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were writings not for Christians but for Jews."* | of John, “He has also left one epistle, of a very This declaration shows the ground upon which few lines; grant also a second and a third, for all Marcion proceeded in his mutilation of the Scrip do not allow them to be genuine.” Now let it be tures, viz. his dislike of the passages or the books. noted, that Origen, who thus discriminates, and Marcion flourished about the year 130.
thus confesses his own doubts, and the doubts Dr. Lardner, in his general Review, sums up which subsisted in his time, expressly witnesses this head of evidence in the following words : concerning the four Gospels, that they alone are “Noëtus, Paul of Samosata, Sabellius, Marcellus, I received without dispute by the whole church of Photinus, the Novatians, Donatists, Manicheans, God under heaven.' Priscillianists, beside Artemon, the Aulians, the III. Dionysius of Alexandria, in the year 247, Arians, and divers others, all received most or all the doubts concerning the book of Revelation, whesame books of the New Testament which the Ca- ther it was written by Saint John; states the tholics received; and agreed in a like respect for grounds of his doubt, represents the diversity of them as written by apostles, or their disciples and opinion concerning it, in his own time, and before companions."
his time.t Yet the same Dionysius uses and collates the four Gospels in a manner which shows that he entertained not the smallest suspicion of
their authority, and in a manner also which shows SECTION VIII.
that they, and they alone, were received as au
thentic histories of Christ. The four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, thir IV. But this section may be said to have been
teen Epistles of Saint Paul, the First Epis- framed on purpose to introduce to the reader two tle of John, and the First of Peter, were re- remarkable passages extant in Eusebius's Eecleceived without doubt by those who doubted siastical History. The first passage opens with concerning the other books which are included these words:-“Let us observe the writings of in our present canon.
the apostle John which are uncontradicted ; and
first of all must be mentioned, as acknowledged I state this proposition, because, if made out, of all, the Gospel according to him, well known to it shows that the authenticity of their books was all the churches under heaven." The author a subject amongst the early Christians of consider then proceeds to relate the occasions of writing ation and inquiry; and that, where there was the Gospels, and the reasons for placing Saint cause of doubt, they did doubt; a circumstance John's the last, manifestly speaking of all the four which strengthens very much their testimony to as parallel in their authority, and in the certainty such books as were received by them with full of their original. The second passage is taken acquiescence.
from a chapter, the title of which is, “Of the 1. Jerome, in his account of Caius, who was Scriptures unirersally acknowledged, and of those probably a presbyter of Rome, and who flourished that are not such.” Eusebius begins his enumenear the year 200, records of him, that, reckoning ration in the following manner :-" In the first up only thirteen epistles of Paul, he says the four- place, are to be ranked the sacred four Gospels; teenth, which is inscribed to the Hebrews, is not then the book of the Acts of the Apostles ; after his: and then Jerome adds, “ With the Romans that are to be reckoned the Epistles of Paul. In to this day it is not looked upon as Paul's.” This the next place, that called the First Epistle of agrees in the main with the account given by Eu- John, and the Epistle of Peter, are to be esteemed sebius of the same ancient author and his work; authentic. After this is to be placed, if it be except that Eusebius delivers his own remark in thought fit, the Revelation of John, about which more guarded terms: " And indeed to this very we shall observe the different opinions at proper time by some of the Romans, this epistle is not seasons. Of the controverted, but yet well known thought to be the apostle's."'S
or approved by the most, are, that called the EpisII. Origen, about twenty years after Caius, tle of James, and that of Jude, and the Second of quoting the Epistle to the Hebrews, observes that Peter, and the Second and Third of John, whesome might dispute the authority of that epistle; ther they are written by the evangelist, or another and therefore proceeds to quote to the same point of the same name.” He then proceeds to reckon as undoubted books of Scripture, the Gospel of up five others, not in our canon, which he calls in Saint Matthew, the Acts of the Apostles, and one place spurious, in another controverted, meanPaul's First Epistle to the Thessalonians. ll 'And ing, as appears to me, nearly the same thing by in another place, this author speaks of the Epistle these two words. I to the Hebrews thus :-"The account come down It is manifest from this passage, that the four to us is various; some saying that Clement, who Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles (the parts was bishop of Roine, wrote this epistle ; others, of Scripture with which our concern principally that it was Luke, the same who wrote the Gospel lies), were acknowledged without dispute, even and the Acts.” Speaking also, in the same para- by those who raised objections, or entertained graph, of Peter, "Peter (says he) has left one doubts, about some other parts of the same collecepistle, acknowledged; let it be granted likewise tion. But the passage proves something more that he wrote a second, for it is doubted of." And than this. The author was extremely conversant
* Lardner, vol. iii. p. 234. † Ib. vol. iv. p. 670. I have transcribed this sentence from Michaelis (p. 1 Ib. 661. § Ib. vol. viii. p. 90. Ib. p. 39. 38,) who has not, however, referred to the authority | That Eusebius could not intend, by the word ren. upon which he attributes these words to Marcion. dered “spurious," what we at present mean by it, is
't This must be with an exception, however, of Faust. evident from a clause in this very chapter, where, speak. Os, who lived so late as the year 384.
