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and the evidence of authenticity on the one side, and of forgery on the other, is so clear and convincing, that a formal rejection of the latter is unnecessary. The case has long since been determined by the tacit consent of the whole British nation, and no man in his senses would attempt to dispute it.

“ Yet how much stronger is the Scriptural Canon. The author of Junius was known to none, he could not therefore of himself bear any testimony to the authenticity of his work; the authors of the New Testament were known to all, and were especially careful to mark, to authenticate, and to distinguish their writings. The author of Junius had no personal character which could stamp his writing with any high special authority; whatever proceeded from the Apostles of Christ, was immediately regarded as the offspring of an exclusive inspiration. For the Canon of Junius we have no external evidence, but that of a single publisher; for the Canon of Scripture we have the testimony of churches which were visited, bishops who were appointed, and converts innumerable, who were instructed by the Apostles themselves. It was neither the duty nor the interest of any one, excepting the publisher, to preserve the volume of Junius from spurious editions; to guard the integrity of the sacred volume was the bounden duty of every Christian who believed that its words were the words of eternal life.

“ If then, notwithstanding these and other difficulties, which might be adduced, the Canon of Junius is established beyond controversy or dispute, by the tacit consent of all who live in the age

in which it was written; there can be no reason why the Canon of Scripture, under circumstances infinitely stronger, should not have been determined in a manner precisely the same; especially when we remember, that in both cases, the forgeries made their appearance subsequently to the determination of the Canon. There is not a single book in the spurious department of the Apocryphal volume which was even known, when the Canon of Scripture was determined. This is a fact which considerably strengthens the case. There was no difficulty or dispute in framing

the Canon of Scripture, because there were no competitors, whose claims it was expedient to examine; no forgeries, whose impostures it was necessary to detect. The first age of the church was an age of too much vigilance, of too much communication, of too much authority, for any fabrication of Scripture to hope for success. attempt was made it was instantly crushed. When the authority of the Apostles and apostolic men had lost its influence,

If any and heresies and disputes had arisen, then it was that forgeries began to appear . . . Nothing, indeed, but the general and long determined consent of the whole Christian world, could have preserved the sacred volume in its integrity, unimpaired by the mutilation of one set of heretics, and unencumbered by the forgeries of another.”



This was a subject of warm dispute between the Romanists and Protestants, at the time of the Reformation. The former, to make room for their farrago of unwritten traditions, maintained the affirmative; and such men as Bellarmine and Pineda asserted roundly, that some of the most valuable parts of the Canonical Scriptures were lost. The Protestants, on the other hand, to support the sufficiency and perfection of the Holy Scriptures the corner-stone of the Reformation-strenuously and successfully contended, that no part of the Canonical volume had been lost.

But the opinion that some inspired books, which once belonged to the Canon, have been lost, has been maintained by some more respectable writers than those Romanists just mentioned. Chrysostom, Theophylact, Calvin, and Whitaker, have all, in some degree, countenanced the same opinion, in order to avoid some difficulty, or to answer some particular purpose. The subject, so far as the Old Testament is concerned, has already been considered; it shall now be our endeavour to show, that no Canonical book of the New Testament has been lost.

And here, I am ready to concede, as was before done, that there may have been books written by inspired men that have been lost: for inspiration was occasional, not constant; and confined to matters of faith, and not afforded on the affairs of this life, or in matters of mere science. If Paul, or Peter, or any other Apostle, had occasion to write private letters to their friends, on subjects not connected with religion, there is no reason to think that these were inspired; and if such writings have been lost, the Canon of Scripture has suffered no more, by this means, than by the loss of any other uninspired books.

But again, I am willing to go farther, and say that it is possible (although I know no evidence of the fact that some things, written under the influence of inspiration, for a particular occasion, and to rectify some disorder in a particular church, may have been lost, without injury to the Canon. For, as much that the Apostles preached by inspiration, is undoubtedly lost, so there is no reason why every word which they wrote must necessarily be preserved, and form a part of the Canonical volume. For example, suppose that when Paul said, 1 Cor. v, 9, “ I wrote to you in an Epistle not to company with fornicators,” he referred to an Epistle which he had written to the Corinthians, before the one now called the First, it might never have been intended that this letter should form a constituent part of the Canon: for although it treated of subjects connected with Christian faith or practice; yet, an occasion having arisen, in a short time, of treating these subjects more at large, every thing in that Epistle (supposing it ever to have been written) may have been included in the two Epistles to the Corinthians, which are now in the Canon. Or, to adopt, for illustration, the ingenious hypothesis of Dr Lightfoot, the Epistle referred to, which was sent by Timothy, who took a circuitous route through Macedonia, might not have reached them until Paul wrote the long and interesting Epistle, called the First to the Corinthians; and thus the former one would be superseded. But we adduce this case merely for illustration; for we will attempt presently to show, that no evidence exists that any such Epistle was ever written.

