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St. Augustine, in hisb Retractations, entirely approves of this method of reconciling the genealo ies in St. Matthew and St. Luke; and Dr. Wallc says, ‘ e best hypothesis ‘ that has been given for reconciling the two catalogues, ‘ is the old one of Africanus.’ I persuade myself therefore, that it will not be disapproved by any, that I have set it so much at large before my readers. I would add, that Mr. Richardson has a dissertation upon this subject, which well deserves to be read by the curious.
But, whatever becomes of this method of reconciling the two evangelists, here is a very valuable testimony to their
ospels, and in articular a cogent argument for the genuineness of the beginning of St. Matthew’s. It does not plainly appear that any whom Africanus disputed with, rejected it; though some may be ready to suspect this from those words: ‘ For which reason neither is that genealogy destitute of authority, which the evangelist Matthew rehearses;’ which words possibly may be thought to imply, that St. Matthew’s enealogy was not altogether unquestioned, or reputed 0% equal authority with St. Luke’s. But I do not take that to be the design of those words, Africanus afterwards expressing himself in a like mannere also of St. Luke’s genealogy; his intention therefore is only to assert the truth and propriety of both. But if there were any whom Africanus argued against, who took this method of solving or evading the difficulty, it must be one of these opinions which, as Eusebius says, ‘ Africanus rejected as “ false ;’ since it is evident that he maintains the truth, authority, and usefulness of both the genealogies. >
Considering then the learning and the age of Africanus, and the country in which he resided, and the history he had received from some of the kinsmen of Jesus according to the flesh; and that he made a particular inquiry into' this matter, and appears to have been fully satisfied about it; it must be reckoned that we have here all the evidence for the enuineness of this part of St. Matthew’s gospel that can e well desired. '
V. The letter to Origen concerning the history of Snsanna, is generally supposed to have been written about thef year 228, though there are some learned men who are ‘ Syriacis, qui apud nos extant, saneti Luoaa, quinto loco numeratur: “ Jo‘ seph filius Heli, filii Matath, filii Levi', filii Melchi.”" Asseman, Bib. Or. Tom. ii. cap. 32. p. 161, 162. b Retract. 1. ii. cap. 7.
c Brief Critical Notes upon the N. T. p. 65. r
6 Joan. Richardson. Praelect. Ecclesiast. I. de Christi Genealogiai.
rather inclined tog the year 240, twelve years after. The occasion of it was this: Origen, in a conference with one; Bassus, where Africanus was present, made use of that history. Africanus, thinking it spurious and forged, took any opportunity some while after to write to Ori en 11 on that. point. It is a fine letter, learned and critica ; an though short, does a great deal of honour to its author.
As the question in dispute relates only to a part of a book of the Old Testament, and the letter is very short, here are no quotations of the New Testament. However, Africanus here observes, ‘ thath all the books of the Old Testament were written in Hebrew, and from thence were translated into Greek ;’ which shows that there was a collection of books, called the New Testament, for which he had the like‘respect with that paid to the books of the Old Testament, written in Hebrew. ' '
VI. But it will be worth the while to observe what books Origen quotes to Africanus in his answer, which is long. Here then are several quotations of the gospels of i St. Matthew and .St. Luke. The Acts of the Apostlesk are expressly quoted. Here are words of the epistle to‘ the Romans, and first to the Corinthians; and m St. Paul’s first e istle to the Thessalonians is express] quoted at length.
he epistle to the Hebrews is cited in t is manner: Origen says, ‘ That the story of Susanna being dishonourable to ‘ the Jewish elders, it was suppressed by their great men;
' ‘ and that there were many things kept as much as might ‘ be from the knowledge of the people, some of which ‘ nevertheless were reserved in some apocryphal books. ‘ Of this,’ says he, ‘ shall give an instance in some things ‘ related of Isaiah, and mentioned in the epistle to the He‘ brews, though not written in any of their open books. ‘ For the writer of the e istle to the Hebrews, discoursing ‘ of the pro bets and t eir sufferin s, says, “they were ‘ sawn asun er, they were slain byt e sword.” To what ‘ person, I pray, does that relate, “ they were sawn asun‘ der?” according to an ancient custom, not only of the
38. Jule Africain ; at T. iii. P. iii. p. 263. 8 Vid. ‘Huet. Origenian. 1. iii. cap. 4. sect. 1. et Admon. in African. Ep. ed. Bened. T. i. p. 8. ‘ “ EE ‘Efipauw dz rotg 'Ehhnm. persfihflQn araiIG' tian mg irakamg amen“; ¢£plfab African. Ep. ad Orig. sect. 1.
i Vid. Orig. Ep. ad Af. sect.'7. . 18. D. E. Tom. i. Bened. sect. 9. p. 20.
B. C. D. Kat £11 11911sz 56 row Awosohuw 6 21'5¢auog paprvav em iroMolg Kat rav'ra My“. x. A. Ibid. sect. 9. p. 22. A. 1 Ibid. 59d. 4. p. 16. C. m Kat 6 Havhog w 'ry wporqu
mg 7rpog Bwo'ahovutttg emsohnc ravra mp4 Ietlaww paprvav (Maw. Ibid. sect. 9. p. 22. B. C.
