A CRITICAL HISTORY Of the TEXT of the New Testament;

WHEREIN Is firmly Establish'd the Truth of those Acts on which the Foundation of CHRISTIAN RELIGION is laid.

By Richard Simon, Priest.

LONDON, Printed for R. Taylor, MDCLXXXIX.


THe Church, from the first and most early Ages of Christianity, has been constantly furnished with some Learned Men, by whose diligent care the Sacred Writings have been purged from those Faults, which by the tract of Time have insensibly crept into them. This kind of Labour, which requires an exact know­ledg of Books, joyned with a strict enquiring into the Manu­scripts, is termed Critical; in as much as it Judges and Determines the most Authentick Readings, which ought to be inserted into the Text. By this means Origen acquired his Reputation, not only in Greece, but universally over the Eastern part of the World, where the Bibles of his Corre­ction are by the general consent preferred to all others.

St Jerom, who may justly be stiled the Latin Origen, has done very great Ser­vice to the Western Church, by his Critical Correction of the Latin Bibles, in Ʋse in those Churches. Pope Damasus, very sensible of his profound Learning, obliged him to review the ancient Latin Version of the Gospels, which was then in a very miserable Condition. This look'd like too bold an Attempt, and seem­ed above the force of any private Person, who could never hope to escape the Hatred of a multitude of Persons in the free exercising his Censure of Books, which had long stood in the peaceable Possession of an universal Reputation.

In short, though it might perhaps be for the benefit of the Church, it was yet a dangerous matter to attempt a Reformation of those ancient Errors, which derive their Authority from their Age. Pius Labor, Hieron. Praef. in Evang. ad Dam. sed periculosa praesumptio judicare de caeteris, ipsum ab omnibus judicandum, senis mutare linguam, & caneseentem jam mundum ad initia retranere parvulorum. ['Tis a pious Work, (says that ancient Father) but very hazardous, that he exposes himself to the universal Censure, who teaches old Men to change their Language, and reduce the decaying World to a State of Infancy.] But considering on the one Hand the powerful Protection and Patronage of so great a Pope, and being on the other abundantly convinc'd of the manifest defect of that Translation, which had pre­vailed universally in the West; he resolved rather to expose himself to the Ma­lice of an infinite number of ignorant Persons, than fail in the discharge of his(a) Duty. He knew very well the charge of Innovation and Forgery, that would be [Page]drawn up against him for endeavouring to alter those ancient Books, which till his time had remained perfectly inviolable. But here he encouraged himself by the Precedents of Origen, Pierius, and some other able Criticks, who had per­formed the very same thing in the Greek Original, which he then attempted in the Latin Copies of the Gospel. For which reason he stoutly deposed all those which after his Reformation remained Bigots to the ancient Latine Version. Revertimur ad nostros bipedes asellos, Hieron. Epist. ad Marcell. & illorum in aure buccinâ magis quàm ci­tharâ concrepamus. Illi legant, spe gaudentes, tempori servientes nos legamus, spe gaudentes, Domino servientes.

But time did Justice to that Father. And 'tis a very difficult matter at pre­sent, to find any Copies of that Latine Version, which was then in Ʋse in the Western Church. Yet enough there are extant to be read as a Memorial to con­vince those who defend Errors meerly out of Veneration for their Antiquity, that St. Jerome has done the Church no small Service, in Correcting and Reviewing the ancient Latine Copies, according to the strictest Rules of Criticism. This we endeavour to demonstrate in this work, and that the most ancient Greek Ex­emplars of the New Testament are not the best, since they are suited to those Latine Copies, which St. Jerome found so degenerous as to need an Alteration.

Father Morin, and after him Father Amelot, who take such pride in those No­ble and Venerable Manuscripts, on account of their great Antiquity, never mind, that a thousand or twelve hundred years can never warrant them cor­rect, since there is evident proof of their Corruption before that time. It was necessary that I should examine to the bottom, the Circumstances of these Greek Texts, which have been produced to this Time. It is not sufficient to con­sult those Manuscripts with design only to mark their Antiquity, and quote the dif­ferent Readings. There is required a great deal of Discretion and Judgment, otherwise we shall mistake those Books which are altered, for Primitive and Apo­stolical Exemplars, which is the Case of the two Authors we are about to name.

Erasmus, who was well enough furnished with those sorts of Manuscripts, is ne­vertheless guilty of very gross Errors. He accuses the Greeks without reason, for cor­recting in some places, their Copies by those of the Latin, after their Re-union with the Roman Church. This groundless Accusation can proceed from nothing, but the want of knowledge of the Criticisms of those Copies, which he consulted.

Beza, who was Master of a greater Collection of Manuscripts of the New Testa­ment than Erasmus, though assisted too by both Robert and Henry Stephens, has not well distinguished the worth of his Manuscript Copies, whence I found my self in some places obliged to correct his Errors. This Man was so prejudiced by his Religion, as to accuse the Italians of Corrupting the old Text, and forcing it to a Compliance with their Opinions.

This Critical History contains divers other Remarks of the like Nature, upon the Manuscript Copies of the New Testament, both in Greek and Latine. My principal aim is to write a Supplement to the Defects of those who compile the different Readings out of the Manuscripts, without distinguishing the Good from the Bad. To which intent, it is necessary to read a great quantity, and nearly examine them in a Critical manner. This Art, whose difficulty appears formidable to some Divines in this Age, made part of their Occupation of some Ladies in St. Jerome's time: Who not content to read, the Scripture in the Vul­gar Tongue, dispersed among the People, they diligently enquired after the cor­rectest Copies, learning those very Tongues in which they were writ.

I assert nothing, which cannot be maintained by the Letters of those Pious Ladies, and the answers of that Learned Father, who has had oftentimes a diffi­cult Task to satisfie those Questions they propose on matters purely Critical. St. Jerome had advanced, that the Apostles had never cited any Passage in the Old Testament, which did not perfectly agree with the Hebrew Text. Eustochium, Hieron. Prooem. in lib. 16. Comm. in Isai. who perfectly understood the Greek and Hebrew Languages, opposed him with such powerful Arguments, that he was forced to own himself almost overcome with the strength of her Objections. Quod cùm audissem, quasi à fortissimo pugile percussus essem coepi tacitus aestuare.

It is no strange thing to find those Ages, when Barbarism reigned over all Europe, neglect Critical Studies. Then they wanted abundance of those helps, which they now enjoy to pursue those Studies, which are absolutely necessary to a per­fect Knowledg of Divinity. But that which amazes me, is, that in this very Age, this Art should still remain in contempt; and those Men be thought no more than Grammarians, who apply themselves to it. Besides, we cannot but see the manifest Errors of some Divines in this Age, who know not the true Laws of Criticism.

It is worth observing, that the ancient Hereticks have been perpetually ac­cused of having corrupted the Books of the New Testament, and perverted them to their own sence. That has often been thought a wilful and designed Corrup­tion, which proceeded only from the fault of the Transcribers, or diffe­rence of Copies. The Ecclesiastical Writers of the first Ages have not done that strict Justice to the Hereticks of their times, in relation to the New Testament, that they have given the Jews in the Disputes about the different manners of explaining the Old Testament. Those pretended Corruptions present­ly vanish upon Examination of the ancient Manuscripts, and the Original of the various Readings. Wherefore in this Piece I have justified the Arrians, Nesto­rians, and the rest of the Sectaries from that Imputation of having falsified the Originals of the Evangelists and Apostles, to maintain their Innovations. We have also plainly evinc'd, by some considerable Examples, that the most Learned Criticks of our Age are not exempted from those Prejudices in their declaring too freely those Hereticks falsifiers of the Text.

The case of some other Sectaries is not the same, who declared themselves open­ly against the Writings of Christ's Disciples, which they have corrected and al­tered according to their own Idea's of the Christian Religion. Some daring to forge Supposititious Gospels, and Acts, the better to give authority to their Foppe­ries. It would be very pertinent, for the better Distinction of all the Genuine Pieces of the New Testament, to make a Collection of those ancient Acts, and dili­gently examine them. Wherefore we have not concealed any of those Arguments which those Hereticks, or the other Enemies of Christianity have brought to destroy the Truth of those Books, which were received by all the Catholick Churches.

But as it would be a pernicious thing to expose these ill things, without ad­ministring Remedies too proper for the cure, we have also produced the strongest Reasons which the Ecclesiastical Writers have brought against them. We intreat the Protestants to make Reflection on these matters, and observe those methods of the first Ages of the Church, for establishing the Authority of the Sacred Wri­tings. They will find nothing impertinent in the Conduct. Irenaeus, Tertullian, and the rest of the Defenders of those Writings, did not object to the Enemies of the Christian Religion, their private Spirit, which perswaded them of the Divi­nity of the Holy Scripture, but very substantial Reasons, void of all such Fanati­cism. Tho they were sufficiently perswaded of the Divinity of the Holy Scripture, [Page]they never objected to the Adversaries, that it had imprest upon it such lively Characters of its Original, that it was a very difficult matter not to acknow­ledg it, when read with a Spirit of Submission and Humility. Their Adver­saries being Philosophers who consulted their natural Reason, they opposed them from sure and indisputable Principles.

Again, I thought in a Work of this nature not convenient to suppress the prin­cipal Objections of the Jews against the Books of the New Testament: For al­though this miserable Nation is an Object of the contempt of the whole World, yet has there appeared among them Men of great Address and Subtilty in the Disputes against the Christians, which I have often found true in my own Ex­perience, when I have endeavoured to convince them by their own Principles. Since their Plea for Prescription is better, and their Pretensions are that the Disciples of Jesus the Son of Mary, had no reason to change their Religion which was delivered them by the Fathers. It is but necessary to examin what they ob­ject against the Writings of the Evangelists and Apostles.

In this Critical History I have treated divers other important Questions: And where I deviate from the Methods of the Divines of the School, it is because I have found a more secure way. I have employed all my strength to avoid the ad­vancing any thing that is not grounded on authentic Records, instead of which the School-Divinity teaches us, to doubt of the most certain. Our Religion consist­ing principally in Matters of Fact, the Subtilties of Divines, who are not ac­quainted with Antiquity, can never discover certainty of such matters of Fact: They rather serve to confound the Ʋnderstanding, and form pernicious Difficulties against the Mysteries of our Religion.

Let it not seem strange to any Person, that I recede from the Opinions which are generally received in the Schools, and prefer to the Sentiments of whole Ʋniversities the new Opinions of some modern Divines, which can hardly be taxed as novel, when they are found conformable to the Ancient Doctors of the Church. This I speak in reference to that Passage, where I handle the Dispute which was formerly between the Divines of Louvain and Doway, and the Jesuits of that Country, concerning the inspiration of the sacred Books. The Doctors of both Faculties censured the Propositions of the Jesuites of Louvain in a manner very injurious to the whole Society. But after a due examination of the Reasons on which their grave Gentlemen founded their Censure, I could hardly believe their Authority alone a sufficient Rule to oblige me to assent.

I propose Truth alone to my self in this Work, without any Deference to any Master in particular. A true Christian who professes to believe the Catholick Faith, ought not to stile himself a Disciple of S. Austin, S. Jerome, or any other particular Father, since his Faith is founded on the word of Jesus Christ contained in the Writings of the Apostles, and constant Tradition of the Ca­tholick Churches. I wish to God the Divines of the Age were all of that opi­nion, we then should not have seen so many useless Disputes, which only prove the causes of Disorders in Church and State. I have no private Interest which obliges me to any Party, the very name of Party is odious to me; I solemnly protest, I have no other intentions in composing this Work, than the benefit of the Church, and the establishing the most sacred and divine thing in the World.

It is useless to repeat here what we said in another place concerning the word Critick, which is a term of Art, which in some sense is bestowed on all Works whose designs are to examin the various readings, and establish the true. The [Page]aim of those which practise that Art, it not to destroy, but establish. As the Holy Books are not exempt from faults, which either by the tract of Time, or negligence of the Transcribers have slipt into 'em; some Learned Persons in all Ages have taken care to render them correct. The most barbarous Ages have pro­duced Books, which they call, Correctoria Bibliae, or Corrections of the Bible. The Emperor Constantine, spared nothing to procure for the Oriental Churches correct Copies of all the Bibles. Charlemagne and his Successors have done the same for the Latine Bibles of the VVestern Churches.

Besides those which were formerly imployed in the Monasteries about Transcri­bing of Books: There were some Criticks who reviewed and corrected them. This is the Reason why in some Manuscript ancient Bibles, there are some Corrections found of equal Antiquity with the Books themselves. But without ascending so far to have a Precedent for the Ʋse of Critical Reflections on the Sacred Books, we need only consider the Transactions of the Latter Age, relating to the Latine Editions of our Bibles: VVhat prodigious pains was Robert Stephens at, accord­ing to the Relation of Hentenius a Divine of Louvain, to give us an exact and cor­rect Edition of the Bible? This Divine which laboured after Stephens in the same matter, admires the diligence and excessive expence of that Printer, to whom he ingeniously acknowledges himself indebted.Joann. Henten. Praef. in Bibl. Lovan. ann. 1547. Nemo est, qui nesciat, ut unum pro multis in medium adferam, quantam diligentiam, quantasque impensas tu­lerit Robertus Stephanus Regius apud Lutetiam Typographus, quem honoris causâ nomino, ut accuratissima & castigatissima nobis Biblia traderet, propter quod plu­rimum etiam illi debent quotquot Sacrarum Literarum lectioni sunt addicti, quem ob id etiam in multis secuti sumus.

The Doctors of the Faculty of Divinity of Louvain, perfected afterwards the Edi­tion of their Brother, with a greater Collection of Manuscripts, and re-altered some places according to the Rules of Criticism, which they thought not corrected with exactness enough. Nicolas Zegers, a Religious Man of the Order of St. Francis, apply'd himself entirely to the Correction of the Books of the New Testa­ment. He dedicated his Critique to Julian III. under the Title ofCastiga­tiones in Novum Testa­mentum, in quibus depravata restituun­tur, adje­cta rese­cantur, & sublata adjiciun­tur. Autore Tac. Nico­lao Zeger. Colon. ann. 1555. Corrections on the New Testament, wherein it re-established what was corrupted, expunged what was added, and added what was before expunged. He assures that Pope in his Epistle Dedicatory,(b) That he had freed from an infinite number of Faults and false Glosses the ancient Latine Version, which bad been in Ʋse among the VVe­stern Churches, from the very Times of the Apostles.

There is nothing more exactlyNotatic­nes in Sa­cra Biblia, quibus va­riantia dis­crepanti­bus exem­plaribus loca sum­mo studio discuti­untur. Antverp. ann. 1580. performed than the Critical Remarks of Lucas Brugensis in his Edition of the Latine Bible of the Divines of Louvain. Among the multitude of his Copies, he mentions one which was corrected by some Domini­cans on the Bibles of Charlemagne. He sets some marks of Esteem on another Manuscript, entitled, The Correction of the Bible. Praeter alia, id quod maxi­mi facimus Manuscriptum Bibliorum correctorium ab incerto auctore magnâ di­ligentiâ ac fide contextum. Luc. Brug. Notat. in Gen. c. 8. v. 7. And he assures us,(c) that the different Readings, [Page]which have been observed by the Criticks of the latter Times, are all found in this Book, where they are examined according to the Hebrew Text.

I have elsewhere mentioned another Manuscript of like nature, which is in the ancient Library of the Colledge of Sorbon. I have likewise given Extracts out of it, which manifestly prove that the Latins have not neglected the Critical Study of the Sacred Books, in those very Ages when Barbarism reigned in Europe.

It is a Vanity in the admirers of the Hebrew Text of the Jews, to bestow such great praises on the Massoreth, a good part of which consists in Trifles or superstiti­ous Observations. The Christians of both the Eastern and Western Churches, with more Judgment, have taken care in the Correction of the Bibles, as manifest­ly will appear by this Work. We ought to prefer to the Massoreth those learnedRoma­ni Corre­ctores. Criticks of Rome, which by the order of Pope Sixtus V. and Clement VIII. corrected the Latine Bibles, which Correction serves instead of an exact Massoreth to the Western Church. There are none but Protestants of ill minds, such as Thomas James, Author of the Bellum Papale, who cavil at the differences of the Editions of the Bible published by those two Popes. There may indeed be a more perfect work, but that ought to be reserved for particular Notes, which no ways diminish the Authority of those Books received into publick Ʋse.

I must only add two words concerning those Acts which are made use of in this Work. For the Manuscripts, I mark the Libraries where they are found, I have cited none without reading them; the Extracts being all done by my self, except that of Cambridge, which contains the four Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles. I had procured out of England a faithful Copy of this last Manuscript in what re­lates to the Greek, which I have exactly followed.

As for the Printed Books, of which there are numerous Quotations, for the most part I have contented my self to relate the Passages in short following the sense only, in the Body of the work. For long Citations of Passages where there are but five or six words, perhaps, pertinent to the Occasion, must needs prove very tiresom. This is the very same Method which I have followed in the Critical History of the Old Testament. But some Persons desiring such Passages at length, to avoid searching them in the Books, to comply with their Desires, and keep to our Method; we judged it convenient to put them at large at the bottom of the Page in the proper Languages of the respe­ctive Authors.

A CRITICAL HISTORY Of the TEXT of the New Testament, Wherein is establish'd The Truth of those ACTS on which CHRISTIANITY is founded.

CHAPTER I. The Verity of the New Testament defended in general against the ancient Hereticks. Reflections upon the Principle made use of by the Fathers to establish the Authority of these Books.

JEsus Christ having profess'd that he came not into the World to destroy the Old Law, but rather to accomplish it,Matt. v. 17. it seem­ed not to him necessary to publish his Doctrine in Writing. He was content to prove his Mission by his Miracles, and to support his Reformation upon the Books of the Old Testament which were received by all the Jews, to whom the Messias had been promised. So that we do not find him to have given order [Page 2]to his Disciples to putany thing into Writing. He only commands them to Preach his Gospel to all the Nations of the Earth; Go ye, says he to them,Mar. xvi. 15. into all the world, and preach the Gospel. The Books of the New Testament took their Original from this preach­ing. This it was that caused Tertullian to say,(a) That the Apostles, to whom Jesus Christ had given this Command to pro­mulge the Gospel, were the Authors thereof. Upon the whole matter, the Gospels had not been put in Writing but at the re­quest of those People who were willing to preserve the memory of that which the Apostles had preached to them. S. Paul com­posed the greater part of his Epistles for the Instruction of Churches which were already erected. That History which we call the Acts of the Apostles was published to no other end but to shew to the Faithful the Progress of the Christian Religion upon its first advance into the World: and the Christians not having at that time any State separate from that of the Jews, and being present and assisting at all their Ceremonies in the Temple and in the Synagogues, they had no Persons appointed to record any thing of importance which pass'd among them. And this is the reason that we find not here, as in the Old Testament, any pub­lick Writers who had the Charge of collecting the Acts of their State. This, during the Primitive times of Christianity, gave a pretence to several Hereticks to doubt of the truth of those Apo­stolical Books which to them seem'd to want some publick At­testation. S. Ignatius, in one of his Epistles, complains,(b) That he understood there were some men who said they could not be­lieve the Gospel, except they could find it written in theThere are some who read [...], Ancients. Archives. The holy Martyr answers them, That it was written, that the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and a Faith in him, were instead of the most authentick Archives. It was then difficult to distinguish the Books which had been composed by the Apostles, or by their Disciples, from those which had been forged by false Apostles or by some Sectaries. Every one bore in its front either the Name of the Apostles in general, or of some single one of their number: and since there were no publick Archives, to which recourse might be had for the deciding and clearing of matters of this nature, the Hereticks took occasion from thence [Page 3]to publish a great number of false Acts; of which hardly any thing is left to Posterity except the Titles of them and a few Fragments.

These Sectaries boasted that they taught the Doctrine of the Apostles, or at least of their Disciples. Basilides, who was one of the most ancient Hereticks, avouched that he had for his Ma­ster,(c) Glaucias, one of St. Peter's Interpreters. Vàlentin af­firmed with the same boldness, that he had been instructed in Religion by Theodad, (d) who was one of St. Paul's familiar Ac­quaintance. But whereas they did not agree amongst themselves, and on the contrary the Doctrine of the Apostles was perfectly uniform in the Churches that they had planted; the Fathers made use of this Uniformity of Doctrine to confirm and establish the truth of the Apostolical Writings. Clemens Alexandrinus answers Basilides and Valentin, that there was but one true ancient Church, that was before all Heresies. From thence he brings an unque­stionable proof of the falsity of the Doctrine of these Sectaries, who durst be so bold as to give the Name of [...]. the Doctrine of the Apostles to their own Inventions: he represents to them, that(e) the Doctrine of the Apostles were one, as well as their Tradition. The Primitive Christians argued against the Hereticks of those times, from Tradition, and from the Conformity of that Belief that was manifest in all the Churches founded by the Apostles; as may be seen at large in the Works of St. Irenaeus, Tertullian, Epi­phanius, and St. Augustin, and in a word, of all the Fathers that have defended the Writings of the Apostles against the Hereticks. Whensoever any Sectary opposed the declared Gospel, they im­mediately convinced him of the forgery of those Acts that he produced, by the true ones that were kept in the Apostolical Churches, and were instead of Archives. (f) If any one, saith St. Epiphanius, should go about to counterfeit the Edicts or Ordi­nances of Emperors, the Cheat would be soon laid open, by pro­ducing the true Copies taken from the Archives of the Court; In like manner, adds he, false Gospels composed by Hereticks may be detected; their spuriousness may be easily discovered, by [Page 4]producing the true Gospels, that are kept in the Churches as it were in Archives.

This manner of defending the Truth of the Apostolical Wri­tings against the ancient Sectaries, hath proved so effectually convincing, that the Gnosticks were obliged to support their No­velties, to fly to I know not what secret Tradition that was known to none but themselves. They were so insolent as to prefer themselves before the Apostles and Disciples of Jesus Christ, accusing them as not having preached the Purity of the Gospel with sincerity, because, say they, they have retained many Ce­remonies of the old Law. They thought by this means, that they might be able with Authority to reform the Writings of the Apo­stles.(g) There is no way (saith St Irenaeus) of convincing this sort of People, neither by the Testimony of the Scriptures ge­nerally received in the Churches planted by the Apostles, nor by authentick Traditions, because they imagine themselves to be above all this. They were persuaded, that they alone were in possession of the truth of Religion that contained hidden My­steries: Se indubitatè & incontaminatè & sincerè absconditum scire mysterium. Iren. ibid. And since they had joined Philosophy with Christi­anity, they intended also to accommodate the one to the other. They argued on matters of fact after a pure metaphysical man­ner; and being filled with an infinite number of Prejudices and Notions taken from the Principles of their Philosophy, they re­formed the Doctrine of the Apostles, and even that of Jesus Christ on this foundation, under pretence of bringing Religion to a greater Perfection. They pretended that the Apostles had preach­ed the Gospel before they had a perfect knowledge of the Truth, and that therefore they were at liberty to correct them: Ante praedicaverunt, quàm perfectam haberent cognitionem. This was that which caused them to take the ambitious Title of Learned and Knowing Men, or Gnosticks, as if none but they were endued with the true knowledge of Religion. They vainly boasted also that they had reformed the Apostles:Iren. ibid. Gloriantes emendatores se esse Apostolorum. S. Irenaeus sharply reproves their rashness in bragging that they had made perfect that which was gross and obscure in the Gospel published by the Apostles.

It hath been necessary to make all these Reflections on the an­cient [Page 5]Sect of the Gnosticks, because they have applyed themselves more than any others in those primitive times of the Christian Religion, to the obtruding of false Acts under the Names of the Apostles, or other specious Titles. These are a sort of Philoso­phers that ought not to pass but for half Christians, who have al­tered the Traditions that the Disciples of Jesus Christ had left to the Churches. And therefore no regard ought to be had to all the Books that they have produced under what Name soever, since they have professed that they understand Religion better than the Apostles themselves, and(h) have been so bold as to publish new Gospels, to which they have given the Title of The Gospel of Truth, altho these Gospels do not agree with those of the Apo­stles. This alone is sufficient to make it appear, that the Gospels of the Gnosticks were false Acts, that cannot be opposed to the Apostolical Writings that have been acknowledged by the primi­tive Churches.

It were an easie matter to answer Celsus by this same Principle, who heretofore objected to the Christians, that they changed their Gospel every day, adding thereto, and diminishing what they thought fit, that they might be able by this means to retract that which they had formerly alledged. Origen judiciously answers this Philosopher, who was a great Enemy to the Christian Re­ligion, that he unhappily confounded the ancient Sectaries with the true Faithful. He protests, that he knows not in the least, that the Gospel hath been corrupted by others than the Gnosticks or Marcion: (i) This is not a Crime (saith he) that ought to be imputed to the Gospel, but to them that have dared to corrupt in He brings an Example of the Sophisters, whose false Doctrine cannot be attributed to true Philosophy.(k) It is the same thing (saith this great Man) with respect to the Sects that have intro­duced Novelties into the Doctrine of Jesus Christ, which cannot be charged on true Christianity. It is certain, that in all times, and in all places there hath been a perfect Conformity between the different Copies of these Books; the Diversities that are found [Page 6]therein, and shall be remarked in the Sequel of this Work, are not of so great moment, as that we may say with Celsus, that the Christians have changed their Gospels, to the end that they might suit them to their own opinions. This cannot be under­stood but of the ancient Hereticks, who having no certain Rules for their Belief, reformed them according to their capri­cious humor. This is that for which the Orthodox Christians heretofore censured the Theodosians, Euseb. l. 5. Hist. Eccl. c. 28. who corrupted the Sacred Books under a pretence of correcting them; and whereas several among them had taken this liberty, all their Copies differed one from another: there were of them under the Names of Ascle­piades, Theodosius, Hermophilus and Apollonius, that did not in the least agree together.

I will say nothing here concerning the Gospel of the Marcio­nites whereof Origen makes mention, because I design to treat of it in another place: I shall only add, that if we compare the Gospels and the other Books of the New Testament with the Liturgies that we have under the Names of several Apostles, to whom the most part of the Eastern Christians do attribute them, we shall be convinced that the Gospels are truly of the Apostles. For all the Churches have preserved them in their ancient Purity; whereas every particular Nation hath added to their Liturgies, and hath taken the liberty often to revise them. The respect that hath been always had to the Writings of the New Testament, without inserting any considerable Additions therein, is an evi­dent proof, that all People have looked upon them as Divine Books, which it is not lawful for any to alter. On the contrary they have been persuaded, that the Liturgies, altho they bear the Names of the Apostles, or of some Disciples of Jesus Christ, were not originally written by them to whom they were attributed. And therefore it hath been left free to the Churches to add to them, or to diminish from them, according as occasion requires.

The Principles that have been maintained above in discoursing of the Gnosticks, may serve to confute the Manicheans, who like­wise acknowledge nothing Divine in the Scriptures but that which pleased them, or rather was agreeable to their Fancies. This caused S. Austin to say, addressing himself to Faustus, who was one of the chief of this Party,(l) You are then the Rule of Truth, whatsoever is against you is not true. He clearly demonstrates to them, that they were only upheld with false prejudices, when they [Page 7]rejected the Writings of the Apostles against the Authority of all the Churches of the World, and at the same time received the Apocryphal Books that had no Authority. If any one (continues this Father) should oppose you, and should make use of your own words, that that which you alledge on your behalf is false; and on the contrary that which is against you is true,(m) what would you do? How could you defend the truth of those Acts that you produce? How could you prove their Antiquity, not having any Witnesses in Tradition by whose Testimony they might be confirmed? From whence he concludes(n) that it is ab­solutely necessary on this occasion to have recourse to the Authority of those Churches that were established ever since the primitive times of the Christian Religion, and to the consent of Nations that have received the Books of the New Testament from the Apostles.

He observes further, and more close to the purpose; that if it were only disputed concerning the variety of Copies, since they are but few in number, it would be sufficient to consult the Co­pies of different Countries; and if they did not agree in this point, the greater number should be preferred before the lesser, or the more ancient before the later: Plures paucioribus, aut vetustiores recentioribus praeferrentur. But the Manicheans, who judged not of the Truth of these Books but with relation to their own Ideas, re­fused to submit to this Authority, they consulted only their reason in matters of Fact, wherein all Deference ought to be given to Authority; therefore when any passage was urged to them that thwarted their Opinion, they boldly affirmed that that part had been corrupted, or that the Book wherein it was found had been composed by some Impostor under the name of the Apostles. Faustus, for example, who avouched, that after having diligently perused the Books of Moses, he could not find therein any Pro­phecy that had any regard to Jesus Christ, takes this method in an­swering the Texts of the New Testament. Where express men­tion is made of these Prophecies, Jesus Christ saith in speaking of himself, Moses hath wrote of me; Faustus answers to this,Joann. v. 46. that after a serious examination of this passage,(o) his reason obliged [Page 8]him to conclude, either that it was false, or that Jesus Christ had not spoken the truth; and since it would be no less than impious Blasphemy to say that God could lie, it would be more advise­able to attribute the falsification to the Writers themselves. When it was demanded of this Heretick why he did not receive the Old Law and the Prophets whom Jesus Christ himself hath authorised in the New Testament, by his words, I am not come to destroy the Law or the Peophets, Matth. v. 17. but to fulfil them: he objected against the Testimony of S. Matthew, because he is the only Evangelist that hath related this. It is supposed (saith he) that this Discourse was delivered in the Sermon that Jesus Christ made on the Moun­tain. In the mean time S. John (p) who was there present speaks not a word thereof; and yet they would have S. Matthew, who saw nothing, to mention it. He pretends that this hath been wrote by some other person, and not by S. Matthew.

After this manner the Manicheans who sacrificed all to their Reason, and almost nothing to Authority, entirely destroyed the Books of the New Testament, receiving them no farther than they were conformable to their Prejudices: they had formed to themselves a certain Idea of Christianity, after which they regu­lated the Writings of the Apostles. They would have it that all that which could not be adjusted to this Idea had been inserted in their Books by later Writers who were half Jews: Faustus saith, Multa enim à majoribus vestris eloquiis Domini nostri inserta verba sunt, Apud Aug. l. 33. cont. Faust. c. 3. quae nomine signata ipsius cum fide non congruant; praesertim quia, ut jam saepe probatum à nobis est, nec ab ipso haec sunt, nec ab ejus Apostolis scripta; sed multa post eorum assumptionem à nescio qui­bus, & ipsis inter se non concordantibus Semi-Judaeis, per famas opi­nionesque comperta sunt, &c.

But S. Augustin represents to them in this very same passage, that one must renounce common sense to argue after this man­ner on matters of Fact, to which imaginary reasons ought not to be opposed.(q) We cannot be certain (saith he) of any Book, if once we call in question those Works that the Church that is extended throughout the whole World receives with a common consent, and if on the contrary we authorise as Apostolical Books [Page 9]that dispute therewith, and that carry the name of Writers who have lived a long time after the Apostles. He charges them(r) with making Fables and Apocryphal Works to pass for Apostolical Wri­tings: and he shews at the same time the falsity of these Acts, because they have not any testimony of the Doctors of the Church that were then living. He urgeth Faustus to prove what he hath alledged, by Books that are Canonical, and generally received in all the Churches: Non ex quibuscunque literis, sed Ecclesiasticis, Canonicis, Ca­tholicis. Aug. l. 23. adv. Faus. c. 9. This Holy Doctor calls this way of arguing of the Mani­cheans folly, insaniam & dementiam, who not being able to accom­modate the Writings of the Apostles to the Idea that they had form­ed to themselves of the Christian Religion, or under colour of cer­tain contradictions in the Scriptures, which they could not resolve(ſ) would needs have it believed that these Books were composed after the Apostles themselves by uncertain Authors, who had made bold to borrow the Names of these Apostles to gain Credit and Au­thority to their Works.

To convince them the more easily of their folly, he sets before their eyes the Books(t) of Hippocrates, Plato, Aristotle, Varto and Cicero, and of several other Writers, that are believed to be the Au­thors of those Works that we have under their Names, because they have been attributed to them in the time wherein they lived, and they have been always so attributed successively from Age to Age. Now there is nothing more contrary to reason, than not to grant the same privilege to the Church, and not to acknowledge that she hath faithfully kept the Writings of the Apostles, whose Doctrine she hath always preserved by the means of the Succession of Bishops.

We have enlarged a little on these Reflections of S. Augustin, and of the other Fathers that preceded him, because they have mightily e­vinced the Truth of the Books of the New Testament, without ha­ving recourse to I know not what particular Spirit, which is an in­vention [Page 10]of these later times. We cannot imagine any thing more opposite to good reason, than these Words of the Confession of Faith of those that formerly took the Name of the Reformed of the Churches of France: Confess. Art. 4. We acknowledge these Books (in speaking of the whole Scriptures) to be Canonical, not so much by the common agree­ment and consent of the Church, as by the testimony and inward persua­sion of the Holy Ghost. The Fathers nevertheless have always con­futed the ancient Hereticks who refused to acknowledge these Books as Canonical, by the common agreement and consent of the Church. It would have been a pleasant way of reasoning, if every one in these primitive times of Christianity, would not have acknowledged for divine Books, only those that his private Spirit should dictate to him to be such. This hath appeared to be so great an extrava­gance to those of that Persuasion, who in the Low Countries are called Remonstrants, that they look upon the Calvinists that follow this Principle, as People that have renounced common sense. Simon Episcopius, who hath been one of the Champions of this Party, after having handled this question with a great deal of subtilty, concludes that it is a very ill sort of argumentation, to admit besides the testi­mony of the Church, another inward testimony of the Holy Ghost, to know whether certain Books have a divine Authority stampt upon them. Hinc patet (saith this Protestant) ineptos esse eos, qui vel praeter vel citra testimonium Ecclesiae requiri aiunt internum Spiritus Sancti testimo­nium, ad hoc ut libros hos divinos esse, & authoritatem divinam habere intelligamus. Remonst. Confess. c. 1. de scrip. n. 8. It is sufficient according to the Remonstrants, that we have there upon the testimony of(v) the primitive Church, that certainly knew that these Books were written by the Apostles, or ap­proved by them, and that this testimony is come down to us by a constant Tradition. This Spirit that is diffused through the whole Church, ought without doubt to be preferred to a private Spirit, that can only serve to make a division therein.Grot. A­nimad. in Anim. Riv. This is what Grotius hath judiciously observed: Spiritus ille privatus (saith this Critick) Spiri­tus Ecclesiae divisor.

It would be to no purpose for the Calvinists to object to the Remon­strants, that their Opinion is taken out of the Writings of Socinus; because an evident truth ought not to be rejected, under pretence that it may be found in the Books of Socinus. This Heretick hath proved in his Treatise Of the Authority of the Holy Scriptures, and in [Page 11]another Work intituled Sacred Lectures, the Truth of the Sacred Books, and principally of those of the New Testament, by the very same reasons, and after the same manner that S. Irenaeus, Tertullian and S. Augustin have done.Socin. lib. de Auctor. Script. sac. (x) Let them read (saith Socinus) that which Eusebius hath written on this matter in his Ecclesiastical History, and they will find therein a perpetual consent of all the Churches of the World, since these Books were written, to the time of this Author. He insists very much in these two Treatises on the Testimonies of the ancient Fathers. Will any one say for this, that this is a Socinian Method, because Socinus hath made use of it after the most Learned Ecclesiastical Writers? Would to God that this Enemy of the Traditions of the Catholick Church had always fol­lowed this Principle! he would not have introduced so many Inno­vations into Religion. Neither can he avoid an Objection that may be made even by those of his own Party, that according to his Prin­ciples, he ought necessarily to acknowledge a Tradition after the same manner as it is maintained in the Church of Rome. We cannot (might they say to him) receive the Gospel of S. Matthew, and re­ject that which hath been published under the Name of S. Thomas, without establishing Tradition at the same time, because it is im­possible to prove this by any Testimony of the Scriptures.

Socinus, To answer this Objection without departing from his Principle, lays down(y) a certain Medium between the Scriptures and Tradition; which Medium consists, according to his opinion, in written Histories, in other Testimonies and in Ratiocinations, from whence it is proved without making application to any Autho­rity of the Church, that the Gospel of S. Matthew contains the true History of Jesus Christ, and that on the contrary, that which carries the name of S. Thomas is a suppositious Book. Episcopius and [Page 12]the other Remonstrants do also make use of this Answer, that they may not be obliged to acknowledge the Traditions of the Church. But this Medium which they suppose to be between the Scriptures and Tradition, is a true Tradition, which differs in nothing from that which S. Irenaeus, Tertullian, Epiphanius, S. Augustin and several other Fathers have established, when they intended to convince the ancient Hereticks of the Truth of the Apostolical Books. These Histories, and these other Acts whereof Socinus makes mention, are taken from the Churches, or from Ecclesiastical Writers; and this is that which composeth Tradition. He ought to agree to it himself, since he avoucheth in his Treatise of the Authority of the Holy Scriptures, that since the times of the Apostles to those of Eusebius, none have doubted in the Church, that the Books of the New Testament were not composed by those, whose Names they bear. For it is cer­tain that many Hereticks that were out of the Church, have not on­ly doubted thereof, but have absolutely rejected them. That which hath deceived Socinus and the other Sectaries, is a false notion that they have conceived of the Authority of the Church; they imagine that she Judges by her own Authority only, and not upon good Acts and Records, that the Books that compose the Old and New Testament are Divine and Canonical.

CHAP. II. Concerning the Titles that are at the Head of the Gospels and other Books of the New Testament: Whether these Titles were made by the Authors of these Books, or whe­ther they were since added?

WE have no solid proof in Antiquity, to make it appear to us, that the Names that are set at the Head of every Gospel, were thereunto prefixed by those who are the Authors of them: S. John Chrysostom assures us expresly of the contrary in one of his Homelies:(a) Moses (saith this Learned Bishop) hath not put his [Page 13]Name to the five Books of the Law that he hath wrote: those also that have collected the Acts after him, have not set their Names at the beginning of their Histories. The same may be said of the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. As for S. Paul, he hath always set his Name at the beginning of his Epistles, ex­cept that which is directed to the Hebrews: and the Reason that S. John Chrysostom produceth is, because the former wrote for the use of Persons that were present; whereas S. Paul wrote Letters to per­sons that were at a distance. If we should refer our selves herein to the Testimony of this Father, we cannot prove precisely from the Titles only that are at the Head of every Gospel, that these Gospels have been composed by those whose Names they bear, at least if we do not joyn to this, the Authority of the Primitive Church, that hath added these Titles. On this Principle it is that Tannerus and other Jesuits supported themselves in a Conference that they had at Ratisbonne with some Protestants, to shew that they could not clear­ly prove the Title of S. Matthew, and without the Testimony of the ancient Ecclesiastical Writers, that this Gospel was made by him whose name it bore: they insisted that they could not bring other Proofs of this Truth than those that were taken from humane Au­thority, and not from the Scriptures themselves, since they had been added to them: Ex solo testimonio hominum, eorumque non omnium, sed eorum tantum qui Ecclesiae corpus constituunt, David Schramus Theologus & Eccle­siastes in aula ad austrum Neoburgi­ca, edit. Giessae Hassorum, ann. 1617. A Protestant Divine who had assisted at this Conference, hath composed a Book on purpose on this Subject, to prove the contrary to that which the Je­suits maintained. But to say the truth, there is more of Subtilty in these sorts of Disputes than of solid Arguments: for although it were true that S. Matthew is the Author of the Title of his Gospel, re­course must always be had to the Authority of the ancient Ecclesi­astical Writers, to shew that this Title is of him, and that this Gospel certainly belongs to him whose Name it bears; at least if we decline flying to a private Spirit, which hath been above discoursed, and cannot be approved by any judicious Persons.

These Titles are so ancient in the Church, that Tertullian reproves Marcion, who acknowledged the Gospel of St. Luke, from which he had only took away some Passages,(b) for having no Title at the head of his Copy; as if it were not lawful for him (saith this Father) to annex a Title to a Work, the Text whereof he had ventured to corrupt. He adds further in this same place, That he could not [Page 14]proceed in the Dispute that he held with this Heretick, since he had a right to reject a Book as suspected, the Title whereof did not ap­pear; that he was willing, nevertheless, thus far to condescend to him, because it is easie(c) to judge by the Copy of S. Luke that was read in the Church, whether that of Marcion were the same, ex­cepting that which he had cut off from it. It is not to be inferred that Tertullian was of Opinion that it might be proved by the Titles only, that the Gospels belonged to those whose Names they bore; otherwise he ought to have acknowledged as the true Gospels, an infinite number of false Books that carried the Names of the Apo­stles: It was necessary, according to his mind, to have besides this, a constant Tradition founded on the Testimonies of those who had lived before; therefore he adds at the same time, that(d) altho Marcion should have published his Gospel even under the name of S. Paul, this Title would have availed nothing, at least if it had not been accompanied with these Testimonies.

He goes yet farther in declaring that he did not take advantage of the Title that is at the beginning of S. Luke in the Copies of the Church,Ibid. De titulo quoque funis ducendus est contentionis pari hinc inde nisu fluctuante. For as to the Title alone Marcion might say, as well as the Orthodox, That the Gospel which he produced was the true one.(e) To which then shall we adhere? (saith Tertullian) by what Rule may we determine which is the true Gospel, whether that of Marcion that hath been corrupted, or that of the Church which is supposed to be entire, at least if regard be had to Antiqui­ty? insomuch that the most ancient should be the true, because the verity of an Act always preceeds the corruption of the same. In quantum enim falsum corruptio est veri, in tantum praecedat necesse est ve­ritas falsum. On this uncontroulable Principle he makes it appear that the true Copy of S. Luke was that which the Orthodox made use of, since Marcion himself had not acknowledged any other be­fore he had separated from the Church, which he accused of Ju­daizing; and he chiefly defended himself with this pretended Ju­daism, from the Charge of not receiving this Gospel entire, which he said had been interpolated by those that authorized Judaism: Inter­polatum à protectoribus Judaismi.

Lastly, Tertullian concludes, That there was no other true Copy of S. Luke but his, because it was before that which Marcion had corrected; and the Reason that he alledgeth is this, That he could not amend any but that which was in the Church, and was conse­quently antecedent to his. Id emendans quod invenit, & id posterius quod de nostro, emendatione constituens suum & novum fecit. But since it might be objected to him, that it is not always true, that the most ancient Books are the most correct, because they also may have been corrupted, at least if they be not the true Originals: he answers, that it is necessary to look back to the time of the Apostles, to be cer­tain that we have their genuine Writings.(f) Now we are assured (according to his Opinion) that a thing belongs to the times of the Apostles, when we see that it hath been inviolably preserved in the Apostolical Churches.

All these Arguments of Tertullian prove, that the constant Tra­dition of the Church is the mark by which we distinguish the Divine and Canonical Books from those that are not so; and that it is this same Church that hath added, or at least approved of the Ti­tles of the four Gospels, to denote to us, that these Gospels were written by Apostles, or by their Disciples; which does not in the least agree with this private Spirit of some Protestants. In seems that Beza believed that the Titles of the Gospels were no less dicta­ted by the Holy Ghost than the Text it self:Th. Bezae Resp. ad defens. & reprehens. Seb. Ca­stal. this he insinuates in his Answer to the Defense of Castalio, whom he reprehends for ha­ving translated in his Latin Version of the New Testament these Greek Words, [...], by these, auctore Matthaeo. Maldonat hath observed with much more Judgment,(g) That it is not the custom of the sacred Writers to put Titles at the beginning of their Works; but that they either omit them altogether, or they include them within the first Words of their Books, which he demonstrates by Examples taken out of the Old Testament; whence he infers, that it is probable that the Evangelists are not the Authors of the Ti­tles of their Gospels. He proves it also by the Example of S. Mark, who would have put two Titles to his Book, if he were the Author of the first that runs thus, The Gospel according to Mark, because he begins his History with these other Words, The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He adds farther, That if the Evangelists had been [Page 16]the Authors of these Titles, there would not have been found so great an uniformity amongst them as appears; they would have made use of different Expressions, as they do in the other parts, where they relate the same things, but in different terms: instead of writing all, The Gospel according to N. Again he confirms his Opinion by the diversity that is found among the Greek and Latin Copies;Maldon. ibid. for these last read, The holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to N. which proceeds from this (saith Maldonat) that the Greek Church hath put the Greek Title, and the Latin Church the Latin: quod Graecum Titulum Graeca, Latinum Latina.

It seems that Beza in this case chose rather to prefer the Title of the Latin Copy before that of the Greek, when he accuseth Castalio of having falsly translated auctore Matthaeo; as if S. Matthew had been the Author of his Gospel: for, to confute his Adversary with more force, he saith,(h) That we read not the Gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Mat­thew, Mark, Luke and John, as it is in all the Latin Copies. Never­theless this Reading is not found but in the Latin Version, and not in all the Latin Copies neither. If Maldonat may be believed, there is only the Arabick Version printed at Rome, Nov. Test. Arab. edit. Romae, an. 1591. where it is read, The Gospel of Jesus Christ according as it hath been written by S. Mat­thew, one of his twelve Disciples. But it is easie to judge, that this Arabick Title hath been taken in part from the Latin; and those who have copied or translated these Arabick Gospels, have added the rest; therefore we read in the two other Arabick Editions, The Gospel of Matthew, or of St. Matthew. It is no otherwise in the Syriack, the Ethiopick, and the Persian: in a word, it is only in the Latin Version where it is read, The Gospel of Jesus Christ; which is an apparent Imitation of the first Words of the Gospel of St. Mark. However it be, the Opinion of St. John Chrysostom, who believed that none of the Gospels were written with the Titles that are at present prefixed to them, seems to me more probable than that of some Authors, especially among the Protestants, who attribute them to the Evangelists, and will have them to be a part of the Gospels. It is much more likely, that the Primitive Christians have annexed them thereunto in those times wherein it was evident that these Gospels did truly belong to those Persons whose Names are put to them: on this account it is, that we find the Name of S. Luke ad­ded to the beginning of some MSS. Greek Copies of the Acts of the [Page 17]Apostles, as I have observed in three MSS. of the King's Library. We read in two of these Manuscripts,(i) The Acts of the Apo­stles by Luke the Evangelist; and in the other,(k) The Acts of the Holy Apostles by Luke an Apostle.

Furthermore, the Greek Word [...], Gospel, which signifi­eth literally Good News, is taken here for Preaching, insomuch that the Gospel of S. Matthew is nothing else but the Preaching of this Apostle, who hath made a Collection of the Actions and Words of his Master: therefore the Syrians have entituled this Gospel,Nov. Test. Syr. The Gospel, the Preaching of Matthew. The Arabick Versions that have been taken from the Syriack, do also make use of an Arabick Word that signifies Preaching.

I do not think it necessary that I should insist on these Words [...], according to Matthew, according to Mark, as some Commentators on the New Testament have done; it seems to me to be too nicely explained. They imagine, that those that have put these Titles have made choice of this Expression on pur­pose, to shew that neither Matthew, Mark, Luke nor John, were the Authors of the Gospels, but that they had only written them: this seems to me to be a pure Subtilty; for, according to the Style of those times, [...], according to Matthew, is the same thing with [...], of Matthew. It was said after the same manner, the Gos­pel [...] according to the Hebrews, and [...], according to the Egyptians, that is to say, of the Hebrews, and of the Egyptians; as it hath been also said [...], the Heresie according to the Phrygians, which is the same thing as [...], the Heresie of the Phrygians. Beza himself, who was so excessively transported against Castalio about the Version of these Words [...], which he had translated auctore Matthaeo, confesseth, that it is commonly said, the Gospel of S. Matthew and of S. Mark, as it is said the Epistles of S. Paul and of S. Peter: but he was afraid lest this Title of Castalio should cause it to be believed that the Evangelists are strictly the Authors of the Gospels that they have published, whereas they are only the simple Scribes or Writers of them; as if in the very Elegan­cy of the Latin Tongue, Auctor was not the same thing as Scriptor. They that affirm that this Expression [...], according to Mat­thew, seems to denote that St. Matthew and the other Evangelists had not written their Gospels themselves, have a great deal more reason to fear, lest they should be only Collections that their Disci­ples had made of the Preachings of their Masters. But this Ob­jection [Page 18]is answered at one stroke, by making it appear that there is no difference as to the sense, between these two Expressions, [...] according to Matthew, and [...], of Matthew. Castalio, who professeth rather to render the Sense than the Letter, hath not ill translated auctore Matthaeo: and therefore Beza was in the wrong, in taking an occasion from thence to accuse him for having de­nied the Inspiration of the Sacred Books.

I cannot but wonder that Grotius should insist on this nicity of Beza, Grot. An­not. in tit. Matth. and that he hath remarked after him, in his Notes on this Passage of St. Matthew, that the ancient Title was not simply [...], Gospel, but [...], the Gospel of Jesus Christ, af­ter the same manner as it is in the beginning of S. Mark. He judg­es this to be the reason why it was not put [...], the Gospel of Matthew, but [...], according to Matthew. This Ob­servation hath no foundation; for [...], according to Matthew, and [...], of Matthew, are the same thing, as hath been proved above. We see also, that the Syriack Version, the Arabick (except the Copy of Rome, that hath been apparently alter'd in this point from the Latin) the Ethiopick and the Persian, all read the Gospel of Matthew.

The great antiquity of this Title [...], Gospel, is ordinarily proved by these words of St. Justin Martyr, in his Apology for the Christians,(l) The Apostles in the Acts that they have committed to Writing, that are called Gospels. Instead of the word Acts, it is in the Greek of this Father [...]. We have at this day four Books of Xenophon extant, wherein he relates the Words and Acti­ons of Socrates, that are entituled [...], and in Latin, according to the Translation of Cardinal Bessarion, Xenophon­tis de factis & dictis Socratis memoratu dignis. It is in this same sense that this holy Martyr cites the Gospels in his Dialogues against Try­phon, Just. Mar. in Dial. cont. Tryph. under the Title of [...], as if the Apo­stles had had no other design in their Writings that have been call­ed Gospels, than to publish the Words and Actions of Jesus Christ.

Moreover, it is worth the observing, that although the Apostles were not the Authors of the Titles that are set at the head of their Gospels, we ought nevertheless to receive them after the same man­ner as if they had put them there themselves, because they are de­rived from the first beginnings of Christianity, and are further au­thorized by a constant Tradition of all the Churches of the World. Erasmus, who found a great difficulty in concluding concerning the [Page 19]Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, that bears not the Name of St. Paul, protests, that if the Church hath pronounced any thing thereupon, he would readily submit to her Decision, which he pre­fers before all the Reasons that may be proposed to him.Erasm. declar. ad Theol. Pa­ris. Plus apud me valet (saith this Critick) Ecclesiae judicium, quam ullae rationes humanae.

CHAP. III Concerning Books that have been published under the Name of Jesus Christ and the Apostles. Of several other Acts forged by the ancient Hereticks. Reflections on the whole matter.

IT hath been observed above, that Jesus Christ never published any Work to make known his Doctrine, and that he did not so much as give order to his Disciples to write that which he had taught them, but only to preach it to all the Nations of the Earth: never­theless, there have been found Impostors who have set forth Books under his Name, and have attributed to him certain Acts written in form of Letters, the forgery whereof discovers it self, in regard they are directed to Peter and Paul. They have not minded, when they composed these Letters, that Paul was not the Disciple of Jesus Christ till after the Death of the same Jesus Christ.(a) How then could it be (saith St. Augustin) that he should write to Peter and Paul, as to his dear Disciples with whom he conversed famili­arly, since this latter was not then in the number of his Disciples? Besides, these Books were full of Secrets, or rather Superstitions, of the Art that is called Magick; which in no wise agrees with Jesus Christ, who hath always professed, and the Christians after him, to condemn this kind of Superstition. It is probable, that whereas his extraordinary Actions were famous throughout the World, and his Miracles surprizing, they took occasion from thence to feign this Work to disperse abroad I know not what magical Secrets, which they pretended he had put in practice: indeed the Jews, who were his Enemies, not being able to deny the truth of his Mi­racles, [Page 20]gave it out every where that he was a Magician. They have not been ashamed also to set down these Fables in their Talmud, and to say that Jesus had learned in Egypt the most subtil Mysteries of Magick.Apud Origen, lib. 1. cont. Cels. Celsus reproaches the ancient Christians almost after the same manner, under the Person of a Jew whom he introduces to speak. This Epicurean Philosopher attributes the miraculous Actions of Jesus to Magick, or rather to a certain Art that was learned (as he saith) in Egypt.

The Letter of Jesus Christ to Agbar King of Edessa, seems not to be so far from Truth, because Eusebius that produceth it with the Letter of this Prince to Jesus, assures us, that he hath taken these two pieces from the Archives of Edessa, that contained the Records of what hath passed under the Reign of Agbar, and that they were still kept in his time written in Syriack, which was the Language of the Country; from whence they were translated into Greek. Ne­vertheless Pope Gelasius had reason to reject this Letter of our Sa­viour to Agbar as Apocryphal:Gelas. decr. 1. par. dist. 15. c. 3. Epistola Jesu ad Agbarum apocrypha. I am apt to believe that these Letters were really found in the Ar­chives of the City of Edessa; but we ought not too easily to give credit to the first Originals of Churches: every one strives to ad­vance their Antiquity as much as is possible, and they make no scruple on such occasions to counterfeit Acts when they have none that are true.

Eusebius appeared much more judicious when he rejected, as Tales made at pleasure, certain Parables and Preachments that Papias attributed to Jesus Christ, and avouched that he heard them reported by those very Persons that had learnt them of the Apostles. We ought then to take it for a certain Maxim, that Jesus Christ hath written nothing, and that we have nothing of his but what we have received from his Apostles. This gave occasion to some Pagans who had a Veneration for him, to say,(c) That they could not believe the Gospel, because he had not written it himself; and that his Disciples, who were the Authors thereof, had took upon them too much in making him God.Aug. lib. 1. de cons. c. 7. S. Augustin con­futes these People in his first Book of the Consent of the Gospels; They attribute (saith he, in speaking of these Pagans) a most excellent Wisdom to Jesus Christ; but they always consider him as a Man,(b) [Page 21]and they pretend that his Disciples have bestowed Qualifications upon him that he had not: they declare that they have a disposition to believe his Word, in case he had himself committed it to Writing, but refuse notwithstanding to give credit to the preaching of the Apostles. S. Augustin propounds to them the example of Pythagoras and Socrates, two of the greatest Men of the Pagan Antiquity, who have written nothing of their own Actions, no more than Jesus Christ, and yet they do not for this reason decline referring them­selves to their Disciples herein. He demands of them(d) why they rather believe the Disciples of these two Philosophers in that which they have written concerning them?

This arguing of S. Augustin manifestly supposeth that we have no Writings of Jesus Christ: and this is what he affirms in express terms in another place, where he answers Faustus, who pretended that we ought to seek for that which Jesus had said of himself: Quaerendum esse quid de se Jesus ipse praedicavaerit. Can this be known otherwise (saith this Father) than by the Writings of his Disciples? Numquid hoc sciri potest, nisi discipulis ejus narrantibus? (e) If there were (adds he) any Writings that had been truly of Jesus Christ, how comes it to pass that they were not read nor received in his Church, and that they were not set in the highest rank therein? This also is the Opinion of Origen in his first Book against Celsus, Orig. l. 1. cont. Cels. where he acknowledgeth that Jesus hath published nothing of his Actions; that we know them only by the Relations of his Disciples in their Gospels.

As for what concerns false Gospels, false Acts, false Apocalypses or Revelations, and other pieces of the like nature that have been composed under the Names of the Apostles, there hath been so great a number of them, that it would be very difficult to describe them all exactly. Pope Gelasius hath furnished a Catalogue of them long enough, which hath been inserted into the Decretal of Gratian: Decr. 1. part. dist. 15. c. 3. and altho these false Books have been almost all lost, yet there are some Fragments of them remaining in the ancient Ecclesiastical Writers. S. Luke seems to have written his Gospel, only because some, who had undertaken the same thing before him, had not acquitted themselves faithfully therein. This is the Sense that the Fathers ge­nerally [Page 18] [...] [Page 19] [...] [Page 20] [...] [Page 21] [...] [Page 22]give to the first words of this Evangelist, when they explain the Greek Word [...],Luc. i. 1. which is translated in the vulgar Latin conati sunt. Many (saith Theophylact) have written Gospels, and(f) we have Examples of them in that which is called The Gospel of the Egyptians, and in another intituled The Gospel of the Twelve. These People (adds he) have only made an attempt, but they have not finished. The common Opinion of the ancient Interpreters of the Scriptures, whether Greek or Latin, is that S. Luke designed to mark out in this place those Writers that durst publish false Gospels. Pseudopostolos (saith Baronius) & Pseudoscriptores his suggillatos verbis à Lu­ca firma est Patrum sententia. Baron. an. Christ. 58 n. 31. Nevertheless many of them have been de­ceived, when they have produced as Examples of these false Gospels, Writings that have not been published till after the time of S. Luke.

This hath given occasion to some Learned Commentators on the New Testament to doubt of the Explication that the Fathers have brought of this Greek Word [...], who take it in a bad sense in this passage. Maldonat after he hath rehearsed in few words what several Fathers have thought thereupon, adds,(g) that he will not recede from the common Opinion, altho it be not grounded on any convincing Reason, because the Verb [...] may also be explained in a good sense. But whether there were any false Gospels or not, before S. Luke published his, we cannot doubt but a great number of them have been forged since that time, of which the Hereticks have been the Authors. I will not here speak of that of the Nazareans, which was called also the Gospel [...], according to the Hebrews, because I am persuaded that this Gospel was the Original of S. Matthew, into which they after­wards inserted some Additions, as I shall shew hereafter.

The Ebionites who read this same Gospel of S. Matthew according to the Hebrews, (h) had others also which they had substituted un­der the Names of the Apostles, especially of James and John, that they might the more easily impose on those of their own Sect, by those false Gospels that went under the Names of the Disciples of Jesus Christ. They had the impudence even to counterfeit new Acts of the Apostles, which they filled with Impieties and Defamations [Page 23]against S. Paul, whom they called, by way of raillery, The man of Tarsus, being desirous to prove from thence that he was not a Jew by Nation, but a Proselyte, and one born of Parents that had been converted from Gentilism to the Religion of the Jews. Never­theless Eusebius assures us, that these Hereticks did not receive any but the Gospel called According to the Hebrews, and that they had but little esteem for the others. In regard that they had preserved Judaism with the Christian Religion,Eusebius Hist. Eccl. lib. 3. c. 27. they absolutely rejected the Epistles of S. Paul, whom they treated as an Apostate, because he had (said they) abandoned the old Law, [...].

The Gnosticks who fancied themselves to have a more perfect knowledge of Religion than all the other Christians, and looked upon the Apostles, as Men that were but rude and stupid even when they▪ published their Gospels, composed a Work in Verse,Epiph. Haer. 26. n. 22. which they called [...], the Gospel of Perfection. (i) They made use of a Gospel also that they attributed to S. Philip, a Disciple of Jesus Christ, some words whereof Epiphanius relates. Some of this same Sect that was divided into several Branches, had invented a Gospel intituled [...], the Gospel of Eve, wherein they scattered their wild conceits under the Name of this Woman, whom they considered as a perfect Gnostick, who had received great illu­minations in the Conference that she held with the Serpent.

The Sethians who were another sort of Gnosticks, who boasted, that they took their original from Seth, whom they believed to be Jesus Christ, had forged(k) an Apocalypse under the Name of the Patriarch Abraham. S. Epiphanius observes judiciously, that the design of these Gnosticks in publishing so many false Books under such great Names was to delude the simple, and to cause them to believe that they were ignorant of nothing concerning the Life of Jesus Christ. Those amongst them who were called Marcosians, Epiph. Haer. 34. n. 18. had composed certain false Histories of his Infancy, wherein they observed after what manner he had learned to read.

The Encratites who acknowledged for the Author of their Sect the famous Tatian, a Disciple of S. Justin Martyr, (l) adhered to the Acts of S. Andrew, S. John, S. Thomas, and some other Apocry­phal Books, as it were to the Authentical Scriptures. Those that [Page 24]took the Name(m) of Apostolical, and were a Branch of the Encratites relyed after their example on the false Acts of S. Andrew and S. Thomas (n) the Origenians, whose Opinions came near to those of Epiphanius, who was of the Sect of the Gnosticks, made use also of the Acts attributed to S. Andrew, and of some other Books of the same nature. The(o) Manicheans had composed a Gospel under the name of Thomas, and they made choice of this name of a Gospel to impose on the simple. Cyril of Jerusalem who lived a little after the first appearance of this Sect, attributes this Gospel to one of the Disciples of Manes named Thomas (p) Let none (saith this Holy Bishop) read the Gospel of Thomas; for he is not one of the twelve Apostles, but one of the three wicked Disciples of Manes. The Names of these three Disciples, according to the te­stimony of the same Cyril, were Thomas, Baddas and Hermas. Ne­vertheless Pope Gelasius condemns it,Gelasius decr. 1. par. dist. 15. c. 3. as belonging (as they said) to the Apostle S. Thomas. Evangelium nomine Thomae Apostoli quo utun­tur Manichaei apocryphum. S. Augustin writing against Faustus hath made mention of certain Apocryphal Books which the Manicheans made use of,Aug. cont. Faust. lib. 22. c. 79. wherein were related several Actions of S. Thomas, of which he hath produced some Examples. But not to be tedious, I shall pass by many other Gospels that have been published under the Names of the Apostles; the Titles of them may be seen in the Catalogne of Pope Gelasius, who hath ranked them in the number of Apocryphal Books.

Altho the Church doth acknowledge as Canonical only two E­pistles of S. Peter, that are also but short; yet (if we believe the an­cient Hereticks) he hath composed several other Works that are mentioned by S. Jerome, viz. certain Acts, a Gospel, an Apoca­lypse, and two other Books,(q) one of which was intituled, The Preaching of Peter, and the other, The Judgment. Eusebius who hath also taken notice of these Books attributed to S. Peter, adds, [Page 25]that they were generally rejected by all the Catholicks,(r) because it did not appear that any Ecclesiastical Writer had ever subscribed to their Authority: which is not true; for he avouches himself in another place, that Clement of Alexandria hath cited the Apocalypse of S. Peter: the same Clement hath also cited the Book that bears the Title of [...], The Preaching of Peter; he hath also produced some Fragments of these two Works; which Origen hath likewise done after him. It is probable, that Eusebius only intended to say, that no Ecclesiastical Author had quoted these Books as Divine and Canonical. After the same manner may be explained another Pas­sage of his History, where after he had rejected as Apocryphal, the Gospels that had been published by the Hereticks, under the Names of Peter, Thomas, Matthias and some other Apostles, he adds,Euseb. Hist. Eccl. l. 3. c. 25. that no Ecclesiastical Writer since the Apostles to his time had made mention of these Gospels.

Serapion Bishop of Antioch hath written a Letter on purpose against the Gospel that bears the name of Peter, Seraph. a­pud Eu­seb. Hist. Eccles. lib. 6. cap. 12. on occasion of certain Christians of Rhossus in Cilicia, who having read this Gospel, were fallen into the Error. He saith in this Letter, that he embraced as well as they the Writings of S. Peter and the other Apostles, as the Word of Jesus Christ; but that he rejected this false Gospel that had been forged under the Name of S. Peter, and was not grounded on any Tradition. The Hereticks that were called Docites made use thereof; and Serapion himself before he had examined it, had per­mitted those of Rhossus to read it; but afterwards having found some Passages therein contrary to the Orthodox Faith, he absolutely for­bad them the reading it. Sozomen affirms(s) that the Apoca­lypse attributed to S. Peter was read even in his time every year on Good Friday in some Churches of Palestine, altho this Piece had been exploded by all Antiquity.

The ancient Ecclesiastical. Authors do moreover make mention of certain Acts attributed to S. Paul, which Eusebius hath rejected as Apocryphal.(t) We receive not (saith this Historian) among the Books that are not suspected, that which is called the Acts of Paul; and he speaks of these Acts in another place(v) as a false and sup­posititious [Page 26]Writing. Many other Books have been compiled under the Name of this Apostle, and among others an Apocalypse or Re­velation, which Pope Gelasius hath inserted in the List of Apocryphal Pieces:Gelasius decr. 1. part. dist. 15. c. 3. Revelatio quae appellatur Pauli Apostoli apocrypha. Sozomen hath observed,(x) that in his time the greatest part of the Monks very much esteemed this Apocalypse, tho it had no testimony of Antiquity. To gain more authority to it, they feigned that it had been found at Tarsus in Cilicia, buried under ground in S. Paul's House. The Cainites who acknowledged Cain for their Father, from whom they took their Name, had forged another Work, under the Title of [...],Epiph. Haer. 38. n. 2. that contains the History of that which happened to S. Paul when he ascended into Heaven, where he learn'd things which he was not permitted to reveal. The Gnosticks adopted this Book for their use. I shall not insist on some Epistles that have been also published under the Name of S. Paul, because I shall have occasion to speak of them in another place.

Besides all these Acts counterfeited under the Names of the Apo­stles, of which scarce any thing is left but the Titles, we have others more entire that have been Printed, but they are so full of Fables and absurd Tales, that we cannot read them without being at the same time convinced of their falsity. Is there any thing for example, more ridiculous than the Gospel attributed to Nicodemus? There is nothing also that comes nearer to Fable, than the little Book intituled Protevangelium Jacobi, The first Gospel of James, wherein it is treated among other things concerning the Birth and Infancy of the blessed Virgin Mary. William Postel who first brought this false Gospel from the Levant, would persuade all the World to believe, that it was read publickly in the Eastern Churches, and that they did not there doubt of the Author thereof. He translated it out of Greek into Latin, and having sent his Translation to Oporinus, a Printer at Basil, Bibliander caused it to be Printed with this specious Title, Pro­tevangelion, sive de Natalibus Jesu Christi & ipsius matris Virginis Mariae Sermo Historicus D. Jacobi Minoris consobrini & fratris Domini Jesu, Protev. Jac. edit. Basil. in 3. ann. 1552. Apostoli primarii, & Episcopi Christianorum primi Hierosolymis. He added also some Notes thereto after his way with a Discourse, wherein he avoucheth after Postel, that this History of the Birth of Jesus Christ, and of the Virgin, passeth for an authentick Book in the Oriental Churches:Biblian. in Epist. nunenp. Authenticus habetur in Orientalibus Ecclesias. The Greek of this little Work hath also been printed afterwards at Basil with the Latin Version in a Collection of several Pieces, [Page 27]intituled, Monumenta Orthodoxa. The Title that answers to that of the Latin Translation is thus expressed;An. 1569. [...].

If the Commentary on the six days of the Creation, that Leo Allatius hath published under the Name of Eustathius Bishop of An­tioch who lived at the beginning of the fourth Century, did certain­ly belong to that Bishop, the Protevangelium would be of sufficient Antiquity: there is found in this Book a considerable fragment of it, that is delivered in such manner, that the most fabulous part thereof is omitted. The Expression that Eustathius useth in citing it, makes it appear that he did not believe it to be of St. James, under whose name they had published it, but of another James: for observe how he speaks,(y) It is convenient here to peruse the Hi­story that one James relates of the Virgin Mary. However it be, we find in the ancient Ecclesiastical Authors a part of the things that are contained in this little History, and that apparently come from the Gnosticks, who had written many Fables relating to the Birth of Jesus Christ, and the Virgin.

I admire that the Protestants who have caused this Protevangelium of James to be printed, have thought it worthy to be published with some other pieces of the like nature under the Title ofOrtho­doxogr. edit. Basil. Lat. ann. 1555. & ibid. Lat. & Gr. an. 1569. Biblian. ibid. Orthodoxo­grapha. Bibliander seriously divulgeth the Impostures of William Po­stel, who had averred, that this Protevangelium was the beginning of the Gospel of S. Mark, and even the foundation of Evangelical History: this he repeats also in a little Discourse wherein he gives his Judgment of this Book. Ipse Postellus (saith he) aestimat [Prote­vangelium] ut gemmam inter Libros Theologicos, & Basim atque funda­mentum totius Historiae Evangelicae, & caput Evangelii secundùm Mar­cum. Biblian. in censu. & judic. Protevan. In a word, he forgets nothing that might set a value on this wicked Piece, which he thinks to be recommendable, because it hath not been reckoned in the number of the Apocryphal Books with the Gospels of Nicodemus, Thomas, and many others that are recited at large in the Catalogue of Pope Gelasius. But this proves only that the Protevangelium had not been as yet published in that time, or that not being translated into Latin, this Pope had took no cognisance thereof. Indeed he hath placed among the Apocryphal Works, a Book that treated on the same Subject, as may be judg­ed by the Title; Liber de Nativitate Salvatoris (saith Gelasius) & de [Page 28]Sancta Maria, Gelas. apud Grat. decr. 1. part. dist. 15. c. 3. & de obstetrice Salvatoris, apocryphus. It were to be wished, that Father Jerom Xavier, a Missionary Jesuit, had not in­serted so many very improbable things taken out of this sort of Books in his History of Jesus Christ written in the Persian Tongue.

It would be to no purpose for me to enlarge any farther on the false Acts that have been published under the names of the Apo­stles; it is enough to observe in general, that they have been for the most part invented by Hereticks that have been willing to sup­port their Novelties, by attributing them to some Disciples of Jesus Christ. Hegisippus, who lived immediately after the Disciples of the Apostles, speaking of Apocryphal Books, testifies(z) that a part of these Books have been composed by the Hereticks of his time: therefore when the Primitive Fathers designed to judge whether a Book were Canonical or not, they have examined its Doctrine, to see if it were conformable to that which was taught in the Catho­lick Church: they have moreover consulted the ancient Ecclesia­stical Authors who have lived since the Apostles to their times, that they might by this means know the Tradition. Serapion applied these two Rules to the Gospel that passed under the name of S. Peter, which was read by those of the Church of Rhossus, thinking that it did certainly belong to him whose name it bore.(a) We have found (saith this holy Bishop) in this Gospel,Serap. a­pud Euseb. Hist. Ec­cles. lib. 6. c. 12. many things that agree with the true Religion of Jesus Christ; but there are also some things that are far from it. He judgeth in the same place, that the Act that had been produced to him was false, because it was not grounded on Tradition.

