FORGERY IN CHRISTIANITY
THE "GOSPEL" FORGERIES
SEGMENTS:R R The holy Evangels R R STILL TINKERING AT IT! R R SOME TESTS FOR FORGERY R R THE GOSPEL TITLES
RR THE "CANONICITY" OF THE FOUR GOSPELS R R THE "MARK" FABLE BELIES "CANONICITY"
RR THE GOSPELS "ACCORDING TO" GREEK PRIESTS R R THE FOUR GOSPELS-"CHOSEN" R R WHY FOUR GOSPELS?
RR INSPIRATION AND PLAGIARISM R R GOSPELS LATE FORGERIES R R 1 Bishop Papias R R 2 Justin Martyr R R 3 Irenaeus
RR "LUKE" DISCREDITS APOSTOLICITY R R FORGERIES IN THE FORGED GOSPELS R R CONTRADICTIONS AND TRUTH R R JESUS - MAN OR GOD?
RR "UPON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH" R R THE "CHURCH" FOUNDED ON THE "ROCK"
RR "PETER-ROCK-CHURCH" DENIED AB SILENCIO R R "GO, TEACH ALL NATIONS" FORGERY
RR ACTS BELIES THE "GO, TEACH ALL NATIONS" FORGERY R R THE FORGED GOSPEL ENDINGS R R THE BAPTISMAL FORGERY
RR A MEDLEY OF FORGERIES R R THE "WOMAN IN ADULTERY" FORGERY R R THE JOHN XXI FORGERY R R THE "LORD'S PRAYER" FORGERY
RR THE "UNKNOWN GOD" FORGERY R R THE FORGED EPISTLES, ETC. R R THE "EPISTLE OF PETER" FORGERIES
RR THE "GOD MANIFEST" FORGERY R R THE "THREE HEAVENLY WITNESSES" FORGERY R R RETURN TO THE INDEX OF CHAPTERS
"Whether a Church which stands convicted of having forged its Creed, would have any scruple of forging its Gospels, is a problem that the reader will solve according to the influence of prejudice or probability on his mind." - Taylor, Diegesis, p. 10.
LET us now take up the holy Evangels and Epistles of Christ-propaganda. After even our cursory examination of the welter of Gospels, Acts, Epistles and other pious frauds of Christian missionary-work, all admittedly forged by holy hands in the early Christian "age of apocryphal literature" in the names of Jesus Christ himself, of the Twelve pseudo-apostles and other Worthies, including Mother Eve, even the most credulous and uncritical Believer must feel the intrusion of some question: How came the four "Gospels according to" Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, to be sometime accepted as genuine and inspired? and, Why are there only Four out of so much greater a number, as we have seen in circulation and acceptance? The questions are pertinent, and shall be given fair answer.
This entire aggregation of forged religious writings, under the guise of genuine Gospels, Acts, Epistles, Apocalypses, falsely attributed to apostolic writers, is know together as "Old Christian Literature," whether now called "canonical" or apocryphal. Of it EB. says that this present distinction "does not, in point of fact, rest upon any real difference in the character or origin of the writings concerned, but only upon the assumption of their differing values as sacred or non-sacred books." (EB. iii, 3481.) Furthermore, the common characteristic and motive of them all is thus described, or explained: "To compose 'letters' under another name, especially under the name of persons whose living presentment, or real or supposed spiritual equipment, it, was proposed to set before the reader, was then just us usual as was the other practice of introducing the same persons into narratives and reporting their 'words' in the manner of which we have examples, in the case of Jesus, in the Gospels, and, in the case of Peter, Paul, and other apostles, in the Acts." (EB. iii, 3481.)
"The Gospel has come down to us," says Bishop Irenaeus (about 185 A.D.), which the apostles did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith. ... For, after our Lord rose from the dead [the apostles] departed to the ends of the earth, preaching the glad tidings of the good things sent from God to us, who indeed do equally and individually possess the Gospel of God." (Iren., Adv. Haer, Bk. III, ch. i; ANF. i, 414.) Bishop Irenaeus and Bishop Papias have both averred that the Christ lived to old age (even as late as 98-117 A.D.), flatly denying thus as "heresy" the Gospel stories as to his crucifixion at about thirty years of age. In any event, the Apostles, according to the record, scattered "to the ends of the earth, preaching," orally, before they wrote anything at all.
But, says CE., although "the New Testament was not written all at once, the books that compose it appeared one after another in the space of fifty years, i.e., in the second half of the first century." (CE. xiv, 530.) That this last clause is untrue will be fully and readily demonstrated. This statement, too, contradicts Bishops Papias and Irenaeus, who are, positively, the only two of the second century Fathers who up to their times at all mention written Gospels or their supposed authors, as we have seen and shall more particularly notice.
And CE. says, as is true, of the earliest existing manuscripts of any New Testament books: "We have New Testament MSS. written not much more than 300 years after the composition of the books"; and it admits (though with much diminution of truth, as we shall see): "And in them we find numerous differences, though but few of them are important." (CE. xiv, 526.) In this CE. at another place, and speaking much more nearly the truth, contradicts itself, saying: "The existence of numerous and, at times, considerable differences between the four canonical Gospels is a fact which has long been noticed and which all scholars readily admit. ... Those evangelical records (SS. Matthew, Mark, Luke) whose mutual resemblances are obvious and striking, and ... the narrative (that of St. John) whose relation with the other three is that of dissimilarity rather than that of likeness." (CE. vi, 658.)
But the so-called "canonical" books of the New Testament, as of the Old, are a mess of contradictions and confusions of text, to the present estimate of 150,000 and more "variant readings," as is well known and admitted. Thus CE.: "It is easy to understand how numerous would be the readings of a text transcribed as often as the Bible, and, as only one reading can represent the original, it follows that all the others are necessarily faulty. Mill estimated the variants of the New Testament at 30,000, and since the discovery of so many MSS. unknown to Mill, this number has greatly increased." (CE. iv, 498.) Who, then, is "inspired" to distinguish true from false readings, and thus to know what Jesus Christ and his entourage really said and did, or what some copyist's error or priest's forgery make them say or do, falsely? Of the chaos and juggling of sacred texts in the Great Dioceses of Africa, CE. says: "There never existed in early Christian Africa an official Latin text known to all the Churches, or used by the faithful to the exclusion of all others. The African bishops willingly allowed corrections to be made in a copy of the Sacred Scriptures, or even a reference, when necessary, to the Greek text. With some exceptions, it was the Septuagint text that prevailed, for the O.T., until the fourth century. In the case of the New, the MSS. were of the Western type. On this basis there arose a variety of translations and interpretations. ... Apart from the discrepancies to be found in two quotations from the same text in the works of two different authors, and sometimes of the same author, we now know that of several books of Scripture there were versions wholly independent of each other." (CE. i, 193.)
Bishop Victor of Tunnunum, who died about 569 A.D. and whose work, says CE., "is of great historical value," says that in the fifth century, "In the consulship of Messala, at the command of the Emperor Anastasius, the Holy Gospels, as written Idiotis Evangelists, are corrected and amended." (Victor of T., Chronica, p. 89-90; cited by Dr. Mills, Prolegom. to R.V., p. 98.) This would indicate some very substantial tinkering with Holy Writ; which process was a continuing one, for, says CE., "Under Sixtus V (1585-90) and Clement VIII (1592-1605) the Latin Vulgate after years of revision attained its present shape." (CE., xii, 769.) And the Vulgate, which was fiercely denounced as fearfully corrupt, was only given sanction of divinity by the Council of Trent in 1546, under the Curse of God against any who questioned it. Though this amendatory tinkering of their two Holinesses was after the Council of Trent had put the final Seal of the Holy Ghost on the Vulgate in 1546!
STILL TINKERING AT IT!
The ancient clerical trick of tempering with the "Word of God" and amending its plenary Divine Inspiration and Inerrancy, goes on apace today, even to the extent of putting a veneer of civilization on the barbarian Hebrew God, and warping his own barbarian words so as to make a semblance of a "God of Mercy" out of the self-styled "Jealous God" of Holy Writ.
In 1902, after the sacred Council of Trent, in 1546, had put the Curse of God on any further tinkering with the Inerrant Bible, His Holiness Leo XIII appointed a Commission of Cardinals, known as the Pontifical Biblical Commission, to further amend Divine Inspiration; in 1907, "the Commission, with the approval of the sovereign pontiff, invited the Benedictine Order to undertake a collection of the variant readings of the Latin Vulgate as a remote preparation for a thoroughly amended edition." (CE. ii, 557.) This august body has recently laid before His Holiness, after all these years of labor, the revised text of the revelations of Moses in the Book of Genesis; and is now worrying with Exodus and the "Ten Commandments" in chapter XX thereof.
Associated Press dispatches published to the world today, relate that "the Vatican's International Commission on the revision of the Bible [is] taking steps to correct one of the most famous Biblical passages, Exodus xx, 5, now believed to have been mistranslated"! (N.Y. Times, May 18, 1930.) The actual text, and "what the Vatican Commission thinks it should read," are here quoted so that all may judge of the immense farce and fraud of this capital falsification;-the material tampering being indicated by italics [Not in this version - RW]:-
Exodus xx, 5-as is.
"For I the Lord thy God am a Jealous God, visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of then that hate me"; ...
"For I, the Lord thy God, am a God of loving-kindness and mercy, considering the errors of the fathers as mitigating circumstances in judging the children unto the third and fourth generation"!
Even a fool knows that no set of words, humanly or divinely devisable, could bear such enormity of contrary translation; this is self-evident. The simple Hebrew words of verse 5 do not admit of a word of tampering in translation. Even the present translations into modern languages make apparent the correctness of the familiar rendering. The words of verse 5-"visiting the iniquities ... of them that hate me," close with a semicolon, followed immediately by their antithesis:-"And showing mercy [Heb. chesed] unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments." (v. 6; Deut. v. 9, 10.) The "Jealous God" pursues the progeny of those "that hate" him, and "shows mercy ... to them that love" him. The inspired "correction" of the "mistranslation" leaves verse 6 meaningless and redundant.
But the two simple Hebrew words chiefly involved make this fraudulent "correction" ridiculous and impossible. In Hebrew, Yahweh says from Sinai: "Anoki yahweh elohe-ka EL QANNA-I Yahweh thy God [am a] Jealous God." The only false translation in this verse is "Lord thy God" for the 6,000-times falsified "Yahweh thy God," as elsewhere noted. Always "qanna" means "jealous'-and is used of the "jealous god," husband, wife, etc. The "joker" in this false "correction" is apparent from the word "chesed-mercy," hundreds of times used in Holy Writ. There is no Hebrew word meaning "loving-kindness"; this is a fanciful rendering given by the pious translators to the same old word "chesed-mercy." Even the Infallible One knows-or can look in a Hebrew dictionary or concordance and see-that "el qanna ... visiting iniquity"-cannot be twisted into "et chesed and chesed ... showing chesed-mercy" to only those that love him. And how many thousands of "corrections" of words "now believed mistranslated," would be necessary to whitewash the barbarian Yahweh of Holy Writ into a "whited sepulchre" of civilized deity!
SOME TESTS FOR FORGERY
We have seen the debauchery of forgery out of which the Four Gospels were born. This makes pertinent the critical statement of one of the latest authorities on the subject: "Few genuine texts have come down to us from beyond the Middle Ages-most documents reaching us in the form of later copies made by scribes in monasteries"; and he adds: "The mere fact that documents have been accepted for centuries does not itself protect them from the tests of historical criticism." (Shotwell, See of Peter, Gen. Introd. xix, xxii.) It is pertinent to add here a paragraph from CE. which states with entire accuracy the elementary principles upon which literary criticism rests; due to the application of just these principles by honest and fearless critics, the Bible has been stripped of every clerical pretense of inspired inerrancy and of even common literary and historical honesty; so that even the inerrant Church has been driven to confess countless errors and forgeries; even, as we have seen, to the frank repudiation of the fables of Creation, the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, and the divine revelation of the Hebrew religion, which is thus shown to be a very human evolution. These critical principles have destroyed the vast mass of Hebrew and Christian apocrypha; and may now be applied to the New Testament booklets which yet make false pretense to divine inspiration of truth. Says CE.:
"Some broad principles [of literary criticism] are universally admitted by critical scholars. A fundamental one is that a literary work always betrays the imprint of the age and environment in which it was produced; another is that a plurality of authors is proved by well-marked differences of diction and style, at least when they coincide with distinctions of viewpoint or discrepancies in a double treatment of the same subject. A third received canon holds to a radical dissimilarity between ancient Semitic and modern Occidental, or Aryan, methods of composition."
(CE. iv. 492.)
The lines last above in italics point to the most fatal of all proofs-that of "double treatment" or forged "interpolations," than which nothing is clearer evidence of tampering and later fraudulent alterations of text. The most radical dissimilarity between the ancient Semitic methods of religious composition and our modern Occidental notions of literary honesty-or even of intelligent forgery-is, that the Hebrew and Greek religious forgers were so ignorant or careless of the principles of criticism, that they "interpolated" their fraudulent new matter into old manuscripts without taking care to erase or suppress the previous statements glaringly contradicted by the new interpolations. Though, as the great masses of the ignorant Faithful couldn't read, it may have suited the design of the priests to retain both contradictory matters, either of which might be used according to occasion to impose on their credulous Flocks.
When, therefore, in the same document, two statements of alleged fact or doctrine are found, one of which is in glaring contradiction of the other, one or the other is inevitably false and to a moral certainty the work of a later and different hand. When, furthermore, one of the statements is consonant with the time and conditions under which it was supposedly written, or to which it refers, and the contradictory "betrays the imprint of the age and environment in which it was written," later and different from that of the original, and/or betrays "distinctions of viewpoint or discrepancies" from the earlier version, inevitably the latter convicts itself of being forged. With these established and admitted principles in mind, we may now look a bit closely at these questioned documents of the Four Gospels.
THE GOSPEL TITLES
These Four are themselves forgeries and apocryphal "in. the sinister sense of bearing names to which they have no right," as well as by their contents being false, with many forged "interpolations" or spurious additions. Even if the Four Gospels were themselves genuine, as we shall see they are not, yet admittedly their present titles are not original and given to them by the writers. The present clerical position, seeking to save the works, is that, like the Acts of the Apostles, "the name was subsequently attached to the book, just as the headings of the several Gospels were affixed to them." (CE. i, 117.) More particularly speaking of the Gospel titles, the same authority says: "The first four historical books of the New Testament are supplied with titles (Gospel According to [Gr. kata] Matthew, According to Mark, etc.) which, however ancient, do not go back to the respective authors of those sacred writings. ... That, however, they do not go back to the first century of the Christian era, or at least that they are not original, is a position generally held at the present day. ... It thus appears that the titles of the Gospels are not traceable to the Evangelists themselves." (CE. vi, 655, 656.) The very fact that the late second century Gospel-titles are of Gospels "according to" this or that alleged apostle, rather than "The Gospel of Mark" etc., is itself confession and plenary proof that "Mark," et als., were not-and were not intended to be represented as-the real authors of those "according to" Gospels. The form of the titles to the Epistles-also later tagged to them,-as "The Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans," etc. makes this clear and convincing, that no Apostles wrote the "according to" Gospel-biographies of the Christ.
