Page images

be among the thousands of Judah ; from thee shall go forth for me (one) who shall rule in Israel.”

In Matthew 2: 18, where a quotation is made from Jer. 31: 15, it will be seen by comparison that Justin's quotation is verbatim, with the exception that yoñvos is omitted, which has probably fallen from Justin's text. But the Septuagint has here φωνή εν Ραμά ακούσθη θρήνου, και κλαυθμού, και "οδυρμου, Ραχήλ αποκλειομένη ουκ ήθελε παύσασθαι επί τοις υιοίς αυτής, ότι ουκ εισί: which is a mode of construction quite different from that in Matthew. The Hebrew original runs thus : “A voice in Ramah was heard, wailing, bitter lamentation ; Rachel, weeping for her children, refuses to be comforted respecting her children, because they are not.”

Such a harmony of Justin with these minutiae of the two first chapters of Matthew, and in respect to passages from the Old Testament, where the Septuagint Version afforded the greatest facility for the Greek quotation and yet is not adopted, prove beyond all reasonable controversy, not only that Justin has quoted the Gospel of Matthew, but quoted our canonical Greek Gospel ; and not this only as to some of the leading parts of it, but the peculiarities of chapters I. II. even in their nicest shades, are preserved by Justin. Indeed Mr. Norton himself feels compelled to concede, that our Greek Matthew, even in chapters I. II. is quoted by Justin ; see p. 228 of his work. If any reader has doubted of this, the view given him above must, as I think, remove all those doubts.

It is a remarkable circumstance, too, that nearly every important thing which is related in the first two chapters of Matthew, is referred to or actually quoted by Justin ; so that we have not merely some general and indistinct evidence, but testimony minute and circumstantial; and consequently there is no room for reasonable doubt or hesitation as to Justin's having before him our canonical Matthew.

I might add other testimony of a similar nature, which is very little later than that of Justin. Celsus, the celebrated heathen philosopher and bitter enemy of Christians, flourished about 150. He wrote a learned and powerful work against Christianity, which Origen afterwards answered in his famous treatise Contra Celsum. In that Treatise, Origen has quoted largely from Celsus ; and among other quotations, he has given us several passages which shew with entire certainty that our canonical Matthew was in the hands of Celsus, and was read by him as the Christiau account of the life and actions of Jesus. Nothing can be more certain than that the copy which Celsus read, contained Matthew I. II. ; for the quotations from him by Origen make this plain. Let me present a few of them to the reader, for his entire satisfaction in this matter.

Orig. cont. Cels. II. 32, “Nimis insolenter ait (Celsus) τους γενεαλογήσαντας τον Ιησούν από του πρώτου φύντος [sc. Adamo, Luke III], και των εν Ιουδαίοις βασιλέων.” (Μatt. 1.]

Ib. I. 66, Celsus is represented as thus addressing Jesus: τί σε νήπιον έτι έχρην εις Αίγυπτον εκκομίζεσθαι;... άγγελος μεν ήκεν εξ ουρανού, κελεύων σοι και τους οικείους θύγειν' comp. Μatt. 2: 13. Again: «Deus δύο ήδη διά σε αγγέλους miserat;” comp. Μatt. 1: 20. 2: 12.

In V. 58 ib. Origen testifies that Celsus had mentioned το περί της Μαρίας κυούσης εληλυθέναι προς τον Ιωσήφ άγγελος [Μatt. 1: 20), και πάλιν, υπερ του το βρέφος γεννηθέν και επιβουλευόμενον εξαρπάσαντας φυγείν εις Αίγυπτον [Μatt. 2: 13].

In I. 34 of the same work, Origen says that Celsus had mentioned inany things in the Gospel of Matthew ; e. g. τον ανατείλαντα αστέρα επί τη γενέσει του Ιησού, [Μatt. 2: 2].

In 1. 58 Origen says of Celsus: Χαλδαίους, φησίν, υπο του λελέχθαι κινηθένιας επί τη γενέσει αυτού εληλυθέναι, προσκυνήσαντες αυτόν, έτι νήπιον, ως θεόν [Μatt. 2: 11], και Ηρώδη το τετράρχη τούτο δεδηλωκέναι [Μatt. 2: 3], τόνδε πέμψαντα αποκτείναι τους εν τω αυτω χρόνω γεγεννημένους (Μatt. 2: 16.]

More might be added; but these references to Matthew I. II. are so plain and indisputable that not a shadow of doubt can remain, that Celsus, about the middle of the second century, repeatedly quoted the first two chapters of Matthew as confessedly and avowedly a part of Gospel History.

Nor is there a quotation taken from the Gospel in question, among all the ancient fathers, from the apostolic ones downwards, the authority of which is plainly and simply avowed or implied, which does not come from our canonical Matthew. The use of any other Gospel in the church catholic is out of question. At all events, the earliest information we have, gives us no reason to believe that any other was ever used by the church at large.

The same evidence, moreover, which we have of the existence of a Greek Matthew, and of its being used by the early churches, we also have of the first two chapters of the same, as constituting a component part of the Greek Matthew.

Our positive external evidence, then, is as complete of the early existence and authenticity of this part of Matthew, as it is of the rest of his Gospel, or of any other Gospel which is contained in our Canon.

One circumstance more, however, should be here added ; not because our proof actually needs any aid from it, but in order to shew how much testimony may easily be combined to establish the point which I am labouring to establish.

