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I shall add another from Isidore of Pelusium, where he says: * Take the gospel (or the evangelicon] of Marcion, and you will presently see at the very beginning a proof of their impudence. For they have left out our Lord's genealogy from David and Abraham. And if you proceed a little farther, you will see another instance of their wickedness, in altering our Lord's words. “ I came not,” says he,“ to destroy the law or the prophets.” But they have • made it thus: “ Think ye, that I came to fulfil the law or the prophets ? I am come to destroy, • not to fulfil.” Matt. v. 17.
It might be also argued from the dialogue against the Marcionites, that they used St. Matthew's gospel. But I forbear to allege any places in particular.
So that it may be reckoned probable, that Marcion did not reject any of the four gospels. But undoubtedly he made alterations in them, agreeable to his own particular opinion, under a pretence that they had been corrupted by some before his time.
Perhaps · Marcion filled up St. Luke's gospel out of the rest, taking from them such things as suited his purpose. Tertullian says, that his gospel, or evangelicon, had no title. That may have been the reason of it. And we can hence conclude, that in very ancient times, among the catholics, the four gospels were entitled, and inscribed, with the names of the several evan-gelists. Which has been denied, or doubted of by some.
Marcion had also an apostolicon. In this were ten epistles only of St. Paul, and those diminished, at least some of them. Their order according to him, as we are informed by
Epiphanius, was this: the epistle to the Galatians, the first and second to the Corinthians, to the Romans, the first and second to the Thessalonians, to the Ephesians, the Colossians, Philemon, the Philippians.
He received not any other epistles of St. Paul. It is supposed likewise, that he rejected the catholic epistles, and the Revelation. Whether he received the Acts of the apostles, I cannot say certainly: though 8 some learned men think he did not receive them. But then it should be observed by us, that the Marcionite apostolicon was reckoned very defective by the catholic Christians.
And it may be inferred from the accounts which we have in the best writers of the most early ages, that Marcion was the most arbitrary, and most licentious of all the ancient heretics, in his judgment concerning the scriptures that should be received, and in his manner of treating such as were received by him. So that his opinion can Be no prejudice to the genuineness, or the notoriety of any of those books of the New Testament, which were received by the catholics, and indeed by most heretics likewise. I shall place below 'a remarkable passage of Irenæus, where he says: Marcion and his followers curtail the scriptures with great assurance, rejecting * some entirely, and diminishing the gospel according to Luke, and the epistles of Paul, affirming • those parts of them alone to be genuine which they have preserved. All others, who are
puffed up with the science falsely so called, receive the scriptures, whilst they pervert them by • wrong interpretations."
In another place he says, ' that Marcion alone had openly dared to curtail the scriptures.”
• Ει προϊσχεται και της Μαρκιωνος συνηγορος βλασφημίας, το fidem repromittat de plenitudine tituli, et professione debitas παρ' εκείνοις ονομαζομενον ευαγγελιoν λαβων αναγνωθι, και auctoris. Contr. Marc. I. 4. cap. 2. ευρησεις ευθυς εν προοιμιω την ατοπιαν. Αυτην γαρ την κατα
e Vid. Mill. Prol. num. 347. γεσαν επι Χριςον απο Δαξιδ και Αζρααμ γενεαλογιαν απετε- f Hær. 42, num. ix. et alibi. phoey. Και μικρον ύσερον προίαν αλλης οψει κακονοιαν. Αμει- 6 Acta Apostolorum rejecerunt Marcionitæ. Tertuloψαντες γαρ την τε κυριε φωνην, Ουκ ήλθον, λεγοντος, καταλυ- lianus adv. Marcionem liv. V. cap. 2. Si ex hoc congruunt σαι, τον νόμον, η τες προφητας, εποιησαν: Δοκειτε, ότι ήλθον Paulo Apostolorum Acta, cur ea respuatis, jam apparet.'.' πληρωσαι τον νομον, η τες προφητας και Ηλθον καταλύσαι, αλλ' Wetst. N. T. tom. II. p. 455. #. aanpwoai. Isid. Pel. I. i. ep. 371.
