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writings of the apostles, whom he ésteemed as the presbytery of the whole Christian church.” It must be observed, that about eighty years after this, we have direct proof, in the writings of Clement of Alexandria *, that these two names,
Gospel,” and Apostles,” were the names by which the writings of the New Testament, and the division of these writings, were usually expressed.
Another passage from Ignatius is the following:-—" But the Gospel has somewhat in it more excellent, the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ, his passion and resurrection t."
: And a third; “ Ye ought to hearken to the Prophets, but especially to the Gospel
, in which the passion has been manifested to us, and the resurrection perfected.” In this last passage, the Prophets and the Gospel are put in conjunction; and as Ignatius undoubtedly meant by the prophets a collection of writings, it is probable that he meant the same by the Gospel, the two terms standing in evident parallelism with each other.
* Lardner, Cred. vol. ii. p. 516.
+ Ib. p. 182.
This interpretation of the word “Gospel,” in the passages above quoted from Ignatius, is confirmed by a piece of nearly equal antiquity, the relation of the martyrdom of Polycarp by the church of Smyrna. “ All things,” say they, " that went before, were done, that the Lord might show us a martyrdom according to the Gospel, for he expected to be delivered up as the Lord also did *.” And in another place,
66. We do not commend those who offer themselves, forasmuch as the Gospel teaches us no such thing t" In both these places, what is called the Gospel, seems to be the history of Jesus Christ, and of his doctrine.
If this be the true sense of the passages, they are not only evidences of our proposition, but strong and very ancient proofs of the high esteem in which the books of the New Testament were holden.
* Ignat. Ep. c. i.
+ Ib. c. iv.
II. Eusebius relates, that Quadratus and some others, who were the immediate successors of the apostles, travelling abroad to preach Christ, carried the Gospels with them, and delivered them to their converts. The words of Eusebius are:
6 Then travelling abroad, they performed the work of evangelists, being ambitious to preach Christ, and deliver the Scripture of the divine Gospels *.” Eusebius had before him the writings both of Quadratus himself, and of many others of that
age, now lost. It is reasonable, therefore, to believe, that he had good grounds for his assertion. What is thus recorded of the Gospels, took place within sixty, or, at the most, seventy years after they were published: and it is evident, that they must, before this time (and, it is probable, long before this time), have been in general use, and in high esteem in the churches planted by the apostles, inasmuch as they were now, we find, collected into a volume: and the immediate successors of the apostles, they who preached the religion of Christ
* Lardner, Cred. part ii. vol. i. p. 236.
to those who had not already heard it, carried the volume with them, and delivered it to their converts,
III, Irenæus, in the year 178 *, puts the evangelic and apostolic writings in connexion with the Law and the Prophets, manifestly intending by the one a code or collection of Christian sacred writings, as the other expressed the code or collection of Jewish sacred writings. And,
IV. Melito, at this time Bishop of Sardis, writing to one Onesimus, tells his correspondentot, that he had procured an accurate account of the books of the Old Testament. The occurrence, in this passage, of the terin Old Testament, has been brought to prove, and it certainly does prove, that there was then a volume or collection of writings called the New Testament.
V. In the time of Clement of Alexandria, about fifteen years after the last
* Lardner, Cred. vol. i. p. 383.
+ Ib. p. 331.
quoted testimony, it is apparent that the Christian Scriptures were divided into two parts, under the general titles of the Gospels and Apostles ; and that both these were regarded as of the highest authority. One out of many'expressions of Clement, alluding to this distribution, is the following:-“ There is a consent and harmony between the Law and the Prophets, the Apostles and the Gospel *.”
VI. The same division, “ Prophets, Gospels, and Apostles," appears in Tertullian +, the contemporary of Clement. The collection of the Gospels is likewise called by this writer the “ Evangelic Instrument;" the whole volume, the “ New Testament;" and the two parts, the “ Gospels and Apostles g."
VII. From many writers also of the third century, and especially from Cyprian, who lived in the middle of it, it is collected, that the Christian Scriptures were divided into two codes or volumes, one called the
* Lardner, Cred. vol. ii. p. 516. # Ibid. p. 574.
+ Ib. p. 631.
Ib. p. 632.