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the author frequently compares the several accounts of the first three evangelists. Moreover, before he published this Comment upon St. Matthew, he had written an explication of St. Luke's gospel.
5. The book of the Acts of the apostles is often cited in this work, and ascribed to Luke as the writer.
6. The author has quoted all or most of St. Paul's epistles, particularly that to the Hebrews. Mr. Wetstein says, that the author of this work was a Latin, and did not receive the epistle to the Hebrews; nevertheless he has plainly quoted it as the apostle's in one place, and referred, or alluded to it in another.
7. He has also quoted the epistle of James several times: he seems to have supposed him to be' James, the son of Alpheus, and consequently an apostle of Christ.
8. It is needless to refer to quotations of the first epistle of Peter, which was always received; but it may be worth observing, that he quotes his second epistle.
9. He has several times quoted the book of the Revelation.
10. This author therefore received all the same books of the New Testament which we do: and his respect for then is manifest.
11. Moreover he says, that' as miracles are now ceased, there is no other way of knowing the truth, but by the scriptures. I transcribe his words below at large.
V. His division of the books of scripture is that, which is common with all Christians in general; apostles and prophets. However, he has quoted some Christian writings not in our
1. He has quoted" the Recognitions three or four times.
2. He likewise quotes the Constitutions or Canons of the apostles.
3. What regard the author had for these two books does not clearly appear: but I think, that if he had respected them, as of authority, he would have quoted them oftener.
4. He says, That Joseph was absent, when the angel appeared to Mary, as related by Luke i. 26....38; and that this is said in a history, that is not unreasonable, nor incredible; for that
⚫ Sciendum est, quod Lucas quidem et Marcus statim in primis ponunt dæmoniacum curatum, &c. Hom. 21. p. 100. A. B.-Verius autem, quid sit abominatio desolationis, Lucas evangelista interpretatur. Nam in quo loco Marcus et præsens Matthæus ponunt: Cum videritis abominationem desoAlationis, in ipso loco Lucas sic ponit: Cum videritis cir'cumdari ab exercitu Jerusalem, tunc scitote, quia appropin'quavit desolatio ejus.' Hom. 49. p. 202. B. Vid. et Hom. 50. p. 213. D. E.
b Vid. Hom. 9. p. 56. C. D.
Unde etiam Lucas testatur de illo, dicens: Primum 'quidem sermonem feci de omnibus, O Theophile, quæ cœpit 'Jesus facere et docere.' [Act. i. 1.] Hom. 4. p. 41. C.
De quo ait apostolus: Vivum est verbum Dei et efficax, &c. [Heb. iv. 12.] Hom. 26. p. 113. B. C. Vid. et Hom. 38. p. 159. D.
• Cæterum Latinus fuit, qui epistolam ad Hebræos non recepit. Prolegom. ad N. T. Tom. i. p. 81.
¡ See note.d
* Sicut ait Jacobus: Si omnem legem adimpleas,' &c. [Cap. ii. 10.] Hom. 35. p. 151. D. Vid. et Hom. 4. p. 41. A.
Item Jacobum Alphæi lapidantes. Propter quæ omnia Jerusalem destructa est a Romanis. Hom. 41. p. 174. E.
i Propterea dicit Petrus in epistolâ suâ de scripturarum obscuritate, quia non sicut voluit homo, loquutus est Spiritus, sed sicut voluit Spiritus, ita loquutus est homo. Hom. 44. p. 186. D. Vid. 2 Pet. i. 19....21.
* Quoniam autem tribus annis et sex mensibus protendendum est Antichristi regnum, multæ scripturæ significant, maxime tamen in Revelatione suâ Joannes. Hom. 49. in Matth. xxiv. p. 203. D. Vid. et Hom. 13. p. 74. C. Hom. 19. p. 90. A. Hom. 52. p. 218. E.
Et quare jubet in hoc tempore omnes Christianos conferre se ad scripturas? Quia in tempore hoc, ex quo obtinuit hæresis illa ecclesias, nulla probatio potest esse veræ Christianitatis, neque refugium potest esse Christianorum aliud, volen
m Hæc est ecclesia... quæ legatos Jesu Christi, id est, apostolos et prophetas, hoc est, scripta eorum, recepit. Hom. 29. p. 204. C.