ing of the Gospels of Peter, and Thomas, and Matinias, i Lardner, vol. xii. p. 12. ---Dr. Lardner's future in- and soine others, he says, “. They are not so much as to gniries supplied him with many other instances. be reckoned among the spurious, but are to be rejected g Ib. vol. iii. p. 240.
Ib. p. 246.
as altogether absurd and impious"-Vol. viii. p. 98.
in the writings of Christians, which had been | against Christianity. To this treatise, Origen, published from the commencement of the institu- who came about fifty years after him, published tion to his own time: and it was from these writ- an answer, in which he frequently recites his ings that he drew his knowledge of the character adversary's words and arguments. The work of and reception of the books in question. That Celsus is lost ; but that of Origen remains Eusebius recurred to this medium of information, Origen appears to have given us the words of and that he had examined with attention this Celsus, where he professes to give them very faithspecies of proof, is shown, first, by a passage in fully; and, amongst other reasons for thinking the very chapter we are quoting, in which, speak- so, this is one, that the objection, as stated by him ing of the books which he calls spurious, “None from Celsus, is sometimes stronger than his own (says bel of the ecclesiastical writers, in the suc- answer. I think it also probable, that Origen, in cession of the apostles, have vouchsafed to make his answer, has retailed a large portion of the any mention of them in their writings;" and, work of Celsus: “ That it may not be suspected secondly, by another passage of the same work, | (he says) that we pass by any chapters, because wherein speaking of the First Epistle of Peter, we have no answers at hand, I have thought it " This (says he) the presbyters of ancient times best, according to my ability, to confute every have quoted in their writings as undoubtedly thing proposed by him, not so much observing the genuine;* and then, speaking of some other natural order of things, as the order which he has writings bearing the name of Peter, “ We know taken himself.'* (he says) that they have not been delivered down Celsus wrote about one hundred years after the to us in the number of Catholic writings, foras- Gospels were published; and therefore any notices much as no ecclesiastical writer of the ancients, of these books from him are extremely important or of our times, has made use of testimonies out for their antiquity. They are, however, rendered of them.” “But in the progress of this history," more so by the character of the author; for, the the author proceeds, " we shall make it our busi- reception, credit, and notoriety, of these books ness to show, together with the successions from must have been well established amongst Christhe apostles, what ecclesiastical writers, in every tians, to have made them subjects of animadverage, have used such writings as these which are sion and opposition by strangers and by enemies. contradicted, and what they have said with regard It evinces the truth of what Chrysostom, two cento the Scriptures received in the New Testament, turies afterward, observed, that “the Gospels, and acknowledged by all, and with regard to when written, were not hidden in a corner, or those which are not such.”+
buried in obscurity, but they were made known After this it is reasonable to believe, that when to all the world, before enemies as well as others, Eusebius states the four Gospels, and the Acts of even as they are now.”+ the Apostles, as uncontradicted, uncontested, and 1. Celsus, or the Jew whom he personates, acknowledged by all; and when he places them uses these words :-“I could say many things in opposition, not only to those which were spuri- concerning the affairs of Jesus, and those, too, ous, in our sense of that term, but to those which different from those written by the disciples of were controverted, and even to those which were Jesus ; but I purposely omit them.”+ Upon this well known and approved by many, yet doubted passage, it has been rightly observed, that it is not of by some; he represents not only the sense of easy to believe, that if Celsus could have contrahis own age, but the result of the evidence which dicted the disciples upon good evidence in any the writings of prior ages, from the apostles' time material point, he would have omitted to do so, to his own, had furnished to his inquiries. The and that the assertion is, what Origen calls it, a opinion of Eusebius and his contemporaries ap- mere oratorical flourish. pears to have been founded upon the testimony of It is sufficient, however, to prove, that, in the writers whom they then called ancient : and we time of Celsus, there were books well known, and may observe, that such of the works of these writ- allowed to be written by the disciples of Jesus, ers as have come down to our times, entirely which books contained a history of him. By the confirm the judgment, and support the distinction term disciples, Celsus does not mean the followers which Eusebius proposes. The books which he of Jesus in general; for them he calls Christians, calls“ books universally acknowledged,” are in or believers, or the like; but those who had been faet used and quoted in the remaining works of taught by Jesus himself, i. e. his apostles and Christian writers, during the two hundred and companions. fifty years between the apostles' time and that of 2. In another passage, Celsus accuses the Eusebius, much more frequently than, and in a Christians of altering the Gospel. The accusadifferent manner from, those, the authority of tion refers to some variations in the readings of which, he tells us, was disputed.
