« AnteriorContinuar »
If, in this epiftle, there had been any thing inconfiftent with the true Chriftian doctrine, or any thing tending to reconcile the practice of fin with the hope of falvation, there would have been the jufteft reason for calling the apoftlefhip of its author in queftion. But instead of this, its profeffed design, as shall be thewed by and by, was to condemn the erroneous doctrines, which, in the first age, were propagated by corrupt teachers for the purpose of encouraging their difciples in their licentious courses; and to make thofe, to whom this letter was written, fenfible of the obligation which their Christian profeffion laid on them, refolutely to maintain the faith, and conftantly to follow the holy practice, enjoined by the gospel.
Grotius, however, fancying that the author of this epistle was not Judas the apostle, but another person of the fame name who lived in the time of the emperor Adrian, and who was the fifteenth bishop of Jerusalem, hath boldly affirmed that the words, and brother of James, are an interpolation; and that the true reading is, Judas a fervant of Jefus Chrift, to them who are sanctified, &c. But as he hath not produced so much as a fhadow of authority from any ancient MS. or from the fathers, in support of his emendation, it deferves not the least regard; and should not have been mentioned, had it not been to make the reader fenfible, how little the opinion of the greatest critics is to be regarded, when they have a favourite notion to maintain, or wish to make themselves confpicuous by the novelty or fingularity of their pretended difcoveries.
From the infcription, therefore, of this epistle, I think it certain that it was written by Judas the apole; and that it is an inspired writing of equal authority with the epiftles of the other apoftles, which by all are acknowledged to be inspired and canonical.
II. The genuineness of this epiftle, is established likewise by the matters contained in it, which in every respect are fuitable to the character of an inspired apostle of Chrift. For, as was already obferved, the writer's defign in it was to characterize and condemn the heretical teachers, who in that age endeavoured by a variety of base arts to make disciples, and to reprobate the impious doctrines which they taught for the fake of
of advantage, and to enforce the practice of holinefs on all who profeffed the gospel. In short, there is no error taught, nor evil practice enjoined, for the sake of which any impostor could be moved to impose a forgery of this kind on the world.
To invalidate this branch of the proof of the authenticity of the epistle of Jude, it hath been objected both anciently and in modern times, that the writer of it hath quoted the apocryphal book entitled Enoch, and thereby hath put that book on an equality with the canonical books of the Old Testament. But to this objection learned men have replied, that it is by no means certain that Jude quoted any book whatever. He only fays, ver. 14. Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophefied even concerning these men, saying, Behold the Lord cometh with his holy myriads, &c.-Besides, we have no good evidence that in Jude's time there was any book extant entitled Henoch, or Henoch's prophecy. In the second and third centuries indeed, a book with that title was handed about among the Chriftians. But it seems to have been forged, on occafion of the mention that is made of Enoch's prophecy in the epiftle of Jude; and was universally rejected as a manifeft forgery. In the apoftolical writings, there are a variety of ancient facts mentioned or alluded to, which are not recorded in the Jewish fcriptures; fuch as, The fin and punishment of the evil angels, 2 Pet. ii. 4. and their confinement in everlasting chains under darkness to the judgment of the great day, Jude ver. 6.-The prophecy of Enoch concerning the judgment and punishment of the wicked, Jude, ver. 14.-Noah's preaching righteoufnefs to the antediluvians, 2 Pet. ii. 5.—Abraham's feeing Christ's day and being glad, mentioned by Christ himself, John viii. 56.-Lot's being vexed with the filthy discourse of the wicked Sodomites, 2 Pet. ii. 7. -The emblematical purpose for which Mofes flew the Egyptian who ftrove with the Ifraelite, Acts vii. 25.-The names of Pharoah's magicians who contended with Mofes, 2 Tim. iii. 8.Mofes' exclamation on the mount, when terrified by what he faw, Heb. xii. 21.-The emblematical meaning of the tabernacles and of their fervices, explained, Heb. ix. 8, 9.-All which ancient facts are mentioned by the infpired writers, as things univerfally known and acknowledged.—It is no ob
jection to the truth of these things, that they are not recorded in the books of the Old Teftament. For it is reasonable to believe, that the writers of these books have not recorded all the revelations which God made to mankind in ancient times: nor all the circumstances of the revelations which they have recorded. As little have they related all the interefting incidents of the lives of the persons whofe history they have given. This is certain with respect to Mofes. For he hath omitted the revelation by which facrifice was appointed, and yet that it was appointed of God is evident from Mofes himself, who tells us that God had refpect to Abel and to his offering. Likewife he hath omitted the discovery, which was made to Abraham, of the purpofe for which God ordered him to facrifice his fon. Yet, that such a discovery was made to him we learn from Chrift himself, who tells us that Abraham faw his day and was glad.—Wherefore, the revelations and facts mentioned in the New Testament may all have happened; and, though not recorded in the Old, may have been preferved by tradition. Nay it is reasonable to think, that at the time the ancient revelations were made, fomewhat of their meaning was also discovered, whereby posterity. were led to agree in their interpretation of these very obfcure oracles. On any other fuppofition, that uniformity of interpretation, which took place from the beginning, can hardly be accounted for.
