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129 estimony is recessary to eyniot somewhat is tetart, or unes Cristian WTOCKes nereiv eil is that we save the same re2393 Or je:ieving the gospels to be uites 'n 'he evangelists, whose sames ey ber, we nave or relieving the Commentaries o be. Cesar's the taest Virginia, or the Orations Cicero's they ceptent kemulyos with an imperfect representatigo. They state nothing more than what is true, but they do not state the fenth corporily. In the number, variety, and early date of one, which the most celebrated work of the most celebrated mno razimonion, we tae exceed all other ancient books. For Creek w Koman writer can allege, we produce many. But than it be more requisite in our books than in theirs, to
arate and distinguish them from spurious competitors. The result, I am convinced, will be satisfactory to every fair inquirer; but this circumstance renders an inquiry necessary.
In a work, however, like the present, there is a difficulty in finding a place, for evidence of this kind. sue the detail of proofs throughout, would be to transcribe a great part of Dr. Lardner's eleven octavo volumes ; to leave the argument without proofs, is to leave it without effect; for the persuasion produced by this species of evidence, depends upon a view and induction of the particulars which compose it.
The method which I propose to myself is, first, to place before the reader, in one view, the propositions which comprise the several heads of our testimony, and afterwards to repeat the same propositions in so many distinct sections, with the necessary authorities subjoined to each.*
The following, then, are the allegations upon the subject, which are capable of being established by proof:
1. That the historical books of the New Testament, meaning thereby the four gospels and the acts of the apostles are quoted, or alluded to, by a series of Christian writers, beginning with those who were contemporary with the apostles, or who immediately followed them, and proceeding in close and regular succession from their time to the present.
II. That when they are quoted, or alluded to, they are quoted or alluded to with peculiar respect, as books sui generis, as possessing an authority which belonged to no other books, and as conclusive in all questions and controversies amongst Christians.
III. That they were, in very early times, collected into a distinct volume.
IV. That they were distinguished by appropriate names and titles of respect.
V. That they were publicly read and expounded in the religious assemblies of the early Christians.
VI. That commentaries were written upon them, harmonies formed out of them, different copies carefully collated, and versions of them made into different languages.
VII. That they were received by Christians of different sects, by many heretics as well as Catholics, and usually appealed to by both sides in the controversies which arose in those days.
*The reader, when he has the propositions before him, will observe that the arra ment, if be should omit the sections, proceeds connectedly from this pojut.
VIII. That the four gospels, the acts of the apostles, thirteen epistles of St. Paul, the first epistle of John, and the first of Peter, were received without doubt, by those who doubted concerning the other books which are included in our preseit canon.
IX. That the gospels were attacked by the early adversaries of Christianity, as books containing the accounts upon which the religion was founded.
X. That formal catalogues of authentic scriptures were published; in all which our present sacred histories were included.
XI. That these propositions camot be affirmed of any other books, claiming to be books of scripture; by which I mean those books, which are commonly called apochryphal books of the New Testament.
SECT. I. The historical books of the New Testament, meaning thereby
the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, are quoted or alluded to, by a series of Christian writers, beginning with those who were contemporary with the Apostles, or who immediately followed them, and proceeding in close and regular succession from their time to the present.
THE medium of proof stated in this proposition, is of all others the most unquestionable, the least liable to any practices of fraud, and is not diminished by the lapse of ages. Bishop Burnet, in the history of his own times, inserts various extracts from Lord Clarendon's history. One such insertion is a proof that Lord Clarendon's history was extant at the time when Bishop Burnet wrote, that it had been read by Bishop Burnet, that it was received by Bishop Burne', as a work of Lord Clarendon's, and also regarded by him as an authentic account of the transactions which it relates : and it will be a proof of these points a thousand years hence, or as long as the books exist. Juvenal having quoted, as Cicero's, that memorable line,
"O fortunatam natam me consule Romam," the quotation would be strong evidence, were there any doubt, that the oration in which that line is found, actually caine from Cicero's pen. These instances, however simple, may serve to point out to a reader, who is little accustomed to such researches, the nature and value of the argument:
The testimonies which we have to bring forward under this proposition are the following.
