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is supposed to be and not to be at advise Seneca to take convenient Rome at the same time, which is opportunities of insinuating the a manifest contradiction. Besides Christian religion, and things in this contradiction, the very dating favour of it, to Nero and his famiof their letters by consulships seems ly; than which nothing can be a to be no small evidence of their more manifest contradiction. spuriousness, because it was Similar gross and glaring conthing utterly unknown that any tradictions occur in the Gospel of persons ever did so; vor does one Nicodemus. To instance only in such instance occur in the Epistles one or two, which are very potoof Seneca, Cicero, or any other rious : In chap. ii. 14. the twelve writer. To which we may add, men, Eliezer, Asterius, Antonius, that, in these letters, there are seve- &c. who declare themselves to be ral mistakes in the names of the poproselytes, but born Jews; when consuls who are mentioned; which Pilate tendered them an oath, and clearly prove that these epistles would have had them swear by could not have been written by the life of Cæsar, refused, because, Paul and Seneca. Another cir- they say, we have a law that forcumstance which proves the epistles bids our swearing, and makes it ascribed to the Apostle to be a gross sinful to swear: yet in chap. iv. 7. forgery, is, that the latter is intro- the elders, scribes, priests and Leduced as entreating Seneca not 10 vites, are brought in swearing by venture to say any tbing more con- the life of Cæsar without any cerning him or the Christian reli- scruple; and in chap. xii. 23, they gion to Nero, lest he should offend make others, who were Jews, swear him. Now it is utterly improbable by the God of Israel; and Pilate that Paul would obstruct Seveca gives an oath to a whole assembly in his intentions of recommending of the scribes, chief-priests, &c. Christianity to the Emperor Nero; chap. xii. 3. This seems a manifest and it is directly contrary to his contradiction. Another is, that in known and constant zeal and en- chap. xi. 15, Pilate is introduced deavours for its propagation. Would as making a speech to the Jews, in he not rather have rejoiced in so which he gives a true and just abprobable an opportunity of spread. stract of the Old Testament history ing the knowledge of Christ, and relating to the Israelites, viz. what by the means of one so near to, God had done for them, and how and so much in favour with, the they had behaved themselves to him. emperor, have procured the liberty Whereas the same Pilate, chap. for himself and the other Christian xxiii. 2, is made to be perfectly converts of exercising their religion ignorant of the Bible, and only to freely? To imagine the contrary have heard by report that there is to suppose the Apostle at once was such a book; nor can it be defective in his regards to himself said, that Pilate here only refers and the whole body of Christians, to the Bible kept in the Temple; and acting in direct contradiction for the manner of speech shews he to the whole of his conduct, and was ignorant of the contents of the zealous endeavours to advance the book; “ I have heard you have a interest of Christianity.
certain book," &c. and this is indeed But, besides, it has bappened in itself very probable. Further, here, as commonly in such cases, this book contains many things want of memory betrays the forgery: contrary to known truths. Such although the author, so unlike Paul, is indeed the whole of it, except in this place wishes not to discover what is taken out of our preseut the Christian religion to the empe- genuine Gospels. Who, for inror, yet iu another episile, viz. stance, will credit the long story the sixth of Paul, he is made to chap. xv.--xviii. of Christ's going down to hell, and all the romantic Cbrist. But when the old Hefabulous relations of what hap- brew woman saw all these evident pened in consequence of it? who miracles, she gave praises to God, will believe ihal Christ there sign- and said, I thank thee, O God, thou ed Adam and the Patriarchs with God of Israel, for that mine eyes the sign of the cross; and that all have seen the birth of the Saviour the holy Patriarchs were in hell of the world.”—The short and intill that time ? &c. Besides, in other teresting account which is given places, there are notorious false. by the genuine Evangelist at the hoods; as that is, to make the end of the same chapter, is conJews understand our Saviour, as sidered by the author of a spurious saying that he would destroy Solo. Gospel, as by no means adequate mon's Temple, chap. iv. 4. which to the great dignity of our Saviour's they could not but know had been character, nor calculated to satisdestroyed several hundred years fy the just curiosity of pious Cbrisbefore ;—to make the name Cen- tians. We are therefore informed, turio to be the proper name of a that Jesus, in his conference with man who came to Christ, when it the doctors in the temple, after exis certain it was the name of his plaining the books of the law, and post or office, &c.;--to make the unfolding the mysteries contained words of Paul, 1 Cor. xv. 55, o in the prophetical writings, exdeath, where is thy sting ? O grave, hibited a knowledge no less prowhere is thy victory i to be the found of astronomy, medicine, and words of Isaiah, chap. xxi.; and to natural history. Hence, too, in make Simeon (chap. xvi. and xvii.)
