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has shared the same fate as that of Celsus, yet, from some fragments which have been preserved, we can ascertain, that he was well acquainted with the four Gospels; for the things to which he objects are still contained in them.

But the Emperor Julian expressly mentions Matthew and Luke, and cites various things out of the Gospels. He speaks also of John, and alleges, that none of Christ's Disciples beside ascribed to him the creation of the world; and also, “ That neither Paul, nor Matthew, nor Luke, nor Mark, have dared to call Jesus, God"__"That John wrote later than the other Evangelists, and at a time when a great number of men in the cities of Greece and Italy were converted.” He alludes to the conversion of Cornelius and Sergius Paulus; to Peter's vision; and to the circular letter sent by the Apostles, at Jerusalem, to the churches; which things are recorded in the Acts of the Apostles."

Now, if the genuineness of these books could have been impugned on any plausible grounds, or if any doubt had existed respecting this matter, surely such men as Celsus, Porphyry, and Julian, could not have been ignorant of the matter, and would not have failed to bring forward every thing of this kind which they knew; for their hostility to Christianity was unbounded. And it is certain, that Porphyry did avail himself of an objection of this kind, in regard to the book of Daniel. Since, then, not one of the early enemies of Christianity ever suggested a doubt of the genuineness of the books of the New Testament, we may rest assured, that no ground of doubt existed in their day; and that the fact of these being the genuine writings of the men whose names they bear, was too clearly established to admit any doubt. The genuineness of the books of the New Testament having been admitted by friends and enemies—by the orthodox and heretics in those ages, when the fact could be ascertained easily—it is too late in the day, now, for infidels to call this matter in question.

5. But the testimony which we possess, is not only sufficient to prove that the books of the New Testament were written by the persons whose names they bear; but also, that these books, in the early ages of the church, contained the same things which are now read in them. Omitting any particular notice of about half a dozen passages, the genuineness of which is in dispute, I would remark, that when we compare the numerous and copious quotations from these books, which are found in the writings of the Fathers, with our own copies, the argument is most satisfactory. It is true, indeed, that the Fathers do sometimes apparently quote from memory; and, in that case, the words of the sacred writer, are a little changed or transposed, but the sense is accurately retained. In general, however, the quotations of Scripture, in the writings of the Fathers, are verbally exact; there being no other variations than what arises from the different idiom of the language which they use. I

* See Lardner and Paley.

suppose, that almost every verse in some books of the New Testament, has been cited by one or another of the Fathers; so that if that book were lost, it might be restored, by means of the quotations from it in other books.

But, besides these quotations, we have the versions of the whole New Testament into various languages, some of which were made very early, probably not much later than the end of the first, or beginning of the second, century. Now, on a comparison, all these versions contain the same discourses, parables, miracles, doctrines, precepts, and divine institutions. Indeed, so literal have been most versions of the New Testament, that they answer to one another, and to the original, almost word for word.

Besides, there are in existence hundreds and thousands of Manuscripts of the New Testament, which were written in different ages of the church, from the fourth or fifth century, until the sixteenth. Most of these have been penned with great care, and in the finest style of caligraphy. The oldest are written on beautiful parchment, in what are called uncial, or capital letters. Some of these Manuscripts contain all the books of the New Testament; others only a part; and in some instances, a single book. Some are in a state of good preservation, while others are worn and mutilated, and the writing so obscure as to be scarcely legible. And what is very remarkable, some copies of the New Testament, on parchment, have been found written over again with other matter, after the original words had been as fully obliterated as could easily be done. This seems a very strange practice, considering that good copies of the Bible must have been always too few; but the scarcity of parchment was so great, that men who were anxious to communicate their own lucubrations to the public, would resort to any shift to procure the materials for writing. And this is not more culpable or more wonderful than what has been known to take place in our own land and times, where the leaves of Walton's Polyglot Bible have been torn and used for wrapping paper.

The exact age of the oldest MSS. of the New Testament cannot be accurately ascertained, as they have no dates accompanying them which can be depended on; but, as it is pretty well known at what period Greek accents were introduced, and also when the large and uncial letter, as it is called, was exchanged for the small letter now in common use, if a MS. is found written in the old fashion, in large letters, without intervals between the words, and without accents, it is known that it must be more ancient than the period when the mode of writing was changed. Now it is manifest, that when these MSS. were penned, the Canon was settled by common consent; for they all contain the same books, as far as they go.

I will sum up my observations on the Canon of the New Testament, by quoting a sensible and very appropriate passage from the late learned Mr Rennel. It is found in his Remarks on Hone's Collection of the Apocryphal writings of the Apos

tolic age.