I. There is extant an epistle ascribed to Barnabas,* the companion of Paul. It is quoted as the epistle of Barnabas by Clement of Alexandria, A. D. 194 ; by Origen, A. D. 230. It is mentioned by Eusebius, A. D. 315, and by Jerome, A. D. 392, as an ancient work in their time bearing the name of Barnabas, and as well known and read amongst Christians, though not accounted a part of scripture. It purports to have been written soon after the destruction of Jerusalem, during the calamities which followed that disaster ; and it bears the character of the age to which it professes to belong.
In this epistle appears the following remarkable passage: 6 Let, us, therefore, beware lest it come upon us, as it is written, there are many called, few chosen." From the expression, “ as it is written,” we infer with certainty, that, at the time whe the author of this epistle lived, there was a book extant, well known to Christians, and of authority amongst them, containing these words“ many are called, few chosen." Such a book is our present gospel of St. Matthew, in which this text is twice found, and is found in no other book now known. There is a farther observation to be made upon the terms of the quotation. The writer of the epistle was a Jew. The phrase “it is written," was the very form in which the Jews quoted their scriptures. It is not probable, therefore, that he would have used this phrase, and without qualification, of any books but what had acquired a kind of scriptural authority. If the passage remarked in this ancient writing had been found in one of St. Paul's epistles, it would have been esteemed by every one a high testimony to St. Matthew's gospel. it ought therefore to be remembered, that the writing in which it is found, was probably by very few years posterior to those of St. Paul
Beside this passage, there are also in the epistle before ús several others, in which the sentiment is the same with what we meet with in St. Matthew's gospel, and two or three in which we recognize the same words. In particular, the author of the epistle repeats the precept, "give to every one that asketh thee," and saith that Christ chose as his apostles, who were to preach the gospel, men who were
•Lardner's Cred. ed. 1755, vol. I. p. 23, et seq. The reader will observe from the ref. erences, that the materials of these sections are almost entirely extracted from Dr. Lard. Hier's work-syobce consisted in arrangement and seleetions
great sinners, that he might show that he came, 6 not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
II. We are in possession of an epistle written by Clement, Bishop of Rome,* whom ancient writers, without any doubt or scruple, assert to have been the Clement whom St. Paul mentions, Phil. iv. 3. 66 with Clement also, and other my fellow-labourers, whose names are in the book of life." This epistle is spoken of by the ancients as an epistle acknowledged by all; and, as Irenæus well represents its value, « written by Clement, who had seen the blessed apostles and conversed with them, who had the preaching of the apostles still sounding in his ears, and their traditions before his eyes." It is addressed to the church of Corinth ; and what alone may seem almost decisive of its authenticity, Dionisius, Bishop of Corinth, about the year 170, i. e. about eighty or ninety years after the epistle was written, bears witness, - that it had been wont to be read in the church from ancient times."
This epistle affords, amongst others, the following valuable passages :
:-" Especially remembering the words of the Lord Jesus which he spake, teaching gentleness and long-suffering ; for thus he said :f Be ye merciful, that ye may obtain mercy; forgive, that it may be forgiven unto you; as you do, so shall it be done unto you; as you give, so shall it be given unto you; as ye judge, so shall ye be judged; as ye show kindness, so shall kindness be shown unto you; with what measure ye mete, with the same it shall be measured to you. By this command, and by these rules, let us establish ourselves, that we may always walk obediently to his holy words.”
Again, “ remember the words of the Lord Jesus, for he said, wo to that man by whom offences come; it were better for him that he had not been born, than that he should offend one of my elect; it were better for him that a millstone should be tied about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the sea, than that he should offend one of my little ones." I
Ib. vol. 1. p. 62, et seq. +' Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain merey," Matt. v. 7.-"Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven; give and it shall be given unto you.” Luke vi. 37, 38.-" Judge not, that ye be not judged : for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged, and with wbat measure ye mere, it shall be measured to you again.Matt. vii. Ž.
Matt. xviii. 6. " But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him
that a millstone were banged about his neck, and that he were cast into the sea." The latter part of the passage in Clement agrees more exactly with Luke xvii. 2. “ It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck , and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones."