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Walter Richard Cassels

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Title: Supernatural Religion, Vol. I. (of III)
       An Inquiry into the Reality of Divine Revelation

Author: Walter Richard Cassels

Release Date: August 28, 2011 [EBook #37231]
Last Updated: January 25, 2013

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by David Widger




By Walter Richard Cassels

In Three Volumes: Vol. I.

Complete Edition.

Carefully Revised.


Longmans, Green, And Co.,


PG EDITOR'S NOTE: This file has been provided with an image of the original scan for each page which is linked to the page number. Nearly every page in the text has many Greek passages which have been indicated where they occur by [———] as have many complex tables; these passages may be viewed in the page images. Some of the pages have only a few lines of text and then the rest of the page is taken up with complex footnotes in English, Greek and Hebrew. The reader may click on the page numbers to see the entire page with the footnotes. —DW























In preparing a complete edition of this work, I have revised it throughout. I have not hesitated to make any alterations, omissions or additions which seemed to me likely to improve it. I have endeavoured as much as possible to avoid presenting openings for side issues, and, with this object, I have softened statements which, however sustainable in themselves, might give rise to discussions apart from the direct purpose of the Inquiry. Wherever my argument has appeared to me either involved or insufficiently expressed I have as freely recast it as my limits permitted, and I have in several parts introduced new data discovered or elaborated since the work was first written, or which I may then have overlooked.

In one instance only has any alteration been requisite which demands special mention here. Since the sixth edition was published, I have been convinced that Marcion's Gospel was based upon our third Synoptic, and I have accordingly so far modified my results. It may not be unnecessary, however, plainly to repeat that, with this exception, which is not of material consequence, my convictions not only remain fundamentally unchanged, but have been confirmed and strengthened both by thorough reconsideration of my own argument, and by careful attention to the replies made by able official apologists. As regards the philosophical and other objections


to miracles, their cogency is so fully recognized that Bampton Lecturers and eminent Churchmen practically abandon miracles as evidence, and press upon their brethren the necessity of reconstructing the Christian argument The necessity of reconstruction is indeed apparent, but the materials have not yet been made manifest. Meanwhile, such apologists have been forced virtually to repudiate the great Christian representatives who have hitherto defended the Faith. The case may fairly be considered desperate when the crew throw their officers overboard by way of lightening the ship. The historical argument is not in a better position. The learned professors and critics who have undertaken to deal with it do not even pretend, except perhaps in the case of Papias, to do more than assert the anonymous use of the Gospels by some of the Fathers, and their consequent existence; but, if this were established, what support could that give to the record of miracles? As for Papias, with his Hebrew Matthew and fragmentary indirect Mark, even if secured as a solitary witness to the composition of two Gospels, he would prove but a fatal friend to the apologetic cause.

The "Conclusions" have been almost entirely rewritten. This was essential to the finished work; but it was further necessary in order more adequately to convey my own views, and to withdraw expressions regarding the Unknowable, hitherto used from consideration for prevalent ideas and feelings, which I now recognize to have been too definite and calculated to mislead.



This work has scarcely yet been twelve months before the public, but both in this country, and in America and elsewhere, it has been subjected to such wide and searching criticism by writers of all shades of opinion, that I may perhaps be permitted to make a few remarks, and to review some of my Reviewers. I must first, however, beg leave to express my gratitude to that large majority of my critics who have bestowed generous commendation upon the work, and liberally encouraged its completion. I have to thank others, who, differing totally from my conclusions, have nevertheless temperately argued against them, for the courtesy with which they have treated an opponent whose views must necessarily have offended them, and I can only say that, whilst such a course has commanded my unfeigned respect, it has certainly not diminished the attention with which I have followed their arguments.

There are two serious misapprehensions of the purpose and line of argument of this work which I desire to correct. Some critics have objected that, if I had succeeded in establishing the proposition advanced in the first part, the second and third parts need not have been written: in fact, that the historical argument against miracles is only necessary in consequence of the failure of the philosophical. Now I contend that the historical is the necessary complement of the


philosophical argument, and that both are equally requisite to completeness in dealing with the subject. The preliminary affirmation is not that miracles are impossible, but that they are antecedently incredible. The counter allegation is that, although miracles may be antecedently incredible, they nevertheless actually took place. It is, therefore, necessary, not only to establish the antecedent incredibility, but to examine the validity of the allegation that certain miracles occurred, and this involves the historical inquiry into the evidence for the Gospels which occupies the second and third parts. Indeed, many will not acknowledge the case to be complete until other witnesses are questioned in a succeeding volume.

The view I have taken is clearly supported by Mr. Mill. In his recently published "Essays on Religion," he directly replies to the question whether any evidence can suffice to prove a Divine Revelation, and defines what the nature and amount of that evidence must be. He shows that internal evidences, that is to say, the indications which the Revelation itself is thought to furnish of its divine origin, can only be negative. The bad moral character of the doctrines of an alleged Revelation, he considers, may be good reason for rejecting it, "but the excellence of their morality can never entitle us to ascribe to them a supernatural origin: for we cannot have conclusive reason for believing that the human faculties were incompetent to find out moral doctrines of which the human faculties can perceive and recognise the excellence. A Revelation, therefore," he decides, "cannot be proved divine unless by external evidence; that is, by the exhibition of supernatural facts."(1)


He maintains that it is possible to prove the reality of a supernatural fact if it actually occurred; and after showing the great preponderance of evidence against miracles, or their antecedent incredibility, he proceeds: "Against this weight of negative evidence we have to set such positive evidence as is produced in attestation of exceptions; in other words, the positive evidences of miracles"(2) This is precisely what I have done. In order to show that Mr. Mill's estimate of the nature of this positive evidence for miracles does not essentially differ from the results of this work, the following lines may be quoted:—

"But the evidence of miracles, at least to Protestant Christians, is not, in our day, of this cogent description. It is not the evidence of our senses, but of witnesses, and even this not at first hand, but resting on the attestation of books and traditions. And even in the case of the original eye-witnesses, the supernatural facts asserted on their alleged testimony, are not of the transcendent character supposed in our example, about the nature of which, or the impossibility of their having had a natural origin, there could be little room for doubt. On the contrary, the recorded miracles are, in the first place, generally such as it would have been extremely difficult to verify as matters of fact, and in the next place, are hardly ever beyond the possibility of having been brought about by human means or by the spontaneous agencies of nature."

The second point to which I desire to refer is a statement which has frequently been made that, in the second and third parts, I endeavour to prove that the four canonical Gospels were not written until the end of the second century. This error is of course closely connected with that which has just been discussed, but it is difficult to understand how any one who had taken the slightest trouble to ascertain the nature of the argument, and to state it fairly, could have fallen into it. The fact is that no attempt is made to prove anything with regard to the Gospels. The evidence for them is merely examined, and it is found that, so far from their affording


sufficient testimony to warrant belief in the actual occurrence of miracles declared to be antecedently incredible, there is not a certain trace even of the existence of the Gospels for a century and a half after those miracles are alleged to have occurred, and nothing whatever to attest their authenticity and truth. This is a very different thing from an endeavour to establish some special theory of my own, and it is because this line of argument has not been understood, that some critics have expressed surprise at the decisive rejection of mere conjectures and possibilities as evidence. In a case of such importance, no testimony which is not clear and indubitable could be of any value, but the evidence producible for the canonical Gospels falls very far short even of ordinary requirements, and in relation to miracles it is scarcely deserving of serious consideration.

It has been argued that, even if there be no evidence for our special gospels, I admit that gospels very similar must early have been in existence, and that these equally represent the same prevailing belief as the canonical Gospels: consequently that I merely change, without shaking, the witnesses. Those who advance this argument, however, totally overlook the fact that it is not the reality of the superstitious belief which is in question, but the reality of the miracles, and the sufficiency of the witnesses to establish them. What such objectors urge practically amounts to this: that we should believe in the actual occurrence of certain miracles contradictory to all experience, out of a mass of false miracles which are reported but never really took place, because some unknown persons in an ignorant and superstitious age, who give no evidence of personal knowledge, or of careful investigation, have written an account of them, and other


persons, equally ignorant and superstitious, have believed them. I venture to say that no one who advances the argument to which I am referring can have realized the nature of the question at issue, and the relation of miracles to the order of nature.

The last of these general objections to which I need now refer is the statement, that the difficulty with regard to the Gospels commences precisely where my examination ends, and that I am bound to explain how, if no trace of their existence is previously discoverable, the four Gospels are suddenly found in general circulation at the end of the second century, and quoted as authoritative documents by such writers as Irenĉus. My reply is that it is totally unnecessary for me to account for this. No one acquainted with the history of pseudonymic literature in the second century, and with the rapid circulation and ready acceptance of spurious works tending to edification, could for a moment regard the canonical position of any Gospel at the end of that century either as evidence of its authenticity or early origin. That which concerns us chiefly is not evidence regarding the end of the second but the beginning of the first century. Even if we took the statements of Irenĉus, and later Fathers like the Alexandrian Clement, Tertullian,

and Origen, about the Gospels, they are absolutely without value except as personal opinion at a late date, for which no sufficient grounds are shown. Of the earlier history of those Gospels there is not a distinct trace, except of a nature which altogether discredits them as witnesses for miracles.

After having carefully weighed the arguments which have been advanced against this work, I venture to express strengthened conviction of the truth of its conclusions.


The best and most powerful reasons which able divines and apologists have been able to bring forward against its main argument have, I submit, not only failed to shake it, but have, by inference, shown it to be unassailable. Very many of those who have professedly advanced against the citadel itself have practically attacked nothing but some outlying fort, which was scarcely worth defence, whilst others, who have seriously attempted an assault, have shown that the Church has no artillery capable of making a practicable breach in the rationalistic stronghold. I say this solely in reference to the argument which I have taken upon myself to represent, and in no sense of my own individual share in its maintenance.

I must now address myself more particularly to two of my critics who, with great ability and learning, have subjected this work to the most elaborate and microscopic criticism of which personal earnestness and official zeal are capable. I am sincerely obliged to Professor Lightfoot

and Dr. Westcott for the minute attention they have bestowed upon my book. I had myself directly attacked the views of Dr. Westcott, and of course could only expect him to do his best or his worst against me in reply; and I am not surprised at the vigour with which Dr. Lightfoot has assailed a work so opposed to principles which he himself holds sacred, although I may be permitted to express my regret that he has not done so in a spirit more worthy of the cause which he defends. In spite of hostile criticism of very unusual minuteness and ability, no flaw or error has been pointed out which in the slightest degree affects my main argument, and I consider that every point yet objected to by Dr. Lightfoot, or indicated by Dr.


Westcott, might be withdrawn without at all weakening my position. These objections, I may say, refer solely to details, and only follow side issues, but the attack, if impotent against the main position, has in many cases been insidiously directed against notes and passing references, and a plentiful sprinkling of such words as "misstatements" and "misrepresentations" along the line may have given it a formidable appearance, and malicious effect, which render it worth while once for all to meet it in detail.

The first point (1) to which I shall refer is an elaborate argument by Dr. Lightfoot regarding the "Silence of Eusebius." (2) I had called attention to the importance of considering the silence of the Fathers, under certain conditions;(3) and I might, omitting his curious limitation, adopt Dr. Lightfoot's opening comment upon this as singularly descriptive of the state of the case: "In one province more especially, relating to the external evidences for the Gospels, silence occupies a prominent place." Dr. Lightfoot proposes to interrogate this "mysterious oracle," and he considers that "the response elicited will not be at all ambiguous." I might again agree with him, but that unambiguous response can scarcely be pronounced very satisfactory for the Gospels. Such silence may be very eloquent, but after all it is only the eloquence of—silence. I have not yet met with the argument anywhere that, because none of the early Fathers quote our Canonical Gospels, or say anything with regard to them, the fact is unambiguous


evidence that they were well acquainted with them, and considered them apostolic and authoritative. Dr. Lightfoot's argument from Silence is, for the present at least, limited to Eusebius.

The point on which the argument turns is this: After examining the whole of the extant writings of the early Fathers, and finding them a complete blank as regards the canonical Gospels, if, by their use of apocryphal works and other indications they are not evidence against them, I supplement this, in the case of Hegesippus,

Papias, and Dionysius of Corinth, by the inference that, as Eusebius does not state that their lost works contained any evidence for the Gospels, they actually did not contain any. But before proceeding to discuss the point, it is necessary that a proper estimate should be formed of its importance to the main argument of my work. The evident labour which Professor Lightfoot has expended upon the preparation of his attack, the space devoted to it, and his own express words, would naturally lead most readers to suppose that it has almost a vital bearing upon my conclusions. Dr. Lightfoot says, after quoting the passages in which I appeal to the silence of Eusebius:

"This indeed is the fundamental assumption which lies at the basis of his reasoning; and the reader will not need to be reminded how much of the argument falls to pieces, if this basis should prove to be unsound. A wise master-builder would therefore have looked to his foundations first, and assured himself of their strength, before he piled up his fabric to this height. This our author has altogether neglected to do." (1)

Towards the close of his article, after triumphantly expressing his belief that his "main conclusions are irrefragable," he further says:


"If they are, then the reader will not fail to see how large a part of the argument in 'Supernatural Religion' has crumbled to pieces." (1)

I do not doubt that Dr. Lightfoot sincerely believes this, but he must allow me to say that he is thoroughly mistaken in his estimate of the importance of the point, and that, as regards this work, the representations made in the above passages are a very strange exaggeration. I am unfortunately too familiar, in connection with criticism on this book, with instances of vast expenditure of time and strength in attacking points to which I attach no importance whatever, and which in themselves have scarcely any value. When writers, after an amount of demonstration which must have conveyed the impression that vital interests were at stake, have, at least in their own opinion, proved that I have omitted to dot an "i," cross a "t," or insert an inverted comma, they have really left the question precisely where it was. Now, in the present instance, the whole extent of the argument which is based upon the silence of Eusebius is an inference regarding some lost works of three writers only, which might altogether be withdrawn without affecting the case. The object of my investigation is to discover what evidence actually exists in the works of early writers regarding our Gospels. In the fragments which remain of the works of three writers, Hegesippus, Papias, and Dionysius of Corinth, I do not find any evidence of acquaintance with these Gospels,—the works mentioned by Papias being, I contend, different from the existing Gospels attributed to Matthew and Mark. Whether I am right or not in this does not affect the present discussion. It is an unquestioned fact that Eusebius does not mention that the lost works of these


writers contained any reference to, or information about, the Gospels, nor have we any statement from any other author to that effect. The objection of Dr. Lightfoot is limited to a denial that the silence of Eusebius warrants the inference that, because he does not state that these writers made quotations from or references to undisputed canonical books, the lost works did not contain any; it does not, however, extend to interesting information regarding those books, which he admits it was the purpose of Eusebius to record. To give Dr. Lightfoot's statements, which I am examining, the fullest possible support, however, suppose that I abandon Eusebius altogether, and do not draw any inference of any kind from him beyond his positive statements, how would my case stand? Simply as complete as it well could be: Hegesippus, Papias, and Dionysius do not furnish any evidence in favour of the Gospels. The reader, therefore, will not fail to see how serious a misstatement Dr. Lightfoot has made, and how little the argument of "Supernatural Religion" would be affected even if he established much more than he has attempted to do.

We may now proceed to consider Dr. Lightfoot's argument itself. He carefully and distinctly defines what he understands to be the declared intention of Eusebius in composing his history, as regards the mention or use of the disputed and undisputed canonical books in the writings of the Fathers, and in order to do him full justice I will quote his words, merely taking the liberty, for facility of reference, of dividing his statement into three paragraphs. He says:

"Eusebius therefore proposes to treat these two classes of writings in two different ways. This is the cardinal point of the passage.


(1) Of the Antilegomena he pledges himself to record when any ancient writer employs any book belonging to their class [——]—];

(2) but as regards the undisputed Canonical books he only professes to mention them, when such a writer has something to tell about them [——]—]. Any anecdote of interest respecting them, as also respecting the others [——]—], will be recorded.

(3) But in their case he nowhere leads us to expect that he will allude to mere quotations however numerous and however precise."(1)

In order to dispose of the only one of these points upon which we can differ, I will first refer to the third. Did Eusebius intend to point out mere quotations of the books which he considered undisputed"? As a matter of fact, he actually did point such out in the case of the 1st Epistle of Peter and 1st Epistle of John, which he repeatedly and in the most emphatic manner declared to be undisputed.(2) This is admitted by Dr. Lightfoot. That he omitted to mention a reference to the Epistle to the Corinthians in the Epistle of Clement of Rome, or the reference by Theophilus to the Gospel of John, and other supposed quotations, might be set down as much to oversight as intention. On the other hand, that he did mention disputed books is evidence only that he not only pledged himself to do so, but actually fulfilled his promise. Although much might be said upon this point, therefore, I consider it of so little importance that I do not intend to waste time in minutely discussing it. If my assertions with regard to the silence of Eusebius likewise include the supposition that he proposed to mention mere quotations of the "undisputed" books, they are so far from limited to this very subsidiary testimony that I

     2  I regret very much that some ambiguity in my language (S.
     R., i. p. 483) should have misled, and given Dr. Lightfoot
     much trouble. I used the word "quotation" in the sense of a
     use of the Epistle of Peter, and not in reference to any one
     sentence in Polycarp. I trust that in this edition I have
     made my meaning clear.


should have no reluctance in waiving it altogether. Even if the most distinct quotations of this kind had occurred in the lost works of the three writers in question, they could have proved nothing beyond the mere existence of the book quoted, at the time that work was written, but would have done nothing to establish its authenticity and trustworthiness. In the evidential destitution of the Gospels, apologists would thankfully have received even such vague indications, indeed there is scarcely any other evidence, but something much more definite is required to establish the reality of miracles and Divine Revelation. If this point be, for the sake of argument, set aside, what is the position? We are not entitled to infer that there were no quotations from the Gospels in the works of Hegesippus, Papias, and Dionysius of Corinth, because Eusebius does not record them; but, on the other hand, we are still less entitled to infer that there were any.

The only inference which I care to draw from the silence of Eusebius is precisely that which Dr. Lightfoot admits that, both from his promise and practice, I am entitled to deduce: when any ancient writer "has something to tell about" the Gospels, "any anecdote of interest respecting them," Eusebius will record it. This is the only information of the slightest value to this work which could be looked for in these writers. So far, therefore, from producing the destructive effect upon some of the arguments of "Supernatural Religion," upon which he somewhat prematurely congratulates himself, Dr. Lightfoot's elaborate and learned article on the silence of Eusebius supports them in the most conclusive manner.


Before proceeding to speak more directly of the three writers under discussion, it may be well to glance a little at the procedure of Eusebius, and note, for those who care to go more closely into the matter, how he fulfils his promise to record what the Fathers have to tell about the Gospels. I may mention, in the first place, that Eusebius states what he himself knows of the composition of the Gospels and other canonical works.(1) Upon two occasions he quotes the account which Clement of Alexandria gives of the composition of Mark's Gospel, and also cites his statements regarding the other Gospels.(2) In like manner he records the information, such as it is, which Irenĉus has to impart about the four Gospels and other works,(3) and what Origen has to say concerning them.(4) Interrogating extant works, we find in fact that Eusebius does not neglect to quote anything useful or interesting regarding these books from early writers. Dr. Lightfoot says that Eusebius "restricts himself to the narrowest limits which justice to his subject will allow," and he illustrates this by the case of Irenĉus. He says: "Though he (Eusebius) gives the principal passage in this author relating to the Four Gospels (Irenĉus, Ady. ILer. iii. 1, 1) he omits to mention others which contain interesting statements directly or indirectly affecting the question, e.g. that St. John wrote his Gospel to counteract the errors of Cerinthus and the Nicolaitans (Irenĉus, Adv. Hĉr. iii. 11, 1)." I must explain, however, that the "interesting statement" omitted, which is not in the context of the part quoted, is not advanced as information derived from any authority, but only in the course of argument, and there is nothing to distinguish it from mere personal opinion, so that on this ground Eusebius may well have passed it over. Dr. Lightfoot farther says: "Thus too when he quotes a few lines alluding to the unanimous tradition of the Asiatic Elders who were acquainted with St. John,(6) he omits the context, from which we find that this tradition had an important bearing on the authenticity of the fourth Gospel, for it declared that Christ's ministry extended much beyond a single year, thus confirming the obvious chronology of the Fourth Gospel against the apparent chronology of the Synoptists."(7) Nothing, however, could be further from the desire or intention of Eusebius than to represent any discordance between the Gospels, or to support the one at the expense of the others. On the contrary, he enters into an elaborate explanation in order to show that there is no discrepancy between them, affirming, and supporting his view by singular quotations, that it was evidently the intention of the three Synoptists only to write the doings of the Lord for one year after


the imprisonment of John the Baptist, and that John, having the other Gospels before him, wrote an account of the period not embraced by the other evangelists.(1) Moreover, the extraordinary assertions of Irenĉus not only contradict the Synoptics, but also the Fourth Gospel, and Eusebius certainly could not have felt much inclination to quote such opinions, even although Irenĉus seemed to base them upon traditions handed down by the Presbyters who were acquainted with John.

It being then admitted that Eusebius not only pledges himself to record when any ancient writer has something to "tell about" the undisputed canonical books, but that, judged by the test of extant writings which we can examine, he actually does so, let us sec the conclusions which we are entitled to draw in the case of the only three writers with regard to whom I have inferred anything from the "silence of Eusebius."

I need scarcely repeat that Eusebius held Hegesippus in very high estimation. He refers to him very frequently, and he clearly shows that he not only valued, but was intimately acquainted with, his writings. Eusebius quotes from the work of Hegesippus a very long account of the martyrdom of James;(2) he refers to Hegesippus as his authority for the statement that Simeon was a cousin [——]—] of Jesus, Cleophas his father being, according to that author, the brother of Joseph;(3) he confirms a passage in the Epistle of Clement by reference to Hegesippus;(4) he quotes from Hegesippus a story regarding some members of the family of Jesus, of the race of David, who were brought before Domitian;(5) he cites his narrative of the martyrdom of Simeon, together with other matters concerning the early Church;(6) in another place he gives a laudatory account of Hegesippus and his writings;(7) shortly after, he refers to the


statement of Hegesippus that he was in Rome until the episcopate of Eleutherus,(1) and further speaks in praise of his work, mentions his observation on the Epistle of Clement, and quotes his remarks about the Church in Corinth, the succession of Roman bishops, the general state of the Church, the rise of heresies, and other matters.(3) I mention these numerous references to Hegesippus as I have noticed them in turning over the pages of Eusebius, but others may very probably have escaped me. Eusebius fulfils his pledge, and states what disputed works were used by Hegesippus and what he said about them, and one of these was the Gospel according to the Hebrews. He does not, however, record a single remark of any kind regarding our Gospels, and the legitimate inference, and it is the only one I care to draw, is, that Hegesippus did not say anything about them. I may simply add that, as Eusebius quotes the account of Matthew and Mark from Papias, a man of whom he expresses something like contempt, and again refers to him in confirmation of the statement of the Alexandrian Clement regarding the composition of Mark's Gospel,(3) it would be against all reason, as well as opposed to his pledge and general practice, to suppose that Eusebius would have omitted to record any information given by Hegesippus, a writer with whom he was so well acquainted, and of whom he speaks with so much respect.

I have said that Eusebius would more particularly have quoted anything with regard to the Fourth Gospel, and for those who care to go more closely into the point my reasons may be briefly given. No one can read Eusebius attentively without noting the peculiar care with which he speaks of John and his writings, and the substantially apologetic tone which he adopts in regard to them. Apart from any doubts expressed


regarding the Gospel itself, the controversy as to the authenticity of the Apocalypse and second and third Epistles called by his name, with which Eusebius was so well acquainted, and the critical dilemma as to the impossibility of the same John having written both the Gospel and Apocalypse, regarding which he so fully quotes the argument of Dionysius of Alexandria,(1) evidently made him peculiarly interested in the subject, and his attention to the fourth Gospel was certainly not diminished by his recognition of the essential difference between that work and the three Synoptics. The first occasion on which he speaks of John, he records the tradition that he was banished to Patmos during the persecution under Domitian, and refers to the Apocalypse. He quotes Irenĉus in support of this tradition, and the composition of the work at the close of Domitian's reign.(3) He goes on to speak of the persecution under Domitian, and quotes Hegesippus as to a command given by that Emperor to slay all the posterity of David,(3) as also Tertullian's account,(4) winding up his extracts from the historians of the time by the statement that, after Nerva succeeded Domitian, and the Senate had revoked the cruel decrees of the latter, the Apostle John returned from exile in Patmos and, according to ecclesiastical tradition, settled at Ephesus.(5) He states that John, the beloved disciple, apostle and evangelist, governed the Churches of Asia after the death of Domitian and his return from Patmos, and that he was still living when Trajan succeeded Nerva, and for the truth of this he quotes passages from Iremeus and Clement of Alexandria.(6) He then gives an account of the writings of John, and whilst asserting that the Gospel must be universally acknowledged as genuine, he says that it is rightly put last in order amongst the four, of the composition of which he gives an elaborate description. It is not necessary to quote his account of the fourth Gospel and of the occasion of its composition, which he states to have been John's receiving the other three Gospels, and, whilst admitting their truth, perceiving that they did not contain a narrative of the earlier history of Christ. For this reason, being entreated to do so, he wrote an account of the doings of Jesus before the Baptist was cast into prison. After some very extraordinary reasoning, Eusebius says that no one who carefully considers the points he mentions can think that the Gospels are at variance with each other, and he conjectures that John probably omitted the genealogies because Matthew and Luke had given them.(7) Without further anticipating what I have to say when speaking of Papias, it is clear, I think, that Eusebius, being aware of, and interested in, the peculiar difficulties connected with the writings attributed to John, not to put a still stronger case, and quoting traditions from later and consequently less weighty authorities, would certainly have recorded with more special readiness any information on the subject given by Hegesippus, whom he so frequently lays under contribution, had his writings contained any.


In regard to Papias the case is still clearer. We find that Eusebius quotes his account of the composition of Gospels by Matthew and Mark,(1) although he had already given a closely similar narrative regarding Mark from Clement of Alexandria, and appealed to Papias in confirmation of it. Is it either possible or permissible to suppose that, had Papias known anything of the other two Gospels, he would not have inquired about them from the Presbyters and recorded their information? And is it either possible or permissible to suppose that if Papias had recorded any similar information regarding the composition of the third and fourth Gospels, Eusebius would have omitted to quote it? Certainly not; and Dr. Lightfoot's article proves it. Eusebius had not only pledged himself to give such information, and does so in every case which we can test, but he fulfils it by actually quoting what Papias had to say about the Gospels. Even if he had been careless, his very reference to the first two Gospels must have reminded him of the claims of the rest. There are, however, special reasons which render it still more certain that had Papias had anything to tell about the Fourth Gospel,—and if there was a Fourth Gospel in his knowledge he must have had something to tell about it,—Eusebius would have recorded it. The first quotation which he makes from Papias is the passage in which the Bishop of Hierapolis states the interest with which he had inquired about the words of the Presbyters, "what John or Matthew or what any other of the disciples of the Lord said, and what Aristion and the Presbyter John, disciples of the Lord,

     1 I am much obliged to Dr. Lightfoot for calling my
     attention to the accidental insertion of the words   "and
     the Apocalypse"   (S. E. i. p. 433).   This was a mere slip
     of the pen, of which no use is made, and the error is
     effectually corrected by my own distinct statements. VOL. I.


say."(l) Eusebius observes, and particularly points out, that the name of John is twice mentioned in the passage, the former, mentioned with Peter, James, and Matthew, and other Apostles, evidently being, he thinks, the Evangelist, and the latter being clearly distinguished by the designation of Presbyter. Eusebius states that this proves the truth of the assertion that there were two men of the name of John in Asia, and that two tombs were still shown at Ephesus bearing the name of John. Eusebius then proceeds to argue that probably the second of the two Johns, if not the first, was the man who saw the Revelation. What an occasion for quoting any information bearing at all on the subject from Papias, who had questioned those who had been acquainted with both! His attention is so pointedly turned to John at the very moment when he makes his quotations regarding Matthew and Mark, that I am fully warranted, both by the conclusions of Dr. Lightfoot and the peculiar circumstances of the case, in affirming that the silence of Eusebius proves that Papias said nothing about either the third or fourth Gospels.

I need not go on to discuss Dionysius of Corinth, for the same reasoning equally applies to his case. I have, therefore, only a very few more words to say on the subject of Eusebius. Not content with what he intended to be destructive criticism, Dr. Lightfoot valiantly proceeds to the constructive and, "as a sober deduction from facts," makes the following statement, which he prints in italics: "The silence of Eusebius respecting early witnesses to the Fourth Gospel is an evidence in its favour."(2) Now, interpreted even by the rules laid down


by Dr. Lightfoot himself, what does this silence really mean? It means, not that the early writers about whom he is supposed to be silent are witnesses about anything connected with the Fourth Gospel, but simply that if Eusebius noticed and did not record the mere use of that Gospel by any one, he thereby indicates that he himself, in the fourth century, classed it amongst the undisputed books, the mere use of which he does not undertake to mention. The value of his opinion at so late a date is very small.

Professor Lightfoot next makes a vehement attack upon me in connection with "The Ignatian Epistles,"(1) which is equally abortive and limited to details. I do not intend to complain of the spirit in which the article is written, nor of its unfairness. On the whole I think that readers may safely be left to judge of the tone in which a controversy is carried on. Unfortunately, however, the perpetual accusation of mis-statement brought against me in this article, and based upon minute criticism into which few care to follow, is apt to leave the impression that it is well-founded, for there is the very natural feeling in most right minds that no one would recklessly scatter such insinuations. It is this which alone makes such an attack dangerous. Now in a work like this, dealing with so many details, it must be obvious that it is not possible altogether to escape errors. A critic or opponent is of course entitled to point these out, although, if he be high-minded or even alive to his own interests, I scarcely think that he will do so in a spirit of unfair detraction. But in doing this a writer is bound to be accurate, for if he be liberal of such accusations


and it can be shown that his charges are unfounded, they recoil with double force upon himself. I propose, therefore, as it is impossible for me to reply to all such attacks, to follow Professor Lightfoot and Dr. Westcott with some minuteness in their discussion of my treatment of the Ignatian Epistles, and once for all to show the grave mis-statements to which they commit themselves.

Dr. Lightfoot does not ignore the character of the discussion upon which he enters, but it will be seen that his appreciation of its difficulty by no means inspires him with charitable emotions. He says: "The Ignatian question is the most perplexing which confronts the student of earlier Christian history. The literature is voluminous; the considerations involved are very wide, very varied, and very intricate. A writer, therefore, may well be pardoned if he betrays a want of familiarity with this subject But in this case the reader naturally expects that the opinions at which he has arrived will be stated with some diffidence."(1) My critic objects that I express my opinions with decision. I shall hereafter justify this decision, but I would here point out that the very reasons which render it difficult for Dr. Lightfoot to form a final and decisive judgment on the question make it easy for me. It requires but little logical perception to recognize that Epistles, the authenticity of which it is so difficult to establish, cannot have much influence as testimony for the Gospels. The statement just quoted, however, is made the base of the attack, and war is declared in the following terms:—


"The reader is naturally led to think that a writer would not use such very decided language unless he had obtained a thorough mastery of his subject; and when he finds the notes thronged with references to the most recondite sources of information, he at once credits the author with an 'exhaustive' knowledge of the literature bearing upon it. It becomes important therefore to inquire whether the writer shows that accurate acquaintance with the subject, which justifies us in attaching weight to his dicta as distinguished from his arguments."(l)

This sentence shows the scope of the discussion. My dicta, however, play a very subordinate part throughout, and even if no weight be attached to them, and I have never desired that any should be, my argument would not be in the least degree affected.

The first point attacked, like most of those subsequently assailed, is one of mere critical history. I wrote: "The strongest internal, as well as other evidence, into which space forbids our going in detail, has led (1) the majority of critics to recognize the Syriac version as the most genuine form of the letters of Ignatius extant, and (2) this is admitted by most of those who nevertheless deny the authenticity of any of the epistles."(2)

Upon this Dr. Lightfoot remarks:—

"No statement could be more erroneous as a summary of the results of the Ignatian controversy since the publication of the Syriac epistles than this."(1)

It will be admitted that this is pretty "decided language" for one who is preaching "diffidence." When we come to details, however, Dr. Lightfoot admits: "Those who maintain the genuineness of the Ignatian Epistles in one or other of the two forms, may be said to be almost evenly divided on this question of priority." He seems to consider that he sufficiently shows this when he mentions five or six critics on either side; but even


on this modified interpretation of my statement its correctness may be literally maintained. To the five names quoted as recognizing the priority of the Syriac Epistles may be added those of Milman, Böhringer, De Pressensé, and Dr. Tregelles, which immediately occur to me. But I must ask upon what ground he limits my remark to those who absolutely admit the genuineness? I certainly do not so limit it, but affirm that a majority prefer the three Curetonian Epistles, and that this majority is made up partly of those who, denying the authenticity of any of the letters, still consider the Syriac the purest and least adulterated form of the Epistles. This will be evident to any one who reads the context. With regard to the latter (2) part of the sentence, I will at once say that "most" is a slip of the pen for "many," which I correct in this edition. Many of those who deny or do not admit the authenticity prefer the Curetonian version. The Tubingen school are not unanimous on the point, and there are critics who do not belong to it. Bleek, for instance, who does not commit himself to belief, considers the priority of the Curetonian "im höchsten Grade wahrscheinlich.,, Volkmar, Lipsius, and Rumpf prefer them. Dr. Light-foot says:—

"The case of Lipsius is especially instructive, as illustrating this point. Having at one time maintained the priority and genuineness of the Curetonian letters, he has lately, if I rightly understand him, retracted his former opinion on both questions alike."(2)

Dr. Lightfoot, however, has not rightly understood him. Lipsius has only withdrawn his opinion that the Syriac letters are authentic, but whilst now asserting that in all their forms the Ignatian Epistles are spurious, he still


maintains the priority of the Curetonian version. He first announced this change of view emphatically in 1873, when he added: "An dem relativ grossern Alter der syrischen Textgestalt gegenuber der kürzeren griechischen

halte ich ubrigens nach wie vor fest"(1) In the very paper to which Dr. Lightfoot refers Lipsius also again says quite distinctly: "Ich bin noch jetzt überzeugt, dass der Syrer in zahlreichen Fallen den relativ ursprünglichsten Text bewahrt hat (vgl. meine Nachweise in Niedner's Zeitschr. S. 15fl)."(2) With regard to the whole of this (2) point, it must be remembered that the only matter in question is simply a shade of opinion amongst critics who deny the authenticity of the Ignatian Epistles in all forms.

Dr. Lightfoot, however, goes on "to throw some light on this point" by analysing my "general statement of the course of opinion on this subject given in an earlier passage."(3) The "light" which he throws seems to pass through so peculiar a medium, that I should be much rather tempted to call it darkness. I beg the reader to favour me with his attention to this matter, for here commences a serious attack upon the accuracy of my notes and statements, which is singularly full of error and misrepresentation. The general statement referred to and quoted is as follows:—

"Those three Syriac epistles hive been subjected to the severest scrutiny, and many of the ablest critics have pronounced them to be the only authentic Epistles of Ignatius, whilst others, who do not admit that even these are genuine letters emanating from Ignatius, still prefer them to the version of seven Greek epistles, and consider them the most ancient form of the letters which we possess.(1) As early as the sixteenth century, however, the strongest doubts were expressed regarding the authenticity


of any of the epistles ascribed to Ignatius. The Magdeburg Centuriators first attacked them, and Calvin declared (p. 260) them to be spurious,(1) an opinion fully shared by Chemnitz, Dallseus, and others, and similar doubts, more or less definite, were expressed throughout the seventeenth century,(2) and onward to comparatively recent times,(3) although the means of forming a judgment were not then so complete as now. That the epistles were interpolated there was no doubt. Fuller examination and more comprehensive knowledge of the subject have confirmed earlier doubts, and a large mass of critics recognize that the authenticity of none of these epistles can be established, and that they can only be considered later and spurious compositions.(4)"(1)

In the first note (1) on p. 259 I referred to Bunsen, Bleek, Böhringer, Cureton, Ewald, Lipsius, Milman, Ritschl, and Weiss, and Dr. Lightfoot proceeds to analyze my statements as follows: and I at once put his explanation and my text in parallel columns, italicising parts of both to call more immediate attention to the point:—

The Text. Many of the ablest critics have pronounced them to be the only authentic Epistles of Ignatius, whilst others who do not admit that even these are genuine letters emanating from Ignatius, still prefer them to the version of seven Greek Epistles, and consider them the most ancient form of the letters which we possess.(1)

Dr. Lightfoot's Statement.

"These references, it will be observed, are given to illustrate more immediately, though perhaps not solely, the statement that writers 'who do not admit that even these (the Curetonian Epistles) are genuine letters emanating from Ignatius, still prefer them to the version of seven Greek Epistles, and consider them the most ancient form of the letters which we possess.'"(2)

It must be evident to any one who reads the context(3) that in this sentence I am stating opinions expressed in favour of the Curetonian Epistles, and that the note, which is naturally put at the end of that sentence, must be intended to represent this favourable opinion, whether of those who absolutely maintain the authenticity or


merely the relative priority. Dr. Lightfoot quietly suppresses, in his comments, the main statement of the text which the note illustrates, and then "throws light" upon the point by the following remarks:—

Dr. Lightfoot's Statement:

"The reader, therefore, will hardly be prepared to hear that not one of these nine writers condemns the Ignatian letters as spurious. Bleek alone leaves the matter in some uncertainty while inclining to Bunsen's view; the other eight distinctly maintain the genuineness of the Curetonian letters."'

The Truth:

Cureton, Bunsen, Böhringer, Ewald, Milman, Ritschl, and Weiss maintain both the priority and genuineness of the Syriac Epistles. Bleek will not commit himself to a distinct recognition of the letters in any form. Of the Vossian Epistles, he says: "Aber auch die Echtheit dieser Recension ist keineswegs sicher." He considers the priority of the Curetonian "in the highest degree probable."

Lipsius rejects all the Epistles, as I have already said, but maintains the priority of the Syriac.

Dr. Lightfoot's statement, therefore, is a total misrepresentation of the facts, and of that mischievous kind which does most subtle injury. Not one reader in twenty would take the trouble to investigate, but would receive from such positive assertions an impression that my note was totally wrong, when in fact it is literally correct.

Continuing his analysis, Dr. Lightfoot fights almost every inch of the ground in the very same style. He cannot contradict my statement that so early as the sixteenth century the strongest doubts were expressed regarding the authenticity of any of the Epistles ascribed

1 "Contemporary Beview," February, 1875, p. 342. In a note Dr. Lightfoot states that my references to Lipsius are to his earlier works, where he still maintains the priority and genuineness of the Curetonian Epistles. Certainly they are so, but in the right place, two pages farther on, I refer to the writings in which he rejects the authenticity, whilst still maintaining his previous view of the priority of these letters


to Ignatius, and that the Magdeburg Centuriators attacked them, and Calvin declared them to be spurious,(1) but Dr. Lightfoot says: "The criticisms of Calvin more especially refer to those passages which were found in the Long Recension alone."(2) Of course only the Long Recension was at that time known. Rivet replies to Campianus that Calvin's objections were not against Ignatius but the Jesuits who had corrupted him.(3) This is the usual retort theological, but as I have quoted the words of Calvin the reader may judge for himself. Dr. Lightfoot then says:

"The clause which follows contains a direct misstatement. Chemnitz did not folly share the opinion that they were spurious; on the contrary, he quotes them several times as authoritative; but he says that they 'seem to have been altered in many places to strengthen the position of the Papal power, do.' "(4)

Pearson's statement here quoted must be received with reserve, for Chemnitz rather speaks sarcastically of those who quote these Epistles as evidence. In treating them as ancient documents or speaking of parts of them with respect, Chemnitz does nothing more than the Magdeburg Centuriators, but this is a very different thing from directly ascribing them to Ignatius himself. The Epistles in the "Long Recension" were before Chemnitz both in the Latin and Greek forms. He says of them: ".... et multas habent non contemnendas sententias, presertim sicut Graece leguntur. Admixta vero sunt et alia non pauca, quae profecto non referunt gravitatem Apostolicam.

     1 Calvin's expressions are: Nihil moniis illis, quro sub
     Ignatii nomine editae sunt, putidius. Quo minus tolerabilis
     est eorum impudentia, qui talibus larvis ad fallendum se
     instruunt.   Inst. Chr. Bel. i. 13, p39.


Adulteratas enim jam esse illas epistolas, vel inde colligitur." He then shows that quotations in ancient writers purporting to be taken from the Epistles of Ignatius are not found in these extant epistles at all, and says: "De Epistolis igitur illis Ignatii, quae nunc ejus titulo feruntur, merito dubitamus: transformatse enim videntur in multis locis, ad stabiliendum statum regni Pontificii."(l) Even when he speaks in favour of them he "damns them with faint praise." The whole of the discussion turns upon the word "fully", and is an instance of the minute criticism of my critic, who evidently is not directly acquainted with Chemnitz. A shade more or less of doubt or certainty in conveying the impression received from the words of a writer is scarcely worth much indignation.

Dr. Lightfoot makes a very detailed attack upon my next two notes, and here again I must closely follow him. My note (2) p. 260 reads as follows:—

"2 By Bochartus, Aubertin, Blondel, Basnage, Casaubon, Cocus, Humfrey, Rivetus, Salmasius, Socinus (Faustus), Parker, Petau, &c; &c.; cf. Jacobson, Patr. Apost., i. p. jolt.; Cureton Vindiciĉ Ignatianĉ, 1846, appendix."

Upon this Dr. Lightfoot makes the following preliminary remarks:

"But the most important point of all is the purpose for which they are quoted. 'Similar doubts' could only, I think, be interpreted from the context as doubts 'regarding the authenticity of any of the Epistles ascribed to Ignatius.'"(2)

As Dr. Lightfoot, in the first sentence just quoted, recognizes what is "the most important point of all," it is a pity that, throughout the whole of the subsequent analysis of the references in question, he persistently ignores my


very careful definition of "the purpose for which they are quoted." It is difficult, without entering into minute classifications, accurately to represent in a few words the opinions of a great number of writers, and briefly convey a fair idea of the course of critical judgment. Desirous, therefore, of embracing a large class,—for both this note and the next, with mere difference of epoch, illustrate the same statement in the text,—and not to overstate the case on my own side, I used what seemed to me a very moderate phrase, decreasing the force of the opinion of those who positively rejected the Epistles, and not unfairly representing the hesitation of those who did not fully accept them. I said, then, in guarded terms,—and I italicise the part which Dr. Lightfoot chooses to suppress,—that "similar doubts, more or less definite," were expressed by the writers referred to.

Dr. Lightfoot admits that Bochart directly condemns one Epistle, and would probably have condemned the rest also; that Aubertin, Blondel, Basnage, R. Parker, and Saumaise actually rejected all; and that Cook pronounces them "either supposititious or shamefully corrupted." So far, therefore, there can be no dispute. I will now take the rest in succession. Dr. Lightfoot says that Humfrey "considers that they have been interpolated and mutilated, but he believes them genuine in the main." Dr. Google has so completely warped the statement in the text, that he seems to demand nothing short of a total condemnation of the Epistles in the note, but had I intended to say that Humfrey and all of these writers definitely rejected the whole of the Epistles I should not have limited myself to merely saying that they expressed "doubts more or less definite," which Humfrey does. Dr. Lightfoot says that Socinus "denounces corruptions and


anachronisms, but so far as I can see does not question a nucleus of genuine matter." His very denunciations, however, are certainly the expression of "doubts, more or less definite." "Casaubon, so far from rejecting them altogether," Dr. Lightfoot says, "promises to defend the antiquity of some of the Epistles with new arguments." But I have never affirmed that he "rejected them altogether." Casaubon died before he fulfilled the promise referred to, so that we cannot determine what arguments he might have used. I must point out, however, that the antiquity does not necessarily involve the authenticity of a document. With regard to Rivet the case is different I had overlooked the fact that in a subsequent edition of the work referred to, after receiving Archbishop Ushers edition of the Short Recension, he had given his adhesion to "that form of the Epistles."(1) This fact is also mentioned by Pearson, and I ought to have observed it.(2) Petau, the last of the writers referred to, says: "Equidem haud abnuerim epistolas illius varie interpolatas et quibusdam additis mutatas, ac depravatas fuisse: turn aliquas esse supposititias: verum nullas omnino ab Ignatio Epistolas esse scriptas, id vero nimium temere affirmari sentio." He then goes on to mention the recent publication of the Vossian Epistles and the version of Usher, and the learned Jesuit Father has no more decided opinion to express than: "ut haec prudens, ac justa suspicio sit, illas esse genuinas Ignatii epistolas, quas antiquorum consensus illustribus testimoniis commendatas ac approbatas reliquit"(3)

The next note (3), p. 260, was only separated from the


preceding for convenience of reference, and Dr. Lightfoot quotes and comments upon it as follows:

"The next note, p. 260, is as follows:—(See scanned page. Ed.)

The brackets are not the author's, but my own.

This is doubtless one of those exhibitions of learning which have made such a deep impression on the reviewers. Certainly, as it stands, this note suggests a thorough acquaintance with all the by-paths of the Ignatian literature, and seems to represent the gleanings of many years' reading. It is important to observe, however, that every one of these references, except those which I have included in brackets, is given in the appendix to Cureton's Vindicia Ignatianĉ, where the passages are quoted in full. Thus two-thirds of this elaborate note might have been compiled in ten minutes. Our author has here and there transposed the order of the quotations, and confused it by so doing, for it is chronological in Cureton. But what purpose was served by thus importing into his notes a mass of borrowed and unsorted references? And, if he thought fit to do so, why was the key-reference to Cureton buried among the rest, so that it stands in immediate connection with some additional references on which it has no bearing?"(1)

I do not see any special virtue in the amount of time which might suffice, under some circumstances, to compile a note, although it is here advanced as an important


point to observe, but I call attention to the unfair spirit in which Dr. Lightfoot's criticisms are made. I ask every just-minded reader to consider what right any critic has to insinuate, if not directly to say, that, because some of the references in a note are also given by Cureton, I simply took them from him, and thus "imported into my notes a mass of borrowed and unsorted references," and further to insinuate that I "here and there transposed the order" apparently to conceal the source? This is a kind of criticism which I very gladly relinquish entirely to my high-minded and reverend opponent. Now, as full quotations are given in Cureton's appendix, I should have been perfectly entitled to take references from it, had I pleased, and for the convenience of many readers I distinctly indicate Cureton's work, in the note, as a source to be compared. The fact is, however, that I did not take the references from Cureton, but in every case derived them from the works themselves, and if the note "seems to represent the gleanings of many years' reading," it certainly does not misrepresent the fact, for I took the trouble to make myself acquainted with the "by-paths of Ignatian literature." Now in analysing the references in this note it must be borne in mind that they illustrate the statement that "doubts, more or less definite" continued to be expressed regarding the Ignatian Epistles. I am much obliged to Dr. Lightfoot for drawing my attention to Wotton. His name is the first in the note, and it unfortunately was the last in a list on another point in my note-book, immediately preceding this one, and was by mistake included in it. I also frankly give up Weismann, whose doubts I find I had exaggerated, and proceed to examine Dr. Lightfoot's further statements. He says that Thiersch


uses the Curetonian as genuine, and that his only doubt is whether he ought not to accept the Vossian. Thiersch, however, admits that he cannot quote either the seven or the three Epistles as genuine. He says distinctly: "These three Syriac Epistles lie under the suspicion that they are not an older text, but merely an epitome of the seven, for the other notes found in the same MS. seem to be excerpts. But on the other hand, the doubts regarding the genuineness of the seven Epistles, in the form in which they are known since Usher's time, are not yet entirely removed. For no MS. has yet been found which contains only the seven Epistles attested by Eusebius, a MS. such as lay before Eusebius."(1) Thiersch, therefore, does express "doubts, more or less definite." Dr. Light-foot then continues: "Of the rest a considerable number, as, for instance, Lardner, Beausobre, Schroeckh, Griesbach,

Kestner, Neander, and Baumgarten-Crusius, with different degrees of certainty or uncertainty, pronounce themselves in favour of a genuine nucleus."(2) The words which I have italicised are a mere paraphrase of my words descriptive of the doubts entertained. I must point out that a leaning towards belief in a genuine "nucleus" on the part of some of these writers, by no means excludes the expression of "doubts, more or less definite," which is all I quote them for. I will take each name in order.

Lardner says: "But whether the smaller (Vossian Epistles) themselves are the genuine writings of Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, is a question that has been much disputed, and has employed the pens of the ablest critics. And whatever positiveness some may have


shown on either side, I must own I have found it a very difficult question." The opinion which he expresses finally is merely: "it appears to me probable, that they are for the main the genuine epistles of Ignatius." Beausobre says: "Je ne veux, ni defendre, ni combattre l'authenticite' des Lettres de St. Ignace. Si elles ne sont pas veritables, elles ne laissent pas d'etre fort anciennes; et l'opinion, qui me paroit la plus raisonnable, est que les plus pures ont été inter-poises."

Schroeckh says that along with the favourable considerations for the shorter (Vossian) Epistles "many doubts arise which make them suspicious." He proceeds to point out many grave difficulties, and anachronisms which cast doubt both on individual epistles and upon the whole, and he remarks that a very common way of evading these and other difficulties is to affirm that all the passages which cannot be reconciled with the mode of thought of Ignatius are interpolations of a later time. He concludes with the pertinent observation: "However probable this is, it nevertheless remains as difficult to prove which are the interpolated passages." In fact it would be difficult to point out any writer who more thoroughly doubts, without definitely rejecting, all the Epistles.

Grtesbach and Kestner both express "doubts more or less definite," but to make sufficient extracts to illustrate this would occupy too much space.

Neander.—Dr. Lightfoot has been misled by the short extract from the English translation of the first


edition of Neander's History given by Cureton in his Appendix, has not attended to the brief German quotation from the second edition, and has not examined the original at all, or he would have seen that, so far from pronouncing "in favour of a genuine nucleus," Neander might well have been classed by me amongst those who distinctly reject the Ignatian Epistles, instead of being moderately quoted amongst those who merely express doubt. Neander says: "As the account of the martyrdom of Ignatius is very suspicious, so also the Epistles which suppose the correctness of this suspicious legend, do not bear throughout the impress of a distinct individuality, and of a man of that time who is addressing his last words to the communities. A hierarchical purpose is not to be mistaken." In an earlier part of the work he still more emphatically says that, "in the so-called Ignatian Epistles," he recognizes a decided "design" (absichtlichkeit) and then he continues: "as the tradition regarding the journey of Ignatius to Rome, there to be cast to the wild beasts, seems to me for the above-mentioned reasons very suspicious, his Epistles, which pre-suppose the truth of this tradition, can no longer inspire me with faith in their authenticity." He goes on to state additional grounds for disbelief. Baumgarten-Crusius stated in one place, in regard to the seven Epistles, that it is no longer possible to ascertain how much of the extant may have formed part of the original Epistles, and in a note he excepts only the passages quoted by the Fathers.


He seems to agree with Semler and others that the two Recensions are probably the result of manipulations of the original, the shorter form being more in ecclesiastical, the longer in dogmatic interest. Some years later he remarked that inquiries into the Epistles, although not yet concluded, had rather tended towards the earlier view that the Shorter Recension was more original than the Long, but that even the shorter may have suffered, if not from manipulations (Ueberarbeitungen) from interpolations. This very cautious statement, it will be observed, is wholly relative, and does not in the least modify the previous conclusion that the original material of the letters cannot be ascertained.

Dr. Lightfoot's objections regarding these seven writers are thoroughly unfounded, and in most cases glaringly erroneous.

     1 Dr. Lightfoot doubts, and a large mass of critics
     recognize that the authenticity of none of these Epistles
     can be established and that they can only be considered
     later and spurious compositions."

He proceeds to the next "note (4)" with the same unhesitating vigour, and characterizes it as "equally unfortunate." Wherever it has been possible, Dr. Light-foot has succeeded in misrepresenting the "purpose" of my notes, although he has recognized how important it is to ascertain this correctly, and in this instance he has done so again. I will put my text and his explanation, upon the basis of which he analyses the note, in juxtaposition, italicising part of my own statement which he altogether disregards:—

"Further examination and more References to twenty authorities comprehensive knowledge of the are then given, as belonging to the subject have confirmed earlier a large mass of critics who recognize


that the Ignatian Epistles, 'can only be considered later and spurious compositions.'"(1)

There are here, in order to embrace a number of references, two approximate states of opinion represented: the first, which leaves the Epistles in permanent doubt, as sufficient evidence is not forthcoming to establish their authenticity; and the second, which positively pronounces them to be spurious. Out of the twenty authorities referred to, Dr. Lightfoot objects to six as contradictory or not confirming what he states to be the purpose of the note. He seems to consider that a reservation for the possibility of a genuine substratum which cannot be defined invalidates my reference. I maintain, however, that it does not. It is quite possible to consider that the authenticity of the extant, letters cannot be established without denying that there may have been some original nucleus upon which these actual documents may have been based. I will analyse the six references.

Bleek.—Dr. Lightfoot says: "Of these Bleek (already cited in a previous note) expresses no definite opinion."

Dr. Lightfoot omits to mention that I do not refer to Bleek directly, but by "Cf." merely request consideration of his opinions. I have already partly stated Bleek's view. After pointing out some difficulties, he says generally: "It comes to this, that the origin of the Ignatian Epistles themselves is still very doubtful." He refuses


to make use of a passage because it is only found in the Long Recension, and another which occurs in the Shorter Recension he does not consider evidence, because, first, he says, "The authenticity of this Recension also is by no means certain," and, next, the Cureton Epistles discredit the others. "Whether this Recension (the Curetonian) is more original than the shorter Greek is certainly not altogether certain, but.... in the highest degree probable." In another place he refuses to make use of reminiscences in the "Ignatian Epistles," "because it is still very doubtful how the case stands as regards the authenticity and integrity of these Ignatian Epistles themselves, in the different Recensions in which we possess them."(1) In fact he did not consider that their authenticity could be established. I do not, however, include him here at all.

Gfrörer.—Dr. Lightfoot, again, omits to state that I do not cite this writer like the others, but by a "Cf." merely suggest a reference to his remarks.

Harless, according to Dr. Lightfoot, "avows that he must 'decidedly reject with the most considerable critics of older and more recent times' the opinion maintained by certain persons that the Epistles are 'altogether spurious,' and proceeds to treat a passage as genuine because it stands in the Vossian letters as well as in the Long Recension."

This is a mistake. Harless quotes a passage in connection with Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians with the distinct remark: "In this case the disadvantage of the uncertainty regarding the Recensions is in


part removed through the circumstance that both Recensions have the passage." He recognizes that the completeness of the proof that ecclesiastical tradition goes back beyond the time of Marcion is somewhat wanting from the uncertainty regarding the text of Ignatius. He did not in fact venture to consider the Ignatian Epistles evidence even for the first half of the second century.

Schliemann, Dr. Lightfoot states, "says that 'the external testimonies oblige him to recognize a genuine substratum,' though he is not satisfied with either existing recension."

Now what Schliemann says is this: "Certainly neither the Shorter and still less the Longer Recension in which we possess these Epistles can lay claim to authenticity. Only if we must, nevertheless, without doubt suppose a genuine substratum," &c. In a note he adds: "The external testimonies oblige me to recognize a genuine substratum—Poly-carp already speaks of the same in Ch. xiii. of his Epistle. But that in their present form they do not proceed from Ignatius the contents sufficiently show."

Hase, according to Dr. Lightfoot, "commits himself to no opinion."

If he does not deliberately and directly do so, he indicates what that opinion is with sufficient clearness. The Long Recension, he says, bears the marks of later manipulation, and excites suspicion of an invention in favour of Episcopacy, and the shorter text is not fully attested either. The Curetonian Epistles with the shortest and least hierarchical text give the impression of being an epitome. "But


even if no authentic kernel lay at the basis of these Epistles, yet they would be a significant document at latest out of the middle of the second century." These last words are a clear admission of his opinion that the authenticity cannot be established. Lechler candidly confesses that he commenced with a prejudice in favour of the authenticity of the Epistles in the Shorter Recension, but on reading them through, he says that an impression unfavourable to their authenticity was produced upon him which he had not been able to shake off. He proceeds to point out their internal improbability, and other difficulties connected with the supposed journey, which make it "still more improbable that Ignatius himself can really have written these Epistles in this situation." Lechler does not consider that the Curetonian Epistles strengthen the case; and although he admits that he cannot congratulate himself on the possession of "certainty and cheerfulness of conviction" of the inauthenticity of the Ignatian Epistles, he at least very clearly justifies the affirmation that the authenticity cannot be established.

Now what has been the result of this minute and prejudiced attack upon my notes? Out of nearly seventy critics and writers in connection with what is admitted to be one of the most intricate questions of Christian literature, it appears that—much to my regret—I have inserted one name totally by accident, overlooked that the doubts of another had been removed by the subsequent publication of the Short Recension and consequently


erroneously classed him, and I withdraw a third whose doubts I consider that I have overrated. Mistakes to this extent in dealing with such a mass of references, or a difference of a shade more or less in the representation of critical opinions, not always clearly expressed, may, I hope, be excusable, and I can only say that I am only too glad to correct such errors. On the other hand, a critic who attacks such references, in such a tone, and with such wholesale accusations of "misstatement" and "misrepresentation," was bound to be accurate, and I have shown that Dr. Lightfoot is not only inaccurate in matters of fact, but unfair in his statements of my purpose. I am happy, however, to be able to make use of his own words and say: "I may perhaps have fallen into some errors of detail, though I have endeavoured to avoid them, but the main conclusions are, I believe, irrefragable."(l)

There are further misstatements made by Dr. Lightfoot to which I must briefly refer before turning to other matters. He says, with unhesitating boldness:—

One highly important omission is significant. There is no mention, from first to last, of the Armenian version. Now it happens that this version (so far as regards the documentary evidence) has been felt to be the key to the position, and around it the battle has raged fiercely since its publication. One who (like our author) maintains the priority of the Curetonian letters, was especially bound to give it some consideration, for it furnishes the most formidable argument to his opponents. This version was given to the world by Petermann in 1849, the same year in which Cureton's later work, the Corpus Ignatianum, appeared, and therefore was unknown to him. Its bearing occupies a more or less prominent place in all, or nearly all, the writers who have specially discussed the Ignatian question during the last quarter of a century. This is true of Lipsius and Weiss and Hilgenfeld and Uhlhom, whom he cites, not less than of Merx and Denzinger and Zahn, whom he neglects to cite.

Now first as regards the facts. I do not maintain the 1 "Contemporary Review," February, 1875, p. 183.


priority of the Curetonian Epistles in this book myself, indeed I express no personal opinion whatever regarding them which is not contained in that general declaration of belief, the decision of which excites the wrath of my diffident critic, that the Epistles in no form have "any value as evidence for an earlier period than the end of the second or beginning of the third century, even if they have any value at all." I merely represent the opinion of others regarding those Epistles. Dr. Lightfoot very greatly exaggerates the importance attached to the Armenian version, and I call special attention to the passages in the above quotation which I have taken the liberty of italicising. I venture to say emphatically that, so far from being considered the "key of the position," this version has, with some exceptions, played a most subordinate and insignificant part in the controversy, and as Dr. Lightfoot has expressly mentioned certain writers, I will state how the case stands with regard to them. Weiss, Lipsius, Uhlhorn, Merx, and Zahn certainly "more or less prominently" deal with them. Denzinger, however, only refers to Petermann's publication, which appeared while his own brochure was passing through the press, in a short note at the end, and in again writing on the Ignatian question, two years after,(1) he does not even allude to the Armenian version. Beyond the barest historical reference to Petermann's work, Hilgenfeld does not discuss the Armenian version at all So much for the writers actually mentioned by Dr. Lightfoot.

As for "the writers who have specially discussed the Ignatian question during the last quarter of a century": Cureton apparently did not think it worth while to add anything regarding the Armenian version of Petermann


after its appearance; Bunsen refutes Petermann's arguments in a few pages of his "Hippolytus";(1) Baur, who wrote against Bunsen and the Curetonian letters, and, according to Dr. Lightfoot's representation, should have found this "the most formidable argument" against them, does not anywhere, subsequent to their publication, even allude to the Armenian Epistles; Ewald, in a note of a couple of lines,(2) refers to Petermann's Epistles as identical with a post-Eusebian manipulated form of the Epistles which he mentions in a sentence in his text; Dressel devotes a few unfavourable lines to them;(3) Hefele(4) supports them at somewhat greater length; but Bleek, Volkmar, Tischendorf, Bohringer, Scholten, and others have not thought them worthy of special notice, at any rate none of these nor any other writers of any weight have, so far as I am aware, introduced them into the controversy at all.

The argument itself did not seem to me of sufficient importance to introduce into a discussion already too long and complicated, and I refer the reader to Bunsen's reply to it, from which, however, I may quote the following lines:

"But it appears to me scarcely serious to say: there are the Seven Letters in Armenian, and I maintain, they prove that Coreton's text is an incomplete extract, because, I think, I have found some Syriac idioms in the Armenian text! Well, if that is not a joke, it simply proves, according to ordinary logic, that the Seven Letters must have once been translated into Syriac. But how can it prove that the Greek original of


this supposed Syriac version is the genuine text, and not an interpolated and partially forged one?" (l)

Dr. Lightfoot blames me for omitting to introduce this argument, on the ground that "a discussion which, while assuming the priority of the Curetonian letters, ignores this version altogether, has omitted a vital problem of which it was bound to give an account" Now all this is sheer misrepresentation. I do not assume the priority of the Curetonian Epistles, and I examine all the passages contained in the seven Greek Epistles which have any bearing upon our Gospels.

Passing on to another point, I say:

"Seven Epistles have been selected out of fifteen extant, all equally purporting to be by Ignatius, simply because only that number were mentioned by Eusebius."(2)

Another passage is also quoted by Dr. Lightfoot, which will be found a little further on, where it is taken for facility of reference. Upon this he writes as follows:

This attempt to confound the seven Epistles mentioned by Eusebius with the other confessedly spurious Epistles, as if they presented themselves to us with the same credentials, ignores all the important facts bearing on the question. (1). Theodoret, a century after Eusebius, betrays no knowledge of any other Epistles, and there is no distinct trace of the use of the confessedly spurious Epistles till late in the sixth century at the earliest. (2). The confessedly spurious Epistles differ widely in style from the seven Epistles, and betray the same hand which interpolated the seven Epistles. In other words, they clearly formed part of the Long Recension in the first instance. (3). They abound in anachronisms which point to an age later than Eusebius, as the date of their composition.(3)

Although I do not really say in the above that no other pleas are advanced in favour of the seven Epistles,


I contend that, reduced to its simplest form, the argument for that special number rests mainly, if not altogether, upon their mention by Eusebius. The very first reason (1) advanced by Dr. Lightfoot to refute me is a practical admission of the correctness of my statement, for the eight Epistles are put out of court because even Theodoret, a century after Eusebius, does not betray any knowledge of them, but the "silence of Eusebius," the earlier witness, is infinitely more important, and it merely receives some increase of significance from the silence of Theodoret. Suppose, however, that Eusebius had referred to any of them, how changed their position would have been! The Epistles referred to would have attained the exceptional distinction which his mention has conferred upon the rest The fact is, moreover, that, throughout the controversy, the two divisions of Epistles are commonly designated the "prae-" and "post-Eusebian," making him the turning-point of the controversy. Indeed, further on, Dr. Lightfoot himself admits: "The testimony of Eusebius first differentiates them."(1) The argument (2 and 3) that the eight rejected Epistles betray anachronisms and interpolations, is no refutation of my statement, for the same accusation is brought by the majority of critics against the Vossian Epistles.

The fourth and last argument seems more directly addressed to a second paragraph quoted by Dr. Lightfoot, to which I refer above, and which I have reserved till now as it requires more detailed notice. It is this:

"It is a total mistake to suppose that the seven Epistles mentioned by Eusebius have been transmitted to us in any special way. These Epistles are mixed up in the Medicean and corresponding ancient Latin MSS. with the other eight Epistles, universally pronounced to be spurious, without distinction of any kind, and all have equal honour."(2)


I will at once give Dr. Lightfoot's comment on this, in contrast with the statement of a writer equally distinguished for learning and orthodoxy—Dr. Tregelles:

Dr. Lightfoot. (4). "It is not strictly true that the seven Epistles are mixed up with the confessedly spurious Epistles. In the Greek and Latin MSS., as also in the Armenian version, the spurious Epistles come after the others; and this circumstance, combined with the facts already mentioned, plainly shows that they were a later addition, borrowed from the Long Recension to complete the body of Ignatian letters."(1)

Dr. Tregelles. "It is a mistake to speak of seven Ignatian Epistles in Greek having been transmitted to us, for no such seven exist, except through their having been selected by editors from the Medicean MS. which contains so much that is confessedly spurious;—a fact which some who imagine a diplomatic transmission of seven have overlooked."(2)

I will further quote the words of Cureton, for as Dr. Lightfoot advances nothing but assertions, it is well to meet him with the testimony of others rather than the mere reiteration of my own statement Cureton says:

"Again, there is another circumstance which will naturally lead us to look with some suspicion upon the recension of the Epistles of St. Ignatius, as exhibited in the Medicean MS., and in the ancient Latin version corresponding with it, which is, that the Epistles presumed to be the genuine production of that holy Martyr are mixed up with others, which are almost universally allowed to be spurious. Both in the Greek and Latin MSS. all these are placed upon the same footing, and no distinction is drawn between them; and the only ground which has hitherto been a Note to "Home's Int. to the Holy Scriptures," 12th ed., 1869, iv. p. 332, note 1. The italics are in the original.

     1 "Contemporary Beview," February, 1875, p. 347. Dr.
     Lightfoot makes the following important admission in a note:

     "The Roman Epistle indeed has been separated from its
     companions, and is embedded in the Martyrology which stands
     at the end of this collection in the Latin Version, where
     doubtless it stood also in the Greek, before the MS. of this
     latter was mutilated. Otherwise the Vossian Epistles come
     together, and are followed by the confessedly spurious
     Epistles in the Greek and Latin MSS. In the Armenian all the
     Vossian Epistles are together, and the confessedly spurious
     Epistles follow. See Zahn, Ignatius von Antiochien, p. 111."


assumed for their separation has been the specification of some of them by Eusebius and his omission of any mention of the others."'

"The external evidence from the testimony of manuscripts in favour of the rejected Greek Epistles, with the exception of that to the Philip-pians, is certainly greater than that in favour of those which have been received.' They are found in all the manuscripts, both Greek and Latin, in the same form; while the others exhibit two distinct and very different recensions, if we except the Epistle to Polycarp, in which the variations are very few. Of these two recensions the shorter has been most generally received: the circumstance of its being shorter seems much to have influenced its reception; and the text of the Medicean Codex and of the two copies of the corresponding Latin version belonging to Cains College, Cambridge, and Corpus Christi College, Oxford, has been adopted.... In all these there is no distinction whatever drawn between the former and latter Epistles: all are placed upon the same basis; and there is no ground whatever to conclude either that the arranger of the Greek recension or the translator of the Latin version esteemed one to be better or more genuine than another. Nor can any prejudice result to the Epistles to the Tarsians, to the Antiochians, and to Hero, from the circumstance of their being placed after the others in the collection; for they are evidently arranged in chronological order, and rank after the rest as having been written from Philippi, at which place Ignatius is said to have arrived after he had despatched the previous Letters. So far, therefore, as the evidence of all the existing copies, Latin as well as Greek, of both the recensions is to be considered, it is certainly in favour of the rejected Epistles, rather than of those which have been retained." (2)

Proceeding from counter-statements to actual facts, I will very briefly show the order in which these Epistles have been found in some of the principal MSS. One of the earliest published was the ancient Latin version of eleven Epistles edited by J. Faber Stapulensis in 1498, which was at least quoted in the ninth century, and which in the subjoined table I shall mark A,(3) and which also exhibits the order of Cod. Vat 859, assigned to the eleventh century.(4) The next (B) is a Greek MS. edited by Valentinus Pacĉus in 1557,(5) and the order at


the same time represents that of the Cod. Pal. 150.(1) The third (C) is the ancient Latin translation, referred to above, published by Archbishop Usher.(2) The fourth (D) is the celebrated Medicean MS. assigned to the eleventh century, and published by Vossiusin 1646.(3) This also represents the order of the Cod. Casanatensis G. V. 14.(4) I italicise the rejected Epistles: (See scanned page in the html file, Ed.)

I have given the order in MSS. containing the "Long Recension" as well as the Vossian, because, however much some may desire to exclude them, the variety of arrangement is notable, and presents features which have an undeniable bearing upon this question. Taking the Vossian MS., it is obvious that, without any distinction whatever between the genuine and the spurious, it contains


three of the false Epistles, and does not contain the so-called genuine Epistle to the Romans at all. The Epistle to the Romans, in fact, is, to use Dr. Lightfoot's own expression, "embedded in the Martyrology," which is as spurious as any of the epistles. This circumstance alone would justify the assertion which Dr. Lightfoot contradicts.

I must now, in order finally to dispose of this matter of notes, turn for a short time to consider objections raised by Dr. Westcott. Whilst I have to thank him for greater courtesy, I regret that I must point out serious errors into which he has fallen in his statements regarding my references which, as matters of fact, admit of practical test. Before proceeding to them I may make one or two general observations. Dr. Westcott says:

"I may perhaps express my surprise that a writer who is quite capable of thinking for himself should have considered it worth his while to burden his pages with lists of names and writings, arranged, for the most part, alphabetically, which have in very many cases no value whatever for a scholar, while they can only oppress the general reader with a vague feeling that all 'profound' critics are on one side. The questions to be discussed must be decided by evidence and by argument and not by authority."(1)

Now the fact is that hitherto, in England, argument and evidence have almost been ignored in connection with the great question discussed in this work, and it has practically been decided by the authority of the Church, rendered doubly potent by force of habit and transmitted reverence. The orthodox works usually written on the subject have, to a very great extent, suppressed the objections raised by a mass of learned and independent critics, or treated them as insignificant, and worthy of little more than a passing word of pious indignation. At the same time, therefore, that I endeavour, to


the best of my ability, to decide these questions by evidence and argument, in opposition to mere ecclesiastical authority, I refer readers desirous of further pursuing the subject to works where they may find them dis-. cussed. I must be permitted to add, that I do not consider I uselessly burden my pages by references to critics who confirm the views in the text or discuss them, for it is right that earnest thinkers should be told the state of opinion, and recognize that belief is not so easy and matter of course a thing as they have been led to suppose, or the unanimity quite so complete as English divines have often seemed to represent it Dr. Westcott, however, omits to state that I as persistently refer to writers who oppose, as to those who favour, my own conclusions.

Dr. Westcott proceeds to make the accusation which I now desire to investigate. He says:

"Writers are quoted as holding on independent grounds an opinion which is involved in their characteristic assumptions. And more than this, the references are not unfrequently actually misleading. One example will show that I do not speak too strongly."(l)

Dr. Westcott has scrutinized this work with great minuteness, and, as I shall presently explain, he has selected his example with evident care. The idea of illustrating the vast mass of references in these volumes by a single instance is somewhat startling, but to insinuate that a supposed contradiction pointed out in one note runs through the whole work, as he does, if I rightly understand his subsequent expressions, is scarcely worthy of Dr. Westcott, although I am sure he does not mean to be unfair. The example selected is as follows:

"It has been demonstrated that Ignatius was not sent to Rome at all, but suffered martyrdom in Antioch itself on the 2()th December, a.d. l15


when he was condemned to be cast to wild beasts in the amphitheatre, in consequence of the fanatical excitement produced by the earthquake which took place on the 13th of that month.4"' The references in support of these statements are the following: 8 Baur, Urspr. d. Epiec.Tub. Zeitschr. f.Theol. 1838, H. 3, p. 155 anm.; Bretschneider, Probabilia, &c, p. 185; Bleek, Einl.N. T., p. 144; Guericke, H*bucht Kt #., i p. 148; Hagenbach, K. G., i. p. 113 f.; Davidson, Introd. N. T.,i. p. 19; Mayerhoff, Eitll. petr. Schr., p. 79; Scholten, Die Sit. Zeugnisse, p. 40, p. 50 f.; Volkmar, Der Ursprung, p. 52; R'buch Einl. Apocr., i. p. 121 f., p. 136.

4 Volkmar, Wuch Einl. Apocr., i. p. 121 ff., 136 f.; Der Ursprung, p. 52 ff.; Baur, Ursp. d. Episc. Tub. Zeitschr. f. Th. 1838, H. 3, p. 149 f.; Gesch. chr. Kirehe, 1863, i. p. 440, anm. 1.; Davidson, Introd. N. T., Lp. 19; Scholten, Die Hit. Zeugnisse, p. 51 f.; cf. Francke, Zur Gesch. Trojans, u. s. w. 1840, p. 253 f.; Hilgenfeld, Die ap. Vster, p. 214.

Upon this Dr. Westcott remarks:

"Such an array of authorities, drawn from different schools, cannot but appear overwhelming; and the fact that about half of them are quoted twice over emphasizes the implied precision of their testimony as to the two points affirmed."

Dr. Westcott, however, has either overlooked or omitted to state the fact that, although some of the writers are quoted twice, the two notes differ in almost every particular, many of the names in note 3 being absent from note 4, other names being inserted in the latter which do not appear in the former, an alteration being in most cases made in the place referred to, and the order in which the authorities are placed being significantly varied. For instance, in note 3 the reference to Volkmar is the last, but it is the first in note 4; whilst a similar transposition of order takes place in his works, and alterations in the pages. The references in note 3, in fact, are given for the date occurring in the course of the sentence, whilst those in note 4, placed at the end, are intended to support the whole statement which is


made. I must, however, explain an omission, which is pretty obvious, but which I regret may have misled Dr. Westcott in regard to note 3, although it does not affect note 4. Headers are probably aware that there has been, amongst other points, a difference of opinion not only as to the place, but also the date of the martyrdom of Ignatius. I have in every other case carefully stated the question of date, and my omission in this instance is, I think, the only exception in the book. The fact is, that I had originally in the text the words which I now add to the note: "The martyrdom has been variously dated about a.d. 107, or a.d. 115-116, but whether assigning the event to Home or to Antioch a majority of critics of all shades of opinion have adopted the later date." Thinking it unnecessary, under the circumstances, to burden the text with this, I removed it with the design of putting the statement at the head of note 3, with reference to "a.d. 115" in the text, but unfortunately an interruption at the time prevented the completion of this intention, as the addition of some fuller references to the writers quoted, which had been omitted, and the point, to my infinite regret, was overlooked. The whole of the authorities in note 3, therefore, do not support the apparent statement of martyrdom in Antioch, although they all confirm the date, for which I really referred to them. With this explanation, and marking the omitted references(1) by placing them within brackets, I proceed to analyze the two notes in contrast with Dr. Westcott's statements.

     1 These consist only of an additional page of Baur's work
     first quoted, and a reference to another of his works quoted
     in the second note, but accidentally left out of the note 3.


See page scan, Ed.


See page scan, Ed.


See page scan, Ed.


It will thus be seen that the whole of these authorities confirm the later date assigned to the martyrdom, and that Baur, in the note in which Dr. Westcott finds "nothing in any way bearing upon the history except a passing supposition," really advances a weighty argument for it and against the earlier date, and as Dr. Westcott considers, rightly, that argument should decide everything, I am surprised that he has not perceived the propriety of my referring to arguments as well as statements of evidence.

To sum up the opinions expressed, I may state that whilst all the nine writers support the later date, for which purpose they were quoted, three of them (Bleek, Guericke, and Mayerhoff) ascribe the martyrdom to Rome, one (Brctschneider) mentions no place, one (Hagenbach) is doubtful, but leans to Antioch, and the other four declare for the martyrdom in Antioch. Nothing, however, could show more conclusively the purpose of note 3, which I have explained, than this very contradiction, and the fact that I claim for the general statement in the text, regarding the martyrdom in Antioch itself in opposition to the legend of the journey to and death in Rome, only the authorities in note 4, which I shall now proceed to analyse in contrast with Dr. Westcott's statements, and here 1 beg the favour of the readers attention.

(See page scans, lix to lxii PG Ed.):






At the close of this analysis Dr. Westcott sums up the result as follows:

"In this case, therefore, again, Volkmar alone offers any arguments in support of the statement in the text; and the final result of the references is, that the alleged 'demonstration' is, at the most, what Scholten calls 'a not groundless conjecture.'"(3)

     3 On the Canon, Preface 4th ed. p. xxiv. Dr. Westcott adds,
     in a note, "It may be worth while to add that in spite of
     the profuse display of learning in connexion with Ignatius,
     I do not see even in the second edition any reference to the
     full and elaborate work of Zahn." I might reply to this that
     my MS. had left my hands before Zahn's work had reached
     England, but, moreover, the work contains nothing new to
     which reference was necessary.


It is scarcely possible to imagine a more complete misrepresentation of the fact than the statement that "Volkmar alone offers any arguments in support of the statement in the text," and it is incomprehensible upon any ordinary theory. My mere sketch cannot possibly convey an adequate idea of the elaborate arguments of Volkmar, Baur, and Hilgenfeld, but I hope to state their main features, a few pages on. With regard to Dr. Westcott's remark on the "alleged 'demonstration,'" it must be evident that when a writer states anything to be "demonstrated" he expresses his own belief. It is impossible to secure absolute unanimity of opinion, and the only question in such a case is whether I refer to writers, in connection with the circumstances which I affirm to be demonstrated, who advance arguments and evidence bearing upon it. A critic is quite at liberty to say that the arguments are insufficient, but he is not at liberty to deny that there are any arguments at all when the elaborate reasoning of men like Volkmar, Baur and Hilgenfeld is referred to. Therefore, when he goes on to say:

"It seems quite needless to multiply comments on these results. Any one who will candidly consider this analysis will, I believe, agree with me in thinking that such a style of annotation, which runs through the whole work, is justly characterized as frivolous and misleading."(1)

Dr. Westcott must excuse my retorting that, not my annotation, but his own criticism of it, endorsed by Professor Lightfoot, is "frivolous and misleading," and I venture to hope that this analysis, tedious as it has been, may once for all establish the propriety and substantial accuracy of my references.

