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existence commenced at the birth of Christ; affirming, without fear of contradiction, that no Jew of any age ever held the opinion of his preexistence, much less ever regarded him as an object of divine worship." But that the Jewish doctrine before Christ, upon this point, was totally different from that which the Unitarians assert it to have been, Dr. Laurence has shown in his remarks upon the first book of Ezra.' The apocryphal work, however, which bears the name of Enoch, affords fuller and more decisive testimony on this subject; and as the true doctrine concerning the person of Christ is of vital importance to every one who bears the Christian name, the reader (we trust) will not be displeased to see the testimony of this Jewish writer. " The Apocryphal Enoch," says Dr. Laurence, “evidently copies after Daniel : so much so indeed, that his more minute delineation of the prophet's vision may be regarded as explanatory of its meaning according to the received doctrine of the Jews in his own day. In this point of view at least his sentiments are of considerable importance, because necessarily uninfluenced by Christian prepossessions. Alluding to the Son of Man, he says
“ BEFORE the sun and the signs were created, before the stars of heaven were formed, his name was invoked in the presence of the Lord of spirits.... Al who dwell on earth, shall fall down AND WORSHIP Before Him; shall bless and glorify him; and sing praises to him in the name of the Lord of spirits.... Therefore the Elect and the Concealed One Existed in kis presence BEFORE THE WORLD WAS CREATED AND FOR EVER. Again, when speaking of the terror which shall afflict the great rulers of the earth in the day of judgment, he expresses himself in the following manner :-" They shall be astonished, and humble their countenance, and trouble shall seize them, when they behold the Son of the Woman sitting upon the throne of his glory. Then shall the kings, the princes, and all who possess the earth, glorify him who has dominion over all things, him who was concealed : for, FROM THE BEGINNING, the Son of Man existed in secret, whom the most high preserved in the presence of his power, and revealed to the elect.... All the kings, the princes, the exalted, and those who rule over the earth, shall fall down on their faces before him, and SHALL WORSHIP HIM. They shall fir their hopes on this Son of Man, AND SHALL PRAY TO HIM, AND PETITION HIM FOR MERCY."3
In these passages the pre-existence of the Messiah is asserted in language, which admits not the slightest shade of ambiguity. But allusion is made in this apocryphal production not only to the Elect One, or to the Messiah, “ but also to another Divine Person or Power ; both of whom, under the joint denomination of the Lords, are stated to have been over the water, that is, over the fluid mass of unformed matter, at the period of creation.” “ He,” (the Elect One) it is stated, “ shall call to every power of the heavens, to all the holy above, and to the power of God. The Cherubim, the Seraphim, and the Ophanim, all the angels of power, and all the angels of the Lords, namely, of the Elect one, and of the other Power, who upon earth were over their water on that day, shall raise their united voice," &c.* “ In this passage an obvious reference occurs to the first verse in Genesis, in which it is said that the Spirit of God mored upon the face of the waters. As therefore the more full description of the Son of Man, here given, may be considered as the Jewish comment of the day upon the vision of Daniel, so, also” (says Dr. Laurence) " I
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1 Pp. 320, 321.
2 Chap. xlviii. 3,4,5.
apprehend must the last quoted allusion to the book of Genesis be considered as a comment of the same nature upon that account of Moses, which describes the comniencement of creation. Here then we have not merely the declaration of a Plurality, but that of a precise and distinct Trinity, of persons, under the supreme appellation of Lords ; two of whom, denominated the elect One and the other (divine) Power, are represented as not less engaged than the Lord of Spirits himself, in the formation of the world. And it should be added, that, upon these, as upon the more immediate agents in the work of creation, a particular class of angels is mentioned as appropriately attendant...... There is no allegory here ; but a plain and clear, though slight, allusion to a doctrine, which, had it not formed a part of the popular creed at the time, would scarcely have been intelligible. Three Lords are enumerated ; the Lord of Spirits, the Lord the Elect One, and the Lord the other Power, the two latter of whom, as well as the former, are described as Creators; an enumeration, which evidently implies the acknowledge ment of three distinct Persons, participating in the name and in the power of the Godhead. Such therefore, from the evidence before us, appears to have been the doctrine of the Jews, respecting the divine nature, ANTECEDENTLY to the rise and promulgation of Christianity."
The Ascension of Isaiah, also, is of considerable value, though it is confessedly a spurious production of an unknown Jewish Christian author. In matters of faith indeed, it is to us of no authority whatever ; but, having been written so early as the close of A. D. 68, or the commencement of 69, it is good evidence of the practice, worship, and opinions which existed at the era of its composition, though these, like all other opinions, must ultimately be brought to the test of Scripture and rational criticism. Thus, the author of this production, has distinctly spoken of the miraculous Incarnation of Jesus Christ, and of his prior existence with the Father, and the Holy Spirit, in the same manner as the Universal Church of Christ has ever done. The ninth chapter is particularly worthy of notice, on account of the testimony which it affords to the divine worship of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit by Christians (which many in the present age deny to have been the fact,) only thirty-two or thirty-three years after the resurrection and ascension of our Saviour. In this chapter there is a very particular relation of a vision, which the author represents the prophet Isaiah to have had of the LORD CHRIST, whom a host of saints and angels were in the very act of worshipping and glorifying; and the prophet, who had before been forbidden to worship an angel, is by the angelic conductor of the scene expressly directed to worship CHRIST. Nor is an inferior degree of exaltation ascribed to the Holy Spirit. Him as well as Jesus Christ (who in this tract is called the Beloved, the Elect, and the Son of God) all the saints and angels are said to approach, worship and glorify. The following extract, containing the twenty-seventh to the forty-second verse of the chapter referred to, will furnish at once the evidence and the proof of the preceding remarks.