Προενεγκε το Αποστολικον σε, ει και τα μαλιςα περικεκομ b Vid. Tertull. adv. Marcion. l. 4. cap. 4.
MEYOY E56. Dialog. adv. Marcion: sect: i. p. 8. Basil. p. 806. • Occurrit primo loco Marcion et Marcionitæ, qui corru- T. I. Bened. perunt libros N. T. resectis omnibus iis, quæ Judaïcæ religioni i Unde et Marcion, et qui ab eo sunt, ad intercidendasi favere putabant, et contracto toto N. T. in duos codices, conversi sunt Scripturas, quasdam quidem in totum non cog-quorum priorem rocabant Evangelium, ex Luca maximam noscentes, secundum Lucam autem Evangelium, et Epistolas partem conflatum, et subinde ex reliquis Evangelistis integra- Pauli decurtantes, hæc sola legitima esse dicunt, quæ ipsi tum. Wetst. Proleg. N. T. tom. I. p. 79.
minoraverunt. -Reliqui vero omnes, falso scientiæ nomine • Contra Marcion Evangelio, scilicet suo, nullam adscribit inflati, Scripturas quidem confitentur, interpretationes vero auctorem; quasi non licuerit illi titulum quoque adfingere, convertunt. Iren. adv. Hær. l. 3. cap. xii. n. 12. p. 198. bs. cui nefas non fuit ipsum corpus evertere. Et possem hic janı Massuet. gradum figere, non agnoscendum contendens opus, quod non * Sed huic quidem, quoniam et solus manifeste ausus esti erigat frontem, quod nullam constantiam præferat, nullam.
my readers may easily recollect, how a severely Tertullian censures Marcion for altering the text of the scriptures, openly employing a knife, as he says, not a style, to render them agreeable to his erroneous opinions.
However, I think, here is full proof, that the books of the New Testament were well known in Marcion's time, and before him: and that they were collected together in two parts or volumes, an evangelicon and apostolicon. He and other Christians had a gospel and an apostle. But theirs were fuller than his.
10. We might, perhaps, not unprofitably recollect here those passages of Eusebius of Cæsarea, where he speaks of the scriptures of the New Testament: some of which were universally received, others were contradicted: divers of which last, nevertheless, were received by many. The universally received by the sounder part of Christians, were the four gospels, the Acts of the apostles, thirteen epistles of Paul, one of Peter, one of John. It may be reckoned not unlikely, that all these had been from ancient time inserted by most Christians in their two volumes of the gospel and apostle. And, probably, divers of the other books, called controverted, or contradicted, were joined with the rest in the volumes of a good number of Christians.
III. There are some observations of Mr. Henry Dodwell concerning the late forming of the canon of the New Testament, which cannot be easily overlooked, and seem to require some notice in this place.
1. He says, that the canon of the sacred books was not determined, nor what number of * them should be of authority in points of faith, before the time of the emperor Trajan, who • began his reign in the year of Christ 98.'
Ans. If hereby be meant all the books of our present canon, this may be true. But then it is a trifling proposition. For some of them were not written, or have been supposed by many not to have been written, till near the end of the first century. How then could they be sooner made a part of sacred scripture? or how could they be placed in the number of books, esteemed to be the rule of faith? But the first three gospels of St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. Luke, and possibly the fourth likewise, St. John's, and many of the epistles of the New Testament, were well known before the reign of Trajan, even as soon as they were written. And wherever they were known, and by whomsoever they were received, they were reckoned a. part of the rule of faith:
2. The same learned man says likewise: the canonical scriptures of the New Testament lay hid in the cabinets of particular churches, and private persons, till the reign of Trajan, and * perhaps till the reign of Adrian.'