It is obvious, too, from an attentive reading of the Four Gospels, that they are not arranged in our present collection in their order of composition; "Matthew" certainly is not first in order, and is only put first because it begins with the "Book of the Generation of Jesus Christ." The Gospel "according to Mark" is now well established as the earliest of the first three, the "Synoptics," and "John" is clearly the latest. There has been much dispute on this point: "The ancient lists, versions, and ecclesiastical writings are far from being at one with regard to the order of these (4) sacred records of Christ's words and deeds. In early Christian literature the canonical Gospels are given in no less than eight orders, besides the one (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) with which we are familiar." (CE. vi, 657.)
Let us pause a moment to catch the full force of these admissions by CE. and note their consequences fatal to the pretense of Apostolic authorship or origin of these Gospels. We shall shortly see amplest proofs that none of the Four existed until well into the last half of the second century after so-called Christ and Apostles; but here we have, by clearest inference, an admission that the Gospels were not written by Apostles or their contemporaries. These titles "do not go back to the respective authors of those sacred writings; ... do not go back to the first century; ... are not original; ... are not traceable to the Evangelists." What an anomaly, in all literature! most especially in apostolic "sacred records of Christ's words and deeds"!
Here we have these wonderful and "only true" inspired writings of the companions of the Christ, eye-witnesses to his mighty career, written for the conversion and salvation of the world, floating around loose and anonymous for a century and a half, without the slightest indication of their divine source and sanction! All the flood of forged and spurious gospels, epistles, acts and revelations-"the apocryphal and pseudo-Biblical writings with which the East especially had been flooded" (CE. iii, 272), bore the names of the pretended writers, from the false Books of Adam and Enoch to the forged "Gospel of Jesus Christ" and the "Apocalypse of St. Peter." But the authentic and true Gospels of the genuine Apostles of Christ, are nameless and dateless scraps of papyrus! Imagine the great Fathers and Bishops of the Churches, the inspired and all-wise "Popes" of the Church at Rome, rising in their pulpits before the gaping Faithful; taking up an anonymous roll of manuscript, and announcing: "Our lesson today is from, (ahem!) one of the wonderful Gospels of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; but, (ahem!) I don't really know which one. It is by either Matthew, or Mark, or Luke, or John, I'm sure; but the writer forgot to sign or insert his name. We will, however, worship God by reading it anonymously in faith. No, here is one with a name to it; we will now read from the inspired 'Gospel of Barnabas,' or the sacred 'Shepherd of Hermas.' Let us sing that grand and reassuring old Hymn, 'How firm a foundation, ye Saints of the Lord, Is laid for your faith in His wonderful Word!' Let us pray for more faith; and remember to believe what I have told you. Ite, missa est-It's all over, beat it!"
Books, evidently, do not go the rounds of readers nor of inspired Churches for over a century without a title or name. The first mention of the names or titles, as of the "Gospels" to which they were "supplied" was, as we shall see, not until about 185 A.D., when the "Gospels according to" the Four first appear in ecclesiastical literature, and thereupon began their career in the current use of the Churches, and therefore, evidently, then first came into existence. The Four Gospels thus, self-evidently, did not-could not for more than a century exist anonymous, without the Apostolic titles certifying their origin and authenticity. To pretend otherwise is sheer deceit and false pretense.
THE "CANONICITY" OF THE FOUR GOSPELS
The only possible pretext whereby generations of men should be persuaded or cozened or compelled to accept and believe the Gospels (as well as the other N.T. books), even under the genial threat "he that believeth not shall be damned," is that these books were written by immediate companions and apostles of the Christ, faithful eye-witnesses to his work and word, commanded and inspired by Christ, God, or the Holy Ghost (which one is not explicit), to write and publish these wonderful biographies of the Christ. This is explicitly the teaching and dogma of the Church: no real Apostolic author, no true Gospel.
Through pious Christian fraud and forgery, there were fraudulently in vogue some couple of hundred "books current under an Apostle's name in the Early Church, such as the Epistle of Barnabas and the Apocalypse of St. Peter," as CE. (iii, 274) admits of these fraudulent "sacred writings"-with Apostolic titles. Our Ecclesiastical authority then states the "certain indubitable marks" whereby true Apostolic authenticity, essential to validity and credence, must be known: "For the primitive Church, evangelical character was the test of Scriptural sacredness. But to guarantee this character it was necessary that a book should be known as composed by the official witnesses and organs of the Evangel; hence to certify the Apostolic authorship, or at least sanction, of a work purporting to contain the Gospel of Christ." (CE. iii, 274.) All purported "Gospels" as to which Apostolic authorship or sanction could not be guaranteed and certified were, of course, spurious, as is natural and proper. Yet, for centuries, false and forged "Gospels," etc., as the two just named, bore the Apostolic certificates of authenticity-now confessed to be false.
THE "MARK" FABLE BELIES "CANONICITY"
The impossibility of the pretense that the precious Four Gospels circulated nondescript and anonymous in the Churches for a century and a half, is patently belied by the specific instance of the "Gospel according to Mark," of which Gospel we have the precise "history" recorded three centuries after the alleged notorious event. Bishop Eusebius is our witness, in his celebrated Church History. He relates that Peter preached orally in Rome, Mark being his "disciple" and companion. The people wanted a written record of Peter's preachments, and (probably because Peter couldn't write), they importuned Mark to write down "that history which is called the Gospel according to Mark." Mark having done so, "the Apostle (Peter) having ascertained what was done by revelation of the Spirit, was delighted ... and that history obtained his authority for the purpose of being read in the Churches." (HE. Bk. II, ch. 15.) Thus Peter was dead at the time, but his ghost got the news and somehow communicated its delight and approval for the document to be a "Gospel" for the Churches. But in a later section the Bishop gives another version: the people who heard Peter "requested Mark, who remembered well what he [Peter] had said, to reduce these things to writing. ... Which, when Peter understood, he directly neither hindered nor encouraged it." (HE. Bk. VI, ch. 14.) Peter, thus, was alive, but wholly indifferent about his alleged Gospel.
The impossibilities of these contradictory fables need not detain us now. But both join in declaring that the "Gospel according to Mark" was publicly given to the Churches, at Rome, just before or after the death of Peter, 64-67 A.D. The moment, then, that this famous manuscript fell from the inspired pen-(but it was not inspired: Mark only "remembered well"),-the Great Seal of the Holy Ghost was upon it, and it bore before the world the notorious crown of Canonicity,-And this fact was of course known to all the Roman Church. And so, of course, of the other three; every papyrus containing these precious productions of Divine Inspiration must ipso facto be "canonized" and notoriously sacred and of Divine sanction from the very day they were written. Every Church, Father, Bishop, and Pope must certainly have known the fact, and have glorified in their precious possession.
But so it was-not. Pope Peter evidently did not and could not know it; he was "martyred in Rome" 64-67, the Church tells us; and the earliest date clerically claimed for "Mark" is some years after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. The great Pope Clement I (died 97 A.D.?), first-to-fourth "successor" to Pope Peter, knew nothing of his great Predecessor's "Gospel according to Mark"; for, admits the CE.: "The New Testament he never quotes verbally. Sayings of Christ are now and then given, but not in the words of the Gospels. It cannot be proved, therefore, that he used any one of the Synoptic Gospels." (CE. iv, 14.) Of course, he did not, could not; they were not then written. And no other Pope, Bishop or Father (except Papias and until Irenaeus), for nearly a century after "Pope Clement," ever mentions or quotes a Gospel, or names Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. So for a century and a half-until the books bobbed up in the hands of Bishop St. Irenaeus and were tagged as "Gospels according to" this or that Apostle, there exists not a word of them in all the tiresome tomes of the Fathers. It is humanly and divinely impossible that the "Apostolic authorship" and hence "canonicity" or divine inspiration of these Sacred Four should have remained, for a century and a half, unknown and unsuspected by every Church, Father, Pope and Bishop of Christendom-if existent. Even had they been somewhat earlier in existence, never an inspired hint or human suspicion was there, that they were "Divine" or "Apostolic," or any different from the scores of "apocryphal or pseudo-Biblical writings with which the East especially had been flooded,"-that they were indeed "Holy Scripture." Hear this notable admission: "It was not until about the middle of the second century that under the rubric of Scripture the New Testament writings were assimilated to the Old"! (CE. iii, 275),-that is, became regarded as apostolic, sacred, inspired and canonical,-or "Scriptures."
To argue and prove that the Four were regarded as "Apostolic" and hence "canonical" after the middle of the second century, argues and proves that until that late date they were not so regarded,-which we have seen is impossible if they had been written by Apostles a hundred years and more previously and authorized by them "for the purpose of being read in the Churches," as the very ground and pillar of their foundation and faith.
Follow the proofs and argument of the Church to its own undoing: "From the testimony of St. Irenaeus (A.D. 185) alone there can be no reasonable doubt that the Canon of the Gospel was inalterably fixed in the Catholic Church by the last quarter of the second century ... to the exclusion of any pretended Evangels. [Sundry writings mentioned] presuppose the authority enjoyed by the Fourfold Gospel towards the middle of the second century. ... Even Rationalistic scholars like Harnack admit the canonicity of the quadriform Gospel between the years 140-175." (CE. iii, 275.) Even CE. does not prove or claim that it was any earlier; so here the Church and the Rationalists are in accord on this fatal fact! Certainly Popes Peter and Clement I, not to review the silent others, would have "inalterably fixed" the Divine Canonicity of the Four a century before, if they had known about these precious productions of the Apostles;-if, in fact, they had existed, the known works of Holy Apostles and apostolic men! But until "towards the middle of the second century" there was no "canon" or notion of divinely inspired Apostolic Gospels-simply for the reason that until just about that period they were not in existence.
The sudden appearance at a certain late date, of a previously unknown document, which is then attributed to an earlier age and long since dead writers, is one of the surest earmarks of forgery. Thus CE. speaking of another monumental Church forgery-(the "False Decretals" of Isidore, hereafter noticed)-urges this very fact as one of the most cogent grounds of the detection of that forgery: "These documents appeared suddenly in the ninth century and are nowhere mentioned before that time. ... Then again there are endless anachronisms,"-just as in the Gospels and Epistles. (CE. vi, 773.) More ample and compelling proofs of this destroying fact will soon be made.
THE GOSPELS "ACCORDING TO" GREEK PRIESTS
According to the names "supplied" to the Four Gospels, as to the other New Testament books, the "Apostolic" authors were all of them Jews; the same is supposedly true of most of the now confessed apocrypha. All these were forgeries in the names of Jewish pseudo-apostles. But all of the Gospels, the other New Testament Books, and the forged apocrypha, were written in Greek. Self-evidently, these "ignorant and unlearned" peasant Apostles, speaking a vulgar Aramaic-Jewish dialect, could neither speak nor write Greek,-if they could write at all. The Old Testament books were written mostly in Hebrew, which was a "dead language," which only the priests could read; thus in the synagogues of Palestine the rolls were read in Hebrew, and then "expounded" to the hearers in their Aramaic dialect. But these Hebrew "Scriptures" had been translated into Greek, in the famous Septuagint version which we have admired. Here is another significant admission by CE.: it speaks of "the supposed wholesale adoption and approval, by the Apostles, of the Greek, and therefore larger Old Testament," that is, the Greek version containing the Jewish apocrypha; and then admits the fact: "The New Testament undoubtedly shows a preference for the Septuagint; out of about 350 texts from the Old Testament [in the New], 300 favor the Greek version rather than the Hebrew." (CE. iii, 271.) It was also the Greek Septuagint and Greek forged Oracles, that were exclusively used by the Greek Fathers and priests in all the Gospel-propaganda work of the first three centuries. Obviously, the Gospels and other New Testament booklets, written in Greek and quoting 300 times the Greek Septuagint, and several Greek Pagan authors, as Aratus, and Cleanthes, were written, not by illiterate Jewish peasants, but by Greek-speaking ex-Pagan Fathers and priests far from the Holy Land of the Jews.
There is another proof that the Gospels were not written by Jews. Traditionally, Jesus and all the "Apostles" were Jews; all their associates and the people of their country with whom they came into contact, were Jews. But throughout the Gospels, scores of times, "the Jews" are spoken of, always as a distinct and alien people from the writers, and mostly with a sense of racial hatred and contempt. A few instances only need be given; they all betray that the writers were not Jews speaking of their fellow Jews. The Greek writer of "Matthew" says: "this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day" (Mt. xxviii, 15),-showing, too, that it was written long afterwards; a Jew must have said "among our people," or some such. It is recorded by "Mark": "For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands of it, eat not, holding to the tradition of the elders" (Mk. vii, 3); no Jew writing for his fellow-Jews would explain or need to explain this Jewish custom, known to and practiced by "all the Jews." Luke names a Jew and locates geographically his place of residence: "Joseph, of Arimathea, a city of the Jews"; an American writer, speaking of Hoboken, could not say "a city of the Americans" nor did Jews need to be told by a Jew that Arimathea was a "city of the Jews." The Greek priest who wrote "John" is the most prolific in telling his Pagan readers about Jewish customs and personalities; absurd in a Jew writing for Jews: "After the manner of the purifying of the Jews" (ii, 6); "And the Jews' passover was at hand" (ii, 13) "Then answered the Jews, and said unto Jesus" (iii, 1); "Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples-[all Jews]-and the Jews about purifying" (iii, 25); "And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus" (v, 16); "Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him" (v, 18). More: "And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh" vi, 4); no American would say "the Fourth of July, a holiday of the Americans," though a French writer might properly so explain. "After these things Jesus would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him" (vii, 1); "for they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already" (ix, 22); "His disciples said unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee with stones" (xi, 8); "As the manner of the Jews is to bury" (xix, 40), which need be explained to no Jew. These and many like passages prove that no Jews wrote the Gospels; that they were written by foreigners for foreigners; these foreigners were Greek-speaking aliens unfamiliar with Jewish customs; the writers were therefore ex-Pagan Greek priests who were zealously "selling" the "glad tidings of great joy" to the ignorant and superstitious Pagan populace.
THE FOUR GOSPELS-"CHOSEN"
The Four Gospels are thus demonstrated as: not written by Jews; not written by any of the "Twelve Apostles"; not written nor in existence for over a century after the supposed Apostles. When finally the Gospel "according to" Luke came to be written, already, as "Luke" affirms, there were "many" other like pseudo-Apostolic Gospel-biographies of the Christ afloat (Luke, i, 1); he added just another. In his Commentary on Luke, Father Origen confirms this fact as well known: "And not four Gospels, but very many, out of which these we have chosen and delivered to the churches, we may perceive." (Origen, In Proem. Luc., Hom. 1, vol. 2, p. 210.) How, and why, out of half a hundred of other lying forgeries of Gospels, were these sacred Four finally "chosen" as truly "Apostolic," inspired, and canonical? Nobody knows, as CE. confesses.
It is a very strange and fatal confession, in view of the insistent false pretense of the Church for centuries of the patent Divinity of the Four Gospels, and of its own infallible inspiration and Divine guidance against all doubt and error; but it confesses:
"It is indeed impossible, at the present day, to describe the precise manner in which out of the numerous works ascribed to some Apostle, or simply bearing the name of gospel, only four, two of which are not ascribed to Apostles, came to be considered as sacred and canonical. It remains true, however, that all the early testimony which has a distinct bearing on the number of the canonical Gospels recognizes four such Gospels and none besides. Thus, Eusebius (d. 340) ... Clement of Alexandria (d. about 220), ... and Tertullian (d. 220), were familiar with our four Gospels, frequently quoting and commenting on them." (CE. vi, 657.)
