Abbildungen der Seite

Ch. XI. In the elegant epistle to Diognetus, sometimes called Justin's, but probably not his, there are no books or writers of the New Testament expressly named: but there are texts out of the gospels of Matthew and John, or allusions and references to them, and also to the epistle to the Romans, the first and second to the Corinthians, the epistle to the Philippians, the first and second to Timothy, the first epistle of Peter, and the first of John: all which allusions are so plain, that they must be reckoned undisputed. A text of the first epistle to the Corinthians is thus cited or introduced: the apostle says,' meaning Paul. He also appears to have had a volume of gospels and apostolical epistles, which he joins with the law and the prophets, in this manner: The fear of the law is sung' or celebrated, the grace of the prophets is known, • the faith of the gospels is established, and the tradition of the apostles is kept.'

Ch. XII. Dionysius bishop of Corinth, as we learn from Eusebius, wrote seven letters to divers churches, and one to a Christian woman ; of which nothing remains, except some fragments; in which, however, we can trace references to the Acts, and some of the epistles. He speaks of the scriptures of the Lord,' which some had endeavoured to corrupt, probably meaning Marcion, whose heresy he designedly opposed in one of his letters.

Ch. XIII. Tatian, a man well skilled in human literature, composed a Harmony of the Gospels, called Diatessaron, or, Of the Four. Theodoret, of the fifth century, found two hundred copies of this work among the catholics, beside those in use among the people of his own sect. Tatian is also said to have corrected the composition of St. Paul's style; which, perhaps, may have been nothing more than some marginal notes and emendations. Jerom speaks likewise of Tatian's rejecting some of St. Paul's epistles, whilst he received that to Titus. Here is a remarkable attestation to the number of the gospels, as four only. Tatian was a Syrian ; possibly his Harmony was more common in that country than any other. This may be the reason why Theodoret found so many copies of it, and why Ephrem the Syrian, as is said, wrote a commentary upon it. A more particular account of this work of Tatian may

be seen in the 36th chapter ; where is likewise a large account of another Harmony of the four gospels, composed by Ammonius of Alexandria.

Ch. XIV. The sum of the testimony of Hegesippus, a Jew converted to the Christian faith, is this: that he has divers things expressed in the style of the gospels, and the Acts, and some other parts of the New Testament. He refers to the history, in the second chapter of St. Matthew, and recites another text of that gospel, as spoken by the Lord. Hegesippus travelled : he was at Corinth, and from thence went to Rome; and he says, that in every city,' among Christians, the same doctrine was taught, which the law, and the prophets, and the Lord, • preacheth ;' where, by the Lord,' he must mean the scriptures of the New Testament, which he looks upon as containing the very doctrine taught and preached by Jesus Christ. Moreover, he had a Hebrew gospel, supposed to be the gospel according to the Hebrews; and he says, there had been books forged by heretics, but they were such only as were called apocryphal, and were not received by catholics as of authority

Ch. XV. Melito, bishop of Sardis, in Lydia, says, in Eusebius, that when he went into • the East he procured an accurate account of the books of the Old Testament;' whence it may be argued, that there was then a volume, or collection of books, called the New Testament, containing the writings of apostles and apostolical men.

One of his works, now lost, was entitled, of the Revelation of John; so that he received that book, and probably many others, collected together in a volume, called the New Testament, as the books received by the Jews as of divine authority, were called the Old Testament.

Ch. XVI. The churches of Vienne and Lyons, in Gaul, wrote an epistle to the churches of Asia and Phrygia, containing a relation of the sufferings of their martyrs in the time of Marcus Antoninus. They express themselves in the language of St. Luke and St. John, and the Acts of the apostles, the epistles to the Romans, the Philippians, and some other epistles of St. Paul, the first of St. Peter, the first of St. John, and the Revelation ; but no book of the New Testament is expressly named: however, a text of St. John's gospel is quoted, as • spoken by • the Lord.'

