CHAPTER IV. —THE APOSTOLIC FATHERS
was the companion of Paul during a considerable portion of his labors; is frequently mentioned in the book of the Acts; and has even the title of an apostle applied to him. An epistle exists, partly in Greek and partly in a Latin translation, which, though it does not contain in gremio any formal indication of its author, has been long known under the title of the Catholic Epistle of Barnabas; and it is expressly ascribed by Clemens Alexandrinus, and Origen, early in the third century, to the Barnabas of the Acts. The epistle gives no information, doctrinal, practical, or historical, of the slightest value; and contains so much that is manifestly senseless and childish, especially in allegorizing the facts of Old Testament history, and the rites of the Jewish church, that it is strange that it should ever have been regarded as the production of Barnabas. Its genuineness was at one time strenuously defended by the most eminent writers of the Church of England, such as Hammond, Bull, and Pearson. Its spuriousness was elaborately and conclusively established by Jones, in the second volume of his work on the Canon. Its genuineness is now almost universally given up, even by Episcopalians, and is scarcely maintained, so far as I am aware, by any except some German rationalists, who have a very low standard of what was to be expected in point of sense and accuracy even from apostles; and who would fain persuade men that there are just as unwarrantable and extravagant misapplications of the Old Testament in the epistles ascribed to Paul, and especially in the Epistle to the Hebrews, as in that ascribed to Barnabas. The testimonies, however, of Clemens Alexandrinus, and Origen, prove that this epistle must have existed about the middle of the second century, and perhaps earlier; and it thus, especially when viewed in connection with the commendation which these eminent men bestowed upon it, affords a proof of the little reliance that is to be placed upon the authority of the fathers in the interpretation of Scripture. It is proper to mention, that the epistle ascribed to Barnabas does not contain indications of any material deviations from the system of doctrine taught in the sacred Scriptures, and that pretty explicit testimonies have been produced from it in support of the pre-existence and divinity of Christ.
 Rennell's Proofs of Inspiration, c, iv., pp. 92-104.
 Burton and Conybeare. Vide Conybeare's Hampton Lectures, 1839, pp. 72, 73.
 Bull and Horsley.