Слике страница

have been borrowed from your imagination only, as I shall easily prove. I cannot raise Epiphanius himself from the dead to solve the question concerning his opinion, nor do I wish to disturb the good father's repose; but, though dead, he speaks sufficiently plain for my purpose in the following passage:

“ Wherefore the blessed John coming, and finding men employed about the humanity of Christ, and the Ebionites being in an error about the earthly genealogy of Christ, deduced from Abraham, carried by Luke as high as Adam, and finding the Cerinthians and Merinthians maintaining that he was a mere man, born by natural generation of both the sexes, and also the Nazarenes, and many other heresies; as coming last, (for he was the fourth to write a gospel,) began as it were to call back the wanderers, and those who were employed about the humanity of Christ; and seeing some of them going into rough paths, leaving the strait and true path, cries, Whither are you going, whither are you walking, who tread a rough and dangerous path, leading to a precipice? It is not so.

The God, the Logos, which was begotten by the Father from all eternity, is not from Maryonly. He is not from the time of Joseph, he is not from the time of Salathiel, and Zorobabel, and David, and Abraham, and Jacob, and Noah, and Adam; but in the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God. The was, and the was, and the was, do not admit of his having ever not been.

Perhaps you will say that this testimony of Epiphanius is “ forged” by me, as you charge me with respect to the same writer.f I therefore beg, that you would examine the passage yourself. You will find my reference to it sufficiently exact.

After reading this passage, can any person entertain a

Διο και ο Ιωαννης ελθων ο μακαριος, και εύρων της ανθρωπος ησχολημενες περι την κατω Χριςο παράσιαν, και των Εβιωναιων πλανηθεντων δια την ενσαρχον Χριςο γενεαλογιαν, απο Αβρααμ καταγομενην, και Λεκα αναγομενην αχρι το Αδαμ' εύρων δε τες Κορινθιανες και Μηρινθιανες εκ παρατριβης αυτον λεγοντας ειναι ψιλον ανθρωπον, και της Ναζωραιος, και αλλας πολλας αιρεσεις, ως κατοπιν ελθων, τεταρτος γαρ ούτος ευαγγελιζεται, αρχεται ανακαλεισθαι, ως ειπειν, τες πλανηθεντας, και ησχολημενες περι την κατω Χριςο παρισιαν, και λεγειν αυτοις (ως κατοπιν βαινων, και όρων τινας εις τραχειας οδες κεκλικοτας και αφεντας την ευθειαν και αληθινην, ως ειπειν) Ποι φερεσθε, που βαδιζετε, οι την τραχειαν οδον και σκανδαλωδη και εις χασμα φερεσαν βαδιζοντες και ανακαμψατε. Ουκ εςιν ούτως, ουκ εςιν απο Μαριας μονον ο Θεος λογος, ο εκ πατρος ανωθεν γεγεννημενος, ουκ εςιν απο των χρονων Ιωσηφ, τα ταυτης ορμας, ουκ εςιν απο των χρονων Σαλαθιηλ, και Ζοροβάβηλ, και Δαβίδ, και Αβρααμ, και Ιακωβ, και Νωε, και Αδαμ, αλλα εν αρχή ην ο λογος, και ο λογος ην προς τον Θεον, και Θεος ην ο λογος: το δε ην, και ην, και ην, ουκ υποδεχεται το μη ειναι ποτε. Hær. Ixix. Sect. xxiii. Epiphanii Opera, 1. ed. Paris, 1622, pp. 746, 747 (P.)

Letters, p. 13. (P.) Tracts, p. 99.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

doubt, but that, in the opinion of Epiphanius at least, (and weak as he was in some things, he stands uncontradicted in this by any authority whatever, and his account is confirmed by the most respectable ones in all antiquity,) the Nazarenes were not only a sect of Jewish Christians in the time of the apostles, but, together with the Ebionites, a very formidable sect, and that this sect held the doctrine of the simple humanity of Christ ? Did he not, as appears by this passage, consider the Nazarenes as standing in need of being taught the pre-existence and divinity of Christ, as well as the Ebionites, and the other sects that he here mentions or alludes to ?