Ch. XVII. Irenæus, probably a native of Asia, in his younger days acquainted with Polycarp, who was a disciple of St. John, for a while presbyter of the church of Lyons, in Gaul, and successor to Pothinus, as bishop, who, at the age of ninety, died in prison, in 177, in the time of the above-mentioned persecution of Marcus Antoninus; beside other things, composed a work against heresies, in five books, in which is a most noble testimony to the scriptures of the New Testament: for he assures us, there were four gospels received by the church, and no more, all which he has often and largely quoted, with the names of the writers; as also the book of the Acts, which he ascribes to Luke; and twelve epistles of St. Paul, most of them with the names of the churches, or persons, to whom they were sent. The epistle to Philemon is not quoted; which may be owing to its brevity, and that he had no particular occasion to make use of it. There is no plain proof that he received the epistle to the Hebrews. He has likewise quoted the first epistle of St. Peter, and the first and second of St. John, and the book of the Revelation, as St. John's, and written in the time of the emperor Domitian; but there are not any clear references to the epistles of St. James, the second of St. Peter, or the epistle of St. Jude. The reason of his not quoting the third epistle of St. John may be allowed to be íts brevity. There are in him, likewise, many expressions, testifying his great regard for these scriptures; and it has been shewn, that Irenæus quotes not Hermas, nor Clement, nor any other writer, as of authority, or with a like regard, which he manifests for the books above mentioned. At the end of the chapter it is considered upon what ground Irenæus received the writings of St. Mark and St. Luke, who were not apostles.

Ch. XVIII. Athenagoras, whose station in the church is not known, a learned man, and a polite writer, author of an Apology for the Christians, addressed, as it seems, to Marcus Antoninus and Commodus, and of a Treatise of the Resurrection, plainly appears to have made use of St. Matthew, and St. John, and several of St. Paul's epistles.

Ch. XIX. Miltiades was author of an Apology for the Christians, near the end of the reign of Marcus Antoninus, or at the beginning of the reign of Commodus, and of a Treatise against the Montanists, and also of two Treatises against the Jews and the Gentiles, now lost; which works, as Eusebius assures us, 'were monuments of his zeal for the divine oracles.'

Ch. XX. Theophilus, a learned man, of a heathen became a Christian, and was afterwards bishop of Antioch ; of which church he is sometimes reckoned the sixth, at other times the seventh, bishop. He wrote three books to Autolicus, a learned and studious heathen, still extant; beside which, Eusebius mentions a book against Marcion, another against the heresy of Hermogenes, neither of which has come down to us. We are assured by Eusebius, that in this last-mentioned work Theophilus quoted St. John's Revelation. In the three books to Autolicus, which remain, the beginning of St. John's gospel is expressly quoted, as John's, and a part of sacred scripture. He has likewise quoted texts of St. Matthew's gospel as plainly as if he had named him; he seems also to allude to some things in St. Luke's gospel; and besides, there are sufficiently plain references to the epistles of St. Paul to the Romans, first and second to the Corinthians, the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, first to Timothy, and to Titus ; with divers marks of high respect for the scriptures of the prophets, and the gospels...Jerom ascribes to the works of Theophilus a' good deal of elegance.

It ought to be observed by us, that Jerom, in one of his epistles, has quoted, as a work of Theophilus, a kind of Harmony of the four evangelists, or a compendious history of the four gospels in a continued narration. I do not think it to be his, because it is omitted by Eusebius; nor is it mentioned by Jerom in his article of Theophilus, in his Catalogue of Ecclesiastical Writers; or, if it is, he rejects it as not worthy of Theophilus, and not equal in elegance to his other writings. But then, if it is not Theophilus’s, it is the work of some other anonymous ancient, who lived before Jerom's time; consequently it deserves to be regarded, as bearing testimony to the four gospels, and the Acts of the apostles; the history of which, likewise, is there quoted or plainly referred to.

Ch. XXI. Pantænus, a man in great reputation for learning, was president of the catechetical school at Alexandria : . for,' as Eusebius says, in his account of this person, there had been • from ancient time erected among them a school of sacred learning, which remains to this day; and we have understood, that it has been wont to be furnished with men eminent for their elo' quence, and the study of divine things;' and what follows; for I choose rather to refer my readers to the chapter itself, than transcribe any more here.

num elegantiâ et phrasi non videntur congruere. .. De V. I.

a ... et contra hæresim Hermogenis liber unus, et alii breves elegantesque tractatus, ad ædificationein ecclesiæ pertinentes. Legi sub nomine ejus in evangelium, et in proverbia Salomonis conmentarios, qui mihi cum superiorum volumi

cap. 25.

