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4. All along, where there has been occasion, we have carefully observed what notice has been taken of spurious and apocryphal books, (which might seem on account of their titles, or otherwise, to make a claim to be a part of the canon) especially by the more ancient Christian writers. And, if I mistake not, it has appeared, after a fair and careful examination, that though there were doubts about some of the books now generally received as canonical, yet there were no other beside them which those ancient writers received as part of the rule of faith, and that they alleged them by way of illustration only.
This was the great design of the late Mr. Jeremiah Jones, in the first two volumes of his • New and full method of settling the canonical authority of the New Testament, in which the • several apocryphal books are collected, with an English translation of each of them; together • with a particular proof, that none of them were ever admitted into the canon.' And, Í presume, it will be allowed by all readers of this work, that the design of that diligent writer has been carried on by us, and that his argument has been confirmed.
5. Though our design has primarily led us to observe the testimony of Christian writers to the books of the New Testament, we have not entirely overlooked their testimony to the Old Testament and divers catalogues of the ancient scriptures may be seen in this book, with remarks
6. Beside shewing in every age the books of scripture received by each writer, many passages have been alleged, testifying their great regard for the scriptures, assuring us, that they were publicly, and respectfully read in the assemblies of Christians in the language generally understood by the people, and earnestly recommending the reading and studying them in private as the duty of all sorts of people, and what would be highly advantageous to them. I believe there may be in this book more passages of this kind, taken from early Christian writers, than in the collection of A. B. Usher · de Scripturis, et sacris vernaculis, and the • Auctarium' of Henry Wharton written purposely upon this point.
7. In this book may be seen many observations, shewing the credibility of the evangelical history, especially taken from Augustine, Chrysostom, and 'Theodoret; though some also from Eusebius of Cæsarea, and other writers: divers of which passages must be very acceptable to most readers, and perhaps will appear to some equal to the best arguments of the most learned modern defenders of the Christian religion.
8. In this book are some passages, bearing express testimony not only to the scriptures, but also to divers of the principal facts of the New Testament; particularly to the miracles of our Lord's ministry, his death, resurrection and ascension, and the extraordinary works performed by his apostles.
9. There are many passages, representing and expatiating upon the swift and wonderful progress of the gospel over the world, collected for the most part out of Jerom, Augustine, Chrysostom, Theodoret, and later writers.
Indeed these are very proper for the next book: but every thing of this kind could not be well passed over. Besides, our collections relating to this, and the last preceding article, are chiefly taken out of the writers of the fourth, fifth, and following centuries, reserving those of the more early ages for another time and the next book.
10. There are likewise in some chapters, select passages upon a variety of subjects, which cannot but afford entertainment to inquisitive readers of good taste, especially if they have any desire to judge rightly of the character of Christian writers in past ages, and those the best and purest ages, on which we have principally enlarged.
CREDIBILITY OF THE GOSPEL HISTORY.
In the epistle of St. Barnabas there is not any express mention made of any book of the New Testament: but there are in it some expressions which are in St. Matthew's gospel, and are introduced with this mark of quotation: “ it is written.” There are in it likewise the exact words of several other texts of the New Testament: and there may be thought to be allusions to some others. Nevertheless, I think it cannot be said with certainty, that he referred to any books of the New Testament: nor ought it to be reckoned strange, that a man, who was contemporary with the apostles, and had the same spirit and like gifts with them, if he was not an apostle himself, should often reason and argue like them, without quoting their writings, or referring to them.
