The suppressed Gospels and Epistles of the original New Testament of Jesus the Christ/Chapter 8

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For other English-language translations of this work, see Correspondence of Paul and Seneca.

THE EPISTLES OF ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE TO SENECA, WITH SENECA'S TO PAUL.[edit]

CHAPTER I.[edit]

ANNAEUS SENECA to PAUL Greeting.

I SUPPOSE, Paul, you have been informed of that conversation, which passed yesterday between me and my Lucilius, concerning hypocrisy and other subjects; for there were some of your disciples in company with us;

2 For when we were retired into the Sallustian gardens, through which they were also passing, and would have gone another way, by our persuasion they joined company with us.

3 I desire you to believe, that we much wish for your conversation;

4 We were much delighted with your book of many Epistles, which you have written to some cities and chief towns of provinces, and contain wonderful instructions for moral conduct:

5 Such sentiments, as I suppose you were not the author of, but only the instrument of conveying, though sometimes both the author and the instrument,

6 For such is the sublimity of those, doctrines, and their grandeur, that I suppose the age of a man is scarce sufficient to be instructed and perfected in the knowledge of them. I wish your welfare, my brother. Farewell.

CHAPTER II.[edit]

PAUL to SENECA Greeting.

I RECEIVED your letter yesterday with pleasure, to which I could immediately have written an answer, had the young man been at home, whom I intended to have sent to you:

2 For you know when, and by whom, at what seasons, and to whom I must deliver everything which I send.

3 I desire therefore you would not charge me with negligence, if I wait for a proper person.

4 I reckon myself very happy in having the judgment of so valuable a person, that you are delighted with my Epistles:

5 For you would not be esteemed a censor, a philosopher, or be the tutor of so great a prince, and a master of everything, if you were not sincere. I wish you a lasting prosperity.

CHAPTER III.[edit]

ANNAEUS SENECA to PAUL Greeting.

I HAVE completed some volumes and divided them into their proper parts.

2 I am determined to read them to Caesar, and if any favourable opportunity happens, you also shall be present, when they are read;

3 But if that cannot be, I will appoint and give you notice of a day, when we will together read over the performance.

4 I had determined, if I could with safety, first to have your opinion of it, before I published it to Caesar, that you might be convinced of my affection to you. Farewell, dearest Paul.

CHAP. IV.[edit]

PAUL to SENECA Greeting.

AS often as I read your letters, I imagine you present with me; nor indeed do I think any other, than that you are always with us.

2 As soon therefore as you begin to come, we shall presently see each other. I wish you all prosperity.

CHAPTER V.[edit]

ANNAEUS SENECA to PAUL Greeting.

WE are very much concerned at your too long absence from us.

2 What is it, or what affairs are they, which obstructs your coming?

3 If you fear the anger of Caesar because you have abandoned your former religion, and made proselytes also of others, you have this to plead, that your acting thus proceeded not from inconstancy, but judgment. Farewell.

CHAPTER VI.[edit]

PAUL to SENECA and LUCILIUS Greeting.

CONCERNING those things, about which ye wrote to me, it is not proper for me to mention anything in writing with pen and ink: the one of which leaves marks, and the other evidently declares things.

2 Especially since I know that there are near you, as well as me, those who will understand my meaning.

3 Deference is to be paid to all men, and so much the more, as they are more likely to take occasions of quarrelling.

4 And if we show a submissive temper, we shall overcome effectually in all points, if so be they are, who are capable of seeing and acknowledging themselves to have been in the wrong. Farewell.

CHAPTER VII.[edit]

ANNAEUS SENECA to PAUL Greeting.

I PROFESS myself extremely pleased with the reading your letters to the Galatians, Corinthians, and people of Achaia.

2 For the Holy Ghost has in them by you delivered those sentiments which are very lofty, sublime, deserving of all respect, and beyond your own invention.

3 I could wish therefore, that when you are writing things so extraordinary, there might not be wanting an elegancy of speech agreeable to their majesty.

4 And I must own, my brother, that I may not at once dishonestly conceal anything from you, and be unfaithful to my own conscience, that the emperor is extremely pleased with the sentiments of your Epistles;

5 For when he heard the beginning of them read, he declared, that he was surprised to find such notions in a person, who had not had a regular education.

6 To which I replied, That the Gods sometimes made use of mean (innocent) persons to speak by, and gave him an instance of this in a mean countryman named Vatienus, who, when he was in the country of Reate, had two men appeared to him, called Castor and Pollux, and received a revelation from the gods. Farewell.

CHAPTER VIII.[edit]

PAUL to SENECA Greeting.

ALTHOUGH I know the emperor is both an admirer and favourer of our religion, yet give me leave to advise you against your suffering any injury (by showing favour to us).

2 I think indeed you ventured upon a very dangerous attempt, when you would declare (to the emperor) that which is so very contrary to his religion, and way of worship; seeing he is a worshipper of the heathen gods.

3 I know not what you particularly had in view, when you told him of this; but I suppose you did it out of too great respect for me.

4 But I desire that for the future you would not do so; for you had need be careful, lest by showing your affection for me, you should offend your master:

5 His anger indeed will do us no harm, if he continue a heathen; nor will his not being angry be of any service to us:

6 And if the empress act worthy of her character, she will not be angry; but if she act as a woman, she will be affronted. Farewell.

CHAPTER IX.[edit]

ANNEUS SENECA to PAUL Greeting.