Allowing then, that there were revelations anciently made to mankind which are not recorded, and that the revelations. which are recorded were accompanied with fome explications not mentioned, it is natural to think that these things would be verbally published to the ancients, who confidering them as matters of importance, would lay them up in their memory, and rehearse them to their children. And they in like manner relating them to their defcendants, they were preserved by uninterrupted tradition. Further, thefe traditional revelations and explications of revelations, after the art of writing became common, may have been inferted in books, as ancient traditions which were well anthenticated. And the Spirit of God, who infpired the evangelifts and apoftles, may have directed them to mention these traditions in their writings, and to allude to them, VOL. VI. N
to make us fenfible that many important matters anciently made known by revelation, have been preserved by tradition. And more especially, that the perfuafion, which history affureth us hath prevailed in all ages and countries from the most early times, concerning the placability of the Deity, the acceptablenefs of facrifice, the existence of the foul after death, the refurrection of the body, the rewards and punishments of the life to come, with other matters of a like kind, was founded on revelations concerning these things, which were made to mankind in the first age, and handed down by tradition. The truth is, these things being matters which by the utmost effort of their natural faculties men could not discover, the knowledge and belief of them which prevailed among all nations, whether barbarous or civilized, cannot be accounted for except on the suppofition of their being originally difcovered by revelation, and fpread among all nations by tradition.-Wherefore, in no age or country have mankind been left entirely to the guidance of the light of nature, but have enjoyed the benefit of revelation in a greater or in a lefs degree.
But to return to the objection formerly mentioned, by which fome endeavour to difprove the authenticity of Jude's epiftle, founded on the mention which is made in it of Enoch's prophecy. Allowing for a moment, that there was such a book extant in the apostle's days, as that entitled Henoch, or the prophecy of Henoch, and that Jude quoted from it the prophecy under confideration, fuch a quotation would not leffen the authority of his epiftle as an infpired writing, any more than the quotations from the heathen poet Aratus, Acts xvii. 28. and from Menander, 1 Cor. xv. 33. and from Epimenides, Tit. i. 12. have leffened the authority of the history of the Acts, and of Paul's epiftles, where thefe quotations are found. The reason is, if the things contained in these quotations were true in themfelves, they might be mentioned by an inspired writer, without giving authority to the poems from which they were taken.In like manner, if the prophecy afcribed to Enoch concerning the future judgment and punishment of the wicked, was agreeable to the other declarations of God concerning that event, Jude might cite it; because Enoch, who like Noah was a preacher
of righteousness, may actually have delivered fuch a prophecy, though it be not recorded in the Old Teftament; and because his quoting it, did not establish the authority of the book from which he took it, if he took it from any book extant in his time.
Having thus cleared the internal evidence of the epistle of Jude, from the objections which have been raised against it, I shall now fet before the reader the external evidence by which the authenticity of that writing is proved. For this purpose I obferve, that although the epiftle of Jude was doubted of by, fome in the early ages, yet as foon as it was understood that its author was Judas the brother of James mentioned in the catalogues of the apostles, it was generally received as an apoftolical infpired writing, and read publicly in the churches as fuch The evidence of these important and decifive facts, I shall set before the reader, as collected and arranged by the learned and impartial Lardner.
And first of all, Lardner acknowledgeth that the epistle of Jude is no where quoted by Irenæus, who wrote about the year 178. But that Eufebius giving an account of the works of Clem. Alexandr. who flourished about the year 194, faith Ecclef. Hift. lib. vi. c. 14. initio, "In his inftitutions he hath "given explications of all the canonical scriptures, not omitting "those which are contradicted, I mean the epiftle of Jude, and "the other catholic epiftles." Clement's inftitutions are loft. But we have a small treatise in Latin, called, Adumbrations, fuppofed to be tranflated from the inftitutions. In thefe adumbrations, there are remarks upon almost every verfe of the epiftle of Jude, except the last. There, likewife, is the following obfervation: "Jude, who wrote a catholic epiftle, does not style "himself at the beginning of it, Brother of the Lord, though he was "related to him: but Jude the fervant of Jefus Chrift, and brother "of James." From this it appears, that Clement thought the writer of the epiftle under confideration, one of them who are called the Lord's brethren, Matt. xiii. 55. and an apostle.-Farther, verfes 5, 6. and 11. of the epistle of Jude, are quoted by Clement in his Pedagogue or Inftructor. Moreover, in his Stromata of Mifcellanies, he quotes Jude from ver. 8. to ver. 16.— These