Sidor som bilder

because they were the immediate difciples of the Apostles. Their high antiquity, and still more their perfect acquaintance with the Apostles, render them particularly important to us in our present inquiry.

1. Barnabas. BARNABAS was appointed, in conjunction with St. Paul the most eminent of the first preachers of Chriftianity, to publish the religion of Chrift among the Gentiles, after they had made many thousand converts among the Jews and Samaritanso; and is not only placed on a perfect equality with him, but is also expressly stiled an

tions of the editor, it contains a variety of new and important additions, which are mentioned in the title. Le Clerc himself has pointed out the advantages of this edition in the Biblioth. ancienne et mod. tom. xxi. part 2. p. 237. feq. An useful abridgement of these writings is to be found in Rösler's Library of the Ecclefiaftical Fathers.

• A&ts xiii. 2, 3. : P Ads xiii. 2. 3. 46. 47. Corinth. ix. 4—7.

Apostle. Apoftle? He left behind him a epistle, which, according to Clement Alexandria', Origen', Eusebius", an Jerom", was held in the greatest esteen by the ancients. But whether the work, which we now have under this name", be the very fame which Barnabas wrote, and the above-mentioned men read,

^ A&s xiv. 14.-Comp. verse 4.

s Stromata Lib. ii. cap. *20. p. 490.' Lib. V. cap. 8. p. 677. cap. 10. p. 683. 84. Potter's Edit. Oxford, 715 fol. In these places Clement cites whole passages from the Epistle of Barnabas, which are like. wise found in that which we have at present.

• De principiis Lib. iii. cap. 4. p. 140, and contra Celsum Lib. i. cap. 63. p. 378. Charles De la Rue, and Charles Vincent De la Rue, have edited at Paris all the genuine works of Origen, which are still extant, 17331759. iv. vol. fol. The passages pointed out *above are in tom. i.-For an account of this edit, of Origen, see Ernesti theol. Biblioth. Vol. vii. p. 371.

• Histor. Eccles. Lib. vi. cap. 13, 14. p. 272. 73. vol. i. edit. Guilielmi Reading, who has edited toge. ther the ecclesiastical histories of Eusebius, Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret, Evagrius, Philoftorgius, and Theodorus--Cambridge, 720, iii. vol. fol.

u De Vir. illustr. cap. 6.
w See Coteler. Patr. Apostolic. vol. i. p. 15.–66.

is here unimportant, since it quotes, as we shall see hereafter, not a single passage of the New Testament. It contains indeed now the same passages which Clement and Origen have cited from it. But the unnatural mode of interpretation, (known by the name of mystical) which prevails in it; the fables of the Hyäna, &c. which the author believed; and the affertion that the world would be destroyed in its fix thousandth year, which is directly contradictory to the assurances of the New Testament, that the time when it should take place was perfectly unknown, make it certain, that this epistle was not written by that Barnabas, who was an Apostle. Nevertheless, the most learned in ancient history are agreed, that it was composed not later than the second century". And we may allow thus much to the testimonies of the pri

* See Rösler's Library of the Ecclesiastical Fathers, i s.

D 2


mitive writers, that it was written by a Christian teacher, of the name of Barnabas.

The principal design of this epistle, is to inculcate the proposition which St. Paul in his writings so often repeats, and labours so anxiously to prove, namely, that Christians are free from all obligation to the law of Mofes. But the author no where refers to this Apostle. St. Paul had already at that time written all his Epistles: he composed the last (the second to Timothy) during his second imprisonment at Rome, in the year of Christ sixty-seven; and Barnabas wrote his in the year feventy. They could not have been unknown to him who was the fellowapostle and assistant of St. Paul. This is another argument which tends to prove that this epiftle, even if composed by a certain Barnabas, did not come from the celebrated Apostle of that name.


To him who reads this epistle without any intention of producing testimonies from it in support of the Scriptures of the New Testament, scarcely any will be perceptible. What might be produced with the greatest appearance of probability, are two pafsages which have been generally brought forward as an evidence for the Gospel of St. Matthew. Barnabas is speaking in the seventh chapter of the sufferings of Christ, and delivers this as one of his sayings :They who will see me and obtain my kingdom, must receive me with many sufferings and afflictions ?. And in the fourth chapter he introduces - Many are called, but few chosen, as the declaration of certain divine Scriptures. For he makes use of a phrase which was commonly em.

ply See Lardner's Credibility, vol. ii. p. 14, 15, of the edition of his works, published in 1788.

1 “Ουτω, φησιν, οι θελοντες με ιδειν και άψασθαι μου της βασιλειας, οφειλουσι θλιβεντες και παθοντες λαβειν Mhe.--Cotel. p. 24. D3


« FöregåendeFortsätt »