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not perceive that Beda has at all distinguished them, but rather that Dr. Grabe a, and Mr. Fabritius , are mistaken in supposing he did.
4. That it was a very early composure, I make no doubt, from the early mention we have of it. It is not improbable (as I have said) that it was referred to by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians, which was written about the year of Christ LVII or LVIII. It was undoubtedly extant in the beginning of the second century; though nothing seems more absurd than Dr. Grabe's opinion, that it was written before St. Matthew wrote his. It is like supposing the child born before his father.
5. That it had in it many idle and fabulous, as well as false and erroneous relations, is largely proved already. These are so many, and so very notorious, that I wonder how Father Simon could have so high an opinion either of these, or the Gospel that contained them. Can any one unprejudiced give the preference to such a heap of fables and contradictions, above St. Matthew's plain and consistent accounts ?
But because that learned writer was so far prejudiced in favour of this Hebrew Gospel, as to prefer it to the Greek of St. Matthew, even with all these differences, I would argue a little upon his own hypothesis against him. Suppose, then, our Greek copies of St. Matthew were really a translation out of the Hebrew, in which that Apostle first wrote; how came it to pass that the Greek translation should be so very different from its original, as it is in every one of the remaining passages ? This difference cannot be supposed to have happened but upon one of these two following accounts; viz. either,
First, Because the Version was made when the Hebrew original was more pure, and that these additions were made by the Nazarenes afterwards ; or,
· Spicileg. Patr. Secul. I. t. I.
Cod. Apocryph. Nov. Test. .par. I. p. 351. 2
Secondly, Because the author of the Greek Version epitomised it, and altered it according to his own mind.
Father Simona, according as it served his purpose, supposes both these, though most evidently contradictory to each other; seeing the difference could not proceed from both causes. But whichsoever of them we suppose true, will overthrow his hypothesis ; for if we say the first, viz. that the Greek Version was made before the Nazarene additions, it follows, their Gof. pel must now be esteemed Apocryphal, because the alterations and additions were so great, as not to have left scarce any thing of St. Matthew remaining : for there is not one of all the Fragments now extant, but differs from St. Matthew's Greek; which, according to the supposition, is pure and perfect, being made before the Nazarene alterations. If he say the latter, viz. that the difference proceeds from the fault of the Greek transator ; then I answer, that this supposes the things in which the Nazarene Gospel differs from St. Matthew's Greek, to be good and useful; which is contrary to what has been above proved.
6. This Hebrew Gospel, or translation of St. Matthew's Greek into Hebrew, with the forementioned additions and interpolations, seems to have been made by some convert Jews, to favour their notions of mixing Judaism and Christianity together. That there was very early such a sort of persons of the Jewish nations, who were for uniting their old religion with the new one of Christ, is evident from a great part of St. Paul's Epistles; three of which seem purposely to be written against them; viz. That to the Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews. . That these were principally delighted with the Gospel intitled, According to the Hebrews (ce nenosa E gazówr oi tàu Xçaròn trapadešćuevos xcipsou), we are expressly assured by Eusebius , as well as by many other antient writers. Of this Gospel they had so prodigiously great an opinion, that for the sake of it they contemned and rejected all others, and only
a See his Crit. Hift. of N. T. part 1. C. 7,9.
Histor. Ecclef. lib. 3. c. 25.
made use of this : so we are told by Irenæus a, Eusebius b, and others. Now hence it seems undeniably to follow, that there were in this Gospel several things which favoured their peculiar notions, and consequently that it was made by fome Christianised Jew, or rather Judaising Christian
That which remains is only to give some brief account of the Nazarenes, who used this Gospel.
