Imatges de pÓgina
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VI.

THE SCRIPTURES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.

THE
HE following observations relate to the truth, the im-
portance, and the authority of the Scriptures of the New
Testament.

I. The books of the New Testament were written by those to whom they are ascribed; that is, by apostles,

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• Ἐν τοῖς νόθοις κατατετάχθω καὶ τῶν Παύλου πράξεων ἡ γραφὴ, δ, τε λεγόμενος Ποιμὴν, καὶ ἡ ἀποκάλυψις Πέτρου· καὶ πρὸς τούτοις, ἡ φερομένη Βαρνάβα Ἐπιστολὴ, καὶ τῶν ̓Αποστόλων οι λεγομέναι Sidayal. Pro spuriis habendi sunt etiam Actus Pauli, et liber Pastoris titulo inscriptus, et Revelatio Petri: Barnabæ item Epistola, et quæ dicuntur Institutiones Apostolorum.' Eusebius E. H. iii. 25. Where Eusebius by the word vodois 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 Διδαχαὶ ̓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 δὲ τῆς δικαιοσύνης νόμον δι' ἡμῶν ἐπιδείκνυσθαι βούλεται, ἀλλὰ καὶ διὰ Ῥωμαίων εὐδόκησεν αυτὸν φαίνεσθαι καὶ λάμπειν· καὶ γὰρ καὶ οὗτοι πιστέυσαντες ἐπὶ τὸν Κύριον, καὶ πολυθείας ἀπέστησαν καὶ ἀδικίας· καὶ τοὺς ἀγαθοὺς ἀποδέχονται, καὶ τοὺς φαύλους κολάζουσιν. 'Iouδαίους δὲ ὑποφόρους ἔχουσι, καὶ τοῖς ἰδίοις δικαιώμασιν οὐκ ἐῶσι κεχρῆ obat. 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: Τῶν ἐθνικῶν βιβλίων πάντων ἀπέχου. 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 xéλrfey dé με καὶ τὰ θρυλλούμενα πρός τινῶν ἀμαθῶς ψοφωδεῶν, χρῆναι λεγόντων περὶ τὰ ἀναγκαιότατα καὶ συνέχοντα τὴν πίστιν καταγίνεσθαι· τὰ δὲ ἔξωθεν καὶ περιττὰ ὑπερβαίνειν, μάτην ἡμᾶς τρίβοντα καὶ κατέχοντα περὶ τοῖς οὐδὲν συμβαλλομένοις πρὸς τὸ τέλος. 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 ; ἂς οὐ χρὴ δημοσιέυειν ἐπὶ πάντων. It must be confessed that this order was just and prudent, on many accounts.

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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. 18. 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 ap peared in a vision, or dream, in visione per noctem,' to Celerinus, and commanded him to receive the office of Reader, which he in humility had declined. Add to this, that St. John, in his Second Epist. calls the church the Elect Lady,' by a prosopopoeia, as some interpreters think; but the contrary opinion is more probable,

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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. stillicidium, quod cavat lapidem.' So Lucretius i.

Stillicidi casus lapidem cavat.'

But this thought is indeed very trite and obvious.

Vide

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 ;
At si staret, ait, cœlebs sine palmite truncus,
Nil præter frondes, quare peteretur, haberet.
Нӕс

quoque, quæ juncta vitis requiescit in ulmo,
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

tions.

The same may be said of the second Epistle of Clemens, if it be his. There is, indeed, a citation at the end of it, from the Gospel according to the Ægyptians,' which might as well have been omitted, and which perhaps was added by another hand.

The Epistle begins thus: Αδελφοί, οὕτως δεῖ ἡμᾶς φρονεῖν περὶ Ἰησοῦ, ὡς περὶ Θεοῦ, ὡς περὶ κριτοῦ ζώντων καὶ νεκρῶν, καὶ οὐ δεῖ ἡμᾶς μικρὰ φρονεῖν περὶ τῆς σωτηρίας ἡμῶν· ἐν τῷ γὰρ φρονεῖν ἡμᾶς μικρὰ περὶ ἀυτοῦ, μικρὰ καὶ ἐλπίζομεν λαβεῖν. Fratres, ita sentire nos oportet de Jesu Christo, tanquam de Deo, tanquam de judice vivorum et mortuorum; nec decet nos humilia sentire de salute nostra: dum enim humiliter sentimus de illo, parva etiam accepturos nos speramus." I cite this place because it wants emendation, and should be corrected thus; οῦ δεῖ ἡμᾶς μικρὰ φρονεῖν περὶ τοΥ ΑΡΧΗΓΟΥ της σωτηρίας ἡμῶν· nec decet nos humilia sentire de auctore salutis nostræ.' 26 This not only makes better sense, and agrees better with map duro which follows it, but alludes to the Epistle to the Hebrews, of which Clemens is observed to make frequent use in his uncontested Epistle. Hebr. 1. 10. τὸν ἀρχηγὸν τῆς σωτηρίας αυτῶν.

