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TO THE SECOND EDITION.
ALTHOUGH THE APOCRYPHAL NEW TESTAMENT was put out without pretension or ostentatious announcement, or even solicitude for its fate, yet a large Edi tion has been sold in a few months. The Public demanding another, to this second Edition a small fragment of the Second Epistle of Clement to the Corin. thians, accidentally omitted, has been added: it forms the fifth chapter of that Epistle. There is, likewise annexed, a Table of the years wherein all the Books of the NEW TESTAMENT are stated to have been written to the "Order of the Books of the APOCRYPHAL NEW TESTAMENT," the authorities from whence they have been taken are affixed; and, finally, many errors in the nu merous scriptural references subjoined in the notes to the Epistles have been corrected. These are the only material variations from the first Edition.
It escaped the Editor to notice that the legends of the Koran and the Hindoo Mythology are considerably connected with this volume. Many of the acts and miracles ascribed to the Indian God, Creeshna, during his incarnation, are precisely the same with those attributed to Christ in his infancy, by the Apocryphal Gospels, and are largely particularised by the Rev. Thomas Maurice in his learned History of Hindostan.
Reference to the preceding Preface will leave little doubt that the Apocryphal writings formed an interesting portion of the lay, as well as the monkish literature of our forefathers. There is a Translation of the Gospel of Nicodemus almost coeval with the origin of printing in England; (a) and ancient MSS. of the Gospels of the Infancy are still extant in the Welsh language under the title of Mabinogi Jesu Grist.
(a) It was printed, in quarto, first by Wynkyn de Morde in 1509; next by John Skot in 1525; by the same printer subsequently; and several times after wards.
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
Concerning any genuineness of any portion of the work, the Editor has not offered an opinion, nor is it necessary that he should. The brief notice at the head of each Gospel directs the reader to its source, and will assist him to inquire further, and form an opinion for himself. Yet respecting the Epistles, which commence at page 91, and occupy the remaining two-thirds of the volume, the Editor would call attention to Archbishop Wake's testimony. The pious and learned Prelate says, that these Epistles (a) are a full and perfect collection of "all the genuine writings that remain to us of the Apostolic Fathers, and carry on the antiquity of the Church from the time of the Holy Scriptures of the New Testament to about a hundred and fifty years after Christ; that except the Holy Scriptures, there is nothing remaining of the truly genuine Christian antiquity more early; (b) that they contain all that can with any certainty be depended upon of the most Primitive Fathers, (c) who had not only the advantage of living in the apostolical times, of hearing the Holy Apostles, and conversing with them, but were most of them persons of a very eminent character in the church too: (d) that we cannot with any reason doubt of what they deliver to us as the Gospel of Christ, but ought to receive it, if not with equal veneration, yet but a little less respect than we do the Sacred Writings of those who were their masters and instructors :" and, "if," says the Archbishop, (who translated these Epistles), (e) “it shall be asked how I came to choose the drudgery of a translator, rather than the more ingenious part of publishing somewhat of my own composing, it was, in short, this; because I hoped that such writings as these would find a more general and unprejudiced acceptance with all sorts of men than anything that could be written by any one now living."
As a literary curiosity, the work has attracted much notice; as throwing a light upon the arts of design and engraving, it has already been useful to the painter, and the collector of pictures and prints; and, as relating to theology, it has induced various speculations and inquiry.
But the Editor has been charged with expressing too little veneration for the councils of the Church. He feels none. It is true that respecting the three hundred Bishops assembled at the council of Nice, the Emperor Coustantine (ƒ) says, that what was approved by these Bishops could be nothing less than the determination of God himself; since the Holy Spirit residing in such great and worthy souls, unfolded to them the divine will. (g) Yet Sabinus, the Bishop of Heraclea, affirms, that, "excepting Constantine himself, and Eusebius Pamphilus, they were a set of illiterate simple creatures, that understood nothing ;" and Pappus seems to have estimated them very low, for in his Synodicon to that council, he tells us, that having "promiscuously put all the books that were re
(a) Abp. Wake's Apostolical Fathers, Bagster's Edition, 8vo, 1817, Prelim. Disa p. 120.
(b) Abp. Wake's Apostolical Fathers, Bagster's Edition, 8vo, Prelim. Disc. p. 120 (c) p. 126. (d) p 128. (e) p. 155.