" Jews but also of the Greeks, expressed indeed in the ‘ plural number, but meant of one. It is certain that tra‘ ditions say, Isaiah the prophet was sawn asunder; and it ‘ is mentioned in an apocryphal [or ‘ secret ’] book, which ‘ perhaps some of the Jews have designedly corrupted; ‘ inserting in that piece some unbecoming things, that- the ‘ whole might be discredited. But possibly somen one, ‘ pressed with this argument, will take refuge in the opinion ‘ of those who reject this epistle as not written by Paul. ‘ In answer to such a one we design [or, ‘ had need ’] to ‘ write a distinct discourse, to' show that epistle to be ‘ Paul’s.’
Hence it appears, that there were some in the eastern part of the world, as well as in the west, who rejected the epistle to the Hebrews: and it may be suspected, at least, that Ori en did not know that Africanus received it as the apostle aul’s.
VII. However, we have seen in Africanus an uncommon attestation to the two gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke, and especially totheir genealogies. Several books of the New Testament are alleged and quoted to him by Origen, as of authority. He plainly had a volume, .or collection of - books, with the title and denomination of the New Testament, of equal authority with the Jewih sacred and canonical scriptures, written originally in Hebrew, There is therefore no ground to doubt, but sufficient reason to believe, that this great and learned man received as scripture the books generally received by christians in his time, and particularly by Origen, with whom he was well acquainted. Whether he received the epistleto the Hebrews as the apostle Paul’s, we cannot certainly say; nor have we any good ground to suppose he rejected it. The same may be said with regard to the other books of the New Testament, which were doubted of by some at that time. Wedo not know his opinion concerning them. In these, and some other matters, we should have had fuller satisfaction, if more of his learned and elaborate performances had come down to us.
, As it is, we may glory in Africanus as .a christian. For it cannot but be a pleasure to observe, that in those early days there were some within the inclosure of the church, of Christ, whose shining abilities rendered them the ornament
of the age in which they lived; when they appear also to have been men of unspotted characters, and give evident _ proofs of honesty and integrity. ‘
1. His history and character. II. III. Select passages of Origen. IV. V. VI. Three catalogues of the books of the 1V. T. VII. Of the four gospels. VIII. flets of the Apostles. IX. St. Paul’s epistles. X. The epistle to the Hebrews. XI. The epistle of St. James. XII. First and second of St. Peter. XIII. St. John’s three epistles. XIV. St. Jude’s epistle. XV. The Revelation. XVI. Whether Origen says, that from the beginning christians were divided about the books of scripture. XVII. A passage containing a general enumeration of the books of the New Testament. XVIII. General titles and divisions of the books of scripture. XIX. Respect for them. XX. Reading them recommended. -XXI. Publicly read. XXII. The inquiry, whether Origen received as scripture any books not in the present canon, proposed. XXIII. Of ecclesiastical writings cited by Origen, St. Barnabas’s epistle; St. Clement’s ; The Recognitions; the Shepherd of Hermas; St. Ignatius. XXIV. Spurious and apocryphal writings; apocryphal gospels in general ; the gospel according to the Hebrews ; the gospel according to Peter; the doctrine and preaching-of Peter ,- Acts of Paul; an anonymous book. XXV. Jewish apocryphal books; Tobit, Judith, Ecclesiasticus, Susanna, Maccabees; the books of Enoch; the Twelve Patriarchs; the Ascension of Moses; anonymous pieces: apocryphal writings said to be referred to in the .N'. T. XXVI. Remarks upon the foregoing citations. XXVII. Select various readings. XXVIII. Eaplications of texts. XXIX. General observations
I. ORIGEN was born in Egypt, in the year of our Lordat 184, or" 185, that is, the fifth, or the sixth of the emperor Commodus, and died in the sixty-ninthc or seventiethd year of his age, in the year of Christe 253. Porphyry‘ aflirms, that Origen was born of Gentile parents, and educated in the Gentile religion; but that afterwards, when he was grown up, he embraced the christian religion. This is flatly contradicted byg Eusebius, who was a great admirer of Origen, and wrote his history at large, whichh he collected partly from Origen’s own epistles, and partly from the relations of his scholars, who lived to his time. And I sup ose that none have observed in Ori en’s remainin wor s any evidences of his having been a eathen; whic certainly would have appeared, if Porphyry had spoken truth in this matter.
Eusebius informs us, that Leonides, Origen’s father, took great care of his education; and that in his childhood he raised the greatest expectations from his quick improvement in several parts of knowledge, especially of the holy scriptures; so thati he often gave his father some trouble by his inquiries into the profounder meaning of them. His father seemingly re roved him before his face, bidding him to content himse f with the plain obviou sense of the words, and not to aspire to things above his age; but at the same time he was exceedingly pleased: and it is reported that Leonides has stood by his son as he slept, and uncovering his breast kissed it with reverence, as honoured with the indwelling 0f the divine spirit, accounting himself extremely happy in a child of such attainments.
e have no very particular information who were