But I presume we have now sufficiently shewn the falshood of this, and that the gospels, and other books of the New Testament, were written and published with a design to be read and made use of, and that they were soon divulged abroad, and not purposely hid by any.
3. Farther, says Mr. Dodwell: “The' epistles of Paul were well known soon after they were written. His many travels, and the mark of his hand at the end of them, occasioned "this.'
We readily acknowledge it. It is very true. We think also, that the gospels, the Acts, and other books of the New Testament, were well known soon after they were written: and that in a short space of time many copies were taken of them, and thus they were divulged abroad. The first three gospels were well known to St. John, and to many others, before he wrote his gospel. Which must have been written before the end of the first century, and, probably, a good while before the end of it.
4. The same learned writer, speaking of the apostolical fathers, Clement of Rome, Barnabas, Hermas, Ignatius, Polycarp, says, they · several times quote apocryphal books. And he so expresseth himself, as if he intended to affirm this of all of them.
circumcidere Scripturas, &c. Iren. 1. i. cap. 27. n. 4. p. 106. ab eorum usu deinde caverent. Dodw. Diss. Iren. i. num. 39. al. cap. 29. Vid. ib. num. 2.
in. p. 67. a See Vol. i. p. 431.
é Latitabant enim usque ad recentiora illa seu Trajani, seu 6 Marcion enim exerte et palam machærâ, non stylo, etiam fortasse Hadriani tempora, in privatarum ecclesiarum, usus est; quoniam ad materiam suam cædem Scripturarum seu etiam hominum scriniis, scripta illa canonica, ne ad eccleconfecit. De Præscr. Hær. cap. 38. p. 246. C.
siæ catholicæ notitiam pervenirent. Ibid. num. 38, p. 66. c See Vol. ji. p. 368-371.
Sequuntur Epistolae Paulinæ, quas a primâ usque scripAtqui certe ante illam epocham, quam dixi, Trajani, tione celeberrimas fecere ipsius Apostoli tam crebræ peregrinanondum constitutus est librorum sacrorum canon, nec receptus tiones, et nota ejus in omni epistolà manus. Proinde meminit aliquis in ecclesiâ catholicâ librorum certus numerus, quos eorum et Petrus, meminit S. Clemens, meminit Ignatius, et deinde adhibere oportuerit in sacris fidei causis dijudicandis ; Polycarpus. Ibid. num. 41, p. 73. nec rejecti hæreticorum pseudepigraphi, monitive fideles, ut
To which I must answer, that so far as I am able to perceive, after a careful examination, there are not any quotations of apocryphal books in any of the apostolical fathers. They who are desirous of farther satisfaction therein, are referred to their several chapters in the first volume of this work, and to some additional observations in the Recapitulation of the second part of the Credibility, which is in this volume.
5. Once more. The same learned writer says, “that before the reign of Trajan, the pseudepigraphal books of heretics had not been rejected. Nor had the faithful been cautioned • not to make use of them.'
Which appears to me an observation of little or no importance. If those pseudepigraphal books were not in being before the reign of Trajan, how should they be rejected before that time? That they were not sooner in being, has been sufficiently shewn. They are the productions of heretics, who arose in the second century: who asserted two principles, had a disadvantageous opinion of marriage, and denied the 'real humanity of our Saviour. In that second century many pseudepigraphal gospels, Acts, travels, or circuits of apostles were composed. Which were afterwards made use of by the Manichees, the Priscillianists, and some others.
But those pseudepigraphal books of heretics never were joined with the genuine writings of the apostles and evangelists. They were always distinguished from them, and were esteemed by all catholic Christians in general to be of little value, and no authority: As appears from our collections out of ancient authors, and particularly from the accounts given of those books by the learned bishop of Cæsarea at the beginning of the fourth century.
The Question considered, whether any sacred Books of the New Testament have been lost.