"Sed audi mysterium, quod Petrus apud Clementem exposuit. Hom. 26. p. 115. A.-Hoc et Petrus apud Clementem exponit. Hom. 49. p. 202. B.-Sicut autem Petrus apud Clementem exponit, Antichristo etiam plenorum signorum faciendorum est danda potestas. Hom. 49. p. 204. E.-Unde et sapienter Petrus dicit apud Clementem, quomodo debet quis incessanter, quæ Dei sunt, cogitare et loqui. Hom. 51. p. 214. C. D.
• Aliter certe, sicut apostoli interpretantur in libro Canonum, qui est de episcopis.... Hom. 13. p. 74. Vid. Const. Ap. 1. iii. c. 14.-Quomodo autem quidam sacerdotes ex hominibus ordinantur, manifeste in libro octavo canonum apostolorum dicitur. Hom. 53. p. 221. A. Conf. Const. Ap. 1. viii. c. 2.
• Nam sicut historia quædam non incredibilis, neque irra tionalis, docet, quando gesta sunt quæ refert Lucas, Joseph absens erat. Nec enim conveniens est putare præsente Joseph introisse angelum ad Mariam, ei dixisse quæ dixit, et Mariam respondisse quæcumque respondit. Hom. i. p. 24. D. E.
was a proper circumstance.' Possibly, he speaks more advantageously of that book than it deserved: nevertheless, he gives it no authority.
5. He intimates, that in some secret or apocryphal books it was written, that Christ baptized John, after he had been baptized of him: which, we may suppose, had been collected from words of Matth. iii. 14, 15.
VI. I shall now allege, or refer to, some select passages.
1. The author well explains our Lord's prohibition," not to do alms before men, to be seen of them."
Matth. vi. 1...4.
2. He largely considers, what is implied in Loving God with all the heart.'
3. He shews, what is to be understood by the wedding garment.'
4. He examines the reasons assigned by some, why Jesus Christ is called the Son of God. 5. The ten commandments are handsomely rehearsed by him.
6. He supposeth, that Paul was blameable for what he said to the high priest. Acts xxiii. 3. 7. He read 1 Thess. v. 21, as we do.
8. He quotes' Josephus.
9. That miraculous powers had ceased in the author's time, may be seen in a passage transcribed above; where he speaks of studying the scriptures, as the only way of knowing which is the true church.
10. This writer has expressions"1 concerning the eucharist, which cannot be reconciled with the modern popish doctrine of transubstantiation.
11. They who are curious, may consult R. Simon, who has an article upon this author, as a commentator.
ICTOR TUNUNENSIS, an African bishop, who flourished about the middle" of the sixth century, and wrote a Chronicle, ending at the year 566, says: When Messala was consul, (that is, in the year of Christ 506) at Constantinople, by order of the emperor Anastasius, the holy gospels being written by illiterate evangelists, are censured and corrected.'
2. Some have hence argued, that the copies of the New Testament, of the gospels at least, have not come down to us, as they were originally written, they having been altered in the time of the emperor Anastasius, who began his reign in the year 491, and died in 518.
3. I shall immediately transcribe below' a part of Dr. Mill's observations upon this story, containing a brief, yet full confutation of it. And I add a few following observations.
(1.) It was impossible to attempt, in the sixth century, an alteration in the sense, or in the words of the gospels, or any other books of the New Testament, without great offence to Christians in general: forasmuch as there were at that time in every part of the known world, in Europe, Asia, and Africa, numerous copies of the books of the New Testament, in the original Greek, and in the Syriac, Latin, and other languages, into which they had been translated.
(2.) That no alteration was made in the gospels, or other sacred books, is apparent hence, that our present copies agree with the quotations in ancient Greek and Latin authors, and with the translations made before the time of Anastasius.
(3.) This story of Victor deserves no regard, because he is singular; as is observed by Mill in the place above cited, and by others. There is no other writer mentions it, besides Isidore of Seville, who transcribed Victor: whereas, if ever such an attempt had been made by Anastasius, and any books had been published with alterations, it would have made a great noise in the world, and would have occasioned a general outcry. The emperor Anastasius was far from being popular in his government: and there are extant writings of contemporaries, as well as others, in which he is freely and grievously reproached; nevertheless there is no notice taken of this affair, which would have given greater and more general offence to Christians, than any other.
(4.) These considerations, as seems to me, are sufficient to shew, that learned men have with good reason, generally, looked upon this story of Victor as fabulous: I therefore content myself with what has been already observed, without proceeding farther.
(5.) However, some learned men have formed conjectures concerning the occasion of this account; particularly that great man Dr. Richard Bentley, in his Remarks upon a late Dis'course of Free Thinking,' written by him in the borrowed name of Phileleutherus Lipsiensis and likewise Peter Wesselingius in a Dissertation upon this article of Victor's Chronicle; whose conjectures, and reasonings in support of them, are referred to the curious reader.