(f) Socrates, Schol. Eccl. Hist. b. i. 9
(g) Ibid c. 9.
ferred to the council for determination, under the communion table in a church they besought the Lord that the inspired writings might get upon the table while the spurious ones remained underneath, and that it happened accordingly." A commentator (a) on this legend suggests that nothing less than such a sight could sanctify that fiery zeal which breathes throughout an edict published by Constantine, in which he decrees that all the writings of Arius should be burned and that any person concealing any writing composed by him, and not immediately producing it, and committing it to the flames, should be punished with death. (6) Let us, with the illustrious Jortin, (c) consider a council called, and presided over by this Barbarian Founder of the church militant: by what various motives the various Bishops may have been influenced; as by reverence to the Emperor or to his counsellors and favourites, his slaves and eunuchs; by the fear of offending some great prelate, as a Bishop of Rome or of Alexandria, who had it in his power to insult, vex, and plague all the bishops within and without his jurisdiction; by the dread of passing for heretics, and of being calum. niated, reviled, hated, anathematised, excommunicated, imprisoned, banished, fined, beggared, starved, if they refused to submit; by compliance with some active leading and imperious spirits; by a deference to the majority; by a love of dictating and domineering, of applause and respect; by vanity and ambition ; by a total ignorance of the question in debate, or a total indifference about it; by private friendships; by enmity and resentment; by old prejudices; by hopes of gain; by an indolent disposition; by good nature; by the fatigue of attending, and a desire to be at home; by the love of peace and quiet; and a hatred of contention, &c. (d) Whosoever takes these things into due consideration will not be disposed to pay a blind deference to the authority of general councils but will rather be inclined to judge that “the council held by the Apostles at Jerusalem was the first and the last in which the Holy Spirit may be affirmed to have presided." (e)
(a) Mace's N. Test., p. 875.
(b) Socrates, Schol. Eccl. Hist. b. 1. c. 9.
(c) Rem. on Eccl. Hist. vol. ii. p. 177. (d) These considerations are more or less natu. on becoming acquainted with the proceedings of every council, from that of Nice to that of Trent, in the year 1545, which, Father Paul says, was for divers ends and by divers means, procured and hastened, hindered and deferred, for two and twenty years; and, for eighteeen years more, was sometimes assembled and sometimes dissolved. Brent, a translator of Paul's History of that Council says, "it would be infinite to relate the stratagems the bishops of Rome used to divert the council before it began, their postings to and fro, to hinder the proposing of those things which they thought would diminish their profit or pull down their pride: and their policies to enthral the prelates, and to procure a majority of voices."
It is stated by Guicciardini, that, as the priests were raised step by step to earthly power, they cared less and less for religious precepts. Using their spiri tual only as an instrument of their temporal authority, their business was no more sanctity of life, increase of religion, and love and charity towards their neighbours -but fomenting wars among Christians, and employing all arts and snares to scrape money together, and making new laws against the people. Hence they were no longer respected, although, by the powerful name of religion, they maintained their authority, being helped therein," says Guicciardini," by the faculty which they have of gratifying princes."-Guicciardini's Hist. b. i
(e) Jortin's Rem. on. Eccl. Hist. vol ii
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
In accommodation to this opinion, the Church of England compels her clergy Lo subscribe to the following among the thirty-nine "Articles of Religion." (a) "When general councils be gathered together, forasmuch as they be an assem bly of men, whereof all be not governed with the spirit and will of God they may err, and sometimes have erred, even in things pertaining unto God; wherefore things ordained by them as necessary to salvation have neither strength nor authority, unless it may be declared that they be taken out of the Holy Scriptures."
After eighteen centuries of bloodshed and cruelties perpetrated in the name of christianity, it is gradually emerging from the mystifying subtleties of fathers councils and hierarchies, and the encumbering edicts of soldier-kings and papal decretals. Charmed by the loveliness of its primitive simplicity, every sincere human heart will become a temple for its habitation, and every man become a priest into himself. Thus, and thus only, will be established the religion of Him, who, having the same interest with ourselves in the welfare of mankind, left us, for the rule of our happiness, the sum and substance of his code of peace and good will—“ Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them."
By some persons of the multitude, commonly known by the name of Christians, and who profess to suppose they do God service by calling themselves so, the Editor has been attacked with a malignity and fury that would have graced the age of Mary and Elizabeth, when Catholics put to death Protestants, and Protestants put to death Catholics, for the sake of him who commanded man kind to love one another. To these assailants, he owes no explanation; to the craft of disingenuous criticism, he offers no reply; to the bolt of the Bigot, and the shaft of the Shrinemaker, he scarcely condescends the opposition of a smile.
(a) Art. xxi.