particular passages; for Celsus goes on to object, that when they are pressed hard, and one reading has been confuted, they disown that, and fly to
another. We cannot perceive from Origen, that SECTION IX.
Celsus specified any particular instances, and
without such specification the charge is of no Our historical Scriptures were attacked by the value. But the true conclusion to be drawn from
early adversaries of Christianity, as contain. it is, that there were in the hands of the Christians, ing the accounts upon which the religion was histories, which were even then of some standing: founded.
for various readings and corruptions do not take
place in recent productions. Near the middle of the second century, Celsus, a heathen philosopher, wrote a professed treatise * Orig.cont. Cels. I. i. sect. xli.
Lardner, Jewish and Heathen Test. vol. ii. p. 274. • Lardner, vol. viii. p. 99. t Ib. p. 111.
Ib. p. 275.
t In Matt. Hom. 1. 7.
The fo mer quotation, the reader will remem The instances here alleged, serve, in some ber, proves that these books were composed by measure, to show the nature of Porphyry's obthe disciples of Jesus strictly so called; the pre-jections, and prove that Porphyry had read the sent quotation shows, that
, though objections Gospels with that sort of attention which a writer were taken by the adversaries of the religion to would employ who regarded them as the deposithe integrity of these books, none were made to taries of the religion which he attacked. Beside their genuineness.
these specifications, there exists, in the writings 3. In a third passage, the Jew, whom Celsus of ancient Christians, general evidence, that the introduces, shuts up an argument in this man- places of Scripture upon which Porphyry had rener :-" These things then we have alleged to you marked were very numerous. out of your own writings, not needing any other In some of the above-cited examples, Porphyry, weapons." It is manifest that this boast pro-speaking of Saint Matthew, calls him your econceeds upon the supposition that the books, over gelist; he also uses the term evangelists in the which the writer affects to triumph, possessed an plural number. What was said of Celsus, is true authority by which Christians confessed them likewise of Porphyry, that it does not appear that selves to be bound.
he considered any history of Christ, except these, 4. That the books to which Celsus refers were as having authority with Christians. no other than our present Gospels, is made out by III. A third great writer against the Christian his allusions to various passages still found in religion was the emperor Julian, whose work was these Gospels. Celsus takes notice of the genea- composed about a century after that of Porphyry. logies, which fixes two of these Gospels; of the In various long extracts, transcribed from this precepts, Resist not him that injures you, and, If work by Cyril and Jerome, it appears, that Julian à man strike thee on the one cheek, offer to him noticed by name Matthew and Luke, in the difthe other also ;t of the woes denounced by Christ; ference between their genealogies of Christ; that of his predictions; of his saying, that it is impos- he objected to Matthew's application of the prosible to serve two masters ;t of the purple robe, the phecy, "Out of Egypt have I called my sun," (ü. crown of thorns, and the reed in his hand; of the 15,) and to that of " A virgin shall conceive;" blood that flowed from the body of Jesus upon the (i. 23;) that he recited sayings of Christ, and varicross, ß which circumstance is recorded by John ous passages of his history, in the very words of alone; and (what is instar omnium for the pur- the evangelists; in particular, that Jesus healed pose for which we produce it) of the difference in lame and blind people, and exorcised demoniacs in the accounts given of the resurrection by the evan- the villages of Bethsaida and Bethany; that he gelists, some mentioning two angels at the sepul- alleged, that none of Christ's disciples ascribed to chre, others only one.Il
him the creation of the world, except John; that It'is extremely material to remark, that Celsus neither Paul, nor Matthew, nor Luke, nor Mark, not only perpetually referred to the accounts of have dared to call Jesus, God; that John wrote Christ contained in the four Gospels, 1 but that he later than the other evangelists, and at a time referred to no other accounts; that he founded when a great number of men in the cities of none of his objections to Christianity upon any Greece and Italy were converted; that he alludes thing delivered in spurious Gospels.
