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as is supposed, upon account of the great eminence of those two cities. The epistle to the Ephesians follows next, because Ephesus was the chief city of Asia, strictly so called. Afterwards follow the epistles to the Philippians, the Colossians, and the Thessalonians. But how to account for this order, according to the method we here observe, I do not well know. Colosse indeed might be reckoned a city of inferior rank, and Philippi was a Roman colony. But Thessalonica was the chief city of Macedonia, in which Philippi stood. And if the epistles were disposed according to the dignity of places, it is not easy to conceive why the two epistles to the Thessalonians were placed after those to the Philippians, and the Colossians. So that in this method, as seems to me, the order of the epistles is made out in but a lame and imperfect

And there may be reason to apprehend that the brevity of the two epistles to the Thessalonians, especially of the second, procured them this situation, though they are the first written epistles of our apostle, and indeed the first written of all the sacred scriptures of the New Testament.

Among the epistles to particular persons, those to Timothy have the precedence, as he was a favourite disciple of St. Paul, and those epistles are the largest and fullest. The epistle to Titus comes next, as he was an evangelist. And that to Philemon is last, as he was supposed by many to be only a private Christian. Undoubtedly Titus was a person of greater eminence, and in a higher station than Philemon. Moreover, by many the design of that epistle was thought to be of no great importance.

The epistle to the Hebrews is fitly enough placed after the rest, because for a while it was doubted of, as before said. I likewise think it to be the last written of all St. Paul's epistles.

5. Some learned men, who have examined the chronology of St. Paul's epistles, have proposed, that they should be placed in our bibles, according to the order of time. Dr. Wall, at the end of the preface to his critical notes upon the New Testament, has an argument to this purpose.

But first, it will be difficult to alter the order which has been so long established in all editions of the original Greek, and in all versions. Secondly, The order of their times has not been yet settled. Many, I suppose, are of opinion, that Dr. Wall's order is not right. Must the order be altered again and again, to suit every one's fancy? That would create a very troublesome and disagreeable confusion.

I think that the knowledge of the order in which St. Paul's epistles were written, must be very entertaining and useful: and I have done what is in my power to find it out. But I am far from desiring that they should be placed, and bound up together, according to my calculations. Before an attempt of that kind is made, the order of time should be settled, and determined to the general satisfaction of all learned and inquisitive men. And judicious Christians, who have studied the chronological order of the writings of the New Testament, may have an advantage by it, though the books are continued in their present order.

6. I say nothing here concerning the order of the seven catholic epistles, because I have spoken to it sufficiently in a preceding chapter.

7. Finally, the book of the Revelation is now placed the last of all, and has been generally so placed in former times, and very fitly, as • Mill says in his observations upon the order of the books of the New Testament, • it being prophetical of things to be hereafter fulfilled, and there'fore of a different kind from the rest: and having also near the end that remarkable clause, ch. *xxii. 18, 19, containing a caution against adding to, or taking from it: which may be applied • to all the books of scripture.' To which might be added, that there are not wanting divers reasons to think it is the last written of all the books of the New Testament.

· See this Vol. p. 367.

plenda ; ac denique insignem illam babet in calce clausulam Agmen vero Novi Foederis librorum claudit Apocalypsis; de non addendo quidpiam isti prophetiæ, vel ab eâ detrabenquæ cum circa diversum plane a reliquis

versetur argumentum, do : quâ etiam ad omnes N. T. libros accommodatâ, canonem atque minus apte inter Evangelia et Epistolas media fuisset universum veluti obsignare conyenientissimum videbatur. Mill. interposita, commodissime in fine omnium collocata fuit ; quo. Proleg. num. 239. niam tamquam liber propheticus futura respicit adhuc im




That the Books of the New Testament, consisting of a Collection of sacred Writings, in two Parts, one called Gospel

, or Evangelicon, the other Epistles, or Apostle, or Apostles, or Apostolicon, wore early known, read, and made use of by Christians.


Hat the gospels, the Acts, and the epistles of the New Testament, or divers of those epistles, were soon well known, much read, and collected together, may be argued from internal marks and characters, and from testimony.

