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The persons, in the early ages, to whom we are chiefly indebted for information, are Eusebius, Jerome, and Origen, of whom the two former flourished in the fourth century, and the latter in the third. They were all men of great learning, and had devoted their time and talents to the study of the Scriptures. Eusebius has divided the writings, which claimed to be received as a rule of faith and practice to Christians, into three classes. Those of the first class are the papas jugueras, which are the four gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, the epistles of Paul, the first epistle of John, and the first epistle of Peter; and to these, he says, may be added, if it should seem proper, the Revelation of John. Those of the second class, are the papa avinGJOμEVOLI, writings, the genuineness of which was doubted by some. These are the epistle of James, the epistle of Jude, the second epistle of Peter, and the second and third of John, because it was uncertain whether they were written by him, or by another person of the same name. It appears, however, that these books were acknowledged by the majority of Christians. Those of the third class are the papa vas, spurious writings, as the acts of Paul, Andrew, John, and other apostles, and gospels under the names of Peter, Thomas, and Mathias, the epistle of Barnabas, and the Shepherd of Hermas.

Eusebius distinguishes the spurious from the canonical books by two internal marks. The first arises from the style, which is quite different from that of the apostles—ό της φράσεως παρά το ήθος το αποστολικον εναλλαττει χαρακτηρ. The second is furnished by the sentiments and design, which are at variance with orthodoxy, and show them to be the compositions of heretical men- re groun και ή των εν αυτοίς φερόμενων προαίρεσις πλείστον όσιν της αληθους ορθοδοξιας απᾅδουσα.t

Eusebius uses another argument against the spurious books, and it is this; that no ecclesiastical writer, in the succession from the apostles, had deemed them worthy to be mentioned. They are not appealed to as books of authority; they are not quoted as the productions of inspired and apostolical men. Now, by considering this omission as a proof that they are forgeries, Eusebius suggests to us the plan which we should adopt, with a view to ascertain the genuineness of the Scriptures; and it is the plan which was pursued by himself. We must have recourse to those who were contemporaries of the apostles and evangelists, or flourished soon after them, and see whether they knew any thing about the books which are commonly ascribed to them.

The only Christian writers of the first century of whom there are any remains, are Clement, Barnabas, and Hermas. Clement is mentioned in the epistle to the Philippians as a fellow-labourer of Paul, and as one whose name was in the book of life; and he is said, by the ancients, to have been bishop of Rome. There are two epistles under his name, addressed to the church of Corinth, the first of which is generally admitted to be genuine, but suspicions are entertained of the second. Barnabas was the companion of Paul. I should think, that any person who peruses the epistle ascribed to him would be convinced that he was not the author of it, and that it is the composition of another person of the same name, or who assumed his name. It is believed, however, to be a work of the first century; and the same date is assigned to the Pastor or Shepherd of Hermas, who is supposed, although not with good reason, to be the Hermas mentioned in the epistle to the Romans. In the epistle of Clement, there are at least eight quotations from, or allusions to the gospel of Matthew; six to the gospel of Luke; one to the gospel of John; two to the Acts of the Apostles. In the epistle of Barnabas, there are seven to the gospel of Matthew, and one at least to the gospel of John. In the Shepherd of Hermas, there are nine to the gospel of Matthew. I have not

Euseb. Hist. lib. iii. cap. 25.

† Ibid.

mentioned any quotations from Mark, or references to it: and the reason is, that in consequence of the similarity of his gospel to that of Matthew, it is not easy to determine whether some of the passages were cited from the one or from the other.

With these may be joined Ignatius, who was their contemporary, but survived them, and finished his course in the early part of the second century. From an expression in one of his epistles, it has been concluded that he saw Christ in the flesh. He is said to have been appointed bishop of Antioch about thirty-seven years after the ascension; and having continued in office forty years, he suffered martyrdom at Rome. The testimony of such a man is of inestimable value, both because he had the best opportunities of ascertaining what books had come from the original teachers of religion, with several of whom he may be presumed to have been personally acquainted, and because, being a Christian and a bishop, he would be careful not to admit, but upon sufficient grounds, any writing as the rule of his faith. Now, in his epistles we find eight quotations from the gospel of Matthew, one from Luke, and two or three from John.

