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version of it. And can it be supposed that that version was published in an age in which such an omission was likely to be made ? Both the interpolations are in Sect. VI., where we now read thus: “ For the Scripture says concerning us, as he says, to the Son, · Let us make man according to our image and our likeness.'”. But the ancient Latin version corresponding to this passage is simply this: “As, says the Scripture, · Let us make man,
&c.t Again, in the same section, after quoting from Moses, “ Increase and multiply, and replenish the earth,” the Greek copy has “ These things to the Son;" I but in the old Latin version the clause is wholly omitted ; and, certainly, there is no want of it, or of the similar clause in the former passage, with respect to the general object of the writer. These appear to me pretty evident marks of interpolation.
In another passage, God is represented as speaking to the Son on the day before the making of the world ; & but this is in that part of the epistle of which the original is lost, and it is by no means improbable, that this version may have been interpolated, as well as the original, and for the
The passage that looks the least like an interpolation, and which yet speaks of Christ as pre-existing, is one in which he is represented as regulating the Jewish ritual, and having .a view to himself in the frame of it. Speaking of the obligation of the priests to fast, he says, “ This the Lord ordered because he himself was to offer for our sins the vessel of his spirit, and also that the type by Isaac, who was to have been offered, might be fulfilled.”|| He also gives it as a reason, why the priests only should eat the inwards, not washed with vinegar, that “ he knew that they would give him vinegar mixed with gall to drink, to shew that he was to suffer for them.”q A little alteration in the words of this passage would make it speak of God as ordering this with a view to
η γραφη περι ημων, ως λεγει τω υιω, Ποιησωμεν και εικόνα και καθ' ομοίωσιν ημων, τον ανθρωπον. (Ρ.) Wake, p. 169.
+ Sicut, dicit Scriptura, Faciamus hominem. (P.) # Taula Tipos TOY vlov. (P.) Wake, p. 169.
Die ante constitutionem seculi. Sect. v. p. 61. (P.) Wake, p. 166. | Ενετειλαθο κυριος επει και αυτος υπερ των ημεζερων αμαρλιων ημελλε σκευος τα πνευματος προσφερειν θυσιαν: ινα και ο τυπος και γενομενος επι Ισαακ, τα προσενεχθενθος επι το θυσιαςηριον, τελεσθη. Sect. vij. p. 21. (P.) Wake,
Ο Προς τι; επειδη εμε, ειδον, υπερ αμαρίιων μελλοντα τα λαε τε καινε προσφερειν την σαρκα μ8, μελλείε πολιζειν χολην μεία οξες. Ινα δειξη, ότι δει αυλον TIRDELY ÚTep aulwv. Sect. vii. p. 21• (P.) Wake, p. 17?.
Christ. As it stands, however, it certainly conveys the idea of the pre-existence of Christ, and of his having been the framer of the Jewish constitution. But what certain interence can be drawn from this, when it is considered that the work was not written by the companion of Paul, and that it cannot be proved to be older than the writings of Justin Martyr ?
The supposed author of the next piece, which contains the doctrine of the pre-existence of Christ, is Hermas, mentioned in the conclusion of Paul's epistle to the Romans. His work, entitled The Shepherd, is quoted by Irenæus, though not by name. The sentence which he cites is as follows: “ The Scripture, therefore, well says, in the first place, believe that there is one God, who created and established all things, making them out of nothing,”* which is found in Hermas.t But we have only a Latin translation of Hermas, and, therefore, cannot be quite sure that the words were the same. The sense of them is certainly found in what are properly called The Scriptures, and I do not kuow that Irenæus ever quotes any other book by this title, except those which we now characterize in that manner. He quotes no other author, I believe, without mentioning either his name, or some title or circumstance sufficiently descriptive of him.