KNOW that my letter, wherein I acquainted you, that I had read to the Emperor your Epistles, does not so much affect you as the nature of the things (contained in them.)

2 Which do so powerfully divert men's minds from their former manners and practices, that I have always been surprised, and have been fully convinced of it by many arguments heretofore.

3 Let us therefore begin afresh; and if any thing heretofore has been imprudently acted, do you forgive.

4 I have sent you a book decopia verborum. Farewell, dearest Paul.

CHAPTER X.[edit]

PAUL to SENECA Greeting.

AS often as I write to you, and place my name before yours, I do a thing both disagreeable to myself, and contrary to our religion:

2 For I ought, as I have often declared, to become all things to all men, and to have that regard to your quality, which the Roman law has honoured all senators with; namely, to put my name last in the (inscription of the) Epistle, that I may not at length with uneasiness and shame be obliged to do that which it was always my inclination to do. Farewell, most respected master. Dated the fifth of the calends of July, in the fourth Consulship of Nero, and Messala.

CHAPTER XI.[edit]

ANNAEUS SENECA to PAUL Greeting.

ALL happiness to you, my dearest Paul.

2 If a person so great, and every way agreeable as you are, become not only a common, but a most intimate friend to me, how happy will be the case of Seneca!

3 You therefore, who are so eminent, and so far exalted above all, even the greatest, do not think yourself unfit to be first named in the inscription of an Epistle;

4 Lest I should suspect you intend not so much to try me, as to banter me; for you know yourself to be a Roman citizen.

5 And I could wish to be in that circumstance or station which you are, and that you were in the same that I am. Farewell, dearest Paul. Dated the tenth of the calends of April, in the Consulship of Aprianus and Capito.

CHAPTER XII.[edit]

ANNAEUS SENECA to PAUL Greeting.

ALL happiness to you, my dearest Paul. Do you not suppose I am extremely concerned and grieved that your innocence should bring you into sufferings?

2 And that all the people should suppose you (Christians) so criminal, and imagine all the misfortunes that happen to the city, to be caused by you?

3 But let us bear the charge with a patient temper, appealing for our innocence to the court above, which is the only one our hard fortune will allow us to address to, till at length our misfortunes shall end in unalterable happiness.

4 Former ages have produced (tyrants) Alexander the son of Philip, and Dionysius; ours also has produced Caius Caesar; whose inclinations were their only laws.

5 As to the frequent burnings of the city of Rome, the cause is manifest; and if a person in my mean circumstances might be allowed to speak, and one might declare these dark things without danger, every one should see the whole of the matter.

6 The Christians and Jews are indeed commonly punished for the crime of burning the city; but that impious miscreant, who delights in murders and butcheries, and disguises his villainies with lies, is appointed to, or reserved till, his proper time.

7 And as the life of every excellent person is now sacrificed instead of that one person (who is the author of the mischief), so this one shall be sacrificed for many, and be shall be devoted to be burnt with fire instead of all.

8 One hundred and thirty-two houses, and four whole squares (or islands) were burnt down in six days: the seventh put an end to the burning. I wish you all happiness.

9 Dated the fifth of the calends of April, in the Consulship of Frigius and Bassus.

CHAPTER XIII.[edit]

ANNAEUS SENECA to PAUL Greeting.

ALL happiness to you, my dearest Paul.

2 You have written many volumes in an allegorical and mystical style, and therefore such mighty matters and business being committed to you, require not to be set off with any rhetorical flourishes of speech, but only with some proper elegance.

3 I remember you often said, that many by affecting such a style do injury to their subjects, and lose the force of the matters they treat of.

4 But in this I desire you to regard me, namely, to have respect to true Latin, and to choose just words, that so you may the better manage the noble trust which is reposed in you.

5 Farewell. Dated the fifth of the nones of July, Leo and Savinus Consuls.

CHAPTER XIV.[edit]

PAUL to SENECA Greeting.

YOUR serious consideration is requited with those discoveries, which the Divine Being has granted but to few;

2 I am thereby assured that I sow the most strong seed in a fertile soil, not anything material, which is subject to corruption, but the durable word of God, which shall increase and bring forth fruit to eternity.

3 That which by your wisdom you have attained to, shall abide without decay for ever.

4 Believe that you ought to avoid the superstitions of Jews and Gentiles.

5 The things which you have in some measure arrived to, prudently make known to the emperor, his family, and to faithful friends;

6 And though your sentiments will seem disagreeable, and not be comprehended by them, seeing most of them will not regard your discourses, yet the Word of God once infused into them, will at length make them become new men, aspiring towards God.

7 Farewell Seneca, who art most dear to us. Dated on the calends of August, in the Consulship of Leo and Savinus.

REFERENCES TO THE EPISTLES OF ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE TO SENECA, WITH SENECA'S TO PAUL.[edit]

[Several very learned writers have entertained a favourable opinion of these Epistles. They are undoubtedly of high antiquity. Salmeron cites them to prove that Seneca was one of Caesar's household, referred to by Paul, Philip iv. 22, as saluting the brethren at Philippi. In Jerome's enumeration of illustrious men, he places Seneca, on account of these Epistles, amongst the ecclesiastical and holy writers of the Christian Church. Sixtus Senensis has published them in his Bibliotheque, p 89, 90; and it is from thence that the present translation is made. Baronius, Bellarmine, Dr. Cave, Spanheim, and others, contend that they are not genuine.]