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The APOSTOLIC WRITINGS EARLY AND ONIVERSALLY RECEIVED. Julian Pe. thereby in any difficulty or doubt. If it should be hereafter Asia Miasta riod, 4799. enquired, at what time, or by what authority the authentic letVulgar Æra, ters were separated from the spurious, the answer will be, that 96. such a separation never took place; but that the canon of Ju.
nius was determined immediately after the date of the last letter.
“ Yet how much stronger is the case of the scriptural canon.
“ If, then, notwithstanding these and other difficulties, which
The time of St. John's death is very uncertain. Jerome, in
DEATII OF ST. JOHN-CIIAP. XV.
Julian Pe. reign of Trajan. Usher and Beveridge, de Martyr. Ignat. Asia Minor
Tertullian, Origen, and others, place it in the third. The
it is needless to repeat the culogies with which affection and
(a) Sic Amesius Theol, lib. i. c. 34. $ 35. Canonem V.T. constituerunt Prophetæ, et Christus ipse testimonio suo approbavit. Canonem N. T. una cum veteri comprobavit, et obsignavit Apostolus Joannes auctoritate divina instructus, Apoc. xxi. 18, 19. Idem videtur Pareo, Pigneto, et aliis ad h. 1. Heideggerus Corp. Theol. loc. ii. p. 61. addit, Joannem canonem N. T. claussisse, dam solenni voto; etiam veni, Domine Jesu! Scripturem N. T. cum ultimo Christi adventu ita conjuxit, uti olim Malachias Scripturam N. T. cum Ministerio Joannis Baptistæ connexuit. Sed et vetustiores Apocalypsin pro sigillo universæ Scripturæ habuerunt. Anonymus quidam græcus apud Allatium diss. I. de libris Eccles. Græcorum, p. 48.
θεολογική δ' αποκαλυψις πάλιν
Σφραγίς πέφυκε της δε της βίβλο πασης. .
The theological student, who is desirous of pursuing this subject, is
Sanhedrim, and its Labors, before the final, and total
So closed the most evenlful century in the apnals of the
Julian Pe- The institutions of Christianity had succeeded to the institu- Asia Wise
country alone, was taken down, and the whole world was in-
It may be useful, in the conclusion of this work, to cast a
We will compare the state of the world at the beginning of the century before the birth of Christ was announced to the shepherds, with its condition at the death of the last of the apostles.
At the commencement of the century in which the Redeemer of mankind became incarnate, the world was divided into two classes, the Pagans and the Jews. The former of these had entirely forgotten the object for wbich mankind had been ori. ginally created ; and, amoug the latter, the remembrance of that object was coufined to a very few who still retained the spiritual meaning of their Scriptures, and anticipated a deliverer from the dominion of ignorance and wickedness, rather than a Saviour from the Romau yoke. The degeneracy of mankind was daily increasing; and the Church of God, that is, that portion of the visible Church which had preserved itself pure from the univers sal corruption, was so rapidly diminishing; that there was danger lest the world should return to the same condition to wbich it had been reduced; when eight persons only were saved from the deluge, or when ten worsbippers of Jehovah could pot be found to preserve the cities of the plain. Among the Heathen all classes had become foolish. The magistrates and the statesmen of an. tiquity considered religion as an useful engine of state ; the pbilosophers, bewildered among their metaphysical dreams, and involved in endless disputations and divisions, considered all religions as equally false, and equally true-justly despising the inconsistencies of the popular mythology, they knew not where to rest. The scanty remains of the ancient truth, which tradition still preserved among them, was obscured by innamerable absurdities. Neither the hope of good, nor the fear of evil, adimated the popular devotion; while the very superstitions wbich the wandering reason of their pretended philosophy despised, were rendered more binding upon the ignorant populace by the outward compliance of the philosophers, with all its rites and ceremonies.
The teachers of the Jews bad secularized the religion of their fathers. The magnificent promises and splendid predictions of the prophets, which describe the spiritual glories of the or pected Messiah, were interpreted of a temporal dominion. The maintainers of the spiritual interpretation were treated with contempt. The two classes of teachers, who divided the affections of the people, united in ridiculing
the holiness of heart and life required by the law of Jehovah. The Sadducees denied
AND AT THE END OF THE APOSTOLIO AGE.