Not but that the Fathers have sometimes made use of Apocry­phal Books, and have quoted even false Gospels; as for example, the Gospel that is called [...], according to the Egyptians, is not to be allowed as authentick for this very reason, that it is thought to be most ancient, and that mention is made thereof in Clement of Alexandria: it ought not to be rejected neither, under this pretence alone, that the Gnosticks and Sabellians have maintained their Errors by this Book. The Primitive Fathers, who have written against the Pagans and Jews, do sometimes follow in their Disputes, and even in their other Works, the method of Rhetoricians, who often employ Reasons purely probable, and doubtful Acts, after which we must not always regulate our selves. This is to be seen princi­pally [Page 29]in the Works of Clement of Alexandria and Origen. Clement hath on this account related some Words of Jesus Christ,(b) that are not to be found in the four Evangelists authorized by the Tra­dition of the Church; and he saith that they are in the Gospel of the Egyptians. He only quotes them after the Heretick Cassian, Clem. Al. l. 2. Strom. and in arguing with the Followers of Basilides, he refers to certain Writings attributed to St. Barnabas. On the other side, the Here­ticks making Profession of Christianity as well as the Orthodox, have not always recourse to apocryphal and supposititious Pieces to defend their Innovations. Therefore to judge rightly of an Act, whether it be valuable or not, in point of Religion, and whether it carrieth with it a Divine Authority, it is absolutely necessary to apply to it the two Rules that have been above mentioned. S. Au­gustin's Advice is, when any such Difficulties arise,(c) to have re­gard to the plurality of Churches, and to prefer those that are in a greater number and of more eminent note, before the others that are in a lesser number and less considerable.

There is another sort of Acts attributed to the Apostles or their Disciples, that have been rejected as Apocryphal in process of time, though in the beginning they did really belong to those to whom they were ascribed, or at least to their Disciples who had publish­ed them under the name of their Masters. But these Acts having been interpolated and mangled by the Hereticks, or else by others, we have been obliged not to allow them any longer as authentick. St. Epiphanius seems to have put in this rank the Book called [...], the Constitution of the Apostles, which he often quotes, as if it were indeed theirs. He draws from thence Proofs to con­firm the judgment of the Church, when he examines the opinion of the Audians concerning the Passover, who produced one of these Constitutions, attributing it to the Apostles. This Father being very far from condemning, or even doubting of it, received it with them as Apostolical, reproving them only for taking it in a wrong sense. And whereas these Constitutions were from that time su­spected by some, he adds that they ought not to be rejected for this, because they contained the whole Ecclesiastical Discipline; which [Page 30]makes me judge that he had another Copy different from that which we read at present. He appeared to be so well persuaded that these Constitutions were made by the Apostles, (d) that he calls them the Word of God. Nevertheless, it is more probable that the Apostles, who had received Orders from Jesus Christ to preach his Gospel, and not to compose Books, are not the Authors of these Constitutions that bear their Name. But as S. Mark calls his Gospel the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so in like manner Apostoli­cal Men, who succeeded the Apostles, have collected their Doctrine and Constitutions, and published them under the Name of the Apostles. It is in this sense that the Apostles Creed is so called, being that ancient Confession of Faith that all the Churches un­doubtedly received from the Apostles, though they had not com­mitted it to Writing.

CHAP. IV. The ancient Fathers have not produced the Originals of the New Testament in their Disputes against the Hereticks. An Examination of Proofs that are brought to shew that these Originals have been kept in some Churches.

WE may conclude from all that hath been above related, that the most ancient Fathers of the Church, when they de­signed to establish the truth of the Books of the New Testament, have not had recourse to any Originals that had been kept in the Apostolical Churches, but only to true and exact Copies of them, which being found the same in all these Churches, were in the place of the Originals themselves. On this depends all the Dispute of Tertullian against Marcion, and that of S. Augustin against Faustus a Manichean Sectary. These two Hereticks refused to acknowledge the Copies that were approved in the Catholick Church. Tertullian and S. Augustin did not oppose to them the Authority of any Ori­ginal Pieces, but only the constant Tradition of the Churches. Vides (saith S. Augustin speaking to Faustus) in hac re quid Ecclesiae Catholicae valeat auctoritas? Aug. lib. 11. cont. Faust. c. 2. Is it possible (may some say) that God hath given to his Church, Books to serve her for a Rule, and that he hath at the same time permitted that the first Originals of these [Page 31]Books should be lost ever since the beginning of the Christian Re­ligion? There have been from the very first planting of the Church, Hereticks who have disputed against the Writings of the Apostles, and therefore it seems to behove the Divine Providence to preserve these Originals at least for some time, from whence these Here­ticks might be solidly confuted.

But it hath been already made appear elsewhere,Rep. à la Defense des Sent. de quelq. Theol. de Holl. ch. 6. pag. 179. that it is no won­der that the Primitive Christians, who had not a regular Body of a State in which they lived, and whose Assemblies were on the con­trary furiously disturbed by the Jews and Pagans, had lost the Originals of their Books. Besides, the Apostles had no order from Jesus Christ to write their Books, as hath been above observed: and although they should not have been written, Religion would be equally preserved by the means of Tradition, after the same manner as it had been established before the Apostles had com­mitted any thing to Writing.Iren. l. 3. adv. Haer. c. 4. Quid si (saith St. Irenaeus) ne (que) Apo­stoli quidem Scripturas reliquissent nobis, nonne oportebat ordinem sequi traditionis quam tradiderunt iis quibus committebant Ecclesias? Upon the whole matter, Jesus Christ had sent his Apostles to all the Nations of the Earth, only to preach his Doctrine to them. That which the ancient Christians have called Gospel, is only a Col­lection of the Preachings of these same Apostles, or of their Dis­ciples.

As for what relates to the Primitive Hereticks, they would not have been more solidly confuted by opposing to them the Originals of the Writings of the Apostles, since they took the liberty to re­form their Doctrine, and to set up in opposition to their Books I know not what Traditions, of which they themselves were the Au­thors; as may be seen more at large in the Books of S. Irenaeus, who understood perfectly well the Opinions of these ancient Sectaries, of which he hath left us some Records. He declares, for example, in speaking of the Gnosticks, Iren. adv. Haer. lib. 3. cap. 2. that he had to do with Persons that did not acknowledge the Scriptures, nor the Tradition of the Church, but that squared both the one and the other according to the measure of their own Prejudices; therefore he forgets nothing that may serve to establish the true Traditions by which Religion ought to be regulated.

Although the Scriptures are a sure Rule on which our Faith is founded, yet this Rule is not altogether sufficient of it self; it is ne­cessary to know, besides this, what are the Apostolical Traditions; and we cannot learn them but from the Apostolical Churches, who have preserved the true Sense of Scriptures. S. Irenaeus adviseth, [Page 32] (a) that the sacred Books should be read, to be informed from thence of Religion: but at the same time he adviseth, that they should be read wich those who being the Successors of the Apostles, have been as it were the Depositaries or Stewards of their Doctrine. There was no talk in those days of reading the Holy Scriptures in the Originals; any Copy whatsoever, provided it were used in the Orthodox Churches, might be relied on, as if it had been the first Original written with the hand of the Apostles. We ought to give the same credit to Copies that have been made of the Apostolical Writings, as to the very Originals, because these Copies have been taken from thence even from the times of the Apostles, and have been afterwards dispersed almost throughout the whole Earth: they have been preserved in all the Churches of the World, having been translated into divers Languages; insomuch, that there is no Book the Copies whereof are more authentick than those of the New Te­stament: and in this we ought chiefly to acknowledge the peculiar Providence of God in the preservation of these Books that he hath given to his Church by the Ministry of the Apostles, or of their Disciples.

Some pretend nevertheless to make it appear by actual Proofs ta­ken out of the ancient Ecclesiastical Writers, that the original Wri­tings of the Apostles have been preserved in the Church during se­veral Ages: and this must be examined in particular, though I have already discoursed thereof elsewhere. In the first place they pro­duce a Passage of Tertullian in his Book of Prescription against He­resies, where he saith, in speaking of the Churches that had been founded by the Apostles,(b) that they yet kept in his time their Authentick Writings.Pamel. Annot. in lib. Tertul. de Praescr. c. 36. Pamelius, in his Notes on this Passage, af­firms after another Author, that the Word Authentick cannot be ta­ken but for the Originals that had been written with the very hand of the Apostles themselves; after the same manner as Lawyers call a Testament Authentick that hath been written with the hand of the Testator, to distinguish it from a Copy. This is also the Sense that Grotius, Grot. de Verit. Re­lig. Christ. lib. 3. Walton, Huetius, and many others, have given of these Words of Tertullian. Tertullianus (saith Grotius) aliquot librorum ipsa Archetypa suo adhuc tempore ait extitisse. He avoucheth, from this [Page 33]place of Tertullian, (c) that some Originals of the New Testament have been preserved till the beginning of the third Century.

But if we carefully examine the different Passages wherein Ter­tullian makes use of the Word Authentick in his Works, we shall find that he hath meant nothing else by this Expression than Books writ­ten in their Original Languages. This is what Rigaltius hath very well observed on this Sentence of Tertullian, where explaining the Word Authenticae, he saith,Rigalt. Annot. in lib. Tertul. de Praescr. c. 36. Lingua scilicet eadem qua fuerant ab Apo­stolis conscriptae sonantes vocem uniuscujusque. Sic ipse lib. de Monogamia, ad Graecum authenticum Pauli provocat. Whereas the Latin Version of the New Testament was only read in the Churches of Africa, he gives the Name of Authentick to the Greek Text: and in this Sense it is that quoting this Text in his Book of Monogamy, he saith, Sci­amus planè non esse sic in Graeco authentico. St. Jerom also useth the like Expression with respect to the Old Testament, when he op­poseth the Hebrew Text to the Greek and Latin Versions; for he calls the former Veritatem Hebraicam, the Hebrew Verity; designing thereby to denote the Originals of the Scriptures which he likewise denominates as Tertullian doth, Authenticos libros, Tertul. lib. de Monog. c. 11. in his Commen­tary on chap. 64. of the Prophet Isaiah: nevertheless he did not be­lieve that these were the first Originals written with the hand of the Prophets. We express our selves also at this day after the same manner, when we say that a Version of the Scriptures is not con­formable to the Original. Tertullian therefore doth not speak of any other Originals in his Book of Prescription, than those that we have just now remarked. As to the Authority of Lawyers that Pa­melius opposeth, it is easie to remonstrate by the Testimony even of the most learned Lawyers, that the Word Authentick is often taken in a less strict sense. Every Act that proves and procures credit of it self, whether it be an Original or not, is accounted Authentick. An Author that publisheth some Manuscript Piece, assures us that it is taken ex codice authentico, from an authentick Copy; Doth he mean by this that he hath the Original of the Book that he sets forth, in his own hands?

In the second place they offer an actual Proof taken from Eu­sebius. Euseb. Hist. Eccl. l. 5. c. 10. This Historian speaking of the Zeal and of the Charity of the ancient Christians, who went to preach the Gospel to the most remote Nations, after the Example of the Apostles, saith that Pan­tenus quitted the City of Alexandria, where he was the Principal of a School or Colledge of Christians, to promulge the Religion [Page 34]of Jesus Christ to the Indians. This faithful Evangelist being among the Indians or Ethiopians, found there a Copy of S. Matthew's Gospel, written in Hebrew, that S. Bartholomew, the Apostle of these People, had left, and was believed to be preserved there to that time.

But besides that, Eusebius doth not confirm this History by any Ecclesiastical Writer, being content only to say that it was a com­mon Report, [...]. I do not see that it can be unquestionably pro­ved from these Words, that the Hebrew Copy that Pantenus found at his Arrival in that Country, was the Original that St. Bartholomew had left there. He only intended to say, That the Ethiopians, who had been converted to the Faith of Jesus Christ by this Apostle, did not make use of the Greek Gospel of S. Matthew, but of the Hebrew or Chaldaick that had been written for the first Christians of Jeru­salem. If this History were true, the Primitive Christians of Ethi­opia were descended from the Jews, and spake the same Language as those that inhabited Judea. This is all that can be concluded from the Discourse of Eusebius, which hath been amplified in pro­cess of time. St. Hierom doth not seem to have understood the sense of this Historian, when he saith in his Catalogue of Ecclesiastical Writers, that Pantenus (d) returning to Alexandria, carried back with him the Gospel of St. Matthew written in Hebrew Characters. Eusebius saith only, that the Christians of Ethiopia had preserved this Hebrew Gospel until the Arrival of Pantenus.

The third material proof that is brought is taken from the Chro­nicle of Alexandria, wherein it is observed, that a correct Book of the Gospel of St. John, that had been written with that Evangelist's own hand, was preserved in the Church of Ephesus. Peter Bishop of Alexandria maintained that it ought to be read in the xix Chap. of S. John, ver. 4. [...], it was about the third hour, (e) because (saith he) this reading is found in the correct Copies, and in that which had been written with St. John the Evangelist's own hand; which Copy is kept at present, by the Grace of God, in the most holy Church of Ephesus, and is there adored by the Faithful.

It is no difficult matter to judge that all that was said in that time at Ephesus concerning the Original Writing of St. John, who had been Bishop of that City, was only grounded on a popular Er­ror; [Page 35]several like instances whereof it were easie to produce. Can we see any thing more ridiculous than the Tradition of the Venetians with respect to the Gospel of St. Mark, the Original of which, written with his own hand, they pretend yet to keep even to this very day? Baronius could not forbear rejecting this Tradition, as having no foundation in Antiquity. Fertur traditione magis (saith this learned Annalist) quàm antiquorum certo testimonio, ipsum Mar­cum, Evangelium suum quod Romae Latine scripserat, cum Aqualejae moraretur, missus illuc à Petro ad eam erigendam Ecclesiam, in Graecum transtulisse, ipsumque Originale diutius asservatum Venetias demum esse translatum. Fabiano Justiniani, a Priest of the Oratory of Rome, who hath believed with Lucas Brugensis, that the Latin Gospel of St. Mark which we have, hath been translated from the Greek, doth not stick to declare(f) to us the common belief of the People of the State of Venice, who shew the very Original of St. Mark written in Greek, and even the Ivory Chair wherein he had written it. It is not necessary to confute this sort of vulgar Traditions, that are grounded on no Acts, as Baronius himself hath acknowledged.

The same thing may be said concerning the Tradition of those of Ephesus related by Peter Bishop of Alexandria: we might demand of him who are the ancient Ecclesiastical Writers that have made men­tion before him, of this Gospel written with St. John's hand? It is requisite that they should explain to us after what manner, and through what Channel this original Piece is conveyed down to this time without having any knowledge thereof in the preceding Ages. If St. Epiphanius had heard any News of this Original, he would not have failed to refer the Alogians to it, who generally rejected all the Books of St. John, which they ascribed to the Heretick Cerin­thus: on the contrary, he only opposeth to them good Reasons; and being very far from disputing with them on a vain Tradition that had no grounds but the simplicity of the People,(g) he saith, if they had only disallowed the Apocalypse, it might be thought that a certain too curious criticizing Humor had obliged them to em­brace this Opinion, not to receive an Apocryphal Book, because there are some things in this Book profound and obscure.

Lastly, they oppose that which happened under the Emperor Zeno in the Isle of Cyprus, where Anthimius Bishop and Metropoli­tan of this Island, was advertised in a dream of the ground-plot where the Body of St. Barnabas had been enterred, which was found accordingly in the place that had been revealed to him, having on his Breast the Gospel of St. Matthew written with his own hand. This Copy was immediately sent to the Emperor, who received it with a profound respect, and kept it as a precious Relick in a Church that was in his Palace. The Church of Constantinople read the Go­spel once every Year in this venerable and august Copy of St. Bar­nabas. To render this Story more probable, they add the Testimo­ny of Cardinal Baronius, who averreth that we cannot doubt there­of, it being generally received of all the World; besides that it hath been written by an Orthodox Monk named Alexander, who lived in that time.

It cannot be denied indeed, but that a great number of Greek Historians, one after another, have related the matter of fact, as is above said. Theodorus Lector (h) doth even specifie the name of the Tree under which the Body of St. Barnabas was found who had on his Breast the Gospel of St. Matthew: Nicephorus, Cedrenus, Joel, Nilus Doxapatrius, and some other Greek Writers, have also made mention of this Gospel of St. Matthew written with the hand of St. Barnabas; but they do not tell us whether it were Hebrew or Greek; which is the thing that deserves to be most enquired into in all this Affair, and whereon entirely depends the Discovery of the Vision of Anthimius to whom St. Barnabas appeared: this is obser­ved by all the Greek Historians, with the Monk Alexander, that they of the Isle of Cyprus took occasion from thence to shake off the Yoke of the Patriarch of Antioch, who pretended that they were of his dependence. This was an old Quarrel between this Patri­arch and the Bishops of this Island, who refused to take Ordination of him, because their Church having been founded by the Apostle St. Barnabas, ought to be (as they thought) independent. This Affair had been decided in the Council of Ephesus in favour of the Bishops of this Isle, who had represented that they had enjoyed this Privilege time out of mind. Notwithstanding, the Patriarchs of An­tioch continued to molest the Bishops of Cyprus, and justified their Proceedings with the Canon of the Council of Nice, that was fa­vourable to them. It is also very probable, that they of Cyprus did [Page 37]not withdraw themselves from the Jurisdiction of Antioch till this Patriarchal Church fell into Schism. Anthimius, Metropolitan of Constance, took an occasion at that time, in regard that Petrus Fullo who was then Patriarch of Antioch, had declared himself Protector of the Eutychians. But since the whole matter was of necessity to be referred to the Emperour, the Metropolitan of Constance, who was not in his favour, thought fit to feign the Vision above men­tioned. Which being come to the knowledge of Zeno, he forthwith forbad the Patriarch of Antioch for the future to disturb the Bishops of Cyprus. Anthimio Constantiensi Episcopo, (saith Father Morin, who epitomized the History of Monk Alexander) eò quòd apud Imperato­rem minimè gratiosus esset fluctuanti; [...] dormitanti apparet S. Barnabas, qui corporis sui reliquias, & S. Matthaei Evangelium, quod ipse descripserat, ei indigitat, atque Apostolum fidei auctorem se in patria habere ut adversariis repenat, praecipit.

This is in a few words the discovery of this Vision of Bishop Anthimius, who very opportunely caused St. Barnabas to appear tanquam Deum è Machina to oppose Petrus Fullo Patriarch of An­tioch: and that there might not remain any doubt of his Revela­tion, he put into the hands of St. Barnabas the Gospel of St. Mat­thew. Mr. le Mome, a learned Protestant,Mr. le Moine Prol. in var. opusc. Gr. and well versed in the Oriental Languages, assures us that it was written in Hebrew, be­cause St. Barnabas who had transcribed it for his own use, was born a Jew, and preached to those of his Nation. But it is more likely that Anthimius, who was not a Jew, should forge a Greek one; neither is it credible that it should have been publickly read in the Church of Constantinople, if it had been written in Hebrew. As for the deference that Baronius gives to the Testimony of the Monk Alexander, Author of the Life of St. Barnabas, this Cardinal is not very favourable to the said Monk in another part of his Annals, where(i) he speaks of him as an Inventor of Tales, that hath not written the Life of this Holy Apostle as an Historian.

I could bring other Examples of the like Revelations, that have as many Circumstances as that of Bishop Anthimius, and yet for all this are never the more true. Under the Reign of the Emperor Theodosius a Revelation was feigned to authorize the false Apocalypse that was attributed to S. Paul. It was also found under ground at Tarsus in Cicilia, in the House of this Holy Apostle. There were also a great number of Alexanders or Monks in Palestine that every where extolled this false Piece, as if it had truly belonged to him [Page 38]whose Title it bore.Soz. Hist. Eccl. l. 7. c. 19. But Sozomon, who relates this History, informs us at the same time, that a Priest of the City of Tarsus, who was a very old man, had assured him that this was false.

Furthermore, we do not find that the two greatest men of the Church, I mean Origen and St. Hierom, who have searched the an­cient Copies of the Scriptures with so much care and diligence, and have visited so many Churches in the East, have ever spoken of Originals of the New Testament written with the hand of the Apo­stles; which they would not have failed to do if there had been any in their times; especially St. Hierom, who consulted a very great number of Greek and Latin Copies, when by order of Pope Dama­sus, he revised the ancient Latin Version of the Gospels. Where were then these pretended Originals? It is true there was no talk as yet of the Revelation of Anthimius, nor of the History of Monk Ale­xander. This Father hath said well, that the Latin Copies were all different one from another: Tot enim sunt exemplaria penè, quot codices. Therefore(k) he judges it necessary in this great diversity of Copies, to have recourse to the Original Greek from whence the Latin hath been taken: but he makes no mention of these first Originals, that Mr. Huet supposeth(l) to have been kept in the Archives of the Churches since the time of St. Ignatius, by which (saith this learned man) they were regulated in their Controversies and Disputes. The Jesuit Maldonat, on the contrary, proves by the same Passage of St. Ignatius, (m) that in these Primitive Apo­stolical times there were People who doubted of the truth of the Gospels, at least if they could not find them in the Archives of the Church. To conclude, Tertullian and St. Augustin, who have so vigorously disputed with the ancient Hereticks that destroyed the Verity of the Writings of the Apostles, have never objected these Originals to them: so that this is by no means necessary for the establishing of the Christian Religion, as hath been above shewed.

CHAP. V. Of the Books of the New Testament in particular, and first of the Gospel of S. Matthew. The Original of this Gospel hath been written in the Hebrew Tongue which the Jews of Jerusalem spake at that time. An Answer to the Reasons that are contrary to this Opinion.

IT is a constant Tradition founded on the general consent of all the Churches in the World, that there are but four Gospels, the first of which is that of S. Matthew: Iren. l. 3. adv. Haer. l. 11. Neque autem plura numero quàm haec sunt (saith S. Irenaeus) neque rursus pauciora capit esse. Nevertheless there are found in these later times some Authors who have believed that S. Matthew is not the first that hath committed the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Writing. They ground their Opinion on this,Luc. i. 1. that S. Luke seems to accuse those of little care and exact­ness that had published Gospels before him: and since this Accusa­tion cannot fall on any of the three other Evangelists, they con­clude from thence that none of them had written before. But we ought not to oppose an Inference that at most carries with it but a probability, to the Testimony of all Antiquity. Therefore Grotius (a) rejects this Opinion as being contrary to the order of the four Gospels established at all times among all Nations, and authorised by the most ancient Fathers. Maldonat who attributes this Argument to Beza, refutes it also with no other Reasons than that of Tra­dition; and adds at the same time that(b) if we should refer our selves herein to Hereticks, we should have no certainty in point of Religion.

It cannot be denied also, at least without contradicting all An­tiquity, but that S. Matthew hath written his Gospel in Hebrew, that is to say, in the Language that the Jews of Jerusalem then spake, that was called Hebrew, and was either Chaldaick or Syriack. (c) Pa­pias, who lived with the Disciples of the Apostles, avoucheth this in [Page 40]express terms; and S. Irenaeus, Origen and many other Fathers have afterwards confirmed it. S. Irenaeus saith(d) that S. Matthew be­ing among the Hebrews, composed his Gospel in their proper Dia­lect. Origen in the Canon that he hath given us of the Sacred Books, names S. Matthew the first of the Evangelists(e) who pub­lished it in Hebrew for the use of the Jews that had embraced the Christian Religion. These primitive Christians were called Naza­renes by the Jews, as appears from the Acts of the Apostles, where they accuse S. Paul of being the Ringleader of the Sect of the Na­zarenes, Act. xxiv. 5. [...]. Ever since that time they have always given to the Christians the name of Nazarenes, which is found in their Talmud, and in their other Books. There were afterwards certain Sectaries under this same name, who adopted this Hebrew Gospel of S. Matthew, some Fragments of which are yet extant to this day, whereof we shall discourse hereafter. It is expedient before we proceed any further, to examine the Reasons of those that affirm that S. Matthew hath not composed his Gospel in Hebrew.

Erasmus, who had no knowledge of the Hebrew Tongue, hath been one of the first that hath thereupon opposed the common senti­ments of all Antiquity: but the Reasons tha the produceth are so weak, that he sometimes makes himself even ridiculous, when he would talk like a Critick concerning a matter of which he was altogether ignorant. He would refer in every thing that relates to the Hebrew Tongue, to Oecolampadius who understood it no more than himself, which caused him to fall into gross Errors, and gave occasion to his Adversaries, especially Stunica a Learned Spaniard to reprehend his Ignorance.Jacob. Lop. Stun. Annot. in Erasm. Cardinal Cajetan who was skilled neither in Hebrew nor Greek, hath blindly followed the mistakes of Erasmus in this point, as not being capable of correcting them. But the greatest part of the Catholicks have herein abandoned Cajetan, that they might not without reason and judgment withstand a Tradition established on good Acts. Some Protestants on the contrary, who feared lest they should not have the true Gospel of S. Matthew, if it were evident that it had been written in Hebrew or Chaldaick, and lest the Greek that remains to us should be only a Translation, have readily em­braced the Opinion of Erasmus and Cajetan. Flacius Illyricus hath diligently enough collected the Reasons that may be alledged in de­sence [Page 41]thereof, and hath put them at the Head of his Edition of the New Testament, which he hath caused to be Printed in Greek and Latin. This we must now take into examination.

This famous Protestant objects in the first place, with Cajetan, Matthias Flac. Illyr, Praef. in Evang. Matth. several Hebrew Words that are explained in another Language in the Gospel of S. Matthew; as for example, Eli, Eli, & lama sabactani. If S. Matthew (saith this Cardinal) had written his Gospel in He­brew, it would not have been necessary for him to expound these Words in a different Idiom. But these Interpretations ought rather to be ascribed to the Translator than to the Author. To which he replys, that if this came from the Interpreter, he ought to have tran­slated all the Hebrew of this Gospel, and not to have selected only some Words as he hath done. To which it may be answered, that it is the custom of the Interpreters of the Sacred Books, to let cer­tain Hebrew Words remain in their Versions, which they think to have more energy or emphasie in them, and that cannot be always exactly translated. This is easie to be proved from the Septuagint, and other ancient Greek Interpreters of the Bible. Grotius, who hath also made this Objection in his Notes on S. Matthew, answers(f) that it is an ordinary thing for Writers, and also Interpreters to retain foreign Wards that are remarkable, adding the Interpretation to them, and that this hath been sometimes practised by the Septuagint.

Illyrious opposeth in the second place two Reasons of Erasmus; the first is, that none have avouched that they have seen this He­brew Gospel, because that of which S. Jerome speaks, was the Go­spel of the Nazarenes, which was written in Syriack or Chaldaick. The second consists in this, that the style of the Gospel of S. Mat­thew is like to that of S. Mark. From whence he concludes, that S. Matthew hath written in Greek as well as S. Mark.

S. Jerom himself answers to the first Reason, when he saith(g) that the most part of the ancient Doctors of the Church have be­lieved that this Hebrew Gospel was the Original of S. Matthew's. Certainly it is the very same that this Apostle wrote for the primi­tive Christians of Judaea, who then spake the Chaldaick Language.

Erasmus tells us, that he never heard of this matter, when he ob­jects that the Gospel of the Nazarenes was not in Hebrew, but in Chaldaick or Syriack, not knowing that this Chaldaick or Syriack was [Page 42]then called Hebrew. As for the Style this Reason is too general to be able to conclude any thing from thence. Stunica hath very well answered,(h) that it is not to be admired that the style of the Go­spel; appears to be the same in all the Evangelists, altho they had written in different Languages, because that being Jews, those a­mong them that have written in Greek have very often kept the Genius and propriety of the Hebrew Tongue. This he proves by the exam­ple of S. Luke, who, tho he hath composed his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles in more elegant Greek than that of the other Evan­gelists, doth not forbear to make use of divers Expressions that are purely Hebrew.

The third Objection is taken from Calvin, and is grounded on several Passages of the Old Testament, cited by S. Matthew accord­ing to the Greek Version of the Septuagint. Whence he infers, that S. Matthew hath composed his Gospel in Greek: otherwise writing for the use of the Hebrews, who read the Bible in Hebrew, he would have rehearsed these Passages after the same manner as they are in the Hebrew Text. But this reason is destructive of it self, because he that hath translated the Hebrew Gospel of S. Matthew into Greek, performing it for persons that spake Greek, and read the Bible in this Language, ought to quote the Authorities of the Old Testament, rather according to the Greek Version of the Septuagint, than according to the Hebrew Text which they understood not.

Illyricus adds to all these Reasons, that there is no likelyhood that S. Matthew should design to write his Gospel in a Language that was no longer in use, because at that time all People, and even the Jews themselves spake Greek or Chaldaick: Besides that the Holy Ghost, who was the Author of these Books, knew that the Destruction of Jerusalem was not far off. Therefore there is no appearance (saith he) that he should intend to publish the Gospel in any other Language but the Greek, which was the Language of the Empire.

This Protestant is grosly mistaken, when he believes after Erasmus, that it is supposed that the Gospel of S. Matthew hath been written in the ancient Hebrew; whereas the Hebrew of the Jews at that time was the Chaldaick Language which they had brought with them from Babylon, and had only a little altered it. It hath indeed been [Page 43]more convenient that the Books of the New Testament should be written rather in Greek than in another Language. But here it is only argued concerning the Jews of Palestine, to whom S. Matthew first preached the Gospel. And since those People spake Chaldaick, it was necessary for him to preach to them in this same Language. On these grounds all Antiquity hath relied, when they have believed that S. Matthew had composed his Gospel in Hebrew.

He opposeth moreover, that S. Macthew saw that the Jews did daily harden their Hearts, and that they had an Abhorrence of the Re­ligion of Jesus Christ. And therefore it is not credible (saith Illyri­cus) that this holy Apostle hath written his Gospel for their sake, and in their Language. But to what purpose are reasons drawn from expediency against matters of fact that are evident? We cannot doubt but many Jews of Palestine have received the Gospel of Jesus Christ by the Ministry of S. Matthew; and whereas they spake Chaldaick or Syriack, he could not leave this Gospel with them in Writing, but in the Language that was spoken by them. On this account we may judge of other the like reasons alledged by Illyricus to the same purpose. He pretends, for example, that Divine Pro­vidence would never have permitted the loss of so great a Treasure, if it were certain that the Gospel of S. Matthew had been written in Hebrew. He adds farther, that if S. Hierom had been truly per­suaded that the Hebrew was the Original of this Gospel, he would ra­ther have translated it than the Greek; now it cannot be said that he hath translated it from the Hebrew into Greek.

It is in vain that this Protestant calls the Providence of God to his assistance, in opposition to a fact that cannot be reasonably doubted of. The Fathers and the Jews themselves make no difficulty to acknowledge, that some Sacred Books have been lost: which never­theless cannot be said of the Gospel of S. Matthew, since we have it in Greek in a state sufficiently perfect. The reason why the He­brew or Chaldaick Copy is not preserved, is because the Churches of Judaea, for whose use it was primarily written, have not long sub­sisted: On the contrary the Churches wherein the Greek Tongue flou­rished have always endured, and it is through the means of these last Churches that we have yet to this day the Greek Copy of S. Matthew.

This may serve also for an Answer to the Objection of Chamierus, Chamier. Panstrat. lib. 11 c. 8. n. 8. who could not imagine how it could come to pass that there should have been so great a negligence in the Church in general, and in particular in that of Jerusalem, that the Hebrew Gospel of S. Mat­thew hath been lost from the first Ages of Christianity. Nevertheless it is very easie to be apprehended, if we consider that the Writings of the Apostles that were read in the Churches were preserved by the [Page 44]means of the same: it is not therefore an extraordinary thing to see that the Hebrew Gospel of S. Matthew hath been lost in the loss of the Churches of the Nazarenes. It is in the mean time worth the observing, that it perished not entirely from the primitive times of Christianity; for the Sect of the Nazarenes who took their original from the first Nazarenes or Christians of Judaea, continued for a long time to read it in their Assemblies. It passed also to the Ebionites, who altered it in some places: notwithstanding these Al­terations, it might always be said, that this was the Hebrew Gospel of S. Matthew, especially if respect were had to the Copy of the Naza­renes, which was more pure than that of the Ebionites, and was still extant in the time of S. Hierom, who translated it into Greek and Latin. The other Christians neglected it, because besides their not understanding the Language in which it was written, they consi­dered the Nazarenes as a sort of half Christians that still kept the Ceremonies of the Law; and they rejected the Ebionites as Here­ticks.

Illyricus adds farther to all these Objections, that S. Matthew being a Publican, was either half a Grecian or a Roman; and that for this reason he ought rather to apply himself to write his Gospel in Greek for those of his Nation, than in Hebrew for the Jews. If this way of reasoning concluded any thing, it might be inferred from thence at the same time, that S. John who was an Hebrew, and whose Mother-Tongue was Syriack or Chaldaick should have composed his Gospel in this Language for those of his own Nations. It availeth no­thing to oppose simple reasons of conveniency to manifest and clear matters of Fact. Neither is there any weight in a proof that he brings in the same place from certain Latin Words that are found in the Gospel of S. Matthew, which are more agreeable (as he thinks) to a Greek Author, than to a Man that writes in Hebrew, because the Grecians had more Intercourse with the Latins, than the Hebrews. But may it not be said that these Latin Words do rather belong to the Greek Translation, than to the original Hebrew? Be­sides, the Jews of those times who were under subjection to the Ro­mans, might have adopted divers Latin Words into their Language. This same Principle may serve to resolve another Objection that he raiseth from the word Petrus which is in S. Matthew. If this Apo­stle (saith Illyricus) had written in Hebrew or Syriack, he would have made use of the Word Cephas, and not of that of Petrus: as if it might not be said that it is the Greeks Interpreter that hath in­serted the Word Petrus. Lastly, he objects, that S. Matthew epito­mizeth with too much liberty in Chap. xii. of his Gospel, a Passage of Chap. 47. of Isaiah: Which he would not have done (saith he) if [Page 45]he had written in Hebrew, because he would have produced the very Words of the Text. And it is not credible (adds he) that the In­terpreter should be the Author of this Abbreviation. All this Argu­mentation that is grounded on no positive proof is nothing to the purpose. The Apostles on the contrary do often cite the Passages of the Old Testament only according to the sense, and they rehearse them sometimes in short, only producing that which relates to their design.J. Wolz. Proleg. in 4. Evang. cap. 9. Wolzogenius a famous Unitarian hath also collected in the beginning of his Commentaries on the Gospels a part of these same Reasons, to shew that the Original of S. Matthew hath not been written in Hebrew; but he explains himself after such a manner as makes it appear that the Fratres Poloni have but little knowledge in facts that respect the Criticism of the Scriptures.

I shall pass by in silence the Reflections of Dr. Lightfoot on this Subject, because they seem to me to be too Rabbinical,J. Lightf. Hor. Hebr. in cap. 1. Matth. and even little intelligible. That which he adds in the same place, that the Gospel of S. Matthew hath not been immediately written in Hebrew, but in Greek, and that it hath been afterwards translated from the Greek into Hebrew, to the end that it might be read by the Learned Jews, is not supposed with any Foundation, all Antiquity having believed the contrary.

There is not even at this day any Christian Society in the Levant, that is not persuaded that the Greek Gospel of S. Matthew is only a Version of the Hebrew Text. Therefore we find at the end of some Greek Manuscript Copies of this Gospel, that it hath been pub­lished [...], at Jerusalem. Nov. Test. Syr. edit. Viennae, & in Bibl. Polygl. We read also at the end of the Syriack Version of the same Gospel, that S. Matthew hath preached it in Hebrew in Palestine. Some Copies of the Arabick Version and the Persian Translation have also in the Title that is at the beginning of S. Matthew, that it hath been written in the Hebrew Tongue. This agrees perfectly with the ancient Ecclesiastical Writers, whose Sentiments have been explained in a few words by S. Jerome: Hieron. Praef. Comm. in Matth. Mat­thaeus (saith this Father). Evangelium in Judaea Hebraeo Sermone edi­dit ob eorum maximè causam qui in Jesum crediderant ex Judaeis All this makes it appear that Mr. Vossius hath had reason to call some Divines of his own Party who hold that S. Matthew hath not writ­ten in Hebrew (i) Demi-Theologues possessed with Rabbinism. He esteems them also so foolish, that he would not have them an­swered. [Page 46]However I have thought that I ought not to neglect their Reasons, that have given me ocasion to clear up this matter. And there are at this day very many persons, especially among the Pro­testants, that cannot yield to Mr. Vossius, who hath attacked them with Injuries and Reproaches rather than Arguments. The very Supposition it self that he makes, that the Jews of Jerusalem spake in the Greek Tongue amongst themselves, and that they made use of the Greek Version of the Septuagint in their Assemblies is a strong argument to prove that S. Matthew had indeed composed his Gospel in Greek. This obligeth me here to examine the Reasons on which Mr. Vossius grounds this Paradox, and to shew at the same time that the Jews of Jerusalem spake the Chaldaick or Syriack Language at the time of our Saviour and the Apostles.

CHAP. VI. The Jews of the Territory of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus Christ and the Apostles spake in the Chaldaick or Syriack Tongue. An Answer to the Reasons that Mr. Vossius hath published against this Opinion. At the same time several Difficulties are cleared, appertain­ing to this Matter.

IT is to be feared lest these Protestant Divines whom Mr. Vossius seems so much to despise should in their turn reprove him, be­cause he overthrows all Tradition, and contradicts the Holy Scri­ptures themselves and all Learned Divines,Is. Voss. Resp. ad iter. P. Sim. Obj. p. 375. when he avoucheth that in the time of Jesus Christ and the Apostles the Jems of Jerusalem spake no other Language but the Greek. In like manner he treats those personsSemi­doctorum & sanati­corum. as half-learned and Fanaticks, that believe that Jesus Christ and his Disciples have spoken in the Syriack Tongue. At that rate all the World would be filled with half-learned and fana­tical People, and Mr. Vossius alone would be truly learned and exempt from Fanaticism. Cor solus habet, solus & ingenium. The ancient Ecclesiastical Authors who have affirmed that S. Matthew hath written his Gospel in Hebrew would be all Fanaticks; for they declare that they have embraced this Opinion only because the [Page 47] Jews of Jerusalem then spake Hebrew, that is to say, the Chaldaick or Syriack Tongue: and since they have confirmed this their Judg­ment by express Passages of the New Testament, I think it necessa­ry here to produce some of them.

It is expresly said in the Acts of the Apostles,(a) that St. Paul made a discourse in Hebrew to the Jews of Jerusalem, (b) who hear­kened to him because he spake their Language. This holy Apostle being of Tarsus, a City of Cilicia, where he had learn'd Greek, would not have fail'd to make an Oration to them in that Lan­guage, if it had been the vulgar Tongue of the Jews of Jerusalem. But because he was an Hebrew, and of Hebrew Parents, and had been educated in their City, studying under the Doctor Gamaliel, he spake to them in the Language that was understood by the Peo­ple. It was for this reason also that the Tribune demanded of S. Paul whether he could speak Greek, Graecè nosti? He supposed that the Jews of Jerusalem spake in a different Tongue from the Greek, Act. 21.37. viz. the Chaldaick or Syriack, as appears manifestly from S. Luke, who saith(c) that the Field of Judas was called Aceldama in the Lan­guage that was then spoken at Jerusalem. Moreover,Act. 1.19. we find in the New Testament divers Chaldaick or Syriack Words, as for ex­ample, Bethesda, Golgotha, Tabitha, and some others that the Evan­gelists call Hebrew, according to the manner of speaking at that time. St. John making mention of the Fish-pond or Pool of Jeru­salem, saith(d) that it was called in Hebrew, Bethesda; and in another place, that(e) Gabbatha and(f) Golgotha are Hebrew Words.

One would think, that after so many Testimonies of the New Testament, we could not doubt that the Jews of Jerusalem spake Hebrew in the times of the Apostles. In the mean time, Mr. Vossius, who hath openly declared against the Hebrew Text of the Jews, hath thought, that he could not give a greater Authority to the Greek Version of the LXX, than in making it appear that Jesus Christ and his Apostles had read it in the Temple and in the Syna­gogues of Jerusalem. But it was not necessary to cast himself into this extremity, and to argue against actual proofs of matter of fact that are indisputable, to defend the ancient Greek Translation against [Page 48]some Protestants that had unhappily attacked it. He supposeth, to establish his Opinion, that(g) the Greek and Latin were the Lan­guages in use throughout the whole Empire; and that the Hebrew was not understood even by the Jews. We willingly agree with him that the Greek and Latin were the Languages of the Empire; but this doth not prove that these two Languages only were spoken therein. There are on the contrary, positive Proofs in the New Testament confirmed by all Antiquity, that evidently shew that the Jews of Jerusalem then spake Hebrew or Chaldaick. We agree also with him, that the ancient Hebrew Tongue was not at that time a vulgar Language, and that none but the Priests understood it; but it cannot be concluded from thence that they spake Greek. Josephus, who was very well skilled in the Greek Tongue,(h) af­fures us, that it was foreign to him and to those of his Nation.

Mr. Vossius, to whom all these difficulties have been represented, cannot resolve them, but in supposing always, that(i) during the Subsistence of the Roman Empire, no other Language was spoken but the Greek in Jerusalem and in all Palestin. He would have the Syriack sought for without the Empire; this he proves by the Example of St. Ephraem and others Fathers that have written in this Language, and have all been of the Parthian or Arabian Nation; affirming that we must look for the Syriack Tongue amongst the Assyrians and the Arabians that inhabited the lower Syria, and not amongst the Syrians that were in the Roman Empire: and besides that, we ought not to call that Syriack whick is called Chaldaick in the New Testament. He adds farther, that the Jews of Jerusalem could not learn the Chaldaick but of the Jews that were on the other side of the River Euphrates: that it is madness to say that the said Jews of Jerusalem have kept this Language by Tradition in a place where the Greek hath been in use for many Ages; especially it being impossible to bring any Example that may make it appear that a Language can be preserved in a Country, when another hath obtained therein. He concludes at last, that the Jews of Jerusalem had no other vulgar Tongue in the time of our Saviour and the Apostles than the Greek and Latin; and that those who had some knowledge of the Hebrew or Chaldaick, had attained it after the [Page 49]same manner as we now learn the Latin at this day, or by the Commerce that they had with the Jews that were on the farther side of Euphrates, where the Chaldaick was spoken.

Here it would be requisite to follow Mr. Vossius step by step, who hath had no other design in all this long Discourse, than to con­found and intricate the matter in hand, not being able to answer precisely to the Reasons that have been proposed to him. It may be observed in the first place, that the present Question is not con­cerning the ancient Fathers that have spoken Syriack, and have writ­ten Books in this same Language; but only relating to the Jews; and therefore the Examples that he produceth of St. Ephraem and some other Doctors of the Church, are nothing to the purpose; for we agree with him, that those that have inhabited the Country that is on the farther side of Euphrates, have spoken Syriack: it is agreed also, that the Jews of the Parthian or Arabian Nation, who depended not on the Roman Empire, spake the Chaldaick or Baby­lonish Language. And not to insist on Questions about names, we are willing also to call that Tongue Chaldaick rather than Syriack, which is called Hebrew in the New Testament, though the ancient Fathers have named it Syriack, and though it be properly neither Chaldaick nor Syriack, it being degenerated from the true Chaldaick. All that Mr. Vossius can conclude from his Supposition, is, that the Jews who were beyond Euphrates spake only Chaldaick, whereas the Jews of Jerusalem and of Palestine, at least the most polite of them, spake, besides the Chaldaick which their Fathers had brought from Babylon, the Greek Tongue, which was become vulgar in these places.

It is madness to say that St. Paul, when he made his Oration in Hebrew or Chaldaick in the presence of the Jews of Jerusalem, had only regard to those that were beyond Euphrates, and to those that had learn'd the Chaldaick Tongue of them. He directs his Words in general to all the Jews that were present: and it cannot be said that he had only Strangers for his Auditors. Josephus was of the number of the Jews of Jerusalem, and not of the Parthian or Ara­bian Nation: he declares in the mean time,Joseph. Praefat. Antiq. Jud. that that which had hindered him from writing the Antiquities of his Nation so soon as he had intended it, was, that he found it difficult to express his mind in the Greek Tongue that was foreign to him. He saith in another place, that he was born an Hebrew, that he is of Jerusalem, Joseph. Praefat. lib. de Bell. Jud. and a Priest; and in this same Passage he calls the Chaldaick the Language of his Country. This makes it evident that the Chaldaick cannot be restrained to the Jews only that were on the other side of Euphrates, since Josephus was not of that Country. Both the one [Page 50]and the other sort spake in this Tongue, with this difference only, that those that dwelled in the Countries that were beyond Euphra­tes, spake nothing but Chaldaick; and those of Jerusalem could be­sides the Chaldaick speak the Greek Language that was dispersed through Palestin.

As to what Mr. Vossius objects, that it is impossible to shew that a Language hath been preserved in a Country, when another hath come in its place; I answer, that it is easie to give him satisfaction in this Point, without departing from the Jews of whom the Que­stion is. The History of the Martyrdom of the seven Brethren related in the second Book of Maccabees, informs us that the Jews of that time spake Greek and Hebrew: the Mother and the Chil­dren answered in Greek to Antiochus, (k) whereas amongst them­selves they spake the Language of the Country, which was Chal­daick: Antiochus having urged the Mother to exhort one of her Children to yield to that which he required,(l) she laughing the Tyrant to scorn spake to her Sons in Hebrew or Chaldaick, which was her proper Tongue.

This is a manifest Proof, that the Greek was the vulgar Tongue of the Country, and that the Jews, besides the Greek, had preser­ved the Chaldaick which they had brought from Babylon, and which they called the Language of the Nation. The Jews of Jerusalem have also retained it always, tho the Greek was the vulgar Tongue of Palestine. This is yet more apparently seen in another Example that hath been already opposed to Mr. Vossius, I mean the Jews of the Spanish Rite who dwell at Constantinople and in some other Cities of the Levant: these Jews do still keep their ancient Spanish, with the Language of the Countries which they inhabit; and they have also Translations of the Bible in Spanish for their use.

Mr. Vossius answers this Objection, that this might be in some manner true in the time of Mariana, because when this Jesuit wrote his History, it was not an Age since the Jews had been driven out of Spain. He adds farther, that the other Historians who have written at that very time speak quite otherwise, because the Jews (m) that were driven out of Spain and Portugal were all disper­sed among the Moors; and finally, that he knows not what is meant by the Spanish Jews that were scatter'd in the Levant.

But it is in vain to argue against evident matters of fact that may be known by all the World. We have not made use of the Autho­rity of Mariana to prove them, nor of any other Historian; but of the Books themselves of these Spanish Jews that have been print­ed at Constantinople in the Spanish Tongue, and in Hebrew Chara­cters. We have their Pentateuch printed at that place not only in Spanish, but also in Vulgar Greek, In 1547. with the Hebrew Text and the Chaldaick Paraphrase. It is to be seen by the first leaf of this Work, that there are two sorts of Jews in those Parts, some of which speak Spanish, and the others the vulgar Greek; and that these two Ver­sions have been published for their use, that they might more easi­ly understand the Scriptures. The Hebrew Bible of Lombroso which hath been printed at Venice with Grammatical Notes,In 1639. wherein the difficult Words are explained in Spanish, is also very common in the Levant among these Spanish Jews. It is a matter of little moment to know whether the Jews that departed from Spain and Portugal retired amongst the Moors or elsewhere, since it is without doubt, that there are at this day Jews of the Spanish Rite in the Levant, who beside that of the Places where they reside, have still preser­ved their ancient Spanish Tongue. This is the ground of the present Dispute: and by this it is made appear, that it is not impossible that the Jews should retain their ancient Language where there is ano­ther that is vulgarly spoken. We see moreover, that the Portugal Jews of the Spanish Rite, who are settled at Amsterdam, do keep the Portugal, with the Language of the Country; and that their Rabbins do also preach in Portugaise in their Synagogue.

Furthermore, it is not true that all the Jews that were driven out of Spain and Portugal took refuge among the Moors: there were many that withdrew themselves into Italy, from whence some pas­sed afterwards into the Levant. However it were, it is certain that there is at this day, in the Turkish Territories, a considerable num­ber of Jews, who follow the Spanish Rite; and besides that of the Places where they remain, do speak their ancient Spanish Language. I believe also, that a Party of these Jews was in those Countries be­fore those of their Nation were expelled out of Spain and Por­tugal.

Mr. Vossius, who cannot maintain his Paradoxes but with other Paradoxes, corrects the Passage of the xxi. Chap. of the Acts, Act. xxi. v. 37. where the Tribune demands of St. Paul whether he could speak Greek: He pretends that it must not be read with the Point of Interroga­tion, Graecè scis? as all People read it; but that it ought to be read and translated after this manner, Graecè scis: Voss. ibid. Non ergo es iste Aegypti­us qui ante hos dies tumultum concitavit. Thou canst speak Greek: [Page 52]Therefore thou art not that Egyptian which before these days made an Up­roar, &c. But I see no reason to change the ordinary reading of the Greek Text and ancient Versions in this place; neither would he have ever thought of it, were it not that this Passage manifestly destroys his Opinion. It is true that according to the most exact Rules of Criticism, no regard ought to be had to Accents, Points, and Comma's: but it seems to me not to be permitted without good Reasons to alter the ordinary Readings of the Text, especially when it is supported by ancient Interpreters. It would be (might it be said) a strange sort of sottish Stupidity, that the Tribune, who heard St. Paul talking in Greek, should have demanded of him whe­ther he could speak that Language: nevertheless, there is nothing extraordinary in all this Discourse. St. Paul finding himself oppres­sed by the People, demanded to speak with the Tribune, who asked him in his turn, Whether he could speak Greek? This implies a Supposition that all the Jews of Jerusalem did not speak in that Tongue. Mr. Vossius, who is rich in Fictions, is obliged to make good his fancy, to suppose that the Egyptian of whom mention is made Arabick was spoken. But to whatsoever side he turns, he will not be able to avoid that which is related in the same Chapter; to wit, that(n) St. Paul spake in Hebrew, that is to say, in Chaldaick, to all this multitude that thronged about him, and attentively hear­kened to his Speech, because he spake to them in their own Lan­guage.

There is yet less of solid Reason in the Answer that he makes to that which hath been objected to him, that the Field of Judas was called Haceldama, according to the vulgar Language of Jerusa­lem, Voss. ibid. which was consequently Chaldaick or Syriack, since this Word is Chaldaick. Who knows not (saith he) that the Jews do yet at this day give Hebrew Names to their Fields, Burying-places, and di­vers other things? I confess it; but it is said expressy in the Acts, (o) that this Field was called Haceldama in the Language that was spoken at Jerusalem.

It hath been also objected to him, that there can be no reason alledged why the Title of the Cross hath been written in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, unless it were that these three Languages were then spoken in Jerusalem. Now the Hebrew or Chaldaick was the [Page 53]Language of that place. Although it should be granted that there were also then at Jerusalem some Jews that came from beyond Eu­phrates; yet he will never persuade People endued with common Sense that respect was had only to this last sort of Jews, when this Title was written. It ought to have been written, for the same reason, in the Languages of the other Jews that were also present at that time at Jerusalem.

It hath been represented to Mr. Vossius, that the Jews of Palestine did understand even in the time of St. Jerom the Chaldaick Tongue, which their Ancestors had brought from Babylon. He demands what Proofs there are of this, and in what place of St. Jerom this is to be found? Nevertheless, he accounts as nothing the Testimony of this Father in his Preface to Tobit; wherein he saith,(p) that in translating this Book from Chaldaick into Latin, he was assisted by a Jew, who spake Hebrew and Chaldaick very well; and that he had put into Latin whatsoever he had expressed to him in He­brew terms. This Jew spake Hebrew because he was a Man of great Learning; and he spake Chaldaick also, because it was the Language that the Jews of those Places yet spake amongst them­selves, and in which they wrote their Books. For this reason the Talmud of Jerusalem hath been written in this Tongue, as well as that of Babylon. The same hath happened to the Massora, which hath been composed in Chaldaick by the Jews of Tiberias. The Chaldaick Tongue hath not been truly spoken in those Countries for many Ages since: but we must not confound the other people with the Jews, who had always continued to speak amongst them­selves in the Language that they had received from their Fathers.

We shall not need then to have recourse to the Parthians, with Mr. Vossius, to introduce into those Places the Chaldaick or Babylo­nian Tongue in the time of St. Jerom, no more than in the time of the Apostles; but according to the custom that the Jews have to preserve their ancient Languages, though they are not spoken in the Countries where they have their abode, as we have proved by the Example of the Spanish Jews, who are in the Levant, and of those that are at present at Amsterdam. These last write Books in Spanish and Portugaise, although they be in a Country where the Flemish Tongue is spoken: they have also translated, for the use [Page 54]of the People, out of Hebrew into Spanish, their Book of Peayers called Seder tephiloth under the Title of Orden de Oraciones.

Furthermore, not to enter into a fruitless Dispute purely about Words, Mr. Vossius shall be left to his liberty to call the Language that is stiled Hebrew in the Books of the New Testament, Chaldaick rather than Syriack. It is in vain then that he enlargeth so much on this Controversie of Words, and that he is so angry with seve­ral learned Men for having called it Syriack or Syra Chaldaick. (q) This Language (saith he) is not to be found but in the Writings of modern Authors who have forged these monstrous Words to wave the matter. But it seems to me that it hath been always per­mitted to any that would express something new, especially in point of Criticism, to invent new Words, that may give a clear and distinct Idea of the thing that is to be explained. Now it is certain that the Tongue which is named Hebrew in the New Testament, is properly neither Hebrew nor Syriack, nor even Chaldaick; for it is composed of a certain mixture of the Hebrew and of the Chal­daick or Babylonian. They that have used these Words, which are supposed to be barbarous, have been Persons very skilful in these Languages, and have discoursed of them with a perfect knowledge. When S. Hierom makes mention of the Hebrew Gospel of S. Matthew that was in use amongst the Nazarenes, he authorizeth the barba­rous Word of Syro-Chaldaick, quod Chaldaico, (saith he) Syro (que) ser­mone, sed Hebraicis literis scriptum est. Hieron. lib. 3. adv. Pelag. Hence it may be observed, that this learned Father made no difficulty to call indifferently Chal­daick and Syriack the Language that the Jews of Jerusalem spake in the time of the Apostles. The greatest part of the Fathers, as well Greek as Latin, do also call Syriack that which bears the name of Hebrew in the New Testament. The most judicious Criticks of our Age speak no otherwise: Mr. Vossius alone is singular herein, who hath thought fit of late to reject this Syriack Tongue which he had already approved in his other Works.Voss. ibid. He demands in what time, and after what manner the Hebrew Tongue became Syriack? But as we have before said, he may, if he please, call it Chaldaick, if he remains so obstinate as not to be willing to receive the Name of Syriack with all Antiquity, and with the Suffrage of all People that are expert in these Languages, which he seems not to under­stand. If he rightly apprehended this matter, he would not insist on a Question that is only concerning a Name.

To avoid all the trifling and insignificant Circumstances to which Mr. Vossius hath purposely had recourse, that he might make a shew of offering at least something in answer to the Objections that have been made to him, it is convenient that I should relate the Judg­ment as to this point of George Amira, a learned Maronite, who hath published at Rome an excellent Grammar of the Syriack Tongue: he hath intituled his Book, A Syriack or Chaldaick Grammar; Georgii Amirae Gramm. Syr. sive Chald. and thus he makes it appear from the Title of his Work, that these two Words may be indifferently used: this he confirms at the same time by three Dissertations that are annexed at the beginning of this Grammar; for in the first he treats(r) of the Names of the Chal­daick and Syriack Tongue, and of the difference between them; in the second,(s) of the Antiquity of the Chaldaick or Syriack Tongue; and lastly, in the third,(t) of the Excellency of the Chaldaick or Syriack Tongue. Since this ingenious Maronite hath had a very clear notion of this matter, I shall produce the sum of what he saith concerning these two Languages in his preliminary Dis­courses.

This Tongue whereof we now treat (saith Amira) hath been cal­led Chaldaick, from Chaldaea where it hath been first in use, when the Confusion of Languages happened; therefore it hath been also named Babylonian, from Babylon the Capital City of Chaldaea: it was afterwards called Aramean or Syriack, from Aram or Syria; and even Assyrian from Assyria, because it hath also obtained in those places. Divers other Names have been given to it, which have been borrowed from famous Nations and renowned Men, as that of He­brew, because it hath been, during some time, spoken by the He­brews. Although there is some difference between the Chaldaick and the Syriack, nevertheless it cannot be said that it is essential, for they agree almost in every thing: and this is the cause that in the Holy Scriptures the Words of Chaldaick and Syriack are promis­cuously used to signifie the very same Language: it is said for exam­ple,Dan. 1.4. that Daniel and some other young Hebrews were instructed in the Chaldaick Tongue: and it is added in the mean time a little af­ter, that the Chaldeans spake to the King in Syriack, Dan. 2.4. which was the Tongue of that Prince: from whence it is evident, that the Syriack and the Chaldaick are the same Language.

The same George Amira produceth other Passages of the Scriptures to shew that this Tongue was also called Assyrian. This he confirnis in like manner from profane Authors, who have confounded the Names of Chaldeans, Syrians and Assyrians. From whence he con­oludes(u) that it is no wonder that they have also confounded these three Languages. Lastly, he avoucheth, that if the Chaldaick Tongue which hath been in use amongst the Jews had not been dressed by them after the Hebrew Fashion, it would have differed much less than it doth, from the Chaldaick or Syriack of the natural Syrians. Ludovicus de Dieu who had throughly inquired into this matter, is also of this Opinion.(x) He distinguisheth, as is ordi­narily done, the Chaldaick Tongue of Daniel and Esdras from the Syriack Paraphrases: but he acknowledgeth at the same time, that these two Languages ought not truly to be distinguished. He believes after Amira (y) that they would be less different, if the Jews had not Printed the Chaldaick of their Books after their manner; this he proves by some Examples. It would be easie to produce many o­thers, and even to make it appear that the great resemblance be­tween these two Tongues hath given occasion to the Jews to take from the Syrians whole Books of the Scriptures, which they have at­tributed to their Paraphrasts; but this would lead us too far, and we must now return to Mr. Vossius, who is so curious in this point, that he will not admit that the Chaldaick Tongue, which is named Hebrew in the New Testament should be called Syriack.

This dextrous Man calls the Jews to his assistance,Voss. Resp. ad tert. P. Sim. Obj. who have stiled the Aramean or Syriack, the Tongue of the Gentiles: and to make it more manifest to what degree the Jews hated the Syrians and their Language, he makes use of the authority of the Talmud, wherein it is read, that if any one prays in the Syrian Tongue, his Prayers are not heard,Voss. ibid. because the Angels, who are the Ministers of God, do not understand this Language. He adds farther, that the Jews who read in Syria the Version which the Christians and the Arabians call Syriack, do term it Chaldaick. Lastly, he demands who are those People of Syria that have introduced into Jerusalem this Syriack [Page 57]Tongue, which is pretended to have been in use in the time of Jesus Christ and the Apostles.

But if he had consulted the Talmud, or had but an indifferent knowledge in the Chaldaick Tongue, he would not have made such weak Objections. It is evident that there is nothing more usual in the Books of the Talmud than to call the Chaldaick or Babylonian Tongue Arami or Syriack. The Rabbins who have epitomized the Talmud, and have collected its Decisions, do also give the name of Arami or Syriack to the Chaldaick Tongue. To convince Mr. Vossius, even by the example that he hath produced of the Prayer that ought not to be made in the Syriack Tongue; the Talmudists give out this fantastick Story upon occasion of the Prayer called Kadis, which is in the Chaldaick Tongue, and which nevertheless they call in this place Arami or Syriack. This Prayer not being so ancient as the others that have been composed in Hebrew, is written in the Chaldaick Language, which was then understood by the Peo­ple. The Rabbins who are so nicely subtil on all occasions, and often tell Tales, instead of giving solid Reasons, have invented this Fable which Mr. Vossius relates very seriously. However it be, it is certain that this Prayer Kadis, which is supposed, according to the Rabbins to be written in Syriack, that is not understood by the Angels, is written in Chaldaick, and in the same Language as the Paraphrases which we have upon the Bible.

As for the Objection, that in the Syriack Version of the New Testament, the word Aram hath been put to signifie a Greek, a Gentile, and an Idolater, I do not see that it can be proved from thence that the Jews have not confounded the Words of Syriack and Chaldaick. For besides that experience shews us the contrary, this only proves that the Jews have looked upon Syria as the Country of Idolatry; they have made use of the word Arami in the same sense as that of [...] Greek in the New Testament is applyed to signifie a Greek, a Gentile and an Idolater.

I am willing to grant that the Jews give the name of Chaldaick to the Versions which the Christians call Syriack. But what can be concluded from thence, since these same Jews do indifferently call that Tongue in which they are written Chaldaick or Syriack? The Christians of the Syrian Nation do very often call their Syriack Tongue Chaldaick. The Syriack Missal which hath been Printed at Rome for the use of the Maronites, is intituledMissale Chaldaic. juxta ri­tum Eccl. nationis Maroni­tarum e­dit. Romae. ann. 1594. A Chaldaick Mis­sal. This manifestly makes it appear that the Words Chaldaick and Syriack are oftentimes confounded together by the Jews and by the Christians that bear the Name of Syrians.

Lastly the Example of Josephus hath been opposed to Mr. Vossius, Joseph. Praef. lib. de Bell. Jud. who was a Jew of Jerusalem, and who assures us, that before he published his History of the Wars of the Jews in Greek, he had writ­ten it in Chaldaick, which he calls the Language of his Country. Now forasmuch as he cannot deny the matter of Fact which this Hi­storian hath so clearly delivered, he answers after his usual way, that Josephus had composed this History in Chaldaick only for the Jews on the other side of Euphrates. But is there any probability, that a Man that makes profession to publish an Account of the Wars of the People of his own Nation for their use, and for this reason to write in their Language, should not have written it for those of Jerusalem, which was not only the Capital City, but also his own Country? He would have it design'd only for the perusal of the Jews that were far distant: and since there is no appearance of truth in this, he is obliged to have recourse to certain equivocal Terms used by Josephus. This Historian saith that in publishing his History in the Chaldaick Tongue, he hath had regard [...], that is to say, according to Mr. Vossius's opinion, to those Barbarians or Jews that were beyond the Empire, because this expression [...] can only denote People afar off. After this manner he eludes a most clear testimony, under a pretence that these words [...] according to the Grammatical Sense may be extended equally to time and place. But the design of Josephus makes it evident enough, that he set forth his History in Chaldaick generally for all those of his Nation, and even rather for those of Palestine, than for the Jews that dwelt be­yond Euphrates. They all spake in the Chaldaick or Syriack Tongue. Therefore this famous Writer makes no distinction of Language in his Preface, when he speaks of those of his Nation; he therein calls the Chaldaick the Tongue of his Country. He declares more­over in another place,(z) that he had attained to the know­ledge of the Greek by study, and that he could not pronounce it well because he was accustomed to the Accent of his Mother-Tongue. Now it is certain that he was not of the number of these Parthian, Ba­bylonian and Arabian Jews, but of those of Jerusalem, who consequent­ly had another vulgar Language different from the Greek. He praiseth also in this same Passage those of his own Nation upon occasion of [Page 51]the Greek Tongue, because they did not apply themselves to the knowledge of divers Languages, but to the study of their Sacred Books.

CHAP. VII. Of the Sect of the Nazarenes, and of their Hebrew or Chaldaick Copy of the Gospel of S. Matthew.

BEsides all the Reasons that we have just now alledged to make it appear, that S. Matthew at first composed his Gospel in Chaldaick, for the Jews of Jerusalem who had embraced the Chri­stian Religion, we might also produce the Example of the Nazarene Sectaries, who made use of this same Hebrew or Chaldaick Gospel in their Assemblies. S. Epiphanius who hath written very accurately of this ancient Sect, informs us(a) that they received with the New Testament all the Books of the Old, that were in the Canon of the Jews, viz. the Law, the Prophets, and the other Parts of Holy Writ; and that they differed in nothing from the Jews, as to Doctrine and Ceremonies, save only that they believed in Jesus Christ: they made publick Profession to believe in one God, and in his Son Jesus Christ: they had moreover a perfect knowledge in the Hebrew Tongue. He observes also, that these ancient Nazarenes, whose principal abode was in the City of Berea, and who were dispersed throughout all the lower Syria, were descended from the Primitive Christians of the same Name, who retired from Jerusalem to Pella. Epiph. Haer. 29. n. 7. From thence (saith Epiphanius) the Sect of the Nazarenes derive their original [...]. This agrees very 'well with the Testimonies of the ancient Ecclesiastical Authors, who affirm that S. Matthew preached the Gospel to the Jews of Je­rusalem and all Palestin in their vulgar Tongue. These Nazarene Sectaries, who sprang from those primitive Christians of Jerusalem, and who also spake their Language, always preserved and read it in their Churches or Assemblies.

The same S. Epiphanius adds, that the Jews mortally hated the Nazarenes, and that(b) in their Synagogues, where they assemble thrice every day, they solemnly cursed them, saying, Let God curse the Nazarenes. This Imprecation of the Jews against the Chri­stians, under the name of Nazarenes, is yet to be found even at this day in their Books. S. Hierom also doth mention it in his Commen­taries on the Prophet Isaiah; Hieron. lib. 2. Comm. in Es. cap. 5. where he saith, speaking of the Jews, Ter per singulos dies in omnibus Synagogis sub nomine Nazarenorum ana­thematizant vocabulum Christianum. This hatred came from hence,(c) because the Nazarenes, being Jews as well as they, and embra­cing the whole Law of Moses, preached besides this, that Jesus was the Messiah.

We ought then to seek for the Original of the Gospel of S. Mat­thew amongst these Nazarenes, who being desended from the primi­tive Christians of Jerusalem, have preserved it in their Churches. S. Epiphanius, who seemed to be persuaded of this Truth, (saith freely(d) that they had for their use the Hebrew Gospel of S. Mat­thew most entire, and that it was not to be doubted that they still kept it in his time written in Hebrew Letters: he doubts only whether they had retrenched from this Gospel the Genealogy of Jesus Christ, which was not in the Copy of the Ebionites, who read it also. But it is most probable that the Nazarenes had not taken away this Genealogy from their Copies. For(e) Cerinthus and Carpocras, Hereticks of those primitive times, who also used the Hebrew Go­spel of S. Matthew, read the Genealogy entire, and even proved from thence that Jesus Christ was sprung from the Seed of Joseph and Mary.

S. Hierom, who had translated this same Gospel of the Nazarenes into Greek and Latin, assures us(f) that these Sectaries still read it in his time in their Assemblies; he had seen two Copies of them, one [Page 61] (g) of which was kept in the Library of Caesarea, and he had bor­rowed the other from the Nazarenes themselves of Berea to copy it out. This was the Copy from which he made his Translation. He saith moreover that(h) many People believed, that this Hebrew Gospel whereof the Nazarenes and the Ebionites made use, was the original of S. Matthew. However it be, it seems that the most an­cient Ecclesiastical Writers have cited it as the true Gospel of S. Matthew, several have believed that S. Ignatius Martyr had taken from thence these words of our Saviour to S. Peter, which he quotes in hir Epistle to those of Smyrna: (i) Touch me, and see that I am not a spirit. Eusebius and S. Hierom cite these same words of S. Igna­tius, which are still to be found at this day in this Epistle. And this last observes that they are taken from the Hebrew Gospel of the Na­zarenes, which he had lately translated:Hieron. de script. Ec­cles. in Ign. De Evangelio quod nuper à me translatum est.

It is probable that S. Ignatius, being Bishop of Antioch, had read this Gospel of the Hebrews that was spread abroad through Syria which the Nazarenes inhabited. This induceth me to believe that Tatian, who abode also in Syria, had made use of the same Gospel, when after his manner he composed one out of four, which some according to Epiphanius calls the Gospel according to the Hebrews. Epiph. Haer. 46. n. 1. This ought not to be understood, as if this Collection of Tatian had not been different from the Gospel of the Hebrews; for this would make no sense. Valestus hath not made a sufficient Reflection on this Gospel of Tatian, Vales. An­not. in l. 4. Hist. Eccl. Eus. c. 29. Grot. An­not. in tit. Matth. when he hath discoursed thereof on this account in his Notes on Eusebius. Grotius hath made a much better Remark on occasion of this Passage of S. Epiphanius, that Tatian in the Work which he composed from the four Gospels, had related the words of S. Matthew, not only according to the Greek Copies, but also according to those which were in Hebrew; and that for this reason, this Gospel which was commonly called [...], because it was made out of four, had been named by some Authors, according to the Hebrews. He believes moreover, that it is also [Page 54]for this reason, that some others have given it the Name ofSome neverthe­less be­lieve that it should be read [...]. [...] of five, as having been collected from five Gospels. All this seems to be most probable, were it not that the Gospel of Tatian which hath been published, doth not contain that which was singular in the Hebrew Copy of the Nazarenes.

Altho Baronius is mistaken in several places of his Annals, wherein he treats concerning the Hebrew Gospel of S. Matthew, nevertheless he hath had reason to consider it as an Original. He hath been so bold as to say, according to this Principle, that if there were a ne­cessity of correcting the Latin Version of S. Matthew, Baron. an. Christ. 34. n. 72. it ought to be done rather after the Hebrew Text than the Greek: but he is de­ceived when he attributes this Opinion to S. Hierom, and grounds it on the Epistle of this Father to Pope Damasus. For S. Hierom speaks in this Epistle of the whole New Testament in general, and he would have the faults that were in the Latin to be amended from the Greek Text from whence the Latin hath been taken.