GREGORY I. BISHOP OF ROME..
1. His time. II. Books of the Old Testament received by him. III. Books of the New Testament received by him. IV. General titles and divisions of the books of scripture, and marks of respect for them. V. Select passages, and observations.
I. GREGORY' the First, commonly called the Great,' was consecrated bishop of Rome in the
year 590, and died in 604.
I shall take some notice of his testimony to the books of the Old, then of the New Testament, and afterwards transcribe, or refer to some select passages.
tus, nec fortasse sine Imperatoris ipsius cæde sopiendos. Sed, ut prospere et ex voto successerit ipsi hoc facinus, certe si evangelia hæc, eorumve particulæ aliquæ evolâssent in vulgus, fieri non potest, quin historici ad unum omnes, qui reliqua Anastasii flagitia enarrârunt, etiam hoc longe super alia memorabile, graphice, suisque omnino coloribus depingerent; cum tamen apud eos altum sit de hac re silentium; neque exstet, quod sciam, ex omni scriptorum turbâ, præter unum Victorem, quique verba ejus transcripsit, Isidorum Hispalensem, qui jadiegias hujus aliquam faciat mentionem. Mill. Proleg.
n. 1014, 1015.
memoriâ prodidisse, &c. Petr. Wesseling. Dissert. ad Victor. Tun. cap. 1. p. 111. Ultr. 1738..
b See note p. 67. and '
Fabula Victoris Tununensis, A. 506. scribentis, Messalâ Consule, jubente Anastasio Imperatore, sancta evangelia ab idiotis evangelistis composita, esse reprehensa ac emendata, nullam fidem meretur. Fr. Lampe Synops. H. E. 1. ii. c. 6. n. vii. p. 159. Vid. etiam Ja. Basnag. Hist. de l'Eglise. 1. viii. ch. 2. n. viii. p. 424.
d See those Remarks. Numb. xxxiii,
Vid. Wesseling. ubi supra. cap. 2. p. 132, &c.
Vid. Cav. H. L. T. i. p. 543, &c. A. Pagi Ann. 590. n. v. Fr. Pagi Breviarum Pontif. Rom. T. i. p. 340, &c. S. Basn. Ann. 581. n. viii. et 590. n. vi. Mr. Bower's History of the Popes. V. ii. p. 463.... 543. L. E. Du Pin. Bib, des Aut. Ec T. v. p. 102, 146.
II. 1. Gregory has often quoted all the books of the Old Testament, except Ruth and Esther.
2. He has several times quoted the book of Canticles, as Solomon's. And there is extant a Commentary upon that book, which has been ascribed to him: the genuineness of which is denied by some, and asserted by others. I shall not quote any thing out of it.
3. Gregory has not quoted any of the apocryphal books of the Old Testament not in the Jewish canon, except the books of Tobit, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, and the first book of the Maccabees.
4. And these are also so quoted, as to shew, that they were not canonical, or of authority, and decisive in the things of religion.
5. When he quotes any texts of Tobit, it is only as the words of some wise, or good man. 6. And exactly in the same manner, when he quotes the book of Wisdom.
7. In like manner Ecclesiasticus, as it is said in the ecclesiastical book;' or, as a certain • wise man says;' of which I have put several instances in the margin; where too it is sometimes expressly distinguished from prophetical writings.
8. In all Gregory's works there is very little notice taken of the books of the Maccabees: in the one place, where the first of those books is mentioned, he' quotes it only as an useful book, and makes a kind of apology for quoting a book, which, as he says, was not canonical.
9. I said just now, that the apocryphal books are quoted as the writings of wise men only: I would now add, that books of the Jewish canon are quoted as written by prophets; so he quotes the Psalms very frequently; and in like manner 'Daniel, Hosea," Amos, Habakkuk, Isaiah, "Ezekiel, and other canonical books of the Old Testament; though a little before, or soon after, the books of Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus are quoted as written by wise men only.
10. What I have said here is agreeable to the sentiments and observations of James Basnage upon the same point: and it may not be amiss for an attentive reader to compare Gregory's quotations of the apocryphal books of the Old Testament with those of Ambrose, bishop of Milan, formerly' taken notice of; who shews more regard to these apocryphal books, than this bishop of Rome.