There is a question which has been proposed by some learned men: whether any sacred books of the New Testament, or any epistles of apostles and evangelists, written by Divine inspiration, have been lost? And some have taken the affirmative, particularly ' Mr. John Ens, and Mr. C. M. Pfaff
, in a work published by him in the early part of his life. Herman Witsius likewise h has argued on the same side in several of his works.
I. Here, in the first place, I observe, that some suppositions have been made, and propositions laid down by learned men, which may form a prejudice in favour of the affirmative side of the question, but afford no proof. Such things should not be advanced by fair disputants.
As first, that 'the apostles of Christ were ever ready to serve all the exigencies of the a Habemus hodieque horum temporum scriptores ecclesias- & Chr. Matth. Pfaffii Dissertatio Critica de genuinis Libroticos luculentissimos, Clementem Romanum, Barnabam, rum N. T. Lectionibus, p. 46 -- 48. Amst. 1709. Hermam, Ignatium, Polycarpum. Sed et apocrypha adhibent + Coccejus asseveranter dicit, Judam, præter hanc epistoidem aliquoties, quæ certum est ja hodiernis non haberi Evan- lam, non scripsisse, neque necesse habuisse scribere, neque a geliis. Ibid. n. 39, p. 67.
Spiritu Sancto impulsum fuisse ut scriberet. Id mihi non • See this Vol. p. 102, 130, 131, &c.
videtur certum, imo nec probabile. Apostoli enim, quum See before, p. 464, note
universalis Ecclesiæ doctores et directores essent, et corpore « This Vol. p. 132, 133.
ubique præsentes esse non possent, et frequenter sine dubio See Vol. ii. p. 370, 371, and this Vol. p. 130, 131. ab ecclesiis consulerenter, necesse habuerunt frequenter scri' Et certe, pace et incolumi amicitià dissentientium id bere. -Non autem magis opus fuit omnes Apostolorum dictum sit, affirmativa nobis eligi debere videtur sententia, et epistolas superstites manere, quam omnes sermones Christi. concedi, quod multi divini libri perierint. Joh. Ens, Biblio- Sufficiunt quos babemus, ad perfectum canonem. Wits. theca Sacra, cap. 4. sect. iv. p. 19. Ainst. 1710.
Comment. in Ep. S. Jud. sect. xii. p. 463. Vid. Id. De Itaque hoc misso, inspiciamus et rite perpendamus, quid Vita Pauli Apostoli. sect. 7. 1. xi. sect. 8. n. xxi. et. sect. 12.' probationi inserviat, ad evincendum, quod Apostoli plura
n, xvi. exarârint scripta vere b&STYEUSA et divina, quam nune extant. i Prima observatio est, quod alacres et paratissimi fuerint Id. ib. sect. vi. p. 22.
church; which is very true. And yet it does not follow that any epistles, or other writings, were composed by them for the general use of Christians, beside those which we have. And, secondly, that it is unlikely that all the apostles of Christ should have written no more letters than now remain: as it is also, that Paul should have written no more than fourteen epistles. These, and such like observations, though adopted by Witsius, as well as some others, I choose to dismiss without a particular discussion, as they contain not any real argument.
A man who thinks of our Lord's great character, and the unparalleled existence of his discourses, and the great number of his miraculous works, and that he had twelve apostles, and seventy other disciples, employed by him, all zealous for the honour of their Master, and the good of his people, might be disposed to say: certainly, there were many gospels, or authentic histories of his life, written before the destruction of Jerusalem. And
And yet, if there is any credit to be given to ecclesiastical history, when John was desired to write his gospel, about the time of that event, or after it, there were brought to him no more than three gospels, to be confirmed by him, or to have some additions made to them. One of which only had been written by an apostle, even Matthew's. And it is the concurrent testimony of all Christian antiquity, that there were but four gospels, written by apostles, and apostolical men. And yet we have no reason to say that the true interest of mankind has not been duly consulted.