As Dr. Westcott does not advance any further arguments


of his own in regard to the Ignatian controversy, I may now return to Dr. Lightfoot, and complete my reply to his objections; but I must do so with extreme brevity, as I have already devoted too much space to this subject, and must now come to a close. To the argument that it is impossible to suppose that soldiers such as the "ten leopards" described in the Epistles would allow a prisoner, condemned to wild beasts for professing Christianity, deliberately to write long epistles at every stage of his journey, promulgating the very doctrines for which he was condemned, as well as to hold the freest intercourse with deputations from the various churches, Dr. Lightfoot advances arguments, derived from Zahn, regarding the Roman procedure in cases that are said to be "known." These cases, however, are neither analogous, nor have they the force which is assumed. That Christians imprisoned for their religious belief should receive their nourishment, while in prison, from friends, is anything but extraordinary, and that bribes should secure access to them in many cases, and some mitigation of suffering, is possible. The case of Ignatius, however, is very different. If the meaning of [——]—] be that, although receiving bribes, the "ten leopards" only became more cruel, the very reverse of the leniency and mild treatment ascribed to the Roman procedure is described by the writer himself as actually taking place, and certainly nothing approaching a parallel to the correspondence of pseudo-Ignatius can be pointed out in any known instance. The case of Saturus and Perpetua, even if true, is no confirmation, the circumstances being very different; (l) but in


fact there is no evidence whatever that the extant history was written by either of them,(1) but on the contrary, I maintain, every reason to believe that it was not.

Dr. Lightfoot advances the instance of Paul as a case in point of a Christian prisoner treated with great consideration, and who "writes letters freely, receives visits from his friends, communicates with churches and individuals as he desires."(2) It is scarcely possible to imagine two cases more dissimilar than those of pseudo-Ignatius and Paul, as narrated in the "Acts of the Apostles," although doubtless the story of the former has been framed upon some of the lines of the latter. Whilst Ignatius is condemned to be cast to the wild beasts as a Christian, Paul is not condemned at all, but stands in the position of a Roman citizen, rescued from infuriated Jews (xxiii. 27), repeatedly declared by his judges to have done nothing worthy of death or of bonds (xxv. 25, xxvi. 31), and who might have been set at liberty but that he had appealed to Cĉsar (xxv. 11 f., xxvi. 32). His position was one which secured the sympathy of the Roman soldiers. Ignatius 'fights with beasts from Syria even unto Rome,' and is cruelly treated by his "ten leopards," but Paul is represented as receiving very different treatment. Felix commands that his own people should be allowed to come and minister to him (xxiv. 23), and when the voyage is commenced it is said that Julius, who had charge of Paul, treated him courteously, and gave him liberty to go to see his friends at Sidon (xxvii. 3). At Rome he was allowed to live by himself with a single soldier to guard him (xxviii. 16), and he continued for two years in his own hired house.


These circumstances are totally different from those under which the Epistles of Ignatius are said to have been written.

"But the most powerful testimony," Dr. Lightfoot goes on to say, "is derived from the representations of a heathen writer."(1) The case of Peregrinus, to which he refers, seems to me even more unfortunate than that of Paul. Of Peregrinus himself, historically, we really know little or nothing, for the account of Lucian is scarcely received as serious by any one. Lucian narrates that this Peregrinus Proteus, a cynic philosopher, having been guilty of parricide and other crimes, found it convenient to leave his own country. In the course of his travels he fell in with Christians and learnt their doctrines, and, according to Lucian, the Christians soon were mere children in his hands, so that he became in his own person "prophet, high-priest, and ruler of a synagogue," and further "they spoke of him as a god, used him as a law-giver, and elected him their chief man."(2) After a time he was put in prison for his new faith, which Lucian says was a real service to him afterwards in his impostures. During the time he was in prison, he is said to have received those services from Christians which Dr. Lightfoot quotes. Peregrinus was afterwards set at liberty by the Governor of Syria, who loved philosophy,(3) and travelled about living in great comfort at the expense of the Christians, until at last they quarrelled in consequence, Lucian thinks, of his eating some forbidden food. Finally, Peregrinus ended his career by throwing himself into the flames of a funeral pile during the Olympian games. An earthquake is said to have taken


place at the time; a vulture flew out from the pile crying out with a human voice; and shortly after Peregrinus rose again and appeared clothed in white raiment unhurt by the fire.

Now this writing, of which I have given the barest sketch, is a direct satire upon Christians, or even, as Baur affirms, "a parody of the history of Jesus."(1) There are no means of ascertaining that any of the events of the Christian career of Peregrinus were true, but it is obvious that, Lucian's policy was to exaggerate the facility of access to prisoners, as well as the assiduity and attention of the Christians to Peregrinus, the ease with which they were duped being the chief point of the satire.

There is another circumstance which must be mentioned. Lucian's account of Peregrinus is claimed by supporters of the Ignatian Epistles as evidence for them.(2) "The singular correspondence in this narrative with the account of Ignatius, combined with some striking coincidences of expression," they argue, show "that Lucian was acquainted with the Ignatian history, if not with the Ignatian letters." These are the words of Dr. Lightfoot, although he guards himself, in referring to this argument, by the words: "if it be true," and does not express his own opinion; but he goes on to say: "At all events it is conclusive for the matter in hand, as showing that Christian prisoners were treated in the very way described in these epistles."(3) On the contrary, it is in no case conclusive of anything. If it were true that Lucian employed, as the basis of his satire, the Ignatian Epistles and Martyrology,


it is clear that his narrative cannot be used as independent testimony for the truth of the statements regarding the treatment of Christian prisoners. On the other hand, as this cannot be shown, his story remains a mere satire with very little historical value. Apart from all this, however, the case of Peregrinus, a man confined in prison for a short time, under a favourable governor, and not pursued with any severity, is no parallel to that of Ignatius condemned ad bestias and, according to his own express statement, cruelly treated by the "ten leopards"; and further the liberty of pseudo-Ignatius must greatly have exceeded all that is said of Peregrinus, if he was able to write such epistles, and hold such free intercourse as they represent.

I will now, in the briefest manner possible, indicate the arguments of the writers referred to in the note(l) attacked by Dr. Westcott, in which he cannot find any relevancy, but which, in my opinion, demonstrate that Ignatius was not sent to Rome at all, but suffered martyrdom in Antioch itself. The reader who wishes to go minutely into the matter must be good enough to consult the writers there cited, and I will only sketch the case here, without specifically indicating the source of each argument. Where I add any particulars I will, when necessary, give my authorities. The Ignatian Epistles and martyrologies set forth that, during a general persecution of Christians, in Syria at least, Ignatius was condemned by Trajan, when he wintered in Antioch during the Parthian War, to be taken to Rome and cast to wild beasts in the amphitheatre. Instead of being sent to Rome by the short sea voyage, he is represented as taken thither by the long and incomparably more difficult land route. The ten soldiers who


guard him are described by himself as only rendered more cruel by the presents made to them to secure kind treatment for him, so that not in the amphitheatre only, but all the way from Syria to Rome, by night and day, by sea and land, he "fights with beasts." Notwithstanding this severity, the Martyr freely receives deputations from the various Churches, who, far from being molested, are able to have constant intercourse with him, and even to accompany him in his journey. He not only converses with these freely, but he is represented as writing long Epistles to the various Churches which, instead of containing the last exhortations and farewell words which might be considered natural from the expectant martyr, are filled with advanced views of Church government, and the dignity of the episcopate. These circumstances, at the outset, excite grave suspicions of the truth of the documents, and of the story which they set forth. When we inquire whether the alleged facts of the case are supported by historical data, the reply is emphatically adverse. All that is known of the treatment of Christians during the reign of Trajan, as well as of the character of the Emperor, is opposed to the supposition that Ignatius could have been condemned by Trajan himself, or even by a provincial governor, to be taken to Rome and there cast to the beasts. It is well known that under Trajan there was no general persecution of Christians, although there may have been instances in which prominent members of the body were either punished or fell victims to popular fury and superstition.(1)

1 Dean Milman says: "Trajan, indeed, is absolved, at least by the almost general voice of antiquity, from the crime of persecuting the Christians." In a note, he adds: "Excepting of Ignatius, probably of Simeon of Jerusalem, there is no authentic martyrdom in the reign of Trajan."—Hist, of Christianity, 1867, ii. p. 103.


An instance of this kind was the martyrdom of Simeon, Bishop of Jerusalem, reported by Hegesippus. He was not condemned ad bestias, however, and much less deported to Rome for the purpose. Why should Ignatius have been so exceptionally treated? In fact, even during the persecutions under Marcus Aurelius, although Christians in Syria were frequently enough cast to the beasts, there is no instance recorded in which any one condemned to this fate was sent to Rome. Such a sentence is quite at variance with the clement character of Trajan and his principles of government. Neander, in a passage quoted by Baur, says: "As he (Trajan), like Pliny, considered Christianity mere fanaticism, he also probably thought that if severity were combined with clemency, if too much noise were not made about it, the open demonstration not left unpunished but also minds not stirred up by persecution, the fanatical enthusiasm would most easily cool down, and the matter by degrees come to an end."(1) This was certainly the policy which mainly characterized his reign. Now not only would such a severe sentence have been contrary to such principles, but the agitation excited would have been enormously increased by sending the martyr a long journey by land through Asia, and allowing him to pass through some of the principal cities, hold constant intercourse with the various Christian communities, and address long epistles to them. With the fervid desire for martyrdom then prevalent, such a journey would have been a triumphal progress, spreading everywhere excitement and enthusiasm. It may not be out of place, as an indication of the results of impartial examination, to


point out that Neander's inability to accept the Ignatian epistles largely rests on his disbelief of the whole tradition of this sentence and martyr-journey. "We do not recognize the Emperor Trajan in this narrative," (the martyrology) he says, "therefore cannot but doubt every thing which is related by this document, as well as that, during this reign, Christians can have been cast to the wild beasts."(1)

If, for a moment, we suppose that, instead of being condemned by Trajan himself, Ignatius received his sentence from a provincial governor, the story does not gain greater probability. It is not credible that such an official would have ventured to act so much in opposition to the spirit of the Emperor's government Besides, if such a governor did pronounce so severe a sentence, why did he not execute it in Antioch? Why send the prisoner to Rome? By doing so he made all the more conspicuous a severity which was not likely to be pleasing to the clement Trajan. The cruelty which dictated a condemnation ad bestias would have been more gratified by execution on the spot, and there is besides no instance known, even during the following general persecution, of Christians being sent for execution in Rome. The transport to Rome is in no case credible, and the utmost that can be admitted is, that Ignatius, like Simeon of Jerusalem, may have been condemned to death during this reign, more especially if the event be associated with some sudden outbreak of superstitious fury against the Christians, to which the martyr may at once have fallen a victim. We are not without indications of such a cause operating in the case of Ignatius.


It is generally admitted that the date of Trajan's visit to Antioch is a.d. 115, when he wintered there during the Parthian War. An earthquake occurred on the 13th December of that year, which was well calculated to excite popular superstition. It may not be out of place to quote here the account of the earthquake given by Dean Milmau, who, although he mentions a different date, and adheres to the martyrdom in Rome, still associates the condemnation of Ignatius with the earthquake. He says: "Nevertheless, at that time there were circumstances which account with singular likelihood for that sudden outburst of persecution in Antioch.... At this very time an earthquake, more than usually terrible and destructive, shook the cities of the East. Antioch suffered its most appalling ravages—Antioch, crowded with the legionaries prepared for the Emperor's invasion of the East, with ambassadors and tributary kings from all parts of the East. The city shook through all its streets; houses, palaces, theatres, temples fell crashing down. Many were killed: the Consul Pedo died of his hurts. The Emperor himself hardly escaped through a window, and took refuge in the Circus, where he passed some days in the open air. Whence this terrible blow but from the wrath of the Gods, who must be appeased by unusual sacrifices? This was towards the end of January; early in February the Christian Bishop, Ignatius, was arrested. We know how, during this century, at every period of public calamity, whatever that calamity might be, the cry of the panic-stricken Heathens was, 'The Christians to the lions!' It may be that, in Trajan's humanity, in order to prevent a general massacre by the infuriated populace, or to give greater solemnity to the sacrifice, the execution was ordered to


take place, not in Antioch, but in Rome."(1) I contend that these reasons, on the contrary, render execution in Antioch infinitely more probable. To continue, however: the earthquake occurred on the 13th, and the martyrdom of Ignatius took place on the 20th December, just a week after the earthquake. His remains, as we know from Chrysostom and others, were, as an actual fact, interred at Antioch. The natural inference is that the martyrdom, the only part of the Ignatian story which is credible, occurred not in Rome but in Antioch itself, in consequence of the superstitious fury against the [——]—] aroused by the earthquake.

I will now go more into the details of the brief statements I have just made, and here we come for the first time to John Malalas. In the first place he mentions the occurrence of the earthquake on the 13 th December. I will quote Dr. Lightfoot's own rendering of his further important statement. He says:

"The words of John Malalas are:

'The same king Trajan was residing in the same city (Antioch) when the visitation of God (i.e. the earthquake) occurred. And at that time the holy Ignatius, the bishop of the city of Antioch, was martyred (or bore testimony), [——]—] before him [——]—]; for he was exasperated against him, because he reviled him.'"(2)

Dr. Lightfoot endeavours in every way to discredit this statement. He argues that Malalas tells foolish stories about other matters, and, therefore, is not to be believed here; but so simple a piece of information may well be correctly conveyed by a writer who elsewhere may record stupid traditions.(3) If the narrative of foolish stories and fabulous traditions is to exclude belief in everything else stated by those who relate them, the


whole of the Fathers are disposed of at one fell swoop, for they all do so. Dr. Lightfoot also asserts that the theory of the cause of the martyrdom advanced by Volkmar "receives no countenance from the story of Malalas, who gives a wholly different reason—the irritating language used to the emperor."(l) On the other hand, it in no way contradicts it, for Ignatius can only have "reviled" Trajan when brought before him, and his being taken before him may well have been caused by the fury excited by the earthquake, even if the language of the Bishop influenced his condemnation; the whole statement of Malalas is in perfect harmony with the theory in its details, and in the main, of course, directly supports it. Then Dr. Lightfoot actually makes use of the following extraordinary argument:

"But it may be worth while adding that the error of Malalas is capable of easy explanation. He has probably misinterpreted some earlier authority, whose language lent itself to misinterpretation. The words [——]—], which were afterwards used especially of martyrdom, had in the earlier ages a wider sense, including other modes of witnessing to the faith: the expression [——]—] again is ambiguous and might denote either 'during the reign of Trajan,' or 'in the presence of Trajan.' A blundering writer like Malalas might have stumbled over either expression."(2)

This is a favourite device. In case his abuse of poor Malalas should not sufficiently discredit him, Dr. Lightfoot attempts to explain away his language. It would be difficult indeed to show that the words [——]—],

already used in that sense in the New Testament, were not, at the date at which any record of the martyrdom of Ignatius which Malalas could have had before him was written, employed to express martyrdom, when applied to such a case, as Dr. Lightfoot indeed has in the


first instance rendered the phrase. Even Zahn, whom Dr. Lightfoot so implicitly follows, emphatically decides against him on both points. "The [——]—] together with [——]—] can only signify 'coram Trajano' ('in the presence of Trajan'), and [——]—] only the execution."(1) Let any one simply read over Dr. Lightfoot's own rendering, which I have quoted above, and he will see that such quibbles are excluded, and that, on the contrary, Malalas seems excellently well and directly to have interpreted his earlier authority.

That the statement of Malalas does not agree with the reports of the Fathers is no real objection, for we have good reason to believe that none of them had information from any other source than the Ignatian Epistles themselves, or tradition. Eusebius evidently had not. Irenĉus, Origen, and some later Fathers tell us nothing about him. Jerome and Chrysostom clearly take their accounts from these sources. Malalas is the first who, by his variation, proves that he had another and different authority before him, and in abandoning the martyr-journey to Rome, his account has infinitely greater apparent probability. Malalas lived at Antioch, which adds some weight to his statement. It is objected that so also did Chrysostom, and at an earlier period, and yet he repeats the Roman story. This, however, is no valid argument against Malalas. Chrysostom was too good a churchman to doubt the story of Epistles so much tending to edification, which were in wide circulation, and had been quoted by earlier Fathers. It is in no way surprising that, some two centuries and a half after the martyrdom, he should quietly have accepted the representations of the Epistles purporting to have been


written by the martyr himself, and that their story should have shaped the prevailing tradition.

The remains of Ignatius, as we are informed by Chrysostom and Jerome, long remained interred in the cemetery of Antioch, but finally,—in the time of Theodosius, it is said,—were translated with great pomp and ceremony to a building which,—such is the irony of events,—had previously been a Temple of Fortune. The story told, of course, is that the relics of the martyr had been carefully collected in the Coliseum and carried from Rome to Antioch. After reposing there for some centuries, the relics, which are said to have been transported from Rome to Antioch, were, about the seventh century, carried back from Antioch to Rome.(1) The natural and more simple conclusion is that, instead of this double translation, the bones of Ignatius had always remained in Antioch, where he had suffered martyrdom, and the tradition that they had been brought back from Rome was merely the explanation which reconciled the fact of their actually being in Antioch with the legend of the Ignatian Epistles.

The 20th of December is the date assigned to the death of Ignatius in the Martyrology,(2) and Zahn admits that this interpretation is undeniable.(3) Moreover, the anniversary of his death was celebrated on that day in the Greek Churches and throughout the East. In the Latin Church it is kept on the 1st of February. There can be little doubt that this was the day of the translation of the relics to Rome, and this was evidently the

     1 I need not refer to the statement of Nicephorus that these
     relics were first brought from Rome to Constantinople and
     afterwards translated to Antioch.


view of Ruinart, who, although he could not positively contradict the views of his own Church, says: "Ignatii festum Graeci vigesima die mensis Decembris celebrant, quo ipsum passum fuisse Acta testantur; Latini vero die prima Februarii, an ob aliquam sacrarum ejus reli-quiarum translationem? plures enim fuisse constat."(1) Zahn(2) states that the Feast of the translation in later calendars was celebrated on the 29th January, and he points out the evident ignorance which prevailed in the West regarding Ignatius.(3)

On the one hand, therefore, all the historical data which we possess regarding the reign and character of Trajan discredit the story that Ignatius was sent to Rme to be exposed to beasts in the Coliseum; and all the positive evidence which exists, independent of the Epistles themselves, tends to establish the fact that he suffered martyrdom in Antioch itself. On the other hand, all the evidence which is offered for the statement that Ignatius was sent to Rme is more or less directly based upon the representations of the letters, the authenticity of which is in discussion, and it is surrounded with improbabilities of every kind. And what is the value of any evidence emanating from the Ignatian Epistles and martyrologies? There are three martyrologies which, as Ewald says, are "the one more fabulous than the other." There are fifteen Epistles all equally purporting to be by


Ignatius, and most of them handed down together in MSS., without any distinction. Three of these, in Latin only, are universally rejected, as are also other five Epistles, of which there are Greek, Latin, and other versions. Of the remaining seven there are two forms, one called the Long Recension and another shorter, known as the Vossian Epistles. The former is almost unanimously rejected as shamefully interpolated and falsified; and a majority of critics assert that the text of the Vossian Epistles is likewise very impure. Besides these there is a still shorter version of three Epistles only, the Cure-tonian, which many able critics declare to be the only genuine letters of Ignatius, whilst a still greater number, both from internal and external reasons, deny the authenticity of the Epistles in any form. The second and third centuries teem with pseudonymic literature, but I venture to say that pious fraud has never been more busy and conspicuous than in dealing with the Martyr of Antioch. The mere statement of the simple and acknowledged facts regarding the Ignatian Epistles is ample justification of the assertion, which so mightily offends Dr. Lightfoot, that "the whole of the Ignatian literature is a mass of falsification and fraud." Even my indignant critic himself has not ventured to use as genuine more than the three short Syriac letters(1) out of this mass of forgery which he rebukes me for holding so cheap. Documents which lie under such grave and permanent suspicion cannot prove anything. As I have shown, however, the Vossian Epistles, whatever the value of their testimony, so far from supporting the claims advanced in favour of our Gospels, rather discredit them.


I have now minutely followed Professor Lightfoot and Dr. Westcott in their attacks upon me in connection with Eusebius and the Ignatian Epistles, and I trust that I have shown once for all that the charges of "misrepresentation" and "misstatement" so lightly and liberally advanced, far from being well-founded, recoil upon themselves. It is impossible in a work like this, dealing with such voluminous materials, to escape errors of detail, as both of these gentlemen bear witness, but I have at least conscientiously endeavoured to be fair, and I venture to think that few writers have ever more fully laid before readers the actual means of judging of the accuracy of every statement which has been made.

Before closing, I must say a few words regarding another of my critics, who is, however, of a very different order. My system of criticism is naturally uncongenial to Mr. Matthew Arnold, but while he says so with characteristic vigour, he likewise speaks of this work with equally characteristic generosity, and I cordially thank him. I could only be classed by mistake amongst the "objectors" to "Literature and Dogma," and however different may be the procedure in "Supernatural Religion," there is fundamental agreement between the two works, and the one may be considered the complement of the other. Some one must do the "pounding," if religion is to be a matter of belief and not of mere shifty opinion. We really address two distinct classes of readers. The reader who "has read and accepted" Mr. Matthew Arnold's "half dozen lines about the composition of the Gospels," and his "half dozen pages about miracles," may in one sense be "just in the same position as when he has read "the whole of this work,(1) but


I have written for those who do not accept them, and who,—as I think rightly,—distrust the conclusions merely forced upon them by ordinary "reflection and experience," and in such important matters demand evidence of a much more tangible kind. I would put it to Mr. Arnold whether, in seeming to depreciate any attempt to systematize and carry to logical conclusions the whole argument regarding the reality of Miracles and Divine Revelation, he does not do himself injustice, and enunciate a dangerous doctrine. No doubt his own clear insight and wide culture have enabled him to discern truth more surely, and with less apparent effort, than most of those whom he addresses, but in encouraging, as he thus practically does, the adoption by others of religious views with very little trouble or thought, which have certainly cost himself years of training and study, he both cheapens his own intellectual labour, and advocates a superficiality which already has too many attractions. Whether he address readers whose belief is already established, or those who are ready to accept it second hand from himself, it seems to me that no work should be unwelcome which supplies evidence of the results, which it has suited his own immediate purpose merely to assume.

Mr. Matthew Arnold objects that my book leaves the reader "with the feeling that the Bible stands before him like a fair tree all stripped, torn and defaced, not at all like a tree whose leaves are for the healing of the nations,"(1) but if this be the case, I submit that it is a necessary process through which the Bible must go, before it can be successfully transplanted into that healthy soil, in which alone its leaves can truly be for the 44 Contemporary Boviow," October, 1874, p. 798.


healing of any one. Under such circumstances, destructive must precede constructive criticism. It is only when we clearly recognize that the Bible is not the "word of God" that we can worthily honour and "enjoy" it as the word of Man. Mr. Matthew Arnold finely says, with regard to what Jesus said and did, that: "his reporters were incapable of rendering it, he was so much above them"; and he rightly considers that the governing idea of our criticism of the four Evangelists should be "to make out what in their report of Jesus, is Jesus, and what is the reporters." I hold, however, that it is only after such an examination as I have endeavoured to carry out, and which for the time must seem hard and wanting in sympathetic appreciation, that most persons educated in Christendom can rightly put any such governing idea into practice. It is only when we are entitled to reject the theory of miraculous Divine Revelation that the Bible attains its full beauty, losing the blots and anomalies which it presented in its former character, and acquiring wondrous significance as the expression of the hopes and aspirations of humanity, from which every man may learn wisdom and derive inspiration. The value of such a Book seems to me indestructible. I heartily sympathise with Mr. Arnold's desire to secure due appreciation for the venerable volume, of the beauty of which he has so fine and delicate a perception. A truer insight into its meaning may certainly be imparted by such eloquent and appreciating criticism, and no one is a better judge than Mr. Matthew Arnold of the necessity to plead for the Book, with those who are inclined thoughtlessly to reject it along with the errors which have grown with and been based upon it. But, in the end, every man who


has a mind and a heart must love and honour the Bible, and he who has neither is beyond the reach of persuasion.

This work has been revised throughout.(1) It was, as I stated at the time, originally carried through the press under very great difficulties, and the revision of details, upon which I had counted, was not only prevented, but, beyond a careful revision of the First Part for the second edition, circumstances have until now even prevented my seriously reading through the work since it has been in print. To those who have been good enough to call my attention to errors, or to suggest improvements, I return very sincere thanks. In making this revision I have endeavoured to modify unimportant points, in some of which I have been misunderstood, so as to avoid as far as possible raising difficulties, or inviting discussion without real bearing upon the main argument. As I know the alacrity with which some critics seize upon such points as serious concessions, I beg leave to say that I have not altered anything from change of opinion. I trust that greater clearness and accuracy may have been secured.

March 15th, 1875.

     1 It is right to mention that, whilst I have examined a
     great many of the references, I have not had time to verify
     them all.



The present work is the result of many years of earnest and serious investigation, undertaken in the first instance for the regulation of personal belief, and now published as a contribution towards the establishment of Truth in the minds of others who are seeking for it. The author's main object has been conscientiously and fully to state the facts of the case, to make no assertions the grounds for which are not clearly given, and as far as possible to place before the reader the materials from which a judgment may be intelligently formed regarding the important subject discussed.

The great Teacher is reported to have said: "Be ye approved money-changers," wisely discerning the gold of Truth, and no man need hesitate honestly to test its reality, and unflinchingly to reject base counterfeits. It is obvious that the most indispensable requisite in regard to Religion is that it should be true. No specious hopes or flattering promises can have the slightest value unless they be genuine and based upon substantial realities. Fear of the results of investigation, therefore, should deter no man, for the issue in any case is gain: emancipation from delusion, or increase of assurance. It is poor honour to sequester a creed from healthy handling, or to shrink from the serious examination of its doctrines. That which is true in Religion cannot be shaken; that which is false no one can desire to preserve.



The Author has taken advantage of the issue of a second edition to revise this work. He has re-written portions of the first part, and otherwise re-arranged it. He hopes that the argument has thus been made more clear and consecutive.


(See page images. PG Ed.):







Theoretically, the duty of adequate inquiry into the truth of any statement of serious importance before believing it is universally admitted. Practically, no duty is more universally neglected. This is more especially the case in regard to Religion, in which our concern is so great, yet the credentials of which so few personally examine. The difficulty of such an investigation and the inability of most men to pursue it, whether from want of opportunity or want of knowledge, are no doubt the chief reasons for this neglect; but another, and scarcely less potent, obstacle has probably been the odium which has been attached to any doubt regarding the dominant religion, as well as the serious, though covert, discouragement of the Church to all critical examination of the title-deeds of Christianity. The spirit of doubt, if not of intelligent inquiry, has, however, of late years become too strong for repression, and, at the present day, the pertinency of the question of a German writer: "Are we still Christians?" receives unconscious


illustration from many a popular pulpit, and many a social discussion.

The prevalent characteristic of popular theology in England, at this time, may be said to be a tendency to eliminate from Christianity, with thoughtless dexterity, every supernatural element which does not quite accord with current opinion, and yet to ignore the fact that, in so doing, ecclesiastical Christianity has practically been altogether abandoned. This tendency is fostered with profoundly illogical zeal by many distinguished men within the Church itself, who endeavour to arrest for a moment the pursuing wolves of doubt and unbelief which press upon it, by practically throwing to them, scrap by scrap, the very doctrines which constitute the claims of Christianity to be regarded as a Divine Revelation at all. The moral Christianity which they hope to preserve, noble though it be, has not one feature left to distinguish it as a miraculously communicated religion.

Christianity itself distinctly pretends to be a direct Divine Revelation of truths beyond the natural attainment of the human intellect. To submit the doctrines thus revealed, therefore, to criticism, and to clip and prune them down to the standard of human reason, whilst at the same time their supernatural character is maintained, is an obvious absurdity. Christianity must either be recognized to be a Divine Revelation beyond man's criticism, and in that case its doctrines must be received even though Reason cannot be satisfied, or the claims of Christianity to be such a Divine Revelation must be disallowed, in which case it becomes the legitimate subject of criticism like every other human system. One or other of these alternatives must be adopted, but to


assert that Christianity is Divine, and yet to deal with it as human, is illogical and wrong.

When we consider the vast importance of the interests involved, therefore, it must be apparent that there can be no more urgent problem for humanity to solve than the question: Is Christianity a supernatural Divine Revelation or not? To this we may demand a clear and decisive answer. The evidence must be of no uncertain character which can warrant our abandoning the guidance of Reason, and blindly accepting doctrines which, if not supernatural truths, must be rejected by the human intellect as monstrous delusions. We propose in this work to seek a conclusive answer to this momentous question.

It appears to us that at no time has such an investigation been more requisite. The results of scientific inquiry and of Biblical criticism have created wide-spread doubt regarding the most material part of Christianity considered as a Divine Revelation. The mass of intelligent men in England are halting between two opinions, and standing in what seems to us the most unsatisfactory position conceivable: they abandon, before a kind of vague and indefinite, if irresistible, conviction, some of the most central supernatural doctrines of Christianity; they try to spiritualize or dilute the rest into a form which does not shock their reason; and yet they cling to the delusion, that they still retain the consolation and the hope of truths which, if not divinely revealed, are mere human speculation regarding matters beyond reason. They have, in fact, as little warrant to abandon the one part as they have to retain the other. They build their house upon the sand, and the waves which have already carried away so much may any day engulf the rest. At the same time, amid this general eclipse of faith, many


an earnest mind, eagerly seeking for truth, endures much bitter pain,—unable to believe—unable freely to reject—and yet without the means of securing any clear and intelligent reply to the inquiry: "What is truth?" Any distinct assurance, whatever its nature, based upon solid grounds, would be preferable to such a state of doubt and hesitation. Once persuaded that we have attained truth, there can be no permanent regret for vanished illusions.

We must, however, by careful and impartial investigation, acquire the right to our belief, whatever it may be, and not float like a mere waif into the nearest haven. Flippant unbelief is much worse than earnest credulity. The time is ripe for arriving at a definite conviction as to the character of Christianity. There is no lack of materials for a final decision, although hitherto they have been beyond the reach of most English readers, and a careful and honest examination of the subject, even if it be not final, cannot fail to contribute towards a result more satisfactory than the generally vague and illogical religious opinion of the present day. Even true conclusions which are arrived at either accidentally or by wrong methods are dangerous. The current which by good fortune led to-day to truth may to-morrow waft us to falsehood. That such an investigation cannot, even at the present time, be carried on in England without incurring much enmity and opposition need scarcely be remarked, however loudly the duty and liberty of inquiry be theoretically proclaimed, and the reason is obvious.

If we look at the singular diversity of views entertained, not only with regard to the doctrines, but also to the evidences, of Christianity, we cannot but be struck by the helpless position in which Divine Revelation is now placed.


Orthodox Christians at the present day may be divided into two broad classes, one of which professes to base the Church upon the Bible, and the other the Bible upon the Church. The one party assert that the Bible is fully and absolutely inspired, that it contains God's revelation to man, and that it is the only and sufficient ground for all religious belief; and they maintain that its authenticity is proved by the most ample and irrefragable external as well as internal evidence. What then must be the feeling of any ordinary mind on hearing, on the other hand, that men of undoubted piety and learning, as well as unquestioned orthodoxy, within the Church of England, admit that the Bible is totally without literary or historical evidence, and cannot for a moment be upheld upon any such grounds as the revealed word of God; that none of the great doctrines of ecclesiastical Christianity can be deduced from the Bible alone;(1) and that, "if it be impossible to accept the literary method of dealing with Holy Scripture, the usual mode of arguing the truth of Revelation, ab extra, merely from what are called 'Evidences'—whether of Miracles done or Prophecies uttered thousands of years ago,—must also be insufficient."?(2) It cannot be much comfort to be assured by them that, notwithstanding this absence of external and internal evidence, this Revelation stands upon the sure basis of the inspiration of a Church, which has so little ground in history for any claim to infallibility. The unsupported testimony of a Church which in every age has vehemently maintained errors and denounced truths which are now universally recognized is no


sufficient guarantee of Divine Revelation. Obviously, there is no ground for accepting from a fallible Church and fallacious tradition doctrines which, avowedly, are beyond the criterion of reason, and therefore require miraculous evidence.

With belief based upon such uncertain grounds, and with such vital difference of views regarding evidence, it is not surprising that ecclesiastical Christianity has felt its own weakness, and entrenched itself against the assaults of investigation. It is not strange that intellectual vigour in any direction should, almost unconsciously, have been regarded as dangerous to the repose and authority of the Church, and that, instead of being welcomed as a virtue, religious inquiry has almost been repelled as a crime. Such inquiry, however, cannot be suppressed. Mere scientific questions may be regarded with apathy by those who do not feel their personal bearing. It may possibly seem to some a matter of little practical importance to them to determine whether the earth revolves round the sun, or the sun round the earth; but no earnest mind can fail to perceive the immense personal importance of Truth in regard to Religion—the necessity of investigating, before accepting, dogmas, the right interpretation of which is represented as necessary to salvation,—and the clear duty, before abandoning reason for faith, to exercise reason, in order that faith may not be mere credulity. As Bacon remarked, the injunction: "Hold fast that which is good," must always be preceded by the maxim: "Prove all things." Even Archbishop Trench has said: "Credulity is as real, if not so great, a sin as unbelief," applying the observation to the duty of demanding a "sign" from any one professing to be the utterer of a revelation: "Else might he lightly


be persuaded to receive that as from God, which, indeed, was only the word of man."(1) The acceptance of any revelation or dogma, however apparently true in itself, without "sign"—without evidence satisfying the reason, is absolute credulity. Even the most thorough advocate of Faith must recognise that reason must be its basis, and that faith can only legitimately commence where reason fails. The appeal is first to reason if afterwards to faith, and no man pretending to intellectual conscience can overlook the primary claim of reason. If it is to be more than a mere question of priority of presentation whether we are to accept Buddhism, Christianity, or Mahometanism, we must strictly and fearlessly examine the evidence upon which they profess to stand. The neglect of examination can never advance truth, as the severest scrutiny can never retard it, but belief without discrimination can only foster ignorance and superstition.

It was in this conviction that the following inquiry into the reality of Divine Revelation was originally undertaken, and that others should enter upon it. An able writer, who will not be suspected of exaggeration on this subject, has said: "The majority of mankind, perhaps, owe their belief rather to the outward influence of custom and education, than to any strong principle of faith within; and it is to be feared that many if they came to perceive how wonderful what they believed was, would not find their belief so easy, and so matter-of-course a thing as they appear to find it."(2) To no earnest mind can such inquiry be otherwise than a serious and often a


painful task, but, dismissing preconceived ideas and preferences derived from habit and education, and seeking only the Truth, holding it, whatever it may be, to be the only object worthy of desire, or capable of satisfying a rational mind, the quest cannot but end in peace and satisfaction. In such an investigation, however, to quote words of Archbishop Whately: "It makes all the difference in the world whether we place Truth in the first place or in the second place."—for if Truth acquired do not compensate for every pet illusion dispelled, the path is thorny indeed, although it must still be faithfully trodden.





At the very outset of inquiry into the origin and true character of Christianity we are brought face to face with the Supernatural. Christianity professes to be a Divine Revelation of truths which the human intellect could not otherwise have discovered. It is not a form of religion developed by the wisdom of man and appealing to his reason, but a system miraculously communicated to the human race, the central doctrines of which are either superhuman or untenable. If the truths said to be revealed were either of an ordinary character or naturally attainable they would at once discredit the claim to a Divine origin. No one could maintain that a system discoverable by Reason would be supernaturally communicated. The whole argument for Christianity turns upon the necessity of such a Revelation and the consequent probability that it would be made.


There is nothing singular, it may be remarked, in the claim of Christianity to be a direct Revelation from God. With the exception of the religions of Greece and Rome, which, however, also had their subsidiary supposition of divine inspiration, there has scarcely been any system of Religion which has not been proclaimed to the world as a direct divine communication. Long before Christianity claimed this character, the religions of India had anticipated the idea. To quote the words of an accomplished scholar:—"According to the orthodox views of Indian theologians, not a single line of the Veda was the work of human authors. The whole Veda is in some way or other the work of the Deity; and even those who received it were not supposed to be ordinary mortals, but beings raised above the level of common humanity, and less liable, therefore, to error in the reception of revealed truth."(1) The same origin is claimed for the religion of Zoroaster, whose doctrines, beyond doubt, exercised great influence at least upon later Jewish theology, and whose Magian followers are appropriately introduced beside the cradle of Jesus, as the first to do honour to the birth of Christianity. In the same way Mahomet announced his religion as directly communicated from heaven.

Christianity, however, as a religion professing to be divinely revealed, is not only supernatural in origin and doctrine, but its claim to acceptance is necessarily based upon supernatural evidence; for it is obvious that truths which require to be miraculously communicated do not come within the range of our intellect, and cannot, therefore, be intelligently received upon internal testimony. "And, certainly," says a recent able Bampton Lecturer, "if it was the will of God to give a revelation, there are


plain and obvious reasons for asserting that miracles are necessary as the guarantee and voucher for that revelation. A revelation is, properly speaking, such only by virtue of telling us something which we could not know without it. But how do we know that that communication of what is undiscoverable by human reason is true? Our reason cannot prove the truth of it, for it is by the very supposition beyond our reason. There must be, then, some note or sign to certify to it and distinguish it as a true communication from God, which note can be nothing else than a miracle."(1) In another place the same Lecturer stigmatizes the belief of the Mahometan "as in its very principle irrational," because he accepts the account which Mahomet gave of himself, without supernatural evidence.(2) The belief of the Christian is contrasted with it as rational, "because the Christian believes in a supernatural dispensation upon the proper evidence of such a dispensation, viz., the miraculous."(3) Mahomet is reproached with having "an utterly barbarous idea of evidence, and a total miscalculation of the claims of reason," because he did not consider miraculous evidence necessary to attest a supernatural dispensation;" whereas the Gospel is adapted to perpetuity for this cause especially, with others, that it was founded upon a true calculation, and a foresight of the permanent need of evidence; our Lord admitting the inadequacy of His own mere word, and the necessity of a rational guarantee to His revelation of His own nature and commission."(4)


The spontaneous offer of miraculous evidence, indeed, has always been advanced as a special characteristic of Christianity, logically entitling it to acceptance in contradistinction to all other religions. "It is an acknowledged historical fact," says Bishop Butler, "that Christianity offered itself to the world, and demanded to be received, upon the allegation, i. e,, as unbelievers would speak, upon the pretence, of miracles, publicly wrought to attest the truth of it in such an age;... and Christianity, including the dispensation of the Old Testament, seems distinguished by this from all other religions."(1)

Most of the great English divines have clearly recognized and asserted the necessity of supernatural evidence to establish the reality of a supernatural revelation. Bishop Butler affirms miracles and the completion of prophecy to be the "direct and fundamental proofs" of Christianity.(2) Elsewhere he says: "The notion of a miracle, considered as a proof of a divine mission, has been stated with great exactness by divines, and is, I think, sufficiently understood by every one. There are also invisible miracles, the Incarnation of Christ, for instance, which, being secret, cannot be alleged as a proof of such a mission; but require themselves to be proved by visible miracles. Revelation itself, too, is miraculous; and miracles are the proof of it."(3) Paley states the case with equal clearness: "In what way can a revelation be made but by miracles? In none which we are able to conceive."(4) His argument in fact is founded upon the principle that: "nothing but miracles


could decide the authority" of Christianity.(1) In another work he asserts that no man can prove a future retribution, but the teacher "who testifies by miracles that his doctrine comes from God."(2) Bishop Atterbury, again, referring to the principal doctrines of ecclesiastical Christianity, says: "It is this kind of Truth that God is properly said to reveal; Truths, of which, unless revealed, we should have always continued ignorant; and 'tis in order only to prove these Truths to have been really revealed, that we affirm Miracles to be Necessary."(3)

Dr. Heurtley, the Margaret Professor of Divinity in the University of Oxford, after pointing out that the doctrines taught as the Christian Revelation are such as could not by any possibility have been attained by the unassisted human reason, and that, consequently, it is reasonable that they should be attested by miracles, continues: "Indeed, it seems inconceivable how without miracles—including prophecy in the notion of a miracle—it could sufficiently have commended itself to men's belief? Who would believe, or would be justified in believing, the great facts which constitute its substance on the ipse dixit of an unaccredited teacher? and how, except by miracles, could the first teacher be accredited? Paley, then, was fully warranted in the assertion.... that 'we cannot conceive a revelation'—such a revelation of course as Christianity professes to be, a revelation of truths which transcend man's ability to discover,—' to be


substantiated without miracles.' Other credentials, it is true, might be exhibited in addition to miracles,—and such it would be natural to look for,—but it seems impossible that miracles could be dispensed with."(1) Dr. Mansel, the late Dean of St. Paul's, bears similar testimony: "A teacher who proclaims himself to be specially sent by God, and whose teaching is to be received on the authority of that mission, must, from the nature of the case, establish his claim by proofs of another kind than those which merely evince his human wisdom or goodness. A superhuman authority needs to be substantiated by superhuman evidence; and what is superhuman is miraculous."(2)

Dr. J. H. Newman, in discussing the idea and scope of miracles, says: "A Revelation, that is, a direct message from God to man, itself bears in some degree a miraculous character;... And as a Revelation itself, so again the evidences of a Revelation may all more or less be considered miraculous.... It might even be said that, strictly speaking, no evidence of a Revelation is conceivable which does not partake of the character of a Miracle; since nothing but a display of power over the existing system of things can attest the immediate presence of Him by whom it was originally established."(3)

Dr. Mozley has stated in still stronger terms the necessity that Christianity should be authenticated by the evidence of miracles. He supposes the case that a person of evident integrity and loftiness of character had appeared, eighteen centuries ago, announcing himself as pre-existent from all eternity, the Son of God, Maker


of the world, who had come down from heaven and assumed the form and nature of man in order to be the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world, and so on, enumerating other doctrines of Christianity. Dr. Mozley then asks: "What would be the inevitable conclusion of sober reason respecting that person? The necessary conclusion of sober reason respecting that person would be that he was disordered in his understanding... By no rational being could a just and benevolent life be accepted as proof of such astonishing announcements. Miracles are the necessary complement, then, of the truth of such announcements, which, without them, are purposeless and abortive, the unfinished fragments of a design which is nothing unless it is the whole. They are necessary to the justification of such announcements, which indeed, unless they are supernatural truths, are the wildest delusions."(1) He, therefore, concludes that: "Christianity cannot be maintained as a revelation undiscoverable by human reason, a revelation of a supernatural scheme for man's salvation, without the evidence of miracles."(2)

In all points, Christianity is emphatically a Supernatural Religion claiming to be divine in its origin, superhuman in its essence and miraculous in its evidence. It cannot be accepted without an absolute belief in Miracles, and those who profess to hold the religion whilst they discredit its supernatural elements—and they are many at the present day—have widely seceded from ecclesiastical Christianity. Miracles, it is true, are external to Christianity in so far as they are evidential, but inasmuch as it is admitted that miracles alone can attest the reality of Divine Revelation they are still inseparable


from it; and as the contents of the Revelation are so to say more miraculous than its attesting miracles, the supernatural enters into the very substance of Christianity and cannot be eliminated. It is obvious, therefore, that the reality of miracles is the vital point in the investigation which we have undertaken. If the reality of miracles cannot be established, Christianity loses the only evidence by which its truth can be sufficiently attested. If miracles be incredible the supernatural Revelation and its miraculous evidence must together be rejected.

This fact is thoroughly recognized by the ablest Christian divines. Dean Mansel, speaking of the position of miracles in regard to Christianity, says: "The question, however, assumes a very different character when it relates, not to the comparative importance of miracles as evidences, but to their reality as facts, and as facts of a supernatural kind. For if this is denied, the denial does not merely remove one of the supports of a faith which may yet rest securely on other grounds. On the contrary, the whole system of Christian belief with its evidences... all Christianity in short, so far as it has any title to that name, so far as it has any special relation to the person or the teaching of Christ, is overthrown at the same time."(1) A little further on he says: "If there be one fact recorded in Scripture which is entitled, in the fullest sense of the word, to the name of a Miracle, the Resurrection of Christ is that fact. Here, at least, is an instance in which the entire Christian faith must stand or fall with our belief in the supernatural."(2) He, therefore, properly repudiates the view, "which represents the question of the possibility


of miracles as one which merely affects the external accessories of Christianity, leaving the essential doctrines untouched."(1) Dr. Mozley in a similar manner argues the inseparable union of miracles with the Christian faith. "Indeed not only are miracles conjoined with doctrine in Christianity, but miracles are inserted in the doctrine and are part of its contents. A man cannot state his belief as a Christian in the terms of the Apostles' Creed without asserting them. Can the doctrine of our Lord's Incarnation be disjoined from one physical miracle? Can the doctrine of His justification of us and intercession for us, be disjoined from another?... If a miracle is incorporated as an article in a creed, that article of the creed, the miracle, and the proof of it by a miracle, are all one thing. The great miracles, therefore, upon the evidence of which the Christian scheme rested, being thus inserted in the Christian Creed, the belief in the Creed was of itself the belief in the miraculous evidence of it.... Thus miracles and the supernatural contents of Christianity must stand or fall together."(2) Dr. Heurtley, referring to the discussion of the reality of miracles, exclaims: "It is not too much to say, therefore, that the question is vital as regards Christianity."(3) Canon Westcott not less emphatically makes the same statement. "It is evident," he says, "that if the claim to be a miraculous religion is essentially incredible apostolic Christianity is simply false.... The essence of Christianity lies in a miracle; and if it can be shown that a miracle is either impossible or incredible, all further inquiry into the details of its history is superfluous


in a religious point of view."(1) Similarly, a recent Hulsean lecturer, Dr. Farrar, has said: "However skilfully the modern ingenuity of semi-belief may have tampered with supernatural interpositions, it is clear to every honest and unsophisticated mind that, if miracles be incredible, Christianity is false. If Christ wrought no miracles, then the Gospels are untrustworthy;... If the Resurrection be merely a spiritual idea, or a mythicized hallucination, then our religion has been founded on an error...." (2)

It has been necessary clearly to point out this indissoluble connection between ecclesiastical Christianity and the supernatural, in order that the paramount importance of the question as to the credibility of miracles should be duly appreciated. Our inquiry into the reality of Divine Revelation, then, whether we consider its contents or its evidence, practically reduces itself to the very simple issue: Are miracles antecedently credible? Did they ever really take place? We do not intend to confine ourselves merely to a discussion of the abstract question, but shall also endeavour to form a correct estimate of the value of the specific allegations which are advanced.


Having then ascertained that miracles are absolutely necessary to attest the reality of Divine Revelation we may proceed to examine them more closely, and for the present we shall confine ourselves to the representations of these phenomena which are given in the Bible. Throughout the Old Testament the doctrine is inculcated


that supernatural communications must have supernatural attestation. God is described as arming his servants with power to perform wonders, in order that they may thus be accredited as his special messengers. The Patriarchs and the people of Israel generally are represented as demanding "a sign" of the reality of communications said to come from God, without which, we are led to suppose, they not only would not have believed, but would have been justified in disbelieving, that the message actually came from him. Thus Gideon(1) asks for a sign that the Lord talked with him, and Hezekiah(2) demands proof of the truth of Isaiah's prophecy that he should be restored to health. It is, however, unnecessary to refer to instances, for it may be affirmed that upon all occasions miraculous evidence of an alleged divine mission is stated to have been required and accorded.

The startling information is at the same time given, however, that miracles may be wrought to attest what is false as well as to accredit what is true. In one place,(3) it is declared that if a prophet actually gives a sign or wonder and it comes to pass, but teaches the people, on the strength of it, to follow other gods, they are not to hearken to him, and the prophet is to be put to death. The false miracle is, here,(4) attributed to God himself: "For the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul." In the book of the Prophet Ezekiel, the case is stated in a still stronger way, and God is represented as directly deceiving the prophet: "And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet, and I will


stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel."(1) God, in fact, is represented as exerting his almighty power to deceive a man and then as destroying him for being deceived. In the same spirit is the passage(2) in which Micaiah describes the Lord as putting a lying spirit into the mouths of the prophets who incited Ahab to go to Ramoth-Gilead. Elsewhere,(3) and notably in the New Testament, we find an ascription of real signs and wonders to another power than God. Jesus himself is represented as warning his disciples against false prophets, who work signs and wonders: "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" of whom he should say: "I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity."(4) And again in another place: "For false prophets shall arise, and shall work signs and wonders [——]—] to seduce, if it were possible, the elect."(5) Also, when the Pharisees accuse him of casting out devils by Beelzebub the prince of the devils, Jesus asks: "By whom do your children cast them out?"(6) a reply which would lose all its point if they were not admitted to be able to cast out devils. In another passage John is described as saying: "Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, who followeth not us, and we forbad him."(7) Without multiplying instances, however, there can be no doubt of the fact


that the reality of false miracles and lying wonders is admitted in the Bible.

The obvious deduction from this representation of miracles is that the source and purpose of such supernatural phenomena must always be exceedingly uncertain.(1) Their evidential value is, therefore, profoundly affected, "it being," as Dr. Newman has said of ambiguous miracles, "antecedently improbable that the Almighty should rest the credit of His Revelation upon events which but obscurely implied His immediate presence."(2) As it is affirmed that other supernatural beings exist, as well as an assumed Personal God, by whose agency miracles are performed, it is impossible to argue with reason that such phenomena are at any time specially due to the intervention of the Deity. Dr. Newman recognizes this, but passes over the difficulty with masterly lightness of touch. After advancing the singular argument that our knowledge of spirits is only derived from Scripture, and that their existence cannot be deduced from nature, whilst he asserts that the being of a God—a Personal God be it remembered—can be so discovered, and that, therefore, miracles can only properly be attributed to him, he proceeds: "Still it may be necessary to show that on our own principles we are not open to inconsistency. That is, it has been questioned whether, in admitting the existence and power of Spirits on the authority of Revelation, we are not in danger of


invalidating the evidence upon which that authority rests. For the cogency of the argument for Miracles depends on the assumption, that interruptions in the course of nature must ultimately proceed from God; which is not true, if they may be effected by other beings without His sanction. And it must be conceded, that, explicit as Scripture is in considering Miracles as signs of divine agency, it still does seem to give created Spirits some power of working them; and even, in its most literal sense, intimates the possibility of their working them in opposition to the true doctrine. (Deut. xiii. 1-3; Matt. xxiv. 24; 2 Thess. ii. 9-ll.)"(1) Dr. Newman repudiates the attempts of various writers to overcome this difficulty by making a distinction between great miracles and small, many miracles and few, or by referring to the nature of the doctrine attested in order to determine the author of the miracle, or by denying the power of spirits altogether, and explaining away Scripture statements of demoniacal possession and the narrative of the Lord's Temptation. "Without having recourse to any of these dangerous modes of answering the objection," he says, "it may be sufficient to reply, that, since, agreeably to the antecedent sentiment of reason, God has adopted miracles as the seal of a divine message, we believe He will never suffer them to be so counterfeited as to deceive the humble inquirer."(2) This is the only reply which even so powerful a reasoner as Dr. Newman can give to an objection based on distinct statements of Scripture itself. He cannot deny the validity of the objection, he can only hope or believe in spite of it Personal belief independent of evidence is the most common and the weakest of arguments; at the


best it is prejudice masked in the garb of Reason. It is perfectly clear that miracles being thus acknowledged to be common both to God and to other spirits they cannot be considered a distinctive attestation of divine intervention; and, as Spinoza finely argued, not even the mere existence of God can be inferred from them; for as a miracle is a limited act, and never expresses more than a certain and limited power, it is certain that we cannot from such an effect, conclude even the existence of a cause whose power is infinite.(1)

This dual character obviously leads to many difficulties in defining the evidential function and force of miracles, and we may best appreciate the dilemma which is involved by continuing to follow the statements and arguments of divines themselves. To the question whether miracles are absolutely to command the obedience of those in whose sight they are performed, and whether, upon their attestation, the doer and his doctrine are to be accepted as of God, Archbishop Trench unhesitatingly replies: "It cannot be so, for side by side with the miracles which serve for the furthering of the kingdom of God runs another line of wonders, the counter-workings of him who is ever the ape of the Most High."(2) The deduction is absolutely logical and cannot be denied. "This fact," he says, "that the kingdom of lies has its wonders no less than the kingdom of truth, is itself sufficient evidence that miracles cannot be appealed


to absolutely and finally, in proof of the doctrine which the worker of them proclaims." This being the case, it is important to discover how miracles perform their function as the indispensable evidence for a Divine Revelation, for with this disability they do not seem to possess much potentiality. Archbishop Trench, then, offers the following definition of the function of miracles: "A miracle does not prove the truth of a doctrine, or the divine mission of him that brings it to pass. That which alone it claims for him at the first is a right to be listened to: it puts him in the alternative of being from heaven or from hell. The doctrine must first commend itself to the conscience as being good, and only then can the miracle seal it as divine. But the first appeal is from the doctrine to the conscience, to the moral nature of man."(1) Under certain circumstances, he maintains, their evidence is utterly to be rejected. "But the purpose of the miracle," he says, "being, as we have seen, to confirm that which is good, so, upon the other hand, where the mind and conscience witness against the doctrine, not all the miracles in the world have a right to demand submission to the word which they seal. On the contrary, the great act of faith


is to believe, against, and in despite of them all, in what God has revealed to, and implanted in the soul of the holy and the true; not to believe another Gospel, though an Angel from heaven, or one transformed into such, should bring it (Deut. xiii. 3; Gal. i. 8); and instead of compelling assent, miracles are then rather warnings to us that we keep aloof, for they tell us that not merely lies are here, for to that the conscience bore witness already, but that he who utters them is more than a common deceiver, is eminently 'a liar and an Anti-christ,' a false prophet, —standing in more immediate connection than other deceived and evil men to the kingdom of darkness, so that Satan has given him his power (Rev. xiii. 2), is using him to be an especial organ of his, and to do a special work for him."(1) And he lays down the distinct principle that: "The miracle must witness for itself, and the doctrine must witness for itself, and then, and then only, the first is capable of witnessing for the second."(2)

These opinions are not peculiar to the Archbishop of Dublin, but are generally held by divines, although Dr. Trench expresses them with unusual absence of reserve. Dr. Mozley emphatically affirms the same doctrine when he says: "A miracle cannot oblige us to accept any doctrine which is contrary to our moral nature, or to a fundamental principle of religion."(3) Dr. Mansel speaks to the same effect: "If a teacher claiming to work miracles proclaims doctrines contradictory to previously established truths, whether to the conclusions of natural religion or to the teaching of a former revelation, such a contradiction is allowed even by the most zealous defenders of the evidential value of miracles, to


invalidate the authority of the teacher. But the right conclusion from this admission is not that true miracles are invalid as evidences, but that the supposed miracles in this case are not true miracles at all; i. e., are not the effects of Divine power, but of human deception or of some other agency."(1) A passage from a letter written by Dr. Arnold which is quoted by Dr. Trench in support of his views, both illustrates the doctrine and the necessity which has led to its adoption: "You complain," says Dr. Arnold, writing to Dr. Hawkins, "of those persons who judge of a revelation not by its evidence, but by its substance. It has always seemed to me that its substance is a most essential part of its evidence; and that miracles wrought in favour of what was foolish or wicked would only prove Manicheism. We are so perfectly ignorant of the unseen world, that the character of any supernatural power can only be judged by the moral character of the statements which it sanctions. Thus only can we tell whether it be a revelation from God or from the Devil."(2) In another place Dr. Arnold declares: "Miracles must not be allowed to overrule the Gospel; for it is only through our belief in the Gospel that we accord our belief to them."(3)


It is obvious that the mutual dependence which is thus established between miracles and the doctrines in connection with which they are wrought destroys the evidential force of miracles, and that the first and the final appeal is made to reason. The doctrine in fact proves the miracle instead of the miracle attesting the doctrine. Divines of course attempt to deny this, but no other deduction from their own statements is logically possible. Miracles, according to Scripture itself, are producible by various supernatural beings and may be Satanic as well as Divine; man, on the other hand, is so ignorant of the unseen world that avowedly he cannot, from the miracle itself, determine the agent by whom it was performed;(l) the miracle, therefore, has no intrinsic evidential value. How, then, according to divines, does it attain any potentiality? Only through a favourable decision on the part of Reason or the "moral nature in man" regarding the


character of the doctrine. The result of the appeal to Reason respecting the morality and credibility of the doctrine determines the evidential status of the miracle. The doctrine, therefore, is the real criterion of the miracle which, without it, is necessarily an object of doubt and suspicion.

We have already casually referred to Dr. Newman's view of such a relation between Miracle and doctrine, but may here more fully quote his suggestive remarks. "Others by referring to the nature of the doctrine attested," he says, "in order to determine the author of the miracle, have exposed themselves to the plausible charge of adducing, first the miracle to attest the divinity of the doctrine, and then the doctrine to prove the divinity of the Miracle."(1) This argument he characterizes as one of the "dangerous modes" of removing a difficulty, although he does not himself point out a safer, and, in a note, he adds: "There is an appearance of doing honour to the Christian doctrines in representing them as intrinsically credible, which leads many into supporting opinions which, carried to their full extent, supersede the need of Miracles altogether. It must be recollected, too, that they who are allowed to praise have the privilege of finding fault, and may reject, according to their á priori notions, as well as receive. Doubtless the divinity of a clearly immoral doctrine could not be evidenced by Miracles; for our belief in the moral attributes of God is much stronger than our conviction of the negative proposition, that none but He can interfere with the system of nature.(3) But there is always


the danger of extending this admission beyond its proper limits, of supposing ourselves adequate judges of the tendency of doctrines; and, because unassisted Reason informs us what is moral and immoral in our own case, of attempting to decide on the abstract morality of actions;... These remarks are in nowise inconsistent with using (as was done in a former section) our actual knowledge of God's attributes, obtained from a survey of nature and human affairs, in determining the probability of certain professed Miracles having proceeded from Him. It is one thing to infer from the experience of life, another to imagine the character of God from the gratuitous conceptions of our own minds."(1) Although Dr. Newman apparently fails to perceive that he himself thus makes reason the criterion of miracles and therefore incurs the condemnation with which our quotation opens, the very indecision of his argument illustrates the dilemma in which divines are placed. Dr. Mozley, however, still more directly condemns the principle which we are discussing—that the doctrine must be the criterion of the miracle—although he also, as we have purposes for which it never was intended, and is unfitted. To rationalise in matters of Revelation is to make our reason the standard and measure of the doctrines revealed; to stipulate that those doctrines should be such as to carry with them their own justification; to reject them, if they come in collision with our existing opinions or habits of thought, or are with difficulty harmonised with our existing stock of knowledge" (Essays, Crit. and Hist., 1872, vol. i. p. 31); and a little further on: "A like desire of judging for one's self is discernible in the original fall of man. Eve did not believe the Tempter any more than God's word, till she perceived Ğthe fruit was good for food '" (76., p. 33). Dr. Newman, of course, wishes to limit his principle precisely to suit his own convenience, but in permitting the rejection of a supposed Revelation in spite of miracles, on the ground of our disapproval of its morality, it is obvious that the doctrine is substantially made the final criterion of the miracle.


seen, elsewhere substantially affirms it. He says: "The position that the revelation proves the miracles, and not the miracles the revelation, admits of a good qualified meaning; but taken literally, it is a double offence against the rule, that things are properly proved by the proper proof of them; for a supernatural fact is the proper proof of a supernatural doctrine; while a supernatural doctrine, on the other hand, is certainly not the proper proof of a supernatural fact"(1)

This statement is obviously true, but it is equally undeniable that, their origin being uncertain, miracles have no distinctive evidential force. How far, then, we may inquire in order thoroughly to understand the position, can doctrines prove the reality of miracles or determine the agency by which they are performed? In the case of moral truths within the limits of reason, it is evident that doctrines which are in accordance with our ideas of what is good and right do not require miraculous evidence at all. They can secure acceptance by their own merits alone. At the same time it is universally admitted that the truth or goodness of a doctrine is in itself no proof that it emanates directly from God, and consequently the most obvious wisdom and beauty in the doctrine could not attest the divine origin of a miracle. Such truths, however, have no proper connection with revelation at all. "These truths," to quote the words of Bishop Atterbury, "were of themselves sufficiently obvious and plain, and needed not a Divine Testimony to make them plainer. But the Truths which are necessary in this Manner to be attested, are those which are of Positive Institution; those, which if God had not pleased to reveal them, Human Reason could not


have discovered; and those, which, even now they are revealed, Human Reason cannot fully account for, and perfectly comprehend."(1) How is it possible then that Reason or "the moral nature in man" can approve as good, or appreciate the fitness of, doctrines which in their very nature are beyond the criterion of reason?(2) What reply, for instance, can reason give to any appeal to it regarding the doctrine of the Trinity or of the Incarnation? If doctrines the truth and goodness of which are apparent do not afford any evidence of Divine Revelation, how can doctrines which Reason can neither discover nor comprehend attest the Divine origin of miracles? Dr. Mozley clearly recognizes that they cannot do so. "The proof of a revelation," he says, and we may add, "the proof of a miracle—itself a species of revelation—which is contained in the substance of a revelation has this inherent check or limit in it: viz. that it cannot reach to what is undiscoverable by reason. Internal evidence is itself an appeal to reason, because at every step the test is our own appreciation of such and such an idea or doctrine, our own perception of its fitness; but human reason cannot in the nature of the case prove that which, by the very hypothesis, lies beyond human reason."(3) It naturally follows that no doctrine which lies beyond reason, and therefore requires the attestation of miracles, can possibly afford that indication of the source and reality of miracles which is necessary to endow them with evidential value, and the supernatural doctrine must, therefore, be rejected in the absence of miraculous evidence of a decisive character.


Canon Mozley labours earnestly, but unsuccessfully, to restore to Miracles as evidence some part of that potentiality of which these unfortunate limitations have deprived them. Whilst on the one hand he says: "We must admit, indeed, an inherent modification in the function of a miracle as an instrument of proof,"(1) he argues that this is only a limitation, and no disproof of it, and he contends that: "The evidence of miracles is not negatived because it has conditions."(2) His reasoning, however, is purely apologetic, and attempts by the unreal analogy of supposed limitations of natural principles and evidence to excuse the disqualifying limitation of the supernatural. He is quite conscious of the serious difficulty of the position: "The question," he says, "may at first sight create a dilemma—If a miracle is nugatory on the side of one doctrine, what cogency has it on the side of another? Is it legitimate to accept its evidence when we please, and reject it when we please?" The only reply he seems able to give to these very pertinent questions is the remark which immediately follows them: "But in truth a miracle is never without an argumentative force, although that force may be counterbalanced."(3) In other words a miracle is always an argument although it is often a bad one. It is scarcely necessary to go to the supernatural for bad arguments.

It might naturally be expected that the miraculous evidence selected to accredit a Divine Revelation should possess certain unique and marked characteristics. It must, at least, be clearly distinctive of Divine power, and exclusively associated with Divine truth. It is inconceivable that the Deity, deigning thus to attest


the reality of a communication from himself of truths beyond the criterion of reason, should not make the evidence simple and complete, because, the doctrines proper to such a revelation not being appreciable from internal evidence, it is obvious that the external testimony for them—if it is to be of any use—must be unmistakable and decisive. The evidence which is actually produced, however, so far from satisfying these legitimate anticipations, lacks every one of the qualifications which reason antecedently declares to be necessary. Miracles are not distinctive of Divine power but are common to Satan, and they are admitted to be performed in support of falsehood as well as in the service of truth. They bear, indeed, so little upon them the impress of their origin and true character, that they arc dependent for their recognition upon our judgment of the very doctrines to attest which they are said to have been designed.

Even taking the representation of miracles, therefore, which divines themselves give, they are utterly incompetent to perform their contemplated functions. If they are superhuman they are not super-satanic, and there is no sense in which they can be considered miraculously evidential of anything. To argue, as theologians do, that the ambiguity of their testimony is deliberately intended as a trial of our faith is absurd, for Reason being unable to judge of the nature either of supernatural fact or supernatural doctrine, it would be mere folly and injustice to subject to such a test beings avowedly incapable of sustaining it. Whilst it is absolutely necessary, then, that a Divine Revelation should be attested by miraculous evidence to justify our believing it the testimony so called seems in all respects


unworthy of the name, and presents anomalies much more suggestive of human invention than Divine originality. We are, in fact, prepared even by the Scriptural account of miracles to expect that further examination will supply an explanation of such phenomena which will wholly remove them from the region of the supernatural.



Without at present touching the question as to their reality, it may be well to ascertain what miracles are considered to be, and how far, and in what sense it is asserted that they are supernatural We have, hitherto, almost entirely confined our attention to the arguments of English divines, and we must for the present continue chiefly to deal with them, for it may broadly be said, that they alone, at the present day, maintain the reality and supernatural character of such phenomena. No thoughtful mind can fail to see that, considering the function of miracles, this is the only logical and consistent course.(1) The insuperable difficulties in the way of admitting the reality of miracles, however, have driven the great majority of continental, as well as very many English, theologians who still pretend to a certain orthodoxy, either to explain the miracles of the Gospel naturally, or to suppress them altogether. Since Schleiermacher denounced the idea of Divine interruptions of the order of nature, and explained away the supernatural character


of miracles, by defining them as merely relative: miracles to us, but in reality mere anticipations of human knowledge and power, his example has been more or less followed throughout Germany, and almost every expedient has been adopted, by would-be orthodox writers, to reduce or altogether eliminate the miraculous elements. The attempts which have been made to do this, and yet to maintain the semblance of unshaken belief in the main points of ecclesiastical Christianity, have lamentably failed, from the hopeless nature of the task and the fundamental error of the conception. The endeavour of Paulus and his school to get rid of the supernatural by a bold naturalistic interpretation of the language of the Gospel narratives, whilst the credibility of the record was represented as intact, was too glaring an outrage upon common sense to be successful, but it was scarcely more illogical than subsequent efforts to suppress the miraculous, yet retain the creed. The great majority of modern German critics, however, reject the miraculous altogether, and consider the question as no longer worthy of discussion, and most of those who have not distinctly expressed this view either resort to every linguistic device to evade the difficulty, or betray, by their hesitation, the feebleness of their belief.(1) In dealing with the


question of miracles, therefore, it is not to Germany we must turn, but to England, where their reality is still maintained.

Archbishop Trench rejects with disdain the attempts of Schleiermacher and others to get rid of the miraculous elements of miracles, by making them relative, which he rightly considers to be merely "a decently veiled denial of the miracle altogether;"(1) and he will not accept any reconciliation which sacrifices the miracle, "which," he logically affirms, "is, in fact, no miracle, if it lay in nature already, if it was only the evoking of forces latent therein, not a new thing, not the bringing in of the novel powers of a higher world; if the mysterious processes and powers by which those works were brought about had been only undiscovered hitherto, and not undiscoverable, by the efforts of human inquiry."(2) When Dr. Trench tries to define what he considers the real character of miracles, however, he becomes, as might be expected,


voluminous and obscure. He says: "An extraordinary Divine casualty, and not that ordinary which we acknowledge everywhere, and in everything, belongs, then, to the essence of the miracle; powers of God other than those which have always been working; such, indeed, as most seldom or never have been working before. The unresting activity of God, which at other times hides and conceals itself behind the veil of what we term natural laws, does in the miracle unveil itself; it steps out from its concealment, and the hand which works is laid bare. Beside and beyond the ordinary operation of nature, higher powers (higher, not as coming from a higher source, but as bearing upon higher ends) intrude and make themselves felt even at the very springs and sources of her power."(1) "Not, as we shall see the greatest theologians have always earnestly contended, contra naturam, but prĉter naturam, and supra naturam."(2) Further on he adds: "Beyond nature, beyond and above the nature which we know, they are, but not contrary to it."(3) Dr. Newman, in a similar strain, though with greater directness, says: "The miracles of Scripture are undeniably beyond nature;" and he explains them as "wrought by persons consciously exercising, under Divine guidance, a power committed to them for definite ends, professing to be immediate messengers from heaven, and to be evidencing their mission by their miracles."(4)

Miracles are here described as "beside," and "beyond," and "above" nature, but a moment's consideration must


show that, in so far as these terms have any meaning at all, they are simply evasions, not solutions, of a difficulty. Dr. Trench is quite sensible of the danger in which the definition of miracles places them, and how fatal to his argument is would be to admit that they are contrary to the order of nature. "The miracle," he protests, "is not thus unnatural; nor could it be such, since the unnatural, the contrary to order, is of itself the ungodly, and can in no way, therefore, be affirmed of a Divine work, such as that with which we have to do."(1) The archbishop in this; however, is clearly arguing from nature to miracles, and not from miracles to nature. He does not, of course, know what miracles really are, but as he recognizes that the order of nature must be maintained, he is forced to assert that miracles are not contrary to nature. He repudiates the idea of their being natural phenomena; and yet attempts to deny that they are unnatural. They must either be the one or the other. The archbishop, besides; forgets that he ascribes miracles to Satan as well as to God. Indeed, that his distinction is purely imaginary, and inconsistent with the alleged facts of Scriptural miracles, is apparent from Dr. Trench's own illustrations; The whole argument is a mere quibble of words to evade a palpable dilemma. Dr. Newman does not fall into this error, and more boldly faces the difficulty. He admits that the Scripture miracles "innovate upon the impressions which are made upon us by the order and the laws of the natural world;"(2) and that "walking on the sea, or the resurrection of the dead, is a plain reversal of its laws."(3)


Take, for instance, the multiplication of loaves and fishes. Five thousand people are fed upon five barley loaves and two small fishes: "and they took up of the fragments which remained twelve baskets full."(1) Dr. Trench is forced to renounce all help in explaining this miracle from natural analogies, and he admits: "We must simply behold in the multiplying of the bread" (and fishes?)" an act of Divine omnipotence on His part who was the Word of God,—not, indeed, now as at the first, of absolute creation out of nothing, since there was a substratum to work on in the original loaves and fishes, but an act of creative accretion."(2) It will scarcely be argued by any one that such an "act of Divine omnipotence" and "creative accretion" as this multiplication of five baked loaves and two small fishes is not contrary to the order of nature.(3) For Dr. Trench has himself pointed out that there must be interposition of man's art here, and that "a grain of wheat could never by itself, and according to the laws of natural development, issue in a loaf of bread.(4)

Undaunted by, or rather unconscious of, such contradictions, the archbishop proceeds with his argument, and with new definitions of the miraculous. So far from being disorder of nature, he continues with audacious precision: "the true miracle is a higher and a purer


nature coming down out of the world of untroubled harmonies into this world of ours, which so many discords have jarred and disturbed, and bringing this back again, though it be but for one mysterious prophetic moment, into harmony with that higher."(1) In that "higher and purer nature" can a grain of wheat issue in a loaf of bread? We have only to apply this theory to the miraculous multiplication of loaves and fishes to perceive how completely it is the creation of Dr. Trench's poetical fancy.

These passages fairly illustrate the purely imaginary and arbitrary nature of the definitions which those who maintain the reality and supernatural character of miracles give of them. That explanation is generally adopted which seems most convenient at the moment, and none ever passes, or, indeed, ever can pass, beyond the limits of assumption. The favourite hypothesis is that which ascribes miracles to the action of unknown law. Archbishop Trench naturally adopts it: "We should see in the miracle," he says, "not the infraction of a law, but the neutralizing of a lower law, the suspension of it for a time by a higher;" and he asks with indignation, whence we dare conclude that, because we know of no powers sufficient to produce miracles, none exist. "They exceed the laws of our nature; but it does not therefore follow that they exceed the laws of all nature."(2) It is not easy


to follow the distinction here between "our nature" and "all nature," since the order of nature, by which miracles are judged, is, so far as knowledge goes, universal, and we have no grounds for assuming that there is any other.

The same hypothesis is elaborated by Dr. Mozley. Assuming the facts of miracles, he proceeds to discuss the question of their "referribleness to unknown law," in which expression he includes both "unknown law, or unknown connexion with known law."(1)

Taking first the supposition of (unknown) connection with known law, Dr. Mozley argues that, as a law of nature, in the scientific sense, cannot possibly produce single or isolated facts, it follows that no isolated or exceptional event can come under a law of nature by direct observation, but, if it comes under it at all, it can only do so by some explanation, which takes it out of its isolation and joins it to a class of facts, whose recurrence indeed constitutes the law. Now Dr. Mozley admits that no explanation can be given by which miracles can have an unknown connexion with known law. Taking the largest class of miracles, bodily cures, the correspondence between a simple command or prophetic notification and the cure is the chief characteristic of miracles, and distinguishes them from mere marvels.


No violation of any law of nature takes place in either the cure or the prophetic announcement taken separately, but the two, taken together, are the proof of superhuman agency. Dr. Mozley concludes that no physical hypothesis can be framed accounting for the superhuman knowledge and power involved in this class of miracles, supposing the miracles to stand as they are recorded in Scripture.(1)

Dr. Mozley then shifts the inquiry to the other and different question, whether miracles may not be instances of laws which are as yet wholly unknown.(2) This is generally called a question of "higher law," —that is to say, a law which comprehends under itself two or more lower or less wide laws. And the principle would be applicable to miracles by supposing the existence of an unknown law, hereafter to be discovered, under which miracles would come, and then considering whether this new law of miracles, and the old law of common facts, might not both be reducible to a still more general law which comprehended them both. Now a law of nature, in the scientific sense, cannot exist without a class of facts which comes under it, and in reality constitutes the law; but Dr. Mozley of course recognizes that the discovery of such a law of miracles would necessarily involve the discovery of fresh miracles, for to talk of a law of miracles without miracles would be an absurdity.(3) The supposition of the discovery of such a law of miracles, however, would be tantamount to the supposition of a future new order of nature, from which it immediately follows that the whole supposition is irrelevant and futile as regards the present question.(4)


For no new order of things could make the present order different, and a miracle, could we suppose it becoming the ordinary fact of another different order of nature, would not be less a violation of the laws of nature in the present one.(1) Dr. Mozley also rejects this explanation.

We pause here to remark that, throughout the whole inquiry into the question of miracles, we meet with nothing from theologians but mere assumptions, against which the invariability of the known order of nature steadily opposes itself. The facts of the narrative of the miracle are first assumed, and so are the theories by which it is explained. Now, with regard to every theory which seeks to explain miracles by assumption, we may quote words applied by one of the ablest defenders of miracles to some conclusion of straw, which he placed in the mouth of an imaginary antagonist in order that he might refute it: "But the question is," said the late Dean of St. Paul's, "not whether such a conclusion has been asserted, as many other absurdities have been asserted, by the advocates of a theory, but whether it has been established on such scientific grounds as to be entitled to the assent of all duly cultivated minds, whatever their own consciences may say to the contrary."(2) Divines are very strict in demanding absolute demonstrations from men of science and others, but we do not find them at all ready to furnish conclusions of similar accuracy regarding dogmatic theology.

Immediately after his indignant demand for scientific accuracy of demonstration, Dr. Mansel proceeds to argue as follows: In the will of man we have the solitary instance of an efficient cause, in the highest sense of the


term, acting among the physical causes of the material world, and producing results which could not have been brought about by any mere sequence of physical causes. If a man of his own will throw a stone into the air, its motion, as soon as it has left his hand, is determined by a combination of purely material laws; but by what law came it to be thrown at all? The law of gravitation, no doubt, remains constant and unbroken, whether the stone is lying on the ground, or moving through the air, but all the laws of matter could not have brought about the particular result without the interposition of the free will of the man who throws the stone. Substitute the will of God for the will of man, and the argument becomes applicable to the whole extent of Creation and to all the phenomena which it embraces.(1)

It is evident that Dr. Mansel's argument merely tends to prove that every effect must have a cause, a proposition too obvious to require any argument at all. If a man had not thrown the stone, the stone would have remained lying on the ground. No one doubts this. We have here, however, this "solitary instance of an efficient cause acting among the physical causes of the material world," producing results which are wholly determined by material laws,(2) and incapable of producing any opposed to them. If, therefore, we substitute, as Dr. Mansel desires, "the will of God" for "the will of man," we arrive at no results which are not in harmony


with the order of nature. We have no ground whatever for assuming any efficient cause acting in any other way than in accordance with the laws of nature. It is, how-fever, one of the gross fallacies of this argument, as applied to miracles, to pass from the efficient cause producing results which are strictly in accordance with natural laws, and determined by them, to an assumed efficient cause producing effects which are opposed to natural law. The restoration to life of a decomposed human body and the miraculous multiplication of loaves and fishes are opposed to natural laws, and no assumed efficient cause conceivable to which they may be referred can harmonize them.

Dr. Mozley continues his argument in a similar way. He inquires: "Is the suspension of physical and material laws by a Spiritual Being inconceivable? We reply that, however inconceivable this kind of suspension of physical law is, it is a fact. Physical laws are suspended any time an animate being moves any part of its body; the laws of matter are suspended by the laws of life."(l) He goes on to maintain that, although it is true that his spirit is united with the matter in which it moves in a way in which the Great Spirit who acts on matter in the miracle is not, yet the action of God's Spirit in the miracle of walking on the water is no more inconceivable than the action of his own spirit in holding up his own hand. "Antecedently, one step on the ground and an ascent to heaven are alike incredible. But this appearance of incredibility is answered in one case literally ambulando. How can I place any reliance upon it in the other?"(2) From this illustration,


Dr. Mozley, with a haste very unlike his previous careful procedure, jumps at the following conclusions: "The constitution of nature, then, disproved the incredibility of the Divine suspension of physical law; but more than this, it creates a presumption for it."(l) The laws of life of which we have experience, he argues, are themselves in an ascending scale. First come the laws which regulate unorganized matter; next the laws of vegetation; then the laws of animal life, with its voluntary motion; and above these again, the laws of moral being. A supposed intelligent being whose experience was limited to one or more classes in this ascending scale of laws would be totally incapable of conceiving the action of the higher classes. The progressive succession of laws is perfectly conceivable backward, but an absolute mystery forward. "Analogy," therefore, when in this ascending series we arrive at man, leads us to expect that there is a higher sphere of law as much above him as he is above the lower natures in the scale, and "supplies a presumption in favour of such a belief."(2) And so we arrive at the question whether there is or is not a God, a Personal Head in nature, whose free will penetrates the universal frame invisibly to us, and is an omnipresent agent. If there be, Dr. Mozley concludes, then, every miracle in Scripture is as natural an event in the universe as any chemical experiment in the physical world.(3)

This is precisely the argument of Dr. Mansel, regarding the "Efficient Cause," somewhat elaborated, but, however ingeniously devised, it is equally based upon assumption and defective in analogy. The "classes of


law" to which the Bampton Lecturer refers work harmoniously side by side, regulating the matter to which they apply. Unorganized matter, vegetation, and animal life, may each have special conditions modifying phenomena, but they are all equally subject to the same general laws. Man is as much under the influence of gravitation as a stone is. The special operation of physical laws is less a modification of law than that law acting under different conditions. The law of gravitation suffers no alteration, whether it cause the fall of an apple or shape the orbit of a planet. The reproduction of the plant and of the animal is regulated by the same fundamental principle acting through different organisms. The harmonious action of physical laws, and their adaptability to an infinite variety of forms, constitute the perfection of that code which produces the order of nature.(1) The mere superiority of man over lower forms of organic and inorganic matter does not lift him above physical laws, and the analogy of every grade in nature forbids the presumption that higher forms may exist which are exempt from their control.