The statement as to "all the early testimony" in favor of these Four only, is not only untrue, but it is contradicted by a true statement on the same page as the last above; it is, too, a further humiliating confession of blind and groping uncertainty with respect to the very foundation stones on which the Infallible Church is built, and makes a bit less confident the forged assurance that the Gates of Hell-to say nothing of human Reason-shall not yet prevail against the ill-founded structure. Here is the destructive admission:
"In the writings of the Apostolic Fathers one does not, indeed, meet with unquestionable evidence in favor of only four canonical gospels. ... The canonical Gospels were regarded as of Apostolic authority, two of them being ascribed to the Apostles St. Matthew and St. John, respectively, and two to St. Mark and St. Luke, the respective companions of St. Peter and St. Paul. Many other gospels indeed claimed Apostolic authority, but to none of them was this claim universally allowed in the early Church. The only apocryphal work which was at all generally received, and relied upon, in addition to our four canonical Gospels, is the 'Gospel according to the Hebrews.' It is a well-known fact that St. Jerome regards it as the Hebrew original of our Greek Canonical Gospel according to St. Matthew." (CE. vi, 657.)
Thus, admittedly, "numerous works" of pretended and false "gospels," some fifty, were forged and falsely "ascribed to some apostle" by devout Christians; after a century and a half only four "came to be considered" and were finally "chosen"-selected-as of divine utterance and sanction. Why? one may well wonder.
WHY FOUR GOSPELS?
Why Four Gospels, then,-when only one would have been aplenty and much safer, as fewer contradictions-out of the fifty ascribed by pious forging hands to the Holy Twelve? The pious Fathers are ready here, as ever, with fantastic reasons to explain things whereof they are ignorant or are not willing to give honest reasons for. "The saintly Bishop of Lyons," says CE. with characteristic clerical solemnity when anyone else would laugh, "Irenaeus (died about 202), who had known Polycarp in Asia Minor, not only admits and quotes our four Gospels, [he is the very first to mention them!]-but argues that there must be just four, no more and no less. He says: 'It is not possible that the Gospels be either more or fewer than they are. For since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the Church is scattered throughout the world. ... and the pillar and ground of the Church is the Gospel. ... it is fitting that we should have four pillars, breathing out immortality on every side and vivifying our flesh. ... The living creatures are quadriform, and the Gospel is quadriform, as is also the course followed by our Lord"! (CE. vi, 659.) Thus far CE. quoting the good Bishop; but we may follow the Bishop a few lines further in his very innocent ratiocinations from ancient Hebrew mythology, in proof of the divine Four:
"For this reason were four principal covenants given to the human race: One prior to the deluge, under Adam; the second, that after the deluge, under Noah; the third, the giving of the law, under Moses; the fourth, that which renovates man, and sums up all things by means of the Gospel, raising and bearing men upon its wings into the heavenly Kingdom. ... But that these Gospels alone are true and reliable, and admit neither an increase nor diminution of the aforesaid number, I have proved by so many and such arguments. For, since God made all things in due proportion and adaptation, it was fit also that the outward aspect of the Gospel should be well arranged and harmonized. The opinion of those men, therefore, who handed the Gospel down to us, having been investigated, from their very fountainheads, let us proceed also [to the remaining apostles), and inquire into their doctrine with regard to God." (Iren. Adv. Haer. III, xi, 8, 9; ANF. i, 428-29.)
The true reason, however, for four finally "chosen" and accepted Gospels, is that stated by Reinach, after quoting Irenaeus and other authorities: "The real reason was to satisfy each of the four principal Churches each of which possessed its Gospel: Matthew at Jerusalem, Mark at Rome, or Alexandria, Luke at Antioch, and John at Ephesus." (Reinach, Orpheus, p. 217.) This reason for the use of a different Gospel by each of the principal and independent Churches,-for the special uses of each of which the respective Gospels were no doubt worked up by forging Fathers in each Fold,-is confirmed by Bishop Irenaeus himself in this same argument. Each of the four principal sects of heretics, he says, makes use in their Churches of one or the other of these Four for its own uses, for instance: Matthew by the Ebionites; Mark by "those who separate Jesus from Christ"; Luke by the Marcionites; and John by the Valentinians; and this heretical use of the Four, argues the Bishop, confirms their like acceptance and use by the True Churches: "So firm is the ground upon which these Gospels rest, that the very heretics bear witness to them, and starting from these documents, each of them endeavors to establish his own peculiar doctrine [citing the use by each sect of a different Gospel as above named]. Since, then, our opponents do bear testimony to us, and make use of these documents, our proof derived from them is firm and true." (Iren., op. cit. sec. 7.) The "canonical Four," verily, as CE. confesses, were manufactured precisely for the purpose of meeting and confuting the heretics, as were the gradually developed and defined sacred dogmas of the Orthodox Church, even that of the Trinity. The fabrication of the Four can be seen working out under our very eyes, in the light of the foregoing statement of Irenaeus, and of that of CE. to be quoted.
In the next section we shall see proven, that no written, Gospels existed until shortly before 185 A.D., when Irenmus wrote; they are first mentioned in chapter xxii of his Book II; the above quotation is from Book III, when use of them became constant. Evident we see it to be, from what Irenaeus has just said, that the sects of heretics named were making use, each of them of one of the just-published Four as well as of other "spurious gospels"; the Orthodox claimed the Four as their own, and finally established the claim. The "gospel" up to about this time, a century and a half after Jesus Christ, was entirely oral and "traditional"; the Gnostics and other heretics evidently were first to reduce some "gospels" to writing; the Orthodox quickly followed suit, in order to combat the heretics by "apostolic" writings. This is clear from the following, that "the spurious gospels of the Gnostics prepared the way for the canon of Scripture,"-meaning, for the now "canonical Scripture"; for, as the "canon" was not dogmatically established until 1546, the Four were not "canonized" when Irenaeus wrote in 185,-when the "way was prepared" for them by the earlier heretical "spurious gospels." Thus CE. writes:
"The endless controversies with heretics have been indirectly the cause of most important doctrinal developments and definitions formulated by councils to the edification of the body of Christ. Thus the spurious gospels of the Gnostics prepared the way for the canon of Scripture: the Patri-passian, Sabellian, Arian, and Macedonian heresies drew out a clearer concept of the Trinity; the Nestorian and Eutychian errors led to definite dogmas on the nature and Person of Christ. And so on down to Modernism, which has called forth a solemn assertion of the claims of the supernatural in history." (CE. vii, 261.)
Heresy means "Choice"; heretics are those who choose what they will believe, or whether they will believe at all. It was to foreclose all choice on the part of believers, that the divinely-inspired, apostolic fictions of the Four Gospels were drawn up for the first time to combat the "spurious gospels" of the free choosers. Heresy could not exist in the time of Jesus Christ, for he laid down nothing for belief, except "He that believeth on me shall be saved" against his immediate "second coming" and end of the world. The gospels are thus anti-heretical documents of the second century, after Gnosticism first appeared.
In this connection it may be mentioned, as complained by Augustine, that there were some 93 sects of heretics during the first three centuries of the Christian Faith; all these were Christian sects, believing in the tales of Jesus Christ and him crucified, but each of them as rivals struggling for the profits and power of religion and warring to suppress all others, and make itself master in pelf and power. Hence the Fathers thundered against the heretics. The inspired Four Gospels, contradictory at every point, were impossible to believe in all points; they left every one free to disbelieve all, or to believe such as he could.
So incredible, even on their face, were one and all of these canonical Four Gospels, that the fanatic Father Tertullian thus stated the grounds of his holy faith in them: "Credo quia incredibilis est-I believe because it is unbelievable"; and St. Augustine, greatest of the Fathers, declared himself in these terms: "Ego vero Evangelio non crederem, nisi me Catholicae Ecclesiae conmoveret Auctoritas. ... Ego me ad eos teneam, quibus praecipientibus Evangelio credidi-I would not believe the Gospel true, unless the authority of the Catholic Church constrained me. ... I hold myself bound to those, through whose teachings I have believed the Gospel." (Augustine, On the Foundation, sec. 5, Ed. Vives, vol. xxv, p. 435; Orpheus, p. 223.)
In the work often cited, Bishop Irenaeus either falsely quotes the Gospel of Mark, or the sacred text has been seriously altered in our present copies; he says: "Mark commences with a reference to the prophetical spirit, saying, 'The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as it is written in Esaias the prophet"' (sec. 8, p. 428), as if Isaiah testified to the Gospel. The Bishop also quotes two long passages, one a written letter of the Apostles "unto those brethren from among the Gentiles who are in Antioch, and Syria, and Silicia, greeting,"-which are not in the Acts of the Apostles or any other New Testament book as we now have them. (Iren., Adv. Maer. III, xi, 14; p. 436.) The good Bishop seems either to have fabricated this alleged Epistle and passage, or other pious hands falsified the sacred Scriptures by forging them out of its pages. So it is evident that these inspired booklets, as we now know them, at least differ in very many material respects from the "traditional Gospel" and from the form in which the Four Gospels were first reduced to writing. Many other instances exist, of which some of the most notorious will be shown in the course of the chapter.
INSPIRATION AND PLAGIARISM
In this connection a few words may be said as to the chronological order and manner of composition of the first three or Synoptic Gospels. "Historically Mark is the earliest, and its study the foundation of critical enquiry. But the ordinary Christian is not a historical critic." (New Commentary, Pt. III, p. 126; ef. pp. 33, 45.) With the latter statement all will agree; with the first CE. is in agreement with the leading critics, though holding to the exploded "tradition" that one Mark wrote "Mark," or, in its words: "If, then, a consistent and widespread early tradition is to count for anything, St. Mark wrote a work based upon St. Peter's Preaching." (CE. ix, 676.) The later writers of "Matthew" and "Luke" copied bodily from "Mark," with the utmost literality in many places, but with the greatest freedom of changes, additions and suppressions at others, to suit their own purposes. But one comparison, that between "Mark" and "Matthew," can here be given; the method extends quite as notably to "Luke." Thus CE. discloses the process: "Mark is found complete in Matthew, with the exception of numerous slight omissions and the following periscopes. ... In all, 31 verses are omitted"; and so with respect to the "analogies" with the other two. "Parts peculiar to Matthew are numerous, as Matthew has 330 verses that are distinctly his own." (CE,. x, 60, 61; cf. for thorough examination, New Comm. Pt. III, pp. 33, seq.) "These 'Matthean additions,' as they are called. ... seem to be authentic when they relate our Lord's words; but, when they relate incidents, they are extremely questionable." (New Comm. Pt. III, p. 127-128.)
We have just seen the same authority admit the want of authenticity of one set of words imputed by Matthew to his Lord; our next section will demonstrate another famous "Matthean addition" to be a gross and bungling forgery. This bodily copying from Mark, with so many "additions and suppressions," implies, as we have seen, "a very free treatment of the text of Mark in Matthew and Luke (a freedom which reaches a climax in the treatment of Mk. x, 17f. in Mt. xix, 16f.). ... Just as the latter (Matthew) tampered more with the Markan order than St. Luke did." (New Comm. Pt. III, 36, 40.) But this textual tampering is well explained, for clerical apologists: "Nor need such freedom surprise us. Mark, at the time when the others used it, had not attained anything like the status of Scripture, and an evangelist using it would feel free, or might indeed feel bound, to bring its contents into line with the traditions of the particular Church in which he lived and worked"! (Ib. p. 36.)
This perfectly confirms the position taken in the section "Why Four Gospels?" that these Gospels were framed up each in a different Church, to meet its own uses and special purposes, and in answer to the "gospels" of the Heretics. "Mark," being first in order, was probably in the hands of several Churches, some of whose "traditions" did not accord with the "gospel" narratives therein retailed; the local gospel-mongers, therefore, taking "Mark" as good "copy" for a start, took their blue-pencil styluses in hand and "edited" its text by profuse "tampering" until they produced, severally, the "gospels according to" Matthew and Luke, for use in more "orthodox" and approved form according to the local traditions. The "John" gospel-fabrication alone of the Four quite disregarded the "Mark" document, and is in the most complete contradiction with it, and with all the first three. The "Big Four" gradually won their way against and were "chosen" from all the other fifty or more in circulation, which then became "apocrypha," or admitted forgeries.
GOSPELS LATE FORGERIES
We have seen the admissions of CE. that the earliest notice of the Four Gospel's now known to us was towards the close of the second century, quoting as the earliest witnesses the African Bishops, Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian, both of whom died about 220 A.D. It presents, however, one earlier witness to Gospels going in the name of the Four: "Irenrus, in his work Against Heresies (A.D. 182-188), testified to the existence of a Tetramorph or Quadriform Gospel, given by the Word and unified by one Spirit," (CE. iii, 275),-of which we have just had occasion to admire his quaint and cogent proofs. This first mention, by Irenaeus, of Four Gospels, with the names of their supposed writers, we shall in a moment quote; first we will get the record in honest and correct form by citing an even earlier partial naming of something like Gospels, and their reputed writers.
1. Bishop Papias , about 145 A.D.,
Is the very first name of something like written "Gospels" and writers; and this is what he says, quoting his anonymous gossipy old friends, the presbyters:
"And the presbyter said this. MARK having become the interpreter of PETER, wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, in exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ. For he neither heard the Lord, nor accompanied him. ... For one thing he took especial care, not to omit anything he had heard, and not to put anything fictitious into the statements. MATTHEW put the Oracles (of the Lord) in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could." (Papias, quoted by Eusebius, Hist. Eccles. iii, 39; ANF. i, 154-5.)
Here, then, over one hundred years after Christ, we have the first mention of written gospels and of Mark, and the recital, by hearsay on hearsay, that he wrote down "whatsoever he remembered" that Peter had said the Lord had said and done. This is rather a far cry from divine inspiration of inerrant truth in this first hearsay by memory recital of the supposed Gospel-writers. Thus "Mark" is admittedly not "inspired," but is hearsay, haphazard "traditions," pieced together a generation and more afterwards by some unknown priestly scribe. But note well, even if Mark may have written some things, alleged as retailed by Peter, yet this is not, and is not an intimation even remotely, that this by-memory record of Mark is the "Gospel according to Mark" which half a century after Papias came to be known. Indeed, such an idea is expressly excluded; Mark's notes were "not in exact order," but here and there, as remembered; while the "Gospel according to Mark" is, or purports to be, very orderly, proceeding from "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ" orderly and consecutively through to his death, resurrection and ascension. It includes the scathing rebuke administered by the Christ to Peter: "Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God" (Mk. viii, 33) ; one may be sure that Peter never related these eminently deserved "sayings of Christ" to Mark or to anyone.
Moreover, the present "Gospel according to Mark" relates the crucifixion of Jesus at about thirty years of age, after one year's ministry; which is wholly false, as Jesus died at home in bed of old age, in effect says Bishop Papias, on the "tradition" of these same presbyters. So, every other consideration here aside, Papias is not a witness to "The Gospel according to Mark." As for Matthew, Papias simply reports the elders as saying that Matthew wrote down the "ORACLES" or words of the Lord, and in Hebrew; the "Gospel according to Matthew" is much more than mere "words of the Lord"; it is the longest and most palpably fictitious of the "Lives" of the Christ; it was written in Greek, and very obviously by a Greek priest or Father, many years after the reputed time of Jesus Christ. And Bishop Papias, more than a century after Christ, did not have in his important church, and had never seen, these alleged apostolic writings, and only knew of some such by the gossip of the elders at second or third hand. So we must count Papias out as a witness for these two of our written Gospels. None of the present Four Gospels was thus in existence in about A.D. 145. And it is obvious that, even by "tradition," the Gospels in the names of Luke and John did not exist in the time of Papias.
