A Commentary upon thirteen of St. Paul's Epistles. A. D. 380.

521 Testament are quoted: as the four gospels, Mark's * in particular; the Acts of the apostles very often; the first and 6 second epistle of Peter; St. John's first epistle often, his third epistle once at least; the « Revelation he ascribes to John the apostle, and quotes it very freely; whether the author received the epistle to the Hebrews, as Paul's, may be questioned; since he wrote commentaries upon his acknowledged thirteen epistles, and not upon that. However, the epistle to the Hebrews is mentioned in these commentaries.

2. I shall now put down some remarkable observations and explications of this author.

3. He says, that all the apostles were chosen out of the Jewish nation, and that it was fit it should be so.

4. Upon Gal. i. 19, he says, that James, there mentioned, and called “brother of the Lord,” was son of Joseph by a former wife: but some impiously asserted, that Joseph had children by Mary.

5. He supposeth, that “the Christians at Rome had no apostle with them, before the time of St. Paul's writing to them ; which to me appears very probable: it may be argued from the whole of his epistle to them, though from some parts of it more especially. However, Pelagius manifests a different opinion in his commentary upon that epistle.

6. Upon Col. iv. 14, “Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you:” he says, " That * • Luke was justly dear to Paul, because he constantly accompanied him. Moreover, he is said ' to have written the gospel and the Acts of the apostles.” Which manner of expression seems to intimate some doubt about the truth of that tradition; or, whether Luke here mentioned, and called physician, was the evangelist.

7. He supposeth' the epistle, called to the Ephesians, to have been written to them.

8. The translation of Cól. iv. 16, followed by him, is * “ that ye read the epistle of the Laodiceans.” The same is in the commentary ascribed to Pelagius. Which expression I take to be ambiguous: it may import an epistle written by the Laodiceans; or an epistle which was their property, as having been written to them. In which of those two senses Pelagius understood the expression does not appear: but this author, I think, understood it in the latter sense; and supposed, that hereby was meant a letter sent to the Laodiceans by the apostle: Since, therefore, he allowed the epistle, called to the Ephesians, to have been written to them; and that there was an epistle sent to the Laodiceans, mentioned Col. iv. 16, he must have looked upon this as a lost epistle. For it does not appear, that there was any epistle of the apostle Paul received by him, which was inscribed to the Laodiceans.

9. The first epistle to the Thessalonians is inscribed in this manner: • Paul, and Silvanus, and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians. Upon which the author observes: · Theo letter • has the names of three bishops, [or of bishops, without three,] but the sense and words are the • apostle’s alone.' A somewhat like observation may be seen in Pelagius's ? Commentary upon


* Quamvis dicat Marcus Evangelista de dæmonibus : ' Sciebant enim Christum ipsum esse Jesum.' [Marc. i. 34.] In 1 ep. ad Cor. cap. ii. 8. Ap. Ambros. T. ii. Append. p. 118. D.

• Sicut Petrus Apostolus inter cætera dicens: 'Ut sitis,' inquit, * consortes divinæ naturæ.' (2 Pet. i. 4.] In Philip. i. p. 251. F.

° Hic est Caius, ut arbitror, ad quem scribit Joannes Apostolus, exsultans iu caritate ejus, quam exhibebat fraternitati. In Rom. xvi. p. 110. E.

Sicut dictum est in Apocalypsi Joannis Apostoli. In 2 Thess. c. ii. p. 286. C. Vid. et in 2 Cor. xi. p. 198. B. in 1 Thess. iv. p. 282. A. Et passim.

e Nam simili modo et in epistolâ ad Hebræos scriptum est, quia Levi, qui decimas accepit, decimas dedit Melchisedec. In 2 Tim. 1. p. 305. B.

Hoc est quod dicit, quia dispensatio prædicationis his decreta est a Deo, qui ex Judæis crediderunt in Christum. Unde nullus ex Gentibus ad Apostolatum electus est. Dignum enim erat, ex his eligi prædicatores, qui ante speraverunt. salutem, quæ illis promissa est in Christo. In Eph. i. ver. 11, 12. p. 233. B.