to the conversion of Cornelius and of Sergius II. What Celsus was in the second century, Paulus, to Peter's vision, to the circular letter Porphyry became in the third. His work, which sent by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem, was a large and formal treatise against the Chris- which are all recorded in the Acts of the Apostian religion, is not extant. We must be content tles: by which quoting of the four Gospels and therefore to gather his objections from Christian the Acts of the Apostles, and by quoting no other, writers, who have noticed in order to answer them; Julian shows that these were the historical books, and enough remains of this species of information, and the only historical books received by Chris to prove completely, that Porphyry's animadver- tians as of authority, and as the authentic mesions were directed against the contents of our moirs of Jesus Christ, of his apostles, and of the present Gospels, and of the Acts of the Apostles ; doctrines taught by them. But Julian's testimony Porphyry considering that to overthrow them was does something more than represent the judgment to overthrow the religion. Thus he objects to the of the Christian church in his time. It discovers repetition of a generation in Saint Matthew's ge- also his own. He himself expressly states the neaology ; to Matthew's call; to the quotation of a early date of these records; he calls them by the text from Isaiah, which is found in a psalm as names which they now bear. He all along sup cribed to Asaph; to the calling of the lake of Ti. poses, he no where attempts to question, their ge. berias a sea; to the expression in Saint Matthew, nuineness. “the abomination of desolation;" to the variation The argument in favour of the books of the in Matthew and Mark upon the text, “ The voice New Testament, drawn from the notice taken of of one crying in the wilderness,” Matthew citing their contents by the early writers against the reit from Isaias, Mark from the Prophets ; to John's ligion, is very considerable. It proves that the application of the term “Word;" to Christ's accounts, which Christians had then, were the acchange of intention about going up to the feast of counts which we have now; that our present tabernacles, (John vii. 8;) to the judgment de Scriptures were theirs. It proves, moreover, that nounced by Saint Peter upon Ananias and Sap neither Celsus in the second, Porphyry in the phira, which he calls an imprecation of death.** third, nor Julian in the fourth century, suspected
the authenticity of these books, or even insinuated Lardner, Jewish and Heathen Test. vol. ii.
that Christians were mistaken in the authors to 1 Ib. p. 277.
whom they ascribed them. Not one of them ex$ Ib. p. 280, 281.
| Ib. p. 283.
pressed an opinion upon this subject different from 1 The particulars, of which the above are only a few, that which was holden by Christians. And when are well collected by Mr. Bryant. p. 140. ** Jewish and Heathen Test. vol. iii. p. 166, &c.
* Jewish and Heathen Test. vol. iv. p. 77, &c.
we consider how much it would have availed them thirty years after the last date, that is, from the to have cast a doubt upon this point, if they could; year 363 to near the conclusion of the fourth cenand how ready they showed themselves to be, to tury, we have catalogues by Epiphanius,* by take every advantage in their power; and that Gregory Nazianzen,t by Philaster, bishop of Bresthey were all men of learning and inquiry; their cia in Italy,t by Amphilochius, bishop of Iconium, concession, or rather their suffrage, upon the sub- all, as they are sometimes called, clean catalogues ject, is extremely valuable.
(that is, they admit no books into the number beIn the case of Porphyry, it is made still stronger, side what we now receive), and all, for every purby the consideration that he did in fact support pose of historic evidence, the same as ours. himself by this species of objection, when he saw VI. Within the same period, Jerome, the most any room for it, or when his acuteness could sup- learned Christian writer of his age, delivered a ply any pretence for alleging it. The prophecy catalogue of the books of the New Testament, of Daniel he attacked upon this very ground of recognising every book now received, with the spuriousness, insisting that it was written after intimation of a doubt concerning the Epistle to the the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, and maintains Hebrews alone, and taking not the least notice of his charge of forgery by some far-fetched indeed, any book which is not now received.ll but very subtle criticisms. Concerning the writ VII. Contemporary with Jerome, who lived in ings of the New Testament, no trace of this sus- Palestine, was Saint Augustine, in Africa, who picion is any where to be found in him. published likewise a catalogue, without joining to
the Scriptures, as books of authority, any other ecclesiastical writing whatever, and without omit
ting one which we at this day acknowledge. I SECTION X.