The next in order is Polycarp, who lived in the first century, and conversed with the apostle John. He was made bishop of Smyrna about the year 94 or 95, and suffered martyrdom in the year 167, having attained a very great age, and served Christ, as he told the judge who condemned him, eighty years. There is extant only one epistle sent by him to the Philippians, in which we cannot expect many quotations. There are, however, six from the gospel of Matthew, and in some fragments two more, and one quotation from the Acts.

Justin, who is commonly called Martyr, because he suffered death for Christ in the year 140, is a more voluminous author, and consequently furnishes many more references to the gospels. There have been collected out of his works, from thirty to forty passages from the gospel of Matthew, nine from the gospel of Luke, five from the gospel of John, and one from the Acts. They are often cited in a book which goes under his name, but it is not believed to be his, and is entitled Questions and Answers to the Orthodox.

In the writings of Irenæus, bishop of Lyons, who flourished from A. d. 179 to A. D. 202, the quotations are numerous. He has taken at least two hundred and fifty passages from Matthew, and several times cites his gospel by name; seven passages from Mark, and names him twice; above one hundred from the gospel of Luke; above one hundred and twenty from the gospel of John; and he very often refers to the Acts. In the book adversus Hæreses, he adopts the fanciful idea, that there could only be four gospels, and assigns fanciful reasons for it; but he mentions them all by name, and gives a summary of their contents.

Quotations are also found in the writings of Athenagoras and Theophilus of Antioch. In the works of Clemens Alexandrinus and Tertullian, they are so frequent, that we do not attempt to specify the number. It has been observed that "there are more and larger quotations of the small volume of the New Testament in the writings of one Christian author, Tertullian, than there are of all the works of Cicero in writers of all characters for several ages."


Hitherto, I have produced testimonies in favour only of the historical books, the gospels and the Acts. If these are admitted to be genuine, there will not be much dispute about the epistles, which are so closely connected with the scheme unfolded in the writings of the evangelists, being an illustration and continuation of it. Clemens Alexandrinus not only gives an account of the

• Lardner's Credibility, part ii. chap. 27.

order in which the gospels were written, and cites Luke as the author of the Acts, but quotes almost every book of the New Testament by name. Irenæus, whose means of ascertaining the truth were the best, as he was the disciple of Polycarp, who was the disciple of John, has not only ascribed the four gospels and the Acts to their respective authors, but has acknowledged as canonical and genuine the epistle to the Romans, the epistles to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, the first and second epistles to the Thessalonians, the two epistles to Timothy, the epistle to Titus, the two epistles of Peter, and the first and second epistles of John. He has alluded to the epistle to the Hebrews, has quoted the epistle of James, and borne express testimony to the book of Revelation. Justin Martyr not only makes mention of the memoirs of the apostles, and the memoirs of Christ, evidently meaning the gospels, but refers to the Acts, the epistle to the Romans, the first epistle to the Corinthians, the epistles to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, the second epistle to the Thessalonians, the first epistle of Peter, and the book of Revelation. Polycarp alludes to several other books of the New Testament besides the gospels, the epistle to the Romans, the first and second epistles to the Corinthians, the epistle to the Ephesians, the first epistle to Timothy, the first epistle of Peter, and the first epistle of John. In the seven epistles of Ignatius which are supposed to be genuine, there are quotations from, or manifest allusions to the epistle to the Romans, the first and second epistles to the Corinthians, the epistle to the Galatians, the epistle to the Ephesians, the epistle to the Philippians, the epistle to the Colossians, the second epistle to the Thessalonians, the two epistles to Timothy, the epistle to Titus, the epistle to the Hebrews, the epistle of James, and the first epistle of Peter. In the epistle of Clemens Romanus, the following books are cited; the epistle to the Romans, the two epistles to the Corinthians, the epistle to the Philippians, the first epistle to the Thessalonians, the first epistle to Timothy, the epistle to the Hebrews, the epistle of James, the first and second of Peter, and the Revelation. The works of Barnabas and Hermas also contain allusions to several books, but they are less frequent and explicit, because the subject of the epistle of Barnabas led him to refer rather to the Old Testament, and the Shepherd of Hermas is composed in the form of a vision.