See the chapter of Theophilus, vol, i. p. 383. s See betoie, note ®

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Ch. XXII. Clement, a presbyter, was president of the catechetical school of Alexandria, and is supposed to have been immediate successor of Pantænus before mentioned ; a very learned man, and as Eusebius's expression is, ' an excellent master of the Christian philosophy: He is one of those, who have borne a noble testimony to the scriptures of the New Testament, in their writings: the sum of which is: He assures us, that there were four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; and has taken notice of their order, and particularly of the place and occasion of writing St. Mark's gospel. He likewise often quotes the Acts of the apostles, written by St. Luke. He receives and quotes, frequently and expressly, the fourteen epistles of St. Paul, excepting only that to Philemon, which he has no where mentioned that we know of; which omission may be well supposed owing to no other reason, but the brevity of the epistle, and his having no occasion to quote it. He also quotes the first epistle of Peter, and the first of St. John, and seems to have known of another, if not two other epistles of that apostle, though they are not quoted. He also receives and quotes the epistle of St. Jude, and the book of the Revelation as St. John's. But we have not found in him any quotations of the epistle of St. James, or the second of St. Peter, nor any evidences, that these were received by him.

He expresseth the profoundest respect for the scriptures ; of which he speaks with these several divisions, shewing that there were collections of the gospels, and apostolical epistles : • There is a harmony,' he says, between the law and the prophets, the apostles and the gospel ; : one God is preached by the law, the prophets, and the gospel: we should do those things, ! which the apostle and the gospel command; there are two ways spoken of by the gospel, and : the apostles, and by all the prophets.'

As Clement quotes many books, we have particularly considered, whether he quotes any, beside those already mentioned, as sacred and of authority: and we have carefully observed his quotations, both of such writers as are called ecclesiastical, Barnabas, Clement of Rome, and Hermas ; and likewise of such writings as are called apocryphal

, the gospels according to the Hebrews and according to the Egyptians, the Preaching of Peter, and some others; and we are of opinion, it has been shewn that there is no good reason to think, that Clement received as scripture, in the highest sense of that word, any Christian writings beside those now commonly received by us.

Ch. XXIII. Polycrates was bishop of Ephesus. In the little that remains of him are references to the gospels of St. Matthew and St. John, and the Acts : and he speaks of the holy • scriptures' as the rule of faith.

Ch. XXIV. Heraclitus, and several other writers, near the end of the second century.

Heraclitus, in the reign of Commodus and Severus, wrote a commentary upon the apostle, meaning Paul ; but we do not know upon how many of his epistles. Beside him, here are five other writers expressly named; Maximus, Candidus, Appion, Sextus, and Arabianus, who had published works against heretics, or in defence of some doctrine of the Christian religion ; whose right faith appeared by the interpretations of the divine scripture given in their works,” as Eusebius says.

Ch. XXV. Hermias, whose character is not known, has left a short and elegant discourse in the Greek language, entitled, A Derision of the Gentile Philosophers; in which he expressly quotes the blessed apostle Paul's [first] epistle to the Corinthians.

Ch. XXVI. Serapion, computed the eighth bishop of the church of Antioch, wrote divers treatises and letters, particularly a letter to the church of Rhossus in Cilicia, concerning the · gospel according to Peter;' of which letter a valuable fragment remains, shewing the falsities of that pretended gospel, and expressing great regard for Peter and the other apostles of Christ, and their genuine writings.

Ch. XXVII. Tertullian, a learned man, presbyter of Carthage in Africa, afterwards a Montanist, flourished in the latter part of the second, or in the beginning of the third century. He receives and quotes often the four gospels, the Acts of the apostles written by Luke, the importance of which book he takes particular notice of. He received thirteen epistles of the apostle Paul: that to the Hebrews he ascribes to Barnabas. He likewise quotes the first epistle of St. Peter, the first of St. John, the epistle of St. Jude, and the book of the Revelation as written by John the apostle. But there appear not in him any quotations of the epistle of St. James, the second of St. Peter, or the second and third of St. John. He asserts the integrity, and the authority or inspiration of the scriptures received by him, even the law and the prophets, with the evangelie



• and apostolic scriptures,' or, ' the words of the prophets, gospels, and apostles,' from which we are to learn the faith ; and he takes little notice of any books, which are not in our present canon.