VIII. And with these concurs another contem
porary writer, Rufen, presbyter of Aquileia, whose Formal catalogues of authentic Scriptures were catalogue, like theirs, is perfect and unmixed, and
published, in all which our present sacred his concludes with these remarkable words: “ These tories were included.
are the volumes which the fathers have included
in the canon, and out of which they would have This species of evidence comes later than the us prove the doctrine of our faith.”** rest; as it was not natural that catalogues of any particular class of books should be put forth until Christian writings became numerous: or until some writings showed themselves, claiming titles
SECTION XI. which did not belong to them, and thereby rendering it necessary to separate books of authority These propositions cannot be predicated of any from others. But, when it does appear, it is ex of those books which are commonly called the tremely satisfactory; the catalogues, though nu Apocryphal Books of the New Testament. merous, and made in countries at a wide distance from one another, differing very little, differing in I do not know that the objection taken from nothing which is material, and all containing the the apocryphal writings is at present much relied four Gospels. To this last article there is no ex- upon by scholars. But there are many, who, ception.
hearing that various Gospels existed in ancient 1. In the writings of Origen which remain, and times under the names of the apostles, may have in some extracts preserved by Eusebius, from taken up a notion, that the selection of our present works of his which are now lost, there are enu- Gospels from the rest, was rather an arbitrary or merations of the books of Scripture, in which the accidental choice, than founded in any clear and four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles are certain cause of preference. To these it may be distinctly and honourably specified, and in which very useful to know the truth of the case. I obno books appear beside what are now received.+ serve, therefore, The reader, by this time, will easily recollect that 1. That, beside our Gospels and the Acts of the the date of Origen's works is A. D. 230. Apostles, no Christian history, claiming to be
II. Athanasius, about a century afterward, de- written by an apostle or apostolical man, is quoted livered a catalogue of the books of the New Tes within three hundred years after the birth of tament in form, containing our Scriptures and no Christ, by any writer now extant, or known; or, others; of which he says, “In these alone the if quoted, is not quoted without marks of censure doctrine of religion is taught ; let no man add to and rejection. them or take any thing from them.”I
I have not advanced this assertion without inII!. About iwenty years after Athanasius, quiry; and I doubt not, but that the passages Cyril
, bishop of Jerusalem, set forth a catalogue cited by Mr. Jones and Dr. Laruner, under the of the books of Scripture, publicly read at that several titles which the apocryphal books bear; or time in the church of Jerusalem, exactly the same a reference to the places where they are mentioned as ours, except that the “Revelation" is omitted. as collected in a very accurate table, published in IV. And fifteen years after Cyril
, the council the year 1773, by the Rev. J. Atkinson, will of Laodicea delivered an authoritative catalogue make out the truth of the proposition to the satisof canonical Scripture, like Cyril's, the same as ours, with the omission of the Revelation." * Lardner, Cred. vol. viii. p. 368. V. Catalogues now became frequent. Within | Ib. vol. ix. p. 132.
| Ib. p. 373. § Epiphanius omits the Acts of the Apostles. This
must have been an accidental mistake, either in him or • Michaelis's Introduction to the New Testament, in some copyist of his work; for he elsewhere expressly Fol. i. p. 43 Marsh's Translation.
refers to this book, and ascribes it to Luke. † Lardner, Cred. vol. iii. p. 234, &c.; vol. viii. p. 196. (Lardner, Cred. vol. x. p. 77. | lb. p. 213 Ib. vol. viii. p. 223. $ Ib. p. 270.