“Then I beheld one standing, whose glory surpassed that of all, whose glory was great and wonderful.
And while I was contemplating him, all the saints and angels, whom I had seen, advanced towards him. Adam, Abel, Seth, and all the saints of old approached, WORSHIPPED, and glorified him, all with united voice. I myself also glorified with them, and my glorifying resembled theirs. Immediately all the angels approached, WORSHIPPED, and glorified.
1 Dr. Lauronce's Prel. Diss. pp. xliii. xlvi.
He then became changed, and appeared like an angel :
When instantly that angel, who was conducting me, said, “Worsyir Hıx;' and I worshipped.
The angel added ; 'This is the LORD OF ALL THE GLORY (that is, Jesus Christ), which thou hast beheld.
And while I was still conversing, I perceived another glorious being, who was similar to him in appearance, and whom the saints approached, worshipped, and glorified, while I myself also glorified with them; but his glory was not transformed into a glory resembling theirs.
Immediately also the angels approached and woRSHIPPED.
The second, which I saw, was upon the left hand of my Lord. I asked who this was. My conductor said to me; Worship him ; for this is the angel of the HOLY SPIRIT, who speaks by thee and other saints.'
Then the eyes of my soul being opened, I beheld a great glory; but immediately became incapable of seeing, as well the angel, who was with me, as all the angels, whom I had before seen worshipping my Lord. Nevertheless I perceived, that the saints with great strength beheld that glory
. My LORD now approached me and THE ANGEL OF THE Spirit, and said, Behold it has been permitted thee to see God, and on thy account strength has been given to the angel, who is with thee.'
Then I saw that my Lord worshipped and the angel of the Holy Spirit, and that both of them together glorified God.
When immediately all the saints approached, and WORSHIPPED.
In another part of the same work, where Isajah and the other prophets are represented as hearing " the voice of the Holy Spirit,” it is added (ch. vi. verses 8, 9.)
“ And immediately when they heard it, they all worsuiPPED THE VOICE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, all worshipped upon their knees, and glorified the God of righteousness, the exalted One, who exists in the world above, him, who dwells on high, the Holy One, him, who resides in the saints;
Giving GLORY TO Him, because he had thus graciously granted an entrance to another world, had graciously granted it to man."
On the preceding passages the learned editor of the Ascension of Isaiah remarks, with equal force and truth, that should not even these extracts satisfy those, who, in support of a favourite hypothesis
, adyance every thing but retract nothing, proof still more convincing may be adduced ; for the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinctly recognised as objects of adoration in heaven jointly with the Father. "In tbe sixth heaven, it is said that “all invoKED the first, the FATHER, and his Beloved, The Christ, and the Holy Spirit, with united voice."?
Stronger and more decisive testimony than this it is impossible to adduce for the fact, that the first Christians did adore the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, as well as God the Father.
1 Ascensio Isaiæ, pp. 174. 128, 129.
2 Ibid. pp. 125. 174.
der Co Ei
ON THE WRITINGS
USUALLY CALLED THE APOCRYPHAL BOOKS OF THE
1. Enumeration of these apocryphal writings.-II. External evidence to
show that they were never considered as inspired or canonical.—III. Internal Evidence.-IV. These apocryphal books are so far from affecting the credibility of the genuine books of the New Testament, that the latter
are confirmed by them. 1. It is not wonderful that, besides those which are admitted to be canonical books of the New Testament, there were many others which also pretended to be authentic. Men of the best intentions might think it incumbent on them to preserve, by writing, the memory of persons, facts, and doctrines, so precious in their estimation, who might at the same time be deficient in the talents and information requisite to discriminate, and duly to record the truth. The sacred writers intimate that such men had already begun, even in their time, to appear; and gave warning that others would arise, less pure in their motives. Luke says that many had taken in hand to write gospels (Luke i. 1.); Paul cautions the Galatians against other gospels than that which they had received from him (Gal. i. 6—9.); and warns the Thessalonians not to be troubled by any letter as from him, declaring that the day of Christ is at hand.” (2 Thes. ii. 2.) In the ages following the apostles, the apocryphal writings, which were published under the names of Jesus Christ and his apostles, their companions, &c. (and which are mentioned by the writers of the first four centuries under the names of gospels, epistles, acts, revelations, &c.) greatly increased. Most of them have long since perished, though some few are still extant, which have been col. lected, (together with notices of the lost pieces) and published by John Albert Fabricius, in his Coder Apocryphus Novi Testamenti, the best edition of which appeared at Hamburg, in 1719_1743 in three parts, forming two volumes 8vo.? Of this work the Rev. and learned Mr. Jones made great use, and in fact translated the greater part of it, in his New and Full Method of settling the canonical Authority of the New Testament.' The apocryphal books extant are, an epistle from Jesus Christ to Abgarus; his Epistle, which it is pretended) fell down from heaven at Jerusalem, directed to a priest named Leopas, in the city of Eris; the Constitutions of the Apostles; the Apostles' Creed; the Apostolical Epistles of Barnabas, Clemens or Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp; the gospel of the infancy of our Saviour ; the gospel of the birth of Mary; the prot-evangelion of James ; the gospel of Nicodemus ; the Martyrdom of Thecla or Acts of Paul ; Abdias's History of the Twelve Apostles ; the Epistle of Paul to the Laodiceans ;3 the Sir Epistles of Paul to Seneca,
1 See an alphabetical catalogue of them, with references to the fathers by whom they were mentioned, in Jones on the Canon, vol. i. pp. 119–123.