11. In a word, Gregory's canon of the Old Testament appears to be the same with that of the Jews; and, perhaps, this may be confirmed by the general divisions of the books of scripture to be observed hereafter.
III. I proceed to Gregory's testimony to the New Testament:
Vid. Expos. in libr. Job. I. xix. c. 30. p. 634. B. T. i. I. xiii. c. 53. p. 415. D. l. xviii. c. 49. p. 595. C. et alibi. Paris. 1705.
Du Pin, as before, p. 141. Mr. Bower, p. 542. Fr. Pagi Breviarium P. R. T. i. p. 375.
c Vid. Benedictinor. Admon. in Canticor. Exp. T. iii. P. ii. p. 393, &c.
Et sicut per quemdam sapientem de cœlesti Jerusalem dicitur. [Tob. xiii. 16..... 18.] In Ezech. . i. Hom. 9. T. i. 1263. A. Cum quidam sapiens dicat. [Tob. iv. 15. al. 16.] In Evang.. ii. Hom. 39. T. i. p. 1640. C.-Cum et per quemdam justum dicitur: Quod ab alio odis tibi fieri, vide ne tu alteri facias.' [Tob. iv. 15.] In Job, S. x. c. 6. p. 340. E.
• Unde per quemdam sapientem dicitur: Senectus enim venerabilis est.'... [Sap. iv. 8.] Expos. in Job. S. 19. c. 17. p. 618. A.
f Quibus bene per Ecclesiasticum librum dicitur. In. Job. 1. 21. c. 29. p. 692. C.-Contra hunc tumorem per ecclesiasticum librum dicitur... Hunc tumorem Dominus per prophetam in pastoribus increpans ait: Vos autem cum austeritate imperabatis eis, et cum potentiâ,' [Ezech. xxxiv. 4.] In Job. 1. 34. c. 25. p. 785. B. C.
i De qua re non inordinate agimus, si ex libris, licet non canonicis, sed tamen ad ædificationem ecclesiæ editis, testimonium proferamus. Eleazar namque in prælio elephantem feriens stravit. Sed sub ipso quem exstinxit occubuit. In Job. 1. 19. c. 22. al. 13. p. 622. A. B.
Hinc namque propheta ait: Qui perfecit pedes meos. quasi cervi.' [Psal. xvii. 24. al. xviii. 33.] In Job. 1. 26. c. 14. p. 821. D.-Hinc per eumdem prophetam [Psalmistam] certanti animæ Dominus dicit: Exaudivi te in abscondito tempestatis,' &c. [Ps. lxxx. 8. al: Ixxxi. 7.] In Job. ib. p. 822. A. Vid. et. I. 26. c. 18. p. 827. B. et passim.
Bene autem Daniel propheta. In Job. l. 22. c. 20. P. 721. C.
m Propheta etiam alius dicit. [Osee.] In Ezech. I. i. Hom. 11. n. 25. p. 1290. D.
"Unde etiam Dominus per prophetam alium minatus. [Amos] In Ezech. 1. i. Hom. 10. n 2. p. 1263. E.
• Unde recte quoque per quemdam sapientem dicitur. [Eccles.] In Job. 1. 20. c. 24: p. 661. B. Hinc etenim Habacuc propheta ait. In Job. 1. 20. c. 3. p. 638. B.
P Quia et per prophetam alterum dicitur. [Is.] In Ezech. 1. i. Hom. 12. p. 1294. E.
9 Pro eo autem quod multa Ezechiel propheta obscura et perplexa auditurus erat. In Ezech. 1. i. Hom, 10. n. 3. P. 1264. D.
'Hist. de l'Eglise, 1. 8. ch. 10. n. 4. p. 445.
1. In the first place it is to be observed, that he received four gospels, and asserts their complete harmony; where he calls the gospels of the several evangelists their books.
2. He says, that our Lord, after he had died, and was risen again, and ascended to heaven, wrote the New Testament by the apostles.
3. According to Gregory, as well as many others, the four living creatures in Ezek. i. 5.... 10. represent the four evangelists, and their complete harmony. Matthew, he supposes to be represented by the face of a man; Mark, by that of a lion; Luke, by that of a calf; and John, by that of an eagle.
4. It is needless to refer to quotations of the Acts of the apostles, or St. Paul's epistles, which are innumerable: I only just observe, that the epistle to the Hebrews is frequently quoted as the apostle Paul's, without hesitation.
5. And with regard to the catholic epistles, I observe, that epistle of James is often, and expressly, quoted by Gregory.