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The writer of this Epistle seems, in the place which I have cited, to have had in view the Ebionites, πτωχῶς καὶ ταπεινῶς τὰ περὶ τοῦ Χριστοῦ δοξάζοντας. λιτὸν μὲν γὰρ αὐτὸν καὶ κοινὸν ἡγοῦντο, κατὰ προκοπὴν ἤθους αυτὸ μόνον ἄνθρωπον δεδικαιωμένον: — qui humiliter admodum et abjecte de Christo sentirent. Eum enim simplicem ac vulgarem, nec aliud quam hominem esse censebant, qui profectu virtutis justus factus fuisset. Euseb. E. H. iii. 27.

Clemens in his first Epistle, vi. p. 151. Patr. Apost. says; Zλ05

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 Testa

ment.

Take any of the Gospels, or the Acts of the Apostles, or the Revelation P, or any of the Epistles, two or three

καὶ ἔρις πόλεις μεγάλας κατέστρεψεν, καὶ ἔθνη μεγάλα ἐξεῤῥίζωσεν, alluding, perhaps, to Horace:

Iræ Thyesten exitio gravi

Stravere, et altis urbibus ultimæ
Stetere caussæ cur perirent
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. Tillemont's conjecture is founded upon a supposition which several persons 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 KAI. For example, Gen. iii. KAI TV & opis

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

ΚΑΙ εἶδεν ἡ γυνή— ΚΑΙ λαβοῦσα—ΚΑΙ ἔδωκε ΚΑΙ τῷ ἀνδρι-ΚΑΙ ἔφαγον—ΚΑΙ διηνοίχθησαν—ΚΑΙ ἔγνωσαν—ΚΑΙ ἔῤῥαψαν— ΚΑΙ ἐποί ησαν— ΚΑΙ ἤκουσαν—ΚΑΙ ἐκρύβεσαν—ΚΑΙ ἐκάλεσεν—ΚΑΙ εἶπεν ΚΑΙ εἶπεν—ΚΑΙ είπεν, &c.

St. John, in his Revelation, imitates and copies this style. Thus, ch. xiii. ΚΑΙ εἶδον —ΚΑΙ ἐπὶ—ΚΑΙ ἐπὶ— ΚΑΙ τὸ θηρίον — ΚΑΙ οἱ πόδες—ΚΑΙ τὸ στόμα ΚΑΙ ἔδωκεν — ΚΑΙ τὸν θρόνον — ΚΑΙ ἐξου σίαν — ΚΑΙ εἶδον -- ΚΑΙ ή πληγή - ΚΑΙ ἐθαύμασεν — ΚΑΙ ἐδόθη — ΚΑΙ ἤνοιξε, &c.

But in his Gospel he hath another manner; he drops this excessive ́use of KAI, and either makes use of the connections AE and OTN, or writes ασυνδέτως, in a disjoined style, as ch. iv. 6. Ὥρα ἦν ἔκτη ἔρχεται γυνὴλέγει αὐτῇ ὁ Ἰησοῦς — ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς — λέγει αὐτῷ ἡ γυνὴ — ἀπεκρίθη ὁ Ἰησοῦς, &c. Not ΚΑΙ ὥρα - ΚΑΙ ἔρχεται, &c. But, besides antient testimony, there is also internal reason to conclude that the Gospel and the Revelation are the work of the same author :

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Thus, John alone calls Christ Λόγος, • the Word," in the beginning of the Gospel, and in Rev. xix. 13.

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John alone records that the Baptist called Christ the Lamb of God,* alone applies to him the direction concerning the Paschal Lamb, bone of him shall not be broken,' alone describes him as 'the Lamb,' Revel. v. 6.

John makes great use of the words, λόγος, φῶς ἀληθινὸν, ἀλήθεια, μάρτυς, ὁ ἀληθινὸς, μαρτύρω, ζωή, ἀγάπη, ἀγαπῶ, in those writings which are ascribed to him.

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John alone cites, They shall look on him whom they pierced,' in the Gosp. xix. 37. and Rev. i. 7.

John alone relates that a soldier pierced the side of Christ, and that blood and water came forth. xix. 34, and alludes to it, Epist. i. ver. G. as some commentators suppose.,

Rev. xxi. 27. Καὶ οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθῃ εἰς αὐτὴν πᾶν κοινὸν καὶ ποιοῦν βδέ λύγμα

Κοινὸν and ποιοῦν are neuters put for masculines, as in the Gosp. vi. 37. πᾶν ὃ δίδωσί μοι ὁ Πατὴρ, πρὸς ἐμὲ ἥξει Grotius. And Epist. i. ver. 4, πᾶν τὸ γεγεννημένον ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ νικᾷ τὸν κόσμον.

Rev. xxii. 14. ἔσται ἡ ἐξουσία αὐτῶν ἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον τῆς ζωῆς

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