Ch. II. Clement. bishop of Rome wrote an epistle in the name of the church over which he presided, to the church of Corinth. In his epistle, the first epistle to the Corinthians is quoted in this manner: Take into your hands the epistle of the blessed Paul the apostle. • What did he at first write unto you in the beginning of the gospel ? Verily he did by the Spirit • admonish you concerning himself, and Cephas, and Apollos, because that even then you did • form parties. Compare 1 Cor. i. 12. He has likewise passages out of the epistle to the Romans, and some other of the apostolical epistles. And passages of the gospels of St. Matthew, and St. Luke, though without naming the evangelists, are introduced in this respectful manner: • And let us do, as it is written......For thus saith the Holy Spirit... Especially remembering the • words of the Lord Jesus which he spake.'....Again: “ Remember the words of the Lord • Jesus."...Or, as it is expressed, p. 46, The first epistle to the Corinthians is expressly ascribed
Says Mr. Jortin, in the first volume of his Remarks on well as to the Jews. In the same book, sect. 24. TheoEcclesiastical History, p. 336, 337. Clemens epist. 1. 4. philus says: Αβρααμ ο πατριαρχης ημων. 94. Δαυιδ και • says - Δια ζηλον ο Πατηρ ημων Ιακωβ απεδρα. ..." propter προγονος ημων. 27. Αβρααμ τε προπαλορος ημων. 'æmulationem pater noster Jacobus aufugit."... Whence, I suppose Mr. Jortin may intend Mr. Bower, in his History of • find, some persons have lately discovered and concluded, the Popes. Vol. i. p. A learned foreigner likewise has • that Clemens was a Jew. I think the passage will not very lately argued, that Clement of Rome was a man of
prove it. Theophilus ad Autol. iii. 23.... ta ypapuala to Jewish extraction. . . cum Clemens fuerit origine Judæus, ut Jels volo, To sia Mwoews villes de Bouers. The law was given probabile est ex eo, quod 'Jacobum patrem nostrum'appel' to us, says Theophilus; and yet he had been converted from lans, se iis adjungere videatur, quorum pater fuit Jacob secun• Paganism to Christianity. Therefore when any ancient dum carnem. H. Venem. Ep. secund. de genuinitate epis. • Christian writers use such expressions, it is not to be in- tolar. Clement. a Cl. Wetsten. publicat. p. 76. I think, that • ferred thence, with any kind of certainty, that they were of Mr. Jortin has well confuted that argument: nevertheless I • Jewish extraction, or even that they had been proselytes to shall here refer to some passages, formerly quoted from Lac* Judaism. Indeed nothing is more natural, than for Chris- tantius a convert from Gentilism, where he speaks of the
tians to speak as if they were Abraham's children; as if the Jewish people, as the ancestors of Christians. See vol. il. • law and the prophets, and the patriarchs, belonged to themi
• by Clement to Paul. Words of our blessed Lord, found in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, • and Luke, are recommended with a high degree of respect, but without the names of the evangelists.' And, I think there are in him allusions to the Acts of the apostles, the epistle to the Romans, the first and second to the Corinthians, and to divers other of the epistles of the New Testament.
Ch. III. In the Fragment, by some supposed to be Clement's, but more probably written about the middle of the third century, no evangelist is expressly named, or epistle of the New Testament expressly cited. But the gospels are several times quoted, with such terms as these: • He himself says; The Lord says: Thus saith the Lord: Another scripture says :' and • The • Lord saith in the gospel. And there seem to be references to some of the epistles of the New Testament.
Ch. IV. Hermas has no express quotations of the books of the New Testament: nor was it suitable to the design of his work to make such quotations: or, as it is expressed, p. 65, · Here
are certainly many allusions to our genuine books of the New Testament, though they are • not cited. The reason is, that it was not suitable to the nature of the work to quote books.' There seem to be in him allusions to several parts of the New Testament, particularly the gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John ; the Acts; the epistle to the Romans; the first to the Corinthians ; the epistle to the Ephesians; the epistle of James ; and the book of the Revelation.
Ch. V. Ignatius was bishop of Antioch in Syria, in the latter part of the first, and the beginning of the second century. He was sent prisoner from Antioch to Rome, where he suffered martyrdom in the year 107, or soon after. In his journey to Rome he wrote several letters, which are generally received as his; some of them were written whilst he was at Smyrna, the others at Troas. He expressly ascribes the epistle to the Ephesians to St. Paul. For, writing to them, he says: “Ye are the “symmystæ of Paul,” or, ye are the companions of Paul • in the mysteries of the gospel, who throughout all his epistles makes mention of you in Christ • Jesus. And in the same letter he has several passages out of St. Paul's epistle to the Ephesians: and besides, there are in him plain allusions or references to the gospels of St. Matthew and St. John, and a probable allusion to St. Luke's. There seem likewise to be allusions to the Acts of the apostles; the epistle to the Romans; the first and second to the Corinthians; the Galatians; Philippians; first to the Thessalonians; the second to Timothy; the first epistle of St. Peter; the first and third epistles of St. John.
Moreover, he has expressions, denoting a collection of gospels, and apostolical epistles. So say Grabe, Mill, and Le Clerc: and I think it proper now to transcribe Mill, to whom I formerly referred only.
In the epistle to the Philadelphians are these expressions: •Fleeing to the gospel as the flesh of Jesus, and to the apostles as the presbytery of the church. Let us also love the prophets.'.
Here by “gospel' is meant the book, or code, or volume of the gospels : by the apostles' the volume or collection of their epistles: as by the prophets' are meant the volume or canon of the Old Testament.
Again: to the church at Smyrna: · Whom neither the prophecies, nor the law of Moses • have persuaded; nor yet the gospel even to this day.'