If in animated beings, as is affirmed, we had the solitary instance of an "efficient cause" acting among the forces of nature, and possessing the power of initiation, this "efficient cause" produces no disturbance of physical law. Its existence is as much a recognized part of the infinite variety of form within the order of nature as the existence of a crystal or a plant; and although the character of the force exercised by it may not be clearly understood, its effects are regulated by the same laws as


govern all other forces in nature. If "the laws of matter are suspended by the laws of life" each time an animated being moves any part of its body, one physical law is counteracted in precisely the same manner, and to an equivalent degree, each time another physical law is called into action. The Law of gravitation, for instance, is equally neutralized by the law of magnetism each time a magnet suspends a weight in the air. In each case, a law is successfully resisted precisely to the extent of the force employed. The arm that is raised by the animated being falls again, in obedience to law, as soon as the force which raised it is exhausted, quite as certainly as the weight descends when the magnetic current fails. This, however, is not the suspension of law in the sense of a miracle, but, on the contrary, is simply the natural operation upon each other of co-existent laws. It is a recognized part of the order of nature,(1) and instead of


rendering credible any supernatural suspension of laws, the analogy of animated beings distinctly excludes it. The introduction of life in no way changes the relation between cause and effect, which constitutes the order of nature, and is the essence of its law. Life favours no presumption for the suspension of law, but, on the contrary, whilst acting in nature, universally exhibits the prevalence and invariability of law. The "laws of life" may be subtle, but they are an integral portion of the great order of nature, working harmoniously with the laws of matter, and not one whit more independent of them than any one natural law is of another.

The supposed "Efficient Cause," is wholly circumscribed by law. It is brought into existence by the operation of immutable physical laws, and from the cradle to the grave it is subject to those laws. So inseparably is it connected with matter, and consequently with the laws which regulate matter, that it cannot even become conscious of its own existence without the intervention of matter. The whole process of life is dependent on obedience to natural laws, and so powerless is this efficient cause to resist their jurisdiction, that, in spite of its highest efforts, it pines or ceases to exist in consequence of the mere natural operation of law upon the matter with which it is united, and without


which it is impotent. It cannot receive an impression from without that is not conveyed in accordance with law, and perceived by an exquisitely ordered organism, in every part of which law reigns supreme; nor can it communicate from within except through channels equally ordered by law. A slight injury may derange the delicate mechanical contrivances of eye, ear, and vocal chords, and may further destroy the reason and paralyze the body, reducing the animated being, by the derangement of those channels to which physical law limits its action, to a mere smouldering spark of life, without consciousness and without expression. The "laws of life" act amongst the laws of matter, but are not independent of them, and the action of both classes of law is regulated by precisely the same principles.

Dr. Mozley's affirmation, that antecedently one step on the ground and an ascent to heaven are alike incredible, does not help him. In that sense it follows that there is nothing that is not antecedently incredible, nothing credible until it has happened. This argument, however, while it limits us to actual experience, prohibits presumptions with regard to that which is beyond experience. To argue that, because a step on the ground and an ascent to heaven are antecedently alike incredible, yet as we subsequently make that step, therefore the ascent to heaven, which we cannot make, from incredible becomes credible, is a contradiction in terms. If the ascent be antecedently incredible, it cannot at the same time be antecedently credible. That which is incredible cannot become credible because something else quite different becomes credible. It is apparent that such an argument is vicious. Experience comes


with its sober wisdom to check such reasoning. We believe in our power to walk because we habitually exercise it: we disbelieve in bodily ascensions because all experience excludes them. The step is part of the recognised order of nature, and has none of the elements in it of the miraculous. But if we leap into the air on the brink of a precipice, belief in an ascent to heaven is shattered to pieces at the bottom to which the law of gravitation infallibly drags us.

There is absolutely nothing in the constitution of nature, we may say, reversing Dr. Mozley's assertion, which does not prove the incredibility of a Divine suspension of physical laws, and does not create a presumption against it. There is no instance producible, or even logically conceivable, of any power whose effects are opposed to the ultimate ruling of the laws of nature. The occurrence of anything opposed to those laws is incredible. Dr. Mozley has himself shown that miracles cannot be explained either by unknown connection with known law, or by reference to unknown law; and he renounces the explanation of "higher law." His distinction between the laws of nature and the "laws of the universe,"(1) by which he nevertheless endeavours to make a miracle credible, is one which is purely imaginary, and cannot affect us in our present position within the order of nature. We know of no laws of the universe differing from the laws of nature. So far as human observation can range, these laws alone prevail. For all practical purposes, therefore, such a distinction is futile, and belief is necessarily limited to the actual operation of natural laws. The occasional intervention of an unknown "efficient cause," producing the effects


called "miracles"—effects which are not referrible to any known law—is totally opposed to experience, and such a hypothesis to explain alleged occurrences of a miraculous character cannot find a legitimate place within the order of nature.


The proposition with which Dr. Mozley commences these Bampton Lectures, and for which he contends to their close, is this: "That miracles, or visible suspensions of the order of nature for a providential purpose, are not in contradiction to reason."(1) He shows that, the purpose of miracles is to attest a supernatural revelation, which, without them, we could not be justified in believing. "Christianity," he distinctly states, "cannot be maintained as a revelation undiscoverable by human reason—a revelation of a supernatural scheme for man's salvation without the evidence of miracles."(2) Out of this very admission he attempts to construct an argument in support of miracles: "Hence it follows," he continues, "that upon the supposition of the Divine design of a revelation, a miracle is not an anomaly or irregularity, but part of the system of the universe; because, though an irregularity and an anomaly in relation to either part, it has a complete adaptation to the whole. There being two worlds, a visible and invisible, and a communication between the two being wanted, a miracle is the instrument of that communication."(3)

Here, again, the argument is based upon mere assumption.


The supposition of the Divine design of a revelation is the result of a foregone conclusion in its favour, and is not suggested by antecedent probability. It is, in fact, derived solely from the contents of the revelation itself. Divines assume that a communication of this nature is in accordance with reason, and was necessary for the salvation of the human race, simply because they believe that it took place. No attempt is seriously made independently to prove the reality of the supposed "Divine design of a revelation." A revelation having, it is supposed, been made, that revelation is consequently supposed to have been contemplated, and to have necessitated and justified suspensions of the order of nature to effect it. The proposition for which the evidence of miracles is demanded is viciously employed as evidence for miracles.

The circumstances upon which the assumption of the necessity and reasonableness of a revelation is based, however, are incredible, and contrary to reason. We are asked to believe that God made man in his own image, pure and sinless, and intended him to continue so, but that scarcely had this, his noblest work, left the hands of the Creator, than man was tempted into sin by Satan, an all-powerful and persistent enemy of God, whose existence and antagonism to a Being in whose eyes sin is abomination are not accounted for and are incredible.(1) Adam's fall brought a curse upon the earth, and incurred the penalty of death for himself and for the whole of his posterity. The human race, although created perfect and without sin,


thus disappointed the expectations of the Creator, and became daily more wicked, the Evil Spirit having succeeded in frustrating the designs of the Almighty, so that God repented that he had made man, and at length destroyed by a deluge all the inhabitants of the earth, with the exception of eight persons who feared him. This sweeping purification, however, was as futile as the original design, and the race of men soon became more wicked than ever. The final and only adequate remedy devised by God for the salvation of his creatures, become so desperately and hopelessly evil, was the incarnation of himself in the person of "the Son," the second person in a mysterious Trinity of which the Godhead is said to be composed, (who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary,) and his death upon the cross as a vicarious expiation of the sins of the world, without which supposed satisfaction of the justice of God his mercy could not possibly have been extended to the frail and sinful work of his own hands. The crucifixion of the incarnate God was the crowning guilt of a nation whom God himself had selected as his own peculiar people, and whom he had condescended to guide by constant direct revelations of his will, but who, from the first, had displayed the most persistent and remarkable proclivity to sin against him, and, in spite of the wonderful miracles wrought on their behalf, to forsake his service for the worship of other gods. We are asked to believe, therefore, in the frustration of the Divine design of creation, and in the fall of man into a state of wickedness hateful to God, requiring and justifying the Divine design of a revelation, and such a revelation as this, as a preliminary to the further proposition that, on the supposition of such a design, miracles would not be contrary to reason.


Antecedently, nothing could be more absolutely incredible or contrary to reason than these statements, or the supposition of such a design. Dr. Mozley himself admits that, as human announcements, the doctrines of Christianity would be the "wildest delusions," which we could not be justified in believing, and that such a scheme could not be maintained without miraculous evidence. The supposition of the Divine design of the revelation is solely derived from the doctrines supposed to have been revealed, and, indeed, that design forms part of them. Until they are proved to be Divine truths, these statements must obviously be considered human announcements, and consequently they are antecedently incredible, and the "wildest delusions." As Dr. Mozley does not pretend that there is anything antecedently credible upon which he can base an assertion that there was actually


any "Divine design of a revelation," or that any "communication between the two worlds" was requisite, it is therefore clear that his argument consists merely of assumptions admitted to be antecedently incredible. It advances a supposition of that which is contrary to reason to justify supposed visible suspensions of the order of nature, which are also contrary to reason. Incredible assumptions cannot give probability to incredible evidence- Tertullian's audacious paradox: "Credo quia impossible," of which such reasoning is illustrative, is but the cry of enthusiastic credulity.

The whole theory of this abortive design of creation, with such impotent efforts to amend it, is emphatically contradicted by the glorious perfection and invariability of the order of nature. It is difficult to say whether the details of the scheme, or the circumstances which are supposed to have led to its adoption, are more shocking to reason or to moral sense. The imperfection ascribed to the Divine work is scarcely more derogatory to the power and wisdom of the Creator, than the supposed satisfaction of his justice in the death of himself incarnate, the innocent for the guilty, is degrading to the idea of his moral perfection. The supposed necessity for repeated interference to correct the imperfection of the original creation, the nature of the means employed, and the triumphant opposition of Satan, are anthropomorphic conceptions totally incompatible with the idea of an Infinitely Wise and Almighty Being. The constitution of nature, so far from favouring any hypothesis of original perfection and subsequent deterioration, bears everywhere the record of systematic upward progression. Not only is the assumption, that any revelation of the nature of ecclesiastical Christianity was necessary, excluded upon


philosophical grounds, but it is contradicted by the whole operation of natural laws, which contain in themselves inexorable penalties against natural retrogression, or even unprogressiveness, and furnish the only requisite stimulus to improvement.(1) The survival only of the fittest is the

     1 We venture to add a passage from Mr. Herbert Spencer's
     "Social Statics," which we have met with for the first time
     since this work was published, in illustration of this
     assertion. Mr. Spencer affirms "the evanescence of evil" and
     the perfectibility of man, upon the ground that: "All evil
     results from the non-adaptation of constitution to
     conditions." After an elaborate demonstration of this, he
     resumes as follows: "If there be any conclusiveness in the
     foregoing arguments, such a faith is well founded. As
     commonly supported by evidence drawn from history, it cannot
     be considered indisputable. The inference that as
     adyancement has been hitherto the rule, it will be the rule
     henceforth, may be called a plausible speculation. But when
     it is shown that this adyancement is due to the working of a
     universal law; and that in virtue of that law it must
     continue until the state we call perfection is reached, then
     the advent of such a state is removed out of the region of
     probability into that of certainty. If any one demurs to
     this let him point out the error. Here are the several steps
     of the argument. All imperfection is unfitness to the
     conditions of existence.

     This unfitness must consist either in having a faculty or
     faculties in excess; or in having a faculty or faculties
     deficient; or in both.

     A faculty in excess is one which the conditions of existence
     do not afford full exercise to; and a faculty that is
     deficient is one from which the conditions of existence
     demand more than it can perform.

     But it is an essential principle of life that a faculty to
     which circumstances do not allow full exercise diminishes;
     and that a faculty on which circumstances make excessive
     demands increases.

     And so long as this excess and this deficiency continue,
     there must continue decrease on the one hand, and growth on
     the other.

     Finally all excess and all deficiency must disappear, that
     is, all unfitness must disappear; that is, all imperfection
     must disappear.

     Thus the ultimate development of the ideal man is logically
     certain—as certain as any conclusion in which we place the
     most implicit faith; for instance, that all men will die.
     For why do we infer that all men will die P Simply because,
     in an immense number of past experiences, death has
     uniformly occurred. Similarly then as the experiences of all
     people in all times—experiences that are embodied in maxims,
     proverbs, and moral precepts, and that are illustrated in
     biographies and histories, go to prove that organs,
     faculties, powers, capacities, or whatever else we call them
     grow by use and diminish from disuse, it is inferred that
     they will continue to do so.    And if this inference is

     then is the one above deduced from it—that humanity must in
     the end become completely adapted to its conditions—
     unquestionable also.

     Progress, therefore, is not an accident, but a necessity.
     Instead of civilization being artificial, it is a part of
     nature; all of a piece with the development of the embryo or
     the unfolding of a flower. The modifications mankind have
     undergone, and are still undergoing, result from a law
     underlying the whole organic creation; and provided the
     human race continues, and the constitution of things remains
     the same, those modifications must end in completeness. As
     surely as the tree becomes bulky when it stands alone, and
     slender if one of a group; as surely as the same creature
     assumes the different forms of cart-horse and racehorse,
     according as its habits demand strength or speed; as surely
     as a blacksmith's arm grows large, and the skin of a
     labourer's hand thick; as surely as the eye tends to become
     long-sighted in the sailor, and shortsighted in the student;
     as surely as the blind attain a more delicate sense of
     touch; as surely as a clerk acquires rapidity in writing and
     calculation; as surely as the musician learns to detect an
     error of a semitone amidst what seems to others a very babel
     of sounds; as surely as a passion grows by indulgence and
     diminishes when restrained; as surely as a disregarded
     conscience becomes inert, and one that is obeyed active; as
     surely as there is any efficacy in educational culture, or
     any meaning in such terms as habit, custom, practice; so
     surely must the human faculties be moulded into complete
     fitness for the social state; so surely must the things we
     call evil and immorality disappear; so surely must man
     become perfect."   Social Statics, stereotyped ed. 1868, p.
     78 f.


stern decree of nature. The invariable action of law of itself eliminates the unfit Progress is necessary to existence; extinction is the doom of retrogression. The highest effect contemplated by the supposed Revelation is to bring man into perfect harmony with law, and this is ensured by law itself acting upon intelligence. Only in obedience to law is there life and safety. Knowledge of law is imperatively demanded by nature. Ignorance of it is a capital offence. If we ignore the law of gravitation we are dashed to pieces at the foot of a precipice, or are crushed by a falling rock; if we neglect sanatory law, we are destroyed by a pestilence; if we disregard chemical laws, we are poisoned by a vapour. There is not, in reality, a gradation of breach of law that is not followed by an equivalent gradation of punishment. Civilization is nothing but the knowledge and observance of natural laws. The savage must learn them or be extinguished; the cultivated must observe them or die. The balance of moral and physical development cannot be deranged with impunity. In the spiritual as well as the physical sense only the fittest eventually can survive in the struggle for existence. There is, in fact, an absolute upward impulse to the whole human race supplied by the invariable operation of the laws of nature acting upon the common instinct of self-preservation. As, on the one hand, the highest human conception of infinite wisdom and power is derived from the universality and invariability of law, so that universality and invariability, on the other hand, exclude the idea of interruption or occasional suspension of law for any purpose whatever, and more especially for the correction of supposed original errors of design which cannot have existed, or for the attainment of objects already provided for in the order of nature.


Upon the first groundless assumption of a Divine design of such a revelation follows the hypothetical inference that, for the purpose of making the communication from the unseen world, a miracle or visible suspension of the order or nature is no irregularity, but part of the system of the universe. This, however, is a mere assertion, and no argument An avowed assumption which is contrary to reason is followed by another which is contrary to experience. It is simply absurd to speak of a visible suspension of the order of nature being part of the system of the universe. Such a statement has no meaning whatever within the range of human conception. Moreover, it must be remembered that miracles—or "visible suspensions of the order of nature"—are ascribed indifferently to Divine and to Satanic agency. If miracles are not an anomaly or irregularity on the supposition of the Divine design of a revelation, upon what supposition do Satanic miracles cease to be irregularities? Is the order of nature, which it is asserted is under the personal control of God, at the same time at the mercy of the Devil?

Archbishop Trench has, as usual, a singular way of overcoming the difficulty. He says:—"So long as we abide in the region of nature, miraculous and improbable, miraculous and incredible may be admitted as convertible terms. But once lift up the whole discussion into a higher region, once acknowledge something higher than nature, a kingdom of God, and men the intended denizens of it, and the whole argument loses its strength and the force of its conclusions.... He who already counts it likely that God will interfere for the higher welfare of men, who believes that there is a


nobler world-order than that in which we live and move, and that it would be the blessing of blessings for that nobler to intrude into and to make itself felt in the region of this lower, who has found that here in this world we are bound by heavy laws of nature, of sin, of death, which no powers that we now possess can break, yet which must be broken if we are truly to live,—he will not find it hard to believe the great miracle, the coming of the Son of God in the flesh, &c... And as he believes that greatest miracle, so will he believe all other miracles, &c."(1) In other words, if we already believe the premises we shall not find it difficult to adopt the conclusions—if we already believe the greatest miracle we shall not hesitate to believe the less—if we already believe the dogmas we shall not find it hard to believe the evidence by which they are supposed to be authenticated. As we necessarily do abide in the


region of nature, in which Dr. Trench admits that miraculous and incredible are convertible terms, it would seem rather difficult to lift the discussion into the higher region here described without having already abandoned it altogether.



The argument of those who assert the possibility and reality of miracles generally takes the shape of an attack, more or less direct, upon our knowledge of the order of nature. To establish an exception they contest the rule. Dr. Mozley, however, is not content with the ordinary objections advanced by apologists but, boldly entering into the mazes of a delicate philosophical problem, he adopts sceptical arguments and seeks to turn the flank of the enemy upon his own ground. He conducts his attack with unusual force and ability. "Whatever difficulty there is in believing in miracles in general," he says, "arises from the circumstance that they are in contradiction to or unlike the order of nature. To estimate the force of this difficulty, then, we must first understand what kind of belief it is which we have in the order of nature; for the weight of the objection to the miraculous must depend on the nature of the belief to which the miraculous is opposed."(1) Dr. Mozley defines the meaning of the phrase, "order of nature" as the connection of that part of the order of nature of which we are ignorant with that part of it which we know, the former being expected to be such and such, because the latter is. But how do we justify this expectation of


likeness? We cannot do so, and all our arguments are mere statements of the belief itself, he affirms, and not reasons to account for it. It may be said, e.g., that when a fact of nature has gone on repeating itself a certain time, such repetition shows that there is a permanent cause at work, and that a permanent cause produces permanently recurring effects. But what is there to show the existence of a permanent cause? Nothing. The effects which have taken place show a cause at work to the extent of these effects, but not further. That this cause is of a more permanent nature we have no evidence. Why then do we expect the further continuance of these effects.(2) We can only say: because we believe the future will be like the past. After a physical phenomenon has even occurred every day for years we have nothing but the past repetition to justify our certain expectation of its future repetition.(3) Do we think it giving a reason for our confidence in the future to say that, though no man has had experience of what is future, every man has had experience of what was future? It is true that what is future becomes at every step of our advance what was future, but that which is now still future is not the least altered by that circumstance; it is as invisible, as unknown, and as unexplored as if it were the very beginning and the very starting-point of nature. At this starting-point of nature what would a man know of its future course? Nothing. At this moment he knows no more.(4) What ground of reason, then, can we assign for our expectation that any part of the course of nature will the next moment be like what it has been up to this moment, i.e., for our belief


in the uniformity of nature? None. It is without a reason. It rests upon no rational ground, and can be traced to no rational principle.(1) The belief in the order of nature being thus an "unintelligent impulse" of which we cannot give any rational account, Dr. Mozley concludes, the ground is gone upon which it could be maintained that miracles, as opposed to the order of nature, were opposed to reason. A miracle in being opposed to our experience is not only not opposed to necessary reasoning, but to any reasoning.(2) We need not further follow the Bampton Lecturer, as with clearness and ability he applies this reasoning to the argument of "Experience," until he pauses triumphantly to exclaim: "Thus step by step has philosophy loosened the connection of the order of nature with the ground of reason, befriending, in exact proportion as it has done this, the principle of miracles."(3)

We need not here enter upon any abstract argument regarding the permanence or otherwise of cause: it will be sufficient to deal with these objections in a simpler and more direct way. Dr. Mozley, of course, acknowledges that the principle of the argument from experience is that "which makes human life practicable; which utilizes all our knowledge; which makes the past anything more than an irrelevant picture to us; for of what use is the experience of the past to us unless we believe the future will be like it?'(4) Our knowledge in all things is relative, and there are sharp and narrow limits to human thought. It is therefore evident that, in the absence of absolute knowledge, our belief must be accorded to that of which we have


more full cognizance rather than to that which is contradicted by all that we do know. It may be "irrational" to feel entire confidence that the sun will "rise" tomorrow, or that the moon will continue to wax and wane as in the past, but we shall without doubt retain this belief, and reject any assertion, however positive, that the earth will stand still to-morrow, or that it did so some thousands of years ago. Evidence must take its relative place in the finite scale of knowledge and thought, and if we do not absolutely know anything whatever, so long as one thing is more fully established than another, we must hold to that which rests upon the more certain basis. Our belief in the invariability of the order of nature, therefore, being based upon more certain grounds than any other human opinion, we must of necessity refuse credence to a statement supported by infinitely less complete testimony, and contradicted by universal experience, that phenomena subversive of that order occurred many years ago, or we must cease to believe anything at all. If belief based upon unvarying experience be irrational, how much more irrational must belief be which is opposed to that experience. According to Dr. Mozley, it is quite irrational to believe that a stone dropped from the hand, for instance, will fall to the ground. It is true that all the stones we ourselves have ever dropped, or seen dropped, have so fallen, and equally true that all stones so dropped as far back as historic records, and those still more authentic and ancient records of earth's crust itself go, have done the same, but that does not justify our belief, upon any grounds of reason, that the next stone we drop will do so. If we be told, however, that upon one occasion a stone so dropped, instead of falling to the ground, rose


up into the air and continued there, we have only two courses open to us: either to disbelieve the fact, and attribute the statement to error of observation, or to reduce the past to a mere irrelevant picture, and the mind to a blank page equally devoid of all belief and of all intelligent reasoning.

Dr. Mozley's argument, however, is fatal to his own cause. It is admitted that miracles, "or visible suspensions of the order of nature,"(1) cannot have any evidential force unless they be supernatural, and out of the natural sequence of ordinary phenomena. Now, unless there be an actual order of nature, how can there be any exception to it? If our belief in it be not based upon any ground of reason,—as Dr. Mozley maintains, in order to assert that miracles or visible suspensions of that order are not contrary to reason,—how can it be asserted that miracles are supernatural? If we have no rational ground for believing that the future will be like the past, what rational ground can we have for thinking that anything which happens is exceptional, and out of the common course of nature? Because it has not happened before? That is no reason whatever; because the fact that a thing has happened ten millions of times is no rational justification of our expectation that it will happen again. If the reverse of that which had happened previously took place on the ten million and first time we should have no rational ground for surprise, and no reason for affirming that it did not occur in the most natural manner. Because we cannot explain its cause? We cannot explain the cause of anything. Our belief that there is any permanent cause is a mere unintelligent impulse. We can only say that there is a cause


sufficient to produce an isolated effect, but we do not know the nature of that cause, and it is a mere irrational instinct to suppose that any cause produces continuous effects, or is more than momentary. A miracle, consequently, becomes a mere isolated effect from an unknown cause, in the midst of other merely isolated phenomena from unknown causes, and it is as irrational to wonder

at the occurrence of what is new, as to expect the recurrence of what is old. In fact, an order of nature is at once necessary, and fatal, to miracles. If there be no order of nature, miracles cannot be considered supernatural occurrences, and have no evidential value; if there be an order of nature, the evidence for its immutability must consequently exceed the evidence for these isolated deviations from it. If we are unable rationally to form expectations of the future from unvarying experience in the past, it is still more irrational to call that supernatural which is merely different from our past experience. Take, for instance, the case of supposed exemption from the action of the law of gravitation, which Archbishop Trench calls "a lost prerogative of our race:"(1) we cannot rationally affirm that next week we may not be able to walk on the sea, or ascend bodily into the air. To deny this because we have not hitherto been able to do so is unreasonable; for, as Dr. Mozley maintains, it is a mere irrational impulse which expects that which has hitherto happened, when we have made such attempts, to happen again next week. If we cannot rationally deny the possibility, however, that we may be able at some future time to walk on the sea or ascend into the air, the statement that these phenomena have already occurred loses all its force, and such occurrences


cease to be in any way supernatural. If, on the other hand, it would be irrational to affirm that we may next week become exempt from the operation of the law of gravitation, it can only be so by the admission that unvarying experience forbids the entertainment of such a hypothesis, and in that case it equally forbids belief in the statement that such acts ever actually took place. If we deny the future possibility on any ground of reason, we admit that we have grounds of reason for expecting the future to be like the past, and therefore contradict Dr. Mozley's conclusion; and if we cannot deny it upon any ground of reason, we extinguish the claim of such occurrences in the past to any supernatural character. Any argument which could destroy faith in the order of nature would be equally destructive to miracles. If we have no right to believe in a rule, there can be no right to speak of exceptions. The result in any case is this, that whether the principle of the order of nature be established or refuted, the supernatural pretensions of miracles are disallowed.

More than this, however, must inevitably be deduced from Dr. Mozley's reasoning. In denying, as he does, the doctrine of a permanent cause, Dr. Mozley must equally renounce, as without foundation in reason, the assumption of a permanent agent working miracles. Not only do the supposed miracles, in the complete isolation of all effects, cease to be supernatural or even exceptional, but as it cannot be affirmed that there is any cause of a nature more permanent than its existing or known effects, it is obvious that miracles cannot be traced to an eternal Being of permanent omnipotence. If Dr. Mozley, therefore, be understood to adopt this reasoning as his own, he has involved himself, in the


necessary abandonment both of miracles as supernatural occurrences, and of a permanent and unlimited cause of miracles. If, on the other hand, he has merely snatched the sword of an adversary to turn it against him, he has unfortunately impaled himself upon the borrowed weapon.


Throughout the whole of his argument against the rationality of belief in the order of nature, the rigorous precision which Dr. Mozley unrelentingly demands from his antagonists is remarkable. They are not permitted to deviate by a hair's breadth from the line of strict logic, and the most absolute exactness of demonstration is required. Anything like an assumption or argument from analogy is excluded; induction is allowed to add no reason to bare and isolated facts; and the belief that the sun will rise to-morrow morning is, with pitiless severity, written down as mere unintelligent impulse. Belief in the return of day, based upon the unvarying experience of all past time, is declared to be without any ground of reason. We find anything but fault with strictness of argument; but it is fair that equal precision should be observed by those who assert miracles, and that assumption and inaccuracy should be excluded. Hitherto, as we have frequently pointed out, we have met with very little or nothing but assumption in support of miracles; but, encouraged by the inflexible spirit of Dr. Mozley's attack upon the argument from experience, we may look for similar precision from himself.


Proceeding, however, from his argument against the rationality of belief in the order of nature to his more direct argument for miracles, we are astonished to find a total abandonment of the rigorous exactness imposed upon his antagonists, and a complete relapse into assumptions. Dr. Mozley does not conceal the fact. "The peculiarity of the argument of miracles," he frankly admits, "is, that it begins and ends with an assumption; I mean relatively to that argument."(1) Such an argument is no argument at all; it is a mere petitio principii, incapable of proving anything. The nature of the assumptions obviously does not in the slightest degree affect this conclusion. It is true that the statement of the particular assumptions may constitute an appeal to belief otherwise derived, and evolve feelings which may render the calm exercise of judgment more difficult, but the fact remains absolute, that an argument which "begins and ends with an assumption" is totally impotent. It remains an assumption, and is not an argument at all.


Notwithstanding this unfortunate and disqualifying "peculiarity" we may examine the argument. It is as follows: "We assume the existence of a Personal Deity prior to the proof of miracles in the religious sense; but with this assumption the question of miracles is at an end; because such a Being has necessarily the power to suspend those laws of nature which He has Himself enacted."(1) The "question of miracles," which Dr. Mozley here asserts to be at an end on the assumption of a "Personal Deity," is of course merely that of the possibility of miracles; but it is obvious that, even with the precise definition of Deity which is assumed, instead of the real "question" being at an end, it only commences. The power to suspend the laws of nature being assumed, the will to suspend them has to be demonstrated, and the actual occurrence of any such suspension, which, it has already been shown, is contrary to reason. The subject is, moreover, complicated by the occurrence of Satanic as well as Divine suspensions of the order of nature, and by the necessity of assuming a Personal Devil as well as a Personal Deity, and his power to usurp that control over the laws of nature, which is assumed as the prerogative of the Deity, and to suspend them in direct opposition to God. The express ascription of miracles to the special intervention of a Personal God is also, as we have seen, excluded by the Scriptural admission that there are other supernatural beings capable of performing them. Even Dr. Newman has recognized this, and, in a passage already quoted, he says: "For the cogency of the argument from Miracles depends on the assumption, that interruptions in the course of nature must ultimately proceed from God; which is not true, if they may be


effected by other beings without His sanction."(1) The first assumption, in fact, leads to nothing but assumptions connected with the unseen, unknown and supernatural, which are beyond the limits of reason.

Dr. Mozley is well aware that his assumption of a "Personal" Deity is not susceptible of proof;(2) indeed, this is admitted in the statement that the definition is an "assumption." He quotes the obvious reply which may be made regarding this assumption:—"Everybody must collect from the harmony of the physical universe the existence of a God, but in acknowledging a God, we do not thereby acknowledge this peculiar doctrinal conception of a God. We see in the structure of nature a mind—a universal mind—but still a mind which only operates and expresses itself by law. Nature only does and only can inform us of mind in nature, the partner and correlative of organized matter. Nature, therefore, can speak to the existence of a God in this sense, and can speak to the omnipotence of God in a sense coinciding with the actual facts of nature; but in no other sense does nature witness to the existence of an Omnipotent Supreme Being. Of a universal Mind out of nature, nature says nothing, and of an Omnipotence which does not possess an inherent limit in nature, she says nothing either. And, therefore, that conception of a Supreme Being which represents him as a Spirit


independent of the physical universe, and able from a standing-place external to nature to interrupt its order, is a conception of God for which we must go elsewhere. That conception is obtained from revelation which is asserted to be proved by miracles. But that being the case, this doctrine of Theism rests itself upon miracles, and, therefore, miracles cannot rest upon this doctrine of Theism."(1) With his usual fairness, Dr. Mozley, while questioning the correctness of the premiss of this argument, admits that, if established, the consequence stated would follow, "and more, for miracles being thrown back upon the same ground on which Theism is, the whole evidence of revelation becomes a vicious circle, and the fabric is left suspended in space, revelation resting on miracles and miracles resting on revelation."(2) He not only recognizes, however, that the conception of a Person al" Deity cannot be proved, but he distinctly confesses that it was obtained from revelation,(3) and from nowhere else, and these necessary admissions obviously establish the correctness of the premiss, and involve the consequence pointed out, that the evidence of revelation is a mere vicious circle. Dr. Mozley attempts to argue that, although the idea was first obtained through this channel, "the truth once possessed is seen to rest upon grounds of natural reason."(4) Why, then, does he call it an assumption? The argument by which he seeks to show that the conception is seen to rest upon grounds of natural reason is: "We naturally attribute to the design of a Personal Being a contrivance which is directed to the existence of a Personal Being.... From personality


at one end I infer personality at the other." Dr. Mozley's own sense of the weakness of his argument, however, and his natural honesty of mind oblige him continually to confess the absence of evidence. A few paragraphs further on he admits:—"Not, however, that the existence of a God is so clearly seen by reason as to dispense with faith;"(1) but he endeavours to convince us that faith is reason, only reason acting under peculiar circumstances: when reason draws conclusions which are not backed by experience, reason is then called faith.(2) The issue of the argument, he contends, is so amazing, that if we do not tremble for its safety it must be on account of a practical principle, which makes us confide and trust in reasons, and that principle is faith. We are not aware that conviction can be arrived at regarding any matter otherwise than by confidence in the correctness of the reasons, and what Dr. Mozley really means by faith, here, is confidence and trust in a conclusion for which there are no reasons.

It is almost incredible that the same person who had just been denying grounds of reason to conclusions from unvarying experience, and excluding from them the results of inductive reasoning—who had denounced as unintelligent impulse and irrational instinct the faith that the sun, which has risen without fail every morning since time began, will rise again to-morrow, could thus argue. In fact, from the very commencement of the direct plea for miracles, calm logical reasoning is abandoned, and the argument becomes entirely ad hominem. Mere feeling is substituted for thought, and in the inability to be precise and logical, the lecturer appeals


to the generally prevailing inaccuracy of thought.(1) "Faith, then," he concludes, "is unverified reason; reason which has not yet received the verification of the final test, but is still expectant." In science this, at the best, would be called mere "hypothesis," but accuracy can scarcely be expected where the argument continues: "Indeed, does not our heart bear witness to the fact that to believe in a God"—i. e., a Personal God —"is an exercise of faith?" &c.(2)

It does not help Dr. Mozley that Butler, Paley, and all other divines have equally been obliged to commence with the same assumption; and, indeed, as we have already remarked, Dr. Mozley honestly admits the difficulty of the case, and while naturally making the most of his own views, he does not disguise the insecurity of the position. He deprecates that school which maintains that any average man, taken out of a crowd, who has sufficient common sense to manage his own affairs, is a fit judge, and such a judge as was originally contemplated, of the Christian evidences;(3) and he says: "It is not, indeed, consistent with truth, nor would it conduce to the real defence of Christianity, to underrate the difficulties of the Christian evidence; or to disguise this characteristic of it, that the very facts which constitute the evidence of revelation have to be accepted by an act of faith themselves, before they can operate as a proof of that further truth."(4) Such evidence is manifestly worthless. After all his assumptions, Dr. Mozley is reduced to the necessity of pleading: "A probable fact is a probable evidence. I may, therefore, use a miracle as evidence of a revelation, though


I have only probable evidence for the miracle."(1) The probability of the miracle, however, is precisely what is denied, as opposed to reason and experience, and incompatible with the order of nature. A cause is, indeed, weak when so able an advocate is reduced to such reasoning.

The deduction which is drawn from the assumption of a "Personal" Deity is, as we have seen, merely the possibility of miracles. "Paley's criticism," said the late Dean of St. Paul's, "is, after all, the true one—'once believe that there is a God, and miracles are not incredible.'"(2) The assumption, therefore, although of vital importance in the event of its rejection, does not very materially advance the cause of miracles if established. We have already seen that the assumption is avowedly incapable of proof, but it may be well to examine it a little more closely in connection with the inferences supposed to be derivable from it. We must, however, in doing so carefully avoid being led into a metaphysical argument, which would be foreign to the purpose of this inquiry.

In his Bampton Lectures on "The Limit of Religious Thought," delivered in 1858, Dr. Mansel, the very able editor and disciple of Sir William Hamilton, discussed this subject with great minuteness, and although we cannot pretend here to follow him through the whole of his singular argument—a theological application of Sir William Hamilton's philosophy—we must sufficiently represent it. Dr. Mansel argues: We are absolutely incapable of conceiving or proving the existence of God as he is; and so far is human reason from being able to


construct a theology independent of revelation that it cannot even read the alphabet out of which that theology must be formed.(1) We are compelled, by the constitution of our minds, to believe in the existence of an Absolute and Infinite Being; but the instant we attempt to analyse, we are involved in inextricable confusion.(2) Our moral consciousness demands that we should conceive him as a Personality, but personality, as we conceive it, is essentially a limitation; to speak of an Absolute and Infinite Person is simply to use language to which no mode of human thought can possibly attach itself.(3) This amounts simply to an admission that our knowledge of God does not satisfy the conditions of speculative philosophy, and is incapable of reduction to an ultimate and absolute truth.(4) It is, therefore, reasonable that we should expect to find that the revealed manifestation of the Divine nature and attributes should likewise carry the marks of subordination to some higher truth, of which it indicates the existence, but does not make known the substance; and that our apprehension of the revealed Deity should involve mysteries inscrutable, and


doubts insoluble by our present faculties, while at the same time it inculcates the true spirit in which doubt should be dealt with by warning us that our knowledge of God, though revealed by himself, is revealed in relation to human faculties, and subject to the limitations and imperfections inseparable from the constitution of the human mind.(1) We need not, of course, point out that the reality of revelation is here assumed. Elsewhere, Dr. Mansel maintains that philosophy, by its own incongruities, has no claim to be accepted as a competent witness; and, on the other hand, human personality cannot be assumed as an exact copy of the Divine, but only as that which is most nearly analogous to it among finite things.(2) As we are, therefore, incapable on the one hand of a clear conception of the Divine Being, and have only analogy to guide us in conceiving his attributes, we have no criterion of religious truth or falsehood, enabling us to judge of the ways of God, represented by revelation,(3) and have no right to judge of his justice, or mercy, or goodness, by the standard of human morality.

It is impossible to conceive an argument more vicious, or more obviously warped to favour already accepted


conclusions of revelation:—As finite beings we are not only incapable of proving the existence of God, but even of conceiving him as he is; therefore we may conceive him as he is not. To attribute personality to him is a limitation totally incompatible with the idea of an Absolute and Infinite Being, in which "we are compelled by the constitution of our minds to believe;" and to speak of him as a personality is "to use language to which no mode of human thought can possibly attach itself;" but, nevertheless, to satisfy supposed demands of our moral consciousness, we are to conceive him as a personality. Although we must define the Supreme Being as a personality to satisfy our moral consciousness, we must not, we are told, make the same moral consciousness the criterion of the attributes of that personality. We must not suppose him to be endowed, for instance, with the perfection of morality according to our ideas of it; but, on the contrary, we must hold that his moral perfections are at best only analogous, and often contradictory, to our standard of morality.1 As soon as we conceive a Personal Deity to satisfy our moral consciousness, we have to abandon the personality which satisfies that consciousness, in order to accept the characteristics of a supposed Revelation, to reconcile certain statements of which we must admit that we have no criterion of truth or falsehood enabling us to judge of the ways of God.

Now, in reference to the assumption of a Personal Deity as a preliminary to the proof of miracles, it must be clearly remembered that the contents of the revelation which miracles are to authenticate cannot


have any weight. Antecedently, then, it is admitted that personality is a limitation which is absolutely excluded by the ideas of the Deity, which, it is asserted, the constitution of our minds compete us to form. It cannot, therefore, be rationally assumed. To admit that such a conception is false, and then to base conclusions upon it, as though it were true, is absurd. It is child's play to satisfy our feeling and imagination by the conscious sacrifice of our reason. Moreover, Dr. Mansel admits that the conception of a Personal Deity is really derived from the revelation, which has to be rendered credible by miracles; therefore the consequence already pointed out ensues, that the assumption cannot be used to prove miracles. "It must be allowed that it is not through reasoning that men obtain the first intimation of their relation to the Deity; and that, had they been left to the guidance of their intellectual faculties alone, it is possible that no such intimation might have taken place; or at best, that it would have been but as one guess, out of many equally plausible and equally natural."(1) The vicious circle of the argument is here again apparent, and the singular reasoning by which the late Dean of St. Paul's seeks to drive us into an acceptance of Revelation is really the strongest argument against it. The impossibility of conceiving God as he is,(2) which is insisted upon, instead of being a


reason for assuming his personality, or for accepting Jewish conceptions of him, totally excludes such an assumption.

This "great religious assumption"(1) is not suggested by any antecedent considerations, but is required to account for miracles, and is derived from the very Revelation which miracles are to attest. "In nature and from nature," to quote Words of Professor Baden Powell, "by science and by reason, we neither have nor can possibly have any evidence of a Deity working miracles;—for that we must go out of nature and beyond science. If we could have any such evidence from nature, it could only prove extraordinary natural effects, which would not be miracles in the old theological sense, as isolated, unrelated, and uncaused; whereas no physical fact can be conceived as unique, or without analogy and relation to others, and to the whole system of natural causes."(2) Being, therefore, limited to Reason for any feeble conception of a Divine Being of which we may be capable, and Reason being totally opposed to the idea of an order of nature so imperfect as to require or permit repeated interference, and rejecting the supposition of arbitrary


suspensions of Law, such a conception of a Deity as is proposed by theologians must be pronounced irrational and derogatory. It is impossible for us to conceive a Supreme Being acting otherwise than we actually see in nature, and if we recognize in the universe the operation of infinite wisdom and power, it is in the immutable order and regularity of all phenomena, and in the eternal prevalence of Law, that we see their highest manifestation. This is no conception based merely upon observation of law and order in the material world, as Dr. Mansel insinuates,(1) but it is likewise the result of the highest exercise of mind. Dr. Mansel "does not hesitate to affirm with Sir William Hamilton "that the class of phenomena which requires that kind of cause we denominate a Deity is exclusively given in the phenomena of mind; that the phenomena of matter, taken by themselves, do not warrant any inference to the existence of a God."(2) After declaring a Supreme Being, from every point of view, inconceivable by our finite minds, it is singular to find him thrusting upon us, in consequence, a conception of that Being which almost makes us exclaim with Bacon: "It were better to have no opinion of God at all than such an opinion as is unworthy of him; for the one is unbelief, the other is contumely."(3) Dr. Mansel asks: "Is matter or mind the truer image of God?"(4) But both matter and mind unite in repudiating so unworthy a conception of a God, and in rejecting the idea of suspensions of Law. In the words of Spinoza: "From miracles


we can neither infer the nature, the existence, nor the providence of God, but, on the contrary, these may be much better comprehended from the fixed and immutable order of nature;"(1) indeed, as he adds, miracles, as contrary to the order of nature, would rather lead us to doubt the existence of God.(2)

Six centuries before our era, a noble thinker, Xenophanes of Colophon, whose pure mind soared far above the base anthropomorphic mythologies of Homer and Hesiod, and anticipated some of the highest results of the Platonic philosophy, finely said:—

"There is one God supreme over all gods, diviner than mortals, Whose form is not like unto man's, and as unlike his nature;

But vain mortals imagine that gods like themselves are begotten, With human sensations, and voice, and corporeal members;'

So if oxen or lions had hands and could work iu man's fashion, And trace out with chisel or brush their conception of Godhead, Then would horses depict gods like horses, and oxen like oxen, Each kind the Divine with its own form and nature endowing."(4)

He illustrates this profound observation by pointing out that the Ethiopians represent their deities as black with flat noses, while the Thracians make them blue-eyed with ruddy complexions, and, similarly, the Medes and the Persians and Egyptians portray their gods like


themselves.(1) The Jewish idea of God was equally anthropomorphic; but their highest conception was certainly that which the least resembled themselves, and which described the Almighty as "without variableness or shadow of turning," and as giving a law to the universe which shall not be broken.(2)


None of the arguments with which we have yet met have succeeded in making miracles in the least degree antecedently credible. On the contrary they have been based upon mere assumptions incapable of proof and devoid of probability. On the other hand there are the strongest reasons for affirming that such phenomena are antecedently incredible. Dr. Mozley's attack which we discussed in the first part of this chapter, and which of course was chiefly based upon Hume's celebrated argument,


never seriously grappled the doctrine at all. The principle which opposes itself to belief in miracles is very simple. Whatever is contradictory to universal and invariable experience is antecedently incredible, and as that sequence of phenomena which is called the order of nature is established by and in accordance with universal experience, miracles or alleged violations of that order, by whatever name they may be called, or whatever definition may be given of their characteristics or object, are antecedently incredible. The preponderance of evidence for the invariability of the order of nature, in fact, is so enormous that it is impossible to credit the reality of such variations from it, and reason and experience concur in attributing the ascription of a miraculous character to any actual occurrences which may have been witnessed to imperfect observation, mistaken inference or some other of the numerous sources of error. Any allegation of the interference of a new and supernatural agent, upon such an occasion, to account for results, in contradiction of the known sequence of cause and effect, is excluded by the very same principle, for invariable experience being as opposed to the assertion that such interference ever takes place as it is to the occurrence of miraculous phenomena, the allegation is necessarily disbelieved.

Apologists find it much more convenient to evade the simple but effective arguments of Hume than to answer them, and where it is possible they dismiss them with a sneer, and hasten on to less dangerous ground. For instance, a recent Hulsean Lecturer, arguing the antecedent credibility of the miraculous, makes the following remarks: "Now, as regards the inadequacy of testimony to establish a miracle, modern scepticism has not advanced


one single step beyond the blank assertion. And it is astonishing that this assertion should still be considered cogent, when its logical consistency has been shattered to pieces by a host of writers as well sceptical as Christian (Mill's Logic, ii., 157—160). For, as the greatest of our living logicians has remarked, the supposed recondite and dangerous formula of Hume—that it is more probable that testimony should be mistaken than that miracles should be true—reduces itself to the very harmless proposition that anything is incredible which is contrary to a complete induction. It is in fact a flagrant petitio principii, used to support a wholly unphilosophical assertion."(1) It is much more astonishing that so able a man as Dr. Farrar could so misunderstand Hume's argument and so misinterpret and mis-state Mr. Mill's remarks upon it. So far from shattering to pieces the logical consistency of Hume's reasoning, Mr. Mill substantially confirms it, and pertinently remarks that "it speaks ill for the state of philosophical speculation on such subjects" that so simple and evident a doctrine should have been accounted a dangerous heresy. It is, in fact, the statement of a truth which should have been universally recognized, and would have been so, but for its unwelcome and destructive bearing upon popular theology.

Mr. Mill states the evident principle, that—"If an alleged fact be in contradiction, not to any number of approximate generalizations, but to a completed generalization grounded on a rigorous induction, it is said to be impossible, and is to be disbelieved totally." Mr. Mill continues.: "This last principle, simple and evident as it


appears, is the doctrine which, on the occasion of an attempt to apply it to the question of the credibility of miracles, excited so violent a controversy. Hume's celebrated doctrine, that nothing is credible which is contradictory to experience or at variance with laws of nature, is merely this very plain and harmless proposition, that whatever is contradictory to a complete induction is incredible."(1) He then proceeds to meet possible objections: "But does not (it may be asked) the very statement of the proposition imply a contradiction? An alleged fact according to this theory is not to be believed if it contradict a complete induction. But it is essential to the completeness of an induction that it should not contradict any known fact. Is it not, then, a petitio principii to say, that the fact ought to be disbelieved because the induction to it is complete? How can we have a right to declare the induction complete, while facts, supported by credible evidence, present themselves in opposition to it? I answer, we have that right whenever the scientific canons of induction give it to us; that is, whenever the induction can be complete. We have it, for example, in a case of causation in which there has been an experimentum cruris." It will be remarked that Dr. Farrar adopts Mr. Mill's phraseology in one of the above questions to affirm the reverse of his opinion. Mr. Mill decides that the proposition is not a petitio principii; Dr. Farrar says, as in continuation of his reference to Mr. Mill, that it is a flagrant petitio principii. Mr. Mill proceeds to prove his statement, and he naturally argues that, if observations or experiments have been repeated so often, and by so many persons, as to exclude all supposition of


error in the observer, a law of nature is established; and so long as this law is received as such, the assertion that on any particular occasion the cause A took place and yet the effect B did not follow, without any counteracting cause, must be disbelieved. In fact, as he winds up this part of the argument by saying: "We cannot admit a proposition as a law of nature, and yet believe a fact in real contradiction to it. We must disbelieve the alleged fact, or believe that we were mistaken in admitting the supposed law."(1) Mr. Mill points out, however, that, in order that any alleged fact should be contradictory to a law of causation, the allegation must be not simply that the cause existed without being followed by the effect, but that this happened in the absence of any adequate counteracting cause. "Now, in the case of an alleged miracle, the assertion is the exact opposite of this. It is, that the effect was defeated, not in the absence, but in consequence of a counteracting cause, namely, a direct interposition of an act of the will of some being who has power over nature; and in particular of a Being, whose will being assumed to have endowed all the causes with the powers by which they produce their effects, may well be supposed able to counteract them."(2) A miracle, then, is no contradiction to the law of cause and effect; it is merely a new effect supposed to be introduced by the introduction of a new cause; "of the adequacy of that cause if present,(3) there can be no doubt; and the only antecedent improbability which can be ascribed to the miracle is the improbability that any such cause existed." Mr. Mill then continues, resuming his criticism on Hume's argument:


"All, therefore, which Hume has made out, and this he must be considered to have made out, is that (at least in the imperfect state of our knowledge of natural agencies, which leaves it always possible that some of the physical antecedents may have been hidden from us,) no evidence can prove a miracle to any one who did not previously believe the existence of a being or beings with supernatural power; or who believes himself to have full proof that the character of the Being whom he recognizes is inconsistent with his having seen fit to interfere on the occasion in question." Mr. Mill proceeds to enlarge on this conclusion. "If we do not already believe in supernatural agencies, no miracle can prove to us their existence. The miracle itself, considered merely as an extraordinary fact, may be satisfactorily certified by our senses or by testimony; but nothing can ever prove that it is a miracle: there is still another possible hypothesis, that of its being the result of some unknown natural cause: and this possibility cannot be so completely shut out as to leave no alternative but that of admitting the existence and intervention of a being superior to nature. Those, however, who already believe in such a being have two hypotheses to choose from, a supernatural, and an unknown natural agency; and they have to judge which of the two is the most probable in the particular case. In forming this judgment, an important element of the question will be the conformity of the result to the laws of the supposed agent; that is, to the character of the Deity as they conceive it. But, with the knowledge which we now possess of the general uniformity of the course of nature, religion, following in the wake of science, has been compelled to acknowledge the government of the universe as


being on the whole carried on by general laws, and not by special interpositions. To whoever holds this belief, there is a general presumption against any supposition of divine agency not operating through general laws, or, in other words, there is an antecedent improbability in every miracle, which, in order to outweigh it, requires an extraordinary strength of antecedent probability derived from the special circumstances of the case."(1) Mr. Mill rightly considers that it is not more difficult to estimate this than in the case of other probabilities. "We are seldom, therefore, without the means (when the circumstances of the case are at all known to us) of judging how far it is likely that such a cause should have existed at that time and place without manifesting its presence by some other marks, and (in the case of an unknown cause) without having hitherto manifested its existence in any other instance. According as this circumstance, or the falsity of the testimony, appears more improbable, that is, conflicts with an approximate generalization of a higher order, we believe the testimony, or disbelieve it; with a stronger or weaker degree of conviction, according to the preponderance: at least until we have sifted the matter further."(2) This is precisely Hume's argument weakened by the introduction of reservations which have no cogency.

"We have wished to avoid interrupting Mr. Mill's train of reasoning by any remarks of our own, and have, therefore, deferred till now the following observations regarding his criticism on Hume's argument.

In reducing Hume's celebrated doctrine to the very plain proposition that whatever is contradictory to a complete induction is incredible, Mr. Mill in no way


diminishes its potency against miracles; and he does not call that proposition "harmless" in reference to its bearing on miracles, as Dr. Farrar evidently supposes, but merely in opposition to the character of a recondite and "dangerous heresy" assigned by dismayed theologians to so obvious and simple a principle. The proposition, however, whilst it reduces Hume's doctrine in the abstract to more technical terms, does not altogether represent his argument. Without asserting that experience is an absolutely infallible guide, Hume maintains that—" A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence. In such conclusions as are founded on an infallible experience, he expects the event with the last degree of assurance, and regards his past experience as a full proof of the future existence of that event. In other cases he proceeds with more caution, he weighs the opposite experiments: he considers which side is supported by the greater number of experiments: to that side he inclines with doubt and hesitation; and when at last he fixes his judgment, the evidence exceeds not what we properly call probability. All probability, then, supposes an opposition of experiments and observations, where the one side is found to overbalance the other, and to produce a degree of evidence proportioned to the superiority. "(l) After elaborating this proposition, Hume continues: "A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; and as a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined. Why is it more than probable that all men must die; that lead


cannot, of itself, remain suspended in the air; that fire consumes wood, and is extinguished by water; unless it be that these events are found agreeable to the laws of nature, and there is required a violation of these laws, or, in other words, a miracle, to prevent them? Nothing is esteemed a miracle if it ever happen in the common course of nature. It is no miracle that a man seemingly in good health should die on a sudden; because such a kind of death, though more unusual than any other, has yet been frequently observed to happen. But it is a miracle that a dead man should come to life; because that has never been observed in any age or country. There must, therefore, be an uniform experience against every miraculous event, otherwise the event would not merit that appellation. And as an uniform experience amounts to a proof, there is here a direct and full proof, from the nature of the fact, against the existence of any miracle; nor can such a proof be destroyed, or the miracle rendered credible, but by an opposite proof which is superior. The plain consequence is, (and it is a general maxim worthy of our attention), 'That no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavours to establish: and even in that case there is a mutual destruction of arguments, and the superior only gives us an assurance suitable to that degree of force which remains after deducting the inferior.' When any one tells me that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediately consider with myself whether it be more probable that this person should either deceive or be deceived, or that the fact which he relates should really have happened. I weigh the one miracle against the


other; and according to the superiority which 1 discover, I pronounce my decision, and always reject the greater miracle. If the falsehood of his testimony would be more miraculous than the event which he relates, then, and not till then, can he pretend to command my belief or opinion."(1)

The ground upon which Mr. Mill admits that a miracle may not be contradictory to complete induction is that it is not an assertion that a certain cause was not followed by a certain effect, but an allegation of the interference of an adequate counteracting cause. This does not, however, by his own showing, remove a miracle from the action of Hume's principle, but simply modifies the nature of the antecedent improbability. Mr. Mill qualifies his admission regarding the effect of the alleged counteracting cause, by the all-important words "if present;" for, in order to be valid, the reality of the alleged counteracting cause must be established, which is impossible, therefore the allegations fall to the ground. No one knows better than Mr. Mill that the assertion of a Personal Deity working miracles, upon which a miracle is allowed for a moment to come into court, cannot be proved, and, therefore, that it cannot stand in opposition to complete induction which Hume takes as his standard.

In admitting that Hume has made out, that no evidence can prove a miracle to any one who does not previously believe in a being of supernatural power willing to work miracles, Mr. Mill concedes everything to Hume, for his only limitation is based upon a supposition of mere personal belief in something which is not capable of proof, and which belief, therefore, is not


more valid than any other purely imaginary hypothesis. The belief may seem substantial to the individual entertaining it, but, not being capable of proof, it cannot have weight with others, or in any way affect the Value of evidence in the abstract. That mere individual belief, apart from proof, should thus be advanced in limitation of a logical principle, seems to us most unwarranted, and at the most it can only be received as a statement of what practically takes place amongst illogical reason ers.

The assumption of a Personal Deity working miracles is, in fact, excluded by Hume's argument, and, although Mr. Mill apparently overlooks the fact, Hume has not only anticipated but refuted the reasoning which is based upon it. In the succeeding chapter on a Particular Providence and a Future State, he directly disposes of such an assumption, but he does so with equal effect also in the Essay which we are discussing. Taking an imaginary miracle as an illustration, he argues: "Though the being to whom the miracle is ascribed be in this case Almighty, it does not, upon that account, become a whit more probable; since it is impossible for us to know the attributes or actions of such a Being, otherwise than from the experience which we have of his productions in the usual course of nature. This still reduces us to past observation, and obliges us to compare the instances of the violation of truth in the testimony of men, with those of the violation of the laws of nature by miracles, in order to judge which of them is most likely and probable. As the violations of truth are more common in the testimony concerning religious miracles than in that concerning any other matter of fact, this must diminish very much the authority of the former testimony, and


make us form a general resolution never to lend any attention to it, with whatever specious pretence it may be covered."(1) A person who believes anything contradictory to a complete induction merely on the strength of an assumption which is incapable of proof is simply credulous, but such an assumption cannot affect the real evidence for that thing.

The argument of Paley against Hume is an illustration of the reasoning suggested by Mr. Mill. Paley alleges the interposition of a Personal Deity in explanation of miracles, but he protests that he does not assume the attributes of the Deity or the existence of a future state in order to prove their reality. "That reality," he admits, "always must be proved by evidence. We assert only that in miracles adduced in support of revelation there is not such antecedent improbability as no testimony can surmount." His argument culminates in the short statement: "In a word, once believe that there is a God" (i.e., a Personal God working miracles), "and miracles are not incredible."(2) We have already quoted Hume's refutation of this reasoning, and we may at once proceed to the final argument by which Paley endeavours to overthrow Hume's doctrine, and upon which he mainly rests his case.

"But the short consideration," he says, "which, independently of every other, convinces me that there is no solid foundation in Mr. Hume's conclusion, is the following: When a theorem is proposed to a mathematician, the first thing he does with it is to try it upon a simple case, and if it produces a false result, he is sure that there


must be some mistake in the demonstration. Now, to proceed in this way with what may be called Mr. Hume's theorem. If twelve men, whose probity and good sense I had long known, should seriously and circumstantially relate to me an account of a miracle wrought before their eyes, and in which it was impossible that they should be deceived; if the governor of the country, hearing a rumour of this account, should call these men into his presence, and offer them a short proposal, either to confess the imposture or submit to be tied up to a gibbet; if they should refuse with one voice to acknowledge that there existed any falsehood or imposture in the case; if this threat was communicated to them separately, yet with no different effect; if it was at last executed; if I myself saw them, one after another, consenting to be racked, burned, or strangled, rather than give up the truth of their account,—still, if Mr. Hume's rule be my guide, I am not to believe them. Now I undertake to say that there exists not a sceptic in the world who would not believe them, or who would defend such incredulity."(1)

It is obvious that this reasoning, besides being purely hypothetical, is utterly without cogency against Hume's doctrine. In the first place, it is clear that no assertion of any twelve men would be sufficient to overthrow a law of nature, which is the result of a complete induction, and in order to establish the reality of a miracle or the occurrence on one occasion of an unprecedented effect, from any cause, not in accordance with natural law, no smaller amount of evidence would suffice than would serve to refute the complete induction. The allegation of such an intervening cause as a Personal


Deity working miracles is excluded as opposed to a complete induction. So long as we maintain the law, we are necessarily compelled to reject any evidence which contradicts it. We cannot at the same time believe the contradictory evidence, and yet assert the truth of the law. The specific allegation, moreover, is completely prohibited by the Scriptural admission that miracles are also performed by other supernatural beings in opposition to the Deity. The evidence of the twelve men, however, simply amounts to a statement that they saw, or fancied that they saw, a certain occurrence in contradiction to the law, but that which they actually saw was only an external phenomenon, the real nature of which is a mere inference, and an inference which, from the necessarily isolated position of the miraculous phenomenon, is neither supported by other instances capable of forming a complete counter induction, nor by analogies within the order of nature.1 The bare inference from an occurrence supposed to have been witnessed by twelve men is all that is opposed to the law of nature, which is based upon a complete induction, and it is, therefore, incredible.

If we proceed to examine Paley's "simple case" a little more closely, however, we find that not only is it utterly inadmissible as a hypothesis, but that as an illustration of the case of Gospel miracles it is completely devoid of relevancy and argumentative force. The only point which gives a momentary value to the supposed instance is the condition attached to the account of the miracle related by the twelve men, that not only was it wrought before their eyes, but that it was one "in which it was impossible that they should be deceived." Now


this qualification of infallibility on the part of the twelve witnesses is as incredible as the miracle which they are supposed to attest. The existence of twelve men incapable of error or mistake is as opposed to experience as the hypothesis of a miracle in which it is impossible for the twelve men to be deceived is contradictory to reason. The exclusion of all error in the observation of the actual occurrence and its antecedents and consequences, whose united sum constitutes the miracle, is an assumption which deprives the argument of all potency. It cannot be entertained. On the other hand, the moment the possibility of error is admitted, the reasoning breaks down, for the probability of error on the part of the observers, either as regards the external phenomena, or the inferences drawn from them, being so infinitely greater than the probability of mistake in the complete induction, we must unquestionably hold by the law and reject the testimony of the twelve men.

It need scarcely be said that the assertion of liability to error on the part of the observers by no means involves any insinuation of wilful "falsehood or imposture in the case." It is quite intelligible that twelve men might witness an occurrence which might seem to them and others miraculous,—but which was susceptible of a perfectly natural explanation,—and truthfully relate what they believed to have seen, and that they might, therefore, refuse "with one voice to acknowledge that there existed any falsehood or imposture in the case," even although the alternative might be death on a gibbet. This, however, would in no way affect the character of the actual occurrence. It would not convert a natural, though by them inexplicable, phenomenon into a miracle. Their constancy in adhering to the account they had


given would merely bear upon the truth of their own statements, and the fact of seeing them "one after another consenting to be racked, burned, or strangled, rather than give up the truth of their account," would not in the least justify our believing in a miracle. Even martyrdom cannot transform imaginations into facts. The truth of a narrative is no guarantee for the correctness of an inference. It seems almost incredible that arguments like these should for so many years have been tolerated in the text-book of a University.

As regards the applicability of Paleys illustration to the Gospel miracles, the failure of his analogy is complete. We shall presently see the condition of the people amongst whom these miracles are supposed to have occurred, and that, so far from the nature of the phenomena, and the character of the witnesses, supporting the inference that it was impossible that the observers could have been deceived, there is every reason for concluding with certainty that their ignorance of natural laws, their proneness to superstition, their love of the marvellous, and their extreme religious excitement, rendered them peculiarly liable to incorrectness in the observation of the phenomena, and to error in the inferences drawn from them. We shall likewise see that we have no serious and circumstantial accounts of those miracles from eye-witnesses of whose probity and good sense we have any knowledge, but that, on the contrary, the narratives of them which we possess were composed by unknown persons, who were not eyewitnesses at all, but wrote very long after the events related, and in that mythic period "in which reality melted into fable, and invention unconsciously trespassed on the province of history." The proposition: "That


there is satisfactory evidence that many, professing to be original witnesses of the Christian miracles, passed their lives in labours, dangers, and sufferings, voluntarily undergone in attestation of the accounts which they delivered, and solely in consequence of their belief of these accounts; and that they also submitted, from the same motives, to new rules of conduct," is made by Paley the argument of the first nine chapters of his work, as the converse of the proposition, that similar attestation of other miracles cannot be produced, is of the following two. This shows the importance which he attaches to the point; but, notwithstanding, even if he could substantiate this statement, the cause of miracles would not be one whit advanced.

We have freely quoted these arguments in order to illustrate the real position of miracles; and no one who has seriously considered the matter can doubt the necessity for very extraordinary evidence, even to render the report of such phenomena worthy of a moment's attention. The argument for miracles, however, has hitherto proceeded upon the merest assumption, and, as we shall further see, the utmost that they can do who support miracles, under the fatal disadvantage of being contradictory to uniform experience, is to refer to the alleged contemporaneous nature of the evidence for their occurrence, and to the character of the supposed witnesses. Mr. Mill has ably shown the serious misapprehension of so many writers against Hume's "Essay on Miracles," which has led them to what he calls "the extraordinary conclusion, that nothing supported by credible testimony ought ever to be disbelieved."(1) In regard to historical facts, not contradictory to all


experience, simple and impartial testimony may be sufficient to warrant belief, but even such qualities as these can go but a very small way towards establishing the reality of an occurrence which is opposed to complete induction.(1) It is admitted that the evidence requisite to establish the reality of a supernatural Divine Revelation of doctrines beyond human reason, and comprising in its very essence such stupendous miracles as the Incarnation, Resurrection, and Ascension, must be miraculous. The evidence for the miraculous evidence, which is scarcely less astounding than the contents of the Revelation itself, must, logically, be miraculous also, for it is not a whit more easy to prove the reality of an evidential miracle than of a dogmatic miracle. It is evident that the resurrection of Lazarus, for instance, is as contradictory to complete induction as the resurrection of Jesus. Both the Supernatural Religion, therefore, and its supernatural evidence labour under the fatal disability of being antecedently incredible.



Let us now, however, proceed to examine the evidence for the reality of miracles, and to inquire whether they are supported by such an amount of testimony as can in any degree outweigh the reasons which, antecedently, seem to render them incredible. It is undeniable that belief in the miraculous has gradually been dispelled, and that, as a general rule, the only miracles which are now maintained are limited to brief and distant periods of time. Faith in their reality, once so comprehensive, does not, except amongst a certain class, extend beyond the miracles of the New Testament and a few of those of the Old,(1) and the countless myriads of ecclesiastical


and other miracles, for centuries devoutly and implicitly believed, are now commonly repudiated, and have sunk into discredit and contempt. The question is inevitably suggested how so much can be abandoned and the remnant still be upheld.

As an essential part of our inquiry into the value of the evidence for miracles, we must endeavour to ascertain whether those who are said to have witnessed the supposed miraculous occurrences were either competent to appreciate them aright, or likely to report them without exaggeration. For this purpose, we must consider what was known of the order of nature in the age in which miracles are said to have taken place, and what was the intellectual character of the people amongst whom they are reported to have been performed. Nothing is more rare, even amongst intelligent and cultivated men, than accuracy of observation and correctness of report, even in matters of sufficient importance to attract vivid attention, and in which there is no special interest unconsciously to bias the observer. It will scarcely be denied, however, that in persons of fervid imagination, and with a strong natural love of the marvellous, whose minds are not only unrestrained by specific knowledge, but predisposed by superstition towards false conclusions, the probability of inaccuracy and exaggeration is enormously


increased. If we add to this such a disturbing element as religious excitement, inaccuracy, exaggeration, and extravagance are certain to occur. The effect of even one of these influences, religious feeling, in warping the judgment, is admitted by one of the most uncompromising supporters of miracles. "It is doubtless the tendency of religious minds," says Dr. Newman, "to imagine mysteries and wonders where there are none; and much more, where causes of awe really exist, will they unintentionally mis-state, exaggerate, and embellish, when they set themselves to relate what they have witnessed or have heard;" and he adds: "and further, the imagination, as is well known, is a fruitful cause of apparent miracles."(1) We need not offer any evidence that the miracles which we have to examine were witnessed and reported by persons exposed to the effects of the strongest possible religious feeling and excitement, and our attention may, therefore, be more freely directed to the inquiry how far this influence was modified by other circumstances. Did the Jews at the time of Jesus possess such calmness of judgment and sobriety of imagination as to inspire us with any confidence in accounts of marvellous occurrences, unwitnessed except by them, and limited to their time, which contradict all knowledge and all experience? Were their minds sufficiently enlightened and free from superstition to warrant our attaching weight to their report of events of such an astounding nature? and were they themselves sufficiently impressed with the exceptional character of


any apparent supernatural and miraculous interference with the order of nature?

Let an English historian and divine, who will be acknowledged as no prejudiced witness, bear testimony upon some of these points. "Nor is it less important," says the late Dean Milman, "throughout the early history of Christianity, to seize the spirit of the times. Events which appear to us so extraordinary, that we can scarcely conceive that they should either fail in exciting a powerful sensation, or ever be obliterated from the popular remembrance, in their own day might pass off as of little more than ordinary occurrence. During the whole life of Christ, and the early propagation of the religion, it must be borne in mind that they took place in an age, and among a people, which superstition had made so familiar with what were supposed to be preternatural events, that wonders awakened no emotion, or were speedily superseded by some new demand on the ever-ready belief. The Jews of that period not only believed that the Supreme Being had the power of controlling the course of nature, but that the same influence was possessed by multitudes of subordinate spirits, both good and evil. Where the pious Christian of the present day would behold the direct agency of the Almighty, the Jews would invariably have interposed an angel as the author or ministerial agent in the wonderful transaction. Where the Christian moralist would condemn the fierce passion, the ungovernable lust, or the inhuman temper, the Jew discerned the workings of diabolical possession. Scarcely a malady was endured, or crime committed, but it was traced to the operation of one of these myriad daemons, who watched every opportunity


of exercising their malice in the sufferings and the sins of men."(1)

Another English divine, of certainly not less orthodoxy, but of much greater knowledge of Hebrew literature, bears similar testimony regarding the Jewish nation at the same period. "Not to be more tedious, therefore, in this matter," (regarding the Bath Kol, a Jewish superstition,)" let two things only be observed: I. That the nation, under the second Temple, was given to magical arts beyond measure; and, II. That it was given to an easiness of believing all manner of delusions beyond measure."(2) And in another place: "It is a disputable case, whether the Jewish nation were more mad with superstition in matters of religion, or with superstition in curious arts:—I. There was not a people upon earth that studied or attributed more to dreams than they. II. There was hardly any people in the whole world that more used, or were more fond of, amulets, charms, mutterings, exorcisms, and all kinds of enchantments. We might here produce innumerable instances."(3) We shall presently see that these statements are far from being exaggerated.

No reader of the Old Testament can fail to have been struck by the singularly credulous fickleness of the Jewish mind. Although claiming the title of the specially selected people of Jehovah, the Israelites exhibited a constant and inveterate tendency to forsake his service for the worship of other gods. The mighty "signs and wonders" which God is represented as incessantly working


on their behalf, and in their sight, had apparently no effect upon them. The miraculous even then had, as it would seem, already lost all novelty, and ceased, according to the records, to excite more than mere passing astonishment. The leaders and prophets of Israel had a perpetual struggle to restrain the people from "following after" heathen deities, and whilst the burden of the Prophets is one grand denunciation of the idolatry into which the nation was incessantly falling, the verdict of the historical books upon the several kings and rulers of Israel proves how common it was, and how rare even the nominal service of Jehovah. At the best the mind of the Jewish nation only after long and slow progression, attained the idea of a perfect monotheism, but added to the belief in Jehovah the recognition of a host of other gods, over whom it merely gave him supremacy.(1) This is apparent even in the first commandment: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me;" and the necessity for such a law received its illustration from a people who are represented as actually worshipping the golden calf, made for them by the complaisant Aaron, during the very time that the great Decalogue was being written on the Mount by his colleague Moses.(2) It is not, therefore, to be wondered at that, at a later period, and throughout patristic days, the gods of the Greeks and other heathen nations were so far gently treated, that, although repudiated as Deities,


they were recognized as Demons. In the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, where "idols" are spoken of in the Hebrew, the word is sometimes translated "demons;" as, for instance, Psalm xcvi. 5 is rendered: "For all the gods of the nations are demons."(l) The national superstition betrays itself in this and many other passages of this version, which so well represented the views of the first ages of the Church that the Fathers regarded it as miraculous. Irenĉus relates how Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, brought seventy of the elders of the Jews together to Alexandria in order to translate the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, but fearing that they might agree amongst themselves to conceal the real meaning of the Hebrew, he separated them, and commanded each to make a translation. When the seventy translations of the Bible were completed and compared, it was found that, by the inspiration of God, the very same words and the very same names from beginning to end had been used by them all.(2) The same superstition is quite as clearly expressed in the New Testament. The Apostle Paul, for instance, speaking of things sacrificed to idols, says: "But (I say) that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God; and I would not that ye should be partakers with


demons. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of demons; ye cannot partake of the Lord's table, and of the table of demons."(l)

The apocryphal Book of Tobit affords some illustration of the opinions of the more enlightened Jews during the last century before the commencement of the Christian era.(2) The angel Raphael prescribes, as an infallible means of driving a demon out of man or woman so effectually that it should never more come back, fumigation with the heart and liver of a fish.(3) By this exorcism the demon Asmodeus, who from love of Sara, the daughter of Raguel, has strangled seven husbands who attempted to marry her,(4) is overcome, and flies into "the uttermost parts of Egypt," where the angel binds him.(5) The belief in demons, and in the necessity of exorcism, is so complete that the author sees no incongruity in describing the angel Raphael, who has been sent, in answer to prayer, specially to help him, as instructing Tobias to adopt such means of subjecting demons. Raphael is described in this book as the angel of healing,(6) the office generally assigned to him by the Fathers. He is also represented as saying of himself that he is one of the seven holy angels which present the prayers of the saints to God.(7)


There are many curious particulars regarding angels and demons in the Book of Enoch.(1) This work, which is quoted by the author of the Epistle of Jude,(2) and by some of the Fathers, as inspired Scripture,(3) was supposed by Tertullian to have survived the universal deluge, or to have been afterwards transmitted by means of Noah, the great-grandson of the author Enoch.(4) It may be assigned to about a century before Christ, but additions were made to the text, and more especially to its angelology, extending probably to after the commencement of our era.(5) It undoubtedly represents views popularly prevailing about the epoch in which we are interested. The author not only relates the fall of the angels through love for the daughters of men, but gives the names of twenty-one of them and of their leaders; of whom Jequn was he who seduced the holy angels, and Ashbeêl it was who gave them evil counsel and corrupted them.(6) A third, Gadreel,(7) was he who seduced Eve. He also taught to the children of men the use and manufacture of all murderous weapons, of coats of mail, shields,


swords, and of all the implements of death. Another evil angel, named Pênêmuê, taught them many mysteries of wisdom. He instructed men in the art of writing with paper [——]—] and ink, by means of which, the author remarks, many fall into sin even to the present day. Kaodejâ, another evil angel, taught the human race all the wicked practices of spirits and demons,(1) and also magic and exorcism.(2) The offspring of the fallen angels and of the daughters of men were giants, whose height was 3000 ells;(3) of these are the demons working evil upon earth.(4) Azazel taught men various arts: the making of bracelets and ornaments; the use of cosmetics, the way to beautify the eyebrows; precious stones, and all dye-stuffs and metals; whilst other wicked angels instructed them in all kinds of pernicious knowledge.(5) The elements and all the phenomena of nature are controlled and produced by the agency of angels. Uriel is the angel of thunder and earthquakes; Raphael, of the spirits of men; Raguel is the angel who executes vengeance on the world and the stars; Michael is set over the best of mankind, i.e., over the people of Israel;(6) Saraqâel, over the souls of the children of men, who are misled by the spirits of sin; and Gabriel is over serpents and over Paradise, and over the Cherubim.(7) Enoch is shown the mystery of all the operations of nature, and the action of the elements, and he describes the spirits which guide them, and control the thunder and lightning and the winds; the spirit of the seas, who curbs them with his might, or tosses them forth and scatters them through the mountains of the earth; the


spirit of hoar frost, and the spirit of hail, and the spirit of snow. There are, in fact, special spirits set over every phenomenon of nature—frost, thaw, mist, rain, light, and so on.(1) The heavens and the earth are filled with spirits. Raphael is the angel set over all the diseases and wounds of mankind, Gabriel over all powers, and Fanuel over the penitence and the hope of those who inherit eternal life.(2) The decree for the destruction of the human race goes forth from the presence of the Lord, because men know all the mysteries of the angels, all the evil works of Satan, and all the secret might and power of those who practise the art of magic, and the power of conjuring, and such arts.(3) The stars are represented as animated beings.(4) Enoch sees seven stars bound together in space like great mountains, and flaming as with fire; and he inquires of the angel who leads him, on account of what sin they are so bound? Uriel informs him that they are stars which have transgressed the commands of the Highest God, and they are thus bound until ten thousand worlds, the number of the days of their transgression, shall be accomplished.(5) The belief that sun, moon, and stars were living entities possessed of souls was generally held by the Jews at the beginning of our era, along with Greek philosophers, and we shall presently see it expressed by the Fathers. Philo Judaeus considers the stars spiritual beings full of virtue and perfection,(6) and that to them is granted lordship over other heavenly bodies, not absolute, but as viceroys under the Supreme


Being.(1) We find a similar view regarding the nature of the stars expressed in the Apocalypse,(2) and it constantly appears in the Talmud and Targums.(3) An angel of the sun and moon is described in the Ascensio Isaiae.(4)

We are able to obtain a full and minute conception of the belief regarding angels and demons and their influence over cosmical phenomena, as well as of other superstitions current amongst the Jews at the time of Jesus,(5) from the Talmud, Targums, and other Rabbinical sources. We cannot, however, do more, here, than merely glance at these voluminous materials. The angels are perfectly pure spirits, without sin, and not visible to mortal eyes. When they come down to earth on any mission, they are clad in light and veiled in air. If, however, they remain longer than seven days on earth, they become so clogged with the earthly matter in which they have been immersed that they cannot again ascend to the upper heavens.(6) Their multitude is innumerable,(7) and new angels are every day created, who in succession praise


God and make way for others.(1) The expression, "host of heaven," is a common one in the Old Testament, and the idea was developed into a heavenly army. The first Gospel represents Jesus as speaking of "more than twelve legions of angels."(2) Every angel has one particular duty to perform, and no more; thus of the three angels who appeared to Abraham, one was sent to announce that Sarah should have a son, the second to rescue Lot, and the third to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.(3) The angels serve God in the administration of the universe, and to special angels are assigned the different parts of nature. "There is not a thing in the world, not even a little herb, over which there is not an angel set, and everything happens according to the command of these appointed angels."(4) It will be remembered that the agency of angels is frequently introduced in the Old Testament, and still more so in the Septuagint version, by alterations of the text. One notable case of such agency may be referred to, where the pestilence which is sent to punish David for numbering the people is said to be caused by an angel, whom David even sees. The Lord is represented as repenting of the evil, when the angel was stretching forth his hand against Jerusalem, and bidding him stay his hand after the angel had destroyed seventy thousand men by the pestilence.(5) This theory of disease has prevailed until comparatively recent times. The names of many of the superintending angels are given, as, for instance: Jehuel


is set over fire, Michael over water, Jechiel over wild beasts, and Anpiel over birds. Over cattle Hariel is appointed, and Samniel over created things moving in the waters, and over the face of the earth; Messannahel over reptiles, Deliel over fish. Ruchiel is set over the winds, Gabriel over thunder and also over fire, and over the ripening of fruit, Xuriel over hail, Makturiel over rocks, Alpiel over fruit-bearing trees, Saroel over those which do not bear fruit, and Sandalfon over the human race; and under each of these there are subordinate angels.(1) It was believed that there were two angels of Death, one for those who died out of the land of Israel, who was an evil angel, called Samaël (and at other times Satan, Asmodeus, &c), and the other, who presided over the dead of the land of Israel, the holy angel Gabriel; and under these there was a host of evil spirits and angels.(2) The Jews were unanimous in asserting that angels superintend the various operations of nature, although there is some difference in the names assigned to these angels.(3) The Sohar on Numbers states that "Michael, Gabriel, Nuriel, Raphael are set over the four elements, water, fire, air, earth."(4) We shall presently sec how general this belief regarding angels was amongst the Fathers, but it is also expressed in the New Testament. In the Apocalypse there appears an angel


who has power over fire,(1) and in another place four angels have power to hurt the earth and the sea.(2) The angels were likewise the instructors of men, and communicated knowledge to the Patriarchs. The angel Gabriel taught Joseph the seventy languages of the earth.(3) It appears, however, that there was one language—the Syriac—which the angels do not understand, and for this reason men were not permitted to pray for things needful, in that tongue.(4) Angels are appointed as princes over the seventy nations of the world; but the Jews consider the angels set over Gentile nations merely demons.(6) The Septuagint translation of Deuteronomy xxxii. 8 introduces the statement into the Old Testament. Instead of the Most High, when he divided to the nations their inheritance, setting the bounds of the people "according to the number of the children of Israel," the passage becomes, "according to the number of the angels of God" [——]—]. The number of the nations was fixed at seventy, the number of the souls who went down into Egypt.(6) The Jerusalem Targum on Genesis xi. 7, 8, reads as follows: "God spake to the seventy angels which stand before him: Come, let us go down and confound their language that they may not understand each other. And the Word of the Lord appeared there (at Babel), with the seventy angels, according to the seventy nations, and


each had the language of the people which was allotted to him, and the record of the writing in his hand, and scattered the nations from thence over the whole earth, in seventy languages, so that the one did not understand what the other said."(l) Michael was the angel of the people of Israel,(2) and he is always set in the highest place amongst the angels, and often called the High Priest of Heaven.(3) It was believed that the angels of the nations fought in heaven when their allotted peoples made war on earth. We see an allusion to this in the Book of Daniel,(4) and in the Apocalypse there is "war in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought, and his angels."(5) The Jews of the time of Jesus not only held that there were angels set over the nations, but also that each individual had a guardian angel.(6) This belief appears in several places in the New Testament. For instance, Jesus is represented as saying of the children: "For I say unto you that their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven."(7) Again, in the Acts of the Apostles, when Peter is delivered from prison by an angel, and comes to the house of his friend, they will not believe the maid who had opened the gate and seen him, but say: "It is his angel" [——]—].8 The passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews will likewise be remembered, where it is said of the angels: "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth for ministry on


account of them who shall be heirs of salvation."(1) There was at the same time a singular belief that when any person went into the private closet, the guardian angel remained at the door till he came out again, and in the Talmud a prayer is given for strength and help under the circumstances, and that the guardian angel may wait while the person is there. The reason why the angel does not enter is that such places are haunted by demons.(2)

The belief in demons at the time of Jesus was equally emphatic and comprehensive, and we need scarcely mention that the New Testament is full of references to them.(3) They are in the air, on earth, in the bodies of men and animals, and even at the bottom of the sea.(4) They are the offspring of the fallen angels who loved the daughters of men.(5) They have wings like the angels, and can fly from one end of heaven to another; they obtain a knowledge of the future, like the angels, by listening behind the veil of the Temple of God in Heaven.(6) Their number is infinite. The earth is so full of them that if man had power to see he could not exist, on account of them; there are more demons than men, and they are about as close as the earth thrown up out of a newly-made grave.(7) It is stated that each man has

10,000 demons at his right hand, and 1,000 on his left, and the passage continues: "The crush on the Sabbath in the Synagogue arises from them, also the dresses of the Rabbins become so soon old and torn through their rubbing; in like manner they cause the tottering of the feet. He who wishes to discover these spirits must take sifted ashes and strew them about his bed, and in the morning he will perceive their footprints upon them like a cock's tread. If any one wish to see them, he must take the afterbirth of a black cat, which has been littered by a first-born black cat, whose mother was also a first-birth, burn and reduce it to powder, and put some of it in his eyes, and he will see them."(l) Sometimes demons assume the form of a goat. Evil spirits fly chiefly during the darkness, for they are children of night.(2) For this reason the Talmud states that men are forbidden to greet any one by night, lest it might be a devil,(3) or to go out alone even by day, but much more by night, into solitary places.(4) It was likewise forbidden for any man to sleep alone in a house, because any one so doing would be seized by the she-devil Lilith, and die.(5) Further, no man should drink water by night on account of the demon Schafriri, the angel of blindness.(6)


An evil spirit descended on any one going into a cemetery by night.(1) A necromancer is defined as one who fasts and lodges at night amongst tombs in order that the evil spirit may come upon him.(2) Demons, however, take more especial delight in foul and offensive places, and an evil spirit inhabits every private closet in the world.(3) Demons haunt deserted places, ruins, graves, and certain kinds of trees.(4) We find indications of these superstitions throughout the Gospels. The possessed are represented as dwelling among the tombs, and being driven by the unclean spirits into the wilderness, and the demons can find no rest in clean places.(5) Demons also frequented springs and fountains.(6) The episode of the angel who was said to descend at certain seasons and trouble the water of the pool of Bethesda, so that he who first stepped in was cured of whatever disease he had, may be mentioned here in passing, although the passage is not found in some of the older MSS. of the fourth Gospel,(7) and it is argued by some that it is a later interpolation. There were demons who hurt those who did not wash their hands before meat. "Shibta is an evil spirit which sits upon men's hands in the night; and if any touch his food with unwashen hands, that spirit sits upon that food, and there is danger from it."(8)


The demon Asmodeus is frequently called the king of the devils,(1) and it was believed that he tempted people to apostatize; he it was who enticed Noah into his drunkenness, and led Solomon into sin.(2) He is represented as alternately ascending to study in the School of the heavenly Jerusalem, and descending to study in the school of the earth.(3) The injury of the human race in every possible way was believed to be the chief delight of evil spirits. The Talmud and other Rabbinical writings are full of references to demoniacal possession, but we need not enter into details upon this point, as the New Testament itself presents sufficient evidence regarding it. Not only one evil spirit could enter into a body, but many took possession of the same individual. There are many instances mentioned in the Gospels, such as Mary Magdalene, "out of whom went seven demons" [——]—],4 and the man whose name was Legion, because "many demons" [——]—] were entered into him.(5) Demons likewise entered into the bodies of animals, and in the narrative to which we have just referred, the demons, on being expelled from the man, request that they may be allowed to enter into the herd of swine, which being permitted, "the demons went out of


the man into the swine, and the herd ran violently down the cliff into the lake, and were drowned,"(1) the evil spirits, as usual, taking pleasure only in the destruction and injury of man and beast. Besides "possession," all the diseases of men and animals were ascribed to the action of the devil and of demons.(2) In the Gospels, for instance, the woman with a spirit of infirmity, who was bowed together and could not lift herself up, is described as "bound by Satan," although the case was not one of demoniacal possession.(3)

As might be expected from the universality of the belief in demons and their influence over the human race, the Jews at the time of Jesus occupied themselves much with the means of conjuring them. "There was hardly any people in the whole world," we have already heard from a great Hebrew scholar, "that more used, or were more fond of, amulets, charms, mutterings, exorcisms, and all kinds of enchantments."(4) Schoettgen bears similar testimony: "Cĉterum judoeos magicis artibus admodum deditos esse, notissimum est."(5) All competent scholars are agreed upon this point, and the Talmud and Rabbinical writings are full of it. The exceeding prevalence of such arts alone proves the existence of the grossest ignorance and superstition.


