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Teacher and Comforter. But with regard to those of an earlier date, Irenæus of the second century writes, “ So great is the certainty in regard to our gospels, that even the heretics themselves bear testimony in their favor; and all acknowledging them, each endeavors to establish from them his own opinions."* Origen, on account as well of his candor and acquaintance with the heresies of his times as of the early age in which he lived, should be considered a competent witness on this head. He states that the heretics endeavored to impose upon people by alleg. ing texts of Scripture for their particular tenets, though they quoted them in a very unfair and mutilated manner; and that they appealed to them because they were the only writings whose authority was universally allowed. Testimony more impressive than this, to the apostolic authorship of the New Testament books, cannot be demanded.

7. The several heads of evidence which have now been made out in proof of the authenticity of the New Testament, cannot be pretended to with regard to any of those writings which are called Apocryphal Scriptures. To some who are aware that in the early ages of Christianity there existed a variety of apocryphal gospels and other compositions pretending to have been written by the apostles, it may be difficult to imagine by what rule the true works of the inspired writers were separated, without em. barrassment and with sufficient confidence, from all

* Storr and Flatt's Bib. Theol. 1, 67.
i Lardner 4, 521-2.

mere pretenders to that high original. But it greatly enhances one's sense of the prodigious weight of evidence in support of the true Scriptures, to learn how broad and unquestionable was the distinction.

Among the apocryphal writings, there are two classes. One is that of histories which assumed the names of the apostles, but were literally forgeries and therefore spurious, as well as apocryphal. The other consists of certain writings of a Christian character, and either entirely or in part historical, which are not spurious, but called apocryphal because their age and authors are unknown, or their authority is of no weight.

Of the first class it may be asserted, without any hazard, that none are quoted within three hundred years after the birth of Christ, by any writer now extant or known; or if any are quoted, it is invariably with marks of censure and rejection.* The only possible exception is “the gospel according to the Hebrews;" " which," says Lardner, “was probably either St. Matthew's gospel in his original Hebrew, with some additions, or, as I rather think, a Hebrew translation of St. Matthew's Greek original, with the additions above-mentioned.” But this is quoted nowhere, without marks of discredit, except in one place in the works of Clement of Alexandria.

Of the second class, none but a book called the * Preaching of Peter,” and another entitled the “Rev. elation of Peter,” are quoted, without positive condemnation, by any writer of the three first centuries.

Paley's Evidences.


These are spoken of only by the same Clement of Alexandria. Compare with these facts, the immense mass and variety of concurrent testimonies to the books of the New Testament in the writers of the three first centuries-testimonies from all countries and all classes, or thodox orheretics : remember, for example, that you may find in the extant works of Tertullian, or of Irenæus, or of Clement of Alexandria, more and larger quotations of the small volume of the New Testament, than you can find in writers of all characters, for several ages, of the works of Cicero, though voluminous and always so universally popular; and it will be evident that the apocryphal writings could have presented no difficulties in ascertaining the authentic books of the apostles. None of them were read as having apostolic authority in the churches of Christians, nor admitted into their sacred volume, nor included in their catalogues, nor noticed as authentic by the adversaries of Christianity, nor appealed to by all parties calling themselves Christians, as authority in their controversies, nor treated with sufficient respect to be made the subjects of commentaries, collections, or translations, unless the brief notes on the Revelation of Peter, by Clement of Alexandria, should merit exception. So wide was the contrast between the true and the false; so easily were the true Scriptures distinguished from all unauthorized pretenders to that honorable name.

But this is capable of being exhibited still more impressively. We have stated several important evi

dences of authenticity, all of which are found in the New Testament and none in any of the apocryphal writings. We will now exhibit certain evidences of spuriousness, all of which are found in the apocryphal writings, and none in those of the New Testament.

The reasons which render the authenticity of a work suspicious, are thus enumerated in the learned “Introduction to the New Testament,” by Michaelis : 1. When doubts have been entertained, from its first appearance, whether it was the work of its reputed author. 2. When his immediate friends who were able to judge, have denied it to be his. 3. When a long series of years has elapsed after his death, in which the book was unknown, and in which it must have been mentioned or quoted had it been in exist

4. When the style is different from that of his other writings; or in case no others remain, different from what might be reasonably expected. 5. When events are recorded which happened later than the time of the pretended author. 6. When opinions are advanced contradictory to those which he is known to have maintained in other writings. Now it may be affirmed, without fear of contradiction, that the apocryphal books exhibit all these evidences of spuriousness; none of them being exempt from nearly the whole list, and few of them deficient in any particular. While, with equal confidence, it is asserted that the books of the New Testament exhibit none of them. In no book of that holy volume,

* Michaelis' Int. vol: 1, p. 25.


are opinions professed that are contradictory to any which the reputed author is known elsewhere to have maintained ; nor are facts recorded which happened later than the age in which he lived; nor is the style different from that of his other writings, or from what might reasonably have been expected from his pen. No book of the New Testament was unknown during a long series of years subsequent to the death of the individual to whom it is ascribed ; none can be shown to have been denied by the near friends of the reputed author as his production ; no doubts can be proved to have been entertained of the authenticity of any part of the New Testament at the time of its first publication.

That apocryphal writings existed in the first centuries, is a fact which, so far from embarrassing the evidence for the authenticity of the New Testament books and the truth of the gospel history, very materially confirms it. Had it not been notorious that the apostles did write gospels and epistles, it is not likely that so many would have attempted to pass off spurious gospels in their names. Had it not been that the fame of Christ and his apostles was very great in all lands from the beginning, it is not probable that all these apocryphal authors would have thought of writing about them, or in their names; much less that they would have expected a market for their works. Had it not been notorious and universally allowed, that Christ and his apostles wrought miracles and did many wonderful works, it is not probable that all these writers would have

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