II. I observe, secondly: it is generally allowed by learned men, and by Mr. Ens, and Witsius, that the epistles to the Thessalonians are among the first of St. Paul's epistles that remain, or were written by him. And I think, that the conclusion of the first epistle to the Thessalonians suggests a very probable argument, that it is the first epistle which was written by him with divine and apostolical authority for the edification of Christians. The words intended by me, are those of 1 Thess. v. 27. “I charge you by the Lord, that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.”. This, as' was formerly observed, I take to be the first instance of enjoining the reading of a Christian writing in their religious assemblies, as a part of their worship. Christian people had before now, very probably, read in that manner the books of the Old Testament. St. Paul, who knew the fulness of the apostolical inspiration, asserts his authority, and requires that the same respect should be now shewn to his epistle, and that it should be publicly read among them for their general edification. If any such thing had been done before, there would not have been occasion for so much earnestness as is expressed in this direction. This epistle is supposed to have been written in the year 52, consequently not till near twenty y after our Lord's ascension. If this be the first epistle of Paul, written with apostolical authority, there were no sacred writings of his of a more ancient date to be lost. And his other remaining epistles are as many as could be reasonably expected.
III. There are many considerations, tending 'to satisfy us that no sacred writings of the apostles of Christ are lost.
1. The four gospels, which we have, were written 8 for the sake of those who certainly would receive them with respect, keep them with care, and recommend them to others. And if any other such authentic histories of Jesus Christ had been written by apostles, or apostolical men, they would have been received, and preserved in the like manner, and would not have been lost.
2. We can perceive from the testimony of divers ancient Christian writers, that "the book of the Acts, which we still have, was the only authentic history of the preaching of the apostles after our Lord's ascension, which they had in their hands, or had heard of; consequently, there was no other such history to be lost. Apostoli ad omnia conferenda, quæ usui et utilitati Ecclesiae suæ commissas dederint: quibus præsentes semper adesse non inservire poterant. Ens, ubi supr. sect. XX. p. 35.
licebat, et quibus multa tamen identidem habebant incul. · Porro attendamus, secundo, quod quatuordecim habeamus
canda. Wits. De Vita Pauli. sect. 7. num. xi. p. 98. epistolas a solo Paulo conscriptas: et judicet unusquisque, an Laudanda profecto Dei benignitas est, quod ex tot Paulinis sibi probabile videatur, Bartholomæum, Thomam, Jacobum epistolis, quæ perierunt, hanc tamen (ad Philem.) mole esiAlpbæi, Andream, Philippum, et Simonem Zelotem, quorum guam, et de re domesticâ agentem, superare voluerit. Id. ib. nulla habemus scripta, ne unicam quidem ad Ecclesiæ ædificationem epistolam scripsisse, atque Jacobum et Judam unicam • Ens ubi supra. sect. xxviii. p. 45. tantum, Petrum duas, et Joannem tres exarasse ; quum ** At nobis de Paulinis Epistolis nunc est agendum; quarum, Paulus toties scripserit. Ens ib. sect. xxiii. p. 38.
quæ supersunt, primas esse constat utramque ad Thessaloni6 Immo nec illud veritatis speciem habet, ipsum Paulum censes, Corinthi, ut initio dixi, scriptas, Ubi supra sect. 7. non plures quam quatuordecim epistolas scripsisse. Quod tertio num. xii. p. 99.
See before, p. 286. observari velim. Id. sect. sxv. p. 41.
8 See Vol.ii. p. 376. • Nullus equidem dubito, quin Apostoli omnes pro sin- h See particularly Vol. i. p. 367, 422; Vol. ii. p. 584, 585, gulari suâ diligentiâ frequentissimas literas ad ecclesias curæ 604, 605, and this Vol. p. 77.
sect, 12. num, xvi.