Though this book of Hermas is quoted with respect by some of the more early fathers, it is treated with contempt by the later ones, as Le Clerc, who thought it genuine, observes. I Tertullian says of this work of Hermas, “it is rejected as spurious by all the councils of the churches ;”S and it was declared to be apochryphal under pope Gelasius, A. D. 494. It is, indeed, a work highly unworthy of the apostolical age, the contents of it being weak and foolish in the extreme, to say nothing of its pretended visions, which looks as if the writer designed to impose them upon the world for something else than his own inventions. Those who deny the authenticity of this work, generally ascribe it to another Hermas, or Hermes, brother of pope Pius, about the year 146, which is after the time of Justin Martyr.
* Καλως 8ν ειπεν η γραφη η λεγουσα: Πρωθον παντων πιςευσον οτι εις εσιν ο Θεος, και τα παντα κλισας, και καθαρισας, και ποιησας εκ τε μη οντος εις το ειναι TA Tarla. L. iv. C. xxxvii. p. 330. (P.)
7 Primum omnium, crede quod unus est Deus, qui omnia creavit et consummavit, et ex nihilo omnia fecit. L. ii. M. i. p. 85. (P.) Wake, p. 231. | Hist. Eccl. A. D. 69, p. 469. (P.)
Ab omni concilio ecclesiarum inter apochrypha et falsa judicatur. De Pudicitia, C. x. p. 563. (P.)
The pre-existence of Christ is certainly referred to in this work. For the writer, speaking of an old rock and a new gate, and being asked the reason of it, says, “ It represents the Son of God, who is older than the creation), so that he was present with the Father when the world was made." * He also says, “ the name of the Son of God is great and immense, and the whole world is sustained by it.”+ But this language might be figurative. However, the uncertainty, to say the least, with respect to the age of this work, is sufficient to overthrow the authority of the evidence which it might furnish for the early date of the doctrine of the preexistence of Christ, without having recourse to interpolation, which few writings of so early an age have escaped.
The only writer besides these, that I have any occasion to mention, is Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, who, on his journey to Rome, wliere he suffered martyrdom under Trajan, wrote several epistles, and many bearing his name are now extant. But of these a great part are universally allowed to be spurious, and the rest are so much interpolated, that they cannot be quoted with safety for any purpose. Dr. Lardner, who thinks that the smaller epistles are in the main genuine, says, “ If there be only some few sentiments and expressions which seem inconsistent with the true age of Ignatius, it is more reasonable to suppose them to be additions, than to reject the epistles themselves entirely; especially in this scarcity of copies which we now labour under. As the interpolations of the larger epistles are plainly the work of some Arian, so even the smaller epistles may have been tampered with by the Arians, or the orthodox, or both, though I do not affirm there are in them any considerable corruptions or alterations.”
Salmasius, Blondel and Daillé are decided that all the epistles are spurious; and Le Sueur, after having given an account of the whole matter, says, that the last of them, viz. M. Daillé, has clearly proved that the first, or small collection of Ignatius's epistles was forged about the begin. ning of the fourth century, or two hundred years after the death of Ignatius; and that the second, or larger collection, was made at the beginning of the sixth century.
* Petra hæc, et porta quid sunt? Audi, inquit: Petra hæc, et porta, Filius Dei est. Quonam pacto, inquam, Domine, petra vetus est, porta autem nova! Audi, inquit, insipiens, ct intellige. Filius quidem Dei omni creatura antiquior est, ita ut in consilio Patri suo, adfuerit ad condendam creaturam. L.ji. Sim. ix. Sect. xii. p. 115. (P.) Wake, p. 320.
t Nomen Filii Dei magnum et immensum est, et totus ab eo sustentatur orbis. L. iij. Sect. xiv, p. 116. (P.) Wake, p. 324.
i Credibility, Pt. ii. I. p. 154. (P.) Works, II. p. 69.
Ignatius not being quoted by Eusebius, or the writer whose work he cites, among ancient authorities for the doctrine of the divinity of Christ, is alone a sufficient proof that no passage favourable to it was to be found in the epistles of Ignatius in his time.