Casaubon, Casaub. Exercit. 15. ad An­nal. Ba­ron. Sect. 4. n. 18. who hath acknowledged with all antiquity, that S. Mat­thew hath certainly written his Gospel in Hebrew, could not allow the opinion of this Cardinal, which he accuseth of Impiety. Haec sen­tentia (saith he) fidem Catholicae Ecclesiae facit pendere, nefas dictu, ab Haereticorum fide. He could not comprehend how it could be said that the authority of the Greek Text of S. Mattthew depends on the He­brew Text which is lost. He affirms also that tho we should still have at this day the Hebrew Copy, yet we could not consider it as an original Piece from which we ought to correct the Greek Version,(k) because none but the Nazarene Hereticks and the Ebionites have made use of it, as may be proved (as he thinks) by the testimony of Epiphanius and S. Jerom. He calls those among the Catholicks that have given the name of Authentick to the Hebrew Gospel of S. Matthew, simple People. They have too easily (saith he) given credit to these Hereticks who boasted that they had the original of this Gospel.(l) This would be according to his Judgment to offer an injury to the Primitive Church, to say that she had suffered wick­ed Hereticks to ascribe to themselves a Gospel which had been the true original. Lastly he adds, that the Hebrew Gospel which hath [Page 55]been in use among the Ebionites and some other Hereticks, was filled with Fables, and that it hath been corrupted in divers places: from whence he concludes, that it cannot pass for an original Piece, ac­cording to which the Greek Version received by the whole Church might be amended. He calls this last proof an invincible Argument, Argumentum invictum. Casaub. ib

But it is an easie matter to shew the weakness of all these Ob­jections of Casaubon. I am so far from thinking that the Opinion of Baronius can be called impious, that I affirm it on the contrary to be grounded on the testimony of all Antiquity and on good Reason. It is certain, and Casaubon himself agrees to it, that S. Matthew hath written his Gospel in Hebrew, of which the Greek is only a Version. This being granted, why may not the Name of an Original be given to this Hebrew Text? There is nothing in this that is not conform­able to reason and good sense. This is the Principle on which the Protestants rely when they correct the Versions of the Old Testament from the original Hebrew: but (say they) we have no longer the Hebrew of S. Matthew. It is true, but ought this to hin­der us from calling it Authentick with the ancient Ecclesiastical Writers, since in effect it is so? If it were not lost, might we not have recourse thereto at this day to resolve several Difficulties in the Greek Version? We see that S. Hierom hath consulted it on the second Verse of the sixth Chapter of S. Matthew, where we read in the vulgar Latin, Panem nostrum supersubstantialem da nobis hodie. (m) He observes that it is in the Greek word [...], and in the Hebrew [...], which signifies of to morrow: from whence he infers, that the sense of this Passage is, Give us this day our bread of to morrow, that is to say, of every day, as it was in the ancient vulgar Latin; and S. Je­rom hath kept the word quotidianum in S. Luke, Chap. xi. 3. This Exposition of the Greek word [...], which is obscure, is conside­rable. The Grammarians do at this day dispute concerning its signi­fication: but the Hebrew word [...] which was in the Gospel of the Nazarenes, resolves all their doubts. This hath caused Grotius to say, that after the Testimony of S. Jerom, Grot. An­not. in E­vangel. Matth. c. vi. v. 11. who hath thereupon consulted the Hebrew or Chaldaick Text, we ought not any longer to dispute about the Original of the Greek word [...] to know the meaning of it.

Altho we should have at this very day (continues Casaubon) the Hebrew Gospel of the Nazarenes, we could not make it pass for an original, because it hath been used by Hereticks, and that the Ca­tholicks have always adhered to the Greek Copy ever since the first beginning of the Church. But tho we should suppose with Casaubon, that the Nazarenes have been Hereticks, would this hinder their Hebrew Gospel which had been written in this Language by S. Mat­thew, from being a true Original? I would willingly know whether the Hebrew Text of the Law of Moses is less authentick in the Hands of the Samaritans, and of the Jews called Caraites, than it is in the Hands of the other Jews who bear the name of Rabbanites, and from whom we have received it? The Protestants are on the same bot­tom with respect to the Church of Rome, as the Ebionites were here­tofore with respect to the Orthodox. This Church reckons them equally in the number of Hereticks; may it be said for this reason that the New Testament which is in use among the Protestants is not authentick? This no rational Catholick will ever avouch. And therefore the proof that Casaubon brings from the pretended Heresie of the Nazarenes, and from that of the Ebionites, is of no weight.

Besides it is not true that the Hebrew Gospel of S. Matthew hath been in use among the Hereticks only, since, as hath been above shewn, it hath been composed for the Primitive Christians of Pa­lestin, from whom the Nazarene Sectaries were descended, and the Greek is only a Version of it. Neither can it be averred, that the Catholicks have not acknowledged any other Copy of S. Matthew than that which is in Greek, since the Jews of the Territory of Jerusalem who embraced the Christian Religion, and were called Nazarenes, have been the first Christians in the World, it would be a piece of injustice in us to treat them as Hereticks, for this reason only, because they retained the Ceremonies of the Old Law with Christianity: otherwise we must treat the Apostles as Hereticks, who observed them also at the beginning: this might be then tolerated in these Primitive Christians who sprang out from the middle of the Jews, and who had before their eyes the Example of Jesus Christ and the Apostles.

That which hath misled Casaubon and many others, as well Pro­testants as Catholicks, who have rejected the Hebrew Gospel of the Nazarenes as an Apocryphal Piece, is that they have not duly reflect­ed on the Original of the Christian Religion. The Primitive Christians of Jerusalem and of Palestin, who made use of this He­brew Gospel, having not long subsisted in their first estate, and the others on the contrary who spake Greek, being dispersed throughout the whole earth; it hath happened from thence that the Greek Gospel [Page 65]only hath been preserved amongst the Catholicks, because all the other Christians have taken their Versions from this Copy. The Chaldaick Tongue, in which the Gospel of the Nazarenes was writ­ten, was not understood but by some Jews: besides, the Nazarenes, who had retained Judaism with Christianity, became odious to the other Christians who were converted from Gentilism, and there was an irreconcileable Hatred between them. If the ancient Nazarenes for whom S. Matthew had written his Gospel were yet in being, their Hebrew Copy would be without doubt preferred before the Greek Version which we have.

S. Jerom and S. Epiphanius are so far from being favourable to the Judgment of Casaubon, that on the contrary they overthrow it in express terms, as appears from their Testimonies which we have above related. This is so true, that Casaubon, to justifie his Opi­nion, hath on purpose corrupted a Passage of St. Epiphanius, who calls the Hebrew Gospel of the Nazarenes [...], most entire; he would have it read, [...], that was not entire, against all the Editions of the Works of this Father, and without producing any Manuscript to prove an Alteration of this Importance: he saith only, that this place of S. Epiphanius is contrary to another, wherein he calls the Hebrew Gospel of the Ebionites, a Gospel [...], that was not entire, but [...], corrupted and mutila­ted. Casaubon hath not taken heed that although the Nazarenes and the Ebionites did equally make use of the Hebrew Gospel of S. Mat­thew, their Copies were nevertheless different: these last, as S. Epi­phanius himself hath remarked, had corrupted their Copy, and had retrenched from it the Genealogy of Jesus Christ, which he saith not of the Nazarenes, who had it (if you will believe him) [...], most entire.

It is true that in the very Copy of the Nazarenes there were some Additions that seemed to have been inserted therein; but we must not reject an Act that is altogether entire, under colour that some­thing hath been annexed to it afterwards, especially when these Augmentations come not from suspected Persons that have a design to corrupt it: otherwise we must lay aside the greatest part of Books, there being very few of them wherein some Additions may not be found. There would not be at this day any Copy even of the New Testament, either Greek, Latin, Syriack or Arabick, that might be truly called authentick, because there is not one, in whatsoever Language it be written, that is absolutely exempt from Additions. I might also avouch, that the Greek Transcribers have taken a very great liberty in writing their Copies, as shall be proved in another place.

Not that I would go about here to defend the vicious Additions and the Corruptions of the Hebrew Copy of the Ebionites: Baronius himself hath never thought of this: he is content to say,(n) that the Nazarenes during some time preserved the true Gospel of S. Mat­thew entire, and without any Additions: he confutes the Opinion of Bede, who hath believed that this Hebrew Gospel ought not to be reckoned in the number of Apocryphal Books: he judgeth, that it ought to be placed in the rank of Apocryphal Pieces, because S. Je­rom hath quoted in his Works several Passages out of it, which are not to be found in the Copies that have been received and appro­ved of by the Church.(o) It is dangerous (saith this Cardinal) to put it in any other Class than that of Apocryphal Books, because there can be but one Truth. If we understand in the mean time by Apocryphal, a false Book, it is not true in that sense, that the Gospel of the Nazarenes is Apocryphal; it may be only said, that if there are considerable Additions therein that alter the sense, it is no more Authentick: and this is that which is to be proved. I speak only of the Copy of the Nazarenes, and not of that of the Ebionites, who had corrupted it on purpose to adjust it to their Pre­judices.

We ought not, notwithstanding, to compare the Hebrew Gospel of the Nazarenes, Casaub. Exercit. 16. ad Annal. Bar. n. 126. as Casaubon hath done, with the Gospel intituled according to the Egyptians, the Acts of Barnabas, the Prophecy of Cham, and other Books that have been forged by Impostors. It is not to be doubted on the contrary, that the Gospel of the Nazarenes hath been certainly composed by the Apostle whose Name it bears: as for what concerns the Additions which the Nazarenes might have inserted in the first Original of S. Matthew, it may happen that they are not false: we ought rather to attribute them to their Simplicity, and to their good Faith, than to their malice. It was the custom in these Primitive times of Christianity, to take a great deal of pains to inform themselves of that which the Disciples of the Apo­stles had learned of their Masters, as appears by the Example of Papias who lived in those times, of S. Irenaeus who was not long af­ter, and of some others of the Ancient. It is probable that the Nazarenes have annexed to their Gospel of S. Matthew the like Hi­stories which they had learned, and which they believed to be found­ed on good Testimonies: therefore they are not all to be rejected [Page 69]as false, though they are not to be found in any of the Copies that are used and allowed by the Church. It may be observed, that all the Churches of the World have taken their Versions from the Greek Copy wherein these Additions are not expressed, because the Gospel of S. Matthew had been apparently translated out of Hebrew into Greek before the Nazarenes had inserted them.

Furthermore, these Differences of the Hebrew Gospel of the Na­zarenes from our Copy, seem to have been numerous enough, if we may judge of them by those that S. Jerom hath left us in divers Passages of his Works, a part of which hath been collected by some Commentators on the New Testament. Nevertheless, there is a diversity of Opinions as to some of these Histories or Additi­ons of the Nazarenes: all men, for example, are not agreed that the History of the adulterous Woman, of whom mention is made Chap. viii. of S. John, hath been in their Hebrew Gospel. That which hath given occasion to believe it, is the Testimony of Papias, who had lived with the Disciples of the Apostles: he saith(p) that the History of the Woman who was accused of many Sins before our Saviour, is to be read in the Gospel that was called according to the Hebrews; which seems not to be meant of any other than that adul­terous Woman, whom S. John hath mentioned. Nevertheless,Baron. Ann. c. 99. n. 6. Baro­nius hath thought, and some others after him, that the History rela­ted in Eusebius by Papias is different from that whereof S. John speaks, because(q) Papias discourseth of a Woman accused of ma­ny Crimes in general, whereas S. John simply takes notice of an adulterous Woman: but there is but little likelihood that Papias should have designed to describe in this Passage any other than the adulterous Woman, though his Expression runs in general terms. This hath caused several learned men to believe, that the History of the adulterous Woman hath been taken from the Hebrew Gospel of the Nazarenes, and that it hath been afterwards inserted into that of S. John: indeed it is not found in a great number of Copies of this Gospel, as we shall shew hereafter.

I shall only observe here, that if this be true, we ought not to cast away, as false Histories, all the Additions that the Nazarenes had inserted into their Hebrew Copy of S. Matthew, because they might have received them from good hands.

It is for this reason that Cardinal Baronius authorizeth an Appari­tion of our Saviour to S. James, Baron. Ann. c 34. n. 182. which was found only in the Co­py of the Nazarenes, and is related after this manner by S. Jerom; Evangelium quoque quod appellatur secundùm Hebraeos, Hieron. de Script. Eccl. in Jacobo. & à me nuper in Graecum Latinumque sermonem translatum est, quo & Origines saepe uti­tur, post resurrectionem Salvatoris refert: "Dominus autem cùm de­disset sindonem servo sacerdotis, ivit ad Jacobum, & apparuit ei. Juraverat enim Jacobus, se non comesturum panem ab illa hora qua biberat calicem Domini, donec videret eum resurgentem à mortuis. Rursusque post paululùm: Afferte, ait Dominus, mensam & panem. Statimque additur, Tulit panem, & benedixit ac fre­git, & post dedit Jacobo Justo, & dixit ei, Frater mi, comede panem tuum, quia resurrexit filius hominis à dormientibus. Baro­nius, who hath also inserted into his Annals this Extract of the Gospel of the Nazarenes, adds, that(r) S. Jerom did not believe that it was false, because he rejected it not in that place, as he was wont to do when he cited Apocryphal Pieces. If this observation of the Cardinal be true, the greatest part of the Additions of this Gospel will then be admitted, because S. Jerom is ordinarily content to rehearse them simply without disapproving them.

After this manner also on Chap. xii. of S. Matthew, Hieron. Comm. lib. 2. in c. 12. Matth. wherein men­tion is made of a Man who had his hand withered, and was healed by Jesus Christ, he quotes the Hebrew Gospel of the Nazarenes and Ebionites, where this History is written more at large, and with other Circumstances. It is specified therein, that this Man was a Mason by Trade, and that he thus addressed himself to our Sa­viour; I was a Mason, that gained my Livelihood by working. I pray thee, Jesus, to heal me, that I may not be obliged shamefully to beg. S. Jerom is so far from rejecting this History as a Fable, that he saith on the contrary in this same Passage, that the Gospel of the Naza­renes, from whence he hath taken it, passeth for Authentick in the Judgment of many People. In Evangelio (saith this learned Father) quo utuntur Nazareni & Ebionitae, quod nuper in Graecum de Hebraeo sermone transtulimus, & quod vocatur à plerisque Matthaei Authenticum, homo iste qui aridam habet manum cementarius scribitur, istiusmodi voci­bus auxilium precans: "Cementarius eram manibus victum quaeri­tans. Precor te, Jesu, ut mihi restituas sanitatem, ne turpiter men­dicem cibos.

Moreover, S. Jerom cites two other considerable Passages of this same Gospel at the beginning of his third Book against the Pelagi­ans, without lessening their credit by any Restriction. The first hath regard to the Baptism of S. John, whereof Jesus Christ said that he had no need; and the other is a various reading of the 21 and 22 Verses of the xviii. Chap. of S. Matthew. In Evangelio (saith S. Jerom) juxta Hebraeos, quod Chaldaico quidem Syroque sermone, Hieron. lib. 3. adv. Pelag. sed Hebraicis literis scriptum est, quo utuntur usque hodie Nazareni secundùm Aposto­los, sive ut plerique autumant, juxta Matthaum, quod & in Caesariensi habetur Bibliothecâ, narrat historia. "Ecce mater Domini & fratres ejus dicebant ei, Joannes Baptista baptizat in remissionem pec­catorum, eamus & baptizemur ab eo. Dixit autem eis, quid pec­cavi ut vadam & baptizer ab eo, nisi fortè hoc ipsum quod dixi ignorantia est. Et in eodem volumine. Si peccaverit, inquit, frater tuus in verbo, & satis tibi fecerit, septies in die suscipe eum. Di­xit illi Simon discipulus ejus, septies in die? Respondit Dominus, & dixit ei, etiam ego dico tibi usque septuagesies. Etenim in Pro­phetis quoque, postquàm uncti sunt Spiritu Sancto, inventus est sermo peccati.

The same Nazarenes read also otherwise than we have it in our Copies, the 16 and 17 Verses of the iii. Chapter of S. Matthew, when the Baptism of Jesus Christ is mentioned. S. Jerom hath ta­ken notice in his Commentary on Isaiah, that they read it after this manner: Factum est autem cum ascendisset Dominus de aqua, Evang. Nazar. apud. Hier. l. 4. Comm. in Es. c. 11. de­scendit fons omnis Spiritus Sancti, & requievit super eum, & dixit illi, fili mi, in omnibus Prophetis expectabam te ut venires, & requiescerem in te: tu es enim requies mea, tu es filius meus primogenitus qui regnas in sempiternum.

Amongst the Miracles that happened at the Death of our Savi­our, and that are declared in the xxvii Chap. of S. Matthew, the Nazarenes relate this in their Gospel,(s) that the top of the Gate of the Temple, that was of a prodigious bigness, was broken in pieces; whereas we read only in our Copies, that the Vail of the Temple was rent in twain. Mat. xxvii. 51.

I shall take no notice of some other Examples that I might pro­duce of the diversity that was found between the Hebrew Gospel of the Nazarenes and the Greek, which hath remained alone in use throughout all the Churches in the World. I shall only add to what hath been already observed, that in the xxiii. Chapter of [Page 72]S. Matthew, ver. 25. where we read Zacharias Son of Barachias, (t) the Nazarenes had in their Copy according to the Testimony of S. Jerom, Zacharias Son of Jojada: and this Reading is confirm­ed by that which is related concerning this Zacharias in the Old Testament. Now according to our Copies, the Father of Zacha­rias must have had two Names: and since this doth not appear to us, I believe that in this place the Hebrew Gospel ought to be pre­ferred before the other Copies, especially there being no prejudice that could have obliged the Nazarenes or the Ebionites to make any alteration in this Point.

We may see plainly, by all these Examples, what hath been the Hebrew Gospel of S. Matthew; or as others call it, of the twelve Apo­stles, which hath been used by the Nazarenes: we may judge also, at the same time, that it was different enough from our Copies. It would be in the mean time a piece of Rashness to put all these di­versities in the number of Fables with Casaubon, (u) who hath made no scruple to rank this Gospel amongst those that have been counterfeited under the Names of S. Thaddaeus and S. Thomas. Gro­tius, who discourseth thereof with more Moderation,(x) believes that the Nazarenes have inserted that which they have in their Co­pies and which is not in ours, relying upon certain Relations that they had heard. It is for this reason that when he speaks of the History of the adulterous Woman, of whom mention is made in S. John, and which he judgeth to have been taken out of the Gospel of these Nazarenes, that he forbears not to ascribe to it the same Authority, as if the Apostles were the true Authors of it. He acknowledgeth nevertheless, that it was not originally neither in the Hebrew of S. Matthew, nor in the Greek of S. John; nec à Mat­thaeo scriptam in Hebraeo Evangelio, nec à Joanne in Graeco. He be­lieves that(y) the Nazarenes of Palestine had added it to their He­brew Gospel, because it came from the Apostles; and that after­wards Papias and the other Disciples of S. John had put it into his [Page 73]Gospel written in Greek, which said History hath been approved by the Church, because it was grounded on an Apostolical Tradi­tion. Jansenius Bishop of Gand, who had written the same thing before Grotius (z) would have this History considered as Canoni­cal, because Papias had received it from his Master, and because it hath been allowed by the Church; he saith nevertheless, that it might happen that S. John hath added it himself to his Gospel after he had written it; and that for this reason it was not found in some Copies.

But there seems to be but little Probability in this last Remark, and there can be nothing determined thereupon with any certainty. We only know that Papias reckons in the number of Histories which he had learned from the Disciples of the Apostles, that which hath regard to the Woman accused of many Crimes in the Presence of our Saviour; and that he adds at the same time, that it was related in the Gospel which was called according to the He­brews. Now since it is not unlikely that this Woman accused of many Crimes is the same with the adulterous Woman of whom S. John makes mention, it seems as if it might be inferred from thence, that in the time of Papias this History was not to be found but in the Hebrew Gospel of the Nazarenes. This makes it appear, that all the Additions which have been inserted into this Gospel ought not to be accounted as Fables, since Papias hath produced one of them which came from an Apostolical Tradition: this might be also said of the others with some Probability. Hegesippus, who was familiarly acquainted with the Disciples of the Apostles,(‖) hath also sometimes made use of the Hebrew or Syriack Gospel of the Nazarenes, and he hath quoted it even in Hebrew: from whence Eusebius concludes, that he must needs be of the number of the Hebrews that had embraced the Christian Religion.

CHAP. VIII. Of the Ebionites. Of their Copy of the Gospel of S. Mat­thew. Of some other ancient Hereticks who have made use of this same Gospel.

WE have already observed in discoursing of the Nazarenes, that the Ebionites did also make use of the Hebrew Gospel of S. Matthew as well as they; but that they had nevertheless alter­ed and corrupted it in some places, to make it agreeable to their false Notions and Prejudices. Ebionaei (saith S. Irenaeus) eo Evange­lio, quod est secundùm Matthaeum, Iren. l. 3. adv. Haer. c. 4. solo utentes, ex illo ipso convincuntur. The ancient Ecclesiastical Writers (according to Eusebius) have cal­led these Sectaries Ebionites, from a Word that signifies in Hebrew Poor, because they had poor Conceptions concerning Jesus Christ, whom they believed to be a simple Man.(a) They made use of that Gospel only (adds this Historian) which was called according to the Hebrews, little esteeming the rest. Origen, who hath been fol­lowed by Eusebius, (b) doth also derive the Etymology of the Name of these Hereticks from the Hebrew Word Ebion, which sig­nifies Poor, because they were (saith he) poor in Judgment, and wanted Understanding.

But all this seems to me to be ill grounded, and to be but a sim­ple Allusion to the Name of these Sectaries, which indeed signifies Poor in the Hebrew Tongue. It is more probable that the Jews called them so in derision and scorn; because in these Primitive times of Christianity there were scarce any but poor People that had embraced it. This gave occasion to Jesus Christ to say to his Disciples,Luke vi. 20. Blessed be ye poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God. This King­dom of God was the Gospel on which they believed: therefore our Saviour saith in another place,Luke vii. 20. that the Gospel is preached to the Poor. Origen himself seems to confirm this Opinion in his Books against Celsus, Matth. xi. 15. where he observes, that(c) the Word Ebion signifieth Poor [Page 73]in Hebrew, and that they have given the name of Ebionites or poor to those among the Jews who have believed that Jesus was the Messiah.

Since then the Jews called those of their own Nation that turned Christians, Nazarenes. and Galileans, by way of contempt, it is also very probable, that they have named them Ebionites or poor. It may be further said, that these Primitive Christians took this Name themselves conformably to their Profession. This agrees very well with the Remark of S. Epiphanius, who informs us, that the Ebionites (d) boasted of this Name, giving it out, that they were poor in imita­tion of the Apostles; the custom being in those times to sell their Goods, and to lay them at their Feet. This Name degenerated af­terwards into that of a Sect, which was a Branch of the Nazarenes, and held certain particular Opinions; but in the rest they agreed with them in the same Foundation of Religion as to every thing that concerned the Old Law, which they kept equally with Chri­stianity. S. Epiphanius in the mean time will have it that there hath certainly been a Man called Ebion, from whom the Ebionites took their original, who lived at the same time with the Nazarenes and Cerinthians. It may well be, that this Father and all the others who have thought that there was indeed a Man named Ebion, Author of the Sect of the Ebionites, have had no better grounds whereon to e­stablish this Ebion, than a certain Spanish Historian, who hath writ­ten the History of the Popes in his Language, hath had in like manner to invent a Man called Hugo a Sacramentarian Arch-Here­tick, Hugo Haeresiarcha Sacramentarius, (e) from whom the Here­ticks of France have been named Hugonots.

The same S. Epiphanius more exactly describes the original of these Sectaries, whose beginning and first appearance he dates after the destruction of Jerusalem, and at that time when the Primitive Christians that were called Nazarenes, and were lately departed from this City, came to dwell at Pella in the Province of Decapolis. It appears from thence that the Ebionites are only an Off-spring of the ancient Nazarenes, having nevertheless corrupted the purity and simplicity of the Faith of these primitive Christians. Therefore they revised the original Hebrew of S. Matthew, to make it more con­formable [Page 74]to their Opinions. It will not be amiss here to produce some Fragments of their Gospel which Epiphanius hath transmitted to us.

In the first place he saith in general(f) that the Gospel of the Ebionites was not entire, but corrupted and mutilated. They had taken out of it the Genealogy of Jesus Christ, and all that follows to Chapter 3. of S. Matthew (g) beginning their Gospel with these words, It came to pass in the days of Herod the King of Judaea, that John came baptizing the baptism of repentance in the river Jordan, who was said to be of the race of Aaron the priest the son of Zacharias and Elizabeth, and all people came unto him.

The Baptism of our Saviour by S. John was related after this man­ner in the Gospel of the Ebionites. (h) After the people had been baptised, Jesus came also, and was baptised by John, and as he ascended out of the water, the Heavens were opened, and he saw the Holy Spirit of God in the form of a Dove, which descended and came towards him; and a voice was heard from heaven saying, thou art my beloved son, in thee have I been well pleased. And continuing(i) This day have I begotten thee, and immediately a great light shone about the place: and John having seen it, saith unto him, who art thou, Lord? And again a voice from heaven said unto him, this is my beloved son in whom I have been well pleased; and then John falling down before him said, I pray thee, Lord, baptise thou me: but he forbad him, saying, suffer it to be so; for thus it becometh all things to be fulfilled.

We may judge by that which we have now produced of the Gospel of the Ebionites, that the order of the words was not altogether the same as in our Copies, and that there were besides some Alterations and Additions. There is another Passage at the beginning of the Gospel, [Page 75]from whence we may be able to take a better estimate thereof(k) There was a certain man, Jesus by name, of about thirty years of age, who hath chosen us, and being come to Caphernaum he entred into the house of Simon sirnamed Peter, and opening his mouth he said, When I passed along the lake of Tiberias I chose John and James the sons of Zebedee, and Simon and Andrew and Thaddeus and Simon Zelotes and Judas Iscariot, and I called thee Matthew sitting at the receit of custom, and thou hast followed me. I will then that you be twelve Apostles for a testimony unto Israel. And John was baptising, and the Pharisees came unto him, and were baptised and all Jerusalem, and John had his raiment os camels hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins, and his food was wild honey, that had the taste of Manna, as a cake dipt in oil. S. Epi­phanius here reproves the Ebionites for having corrupted the Gospel of S. Matthew, in reading [...] instead of [...]. But this altera­tion could have happened only in the Greek, and not in their Hebrew or Syriack Copy, wherein there is no such resemblance of words. They must either have a particular Greek Translation, which they had made for their own use, or they must have adjusted ours to their Text.

Furthermore these Sectaries were different from the Nazarenes, with respect to the Holy Scriptures: for whereas these received, as hath been already observed, all the Old Testament, as it was in the Canon of the Jews; the Ebionites on the contrary rejected all the Prophets. They abhorred the Names of David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and Ezechiel: they only adhered to the Pentateuch, and they did not much regard that neither.(l) What use (said they) can there be made of the Law after the coming of the Go­spel? And when they were asked why they had a veneration for Moses, Abraham and the other ancient Patriarchs: they answered, That they therein followed the example of Jesus Christ.

It is probable that the Ebionites who received no other but the five Books of Moses, and only considered Joshua in quality of his Suc­cessor, were descended from some Samaritans who embraced Chri­stianity in imitation of the Nazarenes. Epiph. ib. n. 1. Thus Epiphanius hath ob­served that Ebion was infected with the Superstitions of the Samari­tans: [...]. Whereas they both retain the Old Law with the Gospel, the Ebionites do only keep the Books of Moses, because the Samaritans have never received any but these five Books as Canonical. But the Nazarenes who passed from Judaism to the Christian Religion, continued to read the whole Old Testament, as they read it before in their Synagogues. S. Epiphanius hath further remarked, that these Ebionites (m) had their Priests or Elders, and their Chiefs of the Synagogue. For they call not (saith he) their Assembly a Church, but a Synagogue. He speaks ap­parently of the Ebionites that understood the Greek Tongue, and even read a Greek Translation of their Hebrew or Syriack Gospel: For this distinction between the Words Synagogue and Church is not to be found in the Hebrew or Syriack, and the sense of these two words is the same in the Greek; as it is easie to prove from the Greek Version of the Septuagint.

The Ebionites were not content only to have corrupted the Go­spel of S. Matthew, but they forged also divers Books, (according to Epiphanius)(n) under the Names of James, Matthew and other Disciples of Jesus Christ. They read one in like manner under the Name of S. John, abusing by this means the Names of the Apostles, that they might the more easily impose on those of their party.(o) Besides they made use of the Voyages of S. Peter, written by S. Cle­ment: but they had so altered and mangled them, that there hardly remained any thing of Truth; they modelled them after a new manner, and suited them to their humors, to cause S. Peter to utter abundance of Falsities that authorized that which was practised a­mong them. These Hereticks may be easily convinced of having retrenched from their Copy of S. Matthew the Genealogy of Jesus [Page 77]Christ: for the Cerinthians and the Carpocratians who read it, and who held the same Opinions as they do touching the Birth of our Saviour, had this Genealogy in their Copy, they refer to this to prove that Jesus Christ was a mere Man. Now these Cerinthians had established their Sect before that of the Ebionites appeared. S. Epi­phanius believes(p) that these last had chosen for their use the He­brew Gospel of S. Matthew only, in imitation of the Cerinthians.

Cerinthus was a zealous Defender of the Circumcision as well as the Nazarenes and Ebionites. I know not from whence the same S. Epiphanius hath taken that which he reports concerning him, to wit, that he was the Ringleader of a Faction that rose up at Jerusa­lem against S. Peter, on occasion that he was found among the un­circumcised, and had eaten with them. It is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, that the Faithful that were circumcised disputed on this Subject against this holy Apostle. Cerinthus (if we may be­lieve S. Epiphanius) was the chief in this Dispute, when he was yet in the number of the Faithful, and took this pretence to separate himself from them. The Church was divided from that time into different Opinions. Some of them that were circumcised would not submit to the Revelation that had been made to S. Peter in the City of Joppa; they insisted that none ought to be received into the Church but those that were circumcised; and they that were of this Sect retained the Hebrew Gospel of S. Mattew, because they were come from Judaism. Therefore the ancient Ecclesiastical Writers have called this Gospel according to the Hebrews. The others on the contrary, who were for the most part converted from Gentilism, made use of the Greek Copy of this same Gospel; and this last alone is preserved in the Church: that of the Hebrews remained only among some Sectaries, and hath been lost at the same time when these Sects have been extinct.

CHAP. IX. Of the Greek Copy of S. Matthew, and its Authority. A Comparison of this Copy with the Hebrew or Chaldaick. An Answer to the Objections of some Hereticks against this Gospel.

ALL Antiquity is agreed, that the Original of the Gospel of S. Matthew hath been written in the Language that the Jews of Jerusalem spake at that time, and that it hath been since translated into Greek. But we have nothing certain concerning the Author of this Greek Version.(a) Matthew (saith S. Jerom) is the first that hath written the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Hebrew for the use of the Jews that had embraced Christianity; but it is not known who hath translated it out of Hebrew into Greek. The Author of the Synopsis, attributed to S. Athanasius, affirmeth nevertheless(b) that it hath been first composed in Hebrew by S. Matthew, who published it in Jerusalem in this same Tongue; and that S. James who hath been the first Bishop of this City translated it into Greek. He pro­duceth no Act of the ancient Writers of the Church to justifie this Opinion. Papias on the contrary, who was not far distant from the time of the Apostles, declares,(c) that the Original of S. Matthew was in Hebrew, and that afterwards every one interpreted it as he was able. This makes me think that in these primitive times of the Christian Religion divers private persons had translated this Gospel for their own use, and almost after the same manner as there have been several Latin Versions from the Greek, tho there was one that was more generally received in the Churches than the others. It is probable also that the Cerinthians, the Carpocratians, the Ebionites, and in one word all the ancient Sectaries, who preferred the Hebrew [Page 79]Gospel of S. Matthew before the others, made Greek Versions of it for their use, as well as the Orthodox.

Casaubon, Casaub. Exercit. 15. ad Annal. Baron. n. 12. who hath used his utmost endeavours to decry the Hebrew Gospel which the Nazarenes and the Ebionites had kept, that he might give the greater authority to the Greek, avoucheth freely that the Fathers are very much divided in their Opinions on this Subject; some ascribing this Version to S. James, others to S. John, others to S. Barnabas; and lastly some few to S. Paul and S. Luke. (d) This diversity of Opinions (adds he) plainly shews that it cannot be cer­tainly affirmed who hath been the Author of this Greek Version: but it serves (saith he) for a demonstration to make it appear that it is derived from the very times of the Apostles, who are the Authors or Promoters of it; or rather it ought to be attributed to the Holy Ghost, whose Instruments they have been.

But can that be called a Demonstration which is only grounded on uncertain Conjectures? Would it not be more prudent to refer our selves herein to the testimony of Papias, who hath lived with the Disciples of the Apostles? If there had been in his time a Greek Version of the Gospel of S. Matthew, which had been made by some Apostle, he would not have failed to have told us of it. He declares on the contrary, that every one translated it as he was able. There is nothing therefore but the constant Tradition of the Church alone that gives authority to this Version, and that can oblige us to prefer it before the Hebrew or Chaldaick Copy of the Nazarenes.

Whereas the Protestants make the Holy Ghost to descend on the Apostles to translate the Gospel of S. Matthew out of Greek into He­brew: some Catholick Divines on the other side pretend also that the ancient Latin Version of the New Testament hath been inspi­red. But it is much more reasonable only to admit this Inspiration for the Originals of the Holy Scriptures, which have been translated into different Languages according to the necessities and occasions of the Churches. If we hearken in the mean time to Casaubon and some other Protestants, the Greek only of S. Matthew would be ac­counted Canonical,(e) because the Church hath put this Text into the Canon that she hath made of the Sacred Books, and she hath [Page 80]not put therein the Syriack Version which is most ancient, nor any other Translation: but where is it to be found that the Church in placing the Gospel of S. Matthew in the rank of Canonical Books, hath spoken of the sole Greek Version, and hath excluded all others? She only speaks in general of the Gospel of S. Matthew, which is Divine and Canonical in whatsoever Language it be written. It may be said nevertheless that there are some Nations that have exact­er Translations of them than others; this hinders not but that it may be averred, that they all have a Canonical Copy of the Gospel of S. Matthew. The Grecians and the Latins have this advantage over the other Christians, that their Versions are the most ancient and the most exact, and the Syrians after them, However there is no Christian Nation that doth not believe but that they have in posses­sion the true Gospel of S. Matthew, tho they all have only Copies of it.

It doth not appear that Casaubon, who is usually moderate in his Opinions, hath sufficiently considered this matter, when he hath un­advisedly taken the part of some Protestants against Baronius. I do not pretend to defend all that Baronius hath alledged in this point: but it seems to me that those of the Roman Church cannot with Justice be reproached(f) as Hereticks, when they defend the He­brew Text of S. Matthew, to detract (say they) from the Authority of the Greek Copy. The Defence that they undertake of the He­brew Text of S. Matthew doth not in the least diminish the Authori­ty of the Greek Version. They only insist that the Greek is not the original, but the Hebrew; and if this Original were come to our hands, it might with reason be preferred before the Greek, which is but a Translation. In the mean time since this Hebrew Text hath not been preserved in its purity in the Orthodox Churches, but on the contrary hath been adopted by the Ebionite Hereticks, who have corrupted it, the Fragments thereof that are now extant are looked upon as Apocryphal Pieces. By the word Apocryphal we ought only to understand that those Acts are doubtful, and not false, nor supposititious. This hinders not but that good use may be made of them in those parts that are acknowledged not to have been altered; an instance whereof hath been above propounded taken from S. Je­rom's Commentaries on S. Matthew.

It were to be wished that we had at this day this Hebrew or Chal­daick Gospel entire, even after the manner as it hath been inter­polated by the Nazarenes, and altered by the Ebionites; we should not reckon it in the number of those Gospels that have been forged by Impostors, as Casaubon hath indiscreetly done: we should esteem it on the contrary, as the most ancient Act of the Christian Religi­on. Is there not reason to conjecture that he that hath translated the Original of S. Matthew out of Hebrew into Greek, hath epitomi­zed it in some places, and sometimes taken the liberty rather to give us the Sense than the Words? at least he seems to have used this liberty in the Quotations of the Old Testament that are therein produced, which are more conformable to the Greek Version of the Seventy, than to the Hebrew Text: in the mean while, there is very little appearance that S. Matthew writing his Gospel for the use of the Hebrews, who read the Bible in Hebrew in their Synagogues, should have quoted the Passages of the Old Testament otherwise than they were read in their Copies. It is sufficient to authorize this Greek Version, that it hath been read in the Churches that were constituted by the Apostles, and that it hath been delivered down to us from Age to Age by a constant Tradition: it is on this un­interrupted Tradition of the Churches that we ought to relye, in shewing that the Greek Copy of S. Matthew is authentick, and not on the imaginary Reasons of some Protestants.

This same Tradition of all the Churches in the World ought to be opposed to some Hereticks, who have believed that the Gospel of S. Matthew hath been mangled and corrupted in several places. Faustus, a famous Manichean, who could not adjust the Genealogy of Jesus Christ that is at the beginning of S. Matthew to the Opini­ons of his Party, hath sought for Reasons to make it appear, that it was false; whereas he ought to have considered, that having been received continually in the Church, as well as the rest of this Gospel, it bore the same stamp of Authority: he compares S. Matthew with S. Luke, who have related this Genealogy in a different manner; and because(g) he could not make them agree, he abandons them to follow S. Mark and S. John who have made no mention there­of, and who correspond in this, that they do not make Jesus the Son of David; for S. John calls him God, and S. Mark the Son of God: from whence he concludes, that Jesus Christ was not born as S. Matthew and S. Luke have written.

S. Augustin answers Faustus, that he is not the first that hath ta­ken notice of this seeming Contradiction of the two Evangelists: that an infinite number of learned Men, especially in the Greek Church, have spared no pains to reconcile them; which he endea­vours to do in this place: and by this he condemns the rash Judg­ment of the Manicheans, who rejected as false, all that was contra­ry to their Prejudices. Indeed those People were so obstinate in their Opinions, that the same Faustus reviled the Orthodox who re­ceived the Genealogy that is at the beginning of S. Matthew, as not being Catholicks, but Followers of Matthew; and he maintain­ed also,Apud Aug. l. 23. cont. Faust. c. 2. that it was contrary to their Creed. Quod si tu credas (saith this Heretick) ita ut scriptum est, eris jam quidem Matthaeanus, sic enim mihi dicendum est; Catholicus vero nequaquam. (h) You must either acknowledge (added he) that St. Matthew hath not written this Genealogy (which he called in derision Genesidium) or that you do not hold the Apostolical Faith.

But it were an easie matter, without arguing at large on all the Difficulties that Faustus propounded, to represent to him that this Genealogy had been always read in the Churches ever since the Apostles: besides, that(i) it was the Belief of the Catholick and Apostolick Church, (as S. Augustin saith) that Jesus Christ is the Son of God according to his Divinity, and the Son of David according to the Flesh: that this Truth was so clearly proved by the Writings of the Apostles, that they could not contradict it, at least if they did not reject them altogether.

By this same Principle the Arguments of certain Anabaptists, of whom Sixtus Senensis, and Baronius makes mention, might be con­futed; but since their Objections are almost the same as those of the Manicheans, it would be to no purpose to insist on them. They have accounted as false that which S. Matthew hath related con­cerning the Wise Men that came to worship Jesus in the Cradle, as also the History of the Children whom Herod caused to be put to death: against the credit of these two Relations, they have op­posed the silence of the other Evangelists, and of Josephus, an Hi­storian of that time.

Sixtus Senensis replies judiciously,Sixt. Sen. Bibl. S.l. 7. that by the same reason they ought not to believe the Resurrection of Lazarus, because none but S. John has spoken of it: neither doth the silence of Josephus prove any thing; for he hath not mentioned divers other Actions, which nevertheless do not cease to be true. They that make such Obje­ctions as these, ought to alledge positive Proofs, as for example, from the diversity of ancient Copies, some of which they should produce wherein these Histories are not to be found; then they might infer with some probability that they had been added after­wards: but on the contrary they are to be seen in all our most an­cient Records; and the greatest Enemies of the Christian Religion have cited them ever since the first Ages.Apud Orig. l. 1. cont. Cels. Celsus hath read them in the Gospel after the same manner as we do at present. Porphyrius and Julian have also made some Objections against the Gospel of S. Matthew, or rather against all the Books of the New Testament: but we shall have occasion to examine them in the sequel of this Work.

CHAP. X. Of the Time and Order of every Gospel. Some Greek Manu­script Copies are produced thereupon. Of S. Mark and his Gospel, which is commonly believed to be the second. Of his Office of Interpreter to S. Peter.

ALthough some Ecclesiastical Writers have carefully set down the time in which they have believed that every Evangelist hath published his Gospel, we cannot nevertheless determine any thing thereupon. Because we have no ancient and certain Acts on which we might relye, I shall only relate what I have read on this Subject at the end of some Manuscript Copies: The most ancient of these Manuscripts that I have seen is at most but 700 Years old, as may be judged by the Character: it is written in great Letters with the Accents and Points, and may be seen in Mr. Colbert's Li­brary, having been brought from Cyprus. There are also many in the King's Library, wherein the time in which every Evangelist hath written his Gospel is specified: but as I have just now said, these Manuscripts are not ancient. Indeed there are no such Re­marks as these in the most ancient, the custom of those Primitive [Page 84]times being only to put at the end of every Book of the New Te­stament, The End of such a Book; the beginning of this other Book.

To return to the Manuscripts that contain the Dates of the Go­spels, see that which is found in the Copy of Cyprus which is in Mr. Colbert's Library.(a) The Gospel according to Matthew hath been published by himself at Jerusalem eight years after the Ascension of Jesus Christ. This Word at Jerusalem is of a later Writing than the rest.(b) The Gospel according to Mark hath been published ten years after the Ascension of Jesus Christ. (c) The Gospel according to Luke hath been published fifteen years after the Ascension of Jesus Christ.

In another Copy that is in the King's Library, and contains all the New Testament, the Date of every Gospel is therein expressed after this manner in the beginning of them.(d) The Holy Gospel according to Matthew, written in the Hebrew Tongue, hath been publish­ed at Jerusalem, and interpreted by John eight years after the Ascension of Jesus Christ. (e) The Gospel according to Mark hath been published ten years after the Ascension of Jesus Christ, and preached by Peter at Rome.(f) The Gospel according to Luke hath been published fifteen years after the Ascension of Jesus Christ, and preached by Paul at Rome.(g) The Gospel according to John hath been preached by himself in the Isle of Patmos thirty years after the Ascension of Jesus Christ.

By this it may be seen what is the belief of the Greek Church touching the time wherein every Gospel hath been written: and though we cannot conclude any thing as from certain Acts, never­theless we may infer from thence, that S. Mark obtains the second place amongst the Evangelists, if respect be had to the time in which they wrote: they are also placed in this order in a great number of Manuscript Copies which I have read: they are notwithstanding disposed otherwise in the Greek and Latin Copy of Cambridge, which [Page 85]is one of the most ancient that we have at this day, and contains the four Evangelists, with the Acts of the Apostles. S. John, in this Copy follows immediately after S. Matthew, S. Luke after S. John, and S. Mark is the last of the four. This Order cannot be attributed to him that hath bound the Leafs of this Manuscript together; for the ranking of them is expressed at the end of every Gospel. See what is read at the end of S. Matthew, Cod. MSS. Cantabr. (h) The Gospel according to Matthew is ended; the Gospel according to John beginneth: afterwards it is read at the end of S. John, (i) The Gospel according to John is ended, the Gospel according to Luke beginneth: and at the end of S. Luke it is read,(k) The Gospel according to Luke is ended, the Gospel according to Mark beginneth: and lastly these Words are to be read at the end of S. Mark, (l) The Gospel according to Mark is ended, the Acts of the Apostles begin. This way of specifying the end of one Book, and the beginning of that which follows, is na­tural and the most ancient: there is no other to be found in the most ancient Manuscripts of the New Testament. The Manuscript Copy of the Epistles of S. Paul, which is in the Library of the Be­nedictin Monks of the Abby of S. Germain, and is not inferior in Antiquity, nor in the Beauty of its Characters, to that of Cambridge, ranketh the Epistles of S. Paul in order after the same manner; whereas in the Manuscripts that are of a later date, and in the printed Books, some other Circumstances have been added, that shew the place from whence these Epistles have been written, and the Persons by whom they have been sent. Moreover, the order of the Gospels which the Cambridge Manuscript follows is not pe­culiar to it; for it may be seen also in an ancient Catalogue of the Books of the Holy Scriptures which is at the end of the before mentioned MS. Copy of the Benedictines. It is probable that this Alteration hath been made by the Latins who have transcribed the Greek Copies for their use. Druthmar, an ancient Benedictin Monk,Christ. Druthm. Expos. in. Matth. cap. 1. declares that he had seen a Copy like to that of Cambridge, where­in the Gospel of S. John immediately followed after that of S. Mat­thew: and it was believed, that this Copy heretofore belonged to S. Hilary.

But this different Disposition in point of order of the Copies of the Gospels, doth not interfere with the general Opinion of the Ec­clesiastical [Page 86]Writers, who all give the second place among the Evan­gelists to S. Mark. It is also commonly believed, that he was only the Disciple of the Apostles, and that therefore he could not be an Eye-witness of the Actions which he relates: he hath only publish­ed that which he had learn'd from them, more especially from S. Pe­ter, whose Interpreter it is affirmed that he hath been. Marcus (saith S. Irenaeus) interpres & sectator Petri; as if S. Peter had only preached this Gospel, and that it had been afterwards written by S. Mark. This Opinion is very ancient; for Papias, who had re­ceived it from one of the Disciples of the Apostles, declares it after him in these Words:(m) Mark, who was Peter's Interpreter, hath written exactly all that he had retained in his memory, without obser­ving the order of the Words and Actions of Jesus Christ; for he had not himself heard Jesus Christ, not having followed him; but he had fol­lowed Peter, who preached to the People according as their necessities re­quired, without taking care to put the Words of our Saviour in order. Therefore Mark cannot be accused of any fault, who hath recorded some Actions as they came into his mind. He hath applied himself solely not to forget any thing that he had heard, and to say nothing but what was true.

This Testimony of Papias confirms that which hath been above­said, that the Gospels are only Collections of the Preachings of the Apostles, that have been committed to Writing without having too scrupulous a regard to the times when those Actions happened which are related therein. Indeed, these sacred Writers have made it their business rather to exhibit a true History, than exactly to de­scribe the circumstances and order of Time. Clemens Alexandrinus informs us moreover, that S. Peter publickly preached the Gospel at Rome; and that S. Mark, who for a long time followed this Apo­stle, put it in Writing at the request of the Faithful of that place: he adds also, that(n) S. Peter having known it, did neither dissuade him from it nor exhort him to it.Eus. Hist. Eccl. l. 2. c. 15. Eusebius nevertheless relying on the Authority of the same Clement, will have it, that S. Peter after he had been informed of the great Zeal that the Faithful of Rome [Page 87]testified to have his Preachings in Writing, approved of the Colle­ction that S. Mark had made of them; to the end that being au­thorized by himself, it should be read in the Churches.

S. Jerom hath only copied and epitomized after his manner the Words of Eusebius, in his Catalogue of Ecclesiastical Writers,Hier. de Script. Eccles. in Marco. where he saith, in speaking of S. Mark, Marcus Discipulus & Interpres Pe­tri juxta quod Petrum referentem audierat rogatus Romae à fratribus, breve scripsit Evangelium: quod cùm Petrus audisset, probavit, & Ecclesiae le­gendum sua autoritate dedit. The Author of the Synopsis of the Ho­ly Scriptures hath also believed that S. Mark hath only published the Preachings of S. Peter: (o) The Gospel according to Mark (saith he) hath been preached at Rome by the Apostle Peter, and hath been publish­ed by the blessed Apostle Mark, who hath also preached it at Alexandria in Egypt, in Pentapolis and in Lybia. In a word, it hath been the Judgment of all Antiquity after Papias, who was contemporary with the Disciples of the Apostles, that the Gospel of S. Mark is only a Collection of the Preachings of S. Peter, whose Interpreter he was; and the most part of the Fathers have avouched at the same time, that it was made at Rome, at the entreaty of the Primitive Chri­stians of that City.

Papias, nevertheless, saith nothing of the place in the Passage that we have above cited; and S. Irenaeus speaks of it a little other­wise than the other Fathers; he declares that S. Mark wrote not his Gospel till after the Death of S. Peter and S. Paul; at least this is the most natural sense that can be given to his Words, according as they are set down in the ancient Latin Edition of the Works of this Father: observe what he saith, Matthaeus in Hebraeis ipsorum lin­gua Scripturam edidit Evangelii, cùm Petrus & Paulus Romae Evange­lizarent, Iren. adv. Haer. lib. 3. cap. 1. & fundarent Ecclesiam. Post verò horum excessum, Marcus Discipulus & Interpres Petri, & ipsa quae à Petro annuntiata erant per scripta nobis tradidit. Eusebius hath rehearsed in Greek these very Words of Irenaeus. Feuardent, Eus. Hist. Eccles. l. 5. c. 8. in his Edition of the Works of this Father, hath observed that these words post horum excessum, are not found in Eusebius: but he may be convinced of the contrary by the Greek of Eusebius, where there is [...], which the an­cient Interpreter of S. Irenaeus hath translated post horum excessum, and Ruffinus, post quorum exitum. That whichg hath deceived Feuardent is the Error of Christopherson, who hath left them out in his Latin Version, having thought that it should be read in the Greek [...], quo edito.

If this reading were grounded on any Manuscript Copies, with­out doubt it ought to be preferred before the other: but Christopher­son seems to have corrected this place on purpose in his Translati­on, to reconcile S. Irenaeus with the other Greek Fathers, which ought never to be done; for if it were permitted to alter the Text of the ancient Ecclesiastical Writers in those places where they do not agree, especially where they treat of Chronology and the Designa­tion of Times, we must of necessity cast them into a new model: therefore Jacobus Grynaeus hath judiciously re-established this Passage in the Edition which he hath set forth with his Amendments of Christopherson's Version: he hath put in the body of the Translation post obitum autem illorum, and in the Margin these Greek Words [...], to shew that it must be read so, and not [...]. Valesius hath also followed this same reading in his History of Eusebius, and he hath put in his Latin Version post horum interitum. He re­prehends also, in his Notes on this place, the Translation of Chri­stopherson, as being contrary to all the Greek Copies, and to Ruffinus. We may observe in the mean time, that the Greek Word [...], and the Latin Excessus or Exitus, which the ancient Interpreter of S. Irenaeus and Ruffinus have used, is equivocal; for it signifieth De­parture as well as Death. According to the first sense, S. Irenaeus would have only said, that S. Mark published his Gospel after S. Peter and S. Paul were departed from Rome.

St. John Chrysostom hath believed contrary to the Judgment of most part of the Fathers, that S. Mark hath written his Gospel in Egypt, and not at Rome; nevertheless, he doth not ground his Opi­nion on any ancient Acts, but only on this, That it was common­ly said so, viz. (p) that as S. Matthew had composed his Gospel at the Suit of the Jews whom he had converted to the Faith of Jesus Christ, and that desired to have his Preachings in Writing; in like manner S. Mark had written his Gospel at the Request of his Dis­ciples in Egypt. This seems so much the more probable, in regard that the Apostles and their Disciples were wholly employed in preaching the Gospel, and that they never would have thought of committing their Preachings to Writing, if they had not been pressed to do it by the People whom they instructed. I doubt not that S. John Chrysostom hath had respect to this general Maxim of the Apostles and their Disciples, and that he hath considered that [Page 89]S. Mark hath been the first Apostle of Egypt; not but that the Opi­nion of this learned Bishop might be easily reconciled with that of the other Fathers, in saying that S. Mark hath delivered his Gospel to the Faithful of Rome in quality of Interpreter of S. Peter, who preached the Religion of Jesus Christ in that great City; and that he hath also given it afterwards to the Primitive Christians of Egypt in quality of Apostle or Bishop. We cannot however determine any thing hereupon but in general, because we have no certain Acts whereon we may confide. Therefore it is no wonder that the Fathers do not agree amongst themselves when they speak in par­ticular of such Transactions as these, having oftentimes nothing to relye on but Conjectures.

S. Augustin seems to have considered S. Mark only as it were an Ab­breviator of the Gospel of S. Matthew. Marcus (saith this Father) Mat­thaeum subsecutus, tanquam pedissequus & breviator ejus videtur. Aug. l. 1. de Cons. Eccl. c. 2. Indeed if we compare these two Gospels together, we shall find not only the same things, but also the very same expressions, which S. Mark some­times epitomizeth, as if he had designed only to make an Abstract of the Gospel of S. Matthew. This would seem to prove that this last had been written in Greek, and not in Hebrew or Chaldaick; at least it might be said that the Greek Version of S. Matthew's Go­spel was already published when S. Mark composed his. Grotius is of a different Persuasion, viz. that(q) S. Mark hath made use of the Hebrew Gospel of S. Matthew, and that afterwards he that translated the latter out of Hebrew into Greek hath followed the Greek Copy of S. Mark, whose dialect or way of speaking he hath only mollified, as being somewhat harsh, and too near the Hebrew, suiting it to the Genius of the Greek Tongue. But we can expect nothing but Conjectures herein.

It is worth the observing, that S. Mark cannot pass for a simple Abbreviator of S. Matthew, because he insists more at large than he doth in some places; besides, if he had only a design to publish an Epitome of S. Matthew's Gospel, he would not have taken away the entire Genealogy of Jesus Christ, which makes one of the most prin­cipal parts of it: it is not the custom of those that epitomize the Works of others, to retrench the most considerable parts of them. And we must take heed of this, lest we unadvisedly authorize the [Page 90]Opinion of the Ebionites and Manicheans, who would have the Ge­nealogy which is at the beginning of S. Matthew and S. Luke, to be added afterwards by some later Writers, who had (as they said) re­vised and interpolated these two Gospels.

The Office of Interpreter to S. Peter, which the ancient Doctors of the Church have unanimously attributed to S. Mark, admits of some difficulties; for how could it be (may it be objected) that this Apostle who had received of the Holy Ghost the gift of Tongues, should have need of an Interpreter either in Writing or in speaking in publick? But there is nothing very surprizing in this: S. Paul, who was very well skill'd in the Greek Tongue, because he had learned it from his Youth at Tarsus, where it was spoken, did not forbear to take Titus for his Interpreter. Therefore S. Jerom ex­pounding these Words of this Apostle, God that comforteth those that are cast down, Epist. 2. ad Cor. c. 7. v. 6. comforted us by the coming of Titus, declareth,(r) that the Joy that S. Paul had in the Presence of Titus sprang from this, that in his Absence he was not able to preach the Gospel as he desired, because Titus, who was his Interpreter, and spake Greek more flu­ently than he, served him as an Organ to promulge the Gospel of Je­sus Christ to the People.(s) He ascribes to S. Paul all possible know­ledge of the Holy Scriptures, and of divers Languages, but he could not (saith he) express the Majesty of the Divine Oracles after so noble and eloquent a manner as he wished; which obliged him to take Titus for his Interpreter, as S. Peter also made choice of S. Mark for the same Function.Joseph. Antiq. l. 20. c. ult. We know that Josephus, who understood the Greek Tongue perfectly, and had diligently studied it, saith of himself, that it was impossible for him to pronounce it well, by reason of his Mother Tongue.Bar. Ann. c. 45 n. 34. Baronius, who hath considered this Example of Josephus, could not, nevertheless, absolutely give his Suffrage to S. Jerom. (t) He is persuaded, that the Apostles who have received from God the gift of Tongues, have not received them imperfect; and that therefore they knew as well how to pronounce the Greek as the Hebrew: insomuch that he is obliged to have re­course to another sort of Interpreters, of whom mention is made [Page 91]in the first Epistle of S. Paul to the Corinthians. Epist. 1. ad Cor. cap. 14. Whereas there were sometimes Persons of different Nations and Languages in the Pri­mitive Assemblies of Christians, it was necessary that there should be Interpreters, who might explain to them in their own, what the Apostles delivered in the vulgar Tongue of the Country. It is certain that the Church of Corinth mentioned by S. Paul, was com­posed of divers Jews who spake Chaldaick or Syriack: and this seems to have given occasion to all this Discourse of S. Paul touching the gift of Prophecy and that of Tongues. This holy Apostle excludes none from the Assembly; he permits those that had no knowledge of the Language of the Place to speak in their own proper Dialect, though it were not understood by the others: he only requires them in this case to make use of an Interpreter, according to the Custom of the Synagogues at that time.Epist. 1. ad Cor. c. 14. v. 5. Greater is he that prophesieth (saith he) than he that speaketh with Tongues, except he interpret that the Church may receive edifying.

But it is evident that Papias and the other ancient Ecclesiastical Authors, did not intend to describe this sort of Interpreters, when they said that S. Mark had been the Interpreter of S. Peter. Baron. an. c. 45. n. 29. Baro­nius himself hath believed that S. Peter had written his Epistles in Hebrew or Syriack, and that they had been afterwards put into Greek: he insinuates, that S. Mark who was his Interpreter translated the first. However it be, I see no reason that can hinder us from affording to S. Peter and the other Apostles who did not perfectly understand the Greek Tongue, the use of true Interpreters, either in speaking or writing. It is in this sense that all Antiquity hath given to S. Mark the Title of Interpreter to S. Peter.

CHAP. XI. In what Language St. Mark hath written his Gospel. Of the twelve last Verses of this Gospel, which are not found in several Greek Manuscript Copies.

CArdinal Baronius hath forgot nothing in his Annals that might serve to prove that S. Mark, who was the Interpreter of S. Peter at Rome, hath written his Gospel in Latin: he confesseth neverthe­less, that S. Jerom and S. Augustin are of a different Opinion. But he might have said, that all Antiquity hath believed with one ac­cord, [Page 90] [...] [Page 91] [...] [Page 92]that S. Mark hath composed his Gospel in Greek, and that the Author of the Lives of the Popes is the first that hath written the contrary. As for S. Gregory Nazianzen, whose Testimony this Cardinal produceth as if it were favourable to his Opinion; he only saith, that S. Mark hath published his Gospel for the Latins, and not in Latin. Therefore the Jesuit Maldonat (a) frankly declares, that if we except S. Matthew who hath written in Hebrew, the ancient Ecclesiastical Authors do all agree, that the other Evangelists have written in Greek.

It is true that we read at the end of S. Mark in the Syriack Ver­sion, that he hath preached his Gospel in Latin in the City of Rome. But it is sufficiently known of what Authority these Inscriptions can be, which are at the beginning and at the end of the Sacred Books, especially in the Oriental Versions. I account as nothing the Ara­bick and Persian Translations wherein the same is read, because they have been made from the Syriack. That which hath misled the Syrians, is their believing, as Cardinal Baronius hath done after the Writer of the Lives of the Popes, that S. Mark could not have written his Gospel at Rome otherwise than in the Language of the Country, having composed it at the request of the Faithful of that City who spake Latin. (b) It cannot be imagined (saith he) that the Apostles should have preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Nations in any other Languages but those that were in use amongst them. He hath not taken notice that S. Peter came to Rome to preach the Gospel to his own Country-men; and that therefore S. Mark ought to have published it in a Language that was most known to them. Now it is certain that the Jews who were dispersed through­out the whole Roman Empire, and even the greatest part of those that were then at Rome, understood the Greek; and that there were very few, on the contrary, that had any knowledge of the Latin Tongue. This hath been very judiciously observed by Grotius in the beginning of his Notes on S. Mark; Judaei (saith this learned Cri­tick) qui Romae agebant plerique Latini sermonis ignari, Grot. An­not. in tit. Marci. longâ per Asiam & Graeciam habitatione Graecam linguam didicerant, & Romano­rum vix quisquam erat non Graece intelligens.

This may be sufficient to answer all the Reasons alledged by Baronius, who could not apprehend how S. Mark, who exercised the [Page 93]Function of an Interpreter at Rome, should speak and write in any other Language but the Latin. It is certain (saith this Cardinal) that S. Peter spake at Rome in the Language of the Romans; how then could it come to pass that S. Mark the Interpreter should have translated the Preachings of this holy Apostle out of Latin into Greek? If it be said (adds he) that S. Peter spake Greek or Hebrew, S. Mark could not have interpreted his words but in Latin. All this arguing proves nothing, if we consider that S. Peter spake to the Jews at Rome in a Language which they understood, and that S. Mark hath collected the Preachings of this Apostle in the same, at the desire of those Jews that were lately converted.

Baronius adds to all these Reasons another proof which is taken from the style of S. Mark; he affirms that they that have any know­ledge of the Greek Tongue may easily judge that he hath written his Gospel in Latin, because several improper Words are found therein which are not in the least Greek, but Latin Grecised. He there­upon quotes Cardinal Sirlet, who hath made an exact Collection of them; from whence at last he concludes,(c) that the Reasons which he hath produced to make it appear that S. Mark hath written in Latin, are so strong and cogent, that they seem to be Demon­strations.

These Reasons on the contrary cannot but appear very weak to those who are versed in the Criticism of the Sacred Books. If this last proof concluded any thing, it would conclude at the same time that the other Evangelists have also written in Latin, because the like Expressions are found in their Gospels, that is to say, Latin words Grecised. It might be proved moreover after this manner that the Syriack and Arabick Versions of the Bible had been first composed in Greek, and afterwards translated into Syriack and Arabick, because there are in these Translations many Greek words that have been Syriacised and Arabised. It is no wonder that S. Mark, who is supposed to have written in Greek at Rome, should have made use of Latin words Grecised. Since it is the custom of all Nations that speak a foreign Language to mingle with it some of their own words, and so S. Mark would have spoken Greek, as it was spoken at Rome, and even in many other Cities of the Empire, where the Grecians had adopted divers Roman words.

If it were true that the very Original of S. Mark is at this day kept at Venice, as they of this Country do avouch, all this Dispute [Page 94]would be quickly ended; but Baronius had no mind rashly to give credit to a popular Tradition that had no Foundation in Antiquity. Ciaconius, who hath written the Lives of the Popes, speaks but doubtfully concerning this question; he durst not pronounce magi­sterially as Baronius hath done, that S. Mark hath written in Latin, tho he cites the Archives of the Venetians, who pretend to have the true Original in their possession. He chiefly relies on the testimony of the Syrians, and on this, that it is improbable that a Gospel should have been written in any other but the Latin Tongue, that was made for the use of the Latins. Notwithstanding this he leaves the matter undetermined.Alfons. Ciacon. Vit. Sum. Pontif. edit. Rom. ann. 1601. in Petro. Marcus (saith this Historian) Petri discipulus & sectator, & in baptismo filius, Evangelium, quod ipse Apostolorum prin­ceps praedicaverat, Romanorum hortatu & precibus Graecè itidem con­scripsit, seu, ut alii volunt, Latinè, cujus eâ linguâ archetypum adservari putant Venetiis in Marcianis thesauris. Syri omnes huic rei fidem faciunt, & ratio suadet, ut non alia quàm Latinâ Linguâ Evangelium in usum Latinis futurum conscriberetur. Alterutrum horum sit, &c. One would think, to hear this Author speak, that S. Mark had only composed his Gospel for the Latins. On this account I do not wonder that the Original thereof is kept at Venice in the Treasury of S. Mark.

It remains for us to examine the twelve last Verses of this Chapter, which are not found in several Greek Manuscript Copies. S. Jerom who had seen a great number of these Manuscripts,Hieron. Epist. ad Hedib. qu. 3. de­clares in his Letter to Hedibia, that there were in his time very few Greek Copies wherein they were read: Omnibus Graeciae libris penè hoc capitulum non habentibus. We must not understand, as the most part of Commentators on the New Testament have done, by this word Capitulum that is in S. Jerom, the last Chapter of S. Mark entire, but only from these words of the ninth Verse, [...], &c. to the end, as it appears by the Manuscript Copies which I have above consulted; and it shall be shewn in the Sequel of this Work, that the ancient Ecclesiastical Writers have denoted quite another thing by the word Capitulum, Chapter, than what we now mean at this day by the Chapters of the New Testament, and also of the whole Bible.

Grotius hath believed with many other Authors, that it is not pos­sible that S. Mark should have omitted in his Gospel the entire Hi­story of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.Grot. An­not. in c. 16. Marci. He cannot also imagine that it hath been written, and lost afterwards, insomuch that that which we read at present is only a Supplement made by a later Writer. It is not credible (saith he) that this should have hap­pened to a Book of which so many Copies have been made as soon as it was published. Besides, he that is supposed to have added this [Page 95]Supplement would have followed S. Matthew. He adds farther that the Latin, Syriack and Arabick Copies, as also S. Irenaeus, who is a most ancient Witness, do all confirm this Chapter. He confesseth nevertheless that it was not found in some Greek Copies from the time of S. Gregory Nyssen. Lastly he judgeth for the Reasons that we have now related, that this defect in the Greek Copies ought to be attributed to the Transcribers, who not being able to make that which this Evangelist saith touching the Resurrection of Jesus Christ conformable to S. Matthew, have taken away from S. Mark all this History. Indeed the Emperor Julian hath opposed to the Chri­stians the contradiction of their Gospels in this place; and there have been Learned Writers among the Grecians who have composed Works on purpose on this Subject to reconcile them.

Maldonat (d) on the contrary could not admit the Opinion of those that ascribe this defect in the Greek Copies to the Transcribers, who could not make this Place of S. Mark agree with S. Matthew, because if this reason were good, they ought to have done the same thing, with respect to the last Chapter of S. Luke, and the last Chapter but one of S. John, which differ yet more from S. Mat­thew in this point, than S. Matthew doth from S. Mark. Major enim (saith this Learned Jesuit) inter illos & Matthaeum, quàm inter Mat­thaeum & Marcum, apparet repugnantia. (e) Moreover he admires that S. Jerom who hath took so much pains in observing the diversity of the Copies, hath applyed himself so little to establish the Autho­rity of this Chapter, which cannot be affirmed not to belong to the Gospel of S. Mark.

The harsh manner of expression that the same S. Jerom hath used in discoursing of these twelve last Verses of S. Mark hath yet more offended Baronius, Baron. an. Ch. 34. n. 134. who could hardly believe that he should let fall such words as seemed to destroy the Authority of this last Chapter. This Learned Father in answering Hedibia, who had de­sired him to reconcile the Evangelists in the matter of the Resur­rection of our Saviour, saith(f) that this difficulty might be re­solved two several ways; the first of which is,Hieron. Epist. ad Hedib. qu. 3. that this Testimony [Page 96]of S. Mark might be rejected as being found but in a very few Greek Copies.

Baronius useth his utmost endeavours to shew even by the authori­ty of S. Jerom himself, that there is no reason to suspect that this last Chapter hath been added afterwards to the Gospel of S. Mark. He opposeth to this Father his own words in his second Book a­gainst the Pelagians, wherein he observes, that in some Greek Copies there was a long addition at the end of the Gospel of S. Mark, which he also produceth. From whence this Cardinal concludes, that even according to the Report of S. Jerom, this Chapter now in dispute was not only in the Greek Copies, but that there were also some found wherein an Addition had been inserted; and takes an occasion thereupon to correct the words of this Father in his Letter to He­dibia (g) where he ought not to have said, (if we may believe Ba­ronius) that this last Chapter was wanting in some Greek. Copies, but only that a considerable Addition had been annexed to them, which said Addition (according to his opinion) might come from the Manicheans who had altered some Copies of the Scriptures. Lastly he infers from the Premises, that the Church hath amended these Greek Copies from the Latin. Baron. ib. Quamobrem Dei Ecclesiam adin­star Latinorum correxisse Graecorum exemplaria certum est. And after all these Reasons(h) he sharply reproves Cardinal Cajetan, because he doubted, being induced thereto by the Testimony of S. Jerom, of the verity of the last Chapter of S. Mark.

But after all, I think that Cajetan might have been treated more mildly, who hath entertained a doubt on the sole authority of S. Je­rom, concerning the verity of this last Chapter, before the Council of Trent had determined any thing thereupon, because this Father hath grounded his Judgment on divers Copies that he had read. I find moreover that Baronius hath only copied Sixtus Senensis without throughly examining this matter: If he had consulted the ancient Greek Copies he would not have took so much liberty to correct S. Jerom's Remark on the twelve last Verses of this Chapter: for this Father hath very well distinguished these Verses which he mentions in his Letter to Hedibia, from this other Addition of which he discourseth in his second Book against the Pelagians. And there­fore [Page 97]the Observation of Sixtus Senensis (i) who urgeth that S. Je­rom's words can only be understood of certain Apocryphal Periods which had been adjoyned to some Greek Copies by uncertain Au­thors, is very far from truth. It is sufficient only to read the words of this Reverend Doctor as well in his Epistle to Hedibia, as in his Work against the Pelagians, to judge that he speaks apparently in those two places of two different Additions. And that there may re­main no doubt thereof, I shall here produce what I could observe on this Subject in reading the ancient Greek Copies.

It is to be supposed, as hath been above said, that the question is not concerning the whole last Chapter of S. Mark, but only the twelve last Verses. This is that part which S. Jerom hath called Capitu­lum Chapter, wherein is described the History of the Resurrection. The most ancient Greek Copy of the Gospels of those that are in the King of France his Library, contains after these words [...], this Remark written as the rest of the Text, and with the same Hand, [...]. [...], it is read in some places as followeth: [...]. They declared in a few words to those that were with Peter all things that had been commanded them; Ex cod. MS. Bibl. Reg. n. 2861. and afterwards Jesus himself published by their Ministry this holy and incorruptible preaching of eternal Salvation.

There follows afterwards in this Manuscript this Observation written in the Body of the Book, and with the same Hand as the Text [...]. [...]. After these words [...] is found that which followeth [...], &c. to the end of the Gospel. We may easily judge by this, that they that have written this Greek Copy which is ancient, have believed that the Gospel of S. Mark ended at these words [...]. They have never­theless added the rest written with the same hand, but only in form of a Remark, because it was not read in their Church, which is altogether conformable to the Testimony of S. Jerom in his Letter to Hedibia. Since this diversity is considerable, it is necessary for me to make some Reflections thereon, grounded on this ancient Manuscript of the King's Library.

It seems that Beza hath seen this Manuscript; or at least one like it;Bez. An­not. in c. 16. Mar­ci v. 9. for he saith in his Notes on Mark xvi. that he hath found in one Copy these words added, [...], and the rest, as hath been above related. But he ought to have explained himself more distinctly thereupon, and to have observed that this Addition was written in the Manuscript only in form of a Scho­tion or Note, and not as belonging to the Text of S. Mark's Gospel. This appears manifestly in the Manuscript of the King's Library.

We ought to judge after the same manner of this other Addition which S. Jerom declares that he hath read in some Greek Copies, and which he publisheth in these terms. In quibusdam exemplaribus, & maxime in Graecis codicibus, juxta Marcum in fine ejus Evangelii sic scribitur: Postea cùm accubuissent undecim, apparuit eis Jesus, & exprobravit incredulitatem & duritiem cordis eorum, quia iis qui vi­derant eum resurgentem non crediderunt. Et illi satisfaciebant dicentes: Seculum istud iniquitatis & incredulitatis substantia est, quae non sinit per immundos spiritus veri Dei apprehendi virtu­tem. Idcirco jam nunc revela justitiam tuam. This hath been apparently taken out of some Apocryphal Gospels, as we have above seen a like Addition taken from that of the Nazarenes. The Greek Transcribers thinking thereby to make their diligence and exactness more apparent have inserted them into their Copies. But they have done it by way of Remark; and there have been others afterwards who have left these Additions in the Text, without annexing any thing that denoted that they were only as it were Observations: be­cause these Additions were not read in their Churches, they did not think these little Notes necessary.