There are elaborate rules in the Talmud with regard to dreams, both as to how they are to be obtained and how interpreted.(1) Fasts were enjoined in order to secure good dreams, and these fasts were not only observed by the ignorant, but also by the principal Rabbins, and they were permitted even on the Sabbath, which was unlawful in other cases.(2) Indeed, the interpretation of dreams became a public profession.(3) It would be impossible within our limits to convey an adequate idea of the general superstition prevalent amongst the Jews regarding things and actions lucky and unlucky, or the minute particulars in regard to every common act prescribed for safety against demons and evil influences of all kinds. Nothing was considered indifferent or too trifling, and the danger from the most trivial movements or omissions to which men were supposed to be exposed from the malignity of evil spirits was believed to be great.(4) Amulets, consisting of roots, or pieces of paper with charms written upon them, were hung round the neck of the sick, and considered efficacious for their cure. Charms, mutterings, and spells were commonly said over wounds, against unlucky meetings, to make people sleep, to heal diseases, and to avert enchantments.(5) The Talmud gives forms of enchantments against mad dogs, for instance, against the demon of blindness, and the like, as well as formulae for averting the evil eye, and


mutterings over diseases.(1) So common was the practice of sorcery and magic that the Talmud enjoins "that the senior who is chosen into the Council ought to be skilled in the arts of astrologers, jugglers, diviners, sorcerers, &c, that he may be able to judge of those who are guilty of the same."(2) Numerous cases are recorded of persons destroyed by means of sorcery.(3) The Jewish women were particularly addicted to sorcery, and indeed the Talmud declares that they had generally fallen into it.(4) The New Testament bears abundant testimony to the prevalence of magic and exorcism at the time at which its books were written. In the Gospels, Jesus is represented as arguing with the Pharisees, who accuse him of casting out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. "If I by Beelzebub cast out the demons [——]—] by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore let them be your judges."(5)

The thoroughness and universality of the Jewish popular belief in demons and evil spirits and in the power of magic is exhibited in the ascription to Solomon, the monarch in whom the greatness and glory of the nation attained its culminating point, of the character of a powerful magician. The most effectual forms of invocation and exorcism, and the most potent spells of magic, were said to have been composed by him, and thus the grossest superstition of the nation acquired the sanction of their wisest king. Rabbinical writings are


never weary of enlarging upon the magical power and knowledge of Solomon. He was represented as not only king of the whole earth, but also as reigning over devils and evil spirits, and having the power of expelling them from the bodies of men and animals, and also of delivering people to them.(1) It was indeed believed that the two demons Asa and Asael taught Solomon all wisdom and all arts.(2) The Talmud relates many instances of his power over evil spirits, and amongst others how he made them assist in building the Temple. Solomon desired to have the help of the worm Schamir in preparing the stones for the sacred building, and he conjured up a devil and a she-devil to inform him where Schamir was to be found. They referred him to Asmodeus, whom the King craftily captured, and by whom he was informed that Schamir is under the jurisdiction of the Prince of the Seas, and Asmodeus further told him how he might be secured. By his means the Temple was built, but, from the moment it was destroyed, Schamir for ever disappeared.(3) It was likewise believed that one of the Chambers of the second Temple was built by a magician called Parvah, by means of magic.(4) The Talmud narrates many stories of miracles performed by various Rabbins.(6)

The Jewish historian, Josephus, informs us that, amongst


other gifts, God bestowed upon King Solomon knowledge of the way to expel demons, an art which is useful and salutary for mankind. He composed incantations by which diseases are cured, and he left behind him forms of exorcism by which demons may be so effectually expelled that they never return, a method of cure, Josephus adds, which is of great efficacy to his own day. He himself had seen a countryman of his own, named Eliezer, release people possessed of devils in the presence of the Emperor Vespasian and his sons, and of his army. He put a ring containing one of the roots prescribed by Solomon to the nose of the demoniac, and drew the demon out by his nostrils, and, in the name of Solomon, and reciting one of his incantations, he adjured it to return no more. In order to demonstrate to the spectators that he had the power to cast out devils, Eliezer was accustomed to set a vessel full of water a little way off, and he commanded the demon as he left the body of the man to overturn it, by which means, says Josephus, the skill and wisdom of Solomon were made very manifest.(1) Jewish Rabbins generally were known as powerful exorcisers, practising the art according to the formulae of their great monarch. Justin Martyr reproaches his Jewish opponent, Tryphon, with the fact that his countrymen use the same art as the Gentiles, and exorcise with fumigations and charms [——]—], and he shows the common belief in demoniacal influence "when he asserts that, while Jewish exorcists cannot overcome demons by such means, or even by exorcising them in the name of their Kings, Prophets, or Patriarchs, though he admits that they might do so if they adjured them in the name of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and


Jacob, yet Christians at once subdued demons by exorcising them in the name of the Son of God.(1) The Jew and the Christian were quite agreed that demons were to be exorcised, and merely differed as to the formula of exorcism. Josephus gives an account of a root potent against evil spirits. It is called Baaras, and is flame-coloured, and in the evening sends out flashes like lightning. It is certain death to touch it, except under peculiar conditions. One mode of securing it is to dig down till the smaller part of the root is exposed, and then to attach the root to a dog's tail. When the dog tries to follow its master from the place, and pulls violently, the root is plucked up, and may then be safely handled, but the dog instantly dies, as the man would have done had he plucked it up himself. When the root is brought to sick people, it at once expels demons.(2) According to Josephus, demons are the spirits of the wicked dead; they enter into the bodies of the living, who die, unless succour be speedily obtained.(3) This theory, however, was not general, demons being commonly considered the offspring of the fallen angels and of the daughters of men.

The Jewish historian gives a serious account of the preternatural portents which warned the Jews of the approaching fall of Jerusalem, and he laments the infatuation of the people, who disregarded these Divine denunciations. A star in the shape of a sword, and also a comet, stood over the doomed city for the space of a whole year. Then, at the feast of unleavened bread, before the rebellion of the Jews which preceded the war, at the ninth hour of the night a


great light shone round the altar and the Temple, so that for half an hour it seemed as though it were brilliant daylight. At the same festival other supernatural warnings were given. A heifer, as she was led by the high-priest to be sacrificed, brought forth a lamb in the Temple; moreover, the eastern gate of the inner court of the Temple, which was of brass, and so ponderous that twenty men had much difficulty in closing it, and which was fastened by heavy bolts descending deep into the solid stone floor, was seen to open of its own accord, about the sixth hour of the night. The ignorant considered some of these events good omens, but the priests interpreted them as portents of evil. Another prodigious phenomenon occurred, which Josephus supposes would be considered incredible were it not reported by those who saw it, and were the subsequent events not of sufficient importance to merit such portents: before sunset, chariots and troops of soldieis in armour were seen among the clouds, moving about, and surrounding cities. And further, at the feast of Pentecost, as the priests were entering the inner court of the Temple to perform their sacred duties, they felt an earthquake, and heard a great noise, and then the sound as of a great multitude saying: "Let us remove hence."(l) There is not a shadow of doubt in the mind of Josephus as to the reality of any of these wonders.

If we turn to patristic literature, we find, everywhere, the same superstitions and the same theories of angelic agency and demoniacal interference in cosmical phenomena. According to Justin Martyr, after God had made the world and duly regulated the elements and the rotation of the seasons, he committed man and all


things under heaven to the care of angels. Some of these angels, however, proved unworthy of this charge, and, led away by love of the daughters of men, begat children, who are the demons who have corrupted the human race, partly by magical writings [——]—] and partly by fears and punishments, and who have introduced wars, murders, and other evils amongst them, which are ignorantly ascribed by poets to God himself.(1) He considers that demoniacs are possessed and tortured by the souls of the wicked dead,(2) and he represents evil spirits as watching to seize the soul at death.(3) The food of the angels is manna.(4) The angels, says Clement of Alexandria, serve God in the administration of earthly affairs.(5) The host of angels and of gods [——]—] is placed under subjection to the Logos.(6) Presiding angels are distributed over nations and cities, and perhaps are also deputed to individuals,(7) and it is by their agency, either visible or invisible, that God gives all good things.(8) He accuses the Greeks of plagiarizing their miracles from the Bible, and he argues that if certain powers do move the winds and distribute showers, they are agents subject to God.(9) Clement affirms that the Son gave philosophy to the Greeks by means of the inferior angels,(10) and argues that it is absurd to attribute it to the devil.(11) Theophilus of Antioch, on the other hand, says that the Greek poets were inspired by demons.(12) Athenagoras states, as one of the principal


points of belief among Christians, that a multitude of angels and ministers are distributed and appointed by the Logos to occupy themselves about the elements, and the heavens, and the universe and the things in it, and the regulating of the whole.(1) For it is the duty of the angels to exercise providence over all that God has created; so that God may have the universal care of the whole, but the several parts be ministered to by the angels appointed over them. There is freedom of will amongst the angels as among human beings, and some of the angels abused their trust, and fell through love of the daughters of men, of whom were begotten those who are called Giants.(2) These angels who have fallen from heaven busy themselves about the air and the earth; and the souls of the Giants,(3) which are the demons that roam about the world, work evil according to their respective natures.(4) There are powers which exercise dominion over matter, and by means of it, and more especially one, who is opposed to God. This Prince of matter exerts authority and control in opposition to the good designed by God.(5) Demons are greedy for sacrificial odours and the blood of the victims, which they lick; and they influence the multitude to idolatry by inspiring thoughts and visions which seem to come from idols and statues.(6) According to Tatian, God made everything which is good, but the wickedness of demons perverts


the productions of nature for bad purposes, and the evil in these is due to demons and not to God.(1) None of the demons have bodies; they are spiritual, like fire or air, and can only be seen by those in whom the Spirit of God dwells. They attack men by means of lower forms of matter, and come to them whenever they are diseased, and sometimes they cause disorders of the body, but when they are struck by the power of the word of God, they flee in terror, and the sick person is healed.(2) Various kinds of roots, and the relations of bones and sinews, are the material elements through which demons work.(3) Some of those who are called gods by the Greeks, but are in reality demons, possess the bodies of certain men, and then by publicly leaving them they destroy the disease they themselves had created, and the sick are restored to health.(4) Demons, says Cyprian of Carthage, lurk under consecrated statues, and inspire false oracles, and control the lots and omens.(5) They enter into human bodies and feign various maladies in order to induce men to offer sacrifices for their recovery that they may gorge themselves with the fumes, and then they heal them. They are really the authors of the miracles attributed to heathen deities.(6)

Tertullian enters into minute details regarding angels and demons. Demons are the offspring of the fallen angels, and their work is the destruction of the human race. They inflict diseases and other painful calamities upon our bodies, and lead astray our souls. From their


wonderful subtleness and tenuity they find their way into both parts of our composition. Their spirituality enables them to do much harm to men, for being invisible and impalpable they appear rather in their effects than in their action. They blight the apples and the grain while in the flower, as by some mysterious poison in the breeze, and kill them in the bud, or nip them before they are ripe, as though in some inexpressible way the tainted air poured forth its pestilential breath. In the same way demons and angels breathe into the soul and excite its corruptions, and especially mislead men by inducing them to sacrifice to false deities in order that they may thus obtain their peculiar food of fumes of flesh and blood. Every spirit, whether angel or demon, has wings; therefore they are everywhere in a moment. The whole world is but one place to them, and all that takes place anywhere they can know and report with equal facility. Their swiftness is believed to be divine because their substance is unknown, and thus they seek to be considered the authors of effects which they merely report, as, indeed, they sometimes are of the evil, but never of the good. They gather intimations of the future from hearing the Prophets read aloud, and set themselves up as rivals of the true God by stealing His divinations. From inhabiting the air, and from their proximity to the stars and commerce with the clouds, they know the preparation of celestial phenomena, and promise beforehand the rains which they already feel coming. They are very kind in reference to the cure of diseases, Tertullian ironically says, for they first make people ill, and then, by way of performing a miracle, they prescribe remedies either novel or contrary to common experience, and then, removing the cause, they are


believed to have healed the sick.(1) If any one possessed by a demon be brought before a tribunal, Tertullian affirms that the evil spirit, when ordered by a Christian, will at once confess that he is a demon.(2) The fallen angels were the discoverers of astrology and magic.(3) Unclean spirits hover over waters in imitation of the brooding (gestatio) of the Holy Spirit in the beginning, as, for instance, over dark fountains and solitary streams, and cisterns in baths and dwelling-houses, and similar places, which are said to carry one off (rapere), that is to say, by the force of the evil spirit.(4) The fallen angels disclosed to the world unknown material substances, and various arts, such as metallurgy, the properties of herbs, incantations, and interpretation of the stars; and to women specially they revealed all the secrets of personal adornment.(5) There is scarcely any man who is not attended by a demon; and it is well known that untimely and violent deaths, which are attributed to accidents, are really caused by demons.(6) Those who go to theatres may become specially accessible to demons. There is the instance, the Lord is witness (domino teste), of the woman who went to a theatre and came back possessed by a demon; and, on being cast out, the evil spirit replied that he had a right to act as he did, having found her within his limits. There was another case, also well known, of a woman who, at night, after having been to a theatre, had a vision of a


winding sheet (linteum), and heard the name of the tragedian whom she had seen mentioned with reprobation and, five days after, the woman was dead.(1) Origen attributes augury and divination through animals to demons. In his opinion certain demons, offspring of the Titans or Giants, who haunt the grosser parts of bodies and the unclean places of the earth, and who, from not having earthly bodies, have some power of divining the future, occupy themselves with this. They secretly enter the bodies of the more brutal and savage animals, and force them to make flights or indications of divination to lead men away from God. They have a special leaning to birds and serpents, and even to foxes and wolves, because the demons act better through these in consequence of an apparent analogy in wickedness between them.(2) It is for this reason that Moses, who had either been taught by God what was similar in the nature of animals and their kindred demons, or had discovered it himself, prohibited as unclean the particular birds and animals most used for divination. Therefore each kind of demon seems to have an affinity with a certain kind of animal. They are so wicked that demons even assume the bodies of weasels to foretell the future.(3) They feed on the blood and odour of the victims sacrificed in idol temples.(4) The spirits of the wicked dead wander about sepulchres and sometimes for ages haunt particular houses, and other places.(5) The prayers of Christians drive demons out of men, and from places where they have


taken up their abode, and even sometimes from the bodies of animals, which are frequently injured by them.(1) In reply to a statement of Celsus that we cannot eat bread or fruit, or drink wine or even water without eating and drinking with demons, and that the very air we breathe is received from demons, and that, consequently, we cannot inhale without receiving air from the demons who are set over the air,(2) Origen maintains, on the contrary, that the angels of God, and not demons, have the superintendence of such natural phenomena, and have been appointed to communicate all these blessings. Not demons, but angels, have been set over the fruits of the earth, and over the birth of animals, and over all things necessary for our race.(3) Scripture forbids the eating of things strangled because the blood is still in them, and blood, and more especially the fumes of it, is said to be the food of demons. If we ate strangled animals, we might have demons feeding with us,(4) but in Origen's opinion a man only eats and drinks with demons when he eats the flesh of idol sacrifices, and drinks the wine poured out in honour of demons.(6) Jerome states the common belief that the air is filled with demons.(6) Chrysostom says that angels are everywhere in the atmosphere.(7)

Not content, however, with peopling earth and air with angels and demons, the Fathers also shared the opinion common to Jews(8) and heathen philosophers, that the heavenly bodies were animated beings. After fully discussing the question, with much reference to Scripture,


Origen determines that sun, moon, and stars are living and rational beings, illuminated with the light of knowledge by the wisdom which is the reflection [——]—] of eternal light. They have free will, and as it would appear from a passage in Job (xxv. 5) they are not only liable to sin, but actually not pure from the uncleanness of it. Origen is careful to explain that this has not reference merely to their physical part, but to the spiritual; and he proceeds to discuss whether their souls came into existence at the same time with their bodies or existed previously, and whether, at the end of the world, they will be released from their bodies or will cease from giving light to the world. He argues that they are rational beings because their motions could not take place without a soul. "As the stars move with so much order and method," he says, "that under no circumstances whatever does their course seem to be disturbed, is it not the extreme of absurdity to suppose that so much order, so much observance of discipline and method could be demanded from or fulfilled by irrational beings?"(1) They possess life and reason, he decides, and he proves from Scripture that their souls were given to them not at the creation of their bodily substance, but like those of men implanted strictly from without, after they were made.(2) They are "subject to vanity" with the rest of the creatures, and "wait for the manifestation of the sons of God."(3) Origen is persuaded


that sun, moon, and stars pray to the Supreme Being through His only begotten Son.(1) To return to angels, however, Origen states that the angels are not only of various orders of rank, but have apportioned to them specific offices and duties. To Raphael, for instance, is assigned the task of curing and healing; to Gabriel the management of wars; to Michael the duty of receiving the prayers and the supplications of men. Angels are set over the different churches, and have charge even of the least of their members. These offices were assigned to the angels by God agreeably to the qualities displayed by each.(2) Elsewhere, Origen explains that it is necessary for this world that there should be angels set over beasts and over terrestrial operations, and also angels presiding over the birth of animals, and over the propagation and growth of shrubs, and, again, angels over holy works, who eternally teach men the perception of the hidden ways of God, and knowledge of divine things; and he warns us not to bring upon ourselves those angels who are set over beasts, by leading an animal life, nor those which preside over terrestrial works, by taking delight in fleshly and mundane things, but rather to study how we may approximate to the companionship of the Archangel Michael, to whose duty of presenting the prayers of the saints to God he here adds the office of presiding over medicine.(3) It is through the ministry of angels that the water-springs in fountains and running streams refresh the earth, and that the air we breathe is


kept pure.(1) In the "Pastor" of Hermas, a work quoted by the Fathers as inspired Scripture, which was publicly read in the churches, which almost secured a permanent place in the New Testament canon, and which appears after the canonical books in the Codex Sinaiticus, the oldest extant MS. of the New Testament, mention is made of an angel who has rule over beasts, and whose name is Hegrin.(2) Jerome also quotes an apocryphal work in which an angel of similar name is said to be set over reptiles, and in which fishes, trees, and beasts are assigned to the care of particular angels.(3)

Clement of Alexandria mentions without dissent the prevailing belief that hail-storms, tempests, and similar phenomena do not occur merely from material disturbance, but also are caused by the anger of demons and evil angels.(4) Origen states that while angels superintend all the phenomena of nature, and control what is appointed for our good, famine, the blighting of vines and fruit trees, and the destruction of beasts and of men, are, on the other hand, the personal works(5) of demons, they, as public executioners, receiving at certain times authority to carry into effect divine decrees.(6) "We have already quoted similar views expressed by Tertullian,(7) and the universality and permanence of such opinions may be illustrated by the fact that, after the lapse of many centuries, we find St. Thomas Aquinas as solemnly affirming that disease and tempests are the direct work of the devil;(8) indeed, this belief prevailed


throughout the middle ages until very recent times. The Apostle Peter, in the Recognitions of Clement, informs Clement that when God made the world He appointed chiefs over the various creatures, even over the trees and the mountains and springs and rivers, and over everything in the universe. An angel was set over the angels, a spirit over spirits, a star over the stars, a demon over the demons, and so on.(1) He provided different offices for all His creatures, whether good or bad,(2) but certain angels having left the course of their proper order, led men into sin and taught them that demons could, by magical invocations, be made to obey man.(3) Ham was the discoverer of the art of magic.(4) Astrologers suppose that evils happen in consequence of the motions of the heavenly bodies, and represent certain climacteric periods as dangerous, not knowing that it is not the course of the stars, but the action of demons that regulates these things.(5) God has committed the superintendence of the seventy-two nations into which He has divided the earth to as many angels.(6) Demons insinuate themselves into the bodies of men, and force them to fulfil their desires;(7) they sometimes appear visibly to men, and by threats or promises endeavour to lead them into error; they can transform themselves into whatever forms they please.(8) The distinction between what is spoken by the true God through the prophets or by visions, and that which is delivered by demons, is this: that what proceeds from the former is always true, whereas that which is foretold by demons is not always true.(9) Lactantius says that when the


number of men began to increase, fearing that the Devil should corrupt or destroy them, God sent angels to protect and instruct the human race, but the angels themselves fell beneath his wiles, and from being angels they became the satellites and ministers of Satan. The offspring of these fallen angels are unclean spirits, authors of all the evils which are done, and the Devil is their chief. They are acquainted with the future, but nob completely. The art of the magi is altogether supported by these demons, and at their invocation they deceive men with lying tricks, making men think they see things which do not exist. These contaminated spirits wander over all the earth, and console themselves by the destruction of men. They fill every place with frauds and deceits, for they adhere to individuals, and occupy whole houses, and assume the name of genii, as demons are called in the Latin language, and make men worship them. On account of their tenuity and impalpability they insinuate themselves into the bodies of men, and through their viscera injure their health, excite diseases, terrify their souls with dreams, agitate their minds with phrensies, so that they may by these evils drive men to seek their aid.(1) Being adjured in the name of God, however, they leave the bodies of the possessed, uttering the greatest howling, and crying out that they are beaten, or are on fire.(2) These demons are the inventors of astrology, divination, oracles, necromancy, and the art of magic.(3) The universe is governed by God through the medium of angels. The demons have a fore-knowledge of the purposes of God, from having been His


ministers, and interposing in what is being done, they ascribe the credit to themselves.(1) The sign of the cross is a terror to demons, and at the sight of it they flee from the bodies of men. When sacrifices are being offered to the gods, if one be present who bears on his forehead the sign of the cross, the sacred rites are not propitious (sacra nullo modo litant), and the oracle gives no reply.(2) Eusebius, like all the Fathers, represents the gods of the Greeks and other heathen nations as merely wicked demons. Demons, he says, whether they circulate in the dark and heavy atmosphere which encircles our sphere, or inhabit the cavernous dwellings which exist within it, find charms only in tombs and in the sepulchres of the dead, and in impure and unclean places. They delight in the blood of animals, and in the putrid exhalations which rise from their bodies, as well as in earthly vapours. Their leaders, whether as inhabitants of the upper regions of the atmosphere, or plunged in the abyss of hell, having discovered that the human race had deified and offered sacrifices to men who were dead, promoted the delusion in order to savour the blood which flowed.and the fumes of the burning flesh. They deceived men by the motions conveyed to idols and statues, by the oracles they delivered, and by healing diseases, with which, by the power inherent in their nature, they had before invisibly smitten bodies, and which they removed by ceasing to torture them. These demons first introduced magic amongst men.(3) We may here refer to the account of a miracle which Eusebius seriously quotes, as exemplifying another occasional


function of the angels. The heretical Bishop Natalius having in vain been admonished by God in dreams, was at last lashed through the whole of a night by holy angels, till he was brought to repentance, and, clad in sackcloth and covered with ashes, he at length threw himself at the feet of Zephyrinus, then Bishop of Rome, pointing to the marks of the scourges which he had received from the angels, and implored to be again received into communion with the Church.(1) Augustine says that demons inhabit the atmosphere as in a prison, and deceive men, persuading them by their wonderful and false signs, or doings, or predictions, that they are gods.(2) He considers the origin of their name in the sacred Scriptures worthy of notice: they are called [——]—] in Greek on account of their knowledge.(3) By their experience of certain signs which are hidden from us, they can read much more of the future, and sometimes even announce beforehand what they intend to do. Speaking of his own time, and with strong expressions of assurance, Augustine says that not only Scripture testifies that angels have appeared to men with bodies which could not only be seen but felt, but what is more, it is a general report, and many have personal experience of it, or have learned it from those who have knowledge of the fact, and of whose truth there is no doubt, that satyrs and fauns, generally called "Incubi," have frequently perpetrated their peculiar wickedness;(4) and also that certain demons called by the Gauls Dusii every day attempt and effect the same uncleanness, as


witnesses equally numerous and trustworthy assert, so that it would be impertinence to deny it.(1)

Lactantius, again, ridicules the idea that there can be antipodes, and he can scarcely credit that there can be any one so silly as to believe that there are men whose feet are higher than their heads, or that grain and trees grow downwards, and rain, snow, and hail fall upwards to the earth. After jesting at those who hold such ridiculous views, he points out that their blunders arise from supposing that the heaven is round, and the world, consequently, round like a ball, and enclosed within it. But if that were the case, it must present the same appearance to all parts of heaven, with mountains, plains, and seas, and consequently there would be no part of the earth uninhabited by men and animals. Lactantius does not know what to say to those who, having fallen into such an error, persevere in their folly (stultitia), and defend one vain thing by another, but sometimes he supposes that they philosophize in jest, or knowingly defend falsehoods to display their ingenuity. Space alone prevents his proving that it is impossible for heaven to be below the earth.(2) St. Augustine, with equal boldness, declares that the stories told about the antipodes, that is to say, that there are men whose feet are against our footsteps, and upon whom the sun rises when it sets to us, are not to be believed. Such an assertion is not supported by any historical evidence,


but rests upon mere conjecture based on the rotundity of the earth. But those who maintain such a theory do not consider that even if the earth be round, it does not follow that the opposite side is not covered with water. Besides, if it be not, why should it be inhabited, seeing that on the one hand it is in no way possible that the Scriptures can lie, and on the other, it is too absurd (nimisque absurdum est) to affirm that any men can have traversed such an immensity of ocean to establish the human race there from that one first man Adam.(1)

Clement of Rome had no doubt of the truth of the story of the Phoenix,(2) that wonderful bird of Arabia and the adjoining countries, which lives 500 years; at the end of which time, its dissolution being at hand, it builds a nest of spices, in which it dies. From the decaying flesh, however, a worm is generated, which being strengthened by the juices of the bird, produces feathers and is transformed into a Phoenix. Clement adds that it then flies away with the nest containing the bones of its defunct parent to the city of Heliopolis in Egypt, and in full daylight, and in the sight of all men, it lays them on the altar of the sun. On examining their registers, the priests find that the bird has returned


precisely at the completion of the 500 years. This bird, Clement considers, is an emblem of the Resurrection.(1) So does Tertullian, who repeats the story with equal confidence.(2) It is likewise referred to in the Apostolic Constitutions.(3) Celsus quotes the narrative in his work against Christianity as an instance of the piety of irrational creatures, and although Origen, in reply, while admitting that the story is indeed recorded, puts in a cautious "if it be true," he proceeds to account for the phenomenon on the ground that God may have made this isolated creature, in order that men might admire, not the bird, but its creator.(4) Cyril of Jerusalem, likewise, quotes the story from Clement.(5) The author of the almost canonical Epistle of Barnabas, explaining the typical meaning of the code of Moses regarding clean and unclean animals which were or were not to be eaten, states as a fact that the hare annually increases the number of its foramina, for it has as many as the years it lives.(6) He also mentions that the hyena changes its sex every year, being alternately male and female.(7) Tertullian also points out as a recognized fact the annual change of sex of the hyena, and he adds: "I do not mention the stag, since itself is the witness of its own age; feeding on the serpent it languishes into youth from the working of the poison."(8) The geocentric


theory of the Church, which elevated man into the supreme place in the universe, and considered creation in general to be solely for his use, naturally led to the misinterpretation of all cosmical phenomena. Such spectacles as eclipses and comets were universally regarded as awful portents of impending evil, signs of God's anger, and forerunners of national calamities.(1) We have already referred to the account given by Josephus of the portents which were supposed to announce the coming destruction of the Holy City, amongst which were a star shaped like a sword, a comet, and other celestial phenomena. Volcanoes were considered openings into hell, and not only does Ter-tullian hold them to be so, but he asks who will not deem these punishments sometimes inflicted upon mountains as examples of the judgments which menace the wicked.(2)



We have given a most imperfect sketch of some of the opinions and superstitions prevalent at the time of Jesus, and when the books of the New Testament were written. These, as we have seen, continued with little or no modification throughout the first centuries of our era. It must, however, be remembered that the few details we have given, omitting most of the grosser particulars, are the views deliberately expressed by the most educated and intelligent part of the community, and that it would have required infinitely darker colours adequately to have portrayed the dense ignorance and superstition of the mass of the Jews. It is impossible to receive the report of supposed marvellous occurrences from an age and people like this without the gravest suspicion. Even so thorough a defender of miracles as Dr. Newman admits that: "Witnesses must be not only honest, but competent also; that is, such as have ascertained the facts which they attest, or who report after examination;"l and although the necessities of his case oblige him to assert that "the testimony of men of science and general knowledge" must not be required, he admits, under the head of "deficiency of examination," that—"Enthusiasm, ignorance, and habitual credulity


are defects which no number of witnesses removes."(1) We have shown how rank were these "defects" at the commencement of the Christian era, and among the chief witnesses for Christianity. Miracles which spring from such a hot-bed of superstition are too natural in such a soil to be objects of surprise and, in losing their exceptional character, their claims upon attention are proportionately weakened if not altogether destroyed. Preternatural interference with the affairs of life and the phenomena of nature was the rule in those days, not the exception, and miracles, in fact, had lost all novelty, and through familiarity had become degraded into mere commonplace. The Gospel miracles were not original in their character, but were substantially mere repetitions of similar wonders well known amongst the Jews, or commonly supposed to be of daily occurrence even at that time. In fact, the idea of such miracles, in such an age and performed amongst such a people, as the attestation of a supernatural Revelation, may with singular propriety be ascribed to the mind of that period, but can scarcely be said to bear any traces of the divine. Indeed, anticipating for a moment a part of our subject regarding which we shall have more to say hereafter, we may remark that, so far from being original either in its evidence or form, almost every religion which has been taught in the world has claimed the same divine character as Christianity, and has surrounded the person and origin of its central figure with the same supernatural mystery. Even the great heroes of history, long before our era, had their immaculate conception and miraculous birth. There can be no doubt that the writers of the New Testament shared the popular superstitions of the Jews.


We have already given more than one instance of this, and now we have only to refer for a moment to one class of these superstitions, the belief in demoniacal possession and origin of disease, involving clearly both the existence of demons and their power over the human race. It would be an insult to the understanding of those who are considering this question to pause here to prove that the historical books of the New Testament speak in the clearest and most unmistakable terms of actual demoniacal possession. Now, what has become of this theory of disease? The Archbishop of Dublin is probably the only one who asserts the reality of demoniacal possession formerly and at the present day,(1) and in this we must say that he is consistent. Dean Milman, on the other hand, who spoke with the enlightenment of the 19th century, "has no scruple in avowing his opinion on the subject of demoniacs to be that of Joseph Mede, Lardner, Dr. Mead, Paley, and all the learned modern writers. It was a kind of insanity.... and nothing was more probable than that lunacy should take the turn and speak the language of the prevailing superstition of the times."(2) The Dean, as well as "all the learned modern writers" to whom he refers, felt the difficulty, but in seeking to evade it they sacrifice the Gospels. They overlook the fact that the writers of these narratives not only themselves adopt "the prevailing superstition of the times," but represent Jesus as doing so with equal completeness. There is no possibility, for instance, of evading such statements as those in the miracle of the country of the Gadarenes, where the objectivity of the demons is so fully recognized that,


on being cast out of the man, they are represented as requesting to be allowed to go into the herd of swine, and being permitted by Jesus to do so, the entry of the demons into the swine is at once signalized by the herd running violently down the cliff into the lake, and being drowned.(1) Archbishop Trench adopts no such ineffectual evasion, but rightly objects: "Our Lord Himself uses language which is not reconcilable with any such explanation. He everywhere speaks of demoniacs not as persons of disordered intellects, but as subjects and thralls of an alien spiritual might; He addresses the evil spirit as distinct from the man: 'Hold thy peace and come out of him;'" and he concludes that "our idea of Christ's absolute veracity, apart from the value of the truth which He communicated, forbids us to suppose that He could have spoken as He did, being perfectly aware all the while that there was no corresponding reality to justify the language which He used."(2) The Dean, on the other hand, finds "a very strong reason," which he does not remember to have seen urged with sufficient force, "which may have contributed to induce our Lord to adopt the current language on the point. The disbelief in these spiritual influences was one of the characteristics of the unpopular sect of the Sadducees. A departure from the common language, or the endeavour to correct this inveterate error, would have raised an immediate outcry against Him from His watchful and malignant adversaries as an unbelieving Sadducec."(3) Such ascription of politic


deception for the sake of popularity might be intelligible in an ordinary case, but when referred to the central personage of a Divine Revelation, who is said to be God incarnate, it is perfectly astounding. The Archbishop, however, rightly deems that if Jesus knew that the Jewish belief in demoniacal possession was baseless, and that Satan did not exercise such power over the bodies or spirits of men, there would be in such language "that absence of agreement between thoughts and words in which the essence of a lie consists."(1) It is difficult to say whether the dilemma of the Dean or of the Archbishop is the greater,—the one obliged to sacrifice the moral character of Jesus, in order to escape the admission for Christianity of untenable superstition, the other obliged to adopt the superstition in order to support the veracity of the language. At least the course of the Archbishop is consistent and worthy of respect. The attempt to eliminate the superstitious diagnosis of the disease, and yet to preserve intact the miraculous cure, is quite ineffectual.

Dr. Trench anticipates the natural question, why there are no demoniacs now, if there were so many in those days,(2) and he is logically compelled to maintain that there may still be persons possessed. "It may well be a question, moreover," he says, "if an apostle or one with apostolic discernment of spirits were to enter into a mad-house now, how many of the sufferers there he might not recognize as possessed?"(3) There can scarcely be a question upon the point at all, for such a person issuing direct


from that period, without subsequent scientific enlightenment, would most certainly pronounce them all, "possessed." It did not, however, require an apostle, nor even one with apostolic discernment of spirits, to recognize the possessed at that time. All those who are represented as being brought to Jesus to be healed are described by their friends as having a devil or being possessed, and there was no form of disease more general or more commonly recognized by the Jews. For what reason has the recognition of, and belief in, demoniacal possession passed away with the ignorance and superstition which were then prevalent?

It is important to remember that the theory of demoniacal possession, and its supposed cure by means of exorcism and invocations, was most common among the Jews long before the commencement of the Christian era. As casting out devils was the most common type of Christian miracles, so it was the commonest belief and practice of the Jewish nation. Christianity merely shared the national superstition, and changed nothing but the form of exorcism. Christianity did not through a "clearer perception of spirits," therefore, originate the belief in demoniacal possession, nor first recognize its victims; nor did such superior enlightenment accompany the superior morality of Christianity as to detect the ignorant fallacy. In the Old Testament we find the most serious evidence of the belief in demonology and witchcraft. The laws against them set the example of that unrelenting severity with which sorcery was treated for so many centuries. We read in Exodus xxii. 18: "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." Levit. xix. 31: "Regard not them which have familiar spirits, neither


seek after wizards, to be defiled by them." Levit. xx. 6: "And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards to go a-whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and cut him off from among his people;" and verse 27: "A man also or a woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death; they shall stone them with stones; their blood shall be upon them." Deut. xviii. 10: "There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or an enchanter, or a witch; 11. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer; 12. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord," &c. The passages which assert the reality of demonology and witchcraft, however, are much too numerous to permit their citation here. But not only did Christianity thus inherit the long-prevalent superstition, but it transmitted it intact to succeeding ages; and there can be no doubt that this demonology, with its consequent and inevitable belief in witchcraft, sorcery, and magic, continued so long to prevail throughout Christendom, as much through the authority of the sacred writings and the teaching of the Church as through the superstitious ignorance of Europe.

It would be impossible to select for illustration any type of the Gospel miracles, whose fundamental principle,—belief in the reality, malignant action, and power of demons, and in the power of man to control them,—has received fuller or more permanent living acceptance from posterity, down to very recent times, than the cure of disease ascribed to demoniacal influence. The writings of the Fathers are full of the belief; the social


history of Europe teems with it. The more pious the people, the more firm was their conviction of its reality. From times antecedent to Christianity, until medical science slowly came into existence and displaced miracle cures by the relics of saints, every form of disease was ascribed to demons. Madness, idiotcy, epilepsy, and every shape of hysteria were the commonest forms of their malignity; and the blind, the dumb, and the deformed were regarded as unquestionable victims of their malice. Every domestic calamity, from the convulsions of a child to the death of a cow, was unhesitatingly attributed to their agency. The more ignorant the community, the greater the number of its possessed. Belief in the power of sorcery, witchcraft, and magic was inherent in the superstition, and the universal prevalence shows how catholic was the belief in demoniacal influence. The practice of these arts is solemnly denounced as sin in the New Testament and throughout Patristic literature, and the church has in all ages fulminated against it. No accusation was more common than that of practising sorcery, and no class escaped from the fatal suspicion. Popes were charged with the crime, and bishops were found guilty of it. St. Cyprian was said to have been a magician before he became a Christian and a Father of the Church.(1) Athanasius was accused of sorcery before the Synod of Tyre.(2) Not only the illiterate but even the learned, in the estimation of their age, believed in it. No heresy was ever persecuted with more unrelenting hatred. Popes have issued bulls vehemently anathematising witches and sorcerers, councils have proscribed them, ecclesiastical


courts have consigned tens of thousands of persons suspected of being such to the stake, monarchs have written treatises against them and invented tortures for their conviction, and every nation in Europe and almost every generation have passed the most stringent laws against them. Upon no point has there ever been greater unanimity of belief. Church and State have vied with each other for the suppression of the abominable crime. Every phenomenon of nature, every unwelcome occurrence of social life, as well as every natural disease, has been ascribed to magic and demons. The historical records of Europe are filled with the deliberate trial and conviction, upon what was deemed evidence, of thousands of sorcerers and witches. Hundreds have been found guilty of exercising demoniacal influence over the elements, from Sopater the philosopher, executed under Constantino for preventing, by adverse winds, the arrival of corn ships at Constantinople, to Dr. Fian and other witches horribly tortured and burnt for causing a stormy passage on the return of James I. from Denmark.(1) Thousands of men and tens of thousands of women have been done to death by every conceivable torment for causing sickness or calamity by sorcery, or for flying through the air to attend the witches' sabbath. When scepticism as to the reality of the demoniacal powers of sorcery tardily began to arise, it was fiercely reprobated by the Church as infidelity. Even so late as the 17th century, a man like Sir Thomas Browne not only did not include the belief amongst the vulgar errors which he endeavoured to expose, but on the contrary wrote: "For my part, I have ever believed, and do now know that there are

     1 Pitcairn's Criminal Trials of Scotland, i. pp. 213, 223.


witches. They that doubt of them, do not only deny them, but spirits; and are obliquely, and upon consequence, a sort not of infidels, but atheists."(1) In 1664 Sir Thomas Hale, in passing sentence of death against two women convicted of being witches, declared that the reality of witchcraft was undeniable, because "first, the Scriptures had affirmed so much; and secondly, the wisdom of all nations had provided laws against such persons, which is an argument of their confidence of such a crime."(2) Even the 18th century was stained with the blood of persons tortured and executed for sorcery.

Notwithstanding all this persistent and unanimous confirmation, we ask again: What has now become of the belief in demoniacal possession and sorcery? It has utterly disappeared. "Joseph Mede, Lardner, Dr. Mead, Paley, and all the learned modern writers" with Dean Milinan, as we have seen, explain it away, and such a theory of disease and elemental disturbance is universally recognized to have been a groundless superstition. The countless number of persons tormented and put to death for the supposed crime of witchcraft and sorcery were mere innocent victims to ignorance and credulity. Mr. Buckle has collected a mass of evidence to show that "there is in every part of the world an intimate relation between ignorance respecting the nature and proper treating of a disease, and


the belief that such disease is caused by supernatural power, and is to be cured by it."(1) At the commencement of our era every disease was ascribed to the agency of demons simply because the nature of disease was not understood, and the writers of the Gospels were not, in this respect, one whit more enlightened than the Jews. The progress of science, however, has not only dispelled the superstitious theory as regards disease in our time; its effects are retrospective. Science not only declares the ascription of disease to demoniacal possession or malignity to be an idle superstition now, but it equally repudiates the assumption of such a cause at any time. The diseases referred by the Gospels, and by the Jews of that time, to the action of devils, exist now, but they are known to proceed from purely physical causes. The same superstition and medical ignorance would enunciate the same diagnosis at the present day. The superstition and ignorance, however, have passed away, and with them the demoniacal theory. In that day the theory was as baseless as in this. This is the logical conclusion of every educated man.

It is obvious that, with the necessary abandonment of the theory of "possession" and demoniacal origin of disease, the largest class of miracles recorded in the Gospels is at once exploded. The asserted cause of the diseases of this class, said to have been miraculously healed, must be recognized to be a mere vulgar superstition, and the narratives of such miracles, ascribing as they do in perfect simplicity distinct objectivity to the supposed "possessing" demons, and reporting their very words and actions, at once assume the character of mere imaginative and fabulous writings based upon superstitious


tradition, and cannot be accepted as the sober and intelligent report of eye-witnesses. We shall presently see how far this.inference is supported by the literary evidence regarding the date and composition of the Gospels.

The deduction, however, does not end here. It is clear that, this large class of Gospel miracles being due to the superstition of an ignorant and credulous age, the insufficiency of the evidence for any of the other supposed miraculous occurrences narrated in the same documents becomes at once apparent. Nothing but the most irrefragable testimony could possibly warrant belief in statements of supernatural events which contradict all experience, and are opposed to all science. When these statements, however, are not only rendered, à priori, suspicious by their proceeding from a period of the grossest superstition and credulity, but it becomes evident that a considerable part of them is due solely to that superstition and credulity, by which, moreover, the rest may likewise be most naturally explained, it is obvious that they cannot stand against the opposing conviction of invariable experience. The force of the testimony is gone. We are far from using this language in an offensive sense concerning the Gospel narratives, which, by the simple faith of the writers, present the most noble aspect of the occurrences of which superstition is capable. Indeed, viewed as compositions gradually rising out of pious tradition, and representing the best spirit of their times, the Gospels, even in ascribing such miracles to Jesus, are a touching illustration of the veneration excited by his elevated character. Devout enthusiasm surrounded his memory with the tradition of the highest exhibitions of power within the range of Jewish imagination,


and that these conceptions represent merely an idealized form of prevalent superstition was not only natural but inevitable. We shall hereafter fully examine the character of the Gospels, but it will be sufficient here to point out that none of these writings lays claim to any special inspiration, or in the slightest degree pretends to be more than a human composition,(1) and subject to the errors of human history.


We have seen how incompetent those who lived at the time when the Gospel miracles are supposed to have taken place were to furnish reliable testimony regarding such phenomena; and the gross mistake committed in regard to the largest class of these miracles, connected with demoniacal possession, seems altogether to destroy the value of the evidence for the rest, and to connect the whole, as might have been expected, with the general superstition and ignorance of the period. It may be well to inquire further, whether there is any valid reason for excepting any of the miracles of Scripture from the fate of the rest, and whether, in fact, there was any special "Age of Miracles" at all, round which a privileged line can be drawn on any reasonable ground.

We have already pointed out that the kind of evidence which is supposed to attest the Divine revelation of Christianity, so far from being invented for the purpose, was so hackneyed, so to speak, as scarcely to attract the


notice of the nation to which the revelation was, in the first instance, addressed. Not only did the Old Testament contain accounts of miracles of every one of the types related in the New, but most of them were believed to be commonly performed both before and after the commencement of the Christian era. That demons were successfully exorcised, and diseases cured, by means of spells and incantations, was never doubted by the Jewish nation. Satanic miracles, moreover, are not only recognized throughout the Old and New Testaments, but formed a leading feature of the Patristic creed. The early Christians were not more ready than the heathen to ascribe every inexplicable occurrence to supernatural agency, and the only difference between them was as to the nature of that agency. The Jews and their heathen neighbours were too accustomed to supposed preternatural occurrences to feel much surprise or incredulity at the account of Christian miracles; and it is characteristic of the universal superstition of the period that the Fathers did not dream of denying the reality of Pagan miracles, but merely attributed them to demons, whilst they asserted the Divine origin of their own. The reality of the powers of sorcery was never questioned. Every marvel and every narrative of supernatural interference with human affairs seemed matter of course to the superstitious credulity of the age. However much miracles are exceptions to the order of nature, they have always been the rule in the history of ignorance. In fact, the excess of belief in them throughout many centuries of darkness is fatal to their claims to credence now. The Christian miracles are rendered almost as suspicious from their place in a long sequence of similar occurrences, as they are by being exceptions


to the sequence of natural phenomena. It would indeed be extraordinary if whole cycles of miracles occurring before and since those of the Gospels, and in connection with every religion, could be repudiated as fables, and those alone maintained as genuine.

No attempt is made to deny the fact that miracles are common to all times and to all religious creeds. Dr. Newman states amongst the conclusions of his essay on the miracles of early ecclesiastical history: "That there was no Age of Miracles, after which miracles ceased; that there have been at all times true miracles and false miracles, true accounts and false accounts; that no authoritative guide is supplied to us for drawing the line between the two."(1) Dr. Mozley also admits that morbid love of the marvellous in the human race "has produced a constant stream of miraculous pretension in the world, which accompanies man wherever he is found, and is a part of his mental and physical history."(2) Ignorance and its invariable attendant, superstition, have done more than mere love of the marvellous to produce and perpetuate belief in miracles, and there cannot be any doubt that the removal of ignorance always leads to the cessation of miracles.(3) The Bampton lecturer proceeds: 'Heathenism had its running stream of supernatural pretensions in the shape of prophecy, exorcism, and the miraculous cures of diseases, which the temples of Esculapius recorded with pompous display."(4) So far from the Gospel miracles being original, and a presentation, for the first time, of phenomena until then unknown


and unlikely to suggest themselves to the mind, "Jewish supernaturalism was indeed going on side by side with our Lord's miracles."(1) Dr. Mozley, however, rebuts the inference which has been drawn from this: "That His miracles could not, in the very nature of the case, be evidences of His distinctive teaching and mission, inasmuch as miracles were common to Himself and His opponents," by the assertion that a very marked distinction exists between the Gospel miracles and all others.(2) He perfectly recognizes the consequence if such a distinction cannot be clearly demonstrated. "The criticism, therefore, which evidential miracles, or miracles which serve as evidence of a revelation, must come up to, if they are to accomplish the object for which they are designed, involves at the outset this condition,—that the evidence of such miracles must be distinguishable from the evidences of this permanent stream of miraculous pretension in the world; that such miracles must be separated by an interval not only from the facts of the order of nature, but also from the common running miraculous, which is the simple offshoot of human nature. Can evidential miracles be inserted in this promiscuous mass, so as not to be confounded with it, but to assert their own truth and distinctive source? If they cannot there is an end to the proof of a revelation by miracles: if they can, it remains to see whether the Christian miracles are thus distinguishable, and whether their nature, their object, and their evidence vindicate their claim to this distinctive truth and Divine source."(3)

Now, regarding this distinction between Gospel and


other miracles, it must be observed that the religious feeling which influenced the composition of the Scripture narratives of miracles naturally led to the exclusion of all that was puerile or ignoble in the traditions preserved regarding the Great Master. The elevated character of Jesus afforded no basis for what was petty, and the devotion with which he was regarded when the Gospels were written insured the noblest treatment of his history within certain limits. We must, therefore, consider the bare facts composing the miracles rather than the narrative of the manner in which they are said to have been produced, in order rightly to judge of the comparative features of different miracles. If we take the case of a person raised from the dead, literary skill may invest the account with more or less of dramatic interest and dignity, but whether the main fact be surrounded with pathetic and picturesque details,.as in the account of the raising of Lazarus in the fourth Gospel, or the person be simply restored to life without them, it is the fact of the resurrection which constitutes the miracle, and it is in the facts alone that we must seek distinction, disregarding and distrusting the accessories. In the one case the effect may be much more impressive, but in the other the bare raising of the dead is not a whit less miraculous. "We have been accustomed to read the Gospel narratives of miracles with so much special veneration, that it is now difficult to recognize how much of the distinction of these miracles is due to the composition, and to their place in the history of Jesus. No other miracles, or account of miracles, ever had such collateral advantages. As works attributed to our sublimest Teacher, described with simple eloquence and, especially in the case of those in


the fourth Gospel, with artistic perfection, and read generally with reverential wonder untempered by a thought of criticism, these miracles have seemed to be surrounded by a mystic halo certainly not emanating from themselves. It must not be forgotten, therefore, that the miracle lies in the bare act, and not in its dramatic arrangement. The restoration of life to a dead man is the very same miracle whether it be effected by the relics of a saint or by the word of an apostle. A miracle is not antecedently more credible because of the outstretched arm and word of command, than it is in the silence of the shrine. Being supernatural, the real agency is not seen in either case, although the human mind is more satisfied by the presentation of an apparent cause in the one case, which seems to be absent in the other. In preferring the former type, we are not only influenced by a more dramatic narrative, but we select for belief the miracle from which we can unconsciously eliminate more of the miraculous elements, by tracing it to a visible natural cause which cannot be seen in the latter. The antecedent incredibility of miracles, however, is not affected by literary skill, and is independent of scenic effect.

The Archbishop of Dublin says: "Few points present greater difficulties than the attempt to fix accurately the moment when these miraculous powers were withdrawn from the Church;" and he argues that they were withdrawn when it entered into what he calls its permanent state, and no longer required "these props and strengthenings of the infant plant."(1) That their retrocession was gradual, he considers natural, and he imagines the fulness of Divine power as gradually waning as it was


subdivided, first among the Apostles, and then amongst the ever-multiplying members of the Church, until by sub-division it became virtually extinct, leaving as a substitute "the standing wonder of a Church."(1) This, of course, is not argument, but merely the Archbishop's fanciful explanation of a serious difficulty. The fact is, however, that the Gospel miracles were preceded and accompanied by others of the same type, and we may here merely mention exorcism of demons, and the miraculous cure of disease, as popular instances; they were also followed by a long succession of others, quite as well authenticated, whose occurrence only became less frequent in proportion as the diffusion of knowledge dispelled popular credulity. Even at the present day a stray miracle is from time to time reported in outlying districts, where the ignorance and superstition which formerly produced so abundant a growth of them are not yet entirely dispelled.

Papias of Hierapolis narrates a wonderful story, according to Eusebius, which he had heard from the daughters of the Apostle Philip, who lived at the same time in Hierapolis: "For he relates that a dead man was restored to life in his day."(2) Justin Martyr, speaking of his own time, frequently asserts that Christians still receive the gift of healing, of foreknowledge, and of prophecy,(3) and he points out to the Roman Senate as a fact happening under their own observation, that many demoniacs throughout all the world [——]—] and in their own city have


been healed and are healed, many of the Christian' men among is [——]—] exorcising them in the name of Jesus Christ, subduing and expelling the possessing demons out of the man, although all the other exorcists with incantations and spells had failed to do so.(1) Theophilus of Antioch likewise states that to his day demons are exorcised.(2) Irenĉus in the clearest manner claims for the Church of his time the continued possession of the Divine [——]—] He contrasts the miracles of the followers of Simon and Carpocrates, which he ascribes to magical illusions, with those of Christians. "For they can neither give sight to the blind," he continues, "nor to the deaf hearing, nor cast out all demons, but only those introduced by themselves, if they can even do that; nor heal the sick, the lame, the paralytic, nor those afflicted in other parts of the body, as has been often done in regard to bodily infirmity.... But so far are they from raising the

dead,—as the Lord raised them and the Apostles by prayer, and as frequently in the brotherhood, when the whole Church in a place made supplication with much fasting and prayer, the spirit of the dead was constrained to return, and the man was freely restored in answer to the prayers of the saints—that they do not believe this can possibly be done."(3) Canon


Mozley, who desires for the purpose of his argument to weaken the evidence of patristic belief in the continuance of miracles, says regarding this last passage on raising the dead:—"But the reference is so vague that it possesses but little weight as testimony."(1) We should be sorry to think that the vice, which seems at present to characterize the Church to which Dr. Mozley belongs, of making simple language mean anything or nothing just as any one happens to wish, should be introduced into critical or historical studies. The language of Irenĉus is vague only in so far as specific detailed instances are not given of the miracles referred to; but no language could be more definite or explicit to express the meaning of Irenĉus, namely, the assertion that the prayers of Christian communities had frequently restored the dead to life. Eusebius, who quotes the passage, and who has preserved to us the original Greek, clearly recognized this. He says, when making the quotations: "In the second book of the same work he (Irenĉus) testifies that up to his time tokens of Divine and miraculous power remained in some Churches,"(2) In the next chapter Irenĉus further says:—"On which account, also, his true disciples receiving grace from him, work (miracles) in his name for the benefit of the rest of mankind, according to the gift received from him by each of them. For some do certainly and truly [——]—] cast out demons, so that frequently those very men who have thus been cleansed from the evil spirits both


believe and are now in the church. And some have foreknowledge of future occurrences, and visions, and prophetic utterances. Others heal the sick by the imposition of hands and make them whole. Indeed, as we have already stated, even the dead have been raised up, and have remained with us for many years. And what more shall I say? It is not possible to state the number of the gifts which the Church throughout the world has received from God in the name of Jesus Christ, crucified under Pontius Pilate, and which she each day employs for the benefit of the heathen," &c.(1)

Tertullian speaks with the most perfect assurance of miracles occurring in his day, and of the power of healing and of casting out devils still possessed by Christians. In one place, for iustance, after asserting the power which they have generally over demons, so that if a person possessed by a devil be brought before one of the Roman tribunals, a follower of Christ can at once compel the wicked spirit within him to confess that he is a demon, even if he had before asserted himself to be a God, he proceeds to say: "So at our touch and breathing, violently affected by the contemplation and representation of those fires (of hell) they (demons) also depart at our command out of bodies, reluctant and complaining, and put to shame


in your presence."(1) He declares that although dreams are chiefly inflicted upon us by demons, yet they are also sent by God, and indeed "almost the greater part of mankind derive their knowledge concerning God from visions."(2) He, elsewhere, states that he himself knows that a brother was severely castigated by a vision the same night on which his slaves had, without his knowledge, done something reprehensible.(3) He narrates as an instance of the continued possession of spiritual charismata by Christians: "There is at this day among us a sister who has the gift of revelations, which she receives in church amidst the solemnities of the Lord's day by ecstasy in the spirit: she converses with angels, and sometimes also with the Lord, and she both hears and sees mysteries (sacramenta), and she reads the hearts of some men, and prescribes medicines to those who are in need."(4) Tertullian goes on to say that, after the people were dismissed from the Church, this sister was in the regular habit of reporting what she had seen, and that most diligent inquiries were made in order to test the truth of her communications;(5) and after narrating a vision of a disembodied soul vouchsafed to her, he states: "This is the vision, God being witness, and


the Apostle(1) having foretold that such spiritual gifts should be in the Church."(2) Further on Tertullian relates another story within his own knowledge: "I know the case of a woman, born within the fold of the Church, who was in the prime of life and beauty. After being but once, and only a short time, married, having fallen asleep in peace, in the interval before interment (sp.) when the presbyter began to pray as she was being made ready for burial, at the first breath of prayer she removed her hands from her sides, folded them in the attitude of supplication, and again, when the last rites were over, restored them to their former position."(3) He then mentions another story known amongst them: that a dead body in a cemetery moved itself in order to make room beside it for another body;(4) and then he remarks: "If similar cases are also reported amongst the heathen, we conclude that God displays signs of his power for the consolation of his own people, and as a testimony to others."(5) Again, he mentions cases where Christians had cured persons of demoniacal possession, and adds: "And how many men of position (for we do not speak of the vulgar) have been delivered either from devils or from diseases."(6) Tertullian


in the same place refers to the miracle of the "Thundering Legion,"(1) and he exclaims: "When indeed have not droughts been removed by our prayers and fastings."(2) Minucius Felix speaks of the casting out of devils from sick persons by Christians in his own day, as a matter of public notoriety even among Pagans.(3) St. Cyprian echoes the same assertions.(4) He likewise mentions cases of miraculous punishment inflicted upon persons who had lapsed from the Christian faith. One of these, who ascended the Capitol to make denial of Christ, suddenly became dumb after he had spoken the words.(6) Another, a woman, was seized by an unclean spirit even at the baths, and bit with her own teeth the impious tongue which had eaten the idolatrous food, or spoken the words, and she shortly expired in great agony.(6) He likewise maintains that Christians are admonished by God in dreams and by visions, of which he mentions instances.(7) Origen claims for Christians the power still to expel demons, and to heal diseases in the name of Jesus,(8) and he states that he had seen many persons so cured of madness and countless other evils, which could not be otherwise cured by men or devils.(9) Lactantius repeatedly asserts the power of Christians over demons; they make them flee from bodies when they adjure them in the name of God.(10)

Passing over the numerous apocryphal writings of the early centuries of our era, in which many miracles are


recorded, we find in the pages of Eusebius narratives of many miraculous occurrences. Many miracles are ascribed to Narcissus, Bishop of Jerusalem, of which Eusebius relates several. Whilst the vigils of the great watch of the Passover were being kept, the oil failed, whereupon Narcissus commanded that water from the neighbouring well should be poured into the lamps. Having prayed over the water, it was changed into oil, of which a specimen had been preserved until that time.(1) On another occasion, three men having spread some vile slanders against Narcissus, which they confirmed by an oath, and with imprecations upon themselves of death by a miserable disease, of death by fire, and of blindness, respectively, if their statements were not true, omnipotent justice in each case inflicted upon the wretches the curse which each had invoked.(2) The election of Fabianus to the Episcopal chair of Rome was marked by the descent of a dove from on high, which rested upon his head, as the Holy Ghost had descended upon our Saviour.(3) At Cĉsarea Philippi there is a statue of Jesus Christ which Eusebius states that he himself had seen, said to have been erected by the woman healed of the bloody issue, and on the pedestal grows a strange plant as high as the hem of the brazen garment, which is an antidote to all diseases.(4) Great miracles are recorded as taking place during the persecutions in Cĉsarea.(5)

Gregory of Nyssa gives an account of many wonderful works performed by his namesake Gregory of Neo-Cĉsarea, who was called Thaumaturgus from the miraculous power which he possessed and very freely


exercised. The Virgin Mary and the Apostle John appeared to him, on one occasion, when he was in doubt as to the doctrine which he ought to preach, and, at the request of Mary, the Apostle gave him all needful instructions.(1) If his faith did not move mountains, it moved a huge rock to convert a pagan priest.(2) He drove a demon out of a heathen temple in which he had taken refuge, and the evil spirit could not re-enter until he gave permission.(3) Nyssen relates how St. Gregory averted an armed contest of two brothers who quarrelled about the possession of a lake on their father's property. The saint passed the night in prayer beside the lake, and in the morning it was found dried up.(4) On another occasion he rescued the country from the devastation of a mountain stream, which periodically burst the dykes by which it was restrained and inundated the plain. He went on foot to the place, and invoking the name of Christ, fixed his staff in the earth at the place where the torrent had broken through. The staff took root and became a tree, and the stream never again burst its bounds. The inhabitants of the district were converted to Christianity by this miracle. The tree was still living in Nyssen's time, and he had seen the bed of the lake covered with trees, pastures, and cottages.(5) Two vagabond Jews once attempted to deceive him. One of them lay down and pretended to be dead, while the other begged money from the saint wherewith to buy him a shroud. St. Gregory quietly took off his cloak and laid it on the man, and


walked away. His companion found that he was really dead.(1) St. Gregory expelled demons from persons possessed, healed the sick and performed many other miracles;(2) and his signs and wonders are not only attested by Gregory of Nyssa, but by St. Basil,(3) whose grandmother, St. Macrina, was brought up at Neo-Cĉsarea by the immediate followers of the saint.

Athanasius, in his memoir of St. Anthony, who began to lead the life of a recluse about a.d. 270, gives particulars of many miracles performed by the saint. Although he possessed great power over demons, and delivered many persons possessed by them, Satan tormented him sadly, and he was constantly beset by legions of devils. One night Satan with a troop of evil spirits so belaboured the saint that he lay on the ground speechless and almost dead from their blows.(4) We have already referred to the case of Natalius, who was scourged by angels during a whole night, till he was brought to repentance.(5) Upon one occasion when St. Anthony had retired to his cell resolved to pass a time in perfect solitude, a certain soldier came to his door and remained long there knocking and supplicating the saint to come and deliver his daughter, who was tormented by a demon. At length St. Anthony addressed the man and told him to go, and if he believed in Jesus Christ and prayed to God, his prayer should


be fulfilled. The man believed, invoked Jesus Christ, and his daughter was delivered from the demon.(1) As Anthony was once travelling across the desert to visit another monastery, the water of the caravan failed them, and his companions in despair threw themselves on the ground. St. Anthony, however, retired a little apart, and in answer to his prayer a spring of water issued at the place where he was kneeling.(2) A man named Fronto, who was afflicted with leprosy, begged his prayers, and was ordered by the saint to go into Egypt, where he should be healed. Fronto at first refused, but being told that he could not be healed if he remained, the sick man went believing, and as soon as he came in sight of Egypt he was made whole.(3) Another miracle was performed by Anthony at Alexandria in the presence of St. Athanasius. As they were leaving the city a woman cried after him, "Man of God, stay; my daughter is cruelly troubled by a demon;" and she entreated him to stop lest she herself should die in running after him. At the request of Athanasius and the rest, the saint paused, and as the woman came up her daughter fell on the ground convulsed. St. Anthony prayed in the name of Jesus Christ, and immediately the girl rose perfectly restored to health, and delivered from the evil spirit.(4) He astonished a number of pagan philosophers, who had come to dispute with him, by delivering several demoniacs, making the sign of the cross over them three times, and invoking the name of Jesus Christ.(5) It is unnecessary, however, to multiply instances of his miraculous power to drive out demons and heal diseases,(6) and to perform other


wonderful works. St. Athanasius, who was himself for a long time a personal follower of St. Anthony, protests in his preface to the biography his general accuracy, he having everywhere been mindful of the truth.(1)

Hilarion, again, a disciple of St. Anthony, performed many miracles, an account of some of which is given by St. Jerome. He restored sight to a woman who had been blind for no less than ten years; he cast out devils, and miraculously cured many diseases. Rain fell in answer to his prayers; and he further exhibited his power over the elements by calming a stormy sea. When he was buried, ten months after his death, not only was his body as perfect as though he had been alive, but it emitted a delightful perfume. He was so favoured of God that, long after, diseases were healed and demons expelled at his tomb.(2) St. Macarius, the Egyptian, is said to have restored a dead man to life in order to convince an unbeliever of the truth of the resurrection.(3) St. Martin, of Tours, restored to life a certain catechumen who had died of a fever, and Sulpicius, his disciple, states that the man, who lived for many years after, was known to himself, although not until after the miracle. He also restored to life a servant who had hung himself.(4) He performed a multitude of other miracles, to which we need not here more minutely refer. The relics of the two martyrs Protavius and Gervasius, whose bones, with much fresh blood, the miraculous evidence of their martyrdom and identity, were discovered by St. Ambrose, worked a


number of miracles. A man suffering from demoniacal possession indicated the proximity of the relics by his convulsions. St. Augustine states that he himself was in Milan when a blind man, who merely touched the cloth which covered the two bodies as they were being moved to a neighbouring church, regained his sight.(1) Paulinus relates many miracles performed by his master, St. Ambrose, himself. He not only cast out many demons and healed the sick,(2) but he also raised the dead. Whilst the saint was staying in the house of a distinguished Christian friend, his child, who, a few days before, had been delivered from an unclean spirit, suddenly expired. The mother, an exceedingly religious woman, full of faith and the fear of God, carried the dead boy down and laid him on the saint's bed during his absence. When St. Ambrose returned, filled with compassion for the mother and struck by her faith, he stretched himself, like Elisha, on the body of the child, praying, and restored him living to his mother. Paulinus relates this miracle with minute particulars of name and address.(3)

St. Augustine asserts that miracles are still performed in his day in the name of Jesus Christ, either by means of his sacraments or by the prayers or relics of his saints, although they are not so well-known as those of old, and he gives an account of many miracles which had recently taken place.(4) After referring to the miracle performed by the relics of the two martyrs upon the blind man in Milan, which occurred when he was there, he goes on to narrate the miraculous cure of a friend of


his own, named Innocent, formerly advocate of the prefecture, in Carthage, where Augustine was, and beheld it with his own eyes (ubi nos interfuimus et oculis aspeximus nostris). A lady of rank in the same city was miraculously healed of an incurable cancer, and St. Augustine is indignant at the apathy of her friends, which allowed so great a miracle to be so little known.(1) An inhabitant of the neighbouring town of Curubis was cured of paralysis and other ills by being baptized. When Augustine heard of this, although it was reported on very good authority, the man himself was brought to Carthage by order of the holy bishop Aurelius, in order that the truth might be ascertained. Augustine states that, on one occasion during his absence, a tribunitian man amongst them named Hesperius, who had a farm close by, called Zubedi, in the Fussalian district, begged one of the Christian presbyters to go and drive away some evil spirits whose malice sorely afflicted his servants and cattle. One of the presbyters accordingly went, and offered the sacrifice of the body of Christ with earnest prayer, and by the mercy of God, the evil was removed. Now Hesperius happened to have received from one of his friends a piece of the sacred earth of Jerusalem, where Jesus Christ was buried and rose again the third day, and he had hung it up in his room to protect himself from the evil spirits. When his house had been freed from them, however, he begged St. Augustine and his colleague Maximinus, who happened to be in that neighbourhood, to come to him, and after telling them all


that had happened, he prayed them to bury the piece of earth in some place where Christians could assemble for the worship of God. They consented, and did as he desired. A young peasant of the neighbourhood, who was paralytic, hearing of this, begged that he might be carried without delay to the holy spot, where he offered up prayer, and rose up and went away on his feet perfectly cured. About thirty miles from Hippo, at a farm called Victoriana, there was a memorial to the two martyrs Protavius and Gervasius. To this, Augustine relates, was brought a young man who, having gone one summer day at noon to water his horse in the river, was possessed by a demon. The lady to whom the place belonged came according to her custom in the evening, with her servants and some holy women to sing hymns and pray. On hearing them the demoniac started up and seized the altar with a terrible shudder, without daring to move, and as if bound to it, and the demon praying with a loud voice for mercy confessed where and when he had entered into the young man. At last the demon named all the members of his body, with threats to cut them off as he made his exit, and, saying these words, came out of him. In doing so, however, the eye of the youth fell from its socket on to his cheek, retained only by a small vein as by a root, whilst the pupil became altogether white. Well pleased, however, that the young man had been freed from the evil spirit, they returned the eye to its place as well as they could, and bound it up with a handkerchief, praying fervently, and one of his relatives said: "God who drove out the demon at the prayer of his saints can also restore the sight." On removing the bandage seven days after, the eye was found perfectly whole. St. Augustine knew a girl of


Hippo who was delivered from a demon by the application of oil with which had mingled the tears of the presbyter who was praying for her. He also knew a bishop who prayed for a youth possessed by a demon, although he had not even seen him, and the young man was at once cured.

Augustine further gives particulars of many miracles performed by the relics of the most glorious martyr Stephen.(1) By their virtue the blind receive their sight, the sick are healed, the impenitent converted, and the dead are restored to life. "Andurus is the name of an estate," Augustine says, "where there is a church and in it a shrine dedicated to the martyr Stephen. A certain little boy was playing in the court, when unruly bullocks drawing a waggon crushed him with the wheel, and immediately he lay in the agonies of death. Then his mother raised him up, and placed him at the shrine, and he not only came to life again, but had manifestly received no injury.(2) A certain religious woman, who lived in a neighbouring property called Caspalianus, being dangerously ill and her life despaired of, her tunic was carried to the same shrine, but before it was brought back she had expired. Nevertheless, her relatives covered the body with this tunic, and she received back the spirit and was made whole.(3) At Hippo, a certain man named


Bassus, a Syrian, was praying at the shrine of the same martyr for his daughter who was sick and in great peril, and he had brought her dress with him; when lo! some of his household came running to announce to him that she was dead. But as he was engaged in prayer they were stopped by his friends, who prevented their telling him, lest he should give way to his grief in public. When he returned to his house, which already resounded with the wailing of his household, he cast over the body of his daughter her mantle which he had with him, and immediately she was restored to life.(1) Again, in the same city, the son of a certain man among us named Irenĉus, a collector of taxes, became sick and died. As the dead body lay, and they were preparing with wailing and lamentation to bury it, one of his friends consoling him suggested that the body should be anointed with oil from the same martyr. This was done, and the child came to life again.(2) In the same way a man amongst us named Eleusinus, formerly a tribune, laid the body of his child, who had died from sickness, on a memorial of the martyr which is in his villa in the suburbs, and after he had prayed, with many tears, he took up the child living."(3)


We shall meet with more of these miracles in considering the arguments of Dr. Mozley. In a note he says: "Augustine again, long after, alludes in his list of miracles (De Civ. Dei, xxii. 8,) to some cases in which persons had been raised to life again by prayer and the intercession of martyrs, whose relics were applied. But though Augustine relates with great particularity and length of detail some cases of recoveries from complaints in answer to prayer, his notices of the cases in which persons had been raised to life again, are so short, bare, and summary, that they evidently represent no more than mere report, and report of a very vague kind. Indeed, with the preface which he prefixes to his list, he cannot be said even to profess to guarantee the truth or accuracy of the different instances contained in it. 'Hĉc autem, ubicunque fiunt, ibi sciuntur vix a tota ipsa civitate vel quocumque commanentium loco. Nam plerumque etiam ibi paucissimi sciunt, ignorantibus eseteris, maxime si magna sit civitas; et quando alibi aliisque narrantur, non tantum ea commendat auctoritas, ut sine difficultate vel dubitatione credantur, quamvis Christianis fidelibus a fidelibus indicentur.' He puts down the cases as he received them, then, without pledging himself to their authenticity. 'Eucharius presbyter... mortuus sic jacebat ut ei jam pol-lices ligarentur: opitulatione memorati martyris, cum de memoria ejus reportata fuisset et supra jacentis corpus missa ipsius presbyteri tunica, suscitatus est... Andurus nomen est &C.",(1) and then Dr. Mozley gives the passage already quoted by us. Before continuing,


we must remark with regard to the passages just quoted, that, in the miracle of Eucharius, Dr. Mozley, without explanation, omits details. The whole passage is as follows: "Eucharius, a presbyter from Spain, resided at Calama, who had for a long time suffered from stone. By the relics of the same martyr, which the Bishop Possidius brought to him, he was made whole. The same presbyter, afterwards succumbing to another disease, lay dead, so that they were already binding his hands. Succour came from the relics of the martyr, for the tunic of the presbyter being brought back from the relics and placed upon his body he revived."(1) A writer who complains of the bareness of narratives, should certainly not curtail their statements. Dr. Mozley continues: "There are three other cases of the same kind, in which there is nothing to verify the death from which the return to life is said to take place, as being more than mere suspension of the vital powers; but the writer does not go into particulars of description or proof, but simply inserts them in his list as they have been reported to him."(3)

Dr. Mozley is anxious to detract from the miracles described by Augustine, and we regret to be obliged to maintain that in order to do so he misrepresents, no doubt unintentionally, Augustine's statements, and, as we think, also unduly depreciates the comparative value of the evidence. We shall briefly refer to the two points in question. I. That "his notices of the cases in which persons had been raised to life again are so short,


bare, and summary that they evidently represent no more than mere report, and report of a very vague kind." II. "That with the preface which Augustine prefixes to his list, he cannot be said even to profess to guarantee the truth or accuracy of the different instances contained in it."

It is true that in several cases Augustine gives the account of miraculous cures at greater length than those of restoration to life. It seems to us that this is almost inevitable at all times, and that the reason is obvious. Where the miracle consists merely of the cure of disease, details are naturally given to show the nature and intensity of the sickness, and they are necessary not only for the comprehension of the cure but to show its importance. In the case of restoration to life, the mere statement of the death and assertion of the subsequent resurrection exclude all need of details. The pithy reddita est vitĉ, or factum est et revixit is more striking than any more prolix narrative. In fact, the greater the miracle the more natural is conciseness and simplicity; and practically, we find that Augustine gives a more lengthy and verbose report of trifling cures, whilst he relates the more important with greater brevity and force. He narrates many of his cases of miraculous cure, however, as briefly as those in which the dead are raised. We have quoted the latter, and the reader must judge whether they are unduly curt. One thing may be affirmed, that nothing of importance is omitted, and in regard to essential details they are as explicit as the mass of other cases reported. In every instance names and addresses are stated, and it will have been observed that all these miracles occurred in, or close to, Hippo, and in his own diocese. It is very certain that in


every case the fact of the miracle is asserted in the most direct and positive terms. There can be no mistake either as to the meaning or intention of the narrative, and there is no symptom whatever of a thought on the part of Augustine to avoid the responsibility of his statements, or to give them as mere vague report. If wo compare these accounts with those of the Gospels, we do not find them deficient in any essential detail common to the latter. There is in the synoptic Gospels only one case in which Jesus is said to have raised the dead. The raising of Jairus' daughter(1) has long been abandoned, as a case of restoration to life, by all critics and theologians, except the few who still persist in ignoring the distinct and positive declaration of Jesus, "The damsel is not dead but sleepeth." The only case, therefore, in the Synoptics is the account in the third Gospel of the raising of the widow's son,(3) of which, strange to say, the other Gospels know nothing. Now, although, as might have been expected, this narrative is much more highly coloured and picturesque, the difference is chiefly literary, and, indeed, there are really fewer important details given than in the account by Augustine, for instance, of the restoration to life of the daughter of Bassus the Syrian, which took place at Hippo, of which he was bishop, and where he actually resided. Augustine's object in giving his list of miracles did not require him to write picturesque narratives. He merely desired to state bare facts, whilst the authors of the Gospels composed the Life of their Master, in which interesting details were everything. For many reasons we refrain here from alluding to the artistic narrative of the raising


of Lazarus, the greatest miracle ascribed to Jesus, yet so singularly unknown to the other three Evangelists, who, so readily repeating the accounts of trifling cures, would most certainly not have neglected this had they ever heard of it.

Dr. Mozley complains of the absence of verification and proof of actual death in these cases, or that they were more than mere suspension of the vital powers. We cordially agree with him in the desire for such evidence, not only in these, but in all miracles. We would ask, however, what verification of the death have we in the case of the widow's son which we have not here? If we apply such a test to the miracles of the Gospels, we must reject them as certainly as those of St. Augustine. In neither case have we more than a mere statement that the subjects of these miracles were dead or diseased. So far are we from having any competent medical evidence of the reality of the death, or of the disease, or of the permanence of the supposed cures in the Gospels, that we have little more than the barest reports of these miracles by writers who, even if their identity were established, were not, and do not pretend to have been, eye-witnesses of the occurrences which they relate. Take, for instance, this very raising of the widow's son in the third Gospel, which is unknown to the other Evangelists, and the narrative of which is given only in a Gospel which is not attributed to a personal follower of Jesus.

Now we turn to the second statement of Dr. Mozley, "that with the preface which Augustine prefixes to his list, he cannot be said even to profess to guarantee the truth or accuracy of the different instances contained in it." This extraordinary assertion is supported by a quotation


given above, which Dr. Mozley has separated from what precedes and follows it, so that its real meaning is scarcely apparent. We shall as briefly as possible state what is actually the "preface" of St. Augustine to his list of miracles, and his avowed object for giving it. In the preceding chapter, Augustine has been arguing that the world believed in Christ by virtue of divine influence and not by human persuasion. He contends that it is ridiculous to speak of the false divinity of Romulus when Christians speak of Christ. If, in the time of Romulus, some 600 years before Cicero, people were so enlightened that they refused to believe anything of which they had not experience, how much more, in the still more enlightened days of Cicero himself, and notably in the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius, would they have rejected belief in the resurrection and ascension of Christ, if divine truth and the testimony of miracles had not proved not only that such things could take place, but that they had actually done so. When the evidence of prophecy joined with that of miracles, and showed that the new doctrines were only contrary to experience and not contrary to reason, the world embraced the faith.(1) "Why, then, say they, do these miracles which you declare to have taken place formerly, not occur now-a-days?" Augustine, in replying, adopts a common rhetorical device: "I might, indeed, answer," he says, "that miracles were necessary before the world believed, in order that the world might believe. Any one who now requires miracles in order that he may believe, is himself a great miracle in not believing what all the world believes. But, really, they say this in order that even those miracles should not be believed either."


And he reduces what he considers to be the position of the world in regard to miracles and to the supernatural dogmas of Christianity to the following dilemma: "Either things incredible which nevertheless occurred, and were seen, led to belief in something else incredible, which was not seen; or that thing was in itself so credible that no miracles were required to establish it, and so much more is the unbelief of those who deny confuted. This might I say to these most frivolous objectors." He then proceeds to affirm that it cannot be denied that many miracles attest the great miracle of the ascension in the flesh of the risen Christ, and he points out that the actual occurrence of all these things is not only recorded in the most truthful books, but the reasons also given why they took place. These things have become known that they might create belief; these things by the belief they have created have become much more clearly known. They are read to the people, indeed, that they may believe; yet, nevertheless, they would not be read to the people if they had not been believed. After thus stating the answer which he might give, Augustine now returns to answer the question directly:—"But, furthermore," he continues, "miracles are performed now in his name, either by means of his sacraments, or by the prayers or relics of his saints, but they are not brought under the same strong light as caused the former to be noised abroad with so much glory; inasmuch as the canon of sacred scriptures, which must be definite, causes those miracles to be everywhere publicly read, and become firmly fixed in the memory of all peoples;"(l) and then follows Dr. Mozley's


quotation: "but these are scarcely known to the whole of a city itself in which they are performed, or to its neighbourhood. Indeed, for the most part, even there very few know of them, and the rest are ignorant, more especially if the city be large; and when they are related elsewhere and to others, the authority does not so commend them as to make them be believed without difficulty or doubt, albeit they are reported by faithful Christians to the faithful." He illustrates this by pointing out in immediate continuation, that the miracle in Milan by the bodies of the two martyrs, which took place when he himself was there, might reach the knowledge of many, because the city is large, and the Emperor and an immense crowd of people witnessed it, but who knows of the miracle performed at Carthage upon his friend Innocent, when he was there also, and saw it with his own eyes? Who knows of the miraculous cure of cancer, he continues, in a lady of rank in the same city? at the silence regarding which he is so indignant. Who knows of the next case he mentions in his list? the cure of a medical man of the same town, to which he adds: "We, nevertheless, do know it, and a few brethren to whose knowledge it may have come."(1) Who out of Curubus, besides the very few who may have heard of it, knows of the miraculous cure of the paralytic man, whose case Augustine personally investigated? and so on. Observe that there is merely a question of the comparative notoriety of the Gospel


miracles and those of his own time, not a doubt as to the reality of the latter. Again, towards the end of his long list, immediately after the narrative of the restoration to life of the child of Eleusinus, which we have quoted, Augustine says:—"What can I do? The promise of the completion of this work is pressing, so that I cannot here recount all (the miracles) that I know; and without doubt many of our brethren when they read this work will be grieved that I have omitted so very much, which they know as well as I do. This I even now beg that they will pardon, and consider how long would be the task of doing that which, for the completion of the work, it is thought necessary not to do. For if I desired to record merely the miracles of healing, without speaking of others, which have been performed by this martyr, that is to say, the most glorious Stephen, in the district of Calama, and in ours of Hippo, many volumes must be composed, yet will it not be possible to make a complete collection of them, but only of such as have been published for public reading. For that was our object, since we saw repeated in our time signs of divine power similar to those of old, deeming that they ought not to be lost to the knowledge of the multitude. Now this relic has not yet been two years at Hippo-Regius, and accounts of many of the miracles performed by it have not been written, as is most certainly known to us, yet the number of those which have been published, up to the time this is written, amounts ta about seventy. At Calama, however, where these relics have been longer, and more of the miracles were recorded, they incomparably exceed this number."(1)


Augustine goes on to say that, to his knowledge, many very remarkable miracles were performed by the relics of the same martyr also at Uzali, a district near to Utica, and of one of these, which had recently taken place when he himself was there, he gives an account. Then, before closing his list with the narrative of a miracle which took place at Hippo, in his own church, in his own presence, and in the sight of the whole congregation, he resumes his reply to the opening question:—"Many miracles, therefore," he says, "are also performed now, the same God who worked those of which we read, performing these by whom he wills and as he wills; but these miracles neither become similarly known, nor, that they may not slip out of mind, are they stamped, as it were like gravel, into memory, by frequent reading. For even in places where care is taken, as is now the case amongst us, that accounts of those who receive benefit should be publicly read, those who are present hear them only once, and many are not present at all, so that those who were present do not, after a few days, remember


what they heard, and scarcely a single person is met with who repeats what he has heard to one whom he may have known to have been absent"(1)

So far from casting doubt upon the miracles which he narrates, the "Preface" of Augustine is clearly intended to establish them. These "signs of divine power similar to those of old," are not less real and important, but merely less known, because the eyes of the world are not directed to them, and they have not the advantage of being everywhere published abroad by means of canonical scriptures constantly read to the people and acknowledged as authoritative. Dr. Mozleys statement is quite unwarranted, and it seems to us gratuitously injurious to St. Augustine. This Father of the Church and Bishop must have had as little good faith as good sense, if he did what such a statement implies. In order to demonstate the truth of his assertion that miracles were still performed in his day, Dr. Mozley represents Augustine as deliberately producing a long list of instances of which "he cannot even be said to guarantee the truth," and the more important cases in which "evidently represent no more than mere report, and report of a very vague kind." We have furnished the reader with the materials for forming an opinion on these points. The judgment of Dr. Mozley may with equal justice be applied to


the authors of the synoptic Gospels. They certainly do not guarantee the truth of the miracles they relate in any more precise way than Augustine. Like him, they merely narrate them as facts, and he as evidently believes what he states as they do. Indeed, as regards comparative fulness of testimony, the advantage is altogether on the side of the miracles reported by St. Augustine. These miracles occurred within two years of the time at which he wrote, and were at once recorded with the names of the subjects and of the places at which they occurred; most of them were performed in his own diocese, and several of them in his own presence; some, of which he apparently did not feel sure, he personally investigated; he states his knowledge of others, and he narrates the whole of them with the most direct and simple affirmation of the facts, without a single word indicating hesitation, or directly or indirectly attributing the narrative to mere report. Moreover, he not only advances these miracles deliberately and in writing, in support of his positive assertion that miracles were still performed, but these accounts of them had in the first instance been written that they might be publicly read in his own church for the edification of Christians, almost on the very spot where they are stated to have occurred. We need scarcely say that we do not advance these reasons in order to argue the reality of the miracles themselves, but simply to maintain that, so far from his giving the account of them as mere report, or not even professing to vouch for their truth, St. Augustine both believed them himself, and asked others to believe them as facts, and that they are as unhesitatingly affirmed as any related in the Gospels.


We shall not attempt any further detailed reference to the myriads of miracles with which the annals of the Church teem up to very recent times. The fact is too well known to require evidence. The saints in the Calendar are legion. It has been computed that the number of those whose lives are given in the Bollandist Collection(1) amounts to upwards of 25,000, although, the saints being arranged according to the Calendar, the unfinished work only reaches the twenty-fourth of October. When it is considered that all those upon whom the honour of canonization is conferred have worked miracles, many of them, indeed, almost daily performing such wonders, some idea may be formed of the number of miracles which have occurred in unbroken succession from Apostolic days, and have been believed and recognized by the Church. Vast numbers of these miracles are in all respects similar to those narrated in the Gospels, and they comprise hundreds of cases of restoration of the dead to life. If it be necessary to point out instances in comparatively recent times, we may mention the miracles of this kind liberally ascribed to St Francis of Assisi, in the 13th century, and to his namesake St. Francis Xavier, in the 16th, as pretty well known to all, although we might refer to much more recent miracles authenticated by the Church. At the present day such phenomena have almost disappeared, and, indeed, with the exception of an occasional winking picture, periodical liquefaction of blood, or apparition of the Virgin, confined to the still ignorant and benighted corners of the earth, miracles are extinct.



We have maintained that the miracles which are reported after apostolic days, instead of presenting the enormous distinction which Dr. Mozley asserts, are precisely of the same types in all material points as the earlier miracles. Setting aside miracles of a trivial and unworthy character, there remains a countless number cast in the same mould as those of the Gospels,—miraculous cure of diseases, expulsion of demons, transformation of elements, supernatural nourishment, resurrection of dead—of many of which we have quoted instances. Dr. Mozley anticipates an objection and says: "It will be urged, perhaps, that a large portion even of the Gospel miracles are of the class here mentioned as ambiguous; cures, visions, expulsions of evil spirits; but this observation does not affect the character of the Gospel miracles as a body, because we judge of the body or whole from its highest specimen, not from its lowest." He takes his stand upon, "e.g. our Lord's Resurrection and Ascension."(1) Now, without discussing the principle laid down here, it is evident that the great distinction between the Gospel and other miracles is thus narrowed to a very small compass. It is admitted that the mass of the Gospel miracles are of a class characterized as ambiguous, because "the current


miracles of human history" are also chiefly of the same type, and the distinctive character is derived avowedly only from a few high specimens, such as the Resurrection. We have already referred to the fact that in the synoptic Gospels there is only one case, reported by the third Gospel alone, in which Jesus is said to have raised the dead. St. Augustine alone, however, chronicles several cases in which life was restored to the dead. Post-apostolic miracles, therefore, are far from lacking this ennobling type. Observe that Dr. Mozley is here not so much discussing the reality of the subsequent miracles of the Church, as contrasting them and other reputed miracles with those of the Gospel, and from this point of view it is impossible to maintain that the Gospels have a monopoly of the highest class of miracles. Such miracles are met with long before the dawn of Christianity, and continued to occur long after apostolic times.

Much stress is laid upon the form of the Gospel miracles; but as we have already shown, it is the actual resurrection of the dead, for instance, which is the miracle, and this is not affected by the more or less dramatic manner in which it is said to have been effected, or in which the narrative of the event is composed. Literary skill, and the judicious management of details, may make or mar the form of any miracle. The narrative of the restoration of the dead child to life by Elisha might have been more impressive, had the writer omitted the circumstance that the child sneezed seven times before opening his eyes, and Dr. Mozley would probably have considered the miracle greater had the prophet merely said to the child, "Arise!" instead of stretching himself on the body; but setting aside human cravings


for the picturesque and artistic, the essence of the miracle would have remained the same. There is one point, however, regarding which it may be well to make a few remarks. Whilst a vast number of miracles are ascribed to direct personal action of saints, many more are attributed to their relics. Now this is no exclusive characteristic of later miracles, but Christianity itself shares it with still earlier times. The case in which a dead body which touched the bones of Elisha was restored to life will occur to every one. "And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of Moabites; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet."(1) The mantle of Elijah smiting asunder the waters before Elisha may be cited as another instance.(2) The woman who touches the hem of the garment of Jesus in the crowd is made whole,(3) and all the sick and "possessed" of the country are represented as being healed by touching Jesus, or even the mere hem of his garment.(4) It was supposed that the shadow of Peter falling on the sick as he passed had a curative effect,(5) and it is very positively stated: "And God wrought miracles of no common kind by the hands of Paul; so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them." (6)

The argument which assumes an enormous distinction


between Gospel and other miracles betrays the prevalent scepticism, even in the Church, of all miracles except those which it is considered an article of faith to maintain. If we inquire how those think who are more logical and thorough in their belief in the supernatural, we find the distinction denied. "The question," says Dr. Newman, "has hitherto been argued on the admission, that a distinct line can be drawn in point of character and circumstances, between the miracles of Scripture and those of Church history; but this is by no means the case. It is true, indeed, that the miracles of Scripture, viewed as a whole, recommend themselves to our reason, and claim our veneration beyond all others, by a peculiar dignity and beauty; but still it is only as a whole that they make this impression upon us. Some of them, on the contrary, fall short of the attributes which attach to them in general; nay, are inferior in these respects to certain ecclesiastical miracles, and are received only on the credit of the system of which they form part. Again, specimens are not wanting in the history of the Church, of miracles as awful in their character, and as momentous in their effects, as those which are recorded in Scripture."(1) Now here is one able and thorough supporter of miracles denying the enormous distinction between those of the Gospel and those of human history, which another admits to be essential to the former as evidence of a revelation.

Dr. Mozley, however, meets such a difficulty by asserting that there would be no disadvantage to the Gospel miracles, and no doubt regarding them involved, if for some later miracles there was evidence as strong as for those of the Gospel. "All the result would be," he says,


"that we should admit these miracles over and above the Gospel ones."(1) He denies the equality of the evidence, however, in any case. "Between the evidence, then, upon which the Gospel miracles stand, and that for later miracles we see a broad distinction arising, not to mention again the nature and type of the Gospel miracles themselves—from the contemporaneous date of the testimony to them, the character of the witnesses, the probation of the testimony; especially when we contrast with these points the false doctrine and audacious fraud which rose up in later ages, and in connection with which so large a portion of the later miracles of Christianity made their appearance."(2) We consider the point touching the type of the Gospel miracles disposed of, and we may, therefore, confine ourselves to the rest of this argument. If we look for any external evidence of the miracles of Jesus in any marked effect produced by them at the time they are said to have occurred, we find anything but confirmation of the statements of the Gospels. It is a notorious fact that, in spite of these miracles, very few of the Jews amongst whom they were performed believed in Jesus, and that Christianity made its chief converts not where the supposed miracles took place, but where an account of them was alone given by enthusiastic missionaries. Such astounding exhibitions of power as raising the dead, giving sight to the blind, walking on the sea, changing water into wine, and indefinitely multiplying a few loaves and fishes, not only did not make any impression on the Jews themselves, but were never heard of out of Palestine until long after the events are said to have occurred, when the narrative of them was slowly disseminated by Christian teachers and writers.


Dr. Mozley refers to the contemporary testimony "for certain great and cardinal Gospel miracles which, if granted, clear away all antecedent objection to the reception of the rest," and he says: "That the first promulgators of Christianity asserted, as a fact which had come under the cognizance of their senses, the Resurrection of our Lord from the dead, is as certain as anything in history."(1) What they really did assert, so far from being so certain as Dr. Mozley states, must, as we shall hereafter see, be considered matter of the greatest doubt. But if the general statement be taken that the Resurrection, for instance, was promulgated as a fact which the early preachers of Christianity themselves believed to have taken place, the evidence does not in that case present the broad distinction he asserts. The miracles recounted by St Athanasius and St. Augustine, for example, were likewise proclaimed with equal clearness, and even greater promptitude and publicity at the very spot where many of them were said to have been performed, and the details were much more immediately reduced to writing. The mere assertion in neither case goes for much as evidence, but the fact is that we have absolutely no contemporaneous testimony at all as to what the first promulgators of Christianity actually asserted, or as to the real grounds upon which they made such assertions. We shall presently enter upon a thorough examination of the testimony for the Gospel narratives, their authorship and authenticity, but we may here be permitted, so far to anticipate, as to remark that, applied to documentary evidence, Dr. Mozley's reasoning from the contemporaneous date of the testimony, and the character of


the witnesses, is contradicted by the whole history of New Testament literature. Whilst the most uncritically zealous assertors of the antiquity of the Gospels never venture to date the earliest of them within a quarter of a century from the death of Jesus, every tyro is aware that there is not a particle of evidence of the existence of our Gospels until very long after that interval,—hereafter we shall show how long;—that two of our synoptic Gospels at least were not, in any case, composed in their present form by the writers to whom they are attributed; that there is, indeed, nothing worthy of the name of evidence that any one of these Gospels was written at all by the person whose name it bears; that the second Gospel is attributed to one who was not an eye-witness, and of whose identity there is the greatest doubt even amongst those who assert the authorship of Mark; that the third Gospel is an avowed later compilation,(1) and likewise ascribed to one who was not a follower of Jesus himself; and that the authorship of the fourth Gospel and its historical character are amongst the most unsettled questions of criticism, not to use here any more definite terms. This being the state of the case it is absurd to lay such emphasis on the contemporaneous date of the testimony, and on the character of the witnesses, since it has not even been determined who those witnesses are, and two even of the supposed evangelists were not personal eye-witnesses at all.(2) Surely the testimony of Athanasius regarding the miracles of St. Anthony, and that of Augustine regarding

     1  Luke i. 1—4.

     2  We need scarcely point out that Paul, to whom so many of
     the writings of the New Testament are ascribed, and who
     practically is the author of ecclesiastical Christianity,
     not only was not an eye-witness of the Gospel miracles but
     never even saw Jesus.


his list of miracles occurring in or close to his own diocese, within two years of the time at which he writes, or, to refer to more recent times, the evidence of Pascal for the Port-Royal miracles, must be admitted, not only not to present the broad distinction of evidence of which Dr. Mozley speaks, but on the contrary to be even more unassailable than that of the Gospel miracles. The Church, which is the authority for those miracles, is also the authority for the long succession of such works wrought by the saints. The identity of the writers we have instanced has never been doubted; their trustworthiness, in so far as stating what they believe to be true is concerned, has never been impugned; the same could be affirmed of writers in every age who record such miracles. The broad distinction of evidence for which Dr. Mozley contends, does not exist; it does not lie within the scope of his lectures either to define or prove it, and he does not of course commit the error of assuming the inspiration of the records. The fact is that theologians demand evidence for later miracles, which they have not for those of the Gospels, and which transmitted reverence forbids their requiring. They strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.

Dr. Mozley points to the life of sacrifice and suffering of the Apostles as a remarkable and peculiar testimony to the truth of the Gospel miracles, and notably of the Resurrection and Ascension.(1) Without examining, here, how much we really know of those lives and sufferings, one thing is perfectly evident: that sacrifice, suffering, and martyrdom itself are evidence of nothing except of the personal belief of the person enduring them; they do not prove the truth of the doctrines believed. No


one doubts the high religious enthusiasm of the early Christians, or the earnest and fanatical zeal with which they courted martyrdom, but this is no exclusive characteristic of Christianity. Every religion has had its martyrs, every error its devoted victims. Does the marvellous endurance of the Hindoo, whose limbs wither after years of painful persistence in vows to his Deity, prove the truth of Brahmanism? or do the fanatical believers who cast themselves under the wheels of the car of Jagganath establish the soundness of their creed? Do the Jews, who for centuries bore the fiercest contumelies of the world, and were persecuted, hunted, and done to death by every conceivable torture for persisting in their denial of the truth of the Incarnation, Resurrection, and Ascension, and in their rejection of Jesus Christ, do they thus furnish a convincing argument for the truth of their belief and the falsity of Christianity? Or have the thousands who have been consigned to the stake by the Christian Church herself for persisting in asserting what she has denounced as damnable heresy, proved the correctness of their views by their sufferings and death? History is full of the records of men who have honestly believed every kind of error and heresy, and have been stedfast to the death, through persecution and torture, in their mistaken belief. There is nothing so inflexible as superstitious fanaticism, and persecution, instead of extinguishing it, has invariably been the most certain means of its propagation. The sufferings of the Apostles, therefore, cannot prove anything beyond their own belief, and the question what it was they really did believe and suffered for is by no means so simple as it appears.

Now the long succession of ecclesiastical and other


miracles has an important bearing upon those of the New Testament, whether we believe or deny their reality. If we regard the miracles of Church history to be in the main real, the whole force of the Gospel miracles, as exceptional supernatural evidence of a Divine Revelation, is annihilated. The "miraculous credentials of Christianity" assume a very different aspect when they are considered from such a point of view. Admitted to be scarcely recognizable from miracles wrought by Satanic agency, they are seen to be a continuation of wonders recorded in the Old Testament, to be preceded and accompanied by pretension to similar power on the part of the Jews and other nations, and to be succeeded by cycles of miracles, in all essential respects the same, performed subsequently for upwards of fifteen hundred years. Supernatural evidence of so common and prodigal a nature certainly betrays a great want of force and divine speciality. How could that be considered as express evidence for a new Divine Revelation which was already so well known to the world, and which is scattered broad-cast over so many centuries, as well as successfully simulated by Satan?

If, on the other hand, we dismiss the miracles of later ages as false, and as merely the creations of superstition or pious imagination, how can the miracles of the Gospel, which are precisely the same in type, and not better established as facts, remain unshaken? The Apostles and Evangelists were men of like passions, and also of like superstitions with others of their time, and must be measured by the same standard. Dr. Mozley will not admit that, even in such a case, the difficulty of distinguishing the true miracles amongst the mass of


spurious justifies the rejection of all, and he demands a judicial process in each case, and settlement according to the evidence in that case.(1) We might reply that if the great mass of asserted miracles be determined to be spurious, there is no reason shown for entering upon a more minute consideration of pretensions, which knowledge and experience force us à priori to regard as incredible, and which examination, in so many cases, has proved to be delusion. Even if the plea, that "the evidence of the Gospel miracles is a special case which must be decided on its own grounds," be admitted, it must be apparent that the rejection of the mass of other miracles is serious presumptive evidence also against them.


The argument for the reality of miracles receives very little strength from the character of either the early or the later ages of Christianity. "It is but too plain," says Dr. Mozley, "in discussing ecclesiastical miracles, that in later ages, as the Church advanced in worldly power and position, besides the mistakes of imagination and impression, a temper of deliberate and audacious fraud set itself in action for the spread of certain doctrines, as well as for the great object of the concentration of Church power in one absolute monarchy."(2) We have already quoted words of Dean Milman regarding the frame of mind of the early Church, and it may not be out of place to add a few lines from the same writer. Speaking of the writings of the first ages of Christianity, he says: "That some of the Christian legends were deliberate forgeries can scarcely be questioned; the principle of pious fraud


appeared to justify this mode of working on the popular mind; it was admitted and avowed. To deceive into Christianity was so valuable a service as to hallow deceit itself. But the largest portion was probably the natural birth of that imaginative excitement which quickens its day-dreams and nightly visions into reality. The Christian lived in a supernatural world; the notion of the divine power, the perpetual interference of the Deity, the agency of the countless invisible beings which hovered over mankind, was so strongly impressed upon the belief, that every extraordinary, and almost every ordinary incident became a miracle, every inward emotion a suggestion either of a good or an evil spirit. A mythic period was thus gradually formed, in which reality melted into fable, and invention unconsciously trespassed on the province of history."(1) Whether we look upon this picture or on that, the result is equally unfavourable to miracles, and a ready explanation both of the earlier and later instances is suggested. We must, however, again recall the fact that, setting aside for the present the effect of pious fraud, this vivid and superstitious imagination, which so freely created for itself the miraculous, was not merely developed by Christianity, but was equally rampant before it, and was a marked characteristic of the Jews. The same writer, in a passage already quoted, says: "During the whole life of Christ, and the early propagation of the religion, it must be borne in mind that they took place in an age, and among a people which superstition had made so familiar with what were supposed to be preternatural events, that wonders awakened no emotion, or were speedily superseded by some new demand on the ever


ready belief. The Jews of that period not only believed that the Supreme Being had the power of controlling the course of nature, but that the same influence was possessed by multitudes of subordinate spirits, both good and evil."(1) Between the "superstition," "imaginative excitement," and "pious fraud" of the early Church, and the "deliberate and audacious fraud" of the later, we have abundant material for the natural explanation of all supposed miracles, without going to such an extreme hypothesis as exceptions to the order of nature, or supposing that a few miracles can be accepted as supernatural facts, whilst all the rest must be discarded as human fables.

It is certain that throughout the whole period during which miracles are said to have been performed, gross ignorance and superstition prevailed, and nowhere more so than amongst the Jews where those miracles occurred. Almost every operation of nature was inexplicable, and everything which was inexplicable was considered supernatural. Miracles seemed as credible to the mind of that age as deviations from the order of nature seem incredible in ours. It is a suggestive fact that miracles are limited to periods when almost every common incident was readily ascribed to supernatural agency. There is, however, one remarkable circumstance which casts some light upon the origin of narratives of miracles. Throughout the New Testament, patristic literature, and the records of ecclesiastical miracles, although we have narratives of countless wonderful works performed by others than the writers, and abundant assertion of the possession of miraculous power by the Church, there is no instance whatever, that we can remember, in which


a writer claims to have himself performed a miracle.(1) Wherever there has existed even the comparatively accurate means of information which a person who himself performed a miracle might possess, the miraculous entirely fails, and it is found only where faith or credulity usurps the place of knowledge. Pious men were perfectly ready to believe the supposed miracles of others, and to report them as facts, who were too veracious to imagine any of their own. Even if Apostles and Saints had chronicled their own miraculous deeds, the argument for their reality would not have been much advanced; but the uniform absence of such personal pretension enables us more clearly to trace such narratives to pious credulity or superstition.

If we consider the particular part which miracles have played in human history, we find precisely the phenomena which might have been expected if miracles, instead of being considered as real occurrences, were recognized as the mistakes or creations of ignorance and superstition during that period in which "reality melted into fable, and invention unconsciously trespassed on the province of history." Their occurrence is limited to ages which were totally ignorant of physical laws, and they have been numerous or rare precisely in proportion to the degree of imagination and love of the marvellous characterizing the people amongst whom they are said to have occurred. Instead of a few evidential miracles taking place at one epoch of history, and filling the world with surprise at such novel and exceptional phenomena, we find miracles represented as taking place in all ages and in all countries. The Gospel miracles are set in the midst of a series of similar wonders, which commenced

     1 This is fully discussed in the third volume.


many centuries before the dawn of Christianity and continued, without interruption, for fifteen hundred years after it. They did not in the most remote degree originate the belief in miracles, or give the first suggestion of spurious imitation. It may, on the contrary, be much more truly said that the already existing belief created these miracles. No divine originality characterized the evidence selected to accredit the Divine Revelation. The miracles with which the history of the world is full occurred in ages of darkness and superstition, and they gradually ceased when enlightenment became more generally diffused. At the very time when knowledge of the laws of nature began to render men capable of judging of the reality of miracles, these wonders entirely failed. This extraordinary cessation of miracles, precisely at the time when their evidence might have acquired value by an appeal to persons capable of appreciating them, is perfectly unintelligible if they be viewed as the supernatural credentials of a Divine revelation. If, on the other hand, they be regarded as the mistakes of imaginative excitement and ignorance, nothing is more natural than their extinction at the time when the superstition which created them gave place to knowledge.

As a historical fact, there is nothing more certain than that miracles, and the belief in them, disappeared exactly when education and knowledge of the operation of natural laws became diffused throughout Europe, and that the last traces of belief in supernatural interference with the order of nature are only to be found in localities where ignorance and superstition still prevail, and render delusion or pious fraud of that description possible. Miracles are now denied to places more enlightened


than Naples or La Salette. The inevitable inference from this fact is fatal to the mass of miracles, and it is not possible to protect them from it. Miracle cures by the relics of saints, upheld for fifteen centuries by all the power of the Church, utterly failed when medical science, increasing in spite of persecution, demonstrated the natural action of physiological laws. The theory of the demoniacal origin of disease has been entirely and for ever dispelled, and the host of miracles in connection with it retrospectively exploded by the progress of science. Witchcraft and sorcery, the belief in which reigned supreme for so many centuries, are known to have been nothing but the delusions of ignorant superstition. "A l'époque où les faits merveilleux qui s'y (dans les légendes) trouvent consignés étaient rapportés," asks an able French writer, "possé dait-on les lumieres suffisantes pour exercer une critique véritable et sérieuse sur des témoignages que venaient affirmer des faits en contradiction avec nos connaissances? Or, on peut assurer hardiment que non. Au moyen-age, l'intime conviction que la nature voit tres fréquemment ses lois interverties par la volonté divine régnait dans les esprits, en sorte que pour peu qu'un fait se présentat avec des apparences extraordinaires, on se hatait de le regarder comme un miracle, comme loeuvre directe de la divinité. Aujourd'hui on cherche au contraire à tout rapporter à la loi commune; on est tellement sobre de faits miraculeux, que ceux qui paraissent tels sont ^cartes comme des fables ou tonus pour des faits ordinaires mal expliques. La foi aux miracles a disparu. En outre, au moyen-age le cercle des connaissances qu'on possédait sur la nature était fort restreint, et tout ce qui n'y rentrait pas était regardé comme surnatural.


Actuellement ce cercle s'agrandit sans cesse; et loin d'en avoir arreté définitivement la limite, on le déclare infini." In a note the writer adds: "On voit par la que le nombre des miracles doit etre en raison inverse du nombre des lois connues de la nature, et, qu'a mesure que celles-ci nous sont révélées, les faits merveilleux ou miraculeux s'évanouissent."(1) These remarks are equally applicable to the commencement of the Christian era. On the one hand, we have no other testimony for the reality of miracles than that of ages in which not only the grossest superstition and credulity prevailed, but in which there was such total ignorance of natural laws that men were incapable of judging of that reality, even if they desired impartially to investigate such occurrences, which they did not; on the other hand, we have the sober testimony of science declaring such phenomena violations of the invariable laws of nature, and experience teaching us a perfectly simple and natural interpretation of the legends regarding them. Are we to believe ignorance and superstition or science and unvarying experience? Science has already demonstrated the delusion involved in the largest class of miracles, and has so far established the superiority of her testimony.

In an early part of his discussion Dr. Mozley argues: "Christianity is the religion of the civilized world, and

     1 L. F. Alfred Maury. Essai sur los Legendes pieuses du
     Moyen-age, 1843, p. 234 f., and p. 233, note (1).

     The same arguments are employed by the late Mr. Buckle.
     "Hence it is that, supposing other things equal, the
     superstition of a nation must always bear an exact
     proportion to the extent of its physical knowledge. This may
     be in some degree verified by the ordinary experience of
     mankind. For if we compare the different classes of society,
     we shall find that they are superstitious in proportion as
     the phenomena with which they are brought in contact have or
     have not been explained by natural laws." Hist, of
     Civilization, 1867, i. p. 373.


it is believed upon its miraculous evidence. Now, for a set of miracles to be accepted in a rude age, and to retain their authority throughout a succession of such ages, and over the ignorant and superstitious part of mankind, may be no such great result for the miracle to accomplish, because it is easy to satisfy those who do not inquire. But this is not the state of the case which we have to meet on the subject of the Christian miracles. The Christian being the most intelligent, the civilized portion of the world, these miracles are accepted by the Christian body as a whole, by the thinking and educated as well as the uneducated part of it, and the Gospel is believed upon that evidence."(1) The picture of Christendom here suggested is purely imaginary. We are asked to believe that succeeding generations of thinking and educated as well as uneducated men, since the commencement of the period in which the adequate inquiry into the reality of miracles became possible, have made that adequate inquiry, and have intelligently and individually accepted miracles and believed the Gospel in consequence of their attestation. The fact, however, is that Christianity became the religion of Europe before men either possessed the knowledge requisite to appreciate the difficulties involved in the acceptance of miracles, or minds sufficiently freed from ignorant superstition to question the reality of the supposed supernatural interference with the order of nature, and belief had become so much a matter of habit that, in this nineteenth century, the great majority of men have professed belief for no better reason than that their fathers believed before them. Belief is now little more than a transmitted quality or hereditary custom. Few men, even


now, have either the knowledge or the leisure requisite to enable them to enter upon such an examination of miracles as can entitle Dr. Mozley to affirm that they intelligently accept miracles for themselves. We have shown, moreover, that so loose are the ideas even of the clergy upon the subject, that dignitaries of the church fail to see either the evidential purpose of miracles or the need for evidence at all, and the first intelligent step towards inquiry—doubt—has generally been stigmatized almost as a crime.

So far from Dr. Mozley's statement being correct, it is notorious that the great mass of those who are competent to examine, and who have done so, altogether reject miracles. Instead of the "thinking and educated" men of science accepting miracles, they, as a body, distinctly deny them, and hence the antagonism between science and ecclesiastical Christianity, and Dr. Mozley surely does not require to be told how many of the profoundest critics and scholars of Germany, and of all other countries in Europe, who have turned their attention to Biblical subjects, have long ago rejected the miraculous elements of the Christian religion. Such being the case we necessarily revert to the first part of Dr. Mozley's representation, and find with him, that it is no great result for miracles to accomplish, merely to be accepted by, and retain authority over, a succession of ignorant and superstitious ages, "because it is easy to satisfy those who do not inquire."

It is necessary that we should now refer to the circumstance that all the arguments which we have hitherto considered in support of miracles, whether to explain or account for them, have proceeded upon an assumption of the reality of the alleged phenomena.


Had it been first requisite to establish the truth of facts of such an astounding nature, the necessity of accounting for them might never have arisen. It is clear, therefore, that an assumption which permits the argument to attain any such position begs almost the whole question. Facts, however astounding, which, it is admitted, did actually occur, claim a latitude of explanation, which a mere narrative of those alleged facts, written by an unknown person some eighteen centuries ago, could not obtain. If, for instance, it be once established as an absolute fact that a man actually dead, and some days buried, upon whose body decomposition had already made some progress,(1) had been restored to life, the fact of his death and of his subsequent resuscitation being so absolutely proved that the possibility of deception or of mistake on the part of the witnesses was totally excluded—if such conclusive evidence be supposed possible in such a case—it is clear that an argument, as to whether such an occurrence were to be ascribed to known or unknown laws, would assume a very different character indeed from that which it would have borne if the argument merely sought to account for so astounding a phenomenon of whose actual occurrence there was no sufficient evidence.

It must not be forgotten, therefore, that, as the late Professor Baden Powell pointed out: "At the present day it is not a miracle, but the narrative of a miracle, to which any argument can refer, or to which faith is accorded."(2) The discussion of miracles, then, is not one regarding miracles actually performed within our own knowledge, but merely regarding miracles said to have been performed eighteen hundred years ago, the reality of


which was not verified at the time by any scientific examination, and whose occurrence is merely reported in the Gospels. Now, although Dr. Mozley rightly and logically maintains that Christianity requires, and should be believed only upon, its miraculous evidence, the fact is that popular Christianity is not believed because of miracles, but miracles are accepted because they are related in the Gospels which are supposed to contain the doctrines of Christianity. The Gospels have for many generations been given to the child as inspired records, and doubt of miracles has, therefore, either never arisen or has been instantly suppressed, simply because miracles are recorded in the sacred volume. It could scarcely be otherwise, for in point of fact the Gospel miracles stand upon no other testimony. We are therefore in this position: We are asked to believe astounding announcements beyond the limits of human reason, which, as Br. Mozley admits, we could only be justified in believing upon miraculous evidence, upon the testimony of miracles which are only reported by the records which also alone convey the announcements which those miracles were intended to accredit. There is no other contemporary evidence whatever. The importance of the Gospels, therefore, as the almost solitary testimony to the occurrence of miracles can scarcely be exaggerated.(1) We have already

     1 Dr. Farrar, winding up the antecedent discussion, says:
     ".... we arrive at this point—that the credibility of
     miracles is in each instance simply and solely a question of
     evidence, and consequently that our belief or rejection of
     the Christian miracles must mainly depend on the character
     of the Gospels in which they are recorded." The Witness of
     History to Christ, 1872, p. 51. It is somewhat singular that
     after such a declaration he considers it unnecessary to
     enter into the question of the genuineness and authenticity
     of the Gospels, deeming it sufficient for his purpose, that
     Strauss and Renan admit that some portion of these documents
     existed at the beginning of the second century, or earlier,
     in the country where the events narrated took place.


made an anticipatory remark regarding the nature of these documents, to which we may add that they are not the work of perfectly independent historians, but of men who were engaged in disseminating the new doctrines, and in saying this we have no intention of accusing the writers of conscious deception; it is, however, necessary to state the fact in order that the value of the testimony may be fairly estimated. The narratives of miracles were written by ardent partizans, with minds inflamed by religious zeal and enthusiasm, in an age of ignorance and superstition, a considerable time after the supposed miraculous occurrences had taken place. All history shows how rapidly pious memory exaggerates and idealizes the traditions of the past, and simple actions might readily be transformed into miracles, as the narratives circulated, in a period so prone to superstition and so characterized by love of the marvellous. Religious excitement and reverence for the noblest of Teachers could not, under such circumstances and in such an age, have escaped this exaggeration. How few men in more enlightened times have been able soberly to appreciate, and accurately to record exciting experiences, where feeling and religious emotion have been concerned. Prosaic accuracy of observation and of language, at all times rare, are the last qualities we could expect to find in the early ages of Christianity. In the certain fact that disputes arose among the Apostles themselves so shortly after the death of their great Master, we have one proof that even amongst them there was no accurate appreciation of the teaching of Jesus,(1) and the frequent instances of their misunderstanding of very simple matters, and of their want of enlightenment, which occur throughout the


Gospels are certainly not calculated to inspire much confidence in their intelligence and accuracy of observation. Now it is apparent that the evidence for Miracles requires to embrace two distinct points: the reality of the alleged facts, and the accuracy of the inference that the phenomena were produced by supernatural Agency. The task would even then remain of demonstrating the particular supernatural Being by whom the miracles were performed, which is admitted to be impossible. We have hitherto chiefly confined ourselves to a consideration of the antecedent credibility of such events, and of the fitness of those who are supposed to have witnessed them to draw accurate inferences from the alleged phenomena. Those who have formed any adequate conception of the amount of testimony which would be requisite in order to establish the reality of occurrences in violation of an order of Nature, which is based upon universal and invariable experience, must recognize that, even if the earliest asserted origin of our four Gospels could be established upon the most irrefragable grounds, the testimony of the writers—men of like ignorance with their contemporaries, men of like passions with ourselves—would be utterly incompetentto prove the reality of Miracles. We have already sufficiently discussed this point, more especially in connection with Hume's argument, and need not here resume it Every consideration, historical and philosophical, has hitherto discredited the whole theory of miracles, and further inquiry might be abandoned as unnecessary. In order, however, to render our conclusion complete, it remains for us to see whether, as affirmed, there be any special evidence regarding the alleged facts entitling the Gospel Miracles to exceptional attention. If, instead of being


clear, direct, the undoubted testimony of known eyewitnesses free from superstition, and capable, through adequate knowledge, rightly to estimate the alleged phenomena, we find that the actual accounts have none of these qualifications, the final decision with regard to Miracles and the reality of Divine Revelation will be easy and conclusive.




Before commencing our examination of the evidence as to the date, authorship, and character of the Gospels, it may be well to make a few preliminary remarks, and clearly state certain canons of criticism. We shall make no attempt to establish any theory as to the date at which any of the Gospels was actually written, but simply examine all the testimony which is extant with the view of ascertaining what is known of these works and their authors, certainly and distinctly, as distinguished from what is merely conjectured or inferred. Modern opinion, in an Inquiry like ours, must not be mistaken for ancient evidence. We propose, therefore, as exhaustively as possible to search all the writings of the early Church for information regarding the Gospels, and to examine even the alleged indications of their use.

It is very important, however, that the silence of early writers should receive as much attention as any supposed allusions to the Gospels. When such writers, quoting largely from the Old Testament and other sources, deal


with subjects which would naturally be assisted by reference to our Gospels, and still more so by quoting such works as authoritative,—and yet we find that not only they do not show any knowledge of those Gospels, but actually quote passages from unknown sources, or sayings of Jesus derived from tradition,—the inference must be that our Gospels were either unknown, or not recognized as works of authority at the time.

It is still more important that we should constantly bear in mind, that a great number of Gospels existed in the early Church which are no longer extant, and of most of which even the names are lost. We need not here do more than refer, in corroboration of this fact, to the preliminary statement of the author of the third Gospel: "Forasmuch as many [——]—] took in hand to set forth in order a declaration of the things which have been accomplished among us," &c.(1) It is therefore evident that before our third Synoptic was written many similar works were already in circulation. Looking at the close similarity of large portions of the three Synoptics, it is almost certain that many of the writings here mentioned bore a close analogy to each other and to our Gospels, and this is known to have been the case, for instance, amongst the various forms of the "Gospel according to the Hebrews." When, therefore, in early writings, we meet with quotations closely resembling, or we may add, even identical with passages which are found in our Gospels, the source of which, however, is not mentioned, nor is any author's name indicated, the similarity or even identity cannot by any means be admitted as proof that the quotation is necessarily from our Gospels, and not from some other similar work


now no longer extant,(1) and more especially not when, in the same writings, there are other quotations from sources different from our Gospels. Whether regarded as historical records or as writings embodying the mere tradition of the early Christians, our Gospels cannot be recognized as the exclusive depositaries of the genuine sayings and doings of Jesus. So far from the common possession by many works, in early times, of sayings of Jesus in closely similar form being either strange or improbable, the really remarkable phenomenon is that such material variation in the report of the more important historical teaching should exist amongst them. But whilst similarity to our Gospels in passages quoted by early writers from unnamed sources cannot prove the use of our Gospels, variation from them would suggest or prove a different origin, and at least it is obvious that anonymous quotations which do not agree with our Gospels cannot in any case necessarily indicate their existence. We shall in the course of the following pages more fully illustrate this, but such a statement is requisite at the very outset from the too general practice of referring every quotation of historical sayings of Jesus exclusively to our Gospels, as though they were the only sources of such matter which had ever existed.

It is unnecessary to add that, in proportion as we remove from apostolic times without positive evidence of the existence and authenticity of our Gospels, so does the value of their testimony dwindle away. Indeed, requiring as we do clear, direct, and irrefragable evidence of the integrity, authenticity, and historical character of these Gospels, doubt or obscurity on these points must inevitably be fatal to them as sufficient testimony,—if


they could, under any circumstances be considered sufficient testimony,—for miracles and a direct Divine Revelation like ecclesiastical Christianity.

We propose to examine first, the evidence for the three Synoptics and, then, separately, the testimony regarding the fourth Gospel.



The first work which presents itself for examination is the so-called first Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, which, together with a second Epistle to the same community, likewise attributed to Clement, is preserved to us in the Codex Alexandrinus,(1) a MS. assigned by the most competent judges to the second half of the fifth, or beginning of the sixth century, in which these Epistles follow the books of the New Testament. The second Epistle, which is evidently not epistolary, but the fragment of a Homily,(2) although it thus shares with the first the honour of a canonical position in one of the most ancient codices of the New Testament, is not mentioned at all by the earlier fathers who refer to the first;(3)


and Eusebius,(1) who is the first writer who mentions it, expresses doubt regarding it, while Jerome(2) and Photius(3) state that it was rejected by the ancients. It is now universally regarded as spurious,(4) and dated about the end of the second century,(5) or later.(6) We shall hereafter see that many other pseudographs were circulated in the name of Clement, to which, however, we need not further allude at present.

There has been much controversy as to the identity of the Clement to whom the first Epistle is attributed. In early days he was supposed to be the Clement


mentioned in the Epistle to the Philippians (iv. 3)(1), but this is now generally doubted or abandoned,(2) and the authenticity of the Epistle has, indeed, been called in question both by earlier and later critics.(3) It is unnecessary to detail the various traditions regarding the supposed writer, but we must point out that the Epistle itself makes no mention of the author's name. It merely purports to be addressed by "The Church of God which sojourns at Rome to the Church of God sojourning at Corinth;" but in the Codex Alexandrinus, the title of "The first Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians," is added at the end. Clement of Alexandria calls the supposed writer the "Apostle Clement:"(4) Origen reports that many also ascribed to him the authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews;(5) and Photius mentions that he was likewise said to be the writer of the Acts of the Apostles.(6) We know that until a comparatively late date this Epistle was quoted as Holy Scripture,(7) and was publicly read in the churches at the Sunday meetings of Christians.(8) It has, as we have seen, a place amongst


the canonical books of the New Testament in the Codex Alexandrinus, but it did not long retain that position in the canon, for although in the "Apostolic Canons"(1) of the sixth or seventh century both Epistles appear, yet in the Stichometry of Nicephorus, a work of the ninth century, derived, however, as Credner(2) has demonstrated, from a Syrian catalogue of the fifth century, both Epistles are classed among the Apocrypha.(3)

Great uncertainty prevails as to the date at which the Epistle was written. Reference is supposed to be made to it by the so-called Epistle of Polycarp,(4) but, owing to the probable inauthenticity of that work itself, no weight can be attached to this circumstance. The first certain reference to it is by Hegesippus, in the second half of the second century, mentioned by Eusebius.(5) Dionysius of Corinth, in a letter ascribed to him addressed to Soter, Bishop of Rome, is the first who distinctly mentions the name of Clement as the author of the Epistle.(6) There is some difference of opinion as to the order of his succession to the Bishopric of Rome. Irenĉus(7) and Eusebius(8) say that he followed Anacletus, and the latter adds the date of the twelfth year of the reign of Domitian (a.d. 91-92), and that he died nine years after, in the third year of Trajan's reign (a.d. 100).(9) Internal evidence(10) shows that the Epistle was written after some persecution


of the Roman Church, and the selection lies between the persecution under Nero, which would suggest the date a.d. 64-70, or that under Domitian, which would assign the letter to the end of the first century, or to the beginning of the second. Those who adhere to the view that the Clement mentioned in the Epistle to the Philippians is the author, maintain that the Epistle was written under Nero.(1) One of their principal arguments for this conclusion is a remark occurring in Chapter xli.: "Not everywhere, brethren, are the daily sacrifices offered up, or the votive offerings, or the sin-offerings and the trespass-offerings, but only in Jerusalem. But even there they are not offered in every place, but only at the altar before the Sanctuary, examination of the sacrifice offered being first made by the High Priest and the ministers already mentioned."(2) From this it is concluded that the Epistle was written before the destruction of the Temple. It has, however, been shown that Josephus,(3) the author of the "Epistle to Diognetus" (c. 3), and others, long after the Jewish worship of the Temple was at an end, continually speak in the present tense of the Temple worship in Jerusalem; and it is evident, as Cotelier long ago remarked, that this may be done with propriety even in the present


day. The argument is therefore recognized to be without value.(l) Tischendorf, who systematically adopts the earliest possible or impossible dates for all the writings of the first two centuries, decides, without stating his reasons, that the grounds for the earlier date, about a.d. 69, as well as for the episcopate of Clement from a.d. 68-77(2) are conclusive; but he betrays his more correct impression by classing Clement, in his index, along with Ignatius and Polycarp, as representatives of the period: "First and second quarters of the second century:"(3) and in the Prolegomena to his New Testament he dates the episcopate of Clement "ab anno 92 usque 102."(4) The earlier episcopate assigned to him by Hefele upon most insufficient grounds is contradicted by the direct statements of Irenĉus, Eusebius, Jerome, and others who give the earliest lists of Roman Bishops,(5) as wrell as by the internal evidence of the Epistle itself. In Chapter xliv. the writer speaks of those appointed by the apostles to the oversight of the Church, "or afterwards by other notable men, the whole Church consenting.... who have for a long time been commended by all, &c.,"(6) which indicates successions of Bishops since apostolic days. In another


place (Chap, xlvii.) he refers the Corinthians to the Epistle addressed to them by Paul "in the beginning of the Gospel" [——]—], and speaks of "the most stedfast and ancient Church of the Corinthians" [——]—], which would be absurd in an Epistle written about a.d. 69. Moreover, an advanced episcopal form of Church Government is indicated throughout the letter, which is quite inconsistent with such a date. The great mass of critics, therefore, have decided against the earlier date of the episcopate of Clement, and assign the composition of the Epistle to the end of the first century (a.d. 95-100).(1) Others, however, date it still later. There is no doubt that the great number of Epistles and


other writings falsely circulated in the name of Clement may well excite suspicion as to the authenticity of this Epistle also, which is far from unsupported by internal proofs. Of these, however, we shall only mention one. We have already incidentally remarked that the writer mentions the Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, the only instance in which any New Testament writing is referred to by name; but along with the Epistle of the "blessed Paul" [——]—] the author also speaks of the "blessed Judith" [——]—],(1) and this leads to the inquiry: When was the Book of Judith written? Hitzig, Volkmar, and others contend that it must be dated a.d. 117-118,(3) and if this be admitted, it follows of course that an Epistle which already shows acquaintance with the Book of Judith cannot have been written before a.d. 120-125 at the earliest, which many, for this and other reasons, affirm to be the case with the Epistle of pseudo-Clement.(3) Whatever date be assigned to it, however, it is probable that the Epistle is interpolated,4 although it must be added that this is not the view of the majority of critics.

It is important to ascertain whether or not this ancient christian Epistle affords any evidence of the existence of


our Synoptic Gospels at the time when it was written. Tischendorf, who is ever ready to claim the slightest resemblance in language as a reference to New Testament writings, states that although this Epistle is rich in quotations from the Old Testament, and that Clement here and there also makes use of passages from Pauline Epistles, he nowhere refers to the Gospels.(1) This is perfectly true, but several passages occur in this Epistle which are either quotations from Evangelical works different from ours, or derived from tradition,(2) and in either case they have a very important bearing upon our inquiry.

The first of these passages occurs in Ch. xiii., and for greater facility of comparison, we shall at once place it both in the Greek and in translation, in juxta-position with the nearest parallel readings in our Synoptic Gospels; and, as far as may be, we shall in the English version indicate differences existing in the original texts. The passage is introduced thus: "Especially remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, which he spake teaching gentleness and long-suffering. For thus he said:"(3)—


Of course it is understood that, although for convenience


of comparison we have broken up this quotation into these phrases, it is quite continuous in the Epistle. It must be evident to any one who carefully examines the parallel passages, that "the words of the Lord Jesus" in the Epistle cannot have been derived from our Gospels. Not only is there no similar consecutive discourse in them, but the scattered phrases which are pointed out as presenting superficial similarity with the quotation are markedly different both in thought and language. In it, as in the "beatitudes" of the "Sermon on the Mount" in the first Gospel, the construction is peculiar and continuous: "Do this.... in order that [——]—]"; or, "As [——]—]... so [——]—]" The theor of a combination of passages from memory, which is usually advanced to explain such quotations, cannot serve here, for thoughts and expressions occur in the passage in the Epistle which have no parallel at all in our Gospels, and such dismembered phrases as can be collected from our first and third Synoptics, for comparison with it, follow the course of the quotation in the ensuing order: Matt. v. 7, vi. 14, part of vii. 12, phrase without parallel, first part of vii. 2, phrase without parallel, last part of vii. 2; or, Luke vi. 36, last phrase of vi. 37, vi. 31, first phrase of vi. 38, first phrase of vi. 37, phrase without parallel, last phrase of vi. 38.

The only question with regard to this passage, therefore, is whether the writer quotes from an unknown written source or from tradition. He certainly merely professes to repeat "words of the Lord Jesus," and does not definitely indicate a written record, but it is much more probable, from the context, that he quotes from a gospel now no longer extant than that he derives this teaching from oral tradition. He introduces the quotation


not only with a remark implying a well-known record: "Remembering the words of the Lord Jesus which he spake, teaching, &c." but he reiterates: "For thus he said," in a way suggesting careful and precise quotation of the very words; and he adds at the end: "By this injunction and by these instructions let us establish ourselves, that we may walk in obedience to his holy words, thinking humbly of ourselves."(1) seems improbable that the writer would so markedly have indicated a precise quotation of words of Jesus, and would so emphatically have commended them as the rule of life to the Corinthians, had these precepts been mere floating tradition, until then unstamped with written permanence. The phrase: "As ye show kindness [——]—] which is nowhere found in our Gospels, recalls an expression quoted by Justin Martyr apparently from a Gospel different from ours, and frequently repeated by him in the same form: "Be ye kind and merciful [——]—] Father also is kind [——]—] and merciful."(2) In the very next chapter of the Epistle a similar reference again occurs: "Let us be kind to each other [——]—] according to the mercy and benignity of our Creator."(3) Without, however, going more minutely into this question, it is certain from its essential variations in language, thought and order, that the passage in the Epistle cannot be claimed as a compilation from our Gospels; and we shall presently see that some of the expressions in it which are foreign to our Gospels are elsewhere quoted by other Fathers, and there is reason to believe that these "words of the Lord Jesus" were not derived from tradition but


from a written source different from our Gospels.(1) When the great difference which exists between the parallel passages in the first and third Synoptics, and still more between these and the second, is considered, it is easy to understand that other Gospels may have contained a version differing as much from them as they do from each other.

We likewise subjoin the next passage to which we must refer, with the nearest parallels in our Synoptics. We may explain that the writer of the Epistle is rebuking the Corinthians for strifes and divisions amongst them, and for forgetting that they "are members one of another," and he continues: "Remember the words of our Lord Jesus; for he said:"(2)


This quotation is clearly not from our Gospels, but must be assigned to a different written source. The writer would scarcely refer the Corinthians to such words of Jesus if they were merely traditional. It is neither a combination of texts, nor a quotation from memory. The language throughout is markedly different from any passage in the Synoptics, and to present even a superficial parallel, it is necessary to take a fragment of the discourse of Jesus at the Last Supper regarding the traitor who should deliver him up (Matth. xxvi. 24), and join it to a fragment of his remarks in connection with the little child whom he set in the midst (xviii. 6). The parallel passage in Luke has not


the opening words of the passage in the Epistle at all, and the portion which it contains (xvii. 2), is separated from the context in which it stands in the first Gospel, and which explains its meaning. If we contrast the parallel passages in the three Synoptics, their differences of context are very suggestive, and without referring to their numerous and important variations in detail, the confusion amongst them is evidence of very varying tradition.(1) This alone would make the existence of another form like that quoted in the Epistle before us more than probable.

Tischendorf, in a note to his statement that Clement nowhere refers to the Gospels, quotes the passage we are now considering, the only one to which he alludes, and says: "These words are expressly cited as 'words of Jesus our Lord;' but they denote much more oral apostolic tradition than a use of the parallel passages in Matthew (xxvi. 24, xviii. 6) and Luke (xvii. 2)."(2) It is now, of course, impossible to determine finally whether the passage was actually derived from tradition or from a written source different from our Gospels, but in either case the fact is, that the Epistle not only does not afford the slightest evidence for the existence of any of our Gospels, but from only making use of tradition or an apocryphal work as the source of information regarding words of Jesus, it is decidedly opposed to the pretensions made on behalf of the Synoptics.


Before passing on, we may, in the briefest way possible, refer to one or two other passages, with the view of further illustrating the character of the quotations in this Epistle. There are many passages cited which are not found in the Old Testament, and others which have no parallels in the New. At the beginning of the very chapter in which the words which we have just been considering occur, there is the following quotation: "It-is written: Cleave to the holy, for they who cleave to them shall be made holy,"(1) the source of which is unknown. In a previous chapter the writer says: "And our Apostles knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there will be contention regarding the name, [——]—], office, dignity?) of the episcopate."(2) What was the writers authority for this statement? We find Justin Martyr quoting, as an express prediction of Jesus: "There shall be schisms and heresies,"(3) which is not contained in our gospels, but evidently derived from an uncanonical source,(4) a fact rendered more apparent by the occurrence of a similar passage in the Clementine Homilies, still more closely bearing upon our Epistle: "For there shall be, as the Lord said, false apostles, false prophets, heresies, desires for supremacy."(5) Hegesippus also speaks in a similar way: "From these came the


false Christs, false prophets, false apostles who divided the unity of the Church."(l) As Hegesippus, and in all probability Justin Martyr, and the author of the Clementines made use of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, or to Peter, it is most probable that these Gospels contained passages to which the words of the Epistle may refer.(2) It may be well to point out that the author also cites a passage from the Fourth Book of Ezra, ii. 16:(3) "And I shall remember the good day, and I shall raise you from your tombs."(4) Ezra reads: "Et resuscitabo mor-tuos de locis suis et de monumentis educam illos," &c. The first part of the quotation in the Epistle, of which we have only given the latter clause above, is taken from Isaiah xxvi. 20, but there can be no doubt that the above is from this apocryphal book,(5) which, as we shall see, was much used in the early Church.


We now turn to the so-called "Epistle of Barnabas," another interesting relic of the early Church, many points in whose history have considerable analogy with that of the Epistle of pseudo-Clement. The letter itself bears no author's name, is not dated from any place, and is not addressed to any special community. Towards the


end of the second century, however, tradition began to ascribe it to Barnabas the companion of Paul.(1) The first writer who mentions it is Clement of Alexandria, who calls its author several times the "Apostle Barnabas;"(2) and Eusebius says that he gave an account of it in one of his works now no longer extant.(3) Origen also refers to it, calling it a "Catholic Epistle," and quoting it as Scripture.(4) We have already seen in the case of the Epistles ascribed to Clement of Rome, and, as we proceed, we shall become only too familiar with the fact, the singular facility with which, in the total absence of critical discrimination, spurious writings were ascribed by the Fathers to Apostles and their followers. In many cases such writings were deliberately inscribed with names well known in the Church, but both in the case of the two Epistles to the Corinthians, and the letter we are now considering, no such pious fraud was attempted, nor was it necessary. Credulous piety, which attributed writings to every Apostle, and even to Jesus himself, soon found authors for each anonymous work of an edifying character. To Barnabas, the friend of Paul, not only this Epistle was referred, but he was also reported by Tertullian and others to be the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews;(5) and an apocryphal "Gospel according to Barnabas," said to have had close affinity with our


first Synoptic, is condemned along with many others in the decretal of Gelasius.(1) Eusebius, however, classes the so-called "Epistle of Barnabas" amongst the spurious books [——]—],(2) and elsewhere also speaks of it as uncanonical.(3) Jerome mentions it as read amongst apocryphal writings.(4) Had the Epistle been seriously regarded as a work of the "Apostle" Barnabas, it could scarcely have failed to attain canonical rank. That it was highly valued by the early Church is shown by the fact that it stands, along with the Pastor of Hermas, after the Canonical books of the New Testament in the Codex Sinaiticus, which is probably the most ancient MS. of them now known. In the earlier days of criticism, some writers, without much question, adopted the traditional view as to the authorship of the Epistle,(5) but the great mass of critics are now agreed in asserting that the composition, which itself is perfectly anonymous, cannot be attributed to Barnabas the friend and fellow-worker of Paul.(6) Those who maintain the former opinion date


the Epistle about a.d. 70—73, or even earlier, but this is scarcely the view of any living critic. There are many indications in the Epistle which render such a date impossible, but we do not propose to go into the argument minutely, for it is generally admitted that, whilst there is a clear limit further back than which the Epistle cannot be set,(1) there is little or no certainty how far into the second century its composition may not reasonably be advanced. Critics are divided upon the point; a few are disposed to date the Epistle about the end of the first or beginning of the second century (2) while a still greater number assign it to the reign of Hadrian (a.d.


117—138);(1) and others, not without reason, consider that it exhibits marks of a still later period.(2) It is probable that it is more or less interpolated.(3) Until the discovery of the Sinaitic MS., a portion of the "Epistle of Barnabas" was only known through an ancient Latin version, the first four and a half chapters of the Greek having been lost. The Greek text, however, is now complete, although often very corrupt. The author quotes largely from the Old Testament, and also from apocryphal works.(4) He nowhere mentions any book or writer of the New Testament, and with one asserted exception, which we shall presently examine, he quotes no passage agreeing with our Gospels. We shall refer to these, commencing at once with the most important.

In the ancient Latin translation of the Epistle, the only form, as we have just said, in which until the discovery


of the Codex Sinaiticus the first four and a half chapters were extant, the following passage occurs: "Adtendamus ergo, ne forte, sicut scriptum est, multi vocati pauci electi inveniamur."(l) "Let us, therefore, beware lest we should be found, as it is written: Many are called, few are chosen." These words are found in our first Gospel (xxii. 14), and as the formula by which they are here introduced—"it is written," is generally understood to indicate a quotation from Holy Scripture, it was and is argued by some that here we have a passage from one of our Gospels quoted in a manner which shows that, at the time the Epistle of Barnabas was written, the "Gospel according to Matthew was already considered Holy Scripture."(3) Whilst this portion of the text existed only in the Latin version, it was argued that the "sicut scriptum est," at least, must be an interpolation, and in any case that it could not be deliberately applied, at that date, to a passage in any writings of the New Testament. On the discovery of the Sinaitic MS., however, the words were found in the Greek text in that Codex: [——]—]. The question, therefore, is so far modified that, however much we may suspect the Greek text of interpolation, it must be accepted as the basis of discussion that this passage, whatever its value, exists in the oldest, and indeed only (and this point must not be forgotten) complete MS. of the Greek Epistle.

Now with regard to the value of the expression "it is written," it may be remarked that in no case could its use in the Epistle of Barnabas indicate more than individual opinion, and it could not, for reasons to be


presently given, be considered to represent the decision of the Church. In the very same chapter in which the formula is used in connection with the passage we are considering, it is also employed to introduce a quotation from the Book of Enoch,(1) [——]—], and elsewhere (c. xii.) he quotes from another apocryphal book(2) as one of the prophets.(3)" Again, he refers to the Cross of Christ in another prophet saying: 'And when shall these things come to pass? and the Lord saith: When, &c. ... [——]—],

.......[——]—]." He also quotes (ch. vi.) the apocryphal "Book of Wisdom" as Holy Scripture, and in like manner several other unknown works. When it is remembered that the Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, the Pastor of Hennas, the Epistle of Barnabas itself, and many other apocryphal works have been quoted by the Fathers as Holy Scripture, the distinctive value of such an expression may be understood.

With this passing remark, however, we proceed to say that this supposed quotation from Matthew as Holy Scripture, by proving too much, destroys its own value as evidence. The generality of competent and


impartial critics are agreed, that it is impossible to entertain the idea that one of our Gospels could have held the rank of Holy Scripture at the date of this Epistle, seeing that, for more than half a century after, the sharpest line was drawn between the writings of the Old Testament and of the New, and the former alone quoted as, or accorded the consideration of, Holy Scripture.1 If this were actually a quotation from our first Gospel, already in the position of Holy Scripture, it would indeed be astonishing that the Epistle, putting out of the question other Christian writings for half a century after it, teeming as it does with extracts from the Old Testament, and from known, and unknown, apocryphal works, should thus limit its use of the Gospel to a few words, totally neglecting the rich store which it contains, and quoting, on the other hand, sayings of Jesus not recorded at all in any of our Synoptics. It is most improbable that, if the author of the "Epistle of Barnabas" was acquainted with any one of our Gospels, and considered it an inspired and canonical work, he could have neglected it in such a manner. The peculiarity of the quotation which he is supposed to make, which we shall presently point out, renders such limitation to it doubly singular upon any such hypothesis. The unreasonable nature of the assertion, however, will become more apparent as we proceed with our examination, and perceive that none of the early writers quote our Gospels,


if they knew them at all, but, on the other hand, make use of other works, and that the inference that Matthew was considered Holy Scripture, therefore, rests solely upon this quotation of half a dozen words.

The application of such a formula to a supposed quotation from one of our Gospels, in so isolated an instance, led to the belief that, even if the passage were taken from our first Synoptic, the author of the Epistle in quoting it laboured under the impression that it was derived from some prophetical book.(1) We daily see how difficult it is to trace the source even of the most familiar quotations. Instances of such confusion of memory are frequent in the writings of the Fathers, and many can be pointed out in the New Testament itself. For instance, in Matt, xxvii. 9 f. the passage from Zechariah xi. 12-13 is attributed to Jeremiah; in Mark i. 2, a quotation from Malachi iii. 1 is ascribed to Isaiah. In 1 Corinthians ii. 9, a passage is quoted as Holy Scripture which is not found in the Old Testament at all, but which is taken, as Origen and Jerome state, from an apocryphal work, "The Revelation of Elias,"(2) and the passage is similarly quoted by the so-called Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians (xxxiv). Then in what prophet did the author of the first Gospel find the words (xiil 35): "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet,(3) saying: I will open my mouth in parables; I


will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world "?

Orelli,(1) afterwards followed by many others,(2) suggested that the quotation was probably intended for one in IV Ezra viii. 3: "Nam multi creati sunt, pauci autem salvabuntur."(3) "For many are created, but few shall be saved." Bretsclineider proposed as an emendation of the passage in Ezra the substitution of "vocati" for "creati" but, however plausible, his argument did not meet with much favour.(4) Along with this passage was also suggested a similar expression in IV Ezra ix. 15: "Plures sunt qui pereunt, quam qui salvabuntur." "There are more who perish than who shall be saved."(5) The Greek of the three passages may read as follows:—




There can be no doubt that the sense of the reading in IV Ezra is exactly that of the Epistle, but the language is somewhat different. We must not forget, however, that the original Greek of IV Ezra(6) is lost, and that we are wholly dependent on the versions and MSS. extant, regarding whose numerous variations and great


corruption there are no differences of opinion. Orelli's theory, moreover, is supported by the fact that the Epistle, elsewhere, (c. xii) quotes from IV Ezra (iv. 33, v. 5).

On examining the passage as it occurs in our first Synoptic, we are at the very outset struck by the singular fact, that this short saying appears twice in that Gospel with a different context, and in each case without any propriety of application to what precedes it, whilst it is not found at all in either of the other two Synoptics. The first time we meet with it is at the close of the parable of the labourers in the vineyard.(1) The householder engages the labourers at different hours of the day, and pays those who had worked but one hour the same wages as those who had borne the burden and heat of the day, and the reflection at the close is, xx. 16: "Thus the last shall be first and the first last; for many are called but few chosen." It is perfectly evident that neither of these sayings, but especially not that with which we are concerned, has any connection with the parable at all. There is no question of many or few, or of selection or rejection; all the labourers are engaged and paid alike. If there be a moral at all to the parable, it is the justification of the master: "Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?" It is impossible to imagine a saying more irrelevant to its context than "many are called but few chosen," in such a place. The passage occurs again (xxii. 14) in connection with the parable of the king who made a marriage for his son. The guests who are at first invited refuse to come, and are destroyed by the king's armies; but the wedding is nevertheless "furnished


with guests" by gathering together as many as are found in the highways. A new episode commences when the king comes in to see the guests (v. 11). He observes a man there who has not on a wedding garment, and he desires the servants to (v. 13) "Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the darkness without," where "there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth;"(1) and then comes our passage (v. 14): "For many are called but few chosen." Now, whether applied to the first or to the latter part of the parable, the saying is irrelevant. The guests first called were in fact chosen as much as the last, but themselves refused to come, and of all those who, being "called" from the highways and byways, ultimately furnished the wedding with guests in their stead, only one was rejected. It is clear that the facts here distinctly contradict the moral that "few are chosen." In both places the saying is, as it were, "dragged in by the hair." On examination, however, we find that the oldest MSS. of the New Testament omit the sentence from Matthew xx. 16. It is neither found in the Sinaitic nor Vatican codices, and whilst it has not the support of the Codex Alexandrinus, which is defective at the part, nor of the Dublin rescript (z), which omits it, many other MSS. are also without it. The total irrelevancy of the saying to its context, its omission by the oldest authorities from Matth. xx. 16, where it appears in later MSS., and its total absence from both of the other Gospels, must at once strike every one as peculiar, and as very unfortunate, to say

     1 This is not the place to criticize the expectation of
     finding a wedding garment on a guest hurried in from
     highways and byways, or the punishment inflicted for such an
     offence, as questions affecting the character of the


the least of it, for those who make extreme assertions with regard to its supposed quotation by the Epistle of Barnabas. Weizsacker, with great probability, suggests that in this passage we have merely a well-known proverb,(1) which the author of the first gospel has introduced into his work from some uncanonical or other source, and placed in the mouth of Jesus.(2) Certainly under the circumstances it can scarcely be maintained in its present context as a historical saying of Jesus. Ewald, who naturally omits it from Matthew xx. 16, ascribes the parable xx. 1—16 as well as that xxii. 1—14, in which it stands, originally to the Spruchsammlung(3) or collection of discourses, out of which, with intermediate works, he considers that our first Gospel was composed.(4) However this may be, there is, it seems to us, good reason for believing that it was not originally a part of these parables, and that it is not in that sense historical; and there is, therefore, no ground for asserting that it may not have been derived by the author of the Gospel from some older work, from which also it may have come into the "Epistle of Barnabas."(5)


There is, however, another passage which deserves to be mentioned. The Epistle has the following quotation: "Again, I will show thee how, in regard to us, the Lord saith, He made a new creation in the last times. The Lord saith: Behold I make the first as the last."(l) Even Tischendorf does not pretend that this is a quotation of Matth. xx. 16,(2) "Thus the last shall be first and the first last," [——]—] the sense of which is quite different. The application of the saying in this place in the first, and indeed in the other, Synoptic Gospels is evidently quite false, and depends merely on the ring of words and not of ideas. In xix. 30 it is quoted a second time, quite irrelevantly, with some variation: "But many first shall be last and last first" [——]—]. Now it will be remembered that at xx. 16 it occurs in several MSS. in connection with "Many are called but few are chosen," although the oldest codices omit the latter passage, and most critics consider it interpolated. The separate quotation of these two passages by the author of the Epistle, with so marked a variation in the second, renders it most probable that he found both in the source from which he quotes. We have, however, more than sufficiently discussed this passage. The author of the Epistle does not indicate any source from which he makes his quotation; and the mere existence in the first Synoptic of a proverbial saying


like this does not in the least involve the conclusion that it is necessarily the writing from which the quotation was derived, more especially as apocryphal works are repeatedly cited in the Epistle. If it be maintained that the saying is really historical, it is obvious that the prescriptive right of our Synoptic is at once excluded, and it may have been the common property of a score of evangelical works.

There can be no doubt that many Scriptural texts have crept into early Christian writings which originally had no place there; and where attendant circumstances are suspicious, it is always well to remember the fact. An instance of the interpolation of which we speak is found in the "Epistle of Barnabas." In one place the phrase: "Give to every one that asketh of thee" [——]—](1) occurs, not as a quotation, but merely woven into the Greek text as it existed before the discovery of the Sinaitic MS. This phrase is the same as the precept in Luke vi. 30, although it was argued by some that, as no other trace of the third Gospel existed in the Epistle, it was more probably an alteration of the text of Matth. v. 42. Omitting the phrase from the passage in the Epistle, the text read as follows: "Thou shalt not hesitate to give, neither shalt thou murmur when thou givest... so shalt thou know who is the good Recompenser of the reward." The supposed quotation, inserted where we have left a blank, really interrupted the sense and repeated the previous injunction. The oldest MS., the "Codex Sinaiticus," omits the quotation, and so ends the question, but it is afterwards inserted by another hand. Some pious scribe, in fact, seeing the relation of the passage to the Gospel, had added the


words in the margin as a gloss, and they afterwards found their way into the text In this manner very many similar glosses have crept into texts which they were originally intended to illustrate.

Tischendorf, who does not allude to this, lays much stress upon the following passage: "But when he selected His own apostles, who should preach His Gospel, who were sinners above all sin, in order that he might show that He came not to call the righteous but sinners, then He manifested Himself to be the Son of God."(1) We may remark that, in the common Greek text, the words "to repentance" were inserted after "sinners," but they are not found in the Sinaitic MS. In like manner many Codices insert them in Matth, ix. 13 and Mark ii. 17, but they are not found in some of the oldest MSS., and are generally rejected. Tischendorf considers them a later addition both to the text of the Gospel and of the Epistle.(3) But this very fact is suggestive. It is clear that a supposed quotation has been deliberately adjusted to what was considered to be the text of the Gospel. Why should the whole phrase not be equally an interpolation? We shall presently see that there is reason to think that it is so. Alhough there is no quotation in the passage, who, asks Tischendorf,(3) could mistake the words as they stand in Matthew, ix. 13, "For I came not to call the righteous but sinners"? Now this passage is referred to by Origen in his work against Celsus, in a way which indicates that the supposed quotation did not exist in his copy; Origen says: "And as Celsus has called


the Apostles of Jesus infamous men, saying that they were tax-gatherers and worthless sailors, we have to remark on this, that, &c.... Now in the Catholic Epistle of Barnabas from which, perhaps, Celsus derived the statement that the Apostles were infamous and wicked men, it is written that 'Jesus selected his own Apostles who were sinners above all sin,"(1)—and then he goes on to quote the expression of Peter to Jesus (Luke v. 8), and then I Timothy, L 15, but he nowhere refers to the supposed quotation in the Epistle. Now, if we read the passage without the quotation, we have: "But when he selected his own Apostles who should preach his Gospel, who were sinners above all sin.... then he manifested himself to be the Son of God." Here a pious scribe very probably added in the margin the gloss: "in order that he might show that he came not to call the righteous but sinners," to explain the passage, and as in the case of the phrase: "Give to every one that asketh of thee," the gloss became subsequently incorporated with the text. The Epistle, however, goes on to give the only explanation which the author intended, and which clashes with that of the scribe. "For if he had not come in the flesh, how could men have been saved by beholding him? Seeing that looking on the sun that shall cease to be, the work of his hands, they have not even power to endure his rays. Accordingly, the Son of Man came in the flesh for this, that he might bring to a head the number of their sins who had persecuted to death his prophets."(2) The argument of Origen bears out this view, for he does not at all take the explanation of


the gloss as to why Jesus chose his disciples from such a class, but he reasons: "What is there strange, therefore, that Jesus being minded to manifest to the race of men his power to heal souls, should have selected infamous and wicked men, and should have elevated them so far, that they became a pattern of the purest virtue to those who were brought by their persuasion to the Gospel of Christ."(1) The argument, both of the author of the Epistle and of Origen, is different from that suggested by the phrase under examination, and we consider it a mere gloss introduced into the text; which, as the [——]—] shows, has, in the estimation of Tischendorf himself, been deliberately altered. Even if it originally formed part of the text, however, it would be wrong to affirm that it affords proof of the use or existence of the first Gospel. The words of Jesus in Matt. ix. 12—14, evidently belong to the oldest tradition of the Gospel, and, in fact, Ewald ascribes them, apart from the remainder of the chapter, originally to the Spruchsammlung, from which, with two intermediate books, he considers that our present Matthew was composed.(2) Nothing can be more certain than that such sayings, if they be admitted to be historical at all, must have existed in many other works, and the mere fact of their happening to be also in one of the Gospels which has survived, cannot prove its use, or even


its existence at the time the Epistle of Barnabas was written, more especially as the phrase does not occur as a quotation, and there is no indication of the source from which it was derived.