Jortin says, “ Though the shorter epistles are on many accounts preferable to the larger, yet I will not affirm that they have undergone no alteration at all.”* Beausobre thinks that the purest of Ignatius's epistles have been interpolated.
For my own part, I scruple not to say, that there never were more evident marks of interpolation in any writings than are to be found in these genuine epistles, as they are called, of Ignatius; though I am willing to allow, on reconsidering them, that, exclusive of manifest interpolation, there may be a ground-work of antiquity in them. The famous passage in Josephus concerning Christ is not a more evident interpolation # than many in these epistles of Ignatius.
A passage in these epistles on which much stress has been laid, as referring to the pre-existence of Christ, is the following: “ There is one physician, fleshly and spiritual, begotten and unbegotten, in the flesh made God, in immortal life eternal, both of Mary and of God, first suffering and then impassible.”] Theodoret read the passage, yevlog E ayernle, “ begotten of him that was unbegotten,” and in other respects this passage is neither clear nor decisive.
It will weigh much with many persons in favour of the genuineness of the pieces ascribed to Barnabas, Hermas and Ignatius, that Dr. Lardner was inclined to admit it.|| But it must be observed, and I would do it with all possible respect for so fair and candid a writer, that the object of his work might, unperceived by himself, bias him a little in favour of their genuineness; as their evidence was useful to his purpose, which was to prove that of the books of the New Testament, by the quotation of them in early writers. Other men, as learned as Dr. Lardner, and even firm believers in the doctrines of the pre-existence and the divinity of Christ, have not scrupled to pronounce all the works above-mentioned to be spurious. These circumstances considered, the reader must form his own judgment of the value of any testimony produced from them.
• Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, 1751, S. p. 361. (P.) Ed. 1805, I. p. 357.
† Histoire de Manicheisme, I. p. 378. (P.) L'opinion, qui me paroît la plus raisonnable, est, que les plus pures ont été interpulées." Pt. ii. L. ji. Chiiv. Sect. ii. Note.
See, on this supposed interpolation, Vol. IV. p. 488, Note. 8 Εις ιαιρος εςιν, σαρκικος τε και πνευματικος, γεννηθος και αγεννηθος, εν σαρκι γενομενος Θεος, εν αθαναλω ζωη αληθινή, και εκ Μαριας και εκ Θεέ, πρωλον σαθήλος xxo Tole andns. Ad Eph. Sect. vii. p. 13. (P.) Wake, p. 67.
l! Works, II. pp. 19, 51, 70, IV. pp. 258, 259.
In order clearly to understand the nature and origin of those corruptions of Christianity which now remain, it will be proper to consider those which took their rise in a more early period, and which bore some relation to them, though they are now extinct, and therefore, on that account, are not, of themselves, deserving of much notice. The doctrine of the deification of Christ, which overspread the whole christian world, and which is still the prevailing opinion in all christian countries (but which is diametrically opposite to the genuine principles of Christianity, and the whole system of revealed religion), was preceded by that system of doctrines which is generally called Gnosticism. For these principles were introduced in the very age of the apostles, and constituted the only heresy that we find to have given any alarm to them, or to the christian world in general, for two or three centuries.
That these principles of the Gnostics were justly considered in a very serious light, we evidently perceive by the writings of the apostles. For that the doctrines which the apostles reprobated were the very same with those which were afterwards ascribed to the Gnostics, cannot but be evident to every person who shall compare them in the most superficial manner. The authority of the apostles, which, in all its force, was directly pointed against the principles of these Gnostics, seems to have borne them down for a considerable time, so that they made no great figure till the reign of Adrian, in the beginning of the second century. But at that time, some persons of great eminence, and very distinguished abilities, having adopted the same, or very similar principles, the sect revived, and in a remarkably short space of time became very prevalent.
The principles of Gnosticism must be looked for in those of the philosophy of the times, especially that which was most prevalent in the East ; and as much of this philosopby