723 Julian Pen the doctrine of a future state, and the consequent sanctions of Asia Minor, riod, 4799. an invisible world; the Pharisees rosolved the religion of Moses, Valgarðra, and of the prophets, into the belief of traditions, and attachment 96.
to external observances, and ostentatious austerities. The one
The close of the century presented a strong contrast with this
Before we proceed to the history of the Christian Church, it may be advisable to inquire into the condition of the onec fa. poured people of God, after their rejection of the Messiah had brought upon them the accomplishment of his predictions, in the destruction of the city, and the utter ruin of their poli: tical existence.
The visible true Church, in any nation, is uoder tbe protection of the peculiar Providence of God, and entitled to the veneration of the people, whom it is intended to guide to futuro happiness, so long only as it retains its spiritual fitness, and zeal, and purity, to accomplish the objects of its institution. This seems to be the lesson which the fall of Jerusalem was do. signed to impress upon the infant Church, which had now succeeded to the miraculous gifts and privileges of the Church of Jerusalem. Not only did the fallen daughter of Sion render service to her favoured sister, by impressing this solemn lesson, she was still permitted, before the final dispersion of her sons, so to deliver the ancient Scriptures to the Gentile Churches, that their integrity and genuineness should be 'uo impeacbable, either by the Jews or Heathens.
Though the city and templo of Jerusalem were destroyed, the Sanhedrim remaibed, and were acknowledged by the surviving Hebrews as the legitimate directors and teachers of the people: Some years before the destruction of the temple they had removed to Jabneh : and, after that event; Rabban Jochanao ben. Zacchai, the president, who had predicted the destruction of the temple forty years before, when the doors of the temple had opened without visible cause, requested permission of Titus, with whom be was in favour, to re-establish the Sanhedrim at Jaboeh. Fully convinced of the truth of bis own propheey, bobad entreated the people to subniit to the Romans. It was possibly on this account that Titus complied witb his request. He sat as president of the Sanhedrim five years after the destruction of the city. Sume few of the more emipent and learned Jows, who oseaped from the common slaughter, from the sale, and vassalage of their countrymen, continued with bim at Jabpeh.
Julian Pe- Among these were R. Gamaliel, the son of the R. Simeon who Asia Miage.
dered by the Jews as the last of the ten eminent men who were
R. Jochanan was succeeded in his presidency over the Saabe-
The presidency of these two, continued twelve years, from the second year of Vespasian, to the second of Domitian. The hatred of the Romans towards the Jews had not at this time in. creased to its height. In the second year of Domitian, R. Akibah, was their head. His presidency lasted forty years, when the Romans sacked with so much cruelty the town Bitter, or more properly Beth-Tar (a).. The Jews now began to be more severely threatened, as enemies to the public peace of the empire, and to all mankind. This was the period of the dreadful insurrection at Cyrene (6), when they murdered two hundred and twenty thousand Greeks and Romans, under circumstances of the most revolting and shameful cruelty. A similar insurrection was made in Egypt and Cyprus, where they slaughtered two bundred and forty thousand. The principal author of this revolt is said to have been the false Messiah, Ben Cozba, who proclaimed himself king, and coined money. This took place in the reign of Adrian, and R. Akibah, the president of the Sanhedrim, was killed at Beth-Tar, as armour bearer to this pretended Messiah.
The destruction of the remaining cities of Judea, and the number of Jews who were slaughtered, make the Jews consider this period as the completion of their ruin, and the most serere blow they ever received, except the destruction of their city. Adrian bad sent against them the relentless Sererus, who was afterwards emperor.
At tbis time lived Trypho, the Jew who had the controversy with Justin Martyr. It is not improbable that this was the same as Tarpbon, an intimate associate of R. Akibah; he is frequently mentioned in the Talmuds.
The fourth president of the Sanhedrim, after the destruction of Jerusalem, was Rabban Simeon. He governed ahout thirty years from the sixth or eighth of Adrian, to the fifteenth or six. teenth of Antoninus Pius. The honour and power of the learn. ed Jews began now to lessen daily, though there were still found among them some eminent names, which are yet honoured both among the Jews and Christians. The principal of these were R. Simeon ben Jochai, and Eliezer, his son, the first authors of the book Zohar--and 'Aquila, the celebrated proselyte, whose