Teschendorf, however, finds a further analogy between the Epistle and the Gospel of Matthew, in ch. xii. "Since, therefore, in the future, they were to say that Christ is the son of David, fearing and perceiving clearly the error of the wicked, David himself prophesies—"The Lord said unto my Lord, sit at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool."(1) Teschendorf upon this inquires: "Could Barnabas so write without the supposition, that his readers had Matthew, xxii. 41. ff, before them, and does not such a supposition likewise infer the actual authority of Matthew's Gospel?"(2) Such rapid argument and extreme conclusions are startling indeed, but, in his haste, our critic has forgotten to state the whole case. The author of the Epistle has been elaborately showing that the Cross of Christ is repeatedly typified in the Old Testament, and at the commencement of the chapter, after quoting the passage from IV Ezra, iv. 33, v. 5, he points to the case of Moses, to whose heart "the spirit speaks that he should make a form of the cross," by stretching forth his arms in supplication, and so long as he did so Israel prevailed over their enemies; and again he typified the cross, when he set up the brazen serpent upon which the people might look and be healed. Then that which Moses, as a prophet, said to Joshua (Jesus) the son of Nave, when he gave him that


name, was solely for the purpose that all the people might hear that the Father would reveal all things regarding his Son to the son of Nave. This name being given to him when he was sent to spy out the land, Moses said: "Take a book in thy hands, and write what the Lord saith, that the Son of God will in the last days cut off by the roots all the house of Amalek." This, of course, is a falsification of the passage, Exodus, xvii. 14, for the purpose of making it declare Jesus to be the "Son of God." Then proceeding in the same strain, he says: "Behold again Jesus is not the son of Man, but the Son of God, manifested in the type and in the flesh. Since, therefore, in the future, they were to say that Christ is the son of David," (and here follows the passage we are discussing) "fearing and perceiving clearly the error of the wicked, David himself prophesied: 'The Lord said unto my Lord, sit at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.' And again, thus speaks Isaiah: 'The Lord said to Christ my Lord, whose right hand I have held, that the nations may obey Him, and I will break in pieces the strength of kings.' Behold how David calleth Him Lord, and the Son of God." And here ends the chapter and the subject. Now it is quite clear that the passage occurs, not as a reference to any such dilemma as that in Matthew, xxii. 41 ff., but simply as one of many passages which, at the commencement of our era, were considered prophetic declarations of the divinity of Christ, in opposition to the expectation of the Jews that the Messiah was to be the son of David,(1) and, as we have seen, in order to prove his point the author alters the text. To argue that such a passage of a Psalm, quoted in such a manner in this


epistle, proves the use of our first Synoptic, is in the highest degree arbitrary.

We have already pointed out that the author quotes apocryphal works as Holy Scripture; and we may now add that he likewise cites words of Jesus which are nowhere found in our Gospels. For instance, in ch. vii. we meet with the folio wing expressions directly attributed to Jesus. "Thus he say': 'Those who desire to behold me, and to attain my kingdom, must through tribulation and suffering receive me.'"(1) Hilgenfeld(2) compares this with another passage, similar in sense, in IV Ezra, vii. 14; but in any case it is not a quotation from our Gospels; (3) and with so many passages in them suitable to his purpose, it would be amazing, if he knew and held Matthew in the consideration which Tischendorf asserts, that he should neglect their stores, and go elsewhere for such quotations. There is nothing in this epistle worthy of the name of evidence even of the existence of our Gospels.


The Pastor of Hennas is another work which very nearly secured permanent canonical rank with the writings of the New Testament. It was quoted as Holy Scripture by the Fathers and held to be divinely inspired, and it was publicly read in the Churches.(4) It has a


place, with the "Epistle of Barnabas," in the Sinaitic Codex, after the canonical books. In early times it was attributed to the Hermas who is mentioned in the Epistle to the Romans, xiv. 14, in consequence of a mere conjecture to that effect by Origen;(l) but the Canon of Muratori(2) confidently ascribes it to a brother of Pius, Bishop of Rome, and at least there does not seem any ground for the statement of Origen.(3) It may have been written about the middle of the second century or a little earlier.(4)


Tischendorf dismisses this important memorial of the early Christian Church with a note of two lines, for it has no quotations either from the Old or New Testament.(1) He does not even suggest that it contains any indications of acquaintance with our Gospels. The only direct quotation in the "Pastor" is from an apocryphal work which is cited as Holy Scripture: "The Lord is nigh unto them who return to him, as it is written in Eldad and Modat, who prophesied to the people in the wilderness."(2) This work, which appears in the Stichometry of Nicephorus amongst the apocrypha of the Old Testament, is no longer extant.(3)



Although, in reality, appertaining to a very much later period, we shall here refer to the so-called "Epistles of Ignatius," and examine any testimony which they afford regarding the date and authenticity of our Gospels. There are in all fifteen epistles bearing the name of Ignatius. Three of these, addressed to the Virgin Mary and the Apostle John 2, exist only in a Latin version, and these, together with five others directed to Mary of Cassobolita, to the Tarsians, to the Antiochans, to Hero of Antioch, and to the Philippians, of which there are versions both in Greek and Latin, are universally admitted to be spurious, and may, so far as their contents are concerned, be at once dismissed from all consideration.(1) They are not mentioned by Eusebius, nor does any early writer refer to them. Of the remaining seven epistles, addressed to the Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians, Romans, Philadelphians, Smyrnĉans, and to Polycarp, there are two distinct versions extant, one long version, of which there are both Greek and Latin texts, and another much shorter, and presenting considerable variations, of which there are also both Greek and Latin texts. After a couple of centuries of discussion, critics


almost without exception have finally agreed that the longer version is nothing more than an interpolated version of the shorter and more ancient form of the Epistles. The question regarding the authenticity of the Ignatian Epistles, however, was re-opened and complicated by the publication, in 1845, by Dr. Cureton, of a Syriac version of three epistles only—to Polycarp, to the Ephesians, and to the Romans—in a still shorter form, discovered amongst a large number of MSS. purchased by Dr. Tattam from the monks of the Desert of Nitria. These three Syriac epistles have been subjected to the severest scrutiny, and many of the ablest critics have pronounced them to be the only authentic Epistles of Ignatius, whilst others, who do not admit that even these are genuine letters emanating from Ignatius, still prefer them to the version of seven Greek epistles, and consider them the most ancient form of the letters which we possess.(1) As early as the sixteenth century, however, the strongest doubts were expressed regarding the authenticity of any of the epistles ascribed to Ignatius. The Magdeburg


Centuriators first attacked them, and Calvin declared them to be spurious,(1) an opinion fully shared by Dallaeus, and others; Chemnitz regarded them with suspicion; and similar doubts, more or lass definite, were expressed throughout the seventeenth century,(2) and onward to comparatively recent times,(3) although the means of forming a judgment were not then so complete as now. That the epistles were interpolated there was no doubt. Fuller examination and more comprehensive knowledge of the subject have confirmed earlier doubts, and a large mass of critics either recognize that the authenticity of none of these epistles can be established, or that they


can only be considered later and spurious compositions.(1)

Omitting for the present the so-called Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, the earliest reference to any of these epistles, or to Ignatius himself, is made by Irenĉus, who quotes a passage which is found in the Epistle to the Romans (ch. iv.), without, however, any mention of name,' introduced by the following words: "As a certain man of ours said, being condemned to the wild beasts on account of his testimony to God: 'I am the wheat of God, and by the teeth of beasts I am ground, that I may be found pure


bread."(1) Origen likewise quotes two brief sentences which he refers to Ignatius. The first is merely: "But my love is crucified,"(2) which is likewise found in the Epistle to the Romans (ch. vii.); and the other quoted as "out of one of the Epistles" of the martyr Ignatius: "From the Prince of this world was concealed the virginity of Mary,"(3) which is found in the Epistle to the Ephesians (ch. xix). Eusebius mentions seven epistles,(4) and quotes one passage from the Epistle to the Romans (ch. v.), and a few words from an apocryphal Gospel contained in the Epistle to the Smyrnĉans (ch. iii.), the source of which he says that he does not know, and he cites from Irenĉus the brief quotation given above, and refers to the mention of the epistles in the letter of Polycarp which we reserve. Elsewhere,(5) he further quotes a short sentence found in the Epistle to the Ephesians (ch. xix.), part of which had previously been cited by Origen. It will be observed that all these quotations, with the exception of that from Irenĉus, are taken from the three Epistles which exist in the Syriac translation, and they are found in that version; and the first occasion on which any passage attributed to Ignatius is quoted which is not in the Syriac version of the three Epistles occurs in the second half of the fourth century, when Athanasius, in his Epistle regarding the Synods of Ariminum and Selucia,(6) quotes a few words from the Epistle to the Ephesians (ch. vii.); but although foreign to the Syriac text, it is to be noted that the words are


at least from a form of one of the three epistles which exist in that version.(1) It is a fact, therefore, that up to the second half of the fourth century no quotation ascribed to Ignatius, except one by Eusebius, exists, which is not found in the three short Syriac letters.

As we have already remarked, the Syriac version of the three epistles is very much shorter than the shorter Greek version, the Epistle to the Ephesians, for instance, being only about one-third of the length of the Greek text. Those who still maintain the superior authenticity of the Greek shorter version argue that the Syriac is an epitome of the Greek. This does not, however, seem tenable when the matter is carefully examined. Although so much is absent from the Syriac version, not only is there no interruption of the sense and no obscurity or undue curtness in the style, but the epistles read more consecutively, without faults of construction or grammar, and passages which in the Greek text were confused and almost unintelligible have become quite clear in the Syriac. The interpolations of the text, in fact, had been so clumsily made, that they had obscured the meaning, and their mere omission, without any other alteration of grammatical construction, has restored the epistles to clear and simple order.(2) It is, moreover, a remarkable fact that the passages which, long before the discovery of the Syriac epistles, were pointed out as chiefly determining that the epistles were spurious, are not found in the Syriac version at all.3 Archbishop Usher, who only admitted the authenticity of six epistles, showed that much interpolation of these letters took place in the


sixth century,(1) but this very fact increases the probability of much earlier interpolation also, at which the various existing versions most clearly point. The interpolations can be explained upon the most palpable dogmatic grounds, but not so the omissions upon the hypothesis that the Syriac version is an abridgment made upon any distinct dogmatic principle, for that which is allowed to remain renders the omissions ineffectual for dogmatic reasons. There is no ground of interest upon which the portions omitted and retained by the Syriac version can be intelligently explained.(2) Finally, here, we may mention that the MSS. of the three Syriac epistles are more ancient by some centuries than those of any of the Greek versions of the Seven epistles.(3) The strongest internal, as well as other evidence, into which space forbids our going in detail, has led the majority of critics to recognize the Syriac version as the most ancient form of the letters of Ignatius extant, and this is admitted by many of those who nevertheless deny the authenticity of any of the epistles.(4)

Seven epistles have been selected out of fifteen extant, all equally purporting to be by Ignatius, simply because only that number was mentioned by Eusebius, from whom for the first time, in the fourth century,—except the general reference in the so-called Epistle of Poly-carp, to which we shall presently refer,—we hear of them. Now neither the silence of Eusebius regarding the eight epistles, nor his mention of the seven, can have much weight in deciding the question of their authenticity. The only point which is settled by the reference


of Eusebius is that, at the date at which he wrote, seven epistles were known to him which were ascribed to Ignatius. He evidently knew little or nothing regarding the man or the Epistles, beyond what he had learnt from themselves,(1) and he mentions the martyr-journey to Rome as a mere report: "It is said that he was conducted from Syria to Rome to be cast to wild beasts on account of his testimony to Christ."(2) It would be unreasonable to argue that no other epistles existed simply because Eusebius did not mention them; and on the other hand it would be still more unreasonable to affirm that the seven epistles are authentic merely because Eusebius, in the fourth century,—that is to say, some two centuries after they are supposed to have been written,—had met with them. Does any one believe the letter of Jesus to Abgarus Prince of Edessa to be genuine, because Eusebius inserts it in his history(3) as an authentic document out of the public records of the city of Edessa \ There is, in fact, no evidence that the brief quotations of Irenĉus and Origen are taken from either of the extant Greek versions of the epistles; for, as we have mentioned, they exist in the Syriac epistles, and there is nothing to show the original state of the letters from which they were derived. Nothing is more certain than the fact that, if any writer wished to circulate letters in the name of Ignatius, he would insert such passages as were said to have been quoted from genuine epistles of Ignatius, and supposing those quotations to be real, all that could be said on finding such passages would be that at least so much might be genuine.(4) It is a total


mistake to suppose that the seven epistles mentioned by Eusebius have been transmitted to us in any special way. These epistles are mixed up in the Medicean and corresponding ancient Latin MSS. with the other eight epistles, universally pronounced to be spurious, without distinction of any kind, and all have equal honour.(1) The recognition of the number seven may, therefore, be ascribed simply to the reference to them by Eusebius, and his silence regarding the rest.

What, then, is the position of the so-called Ignatian Epistles? Towards the end of the second century, Irenĉus makes a very short quotation from a source unnamed, which Eusebius, in the fourth century, finds in an epistle attributed to Ignatius. Origen, in the third century, quotes a very few words which he ascribes to Ignatius, although without definite reference to any particular epistle; and, in the fourth century Eusebius mentions seven epistles ascribed to Ignatius. There is no other evidence. There are, however, fifteen epistles extant, all of which are attributed to Ignatius, of all of which, with the exception of three which are only known in a Latin version, we possess both Greek and Latin versions. Of seven of these epistles—and they are those mentioned by Eusebius—we have two Greek versions, one of which is very much shorter than the other; and finally we now possess a Syriac version of three epistles only(2) in a form still shorter than the shorter Greek version, in which are found all the quotations of the Fathers, without exception, up to the fourth century. Eight of the fifteen

     2  It is worthy of remark that at the end of the Syriac
     version the subscription is: "Here end the three Epistles of
     Ignatius, Bishop and Martyr;" cf. Cureton, The Ancient
     Syriac Version, &c, p. 25.


epistles are universally rejected as spurious. The longer Greek version of the remaining seven epistles is almost unanimously condemned as grossly interpolated; and the great majority of critics recognize that the shorter Greek version is also much interpolated; whilst the Syriac version, which so far as MSS. are concerned is by far the most ancient text of any of the letters which we posses, reduces their number to three, and their contents to a very small compass indeed. It is not surprising that the vast majority of critics have expressed doubt more or less strong regarding the authenticity of all of these epistles, and that so large a number have repudiated them altogether. One thing is quite evident,—that amidst such a mass of falsification, interpolation, and fraud, the Ignatian Epistles cannot in any form be considered evidence on any important point.(1)

We have not, however, finished. All of these epistles, including the three of the Syriac recension, profess to have been written by Ignatius during his journey from Antioch to Rome, in the custody of Roman soldiers, in order to be exposed to wild beasts, the form of martyrdom to which he had been condemned. The writer describes the circumstances of his journey as follows: "From Syria even unto Rome I fight with wild beasts, by sea and by land, by night and day; being bound amongst ten leopards, which are the band of soldiers: who even receiving benefits become worse."(2) Now if this account be in the least degree true, how is it possible to suppose that the martyr could have found means to write


so many long epistles, entering minutely into dogmatic teaching, and expressing the most deliberate and advanced views regarding ecclesiastical government? Indeed it may be asked why Ignatius should have considered it necessary in such a journey, even if the possibility be for a moment conceded, to address such epistles to communities and individuals to whom, by the showing of the letters themselves, he had just had opportunities of addressing his counsels in person.(1) The epistles themselves bear none of the marks of composition under such circumstances, and it is impossible to suppose that soldiers such as the quotation above describes would allow a prisoner, condemned to wild beasts for professing Christianity, deliberately to write long epistles at every stage of his journey, promulgating the very doctrines for which he was condemned. And not only this, but on his way to martyrdom, he has, according to the epistles,(2) perfect freedom to see his friends. He receives the bishops, deacons, and members of various Christian communities, who come with greetings to him, and devoted followers accompany him on his journey. All this without hindrance from the "ten leopards," of whose cruelty he complains, and without persecution or harm to those who so openly declare themselves his friends and fellow believers. The whole story is absolutely incredible.(3) This conclusion, irresistible in itself, is, however, confirmed by facte arrived at from a totally different point of view.


It has been demonstrated that, most probably, Ignatius was not sent to Rome at all, but suffered martyrdom in Antioch itself(l) on the 20th December, a.d. 115,(2) when he was condemned to be cast to wild beasts in the amphitheatre, in consequence of the fanatical excitement produced by the earthquake which took place on the 13th of that month.(3) There are no less than three martyrologies of Ignatius,(4) giving an account of the martyr's journey from Antioch to Rome, but they are all recognised to be mere idle legends, of whose existence we do not hear till a very late period.(5) In fact the whole of the Ignatian literature is a mass of falsification and fraud.

We might well spare our readers the trouble of examining further the contents of the epistles of pseudo-Ignatius, for it is manifest that they cannot afford testimony


of any value on the subject of our inquiry. We shall, however, briefly point out all the passages contained in the seven Greek Epistles which have any bearing upon our synoptic Gospels, in order that their exact position may be more fully appreciated. Teschendorf(1) refers to a passage in the Epistle to the Romans, c. vi., as a verbal quotation of Matthew xvi. 26, but he neither gives the context nor states the facts of the case. The passage reads as follows: "The pleasures of the world shall profit me nothing, nor the kingdoms of this time; it is better for me to die for Jesus Christ, than to reign over the ends of the earth. For what is a man profited if he gain the whole world, but lose his soul."(2) Now this quotation not only is not found in the Syriac version of the Epistle, but it is also omitted from the ancient Latin version, and is absent from the passage in the work of Timotheus of Alexandria against the Council of Chalcedon, and from other authorities. It is evidently a later addition, and is recognized as such by most critics.(3) It was probably a gloss, which subsequently was inserted in the text. Of these facts, however, Tischendorf does not say a word.(4)

The next passage to which he refers is in the Epistle to the Smyrnĉans, c. i., where the writer says of Jesus: "He was baptized by John in order that all righteousness


might be fulfilled by Him,"(1)—which Teschendorf considers a reminiscence of Matthew iii. 15, "For thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness."(2) The phrase, besides being no quotation, has again all the appearance of being an addition; and when in Ch. iii. of the same Epistle we find a palpable quotation from an apocryphal Gospel, which Jerome states to be the "Gospel according to the Hebrews," to which we shall presently refer, a Gospel which we know to have contained the baptism of Jesus by John, it is not possible, even if the Epistle were genuine, which it is not, to base any such conclusion upon these words. There is not only the alternative of tradition, but the use of the same apocryphal Gospel, elsewhere quoted in the Epistle, as the source of the reminiscence. Tischendorf does not point out any more supposed references to our synoptic Gospels, but we proceed to notice all the other passages which have been indicated by others. In the Epistle to Polycarp, c. ii., the following sentence occurs: "Be thou wise as a serpent in everything, and harmless as the dove." This is, of course, compared with Matth. x. 16, "Be ye, therefore, wise as serpents and innocent as doves." The Greek of both reads as follows: [——]—]

In the Syriac version, the passage reads: "Be thou wise as the serpent in everything, and harmless as to those things which are requisite as the dove."(4) It is unnecessary


to add that no source is indicated for the reminiscence. Ewald assigns this part of our first Gospel originally to the Spruchsammlung,(1) and even apart from the variations presented in the Epistle there is nothing to warrant exclusive selection of our first Gospel as the source of the saying. The remaining passages we subjoin in parallel columns.

None of these passages are quotations, and they generally present such marked linguistic variations from the parallel


passages in our first Gospel, that there is not the slightest ground for specially referring them to it. The last words cited are introduced without any appropriate context. In no case are the expressions indicated as quotations from, or references to, any particular source. They may either be traditional, or reminiscences of some of the numerous Gospels current in the early Church, such as the Gospel according to the Hebrews. That the writer made use of one of these cannot be doubted. In the Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, c. iii., there occurs a quotation from an apocryphal Gospel to which we have already, in passing, referred: "For I know that also after his resurrection he was in the flesh, and I believe he is so now. And when he came to those who were with Peter, he said to them: Lay hold, handle me, and see that I am not an incorporeal spirit, [——]—]. And immediately they touched him and believed, being convinced by his flesh and spirit." Eusebius, who quotes this passage, says that he does not know whence it is taken.(2) Origen, however, quotes it from a work well known in the early Church, called "The Doctrine of Peter," [——]—];(3) and Jerome found it in the "Gospel according to the Hebrews," in use among the Nazarenes,(4) which he translated, as we shall hereafter sec. It was, no doubt, in both of those works. The narrative, Luke xxiv. 39 f., being neglected, and an apocryphal Gospel used here, the inevitable inference is clear and very suggestive. As it is certain that this quotation was taken from a source


different from our Gospels, there is reason to suppose that the other passages which we have cited are reminiscences of the same work. The passage on the three mysteries in the Epistle to the Ephesians, c. xix., is evidently another quotation from an uncanonical source.(1)

We must, however, again point out that, with the single exception of the short passage in the Epistle to Polycarp, c. ii., which is not a quotation, differs from the reading in Matthew, and may well be from any other source, none of these supposed reminiscences of our synoptic Gospels are found in the Syriac version of the three epistles. The evidential value of the seven Greek epistles is clearly stated by an English historian and divine: "My conclusion is, that I should be unwilling to claim historical authority for any passage not contained in Dr. Cureton's Syriac reprint."(3) We must, however, go much further, and assert that none of the Epistles have any value as evidence for an earlier period than the end of the second or beginning of the third century, if indeed they possess any value at all. The whole of the literature ascribed to Ignatius is, in fact, such a tissue of fraud and imposture, and the successive versions exhibit such undeniable marks of the grossest interpolation, that even if any small original element exist referrible to Ignatius, it is impossible to define it, or to distinguish with the slightest degree of accuracy between what is authentic and what is spurious. The Epistles do not, however, in any case afford evidence even of the existence of our synoptic Gospels.

[272] 2.

We have hitherto deferred all consideration of the so-called Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, from the fact that, instead of proving the existence of the Epistles of Ignatius, with which it is intimately associated, it is itself discredited in proportion as they are shown to be in authentic. We have just seen that the martyr-journey of Ignatius to Rome is, for cogent reasons, declared to be wholly fabulous, and the epistles purporting to be written during that journey must be held to be spurious. The Epistle of Polycarp, however, not only refers to the martyr-journey (c. ix.), but to the Ignatian Epistles which are inauthentic (c. xiii.), and the manifest inference is that it also is spurious.

Polycarp, who is said by Irenĉus(1) to have been in his youth a disciple of the Apostle John, became Bishop of Smyrna, and suffered martyrdom at a very advanced age.(2) On the authority of Eusebius and Jerome, it has hitherto been generally believed that his death took place in a.d. 166-167. In the account of his martyrdom, which we possess in the shape of a letter from the Church of Smyrna, purporting to have been written by eye-witnesses, which must be pronounced spurious, Polycarp is said to have died under the Proconsul Statius Quadratus.(3) If this statement be correct, the date hitherto received can no longer be maintained, for recent investigations have determined that Statius Quadratus was proconsul in a.d. 154-5 or 155-6.(4) Some critics,


who affirm the authenticity of the Epistle attributed to Polycarp, date the Epistle before a.d. 120,(1) but the preponderance of opinion assigns it to a much later period.(2) Doubts of its authenticity, and of the integrity of the text, were very early expressed,(3) and the close scrutiny to which later and more competent criticism has subjected it, has led very many to the conclusion that the Epistle is either largely interpolated,(4) or altogether spurious.(5) The principal argument in favour


of its authenticity is the fact that the Epistle is mentioned by Irenĉus,(1) who in his extreme youth was acquainted with Polycarp.(2) We have no very precise information regarding the age of Irenĉus, but Jerome states that he flourished under Commodus (180-192), and we may, as a favourable conjecture, suppose that he was then about 35-37. In that case his birth must be dated about a.d. 145. There is reason to believe that he fell a victim to persecution under Septimius Severus, and it is only doubtful whether he suffered during the first outbreak in a.d. 202, or later. According to this calculation, the martyrdom of Polycarp, in a.d. 155-156, took place when he was ten or eleven years of age. Even if a further concession be made in regard to his age, it is evident that the intercourse of Irenĉus with the Bishop of Smyrna must have been confined to his very earliest years,(3) a fact which is confirmed by the almost total absence of any record in his writings of the communications of Polycarp. This certainly does not entitle Irenĉus to speak more authoritatively of an epistle ascribed to Polycarp, than any one else of his day.(4)

In the Epistle itself, there are several anachronisms. In ch. ix. the blessed Ignatius" is referred to as already dead, and he is held up with Zosimus and Rufus, and also with Paul and the rest of the Apostles, as examples of patience: men who have not run in vain, but are with the Lord; but in ch. xiii. he is spoken of as living, and information is requested regarding him,


"and those who are with him."(1) Yet, although thus spoken of as alive, the writer already knows of his Epistles, and refers, in the plural, to those written by him "to us, and all the rest which we have by us."(2) The reference here, it will be observed, is not only to the Epistles to the Smyrnĉans, and to Polycarp himself, but to other spurious epistles which are not included in the Syriac version. Dallseus(3) pointed out long ago, that ch. xiii. abruptly interrupts the conclusion of the Epistle, and most critics, including those who assert the authenticity of the rest of the Epistle, reject it at least, although many of these likewise repudiate ch. ix. as interpolated.(4) Others, however, consider that the latter chapter is quite consistent with the later date, which, according to internal evidence, must be assigned to the Epistle. The writer vehemently denounces,(5) as already widely spread, the Gnostic heresy and other forms of false doctrine which did not exist until the time of Marcion, to whom and to whose followers he refers in unmistakable terms. An expression is used in ch. vii. in speaking of these heretics, which Polycarp is reported by Irenseus to have actually applied to Marcion in person, during his visit to Home. He is said to have called Marcion the "first-born of Satan," [——]—](6) and the same term


is employed in this epistle with regard to every one who holds such false doctrines. The development of these heresies, therefore, implies a date for the composition of the Epistle, at earliest, after the middle of the second century, a date which is further confirmed by other circumstances.(1) The writer of such a letter must have held a position in the Church, to which Polycarp could only have attained in the latter part of his life, when he was deputed to Rome for the Paschal discussion, and the Epistle depicts the developed ecclesiastical organization of a later time.(2) The earlier date which has now been adopted for the martyrdom of Polycarp, by limiting the period during which it is possible that he himself could have written any portion of it, only renders the inauthenticity of the Epistle more apparent. Hilgenfeld has pointed out, as another indication of the same date, the injunction "Pray for the kings" (Orate pro regibus), which, in 1 Peter ii. 17, is "Honour the king" [——]—], which, he argues, accords with the period after Antoninus Pius had elevated Marcus Aurelius


to joint sovereignty (a.d. 147), or better still, with that in which Marcus Aurelius appointed Lucius Verus his colleague, a.d. 161, for to rulers outside of the Roman empire there can be no reference. If authentic, however, the Epistle must have been written, at latest, shortly after the martyrdom of Ignatius in a.d. 115, but, as we have seen, there are strong internal characteristics excluding such a supposition. The reference to the martyr-journey of Ignatius and to the epistles falsely ascribed to him, is alone sufficient to betray the spurious nature of the composition, and to class the Epistle with the rest of the pseudo-Ignatian literature.

We shall now examine all the passages in this epistle which are pointed out as indicating any acquaintance with our synoptic Gospels.(1) The first occurs in ch. ii., and we subjoin it in contrast with the nearest parallel passages of the Gospels, but although we break it up into paragraphs, it will, of course, be understood that the quotation is continuous in the Epistle.



It will be remembered that an almost similar direct quotation of words of Jesus occurs in the so-called Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, c. xiii., which we have already examined.(1) There, the passage is introduced by the same words, and in the midst of brief phrases which have parallels in our Gospel there occurs in both Epistles the same expression, "Be pitiful that ye may be pitied," which is not found in any of our Gospels. In order to find any parallels for the quotation, upon the hypothesis of a combination of texts, we have to add together portions of the following verses in the following order: Matthew vii. 1, vi. 14 (although, with complete linguistic variations, the sense of Luke vi. 37 is much closer), v. 7, vii. 2, v. 3, v. 10. Such fragmentary compilation is in itself scarcely conceivable in an epistle of this kind, but when in the midst we find a passage foreign to our Gospels, but which occurs in another work in connection with so similar a quotation, it is reasonable to conclude that the whole is derived from tradition or from a Gospel different from ours.(2) In no case can such


a passage be considered material evidence of the existence of any one of our Gospels.

Another expression which is pointed out occurs in ch. vii., "beseeching in our prayers the all-searching God not to lead us into temptation, as the Lord said: The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."(1) This is compared with the phrase in "the Lord's Prayer" (Matthew vi. 13), or the passage (xxvi. 41): "Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."(2) The second Gospel, however, equally has the phrase (xiv. 38), and shows how unreasonable it is to limit these historical sayings to a single Gospel. The next passage is of a similar nature (c. vi.): "If, therefore, we pray the Lord that he may forgive us, we ought also ourselves to forgive."(3) The thought but not the language of this passage corresponds with Matthew vi. 12—14, but equally so with Luke xi. 4. Now we must repeat that all such sayings of Jesus were the common property of the early Christians—were no doubt orally current amongst them, and still more certainly were recorded by many of the numerous Gospels then in circulation, as they are by several of our own. In no case is there any written source indicated from which these passages are derived; they are simply quoted as words of Jesus, and being all connected either with the "Sermon on the Mount" or the "Lord's Prayer," the two portions of the teaching of Jesus which were most


popular, widely known, and characteristic, there can be no doubt that they were familiar throughout the whole of the early Church, and must have formed a part of most or all of the many collections of the words of the Master. To limit them to our actual Gospels, which alone survive, would be quite unwarrantable, and no reference to them, without specification of the source, can be received as evidence even of the existence of our Synoptics. We may here briefly illustrate the point from the Synoptics themselves. Assuming the parable of the Sower to be a genuine example of the teaching of Jesus, as there is every reason to believe, it may with certainty be asserted that it must have been included in many of the records circulating among early Christians, to which reference is made in the prologue to the third Gospel. It would not be permissible to affirm that no part of that parable could be referred to by an early writer without that reference being an indication of acquaintance with our synoptic Gospels. The parable is reported in closely similar words in each of those three Gospels,(1) and it may have been, and probably was, recorded similarly in a dozen more. Confining ourselves, however, for a moment to the three Synoptics: what could a general allusion to the parable of the Sower prove regarding their existence and use, no mention of a particular source being made? Would it prove that all the three were extant, and that the writer knew them all, for each of them containing the parable would possess an equal claim to the reference? Could it with any reason be affirmed that he was acquainted with Matthew and not with Mark? or with Mark and not with Matthew and Luke? or with the third Gospel and


not with either of the other two? The case is the very same if we extend the illustration, and along with the Synoptics include the numerous other records of the early Church. The anonymous quotation of historical expressions of Jesus cannot prove the existence of one special document among many to which we may choose to trace it. This is more especially to be insisted on from the fact, that hitherto we have not met with any mention of any one of our Gospels, and have no right even to assume their existence from any evidence which has been furnished.



We shall now consider the evidence furnished by the works of Justin Martyr, regarding the existence of our synoptic Gospels at the middle of the second century, and we may remark, in anticipation, that whatever differences of opinion may finally exist regarding the solution of the problem which we have to examine, at least it is clear that the testimony of Justin Martyr is not of a nature to establish the date, authenticity, and character of Gospels professing to communicate such momentous and astounding doctrines. The determination of the source from which Justin derived his facts of Christian history has for a century attracted more attention, and excited more controversy, than almost any other similar question in connection with patristic literature, and upon none have more divergent opinions been expressed.

Justin, who suffered martyrdom about a.d. 166—167,(1) under Marcus Aurelius, probably at the instigation of the cynical philosopher, Crescens, was born in the Greek-Roman colony, Flavia Neapolis,(2) established during the


reign of Vespasian, near the ancient Sichem in Samaria. By descent he was a Greek, and during the earlier part of his life a heathen, but after long and disappointed study of Greek philosophy, he became a convert to Christianity(l) strongly tinged with Judaism. It is not necessary to enter into any discussion as to the authenticity of the writings which have come down to us bearing Justin's name, many of which are undoubtedly spurious, for the two Apologies and the Dialogue with Trypho, with which we have almost exclusively to do, are generally admitted to be genuine. It is true that there has been a singular controversy regarding the precise relation to each other of the two Apologies now extant, the following contradictory views having been maintained: that they are the two Apologies mentioned by Eusebius, and in their original order; that they are Justin's two Apologies, but that Eusebius was wrong in affirming that the second was addressed to Marcus Aurelius; that our second Apology was the preface or appendix to the first, and that the original second is lost. The shorter Apology contains nothing of interest connected with our inquiry.

There has been much controversy as to the date of the two Apologies, and much difference of opinion still exists on the point. Many critics assign the larger to about a.d. 138—140, and the shorter to a.d. 160—161.(2) A passage, however, occurs in the longer Apology, which


indicates that it must have been written about a century and a half after the commencement of the Christian era, or, according to accurate reckoning, about a.d. 147. Justin speaks, in one part of it, of perverted deductions being drawn from his teaching "that Christ was born 150 years ago under Cyrenius."(l) Those who contend for the earlier date have no stronger argument against this statement than the unsupported assertion, that in this passage Justin merely speaks "in round numbers," but many important circumstances confirm the date which Justin thus gives us. In the superscription of the Apology, Antoninus is called "Pius," a title which was first bestowed upon him in the year 139. Moreover, Justin directly refers to Marcion, as a man "now living and teaching his disciples.... and who has by the aid of demons caused many of all nations to utter blasphemies," &c.(2) Now the fact has been established that Marcion did not come to Rome, where Justin himself was, until a.d. 139—142,(3) when his prominent public career commenced, and it is apparent that the words of Justin indicate a period when his doctrines had already


become widely diffused. For these and many other strong reasons, which need not here be detailed, the majority of competent critics agree in more correctly assigning the first Apology to about a.d. 147.(1) The Dialogue with Trypho, as internal evidence shows,(2) was written after the longer Apology, and it is therefore generally dated some time within the first decade of the second half of the second century.(3)

In these writings Justin quotes very copiously from the Old Testament, and he also very frequently refers to facts of Christian history and to sayings of Jesus. Of these references, for instance, some fifty occur in the first Apology, and upwards of seventy in the Dialogue with Trypho, a goodly number, it will be admitted, by means of which to identify the source from which he quotes. Justin himself frequently and distinctly says that his information and quotations are derived from the "Memoirs of the Apostles" [——]—], but except upon one occasion, which we shall hereafter consider, when he indicates Peter, he never mentions an author's name. Upon examination it is found that, with only one or two brief exceptions, the


numerous quotations from these Memoirs differ more or less widely from parallel passages in our synoptic Gospels, and in many cases differ in the same respects as similar quotations found in other writings of the second century, the writers of which are known to have made use of uncanonical Gospels, and further, that these passages are quoted several times, at intervals, by Justin with the same variations. Moreover, sayings of Jesus are quoted from these Memoirs which are not found in our Gospels at all, and facts in the life of Jesus and circumstances of Christian history derived from the same source, not only are not found in our Gospels, but are in contradiction with them.

These peculiarities have, as might have been expected, created much diversity of opinion regarding the nature of the "Memoirs of the Apostles." In the earlier days of New Testament criticism more especially, many of course at once identified the Memoirs with our Gospels exclusively, and the variations were explained by conveniently elastic theories of free quotation from memory, imperfect and varying MSS., combination, condensation and transposition of passages, with slight additions from tradition, or even from some other written source, and so on.(1) Others endeavoured to explain


away difficulties by the supposition that they were a simple harmony of our Gospels,(1) or a harmony of the Gospels, with passages added from some apocryphal work.(2) A much greater number of critics, however, adopt the conclusion that, along with our Gospels, Justin made use of one or more apocryphal Gospels, and more especially of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, or according to Peter, and also perhaps of tradition.(3) Others assert that he made use of a special unknown Gospel, or of the Gospel according to the Hebrews or according to Peter, with a subsidiary use of a version of one or two of our Gospels to which, however, he did not attach much importance, preferring the apocryphal work;(4) whilst


others have concluded that Justin did not make use of our Gospels at all, and that his quotations are either from the Gospel according to the Hebrews, or according to Peter, or from some other special apocryphal Gospel now no longer extant.(1)

Evidence permitting of such wide diversity of results to serious and laborious investigation of the identity of Justin's Memoirs of the Apostles, cannot be of much value towards establishing the authenticity of our Gospels, and in the absence of any specific mention of our Synoptics any very elaborate examination of the Memoirs might be considered unnecessary, more especially as it is admitted almost universally by competent critics, that Justin did not himself consider the Memoirs of the Apostles inspired, or of any dogmatic authority, and had no idea of attributing canonical rank to them.(2) In pursuance of the system which we desire invariably to adopt of


enabling every reader to form his own opinion, we shall as briefly as possible state the facts of the case, and furnish materials for a full comprehension of the subject. Justin himself, as we have already stated, frequently and distinctly states that his information regarding Christian history and his quotations are derived from the Memoirs of the Apostles [——]—], to adopt the usual translation, although the word might more correctly be rendered "Recollections," or "Memorabilia." It has frequently been surmised that this name was suggested by the [——]—] of Xenophon, but, as Credner has pointed out, the similarity is purely accidental, and to constitute a parallel the title should have been "Memoirs of Jesus."(1) The word [——]—] is here evidently used merely in the sense of records written from memory, and it is so employed by Papias in the passage preserved by Eusebius regarding Mark, who, although he had not himself followed the Lord, yet recorded his words from what he heard from Peter, and who, having done so without order, is still defended for "thus writing some things as he remembered them" [——]—].(2) In the same way Irenseus refers to the "Memoirs of a certain Presbyter of apostolic times" [——]—](3) whose name he does not mention; and Origen still more closely approximates to Justin's use of the word when, expressing his theory regarding, the Epistle to the Hebrews, he says that the thoughts are the Apostle's, but the phraseology and the composition are of one recording from memory


what the Apostle said [——]—], and as of one writing at leisure the dictation of his master.(1) Justin himself speaks of the authors of the Memoirs as [——]—],(2) and the expression was then and afterwards constantly in use amongst ecclesiastical and other writers.(3)

This title, "Memoirs of the Apostles," however, although most appropriate to mere recollections of the life and teaching of Jesus, evidently could not be applied to works ranking as canonical Gospels, but in fact excludes such an idea; and the whole of Justin's views regarding Holy Scripture, prove that he saw in the Memoirs merely records from memory to assist memory.(4) He does not call them [——]—], but adheres always to the familiar name of [——]—], and whilst his constant appeals to a written source show very clearly his abandonment of oral tradition, there is nothing in the name of his records which can identify them with our Gospels.

Justin designates the source of his quotations ten times, the "Memoirs of the Apostles,"(5) and five times he calls it simply the "Memoirs."(6) He says, upon one occasion, that these Memoirs were composed "by his Apostles and their followers,"(7) but except in one place,


to which we have already referred, and which we shall hereafter fully examine, he never mentions the author's name, nor does he ever give any more precise information regarding their composition. It has been argued that, in saying that these Memoirs were recorded by the Apostles and their followers, Justin intentionally and literally described the four canonical Gospels, the first and fourth of which are ascribed to Apostles, and the other two to Mark and Luke, the followers of Apostles;(1) but such an inference is equally forced and unfounded. The language itself forbids this explanation, for Justin does not speak indefinitely of Memoirs of Apostles and their followers, but of Memoirs of the Apostles, invariably using the article, which refers the Memoirs to the collective body of the Apostles.(2) Moreover, the incorrectness of such an inference is manifest from the fact that circumstances are stated by Justin as derived from these Memoirs, which do not exist in our Gospels at all, and which, indeed, are contradictory to them. Vast numbers of spurious writings, moreover, bearing the names of Apostles and their followers, and claiming more or less direct apostolic authority, were in circulation in the early Church: Gospels according to Peter,(3) to Thomas,(4) to James,(5) to Judas,(6) according to the


Apostles, or according to the Twelve,(1) to Barnabas,(2) to Matthias,(3) to Nicodemus,(4) &c., and ecclesiastical writers bear abundant testimony to the early and rapid growth of apocryphal literature.(5) The very names of most of such apocryphal Gospels are lost, whilst of others we possess considerable information; but nothing is more certain than the fact, that there existed many works bearing names which render the attempt to interpret the title of Justin's Gospel as a description of the four in our canon quite unwarrantable. The words of Justin evidently imply simply that the source of his quotations is the collective recollections of the Apostles, and those who followed them, regarding the life and teaching of Jesus.

The title: "Memoirs of the Apostles" by no means indicates a plurality of Gospels.(6) A single passage has been pointed out, in which the Memoirs are said to have been called [——]—] in the plural: "For the Apostles in the Memoirs composed by them, which are called


Gospels,"(1) &c. The last expression, a [——]—], as many scholars have declared, is probably an interpolation. It is, in all likelihood, a gloss on the margin of some old MS. which some copyist afterwards inserted in the text.(2) If Justin really stated that the Memoirs were called Gospels, it seems incomprehensible that he should never call them so himself. In no other place in his writings does he apply the plural to them, but, on the contrary, we find Trypho referring to the "so-called Gospel," which he states that he has carefully read,(3) and which, of course, can only be Justin's "Memoirs;" and again, in another part of the same dialogue, Justin quotes passages which are written "in the Gospel"(4) [——]—]. The term "Gospel" is nowhere else used by Justin in reference to a written record.(5) In no case, however, considering the numerous Gospels then in circulation, and the fact that many of these, different from the canonical Gospels, are known to have been exclusively used by distinguished contemporaries of Justin, and by various communities of Christians in that day, could such an expression be taken as a special indication of the canonical Gospels.(6)


Describing the religious practices amongst Christians, in another place, Justin states that, at their assemblies on Sundays, "the Memoirs of the Apostles or the writings of the prophets are read as long as time permits."(1( This, however, by no means identifies the Memoirs with the canonical Gospels, for it is well known that many writings which have been excluded from the canon were publicly read in the Churches, until very long after Justin's day.(2) We have already met with several instances of this. Eusebius mentions that the Epistle of the Roman Clement was publicly read in Churches in his time,(3) and he quotes an Epistle of Dionysius of Corinth to Soter, the Bishop of Rome, which states that fact for the purpose of "showing that it was the custom to read it in the Churches, even from the earliest times."(4) Dionysius likewise mentions the public reading of the Epistle of Soter to the Corinthians. Epiphanius refers to the reading in the Churches of the Epistle of Clement,(5) and it continued to be so read in Jerome's day.(6) In like manner, the "Pastor" of Hermas,(7) the "Apocalypse of Peter,"(8) and other works excluded from the canon were publicly read in the Church in early days.(9) It is certain that Gospels which


did not permanently secure a place in the canon, such as the Gospel according to the Hebrews, the Gospel according to Peter, the Gospel of the Ebionites, and many kindred Gospels, which in early times were exclusively used by various communities,(1) must have been read at their public assemblies. The public reading of Justin's Memoirs, therefore, does not prove anything, for this practice was by no means limited to the works now in our canon.

The idea of attributing inspiration to the Memoirs, or to any other work of the Apostles, with the single exception, as we shall presently see, of the Apocalypse of John,(2) which, as prophecy, entered within his limits, was quite foreign to Justin, who recognized the Old Testament alone as the inspired word of God.(3) Indeed, as we


have already said, the very name "Memoirs" in itself excludes the thought of inspiration,(1) which Justin attributed only to prophetic writings; and he could not in any way regard as inspired the written tradition of the Apostles and their followers, or a mere record of the words of Jesus. On the contrary, he held the accounts of the Apostles to be credible solely from their being authenticated by the Old Testament, and he clearly states that he believes the facts recorded in the Memoirs because the spirit of prophecy had already foretold them.(2) According to Justin, the Old Testament contained all that was necessary for salvation, and its prophecies are the sole criterion of truth, the Memoirs, and even Christ himself, being merely its interpreters.(3) He says that Christ commanded us not to put faith in human doctrines, but in those proclaimed by the holy prophets, and taught by himself.(4) Prophecy and the words of Christ himself are alone of dogmatic value, all else is human teaching.(5) Indeed, from a passage quoted with approval by Irenĉus, Justin, in his lost work against Marcion, said: "I would not have believed the Lord himself, if he had proclaimed any other God than the Creator;" that is to say, the God of the Old Testament.(6)


That Justin does not mention the name of the author of the Memoirs would in any case render any argument as to their identity with our canonical Gospels inconclusive; but the total omission to do so is the more remarkable from the circumstance that the names of Old Testament writers constantly occur in his writings. Semisch counts 197 quotations of the Old Testament, in which Justin refers to the author by name, or to the book, and only 117 in which he omits to do so,(1) and the latter number might be reduced by considering the nature of the passages cited, and the inutility of repeating the reference.(2) When it is considered, therefore, that notwithstanding the extremely numerous quotations, and references to facts of Christian history, all purporting to be derived from the "Memoirs," he absolutely never, except in the one instance referred to, mentions an author's name, or specifies more clearly the nature of the source, the inference must not only be that he attached small importance to the Memoirs, but also that he was actually ignorant of the author's name, and that his Gospel had no more definite superscription. Upon the theory that the Memoirs of the Apostles were simply our


four canonical Gospels, the singularity of the omission is increased by the diversity of contents and of authors, and the consequently greater necessity and probability that he should, upon certain occasions, distinguish between them. The fact is that the only writing of the New Testament to which Justin refers by name is, as we have already mentioned, the Apocalypse, which he attributes to "a certain man whose name was John, one of the Apostles of Christ, who prophesied by a revelation made to him," &c.(1) The manner in which John is here mentioned, after the Memoirs had been so constantly indefinitely referred to, clearly shows that Justin did not possess any Gospel also attributed to John. That he does name John, however, as author of the Apocalypse and so frequently refers to Old Testament writers by name, yet never identifies the author of the Memoirs, is quite irreconcilable with the idea that they were the canonical Gospels.(2)

It is perfectly clear, however, and this is a point of very great importance upon which critics of otherwise widely diverging views are agreed, that Justin quotes from a written source, and that oral tradition is excluded from his system.(3) He not only does not, like Papias, attach value to tradition, but, on the contrary, he affirms that in the Memoirs is recorded "everything that concerns our "Saviour Jesus Christ.,,(4) He constantly refers to them


directly, as the source of his information regarding the history of Jesus, and distinctly states that he has derived his quotations from them. There is no reasonable ground whatever for affirming that Justin supplemented or modified the contents of the Memoirs by oral tradition. It must, therefore, be remembered, in considering the nature of these Memoirs, that the facts of Christian history and the sayings of Jesus are derived from a determinate written source, and are quoted as Justin found them there.(1) Those who attempt to explain the divergences of Justin's quotations from the canonical Gospels, which they still maintain to have been his Memoirs, on the plea of oral tradition, defend the identity at the expense of the authority of the Gospels. For nothing could more forcibly show Justin's disregard and disrespect for the Gospels, than would the fact that, possessing them, he not only never names their authors, but considers himself at liberty continually to contradict, modify, and revise their statements.

As we have already remarked, when we examine the contents of the Memoirs of the Apostles, through Justin's numerous quotations, we find that many parts of the Gospel narratives are apparently quite unknown, whilst, on the other hand, we meet with facts of evangelical history, which are foreign to the canonical Gospels, and others which are contradictory of Gospel statements. Justin's quotations, almost without exception, vary more or less from the parallels in the canonical text, and often these variations are consistently repeated by himself, and are found in other works about his time. Moreover, Justin quotes expressions of Jesus, which are not found in our Gospels at all. The omissions, though often very


singular, supposing the canonical Gospels before him, and almost inexplicable when it is considered how important they would often have been to his argument, need not, as merely negative evidence, be dwelt on here, but we shall briefly illustrate the other peculiarities of Justin's quotations.

The only genealogy of Jesus which is recognized by Justin is traced through the Virgin Mary. She it is who is descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and from the house of David, and Joseph is completely set aside.(1) Jesus "was born of a virgin of the lineage of Abraham and tribe of Judah and of David, Christ the Son of God."(2) "Jesus Christ the Son of God has been born without sin of a virgin sprung from the lineage of Abraham."(3) "For of the virgin of the seed of Jacob, who was the father of Judah, who, as we have shown, was the father of the Jews, by the power of God was he conceived; and Jesse was his forefather according to the prophecy, and he (Jesus) was the son of Jacob and Judah according to successive descent."(4) The genealogy of Jesus in the canonical Gospels, on the contrary, is traced solely through Joseph, who alone is stated to be of the lineage of David.(5) The genealogies of Matthew and Luke, though differing in several important points, at least agree in excluding Mary. That of the third Gospel commences with Joseph,


and that of the first ends with him: "And Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ."(1) The angel who warns Joseph not to put away his wife, addresses him as "Joseph, thou son of David,"(2) and the angel Gabriel, who, according to the third Gospel, announces to Mary the supernatural conception, is sent "to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David."(3) So persistent, however, is Justin in ignoring this Davidic descent through Joseph, that not only does he at least eleven times trace it through Mary, but his Gospel materially differs from the canonical, where the descent of Joseph from David is mentioned by the latter. In the third Gospel, Joseph goes to Judaea "unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David."(4) Justin, however, simply states that he went "to Bethlehem... for his descent was from the tribe of Judah, which inhabited that region."(5) There can be no doubt that Justin not only did not derive his genealogies from the canonical Gospels, but that on the contrary the Memoirs, from which he did learn the Davidic descent through Mary only, differed persistently and materially from them.(6)

Many traces still exist to show that the view of Justin's Memoirs of the Apostles of the Davidic descent of Jesus through Mary instead of through Joseph, as the canonical Gospels represent it, was anciently held in the Church. Apocryphal Gospels of early date, based without doubt upon more ancient evangelical works, are still extant, in which the genealogy of Jesus is traced, as in


Justin's Memoirs, through Mary. One of these is the Gospel of James, commonly called the Protevangelium, a work referred to by ecclesiastical writers of the third and fourth centuries,(1) and which Tischendorf even ascribes to the first three decades of the second century,(2) in which Mary is stated to be of the lineage of David.(3) She is also described as of the royal race and family of David in the Gospel of the Nativity of Mary,(4) and in the Gospel of pseudo-Matthew her Davidic descent is prominently mentioned.(5) There can be no doubt that all of these works are based upon earlier originals,(6) and there is no reason why they may not have been drawn from the same source from which Justin derived his version of the genealogy in contradiction to the Synoptics.(7)

In the narrative of the events which preceded the


birth of Jesus, the first Gospel describes the angel as appearing only to Joseph and explaining the supernatural conception,(1) and the author seems to know nothing of any announcement to Mary.(2) The third Gospel, on the contrary, does not mention any such angelic appearance to Joseph, but represents the angel as announcing the conception to Mary herself alone.(3) Justin's Memoirs know of the appearances both to Joseph and to Mary, but the words spoken by the angel on each occasion differ materially from those of both Gospels.(4) In this place, only one point, however, can be noticed. Justin describes the angel as saying to Mary: "'Behold, thou shalt conceive of the Holy Ghost, and shalt bear a son, and he shall be called the Son of the Highest, and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins,' as they taught who recorded everything that concerns our Saviour Jesus Christ."(5) Now this is a clear and direct quotation, but besides distinctly differing in form from our Gospels, it presents the important peculiarity that the words, "for he shall save his people from


their sins," are not, in Luke, addressed to Mary at all, but that they occur in the first Gospel in the address of the angel to Joseph.(1)

These words, however, are not accidentally inserted in this place, for we find that they are joined in the same manner to the address of the angel to Mary in the Protevangelium of James: "For the power of the Lord will overshadow thee; wherefore also that holy thing which is born of thee shall be called the Son of the Highest, and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins."(2) Tischendorf states his own opinion that this passage is a recollection of the Protevangelium unconsciously added by Justin to the account in Luke,(3) but the arbitrary nature of the limitation "unconsciously" (ohne dass er sich dessen bewusst war) here is evident. There is a point in connection with this which merits a moment's attention. In the text of the Protevangelium, edited by Tischendorf, the angel commences his address to Mary by saying: "Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favour before the Lord, and thou shalt conceive of his Word" [——]—].(4) Now Justin,

after quoting the passage above, continues to argue that the Spirit and the power of God must not be misunderstood to mean anything else than the Word, who is also the first born of God as the prophet Moses declared; and it was this which, when it came upon the Virgin and overshadowed her, caused


her to conceive.(1) The occurrence of the singular expression in the Protovangelium and the similar explanation of Justin immediately accompanying a variation from our Gospels, which is equally shared by the apocryphal work, strengthens the suspicion of a similarity of origin. Justin's divergences from the Protevangelium prevent our supposing that, in its present state, it could have been the actual source of his quotations, but the wide differences which exist between the extant MSS. of the Protevangelium show that even the most ancient does not present it in its original form. It is much more probable that Justin had before him a still older work, to which both the Protevangelium and the third Gospel were indebted.(2)

Justin's account of the removal of Joseph to Bethlehem is peculiar, and evidently is derived from a distinct un-canonical source. It may be well to present his account and that of Luke side by side:


Attention has already been drawn to the systematic manner in which the Davidic descent of Jesus is traced by Justin through Mary, and to the suppression in this passage of all that might seem to indicate a claim of descent through Joseph. As the continuation of a peculiar representation of the history of the infancy of Jesus, differing materially from that of the Synoptics, it is impossible to regard this, with its remarkable variations, as an arbitrary correction by Justin of the canonical text, and we must hold it to be derived from a different source, perhaps, indeed, one of those from which Luke's Gospel itself first drew the elements of the narrative, and this persuasion increases as further variations in the earlier history, presently to be considered, are taken into account. It is not necessary to enter into the question of the correctness of the date of this census, but it is evident that Justin's Memoirs clearly and deliberately modify the canonical narrative. The limitation of the census to Judĉa, instead of extending it to the whole Roman Empire; the designation of Cyrenius as [——]—] of Judaea instead of [——]—] of Syria; and the careful suppression of the Davidic element in connection with Joseph indicate a peculiar written source different from the Synoptics.(1)

Had Justin departed from the account in Luke with the view of correcting inaccurate statements, the matter might have seemed more consistent with the use of the third Gospel, although at the same time it might have evinced but little reverence for it as a canonical


work. On the contrary, however, the statements of Justin are still more inconsistent with history than those in Luke, inasmuch as, so far from being the first procurator of Judsea, as Justin's narrative states in opposition to the third Gospel, Cyrenius never held that office, but was really, later, the imperial proconsul over Syria, and as such, when Judaea became a Roman province after the banishment of Archelaus, had the power to enrol the inhabitants, and instituted Coponius as first Procurator of Judaea. Justin's statement involves the position that at one and the same time Herod was the King, and Cyrenius the Roman Procurator of Judsea.(1) In the same spirit, and departing from the usual narrative of the Synoptics, which couples the birth of Jesus with "the days of Herod the King," Justin in another place states that Christ was born "under Cyrenius."(2) Justin evidently adopts without criticism a narrative which he found in his Memoirs, and does not merely correct and remodel a passage of the third Gospel, but, on the contrary, seems altogether ignorant of it.(3)

The genealogies of Jesus in the first and third Gospels differ irreconcileably from each other. Justin differs from both. In this passage another discrepancy arises. While Luke seems to represent Nazareth as the dwelling-place of Joseph and Mary, and Bethlehem as the city to which they went solely on account of the census,(4)


Matthew, who seems to know nothing of the census, makes Bethlehem, on the contrary, the place of residence of Joseph,(1) and on coming back from Egypt, with the evident intention of returning to Bethlehem, Joseph is warned by a dream to turn aside into Galilee, and he goes and dwells, apparently for the first time, "in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets: He shall be called a Nazarene."(2) Justin, however, goes still further than the third Gospel in his departure from the data of Matthew, and where Luke merely infers, Justin distinctly asserts Nazareth to have been the dwelling-place of Joseph [——]—], and Bethlehem, in contradistinction, the place from which he derived his origin [——]—].3

The same view is to be found in several apocryphal Gospels still extant. In the Protevangelium of James again, we find Joseph journeying to Bethlehem with Mary before the birth of Jesus.(4) The census here is ordered by Augustus, who commands: "That all who were in Bethlehem of Judeĉ, should be enrolled."(5) a limitation worthy of notice in comparison with that of Justin. In like manner the Gospel of the Nativity. This Gospel represents the parents of Mary as living in Nazareth, in


which place she was born,(1) and it is here that the Angel Gabriel announces to her the supernatural conception.(2) Joseph goes to Bethlehem to set his house in order and prepare what is necessary for the marriage, but then returns to Nazareth, where he remains with Mary until her time was nearly accomplished,(3) "when Joseph having taken his wife with whatever else was necessary went to the city of Bethlehem, whence he was."(4) The phrase "unde ipse erat" recalls the [——]—] of Justin.(6) As we continue the narrative of the birth and infancy of Jesus, we meet with further variations from the account in the canonical Gospels for which the preceding have prepared us, and which indicate that Justin's Memorials certainly differed from them:


At least it is clear that these particulars of the birth of Jesus,—not taking place in Bethlehem itself but in a cave [——]—] near the village, because Joseph could not find a lodging there,—are not derived from our Gospels, and here even Scmisch(1) is forced to abandon his theory that Justin's variations arise merely from imperfectly quoting from memory, and to conjecture that he must have adopted tradition. It has, however, been shown that Justin himself distinctly excludes tradition, and in this case, moreover, there are many special reasons for believing that he quotes from a written source. Ewald rightly points out that here, and in other passages where, in common with ancient ecclesiastical writers, Justin departs from our Gospels, the variation can in no way be referred to oral tradition;(2) and, moreover, that when Justin proves(3) from Isaiah xxxiii. 16, that Christ must be born in a cave, he thereby shows how certainly he found the fact of the cave in his written Gospel.(4) The whole argument of Justin excludes the idea that he could avail himself of mere tradition. He maintains that everything which the prophets had foretold of Christ had actually been fulfilled, and he perpetually refers to the Memoirs and other written documents for the verification of his assertions. He either refers to the prophets for the confirmation of the Memoirs, or shows in the


Memoirs the narrative of facts which are the accomplishment of prophecies, but in both cases it is manifest that there must have been a record of the facts which he mentions. There can be no doubt that the circumstances we have just quoted, and which are not found in the canonical Gospels, must have been narrated in Justin's Memoirs.

We find, again, the same variations as in Justin in several extant apocryphal Gospels. The Protevangelium of James represents the birth of Jesus as taking place in a cave;(1) so also the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy,(2) and several others.(3) This uncanonical detail is also mentioned by several of the Fathers, Origen and Eusebius both stating that the cave and the manger were still shown in their day.(4) Teschendorf does not hesitate to affirm that Justin derived this circumstance from the Protevangelium.(5) Justin, however, does not distinguish such a source; and the mere fact that we have a form of that Gospel, in which it occurs, still extant, by no means justifies such a specific conclusion, when so many other works, now lost, may equally have contained


it. If the fact be derived from the Protevangelium, that work, or whatever other apocryphal Gospel may have supplied it, must be admitted to have at least formed part of the Memoirs of the Apostles, and with that necessary admission ends all special identification of the Memoirs with our canonical Gospels. Much more probably, however, Justin quotes from the more ancient source from which the Protevangelium and, perhaps, Luke drew their narrative.(1) There can be very little doubt that the Gospel according to the Hebrews contained an account of the birth in Bethlehem, and as it is, at least, certain that Justin quotes other particulars known to have been in it, there is fair reason to suppose that he likewise found this fact in that work.(2) In any case it is indisputable that he derived it from a source different from our canonical Gospels.(3)

Justin does not apparently know anything of the episode of the shepherds of the plain, and the angelic appearance to them, narrated in the third Gospel.(4)

To the cave in which the infant Jesus is born came the Magi, but instead of employing the phrase used by the first Gospel, "Magi from the East,"(5) [——]—] Justin always describes them as "Magi from Arabia," [——]—]. Justin is so punctilious that he


never speaks of these Magi without adding "from Arabia," except twice, where, however, he immediately mentions Arabia as the point of the argument for which they are introduced; and in the same chapter in which this occurs he four times calls them directly Magi from Arabia.(1) He uses this expression not less than nine times.(2) That he had no objection to the term "the East," and that with a different context it was common to his vocabulary, is proved by his use of it elsewhere.(3) It is impossible to resist the conviction that Justin's Memoirs contained the phrase "Magi from Arabia," which is foreign to our Gospels.(4)

Again, according to Justin, the Magi see the star "in heaven" [——]—],(5) and not "in the East" [——]—] as the first Gospel has it:(6) "When a star rose in heaven [——]—] at the time of his birth as is recorded in the Memoirs of the Apostle."(7) He apparently knows nothing of the star guiding them to the place where the young child was.(8) Herod, moreover, questions the elders [——]—](9) as to the place where the Christ should be born, and not the "chief priests and scribes of the people" [——]—].(10) These divergences, taken in connection with those which are interwoven with the whole narrative of the birth, can only proceed from the fact that Justin quotes from a source different from ours.(11)

Justin relates that when Jesus came to Jordan he was


believed to be the son of Joseph the carpenter, and he appeared without comeliness, as the Scriptures announced; "and being considered a carpenter,—for, when he was amongst men, he made carpenter's works, ploughs and yokes [——]—]; by these both teaching the symbols of righteousness and an active life."(1) These details are foreign to the canonical Gospels. Mark has the expression: "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary? "(2) but Luke omits it altogether.(3) The idea that the Son of God should do carpenter's work on earth was very displeasing to many Christians, and attempts to get rid of the obnoxious phrase are evident in Mark. Apparently the copy which Origen used had omitted even the modified phrase, for he declares that Jesus himself is nowhere called a carpenter in the Gospels current in the Church.(4) A few MSS. still extant are without it, although it is found in all the more ancient Codices.

Traces of these details are found in several apocryphal works, especially in the Gospel of Thomas, where it is said: "Now his father was a carpenter and made at that time ploughs and yokes" [——]—](5), an account which, from the similarity of language, was in all


probability derived from the same source as that of Justin. The explanation which Justin adds: "by which he taught the symbols of righteousness and an active life," seems to indicate that he refers to a written narrative containing the detail, already, perhaps, falling into sufficient disfavour to require the aid of symbolical interpretation. In the narrative of the baptism there are many peculiarities which prove that Justin did not derive it from our Gospels. Thrice he speaks of John sitting by the river Jordan: "He cried as he sat by the river Jordan;"(1( "While he still sat by the river Jordan;"(2) and "For when John sat by the Jordan."(3) This peculiar expression so frequently repeated must have been derived from a written Gospel.(4) Then Justin, in proving that Jesus predicted his second coming and the re-appearance of Elijah, states: "And therefore our Lord in his teaching announced that this should take place, saying Elias also should come" [——]—]. A little lower down he again expressly quotes the words of Jesus: "For which reason our Christ declared on earth to those who asserted that Elias must come before Christ: Elias, indeed, shall come," &c. [——]—].(5)

Matthew, however, reads: "Elias indeed cometh," [——]—].(6) Now there is no version in which [——]—] is substituted for [——]—] as Justin does, but, as Credner has pointed out,(7) the whole weight of Justin's argument lies in the use of the future tense. As there are so many other variations


in Justin's context, this likewise appears to be derived from a source different from our Gospels.(1)

When Jesus goes to be baptized by John many-striking peculiarities occur in Justin's narrative: "As Jesus went down to the water, a fire also was kindled in the Jordan; and when he came up from the water, the Holy Spirit like a dove fell upon him, as the apostles of this very Christ of ours wrote... and at the same time a voice came from the heavens... Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee."(2)

The incident of the fire in Jordan is of course quite foreign to our Gospels, and further the words spoken by the heavenly voice differ from those reported by them, for instead of the passage from Psalm ii. 7, the Gospels have: "Thou art my beloved son; in thee I am well pleased."(3) Justin repeats his version a second time in the same chapter, and again elsewhere he says regarding the temptation: "For this devil also at the time when he (Jesus) went up from the river Jordan, when the voice declared to him: 'Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee,' it is written in the Memoirs of the Apostles, came to him and tempted him," &c.(4)

In both of these passages, it will be perceived that Justin directly refers to the Memoirs of the Apostles as the source of his statements. Some have argued that


Justin only appeals to them for the fact of the descent of the Holy Ghost, and not for the rest of the narrative.(1) It has of course been felt that, if it can be shown that Justin quotes from the Memoirs words and circumstances which are not to be found in our canonical Gospels, the identity of the two can no longer be maintained. It is, however, in the highest degree arbitrary to affirm that Justin intends to limit his appeal to the testimony of the apostles to one-half of his sentence. To quote authority for one assertion and to leave another in the same sentence, closely connected with it and part indeed of the very same narrative, not only unsupported, but indeed weakened by direct exclusion, would indeed be singular, for Justin affirms with equal directness and confidence the fact of the fire in Jordan, the descent of the Holy Ghost, and the words spoken by the heavenly voice. If in the strictest grammatical accuracy there may be no absolute necessity to include in that which the Apostles wrote more than the phrase immediately preceding, there is not, on the other hand, anything which requires or warrants the exclusion of the former part of the sentence. The matter must therefore be decided according to fair inference and reasonable probability, and not to suit any foregone conclusion, and these as well as all the evidence concerning Justin's use of the Memoirs irresistibly point to the conclusion that the whole passage is derived from one source. In the second extract given above, it is perfectly clear that the words spoken by the heavenly voice, which Justin again quotes, and which are not in our Gospels, were recorded in the Memoirs, for Justin could


not have referred to them for an account of the temptation at the time when Jesus went up from Jordan and the voice said to him: "Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee," if these facts and words were not recorded in them at all.(1) It is impossible to doubt, after impartial consideration, that the incident of the fire in Jordan, the words spoken by the voice from heaven, and the temptation were taken from the same source: they must collectively be referred to the Memoirs.(2)

Of one thing we may be sure: had Justin known the form of words used by the voice from heaven according to our Gospels, he would certainly have made use of it in preference to that which he actually found in his Memoirs. He is arguing that Christ is preexisting God, become incarnate by God's will through the Virgin Mary, and Trypho demands how he can be demonstrated to have been pre-existent, who is said to be filled with the power of the Holy Ghost, as though he had required this, Justin replies that these powers of the Spirit have come upon him not because he had need of them, but because they would accomplish Scripture, which declared that after him there should be no prophet.(3) The proof of this, he continues, is that, as soon as the child was born, the Magi from Arabia came to worship him, because even at his birth he was in possession of his power,(4) and after he had grown up like other men by the use of suitable means, he came to


the river Jordan where John was baptizing, and as he went into the water a fire was kindled in the Jordan, and the Holy Ghost descended like a dove. He did not go to the river because he had any need of baptism or of the descent of the Spirit, but because of the human race which had fallen under the power of death. Now if, instead of the passage actually cited, Justin could have quoted the words addressed to Jesus by the voice from heaven according to the Gospels: "Thou art my beloved son; in thee I am well pleased," his argument would have been greatly strengthened by such direct recognition of an already existing, and, as he affirmed, pre-existent divinity in Jesus. Not having these words in his Memoirs of the Apostles, however, he was obliged to be content with those which he found there: "Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee;"—words which, in fact, in themselves destroyed the argument for pre-existence, and dated the divine begetting of Jesus as the son of God that very day. The passage, indeed, supported those who actually asserted that the Holy Ghost first entered into Jesus at his baptism. These considerations, and the repeated quotation of the same words in the same form, make it clear that Justin quotes from a source different from our Gospel.(1)

In the scanty fragments of the "Gospel according to the Hebrews" which have been preserved, we find both the incident of the fire kindled in Jordan and the words


of the heavenly voice as quoted by Justin. "And as he went up from the water, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Holy Spirit of God in the form of a dove which came down and entered into him. And a voice came from heaven saying: 'Thou art my beloved son; in thee I am well pleased;' and again: 'This day have I begotten thee.' And immediately a great light shone round about the place."(1) Epiphanius extracts this passage from the version in use amongst the Ebionites, but it is well known that there were many other varying forms of the same Gospel; and Hilgenfeld,(2) with all probability, conjectures that the version known to Epiphanius was no longer in the same purity as that used by Justin, but represents the transition stage to the Canonical Gospels,—adopting the words of the voice which they give without yet discarding the older form. Jerome gives another form of the words from the version in use amongst the Nazarenes: "Factum est autem cum ascendisset Dominus de aqua, descendit fons omnis Spiritus Sancti et requievit super eum, et dixit illi: Fili mi, in omnibus Prophetis expectabam te ut venires et requiescerem in te, tu es enim requies mea, tu es filius meus primo-genitus qui regnas in sempiternum."(3) This supports Justin's reading. Regarding the Gospel according to the Hebrews more must be said hereafter, but when it is remembered that Justin, a native of Samaria, probably first knew Christianity through believers in Syria to whose Jewish view of Christianity he all his


life adhered, and that these Christians almost exclusively used this Gospel(1) under various forms and names, it is reasonable to suppose that he also like them knew and made use of it, a supposition increased almost to certainty when it is found that Justin quotes words and facts foreign to the Canonical Gospels which are known to have been contained in it. The argument of Justin that Jesus did not need baptism may also be compared to another passage of the Gospel according to the Hebrews preserved by Jerome, and which preceded the circumstances narrated above, in which the mother and brethren of Jesus say to him that John the Baptist is baptizing for the remission of sins, and propose that they should go to be baptized by him. Jesus replies, "In what way have I sinned that I should go and be baptized by him?"(2) The most competent critics agree that Justin derived the incidents of the fire in Jordan and the words spoken by the heavenly voice from the Gospel according to the Hebrews or some kindred work,(3) and there is every probability that the numerous other quotations in his works differing from our Gospels are taken from the same source.

The incident of the fire in Jordan likewise occurs in the ancient work "Prĉdicatio Pauli,"(4) coupled with a


context which forcibly recalls the passage of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, which has just been quoted, and apparent allusions to it are found in the Sibylline Books and early Christian literature.(1) Credner has pointed out that the marked use which was made of fire or lights at Baptism by the Church, during early times, probably rose out of this tradition regarding the fire which appeared in Jordan at the baptism of Jesus.(2) The peculiar form of words used by the heavenly voice according to Justin and to the Gospel according to the Hebrews was also known to several of the Fathers.(3) Augustine mentions that some MSS. in his time contained that reading in Luke iii. 22, although without the confirmation of more ancient Greek codices.(4) It is still extant in the Codex Bezĉ (D). The Itala version adds to Matthew iii. 15: "and when he was baptized a great light shone round from the water, so that all who had come were afraid" (et cum baptizaretur, lumen ingens circumfulsit de aqua, ita ut timerent omnes qui advenerant); and again at Luke iii. 22 it gives the words of the voice in a form agreeing at least in sense with those which Justin found in his Memoirs of the Apostles.


These circumstances point with certainty to an earlier original corresponding with Justin, in all probability the Gospel according to the Hebrews, and to the subsequent gradual elimination of the passage from the Gospels finally adopted by the Church for dogmatic reasons, as various sects based on the words doctrines which were at variance with the ever-enlarging belief of the majority.(1)

Then Justin states that the men of his time asserted that the miracles of Jesus were performed by magical art [——]—], "for they ventured to call him a magician and deceiver of the people."(2) This cannot be accepted as a mere version of the charge that Jesus cast out demons by Beelzebub, but must have been found by Justin in his Memoirs.(3) In the Gospel of Nicodemus or Acta Pilati, the Jews accuse Jesus before Pilate of being a magician,(4) coupled with the assertion that he casts out demons through Beelzebub the prince of the demons; and again they simply say: "Did we not tell thee that he is a magician?"(5) We shall presently see that Justin actually refers to certain acts of Pontius Pilate in justification of other assertions regarding the trial of Jesus.(6) In the Clementine Recognitions, moreover, the same charge is made by one of the Scribes, who says that Jesus did not perform his miracles as a prophet, but as a magician.(7)


Oelsus makes a similar charge,(1) and Lactantius refers to such an opinion as prevalent among the Jews at the time of Jesus,(2) which we find confirmed by many passages in Talmudic literature.(3) There was indeed a book called "Magia Jesu Christi," of which Jesus himself, it was pretended, was the author.(4)

In speaking of the trial of Jesus, Justin says: "For also as the prophet saith, they reviled him and set him on the judgment seat and said: Judge for us,"(5) a peculiarity which is not found in the Canonical Gospels. Justin had just quoted the words of Isaiah (lxv. 2, lviii. 2)... "They now ask of me judgment and dare to draw nigh to God," and then he cites Psalm xxii. 16, 22: "They pierced my hands and my feet, and upon my vesture they cast lots." He says that this did not happen to David, but was fulfilled in Christ, and the expression regarding the piercing the hands and feet referred to the nails of the cross which were driven through his hands and feet. And after he was crucified they cast lots upon his vesture. "And that these things occurred," he continues, "you may learn from the Acts drawn up under Pontius Pilate."(6) He likewise upon another occasion refers to the same Acta for confirmation of statements.(7) The Gospel of Nicodemus or Gesta


Pilati, now extant, does not contain the circumstance to which we are now referring, but in contradiction to the statement in the fourth Gospel (xviii. 28, 29) the Jews in this apocryphal work freely go into the very judgment seat of Pilate.(1) Teschendorf maintains that the first part of the Gospel of Nicodemus, or Acta Pilati, still extant, is the work, with more or less of interpolation, which, existing in the second century, is referred to by Justin.(2) A few reasons may here be given against such a conclusion. The fact of Jesus being set upon the judgment seat is not contained in the extant Acta Pilati at all, and therefore this work does not correspond with Justin's statement. It seems most unreasonable to suppose that Justin should seriously refer Roman Emperors to a work of this description, so manifestly composed by a Christian, and the Acta to which he directs them must have been a presumed official document, to which they had access, as of course no other evidence could be of any weight with them.(3) The extant work neither pretends to be, nor has in the slightest degree the form of, an official report. Moreover, the prologue attached to it distinctly states that Ananias, a provincial warden in the reign of Flavius Theodosius (towards the middle of the fifth century), found these Acts written in Hebrew by Nicodemus, and that he translated them into Greek.(4) The work itself, therefore, only pretends to be a private composition in Hebrew, and does not claim any relation to Pontius Pilate. The Greek is very corrupt and


degraded, and considerations of style alone would assign it to the fifth century, as would still more imperatively the anachronisms with which it abounds.1 Tischendorf considers that Tertullian refers to the same work as Justin, but it is evident that he infers an official report, for he says distinctly, after narrating the circumstances of the crucifixion and resurrection: "All these facts regarding Christ, Pilate.... reported to the reigning Emperor Tiberius."(3) It is extremely probable that in saying this Tertullian merely extended the statement of Justin. He nowhere states that he himself had seen this report, nor does Justin, and as is the case with the latter, some of the facts which Tertullian supposes to be reported by Pilate are not contained in the apocryphal work.(3) There are still extant some apocryphal writings in the form of official reports made by Pilate of the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus,(4) but none are of very ancient date. It is certain that, on the supposition that Pilate may have made an official report of events so important in their estimation, Christian writers; with greater zeal than conscience, composed fictitious reports in his name, in the supposed interest of their religion, and there was in that day little or no critical sense to detect and discredit such forgeries. There is absolutely no evidence to show that Justin was acquainted with any official report of Pilate to the Roman Emperor, nor indeed is it easy to understand how he could possibly have been, even if such a document existed, and it is most probable, as


Scholten conjectures, that Justin merely referred to documents which tradition supposed to have been written, but of which he himself had no personal knowledge.(1) Be this as it may, as he considered the incident of the judgment seat a fulfilment of prophecy, there can be little or no doubt that it was narrated in the Memoirs which contained "everything relating to Jesus Christ," and finding it there he all the more naturally assumed that it must have been mentioned in any official report.

In narrating the agony in the Garden, there are further variations. Justin says: "And the passage: 'All my bones are poured out and dispersed like water; my heart has become like wax melting in the midst of my belly,' was a prediction of that which occurred to him that night when they came out against him to the Mount of Olives to seize him. For in the Memoirs composed, I say, by his Apostles and their followers, it is recorded that his sweat fell down like drops while he prayed, saying: 'If possible, let this cup pass.'"(2) It will be observed that this is a direct quotation from the Memoirs, but there is a material difference from our Gospels. Luke is the only Gospel which mentions the bloody sweat, and there the account reads (xxii. 44), "as it were drops of blood falling down to the ground."



In addition to the other linguistic differences Justin omits the emphatic [——]—] which gives the whole point to Luke's account, and which evidently could not have been in the text of the Memoirs. Semisch argues that [——]—] alone, especially in medical phraseology, meant


"drops of blood," without the addition of [——]—];(l) but the author of the third Gospel did not think so, and undeniably makes use of both, and Justin does not. Moreover, Luke introduces the expression [——]—] to show the intensity of the agony, whereas Justin evidently did not mean to express "drops of blood" at all, his intention in referring to the sweat being to show that the prophecy: "All my bones are poured out, &c, like water," had been fulfilled, with which the reading in his Memoirs more closely corresponded. The prayer also so directly quoted decidedly varies from Luke xxii. 42, which reads: "Father, if thou be willing to remove this cup from me ":



In Matthew xxvi. 39 this part of the prayer is more like the reading of Justin: "Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me "—[——]—] but that Gospel has nothing of the sweat of agony, which excludes it from consideration. In another place Justin also quotes the prayer in the Garden as follows: "He prayed, saying: 'Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me;' and besides this, praying, he said: 'Not as I wish, but as thou willest.'"(2) The first phrase in this place, apart from some transposition of words, agrees with Matthew; but even if this reading be preferred of the two, the absence of the incident of the sweat of agony from the first Gospel renders it impossible to regard it as the source; and, further, the second part of the prayer which is here


given differs materially both from the first and third Gospels.


The two parts of this prayer, moreover, seem to have been separate in the Memoirs, for not only does Justin not quote the latter portion at all in Dial. 103, but here he markedly divides it from the former. Justin knows nothing of the episode of the Angel who strengthens Jesus, which is related in Luke xxii. 43. There is, however, a still more important point to mention: that although verses 43, 44 with the incidents of the angel and the bloody sweat are certainly in a great number of MSS., they are omitted by some of the oldest Codices, as for instance by the Alexandrian and Vatican MSS.(1) It is evident that in this part Justin's Memoirs differed from our first and third Gospels much in the same way that they do from each other.

In the same chapter Justin states that when the Jews went out to the Mount of Olives to take Jesus, "there was not even a single man to run to his help as a guiltless person."(2) This is in direct contradiction to all the Gospels,(3) and Justin not only completely ignores the episode of the ear of Malchus, but in this passage

     1  In the Sinaitic Codex they are marked for omission by a
     later hand. Lachmann brackets, and Drs. Westcott and Hort
     double-bracket them. The MS. evidence may bo found in detail
     in Scrivener's Int. to Crit. N. T. 2nd ed. p. 521, stated in
     the way which is most favourable for the authenticity.


excludes it, and his Gospel could not have contained it.(1) Luke is specially marked in generalizing the resistance of those about Jesus to his capture: "When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him: Lord, shall we smite with the sword? And a certain one of them smote the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear."(2) As this episode follows immediately after the incident of the bloody sweat and prayer in the Garden, and the statement of Justin occurs in the very same chapter in which he refers to them, this contradiction further tends to confirm the conclusion that Justin employed a different Gospel.