Here the 'gospel' seems to be used for the volume of the New Testament in general, consisting of gospels and epistles.
These passages, especially that from the epistle to the Philadelphians, seem to shew, that in the time of Ignatius, and probably some while before, there were two codes or collections, one
• Verum et aliquanto ante Marcionem, et quidem ante strictius sumere videtur pro Codice Evangelico. Vid. Epist. ad annum Christi xciv. exstabat Codex Apostolicus. Quod enim Smyrn. sect. 7. et Ep. ad Philad. sect. 9. Tum vero alias a nemine, quod quidem sciam, huc usque observatum fuit, laxiori significatu Evangelium apud eum pro canone integro monuit nos olim clarissimus Grabius, Ignatium utriusque hujus N. T. acceptum videmus : ubi siinul memorat legem Mosis, canonis mentionem fecisse, in epistolâ ad Philadelphicos. prophetias, et evangelium. Vid. Ep. ad Smyrn. sect. 5. Προσφυγων τω ευαγγελια, κ. λ. nempe per ευαγγελιον Codi- Quod si vero res ita se habet, Canon Epistolicus mediocri cem Evangelicum, per amos0285 Codicem Epistolicum, per temporis intervallo præcesserit, necesse est, epistolas Ignaprophetas, Canonem V. T. cuvexdoXixws intelligendum existi- tianas: ideoque et prodierit sub annum forte æræ vulgaris cx. mat. Id quod nobis postea persuasissimum erat, etiam ex sive etiam aliquanto ante: Mill. Proleg. n. 198, 199. aliis Ignatii locis. Nonnunquam enim Evangelii vocem
« unto you.
of the four gospels, another of epistles : but how full this last code was, we camot now determine with certainty.
It should be observed, that in one place of these epistles of Ignatius there has been supposed to be a reference to the gospel according to the Hebrews: nevertheless, we rather think, that the passage contains only a loose quotation of some words of St. Luke's gospel; as has been at large argued near the end of the chapter of Ignatius.
Ch. VI. The next writer is Polycarp, a disciple of St. John, and appointed bishop of the church of Smyrna by him, if not also by some other apostles joining with him: and it may be supposed, that he had conversed with several, who had seen the Lord. He had the honour to die a martyr for Christ at Smyrna, in the year 148, as some think, or in 166 or 169, as others think. But his epistle to the Philippians, the only thing remaining and certainly known to be his, seems to have been written in 108. In which he quotes to these Philippians themselves the epistle written by Paul to them, and, as I apprehend the two epistles to the Thessalonians, in the same country of Macedonia, saying: · For neither I, nor any one like me, can come up to *the wisdom of the blessed and renowned Paul, who, when absent, wrote to you letters: into • which, if you look, you will be able to edify yourselves in the faith, which has been delivered
In another following chapter he speaks again as plainly as here of the apostle Paul's having written to them. No book of the New Testament is quoted by Polycarp expressly, and by name: however here are quotations of passages of the first epistle to the Corinthians, the epistle to the Ephesians, the epistle to the Philippians, and the two epistles to the Thessalonians. Words of our Lord found in St. Matthew's and St. Luke's gospels, are quoted as spoken by him: and beside these, there are references, which may be reckoned undoubted, to the Acts of the apostles, the epistle to the Romans, the first and second to the Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, first and second to Timothy, the first of St. Peter, the first of St. John, and a probable reference to the epistle to the Hebrews. And the many exhortations, delivered in the words of Christ, and his apostles, in a short letter, are a convincing evidence of the respect, which Christians then had for these books, and that they were deeply engraved in their memories.
Ch. VII. The next chapter has the relation of Polycarp's martyrdom, and general observations upon the testimony of the apostolical fathers. Some of them I here recite again, and make some additions.
Obs. 1. Barnabas has many more passages out of the Old Testament than the New; which be reckoned owing to the time and character of the writer. Moreover he argues chiefly with Jews.
Obs. 2. Clement has more passages out of the Old Testament, and oftener alludes to it, than to the New: but yet he quotes this more than once, and often refers to it.
Obs. 3. Hermas quotes neither the Old nor the New Testament. The reason is, because he only relates his visions, and delivers precepts as received from angels.
Obs. 4. Ignatius has alluded much oftener to the New Testament than to the Old.
Obs. 5. Polycarp has alluded above twenty times to texts of the New Testament, or recited the very words of them, and scarce once refers to any one passage of the Old Testament.
