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ETTISOLOS, which by us is rendered daily,' is not used by any of the learned Greeks; nor is it,' says he, in use with the vulgar: but it seems to have been coined by the evangelists; for both Matthew and Luke agree in using it without any difference.' He goes on to say, that they also who translated the Old Testament into Greek, had some words peculiar to themselves.' It is somewhat strange that Origen should here take no notice of St. Matthew's Greek gospel being a translation, if he thought so.
In his commentaries upon the second Psalm, he makes mention of two Hebrew copies which he had seen, and observes a difference between them in disposing the first two Psalms, and then how they were disposed in the Septuagint version. Again, (to mention no more instances of this sort,) upon Ps. iii. 7, he consults the Hebrew copies, and finds a difference from the Seventy. Well, why did not Origen inquire also for Hebrew copies of St. Matthew's gospel?
In his Commentaries upon St. John he observes, John P Baptist in the three gospels, says, "I am not sufficient;" but in John," I am not worthy.' It is wonderful that Origen, who was so nice and exact, and minded such little things, did not compare likewise the Hebrew of St. Matthew, if he thought this evangelist had written in that language.
It is true that in two or three places of Origen's works, which were transcribed formerly, we find the gospel according to the Hebrews cited; and in one of those places it is brought into a kind of comparison with a history related in the first three evangelists; but then it is in such a manner as to afford no ground at all for supposing he thought that an authentic edition of St. Matthew's gospel. In the place where he says there were many differences in
ὁμοιον δε και επ' αλλων οἱ ἑρμηνευοντες τα Εβραϊκα πεποιήκασι. De Orat. p. 245. D. 246. A. Tom. i. Bened.
Και εν ταις
* Δυσιν εντυχοντες Εβραϊκοις αντιγράφοις, εν μεν τῷ ἑτερῳ εὑρομεν αρχην δευτερο ψαλμε ταυτα εν δε τῳ ἑτερῳ συνήπτετο τῳ πρωτῳ. Πραξεσι δε των Αποςόλων το, υἱος με ει συ, εγω σημερον γεγεννηκα σε, ελέγετο είναι το πρωτο ψαλμο [Acts xiii. 33.] τα Ελληνικα μεντοι αντιγραφα δευτερον ειναι τε τον μηνυει. In Ps. ii. p. 537. F. Tom. ii. Bened.
• Ότι συ επαταξας παντας τες εχθραινοντας μοι ματαίως, κ. λ.] Τῷ Εβραϊκῳ εντυχοντες, τῳ ματαίως, εδαμως εύρομεν δυναμενον δηλεσθαι Ibid. p. 554. A. - Ο τοινυν Ιωαννης φησι παρα μεν τοις
τρισιν, εκ ειναι ἱκανος, παρα δε τῳ Ιωαννη, εκ ειναι αξιος. Comm. in Joh. p. 127. A. Huet. See Matt. iii. 11; Mark i. 7; Luke iii. 16; See num. xxiv. 2. p. 536, 537.
and John i. 27.
Την μεν εν εν τοις αντιγραφοις της παλαιας διαθηκης διαφωνιαν, Θες δίδοντος, εύρομεν ιασασθαι, κριτηρίω χρησαμενοι ταις λοιπαις εκδοσεσιν. κ. λ. Comm. in Matt. p. 382. A. Tom. i. Huet.
the copies of the gospels, he makes mention of what he had done for correcting the errors crept into the Greek edition of the Old Testament then in use; and takes notice of the helps and advantages he had for that purpose, by comparing the Hebrew original and the several Greek versions of it; intimating, at the same time, that he had not such helps for attaining the right readings in the gospels. But certainly, if St. Matthew's gospel had been written in Hebrew, the original edition might have been of great use for correcting the Greek copies of that gospel at least; and it was an advantage very fit to be taken notice of, and could not easily have been omitted.
I cannot but think, therefore, Origen was not fully satisfied that St. Matthew wrote his gospel in Hebrew. Undoubtedly there was such a tradition, as he himself owns; but it is likely he did not altogether rely upon it. This was said by some; but perhaps the account was not so attested as to demand a ready assent. If Origen had believed St. Matthew's gospel to have been written in Hebrew, in all probability he would have been induced to inquire for it; and if his belief had been well grounded, it can hardly be doubted but he might have found it upon inquiry. Origen had an intimate friendship with the chief bishops of Palestine; he could not but be well known to all the christians in general in that country, none of whom would have refused to lend him their copies of any book of the New Testament in their possession. At one word spoken by him, Ambrose, and the notaries employed by him, and many others, would have sought for Hebrew copies of St. Matthew's gospel; and if there had been any such in that country, or near it, there would have been brought to him as many as he desired. Nevertheless Origen does not appear to have ever seen such a copy; therefore there was no such thing in being as an authentic Hebrew gospel of St. Matthew: if there had, how could it have escaped the industry and inquisitiveness of Origen?
XXXI. Origen then received as divine scripture the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; the Acts of the Apostles, written by the evangelist Luke; thirteen epistles of the apostle Paul; and likewise the epistle to the Hebrews, which he continually quotes as Paul's, though in one place he delivers his opinion that the sentiments only of the epistle were the apostle's, the phrase and composition of some one else, whose he did not certainly know. He
* Ος· και παραδέδοται πρώτος λοιπων τοις Εβραιοις εκδεδωκεναι το ευαγγε λιον, τοις εκ περιτομης πιςευεσιν. In Joh. p. 123. C. See above, p. 499.
received likewise the first epistle of Peter, and the first of John. We learn from him also that the epistle of James, the second of Peter, the second and third of John, and the epistle of Jude, were then well known, but not universally received as genuine; nor is it evident that Origen himself received them as sacred scripture. He owns the book of the Revelation for the writing of John the apostle and evangelist; he quotes it as his without hesitation; nor does it appear that he had any doubt about its genuineness or authority. Origen does mightily recommend the reading of the scriptures of the Old and New Testament, received in the churches as sacred and divine. From the large collection here made of his quotations of ecclesiastical and apocryphal writings, and from the observations that have been made upon them, I presume it appears that none of these were esteemed by him as books of authority, from whence doctrines might be proved; or scripture, in the highest sense of that word. Indeed it is not evident that Origen received, as sacred books of the New Testament, all that we now receive; but that he admitted no other beside those in our present canon, may be reckoned certain, or however in the highest degree probable. If this has been made out to satisfaction, it is a material point, and worth all the labour of this long chapter; though I hope it may likewise answer some other good purposes. Particularly, we may perceive hence, as well as from other parts of this work, that this was not with christians an age of gross darkness; at least the ministers of Christ did not encourage sloth and ignorance in the people, but earnestly excited all men to a diligent pursuit of religious knowledge, according to their several abilities and opportunities, especially by studying the holy scriptures. The various readings, explications of texts, and other matters, are left with the reader who is able to make a proper use of them.
FIRMILIAN, as we are assured by Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History, and by others, was bishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia. If we may rely upon Gregory of Nyssa, he was descended from an honourable family in that country; but that account has been disputed. Čaved supposes that Firmilian was ordained bishop of the fore-mentioned city in the year 233; Basnage and Tillemont think he obtained that honour sooner. They argue this from some words of Eusebius, where he speaks of Firmilian's flourishing at the tenth year of the emperor Alexander, when Origen left Alexandria, in the year 231.
Firmilian was present at a council in Iconium, which Tillemont thinks i could not be held later than 232, though Valesius and Cave place it in 235. There seems to have been a council atm Antioch in the year 252, on account of Novatus, at which Firmilian was present. He was likewise at the council of Antioch, in the cause of Paul of Samosata, in the year 264 or 265. He is said to have been° twice at Antioch upon that account; but when the council was met at Antioch, in which Paul was condemned and deposed, as he was coming thither, he died at Tarsus, in the latter part of the year 269, of a great age, as may be well concluded from the commencement of his episcopate.