8 In Galat. i. p. 213. F.
h Romanis autem (ut Galatis) irasci non debuit, sed et


laudare fidem illorum : quia nulla insignia virtutum videntes, nec aliquem Apostolorum, susceperant fidem Christi, ritu licet Judaïco. Proleg. in ep. ad Rom. p. 25. B.

i Romanos Petri prædicatione fidem tenentes confirmare se velle Paulus dicit; non quo minus accepissent a Petro, sed ut duobus Apostolis testibus atque doctoribus, eorum roboretur fides. Pelag. in Rom. i. 11. Ap. Hieron. T. v. p. 927.

* Vere carissimus Apostolo fuit Lucas, quia, oinnia postponens, Apostolum semper sequutus est. Qui et Evangelium et Actus Apostolorum scripsisse perhibetur. In Col. p. 276. C.

| Vid. Proleg. in ep. ad Eph. et Comm. in c i. v. 1.

m. Et vos ut eam, quæ est Laodicensium, legatis '] Quia generales sunt Apostolorum, et ad omnium profectum ecclesiarum scriptæ epistolæ :- -idcirco, etiam Laodicensibus epistolam hanc legi præcepit, ut per hanc quid agendum sibi esset addiscerent: et Colossenses ut eorum legerent, juxta sensum supradictum. In Col. iv. p. 276. D.

" Et ea, quæ Laodicensium est, vobis legatur. Pelag. in Col. ap. Hieron. T. v. p. 1076.

• Trium quidem Episcoporum nomina literæ continent. [Al. Episcoporum nomine literæ continentur.] Sed sensus et verba solius Apostoli sunt. In 1 Thess. p. 277. A. pi Et Sosthenes frater.') • Frater,' inquit, non Apostolus.

3 x

the beginning of the first epistle to the Corinthians. And it is very just. All the authority of the epistle is derived from the apostolical character and commission. 10. His reading at 1 Tim. iii

. 16, is * • which was manifested in the flesh.' That must have been in many Latin copies at that time.

1). In the note upon Tit. iii. 13, he makes no question, but that Zenas was a Jewish lawyer: which

appears to me very probable, though then a Christian.



1. Accor

Conding to Cave · Philaster, bishop of Brixia, or Brescia, in Italy, the author of a work Concerning Heresies, flourished about the year 380. Tillemont likewise « thinks it probable, that the forementioned work must have been

written in the year 380, or soon after. Fabricius not only thinks that · Philaster wrote after Epiphanius, but that he also borrowed from him : which does not appear certain to me. Some few instances of agreement between authors, who have the same design, will not amount to a full proof. If Philaster had read Epiphanius, in all probability he would have mentioned him. It needs not to be reckoned at all strange, if he was wholly unacquainted with Epiphanius's work, even supposing him not to have written before 380, or somewhat later, which is not certain. Augustine, long after that, had seen only the Summary or Synopsis of Epiphanius, as all allow. Philaster is often quoted by Augustine in his book of Heresies. It may not be amiss to put down' a passage of Augustine in his letter to Quod vult deus concerning that work, in which he gives the preference to Epiphanius above Philaster. The year of Philaster's death is not certainly s known; but it is generally supposed that he died in 386, or 387.

2. Philaster has a catalogue of the books of scripture: which, omitting some things relating to apocryphal writings, is to this purpose. • It was appointed by the apostles, and their suc

cessors, that nothing should be read in the catholic church, but the law, and the prophets, and • the gospels, and the Acts of the apostles, and thirteen epistles of Paul, and seven other, two of • Peter, three of John, one of Jude, and one of James, which seven are joined with the Acts of * the apostles. But the hidden, that is, apocryphal scriptures, though they ought to be read by • the perfect, for the improvement of men's manners, may not be read by all.'

3. In that article are omitted the epistle to the Hebrews, and the book of the Revelation. Nevertheless, perhaps, they are not quite rejected, but only denied to be publicly read. Let us therefore observe some other places.