Ch. XXVIII. Several writers of the second century, whose works are lost.

Quadratus and Aristides, both supposed to be of the country of Greece, the latter particu. larly styled an Athenian philosopher, who, about the year 126, presented Apologies for the Christian religion to the emperor Adrian ; Soter, bishop of Rome, about the year 164 ; Pinytus, bishop of Gnossus, in Crete; Philip, bishop of Gortyna, in the same island ; Palmas, bishop of Amastris, in Pontus, all about the year 170; Musanus, who, about 176, wrote against the Encratites; Modestus, who, about the same time, wrote an elaborate work against Marcion; Claudius Apollinaris, bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia, about the year 176, who wrote an apology addressed to Marcus Antoninus, and five books against the Gentiles ; Rhodon and others, who by their learning and labours edified the churches of Christ, and defended the Christian religion against Jews and heathens, and asserted its purity against the innovations of error, then beginning to be introduced : here also is an account of Bardesanes the Syrian, and Symmachus an Ebionite, who made a new version of the Hebrew scriptures of the Old Testament into Greek.

Ch. XXIX. Here is an account of supposititious writings of the second century.

1. • The Acts of Paul and Thecla ;' in which are divers allusions and references to the gospel of St. Matthew, the Acts of the apostles, and some of St. Paul's epistles.

2. • The Sibylline Verses or Oracles, in eight books.' They may be justly reckoned a confirmation of our gospels, and satisfy us that they were the books used by Christian people, as containing an authentic history of Jesus Christ, his birth, preaching, miracles, death, and resurrection. The author has borrowed little from the epistles of the New Testament; but he may be supposed indebted to the Revelation for several things; and there seems to be a reference to the book of the Acts.

3. • The Testaments of the twelve Patriarchs;' the author of which, in an indirect manner, and an assumed prophetical style, bears a large testimony to the Christian Religion, to the facts, principles, and books of the New Testament; particularly (though by allusion, and covertly) to the gospels of St. Matthew, St. Luke, St. John, the Acts of the apostles, and St. Paul's epistles. The

writer was probably a Jewish believer, and may be supposed to be a Nazarene Christian.

4. • The Recognitions, and Clementine Homilies,' now interpolated, especially the former, were originally, as it seems; composed by an Ebionite, here being some marks of ill-will to the apostle Paul. They appear to have borrowed divers things from the gospels and the Acts.

Here end the two first volumes of former editions, containing a history of the catholic writers, of the first two centuries, and a few others; some of them companions and disciples of the apostles, others in the next succession to them, and others afterwards. It cannot be thought that I have room to enlarge. Every one is able to recollect, that we have seen an ample testimony to most of the books of the New Testament now received by us ; their antiquity and genuineness, as being written by those whose names they bear; and their authority, as written by inspired men, and containing an authentic account of Jesus Christ, and the doctrine taught by himself and his apostles; the rule of faith, worship, and manners, to Christian people, who hope for the salvation promised by their Lord and Master.

We have seen a plain and express testimony to the four gospels, and the several writers of them by name, to the Acts of the apostles written by Luke, one of the four evangelists, to St. Paul's epistles, all expressly mentioned, except the short epistle to Philemon, one epistle of Peter, and one epistle of John, and the book of the Revelation ; and some notice of a second epistle of John, and the epistle of Jude.