By this same method we may justifie the Observation of S. Jerom in his Letter to Hedibia, wherein he declares that the last Chapter of S. Mark, that is to say, the twelve last Verses were not read in the greatest part of the Greek Copies. Beza on the contrary(k) protests that this Chapter is found in all the old Manuscripts that he hath read; but he hath not regarded, that altho it be found in the ancient Greek Manuscripts, yet there are many of them in which it is written only as it were an Addition that doth not appertain to the Text. This evidently appears in the King's ancient Manuscript above cited. For tho these words [...], and the rest to the end of the Gospel be written therein with the same Hand as the whole Body of the Book, nevertheless the Remark that is adjoyned makes it plainly appear, that they that have written this Copy have not considered them as [Page 99]part of the Text. It is to be observed moreover, that the Sections are marked in the Margin of the Greek Manuscripts of the New Testament by the Letters of the Alphabet, which serve instead of Numbers of Figures. These Marks are in the first Editions of the Greek New Testament of Erasmus, in Robert Stephen's Edition in Folio, and in some others. Now there are none of these found in the King's Manuscript over against these twelve Verses, which is a proof that they were not read in their Church that have tran­scribed this Copy. This will appear yet more clearly in the Sequel of this Discourse, wherein I shall explain the use of these Marks or Sections in the Greek Copies of the New Testament.

Euthymius who hath made Learned and Judicious Annotations on the New Testament, confirms all this that we have just now al­ledged, and justifieth at the same time S. Jerom's Observation in his Letter to Hedibia. See what he saith on these words of S. Mark, [...], Chap. xvi. 9.(l) Some Interpreters say that the Gospel of S. Mark is ended here, and that that which follows is a later Addition. We must nevertheless explain this also, because it containeth nothing con­trary to the truth.

There is also another Manuscript Copy of the Gospels in the King's Library, ancient enough, and written very exactly, wherein is also read this Observation on the same Passage [...],(m) The Evangelist ends here in some Copies; but in many the following words are found, [...], and the rest to the end of the Gospel. The little Sections are marked in this Copy over against these last Verses, as well as in the rest of the Gospel; which proves that they were read in that Church for whose use it was written. And there is annexed to it a Synaxarion or Lectionary that contains in order the Gospels of the whole year, and the day on which this Gospel was to be read. I have also seen another Copy in Monsieur Colbert's Li­brary,Ex Cod. MS. Bibl. Colb. n. 2467. which was written with a great deal of care, wherein this same Note is found after these words [...], and is expressed in the same Terms.

It seems to me that these Observations that are grounded on good Greek Manuscript Copies are more than sufficient to justifie the Cri­tical Remark of S. Jerom in his Letter to Hedibia, on the twelve [Page 100]last Verses of the Gospel of S. Mark. It must needs be that in his time they were not read in the most part of the Greek Churches. This Father nevertheless doth not believe that they ought to be absolutely rejected; for he endeavours in this Epistle to reconcile S. Mark with S. Matthew, after the same manner as Euthymius doth; and after he hath taken notice that some Interpreters of the New Testament have thought that those words have been added, he for­bears not to expound them however, whether they belong to S. Mark's Gospel or not.

But notwithstanding all these Reflections, we ought by no means to doubt of the verity of this Chapter, which is as ancient as the Gospel of S. Mark. Therefore the Grecians do all generally read it at this day in their Churches, as may be proved by their Lectio­naries, one of which in Manuscript is kept in the King's Library.Ex Cod. Bibl. Reg. n. 1884. This Manuscript indeed is not ancient, but it is magnificent and hath served some Church of Constantinople. Neither can we find a more ancient Testimony than that of S. Irenaeus, who lived before all this happened that hath been produced concerning this difference of the Greek Copies. This Father cites in express words the end of the Gospel of S. Mark: In fine autem (saith he) Evangelii ait Mar­cus: Iren. adv. Haer. lib. 3. c. 11. "Et quidem Dominus Jesus, postquam locutus est eis, receptus est in Coelo, & sedet ad dextram Dei. He quotes in this Pas­sage the nineteenth Verse of the last Chapter of this Gospel; and the whole Chapter contains but twenty.

Lastly, there is no diversity in the most ancient Latin Copies, nor in the Syriack; whereby it may be proved that this Chapter was read in the Greek Copies, from whence these Versions that are very ancient, especially the Latin, have been taken. It is found also in the Cambridge Copy, and in that which is called the Alexan­drian, which are the two most ancient Greek Manuscripts of the Gospel that we now have in Europe.

CHAP. XII. Of the Gospel of S. Luke; what hath obliged him to publish it, since there were two others that had been written be­fore his. Of Marcion, and his Copy of S. Luke's Gospel. The Catholicks have also altered this Gospel in some places.

AS it hath been the general Opinion of the ancient Ecclesiasti­cal Writers, that S. Mark hath collected his Gospel from the Preachings of S. Peter, whose Interpreter he was; in like manner, they have also believed that S. Luke, who hath followed S. Paul in his Travels, hath done nothing else but gathered together the Preach­ings of this Holy Apostle.(a) Luke (saith S. Irenaeus) who follow­ed Paul, hath committed to Writing the Gospel which he preached. This Luke, (if we give credit to the Testimony of these ancient Writers) is he of whom S. Paul speaks in his Epistle to the Colossians, Epist. ad Colos. c. 4. v. 14. where he saith, Luke, the beloved Physician, greeteth you. The Author of the Synopsis of the Holy Scriptures bestows on S. Luke the Titles of(b) Blessed Apostle and Physician; and he adds, that he hath publish­ed the Gospel that had been preached by S. Paul. We ought not, nevertheless, to place him in the same rank with the true Apostles of Jesus Christ, as having been no more than their Disciple: he declares himself, in the beginning of his Gospel, that he hath only undertook to write what he had learned from those who had been eye-witnesses of the things which he related. Therefore Tertullian (c) doth not call him an Apostle, but an Apostolical Person; he speaks after the same manner of S. Mark, (d) who (according to his Opinion) was but the Disciple of the Apostles.

S. Luke, in the Introduction to his History, protests that he would write nothing but what he had received from very good In­formation: indeed his design was to divert the Christians from the [Page 102]reading of some false Gospels that had been published in his time: and since it might have been opposed against him, that not having been himself a Witness of the Actions which he related, he was not endued with Qualifications necessary to an Historian, he immedi­ately prevents this Objection in the Preface to his Gospel, where he assures us, that he hath avouched nothing but what had been faithfully reported to him by Persons that had seen those things with thei [...] own eyes.Luc. i. 2. This hath caused S. Jerom to say,(e) that S. Luke had written his Gospel on that which he had heard, and that he had composed the Acts of the Apostles on that which he had seen himself. S. Irenaeus hath also observed,(f) that this Evan­gelist had truly related that which he had learned from the Apostles.

We do not certainly know the time when S. Luke wrote his Go­spel: Grotius conjectures, after some other Authors, that he publish­ed it with the Acts of the Apostles, a little after S. Paul had depart­ed from Rome to go into Spain, because his History of the Acts ends about that time.Hieron. Prooem. Comm. in Matth. If we believe S. Jerom in this Point, he compo­sed it in Achaia, when S. Paul travelled into that Country. In Achaiae Boeotiaeque partibus volumen condidit. Baronius makes use of the Au­thority of this Father to confute Euthymius and several other Writers, who have affirmed that S. Luke had written fifteen Years after the Ascension of our Saviour; which time is also set down at the end of many Greek Manuscript Copies.Baron. an. c. 58. n. 32. This cannot be (saith Baronius) because it is certain that neither S. Luke nor S. Paul have been in Achaia at that time, nor even a great while after.

In the mean time, we have no certain Acts from whence we may exactly gather the time of the Publication of this Gospel by S. Luke: we only know in general, that the ancient Ecclesiastical Writers do all agree that it was not written till after those of S. Matthew and S. Mark. This being granted, it may be demand­ed what reason he had, who was only a Disciple of the Apostles, to publish a third Gospel, knowing that S. Matthew, who was an Apostle, and a Witness of the most part of the Actions of Jesus Christ, had already published one, which had been epitomized by S. Mark? These two Gospels were then in the hands of all the Christians; What necessity was there that S. Luke should make a new one, and that he should give notice in his Preface, that they who had written before him on this same Subject were not very accurate?

This hath given occasion to some Authors to believe, that the Gospels of S. Matthew and S. Mark had not been yet published when S. Luke composed his: but since this Opinion is contrary to all An­tiquity, Baronius insists that these two Gospels, one of which was in Hebrew and the other in Greek, were not then known to the Grecians, and that consequently S. Luke and S. Paul could not make use of them in their Instructions. Grotius also thinks, that(g) S. Matthew had not been as yet translated out of Hebrew into Greek: and as for S. Mark, he confesseth that his Gospel was in Greek; but since it was only an Epitome, this could not hinder S. Luke from writing his History. But it is not probable that the Gospel of S. Matthew should have been unknown till then to the Christians that spake the Greek Language; especially if we follow the Judg­ment of these two Writers, who give it out that S. Luke had not composed his History till after S. Paul had left Rome.

It is much more credible, that this Evangelist published his Histo­ry upon occasion of some false Apostles who were set up in opposi­tion to S. Paul, whose faithful Companion he was. It is a part of Prudence to obviate, as much as is possible, present Evils; therefore S. Luke, seeing that false Gospels had been dispersed in those Places where he preached with S. Paul, thought himself obliged to com­pose a true one, and to leave it in Writing to those whom he had instructed: whereas the business in hand was only to suppress and stop the course of false Gospels that had been scattered abroad; this had no regard to S. Matthew and S. Mark. It might also hap­pen that he had compiled this Gospel at the desire of those whom he had converted, and more especially of Theophilus, to whom he dedicates it. It is certain that the other Evangelists, as hath been already observed, have written their Histories only at the suit of those People to whom they had preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Marcion and his Followers, who in the time of Epiphanius were dispersed through Italy, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Arabia, Persia, and many other Countries, acknowledged none but the Gospel of S. Luke; they had, nevertheless, retrenched divers Passages of it: Besides, the Name of this Evangelist was not at the head of their Copy; whether it were that they received it in this manner, or that they did not believe it to be made by S. Luke, S. Irenaeus [Page 104] (h) reproves these Hereticks for having altered according to their humor the Scriptures which the Church had authorized, as being founded on a constant Tradition; and for accounting no part of S. Luke's Gospel and of the Epistles of S. Paul as legitimate, but that which they had reserved, after they had taken away from these Books whatsoever they pleased. And since they contradicted in this all the Tradition of the Churches,(i) he affirms, that these Sectaries who boasted that they had a Gospel, have none.

Tertullian hath written a Work on purpose against Marcion, (k) whose Disciples gave it out that their Master had not brought any Innovation into Religion, in separating the Law from the Gospel, but that he had only rectified the Rule of Faith which was corrupted. This Arch-Heretick, who followed the Opinions of Cerdon, (l) re­jected the Law and all the Prophets; and to authorize their No­velties, they supported themselves with the Words of S. Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians, Epist. ad Gal. c 2. where this Apostle saith, that he had with­stood Peter and some other Apostles to the face, because they did not walk uprightly according to the Truth of the Gospel. Marcion (m) had taken occasion from thence to reform and even to destroy the true Gospels, to give more Authority to his own. Tertullian answers him, that he could not charge the Apostles with corrupting the Gospels, without accusing Jesus Christ at the same time, who had chosen them: he adds,(n) That if Marcion acknowledged that their Gospel had been entire, but that it was interpolated by false Apostles, and that this imperfect Copy was now in use; he ought at least to shew which was the true and original Gospel that had been corrupted: lastly, he demands of Marcion how it could [Page 105]happen that he should have the true Gospel, if it had been so fal­sified by Impostors that there was nothing of it left?

Tertullian moreover establisheth the true Gospel of S. Luke on the universal Consent of the Churches that were planted by the Apo­stles,Tertul. ib. c. 5. and of other Churches that derived their Original from them: all these Churches preserved the Copy of S. Luke in the same condi­tion as it had been published from the beginning; whereas that of Marcion, on the contrary, was hardly known; or if it were known it was at the same time condemned: he relieth also on this same Tradition of the Churches in representing to Marcion, (o) that he had no reason out of all the Gospels to select that of S. Luke, and to neglect the others, as if they were not to be esteemed, and as if they had not been as generally received in all the Churches ever since their first Foundation.

He comes afterwards to some particular Passages that Marcion had taken away from his Gospel: He charges him with having retrench­ed that place where Jesus Christ saith that he was not come to de­stroy the Law and the Prophets, but rather to fulfil them: but this Objection appears to be ill grounded; for these Words are to be found only in S. Matthew's Gospel, which was not owned by Mar­cion. Tertullian seems here to have confounded S. Luke with S. Mat­thew, when he read in S. Luke's Gospel that which is not therein at present. He objects to him in the second place, that he had taken away from the Gospel these other Words, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. This Passage is also found in S. Matthew only, and not in S. Luke; which may induce us to be­lieve that these two Objections of Tertullian have respect to the Gospel in general, as if he had supposed that Marcion had no rea­son to receive one Gospel more than another: but then he would have proved nothing directly against his Adversary. It might be that Tertullian's Copy was not exact, and that the Lessons of seve­ral Gospels had been blended together. Since S. Epiphanius hath much more accurately treated on this matter, and hath carefully examined the Passages that Marcion had altered in his Copy of S. Luke, we shall here produce the particular Remarks of this Fa­ther, that we may have a better knowledge of the Gospel of the Marcionites.

Marcion had not in his Gospel all the beginning of S. Luke to these Words, in the fifteenth year of the Reign of Tiberius Caesar; that is to [Page 106]say, he had cut off the two first Chapters of our Edition; neither did he read as we do at this day, the Particle [...] which signifies now, and hath some relation to that which proceeds. S. Epiphanius adds,(p) that besides the Passages which this Heretick had taken away from his Gospel, he observed no Order nor Coherence, and that he had also inserted some Additions, which he describes in particu­lar. See the Alterations that he hath remarked, on which I shall make some Reflections.

In the fifth Chapter of S. Luke, and the fourteenth Verse, where we read [...], for a testimony unto them, Marcion read, [...], that this may be a testimony unto you; making that to fall on them that were healed by Jesus Christ, which relates to the Priests in our Copies. Moreover, S. Epiphanius reads in this same place after [...] the word [...], an Offering, which was not in Marcion's Copy no more than in the greatest part of ours: but this diversity is of no importance, the sense being always the same, af­ter whatsoever manner we read it; and it could not happen but from the Transcribers, who have omitted or added it.

Chap. 16. v. 17. [...] (or [...], as S. Epiphanius read it) [...], being come down with them. Marcion read, [...], he came down in them. This may be also a various reading that doth not alter the sense; it may be an Hebraism commonly used in the Sacred Books: the Particle [...] may signifie in this place the same thing as the Particle [...] in Hebrew, to which the Greek [...] answers; now the Particle [...] signifieth indifferently [...] in, and [...] with. There­fore it ought not to be translated here (as Father Petau would have it) he came down in them; but according to the Hebraism, he came down with them: this sort of Hebraisms is found in S. Luke as well as in the other Evangelists.

Chap. 8. v. 19. [...], his Mother and his Bre­thren. Marcion did not read these Words in his Copy, but only in the beginning Verse, [...], thy Mother and thy Bre­thren. This doth not appear nevertheless to be a vicious Alterati­on, since these Words being repeated, the sense will remain always the same, though they be read but once: it is possible then that Marcion might read it so in his Copy without altering it.

Chap. 9. v. 40. and 41. Marcion did not read in his Copy these Words, [...]. They could not cast it out, and he said unto them, O faithless Ge­neration, [Page 107]how long shall I suffer you? S. Epiphanius reads it thus, but Marcion's way of reading it is more concise; however the sense is preserved. It may be that he thought the other Words superflu­ous, and would not put into the mouth of Jesus Christ speaking to his Disciples, this expression that seemed harsh to him, O faithless Generation. He ought not in the mean time to have corrected this Passage according to his own Conceptions, and without being sup­ported by good Copies.

Chap. 10. v. 21. where we read, I thank thee, O Father, Marcion had not in his Copy the Word [...], O Father. S. Epiphanius affirm­eth that it ought to be read, because it is repeated in the following Verse: he saith moreover, that Marcion had retrenched it only(q) that it might not be proved from this Passage, that Jesus Christ had called his Father [...] or Creator. But this Repetition seems ra­ther to shew that this Heretick had not maliciously taken away from his Copy the Word [...], O Father; for whether we read it or not, the sense is not changed. Marcion had not also in his Copy, [...] and of Earth, but only, Lord of Heaven.

Chap. 11. v. 29 and 30. Marcion had taken away from his Gospel all that is said in this place concerning Jonas, reading only these Words [...], there shall be no sign given to this Generation. He did not read also the two following Verses, wherein mention is made of the Queen of the South, of Solomon, and the Ninivites.

In this same Chapter, v. 42. where it is in our Copies [...], Judg­ment, Marcion had in his [...], Vocation. This Epiphanius condemns as a vicious Alteration, and made on purpose, because the follow­ing Words shew clearly that it ought to be read [...] and not [...]. It might be, nevertheless, that the little difference that there is be­tween these two Words in the Greek hath caused this diversity of reading, and that Marcion had retained this fault of the Transcriber in his Copy.

He did not read also in his Copy in the 49 Verse of this same Chapter these Words, [...]. Therefore also said the Wisdom of God, I will send them Prophets. Now since he rejected the Prophets, it is not to be doubted but that he hath retrenched this Passage from his Copy, that hath so clearly established them: neither did he read these other Words which are in the same place, v. 51. [...], it shall be re­quired of this Generation.

Chap. 12. v. 6. He had not in his Copy these Words, [...]. Are not five Sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is for­gotten before God.

In the same Chapter, v. 8. instead of these Words [...], the Angels of God, Marcion read only [...], God. This might be an Omission of the Transcriber that doth not interrupt the sense in this place; nevertheless, S. Epiphanius accuseth Marcion of Infi­delity and Prevarication as much in this minute tittle as in any other Alteration of greater consequence; because(r) he that durst alter any thing of that which hath been written from the beginning, is not in the way of truth.

He did not read these words of the 28 Verse of the same Chap. [...], God clotheth the grass; and in the 32 verse, where we have it [...], your Father, he read it simply, [...], Father. In the same Chapter, ver. 38. instead of these Words [...], in the second or third watch, he read, [...] in the evening watch.

Marcion had also expunged out of his Copy the three first Verses of the 13 Chapter, and especially these words of the fifth Verse, [...], Except ye repent, ye shall all like­wise perish.

In the same Chapter, Verse 28. in place of these words, [...], then ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the Prophets in the Kingdom of God; Marcion had put these, [...], then you shall see all the just in the Kingdom of God, and you your selves thrust out. He adds, (saith S. Epiphanius) [...], detained without, and these other words, [...], there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. These last words are not an Addition, but a Transpositi­on; for the same words are found in our Copies at the beginning of this Verse: besides, whereas S. Epiphanius reads [...], it ought to be read [...]. This Father, who quotes the Scriptures accor­ding to his Memory, or applies them to his present Discourse, doth sometimes change the words into others, or abbreviate them; and this is to be observed likewise in other places. The true difference of Marcion's Copy consists in the Word [...], Prophets, which he hath changed into that of [...], just; and he hath added [...], detained without, without altering the sense.

Marcion had taken away divers other words of this Chapter out of his Copy: viz. I. These words of the twenty ninth Verse [...], They shall come from the East, and from the West, and shall sit down in the Kingdom. II. These of the thirtieth Verse, [...], The last shall be first. III. These words of the thirty first Verse, [...], There came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence, for Herod will kill thee. IV. The whole thirty second Verse, and part of the thirty third Verse to these words, [...], For it cannot be. And from the thirty fourth Verse he had cut off these Words, [...], O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the Prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee. And these other words of the same Verse, [...], How often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen. These words from the thirty fifth Verse, [...], Your house is left. And lastly he had retrenched these other words from the same Verse, [...], Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, blessed is,

This Heretick had cut off from his Gospel the whole Parable of the prodigal Son, which is in the fifteenth Chapter; as also these words, chap. 17. vers. 10. [...]. Say, we are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. He had taken away a little after in the same Chapter several parts of the Passage wherein mention is made of the Lepers that met Jesus Christ. See what he reads in that place, [...]. He sent them away say­ing, shew your selves to the Priests. He had in like manner altered divers other Circumstances in this History, where he read, [...]. There were many lepers in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none were cleansed except Neeman the Syrian.

Chap. 18. vers. 19. After these words, [...], None is good save one, Marcion added, [...], the Father; and at the twentieth verse instead of [...], thou knowest, he read [...], I know. He had also retrenched the thirty first Verse of this same Chapter and these words from the thirty second and thirty third Verses, [...]. He shall be delivered, he shall be put to death, and the third day he shall rise again.

Cap. 19.(s) he had expunged out of his Copy that which be­longs [Page 110]to the History of the arrival of Jesus Christ at the Mount of Olives, which was near Bethphage, and all that which is related in this same Chapter, concerning the Ass on which our Saviour rode when he made his entry into Jerusalem, as also the other Verses wherein mention is made of the Temple.

Chap. 20. He left out of his Copy the whole Parable of the Vine­yard that was let forth to Husbandmen, beginning at the ninth Verse, and ending at the sixteenth. He had also taken away these words of the seventeenth Verse, [...], What is this then that is written, the stone which the builders rejected, &c. He had in like manner re­trenched the thirty seventh Verse, and a part of the thirty eighth in which the Resurrection of the dead is declared.

Chap. 21. Vers. 18. These words, [...], There shall not an hair of your head perish, were not in his Copy, nor these other words of the twenty first Verse, [...] Then let them which are in Judea, flee to the Mountains: nor the rest of this History, which he had expunged because of these words of the thirty second verse, [...], till all be fulfilled.

Chap. 22. He had not in his Copy the sixteenth Verse of this Chapter, nor the thirty fifth and thirty sixth Verses; because of these words of the thirty seventh Verse, [...], This that is written must yet be accomplished: nor these other words that are in the same place [...], And he was reckoned among the transgressors. He had also retrenched that which is said of S. Peter in the fiftieth Verse, when he cut off the ear of one of the Servants of the High Priest.

Chap. 23. Verse 2. To these words [...], We found this fellow perverting the Nation, he had added these other, [...], And destroying the law and the prophets. In the same Passage after these words [...], Forbidding to give tribute, he had also added these other words, [...], and perverting the women and the children.

In the same Chapter, Vers. 43. he did not read [...], To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Lastly Marcion had taken away from his Copy the twenty fifth Verse of the twenty fourth Chapter, and these words of the twenty sixth Verse, [...]. Ought he not to have suffered? And in­stead of these words, in vers. 25. [...], That the pro­phets have spoken, he had put [...], That I have spoken to you.

Thus we have seen what was the Gospel of Marcion, who was not far from the Apostolical Times, when the Verity of the Gospels [Page 111]might have been more easily justified from the Copies that the A­postle; had left to the Churches which were founded by them. S. Justin Martyr had written a Book to convince this Heretick,Justin. a­pud Eu­seb. Hist. Eccles. l. 4. c. 11. who was then living at that time when he wrote against him. S. Epi­phanius who hath transmitted to us this Gospel of Marcion, confutes him by his own Copy, which was not so much altered, but that there remained some Passages that were sufficient to overthrow his Novel­ties. S. Irenaeus, who hath also disputed against the Opinions of this Arch-Heretick, had observed this long before.(t) It may be pro­ved (saith this Father) by the rest of the Gospel that Marcion hath left, that he hath blasphemed against the only God that exists.

Altho some Diversities of Marcion's Copy might be attributed to the Transcribers, especially in those Passages that are of no mo­ment; nevertheless it ought to be done with a great deal of Precau­tion, because it is certain, that this Heretick hath not followed in his Alterations any ancient Copies: he hath taken care only to ad­just the Gospel of S. Luke to the prejudices of his Sect, as appears by what hath been above related. Therefore Tertullian, after he had objected to him all that S. Luke hath specified in the two first Chapters of his Gospel touching the Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ, and many other Circumstances that clearly shew that he had a real Body, adds(u) that Marcion had retrenched all this from his Gospel on purpose, lest it should be proved from thence that Jesus Christ had flesh as well as we.

Besides these Amendments that Marcion had inserted into the Gospel of S. Luke, there have been also some Catholicks who have altered it in some places; who would not have that read in the Gospels which did not suit with their prejudices. Therefore they have expunged the Passage wherein it is said, Chap. xix. 41. That Jesus Christ wept over the City of Jerusalem, because this Lamenta­tation seemed to them to be a weakness unworthy of our Saviour. S. Epiphanius, who quotes these Words, observes(x) that they were found in the Copies that had not beenFor so the Greek word in this Passage of Epi­phanius ought to be tran­slated. corrected, and by this he informs us that the Grecians have sometimes taken the liberty to correct their Copies, and to take away from them that which [Page 112]did not please them(y) The Orthodox (saith this Father) have re­trenched these words, being moved thereto by fear, and not considering the end nor the force of them. But they are found at this day in the Co­pies of all the Christians of what Nation soever; and S. Epiphanius shews that they certainly belong to S. Luke, by(z) the testimony of S. Irenaeus, who made use of them against some Hereticks.

If we may give credit to the Testimony of S. Hilary, (a) the forty third and forty fourth Verses of the twenty second Chapter were not read in many Greek, and even Latin Copies of S. Luke's Gospel. Mention is made in this place of the Angel that came to comfort Jesus Christ, and of the bloody Sweat that fell from his Bo­dy. This S. Jerom seems also to confirm.Hieron. lib. 2. adv. Pelag. But it is easie to judge, that the Grecians had taken the liberty to rase these two Verses out of their Copies, for the same reason as they had taken away the Pas­sage wherein it is said, that our Saviour wept. This Alteration afterwards crept into the Latin Copies.(b) These words (saith Jan­senius) seem to have been retrenched by some that were afraid to attri­bute to Jesus Christ such notable marks of human infirmity. There are no Copies at this day, nor for a long time since, either in Greek or Latin in which this Imperfection is to be found. The Syrians and the other People of the Levant do all read these two Verses in their Copies. This Defect then must take its rise from some superstitious persons, who thought that Jesus Christ could never be obnoxious to so great a Weakness. There is no probability that these two Histories should have been added to the Text of S. Luke. (c) It is much more credible (saith Maldonat) that they had been blotted out of it.

CHAP. XIII. Of the Gospel of S. John; and of Hereticks that have re­jected this Gospel. Their Reasons with an Answer to them. An Inquiry concerning the twelve Verses of this Gospel which are not found in some ancient Copies. Se­veral Greek Manuscript Copies are cited to clear this Difficulty. Some Criticks have imagined without any grounds that the last Chapter of this Gospel did not be­long to S. John.

WE cannot precisely determine in what time S. John published his Gospel. It is only known that he hath written it the last of all. Neither have we any very certain Acts that might inform us of the Motives that induced this holy Apostle to undertake this Work after he had seen the Gospels of S. Matthew, S. Mark and S. Luke. Clemens Alexandrinus reports what was generally believed in his time, viz. that John having read these three Gospels, and ha­ving approved them as true, (found(a) that there was yet want­ing the History of those things that had been done by Jesus Christ at the beginning of his Preaching. This was the reason (according to the Judgment of this Learned Father) that caused him to write his Gospel, especially being intreated to do it. And by this he sup­plied that which seemed to be deficient in the History of the other Evangelists. He did not think it necessary(b) to repeat what S. Matthew and S. Luke had already written; and this is the principal cause that obliged him to say nothing concerning the Genealogy of our Saviour. He judged it more requisite to promulge that which appertained to his Divinity.(c) John who is the last of the Evan­gelists [Page 114](saith the same Clement) having observed that those things that related to the Incarnation of Jesus Christ had been made mani­fest in the three other Gospels, being inspired by God, and at the request of his Friends, composed a spiritual Gospel. S. Epiphanius saith also,(d) that it would have been to no purpose for S. John to insist any farther on that which belonged to Jesus Christ accord­ing to the Flesh, because that had been already done. Therefore he applied himself to the declaring of those Acts of which the other Evangelists had made no mention.

S. Irenaeus only saith,(e) that S. John set forth his Gospel at E­phesus, where he abode, without taking any notice of the time when, or of the Reasons that induced him to it. The Author of the Sy­nopsis of the Holy Scriptures, will have it that this Apostle(f) preached it when he was banished in the Isle of Patmos, and that he afterwards published it at Ephesus. S. Jerom discourseth more par­ticularly than the other Fathers of the Considerations that engaged S. John to write his Gospel. He affirmeth(g) that S. John being in Asia, where the Heresie of Cerinthus and Ebion obtained, who denyed that Jesus Christ had been really in the Flesh, was forced to write concerning the Divinity of our Saviour, at the solicitation of almost all the Bishops of Asia, and of many Churches that desired him to do it. He adds moreover, that it was related in the Eccle­siastical History, that this Apostle seeing himself so vehemently ur­ged by his Brethren, granted that which they demanded, upon con­dition that a day should be set apart for a publick Fast on this occa­sion: And that the Fast being ended, S. John, who was filled with the Holy Ghost, began his Gospel with these words which came from Heaven, In the beginning was the word, &c. Whereas this History [Page 115]might pass in the Opinion of some for Apocryphal, and for one of those Fictions that are ordinarily made use of by the Jews when they would give authority to a Work of great value.Baron. ann. Ch. 99. n. 4. Baronius hath judiciously observed, that S. Jerom hath not grounded this Relation on Apocryphal Books, Non ex apocrypho aliquo, but on an ancient and true History that had been already explained more at large by other Writers, Sed ex antiqud verâque historiâ, ab aliis jam fusiùs ex­plicatâ.

There are found on the contrary since the first Ages of Christia­nity, certain Hereticks who maintained an Opinion altogether oppo­site to that of S. Jerom; for being very far from believing with him, that S. John wrote his Gospel to confute the Errors of Cerinthus, they ascribed it to Cerinthus himself, avouching that he was the Au­thor thereof. S. Epiphanius, who knew not the Name of these He­reticks, hath given them that of [...], Alogians, because they denied the Word called in Greek Logos (h) Because they do not receive (saith this Father) the Word that hath been preached by S. John, they shall be called Alogians.

These Alogians rejected the Gospel of S. John, as also his Epistles and Revelation, pretending(i) that all these Works had been in­vented in Asia by Cerinthus, who lived at the same time with him; and they accounted them even unworthy to be read in the Church. To the end that it might not be imagined that they called in question the Authority of S. John, whom they believed to be an Apostle as well as the Catholicks, they endeavoured to support their Novelties with some Reasons. They said amongst other things that(k) these Books attributed to S. John did not agree with the Writings of the other Apostles; and that consequently they ought not to be ac­knowledged as Divine. Whether tends (said they) the beginning of this Gospel: In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God. And these other words; And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth. To what purpose (added these Hereticks) is that which immediately follows, John bare witness of him, and cryed saying, This was he of whom I spake. And a little after; Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world. The Alogians [Page 116]produced several other Passages of S. John, no part of which was found in the other Evangelists.

S. Epiphanius answers them very prudently, that if they had no other Reasons to object against the Verity of S. John's Gospel, they might also reject the Gospels of S. Matthew, S. Mark and S. Luke, who have all used the same manner of Writing, and who have every one something that is singular. He said(l) that their Method de­pended not on them, but that it came from the Holy Ghost as well as their Doctrine. This he explains more particularly, and at large. This Father confutes them also by the Doctrine of S. John, which he affirms to be altogether opposite to that of Cerinthus. This Here­tick believed that Jesus Christ was born a mere Man. S. John on the contrary testifyeth in his Gospel, that the Word was from all eter­nity, that he came down from Heaven, and that he was made Man. It is certain that Cerinthus believed with some other Here­ticks of those primitive times that Jesus was [...]. a mere Man. Which Opinion they grounded on the Genealogy that is in the beginning of S. Matthew. Therefore one would think, that if Cerinthus had de­signed to forge a New Gospel to authorise his Heresie, he would not have omitted this Genealogy.

It may be observed nevertheless that this Heretick acknowledged in Jesus Christ somewhat more than mere Man. This Epiphanius himself explains after this manner.(m) He pretends that the World was not created by the first and supreme Power; but that Jesus who was begotten of the Seed of Joseph and Mary being be­come great, had received from above of the Supreme God the Christ in himself, that is to say, the Holy Ghost, in the form of a Dove when he was baptised in the River Jordan. He attributed to this celestial Virtue that Jesus (as he thought) had received in his Baptism, all the Miracles that he wrought afterwards. He said more­over, that this Virtue left him at the time of his Passion, and that it returned to Heaven from whence it came. Perhaps the Alogians took occasion from hence to ascribe the Gospel of S. John to Cerin­thus, because this Heretick distinguished two things in Jesus Christ; for besides that they thought that he was born of Joseph and Mary after the same manner as other Men, they acknowledged in him a [Page 117]Celestial Vertue that had been communicated to him by the Sove­reign God of the Universe: he called this Vertue Christ, distin­guishing Christ from Jesus.

S. Irenaeus hath also observed,(n) that the Gnosticks, the Follow­ers of Valentin, altogether made use of the Gospel of S. John to esta­blish their Opinions,(o) They gave to Jesus (saith Theodoret) the Name of Saviour and of Christ the Word. The Sethians, who were a branch of the Gnosticks, maintained also, that Jesus differed from Christ;(p) that Jesus was born of the Virgin, but that the Christ descended on him from Heaven. That which might farther confirm the Alogians in their erroneous Conceits was this, that there were some very learned Men, and those too very Orthodox, who had af­firmed that the Apocalypse was made by Cerinthus, who insolently boasted that he was the true Apostle of Jesus Christ.

Besides these Alogians who refused to receive with the whole Ca­tholick Church the Writings of S. John as Divine and Canonical, there was one Theodotus of Byzantium, the Chief of a Sect that were called Theodotians, who after their example rejected the Gospel and Revelation of S. John, as not belonging to him. Nevertheless, Celsus Porphyrius and the Emperor Julian, who opposed the Gospels with all their Might, have not denied that they were certainly composed by them whose Names they bore; they have been content only to de­cry them, as if they had been filled with Falsities and Contradicti­ons. When Julian speaks of the Gospel of S. John, he doth not disown it to be his, but he accuseth this Apostle of having introdu­ced Innovations into the Christian Religion: he saith, that neither(q) Matthew, nor Mark, nor Luke, nor even Paul, durst make Jesus Christ to pass for a God; that S. John was the first that hath pub­lished it, after he had observed that a great party of simple People; as well among the Grecians as Latins, was of this Opinion: thus this Emperor, who was persuaded that S. John's Gospel could not be charged with falsity, gives out his imaginary Reasons that were grounded on no Authority.

As we have above remarked, that the twelve last Verses of S. Mark were not read in some Greek Manuscript Copies, so there are also twelve that are not found in divers Greek Manuscript Copies of the Gospel of S. John, nor in some Versions of the Oriental Church. These Verses begin at the end of Chap. vii. v. 53. and end at the 11 verse of the following Chapter, insomuch that they comprehend the whole History of the Woman taken in Adultery. S. Jerom's manner of Expression in speaking of this Relation, makes it ap­pear that it was not read in his time in some Greek and Latin Copies. In Evangelio secundùm Joannem, Hieron. l. 2. adv. Pelag. (saith this Father) in multis & Graecis & Latinis codicibus invenitur de adulterâ muliere quae accusata est apud Dominum. Sixtus Senensis, who hath observed that the Anabaptists made use of the Authority of S. Jerom and the Testimony of some other ancient Writers,Sixt. Sen. l. 7. Bibl. S. to shew that the History of the adulterous Woman had been added to the Gospel of S. John, hath not suffi­ciently answered their Objections.

Maldonat, who had thereupon consulted the ancient Interpreters of the New Testament, and many Manuscript Copies, is much more exact: he freely confesseth,(r) that of a considerable num­ber of Greek Copies which he had read, he found it but in one.(s) It was not (saith he) in the most ancient Copy of the Vatican, which I have often cited; nor in the Catena or Collection of Greek Fa­thers, that contains twenty three Authors: and yet there is not one of them that makes mention of this History; even those that are printed, viz. Origen, Clemens Alexandrinus, Chrysostom, Nonnus and Theophylact, do say nothing to it, though Chrysostom and Theophylact have written Commentaries on the whole Gospel of S. John. Last­ly, Maldonat adds, that of all the Greek Authors that have written on S. John, Euthymius alone, who is a Writer of these later times, hath expounded in his Annotations this History of the adulterous Woman, and he hath done it after such a manner, as rather seems to derogate from, than to establish the Authority thereof: for he informs us at the same time, that it was not read in the most correct Copies; and that even in those where it was found, it was marked with an Asterisk, to shew that it hath been added to the Text of S. John.

However, this learned Jesuit, notwithstanding these Reasons and some others which he adds in this same place, insists, that all this Criticism ought not to be preferred before the Authority of the Council of Trent, which hath acknowledged as Divine and Cano­nical all the parts of the Holy Scriptures, as they are at present read in the Church: he concludes from thence, that it hath also appro­ved of the History of the adulterous Woman as Canonical, because it is a part of S. John's Gospel; and that it might not be thought that he absolutely relies on the sole Authority of the Church, he produceth several Acts, viz. the very Words of S. Jerom above related.

This Father saith,Hieron. l. 2. adv. Pelag. that this Revelation was found in his time in many Copies as well Greek as Latin; In multis & Graecis & Latinis codicibus invenitur: Moreover, Ammonius, who is much more anci­ent than S. Jerom, hath made mention thereof in his Harmony of the Gospels; and St. Athanasius in his Synopsis of the Holy Scri­ptures.

As for the Authority of S. Chrysostom, who hath taken no notice of it in his Homilies on S. John, he answers, That since this Histo­ry is plain and easie to be understood, he hath not judged it neces­sary to expound it; besides, this Father hath spoken of the adulte­rous Woman in another Homily on S. John; Chrysost. Hom. 60. in Joann. and there is no pro­bability (adds he) that what he saith in that place hath been after­wards inserted into his Text, as some have thought. He adjoineth to all these Proofs the Testimony of S. Ambrose, S. Augustin, and many other Fathers, who have all read this History, and have ex­plained it in their Commentaries; from whence he concludes at last, that it hath been no less written by S. John than the rest of his Gospel: he conjectures that it hath been taken away by some Grecian, who hath exercised his critical Talent on this place with too much liberty.

I have a little enlarged on these Reflections of Maldonat, because they clear all the Difficulties that relate to the History of the adul­terous Woman, which is not found in a great number of ancient Copies: but since this Jesuit speaks only in general of the Manuscript Books which he quotes, and doth not produce in particular what is contained in them, I shall endeavour to supply this defect, by the search that I have made into these Manuscripts with as much exact­ness as possibly I could.

I shall begin with the Commentary of Euthymius, of which I have only seen the Latin Version, the Greek Copy of this Author being very scarce. See his own words in his Remark on the last Verse [Page 120]of the vii. Chap. of S. John, (t) We must know that that which is read here to these words, Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the Light of the World, either is not found in the exact Copies, or is marked with an Obelus. Therefore it seems to have been written afterwards, and added; and this is a proof, that S. Chrysostom hath made no mention thereof. This Observation of Euthymius is justified by the Greek Manuscript Copies, some of which do not contain this History; or if they do, it is marked with an Obelus or little stroke, or some such like note, to shew that it doth not belong to the Text of the Gospel.

The most ancient Manuscript Copy of the Gospels, of those that are in the King's Library,Cod. MS. Bibl. Reg. n. 2861. hath not the twelve Verses that are now in question; but a blank space is left in the place wherein they should have been written, to signifie that they were in some Copies. It is probable that the Transcriber that hath written this Manuscript had not these Verses in his Copy, because they were not read in his Church. It hath been a custom in this sort of Manuscripts to an­nex to the end of the Gospel of S. John these same Verses, with some little critical Remark; but since there are some Leaves want­ing at the end of this, I can say nothing to it, only that this is found in the greatest part of other Manuscripts of this nature, as we may judge by the Manuscript that follows this.

There is in the same Library another Manuscript of the Gospels, to which is adjoined a Collection of Commentators, which is com­monly called Catena, or a Chain. There are found in this, these twelve Verses written at the end of the Gospel of S. John, with this note,(u) The Verses marked with an [Obelus] are not in some Co­pies, nor in the Apolinarian; but they are all in the ancient.

I have seen in the Library of the Fathers of the Oratory at Paris, a like Collection or Chain of Greek Commentators on the Gospel of S. John, gathered together by Nicetas: The History of the adul­terous Woman is not joyned to the Text of this Chain, but only to the end, with this remark, (x) The end of the Gospel of S. John;(i) and [Page 121]afterwards, But there are found some other things in the ancient Copies, which we think convenient to write at the end of this same Gospel, viz. And every man went unto his own house, &c. to the end of the eleventh Verse of the eighth Chapter of this Gospel. This same note is found at the end of another like Manuscript Collection of Greek Fa­thers on the four Gospels, which is in the King's Library: and the same thing is read therein at the end of S. John (y) as in the Copy of the Oratory, and expressed after the same manner. This con­firms that which Maldonat hath above observed in speaking of these Greek Chains, in which the History of the adulterous Woman was not found.

Furthermore, it may be seen by the Remarks that are at the end of the Manuscript Copies above produced, that some Grecians have thought that there was no reason why this History should not be read in the Text of S. John's Gospel since it was extant in the an­cient Copies: I believe that on this account it hath been added in the Margin of another Copy in the King's Library,Ex Cod. MS. Bibl. Reg. n. 2868. wherein it is not written; nevertheless, the Addition is of a later and different hand from the Text: This Copy is written very curiously, and the musical Notes that are marked on certain Words for the more easie singing of the Gospels, make it appear that it hath been made for the use of some Greek Church. It is very probable also, that these Verses were not read in S. Chrysostom's Church, since he doth not expound them in his Homily on the Section of S. John where we read them at present. I have not read them in another Copy in the King's Library indorsed 2860, nor in one of those that are in Mr. Colbert's Library, which is very rich in all sorts of Manuscripts.Ex Cod. MS. Bibl. Reg. n. 2860. Ex Cod. MS. Bibl. Colb. n. 4112. There is in this last another Manuscript, wherein all this History of the adulterous Woman is indeed written with the same hand as the whole Text of S. John; but this mark ܍ in form of an Asterisk was put at the beginning of every line, as if it were design­ed to denote that it was taken from other Copies, and that it had been inserted into the Text.

But after all, it is certain that the Greek Manuscripts in which this History is written, very much exceed those in number in which it is not to be found; and among these first there are some very ancient; for it is read in the Copy of Cambridge, which is the most ancient of any that we have at this day: we can say nothing of the Alexandrian Copy, which is imperfect in this place: it is also found [Page 122]in a very ancient Manuscript written in Capital Letters, which is in Mr. Colbert's Library,Cod. MS. Bibl. Colb. n. 5149. and was brought from Cyprus.

It is worth the observing, that there are some Manuscripts where­in these Verses are not only read after the same manner as the rest of the Text, but the [...] or Chapter that answers to this History is marked in the Margin: thus in one of the Manuscripts of the King's Library, we read in this place at the bottom of the Page these Words,Cod. MS. Bibl. Reg. n. 2863. [...], of the adulterous Woman; and in the beginning of the Gospel of S. John, wherein are put (accor­ding to the usual manner of Greek Manuscripts) all the [...], Chapters or Contents of this Gospel, that of [...], the adulterous Woman, is found with the other Chapters. But out of a very great number of Manuscripts that I have consulted thereupon, in which the [...], Contents, are set at the Head of every Gos­pel, I could find but two, that are in the King's Library, in which there was a particular [...] or Summary for this History.

Nevertheless, it is certain that it hath been read, at least for some Ages, in all the Greek Churches, because it is contained in their Lectionaries of the Gospels:Cod. MS. Bibl. Reg. n. 1884. I have read it in a Manuscript Copy of this Lectionary, but it is not ancient: we may observe, that there are at the end of them some Gospels for certain Festivals, which seem to be as it were without the Work: they might be added ac­cording as the Ecclesiastical Office of the Grecians hath been aug­mented; and this is common to all these Offices. See the Title,(z) Gospels for divers Commemorations of Saints. These Gospels are not for the Festivals of Saints in particular, but only in general; as for example(a) for the Angels, for the Prophets, for an Apo­stle, for the chief Priests, for the Martyrs, and for many others; there are some also for the habit of a Monk, and of a Nun, for the infirm, for Earthquakes, &c. Lastly, there are two for those that confess, one of which is for Men, and the other that is for Women is taken out of the eighth Chapter of S. John, and is ex­pressed in these terms,(b) In that time the Scribes and Pharisees brought unto Jesus a Woman taken in Adultery, and the rest to those Words, go, and sin no more. There is in the King's Library a very ancient Lectionary of the Gospels; but since it is not entire, and [Page 123]the latter part of it being wanting, I can say nothing of the Anti­quity of this Gospel that is recited to Women when they confess, and is intituled, [...].

The Proof that Maldonat alledgeth, taken out of the Harmony of Ammonius Alexandrinus, wherein this History of the Adultress is found, is more positive and concluding, because this Writer lived in the first Ages of the Church: I shall only observe by the way, that in the Bibliotheca Patrum, the Work of Tatian hath been print­ed under the Name of Ammonius, and that of Ammonius under the Name of Tatian, who hath also inserted this History into his Epi­tome of the four Gospels. There are nevertheless some Reasons that may cause us to question whether this Work were Tatian's or not: now whereas he hath written before Ammonius, a better testi­mony of the Antiquity of this History cannot be given than that which is taken from his Collection: but because there are some Ar­guments that seem to prove that he composed it as well from the Hebrew as from the four Greek Gospels, there will be always mat­ter of doubt whether he hath not followed in this the Hebrew or Chaldaick Gospel of S. Matthew wherein it was contained; insomuch that it cannot be certainly demonstrated what was the Gospel of S. John from the time of Tatian the Disciple of S. Justin Martyr.

Selden, nevertheless, who hath been cited by Walaeus on this place of S. John, insists very much upon these two ancient Writers, to shew that this History was ever since the Primitive Ages, in the Copies of the Eastern Church: this he confirms by the Canons that Eusebius hath added to the Harmony of Ammonius: and he concludes from thence, that Eusebius also read it in his Copy of the New Te­stament, because it is marked in these Canons: but it doth not ap­pear that Selden hath very carefully examined the Canons of Euse­bius; for there is no number or mark of a Section that answers in particular to the History of the adulterous Woman: the twelve Ver­ses of which it is composed, are comained in the preceding [...]. 86. Section, as may be seen in these Sections or Numbers that are print­ed in the Greek New Testament of Robert Stephen, and in some other Editions: the Greek Manuscript Copies do agree in this Point with the printed: and that which clearly proves that there is no num­ber or Section of the Canons of Eusebius that refers in particular to the aforesaid twelve Verses, is, that this same number [...] 86. is also marked in the Manuscript Copies wherein they are not found: therefore it cannot be inferred from the distribution or order of the Canons, that Eusebius hath read the History of the Adultress in that Book to which he hath annexed them; however, it is not to [Page 124]be denied that Selden and Walaeus have had reason(c) to accuse the Grecians in general of assuming to themselves too much liberty in correcting their Copies,Seld. apud Wal. Com. in Joan. adding to, or diminishing from them sometimes according to their own humour; and perhaps they have exercised this critical Faculty too liberally on this place of S. John as well as on many others.

This same History of the adulterous Woman is not found neither in the Syriack Version that Widmanstadius hath published from good Manuscript Copies, of which there hath been since several other Editions; nevertheless it is in some Syriack Copies, from whence it hath been taken, and inserted into the Polyglott Bible of England; it is read also in the Arabick Translations that have been printed at Rome and in Holland: from whence we may conclude, that it is read at present as well in all the Eastern as in the Western Churches.

However, Beza, after he hath affirmed,(d) that of seventeen an­cient Manuscripts which he had read, this History was wanting but in one of them, doth not forbear to suspect it, because the ancient Ecclesiastical Writers (as he saith) have either unanimously reject­ed it, or have been silent therein: he saith moreover, that it is not probable that Jesus Christ should have remained alone in the Tem­ple with a Woman; that this Relation doth not cohere with what follows; and that that which is said of Jesus Christ, that he wrote with his finger on the ground, is a very extraordinary thing, and difficult to be explained. Lastly, the great diversity of Readings that is found in the Greek Copies in that place, causeth him to doubt of the Verity of this History.

Calvin discourseth with a great deal more moderation, and seems also to be more reasonable than his Disciple, in his Commentary on this Passage;Calv. Com. sur S. Jean. c. 8. v. 1. It is well known (saith he) that the ancient Greci­ans knew nothing of this present History; and therefore some have conje­ctured that it hath been taken from some other place, and added here: but forasmuch as it hath been always received in the Latin Churches, and is found in many Copies and ancient Books of the Grecians, and con­tains [Page 125]nothing that is unworthy of an Apostolical Spirit, there is no cause why we should refuse to make a good use of it.

Besides that which we have just now observed concerning the History of the Woman taken in Adultery, which is not found in many Greek Copies, some Criticks have also believed, that the last Chapter of the Gospel of S. John was not written by this Evangelist. Indeed it seems as if he designed to finish his History with these words, Chap. 20.30. And many other signs truly did Jesus in the pre­sence of his Disciples, which are not written in this Book, &c. Grotius, who is of this Opinion,(e) affirms, that the rest of this Gospel hath been added after the Death of S. John by the Church of Ephesus, after the same manner as the last Chapter of the Pentateuch, and the last Chapter of the History of Joshua have been annexed to these Books of the Sanhedrim of the Jews; but he alledgeth no so­lid proof of what he so freely avoucheth: something indeed might have been added to the History of Moses and Joshua after their de­cease, because (as I have elsewhere observed) they whose Office it was amongst the Hebrews to write the Annals of this Republick, have continued their Histories; and therefore these two Chapters cannot be properly called Additions, but rather a Continuation of the Chronicle of this Commonwealth. This case is not the same as that of the Gospel of S. John, for the Church of Ephesus was not charged to continue it. It may be said, that the last Chapter of this Gospel hath not been put in its proper place, and that there hath happened some change with respect to the order and sequence of the Words; but if we reflect on the Still of S. John, and the little regard to a Method or Coherence that appears throughout his whole Book, we shall rather impute to himself these small Defects which alter not the Verity of this History.

CHAP. XIV. Of the Acts of the Apostles that have been received in the Church. Other Acts of the Apostles that have been forged.

ALthough there have been several different Acts that bear the Name of the Apostles, yet the Church hath received none as true but those that we now read at this day under this Title, and which all Antiquity attributes to S. Luke: this is the reason that in some Manuscript Greek Copies we find the name of this Evangelist at the beginning of this Work; he declares himself in his Preface, that he is the Author of it, presenting it to his Friend Theophilus, to whom he had already dedicated his Gospel.

S. Jerom affirmeth,(a) that this History was written at Rome, and that it extends to the fourth Year of Nero, which was (accord­ing to his Opinion) the second of S. Paul's abode in that great City. The Author of the Synopsis of the Holy Scriptures, thought(b) that the Acts of the Apostles had been preached by S. Peter, and that S. Luke had afterwards committed them to Writing; but S. Luke hath recorded almost nothing else but matters of fact of which he himself had been a witness.Hieron. ibid. And this is the difference that S. Je­rom makes between the Gospel of this Disciple of the Apostles, and the Acts, in regard that not having seen Jesus Christ, he could not write his Gospel, but on that which he had learned from others, sicut audierat scripsit; whereas having followed S. Paul in the most part of his Travels, he was an eye-witness of his Actions, and there­fore he hath published nothing but what he had seen himself, sicut viderat ipse composuit.

Although the Title indeed of this History bears the name of all the Apostles in general, nevertheless it informs us of very few things concerning them, only conducting them to the time when they dispersed themselves into divers Provinces to preach the Gospel. S. Luke comes after this to S. Paul's Travels, who was accompanied with S. Barnabas, without describing the Itineraries of the other [Page 127]Apostles; neither doth he finish even those of S. Paul. If it be de­manded why S. Luke hath not perfected his History, and why he hath not left us in Writing the rest of those Actions of which he was a Witness? I have no other Answer to make, but that which S. John Chrysostom hath already made to those that in his time ask­ed the same Question. This learned Bishop saith,Joann. Chrys. Hom. 1. in Act. Apos. That what S. Luke hath written in this matter is sufficient for those that will apply themselves to it; that the Apostles moreover, and their Disciples, who preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ,(c) have always insisted on that which was most necessary; that they did not study to write Histories, because they have left many things to the Churches by Tradition only. And this ought to be considered; for it is certain that the principal business and care of the Apostles was to preach the Gospel, and that they would have written nothing of their Preachings, if they had not been earnestly sollicited by the Peo­ple whom they had instructed. The Christian Religion might be preserved without any Writings, by Tradition alone.

S. Chrysostom complains in the same place,Chrys. ib. that that little we have of the History of the Apostles was so neglected in his time, that many were not only ignorant of the Author, but they did not know whether it had been written. It seems that the Gospels and the Epi­stles of S. Paul were then only accounted to belong to the New Te­stament; perhaps none but these two Works were read in the Churches in these Primitive Ages. We see also, that the Books that are consecrated for the use of the Greek Churches, do only bear these two Titles, viz. [...] Gospel, and [...] Apostle; ne­vertheless, afterwards this last Book hath been named [...], because it contains, besides the Epistles of S. Paul, the best part of the Acts of the Apostles, and even the other Books of the New Testament.

Whereas this History that comprehends the principal Actions of S. Paul is short, a certain Priest of Asia, since the Primitive times of Christianity, thought fit to add to it, in form of a Supplement, another Book, intituled, The Travels of Paul and Thecla. We are informed by Tertullian, (d) that some Women made use of these Acts, to prove by the Authority of this Holy Apostle, that it was [Page 128]lawful for them to preach in the Churches and to baptize. This Fa­ther answers those that alledged the Testimony of S. Paul taken from these Acts, that the Priest of Asia, the Author of them, had been convicted that he had forged them, and that he himself had avouched that he was induced to compose them by the love that he had for this Apostle. He solidly confutes them, by making it ap­pear, that these Acts contained a Doctrine altogether contrary to that of S. Paul. (e) What probability is there (saith he) that S. Paul should grant to Women a power to teach and to baptize, who hath not so much as permitted them to learn in the Church, forbidding them absolutely to speak therein?

S. Jerom, who hath made mention of these Acts published under the Title of the Travels of Paul and Thecla,Hieron. de script. Eccles. in Luca. adds, that it was S. John that caused the Priest that composed them to be convicted of Forge­ry: Tertullian nevertheless, whom he cites in this Passage, doth not speak of S. John; he saith only, that this Priest was of Asia. Pope Gelasius hath put this Book in the number of Apocryphal Works. Baronius distinguisheth these false Acts of Thecla from others that give an account of the Life and Martyrdom of this Saint:Gelas. Decr. 1. part. dist. 15. c. 3. he supports the Authority of these last by the Testimony of several Fathers who have quoted them;Baron. an. c. 47. n. 3, 4, & 5. Epiph. Haer. 78. n. 16. and among others, by that of S. Epiphanius, who relying on the credit of these Acts, relates that Thecla having espou­sed a very rich and noble man, broke off her Marriage after she had heard S. Paul: This Cardinal adds, that Faustus, a famous Manichean, hath produced this same History of Thecla, and that he hath taken occasion from thence to condemn the Doctrine of S. Paul as abomi­nable, because he had compelled by his Discourses a married Wo­man to continue in perpetual Continency. S. Augustin (adds Baro­nius farther) who rehearseth these Words of Faustus, and exactly answers his Objections, doth not reject as Apocryphal these last Acts that are intituled the Martyrdom of Thecla.

But it is probable, that these last Acts have been taken from the former; and it is no wonder that the Fathers have made use of an Apocryphal Book, that was composed by an Impostor, because there were many true things in these Travels of Paul and Thecla. How­ever it be, I think it is more convenient to reject them altogether, than to approve of one part and to condemn the other, because it would be very difficult to distinguish that which was true from the false. If we may judge by the Fragments that remain, this Work was filled with Fables; for we find therein, that Thecla, being the [Page 129]Companion of S. Paul in his Travels, had in some measure a share in his Apostleship: it is declared in these Acts that she preached and baptized; and S. Jerom, who without doubt had read them,Hieron. ib. makes mention of the Baptism of a Lion, which is the cause that he esteems them as false and Apocryphal Books. [...] Pauli & Theclae (saith this Father) & totam baptizati leonis fabulam inter apo­cryphas scripturas computamus.

Whereas the Apostles and their Disciples have left us no rela­tions of their Travels in Writing, but that which we have con­cerning those of S. Paul and S. Barnabas, this gave occasion to the counterfeiting of some under their Names. Some false Acts have been published under these Titles, The Travels of Peter, the Travels of John, the Travels of Thomas, and many others of this sort: there was one also called in general, The Itinerary, or Travels of the Apo­stles. Thus have they endeavoured ever since the Primitive Ages of the Christian Religion, by this means to supply that which seem­ed to be wanting in the History of the Apostles, as if it were ne­cessary that the Church should have all their Actions in Writing: but these Books were rejected with the common consent of all the Catholick Churches, as Supposititious and Apocryphal; insomuch, that of all the Acts of the Apostles that have been published, none have been preserved but those that were composed by S. Luke.

Nevertheless, there were some Sectaries from the very first be­ginning of Christianity, who being Enemies to S. Paul, absolutely condemned this History written by S. Luke his faithful Companion in his Travels. The Ebionites, who treated this Apostle as an Apo­state, seeing that the Acts that had been received in the Church contradicted their Doctrine,(f) composed new ones, which they filled with Impieties and Calumnies against S. Paul, that no cre­dit might be given to the History of S Luke: they invented I know not what Fables to render this holy Apostle odious; and they gave them out as the true Reasons that had obliged him(g) to write against the Circumcision, the Sabbath, and the Old Law.(h) They made use of these new Acts of the Apostles (saith Epiphanius) to invalidate the Truth. The Encratites or Severians, (i) who acknow­ledged, [Page 130]with the Orthodox, the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospels, loaded S. Paul also with bitter Invectives and Reproaches, and en­tirely rejected his Epistles with the Acts of the Apostles.

Lastly, the Manicheans, who esteemed their Patriarch Manichee not only as an Apostle, but as the Paraclet or Comforter that was promised, did not allow the Acts of the Apostles, because the de­scent of the Holy Ghost is therein declared.(k) If they should receive these Acts (saith S. Augustin) in which express mention is made of the coming of the Holy Ghost, they could not say that he had been sent to them in the Person of Manichee. But let us leave these Enthusiasts, who had no other reason to refuse the Books that were approved by the whole Church than this, because they did not suit with the Idea that they had formed of the Christian Reli­gion: This was the cause (according to Tertullian) that the Mar­cionites did not regard the Acts of the Apostle.Tertul. lib. 5. adv. Mare. c. 2. I shall say nothing here concerning the Acts of Barnabas that have been published under the Name of John surnamed Mark; (l) which are very displeasing to Baronius, and have been manifestly forged, being also contrary in some things to the true Acts of the Apostles, as this Cardinal hath observed.

CHAP. XV. Of the Epistles of St. Paul in general. Of Marcion, and of his Copy of these Epistles. False Letters attributed to St. Paul.

THE Name of S. Paul that is prefixed at the head of all his Epi­stles, except that which is written to the Hebrews, doth plain­ly discover the Author: and since they are for the most part di­rected to particular Churches, who read them publickly in their Assemblies, they have been afterwards communicated to other neigh­bouring Churches, and at last, by the same means, to all the Faith­ful. I shall not here make it my business too critically to enquire into their order, nor the time when they were written, because in whatsoever manner they are placed, as to their distribution or cir­cumstances of time, this will cause no alteration in the Text which will always remain the same: nevertheless, thus much may be ob­served with S. Chrysostom, who hath diligently examined this matter, that though the Epistle to the Romans stands in the first rank,Joann. Chrys. Praef. Hom. in Epist. ad Rom. yet it was not written first; there are clear proofs, that the two Epistles inscribed to the Corinthians were written before it: this learned Bishop believes also, that S. Paul had written to the Thessa­lonians before he wrote to those of Corinth; this may be seen more at large in the Preface before his Homilies on the Epistle to the Romans, wherein he gives an Example of the Prophets who have not been ranked according to the order of the time of their respe­ctive Prophecies. Theodoret, who hath treated on this Subject after S. Chrysostom, whom he often epitomizeth, alledgeth, as an instance of the same order as that of S. Paul's Epistles, the distribution of the Psalms of David. (a) As David (saith he) being inspired by God hath written the Psalms, and others afterwards have put them into what method they thought fit, without having regard to the time when they were composed: so in like manner, the same thing hath been done with respect to the Epistles of S. Paul.

Marcion, who received the greatest part of the Epistles of S. Paul, from which nevertheless he had retrenched some Passages, had placed them after this manner:Marc. a­pud E­piph. Hae­ret. 42. The Epistle to the Galatians was the first of all, and afterwards the two to the Corinthians; the Epistle to the Romans was the fourth; afterwards followed the two to the Thessalonians, and after these the Epistles to the Ephesians, Co­lossians, to Philemon, and to the Philippians. He acknowledged none but these ten Epistles in the aforesaid order; for as to the Epistle di­rected to those of Laodicea, some Portions of which he received (ac­cording to Epiphanius) it is the same as that which is written to the Ephesians, as it is easie to prove from the Passages that this Heretick hath cited, and are also related by S. Epiphanius.

Marcion had intituled his Collection of the Epistles of S. Paul, [...], Apostolick. The Marcionite that is introduced in the Dia­logue against those of this Sect, attributed to Origen, did often refuse to acknowledge some Quotations out of S. Paul's Epistles, and saith in speaking to Adamantius, who objected to him some words of this Apostle(b) I do not believe your false Apostolick. And in another place he answers Adamantius, who asked him whether he believed the Apostle, that is to say, S. Paul, [...], I be­lieve my own Apostolick. Ib. Sect. 2. Therefore Adamantius doth not oppose to him the Epistles of S. Paul after the same manner as they were read in the Church, but that which the Marcionites called their Apostolick, which was a Collection that they had made of these Epistles. I have (saith Adamantius) your Apostolick: [...]. This caused S. Jerom to say, speaking of this Collection of the Marcionites, (c) that they had forged Epistles of the Apostles of their own inven­tion, and that he admired how those people durst take upon them the name of Christians.

S. Epiphanius hath observed some Passages that Marcion had altered in the Epistles of S. Paul, which I shall here produce according to their order. In chap. 5. v. 31. of the Epistle to the Ephesians, where we read these words; A man shall leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, this Heretick had taken away [...], to his wife.

In the Epistle to the Galatians, chap. 5. verse 9. instead of the word [...], leaveneth, he had put [...], corrupteth, which doth not interrupt the sense in this place, and therefore it seems rather to be [Page 133]a various reading, than an alteration made on purpose. Indeed in the ancient Copy of Clermont that is kept in the King's Library it is read [...], and in the Latin Version that is annexed to it, which is the ancient vulgar, there is according to this reading corrumpit, as in the vulgar used at this day.

In the first Epistle to the Corinthians, chap. 9. vers. 8. where we read [...], Or saith not the law the same also? He had in his Copy [...], Tho the law of Moses doth not say the same.

Chap. 14. ver. 19. of this same Epistle Marcion had altered the sense of these words, Yet in the Church I had rather speak five words with my understanding. He read in his Copy, instead of [...], In my understanding, [...], because of the law. But it is probable, that this reading of Marcion came from a fault of the Transcriber, who hath read [...] instead of [...], as it is in the pre­sent Greek Copies, which reading approacheth nearer to that of Marcion, than that of S. Epiphanius, which agrees nevertheless with the two most ancient Greek Copies that we have, viz. the Alexan­drian, and that of Clermont in the King's Library. It is read in these two Copies [...], and in the ancient Latin Version which is join­ed to the Copy of Clermont there is sensu meo. It is also read [...] in the ancient Copy of the Epistles of S. Paul, which is in the Li­brary of the Benedictin Fathers of the Abbey of S. Germain; but there is in the Latin Version that is added to it per sensum meum. This causeth me to believe that the Author of this ancient Translation hath read in his Greek Copy [...], as it is read at present. Nevertheless S. Epiphanius accuseth Marcion of making this altera­tion on purpose, to wrest the words of S. Paul to his own Con­ceptions.

In the second Epistle to the Corinthians, chap. iv. 13. where we read, Having the same spirit of faith according as it is written, Mar­cion had retrenched from his Copy these words, [...], According as it is written. S. Epiphanius reproves him in this place. Because (saith he) whether he reads these words or not, the scope of the Discourse is plainly evident. Indeed it might happen that he did not read them in his Copy. And if this Heretick had made no other alterations in S. Paul's Epistles than those that we have above marked, there would be no cause to charge him with corrupting them; for there are found in our Greek Copies greater diversities than those, and very many more in number.

Neither do I see that Marcion hath committed a great fault in placing the Epistle to the Romans the fourth in his Copy. Never­theless, [Page 134]if we believe Epiphanius, this Heretick(d) hath only set it in this order, because he would have nothing right. But S. Paul himself hath not ranked his Epistles after the same manner as we have done at present; as this Father always supposeth in his Dispute against Marcion. He confesseth himself that the Greek Copies do not all agree in this point. For when he accuseth him of having placed the Epistle to Philemon the ninth, which S. Paul (according to his opinion) had set the last, he saith that in some Copies it was found immediately before that which was written to the Hebrews, and which was the fourteenth in these Copies. He adds(e) that there are others wherein the Epistle to the Hebrews is the tenth, immediate­ly before the two that are written to Timothy, and those that are directed to Titus and Philemon.

S. Epiphanius declares in the same place,(f) that he hath remark­ed nothing in the Epistle to Philemon, because Marcion had entirely corrupted it. Tertullian (g) on the contrary affirms that this Epistle hath not been vitiated by Marcion, because it was too short. He admires only(h) that this Heretick having received a Letter di­rected to a single person, would not acknowledge the two that are written to Timothy, and that to Titus, which treat of Ecclesiastical Affairs. I believe (saith he) that he hath affected to diminish the number of these Epistles. S. Jerom speaks also of this Epistle to Philemon after the same manner as Tertullian, (i) and he proves also by the authority of Marcion, that it is one of S. Paul's Epistles, since this Heretick who hath rejected a part of them, and hath altered those which he approved, hath received this entire, and hath not so much as touched it because it was too short.

If we may give credit to Epiphanius, Marcion had inserted into his Book which he had intituled [...], Apostolick, an Epistle of [Page 135]S. Paul to the Laodiceans. But he confesseth at the same time that that which this Heretick cites out of the Epistle to those of Lao­dicea, is found in that which is inscribed to the Ephesians; therefore it ought not to be put in Marcion's Collection under the name of Laodiceans, but under that of Ephesians; otherwise he would have received eleven Epistles of S. Paul, whereas he never acknow­ledged but ten. Tertullian indeed rebukes him(k) for changing the Title of the Epistle to the Ephesians; nevertheless he judiciously observeth, that this alteration of the Title is of no importance, because S. Paul writing to a particular Church, wrote at the same time to all the others. Nihil autem de titulis interest, cùm ad omnes Apostolus scripserit, dum ad quosdam.

He accuseth him with more reason of taking away from his Copy of this Epistle to the Ephesians, chap. 2. v. 20. the word Prophets; for where we read it as the Church doth, And are built upon the foun­dation of the Apostles and Prophets, Marcion read only, Are built upon the foundation of the Apostles. It seems also that Tertullian hath reproved Marcion for taking away these words from the same Epistle, chap. 6. v. 2. Which is the first commandment with promise. Nam etsi Marcion, (saith he) abstulit, Hoc est enim primum in promissione praeceptum; Lex loquitur, Honora patrem & matrem. S. Jerom moreover(l) hath charged Marcion with expunging out of his Copy of the Epistle to the Galatians, chap. 1. v. 1. these words, And God the Father, to make it appear that Jesus Christ was himself the Author of his Resur­rection, and not his Father.

Besides these various Readings of the Apostolick of the Marcionites above remarked, the Marcionite in the Dialogue attributed to Ori­gen, Orig. Dial. cont. Marc. Sect. 5. saith that it was not read in this Apostolick, 2 Cor. xv. 38. [...], God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him; but [...], God giveth it a spirit as it hath pleased him. And after those words immediately follow these in the Apostolick: [...]. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body; it is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorrruption. These last words are also found in our Copies, but in another order.

Tertullian solidly confutes these Sectaries who would receive no­thing of S. Paul but what was agreeable to their notions, in repre­senting to them, that they might as well reject his Works all together as a part of them. He demands of Marcion what proofs he hath of his Apostolick which he ascribed to S. Paul, Pauli quoque originem à Marcione desidero. He requires him(m) to produce some certain marks that this Book did really belong to that Apostle, and to de­clare who hath given it this Title, and by what Tradition it came to his hands?

The same Objections might be made at this day to some Prote­stants who receive the Works of the Apostles, and refuse at the same time to submit to the true Traditions of the Church, to which they are beholden for these Apostolical Writings. For who hath told them that that which they read under the name of S. Paul is cer­tainly his? Is it (saith Tertullian, speaking to Marcion) because this Apostle hath said so himself? Ipse se Apostolum est profes­sus. (n) Every one (adds he) might give a testimony of himself; but it is not believed, at least if it be not attested by others, be­cause no Man can be a Witness of his own Actions. This is a very strong proof against the Marcionites, because they not allow the Acts of the Apostles, which afford a great Testimony to the Do­ctrine contained in the Epistles of S. Paul.

The Author of the Dialogue against the Marcionites makes use of this same argument to convince his Marcionite. (o) We do not receive (said this Marcionite) neither the Prophets nor the Law, because they are not of our God, but we receive the Gospel and the Apostle. What Apostle do you mean (answers Adamantius) for there are many? Paul, saith the Marcionite. To whom Adamantius replies, How can you be assured that Paul hath written the Epistles that you read under his name, since there is no mention thereof made in the Gospel? And whereas these Hereticks acknowledged none but the Gospel of S. Luke, which they had adjusted to their Notions, and their Apostolick. Adamantius presseth them very much thereupon, and concludes against them, that according to their [Page 137]Principle no Scriptures give a Testimony to S. Paul, since he is not mentioned in the Gospel. The Marcionite is obliged to have re­course to S. Paul, who hath written of himself,2 Cor. 1.1. Paul an Apostle of Jesus Christ. But Adamantius opposeth to him those other words of S. Paul, He that bears witness of himself is not approved. He makes it appear from hence,(p) that he is not to be believed that only gives his own Testimony of himself.