Firmilian sided with St. Cyprian in the dispute about baptizing heretics that returned to the catholic church, and * Διέπρεπε δε εν τετῳ Φιρμιλιανος Καισαρείας της Καππαδοκων επισκοπος. Eus, H. E. 1. vi. cap. 26. Vid. et lib. vii. cap. 28. init.
• Φιρμιλιανῳ των ευπατρίδων Καππαδοκῃ. Greg. Nyss. Τ. iii. p. 542. C. Vit. Thaumat. c Vid. Basn. ann. 269. viii. e Ut supra.
a Hist. Lit. P. i. p. 86.
Tillem. T. iv. P. ii. p. 646. St. Firmilien.
Eusebius's words, note a.
8 I have cited h Quod totum nos jampridem
in Iconio, qui Phrygiæ locus est, collecti in unum, convenientibus ex Galatiâ, et Ciliciâ, et cæteris proximis regionibus, confirmavimus, &c. Firmilian. ap. Cyprian. p. 221. i Tillem. ibid.
k Val. Not. ad Eus. p. 143.
I Cav. H. L. P. ii. p. 62. n Eus. 1. vii. Tillem. as before, p. 654;
m Vid. Euseb. 1. vi. cap. 46. p. 247. D. cap. 28. • Euseb. ibid. cap. 30. p. 279. D.
Ibid. p. 280. A. B. and Basnage, as before.
upon that subject wrote a long letter to St. Cyprian, which is still extant; but whereas undoubtedly it was written in Greek, we have now only a Latin translation: however it may be reckoned a good one, since learned men are generally agreed in allowing it to have been made by St. Cyprian himself, whose style it resembles. This letter was written in the year 256, and near the end of it.
St. Basil" makes a general mention of writings which Firmilian had left behind him, without saying expressly what they were. It may be argued that they were not very numerous, or not much known, since Jerom had not allotted any distinct article in his Catalogue of Ecclesiastical Writers for this eminent bishop.
As the letter to St. Cyprian, the only remaining piece of our author, was not written before the year 256, perhaps I should have chosen to place him about that time: but since Cave, and other learned moderns, speak of Firmilian as flourishing about the year 233, (and according to Eusebius himself he was a person of note at that time, or sooner,) and the matter is of no great importance, I have determined not to innovate.
Firmilian had an earnest zeal for what he thought to be the truth, as his letter to St. Cyprian shows; which is also confirmed by what the council at Antioch, in 269 or 270, say of his condemning the opinions of Paul of Samosata, bishop of that city. He was, besides, a man of prudence and moderation; for to him it is ascribed by the said council, that Paul was not deposed in a former council met at the same place. And who knows whether Firmilian, if he had lived to be present at this last assembly, might not have prevented the deposition of Paul, or at least once more deferred the sentence then pronounced?
Though Firmilian seems not to have made any great figure as an author, he was well known in the world, and highly esteemed by his contemporaries, and by following ages. There is honourable mention made of him by
Inter Epistolas Cyprianicas. Ep. 75, p. 217, &c. Oxon. 1682.
t Vid. Basnag. A. 269. viii. Tillem. p. 651.
Ταυτην και Φιρμιλιανῳ τῳ ἡμετέρῳ μαρτυρεσι την πίσιν οἱ λόγοι οὓς
KATEλITE. Basil. de S. Sp. cap. 29. T. ii. p. 360. E.
* Ο Φιρμιλιανος, και δις αφικομενος, κατέγνω μεν των ὑπ' εκεινε και
voroμspevov, k. λ. Ap. Eus. 1. vii. cap. 30. p. 279. D.
* Επαγγειλαμενο [Παυλε] δε μεταθήσεσθαι, πιςευσας και ελπίσας ανευ τινος περι τον λογον λοιδορίας το πραγμα εις Θεόν καταςησεσθαι, ανεβάλετο, *. X. Ibid. p. 280. A.
* Eus. H. E. 1. vii. cap. 5. p. 251. D.