Though many works of the primitive times of Christianity have not come down to us, we have seen and examined a large number of works of learned Christian writers, in Palestine, Syria, the countries of Asia Minor, Egypt, and that part of Africa that used the Latin tongue, and in Crete Greece, Italy, and Gaul; all in the space of about an hundred and fifty years after the writing of the first book of the New Testament. In the remaining works of Irenæus, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian (though some works of each of them are lost) there are perhaps,

• It is generally supposed, that St. Paul's two epistles to the Thessalonians were written in the year of our Lord 52; and that they are the first written of all his epistles, which we have; and that they were written before the catholic epistles,

It appears to me also very probable, that none of the gospels were written until after St. Paul's two epistles to the Thessalonians.

more and larger quotations of the small volume of the New Testament, than of all the works of Cicero, though of so uncommon excellence for thought and style, in the writers of all characters for several ages; insomuch that we have reason to think a late learned and judicious d.vine * did not exaggerate beyond the truth, when he said, ' that the facts upon which the Christian religion • is founded have a stronger proof than any facts at such a distance of time, and that the books · which convey them down to us may be proved to be uncorrupted and authentic, with greater • strength than any other writings of equal antiquity.

Ch. XXX. Marcus Minucius Felix, by some thought a native of Africa, a pleader of good repute at Rome, has left us an excellent defence of the Christian religion, written in the form of a dialogue; a monument of the author's ingenuity, learning, and eloquence. There are in it references and allusions to several books of the New Testament; but no book is expressly named.

Ch. XXXI. Apollonius, whose station in life is not known, wrote a large work against the Montanists. By Eusebius we are assured, that he quoted the book of the Revelation. In the fragments of his work that remain, we perceive a reference or two to the gospel of St. Matthew : and it appears, that the apostles of Christ, and their writings, were in the highest esteem ; and the books called by Christians' scripture,' in a strict and peculiar sense, were well known among them, and were considered as the rule of their faith and practice.

Ch. XXXII. Caius, a learned man, generally supposed a presbyter of Rome, had a dispute or conference in that city with Proculus a Montanist, which he afterwards published. Of that work some fragments are preserved in Eusebius;.whereby we perceive, that Caius received but thirteen epistles of the apostle Paul, and rejected the book of the Revelation, and as some learned men think, ascribed it to Cerinthus.

In the same chapter is an account of a work ascribed by some to Caius, which we rather think to be anonymous: it was written against the heresy of Artemon. Here the divine scrip• tures,' of the New Testament, are manifestly distinguished by the author from the writings of • the brethren,' or the most eminent and orthodox writers of the church after the apostles. It appears likewise, that the men whom he opposed appealed to the writings of the apostles for the truth of their opinions, and did not presume to assert any thing contrary to the doctrine of the apostles. Here likewise the followers of Artemon are vindicated from the charge of corrupting the scriptures.

Ch. XXXIII. Asterius Urbanus, author of a Treatise against the Montanists in three books. In the extracts of his work preserved in Eusebius there are marks of a peculiar respect for the scriptures, and divers incontestable references to the Acts of the apostles: not to mention other things.

Ch. XXXIV. Alexander, chosen bishop of Jerusalem in 212, made two confessions at least, before heathen magistrates, and died in prison at Cæsarea, in the time of the emperor Decius, in 250 or 252. He wrote several letters, one to the church of Antioch. He erected a library at Jerusalem, and was a man of singular meekness. His merit and usefulness were very conspicuous : and it is to his honour, that he was a friend and favourer of Origen.

Ch. XXXV. Hippolytus, by some said to have been bishop of Portus Romanus in Italy, though indeed the place of his episcopate is not certainly known. He was a very learned man, and published many books, and wrote some commentaries upon the scriptures. One of his books was Against all Heresies, to his own time: another was entitled, of the Revelation. He seems not to have received the epistle to the Hebrews as Paul's. fragments are quotations of the four gospels, the Acts, some of Paul's epistles, and the Revelation.

Ch. XXXVI. Ammonius of Alexandria, probably presbyter in that church, composed a Harmony of the four gospels, of which a particular account is given in this chapter.

Ch. XXXVII. Julius Africanus, an inhabitant of Palestine, author of a Chronological work in five books. He was a very learned man, and well acquainted with Origen: in a letter of his to Aristides is an uncommon attestation to the two gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke, and their several genealogies.

Ch. XXXVIII. Origen was born in Egypt in the year 184 or 185, and died in the sixtyninth or seventieth year of his age, in the year of Christ 253: for a while he was catechist at

· Dr. Jeremiah Hunt. See the Sermon uponi occasion of his death, at the latter part of the work.

« ZurückWeiter »