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ever, will not deny that the existence and circulation of false legends is to be chiefly attributed to the monks. At first, indeed, these were heretics, who even falsified the history of Christ, against whom St. Luke was moved to write his gospel ;* and, on the same grounds, St. John afterwards wrote his gospel against the Ebionites, Cerinthians, and other heretics of the same kind.t
Land. But, without this, lives written by heretics would not have gained credit.
Auth. The heretics did not publish these lives under their own names, but, as gospels, under the names of the apostles. There was the gospel of the twelve apostles—of St. Peter, St. Paul, St. James, St. Philip, St. Bartholomew, St. Thomas, St. Judas Thaddeus, St. Mathias, St. Barnabas, and of Nicodemus too-yes, even one of Judas, the betrayer of Christ. I
Land. The traitor Judas's gospel must have made a good figure.
Auth. In like manner, false lives of the holy Virgin Mary came out under the names of St. John, St. James, and St. Matthew, which were full of childish fables. There was one, especially, called, “ The Death of the Virgin Mary,” that was stuffed with them. It is to be lamented that there were some even among the ancient fathers, Clement of Alexandria for instance, who gave too much credit to the pretensions of spurious lives; and as some writers of more modern times followed them in this, as, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Epiphanius, St. Gregory of Tours, and St. John Damascene,ll it is not to be marvelled at, that so many fabulous stories of the childhood of Christ, of the family and childhood of the holy Virgin Mary, have found their way down to the most recent falsifier of the history of the saints.
(To be continued.)
• Maldonat. Comment in Luc. c. i. | Richard Simon, tom. i.c. 3. Hist. Crit. Nov. Test. Hieronymi Viri illustr. c. 9.
Eusebius, Hist. Eccles. 1. 2. c. 2.
Baron. Annal. An. 48. Biblioth. Patr. tom. vii. p. 579. (After what I have said respecting popish expurgation, I feel it right to add that the Spanish Index of 1612, in its review of the Paris Bibliotheca Patrum of 1589, says, “ Post præfa. tionem adde, opus apocryphum, et falso inscriptum Melitoni ;'" and, after one or two minor expurgations, it strikes out all that follows the seventh chapter,-that is to say, considerably more than half the book. The eleven condemned chapters, however, keep their place in my edition of the Bib. Pat. (Paris, 1624), and, I believe, in all others; but this tract is headed as one falsely ascribed to St. Melito, apocryphal, of no authority, and containing some things which ought clearly to be rejected ; and the censure of the Spanish Index is noticed.- Trans.]
|| Clemens Alex. Strom. Gregorius Nyssenus de Nativ. Christi. tom. iii. Epiphanius Hær. 78, 79. Gregor. Turon. lib. i. Gloria Martyr. Joannes Damas. Orat. de Dormitione.
[The series of papers illustrative of the mode of disposing of Church Preferment in
former days is not closed, but only suspended for this Number.]
THE PATIENCE AND THE FAITH OF THE SAINTS.
“That thou mayest give him patience in time of adversity, until the pit be digged up for the
forsake thee, and the rich despise,
Give sentence with me, Lord; avenge the cause
Ah, dearest Lord! when wilt thou think on me
Petra hath fallen! Vanish'd is her power ;
And in the summit of her airy crest,
The boding owl skulks hooting to its nest.
Where Beauty, shelter'd from the sun, sought rest,
Proud in their glory, but by Heaven unblest,
Her gardens once the high-born maidens' pleasure,
The Edom of the Prophecies. See Jeremiah, xlix.
UNUS BONORUM FONS, DEUS, OMNIUM."
Thine handmaid with thy bounty crown'd!
The Editor begs to remind his readers that he is not responsible for the opinions
of his Correspondents.
ON TRADITION. Sir,—A book has just been put out by a divine of note, and of high rank in the university, entitled, “Not Tradition, but Revelation or Scripture]." I beg leave to offer some few remarks upon it, by way of protest against it.*
And I must first declare my regret that Dr. Shuttleworth has been so ambiguous in his manner of expression in several places where those against whom he has avowedly written had a right to expect the utmost plainness. I shall notice the places as I go on. The Warden begins his treatise with a quotation from St. Irenæus. Now, in this passage, I remark, first, that the apostles are put above the “Erangelium," or gospel; be that what it may,-"DOMINUS omnium
“ dedit Apostolis suis potestatem Evangelii.” Secondly, that he represents the Evangelium as written only in the four books of the four Evangelists, and says nothing of the Acts, Epistles, or Apocalypse. On the first point there will, I suppose, be no material difference of opinion, when the second is agreed upon. But of the second, I maintain that it is wholly at variance with the following statement of the Warden:
“Such is the testimony of Irenæus, as given in the words of his Latin translator, to the sufficiency and completeness of the written works of the first teachers of Christianity as a summary of Christian doctrine. That which they originally taught by word of mouth, says he, the same they afterwards put into writing; and those writings are, the books of the New Testament.”
* I think it right to state, that I neither am, nor ever have been, concerned in writing or compiling any of the Tracts for the Times; and having done so, I choose to add, that I heartily approve them.