2. Justin Martyr (145-149)
Quotes sundry "sayings" of Jesus which we find here and there in the present Four,-just as like alleged "sayings" identically are to be found in almost any of the confessedly forged or apocryphal gospels; but he names no names nor Gospels, but only says "memoirs of the apostles," or simply "it is said." (See all instances cited, in EB. ii, 1819.) So Justin is no witness to our present Four Gospels, which evidently did not exist in his time about 150 years after Jesus Christ,-though he assiduously quotes the Sibyl and the heathen gods as proofs of Jesus Christ, as we have seen.
3. Irenaeus (182-188)
Makes the very first mention of Four Gospels and names the reputed authors. These are textually the interesting, and as we shall see, at least in part, spurious words of Bishop Irenaeus:
"Matthew also issued a Gospel-[see it grow-Papias said only "oracles of the Lord"] among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon his breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia."
(Iren. Adv. Haer. Bk. III, Ch. 1, i; ANF. i, 414.)
Irenaeus, therefore, about the year 185 of our Lord, to use a medium date, or some one hundred and fifty years after his death, is the first of all the zealous Christ-bearers to record the fact that, at the time he wrote, there were in existence four wonderful biographies or histories of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, two under the names of holy Apostles, and, he "implies that the Gospels of Mark and Luke were, in effect, apostolic, as being written by companions of Peter and Paul." (EB. i, 1830.) If any such apostolic and authentic works had been in existence before the years, we will say, 150-180 A.D., it is beyond comprehension and possibility that the zealous Fathers, who so eagerly quoted, and misquoted, the Old Testament and its apocrypha, the forged New Testament apocrypha, and the heathen Oracles, in proof of their Christ, should have been silent as clams about the apostolic Jesus-histories "according to" Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Even all the later Fathers, and ecclesiastical writers, and the CE., admittedly are unable to trace their genealogy further back into "the age of apocryphal literature" than about 150 A.D. or later. It is impossible, therefore, to believe or to pretend, that these Four Gospels were written by apostles and their personal disciples, some hundred years and more before they were ever heard of by the zealous and myth-mongering Fathers. A confused medley of alleged words and wonderful deeds of the Christ, handed down by ancient tradition or new-invented for any occasion, existed in oral "tradition," and were worn threadbare by rote repetition; but never a written word of the Four for a century and a half after the apostles had their say, and had handed down that wonderful and inexhaustible "Deposit of Faith," which, oral and unedited, is yet drawn upon until this day by the inspired Successors of Peter for their every new Dogma.
One may turn the thousands of pages of the Ante-Nicene Fathers before Irenaeus in vain to find a direct word of quotation from written Gospels, nor (except as above, recorded) even bare mention of the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, as writers of Gospels. The above words of Irenaeus are registered in his Book III, chapter i; in the first two Books, while, like Justin, he quotes "sayings" which are to be found in our present texts, as in the apocryphas, he does not mention "Gospel" or any of the four reputed evangelists, until chapter xxii of Book II, where he mentions the word "Gospels" and those of John and Luke, and assails their record of the early death of Jesus as "heresy." But beginning with chapter x of Book III, he bristles with the names of and direct quotations from all Four; and so with all the following Fathers. It seems, therefore, a fair inference that Irenaeus had just heard of these Four Gospels at the time the last chapters of the second of the two Books were composed; and that they came into existence, or to his knowledge, just before the time be began to compose Book III. And certainly these Four Gospels could not have been in existence and circulation very long before they would come to the eager hands of the active and prolific Bishop of Lyons, who had recently come from the tutelage of his friend Polycarp,-"disciple of the Apostle John"-venerable Bishop of Smyrna, who sent him to Lyons, and who, for his part, shows not a suspicion of knowledge of them. And these Gospels, just now come into existence, were immediately and fiercely attacked by Bishop Irenaeus as false and "heresy" in the vital points of the crucifixion and early death of Jesus, who, says the Bishop, lived to very old age, even maybe till the times of Trajan, 98-117, as vouched for by the Apostle John and other apostles and by the [oral] "Gospel." This, too, casts discredit on these Gospels as containing authentic record of the apostolic "traditions," condemned in this vital particular by the only two Bishops, Papias and Irenaeus, who-for a century and a half-mention any Gospel-writings at all.
"LUKE" DISCREDITS APOSTOLICITY
Moreover, at the time that the Gospel bearing the name of Luke was published, already many Gospels or purported histories and sayings of Jesus Christ were in active circulation: "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word; it has seemed to me good also, having had a perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee, in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed." (Luke, i, 1-4). Now, these "many" Gospels were clearly not by any of the apostles, else Luke would certainly have so stated; they were not "inspired" writings, but they were by sundry anonymous "eye-witnesses and ministers of the word"; they are either totally lost to posterity, or are among the fifty admittedly forged and apocryphal Gospels which we have previously noticed. Thus we see two of the "Four," i.e., "Mark," and "Luke" are, on their face, uninspired, hear-say, and long ex post facto.
That neither apostle nor contemporary of Jesus wrote a line of "gospel" is thus perfectly evidenced by Luke: "According to the prologue of Luke, no eye-witness of the life of Jesus took pen in hand-none at least appear to have produced any writings which Luke would have called a 'narrative.'" (EB. ii, 1892.) These conclusions are confirmed by the learned clerical translators and editors of the ANF, respectively, as follows:
"Though a few of the Apocryphal Gospels are of comparatively early origin, there is no evidence that any Gospels purporting to be what our Four Gospels are, existed in the first century, or that any other than fragmentary literature of this character existed even in the second century." (Ed. note to Apocrypha of the New Testament, ANF. viii, 349.)-"There is abundant evidence of the existence of many of these traditions in the second century, though it cannot be made out that any of the books were then in existence in their present form." (Translator's Introductory Notice to Apocryphal Gospels. ANF. viii, 351.)
Such apocryphal gospels would naturally contain-as they do-many of the same reputed words and deeds of the Christ as those now reported by Luke and the others; many are indeed in large sections in the very same words. Luke does not say or imply that these "many" were false, but, on the contrary, being by alleged "eye-witnesses" they were necessarily more or less the same things which Luke undertook, not to belie or correct, but simply to repeat in good order for the edification of his friend Theophilus. It is very significant, for the date of the authorship of "Luke," to note the fact that the only Theophilus known to early Church history is a certain ex-Pagan by that name, who, after becoming Christian, and very probably before being instructed in the certainty of the faith by "Luke," himself turned Christian instructor and Father, and wrote the Tract, in three Books, under the title Epistle to Antolychus, preserved in the Collection of Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. ii, pp. 89-121. This Theophilus became Bishop of Antioch about 169-177 A.D. (CE. xiv, 625); and thus illuminates the date of "Luke."
That these Four Gospels, then, are forgeries, falsely ascribed to Apostles and their companions, a century and a half after Christ and the apostles, and were compounded of very conflicting "traditions" and out of the existing 50 or more forgeries circulating in apostolic names-is proven as positively as negative proofs permit, and "beyond a reasonable doubt"-which is proof ample for conviction of capital crime.
Most people, says Bishop Papias, took pleasure in "voluminous falsehoods" in reporting or writing of Jesus Christ and his life and deeds, for which reason, says the Bishop, he was driven to "the living voice of tradition" for his own accounts,-samples of which we have seen. These fanciful and distorted oral traditions, finally reduced into some fifty fantastic written records of "voluminous falsehoods," were later, about the time of Book III of Bishop Irenaeus, crystallized into four documents, one each of which was held by one of the principal churches as its authoritative biography of the Christ, or "gospel"; to which, the titles "According to" Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, were tacked for pretended apostolic sanction.
The truth of the late second century origin of the Gospels and Epistles may be garnered from the guarded words of a standard theological textbook on Christian Evidences: "The Christian literature which has survived from the latter part of the first century and the beginning of the second is scanty and fragmentary-[which could not be true if the Gospels and Epistles had then existed]. But when we come into the light of the last quarter of the second century, we find the Gospels of the canon in undisputed possession of the field.". (The Grounds of Theistic and Christian Belief, by George Parker Fisher, D.D., LL.D.; 1902.)
Summarizing the results of critical study of the four Gospels, upon all the evidences, internal and external, which are there fully reviewed, the conclusions of modern Biblical scholarship are thus recorded by the Encyclopedia Biblica:
As to Matthew: "The employment of various sources, the characteristic difference of the quotations from the LXX (Septuagint) and the original (Hebrew), the indefiniteness of the determinations of time and place, the incredibleness of the contents, the introduction of later conditions, as also the artificial arrangement, and so forth, have long since led to the conclusion that for the authorship of the first Gospel the apostle Matthew must be given up." (EB. ii, 1891.)
As to Mark: "According to Papias, the second gospel was written by Mark. ... In what Papias says the important point is not so much the statement that Mark wrote the gospel as the further statement that Peter supplied the contents orally. ... The supposition that the gospel is essentially a repetition of oral communications by Peter, will at once fall to the ground. ... Should Mark have written in Aramaic then he cannot be held to have been the author of canonical Mark, which is certainly not a translation, nor yet, in view of the LXX quotations which have passed over into all three gospels, can he be held to have been the author of the original Mark." (EB. ii, 1891.)
As to Luke: "This tradition [that Luke was the author of the third gospel and of Acts] cannot be traced farther back than towards the end of the second century (Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and the Muratorian fragment). ... It has been shown that it is impossible to regard Luke with any certainty as the writer even of the 'we' sections of Acts, not to speak of the whole book of Acts, or of the Third Gospel. ... If Luke cannot have been the author of Acts, neither can he have been the author of the Third Gospel." (EB. ii, 1893, 2831.)
As to John: "No mention of the Fourth Gospel which we can recognize as such carries us further than to 140 A.D. As late as 152, Justin, who nevertheless lays so great value upon the 'Memorabilia of the Apostles, regards John-if indeed he knows it at all-with distrust, and appropriates from it a very few sayings. ... If on independent grounds some period shortly before 140 A.D. can be set down as the approximate date of the production of the gospel [a certain statement in it is explained]. ... The Apostolic authorship of the gospel remains impossible, and that not merely from the consideration that it cannot be the son of Zebedee who has introduced himself as writer in so remarkable a fashion, but also from the consideration that it cannot be an eye-witness of the facts of the life of Jesus who has presented, as against the synoptists, an account so much less credible, nor an original apostle who has shown himself so readily accessible to Alexandrian and Gnostic ideas, nor a contemporary of Jesus who survived so late into the second century and yet was capable of composing so profound a work." (EB. ii, 2550, 2553.)
None of these Four Gospels, then, being of apostolic authorship or even of the apostolic age, but anonymous productions of over a century after the apostles, all are exactly of like origin and composition as all the other fifty apocryphal Jesus-writings: the Four "do not, in point of fact, rest upon any real difference in the character or origin of the writings concerned," from all the other fifty admittedly apocryphal and forged gospels dating about the middle of the second century, at the height of the Christian age of apocryphal literature. They are therefore late Christian forgeries of the Catholic Church.
FORGERIES IN THE FORGED GOSPELS
That the Four Gospels, as we have them, are very late productions, issued in the names of apostles a century and more dead, and are therefore forgeries, is now proven beyond peradventure. That they are not, even in the form that Bishop Irenaeus first knew them, each the work of one inspired mind and pen, is as readily and conclusively provable. They are, each and all Four, clumsy compilations framed by different persons and at very different times, as is patent on their face; they are thus concatenations of forgeries within forgeries. This we shall now demonstrate.
The Church claims these Four Gospels to be apostolic and divine works, and together with all the other books of the Trentine Bible, to be throughout divinely inspired, having God himself for their Author. This 1546 Dogma of the Infallible Church has been thus reaffirmed by the Sacred Vatican Council (A.D. 1870):
"These books are sacred and canonical because they contain revelation without error, and because, written by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they have God for their Author." (CE. fi, 543.)
More recently, Pope Leo XIII, in his Encyclical Prov. Deus. (1893), thus reaffirms the plenary inspiration and inerrancy of Holy Writ:
"It will never be lawful to restrict inspiration merely to certain portions of the Holy Scriptures, or to grant that the sacred writers could have made a mistake. ... They render in exact language, with infallible truth, all that God commanded, and nothing else"! (Ib.)
For the Protestant sects the notion of divine inspiration and inerrant truth of Scripture-excepting always the dozen and more of Old Testament "apocrypha" Books and parts, as Tobias and the history of the Assyrian great god Bel and the Dragon,-a typical profession is that of the first Article of the Baptist Declaration of Faith: "The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction. ... It has God for its Author, and truth without any admixture of error for its matter."
All this priestly "confidence stuff" must remind one of what Cicero said of the Roman augurs. Even CE., valiant but often perplexed defender of the orthodox Faith, can not give full credit to that inspired canard, which even the infallible authors of it could not have themselves believed. Timorously "reasoning in chains" and minimizing the truth, the orthodox apologist, forced by scholarly criticism, confesses-utterly belying Council and Holiness:
"In all the Bible, where the same event is several times narrated by the same writer, or narrated by several writers, there is some slight [sic] divergency, as it is natural there should be with those who spoke or wrote from memory. Divine inspiration covers the substance of the narration." (CE. i, 122.)
Those sacred writers, putting on papyrus rolls from errant and therefore necessarily uninspired "memory," their intimate familiarities with the thoughts and desires, purposes and providence of God, make not "some slight divergences" from accurate recording of the promptings of the Spirit to them; they committed incessant contradictions of so gross a nature as to impeach and destroy the possibility of truth and credibility of Virtually every word they said or wrote "in all the Bible," Old and New Testaments alike. I have so fully exposed some thousands of these glaring and self-destroying contradictions in my previous work, that here I simply notice only those most vital ones which are pertinent and incidental to our present subject of apostolic forgeries.
In a work accompanying the Revised Version of the Bible, in which the Revisers pointed out some 30,000 (now over 150,000) variant readings in the New Testament, the reverend author makes this naive explanation: "In regard to the New Testament, no miracle has been wrought to preserve the text as it came from the pens of the inspired writers. That would have been a thing altogether out of harmony with God's method of governing the world"! (Dr. Alex. Roberts, Companion to the Revised Version, p. 4.) One may wonder at the writer's intimacy with God's governmental methods, as well as at God's indifference to the preservation of his miraculously-revealed Holy Word, so awfully necessary to save us from eternal damnation; when, as we shall see, by special miraculous intervention and providence he has, the Church vouches, preserved wholly "incorrupt" through the Ages of Faith countless whole cadavers and ghastly scraps and miraculous relics galore of the unwashed Saints of Holy Church.
