« PreviousContinue »
a vruer, und vier the other three, may be made evident abis manner.“ Eusebius then proceeds to show, that Jonu wrote the 'ast of the tour, and that his gospel was Dreaded to suppiy che omissions of the others, especially :0 ihe part vi var Loru's ministry, which took place before de Dyrsvament joan the Baptist. He observes, “ that the ipesies un brist were not studious of the ornaments i compusilou por sueed forward to write at all, being WHOW elupice with their ministry.”
This eardeu author makes no use at all of Christian writilys urged with the rames of Christ's apostles, or their coupauious
We videe bis prance of our evidence here ; because af. ser Sunulus, there is no rvom for any question upon the subject, the words vi Chusuau writers being as full of ents tipure, o di re erences to scripture, as the videvuses ve muern divines Future testimonies to the JOUKSE Eripiure "uuid ony prure that they never lost itcai citas atter of quiburity.
SEUT II. theit te gropotbied wire ktovier, » silrocess to, they are quote
je uitsluit "espetto a books sui generis, as possewwerd ze its dui de oddele enungtu to no other books, and Lakie utisia itinévoid wek ytte sulu 123 ct conirurersies amongst
BENTE Re Feierni srdia of reference and quotation, Weslett itsele tury we wrougit muicates this distinction, the 10:10 sing 'beeg de "tydiau ta pecite testimonies
la Lleepinus Deo vi milved, the surro in succes xve Pueba de pescles, tie wit lourded ilde more than de veulette kies de Juan De Von Tesument were
tittet luvatag De casou to furie ne vi que gespe's writes Wha the Muga tte Iviy eripiures each us and all
w Welle mured by the Jury Biitt, nhuug wica Jeha the regtitching was the Muti, tint the Won was Win Gori derik - Judentuntg ne egiteuses which The lat** titulsa the Ke Dantys te 'u jeuumi is the propavi and the engine oise Detaus nài til veilig isired spoke bu we kiu dh wie viri veri," wunsca tesi
Wule vs want us in the liga w RU reweit Wer i Hotit,
eithura Nemi be pipocsed Suhu vite mire tin, ni-ignit years in the
publication of the scriptures, in a passage quoted by Ensebius, uses these expressions : - Possibly what they our adversaries) say, might have been credited, if first of all the divine scriptures did not contradict them, and then the wiitings of certain brethren, more ancient than the times of Victor." The brethren mentioned by name, are Justin, Miltiades, Tatian, Clement, Irenæus, Melito, with a general appeal to many more not named. The passage prores, first, that there was at that time a collection called divine scriptures ; secondly, that these scriptures were esteemed of higher authority than the writings of the most early and celebrated Christians.
III. In a piece ascribed to Hippolitus,* who lived near the same time, the author professes, in giving his correspondent instruction in the things about which he inquires, “ to draw out of the sacred fountain, and to set be. fore him from the sacred scriptures, what may afford him satisfaction.” He then quotes immediately Paul's epistles to Timothy, and afterwards many books of the New-Testament. This preface to the quotations carries in it a marked distinction betwixt our scriptures and other books.
IV. - Our assertions and discourses,” saith Origen,tare unworthy of credit; we must receive the scriptures as wit
After treating of the duty of prayer, he proceeds with his aryument thus: “What we have said may be proved from the divine scriptures.” In bis books against Celsus, we find this passage : 56 That our religion teaches us to seek after wisdom, shall be shown, both out of the ancient Jewish scriptures which we also use, and out of those written since Jesus, which are believed in the churches to be divine.” These expressions afford abundant evidence of the peculiar and exclusive authority which the scriptures possessed.
V. Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, I whose age lies close to that of Origen, earnestly exhorts Christian teachers in all doubtful cases,
“ to go back to the fountain : and if the truth has in any case been shaken, to recur to the gospels and apostolic writings.”—“ The precepts of the gospel,” says he in another place, 6 are nothing less than authoritative divine lessons, the foundations of our hope, the supports of our faith, the guides of our way, the safeguards of our course to heaven." VI. Novatus,g a Roman contemporary with Cyprian, * Ib. vol. III. p. 112. + Ib. p. 287, 288, 289. Ib. vol. IV. p. 840.
§ Ib. vol. V. p. 102
arreals to the scriptora, as the authority by which all erman were to be repelled, and disputes decided. - That (huis is not only man but God also, is proved by the sarred authority of the divine writings. "_" The divine Srintre prily detects and confutes the frauds of heretics."? - ti is so by the fault of the heavenly scriptures, which nerer deceire.“ Stronger assertions than these could not be reed.