I. Internal marks and characters are such as these.

1. It is obvious from the nature of the thing. Who composes and publishes any works without desiting to have them perused ? It is very likely, therefore, that the authors of the books of the New Testament, who were at the pains of writing histories, or epistles, would take care that they should be known. The same zeal that prompted any man to write, would induce him to provide for the publication. The importance of the subject would justify a concern to spread the work. • All must allow, that there never were, and that there cannot be, any writings, containing more important facts and principles. To suppose that any of these writers were indifferent about the success and acceptance of what they had composed, is very absurd and unreasonable.

2. All the writings, of which the New Testament consists, were addressed to some, who would set a great value on them, and would willingly recommend them to others. All the epistles, and the Revelation, as is manifest, are sent to Christian societies, or particular persons. St. Luke's gospel, and the Acts, were sent to the most excellent, or most noble Theophilus. St. John intended his gospel for some whom he had in his eye. As appears from ch. xx. 30, 31, and from ch. xxi. 24, 25. And it is very likely, that St. Matthew and St. Mark also wrote for some, who would gladly receive, and highly value their books, and get them copied for the use and satisfaction of others.

3. In several of the books of the New Testament directions are given, which would tend to make them well known. St. Paul at the end of his first epistle to the Thessalonians, one of his first written epistles, enjoins, “ that it should be read to all the holy brethren,” i Thess. v. 27. The same method, undoubtedly, was observed with regard to the second epistle, sent to the same Thessalonians, and written not long after. Probably, the same practice obtained in all the Christian churches, to which St. Paul afterwards sent any epistle. And the Christian people of other churches, beside those who had letters sent to them, would be desirous to see the epistles of their great apostle, by whom they had been converted, and would therefore get them transcribed for their own use. At the end of the epistle to the Colossians, ch. iv. 16. he directs : “ And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read in the church of the Laodiceans, and that ye read the epistle from Laodicea :” meaning, probably, the epistle to the Ephesians, which was to come round to Colosse from Ephesus, by the way of Laodicea. The apostle therefore was willing, and even desirous, that his epistles should be read by others, beside those to whom they were sent, for the sake of general edification. And can it be questioned, whether other Gentile churches in these parts, all which were of his own planting, would not thankfully embrace the encouragement hereby given them to look into his epistles, and to get them transcribed, and read in their assemblies also?

4. St. Peter writes to this purpose in his second epistle, which we may suppose to have been written in the year 61. “ And account, that the long-suffering of the Lord is salvation, even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given to him, has written unto you. As also in all his epistles, speaking of these things, in which there are some things hard to be understood. Which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” 2 Pet. iii. 15, 16. Here are several things to be observed. First, Peter speaks of epistles of Paul sent to the

same Christians, to whom himself

was writing. Secondly, he speaks of other epistles of Paul : as also in all his epistles. Thirdly, Peter therefore had a knowledge of several epistles of Paul, sent. to the Christians of those countries, and likewise of divers others, which he intends in the phrase “all his epistles.” Fourthly, the Christians, to whom Peter writes, were well acquainted with the epistles, which Paul had written to them, and with the rest of his epistles, or divers of them. Fifthly, it is supposed, and implied, that all, or at least many of Paul's epistles, were well known and much read. For Peter speaks of some, whom he calls, unlearned, and unstable, who wrested Paul's epistles, or some things in them, to their own destruction. And very probably there were other readers of the same epistles, who improved them to their edification, and salvation.

It seems to me, that what Peter says here, affords reason to think, that at the time of writing this epistle, Paul's epistles (most, or all of them) were well known among Christians, and that Peter had good evidence of it.

When Peter says, “as our beloved brother Paul has written unto you: some learned men, Millo in particular, have supposed, that thereby Peter intended the epistle to the Hebrews. But I think without reason, as Mr. Hallet • has largely shewn. · St. Peter's epistles are addressed to " the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” It is not unlikely, therefore, that St. Peter intends Paul's epistles to the Galatians, and the Ephesians, and the Colossians, all situated in those countries : and likewise the two epistles to Timothy, who resided much at Ephesus, and must have received the epistles written to him, when in that city, and the epistle to Philemon, who was of Colosse. And in the expression, “ all his epistles,” some others must be intended, and included: such as the epistles to the Thessalonians, the Corinthians, Romans, Philippians, Titus : so many, however, as the apostle Peter was then acquainted with. Mill has observed passages in the first epistle to the Thessalonians, and in the epistle to the Romans, and in that to the Philippians: in which are “ some of those things hard to be understood,” to which St. Peter may be supposed to have an eye.

These marks and characters there are in the books of the New Testament, which may induce us to believe, that they were soon dispersed among Christians, and well known to them.

II. This is also manifest from testimony.

1. The accounts, which we find in the ancients, concerning the occasions of the several gospels, lead us to think, that they were soon spread abroad after they were written. Matthew is said to have written his gospel at the request of the believers in Judea : and Mark his, at the desire of the Christians at Rome, for the assistance of their memories. When therefore those gospels had been written, divers copies would be soon taken, that the ends, for which they had been written, might be answered. The several defective and imperfect accounts, which had been published of our Lord's words and works, induced St. Luke to write. And when his fuller and exacter account was published, it must have been attended to, and would be transcribed, and communicated to many. Before St. John wrote, he had seen the other three gospels. And the Christians in Asia, where he resided, were acquainted with them. Therefore they were well known, and joined together. And when his gospel was written, undoubtedly it was added to them, and they were all joined togetlrer in one volume, for general use.

That the first three gospels were well known in the world, before St. John wrote, is supposed by Eusebius of Cæsarea, who was well acquainted with the writings of Christians before his time. These are the words of that eminent man. Having spoken of St. Matthew's gospel, he goes on : • And' when Mark and Luke had published the gospels according to them, it is said that John, ' who all this while had preached by word of mouth, was induced to write for this reason.

The • three first written gospels being now delivered to all men, and to John himself, it is said, that • he approved them.' And what follows. Before this last evangelist wrote, the “ other three gospels had been delivered unto all men, and to John.” He therefore had seen them before, and they were in the hands of many people.

What has been now said of the gospels, is applicable, in a great measure, to the Acts, and the epistles of the New Testament: as may be perceived by all, without my enlarging any farther.

2. Ignatius, who was honoured with the crown of martyrdom about the year 107, does, in his epistles, use expressions, denoting two codes, or collections, one of gospels, the other of epistles of apostles. Such volumes there were then, and may have been some good while before.

• Prolegom. num. 86.

+ See nis introduction to the epistle to the Hebrews, p. 21, &c.

• Proleg. num. 5.
a Ib. num. 28.
See Vol. ii. p. 368, 369.

e Ib. num. 70.

I shall here remind my readers of a few other like instances. In the epistle to Diognetus, certainly very ancient, and by some ascribed to Justin Martyr, are these expressions : • The fear • of the Lord is celebrated, and the grace of the prophets is known, the faith of the gospel • is established, and the tradition of the apostles is kept. By these last expressions denoting, as is reasonable to think, a volume of the gospels, and another of epistles of apostles. Irenæus speaks of the evangelic and apostolic writings in a passage, which will be alleged presently. Tertullian speaks of the sayings of the prophets, the gospels, and the apostles.' And in another place says: “ This I perceive both in the gospels, and the apostles.' 'I go no lower, my intention at present being only to allege a few writers of the earliest times.

3. As before shewn* from Eusebius, they who in the reign of Trajan, about the year 112, travelled abroad to teach the Christian religion in remote countries, ' took with them the scrip. • tures of the divine gospels.' Nor can there be any reason to doubt, that our ecclesiastical historian here speaks of the four gospels, so well known in his own time.

4. By Justin Martyr, about the year 140, in his account of the Christian worship, which is in his apology to the emperor and senate of Rome, the whole world was assured, that the gospels, which he calls Memoirs of the apostles, and their companions, were publicly read in the assemblies of Christians every Lord's day.

Certainly, the gospels were then well known, and had been so for some while before.

5. Tatian, who flourished some time before and after the year 170, composed a harmony of the four gospels. We have full assurance of it. Is not this sufficient evidence, that the gospels were then, and had been for a good whilė, generally known, and in common use? And does it not also afford reason to believe, that it was then, and had been for some while, an established, or generally received opinion among Christians, that there were four, and no more than four authentic memoirs or histories of Jesus Christ?

6. I forbear to allege any thing from Clement of Alexandria, Irenæus, or Tertullian, for shewing the notoriety of the books of the New Testament in early times, because I now insist only upon writers of the highest antiquity. But I shall take notice of some things, which we have in the accounts of the heresies of the second century,

However, that this argument may not be too prolix, I entirely pass by Basilides.

7. Valentinus is placed by Cave" as flourishing about the year 120. By Basnage' he is placed at the year 124. By Mill * between 123, and 127. And by Irenæus we are assured, that il the Valentinians endeavoured to support their opinions from texts of the evangelic and apostolic scriptures, or of the gospels and apostles, that is, both parts of the New Testament, and that they argued especially from the gospel according to John.'

And Tertullian allows, that" Valentinus used the books of the New Testament entire, without altering them, as Marcion did.

Mr. Wetstein says, theo Valentinians rejected the Acts of the apostles. And he thinks this appears from Irenæus. But to me it appears manifest from Irenæus, that they received the Acts. For in this confutation of them, in his third book against heresies, he argues against them largely, first from the gospels, then from the book of the Acts, and lastly from the epistles of apostles. And Massuet, the learned Benedictine editor of Irenæus, allows, that 9 according to that ancient writer, the Valentinians did not reject any books of the New Testament.

d Ibid.

· See Vol. i. p. 322, 323, and 324. and this Vol. p. 100, suarum, ex ipso detegentur, nihil recte dicentes. Id. l. 3. 101, 102. b See Vol. i. p. 351.

cap. xi. n. 7. p. 190. • Compendiis paucorum verborum, quot attinguntur edicta. Alius manu scripturas, alius sensus expositione intervertit. Prophetarum, evangeliorum, Apostolorum : De Oratione cap. Neque enim si Valentinus integro instrumento uti videtur, 9. p. 125. C. quoted Vol. i. p. 432.

non callidiore ingenio, quam Marcion, manus intulit veriSee Vol. i. p. 336, and this Vol. p. 102.

tati. Marcion enim exerte et palam machærâ, non stylo, I See Vol. i. p. 345, and this Vol. p. 102.

usus est; quoniam ad materiam suam cædem scripturarum 8 See Vol. i. p. 354, 505, and this Vol. p. 103.

confecit. Valentinus autem pepercit ; quoniam non ad niah Hist. Lit. p. 50. i Ann. 124. num. vii.

teriam scripturas, sed materiam ad scripturas, excogitavit. De k Proleg. num. 265.

Præse. Hær. cap. 38. p. 246. 1 Και ου μονον εκ των ευαγγελικων, και των αποφολικων ° Acta Apostolorum rejecerunt Valentiniani. Quod constat τειρωνται τας αποδειξεις ποιεισθαι. Iren. 1. i. c. 3. η.. 6. p. 17. ex Irenæo. Hær. iii. 2. Wetsten. N. T. tom. ii. p. 455.

• Hi autem qui a Valentino sunt, eo quod est secundum ” Vid. Iren. contr. Hær. l. 3. cap. xi. xii, Joannem plenissime utentes, ad ostensionem conjugationum 9 At ipsi Valentino nihil simile usquam adscribit Irenæus.


Irenæus, as we have just seen, says, that the Valentinians endeavoured to support their opinioit's by the evangelic and apostolic scriptures. The Acts were included in this second volume of the New Testament, according to the method of the ancient Christians.

8. Heracleon, a learned Valentinian, is supposed by. Grabe to have been contemporary with his master, Valentinus, and to have appeared about the year 123. However, he might continue a good while after that. Basnage speaks of him at the year 125.

speaks of him at the year 125. And Cave placeth him at 126. They who are so pleased, may recollect what was said of his age - formerly.

Heracleon seems to have written commentaries upon several parts of the New Testament. Clement of Alexandria having quoted the words of Matt. x. 32, or Luke xii. 8, and of Luke xii. 11, 12, says: · Heracleon explaining this place has these very words, which I need not transcribe at present, though it be a valuable passage. There is in Clement another short passage of Heracleon's commentary upon St. Luke.

Origen, in his commentary upon St. John's gospel, often quotes Heracleon. The passages of Heracleon's commentary upon that gospel, with Origen’s remarks, are collected by . Grabe. And from him they have been placed by Massuet in his appendix to Irenæus. The passages of Heracleon, quoted by Origen, are above forty in number, and some of them long.

Heracleon's commentaries upon the gospels of St. Luke and St. John, are an early proof of the respect shewn to the books of the New Testament. And it may be reasonable to think, that others beside Heracleon, both catholics and heretics, published about the same time commentaries upon some of the books of the New Testament.

Origen has at once given us Heracleon's observations upon Matt. viii. 12, and Is. i. 2.

Heracleon likewisę received St. Paul and his writings. For he quotes as his the beginning of the twelfth chapter of the epistle to the Romans. Moreover Origen * has given us Heracleon's interpretation of i Cor. xv. 53, 54.

I might add here some other things. But this is sufficient to shew that in the very early days of Christianity, the books of the New Testament were well known, much used, and greatly respected.

9. Marcion about the year 138, placed by some " sooner, in 127, or 130, had, and probably in imitation of other Christians, a "gospel, and an apostle, or an evangelicon, and apostolicon.

In the former, as is generally said, was St. Luke's gospel only, and that curtailed. But Mr. Lampe says, that 'Marcion did not reject the other gospels, though he preferred St. Luke's. This he infers from a passage in Tertullian, which seems to shew that Marcion did not reject St. Matthew's gospel.

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Imo tum loco mox citato, tum lib. I. cap. viii, et ix. et alibi Marcion. sect. 2. p. 54. Basil. 1674. p. 821. D. T. I. Bened. passim, satis significat, Valentinianos sibi coævos sic canonem Vid. et Epiph. H. 42. n. ix. scripturarum novo Evangelio auxisse, ut nihil quidquam, • Et super hæc, id quod est secundum Lucam Evangelium nullum librum integrum, nullam ejusdem partem, (quod circumcidens. Iren. 1. 1. cap. 27. 2. al. cap. 29. Marcioni non semel exprobrat) ab eo abjecissent; sed ' vel Nam ex iis Commentatoribus, quos habemus, Lucam parabolas Dominicas, vel dictiones Propheticas, aut sermones videtur. Marcion elegisse, quem cæderet. Tertull. adv. Marc. Apostolicas,' ad hypothesim suam aptare conatos, calunniam 1. 4. cap. 2. p. 503. Vid. et Epiph. Hær. 42. n. ix. intulisse Scripturis. Massuet. Diss. i. num. ix. p. xvii.

P Verum hinc quoque plus elicitur, quam voluit Marcion. Spicil. T. I. p. 62. T. II. p. 69. et 80.

Non enim asserere Marcion ausus est, Evangelia, quæ extra b Ann. 125. num. iii.

Lucam habemus, esse conficta et falso Evangelistis supposita. d Vol. i. p. 410. note

Nemo Patrum antiquiorum hujus criminis Marcionem accu• Τατον εξηγεμενος τον τοπον Ηρακλεων. -XOTO DEGLY savit. ' Id tantum voluit, Lucæ Evangelium, ductu Pauli conφησιν.- -Strom. I. 4. p. 502. A--D.

scriptum, reliquis Evangeliis præferendum esse. -Clarissima Vid. Eclog. Proph. ap. Cl. Al. p. 804. D. et Grabe Spic. hæc esse puto. Et quod prætensionem interpolationis attinet, T. II. p. 85. 8. Spic. T. II. p. 85-117.

hujus insigne statim cap. 7, [lib. 1. contr. Marc.] exemplum - Origen. Comm. in Joan. T. II. p:

256. C. Huet.

affertur: * Cæterum ei loco et illuminationis opere secundum -καθ' ο και ο αποςολος διδασκει, λεγων, λογικης prædicationem occurrentibus Christo, jam cum Prophetam λατρειαν την τοιαυτην θεοσεβειαν. Αp. Orig. ib. p. 217. E. et incipimus agnoscere, ostendentem in primo ingressu venisse Grabe Spic. p. 101.


se, non ut Legem et Prophetas dissolveret, sed ut potius ad* Ap. Orig. ib. p. 255. D. et Grabe.

impleret. Hoc enim Marcion, ut additum erasit. Cum enim | Vid. Pagi Ann. 144. n. iii. et Asseman. Bib. Or. T. I. hæc verba Matthæi v. 17, inveniantur, hinc inferimus, Mar. p. 389 note (4.)

cionem Evangelium Matthæi non simpliciter negasse, sed m Vid. Cav. H. L. p. 54. &c. S. Basnag. ann. 131. ii. quæcumque erroribus ejus non patrocinabantur, pro lubitu -v. 133. iv. Mill. Prol. num. 306, 307.

erasisse. Atque ita proculdubio etiam cum reliquis Evange* Adamant. Απο ποιων γραφων δειξαι ταυτα επαγγελλη; listis egit. Lampe Proleg. ad Joan. Evang: 1. 2. cap. 1. n. iv. Μarc. Aσο το ευαγγελια και τα αποτολέ. Dial. contr. p. 136, 137.

p. 110.

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