CONTRADICTIONS AND TRUTH
No more compelling proofs of forgery in a document can well be than the glaring contradictions between two parts of the text. Remember that in the "age of apocryphal literature" there were no printed books, thus fixing the text, and no "copyright" existed. All books, sacred and profane, were manuscripts, tediously written by hand on rolls of papyrus or sheets of parchment-skin; like the manuscripts of the Gospels, Epistles, etc., they were usually unsigned and undated, and frequently gave no clue to the anonymous writers. When one man came into possession of a manuscript which he desired, he sat down and copied it by hand, or employed slaves or professional copyists to do the labor. There was absolutely no check against errors of copying, or intentional omissions, alterations or insertions into the text, to suit the taste or purpose of the copyist. Religious books were written, and copied, by priests, monks or Fathers; religious notions and doctrines were very diversely held, and developed or were modified incessantly. Traditions of what was said or done by Jesus Christ and the apostles were, as we have seen, very variant and conflicting. Very often, as we shall see, conflicting traditions or accounts are found in the same book. As no honest writer of intelligence and care would put into one short work which he is writing, two totally contradictory statements regarding the same fact, the only way in which such contradictions can occur in what purports to be an original or genuine manuscript, is by the intentional insertion by a later copyist of the new and contradictory material, euphoniously called "interpolations" (CE. iv, 498, post),-without the critical sense to perceive the contradiction, and omit the original statement with which his addition conflicts.
Father Tertullian, in his work Against Heresies, denying that 'Christians do such things-do not need to, he says, because the Scriptures are favorable to the Orthodox-accuses the Heretics of such practices, and naively explains how such interpolations or forgeries of text are done, and why they needs must be:
"All interpolation must be believed to be a later process. ... One man perverts the Scriptures with his hand, another their meaning by his exposition. ... Unquestionably, the Divine Scriptures are more fruitful in resources of all kinds for this sort of facility [of introducing interpolations]. Nor do I risk contradiction in saying that the very Scriptures were even arranged by the will of God in such a manner as to furnish materials for heretics, inasmuch as I read that 'there must be heresies' (I Cor. xi, 19), which there cannot be without Scriptures"! (Praes. xxxviii-xxxix; ANF. iii, 262.)
Speaking of instances related to the birth of Jesus Christ, EB. makes a remark, which it extends to others, and is generally applicable to the conflicting Gospel narratives:
"From the nature of the case both canonical narratives were accepted by faith and incorporated with each other. The gospels themselves supply ample justification of a criticism of the gospel narratives. In spite of all the revisions which the gospels received before they became canonically fixed, they still not infrequently preserve references to conditions which are irreconcilable with the later additions." (EB. iii, 3343, 3344.)
"For Christian orthodoxy," says the same authority, "reconcilability of the two canonical accounts was always a necessary dogma"; and on this point, the orthodox CE. makes a quaint but typically clerical argument, in effect that the confessed contradictions of Holy Writ make it all the more credible: "As can readily be seen, variations are naturally to be expected in four distinct, and in many ways independent, accounts of Christ's words and deeds, so that their presence, instead of going against, rather makes for the substantial value of the evangelical narratives"! (CE. vi, 659.) Fanciful and disingenuous as this is, and derogatory of the Papal theory that it is not possible that "the sacred writers could have made a mistake," the argument loses even its rhetorical force when we find the most monumental contradictions in the inspired words of the same writer in the same inspired little book. We will notice some of the most obvious and fatal forgeries by "interpolations" into the Gospel Christ-tales.
JESUS-MAN OR GOD?
The Jews, in their "canonical," more definitely in their apocryphal or admittedly forged Scriptures, expected a "Messiah," or anointed King of the race and lineage of David, who should deliver them from the rule of their enemies,-at the time of the Gospel tales, the Romans; previously, the Assyrians, Persians, and Greeks, successively. This King, says Isaiah, shall sit and reign "upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it" (Isa. ix, 7); and that this prophecy was in order of fulfillment, Gabriel the Angel announced to Mary the Ever-Virgin Mother of eight sons and daughters: "Thou shalt bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever." (Lk. i, 32, 33.) There is not a word of "prophecy" anywhere that this King should be divine, a Son of the God of Israel; he was to be a human king of the house of Jacob, of David. There were many false pretenders to the still vacant Messiahship, and even Jesus was not the last to proclaim himself the Messiah or Christ: "For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." (Mt. xxiv, 4, 23, 24; Mk. xiii, 6, 21, 22.)
That this Messiah Jesus who was come was mere man, but instinct with the spirit of God, is positively avowed by both Peter and Paul. Says Peter in his first sermon at Pentecost: "Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you [etc.]. The patriarch David ... therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loam according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit upon his throne." (Acts, ii, 22, 29, 30.) And Paul: "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. ii, 5); and again: "Jesus Christ of the seed of David" (2 Tim. ii, 8); Therefore, in the times when the two cited sacred books were, by whomever, written, Jesus was at that time regarded simply as a man, a "son" or descendant of David. So, when, many years later, the Gospels "according to" Matthew and Luke came to be by whomever written, in their original form Jesus Christ was mere man.
Matthew's first chapter begins very humanly and explicitly: "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham"; and Matthew gives an unbroken line of human begettings, father of son, until "And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ"! (Matt. i, 1-16.) And Matthew names and catalogues twenty-eight generations between David and Jesus, to-wit: David, Solomon ... Jacob, Joseph,-Jesus,-a purely human ancestry. Also Luke still reflected the belief, held at the time he wrote, that Jesus was of human ancestry; he gives his human genealogy all the way back to Adam, and through many mythical patriarchs who assuredly never existed. This human genealogy by Luke vastly differs, however, from that of Matthew; instead of twenty-eight generations from David, through Solomon ... Jacob and Joseph, our Luke genealogist makes out in detail forty-two generations, to wit: David, Nathan. ... Heli, Joseph, Jesus; and only three of the intermediate names are the same in the two lists. So one or the other of the two inspired genealogies is fictitious, false and forged, necessarily: both are, of course, if Jesus was not the son of David, but the immediate "Son of God." The truth is thus stated: "The genealogy could not have been drawn up after Joseph ceased to be regarded as the real father of Jesus." (EB. iii, 2960.)
And CE. thus 'Scraps the inspired genealogy of Luke: "The artificial character of Luke's genealogy may be seen in the following table [copying Luke's list] ... The artificial character" is shown by details cited. (CE. vi, 411.) It also explodes the seventeenth century clerical pretense,-heard often today-in attempted explanation of these glaring contradictions, that one or the other of these sacred genealogies, preferably that of Luke, was the genealogy, not of Joseph, but of Mary: "It may be safely said that patristic tradition does not regard St. Luke's list as representing the genealogy of the Blessed Virgin." (CE. vi, 411.) And, as CE. itself points out, Mary is not mentioned as in the line of descent from David in either list. To bring her into the genealogy, in one list or the other, it must have been written: "And Jacob begat Mary the wife of Joseph," instead of "And, Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary": or "And Jesus ... being the son of Mary, which was the daughter of Heli," instead of the recorded "the son of Joseph (as was supposed), which was the son of Heli" (Luke iii, 22-31). Both the genealogies are false and forged lists of mostly fictitious names, in the original Gospel-forgeries, fabricated to prove Jesus a direct son or descendant of David, and thus to fulfill the terms of the pretended prophecies that the human Messiah should be of the race and lineage of David the king.
Moreover, Joseph and Mary both knew nothing of the Holy-Ghostly paternity of their child Jesus. The celebrated Angelic "Annunciation" of this Fable to the "prolific yet ever-virgin Mother of God," recorded by Dr. Luke (i, 28), is itself a forgery, admits CE.: "The words: 'Blessed art thou among women' (v. 28) are spurious and taken from verse 42, the account of the Visitation ... [Adding] The opinion that Joseph at the time of the Annunciation was an aged widower and Mary 12 or 15 years of age, is founded only upon apocryphal documents"-like all the rest of these Fables of Christ. (CE. i, 542.) Simon came into the temple when Joseph and Mary had brought the child there "to do for him after the custom of the law," and indulged in some ecstasies which would have been quite intelligible if Gabriel had made the revelations attributed to him; but, hearing them, "Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him" (Lk. ii, 33). It is false, the original says: "His father and his mother marvelled." etc. Here is another holy forgery stuck into Luke ii, as is the later verse, "and Joseph and his mother knew not of it" (v. 43). The true original reads "and his parents knew not of it,"-just as in verse 41; "Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover"; and as in verse 48, "thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing." In "John," Jesus is twice: expressly called the son of Joseph; Philip say's to Nathaniel, "We have found him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph" (i, 45); and again: "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know'?" (vi, 42) all which "convincingly proves that in the mind of the narrator Joseph and Mary were and knew themselves to be, in the natural sense of the words, the parents of Jesus." (EB. iii, 3344.) The same authority thus sums up the whole of the New Testament evidence prior to the "interpolations" of miraculous birth: "The remark has long ago and often been made that, like Paul, even the Gospels themselves know nothing of the miraculous birth of our Savior. On the contrary, their knowledge of his natural filial relationship to Joseph the carpenter, and to Mary, his wife, is still explicit." (Ibid.) And if Jesus had been a God he could hardly have been crazy; yet his own family thought him so and sent to arrest him as a madman, as above noticed. It is therefore self-evident, that the original Jesus "tradition," down as late as Papias and Irenaeus, regarded Jesus simply as a man, and as a very old man when he died a peaceful and natural death. But the zeal to Combat and win the Pagans, when, after the failure with the Jews, the Gospel "turned to the Gentiles," and to exalt the man Jesus into a God, as was Perseus or Apollo, grew with the Fathers; by the same token Jesus was now made to be the son of the Hebrew God Yahveh: we have heard the Fathers so argue. So later pious tampering grafted the "Virgin-birth" and "son of God" Pagan myths onto the simple original "traditions" of merely human origin as the "son of David," carelessly letting the primitively forged Davidic genealogies remain to contradict and refute them. These "interpolations" are self-apparent forgeries for Christ's sake, in two of the Gospels.
But if Tertullian spoke truly (if the passage is genuine with him), the other Gospels have been yet further tampered with; for Tertullian explicitly says: "Of the apostles, John and Matthew, and apostolic men, Luke and Mark, these all start with the same principles of the faith ... how that He was born of the Virgin, and came to fulfill the law and the prophets." (Adv. Marcion, IV, ii; ANF. iii, 347.) As these Gospels now stand, Mark and John say not a word of the Virgin-birth, but throughout assume Jesus to have been of human birth, and only "son of God" in a popular religious sense; for "son of God" was in current usage to mean any person near and dear to God. Indeed, the Greek text of the Gospels makes this plain, that no supernatural progeneration and actual God-sonship was intended. In most instances the Greek texts read simply "son of God-huios Theou," not "the Son-o huious": the definite article is a clerical falsification.
"UPON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH"
Of transcendent importance as the sole basis of the Church's most presumptuous False Pretense-its Divine founding by Jesus Christ-this Peter-Rock imposture, the most notorious, and in its evil consequences the most far-reaching and fatal of them all, will now be exposed to its deserved infamy and destruction.
Upon a forged, and forced, Greek Pun put into the mouth of the Jewish Aramaic-speaking Jesus, speaking to Aramaic peasants, the Church of Christ is falsely founded. "The proof that Christ constituted St. Peter the head of His Church is found in the two famous Petrine texts, Matt. xvi, 17-19, and John xxi, 15-19." (CE. xii, 261.) The text in John is that about "Feed my Lambs"; but this forgery is not of present interest. The more notorious "proof" is Matthew's forged punning passage: "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church," etc.
It may first be noticed, that "Matthew" is the only one of the three "Synoptic" gospelers to record this "famous Petrine text." And he records this pun as made in Greek, by Jesus-just before his crucifixion, under very exceptional circumstances, and upon the inspiration of a "special divine revelation" then and there first made by God to Peter, as below to be noted. But in this, "Matthew" is flatly contradicted by "John," who ascribes this as an Aramaic pun by Jesus in the very first remark that he made to Peter, upon his being introduced by his brother Andrew, on the self-same day of the baptism of Jesus; when "Andrew first findeth his brother Simon ... and brought him to Jesus"; whereupon, "when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone." (John i, 42.) Thus was Simon Barjona nick-named "Cephas-Rock" by Jesus on the very first day of the public appearance and mission both of Jesus and of Peter, and not a year or more later, towards the close of the career of Jesus! So the famous Petrine Pun, if ever made by Jesus-as it was not-was made in the Aramaic speech spoken by these Galilean peasants; the Greek Father who forged the "Gospel according to John" had to attach the translation into Greek of the Aramaic "Cephas," into "Petros, a stone," for the benefit of his Greek readers.
After this first explosion of the famous Greek "Rock" pun on which the Church is founded, and as the matter is of highest consequence, let us expose the "Matthew" forgery of the whole "Petrine text" by arraying the three Synoptics in sequence in the order of their composition and evolution from simple to complex fabrication:
Mark (viii, 27-38).
"And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?
"And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets. "And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.
"And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.
"And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
"And he spak that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.
"But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men."
Luke (ix, 18-22).
"And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him; and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?
"They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again.
"He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.
"And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing.
"Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day."
Matthew (xvi, 13-22).
"When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
"And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
"He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
"And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
"And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. [Here about the Keys, and "binding and loosing"].
"Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
"From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
"Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
"But he turned and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me. Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."
Let it be noted, in passing, that all three of the Synoptists expressly aver in the above narration, as elsewhere in their texts, that Jesus positively declared and predicted, that he should be put to death, and after three days rise again: distinctly, his Resurrection from the dead. All three on this important point are liars, if John be believed; for after the crucifixion and burial of Jesus, and the discovery on the third day of his empty grave by the Magdalene, which she immediately reported to Peter and John, they ran doubting to the grave, looked in, and "saw, and believed"; and John positively avers: "For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead." (John xx, 9.) But this inspired assertion contains a grave anachronism: for "as yet" there was, of course, no "scripture" about the death and resurrection at all, nor for well over a century afterwards, as in this chapter is proven.
Let us examine for a moment into the context of this "famous Petrine text" and into its antecedents, in order to get the "stage setting of this dramatic climacteric Pun of such vast and serious consequences unto this day.
The original simple narrative is told in the earlier writer, "Mark," and copied almost verbatim into "Luke." There Jesus is reported to have put a sort of conundrum to the Twelve, "saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?" The answer showed a very superstitious belief in reincarnations or "second comings" of dead persons to earth; for "they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets, or Jeremias," to fuse the somewhat disparate replies. Jesus himself shared this reincarnation superstition, for he had positively asserted that John the Baptist was Elijah redivivus: "This is Elias, which was for to come," (Matt. xi, 14; xvii, 11-13); though John, being questioned about it, "Art thou Elias?" contradicted the Christ, "and he saith, I am not." (John i, 20, 21.)
After hearing the disciples report what others said about him, who he was, Jesus then "saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ. And he charged them that they should tell no man of him" (Mk. viii, 27-30; Lk. ix, 18-22). There was certainly nothing novel or unexpected in this alleged reply of Peter; it was exactly the proclaimed mission of Jesus as the "promised Messiah," as the precedent texts of "Mark" verify. On the day of his baptism by John, before all the people, "the heavens opened ... And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son" (i, 2); what the devils cried out in the synagogue, "I know thee who thou art, the Holy one of God" (i, 24) just what all the devils unanimously proclaimed before the disciples and all hearers, "And unclean spirits, when they saw him. ... cried, saying, Thou art the son of God" (iii, 2); just what the possessed man with the legion of devils cried out before all the disciples, "What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God" (v, 7);-all as recorded by "Mark" prior to the above reply by Peter. So, naturally, Peter's "confession" caused no surprise; it was the expected thing: so Jesus made no remark on hearing it, except the peculiar injunction that "they should tell no man"-what all men and devils already knew by much-repeated hearsay. So Jesus at once proceeded to speak of his coming persecution, death, and resurrection; "And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men" (Mk. viii, 31-33). The identical story in its same simple form, minus the Satan colloquy, is told also in Luke (ix, 18-22). This is the round, unvarnished tale of the first Greek Father "gospel" writers, a century after the reputed conversation, and long before the "primacy of Peter" idea dawned as a "good thing" upon the Fathers of the Church. There is not a word about "church" in the passage, nor in the entire "gospel according to Mark," nor in Luke, nor in even the much later "John."
