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Matthew corrupted and interpolated; they had also other forged books bearing the names of apostles.
The Basilidians admitted the New Testament, but with such alterations as they judged proper : and so did the Valentinians.
The Carpocratians made use of the gospel of St Matthew.
See Tillemont Hist. Eccl. ii. p. 41, 51, 59, 109, 220, 225, 261. Quarto Edit. to which I shall always refer.
These old heretics went about in quest of fools, whom they had the art to turn into madmen :
- hic homines prorsum ex stultis insanos facit. An art, which is not to be reckoned amongst the deperdita.
Before the end of the first century, the world was pestered with the disciples of Simon, Menander, Sa. turninus, and Basilides, concerning whom see Le Clerc, Hist. Eccl.
The Basilidians made three hundred and sixty-five heavens, and were better castle-builders than those who gave us schemes of the seven heavens, which is a poor inconsiderable number. Basilides required of his followers five years silence; which was a proper method, as Le Clerc observes, to make an experiment of their folly; and indeed he might be sure that the scholar was mad in good earnest, who with a profound submission ... and silence had paid so long an attendance on a linave that taught and did a thousand absurdities. Basilides, in all probability, only required this silence from his disciples when they were in his company, and was so great a talker, that he suffered no body else to put in a word. His lectures upon the three hundred and. sixty-five heavens could not jake up less time than a
Fear, and he would never have ended them, if he had been interrupted, and obliged to answer doubters and cávillers.
The predictions of Christ concerning the calamities of the Jews could not have been inserted as interpolations after the event :
Because they are incidentally placed up and down in the gospels *, by way of parable, or in answer to
questions, * For example : Mat. V. 5. Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.' This was literally fulfilled when the believing Jews returned to their own country, after the destruction of Jerusalem,
X. 23. Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of Man be come.'
xv. 13. . Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.'
xvi. 28. “ There be some standing here, who shall not taste of death, till,' &c.
xxi, 19.• Presently the fig-tree withered away.'
xxi. 41. ' He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard to other husbandmen,' &c.
xxi. 44. “On whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.'
xxii. 7. ' He sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burnt up their city.'
xxiii. 36. ' All these things shall come upon this generation.'
Luke xi. 50. • That the blood of the prophets may be required of this generation.'
xüi. 5. ' Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.'
xiii. 9.' If it bear fruit, well ; and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.
xvi. 24. * As the lightning-so shall the Son of Man be in his day."
xix. 27. • Those mine enemies which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.' xix. 42. If thou hadst known, even thou,' &c.
xii. 28. 'Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me,' &c. . John iv. 21.' The hour cometh when ye shall neither in this mouna rain, nor yet at Jerusalem worship the Father.'
xxi. 22. If I will that he tárry till I come,' &a. VOL. I.
questions, or on account of some circumstance of time and place bringing on the discourse :
Because the books of the New Testament were received by Christians, and copied, and widely dispersed, and perhaps translated from their first appearance :
Because these predictions in the gospels are alludeck to, or the same thing is taught, in other parts of the New Testament:
Because no Jews or Pagans ever reproached the Christians with inserting them, not Trypho, not Celsus *, not Porphyry, not Julian. The objections of Trupho t are to be found in Justin Martyr, those of Celsus in Origen, those of Porphyry in Holstenius Vit. Porph. ch. xi. and Julian's in his own works and in Cyril:
Because there is in them a mixture of obscurity, and needless difficulty, necdless if they were forged. Christ foretold the destruction of the city and temple, and the calamities of the Jews, fully and clearly : but being asked when this should be, he gave an answer in a sublime and prophetic style, saying, that the sun
should To these must be added the parallel places from the other gospels, and the prophecy of Jolin the Baptist, Mat. ïïi. 10. • And now also the ax is laid to the root of the trees ; therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down, and cast into the fire,' &c.
* Whom some people call a Jew: they might as well call him a Quaker, or a Muggletonian. The man was not even a proselyte of the gate, but a mere Epicurean philosopher, who, if proper pains had been taken with him, might possibly have become a Sadducee.