It is observable, that the quotations and allusions are sometimes accompanied with the names of the apostles and evangelists, but frequently they are omitted. "This proves," says Paley, speaking of the gospels, "that these books were perfectly notorious, and that there were no other accounts of Christ then extant, or at least, no other so received and credited, as to make it necessary to distinguish these from the rest."* The observation may be applied to the other parts of the New Testament. References to them without any specification of their titles or authors show, that they were well known, that they were considered as standard books, that their sayings were received as authoritative, and consequently, that they were understood to be genuine. And, that they were viewed with respect as writings of a higher order than human compositions, is evident from the terms in which they are spoken of, as Holy Scriptures, Divine Scriptures, Fountains of Truth and Salvation; and also from the fact that they were read in the religious assemblies.

It is unnecessary to pursue this inquiry farther. It is well known that in the third and following centuries, they were regarded as the writings of those under whose names they were current in the world. It is proper, however, to inform you, that catalogues of the books of the New Testament were drawn up by different persons, from which it appears, that the same books were then received which are at present acknowledged.

* Paley's Evidences, part i. chap. ix. § 1.°

The first is the catalogue of Origen in the year 210, who omits the epistle of James and Jude, but acknowledges both in other parts of his writings. The second is the catalogue of Eusebius in the year 315, which is the same with ours. He says, however, as you heard before, that a few of the books were disputed by some. The third is the catalogue of Athanasius of the same date, which exactly accords with the modern one. So does the catalogue of Cyril of Jerusalem in A. D. 340,-with an exception as to the Revelation. The catalogue of the Council of Laodicea, A. D. 364, omits the Revelation, but has all the other books. The catalogue of Epiphanius, A. D. 370, agrees with ours; but the Revelation is omitted in that of Gregory Nazianzen, A. D. 375. Philostrius, bishop of Brexia, A. D. 380, leaves out the Revelation, and mentions only thirteen epistles of Paul, excepting, most probably, the epistle to the Hebrews, of which some doubted, but he has all the other books. Jerome, A. D. 382, receives all the books, for, although he speaks doubtfully of the epistle to the Hebrews, he acknowledges it as canonical in other parts of his writings. The catalogues of Ruffinus, A. D. 390, of Augustine, A. D. 394, and of the Council of Carthage in which Augustine was present, are in all respects the same with ours.

Nothing farther is necessary to satisfy us that the books were written at the time assigned for their publication, and by the persons to whom they are ascribed. There seems not, indeed, to have been any doubt relative to this matter in the early ages. It was generally understood from whom the books came, and they were received with as little hesitation as we feel with respect to a book published among us, to which the author has prefixed his name. We have seen that the genuineness of a few of them was called in question, only however by some; but this circumstance supplies new evidence, by showing that proof was required before any of the books was acknowledged. When we find that men are far from being credulous, and that while they give an assent in some instances, they withhold it in others, we rest with the greater confidence in their conclusions. If it should be said that the primitive Christians, from indifference or simplicity, permitted forged writings to be palmed upon them as the productions of evangelists and apostles, we have it in our power boldly to contradict the assertion. They did not give credit to every pretence, but exercised a spirit of discrimination, in consequence of which, they not only rejected a variety of books circulated under the most venerable names, but regarded at first with some degree of suspicion certain others, which they afterwards admitted into the canon, when their title was more fully established. If their testimony should be pronounced insufficient in these circumstances, there is an end to all confidence in human veracity; and it will be impossible to prove the genuineness of any book in the world. The truth is, that none has come down to us from ancient times so fully attested as the Christian Scriptures.