The Peshito or old Syriac Version of the New Testament, has already been mentioned, in my dissertation on the original language of Matthew's Gospel, published in the preceding number of this Miscellany. We have seen that this Version was in all probability made within the first half of the second century; and therefore that it was made about the time when Justin Martyr and Celsus wrote the works from which I have made so many quotations in the preceding pages. We have also seen, that Matthew I. II. is not only translated into the Syriac, but that the translator must have had the same text, verbatim and literatim, which now stands in our canonical Greek Matthew. Every xui, , oùv, or other particle, is scrupulously rendered ; and the passage which gives offence to such critics as Kuinoel“ which being interpreted is God with us”-stands in the Peshito, exactly in accordance with our present canonical Matthew.

Let us look now at the nature of the case before us. Here, in the very next generation, or nearly so, after the apostolic age, is a writer (Justin Martyr) in the midst of Ebionites and Nazarenes, living at Flavia Neapolis in Samaria, and appealing to and citing our canonical Greek Matthew; and not only this, but particularly Matthew I. II. About the same period a heathen philosopher, probably an Epicuraean, a strenuous and contemptuous enemy of Christianity, in his attack upon this religion appeals to our canonical Matthew, and oftentimes to chap. I. II. Not improbably this infidel writer composed his work in Egypt. Then, in the next place, we have a translation of the New Testament Scriptures, made about the same time in Syria, probably in the remoter part of it, at Edessa, of which it is certain that our canonical Greek Matthew was the basis, and beyond all doubt that chapters I. II. were translated from the identical text which we now have.

Nor is even this all the early external evidence which may be produced. Cerinthus was a Jewish heretic, of the Gnostic

cast, in the first century, and he lived but a few years after the Gospel of Matthew was composed (A. 80). That he was a Palestine Jew, Paulus has rendered altogether probable, in his Historia Cerinthi, contained in his Introduct. in Nov. Testament. Capita selectiora, and Schmidt in his Bibl. für Kritik und Exegese des N. Test. B. I. S. 181, Cerinth ein Judaisirender Christ. That he and Carpocrates made use of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, is expressly asserted by Epiphanius (Haeres. XXX. 13), who says: “Cerinthus and Carpocrates, using the same Gospel with them (the Ebionites), endeavours to shew from the genealogy at the beginning of the Gospel xarà Marjaiov, that Christ sprung from the seed of Joseph and Mary. But they (the Ebionites) cutting off the genealogy in Matthew, begin their Gospel as I said before, viz., 'Eyévero iv ταις ημέραις Ηρώδου Βασιλέως της Ιουδαίας, etc.” By the same Gospel Epiphanius evidently means here the Gospel in Hebrew. This Gospel the Ebionites received, but they curtailed it by omitting the first two chapters; while Cerinthus and Carpocrates laboured to prove, from these very chapters, in their Hebrew copies, the merely natural and human origin of the Saviour.

So then we go back here to the very age of the apostles, and find Jews at that period using a Hebrew Gospel, which contains the chapters whose genuineness is now called in question.

Evidence simultaneous, from so many different quarters and in such a variety of ways, cannot be resisted. It is certain that in the next generation after the apostles, our canonical Matthew was the only authenic one to which the church catholic made appeal; and equally certain, that chapters I. II. constituted the same portion of it which they now do.

Such is the state of external evidence, that Matthew I. II. is genuine and contemporaneous with the whole book. In justice to the subject, however, it should not be dismissed, until we inquire whether there is any internal evidence which will serve to corroborate the testimony already exhibited. My answer to this inquiry is, that there are some phenomena in chap. III., which seem to be unaccountable in case the Gospel of Matthew originally began with the third chapter.

First the dé in Matt. 3: 1 is deserving of special note. A perfectly clear case it is, that a book could not commence with a in the first clause, inasınuch as is such a connective particle as necessarily implies something antecedent in the discourse, But if chapters I. II. did not originally belong to this Gospel, then there was in this case no antecedent.

I am aware that not a few Mss., and some of good authority, omit the dé here, and so, also, several of the Versions. But, as Griesbach remarks (Comm. Crit. p. 23), no good reason can be given why dé should be added, [to the text). On the other hand, as this verse was the beginning of a negálatov, or of an aváyvoqua (lection), there is a very plain reason for its omission (in Lectionaries), specially as the matter which follows is very discrepant from that which precedes.' Hence Griesbach, concludes, respecting the particle in question, that “rectius retinetur.” But if retained, it argues the necessity of precedent matter ; i. e. the Gospel could not have begun here; and so the existence of chapters I. II., or at any rate of some matter of this kind, is of necessity implied.

I am aware that the usual answer to all this has been and still is, that the translator into Greek added the de, in order to keep up the connection between the two narratives, viz. that which precedes and that which follows. But why he needed to do this, cannot be well shewn. So great a transition would appear even to more advantage, so far as grammar or rhetoric is concerned, without the dé' than with it. And after all, it is a mere assumption, when one says that it was added by a translator. The Old Syriac translator, at any rate, found the dé in the copy from which he made his version.

But dismissing this, let us see if there be not something more in the text here, which is deserving of particular notice.

What can be meant by εν ταις ημέραις εκείναις ? « Those days" must necessarily refer to some days which had been already mentioned or alluded to. But if the first two chapters are not genuine, there is of course no such mention or allusion.

The Ebionite Gospel, which rejected these two chapters, instead of εκείναις, adds Ηρώδου του βασιλέως της Ιουδαίας. But what an emendation! In the days of Herod, who had been dead some twenty-eight years !

Nor is the appeal to Ex. 2: 11 for an analogical case, at all in point. Ex. 2: 11 runs thus: “It came to pass, in those days, when Moses was grown.” The preceding verse (v. 10) says: “The child [Moses) grew; and she [bis mother) brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son, etc." Now those days, in v. 11, may refer either to the period mentioned here, or to what is expressed in the phrase immediately sub

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »