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[No. 1. Vol. XXII.
Tothe Editor of the Christian Observer. refutation ought to be equally ac
cessible ; and it occurs to me that TOUR readers cannot be igno- a few pages of your uniscellany
rant, that among the various cannot be better employed than in modes of attack levelled against such a service. the authority of the sacred Scrip- The task proposed by the Quartures, in the late campaign of in- terly Reviewer had, it appears, been fidelity and blasphemy, great suc- anticipated by the Rev. T. H. cess was augured by the anti-Chris- Horne, in the second edition of tian party from the republication his valuable “ Introduction to the of certain uncanonical books, under critical Study of the Holy Scripthe title of the Apocryphal, or Itures" jast published; and it has would rather call it the counterfeit, been so ably performed by him New Testament. The proverbially that I could earnestly wish to see polluted press from which the the greater part of his paper rework issued--for the publisher is printed in the Christian Observer, no other than the parodist Hone- where it would meet with immediit might have been hoped would ate and extensive circulation, and have checked its circulation, and be more accessible to general readI trust has done so in a great mea- ers, than in Mr. Horne's volumisure: it is however certain that a nous publication. The disquisivery considerable nuinber of copies tion would be very curious and have been disposed of, and their entertaining, were it not for the poison is no doubt actively at extreme pain which must accomwork. The Quarterly Reviewers pany its perusal, by every person have thought the publication of who has a reverence for the sufficient importance to devote to genuine oracles of God, and who it a considerable article in one of reflects upon the awful woe detheir laje Numbers (No. 50, for nounced upon all who shall add to, Oct. 1821), in which they express or diminish from, the book of Divine a wish that some person competent inspiration. I have only to add, 10 the task would draw up a small that the author has courteously persupplement 10 Larduer and Paley, mitted me to transcribe his paper "containing distinct evidence of for the present purpose. Earnestly the spuriousness of these compositions, and stating the principles . I say anticiputed; because, though by which their spuriousness is Mr. Horne's work did not appear till proved." This, they add, “ would two months after the publication of answer every objection.” Scholars No. 50, of the Quarterly Review, his may indeed tiod ample information chapter on the Apocryphal New Testaon the subject in Lardner, Paley, of his work, was, I understand, printed
ment, which occurs in the first volume Jones on the Canon, and other off (indeed it must necessarily have accredited works : but as this apo- been so many months before that Numcryphal book is now thrown on the ber of the Quarterly Review appeared. world in a cheap and portable form, It seems but just to Mr. Horne to menand in the vernacular tongue, the tion this circumstance.
CHRIST, OBSERV, No. 241. B
do I wish that this brief refutation which (it is pretended) fell down were bound up with every copy of from heaven at Jerusalem, directed the Apocrypbal New Testament; to a priest named Leopas, in the but as the publisher of that work city of Eris ; the Constitutions of is not likely to do this measure the Apostles; the Apostles' Creed ; of justice, it only remains for the Apostolical Epistles of Bar. every individual to supply the nabas, Clemens or Clement, Ignaantidote where he finds the poison, tius and Polycarp; the Gospel of and in this view, if your readers the Infancy of our Saviour ; the will
the paronomasia- Gospel of ihe Birth of Mary; the Anglicé, pun,
Prot-evangelion of James; the vice FUNGAR COTIS. Gospel of Nicodemus ; the Mar
tyrdom of Thecla, or Acts of Paul; ON THE WRITINGS USUALLY Abdias's History of the Twelve CALLED
APOCRYPHAL A postles ; the Epistle of Paul to BOOKS OF THE NEW TESTA. the Laodiceans ; the six Epistles
of Paul to Seneca, &c. Of these 1. Enumeration of these apocryphal the titles are printed in Italies are
various productions, those of which writings.-11. External evidence, comprised in a late publication to shew that they were never considered as inspired or canonical. Testament, being all the Gospels,
entitled, “ The Apocryphal New III. Internal Evidence.-IV. These apocryphal books are so extant, attributed in the first four
Epistles, and other Pieces now far from affecting the credibility Centuries to Jesus Christ, his of the genuine books of the New Apostles, and their Companions, Testament, that the latter ure and not included in the New Testaconfirmed by them.