3. The epistles of Paul, James, Peter, John, Jude, were sent to churches, people, or particular persons, who would shew them great regard, when received, and would carefully preserve them, and readily communicate them to others, that they might take copies of them, and make use of them, for their establishment in religion and virtue. If those apostles had written other epistles, and if other apostles had sent epistles to churches planted by them, or to particular persons, their disciples, or Christian friends, the case would have been much the same. Those epistles would have been esteemed, preserved, and frequently copied, and could not easily have been lost.
4. Moreover, the apostles and evangelists, who drew up any writings for the instruction, or confirmation of Christian people, must have been careful of them. The same principle of zeal for the doctrine taught by them, and for the welfare of Christian people, which induced them, amidst their many labours, fatigues, and difficulties, to compose any writings, would lead them to take due care that they should answer the ends for which they were composed. Proofs of such care we evidently discern in divers of the epistles of apostles, which we have. A like care, probably, was taken of the rest, and would be taken of epistles written by any other apostles. They would be sent by fit messengers, and be faithfully delivered. And they might be accompanied with some proper directions, such as we find in several of St. Paul's epistles: as that in the first epistle to the Thessalonians, requiring it to be read to all the brethren: and that in the 'epistle to the Colossians, iv. 16, that it should be read first among themselves, and then sent to the church of the Laodiceans: and that they likewise should read the epistle, that would be brought to them from Laodicea.
All which considerations must induce us to think, that no sacred writings of apostles, composed for the instruction and edification of Christian people, their friends and converts, could be easily lost.
IV. There are no sufficient reasons to believe, that any sacred writings of the New Testament have been lost. Let us however see what they are.
For divers difficulties have been thought of.
1. St. Paul says * 2 Thess. ii. 1, 2. “ Now we beseech you, brethren,—that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter, as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.”
These words, as I apprehend, afford not any proof that St. Paul wrote more epistles to the Thessalonians, than those which we have. For a person, who had never written one letter before, might use such expressions, if he had any ground to suspect that some men were disposed to forge letters in his name.
2. 2 Thess. iii. 17. 5 « The salutation of Paul with my own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.”
But I think he might say this though it were the very first epistle written by him: provided he thought that he should have occasion to write more, and had reason to suspect that there were some men who might be disposed to falsify his name. Nor does it follow that he afterwards wrote any more epistles to the Thessalonians. However, he could not be certain that he should not have occasion to write to them again. And he might judge it to be very likely that he should write more letters, either to them, or to others. This declaration, then, was a proper mark; which might be of use to the Thessalonians, and to others, and a security against all impositions of that kind.
3. 2 Cor. x. 9, 10, 11. “ That I may not seem, as if I would terrify you by letters. For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible. Let such an one think this, that such as we are in word by letters, when we are absent, such will we be also in deed, when we are present.”
Hence it is argued, that the apostle had before now written more than one, even several letters, to the Corinthians.
* Atqui hujus rei nullum fuisset periculum, nulla monendi epistolæ a se missæ carent.Se dicit Xp2¢elv, - scribere. siccessitas, nisi varias acceperunt Thessalonicenses epistolas a Quod paucis admodum epistolis vix congruum videtur; præPaulo missas. Qui enim unam ac alteram solummodo ad sertim quando dicit, se stw ypasiv, ut salutatio propriâ manu ecclesias scribebat epistolas, illius nomen falsæ epistolæ ad sit signum ey WITT ETISON, in quacumque epistola ecclesias datz non facile mentiri poterat. J. Ens, ubi supr. Quid erat periculi, quod datis epistolis committeretur fallacia, sect. xxix. p. 46.
si nullas, præter et post hasce duas, ad illos daret epistolas ? b Illud idem iterum agnoscit Apostolus, statim allegato Id. ib. sect. xxx. p. 46, 47. cap. iii, 17, dato signo epistolis suis peculiari, quo nullæ • Cum duobus illis ex epist. ad Thessalonicenses locis con