

inasmuch

inasmuch as both antient and modern writers thus explained this text of the Apostle, my conjecture appears for that reason more probable, that some one did, from the occasion of that fame interpretation, take the handle of forging these Epistles of Paul and Seneca. As to the time of their being forged, I fuppose it to have been in the middle of the fourth century, because they are not mentioned by Eusebius, or any more antient writer than Jerome ; and as to the author of them, I think I may by no improbable conjecture affirm him to have been a Latin, who was not only ignorant of the Greek language, but did not so much as know that Paul wrote his genuine EpiAtles to the Churches in the Greek language. What can be more evident than this is from Seneca's eighth Epistle to Paul ? In which, after he had been speaking of the sublime fubjects, which are treated of in the Apostle's Epistles, he advises him Latinitati morem gerere, i. e. to have respect to true Latin; or as we say commonly, to write good and proper Latin. Now this he could never have faid, if he had known the Apostle wrote all his Epistles in Greek: this shews he had only read them in fome Latin translation, and supposed them written originally in that language, and consequently that he was a Latin. This cannot seem strange to those who consider, how many, even now, are ignorant among the common people in what language the Scriptures were written; and that the monks and priests in former ages thought the old Vulgate Latin was the very language in which the sacred writers first wrote. The learned and witty Erasmus, in his Encomiums of Folly, his Annotations on the New Testament, and elfewhere, has furnished us with abundant proof of this. I remember one place in his Annotations (viz. on Act. xxii. 9.) so much to this purpose, that I cannot forbear transcribing it: « I am confident,” says he, “there are now many thousands of « divines, who do not so much as know in what language the « Apostles wrote. If by chance they hear that Mark, Luke,

Paul, Peter, and John wrote in Greek, they are perfectly « astonished at it, as some incredible thing, which they never “ heard of. Some of them imagine, because they were Jews, " that they wrote in Hebrew: others, that they published

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