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7. Lastly, it must on no account be forgotten, that the quotations of the fathers are not to be compared with our printed editions, or our textus receptus, but with the text of their church, and of the age in which they lived; which text was sometimes purer, though most frequently less correct than ours, and always exhibits diversities, in themselves indeed of little importance, but which nevertheless would be sufficient to disguise the phrase cited from readers, who should be inattentive to or forgetful of that circumstance.

For the reason above stated, we commence the series of testimonies to the genuineness and authenticity of the New Testament, which are furnished by the quotations of antient Christian writers, with the fathers of the fourth century; because from that century downwards, the works of Christian writers are so full of references to the New Testament, that it becomes unnecessary to adduce their testimonies, especially as they would only prove that the books of Scripture never lost their character or authority with the Christian church. The witnesses to the genuineness of the books of the New Testament, in this century, are very numerous; but, as it would extend this chapter to too great a length, were we to detail them all, it may suffice to remark, that we have not fewer than TEN distinct catalogues of these books. Six agree exactly with our present canon; namely, the lists of Athanasius (A. D. 315),1 Epiphanius (A. D. 370),2 Jerome (A. D. 392),3 Rufinus (A. D. 390), Augustine, Bishop of Hippo in Africa (A. D. 394), and of the forty-four bishops assembled in the third council of Carthage (at which Augustine was present, A. D. 397). Of the other four catalogues, those of Cyril Bishop of Jerusalem' (A. D. 340), of the bishops at the council of Laodicea (A. D. 364), and of Gregory of Nazianzum, Bishop of Constantinople (A. D. 375), are the same with our canon, excepting that the Revelation is omitted; and Philaster or Philastriu,10 Bishop of Brixia or Brescia (A. D. 380), in his list, omits the epistle to the Hebrews and the Revelation, though he acknowledges both these books in other parts of his works. Of these various catalogues, that of JEROME is the most remarkable. He was born about the middle of the fourth century, and was

1 The testimony of Athanasius will be found at full length in Dr. Lardner's Credibility of the Gospel History, part ii. Works, vol. iv. pp. 280-294. of the 8vo. edition, or vol. ii. pp. 388-406. of the 4to. edition. The testimonies, adduced in Lardner, may likewise be seen on a smaller scale in Professor Less's valuable work on "The Authenticity, uncorrupted Preservation, and Credibility of the New Tes tament," translated by Mr. Kingdom, 8vo. London, 1804; and especially in C. F. Schmidius's "Historia Antiqua et Vindicatio Canonis Sacri Veteris Novique Testamenti." 8vo. Lipsiæ, 1775.

PP. 416-420. pp. 531-572.

2 Lardner, 8vo. vol. iv. pp. 311-319; 4to. vol. ii.
3 Ibid. 8vo. vol. v. pp. 1-74; 4to. vol. ii.
4 Ibid. 8vo. vol. v. pp. 75-78; 4to. vol. ii. pp. 572-574.

5 Ibid. 8vo. vol. v. pp. 81-123; 4to. vol. ii.

pp. 576-599.

6 Ibid. 8vo. vol. v. pp. 79, 80; 4to. vol. ii. pp. 574, 575.

7 Ibid.8vo. vol. iv. pp. 299-303; 4to. vol. ii. pp. 409-411.

8 Canon 59. The canons of this council were, not long afterwards, received into the body of the canons of the universal church. Lardner, 8vo. vol. iv. pp. 308-311; 4to. vol. ii. 414-416.


pp. 469-472.

9 Lardner, 8vo. vol. iv. pp. 406-411; 4to. vol. ii.
10 Ibid. 8vo. vol. iv. pp. 499-501; 4to. vol. ii. pp. 522, 523.

ordained Presbyter by Paulinus, at Antioch, in the year 378, about which time he is placed by Bp. Marsh, Dr. Cave, and others, though Dr. Lardner (whose date we have followed) places him about the year 392, when he wrote his celebrated book of illustrious men. "It is well known that Jerome was the most learned of the Latin fathers: and he was peculiarly qualified, not only by his profound erudition, but by his extensive researches, his various travels, and his long residence in Palestine, to investigate the authenticity of the several books, which compose the New Testament. Of these books he has given a catalogue in his epistle to Paulinus, on the study of the Holy Scriptures. He begins his catalogue (which is nearly at the close of the epistle) with the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. The Acts of the Apostles he mentions as another work of St. Luke, whose praise is in the Gospel. He says that St. Paul wrote epistles to seven churches: these seven churches are such as we find in the titles of the Epistles of St. Paul contained in our present copies of the New Testament. Of the Epistle to the Hebrews he observes, that most persons (namely in the Latin church) did not consider it as an epistle of St. Paul: but we shall presently see that his own opinion was different. He further states, that St. Paul wrote to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. The seven catholic epistles he ascribes to James, Peter, John, and Jude, and expressly says that they were apostles. And he concludes his catalogue with the remark, that the Revelation of John has as many mysteries as words. This catalogue accords with the books which we receive at present, with the exception of the epistle to the Hebrews. The rejection of this epistle is a fact, which Jerome has not attempted to conceal and therefore, as he confidently speaks of all the other books of the New Testament, his testimony is so much the more in their favour. As we are now concerned with a statement of facts, it would be foreign to our present purpose to inquire into the causes, which induced the Latin church to reject the Epistle to the Hebrews. But whatever those causes may have been, they did not warrant the rejection of it, in the estimation of Jerome himself. For in his catalogue of Ecclesiastical writers, or, as it is frequently called, his Treatise of Illustrious Men, and in the article relating to St. Paul, Jerome expressly asserts that St. Paul wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews. And in his Epistle to Dardanus, alluding to the then prevailing custom in the Latin church to reject the Epistle to the Hebrews, he adds, "But we receive it ;" and he assigns this powerful reason, which it is necessary to give in his own words, 'nequaquam hujus temporis consuetudinem, sed veterum scriptorum auctoritatem sequentes. To his catalogue of the books of the New Testament may be added his revision of the Latin version, which revision contained the same books as we have at present."3 In this revision Jerome was employed by Dama