They are said by Epiphanius to have arose from fome Christian Jews, who went from Jerusalem to Pella d. It is very uncertain why they were called by this name. He who has a mind may see a plausible account in Dr. Mangey's Answer to · Mr. Toland's Nazarenus, c. viii. Out of these sprang the Ebionites, who had in a great measure the same opinions with the Nazarenes ®, and yet are made two distinct fects by Epiphanius. The truth is, they are so confounded by that Father, that one can scarce tell how to give any clear account of them. But to do it in the best manner I can, I shall give the reader an abstract out of Irenæus, Eusebius, and Epiphanius, in the following manner.
to be a mere man; so we some asserting him a mere read in Theodoret, that they man, born, as other men, of looked upon him only as a Joseph and Maryb. Others just and good man. Hær. confessed him to have come Fab. 1. ii. c. 2. a
from Heaven, but made before all, and being a superangelical Creature, had the dominion of all c.
3. They used the Gospel 3. They made use of St. according to Matthew in the Matthew's Gospel alone, and Hebrew, most entire, accord- that in Hebrew', but according to Epiphanius, who adds, ing to Epiphanius, not entire, that he was uncertain whe- but corrupted and adulteratther they had taken away out ed, and took away the geof it the genealogy from A- nealogy from it ”, and bebraham to Christ, or no", gan their Gospel with these
words ; And it came to pass in
the days of Herodi, &c. It is plain therefore, that there was a very great agreement between these two antient sects; and though they went under different names, yet they seem only to differ in this, that the Ebionites had made some additions to the old Nazarene fystem; for Origen expressly tells us k, Kai 'Eesovaños xenuaticxou vi anò 'Iedciwo sòr ’Inošu ws Xposòv napadičápavos, They were called Ebionites, who from among the Jews own Jesus to be the Chrift. And though Epiphanius seems to make their Gofpels different, calling one aanpésatov, most entire, the other å aangesatov, not entire, yet this need not move us ; for if the
a Epiphanius indeed was uncertain of it; but the matter cannot be questioned by any who read what he hath wrote. Här. 29. $. 7, &c.
Eufeb. Hift. Ecclef. lib. 3. c. 27.
b Eufeb. Hift. Ecclef. lib. 3. C. 27. and Hær. 30. 9. 2.
c Hær. 30. §. 3.
8 Hæref. 30. §. 13. ,
k Contr. Cell. lib. 2. p. 56. See the same allo Epift. Hier. ad Augustin. Vid. Spencer. Annotation, in loc. Orig. p. 33, 34.
learned Casaubon's conjecture should not be right, that we jould read the fame, viz. å mampésatov, in both places a (which yet is very probable for any thing Father Simon has proved to the contrary): yet will the difficulty be all removed at once by this single consideration, that Epiphanius never saw any Gospel of the Nazarenes; for though he calls it wangésarov, yet he himfelf fays, εκ οίδα δε ει και τας γενεαλογίας περιεϊλον , that he did not know whether they had taken away the genealogy as the Ebionites had done, i. e. having never seen the Nazarene Gofpel, for ought he knew, it might be the very fanue with that of the Ebionites, as indeed it most certainly was.
CH A P. XXX.
The Acts of Paul and Thecla extant in the Bodleian Library,
and published by Dr. Grabe. Aets of Paul a different Book. These falfely supposed by Dr. Mill to be wrote by faithful Christians, A. D. LXIX. to supply the Defeets of Luke's History of the Apostles' Aets. A filly Forgery rejected by all the Antients who name it. The Preaching of Paul and Peter one Book A Book under the Name of Paul. The Anabaticon or Revelation of Paul generally thought to have been two Books. Aridiculous Blunder of Mr. Toland's, relating to it. Proved by several Arguments to be only different Titles of the fame Book. A Conjecture concerning a Pasage of Tertullian, wherein he refers to this Book. The Title of a Revelation under the Name of Paul now extant in a Manufcript in the Library of Merton College at Oxford..
Numb. XLIII. The ACTS of PAUL and THECLA.
HESE are mentioned by Tertullian, and from him by
a See this conjecture in his Exercitations against Baronius, ad Ann. Chrifti XXXIV. N. 165. p. 486. It is rejected by Simon,
Critic. Hift. of the New Test. par.