+ Trypho had perused the gospels, and says to Justin, ipeã ã xj td εν τω λεγομένα Ευαγ[ελίω παραγγέλματα θαυματα έτως και μεγάλα επίσαμαι είναι, ως υπολαμβάνειν μηδένα δύνασθαι φυλάξαι αυτά μοι δεμέλησαν ένα Tuxão aüroīs. Sed et vestra illa in eo, quod vocatis, Evangelio præ. cepta ita mirabilia et magna esse scio, ut suspicio sit neminem ea posse servare; mihi enim curæ, fuit ut ea legerem. Dial.cum Tryph.
should be darkened, and the moon should not give her light, and the stars should fall from heaven, &c. which would not be easily understood, if learned and judicious commentators had not cleared it up; and this he might possibly do to perplex the unbelieving, persecuting Jews, if his discourses should ever fall into their hands, that they might not learn to avoid the impending evil. The believing Jews themselves, notwithstanding this prediction, stood in need of a second admonition, and were divinely warned to fly from Jerusalem, say Eusebius and Epiphanius *. See Euseb. iii. 5. and the notes. So loath are people to leave their own house and home, even when they see destruction at the door :
Because Christ not only foretold the destruction of Jerusalem, but the continuance of that desolation. Jerusalem, says he, shall be trodden down of the Gentiles,
till the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled. Take what in**terpretation you will, so it be not absurd, and add to
it a matter of fact, namely the state of the Jews ever since, and it must be owned that a considerable length of time is implied:
Because Christ declared that these evils should befal them for not knowing the time of their visitation, and for rejecting him ; whence it followed, that as long as their rebellion and disobedience continued, the sentence against them would not be reversed. E 2
f * Oi gãy 'Afdsomos xei pexonlai tš Ewłagos speão, sai távles oi č] Indais my sis airòn DeTISIUXótis, kiargar rös ’Ixdaics viñs gevousvoi, xaà tois dos trois ilicu fricarepórles, tòy xala râv oirévlwy Ting wódov ötsegov dvadeāvas góts idya obrtar. Ipsi apostoli ac discipuli Salvatoris nostri, et omnes, qui ex Judæis ad ipsum credentes accesserant, cum procul ab Judæa terra abessent, et reliquis essent immixti gentibus, omnem corum, qui civi.. tatem incolebant, perditionem atque interitum effugere per illud tempus facile potuerunt, Euseb. Dem. Evang. vi. 287.
If it should be said that Christ, as a wise and sagacious man, might foresee the storm,
"Eodéle juarep, öt" är os brann "Irios ipri *, this would be a disingenuous shift to evade a plain truth. Christ would not have acted suitably to his character and usual conduct, and to common prudence, if he had staked his reputation on conjectures ; and in the reign of Tiberius there was no appearance of such an event, and much less of the various circumstances attending it, which he foretold. The Romans had no interest to destroy and depopulate a country which was subject to them, and whence they reaped many advantages, and the Jews had not strength to hope for success in a war against them.
If it should be said that Christ took his prophecies from Daniel, his just interpretation of Daniel shews him to be the Messias mentioned by Daniel, since none besides himself at that time had even a tolerable claim to that character. Daniel foretold, that in seventy weeks of years, or four hundred and ninety years, a most holy person should be anointed ; that this Messias should be cut off ; that a prince should come with an army, and cause the sacrifices to cease, and plant abominable idols in the holy place, and destroy the city and temple, and make the land utterly desolate, and put an end to the Jewish polity, ch. ix. But Christ is more explicit and circumstantial than Daniel, and in many respects his prediction was new and altogether his own.
Josephus says, that the Zealots trampled under foot all laws divine and human, and made a jest of their own sacred books, and derided the writings of the prophets. yenato dè ta' Jeid, sy ro's tüv w fo@ntwv Jerut's Wrzep αγυρίικας λογοποιίας έχλεύαζον--disκα αιutem quoque deride
bantur, * The day will come, when sacred Troy shall fall.