4. The very next article relates to the epistle to the Hebrews, and is to this effect : • There k are others also, who do not allow the epistle of Paul to the Hebrews to be his : but say, it is • either an epistle of Barnabas the apostle, or of Clement bishop of Rome. But others say, it is • an epistle of Luke the evangelist. And some receive an epistle to the Laodiceans. Some pre• tend, that additions have been made to it by some heterodox persons, and that for that reason, • it ought not to be read in the churches, though it is read by some. But in the church are read to the people his thirteen epistles only, and that to the Hebrews sometimes. Moreover some reject it as more eloquent than the apostle's other writings, and because Christ is here said to • be “ made:” and because of what he says of repentance, which the Novatians make an • advantage of


Hunc autem idcirco secum scribentem inducit, quia ex ipsis doctor est, et pru his valde solicitus. Pelag. in 1 Cor. ap.

S. Hieron. T. v. p. 974.

• P. 296. B. » Quamvis eniin Zenam legisperitum vocitet, Apollo tamen perfectus erat in Scripturis. Sed quia Zenas bujus professionis fuerat in synagoga, sic illum appellat. In Tit. iii. p. 317. A.

c Hist. Lit. T. i. See S. Philastre Mem. Ec. T. 8. e Etiam ante Philastrium scripsit Epiphanius, ex cujus libris ille profecit. Fabric. Not. ad Vit. Philast. per Gaudentum.

i Philastrius quidam Brixiensis episcopus, quem cum sancto Ambrosio Mediolani etiam ipse vidi, scripsit hinc librum Neque enim putandum est, aliquas ignorâsse Epiphanium, quas noverat Philastrius: cum Epiphanium longe Philastrio doctiorem invenerimus. Epist. 222. T. ii.

8 See St, Philaster in Tillemont, near the end.

h Vid. Cay. H. L. T. i. et Basnag. ad ann. 386. n. X.

Propter quod statutum est ab Apostolis, et eorum successoribus, non aliud legi in ecclesiâ debere catholicâ, nisi Legem, et Prophetas, et Evangelia, et Actus Apostolorum, et Pauli tredecim epistolas, et septem alias, Petri duas, Joannis tres, Judæ unam, et unam Jacobi, quæ septem Actibus Apostolorum conjunctæ sunt. Scripturæ autem absconditæ, id est, apocrypha, etsi legi debent morum causâ a perfectis, non ab omnibus legi debent. Phil. de Hær. cap. 08.

* Sunt alii quoque, qui epistolam Pauli ad Hebræos non adserunt esse ipsius, sed dicunt, aut Barnabæ esse Apostoli, aut Clementis de urbe Româ episcopi. Alii autem Lucæ Evangelistæ aiunt. Epistolam etiam ad Laodicenses scriptam. Et quia addiderunt in eâ quædam von recte sentientes, inde non legitur in ecclesià, etsi legitur a quibusdam. Non tamen in ecclesiâ legitur populo, nisi tredecim epistolæ ipsius, et ad Hebræos interdum. Et in eâ quia rhetorice scripsit, sermone plausibili, inde non putant esse ejusdem Apostoli. Et quia et audeant dicere, et Apocalypsim ibidem non beati Joannis fictum Christum dicit in eà, inde non legitur. De pænitentiâ Evangelistæ et Apostoli, sed Cerinthi bæretici, qui tunc ab autem propter Novatianos æque. Ibid. cap. 89.

A part of this chapter was alleged formerly.

5. By this we perceive, that there was at that time not a few, who on one account or other had doubts about the writer of this epistle, which has not St. Paul's name at the beginning, as his other epistles have. The objection taken from the superior elegance of the style of this epistle above the rest deserves notice. It affords an argument, that the ancient Christians read the scriptures with care. How Origen expresseth himself upon this head we saw a formerly.

6. Philaster himself received the epistle to the Hebrews; for he reckons it a heresy to reject it. And in the remaining part of the chapter, just cited, he proposeth answers to the two lastmentioned objections. And in this his work, of Heresies, he has several times referred to this epistle, or quoted it as the apostle Paul's.

7. Philaster received likewise the book of the Revelation. For one of his heresies is that' of those who reject the gospel of John and his Revelation. I put that article at the bottom of the page; where he observes, there are some who dare to say, that the Revelation is not a writing of John the apostle and evangelist, but of Cerinthus.

8. I do not think it needful to make any more remarks upon these articles, nor to transcribe any more chapters of this author. But it hence appears, that he received the same books of the New Testament which we do. If ever we come to that part of this work, which is allotted for the history of the heretics of the first two centuries, we shall have occasion to take farther notice of Philaster.