In another place this writer compares the Nazarenes to persons who, seeing a fire at a distance, and not understanding the cause or the use of it, run towards it and burn them. selves; so “ these Jews, he says, on hearing the name of Jesus only, and the miracles performed by the apostles, believe on him; and knowing that he was born at Nazareth, and brought up in the house of Joseph, and that on that account he was called a Nazarene, (the apostles styling him a man of Nazareth, approved by miracles and mighty deeds,) imposed that name upon themselves."* How, Sir, does this agree with this writer's supposing that the Naza. renes, of whom he was treating, were well instructed in the doctrine of the divinity of Christ ? Also, how does this agree with the late origin that you give to these Nazarenes?

You, Mr. Archdeacon, are pleased to deny the existence even of the Ebionites in the time of the apostles, contrary, I will.venture to say, to the unanimous testimony of all antiquity. Jerome, giving an account of the reasons that moved John to write his gospel, mentions the Ebionites not only as a sect, but a flourishing sect in the time of that apostle. See the following passage from his catalogue of ecclesiastical writers: John, the apostle whom Jesus (especially] loved, the son of Zebedee, and brother of James, (the apostle,] who was beheaded by Herod after the death of Christ, wrote his gospel, the last of all, (at the entreaty of the bishops of Asia,) against Cerinthus and other heretics, and especially the doctrine of the Ebionites, then gaining ground, who said that

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Ακέσαντες γαρ μονον ονομα Ιησε, και θεασαμενοι τα θεοσημεια τα δια χειρων των απος ολων γινομενα, και αυτοι εις Ιησεν πιςευρσι γνoντες δε αυτον εκ Ναζαρετ εν γαςρι εγκυμονηθεντα, και εν οικω Ιωσηφ ανατραφεντα, και δια τετο εν τω ευαγγελιώ Ιησεν τον Ναζωραιον καλεισθαι, ως και οι αποστολοι φασιν Ιησεν τον Ναζωραιον ανδρα, αποδεδειγμενον εν τε σημειους και τερασι και τα εξης: τετο το ονομα επιτιθέασιν αυτοις, το καλεισθαι Nasupaies. Hær. xxix. Sect. v. Opera, 1. p. 121. (P.)

[ocr errors]

Christ had no being before he was born of Mary, whence he was compelled to declare his divine origin.”*_This is only one out of many authorities that I could produce for this purpose, and it is not possible to produce any to the contrary

“ As a certain proof,” you say, that the Ebionites and Nazarenes “ were two distinct sects,” Mosheim “ observes, that each had its own gospel.”+ But in answer to this opinion of Mosheim's, I shall give you another, which I think of equal authority, viz. that of Mr. Jeremiah Jones, with whom I find I have had the happiness to bring you acquainted ;# and I can introduce him with the greater confidence of his being well received, as he was as orthodox as yourself. As he is a writer entirely new to you, I shall give his whole paragraph on the subject.

“ It is plain there was a very great agreement between these two ancient sects; and though they went under different names, yet they seem only to have differed in this, that the Ebionites had made some addition to the old Nazarene system. For Origen expressly tells us, Ka. E6wναιοι χρηματιζοσι οι απο Ιεδαιων τον Ιησεν ως Χριςον παραδεξαpsyou. They were called Ebionites who from among the Jews own Jesus to be the Christ. And though Epiphanius seems to make their gospels different, calling one Tampesatov, most entire, yet this need not move us. For if the learned Casaubon's conjecture should not be right, that we should read the same, viz. ou aangesatov in both places, (which yet is very probable for any thing Father Simon has proved to the contrary,) yet will the difficulty be all removed at once by this single consideration, that Epiphanius never saw any gospel of the Nazarenes ; for though he calls it aangesatov, yet the himself says, ουκ οιδα δε ει και τας γενεαλογιας περιειλον, that he did not know whether they had taken away the genealogy, as the Ebionites had done; i. e. having never seen the Nazarene gospel, for aught he knew it might be the very same with that of the Ebionites, as indeed it most certainly was.”

As I have perceived that the opinion of the moderns has

[ocr errors]


“ Joannes, Apostolus quem Jesus amavit plurimum, filius Zebedæi, frater Jacobi Apostoli, quem Herodes post passionem domini decollavit, novissimus omnium scripsit evangelium, rogatus ab Asiæ episcopis, adversus Cerinthum, aliosque hæreticos, et maxime tunc Ebionitarum dogma consurgens, qui asserunt Christum ante Mariam non fuisse, unde et compulsus est divinam ejus naturam edicere.” Opera, I. p. 273. (P.) Letters, p. 27. (P.) Tracts, p. 128. Supra, p. 60. See Tracts, p. 127. § Jones on the Canon, I. p. 586. (P.)


sometimes great weight with you, I shall transcribe part of a note of the learned translator of Mosheim, on this subject. “This gospel,” he says, “ which was called indiscriminately the gospel of the Nazarenes or Hebrews, is certainly the same with the gospel of the Ebionites, the gospel of the xii, apostles,” &c., and, after referring to other authors, he says, “ the reader will, however, find a still more accurate and satisfactory account of this gospel, in the first volume of the learned and judicious Mr. Jones's incomparable method of settling the canonical authority of the New Testament."