The later Church Father who wrote up the original of the "gospel according to Matthew," copied Mark's story substantially verbatim, Mark's verses 27-33, being nearly word for word reproduced in Matthew's 13-16, 20-24 of chapter xvi; the only material verbal difference being in Peter's answer, in verse 16, where Peter's words are expanded: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God,"-obviously padded in by the "interpolator" of verses 17-19, which we now examine.
As the years since "Mark" rolled by, the zeal of the Fathers to exalt Peter increased; we have seen many admitted forgeries of documents having that purpose in view. So it was, obviously, a new forging Father who took a manuscript of "Matthew," and turning to the above verses copied from "Mark," added in, or made a new manuscript copy containing, the notable forgery of verses 17-19. There, onto the commonplace and unnoticed reply of Peter, "Thou art the Christ," the pious interpolator tacked on:
"the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matt. xvi, 16b-19.)
It is impossible that the original writer of "Matthew" should have written those remarkable and preposterous verses, in which Jesus is made to take Peter's commonplace announcement, "Thou art the Christ," as a "special revelation from heaven" to Peter and a great secret mystery here first "revealed";-this matter of common notoriety and even devil-gossip throughout Israel, as we have seen from "Mark's" numerous Christ-texts; the same is true in Luke. These avowals that Jesus was the Christ are even more numerous and explicit in "Matthew" up to the interpolation. That Jesus was "Christ" is the identical disclosure and announcement, which had been declared by Gabriel to Mary; by a dream to the suspicious Joseph; by wicked Herod, who "demanded of them where Christ should be born" (ii, 4); by the voice from heaven proclaiming to the world, "This is my beloved Son" (iii, 17); that was declared by the Devil in the wilderness, "If thou be the Son of God" (iv, 6); that the Legion of Devils cried aloud, "What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou son of God" (viii, 29); that Jesus himself avowed of himself time and again, "All things are delivered unto me by my Father, Lord of heaven and earth" (xi, 25-27) that all the crew of Peter's fishing-boat acclaimed when they "worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God" (xiv, 33). 'Just two chapters earlier in Matthew, is the fable of Jesus and Peter "walking on the water," as "foretold" by the Sibyls; when Peter began to sink, he was rescued and dragged aboard the little fishing boat by Jesus;-"and they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the son of God." (Mt. xiv, 29-33.) So that Peter's wonderful information was no novelty and special divine revelation, to himself, but was the common credulity and gossip of the whole crew of fishermen, devils and Palestinian peasantry. And long before, on the very next day after his baptism by John, and before Peter was "called" or even found, and when his brother Andrew went and found him to bring him to Jesus, Andrew declared to Peter. "We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ"! (John i, 41.) And, on the next day Nathaniel said to Jesus: "Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel"! (John i, 49.) Peter's wonderful "special revelation" and confession thus lose an originality and are without merit of the great "reward" which CE. (xii, 261) says Jesus bestowed upon him for this pretended original and inspired discovery, as we shall in due order notice.
That Jesus Christ never spoke the words of those forged verses, that they are a late Church forgery, is beyond any intelligent or honest denial. The first mention of them in "patristic literature," and that only a reference to the "keys," is this scant line of Father Tertullian, in a little tract called Scorpiace or "The Scorpion's Sting," written about 211 A.D., in which he says: "For, though you think heaven is still shut, remember that the Lord left to Peter and through him to the Church, the keys of it." (Scorpiace, x; ANF. iii, 643.) That Jesus did not use the words of those verses, interpolated into a paragraph of [omitted - RW] from "Mark," and repeated in their original form by "Luke,"' is thus conclusive from "internal" evidences; the later and embroidered form is a visible interpolation and forgery. That this is true, is demonstrated, moreover, by the inherent impossibility of the thing itself.
THE "CHURCH" FOUNDED ON THE "ROCK"
First of all, in proof that Jesus Christ never made this Pun, did not establish any Christian Church-nor even a Jewish reformed synagogue!,-are his own alleged positive statements to be quoted in refutation of the other forged "missionary" passage in Matthew: "Go ye into all the world, and teach all nations." The avowed mission of Jesus, as we have seen from his reputed words, was exclusively to his fellow Jews: "I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel"; and he expressly commanded his disciples not to preach to the Gentiles, nor even to the near-Jewish Samaritans. He proclaimed the immediate end of the world, and his quick second coming to establish the exclusively Jewish Kingdom of Heaven, even before all the Jews of little Palestine could be warned of the event-that "the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." It is impossible, therefore, that Jesus could have so flagrantly contradicted the basic principles of his exclusive mission as the Jewish promised Messiah, and could have commanded the institution of a permanent and perpetual religious organization an ecclesia" or "Church," to preach his exclusively Jewish Messianic doctrines to all nations of the earth, which was to perish within that generation. This is a conclusive proof of the later "interpolation" or forgery of this punning passage.
On this point says EB.:
"It would be a great mistake to suppose that Jesus himself founded a new religious community" (c. 3103).-"A further consideration which tells against the genuineness of Mt. xvi, 18b, is the occurrence in it of the word ecclesia. It has been seen to be impossible to maintain that Jesus founded any distinct religious community. ...
"As for the word itself, it occurs elsewhere in the Gospels only in Mt. xviii, 17. There, however, it denotes simply the Jewish local community to which every one belongs; for what is said relates not to the future but to the present, in which a Christian ecclesia cannot, of course, be thought of." (c. 3105) ... "It is impossible to regard as historical the employment of the word ecclesia by Jesus as the designation of the Christian community." (EB. iii, 3103, 3105, 3117.)
Indeed, as said by a contemporary wit, the truth is that "Jesus Christ did not found the Church-he is its Foundling. His parent, the Jewish church, abandoned the child; the Roman church took it in, adopted it, and gave his mother a certificate of good character." (The Truth Seeker, 10/23/26.)
Jesus spoke Aramaic, a dialect of the ancient and "dead" Hebrew. The true name of the fisherman "Prince of the Apostles," just repudiated by Jesus as "Satan," was Shimeon, or in its Greek form, Simon, who was later "surnamed Peter." He attained somehow the Aramaic nickname Kepha, or in its Greek form, Cephas, meaning a rock; this evidently furnished to the Greek punster the cue for his play on words: "Thou art Petro, [Greek, petros, a rock; cf. Eng. petrify, petroleum, etc.), and upon this petros [rock] I will build my ecclesia [church]." Jesus could not have made this Greek play on words; neither Peter nor any of the other "ignorant and unlearned" Jewish peasant disciples could have understood it. Much less could Jesus have said, or the apostles have understood, this other Greek word "ecclesia," even had it been possible for Jesus, facing the immediate end of the world-proclaimed by himself-to have dreamed of founding any permanent religious sect. There was nothing like ecclesia known to the Jews; it was a technical Greek term designating the free political assemblies of the Greek republics. This is illustrated by one sentence from the Greek Father Origen, about 245 A.D., when the Church had taken over the Greek political term ecclesia to denote its own religious organization. Says Origen, using the word in both its old meaning and in its new Christian adaptation: "For the Church [ecclesia] of God, e.q., which is at Athens; ... Whereas the assembly [ecclesia] of the Athenians," etc. (Origen, Contra Celsum, iii, 20; ANF. iv, 476.) The Greek Fathers who, a century later, founded the Church among the Pagan Greek-speaking Gentiles, adopted the Greek word ecclesia for their organizations because the word was familiar for popular assemblies, and because the translators of the Septuagint had used ecclesia as the nearest Greek term for the translation of the two Hebrew words qahal and edah used in the Old Testament for the "congregation" or "assembly" of all Israel at the tent of meeting.
These Hebrew words (qahal, edah) had also a more general use, as signifying any sort of gathering or crowd, religious or secular. Thus "sinners shall not stand in the congregation [Heb. edah] of the righteous" (Ps. i, 5); or of a mob of wicked ones: "I have hated the congregation [Heb. qahal] of evil doers" (Ps. xxvi, 5); and even of the great assemblage of the dead: "The man that-[etc.], shall remain in the congregation [Heb. qahal] of the dead" (Prov. xxi, 16); all these various senses being rendered "ecclesia" in the Greek Septuagint translation.
Thus no established and permanent organization of disciples of the Christ is implied by the term ecclesia, even if Jesus could have used the Aramaic equivalent of that Greek term; at most it would have only meant the small group of Jews which might adopt the "Kingdom of Heaven" watchword and watchfully wait until the speedy end of the world and the expected quick consummation of the proclaimed Kingdom,-not yet come to be, these 2000 years.
This only possible meaning is made indisputable by the one other instance of the use of the Greek word ecclesia attributed to Jesus,-and that also by the myth-mongering "Matthew." Here Jesus is made to lay down some rules for settling the incessant discords among his peasant believers in the Kingdom: "Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee ... tell it to the church [ecclesia] but if he neglect to hear the ecclesial let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican" (Matt. xviii, 15-17);-that is, kick him like a dog out of your holy company and exclude him from share in the coming Kingdom. There was, of course, no organized Christian "Church" in the lifetime of Jesus; he could only have meant-(if he said it), that disputes were to be referred to the others of the little band of Kingdom-watchers, who should drop the "trespasser" out of their holy group if he proved recalcitrant and insisted upon the right of his opinion or action. But Jesus never said even this; it is a forged later companion-piece to the "Rock and Keys" forgery, as is proven by the following verse 18-(a repetition of xvi, 19)-regarding the "binding and loosing" powers given to itself by the later forging Church when it assumed this preposterous prerogative of domination.
The "On this Rock" forgery of Matt. xvi, says Reinach, "is obviously an interpolation, made at a period when a church, separated from the synagogue, already existed. In the parallel passages in Mark (vii, 27, 32) and in Luke (ix, 18-22), there is not a word of the primacy of Peter, a detail which Mark, the disciple of Peter, could hardly have omitted if he had known of it. The interpolation is posterior to the compilation of Luke's gospel." (Orpheus, pp. 224-225.)
As aptly said by Dr. McCabe; "It [the word ecclesia] had no meaning whatever as a religious institution until decades after the death of Jesus Christ. In the year 30 A.D. no one on earth would have known what Jesus meant if he had said that he was going to 'found' an ecclesia or church, and that the powers of darkness would not prevail against it, and so on. It would sound like the talk of the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland." (The Story of Religious Controversy, p. 294.) Indeed, it may be remarked, it is the "powers of darkness" of mind which have so far prevailed to perpetuate this fraud; the powers of the light of reason are hastening to its final overthrow.
"PETER-ROCK-CHURCH" DENIED AB SILIENCIO
"Luke" was not present when this monumental pronouncement of the "Rock and Keys" was allegedly made; Peter may have forgotten to tell him of it, or "Luke" may have forgotten that Peter told him. And Peter may have forgotten to tell of it and of his peerless "primacy" to his own "companion" and "interpreter" Mark, or Mark may have forgotten that Peter told him, and thus have failed to record so momentous an event. But John, the "Beloved Disciple" was right there, with Matthew, himself, one of the speakers and hearers in the historic colloquy,-and John totally ignores it. The silence of all three discredits and repudiates it. Moreover, and most significantly, Peter himself, in his two alleged Epistles, has not a word of his tremendous dignity and importance conferred on him by his Master; never once does he describe himself in the pride of priestly humility, "Peter, Servant of the servants of God," or "Prince of Apostles: or even "Bishop of the Church which sojourns at Rome," or any such to distinguish himself from the common herd of peasant apostles. Peter must have been very modest, even more so than his "Successors."
Furthermore, the official "Acts of the Apostles" never once notes this divinely commissioned "primacy" of Peter; and every other book of the New Testament utterly ignores it. Paul is said to have written a sententious "Epistle to the Romans," and to have written two or three Epistles from Rome, where Peter is supposed to have been, enthroned as divine Vicar of God and Head of the Church Universal; and yet never a word of this tremendous fact; Paul did not know it, or ignores it. The "Epistles of Paul," fourteen of them, and the "Acts," are replete with defiances of Paul to Peter,-"I withstood him to his face"; and in all the disputes between them, over matters of the faith and the fortunes of the new "Church," not a single one of the Apostles rises in his place and suggests that Peter is Prince and Primate, and that Peter's view of the matters was ex-cathedra the voice of God, and he, having spoken, the matter was settled. Paul, in all his Epistles, never gives a suspicion that he had ever heard, even from Peter, of the latter's superior authority.
Thus the admitted principal, if not only "proof" which the Church urges for its Divine and "Petrine" foundation is found to be-like every other Church muniment and credential, a clerical forgery, a priestly imposture. We shall glance at some other like examples of the Christian art of "Scripture" falsification.
"GO, TEACH ALL NATIONS" FORGERY
Applying Tertullian's test of authenticity, that contradictory passages betray a later "interpolation," the closing verses, 16-20, of the last chapter of Matthew-as of Mark 9-20,-are themselves late interpolations or forged passages.
Matthew previously quotes Jesus as declaring: "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (xv, 24; x, 6); and his command to the Twelve: "Go not into the way of the Gentiles. ... but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (x, 5, 6). Also Matthew (as Mark) has reiterated the assurance of the immediacy of the end of the world and the "second coming" in glory: "Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of Man be come." (Mt. x, 23; cf. x, 7; xxvi, 28, 34, passim.) So that neither in reason nor in truthful statement could it be possible for Jesus to have met the Eleven a few days after his resurrection, in Galilee, and commanded them in this wonderful language: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: ... and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world"-which he had just, and repeatedly, averred should happen in the life-time of his hearers and before they could preach even to the Jews of little Palestine. (Mt. xxviii, 18, 20; cf. Mk. xvi, 15-16.) This "command" could only have been "interpolated" into the forged ending of Matthew and Mark long after the original form of the tradition of Jesus had been first written, and when the "second coming" in the "Kingdom of God" and the immediate "end of the world" had become impossible of further credit by lapse of long years of time and disappointed expectation. It could also only have been written after the gospel of the "Kingdom" for the Jews had failed, and the apostles had "turned to the Gentiles," which was not, even on the face of Scripture, until after the so-called "Council of Jerusalem," when the Jewish apostles, after bitter quarrel with the interloper Paul, had recognized Paul's pretended "revelation" of mission to the Gentiles and had parcelled out the propaganda work, Paul to the uncircumcised Gentiles, all the others, Peter included, to "the circumcision" only; though the entire story of the Council is itself a contradictory fabrication, as demonstrated by EB. (i, 916, et seq.)