1 Tom. iv. part 2. col. 568. ed. Martianay.

2 Tom. ii. col. 608.


3 Bp. Marsh's Course of Lectures on the several Branches of Divinity, part v. Pp. 20-22.

sus, then Bishop of Rome, to collate many antient Greek copies of the New Testament, and by them to correct the Latin version then in use, wherever they appeared to disagree materially with the true original. This task, he tells us, he performed with great care in the four Gospels, about the year 384; and he made the same use of the Greek copies in his commentaries on St. Paul's Epistles to the Galatians, Ephesians, Titus, and Philemon, and most probably also in his commentaries on the other parts of the New Testament.

The next distinguished writer anterior to Jerome, was EUSEBIUS, Bishop of Cæsarea, who flourished in the year 315,- a man of extraordinary learning, diligence, and judgment, and singularly studious in the Scriptures. He received the books of the New Testament nearly as we have them, and in his various writings has produced quotations from all, or nearly all of them. His chief work is his Ecclesiastical History, in which he records the history of Christianity from its commencement to his own time; and having diligently read the works of Christian antiquity, for the express purpose of ascertaining what writings had been received as the genuine productions of the apostles and evangelists, in the third, fourth, and twenty-fourth chapters of his third book, he has particularly treated on the various books of the New Testament; and in the twenty-fifth chapter he has delivered, not his own private opinion, but the opinion of the church, εκκλησιαςική παραδωσις, the sum of what he had found in the writings of the primitive Christians. As the result of his inquiries, he reduces the books of the New Testament into the three following classes.

1. Ομολογουμεναι Γραφαι (ανωμολογημέναι; οι αληθείς και απλάςοι) that is, writings which were universally received as the genuine works of the persons whose names they bear. In this class Eusebius reckons, 1. The four Gospels; 2. The Acts of the Apostles; 3. The Epistles of St. Paul; 4. The first Epistle of St. John; 5. The first Epistle of St. Peter. The Revelation of St. John might also perhaps be placed in this class, because some think its authenticity incontrovertible, yet the majority leave the matter undetermined.


H. Avriλeyouevas Teapai, that is, writings on whose authenticity the antients were not unanimous. According to Eusebius, even these have the majority of voices among the antients in their favour. expressly calls them γνωρίμων όμως τοις πολλοις (writings acknowledged by most to be genuine), and παρα πλείςοις των εκκλησιαςικων γιγνωσκομένας (received by the majority). A few doubted of their authenticity; and therefore Eusebius ranks them under the class of contested books. In this class he enumerates, of the writings of the New Testament, 1. The Epistle of St. James; 2. The Epistle of St. Jude; 3. The second Epistle of St. Peter; 4. The second and third Epistles of St. John. The Revelation of St. John, he adds, is also by some placed in this class.1 III. No

reapa, that is, writings confessedly spurious. Among

1 For, in early times, some believed that this work was not composed by John the Apostle, but by a presbyter of the same name, or by some other person.

these he enumerates the acts of St. Paul: the Shepherd of Hermas; the Revelation of St. Peter; the Epistle of Barnabas; the Doctrines of the Apostles; and the Gospel according to the Hebrews.

Besides these, Eusebius mentions certain books which may constitute a fourth class, (for the twenty-fifth chapter of the third book of his Ecclesiastical History is not remarkably perspicuous); viz.

IV. Arora xaι durσen, (absurd and impious); that is, writings which had been universally rejected as evidently spurious. In this class he includes the Gospels of Peter, of Thomas, and of Matthias; the Acts of Andrew, of John, and of other apostles. These writings, says he, contain evident errors, are written in a style entirely different from that of the apostles, and have not been thought worthy of being mentioned by any one of the antients.1

A few years before the time of Eusebius, or about the year 300, ARNOBIUS, a teacher of rhetoric at Sicca in Africa,2 and LACTANTIUS his pupil,3 composed, among other works, elaborate vindications of the Christian religion, which prove their acquaintance with the writings of the New Testament, although they did not cite them by name, because they addressed their works to the Gentiles. Lactantius indeed assigns this very reason for his reserve; notwithstanding which, Dr. Lardner remarks, "he seems to show that the Christians of that time were so habituated to the language of Scripture, that it was not easy for them to avoid the use of it, whenever they discoursed upon things of a religious nature."