Obs. 6. In the writings of these apostolical fathers there is all the notice taken of the books of the New Testament, that could be expected. Barnabas, though so early a writer, appears to have been acquainted with the gospel of St. Matthew. Clement writing to the church of Corinth, on occasion of a dissension there, desires them to take into their hands the epistle • of the blessed apostle Paul written to them :' and particularly refers them to a part of that epistle, in which he had admonished them against strife and contention. He has likewise, in his epistle, divers clear and undeniable allusions to St. Paul's epistle, sent to the church over which he presided, and in whose name he wrote; not to repeat here other things lately taken notice of.
Quotations there could not be in Hermas, as has been observed again and again. But allusions there are to the books of the New Testament, such as were suitable to his design.
Ignatius, writing to the church of the Ephesians, takes notice of the epistles of Paul sent to them, in which he makes mention of them in Christ Jesus.'
Polycarp, writing to the Philippians, refers them to the epistle of the apostle Paul written to them: if not also, as I imagine he does, to the epistle sent to the Thessalonian Christians in
the same province. Not now to insist on his quotations of texts or passages of other books of the New Testament, or his numerous and manifest allusions to them.
Obs. 7. From all which it is apparent, that these early writers have not omitted to take notice of any book of the New Testament, which their design led them to mention : their silence therefore about any other books can be no prejudice to the supposition of their genuineness, if we shall hereafter meet with credible testimonies to them. And we have good reason to believe, that these apostolical fathers were some of the persons from whom succeeding writers received that full and satisfactory evidence, which they appear to have had concerning the several books of the New Testament.
Obs. 8. Ignatius has expressions, denoting two codes or collections, one of gospels, the other of epistles of apostles.
Obs. 9. There are not in any of these apostolical fathers any quotations of apocryphal books concerning the history, or the doctrine of Christ and his apostles. There is indeed one passage of Ignatius, in which some have supposed to be a reference to the gospel according to the Hebrews : but we rather think it a quotation of the gospel of St. Luke. There is also at the end of the Fragment ascribed to Clement, a quotation, supposed a to be taken from the gospel according to the Egyptians : but we have no reason to be much concerned about it; that not being a work of Clement, bụt, probably, of some writer of the third century.
Ch. VIII. In the history of things in the time of Trajan, whose reign began in 98, and ended in 117, Eusebius says: “There were many eminent men, who had the first rank in the • succession of the apostles ; divers of whom travelling abroad performed the office of evan.
gelists, being ambitious to preach Christ, and to deliver the scripture of the divine gospels.' This affords an argument, that at that time and before, the gospels were well known and collected together. They who went forth to preach the salutary doctrine of the kingdom of heaven to those who were yet unacquainted with it, carried the gospels with them, and delivered them to their converts. The gospels therefore must have been collected together, and must have been for some while in use, and in the highest esteem among the disciples of the apostles, and in the churches planted by them. And I presume, that few or none will hesitate to allow, that Eusebius must be understood to speak here of the four gospels, so well known in his time.
Ch. IX. Papias was well acquainted with Polycarp, and John the elder, as is allowed, and by some is supposed to have been acquainted with John the apostle and evangelist. If it had been certain, that he was conversant with the last-mentioned John, he ought to be reckoned an apostolical man, and should have been placed with those of that character already spoken of. As that is not certain, we place him in the next rank, after those who were disciples of apostles. He expressly bears testimony to the gospels of Matthew and Mark; and he quoted the first epistlé of St. Peter, and the first epistle of St. John. He seems also to have a reference to the book of the Acts. There is reason to suppose he received the book of the Revelation.
Ch. X. Justin Martyr, a native of Palestine, a learned man, and a traveller, converted to Christianity about the year 133, flourished chiefly from the year 140 and afterwards, and died a martyr, as is supposed, in 164 or 167. His remaining works are two Apologies, addressed, or inscribed, one to Titus Antoninus the Pious, the other to Marcus Antoninus the Philosopher, and the senate and people of Rome, (but this last is not entire,) and a Dialogue with Trypho a Jew. In which works are many quotations of the four gospels, though he does not name the evangelists. There are also references to the book of the Acts, and to divers of the epistles of the New Testament. · The Revelation is expressly quoted, as written by John an apostle of Christ. The gospels he calls ! memoirs’ or commentaries : Memoirs of the apostles : Christ's • memoirs : memoirs of the apostles and their companions, who have written the history of all
things concerning our Saviour Jesus Christ : ' plainly meaning Matthew and John, Mark and Luke. In his first Apology he says, the memoirs of the apostles, and the writings of the
prophets,' were read in the assemblies of public worship, and a discourse was made upon them by the president: whence it appears, that the gospels were well known in the world, and not designedly concealed from any, Whether Justin has referred to any apocryphal scriptures, is considered at the end of the chapter.
* Vid. Grabe Spie. T. i. p. 35.