ACTS BELIES THE "GO, TEACH ALL NATIONS" FORGERY
Culminating proof that Jesus Christ never uttered this command, to "Go, teach all nations," of Matthew and Mark, and that it is a forgery long after interpolated into the original forged texts, is found in the positive "history" of the inspiredly forged Acts of the Apostles, in Holy Writ itself. If Jesus Christ, just arisen from the dead, had given that ringing and positive command to Peter and the Eleven, utterly impossible would it have been for the remarkable "history" recorded in Acts to have occurred. Acts, too, disproves the assertion of Mark that, straightway, after the command was given to the Eleven, "they went forth, and preached everywhere" (Mk. xvi, 20),-that is, to all nations thereabouts, the Pagan Gentiles. A further contradiction may he noted: Matthew says that the command was given to the Eleven in Galilee, on "a mountain where Jesus had appointed them" (Mt. xxviii, 16-19),- and some days after the resurrection; whereas Mark records that the command was given to the Eleven "as they sat at meat," evidently in a house in Jerusalem, through the roof of which Jesus immediately afterwards ascended into heaven (Mk. xvi, 14-19); after which they immediately "went forth, and preached everywhere" (verse 20). But they did not, as the silence of the other two Gospels, and the positive evidence of Acts and several of the Epistles, proves; together with the promised disproof of the "Go, teach all nations" command, for preaching the Kingdom to the Gentile Pagans, now to be produced.
Cornelius, the leader of the Italian Band at Caesarea, a Roman Gentile Pagan, had a "revelation" that he should go to Joppa to find Peter, evidently with a view to "conversion" and admission into the new all-Jewish sect. A companion vision in a trance was awarded to Peter, seemingly to prepare him for the novel notion of community with Gentiles; though "Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean"; but at this juncture the messengers came from Cornelius, and related to Peter the vision of Cornelius, and his request that Peter come to see him. Evidently, Peter had never heard of the Master's command alleged to have been given by Jesus to Peter himself, and the others: "Go, teach all nations" of the uncircumcised, for he said to the messengers: "Ye know how it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation"; but recalling the vision from which he had just awaked, be added: "but God hath showed me" that it was permissible now to deal with "one of another nation." So, Peter went along to Cornelius, and he asked "For what intent ye have sent for me?" Cornelius repeated the vision, and said, "Now we are all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee by God." At this, Peter was evidently greatly surprised, and "opened his mouth, and replied; Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But that in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." Thus clearly Peter had never heard his Jesus command: "Go, teach all nations"; it required this new "revelation"-some years later-for him to tardily and finally "perceive" that God accepted even "one of another nation." Clearer yet is this, that up to this time salvation is of the Jews" only, by Peter's next words: "The word which God sent unto the children of Israel ... which was published throughout Judaea-[not to "all nations"], and began in Galilee, after the baptism which John preached-[not baptism "in the name" of the Trinity]. ... And be [Jesus] commanded us to preach unto all the people"-of the children of Israel. And now for proof positive: Peter was now "showed" the new dispensation: a visitation of the Holy Ghost came upon the Pagans present, who thereupon all "spake with tongues," to the great amazement of Peter and his Jewish companions: "They of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles was also poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost," which had been promised only to all believing Jews. Ignorant thus of the Christ's preascension command to him and the Eleven, to teach all men, but now convinced that "one of another nation" was acceptable with God, and should be baptized, Peter yielded, and argued for his companions to consent: "Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord" (Acts x),-not in the name of the Trinity, as Matthew alleges that Jesus himself had commanded Peter himself to do. So this bit of Scripture "history" is positive refutation of the "Go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" forgery.
And none of the others of the Twelve had ever heard the command. For immediately that they learned of this flagrant "heresy" of Peter, "that the Gentiles have also received the word of God," they were piously outraged and furious against Peter: "And when Peter had come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them." Peter put up a long argument in defense, urging the "revelation" to Cornelius and his own trance vision, quoted the gospels of Matthew and John-(not yet in existence!),-and wound up: "Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, ... what am I, that I could withstand God?" This line of argument pacified the other apostles; "When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." (Acts xi.) Perfect proof is this, that the alleged "Go, teach all nations" command of the Christ to Peter and the other apostles, is a falsification, a late forgery into Matthew and Mark: for if Jesus had so commanded these same apostles, the special revelations would not have been necessary; Peter's doubt and hesitation, and the row of the others with Peter for baptizing Cornelius and his Band could not have occurred, would have been impossible and absurd; as would have been the apostolic rows of the "Council of Jerusalem," recorded in Acts xv and belied by Paul in Galatians ii, as is made evident in EB. (i, 916.)
This incontrovertible fact, that Jesus Christ never uttered that command, "Go, teach all nations," and that the texts so reciting are later forgeries to serve the Gentilic propaganda of the Faith after the Jews had rejected it,-is confessed by CE. in these destructive words: "The Kingdom of God had special reference to Jewish beliefs. ... A still further expansion resulted from the revelation directing St. Peter to admit to baptism Cornelius, a devout Gentile." (CE. iii, 747.) If Jesus Christ, preaching the exclusive Jewish Kingdom, had revised and reversed his God-ordained program, and had commanded "Go, teach all nations, baptizing them," the "expansion" would have resulted then and there from the command itself,-not from the "revelation" and apostolic row some years later, which would have been unnecessary and supererogatory-as it was unseemly. Thus another pious lie and forgery is exposed and confessed.
Even more plain and comprehensive are the words of this same divine forged command of the Christ, as recorded by Mark: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mk. xvi, 15-16.) It should be a relief to many pious Hell-fearing Christians to know that their Christ did not utter these damning words, and that they may disbelieve with entire impunity; that they are priestly forgeries to frighten credulous persons into belief and submission to priestcraft. The proofs of this from the Bible itself we see confirmed by clerical admissions under compulsion from exposure of the fraud.
Thus this whole section, says Reinach, is a "late addition" to Mark, ."and is not found in the best manuscripts." (Orpheus, p. 221.) We have seen that CE. includes this section among those rejected as spurious up to the time that the Holy Ghost belatedly vouched for it at the Council of Trent in 1546, putting the seal of divine truth upon this lie. Both these parallel but exceedingly contradictory closing sections of Matthew and Mark, are spurious additions made after the "end of the world" and "second coming" predictions had notoriously failed, in order to give pretended divine sanction to the "turning to the Gentiles," after the Jews, to whom alone the Christ was sent and had expressly and repeatedly limited his mission, had rejected his claim to be Messiah.
The Gentile Church of Christ has therefore no divine sanction; was never contemplated nor created by Jesus Christ. The Christian Church is thus founded on a forgery of pretended words of the pretended Christ. This proposition is of such immense significance and importance, that I array here the admissions of the forgery, in addition to the demonstration of its falsity above given. The virtual admissions of CE. totally destroy the authenticity of the entire spurious section, Mark xvi, 9-20, together with the correlated passages of the equally spurious "Matthean addition," copied from Mark, with embellishments into Matthew.
THE FORGED GOSPEL ENDINGS
"The conclusion of Mark (xvi, 9-20) is admittedly not genuine. Still less can the shorter conclusion lay claim to genuineness. ... Almost the entire section is a compilation, partly even from the fourth gospel and Acts." (EB. ii, 1880; 1767, n. 3; 1781, and n. 1, on "the evidence of its spuriousness.") "The longer form ... has against it the testimony of the two oldest Uncial MSS. (Siniatic and Vatican) and one of the two earliest of the Syriac Versions (Siniatic Syriac), all of which close the chapter at verse 8. In addition to this, is the very significant silence of Patristic literature as to anything following verse 8." (New Standard Bible Dictionary, p. 551.) The acute and careful critical reasonings and evidences upon which the foregoing conclusions are based, I have omitted from these extracts, to present them in full in the following ample review from CE., which, "reasoning in chains" fettered upon it by the Trentine Decree, yet fully establishes the impeaching facts and substantially confesses the forgery into "Mark," while "saving its face" for the "inspiration" of the forgery by clerical assumption of "some other inspired pen" as the source of the text, which makes it "just as good" as any other, when invested with the sanctity of the sanction of the Council of Trent. Says CE.:
"But the great textual problem of the Gospel (Mark) concerns the genuineness of the last twelve verses. Three conclusions of the Gospel are known: the long: conclusion, as in our Bibles, containing verses 9-20, the short one ending with verse 8, and an intermediate form [described]. ... Now this third form way be dismissed at once-[as an admitted Bible forgery]. No scholar regards this intermediate conclusion as having any title to acceptance.
"We may pass on, then, to consider how the case stands between the long conclusion and the short, i.e. between accepting xvi, 9-20, as a genuine portion of the original Gospel, or making the original end with xvi, 8. Eusebius ... pointing out that the passage in Mark beginning with verse 9 is not contained in all the MSS. of the Gospel. The historian then goes on himself to say that in nearly all the MSS. of Mark, at least in the accurate ones, the Gospel ends with xvi, 8.
... St. Jerome also says in one place that the passage was wanting in nearly all Greek MSS. ... As we know, he incorporated it in the Vulgate. ... If we add to this that the Gospel ends with xvi, 8, in the two oldest Greek MSS.-[ Siniatic and Vatican]-[also in the Siniatic Syriac, some Ethiopic, Armenian, and other MSS.] indicate doubt as to whether the true ending is at verse 8 or verse 20. (p. 678.)
"Much has been made of the silence of some of the third and fourth century Fathers, their silence being interpreted to mean that they either did not know the passage or rejected it. Thus Tertullian, SS. Cyprian, Athanasius, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Cyril of Alexandria."When we turn to the internal evidence, the number, and still more the character, of the peculiarities is certainly striking [citing many instances from the Greek text]. ... But, even when this is said, the cumulative force of the evidence against the Marcan origin of the passage is considerable. (p. 678.) ... The combination of so many peculiar features, not only of vocabulary, but of matter and construction, leaves room for doubt as to the Marcan authorship of the verses. (p. 679.) ...
"Whatever the fact be, it is not at all certain that Mark did not write the disputed verses. It may be that he did not; that they are from the pen of some other inspired writer [!], and were appended to the Gospel in the first century or the beginning of the second. ... Catholics are not bound to hold that the verses were written by St. Mark. But they are canonical Scripture, for the Council of Trent (Sess. IV), in defining that all parts of the Sacred Books are to be received as sacred and canonical, had especially in view the disputed parts of the Gospels, of which this conclusion of Mark is one. Hence, whoever wrote the verses, they are inspired, and must be received as such by every Catholic."
(CE. ix, 677, 678, 679.)
The New Commentary on the Holy Scripture has a special section entitled "The Ending of St. Mark's Gospel," in which it reviews the evidences in much the same manner as CE., with additional new and able criticism; it thus concludes,-not being fettered by the dogmatic decision of the Council of Trent, which CE. so clerically yields to in the letter but evades in the spirit:
"It is practically certain that neither Matthew nor Luke found it in their copies of Mark [from which they copied in making up the gospels under those names: see pp. 33, 45). ... The Last Twelve Verses are constructed as an independent summary with total neglect of the contents of xvi, 1-8. ... It is as certain as anything can be in the domain of criticism that the Longer Ending did not come from the pen of the evangelist Mark. ... We conclude that it is certain that the Longer Ending is no part of the Gospel." (New Commentary, Pt. III, pp. 122, 123.)
More shaming proofs and confessions of forgery of pretended words of the Christ there could not be, than of this falsified command to preach a forged Gospel to the credulous dupes of Paganism. Gentile Christianity collapses upon its forged foundations.
THE BAPTISMAL FORGERY
The contradictory "baptismal formulas," the simple "in the name of the Lord" of Peter in Acts, and the elaborated forgery of Matthew, "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," are sufficiently branded with falsity in the preceding paragraphs, and may be dismissed without further notice. This "Trinitarian Formula" is most palpably a late forgery, never uttered by Jesus Christ; for the Holy "Trinity" was not itself officially invented until the Council of Constantinople, in 381 A.D. Admittedly, "of all revealed truths this is the most impenetrable to reason"; it is therefore called a "mystery." (CE. xv, 52.) Of this Baptism-formula of Matthew, the ex-priest scholar, McCabe, says: "It was fraudulently added to the gospel when the priesthood was created." (LBB. 1121, p. 4.) Bishop Gore's English Divines thus cautiously confess the fraud: "Matthew's witness to the teaching of the risen Lord in these verses is widely rejected on two grounds. The witness of Acts makes it almost certain that baptism at first was into the name of Jesus Christ, and not formally into the name of the Blessed Trinity. ... It is quite likely that Matthew here expresses our Lord's teaching in language which the Lord Himself did not actually use." (New Comm., Pt. III, p. 204; ef. EB. i, 474.) Another blasting priestly fraud of "Scripture" forgery is thus exposed and confessed!
A MEDLEY OF FORGERIES
After the foregoing colossal forgeries within the originally forged Gospels of Jesus Christ, there yet remain many other viciously dishonest falsifications of text. A little trinity of them only will be noted.
THE "WOMAN IN ADULTERY" FORGERY
The CE. has admitted that the so-called pericope adulterae, was regarded as spurious until the Council of Trent, in 1546, declared it divine truth; but Reinach says: "The episode of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery, which was inserted in John's gospel in the fourth century, was originally in the [apocryphal] 'Gospel according to the Hebrews.'" (Orpheus, p. 235.)
THE JOHN XXI FORGERY
The entire chapter xxi of John is likewise a surcharge of forgery in that gospel; it may be disposed of with this terse comment of EB.: "As xx, 30-31 constitutes a formal and solemn conclusion, xxi is beyond question a later appendix. We may go on to add that it does not come from the same author with the rest of the book." (EB. ii, 2543.)
THE "LORD'S PRAYER" FORGERY
As may be seen by mere comparison, the "Doxology" at the end of the Lord's Prayer in Matthew (vi, 13): "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen," is an interpolation into the original text, and is omitted as spurious by the Revised Version; it is not in the Catholic "True" Version. But, it may be remarked, the whole of the so-called Lord's Prayer is not the Lord's at all; it is a late patch-work of pieces out of the Old Testament, as readily shown by the marginal cross-references,-just as we have seen that the "Apostles Creed" was said to have been patched up by inspired lines from each apostle. The Sermon on the Mount, in which its most used form is found, is a concatenation of supposed logia or "sayings" of Jesus, drawn out through three chapters of "Matthew"; it was delivered before "the multitudes" which surrounded the Master and his disciples, and in the middle of the fictitious discourse. This is not true, according to "Luke," who makes it out a private talk in reply to a question by one of the Twelve: "And it came to pass, that, as (Jesus) was praying in a certain place, when he ceased one of his disciples said to him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And be said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father," etc. (Luke xi, 1- 228 2.) Indeed, the entire "Lord's Prayer" in Matthew, copied from Luke and expanded with considerable new material, is as to such new matter a forgery, confesses CE.: "Thus it is that the shorter form of the Lord's Prayer in Luke, xi, 2-4, is in almost all Greek manuscripts lengthened out in accordance with Matthew, vi, 9-13. Most errors of this kind proceed," etc. (CE. iv, 498.) I shall quote now the whole of CE.'s paragraph, admitting this and other "deliberate corruptions" of the New Testament texts, with clerical apologetic reasons therefor:
"(b) Errors Wholly or Partly Intentional.-Deliberate corruption of the Sacred Text has always been rather rare, Marcion's case being exceptional. Hort (Introduction (1896), p. 282) is of the opinion that 'even among the unquestionably spurious readings of the New Testament there are no signs of deliberate falsification of the text for dogmatic purposes.' Nevertheless it is true that the scribe often selects from various readings that which favors either his own individual opinion or the doctrine that is just then more generally accepted. It also happens that, in perfectly good faith, he changes passages which seem to him corrupt because he fails to understand them, that he adds a word which he deems necessary for the elucidation of the meaning, that he substitutes a more correct grammatical expression, and that he harmonizes parallel passages. Thus it is that the shorter form of the Lord's Prayer in Luke, xi, 2-4, is in almost all Greek manuscripts lengthened out in accordance with Matthew, vi, 9-13. Most errors of this kind proceed from inserting in the text marginal notes which, in the copy to be transcribed, were but variants, explanations, parallel passages, simple remarks, or perhaps the conjectures of some studious reader. All readers have observed the predilection of copyists for the most verbose texts and their tendency to complete citations that are too brief; hence it is that an interpolation stands a far better chance of being perpetuated than an omission." (CE. iv, 498.)