• Gospel of the Infancy (li. lii. of to be a high-priest, which it is cer- Fabricius), xx. xxi. of Apoc. New Testain he was not.
tament, pp. 39-41. The latter part is 7. The striking contrast between so curious, and forms such a contrast to truth and falsehood is naturally the sober varrative of the sacred bisheightened, when those passages torians, and indeed of all serious history, come under consideration wbich
that it may be well to transcribe it as are borrowed from the genuine
an illustrative specimen. " When a
certain astronomer, who was present, Scriptures, and, with more or less deviation from the original, adapted stadied astronomy: the Lord Jesus
asked the Lord Jesus, whether he had to the purposes of the apocryphal replied, and told him the number of the writers. Thus, the simple faci con- spheres and heavenly bodies, as also tained in Matt. i. 19. is expanded their triangular, square, and sextile asthrough a chapter and a half of the pect; their progressive and retrograde Proi-evangelion. Again; the plain motion; their size and several prognosnarrative of Luke ii. 16. is not ticationis; and other things, which the thought sufficient for the great
reason of man had never discovered. event which was just before related,
There was also among them a philosoand accordingly it is thus improved philosophy, who asked the Lord Jesus,
pher well skilled in physic and natural in the Gospel of the Infancy :- 6 whether he had studied physic.' Here. “After this, when the shepherds plied, and explaiued to him
physics and came, and had made a fire, and metaphysics, also those things which they were exceedingly rejoicing, were above and below the power of the heaveuly host appeared to them, nature ; the powers also of the body, its praising and adoring the supreme humours and their effects; also the God; and as the shepherds were
number of its members and bones, engaged in the same employment,
vejus, arteries, and nerves; the several the cave at that time seemed like
constitutions of body, hot and dry, cold
and moist, and the tendencies of them ; a glorious temple, because both the
how the soul operated upon the body; tougues of angels and men united what its various sensations and faculties to adore and magoify God, on ac- were; the faculty of speaking, anger, count of the birth of the Lord desire; and lastly, the manner of its
1he Gospel attributed to Nicode- is next to impossible to suppose a mus, the particulars of our Saviour's constant likeness of expression, not trial are enumerated most fully, the only to one, but sometimes to one testimony of the witnesses both for and sometimes to another of our and against him is given at large, Evangelists. In short, the author and the expostulations of Pilate seems to have designed a sort of with the Jews are recorded with a abstract or compendium of all minuteness equal to their imagined which he found most considerable iinportance. And as, in the ge- to his purpose in our four Gospels ; nuire history of these transactions, though he has but aukwardly put the Roman governor is reported it together. to have put a question of consider- But the most flagrant instance, able moment, to which our Saviour perhaps, of fraudulent copying vouchsafed no answer, or at least from ihe canonical books, is to be the Evangelists have not recorded found in the pretended Epistle of it, these falsifiers have thought pro- Paul 10 tbe Laodiceans, almost per to supply so essential a defect. every verse of which is taken from « Pilate saith unto him, What is the great Apostle's genuine writings, truth? Jesus said, Truth is from as appears from the collation in heaven. Pilate said, Therefore truth Mr. Jones's work on the Canon. is not on earth? Jesus saith unto 8. Lastly, as the credibility of Pilate, Believe that truth is on earth the genuine books of ibe New Tesamong those, who, when they have tament is established by tbe acthe power of judgment, are govern- counts of countries, governors, ed by truth, and form right judg. princes, people, &c. therein conment."