** Ib. p. 187.
faction of every fair and competent judgment. If 1. That there is no evidence that any spurious there be any book which may seem to form an ex- or apocryphal books whatever existed in the first ception to the observation, it is a Hebrew Gospel, century of the Christian era, in which century all which was circulated under the various titles of our historical books are proved to have been exthe Gospel according to the Hebrews, the Gospel tant. “ There are no quotations of any such of the Nazarenes, of the Ebionites, sometimes books in the apostolical fathers, by whom I mean called of the Twelve, by some ascribed to Saint Barnabas, Clement of Rome, Hermas, Ignatius, Matthew. This Gospel is once, and only once, and Polycarp, whose writings reach from about cited by Clemens Alexandrinus, who lived, the the year of our Lord 70, to the year 108 (and reader will remember, in the latter part of the se some of whom have quoted each and every one of cond century, and which same Clement quotes our historical Scriptures); I say this,” adds Dr. one or other of our four Gospels in almost every Lardner, “because I think it has been proved."* page of his work. It is twice mentioned by Ori 2. These apocryphal writings were not read in gen, A. D. 230; and both times with marks of the churches of Christians ; diminution and discredit. And this is the ground 3. Were not admitted into their volume; upon which the exception stands. But what is 4. Do not appear in their catalogues ; still more material to observe is, that this Gospel, 5. Were not noticed by their adversaries; in the main, agreed with our present Gospel of 6. Were not alleged by different parties as of Saint Matthew.*
authority in their controversies; Now if, with this account of the apocryphal 7. Were not the subjects, amongst them, of Gospels, we compare what we have read concern- commentaries, versions, collations, expositions. ing the canonical Scriptures in the preceding sec Finally; beside the silence of three centuries, or tions; or even recollect that general but well evidence, within that time, of their rejection, they founded assertion of Dr. Lardner, “That in the were, with a consent nearly universal, reprobated remaining works of Irenæus, Clement of Alexan- by Christian writers of succeeding ages. dria, and Tertullian, who all lived in the first two Although it be made out by these observations, centuries, there are more and larger quotations of that the books in question never obtained any dethe small volume of the New Testament, than of gree of credit and notoriety which can place thera all the works of Cicero, by writers of all charac- in competition with our Scriptures ; yet it appears, ters, for several ages ;"+ and if to this we add, from the writings of the fourth century, that many that, notwithstanding the loss of many works of such existed in that century, and in the century the primitive times of Christianity, we have, with preceding it. It may be difficnlt at this distance in the above-mentioned period, the remains of of time to account for their origin. Perhaps the Christian writers, who lived in Palestine, Syria, most probable explication is, that they were in Asia Minor, Egypt, the part of Africa that used general composed with a design of making a profit the Latin tongue, in Crete, Greece, Italy, and by the sale. Whatever treated of the subject, Gaul, in all which remains, references are found would find purchasers. It was an advantage taken to our evangelists; I apprehend, that we shall per of the pious curiosity of unlearned Christians. ceive a clear and broad line of division, between With a view to the same purpose, they were those writings, and all others pretending to simi- many of them adapted to the particular opinions lar authority.
of particular sects, which would naturally promote II. But beside certain histories which assumed their circulation amongst the favourers of those the names of apostles, and which were forgeries opinions. After all, they were probably much properly so called, there were some other Christian more obscure than we imagine. Except the Goswritings, in the whole or in part of an historical pel according to the Hebrews, there is none of nature, which, though not forgeries, are denomi- which we hear more than the Gospel of the nated apocryphal, as being of uncertain or of no Egyptians; yet there is good reason to believe that authority.
Clement, a presbyter of Alexandria in Egypt, A. Of this second class of writings, I have found D. 184, and a man of almost universal reading, only two which are noticed by any author of the had never seen it.t A Gospel according to Peter, first three centuries, without express terms of was another of the most ancient books of this kind; condemnation; and these are, the one, a book en- yet Serapion, bishop of Antioch, A. D. 200, bad titled the Freaching of Peter, quoted repeatedly not read it, when he heard of such a book being by Clemens Alexandrinus, A. Ď. 196; the other, in the hands of the Christians of Rhossus in Cili a book entitled the Revelation of Peter, upon cia; and speaks of obtaining a sight of this Gospel which the above-mentioned Clemens Alexandri- from some sectaries who used it. Even of the nus is said, by Eusebius, to have written notes; Gospel of the Hebrews, which confessedly stands and which is twice cited in a work still extant, at the head of the catalogue, Jerome, at the end ascribed to the same author.
of the fourth century, was glad to procure a copy I conceive, therefore, that the proposition we by the favour of the Nazarenes of Berea. Na have before advanced, even after it had been sub- thing of this sort ever happened, or could have jected to every exception, of every kind, that can happened concerning our Gospels. be alleged, separates, by a wide interval, our his One thing is observable of all the apocryphal torical Scriptures from all other writings which Christian writings, viz. that they proceed upon prosess to give an account of the same subject. the same fundamental history of Christ and his We may be permitted however to add, apostles, as that which is disclosed in our Scrip
tures. The mission of Christ, his power of work* In applying to this Gospel, what Jerome in the lat. ing miracles, his communication of that power to ter end of the fourth century has mentioned of a Hebrew the apostles, his passion, death, and resurrection, Gospel, I think it probable that we sometimes confound it with a Hebrew copy of Saint Matthew's Gospel, whether an original or version, which was then extant. *Lardner, Cred. vol. xii. p. 158. f Lardner, Cred. vol. xii. p. 53.
Jones, vol. i. p. 243. Lardner, Cred. vol. ii. p. 557.