Thus, as to the "Lord's Prayer" in Matthew, its "variants" from Luke are confessed forgeries; every circumstance of the two origins is in contradiction. Like the whole "Sermon on the Mount," the Prayer is a composite of ancient sayings of the Scripture strung together to form it, as the marginal cross-references show throughout.
THE "UNKNOWN GOD" FORGERY
At this point I may call attention to a notable instance in Acts of a fraudulent perversion of text; Paul's use of the pretended inscription on the statue on Mars' Hill, "To the Unknown God," on which is based his famous harangue to the Athenians: "Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you." This omits the truth, for the whole inscription would have been fatal to his cause. The actual words of the inscription, together with some uncomplimentary comment on "Paul's" manipulation of the truth, are presented by the famous Catholic "Humanist" Erasmus. First he states the chronic clerical propensity to warp even Scripture to their deceptive schemes: "In general it is the public charter of all divines, to mould and bend the sacred oracles till they comply with their own fancy, spreading them (as Heaven by its Creator) like a curtain, closing together, or drawing them back as they please." Then he discloses the dishonest dodge of the great Apostle of Persecution: "Indeed, St. Paul minces and mangles some citations which he makes use of, and seems to wrest them to a different sense from that for which they were first intended, as is confessed by the great linguist St. Jerome. Thus when that apostle saw at Athens the inscription of an altar, he draws from it an argument for the proof of the Christian religion; but leaving out a great part of the sentence, which perhaps if fully recited might have prejudiced his cause, he mentions only the last two words, viz., 'To the Unknown God'; and this, too, not without alteration, for the whole inscription runs thus: 'TO THE GODS OF ASIA, EUROPE, AND AFRICA, TO ALL FOREIGN AND UNKNOWN GODS'"! (Erasmus, The Praise of Folly, p. 292.) That the original Greek text of Acts used the plural "gods" is shown by the marginal note to Acts xvii, 23, in the King James Version. From this dreary, exposure of "Gospel" forgeries we pass to the forged "Epistles of the Apostles."
THE FORGED EPISTLES, ETC.
There are 21 so-called Epistles or Letters found in the New Testament under the names of five different "apostles" of Jesus Christ. Making a significant reservation which seems to question the plenary inspiration of the Council of Trent, "There are," says CE., "thirteen Epistles of St. Paul, and perhaps fourteen, if, with the Council of Trent, we consider him the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews." (CE. xiv, 530.) If Paul, the "apostle of the Gentiles," didn't write the Letter to the Hebrews, some Church Father must have forged it in his name. This was admitted by the early Fathers: "Tertullian ascribed it to Barnabas, and Origen confessed that the author was not known." (Reinach, Orpheus, p. 235; CE. xiv, 525; New Comm. Pt. III, p. 596.) "The Epistle to the Hebrews," says EB., "had already been excluded from the group [of then supposed Pauline Epistles] by Carlstadt (1520), and among those who followed him in this were Luther, Calvin, Grotius, etc." (EB. iii, 3605.) So CE.'s cautious clerical reservation is justified, and the forgery of Hebrews in the name of Paul may be taken as established, the inspired Council of Trent to the contrary notwithstanding.
But the entire "Pauline group" is in the same forged class with Hebrews, says EB. after exhaustive consideration of the proofs, internal and external:
"With respect to the canonical Pauline Epistles, ... there are none of them by Paul; neither fourteen, nor thirteen, nor nine or eight, nor yet even the four so long 'universally' regarded as unassailable. They are all, without distinction, pseudographia [false-writings, forgeries];-[it adds, with a typical clerical striving after saving something from the wreckage] this, of course, not implying the least depreciation of their contents. ... The group ... bears obvious marks of a certain unity-of having originated in one circle, at one time, in one environment; but not of unity of authorship." (EB. iii, 3625, 3626.) They are thus all uninspired anonymous church forgeries for Christ's sweet sake!
Besides the so-called Pauline Epistles, another group, i.e. those attributed to Peter, John, Jude and James, is known as "Catholic Epistles," so called because addressed to the Church at large; "not one of them is authentic." (Reinach, Orpheus, p. 239; cf. EB., under the various titles.) A third small group, Titus and 2 Timothy, are called Pastoral Epistles" because they are addressed to pastors of churches. These, with Acts and the Book of Revelation, complete the tale of the Old-Christian Literature finally approved, in 1546, by the Council of Trent as divinely inspired, along with the inspired nonsense of Tobias, Judith, Bel and the Dragon, and like late Hebrew pious forgeries. With respect to the Apocalypse Revelation, attributed to the Apostle John, this has long been held to be impossible; nor is Revelation by the same writer as the Fourth Gospel falsely attributed to John, as we have seen. The results of ancient patristic denials and of modern critical scholarship are thus summed up: "John ... is not the author of the Fourth Gospel; so, in like manner, in the Apocalypse we may have here and there a passage that may be traced to him, but the book as a whole is not from his pen. Gospel, Epistles, and Apocalypse all come from the same school." (EB. i, 199.) "The author of Revelation calls himself John the Apostle. As he was not John the Apostle, who died perhaps in Palestine about 66, he was a forger." (Orpheus p. 240.) The same can truly be said as to all the others.
It is impossible here to review the criticism of the twenty-three booklets individually. The comment of EB. on the Epistle to the Philippians, as not written by Paul, is, fairly applicable to them all: "What finally puts an end to all doubt is the presence of unmistakable traces of the conditions of a later period. ... More particularly, everything that points to a considerably advanced stage in the development of doctrine." (EB. iii, 3709.) This principle of criticism will be admitted by anyone; we have read it from CE. as "universally admitted" to wit: "A fundamental one is that a literary work always betrays the imprint of the age and environment in which it was produced." (CE. iv, 492.) Paul and Peter are reputed to have died together in Rome under Nero, in 64 (67) A.D. We have shown the impossibility of the existence of "New Testament" writings, and of a "church" during the first several generations which daily expected the end of the world and the sudden second coming of the Christ to set up the supernatural Kingdom of God, among, of, and for Jews only. More especially impassible is it, that a Catholic or "universal" Church among the far-scattered cities and nations of the Gentiles should have existed even in embryo within the scant, say 35 years between the reputed death of Jesus about 30 A.D. and the deaths of Paul and Peter in 64 (67) A.D. Most impossible would it have been for such Gentile Church then to have had the intricate hierarchical organization of Bishops, presbyters, deacons, priests, and "damnable heresies," portrayed as actually existing and in active function, by these apocryphal Epistles. They are self-evidently the product of an elaborately organized church,-just as they are more elaborately laid out and their several jurisdictions and functions defined in the admittedly forged Apostolic Constitutions and Canons, forged in the names of the apostles in the following centuries. Nothing from ancient times can be or is more positively proven false and forged than every book and text of the New Testament, attributed to apostles. Who can now deny this?
THE "EPISTLE OF PETER" FORGERIES
Owing to the peculiar importance attributed to them by the Church, as among the most unquestionable of its "proofs" of authentic divine foundation and sanction, the so-called Epistles I and II of Peter call for a few words of special refutation. These two Peter books were, in truth, questioned and denied from the early days. Bishop Eusebius, the first Church Historian, (HE. III, iii, 25), says of II Peter that it was "controverted and not admitted into the canon"; and, says EB., "The tardy recognition of II Peter in the early church supports the judgment of the critical school as to its un-apostolic origin." (EB. iii, 3684.)
The critical considerations which lead to the rejection of both Epistles as "not Petrine" and "not of the apostolic age," may be very briefly summarized: That I Peter is addressed to the "Sojourners of the Dispersion" in Asia Minor, which was Paul's reserved territory. "There is no trace of the questions mooted in the apostolic age. ... The historical conditions and circumstances implied in the Epistle indicate, moreover, a time far beyond the probable duration of Peter's life. ... The history of the spread of Christianity imperatively demands for I Peter a later date than 64 A.D.," the alleged date of Peter's death. The second Epistle, II Peter, is vaguely addressed to Christians in general (i, 1), yet in iii, 1, the writer inconsistently assumes that the First Epistle was addressed to the same readers; and he tells them (i, 6 and iii, 15) that they had already received instructions from him (ostensibly Peter), and also letters from Paul. "The relation of II Peter to I Peter renders a common authorship extremely doubtful. The name and title of the author are different. ... The style of the two epistles is different. ... It is late and un-apostolic." (EB. Peter, Epistles of, iii, 3678-3685; cf. New Comm. Pt. III, pp. 639, 653, 654.) "The genuineness of I Peter cannot be maintained. Most probably it was not written before 112 A.D." (EB. 2940.) The two letters of Peter are Graeco-Egyptian forgeries." (Reinach, Orpheus, p. 240.) The Church pretense that I Peter was written at Rome ("Babylon") will be judged in its more appropriate place. In the early list of supposedly apostolic Books drawn up by Tertullian as accepted and read in the several Churches, while he "cites the Book of Enoch as inspired, ... also recognizes IV Esdras, and the Sibyl, ... he does not know James and II Peter. ... He attributes Hebrews to St. Barnabas." (CE. xiv, 525.) Bishop Dionysius complains that his own writings "had been falsified by the apostles of the devil; no wonder, he adds, 'that the Scriptures were falsified by such persons.'" (CE. v, 10.) The "Peter" Books are other instances.
THE "GOD MANIFEST" FORGERY
In the King James or "Authorized" Version we read: "Great is the mystery of Godliness: God was manifest in the flesh," etc. (1 Tim. iii, 16.) In the "Revised Version" this "God manifest" forged interpolation is shamed out of the text, which there honestly reads: "He who was manifested in the flesh," etc. Thus the great "mystery of godliness," premised in the text, is no longer a mystery; and the fraudulent insertion into the text by some over-zealous Christian forger, seeking to bolster up an "apostolic" pedigree for the later "tradition" of the divinity of the Christ, is confessed. This pious "interpolation" was probably made at the time and by the same holy hands which forged the "Virgin-birth" interpolations into "Matthew" and "Luke." This passage is but one of a whole series of "Spurious Passages in the New Testament," catalogued by Taylor, in the appendix to his Diegesis, (p. 421). This pious fraud was first detected and exposed by Sir Isaac Newton.
THE "THREE HEAVENLY WITNESSES" FORGERY
Bishop Clement of Alexandria, writing around 200 A.D., thus quotes a comparatively trivial and innocuous passage from the forged First Epistle of St. John (v, 7),-which, through fraudulent tampering later became one of the "chief stones of the corner" of the Holy Church that the Fathers built: "John says: 'For there are three that bear witness, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three are one.'" (Clem. Alex., Fragment from Cassiodorus, ch. iii; ANF. iii, 576.) This is self-evidently the original text of this now famous, or infamous, passage. Turning now to the Word of God as found in the "Authorized" Protestant and in the Chaloner-Douay Version of the Catholic Vulgate, we read with wonder:
"7. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
"8. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one." (I John, v, 7, 8.)
Let us now turn to the same text, or what is left of it, in the Revised Version. Here we read, with more wonder (if we do not know the story of pious fraud behind it), what seems to be a garbled text:
"8. For there are three who bear witness, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and the three agree in one."
Erasmus first detected the fraud and omitted the forged verse in his edition of the Greek Testament in 1516. (New Comm. Pt. III, p. 718-19.) This verse 7, bluntly speaking, is a forgery: "It had been wilfully and wickedly interpolated, to sustain the Trinitarian doctrine; it has been entirely omitted by the Revisers of the New Testament." (Roberts, Companion to the Revised Versions p. 72.) "This memorable text," says Gibbon, "is condemned by the silence of the Fathers, ancient versions, and authentic manuscripts, of all the manuscripts now extant, above four score in number, some of which are more than 1200 years old." (Ch. xxvii, p. 598.) Speaking of this and another, Reinach says: "One of these forgeries (I John v, 7) was subjected to interpolation of a later date. ... If these two verses were Authentic, they would be an affirmation of the doctrine of the Trinity, at a time when the gospels, and Acts and St. Paul ignore it. It was first pointed out in 1516 that these verses were an interpolation, for they do not appear in the best manuscripts down to the fifteenth century. The Roman Church refused to bow to the evidence. ... The Congregation of the Index, on January 13, 1897, with the approbation of Leo XIII, forbade any question of the authenticity of the text relating to the 'Three Heavenly Witnesses.' It showed in this instance a wilful ignorance to which St. Gregory's rebuke is specially applicable: "God does not need our lies."' (Orpheus, p. 239.) But His Church does; for without them it would not be; and without the forged "Three Heavenly Witnesses," and the forged "Baptism Formula" of Matthew (xxviii, 19), there would be not a word in the entire New Testament hinting the existence of the Three-in-One God of Christianity. The Holy Trinity is an unholy Forgery!
Lest it be thought by some pious but uninformed persons that the foregoing imputation may be either false or malicious, we shall let CE. make the confession of shame, with the usual clerical evasions to "save the face" of Holy Church confronted with this proven forgery and fraud. From a lengthy and detailed review, under separate headings, of all the ancient MSS., Greek, Syriac, Ethiopia, Armenian, Old Latin, and of the Fathers, the following is condensed, but in the exact words of the text:
"The famous passage of the Three Witnesses [quoting I John, v, 7]. Throughout the past three hundred years, effort has been made to expunge from our Clementine Vulgate edition of the canonical Scriptures the words that are bracketed. Let us examine the facts of the case. [Here follows the thorough review of the MSS, closed in each instance by such words as: "The disputed part is found in none"; "no trace"; "no knowledge until the twelfth century," etc. etc.] The silence of the great and voluminous St. Augustine, [etc.] are admitted facts that militate against the canonicity of the Three Witnesses. St. Jerome does not seem to know the text,-[Jerome made the Vulgate Official Version].
"Trent's is the first certain ecumenical decree, whereby the Church established the Canon of Scripture. We cannot say that the Decree of Trent necessarily included the Three Witnesses"-[for reasons elaborately stated, and upon two conditions discussed, saying): "Neither condition has yet been verified with certainty; quite the contrary, textual criticism seems to indicate that the Comma Johanninum was not at all times and everywhere wont to be read in the Catholic Church, and it is not contained in the Old Latin Vulgate. However, the Catholic theologian must take into account more than textual criticism"! (CE. viii, 436.)
A confessed forgery of Holy Writ consciously kept in the "canonical" text as a fraudulent voucher for a false Trinity-such is "The Three Heavenly Witnesses"-to the shame and ignominy of the Holy Church of Christ, which "has never deceived any one," and which "has never made an error, and never shall err to all eternity"! This is not an error, however; it is but one more deliberate clerical "lie to the glory of God."
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