ment by its Compilers. Translated 1. The spurious and apocryphal and now collected into one Volume, books composed in the early days with Prefaces and Tables and va. of Christianity, which were pub- rious Notes and References. Lonlished under the pames of Jesus don, 1820."-Second edition, 1821, Christ and bis Apostles, their com- 8vo. The writings ascribed to panions, &c., and wbich are men. Barnabas, Ignatius (at least his tioned by the writers of the first genuine epistles), Polycarp, and four ceniuries under the names of Hermas, ought not in strictness to Gospels, Epistles, Acts, Revelations,
be considered as apocryphal, since &c., are very numerous. Most of their authors, who are usually dethese have long since perished; signated the Apostolical Faikers, though some few are still extant,
from their having been contempowhich have been collected (together rary for a longer or shorter time with notices of the lost pieces), and with the Apostles of Jesus Christ, published by John Albert Fabricius, were not divinely inspired apostles. in his Codex Apocryphus Novi The first epistle of Clement to the Testamenti, the best edition of Corinthians indeed was for a short which appeared at Hamburgh, in time received as canonical in some 1719–1743, in three parts, forming few Christian churches, but was soon two volumes 8vo. Of this work dismissed as an uninspired producthe Rev. and Learned Mr. Jones tion; the fragment of what is call. made great use, and in fact trans- ed the Second Epistle of Clement lated the greater part of it, in his to the Corinthians, Dr. Lardner “ New and Full Method of settling has proved not to have been written the Canonical Authority of the New by him. These productions of the Testament." The apocryphal books
. This is a misnomer; for all the extant are, An Epistle from Jesus apocryphal writings are not included in Christ to Abgarus ; his Epistle, the publication in question.
apostolical fathers, therefore, have brief statement shall be given, of no claim to be considered as apo- the very satisfactory reasons for cryphal writings.
which the apocryphal (or rather As the external form of the Apo- spurious) writings, ascribed to the cryphal New Testawent* harmo- Apostles, have been deservedly renises with that of the larger octavo jected from the canon of Scripture. editions of the Authorised English 1. In the first place, they were Version of the New Testament, the nor acknowledged as authentic, advocates of infidelity have availed nor were they much used by the prithemselves of it, to attempt to un- mitive Christians. There are no dermine the credibility of the ge- quotations of these apocryphat nuine books of the New Testament. books in the genuine writings of The preface to the compilation the apostolical fathers : that is, of eptitled " The Apocryphal New Clement of Rome, Ignatius, PolyTestament," is, certainly, so drawn carp, and Hermas, whose writings up as apparently to favour the reach froin about the year of Christ views of the opposers of Divine 70 to 108 ; uor are they found in Revelation; but as its editor has any antient catalogues of the sacred DISCLAIMED any sinister design in books. Some of them indeed are publishing it, the writer of these mentioned, but not cited by Irepages will not impute any such motives to him.
ed hypotheses of some learned men, II. In order, however, that the aud endeavoured to prove that the reader may see how little the sacred books of the present canon lay concealwritings of the New Testament can the latter times of Trajan or Adrian,
ed in the coffers of private persons, till suffer from this publicationt, a
and were not known to the clergy or · The title-page is surrounded with a churches of those times, nor distinguish. broad black rule, similar to that found ed from the spurious works of heretics; in many of the large 8vo. editions of and that the Scriptures, which we now the New Testament, printed in the last receive as canonical, and others which century: and the different books are we now reject, were indifferently and divided into cbapters and verses, with promiscuously cited and appealed to & table of contents, drawn up in imita. by the most ancient Christian writers. tiou of those which are found in all edi. His design in all this, manifestly was to tions of the English Bible,
shew, that the Gospels and other sacred + In 1698 Mr. Toland published his writings of the New Testament, now acAnyntor, in which he professed to give knowledged as canonical, really deserve a catalogue of books, attributed in the no greater credit, and are no more to primitive times to Jesus Christ, his be depended upon, than those books Apostles, and other eminent persons, which are rejected and exploded as « together with remarks and observa- forgeries. And yet he had the confi. tions relating to the canon of Scripture.” dence to pretend, in a book he after. He there raked together whatever he wards published, that his intention in could find relating to the spurious his Amyntor, was not to invalidate, but gospels, and pretended sacred books, to illastrate and confirm, the canon of which appeared in the early ages of the the New Testament. This may serve Christian church. These he produced as one instance out of many that might with great pomp, to the number of be produced of the insincerity of this eighty and upwards; and though they opposer of revelation, whose assertions were most of them evidently false and have been adopted by infidels of the ridiculous, and carried the plainest present day. Many good and satisfac. marks of forgery and imposture, of tory refutations of Toland were publishwhich, no doubt, he was very sensible, ed at that time by Dr. Samuel Clarke, yet he did what he could to represent Mr. Nye, and others; and especially by them as of equal authority with the the learned Mr. Jeremiah Jones, in his four Gospels, and other sacred books “ New and Full Method of settling the of the New Testament, now received Canonical Authority of the New Testaamoug Christians. To this eud, he took ment," in 2 vols. 8vo, reprinted at Ox. advantage of the unwary and ill-ground- ford in 1798, in 3 vols. 8vo.
næus and Tertullian, wbo lived in the third, or perhaps in the second, the second century. Indeed the century, a Gospel of the Birth of apocryphal books above mentioned Mary was extant, and received by are expressly, and in so many several of the antient heretics; but words, rejected by those who have it underwent many alterations, and mentioned them, as the forgeries the antient copies varied greatly of heretics, and consequently as from that now printed in the apospurious and heretical.
cryphal New Testament, which was 2. Few or none of these produc- translated by Mr. Jones from Je. tions, which it is pretended) were rome's Latin version, first made at written in the apostolic age, were the close of tbe fourth century. composed before the second century, This Gospel of the Birth of Mary and several of them were forged so is for the most part the same with late as the third century, and were the Prot-evangelion or Gospel of rejected as spurious at the time they James (which nevertheless it conwere attempted to be imposed upon tradicts in many places); and both the heathen world.-A brief state are the production of some Helle. ment of the dates of the pieces pistic Jew. Both also were rejectcontained in the Apocryphal New ed by the antient writers. The Testament (with the exception of two Gospels of the Infancy (the the writings of the apostolic fathers second of which bears the name which are omitted for the reason of Thomas) seem to have been already stated) will demonstrate originally the same ; but the anthis fact.
tient Gospel of Thomas was difThus, the pseudo-Epistles of ferent from those of the Infancy Abgarus Prince of Edessa, and of of Christ. They were received as Jesus Christ, which were never genuine only by ihe Marcosians, a heard of, until published by Euse- branch of the sect of Gnostics, bius in the fourth century. Though in the beginning of the second an Epistle of Paul to the Laodi- century; and were known to Mo
was extant in the second hammed or the compilers of the century, and was received by Mar- Koran, who took from them several cion the heretic, who was notori- idle traditions concerning Christ's ous for his mutilations and interpo- infancy. The Gospel of NicodeJations of the New Testament, yet mus, also called the Acts of Pilate, that now extant is not the same with was forged by Leucius Charinus, the antient one under that title in at the latter end of the third or in Marcion's Apostolicon, or collec- the beginning of the fourth century, tion of apostolical epistles. It who was a noted forger of the never was extant in Greek, and is Acts of Peter, Paul, Andrew, a production of uncertain, but un- and others of the Apostles. The questionably very late, date. Mr. Apostles' Creed derives its name, Jones conjectures it to bave been not from the fact of its having forged by some monk not long be- been composed, clause by clause, fore the Reformation; and, as will by the Twelve Apostles (of wbich be shewn in a subsequent page, it we have no evidence); but because was compiled from several passages it contains a brief summary of the of St. Paul's Epistles. The sir doctrines which they taught. It Epistles of Paul to Seneca, and is nearly the same with the creed eight of the philosopher to him, of Jerusalem, which appears to be were never heard of, until they the most antient summary of the were mentioned by Jerome and Christian faith that is extant; and Augustine, two writers who lived the articles of which have been at the close of the fourth century; collected from the catechetical disand who do not appear to have courses of Cyril, who was bishop considered them as genuine. lo of Jerusalem in the fourth century.