1. GAUDENTIUS, successor of Philaster in the bishopric of Brescia, is placed by Cave at the year 387. For a more particular account of him and his works, 1 refer to others. I shall only take his testimony to the books of the New Testament, and some select passages.

2. He expressly says, there are four evangelists; and he has frequently quoted all the four gospels, St. Mark's' in particular.

3. The book of the Acts of the apostles is expressly quoted, and ascribed to St. Luke, who had also written a gospel.

Apostolis beatis hæreticus manifestatus, abjectus est ab eccle: jà. a Hebr. iii. 2. b Hebr. vi. 4. and x. 26.

Hær. 60. p. 120, 121. Et Conf. Fabricii. not. (). c See

d See Vol. i. p. 532.

8 Vid. Cav. H. L. T. i. p. 282. Du Pin. Bib. T.jij. Tilleni. - Cum Apostolus doceat, quod omnem hominem mori Mem. T. x. oportet, postque hoc jam judicari. cap. 122. p. 255. Vid. "In quatuor Evangelistarum testimonio. Ab. Bib. PP. T. Hebr. ix. 27. Et honorandæ nuptiæ. cap. 117. p. 239. A.

v. p. 947. A.

Vid. p. 950. F. 951. G. Vid. Hebr. xiii. 4.

Sicut in principiis Actuum Apostolorum Lucas Evange* Post hos sunt hæretici, qui Evangelium secundum Joan- lista, testatur. p. 959. A. Lucas Evangelista, qui beatos Aposnem, et Apocalypsim ipsius non accipiunt: et cum non intel- tolos pari merito subsequutus est, et Evangelii librum et Actus ligunt virtutem Scripturæ, nec desiderant discere, in hæresi Apostolorum imitandâ examinatione conscripsit. p. 969. C. perinanent pereuntes: ut etiam Cerinthi illius hæretici esse

4. I need not produce any particular quotations of St. Paul's epistics. I only observe that he has several times quoted the epistle to the Hebrews as Paul's.

5. Gaudentius takes but little notice of the catholic epistles. However, he has quoted the epistle of St. James, and the first epistle of St. Peter. And, very probably, he received all the rest.

He likewise quotes - the book of the Revelation.

7. There is no notice taken by Gaudentius of any apocryphal Christian books. And it is. likely, that his canon of the New Testament was the same with that now generally received.

8. It appears, that Gaudentius was wont to compare the Latin and Greek copies of the New Testament, or the Latin translation with the Greek original. And as he had travelled in the East, it is not improbable, that he was well skilled in the Greek language.

9. He has divers good observations upon Christ's shewing himself to Thomas, and takes notice of the advantage which we have from the scrupulousness of that apostle, in the fuller evidence of our Lord's resurrection.

10. Gaudentius supposed B our Lord's ministry to have been of but one year's duration only from his baptism to his death.

11. He often speaks of the Lord's-day, or the first day of the week, sanctified by Christ's resurrection from the dead.

12. He asserts free-will very strongly. He says, . That' things are not done, because they were foretold: but the divine prescience knows beforehand what will happen, and therefore they are foretold. It is, he says, inconsistent with the perfections of God, that he should command, or compel men to do what he blames, if done. What the Jews did, they did voluntarily, though it had been foretold. And do you think, that if the Jews had repented at the preaching of Jesus, the world could not have been saved ? I think we are not to limit the divine power or wisdom. “ For who has known the mind of the Lord ? or who has been his counsellor?" • Consider, how in the gospel Christ waited for the repentance of the Jewish people, and how • he upbraided the cities, in which most of his mighty. works were done, because they repented ( not.

13. Descanting upon the notice taken of the value of the ointment, with which Mary had anointed the Lord, as mentioned John xii. 4, 5, he k has some uncommon thoughts concerning our Saviour's treatment of Judas.