Vi 41 the distance of twenty years from the writer last rited. Anatolius* à leamed Alexandrian, and bishop of Laodicen, speaking of the rule for keeping Easter, a ques15,06 9 thai sar agitated with much earnestness, says of those whom he oppased, they can by no means prove their post hr the authority of the divine scripture."
MH. The Inaus who sprung up about fifty years after this area drenuously agaiust the use of the words conwihal Rotal and essence, and like phrases; “ because they 40 nee scripture." And in the same strain, one of their advocates opens a conference with Augustine, after the poinning manner: “ if you say what is reasonable, I muret sanit. If you allege any thing from the divine whitenes, which are common to both, I must hear. But tertextural expressions (quaæ extra scripturam sunt) dewarty no regard."
Athanasius, the great antagonist of Arianism, after hayDit enumerated the books of the Old and New Testament, uds, " These are the fountains of salvation, that he who thiests may be satisfied with the oracles contained in them. la these alone the doctrine of salvation is proclaimed. Let No man add to them, or take any thing from them.”[
IX. Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem,ĝ who wrote about twenur years after the appearance of Arianism, uses these remarkable words: * Concerning the divine and holy mysteries of faith, not the loast article ought to be delivered without the divine scriptures, We are assured, that Cyril's scriptures were the same as ours, for he has left us a catabogue of the books included under thai name.
X. Epiphanius,|| twenty years after Cyril, challenges wie Arians, and the followers of Origen, “ to produce any passage of the old or New Testament, favouring the senti
XI. Phæbadius, a Gallic bishop, who lived about thirty kwuns after the council of Nice, testifies, that “ the bishops the val. V. p. 146.
t Ib. vol. VII. p. 283, 284. Ib. vol. XII. p. 182. III. p. 276.
| Ib. p. 314.
of that council first consulted the sacred volumes, and then declared their faith.'
XII. Basil, bishop of Cæsarea, in Cappadocia, contemporary with Epiphanius, says, “ that hearers instructed in the scriptures, ought to examine what is said by their teachers, and to embrace what is agreeable to the scriptures, and to reject what is otherwise.”+
XIII. Ephraim, the Syren, a celebrated writer of the same times, bears this conclusive testimony to the proposition which forms the subject of our present chapter : “ The truth written in the sacred volume of the gospel, is a perfect rule. Nothing can be taken from it, nor added to it, without great guilt.”
XIV, If we add Jerome to these, it is only for the evidence which he affords of the judgment of preceding ages. Jerome observes, concerning the quotations of ancient Christian writers, that is, of writers who were ancient in the year 400, that they made a distinction between books, some they quoted as of authority, and others not: which observation relates to the books of scripture, compared with other writings, apocryphal or heathen."'$
SECT. III. The scriptures were in very early times collected into a dis
tinct volunie. IGNATIUS, who was bishop of Antioch, within forty years after the ascension, and who had lived and conversed with the apostles, speaks of the gospel and of the apostles in terms which render it very probable, that he meant by the gospel, the book or volume of the gospels, and by the apostles, the book or volume of their epistles. His words in one place are,ll "fleeing to the gospel as the flesh of Jesus, and to the apostles as the presbytery of the church ;'' that is, as Le Clerc interprets them, “ in order to understand the will of God, he fled to the gospels, which he believed no less than if Christ in the flesh had been speaking to him ; and to the writings of the apostles, whom he esteemed 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 dames by which the writings of the New Testament, and the division of these writings were usually expressed. • Ib. vol. IX. p. 52. + 1b. vol. IX. p. 121. Ib. p. 202. Vol. X. p. 123, 124.
| Lard. Cred. pr. ii. vol. I. p. 180. * Ib, vol. II. p. 516,
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."*
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.
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. 6 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, “ we do not commend those who offer themselves, forasmuch as the gospel teaches us no such thing.”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.
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," then travelling abroad, they performed the work of evangelists, being ambitious to preach Christ, and deliver the scripture of the divine gospels."'ll Eusebius had be. fore him the writings both of Quadratus himself, and of many others of that age, which are 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, bave been in general use, and in high esteem in the churches planted by the apostles; inasmuch as they were now, we Ib. p. 182. + Ig. Ep. c. i.
# Ib. c. ir. | Lard. Cred. pr. II. vol. 1, p. 236.