tained, by their being confirmed by In the Prot-evangelion, there are the relations of contemporary writnot fewer than twelve circumstances ers, both friends and enemies to stolen from the canonical books ; Christians and Christianity (and and in the Gospel of the Birth of especially by the relations of hostile Mary, six circumstances; and by writers); so the spuriousness of far the greater part of the pretend- the pseudo-evangelical writings is ed Gospel of Nicodemus is tran- demonstrated by their containing scribed and stolen from other books. gross falsehoods, and statements Nothing can be more evident to which are contradicted by the narany one who is acquainted with ratives of those writers who were the sacred books, and has read contemporary with the supposed this Gospel, than that a great part authors of them. of it is borrowed and stolen from Thus, in the fourth of Seneca's them. Every such person must epistles to Paul, we read that the perceive, that the greatest part of emperor (Nero) was delighted and ihe history of our Saviour's trial is surprised at the thoughts and sentitaken out of our present Gospels, ments in Paul's epistles to the not only because it is a relation of churches; and in the fourth of the same facts and circumstances, Paul's epistles to the philosopher, but also in the very same words that the the emperor is both an adand order for the most part; and mirer and favourer of Christianity. though this may be supposed to These assertions are notoriously have happened accidentally, yet it false, and contrary to the unani
mous relations of heathen and Chriscompositon and dissolution; and other tian writers concerning Nero and things, which the understanding of no his regard to the Christians. The creature had ever reached. Then that Gospel of Mary contains at least two philosopher arose, and worshipped the Lord Jesus, and said, O Lord Jesus, gross falsehoods and contradictions from benceforth I will be thy disciple to historical fact; and not fewer and servant."
than seven equally glaring instances exist in the pseudo-gospel or Prot- tionably never would so easily have evangelion of James : six others been betrayed to so gross a crime, occur iu the two gospels of Christ's to make a sacrifice of the credit of Infancy, which relate things no- bis profession and the peace of his toriously contrary to the benevo: conscience at once upon so slight lent design of Christ's miracles, and a temptation and provocation. to his pure and holy doctrine, which prohibited revenge, and promoted Having thus gone through the universal charity and love. Lastly, beads of his masterly and conclu--for it would exceed the limits of sive argument, Mr. Horne dismisses this article (already perhaps too the subject with the following gemuch extended) to specify all the neral reflections :absurd falsehoods contained in the IV. From the preceding view of spurious writings which we have the evidence concerning the apocbeen considering, -the Acts of ryphal productions, which have Paul and Thecla directly falsify lately been reprinted, the candid the doctrines and practice of the reader will readily be enabled to Apostle, concerning the unlawful- perceive how little cause there is, ness of marriage (which he is here lest the credibility and inspiration said to have taught, though the re- of the genuine books of the New verse is evident to the most cursory Testament should be affected by reader of his Epistles); and con- them. So far indeed are these cerning the preaching of women, books from militating, in any deThecla being said to be commis- gree,against the evangelical history, sioned by him to preach the Gospel, that, on the contrary, they most dethough it was not only contrary to cidedly corroborate it:' for they the practice of both Jews and Gen- are written in the names of those tiles, but also to St. Paul's positive whom our authentic Scriptures commands in bis genuine Epistles. state to have been Apostles and But wbat proves the utter spurious- companions of Apostles ; and they ness of these Acts of Paul and all suppose the dignity of our Thecla, if any further proof were Lord's person, and that a power of wanting, is the fact that Paul, whose working miracles, together with a life and writings bespeak him to high degree of authority, was conhave been a man of unimpeachable veyed by him to his Apostles. It veracity, is introduced in them as ought also to be recollected that few, uttering a wilful and deliberate false. if any, of these books were comhood. That he is so introduced, is posed before the beginning of the evident; for after an intimate ac- second century. As they were not quaintance between Paul and The- composed before that time, they cla, and their baving taken a jour- might well refer (as most of them ney together to Antioch, he is pre- certainly do) to the commonly re. sently made to deny ber, and to ceived books of the New Testatell Alexander, I know not the ment: and therefore, instead of woman of whom you speak, nor invalidating the credit of those does she belong to me. But how sacred books, they really bear tescontrary this is to the known and timony to them. All these books true character of St. Paul, every are not properly spurious; that is, one must see. He, who so boldly ascribed to authors who did not stood up for the defence of the compose them: but, as they were Gospel against all sorts of opposi- not composed by Apostles, nor at tion, who bazarded and suffered all first ascribed to them, they may things for the sake of God and a with great propriety be termed good conscience, which be endea- apocryphal; for they have in their voured to keep void of offence to. titles the names of Apostles, and wards God and men, most unques- they make a specious pretence of
delivering a true history of their competent judges unfounded in doctrines, discourses, miracles and point of criticism. travels, though that history is not I bave looked into all the comtrue and authentic, and was not mentators ciled by the Critici written by any apostle or aposto. Sacri; but none of them appears Jical inan.
Further, we may ac- to me to furnish a satisfactory socouut for the publication of these lution of the difficulty. Some of apocryphal or pseudepigraphal these learned writers consider the books, as they were unquestionably Apostle's phrase as a deliberate owing to the fame of Christ and his declaration that he could wish, if Apostles, and the great success of possible, to be himself cut off from their ministry. And in this respect everlasting happiness for the sake the case of the Apostles of Jesus of his countrymen. Others reject Christ is not singular: many men this notion as too monstrous to be of distinguished characters have entertained, and explain his meanhad discourses made for them, of ing in a lower sense of suffering which they knew nothing, and ac- contempt like that to which an tions imputed to them which they excommunicated person is exposed. never performed ; and eminent Many, perhaps the majority, of writers have had works ascribed to readers look upon the sentence them of which they were not the simply as an hyperbole, comparing authors. Thus, various orations it with the expression of Moses, were falsely ascribed to. Demo- when, with like zeal for his bresthenes and Lysias ; many things thren, he wished that God would were published in the names of blot him out of his book; but I do Plautus, Virgil, and Horace, which not find it easy to bring my imaginever were composed by them. nation to admit of such an extraThe Greek and Roman critics dis- ordinary boldness of assertion as, tinguished between the genuine and if it had been first conceived in spurious works of those illustrious our own times, and expressed in writers. The same laudable caution our language, would have appeared and circumspection were exercised to border on impiety. by the first Christians, who did not The most satisfactory explanaimmediately receive every thing tion to my own mind, is the come that was proposed to them, but ad
mon one adopted by various emi. mitted nothing as canonical that nent writers and commentators, did not bear the test of being the among others, Scott and Doddridge genuine production of the sacred that the Apostle wished bimself writer with whose name it was made a curse
« after the manner of inscribed, or by whom it professed Christ" (ano tov XPLOTOU), who was to have been written.
made a curse for us ; that is, he could be content to submit to the
same ignominy and personal sufferTothe EditoroftheChristian Observer. ing. This revdering is usually sup
ported by a reference to 2 Tim. i. 3. The declaration of St. Paul, Rom. where the same Apostle
" I could wish that myself God, whom he serves (ato apoyovwr) were accursed from Christ, for my from his forefathers;" that is, after brethren, my kinsmen, according the manner of their religion, or after to the flesh;” is allowed by all their example. Many good biblical biblical scholars to be subject to scholars, bowever, entertain doubis considerable difficulties. I hope, whether the ino passages therefore, an attempt to throw deemed parallel. light on that remarkable passage Without discussing this point at will be candidly received, even present, allow me 10 suggest an inthough it should be considered by terpretation which I believe lias