But in my opinion Jerome has sufficiently decided this question against you. Could he have had any other idea than that these two sects, (if they were properly two) used the same gospel, when he said, “ in the gospel used by the Nazarenes and Ebionites which is commonly called the authentic gospel of Matthew, which I lately translated from Hebrew into Greek,&c.t

You further say, “ The Ebionites acknowledged no part of the Old Testament but the Pentateuch, nor the whole of that;" and therefore that Hegesippus' citing “ the Proverbs of Solomon by a title which implied his acknowledgment of the book,” is a proof “ that he was not an Ebionite." I know of no sufficient evidence that the Ebionites did not acknowledge the authority of all that we call the canonical books of the Old Testament. Symmachus, whose translation of the Scriptures into Greek is so often quoted, and with the greatest approbation, by the fathers, was an Ebionite, and Jerome says the same of Theodotion. They both translated the other books of the Old Testament as well as the Pentateuch, and, as far as appears, without making any distinction between that and the other books; and can this be thought probable, if they had not considered them as entitled to equal credit? Besides, our Saviour's acknowlegdment of the authority of the whole of the Old Testament is so express, that I cannot readily believe that any Christians, Jews especially, acknowledging his authority, would reject what he admitted.

What you say can be only on the authority of Epiphanius, and that you ought to have known is in effect contradicted

* Eccles. Hist. I. p. 173. (P.) Cent. ii. Pt. ii. Ch, v., Note f.

† “ In Evangelio quo utuntur Nazareni et Ebionitæ, quod nuper in Græcum de Hebræo sermone transtulimus, et quod vocatur plerisque Matthæi authenticum, &c. Io Matt. xii. 13." Opera, VI. p. 21. (P.)

+ Lottan


[ocr errors]

by Irenæus, who says that the Ebionites “ expounded the prophecies too curiously;' Quæ autem sunt prophetica curiosius exponere nituntur.* Grabe says that Ebion wrote an exposition of the prophets, as he collected from some fragments of the work, of which he gives some account in his note on the place. By Ebion we may understand some Ebionite; for I much doubt the existence of such a person as Ebion, the Ebionites being mentioned long before the name Ebion occurs in ecclesiastical writers.

It is an argument in favour of the identity of the Nazarenes and Ebionites, that the former are not mentioned by name by any writer who likewise speaks of the Ebionites before Epiphanius, though the people so called afterwards, were certainly known before his time. The term Ebionites occurs in Irenæus, Tertullian, Origen and Eusebius ; but none of them make any mention of Nazarenes; and yet it cannot be denied that they must have been even more considerable in the time of these writers than they were afterwards ; for, together with the Ebionites, (if there was any difference between them,) they dwindled away till, in the time of Austin, they were admodum pauci, very few.

Origen must have meant to include those who were called Nazarenes under the appellation of Ebionites, because he speaks of the Ebionites as being the whole body of Jewish Christians; and the Nazarenes were Christian Jews as well as they. Jerome seems to use the two terms promiscuously; and in the passage of his letter to Austin, so often quoted in this controversy, I cannot help thinking he makes them to be the same.

The conduct of these writers is easily accounted for, on the supposition of the Jewish Christians having been first known to the Gentiles by the name of Ebionites only, before the appellation of Nazarenes, (by which they had been distinguished by their unbelieving brethren,) came to be generally known abroad. It must be more particularly difficult, on your principles, to account for the conduct of Eusebius, whose business, as an historian, it certainly was, to have noticed the Nazarenes if they had been different from the Ebionites whom he has mentioned; and even you allow them to have had their rise in the time of Adrian, whose expedition against the Jews he particularly mentions.

On this subject of the Ebionites I must take some notice of what you say in defence of Eusebius, who says that

* Iren. L. i. C. xxvi. (P.)

« ПретходнаНастави »