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THE SCRIPTURES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.
The following observations relate to the truth, the importance, and the authority of the Scriptures of the New Testament.
1. The books of the New Testament were written by chose to whom they are ascribed ; that is, by apostles °,
ο 'Εν τοϊς νόθοις κατατετάχθω και των Παύλου πράξεων η γραφή, ό, τε λεγόμενος Ποιμήν, και η αποκάλυψις Πέτρου, και προς τούτοις, η φερομένη Βαρνάβα Επιστολή, και των Αποστόλων αι λεγομέναι didagai. Pro spuriis habendi sunt etiam Actus Pauli, et liber Pastoris titulo inscriptus, et Revelatio Petri : Barnabæ item Epistola, et que dicuntur Institutiones Apostolorum.' Eusebius E. H. iii. 25. Where Eusebius by the word vo@ons cannot possibly mean less than that these books were of ambiguous and contested authority. See Valesius, and Beverege, Cod. Can. Vind. 1. ii. 9. and Pearson, Vindic. Ignat. i. 8. and Turner's Discourse on the Constitutions. The authority of Eusebius in points of this kind is great, and has been so accounted by all good judges. If the Διδαχαι 'Αποστόλων are not the Apostolical Constitutions, Eusebius never mentioned the Constitutions.
The Epistle of Barnabas is extant, and is sufficiently illustrated by learned men. Peruse him ;-he shall speak for himself.
Clemens Alexandrinus often cites this Epistle ; yet he scruples not to contradict its author, Pædag. ii. x. p. 221. as the archbishop observes in his notes.
In the Apostolical Constitutions we find the following passage, vi. 24. " It hath pleased God that the law of righteousness should not only be published by us (the apostles), but that it should be made conspicuous and illustrious by the Romans; for they also believing in the Lord have forsaken their idolatry and iniquity, and show favour to the righteous, and punish the wicked; but they have the Jews for tributaries, and suffer them not to exercise their own laws and ordinances.' Ου μόνον δε της δικαιοσύνης νόμον δι' ημων επιδείκνυσθαι βούλεται, αλλά και δια Ρωμαίων ευδόκησεν αυτόν φαίνεσθαι και λάμπειν" και γαρ και ούτοι πιστέυσαντες επί τον Κύριον, και πολυθείας απέστησαν και αδικίας: και τους αγαθούς αποδέχονται, και τους φαύλους κολάζουσιν. 'Ιουδαίους δε υποφόρους έχoυσι, και τοις ιδίοις δικαιώμασιν ουκ εωσι κεχρησθαι. All this was true; but it was not true till all the apostles had been long dead.
or by believers who lived and conversed with the apostles. Of this we have as clear proof as the nature of the thing
The Constitutions strictly prohibit the reading of Pagan books : Tüv hvixion Bibabwe Tévtwy átéyou. i. 6. Clemens Alexandrinus calls the maintainers of this opinion weak and ignorant persons. Indeed, if they were in the right, he was a great sinner. Ou déaghey de με και τα θρυλλούμενα πρός τινων αμαθως ψοφωδεων, χρηναι λεγόντων περί τα αναγκαιότατα και συνέχοντα την πίστιν καταγίνεσθαι" τα δε έξωθεν και περιττα υπερβαίνειν, μάτην ημάς τρίβοντα και κατέχοντα BED Tois ou d è coubandonévols Tipos TO TEMOS. Strom. i. 1. p. 326. See also Socrates Hist. Eccl. iii. 16. If the antient Christians had observed this precept, Julian would have had no occasion to forbid them to teach classic authors, grammar, rhetoric, philosophy, &c. Epist. p. 192~195. Not only Christian writers reproached Julian for it, but Ammianus Marcellinus honestly condemned this spiteful and scandalous edict.
The lxxxvi. Apostol. Canon says, that the Constitutions ought not to be made public ; äs ou xpr druodićuEGY ÉTTÈ Tartwy. It must be confessed that this order was just and prudent, on many accounts.
See Remarks on Eccl. Hist. vol. i. * Apostolical Constitutions considered.
Concerning the Shepherd of Hermas, it is observable, that the persons who act in it are most of them allegorical persons, and ideal beings, such as appear in the Table of Cebes, and in the Hercules of Prodicus Ceus. An antient lady converses with him, and tells him that she is the Church of God. Afterwards several virgins come and discourse with him; and when he wants to know who they are, he is told by the shepherd-angel, that they are Faith, Abstinence, Patience, Chastity, Concord, &c.
There is a great conformity between Hermas and the author of the second book of Apocryphal Esdras; for a woman converses with Esdras, who, as the angel tells him, was Sion, or the Jewish Church : and as in the same book the woman vanishes away, and in her place appears a city; so in Hermas the church is represented to him under the image of a tower.