During the next preceding forty years, the imperfect remains of numerous writers are still extant, in which they either cite the Historical Scriptures of the New Testament, or speak of them in terms of profound respect; but the testimony of VICTORINUS Bishop of Pettaw in Germany is particularly worthy of notice, on account of the remoteness of his situation from that of Origen and Cyprian, who were Africans. Victorinus wrote commentaries on different books of the Old Testament, an exposition of some passages of St. Matthew's Gospel, a commentary on the Apocalypse, and various controversial treatises against the heretics of his day; in which we have valuable and most explicit testimonies to almost every book of the New Testament.5

Of all the fathers who flourished in the third century, the most learned and laborious unquestionably was ORIGEN, who was born in Egypt A. D. 184 or 185, and died about the year 253. It is said of him, that he did not so much recommend Christianity by what he preached or wrote, as by the general tenor of his life. So great, in

1 Lardner, 8vo. vol. iv. pp. 200-275; 4to. vol. ii. pp. 355-395.

2 Ibid. 8vo. vol. iv. pp. 1-24; 4to. vol. ii. pp. 244-257.

3 Ibid. 8vo. vol. iv. pp. 24-87; 4to. vol. ii. pp. 257–292.

4 As Novatus, Rome, A. D. 251; Dionysius, Rome, A. D. 259; Commodian, A. D. 270; Anatolius, Laodicea, A. d. 270; Theognostus, A. D. 282; Methodius, Lycia, A. D. 290; and Phileas Bishop of Thmuis in Egypt, A. D. 296. Accounts of these writers, and extracts from their testimonies to the New Testament, are collected and given at length by Dr. Lardner, (Works, vol. iii. 8vo. or, vol. ii. 4to.) 5 Lardner, 8vo. vol. iii. pp. 286-303; 4to. vol. ii. pp. 88-98.

deed, was the estimation in which he was held, even among the heathen philosophers, that they dedicated their writings to him, and submitted them to his revisal. Of the critical labours of Origen upon the Scriptures, we have spoken at considerable length in a subsequent part of this Work ; but, besides these, (which in themselves form a decisive testimony to the authenticity of the Scriptures), he wrote a three-fold exposition of all the books of the Scripture, viz. scholia or short notes, tomes or extensive commentaries, in which he employed all his learning, critical, sacred, and profane, and a variety of homilies and tracts for the people. Although a small portion only of his works has come down to us, yet in them he uniformly bears testimony to the authenticity of the New Testament, as we now have it; and he is the first writer who has given us a perfect catalogue of those books which Christians unanimously (or at least the greater part of them) have considered as the genuine and divinely inspired writings of the apostles.3

GREGORY Bishop of Neo-Cæsarea, and DIONYSIUS Bishop of Alexandria,5 were pupils of Origen; so that their testimonies to the New Testament, which are very numerous, are in fact but repetitions of his. In the writings of CYPRIAN Bishop of Carthage, who flourished a few years after Origen, and suffered martyrdom A. D. 258, we have most copious quotations from almost all the books of the New Testament.6

Further, during the first thirty years of the third century, there are extant fragments of several writers, in all of which there is Thus CAIUS, some reference to the books of the New Testament. surnamed Romanus, who was a presbyter of the church of Rome,7 quotes all the epistles of Saint Paul as his genuine productions, except the Epistle to the Hebrews, which he has omitted to enumerate among the rest. HIPPOLYTUS PORTUENSIS also has several references to most of the books of the New Testament.8 AMMONIUS composed a Harmony of the Four Gospels, and JULIUS AFRICANUS endeavoured to remove the apparent contradictions in the genealogy of Jesus Christ as delivered by the evangelists Matthew and Luke.10

From the third century we now ascend to the second, in which flourished TERTULLIAN, a presbyter of the church of Carthage, who was born in the year 160 and died about the year 220. He became a Montanist about the year 200; and Christian writers

1 Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. lib. vi. c. 19.

2 See Vol. II. Part I. Chap. V. Sect. I. § 2. infra.

3 Lardner, 8vo. vol. ii. pp. 442-544; 4to. vol. i. pp. 519-575.

4 Ibid, 8vo. vol. iii. pp. 25-57; 4to. vol. i.

pp. 591-608.


5 Ibid. 8vo. vol. iii. pp. 57-132; 4to. vol. i. pp.
6 Ibid. 8vo. vol. iii. pp. 133-183; 4to. vol. ii. pp. 3-30.
7 Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. lib. vi. c. 20. Lardner, 8vo. vol. ii.

vol. i. pp. 481-484.



8 Lardner, 8vo. vol. ii. pp. 397-413; 4to. vol. i.
9 Ibid. 8vo. vol. ii. pp. 413-430; 4to. vol. i. pp. 503–513.

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10 Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. lib. i. c. 7. Lardner, 8vo. vol. ii. pp. 431-441; 4to. vol.

pp. 513-518.



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