Additional evidence is furnished by the heretics who arose in the early ages, Cerinthus lived at the same time with the apostle John; he taught that circum, cision and the observance of the law of Moses were necessary to salvation; and rejected the inspiration and authority of Paul, because he had delivered a contrary doctrine. Hence it is plain that the epistles of Paul were then in existence, and are the same with those which we at present possess. The Cerinthians bore testimony to the existence of the gospel of Matthew, for they received it, because they did not consider it as at variance with their tenets, The Ebionites, who were contemporary with them, also prove the existence of Matthew's gospel, and of the epistles of Paul, by their having received the former in a corrupted form, and rejected the latter. Marcion, in the beginning of the second century, received the gospel of Luke, but altered it so as to make it a gospel of his own. He affirmed that the gospel of Matthew, the epistle VOL. I.-8

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to the Hebrews, and the epistles of Peter and James, were not fit for the use of Christians, but of Jews; but he received ten of the epistles of Paul. All these books, therefore, existed and were known in his time. Basilides, in the early part of the second century, acknowledged the gospel of Matthew, and there is no evidence that he rejected the other three. The Valentinians, about the same date, drew arguments in favour of their opinions, as Irenæus informs us, from the evangelical and apostolical writings, and it is probable, that they received all the books, as various other sects and leaders of heresy did, whom it is not necessary to particularize. "Noetus," says Dr. Lardner," Paul of Samosata, Sabellius, Marcellus, Photinus, the Novatians, Donatists, Manichees, Priscillianists, beside Artemon, the Audians, the Arians, and divers others, all received most or all the same books of the New Testament which the Catholics received; and agreed in a like respect for them as written by apostles, or their disciples and companions.'

There is still another source from which we are furnished with evidence in favour of the antiquity of the books, and of the fact that no doubt was entertained of their genuineness. I refer to Celsus, ever a virulent enemy of Christianity, in the latter part of the second century. His writings have perished, but a great part of his work is transcribed in Origen's elaborate answer, from which it appears, that he knew the names and contents of the books of the New Testament, and expressed no suspicion that they were forgeries. Porphyry, in the third century, was accounted one of the ablest and most learned opponents of our religion. His writings also are lost, but it appears that he allowed our Scriptures to be genuine, and did not even call in question the miraculous facts related in them. That, if he had found any pretext, he would have willingly convicted them of forgery, is evident from the attempt which he made to prove that the prophecies of Daniel were written after the events. Julian, in the fourth century, who is called the apostate, because, having been once a Christian, he embraced heathenism, and employed all his influence and authority to re-establish it, also bears testimony to the Scriptures of the New Testament, and particularly to the historical books. He speaks of Matthew, Luke, John, and the Acts of the Apostles; and instead of disputing the genuineness of the writings, admits many of the facts recorded in them, and even the miracles of Christ-an admission which nothing would have induced him to make, but the utter impossibility of invalidating the narrative of the evangelists. The last argument which I shall produce, is founded on the Syriac Version. Some learned men believe, and have endeavoured to prove, by a variety of arguments, that it was made in the first century; and as four Catholic epistles, the second of Peter, the second and third of John, and the epistle of Jude, are wanting, and also the Revelation, they suppose that, at the time, these books had not appeared. If this early date be assigned to it, it proves not only that the other books were then in existence, but that they were considered as the productions of the evangelists and apostles; for it could only be on this supposition, that they were translated for the use of the Syrian churches.

We have proved the genuineness of the books of the New Testament, by the evidence which is resorted to in all cases of this nature,-the testimony of those who had the best opportunities of ascertaining whether they were written by the persons whose names they bear, because they lived in the age when they were published, or soon after, and were led by their circumstances to make an accurate inquiry. This is a point which demands particular attention. When a book is in circulation in which we take no interest, we perhaps do not give ourselves the trouble to ask who is the author; or if a

• Lardner, part ii. General Review.

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