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Amongst these, although the writings of Saint Paul are more frequently used by Polycarp than
of Scripture, there are copious allusions to the Gospel of Saint Matthew, some to passages found in the Gospels both of Matthew and Luke, and some which more nearly resemble the words in Luke.
I select the following, as fixing the authority of the Lord's prayer, and the use of it amongst the primitive Christians : “ If therefore we pray the Lord, that he will forgive us, we ought also to forgive.”
“ With supplication beseeching the allseeing God not to lead us into temptation.”
Aạid the following, for the sake of repeating an observation already made, that words of our Lord, found in our Gospels, were at this early day quoted as spoken by him ; and not only so, but quoted with so little question or consciousness of doubt, about their being really his words, as not even to mention, much less to canvass, the authority from which they were taken:
“ But remembering what the Lord said, teaching, Judge not, that ye be not judged; forgive, and ye shall be forgiven; be ye merciful, that ye may obtain mercy; with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again *,"
Supposing Polycarp to have had these words from the books in which we now find them, it is manifest that these books were considered by him, and, as he thought, considered by his readers, as authentie accounts of Christ's discourses; and that that point was incontestable.
The following is a decisive, though what we call a tacit, reference to Saint Peter's speech in the Acts of the Apostles : 5% whom God hath raised, having loosed the pains of death $."
VI. Papias I, a hearer of John, and companion of Polycarp, as Irenæus attests, and of that age, as all agree, in a passage quoted by Eusebius, from a work now lost, ex,
* Matt. vii. 1, 2.; v.7.; Luke, vi. 37, 38.
Lardner, Cred. vol. i. p. 239.
+ Acts, ii. 24.
pressly ascribes the respective Gospels to Matthew and Mark; and in a manner which proves that these Gospels must have publickly borne the names of these authors at that time, and probably long before; for Papias does not say that one Gospel was written by Matthew, and another by Mark; but assuming this as perfectly well known, he tells us from what materials Mark collected his account, viz. from Peter's preaching, and in what language Matthew wrote, viz. in Hebrew. Whether Papias was well informed in this statement, or not; to the point for which I produce this testimony, namely, that these books bore these names at this time, his authority is complete.
The writers hitherto alleged, had all lived and conversed with some of the apostles. The works of theirs which remain, are in. general very short pieces, yet rendered extremely valuable by their antiquity; and none, short as they are, but what contain some important testimony to our historical Scriptures *
* That the quotations are more thinly strown in these, than in the writings of the next and of succeeding ages, is in a good measure accounted for by the observation, that the Scriptures of the New Testament had not yet, nor by their recency hardly could have, become a general part of Christian education ; read as the Old Testament was by Jews and Christians from their childhood, and thereby intimately mix. ing, as that had long done, with all their religious ideas, and with their language upon religious subjects. In process of time, and as soon perhaps as could be expected, this came to be the case.
VII. Not long after these, that is, not much more than twenty years after the last, follows Justin Martyr*. His remaining works are much larger than any that have yet been noticed. Although the nature of his two principal writings, one of which was addressed to heathens, and the other was a conference with a Jew, did not lead him to such frequent appeals to Christian books, as would have appeared in a discourse intended for Christian readers ; we nevertheless reckon up in them between twenty and thirty quotations of the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles, certain, distinct, and copious : if each verse be counted separately, a much greater number; if each expression, a very great
And then we perceive the effect, in a proportionably greater frequency, as well as copiousness of allusion t.
* Lardner, Cred. vol. i. p. 258. † Mich. Introd. c. ii. sect. yi.
We meet with quotations of three of the Gospels within the compass of half a page:
66 And in other words he part from me into .outer darkness, which the Father hath prepared for Satan and his angels,” (which is from Matthew, xxv. 41.) “ And again he said in other words, I give unto you power to tread upon serpents, and scorpions, and venomous beasts, and upon all the power of the enemy.” (This from Luke, x. 19.) 66 And before he was crucified, he said, The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the Scribes and Pharisees, and be crucified, and rise again the third day.” (This from Mark, viii. 31.)
In another place, Justin quotes a passage in the history of Christ's birth, as delivered by Matthew and John, and fortifies his quotation by this remarkable testimony:
* • He cites our present canon, and particularly our four Gospels, continually, I dare say, above two hundred times.” Jones's New and Full Method. Append. vol. i. p. 589. ed. 1726.