The prophets sometimes beheld, but it was in transient vision, such kind of persons. Zechariah saw Wickedness in the shape of a woman, ch. v. and St. John viewed Death and Hades, Rev. vi. 16. and the Church, appearing as a woman, Rev. xii. 1. and Babylon as an harlot, Rev. xvii. 3.
It is related in Cyprian, Epist. 39. edit. Oxon. that the Church appeared in a vision, or dream, 'in visione per noctem,' to Celerinus, and commanded him to receive the office of Reader, which he in huinility had declined. Add to this, that St. John, in his Second Epist. calls the church the Elect Lady,' by a prosopopæia, as some interpreters think; but the contrary opinion is more probable,
Afterwards, iii. 9. Hermas tells us that the Church which appeared to him was “the Son of God.' The apostles represented Christ as the head, the bridegroom, the husband of the Church.
can admit, or any reasonable person can desire; namely, the testimony of all antiquity, of the Christian writers who
Hermas seems to have had some literature; for, though his subject did not lead him to show any learning, he accidentally discovers a little of it. He makes the angel say, Patr. Apost. ed. Cler. p. 99. Vide stillicidium, quod cavat lapidem.' So Lucretius i.
Stillicidi casus lapidem cavat.' But this thought is indeed very trite and obvious.
In the parable of the Elm and the Vine, p. 104. the angel says, • Vitis hæc, nisi applicita fuerit ulmo, non potest multuin fructum facere. Jacens enim in terrâ,' &c. which is very like the speech of Vertumnus in Ovid, Met. xiv.
• Ulmus erat contra spatiosa tumentibus uvis:
Quam socia postquam pariter cum vite probavit ;
Si non nupta foret, terræ adclinata jaceret.' The first Epistle of Clemens is in the main a good piece, and not unworthy of an apostolical father, though it has a few small spots, and possibly, as Edw. Bernard and some others think, a few interpola
lived in or near those times, and of the antient heretics, and of some pagans.
II. The main parts of the Christian religion, enough, I mean, to establish the truth of it, may be found in almost each single book or treatise contained in the New Testament.
Take any of the Gospels, or the Acts of the Apostles, or the Revelation P, or any of the Epistles, two or three
και έρις πόλεις μεγάλες κατέστρεψεν, και έθνη μεγάλα εξερρίζωσεν, alluding, perhaps, to Horace :
fræ Thyesten exitio gravi
Funditus The spurious books under the names of apostles are not altogether useless. They show that the forgers in those days were men of poor abilities, and by their deformity they serve to set off the writings of the apostles. None of these impostors keeps up the character which he assumes;
• Aut ita mentitur, sic veris falsa remiscet,
Primo ne medium, medio ne discrepet imum.' P Dionysius Alexandrinus held the Revelation to be a sacred book, but was of opinion that it was not written by the apostle St. John, and that the language and manner of composition showed it to be of another person. His reasons may be seen in Eusebius, E. H. vii. 25. It must be owned that there is a difference of style between the Revelation and the Gospel; but the subject is also different. Il ne faut pas s'étonner que l'air de l'Apocalypse soit different de celui qu'on remarque dans les autres ecrits de S. Jean, parceque la matiere en est extremement differente. Pour la langue, outre les autres raisons qu'on en pourroit rendre, ne peut-on pas dire qu'estant relegué à Patmos, il n'avoit pas auprés de lui les mesmes personnes qu'il avoit à Ephese, pour se faire aider dans le choix des termes et des expressions ? Et peutestre mesme que la chaleur de l'Esprit de Dieu le pressoit d'écrire promtement ce qu'il avoit vu, sans songer à une pureté et à une elegance qui n'est rien du tout devant Dieu.' Tillemont, Mem. Eccl. t. i. S. Jean, Not. 9. Tille. mont's conjecture is founded upon a supposition which several per. sons will not admit; namely, that St. John wrote his revelation at Patmos.
They who think, with Sir Isaac Newton, that St. John wrote the Revelation long before the Gospel, may suppose that the apostle, when he composed the Gospel, had improved his style by conversing with the Greeks of Asia Minor.
The LXX, following closely the Hebrew phrase, abound remarkably with the conjunction Kal. For example, Gen. iij. KAI eiter å opisem
excepted ; and if they be allowed to be genuine, and to give a true account of the things which they relate, the Christian religion must be acknowledged to be fully confirmed 9.
III. The books of the New Testament have descended to us uncorrupted in any thing material. This appears evidently from the citations which have been made out of them by Christian writers in all ages; from the high esteem