1. The first argument to prove that no Canonical book has been lost, is derived from the watchful care of Providence, over the Sacred Scriptures.

Now, to suppose that a book written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and intended to form a part of the Canon which is the rule of faith to the church, should be utterly and irrecoverably lost, is surely not very honourable to the wisdom of God; and noways consonant with the ordinary method of his dispensations, in regard to his precious truth. There is good reason to think, that if God saw it needful, and for the edification of the church, that such books should be written, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, by his providence he would have taken care to preserve them from destruction. We do know, that this treasure of divine truth has been, in all ages, and in the worst times, the special care of God, or not one of

the sacred books would now be in existence. And if one Canonical book might be lost through the negligence or unfaithfulness of men, why not all? And thus the end of God, in making a revelation of his will, might have been defeated.

But whatever other corruptions have crept into the Jewish or Christian churches, it does not appear that either of them, as a body, ever incurred the censure of having been careless in preserving the Oracles of God. Our Saviour never charges the Jews, who perverted the Sacred Scriptures to their own ruin, with having lost any portion of the sacred deposit intrusted to them.

History informs us of the fierce and malignant design of Antiochus Epiphanes, to abolish every vestige of the sacred volume; but the same history assures us, that the Jewish people manifested a heroic fortitude, and invincible patience, in resisting and defeating his impious purpose. They chose rather to sacrifice their lives, and suffer a cruel death, than to deliver up the copies of the sacred volume in their possession. And the same spirit was manifested, and with the same result, in the Dioclesian persecution of the Christians. Every effort was made to obliterate the sacred writings of Christians, and multitudes suffered death for refusing to deliver up the New Testament. Some, indeed, overcome by the terrors of a cruel persecution, did, in the hour of temptation, consent to surrender the holy book; but they were ever afterwards called traitors; and it was with the utmost difficulty, that any of them could be received again into the communion of the church, even after a long repentance, and the most humbling confessions of their fault. Now, if any Canonical book was ever lost, it must have been in these early times, when the word of God was valued far above life, and when every Christian stood ready to seal the truth with his blood.

2. Another argument which appears to me to be convincing, is, that in a little time, all the sacred books were dispersed over the whole world. If a book had, by some accident or violence, been destroyed in one region, the loss could soon have been repaired, by sending for copies to other countries.

The considerations just mentioned, would, I presume, be satisfactory to all candid minds, were it not that it is supposed, that there is evidence that some things were written by the Apostles which are not now in the Canon. We have already referred to an Epistle to the Corinthians, which Paul is supposed to have written to them, previously to the writing of those which we now possess.

But it is by no means cer


tair, or even probable, that Paul ever did write such an Epistle; for not one ancient writer makes the least mention of any such letter, nor is there any where to be found any citation from it, or any reference to it.

It is a matter of testimony, in which all the Fathers concur, as with one voice, that Paul wrote no more than fourteen Epistles, all of which we now have.

The testimony of Clement of Rome is clear on this subject; and he was the friend and companion of Paul, and must have

known which was the First Epistle addressed by him to the Corinthian church. He says, in a passage before cited, “ Take again the Epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul into your

hands. What was it that he first wrote to you, in the beginning of his Epistle? He did truly by the Spirit write to you concerning himself, and Cephas, and Apollos, because even at that time you were formed into divisions or parties."

The only objection which can be conceived to this testimony is, that Clement's words, when literally translated, read, “ Take again the Gospel (Ejayperio) of the blessed Apostle Paul;” but it is well known, that the early Fathers called any book containing the doctrines of Christ, the Gospel; and in this case, all reasonable doubt is precluded, because Clement identifies the writing to which he referred, by mentioning some of its contents, which are found in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, and no where else. But still, Paul's own declaration stands in the

way opinion—"I wrote to you in an Epistle;"* the words in the original are, "Έγραψα υμών εν τη επιστολή, the literal version of which is, “ I have written to you in the Epistle, or in this Epistle;" that is, in the former part of it; where, in fact, we find the very thing which he says that he had written. See v. 2, 5, 6, of this same 5th chapter. But it is thought by learned and judicious commentators, that the words following Nuvi de enganya wew, “but now I have written unto you,” require that we should understand the former clause, as relating to some former time; but a careful attention to the context will convince us, that this reference is by no means necessary. The Apostle had told them, in the beginning of the chapter, to avoid the company of fornicators, &c.; but it is manifest from the 10th verse, that he apprehended that his meaning might be misunderstood, by extending the prohibition too far, so as to decline all intercourse with the world; therefore he repeats what he had said, and informs them, that it

* 1 Cor. v, 9, 11.

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