* Another apocryphal book, purporting to be the acts of the apostle Thomas has lalely been discovered at Paris. It was published at Leipsic in the early part of the present year (1822) with the following title : Thoma Apostoli Acta, nunc primum ex MSS. Parisi. ensibus edidit, prolegomenis et notis illustravit, Dr. Jo. Car. Thilo. Præmissa est Notilia de nova Codicis Apocryphi Novi Testamenti editione. Lipsiæ, 1822. 8vo,
3 That St. Paul did not write any epistle to the Laodiceans, ses Vol. IV. Part II. Chap. III Sect. VII. S II.
&c. Of these various productions, those of which the titles are printed in Italics are comprised in a late publication entitled " The Apocryphal New Testament, being all the Gospels, Epistles, and other Pieces nouo extant, attributed in the first four centuries to Jesus Christ, his Apostles, and their companions, and not included in the New Testament by its compilers. Translated and now collected into one volume, with Prefaces and Tables, and various Notes and References. London, 1820."-Second edition, 1821, 8vo. The writings ascribed to Barnabas, Ignatius (at least his genuine epistles,) Polycarp, and Hermas, ought not in strictness to be considered as apocryphal, since their authors, who are usually desig. nated the Apostolical Fathers, from their having been contemporary for a longer or a shorter time with the Apostles of Jesus Christ, were not divinely inspired apostles. The first epistle of Clement to the Corinthians indeed was for a short time received as canonical in some few Christian churches, but was soon dismissed as an uninspired production ; the fragment of what is called the second epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, Dr. Lardner has proved not to have been written by binu. These productions of the apostolical fathers, therefore, have no claim to be considered as apocryphal writings.
As the external form of the Apocryphal New Testament? harmonises with that of the larger octavo editions of the authorised English Ver. sion of the New Testament, the advocates of infidelity have availed themselves of it, to attempt to undermine the credibility of the genuine books of the New Testament. The preface to the compilation entitled · The Apocryphal New Teslament,' is, certainly, so drawn up, as apparently to favour the views of the opposers of divine revelation; but as its editor has DISCLAIMED any sinister design in publishing it, the writer of these pages will not impute any such motives to him.
II. In order however that the reader may see How LITTLE the sacred writings of the New Testament can suffer from this publication, a brief
1 This is a misnomer; for all the apocryphal writings are not included in the publication in question.
2 The title page is surrounded with a broad black rule, similar to that found in many of the large 8vo.
editions of the New Testament, printed in the last century; and the different books are divided into chapters and verses, with a table of contents, drawn up in imitation of those which are found in all editions of the English Bible.
3 In 1698 Mr. Toland published his Amyntor, in which he professed to give a catalogue of books, attributed in the primitive times to Jesus Christ, his apostles
, and other eminent persons, " together with remarks and observations relating to the canon of scripture." He there raked together whatever he could find relating to the spurious gospels
, and pretended sacred books, which appeared in the early ages of the Christian church. These he produced with great pomp to the number of eighty and upwards, and though they were most of them evidently false and ridiculous, and carried the plainest marks of forgery and imposture, of which, no doubt, he was very sensible, yet he did what he could to represent them as of equal authority with the four gospels
, and other sacred books of the New Testament, now received among Christians. To this end he took advantage of the unwary and ill-grounded hypothesis of some learned men, and endeavour'd to prove that the books of the present canon lay concealed in the coffers of private persons, till the later times of Trajan or Adrian, and were not known to the clergy or churches of those times, nor distinguished from the spurious works of the heretics; and that the scriptures, which we now receive as canonical, and others which we now reject, were indifferently and promiscuously cited and appealed to by the most antient Christian writers. His design in all this, manifestly was to show, that the gospels and other sacred writings of the New Testament, now acknowledged as canonical
, really deserve no greater credit, and are no more to be depended upon, than those books. which are rejected and exploded as forgeries. And yet he had the confidence to pretend, in a book he afterwards published, that his intention in his Amyntor, was not to invalidate, but to illustrate and confirm the canon of the New Testament. This may