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very much to our present purpose. We must by all means observe what is here said or hinted concerning St. Matthew's and St. Mark's gospels, the Acts of the apostles, some other books of the N. T. and the story contained in the gospel according to the Hebrews.
1. Of St. Matthew's Gospel. 1. Here is an authentic testimony to the genuineness of the gospel of St. Matthew. It was well known in the time of Papias. No one doubted but it was written by him.
2. Papias says, this gospel was written in Hebrew. The same thing we shall hereafter find often affirmed by ancient christian writers. Nevertheless, some very learned men have disputed this. They think succeeding writers have taken this account upon trust from Papias, without duly considering the matter. I think it must be allowed there are not in our Greek gospel of St. Matthew any marks of a translation : but of this I shall say no more here.
3. The particular observation concerning St. Matthew's gospel, that it was written in Hebrew, seems to imply, that it is the only gospel that was originally written in that language. 4. He says, 'every one interpreted it as he was able'
. Which some have thought to be one specimen of this man's weak capacity: for it requires some knowledge in the Hebrew tongue, to interpret a book written in that language.
5. Allowing St. Matthew's gospel to have been written in Hebrew, it does not follow from what Papias says, that there was then no Greek gospel of St. Matthew, or that Papias knew of no such. Papias collected accounts of former things from any persons wbom he thought credible. What he says, therefore, of every one interpreting it as he was able, may relate only to some short time after it was written. All that can be concluded from what Papias says, is, that he thought the gospel of Matthew was writteu originally in Hebrew; and that for some time, till a Greek translation was published, every one interpreted it as he could.
That at the time of Papias, and before, there was extant a Greek gospel of St. Matthew, is apparent from the quotations or allusions of the apostolical fathers, particularly those of Ignatius and Polycarp; there being a great agreement between them and our Greek gospel, not only in sense, but also in the very words.
2. Of St. Mark's Gospel.
1. Here is an authentic testimony to the gospel of St. Mark. What Papias writes concerning it he had received from the presbyter, meaning undoubtedly the presbyter John. The presbyter said, Mark was the interpreter and follower of Peter, and the gospel written by him was composed out of Peter's sermons. And better materials no man could have. Nor could any man, not an apostle himself, have better advantages for writing a gospel, than frequent hearing the apostle, and intimate conversation with him.
2. But we need not be determined absolutely by the judgment of the elder, that Mark did not write in the order in which things were spoken or done by Christ. For though Peter in his sermons might not always deliver things in the order of time in which they happened, nor in each sermon every particular here related; yet there was usually in his sermons some regard to the order of time. And Mark, who long attended on him, and often heard him preach, would certainly be able to put the whole together, when he came to write, very much in the order of time in which things were spoken or done. And if Peter's public instructions had not fully qualified himn for writing a regular history, he had in his conversation with Peter frequent opportunities of making farther inquiries about any matters he doubted of.
3. The presbyter, according to this account, put the credit and authority of Mark's gospel upon its being a true and faithful relation of the preaching, or sermons, of the apostle Peter. This is manifest from every particular there mentioned.
4. However, it ought by no means to be overlooked, that in another place Eusebius, after he had put down what Clement of Alexandria says of Mark's gospel, adds : • And I Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, agrees with him.'
What St. Clement says there is to this purpose: that St. Peter's hearers at Rome were desirous of having his sermons written down for their use: that they made their request to Mark, to leave them a written memorial of the doctrine they had received by word of mouth: that they did not desist from their entreaties till they had prevailed upon him: that when the apostle Peter knew what bad been done, he was pleased with the zeal of the men,
a Hist. Ec. 1. 2. c. 15.
. And we
and confirmed that writing by his authority, that it might be read in the churches. This is related,' says Eusebius,
• . by Clement in the sixth book of his Institutions; and Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, agrees with him.'
From this passage of Eusebius it has been concluded by learned men, that Papias had related not only what we have before seen in the foregoing chapter from the elder, but likewise that Peter had confirmed Mark's gospel. So thought Mr. Richardson, who has written with so much judgment on the canon of the New Testament. learn,' says he, from Eusebius, that both Papias and • Clement of Alexandria attested, that the Romans having 'prevailed with St. Mark to write his gospel, what he had • done was revealed to St. Peter by the Holy Ghost, who,
thereupon, authorized the work, and appointed it to be *read publicly in the church.'
But to this I crave leave to say two things :
First, That this same passage from Clement of Alexandria is related by Eusebius in another place differently, and I think in some respects more accurately than here. There Eusebius informs us, that Clement says, when Mark had composed his gospel, he delivered it to them that
had asked it of him. Which when" Peter knew, he neither • forbid it nor encouraged it. But of this I say no more here. When we come to Clement himself, we shall farther consider these two accounts of Eusebius : how they may be reconciled, and which is the most accurate.