It is quite in harmony with the same peculiar account that Justin states that, "after he (Jesus) was crucified, all his friends (the Apostles) stood aloof from him, having denied him(3).... (who, after he rose from the dead, and after they were convinced by himself that before his passion he had told them that he must suffer these things, and that they were foretold by the prophets, repented of their flight from him when he was crucified), and while remaining among them he sang praises to God, as is made evident in the Memoirs of the Apostles."(4) Justin, therefore, repeatedly asserts that after the crucifixion all the Apostles forsook him, and he extends the denial of Peter


to the whole of the twelve. It is impossible to consider this distinct and reiterated affirmation a mere extension of the passage: "they all forsook him and fled "[——]—],(1) when Jesus was arrested, which proceeded mainly from momentary fear.(2) Justin seems to indicate that the disciples withdrew from and denied Jesus when they saw him crucified, from doubts which consequently arose as to his Messianic character. Now, on the contrary, the Canonical Gospels represent the disciples as being together after the Crucifixion.(3) Justin does not exhibit any knowledge of the explanation given by the angels at the sepulchre as to Christ's having foretold all that had happened,(4) but makes this proceed from Jesus himself. Indeed, he makes no mention of these angels at all.

There are some traces elsewhere of the view that the disciples were offended after the Crucifixion.(5) Hilgenfeld points out the appearance of special Petrine tendency in this passage, in the fact that it is not Peter alone, but all the Apostles, who are said to deny their master; and he suggests that an indication of the source from which Justin quoted may be obtained from the kindred quotation in the Epistle to the Smyrnĉans (iii.) by pseudo-Ignatius:

"For I know that also after his resurrection he was in the flesh, and I believe that he is so now. And when he came to those that were with Peter, he said to them: Lay hold, handle me, and see that I am


not an incorporeal spirit. And immediately they touched him and believed, being convinced by his flesh and spirit." Jerome, it will be remembered, found this in the Gospel according to the Hebrews used by the Nazarenes, which he translated,(1) from which we have seen that Justin in all probability derived other particulars differing from the Canonical Gospels, and with which we shall constantly meet, in a similar way, in examining Justin's quotations. Origen also found it in a work called the "Doctrine of Peter" [——]—],(2) which must have been akin to the "Preaching of Peter" [——]—].(3) Hilgenfeld suggests that, in the absence of more certain information, there is no more probable source from which Justin may have derived his statement than the Gospel according to Peter, or the Gospel according to the Hebrews, which is known to have contained so much in the same spirit.(4)

It may well be expected that, at least in touching such serious matters as the Crucifixion and last words of Jesus, Justin must adhere with care to authentic records, and not fall into the faults of loose quotation from memory, free handling of texts, and careless omissions and additions, by which those who maintain the identity of the Memoirs with the Canonical Gospels seek to explain the systematic variations of Justin's quotations from the text of the latter. It will, however, be found that here also marked discrepancies occur. Justin says, after referring to numerous prophecies regarding the treatment of Christ: "And again, when he says: 'They spake with their lips, they wagged the head, saying: Let him


deliver himself.' That all these things happened to the Christ from the Jews, you can ascertain. For when he was being crucified they shot out the lips, and wagged their heads, saying: 'Let him who raised the dead deliver himself.'"(1) And in another place, referring to the same Psalm (xxii.) as a prediction of what was to happen to Jesus, Justin says: "For they who saw him crucified also wagged their heads, each one of them, and distorted [——]—] their lips, and sneeringly and in scornful irony repeated among themselves those words which are also written in the Memoirs of his Apostles: He declared himself the Son of God; (let him) come down, let him walk about; let God save him."(2) In both of these passages Justin directly appeals to written authority. The [——]—] may leave the source of the first uncertain,(3) but the second is distinctly stated to contain the actual words "written in the Memoirs of his Apostles," and it seems reasonable to suppose that the former passage is also derived from them. It is scarcely necessary to add that both differ very materially from the Canonical Gospels.(4) The taunt

     4  Canon Westcott admits that in the latter passage Justin
     does profess to give the exact words which were recorded in
     the Memoirs, and that they are not to be found in our
     Gospels; "but," he apologetically adds, "we do find these
     others so closely connected with them that few readers would
     feel the difference"! This is a specimen of apologetic
     criticism. Dr. Westcott goes on to say that as no MS. or
     Father known to him has preserved any reading more closely
     resembling Justin's, "if it appear not to be deducible from
     our Gospels, due allowance being made for the object which
     he had in view, its source) must remain concealed." On the
     Canon, p. 114 f. Cf. Matt, xxvii. 39—43; Mark xv. 29—32;
     Luke xxiii. 34—37.


contained in the first of these passages is altogether peculiar to Justin: "Let him who raised the dead deliver himself" [——]—];(1) and even if Justin did not himself indicate a written source, it would not be reasonable to suppose that he should himself for the first time record words to which he refers as the fulfilment of prophecy.(2) It would be still more ineffectual to endeavour to remove the difficulty presented by such a variation by attributing the words to tradition, at the same time that it is asserted that Justin's Memoirs were actually identical with the Gospels. No aberration of memory could account for such a variation, and it is impossible that Justin should prefer tradition regarding a form of words, so liable to error and alteration, with written Gospels within his reach. Besides, to argue that Justin affirmed that the truth of his statement could be ascertained [——]—], whilst the words which he states to have been spoken were not actually recorded, would be against all reason.

The second of the mocking speeches (3) of the lookers-on is referred distinctly to the Memoirs of the Apostles, but is also, with the accompanying description, foreign

     1 The nearest parallel in our Gospels is in Luke xxiii. 35.
     "He saved others, let him save himself if this man be the
     Christ of God, his chosen."    [——]—]

     3  Semisch argues that both forms are quotations of the same
     sentence, and that there is consequently a contradiction in
     the very quotations themselves; but there can be no doubt
     whatever that the two phrases are distinct parts of the
     mockery, and the very same separation and variation occur in
     each of the Canonical Gospels. Die ap. Denkw. Mart. Just.,
     p. 282; cf. Hilgenfeld, Die Ew. Justin's, p. 244.


to our Gospels. The nearest approach to it occurs in our first Gospel, and we subjoin both passages for comparison:


It is evident that Justin's version is quite distinct from this, and cannot have been taken from our Gospels,(2) although professedly derived from the Memoirs of the Apostles.

Justin likewise mentions the cry of Jesus on the Cross, "O God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" [——]—];(3) as a fulfilment of the words of the Psalm, which he quotes here, and elsewhere,(4) with the peculiar addition of the Septuagint version, "attend to me" [——]—], which, however, he omits when giving the cry of Jesus, thereby showing that he follows a written source which did not contain it, for the quotation of the Psalm, and of


the cry which is cited to show that it refers to Christ, immediately follow each other. He apparently knows nothing whatever of the Chaldaic cry, "Eli, Eli, lama sabacthani" of the Gospels.(1) The first and second Gospels give the words of the cry from the Chaldaic differently from Justin, from the version of the LXX., and from each other. Matthew xxvii. 46, [——]—] the third Gospel makes no mention at all of this cry, but instead has one altogether foreign to the other Gospels: "And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and said: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said this, he expired."(2) Justin has this cry also, and in the same form as the third Gospel. He says: "For when he (Jesus) was giving up his spirit on the cross, he said: 'Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit,' as I have also learned from the Memoirs."(3) Justin's Gospel, therefore, contained both cries, and as even the first two Synoptics mention a second cry of Jesus(4) without, however, giving the words, it is not surprising that other Gospels should have existed which included both. Even if we had no trace of this cry in any other ancient work, there would be no ground for asserting that Justin must have derived it from the third Gospel, for if there be any historical truth in the statement that these words were actually spoken by Jesus, it follows of course that they may have been, and probably were, reported in a dozen Christian writings now


no longer extent, and in all probability they existed in some of the many works referred to in the prologue to the third Gospel. Both cries, however, are given in the Gospel of Nieodemus, or Gesta Pilati, to which reference has already so frequently been made. In the Greek versions edited by Teschendorf we find only the form contained in Luke. In the Codex A, the passage reads: "And crying with a loud voice, Jesus said: Father, Baddach ephkid rouchi, that is, interpreted: 'into thy hands I commend my spirit;' and having said this he gave up the ghost."(l) In the Codex B, the text is: "Then Jesus having called out with a loud voice: 'Father, into thy hands will I commend my spirit,' expired."(2) In the ancient Latin version, however, both cries are given: "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Hely, Hely, lama zabacthani, which interpreted is: 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.' And after this, Jesus said: 'Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit': and saying this, he gave up the ghost."(3)

One of the Codices of the same apocryphal work likewise gives the taunting speeches of the Jews in a form more nearly approaching that of Justin's Memoirs


than any found in our Gospels. "And the Jews that stood and looked ridiculed him, and said: If thou saidst truly that thou art the Son of God, come down from the cross, and at once, that we may believe in thee. Others ridiculing, said: He saved others, he healed others, and restored the sick, the paralytic, lepers, demoniacs, the blind, the lame, the dead, and himself he cannot heal."(1) The fact that Justin actually refers to certain Acta Pilati in connection with the Crucifixion renders this coincidence all the more important. Other texts of this Gospel read: "And the Chief Priests, and the rulers with them, derided him, saying: He saved others, let him save himself; if he is the Son of God, let him come down from the cross."(2)

It is clear from the whole of Justin's treatment of the narrative, that he followed a Gospel adhering more closely than the Canonical to the Psalm xxii., but yet with peculiar variations from it. Our Gospels differ very much from each other; Justin's Memoirs of the Apostles in like manner differed from them. It had its characteristic features clearly and sharply defined. In this way his systematic variations are natural and perfectly intelligible, but they become totally inexplicable if it be supposed that, having our Gospels for his source, he thus

     2 Ev. Niood., Pars. I. A. x.; Tischendorf Ev. Apocr., p.
     232; cf. Thilo. Cod. Apocr. N. T., p. 584; Fabricius, Cod.
     Apocr. N. T., i. p. 259; Tiachendorf ib., p. 340. There are
     differences between all these texts—indeed there are
     scarcely two MSS. which agree—clearly indicating that wo
     have now nothing but corrupt versions of a more ancient


persistently and in so arbitrary a way ignored, modified, or contradicted their statements.

Upon two occasions Justin distinctly states that the Jews sent persons throughout the world to spread calumnies against Christians. "When you knew that he had risen from the dead, and ascended into heaven, as the prophets had foretold, not only did you (the Jews) not repent of the wickedness which you had committed, but at that time you selected and sent forth from Jerusalem throughout the land chosen men, saying that the atheistic heresy of the Christians had arisen/' &c.(1).... "from a certain Jesus, a Galilrean impostor, whom we crucified, but his disciples stole him by night from the tomb where he had been laid when he was unloosed from the cross, and they now deceive men, saying that he has risen from the dead and ascended into heaven."(2) This circumstance is not mentioned by our Gospels, but, reiterated twice by Justin in almost the same words, it was in all probability contained in the Memoirs. Eusebius quotes the passage from Justin, without comment, evidently on account of the information which it conveyed.

These instances, which, although far from complete, have already occupied too much of our space, show that Justin quotes from the Memoirs of the Apostles many statements and facts of Gospel history which are not only foreign to our Gospels, but in some cases contradictory to them, whilst the narrative of the most solemn events in the life of Jesus presents distinct and systematic variations from parallel passages in the Synoptic records.


It will now be necessary to compare his general quotations from the same Memoirs with the Canonical Gospels, and here a very wide field opens before us. As we have already stated, Justin's works teem with these quotations, and to take them all in detail would be impossible within the limits of this work. Such a course, moreover, is unnecessary. It may be broadly stated that even those who maintain the use of the Canonical Gospels can only point out two or three passages out of this vast array which verbally agree with them.(1) This extraordinary anomaly—on the supposition that Justin's Memoirs were in fact our Gospels—is, as we have mentioned, explained by the convenient hypothesis that Justin quotes imperfectly from memory, interweaves and modifies texts, and in short freely manipulates these Gospels according to his argument. Even strained to the uttermost, however, could this be accepted as a reasonable explanation of such systematic variation, that only twice or thrice out of the vast number of his quotations does he literally agree with passages in them? In order to illustrate the case with absolute impartiality we shall first take the instances brought forward as showing agreement with our Synoptic Gospels.

Teschendorf only cites two passages in support of his affirmation that Justin makes use of our first Gospel.(2) It might be supposed that, in selecting these, at least two might have been produced literally agreeing, but this is


not the case, and this may be taken as an illustration of the almost universal variation of Justin's quotations. The first of Teschendorf s examples is the supposed use of Matthew viii. 11, 12: "Many shall come from the east and from the west, and shall sit down," &c. [——]—]. Now this passage is repeated by Justin no less than three times in three very distinct parts of his Dialogue with Trypho,(1) with a uniform variation from the text of Matthew—They shall come from the west and from the east," &c. &c. [——]—](2) That a historical saying of Jesus

should be reproduced in many Gospels, and that no particular work can have any prescriptive right to it, must be admitted, so that even if the passage in Justin agreed literally with our first Synoptic, it would not afford any proof of the actual use of that Gospel; but when on the contrary Justin upon three several occasions, and at distinct intervals of time, repeats the passage with the same persistent variation from the reading in Matthew, not only can it not be ascribed to that Gospel, but there is reason to conclude that Justin derived it from another source. It may be added that [——]—] is anything but a word uncommon in the vocabulary of Justin, and that elsewhere, for instance, he twice quotes a passage similar to one in Matthew, in which, amongst other variations, he reads "Many shall come [——]—]," instead of the phrase found in that Gospel.(3)

The second example adduced by Tischendorf is the supposed quotation of Matthew xii. 39; but in order fully


to comprehend the nature of the affirmation, we quote the context of the Gospel and of Justin in parallel columns:—


Now it is clear that Justin here directly professes to quote from the Memoirs, and consequently that accuracy may be expected; but passing over the preliminary substitution of "some of your nation," for "certain of the scribes and Pharisees," although it recalls the "some of them," and "others," by which the parallel passage, otherwise so different, is introduced in Luke xi. 15, 16, 29 ff.,(1) the question of the Jews, which should be literal, is quite different from that of the first Gospel, whilst there are variations in the reply of Jesus, which, if not so important, are still undeniable. We cannot compare with the first Gospel the parallel passages in the second and third Gospels without recognizing that other works may have narrated the


same episode with similar variations, and whilst the distinct differences which exist totally exclude the affirmation that Justin quotes from Matthew, everything points to the conclusion that he makes use of another source. This is confirmed by another important circumstance. After enlarging during the remainder of the chapter upon the example of the people of Nineveh, Justin commences the next by returning to the answer of Jesus, and making the following statement: "And though all of your nation were acquainted with these things which occurred to Jonah, and Christ proclaimed among you, that he would give you the sign of Jonah, exhorting you at least after his resurrection from the dead to repent of your evil deeds, and like the Ninevites to supplicate God, that your nation and city might not be captured and destroyed as it has been destroyed; yet not only have you not repented on learning his resurrection from the dead, but as I have already said,(1) you sent chosen(2) and select men throughout all the world, proclaiming that an atheistic and impious heresy had arisen from a certain Jesus, a Galilaean impostor," &c. &c.(3) Now not only do our Gospels not mention this mission, as we have already pointed out, but they do not contain the exhortation to repent at least after the resurrection of Jesus here referred to, and which evidently must have formed part of the episode in the Memoirs.

Tischendorf does not produce any other instances of supposed quotations of Justin from Matthew, but rests his case upon these. As these are the best examples apparently which he can point out, we may judge of the


weakness of his argument. Do Wette divides the quotations of Justin which may be compared with our first and third Gospels into several categories. Regarding the first class, he says: "Some agree quite literally, which, however, is seldom: "(1) and under this head he can only collect three passages of Matthew and refer to one of Luke. Of the three from Matthew the first is that, viii. 11, 12,(2) also brought forward by Teschendorf, of which we have already disposed. The second is Matt. v. 20: "For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." A parallel passage to this exists in Dial. 105, a chapter in which there are several quotations not found in our Gospels at all, with the exception that the first words, "For I say unto you that," are not in Justin. We shall speak of this passage presently. De Wette's third passage is Matt. vii. 19: "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire," which, with the exception of one word, "but," at the commencement of the sentence in Justin, also agrees with his quotation.(3) In these two short passages there are no peculiarities specially pointing to the first Gospel as their source, and it cannot be too often repeated that the mere coincidence of short historical sayings in two works by no means warrants the conclusion that the one is dependent on the other. In order, however, to enable the reader to form a correct estimate of the value of the similarity of the two passages above noted, and also at the same time to examine a considerable body of evidence, selected with


evident impartiality, we propose to take all Justin's readings of the Sermon on the Mount, from which the above passages are taken, and compare them with our Gospels. This should furnish a fair test of the composition of the Memoirs of the Apostles.

Taking first, for the sake of continuity, the first Apology, we find that Chapters xv., xvi., xvii., are composed almost entirely of examples of what Jesus himself taught, introduced by the remark with which Chapter xiv. closes, that: "Brief and concise sentences were uttered by him, for he was not a sophist, but his word was the power of God."(1) It may broadly be affirmed that, with the exception of the few words quoted above by De Wette, not a single quotation of the words of Jesus in these three chapters agrees with the Canonical Gospels. We shall however confine ourselves at present to the Sermon on the Mount. We must mention that Justin's text is quite continuous, except where we have inserted asterisks. We subjoin Justin's quotations, together with' the parallel passages in our Gospels, side by side, for greater facility of comparison.(2)

     1  [——]—] How completely this description contradicts the
     representation of the fourth Gospel of the discourses of
     Jesus. It seems clearly to indicate that Justin had no
     knowledge of that Gospel.

     2  It need not be said that the variations between the
     quotations of Justin and the text of our Gospels must be
     looked for only in the Greek. For the sake of the reader
     unacquainted with Greok, however, we shall endeavour as far
     as possible to indicate in translation where differences
     exist, although this cannot of course be fully done, nor
     often, without being more literal than is desirable. Whore
     it is not necessary to amend the authorized version of the
     New Testament for the sake of more closely following the
     text, and marking differences from Justin, wo shall adopt
     it. We divide the quotations where desirable by initial
     letters, in order to assist reference at the end of our
     quotations from the Sermon on the Mount.



     4  Matt. v. 29, 30, it will be remembered, are repeated with
     some variation and also reversed in order, and with a
     totally different context, Matt, xviii. 8, 9. The latter
     verse, the Greek of the concluding part of which we give
     above, approximates more nearly in form to Justin's, but is
     still widely different. "And if thine eye ('right' omitted)
     offend thee pluck it out and cast it from theo; it is good
     for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having
     two eyes to be cast into hell fire." The sequence of Matt.
     v. 28, 29, points specially to it. The double occurrence of
     this passage, however, with a different context, and with
     the order reversed in Matthew, renders it almost certain
     that the two passages A. and B. were separate in the
     Memoirs. The reading of Mark ix. 47, is equally distinct
     from Justin's: And if thine eye offend thee cast it out
     [——]—]; it is good for thee [——]—] to enter into the kingdom
     of God [——]—] with one eye rather than having two eyes to
     be cast into hell, [——]—]





     1  In the first Gospel the subject breaks off at the end of
     v. 42. v. 40 may be compared with Justin's continuation, but
     it is fundamentally different. The parallel passages in Luke
     vi. 30, 34, present still greater variations. We have given
     vi. 34 above, as nearer Justin than Matt. v. 46. It will be
     remarked that to find a parallel for Justin's continuation,
     without break, of the subject, we must jump from Matt. v.
     42, 46, to vi. 19, 20.



1 This phrase, it will bo observed, is also introduced higher up in the passage, and its repetition in such a manner, with the same variations, emphatically demonstrates the unity of the whole quotation.

2 There is no parallel to this in the first Gospel. Matt. v. 48, is too remote in sense as well as language.

3 The first part of v. 45 is quite different from the context in Justin: "That ye may be sons of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh," &c, &c.

















We have taken the whole of Justin's quotations from the Sermon on the Mount not only because, adopting so large a test, there can be no suspicion that we select passages for any special purpose, but also because, on the contrary, amongst these quotations are more of the passages claimed as showing the use of our Gospels than any series which could have been selected. It will have been observed that most of the passages follow each other in unbroken sequence in Justin, for with the exception of a short break between y and 8 the whole extract down to the end of 0 is continuous, as indeed, after another brief interruption at the end of i, it is again to the close of the very long and remarkable passage k. With two exceptions, therefore, the whole of these quotations from the Sermon on the Mount occur consecutively in two succeeding chapters of Justin's first Apology, and one passage follows in the next chapter. Only a single passage comes from a distant part of the dialogue with Trypho. These passages are bound together by clear unity of idea and context, and as, where there is a separation of sentences in his Gospel, Justin clearly marks it by [——]—], there is every reason to decide that those quotations which are continuous in form and in argument were likewise consecutive in the Memoirs. Now the hypothesis that these quotations are from the


Canonical Gospels requires the assumption of the fact that Justin, with singular care, collected from distant and scattered portions of those Gospels a series of passages in close sequence to each other, forming a whole unknown to them but complete in itself, and yet, although this is carefully performed, he at the same time with the most systematic carelessness misquoted and materially altered almost every precept he professes to cite. The order of the Canonical Gospels is as entirely set at naught as their language is disregarded. As Hilgenfeld has pointed out, throughout the whole of this portion of his quotations the undeniable endeavour after accuracy, on the one hand, is in the most glaring contradiction with the monstrous carelessness on the other, if it be supposed that our Gospels are the source from which Justin quotes. Nothing is more improbable than the conjecture that he made use of the Canonical Gospels, and we must accept the conclusion that Justin quotes with substantial correctness the expressions in the order in which he found them in his peculiar Gospel.(1)

It is a most arbitrary proceeding to dissect a passage, quoted by Justin as a consecutive and harmonious whole, and finding parallels more or less approximate to its various phrases scattered up and down distant parts of our Gospels, scarcely one of which is not materially different from the reading of Justin, to assert that he is quoting these Gospels freely from memory, altering, excising, combining, and interweaving texts, and introverting their order, but nevertheless making use of them and not of others. It is perfectly obvious that such an assertion is nothing but the merest assumption. Our Synoptic Gospels themselves condemn


it utterly, for precisely similar differences of order and language exist in them and distinguish between them. Not only the language but the order of a quotation must have its due weight, and we have no right to dismember a passage and, discovering fragmentary parallels in various parts of the Gospels, to assert that it is compiled from them and not derived, as it stands, from another source.(1) As an illustration from our Gospels, let us for a moment suppose the "Gospel according to Luke" to have been lost, like the "Gospel according to the Hebrews" and so many others. In the works of one of the Fathers, we discover the following quotation from an unnamed evangelical work: "And he said unto them [——]—]: The harvest truly is great but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. Go your ways: [——]—] behold I send you forth as lambs [——]—] in the midst of wolves." Following the system adopted in regard to Justin, apologetic critics would of course maintain that this was a compilation from memory of passages quoted freely from our first Gospel, that is to say Matt. ix. 37. "Then saith he unto his disciples [——]—] the harvest," &c, and Matt. x. 16, "Behold I [——]—] send you forth as sheep [——]—] in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore," &c, which, with the differences which we have indicated, agree. It would probably be in vain

     1 For the arguments of apologetic criticism, the reader may
     be referred to Canon Westcott's work On the Canon, p. 112—
     139. Dr. Westcott does not, of course, deny the fact that
     Justin's quotations are different from the text of our
     Gospels, but he accounts for his variations ou grounds which
     seem to us purely imaginary. It is evident that, so long as
     there are such variations to be explained away, at least no
     proof of identity is possible.


to argue that the quotation indicated a continuous order, and the variations combined to confirm the probability of a different source, and still more so to point out that, although parts of the quotation separated from their context might to a certain extent correspond with scattered verses in the first Gospel, such a circumstance was no proof that the quotation was taken from that and from no other Gospel. The passage, however, is a literal quotation from Luke x. 2, 3, which, as we have assumed, had been lost.

Again, still supposing the third Gospel no longer extant, we might find the following quotation in a work of the Fathers: "Take heed to yourselves [——]—] of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy [——]—].

For there is nothing covered up [——]—] which shall not be revealed, and hid which shall not be known." It would of course be affirmed that this was evidently a combination of two verses of our first Gospel quoted almost literally, with merely a few very immaterial slips of memory in the parts we note, and the explanatory words "which is hypocrisy" introduced by the Father, and not a part of the quotation at all. The two verses are Matt. xvi. 6: "Beware and [——]—] take heed of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees" [——]—] and Matt. x. 26

.... "For [——]—] there is nothing covered [——]—] that shall not be revealed, and hid that shall not be known." The sentence would in fact be divided as in the case of Justin, and each part would have its parallel pointed out in separate portions of the Gospel. How wrong such a system is—and it is precisely that which is adopted with regard to Justin—is clearly established by the fact that the quotation,


instead of being such a combination, is simply taken from the Gospel according to Luke xii. 1, 2, as it stands. To give one more example, and such might easily be multiplied, if our second Gospel had been lost, and the following passage were met with in one of the Fathers without its source being indicated, what would be the argument of those who insist that Justin's quotations, though differing from our Gospels, were yet taken from them? "If any one have [——]—] ears to hear let him hear. And he said unto them: Take heed what [——]—] ye hear: with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you: and more shall be given unto you. For he [——]—] that hath to him shall be given, and he [——]—] that hath not from him shall be taken even that which he hath." Upon the principle on which Justin's quotations are treated, it would certainly be affirmed positively that this passage was a quotation from our first and third Gospels combined and made from memory. The exigencies of the occasion might probably cause the assertion to be made that the words: "And he said to them," really indicated a separation of the latter part of the quotation from the preceding, and that the Father thus showed that the passage was not consecutive; and as to the phrase: "and more shall be given unto you," that it was evidently an addition of the Father. The passage would be dissected, and its different members compared with scattered sentences, and declared almost literal quotations from the Canonical Gospels: Matt. xiii. 0. He that hath [——]—] ears to hear let him hear."(l) Luke viii. 18, "Take heed therefore how [——]—] ye hear." Matt. vii. 2... "with what measure ye


mete it shall be measured to you."(1) Matt. xiii. 12: "For whosoever [——]—] hath, to him shall be given (and he shall have abundance); but whosoever [——]—] hath not from him shall be taken even that which he hath." a In spite of these ingenious assertions, however, the quotation in reality is literally and consecutively taken from Mark iv. 23—25.

These examples may suffice to show that any argument which commences by the assumption that the order of a passage quoted may be entirely disregarded, and that it is sufficient to find parallels scattered irregularly up and down the Gospels to warrant the conclusion that the passage is compiled from them, and is not a consecutive quotation from some other source, is utterly unfounded and untenable. The supposition of a lost Gospel which has just been made to illustrate this argument is, however, not a mere supposition as applied to Justin but a fact, for we no longer have the Gospel according to Peter nor that according to the Hebrews, not to mention the numerous other works in use in the early Church. The instances we have given show the importance of the order as well as the language of Justin's quotations, and while they prove the impossibility of demonstrating that a consecutive passage which differs not only in language but in order from the parallels in our Gospels must be derived from them, they likewise prove the probability that such passages are actually quoted from a different source.

If we examine further, however, in the same way, quotations which differ merely in language, we arrive at the very same conclusion. Supposing the third Gospel to be lost, what would be the source assigned to the


following quotation from an unnamed Gospel in the work of one of the Fathers? "No servant [——]—] can serve two lords, for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." Of course the passage would be claimed as a quotation from memory of Matt. vi. 24, with which it perfectly corresponds with the exception of the addition of the second word [——]—], which, it would no doubt be argued, is an evident and very natural amplification of the simple [——]—] of the first Gospel. Yet this passage, only differing by the single word from Matthew, is a literal quotation from the Gospel according to Luke xvi. 13. Or, to take another instance, supposing the third Gospel to be lost, and the following passage quoted, from an unnamed source, by one of the Fathers: "Beware [——]—] of the Scribes which desire to walk in long robes, and love [——]—] greetings in the markets, and chief seats in the synagogues and uppermost places at feasts; which devour widows(1) houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation." This would without hesitation be declared a quotation from memory of Mark xii..38-40 ".... Beware [——]—] of the Scribes which desire to walk in long robes and greetings in the markets, and chief seats in the synagogues and uppermost places at feasts: which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive," &c. It is however a literal quotation of Luke xx. 46, 47; yet probably it would be in vain to submit to apologetic critics that possibly, not to say probably, the passage was not derived from Mark but from a lost Gospel. To quote one more instance, let us


suppose the "Gospel according to Mark" no longer extant, and that in some early work there existed the following quotation: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye [——]—] of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." This would of course be claimed as a quotation from memory of Matt. xix. 24,(1) with which it agrees with the exception of the substitution of [——]—] for the [——]—]. It would not the less have been an exact quotation from Mark x. 25.(2)

We have repeatedly pointed out that the actual agreement of any saying of Jesus, quoted by one of the early Fathers from an unnamed source, with a passage in our Gospels is by no means conclusive evidence that the quotation was actually derived from that Gospel. It must be apparent that literal agreement in reporting short and important sayings is not in itself so surprising as to constitute proof that, occurring in two histories, the one must have copied from the other. The only thing which is surprising is that such frequent inaccuracy should occur. When we add, however, the fact that most of the larger early evangelical works, including our Synoptic Gospels, must have been compiled out of the same original sources, and have been largely indebted to each other, the common possession of such sayings becomes


a matter of natural occurrence. Moreover, it must be admitted even by apologetic critics that, in a case of such vast importance as the report of sayings of Jesus, upon the verbal accuracy of which the most essential doctrines of Christianity depend, it cannot be considered strange if various Gospels report the same saying in the same words. Practically, the Synoptic Gospels differ in their reports a great deal more than is right or desirable; but we may take them as an illustration of the fact, that identity of passages, where the source is unnamed, by no means proves that such passages in a work of the early Fathers were derived from one Gospel, and not from any other. Let us suppose our first Gospel to have been lost, and the following quotation from an unnamed source to be found in an early work: "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." This being in literal agreement with Luke iii. 9, would certainly be declared by modern apologists conclusive proof that the Father was acquainted with that Gospel, and although the context in the work of the Father might for instance be: "Ye shall know them from their works, and every tree," &c, &c, and yet in the third Gospel, the context is: "And now also, the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: and every tree," &c, that would by no means give them pause. The explanation of combination of texts, and quotation from memory, is sufficiently elastic for every emergency. Now the words in question might in reality be a quotation from the lost Gospel according to Matthew, in which they twice occur, so that here is a passage which is literally repeated three times, Matthew iii. 10, vii. 19, and Luke iii 9. In Matthew iii. 10, and in the third Gospel, the words are part of a saying of John the


Baptist; whilst in Matthew vii. 19, they are given as part of the Sermon on the Mount, with a different context, This passage is actually quoted by Justin (k 8), with the context: "Ye shall know them from their works," which is different from that in any of the three places in which the words occur in our synoptics and, on the grounds we have clearly established, it cannot be considered in any case as necessarily a quotation from our Gospels, but, on the contrary, there are good reasons for the very opposite conclusion.

Another illustration of this may be given, by supposing the Gospel of Luke to be no longer extant, and the following sentence in one of the Fathers: "And ye shall be hated by all men, for my name's sake." These very words occur both in Matthew x. 22, and Mark xiii. 13, in both of which places there follow the words: "but he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved." There might here have been a doubt, as to whether the Father derived the words from the first or second Gospel, but they would have been ascribed either to the one or to the other, whilst in reality they were taken from a different work altogether, Luke xxi. 17. Here again, we have the same words in three Gospels. In how many more may not the same passage have been found? One more instance to conclude. The following passage might be quoted from an unnamed source by one of the Fathers: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." If the Gospel according to Mark were no longer extant, this would be claimed as a quotation either from Matthew xxiv. 35, or Luke xxi. 33, in both of which it occurs, but, notwithstanding, the Father might not have been acquainted with either of them, and simply have quoted from Mark


xiii. 31.1 And here again, the three Gospels contain the same passage without variation.

Now in all these cases, not only is the selection of the Gospel from which the quotation was actually taken completely an open question, since they all have it, but still more is the point uncertain, when it is considered that many other works may also have contained it, historical sayings being naturally common property. Does the agreement of the quotation with a passage which is equally found in the three Gospels prove the existence of all of them? and if not, how is the Gospel from which it was actually taken to be distinguished? If it be difficult to do so, how much more when the possibility and probability, demonstrated by the agreement of the three extant, that it might have formed part of a dozen other works is taken into account In the case of Justin, it is simply absurd and unreasonable, in the face of his persistent variation from our Gospels, to assert positively that his quotations are derived from them.

It must have been apparent to all that, throughout his quotation from the "Sermon on the Mount," Justin follows an order which is quite different from that in our Synoptic Gospels, and as might have been expected, the inference of a different source, which is naturally suggested by this variation in order, is more than confirmed by persistent and continuous variation in language. If it be true, that examples of confusion of quotation are to be found in the works of Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and other Fathers, it must at the same time be remembered, that these are quite exceptional, and we are


scarcely in a position to judge how far confusion of memory may not have arisen from reminiscences of other forms of evangelical expressions occurring in apocryphal works, with which we know the Fathers to have been well acquainted. The most vehement asserter of the identity of the Memoirs with our Gospels, however, must absolutely admit as a fact, explain it as he may, that variation from our Gospel readings is the general rule in Justin's quotations, and agreement with them the very rare exception.1 Now, such a phenomenon is elsewhere unparalleled in those times, when memory was more cultivated than with us in these days of cheap printed books, and it is unreasonable to charge Justin with such universal want of memory and carelessness about matters which he held so sacred, merely to support a foregone conclusion, when the recognition of a difference of source, indicated in every direction, is so much more simple, natural, and justifiable. It is argued that Justin's quotations from the Old Testament likewise present constant variation from the text. This is true to a considerable extent, but they are not so persistently inaccurate as the quotations we are examining, supposing them to be derived from our Gospels. This pica, however, is of no avail, for it is obvious that the employment of the Old Testament is not established merely by inaccurate citations; and it is quite undeniable that the use of certain historical documents out of many of closely similar, and in many parts probably identical, character cannot be proved by anonymous quotations differing from anything actually in these documents.

There are very many of the quotations of Justin which bear unmistakable marks of exactness and verbal


accuracy, but which yet differ materially from our Gospels, and most of his quotations from the Sermon on the Mount are of this kind. For instance, Justin introduces the passages which we have marked a, b, c, with the words: "He (Jesus) spoke thus of Chastity,"(l) and after giving the quotations, a, b, and c, the first two of which, although finding a parallel in two consecutive verses, Matthew v. 28, 29, are divided by the separating [——]—], and therefore do not appear to have been united in his Gospel, Justin continues: "Just as even those who with the sanction of human law contract a second marriage are sinners in the eye of our Master, so also are those who look upon a woman to lust after her. For not only he who actually commits adultery is rejected by him, but also he who desires to commit adultery, since not our acts alone are open before God, but also our thoughts."(2) Now it is perfectly clear that Justin here professes to give the actual words of Jesus, and then moralizes upon them; and both the quotation and his own subsequent paraphrase of it lose all their significance, if we suppose that Justin did not correctly quote in the first instance, but actually commences by altering the text.(3) These passages a, b, and c, however, have all marked and characteristic variations from the Gospel text, but as we have already shown, there is no reason for asserting that they are not accurate verbal quotations from another Gospel.


The passage 8 is likewise a professed quotation,(1) but not only does it differ in language, but it presents deliberate transpositions in order which clearly indicate that Justin's source was not our Gospels. The nearest parallels in our Gospels are found in Matthew v. 46, followed by 44. The same remarks apply to the next passage, which is introduced as a distinct quotation,(2) but which, like the rest, differs materially, linguistically and in order, from the canonical Gospels. The whole of the passage is consecutive, and excludes the explanation of a mere patchwork of passages loosely put together, and very imperfectly quoted from memory. Justin states that Jesus taught that we should communicate to those who need, and do nothing for vain glory, and he then gives the very words of Jesus in an unbroken and clearly continuous discourse. Christians are to give to all who ask, and not merely to those from whom they hope to receive again, which would be no new thing—even the publicans do that; but Christians must do more. They are not to lay up riches on earth, but in heaven, for it would not profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his soul; therefore, the Teacher a second time repeats the injunction that Christians should lay up treasures in heaven. If the unity of thought which binds this passage so closely together were not sufficient to prove that it stood in Justin's Gospel in the form and order in which he quotes it, the requisite evidence would be supplied by the repetition at its close of the injunction: "Lay up, therefore, in the heavens," &c. It is impossible that Justin should, through defect of memory, quote a second time in so short a passage the same injunction, if the passage were not thus appropriately terminated in


his Gospel. The common sense of the reader must at once perceive that it is impossible that Justin, professedly quoting words of Jesus, should thus deliberately fabricate a discourse rounded off by the repetition of one of its opening admonitions, with the addition of an argumentative "therefore." He must have found it so in the Gospel from which he quotes. Nothing indeed but the difficulty of explaining the marked variations presented by this passage, on the supposition that Justin must quote from our Gospels, could lead apologists to insinuate such a process of compilation, or question the consecutive character of this passage. The nearest parallels to the dismembered parts of this quotation, presenting everywhere serious variations, however, can only be found in the following passages in the order in which we cite them, Matthew v. 42, Luke vi. 34, Matthew vi. 19, 20, xvi. 26, and a repetition of part of vi. 20, with variations. Moreover, the expression: "What new thing do ye?" is quite peculiar to Justin. We have already met with it in the preceding section 8. "If ye love them which love you, what new thing do ye? for even," &c. Here, in the same verse, we have: "If ye lend to them from whom ye hope to receive, what new thing do ye? for even," &c. It is evident, both from its repetition and its distinct dogmatic view of Christianity as a new teaching in contrast to the old, that this variation cannot have been the result of defective memory, but must have been the reading of the Memoirs, and, in all probability, it was the original form of the teaching. Such antithetical treatment is clearly indicated in many parts of the Sermon on the Mount: for instance, Matthew v. 21, "Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old.... but I say unto you,' &c, cf. v. 33, 38, 43. It is certain that


the whole of the quotation E differs very materially from our Gospels, and there is every reason to believe that not only was the passage not derived from them, but that it was contained in the Memoirs of the Apostles substantially in the form and order in which Justin quotes it.(1)

The next passage (f)(2) is separated from the preceding merely by the usual [——]—] and it moves on to its close with the same continuity of thought and the same peculiarities of construction which characterize that which we have just considered. Christians are to be kind and merciful [——]—] to all as their Father is, who makes his sun to shine alike on the good and evil, and they need not be anxious about their own temporal necessities: what they shall eat and what put on; are they not better than the birds and beasts whom God feedeth? therefore, they are not to be careful about what they are to eat and what put on, for their heavenly Father knows they have need of these things; but they are to seek the kingdom of heaven, and all these things shall be added: for where the treasure is—the thing he seeks and is careful about—there will also be the mind of the man. In fact, the passage is a suitable continuation of c, inculcating, like it, abstraction from worldly cares and thoughts in reliance on the heavenly Father, and the mere fact that a separation is made where it is between the two passages c and £ shows further that each of those passages was complete in itself. There is absolutely no reason for the separating /cat, if these passages were a mere combination of scattered verses. This quotation, however, which is so consecutive in Justin, can only find distant parallels in passages widely divided throughout the Synoptic


Gospels, which have to be arranged in the following order: Luke vi. 36, Matt. v. 45, vi. 25, 26, 31, 32, 33, vi. 21, the whole of which present striking differences from Justin's quotation. The repetition of the injunction "be not careful" again with the illative "therefore" is quite in the spirit of E. This admonition: "Therefore, be not careful," &c, is reiterated no less than three times in the first Gospel (vi 25, 31, 34), and confirms the characteristic repetition of Justin's Gospel, which seems to have held a middle course between Matthew and Luke, the latter of which does not repeat the phrase, although the injunction is made a second time in more direct terms. The repetition of the passage: "Be ye kind and merciful," &c, in Dial. 96, with the same context and peculiarities, is a remarkable confirmation of the natural conclusion that Justin quotes the passage from a Gospel different from ours. The expression [——]—] thrice repeated by Justin himself, and supported by a similar duplication in the Clementine Homilies (iii. 57)(1) cannot possibly be an accidental departure from our Gospels.(2) For the rest it is undeniable that the whole passage £ differs materially both in order and language from our Gospels, from which it cannot without unwarrantable assumption be maintained to have been taken either collectively or in detail, and strong internal reasons lead us to conclude that it is quoted substantially as it stands from Justin's


Gospel, which must have been different from our Synoptics.(1)

In 6 again, we have an express quotation introduced by the words: "And regarding our being patient under injuries and ready to help all, and free from anger, this is what he said;" and then he proceeds to give the actual words.(2) At the close of the quotation he continues: "For we ought not to strive, neither would he have us be imitators of the wicked, but he has exhorted us by patience and gentleness to lead men from shame and the love of evil," &c., &c.(3) It is evident that these observations, which are a mere paraphrase of the text, indicate that the quotation itself is deliberate and precise. Justin professes first to quote the actual teaching of Jesus, and then makes his own comments; but if it be assumed that he began by concocting out of stray texts, altered to suit his purpose, a continuous discourse, the subsequent observations seem singularly useless and out of place. Although the passage forms a consecutive and harmonious discourse, the nearest parallels in our Gospels can only be found by uniting parts of the following scattered verses: Matthew v. 39, 40, 22, 41, 16. The Christian who is struck on one cheek is to turn the other, and not to resist those who would take away his cloak or coat; but if, on the contrary, he be angry, he is in danger of fire; if, then, he be compelled to go one mile, let him show his gentleness by going two, and thus let his good works shine before men that, seeing them, they may adore his Father which is in heaven. It is evident that the last two sentences, which find their parallels in Matt by putting v. 16 after 41, the former verse having


quite a different context in the Gospel, must have so followed each other in Justin's text. His purpose is to quote the teaching of Jesus, "regarding our being patient under injuries, and ready to help all and free from anger," but his quotation of "Let your good works shine before men," &c, has no direct reference to his subject, and it cannot reasonably be supposed that Justin would have selected it from a separate part of the Gospel. Coming as it no doubt did in his Memoirs in the order in which he quotes it, it is quite appropriate to his purpose. It is difficult, for instance, to imagine why Justin further omitted the injunction in the parallel passage, Matthew v. 39, "that ye resist not evil," when supposed to quote the rest of the verse, since his express object is to show that "we ought not to strive," &c. The whole quotation presents the same characteristics as those which we have already examined, and in its continuity of thought and wide variation from the parallels in our Gospels, both in order and language, we must recognize a different and peculiar source.(1)

The passage i, again, is professedly a literal quotation, for Justin prefaces it with the words: "And regarding our not swearing at all, but ever speaking the truth, he taught thus;" and having in these words actually stated what Jesus did teach, he proceeds to quote his very words.(2) In the quotation there is a clear departure from our Gospel, arising, not from accidental failure-of memory, but from difference of source. The parallel passages in our Gospels, so far as they exist at all, can only be found by taking part of Matthew v. 34 and joining it to v. 37, omitting the intermediate verses. The quotation in the


Epistle of James v. 12, which is evidently derived from a source different from Matthew, supports the reading of Justin. This, with the passage twice repeated in the Clementine Homilies in agreement with Justin, and, it may be added, the peculiar version found in early ecclesiastical writings,(1) all tend to confirm the belief that there existed a more ancient form of the injunction which Justin no doubt found in his Memoirs.(2) The precept, terse, simple, and direct, as it is here, is much more in accordance with Justin's own description of the teaching of Jesus, as he evidently found it in his Gospel, than the diffused version contained in the first Gospel, v. 33—37. Another remarkable and characteristic illustration of the peculiarity of Justin's Memoirs is presented by the long passage k, which is also throughout consecutive and bound together by clear unity of thought.(3) It is presented with the context: "For not those who merely make professions but those who do the works, as he (Jesus) said, shall be saved. For he spake thus." It does not, therefore, seem possible to indicate more clearly the deliberate intention to quote the exact expressions of Jesus, and yet not only do we find material difference from the language in the parallel passages in our Gospels, but those parallels, such as they are, can only be made by patching together the following verses in the order in


which we give them: Matt. vii. 21, Luke x. 16, Matt. vii. 22, 23, xiii. 42, 43, vii. 15, part of 16, 19. It will be remarked that the passage (k 2) Luke x. 16, is thrust in between two consecutive verses in Matthew, and taken from a totally different context as the nearest parallel to k 2 of Justin, although it is widely different from it, omitting altogether the most important words: "and doeth what I say." The repetition of the same phrase: "He that heareth me heareth him that sent me," in Apol. I, 63,(1) makes it certain that Justin accurately quotes his Gospel, whilst the omission of the words in that place: "and doeth what I say," evidently proceeds from the fact that they are an interruption of the phrase for which Justin makes the quotation, namely, to prove that Jesus is sent forth to reveal the Father.(2) It may be well to compare Justin's passage, k 1—4, with one occurring in the so-called Second Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, iv. "Let us not, therefore, only call him Lord, for that will not save us. For he saith: 'Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall be saved, but he that worketh righteousness.'... the Lord said: 'If ye be with me gathered together in my bosom, and do not my commandments, I will cast you off and say to you: Depart from me; I know you not, whence you are, workers of iniquity.'"(3) The expression [——]—] here strongly recalls the reading of Justin.(4) This passage, which is foreign to


our Gospels, at least shows the existence of others containing parallel discourses with distinct variations. Some of the quotations in this spurious Epistle are stated to be taken from the "Gospel according to the Egyptians,"(1) which was in all probability a version of the Gospel according to the Hebrews.(2) The variations which occur in Justin's repetition, in Dial 76, of his quotation k 3 are not important, because the more weighty departure from the Gospel in the words "did we not eat and drink in thy name," [——]—] is deliberately repeated,(3) and if, therefore, there be freedom of quotation it is free quotation not from the canonical, but from a different Gospel.(4) Origen's quotation(5) does not affect this conclusion, for the repetition of the phrase [——]—] has the form of the Gospel, and besides, which is much more important, we know that Origen was well acquainted with the Gospel according to the Hebrews and other apocryphal works from which this may have been a reminiscence.(6) We must add, moreover, that the passage in Dial 76 appears in connection with others widely differing from our Gospels. The passage k 5 not only materially varies from the parallel in Matt. xiii. 42, 43 in language but in connection of ideas.(7) Here also, upon examination, we must conclude that Justin quotes from a source different from our


Gospels, and moreover, that his Gospel gives with greater correctness the original form of the passage.(1) The weeping and gnashing of teeth are distinctly represented as the consequence when the wicked see the bliss of the righteous while they are sent into everlasting fire, and not as the mere characteristics of hell. It will be observed that the preceding passages k 3 and 4, find parallels to a certain extent in Matt. vii. 22,23, although Luke xiii. 26, 27, is in some respects closer to the reading of Justin k 5, however, finds no continuation of parallel in Matt, vii., from which the context comes, but we have to seek it in xiii. 42, 43. K 5, however, does find its continuing parallel in the next verse in Luke xiii. 28, where we have "There shall be (the) weeping and (the) gnashing of teeth when ye shall see Abraham," &c There is here, it is evident, the connection of ideas which is totally lacking in Matt. xiii. 42, 43, where the verses in question occur as the conclusion to the exposition of the Parable of the Tares. Now, although it is manifest that Luke xiii. 28, cannot possibly have been the source from which Justin quotes, still the opening words and the sequence of ideas demonstrate the great probability that other Gospels must have given, after k 4, a continuation which is wanting after Matt. vii. 23, but which is indicated in the parallel Luke xiii. (26, 27) 28, and is somewhat closely followed in Matt. xiii. 42, 43. When such a sequence is found in an avowed quotation from Justin's Gospel, it is certain that he must have found it there substantially as he quotes it. The passage k 6,(2) "For many shall arrive," &c, is a very important one, and it departs


emphatically from the parallel in our first Gospel. Instead of being, like the latter, a warning against false prophets, it is merely the announcement that many deceivers shall come. This passage is rendered more weighty by the fact that Justin repeats it with little variation in Dial. 35, and immediately after quotes a saying of Jesus of only five words which is not found in our Gospels, and then he repeats a quotation to the same effect in the shape of a warning: "Beware of false prophets," &c, like that in Matt. vii. 15, but still distinctly differing from it.(1) It is perfectly clear that Justin quotes two separate passages.(2) It is impossible that he could intend to repeat the same quotation at an interval of only five words; it is equally impossible that, having quoted it in the one form, he could so immediately quote it in the other through error of memory.(3) The simple and very natural conclusion is that he found both passages in his Gospel. The object for which he quotes would more than justify the quotation of both passages, the one referring to the many false Christians and the other to the false prophets of whom he is speaking. That two passages so closely related should be found in the same Gospel is not in the least singular. There are numerous instances of the same in our Synoptics.(4) The actual facts of the case then are these: Justin quotes in the Dialogue, with the same marked deviations from the


parallel in the Gospel, a passage quoted by him m the Apology, and after an interval of only five words he quotes a second passage to the same effect, though with very palpable difference in its character, which likewise differs from the Gospel, in company with other texts which still less find any parallels in the canonical Gospels. The two passages, by their differences, distinguish each other as separate, whilst, by their agreement in common variations from the parallel in Matthew, they declare their common origin from a special Gospel, a result still further made manifest by the agreement between the first passage in the Dialogue and the quotations in the Apology. In k 7,(1) Justin's Gospel substitutes [——]—] for [——]—], and is quite in the spirit of the passage O, "Ye shall know them from their works" is the natural reading. The Gospel version clearly introduces "fruit" prematurely, and weakens the force of the contrast which follows. It will be observed, moreover, that in order to find a parallel to Justin's passage k 7, 8, only the first part of Matt. vii. 16, is taken, and the thread is only caught again at vii. 19, k 8 being one of the two passages indicated by de Wette which we are considering, and it agrees with Matt. vii. 19, with the exception of the single word [——]—]. We must again point out, however, that this passage in Matt. vii. 19, is repeated no less than three times in our Gospels, a second time in Matt iii. 10, and once in Luke iii. 19. Upon two occasions it is placed in the mouth of John the Baptist, and forms the second portion of a sentence the whole of which is found in literal agreement both in Matt. iii. 10, and Luke iii. 9, "But now the axe is laid unto the root of the trees, therefore every tree," &c, &c.


The passage pointed out by de Wette as the parallel to Justin's anonymous quotation, Matt. vii. 19—a selection which is of course obligatory from the context—is itself a mere quotation by Jesus of part of the saying of the Baptist, presenting, therefore, double probability of being well known; and as we have three instances of its literal reproduction in the Synoptics, it would indeed be arbitrary to affirm that it was not likewise given literally in other Gospels.

The passage X(1) is very emphatically given as a literal quotation of the words of Jesus, for Justin cites it directly to authenticate his own statements of Christian belief He says: "But if you disregard us both when we entreat, and when we set all things openly before you, we shall not suffer loss, believing, or rather being fully persuaded, that every one will be punished by eternal fire according to the desert of his deeds, and in proportion to the faculties which he received from God will his account be required, as Christ declared when he said: To whom God gave more, of him shall more also be demanded again." This quotation has no parallel in the first Gospel, but we add it here as part of the Sermon on the Mount. The passage in Luke xii. 48, it will be perceived, presents distinct variation from it, and that Gospel cannot for a moment be maintained as the source of Justin's quotation.

The last passage, ft,2 is one of those advanced by de Wette which led to this examination.(3) It is likewise clearly a quotation, but as we have already shown, its agreement with Matt v. 20, is no evidence that it was actually derived from that Gospel. Occurring as it does as one of numerous quotations from the Sermon on the Mount, whose general variation both in order and


language from the parallels in our Gospel points to the inevitable conclusion that Justin derived them from a different source, there is no reason for supposing that this sentence also did not come from the same Gospel.

No one who has attentively considered the whole of these passages from the Sermon on the Mount, and still less those who are aware of the general rule of variation in his mass of quotations as compared with parallels in our Gospels, can fail to be struck by the systematic departure from the order and language of the Synoptics. The hypothesis that they are quotations from our Gospels involves the accusation against Justin of an amount of carelessness and negligence which is quite unparalleled in literature. Justin's character and training, however, by. no means warrant any such aspersion,(1) and there are no grounds for it. Indeed, but for the attempt arbitrarily to establish the identity of the "Memoirs of the Apostles" with our Gospels, such a charge would never have been thought of. It is unreasonable to suppose that avowed and deliberate quotations of sayings of Jesus, made for the express purpose of furnishing authentic written proof of Justin's statements regarding Christianity, can as an almost invariable rule be so singularly incorrect, more especially when it is considered that these quotations occur in an elaborate apology for Christianity addressed to the Roman emperors, and in a careful and studied controversy with a Jew in defence of the new faith. The simple and natural conclusion, supported by many strong reasons, is that Justin derived his quotations from a Gospel which was different from ours, although naturally by subject and design it must have been related to them. His


Gospel, in fact, differs from our Synoptics as they differ from each other.

We now return to Tischendorf's statements with regard to Justin's acquaintance with our Gospels. Having examined the supposed references to the first Gospel, we find that Tischendorf speaks much less positively with regard to his knowledge of the other two Synoptics. He says: "There is the greatest probability that in several passages he also follows Mark and Luke."(1) First taking Mark, we find that the only example which Tischendorf gives is the following. He says: "Twice (Dial. 76 and 100) he quotes as an expression of the Lord: 'The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the Scribes and Pharisees (Ch. 100 by the 'Pharisees and Scribes'), and be crucified and the third day rise again.'(2) This agrees better with Mark viii. 31 and Luke ix. 22 than with Matt. xvi. 21, only in Justin the 'Pharisees' are put instead of the 'Elders and Chief Priests' (so Matthew, Mark, and Luke), likewise 'be crucified' instead of 'be killed."'(3) This is the only instance of similarity with Mark that Tischendorf can produce, and we have given his own remarks to show how thoroughly weak his case is. The passage in Mark viii. 31, reads: "And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the Elders and the Chief Priests [——]—], and the Scribes and be killed [——]—], and after three days [——]—]


rise again." And the following is the reading of Luke ix. 22: "Saying that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the Elders and Chief Priests [——]—] and Scribes and be killed [——]—], and the third day rise again." It will be perceived that, different as it also is, the passage in Luke is nearer than that of Mark, which cannot in any case have been the source of Justin's quotation. Tischendorf, however, does not point out that Justin, elsewhere, a third time refers to this very passage in the very same terms. He says: "And Christ.... having come.... and himself also preached, saying.... that he must suffer many things from the Scribes and Pharisees and be crucified, and the third day rise again."(l) Although this omits the words "and be rejected," it gives the whole of the passage literally as before. And thus there is the very remarkable testimony of a quotation three times repeated, with the same marked variations from our Gospels, to show that Justin found those very words in his Memoirs.(2) The persistent variation clearly indicates a different source from our Synoptics. We may, in reference to this reading, compare Luke xxiv. 6: "He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee (v. 7), saying that the Son of Man must be delivered up into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again." This reference to words of Jesus, in which the words [——]—]. occurred, as in Justin, indicates that although our Gospels do not contain it some others may well have


done so. In one place Justin introduces the saying with the following words: "For he exclaimed before the crucifixion, the Son of Man," &c.,(1) both indicating a time for the discourse, and also quoting a distinct and definite saying in contradistinction to this report of the matter of his teaching, which is the form in which the parallel passage occurs in the Gospels. In Justin's Memoirs it no doubt existed as an actual discourse of Jesus, which he verbally and accurately quoted.

With regard to the third Gospel, Tischendorf says: "It is in reference to Luke (xxii. 44) that Justin recalls in the Dialogue (103) the falling drops of the sweat of agony on the Mount of Olives, and certainly with an express appeal to the 'Memoirs composed by his Apostles and their followers,'"(2) Now we have already seen(3) that Justin, in the passage referred to, does not make use of the peculiar expression which gives the whole of its character to the account in Luke, and that there is no ground for affirming that Justin derived his information from that Gospel. The only other reference to passages proving the "probability" of Justin's use of Luke or Mark is that which we have just discussed—"The Son of Man must," &c. From this the character of Tischendorf's assumptions may be inferred. De Wette does not advance any instances of verbal agreement either with Mark or Luke.(4) He says, moreover: "The historical references are much freer still (than quotations), and combine in part


the accounts of Matthew and Luke; some of the kind, however, are not found at all in our Canonical Gospels."(1) This we have already sufficiently demonstrated.

We might now well terminate the examination of Justin's quotations, which has already taken up too much of our space, but before doing so it may be well very briefly to refer to another point. In his work "On the Canon," Dr. Westcott adopts a somewhat singular course. He evidently feels the very great difficulty in which anyone who asserts the identity of the source of Justin's quotations with our Gospels is placed by the fact that, as a rule, these quotations differ from parallel passages in our Gospels; and whilst on the one hand maintaining that the quotations generally are from the Canonical Gospels, he on the other endeavours to reduce the number of those which profess to be quotations at all. He says: "To examine in detail the whole of Justin's quotations would be tedious and unnecessary. It will be enough to examine (1) those which are alleged by him as quotations, and (2) those also which, though anonymous, are yet found repeated with the same variations either in Justin's own writings, or (3) in heretical works. It is evidently on these quotations that the decision hangs."(2) Now under the first category Dr. Westcott finds very few. He says: "In seven passages only, as far as I can discover, does Justin profess to give the exact words recorded in the Memoirs; and in these, if there be no reason to the contrary, it is natural to expect that he will preserve the exact language of the Gospels which he used, just as in anonymous quotations we may conclude that he is trusting to memory."(3)


Before proceeding further, we may point out the straits to which an apologist is reduced who starts with a foregone conclusion. We have already seen a number of Justin's professed quotations; but here, after reducing the number to seven only, our critic prepares a way of escape even out of these. It is difficult to understand what "reason to the contrary" can possibly justify a man "who professes to give the exact words recorded in the Memoirs" for not doing what he professes; and further, it passes our comprehension to understand why, in anonymous quotations, "we may conclude that he is trusting to memory." The cautious exception is as untenable as the gratuitous assumption. Dr. Westcott continues as follows the passage which we have just interrupted:—"The result of a first view of the passages is striking. Of the seven, five agree verbally with the text of St. Matthew or St. Luke, exhibiting indeed three slight various readings not elsewhere found, but such as are easily explicable; the sixth is a compound summary of words related by St. Matthew; the seventh alone presents an important variation in the text of a verse, which is, however, otherwise very uncertain."(1) The italics of course are ours. The "first view" of the passages and of the above statement is indeed striking. It is remarkable how easily difficulties are overcome under such an apologetic system. The striking result, to summarize Canon Westcott's own words, is this: out of seven professed quotations from the Memoirs, in which he admits we may expect to find the exact language preserved, five present three variations; one is a compressed summary, and does not agree verbally at all; and the seventh presents an important variation. Dr.


Westcott, on the same easy system, continues: "Our inquiry is thus confined to the two last instances; and it must be seen whether their disagreement from the Synoptic Gospel is such as to outweigh the agreement of the remaining five."(l) Before proceeding to consider these seven passages admitted by Dr. Westcott, we must point out that, in a note to the statement of the number, he mentions that he excludes other two passages as "not merely quotations of words, but concise narratives."(2) But surely this is a most extraordinary reason for omitting them, and one the validity of which cannot be admitted. As Justin introduces them deliberately as quotations, why should they be excluded simply because they are combined with a historical statement? We shall produce them. The first is in Apol. i. 66: "For the Apostles, in the Memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels,(3) handed down that it was thus enjoined on them, that Jesus, having taken bread and given thanks, said: 'This do in remembrance of me. This is my body.' And similarly, having taken the cup and given thanks, he said: 'This is my blood,' and delivered it to them alone."(4) This passage, it will be remembered, occurs in an elaborate apology for Christianity addressed to the Roman emperors, and Justin is giving an account of the most solemn sacrament of his religion. Here, if ever, we might reasonably expect accuracy and care, and Justin, in fact, carefully


indicates the source of the quotation he is going to make. It is difficult to understand any ground upon which so direct a quotation from the "Memoirs of the Apostles" could be set aside by Canon Westcott. Justin distinctly states that the Apostles in these Memoirs have "thus" [——]—] transmitted what was enjoined on us by Jesus, and then gives the precise quotation. Had the quotation agreed with our Gospels, would it not have been claimed as a professedly accurate quotation from them? Surely no one can reasonably pretend, for instance, that when Justin, after this preamble, states that having taken bread, &c., Jesus said: "This do in remembrance of me: this is my body;" or having taken the cup, &c, he said: "This is my blood"—Justin does not deliberately mean to quote what Jesus actually did say? Now the account of the episode in Luke is as follows (xxii. 17): "And he took a cup, gave thanks, and said: Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18. For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. 19. And he took bread, gave thanks, brake it, and gave it unto them, saying: This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20. And in like manner the cup after supper, saying: This is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you."(l) Dr. Westcott of course only compares this passage of Justin with Luke, to which


and the parallel in 1 Cor. xi. 24, wide as the difference is, it is closer than to the accounts in the other two Gospels. That Justin professedly quoted literally from the Memoirs is evident, and is rendered still more clear by the serious context by which the quotation is introduced, the quotation in fact being made to authenticate by actual written testimony the explanations of Justin. His dogmatic views, moreover, are distinctly drawn from a Gospel, which, in a more direct way than our Synoptics do, gave the expressions: "This is my body," and "This is my blood," and it must have been observed that Luke, with which Justin's reading alone is compared, not only has not: [——]—], at all, but instead makes use of a totally different expression: "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you."

The second quotation from the Memoirs which Dr. Westcott passes over is that in Dial. 103, compared with Luke xxii. 42, 43,1 on the Agony in the Garden, which we have already examined,(2) and found at variance with our Gospel, and without the peculiar and distinctive expressions of the latter.

We now come to the seven passages which Canon Westcott admits to be professed quotations from the Memoirs, and in which "it is natural to expect that he will preserve the exact words of the Gospels which he used." The first of these is a passage in the Dialogue, part of which has already been discussed in connection with the fire in Jordan and the voice at the Baptism, and found to be from a source different from our Synoptics.(3) Justin says: "For even he, the devil, at the time when he also (Jesus) went up from the river Jordan when the voice


said to Him: 'Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee,' is recorded in the Memoirs of the Apostles to have come to him and tempted him even so far as saying to him: 'Worship me;' and Christ answered him [—-Greek—-], 'Get thee behind me, Satan' [—-Greek—-], 'thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.'"(1) This passage is compared with the account of the temptation in Matt iv. 9, 10: "And he said unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10. Then saith Jesus unto him [—-Greek—-], Get thee hence, Satan [——]—]: it is written, Thou shalt worship," &c All the oldest Codices, it should be stated, omit the [——]—], as we have done, but Cod. D. (Bezĉ) and a few others of infirm authority, insert these two words. Canon Westcott, however, justly admits them to be "probably only a very early interpolation."(2) We have no reason whatever for supposing that they existed in Matthew during Justin's time. The oldest Codices omit the whole phrase from the parallel passage, Luke iv. 8, but Cod. A. is an exception, and reads: [——]—]. The best

modern editions, however, reject this as a mere recent addition to Luke. A comparison of the first and third Gospels with Justin clearly shows that the Gospel which he used followed the former more closely than Luke. Matthew makes the climax of the temptation


the view of all the kingdoms of the world, and the offer to give them to Jesus if he will fall down and worship Satan. Luke, on the contrary, makes the final temptation the suggestion to throw himself down from the pinnacle of the temple. Justin's Gospel, as the words, "so far as saying to him" [——]—], &c., clearly indicate, had the same climax as Matthew. Now the following points must be observed. Justin makes the words of Satan, "Worship me" [——]—], a distinct quotation; the Gospel makes Satan offer all that he has shown "if thou wilt fall down and worship me" [——]—]. Then Justin's quotation proceeds: "And Christ answered him" [——]—]; whilst Matthew has, "Then Jesus saith to him" [—-Greek—-], which is a marked variation.(1) The[——]—] of Justin, as we have already said, is not found in any of the older Codices of Matthew. Then the words: "it is written," which form part of the reply of Jesus in our Gospels, are omitted in Justin's; but we must add that, in Dial 125, in again referring to the temptation, he adds, "it is written." Still, in that passage he also omits the whole phrase, "Get thee behind me, Satan," and commences: "For he answered him: It is written, Thou shalt worship," &c.

We must, however, again point out the most important fact, that this account of the temptation is directly connected with another which is foreign to our Gospels. The Devil is said to come at the time Jesus went up out of the Jordan and the voice said to him: "Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee"—words which do not occur at all in our Gospels, and which are again bound up with the incident of the fire in Jordan. It is altogether


unreasonable to assert that Justin could have referred the fact which he proceeds to quote from the Memoirs, to the time those words were uttered, if they were not to be found in the same Memoirs. The one incident was most certainly not derived from our Gospels, inasmuch as they do not contain it, and there are the very strongest reasons for asserting that Justin derived the account of the temptation from a source which contained the other. Under these circumstances, every variation is an indication, and those which we have pointed out are not accidental, but clearly exclude the assertion that the quotation is from our Gospels.

The second of the seven passages of Canon Westcott is one of those from the Sermon on the Mount, Dial. 105, compared with Matt v. 20, adduced by de Wette, which we have already considered.(1) With the exception of the opening words, [——]—], the two sentences agree, but this is no proof that Justin derived the passage from Matthew; while on the contrary, the persistent variation of the rest of his quotations from the Sermon on the Mount, both in order and language, forces upon us the conviction that he derived the whole from a source different from our Gospels.

The third passage of Dr. Westcott is that regarding the sign of Jonas the prophet, Matt, xii. 39, compared with Dial. 107, which was the second instance adduced by Tischendorf We have already examined it,(2) and found that it presents distinct variations from our first Synoptic, both linguistically and otherwise, and that many reasons lead to the conclusion that it was quoted from a Gospel different from ours.

The fourth of Canon Westcott's quotations is the


following, to part of which we have already had occasion to refer:(l) "For which reason our Christ declared on earth to those who asserted that Elias must come before Christ: Elias indeed shall come [——]—] and shall restore all things: but I say unto you that Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but did unto him [——]—] whatsoever they listed. And it is written that then the disciples understood that he spoke to them of John the Baptist."(2) The express quotation" in this passage, which is compared with Matt. xvii. 11—13, is limited by Canon "Westcott to the last short sentence(3) corresponding with Matt xvii. 13, and he points out that Credner admits that it must have been taken from Matthew. It is quite true that Credner considers that if any passage of Justin's quotations proves a necessary connection between Justin's Gospels and the Gospel according to Matthew, it is this sentence: "And it is written that then the disciples, &c." He explains his reason for this opinion as follows: "These words can only be derived from our Matthew, with which they literally agree; for it is thoroughly improbable that a remark of so special a description could have been made by two different and independent individuals so completely alike."(4) We totally differ from this argument,


which is singularly opposed to Credner's usual clear and thoughtful mode of reasoning.(1) No doubt if such Gospels could be considered to be absolutely distinct and independent works, deriving all their matter from individual and separate observation of the occurrences narrated by their authors and personal report of the discourses given, there might be greater force in the argument, although even in that case it would have been far from conclusive here, inasmuch as the observation we are considering is the mere simple statement of a fact necessary to complete the episode, and it might well have been made in the same terms by separate reporters. The fact is, however, that the numerous Gospels current in the early Church cannot have been, and our synoptic Gospels most certainly are not, independent works, but are based upon earlier evangelical writings no longer extant, and have borrowed from each other. The Gospels did not originate full fledged as we now have them, but are the result of many revisions of previously existing materials. Critics may differ as to the relative ages and order of the Synoptics, but almost all are agreed that in one order or another they are dependent on each other, and on older forms of the Gospel. Now such an expression as Matt. xvii. 13 in some early record of the discourse might have been transferred to a dozen of other Christian writings. Ewald assigns the passage to the oldest Gospel, Matthew in its present form being fifth in descent.(2)

Our three canonical Gospels are filled with instances in which expressions still more individual are repeated, and these show that such phrases cannot be limited to


one Gospel, but, if confined in the first instance to one original source, may have been transferred to many subsequent evangelical works. Take, for instance, a passage in Matt. vii. 28, 29: ".... the multitudes were astonished at his teaching: for he taught them as having authority, and not as their scribes."(1) Mark i. 22 has the very same passage,(2) with the mere omission of "the multitudes" [——]—], which does not in the least affect the argument; and Luke iv. 32: "And they were astonished at his teaching: for his word was power."(3) Although the author of the third Gospel somewhat alters the language, it is clear that he follows the same original, and retains it in the same context as the second Gospel. Now the occurrence of such a passage as this in one of the Fathers, if either the first or second Gospels were lost, would, on Credner's grounds, be attributed undoubtedly to the survivor, although in reality derived from the Gospel no longer extant, which likewise contained it. Another example may be pointed out in Matt. xiii. 34: "All these things spake Jesus unto the multitudes in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them," compared with Mark iv. 33, 34, "And with many such parables spake he the word unto them.... and without a parable spake he not unto them." The part of this very individual remark which we have italicised is literally the same in both Gospels, as a personal comment at the end of the parable of the grain of mustard seed. Then, for instance, in the account


of the sleep of the three disciples during the agony in the Garden (Matt. xxvi. 43, Mark xiv. 40), the expression "and he found them asleep, for their eyes were heavy," which is equally individual, is literally the same in the first two Gospels. Another special remark of a similar kind regarding the rich young man: "he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions," is found both in Matt. xix. 22 and Mark x. 22. Such examples(1) might be multiplied, and they show that the occurrence of passages of the most individual character cannot, in Justin's time, be limited to any single Gospel. Now the verse we are discussing, Matt xvii. 13, in all probability, as Ewald supposes, occurred in one or more of the older forms of the Gospel from which our Synoptics and many other similar works derived their matter, and nothing is more likely than that the Gospel according to the Hebrews, which in many respects was nearly related to Matthew, may have contained it. At any rate we have shown that such sayings cannot, however apparently individual, be considered evidence of the use of a particular Gospel simply because it happens to be the only one now extant which contains it. Credner, however, whilst expressing the opinion which we have quoted likewise adds his belief that by the expression [——]—], Justin seems expressly to indicate that this sentence is taken from a different work from what precedes it, and he has proved that the preceding part of the quotation was not derived from our Gospels.(2) We cannot, however, coincide with this opinion either. It seems to us that the expression "and


it is written" simply was made use of by Justin to show that the identification of Elias with John the Baptist is not his, but was the impression conveyed at the time by Jesus to his disciples. Now the whole narrative of the baptism of John in Justin bears characteristic marks of being from a Gospel different from ours,(1) and in the first part of this very quotation we find distinct variation. Justin first affirms that Jesus in his teaching had proclaimed that Elias should also come [——]—], and then further on he gives the actual words of Jesus: [——]—], which we have before us, whilst in Matthew the words are: [——]—] and there is no MS. which reads [——]—] for [——]—], and yet, as Credner remarks, the whole force of the quotation rests upon the word, and Justin is persistent in his variation from the text of our first Synoptic. It is unreasonable to say that Justin quotes loosely the important part of his passage, and then about a few words at the close pretends to be so particularly careful. Considering all the facts of the case, we must conclude that this quotation also is from a source different from our Gospels.(2)

Another point, however, must be noted. Dr. Westcott claims this passage as an express quotation from the Memoirs, apparently for no other reason than that the few words happen to agree with Matt. xvii. 13, and that he wishes to identify the Memoirs with our Gospels. Justin, however, does not once mention the Memoirs in this chapter; it follows, therefore, that Canon Westcott who is so exceedingly strict in his limitation of express quotations, assumes that all quotations of Christian history and words of Jesus in Justin are to be considered


as derived from the Memoirs whether they be mentioned by name or not. We have already seen that amongst these there are not only quotations differing from the Gospels, and contradicting them, but others which have no parallels at all in them.

The fifth of Dr. Westcott's express quotations occurs in Dial. 105, where Justin says: "For when he (Jesus) was giving up his spirit on the cross he said: 'Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit,' as I have also learned from the Memoirs." This short sentence agrees with Luke xxiii. 46, it is true, but as we have already shown,1 Justin's whole account of the Crucifixion differs so materially from that in our Gospels that it cannot have been derived from them.

We see this forcibly in examining the sixth of Canon Westcott's quotations, which is likewise connected with the Crucifixion. "For they who saw him crucified also wagged their heads each one of them, and distorted their lips, and sneeringly and in scornful irony repeated among themselves those words which are also written in the Memoirs of his Apostles: He declared himself the son of God: (let him) come down, let him walk about: let God save him."(2) We have ourselves already quoted and discussed this passage,(3) and need not further examine it here. Canon Westcott has nothing better to say regarding this quotation, in an examination of the accuracy of parallel passages, than this: "These exact words do not occur in our Gospels, but we do find there others so closely connected with them that few readers would feel the difference "!(4) When criticism descends to language like this, the case is indeed desperate. It is clear that, as Canon Westcott admits, the words are expressly declared to be a


quotation from the Memoirs of the Apostles, but they do not exist in our Gospels, and consequently our Gospels are not identical with the Memoirs. Canon Westcott refers to the taunts in Matthew, and then with commendable candour he concludes his examination of the quotation with the following words: "No manuscript or Father (so far as we know) has preserved any reading of the passage more closely resembling Justin's quotation; and if it appear not to be deducible from our Gospels, due allowance being made for the object which he had in view, its source must remain concealed."(1) We need only add that it is futile to talk of making "due allowance" for the object which Justin had in view. His immediate object was accurate quotation, and no allowance can account for such variation in language and thought as is presented in this passage. That this passage, though a professed quotation from the Memoirs, is not taken from our Gospels is certain both from its own variations and the differences in other parts of Justin's account of the Crucifixion, an event whose solemnity and importance might well be expected to secure reverential accuracy. It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that Justin's Memoirs of the Apostles were not identical with our Gospels, and the systematic variation of his quotations thus receives its natural and reasonable explanation.

The seventh and last of Dr. Westcott's express quotations is, as he states, "more remarkable." We subjoin the passage in contrast with the parallel texts of the first and third Gospels.



It is apparent that Justin's quotation differs very materially from our Gospels in language, in construction, and in meaning. These variations, however, acquire very remarkable confirmation and significance from the fact that Justin in two other places(3) quotes the latter and larger part of the passage from [——]—] in precisely the same way, with the sole exception that, in both of these quotations, he uses the aorist [——]—] instead of [——]—]. This threefold repetition in the same peculiar form clearly stamps the passage as being a literal


quotation from his Gospel, and the one exception to the verbal agreement of the three passages, in the substitution of the present for the aorist in the Dialogue, does not in the least remove or lessen the fundamental variation of the passage from our Gospel. As the [——]—] is twice repeated it was probably the reading of his text. Now it is well known that the peculiar form of the quotation in Justin occurred in what came to be considered heretical Gospels, and constituted the basis of important Gnostic doctrines.(1) Canon Westcott speaks of the use of this passage by the Fathers in agreement with Justin in a manner which, unintentionally we have no doubt, absolutely misrepresents important facts. He says: "The transposition of the words still remains; and how little weight can be attached to that will appear upon an examination of the various forms in which the text is quoted by Fathers like Origen, Irenĉus and Epiphanius, who admitted our Gospels exclusively. It occurs in them as will be seen from the table of readings[——]—] with almost every possible variation. Irenĉus in the course of one chapter quotes the verse first as it stands in the canonical text; then in the same order, but with the last clause like Justin's; and once again altogether as he has given it. Epiphanius likewise quotes the text seven times in the same order as Justin, and four times as it stands in the Gospels."[——]—] Now in the chapter to which reference is made in this sentence Irenĉus commences by stating that the Lord had declared: "Nemo cognoscit Filium nisi Pater; neque


Patrem quis cognoscit nisi Films, et cui voluerit Filius revelare,"(1) as he says, "Thus Matthew has set it down and Luke similarly, and Mark the very same."(2) He goes on to state, however, that those who would be wiser than the Apostles write this verse as follows: "Nemo cognovit Patrem nisi Filius; nee Filium nisi Pater, et cui voluerit Filius revelare." And he explains: "They interpret it as though the true God was known to no man before the coming of our Lord; and that God who was announced by the Prophets they affirm not to be the Father of Christ."(3) Now in this passage we have the [——]—] of Justin in the 'cognovit,' in contradistinction to the 'cognoscit' of the Gospel, and his transposition of order as not by any possibility an accidental thing, but as the distinct basis of doctrines. Irenĉus goes on to argue that no one can know the Father unless through the Word of God, that is through the Son, and this is why he said: "'Nemo cognoscit Patrem nisi Filius; neque Filium nisi Pater, et quibuscunque Filius reve-laverit.' Thus teaching that he himself also is the Father, as indeed he is, in order that we may not receive any other Father except him who is revealed by the Son."(4) In this third quotation Irenseus alters the [——]—] into [——]—], but retains the form, for the rest, of the Gnostics and of Justin, and his aim apparently is to show that adopting his present tense instead of the aorist the transposition


of words is of no importance. A fourth time, however, in the same chapter, which in fact is wholly dedicated to this passage and to the doctrines based upon it, Irenĉus quotes the saying: "Nemo cognoscit Filium nisi Pater; neque Patrem nisi Filius, et quibuscunque Filius reve-laverit."(1) Here the language and order of the Gospel are followed with the exception that 'cui voluerit revelare' is altered to the 'quibuscunque revelaverit' of Justin; and that this is intentional is made clear by the continuation: "For revelaverit was said not with reference to the future alone,"(2( &c.