6. He often quotes" the first, and the second epistles of Peter: I put in the margin several of his quotations, that the reader may see the manner of them, and how Gregory calls Peter the pastor of the church, and first pastor of the church, as well as apostle.
7. And it may be here observed, that he also speaks honourably of Paul, calling him,* an excellent preacher or instructor.
8. I shall add a passage or two relating to St. Peter's epistles, the second, especially: the' ◄ same Peter, the first of the apostles, writing to his disciples [in his second epistle,] and knowing that there were some who detracted from the merit of Paul's writings, says: "Even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given unto him, has written unto you; as also in all his epistles speaking of these things." 2 Pet. iii. 15, 16.] Behold, Paul in his epistles had written, that " Peter was to be blamed" [Gal. ii. 11.] but Peter, in his epistles, says, that Paul was to be admired for what he had written: certainly, if Peter had not read Paul's epistles he could not have commended them; but if he read them, he found it there written, that " he ⚫ was to be blamed." Upon which Gregory enlarges, shewing Peter's humility, and love of truth or sincerity.
9. That argument depended upon the supposition, that the writer of that epistle was the same who had been reproved by Paul; but some said, that the person reproved by Paul was not the
a Petra autem erat Christus. [2 Cor. x. 4.] De hac petrâ olei rivus exiit, liber Matthæi, liber Marci, liber Lucæ, et liber Johannis. In Job. 1. 19. c. 14. p. 616. D
Et quia ipse Dominus postquam pro nobis mortuus est, et resurrexit, et ascendit in cœlum, tunc Testamentum Novum per apostolos scripsit. Ibid. 1. 22. c. 18. p. 720. A.
• Quid enim per quatuor animalia, quam quatuor evangelistæ signantur? In Ezech. 1. i. Hom. 2. n. 18. p. 1190.
f Quod Paulus quoque apostolus ait: Omnia enim nuda ' et aperta sunt oculis ejus.' [Heb. iv. 13.] In Job. 1. 17. c. 23. p. 546. E. et passim.
Jacobus corripit, dicens. . . In Job. 1. vii. c. 30. p. 233. E. Hujus iniqui molas ipse summus pastor ecclesiæ prædicando conterebat, cum diceret : Sobrii estote,' &c. [2 Pet. v. 8.] In Job. 1. 19. c. 16, p. 629. B.-Primus pastor
ecclesiæ. Ib. 1. 21. c. 15. p. 690. C.-Petrus namque, auctore Deo, ecclesiæ principatum tenens. Ib. 1. 26. c. 20. p. 833. D.
i Lucernæ enim nomine lumen signatur scripturæ, de quâ ipse ecclesiæ pastor dicit: Habemus firmiorem propheticum sermonem,' &c. [2 Pet. i. 19.] In Job. 1. 19. c. 11. p. 612. B.-Hinc Petrus apostolus dicit: Adveniet dies Domini, ut fur. [2 Pet. iii. 10.] In Ezech. 1. i. Hom. 2. n. 17. p. 1189. D.-Hinc Petrus, gregis dominici pastor, dicit. Ib. I. i. Hom. 9. p. 1258. E.
* Unde recte egregius prædicator ait. Exp. in Job. 1. 13. c. 8. p. 421. A. Quia et prædicator egregius dicit. Ib. 1. 22. c. 1. in. Vid. et l. 22. c. 16. al. 17. p. 716. in.
1 Idem vero apostolorum primus, cum multa discipulos admoneret, atque a quibusdam detrahi de Pauli scriptis agnosceret, dicit: Sicut carissimus frater noster Paulus secundum
datam sibi sapientiam scripsit vobis.'... Ecce Paulus in epistolis suis scripsit Petrum reprehensibilem, et ecce Petrus in epistolis suis asserit Paulum in his quæ scripserat esse admirandum. Certe enim ni legisset Petrus Pauli epistolas, non laudâsset. Si autem legit, quia illic ipse reprehensibilis diceretur, invenit. Amicus ergo veritatis laudavit etiam, quod reprehensus est, atque ei et hoc ipsum placuit... Seque etiam minori fratri ad consensum dedit, atque in eâdem re factus est sectator minoris sui, ut etiam in hoc præiret: quâtenus qui primus erat in apostolatûs culmine, esset primus et in humilitate. Pensate ergo, fratres carissimi, in quo mentis vertice stetit, qui illas epistolas laudavit, in quibus scriptum se vituperabilem invenit. In Ezech. 1. 2. Hom. 6, n. 9. p. 1367, 1368.