When was the Canon of Scripture determined? It was determined immediately after the death of St John, the last survivor of the Apostolic order. The Canon of the Gospels was indeed determined before his death, for we read in Eusebius, that he gave his sanction to the three other Gospels, and completed this part of the new Testament with his own. By the death of St John, the catalogue of Scripture was completed and closed. We have seen, both from the testimony of themselves, and of their immediate successors, that the inspiration of writing was confined strictly to the Apostles; and accordingly we find, that no similar pretensions were ever made by any true Christian to a similar authority.

By whom was the Canon of Scripture determined ? It was determined not by the decision of any individual, nor by the decree of any council, but by the general consent of the whole and every part of the Christian Church. It is, indeed, a remarkable circumstance, that among the various disputes which so early agitated the church, the Canon of Scripture was never a subject of controversy. If any question might be said to have arisen, it was in reference to one or two of those books which are included in the present Canon; but with respect to those which are out of the Canon, no difference of opinion ever existed.

“ The reason of this agreement is a very satisfactory one. Every one who is at all versed in Ecclesiastical History, is aware of the continual intercourse which took place in the apostolical age, between the various branches of the church universal. This communication, as Mr Nolan has well observed, arose out of the Jewish polity, under which various synagogues of the Jews, which were dispersed throughout the Gentile world, were all subjected to the Sanhedrim at Jerusalem, and maintained a constant correspondence with it. Whenever, then, an Epistle arrived at any particular church, it was first authenticated; it was then read to all the holy brethren, and was subsequently transmitted to some other neighbouring church. Thus we find that the authentication of the Epistles of Paul was, “ The salutation with his own hand,'* by which the church, to which the Epistle was first addressed, might be assured that it was not a forgery. We find also a solemn adjuration of the same Apostle, that his Epistle should be read to all the holy brethren.'f · When this Epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that ye likewise read the Epistle from Laodicea.'I From this latter passage we infer, that the system of transmission was a very general one, as the Epistle which St Paul directs the Colossians to receive from the Laodiceans, was not originally directed to the latter, but was sent to them from some other church. To prevent any mistake or fraud, this transmission was made by the highest authority, namely, by that of the bishop. Through him, official communications were sent from one church to another, even in the remotest countries. Clement, the bishop of Rome, communicated with the church at Corinth; Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna, wrote an Epistle to the Philippians; Ignatius, the bishop of Antioch, corresponded with the churches at Rome, of Magnesia, of Ephesus, and others. These three bishops were the companions and immediate successors of the Apostles, and followed the system of correspondence and intercourse which their masters had begun. Considering all these circumstances, we shall be convinced how utterly improbable it was that any authentic work of an Apostle should have existed in one church, without being communicated to another. It is a very mistaken notion of Dodwell, that the books of the New Testament lay concealed in the coffers of particular churches, and were not known to the rest of the world until the late days of Trajan. This might have been perfectly true with respect to the originals, which were, doubtless, guarded with peculiar care in the custody of the particular churches to which they were respectively addressed. But copies of these originals, attested by the authority of the bishop, were transmitted from one church to another with the utmost freedom, • 2 Thess. iii, 17.

1 Thess. v, 27. | Col. iv, 6.

and were thus rapidly dispersed throughout the Christian \ world. As a proof of this, St Peter, in an Epistle addressed

generally to the churches in Asia, speaks of All the Epistles of Paul, as a body of Scripture universally circulated and known.

“ The number of the Apostles, including Paul and Barnabas, was but fourteen—to these, and these alone, in the opinion of the early church, was the inspiration of writing confined; out of these, six only deemed it necessary to write; what they did write, was authenticated with the greatest caution, and circulated with the utmost rapidity; what was received in any church as the writing of an Apostle was publicly read; no church was left to itself, or to its own direction; but was frequently visited by the Apostles, and corresponded with by their successors.

All the distant members of the church universal, in the Apostles' age, being united by frequent intercourse and communication, became one body in Christ. Taking all these things into consideration, we shall see with what ease and rapidity the Canon of Scripture would be formed, there being no room either for fraudulent fabrication on the one hand, or for arbitrary rejection on the other. The case was too clear to require any formal discussion, nor does it appear that there was any material forgery that could render it necessary.

“ The writings of the Apostles, and of the Apostles alone, were received as the word of God, and were separated from all others by that most decisive species of authority, the authority of a general, an immediate, and an undisputed consent.

“ This will appear the more satisfactory to our minds, if we take an example from the age in which we live. The letters of Junius, for instance, were published at intervals within a certain period. Since the publication of the last authentic letter, many under that signature have appeared, purporting to have been written by the same author. But this circumstance throws no obsurity over the matter, nor is the Canon of Junius, if I may transfer the term from sacred to secular writing, involved in any difficulty or doubt. If it should be hereafter inquired, at what time, or by what authority, the authentic letters were separated from the spurious, the answer will be that such a separation never took place; but that the Canon of Junius was immediately determined after the last letter. To us who live so near the time of publication, the line of distinction between the genuine and spurious is so strongly marked,

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