Now in this chapter we learn very clearly that, although the canonical Gospels by the express declaration of Irenĉus had their present reading of the passage before us, other Gospels of considerable authority even in his time had the form of Justin, for again in a fifth passage he quotes the opening words: "He who was known, therefore, was not different from him who declared: 'No one knoweth the Father,' but one and the same."(3) With the usual alteration of the verb to the present tense, Irenĉus in this and in one of the other quotations of this passage just cited gives some authority to the transposition of the words "Father" and "Son," although the reading was opposed to the Gospels, but he invariably adheres to [——]—] and condemns [——]—], the reading maintained by those who in the estimation of Irenĉus "would be wiser than the Apostles." Elsewhere, descanting on


the passages of Scripture by which heretics attempt to prove that the Father was unknown before the advent of Christ, Irenseus, after accusing them of garbling passages of Scripture,(1) goes on to say of the Marcosians and others: "Besides these, they adduce a countless number of apocryphal and spurious works which they themselves have forged to the bewilderment of the foolish, and of those who are not versed in the Scriptures of truth."(2) He also points out passages occurring in our Gospels to which they give a peculiar interpretation and, amongst these, that quoted by Justin. He says: "But they adduce as the highest testimony, and as it were the crown of their system, the following passage.... 'All things were delivered to me by my Father, and no one knew [——]—] the Father but the Son, and the Son but the Father, and he to whomsoever [——]—] the Son shall reveal [——]—].'(3) In these words they assert that he clearly demonstrated that the Father of truth whom they have invented was known to no one before his coming; and they desire to interpret the words as though the Maker and Creator had been known to all, and the Lord spoke these words regarding the Father unknown to all, whom they proclaim."(4) Here we have the exact quotation twice made by Justin, with the [——]—] and the same order, set


forth as the reading of the Gospels of the Marcosians and other sects, and the highest testimony to their system. It is almost impossible that Justin could have altered the passage by an error of memory to this precise form, and it must be regarded as the reading of his Memoirs.(1) The evidence of Irenĉus is clear: The Gospels had the reading which we now find in them, but apocryphal Gospels on the other hand had that which we find twice quoted by Justin, and the passage was as it were the text upon which a large sect of the early Church based its most fundamental doctrine. The [——]—] is invariably repudiated, but the transposition of the words "Father" and "Son" was apparently admitted to a certain extent, although the authority for this was not derived from the Gospels recognized by the Church which contained the contrary order.

We must briefly refer to the use of this passage by Clement of Alexandria. He quotes portions of the text eight times, and although with some variation of terms he invariably follows the order of the Gospels. Six times he makes use of the aorist [——]—],(2) once of [——]—],(3) and once of [——]—].(4) He only once quotes the whole passage,(5) but on this occasion, as well as six others in which he only quotes the latter part of the sentence,(6) he omits [——]—], and reads "and he to whom the Son shall reveal," thus supporting the [——]—]


of Justin. Twice he has "God" instead of "Father,"(1) and once he substitutes [——]—] for [——]—].(2) It is evident from the loose and fragmentary way in which Clement interweaves the passage with his text, that he is more concerned with the sense than the verbal accuracy of the quotation, but the result of his evidence is that he never departs from the Gospel order of "Father" and "Son," although he frequently makes use of [——]—] and also employs [——]—] in agreement with Justin and, therefore, he shows the prevalence of forms approximating to, though always presenting material difference from, the reading of Justin.

Epiphanius refers to this passage no less than ten times,(3) but he only quotes it fully five times, and upon each of these occasions with variations. Of the five times to which we refer, he thrice follows the order of the Gospels,(4) as he does likewise in another place where he does not complete the sentence.(5) On the remaining two occasions he adopts the same order as Justin, with variations from his reading, however, to which we shall presently refer;(6) and where he only partially quotes he follows the same order on other three occasions,(7) and in one other place the quotation is too fragmentary to allow us to distinguish the order.(8) Now in all of these ten quotations, with one exception, Epiphanius substitutes [——]—] for [——]—] at the commencement of the


passage in Matthew, and only thrice does he repeat the verb in the second clause as in that Gospel, and on these occasions he twice makes use of [——]—](1) and once of [——]—].(2) He once uses [——]—] with the same order as Justin, but does not complete the sentence.(3) Each time he completes the quotation, he uses [——]—] with the Gospel, and [——]—] with Justin,(4) but only once out of the five complete quotations does he insert [——]—] in the concluding phrase. It is evident from this examination, which we must not carry further, that Epiphanius never verbally agrees with the Gospel in his quotation of this passage and never verbally with Justin, but mainly follows a version different from both. It must be remembered,

however, that he is writing against various heresies, and it does not seem to us improbable that he reproduces forms of the passage current amongst those sects.

In his work against Marcion, Tertullian says: "With regard to the Father, however, that he was never seen, the Gospel which is common to us will testify, as it was said by Christ: Nemo cognovit patrem nisi filius,"(5) but elsewhere he translates "Nemo scit,"(6) evidently not fully appreciating the difference of [——]—].(7) The passage in Mar-cion's Gospel reads like Justin's: [——]—].(8) The use of [——]—] as applied to the Father and [——]—] as regards the Son in this passage is suggestive. Origen


almost invariably uses [——]—], sometimes adopting the order of the Gospels and sometimes that of Justin, and always employing [——]—].(1) The Clementine Homilies always read [——]—], and always follow the same order as Justin, presenting other and persistent variations from the form in the Gospels. [——]—] This reading occurs four times. The Clementine Recognitions have the aorist with the order of the Gospels.(4)

There only remain a few more lines to add to those already quoted to complete the whole of Dr. Westcott's argument regarding this passage. He continues and concludes thus: "If, indeed, Justin's quotations were made from memory, no transposition could be more natural; and if we suppose that he copied the passage directly from a manuscript, there is no difficulty in believing that he found it so written in a manuscript of the Canonical St. Matthew, since the variation is excluded by no internal improbability, while it is found elsewhere, and its origin is easily explicable."(5) It will be observed that Canon Westcott does not attempt any argument, but simply confines himself to suppositions. If such explanations were only valid, there could be no difficulty in believing anything, and every embarrassing circumstance would indeed be easily explicable.

The facts of the case may be briefly summed up as follows: Justin deliberately and expressly quotes from his Gospel, himself calling it "Gospel," be it observed, a


passage whose nearest parallel in our Gospels is Matt. xi. 27. This quotation presents material variations from our Canonical Gospel both in form and language. The larger part of the passage he quotes twice in a different work, written years before, in precisely the same words as the third quotation, with the sole exception that he uses the aorist instead of the present tense of the verb. No MS. of our Gospel extant approximates to the reading in Justin, and we are expressly told by Irenĉus that the present reading of our Matthew was that existing in his day. On the other hand, Irenĉus states with equal distinctness that Gospels used by Gnostic sects had the reading of Justin, and that the passage was "the crown of their system," and one upon whose testimony they based their leading doctrines. Here, then, is the clear statement that Justin's quotation disagrees with the form in the Gospels, and agrees with that of other Gospels. The variations occurring in the numerous quotations of the same passage by the Fathers, which we have analysed, show that they handled it very loosely, but also indicate that there must have been various readings of considerable authority then current. It has been conjectured with much probability that the form in which Justin quotes the passage twice in his Apology may have been the reading of older Gospels, and that it was gradually altered by the Church to the form in which we now have it, for dogmatic reasons, when Gnostic sects began to base doctrines upon it inconsistent with the prevailing interpretation.(1) Be this as it may, Justin's Gospel clearly had a reading different from ours, but in unison with


that known to exist in other Gospels, and this express quotation only adds additional proof to the mass of evidence already adduced that the Memoirs of the Apostles were not our Canonical Gospels.(1)

We have already occupied so much space even with this cursory examination of Justin's quotations, that we must pass over in silence passages which he quotes from the Memoirs with variations from the parallels in our Gospels which are also found in the Clementine Homilies and other works emanating from circles in which other Gospels than ours were used. We shall now only briefly refer to a few sayings of Jesus expressly quoted by Justin, which are altogether unknown to our Gospels. Justin says: "For the things which he foretold would take place in his name, these we see actually coming to pass in our sight. For he said: 'Many shall come,' &c., &c.,(2) and 'There shall be schisms and heresies,'(3) and 'Beware of false prophets,'(4) &c, and 'Many false Christs and false Apostles shall arise and shall deceive many of the faithful.'"(5) Neither of the two prophecies here quoted are to be found anywhere in our Gospels, and to the second of them Justin repeatedly refers. He says in one place that Jesus "foretold that in the interval of his coming, as I previously said,(6) heresies and false prophets would arise in his name."(7) It is admitted that these


prophecies are foreign to our Gospels.(1) It is very probable that the Apostle Paul refers to the prophecy, "There shall be schisms and heresies" in 1 Cor. xi. 18-19, where it is said, ".... I hear that schisms exist amongst you; and I partly believe it. For there must also be heresies amongst you," &c. [——]—].(2) We find also, elsewhere, traces both of this saying and that which accompanies it. In the Clementine Homilies, Peter is represented as stating, "For there shall be, as the Lord said, false apostles, false prophets, heresies, desires for supremacy," &c. [——]—].3 We are likewise reminded of the passage in the Epistle attributed to the Roman Clement, xliv.: "Our Apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be contention regarding the dignity of the episcopate."(4) In our Gospel there is no reference anywhere to schisms and heresies, nor are false Apostles once mentioned, the reference being solely to "false Christs" and "false prophets." The recurrence here and elsewhere of the peculiar expression "false apostles" is very striking,(5) and the evidence for the passage as a saying of Jesus is important. Hegesippus, after enumerating a vast number of heretical sects and teachers, continues: "From these sprang the false Christs, false prophets, false apostles, who divided the


union of the Church by corrupting doctrines concerning God and concerning his Christ."(1) It will be remembered that Hegesippus made use of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, and the Clementine literature points to the same source. In the Apostolic Constitutions we read: "For these are false Christs and false prophets, and false apostles, deceivers, and corrupters," &c.,(2) and in the Clementine Recognitions the Apostle Peter is represented as saying that the Devil, after the temptation, terrified by the final answer of Jesus, "hastened immediately to send forth into this world false prophets, and false apostles, and false teachers, who should speak in the name of Christ indeed, but should perform the will of the demon."(3) Justin's whole system forbids our recognizing in these two passages mere tradition, and we must hold that we have here quotations from a Gospel different from ours.

Elsewhere, Justin says: "Out of which (affliction and fiery trial of the Devil) again Jesus, the Son of God, promised to deliver us, and to put on us prepared garments, if we do his commandments, and he is proclaimed as having provided an eternal kingdom for us."(4) This promise is nowhere found in our Gospel.(5)

Immediately following the passage (k 3 and 4) which we have discussed(6) as repeated in the Dialogue: "Many


shall say to me, &c, &c, and I will say to them, Depart from me," Justin continues: "And in other words by which he will condemn those who are unworthy to be saved, he said that he will say: Begone into the darkness without, which the Father hath prepared for Satan and his angels."(1) The nearest parallel to this is in Matt. xxv. 41: "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand: Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels."


It is apparent that Justin's quotation differs very widely from the reading of our Gospel. The same reading, with the exception of a single word, is found in the Clementine Homilies (xix. 2), that is to say, that "Devil" is substituted for "Satan," and this variation is not important. The agreement of the rest, on the other hand, seems to establish the conclusion that the quotation is from a written Gospel different from ours,(2) and here we have further strong indications of Justin's use of the Ebionite Gospel.

Another of the sayings of Jesus which are foreign to our Gospels is one in reference to the man who falls away from righteousness into sin, of whom Justin says: "Wherefore also our Lord Jesus Christ said: In whatsoever things I may find you, in these I shall also judge you."(3) [——]—]


"[——]—]") A similar expression is used by some of the Fathers, and in some cases is ascribed to the prophets.(1) Clement of Alexandria has quoted a phrase closely resembling this without indicating the source. [——]—].(2 ) Grabe was of opinion that Justin derived the passage from the Gospel according to the Hebrews,(3) an opinion shared by the greater number of modern critics, and which we are prepared to accept from many previous instances of agreement. Even the warmest asserters of the theory that the Memoirs are identical with our Gospels are obliged to admit that this saying of Jesus is not contained in them, and that it must have been derived from an extra-canonical source.(4)

Other passages of a similar kind might have been pointed out, but we have already devoted too much space to Justin's quotations, and must hasten to a conclusion. There is one point, however, to which we must refer. We have more than once alluded to the fact that, unless in one place, Justin never mentions an author's name in connection with the Memoirs of the Apostles. The exception to which we referred is the following. Justin says: "The statement also that he (Jesus) changed the name of Peter, one of the Apostles, and that this is also written in his Memoirs as having been done,


together with the fact that he also changed the name of other two brothers, who were sons of Zebedee, to Boanerges, that is, sons of Thunder," &c.(1) According to the usual language of Justin, and upon strictly critical grounds, the [——]—] in this passage must be referred to Peter; and Justin, therefore, seems to ascribe the Memoirs to that Apostle, and to speak of a Gospel of Peter. Some critics maintain that the [——]—] does not refer to Peter, but to Jesus, or, more probably still, that it should be amended to [——]—], and apply to the Apostles.(3) The great majority, however, are forced to admit the reference of the Memoirs to Peter, although they explain it, as we shall see, in different ways. It is argued by some that this expression is used when Justin is alluding to the change of name not only of Peter but of the sons of Zebedee, the narrative of which is only found in the Gospel according to Mark. Now Mark was held by many of the Fathers to have been the mere mouthpiece of Peter, and to have written at his dictation;(3) so that, in fact, in calling the second Gospel by the name of the Apostle Peter, they argue, Justin merely adopted the tradition current in the early Church, and referred to the


Gospel now known as the Gospel according to Mark.(1) It must be evident, however, that after admitting that Justin speaks of the Memoirs of Peter," it is indeed hasty in the extreme to conclude from the fact that the mention of the sons of Zebedee being surnamed Boanerges is only recorded in Mark iii. 17, and not in the other canonical Gospels, that therefore the "Memoirs of Peter" and our Gospel according to Mark are one and the same. We shall, hereafter, in examining the testimony of Papias, see that the Gospel according to Mark, of which the Bishop of Hierapolis speaks, was not our canonical Mark at all. It would be very singular indeed on this hypothesis that Justin should not have quoted a single passage from the only Gospel whose author he names, and the number of times he seems to quote from a Petrine Gospel, which was quite different from Mark, confirms the inference that he cannot possibly here refer to our second Gospel. It is maintained, therefore, by numerous other critics that Justin refers to a Gospel according to Peter, or according to the Hebrews, and not to Mark.(3)

We learn from Eusebius that Serapion, who became Bishop of Antioch about a.d. 190, composed a book on


the "Gospel according to Peter" [——]—], which he found in circulation in his diocese. At first Serapion had permitted the use of this Gospel, as it evidently was much prized, but he subsequently condemned it as a work favouring Docetic views, and containing many things superadded to the doctrine of the Saviour.(1) Origen likewise makes mention of the Gospel according to Peter [——]—] as agreeing with the tradition of the Hebrews.(3) But its relationship to the Gospel according to the Hebrews becomes more clear when Theodoret states that the Nazarenes made use of the Gospel according to Peter,(3) for we know by the testimony of the Fathers generally that the Nazarene Gospel was that commonly called the Gospel according to the Hebrews [——]—].

The same Gospel was in use amongst the Ebionites, and in fact, as almost all critics are agreed, the Gospel according to the Hebrews, under various names, such as the Gospel according to Peter, according to the Apostles, the Nazarenes, Ebionites, Egyptians, &c, with modifications certainly, but substantially the same work, was circulated very widely throughout the early Church.(4) A quotation occurs in the


so-called Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans, to which we have already referred, which is said by Origen to be in the work called the doctrine of Peter(l) [——]—], but

Jerome states that it is taken from the Hebrew Gospel of the Nazarenes.(2) Delitzsch finds traces of the Gospel according to the Hebrews before a.d. 130 in the Talmud.(3) Eusebius(4) informs us that Papias narrated a story regarding a woman accused before the Lord of many sins which was contained in the Gospel according to the Hebrews.(5) The same writer likewise states that Hegesippus, who came to Rome and commenced his public career under Anicetus, quoted from the same Gospel.(6) The evidence of this "ancient and apostolic man is very important, for although he evidently attaches great value to tradition, does not seem to know of any canonical Scriptures of the New Testament


and, like Justin, apparently rejected the Apostle Paul,(1) he still regarded the Gospel according to the Hebrews with respect, and probably made exclusive use of it. The best critics consider that this Gospel was the evangelical work used by the author of the Clementine Homilies.(2) Cerinthus and Carpocrates made use of a form of it,(3) and there is good reason to suppose that Tatian, like his master Justin, used the same Gospel: indeed his "Diatessaron," we are told, was by some called the Gospel according to the Hebrews.(4) Clement of Alexandria quotes it as an authority, with quite the same respect as the other Gospels. He says: "So also in the Gospel according to the Hebrews: 'He who wonders shall reign,' it is written, 'and he who reigns shall rest.'"(5) A form of this Gospel, "according to the Egyptians," is quoted in the second Epistle of pseudo-Clement of Rome, as we are informed by the Alexandrian


Clement, who likewise quotes the same passage.(1) Origen frequently made use of the Gospel according to the Hebrews,(2) and that it long enjoyed great consideration in the Church is proved by the fact that Theodoret found it in circulation not only among heretics, but also amongst orthodox Christian communities;(3) and even in the fourth century Eusebius records doubts as to the rank of this Gospel amongst Christian books, speaking of it under the second class in which some reckoned the Apocalypse of John.(4) Later still Jerome translated it;(5) whilst Nicephorus inserts it, in his Stichometry, not amongst the Apocrypha, but amongst the Antilegomena, or merely doubtful books of the New Testament, along with the Apocalypse of John.(6) Eusebius bears testimony to the value attached to it by the Jewish Christians,(7) and indeed he says of the Ebionites that, "making use only of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, they took little account of the rest."(8) In such repute was this Gospel amongst the earliest Christian communities, that it was generally believed to be the original of the Greek Gospel of Matthew. Irenĉus states that the Ebionites used solely the Gospel according to Matthew and reject the Apostle Paul, asserting that he was an apostate from the law.(9) We know from statements


regarding the Ebionites(1) that this Gospel could not have been our Gospel according to Matthew, and besides, both Clement(2) of Alexandria and Origen(3) call it the Gospel according to the Hebrews. Eusebius, however, still more clearly identifies it, as we have seen above. Repeating the statements of Irenĉus, he says: "These indeed (the Ebionites) thought that all the Epistles of the Apostle (Paul) should be rejected, calling him an apostate from the law; making use only of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, they took little account of the rest."(4) Epiphanius calls both the single Gospel of the Ebionites and of the Nazarenes the "Gospel according to the Hebrews," and also the Gospel according to Matthew,(5) as does also Theodoret(6) Jerome translated the Gospel according to the Hebrews both into Greek and Latin,(7) and it is clear that his belief was that this Gospel, a copy of which he found in the library collected at Cĉsarea by the Martyr Pamphilus (f 309), was the Hebrew original of Matthew; and in support of this view he points out that it did not follow the version of the LXX. in its quotations from the Old Testament, but quoted directly from the Hebrew.(8 ) An attempt has been made to argue


that, later, Jerome became doubtful of this view, but it seems to us that this is not the case, and certainly Jerome in his subsequent writings states that it was generally held to be the original of Matthew.(1) That this Gospel was not identical with the Greek Matthew is evident both from the quotations of Jerome and others, and also from the fact that Jerome considered it worth while to translate it twice. If the Greek Gospel had been an accurate translation of it, of course there could not have been inducement to make another.(2) As we shall hereafter see, the belief was universal in the early Church that Matthew wrote his Gospel in Hebrew. Attempts have been made to argue that the Gospel according to the Hebrews was first written in Greek and then translated into Hebrew,(3) but the reasons advanced seem quite insufficient and arbitrary,(4) and it is contradicted by the whole tradition of the Fathers.


It is not necessary for our purpose to enter fully here into the question of the exact relation of our canonical Gospel according to Matthew to the Gospel according to the Hebrews. It is sufficient for us to point out that we meet with the latter before Matthew's Gospel, and that the general opinion of the early church was that it was the original of the canonical Gospel This opinion, as Schwegler(1) remarks, is supported by the fact that tradition assigns the origin of both Gospels to Palestine, and that both were intended for Jewish Christians and exclusively used by them. That the two works, however originally related, had by subsequent manipulation become distinct, although still amidst much variation preserving some substantial affinity, cannot be doubted, and in addition to evidence already cited we may point out that in the Stichometry of Nicephorus, the Gospel according to Matthew is said to have 2500 [——]—], whilst that according to the Hebrews has only 2200.(2)

Whether this Gospel formed one of the writings of the [——]—] of Luke it is not our purpose to inquire, but enough has been said to prove that it was one of the most ancient(3)


and most valued evangelical works, and to show the probability that Justin Martyr, a Jewish Christian living amongst those who are known to have made exclusive use of this Gospel, may well, like his contemporary Hegesippus, have used the Gospel according to the Hebrews; and this probability is, as we have seen, greatly strengthened by the fact that many of his quotations agree with passages which we know to have been contained in it; whilst, on the other hand, almost all differ from our Gospels, presenting generally, however, a greater affinity to the Gospel according to Matthew, as we might expect, than to the other two. It is clear that the title "Gospel according to the Hebrews" cannot have been its actual superscription, but merely was a name descriptive of the readers for whom it was prepared or amongst whom it chiefly circulated, and it is most probable that it originally bore no other title than "The Gospel" [——]—], to which were added the different designations under which we find it known amongst different communities.(1) We have already seen that Justin speaks of "The Gospel" and seems to refer to the "Memoirs of Peter," both distinguishing appellations of this Gospel, but there is another of the names borne by the "Gospel according to the Hebrews," which singularly recalls the "Memoirs of the Apostles," by which Justin prefers to call his evangelical work. It was called the "Gospel according to the Apostles"(2)


[——]—], and, in short, comparing Justin's Memoirs with this Gospel, we find at once similarity of contents and even of name.(1)

It is not necessary, however, for) the purposes of this examination to dwell more fully upon the question as to what specific Gospel now no longer extant Justin employed. We have shown that there is no evidence that he made use of any of our Gospels, and he cannot, therefore, be cited even to prove their existence, and much less to attest the authenticity and character of records


whose authors he does not once name. On the other hand it has been made evident that there were other Gospels, now lost but which then enjoyed the highest consideration, from which his quotations might have been, and probably were, taken. We have seen that Justin's Memoirs of the Apostles contained facts of Gospel history unknown to our Gospels, which were contained in apocryphal works and notably in the Gospel according to the Hebrews; that they further contained matter contradictory to our Gospels, and sayings of Jesus not contained in them; and that his quotations, although so numerous, systematically vary from similar passages in our Gospels. No theory of quotation from memory can satisfactorily account for these phenomena, and the reasonable conclusion is that Justin did not make use of our Gospels, but quoted from another source. In no case can the testimony of Justin afford the requisite support to the Gospels as records of miracles and of a Divine Revelation.



We now turn to Hegesippus, one of the contemporaries of Justin, and, like him, a Palestinian Jewish Christian. Most of our information regarding him is derived from Eusebius, who fortunately gives rather copious extracts from his writings. Hegesippus was born in Palestine, of Jewish parents,(l) and in all probability belonged to the primitive community of Jerusalem.(2) In order to make himself thoroughly acquainted with the state of the Church, he travelled widely and came to Rome when Anicetus was Bishop. Subsequently he wrote a work of historical Memoirs, [——]—], in five books, and thus became the first ecclesiastical historian of Christianity. This work is lost, but portions have been preserved to us by Eusebius, and one other fragment is also extant. It must have been, in part at least, written after the succession of Eleutherus to the Roman bishopric (a.d. 177-193), as that event is mentioned in the book itself, and his testimony is allowed by all critics to date from an advanced period of the second half of the second century.(3)


The testimony of Hegesippus is of great value, not only as that of a man born near the primitive Christian tradition, but also as that of an intelligent traveller amongst many Christian communities. Eusebius evidently held him in high estimation as recording the unerring tradition of the Apostolic preaching in the most simple style of composition,(1) and as a writer of authority who was "contemporary with the first successors of the Apostles"(2) [——]—]. Any indications, therefore, which we may derive from information regarding him, and from the fragments of his writings which survive, must be of peculiar importance for our inquiry.

As might have been expected from a convert from Judaism(3) [——]—], we find in Hegesippus manifest evidences of general tendency to the Jewish side of Christianity. For him, "James, the brother of the Lord," was the chief of the Apostles, and he states that he had received the government of the Church after the death of Jesus.(4) The account which he gives of him is remarkable. "He was holy from his mothers womb. He drank neither wine nor strong drink, nor ate he any living thing. A razor never went upon his head, he anointed not himself with


oil, and did not use a bath. He alone was allowed to enter into the Holies. For he did not wear woollen garments, but linen. And he alone entered into the Sanctuary and was wont to be found upon his knees seeking forgiveness on behalf of the people; so that his knees became hard like a camel's, through his constant kneeling in supplication to God, and asking for forgiveness for the people. In consequence of his exceeding great righteousness he was called Righteous and 'Oblias,' that is, Protector of the people and Righteousness, as the prophets declare concerning him,"(1) and so on. Throughout the whole of his account of James, Hegesippus describes him as a mere Jew, and as frequenting the temple, and even entering the Holy of Holies as a Jewish High Priest. Whether the account be apocryphal or not is of little consequence here; it is clear that Hegesippus sees no incongruity in it, and that the difference between the Jew and the Christian was extremely small. The head of the Christian community could assume all the duties of the Jewish High-Priest,(2) and his Christian doctrines did not offend more than a small party amongst the Jews.(3)

We are not, therefore, surprised to find that his rule [——]—] of orthodoxy in the Christian communities


which he visited, was "the Law, the Prophets, and the Lord." Speaking of the result of his observations during his travels, and of the succession of Bishops in Rome, he says: "The Corinthian Church has continued in the true faith until Primus, now Bishop of Corinth. I conversed with him on my voyage to Rome, and stayed many days with the Corinthians, during which time we were refreshed together with true doctrine. Arrived in Rome I composed the succession until Anicetus, whose deacon was Eleutherus. After Anicetus succeeded Soter, and afterwards Eleutherus. But with every succession, and in every city, that prevails which the Law, and the Prophets, and the Lord enjoin."(1) The test of true doctrine [——]—] with Hegesippus as with Justin, therefore, is no New Testament Canon, which does not yet exist for him, but the Old Testament, the only Holy Scriptures which he acknowledges, and the words of the Lord himself,(3) which, as in the case of Jewish Christians like Justin, were held to be established by, and in direct conformity with, the Old Testament. He carefully transmits the unerring tradition of apostolic preaching [——]—], but he apparently knows nothing of any canonical series even of apostolic epistles.

The care with which Eusebius searches for information regarding the books of the New Testament in early writers, and his anxiety to produce any evidence concerning their composition and authenticity, render his silence upon the subject almost as important as his distinct


utterance when speaking of such a man as Hegesippus.(1) Now, while Eusebius does not mention that Hegesippus refers to any of our Canonical Gospels or Epistles, he very distinctly states that he made use in his writings of the "Gospel according to the Hebrews" [——]—]. It may be well, however, to give his remarks in a consecutive form. "He sets forth some matters from the Gospel according to the Hebrews and the Syriac, and particularly from the Hebrew language, showing that he was a convert from among the Hebrews, and other things he records as from unwritten Jewish tradition. And not only he, but also Irenĉus, and the whole body of the ancients, called the Proverbs of Solomon: all-virtuous Wisdom. And regarding the so-called Apocrypha, he states that some of them had been forged in his own time by certain heretics."(2)

It is certain that Eusebius, who quotes with so much care the testimony of Papias, a man of whom he speaks disparagingly, regarding the composition of the first two Gospels, would not have neglected to have availed himself of the evidence of Hegesippus, for whom he has so much respect, had that writer furnished him with any opportunity, and there can be no doubt that he found no facts concerning the origin and authorship of our Gospels in his writings. It is, on the other hand, reasonable to infer that Hegesippus exclusively made use of the


Gospel according to the Hebrews, together with unwritten tradition.(1) In the passage regarding the Gospel according to the Hebrews, as even Lardner(2) conjectures, the text of Eusebius is in all probability confused, and he doubtless said what Jerome later found to be the fact, that "the Gospel according to the Hebrews is written in the Chaldaic and Syriac (or Syro-Chaldaic) language, but with Hebrew characters."(3) It is in this sense that Rufinus translates it. It may not be inappropriate to point out that fragments of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, which have been preserved, show the same tendency to give some pre-eminence to James amongst the Apostles which we observe in Hegesippus.(4) It has been argued by a few that the words, "and regarding the so-called Apocrypha, he states that some of them had been forged in his own times by certain heretics," are contradictory to his attributing authority to the Gospel according to the Hebrews, or at least that they indicate some distinction amongst Christians between recognized and apocryphal works. The apocryphal works referred to, however, are clearly Old Testament Apocrypha.(5) The words are introduced by the statement that Hegesippus records matters "as from unwritten Jewish tradition," and then proceeds, "and


not only he, but also Irenĉus and the whole body of the ancients, called the Proverbs of Solomon: all-virtuous Wisdom." Then follow the words, "And with regard to the so-called Apocrypha," &c, &c, evidently passing from the work just mentioned to the Old Testament Apocrypha, several of which stand also in the name of Solomon, and it is not improbable that amongst these were included the Ascensio Esaiĉ and the Apocalypsis Eliĉ, to which is referred a passage which Hegesippus, in a fragment preserved by Photius,(1) strongly repudiates. As Hegesippus does not, so far as we know, mention any canonical work of the New Testament, but takes as his rule of faith the Law, the Prophets, and the words of the Lord, probably as he finds them in the Gospel according to the Hebrews, quotes also Jewish tradition and discusses the Proverbs of Solomon, the only possible conclusion at which we can reasonably arrive is that he spoke of Old Testament Apocrypha. There cannot be a doubt that Eusebius would have recorded his repudiation of New Testament "Apocrypha," regarding which he so carefully collects information, and his consequent recognition of New Testament Canonical works implied in such a distinction.

We must now see how far in the fragments of the works of Hegesippus which have been preserved to us there are references to assist our inquiry. In his account of certain surviving members of the family of Jesus, who were brought before Domitian, Hegesippus says: "For Domitian feared the appearing of the Christ as much as Herod."(2) It has been argued that this


may be an allusion to the massacre of the children by Herod related in Matt ii., more especially as it is doubtful that the parallel account to that contained in the first two chapters of the first Gospel existed in the oldest forms of the Gospel according to the Hebrews.(1) But the tradition which has been preserved in our first Synoptic may have formed part of many other evangelical works, in one shape or another, and certainly cannot be claimed with reason exclusively for that Gospel. This argument, therefore, has no weight whatever, and it obviously rests upon the vaguest conjecture. The principal passages which apologists(2) adduce as references to our Gospels occur in the account which Hegesippus gives of the martyrdom of James the Just. The first of these is the reply which James is said to have given to the Scribes and Pharisees: "Why do ye ask me concerning Jesus the Son of Man? He sits in heaven on the right hand of great power, and is about to come on the clouds of heaven."(3) This is compared with Matt. xxvi. 64: "From this time ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of heaven."(4) It is not necessary to point out the variations between these two passages, which are obvious. If we had not the direct intimation that Hegesippus made use of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, which no doubt contained this passage, it would be apparent that a man who valued tradition


so highly might well have derived this and other passages from that source. This is precisely one of those sayings which were most current in the early Church, whose hope and courage were sustained amid persecution and suffering by such Chiliastic expectations, with which according to the apostolic injunction they comforted each other.(1) In any case the words do not agree with the passage in the first Gospel, and as we have already established, even perfect agreement would not under the circumstances be sufficient evidence that the quotation is from that Gospel, and not from another; but with such discrepancy, without any evidence whatever that Hegesippus knew anything of our Gospels, but, on the contrary, with the knowledge that he made use of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, we must decide that any such passages must rather be derived from it than from our Gospels.

It is scarcely necessary to say anything regarding the phrase: "for we and all the people testify to thee that thou art just and that thou respectest not persons."(2) Canon Westcott points out that [——]—] only occurs in Luke xx. 21, and Galatians ii. 6;(3) but the similarity of this single phrase, which is not given as a quotation, but in a historical form put into the mouth of those who are addressing James, cannot for a moment be accepted as evidence of a knowledge of Luke. The episode of the tribute money is generally ascribed to the oldest form of the Gospel history, and although the other two Synoptics(4) read [——]—] for [——]—], there is


no ground for asserting that some of the [——]—] who preceded Luke did not use the latter form, and as little for asserting that it did not so stand, for instance, in the Gospel according to the Hebrews. The employment of the same expression in the Epistle, moreover, at once deprives the Gospel of any individuality in its use.

Hegesippus represents the dying James as kneeling down and praying for those who were stoning him: "I beseech (thee), Lord God Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" [——]—].(1) This is compared with the prayer which Luke(2) puts into the mouth of Jesus on the cross: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" [——]—], and it is assumed from this partial coincidence that Hegesippus was acquainted with the third of our canonical Gospels. We are surprised to see an able and accomplished critic like Hilgenfeld adopting such a conclusion without either examination or argument of any kind.(3) Such a deduction is totally unwarranted by the facts of the case, and if the partial agreement of a passage in such a Father with a historical expression in a Gospel which, alone out of many previously existent, has come down to us can be considered evidence of the acquaintance of the Father with that particular Gospel, the function of criticism is at an end.

It may here be observed that the above passage of Luke xxiii. 34 is omitted altogether from the Vatican MS. and Codex D (Bezse), and in the Codex Sinaiticus


its position is of a very doubtful character.(1) The Codex Alexandrinus which contains it omits the word [——]—].(2) Luke's Gospel was avowedly composed after many other similar works were already in existence, and we know from our Synoptics how closely such writings often followed each other, and drew from the same sources.(3) If any historical character is conceded to this prayer of Jesus it is natural to suppose that it must have been given in at least some of these numerous Gospels which have unfortunately perished. No one could reasonably assert that our third Gospel is the only one which ever contained the passage. It would be preposterous to affirm, for instance, that it did not exist in the Gospel according to the Hebrews, which Hegesippus employed. On the supposition that the passage is historical, which apologists at least will not dispute, what could be more natural or probable than that such a prayer, "emanating from the innermost soul of Jesus,"(4) should have been adopted under similar circumstances by James his brother and successor, who certainly could not have derived it from Luke. The tradition of such words, expressing so much of the original spirit of Christianity, setting aside for the moment written


Gospels, could scarcely fail to have remained fresh in the mind of the early Church, and more especially in the primitive community amongst whom they were uttered, and of which Hegesippus was himself a later member; and they would certainly have been treasured by one who was so careful a collector and transmitter of "the unerring tradition of the apostolic preaching." No saying is more likely to have been preserved by tradition, both from its own character, brevity, and origin, and from the circumstances under which it was uttered, and there can be no reason for limiting it amongst written records to Luke's Gospel. The omission of the prayer from very important codices of Luke further weakens the claim of that Gospel to the passage. Beyond these general considerations, however, there is the important and undoubted fact that the prayer which Hegesippus represents James as uttering does not actually agree with the prayer of Jesus in the third Gospel. So far from proving the use of Luke, therefore, this merely fragmentary and partial agreement, on the contrary, rather proves that he did not know that Gospel, for on the supposition of his making use of the third Synoptic at all for such a purpose, and not simply giving the prayer which James may in reality have uttered, why did he not quote the prayer as he actually found it in Luke?

We have still to consider a fragment of Hegesippus preserved to us by Stephanus Gobarus, a learned monophysite

of the sixth century, which reads as follows: "That the good things prepared for the righteous neither eye saw, nor ear heard, nor entered they into the heart of man. Hegesippus, however, an ancient and apostolic man, how moved I know not, says in the fifth book of his Memoirs that these words are vainly


spoken, and that those who say these things give the lie to the divine writings and to the Lord saying: 'Blessed are your eyes that see, and your cars that hear,'" &c. [——]—].(1) We believe that we have here an expression of the strong prejudice against the Apostle Paul and his teaching which continued for so long to prevail amongst Jewish Christians, and which is apparent in many writings of that period.(2) The quotation of Paul, 1 Corinthians ii. 9, differs materially from the Septuagint version of the passage in Isaiah lxiv. 4, and, as we have seen, the same passage quoted by "Clement of Rome,"(3) differs both from the version of the LXX'. and from the Epistle, although closer to the former. Jerome however found the passage in the apocryphal work called "Ascensio Isaiĉ,"(4) and Origen, Jerome, and others likewise ascribe it to the "Apocalypsis Eliĉ."(5) This, however, does not concern us here, and we have merely to examine the "saying of the Lord," which Hegesippus opposes to the passage: "Blessed are your eyes that see and your ears that hear." This is compared with Matt. xiii. 16, "But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear" [——]—], and also with Luke x. 23, "Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see," &c. We need not point out that the saying referred to by Hegesippus, whilst conveying the


same sense as that in the two Gospels, differs as materially from them both as they do from each other, and as we might expect a quotation taken from a different though kindred source, like the Gospel according to the Hebrews, to do. The whole of the passages which we have examined, indeed, exhibit the same natural variation.

We have already referred to the expressions of Hegesippus regarding the heresies in the early Church: "From these sprang the false Christs, and false prophets, and false apostles who divided the unity of the Church by corrupting doctrines concerning God and his Christ."(1) We have shown how this recalls quotations in Justin of sayings of Jesus foreign to our Gospels, in common with similar expressions in the Clementine Homilies,(2) Apostolic Constitutions,(3) and Clementine Recognitions,(4) and we need not discuss the matter further. This community of reference, in a circle known to have made use of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, to matters foreign to our Synoptics, furnishes collateral illustration of the influence of that Gospel.

Tischendorf, who so eagerly searches for every trace, real or imaginary, of the use of our Gospels and of the existence of a New Testament Canon, passes over in silence, with the exception of a short note(5) devoted to the denial that Hegesippus was opposed to Paul, this first writer of Christian Church history, whose evidence, could it have been adduced, would have been so valuable. He does not pretend that Hegesippus made use of the Canonical Gospels, or knew of any other Holy Scriptures


than those of the Old Testament, but, on the other hand, he does not mention that he possessed, and quoted from, the Gospel according to the Hebrews. There is no reason for supposing that Hegesippus found a New Testament Canon in any of the Christian communities which he visited, and such a rule of faith certainly did not yet exist in Rome in a.d. 160-170.(1) There is no evidence whatever to show that Hegesippus recognized any other evangelical work than the Gospel according to the Hebrews, as the written source of his knowledge of the words of the Lord.(2)


The testimony of Papias is of great interest and importance in connection with our inquiry, inasmuch as he is the first ecclesiastical writer who mentions the tradition that Matthew and Mark composed written records of the life and teaching of Jesus; but no question has been more continuously contested than that of the identity of the works to which he refers with our actual Canonical Gospels. Papias was Bishop of Hierapolis, in Phrygia,(3) in the first half of the second century, and is said to have suffered martyrdom under Marcus Aurelius about a.d. 164-167.(4) About the middle of the second century(5)5 he wrote a work in five books, entitled


"Exposition of the Lord's Oracles "(l) [——]—], which, with the exception of a few fragments preserved to us chiefly by Eusebius and Irenĉus, is unfortunately, no longer extant. In the preface to his book he stated: "But I shall not hesitate also to set beside my interpretations all that I rightly learnt from the Presbyters, and rightly remembered, earnestly testifying to their truth. For I was not, like the multitude, taking pleasure in those who speak much, but in those who teach the truth, nor in those who relate alien commandments, but in those who record those delivered by the Lord to the faith, and which come from the truth itself. If it happened that any one came who had followed the Presbyters, I inquired minutely after the words of the Presbyters, what Andrew or what Peter said, or what Philip or what Thomas or James, or what John or Matthew, or what any other of the disciples of the Lord, and what Aristion and the Presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord, say, for I held that what was to be derived from books did not so profit me as that from the living and abiding voice"(2). [——]—]

It is clear from this that Papias preferred tradition to any written works with which he was acquainted, that he attached little or


no value to any Gospels with which he had met,(1) and that he knew absolutely nothing of Canonical Scriptures of the New Testament.(2) His work was evidently intended to furnish a collection of the discourses of Jesus completed from oral tradition, with his own expositions, and this is plainly indicated both by his own words, and by the statements of Eusebius who, amongst other things, mentions that Papias sets forth strange parables of the Saviour and teachings of his from unwritten tradition [——]—].(3) It is not, however, necessary to discuss more closely the nature of the work, for there is no doubt that written collections of discourses of Jesus existed before it was composed of which it is probable he made use.

The most interesting part of the work of Papias which is preserved to us is that relating to Matthew and

     1 With reference to the last sentence of Papias, Teschendorf
     asks: "What books does he refer to here, perhaps our Gospels
 ? According to the expression this is not impossible, but
     from the whole character of the book in the highest degree
     improbable." (Wann wurden, u. s. w.t p. 109.) We know little
     or nothing of the "whole character" of the book, and what we
     do know is contradictory to our Gospels. The natural and
     only reasonable course is to believe the express declaration
     of Papias, more especially as it is made, in this instance,
     as a prefatory statement of his belief.


Mark. After stating that Papias had inserted in his book accounts of Jesus given by Aristion, of whom nothing is known, and by the Presbyter John, Eusebius proceeds to extract a tradition regarding Mark communicated by the latter. There has been much controversy as to the identity of the Presbyter John, some affirming him to have been the Apostle,(1) but the great majority of critics deciding that he was a totally different person.(2) Irenseus, who, sharing the Chiliastic opinions of Papias, held him in high respect, boldly calls him "the hearer of John" (meaning the Apostle) "and a companion of Polycarp" [——]—](3) but this is expressly contradicted by Eusebius, who points out that, in the preface to his book, Papias by no means asserts that he was himself a hearer of the Apostles, but merely that he received their doctrines from those who had personally known them;(3) and after making the quotation from Papias which we have given


above, he goes on to point out that the name of John is twice mentioned, once together with Peter, James, and Matthew, and the other Apostles, "evidently the Evangelist," and the other John he mentions separately, ranking him amongst those who are not Apostles, and placing Aristion before him, distinguishing him clearly by the name of Presbyter.(1) He further refers to the statement of the great Bishop of Alexandria, Dionysius,(2) that at Ephesus there were two tombs, each bearing the name of John, thereby leading to the inference that there were two men of the name.(3) There can be no doubt that Papias himself in the passage quoted mentions two persons of the name of John, distinguishing the one from the other, and classing the one amongst the Apostles and the other after Aristion, an unknown "disciple of the Lord," and, but for the phrase of Irenĉus, so characteristically uncritical and assumptive, there probably never would have been any doubt raised as to the meaning of the passage. The question is not of importance to us, and we may leave it, with the remark that a writer who suffered martyrdom under Marcus Aurelius, c. a.d. 165, can scarcely have been a hearer of the Apostles.(4)

The account which the Presbyter John is said to have


given of Mark's Gospel is as follows: "'This also the Presbyter said: Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote accurately whatever he remembered, though he did not arrange in order the things which were either said or done by Christ. For he neither heard the Lord, nor followed him; but afterwards, as I said,(1) accompanied Peter, who adapted his teaching to the occasion, and not as making a consecutive record of the Lord's oracles. Mark, therefore, committed no error in thus writing down some things as he remembered them. For of one point he was careful, to omit none of the things which he heard, and not to narrate any of them falsely.' These facts Papias relates concerning Mark."(2) The question to decide is, whether the work here described is our Canonical Gospel or not.

The first point in this account is the statement that Mark was the interpreter of Peter [——]—]. Was he merely the secretary of the Apostle writing in a manner from his dictation, or does the passage mean that he translated the Aramaic narrative of Peter into

     1 Dr. Lightfoot (Contemp. Bev., 1875, p. 842), in the course
     of a highly fanciful argument says, in reference to this "as
     I said": "It is quite clear that Papias had already said
     something of the relations existing between St. Peter and St
     Mark previously to the extract which gives an account of the
     Second Gospel, for he there refers back to a preceding
     notice." It is quite clear that he refers back, but only to
     the preceding sentence in which he "had already said
     something of the relations" in stating the fact that: "Mark,
     having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote, &c."


Greek?(1) The former is the more probable supposition and that which is most generally adopted, but the question is not material here. The connection of Peter with the Gospel according to Mark was generally affirmed in the early Church, as was also that of Paul with the third Gospel,[2] with the evident purpose of claiming apostolic origin for all the Canonical Gospels.(3) Irenĉus says: "After their decease (Peter and Paul), Mark the disciple and interpreter of Peter delivered to, us in writing that which had been preached by Peter."(4) Eusebius quotes a similar tradition from Clement of Alexandria, embellished however with further particulars. He says: "... The cause for which the Gospel according to Mark was written was this: When Peter had publicly preached the word at Rome, and proclaimed the Gospel by the Spirit, those who were present being many, requested Mark, as he had followed him from afar and remembered what he had said, to write down what he had spoken; and when he had composed the Gospel, he gave it to those who had asked it of him; which when Peter knew he neither absolutely hindered nor encouraged it*"(5) Tertullian repeats the same tradition. He says:


"And the Gospel which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter's, whose interpreter Mark was.... for it may rightly appear that works which disciples publish are of their masters."(l) We have it again from Origen: "The second (Gospel) is according to Mark, written as Peter directed him."(2) Eusebius gives a more detailed and advanced version of the same tradition. "So much, however, did the effulgence of piety illuminate the minds of those (Romans) who heard Peter, that it did not content them to hear but once, nor to receive only the unwritten doctrine of the divine teaching, but with reiterated entreaties they besought Mark, to whom the Gospel is ascribed, as the companion of Peter, that he should leave them a written record of the doctrine thus orally conveyed. Nor did they cease their entreaties until they had persuaded the man, and thus became the cause of the writing of the Gospel called according to Mark. They say, moreover, that the Apostle (Peter) having become aware, through revelation to him of the Spirit, of what had been done, was delighted with the ardour of the men, and ratified the work in order that it might be read in the churches. This narrative is given by Clement in the sixth book of his Institutions, whose testimony is supported by that of Papias, the Bishop of Hierapolis."(3)


The account given by Clement, however, by no means contained these details, as we have seen. In his "Demonstration of the Gospel" Eusebius, referring to the same tradition, affirms that it was the modesty of Peter which prevented his writing a Gospel himself.(1) Jerome almost repeats the preceding account of Eusebius: "Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, being entreated by the brethren of Rome, wrote a short Gospel according to what he had received from Peter, which when Peter heard, he approved, and gave his authority for its being read in the Churches, as Clement writes in the sixth book of his Institutions,"(3) &c. Jerome moreover says that Peter had Mark for an interpreter, "whose Gospel was composed: Peter narrating and he writing" (cujus evangelium Petro narrante et illo scribente compositum est).(3) It is evident that all these writers merely repeat with variations the tradition regarding the first two Gospels which Papias originated. Irenĉus dates the writing of Mark after the death of Peter and Paul in Rome. Clement describes Mark as writing during Peter's life, the Apostle preserving absolute neutrality. By the time of Eusebius, however, the tradition has acquired new and miraculous elements and a more decided character—Peter is made aware of the undertaking of Mark through a revelation of the Spirit, and instead of being neutral is delighted and lends the work the weight of his authority. Eusebius refers to Clement and Papias as giving the same account, which they do


not, however, and Jerome merely repeats the story of Eusebius without naming him, and the tradition which he had embellished thus becomes endorsed and perpetuated. Such is the growth of tradition;(l) it is impossible to overlook the mythical character of the information we possess as to the origin of the second Canonical Gospel.(2)

In a Gospel so completely inspired by Peter as the tradition of Papias and of the early Church indicates, we may reasonably expect to find unmistakable traces of Petrine influence, but on examination it will be seen that these are totally wanting.(3) Some of the early Church did not fail to remark this singular discrepancy between the Gospel and the tradition of its dependence on Peter, and in reply Eusebius adopts an apologetic tone.(4) For instance, in the brief account of the calling of Simon in

     1  A similar discrepancy of tradition is to be observed as
     to the place in which the Gospel was written, Irenĉus and
     others dating it from Rome, and others (as Chrysostom, in
     Matth. Homil., i.), assigning it to Egypt. Indeed some MSS.
     of the second Gospel have the words [——]—] in accordance
     with this tradition as to its origin. Cf. Scholz, Einl. N.
     T., i. p. 201. Various critics have argued for its
     composition at Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch. We do not go
     into the discussion as to whether Peter ever was in Rome.


Mark, the distinguishing addition: "called Peter," of the first Gospel is omitted,(1) and still more notably the whole narrative of the miraculous draught of fishes, which gives the event such prominence in the third Gospel.(2) In Matthew, Jesus goes into the house of "Peter" to cure his wife's mother of a fever, whilst in Mark it is "into the house of Simon and Andrew," the less honourable name being still continued.(3) Matthew commences the catalogue of the twelve by the pointed indication: "The first, Simon, who is called Peter,"(4) thus giving him precedence, whilst Mark merely says: "And Simon he surnamed Peter."(5) The important episode of Peter's walking on the sea, of the first Gospel,(6) is altogether ignored by Mark. The enthusiastic declaration of Peter: "Thou art the Christ,"(7) is only followed by the chilling injunction to tell no one, in the second Gospel,(8) whilst Matthew not only gives greater prominence to the declaration of Peter, but gives the reply of Jesus: "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona," &c,—of which Mark apparently knows nothing,—and then proceeds to the most important episode in the history of the Apostle, the celebrated words by which the surname of Peter was conferred upon him: "And I say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church," &c.(9) The Gospel supposed to be inspired by Peter, however, totally omits this most important passage; as it also does the miracle of the finding the tribute money in the fish's mouth, narrated by the first Gospel.(10) Luke states that "Peter


and John "are sent to prepare the Passover, whilst Mark has only "two disciples;"(1) and in the account of the last Supper, Luke gives the address of Jesus to Peter: "Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you (all) that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not; and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."(2) Of this Mark does not say a word. Again, after the denial, Luke reads: "And the Lord turned and looked upon Peter, and Peter remembered the word of the Lord, &c, and Peter went out and wept bitterly;"(3) whereas Mark omits the reproachful look of Jesus, and makes the penitence of Peter depend merely on the second crowing of the cock, and further modifies the penitence by the omission of "bitterl"—" And when he thought thereon he wept."(4) There are other instances to which we need not refer. Not only are some of the most important episodes in which Peter is represented by the other Gospels as a principal actor altogether omitted, but throughout the Gospel there is the total absence of anything which is specially characteristic of Petrine influence and teaching. The argument that these omissions are due to the modesty of Peter is quite untenable, for not only does Irenĉus, the most ancient authority on the point, state that this Gospel was only written after the death of Peter,(5) but also there is no modesty in omitting passages of importance in the history of Jesus, simply because Peter himself was in some way concerned in them, or, for instance, in decreasing his penitence for such a denial


of his master, which could not but have filled a sad place in the Apostle's memory. On the other hand, there is no adequate record of special matter, which the intimate knowledge of the doings and sayings of Jesus possessed by Peter might have supplied, to counterbalance the singular omissions. There is infinitely more of the spirit of Peter in the first Gospel than there is in the second. The whole internal evidence, therefore, shows that this part of the tradition of the Presbyter John transmitted by Papias does not apply to our Gospel.

The discrepancy, however, is still more marked when we compare with our actual second Gospel the account of the work of Mark which Papias received from the Presbyter. Mark wrote down from memory some parts [——]—] of the teaching of Peter regarding the life of Jesus, but as Peter adapted his instructions to the actual circumstances [——]—], and did not give a consecutive report [——]—] of the sayings or doings of Jesus, Mark was only careful to be accurate, and did not trouble himself to arrange in historical order [——]—] his narrative of the things which were said and done by Jesus, but merely wrote down facts as he remembered them. This description would lead us to expect a work composed of fragmentary reminiscences of the teaching of Peter, without regular sequence or connection. The absence of orderly arrangement is the most prominent feature in the description, and forms the burden of the whole. Mark writes "what he remembered;" "he did not arrange in order the things that were either said or done by Christ;" and then follow the apologetic expressions of explanation—he was not himself a hearer or follower of the Lord, but derived his


information from the occasional preaching of Peter, who did not attempt to give a consecutive narrative. Now it is impossible in the work of Mark here described to recognize our present second Gospel, which does not depart in any important degree from the order of the other two Synoptics, and which, throughout, has the most evident character of orderly arrangement Each of the Synoptics compared with the other two would present a similar degree of variation, but none of them could justly be described as not arranged in order or as not being consecutive. The second Gospel opens formally, and after presenting John the Baptist as the messenger sent to prepare the way of the Lord, proceeds to the baptism of Jesus, his temptation, his entry upon public life, and his calling of the disciples. Then, after a consecutive narrative of his teaching and works, the history ends with a full and consecutive account of the last events in the life of Jesus, his trial, crucifixion, and resurrection, There is in the Gospel every characteristic of artistic and orderly arrangement, from the striking introduction by the prophetic voice crying in the wilderness to the solemn close of the marvellous history.(1) The great majority of critics, therefore, are agreed in concluding that the account of the Presbyter John recorded by Papias does not apply to our second Canonical Gospel at all.(2) Many


of those who affirm that the description of Papias may apply to our second Gospel(1) do so with hesitation, and few maintain that we now possess the original work without considerable subsequent alteration. Some of these critics, however, feeling the difficulty of identifying our second Gospel with the work here described, endeavour


to reconcile the discrepancy by a fanciful interpretation of the account of Papias. They suggest that the first part, in which the want of chronological order is pointed out, refers to the rough notes which Mark made during the actual preaching and lifetime of Peter, and that the latter part applies to our present Gospel, which he later remodelled into its present shape.(1) This most unreasonable and arbitrary application of the words of Papias is denounced even by apologists.(2)

It has been well argued that the work here described as produced by Mark in the character of [——]—] is much more one of the same family as the Clementine Homilies than of our Gospels.(3) The work was no systematic narrative of the history of Jesus, nor report of his teaching, but the dogmatic preaching of the Apostle, illustrated and interspersed with passages from the discourses of Jesus or facts from his life.(4) Of this character seems actually to have been that ancient work "The Preaching of Peter" [——]—], which was used by Heracleon,(5) and by Clement(6) of Alexandria as an authentic canonical work,(7) denounced by Origen(8)


on account of the consideration in which it was held by-many, but still quoted with respect by Gregory of Nazianzum.(1)

There can be no doubt that the [——]—] although it failed to obtain a permanent place in the canon, was one of the most ancient works of the Christian Church, dating probably from the first century, from which indeed the Clementine Homilies themselves were in all likelihood produced,(2) and, like the work described by Papias, it also was held to have been composed in Rome in connection with the preaching there of Peter and Paul.3 It must be noted, moreover, that Papias does not call the work ascribed to Mark a Gospel, but merely a record of the preaching of Peter.

It is not necessary for us to account for the manner in which the work referred to by the Presbyter John disappeared, and the present Gospel according to Mark became substituted for it. The merely negative evidence that our actual Gospel is not the work described by Papias is sufficient for our purpose. Any one acquainted with the thoroughly uncritical character of the Fathers, and with the literary history of the early Christian Church, will readily conceive the facility with which this can have been accomplished. The great mass of intelligent critics are agreed that our Synoptic Gospels have assumed their present form only after repeated modifications by various editors of earlier evangelical works. These changes have not been effected without traces


being left by which the various materials may be separated and distinguished, but the more primitive Gospels have entirely disappeared, naturally supplanted by the later and amplified versions. The critic, however, who distinguishes between the earlier and later matter is not bound to perform the now impossible feat of producing the originals, or accounting in any but a general way for the disappearance of the primitive Gospel.

Teschendorf asks: "How then has neither Eusebius nor any other theologian of Christian antiquity thought that the expressions of Papias were in contradiction with the two Gospels (Mt. and Mk.)?"(1) The absolute credulity with which those theologians accepted any fiction, however childish, which had a pious tendency, and the frivolous character of the only criticism in which they indulged, render their unquestioning application of the tradition of Papias to our Gospels anything but singular, and it is only surprising to find their silent acquiescence elevated into an argument. We have already in the course of these pages seen something of the singularly credulous and uncritical character of the Fathers, and we cannot afford space to give instances of the absurdities with which their writings abound. No fable could be too gross, no invention too transparent, for their unsuspicious acceptance, if it assumed a pious form or tended to edification. No period in the history of the world ever produced so many spurious works as the first two or three centuries of our era. The name of every Apostle, or Christian teacher, not excepting that of the great Master himself, was freely attached to every description of religious forgery. False gospels, epistles, acts, martyrologies, were unscrupulously


circulated, and such pious falsification was not even intended or regarded as a crime, but perpetrated for the sake of edification. It was only slowly and after some centuries that many of these works, once, as we have seen, regarded with pious veneration, were excluded from the canon; and that genuine works shared this fate, whilst spurious ones usurped their places, is one of the surest results of criticism. The Fathers omitted to inquire critically when such investigation might have been of value, and mere tradition credulously accepted and transmitted is of no critical value.(1) In an age-when the multiplication of copies of any work was a slow process, and their dissemination a matter of difficulty and even danger, it is easy to understand with what facility the more complete and artistic Gospel could take the place of the original notes as the work of Mark.

The account given by Papias of the work ascribed to Matthew is as follows: "Matthew composed the oracles in the Hebrew dialect, and every one interpreted them as he was able."(2) Critics are divided in opinion as to whether this tradition was, like that regarding Mark, derived from the Presbyter John,(3) or is given merely on

     1 Canon Westcott himself admits that "the proof of the Canon
     is rendered more difficult by the uncritical character of
     the first two centuries." He says: "The spirit of the
     ancient world was essentially uncritical." On the Canon, p.
     7 f.


the authority of Papias himself.(1) Eusebius joins the account of Mark to that given by Matthew merely by the following words: "These facts Papias relates concerning Mark; but regarding Matthew he has said as follows:"(2) Eusebius distinctly states that the account regarding Mark is derived from the Presbyter, and the only reason for ascribing to him also that concerning Matthew is that it is not excluded by the phraseology of Eusebius, and the two passages being given by him consecutively—however they may have stood in the work of Papias—it is reasonable enough to suppose that the information was derived from the same source. The point is not of much importance, but it is clear that there is no absolute right to trace this statement to the Presbyter John, as there is in the case of the tradition about Mark.

This passage has excited even more controversy than that regarding Mark, and its interpretation and application are still keenly debated. The intricacy and difficulty of the questions which it raises are freely admitted by some of the most earnest defenders of the Canonical Gospels, but the problem, so far as our examination is concerned, can be solved without much trouble. The dilemma in which apologists find themselves when they attempt closely to apply the description of this work given by Papias to our Canonical Gospel is the great difficulty which complicates the matter and prevents a


clear and distinct solution of the question. We shall avoid minute discussion of details, contenting ourselves with the broader features of the argument, and seeking only to arrive at a just conclusion as to the bearing of the evidence of Papias upon the claim to authenticity of our Canonical Gospel.

The first point which we have to consider is the nature of the work which is here described. Matthew is said to have composed the [——]—] or Oracles, and there can be little doubt from the title of his own book: "Exposition of the Lord's Oracles" [——]—], that these oracles referred to by Papias were the Discourses of Jesus. Does the word Xoyta, however, mean strictly Oracles or discourses alone, or does it include within its fair signification also historical narrative? "Were the "Xoyta" here referred to a simple collection of the discourses of Jesus, or a complete Gospel like that in our Canon bearing the name of Matthew? That the natural interpretation of the word is merely "Oracles" is indirectly admitted, even by the most thorough apologists, when they confess the obscurity of the expression—obscurity, however, which simply appears to exist from the difficulty of straining the word to make it apply to the Gospel. "In these sentences," says Tischendorf, referring to the passage about Matthew, "there is much obscurity; for instance, it is doubtful whether we have rightly translated 'Discourses of the Lord,'" and he can only extend the meaning to include historical narrative by leaving the real meaning of the word and interpreting it by supposed analogy.

There can be no doubt that the direct meaning of the word Xoyta anciently and at the time of Papias was


simply: words or oracles of a sacred character, and however much the signification became afterwards extended, that it was not then at all applied to doings as well as sayings. There are many instances of this original and limited signification in the New Testament;(1) and there is no linguistic precedent for straining the expression, used at that period, to mean anything beyond a collection of sayings of Jesus which were estimated as oracular or divine, nor is there any reason for thinking that [——]—] was here used in any other sense.(2) It is argued


on the other hand, that in the preceding passage upon Mark, a more extended meaning of the word is indicated. The Presbyter John says that Mark, as the interpreter of Peter, wrote without order "the things which were either said or done by Christ" ([——]—]), and then, apologizing for him, he goes on to say that Peter, whom he followed, adapted his teaching to the occasion, "and not as making a consecutive record of the oracles [——]—] of the Lord." Here, it is said, the word [——]—] is used in reference both to sayings and doings, and therefore in the passage on Matthew [——]—] must not be understood to mean only [——]—], but also includes, as in the former case, the [——]—]. For these and similar reasons,—in very many cases largely influenced by the desire to see in these Xoyta our actual Gospel according to Matthew—many critics have maintained that [——]—] in this place may be understood to include historical narrative as well as discourses.(1) The arguments by which they arrive at this


conclusion, however, seem to us to be based upon thorough misconception of the direct meaning of the passage. Few or none of these critics would deny that the simple interpretation of [——]—], at that period, was oracular sayings.(1) Papias shows his preference for discourses in the very title of his lost book, "Exposition of the [——]—] of the Lord," and in the account which he gives of the works attributed to Mark and Matthew, the discourses evidently attracted his chief interest. Now, in the passage regarding Mark, instead of [——]—] being made the equivalent of [——]—] and [——]—], the very reverse is the fact. The Presbyter says Mark wrote what he remembered of the things which were said or done by Christ, although not in order, and he apologizes for his doing this on the ground that he had not himself been a hearer of the Lord, but merely reported what he had heard from Peter, who adapted his teaching to the occasion, and did not attempt to give a consecutive record of the oracles [——]—] of the Lord. Mark, therefore, could not do so either. Matthew, on the contrary, he states, did compose the oracles [——]—]. There is an evident contrast made: Mark


wrote [——]—] because he had not the means of writing the oracles, but Matthew composed the [——]—].(1) Papias clearly distinguishes the work of Mark, who had written reminiscences of what Jesus had said and done, from that of Matthew, who had made a collection of his discourses.(2)

It is impossible upon any but arbitrary grounds, and from a foregone conclusion, to maintain that a work commencing with a detailed history of the birth and infancy of Jesus, his genealogy, and the preaching of John the Baptist, and concluding with an equally minute history of his betrayal, trial, crucifixion, and resurrection, and which relates all the miracles and has for its evident aim throughout the demonstration that Messianic prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus, could be entitled [——]—]: the oracles or discourses of the Lord.(3)

Partly for these, but also for other important reasons, some of which shall presently be referred to, the great majority of critics deny that the work described by Papias can be the same as the Gospel in our canon bearing the name of Matthew.(4) Whilst of those who


suppose that the (Aramaic) original of which Papias speaks may have been substantially similar to it in construction, very few affirm that the work did not receive much subsequent manipulation, addition, and alteration, necessarily including translation, before it assumed the form in which the Gospel now lies before us, and many of them altogether deny its actual apostolic origin.(1)

The next most important and obvious point is that the work described in this passage was written by Matthew


in the Hebrew or Aramaic dialect, and each one who did not understand that dialect was obliged to translate as best he could. Our Gospel according to Matthew, however, is in Greek. Tischendorf, who is obliged to acknowledge the Greek originality of our actual Gospel, and that it is not a translation from another language, recognizes the inevitable dilemma in which this fact places apologists, and has, with a few other critics, no better argument with which to meet it than the simple suggestion that Papias must have been mistaken in saying that Matthew wrote in Hebrew.(1) Just as much of the testimony as is convenient or favourable is eagerly claimed by such apologists, and the rest, which destroys its applicability to our Gospel, is set aside as a mistake. Tischendorf perceives the difficulty, but not having arguments to meet it, he takes refuge in feeling. "In this," he says, "there lies before us one of the most complicated questions, whose detailed treatment would here not be in place. For our part, we are fully at rest concerning it, in the conviction that the assumption by Papias of a Hebrew original text of Matthew, which already in his time cannot have been limited to himself and was soon repeated by other men, arises only from a misunderstanding."(3) It is difficult to comprehend why it should be considered out of place in a work specially written to establish the authenticity of the Gospels to discuss fully so vital a point, and its deliberate evasion in such a manner alone can be deemed out of place on such an occasion.(3)


We may here briefly remark that Teschendorf and others(1) repeat with approval the disparaging expressions against Papias which Eusebius, for dogmatic reasons, did not scruple to use, and in this way they seek somewhat to depreciate his testimony, or at least indirectly to warrant their free handling of it. It is true that Eusebius says that Papias was a man of very limited comprehension(2) [——]—], but this is acknowledged to be on account of his Millenarian opinions,(3) to which Eusebius was vehemently opposed. It must be borne in mind, however, that the Chiliastic passage from Papias quoted by Irenĉus, and in which he certainly saw nothing foolish, is given on the authority of the Presbyter John, to whom, and not to Papias, any criticism upon it must be referred. If the passage be not of a very elevated character, it is quite in the spirit of that age. The main point, however, is that in regard to the testimony of Papias we have little to


do with his general ability, for all that was requisite was the power to see, hear, and accurately state very simple facts. He repeats what is told him by the Presbyter, and in such matters we presume that the Bishop of Hierapolis must be admitted to have been competent.(1)

There is no point, however, on which the testimony of the Fathers is more invariable and complete than that the work of Matthew was written in Hebrew or Aramaic. The first mention of any work ascribed to Matthew occurs in the account communicated by Papias, in which, as we have seen, it is distinctly said that Matthew wrote "in the Hebrew dialect." Irenĉus, the next writer who refers to the point, says: "Matthew also produced a written Gospel amongst the Hebrews in their own dialect," and that he did not derive his information solely from Papias may be inferred from his going on to state the epoch of Matthew's writings: "when Peter and Paul were preaching and founding the Church in Rome."(2) The evidence furnished by Pantĉnus is certainly independent of Papias. Eusebius states with regard to him: "Of these Pantĉnus is said to have been one, and to have penetrated as far as India (Southern Arabia), where it is reported that he found the Gospel according to Matthew, which had been delivered before his arrival to some who had the knowledge of Christ, to whom Bartholomew, one of the Apostles, as it is said, had preached, and left them that writing of Matthew in Hebrew letters" [——]—]


[——]—].(1) Jerome gives a still more circumstantial account of this. "Pantaenus found that Bartholomew, one of the twelve Apostles, had there (in India) preached the advent of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the Gospel of Matthew, which was written in Hebrew letters (quod Hebraicis Uteris scriptum), and which on returning to Alexandria he brought with him."(2) It is quite clear that this was no version specially made by Bartholomew, for had he translated the Gospel according to Matthew from the Greek, for the use of persons in Arabia, he certainly would not have done so into Hebrew.(3) Origen, according to Eusebius, "following the ecclesiastical canon," states what he has understood from tradition [——]—]

of the Gospels, and says: "The first written was that according to Matthew, once a publican, but afterwards an Apostle of Jesus Christ, who delivered it to the Jewish believers, composed in the Hebrew language."(4) Eusebius in another place makes a similar statement in his own name: "Matthew having first preached to the Hebrews when he was about to go also to others, delivered to them his Gospel written in their native language, and thus compensated those from whom he was departing for the want of his presence by the writing."(5) Cyril of Jerusalem says: "Matthew, who wrote the Gospel, wrote it in the Hebrew language."(6) Epiphanius, referring to the fact that the Nazarenes called the only Gospel which they


recognized the "Gospel according to the Hebrews," continues: "As in very truth we can affirm that Matthew alone in the New Testament set forth and proclaimed the Gospel in the Hebrew language and in Hebrew characters;"(1) and elsewhere he states that "Matthew wrote the Gospel in Hebrew."(2) The same tradition is repeated by Chrysostom,(3) Augustine,(4) and others.

Whilst the testimony of the Fathers was thus unanimous as to the fact that the Gospel ascribed to Matthew was originally written in Hebrew, no question ever seems to have arisen in their minds as to the character of the Greek version; much less was any examination made with the view of testing the accuracy of the translation. "Such inquiries were not in the spirit of Christian learned men generally of that time,"(5) as Tischendorf remarks in connection with the belief current in the early Church, and afterwards shared by Jerome, that the Gospel according to the Hebrews was the original of the Greek Gospel according to Matthew. The first who directly refers to the point, frankly confessing the total ignorance which generally prevailed, was Jerome. He states: "Matthew, who was also called Levi, who from a publican became an Apostle, was the first who wrote a Gospel of Christ in Judĉa in Hebrew language and letters, on account of those from amongst the circumcision who had believed; but who afterwards translated it into Greek is not


sufficiently certain."(1) It was only at a much later period, when doubt began to arise, that the translation was wildly ascribed to the Apostles John, James, and others.(3)

The expression in Papias that "everyone interpreted them (the [——]—]) as he was able" [——]—] has been variously interpreted by different critics, like the rest of the account. Schleier-macher explained the [——]—] as translation by enlargement: Matthew merely collected the Xoyta ([——]—]), and everyone added the explanatory circumstances of time and occasion as best he could.(3) This view, however, has not been largely adopted. Others consider that the expression refers to the interpretation which was given on reading it at the public meetings of Christians for worship,(4) but there can be no doubt that, coming after the statement that the work was written in the Hebrew dialect, [——]—] can only mean simple translation.(5) Some maintain that the passage infers the existence of many written translations, amongst which very probably was ours;(6) whilst others affirm that the phrase merely signifies that as there was no recognized


translation, each one who had but an imperfect knowledge of the language, yet wished to read the work, translated the Hebrew for himself orally as best he could.(1) Some consider that Papias or the Presbyter use the verb in the past tense, [——]—], as contrasting the time when it was necessary for each to interpret as best he could with the period when, from the existence of a recognized translation, it was no longer necessary for them to do so;(2) whilst others deny that any written translation of an authentic character was known to Papias at all.(3) Now the words in Papias are merely: "Matthew composed the Xoyta in the Hebrew dialect,(4) and everyone interpreted them as he was able." The statement is perfectly simple and direct, and it is at least quite clear that it conveys the fact that when the work was composed, translation was requisite, and as each one translated "as he was able," that no recognized translation existed to which all might have recourse. There is no contrast either necessarily or, we think, probably implied in the use of the past tense. The composition of the Xoyta being of course referred to in the

     4  In connection with this it may be of interest to remember
     that, in the account of his conversion and the vision which
     he saw on his way to Damascus which Paul gives to King
     Agrippa in the Acts of the Apostles, he states that Jesus
     spoke to him "in the Hebrew dialect" [——]—], Acts xxvi.


past tense, the same tense is simply continued in completing the sentence. The purpose is obviously to convey the fact that the work was composed in the Hebrew language. But even if it be taken that Papias intentionally uses the past tense in reference to the time when translations did not exist, nothing is gained, Papias may have known of many translations, but there is absolutely not a syllable which warrants the conclusion that Papias was acquainted with an authentic Greek version, although it is possible that he may have known of the existence of some Greek translations of no authority. The words used, however, imply that, if he did, he had no respect for any of them.

Thus the account of Papias, supported by the perfectly unanimous testimony of the Fathers, declares that the work composed by Matthew was written in the Hebrew or Aramaic dialect. The only evidence which asserts that Matthew wrote any work at all, distinctly asserts that he wrote it in Hebrew. It is quite impossible to separate the statement of the authorship from the language. The two points are so indissolubly united that they stand or fall together. If it be denied that Matthew wrote in Hebrew, it cannot be asserted that he wrote at all. It is therefore perfectly certain from this testimony that Matthew cannot be declared the direct author of the Greek canonical Gospel bearing his name.(1) At the very best it can only be a translation, by an unknown hand, of a work the original of which was early lost. None of the earlier Fathers ever ventured a conjecture as to how, when, or by whom the translation was effected. Jerome explicitly states that the translator of the work was unknown. The


deduction is clear: our Greek Gospel, in so far as it is associated with Matthew at all, cannot at the utmost be more than a translation, but as the work of an unknown translator, there cannot, in the absence of the original, or of satisfactory testimony of its accuracy, bo any assurance that the translation faithfully renders the work of Matthew, or accurately conveys the sense of the original. All its Apostolical authority is gone. Even Michaelis long ago recognized this: "If the original text of Matthew be lost, and we have nothing but a Greek translation: then, frankly, we cannot ascribe any divine inspiration to the words: yea, it is possible that in various places the true meaning of the Apostle has been missed by the translator."(1) This was felt and argued by the Manicheans in the fourth century,(2) and by the Anabaptists at the time of the Reformation.(3) A wide argument might be opened out as to the dependence of the other two Gospels on this unauthenticated work.

The dilemma, however, is not yet complete. It was early remarked that our first Canonical Gospel bore no real marks of being a translation at all, but is evidently an original independent Greek work. Even men like Erasmus, Calvin, Cajctan, and Oecolampadius, began to deny the statement that our Gospels showed any traces of Hebrew origin, and the researches of later scholars have so fully confirmed their doubts that few now maintain the primitive belief in a translation. We do not propose here to enter fully into this argument. It is sufficient to say that the great majority of competent critics declare that our first Canonical Gospel is no translation, but an


original Greek text;(1) whilst of those who consider that they find traces of translation and of Hebrew origin,


some barely deny the independent originality of the Greek Gospel, and few assert more than substantial agreement with the original, with more or less variation and addition often of a very decided character.(1) The case, therefore, stands thus: The whole of the evidence which warrants our believing that Matthew wrote any


work at all, distinctly, invariably, and emphatically asserts that he wrote that work in Hebrew or Aramaic; a Greek Gospel, therefore, as connected with Matthew, can only be a translation by an unknown hand, whose accuracy we have not, and never have had, the means of verifying. Our Greek Gospel, however, being an independent original Greek text, there is no ground whatever for ascribing it even indirectly to Matthew at all, the whole evidence of antiquity being emphatically opposed, and the Gospel itself laying no claim, to such authorship.

One or other of these alternatives must be adopted for our first Gospel, and either is absolutely fatal to its direct Apostolic origin. Neither as a translation from the Hebrew nor as an original Greek text can it claim Apostolic authority. This has been so well recognized, if not admitted, that some writers, with greater zeal than discretion, have devised fanciful theories to obviate the difficulty. These maintain that Matthew himself wrote both in Hebrew and in Greek,(1) or at least that the translation was made during his own lifetime and under his own eye,(2) and so on. There is not, however, a particle of evidence for any of these assertions, which


are merely the arbitrary and groundless conjectures of embarrassed apologists.

It is manifest that upon this evidence both those who assert the Hebrew original of Matthew's work and those who maintain that our Gospel is not a translation but an original Greek composition, should logically deny its apostolicity. We need not say that this is not done, and that for dogmatic and other foregone conclusions many profess belief in the Apostolic authorship of the Gospel, although in doing so they wilfully ignore the facts, and in many cases merely claim a substantial but not absolute Apostolic origin for the work.(1) A much greater number of the most able and learned critics, however, both from external and internal evidence deny the Apostolic origin of our first Canonical Gospel.(3)


There is another fact to which we may briefly refer, which from another side shows that the work of Matthew


with which Papias was acquainted was different from our Gospel. In a fragment from the fourth book of his lost work which is preserved to us by Oecumenius and Theophylact, Papias relates the circumstances of the death of Judas Iscariot in a manner which is in contradiction to the account in the first Gospel. In Matthew xxvii. 5, the death of the traitor is thus related: "And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed and went and hanged himself."(1) The narrative in Papias is as follows: "Judas walked about in this world a great example of impiety; for his body having swollen so that, on an occasion, when a waggon was moving on its way, he could not pass it, he was crushed by the waggon and his bowels gushed out."(2) Theophylact, in connection with this passage, adds other details also apparently taken from the work of Papias, as for instance that, from his excessive corpulency, the eyes of Judas were so swollen that they could not see, and so sunk in his head that they could not be perceived even by the aid of the optical instruments of physicians; and that the rest of his body was covered with running sores and maggots, and so on in the manner of the early Christian ages, whose imagination conjured up the wildest "special


providences" to punish the enemies of the faith.(1) As Papias expressly states that he eagerly inquired what the Apostles, and amongst them what Matthew, said, we may conclude that he would not have deliberately contradicted the account given by that Apostle had he been acquainted with any work attributed to him which contained it.(2)

It has been argued, from some very remote and imaginary resemblance between the passage from the preface to the work of Papias quoted by Eusebius with the prologue to Luke, that Papias was acquainted with that Gospel;(3) but nothing could be more groundless than such a conclusion based upon such evidence, and there is not a word in our fragments of Papias which warrants such an assertion.(4) Eusebius, who never fails to state what the Fathers say about the works of the New Testament, does not mention that Papias knew either the third or fourth Gospels. Is it possible to suppose that if Papias had been acquainted with those Gospels he would not have asked for information about them from the Presbyters, or that Eusebius would not have recorded it as he did that regarding the works ascribed to Matthew and Mark? Eusebius states, however, that Papias "made use of testimonies from the first Epistle of John and, likewise, from that of Peter."(5) As Eusebius,


however, does not quote the passages from Papias, we must remain in doubt whether he did not, as elsewhere, assume from some similarity of wording that the passages were quotations from these Epistles, whilst in reality they might not be. Andrew, a Cappadocian bishop of the fifth century, mentions that Papias, amongst others of the Fathers, considered the Apocalypse inspired.(1) No reference is made to this by Eusebius, but although from his Millenarian tendencies it is very probable that Papias regarded the Apocalypse with peculiar veneration as a prophetic book, this evidence is too vague and isolated to be of much value.

We find, however, that Papias, like Hegesippus and others of the Fathers, was acquainted with the Gospel according to the Hebrews.(2) Eusebius says: "He (Papias) has likewise related another history of a woman accused of many sins before the Lord, which is contained in the Gospel according to the Hebrews."(3) This is generally believed to be the episode inserted in the later MSS. of the fourth Gospel, viii. 1—11.

Whatever books Papias knew, however, it is certain, from his own express declaration, that he ascribed little importance to them, and preferred tradition as a more beneficial source of information regarding evangelical history. "For I held that what was to be derived from


books," he says, "did not so profit me as that from the living and abiding voice."(1) If, therefore, it could even have been shown that Papias was acquainted with any of our Canonical Gospels, it must at the same time have been admitted that he did not recognize them as authoritative documents. It is manifest from the evidence adduced, however, that Papias did not know our Gospels. It is not possible that he could have found it better to inquire "what John or Matthew, or what any other of the disciples of the Lord... say" if he had known of Gospels such as ours, and believed them to have been actually written by those Apostles, deliberately telling him what they had to say. The work of Matthew which he mentions being, however, a mere collection of discourses of Jesus, he might naturally inquire what the Apostle(2) himself said of the history and teaching of the Master. The evidence of Papias is in every respect most important. He is the first writer who mentions that Matthew and Mark were believed to have written any works at all; but whilst he shows that he does not accord any canonical authority even to the works attributed to them, his description of those works and his general testimony comes with crushing force against the pretensions made on behalf of our Gospels to Apostolic origin and authenticity.

     2  We may merely remark that Papias does not call the
     Matthew who wrote the[——]—] an Apostle. In this passage he
     speaks of the Apostle, but he does not distinctly identify
     him with the Matthew of the other passage.


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