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do not conceal, and many accidents bring into the way of those who are not of our religion.” In this appeal he calls the attention of the heathen rulers to the epistles and gospels, as constituting "the words of God, our Scriptures.

There is good reason to believe that, in the time of Tertullian, the very autographs or original letters of the apostles were in the possession of those churches to which they had been specially directed. “ If,” says this ancient writer, "you be willing to exercise your curiosity profitably in the business of your salvation, visit the apostolical churches, in which the very chairs of the apostles still preside; in which their very authentic letters are recited, sounding forth the voice and representing the countenance of each one of them. Is Achaia near you? You have Corinth. If you are not far from Macedonia, you have Philippi, you have Thessalonica," etc. If Tertullian did not mean that the original manuscripts, but only authentic copies of the epistles to the Corinthians, Philippians, etc., were to be seen by application to those churches, why send inquirers thither? Could an authentic copy of the epistle to the Philippians be seen nowhere but at Philippi; or of that to the Corinthians, nowhere but at Corinth?

The quotations from the New Testament, in the writings of the second century, are so numerous that were the sacred volume lost, a large part of it might be collected from them alone. Passing by the testi

† Ibid. 1, 424.

* Lardner, 1, 372.

Alexander on the Canon, p. 143.

monies of Melito, bishop of Sardis, who wrote a commentary on the book of Revelation, and of Hegesippus, converted from Judaism, and of Tatian, who composed a harmony of the gospels, all born about the time of the death of St. John, we come to Justin Martyr, born about ten years prior to that event. Before his conversion from heathenism, he studied philosophy in the schools of the Stoics, Peripatetics, Pythagoreans, and Platonics. After becoming a Christian, he occupied a high stand in learned writing and holy living. His remaining works contain numerous quotations from, as well as allusions to, the four gospels, which he uniformly represents as containing “the genuine and authentic accounts of Jesus Christ and of his doctrine.” The same is true in relation to the Acts of the Apostles, and the greater part of the epistles. The book of Revelation is expressly said by Justin to have been written by “John, one of the apostles of Christ.” Having lived before the death of that apostle, he had the best opportunity of knowing

We finish the second century with Papias, bishop of Hierapolis in Asia, whom Irenæus speaks of as a hearer of John, and a disciple of Polycarp, a pupil of John the apostle.* How he obtained his information will appear from the only fragment of his writings remaining. It is found in Eusebius. “If at any time I met with one who had conversed with the elders, I inquired after the sayings of the elders ; what Andrew or what Peter said ; or what Philip, Thomas, or James had said; what John or Matthew, or what any other of the disciples of the Lord were wont to say."* Thus we have a witness who lived near enough to the beginning to inquire of those who had conversed with the apostles, if not to listen to St. John himself. Too little remains of his writings to furnish many testimonies, especially as he had it not in view to confirm the authenticity of any part of Scripture; but still he gives a very valuable testimony to the gospels of Matthew and Mark, and the first epistles of Peter and John. He alludes to the Acts and the book of Revelation.

* Lardner, 1, 336.

Thus we have ascended to the apostolic age. But we may reach still higher. We have in our possession the well-authenticated writings of five individuals and fathers in the primitive church, who, because they were contemporary with the apostles, are called apostolical fathers. Three of them, Barnabas, Clement, and Hermas, are mentioned by name in the New Testament;t the fourth, Polycarp, was an immediate disciple of St. John; the fifth, Ignatius, enjoyed the privilege of frequent intercourse with the apostles. There is scarcely a book of the New Testament, which one or another of these writers has not either quoted or alluded to. Though what is extant of their works is very little, it contains more than two hundred and twenty quotations, or allusions to the writings of our sacred volume, in which they are

* Lardner, 1, 337.

† Acts 13: 2, 3, 46, 47; 1 Cor. 9:4-7; Phil. 4:3; Romans 16:14.



uniformly treated with the reverence belonging to inspired books, and entitled, “The sacred Scriptures;" “ The Oracles of the Lord.” Their testimony having been given incidentally, without any view to its being testimony, does not apply to all the books. They had no design of enumerating for posterity, or for their contemporaries, the books of Scripture. There was no controversy on that subject in their age. It would have seemed a needless waste of words, had they attempted to decide a question which no one asked. It is very natural therefore, considering the brevity of their remaining works and the incidental character of their quotations, that some of the shorter writings of the New Testament should not be alluded to; while the fact that by one or another almost every book is quoted or alluded to, and that the whole number of quotations or allusions is upwards of two hundred and twenty, accompanied with every mark of reverence and submission, is a most impressive proof that the authenticity and inspired authority of the New Testament books were then notorious and unquestioned among Christians.

Thus we have ascended the line of testimony into the presence of the apostles. Our evidence has been collected from only a few out of the many witnesses that might have been cited. It has been derived from writers of different times, and of countries widely separated—from philosophers, rhetoricians, and divines, all men of acuteness and learning in their days, all concurring in their testimony that the books of the New Testament were equally known in distant regions, and received as authentic by men and churches that had no intercourse with one another. The argument is now, therefore, reduced to this. The apostles and disciples of Christ are known to have left some writings. That those writings have been lost, none can give a reason for believing. It is not pretended that any other volume than that of the New Testament contains them. The books contained in this volume were considered to be the writings of the apostles, by the whole Christian church, as far back as those who were their contemporaries and companions, being continually quoted and alluded to as such. It was impossible that such witnesses should be deceived. Contemporaries and companions must have known whether they quoted the genuine works of the apostles, or only forgeries pretending to their names. Our evidence, therefore, is complete. What I have presented exceeds, above measure, the evidence for the authenticity of any other ancient book. Should the fiftieth part of it be required for the proof of the authenticity of any book of ancient Grecian or Roman origin, it could not abide the trial.

Before relinquishing this department of evidence, there are certain very important particulars which, though embraced in what has been already advanced, require a more special notice.

1. It is worthy of distinct remark, that when the books of the New Testament are quoted or alluded to by those whose testimony has been adduced, they are treated with supreme regard, as possessing an authority belonging to no other books, and as con

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