Secondly, Whichsoever of these two accounts is the more accurate; supposing that Clement did write, that when Peter · knew what was done, he confirmed the writ
ing by his authority, that it might be read in the church-, .es; yet it cannot be inferred from Eusebius, that Papias had said all this. Eusebius says: “And Papias, bishop of • Hierapolis, agrees with Clement. Such observations as these are, in my opinion, to be interpreted cautiously. These words of Eusebius do not imply, that Papias had expressly related every thing there said by Clement; but only in general, that the two accounts of St. Mark's gospel given by Clement and Papias are agreeable to each other. They agree in the author of that gospel, that he was a disciple and companion of St. Peter, and that it was composed
-κυρωσαι τε την την εις εντευξιν ταις εκκλησιαις-συνεπιμαρτυρει δ' αυτό και ο Ιεραπολιτης επισκοπος, ονοματι Παπιας.
$ The Canon of the N. T. vindicated, p. 34. ed. third, 1619. i H. Ec. l. vi. c. 14.
“Όπερ επιγνοντα τον Πετρον, προτρεπτικος μητε κωλυσαι, μητε προτρεψασθαι. p. 216. Β.
out of that apostle's sermons. But because Papias is said to agree with Clement, it is by no means necessary to suppose he had delivered every particular contained in that passage of Clement,
3. Of the Acts of the Apostles. Papias does undoubtedly give some confirmation to the history of the Acts of the Apostles, in what he says of Philip; and especially in what he says of Justus, called Barsabas. But I think it cannot be affirmed, that he did particularly mention, or refer to, the book of the Acts. For I reckon, it is Eusebius himself who adds that quotation out of the Acts, upon occasion of what Papias had written of the before-mentioned Barsabas,
4. Of the Epistles of Peter and John, 1. Papias evidently confirms the genuineness and authority of the first epistle of Peter, and the first of John.
2. Papias had written nothing of the second epistle of Peter, or of the other epistles of John. If he had, Eusebius would certainly have taken notice of it. These epistles were doubted of and contradicted by some in his time. He therefore diligently observed whatever he met with concerning them in ancient writers, and fails not of informing his readers of it.
3. Nevertheless, nothing can be inferred from the silence of Papias to the prejudice of the genuineness of these epistles. He no where designed to give a catalogue of the writings of these apostles. All Eusebius says is, ' Papias • brought testimonies out of the first epistle of John, and the • first of Peter likewise.' That he has alleged no passages out of the other is not at all strange. Papias dealt chiefly in unwritten traditions, and had no particular occasion to quote any other epistles of those apostles. He confirms these, therefore, without prejudicing the rest.
5. Of the Revelation. I think it also highly probable, that Papias had read the book of the Revelation. And this may be confirmed from the passage of Irenæus, where he mentions him. But I
, apprehend too that it may be fairly concluded from what Eusebius says of the two Johns, that Papias had no where in these five books expressly said, that the Revelation was written by John the apostle. However, I do not take the
silence of Papias in this matter to be any objection to that supposition. Who was the author of that book was well known in his time: but he might have no particular occasion to mention him.
And it is observable that Andrew, bishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, who is supposed to have flourished about the year 500, in the preface to his Commentary upon the Revelation, mentions Papias, together with others who had borne testimony to this book, in this manner: “But we * judge it needless,' says Andrew, “ to enlarge on the divine • inspiration of this book, to which so many blessed men • bear a credible testimony: as Gregory the divine, and
Cyril, and others more ancient than they ; I mean Papias, * Irenæus, Methodius, and Hippolytus.'
6. Of the Gospel according to the Hebrews. Papias gives no confirmation to this gospel. Eusebius says, he had a history, which
• which is contained in the Gospel according to the Hebrews. The words of Eusebius are remarkable. He does not say, that this story was taken out of that gospel, or that Papias had quoted, or brought testimonies out of it. This gospel seems to have contained several stories and relations, or circumstances of things, added to the gospel of St. Matthew. It is not at all wonderful that Papias, who collected unwritten traditions, should have one story found or contained' in the Gospel according to the Hebrews. When these additions were inserted in that gospel is uncertain : possibly about the time of Papias, possibly after it; and if they were a little before it is not very material. I conclude however that Papias had no where quoted that gospel. And I infer therefore likewise, that when Papias spoke of St. Matthew's gospel, he spoke of his Greek gospel, which he was well acquainted with. He had received some tradition by word of mouth, that it was written originally in Hebrew. But as for any Hebrew gospel of Matthew in his time, he knew nothing of it, being a perfect stranger to that language.
It may be thought that I have been too particular in my remarks upon Papias, a man of small capacity. But I esteem the testimony very valuable, which he has given to
v Vid. Cav. H. L. T. i.
Περι μεντοι τ8 θεοπνευσ8 της βιβλα περιττον μηκυνειν τον λογον ηγεμεθα, των μακαριων, Γρεγορια το θεολογ8,-προσετι δε και αρχαιοτερων, Παπιε, Ειρηναις, Μεθοδια, και Ιππολυτε, ταυτη προσμαρτυρεντων το αξιοπισον. Andr. Proleg. ad Αpoc. p. 3. B. C. ad calcem. T. 8. Opp. S. Chrys. Ed. Morell.