14. He 'seems to have read the decree of the council at Jerusalem, Acts xv. as we now

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. Sicut Scriptura testatur in epistola Pauli beatissimi ad dictum est: non, ut fieret, jussum est. Nec ideo factum est, Hebræos. p. 975. G. et passim.

quia prædictum erat. Sed ideo prædictum est, quia erat fub P. 972. F. c P. 960. C.

turum ; ut præscientiam suam Deus in his quæ per libertatem . Et sicut in Apocalypsi de Babylone scribitur, vel urbe, arbitrii hominum futura erant, ostenderet. Libertatem dixivei gente, vel unâquâque animâ, errorum caligine, vitiorum- mus arbitrii, quia voluerunt Judæi facere quod fecerunt: et que carnalium permixtione confusâ. [Apoc. c. xvii, ver. 6.) utique si voluissent, [f. noluissent] non fecissent. Certe inp. 943. C. et alibi.

gentis sacrilegii est, vel cogitare quod Deus, qui non solum dicens : “Nunc judicium est hujus mundi. Nunc bonus et justus, sed ipsa bonitas est et ipsa justitia, vel jubeat hujus mundi princeps mittetur deorsum, sive, expelletur aliquid vel cogat fieri, quod factum damnet. An fortasse foras,' ut in Græcis exemplaribus legimus. (Joh. xii. 31.] putamus, quia, si pænituissent Israëlitæ, aliter omnipotens p. 969. B.

Filius Dei salvare non potuerit mundum ? 'Quis enim cogSine,' inquit, eam,' sive sinite.' Utrumque enim et novit sensum Domini ? aut quis consiliarius ejus fuit?' Conin Græcis et Latinis exemplaribus invenitur. Sed magis con- sidera in Evangelio, quomodo expectaverit Christus pænitengruere videtur sensui, cum legitur. 'Sinite,' &c. [Conf. tiam Judæorum ; ubi exprobat civitatibus, in quibus tactæ Marc. xiv. 6. Joh. xii. 7.] p. 904. A.

sunt plurimæ virtutes ejus, quod non egerint pænitentiam. Sufficiat nobis, quoniam sancti Thomæ curiositas et ambi- -Præscientia quidem Dei non fallitur. Sed nec homini guitas futuræ scrupulositatis finem fecit. Quod enim absens concessa semel voluntatis libertas aufertur, &c. p. 948. F. G. fuit, quod avidius et videre et attrectare Dominum perquisi- Vid. et p. 963. B. vit, totum nostræ procurabatur saluti, ut evidentius noscere- Quamvis ergo Dominus Jesus conscientiæ judex esset, mus resurrectionis Dominicæ veritatem. p. 969. B.

noluit tamen Judam de occultis ejus acrius increpare, ve, quo& Anniculus est, quia post illud baptismum, quod pro nobis niam verisimili ratione videbatur locutus, putaretur forsitan in Jordane susceperat, usque ad passionis suæ diem, unius injuste correptus, atque hinc iracundiam ejus tantam concepanni tempus impletur. Et ea tantum scripta sunt in Evan- isse causam, ut inimicis necandum traderet, quem sine ullo geliis, quæ in illo anno vel docuit vel fecit. Nec ipsa tamen peccamine habuisset infensum. Nihil ergo acerbum Christus omnia. p. 948. H.

voluit pro merito sceleratæ mentis illius loqui, ne Judas eum Nam sexta feriâ, quâ hominem fecerat, pro eodem pas- tradere videretur iratus, &c. p. 964. D. E. sus. Et die dominicâ, quæ dicitur in scripturis prima sabbati, ' Et idcirco beatus Jacobus cum cæteris Apostolis decrein qui sumserat mundus exordium, resurrexit. p. 945. F. Vid. tum tale constituit in ecclesiis observandum : 'Ut abstineatis et p. 960. D. et 059. B.

vos,' inquit, • ab immolatis, et a sanguine,' id est, ' a suffoSynagoga Judæorum quod erat crudeliter factura, præ- catis. Prætermiserunt homicidium, adulterium, veneficia:


have it. By “ blood ” he does not understand homicide, but the blood of animals. Moreover he says, there was no occasion to insert there a prohibition of homicide, adultery, and such great crimes, which were punished even by human laws, but only those particulars, things offered to idols, blood, things strangled, and fornication.' If the reader pleases, he may recollect what was formerly · said by us concerning the true reading of that place.

15. He asserts the reality of natural religion: and says, that by the exercise of their own reason men may learn the existence of God, and discern the obligation of an equitable conduct one toward another.