S. Epiphanius moreover reproves Marcion, for having quoted a Passage out of S. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, under the Title of an Epistle written by this Apostle to the Laodiceans, Epiph. Haer. 42. n. 12. which (saith he) was never in the number of the Epistles of S. Paul, [...]. But we can only infer from thence, that Marcion was mistaken in the Title of this Epistle, reading under the name of the Laodiceans that which is written to the Ephesians. Nevertheless S. Epiphanius hath reason to say, that there never was any Epistle to the Laodice­ans. The Fragment that Jacobus Faber, Sixtus Senensis and some other Authors have published under this Title, and hath been Print­ed even in some Bibles, is a Piece of no Authority; not but that in the Primitive Ages of the Church there hath been read an Epistle under this Title attributed to S. Paul, but the most Learned Fathers have rejected it as an Apocryphal Act. Therefore S. Jerom (q) affirms, that in his time it was generally exploded by all the world; insomuch that there is no other true Epistle to the Laodiceans, but that which is written to the Ephesians, the Title of which the Mar­cionites had only changed. The Hereticks (saith Tertullian, in speak­ing of the Marcionites (r) have intituled to the Laodiceans that E­pistle which we read directed to the Ephesians.

They that have forged an Epistle of S. Paul to the Laodiceans, have taken occasion from these words of his Epistle to the Colossians, chap. 4. vers. 16. And when this Epistle is read amongst you, cause that it be read also in the Church of the Laodiceans, and that ye likewise read the Epistle from Laodicea. Chrys. Ho­mil. 12. in Epist. ad Coloss. S. Chrysostom hath observed on these last words,(s) that some Writers had taken notice before him, that it was not a Letter that S. Paul had sent to the Laodiceans, but one that they of Laodicea had written to S. Paul, because it is not in the Text [Page 138] to the Laodiceans, but from Laodicea. This hath caused Theodoret, who repeats the same thing in his Commentary on the Epistle to the Colossians, to conclude that the Letter to the Laodiceans that some pro­duced in his time was a counterfeit, [...]. Baronius hath had reason to prefer the Judgment of these two Greek Fathers before that of some Latin Writers, who have thought that S. Paul hath written fifteen Epistles one of which (as they say) hath been lost. P. A­milote seems to have favoured this Opinion, when he translated this Passage of the Epistle to the Colossians, Ye shall likewise read that which I have written to the Laodiceans. But if there were an ambi­guous expression in his Text, he ought also to retain it in his Ver­sion, and not to limit it, by giving us an Epistle of S. Paul to the Laodiceans which never was, according to the Sentiments of the an­cient Ecclesiastical Writers.

I shall take no notice of two other Epistles that have been heretofore published under the Name of S. Paul, viz. a third to the Corinthians, and a third to the Thessalonians, because they have much less foundation than that which is supposed to have been written to the Laodiceans. I shall only observe, that some Impostors in his time dispersed abroad false Letters in his name, that they might thereby authorise their false Doctrines, which obliged him to write his Name at the bottom of his Epistles with a certain particular Mark,2 Thess. 3.17. as he declares himself at the end of his second Epistle to the Thessalonians.

I shall not here insist on the Ebionites, concerning whom I have already sufficiently discoursed. Since these Hereticks had declared openly against S. Paul, and had also composed false Acts to defame his Person and Doctrine, they were very far from receiving his E­pistles which contradicted their Opinions. The Encratites Severians (t) who had no less an aversion for this Holy Apostle, absolutely rejected his Epistles. Origen moreover makes mention of a certain Sect that took the name of Helcesaites, (u) who acknowledged but a part of the Canon of the Holy Scriptures as well of the Old as the New Testament. But they altogether disapproved of S. Paul, and(x) had forged I know not what Book, which they feigned to have fallen down from Heaven.

It is no wonder that so many ancient Hereticks have publickly exploded the Writings of S. Paul; because they pretended that not having seen Jesus Christ in the flesh, he could not call himself his Apostle. They accused him moreover of having taught things that were contrary to the Law of God. In a word, they esteemed him as an Innovator, who under pretence (said they) of introducing Christianity among the Gentiles had abolished the Sabbath, the Circumcision, and the other Ceremonies of the Old Law. There­fore this Holy Apostle speaks often in his Epistles concerning his Apostleship, which his Enemies opposed in vain. Tho he had not seen Jesus Christ, yet he invincibly proveth that he hath not brought any Novelties into the Gospel, since he hath avouched nothing be­fore he had thereupon conferred with the other Apostles. This hath caused Tertullian to say, that S. Paul (y) went on purpose to Jerusalem, to deliberate with the Apostles on all things that apper­tained to the preaching of the Gospel, that he might do nothing that was opposite to their Doctrine. He adds that after this Apostle had had a Conference with them, and that they had all agreed on a certain and sure Rule of Faith, they separated to go every one to his respective station to promulge the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

S. Augustin relies on the same Principle in disproving a false E­pistle that the Manicheans had published under the Name of Jesus Christ. Is there any one so foolish, (saith this Learned Father) as to believe that the Epistle that Manichee attributes to Jesus Christ is true, and that the Gospel of S. Matthew which hath been always pre­served in the Church, doth not belong to this Apostle? He de­mands whether they could with any color of Reason believe an ob­scure Man, who appeared not in the World till more than two hun­dred years after Jesus Christ,(z) since the Church would not have given credit to S. Paul himself, who was called to the Apostle­ship immediately after the Ascension of our Saviour, if he had not conferred with the Apostles touching the Doctrine that he preached.

It is a Maxim generally received among all the ancient Ecclesi­astical Writers, that Jesus Christ alone is the Author of the Christian [Page 140]Religion, and that his Apostles who have been the Witnesses of his Actions and Words, have only related to us those things that they had seen or learned from their Master. When it was objected to the primitive Fathers, that the Gospels of S. Mark and S. Luke, as also the Epistles of S. Paul ought not to be received as Canonical, be­cause the Authors of these Writings were not Apostles, but only Apostolical Men. They have answered that these Apostolical Per­sons have written nothing but what they had received from their Masters. They have concluded from thence, that the same autho­rity ought to be given to their Writings, as if the Apostles them­selves had been the Authors of them. Therefore when Ter­tullian speaks of S. Luke and S. Mark, who (according to his Opi­nion) were only Apostolical, he adds at the same time, that these Apostolical Men were not(a) alone, having written jointly with the Apostles, and after them; and that therefore their Doctrine could not be suspected, since it hath been authorised by their Ma­sters, and even by Jesus Christ who had constituted these Masters. We may apply unto S. Paul that which Tertullian saith here of S. Mark and S. Luke. And this may serve to resolve all the Ob­jections of the ancient Hereticks who refused to allow his Writings, because they denied that he was truly an Apostle.

I have already given an account of the Manicheans, who acknow­ledged nothing of S. Paul, but what was agreeable to the Idea that they had formed of the Christian Religion. These Sectaries argued against common Sense. For in as much as they were not able to reconcile two Passages of this Apostle, they thought it sufficient to conclude from thence that one of the two must of necessity be cor­rupted; since it was not possible (said they) that he should contra­dict in one place what he had affirmed in another. When it was de­manded of Faustus whether he received the Apostle, Apostolum acci­pis? He answered that he did. And when it was proved to him by the Writings of S. Paul, that he ought to believe that Jesus Christ the Son of God derived his Original from David, according to the flesh, he then replyed,(b) that it is not credible that the Apostle of God should have written things that are contrary, and overthrow [Page 141]one another: he maintained that the Epistles of S. Paul had been interpolated as well as the Gospels; and to make his Subtilty more apparent in inventing new Answers, he adds, that this Apostle might be reconciled with himself, in saying that he had two Con­ceptions thereupon, and that that which was objected was his old Opinion, which he had abandoned after he had been better in­structed.

But let us leave these Hereticks who had no certain Principles, and were therefore obliged sometimes to have recourse to their Pa­raclet, which was their great Engine. We see almost the same thing at present in some illuminated and enthusiastick Persons, who for want of good reasons are forced to fly to I know not what pri­vate Spirit that discovers to them the most hidden Mysteries of the Christian Religion. I would entreat these People to reflect a little on the Conduct of the ancient Ecclesiastical Writers in their Disputes against the Hereticks, and on their manner of arguing; they will find therein neither Paraclet, nor private Spirit, but solid Arguments, that are very far from the Fanaticism which is predominant in our Age.

Lastly, to return to S. Paul, the vanity of these ancient Hereticks was so great, that S. Irenaeus was compelled to confute some Sectaries,(c) who affirmed that this Apostle only was endued with the know­ledge of the Truth, and that he alone had the Revelation of the Mysteries of the Gospel: but this Father convinceth them by the very Words of S. Paul, who hath born witness to the Apostleship of S. Peter.

CHAP. XVI. Of the Epistle to the Hebrews in particular. Whether it be St. Paul's, and Canonical. What Antiquity hath be­lieved thereupon, as well in the Eastern as in the West­ern Countries. The Opinions of these later Ages concern­ing this Epistle.

SInce I have no other design in this Work than to treat of the Text of the New Testament, and to establish as much as is possible the Writings of the Apostles, I shall not insist in particular on the Subject of every Epistle of S. Paul; this is a task that belongs rather to a Commentator of the Scriptures, than to a Critical Histo­ry of the Text: for this reason I come immediately to the Epistle to the Hebrews, that seems to have been disputed in Antiquity, prin­cipally in the Western Churches, some of which have refused to read it in their publick Assemblies: there are also at this day some learned Criticks, that doubt whether S. Paul be the Author thereof, though they acknowledge it as Divine and Canonical. Wherefore it is convenient to examine the Acts that we have relating to this matter.

If we follow this Rule of Tertullian that is grounded on good reason, That that is true which is most ancient, Illud verum quod prius, there will be no occasion to enquire whether the Epistle to the He­brews was certainly written by S. Paul; for all the Eastern Churches seem not to have doubted thereof: the Arians have been the first amongst them that have obstinately rejected it, seeing that it was not favourable to their Innovations: this caused Theodoret, speaking of these Hereticks, to say,(a) that they ought at least to have re­spect to the length of time, and to consider that this Epistle had been read in the Churches ever since they had received the Wri­tings of the Apostles.(b) He opposeth to them moreover, the [Page 143]Testimony of Eusebius Caesariensis, who could not be suspected by them, because they esteemed him as their Chief. Now this Eusebius hath acknowledged, that the Epistle directed to the Hebrews was S. Paul's, and that all the Ancients had believed it so to be.

As for the Testimony of the Ancients, this cannot be true but of those of the Eastern Church; for Eusebius himself hath observed, that some in the Western Church did not receive this Epistle: but the Authority of these Western Writers ought not to be regarded, since S. Clement Bishop of Rome, who lived before them, hath cited it in the Letter that he wrote in the name of his Church to those of Corinth, as the same Eusebius assures us. He proves by the Au­thority of this Disciple of the Apostles, that the Epistle to the Hebrews hath been reckoned with good reason in the number of the Apo­stolical Writings, and doth not in the least doubt of the Authors, because the most part of the ancient Doctors of the Church, especi­ally in the East, have believed that it did truly belong to S. Paul: but since they supposed that he wrote it in Hebrew, they do not agree as to the Interpreter:(c) some (saith Eusebius) affirm, that it hath been translated by S. Luke, and others by S. Clement. He confirms this last Opinion by the Stile of this Epistle, which is very like to that of S. Clement; nevertheless, Clemens Alexandrinus proves on the con­trary,Cl. Alex. in Hypot. apud Eus. Hist. Eccl. l. 6. c. 14. by this resemblance of Stile, that the Epistle to the Hebrews which he avoucheth to be St. Paul's, hath been interpreted by St. Luke.

Origen, who hath written Homilies on the Epistle to the Hebrews, was of opinion,(d) that the matter indeed was S. Paul's, but that the Expressions were too lofty and too elegant to be his, who wrote in a very simple and plain Stile. This learned Critick doth not attri­bute this diversity of Stile to the Translator, but to the Amanuensis that committed the Doctrine of S. Paul to Writing.(e) I believe (saith Origen) that the Sense and Conceptions are of this Apostle, but that the Phrase and Composition is another's who hath collect­ed the Sayings of his Master, and set them down in writing: never­theless, what he adds in the same place makes it appear, that in his time there were some Churches that did not ascribe this Epistle to [Page 144]the Hebrews to S. Paul; and he judgeth also, that it cannot be cer­tainly determined who hath written it:(f) If any Churches (saith he) reads this Epistle as S. Paul's they are to be commended in this, for it is not without reason that the Ancients have thought that it was his, but God alone knows the truth thereof.

The Greek Fathers who have lived before and after Origen, and even the greatest part of the Hereticks, have quoted it under no other name than that of this Holy Apostle.Melchis. ap. Epiph. Haer. 55. The Melchisedecians, who preferred Melchisedec before Jesus Christ, grounded their Opi­nion on the Epistle of S. Paul to the Hebrews. The Catharians, who were a branch of the Novatians, relied also on these Words of this Epistle,Cath. ap. Epiph. Haer. 59. Chap. vi. v. 4, 5, 6. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly Gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good Word of God, and the powers of the World to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto Repentance, Hierac. ap. Epiph. Haer. 67. &c. Hieracqs an Egyptian, who was the Chief of the Sect of the Hieracites, which was embraced by divers Monks of Egypt, pretended to prove by this same Epistle to the Hebrews, that Melchisedec was the Holy Ghost. Lastly, many other Hereticks who separated themselves from the Church, attributed it to no other but S. Paul; which induceth me to believe, that this Opinion was founded on an ancient Tradition of the Churches.

Cajus in the mean time, a famous Writer who lived at the begin­ning of the third Century under Pope Zephyrinus, in a Dispute that he had at Rome with the Cataphryges, and which was published, ac­knowledgeth only thirteen Epistles of S. Paul, not mentioning that which is directed to the Hebrews. Eusebius, who hath taken notice of this Dispute, observes,(g) that some Romans in his time had not as yet received the Epistle to the Hebrews as S. Paul's: and in ano­ther place where he speaks of the Epistles of the Apostles, after he had said that the fourteen Epistles of S. Paul were known to all the World, he adds,(h) that some have rejected this which is written to the Hebrews, under pretence that the Roman Church did not be­lieve it to belong to S. Paul.

Baronius hath not done justice to this Historian, when he accu­seth [Page 145]him of favouring in these Words the Party of the Arians, his good Friends, and of insinuating that the Church of Rome had doubted of the Verity of this Epistle; for besides that Eusebius doth only relate a simple matter of fact that was evident, and which S. Jerom hath afterwards explained more at large, he openly declares in this very place in favour of those that believed that the Epistle to the Hebrews was certainly written by S. Paul, when he adds, that he will give an account, in the sequel of his History, what hath been the belief of the ancient Ecclesiastical Writers as to this point: and he acquits himself after such a manner, as makes it manifest, that none of these Ancients, nor even the Roman Church, have ever doubted before the time of Cajus, of the Authority of the Epi­stle to the Hebrews. Tertullian, nevertheless, hath attributed it to S. Barnabas, but without shewing any Reasons.

The same Baronius is very much perplexed when he would ex­plain the Sense of S. Jerom, who avoucheth, that although this Epi­stle hath been always received as S. Paul's in the Eastern Churches,(i) yet the Latins do not put it in the number of the Canonical Epistles: this he repeats in several other Passages of his Works. But whereas most part of the Latin Fathers before him, and even in his time, have acknowledged this Epistle not only to be Canonical, but also to be written by S. Paul; this Cardinal thinks that S. Je­rom was deceived in relying altogether on the Testimony of Cajus and Eusebius, without consulting the custom of the Latin Churches.

I confess that this Father in his Book of Ecclesiastical Writers, ac­cording to his usual method, hath only copied the Words of Eu­sebius, when he speaks of Cajus; but the same thing cannot be said of the other Passages, where he affirms distinctly from Eusebius, that this Epistle is not generally received amongst the Latins. Pau­lus Apostolus (saith he in his Commentary on Isaiah) in Epistola ad Hebraeos, quam Latina consuetudo non recipit. He adds a little after,(k) that this Epistle of S. Paul was rejected, because that in writing to the Hebrews he made use of such Testimonies of the Holy Scri­ptures as were not found in their Copies. This evidently proves that there were some Churches in those times in which the Epistle to the Hebrews was not acknowledged as Canonical;Hier. ib. this can only be understood of the Western Churches, since he grants that it was [Page 146]universally approved in all those of the East. He declares moreover, in his Letter to Dardanus, (l) that without having regard to the Custom of his Time, he received the Epistle to the Hebrews and the Apocalypse as Canonical Books, though the Latins did not al­low the first, nor the Grecians the second. He prefers in this place the Authority of the Ancients who had cited these two Works as Canonical, before the practice of his time. It cannot be said then, with Cardinal Baronius, that S. Jerom, when he affirms that in his time the Epistle to the Hebrews was not commonly received amongst the Latins, had only respect to the Testimony of Cajus, and that he hath done nothing but transcribed the Words of Eusebius; for he speaks plainly of the Custom of his time.

But it may be objected, that S. Hilary, Optatus, S. Ambrose, S. Au­gustin, and some other Fathers who lived before S. Jerom, or were contemporary with him, have not doubted that this Epistle was not only Canonical and Divine, but they have likewise believed that it was S. Paul's; how then could it come to pass that this Father should avouch that it was not acknowledged in his time amongst the Latins? It is true, that these Fathers who were Latins, and some of whom lived at the same time with S. Jerom, have all ascribed the Epistle directed to the Hebrews to S. Paul, which he doth also him­self in divers Passages of his Works: however, I will not conclude from thence with Baronius, that this learned Man hath not suffi­ciently considered the Practice of his Church,(m) and that he hath too easily given credit to the Testimony of Eusebius; but I will say that a difference ought to be put between the Custom of Churches, and the Attestation of particular Writers. When S. Je­rom hath written that in his time the Epistle to the Hebrews was not allowed among the Latins, he hath declared the Practice of many Churches of the West who did not read it in their publick Assemblies: this doth not hinder but that the Fathers of those times might esteem it as Canonical, and also as S. Paul's. It would be an easie matter by this means to reconcile S. Jerom with some other Latin Fathers.

That which confirms the distinction that I have now made be­tween the Custom of Churches and that of private Writers, is this, that we find some very ancient Greek Manuscripts of the Epistles of S. Paul with the old Latin Version annexed to them, in which the Epistle to the Hebrews hath been separated on purpose from the bo­dy of the Epistles. It seems to me that there can be no other reason given of this Separation but this, that the Latins who have transcri­bed these Copies (as I shall prove hereafter) did not read this Epistle in their Churches: furthermore, it may be observed, that all the ancient Latin Authors have not attributed the Epistle to the He­brews to S. Paul; for besides that Tertullian doth not refer to it but under the name of S. Barnabas, there is no probability that it was received as Canonical in the Church of S. Cyprian, since he never makes use of its Authority in all his Works. If we should say with Baronius, that this holy Bishop hath followed Tertullian in this, whom he read always, and called his Master, this would not resolve the difficulty: I doubt not but if the Epistle to the Hebrews had been publickly read at that time in his Church, as being S. Paul's, he would have quoted it as well as the others.

As for the Reasons that are alledged against this Epistle, they are not of that weight as to make void the Testimonies of so great a number of Authors who have attributed it to S. Paul. First,Hieron. Comm. in Is. l. 2. c. 6. The Objection proposed by S. Jerom in his Commentaries on Isaiah, that is taken from the Passages of the old Testament, which the Au­thor of this Epistle hath not cited from the Hebrew Text, but from the Greek Version of the Seventy, is of no force at all: he should have first made it appear that it was originally written in Hebrew, which cannot be easily proved; and though it were true, yet might it be always said, as of the Gospel of S. Matthew, that the Greek Translator hath inserted into his Version the Passages of the Old Testament according to the Septuagint, which was read at that time by the most part of the Jews.

If we follow the Opinion of Origen who was well versed in the Criticism of the Sacred Books, this Epistle hath been composed in Greek by one of the Scribes or Disciples of S. Paul, who hath only committed to Writing that which he learned from his Master. This may serve to answer another Objection that is ordinarily offered against this Epistle, by reason of the diversity of Stile, which is pretended to be very different from that of the other Epistles of S. Paul. Theophylact, who hath taken notice of this, declares(n) that [Page 148]S. Paul hath written it in Hebrew, and that it was afterwars trans­lated into Greek by S. Luke, as some think, or by S. Clement, which he judgeth most probable, because of the resemblance of the Stile.

It is objected in the third place, that if this Epistle were S. Paul's, he would have set his Name at the head of it, as he hath done in his other Epistles.Theodor. Praef. Com. in Epist. ad Hebr. Theodoret, who hath related this Objection from the Arians, answers, that there is a great deal of difference between this Letter, and the others that bear the Name of this Apostle: he hath prefixed his Name (according to his Opinion) at the begin­ning of those that were written to the Gentiles, because he was their Apostle; whereas in writing to the Jews, whose Apostle he was not, it was not requisite for him to do the like. The Arians might have seen this Answer in the Works of Clemens Alexandrinus who lived before the appearing of their Heresie, as also another that he gives in the same place; but it is grounded as the former, only on a Conjecture: he saith(o) that it was a piece of Wisdom in S. Paul not to set his Name at the head of an Epistle that he wrote to a sort of People that were possessed with a prejudice against him; and that he did very prudently in concealing his Name, that he might not hinder them from reading it.

There is a fourth Reason that appears to be much stronger than the preceding, against the ascribing the Epistle to the Hebrews to S. Paul. Epist. ad Heb. c. 6. v. 4, 5, 6. It seems as if the Author designed absolutely to condemn all Repentance after Baptism; for he saith; Chap. 6. that it is im­possible that those that have been once enlightened, that is to say, baptized, and have fallen away after this, should be renewed by Repentance; this is manifestly contrary to the Doctrine of the New Testament, and to the Practice of the Church. There is a great deal of probability, that this was that which obliged some La­tin Churches not to read this Epistle publickly in their Assemblies, especially since the Novatians had made use of it to support their Schism.(p) The Novatians (saith Theodoret) used these Words to oppose the Truth. I have found an Answer to this Objection in an ancient Latin Translation that hath been made before the time of S. Jerom; for whereas in the present vulgar, the Greek Word [...] is translated impossibile, it is in this ancient Version difficile; [Page 149]and that which deserves further to be observed, is that it ordinarily follows the words of the Greek Text; but in this place it is rather according to the Sense, than the strictness of the Letter. This makes it evident that in those times the Latins found this expression somewhat harsh, and contrary to the Judgment of the Church; and this partly induced Luther to deny that the Epistle to the Hebrews was written by S. Paul, or any other of the Apostles.

Erasmus hath affirmed in his Notes on this Epistle, that S. Ambrose, Erasm. Not. in Epist. ad Hebr. who hath written Commentaries on the Epistles of S. Paul, hath made none upon this, because it was received but very lately in the Roman Church. He adds, that the Grecians have already embra­ced it, because it was contrary to the Arians, who rejected it. But he is mistaken in attributing Commentaries to S. Ambrose that are not his, and which the most judicious Criticks believe to be made by S. Hilary, Deacon of Rome: neither is it true that it hath been more approved by the Grecians, since it was exploded by the Arians; for Clemens Alexandrinus, who lived before Arius, hath avouched that it was S. Paul's. Besides they that have disputed against the Arians, have thereupon opposed to them the universal Consent of the Ecclesiastical Writers before the appearing of their Heresie.

The same Erasmus offended the greatest part of the Divines, especially those of the Faculty of Paris, by these two Propo­sitions.(q) It hath been always doubted of the Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews: and to say the truth, I do still doubt thereof. This so exasperated the Reverend Doctors of Paris, that they censured the aforesaid Propositions after this manner.(r) These two Propositions are insolent and schismatical against the Practice and Decrees of the Church in the Councils of Nice, Laodicea, the third of Carthage, in which S. Augustin assisted, and in a Council of seventy Bishops wherein Pope Gelasius presided. These Divines added to this the Testimonies of S. Denis, whom they called the Disciple of S. Paul, of S. Clement, Innocent I. S Gregory Nazianzen and of some other Fathers. From whence they conclude(ſ) that it is not true that it hath been al­ways [Page 150]doubted of the Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, since Origen avoucheth that all the ancient Ecclesiastical Writers that have lived before him, have received it as S. Paul's.

Moreover these same Divines opposed to Erasmus the words of S. Peter, 2 Pet. 3.15. that are at the end of his second Canonical Epistle directed to the Hebrews, wherein he saith expresly, that his beloved Brother Paul had also written unto them; they do not doubt but S. Peter de­signed in this place to hint at the Epistle of S. Paul to the Hebrews. Erasmus in his answer to these Doctors of Paris, Erasm. Declar. ad Theol. Paris. is content to say that all these Councils do not speak of the Author of this Epistle, but only of its Authority; that this Title hath been added to it to denote the Epistle, and that it is not denied that many have cited it under the name of S. Paul.

Whereas this Answer is is too general, and doth not fully satisfie the Authority of these Councils that attribute the Epistle to the Hebrews to S. Paul, Guill Est. praef. Com. in Epist. ad Hebr. I shall produce what Estius a Learned Doctor of the Fa­culty of Doway hath judiciously remarked on all these difficulties. This Divine after he hath treated of the Question concerning the Author of this Epistle, adds this other, viz. whether it be a point of Faith to believe that S. Paul is the Author, insomuch that the con­trary opinion is to be accounted Heretical, as Catharinus, Sixtus Se­nensis, Alfonsus and some other modern Writers have averred, being supported by the authority of some Councils, and by the practice of the whole Church that reads it in her Offices under the name of S. Paul?

Estius, nothwithstanding all these Authorities, doth not judge it to be a matter of Faith. This he proves by the positive words of divers Fathers, and among others of S. Jerom and S. Augustin. We have already seen what the first hath thought thereupon. And as for S. Augustin, he saith expresly in discoursing of this Epistle,(t) that many believe it to be S. Paul's, and that others deny it to be his. Now it is certain that this Father speaks in this place of Orthodox Authors. As for what concerns the Councils, the same Estius answers, that some of those have been holden before the time of these two Fathers, and that consequently nothing can be concluded from them.

He insists further, that nothing can be inferred from the others,(v) because the design of the Bishops that were there assembled, [Page 151]was not to determine who hath been the Author of this Epistle, but only to put it in the number of the Canonical Scriputures with the other Letters of S. Paul. Then he justifies by these same Councils, and he proves it also by these words of the Council of Carthage, Pauli Epistolae tredecim, ad Hebraeos una. This Council hath (as he thought) separately mentioned this that is directed to the Hebrews, because they were not so well assured, as of the others, that it was S. Paul's, he adds(x) that S. Augustin, who had a Veneration for this Council, would not have doubted of the Author of this Epistle, if he were persuaded that this had been therein defined. This Father (saith he) knew well that all things that are said or disputed in Councils are not Articles of Faith; and he proves it by some Examples. But after all, Estius (y) concludes with the Divines of Paris and Melchior Canus, that it would be a piece of rashness to maintain that S. Paul is not the Author of the Epistle to the He­brews. Nevertheless he durst not pronounce the opinion of those to be Heretical, who deny that it was written by this Apostle; and in this he appears very judicious, for indeed there is no matter of Heresie in it. Furthermore I have inlarged a little on this Remark of Estius, because it clears every thing that hath respect to the Au­thor of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and teacheth the Divines at the same time not to run too fast in point of Heresie.

The Divines of Paris do not only condemn Erasmus as being too rash, but they add also in their Censure touching the Authors of eve­ry Book of the New Testament,(z) that it is no longer lawful for any Christian to doubt of them. On this account every man that is not fully satisfied that S. Paul wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews, is a bad Christian, according to the determination of the Faculty of Divinity at Paris; nevertheless he is not an Heretick. Erasmus in­stead of replying punctually to these Learned Doctors, elndes their Decrees by general Answers. He saith that he doth not believe(a) that every thing that is received by an Ecclesiastical Custom, becomes immediately an Article of Faith. However he shews his submission to the Decrees of the Church, when he adds in this same [Page 152]place, that if he follows his Reason,(b) he cannot judge that the Epistle to the Hebrews is S. Paul's, nor S. Luke's; neither that the se­cond under the name of S. Peter, was written by this Apostle; nor that the Revelation doth belong to the Apostle S. John: that all his scruple is to know, whether the Church hath so authorised the Titles of holy Writ, that she hath decreed, not only that that which is contained in these Books is most true, but also that those persons to whom they are attributed are certainly the Authors of them. If this be so (saith Erasmus) I condemn my Reasons of doubting; for I prefer the express Judgment of the Church, before any human Reasons whatsoever.

Upon the whole matter, all this Difficulty may be reduced to this, to know whether the Church in pronouncing the Books of the Old and New Testament to be Canonical and Divine, hath declared at the same time that they were written by the Authors whose Names they bear. This is necessary to be observed here, that it may be applied to the other Books of the New Testament, of which we shall treat in the Sequel of this Work.

It hath been often objected to the Lutherans, that their Patriarch hath rejected this Epistle, who believed not that it was written by any Apostle. But besides their reading it in their German Bibles with the other Epistles of S. Paul, they answer that it might be per­mitted to their Master to raise this Doubt after so many ancient Authors: and that he hath nevertheless acknowledged(c) that it was most excellent,Calv. ar­gum de ses Comm. sur l' Epist. aux Hebr. and composed by some Disciple of the Apostles. Calvin hath presixed to his Commentaries on this Epistle, a Discourse where he saith, For my part I cannot believe that S. Paul is the Author of it.

One would think that the Socinians should expunge this Epistle to the Hebrews out of the Catalogue of the Canonical Books, in imitation of the Arians. In the mean time tho they are persuaded that there is no certainty as to the Author of it, yet they do not for­bear to receive it with the other Epistles of S. Paul. Therefore So­cinus [Page 153]himself after he hath produced some Arguments(d) that give occasion to a scruple whether it appertains to this Apostle, adds that however it is no less Divine; he confesseth that it is not without rea­son that it is doubted whether the person to whom it is commonly attributed be certainly the Author: but he saith at the same time, that tho the name of an Author of a Book be not known, it doth not follow that this Book is of no authority, or even of less than if it were known. Enjedinus a subtil Unitarian insists also at large on this Subject when he examins some Passages of the Epistle to the Hebrews, Georg. Enjed. lo­cor. Epist. ad Hebr. he relates all that he hath read thereupon in the Writings of Erasmus and Beza, and of some other Commentators on the holy Scriptures. But after he hath too nicely alledged such Reasons as not only take away this Epistle from S. Paul, but also render it suspected, he doth not fail to reckon it in the number of the Canonical Books.

It is well worth the observing, that the Epistle to the Hebrews is not so favourable to the Orthodox against the Arians, but that they have likewise made use of it against the Catholicks to authorize their Novelties. This may be seen in the Works of S. Epiphanius, who takes notice that altho these Hereticks did not acknowledge it as an Apostolical Writing, yet they did not forbear to oppose the Faith of the Church with these words of this same Epistle, chap. 3. v. 1, 2.(f) Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Jesus Christ; who was faithful to him that appointed him (g) From these words, who was faithful to him that appointed [or made] him, they concluded that Jesus Christ was a Creature.

As for the Language in which the Epistle to the Hebrews was com­posed, the ancient Ecclesiastical Writers have all judged that the Greek Text which we now have is too pure and elegant to be S. Paul's; but it cannot be necessarily concluded from thence that it was at first written in Hebrew or Chaldaick by this holy Apostle. I am rather inclined to believe with Origen, that it hath been compi­led by one of the Amanuenses or Interpreters of S. Paul, to whom all [Page 154]Antiquity hath ascribed it, by reason of the Grandeur of the Con­ceptions in which there is a certain Art that could proceed only from a Learned Jew of the Sect of the Pharisees. The Jews themselves at this day who have any knowledge of their ancient Authors, do freely confess that there is something in it that is great and sublime. If we knew precisely to what sort of Jews it was di­rected, we might more easily judge of the Language in which it was written. But since this question is but of little moment, and we can have nothing but Conjectures thereupon, I shall not insist any longer on it.

CHAP. XVII. Of the Catholick or Canonical Epistles in general, and in particular.

THE Grecians have called Catholick or universal the seven Epistles which we read under this Name; because for the most part they were not written to particular Churches, as those of S. Paul. The Title of Canonical seems to have been affected, espe­cially in the Western Churches, because it hath been doubted whe­ther some of them ought to be put in the number of the Canonical Books. Cardinal Cajetan hath thought that the Epistle of S. James, which is directed to the twelve Tribes of the Jews in general,(a) deserves rather the Name of a Book than of an Epistle, because it was not written to be carried to the Jews that were dispersed a­mongst divers Nations; but he is mistaken in this, for we write as well to Communities, even those that are separated in different Countries, as to particular Assemblies. And these Letters are called [...], Catholick, or Circulary.

The Author of the Preface at the beginning of the Canonical Epistles, which is attributed to S. Jerom, and is found in the most part of Manuscript Copies, and in the first Latin Editions of the Bible, hath observed(b) that the Order of these Epistles in his time was not [Page 155]the same in the Latin, as in the Greek Copies of the Orthodox. The Epistle of S. James was the first in the Greek; whereas the La­tins had placed that of S. Peter at the head of all the rest, having had regard to the Primacy of his Apostleship. This Author declares that he hath re-established their ancient Order, putting that of St. James at the beginning, and afterwards the two of St. Peter, the three of St. John, and at last that of St. Jude: this indeed is the Order that is found in the Greek Manuscript Copies, and even in the ancient Latin Bibles written about seven or eight hundred years ago. St. Jerom also hath followed this method in his great Prologue called Galeatus.

The Syrians have preserved this same Order in their Version, as appears from the Edition of Widmanstadius, nevertheless they have not in their ancient Copies (according to which this Edition of Wid­manstadius was regulated) the second Epistle of St. Peter, nor the second and third of St. John, nor that of St. Jude. These Epistles were not apparently in the Greek Copies which the Syrians have Translated into their Language: However it seems as if there were nothing very certain concerning the Order of these Epistles; for in the last of the Canons that bear the name of the Apostles, those of St. Peter are set down first, and afterwards those of St. John, and that of St. James stands in the third rank: the Bishops assembled at Trent have also named them after this same manner, conformably to the Council of Florence. Calvin himself hath set the Epistle of St. Peter at the head of all, in his Commentaries on the Canonical Epistles. But we ought to prefer the Order that is observed in the Greek and Latin Copies, and also in the Oriental Versions.

As for what concerns the Authority of these Epistles, very great difficulties arise from thence; for as we have already seen, the Syri­ans have not inserted some of them in their Version of the New Testament, which they would have done if they had been read in the Eastern Churches, when they Interpreted them out of the Greek in­to Syriack, nevertheless they have since Translated them, and they have been likewise Printed; therefore they are also found in the Arabick Versions of the New Testament. I shall have occasion to examin this matter more exactly in the second Book of this Work, wherein I shall Treat of Versions in particular; but since my design at present is only to speak of the Text, let us see what the Ancients have thought thereupon.

Eusebius, who avoucheth(c) that the Epistle of St. James, the [Page 156]Brother of our Saviour, with the other Canonical Epistles, was pub­lickly read in his time in the most part of the Churches, observes nevertheless that not many of the ancient Writers have made men­tion of it, as neither of that of St. Jude; he would say, without doubt, that there are few of the ancient Doctors of the Church that have cited it as Canonical; therefore in another part of his Histo­ry where he produceth a Catalogue of the Books of the New Testa­ment(d) he reckons the same Epistle of St. James, that of St. Jude, the second of St. Peter, and the second and third of St. John a­mong the Scriptures that were not generally received as Canoni­cal by all the Churches, though several ancient Fathers had spoken of them.

St. Jerom, who usually transcribes Eusebius, in his Catalogue of Ecclesiastical Writers, expresseth himself almost after the same man­ner as this Historian doth, on the Epistle of St. James; for after he hath said(e) that St. James the first Bishop of Jerusalem hath written but one Letter, which is in the number of the seven Canonical Epi­stles, he adds (to shew that all People were not agreed that it was certainly his) that it was said that it hath been written by another in his name, though it hath obtained Authority in process of time.

Cardinal Cajetan makes use of this same Passage of S. Jerom, Cajet. Comm. in c. 1. Epist. Jac. to prove that it is not absolutely certain that this Epistle was composed by S. James the Brother of our Lord; Non usquequaque certum an Epistola haec sit Jacobi fratris Domini. He hath also entituled his An­notations on this Epistle, Commentaries on the Epistle that bears the Name of S. James; In eam quae Divo Jacobo inscribitur Commen­tarii: in which point he is more scrupulous than S. Jerom, who hath made no difficulty to quote it under this Title. Indeed this Father simply relates in this place the various Opinions of several Persons concerning the Author of this Epistle: but forasmuch as it was read in the Churches under the Name of S. James, and it hath been read therein ever since that time, this Cardinal discovers too nice a curiosity, as well as when he adds in this very place, that the manner of saluting that is at the beginning of this [Page 157] (f) Epistle contains nothing Apostolical; on the contrary, that it is altogether profane, no mention being therein made of Jesus Christ, nor of Grace, nor Peace; and he doth not call himself (saith he) an Apostle, but a Servant of Jesus Christ.

Sixtus Senensis hath rehearsed these Words amongst the Objecti­ons that Luther hath made against this Epistle, and perhaps Cajetan hath taken the best part of these Expressions from him: but this Objection is so weak, and even so irrational, that the Lutherans have had no regard to it, no more than to divers other Reasons that their Master hath alledged against the Epistle of S. James; for they receive it at this day after the same manner as the Ca­tholicks: nevertheless, they are not to be excused in this respect, be­cause they still retain in some Editions of their German Bible, the Prefaces of Luther that are at the beginning of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and of that of S. James, after they have admitted them as Canonical; for they disown by these Prefaces what they autho­rize in the body of their Bible.

I could have wished that Melchior Canus, Melch. Can. de loc. Theol. l. 2. c. 11. and some other learned Divines, had not made use of the Authority of certain Decretal Epi­stles falsly attributed to the first Popes, to shew that ever since the Primitive Times of Christianity it hath been believed that this Epi­stle did certainly belong to S. James: there is no need of this sort of Proofs; for though the Ancients have been divided as to this Point, it is enough that the succeeding Ages, after a due reflection on this matter, have found in Antiquity certain Acts sufficient to justifie the placing this Epistle of S. James in the rank of the Cano­nical Books of the New Testament, and that all the Churches of the World do at this day receive it as such.

Calvin, who hath been more moderate herein than Luther, hath chose rather to reconcile the Doctrine of S. James, touching Faith and Works, with that of S. Paul, than unadvisedly to reject this Epistle under colour that it appears to be contrary to the same S. Paul. To receive (saith he) this Epistle, this seems to me to be suf­ficient, Calv. arg. de son Comm. sur l'Epist. de St. Jaq. that it contains nothing unworthy of an Apostle of Christ. The Lutherans themselves soon perceived that their Master sometimes gave out Opinions without a due consideration of what he affirmed. Raithius, who hath made an Apology for Luther, confesseth, that he had written in the first Edition of his German Bible to this effect, [Page 158]that if this Epistle were compared with those of S. Peter and S. Paul it would appear only an Epistle of Straw, Epistola straminea: but,(g) after he had been more enlightned, these Words were taken away in the following Editions, and they are not to be found in those that have been made since the Year 1526. Nevertheless, a certain Lutheran published a Book at Strasbourg in the Year 1527, wherein he speaks after a strange manner of the Epistle of S. James. He affirms(h) that he cannot defend it, because the Author al­ledgeth false Quotations of the Scriptures, and alone contradicts the Law, the Prophets, Jesus Christ and the Apostles; he condemns the Testimony of this Writer as vain, boldly affirming that we ought not to believe him being a single Witness, especially since the Ho­ly Ghost, and a great number of the Witnesses of the Truth, do dissent from him: lastly, this man, after he hath taken so much li­berty to declaim against the Author of this Epistle, adds at the end of his Book, that none ought to be offended that he hath treated him so severely; for, (saith he) he deserves this hatred, because he hath proposed to us another Righteousness than that of Faith. Can there be any thing more insolent than the Words of this Sectary who durst oppose his false Conceptions against the Testimony of all the Churches of the World?

Socinus speaks with a great deal more moderation and judgment concerning the Authority of this Epistle. This Champion of the Unitarians declares that it was doubted in the beginning touching the Authors of the Epistle of S. James, of the second of S. Peter, and of that of S. Jude, because they were found after the Collection of the other Books of the New Testament had been made:(i) but for­asmuch as it was acknowledged afterwards that they were certain­ly [Page 159]composed by the Apostles whose Names they bore, the most part of the Churches did no longer doubt thereof; and the Epistle of S. James was placed before the two others: moreover, with re­spect to that of S. James, he proves the Antiquity of this Tradition by the ancient Syriack Copies. Therefore he doth not only receive them as Canonical, but believes also that they do certainly belong to them to whom they are attributed.

Although it be agreed that the first of these Catholick Epistles was written by S. James, nevertheless it remains to be known who this James is. The Title of this Epistle doth not resolve this diffi­culty, because it is different according to the various Greek Copies: and indeed we ought not to relye on this sort of Title that are later than the Authors of the Books It is read simply in some Manu­script Copies, [...],God. MS. Bibl. Reg. n. 2872. The Catholick Epistle of S. James; and in others, [...], The Catholick Epistle of the Apostle S. James. This is also the Title that hath been prefixed in the Vulgar Latin, Epistola Catholica beati Ja­cobi Apostoli, and which Beza hath retained in his Greek Edition of the New Testament, where we read [...], The Catholick Epistle of the Apostle James. But Robert Stephen, in his curious Greek Edition of the New Testament in folio, hath simply put [...], The Catholick Epistle of James. It is no otherwise in Crespin's Edition at Geneva in the Year 1565. It is read according to the same sense, [...], The Epistle of S. James, in that of Wolfius at Strasbourg in 1524. We read also after the same manner in the Edition of Melchior Sessa at Venice in 1538, and in that of Simon de Colines at Paris in 1534, and in many others. This is most natural and most conformable to the Greek Text, where S. James, at the beginning of his Epistle, takes upon him no other Quality than that of a Servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore Grotius hath also preserved this same Title, and he hath reason not to approve the Opinion of those that attribute it to James the Son of Zebedee, because this James had been put to Death by Herod before the Gospel of Jesus Christ was much spread abroad beyond Judea: neither doth he believe that James the Son of Alpheus was the Author of it, because he would have taken at the beginning of his Epistle the Name of an Apostle, which was a quality in those Primitive Times that gave a great Authority to their Words: from whence he concludes, that it ought to be ascri­bed to that James whom the Apostles constituted first Bishop of Jerusalem. Hieron. de Script. Eccles. in Jac. This is not very far from the Words of S. Jerom in his Catalogue of Ecclesiastical Writers, James, who is called the Brother [Page 160]of our Lord, and sirnamed the Just, as some think, was the Son of Joseph by another Wife; but according to my Opinion, of Mary the Sister of our Lord, of whom John makes mention in his Book: he was ordained Bi­shop of Jerusalem by the Apostles immediately after the Passion of our Lord, and hath written one Letter only, which is in the number of the seven Catholick Epistles. He doth not nominate this James as an Apostle, but only as the Brother of our Lord, which is the sole Qualification that is given him by the Arabick Interpreter published by Erpenius, in the Title of this Epistle.

S. Jerom hath said nothing in this place but what is agreeable to the judgment of Hegisippus a grave Author, who lived not long af­ter the times of the Apostles. This great man hath observed, that divers Persons at that time bore the Name of James, and saith of this James (of whom we now discourse)(k) that being the Bro­ther of our Lord, he took the Government of the Church of Jeru­salem jointly with the Apostles; that the Name of Just was also given to him with one common Consent, which was continued ever since the time of our Saviour Jesus Christ: Hegisippus then did not believe that he was an Apostle, forasmuch as he saith that he took upon him the care of the Church of Jerusalem with the Apo­stles; and he distinguisheth him from others that went under the Name of James, only by the Sirname of Just.

In the mean time Baronius, and after him Estius, declare that this third James, distinguished from the two others, who was sim­ply Bishop of Jerusalem without being an Apostle, is a chimerical James that never was. But since this Cardinal grounds his Opi­nion on very weak Reasons, and contradicts Antiquity in this point, no regard ought to be had to what he affirms against the Judgment of Hegisippus and S. Jerom, and even against the Testimony of the Author of this Epistle, who would not have failed to have stiled himself an Apostle of Jesus Christ in the beginning of his Letter, if he had been really so.

This may serve at the same time for a sufficient Answer to Car­dinal Cajetan, Cajet. Comm. in c. 1. Epist. Jac. who hath objected, to derogate from the Authority of this Epistle, that this James hath not taken upon him the Name of an Apostle, but only that of a Servant; nec ipse seipsum nominat Apostolum, sed tantùm servum. As to what this Cardinal saith in the same place, that this Writer hath made no mention of God, nor of [Page 161]Jesus Christ, the contrary is apparent from the first Words of this Epistle, in which he attributes to himself no other Quality than that of [...],Jac. 1. v. 1. James a Servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. He could not have chosen a Title that might better express his Qualifications, especially writing to the Jews, who were already accustomed by the reading of the Old Testament to the Phrase of the Servant of God: and when he adds these other Words, and of the Lord Jesus Christ, he lets them know that he is one of the Ministers of the new Law that had been promulged by the Messiah.

Lastly we may observe, that in the Title of the Syriack Version these Words are read, The Epistle of James an Apostle; it is no other­wise in the Ethiopick Version: but in the general Title of the three Catholick Epistles which the Syrians have in their ancient Copies, we read that these three Epistles were written by James, Peter, and John, who were the Witnesses of the Transfiguration of our Lord. This would prove that this James was the Son of Zebedee; but it is a ma­nifest error of the Syrians, who have inserted this Inscription into their Copy.

As for what relates to the Epistles of S. Peter and S. John, Euseb. Hist. Ecel. l. 3. c. 25. Euse­bius puts the first Epistles of these two Apostles in the number of the Canonical Books of the New Testament, that have been recei­ved with the common Consent of all the Churches: but he observes at the same time, that there hath been some doubt concerning the Second of S. Peter, as well as of the Second and Third of S. John. S. Jerom adds,(l) that that which hath caused the Ancients to doubt of the second Epistle of S. Peter, is the difference of the Stile of these two Epistles.

We cannot rely on the Testimony of Clemens Alexandrinus, who reckons in the number of the Canonical Writings of the New Te­stament all the Epistles that we call Catholick; for he placeth amongst them, at the same time, the Epistle of Barnabas, Clem. Al. apud Eu­seb. Hist. Eccl. l. 6. c. 14. and the Book entituled, The Revelation of Peter, [...]. This Father, who was an extraordinary learned man, hath not been very exact in distinguishing the Books of the Holy Scriptures that were generally received by all the Churches, from the others that are either dubious or Apocryphal: he makes use of all equally on several occasions; following in this the method [Page 162]of the ancient Rhetoricians, who took no care to be very punctual in their Argumentations.

Origen, his Disciple, durst not altogether venture to rank the above said Epistles amongst the Canonical Scriptures: and whereas they had not obtained in his time the general Approbation of all the Christian World, he explains himself thereupon with a great deal of Precaution.(m) Peter, (saith he) on whom the Church of Jesus Christ is built, hath left an Epistle which is generally received, and a second if you please; for it is doubted. (n) John hath likewise left a very short Epistle, and a second and third if you please; but all people are not agreed that these two last are genuine. This proves that the Church hath never doubted of the Authority of the first Epistles of these two Apostles, and that they were certainly composed by them whose Names they bear; moreover, that although some have doubted of the others, yet this Scruple was not universal, since Origen agrees that they were received as really belonging to these Apostles to whom they were attributed.

The Author of the Synopsis of the Holy Scriptures makes no que­stion thereof; he avoucheth,(o) that the second Epistle of S. Peter was written by this Apostle as well as the first, and that he sent it to those that had then embraced Christianity.

Cajetan, who hath started so many Difficulties against the Epistle to the Hebrews, and against that of S. James, is much more mode­rate with respect to this: he insists, that the Argument that is ta­ken from the difference of the Stile of the two Epistles of S. Peter, is not a sufficient proof to shew that the second is not his;(p) be­cause this Reason might as well be applied to the first as to the second: but this Cardinal hath not considered that it was never doubted in any Church whether the first Epistle of S. Peter was certainly written by him; and therefore from this Act which is un­questionable we should judge of the other that hath not the same [Page 163]certainty. If the diversity of Stile only be a sure Touch-stone whereby the verity of a Piece may be tryed, the reason of the an­cient Ecclesiastical Writers taken from the difference of the Stile, and related by S. Jerom, is a good proof to shew that the second Epistle ascribed to S. Peter is not this Apostle's. That which Caje­tan adds in the same place, that a diversity of Stile doth not neces­sarily infer a diversity of Authors, is on much better grounds. It is certain, that St. Jerom, who acknowledged this diversity of Stile, hath attributed it to the different Interpreters of St. Peter: he sup­poseth that St. Peter did not write his Epistles in Greek himself, but that he had Interpreters with him who understood that Language: mention is also made in the New Testament of those that exerci­sed the Function of Interpreters in those Primitive and Apostolical Times.

According to this Opinion, which is maintained by the ancient Doctors of the Church, St. Jerom saith,(q) that St. Peter hath made use of divers Interpreters as different Occasions required. Baronius hath concluded from thence,Bar. ann. c 45. n. 28. that this Father belie­ved that Saint Mark had translated the first Epistle of Saint Pe­ter out of Hebrew into Greek; but Saint Jerom only declares in this place, that the Apostles who did not very well express them­selves in the Greek Tongue, emploved Scribes or Interpreters.

Calvin, after he hath a little enlarged on this diversity of Stile, which seems to denote a difference between the Authors of these two Epistles, doth not forbear to acknowledge the se­cond as Divine and Canonical.Calv. arg. de ses Com. sur la 2. Epist. de S. Pier. However it be (saith he) since in all the parts of the Epistle the Majesty of the Spirit of Christ is clearly manifest, I cannot in conscience reject it altogether, though I do not find therein the true and natural Phrose of Saint Peter. Flac­cius Illyricus hath written Notes on this Epistle, without doubt­ing in the least whether it was made by him whose Name it bears.

Grotius hath chosen rather to attribute it to another Simeon or Simon the Successor of St. James in the Bishoprick of Jerusa­lem, than to Simon Peter: He believes that the ancient Title of this Epistle hath been changed, and that it was not Simon Peter a Ser­vant and an Apostle of Jesus Christ, as it is read at this day; but simply Simeon a Servant of Jesus Christ: there would be some likelihood [Page 164]of this, if it were grounded on any Manuscript Copies or ancient Acts; but he only confirms his Opinion by a Critical Argument that is not concluding: he urgeth, that this Epistle, at least the third Chapter of it, could not have been written till after the De­struction of Jerusalem, because mention is therein made of the en­tire ruin of the World, which was impatiently expected by the Chri­stians of those times. Now S. Peter died under Nero. No Christian (saith Grotius) could look for this last Destruction of the World, till after that of the State of the Jews.

But it doth not follow from thence, that Jerusalem ought to have been then destroyed; for this Persuasion was generally received amongst the Disciples of Jesus Christ, whilst he was yet living: ever since that time they waited with Impatience for his happy Reign, which could not be established (as they thought) but on the ruin of the State of the Jews: therefore when Jesus Christ speaks to them, Chap. xxiv. of S. Matthew, of the ruin of the Temple, he mixeth some things concerning his coming.(r) The Apostles (saith Maldonat) thought that the end of the Temple, and the end of the World were necessarily joined together. Jesus Christ would not undeceive them, lest after the destruction of the Temple, seeing their Expectations deferred they might grow negligent and secure.

S. Peter then might have written this Epistle before the Destruction of Jerusalem, and might have declared to the Faithful in the third Chapter thereof, that Jesus Christ had not delayed the accomplish­ment of his word, as some amongst them imagined. The Primi­tive Christians expected with impatience the ruin of the Temple, and thought that the general destruction of the whole World would follow soon after: S. Peter exhorts them in this place to wait patiently, because One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, 2 Pet. 3. v. 8. and a thousand years as one day. Therefore the Conjecture of Grotius seems to have no better Foundation than that of Didymus, Didym. Comm. in Epist. 2. Pet. who lived at the begin­ning of the fourth Century, and hath rejected this Epistle as suppo­sitious, because mention is made (as he thinks) in this same Chap. 3. of I know not what renovation of the world conformably to the Opinion of the Platonick Philosophers. But there is nothing in this whole Chapter that doth not perfectly agree with the Doctrine of the Primitive Christians touching the end of the World.

It is not necessary to spend much time in insisting on the second and third Epistles of S. John, of which it hath been also doubted in the Primitive Ages of the Church. Papias, Pap. apud Eus. Hist. Eccl. l. 3. c. 29. who lived with the Di­sciples of the Apostles, distinguisheth two Johns, who have dwelt in Asia, the first of which is our Apostle, and the other was a Priest and Disciple of the Apostles.

Papias, who was the Disciple of this last John, ascribes to him no other quality than that of a Priest; and this hath caused divers Ec­clesiastical Writers to believe, that he was the Author of the second and third Epistles attributed to the Apostle S. John. Indeed he doth not take the name of Apostle, but simply that of Priest or Elder, [...].

Eusebius relying on the Testimony of Papias, Euseb. ib. approves the Opi­nion of those that believed that there were two persons in Asia that were called by the name of John: this Persuasion was further con­firmed, in regard that there was yet seen in his time at Ephesus two Tombs of John. S. Jerom, Hieron. de Script. Eccl. in Joann. who often translates the words of Eu­sebius out of Greek into Latin, hath also made this same Remark, Reliquae autem duae; (saith he, speaking of these two Epistles of S. John) Joannis Presbyteri asseruntur, cujus hodie alterum sepulchrum apud Ephesum ostenditur. He adds nevertheless that some thought that these two Monuments were of S. John the Evangelist, Nonnulli putant duas memorias ejusdem Joannis Evangelistae esse. He repeats this same History when he makes mention of Papias, and saith(ſ) that he relates it for the sake of a a great number of persons that believed that this second John, to whom the simple name of Priest is given, was the Author of these two Epistles, and not the Apostle.

However,Athan. in Synops. the Author of the Synopsis of the Holy Scriptures attri­butes these two last Epistles no less to the Apostle S. John than the first. And it seems that the Latin Church that reads it in her Offices under the same Name, hath authorised this Opinion, which is like­wise conformable to the Testimony of the most ancient Writers of this Church. Therefore the Name of this Apostle, Beati Joannis Apostoli, is retained in the Latin Title of these three Epistles in the vulgar Edition. In the Syriack Copy of these two last Epistles that have been Printed in the Polyglott Bible of England, the simple Name of John is put; whereas in the first it is read of John the A­postle. This seems to have been done on purpose to distinguish the [Page 166]Authors of these Epistles. In the Arabick Copy published by Erpenius, these three Epistles are ascribed to the Apostle S. John, who is named in the Title of the two first, John the son of Zebedee, and in the Title of the third, John the Apostle.

Lastly,Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. 3. c. 25. there have been raised no lest doubts in the Primitive Ages of the Church, concerning the Epistle of S. Jude, than of the pre­ceding Letters; for this reason Eusebius hath reckoned it in the num­ber of those Books of the New Testament that were not generally received by all the Churches. S. Jerom who hath made the same obser­vation,(t) adds, that that which gave occasion to reject it, was the Apocryphal Book of Enoch, which is cited therein. And that this nevertheless hath not hindered it from being placed in the rank of the Sacred Books, its Antiquity and Use having given it this Autho­rity. In like manner it hath been generally received by all the Churches, as well Eastern as Western. The Unitarians and Prote­stants also have put it amongst the other Canonical Books of the New Testament.

Luther hath nevertheless doubted of it, as well as of the Epistle of St. James: but they that follow his Opinion, are so far from re­jecting it at present, that they use their utmost endeavours to put a fair Construction on their Masters words. Calvin after he hath ac­knowledged that the Ancients have differed very much amongst themselves touching this Epistle,Calv. ar­gum. de ses Comm. sur l'ep. de Sainte Jude. expresseth himself thus; However because the reading of it is very profitable, and it contains nothing but what is agreeable to the purity of the Apostolical Doctrine: and in regard also that it hath been accounted Authentick for a long time amongst all good People, for my part I willingly place it in the number of the other Epistles.

Cajetan hath inserred from the above cited words of St. Jerom, (u) that this Epistle is of less Authority than these Writings of the Apostles, of the verity of which we have been certainly assured: but this might have been properly said in those ancient times when it was not approved by all the Churches: whereas when this Cardinal wrote, there were none that did not receive it as Divine and Cano­nical: and therefore it hath no less Authority than the other Sacred Books that are comprehended in the Canon of the Church.Grot. An­not. in E­pist. Jud.

Grotius did not believe that this Epistle was written by St. Jude the [Page 167]Apostle, because the Author hath taken upon him only the quality of a Servant of Jesus Christ, [...] he saith more­over that(x) if it were certainly esteemed Apostolical, it would have been Translated into all Languages, and received by all the Churches: therefore he judgeth that it belongs to Jude Bishop of Jerusalem, who lived under the Emperor Adrian. But the first words of this E­pistle do declare to us that it can come from no other hand than that of the Apostle St. Jude, since he calls himself, Jude the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James. For to say with Grotius, that these words Brother of James, have been afterwards added by the Transcribers that it might be believed that this Jude was certainly an Apostle, is to beg the question; they that would prove that this hath been in­serted by the Transcribers ought to produce good Copies of this Epistle, or certain ancient Acts on which we might rely. Any Man that should have a mind absolutely to reject the Epistle of St. Jude, might easily say with as much reason as Grotius, that he that hath forged it, hath put therein the name of Jude the Brother of James. Therefore Arguments that are purely Critical ought ne­ver to be opposed against Acts that are ancient and generally re­ceived by all the World.

It is true that the Epistle of St. Jude is less quoted by the ancient Doctors of the Church, than the most part of the other Books of the New Testament, and that it is not found in the ancient Copies of the Syriack Version. But it can be only concluded from thence, that it was not at first received in all the Churches: it might how­ever have been published ever since the Primitive times of the Chri­stian Religion, under the name of St. Jude the Brother of James, and yet not be Translated into all the Languages of the Churches, because it was then doubted in the most part of these Churches, whe­ther it was his whose name it bore, Clemens Alexandrinus hath placed it amongst the other Books of the Holy Scriptures; but as it hath been already observed, that this Father hath inserted in his Cata­logue some Pieces that were not Canonical, though they passed un­der the names of the Apostles; it can only be inferred from thence that at least ever since the time of Clement, this Epistle was attri­buted to the Apostle St. Jude. When Eusebius makes mention of it in his Ecclesiastical History, he doth not set it in the rank of coun­terfeit [Page 168]Acts, but of those concerning which some Churches have doubted, nevertheless there are none at this day that do not ac­knowledge it as Divine and Canonical: It is intituled in the Syriack Copy which hath been Printed, The Letter of Jude the Brother of James: neither hath it any other Title in the Arabick Version pub­lished by Erpenius. In the Arabick Printed in the Polyglott Bible of England, is is Intituled The Catholick Epistle of the blessed Jude, the Brother of the Lord.

The End of the First Part.

The Second Part will be Published in Five Days.


A CRITICAL HISTORY Of the TEXT of the New Testament; WHEREIN Is firmly Establish'd the Truth of those Acts on which the Foundation of CHRISTIAN RELIGION is laid.


By Richard Simon, Priest.

LONDON, Printed for R. Taylor, MDCLXXXIX.


CHAP. XVIII. A Critical Observation on a Passage in S. John's First Epistle, Chap. v. vers. 7. which is wanting in the most Greek Copies, Eastern Editions, and the most ancient Latin Co­pies. The Preface to the Canonical Epistles in some Latin Bibles, under the name of S. Jerome, was not penn'd by that Father. It cannot be proved that S. Cyprian had the Passage of S. John's Epistle in his Copy.

THE Reflections which many Learned Men have made on that Passage in the First Epistle of S. John, Chap. v. vers. 7. have not discouraged me from examining it afresh, and consulting the most part of the Greek and Latin Manuscripts that I could find about the same. The Greeks at this day, in their Copy entituled [...], read (as the Latin Church) these words(a) For there are three that bear witness in Heaven, 1 Joh. c. 5. v. 7. the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. Yet 'tis [Page 2]hard to find among the Greeks any Manuscript Copies that have that Passage; I speak not only of the Ancients, but also of those of the lat­ter times. Erasmus alledged the Greeks had their Books more cor­rect than the Latin Copies, but he is mistaken, as it shall appear by what follows in this Discourse. 'Tis much more probable, that that Doctrinal Point was formerly written the Margin, by way of Sco­lium or Note, but afterward inserted in the Text by those who tran­scribed the Copies. Such were my thoughts when I perused some of the Greek Editions; and there is no less probability, that it was supplied after the same manner in the antient Latin Copies; which nevertheless happened not till after S. Jerom's time, who is not the Author of that Addition, which Socinus, next to Erasmus, had laid to his charge.

After the most diligent search in the King's Library, and that of Mr. Colbert, in which there are a great many good Manuscript Vo­lumes, I found no Copy that had that Passage in it, tho I read seven of them in the Royal Library,Codd. MSS. Bibl. Reg. six whereof are marked 1885. 2247. 2248. 2870. 2871. 2872. Some of the Manuscripts have Notes; but no Scholiast or Annotator does make mention of that Passage, neither have I found it in five Manuscript Copies belonging to Mr. Colbert's Library,Codd. MSS. Bibl. Colb. which are marked 871. 6123. 4785. 6584. 2844. Yet some of these Manuscripts are only in Paper, and much later than the rest. There is also one in 16, well written, and I believe since the Impression: Yet the Passage in question is not found therein, any more than in the rest of the ancient Copies.

I could produce yet other Greek Manuscript Copies which I have seen, whose various Readings I observed; but that which most de­serves our notice, is that in the Margin of some of the King's and Mr. Colbert's Copies, there are small Notes set over against the said Passage, which in all likelihood have slipped afterwards into the Bo­dy of the Text. Take an Example from the King's Copy, marked 2247. over against these words, [...], there is this Remark, [...]. By which we may perceive that the Author of the said Remark, understood The Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, to be signified by the Three Witnesses mentioned by S. John, The Spirit, the Water, and the Blood: And what was formerly written by way of Note, passed afterwards into the Text, as it often falls out. In the same Copy over against these other words, [...], this Note is added, [...], that is, One Deity, One God. That Manuscript is about 500 Years old, and there are but very few places therein that have Notes. There is the like Re­mark in one of the Manuscripts belonging to Mr. Colbert's Library, [Page 3]Numb. 871. For besides these words that are set in the Margin, [...], One God, One Deity; the Scholiast has also added these, [...], The testimony of God the Father, and of the Holy Ghost.

This, in my opinion, is the original of the Passage in question, which 'tis very hard to find in the Greek Manuscript Copies, tho at this day the read it in their Version. This is much more likely than what Erasmus alledges; that the Greek Copies he had occasion to inspect, were much more correct than the Latin, which obliged that judicious person to omit the forementioned Passage in his first Editions of the New Testament; in which he was not altogether to be blamed, not being obliged to insert in the Impression what he could not find in any of his Manuscripts; He has nevertheless been charged with a design of favouring the Arrian Party by the omission. James Lopes Stunica has mightily accused him for his unlucky reje­cting the said Passage in his Edition,(b) supposing that the Greek Copies had been corrupted in that place. But this Spanish Critick,We must in this place know, that the Greek Co­pies are notoriously cor­rupted, and that ours con­tain the very truth, as they were translated from the Original. who had read an­cient Manuscripts, does not quote any to justifie his own Sentiments: He contents himself with an Appeal he makes to S. Jerome's Preface to the Canonical Epi­stles, from which he proves that the Passage was ex­tant in the ancient Greek Copies, out of which that Father compiled his ancient Latin Edition.

Erasmus in his answer to Stunica, does vindicate himself well enough by the authority of those Greek Copies he had; yet he was wrought upon by some other consideration, contrary to the Authority of all his Manuscripts, to insert the Passage of S. John in a new Edition of his New Testament. He declares that what obliged him to make that Change, was his seeing a Greek Copy in England, which he believed was more perfect than any Latin Edition. I shall afterwards shew that he is mistaken, in believing that the Greeks reformed their Copies of the New Testament to a degree of perfe­ction, above those of the Latins, after their Reunion with the Roman Church.

If that were so, as that judicious Person does suppose, with what warrant and freedom could he correct his Greek Edition by one single Copy, which as he himself believed, had suffered some altera­tion. [Page 4]He does disparage his own judgment, by inveighing against S. Jerome, as if that Father had been the Author of the Addition that is found in the Latin Copies, in which there are these words, Quoniam tres sunt qui testimonium dant in coelo, Pater, Verbum & Spiri­tus Sanctus, & hi tres unum sunt; i. e. Because there are three who bear witness in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. (c) He on this occasion brings a heavy Charge against him, as being more forward than wise; that is to say, if the matter be referred to Erasmus's judgment, S. Jerome must stand chargeable with Forgery, a bold and presumptuous undertaking to correct the ancient Latin Edition according to his own fancy, without the Au­thority of good Copies.

Faustus Socinus knew very well what advantage to make of this Answer of Erasmus; but withal adds, that(d) S. Jerome might have had one or more Copies, in which this Addition might be so man­aged, as to make it a hard matter to discover the Fraud, and that this is the reason obliged him to maintain that additional Passage against the Authority of so many Copies. In this manner that Unitary argues, according to his custom, with more subtilty than solidity. But Reason alone is not sufficient to judg of such maters; for besides that, 'tis necessary to be well acquainted with, and to examin strictly such Writings as are on publick record, and may give light in this affair. If Erasmus, who had read many Greek and Latin Copies of the New Testament, and frequently consulted S. Jerome's Manuscripts, had applyed himself to a strict examination of the Preface to the Canonical Epistles, which he thinks was written by that Father, he would rather have been inclined to reject that Preface, as supposititious, than to charge S. Jerome with For­gery.

'Tis not amiss to set down in this place some part of the Preface to the Canonical Epistles,Hieron. Prolog. in VII. E. pist. Can. ex edit. Paris. ann. 1523. that is thought to be S. Jerome's, which is only found in the first Latin Editions of the Bible with this Title. Incipit prologus beati Hieronymi presbyteri in septem Epistolas Canonicas. i. e. The beginning of the Preface of S. Jerome the Presbyter, to the seven Canonical Epistles.

The Author complains, that Interpreters have not faithfully translated those Epistles,(e) especially that place of S. John's First Epistle, Chap. v. vers. 7. where there is mention made of the Unity of Persons in the Blessed Trinity. He accuses those unfaithful Translators of falling into great Errors, whilst they retained in their Version these words only, The Water, the Blood, and the Spirit, and left out the words, The Father, and the Spirit, which are an authen­tick Testimony of the Catholick Faith, about the Mystery of the Trinity.

The Bishop of Oxford, who has lately published a new Edition of S. Cyprian's Works with Observations, makes mention of a great number of Latin Bibles, where S. Jerome's supposed Preface is found: In the mean time he complains, that it is left out of the Latin Bi­bles that are printed in our Age.(f) Let those (says that learned Bishop) who are men of Judgment determin, if that omission happened by chance, or was the effect of some bad Design. He could not ima­gin for what reasons it was taken from the last Editions of the Latin Bible, since he found it in the Manuscript Copies, and al­most in all the ancient Impressions: Libris manuscriptis passim & fere omnibus codicibus impressis antiquioribus.

But 'tis not just to accuse, upon this account, those who were concerned in the Translation of the Latin Bibles without that Pre­face. This is true, that it is found with other Prefaces of S. Jerome to the Bible, in such Latin Copies as have been made not above six Hundred Years ago, and in all probability the first Latin Bibles were printed according to such Manuscripts.

But 'tis not altogether so in those that were written about seven or eight Hundred Years ago, but in some few only of such Copies: And 'tis very likely that as to the rest, there was a Regulation made, according to the later Manuscripts in such Editions of the Bible; as have not that Preface. 'Tis further observable, that nei­ther the Name of S. Jerome, nor of any other Writer, is prefixt to the Preface, in some of the ancient Copies where it is found, which sufficiently shews, that we may on good grounds question S. Jerome's being the Author of it.

The Preface in controversie is not in a certain Manuscript Co­py of the whole Bible,Cod. MSS. Bibl. Reg. that is in the Royal Library, marked 3564. and has been extant these seven Hundred Years; neither is it in two other Manuscript Copies of the like antiquity, belonging to the Library of the Benedictine Monks of the Abby of S. Germain. Cod. MSS. Bibl. Be­nedict. S. Germ. Paris. It is found I confess in Charles le Chauve's fair Bible that is in the King's Library; but S. Jerome's Name is not there, any more than it is in some other ancient Copies.

Whoever will take the pains to compare the most of the ancient Latin Bibles together, shall easily discover, that he who gathered all the Books of the Latin Bible into one Body, (the better part of which was translated or revised by S. Jerome) is really the Author of that Preface. Since he was not furnished with that Father's Pre­face to all those Books, he supplied, in his Collection, what was wanting with an addition of some of his own composure, and others, which he gathered from S. Jerome's Works. Hence, for example, in Charles le Chauve's Copy, there is, before the Acts of the Apostles, a Preface with this Title, Praefatio Hieronymi: Yet 'tis certain, that S. Jerome was not the Author of that Preface to the Acts, as it is there in express words, but the Author of the Collection of the Books of the Latin Bible, took the same out of that Father's large Preface, entituled Prologus Galeatus; and it is expressed in these words, Actus Apostolorum nudam quidem resanare historiam videntur, & nascentis Ec­clesiae historiam texere: Sed si noverimus scriptorem eorum Lucam esse Medicum, cujus laus in Evangelio, animadvertemus pariter omnia verba illius animae languentis esse Medicinam: that is, The Acts of the Apo­stles seem to be a bare History, affording us a prospect of the Church in its Birth: But if we consider that the Writer was Luke the Physician, who is famous in the Gospel, we shall also perceive, that all his words are the Medicine of a languishing Soul. 'Tis also probable, that the Compiler of the Books of the Latin Version, which we call the Vulgar, not finding in S. Jerome a particular Preface to the Canoni­cal Epistles, made one according to that Father's Stile, some of whose Expressions he has made use of, and amongst others, has inserted that word Eustochium.

'Tis likewise probable, that the Addition of the Witness of three Persons was extant before that time, in some Copies of S. John's Epistles, or at least in some Latin Writers, at the time when that Preface was made. Upon this account the Author, who possibly had not the occasion of consulting the Creek Copies, supposed, that if that Passage was not extant in any Latin Copy, the Trans­lators were to be blamed. 'Tis observable that the Addition is not in most of the old Copies of S. Jerome's Bible, to which neverthe­less [Page 7]the Preface is prefixt, as I have observed in two Copies, one whereof is in the Royal Library, and the other in that belonging to Mr. Colbert. How incongruous is it, to see a Preface at the be­ginning of the Canonical Epistles, where S. Jerome complains of the unfaithfulness of the ancient Latin Translators, who have omit­ted in the First Epistle of S. John, Chap. 1. a whole Verse which he restores to the Greek; and yet, if one turn to the place of S. John's Epistle in the very same Copy, the passage is not to be found there. There can be no other reason given, in my opinion, of this inco­herency, but this, that the Transcribers who writ out the Preface, made use of such Latin Copies, in which that Verse was not extant; because neither S. Jerome, nor the antient Latin Version had any thing of it. If that Father had been the Author of the Preface, and of the Addition inserted in S. John's Epistle, that Addition would have been extant in all S. Jerome's Latin Bibles. This diversity of Copies is in my judgment an evident proof, that he did not compose that Preface to prefix it to the Canonical Epistles.

And that which makes it further manifest, that S. Jerome was not the true Author either of the Preface or Addition, is, that that Addition is placed in the Margin of mose of the antient Copies, in the Body of which it is not extant. It was no less than surprising,(g) that the pretended S. Jerome should in his Preface, commend his new Edition of the Canonical Epistles, upon the account of the change he had made, especially in the First of S. John, whilst there was nothing of such change or amendment to be seen therein. Upon which account the Transcribers, or they to whom the Copies did belong, thought fit to regulate the Text according to the Preface, by supplying, in the Margin, the Verse concerning the Witness of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; which, before that time was ex­tant in some Ecclesiastical Authors. But since it was a matter of difficulty for those who placed that Addition in the Margin of their Copies, to observe a general and perfect uniformity of words, it so fell out, that the Expressions in the various Copies did likewise vary. This diversity does evidently prove that S. Jerome could not be the Author of the Addition in controversie, but that it was done by those who had a mind to adjust the Text in S. James to the Pre­face. I shall here give some Examples of that Regulation, of the manner how it was added to most of the old Latin Copies of S. Jerome's Bible.

In that Copy of the Royal Library that is marked 3584. in the Margin over against these words,Cod. MSS. Bibl. Reg. Tres sunt qui testimonium dant, i. e. There are three which bear witness; there are these other words added, In coelo, Pater, Verbum, & Spiritus: & tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terrâ, & hi tres unum sunt. i. e. In Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit: and there are three which bear witness on earth, and these three are one. The writing of the Addition appears to be no less ancient than that of the Text. The like Addition is to be seen in a Copy that is in Mr. Colbert's Library,Cod. MSS. Bibl. Colb. that is marked 158. where in the Margin, over against these words, Tres sunt qui testimonium dant, these are added, In coelo, Pater, Verbum, & Spiritus, & tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terrâ, sanguis, aqua, & caro. And to make the Text and Addition agree the better, there are some of the words of the Text amended or put out. There is nothing of this Addition to be read in the three ancient Copies of the Library belonging to the Benedictines of the Abby of S. Germans, only it is placed in the Mar­gin of one of these Copies,Cod. MSS. Bibl. Ben. S. Germ. Paris. and the Addition is as old therein as the Text it self.

'Tis true, that it is extant in a Copy written eight Hundred Years ago, in the time of Lotharius II. But it is strangely disfigured in that place;Cod. MSS. Bibl. Ben. S. Germ. in that Copy the Reading was formerly thus, Sunt tres qui testimonium dant, (the words in terrâ being interlined) spiritus, aqua, & sanguis; & tres unum sunt: & tres sunt qui de coelo testifican­tur, pater, verbum, & spiritus, & tres unum sunt. But some time after­wards, the words (de coelo testificantur, i. e. bear witness of Heaven) were defaced, to make room for these, testimonium dicunt in coelo, i. e. bear witness in Heaven.

All which different Alterations are evident proofs that there was nothing of that Addition in the first Copies which were published of S. Jerome's Bible; for which reason it is not to be found in a cer­tain Version of the French Church, which is at least a Thousand Years old, and which was published by F. Mabillon a Benedictine Monk, and the first who in effect seems to have inserted that Pas­sage in his Works, is Victor Bishop of Vite, who lived a Hundred Years after S. Jerome. Take his own words in his Second Book of the Persecution of the Vandals: Et ut adhuc luce clarius unius Divi­nitatis esse cum Patre & Filio Spiritum Sanctum doceamus, Joannis Evangelistae testimonio comprobatur. Victor Vi­tensis, l. 2. persec. Afric. Provinc. edit. Basil. ann. 1539. Ait namque, tres sunt qui testimo­nium prohibent in coelo, Pater, Verbum, & Spiritus Sanctus, & hi tres unum sunt: i. e. And further, to shew, that 'tis most evident, that the Holy Ghost is the same God with the Father and the Son, the testimo­ny of S. John the Evangelist is sufficient; for he says, that there are three that bear witness in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy [Page 9]Ghost, and these three are one. St. Fulgence a little after did also quote him. But I refer that to a larger Discourse in the II. Book of this Work, where I shall particularly treat of the Versions of the New Testament.

I know that a great many Men of Learning have alledged that St. Cyprian, (who lived a long time before St. Jerom,) had quoted that passage in his Books. The Bishop of Oxford brought the testimony of St. Cyprian, (h) to justifie St. Jerom's Preface, and at the same time, to shew, that that Father could not be accused of any unfair dealing, because he only re-established the Ancient Latin Edition in its first purity. Father Amelote, who belongs to the Chappel, freely declares that the same passage is wanting in St. Athanasius, St. Cyril, St. Gregory, St. Nazianzen, St. Chrysostom; Didymus, and (as to the Fathers of the Latine Church,) in St. Augustin, St. Leon, Beda, and in divers others; and yet does assure us, that it is extant in a Treatise of St. Cyprian con­cerning the Unity of the Church.

But can we imagine, if St. Cyprian had had it in his Copy of the New Testament, that St. Augustin would not have made use of it against the Arians of his time? The truth is, after I had strictly ex­amined that passage of St. Cyprian, which is the matter in Question, I fully persuaded my self that that Pious Prelate had only made men­tion of these words, & hi tres unum sunt, i.e. and these three are one, about which there is no contest, and that from thence he would prove, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, to be one and the same. It is written (says he) of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. He applies to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, what we read in all the Greek and Latine Copies concerning the testimony of the Spirit, the Water and the Blood, of which it is said, that they are one, & hi tres unum sunt, which differs very much from an express quotation of those Words, as if they were in the Text it self.

And that there may be no doubt left, but that this is St. Cyprian's true sense of the words, it is but consulting the Learned Facundus, who was of the same African Church, and gives their explication at large, evincing the mystery of the Trinity from them,Facund. prodefens. Tri. capit. l. 1. c. 3. after his ex­ample. He does suppose through his whole Discourse, that in St. John's Epistle, Chap. v. there are only these words extant, Tres sunt qui testi­ficantur in terrâ, spiritus, aqua & sanguis. i. e. There are three which bear [Page 10]witness on earth, the Spirit, the Water and the Blood. But he adds at the same time, that they are to be understood of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. De Patre Filio & Spiritu Sancto dicit, tres sunt qui testi­monium dant in terrâ, spiritus, aqua & sanguis, & hi tres unum sunt; in spiritu significans Patrem, in aquâ Spiritum Sanctum, in sanguine vero Filium significans. His meaning is that the three Persons are signified by the three Witnesses of the Earth, the Spirit, the Water, and the Blood. And the more to confirm his Opinion, he adds, that St. Cyprian was of the mind, that this is proper sense of that passage in St. John. Quod Joannis Apostoli testimonium beatus Cyprianus Carthaginiensis Antistes & Martyr, in Epistolâ sive libro quem de Ʋnitate. Trinitate scripsit, de Patre, Filio & Spiritu Sancto dictum intelligit.

If the Bishop of Oxford had compared the words of Facundus with those of St. Cyprian, he had not brought such weak Arguments against E­rasmus and Socinus, in the defence of St. Jerome, who stood in no need of that service, seeing he was not the Author of the Preface to the Canonical Epistles, nor of the Addition inserted in St. John's Epistle, Chap. v. Victor the Bishop, not having considered the matter so nar­rowly, brings in the Witness of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as if St. John had expresly made mention of them, whereas St. Cyprian and Facundus, bring it only as an explication of the Witness of the Spirit, the Water, and the Blood. The same thing hapned to those who caused to Print St. Athanasius's Works, with a Table of the passages of Holy Scripture, which are quoted therein. They have set down at large there, the seventh Verse of the fifth Chapter of the first Epistle of St. John, as if that Holy Man had quoted that place after that manner. Yet in his dispute against the Arians, he only made use of these words, [...], and these Three are One, and applied the same to the Trinity.

I make no question but that this Explication of St. Athanasius, was the occasion that some Greek Scoliastes placed in the Margin of their Copies the formentioned Note, which afterwards was put in the Text. And that is more probable than what Erasmus thought concerning this matter, who was of opinion, that the Greek Copies, which make mention of the Witness of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, were more Correct than the Latin Copies. If he had only spoken of such Greek Copies as were written by those of the Latin Church, and which served for their use, what he alledged, would be the more credible. But that the Greeks, after their reunion with the Latin Church, made their Copies of the New Testament more Cor­rect than the Latin, is against all appearance of Truth. On the con­trary, 'tis manifest that the Copies that have been since that time, make no mention of that Testimony.

The Observation that Fromondus, a Divine of Louvain, made on that place of St. John, after some other Commentators is without any ground. He acknowledged that St. Augustin, and many other Latin Fathers, had not that passage of St. John extant in their Copies; but at the same time he adds,(i) that the Arians had taken away the same out of many Copies, and that the Latin Version which St. Augustin, and those other Fathers made use of, was compiled out of those Books that were corrupted by the Arians. This opinion is most ab­surd, and can have no other ground, but the Preface that is fathered on St. Jerome. With what reason could they accuse the Arians of changing the Greek Copies of the New Testament in that place, seeing St Cyprian, who lived before Arius's name was known in the World, had no such Verse in his Copy? Besides, the same altera­tion must of necessity have reached all other Churches: for neither the Syrians of any Sect whatsoever, nor any other Eastern Church have it in their Editions of the New Testament.

And I cannot imagin what advantage the Antitrinitarians can get against the Catholicks, upon this ground, that that passage is not found in the most part of the Greek Manuscripts, nor those others of the Eastern Church, nor yet in the old Latin Copies. For the most learned Interpreters of the New Testament do not Expound it with reference to the Trinity. Such ancient Ecclesi­astical Writers as have applyed it to that Mystery, followed the Custom of that time, which was to give the Scripture such a Theo­logical sense, as was accommodated to the Faith then received in the Church. Now whether that Verse be Read in the I. Epistle of St. John, as all those of the Greek and Latin Churches do at this day, or it be not Read; yet the Doctrine of the Trinity may always be very well proved from that place, against those who deny that Mystery; because the Fathers from the first Ages of the Church, have applyed the Witness of the Spirit, of the Water, and of the Blood, to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. They have proved, by the Unity of those Witnesses, that the three Persons of the Trinity are one.

It is therefore to no purpose to dispute about the Addition or Omission of a passage, which by it self, does not clearly establish, but only suppose a Trinity of Persons, according to the opinion of the most Ancient Divines of the Church. I do not believe, that [Page 12]the most of the Modern Divines had any intention of favouring Arianism, when they observed that that place shews that the Wit­nesses are One. Those three (says Father Amelote) are one in their Te­stimony, the Father gave a Testimony to Jesus Christ, in Jordan. The Word, by his Words and Actions, the Holy Ghost, in the form of a Dove, and by his miraculous Gifts.

I cannot after all, in any wise conceive for what use or purpose Sandius has quoted,Herman. Cingal. Script. S. Trinit. Revelat. p. 105. upon the credit of others, so many different Edi­tions of the New Testament, in which the Verse in question is not to be found. Seeing the most part of those Greek Editions were taken from one another, and but very few of them from Manuscript Copies, their great number signifies nothing. I do not think, for example, that that of Strasburg, An. 1524. or that of Simon de Colines, at Paris, An. 1534. were compiled by the help of Manuscripts. Wolfius, who published that of Strasburg, makes no mention of it in his Preface. On the contrary, he declares, that he only Reprinted in a new Letter, and another Volume, what had been Printed be­fore that time. Simon de Colines made no Preface to his Greek Editi­on; which makes me think he compiled it according ro the best of his skill, by Editions that were extant before. Erasmus is one of the first, who gave occasion for the omission of that Verse, in those Greek Editions of the New Testament that came after his own, which was An. 1516. And he published another, An. 1519. where that Verse is also wanting. Those Editions, on the contrary, which came out after the Complute or Alcala, An. 1515. have all that Verse. Hence it is, that it is extant in Robert Stephen's Fair Edition, and in the most part of the other Editions. The Manuscript, and not the Printed Copies, are to be heeded, unless these be taken from the Manuscripts, such as the Edition of Alcala, and that of Erasmus.

Nor is there any account to be made of the great number of Editions, of Luther's Dutch Version, that Sandius brings against the Lutherans. For they are only repetitions of the first, in which Luther had followed the Edition of Erasmus, or some other, there being at that time many, even in Holland, which had been pub­lished without that Verse. I do not think that that Patriarch of the North was well Read in the Greek Manuscript Copies, though the most part of his followers do justifie him in this manner, when it is objected to them, that their Master has corrupted the Scri­pture, by leaving out a passage of the New Testament, that as­serts the Mystery of the Trinity. He might (say they) very well omit that Verse, with the Greek Edition of the Haguenau, An. 1521. [Page 13] Raithius, in answer to this objection,(k) says, that Luther did think fit to put that only in his Version, which was constantly, and by all agreed on, and that consequently, he might omit a Verse about which some doubts had arisen, and which was not in Aldus's Edition, which he made use of, as it is believed. Besides, he was persuaded that there were other passages, which afforded a lasting Foundation for the belief of the Trinity.

This is a plausible Reason, because Luther took upon him the Translating a Greek Copy into his own Language. But if the Master was to be justified in this respect, I see no reason why his Disciples should alter his Version in that place, and that they should commend to the people, for the true word of God, a thing they believed to be doubtful. It might possibly have been more to the purpose, according to their principle, to preserve their ancient Dutch Version, and content themselves with placing that Verse in the Margin, by way of remark. On the contrary they bring it at this day against the Antitrinitarians, as a strong proof of the Mystery of the Trinity; little thinking, that they give them, by that means, the fairest occasion imaginable of Triumphing over them. It is the bare Authority of the Church that does at present oblige us to receive that passage as Authentick. The Greeks, though otherwise disaffected to the Latin Church, fully agree with them in this matter.

There is a greater Uniformity amongst the Calvinists, in their Versions of the New Testament, than amongst the Lutherans. For though they pretend, as well as they to Translate the Original Greek, yet they have retained that Verse in all their Translations. Beza, who openly declares that it is not to be found in the most part of the Ancients, yet says withal,(l) that it ought to be kept in the Text, whereof it is a part. Diodati, who has likewise retained it in his Italian Version, is of Opinion,(m) that the Unity men­tioned in that place, is as well an Unity of Nature, as an Uni­ty or Consent of Testimony. But Calvin is much more reserved on this occasion, according to his wonted precaution, never to make us weak Arguments against the Antitrinitarians. That Ex­pression, [Page 14](says he) Three are One does not denote the Essence, but the Consent. Calv. Comm. in Epist. 1. Joann. c. 5. v. 7.

He perceived, no less than Luther, that that passage was not in the most Copies, and was very sensible that it would be a matter of no small difficulty to reconcile the words of St. Jerome, (in that Pre­face which is alledged to be his) to the ancient Greek Books. He durst not deal freely in the matter, lest he should have offended his weak Brethren. I shall here set down his own words, that the World may see how this Man carried himself, when upon any occasion he was obliged to Critisize on such places of Scripture as appeared to him doubtful.Calv. ibid. All this has been omitted by some. Which St. Jerome thought, did proceed rather from malice, than ignorance or inadvertency, and which was not done but by those of the Latin Church. But foras­much as the Greek Books do not agree amongst themselves, it is not easie for me to be positive about the matter. Nevertheless, because the Text runs very well with that Addition, and, as I observe, it is extant in the best, and most Correct Copies, for my part I am very willing to ad­mit of it.

CHAP. XIX. Of the Book of the Revelation. What was the Belief of the Ancients concerning it. The Hereticks that did re­ject it. Their Reasons; which are Examined. There have been also Learned Catholicks of ancient time, who have ascribed it to Cerinthus. The Opinion of these latter times about the same Book.

WHat remains of the Books of the New Testament, to be ex­amined, is the Apocalyps, which St. Jerom makes mention of,Hierom. Epist. ad Dard. in one of his Epistles, as being a Book that was not commonly received in the Greek Churches of his time. But if Tertullian's Maxim have any weight with us, illud verum quod prius, i. e. That is most likely to be true that was first. We will prefer the Universal Opinion of the ancient Ecclesiastical Writers, to that of some Greek Churches, of later times. It is upon this ground, that Grotius gives his Judg­ment [Page 15]of this Book, when he says, that(a) St. Justin, St. Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, St. Cyprian, who may be believed in this matter, have by one common consent, avouched St. John as the Author of that Book. Flaccus Illyricus had affirmed the same thing before, assuring us(b) that it is very reasonable we should refer this to the Fathers, who lived near the time of the Author.

And therefore Baronius has judiciously observed, that what St. Je­rom does alledge, concerning the Opinion of the Greek Churches about the Apocalyps, cannot be altogether true, seeing that St. Epi­phanius who lived at that time,Baron. ann. Ch. 97. n. 6. and who was not much older than he, defended the Authority of that Book, against the Alogian, and Theodotian Hereticks. That Cardinal does nevertheless declare, that he cannot in this respect blame St. Jerom; for having unhappily tra­duced the Greek Churches in his time. He believed that he meant St. Basil, Amphilochius, the two Gregories of Nazianzen and Nysse, and the Council of Laodicea, Baron. ibid. n. 7. who did not reckon the Apocalyps amongst the Canonical Books of Scripture. He distinguishes betwixt those Fathers, and the Alogians and Theodotians, upon this account, that the former had not impeached the Authority of that Book, with an avowed obstinacy as the latter had done. And even St. Epiphanius is not so much against St. Jerom, but that he insinuates, that the Alo­gians, (who rejected in general all that is extant of St. John's Writ­ings,) would have been in some respect excusable, if they had re­jected nothing but the Revelation, which is an obscure and unintel­ligible Book.

The Alogians pretended that the Apocalips, and the rest of St. John's Writings, were composed by the Heretick Cerinthus. Which they en­deavoured to shew, by the agreement that the Doctrine which Ce­rinthus professed, had to that contained in the Books of that Apo­stle, and especially in his Revelation.

They likewise drew up particular objections against this latter [Page 16]Work.(c) Of what use (say they) can the Revelation of St. John be to us, when he tells us of seven Angels, and of seven Trumpets? St. Epi­phanius gives them this answer,Epiph. ibid. that God was pleased to reveal to his servant John, what was most mysterious in the Law and the Pro­phets, to the end that he might treat of them in a spiritual and intelligible manner. And seeing those Hereticks were so bold as to ridicule what is said of the seven Trumpets, he charges them, upon that account, either of malice or ignorance, from the words of St. Paul, who has also made mention of those Trumpets, in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. xv. 52. where he says, The trumpet shall sound, and at the sound of this trumpet the dead shall rise.

Some of the Alogians, to disparage the Authority of the Apoca­lyps, another argument; make use of these words, for in Chap. ii. ver. 18. of the Book, To the Angel of the Church of Thyatira, write: (d) There was not at that time (say they,) any Christian Church in Thyatira. How could St. John write to a Church, which had no being? St. Epiphanius being of the same opinion with the Alogians, that there was no Church in that place, at that time, that he may answer their objection, is forced to have recourse to the Spirit of Prophecy. He thinks that St. John, who was inspired by God, foresaw what should happen in process of time. And therefore he gives us the most exact account that he can, of the City of Thyatira, about the time when the Phrygian Hereticks did bear sway there. He shews how it afterwards became an Orthodox and most famous Church.(e) The design of the Holy Ghost (says he) was to reveal, in that place of the Apocalyps, that that Church should fall from the Truth, after the time of St. John, and the other Apostles. Which happened, as Epi­phanius himself does tell us, ninety three years after the Ascension of our Lord and Saviour.

Seeing this answer of St. Epiphanius does agree with the Opinion of the Alogians, that there was no Christian Church in effect, in the City of Thyatira, at that time, Socinus (f) could by no means ad­mit of it, being persuaded that the Text of the Apocalyps does evi­dently [Page 17]shew that there was a Church therein. He believed that there were several Cities of that name. But for all that, he does not prove against the Alogians, that there was a Church in Thyatira. When he brings the plain words of the Apocalyps against them, he gets the thing in Question for an Answer, seeing those Sectaries endeavoured by that means to lessen the Authority of that Book. It is probable that at that time, when St. Epiphanius lived, there was no Catalogue of the Bishops of that Church, nor of other publick Records, that might make it manifest, that there had beed a Church founded in that City, from the times of the Apostles. And therefore Grotius does give a more judicious answer, That the truth is, Grot. Annot. ad c. 2. Apoc. v. 18. there was not any Church of the Gentiles in Thyatira, when St. John writ the Revelation, but there was a Church of the Jews, as also, there was the like at Thes­salonica before St. Paul Preached there.

The Alogians do also cavil about that which is mentioned in the same Book, Chap. ix. ver. 14. Of the four Angels which were bound on the River Euphrates.Epiph. ibid. But St. Epiphanius does in this charge them with ignorance, because those Angels, who were placed on the River Eu­phrates, do signifie, according to his Opinion, so many Nations that were situated on that River, viz. the Assyrians, Babylonians, Medes and Persians. And adds, that seeing Nations are subject to Angels, those words of the Apocalyps, Loose the four Angels which are upon Euphrates, make very good sense, St. John intending to shew there­by, that those Nations being loosed should make War against another People. I shall not here examin whether or no, the Exposition given by St. Epiphanius be agreeable to the Text, but content my self to observe in general, that seeing that Book, is a Prophesie, and no History, the Author was to write as Prophets were wont to do, in a Figurative Stile. And so the Alogians were inexcusable for their prejudice against this Book, upon the account of the expressions; (which to them appeared very strange) unless they imagined that there was no such thing as a Prophesie in the New Testament.

Cajus, an Orthodox Writer, who lived at Rome, under Pope Ze­phyrin, and of whom we have spoken before, did also believe that Cerinthus was the Author of the Revelation of St. John. He treated that Heretick with derision,(g) who, As if he had been a great Apo­stle, writ Revelations which he pretended to have received from Angels, and in which, he assured us, that after the Resurrection, Jesus Christ shall reign upon the Earth. He allowed the space of a thousand years to [Page 18]this Carnal Kingdom, which was to be accompanied with all sorts of pleasures. For this cause he calls Cerinthus an Enemy to the Holy Scriptures, and spoke in this manner of the Apocalyps, which he thought, was written by him, and not by St. John.

Denis, Dion. Alex. apud Eus. bid. Bishop of Alexandria, who vigorously defended the Autho­rity of this Book, did likewise observe that some Authors did ascribe the Apocalyps to Cerinthus, who (according to their Opinion) had prefixed St. John's Name to the Book, to give Authority to his Babling about the Carnal Reign of Jesus Christ on the Earth. Seeing this Opinion that maintained a Chimerical Dominion of a thousand years was spread in the Church, this Learned Bishop writ two Trea­tises against it, Entituled [...]. Of the Promises. Wherein he takes to task(h) Nepos, a certain Bishop of Egypt, who Expounded the Promises, which God in Scripture has made to Mankind, in a sense that speaks the Expositor to have been more Jew than Christian; dream­ing of a Carnal Kingdom upon the Earth, that should continue for the space of a thousand years, during which time all manner of Pleasures should be enjoyed.

Upon this subject Nepos did publish a Book, Entituled [...]. A Refuta­tion of Allegorists, laughing at such Catholicks as Expounded Alle­gorically that place in the Apocalyps, that makes mention of the Reign of a thousand years. Which Work made a great impression on the minds of those who read it, because the Author, who had carefully applied himself to the study of the Holy Scriptures, had ac­quired a very great Reputation. Besides, his Reasons appeared to be the more probable, because they were founded on the Literal Sense of Scripture, whereas the contrary Opinion was grounded upon Al­legories only, from which nothing can be concluded. Denis does likewise(i) declare the honorable esteem he had for the Memory of his then deceased Adversary, whose Faith and Parts he commends. But withal, he adds, that the love which he bore to the Truth above all other things, was a sufficient motive that engaged him to write against that Work, that was so much admired in Egypt, that many preferred the Doctrine therein contained, to the Gospels and the Epistles of the Apostles: they were so much puffed up with the Idea of the thousand years Reign on the Earth. The matter was brought to that pass, that Nepos his Followers, chused rather to make a [Page 19]Schism, than to abdicate their Opinion. But Denis, afterwards, in a publick Dispute, having discovered the falsity thereof, brought them to renounce their error.

It is a very judicious course that that Learned Bishop takes, as to his manner of defending the Authority of the Apocalyps against those who rejected it as a supposititious Book, and done by Cerinthus. He appeared to be in no wise byassed by any preoccupation, as to his own Opinion; nor guilty of concealing the Reasons of his Ad­versaries. And therefore he freely declares, that(k) some Ecclesia­stical Writers who lived in his time, had opposed that Book with all their might, refuting it with a nice and resolute eagerness, alledging that it was written without Sense, and without Reason. They fur­ther assured us that the Title of that Work was forged by Cerinthus, and that the Title Apocalyps, or Revelation, could not be attributed to a Book, which in their Opinion was stuffed with things that ma­nifest a profound ignorance.

Notwithstanding all those Objections, Denis avows that he cannot reject it, as perceiving that it was approved by the most part of his Brethren: and to the Reasons on the other side, he replies, that there is a sublime and hidden Sense in the Expressions of that Author; for which he is resolved to have an high veneration, though he does not comprehend it, being persuaded, that Faith, and not his own knowledge, ought to be the Rule in that case.(l) I do not (saith he) condemn that which I cannot understand; on the contrary I admire it, be­cause I cannot comprehend it. Which nevertheless does not hinder him from examining all the parts of the Books particularly; and he shews,(m) That it is impossible to Expound it according to the Letter, or Sense which the words at first view seem to warrant. He further de­clares that it was composed by a Man, called John, who was inspired by God. But he does not think, that that John was an Apostle; and grounds his Opinion on this, that the Apostle St. John did put his Name to none of his Works, and that he never speaks of him­self. On the contrary, the Author of the Revelation does name himself at the beginning, and frequently in the Body of his Work; for example, in the Letter he writes to the seven Churches of Asia, [Page 20]he begins with these words, John to the seven Churches which are in Asia. But St. John does not so much as put his name to his Catholick Epistle, in his entrance upon the matter. Neither is it seen at the be­ginning of his two other Epistles that are very short, and pass under his name.

This difference of Stile makes Denis the Bishop of Alexandria to conclude, that the Revelation was not written by St. John; and he affirms at the same time, that it is uncertain who that John was. He proves nevertheless, that it is in no wise likely that he was John, Sir­named Mark, made mention of in the Acts of the Apostles, and who was Companion to Paul and Barnabas in their Travels; because he did not follow them into Asia. And therefore he judges that he was one of those who lived at Ephesus, where there were two Sepul­chres with that name. Once he has recourse to the difference of Stile, from which he pretends to prove, that the Apostle St. John, who writ the Gospel, and one Epistle, cannot be the Author of the Apocalyps. According to his Opinion, the same things, and the same expressions are found in the former Books. The Revelation, on the contrary, is quite different from both.

Thus I have considered at large, the judgment of Denis, the Bi­shop of Alexandria, upon the Apocalyps, (upon which Eusebius has more fully Paraphrased) because it contains, in a few words, all that can be said upon this subject. He informs us at the same time, that the ancient Doctors of the Church made a great account of Tradition, upon such an emergent occasion as required their Judgment, whe­ther a Book was Canonical or no. We also see, that in such jun­ctures they observed the Rules that are commonly received amongst Criticks. For the Bishop, according to the rigorous Laws of Criti­cism, does examine the Diction, or Stile of the Apocalyps,(n) Which (says he) is in no wise good Greek, being full of Barbarisms, and Sole­cisms.

The distinction he uses concerning two Johns, who lived in Ephe­sus, is grounded upon the Testimony of Papias, who was Contem­porary with the Disciples of the Apostles. Eusebius, who inserted that Testimony in his History, does add, that he is positive in it: For(o) if the Apostle St. John is not the true Author of the Apoca­lyps, which bears the name of John, it is probable that it was written by that second John. Nevertheless the most ancient Fathers, [Page 21] viz. Justin, and Irenaeus made no account of this distinction, nor difference of Stile, on which Denis so much insists upon.

Nor can there be any thing concluded from the Title of the Apo­calyps, that in the most of Greek Copies, whether Manuscript or Printed, there is the name of [...]. John the Divine, and not of the Apostle St. John set therein. Those who annexed that Title meant only to describe St. John the Evangelist, whom the Greek Fathers do call the Divine; by way of Excellency, to distinguish him from other Evangelists.

All the Eastern Churches at this day, read that Book under the name of the Apostle St. John. It is true, that it is not so in the an­cient Syriack Copies, because it was not in the Greek one, from which those were taken. It is ascribed to St. John, in the Syriack Edition of the English Polyglott Bible: and also in the Arabick Printed in the same Polyglott, it bears the name of John the Apostle, Evange­list; and lastly in the Arabick published by Erpenius, that of John the Evangelist. Not that I believe such Titles, (which are but late,) to be of any great Authority. I produce them only to shew the Universal consent of the Churches, as well that of the East, as that of the West, concerning the Author of the Revelation.

As to what concerns such singular expressions, as are no where to be found, but in this Book; chiefly, that, where there is mention made of the Reign of Jesus Christ upon the Earth with the Saints, which shall continue for the space of a thousand years. Illyricus has very well observed, that since that Book(p) is written in a Pro­phetical Stile, the expressions used therein ought to be taken in a Mystical sense. In which he had apparently, as to his Judgment, the advantage of Luther, who could not avoid the reproach that was put upon him by Bellarmin, and some other Opponents, for not con­sidering the Apocalyps as a Prophetical and Apostolical Work; yet his Disciples, who acknowledged all that Book to be Divine and Ca­nonical, have endeavoured to justifie him. They alledged,(q) with­out any regard to his ancient Preface, that he said nothing else in that, which is found in his Works, but what has been observed by some of the ancient Fathers, viz. that it was not generally agreed upon that St. John was the Author of the Apocalyps.

And Erasmus had likewise enough to do upon the like account with the Divines of Paris, who censure one of his propositions, wherein he affirmed,(r) that there had been, for a long time, some doubting about that Book, not only amongst the Hereticks, but also the Orthodox; who though they received it as Canonical, did pro­fess they were not certain who was the Author. What Erasmus does affirm in this case, is not to be charged with falshood, since it is grounded upon a matter of Fact, that may be easily proved from the Writings of the ancient Doctors of the Church. Yet the Pa­risian Divines were so forward to censure him, since they persuaded themselves that he manifestly knew, by the usage of the Church, and the definitions of Councils, that the Apocalyps was published by St. John. Cons. Facul. Theol. Paris. The Councils on which they stood, were the three of Carthage, that of Rome, under Pope Gelasius, and that of Toledo, in which Isidore of Sevile, was an Assistant. To this they joyned the Authority of St. Denis, called the Areopagite, St. Irenaeus, St. Justin, Pope Innocent I. St. Augustin, and St. John of Damascus.

Erasmus, as it should seem, ought to have answered, that notwith­standing all those Authorities, his supposition might be true, seeing he had also Orthodox Authors on his side. He might also have said, that none of those Councils stood much on the Author of the Apo­calyps, but barely complyed with the opinion that commonly ob­tained in their time, which ascribed that Book to St. John. But in stead of that, he only returned such answers as were extravagant and impertinent. He affirms, that the World was at that time filled with Apocryphal Books bearing forged Titles, and that the most part of honest Men, were then persuaded that such sort of falsities might be debated. He afterwards inveighs against(ſ) Isidore, as being a Man of mean capacity and judgment, who had not the sense to make use of a very good Library which he had in his possession. He was (saith he) as unskilful in making Collections as Beda, but the latter was the more Judicious and Eloquent of the two.

This is an instance of Learning, whereof there is an ill use made. If Isidore and Bede, were justly charged by him on that account, he ought to have proved that they were much in the wrong here, in pre­ferring the opinion of St. Justin, St. Irenaeus, and the most ancient Fa­thers, [Page 23]to that of some other Writers, who were not so near the first Age. The answer he made to the Divines of Paris, was more likely to provoke them than his first Proposition was. For he thereby plainly reproached those sage Masters, that they were conversant in no good Authors, but only Rhapsodists, and unskilful Compilers of History.

It is true, that he might not offend them, he adds at the same time, that(t) as to what concerns the Titles of the Books of Scri­pture, he does refer himself to the Judgment of the Universal Church, to which he does entirely submit, provided that the name of the Church Universal be not ascribed to all that is so called ac­cording to the custom and use, which has been introduced, and does obtain amongst Christians, nor to the particular Opinions of every Bishop.

If we measure the Opinion of the Unitaries by that of Socinus, who is one of their Heroes, they have affirmed nothing concerning the Apocalyps, but what is agreeable to good sense. This Unitary does assure us, that that Book was always, by common consent, at­tributed to St. John: Soc. de Auctor. Scrip. Sac. c. 1. n. 2. Quod Scriptum semper communi consensu tributum fuit Joauni Apostolo & Evangelistae. To that objection, that many Authors have doubted thereof, he makes answer, that the Judgment of Justin and Irenaeus, who lived some little time after that Book was Composed, ought to be preferred to the Opinion of those Authors. He further affirms,(u) that as to the difference of Stile, betwixt that Work, and those others which were written by St. John, this Obje­ction does not oblige him to give those Reasons which prove it to be St. John's, since they appeared so convincing to those very persons who rejected the Book, that they were forced to acknowledge that it was written by a Man who endeavoured to persuade others, that St. John was the Author thereof. This last Observation seems to be more subtil than solid; a crime that is pardonable in the Unitaries, who never applyed themselves to the study of the Ancient Ecclesia­stical Authors.

In the last place, the Commentaries on the Apocalyps made by the Calvinists, are undeniable proofs, that they do receive it into the number of Divine and Prophetical Books. Besides they would be very sorry to be without that Prophecy. Beza made a Discourse, Treating expresly on that Subject, by way of Preface to his Notes on that Work; where he answers the Objections which Erasmus had published to diminish the Authority thereof: That which he had not observed as to any other Books of the New Testament. Calvin, fear­ing that he should make himself ridiculous by his false Expositions, of a Book that is so very obscure, has taken the best side, by not publishing any Commentary on the Apocalyps. His example had no influence on his Followers; for many amongst them, did with a Prophetical tone lowdly recommend to the World their own Visions upon that Book.

Besides the Books of the New Testament, which we have hitherto spoken of, and that are generally received in all the Churches, as Divine and Canonical, some others have been read in many Churches, which yet never had the same Authority. Nevertheless it has so fallen out, that those who have made Catalogues of the Sacred Books, have not always observed this distinction. For they have placed all of them in an equal rank, for Books of the Holy Scripture. There have been also some Fathers, who quoted some Books of this sort, as if they had been truely given by Divine Inspi­ration. But it is easie to find, even by the Writings of the Fathers, that those Works were approved by none but particular persons, whose Opinion cannot reasonably be looked upon as a Law. If I had not resolved to confine my Discourse to the Books of the New Testament, which are generally approved of in all Churches, I would have insisted at large on those other Books, but I am obliged to keep within the limits of my first purpose. I shall only observe, that in a certain Catalogue of the Books of the Bible, which is at the end of two very ancient Copies of St. Paul's Epistles, there follows (immediately after the Epistle of St. Jude)(x) the Epi­stle of Barnabas, the Revelation, or the Apocalyps of John, the Acts of the Apostles, the Book of the Pastor, the Acts of Paul, and the Revelation of Peter. The number also of the Verses con­tained in each Book of the Bible is set down in the Catalogue. And what is most of all observable, is, that the Epistle to the Hebrews is not comprehended therein. It is nevertheless in those two Greek [Page 25]and Latin Manuscripts that are written with the same Hand, as the rest of St. Paul's Epistles; but it is placed by it self, and after the Ca­talogue, as if it did not belong to that Apostle. In this matter, they followed the Custom of some of the Western Churches.

CHAP. XX. The Objections of the Jews, and other Enemies of the Chri­stian Religion, against the Books of the New Testament. Inquiry is made if the Evangelists and Apostles made use of the Greek Version of the Septuagint, in the Passages which they quote out of the Old Testament. St. Jerom's Opinion upon the Matter. That Father declared himself for the Hebrew Text of the Jews, in opposition to that of the Septuagint.

THE Books of the New Testament having been maintained, as well in general, as in particular, it is worth the while to ex­amin the principal Objections that are made against those Books; and at the same time against the Apostles who published them. The Mahometans endeavour to evince the necessity of the coming of their Prophet, from this, that seeing the Canonical Books of the Jews and Christians, are (according to their Opinion,) wholly corrupted, it was necessary that God should send a new Prophet upon the Earth, to teach Men the True Religion. But because they bring no solid reasons for the confirmation of what they alledge, it is to no purpose to refute them. The Jews and some Philosophers, who are Enemies to the Christians, have more particularly attacked the Writings of the Evangelists and Apostles. They have had the im­pudence to charge them with Forgery, or at least with ignorance, seeing (as they object) they have quoted the Books of the Old Te­stament otherwise than they are in themselves. They further accuse them, of annexing to the Passages they produce, a sense that was very far from the mind of the Authors. Hereupon they draw up the strongest objections they can, against the Authority of the New Te­stament; which of necessity must be answered.

As to the first Objections; the Jews do suppose, that when a pub­lick Record is produced for confirmation of a Matter of Fact, it is necessary, that the very words of the Record be delivered in the same manner as they are in the Original, or in faithful Copies; but (say they) the Disciples of Jesus Christ have not done that. For if the passages of the Old Testament which they have quoted in their Writings, be compared with the Original Hebrew Text, it will be found, that in many places they bear a quite different mean­ing. Whence they conclude that they are either chargeable with falshood, or that their Writings have been altered, and therefore that there is no credit to be given to them.

I answer this Objection, that it was not necessary for the Apostles, when they Preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to make use of the Hebrew Bible. On the contrary, it was more for their purpose that they should make mention of the passages of the Old Testament, so as they were read in the Greek Copies that were in the Hands of the most part of the World. Very few of the Jews at that time understood the Hebrew Language: whereas the Greek Language was spread through the whole Empire. Since therefore Jesus Christ did not send his Disciples to Preach the Gospel to a handful of Learned Jews, who understood the Hebrew, but to all the Nations of the Earth, the most part whereof spake Greek; they ought not only to speak in that Language, but also to report the passages of the Old Testament, after the same manner as had been written for a long time in the same Language. There was at that time, a Greek Ver­sion of the whole Bible, that had been made by Jews many Ages before, and therefore could not be suspected. And so the Evange­lists and the Apostles could not justly be charged with falshood, for quoting passages otherwise than they were in the Original, since they made use of such Writings as were approved by the Jews, and were in use amongst them.

It is true, that if they to whom the Gospel was Preached, had understood the Hebrew Language, it had been better to quote the Original Hebrew, than the Greek Version of the LXX, because the Ori­ginal ought always to be preferred to Translations. But as things were then, the Apostles acted most wisely, in preferring the Greek Copy of the Bible to the Hebrew, which was understood almost by none. And therefore the Church from its first beginning, had no other Scripture but the Ancient Greek Version; and the whole Eastern Church, (the Syrians being excepted) have no other at this day.

I do not think it necessary to prove, that the Apostles, in their Writings, quoted the passages of the Old Testament, according to the Greek of the Septuagint, and not according to the Hebrew Text. [Page 27]It requires no extraordinary skill in both the Languages, to make one capable of judging aright in this matter. It is certain that(a) St. Je­rom once endeavoured to persuade the World to the contrary, and to confirm his Opinion, gave instances of some places of the Old Testament that were quoted in the New, which yet are not (as he alledged) in the Original Hebrew. But it is easie to judge by that Learned Father's own words, that he maintained that Opinion, only to give the more Authority to a new Translation which he had made out of the Hebrew, because the most knowing Men of his time did strongly oppose him, as if he had designed to introduce the Jewish Religion into the Church.

It will appear therefore, that St. Jerom in that place does give an answer to his Adversaries, and endeavours as much as in him lies, to make an honorable retreat.Hieron. ibid. Aemuli nostri doceant (saith he) assumpta aliquot testimonia quae non sint in Hebraeorum libris; & finita contentio est. i. e. Let our Adversaries shew what testimonies are made use of, that are not in the Hebrew Books, and the Dispute is at an end. I de­sire no other Witness of what I alledge but himself, seeing he does establish for a general Maxim, for all the citations out of the Old Testament, that are not only made use of by the Apostles, but also by their Disciples,(b) That when the Apostles, or Apostolical Men speak to the people, they commonly make use of such testimonies as had been published before that time amongst the Nations. That is to say, of the Version of the Septuagint, which being written in Greek, was pub­lished amongst all those Nations which spoke the Language, whereas the Hebrew Text was only read in the Jews Synagogues. He proves by the same Principle, that St. Luke, (when he wrote the Acts of the Apostles, to declare to the Nations, the first beginnings of the Christian Religion) was to quote the Passages of the Old Testament, in the same manner as they were in the Version of the Scripture, which was before that time spread amongst the People.

There is therefore nothing so absurd as the Opinion of some Protestants, who (notwithstanding the agreement that is found be­twixt the quotations of the Apostles, and the Greek Version of the LXX) maintain with no small Zeal, that the Apostles reported the [Page 28]Passages of the Old Testament according to the Hebrew Text. They attribute that agreement to some Writers, whom they suppose to have lived after the times of the Apostles, and who (according to their Opinion) corrected the Version of the Septuagint, in all such Passages as are quoted in the New Testament. The Evangelists and the Apostles (say they) regarded the sense only, and not the Words of Scripture. If any one ask these Men the Reason why they maintain so strange a Paradox, their answer will be but this(c) that it cannot be imagined, that the spirit of the Apostles should be subject to the spirit of a little Greek Interpreter; and that they preferred the Streams to the Fountain, by leaving the Hebrew Canon to follow an uncertain Rule, especially when there was an occa­sion for defending the Fundamental Points of Religion against the Jews.

Thus some Protestants extreamly addicted to the Hebrew, do argue agreeable to the Ideas they have framed, about matters of Fact that are as clear as the day; instead of examining the things in themselves. Seeing Lewis Cappel has solidly refuted this Opinion, which has not the least appearance of truth, it will be to no purpose to spend time about it. That Learned Protestant judiciously ob­served, that the spirit of the Apostles is not subject to the spirit of an Interpreter;(d) but through a Pious condescendency, and by a true Christian Prudence, they followed the Greek Version which was publickly received, it being indifferent to them to quote the Hebrew or the Greek in those Passages.

Although the Apostles did prefer the Greek of the Septuagint, to the Hebrew Text, it cannot be inferred from thence, that the Greek Version is better than the Hebrew of the Jews, as some Authors, especially amongst the Catholicks, have too easily believed. We ought to consider by what motives the Apostles were led, to give this preference to the Greek. Seeing they did it for no other end, but to accommodate themselves to the capacity of the People, whom they instructed, and who read the Bible in Greek, there can be no consequence drawn from thence, to give more Authority to the [Page 29]Version of the Septuagint than to the Hebrew Text, which they did not meddle with. In the Hebrew or Chaldaick Gospel of St. Mat­thew, the Passages of the Old Testament were quoted according to the Hebrew Text; because the Jews of Palestine, for whose sake it was written, read the Bible in that Language. The People, who at that time understood not the Hebrew Language, had Glosses on the Hebrew Text, written in the Chaldee, so that if that Evangelist had quoted the Bible in the vulgar Language, he had quoted the same according to the Chaldaick Glosses, and not according to the Greek of the Septuagint, which was not in use amongst the Jews of Palestine.

It will further appear, that the Evangelists and the Apostles did not confine themselves in their quotations to the rigor of the Letter, because that was in no wise needful for carrying on their Work. They did content themselves sometimes, with delivering the sense of the Words, which they adapted to their Discourse. A thing commonly practised; and they cannot be branded with Falshood or Imposture, who set down after this manner, such Records in their Works, as serve for proofs. A Copy of Record cannot be alledged to be false, unless the sense be changed. But this can never be found in the quotations of the Apostles, who followed a received custom, and which could be blamed by none. The same thing happened to most of the Fathers, when they quoted in the Works, the Passages of Scripture; for they made no scruple to change the Words, so long as that change was of no importance to the Sense. Which ought to be the Standard of our Judgment, about the Passages of the Old Testament, which are quoted in the Writings of the Evangelists and Apostles, for though they were taken from the Greek Version, they do not always express the very Words.

I know it may be objected, that this Version has very much degenerated from its ancient purity, and that therefore, it can no more serve as a Rule by which we may judge of the Truth of the Apostolical quotations. But what ever change has hap­pened to this Translation, it is sufficient as it remains, to decide the matter of Fact we are now about. It is agreed by all the ancient Ecclesiastical Authors, that the Evangelists and Apostles, in the Passages they quote out of the Old Testament, were more ready to express the Sense than the Words: which is the mean­ing of these Words of St. Jerom, Hieron. Comm. in Is. l. 3. c. 7. In multis testimoniis (saith he) quae Evangelistae vel Apostoli de libris veteribus assumpserunt, curiosius atten­dendum est, non eos verborum ordinem secutos esse sed sensum. Which [Page 30]he often repeats in his works,(e) We ought to observe well (saith he in another place) what I have often said before, viz. That the Evan­gelists and Apostles did not make a Translation, word for word, and that they followed not the Version of the Septuagint, that was read in their days; but being Hebrews, and skilful in the Law, they made use of their Terms.

That Learned Man does agree with the other Fathers, in as­suring us, that the Apostles did not in their Writings, report the passages of the Old Testament word for word: But, since he was prepossessed with an opinion, in favour of the Hebrew Text, when he composed his Commentaries on the most part of the Prophets; he affirms, that the same Apostles made use of their own Expressions, and not those of the Septuagint. Yet 'tis easie to prove the contrary; and in this, the most part of the Prote­stants are very much to be blamed, for neglecting this Ancient Greek Version: For it is impossible for him to understand the Books of the New Testament well, who is not first much employ­ed in the reading of the Septuagint. It was upon those Seventy Ancient Interpreters that the Apostles formed their Stile, and not upon the Hebrew Text of the Jews: I do not in the least com­prehend, upon what ground St. Jerome could alledge, that(f) St. Paul being an Hebrew born, did, in his first Epistle to the Co­rinthians, Chap. 2. give a paraphrase on the words of the Prophet Isaiah, Chap. 64. v. 4. as they are in the Hebrew, and had regard to nothing but the sense, according to his Custom: Yet there is nothing in that place, that can oblige us to have recourse to the Hebrew, rather than the Greek, for understanding the Apostles meaning.

St. Jerome dream'd then of nothing else, but settling his New Translation of the Scriptures upon the Hebrew, thereby to give sa­tisfaction to a great number of People, who spake evil of him upon that occasion. This Spirit reigns in his Commentaries on the Old Testament, in those chiefly which are on the great Prophets. [Page 31]He endeavours to prevent, with an assiduous Persecution, that which might be objected against from all sides; that the Church ought not to receive any other Scripture of the Old Testament, than that which was Authorised by the Apostles. Indeed this Ob­jection which was a terrible one, must needs have made a great impression on his Spirit, and if he dare not say, that the Apo­stles always follow'd the Hebrew Text; he endeavours at least to shelter himself by assuring us, that sometimes they did not adhere either to the one or the other, because ordinarily, that which was considered by them, was the sense and not the Words.

And this he does affirm of the words of the Prophet Jeremy, Jerem. cap. 31. v. 15. a Voice was heard in Rama, &c. St. Matthew (saith he) does neither report that passage, according to the Hebrew, nor according to the Greek: nec juxta Hebraicum, nec juxta Septuaginta sumpsit testimoni­um. (g) Whence he does conclude, that the Evangelists and A­postles did not tye themselves to the Version of any Interpreter; but that being Hebrews, they used their own words, in expressing that which they read in the Hebrew Text; this general answer is what he gives almost every where.

But it may be said, and more truly, that the Apostles and Evan­gelists, when they instructed the People, who read the Bible in Greek, used, in their quotations, the expressions of the Bible, yet did not scrupulously adhere to the words, because they had the sense only in their view. To convince St. Jerome of this, there needs no other Passage of Scripture than that which was mention­ed by himself: For which 'tis only needful to look into the He­brew Text, and the Greek of the Septuagint; for, whereas it is in Hebrew [...] which that Father (together with some Jews) in his Version, translated in excelso i. e. on high; the Septuagint who have made it a proper Name, have rendred it [...], in Rama, and St. Matthew followed them in his citation of the same passage: It is true, that in the other words, St. Matthew does rather agree with the Hebrew than the Septuagint, as St. Jerome has mention­ed them, agreeable to the Edition of Rome; for it is in St. Mat­thew, [...], and he refused to be comforted, as it is in the Hebrew at this day; whereas in the Septuagint it is rendred, [...], he refused rest.

But it is probable, that the ancient reading of the Septuagint was agreeable to St. Matthew; and at this day it is extant in the [Page 32]Copy of Alexandria, in the Editions of Alde, and Complutum or Alcala; and likewise in the Arabian Version, which was taken from the Septuagint. And here 'tis observable, that although that of Rome, is the best of all the Editions of the Septuagint, because it is the most ancient and pure of any of them, yet it is not free from errors. 'Tis to be supposed, that long before Origen, the Greek of the Septuagint was altered in some places, by some half-learned Men, whether Jews or Christians, who were far from a through knowledg of the Hebrew Language, but rather consulted their Dictionaries about the Hebrew words of the Bible; I believe that that place of Jeremy, is of the number of those which were al­tered in the Septuagint.

Amendments of that nature were then only placed in the Mar­gin of the Greek Copies, by way of Notes; to shew that the He­brew words might have been interpreted in another manner, and it happened afterwards, that the Marginal Note or reading passed into the Text: Seeing it was the custom at that time, to have Di­ctionaries of the words of every famous Author; I make no Que­stion, but that there was also composed a Dictionary, containing the words of the Bible, and also of every Book thereof in parti­cular. The Jewish Greeks, who read in their Synagogues the He­brew Text of the Law and the Prophets, and who joyned there­unto the Greek Version of the Septuagint, had their Dictionaries of that kind written in Greek, in which they marked the different significations of the Hebrew words. There is for example, in that Passage of Jeremy we now treat of, the Hebrew word [...] which in the Septuagint, is rendred [...]. But seeing in other places they have translated the same Hebrew word [...], and that was noted in the Dictionaries; some one or other would place in the Margin of his Copy, [...] over against [...], and this first reading which was then in the Margin, by way of note only, was afterwards put in the Text, and it has remained alone in the Edition of Rome.

This observation is absolutely necessary, for the diserning of ma­ny false Glosses that are in the Septuagint, from the true reading; some examples of which I would set down, but that I fear it will take up too much room. St. Jerome, who had not considered this, judged of the Version of the Septuagint by the Copy which he had; and took no notice that that Version was altered by false Glos­ses in the most ancient Copies; and even a long time before Ori­gen, whose critical observations afforded no remedy for that im­perfection. This principle being once established, may serve as a rule to justifie the citations of the Evangelists and the Apostles, [Page 33]which differ not so much from the ancient Greek Version, as St. Je­rome believed.

Nevertheless that Learned Father found four or five Passages, which he pretends to be cited in the New Testament as they are in the Hebrew; whereas they are otherwise in the Septuagint: He does frequently object the same to his Adversaries, to shew them, that the Evangelists and Apostles being Hebrews, had consulted the Hebrew more than the Greek Version. Therein he takes Sanctuary, to avoid the reproaches which from all sides are cast upon him, a­bout his new Translation of the Bible: And thus, (as he thinks) St. Matthew has rendred the words of Hosea, I have called my Son out of Egypt.(h) There is no doubt (saith he) but that St. Mat­thew did make use of the Hebrew here; because the Septuagint has it thus, I have called my Children out of Egypt. Let those (he adds) who traduce my Version, consult the Scripture from whence the Evangelists took this Passage; he repeats the same thing in his Com­mentary on St. Matthew; (i) where he does ask those who reject the Hebrew Copy of the Jews, in what place of the Septuagint, they shall find that which is cited there: And seeing he believed that they could not possibly find the passage, he does refer them to his new Translation of the Prophet Hosea. But he himself resolves the doubt, by adding, in favour of those who did oppose him, propter contentiosos, that St. Matthew in that place, had cited the words of Chap. 23. of Numbers; Num. 23.22. [...] i.e. God who brought him out of Egypt. And this is in effect the Opinion of the most Learned Greek Commentators on the Scriptures, who liv­ed before St. Jerome. (k) It is written in the Book of Numbers (says Theodore of Heraclea, upon this place of St. Matthew, God called him out of Egypt.

When 'tis also supposed, that St. Matthew had in his view that Passage of the Prophet Hosea, which is more probable; why does he deny that it was from the beginning in the Septuagint, as St [Page 34] Matthew has cited it; and that that difference does proceed from those who altered the ancient Greek Version by their Glosses? They believed, that by translating [...], his Children, (as if it had been in the Hebrew, [...] instead of [...],) the sense would be the more clear, because that which follows is put in the Plural Number. There might other examples be given of alterations of that kind, which must be imputed to those who changed the ancient Greek Version of the Septuagint, by their false Glosses. 'Tis therefore ve­ry probable, that the reading in that place of the Septuagint, was formerly the same as it is in St. Matthew, and likewise in Aquila, who also translated that passage of the Prophet Hosea, by these words, [...], I have called my Son out of E­gypt.

St. Jerome does yet triumph over his Adversaries, in his Com­mentary upon the words of the Prophet Zechary; Zach. 12.10. They looked upon me whom they have pierced: St. John, who cited that passage in his Gospel, does give it in the same manner, according to the Hebrew Text; whereas in the Septuagint, it is, They looked upon me, because they have insulted. (l) St. John, (says that Father) being an He­brew born, did not much regard its being read in the Greek Version of the Septuagint: On the contrary, he has rendred that place of Zechary, word for word, as it was in the Hebrew. But if one will not believe him, he must shew the place of Scripture, from which St. John took the same. He further adds, that the likeness of the Letter R and D in the Hebrew, was the cause of the false Transla­tion of the Seventy Interpreters, ob similitudinem literarum error est na­tus, because they read (as he thinks) [...] for [...].

But in my opinion, seeing St. John did follow the Septuagint more than the Hebrew, in all the Passages of his Gospel, there is no reason to maintain, that, in that place, he consulted the Hebrew Co­py of the Jews; without any regard to the Greek Version of the Septuagint: Which makes me believe, that at the beginning, it was read in the Septuagint, as it was in the Hebrew, and in St. John. The change of Letters of that nature, gave occasion of altering the true and ancient Text in other places: And this happened to that Pas­sage of Zechary, which ought to be amended in the Greek Version [Page 35]of the Septuagint, according to the reading in the Gospel of St. John. That which does confirm this Opinion, is, that St. Cyprian did read it after that manner, in the ancient Latin Version, which was taken from the Septuagint: The Rendition of that Father has more Authority in this case, than that of some Greek Scholiasts, who have also read it [...] they insulted; as it is in St. John, agree­able to the Hebrew Text. For these Scholiasts in their Expositions, do frequently follow Aquila, or some other Greek Interpreter with­out declaring that they do so: And therefore 'tis necessary that we be cautious herein, that we do not confound the Version of the Septuagint, with other ancient Greek Interpreters.

This should be the place for the examples of the alterations we spake of, whereby the ancient Greek Rendition was very much changed; but it would take up too much time: It suffices that we have touched something of it, in general, to justifie the Citations of the Evangelists and of the Apostles. Neither will I stay, to examin particularly, some other Passages of the Old Testament, which St. Jerome pretends to have been cited by the Apostles, in their Writ­ings, rather according to the Hebrew than according to the Septua­gint. For besides that it does require a long time to discuss them, the rules that are confirmed already, are sufficient to Answer all that Father's Objections, who himself has acknowledged, in many places of his Works, that the Disciples of Jesus Christ, who Preach­ed the Gospel to a People that spake the Greek Tongue, must have made use of the ancient Greek Version of the Septuagint, which was in the hands of every one; and not of the Hebrew Bible, which was read by none but the Jews: Besides there were but few amongst them, who could have understood it. We come now to the other Objection, which is brought against the Books of the New Testa­ment, and which consists in a supposition, that the Apostles and the Evangelists have not only changed the words of the Passages which they cite, but that they have likewise wrested the same, by giving them a sense altogether different from the meaning of the Authors.

CHAP. XXI. A Discussion of some other Objections against the Books of the New Testament: The Evangelists and Apostles (in the manner of their explaining the Passages of the Old Testament, and applying them to the Messiah) followed the Custom which then obtained amongst the Jews. There are many words in the New Testament, which have a larger signification than they have in the Old: And that can be attributed to nothing but to that usage, and to a tradition received amongst the Jews.

THE Present Times gave not a beginning to the very great and difficult Objections, that have been formed against the Testi­monies of the Old Testament, which the Evangelists and Apostles have made use of in their Writings, for the Confirmation of the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Celsus, Porphyrius, Julian and the Jews have brought them against the Christians, that they might thereby shew, (as they think) the weakness of those Proofs, upon which the Christian Religion is founded: But they are deceived, when they perswade themselves, that Christianity has nothing else but such sort of Proofs, for its Foundation. The Miracles of Jesus Christ are evident Proofs of his Mission: And therefore, if it should be supposed with them, that the Passages we speak of, are not always justly applyed, it cannot be concluded from thence, that the Christian Religion is built on a false Foundation.

That we may make a right judgment of the Reasonings of Jesus Christ and his Disciples, in the Books of the New Testament, we must have recourse to the practice of the Jews at that time; and if it be proved, that their manner of reasoning and applying to the Messias certain Passages of Scripture, is agreeable to the usage of that time, they cannot without great injustice be blamed. They will be sufficiently acquitted of that which is charged upon them, if we consult the ancient Books of the Jews, especially the Chaldaick Paraphrases, and the Medraschim, or ancient Allegorical Commen­taries. They have; in those Works, attributed to the Messiah, many [Page 37]Places of Scripture, which seem to have a quite different sense, if the Letter be only considered.

The Rabbins likewise give two senses to many Passages, one of which is merely Historical, and another that is more large, which in some sort may be called Mystical or Allegorical; although in effect it is as much literal in its own nature as the former. Thus they ex­pound the same Passage of David, and of the Messias: All their old Medraschim or Allegorical Commentaries, which are the most an­cient Expositions that they have of the Bible, follow this Method. Their Doctors never began to insist on the literal sense, till they had occasion to dispute with the Christians: and it was easie to make Answer to them, according to no other Principles than those which they themselves had established. Why then do they think it strange, that the Evangelists and Apostles, who came from amongst them, should make use of the same Principles to oppose them? Why do they perswade us, that in the matter of the Messiah, there ought to be no such Proofs used, as are Founded on the Mystical & Allego­rical sense of Scriptures, since they themselves have always observed that Method?

The truth is, if the Jews be much press'd about those Passages of the Old Testament, which they make use of to confirm the belief of a Messiah, which they have placed amongst the Fundamental Articles of their Religion; it will be hard enough for them to An­swer those Objections that may be brought against them upon the point; unless they have recourse to those Mystical and Allegori­cal senses, which being Founded upon the Tradition of their Fa­thers, ought to pass for real Proofs. There has been a certain Rabbin amongst their ancient Doctors, who absolutely denied that the Messiah should come, because he did not believe, that it was Founded upon the literal and evident Proofs of Scripture. They did not, for all that, exclude him from their Communion; by which it does appear, that the Article was not yet (at that time) in the number of those they call Fundamental.

The Jews do renounce their Principle, when they object against the Disciples of Jesus Christ, that their Expositions are not purely literal, but Allegorical, and that there can nothing be concluded from an Allegory. 'Tis true, that that which is meerly Allegorical cannot suffice as a positive Proof for the Confirmation of a Religi­on: But when those Allegories are Founded on Tradition, they may be used and applyed to Matters of Fact, which are already agreed upon by that Tradition. In this manner, all the Objections of the Jews may be Answered, without a particular enumeration of those Passages, which they pretend to have been falsly ap­plied [Page 38]to our Messiah in the New Testament: for they cannot abdicate that Principle which is taken from their own Doctors, and their Custom, lest they themselves should renounce the belief of a Messiah to come.

Moses Bar-cepha, a Syrian Author, having considered this Truth,(m) does put those in the number of Hereticks, who alledge that the Old Testament ought not to be Mystically Explained, but only Literally, and according to the Historical Sense. If that be so (says that Author) the Heresies of the Manichees, and the Marcionites, are thereby set up. It cannot henceforth be shewn whence the an­cient Fathers, and the Prophets, had the account which they gave us of the coming of the Messiah. In a word, he does assure us, that that Opinion is mere Judaism. To which it may be added, that it is mere Sadduceism: for the true Jews are all agreed, that a Sense that is merely Literal and Historical, separated from Traditi­on, cannot in any wise confirm the Articles of their Religion.

This Principle is so true, that the Antitrinitarians, (who refuse to receive the Traditions of the Catholicks, in the Disputes betwixt them, and who do only admit the Literal Expositions of Scripture, without any dependance on Tradition) do plainly see themselves obliged to acknowledge some other Sense than what is Literal, when they are to enter into the Lists with the Jews. This does plainly ap­pear in the Works of Socinus, Enjedine, and of some other Unita­ries. In which they give evident proofs of the inconstancy of their Principle. They did not foresee, that whilst they framed certain Maxims against the Catholicks, they did at the same time give Au­thority to Sadduceism, and Manicheism.

Faustus one of the Heroes of the Manichean Party, not finding in the Books of Moses any Passage which he could literally under­stand of Jesus Christ, and otherwise perceiving that it was in plain terms asserted in the New Testament, that Moses had written con­cerning Jesus Christ, chose rather to say that the Writings of the Evangelists had been corrupted, than to renounce his own Princi­ple. There was a greater Harmony manifest in his Reasonings [Page 39]and Maxims, than in those of the Antitrinitarians, who received Tradition in some things and in others did reject it. They argue against the Jews in the matters of Religion, after another manner than against the Catholicks, seeing those things do consist in matters of Fact, they cannot be proved merely by the light of Reason; Tra­dition is likewise to be consulted. And therefore, so long as the Jews, shall with bare Reasons, oppose the Exposition of the Passages of the Old Testament, which the Evangelists and the Apostles have cited in the New, they cannot possibly conclude any thing against them. For it will be easily demonstrated, that those Writers, in that matter, followed the custom and Tradition of their Time.

The Book where the most of that sort of citations are found, is the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews, where we find nothing else but Passages of the Old Testament, explained in a manner that is al­together Allegorical and Foreign to the Letter; which has also given an occasion to some Writers to suspect that St. Paul was not the Author. But it seems, on the contrary, that if we reflect upon the Pharisees Method, in their Expounding Scripture, it can­not be attributed to any other than to that Holy Apostle, who having Studied in Jerusalem, under the Doctor Gamaliel, did pene­trate into all the most refined Points of their secret and mystical In­terpretations of the Bible. In effect, after I had recommended the reading of this Epistle to a Jew, who was well Read in his own ancient Authors; he having perused it, freely declared that it must needs have been written by some greatA Man of Tradi­tion. Mekubal of his own Na­tion. And he was so far from telling me that St. Paul had wrested the true Sense of Scripture with his Allegories at pleasure, that he extolled his profound skill in the sublime Sense of the Bible, and always returned to his great Mekubal, of whom he never spoke but with admiration.

Enjedine, a subtil Unitary, was so much persuaded of this Truth, that after he had proposed the most part of those Reasons which are ordinarily objected against the Epistle to the Hebrews, he adds(n) that the most part of the Passages, which are cited in this Epistle, out of the Old Testament, are not to be understood in a literal, but in a mystical and spiritual Sense, otherwise it were impossible to avoid [Page 40]several manifest absurdities. He does likewise suppose in another place, that this manner of Exposition of Scripture, was then ap­proved by the Jews, and that Jesus Christ made use of it, when he disputed with the Pharisees, who received the same. He brings for an example these Words of Psalm cix. 1. The Lord said unto my Lord, &c. which Jesus Christ understood of the Messiah, and not of David, (o) when Christ, (saith Enjedine) explained that Passage in a mystical Sense, he did nothing but what was very pertinent: for there were three Sects amongst the Jews at that time. The Sadducees did only receive the Literal Sense of the Scripture. The Pharisees on the con­trary, besides the Literal, did also approve of the Mystical Sense. And therefore in his Disputing with the Pharisees, he followed a Custom in which they were agreed, that is, of giving Mystical Ex­positions to Scripture. Seeing he knew that the Psalm, which was understood of Solomon, or rather of David, according to the Literal Sense, was ordinarily applied to the Messiah, he freely declares that David had the Messiah in his view, when he writ it. Which the Pharisees could not deny, unless they would have renounced their own Sect.

This observation of Enjedine, does agree with the Principle which was formerly established in this Discourse for answering the Jews, who accused the Evangelists, and the Apostles, of giving false In­terpretations to the Passages of the Old Testament. I will further say, that there were certain Traditions, which were not only re­ceived by the Pharisees, but also by the other Sects. I reckon in the number of those Traditions, the belief of a Messiah, which it would have been hard to prove, only by the Books of Moses. Neverthe­less the Samaritans, who owned nothing but the Pentateuch, to be Divine and Canonical Scripture, did believe at that time, and still believe the Messiah at this day: and the ground that they have for it, is taken from some Passages of the Law, which appear to have ano­ther Sense, if they be Interally Expounded. Whence I conclude, that this Spiritual and Mystical Sense, was not only in use amongst the Pharisees, but also amongst the other Sects. Nevertheless the [Page 41] Pharisees had abused it, by allowing it too great a latitude. And therefore our Lord does sometimes reproach them, for this bad use which they had made of Traditions, yet without condemning the Traditions themselves. The Jews Caraites also, who very much despised the Fables that abound in the Talmud, do not absolutely reject all the Traditions which are contained in that Book.

If the Unitaries would make a just reflection on the Principle which has established, and which may serve as an answer to the most part of the objections of the Jews against the Books of the Old Testament, they would not so much insist upon the Literal Exposition of certain Passages of Scripture, which they oppose to the Theological Expo­sitions of the ancient Fathers. Seeing the Jews have Authorised, by their Traditions, some Interpretations of the Old Testament, that are in no wise Literal: the Doctors of the Church have also used the like in their Exposition of Scripture. Interpretations of that kind are found in all the ancient Ecclesiastical Writers. I shall con­tent my self to produce in this place the Testimony of an Author, who cannot be suspected by the Unitaries. That is Theodore of Hera­clea, a favourer of the Arian Party, and who writ learned Commen­taries on the Bible: but there remains nothing of them, but some fragments in the Collections, or Chains of the Greek Fathers.

That famous Divine does establish these two sorts of Senses, viz. the Literal, and the Theological, and he does apply them to those words of the Psalmist,(p) The heavens were established by the word of the Lord, and all their host by the breath of his mouth. he does Ex­pound Literally the word de [...], Word, by [...], Decree; and the other words [...], the breath of his mouth, by [...], his Power: so that according to the Literal Sense of that Passage, the World was Created by the Will, and by the Omnipotency of God.(q) This (saith Theodore) is the Sense which does here present it self: and he does afterwards add, that according to the true Theological Sense, we ought to understand the Word of God and the Holy Ghost. We may also call that a Theological Sense which was given to many Passages of the Old Testament, by Jesus Christ and his Apostles; because it was agreeable to the Theology of the Jews of those times, chiefly to that of the Pharisees, who Composed the leading Sect, and the most received amongst the People. The Jews at this day, do altogether follow their Opinions. The first Christians, who re­ceived [Page 42]the Sacred Writings from them, have likewise imitated them in their manner of Expounding those Books.

Michael Servetus, did also, in many places of his Works, acknow­ledge this Mystical and Spiritual Sense, which he makes to go joyntly with the Literal. He does alledge, that by that way Jesus Christ may be clearly found in the Books of the Law. He thinks that there is nothing but what is Natural in the Application that St. Paul made of these words, Psalm ci. (Thou hast created the earth from the beginning,) to Jesus Christ as the Creator of Heaven and Earth. Which words, (saith he) though in the opinion of some they have but a forced Sense, when they are applyed to Christ, yet that is the proper Sense, as the Apostle does shew, Hebr. i. He does insist somewhat long on this Subject, Ex­pounding in the same manner, many other Psalms, which he un­derstands of Jesus Christ, although it seems, that according to the Natural Sense, they ought to be understood in general of God. The like is to be judged of other Psalms, though they, by reason of their igno­rance of Christ, do otherwise expound them. This is no place for to ex­amin the Consequences which Servetus does draw from his Princi­ple. I brought his words, only to shew, that the greatest Enemies of Tradition, are obliged in their Expositions of many Passages of Scripture to acknowledg a Theological Sense, which can be founded on nothing but Tradition, and common Belief, seeing they do agree that they who are ignorant of Jesus Christ, put others Senses on the Scriptures.

Faustus Socinus did not find a more short or effectual way than this, to answer the objections that the Jews, and other enemies of the Christian Religion, make against the Books of the New Testa­ment. He does suppose it to have been constantly agreed upon(r) that the Passages of the Old Testament, that are cited in the New, have had several Senses, it being true, especially as to the Prophesies, which (according to his Opinion) were so Composed, that the things foretold might be concealed till their accomplishment should hap­pen. He further says, that we ought not to think variety to be sur­prising, seeing the Jews, who opposed the Evangelists and Apostles, do agree to it. But I question if that Unitary can convince the Jews of this Truth, if he build on no other Principles than those which he makes use of in his Disputing against the Catholicks. Indeed to speak exactly, there is but one (Literal) Sense of every particular Passage of Scripture. That other Sense, which admits of a greater [Page 43]latitude, and which the Christians are obliged to own, is founded on the received and warranted traditions of the Jews. Seeing the Jews have, as well as the Catholicks, approved of Traditions of that kind, they cannot accuse the Apostles of having wrested the true Sense of several Passages of Scripture by false Interpretations, unless they themselves do renounce the Expositions of their own Doctors. Let us now particularly examin some of those Passages, which the Emperor Julian, and the Jews have objected against the Christians.