16. He o celebrates the progress of the Christian religion, and the effects of it in turning men from darkness to light, and from vice to virtue and holiness.

17. I conclude my extracts with a pious observation of this writer: • That " we are born again, • that we know in part the works of God, that we endeavour to improve the time of this life, so • as to obtain a better, that in the hope of future recompenses we act and speak religiously, is all owing to God: I say, it is owing to God.'



1. As St. Jerom has placed his learned friend Sophronius in his Catalogue of Ecclesiasticat Writers, I transcribe the chapter o below. And I likewise refer to some learned ' moderns, who have made observations upon it.

2. Jerom says, that Sophronius was a very learned man; that when young, he published a work entitled The praises of Bethlehem, and since, an excellent account of the Demolition of the Temple of Serapis. He had also translated several of Jerom's works into Greek.

3. All those things are lost. But we have a Greek version of St. Jerom's Catalogue of Ecclesiastical Writers, called Sophronius's. But though many receive it as his, all do not. Its genuineness is denied, not only by : Isaac Vossius, who thought it to have been made by Erasmus himself, who first published it, but by divers other learned men, who allow the antiquity of it.

4. Nevertheless, Robert Stephens and Mill have prefixed to the four gospels the several chapters or Lives of the four Evangelists, in that Greek version ; and Mill, in like manner, the quoniam nec nominari ca in ecclesiis oporteret, quæ legibus Sophronius, vir apprime eruditus, laudes Bethlehem adhuc etiam Gentilium punirentur. Prætermiserunt quoque illas puer, et nuper de subversione Serapis insignem librum com- omnes minutias observationum legalium. Et sola hæc, quæ posuit. De Virginitate quoque ad Eustochium, et Vitam prædiximus, custodienda sanxerunt, ne vel sacrificatis diabolo Hilarionis monachi, opuscula mea, in Græcum eleganti sercibis profanemur immundis, vel ne mortuo per viscera suffo. mone transtulit. Psalterium quoque, et Prophetas, quos nos catorum animaliam sanguine polluamur, vel ne immunditiis de Hebræo in Latinum vertimus. De V. I. cap. 134. fornicationum corpora nostra, quæ templa Dei sunt, violemus. | Vid. Fabr. Bib. Ec. et Bib. Gr. T. viii. p. 195–198. p. 967. F. G. a See p. 13-20.

Cav. Hist. Lit. Tillem. Mem. Ec. T. xii. St. Jerome, art. 39.. • Neque hodie aliquis reatum peccati incurrit, si eum non et 58. astringat aut naturalis les, aut mandati lex, aut literæ lex. & Vid. Voss. citat. a Fabric. Bib. Gr. T. viii. p. 295, 296.. Naturalis lex est illa, quâ Gentes, legem literæ non habentes, ” Viro summo Isaaco Vossio facile largior, nec Sophronii' naturaliter ea quæ legis sunt faciunt: quia rationabilis animæ illius, cui tribuitur, nec valde antiquam esse Græcam Catalogi humanae natura, ut Creatorem suum sentiat, ut proximum Hieronymiani versionem. Sed ut ab Erasmo, aut ab alio pon lædat, ut non faciat quod pati non vult, naturali quâdam illius aevi confictam credam, adduci non possum. Nam cum lege intelligit. &c. p. 960. F.

ex eo quædam iisdem verbis in Lexico Suidæ legautur, potius • Nam, priusquam pateretur et resurgeret Christus, notus est, ut Suidâ vetustiorem credam. Jo. Andr. Bosius Introerat tantum in Judæ à Deus. Tunc in omnes gentes fulgor ductione in notitiam Script. Ec. cap. 3. citat a Fabr. Eib. claritatis dominicæ pertransit.

p. 948. C.

Ec. p. 13. • Nos ipsi etiam, quod renascimur, quod hæc ipsa opera Ac præterea Græcus Interpres, qui adscito Sophronii noDomini ex parte novimus, quod vivendo vitam quærimus, mine vetustatem mentitur, eam fideliter exbibeat. C. A. quod futurorem spem gerentes pie conversamur et loquimur, Heuman. Præf. ad Lactant. Symph. p. v. Hanover. 1722. Dci, inquam, Dei sunt opera, p. 960. B.

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