The first that presents it self, is taken from those Words of the Prophet Esay, Behold a Virgin shall conceive, and bring forth a Son, Is. vii. 14. and thou shall call his name Emmanuel. St. Matthew has applied them to the Messiah, who was born of a Virgin, and has rendred them after this manner. Behold a Virgin shall conceive, and bring forth a Son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel. The Jews do accuse this Evangelist, of an unfaithful citation, and also a false application of the words of the Prophet. They say first, that the Hebrew word Alma does not signifie a Virgin, as St. Matthew has rendred it, but simply, a young Woman, whether she be a Virgin or not, which they endeavour to prove from other places of Scripture.

St. Jerom does assure us on the contrary, that the Hebrew word(ſ) Alma does properly signifie a Virgin, and also a Virgin hid or shut up; and that it has likewise that signification in the Carthaginian Language, which derives its Original from the Hebrew. The learned observation of that Father is very pertinent, not only to justifie St. Matthew, but also to shew, that in the Septuagint, the Hebrew word Alma is very well Translated. And therefore seeing it not necessary to prosecute this matter, with a long train of critical obser­vations, nor run through all the places of the Old Testament, in particular, where this word Alma is found, it will suffice to bring against the Jews, their own ancient Greek Version, which St. Mat­thew, or rather his Interpreter, has followed. It cannot be said that those Jews, who lived so long a time before Jesus Christ, did by a false Translation, on purpose, corrupt the Sense of that place. The accusations with which they charge St. Matthew, fall on those of their own Nation.

They say in the second place, that in the Hebrew, it is not [...], i.e. they shall call, but [...], thou shall call, which does regard the [Page 44]young Woman, who was to call her Son Emmanuel. St. Jerom declares, that all the ancient Interpreters, have rendred it according to the Hebrew, thou shalt call. But at the same time does add,(t) that the Evangelists and the Apostles did not scrupulously limit themselves to the very words of the Passages of the Old Testament, contenting themselves to give their Sense. This is sufficient; though [...], thou shalt call, is likewise found in some Greek Copies.

As for the Sense of this Passage, the Jews pretend that it cannot be applied to the Messiah, as St. Matthew has done it, seeing that place does make mention of a thing that should happen very soon afterwards. St. Jerom observes that they understood it of Hezekiah, the Son of Achaz, because Samaria was invaded under his Reign. But he does solidly refute them, by making it appear to them, that Achaz was already far advanced in years before he came to the King­dom. He brings, in the same place, another Exposition of a(u) Chri­stian, who (in his Opinion) did Judaize. That Author believed, that in that place it was spoken of the Prophet Esay's Wife, who had two Children, Jesub and Emmanuel, that the latter was the Type of Je­sus Christ. But whatever St. Jerom does say of it, I do not perceive, that there is any thing affirmed therein, but what is altogether con­sonant to the Principles of the Christian Religion, and also to those which he does elsewhere maintain. That Prophesie, as the most part of the rest, has a double Sense: the one, which is here spoken of, has relation to the Prophet Esay's Wife, the other, which is of a greater latitude, and may be called Spiritual or Mystical, does point at the times of the Messiah; and it is also in some manner Literal, be­cause it is founded on the Theology and Traditions of the Jews. It will be easie to answer their objections, by supposing these two Senses: whereas if the Exposition of that Prophesie be rigorously restrained to the Messiah, it will be more difficult to satisfie them. Seeing this Principle is of great importance, and may be useful for the resolution of many difficulties of this nature, it is fit to confirm it by the Authority of the ancient Ecclesiastical Writers, and chiefly St. Jerom, who has mentioned it in his Commentaries upon the Pro­phet Daniel. Porphyrius did pretend that there is nothing in that Book but what is Historical. He applyed to Antiochus that which [Page 45]the Christians Expound of Antichrist, aand the end of the World. The Christians nevertheless, did not wholly reject the Interpretation of Porphyrius; but they affirmed that Antiochus was a Type of Anti­christ. Typum eum volunt, (says St. Jerom in speaking of the ancient Doctors of the Church) Antichristi habere, & quae in illo ex parte praecesserint, in Antichristo ex toto esse implenda. And to make their Opi­nion the more clear, he further adds this excellent Maxim:(x) that it is usual for the Holy Scripture to describe the Truth of future things by Types. Which he confirmed by Psalm lxxi. which is understood of Jesus Christ, and which is nevertheless applyed to Solomon, though every thing spoken in that Psalm cannot agree to him.

Those ancient Ecclesiastical Writers did conclude from thence, that(y) seeing Jesus Christ had Solomon, and other Saints of the Old Testament for Types; we ought likewise to believe, that Antichrist had Antiochus for a Type; he having been a very wicked King, who persecuted the Saints, and violated the Temple. St. Jerom does explain the Prophesie of Daniel according to those two Senses: and seeing in that he cannot be charged with having favoured the impieties of Porphyrius, who alledged that the Book of Daniel was not so ancient as the Jews and Christians did pretend; those can­cot be accused of Judaism, who received a part of the Expositions that the Jews have given of the Prophesies, and who do withal, (with the Evangelists and Apostles, apply them to the Messiah in a larger Sense.

CHAP. XXII. A particular Examination of many Passages of the Old Testament, cited by the Apostles in a sense that seems to be altogether Foreign. Some difficulties formed a­gainst their Writings are cleared; some Principles are established, which may Answer the Objections of the Jews, and the Emperor Julian.

AS it would require much time, so it is of no use, to explain here all the Passages of the Old Testament, which the Evangelists and the Apostles have cited in their Writings, because Commenta­tors may be consulted thereupon, especially Maldonat and Grotius, who commonly follow the Principle that we have already establish­ed. That Principle did appear so much the more reasonable, as be­ing equally founded on a joint suffrage of the Jews and Christians: Seeing I design to give general Rules, for answering the Objections of the Jews, against the Books of the New Testament, 'tis sufficient, if I only take notice of some of those citations, by which means these Rules may be the more manifest.

One of the places that are most difficult to be reconciled, is the Passage of the Prophet Micah, which is cited in the eleventh Chap. of St. Matthew, v. 6.(a) St. Jerome does assure us, that it is as clear as the day, that it does neither agree with the Hebrew Text, nor with the Greek of the Septuagint. He brings at the same time, the Opi­nion of some Authors, who believed(b) that the Evangelists and Apostles were not at all exact in their citations, because they trust­ed to their memory: But seeing this Answer does rather destroy than establish the truth of the Gospels, he has recourse to another solution. He says, that they are the Jewish Doctors, who speak in that place; so that St. Matthew intending to shew, that those Do­ctors [Page 47]neglected the study of the Scripture, has cited that Passage in the same manner as they had delivered it. But it does not at all appear, that the Evangelist meant to accuse them of ignorance.

Yet it cannot be denied, but that they were Jews who spake to Herod, to whom we ought consequently to impute the citation of that Passage of Micah. St. Matthew as an Historian, does only re­port that which passed betwixt Herod and the Principal Doctors of the Jews. That Prince did ask them, where their Messiah should be Born; they made Answer, that he should be Born in Bethlehem, of the Tribe of Juda; and they proved it by that Passage of the Prophet Micah, and thou Bethlehem in the Land of Judah, art not the least amongst the Princes of Judah, for out of thee a Governor shall come, who shall rule my People Israel. If this is not a faithful citation, the error ought not to be imputed to St. Matthew, but to the Jewish Doctors who spake it. Was it possible (they may say) that all the Learned Men who were in Jerusalem at that time, should be de­ceived in citing a Passage that was so well known to them? Ought they not to have reported it, as it is in the Hebrew Text, where we read that Bethlehem is a little City? On the contrary the Doctors af­firmed, in St. Matthew, that it was not a little one.

Some Commentators have endeavour'd to reconcile this contra­diction, by supposing the Jews to have read that place with an In­terrogation: And the truth is, seeing there are no marks in the He­brew for such Interrogations; it may be expounded in that sense, without changing the Prophetical Text; which it were easie to con­firm by many Examples from the Writings of the Jews. Gabriel Si­onita has also translated the Syriack in that place, with an Interroga­tion, though it be wholly agreeable to the Hebrew. Tertullian and St. Cyprian did likewise read non, in the ancient Latin Version, as if it were to be read in the Greek of the Septuagint, [...],Orig. lib. 1. cont. Cels. which Reading is confirm'd by Origen: Nevertheless, it might have so been, that St. Matthew's rendition instead of the reading of the Prophet, was put in those Writers, or that they themselves did cite the words of Micah, as they are in St. Matthew: St. Jerome, in his ancient Version, read modica es, thou art little, without a negation, agreea­ble to the Hebrew Text.

Mr. Pocock found another way of reconciling those two places, without having recourse to an interrogation: He does alledge, that the Hebrew word [...] which is in the Prophet Micah; and which is ordinarily interpreted small, does in that place signifie great, be­cause it does equally signifie both. And this he does likewise prove by the testimony of some Rabbins; and it may be further proved by the ancient Greek Interpreters. 'Tis probable that the Jewish [Page 48]Doctors reported that Passage to King Herod, according to the ex­position it received in the Glosses of that time, which were read to the People, without keeping to the words of their Text, which was only understood by the Learned. That which confirms me in this Opinion, is, that instead of these words, and thou Bethlehem Ephra­ta, or as it is in the Septuagint, Bethlehem the House of Ephrata, they put these words, which were more known at that time, and thou Bethlehem in the Land of Judah.

There is likewise read in the Hebrew, and in the Septuagint, a­mongst the Thousands of Judah, and in St. Matthew, amongst the Prin­ces of Judah: This different Interpretation does proceed from this, that the same Hebrew word that is in the Prophet, may be interpret­ed both ways, according to the different vowels, or rather accord­ing to the caprice of the Transcribers, who did add or take away at their pleasure, the letter vau, in which the difference of interpreta­tion does consist. The Scribes did read it with the letter vau [...], aluphe, whereas the Septuagint read it, as it is at this day amongst the Jews, in the Hebrew of the Masorets [...] alphe. There is no­thing more ordinary in the Hebrew Manuscript Copies of the Bible, than this kind of alteration: And therefore, when it does occur, the sense is rather to be regarded than the manner wherein the Hebrew words are written. The Jews of that time, expounded that Passage of Micah, as if it had been in the Hebrew Text, [...], aluphe, with the letter vau.

St. Jerome, endeavouring to justifie the liberty he took, in giving more heed to the sense than words, did produce this Passage of the Prophet Micah, to shew, that it is quite otherwise in the Hebrew and in the Septuagint, than in St. Matthew. He adds withal,(c) that he did not, by that answer, charge the Evangelists with fal­shood; as Celsus, Porphyrius and the Emperor Julian had done; but to convince his Adversaries of ignorance, and to shew them, that he might in one single Letter, take the same liberty that the Apo­stles had taken in Translating the Sacred Writings. It seems, that that Learned Father, does here attribute to St. Matthew, what he at­tributed to the Jewish Doctors, in his Commentaries upon the Pro­phet Micah: However, 'tis more to the purpose, that we reconcile those two different Interpretations, by having recourse to the Foun­tain, then by encreasing the difficulty.

St. Matthew applyed to the Messiah, in the same Chapter of his Gospel, the words of the Prophet Hosea, Out of Egypt I have called my Son: It is evident, that the Prophet speaks of the People of Is­rael, whom God calls his Son. Answer may be made to this Ob­jection of the Jews, that that People was a Type of the Messiah, to whom, that which was spoken of Israel, in a literal sense, might, according to the custom of that time, be applyed in a Mystical and Spiritual sense. See Maldonat in his Commentary on this place of St. Matthew, where that Learned Jesuit does, at the same time, esta­blish solid Principles, for the exposition of the most part of the Pro­phetical Texts, that have been cited by the Evangelists and the Apo­stles. He does judiciously observe, that a Prophecy is reckoned to be accomplished, not only when 'tis truly, and in the Letter fulfil­led, but also, when the thing which is figuratively signified by the words, is accomplished: He brings St. Paul for an example, who, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, Chap. 1. has applyed to the Messiah, that which is spoken of Solomon in the second Book of Samuel, Chap. 7. v. 14. I will be his Father, and he shall be my Son. And the same may be said of the Prophecy of Hosea. (d) The People of Israel (saith Maldonat) in the time of their exile in Egypt, may be said to be a figure of Jesus Christ, who was also to be there in Exile; as at this day, the Mystical Body of the Church, is a Figure of the natu­ral Body of the same Jesus Christ, who is like to Israel in this; that both the one and the other is called the Son of God.

The Jews could not deny this Mystical and Spiritual sense, which is founded on Theology and their Ancient Doctors, and whereof there are Examples in the most part of their Writings: And there­fore, all that they object against the Authors of the New Testament, does fall on their own heads, seeing the Evangelists and Apostles have only imitated them. In their application of the Prophecies to the Messiah; they followed a Method which was approved by the Jews, especially by the Pharisees. All that does remain of the Jews in the World (if we except the Jews Caraites, who are in a very small number) derive their original from the Pharisees, who, besides the Literal and Historical sense of Scripture, do acknowledg a Sub­lime and Mystical sense: Whence it is, that those senses are frequent­ly to be found in the Commentaries of their Rabbins.

Origen, in his Writings against Celsus, maintained with all his [Page 50]might that sublime sense of the Prophecies: He calls that sense a My­stical Theory of the Prophets, [...]. He says,(e) that the Prophets did not confine their thoughts to the Historical sense, which came first in view; nor to the Words and bare Letter of the Law. He does moreover establish this general Rule(f) that the predictions of the Prophets, concerning the Messiah are different, some being Enigmatical, and others Allegorical, or of some other sort, there being also some of them that are Literal. It will suffice, as an Answer to the Jews, (who, in their disputes against the Chri­stians, do very much insist on the Literal and Historical sense of the Prophecies,) to bring that which Origen, upon the like occasion answered Celsus; who brought in a Jew speaking in his Writings. He does reproach him,(g) that he does not make the Jew speak pertinently, and according to the Character he had given him, be­cause he put such words in his mouth as did agree rather to a Sama­nitane or Sadducee, than to a true Jew.

I always followed this Method, when at any time I met with such Jews, as impugned the Writings of the Evangelists and Apostles, in the manner as I have already shewn: For, perceiving that they were pressed by the very Principles of their own Doctors; they ne­ver returned me any Answer but this, that the Mystical and Alle­gorical Interpretations of their Ancient Masters, gave a great ad­vantage to the Christian Religion. When I ask'd them, if they would renounce the Principles of their Rabbins, to embrace those of the Sadducees, or even of the Caraites; they declared to me, that they had a very great aversion to Men of that stamp. This way is to be taken in our disputes with the Jews about Religion: They are mighti­ly puzzled, when ever this Method is employed against them; be­cause we fight against them with the same Arms that they themselves make use of, against the Sectaries whom we have already men­tioned.

To return to the testimonies of the Prophets, that are cited in the New Testament; St. Matthew has, in the same second Chapter of his Gospel, applyed to the Messiah, that which is written in Jeremi­ah, Chap. 31. which seems to have no such meaning, if it be expound­ed [Page 51]literally. A voice was heard in Rama, a voice of lamentation and great weeping; Rachel weeping for her Children, and would not be com­forted, because they are not. (h) The Jews, Jerem. 31.15. (as Maldonat affirms) in their exposition of this Passage of Jeremy, apply it to the carrying away of the two Tribes; and there is no doubt but that is the true sense, and that by Rachel, all the Cities of those two Tribes are to be understood.

If it be so, the Jews may say, why has your Evangelist expound­ed it of the murder of the Children, that happened upon the occa­sion of your Messiah? 'Tis easie to make Answer, that as to that, there is nothing that is extraordinary, and which is not agreeable to the expositions of their own Authors. Aderas, (to use their own terms) or an Allegorical sense, does very well agree to the murder of those Infants: The similitude that was between those two Events, gave an occasion to St. Matthew, to apply that which had been already accomplished in the time of the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin. This was observed by Crellius, after Maldonat, referuntur à Matthaeo, (saith that Unitary,) ad caedem Infantium Bethlehemiticorum propter rei si­militudinem, quia id quod olim quidem impletum fuit in aliis, in illis in­fantibus impletum fuit. Faustus Socinus, (who also believed, that the Jews stood upon the literal sense of that Passage of Jeremy) ob­served, that Tremellius and Junius alledged, that it could not be un­derstood literally, any other way than according to St. Matthew's Interpretation.(i) But in that (saith he) there is no absurdity, if two senses be admitted in the Prophecies of the Old Testament: It does also appear, that it is proper and agreeable to those Prophecies. The truth is, if those two senses be not owned, we shall give an occa­sion to the Jews to accuse the Evangelists and the Apostles, for having falsly applyed the Ancient Prophecies.

We find in the same Chapter of St. Matthew, another citation out of the Prophets, in general, which seems to be more Foreign, than any that has been yet taken notice of. That Evangelist saith, that, Jesus came and dwelt in a City called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Prophet, he shall be called a Nazarene. Seeing he named no Prophet in particular, the difficulty is to know, [Page 52]what Prophet it was who foretold that the Messiah should be called a Nazarene. St. John Chrysostome, who had not observed those words in any of the Prophets, did believe,(k) that we ought not to in­volve our selves in the trouble of an endless search, because there have been several Books of the Prophets lost, which may be prov­ed (as he says) by the History of the Chronicles. The Author of the Imperfect Work on St. Matthew, does observe, that the Evange­list does not say,(l) per Prophetam, by a Prophet, but per Prophetas, by the Prophets; to signifie, that he did not mean the testimony of any Prophet in particular, but only, that it might be gathered from the Prophets in general. He adds afterwards, that there were pro­bably at that time, other Prophetical Books; which were not placed in the Canon of the Sacred Writings. The ground of this Answer seems to be, that St. Jerome has in his Works, made mention of some other Prophetical Books than those we have at this day, and which were read by the Nazarene Sectaries, who came from the first Chri­stians of Jerusalem, who were also called Nazarenes, for whom St. Matthew writ his Gospel.

Nevertheless that Father had no recourse to this solution, in his Commentaries upon this place, where he plainly affirms the same thing with the Author of the Imperfect Work, viz. That St. Matthew (m) having cited the Prophets in general, intended to shew, that he made no mention of the words of any one in particular, but on­ly of the sense: But seeing the word Nazarene does signifie Holy, the Scripture does declare throughout, that the Lord should be Holy. He does yet subjoyn another more particular explication, and which appeared to be more probable, as being founded on a Passage of the Prophet Esay, Chap. 11. v. 1.(n) And there shall come forth a Rod out of the Stem of Jesse, and a Nazarene (vulg. Branch) shall grow out of his Roots. I make no Question, but that the Jews will con­demn this Translation of the words of Esay, as well as St. Mat­thew's [Page 53]citation, because it is not in the Hebrew, Nazaraeus, Naza­rene, as St. Jerome has rendred it, but netser, which does signifie a flower; as he himself had expounded it in the Version of that Pro­phet. He likewise observed in his Commentary upon this place of Esay, that the Hebrew word which does signifie Nazarene, is written with the letter zain, and that in this place, it is written with a [...] tsade, where it does signifie a flower.

This critical Observation of St. Jerome, upon the 11. Chap. of the Prophet Esay, seems to destroy what he had observed in his Com­mentary upon the 2. Chap. of St. Matthew: The truth is, 'twas the custom of that Learned Father, in his Commentaries upon the Scri­pture, rather to report that which he had read in other Commen­tators, than to establish an opinion of his own. And therefore, 'tis not surprising if we sometimes do find opposite opinions therein: Nevertheless his Learning does afford us great help, for finding out the sense of the most difficult Passages of the Sacred Writings. The Opinion of those who believed that St. Matthew, in that place, had cited the Passage of Chap. 11. of the Prophet Esay, seems, in my opinion to be the most probable. 'Tis very likely, that St. Jerome did apply it to the Nazarenes, when he says, in his Commentary up­on that Prophet, that the Learned amongst the Jews took it from that place: Eruditi Hebraeorum de hoc loco assumptum putant. Those Hebrews are the Sect of the Nazarenes, who were called Hebrews, and who were so in effect: Seeing they read the Gospel of St. Mat­thew in the Chaldee or Syriack, the allusion to the Hebrew word net­ser, that is in Esay, is better known in their Copy than in the Greek; and it was also better perceived by those who had the Hebrew and Chaldaick Languages.

That we make a right judgment hereof, that Passage of St. Mat­thew ought to be read in the Syriack Version, which in that place, should not differ from the Original Chaldee of St. Matthew: But the Syrians do read these two words, Nazareth and Nazarene alike, with the letter [...] tsade. And after this manner they ought in effect, to be read in St. Matthew; who intended not to signifie the Nazarites of the Old Testament, whose name is written with a [...] zain. He made a bare allusion, according to the method of that time, to the Hebrew word netser of Esay, which does signifie a flower, and which is written with a [...] tsade, as well as that of the City Nazareth. 'Tis of importance carefully to observe, that the Jews do agree with the Christians; that that Passage of Esay, which speaks of that flower, called in Hebrew netser, is understood of the Messiah. Which being known at that time to all the World, St. Matthew, (who wrote in the Chaldee, for the Jews of Jerusalem then newly converted, who [Page 54]were accustomed to expositions of that nature) made an allusion to this Hebrew word netser or flower.

'Tis but consulting the Jewish Talmud, their Book entitled Zohar, and their Ancient Medraschim, or Allegorical Commentaries; for we may there find the like Interpretations of Scripture to be extant, founded on bare allusions, and similitudes, not only of words, but even of letters. If the Jews could but seriously reflect on all these considerations, they would not brand, with the title of either false or ridiculous, the citation of St. Matthew; who has (say they) per­verted the words of the Prophet Esay, to apply them to their Mes­siah. For, seeing that Evangelist, writing for Jews who were en­clining to embrace the Religion of Jesus Christ, did follow the cu­stom and usage that obtained at that time amongst them: Unless we go back to that ancient custom; we shall meet with great diffi­culties in the most part of the Passages of the Old Testament, which the Evangelists and Apostles have cited in their Writings, for the confirmation of their own Sentiments.

We ought to pursue this Method, for answering the Jews solid­ly; we are to represent to them the course their Fathers took, which, unless they renounce their Religion, they cannot reject. This Prin­ciple also may serve for the refutation of Julian's impious charge,Apud Cyril. lib. 7. adv. Jul. who accused the Christians for having abandoned the Law and the Prophets; although they made a profession of following them: He likewise reproached them for their boldness in calling themselves Israelites, having (as he alledged) a Doctrin altogether opposite to that of Moses and the Ancient Prophets.Apud Cyril. lib. 8. adv. Jul. But it is easie to con­vince him, that the Christians are truly Israelites, since they have neither renounced the Law nor the Prophets, although sometimes they do expound them in a Mystical and Spiritual sense, such an exposition, as has been said, is not contrary to the Doctrin of the Ancient Jews.

That Emperor, seeing he owned no other sense of the Books of Moses, but an Historical and Literal, did object against the Christi­ans; that those words of Deuteronomy, Chap. 18. v. 15. The Lord shall raise up a Prophet like unto me, could not be understood of Jesus the Son of Mary; seeing Moses does expresly speak(o) of a Prophet, who was to be a Man as he was, and not the Son of God. It is true,Act. c. 3. v. 22. c. 7. v. 37. that St. Peter and St. Stephen applyed to Jesus Christ, that Pas­sage of Deuteronomy, which is literally understood of Joshua, who was to succeed to Moses, and also of other Judges and Prophets, [Page 55]who have been in the Commonwealth of the Hebrews. But if those Judges and Prophets were the Types of the Messiah, why does he oppose the application of the same words to him according to a Sublime and Spiritual Sense, of which we have already spoken, see­ing the Rabbins do frequently make the like applications.

By the Principles that we have established, it will be very easie to resolve the most part of the other Objections which the Jews do raise against the Citations which are found throughout the Books of the New Testament. The Apostles, who did exactly fol­low the Expositions which were in use in their time, have observed the same method, almost through all their Writings. The Jews could not oppose them without destroying their own Principles, and favouring at the same time the Saddùcees. According to this method St. Matthew applyed to St. John the words of the Prophet Esay, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord. It is manifest that the Evangelist did, by a deras, or Spiritual and Al­legorical Sense, Expound that which we ought to understand Liter­ally, and Historically of the returning of the Jews from their Cap­tivity out of Babylon to Jerusalem.

Besides all those observations which serve as Principles for answer­ing the Objections of the Jews, and the Emperor Julian, this is like­wise remarkable, that there are many words in the New Testament, which have a larger Sense than in the Old, which can be only at­tributed to the Custom of that time, and to a Tradition received amongst the Jews. There is nothing in the Books of Moses, that does afford us any clear discovery of the state of a future Life, which the Jews do call olam habba, i.e. The World to come,, there is no ma­nifest Record in the ancient Law, of a Heaven or a Hell, any more than there is of a Recompence to the Just, and Punishment to the Wicked in that other Life. Neither have they proper words to express those things; they are obliged to make use of Metapho­rical terms. The word Gehenna, for example, which is taken from the Hebrew Gehennam, has quite another Sense in the Books of the Old Testament, than in the New, where it does signifie the Fire of Hell. Which made St. Jerom say(p) that he does not find the word Gehenna in ancient Books; that Jesus Christ is the first who used it. Yet this does not prove that he was in effect the first that used it in that Sense, as it is in the New Testament; for it was be­fore that time in use amongst the Jews, in the same very Sense, and especially amongst the Pharisees. St. Jerom meant no more than [Page 56]this, that he did not find it, in the Old Testament, under that signi­fication, although their Paraphrasts, and their most ancient Rab­bins used it in the same Sense as Jesus Christ did afterwards.

The Hebrew word Sceol will come under the same consideration, for in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, it does signifie a Sepulchre; it is almost every where in the Septuagint, rendred [...], Hell, as if they had frequently intended to signifie by that word, a subterrane­an place, where Souls are after their separation from the Body. St. Peter in the Acts of the Apostles, does Expound of the Messiah, according to that Sense, the words of Psalm xv. Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, nor suffer thy holy one to see corruption. Which Passage is Literally understood of David, who said to God that he would not suffer his Enemies to take away his Life: and thus the Hebrew words Sceol and Scahat, according to the former Sense, do signifie Liter­ally a Sepulchre, and a Ditch. But according to the Spiritual and Mystical Sense, which St. Peter gives to this Psalm that he applies to the Messiah, whose Type David was, the Greek words [...] and [...] which he took from the ancient Version of the Septuagint, do sig­nifie in the Acts of the Apostles, Hell and Corruption. The Ap­plication that the Apostle made of the words of that Psalm, to the Resurrection of the Messiah, does contain nothing but what is agree­able to the belief of the Jews of that time, who believed the Re­surrection of the dead. They further acknowledged a subterranean place, to which Souls do go after their separation from the Body. Without a due regard to all these considerations, it is impossible to understand the New Testament.

Therefore it is to be supposed as a thing constantly agreed upon, that the Jews, in the time of our Saviour and the Apostles, believed many things, whereof they had no Literal proofs in all the Old Te­stament, being only founded on their Traditions. And the Writings of the Evangelists and the Apostles, ought to be Expounded with a relation to this Idea of the Jewish Faith, and not to that which may be conceived of their belief, with a reference to the Books of the Old Testament only; because those Books contain but one part of their Religion, the other part being comprehended in their Traditi­ons. The Jews do own this Principle. The Jews, even the Caraites, who do mightily oppose the Traditions of the Talmudists, which had degenerated into Fables, have preserved those which they believed to be founded on sufficient Records.

The ancient Hereticks, who did not weigh all these considerations, did rather choose to deny the truth of the Books of the New Testament, and say, that in after times there were interpolations made therein, than to attribute to the Apostles such things as they did not understand. [Page 57]It is upon this supposed ground that the Manichees, (who found no express Passages in the Law of Moses, that made mention of Jesus Christ,) rejected as false, all those Places of the Pentateuch, that were applied to him in the New Testament. They did not consider that at the time of Christ and the Apostles, there was a Mystical and Spiri­tual Sense approved of by all the Jews, some Sadducees possibly ex­cepted. And with respect to this Sense, the Writings of the Evan­gelists and the Apostles are to be Expounded.

And therefore they deceive themselves, who pretend that there ought to be a Literal Sense in all the Citations of the Apostles, espe­cially in those which they bring in for Proofs. It is true, that a Pas­sage of Scripture taken Allegorically, cannot serve for a Proof; but we speak here of such Allegorical Senses as were received, and which were also founded on Traditions that were warranted by Au­thority. They were therefore permitted to apply them to their Discourse, and likewise to draw such Consequences from them as might promote their design, in the same manner as the Pharisees made use of them in their Disputes against the Sadducees. Those Al­legorical Senses prove nothing for their own confirmation, but sup­pose a belief already established, upon which they were founded.

It is probable that Theodore de Mopsueste, Expounded the Psalms and the Prophesies according to this Method, and that he had regard to nothing, when he was condemned as a favourer of the Jews, but the Literal and Historical Sense, which he gave to those ancient Prophesies. They will not consider the Application he made there­of, with the whole Church, to the Messiah, according to a Spiritual and Mystical Sense. If we believe Facundus, there is no justice done to that great Man, who had a perfect knowledge of the Sacred Writings.(q) They accused him of destroying the Prophesies that related to Jesus Christ, by an error like to that of the Manichees. But he shews the falshood of this accusation, by producing the very words of Theodore, taken out of his Commentaries upon the Psalms. Quod autem (saith Facundus) nec evacuet omnes in Christum prophetias palam est quia rursus in ejusdem Psalmi expositione dicit, &c. Whence he concludes,(r) That it was hard to make Theodore pass for an im­pious person, who believed with the Jews that Jesus Christ was a mere Man, seeing he vigorously defended the contrary. This is no place to inquire if Theodore was unjustly condemned, as Facundus [Page 58]does assure us. I have only made mention of the Passage that I might shew, that great Men have of a long time acknowledged two Senses of Scripture, as we have already made evident.

It is certain that the Christian Religion is founded on that of the Jews. The Christians have this in common with them, that they adore the same God, and that they believe a Messiah promised in the Writings of the Old Testament; which they receive equally. And therefore the Christians who Expound those Writings in a Literal and Historical Sense, cannot be blamed, as if they favoured Judaism, in ex­clusion of the Christian Religion, seeing they acknowledged a se­cond Sense, called Spiritual and Mystical, which they apply to the Messiah. This latter Sense is the same that the Jews call deras. In a word, it is impossible to arrive at a perfect knowledge of the Chri­stian Religion, and the Principles upon which it is established, so long as that of the Jews is not known, to which the former does owe its Original.

Celsus, Porphyrius, Julian, and the Jews have brought some other Objections against the Writings of the Evangelists and Apostles. The Principal is that which is drawn from the Genealogy of Jesus Christ, Recorded in a different manner by St. Matthew and St. Luke. They alledge, that besides that these two Evangelists do not agree, they have delivered manifest falsities. But this aspersion has been so clearly wiped off, by many Commentators upon the New Testament, and also in the Volumes that purposely have been written for that end, that it is needless to insist on it. I shall only observe in general, that it is easie to make answer to the Jews, upon such objections as are drawn from Genealogies. When they bring against the Christians, the difference that is betwixt our Evangelists and the Books of the Old Testament, their Mouths will be stopped, if we shew them, that there is no less in this matter betwixt the Chronicles, which they attri­bute to Esdras, and the rest of the Historical Writings of the Old Testament. Their Rabbins, who could not reconcile things that ap­peared so remote from one another, are forced to own, that the same Genealogies, which are written in a different manner, were taken out of Records that did likewise differ. And may not we also affirm, that the Evangelists Collected the Genealogy of Jesus Christ out of such Records as were amongst the Jews at that time, but are not ex­tant at this day? And therefore it is better to leave the things as they are, than to judg rashly of them, or correct that Genealogy upon bare conjectures.

CHAP. XXIII. Of the Inspiration of the Books of the New Testament. A Refutation of the Opinion of Grotius and Spinosa. The Cardinal of Perron has given a very bad Expo­sition of the Words of the second Epistle of St. Paul to Timothy, Chap. 3. v. 16. which makes mention of this Inspiration. The Disputes betwixt the Jesuits of Louvain, and the Divines of the same place, upon this matter. Three Propositions of the Jesuits Censured by the Doctors of Louvain and Douay. A Defence of those Propositions against the Censure of those Divines.

I Have Treated elsewhere of the Inspiration of the Sacred Writ­ings in general. But seeing I only Treated of them occasionally, and by way of Answer to some Objections which were brought against the Critical History of the Old Testament, I shall here Handle it more particularly, with respect to the Writings of the E­vangelists and the Apostles. It is the common Belief of the Jews, that the Books of the Old Testament were written by Persons who were Inspired: which Belief was transmitted from the Jews to the Christians. Upon which occasion Origen affirmed(a) that both the one and the other did equally acknowledge, that the Sacred Scripture was written by the Spirit of God.

The Christians have also extended that Inspiration to the Books of the New Testament. There are but very few Criticks who are of the Opinion, that there is nothing of Inpiration in Scripture, but only in that part of it that was Composed by the Prophets. They say the Historical Books were not inspired, because (as they alledge) it is not necessary for him that writes History, to be a Prophet. Grotius is of that Opinion, in his Book Entituled, Votum pro pace Ec­clesiasticâ; [Page 60] (b) If St. Luke, (saith that Critick) had been Inspired by God, when he writ his History, he would rather have made use of that Inspiration, by the example of the Prophets, than the Autho­rity of those whom he takes for Witnesses of his faithfulness. He had no need, (he further says) of any Inspiration for writing the Actions of St. Paul, of which he himself was a Witness. Whence he does conclude, that the Writings of St. Luke are Canonical, not because they were Inspired, but because the Primitive Church did Judge that they were written by godly Men, with great faithfulness, and Treat of things that are of very great importance to our Salva­tion. He does repeat the same thing elsewhere, in his Works against Rivetus, who opposed that Opinion as being impious. He does there affirm,(c) that Esdras and St. Luke were not Prophets, but Grave and Prudent Men, who would neither deceive others, nor be deceived themselves. He does further affirm, That St. Luke does not say in the Prophetical Stile, The word of the Lord came unto Luke, that the Lord did not say to him, Write.

Spinosa did exactly follow the Opinion of Grotius; which he has explained more at large in his Book, Entituled Tractatus Theolo­gico-Politicus; where he does not indeed deny, but that the Apostles were Prophets, but he affirms(d) that it may be doubted, if they writ their Books in the quality of Prophets, by the express command of God inspiring them, as Moses, Jeremy, and others had done. He does alledge, that(e) if we judge of the Works of the Apostles by their Stile, we shall find that they writ as particular Doctors, and not as Prophets, because they have nothing that is Prophetical. Which [Page 61]he does prove by the same way of reasoning, as Grotius. It is (saith he) the custom of the Prophets, to declare through all their Writings, that they spake by God's order; and they have observed that, not only in their Prophecies, but in their Letters which con­tain revelations.

This Opinion of Grotius and Spinosa, has been lately renewed in two Letters, Published in a Treatise, Entitled, The Opinions of some Divines of Holland upon the Critical History of the Old Testament. See­ing I have given a sufficient Answer to those two Letters, and also to the new Explications thereof, which have been since published; 'tis to no purpose to repeat here what has been said elsewhere: We shall only observe in general, that those Men do deceive themselves, whilst they will not own any Inspiration, but that of the Prophecies. It is true, that the manner of writing a History, and Letters is not the same as writing Prophecies; And therefore, these words (The word of God that came to Luke) do not begin the History of St. Luke or any other Evangelist. The Books of Moses, Joshua, and in a word, all the Historical Books of the Old Testament, are not writ­ten in that Stile which Grotius does call Prophetical: Yet Josephus and all the Ancient Jews call them Prophetical, believing that they were given by Divine Inspiration.

'Tis not necessary, for a Book's being inspired, that it should be indited by God, word for word. The false Idea that those Authors have conceived of the Inspiration of the Sacred Writings, made them embrace an opinion which is contrary to all Antiquity, as well Ju­daical as Christian. Jesus Christ, who promised to his Apostles; that the Spirit of God should guide them in all the functions of their Ministry, did not therefore, deprive them of their Reason and Memory: Although they were inspired, they continued to be Men still, and managed their Affairs as other Men. I freely own, that there was no need of Inspiration, to put in record such matters of Fact, whereof they themselves were Witnesses. But this does not hinder, but that they were directed by the Spirit of God in all that they put in Writing, so as not to fall into error.

It is certain, that all the Ancient Ecclesiastical Writers did ac­knowledge this Inspiration of the Evangelists and Apostles. Never­theless they speak of their care, and exactness in penning their Works, in the same manner, as they speak of other Writers, who are not inspired. Can Grotius conclude from thence, that those An­cient Doctors of the Church did not believe, that the Books of the New Testament were given by Divine Inspirations. This he can­not do, seeing those very Doctors have clearly maintained it. We need but call to mind what has been said in the 10th Chap. con­cerning [Page 62]the Opinion of Papias, who was contemporary with the Disciples of the Apostles: He does assure us, that if that Evange­list, did not observe in his History, the order of things as to their Event, that he was not in the least to be blamed for that; because he made mention of the things according as he remembred them, not being so careful to relate them in their order, as he was, to say nothing but what was Truth. Papias, or rather one of the Disci­ples of the Apostles, (whose words Papias does produce in that place) did not thereby pretend to reject the Inspiration of the Go­spel of St. Mark. We need but consult the other Ancient Ecclesi­astical Writers, who expressed themselves in such a manner, as might oblige Grotius and Spinosa to believe, that they owned no In­spiration in the Books of the New Testament, if they had not ex­presly maintained it in other places of their Works.

That which,II. Epist. ad Tim. c. 3. v. 16. amongst Christians does most of all confirm the Inspiration of the Sacred Writings; is the strong Foundation that the Apostle Paul has in one of his Epistles to Timothy, all Scripture is given by Divine Inspiration. We have elsewhere refuted all the subtil allegations that were brought by Grotius, who endeavoured to the utmost of his power, to put quite another sense on that Passage. But I made it most manifest, that that able Critick was to be blam­ed, on many accounts, in attempting to wrest the interpretation of those words of St. Paul, that he might accommodate them to his own Idea's.

It is surprising, that the Cardinal of Perron, who was perswaded of the Inspiration of the Holy Scripture, should nevertheless have made his strongest efforts,Answ. to the Def. of some Holl. Div. c. 10. for depriving Christians of this proof of Inspiration. It is customary amongst those who write Books of Controversie, to think of nothing, but answering the Objections of their Adversaries, without examining the proper and natural sense of the Passages of Scripture, for the confirmation of their own Opi­nions. He followed this Method of Polemical Authors, in his An­swer to the King of Great Britain: Seeing the Protestants forget nothing, that may recommend the Authority of the Scripture alone, without the aid of Traditions,II. Epist. ad Tim. c. 3. v. 16. du Perron likewise, for his part, for­got nothing that might enhance the Authority of Traditions. The Protestants did object to him those words of the Apostle Paul, All Scripture is given by Divine Inspiration, and it profitable for Doctriue. Thus in effect, that place of St. Paul to Timothy ought to be rendred; nevertheless he does loudly oppose this Translation,Du Perr. lib. 3. de Trad. Apost. c. 4. under a pretence, that there is not the word [...], tota, all or the whole, in the Greek, but [...], omnis, all or every; and that we do not read with the Article, [...], all the Scripture, but without the Article, [...], all Scripture.

To what purpose are all those niceties of Grammar and Dialect, which the Cardinal does use in that place? It is true, that he does alledge the Authority of St. John Chrysostome, Theodoret and some o­ther Fathers, for the confirmation of his Opinion. But I desire no other testimony but theirs, to bring it under condemnation: And to avoid being tedious, in a thing so easie to be justified, seeing the Works of those Fathers are every where to be had, it will suffice, if we inform our selves of St. Jerome's thoughts in the case; he is of a quite different Opinion from that which the Cardinal has Fa­ther'd on him. That Learned Bishop does not say, with the Car­dinal, that that Passage ought to be understood, distributively, by translating it, all Scripture, and not collectively, by translating it, all the Scripture: He does on the contrary, assure us in his Homily,Chrysost. Hom. 9. in Ep. II. ad Tim. up­on those words of St. Paul, that that Holy Apostle does speak of all the Holy Scripture, which Timothy had studied from his Infancy; and he concludes, that all that Scripture is profitable, and given by the Inspiration of God. [...]. But by the Scripture that is spoken of in that place, it is evident that we must understand all the Old Testament.

It is in no wise likely, that du Perron himself had read St. John Chrysostome's Homily, or any other of the Greek Fathers whom he cites. That which deceived those who read them for him, and gave him an abstract of their pretended sentiments, is, that they consult­ed only the Latin Version of that Homily, where it is, according to the vulgar Translation, Omnis Scriptura divinitùs inspirata est utilis, i. e. All Scripture that is given by the Inspiration of God is profitable. But it was shewn elsewhere, that in the ancient vulgar, it was Inspi­rata & utilis i. e. is inspired and profitable; as it is in the Greek, and that we are to expound that Passage collectively and not distribu­tively.

We may nevertheless, very well give that sense also to the vulgar, as the rendition is at this day; according to that reading the Tran­slation will be, All the Scripture which was given by Inspiration is pro­fitable, and not with Amelote, and with the Authors of the Mons Translation, All Scripture that has been given by Divine Inspiration, is profitable. The Syriack, Arabick, and Ethiopick Versions, which that Cardinal pretends to be favourable to him, have quite another sense than what he does attribute to them, as I have shewn, in the Answer to the Defence of the Opinions of some Holland Divines, Answ. to the Def. of the Op. Ch. 10. concerning the Critical History of the Old Testament.

But to proceed, I do not comprehend, why the Cardinal du Per­ron does dispute with so much vigour about the manner of Transla­ting that Passage of St. Paul, and that from thence he does infer, [Page 64]that if it prove any thing, it must be, that every Canonical Writing was sufficient, by it self, for universal instruction in all the Christian Re­ligion. The word [...] (saith he) without an Article, does denote every piece of the Holy Scripture, distributively. But the Greek Fathers did not wire-draw St. Paul's words after that manner, but did expound them, as if in effect, they had read [...], all the Scripture, with the Article. The Catholicks ought also to agree with the Protestants, that all the Scripture is profitable for instruction: which does not at all exclude Traditions, which being joyned to Scripture, does compose the Principle upon which the Christian Re­ligion is Founded: And therefore there is nothing but subtilty in all the Cardinal's dispute, who would pass his refined impertinencies for a Comment on those words of the Apostle; and who bids defi­ance, in that adventure to all Antiquity.

Estius on the contrary, has allowed too large a sense to the same Passage. He has indeed, interpreted the Vulgar very well, accord­ing to the Greek Text; from which the Latin was taken. But he went beyond the sense,(f) when he did conclude from thence, that all the Holy Scripture was indited by the Spirit of God, not only as to the matter, or things therein contained, but also in respect of the words and all their circumstances; so as there is no word in Scripture, nor any order by ranging of words, but what comes from God. This Opinion is very little agreeable to the Doctrin of the Ancient Ecclesiastical Writers, who seemed not to have stretched that Inspiration beyond the things themselves. But Estius, who taught Theology in the University of Douay, was obliged to speak the Language of the Divines of that place, who had made a Decree, upon that matter, against the Fathers, the Jesuits of Louvain, who had set out some propositions directly opposite thereunto. Besides, Estius was the Principal Author of the censure to which those pro­positions were exposed. We shall give here a full account of the difference, that happened between those Doctors of Louvain and Douay, and the Jesuits of the Colledg of Louvain about the Point of Inspiration.

It is not of late, that the Divines, who make profession of fol­lowing St. Augustine in their Schools and Books, have opposed the Theology of the Fathers the Jesuits. Those Fathers having an 1586. maintained in their Colledge of Louvain some Propositions upon [Page 65]the Subject of Grace, Predestination and the Holy Scripture, which appeared new to the Doctors of Louvain and Douay; these Doctors did censure them, and withal published the reasons of their censure: Seeing we do not speak in this place, of Grace and Predestination, but only of the Holy Scripture, I shall insist on such things only as concern the Scripture. You may take a view of the Title of the Censure issued out by the Divines of Louvain, as it was Printed at Paris, at the end of a Book entitled, Florentii Conrii Peregrinus Je­richuntinus, Censura Facultatum Sacrae Theologiae Lovaniensis ac Dua­censis super quibusdam Articulis de Sacrâ Scripturâ, &c. anno Domini 1586. Scripto traditis. The Censure is directed to all the Body of the Jesuits of Louvain, in these Terms; Reverendis in Christo Patri­bus, Patri Rectori ac Professoribus caeterisque Patribus Collegii Societatis no­minis Jesu in Universitate Lovaniensi, Decanus & reliqui Facultatis in eâdem Ʋniversitate Magistri, aeternam salutem pacemque precamur.

Those Wise Masters, whilst they declared against the Jesuits a War that was never to have an end, do not fail to wish them eter­nal Peace: They call their Doctrin, strange, scandalous and dan­gerous, peregrina, offensiva & periculosa dogmata. Amongst the Pro­positions which they censured, there are three which run thus.(g)1. That a thing should be Holy Scripture, it is not necessary that all the words thereof should be inspired by God. 2. It is not ne­cessary for all Truths and Sentences, to be immediatly indited by Inspiration to the Writer. 3. A Book, as for example, the second of the Maccabees, which was written by Men only without the assi­stance of the Holy Ghost, does afterwards become Holy Scripture, if the Holy Spirit doth testifie that there is nothing that is false, in that Book.

These three Propositions were extracted out of the Writings of the Fathers the Jesuits, who taught Theology in the College of Louvain; and they were so far from condemning them, upon a re­monstrance made to them, that they were scandalous, that they free­ly defended them, adding thereunto new explications: ab iisdem ibidem Professoribus pro suis agnitae, comprobatae, scholiisque illustratae. They appeared to be really agreeable to good sense, neither do they much vary from the Theology of the Ancient Fathers, whom we are [Page 66]more bound to hear, upon this Subject, than the Sacred Faculty of Theology of Louvain; who, in condemning them as they did, were guilty of a great act of injustice against the Society of the Jesuits: The words of the Censure, as to their purport, are(h) that those three Assertions, did come near to the ancient Heresie of the Ano­means, who were of Opinion, that the Prophets and the Apostles had frequently spoken, as other private Men, and to the sentiments of those, of whom St. Jerome makes mention, in the Preface of his Commentaries upon the Epistle of St. Paul to Philemon; which Opi­nion was censured in the Person of Erasmus. They do further op­pose to those Assertions, the Council of Trent, the words of St. Pe­ter, in his second Epistle; of St. Paul, in his second Epistle to Timo­thy, and finally, the Authority of the Ancient Fathers; who assure us, that the Tongue and Hand of the Holy Writers, were made use of as a Pen by the Holy Ghost.

Before we enter upon a discussion of what concerns the Divines of Louvain, we shall relate the Censure of the Faculty of Theology of Douay. These Divines declare, that they have examined the Propositions of the Jesuits, by the Order of the Archbishops of Cam­bray and of Malines, and of the Bishop of Gand: They do not con­demn them in gross, as the Doctors of Louvain had done, but they apply their Censure to each Proposition in particular. To the two first they oppose St. Augustine, who did (according to their Opinion) believe, that the Sacred Writers received from God, a partioular fa­culty and method of delivering and composing their discourse. They do also quote Gabriel a Scholastick Divine; who affirmed, that the Apo­stles were Inspired with many natural Truths, and that a Book might be inspired, although there be pains and meditation used in its composure. Those Divines do likewise give for an Example, Jesus Christ,(i) who (say they) if he had written any Book, might as a Man have meditated, and applyed himself to that Work, although his Spirit, his Mouth, his Tongue, his Hands, and his Fingers would continually have been the Instruments of the Holy Ghost. And thus the Doctors of Douay do endeavour to destroy the Propositions [Page 67]of the Jesuits of Louvain, which to them appeared to be scandalous: And also under a pretence of shewing, that they subvert all Religion, in speaking to the second Proposition, they add, that(k) if it be once granted, that it is not necessary, that every Truth and Sen­tence should be immediatly indited by the Spirit of God; there will be endless disputes, not only about that which is particularly de­livered in Scripture by immediate Inspiration, but also about entire Gospels, the History of which may be known in a humane manner: It will be also question'd, in general, if all the Books of the Scri­pture that are not Prophetical, have been immediatly suggested by the Holy Ghost, to those who were the Writers thereof.

The third Proposition appeared to those Divines, to be the most dangerous of all, and opposite to the words of St. Paul, who does as­sure us, that all the Scripture is given by the Inspiration of God, and a Divine Doctrin, which was indited by the Holy Spirit. It is for this Reason, (say they) that the Decrees of Popes and of Councils, were never reckoned in the number of Divine Writings; although the Holy Ghost does testifie by the Church, that there is nothing that is false in those Decrees. And finally they add, that that third Pro­position of the Jesuits of Louvain could not be maintained, without acknowledging, that the Histories of Thucydides, and of Livie, might for the same reason be reckoned amongst the Books of the Scripture; if the Holy Ghost should testifie to us, that there is nothing of fal­shood in those Histories. They conclude their Censure with this Maxim:(l) That a thing is not therefore given by Divine Inspira­tion; because it so falls out, that it is approved of afterwards; but that, on the contrary, it is approved, because it was Inspired. Let us now see, if the Doctors of the two Faculties of Theology had reason to condemn those three Propositions, in terms that are inju­rious to the Society of the Jesuits.

'Tis observable, that before all these things, the Jesuits, who pub­lished at Rome, an. 1586. a Directory for the Studies of their So­ciety, Entitled, Ratio Studiorum, have placed this Proposition con­cerning the Inspiration of the Sacred Writings, amongst those which [Page 68]their Divines ought to prefer to others:(m) It is more probable (say they) that the first and Original Copies, which were not corrupted, were all particularly indited by the Holy Ghost, as to what concerns the sub­stance, but in a different manner according to the different condition of the Instruments.

By that we see, that the Jesuits of Rome did not believe at that time, that the same Inspiration is to be acknowledged in all the Books of the Scripture; and when they say, that every word was In­spired, they add withal, as to what concerns the Substance. Besides, they do not maintain this Inspiration of words, as to what belongs to the substance, but as a probable Opinion; so that they believe, that that may be also denied with probability. It is true, that the Opi­nion of those two Faculties of Theology, belonging to Louvain and Douay, was then most received in the Schools. But the Jesuits, who from that time, have had Learned Men in their Society, saw very well, that it was contradictory to good sense; and likewise opposite to the most Ancient Doctors of the Church. Those of their Col­lege of Louvain, did nothing that was contrary to the Rule or Con­stitution of their Foundation; which(n) does expresly forbid the introducing of new Opinions, for the same rule does proceed, unless it be done with the consent of the Superiors.

There is nothing more judicious, than the Liberty of Opinion, which is granted by the Constitutions of that Society to its Profes­sors, in the manner as it is limited.(o) Father Ignatius did ordain, that in every Science whatsoever, they should follow the most certain and the most received Doctrine. But seeing it is not easie to distin­guish, what are the most certain and the most received Opinions; he decreed, that the choice should depend on the Rector, who ought to embrace, for the greater Glory of God, that which was maintain­ed in the whole Society.

And the truth is, the Jesuits did no sooner appear in the World, [Page 69]but there was a birth given to much more considerable assistances, for the study of Theology, than had ever been before that time. And therefore they did wisely, that they were not altogether devoted to the Opinions of St. Thomas, and St. Augustin, though they were zealously embraced in the most part of the Universities at that time. They had reason in that case, not to follow blindly the Opinions that were most received in the Schools in their time, concerning the Inspiration of the Sacred Writings. This liberty of Prophesie, which had been agreed upon, in behalf of their Professors of Theology, did afford them an occasion of making new discoveries in this Sci­ence: and to this I impute the rigor with which the Jesuits of Louvain maintain their Opinions about Inspiration, without troubling them­selves about the Belief of the two Faculties of Theology of Louvain and Douay, who had not carefully enough examined that matter.

Notwithstanding the Censures of those two Faculties, they con­tinued to teach, in their College of Louvain, the same Opinions con­cerning the Inspiration of the Sacred Writings. Father Cornelius à Lapide, a few years after that time, kept up, in the same place, pub­lick Lectures on the Holy Scriptures; which he continued for the space of sixteen years. He likewise published those Lectures by the Order of the Archbishop of Malines, and of his Superiors, begin­ning in his Commentaries with the Epistles of St. Paul, which he did Dedicate to the Archbishop. But in the Exposition which he gives of the Passage of that Apostle, where he speaks of the Scriptures being given by the Inspiration of God, he is altogether against Estius, who was at the same time Professor in the University of Douay. It is manifest, that that Jesuit did insist on that difficulty on purpose, and that he then had an Eye to the Censures of the Divines of Louvain and Douay. He maintained in his Commenta­ries upon that place of St. Paul, the Propositions which his Doctors had condemned.

Although the Commentaries of Cornelius à Lapide may be had eve­ry where, it is convenient to set down his own words in this place, by which we may perceive that the Jesuits of Louvain did not regard the Censures of the Divines there.(p) Observe, (saith that Jesuit,) [Page 70] that the Holy Ghost did not indite all the Sacred Writings after the same manner. For he indited the Words of the Law and the Prophets, to Moses and the Prophets. But as to the Histories, and the Exhortations to Piety, which the Holy Pen-Men had learned, by seeing, hearing, read­ing, or meditation, it was not at all necessary, that they should be In­spired or Indited by the Spirit of God; because those Writers knew such things very well. And thus St. John Chap. xix. 25. does say, that he writ that which he had seen. St. Luke does also declare, Chap. i. 2. That he writ his Gospel, according to what he had learned of the Apostles. All this is manifestly contrary to the Censures of the Doctors of Louvain and Douay. That Jesuit does deliver himself in a clear and distinct manner. He very exquisitely confirms the Opinion of those of his Society, who had taught Theology before him in the College of Louvain.

But seeing it may be objected that this Opinion is the same with that of Grotius and Spinosa, who acknowledged no other Inspiration but that of the Prophetical Writings, it is worth the while to sub­joyn that which Cornelius à Lapide observed in the same place, con­cerning the manner of Inspiration that concerns Historical and Moral part of the Holy Scripture.(q) Nevertheless, they affirm (saith he) that these latter Works were also Indited by the Holy Ghost, first, because he did assist the Writers; that they could never be deceived: and again, because he suggested to them, that one thing should be rather written than another. So that the Holy Spirit did not suggest to them either their con­ceptions, or the remembrance of those things which they knew; but did In­spire them in this respect only, that they might put one conception in writ­ing, rather than another. In this, the Inspiration of the Historical, and Moral Writings of the Holy Scripture did consist, according to the Opinion of that learned Jesuit; wherein nothing appears but what is good Sense; whereas in the Opinion of the Doctors of Lou­vain and Douay, (which is the same with that of the Calvinists) there is something unintelligible, that does violence both to Reason and Experience.

It cannot be said that this Opinion is a Novelty that was unad­visedly asserted by that Jesuit. For he maintained it in the same Schools, where that Dispute had made so great a noise, upon the oc­casion of some Propositions that were put out upon that Subject, by [Page 71]some Divines of his Society. He was very much desirous to clear that Question in his Commentaries upon St. Paul, to make it appear to all the World, that the Censures of the two Faculties of Theology of Louvain and Douay had no Foundation, and that they were against Reason. Further, the Provincial of the Jesuits of the Low-Countries, who gave his approbation to that Book, does declare that he himself had read it, and had committed it to the Examination of four Di­vines of his Society. There is also at the beginning of those Com­mentaries, and Approbation of the Censor of the Books of that place, who is a Canon of Anvers. But that the World may be intirely sa­tisfied, that there is nothing either scandalous or dangerous, in the Opinion of the Jesuits of the Low-Countries, touching the Inspiration of the Sacred Writings, we shall proceed to examin the Reasons upon which the Divines of Louvain and of Douay did found their Censures.

CHAP. XXIV. An Examination of the Reasons that the Doctors of Lou­vain and Douay made use of, in their Censure of the Propositions of the Jesuits of Louvain, touching the Inspiration of the Sacred Writings. A very free Opi­nion of a Learned Divine of Paris about the same thing.

SEeing I have no other publick Records of the Fathers the Jesuits of Louvain, to justifie their Propositions concerning the Inspi­ration of Scripture, than what I have already mentioned, I shall en­deavour to supply that defect, by examining the Reasons of the Cen­sure of the two Faculties of Theology of Louvain and of Douay. I am willing to believe that those Divines had no other design therein, but what was for the Defence of the Truth, or rather their own old Opinions, and that Passion had no part in all that Dispute. As to what concerns the Jesuits, it is probable, that they had not intro­duced that Opinion into the Colledges of Flanders, but in confor­mity to the Liberty which had been granted to their Professors, not to ingage themselves easily in the maintainance of any Opinions, how old soever, when they did not appear to be warrantable. In a [Page 72]word, the Jesuits make no profession of submitting to the decisions of a Master, as a Rule from which there is no Appeal, non jurant in verba Magistri. And seeing there is nothing in that conduct, but what does become wise Men, they are much to be blamed who ac­cuse them for opposing the Opinions that are received and authorised in the most part of the Schools; when those Opinions have no good Foundation: which happened to them in the matter which we now handle.

The Divines of Louvain bring for one of the principal motives of their Censure, the conformity that the three Propositions of the Je­suits have to an old Opinion that was condemned in the Anomeans, whereof St. Epiphanius all through makes mention. But to shew the falshood of this objection, it will be sufficient to bring the Testimo­ny of Epiphanius. That Father does say, that the Anomeans (a) tra­duced the Prophets and the Evangelists: that when they were much urged, they avoided the difficulty by answering, that the Apostle spake as a Man. Is there any thing in those three Propositions above mentioned that comes near this? Did the Jesuits of the College of Louvain alledge, that there might possibly be somthing that is false in the Writings of the Apostles, under the pretext that they were Men that spake it? Yet that is the Opinion of the Anomeans, who being unable to satisfie the Reasons that were brought against them, out of the Books of the New Testament, said that the Authors of those Books had spoken as Men in those places.

We shall apply the same Answer to another Objection which those Doctors did take from the Preface of St. Jerom's Commentaries upon the Epistle of the Apostle Paul to Philemon. That Father does, in that place, make mention of certain Hereticks who rejected that Epistle, because they alledged that that Holy Apostle was not guided by the Spirit of God in writing it.Hieron. prooem. Comm. in Epist. ad Philem. Those who will not (saith he) re­ceive the Epistle written to Philemon, as one of the Epistles of Paul, do say, that the Apostle did not speak always, nor all things, by the im­mediate assistance of Christ speaking in him; because human frailty could not suffer one constant tenor of the Holy Ghost. But if it should be granted to those Hereticks, that St. Paul, and the rest of the Apostles were not Inspired in all that they writ, it does not therefore follow, that we ought to reject a part of their Writings. It is sufficient, that we own with the Jesuits, that there is nothing but Truth in those very places which were not Inspired, and that the Holy Ghost had com­mitted them to us as such.

Those Sectaries asked the Orthodox,Apud Hieron. ibid. Epist. II. ad Tim. c. 4. v. 13. if St. Paul stood in need of any Inspiration to say; When thou doest come, bring my Cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus, and especially the parchments; and many other things of that nature. I do declare, that it was in no ways necessary that God should Indite such kind of things to St. Paul, and other Holy Writers. This is the Opinion of the Jesuits of Louvain, which was afterwards confirmed in the same place by Cornelius à Lapide, whose words I have already mentioned. But they did not conclude from thence, that we are not obliged to receive the Books of Scripture, in any parts or places thereof, but those only that were Indited by the Holy Ghost. It is sufficient that they were persuaded that the Holy Writers were guided by the Spirit of God in every part of their Writings, so as not to fall into any error.

The Divines of Louvain further objected against the Jesuits, that they had renewed an Opinion, which had been condemned in the Person of Erasmus. But it is easie to make it appear, that those Fathers maintained nothing that had affinity to the Proposition which Erasmus owned. That Critick was accused for believing that there were [...]. some errors in the Writing of the Apostles; which were to be attributed to a defect of their Memory. We shall find no­thing like this in the three Propositions of the Jesuits of Louvain, for although they be very well satisfied, that there was no need of any Inspiration for Writing those things that they knew, they do not upon that account imagin that the Writers were at any time mistaken through a defect of Memory. Erasmus also used his utmost endeavour in one of his Apologies, to wipe off that accusation. He does protest, that he only reported that which St. Jerom had observed upon the matter, and that there had been nothing said, but what was agreeable to St. Augustine's Opinion. Howsoever it is, that Cri­tick does assure us,(b) that he never intended to charge the Apo­stles with any defect of Memory. I do not inquire if Erasmus was wronged in this. It is enough that I have shewn the Proposition, that is supposed to have been condemned on his account, and have withal made it appear, that there is nothing of that nature contained in the three Propositions of the Jesuits that were Censured.

Those very Divines did also by way of Objection, bring the Au­thority of the Council of Trent, Sess. IV. the words of St. Peter, Epist. II. ch. 1. v. 21. and those of St. Paul, Epist. II. to Timothy, ch. 3. v. 16. But there is nothing in all those places to which the [Page 74]Jesuits of Louvain do not agree. The strongest Passage is that of the Epistle to Timothy, and yet it is the same, upon which Cornelius à Lapide made Observations, as I have shewn. As to the Testimony of the ancient Fathers, who said, that the Tongue, and the Hand of the Holy, were the Holy Ghosts Pen, the Jesuits do not deny it. The same Cornelius à Lapide has explained it at large, in his Commentary upon the second Epistle of the Apostle Paul to Timothy, where he makes it appear that it is not contrary to his Opinion about the In­spiration of Scripture. And the truth is, we cannot imagin that the Holy Ghost deprived the Evangelists and the Apostles of the use of their Reason and Memory.

The Reasons of the Doctors of the Faculty of Theology of Douay are no more Conclusive than those of the Divines of Louvain. They chiefly depend upon some Passages of St. Augustin. But since there is nothing that is positive in all those Passages, it will not be worth the while to insist on them. They bring for example, by way of. Objection, some places of his Books Concerning the consent of the Evangelists. Yet there is no Work, where that Father has more shewn than in that Treatise, that the Sacred Writers made use of their Reason and Memory, when they writ their Gospels. That Work has also given occasion to Erasmus, and some other Writers to affirm that the Memory of the Apostles was not always sure, and that they put sometimes one word for another.

It is true, that St. Augustin is withal of the Opinion, that that de­fect in the Apostles was guided by the Holy Ghost. But I think it had been much better not to make them fall into error, than to maintain afterwards with that Father, that they would not so much as amend the faults of that Nature, after they had acknowledged them, upon a Pretext that they were persuaded they had done every thing relating thereunto, by the Spirit of God directing their thoughts. Erasmus had also recourse in one of his Apologies to this Answer of St. Augustin, seeing he could not deny that he had charged the Evan­gelists with a defect of Memory, which was the occasion that they put the name of one Prophet for another; he endeavours to get off by answering, That(c) when Memory and Forgetfulness are equally governed by the Holy Ghost, Forgetfulness is then as useful as Me­mory. Maldonat, who attributes this Opinion to St. Augustin and Beda, had reason to reject it; and indeed it is not to be maintained. Nor can we find any thing in the Propositions of the Jesuits of Lou­vain that has any affinity with it.

That which the Divines of Douay borrowed of Gabriel, for shew­ing that many Natural Truths were discovered to the Apostles by Inspiration, and that we may very well reconcile Inspiration to the Labour and Meditation of the Sacred Writers, would be agreeable to good Sense, if by that Inspiration we understand a single direction of the Spirit of God, that kept the Apostles from falling into any error. If it be meant on the contrary, that the Holy Spirit did in­dite the matters of Fact, of which they had been Witnesses, that cannot be maintained, as Cornelius à Lapide has observed. Nor is their Opinion established by the example which they bring of Jesus Christ, who could (say they) use such Meditation and Application that is ordinary amongst other Men, if he had Composed any Books; for this proves nothing, because if it be supposed that he had written Books treating of such things as he had seen with his Eyes, we will always maintain, that it was not necessary that he should be the Instrument of the Holy Ghost for Writing things of that na­ture. This example does moreover appear to be somwhat Metaphy­sical, and can only be relished by those who are accustomed to the subtilties of the School.

To that which they object, That all the Truths of the Scripture ought to be immediately Inspired; that otherwise, there will be eter­nal Disputes about what is, and what is not immediately Inspired: I answer, that it is easie to distinguish these two sorts of Inspirati­ons, according to the Principles of the Jesuit à Lapide. He does suppose with good Reason, that in Histories of things which were seen and heard, and in the Exhortations that concern Morality, there is no need for any immediate Inspiration, because there is no­thing that is Prophetical therein.

But we may (say they) according to this Principle, doubt of all those Writings that are not Prophetical, as the Gospels, for example, if they were immediately Inspired. I affirm, on the contrary that there is no ground for any doubt here. For the same Jesuit has clearly shewn, by the words of St. John, and of St. Luke, that an im­mediate Inspiration was not necessary for Writing of Histories. The Evangelists writ that which they had seen, or that which they learned upon certain grounds.

And upon this account, Maldonat explaining these words of Jesus Christ, Matth. xxvi. 28. This is my blood of the New Testament, and comparing them with these words of St. Luke, Luc. [...] 20. This cup is the New Testament in my blood; does freely declare that the very words of Jesus Christ, were those that were Recorded by St. Matthew, and not those of St. Luke. The Reason which that Learned Jesuit brings for this Opinion, is, that St. Matthew was present at the Action, [Page 76] Matthaeus qui aderat. Whence he does conclude, that seeing Jesus Christ expressed himself only in one manner, it is(d) better to be­lieve St. Matthew who was an Eye Witness, and who was followed by St. Mark, than St. Luke and St. Paul, who were not present at the Action. It is easie to judg, that in that place Maldonat had not re­course to Inspiration, since he affirms that St. Matthew had barely reported that which he had seen.

Yet for all this, I do not believe, that the Proof which that Jesuit does use against the Protestants, is altogether Conclusive. For it is to be supposed, that the manner wherein the Evangelists express the same thing, does wholly proceed from themselves. It is sufficient that they all agree in the substance of the things, whilst it is not ne­cessary that they should joyn in the Expressions. Every one of them might choose his own Words according to his pleasure. And there­fore it cannot be necessarily inferred from Maldonat's Reasoning, that Jesus Christ did rather say that which was mentioned by St. Matthew, than that which is Recorded by St. Luke, and by St. Paul.

The Divines of Douay do insist yet more vigorously on the third Proposition of the Jesuits of Louvain, than upon the two others. This last Proposition does contain (as they think) a manifest error, manifesti erroris periculum continens; for it does Authorise such Books for Divine and Canonical, as have been written by Men without any assistance of the Holy Spirit, humanâ industriâ, sine assistentiâ Spiruûs Sancti. It cannot be denied but that the Jesuits set out this Proposition, which seems to be much like the Opinion of Grotius and Spinosa: but they add withal, that it is sufficient that the Holy Spirit does assure us, that there is nothing but Truth in those Writings. Si Spinitus Sanctus postea testetur ibi nihil esse falsum, effici­tur Scriptura.

We may by the same Reason (say the Doctors of Douay) call the Decrees of Popes and Councils Holy Scripture, because we are also assured that there is no falshood in those Decrees. We may also place Livy, and Thucydides in the number of the Holy Writings, if the Holy Ghost testifie that they contain nothing that is false. But this Consequence does not at all follow from the third Proposition of the Jesuits of Louvain. For they Suppose that the Holy Ghost does pro­pose those Books to us as Canonical, to be for a Rule in Religion. The Decrees of Councils, and of Popes, have no such thing in them; if it were so, they would not be any longer considered as [Page 77]bare Decrees of the Church, but as works that had been to the same Church, to serve for a Rule as well in Faith as in Manners. The Example of the Histories of Thucydides and of Livy, which they bring, is nothing to the purpose; for those Authors have not written of things that concern our Salvation.

As to the Maxim of those Divines, That a thing is not Inspired, be­cause it was afterwards approved, but that, on the contrary it is approv­ed, because it was Inspired, it does not contradict the Proposition of the Jesuits; who continually suppose, that the Books we chiefly treat of, have the testimony of the Holy Ghost, although they had not been immediatly Inspired; which may suffice to render them ap­proved. The truth is, many Learned Divines believed, that it was not necessary, that God should Inspire Moses with a knowledge of every thing that he has written in Genesis, concerning the Creation of the World, and the Genealogies of the Ancient Patriarchs. He could be furnished (as they judged) with sufficient light about those things, by what he learned of his Ancestors, who had kept Me­moirs of the same. Doctus & eruditus (saith the Jesuit Pererius) à Ma­joribus suis, Perer. praef. in Pentat. ad quos ejusmodi rerum doctrina inde ab Adamo usque fide­lissimâ posterorum traditione, quasi per manus transmissa, & ad Mosem usque producta fuerat. Was it necessary, for Example, that Moses should be inspired of God, to set down in Writing all the Journeys and different Encampings of the Israelites in the Desert, after their coming out of Egypt? But I need not stay longer on a thing that has, in my Opinion, been sufficiently cleared. And therefore, I am so far from accusing the Propositions of the Jesuits of Louvain as erroneous, that I find nothing to be contained therein, but what is agreeable to Truth and good Sense. The Doctors who opposed them with so great heat, had never exercised their thoughts sufficient­ly upon Questions of that nature: They followed the old Opinion of their own Schools; and seeing they only consulted their own pre­judices, they condemned that with a great deal of precipitation, which they did not altogether understand.

A Learned Doctor of the Faculty of Theology of Paris, maintain­ed upon the same subject, a Proposition very opposite to the opinion of the Divines of Louvain and Douay; which possibly will not ap­pear to be very Orthodox in the judgment of many. His Book was nevertheless many times Printed, with the approbation of several of his Brethren. There was a new Edition thereof Published lately at Paris, with the approbation of Mr. Cocquelin, in 1685. a Doctor of that Fa­culty and Chancellor of the University; who does assure us, that he had read that Work once and again, legi ac relegi. Which by an­ticipation does shew, that I intend to speak of the Analysis of Faith [Page 78]of Henry Holden, who made it manifest, through the whole Work, that he had meditated much on the Principles of Theology. Take therefore the Opinion of this Learned Person, concerning the In­spiration of the Holy Scripture; The special assistance which God af­forded to every Author of those Books which the Church has received for the Word of God, does extend it self to those things only that are mere matters of Doctrine, or that have a near and necessary relation thereunto. But in such things as are not the main business of the Author, or have a relation to other things, I reckon that God did assist them in no other manner than he used to assist other Writers, that were Men of great Piety. I shall content my self to explain the Opinion of this Doctor, with­out presuming to offer Arguments against it, since I know it is au­thorised by very sage Masters. Yet I dare not maintain it in its full extent: It would have done well, if he had given us some ex­amples of what he understands by things that are not mere matters of Doctrin, or that have not an entire relation thereunto.(e) (f)

De Dominis, of whom it would seem Holden had his Principles, does much insist on this Subject, which he explains with a great deal of subtilty. He says, that all that is in the Scripture, is not simply and absolutely the Object of our Faith, that is to say, it does not be­long to the Articles of our Creed; because it is only the things that are revealed, that can be the Object of our Faith. But (saith that Author) the things that are contained in Scripture are not all reveal'd: From this Principle, (which he does illustrate by some Examples) he draws this Consequence, that we may in some manner, excuse some very Learned Catholick Divines, who imputed to the Evangelists, a few faults which proceeded from a defect of their memory, as in putting one name for another, in disagreeing amongst themselves about the time, or any other circumstances of the actions which they relate, provided that it falls not upon the substance, and upon the things themselves:(g) Errors of that kind, (he adds) which touch [Page 79]not the substance of the things, cannot in the least, be any preju­dice to our belief, seeing they do not relate to that which we are obliged to believe of Divine Faith, but only to that which is known by the senses; which may be deceived, even in the Sacred Writers, when the substance does not come under debate.

Yet although de Dominis does explain this opinion at good length, he declares, that he dares not prosecute the same to the full. He avows, that there are many places in the Bible, in which it seems that the Writers are mistaken; that the solutions that are given for removing difficulties of that nature, are very much constrained, with which pious Souls ought nevertheless to be content, although they do not satisfie those who severely examin every thing.(h) He does choose rather to take the part of those who are far from rigour, than charge the Holy Writers with the least fault, even in the things of small importance. But after all, he does not disapprove the Opi­nion of the Catholick Doctors, who alledged mistakes of that kind, which are not prejudicial to our Faith: There is nothing that does more diminish the Authority of the Holy Scripture, even in things Essential and Revealed, than constrained Answers, that provoke laugh­ter in those, who are not of the same belief with us: By this we per­ceive, that the Archbishop of Spalatro was in a strait, whose part he was to take, about a Question of this delicacy.

As for Doctor Holden, of all he says upon that Subject, this is most full of good sense,(i) That we ought not to approve or condemn, upon the bare words of Scripture, all that belongs solely to Philoso­phy. For as he observes in the same place, though there is nothing false in Scripture; the expressions therein are frequently accommo­dated to the Opinions commonly received amongst the People, and they are not always very exact; which is agreeable to St. John Chryso­stome's Opinion, who observed(k) that St Paul does often speak ac­cording to the Sentiments of the Populace, that he may accommo­date himself to his Auditors.

CHAP. XXV. Spinosa's Objections against the Inspiration of the Books of the New Testament are Examined.

ALthough Spinosa had very little or no knowledge of the Books of the New Testament, yet he would by all means, insert in his Treatise Entitled Theologico-politicus, a whole Chapter against the Inspiration of those Books; where he only gives a greater light to that which Grotius had formerly written upon this matter, in many places of his Works. His great Principle is,(a) that the Apostles did not write as Prophets, but as single Doctors; and that therefore it was not necessary that they should be Inspired. But this distincti­on betwixt Prophets and Doctors, does not at all destroy that Inspi­ration, which is attributed to the Apostles; which does only consist in a bare direction of the Spirit of God, as has been shewn be­fore.

God (say they) did not command them to write, as he command­ed the Prophets to publish their Prophecies: We have also observed from the beginning of this Work, that, when the Ancient Ecclesi­astical Writers speak of the Gospels, they declare, that they were composed only occasionally, and at the request of the first Believers. It does not indeed so evidently appear to us, that the Evangelists and Apostles had an express Commandment of God, or even of Je­sus Christ, to publish Books for the Instruction of the first Christi­ans, as it does appear, that the Prophets did speak to the People of Israel, by Gods Order. But we see, that Jesus Christ commanded his Disciples to go and Preach the Gospel, to all Nations of the Earth: But their Histories, which we call Gospels, are nothing else but Col­lections of their Sermons, which were animated by the Spirit of God, whom their Master had promised to them.

The Prophets (Spinosa continues,) do not only observe in their Prophecies, but also in their Letters, that it was God who spake by their Mouth; which he proves by the Letter that the Prophet Elias writ to King Joram, and is mentioned 2 Chron. Ch. 21. v. 12. Which [Page 81]begins with these words, Thus saith the Lord, (b) we read no such thing, (saith he) in the Letters of the Apostles. St. Paul on the con­trary, speaks as from himself, in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, Chap. 7. v. 40.

If the Stile of the Apostles be not altogether the same as that of the Prophets; it cannot from thence be concluded, that the former were not guided by the Spirit of God, in all the actions of their Mi­nistery. It was in no wise necessary, that they should repeat in eve­ry discourse, that it was the Lord who spake. It was sufficient, for them to declare in general, that Jesus Christ had sent them to Preach the Truths of the Gospel, and that he, who had given them that Mission in his Father's Name, had told them expresly, It is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Heavenly Father who speaks in you.

It is true, that St. Paul does speak as from himself, in the first Epi­stle to the Corinth. Chap. 7. where he makes use of this Expression; I give my judgment, [...]. But he adds withal, that he thinks he has the Spirit of God: [...] The ground of Spinosa's error was, that a Man could not use his Reason, and be also guided by the Spirit of God, at the same time; as if by becoming God's Interpreter, he must cease to be a Man, and be only a Passive Instrument, if I may use the Term: To proceed, it is not true, that the Apostles never observed at the beginning of their Letters, that it was God who spake by their Mouth. For they be­gin their Letter, which they write to their Brethren of Antioch, by these words, It seem'd good to the Holy Ghost and to us; Acts xv. 28. to let them know, that what they laid upon them came from God, whose In­rerpreters they only were.

The other expressions of St. Paul, which Spinosa, in the same place, makes use of to shew, that that Apostle writ to gratifie his own inclination, without being encouraged thereunto by the Spirit of God; may be easily explained by the Principle which we have established. That Man does always suppose, that Inspiration does wholly deprive one of the use of his Reason; which is most false:(c) The Apostles, (saith he) are every where upon Reasoning, so that they are more like Disputants than Prophets. But besides, that he has formed to himself a false Idea, of the Inspiration of the Pro­phets, 'tis sufficient if we object against him, the example formerly given, where the Apostles, after they had deliberated and reasoned [Page 82]in an Assembly; did nevertheless use this expression, it seem'd to the Holy Ghost and to us: Which does evidently shew, that the Spirit of God, who had guided them in that Assembly, did not deprive them of the use of their Reason: There is in effect, a Subordination be­twixt them two; the one does not destroy the other.

Spinosa's Prophets are Enthusiasts, who are more like Men push'd on by a Spirit of Fury, than by a Spirit of Prophecy. He does al­ledge(d) that the quality of a Prophet does not admit of the use of his Reason; because he, who confirms his Doctrines by Reasons, does submit to the judgment of others. But if one will carefully read the Books of Moses, whom he reckons amongst the Prophets, he will own, that that Law-giver does Reason sometimes: There is indeed a submission to the judgment of others, where there is nothing but Reasonings. But this cannot be said, when such Reasonings are guided by the Spirit of God: And this was the Case of Moses and the other Prophets. Spinosa himself gives an Example here; For there is none, but thinks these Words of Moses, Deut. Chap. 31. v. 27. While I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the Lord; and how much more after my Death, to be very formal Rea­soning. And indeed, the Prophets who directed their discourse to Men who made use of their Reason, did not in the least destroy their Spirit of Prophecy, when they proposed the Will of God to those Men, by way of Reasoning.

But Spinosa (who reasons in all this Discourse upon a false Idea which he had of Prophecy,) does alledge,(e) that that expression of Moses, was a Moral kind of speaking, which he used as an Orator, to foretel, and represent to the life (so far as he could imagin) the future Rebellion of the Israelites. But what does it signifie, that Moses did express himself an Orator, or in any other manner, does that prove, that he did not truly Reason in that, and several other places, where he explains himself as other Men? It was not necessa­ry that God should indite all his Reasonings and all his Exhortations. It is enough that he guided him by his Spirit, and that he prevented his falling into error. This being supposed, we will freely agree with Spinosa, that Moses said many things, that were not revealed to him; and this we have proved elsewhere.

He is also obliged(f) to declare, that the Prophets could Reason [Page 83]by Revelation; and consequently Prophecy and Revelation are not incompatible. The Apostles then, could by way of reasoning, pro­pose to the People the truths they delivered, and be at the same time, Inspired with the Spirit of God. Spinosa does nevertheless add, that the more that the Prophets do reason in form, the Knowledg that they had of things revealed, did come so much the more near to na­tural Knowledge; and that that which does characterize the super­natural Knowledg of the Prophets, is, when they pronounce Sen­tences and Degrees without any Reasoning. For this reason it is, (saith he) Moses, who was the greatest of the Prophets, made no Argument in form; that on the contrary, St. Paul does reason every where, and draws consequences from the Principles which he does establish, as appears in his Epistle to the Romans. Upon this ac­count, he believed, that the Epistles of the Apostle were not writ­ten by supernatural Revelation.

That Man does always confound Prophecy with Enthusiasm. Mo­ses, who was a Law-giver, pronounced Sentences and Judgments by warrant from God; which did not hinder him from Reasoning in some places: If he did not so, as frequently as St. Paul, the occasi­on was, he writ Histories, which require no reasoning; whereas St. Paul does write as a Doctor who instructs the People, and draws consequences from Principles which he had laid down. From thence it cannot be concluded, that he followed nothing but his Reason, be­cause that very Reason of his might have been supernaturally enlight­ned, and guided by the Spirit of God. And therefore, all that Spi­nosa does object for shewing, that the most part of that Apostle's Discourse, does only consist in Advertisements and Moral Exhorta­tions, does not destroy the Inspiration of the Apostles, in the man­ner as we have formerly supposed it with the Jesuits of Louvain: For we made it plain, that it was not necessary, for that purpose, that God should indite to St. Paul and the other Apostles, all their Discourses of Morality. It was permitted them to make use of their natural Lights, and to use all the means with which their Reason could furnish them, for persuading the People.

After the same manner, all Spinosa's objections may be answered; seeing he does continually reason upon a false Idea, which he has formed, of the Inspiration of the Pen-Men of the New Testament: We may also give our assent to a great part of what he says in his Objections, without giving advantage, for drawing any Conclusions against that Inspiration, according to the true Explication thereof. Seeing I insisted long enough upon this Subject, in my two Answers To the Opinions of some Divines of Holland, it is needless for me to re­peat here, what I have said in those two Books. The truth is, those [Page 84]Divines, by opposing the Inspiration of the Holy Scripture, have only given a more advantageous light to Spinosa's reasons, who squa­red this matter, to the false prejudices with which he was preposses­sed. If he had read the Works of some Catholick Doctors who have treated judiciously of this Subject, he would soon have acknow­ledged, to what little purpose the most part of his Objections serve, because they stumble upon those things in which we do agree with him. And therefore, we ought to be very cautious, in refuting his Opinion, that we do not contest with him in vain, about the things that are true, and from which he does nevertheless draw consequen­ces, that are directly false or too wide; otherwise, we shall rather strengthen, than destroy his errors.

CHAP. XXVI. Of the Stile of the Evangelists and the Apostles. The Opinion of Modern Writers, and of the Ancient Doctors of the Church upon this matter; with many Critical Re­flections.

IN this last Age, there have been Works composed, that treat of the Stile of the Evangelists and the Apostles. Henry Stephen has handled this matter in the Preface to his Greek New Testament.Henr. Steph. Nov. Test. in 12. e­dit. ann. 1576. He had also promised to publish a Treatise on purpose upon this Subject, to demonstrate, that those Sacred Writers are much more Polite than some Authors have believed. He likewise gives some examples thereof, in his Preface, by way of anticipation. He does sometimes admire them, for the elegancy of their Stile, and does wish, that they were not treated as rude and barbarous Persons, in respect of their manner of Writing, as they have been by some. He does particularly undertake the defence of St. Paul, whom he be­lieved to have been very conversant with the Greek Authors, and amongst the rest, with the Poets, whom he did imitate (as he be­lieves) for his Expression, in sundry places.(a) Whence he does [Page 85]conclude, that to affirm that that Holy Apostle was not Master enough of the Greek Language, is a supposition that is altogether in­credible.

We have moreover a Differtation published by Phochen, which is Entituled,Diatri­be de lin­guae Grae­cae Novi Testamen­ti purita­te. Of the purity of the Greek Language of the New Testa­ment, where the Author forgot nothing which might make it mani­fest, that the Text of that Book is true Greek, and that it does not differ very much from the Stile of Profane Authors. Textum Novi Testamenti, (saith Phochen) verè Graecum nec alienum planè à Stilo Graeco profano esse asserimus. He does refute all those He­braisms, which as some alledge, are contained in the Writings of the Apostles: and to make it the more evidently appear, that they object those Hebraisms in vain, he does justifie those Expressions on which they are charged, by the like Expressions of Profane Authors.

There are on the contrary some Learned Criticks, who, very far from allowing the Apostles a Pure and Elegant Stile, have not scrupled to make them pass for Barbarous Writers, whose Books are stuffed with Hebraisms. Castalio, who understood Hebrew and Greek sufficiently, to be judge of this Question, says, in speaking of the Apostles,(b) that being born Hebrews, they did Hebraize when they writ in Greek, whilst the Holy Ghost had no part in that, be­cause the Spirit of God does not love Hebraism any more than Grae­cisms. He only Indited the thing to them, (saith that Author,) and not the Words, leaving them at liberty to express themselves after their own fashion. Which is agreeable enough to the Opinion of the Jesuits of Louvain.

Castalio does further shew, why the Apostles did no more im­prove themselves in the Greek, so as to speak it well, seeing that Language is Copious in Words, full of Sense, and easie to be un­derstood, whereas the Hebrew Phrases render their Discourses in­tricate and obscure. He says,(c) that they were accustomed to the reading of the Sacred Writings, and that since they did not suf­ficiently understand the Greek Language, (as it is easie to prove by their Works) those expressions that were proper to their Mother Tongue did first present themselves to them on all occasions. Which [Page 86]he confirms by the example of the French and the Dutch, who cannot write in Latin, without intermingling somthing of their own Language therewith. Dum Latinè scribunt, Gallizant & Germani­zant. This latter Opinion, which has been followed by very able Criticks, is more agreeable, than the former, to the Opinion of the ancient Ecclesiastical Writers. I think we ought to acquiesce in the Judgment of the Greek Fathers, who are faithful Witnesses of the Greek Stile of the Evangelists and the Apostles.

Origen was the only Man of all the Greek Fathers, who applied himself most to the Study of the Scripture, in a manner that was most exact and Critical. And therefore his Judgment upon the Questi­on, ought of all others to have the most weight with us. When that Learned Person Disputes against the Enemies of our Religion, who despised the Prophets and the Apostles, because of their Stile, and because the same things (say they) were much better expressed in the Writings of the Ancient Philosophers. He makes answer to them, that we ought not upon that account to despise the Books of the Jews and the Christians, because it has been always agreed, that the Jews had written before the Greeks. As to the Stile, he does own that the Greeks have the advantage; but he does withal alledge that it cannot be inferred from thence, that their Works are better than those of the Jews and of the Christians. He does likewise observe, that the Books of the Old Testament are not de­stitute of their ornament in the Hebrew Language. Which he does affirm of the Writings of the Apostles, because, the truth is, they had no Politeness in their Expressions, having applied themselves more to the Eloquence of Things, than of Words.

(d) The Prophets of the Jews (saith Origen,) and the Disciples of Jesus renounced all Ornaments of Discourse, and every thing which the Scripture does call human Wisdom; and according to the Flesh. If any Greek (that Learned Father continues) should have a design to teach a Doctrin, that were profitable to the Egyptians and the Syrians, he would rather choose to learn the Barbarous Lan­guages of those Nations, than to be useless by speaking Greek to them.(e) The thing is the same (according to him) in the Provi­dence of God, who did not only consider those amongst the Greeks [Page 87]who were Men of Learning, but rather the ignorant Community. And therefore it was suitable to the exigency at that time, that they should accommodate themselves to the Stile of the meaner sort, that they might gain them, in speaking their Language.

Upon this Principle we ought to form an Idea of the Apostoli­cal and Evangelical Stile, and not upon the prejudices of some Pro­testants, who believe that they stand for the Authority of the Scri­pture, by allowing nothing that is very mean to have proceeded out of the Mouth of the Apostles. But St. Paul himself declared to the Corinthians, who despised him, because of his Language; that he came not to Preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ with excellency of Speech, or of Wisdom.1 Cor. ii. 1. 1 Cor. i. 17. For Christ (saith that Apostle) sent me to Preach the Gospel, not with wisdom of Words. St. John Chrysostom has observed, upon this Passage of St. Paul, that if the Apostles in their Sermons, did not use the Stile of the wise Men of the Earth,(f) that ought not to be attributed to the weakness of the Gift of Tongues which they had received, seeing they took that course, that they might not obstruct the Preaching of the Gospel. If it be so, (that Father adds) why was Apollo, who was an Eloquent Man, sent to the Corinthians? To which he answers, that he was not chosen because of his Eloquence, but because he was mighty in the Scriptures, and vigorously refuted the Jews: [...].

St. Chrysostom does very much insist upon this, to shew that the Apostles were rude in their Expressions, and unskilful in the Greek Tongue.(g) When the Greeks shall accuse (saith he) the Disciples of Jesus Christ, for not using a Discourse more polished than what the commonalty did pretend to, and for being altogether unlearned, we ought to grant all this, and to enforce the like charge, more than they. He also reproves those of his time, who alledged that St. Paul was a Learned and an Eloquent Man. He makes mention of a Dispute which was held about it in his time, betwixt a Greek and a Christian. He thought it was a ridiculous thing in the Christian to maintain that St. Paul understood the Greek Language perfectly. All(h) that Dispute went upon a comparison of St. Paul with Plato. The Grae­cian endeavoured to demonstrate that St. Paul was an illiterate Man. [Page 88]The Christian, on the contrary, was so silly as to undertake to prove, that St. Paul was more Learned and Eloquent than Plato. But as that Holy Bishop observes, the Graecian on that occasion, said what the Christian ought to have said: the Christian on the contrary, made use of such words as would have better become the Graecian.

It is no new thing to find Christians defend the purity of the Stile of the Apostles. If Henry Stephen, Phochen, and some others had lived in St. Chrysostom's time, he would have found also in them the like Conduct, which he would not have failed to brand with the title of ridiculous. He would have said to them, as to those who lived in his days,(i) that the same thing therefore may not befal you, and that the Greeks may not deride us in Dispute, let us accuse the Apostles of being illiterate persons; for such an accusation is their praise. And the truth is, the Power of the Gospel did not consist in the Knowledge and Eloquence of the Apostles, but in the Effi­cacy of the Word of God. The Mahometans admire the greatness and majesty of the Stile of their Alcoran. The Christians on the contrary, who acknowledge the most part of the Writings of the New Testament to be but simple and mean as to the Stile, are ne­vertheless persuaded of the truth of their Religion, which was Preached by Men,(k) who were obscure and illiterate.(l) This is no matter of defamation (St Chrysostom does add) when we speak of such Disciples of Jesus Christ. It is rather matter of their praise, who being such persons made themselves renowned through the whole World.

And therefore Origen made no scruple to give some examples of the simple and mean Stile of the Apostles, and also to observe their Solecisms; which some Fathers have done after him. He says that(m) the Apostles who were persuaded of their mean capacity, as to human literature, to which they had never applied themselves, did freely declare the simplicity of their Stile, and that they were very little acquainted with the Rules of Discourse, although they were very skilful in the matters of Religion. The same Father does ob­serve in many places of his Works, that St. Paul's diction is full of [Page 89]Hyperbates, nay even of Barbarisms, which made him obscure. St. Irenaeus (n) who also acknowledged those Hyperbates in that A­postles Stile, did attribute the same to the readiness of his Discourse, and to the vigor of that Spirit which was in him. I should never have done, if I should particularly relate all the Testimonies of the Greek Writers concerning the simple and low Stile of the Evangelists and the Apostles. They have not so much as excepted St. Luke, though it is generally believed that he had a more exact knowledg of the Greek Language, than the rest of the Writers of the New Testa­ment.

The Greek Scholiasts who have written on St. John, observe, after St. Chrysostom, in the Prefaces which they prefix to that Evangelist, that St. John was(o) of a pitiful Village called Bethsaida in Galilee, the Son of a poor Fisher, who was altogether ignorant of that which the Men of the World call good Literature, himself a rude and plain Fisherman, who could neither speak nor write. The Cardinal Toletus, who writ a judicious Commentary upon St. John's Gospel, speaks no otherwise of that Evangelists Stile, in a Summary prefixed to his Commentary. There he affirms that St. John (p) does speak worse Greek than the other Evangelists, that he is stuffed with Hebraisms; and that to understand him, it is necessary to know the Hebrew as well as the Greek. He desires us to(q) observe well the Causal Particles, the Illatives, the Conjunctives, and others of that Nature, which have a great force in all his Discourse, because the Sense does sometimes wholly depend on those Particles.

Enjedine, a subtil Unitary, did also enlarge his Observations on the Stile of that Evangelist, which he looked upon as very obscure, and very hard to be understood,(r) If we (saith he) ought to call that [Page 90]greatness of Stile which is an obscure Discourse, abridged and interrupted, without any connection, and which is full of Allegories, I avow, that in that Sense, St. John's Stile is sublime: for he makes no Harangue con­cerning Jesus Christ which is not Allegorical, and very difficult to be un­derstood. He does strongly insist(ſ) on the obscurity of the beginning of that Gospel, where (as he thinks) we can find nothing but figu­rative words, and uncouth forms of Speech. There is not a Word or Diction therein (as that Unitary does add) but what may be Ex­pounded, several, different, nay even opposite ways. This being so, I admire the headstrong prejudice of the Protestants and Unitaries, who dare oppose the common Belief of all the Churches of the World, having no other Foundation but that of Records, which they acknowledg to be so obscure and difficult to be understood. It is true that the Protestants do not altogether agree about the obscurity of Scripture; especially in the most important places; but the Uni­taries in this matter, shew more Candor, not denying a thing which is obvious. They only desire that the number of the Fundamental Points of our Faith be limited.

It is not sufficient to study the Greek Language in Profane Authors; seeing the Writers of the New Testament have a particular Stile that is abstruse, and requires an extraordinary Application. Hente­nius has very patly observed in his Preface which he prefixed to his Version of the Commentaries of Euthymius upon the Gospels.(t) That the Apostles and the Evangelists being born Hebrews, did follow; in their Writings, the Genius of the Hebrew Language, which fre­quently puts one time for another, and has many other things pecu­har to it. He adds, it is not only St. Matthew, who does imitate this Stile of the Hebrew; but the other Evangelists do it also. That one may be acquainted with this Stile, it is fit to read the Greek Ver­sion of the Septuagint, which the Apostles have imitated. It is fur­ther necessary to study particularly the Stile of every Book of the [Page 91]New Testament. For although they are written in a certain Language, which I elsewhere called the Language of the Synagogue, every Writer has somthing peculiar to himself.

Of all the Holy Writers, St. Paul is most hard to be understood; who sometimes comes to a full stop before he has done: which has given occasion to so great a number of Hyperbates, or Transposi­tions in his Epistles. Gagnejus, who writ very judicious Notes upon those Epistles, calls the Reading, or Stile of St. Paul, Lectionem tur­bulentam & salebrosam, i.e. an obscure and rugged Stile. (u) He is per­suaded of their obscurity, because of their abstruse Stile wherein they were written, which he thinks almost impossible to be explained, without the same Spirit that St. Paul had. He does withal admire the impudence of the Protestants, who having quite another sort of Spirit than what the Apostle had, do insolently boast, that they understand them, without any other assistance, than that of their own Spirit: I should have some cause to glory, (saith that Divine) if I could give some light to St. Paul's obscure Stile, which (as many think) that Apostle did expresly affect. Non parum gloriabor, si quid lucis Pauli tenebris adjecisse inveniar, ut multi putant, de industriâ affectla­tis. But that Apostle, in that, did the rather follow his Spirit, which represented to him many things at once. And therefore, sometimes he only begins a Discourse, and leaves it incompleat, nay he raises some objections to which he makes no answer.

I know that St. Augustin in his Books concerning the Christian Religion,Aug. l. 4. de Doct. Christ. c. 7. composed a Chapter expresly to shew that there was true Eloquence in the Holy Scripture, especially in St. Paul's Writings, where he finds perfection of Wisdom, accompanied with the great­ness of Eloquence. But seeing that Father did not understand the Greek Language, we ought in this case to prefer the Opinion of the Greek Fathers to his. He seems nevertheless, in that place, to speak only of a kind of Eloquence, that he calls Wisdom, and which he makes to consist rather in Things, than in Expressions. If St. Paul was Eloquent, because of some Figures which St. Augustin observed in his Stile, there is almost no Author but may pass for Eloquent upon that score. There is indeed a force in that Apostle's [Page 92]discourse: There are very high thoughts, and a perfect knowledg of Religion: But all this is not called Eloquence, according to the common notion which we have of the Word. He himself declares, writing to the Corinthians, who charged him with rudeness of Speech, that his discourse was mean, and that he had not the art of speak­ing, or did not use enticing words of Man's wisdom.

St. Jerome does plainly assure us,(x) that that acknowledgment of St. Paul did not so much proceed from the deep humility that was in him, as from the Truth which he owned, because his Tongue could not well express his profound and hidden thoughts. That A­postle, (saith he) being an Hebrew, and having studied under Gama­liel, a Doctor of the Law, is put hard to it, when he would express what is upon his Spirit, although he had from his Infancy, Learned the Greek Language at Tarsus in Cilicia. He does alledge after Ori­gen, that St. Paul (y) used many forms of Speech, which were pecu­liar to those of Cilicia, where he was bred, and likewise he gives some examples thereof, which I do not here examin. He adds, that that is no surprising thing, seeing Virgil, who was a perfect Master of the Latin Tongue, has nevertheless made use of some expressions that were peculiar to those of his Country.

That Father, as to what he further alledges with so great freedom of St. Paul's Stile, has given us nothing but what he had read in the Ancient Ecclesiastical Authors, and what St. John Chrysostom, who lived at the same time, has shewn at large in his Eloquent Homilies, which he Preached to the People. Yet St. Augustine was of a be­lief, contrary to the Opinion of St. Chrysostom, and the most Learn­ed of the Ancient time(z) that he ought to make an Apology for St. Paul, by answering a sort of Men of his time, who despised that Apostle, because he made no shew of Eloquence in his discourse.

But Origen, who was not ashamed to produce St. Paul's Solecismes, [Page 93]did judiciously observe(a) that that Apostle, who was appointed by God to be the Minister of the New Testamment, had in his Preach­ing, and not in Mens Wisdom, shewn the virtue and efficacy of the Gospel, that the Conversion of Nations might not be attributed to that Worldly Wisdom. And therefore St. Paul and the other Apo­stles have no need of Apologies, which might afford him a Sanctu­ary, against those reproaches which may be cast on them, about the manner of their Writing, seeing God was pleased, not to make use of Orators for the Preaching of the Gospel, but simple Fishermen who had no Learning.

Further, it does not yet follow, but that it is demonstrable, that the most part of the words that St. Paul, and the other Writers of the New Testament have used, are good Greek; only the Symetry of their Phrases, and their modes of Speech are not always accommo­dated to the Greek, which is not extraordinary. For every Nation has a peculiar manner of expressing their own thoughts; and though they deliver them in terms that are purely Greek or Latin, we soon perceive, that the Order is not altogether Greek or Latin. We need only for Example, look on the Greek Version of the Psalms, and up­on the Ancient Latin Translation, which was done out of the Greek; we see there something that is singular, and not agreeable either to the Greek or the Latin Genius; when it is even supposed, that the words are pure Greek and Latin. And for this reason, those amongst the Greek Fathers, who had a perfect knowledge of the Greek Lan­guage, were sometimes at a loss, as to their comprehending the Greek of the Septuagint.

We may further observe, that if the Ancient Ecclesiastical Wri­ters, had known the Hebrew as well as the Greek; they would not have found the Stile of the Sacred Writings so barbarous as some of them believed. I am astonished, that St. Jerome who understood both Languages, did not take this way to explain what seem'd to be most strange in their Stile, rather than accuse them of Solecisms and Barbarisms. I believe, that in those places, he followed the Opi­nion of Origen, whom he frequently transcribes. Indeed, he does sometimes admire the greatness of St. Paul's thoughts: He acknow­ledged, that that Holy Apostle had applyed himself to the study of Profane Authors, whom he sometimes quotes. But after all, he is of the mind, that we ought not to look for Eloquent Discourses in the Writings of the Apostles, because Jesus Christ did not intend to [Page 94]have his Church composed of Orators and Philosophers, but of Men who were the Dregs of the People. Ecclesia Christi non de Academia & Lyceo, sed de vili plebe congregata est.

CHAP. XXVII. Of the Language of the Hellenists or Grecians; if that which bears that name, be in effect, a Language: The Reasons of Salmasius against that Language, do rather establish than destroy it. The Greek of the New Testament may be called the Greek of the Synagogue, the Jews Hellenists read in their Synagogues the He­brew Text of the Bible, as well as the Jews.

THere are some Passages in the Acts of the Apostles, from which there are Proofs commonly drawn, that the Jews, when Chri­stianity began, were divided into two Parties. The one were [...]. pure­ly called Hebrews, and the other Hellenists or Grecians. Those who remained in the Territory of Babylon, after they were first dispersed, retained the name of Hebrews; because they spake the very Lan­guage, which was used beyond the River Euphrates, and which, for that reason ought to be called Hebrew, although it was Chaldee. And the Jews who dwelt in Palestine, after their return from the Babylo­nish Captivity, were also purely called Hebrews; because they brought from Babylon the Chaldaick Language, which they called Hebrew. These Hebrews, in their Synagogues, read the Hebrew Text of the Law and the Prophets, to which they joyned Glosses that were writ­ten in the Chaldee, which was their Vulgar Tongue.

They called those Grecians, who were Jews of Alexandria, and many other places where they spake the Greek Language. These read in their Assemblies, the Greek Version of the Septuagint, which they joyned to the Hebrew Text, to be used as an Interpretation. They were called Hellenists or Greeks, because they spake Greek, and read no other Books, in their ordinary custom, than what were written in Greek: Yet they always maintained a particular respect for the Original Hebrew of the Bible. And therefore in their Synagogues, they continued to read it in Hebrew, no less than the other Jews; [Page 95]which is still practised by the Jews at this day, in all places where they are, through the whole World. The Jews, for Example, of the Spanish Nation and Rite, the Dutch Jews, who live in Holland and the Neighbouring Provinces; and in a word, all the Jews of what Nation soever, read in their Synagogues, the Holy Scripture in the Original Language: They are called Spanish and Dutch, because of their Vulgar Tongue.

There were at that time also, Jews who spake Greek, whom they likewise called Greeks or Hellenists, and the Language in which the most part of their Books were written, has been called in this Age, the Hellenistick Language. This Language is Greek in respect of the words, but the order of the Phrase is Hebrew or Chaldee; as we still see at this day, that the Spanish Jews have composed the Transla­tions of the Bible in a kind of Spanish Language, which is hard to be understood by any one who does not understand the Hebrew: It is the same thing in their other Versions of the Bible, in whatsoever Language they are written. They do not only continually mix therewith, some Hebrew or half Hebrew words; but their manner of expression, in all the Vulgar Languages, has also a great affinity with the Hebrew. The Ancient Greek Version of the Septuagint was written in this sort of Greek, as well as the Books of the New Testament, and they called this Language Hellenistick, because it was in use among the Jews who spake the Greek Language, and who are called Hellenists or Greeks in the Acts of the Apostles.

Vossius, who frequently frames Maxims, which he does not con­firm by any solid Proofs, does alledge, that those were called Hel­lenists, who favoured the Greeks; and that the Word [...] does signifie that, in the same manner as [...] & [...] do signifie to favour the Romans and the Persians. And thus that incomparable Person does often judge of things merely by Grammatical Notions, without being in any measure concerned, whether those notions do, or do not agree to the things, to which he applies them. But if we should confine our selves only to the Grammatical sense of the Word [...], it is certain, that it does signifie, as well in Pro­fane as Ecclesiastical Authors, to speak Greek; and likewise, to speak that Language in its purity. He thinks that those among the Jews, were called Hebrews; who, by reason of the great zeal they had for their Law, were unwilling to submit to the Greeks and the Romans, and would by no means allow that their Nation should pay tribute to Strangers: The rest on the contrary, were called Hellenists who paid tribute with good will.

But all this is a mere imagination, that has not the least shadow of Reason, and which signifies nothing; as to that Passage of the [Page 96] Acts of the Apostles, Chap. 6. where there is mention made of the Hebrews and Hellenists, or Greeks. St. Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecume­nius, and many other Fathers, did not by those Grecians understand any other Jews, but those who had the Greek for their Vulgar Lan­guage; whereas the rest spake the Chaldee or Babylonish Tongue. St. Luke (saith Oecumenius speaking of the former)(a) calls them Greeks or Hellenists, not upon the account of their Religion, but because they spake the Greek Language: Although they were Jews as well as others, they are not commonly called Hebrews, because they spake not the Hebrew, or rather the Chaldee Language. That Hebrew Language had continued among the Jews of Palestine since their return from Babylon, and they look'd upon themselves to be more considerable than the rest of the Jews, who were dispersed through the several Provinces of the Roman Empire where they spake Greek.

The most able Criticks of our Age, have owned the Hellenistick Language, to which they have had frequent recourse for explaining many Passages of the New Testament. Yet Salmasius, and after him Crojus, have used their utmost endeavour to cry down this new Language, which (as they imagin) was unknown to all the Ancients, and which is, as they alledge, chymerical, seeing it cannot be redu­ced to any of the Ancient Greek Dialects.

The former has expresly written two Books upon this Subject, one whereof is entitled, De Hellenisticâ Commentarius, and another, Fu­nus Linguae Hellenisticae. He does really, in these two Works, shew himself to be a Man of great Learning: But he is so far from de­stroying that Language, as he pretends, that he does confirm it in several places.

The Patrons of the Hellenistick Language never believed, that there was a Greek Dialect of that name; and so, all Salmasius's long Discourse upon the several Greek Dialects, is nothing to the purpose. Further, seeing we intend not to dispute with him on words, it shall be granted, that the word Hellenist does signifie Greek; and that those who speak not that Language properly, ought rather to be called Non Hellenists than Hellenists. The truth is, in the Prohibition that Julian laid on the Christians, not to apply themselves to the Study of the Greek Language, he uses this word [...]; as it does signi­fie to speak pure Greek. And therefore St. Gregory of Nazianzen calls him in derision, [...], a lover of the Greek Language; and he tells him,(b) he who made this Law, has forbidden us to [Page 97]speak in the Attick Dialect, but he has not restrained us from speak­ing the Truth.

In this sense, there are no true Hellenists, but those who have a per­fect Knowledge of the Greek Language: which does differ from the Hellenistick Language, and this I would rather call the Greek of the Synagogue, because it owes its Original to the Synagogues of the Jews. But those who first call'd this Language the Hellenistick, did it only in conformity to that place of the Acts, where the Jews are called Hellenists, and not according to the ordinary notion of the word Hellenist. Salmasius does grant, that there are many He­braisms in the Version of the Septuagint, and in the Writings of the Apostles. He only denies, that we ought, upon that account, to call that the Hellenistick Language, in which those Books were written: Otherwise, (saith he) we ought to give the same name to the Ancient Latin Version of the Bible, because there is also a great many Hebraisms in that Version: But it was necessary that it should have been written in Greek, before it could be called an Hellenistick Version. We do not call the Language of the Septuagint, and of the New Testament Hellenistick, merely because it contains many Hebraisms, but because it is Greek mixed with Hebraisms.

There may be any name chosen and applyed in this case, provi­ded that there be an agreement in the thing it self: It is vain to dispute on words, when the matter is past dispute. Now Salmasius does, in his two Books, suppose certain Principles which manifestly establish the Language which some Criticks, in this last Age, have called the Hellenistick. He assures us, for example, that the Seventy Interpreters, who understood the Greek very well,(c) could have made a Version, of better Greek, and free from all the Hebraisms and Barbarisms with which it abounds. He is of the Opinion that these Hebraisms, were occasioned by the too great care they took to render the Hebrew words literally, and to express the force they have in the Original. According to this supposition, the Greek of the Septuagint is not pure, but Greek mixed with Hebraisms; and they have likewise given new significations to Greek words, the bet­ter to express the sense of the Original. This is that which is cal­led the Hellenistick Language: Thus you see, how Salmasius is be­come a great Hellenisticary, whilst he never dream'd any such thing.

(d) When they inserted (saith he, speaking of the Septuagint,) the Hebrew modes of Speech, they did not draw them from the co­piousness of the Greek Language, but from the Hebrew Text, to which they adhered very closely: Salmasius does use his utmost en­deavour, to confirm by those words, the Greek Language of the Sy­nagogue, otherwise called the Hellenistick Language. 'Tis no great matter how it is called, provided the thing be plain. He declares, that he always allow'd, that the words of that Version are Greek, but that the Phrase is Hebrew; De re semper inter omnes constitit ver­ba esse Graeca, Phrasim Hebraicam: If it be so, why did he write two pretty large Books, in which he disputes on nothing else but the name that is to be given to that Language? The only thing that he is careful for, is to shew, that there never was a Dialect amongst the Greeks, that was called the Hellenistick. De re totâ (saith he) dis­putatur, & quaeritur, an omnino fuerit, hoc est, an Hellenistica aliqua dialectus fuerit: We freely grant, that there never was any Dialect of this name, amongst the Greeks. And therefore, I have elsewhere called this Language of the Jews-Hellenists, a Greek of the Synagogue: And in the same manner, we may at this day distinguish the pure Spanish amongst the Jews, from the Spanish of the Synagogue, into which they have translated the Bible of that Language. They have also framed on the same Model, an Arabick of the Synagogue, a Persian Language of the Synagogue, in which they have written their Translations of the Bible, and their Prayer-Books. If we have not this Idea, in reading the Greek of the Septuagint and the New Te­stament; we cannot have an exact knowledg of the Stile of those Books, which are not written in a Language that is purely Greek, as Salmasius himself does suppose, with those whom he calls Helleni­sticaries.

Seeing it is so, I do not see to what purpose the most part of that Critick's Questions do serve, which he has proposed in his Com­mentary concerning the Hellenistick Language. To what end, for example, does he so exactly inquire,(e) if the Language which the Seventy Interpreters use in their Version, does constitute a particular Dialect, and if they reckoned amongst those Dialects, that which [Page 99]was called Hellenistick? If the appellation of the Hellenistick Lan­guage does agree to that sort of Phrase, whereof the words are Greek and the conceptions Hebrew; it was an easie matter for him to com­pile large Treatises, by that Method, because he does seldom or ne­ver treat of the matter in Question: After he had enumerated all the Dialects of the Greeks, he concludes,(f) that it is more clear than the day; that that Greek Language that belonged to no Nation, and that had no mark, to characterise or distinguish it from other Dialects, is not a true Dialect.

But that was not the thing he was to prove, because we are of the same Opinion with him, that that which some able Criticks have called the Hellenistick Language is none of the Greek Dialects. They only think, that that Language is not pure Greek, by reason of the Hebraisms with which it abounds. The Hellenistick Language, ac­cording to those Criticks is a Language that contains Greek words and Hebrew Phrases: Lingua Hellenistica est quae verbis Graecis utitur, phrasibus Hebraicis. All the Question then is to know, if the Version of the Septuagint, and the Books of the Old Testament be written in this manner: Since he himself does grant this, it may be conclu­ded from hence, that those Writers have no particular and proper Language. It is not to be look'd for in any Dialect of the Greeks, nor in any Nation in particular, but in the Synagogues of the Jews-Greeks or Hellenists. As, if at this day, I would know, what is the Language of the Bibles Printed in Spanish at Ferrara, and at Constantinople; I would not look for a particular Nation that speaks that Language, but would consult the usage of their Synagogues. The Apostles who frequented the Synagogues of the Jews-Hellenists, and who read with them, the Greek Version of the Septuagint, borrow­ed the expressions thereof; besides, being Jews by Birth, and the Chaldee being their Mother Tongue, it was very hard for them not to mix some Hebraisms and Chaldaisms with the Greek in which they writ.

Crojus, who is of the same Opinion with Salmasius upon this Subject, did likewise establish the Hellenistick Language in the same manner as Salmasius had done, though he had at the same time, an intention to destroy it. That Author, after he had recounted ma­ny things, which were no way for the purpose he designed them, does conclude against Heinsius, a Hero of the Hellenisticary Party, [Page 100]that the Evangelists and the Apostles are not Hellenists [...], because they did not speak good Greek, but did Hebraize or Chaldaize, [...], their Phrases being Hebrew, Chaldee and Syriack. Whereby he does establish that Hellenistick Language, whereof the words are Greek, and the Phrases Hebrew. He asks Heinsius, how he can reconcile these two things, viz. (g) That St. Paul and the o­ther Writers of the New Testament are Hellenists, and at the same time do Hebraize: 'Tis easie to reconcile the Two. For Heinsius and the rest of the Hellenisticaries, do not take (as it has been already observed) the word [...] To be an Hellenist, in the sense that the Greeks ordinarily used it in; they do not think, that it does in that place, signifie to speak pure Greek, but that which has been mention­ed before. And therefore Crojus does, no less than Salmasius, dispute about words: For the avoiding of which inconveniency, we shall call that Language the Greek of the Synagogue.

But whence was it (it may be said) that those Jews-Hellenists, whose Vulgar Language was the Greek, spake that Greek of the Sy­nagogue, that is to say, a Greek mixed with Hebraisms and Chalda­isms; seeing the Hebrew and Chaldee was not then in use amongst them? Philon for Example, who was one of those Jews that were called Hellenists, spake Greek very well. He does not in the least make any thing appear in his Works, that comes near the Greek of the Synagogue.

To this it may be answered, that the Greek Hellenists did continu­ally read the Hebrew Bible in their Synagogues, as well as the other Jews, who called themselves purely Hebrews: Although those Helle­nists writ some particular Works in pure Greek, which had nothing of the Greek of the Synagogue, it was not the same thing as their Greek Versions of the Bible, and some other of their Books. Seeing in these Works, they confined themselves to the Hebrew Text, they expressed the form of the Hebrew Phrase. This may be justified by the Arabick, Persian, Spanish, and the Vulgar Greek Versions of the Bible, which were made by the Jews. There are pure Hebraisms owned to be in all these, although the Authors thereof were Jews, who spake those Languages: Which could proceed from nothing else but their scrupulous adhering in their Translations, to the Words of the Original Hebrew.

It is true, that the most part of those who defend the Hellenistick Language, believe, that the Jews-Hellenists did read no other Bible [Page 101]in their Synagogues, but the Greek Version of the Septuagint; but they are mistaken in that. Even Salmasius, who declared himself very much against the Hellenisticaries, does assure us, that the Jews in whatsoever place they were, did continually read the Hebrew Text of the Bible in their Synagogues. They who pretend to prove the con­trary, by the 146 Constitution of Justinian, did not narrowly enough observe the words of that Constitution, which shews it quite other­wise: Yet Lewis Cappel and several other Learned Criticks(h) de­pend on that Emperor's Novel to demonstrate, that the Greek Hel­lenists, in their Liturgy or Office, did use the Greek Language, till the beginning of the Seventh Age, and that they had read no other Scripture, in their Synagogues until that time, but the Greek Versi­on of the Septuagint. Grotius was also of this Opinion in his Note on the sixth Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, where there is mention made of the Hellenists. (i) Those Jews (saith he) were Religious Jews, and having lived at Alexandria and the neighbour­ing places, had retained the custom of reading the Scripture in Greek, which custom continued till Justinian's time, as appears by the 146 Novel.

But the words of that Novel, which 'tis fit to set down in this place, do expresly make the contrary manifest. The Jews, in Ju­stinian's time, were divided into two Parties: The one was for read­ing only the pure Hebrew Text in their Synagogues; the other, be­sides that Text, read the Ancient Greek Version of the Septuagint, instead of an Interpretation, because they understood not the He­brew Language. The Emperor Justinian does declare,(k) that hav­ing understood their discord, he thought it expedient to apply a re­medy thereunto by a Judgment: The account of their dispute is conceived in these terms.(l) Some amongst them, who only re­tained the Hebrew Text of the Bible, were for reading it alone, at [Page 102]the publick Service in the Synagogues.(m) Others, on the con­trary, alledged that besides the Original Hebrew, the Greek Interpre­tation ought to have been used. We ought chiefly to take notice of these last Words, which give us to understand, that the matter in agitation was not simply to have the Bible in Greek in the Synagogues of the Jews-Hellenists, as is commonly believed, but to joyn the Reading of the Greek Version to the Reading of the Hebrew Text.

This will yet more clearly appear by the very words of Justinian's Decree,(n) who pronounced Sentence in favour of those, who, be­sides the Original Hebrew, read in their Assemblies a Version in Greek, or in another Vulgar Language, according to the places of their abode.(o) He Ordained therefore, that it should be per­mitted to the Jews, who had a mind to it, to read the Holy Writings in Greek, in those places where the People understood the Greek, and in every other Language, for example, in Latin, according to the Language of the Country were they dwelt.

Cappel did not understand the Sense of this Ordinance of Justi­nian, when he endeavoured to prove that the Jewish Doctors did at that time forbid, under the pain of an Anathema, the publick read­ing of any other Scripture but the Original Hebrew in their Syna­gogues. Whence he concludes, that the Custom which is at this day amongst the Jews, of not having their Liturgy in the Vulgar Tongue, but in Hebrew, was not introduced amongst them, but since the publication of the Talmud. If he had diligently read Justini­an's Constitution, he would have been satisfied, that they read in those days the Law and the Prophets in Hebrew, in all the Syna­gogues of the World. But they added afterwards to the Hebrew, a Version or Paraphrase in the Vulgar Language of every Country. They of Jerusalem, for example, and all Palestine, who called themselves purely Hebrews, joyned an Interpretation in Chaldee to the reading of the Original. There is also a probability, that the Custom the Jews have still at this day, of reading privately every Saturday, a Parasca, or Section of the Chaldee Paraphrase, did pro­ceed from that ancient usage of the Synagogues who joyned the reading of the Paraphrase to the Hebrew Text.

The Jewish Doctors did not therefore, prohibit at that time, the reading of the Greek Version, and other Translations of Scri­pture, as if they had read those Versions only in their Syna­gogues; but they decreed that there should be no Version added to the reading of the Original Text, which had been practised till that time. They had used an Interpreter till that time, who rendred the words of the Hebrew Text in the Language of the People. Which appears by the Talmud, and all other Books which Treat of the Jew­ish Laws and Customs. That antient usage has altogether ceased amongst them. They have indeed Translations of the Bible in their Vulgar Tongues, but they read these only privately. This they also observe as to their Service Books, which they read in He­brew in all their Synagogues, although they have Translations of them in several Languages.

CHAP. XXVIII. A more particular Discussion of the Reasons alledged by Salmasius, against the Language that is called Helle­nistick. Several difficulties also relating to this matter are cleared.

THis should be the place to observe particularly the principal He­braisms, which are scattered through the whole New Testa­ment: but besides that my only design is to explain the Stile of those Books in general, they may be found Collected in the Sacred Philology of John Vorstius, who has enlarged sufficiently on this Sub­ject. The answer of Thomas Gatakerus to the Dissertation of Phochen, (vid. if he be the English Whittaker — if this Authors Name was Thomas) may likewise be consulted in this matter. I shall speak of these two Books, and some other the like, in the third Part of this Critical History. I shall only confine my self here to Salmasius his Reasons, by which he pretends to shew, that all that is said of the Hellenistick Language is without a Foundation.

This Learned Critick does absolutely deny that the Seventy Inter­preters were Hellenists, Salm. in Epist. dedic. Comm. de Hellen. because this Name can only be attributed to the Jews, who were dispersed into several Countries, out of the Land of Judah. But it is Universally agreed upon, that the Seventy belonged to Jerusalem, and that consequently they were purely He­brews. [Page 104]In Jerusalem they did read the Bible in Hebrew, and not in Greek. If they joyned to it any Gloss, it was written in the Language of the Jews of that Place, that is to say in the Chaldee. The same thing (saith Salmasius) may be alledged as to the Apostles, who for the most part were Jews Originally, and who lived in Ju­dah, even after the death of Jesus Christ. How then is it possible that they could be Greeks or Hellenists? There was only St. Paul a­mongst them, who (being of Tarsus in Cilicia, where they spake the Greek Language) could assume the quality of a Jew-Hellenist. But having been bred at Jerusalem, where he Studied under the Re­nowned Rabbin Gamaliel, he denominates himself a mere Hebrew, Hebraeus ex Hebraeis. Indeed, since he was of the Pharisees, he can­not be reckoned in the number of the Jews-Hellenists, who did read the Bible in Greek in their Synagogues.

It is easie to solve all these difficulties with the least trouble ima­ginable. It may be observed, that although the Appellation of Jews-Hellenists, was given to those who were scattered out of Ju­daea, into those several Countries where they spake the Greek Language, this does not hinder, but that there may be found true Hellenists even in the Land of Judah: for every Jew who writ in that Greek, which we have formerly called the Greek of the Syna­gogue, may be called a Hellenist, by reason of the Language he used in writing his Works. Upon this ground, when it shall be sup­posed, that the Authors of the ancient Greek Version, which is ascribed to the Seventy Interpreters, were of Jerusalem, they are truly Hellenists, because they Composed their Version in a Greek, that is full of Hebraisms and of Chaldaisms. The Apostles who were of Galilee, and consequently natural born Jews, are also in this Sense Jews-Hellenists, if they be considered as the Authors of such Books as they writ in the Greek of the Synagogue. St. Paul was indeed born a Hellenist, having learned the Greek Language from his Infancy: but being afterwards Educated in the Schools at Jerusalem, he became a pure Hebrew, as to what concerned the Rites and Usages of those of his Nation. Yet he ought to be reckoned among the Hellenists, if we consider his Works, which are written in a Greek Stile full of Hebraisms, in which, by common suffrage, the Helleni­stick Language does consist.

Salmasius does object against this, that the modes of Speech in a Language do change according to the Times, whilst the name of the Language does not change. If so, it cannot be said, that an He­brew or Syriack Phrase,Salm. de Lang. Hellen. p. 131. which is delivered in pure Greek terms, can constitute a particular Language or Dialect of a Nation. It does only give a new Character of the Language. The Stile of the [Page 105]Poets, for example, is very remote from the ordinary Greek. Yet none ever affirmed that that was a particular Language. So it can­not be said that the Hellenistick Language, does make a particular Dialect common to a whole Nation, as if it were a Language spoken by the Community. They were content to confine it to their Syna­gogues, and the Works of those who writ in the Language of the Synagogue. Let it be only called, if one please, a new Character in the Greek Language. But this is nothing to the Question, seeing we Dispute not of the Word, but of the Thing. Salmasius does grant, that the Greek Version of the Septuagint, and of the Books of the New Testament are written in Greek, full of Hebraisms: we require no more for the Confirmation of the Hellenistick Lan­guage.

It is possible that the Hellenisticaries abuse the Word Language. But it is sufficient that they do explain what they understand by this Word, and that they own, that they did not intend thereby the Ge­neral Language of a Nation. For it is certain, that the Jews, Greeks, or Hellenists, did every one speak the Greek Language of the places where they were. St. Paul, for example, spake the Greek which was in his time used at Tarsus. Philon spake the Greek of those of Alexandria: and seeing he had Studied that Language with great Application, he writ in a Stile that was exceedingly polished. Nevertheless all the Jews, who were Greeks or Hellenists, did not write in the Language which is here called the Helleni­stick, because it was Consecrated chiefly to the use of the Syna­gogues, and was framed according to the Language of the Holy Writings. The Jews who were purely Hebrews, and who writ in Greek, were more Hellenisticaries, than the Jews-Hellenists them­selves, because their Stile did more abound with Hebraisms, and Chaldaisms, than that of the Hellenists, who had the Greek for their Vulgar Language.

And though we should suppose with Salmasius, that the most part of the Disciples of Jesus Christ, being Galileans, and of the Dregs of the People, spake no other Language but the Syriack, it could not from thence be proved, that the Books of the Old Testament that are in Greek, are not written in the Hellenistick Language. All that can be proved from that supposition is, that the Apostles did then compose their Works in their Mother Tongue, which was the Syriack, and that they were afterwards Translated into Greek by In­terpreters, who accompanied them in their Travels, and who un­derstood the Greek Language. This is truly the Opinion of that Critick, who believed that the most part of the Apostles were but very slow in learning the Greek, at that time when they were com­manded [Page 106]to Preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. (a) It is likewise pro­bable, (saith he) that several of them Preached the Gospel to the Greeks and Romans, by Interpreters, there being only those of them who were Greeks by Birth, (for example, St. Paul,) who Preached in Greek.

But that supposition is so far from destroying the Hellenistick Lan­guage of the Books of the New Testament, that it does establish it the more. For Salmasius assures us in the same place, that the Greek Books that were Translated out of the Hebrew and the Syriack, do more abound with Hebraisms and Chaldaisms, than those which had been written in Greek before that time. And therefore he alledges, that there are much fewer Hebraisms in St. Luke, and in St. Paul, who understood the Greek Language, than in St. Matthew, who had been Translated out of the Hebrew or Chaldee. (b) He confirms his Ob­servation by the Authority of St. Jerom, who acknowledged, (as he thinks) this difference of Stile, betwixt the Books that were written in Greek, and those which were Translated into that Language. All that can be concluded from his Supposition is, that the Books which were written by the Disciples of Jesus Christ, who were Ga­lileans, were not composed by Jews-Hellenists, but by mere He­brews, in the Language of their Country, which was the Chaldaick Language.

He cannot conclude from thence, that the Greek of the Books which we have at this day, is not a Greek of the Synagogues. On the contrary, the Distinction that he makes betwixt the Works, which were then written in Greek, and those which were Translated out of the Hebrew and the Chaldee, does manifestly suppose it. Never­theless we ought not to oppose, in this matter, all the Ancients, who believed that of the four Evangelists, St. Matthew did only write his Gospel in Hebrew. As for the Hebraisms, which he thinks a­bound more in the Books that were Translated out of Hebrew into Greek, than in others, Vorstius is not altogether of the same mind. For he believes that there are more Hebraisms in St. Luke's Gospel, than in the other Gospels. He likewise adds,(c) that he could [Page 107]easily shew fifty Hebraisms in the first Chapter of that Evangelist, and four and more, even in one Verse: indeed it may very well be that St. Luke may make use of more pure Greek Terms, than the other Evangelists do, and yet for all this, have a Phrase that is al­together Hebrew or Syriack.

Salmasius does further assure us, against the Opinion of the anci­ent Ecclesiastical Writers,(d) that amongst all the Apostles, it was only St. Paul who understood the Greek. Which he proves by their citing the Old Testament according to the Hebrew Text, and not according to the Greek of the Septuagint. But we have already shewn the contrary: and although St. Jerom is somtimes of that Opinion, he frequently takes the opposite side upon very good Reasons. The Reason, (Salmasius adds) why the Passages of the Old Testament, which are cited in the New, do not agree with the Greek of the Septuagint, is because the Evangelists and the Apostles took them from the Hebrew, and the Interpreters, Translating them into Greek, do not always agree with the Septuagint. But if it were so, those Translators would at least have expressed the Hebrew by other Greek Words, and would have been conformable to that Hebrew: which yet is not true, for they agree more often with the Septuagint, than with the Hebrew Text. This difference, as it has been elsewhere observed, proceeds from this, that the Apostles according to the usage of their time, did not trouble themselves in their citations to relate the express Words of Scripture, because they adhered chiefly to the Sense.

But was it necessary (Salmasius continues) that St. Peter, who was an Apostle of the Jews, should understand the Greek Language, see­ing the Jews of that time understood the Syriack and the Hebrew? It is not true that all the Jews of that time understood the Hebrew and the Syriack. For in all the Roman Empire, only those of Palestine knew the Syriack or the Chaldee, and yet those of that Country who were above the Common Rank, did likewise understand the Greek Language. As for the Hebrew, there were only a very few Learned Men amongst them who understood it; whereas the Greek Language was spread through a considerable part of the Empire, and the Jews of Rome, where St. Peter was, accompanied with St. Mark, spake Greek more than any other Language. To that which is objected, that St. Mark, according to the testimony of all Antiquity, was St. Peter's Interpreter; I answer, that it cannot be proved from thence that S. Peter was altogether ignorant of the Greek Language, seeing all those [Page 108]ancient Doctors of the Church, who make St. Mark to be St. Peter's Interpreter, do not deny but that this Holy Apostle understood the Greek. St. Paul had likewise Titus for his Interpreter; and yet Salma­sius thinks that that Apostle knew the Greek better than the Hebrew.

We will freely grant to this Critick, that St. John, who was a Ga­lilean, had a more exact knowledge of the Hebrew, or rather of the Chaldaick Language, than of the Greek. But it cannot be from thence inferred with him, that that Apostle did Write his Gospel in the He­brew, rather than in the Greek. For having established his abode in the places where the Greek was spoken, he instructed the several People whose Apostle he was, in the Language which they spake. And seeing his Gospel is only a Collection of his Sermons, he writ it in the same Language. And therefore I do not apprehend that Sal­masius has established undoubted Principles for warranting this ge­neral Consequence,(e) That the Apostles writ their Books in their Mother-Tongue, which was the Syriack Language, and that after­wards they were Translated into Greek by the Syrians, who under­stood the Greek, or yet by the Converted Greeks, whom they used as Coadjutors, and Interpreters for the Preaching of the Gospel. But besides that we have formerly spoken of these Interpreters and Fel­low helpers, though they should be acknowledged to have been in the same manner as Salmasius does suppose, it might be always said, that the Books of the New Testament are written in the Greek of the Synagogue. It is much more probable that the Apostles, who were Galileans, are the Authors thereof. For if they had made use of Persons Learned in the Greek Language, there would not be found so many Hebraisms in them. The Stile of St. John's Gospel does shew that it was written by a Galilean, rather than a Grecian.

However it be, Salmasius is obliged to declare that the Writings of the New Testament are full of modes of Speech that are al­together Syriack: and herein the Hellenistick Language is made to consist. He only differs from those whom he calls Hellenisti­caries (f) in this, that he attributes the form of the Syriack Phrases to the Interpreters of the Apostles; whereas the Helleni­sticaries do ascribe them to the Apostles themselves. But whether it be, that the Apostles themselves, or their Interpreters were the Authors thereof, the thing it self will be always granted. And [Page 109]thus he does rather establish, than destroy the Hellenistick Language.

As for St. Paul and St. Luke, who understood the Greek Language, Salmasius does also acknowledge that their Writings are full of Chal­daisms: and the Reason that he brings, is,(g) that seeing they un­derstood the Greek and the Chaldee, they made a mixture of these two Languages. In what manner soever it happened, he cannot deny but that the Language of the Synagogue does appear in the Works of St. Paul and of St. Luke, as well as in the Writings of the other Apostles. He only thinks that St. Paul and St. Luke let He­braisms drop more seldom than the Interpreters, who (as he believes) Translated the Books of the other Apostles out of the Hebrew and the Chaldee, into the Greek. Yet Vorstius, as I have already observed, has marked more Hebraisms in St. Luke, than in the other Writers of the New Testament. And therefore it is better to attribute them to the Apostles themselves, if St. Matthew be excepted, than to their Fellow Helpers or Interpreters.

For what remains we agree with Salmasius, or rather with the Greek Fathers, whom he follows in this matter, that the Apostles being rude and destitute of Literature, writ their Books in a very mean Stile, and in a Language that was used by the Dregs of the People. Which in some manner renders their Discourse more intelligible, because that Language does commonly contain nothing that is Figurative as to what concerns the Expressions. We shall observe nevertheless, that altho the Apostles do ordinarily make use of Words that are mean and received amongst the People, and consequently easie to be understood, they have a certain form of Phrase, and certain Expressions which were proper to those of their Nation; which appear sometimes obscure to us, because we know not the usage of that time. Altho their Stile is oftentimes simple and very plain, if we look only to the Grammatical Sense, it is hard enough to be understood, when we intend to reach the true Sense of their Thoughts. The Jews had then ways of Expressing themselves, very different from those that are in use amongst us: And in this, the obscurity of the Books of the N. Testament doth chiefly consist.

They who Translate those Books into another Language, ought espe­cially to take care to keep as close as possible to the Words of the Ori­ginal. For when they endeavour to render the bare Sense, without adhering to the Words, they run a risque of deceiving themselves, and making their Author speak those things which he never thought of. Beza and Castalio had great Disputes about this. The former alledged, that in Translating the New Testament several Hebraisms ought to be retained, because it is impossible to render them exactly in another [Page 110]Language. Further,(h) seeing those Hebraisms are capable of vari­ous renditions, it is more to the purpose to keep them, than to In­terpret them in a Sence which may possibly be false; and withal de­prive others of their liberty of judgment concerning them. Castalio, on the contrary, was of Opinion that an Interpreter ought to con­tent himself to mark the Hebraisms by Notes on the Margin. We shall have occasion to speak more fully of those Hebraisms in the se­cond Book of this History, when we examin the several Versions of the New Testament.

CHAP. XXIX. Of the Manscript Greek Copies in general, and of those who have spoken of them. Collections which have been made of divers Readings drawn from those Manuscripts. Observations upon the whole Matter. The Hereticks have been accused sometimes, but without any ground, for corrupting the Books of the New Testament.

ALtho there have been many Learned Criticks in the Greek Church, who applied themselves to correct the Books of the New Testament, we do not see, that any one Greek Copy has been altogether preferred to others, that it might be followed by all the Greek Churches. Which was the occasion that there was a great difference observed in the various Copies that were in several Churches. Origen, who was a very knowing person in this matter,(a) has observed, this great diversity of the Greek Copies, which he attributed partly to the negligence of the Transcribers, and partly to the liberty that Criticks assumed, in correcting the Books of the New [Page 111]Testament, adding to, and taking away from it, according as they judged it convenient. Indeed, if it be remembred what was briefly said of it, upon the occasion of the last Chapter of S. Mark, and of the History of the adulterous Woman, Chap. 8. of S. John, we shall find evident proofs there of this observation of Origen: which would further appear, if we had several Copies of that time, which we might compare with those that remain, whereas we have very few that are above a thousand years continuance; and which, as we shall shew in the next Chapter, do very much differ from those others we have at this day. They have likewise all those Errors that we have observed.

That Father does add, in the same place, that he had in some sort remedied the diversity of the Greek Copies of the Septuagint Version, which he had revised and corrected according to the ordinary Rules of Criticism. He likewise declares in what manner he had gone through that great Work, that had all the success that he could hope for. But he did not the like as to the Books of the New Testament, unless it be that he carefully searched for the most correct Copies, and made many Critical Reflections on sundry places, according as oc­casions did present themselves for that purpose. Neither do we find that the Ecclesiastical Writers, who lived after Origen, made a di­stinction of two sorts of Editions of the New Testament, as they have of two Editions of the Version of the Septuagint. They made a difference betwixt that which was called [...] vulgar, which was publickly used, and that which was corrected according to the Rules of Criticism. They considered this latter as the true Edition of the Septuagint, altho it was as yet very imperfect, and the most part of the Oriental Churches made use of it for correcting their Copies.

Yet for all this, Origen as well as several other Criticks did correct some Greek Copies of the New Testament, and S. Jerom does some­times cite them. But it does not appear that his Critical Observa­tions were in the place of a Law, as to those Books, as they were as to an ancient Greek Version of the Old Testament. If it had been so, we should have had a Massore of the Greek Text of the Writings of the Evangelists and the Apostles, in the same manner as the Jews had of the Hebrew Text of the Bible. We should not find so many different Readings as there are at this day. For every one would have exactly followed Origen's Copy, as the Jews followed the Copy that was corrected by their Doctors, whom they commonly called Massorets. And from hence it is that we find not at this day any ancient Hebrew Copies of the Scripture amongst them. For they reformed them all by the Massore: and seeing they hold it for infallible, they wholly [Page 112]neglected their ancient Books. They are so much persuaded, that the Books of the Law which they now read, are perfectly conform­able to the Original of Moses, that they do keep in their Synagogues any old Roll or Volume. The Jews of the Portuguese Synagogue of Amsterdam have at least fifty Rolls of their Sepher tora, or Book of the Law, which, for the most part, are very well written, but they are all new. If any ask for ancient ones, they take no notice, be­cause they are prepossessed with a Belief, that there can be no dif­ference betwixt the ancient and the modern.

It is not so amongst the Christians who have had no Massorets, whom they altogether follow in copying their Greek Copies of the New Testament. And therefore we ought not to be surprised, to find therein a much greater number of various Renditions than in the Hebrew Copies of the Jews. I dare also be bold to say, that this manifold variety ought to gain a greater authority to them, than if there had been no such difference. For it is impossible, that a Book which has passed through so many hands should always continue the same, unless they have corrected it, and afterwards follow exactly that Correction, as it happened to the Jews, in respect of the Hebrew Text of the Old Testament. It is the advantage of a Book, that there have been several different Copies thereof, to the end that a better Judgment may be given of the true Rendition. And upon this ac­count, the Books of the New Testament are to be preferred to the most part of the others, because the Christian Religion having spread into so many different Countries, every Nation has Copies and Versions thereof.

These are the different Copies by which we are to be guided at this day, because we have not now the first Original. We shall with all possible exactness examine the Greek Manuscript Copies, and also the most ancient Versions which have been taken from the Greek. We are not to depend upon one Greek Edition more than upon ano­ther, if it be not founded on better Manuscripts. We shall prefer the Editions which, together with the Text, do contain divers Ren­ditions of sundry Copies. It is a rare thing to find Greek Manu­scripts where such variations are noted in the Margin; for seeing those Books are read in the Churches, they observe commonly no other Reading than what is authorised by custom. They did con­tent themselves to mark them in distinct Works, especially in the Notes which they joyned to the Greek Text of the New Testament. And therefore besides the various Manuscript Copies, we ought to consult the Notes which it is easie enough to find in good Li­braries.

Many Learned Criticks of the latter Days, when the Study of the Greek Language was re-established, applied themselves carefully to this Labor. Valla was the first who made search for the Greek Co­pies of the New Testament, and also for the Latin. Laur. Vall. An­not. in Nov. Test. Edit. Basil. in 8. an. 1526. He cites many of them in his Remarks which Erasmus took care to Print at Basle; and altho he does much insist upon the little Niceties of the Latin Grammar, yet we are obliged to him for the new Discoveries which he has made to us in a time when Barbarity did still reign in Europe. It was by the force of his Example, that Erasmus was in­duced to write Notes on the New Testament, where he cites a much greater number of Greek and Latin Manuscripts which he had read. There is also annexed to some Editions of his New Testament a Collection of divers Readings taken from the Greek Copies. He seemed to be better versed than Valla, in this sort of Reasoning, espe­cially as to his knowledge of Manuscripts. Nevertheless his Critical Reflections do speak the Author's liberty more than their own evi­dence. When he meets with Greek Manuscripts agreeable to the Latin, he does judge that the former were corrected by the latter. He thinks, for example, that the English Greek Copy, where we read, Epist. I. of S. John, chap. 5. vers. 7. of the Testimony of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,(b) was reformed by the Greeks themselves, according to the Latin Edition, since the Recon­ciliation of those two Churches. But he will never be able to prove this. Besides, the places which he alledges to have been corrected, have no relation to the Disputes that were betwixt the Greeks and the Latins. To which we may add, that the Greeks were never greater enemies to the Latins than since their Reconciliation in the Council of Florence. The most part of those who had subscribed to that Council, were hardly well returned home, when they assembled at Constantinople, where they protested against all that they had done at Florence. The Record of that Protestation is yet extant, with the Names of those who subscribed it.

We cannot enough admire,In 1550. Robert Stephen's Fair Edition of the New Testament in Greek, in Folio, wherein he gives us proofs of his Learning, and of his Judgment. The Cardinal Ximenes, In 1515. to whom we are obliged for his first Edition of the New Testament, had made a search into good Manuscript Copies; but he has not marked in the Margin of his Edition, the various renditions of those Copies, having only kept in the Text that which he judged to be the [Page 114]best. Stephen has wisely redressed this fault. For he has placed the various Readings of six Manuscript Copies, in the Margin of his Edi­tion, and thus, though he commonly follows the Edition of Ximenes in his Text, he is not obliged to adhere to it, unless he were per­suaded, that the renditions of the Cardinal's Copy are the best in those places. It is no great matter for a Reading to be inserted in the Body of a Book, or to be placed in the Margin, provided that it be known that those which are in the Margin are taken from good Manuscript Copies, as well as those which are in the Text. It were also much to be desired, for observing a greater uniformity, that those who have published new Editions of the New Testa­ment in Greek, had all of them exactly followed the Alcala, or the Complutum Edition, which is the first, and that they had contented themselves to refer to the Margin the various Readings of their Manuscripts.

Yet Beza has produced a greater number of different Readings in several Copies of the N. T. than Robert Stephen has done. But he has only observed them in his Notes which are full of things that serve to no purpose, whereas he ought to have placed them, after Stephen's example, in the Margin of the Greek Text. Neither has he marked all of them, that he might not give offence to those who were weak amongst his Party, who would not have had so great a Veneration for the Word of God, if they had observed so great a number of va­rious Readings. He declares, that(c) he was indebted for the great­est part of those Manuscripts to Henry Stephen, from whom he had a Copy that had been compared with twenty five Manuscripts, and with the most part of those that were Printed. He had besides that, a very ancient Copy, whereof he makes mention in his Notes, the first part of which is yet extant, (containing the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles) reserved in Cambridge, and the second part, in which the Epistles of St. Paul are comprehended in the King's Library. We shall examin in the following Chapter, that ancient Manuscript with which Beza was not well enough acquainted.

The English have inserted in the sixteenth Tome of their Polyglott Bible, a larger Collection taken from the different Manuscript Copies of the New Testament, than any had been before that time. They likewise joyned thereto, the observations of some Learned Criticks upon this matter, and amongst others, that of Luke of